The Rapist “Lesbian Hero” That Wasn’t

Content Notice for mentions of sexual assault and rape

Anti-feminists types often take a very curious approach to trying to create false equivalencies. If a feminist argues that feminism benefits men as well as women, the anti-feminist response is “but noted feminist Andrea Dworkin said all penis-in-vagina sex is rape!” In order to combat feminism, they pull what they think is a quote from a book older than I am from a feminist with whom many feminists, past and present, disagree. Even if we were to accept that Dworkin’s views reflect feminist consensus, anti-feminists fail to engage Dworkin’s actual argument as per Dworkin herself; all PiV = rape” wasn’t what she meant to say at all.

Unsurprisingly, anti-LGBT types engage in very similar arguments.

I recently dealt with a straight man who made the following claim:

lesbian hero Stacyann Chinn [sic] writes “how to” books about creeping on straght [sic] chicks, with detailed outlines of how to derail their relationships with men and then take advantage of their emotional vulnerability in the worst possible way. Men may have invented rape but man-hating lesbians perfected it.

Not only could he not spell Staceyann Chin’s name correctly, not only has she never published any how-to books about “straght chicks”, not only is she not exactly the most well-known lesbian activist, but also? She is not exactly considered a “hero” among lesbians, who have criticized her  far more than non-queer outlets do.

Here are some places that talk about or feature Staceyann Chin.

Neutral

Favorable

  • The Guardian: Her voice is presented as it is. The headline and byline aren’t at all critical of what she has to say and in fact corroborates it.
  • The New York Times: Like the Guardian, her voice is presented without criticism.
  • Flavorwire: The interviewer is sympathetic and the review of her memoir a recommendation.
  • Mater Mea: The piece is a rather poignant view of her life as a single mother.
  • Mutha: Another positive interview about her life as a single mother.
  • Huffington Post: Chin had a blogging stint about her being a mother that wasn’t in the LGBT-centric part of the HuffPo.

Critical

  • The Most Cake: The author is very much annoyed with the fact that Chin’s Guardian piece was the only lesbian-centered representation in an LGBT special that the Guardian had run. She remarks that some of what Chin said sounds like The Game.
  • Cellar Door: The author was formerly a fan of Chin but was disappointed by the Guardian piece.
  • MelChan: Another Chin fan is disappointed.
  • Bilerico: This bit of coverage of Chin’s piece calls it “How to Manipulate a Straight Woman.”
  • Autostraddle: The person is a fan of Chin’s and continues to be, but is grossed out by some of what Chin said.
  • Buzzcuts and Bustiers: Multiple people are not pleased with Chin.

Many mainstream outlets covered her in a neutral-to-favorable way, while the LGBT outlets were critical as hell of the very things that anti-LGBT types criticize about Chin. So much for “Stacyann Chinn” being a “lesbian hero”. As for her being a rapist, though some of what she said does reek of pick-up artist how-tos, I don’t think anyone would be willing to say that every single person that has said something that sounds like something that a pick-up artist might say is necessarily a rapist.

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The Rapist “Lesbian Hero” That Wasn’t
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19 thoughts on “The Rapist “Lesbian Hero” That Wasn’t

  1. 1

    You made the mistake of being all reasonable and recognizing that one person’s statements don’t necessarily speak for an entire ideology. Next you’ll tell us that Richard Dawkins doesn’t speak for all atheists and hasn’t been named our pope. 🙂

  2. 2

    As a lifelong feminist (even longer than PZ Myers has been one), I too am upset when I see people strawmanning feminist arguments, just as it bothers me when people strawman atheists, like the vicious, disingenuous attacks on Richard Dawkins has faced lately.
    Unfortunately, there are mentally unhinged types that do give feminism a bad name:
    http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/
    We feminists need to emphasize that these lunatics do not speak for us!

    1. 2.1

      You’re using ableism to make your arguments (“mentally unhinged” & “lunatics”). You’re also characterizing me as vicious and disingenuous since I’m against Dawkins’s disgusting, racist use of women like me to take potshots at feminism. You’re on thin ice here. This is your warning.

    2. 2.3

      Also: you are obviously male. Men cannot be feminists. You show it clearly as me do again and again. Men ALWAYS have to say that they are better-than, have been doing it longer. EVERYTHING is a pissing contest for men. It is toxic

  3. 3

    Abear is a feminist in the same way Sarah Palin is a feminist: he claims the label without understanding it, while taking anti-feminist actions such as spreading anti-feminist lies about feminism.

  4. 4

    Like with Witchwind. I’ve heard of that blog a few times before–exclusively from people who hate feminism and want to discredit it. It’s the 21st century equivalent of the SCUM manifesto. The only people reading it are people who hate feminism already.

    1. 4.1

      Sally: How about twisty faster and iblamethe patriarchy.com? Do the people that read that also hate feminism?
      I agree with you that witchwind and other extremists can be used to discredit feminism.
      That is why I think true feminists (like me) should point out that they do not speak to true feminism.

  5. 5

    Sally: How about twisty faster and iblamethe patriarchy.com? Do the people that read that also hate feminism?

