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Crotch Rot
Is the failure to wear panties by Britney, Lindsey, and Paris a matter of feminist honor? Andi Zeisler writes:

If you’re Camille Paglia, it is. The normally starlet-loving Paglia was contacted recently by US Weekly for her thoughts on the matter, and, well, she’s pissed. When asked to comment on how celebrity crotch shots are “affecting feminism,” she replied: “These girls are lowering themselves to the level of backstreet floozies. It angers me because I fought a bitter fight to get feminism back on track and be pro-sex at the same time. This is degrading the entire pro-sex wing of feminism.”

First of all: Floozies? Who says that? But more important, it’s so typical of Paglia to make this all about her. I love how she’s so indignant that her fight to get feminism “back on track” — which she presumably feels she accomplished via, among other things, her victim-blaming approach to rape and her numerous assertions that innovation, creativity, and sexual potency are the precious realms of men — has been nullified by a couple of questionably deployed vulvas. And “degrading the entire pro-sex wing of feminism”? It’s not like, in addition to flashing millions, Britney and co. delivered a speech on the limits of sexual self-determination, mocked Toys in Babeland, and stole Paglia’s Hitachi Magic Wand.

Sometimes a crotch is just a crotch, Camille.

Via iFeminist

Posted by aalkon at December 20, 2006 10:18 AM

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Paglia says, “These girls are lowering themselves to the level of backstreet floozies. It angers me because I fought a bitter fight to get feminism back on track and be pro-sex at the same time. This is degrading the entire pro-sex wing of feminism.”

She does think a lot of herself, doesn't she?

Posted by: Patrick at December 20, 2006 1:54 AM

I believe this present from Lena says it all:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2004/10/ayn_rands_trash.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 20, 2006 2:09 AM

Yes, Paglia thinks a lot of herself. But anyone who writes off her writings on rape as 'blaming the victim,' as much of the 'feminist' establishment did during the 90's, has lost me already. And yeah, no panties is hardly a statement vis a vis feminism; anyone who sees Lohan/Hilton as womanly icons has got a lot worse problems than lack of underwear.

Posted by: Cat brother at December 20, 2006 4:28 AM

> She does think a lot of
> herself, doesn't she?

As well she ought. (And once again, people hate Paglia for being confident.)

> But anyone who writes off her writings
> on rape as 'blaming the victim'

Your comment's too confused for this to be certain, but I think you've got it badly wrong.

So over the weekend I took my Indiana nieces to Farallon in San Francisco as a graduation gift. I was more impressed with the place than they were, but seafood is my life. Anyway, just before the entrees, a brazen young beauty at the table behind us did something sexual with her boyfriend. I was facing the other direction and missed it, but the nieces were appalled. Perhaps it was a tits-in-the-face nipple-nuzzle through a flirty blouse, with maybe a stage-three (finger-splayed) assgrab... The reports weren't really clear. She was standing, he was sitting, do your own math.

Now, as a rule, fertile young bankers in eveningwear should not pursue sexual encounters in California's finest restaurant at 7:22 on Saturday night. On the other hand there's a very slender window in a person's life where that kind of audacity is gonna be in evidence, especially if they're successful bankers. It's a forgivable violation. And it probably woulda been fun to watch. We were all young once.

Same with Britney. She's leading a weird life, so a single weekend without underpants doesn't seem like a disproportionate maneuver for a showy young woman a week after a divorce. None of us are actually compelled to look up her skirt.

Paglia's comments about Britney were steeped in fogey-tude, and I thought that made them cute.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 6:06 AM

> But anyone who writes off her writings
> on rape as 'blaming the victim"'
"Your comment's too confused for this to be certain, but I think you've got it badly wrong."
No, don't think so. Zeisler says "among other things, her victim-blaming approach to rape" very clearly. Anyone who has read Paglia has seen this is not her approach, rather, she says straightforwardly that the world is more hazardous for women than men, and women, more so than men, must be vigilant to avoid rape. This was widely decried as 'blaming the victim,' as though the only way to combat rape was to act as though it wouldn't happen. Zeisler, from what can be taken from that one sentence, agrees with this sentiment. I agree that no-underwear is no big deal, but I disagree with her opinion on this other subject.

Posted by: Cat brother at December 20, 2006 6:14 AM

Paglia may have annointed herself as Supreme Godhead of Pro-Sex Feminism, but the unanimous feeling among the pro-sex feminists I know (including myself) can be summed up as, "if Paglia's a *feminist*, then I'm the Queen of England."

