Fanmail FAQ: The F Word.

Dear Pat,

Life got busy for me early on this year, and I fell behind reading your blog. But now that school’s started back up again, I’ve been able to catch up by reading back through the archives during my more boring lectures.

So I’ve got a couple of questions. Well…. honestly, I have a couple hundred questions I could ask you. But I’ll limit myself to two that came to me from a blog you wrote back in April.

You talked about going to see Cabin in the Woods. And in that blog you said:

“My plan is to go see it, preferably in the company of an attractive, easily startled young woman. That way, when the movie gets scary, she will cling to me desperately for comfort.”

This struck me as a little odd. In you’re biography, you describe yourself as a feminist. That doesn’t seem like a feminist sort of thing to say.

I’m not trying to pick a fight here, honest. I’m genuinely curious. One of my favorite things about your books is how you handle your female characters. They’re strong and smart and… well…. kinda real. They’re not generic stereotypes and helpless maids in need of saving. They’re not cliche.

So my questions are these:

1. Was Cabin in the Woods any good?

2. How do you reconcile being a feminist and at the same time wanting to have pretty young girls cling to you for comfort?

Sorry this e-mail is a long one. And I understand if you don’t have time to answer it. I know you’re busy.

A fan,


*     *     *

Okay. First off Alanna, you really shouldn’t be reading my blog in class. I am a former teacher, you realize. I can’t condone that sort of behavior.

Second off, while I am busy. (So busy.) I enjoy answering questions like this. Especially when it gives me a chance to talk about two things I enjoy: Feminism and Joss Whedon.

  • 1. Was The Cabin in the Woods good?

It was was so, s0 good.

How good? Honestly, I think I enjoyed it more than the Avengers. And I enjoyed the hell out of the Avengers….

It was so good that I bought the DVD just a couple days after it came out and watched it with my friends when they’d come to visit. I think it’s the first time in two years that I’ve done that. (Have I mentioned the whole so busy thing? Yeah. I’m that busy.)

Don’t worry about it being your typical cliche horror movie. Joss Whedon is way too smart for that. And he does a good job with female characters too, in my opinion.

  • 2. How can I consider myself a feminist and still want women to cling to me?

Okay. Here we go.

First off, we have to leave aside a huge, in-depth discussion of what, specifically, feminism is. Because that’s a big, big topic. It’s a whole book’s worth, let alone a blog.

Suffice it to say that there are roughly as many types of feminism as there are feminists.

Which means it’s really complicated. And believe me, it leads to some really interesting discussions when feminists get together and talk.

(And I’m not being catty when I say that. Yeah sure. Sometimes when feminists get together they fight like Paglia and Steinem. But most of the time when I’ve gotten together with other like-minded folks to discuss the nature of feminism, the conversations have been rewarding and enlightening.)

If I were asked for a very general, simple definition of feminism….

Well, honestly, if someone asked me that, I’d probably avoid the question. Partly because I’d suspect them of wanting to start a fight, and also because because there is no simple definition. As I’ve said, it’s a pretty complicated thing.

But if I were pressed for a definition, I’d say something like this:

1. Feminism is the belief that women are as worth as much as men.

1a. (Corollary) This means women should be treated as fairly as men.

1b. (Corollary) This means women should be respected as much as men.

1c. (Corollary) This means women should have the same rights as men.

1d. (Corollary) Etc etc.

2. Feminism is the belief that women shouldn’t have to do things just because they’re women.

2a. (Corollary) Men shouldn’t have to do things just because they’re men.

3. Feminism is the belief that women shouldn’t have to *avoid* doing things just because they’re women.

3a. (Corollary) Men shouldn’t have to *avoid* doing things just because they’re men.

As an example:

#2 up there means that (to pick a trivial example) ladies shouldn’t feel obliged to shave their armpits just because of some fucked up societal pressures that started due to marketing campaigns back in 1915.

#3 means that if you *want* to shave your pits, that’s cool too. It’s not like you’re letting down all of womankind if you do.

A more serious example of this relates to raising kids.

#2 means that women shouldn’t feel obliged to be stay-at-home moms.

#3 means that if you want to be a stay-at-home mom, and it makes you happy, then you should feel free to do that. It doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist, and it doesn’t mean you’re an Uncle Tom. (Or an Aunt Tommasina, or whatever.)

The key, in my opinion, is that people in general (and women in particular) shouldn’t feel obliged to do things due to pointless, bullshitty cultural constraints. Including (and here’s where #3 comes into effect big time) the cultural constraints put on them by other feminists with differing viewpoints.

Other folks have different opinions. And there’s more to it than that, of course. I could go on and on. But this isn’t really the place for it, as your question relates mostly to how I reconcile my being a feminist with a sentiment that, to put it plainly, reeks of machismo.

My justification comes from 2a and 3a.

2a means that I don’t *have* to act like a big testosterone-y alpha-male protector of the wimmins.

3a means that, if I feel like it, I can indulge myself and play the part of the manly protector. If (and this is key) I’m not a dick about it.

Here’s the thing: It feels good to be a big tough protector sometimes. Other times it feels good being protected.

It’s like when you’re spooning. Sometimes you’re the big spoon, sometimes you’re the little spoon. They both can be nice.

Here’s the problem: there are precious few chances to be a big tough protector in our civilized society. And honestly, that’s a good thing.

But watching a scary movie, that’s different. When I’m sitting in the dark theater, and the woman sitting next to me screams and grabs at me, her fingernails digging into my chest. Sorry. My broad, *manly* chest. It fills a deep-seated gorilla-type need to occasionally feel like a big damn heroic protector.

