K-LO GETS THE FJM TREATMENT, SAYS SHE DESERVED IT

I usually try to space out the FJM series, as the entries tend to be a little overwhelming to read and labor-intensive to write. But K-Lo (a.k.a. Kathryn Jean Lopez) wrote something so stupid that were I in the midst of summiting Everest I would stop for an hour, possibly losing a toe in the process, to FJM it. K-Lo is a prominent wingnut and "neo-feminist." You know, the kind of "feminist" who thinks that gender discrimination is fictional and women need men to protect them. Yeah. One of those. Get ready. The treatise in question is "Confusion Reigns as Tradition Decays." If the use of the word "tradition" wasn't enough to send a chill down your spine, then you don't know K-Lo.

According to an article in the Boston Globe, an informal poll taken among 200 teenagers

It's "informal", i.e. not a poll and in no way indicative of a random sample of public opinion, and it was asked to high school kids. Boston high school kids. We're off to a great start.

has revealed that almost half of them blame the pop star Rihanna for her recent beating, allegedly by her boyfriend, Chris Brown.

According to the internet, these two people of whom I've never heard are celebrities who churn out the kind of brainless, ProTooled pop music that makes my soul weep with boredom. And he slapped her around. Well that's not good.

It's just one survey. But it's very bad news.

I agree. Domestic violence is a big problem, and male-on-female DV is especially prominent.

Everyone take a big mouthful of your favorite beverage at this point. You'll know why in a minute. Also, if you have a snooty English butler, ask him to bring you a monocle. One that you don't mind breaking. So, you know, not your good monocle.

And feminists are to blame.

*spit take*

*monocle shatters*

Whhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Wait, I thought it was Chris Brown's fault. Oh, you mean the childrens' survey responses. That is the fault of feminists? K-Lo, I've been to two county fairs and a Carrot Top show yet this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Think about that. Carrot Top.

I don't say that to bash Gloria Steinem or whomever the most easily blamed feminist would be at this point.

Heavens no! This doesn't read at all like a desperate attempt to go off half-assed on feminism.

I say it so we can collectively get our heads out of the feminist fog in which we've been lost.

OK, just to make sure we're all still on the same page: because of feminism, people think male-on-female violence is acceptable. Right? That's what we're doing here? OK.

I appreciate the kids wanting Rihanna to take some responsibility for her situation. She's an adult, after all, as is Brown. If Rihanna is getting beaten, she should get the heck away from the person responsible. And as a best-selling artist, she has the financial freedom to extricate herself from her trouble.

Well, the psychology of domestic violence is a lot more complex than that but, yes, as uninvolved observers it's pretty easy for us to say "Easy fix: dump his ass."

But where's the outrage over what Brown is accused of doing?

Well you could have written a column expressing outrage, but instead you wrote this idiotic piece of hackery about "the feminists." Maybe that's where all the outrage went.

There's something off when so many people blame the victim, not the aggressor.

But nothing wrong with blaming amorphous concepts like feminism. Also, "so many people" is a handful of Boston high school kids who probably got their ideas from their parents who got them from Rush and dipshits like you, K-Lo. So yeah, something is wrong alright.

As one male reader e-mailed me: "The only times I can remember my father hitting me was for fighting with my sisters. I resented it as a child, but I told my father, shortly before he died at age 90, that it was the best life lesson he taught me of many."

No, the best life lesson would have been "Don't hit people."

He added: "I am stunned by the number of women, young and old, abused by men. There isn't a hell hot enough for men responsible for the injustice of abusing women." Now there's an appropriate reaction!

Is there some evidence that this is not how a lot of people reacted? Seems like most of the people for whom this would not be the first reaction would be the religious "Woman obeys man" nutjobs in your neck of the woods, K-Lo.

What has happened — and what Rihanna and Chris have to do with Gloria — is that by inventing oppression where there is none and remaking woman in man's image, the sexual and feminist revolutions have confused everyone.