And yes, she got this one wrong too.

Posted by: deja pseu at December 20, 2006 6:22 AM

I agree with Paglia on her take on the victim issue. Here's what I wrote in a column on the subject:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/ag-column-archives/2006/08/random_acts_of_1.html

Even now, you write about your marriages like they just happened to you, and paint yourself as a victim -- very convenient, since “blaming the victim” is considered heresy on par with using the flag to clean the bathtub.

But often, the victim does bear some responsibility. Take me, for example: I used to live in a pretty isolated section of downtown New York City, just past a big UPS garage. I had a rule that I’d only take Greenwich Street home when the UPS guys were there loading and unloading. After moving to California, I came back to visit and lah-dee-dah wandered down Greenwich late one night -- followed, unbeknownst to me, by some creep who ran up behind me and helped himself to a big grope. I screamed and thrashed, I ran, I was fine. Did I tell myself I was a victim? No, I told myself I was a moron -- and resolved to never again meander around New York City with my street smarts dangling off some palm tree back home.

And P.S. I'm not a feminist either -- I'm for fair treatment for all people, not special treatment for some.

Here's something I wrote yesterday on the topic:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2006/12/no_time_like_no_1.html

And why honor women, in particular, at all? Personally, I find the idea insulting. Honor people who deserve honoring, and leave the labia out of the equation.

As I've said before, I call myself an "Elizabeth Cady Stanton feminist." I'm for women having the vote and making the same pay for the same job as men - which doesn't mean they leave the job and pick up the kids at school at 4pm while the guy stays doing the "same" job.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 20, 2006 6:53 AM

> I disagree with her opinion on
> this other subject.

With who about what? Pick a team, son, and be clear. Fly your colors proudly... Then, duck.

> then I'm the Queen

Camille always gets a snarky insult and an assertion that she's flat wrong. Nobody ever does the specific cits to show why.

Why is that? Nobody will take the time.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 7:00 AM

Posted by: deja pseu at December 20, 2006 7:16 AM

Posted by: deja pseu at December 20, 2006 7:20 AM

From the Pandagon link, quoting Paglia:

On how Hollywood’s changed:
“These are women who are clearly out of control because the old studio era is over. The studio system…guided and shaped the careers of the young women who it signed up. It maximized their sexual allure by dealing it out in small doses and making sure you don’t have — what has become here — a situation of anarchy.”

What she's talking about is the de facto parenting of studios in days gone by for the clearly underparented types like Britney. If you don't know that wearing a short skirt and no panties is ill-advised, especially if you're oft-photographed by the press in every facet of your life, somebody missed telling you something.

And I'm all for panties-less dressing under a sleek dress. The thing is, my sleek dresses reach the floor. Generally speaking, there's no view to be had, although there are issues with that glass stairway in the Apple computer stores!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 20, 2006 7:24 AM

I can't do this well from work, not enough time.

But Britney doesn't seem like a data-processing kind of gal. What exactly did she do that was out of control? The distribution channels for the photos, and for the word of their existence, are specialized and self-selected. If you didn't want to see the picture (or even hear about it), you didn't. If you went to see it and were offended, then you probably just wanted to cluck anyway.

I saw the girl from teh Orange County TV show in the Grove Apple store once. She wore pants.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 7:46 AM

Gawd, another ugly lesbian harping about feminism. She didn't notice feminism drew it's last breath the day that Sex and the City aired. And while I'm on it, what kind of mass hallucinations occurred that turned that witch Sarah Jessica Parker into a sex symbol? But now I'm just being catty. Meow.

pxclassic.net/misc/061605_tr_parker84.jpg

Posted by: Hasan at December 20, 2006 8:06 AM

Thank you, Amy, for the startling information on the difference between NVP (no visible pantyline) and no visible panties.

I don't think it's really very confusing myself.

Nor do I think much of your example where you explain how "I agree with Paglia on her take on the victim issue".

YOUR example simple fudges the issue because it paints a picture of a situation when NO ONE sensible would call you anything but daftly forgetful of your own street smarts!

What has YOUR example got to do with Generic Battered Woman/Rape Victim/Whatever?

It's simply washing clean linen in public to bravely offer a situation when you only blamed yourself when, in fact, no one is saying otherwise.

And, Crid?

"Paglia's comments about Britney were steeped in fogey-tude, and I thought that made them cute."

You know what that is?

2006 version of 1960s faux-ironic blokeyness. And it's still patronising. (Coo, Germaine Greer turns me on!).