Now I’m not saying that’s now I’d like to live my whole life, but that’s one of the best thing about horror movies – they’re not real life. They’re like emotional cardio. They give us the chance to be terrified in a consequence-free environment.

That’s the joy of all fiction, really: you get the benefit of experiencing something without the burden of having to actually experience it.

And you know what? I’m gonna be completely honest with you here. Occasionally, it’s nice to have an attractive young woman cling to you in a moment of pure animal terror.

I know this because I went to see the original Scream with two pretty young women back in the day. They sat on either side of me, and I got it in stereo. Simply put, it was awesome. They both grabbed me at the same time, one of them hiding her face in my shoulder. And at that moment, I felt like Batman, Malcom Reynolds, and the next avatar of Krishna all rolled up into one.

Part of me, the educated feminist part, feels like I should be apologetic for this. Like I should feel guilty about it.

But you know what? I’m really not. No one is harmed by this behavior.

So there you go, Alanna. I hope you like your answer. It got way longer than I’d planned. But isn’t that always just the way of things…

One last thing before I sign off. Let’s be civilized persons here in the comments, okay? That means polite discourse. You can disagree with me or other folks expressing opinions, but let’s not be dicks about it.

Right? Right.

Fair warning: undue assholery from any corner will be viewed with extreme scorn.

Love and Peace!


This entry was posted in ethical conundra, Fanmail Q + A, Nathan Taylor Art, things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat131 Responses


  1. Joshua_Guess
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    I am not at all ashamed to admit that I would completely clutch onto you in a moment of terror. Because that beard? Fucking manly.

  2. cameronhopkin
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Allow me to ignore the feminism debate entirely and ask something that’s been bugging me for a while: do you do the lovely little drawings that grace your blog, or do you outsource it to your Laotian sweatshop?

  3. eritain
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    My unmistakably feminist wife delights in scary movies precisely for the emotional cardio. She delights in me, not surprisingly, for having an awesome beard. And for some reason I enjoy scary movies a lot more than I did before I met her. So, yes, our entire lifestyle supports the crap out of all of your major theses here.

    • Joshua_Guess
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

      And let’s not forget the obvious here: it’s not like people (we’ll say women) who latch on to the nearest human in a moment of startled panic are deliberately trying to meet some kind of societal norm. There’s not a logical process that brings them through a series of decisions in that span of time. It’s reaction, pure and simple. Someone seeking comfort and safety from someone else who is presumably bigger and stronger is a feature, not a bug.

      • Tove
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

        Im sure it can be a question of feeling protected, but in most case, watching a movie, I think it´s a excuse to get to touch that man beside you. I wouldn´t like that much to clung to my father or (grown up) litle brother, but I wouldn´t mind to take the chance to clung to a young, pretty male friend. Women have just as much urging of touching and of all kind of sexual stuff as men do….

    • Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      Thank the Amida Buddha for that….

      I’ll admit that toward the end of this blog, all I could think was, “Shit Pat, what are you doing? Why on earth did you think that answering fanmail that touches on feminism would be a quick, fun little blog? You know better than that! You know what a hornet’s nest these things can be….”

      But I’d already written most of it by that point. And Nate had done the illustration, so I decided to trust that my readers are several cuts above the average frothy, knee-jerking internet-trolling denizen.

      We’ll see how long it takes for this to bite me in the ass….

      • Blarghedy
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

        This makes me wonder how long these take to write… or how long the pictures take to draw, I guess. I always assume it takes 30-60 minutes to write these.

        • Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

          Fuck. Nowhere close. A nice, tight 600 word blog will take me 2-3 hours.

          This one probably took me 4-5 because it’s longer and it dealt with some weighty issues. This stuff requires careful wording….

          • Blarghedy
            Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

            Wow, neat. That makes the request of “Hey, draw me a picture while I write this quick little thing” seem a lot more reasonable.

      • barrettswife
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

        I have a theory Pat. What do you think?

        The divorce rate in this country stems from our grandparents wanting to get laid at 12. Seriously. And feminism saved us! Sorta….

        Okay so. You couldn’t have sex until you were married? And god would punish you with some back alley procedure if you got pregnant! So our grandparents got married to have sex. And we all know what great relationships make with just sex. But they are married! And *gasp* divorce is also a sin! So they grew up hating each other. So our parents grew up with their parents hating each other. Enter feminism!!!! Now it’s ok to get a divorce! So now almost all of our parents are divorced. And I was a single mom for 10 years…until I went to college and found someone worth sticking around with forever…and he was divorced…it’s a circle really…

        • cicadaxiii
          Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

          This was interesting. I am not sure that “recycling” relationships is the best thing that our society has thought of. Although I don’t think getting stuck in marriages where there is no love or joy is a good thing either. So I am not arguing with this concept at all.
          But what I would like to question is the fact that it might be the way we have been socialized. I mean that we have been put in little boxes and segregated from the real world and from a real society (the one in school was a age divided) and then we were thrown out into a world that did not fit that matrix. School is an artificial environment.
          And I know that having raised my kids outside of school that they have a very different way of relating to each other and other people. I mean when a sibling that is four years younger wants something that another sibling has, they have to negotiate the situation in a different way than equals would or even than best friends would.
          All this to say that maybe some of our negotiating wings got clipped as it were when we were taken out of the family web.

          Of course family life is where we mirror how to get along with others. So if the parents don’t get along then the mirror is distorted for the kids and so it is a cycle…as you say.

