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January 23, 2010

My definition of 'womanliness' is fairly broad

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In the lesbian community we have the full spectrum of manifestation for Vagina-Americans, and you would think that I have done my duty by expanding the definition of womanliness to include everyone with a vagina.

Wrong! So wrong!

Pre- and post-op trannies going BOTH directions insist on inclusion, too.

Nevertheless, I cruelly, ruthlessly exclude them from the company of woman-only spaces. For real -- in the late 1980's, when I ran a group for feminine lesbians -- who are NOT the same as femmes! -- in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is a suburb of Washington, D.C., a pre-op male-to-female trannie attended one of my meetings and infuriated pretty much every woman there so much that I had to tell him/her not to come back or I would not have had a group. After that, I caught hell for stipulating that to be allowed to attend the meetings, you had to be born female as well as wear a skirt or dress (the latter requirement was the cheapest form of dyke repellent I could think of).

Weirdly, female-to-male trannies refuse to leave the lesbian community and force themselves into every lesbian woman-only space they can. They refuse to leave when asked nicely, and maintain it is an enormous injustice when they are subsequently ejected by force without much regard for their comfort, dignity or longevity. They don't have a problem about drawing strict boundaries for anyone else though. The Washington Blade published a column by a female-to-male trannie that my late life partner and I should be run out of the gay and lesbian community for our campaign to redeem the promises of diversity and inclusion through our six-year campaign to force a lesbian group called Passages to choose wheelchair-accessible spaces for their annual all-day conference. They were led by lesbians at the very top of the disability rights movement. I am not making this up.

So you can see this is a topic fraught with peril for me. I am wary of every effort to define "womanliness" because these definitions generally work for lesbians like a bed of Procrustes -- one way or another, we don't fit and something bad follows.

Plus, I just finished reading Gov. Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue. What kind of templates for womanliness and manliness comprehend Sarah and Todd Palin? She is utterly womanly and has every quality needed to be a successful president -- RIGHT NOW. He is utterly manly and nurtures his children with infinite tenderness and cheers on his wife as she is called ever-onward to greater and higher service.

I have a vagina, therefore I am womanly.

Posted by at January 23, 2010 06:04 PM

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Comments

You know Cynthia, that's so basic that I can honestly say I didn't even think of it. But it's hard to get around the logic :p

What kind of templates for womanliness and manliness comprehend Sarah and Todd Palin? She is utterly womanly and has every quality needed to be a successful president -- RIGHT NOW. He is utterly manly and nurtures his children with infinite tenderness and cheers on his wife as she is called ever-onward to greater and higher service.

Do you think part of the hostility to the Palins has to do with not conforming to people's idea of what a woman or a man ought to be?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 23, 2010 07:51 PM

I am wary of every effort to define "womanliness" because these definitions generally work for lesbians like a bed of Procrustes -- one way or another, we don't fit and something bad follows.

That was part of my reluctance (initially) to discuss both our historical ideas of 'what is a woman/what are feminine virtues' and more modern, post feminist ones. People (gay or straight) who don't fit the template feel like you're saying they're not real women.

I am not sure that's the case, but I can certainly understand the feeling because it seems natural enough... and yet you are a woman, too. That is part of why I asked you to participate.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 23, 2010 08:04 PM

I agree that Sarah Palin is a good woman, and her husband is a good man. I hope they have something good to bring to America in the future.

Posted by: ken in sc at January 23, 2010 08:28 PM

What kind of templates for womanliness and manliness comprehend Sarah and Todd Palin?

Why, the basic template of a knight in service to his lady -- who might be a queen.

The Palins are surely the easiest to understand. Less easy:

Pre- and post-op trannies going BOTH directions insist on inclusion, too.

I don't have any experience with transsexuals, although I did once know a cross-dresser. (A fairly brave young man, growing up in rural Georgia that way.) In any event, not long ago we were discussing the question of whether souls are male or female. Bodies are; and Christian teaching is that the body will be 'with you' forever after the second coming, in its perfect form, with your soul reunited to it. That implies that God intends for you to be male or female forever; and that he intends to maintain the division between the sexes as an eternal and valuable part of the universe.

So the question was: is the soul male or female as well?

It occurs to me that we don't understand ensoulment very well; it's possible that a female soul might, under some conditions, join itself to a male body. That is what I understand that transsexuals report, more or less: the sense of being in the wrong body for their soul, so to speak.

