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Pre-2008 Posts

Is This Supposed to Be a Compliment?

Amp, coming in like a white knight to rescue  commenting on Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) and Melissa McEwan(Shakespeare’s Sister) having been fired from their jobs doing “network outreach” for the John Edwards campaign as reported here:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 — Two bloggers hired by John Edwards to reach out to liberals in the online world have landed his presidential campaign in hot water for doing what bloggers do — expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language.

The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.

…Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said in a statement on Tuesday, “John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots.”

says (Amp, that is):

Amanda and Melissa are both so bursting with talent and drive that it fairly bursts out of every available orifice.

“Bursts out of every available orifice”?  That’s supposed to be a compliment?  Coming from Amp?  

As to the actual issues, well, I don’t like John Edwards and I am not surprised.

 As I’ve written before, and also here, I don’t like the contempt with which far too many,  in my opinion, progressive, lefty and feminist bloggers,  denigrate what amounts to caricatures of religion and religious people,  including religious women.   I think this dehumanizes fundamentalist women, alienates them from feminism, and makes the realities of their lives and experiences invisible.  Women’s situation within fundamentalism and patriarchal religion, in general, is not remotely what men’s situation is, many women are abused and are suffering,  and that gets lost in all the hilarity of feminists and leftists and so on, making fun of them.

Which isn’t to say I think what the Edwards campaign did was right.  But then again, I don’t like Edwards and don’t like to see feminists supporting him in the first place.




18 thoughts on “Is This Supposed to Be a Compliment?

  1. That’s not a compliment coming from anyone.

    I’m sure I don’t need to say, but will anyway, that the aforementioned Melissa and me- not the same person.

    Posted by Melissa | February 8, 2007, 3:24 am
  2. Heart,

    Thanks for your words about the caricaterization of women in fundamental religious movements. As one who had at times tried to reach out to certain feminist movements, i was rejected and alienated several times. It also appeared to “prove” my husband’s and pastor’s views of what feminists were like. I was left wondering where I could go or who might understand me.

    I’ve been moving more and more out of fundementalism but it’s very difficult on my own. I hold many feminst beliefs, including *gasp* that I can make decent decisions without a man’s help and that lesbians are not automatically going to hell. 🙂 Anyway, because of my involvement in the far Christian right, many assumptions are made about me and what I believe and think which may or may not be true.

    Let me assure you that there are women out here who are in the same position I have found myself. As I slowly step further and further out, carefully and somewhat fearfully, other women are beginning to follow tentatively and carefully. Those of us who have been bound in fundamentalism for one reason or another may just be looking for a way out.

    When other women denigrate us or refuse to recognize our very real struggles, it can tend to make us feel devalued. This is in addition to the devaluation of women that already takes place in fundamental circles. I am real! I exist! and I am looking for a way out of this. Making fun of me and refusing to recognize that my battle belongs to all women divides us. We need to stick together, regardless of how we express our faith, beliefs, etc. We are all in the same battle against patriarchy, are we not?

    I appreciate the respect afforded to all women on this site. It has encouraged me to continue reaching out and to listen to the feminist community as well as continuing to challenge my own beliefs. Thank you so much, all of you on this site!

    Posted by Macs Grandy | February 8, 2007, 3:25 am
  3. No, it is not a compliment. I noticed four or five weeks ago that many people run to Amp like he is a God or something. I cannot remember what the topic was but I read comments like “Even Amp agrees/feels the same.” I wish I could remember because it was something about women too. I hate that kind of thinking, —-always needing a man to sanction our ‘wittle’ thoughts.

    I am not sure what Amanda did or did not do, but I am quite sure she would not have been fired so quickly if she were a man.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 8, 2007, 3:49 am
  4. Ah, Mac’s Grandy, such good words and so true. Where are exiting fundie women going to go if not to feminists?

    So true re Amanda and Melissa (not the Women’s Space Melissa!). Their being women sealed their fate, I am sure. Maybe Amp is posting all of that to get himself in the limelight so Edwards will ask him next.



    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2007, 4:36 am
  5. Heart, I agree with you about the ‘contempt’ that many ‘leftists’ have against religion and therefore by default ‘religious women’. I only realized this year how wrong it is for us to isolate religious women from the fold. I even agree with you about the ‘cobag/godbag’ thing. I also felt ‘touched’ and ‘nostalgic’ when i saw the commenters on the two links that you posted to! It seems like the WHOLE ‘crew’ was there, i swear I thought I saw belledame and brownfemi there too (who wudda thunk it? after the recent brouhahas) and did one of them also post a net-giggle? 😉 Funny how in less than a year – things change… net time is lightyears ahead.

