alt-lite antifeminism evil sexy ladies FemRAs FeMRAsplaining intellectual dork web makeup is a lie misogyny rape rape culture reactionary bullshit sexual assault sexual harassment slut shaming toxic masculinity

Women wearing “makeup that hints at orgasm” can’t complain that men leer, Intellectual Dark Webber Heather Heying argues

Toxic female prepares for battle

By David Futrelle

So who’s more toxic: A dude who spends every lunch hour staring at women passing on the street like a hungry lion eyeing a wounded gazelle, or any of these women who take a moment to tell him to “stop staring at me, you creep!”

If we follow the logic set out by Intellectual Dark Webber Heather E. Heying in her recent piece on “toxic femininity” in Quillette, it would be the women. At least if they’re wearing makeup — because makeup “invites” male attention and it’s wrong for women to chastise men who give women the lustful gazes that they’re (supposedly) signaling they crave.

Heying, a former evolutionary biology professor at Evergreen State College, declares that it’s an “ancient truth” that

[s]traight men will look at beautiful women, especially if those women are a) young and hot and b) actively displaying. Display invites attention.

Apparently, any time a young hottie puts on flattering clothes and a bit of makeup, she’s basically advertising that she’s open for business, sex-wise, much like a female mandrill presenting her swollen red ass to the nearest monkey Chad.

“Hotness-amplifying femininity puts on a full display, advertising fertility and urgent sexuality,” Heying proclaims, writing about human females in much the same way, I imagine, that she’s written about the sex lives of the poisonous frogs she’s studied in the wild.

It invites male attention by, for instance, revealing flesh, or by painting on signals of sexual receptivity. This, I would argue, is inviting trouble.

So you’re saying these women are asking for it?

No, I did not just say that she was asking for it. I did, however, just say that she was displaying herself, and of course she was going to get looked at.

I’m not quite sure how that’s different from saying “she’s asking for it,” but never mind.

The amplification of hotness is not, in and of itself, toxic, although personally, I don’t respect it, and never have. Hotness fades, wisdom grows— wise young women will invest accordingly.

So dressing like a dirty slut isn’t toxic, it just makes you a dirty slut, which Heying definitely isn’t, unlike all you dirty sluts being all dirty and slutty out there with your dirty slut outfits.

Femininity becomes toxic when it cries foul, chastising men for responding to a provocative display.

Ah, of course, femininity becomes toxic as soon as women point out the bad behavior of men.

Heying dials back her rhetoric for a moment to assure her readers that, yes, she does believe that there are some male behaviors that it’s legitimate to complain about.

Every woman has the right not to be touched if she does not wish to be; and coercive quid pro quo, in which sexual favors are demanded for the possibility of career advancement, is unacceptable.

Alas, she follows up this bit of uncharacteristic reasonableness with a big ol’ “but.”

But when women doll themselves up in clothes that highlight sexually-selected anatomy, and put on make-up that hints at impending orgasm, it is toxic—yes, toxic—to demand that men do not look, do not approach, do not query.

Wait, what? “Make-up that hints at impending orgasm?”

As best as I can figure it, she thinks that whenever women use any makeup that reddens their cheeks or lips they are doing so because this redness is a simulation of the “sex flush” that many women experience during, well, sex, and that typically starts to fade after an orgasm.

Of course, cheeks also turn red due to embarrassment, sunburn, vigorous jogging, cold weather, falling into a vat of tomato soup. So maybe all that a woman with blusher on her cheeks is trying to signal is that due to her balance issues it’s probably not a good idea to take her on a tour of a soup factory, at least not without securing her with a sturdy rope first.

Also, “sex flushes” don’t only affect the face; they also tend to redden necks and chests, among other places. So for women to really convey just how totally into sex they hypothetically are, shouldn’t they cover every visible inch of skin with red paint, like this sexy lady here?

The wings are a nice touch too

But I digress. Heying continues her tirade against mean hotties being mean to men.

Young women have vast sexual power. Everyone who is being honest with themselves knows this: Women in their sexual prime who are anywhere near the beauty-norms for their culture have a kind of power that nobody else has.

Weird that very few of these women are able to use this supposedly vast power to command much higher salaries than, for example, their much older and much less sexually appealing male bosses.

They are also all but certain to lack the wisdom to manage it. Toxic femininity is an abuse of that power, in which hotness is maximized, and victim status is then claimed when straight men don’t treat them as peers.

Why shouldn’t men treat women as peers? What does “hotness” have to do with it?

Creating hunger in men by actively inviting the male gaze, then demanding that men have no such hunger—that is toxic femininity.

No one is demanding that straight men cease being attracted to — hungering for — women; they’re simply asking that men treat the women they’re attracted to with simple courtesy and not openly drool over them like creepy creeps.

Subjugating men, emasculating them when they display strength—physical, intellectual, or other—that is toxic femininity.

“Subjugating” men for “displaying strength?” Where is this coming from? What the fuck are you even talking about?

Insisting that men, simply by virtue of being men, are toxic, and then acting surprised as relationships between men and women become more strained—that is toxic femininity.

No one is claiming that all men are toxic “simply by virtue of being men.” Yes, it’s true that all men in our culture are taught some toxic attitudes and encouraged to display some toxic behaviors. But that doesn’t make all men predators or creeps.

Many men consciously or unconsciously reject the toxic aspects of masculinity — while holding on to other aspects of masculinity that they and many others (including most feminists) find appealing. Terry Crews is about as masculine a man as you can get — and he’s speaking out against toxic masculinity.  I don’t know any feminist, male or female, who has a problem with him; I’ve seen Men’s Rights Activists call him a “cuck.”

If every young woman who complains about creeps staring at them is guilty of “toxic femininity,” at least in Heying’s mind, are there men guilty of toxic masculinity as well?

True, she does explicitly acknowledge that toxic masculinity is a thing. After all, there are men out there who sexually assault women. But she’s willing to absolve most men of any degree of blame.

“Yes, toxic masculinity exists,” she writes, before moving on to the inevitable “but.”

But the use of the term has been weaponized. It is being hurled without care at every man. When it emerged, its use seemed merely imprecise—in most groups of people, there’s some guy waiting for an opportunity to fondle a woman’s ass without her consent, put his hand where he shouldn’t, right? That’s who was being outed as toxic. Those men—and far, far worse—do exist. Obviously. But wait—does every human assemblage contain such men? It does not.

Well, pretty much any human assemblage with more than a handful of men in it is likely to contain at least one toxic asshole who likes to grope women without consent. Hell, our president is one of these men, if his own boasts (not to mention the accusations of numerous women) are anything to go by. Kind of hard to argue that “toxic masculinity” is super duper rare when the top elected official on our country is about as toxic as a man can get.

This term, toxic masculinity, is being wielded indiscriminately, and with force. We are not talking imprecision now, we are talking thoroughgoing inaccuracy.

Indeed, she suggests, if you talk about “toxic masculinity” too much, many people will leap to the conclusion that “all men are toxic.”  Never mind that this isn’t actually happening in the real world.

While Heying is convinced that every young woman who puts a little rouge on her cheeks is “inviting trouble,” she cuts men a lot more slack. Indeed, at the start of her piece she literally gives human males credit for not murdering babies.