          Makes life a novel doesn’t it. No two books are the same.
          I appreciate you making this comment and hope you don’t take my comment as an attack, I just wanted to offer another point of view…How did schools help create or contribute to the social frame that we have now?

  4. Gunner
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Great post, Pat. It reminds me of how it took me a few years to go from a young punk rock enthusiast who dressed and acted differently in order to buck conformity, to a slightly older punk rock enthusiast who realized that being different for the sake of being different (and not because I actually liked all the ways I’d chosen to be different) was no better. Learning to figure out who you really are, and being that person, is the first real step toward maturity.

    The next, of course, is not settling for who you are now and instead taking steps to become an even better version of yourself, even if that means taking advice from your parents, or acting a bit more like the guy who sits next to you, or choosing to align yourself with a religious or political institution that you feel really does have something to offer, after all.

    So you’re right, you don’t have to feel guilty for being you, just because you’re a feminist. It would be terribly UN-feminist, I think, to expect your female friends to hide their femininity, just because they didn’t want to briefly fit a particular stereotype.

    • ParadiseKiss
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

      nice one. ^^ inspired me

    • jenk0975
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

      Bravo to both Pat for a good feminism definition and Gunner for a wonderful application/example! Eloquently done!!

  5. Kay
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    awww, I was sooo close to being the first comment. I love reading your blog Patrick. I too am going to ignore the feminism debate and let you all know that my boyfriend (his name is Patrick too) is on his way home from his new job to find that I’ve turned the dining room into a circus tent/tent like thing and made a lovely picnic…just because I can. Dont know what he’ll say about me hanging all our bed linen from the ceiling but ho hum. I think my point is…everyone go make someone else’s day a little bit more magical…or weird. Just because we can.

  6. Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    I have been dealing with this, too. How do I deal with wanting women to be treated *exactly the same* as men in work and societal settings, and my frank admiration for a, ahem, nicely masculine man?

    I blame it on being a mammal. Just because I’m a feminist doesn’t mean I’ve stopped being a mammal. And that inner Mammal wants a Talk Dark (or Blond) Handsome Dude to Protect Me From the Monsters. Okay, not at work. And, most of the time, not out-and-about. I honestly get annoyed when some young strapping kid wants to help me carry whatever I’ve just bought out to the car. BUT I also take tons of pictures of cycling events, and part of that is so that I can look at nicely muscled men wearing nothing but spandex.

    How do I reconcile it? Mammal-hood. It’s really hard to completely turn off the mammalian instincts.

    The thing is to separate the two. Mammal-hood has no place at work; part of being “professional” is turning off that part of your brain. Sad but true.

    • Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

      Well… you notice that I didn’t use the words “exactly the same.” In my definition. If we go down the “exactly the same” road, then things get weird.

      But I completely agree with you. Our mammal urges are well-nigh overpowering at times.

      Pretending they don’t exist is just silly. The best we can do, in my opinion, is to openly acknowledge them, then do our best to be vigilant against our own pre-programmed biological dickishness.

      • Liam
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:15 AM | Permalink

        The best we can do, in my opinion, is to openly acknowledge them, then do our best to be vigilant against our own pre-programmed biological dickishness.

        I think that’s really the crux of the issue, here. We’re all human beings. We all make mistakes, jump to conclusions, make judgments based on appearances, have strange prejudices ingrained in our brains that we’re entirely unaware of. Expecting people to be entirely free from these kinds of thoughts is an absolutely unrealistic expectation (and I would even argue that thinking we should be is actively harmful). What’s more important is that we be vigilant in policing ourselves against these kinds of thoughts, and never delude ourselves into thinking that we’re somehow immune to them.

    • SMantzoros
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

      I’ve always had some reservations about holding doors open for people solely because they’re girls. I realize it’s respect, but I felt like it was in some way implying they needed doors held open for them. How do you feel about that, CyclingRox?

      • leliz
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

        Don’t feel weird about it, and don’t let anyone make you feel weird about it. It’s a matter of politeness not a commentary on inability. I (female) hold open doors for people all the time. It’s because I got to the door first not because I thought the other person couldn’t.

      • Bolda
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

        I’m a Cajun from Louisiana, and we have some particular opinions about politeness. I open doors for people because it’s polite. Gender doesn’t even occur to me. Also, we say mam and sir to people, not because of their age, as a way to show respect. I get lectured for saying mam to a 30 year old lady, but I call 5 year old little boys sir when I didn’t understand what they said.

        I think we should stop questioning motives of others if they are being polite and not displaying dickheadishness.

  7. Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Hm.. I wonder what it will take to have MY students get to read blogs of authors rated in Gaiman-Day units AND comment…. Hm….. apparently I might have to get them bored enough (ok, that seems feasible)… it would probably help if above mentioned authors were finally translated into Greek, eventuall…. (hm… or I might get to teach the kid who translates the books: Challenge Accepted!)….
    Teaching EFL in Greek Junior High, can then become awesome!! :-D

  8. Deborah Wolf
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    If I were watching a horror movie with Pat, I’d pretend to be askeered. And I’m not going to apologize, either.

    • Dakins
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Permalink


      • Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

        And there’s my first laugh of the day.

    • barrettswife
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      I second this

  9. Dakins
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Well, I consider myself a reasonably attractive (lookout: a woman with self confidence despite not having what magazines would suggest is a traditional body! Where do I get that right?!) lady, and smart as well, and I have exactly zero problems with enjoying a snuggle with a gentleman. It does not make me less for enjoying such; if anything I find it slightly more liberating to find a place where I can be comfortable with my abilities to be self-sufficient but still accept help from others without it having to mean that help impedes my own abilities.