    But you know, you could have just titled this post “I told you so…”

    It’s a really sad situation that Amanda and Melissa are going through. From what I gather they do put a lot of time, passion and energy into their posts (and of course like all of us, they ‘prosetylize’ their own views too, most of which I don’t agree with either) – last thing they need right now is someone to say something like ‘I don’t like Edwards and I’m not surprised about what happened and you shouldn’t have shown your contempt for the religious right in the first place’.

    They’re younger, less employed and still ‘leaders’. Pretty soon – I’m going to be in an unemployable position too – I can only sympathize with how they’ve been used here. Fuck John Edwards and his campaigning – Amanda’s a damn good writer (despite of what I think of her views).

    Come on, Heart… this was just plain wrong.

    Posted by AradhanaD | February 8, 2007, 6:30 am
  6. Oh yeah additionally, as a woman who is politically involved – I can’t tell you how difficult it is for women (especially the younger, browner ones) to be taken seriously.

    In meetings, I’ll say one thing – and I’ll get ten blank stares right back at me… then some white dude will say the samething I just said and everyone will agree. At this point I can only admire these two.

    Posted by AradhanaD | February 8, 2007, 6:36 am
  7. Aradhana, yes, the gang used to be all here– before I took certain positions as to pornography, sm, the prostituting of women, transgender issues and the way all men benefit from sexism. Until I continued to support feminists who were outspokenly anti-porn, anti-prostitution, anti-sadomasochism, and opposed to gender, in particular. Those latter views will get you dissed very quickly in certain ways.

    For some reason I have never read Shakespeare’s Sister regularly; mostly I’ve only read her when she was linked by someone else. But I’ve read Amanda, I think she’s a good writer and that will hold her in good stead for the future. Those of us who write for a living, we pays our money and we takes our chances when we say what we say, write what we write. Women will be dealt with unmercifully; this we can expect. I know this well, having lost an entire publication when the Religious Right opposed me. I had nine children to take care of and was left alone to take care of them after having relied on my publication to support my family for years. I learned, I moved on, I sued, I made sense of my experiences, it was really really hard and wrong, for sure.

    You know, Andrea Dworkin was all but completely marginalized, hated and roundly lied about throughout the world at the time of her death for the positions she took. All of the great radical feminist leaders have had the same experience, though most not to the degree that Andrea did. Most of them have also been lied about and mischaracterized by some of the people you saw, back in the old godbags thread. Men (and women, including feminists and progressives) have consistently lied about feminists who have taken anti-porn/anti-sm/anti-gender stands, have caricatured them, stabbed them in the back, turned their backs on them when they needed them most. Some dropped completely out of sight for years, decades. Some became poor and homeless. Some became ill. Some of my best radical feminist friends work two, three jobs to make it. Some of my best radical feminist friends, including tenured professors, can’t get their work published even though they have received awards in the past. Why? Because they are opposed to pornography, prostitution, gender, and SM and they write outspokenly about it.

    The experience Pam and Melissa are having sucks, no doubt about it. Having said that, we’re all, as feminists, going to take those hits and much worse hits if we take certain positions and attempt to connect with mainstream political leaders. That is just a given. Challenge white male heterosupremacy — to wit, mainstream political leaders and their allies — you will take these hits. Make a misstep, you’ll be out. One thing Pam and Melissa have that Andrea and other great feminists, by and large, haven’t had, is quite a few bloggers supporting them.

    As to being taken seriously, yes, women aren’t– especially women of color, old women, lesbians, poor women, disabled women, fat women, and on it goes. Beautiful, white, young women aren’t taken seriously either– far from it. They are resented, objectified, ignored and treated like stupid airheads and bimbos. Women are still not taken seriously in the workplace anywhere, unless it’s a woman-owned, feminist workplace.

    As to I told you so, eh. I’m going to continue to speak my mind, to call things as I see them, to write with as much integrity as I can, for the sake of women like Mac’s Grandy up there, who posted above you, struggling to leave an abusive marriage and situation in fundie religion, for the sake of all women in really difficult situations, including those who feel alienated by a feminism that dehumanizes and caricatures religious women and which at the same time advocates for things like pornography, prostitution, SM and so on. What I say will piss people off at times, guaranteed, but I can’t and won’t stop giving voice to what I need to give voice to, as a writer, as a feminist, as a woman.


    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2007, 12:23 pm
  8. Do people actually still read Amp? Why feed that misogynist pig and creepy little gyn blood sucking vampire?