Having no experience with them, I couldn't judge; but since you say you've dealt with them at some length, what is your opinion?

Posted by: Grim at January 23, 2010 08:43 PM

Grim, I always understood the definition of soul to be a spirit in a body. I have some other comments as well. If we talk about mankind being in God's image, where did He get the template for Eve? It sort of begs the question of if there was a female in the beginning. There are the commandments to multiply and replenish the earth and to be fruitful and multiply, as well as Genesis 2: 4,5, and 7. I use the KJV.

Posted by: Cricket at January 23, 2010 09:21 PM

To say that a soul is 'a spirit in a body' doesn't actually increase the insight we have into the nature of the soul/spirit. If we call a spirit that which is the soul when it is not attached to a body (i.e., after death but before resurrection; before birth? Theologians differ on that last one), we still don't have any deeper insight into just what a soul/spirit is.

It's akin to the problem that bedeviled the early Church on the subject of Jesus' nature. Some held (as you know) that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time. Did he have two wills, then? Some said, yes: he had a divine will, but also a human will (that was subject to temptation and weakness -- 'if this cup can pass,' etc.). Others said no; and God therefore chose to experience temptation and weakness in his divine as well as his human nature.

Others -- this is the Arian heresy -- believed that God created Jesus as a vessel for himself, but that Jesus wasn't part of the original deal. Others believed that Jesus was like Hercules: half-god, and half-man, having inherited both his mother's human nature and his father's divine nature. The question being debated was: if you have these two natures, one divine and one human, how can they work together? How do they both exist in the same person?

There's much the same issue, though, with a man. If we have both a body and a spirit, what does that mean? What is the spirit? How much of what we think of as "you" does it contain? If it is what survives death and waits for the end of the world, what kind of thing is it? How much is it like the "you" that we know in this world?

Posted by: Grim at January 23, 2010 09:35 PM

In any event, I asked for Ms. Yockey's opinion on the subject because her experience dealing with transsexuals might offer some insight. Do you get the sense that these are "really" women trapped in a man's body, or men trapped in a woman's body? One way that could work is if the soul is female, and somehow joins itself to a male body.

Now, based on her statement that she feels transsexuals should be ruthlessly excluded from the group of people who are "women," my sense is that she probably doesn't feel that is the case. However, she says she excludes both types, which is interesting because she otherwise wants to stand on anatomy alone as a definition. So, you are a woman if and only if you are (a) born a woman, and (b) don't try to change that fact. You cannot become a woman, in other words, but have to be born one; yet you can stop being a woman.

Presumably we'd want to say, then, that you can't become a man through surgery either; but you can stop being one by going through the surgery, etc. If the soul is neither male nor female, or does not exist, that is even demonstrably true: you can stop being a man by having surgery that results in your death, which leaves you either as a not-male soul until the resurrection; or causes you to cease to exist entirely.

Posted by: Grim at January 23, 2010 09:59 PM

It is kind of an interesting question, Grim.

We do know that our physical bodies (and our hormone balances) have a tremendous effect on our moods, our sex drive, even to a large extent some of the thoughts that run through our minds.

Women go through this when they have a child. The rush of hormones that suddenly invades your body literally does change the way you perceive things, if only temporarily.

Men who have a dramatic drop in testosterone report some pretty dramatic changes in their thoughts and attitudes - how they respond to things.

This makes me think that perhaps being male or female (or gay?) is more like a lens or filter through which we view the world. And then there's also the way others treat us because of our outward appearance or our behavior. We treat men differently than women; ugly people differently than beautiful ones. And that has to affect us.

If that were true then the "soul" (whatever that is) ought to be independent of this lens. Something more pure.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 23, 2010 10:26 PM

One of the reasons to think that a soul/spirit might not be male or female is that otherwise there is no "human nature." There is only "the nature of men" and "the nature of women," with the two being separated by a wall that exists -- not only in every cell of the body -- all the way through the soul. The purpose of the soul might be to unite men and women; it could be the one part of ourselves that is "human," rather than male or female.

However, that is also counterintuitive in some ways. You've pointed to one way in which it might be intuitive -- the body clearly informs how we think and behave (perhaps much more than we realize: the 10-second problem suggests that many decisions we think we make are actually made unconsciously, earlier, and what we experience as a decision-making process is really the conscious mind adjusting itself to the decision the unconscious mind has already made).

