What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exhibit A: How Leftist Feminists Block Progress----A Tutorial

Cynthia Ruccia

Barbara O'Brien

No, that is not a picture of me. Here is a picture of me:

The first picture you see above is Exhibit A:  one Barbara O'Brien who has a blog I'd never heard of until a few days ago, mahablog. She not only has this blog, but she is also a practitioner of Buddhism which she writes about for About.com. I became aware of her and her blog when my friend AB put a link to my last piece about the death knell of leftist feminism and traffic from her site came over to Women Win Too. I was curious, so I checked it out, and I could feel my blood pressure rising, as many of us do when we have to confront the intractable conversation that substitutes for women's rights talk these days from the left.

First my friend left a provocative comment. Then this Barbara O'Brien left an even nastier response. I decided to weigh in because after all it was MY blog they were fighting over and I had noticed that Ms. O'Brien hadn't even taken the time to read my piece. So she sent me this response:

"I didn’t call any blog piece “Republican.” I called Anna Belle Republican, and she linked to “Women Win Too” as her blog.

However, the piece you claim as yours is nothing but name calling. Obviously you don’t like “lefty feminists,” whoever they are, but you never get around to saying why, or clearly state what they did that you think was so awful. There is some amorphous whining about “legislation,” but no clear statement of what legislation you are talking about and why you don’t like it. Eventually you mention “quota legislation.” I didn’t even know there was any “quota legislation” on the table anywhere. It’s way down everyone’s “to do” list, if it is.

Sloppy, writing, sloppy thinking, and not worth my time. Good by."

I tried to rationally rebut this argument, but I had been blocked from the site. In defense of my friend AB, she is using a very very interesting technique to try to break the leftist women from their old habits that are holding all of us back. It is called "Trolling For Women," and I suggest you read it. You might also want to sign up for her new women's news aggregator site that is totally non-partisan and carries both sides of the story. It's called Power of Women. She's starting to look like our own version of Andrew Breitbart, provocateur and writer!! You go girl!!! She may be controversial, but our quest needs to be fought on all fronts.

Anyway, back to Barbara O'Brien. At first I was livid having been cut off just like that without any reasonable back and forth about the issues at hand. Just name calling and nastiness with her nose stuck up in the air. My friend T is constantly telling me that something strange is amiss on the left of late. For those of you who don't know me, I am a recovering lefty myself. I am just shy of 60 years old, and most of my life was spent in Barbara O'Brien's camp. I left all of that after 2008 exposed that the leftists and Democrats are as sexist as the right and Republicans. I was one of the 3.4 million Hillary supporters who left the party for good, and the real sleight of hand in the 2008 election was how the Obama machine was able to unmoor so many of us who had been married to the party. A new read on that subject by Anita Finlay, Dirty Words on Clean Skin poignantly describes the experience of so many of us and pinpoints the REAL war on women coming from BOTH parties.

Anyway, as I was saying, my friend T says that there is this strange "lockstep" mentality that has emerged from the left, and if you don't fall in line and agree with every word they say, you are shunned and booted out. If how O'Brien treats folks is typical, and I think many of us who have tried to talk to these folks would agree that she is, it is a sad commentary about what "progressive" has become and that is a calcified and almost dictatorial totalitarian movement. It is very very sad to see my former proud party sink to that most un-American place where freedom of speech, freedom of ideas, and honest debate are shoved aside and bullying tactics are the order of the day. Just in case I am insulting the left, please know that the right is also guilty as charged.

I was also disturbed that a practicing Buddhist would be so nasty. I always thought that Buddhists always strived to be peaceful and loving, and honestly for someone who puts themselves out there as an example of what Buddhism is, I was disappointed not to get my chance to be heard in the name of free speech and honoring the divine in all of us. Oh well, I guess we're all only human, even Buddhists.

But the main point of all of this was that the left NEVER EVER listens to what those of us who are challenging them are saying. They continue to frame the debate in the left vs. right fight and have utterly closed their minds to the NEW ideas emerging. They continually dismiss these new ideas because they are so hardened in their framing of the issues that there is no room for anything new. They like to think of themselves as "progressive" which to my way of thinking means "forward looking." And forward looking means being open to new ideas. Now in case some of you mahablog fans find your way over here and think I am name calling, please take a breath and hear what I am saying. I am NOT calling you names. I am frustrated with you, yes, because you are NOT LISTENING. That is a legitimate criticism, not a name call. Also, I am NOT SAYING that your ideas suck. I actually believe that we all want the same thing. I am just saying that your TACTICS have been unsuccessful and that we need to try something new.

Really now, don't we all, even most of the women on the right, want equal pay for equal work? Don't we all want to see 50% of all power postitions to be held by women in both the private and public sectors? Wouldn't we ALL love to show our daughters that they really CAN be anything they want to be because there are others doing the things that we are telling them they can do? Don't we want to see the disgusting sexism we've seen all of our lives go away so we can be treated with a little more respect?

Those of us who have been paving the way for this new feminism that is being born have always felt that the left will be the very very LAST group to come on board because they are stuck in a rut. They do NOT represent the majority. But we need all hands on deck, and honestly Barbara O'Brien, I KNOW you and I and people like us really want the same thing. What's wrong with finding a new way to get there? For sure, the old way has let us all down-------we make 77 cents on the man's dollar, we hold 17% of Congressional seats, women run only 2.8% of the Fortune 1000 companies, we hold 12% of the governorships, never a woman president, never a woman VP.  Let's work together and find a new path. The old one-----well you know that old saying, if you do the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result? That's where feminism is right now.


