All Hail Amanda Marcotte and Wen Spencer!

The Pandagon team astonishes me and pleases me every day. What happiness to see it all laid right out: “Anxious masculinity, the logic test, and neuticles. Thanks, Amanda! You kick the ass of evil and stupidity!

Women’s oppression has been going on for millenia and there have been tons of excuses for it but never has anyone put forward a logical argument for it. Marxists come close by pointing out the many ways that women’s oppression is useful in a capitalist society, but that reading has its limits because the patriarchy is a far more enduring institution than capitalism, feudalism, communism, whatever. In fact our underlying patriarchal thinking that diminishes the importance of half of the human race has caused many people, myself included, to ignore the blatantly obvious fact that the longest, most enduring, most omnipresent social structure that cuts across culture and history is the oppression of women. In fact, your average sexist is far more likely to admit to this fact than your average feminist–when a sexist tells American women to be grateful because the oppression of women is far more endurable here than in a place where they stone women to death for adultery, he is arguing that women’s second-class status is unchallengeable and we’re just bickering over degrees.

Right on, sister! It’s astonishing to me daily… hourly… that this isn’t crystal clear. Of course if it were, all hell would break loose. And of course, if you think about it, all hell is already loose.

I was going to say something about Alanya to Alanya, Troll, “Just and Unjust Wars”, and the idea of humanitarian intervention… When is it right to have a revolution? When is violence the way? Ever? I’m embarrassed to admit I’m not a complete pacifist, and I stopped having this argument seriously when I was a teenager (when I’d have it with my dad). But it’s not like I don’t think about it, just because I’m in such a position of privilege that I’m not doing it. When it comes down to it, I do settle on pacifism, and persuasion, and cultural shifting & attempts at political change (though – as if I do jack shit other than toss some money at various Causes, on the theory that my cultural shifting, i.e. writing projects, are worth more than my volunteer time as some kind of political organizer.)

Well, back to my Important Revolutionary book. And it is! It’s wonderful — Not in the ways I think Alanya is wonderful, but much more palatable in a Bujoldian way. Seriously, everyone go right away and get A Brother’s Price (Thanks again, J.! I can’t believe I have these friends who just mail me surprise books……!!! How did I get so lucky.) It’s a romance novel! In a total alternate universe. It has all the guilty pleasures of the romance novel without the guilt. It’s like legal crack. Someone should lock Wen Spencer in a fancy hotel suite and make her write without stopping. I’m wishing hard for the movie. I mean… the FASHION. Oh, wow.

(Let me explain briefly again that men are rare, and marry into families of 15-30 sisters, and the husband does all the child-rearing – for, you know, 30 babies.)

I just read the bit where Ren and Jerin are in the palace garden unchaperoned right before they’re clearly about to have a particularly melty kiss, and after another one of the princess sisters kisses him…

“Um.” Jerin ran his thumb across his forehead, gathering up his hair and pulling it out of his face. “I’m not sure how to say no to you princesses.”
“I suppose not.” Ren said quietly. “Our society can’t allow men to learn how to say no; it’s too important they yes to so many women. Maybe if there were one man for every five women, or every three women, we could afford for men to say no.”
“What if there were five men for every woman?”
Ren studied a cloud as she considered. “Interesting question. Five sisters can share one man because each of them is individually rewarded with a child. Five men could share one woman, but only if the woman was careful in allotting her pregnancies. It seems to run against human nature, though. Waiting five nights for one’s turn is not the same as waiting almost five years…. Which brother gets to go first? Which brother has to be last?”
“It would seem that the power would remain with the woman,” Jerin said.
“It does indeed. The very nature of intercourse — an act to produce a pregnancy — and the risks to the woman’s health as such, I think will always make the choice of yes or no the woman’s.”
“So the man can never say no.”
“Actually,” she said as she gathered up his hair into a ponytail, “you can always say no. I suppose I sound the hypocrite, but you ahve the right to choose who does what to your body.”
… half a page of the princess being noble about men should get to have part-say in who they’re married off to…and Jerin agreeing equally nobly that Love and Duty mingle…
“I suppose it’s because a man’s little sisters will grow up and become women with a husband to fill their thoughts, run their house, and raise their children. In his wives’ home, a man’s wives and children will always need him.”

The unstoppable logic of matriarchy! I mean, how could it be any different! And then they make out and it’s all apples and honey and cinnamon kisses and her zipper unzipping, until “she finally clung to him, shuddering, it was as if they were a single being, filling all of reality.” And then Jerin has to go off and have his hair done for like 10 hours and have his fancy outfit sewn onto him and his nails done by a team of tsk-tsking palace manicurists, while his tough, spy-and-thief-trained warrior sisters go with their new duelling pistols and swords and kick the shit out of some rebellious thieves who stole the new nuclear warheads really good high tech cannons from the palace armory R & D lab. Holy crap! How could it possibly get any better? This is the proper genre for me, where the ass-kicking sisterhood collective grinds its teeth and saves the world while Legolas does their laundry!

I “wonder” if Jerin’s new friend, the plucky, spunky young cousin of the princesses, will marry his 20 sisters? And if they’ll like, solve the mystery before the deadline of Jerin’s 15th birthday when he gets sold to the highest bidder and whether Jerin’s good heart, manly skills of entertaining kids and baking cinnamon rolls with a smudge of flour on his nose making him look just adorable, will win over even his enemies so that he gets to marry the princesses? I can’t wait for everyone to read this… I could totally send it to my mom, and she would love it.

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3 Responses to “All Hail Amanda Marcotte and Wen Spencer!”

  1. Ide Cyan

    “Women’s oppression has been going on for millenia and there have been tons of excuses for it but never has anyone put forward a logical argument for it.”
    Never, my arse.

  2. badgerbag

    well… ! true enough, and you can look back further to the french revolution. at least.

  3. Debbie

    A few months ago, I heard Susan Sontag’s son (“David Something” and he didn’t identify himself with Sontag, I just can’t remember his last name) talk about exactly the issue of humanitarian intervention. He’s been a journalist in the 3rd world all his life, and has pretty much come to the conclusion that 95% of humanitarian intervention does more harm than good. His exceptions are the situations where “interveners” are actually working with the people of the culture and taking a second (or third or fourth) chair to the people who understand the situation. He has a new book about just this, which I could track down with 3 minutes on the net, if anyone wanted me to bother.
    The one organization he praised specifically was the Catholic Sant’Egidio community.

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