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Old 11-13-2012, 10:47 AM   #61
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agreed that Petraeus needs his own thread, but this ties both subjects together:

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The Siren and the Spook
By FRANK BRUNI
There were remarks galore about her unusually toned arms and the way she dressed to show them off. I even spotted a comment about how much of her armpits one of her outfits revealed, as if underarm exhibitionism were some sort of sexual sorcery, some aphrodisiac, the key to it all.

What else could explain his transgression? Why else would a man of such outward discipline and outsize achievement risk so much? The temptress must have been devious. The temptation must have been epic.

That was the tired tone of some of the initial coverage of, and reaction to, the affair between David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, which had many people claiming surprise where there wasn’t cause for any, reverting to clichés that should be retired and indulging in a sexism we like to think we’ve moved past.

Broadwell has just 13 percent body fat, according to a recent measurement. Did you know that? Did you need to? It came up nonetheless. And like so much else about her — her long-ago coronation as homecoming queen, her six-minute mile — it was presented not merely as a matter of accomplishment, but as something a bit titillating, perhaps a part of the trap she laid.

There are bigger issues here. There are questions of real consequence, such as why the F.B.I. got so thoroughly involved in what has been vaguely described as a case of e-mail harassment, whether the bureau waited too long to tell lawmakers and White House officials about the investigation, and how much classified information Broadwell, by dint of her relationship with Petraeus, was privy to. The answers matter.

Her “expressive green eyes” (The Daily Beast) and “tight shirts” and “form-fitting clothes” (The Washington Post) don’t. And the anecdotes and chatter that implicitly or explicitly wonder at the spidery wiles she must have used to throw the mighty man off his path are laughably ignorant of history, which suggests that mighty men are all too ready to tumble, loins first. Wiles factor less into the equation than proximity.

Sure, the spotlight these men have attracted and the altitude they’ve reached should, theoretically, give them greater pause. But they’ve either become accustomed to or outright sought a kind of adulation in the public arena that probably isn’t mirrored in their marriages. A spouse is unlikely to provide it. A spouse knows you too well for that, and gives you something deeper, truer and so much less electric.

It has to be more than mere coincidence that Bill Clinton had an affair with a White House intern; Newt Gingrich with a Congressional aide (now his wife); John Edwards with a woman who followed him around with a camera, creating hagiographic mini-documentaries about his presidential campaign; and Petraeus with a woman who made him the subject of a biography so worshipful that its main riddle, joked Jon Stewart, was whether Petraeus was “awesome or incredibly awesome.”

These mighty men didn’t just choose mistresses, by all appearances. They chose fonts of gushing reverence. That’s at least as deliberate and damnable as any signals the alleged temptresses put out.

Petraeus’s choice suggests an additional measure of vanity. Broadwell exercises compulsively, as he does. She’s fascinated by all matters military, as he is. “Petraeus once joked I was his avatar,” she told The Charlotte Observer a while back. So by his own assessment, he was having an affair with a version of himself.

And yet it’s the women in these situations who are often subjected to a more vigorous public shaming — and assigned greater responsibility.

The Web site Business Insider posted an interview with an unnamed former colleague of Petraeus’s who knew Broadwell and characterized her as “a shameless self-promoting prom queen.” The colleague all but exonerated Petraeus by saying: “You’re a 60-year-old man and an attractive woman almost half your age makes herself available to you — that would be a test for anyone.”

The headline of The Washington Post story that weighed in on Broadwell’s wardrobe asserted that he “let his guard down,” a phrase that portrays him as passive, possibly even a victim. The story notes that his former aides considered him “the consummate gentleman and family man.”

It goes on to say that Broadwell was “willing to take full advantage of her special access” to him.

An article in Slate asked “how could he — this acclaimed leader and figure of rectitude — allow such a thing to a happen?” The italics are mine, because the verb is a telling one. “She went a bit ga-ga for the general,” the article later observes, adding: “She may have made herself irresistible.”

Such adamant women, such pregnable men. We’ve been stuck on this since Eve, Adam and the Garden of Eden. And it’s true: Eve shouldn’t have been so pushy with the apple.

But Adam could have had a V8.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/op...gewanted=print
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #62
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But really the fact the the perception is as it may be is irrelevant.
Perception, as is often stated, is reality. The perception then was strong enough to cast its shadow forty years later. Not to say that the problems then aren't the problems now. They just require -- perhaps -- a different method.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:36 PM   #63
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Perception, as is often stated, is reality. The perception then was strong enough to cast its shadow forty years later. Not to say that the problems then aren't the problems now. They just require -- perhaps -- a different method.
What are we even talking about here? Is anyone using the "man-hating, bra-burning" so-called method, whatever that means? But we've spent pages discussing that as if it's the real issue. Kind of reminds me of how opponents of gay rights talk about the gay "agenda" and gays "flaunting" their homosexuality because they wear leather chaps in an annual gay pride parade, as if THAT is the real issue that we are dealing with.

