Motherfucked: Three Stories of #MommyHate

Left-feminism is more decadent and depraved than I thought, if the offerings for this mother’s day are any indication. Misogyny is a vicious phenomenon, but no aspect of it is more pervasive or more pernicious than mommy-hate. And that’s exactly what’s being offered this week from the left-feminist-identified blogosphere.

Welcome to the third wave, where women never have to grow up, get to be as slutty as they want, and hating your mom is a badge of honor. Let’s start with Tracie Egan Morrissey’s article How Do You Protect Your Daughter from Your Mother’s Bullshit? A chronic sufferer of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, a harmless comment made by her mom about her chubby baby and pantsuits has left her convinced that her daughter will be as scarred by fat-fear as she is.

Because her mom, you know, is responsible for every single negative comment ever made about a female body. She’s guilty of such things as worrying that her daughters would become obese and withholding fast food, sometimes. (Shhhh. Don’t tell Michelle Obama that Morrissey thinks she will scar a nation of little girls and don’t tell Morrissey about FLOTUS’s childhood obesity program. She’d become her mom writ large!) Or maybe it’s the mixed messages Morrisey received when her mom would reward her and her sister with fast food for major accomplishments; I don’t know, I can’t make much of her diatribe against her mom except that she has very obviously never given much thought to the dynamic of mommy hate in the culture, and instead has bought into it. Here’s a sample of her work from this article:

Part of that, though, is that I’ve been able to forgive her—something that’s taken a great deal of time (and therapy)—for inadvertently making my brain a veritable toilet swirl of vain, fat-hating, food-craving, yo-yo dieting, irrational self-criticism. I’m sure my mother didn’t mean to traumatize me or my sister with her own disordered eating, expressed disgust of fat people, forcing us to diet as children, and verbally criticizing us for not being thin enough. And I’m sure she’d deny it. Her account of the past tends to be different than how things really happened. Her selective memory of our childhood is as golden as the bottomless glass of white wine that has no doubt clouded her perspective. But it happened.

Geez, over-privileged much, Tracie? Because her mom cared about her health and went about doing it in an imperfect way 20 years before fitness became vogue, she’s an ever-loving bitch who has fucked Tracie up! UP! UP! She’s needed therapy to recover from it, for goodness sake, it was so horrible. Don’t tell that to the little girls or young women who’ve had the crap beaten out of them their whole lives by actual terrible parents, or they might start getting out the pitchforks and sticking them in Morrissey’s still-not-fat ass. My mom weighed 250 pounds when I was a child, and eventually her weight rose to almost 300 pounds before she had bariatric surgery. We lived off hot dogs and mac & cheese as kids because we were poor, and I still love my mom fiercely for what she had to put up with as a woman, and because despite a few flaws, she was an AWESOME mom, and an even better grandma to my daughter.

Next up is the older, and you would think wiser, Kate McGuiness. You would think wrong. Still a narcissist after all these years, still clinging stubbornly to the teen-aged hurt that she never grew out of, McGuiness, now the mother of 23 year old son, is still trying to stick it to her mom. Her article What My Mother Did To Me I will Not Do To My Son accuses her mother of smothering her. Yes, you read that right. Her mom loved her too much. Forsooth! The abuse she endured being so close to her mom! Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren & Identity Envy

I feel for Elizabeth Warren. I really do. My family has talked glibly of our Native American ancestry, even pointing to a great-grandmother named Hannah as being “half-Cherokee.” We don’t have any genealogical evidence to back this up–well, at least I don’t. My own grandmother went through the lengthy task of documenting as much as she could of our family tree when she was alive, but I was never able to really make much sense of her notes. A cousin even once suggested that I take advantage of an Indian scholarship fund, which I could qualify for as long as I could prove I was 1/16th Indian, any tribe would do. I didn’t take advantage of that program.