No, really. She starts the piece by noting that male lions, as is well-known,  will “kill the kittens in a pride over which they have gained control.” This, she acknowledges, is pretty “toxic” behavior. But

[g]iven the opportunity, the vast majority of modern human males would do no such thing. … the vast majority of men would not and could not kill babies, nor rape their grieving mothers.

Good to know.

So, to summarize: in order to be convicted of toxic femininity in the court of Judge Heying, all a woman needs to do is to put on a spot of makeup and then complain if men leer at her.

In order to be convicted of toxic masculinity, by contrast, a man has to do one or more of the following:

  1. Grind on or grope a woman without her consent
  2. Rape a woman
  3. Demand sexual favors for career advancement
  4. Kill some babies

With such divergent standards, it’s no wonder that she thinks “toxic femininity” is much more common than “toxic masculinity.”

It’s also no wonder she’s considered part of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” because arguments like hers deserve to be sent back into the darkness from whence they came.

135 replies on “Women wearing “makeup that hints at orgasm” can’t complain that men leer, Intellectual Dark Webber Heather Heying argues”

@Mish –

Back in the 90s, I read Paglia waxing lyrical about how men can pee in an arc, and can direct their urine, and how this somehow – mystically – links to their artistic, creative capacity, in contrast to women who are mired in chthonic nature and can only create life.

What in the whatting what. And this reminds me of something Ezra Pound either wrote or endorsed (Master’s project stuff – it’s been a few years) that men have more creative energy because brain power comes from semen that congeals internally and moves up to your brain. It was… interesting.

I heard of Camille Paglia in undergrad (English Lit). I associated her with the connecting-things-with-myths group – e.g. Joseph Campbell, Northrop Frye the Bible-as-literature guy, and Shakespeare-obsessed Harold Bloom. Probably unfair to Campbell and Frye – maybe not to Bloom, who was all about preserving the Western canon and acting as a gatekeeper to non-white-men types. When I actually picked up something written by her, my complaint was that it was “too dramatic” and making unfounded assertions.

“Too dramatic” was perhaps internalized misogyny on my part (thinking women are too dramatic), but “unfounded assertions” still seems right. Now, the fun thing about humanities is you kinda get to make things up, but you have to give reasons for your arguments. Anyway, it was only later that I picked up on the gender-essentializing stuff. And later later I saw her mentioned in WHTM and thought, “Wait, so she’s known outside of literary criticism circles? Why??” 🙁

@StaceySmartyPants –

That sounds cool, if a bit exhausting!! Also, I just saw your comment in the other thread, thanks! I’ve never made my own clothes, I make beaded jewelry and batik art, but there are SO many people who do cool things with sewing.

In grade 11 I had a few classmates who got together for a project to make clothes from recycled materials, e.g. a really nice “patchwork” jean skirt from old jeans. A couple of them also were in the costuming crew for the school’s theatre team.

@epitome of incomprehensibility

Oh beaded jewelry making is so cool! And a patchwork jeans skirt could be so awesome because of the eclectic mix of denim types! I love it! 🙂

Thank you, yes, I was really tired, hungry and thirsty but it was worth it and I loved wearing it and especially working while wearing it. It took a long time to clean up after I took it off but our spa section has two showers and because we had only one spa client yesterday afternoon it was no problem for me to use one of the rooms there to clean up. We got some really good photos of me and my owner wants my manager to feature me in some promotions. My wearing it to hostess was a big hit with our clients, and my one client who took me out sent me the sweetest note today which meant a lot to me because I really admire her. And my owner was really happy because she’s a really important woman and spends a lot of money with us. My owner asked if I would wear it again sometime if I wanted to, and said maybe we could put me in gold or bronze which could be cute but I liked being silver. Next time I want to get white Sclera contacts because I think that would look awesome with the silver. Wearing it was really exciting and validating for me and it inspired me to start keeping a journal about how I can and will assert bodily autonomy with a feminist consciousness (which is how my professor would say it). It inspired today in that I refused to feel any inclination to put on a skirt as a “cover up” (I hate HATE that term) when I went next door on my break to get my coffee because why should I? If some man can’t handle that I’m just existing in his goddam field of vision because I’m in a bodysuit and tights but not wanting to talk to him then he can just stay away from me and wherever I want to go. So yes getting in and out of my outfit yesterday was exhausting but so totally worth it and inspiring to me. Thank you for the kind words!

Happy Saturday Everyone!


Congratulations on you triumph! I’ve been meaning to say hello for a few days. I’m impressed by your moxie as well as your people skills. There aren’t many people who could not only charm a room, but do it in silver latex and do it with aplomb. You’ve got some grit to you. Keep claiming your beauty and your love of clothing as art and expression as yours. You are right, it is a claiming of self.

I like clothes as art too. I am more vintage girl and I’ve also developed a love for learning how to do couture techniques and techniques of surface embroidery and embellishment. I’ve always been a serious student of embroidery and fiber crafts but now I’m trying to add the engineering of a serious garment to it.

I love to wear my collection of vintage nightgowns and dresses that covers the last hundred years. I do this because it makes me happy. There have been days when the cheer of the pretty dress was my only cheer. So I get it and like you, I think it is a form of art and self expression.

@Marshmallow Stacy

My hair grew back after one particularly horrific bout of chemo where the drug was a hair losing one, but it grew back different – different texture, less of it, the entire nightmare.

I have a chronic slow growing cancer, so I have had chemo more times than I can count. Worse even than what it does to your hair or body? What it does to your brain. It affects memory and sometimes gives brain fog – even when not currently taking the drugs. I think chemo has robbed me of my sharpest intellectual edge.
Ex. Yesterday I wanted to make a metaphoric comparison using operant conditioning. I couldn’t come up with the word intermittent. I came up with six synonyms but not the actual word I needed. I ended up using irregular, but I hated that because I knew it wasn’t right. This morning, the word intermittent was back, right where it belongs. This kind of thing happens to me all of the time. I hate it. All this to say, sympathies. We lose more than we know. But we are still here!


I think the makeup thing might vary widely depending on circumstances and the woman. I rarely wear makeup in the day to day any longer. When I had a job where being made up was just expected as part of grooming, I wasn’t a concealer and foundation person. I did like the high quality good coverage powders to even my skin tone. These days when I wear it, I keep it to eyes and lips. After reading the responses, yes, I think that people may do it because it is an expected part of female grooming, but I think the hows and whens and whats vary a lot. I tend to stick with subtle colors because I have fair skin and too bold makes me feel overwhelmed and age inappropriate – though I love colored eyeliner to give the tiniest bit of punch.


I am so glad to hear that your grandmother is treated well. I have my mother and my step-father in nursing homes and I am always grateful when I know that staff cares and I can set oversight down even for a moment.


I remember reading the introductory essay to Paglia’s Sexual Personae when I was twenty-one and being horrified. If I recall correctly it isn’t that men can pee in an arc that makes them the only human bearers of egos, brains, personalities, genius, worldly creation and art, it is their possession of the architectural phallus.