    And yes. DAT BEARD.

  10. Destrike
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Being a manly man myself, I take pride in being able to comfort my girlfriend when watching scary movies. It all balances out when I shriek like a 3 year old when a spider scurries at me with evil plot in its numerous eyes *shudder*.

    • Bolda
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

      We have a really good haunted house in town. I go every year because I really enjoy it. Normally I go with a mixture of male and female friends. You go through in clusters, sometimes with complete strangers. It amuses me that almost every year I have several attractive young ladies clutch at me, and use me as a human shield. Usually after the first time they do this they look at the girl that I came in with and ask if it is okay that they were hanging all over me. The unanimous response from my group is that I’m gay and she is not my girlfriend.

      Talk about breaking stereotypes. The ultra gay guy is the masculine protector of the group. Makes me giggle like a 5 year old girl :)

  11. Geekgirl
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    I’m glad you got that e-mail and I’m glad that you put up this post because just recently I’d read somewhere on someone’s blog about how horrible you are because of that one post about clutching women.

    It made me roll my eyes and gag.

    I happen to be a chick. I’m a chick who likes to do things for herself. I’m a chick who likes to win at things *because I’m better at them* and not because my frail feminine ego needs the boys to let me win. I’m also a chick who likes her husband’s broad chest and manly biceps – particularly to cling to during the scary bits. I honestly believe that any chick who tells you that they’re offended by the idea that another chick might need someone to cling to every once in a while is lying through her teeth. You know, just like that guy who claims he never gets teary over anything.

    I like to do things on my own. But every once in a while I need my husband (or my son) to open the jar of peanut butter. And every once in a while, I see my husband’s eyes twinkle because I’ve clung to his arm, but it doesn’t mean he thinks less of me.

    Of course, there is a part of me that made me feel a wee bit sad that someone felt you needed to qualify a statement that you made on your blog that was so very harmless.

    Lastly, we watched Cabin in the Woods last night. I loved it. I didn’t love it as much as The Avengers, I have to say – c’mon there’s nothing that beats the Loki/Hulk rag doll scene – but Joss has never let me down!

    • Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

      That Loki/Hulk scene was my favorite part. That’s pure Whedon right there.

      Bathos, baby. Bathos.

      • Reloran
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

        The Simpsons used Bathos a few times and I’ve been looking for a long time to see if this even had a name. Thank you for a new great word.

      • TheJosh777
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

        Joss is the absolute master of bathos. It’s kind of an essential skill for a guy who writes *about* a genre *within* that very same genre, which is what I love about Joss. Genre writing that’s self aware.

  12. matt
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    I like this sort of feminism. It’s not scary like the man-hating images in my head, and it’s not prescriptive (“you’re not doing it right!”). Thanks, Pat. I’ve learned my thing for the day.

    • Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. Feminism gets a bad rap these days.

      But the people I’ve always interacted with, the day-to-day feminists, as I think of them, have always been very cool, thoughtful, non-vitriolic people.

      There are some of the other sort, of course. But generally speaking, they’re just the squeaky wheels that get noticed more because they’re loud.

  13. Mossi
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Is this in reaction to the takedown Jezebel tried to do on you?

    • pawnshopblues
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      I was about to say that jezebel is the PETA of feminism, but there are some surprisingly good points here. Madonna/whore analogy & “she’s not like other girls” rhetoric ain’t cool.

    • Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

      I heard about that article back when it came out, but I didn’t bother reading it. I thought they were mostly focusing on the Pin-up calendar, since it came out right after I announced that.


      • Hxlgg
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

        After reading the article and several of the comments (I had to stop), I can say that it honestly had no grounds to stand on. I don’t have any specialized education to determine this, but the author was clearly just taking minuscule parts of your (wonderful) blog and picking them apart without context. I guess one of the downsides to being a world-renown author with a global fanbase is getting the negative reaction every so often. Its nothing to worry about though.

        Oh! And on a related note… maybe having some manly men models in the next pin-up calendar might be fun for some of your fanbase. Although I would get one either way.

        • FollowYourMuse
          Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

          Oh now I would so like to have both male and female pinup calendars!

          • Schreddo
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

            This year’s calendar will have male pinups, too. Pat said so in the comments of the 2013 calender blogpost.

          • Hxlgg
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

            Just read through some of the comments from the 2013 Calendar blog and yes! Saw some man-ness. Thanks, Pat and Schreddo!

        • Bolda
          Posted October 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

          Anyone that says Pat’s books denigrate any one social subset is crazy. The character with the strongest Alar is female. The first student to master a name, female. The Stanchion and Deoch being gay was really awesome. On top of that, I thought that Tempi was a little enamored with Kvothe and then when I read about the Adem society’s view on a man’s fire, I got worried about their views on gay men and wondered if they was what was bothering Tempi. I wrote Pat a message and I’ll be damned if he didn’t respond telling me he had written about being gay in Adem society and had to cut it before the final draft.

          I think if someone told me he discriminates I may think strongly of punching them in the face.