Yeah, yeah, I geddit. Men adore women like Paglia who lionise them. So maybe she adores being called cute by same. Happy cuddling!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 8:06 AM

I think the Alpha and the Omega is that you like Camille Paglia if you're a decadent Late Romantic, and if you're not, you don't. Anyway, I'm staunchly feminist on this one: take it off, ladies! Take it all off...

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at December 20, 2006 8:17 AM

> 2006 version of 1960s faux-ironic blokeyness

Huh?

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 8:24 AM

I remember reading Paglia on rape. I believe the general idea was, no, no one should be raped, but if go up to a bedroom with 12 frat guys, well, you have some culpability in your fate. Like me, she's an advocate of personal responsibility. Here's a line from an article I wrote that appears in a recent Hustler about victim feminists:

"In reality, you don't protect women by convincing them they're victims, but by telling them they're powerful enough to protect themselves, teaching them how, and insisting they do it."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 20, 2006 8:41 AM

Lindsay has brains, presence and talent, if not maturity. I hope her BFFs' total lack of same don't suck her dry. I'm reminded of a star-black hole binary.

Posted by: Dave at December 20, 2006 9:17 AM

Why say it once when four times will do (sorry)?

What do you think of people who put punctuation inside parentheses?

Posted by: Dave at December 20, 2006 9:25 AM

"...2006 version of 1960s faux-ironic blokeyness"..

Huh?

Posted by: Crid

Clue: Paul's doing it too. ("Anyway, I'm staunchly feminist on this one: take it off, ladies! Take it all off...").

But, hey - those old chestnuts are still cracking you guys up!

...Amy, I still side with Jodie Foster in "The Accused", so I disagree with "but if go up to a bedroom with 12 frat guys, well, you have some culpability in your fate...".

Is it possible your experience in reaping only a nasty grope in NYC for forgetting your street smarts has made you feel you swallowed your humiliation like a lady - and that's it?

What IF the badly parked health food shop guy you faced off with (from your experience more recently in LA) had raped you?

Would you expect the law to take note of your culpability? Or is this only a personal perception of a woman's blameworthy role when guys act like beasts - and quite distinct from the law?

Sure, I want women to be sensible, strong - and all the rest. Who doesn't?

But I won't give an inch in doling out "culpability" when it comes to the law.


Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 9:31 AM

> I still side with Jodie Foster
> in "The Accused"

Too much of feminism has been corrupted by the emotionally gratifying but fictitious products of Hollywood, where 'Making Women Feel Self-Righteous is Job 1!' Foster is lesbanoid, and unlikely to have any experience of dancing drunkenly as in the setting depicted. She can afford smug detachment, though she's not earned it.

> I won't give an inch in doling
> out "culpability" when it comes
> to the law.

Right. So... You want the world to be perfectly safe for you at all times no matter how you've compromised your own conduct, or else someone else isn't holding up their end of the bargain. You want your fantasy of every person being warm and friendly to be indulged. Or did I read you wrong?

For the record, we were more worried about Amy raping the SUV guy than the other way 'round.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 10:01 AM

Quick metaphor before getting back to work:

If I walked through South Central with $100 bills flapping out of every pocket, you'd not be supportive if I complained about being robbed, even though you'd agree that the law was being broken. But why is the value of my money less deserving of respect than a woman's sexual safety?

By trying to make a woman's virtue priceless, feminism has helped make it worthless.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 10:21 AM

"What IF the badly parked health food shop guy you faced off with (from your experience more recently in LA) had raped you?

"Would you expect the law to take note of your culpability? Or is this only a personal perception of a woman's blameworthy role when guys act like beasts - and quite distinct from the law?"
I've never read Paglia say anything but, men who rape should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"Sure, I want women to be sensible, strong - and all the rest. Who doesn't? But I won't give an inch in doling out "culpability" when it comes to the law."
Nor should you, although, as discussed in previous threads, the law is murky where alcohol is involved, at least for whether males vs. females are prosecuted.
Paglia used the analogy of mountain bikes - you ride one on a trail, you can break your leg. Women should be free to ride mountain bikes, but this entails the risk of breaking legs. Certain authors who saw themselves as having a lock on what feminism means, said, basically, no, you can't even talk about women hurting themselves on mountain bikes, because then you 're excusing leg-breaking.
Women (most) are at risk in ways that (most) men are not. It sucks, but this means they often don't have some freedoms that men have. Pointing this out does not, did not make Paglia an apologist for rape, though she was immediately, and still is, painted as such.
In other words. recognizing a danger's existance does not equal approval of that danger's existance. Locking your car does not 'empower' car thieves.