  1. Great commentary as usual Cynthia.

    What we see, and what you experienced is the same narrow-minded, my-way-or-the-highway attitude that turns friends into foes.

    The "old" leftiest, and that includes some of the young women who are on board cannot expand and grow until they stop alienating the very people they need to do that.

    It's a pretty stupid way to operate.

    1. it just makes me so sad!! It just stifles debate towards progress. Even this morning, I've had a few people ask to take me off their lists because they don't want to hear something different. Why did we stop listening to one another?

    2. You have to let them have their noise cave. My uncle disowned me just last month for suggesting that funding PP might nit be enough, and that maybe donating to a group that mentors young poor women might also be helpful. MY UNCLE. He's 60-some-odd years old and living the life in the top 5% in NYC. That is whack, but trust me, my life has been so much better since he removed his poison from my life. He was constantly trying to police my thoughts and push me into his way of thinking. Paternalistic to say the least.

      Anyway, we have to let the true believers have their true beliefs. They are tiny group compared to the audience that's available. And if they won't make common sense decisions like listening to the people in their life they say they care about, then we have a duty to use that against them. We can use that tunnel vision, that noise machine they live in to isolate them further, thus impacting the power of their message. We have to turn the table, let go of the hurt, and fight back HARD! It's what Alice Paul would have done. MY 2 cents.

  2. Awesome! Thanks for the linky love, Cynthia. Just so you know, I've got two more weeks left to this semester, and as they are the final weeks, I will be swamped for the most part. But then I get a three week break and during that break I intend to try to assemble a woman's tolling brigade so we can organize and coordinate activity. As I learned when I posted Trolling for Women, a lot of us are already doing this. If we can concentrate our efforts, we can have a bigger impact. I am excited to get it going! Wish the semester was already over...

    1. it's so nice that we will team up and gang up like the 20-something bratty boys on the other side!!!! And if alot of us are my age, it makes sense. I ran a half marathon a year before my breast cancer (and plan on doing one again in October----WOO HOO!!!!), and the temperature was in the high 30's. It was only the post menopausal women and the 20-something boys who ran in short and tank tops!! LOL!!! Only we're older and wiser so watch out boys---you aren't going to know what hit you!!

  3. It seems to me that starting over with an entirely new paradigm is a route we must seriously consider. The Suffragette Movement was its own entity and eventually was in demand by those parties, entities; i.e., MEN in charge. Of course, there was a lot of sacrifices that these women made. But, IMHO, if they could accomplish getting women to vote 100 years ago without the luxuries of modern technology & social media, why can't REAL change occur for women today? As you said, Cynthia, BOTH parties are immersed in sexism. Therefore, it is highly improbable for me to jump from the proverbial frying pan into the fire given the regressive policies of the Consv. It is time, no... past time to think out of the box and seriously work towards a REAL women's movement, and ultimately Women's Party. My big dream? Yes! As you also said, doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results is not working.

    1. That's interesting what you said about a new paradigm, because that's exactly what I was thinking last night. The women's movement in America was born in 1848 when the first convention for women's right's was held. The document they produced, The Declaration of Sentiments, was a laundry list of problems that faced women and needed to be addressed. This went on for years and years as women tried to build a big tent, which collapsed into two big-tents. Those tents worked and worked and finally they came to understand they needed one voice and one objective, the objective that would deliver them the most progress. In the context of that, the most obvious cause was women's suffrage. A lot of the other problems could be solved if we all had the right to vote. They were right, and they focused, and they won us that vote.

      That's where we are today, with a hodge-podge of loosely connected "women's issues" with the centerpiece being abortion. We need to replace that centerpiece with voting for women, getting more in office. That's the paradigm that needs to shift. What can women do that will get them the most power to change their futures? Fill the offices with women. It would totally throw a monkey wrench in the sexist works of both parties, and give women real representation. They will literally change the system. It won't look like it does now with so many women in office. We need to work on articulating this argument, so we can make more women in office the centerpiece of a new feminism.

    2. Ginger----thanks for weighing in!! The idea, ideally, of a women's party sounds great except that the track record of third parties in the U.S. has been dismal. I envision us becoming the ultimate Independent swing bloc that will have to be won over in order to win. THAT is power.....and really we aren't far from that paradigm.

  4. I am almost 60 and I think young women are right. They need to start a new women's movement independent from both misogynist political parties who don't give a rats ass about women or their issues. Women's political progress has been stalled out for at least the last 20 years and the leaders of the women's movement sold out to Democrats years ago. Also the women's movement should represent the needs of working class women not just the view points of over educated wealthy women although wealthy women will probably have to be the ones to organize it since they are the only ones who have the time and necessary skills. I think it is best if the issues the new movement takes on first affect all women. Birth control and abortion affect only women who are sexually active with men for about a third of their life and there are already plenty of groups working on these issues. But issues like equal pay for equal work and equal job opportunity, parity in political representation, media images of women and girls and parity in media ownership for women, and equal and relevant medical coverage for women affect all women and girls their entire life. Let the old lefties continue talking to themselves about their pet issues, you don't need their permission to start a new politically savvy women's movement and it is a waste of your time and energy to try and convert them. Also have speakers available to media so they will come to your new org for remarks. Part of the problem is the media just keep going to the old feminists for comments. If you build it many of the old feminists will come over to your new org.

    1. Hey Bes----these are fabulous ideas!! How about saying "we" instead of "you." We need you too!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And you and I are around the same age BTW