On the other hand, when we think of people who have died, we don't imagine them as sexless. Maybe we just don't have the tools to do that, but we should if it's our true, basic nature -- with the body kind of 'grafted on.'

We can imagine them without disease or infirmity, or in the pink of health and youth even if we never knew them as youthful and healthy. We can't imagine them as not-male or not-female, though; and we don't do so.

That may not seem important, but some (like St. Bonaventure) thought that our ability to imagine to perfection was something that God had given us as a gift: exactly that function of reason, extrapolating to perfection, was the way that we could come to God and understand his nature.

If they were right about that, we might be able to do the same thing with the soul; in which case, it would be strange to say that the souls of our departed friends and family are neither male nor female. I don't think that's how we would think of them in their perfected form -- indeed, I don't think we even can think of them that way. We can certainly (and often do) think of God that way; as a disembodied light, or a spirit that pervades the world, or in several non-gendered ways. But we don't think of people that way.

Posted by: Grim at January 23, 2010 10:47 PM

Well, wouldn't a soul have memories? Male or female ones?

But perhaps looking back on those memories, they might appear different in retrospect, especially once you were free of your body. Sort of the same way one looks back on a troubling or painful experience, seeing it more clearly from a distant remove.

Weird to think about. Can't say I've ever thought about this before.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 23, 2010 11:33 PM

I actually got back out of bed because I thought of a way to resolve the problem. (It would be more efficient just not to go to bed in the first place when thinking about philosophy.)

For the sake of argument, take the medieval view of 'extrapolation to perfection' as correct: God gave us reason in part to allow us to approach his nature, and it may also provide insight into other spiritual things like souls. Likewise, take the view of bodily resurrection and reunion of soul and body as true prophecy.

We imagine our departed friends as male or female, then, because they are male or female in their perfect nature. However, that nature is not the disembodied soul: it's the purified soul reunited with the perfect body that is intended.

In other words, we imagine this as their perfect condition because it is their perfect condition: we are perfected as men or women, not as disembodied souls. On that view, then, the soul could be either male/female or not (which means, of course, that I've added nothing by way of a solution to the problem I've been considering!). Our extrapolation-to-perfection doesn't point to the soul, but to the perfection of the reunited body-and-soulu.

Posted by: Grim at January 24, 2010 12:32 AM

"My definition of 'womanliness' is fairly broad"

I thought calling 'em broads was something of a "no-no".

Actually, I've got a friend who is a "pre-op transexual"; I've had some difficulty coming to terms with this, because in my personal paradigm we are what we are. Of course, some might want to argue that we are whatever we feel that we are, but I'm admittedly stubborn in my view on this. However, since the person to whom I'm referring is someone I've known for years, I am endeavoring to "get my head around" the decision...which seems to be a genuinely heartfelt one, so it's really not my place to argue at all. Or judge. I know, I'm going off on a tangent here...

Posted by: camojack at January 24, 2010 01:35 AM

I have to admit up front, I don't understand and am personally dubious about the whole transexual phenomenon.

I've personally known one FTM transexual in my life, at a summer job I worked at a few years ago. It was not a pleasant experience. Watching him behave, it was pretty clear that he had no idea what it was to be a man, what being a man meant, or even what being an adult human being meant. In fact, some of the things he did would have gotten him slapped with a sexual harassment suit if he had been a born man (among other things, he had a "joke" that all the females on our dig, *including the boss,* were members of his "harem.") He seemed to think that "being a man" meant that he was allowed to act out the worst high school charades of male behavior. He also seemed to have a fairly restrictive idea of the gendered nature of activities--one comment that stuck out in my mind was something he said about "how it was so great to be able to hang out with the guys and do guy things, like play soccer." (Playing soccer is a "guy" activity? Tell that to the U.S. Women's National Soccer team, pal.)

Based on him and a couple other FTM trannies I've bumped into around the web (one of whom in particular had some really, really bizarre attitudes toward women that were tinged with unpleasant overtones of outright misogyny), I've wondered sometimes if at least some of those who identify as trannie have internalized extremely restrictive ideas of gender and gender roles, and since they feel they don't fit those roles, think they must be of the other gender. Oddly enough, this seems limited to FTM trannies in my experience: I've also known one MTF trannie in meatspace, and she seemed much more normal and well-adjusted than the FTM trannies I've known.