"For the record, we were more worried about Amy raping the SUV guy than the other way 'round."
Amy? If you're wearing a clingy dress with no underwear, and jump into the same elevator as me? You can tell. By the way I'm dressed. I'm just asking for it.

Posted by: Cat brother at December 20, 2006 10:57 AM

Cat, agreeing with you is less fun than fighting with you.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 11:03 AM

"By trying to make a woman's virtue priceless, feminism has helped make it worthless"...

Bit wordy for a bicep tattoo isn't it, Crid?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 11:05 AM

"Paglia used the analogy of mountain bikes - you ride one on a trail, you can break your leg. Women should be free to ride mountain bikes, but this entails the risk of breaking legs."

Cat,
That's an unexpectedly poor analogy from Paglia (she's not to my taste: she has her good points), isn't it?

Men aren't trails or tree roots or rocks? The tree root doesn't give into its natural urges after being unbearably provoked by the bike, does it?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 11:28 AM

"These girls are lowering themselves to the level of backstreet floozies."

This whine comes from the same cheesesteak-slurping dyke who extolled "the wild, infectious delirium of gang rape."

I think it's high time to ship that ole horse off to the glue factory.

Posted by: Lena Floozarella at December 20, 2006 11:36 AM

Britney, Lindsey, and Paris;

Show me the money (maker).

Posted by: Roger at December 20, 2006 11:41 AM

"But why is the value of my money less deserving of respect than a woman's sexual safety?"

Your money, Crid?

Sorry, my price is beyond rubes!
[sic:)]

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 11:58 AM

> Bit wordy for a bicep tattoo

But perfect for a lame blog comment!

> who extolled "the wild,
> infectious delirium

That's just silly.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 12:15 PM

The problem with Spears and Lohan is not a failure of feminism. It is the entertainment industry, cult of celebrity and awful stage parents. These two were raised to be celebrities and nothing else. If they can't produce hit songs and movies lets be shocking and embarrassing. Two new potential victims of the celebrity industrial complex.

Camille Paglia can be right on certain subjects and completely miss on others. I remember her on CNN discussing how Monica Lewinsky's jaw line was perfect for oral sex during the Clinton scandal. How about the ambiguity of sexual harrassment laws in the US???

She was a breath of fresh air during the early 1990s when it came to the debate on modern feminism. Besides being pro sex, Paglia was pro-men. A huge difference from the usual suspects of Steinem, Friedan and Dworkin.

Posted by: Joe at December 20, 2006 2:06 PM

I just hope Britney loses all that fucking flab she put on while she was married. Bring back the perky tits, girl!

Posted by: Lena at December 20, 2006 3:11 PM

"Paglia used the analogy of mountain bikes - you ride one on a trail, you can break your leg. Women should be free to ride mountain bikes, but this entails the risk of breaking legs."
"Cat,
That's an unexpectedly poor analogy from Paglia (she's not to my taste: she has her good points), isn't it?
Men aren't trails or tree roots or rocks? The tree root doesn't give into its natural urges after being unbearably provoked by the bike, does it?"
Well, er, true. Men are not tree roots, or rather rapists are not tree roots. They are not inert dirt-encrusted vegetable matter ( I was gonna make a Deadhead joke here, but, and I may be wrong, I just can't picture these guys as rapists. Crap on your lawn? Check. Fuck in your bushes? Check. Leave fleas and scabies in your house if you let them inside? Checkity check check. But rape?). I believe what Paglia meant by that was, like tree roots in a mountain bike trail, rapists exist. They are an unfortunate fact of life, like many other bad things.
Those bad things don't go away becuase we pretend that they're not there, in fact, acting like this may make us more succeptible to whatever bad thing it is they do. Mountain bike with no helmet and as though you can't fall, and you can crack your skull. Walk through a dangerous neighborhood alone at night ('you' being an attractive woman, or a prosperousbut-weak-looking person of either gender) because you have the legal right to do so (you do), and you may well get robbed or worse.
This does not excuse the person who robbed you, they should be apprehended and prosecuted. The tree root we can go swear at, I guess. I've read a good amount of Paglia, and have never seen her say other than rapists should be punishes, she usually throws castration in there too.
Re the 'wild, infectious delirium of gang rape,' she wasn't extolling it, she was saying that it was another very bad thing that could happen to nice people, so don't, if you can help it, get in a situation where it could happen to you.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm composing a police report, "...and officer, it was like a nightmare. My arms were trapped in the folds of her slinky dress, I was helpless. She was not slowed in her terrible quest by underwear, and I tried, Lord, I tried to call for help, but she ruthlessly smothered my cries with her Sugar Tits, I mean, the Advice Knockers, I mean, the Triumphant Funbags of Zion...Horrible, I tell you.
Wait, that's a letter I'm sending to..some magazine..."I go to a small Midwest college. I never really believed those letters I read in your mag before, until I met this chick under some glass stairs in the Apple Store..."