      • fantasticwrite
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

        I had to read the Jezebel article just to see what they had to say. I’ve always believed in hearing both sides of the story (although I fall heartily on your side Pat). I even braved the comments and this is what I found:

        “I haven’t read any of his work, but I’d be shocked if this guy is even capable of writing a remotely well-developed, nuanced, believable, human-resembling female character. Shocked. Honestly though, I don’t know what to do with these guys–they may mean well but they seem like they’ve never once thought about what it might be like to be female in the real world. Make them take a seminar led by Joss Whedon and Wil Wheaton? Make them read a bunch of sci-fi/fantasy works written by women? ”

        I can’t tell if they are being snarky or serious…made me laugh!

    • William Wall
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

      Why can’t women be appreciated for their sexiness in just the same way men can be appreciated for their sexiness?

      • William Wall
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

        ^with relation to the pinup calendar, of course >.>

    • SMantzoros
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

      I’m confused. I’m not super sagacious when it comes to stuff all the time, but it seems like their argument is kind of crap. Or that they’re really biased. I mean, come on. They try to make something sinister out of Pat hugging a fan at a convention.

      • Liam
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

        When you’ve already made the assumption that someone is a misogynist creep it’s suddenly much easier to read context into statements that one otherwise wouldn’t see.

    • Jam
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

      The “review from a blogger” referenced by Jezebel has a little litmus test for anti-feminism in movies; Wall-E is suggested as being anti-feminist. I closed the tab after that.

      O wow, after a quick search, some internetanites seem to believe it too. :( It’s just a story about a lonely robot, there’s no need to complicate it.

      • Liam
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

        I don’t know which litmus test you’re thinking of, but there’s a pretty famous one called the “Bechdel Test”. To qualify the movie must have:

        a) two women
        b) who have a conversation
        c) about something other than a man

        Wall-E fails by default because there is so little dialogue (and basically no conversations between human characters at all). However the most important part about the test isn’t how many movies fail, but how few movies pass. It’s actually quite shockingly low.

    • leliz
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

      How bizarre! I would have never interpreted any of it like that. Don’t for a second think that most women are reading things that way.
      To me feminism is very simple, we just wanted to be treated as individuals. So do men I imagine, there just isn’t an -ism for it.
      Second thing, the pin-up is gorgeous art. I wish I had a copy. I do not feel degraded by it in the slightest.
      Third, if you accidently look at my breasts while we’re talking I’m not going to be upset. Frankly, I’m probably going to look at your butt when you leave anyway so now it’s tit-for-tat (I guess I could have used quid pro quo there…nah)
      Basically all I’m trying to say, is thank you to all the men for their sensitivity, but really, you’re doing fine.

  14. KofDrop
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    Cabin in the Woods – Genius of almost unprecedented proportions. (Notwithstanding any authors present – *fawn, fawn, slavishdevotion, etc*)

    Need to leap into nearest manly/nonmanly/bearded/human arms:
    This reaction stems from one of two base instincts for me, either:

    a) “Protect me! Save me from the bad thing!”


    b) I’m clinging to you so that, if necessary, I can throw you to the oncoming nefarious beastie in a bid to confusing it / incapacitating it / giving it something to maul while I make a swift getaway.

    Both of which, of course, result in exactly the same action. But I like to think I know the difference….

  15. Kerensky287
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    I feel like sometimes people pursue social justice for the sake of social justice, and in my opinion, that is a mistake. You can’t lash out at someone because they aren’t as accepting as you are. That’s hilarious hypocrisy.

    So while some people say hey, you can’t go to a horror movie with a girl because you’re hoping to take advantage of the emotional turmoil, I say, why not? If it doesn’t happen, then as long as you didn’t TRY to make it happen, no one is faulted. You’re okay, if a little disappointed, and she’s clearly okay because she didn’t jump to squeeze your arm.

    And if there WAS emotional turmoil, and she wanted somebody to squeeze against for protection, then hey, everyone wins!

    The fact is that, whether it’s right or wrong for society to drill these things into us, sometimes people like conforming to the “common” view. Obviously not everyone does; as a guy, it bugs me that I’m apparently expected to make every first move, and to face the consequences if I screw that up. But sometimes a man just wants to feel like a protector, and sometimes a woman just wants to feel protected. There’s nothing wrong with indulging that, and if you think there is, then you’re taking away peoples’ freedom of choice just as surely as a chauvenist or sexist would.

  16. kirjohnson1
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,
    I enjoyed your post, and it’s nice to meet (or at least read) openly avowed male feminists–or perhaps I should just say humanists. For the most part I agree completely with what you’ve written, and I’m particularly glad you’ve pointed out that feminism is a two-way street (boys can cry, too!) and that some feminists will try to make other women to conform to their ideal of womanhood as much as chauvinistic men will.
    The one thing that stuck out to me as a little odd was when you wrote that “no one is harmed by [your macho] behavior.” I suppose it’s true, no one is truly “harmed.” But I felt a little bit put out. Growing up with older brothers, I learned quick to be tough and brave or I wouldn’t be allowed to play. The resulting me is someone who is unlikely to cling to anyone else during a scary movie. When you say you would like a girl who scares easily to cling to you in a movie, it makes me feel like I’m a bad movie date, because as I kid I worked hard to cultivate a generally applauded trait (bravery). Similarly, when you apply reverse-feminism with its corollary –that is, men don’t have to be manly because of gender pressure, but it feels damn good sometimes and that’s okay–part of that is still implying that an easily scared female is needed for you to indulge in your feelings of heroism. Obviously I love you books, but the one thing that always stands out and makes me a bit uncomfortable is the unequal time you spend describing female characters’ physiques. You write a lot about the shape of breasts, the curve of hips, etc, but male characters rarely get similar treatment. It felt to me like a subtle implication that a female’s figure is more important to her overall worth, interest or person that a man’s would be. I know in a way you’re celebrating your love of women and women’s bodies, but the takeaway message I feel is that writers and heros don’t like flat-chested, brave women.
    Thanks for opening up this discussion, and I hope you don’t feel I’m attacking you. I really am a huge fan, and know you’re a good humanist! These are some small points your post caused me to reflect on.
    Take care and good luck with the busy World Builders season to come–can’t wait to donate!