Posted by: colagirl at January 24, 2010 10:56 AM

...since the person to whom I'm referring is someone I've known for years, I am endeavoring to "get my head around" the decision...which seems to be a genuinely heartfelt one, so it's really not my place to argue at all. Or judge.

I've known women who seemed to be more male in the essential parts of their personalities and men who seemed more female. I don't think I've ever known anyone who felt so uncomfortable with the sex they were born with that they wanted to change it permanently.

But given how common it is these days for people to have surgery to make their outward aspect match the way they see themselves inside, I suppose it is not that strange.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 24, 2010 11:39 AM

"I don't think that's how we would think of them in their perfected form -- indeed, I don't think we even can think of them that way. We can certainly (and often do) think of God that way; as a disembodied light, or a spirit that pervades the world, or in several non-gendered ways. But we don't think of people that way."
Exactly so. We continue to think of the departed as people, corporal beings. A form we know and understand. Or at least understand to a point.

The question is fascinating and worthy of consideration. Understanding of something [un]related often comes from such efforts. But to know the essence of a person's, any person's spirit and/or soul, prior to becoming one ourselves, will IMHO, take an assist from The Spirit.

"...it's really not my place to argue at all. Or judge. I know, I'm going off on a tangent here..."
That is the place where I often find myself on matters of such a personal nature. I figure that it's the individual's life, so it's their decision. If it does not impact others in any tangible way, I figure the individual is free to assume whatever position/configuration they wish.

That said, and acknowledging that I am not only out of my depth here, but way beyond sight of the shore, I will revert to read only mode in order to enjoy the thoughts and conversation of the Villains here abouts.

Or as another fellow once said, kinda, sorta, from where the sun now stands, I will beat this dead horse no more forever.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯus_hun at January 24, 2010 11:48 AM

The transsexual issue can be a difficult one. Let me just point out a few little data/thoughts that might be helpful:

1) Just as being born a citizen of a particular country might give you a different take on its culture and traditions than having been born to it, gender roles might be the same way. I do have the impression that Cassandra had wanted, at this moment in her project, to concentrate on "cradle females," rather than "converts."

2) For those who find transexuality to be a challenging concept (and I think it really is), please be aware that in many cases there are chromosomal irregularities that cause the "gender dysphoria." Do I think that some FtMs and MtFs are people who either a) get sick of being gay, and want to cross-live so they can be "straight," or b) want to do something Terribly Transgressive? Well, yes. Yes, I do. But that isn't the entire transgendered community--not by a long-shot.

3) I truly think that anyone in the first 2-5 years of gender-reassignment surgery is very likely to act out a LOT. Particularly after they go on hormones (typically at least a year before they can get surgery), and for at least a year afterward. Never mind the fact that these people are trying to learn a whole new culture; it's a good deal more basic than that. We're talking about someone who is suddenly getting estrogen or testosterone injections, without the decades of experience most of us have at dealing with large doses of either evil hormone. Hence: FtMs can be very horny and aggressive, and MtFs can be extraordinarily unstable.

4) "Broad." I see what you did there, Cynthia.

5) Let's note that the "born a woman" distinction is quite different from the "having a vagina" distinction. After all, there's Tula:
http://www.thedragnet.org/blog/musings/tula.html

6) Whatever we do, let's be respectful; after all, Jenn is a TS, and she served honorably in the U.S. Navy for years. (She was a "he" back then, but the point still stands.)
http://conservativeshemale.wordpress.com/

I'd like to say that for every crazy or hypermilitant TS out there, there is a Jenn--but it may not quite be so--because of the hormones, alas. But there are definitely some sober, hard-working TS's out there, and you may even know some. After all, the most conservative ones aren't going to share their past lives with every single co-worker.

7) Cynthia, do I have to wear a skirt to CPAC this year? I would DO THAT for you, you know!

Posted by: Little Miss Attila at January 24, 2010 11:54 AM

We do have some insight on the nature of the spirit: In Jeremiah 1: 5 we read: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

The first part is what intrigues me; that God knew us before we were born, which leads to the inquiry of the nature of spirits; male or female? Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, which is what the second part of the verse deals with. Prophets in ancient Israel tended to be male, but there was Deborah, who was a judge. I have always been partial to the idea that we lived before we were born, and were known to the Almighty as male and female.