The penis/phallus has architectural form, like a skyscraper or like art, unlike the formless and engulfing vagina and vulva that has no form and engulfs and overpowers and is dangerous, death bearing and ritually unclean. Women can’t create anything except babies and have no minds because their terrible pussies spew forth the monthly death of chthonic clotted blood. Worse even than this, with the pussy, unlike the penis, there is nothing to see (Iragaray), a formless void of death and nothingness that men have fought against by defensively creating all of civilization in the face of the horrifying, formless death that the female body and (lack of) self represents. But I shouldn’t say female self, because Paglia argues with other misogynists over the course of history that because of our terrible pussies, we don’t have a self and should just stop pretending we do.

Paglia further argues that our formless death bearing selves and the sexual power we wield over men is what gives us our power (more power of the mini skirt and yoga pants) and we should embrace it by being happy to be sexual objects for men. She is now arguing that women and men mixing in the workplace is an unrelieved bad – that women aren’t made for the rough and tumble competition that men in teams and groups have created to invent efficient productivity. Worse, our chthonic sexual power over men and all of our fluids distract, terrify and confuse men while they are busy mastering the horrible power of nature and death represented in every day life by pussy bearers. Of course women should also get out of the workplace and stop even trying to create art because with no brains and no form and no self and no ego and the terrible flow of death imbued menstrual blood, we have nothing to contribute anyway.

This bitch is nothing but a high brow version of Schafly and her ilk you say? And if she managed to bring about an even more fascist patriarchy she would find herself drummed out of the academy and forced into various forms of female sexual display and sexual slavery for the defense and delectation of ego having men? Problem solved?

Well, not so much. I did a little surfing today to see what mischief she was still up to and find that Paglia now identifies as transgender and seems pretty certain that this puts her not only in the Apollonian group with other male geniuses and creators but that it would make her safe. Does anyone know when Paglia started officially identifying as transgender? Because Paglia identifying thusly strikes me as cynical and offends me. Back in the nineties she was just a plain vanilla lesbian.

Oh – and the other big theory of Sexual Personae was that gay men represent the highest Apollonian ideal because they have no intercourse with the death dealing formless female and keep to the perfect architecture of the phallus and male beauty. Oh – and women don’t even get the traditional gift of beauty in Paglia’s world. It isn’t just our terrifying and horrifying genitals, we have to resort to decoration via clothing and cosmetics because as well as being inhuman, we are the uglier sex and our sexual power is only an illusion. She basically subscribes to the idea that men are born between piss and shit (St. Augustine) and that woman is an angel above the waist and a beast below. (Milton paraphrase?) Other critics have remarked that Paglia isn’t the new feminism but the old misogyny writ purple.

Paglia espouses traditional misogyny, if at a particularly virulent level, using examples from Western Art to support her thinking. I do have to hand it to her that the writing for the introduction to Sexual Personae is a powerful and lyrical polemic even if the ideas are putrid.

Apologies if my own writing about her got a bit heated. I’ve had a really bad week with the sexism. Really bad. OTOH, it has brought a clean burning anger that has brought clarity and determination and self worth. The week’s events, in conjunction with the forgiveness I got from all of you for not fixing my “male colleague got credit and money for my work” problem all those years ago, I’ve realized that I am not actually as doltish as I’ve always thought at politics and crisis management skills. All of this has brought me to a place where I want to blaze trail.

If you’ve noticed contradictions in Paglia’s ideas and her actions, that is because they are there to be noticed.

@ AuntieMame

I think chemo has robbed me of my sharpest intellectual edge.

I wanted to make a metaphoric comparison using operant conditioning.

The mere fact you can write a sentence like that would suggest it hasn’t.


I just feel so much for you for what you have gone through with your chemo! I am getting ready to go out tonight but just COULD NOT before taking the time to respond to your lovely post! Thank you for writing it! You are just so strong though and you must be an inspiration to those around you but still my heart just goes out to you dearest! I wish I could just magically zap zoom teleport you right to my salon and we could give you a deluxe spa treatment day. To heck with that cancer, my owner (who is unbelievable stylist) would just take right care of you and we have this amazing esthetician who has worked with clients with chronic medical conditions and made them feel so good. We would just pamper you all day. Oh I would want to wear my latex again and would just polish myself up to a gleaming shine and help pamper you or just keep you company if you wanted the whole time. 🙂 And I wouldn’t care how long it took to get my latex on and wouldn’t get tired or too hot or uncomfortable at all no matter how long I was standing or in my latex because it would be an honor just to listen to you interpet and critique Paglia! I would just want to share my energy with you and be sweet to you and appreciate you as you enjoyed our pampering. Ugh, how can Paglia think all those things?! But thank you for critiquing her here because on the one hand it makes me so mad what she says out our pussies. I remember reading about some ancient cultures that thought that vaginal blood was sacred and both the men and the women didn’t think it was about death but about life and beauty. And even if my pussy is chthonic who says the underworld isn’t pretty? That’s only patriarchal mythos that does so fuck them, I’m reinterpreting because I *can*! Being proud of my pussy is an act of resistance and I love that it is.
We’re closed tomorrow but I work on Monday and I already am thinking about my outfit (I always do that!) I am so obsessed with the bodysuit and tights look. I was in college when Beyonce had a hit with All the Single Ladies and I remember loving that look and wanting to do it and now I build that into outfits *all* the time. I have a white sphagetti strap body suit with an open back that’s strappy and that’s high cut in the leg openings all the way to my waist (it’s actually a dance leotard but I wear it as a bodysuit) and I’m going to put it with these just incredible looking high-gloss sheer tights that are between nude and suntan so they have a tone that I wouldn’t like if they weren’t as glossy-looking as they are but because they are I LOVE them. When I wear it with a wide white shiny faux patent-leather belt and a silver rinestone choker I feel really chic. The shoes are faux patent leather strappy platform sandals. Oh and I love that you love vintage!!! So cool that you mention that because I adore vintage pillbox hats and I have a white one that’s 50s-looking with netting and a rose accent on the side that will go with this outfit. And this is all so perfect because of what you mentioned about Paglia saying our pussies are limiting and we should relinquish any hope of creativity because of their deathly nature. No fucking way, jerk! I am NOT wearing any kind of skirt or anything over this outfit (I wouldn’t at work anyway since I’m supposed to be edgy but I mean even when I step out next door or down the sidewalk to the bookstore for my break) and so if I am present then so is my pussy RIGHT there with its unmistakably beautiful shape – yes, it has a SHAPE and FORM, Paglia, and is not formless and I am going to use my art, which is my outfit, to remind all who wish to see me of its beauty and power. So there! 🙂 Lovely AuntieMameRedux, thank you for writing — it must have been hurtful just to read and process Paglia enough to write it all out for us that way but you did so thank you for bearing that burden for us.
Oh I bet your vintage dresses are SO beautiful! What is your favorite time period for fashion? Embroidery such an incredible art. My friend and I and her boyfriend and one of his guy friends (who is super-cool and whom I just love but that’s another story) went to the art museum where I live one time when they had an exhibition of seventeenth-century decorative arts. It was so impressive and had nature and animal scenes I remember.

Alan is right you are so brilliant and articulate and no chemo is going to stop you!