    • Blarghedy
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

      I just finished reading the entirety of the Southern Vampire Mysteries (the book series that got made into the show True Blood, which I’ve yet to see). It’s from the point of view of Sookie, a woman. It’s also intended partially as a romance novel. She very often describes the physiques of men and how attractive she finds them. I can’t see that as a problem; the point of view is a woman’s, and thus she notes things that women note. Likewise, I’m unable to find fault with Kvothe, a boy of 15 (and I WELL remember being 15) being sexually attracted (and noting it) to a bunch of women.

      • kirjohnson1
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

        Yes, after I posted I was still thinking about bodies and how they are portrayed, who is telling the story, etc, and wondering if my criticism was legit. I remembered an awesome book I read almost a decade ago, Slow River by Nicola Griffith. It definitely falls into the category of lesbian sci-fi, with some pretty graphic sex scenes in it. But even though there are depictions of female bodies having sex, I never felt that characters were sexualized. I think that’s what bothers me, overt sexualization–not writing ABOUT sex or attraction. I haven’t read the Southern Vampire Mysteries, but I’m guessing her descriptions of male bodies would bug me just as much, if she is sexualizing the characters, describing glistening gluts max or whatever.

        That being said, I agree with you that as Kvothe is the first person narrator, and he’s a guy that’s pretty into sex, I shouldn’t be surprised by the sexualization of female characters in NOTW or WMF.

        • Blarghedy
          Posted October 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

          That’s a different argument, then. You’re not criticizing his sexual portrayal of women, but sexually portraying anyone at all.

          I don’t really find that Kvothe describes things overly sexually. To me, it’s more that his descriptions are just very detailed or vivid. I can pretty clearly imagine, for example, Fela standing, wrapped in a thin sheet, with the slight breeze blowing it against her body. That’s a much better description than most, I think.

          • TangentialMind
            Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

            Bravo you two! Great discussion- very civil. I feel enlightened! That’s really all… I just liked the give and take. Thanks for brightening my day.

            And thank you Pat for a balanced, concise and well reasoned definition of feminism!

    • Jacen
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

      What it comes down to is, “what do you want?”. Do you want to be held or not be held in a scary movie? Is your brave face because you learned this behavior from your brothers or what you want? Then once you figure that out, go to a movie with a guy that will treat you according to your desires. Society should not dictate how you want to be treated in a movie by your significant other.

      Now with the description of women and men it has to relevant. When the description is sexual it talks about breasts. When not it doesn’t. Now none of the characters in the books are describing people in a sexual situation

      Feminism should be fighting for womens right to be who they want to be. Not who they should be.

    • shadow_sniper
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

      I always figured that was because the character telling the story was a teenage boy at the time of the events, or because he is male and attracted to women and we are looking through his eyes. There is something about a guy with a jaw like a cinder-block and a voice like honey on warm bread somewhere.

  17. Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    The ways in which I love this post, they are so many! Enough to get me to sign up for an account in fact, haha.

    Thanks for writing down your (rocking) definition of feminism, since I’ve always known I was the not crazy kind of feminist, but had trouble fully expressing what that meant. I’m definitely too lazy to shave my legs and arms many days, but also don’t want to be judged as lacking feminist strength by shaving and dressing up when I feel like it :). I also hold the door for my manly boyfriend when I feel like it :D. And appreciate it when he holds the door for me and gets all protective.

    I also completely agree with the whole nice to be protected and protect thing. This is something that my Women’s and Gender Studies major friend has had trouble understanding in the past. She doesn’t get why I’m okay with my boyfriend always paying for meals, getting a little jealous sometimes and insisting on walking on the outside of me to protect from stray cars or something. It’s not that I’m not capable of handling the big bad world on my own, and he doesn’t think I’m incapable, he just likes to be a big burly man often, and I find it entertaining to let him. We haven’t tried horror movies lately though since I’m unpleasantly terrified of them!

    With that said, would you say Cabin in the Woods will give a horror movie novice nightmares? Because I can’t handle nightmares….

    Also I’d totally go to a scary ish movie with you if I didn’t have my own burly man already, haha.


  18. Andrea
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    I’m a girl, and I preserve my right to cling on to handsome men when starteled!

  19. antidecaf
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me the issue is with the assumption that your female companion would get scared and need to cling to someone (male or not).

  20. shelterdowns
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Patrick, I have to say, while I am a feminist who would happily cling from time to time, I’m wired wrong for a horror movie cuddle-fest. The last scary thing I watched with a gentleman, he was squirming and turning away, and I was laughing. (Interesting, though, that he didn’t end up clinging to me– a mesh of biology, the immediate circumstance, and his own, unique meld of cultural bias, in my opinion.) However, if we ever go watch a movie and a moment comes up where someone is about to be humiliated– say, about half the Kvothe scenes– I promise I will cower and turn my head and someone will have to hold me very tight to keep me from running out of the room. ( Who that someone will be will depend on fairly specific circumstances. )

  21. enginesummer99
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    I know what you mean about feeling powerful (er, like “Batman, Malcom Reynolds, and the next avatar of Krishna all rolled up into one”). My sister used to grab my arm whenever we were on a flight and the plane was lifting off. The fact that I’m her younger sister I think just helps illustrate the point that it isn’t necessarily about perpetuating a stereotype of female helplessness; it just feels nice to feel needed or appreciated for one’s strength, whether it’s physical or emotional.
    Or I don’t know, maybe she assumed I have superpowers and could have saved her from a potential plane crash. I am pretty awesome that way.

