Barbarism Update: The Culture at Large, Our Videos on the Lam & A Soft (Several) Word(s) from Rebecca

Oh, hello! I didn’t see you there! Rebecca here. I wanted to take a moment to update our quadrillions of fans about the State of the Barbs. One) It’s true, we are on the tail end of a small break. Two) You can heartily look forward to TWO NEW videos. They consist of a) Sarah discussing female anatomy and me breaking it down dance-wise and b) A scintillating young, exposed male form named Jeremiah L shimmying to the beat of… all three of us discussing gender roles. There is much to look forward to. In this absence of videos and specifically Sarah-generated information, I am going to take the reins on Barbarism and give YOU a piece of my mind!

  • I wanted to bring up Faith Soloway. She is a parodist, writer, comedienne-singer and entertainer of many stripes.

One of her legions of endeavors I have enjoyed is her series Secrets, a collection of fake promo videos for a nonexistent soap opera. The hothouse mainstreaming of non-heterosexual relations is done with effective humor, camp and life! I appreciate it and I hope you will too.

  • Also of interest: Country Strong, the seemingly terrible new Gwyneth Paltrow movie. Manohla Dargis may not be my number one movie reviewer (that would be A.O. Scott, at whose name I swoon, sigh, slobber and feel soberly appreciative) but her review here is one for the head-shaking (in terms of its disturbing sentiments, not its very good writing). Some snippets:

“As they apparently like to say in Hollywood (still!), the only successful woman is a desperately unhappy woman.” A woman who wears “a strategically conspicuous cross necklace… a leash.” “The female star… is a compendium of stereotypes about women forced to choose between career and love (guess which wins).” “It’s too bad that Ms. Feste didn’t ditch the female victim bit and make a movie about a survivor like the musician Marshall Chapman, who has a small, vivid role as Kelly’s road manager and is going strong at 62 with songs in which a woman can run “on a tank full of burning desire” and not just despair.”

  • Additionally, you may not know that Sarah and I heatedly take part in an informal book club (in that I take note of what books she’s reading and order them on Amazon). But it’s true! Some titles we are reading include Women’s Anatomy of Arousal and Gender Outlaws. Another book I mentioned briefly is The Clitoral Truth. A worthwhile read. Let’s take a look at some quotations, interchanged with my thoughtful summations!

Women’s place in society is determined not by their anatomy and physiology, but by the way that their anatomy and physiology are defined and perceived…. (As said Voltaire: “In physique, woman is weaker than man on account of her physiology.” For example: her monthly emissions of blood and the physical stresses of pregnancy.) Perceived differences in women’s bodies became the rationale for denying them equal access to the social stage, just as perceived differences in their genital anatomy denied them the right to pleasure..”

The upshot: Women are not BIOLOGICALLY inferior. It’s not inherent; it’s not the way we are. Inferiority is ASSUMED for us based on CULTURAL stereotypes. What’s more, women’s assumed weakness and inferiority rest on the ancient fear of women’s insatiable passion! Aaahh! Passion! This insatiability must be controlled for if unleashed it will disrupt the male-centered, heterosexual order! This is why traits we distressingly associate with femininity (daintiness, discretion, quietude) are valued and hence encouraged (for they are certainly not instinctive or intrinsic). Keep the women quiet and docile so they don’t unleash their fiery female stuff! Which is only so scary and mysterious because we don’t bother to examine it! At which point we would see the fundamental similarities between the sexes. A penis; a clitoris. Separate, equal. “The female possesses a structure that in all its separate parts is entirely analogous to the male.”

Where we fear, we fear others. When we feel inferior, we make others feel inferior–another iteration on ‘hurt people hurt people.’ Women are made to be forcibly chaste and “modest” (so much as it’s the appearance thereof–the idea of “modesty” in general seems a detrimental idea to me; a repressive mandate that comes from outside as opposed to the much more reasonable, self-appointed and titrated-according-to-each-person’s-temperament humility) so (some) men can superficially live without fear of women’s historically assumed ‘intemperance’ and ‘insatiability.’ These overblown assumptions of women’s desire compel weak and hence controlling men to fear they cannot meet, cannot fulfill this scary assumed passion. People who don’t feel strong enough in themselves to contend with women as equals must make up hyperbolic emotions for them, subdue them and disenfranchise them because they fear them. “As long as women’s genitals are seen as inferior, our ability and right to explore and experience them may continue to be seen as less vital than that of men.”

“Anatomy is not destiny so much as the social construction of anatomy is destiny.”


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