Oh and I forgot to give you a very special thanks for your kind words to me. I can only hope I can be charming because our clients come to us to look and feel their best and entrust so much to us. So I just want to do my all to make them feel extra special. I always say Ma’am to my clients (or Sir, if appropriate…we do have a few men clients) when I am on the phone or especially in person hostessing in our lounge or lobby, even if they are just wanting me to chat with them or get them something to drink because I just want them to feel special. Even women I knew first from outside the salon but who started coming to our salon are “Ma’am” when they are in the salon, even if they come by just to say hello or see what I wore that day, because I want them to feel so special. I just enjoy making people feel that way and love my job.


And oh yes there is a special place in my heart for any person who sees making themselves up and doing their hair and dressing as a form of art. Because it is and if you like doing so it should be celebrated!

I certainly think of it as such. There’s a reason we refer to the pros in the industry as makeup artists, after all!

And I’m totally with you on the “advertising” nonsense, too. The only thing I’m advertising, when I wear lipstick, is my own great color sense. I don’t do it at men.

@epitome of incomprehensibility Paglia got quite a bit mainstream North American press in the ’90s. She was presented as evidence for the “yes” side of the argument when it was asked if feminism had gone too far, in the same vein as Christina Hoff Sommers.


Paglia isn’t the new feminism but the old misogyny writ purple.

That is the best way of putting it that I have ever seen. She is the most self-hating woman I’ve ever seen, too. What a pity that someone saw fit to commit her drivel to the printed page. Paper is patient, but I still can’t believe trees had to be sacrificed for her.

Hi Bina😊. I want to ask you something, and I hope this isn’t tactless or socially inappropriate. Long time posters here(which I think includes you, I’m not positive if you were a commenter here the first time I started posting here before I had my, I guess we’ll call it an episode, and had to be in the hospital for a while)know I can say tactless abrasive and sometimes mildly offencive things but it is honestly not my intention at all. I’m just bad at stuff like that.

In your last comment you talk about wearing lipstick to advertise your own awesome color sense. And that’s completely fabulous of course but you specifically state you’re not doing it at men. Is that statement generalizing or is it always true?

Do you not get any gratification at all from men or women for that matter finding you attractive in a appropriate non creepy manner? And by gratification I just mean a small nice feeling of some sort, nothing sexual or big LOL. It is very gratifying to me when anybody at all noticeably find me attractive.

I know it is better to get validation from inside yourself and all that and I can do that with things like book smarts. I know I have those, I’m not insecure about that. But appearance is completely different. It’s like beauty can only really be appreciated from the outside in some ways right? I mean kind of like the famous quote beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? I mean I guess it depends on how you see it, it’s sort of subjective, I think.

So my point is do you ever dress up solely or even in part to get looked at by whatever gender you are attracted to? Or do you find that completely unappealing as a concept?

The one thing of Paglia’s that I can remember well enough to comment on came from one of her 1990’s books (don’t recall which one. Sorry.). In it she was discussing date rape, which back in the 1990’s was just starting to enter the public consciousness as something to be discussed publicly.

She stated (paraphrased) that the whole date rape thing was essentially an overreaction by sheltered White middle class young women to the reality that men are sexual creatures, and that these women choose to try and get men to supress those urges instead of accepting them as a natural part of what men were/are.

Her proof that it was exclusively White women driving the whole date rape scare was that there were (supposedly) no Black women discussing the issue. And the reason for that being that Black women knew and accepted men were sexual creatures, and had no problem with men getting rowdy with them when aroused.

Or something along those lines, anyway. It’s been years since I’ve even seen any of Paglia’s books, let alone read one. Memory being a tricky beast, and all.

This is why white women shouldn’t engage in White Feminism even if they’re purely self interested and don’t care about intersectionality. Here’s the erasure of black women’s gendered oppression being used to excuse and dismiss white women’s gendered oppression. I’m sure Paglia knows damn well that black women are raped by friends, boyfriends and husbands too. She’s just counting on the fact that no one listens to them when they do talk about it.


That’s so wonderful that you enjoy expressing your color sense! You *should* enjoy it.

I do enjoy it when others admire how I’ve put myself together and think it looks cool or even sexy…but only if they respect my wishes! That includes men, even ones I don’t know *as long as they respect what I want*. And me doing that and thinking that is totally different than me doing it (dressing)”for” men or “at” men. That makes it sound like it’s all about them and I’m not even a person much less an artist. So I like how you put that.

Possibly due to this thread, I had a dream last night that someone anonymously sent me a tube of lipstick.

So Stacy I’m just curious on your opinion about this. Does the fact that I am dressing up at people men and women anywhere on the gender spectrum that doesn’t matter. I dress up when I’m going out to clubs and concerts and areas like that specifically with the intention of wanting people to look at me and find me physically attractive. I don’t want them to see me as a blow up doll and think that physical attraction is the only thing about me that exists or is important in any way but I do specifically dress up at people as you were saying.

Would you say that there’s something inappropriate or demeaning or internalized misogyny about that? I just enjoy being looked at. It boosts my mood and my ego and my self-esteem which I know is not perfect I do care for myself and love myself but I can’t survive on only self-validation personally. I need sometimes even crave the validation of others on things that are superficial.

Like I don’t need people’s approval on my intelligence or critical thinking skills. I know that I have those things but things that can be more shallow, I guess is the word, I waver and greatly value external validation. Is that actively unfeminist? I directed this towards Stacey, but anyone can answer. I often feel like I’m not a real and proper feminist cuz I was attacked about specifically that in college for years there was a feminist group that told me my actions were bad for women and made them look bad as a whole in general. A number of the people who have been here forever know this story and I don’t feel like getting into it cuz it’s depressing so I doubt myself often. You seen awesome so I think your opinion would be worth hearing


Oh my dearest first of all thank you so much for being so willing to share your thoughts that way! ❤❤ It must be hard if you want to do something and you feel good doing it but also still feel it might not be feminist. I know with a lot of cases like that it can maybe seem like it's internalized misogyny and I remember lots of really difficult class discussions we had in my college Women's Studies classes about that. But I always go back to something my amazing favorite professor said in the beginning which was that feminism was ultimately about *women's choices* and *our* power to make them. So my own personal opinion is that if you like to dress up because you like the attention and validation you get that's not undermining feminist goals. To me what would undermine it would be if a woman who likes that did it but then thought just because she was doing it she had to allow men she didn't want to leer at her to leer or had to accept that any person of any gender could slut shame her….just because she was doing that. You don't seem to think like that and seem to be a really strong as well as pretty and sexy KatieKitten so good for you! I do know how you feel because on the on hand this *is* my art but also I really do love the validation I get too and I do actively try to get it… but from the people I want it from and I still insist all people of any gender respect my wishes.

Maybe if we get criticism from others like those groups you did in college we could go back to Audre Lorde's writings and say that we understand it's harmful to internalize the *patriarchal hijacking of our erotic* (like McKinnon said pornography does I think?) but that's not what we are doing because this is our authentic Erotic that comes from the choices we make as women.

I don't know if this makes sense but I just want to support you in what you want.

Katiekitten420 wrote:

Would you say that there’s something inappropriate or demeaning or internalized misogyny about that? I just enjoy being looked at. It boosts my mood and my ego and my self-esteem which I know is not perfect I do care for myself and love myself but I can’t survive on only self-validation personally. I need sometimes even crave the validation of others on things that are superficial.