OK, checking in again to make sure I follow the argument. Women cried wolf, making up oppression where none existed, and now no one cares when the wolf comes. The wolf, in this case, is Chris Brown. So women cried Chris Brown one too many times and now Chris Brown is really here.

It's natural for us to expect men to protect women, and women to expect some level of physical protection.

Your entire argument would make sense if this statement was true, but…stay with me, because this is the important part…it's not. There's nothing natural about Protestant social conditioning. Your kids think this is the natural Order of Things because you tell them it is.

You know what you sound like, K-Lo? Like an Uncle Tom. Like a black person in the 1800s standing up for white people and agreeing that subjugation is the Natural Order of Things. And that being a slave isn't really so bad. In fact, your argument is virtually identical. Just find-and-replace the nouns.

But in postmodern America, those natural gender roles have been upended by academic jargon and political rhetoric.

Let's summarize the historical record of America: the K-Lo version. Everything was great for women. There was no oppression. Then feminists invented some, and now everyone's confused because they said there was some when there wasn't and now when there IS some (which, according to the original K-Lo hypothesis, there isn't) we react incorrectly.

The result is confusion.

I'll give you that. I am fucking confused.

And perhaps, too, a neo-feminist backlash.

I'm tired and my butt itches. I think I'll have a nap when I'm done protecting women and bench pressing this 1991 Hyundai Scoupe.

The need for some return to sanity forms the subtext of an article in this month's issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. The article explores how some women find themselves abandoning heterosexual relationships in favor of partners of their own gender.

"Subtext" in the hands of conservative columnist means "Seeing what we want to see and making up a right-wing moral where none exists or is intended." Like that bitchin' list of the greatest conservative rock songs.

One recently divorced academic describes what attracted her to a future female lover. "She got up and gave me the better seat, as if she wanted to take care of me. I was struck by that. … she took initiative and was the most take-charge person I'd ever met."

Scientists at the University of People have just discovered that people like it when other people are nice to them. This anecdote confirms and strengthens their findings.

This article isn't about closeted homosexuality;

No, this isn't about K-Lo's kids. Yet.

it's not asserting that there's a vast population of women who were born to be with women, and are instead trapped in unfulfilling heterosexual arrangements. No, this article, despite its celebration of unconventional lifestyles, boils down to something much more orthodox:

Being with someone who respects you: unconventional. Well, that probably is an unconventional idea for a lot of daily K-Lo readers.

Femininity and masculinity mix well together.

So do cockroaches and garbage.

And women are taking masculinity where they can get it, even if it's in the arms of a fellow female.

They could probably get it from a man – IF we accept the premise that these women are honestly hetero – if we didn't raise men to think that A) women are weak and need male protection and B) that the real force working against women isn't misogyny, it's feminism.

I wonder if reinforcing traditional M/F, Dominant/Weak gender roles has anything to do with encouraging domestic violence? Nah…that's a stretch. It's probably feminism's fault.

Last year, author Kathleen Parker published a book called "Save the Males." What a perfect title, what a necessary cause, I thought at the time.

Yeah, Susan Faludi did that 10 years ago.

As Parker wrote: "For the past 30 years or so, males have been under siege by a culture that too often embraces the notion that men are to blame for all of life's ills. … While women have been cast as victims…men have been quietly retreating into their caves."

I try to be responsible for fewer ills. That seems a better response than retreating.

Men kinda are to blame for all of life's ills. Certainly more than half. Men brought you the Inquisition, the Holocaust, every war in recorded history, nerve gas, clip shows, the McRib, and Menudo.

Sometimes, of course, women are victims.

Yeah, but…they kinda want it, don't they? I mean, look at how they're dressed.

But while feminists whine about false pay gaps and oppression that doesn't exist,

Huh.