    As far as patriarchal religions go, I considerate it no different than being in an abusive relationship with a husband. The church just has many husbands for women to be abused by. I have nothing nice to say about the church any more than I have anything nice to say about abusive men. I will not condone or support abusive men or misogyny in any way, shape, form or capacity.

    Conditioning is powerful thing so I understand how women come to find themselves involved in such relationships. I also understand how difficult it is for women to extricate themselves from these relationships and the dire consequences and punishment that are sure to come for daring to do such a thing. It can cost a woman everything she has, owns or loves. Including her children and her life. So it’s understandable why women choose to stay in these relationships.

    It’s up to each individual woman to decide when she’s had enough and when she’s willing and ready to roll the dice. It can take years to work up this kind of courage and wait for just the right opening to make her move. And even then success doesn’t come easily. For a multitude of reasons, the average woman returns to her abuser an average of 7 times. An abuser will pull out all stops to cut her off at the path and force her to return to him. It’s all about power and control. And he has an entire brotherhood and system to assist him and aid and abet him. It’s overwhelming to a lone woman. Especially when few people will be willing to put their necks on the line and incur the wrath of that immense power to assist a lone woman. Which makes the odds dismal for that woman trying to escape. The boys are organized and have had milleniums on their side to get their ducks all lined up in a row to thwart her efforts and prevent it from happening.

    The church is no different. It’s one of the brotherhood’s most powerful institutions and has played a key role in keeping women subordinate and oppressed over the past several milleniums.

    I don’t blame women for being in the situation or for choosing to stay in it in order to best survive with minimal damage. But don’t expect me to break out the pom-poms and cheer on the patriarchy and the women who attempt to play it down, justify or support the brotherhood cuz it just ain’t going to happen. We all make our deals with the devil in order to survive. There’s no shame in that. But we’ve got to recognize that it is just that — a deal with the devil. And of course the bread is buttered on that side while moldy on the other. The patriarchs aren’t stupid.

    Posted by Luckynkl | February 8, 2007, 1:13 pm
  9. Edwards’ Bloggers Regret Critical Posts

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, February 8, 2007; 12:56 PM

    WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday he was personally offended by the provocative messages two of his campaign bloggers wrote criticizing the Catholic church, but he’s not firing them.

    Edwards issued a written statement about the fate of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen, two days after the head of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights demanded they be fired for messages they wrote before working on the campaign.

    The campaign distributed written apologies from the two women, who stressed they were writing on personal blogs and not on behalf of the campaign. Edwards said he believes in giving everyone a “fair shake.”

    “I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word,” Edwards said.

    Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, cited posts that the women made on blogs in the past several months in which they criticized the church’s opposition to homosexuality, abortion and contraception, sometimes using profanity.

    “The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte’s and Melissa McEwen’s posts personally offended me,” Edwards’ statement read. “It’s not how I talk to people, and it’s not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it’s intended as satire, humor or anything else.”

    The Edwards campaign did not immediately respond to requests for further comment beyond the written statement.

    Edwards remained silent for two days as he considered whether to keep the bloggers and the controversy grew on the Internet. The pair started working for him last week as part of his outreach to liberal voters and activists on the Internet.

    Marcotte also did not comment publicly until the campaign’s statement was released. McEwan defended herself Tuesday in a two-sentence posting on her blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, that noted her vote for 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

    “I’m not going to say a lot about this right now, but suffice it to say that the fact I cast a vote, without hesitation, for a Catholic during the last presidential election might suggest I’m not anti-Catholic,” her post read. “My degree from Loyola University might also suggest the same.”

    McEwen also posted the statement that the Edwards campaign distributed on Shakespeare’s Sister on Thursday. Her portion said that she doesn’t expect Edwards to agree with everything she’s posted, but they share “an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs.

    “It has never been my intention to disparage people’s individual faith, and I’m sorry if my words were taken in that way,” McEwen’s statement said.

    Marcotte’s statement said her writings on religion on her blog, Pandagon, are generally satirical criticisms of public policies and politics.

    “My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics,” Marcotte said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.”

    The Catholic League counts its membership at nearly 350,000. Donohue is a frequent critic of those who speak out against the church and what he calls “political correctness run amok,” such as the separation of Christmas and the holiday season.

    Donohue also doesn’t shy away from blunt language sometimes in his criticism of gays, Hollywood’s control by “secular Jews who hate Christianity” and even the Edwards bloggers, who he referred to as “brats” in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC.