Like I don’t need people’s approval on my intelligence or critical thinking skills. I know that I have those things but things that can be more shallow, I guess is the word, I waver and greatly value external validation. Is that actively unfeminist?

The desire to be looked at, to have attention paid to us, is a common human emotion; it’s perfectly natural and normal for a social species. And, given that seeking attention is an inherently social act, how one goes about attracting attention is in large part determined by societal norms. Dressing up is a common – and classic – way of attracting positive attention in most societies, and howevermuch some people may like to paint it as a gendered act, it’s only the type and style of clothing that society deems acceptable that’s inherently gendered; men have been doing the peacock thing just as long as women have.

Of course, the fact that there’s a foundational belief in most patriarchies that a woman’s worth is in large part a function of her attractiveness gives the whole “dressing up” thing a different contextual layer for women than it does for men. But you don’t have to fight that belief by doing the exact opposite, because reacting with direct opposition still means you’re letting the patriarchy control your actions. Making decisions without giving undue weight to societal and patriarchal norms is the only way I know of to work free of them.

All of which is to say that if you dress up, that act – in and of itself – is not inherently misogynistic or unfeminist. One of the tenets of feminism that seems to get misunderstood a lot is that feminism is about expanding acceptable social options for women – and men – not just shifting them to new areas. As long as a woman freely chooses to stay home and take care of her children rather than take a job outside the home and earn a paycheck, it is no more an unfeminist decision than if a man freely made the same choice. This same dynamic holds for dressing up, whether for others or yourself.

As long as you’re not doing it because you believe you must in order to be considered a woman (or man), then there’s nothing inherently unfeminist about pursuing any action that doesn’t negatively impact others against their will.

That’s my take on it, anyway.

Of course, I’ve spent pretty much my whole life not giving a shit what most other people think about me, so…take it all with a few boulders of salt.


Wow that is so articulate! I love how you explained it. I’m going to think about what you point out when I journal about today. 🙂

Sometimes I think about the idea of patriarchal pressure on a woman to think that she is valuable only if she conforms because I do after all work in the beauty industry. I would never ever want to get into a client’s personal business if she didn’t want me to but sometimes if I hear a client saying something that suggests she feels pressured to look a certain way I maybe try gently to suggest or hint that she can choose to look the way she wants to feel happy and maybe not feel pressure. Sure when we do weddings or during prom season there are lots of women including young women who want to look a pretty “for” a boy or man that they like but if they choose it and don’t feel pressure it can be joyful and fun and we hope it is.

I’d argue that dressing attractively to go clubbing, or to some kind of festive event, is the equivalent of wearing your team’s colours to attend a game – it shouldn’t be *required* of attendees, but why would anyone look down on someone for doing what is generally considered part of the experience?

Never heard of Heying until this article, so I looked her up. Just another pseudo-intellectual whining about how the academy has been taken over by the bogeyman of post-modernism. *yawn*

Moon, I really love how you put that it would have never occurred to me to think about it in that specific way in a thousand years. But it makes a lot of sense actually. Clubs aren’t like the supermarket, they are a place you go to enjoy yourself and have fun and often get wasted at least in my circle of friends LOL and if we’re honest lots of people there are looking to get laid whether we’re talking relationships, one-night stand or any other of a myriad of possibilities.

But I was not specifically referring to clubbing although that’s when I go all out. I was talking about I regularly dress up beyond what most people would consider typical everyday clothing I guess is what I’m trying to say. I think the word normal is inane and I try to avoid it, but I don’t think most people if you took a poll or study with reasonably accurate scientific methods dress like me.

I will wear a purple sequin spaghetti strap mini dress on a given Monday just because I have to go outside. I’m not going anywhere in particular, as I’ve told people here before, I’m not ashamed of it I mostly sell weed for a living. I live in the village in NYC also sometimes in Harlem cuz I’m polyamorous and the girl I’m friends with that I periodically date lives there.

The only times I will wear something like say a plain black tank top and blue jeans is because I’m too lazy to do laundry or I’m too lazy to dress up and that’s generally when I’m depressed so I’m not doing much leaving the house for people to look at me anyway. If I’m borderline depressed sometimes I will force myself to get all dressed up and it will take me hours and hours but then when I actually get outside maybe just to smoke a blunt in Union Square Park and read or something like that getting attention helps my mood.

Obviously it can’t magically make depression go away but it does boost my self-esteem always no matter what. For the lurkers I want to reiterate this is true as long as any man woman or anyone anywhere on the gender spectrum is kind and polite.

I don’t even mind polite staring. Some people say there isn’t such a thing but I disagree I think there’s a difference between a polite stare which can be flirting with intent and just straight leering disgustingly. Anyone have any feelings on that?

I know this thread is probably going to be over and you’re probably going to miss it Stacey but since youre new, you can’t know the story of why I’m so insecure about my feminist bonafides, shall we say? So I’ll tell you in the comment after this one before I go to sleep. I’m going to get some juice now and then I’ll get into bed and dictate the comment to you

Okay this may be long even for me if I can’t keep myself from going off on tangents so I apologize in advance. This is mostly directed towards Stacey, but anyone who was not here when I started commenting(and just saying I miss Fran so much that was my girl)Anyway I was raised in a very odd type of bubble. I lived in the East Village in NYC with my white mother and black father so I was raised to not see race back when that was still not a dog whistle and a genuine good intention.

For example my mom might say something like I don’t see that your dad’s black I just see that he is intelligent kind man who respects me that I love. I was raised to believe that race was unimportant that were days looking back I can see that my dad did not agree but didn’t want to rock the boat cuz he literally worshiped the ground my mother walked on. So I grew up very patriotic, and not believing in institutional or systemic racism or sexism at all. I didn’t even know what they were as concepts but if someone had described them to me I would have thought they were mistaken and been positive I was right because wasn’t I a black woman? And didn’t I beat out the great majority of students of every race and gender taking all the tests I took, getting into the schools I got into, winning the auditions I won? For example anyone from NYC will know this is reasonably fucking impressive. I got into both Stuyvesant and LaGuardia. I auditioned for LaGuardia on the flute. In addition, my score on the Stuyvesant test was the highest in my school and apparently the highest of any black female that year. So until I was 18 and got to college I really believed in the concept of meritocracy deeply and completely.

I was shocked out of my complacency about racism in a very intense way. I started using drugs recreationally when I was 13 just marijuana then but as a freshman in high school I started going to Raves and branched out into acid and mushrooms and ecstasy and cocaine and all sorts of things. If someone offered it to me I was willing to try it. So I started being a minor dealer so firstly I would always have drugs and essentially they were free because it paid for itself and put a little extra money in my pocket and secondly as I’ve said I’m very insecure much more so back then and everyone loves the drug dealer LOL!

If you’ve never done drugs or been friends with people who do you may not realize that but the drug dealer is always popular everyone wants to be their friend. And yes I realized this was not all because of my charming personality but didn’t care. So when I started hanging out in Harlem I kept doing the same things and one day I was walking with my friend Norman. That was after my second really bad episode and I was a heroin addict at this point. A very functional one my GPA never sunk below 2.9 and that was my worst. I averaged about a 3.3 overall. I just lost my grandmother and then my had my second serious break up and I couldn’t deal and went on a really bad downward spiral with self-medicating and ended up with a habit.