Well, this would be more credible if pay gaps were not an easily demonstrable fact, discrimination and harrassment in the workplace were not rampant, and this column weren't written by the National Review's Token Female Columnist.

we ignore the mess that we created by rejecting nature and tradition

"Tradition" means doing things the way they have been done previously. Which is, you know, just about the worst possible argument for continuing to do something unless it has proven to be very successful. At this point I should note that enforcing traditional gender roles has always worked well.

We've so confused ourselves that almost 100 teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown.

And for my next act of contortion, I'll explain how Jesse Jackson causes racism! How abortion causes child abuse and breast cancer! How liberal judges cause genital warts! How BK Chicken Fries make your sons gay!

Why wouldn't they?

Well, maybe they wouldn't if their parents raised them to understand that people don't solve problems by hitting other people. And that hitting someone else, absent self-defense or an invitation to do so, is unacceptable behavior among adults.

Men and women are equal, but we've conditioned ourselves to expect a lot less of men, and maybe too much of women.

I've never felt that "Don't hit women" is either too much or too little to ask of men. But we do ask too little of men overall. For instance, we don't ask them to recognize that gender discrimination is a serious problem. Instead we write columns claiming that oppression doesn't exist and making excuses for widespread victim-blaming.

"Save the Males" needs a follow-up: A Woman's Memo to Her Sister Feminists: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. Or instead of another book, why don't we just reboot?

Good idea, K-Lo. Go ahead and write that book. I'm sure your kind of "feminist" – a motley crew of homeschool moms and housewives who can justify the occasional black eye – will eat it up.

Was it really that bad when men didn't have to pretend to be what they weren't and women didn't have to try to reinvent themselves to make up for what they lost?

You're right. Things were better for women before the 1960s. Things were good. Reeeeeeeeeeal good.

This is the heart of the entire modern conservative movement: the constant, nonspecific yearning for the way "things" "used to be" back before The Fall, before the 60s came along and we lost our way. They yearn endlessly for a trip back in time to a fictional Norman Rockwell America that never was, a world in which everything was perfect. Men worked, kids were apple-cheeked, women were pregnant and baking, and everyone was white (OK, there were Coloreds, but they Knew their Place). You know, the good old days. Back before feminism caused all this confusion. Back when women were never beaten or, if they were, society unanimously condemned the act and no one, absolutely no one, looked upon spousal abuse understanding the urge and approving of the act.

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42 Responses to “K-LO GETS THE FJM TREATMENT, SAYS SHE DESERVED IT”

  1. Matthew Says:

    My favorite thing about that time was how everyone was above average.

  2. Nate Says:

    Crimony. If you were paid better (read: at all) or horribly bored, you could just FJM 5 townhall.com articles a day. What a cesspool of irrational thought. Not that I'm suggesting anything, but in the South they put insecticide in stagnant water that breeds mosquitoes…

  3. Indira Says:

    Awesome post!

  4. J. A. Baker Says:

    “Subtext” in the hands of conservative columnist means “Seeing what we want to see and making up a right-wing moral where none exists or is intended.” Like that bitchin’ list of the greatest conservative rock songs.

    Or that bitchin' list of the greatest conservative movies of the last 25 years.

  5. Christina Says:

    Scientists at the University of People have just discovered that people like it when other people are nice to them. This anecdote confirms and strengthens their findings.

    Thank you. Best Take Down of this article I've seen–even among the purely feminist blogs.

    And I'm making that Carrot Top quote my Quote of the Day.

  6. Shane Says:

    Excellent Post.

    I can't believe the number of great bands who were hijacked for that ridiculous list of greatest conservative rock songs. I am fairly sure at least a few would have some strong objections.

