Another Hirshman Smackdown

Linda Hirshman has yet again put herself into another smackdown in the blogosphere. Heh. I can't help it. It's fun.

OK. Just some quick links. I've blogged too much today and have a buckets of work to do tomorrow. You guys can talk about it yourselves.

In her inaugural piece for Slate's new women's magazine, Double X, titled "The Trouble With Jezebel," Linda disses the young feminist writers of the blogosphere for being slutty. Feminism was supposed to be about more than getting loaded and sleeping with a lot of guys, she says. She takes aim at the writers for Jezebel, a Nick Denton venture. M. Le Blanc from Bitch, PhD responds and has lot of links to responses from around the blogosphere.

Gotta check out this interview with some former writers for Jezebel.

15 thoughts on “Another Hirshman Smackdown

  1. Hirshman says:
    “From removing the barriers to women working to striking down the criminal laws against birth control and abortion, feminism was first and foremost a liberation movement.”
    I realize Hirshman is talking about late 20th century feminism, but she should at least acknowledge that there has been a significant moralistic, anti-liberationist thread in women’s involvement in politics. Take for example Prohibition and women’s role in the Temperance movement. Interestingly, women got the vote very early on in Washington state (1883), but soon lost the vote because of male fears that women voters would come between them and their liquor.
    http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/timeline/suffrage.htm

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  2. Hilzoy for the win, I think.
    “When you have been sexually assaulted, you get to let your emotions work themselves out in whatever peculiar way they see fit, and unless you’re working through it by doing something truly awful, like shooting random strangers or cutting off your limbs, people who tell you that you are responding to it in the ‘wrong’ way are as completely out of line as someone who tells someone who has just lost her spouse or her child that she’s grieving in the ‘wrong’ way.
    “There are people like that — people whose heart is two sizes too small, who have no more empathy than your average tin can. I have never understood them. It’s especially odd when they go out of their way to lecture people about their responses, or to tell them they’re hurting feminism. As Linda Hirshman did.”
    Just for example.
    By the by, is Slate so hard-up for traffic that they’re optimizing for irritation by hiring Hirshman? Funny world.

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  3. There was a nice line about Elizabeth Edwards elbowing her way into public discourse again – maybe in Mickey Kaus? – ‘the spotlight is a dangerous drug’ – that’s Hirshman for you. When she can’t get attention for useful and insightful ideas, she gets it by insulting others’ choices and opinions.
    My kids have been known to clamor for negative attention, as better than no attention at all. They seem to be getting over this as they get older.

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  4. Ya gotta read the comments over at BitchPhd. All the bloggers who sided with Hirshman in the last smackdown 4 years ago (ugh!) are now taking it back. Eyes rolling.

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  5. Hirshman was made for the blogosphere, for all that she sometimes cops a pose that she’s too big for it. In a pre-Internet academia, a lot of her jabs would have been too ephemeral (or unpublishable) to get her attention.

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  6. “When you have been sexually assaulted, you get to let your emotions work themselves out in whatever peculiar way they see fit, and unless you’re working through it by doing something truly awful, like shooting random strangers or cutting off your limbs, people who tell you that you are responding to it in the ‘wrong’ way are as completely out of line as someone who tells someone who has just lost her spouse or her child that she’s grieving in the ‘wrong’ way.”
    On the other hand, if you watch the interviews with the Jezebel writers, one of them says that she’s been date-raped multiple times (in the context of heavy drinking and possible use of date-rape drugs). At some point, it’s time to trouble-shoot the situation and figure out what the risk factors have been (and I think she has figured the situation out, but she just doesn’t want to give up on heavy drinking). Suggesting that she protect herself is no more unkind than telling her to just keep on doing what she’s been doing.
    I liked the freewheeling frankness of the interviews. There was an interesting spot where the interviewee I talked about in the previous paragraph said that she felt safe with some guy, even after he date-raped her. The interviewer immediately jumped on her for saying that, but I think the interviewer didn’t appreciate the psychological truth of what the interviewee was saying. Obviously, the guy was objectively not safe and not nice to know, but I think it is worthwhile to point out the phenomenon that the interviewee describes, rather than just sweeping it under the rug. There really is an unhealthy way in which A’s abuse of B can form a bond between A and B.

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  7. I’m not to get into the who’s blaming who for getting raped. I also don’t think that a few writers for Jezebel can be the voice of all young feminists. On the other hand, that interview was really disturbing. I felt really bad for those girls. I blame Denton.
    I do suspect that Nick Denton knows what kind of female voice works on the Internet – young, cute, smart, potty-mouthed and willing to have sex with whatever moves. Look at the demographics of the Internet. It’s not hard to imagine that he’s pushing women to adopt that Internet persona, which is slimy. Then they have trouble separating their Internet persona from their real life persona. Their grandmas and future employers are going to google that stuff. If Denton is really manipulating his young writers like that, then he is a royal asshole.

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  8. Ya gotta read the comments over at BitchPhd. All the bloggers who sided with Hirshman in the last smackdown 4 years ago (ugh!) are now taking it back. Eyes rolling.
    That comment thread is weird. I “sided” with Hirshman in the sense that I enjoyed “Get to Work”, but I’m not surprised to find a work of hers that does nothing for me. The people who are so outraged that she could write something they disagree with because she previously wrote something they agreed with says a lot about the “my best friend or my worst enemy” attitude that the internet seems to encourage. Do we have to get tribal about everything?

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  9. If Denton is really manipulating his hiring young writers like that, then he is a royal asshole driven entrepreneur.
    There. All fixed now. Is Jezebel eligible for stimulus money, I wonder?

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  10. The difficult point is the Jezebel motto in these particular cases – and I’m relying on the quotes, not the full interviews – seems to be: “Rape: It’s not such a big deal” or, perhaps more precisely, “Don’t let worrying about rape – or even rape itself – get in the way of your sex life.” It may be that this is actually the message they want to get across. This is, for me, a troubling conclusion, but I can see that it is also one some feminists might want to embrace.

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  11. Just so I’m clear, what I find troubling about it is what Amy P says above; I think it’s okay to advise women that they shouldn’t go to frat parties alone and get drunk, for example. Talking about risks is not the same as blaming the victim.

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  12. Good point, Amy P., about the woman who said she felt safe with her date-rapist.
    Jeffrey Marsalis — a Philadelphia man who was accused of drugging and raping women he met on Match.com — was acquitted in 2007 on eight of 10 rape charges against him.
    Jurors wouldn’t comment on their verdict for the record. But most of the women who testified against Marsalis had contact with him after the sexual assault, and victim advocates say that juries don’t get why a victim would re-engage with her assailant.
    To quote an article about the trials and Marsalis’ acquittal: “We can’t believe someone would do something so terrible to us,” clinical psychologist Veronique Valliere says. “We work under the assumption that this must be something we can understand through talking it over.”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27825997//
    P.S. Last month, Marsalis was convicted of drugging and raping a woman in Idaho. He faces life in prison.
    http://tinyurl.com/pxnlnc

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