Posted by: Cricket at January 24, 2010 12:43 PM

This discussion is really intriguing to me. My insight regarding spirit is a bit different and I won't go into too much detail here, but it is my conviction that if the spirit is male or female before birth, it will retain those physical traits when separated from the body it inhabited at death.

People have seen their departed dear ones in dreams and have recognized them as such. Departed spirits do have memories. I can vouch for that. They take with them all they have learned in this life for they are intelligent.

Grim...interesting about a spirit reuniting with a body to be perfected.

Posted by: Cricket at January 24, 2010 12:56 PM

OK, the door to my all-woman lesbian space is shut unless you were born with a vagina AND born female. I deliberately did not specify two X chromosomes in order to include women with Turner's Syndrome, such as David Horowitz's late daughter, Sarah, who is the subject of his newest book, A Cracking of the Heart.

TSs are dogs in MY all-woman lesbian manger, not yours. I'm fine with them anywhere else. I believe you have absolutely NO concept of what it is like NEVER to have any supportive space where it's just you and your identity group and you get to relax. I have been without that for 14 years. Walk 10 years in my shoes, then get back to me before bringing up the subjects of discrimination, prejudice and boundaries.

Plus, I am sick of everyone who cuts in front of me at my civil rights movement AND then gets furious with me because I do not want to wait on them or let them appropriate MY work and money for their cause. I am only working for equality for homosexuals. All the other minorities must do their own work for their equality and create their own spaces. And I still notice they only have problems with other people's boundaries, yet they ferociously guard their own.

Oh, and at CPAC, it's OK to wear pants as long as you have on a VERY low-cut V-neck for the slow dance.

Posted by: Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian at January 24, 2010 02:53 PM

Years ago I read a provocative essay over at Issues and Views about freedom of association.

The author was black and was standing up for the rights of whites to want to associate with their own kind. The example was that a public school had black-only awards and black-only dances, but whites couldn't do the same thing b/c that would not be "inclusive".

Although I'm somewhat uncomfortable in this PC age with people congregating by race or sex, I also see nothing wrong with it. There are so many times in life when we are in "mixed company" - racially, gender-wise, culturally, etc. And yet there are times (as Cynthia notes) when we want to let our hair down and relax without the need to be so durned careful about giving offense (or being on the receiving end either).

It has become almost unacceptable to exclude anyone, at any time, from any activity. That seems wrong somehow.

I think the key is to understand that there's nothing wrong with freedom of association in many situations. On the other hand, most of us wouldn't want our loved ones turned away from a public event or institution funded with our tax dollars.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 24, 2010 03:31 PM

Freedom of association is fine; but the question here was not "Who should come to my meetings?" but rather, "What might we mean by 'womanly virtues'?"

One possible definition for "womanly" is the one Ms. Yockey proposes: someone who is both born female and has not undertaken measures designed to eradicate that fact. If we accept everyone (and only those) in that category as "women," we can then define womanliness as "everything that pertains to women."

As your original question had been about virtues, however, this model doesn't get to the matter very well. "Everything they do" may be womanly, but surely that then includes womanly vices as well as womanly virtues. I gather this is meant to be the end point, though; rather than risk the bed of Procrustes, she would prefer to avoid a discussion of what might constitute virtue and vice in women.

The question about souls/spirits was a departure point. I wanted to see what insight she might have regarding the souls of transsexuals, as it seemed like it might be a way of exploring the broader question of whether the soul is male or female. I hoped she might have some insight, as she has more experience with them than the "none whatsoever" that I have. I think I now clearly understand her position on these 'dogs in the manger,' though, and will inquire no further of her on that matter.

Cricket -- that quote is a good one. I will have to reflect on what it means, in conjunction with these other things.

Posted by: Grim at January 24, 2010 04:05 PM

I was paying attention to the other discussion about exclusion, Grim. I just wanted to engage you a little bit to see if I could hold my own.

I too, would be interested in Cynthia's take on soul-ness.

I guess I wanted to see if we could establish a parameter of give and take, and I thank you for obliging me.

I now join Bthun in reading.