Posted by: Cat brother at December 20, 2006 3:13 PM

"Bring back the perky tits, girl!..."

Tragically, Lena, two kids will tend to un-perk your embonpoint whatever you do!

But I heard a great fact about tits on NPR at the weekend from one of those gals who doesn't get nearly so much automatic frothing from Paglia.

One of the awesomely accomplished American female MIR space station pilots who was a guest on the Sunday news quiz said - charmingly - that, by the by, zero gravity has a fantastic effect on the body bits!

So maybe we can just fire Britney into space?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at December 20, 2006 3:46 PM

>One of the awesomely accomplished American female MIR space station pilots who was a guest on the Sunday news quiz said - charmingly - that, by the by, zero gravity has a fantastic effect on the body bits!


ISS, not MIR, but no matter. I once read a transcript of the de-briefing of Al Bean after his Skylab mission in 1973. He criticised the urination device for not taking into account the realities of zero-g, and therefore being poorly configured. He reported "You see, there's no angle to the dangle up there".

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at December 20, 2006 4:26 PM

"maybe we can just fire Britney into space?"

the further, the better.

Posted by: Lena at December 20, 2006 5:12 PM

She's always spoken highly of you, Lena.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 5:48 PM

Hey, there's nothing faux about my irony! Asked and answered. However the iFeminist critique of Paglia's remarks is at least somewhat fanciful. Amy's restatement of the rape position is accurate; furthermore, I seem to remember that pro-death penalty Paglia then went on to describe how in the tradition of her ancestors the rapist would be rightfully killed by the victim's family. Her distress at the undermining of her dream of returning the all-powerful pagan Hollywood Goddess to the throne of world culture was predictable, as I think she considers her rebeloved Madonna to have somehow "passed to torch" to Sorcerer's Apprentice Britney.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at December 20, 2006 8:07 PM

For the record, we were more worried about Amy raping the SUV guy than the other way 'round.

Again, Crid totally gets me.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 20, 2006 9:06 PM

What Paul said. Plus, the Pandagon stuff was frogwash. People willfully and childishly distort the context of Paglia's comments to point out imaginary contradictions. But these misrespresentatsion are never even interesting. Cammy's had a big day today!

Panda: "This passage is from her defense of a young man who got expelled from Harvard for raping another student."

And later, she's "extolled 'the wild, infectious delirium of gang rape.'"

Were either of these to stick, she'd have a fabulous reputation as a hatemonger. Instead, she gets people so upset they can't even critique her meaningfully. This is an important gauge of her insight... When it starts to sting, you know you're near the honey. And Cammy sets the bees a-buzzin'.

When I saw that Paglia'd been asked about Brit's photos, I'd expected a grand rumination on the thunderous collision of Cthonian forces in the Dionysian cavern of Brit's cooter, or some other theme about the immutable feminine power. Instead, we learn that this great baby boom theorist responded as her mother or grandmother would have.

Ammy's right: That's kinda funny. But it's not about an oppressive patriarchy or anything, promise.

So don't you worry your pretty little head about it, Jody.

Posted by: Crid at December 20, 2006 9:13 PM

I'm not sure how this huge debate got started both here and in the media. It seems to me that these girls are in their early twenties and are out to have a fun night. I bet there are few women who can honestly say that they did nothing that they regretted every day in their early twenties.

While I agree that these ladies are well aware of the public scrutiny that they live under, shouldn't there also be some leeway due to their young age as well? I swear, if I hear one more time that Britney shouldn't be out at nightclubs with her friends because she's *gasp* "a mother now", I'm going to scream. Like once you have a kid or two, you instantly become a nun and should never want to dress sexy or go out for drinks or any other type of activity that you used to enjoy.

This has nothing to do with feminism. It has to do with young people being young people and the media hounding these poor people to the brink of insanity. Every time a celebrity loses it on a paparazzi, an angel gets their wings.

Posted by: Renee at December 21, 2006 12:08 PM

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