    Unfortunately, I don't think this type of faulty logic is limited to nut jobs like K-Lo. On serveral occasions recently I have heard women of my age group wish they too could have lived the simple and blissful life of the 1950's. "Wouldn't it be great if we could dress up in those great retro fashions, put a ribbon in our hair, and kiss our hard working husbands as they scuttled off to make the money. Then we could spend the whole day drinking cocktails, baking boxed cake mixes, and gossiping while our kids played unattended out in the still safe streets….oh if only we were born 60 years earlier…"

    I think the show Madmen may be in part to blame for the recent upsurge in such conversations, although I confess I haven't seen a single episode. I think many women are actually completely ignorant, or just blissfully forgetful of the harsh realities of the past. They should talk to my grandma, she would set them straight about just how "great" those days were.

  7. Willem van Oranje Says:

    K-Lo suffers from Battered Wife Syndrome. She needs to please her ideological brethren in order to be accepted by them and therefore the only option left to here is accuse her sisters for putting these ideas in her head.

  8. Evan Sultanik Says:

    Re: Menudo

    I assume you mean the band, because the soup is delicious.

  9. ladiesbane Says:

    If K-Lo had heard the facts about what happened, then listened to the people who think Rihanna deserved what she got (instead of hearing a bunch of crap third-hand and stitching an unrelated premise around it) she would shake in her shoes. She is not mistaken in her premise; she is a deluded fraud with no interest in reality.

    Identification with the oppressor might be part of what's derailing her brain, but I think it's more of the conservative delusion that Everything Would Be Perfect If Everyone Did As I Say. It likes Just Say No and Abstinence Only. This crew thinks that if everyone followed the Ozzie and Harriet mold, there would be no more problems. It doesn't accommodate reality, but they think that's reality's problem, not theirs.

    And hey, can we have more on logical fallacies and flawed rhetoric? I think the FJM treatment is completely suitable here, but delicious snark is not so nutritious. (I also love the logic of argument.)

  10. Susan of Texas Says:

    I can't believe the lies you tell about K-Lo. She can't have kids becaue she isn't married and therefore is a virgin. Pffft! Kids!

    But more important, you don't understand the reason behind K-Lo's gentle words of advice and admonishment. It's for your own good, so you can obey God and so God will love you and not smite you dead. Doh! Everybody know that!

  11. Calabama Says:

    Followed the link from Twisty's and found you.

    What a rare treat: a writer who thinks AND can make me laugh.

    Thanks!

  12. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Here via IBTP! This place rocks, and I've just blogrolled you.

    Hugs,
    Comrade PhysioProf

  13. tinfoil hattie Says:

    I’m sure your kind of “feminist” – a motley crew of homeschool moms and housewives who can justify the occasional black eye – will eat it up.

    Aaah, you had to let your inner misogynist get the best of you didn't you?

    And you did so well up until then.

  14. Susan of Texas Says:

    Nah, you can't exempt conservative women–they're too much fun to mock. That remark is anti-conservative, not anti-women. There's a lot of conservative women who pretend to be feminist to damage the feminist message and they're counting on people to not hit back.

  15. Ed Says:

    I had no illusions that I could, and hence made no attempt to, live up to the amount of language policing and litmus testing that occurs in the part of the blogworld that identifies itself as overtly feminist.

    Also, I hate women. You got me.

  16. Daniel Says:

    I absolutely love the Conservative Movies list. Red Dawn is the only movie on there that fits the bill, and it is one of the most unintentionally funny movies of the 80s. If a movie includes war imagery, dystopian societies, or the tale of a man that is an asshole but finds true love/happiness/good values, it is the tale of conservative hope and prosperity. I'm surprised that the horsepoop that is American Carol wasn't on there.

  17. Sophia Says:

    Another reader from IBTP, where I recently made a similar Uncle Tom comment — not to pit oppression against oppression (and lucky Rihanna gets to experience both of them!), but it's a sign of how ingrained sexism is in the cultural consciousness that anyone would be horrified if you made the author black and switched up the nouns accordingly (her fault for thinking that dating a black man wouldn't get her beaten up?), but this just slips under the radar.