  22. Dominiquex
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    I enjoyed your taking the time to elucidate your thoughts on feminism Pat. :) While I have never been offended or got the impression that you were anything less than pro-women (pro-people really), I had sometimes had a bit of an eyebrow-raisy reaction to some of your more male-POV writings (the Hobbit movie-stripper post comes to mind, along with this one and the things kirjohnson1 above points out in Kvothe’s tale). Mostly, I get it – you’re a dude (and Kvothe’s a young hormone-filled dude) and you’re (both) attracted to women and you’re wired to notice and value these things. To not acknowledge them would be to deny your own mammal-ness and start failing 2a and 3a above. The important thing is it doesn’t seem to stop you (or him) from respecting, valuing and appreciating women as people or seeing the non-physical attributes they bring to the table, so I’m pretty much fine with it.

    However, as a woman, I say – my reaction to being taken to a scary movie and being freaked out is to punch my date in the arm. No lies. My movie-date friend knows this.

    • rundlesten
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

      As long as you would feel just as free about punching a woman in the arm as a man ;)

  23. dann_blood
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Eh. I’ve only put a few minutes thought into it, but I think the root of my discomfort is the “attractive, easily startled young woman” part, rather than the personal intimacy of desiring a woman’s clutch. That, more than anything else, comes very close (to my mind at least) to a sexualised stereotype, which possibly sets up a subtle type of cultural constraint.

  24. nate11235
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    complex issue well dealt with,
    Rothfuss for the win.
    This issue seems to like a golden rule wrapped in a Rawlsian veil wrapped topped by a very hot button.
    But in your definitions and corollaries your definitions define the … rights or codes of conduct…. of women in terms of men and vice versa. It seems to be More than Feminism and Meninism ( that’s a word right) . Personism, humanism, or sexism?

  25. Zeppe
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    While I generally agree with you, it would have been nice if you’d pointed out that men too should feel free to shave their pits (I know Conan does) and stay at home with their children. We won’t have real equality before that.

  26. Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    It seems like there is a chemical reaction ‘built in’ to us humans that mean situations such as Pat decribes happen and are indeed enjoyable. I wouldn’t describe such a moment as male/female but human. It brings a smile to my face when there is a connection of some sort between a man and woman. for instance the jar opening where the man feels needed and I guess the woman thinks it’s great to have a man around.

    It’s a pity that feminism exists. What I mean is: Feminism shouldn’t need to exist if we all respected each other in equal amounts with no ‘barrier’ of male or female society driven characteristics.

  27. Kain
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    Cheerios everyone,

    altough Patrick mentionned pretty much anything that i have to say on the topic. I´d like to give a short version of my opinion on the matter.

    I study sociology and the topic is extremly complicated.

    There are three kinds of feminists:

    1. The ones who fight for womens rights.
    2. The ones who fight for everyones rights to be how they want to be.
    3. The ones fighting just to fight and who are generally the ones who scream the loudest. These are the same feminists who say that we need a law to have at least 50% women in congres.

    Only Number 2. is right in my opinion, who wants to argue with me on that please just read everything on judith butler and you will at least see my point.

    Number 1 is fighting a good fight but they are deemed to have no purpose at some point.

    Number 3 are just sexist in their own way.

    Feminismen how i perceive it should liberate people, it should neither create pressure to do smth nor to not do smth. Telling somebody, dont do or say this or that because its not feministic is oppressive in my opinion.

    Furthermore if feminisem lives in denial of the biologic and psychosozial facts of our world it is deemed to fail.

    Everybody likes to be a strong hero, and everybody sometimes likes to be a gentleman/woman.

    If i want to open a door for another human being, i am kind not sexist. If i save another human being from being murdered and that human being is a woman i am kind not overly masculin. If saving her gives me a gorilla like masculin feeling, there is no harm in that.

    If a women saves me from a hornet(my nemesis) and i cry like a little bitch , i will be glad too, and not condenm her for being sexist.

    Sorry for my bad english i am german,

  28. cellima
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    I actually really appreciated this post, and I generally despise feminists for their limited view point on the world, but then I lived most of my live in an extremely liberal college town where no one could fathom how I could actually WANT to get married and have a baby. Everyone told me I was ruin my life, and then somehow turned a blind eye when I received my Bachelor’s Degree two years early (harhar, no, they didn’t like that!).

    Unrelated, where are you going to be the last week in October? I think we’re going to be driving across country, and if at all possible I would love to buy a spare (signed) copy of your books (for keeping, not lending!). It would be the perfect ending to our marathon trip across the U.S. and Italy (graduation present to myself!).

  29. elmobob14
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    I like the brand of feminism that recognizes that, although men and women should have the same rights and opportunities, they are different from one another and there’s nothing wrong with that. In my view, much of feminism these days works to make women into men, which I find antithetical to its goals.

  30. xentak
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    I think Neil Gaiman’s wife put this subject in it’s place: .

    That says it all.