Posted by: Cricket at January 24, 2010 04:53 PM

You make me sound intimidating, Cricket! I'm always interested in what you have to say.

I try to apply a great deal of rigor to ideas; but I don't mean that to produce a sense that you should worry about 'holding your own'! I apologize for having made it seem that way; I assure you that I would be very glad to hear what you think about these matters, knowing that you are highly interested and have spent a great deal of time thinking about it.

Posted by: Grim at January 24, 2010 05:08 PM

I truly think that anyone in the first 2-5 years of gender-reassignment surgery is very likely to act out a LOT. Particularly after they go on hormones (typically at least a year before they can get surgery), and for at least a year afterward. Never mind the fact that these people are trying to learn a whole new culture; it's a good deal more basic than that. We're talking about someone who is suddenly getting estrogen or testosterone injections, without the decades of experience most of us have at dealing with large doses of either evil hormone. Hence: FtMs can be very horny and aggressive, and MtFs can be extraordinarily unstable.

That makes sense and it may be so (in fact, I think the MTF trannie I knew who was much more well-adjusted had transitioned something like five/ten years ago and so had had much more experience living as a woman), but I don't know--I don't think "hormones" explains all of the attitudes (in particular, the sexism) I saw in the two FTMs. Not only did the one on my dig act out in sexual ways, but he also had an *extremely* condescending and patronizing attitude toward the females on the dig--he definitely seemed to think he was called on to play "big strong male protector" to us "weak, helpless little females," whether or not we wanted, asked for or needed his help. Thankfully I didn't have to work directly with him all that much, or I might have actually punched him in the face--he was that annoying.

The other FTM I'm thinking of, who happened to be a non-op trannie, among other things seemed to have fallen hard for the virgin/whore dichotomy--women were either perfect, ethereal, pure beings of light or else they were sluts, tramps and whores. There was also a strain in his thinking that most women were silly, frivolous, airheaded little things that couldn't be expected to busy their brains with important matters and needed to stick to reading romance novels and watching soap operas instead of talking about politics. Attitudes like that don't say to me that "these people are males who have gone through life trapped in female bodies," they say, "these are people who have some seriously messed-up attitudes about women and perhaps they are trying to deal with them by transitioning/identifying as men."

I don't know. I know what I said isn't politically correct, and I hope I'm not being offensive. I'm sure there are many FTMs out there who aren't like that. It's just that the two that I knew really left a strong impression, and unfortunately it wasn't a very positive one.

Posted by: colagirl at January 24, 2010 06:51 PM

Grim: As to how Christ's dual-nature may have worked, you might find my blog post on Vista's UAC (although geeky, I find it *one* way of looking at the issue) interesting.

Summarising it, when you log into Vista as an administrative account, you get two user tokens; a standard user, with all the limitations, and an admin user, with godpowers on your own machine.

Now, here's the kicker: both tokens are associated with the same username. And if you never elevate (using the UAC prompts), you are for all intents and purposes a standard user. And if you *always* elevate, you are for all intents and purposes an administrator. But you are in reality both.

Posted by: Gregory at January 24, 2010 09:55 PM

Grim,
The reason I said holding my own is that I tend to either wander off the point (over write) or
not use references very well. If you truly intimidated me, I would be sniveling somewhere.
Really.

Heh.

The reason I think I have done as well in going back to school as I have is because I read either you, VC or the Armorer to get a feel of how to write, present an argument and close one.

I am also overly simplistic, and tend to see things in black and white. Not in a judgmental way, but it is what it is or it isn't. That is why my standard is very high.

Cassandra, way back when, caught my eye on TOB when we were trashing celebrities because she was so darn reasonable. To a troll.

Over the years, as I have surfed around the 'net, I have read many blogs that conform to my political ideology, but not necessarily fed my intellect with regard to reasoning why a conservative or a libertarian or a Constitutional take. As I said, because I am simplistic, at first, it was a junk food diet.

But I wanted something more that I could think about, get my teeth into it if need be, and analyse it. I have dabbled where others have worked hard and shared their hard-won insights in a blog.

That is precious, because time is a commodity I value very highly. To be able to think something through, and then put it out there with supporting evidence, is truly a gift.

A long time ago, I said I would work on an essay with regard to the moral basis of a free society.
You graciously said I could send it to you (via email) and I was so stunned I think I fainted.
IOW, my brain froze.

