The Sexist

The James Chartrand Theory of Feminism

Remember James Chartrand, the female blogger behind "Men With Pens" who adopted a male pseudonym in order to earn respect, feed her kids, and pen privileged tirades against the feminist mommy-bloggers who "try to shave the balls of all males who dare to visit the blog"? Well, Chartrand has got some more scandalous revelations for the blogosphere today: Chartrand identifies as a feminist.

The F-word admission came courtesy of Taylor Lindstrom, an employee of Chartrand's who is described on the Web site as "the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club." In a post titled "Taylor's a Feminist—But So Is James," Lindstrom explained Chartrand's many feminist reasons for adopting a male pen name:

(a) The pay gap hits older women harder than it does younger women (Chartrand is 38, Lindstrom is 25).

(b) Unlike "Taylor," Chartrand's given name was obviously feminine, which affected her ability to avoid stereotyping.

(c) Chartrand was a single parent who had to make enough income to feed both herself and her family, which further justifies her decision to use a male pseudonym.

Makes sense. But then we get into the final section of Lindstrom's feminist manifesto: "Why Feminism Is Pissing Me Off." Lindstrom writes:

There have been a few blog posts and articles out there suggesting that James should have taken one for the team. That women have a responsibility to one another to keep fighting, to bust through the glass ceiling, to rip equality out of the hands of the men who are still (jeez, STILL) trying to keep it from us.

James didn’t help women, they say. He just stopped fighting.

Well, they’re right. He did. I can’t say as I see the problem with that.

The whole point of the feminist movement was that women should have the right to choose where their priorities lie. They should be able to choose to have a career, to live independently, to vote and own property and make mistakes and get famous and all the rest of it.

If they want to, though, they should also be able to choose to live exactly the way women had been expected to live for centuries—at home, taking care of the kids. They have the right to choose that life if they want to. And no one gets to tell them that they HAVE to get out there and hold down a job because women still don’t have equal pay in the workplace.

No one gets to tell a woman she has to do ANYTHING just because she’s a woman.

This part makes no sense. Let me clear something up right now: Feminism is about choice for women. The feminist movement is about working to open up all of life's choices to all women.  It's about making sure that women have equal opportunity to pursue any education, career, or higher office, and to earn equal pay and respect when they do so. It's about allowing women to make their own reproductive decisions, whether the decision be to use birth control, to have an abortion, or to have a lot of kids and to raise them as a stay-at-home mom.

That being said, simply being a woman who makes choices for herself does not constitute a feminist act. Lindstrom seems to believe that choosing to do whatever she wants to do— whether it helps other women or not—makes her a feminist, and deflecting all criticism about her choices makes her some sort of double-whammy feminist (sound familiar?).

It doesn't. It just makes her a woman who has benefited from feminism.

Feminism is about working to make these choices available to all women—not just wealthy women, not just white women, not just straight women, not just cisgender women, not just women who adopt an absurd masculine persona in order to access male privilege.

Is adopting a male pseudonym particularly anti-feminist? I don't think so. But James Chartrand's male persona did more than simply not help women. It also hurt them—see her infamous testicle-laden tirade about how she respects women who blog, as long as they don't "wield their feminism like a spiked mace" and "try to shave the balls of all males."

I'm glad that Chartrand has decided to come out as a woman. Here's to hoping she'll eventually reveal herself as a feminist, as well.

  • Kely

    I'm just waiting for the day she reveals herself as a human being.

  • http://www.misandryreview.com/ John Dias

    Amanda wrote:

    "The feminist movement is about working to open up all of life's choices to all women."

    The only way that feminists could "open up" the choice to stay home and care for the kids is to stop disincentivising marriage. Marriage enables a woman to stay home and care for the kids, if her spouse agrees to be a provider. It's the husband's provision that empowers a woman to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), NOT FEMINISM. Feminism pushed for laws that allowed wives to file for divorce, get alimony, get primary or sole custody, and thus maximize child support. With these conditions, there is no longer any incentive for a man to marry, and especially no incentive for a husband to let his wife stay home (and by "let" I mean "empower," the alternative being that both spouses are expected to pull their own weight rather than the wife exercising her SAHM privilege). With a diminishing likelihood that men will now marry and also agree to occupy the provider role, the choices of women have also correspondingly diminished. They cannot be SAHMs if they want to; a provider must enable them to do so. Bills don't pay themselves.