So back to Norman. We had already acquired our medicine over an hour ago mine was very carefully stashed(I never got caught with dope on me once the entire time I was using) But apparently he had a bag in his pocket(I had no idea at the time)So he asked me for $0.50 to get a loose cigarette, of course I handed it to him thought nothing of it. All of a sudden a cop van screeches up in front of us and three police officers jump out, one with their gun drawn pointing it directly at us. He was screaming what did you just hand him over and over again. I was hysterically crying immediately and I could barely understand him but the third time I heard him and I said some change some change over and over I was so hysterical. He said we’ll see about that and he grabbed Norman’s hand and obviously all he saw was the change.

He was like no I know y’all is up to something wrong you didn’t just hand him that change what did you really hand him and while this was happening I guess Norman panicked and he tried to be slick and toss the bag he had to the side but of course the cops noticed. The one who came out gun in hand said all I knew y’all was doing something and grabbed Norman by the neck and was like we got y’all now and was screaming in his face from 2 in a way and literally spitting on him while he talked, not on purpose but spittle was flying all over Norman’s face and he flinched because that’s normal when someone screaming that loudly and spitting on you at the same time.

That’s when things went insane! The cop was like oh you trying to resist arrest you think you’re going to run away from me boy? (Just to be clear Norman was a 40 something year old man at least 10 years older probably 15 than this cop). He grabbed Norman and threw him on the floor and just started pounding on him. I mean beating him bloody. I had never seen anything like it in my life! I avoided violent situations always and I’d barely seen any fights at all and this was absolutely brutal. He was in the hospital for 3 days.

To give credit to the female cop who is there she actually treated me with much respect and tried to step in at first but he started screaming at her and she was obviously a rookie and scared herself so she whispered to me I will get you away from here but there’s nothing I can do for your friend I’m sorry and maybe this makes me a coward but I left him there as soon as I could. Then I started looking into the concepts of institutionalized and systemic racism, and asking everyone I saw it would have a useful knowledgeable opinion on the matter about it and learn so much.

Okay this is insanely long even more so than I thought I’ll cover why I didn’t believe feminism was necessary till I was in my early twenties at another time. The point I’m trying to convey is you can mean totally well but still have a lived experience that truly makes you not understand these things. I would say once you’re over 30 or so, then you are probably being willfully ignorant but up till then I will give people the benefit of the doubt if they truly aren’t being facetious or disingenuous and just don’t get it.

I think that difference is very important because if no one had tried to educate me and had just been like oh god look how ignorant and stupid she is she doesn’t believe in any of these incredibly obvious things how would I ever understood? Okay I’m going to bed I hope everyone has a lovely day.

Oh Wow – Such a lot of interesting things here. I came back to this thread to answer StacySmartyPants and bina and others and there was such a lot of harrowing and touching and thoughtful new things. This is going to take two posts and probably at either end of the day because I have to whip myself into doing actual responsible things – LOL. KatieKitten, thank you for telling your story and for adding to it.

On the issue of physical attractiveness and doing things to be pretty and whether it makes a bad feminist or not. I have worried about these things too as like every other person, especially women, one never quite gets it right in terms of this. Then there is the fact that human beings have adorned themselves even before we invented other technologies – so how do you sort it all out?

I think the key is that our own joy in adornment has to be first most of the time. Then I think we have to really work on changing the fact that desirability is the first, last and only thing that women are truly valued for and this is the problem. Not that people are pretty or adorn themselves to look pretty, or seek sexual partners with attractiveness being a component of that, but that this is still the primary thing that women are valued for. All women suffer because of this. Men suffer with this too, but they are at least allowed to distinguish themselves with other attributes. Women really aren’t. Men also suffer because it isn’t healthy to view half the human race as an object – even if unconsciously, even if the individual man fights against it. For those completely unexamined, I’ve wondered just how lonely it is to essentially spend your life with an object and service provider that has less humanity than the family dog. I digress. The hell that people who don’t or feel they don’t meet the general attractiveness standard in any way is horrible. Yes, the very strong may escape the box a little and live as a semi-free agent and outcast, but this is still only a partial solution.

An example of women’s attractiveness as the main thing that counts. In the last few days, I went looking for the phone number of the surgeon who did the surgery that both saved and changed my life. I’m having problems and I want to see my original team of doctors, even if it means travelling to NYC.

One of the sites had reviews, so I went to look. Of the first six reviews showing on the page, three, three (!) mentioned the surgeons looks, assuring prospective patients that she was prettier than her picture. OK folks, this is a woman who is not only a top flight surgeon at an Ivy institution, she also has a Ph.D in Engineering. She is happily married and has a couple of children. She is blonde and slender and not a great beauty, but not ugly either – average, but brilliant and talented and accomplished and kind and with all of these things hasn’t had an entirely charmed life either. I was horrified. But this is the fact of the matter – even a woman like this is only as good as her looks. WTF?

But it seems to be true and denying that doesn’t solve the problem. The fact that this is intertwined with things that are just human – like adornment and the pleasure in adornment and the pleasure in other people noticing? Another Gordian knot to sort out. Bottom line, neither loving beauty, being affected by the dominant conditioning of the patriarchy or being human makes one a bad feminist. One way to start sorting this out it to work on making your own pleasure and selfhood that comes from these things is or becomes the primary motivator – that your love of yourself and the response of people who can see things in you other than your desirability gets first billing as much as possible. Then that we work to develop other good parts of ourselves beyond desirability – I know we all do – but that we do our best to get others to value those as well.

Thanks to the person who recommended Dietland. This show is addressing some of these things, but reading the boards over at previously tv, some people either don’t get it, or think that the show isn’t getting the message across very clearly – but even so, I am enjoying the show.

@StacySmartyPants – You are charming and it comes across in your writing. I would love to come to your salon – it sounds like a wonderful place. Wish I could portal to it.

@Alan Robertshaw – Thank you. It is just weird what goes missing sometimes. Normal words are temporarily gone, but I can come up with the synonyms. I was thinking of Anita Bryant in conjunction with Schafley and Paglia and all the other people who think that nobody but they should get out of the gender boxes we’re all stuck in. To get to Bryant’s name? I had to go orange juice, Florida, homophobia, sexism, early seventies, ugly teased rollerset – and then finally I got her name. This kind of stuff happens all the time. I actually participated in a study about it.

All right – off to be responsible. Wish me luck.

@KatieKitten420 and every nice commenter still reading 😊

First so sorry this is so long!

My dearest KatieKitten420, I did see your post and let me thank you so much for having the courage to share that awful experience with your friend. I don’t really know but I would imagine it was really hard even to recount that. Thank you for allowing me to hear it. I went to a college from priveleged white girl from the suburbs background. I started to learn about structural inequality when I was in school but what really taught me about it was when I *listened* to other women who were women of color. Sometimes in one of our classes a little group of white girls made a pact that we wouldn’t say anything during a whole class and JUST LISTEN. There were some black girls in the class that were really angry because some other white girls were always trying to make everything about them. I am talking about situations where the white girls were trying to say “oh, I know what you mean…” and trying to get validation from the non-white women so they could say how good they were as feminists thinking intersectionally. But all they ended up doing was making the conversation all about them. Our professor would put a stop to this though and could do it so diplomatically but forcefully (which was because she was AMAZING). But a little group saw what was going on so we just decided to just listen for a while. I learned so much about how patriarchial beauty standards hurt many women of color (especially, in our society, women of African descent) way more than they hurt white women. Nowadays my really brilliant lawyer client talks with me sometimes about this kind of stuff and I learn a lot.