Whatever methods may have been used in the past, and it's arguable whether those methods were ever really wide-spread, we are in a different time today. Feminism as a concept has evolved very much. We aren't fighting for suffrage anymore, but we are still fighting for equality in many other spheres. So it's interesting to see that the discussion is almost dominated by some negative association rather than real issues. As if whoever tosses around "feminazi" as a term doesn't have their own agenda and bias.

As an aside, JT I'll send you a PM about NYC later.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:47 PM   #64
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Never mind. Martina made the points I wanted to.

I kept wondering why the conversation kept turning on this.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:53 PM   #65
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Kind of reminds me of how opponents of gay rights talk about the gay "agenda" and gays "flaunting" their homosexuality because they wear leather chaps in an annual gay pride parade, as if THAT is the real issue that we are dealing with.
That's what I was talking about before, and I agree with the rest of your post too. It's not the real issue in 2012 and if you think it is, well the perception can be created that women are held to a different standard as far as being expected to be more ladylike, to play nice, to not be so "angry" like those original feminists. If that's the case well black people should be expected to do that, gay people should be expected to do that. Because at the very least the expectations should be the same.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:39 PM   #66
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Perception, as is often stated, is reality. The perception then was strong enough to cast its shadow forty years later. Not to say that the problems then aren't the problems now. They just require -- perhaps -- a different method.
Just as a question, how would you reframe the argument?
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:08 PM   #67
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What are we even talking about here? Is anyone using the "man-hating, bra-burning" so-called method, whatever that means? But we've spent pages discussing that as if it's the real issue.
It isn't -- I agree. As a reminder, the whole conversation started with Taylor Swift's comments, and a question about why she (and others of her demographic) are repudiating feminism. (And let's not get too bent out of shape about this -- Lena Dunham seems to be balancing things out nicely on the pop-culture feminism scale.) (Is that even a thing?)

My thought was just that perhaps it's not the movement that's being repudiated -- it's a perception of the movement that's being repudiated. The perception is clearly real, since many of my generation (and younger) seem to be backing away with it. The legitimacy of that perception is another question entirely, which is what I hear you saying.

In any event, it also sounds to me like what you're saying is that we are in a different place, and that 40-year-old perceptions need to change, since they're not necessarily relevant. (If they ever were.) It will be interesting to see where modern feminism goes and how it wrestles with the issues it now faces.

Edited to Add: @BonoSaint: I'm not sure it's for me -- or, frankly, any man -- to "reframe the argument" for what women believe are the vital issues for them today. But that's me.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:40 AM   #68
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As someone who has a job in a predominantly male field I have to say that yes, feminism is still relevant and sexism is still rampant. It isn't even about equal pay, it's about the strange assumptions and rules and gender roles forced upon women in this day and age. That is not to say that men do not have gender roles forced upon them, it's just that those roles are far less restrictive.

A woman who speaks her mind is considered tactless and a "bitch". A woman who openly talks about sexuality is considered loose. There are taboo subjects and things that are considered appropriate. Many females I know don't even think twice about it and just accept the rules society have placed on us--so they don't really understand what it is like to challenge them. I've seen woman fighting against woman and sexism even between females as we seek to degrade others based on what our idea of a good woman is. "Slut" is thrown around an awful lot.

In the 21st century it still is not okay to question society's rules. But making progress in the legal system doesn't mean we have made a huge dent in society's system.
well said, Lf- your whole statement.

Some of these assumptions are still like the air we breathe....autropilot. People often don't rtelalize they are there-- like fish in water.
To be aware and challange these things can beuncomfortable, challenging, even dagerous. It depnds often on what, whom your are chalenging. And it can depend on where you live (the local society around you), what your family belives, etc.
I do remember in my late teens/early 20's in the early-mid 70's where likmr Gloria Steinman also talked about that femminism could also free men from some of their social/gender roles.

Sexuality - ha that can still be a major, major problem for women.

I think there has been some social progress, but very uneven in amounts where in our country alone, each stae, each city, neighbors!

May i ask what field you are in?

I was in a somehat more male-dominated back in the 70's/early 80's Graphic Design + Pasteups & Mechanicals the old-fasion way!

I might have gone into the sciences (way more male dominated) but higher math & chemistry - i didn't get them too well, tho i have a vast ability to think "abstractly"and art also becked. Trying slowly learn more about electronics, little motors for maybe future kinetic & light sculpture.

Really smart woman still scare a lot of men... but better than it used to be!