    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2007, 6:23 pm
  10. Well I will say it. The Catholics chap my ass. I wasted five years of money sending my oldest to Catholic schools. My mother mistreated her two daughters and praised her five sons in the vein of wanting them to be priests. My Catholic friend used to rant that his mother and sister only went to church when they got a new car or a new dress. My daughter had a bitter Catholic first grade teacher who mistreated her badly I believe because my daughter was not white and blond. The Catholics aided to Henry VIII terror by not allowing him a divorce………………Oh yeah, the Catholics told me I had to pariticpate in an anti-abortion rally in Jackson MS as part of my daughter going to CCD classes. I could only be excused if I had to work that Saturday. I think the priest wanted my husband. I swear, I do. He would cross over the fence to our apartment and stare at him while we played basketball, never talking to anyone but him. And he was always touchy feely with the (then) husband too. The other one was overweight (extremely) and would talk on Sundays how he was doing so well on his diet, yet we would see Pizza delivery at his door almost nightly. No one else lived there but the two priests. Whatever, the Catholics ain’t my beans and cornbread, my mama, my daddy, my GOD,……

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 8, 2007, 6:41 pm
  11. I just think, working for the Edwards campaign is going to have the chillingest of all chilling effects on these women, especially given they had to publicly apologize, and Edwards didn’t have their backs: “I wouldn’t say anything like that!” Well, of course not, you want to get the nomination. However, there are all sorts of things you think and believe nevertheless, whether you say them or not, something that is true of any mainstream candidate. We find out about all that after these guys get elected.

    And why would feminists want to elect another white guy anyway? Aren’t we sick of white guys for president?

    This is what happens to you when you hook up with mainstream politicians. You lose your voice.


    Posted by womensspace | February 8, 2007, 6:56 pm
  12. Using the tools of patriachy, I wrote a short play in honor of Edwards and Donohue’s “relationship.”

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 8, 2007, 8:12 pm
  13. “And why would feminists want to elect another white guy anyway?”

    I’ve worked on three political campaigns for men, the last one in which I served as media manager for the would-be city council candidate. Since then I’ve sworn off working to get any man elected and have chosen to circle my wagons around issue-based campaigns instead.

    At the end I just didn’t feel my time and efforts scratching any man’s back, even a man I admire greatly, got results for women comparable to what I was putting into helping the man.

    Still, I wish Amanda and Melissa the best and know they’ll learn much from the experiences that they’ll put into serving women for years to come.

    Posted by Sam | February 8, 2007, 9:19 pm
  14. Jeez, was Amp born with a foot in his mouth?

    As for mainstream politicians, I don’t expect much from them, but I’ll contribute when they’re worthwhile and I’ll vote for them if they seem a better alternative, but activism ought to be the real work. The Democrats are far better than the Republicans, but they’re not going to make this country that much of a better place unless we push them hard.

    Posted by Metal Prophet | February 9, 2007, 3:49 am
  15. Hey, I was thinking just the other day about how how Amanda’s and Melissa’s talent not only bursts forth from their nostrils, but it FAIRLY bursts forth from their nostrils. And their ear canals. And their vaginas. And any other orifices they have available. They are like talent sprinklers, those two.

    Posted by Sassafras | February 9, 2007, 8:42 pm
  16. I agree with your comments about the marginalization of religious women.

    When I was in college, a friend of mine and fellow women’s studies major confirmed herself as Catholic. I was confused and needled her about it at the time, asking her how she could support such an anti-female institution. She essentially told me that she wasn’t going to forsake her religion because of the fact that it had been ruled and corrupted by men, and that the only way to change things was from the inside. I’m glad she told me that, and it helped to remind me of the complexity of subjects such as these.

    I despise the Catholic power figures for their anti-female policies regarding birth control, women in high power positions, and condoning women to stay in abusive marriages. I despise the patriarchy of the church who continue and facilitate those policies, but I don’t despise the people who don’t adopt them or believe them. Many Catholics are suffering just as my friend is and wish that the church would make progressive changes that reflected the desires of it’s congregation. I don’t support people who unquestioningly follow these policies and do nothing about them, but I also don’t detest people who don’t want to abandon their spirituality or their feminist ideals because society is saying the two are mutually exclusive.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 10, 2007, 1:57 am
  17. Wow, could Amp be any more enthusiastically supportive of rape culture if he tried?

    Posted by mekhit | February 10, 2007, 9:12 pm
  18. Amanda resigned.

    Yay, she has her voice back. And we all learned something.


    Posted by womensspace | February 13, 2007, 1:23 pm

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