I love to dress the way that I do, but for me it’s different because I feel like in my salon I am in a very safe environment. But part of my resisting sexism has been to feel more comfortable dressing in a way that I know would be in conventional patriarchial terms “provacative” but my idea now is “fuck them my body is my own and I am proud of it” and have so much fun. Oh KatieKitten420 I just LOVE it that you would get all dressed up just to go outside! Oh I bet I would love your style!

I read what you said earlier about how you do like the validation — and I think that is perfectly fine because you are so self-aware. I am trying to be self-aware too. I took ballet for a long time and take a martial arts class now and am athletic I guess so maybe you would think I should be more comfortable with my body than I really am. But I am workign on that. And I kind of am conflicted because I do have the conventionally attractive slender but curvy body but dammit I have to work hard for it. Like I am proud of having a “ballet butt” 🙂 but it takes work! And Heying is making excuses by saying “hotness fades” because there is a 64 year old woman in my ballet class with a perfect ballet butt too and who is an incredible dancer.

So anyway I am trying to process all that I have learned before with my own heart, from my classes in college and all the stuff I learn from other reading since college and now from David’s posts and especially from the brilliant commenters on this blog. Maybe it has helped me, I think, better interpret to myself and make better sense of how I can combine dressing up, doing my hostessing, helping our clients look and feel their best — which is my art — with resistance to partiarchial standards. I love love love form-fitting clothes and so fell in love with my bodysuits and tights and heels and LOVE just not ever wearing pants or a skirt — so inspired several years ago when I was out college by Lady Gaga when she was getting big.

You said you liked being appreciated and looked at and enjoyed inviting the attention (as long as people respected you and were not creepy, of course) but that you were doing it because it satisfied you rather than just being some blow-up doll. That comment really made me think because I do also love the approval and praise I get for looking pretty and for being (I hope) engaging and charming. One reason I loved wearing my latex was that even though it was a LOT of work to get into it and it was tiring being in it I was resisting by doing exactly what Heying said I shouldn’t, which was emphasizihg my beautiful curves and what she calls conventional female “hotness”. I knew I was like an almost idealized feminine body — which could be bad when you first think about it because it would be like I was idealizing the beauty standard that patriarchial society says solely determines my worth and so agreeing with patriarchy. But I feel like I was actually resisting because I was interacting with my client and the me that is charming and attentive and helpful to a woman she admires was the same Stacey that was a sleek sexy and shapely little silver goddess. But going back to the doll thing, that means I am also not a blow-up doll — yet I have to admit I am like a little living doll; when our really important client raved over how cute and sexy she thought I was the other day when I was all shiny silver head to toe and asked to take me out, I did kind of feel like her doll. (And I am literally petite at 5’3″) I guess here is the paradox though because I was still my own person and we talked about all kinds of really interesting things. Still too though when others get all enamored with me because I’m dressed all sexy and pretty and want me to keep them company I get my validation and feel like a doll, kind of, except I’m still me. Sorry I know this is incoherent and isn’t articulate. Anyway I am now trying to be more conscious of that and self-aware (and I admire how self-aware and honest you are my dear) 💗 and bring that together with using my body to resist. When I think more about Paglia’s nonsense about our vaginas being about death and formless that makes me so mad, so I am bringing that together with my cute little outfits that have only a bodysuit and tights and heels and a top with no skirt or pants because, yes, you can see lots of my curves — not just hips and awesome butt (!) but the very special subtle little curves of my pussy mound (YES I WILL say it like that with those words just to resist) pushing up against that spandex (oh my goodness can’t believe I’m saying this but fuck the slit-shamers) and yes it’s sexy. So like you I don’t mind if someone notices me and thinks its sexy as long as they respect my wishes. Like I said, I do ballet and martial arts and yoga too so I purposely adapt my awareness of how I stand and move in order to enhance the image I project and make me an even cuter and sexier Stacey I hope. So like if I am being my hostess self and I can tell the woman (or man) is really into me and I’m wearing one of my outfits with just bodysuit and no skirt over it I will do something like purposely stand in kind of a sous-sous just to enhance the image (OK, so if you know ballet terms it’s not literally a sous-sous because I’m still in very high platform heels and not ballet shoes obviously and so not balanced on my toes but because of the shoes I’m wearing it still does the same for the appearance of my body.) So yes I am making myself into a kind of living art project and it’s fun. And I am doing it as a woman who chooses to do so for my own power. So there! 🙂
So sorry everyone for going off like that. Oh my goodness if all this is TMI I am so sorry but I think it does kind of relate what we are talking about and it does relate to Heying’s article that David just totally dismantled, yay! I treasure the perspectives of the people here.

I know I should be quiet and read what others say and not write such long posts but thank you.


WOW that is a brilliantly written analysis! Thank you for taking the time!

Oh and thank you for the super-sweet words. My owner would love you.

You are wonderful and brilliant!

Stacey I think we’ll get along lovely, but we might annoy the others lol. I am very well known for writing essay length comments here honestly don’t do it purposefully but I can’t help myself and then when I’m done it’s the equivalent of two pages long LOL. Well at least my reason for not believing it sistemic racism was just because of a bubble of ignorance.

I didn’t believe that feminism was really necessary in every way that it is necessary until my mid-20s because one of the biggest feminist groups at college told me that I was a disgrace to women. Like there were three of them that would literally harass me whenever they saw me. I’m very big into BDSM and as I’ve already said back then was when I was the most extreme with my outfits in the sense that I wore as little as I could get away with LOL. And for the first time I wasn’t just having the sexy times I was in a full-blown BDSM style relationship. Not to the point where I dragged other people into my sex life without consent but I wore my collar and cuffs everyday if my boyfriend was with me he would normally attach one of my chains to the collar very thin sterling silver more for decoration and feeling then to actually hold me I could have broken it if I wanted to I just enjoyed the feeling of being on a leash still do LOL.

Nowadays I would say that’s a little extra in public depending on where you are. But back then I was too young to know better. Yeah I guess in class maybe it is a bit much but that’s not the point. The point is these women said because I not only enjoyed submitting in bed but I enjoy submitting in most ways overall I was a bad example to other women and I should be ashamed of myself. Personally I honestly don’t like making most decisions, I would much rather find someone I trust implicitly and have them make my decisions for me this is still true to this day. My primary partner of over 10 years makes the majority of my decisions for me.

Apparently I was making things worse for all women by acting like this because when men see one women act like how I was acting they’ll expect it from other women or something. And also a bit of slut shaming and sort of body shaming which is best I’ve learned now very unfeminist. They would talk about me running around 3/4 naked was also bad for women in general. They said I was objectifying myself and a whole lot of stuff that was really insulting all in that vein.