And that’s one of the differences that doesn’t make me feel too bad for her. I could have strung together my grandmother’s notes into enough evidence for the scholarship, but even then I would have used it to fund my community college education. I didn’t chose to do so for the same reasons I never asked a man to pay my bills, even though plenty of people, including some of my dates, encouraged me to. It didn’t feel right. I assumed I lived in a honest world (gawd, I was so naive) and that playing by the rules would get me somewhere. I was earnest enough to believe that gaming the system would hurt people such scholarships were actually intended for. I’m still that earnest. 😀

If Elizabeth Warren had claimed her heritage and not profited from it, she would not be in the situation she is today. Identity envy is common. We see it every day in the white kids with their rap gear and black women with dyed blond hair, and among white women who seek exotic lips and tans, and the list goes on. It’s even standard operating procedure when trying to gain entry into some of the best colleges and jobs in the country, according to some. That the elite have figured out how to game the system should not surprise anyone. It’s what the elite do from time immemorial. Inherited advantage is part of the systems of privilege that exist in every culture. What is unusual is that the elite are not often put in a position where their behavior is noted and analyzed; they much prefer to be the ones analyzing those above them, but especially those below them. Continue reading

Harshing the Sexist Mellow

High on Hate

We have a job this year: Harshing the sexist mellow. If you’re not familiar with the phrase “harshing my mellow,” you may be a bit confused by the jargon. Harshing a mellow means to interfere one way or another with the “high” of another person, whether that high is due merely to a good mood, or the imbibing of some intoxicant. It’s basically drug slang that was made popular on college campuses throughout the 1980s and 1990s, hence my familiarity with it.

When we talk about harshing the sexist mellow, we are talking about bringing down the buzz that acts of sexism and misogyny bring to the perpetrator.  These things–sexism & misogyny–act like drugs on the person perpetrating them. We saw this in 2008 with the sly grins of the boys who held up the “Iron my shirt” sign at a Clinton rally, and on the beaming faces of the men and women on the left who proudly wore their “Sarah Palin is a cunt” shirts. It was evident on the faces of John Favreau and his buddy as they groped the cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton’s body shortly after Obama’s election. We saw it in the discourse about women candidates all through 2008 and 2010. It’s a drug and it makes perpetrators giddy. Our job this year is to rob them of this opportunity.

But how? What won’t work is continuing to bitch about it. They don’t care if your feelings are hurt. They don’t care if your daughters or their daughters pay the price; most of the people who are doing it don’t even have children yet. If they do, they think they can fix the world in time for them, which is, of course, ridiculous. Patriarchy has been under siege at least since Mary Wollstonecraft published her treatise, A Vindication of The Rights of Women in 1792, and more broadly since John Stuart Mill penned The Subjugation of Women in 1869, thus bringing many men onboard. While progress has been made, the war is barely half over and we have much to do to win it. Complaining doesn’t work. Complaining just wastes your energies and keeps you bogged down in your own negativity. And that is a recipe for failure.

That means we have to be smarter, faster, and in some cases, stealthier than the sexists and misogynists. One of the things we can do is promote analytical arguments that directly address the sexism on display. For example, let’s take the case of the phony “war on women.” Journolisters and their friends are busy selling the war on every front to which they have access. One of the ways we can address this is to use the rhetoric of the left against them. Do you remember 2006 and the book Crashing the Gate? Written by Markos Moulitsas, who was the mouthpiece for the left at the time (his fortunes have since floundered) and his partner, Jerome Armstrong, the book encouraged Democrats to give up their special interests for the sake of Unity. I wrote about it in 2008, in my article Extreme Offense. Here’s a quote:

I refer you to chapter 2, This Ain’t No Party:

The Democratic Party for too long has been a group of constituencies instead of a party. ~Howard Dean, June 4, 2005

Yes, that Howard Dean, the head of the DNC. That’s how the chapter opens, and then it goes on to bemoan the fact that the Democratic Party is a “gaggle of special and narrow interests, often in conflict with each other, rarely working in concert to advance their common cause.” …

The second chapter of Crashing the Gate goes on to name the constituencies, and the so-called problems with each one of them. What they all have in common, of course, is that they demand accountability to their cause. But Markos and Jerome argue that these groups should just “get over it” already, and accept the fact that we have to have pro-life Democrats, that we have to have blue dogs, and Bush dogs. They argue that these kinds of Democrats can be disciplined in caucus into voting Democratic, so the only thing that matters if the -D after their name. It is that last argument that reveals their true authoritarian inclinations. Rather than finding people to elect as Democrats who have actual Democratic values, they’ll elect anyone who claims to be a Democrat and then try to force them into agreement.

This six-year-old rhetoric didn’t last long if the Campaign for the War on Women© is any indication. Just six years after asking women to set aside their affinity for reproductive rights, those same reproductive rights are being used to push women back into line for Democrats. So which is it? Continue reading