    James Chartrand wrote:

    If they want to, though, they should also be able to choose to live exactly the way women had been expected to live for centuries—at home, taking care of the kids. They have the right to choose that life if they want to.

    No, they don't. It is a privilege to live that life. Someone has to agree to earn the money to make that happen. This is the entitlement mentality that privileged women have come to adopt with the advent of "have-it-all" feminism. You cannot have it all; feminism made sure of that.

  • LeftSidePositive

    @John Dias:

    "There is no longer any incentive for a man to marry"?? What, you mean apart from love, mutual respect, and a desire to share in the hardships and joys of life?!?!

    And, if a man would only let/empower a woman to be a stay-at-home mom if she had no freedom to file for divorce, get alimony, get primary or sole custody, etc. how on earth could she be empowered by that choice? Who would want to be married to such an insecure, dictatorial prig? The system you suggest drains women of their autonomy and self-respect. What if the wife holds up her end of the bargain, but the husband cheats on her, beats her, or drinks/gambles away the family's money? In the hopes that the husband will do the right thing, the wife must give up all her alternatives and all her social and economic safeguards.

    No, it's not "empowered" to do anything (even work outside the home--in the 19th century, many women did, but their pay legally belonged to their husbands) unless you have options to do something else, and you follow your chosen path FREELY AND OF YOUR OWN VOLITION.

    I fully respect a couple wherein the wife chooses to stay at home IF she has other real social and legal options, and thus she chooses to stay at home because it is what is truly most fulfilling for her and her family. If she has no other viable choices, then it's subjugation.

    And yes, it may be a privilege to have your S.O. represent your household in the economy, but it's also a huge privilege for him to have someone providing free childcare, housekeeping, catering, bookkeeping/secretarial assistance, etc. EVERYONE, male or female, has the right to seek out the type of mate they want, and place priorities on the responsibilities and privileges they want in their relationships. Not everyone will find their perfect mate, but they all deserve an equal playing field to try.

  • majdqp

    omg john dias get your own fucking blog gaaaaaah

  • http://www.misandryreview.com/ John Dias

    LeftSidePositive wrote:

    “There is no longer any incentive for a man to marry”?? What, you mean apart from love, mutual respect, and a desire to share in the hardships and joys of life?!?!

    There's no guarantee of any of those benefits, and in fact it's more lucrative for the woman to divorce the man nowadays. She can get all the economic benefits of alimony (lifetime, if married longer than 10 years), child support and full control of the house (mortgage and utilities paid by the ex-husband, if she can get a restraining order against him) -- all of this because she got bored of him.

    If there were no one-sided divorce laws, THAT would be equality. Both parties could go their separate ways and not have a claim to the future labor of the other. As it is now, in alimony, the wife gets a cash payout because she's used to her lifestyle. The husband doesn't get the ongoing benefit of all of the things that the wife used to provide -- these have no cash value in divorce court (contrary to your valuation of them). Since a court isn't about to mandate that she keep serving him lifetime meals, instead they mandate that he keep paying her lifetime alimony.

    Feminism is about privileging women. It is not about equality.

  • Brad V

    "Feminism is about privileging women. It is not about equality."

    Whoa. It's like I just stepped into bizzaro world.

  • LeftSidePositive

    @John Dias

    The supreme court has ruled against gender discrimination in alimony settlements (quite rightly in my view). Men have the legal right to get alimony as well, so yes, it is about equality.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alimony

  • http://www.misandryreview.com/ John Dias

    The person who gets the net award of alimony is the one who is the lesser earner. Compared to a provider-husband, that would mean that the SAHM gets alimony. Men have the legal right to be Stay-At-Home-Dads, but they can't exercise such an option. Why? Because almost no woman wants to work so that a man can stay home and nurture the house and family. To her, he would be a kitchen bitch and thus not attractive. So men are never even allowed to take advantage of the same privilege that has traditionally been available to women; women don't want to empower then with the choice.

    All the bluster in this original post about how women can stay at home if they want to, can you imagine a man saying the same thing to his wife? "Honey, I'm through with working. I have the right to stay home. I would like you to get a job, and I'll do all the labor at home." All the wife would have to say is, "Not if I refuse to get a job, you won't!" Privilege. That's what it's all about when you're a woman.

  • Lizrd

    The term "kitchen bitch" that you use so readily is a consequence of patriarchal gender constructs, dude! Feminism is about actively trying to deconstruct that kind of shit so men who feel fulfilled being a SAHD can, and women who want to work can, without the patriarchal social stigma. I mean, get a clue. Next time, Pre-MRA tirade, head over to a a feminism 101 website before you have a stroke over how unfair the world is for guys.