I've also read a fair amount in bits over years about women in Consruction, for instance. Met a woman Carpenter at the big NYC Democratic
Party Election Night gathering in 1992! She was saying "hey, maybe i can go down to DC and help built stuff for the inauguration!"
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:53 AM   #69
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I think most "movements" get overshadowed and hurt by extremism: religions, as mentioned before PETA, certain environmental groups, and most recently the Republican Party. Extremists get more attention and often cross the lines of common sense, law and/or morality therefore skew reality. Extremists will always hurt the cause because you end up having to battle the ignorant that oppose and the extremists who apparently share your cause.
ah but see what is sometimes percieved as "common sense" may not necessarity be the whole truth /or what's really possible (in a good way).

And Morality..... imho ....that word is too entangled with what is
considered acceptable in issues of sexuality.
In a discussion like this unless we are talking sexual issues-- the word, i think, Ethics tends not to have the (pun intended) hot-button of sexuality attached to the way morality does.

and thanks nathan for also joining in...very late here so anorther to reply to your post
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:55 AM   #70
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and Mrs Springsteen and bono's saint ...
hoo boy that Hammer of "Selfishness" being dropped on women STILL waaaaaay too much!
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:57 AM   #71
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With all due respect (and I do respect you) that was 40 years ago. I don't think many women look to NOW, even feminists like me who were coming of age then, for any guidance. Perhaps looking back to them with a nod to its history, for its contribution.

I like the ring of feminist, but, hey, maybe the younger women can be womanists or Non-Bra-Burning, Non-Man-Hating Double X Chromosomists or something. But they will need to find their own path, their own voice.

We're not loud shouters anymore and haven't been for decades. Hell, we're barely whisperers.
decades? Then you might have not been at the ? 2006 0r so Choice March in DC! We were LOUD! And NOW was well represented with younger people too.

My only complaint is that i attended 2 major choice marches in the 80's -- WHY did i have to do this again almost 20 yrs later! (obviously we know why)

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Maybe, but when was the last time you heard the term feminazi? Probably much more recently than that. The perception still exists
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Well, I've really only heard that from Rush Limbaugh and those who rely on him for their perception of reality and their language. Rush Limbaugh is a very good propagandist. He understands that he who controls language controls thought, but he's still fringe. Well known fringe, but fringe nonetheless.

Of course, this is the man who loves the women's movement, "especially from behind." I'm hard pressed to look to him for any serious analysis.
but rushbo isn't the only rightwing radio talker whio uses the term - i spend very little time listening to RW Radio but it is still around 90% of talk radio. Bob Grant (local nyc tri-state area), Michael Savage-- i still hear it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #72
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Marches are loud and as marches go, 2004 sounded like it was big and loud and diverse, with a concentration on reproductive choice and women's health issues. And I am sure NOW is a presence, particularly at such events. It just no longer has the influence it did.

We're about the same age. I wasn't much for marches, still not, although I think it is a great thing when that many women can show their presence. The marches have a significant symbolic and tribal gathering importance that I respect. However, I thought Gloria Steinem was boring, although I did like Ms Magazine. I preferred Germaine Greer who had more exciting ideas and wrote better than Steinem and was more revolutionary and more fun. Steinem was kind of tedious.

I think it is easy to get out women for reproductive choice and for health issues (and for good reason), but I think feminism is beyond that and those are the whispers--it is equal pay and equal access and equal opportunity; it is respect; it is recognition and challenge. It is the choice men take for granted. It is a slow process to make even "enlightened" women look to other women for leadership. We are so grateful when a man says something nice about us, we fall into step. For whatever cultural bias there might be, we don't think often enough of ourselves as leaders, innovators, inventors, idea people. That is the fight I mean. And certainly, sexuality.

It requires intellectual honesty on our parts. Where have we, who want this fight, dropped the ball?

Rush--right wing radio--same thing. It's not mainstream.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:02 PM   #73
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Edited to Add: @BonoSaint: I'm not sure it's for me -- or, frankly, any man -- to "reframe the argument" for what women believe are the vital issues for them today. But that's me.
You answered the question in the rest of your post. I just like to bounce ideas off of thoughtful people.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:16 PM   #74
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Marches are loud and as marches go, 2004 sounded like it was big and loud and diverse,


i was there. yes to all of this. it was massive.

and there was a massive counter-protest with the usual fetal parts on placards.

i've never been so exhausted after a protest.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:10 PM   #75
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For whatever cultural bias there might be, we don't think often enough of ourselves as leaders, innovators, inventors, idea people. That is the fight I mean.
Fully, completely agreed on this . And not only do we need to think of ourselves that way, we need to support other women who aren't afraid to show off their intelligence and leadership and whatnot as well. I get really dismayed when I see women who are clearly smart trying to act dumb because they think it's what people want or because they think it's not good for them to show how smart they are.
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