    Girls believe that Rihanna "deserved" it because feminism hasn't permeated deeply enough to make them understand that someone as "empowered" as a wealthy pop star might not leave an abusive relationship because of the systematic diminishing of self-worth based on inability to achieve the ideal of flawless sex symbol who willingly takes her assigned place that society imposes on women from day one. Being a wealthy pop star probably only compounds the issue, since her living depends on doing that better than anyone else.

  18. Science Bear Says:

    I found you through a ping by Comrade PhysioProf and am quite glad I did!

    Great post!

  19. dbsmall Says:

    Without even getting into the content, your presentation of this FJM treatment had me laughsnorting, repeatedly.

    I think the fundamental issue you have is that you believe in the "Golden Rule", whereas K-Lo and her ilk want there to be a more complicated ruleset. One that has differences based on gender, race, economic status, country of origin, etc.

  20. tinfoil hattie Says:

    God, that's clever, Ed. Show absolute disinterest in any of this unless it's to permit you to make fun of K-Lo. Then use sarcasm to create a straw argument.

    Boy, I've never seen that on the internet! You're awesome.

  21. Susan of Texas Says:

    And where were you when K-Lo needed to be mocked? Or Malkin or Althouse or MoDo, or McArdle or Judith Miller or Maggie Gallagher? Instead of doing your duty and relieving the men in the the trenches, you say stuff like, Oh, she's a woman, we can't mock her! Sisterhood first!

    Remember, if you take away women-mocking from men, only women will be able to mock. And a woman-mocking is a terrible thing to waste.

  22. Ed Says:

    I'll tell you something I've never seen on the internet: trolling comments to call people sexist or racist! It's as novel as it is useful; as useful as it is entertaining; and as entertaining as it is selfless.

    This may shock you, but I wasn't sitting around waiting for a merit badge to certify that I am Feminist Enough for anyone. And if given life to do over again I would choose without fail to have an Inner Misogynist rather than an Inner Complete Asshole Who Can't Play with Anyone Who Fails to Meet My Ideological Standards.

    But hey, that attitude works for religious fundamentalists and Objectivists, so I'm sure it'll work for you too. If you actually thought, as your "absolute disinterest" comment suggests, that I am in any way obligated to or interested in debating you about whether or not I am a misogynist, you are sadly mistaken.

  23. Gwytherinn Says:

    Another here via IBtP – I just wanted to comment that while the poll she is citing seems a laugh, especially given the amount of people, pretty much all of the conversations I've heard revolving around this incident focus on Rihanna and what's wrong with her. It's so frustrating and sickening to see people discuss how to "fix" girls who find themselves in these situations and what is wrong with them as opposed to having a serious discussion about abusers and what needs to be done for it to stop. This article discusses it, and it is STILL about blaming the women, and feminists at that!!! Boggles my mind.

  24. nolo Says:

    Excellent and hilarious takedown!! I just wanted to make a quick comment for Shane's benefit — Mad Men actually doesn't sugarcoat women's roles in the '50s and '60s at all. The show's pretty good at making those roles look as stultifying as they were, while at the same time giving some space for some great female characters and storylines about how women experienced those roles and dealt with them. I think you'll be surprised if you ever get a chance to watch it.

  25. Cocopops Says:

    Um Ed – just wanted to say hello to your proud 'little' inner misogynist!

    Don't know about anyone else, but I love getting on not 'playing' with misogynists. Why would I want to? I completely cut them off my radar, and Chris- whatever- name. Little boys who couldn't look less macho actually. I think being *nice*, as studied by the University of People, is a bigger factor in getting women to like men. We breadwin ourselves now, so I'm afraid it takes a little more than superficially providing to be seen as nice. It's all in the attitude, and men's attitudes suck towards women today. Maybe this is why everyone's turning lesbian instead?

  26. Wendy Says:

    Funny. Insightful. Great post. Thanks for taking the time to break that shit down.