  • TJ

    @John Dias, actually, men do take advantage of alimony. See Mr. Federline... he's living quite nicely right now. As a matter of fact, because of the economy right now, there are a lot more stay-at-home dads than there ever been. Even more, there are support groups out there for SAHDs. http://athomedad.org/ is just one of them. So to say that "men are not even allowed to take advantage of the same privilege that has traditionally been available to women" is plain 'ole not true. Now, if you said that men don't WANT to take advantage of that privilege (I don't know how much of a privilege it is to be a stay-at-home anything... it seems like a lot of work with very little benefits... but that's just me and I like having a career) because it emasculates them, then we can talk. That would be an interesting subject to discuss.

    As I get older, I'm trying this new thing called not generalizing. When you do that, you tend to look like you don't know what you're talking about.

  • TJ
  • John Dias

    @TJ:

    For every Kevin Federline there are millions of SAHMs who fleece their husbands in divorce court. I also don't see millions of wealth pop diva sex icons banging down the doors of your typical provider beta male. So I reject your comparison. Also, a little factoid for you: approximately 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women. It is no wonder that the marriage rate is in steep decline. Nobody wants to get fleeced, your MSNBC article notwithstanding.

    @Lizrd:

    It does not comfort me to know that feminists have plans to condition women's minds on what they will find sexually attractive. Yours is the most startling utopian admission that I think I've seen from a feminist in perhaps hours.

  • John Dias

    Oh, and by the way, my use of the word "millions" in the above quote was hyperbolic, in case you didn't pick up on that. Nevertheless, the point remains that men get fleeced in divorce court far more often than women do. Not only that, but it's a known trend that even wealthy and successful women attempt to "marry up," which disconfirms the contention that men are in a similar position as women to fleece their spouses in divorce. Legal marriage serves the interests of women.

  • TJ

    @John, I never said that it happen often. I just said that it DOES happen. YOU were the one who said that men don't take advantage of alimony. So you don't have to like my example. The fact is, I actually had one to dispute your blanketed claim. However, I do have another, and that would be my brother. He made substantially less than his (ex)wife, and he kept the kids. He actually filed for, and won, child support and alimony. He won precisely because he made less than his ex-wife and had the kids. Hopefully that is a better example that doesn't include "wealth pop diva sex icons banging down the doors of your typical provider beta male."

    And it's actually more like 67% of divorces are initiated by women (as a mathematician, I am very aware that 3% can make a big difference). But do you know why? According to Discovery Health:

    "Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. One recent study found that many of the reasons for this have to do with the nature of our divorce laws. For example, in most states women have a good chance of receiving custody of their children. Because women more strongly want to keep their children with them, in states where there is a presumption of shared custody with the husband the percentage of women who initiate divorces is much lower. Also, the higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be 'badly behaved.' Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity." Here is the link, so you know that I'm not just pulling information from my ass...
    http://health.discovery.com/centers/loverelationships/articles/divorce.html

    Are you going to say that women want to keep the kids only so that they can get money from the husband? I certainly hope not. I don't think (and married women, please correct me if I'm wrong) that women get married and have kids with the thought that they can later divorce their husband to bleed him dry. And I can honestly say that my brother did not marry that cow (can you tell that I don't like her?) and impregnate her for her money.

  • Just Saying

    Given the context of this post, does anyone else wonder if John Dias is a girl, wearing drag to derail the point that being a woman does mean you can invoke feminism to get a pass from criticism of choices where aren't feminist?

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Just Saying,

    Yes. You are not alone.

  • John Dias

    TJ wrote:

    @John, I never said that it happen often. I just said that it DOES happen. YOU were the one who said that men don’t take advantage of alimony

    You are right, I used the term "never." I stand corrected; women exercise astounding privilege in family law, the vast majority of the time. My mistake.

  • Lizrd

    @ John Dias

    "It does not comfort me to know that feminists have plans to condition women’s minds on what they will find sexually attractive"

    Never mind the fact that men and women are conditioned see a very narrow type of woman as beautiful and acceptable now by the main stream media.
    Guess that doesn't count, right, because all it does it tell women how they have to look to be valued. And I'm confused where I said feminists want to define beauty standards. Actually the point I made was indicating the exact opposite

    Additionally, Way to discount my point as "utopian" and totally fail to address any of the substance of my argument.

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