    I don’t know. Do you read Twisty Faster? I don’t.

    I agree with you that witchwind and other extremists can be used to discredit feminism.

    Hey, look, the lying liar is lying again. That’s not what I said. I said that people who hate feminism WANT to use it to discredit feminism. Fortunately that one website isn’t enough to discredit feminism. And the anti-feminist assholes, like you, generally aren’t smart enough to identify the things that actually do discredit feminism. It takes feminists to mount a coherent, accurate critique of feminism for the most part. You aren’t capable of doing that because your understanding of feminism is, well, not good.

    That is why I think true feminists (like me) should point out that they do not speak to true feminism.

    “True feminists” LOL

    Did you steal that one from Dawkins? Tell him about Witchwind, I’m sure he’d be happy to help out in “helping” feminism by drawing attention to its weirdo fringes.

    1. 5.1

      Sally Liar Liar Pants On Fire Strange: Is this what you mean when you say I’m not smart enough* to point out the problems in radical feminism?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_views_on_transgenderism_and_transsexualism

      *assholes, not smart enough,liar, anti-feminist, all rather vicious smears Sally. Why are you so hateful? Saying that I’m like Sarah Palin? I guess if you can only throw insults around instead of engaging in meaningful debate that makes you more honest, intelligent, and a better feminist than me?
      I’m beginning to wonder if you are an MRA troll that is pretending to be a feminist to discredit the movement!

      1. Come to think of it- you are a self confessed troll and label yourself also a misandrist.
        You must be trying to discredit feminism when you call yourself a feminist and a man hater. That kind of fits the anti-feminist stereotype of feminists as man haters.
        You are no feminist Sally! Don’t stain the good name of feminism by pretending to be one!

        SallyStrange

        11 December 2014 at 12:47 pm

        BTW, the comments chez Croft are… amusing. I somehow induced a whiny man-baby to rage-quit the forum and delete all his comments to me. Without even trying!

        My misandry-fu is getting stronger.

  6. AMM
    6

    How about twisty faster and iblamethe patriarchy.com? Do the people that read that also hate feminism?

    Well, I read her (past tense — she hasn’t posted anything since May), and I mostly agree with her. She wears the label “radical feminist” proudly (but lest you get the wrong idea, she is trans-accepting.) The main “radical” thing about her is that she’s willing to point out the misogyny in aspects of society which the more “centrist” (accommodationist) feminists (and faux-feminists) would rather not look at too closely.
    .
    Anti-feminists like to claim that she is “too extreme”, but I remember when the general (white) consensus about MKL and Malcolm X was that they were extremists and destroying civilization.
    .
    As to whether I “hate feminism”: I would say any objections I have have to do with certain feminists and schools of feminist thought not going far enough, or failing to recognize and engage with other axes of oppression (homophobia, racism, classism, transphobia, etc.)

  7. 7

    I don’t think that comparing twisty faster to MLK is particularly apt. I remember him during the 60’s and I was always admired him greatly. The people that like me were generally left leaning liberals also admired him, the more conservative people were the ones that tarred him with the extremist label. To some extent that is still true.
    MLK stood for blacks and whites accepting each other and living in a harmonious and just society. Extremist feminists like tw tend to deeply resent and distrust men and tend to favor separation of the sexes and even more extreme scenarios.

    1. AMM
      7.1

      Certainly, a substantial segment of the (white) “left” approved of and supported MLK. But the “left” was and still is a minority in the USA. The mainstream media and the majority of USAans saw his ideas and the civil rights movement as radical and dangerous. And they still do — the idea that African-Americans are human is still a radical idea, as recent events have shown (the majority of USAans still consider the killing of Michael Brown as justified, according to recent polls.) It wasn’t until people and groups like Malcolm X came on the scene that MLK started to be seen as “moderate” by comparison — at least until he came out against the Vietnam War (which, at the time, the majority of USAans supported, whether they understood why we were there or not.) It was only later, after MLK was safely dead, that the myth was created that he was a Barney-like figure who wouldn’t hurt a fly and just wanted us all to love one another.

      Twisty Faster is regarded as an “extremist feminist” because the idea that women are human is so far given only lip service (at best.) The structure of USA society and culture (like most western societies) is set up not only to treat women as existing only for the benefit and pleasure of men, but to disparage and dismiss any recognition of that fact, and the majority of men are happy with that state of affairs and get defensive (much like Mr. abear) when it is challenged. If Twisty Faster — like many women (including non-feminists) — does “deeply resent and distrust men,” it is because they have repeatedly experienced sexism and exploitation and often violence from even the supposedly most pro-women and pro-feminist men.

      It’s worth mentioning that the 1960’s and 1970’s left, especially the radical left, was infamously sexist. Women were expected to basically shut up and put out and do what the real (=male) leftists told them to do. The result was that the women’s movement broke off from the rest of the left and formed their own organizations. As far as I can tell, the situation hasn’t changed — the majority of leftist men, like the majority of men in USAan society as a whole, still treat maintaining their male privilege as more important than supporting women’s rights.

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