    I'll just pull it down to its elemental roots: Women are human to the same extent as men. As long as you use that as your compass, you never get lost.

  27. Christina Says:

    Cocopops, everyone? Really? Why didn't I get the memo?

    Tinfoil hattie, I really think that if you re-read what Ed said again, paying special attention to the punctuation, you might find that you might have, perhaps read it wrong/misunderstood what he said. The part after the dash was a definition of "her kind of 'feminist'", i.e. patriarchy affirming, collusionist women who do precisely what Ed said. He was not characterizing all women, not even all feminists, not even all conservative women–he was characterizing K-Lo's 'feminist' circle.

    Ed may not take correction/criticism well but if it has merit, he will listen (unlike the Boyz in some other places). If it doesn't have merit, he'll tell you were to put it. This time, you've been told by several folks–and ones you know from IBtP–that you might not be 100% correct in your interpretation. You may want to examine that.

  28. comrade x Says:

    Identity politics. The great bourgeosie corrosive that reduces social movements to club status.
    Pffffft!

  29. Cocopops Says:

    Christina, You don't get any memo because you spend all your time writing about Ed

  30. Laura Says:

    Hilarious. I just found your blog, and it kicks ass.

  31. j Says:

    Can a person say "woman" without being labeled either a feminist or a misogynist? I submit not.

  32. Adam Says:

    I think every time a man references 'women' it's misogynistic. Not talking about 'a' woman in general, but referring to women at large men can't help themselves but slip a misogynist quirp in a misogynistic tone.

    Any time a woman mentions 'women' at large everyone's up in arms that she's totally a feminist.

    Bad for women in both cases.

  33. Popes Says:

    While I can't speak to anyone's intent, my read on tinfoil hattie's comment was that either:

    1) she took exception to what can read as homeschool moms and housewives being universally slung into some fakefeminist group of domestic violence apologists (to be frank, redfems seem like just as good of candidates to choose to homeschool as ultraconservatives are due to the personal importance of their value system and its general incompatibility with the experience of public schooling, and plenty of DV apologists are neither homeschool moms nor housewives) or

    2) she took exception to what seemed a negation of what Ed himself had stated earlier: "Well, the psychology of domestic violence is a lot more complex than that but, yes, as uninvolved observers it’s pretty easy for us to say 'Easy fix: dump his ass.'" Despite having referenced the complexity of the situation, he later doubled back and glibly used the idea of abused women justifying injuries from male partners as the butt of a joke he was making at K-Lo's expense. You may choose to characterize this as misogyny or as a logical fallacy (inconsistency), but either way, I'd argue that it ain't quite up to scratch.

    Bottom line: Ed's analysis of this and his other pieces on the site are smart, funny, and just plain good. Reading his stuff, I get the refreshing impression that he's trying to live life as something other than a knob. He ain't superhuman, and I'm guessing he doesn't have an editor. Shit happens.

    I like the site, and I'll be back.

  34. Nate Says:

    Hey, the McRib wasn't too awful. Certainly not on a WWII scale. :)

  35. Adam Says:

    Ed's a piece of knob

  36. ChelseaWantsOut Says:

    Hear, hear, Popes! Reading through the comments, I was really worried that nobody was going to get what Hattie was saying, but you nailed it. Thanks for helping my brain unexplode.

    Also, good post, I came here from IBtP, etc.

  37. Just Sayin' Says:

    I was so pleased to learn "How liberal judges cause genital warts!". I will write that in my special book. I keep it to read when I am sad because I cannot fit into my old school uniform since I had my home-schooled babies.

    Seriously, Uncle Tom was Jesus, not the modern conception of Uncle Tom. Remember he helped people escape. He was not validating white oppression. His life illustrated that even the most perfect gentle loving human would be brutally murdered by a system that treats human beings as chattel. Kind of applies to the whole patriarchy thing. Why does it mean what it does? Because people read "Huck Finn"?