So for years I was like fuck feminism. Obviously I always thought women and men are equal cuz I’m not a moron. But if they think the way I like to live my life hurts women in general and is morally wrong when I’m not hurting anybody and I’m just living how I want to be happy they can all suck my balls.

I later learned that they were a very vocal minority of feminist culture there are still some like that on the internet to this day I avoid them like the plague LOL. Judging from how I’ve been a reasonably extreme submissive since I was a little child and did not know what it was. Like hindsight makes me realize what those notions were but I was into the concept of being a submissive long before I had sex or was interested in sex. And isnt me living the life I want to live and being happy and content feminist cuz I surely think it is!

Anyway thanks Stacey, you are awesome! I’m going to go read my fantasy novel. Right now I’m rereading Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan books which are absolutely awesome if anyone likes Space Opera. Everyone have a lovely day

@ Katiekitten

Sounds like you ran into “the personal is the political”. That was quite a popular view in lefty spaces in the 80s; maybe it still is in some circles?

Of course, in a way all actions are political. Even something as simple as buying a chocolate bar. Does having a Kit Kat mean you’re lending tacit support to anti breastfeeding propaganda in the developing world, with all that entails in terms of women and children’s health, and financial exploitation?

For me though the problem arises when people conflate highly personal life choices with societal issues. It’s just a form of coercion. Now there’s lots you could consider in terms of ‘self regarding’ versus ‘other regarding’ acts, and how that may apply. And there’s also that whole thing about ‘choice’ feminism.

But the ultimate expression of ‘personal is political’ is Jordan Peterson advocating for enforced monogamy and incels rambling on about sexual socialism.

KatieKitten420 wrote:

Apparently I was making things worse for all women by acting like this because when men see one women act like how I was acting they’ll expect it from other women or something. And also a bit of slut shaming and sort of body shaming which is best I’ve learned now very unfeminist. They would talk about me running around 3/4 naked was also bad for women in general. They said I was objectifying myself and a whole lot of stuff that was really insulting all in that vein.

Well, unless your harassers were also claiming that submissive men who walk around in public in bondage gear and on leashes “make it worse for all men because when women see one man act like that they’ll expect it from all men,” they’re making the classic mistake of assuming any member of a non-dominant social group is representative of the whole group, while any member of the dominant group is merely acting as an individual.

How very feminist of them. /s

…and I’ll reiterate my previous point: if you freely choose to do something that doesn’t harm anyone else against their will, I don’t think that can be considered an unfeminist act. Even if it involves extreme submission. And collars and leashes. And minimal clothing.

If they wanted to complain about your sartorial choices being inappropriate for a classroom, that’s an argument that might have had some merit depending on the classroom context, but making it a feminist issue is bullshit.

…unless you were specifically saying that all women should dress and behave like that, which I know damn well you weren’t.

Sorry; this kind of crap really irritates me.

@ Katiekitten420:

Apparently I was making things worse for all women by acting like this because when men see one women act like how I was acting they’ll expect it from other women or something.

I can’t recall where I saw it, but I believe there was a second-wave feminist who said something like “every happy housewife is a strikebreaker in the struggle for women’s rights.” I’m inclined to think it’s a better strategy to admit housework is necessary and respect everyone who does it, while simultaneously trying to stop it being assigned on the basis of gender; but, well, I talk a good fight (I generally do most of the housework, though some of that is due to spouse’s physical aches and pains).

@ Alan:

Does having a Kit Kat mean you’re lending tacit support to anti breastfeeding propaganda in the developing world,

And the downgrading of water rights. I do try to avoid KitKats or other Nestle products, but I try not to feel bad if I buy something and then read the fine print and realize it’s from a subsidiary of the company. (Put another way – I think boycotts can be useful, but elevating them to the status of purity taboos is more trouble than it’s worth.)

In hindsight I can definitely see how my sartorial choices may have been inappropriate for a classroom, I love the way you phrase that by the way. But then again maybe not because this was the early 2000 and people were coming to class in their boyfriends boxers and wife beaters and Hello Kitty footie pajamas so there’s that LOL. I don’t really see how BDSM gear is more inappropriate than literally a sports bra and your boyfriend’s boxers or literally footie pajamas with Hello Kitty all over them.

Hey don’t get it twisted, I had Hello Kitty, Keroppi and Pippo(does anyone here remember Pippo? Sanrio discontinued it. It’s not a pig and it isn’t the hippo, Pippo! That’s not an ad or anything being my best friend just made that up cuz we thought it was hilarious)footie pajamas and wish I could have some today I can’t find one with footies for adults these days.


I think you make some fair comparisons there! (Besides I would be one in my strappiest sports bra and workout bikini bottoms over show-girl style glossy tights accessorized with a snazzy little gold belt and elbow length gloves and in platform heels and would just prance along right beside you as your friend and tell all the slut-shamers to fuck off! Besides, as for bondage gear sometimes in addition to helping somebody feel sexy it’s just a radical alternative fashion statement. I have a body-harness made for a woman’s body that has this neckband that buckles and is cute but “strict” looking. Not everybody has to be into that type of expression in their personal lives to understand that for some people, whatever else it is, it’s fashion and fun. We’re not provoking anybody and there is nothing toxic about it. So Heying is wrong wrong wrong.

…you know, I’m kind of curious if she (Heather Heying) thinks a women wearing pale pink lipstick are allowed to “complain that men leer at them”. Or purple blush. Or sparkly eyeshadow. Or bronzer. Or mascara, or eyeliner.

Of course, that’s assuming attention to nuance and detail. Which, given that she thinks that blushing and unnaturally red lips must imply sex…

I am only just discovering this because a male friend of mine just sent me a link to Heyling. (loki knows why after all the arguments Ive had with him for over 7 years about his tendency to victim blame and alternately express anger when he sees woman not conforming to gender norms…..) I guess he thought I would “come to my senses”. I watched her speak in thoughtful horror, arguments bouncing around in my head like a bingo counter machine. I am tired and was feeling that frustration of not being able to Quite express what I wanted to say. 🙁

Then! Yay! The magical internet brought me here. Thank you thank you thank you, to you writer and all the lovely comments as well.

Will I still be his friend? Well, maybe I should try, but I am getting tired. I cut him off for a year, but still he sends me shit like that Heying. Only 2 months ago he expressed when I queried him why did he think that most famous philosophical writings are by men that “well, women simply didnt need to express philosophy, because they were doing the work of being mothers”! I countered woth the Fact that women were often not allowed to publish, or even be educated. He said that wasnt true.

Anyway, i ramble, but thank you alll!

I countered woth the Fact that women were often not allowed to publish, or even be educated. He said that wasnt true.

I’m sure you see the positive side to your friend, but to me this sounds very much like gaslighting.

In Shakespeare’s time, boys played the parts of girls and women. It was considered unsuitable for a girl or woman to perform onstage.

Fast-forward to 1920 USA: Women won the right to vote.

Fast-forward again, this time to 1997 and the publication of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

Although she writes under the pen name J. K. Rowling, her name, before her remarriage, was Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers asked that she use two initials rather than her full name.

(Wikipedia, “J. K. Rowling”)

Does your friend think that other than these three (small, inconsequential) incidents, women were treated equally with men in every way?

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