I still have that lurking in my head, and I think I would like to dust it off. Not this week, but next, I have off from school, and I would like to share it with you, if you don't mind.

My battery is low, I took my last statistics test and have just the final paper to write. It will be read by someone whose third language is English but who speaks math fluently.

Posted by: Cricket at January 24, 2010 10:59 PM

Of course. I am always pleased to be at your service.

Posted by: Grim at January 24, 2010 11:09 PM

I'm late on this and am going to lower the level of discourse but I was struck by Cynthia's comments on the Palins. They appeared in my first draft when I said:

One of the most interesting things about the Palins was that Todd was somehow perceived as doing enough family care-taking and Sarah was perceived as being very involved outside the home but still somehow doing enough with her family. Looking at it dispassionately and knowing the standards applied to most men and women, I’m not sure why they got the benefit of the doubt. Maybe because Todd participates in many traditionally masculine activities - working the North Slope, dogsled racing - while Sarah is clearly traditionally feminine - gorgeous, lots of kids, always wears skirts.

So maybe they fit society's templates of manliness and womanliness enough so they can also not fit them in large ways. Sort of like the "only Nixon could go to China" argument.

Posted by: Elise at January 25, 2010 07:57 PM

I think you can explain that phenomenon by remembering how Sarah Palin was introduced to America.

Day One: "I nominate Governor Palin to be my running mate." ... "Hi, I'm governor Sarah Palin. I have run Alaska successfully, I have lots of kids and a husband whom I love, and I cleaned out the 'good old boys network' and instituted real reforms in Alaska."

Day Two: "She's the most horrible, evil, twisted sort of Stepford wife who secretly has been bearing her daughter's children and wants rape victims denied medical care and she's really stupid and so are you if you like her."

Given that response, how much are you going to worry about whether her work/life balance was really what you think is ideal? The debate was about whether or not she was actually a demon.

Posted by: Grim at January 25, 2010 09:26 PM

You sure nailed that one, Grim! I've taken the most extraordinary grief from people I thought were fairly reasonable, just because I refuse to excoriate Sarah Palin. (Suddenly I'm stupid, and some kind of anti-feminist?) One reason I could never even think of making a living as a political advisor: I couldn't have predicted the typical response to Gov. Palin if I had a million years to analyze it in. Sometimes it seems that her cardinal sin was not only to oppose abortion but to accept considerable risk and hardships in her own life in order to avoid it. I'd have thought that would make her a courageous woman of principle. Somehow she was seen instead as some kind of hypocritical scold who wanted to return women to slave status.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 25, 2010 09:51 PM

Texan99, the basic point here is choice. I saw Sarah Palin as someone who understood me, despite the gaps between us. She had a handicapped child; I do too. I also chose not to do anything different and while I have my days, I do not have regrets.

Where women got upset was that all of a sudden she was something they weren't. And they knew it.
Sensitive myn who wanted to have their cake and eat it too were afraid of her, because she was a
threat to their comfort zone.

In high school, I had a boyfriend who put a lot of pressure on me to have sex with him. When I refused, I was an evil, uptight Christian harpy
who was brainwashed by my parents.

That hurt. A lot. I stood my ground, though, and
while I hated the ugly lies he spread about me,
it reinforced my opinion all along; he didn't love
me, he wanted me for something I wasn't ready for
and, considering his reaction and response, neither was he.

Found out he had deflowered several girls and dumped every single one of them, so his behavior
vindicated my stand.

While my heart ached for those girls, I also thanked the Almighty for my escape, and I was
very, very careful in my associations after that.

Didn't mean to be so personal, but the reaction to
Palin is not about how women can have choices, but
what choices they should make if they are real
women.

I have to say this: When I saw her speech at the
convention online, I was truly touched by her
youngest daughter holding that sweet baby: She licked her hand and slicked it down over her brother's forehead.

Totally oblivious to anyone who would see her. It
was a touching and funny. It seems that Gov. Palin and Mr. Todd are doing a heck of a job in
raising their family to have that kind of love
and closeness.

Posted by: Cricket at January 26, 2010 09:51 AM

Sometimes it seems that her cardinal sin was not only...

Her cardinal sin was to be a woman and a republican. To a liberal that's like being a black person in the KKK.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 26, 2010 09:59 AM

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