  31. Calicoxx
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    I read this whole thing, and this is what I took away from this post:

    Feminism, it’s like when you’re spooning. Sometimes you’re the big spoon, sometimes you’re the little spoon. They both can be nice.

    • Nimfiss
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Strange thing was, my girlfriend said this to me last night.

  32. snowfallinjune
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Thank you!
    It’s nice to know others believe feminism is about being equal, not being “more ‘equal.'” Incidentally, “more ‘equal'” isn’t a thing. I probably meant to say privileged.

  33. Robo
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Pat! Will you ever let it be known what the two winners of the golden ticket asked for/received?

  34. justajenjen
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Wonderful post, and everything was very well put. As a woman who became a stay at home parent after having a child with my husband, and also enjoying other “traditional woman’s work” I’ve been made to feel, and sometimes flat out told that I was personally setting back the woman’s movement. Yep, the fact that I cook meals for my family, bake cakes, and knit is what keeps women from earning the same pay for the same work. Sorry, my sisters. My bad. It’s just that ordering Chinese every night gets old, cake is yummy, and when I go to book signing events with awesome authors like Pat, I like to take knitted gifts. Besides, Pat, you did like the Serenity burp rag I made for Oot, right? Also, when the apocalypse comes, I will still have socks. That’s why I learned to knit. I know I’m totally letting down the team because I quit my job and stayed home with my son even though it was costing more for me to send him to daycare than what I made a week. But work doesn’t let you watch My Little Pony Friendship is Magic all day and take naps.

  35. RoyceShatzel
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    I am genuinely curious about your comment on stay at home moms… I was raised along the fairly old fashioned belief that Somebody should be at home with the child at all times, so that child always has a sense of family and is raised the way that the parents want them raised (so they can teach them their own way, I suppose.). I was taught my whole life that this was better for the child, and for people in general, than just shoving your child in daycare until he/she was old enough to be babysat by a television.

    Nowadays however I hear about the wonders of having both parents work, and honestly I cannot help but wonder if there is an actual effect on the child at all.

    So… yeah, Rothfuss, or fellow Rothfussian fans who happen to know more about this than I do, is it honestly better for a child to always have someone at home for them? Or is it honestly fine on everybody for both parents to be working, and for there to be a third party babysitter helping out in some way?

    • drnaah
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

      I employ a lot high school age children, ages 15- 18 and I can tell you that the kids who have two parents where one of the parents is home a good bit of the time (doesn’t matter what the family structure, as long a someone is there) are more confident and less likely to wind up in trouble.

      • RoyceShatzel
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

        Awesome, thank you. I still am having a hard time finding any “solid” statistics, so hearing from someone first hand is seriously helpful in that regard. It’s pretty cool to know that I wasn’t totally led astray by my parents old schoolness. :) Seriously, thank you.

        • cicadaxiii
          Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

          I stayed at home with my children and unschooled them. My children had their “cup” full. I didn’t take them all over the place and fill their life up with business. They were in the home and learned about and created their own environments that suited them best. I can remember one time we were moving and we were really hungry, so we stopped at a pizza resturant and ordered a vegetarian pizza. The teenagers they had in the back didn’t know how to fix one so we ended up waiting almost 45 min…although we didn’t know it was going to be that long at the time. Someone came over to my table and told me how good my children were…their ages at the time were 5,9,and 13.
          That is because their emotional cups were full and they were able to deal with the stress of not getting something “right now”.
          If you go to a playground where a bunch of kids are playing watch them. These are kids that spend most of their time away from their parents. Listen to the decibels in their voice, as they try to get noticed. See how their minds flutter around from one thing to the next without any concentration. Just ask yourself would I want to be in a class room or even a room with these kids? Are they really relating to each other or just trying to get their cup filled?

          My kids have been the kids that parents that have not had children wish to “adopt” and share their interest and hobbies with. Go try to do that with a child and see what happens and that may be the best way to “test” which is better.

    • Brigitta
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

      Hi there. :)

      When I was young, both my parents worked and I went to daycare. My parents worked hard to find a “home-like” daycare for me, a place that didn’t feel like a school with a curriculum, but was more like being dropped off at the home of an adoptive aunt or grandma. First, I was cared for by a woman named Carolin and later, by a woman named Tanya. (After my little sister was born, we went to Tanya’s together.) I proudly introduce these women to people as women who helped raise me.

      Now, my parents were also always home in the evenings and they were both very involved with my upbringing–especially when I was about…oh, eight?–and my mom decided to stay at home with my sister and me from then on. But I still think that my daycare providers were wonderful influences on me when I was little and that the time I spent with them and the other kids they cared for did me good.

      I do believe that keeping kids in a loving, personal, home-esque environment is very very good for them, but I also think “outside care” situations are what you make of them. If you drop your kids off at a big daycare center where their time and activities and relationships are carefully structured by a semi-detached “teacher,” then that isn’t as good as a home environment. But if you have a daycare that’s essentially a second home (and it was–I never wanted to leave Tanya’s when my parents came to pick me up–and I loved my parents a whole lot), that I think the phrase “the more the merrier” applies.

  36. Tristania
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    I love these kinds of discussions.

    I think that your definition of feminism works well. For me, there are really two aspects of feminism: public and private.

    The public aspect of feminism deals with things like equal rights, equal pay, the right to plan when/if one has children, etc. And while these are all very important issues, they sometimes feel like background problems compared to private issues of feminism, which deal with how women are treated on a daily basis. Your quote about wanting attractive, easily startled young women to cling to you falls under this category, so that’s what I’ll focus on.

    Private issues of feminism extend to how women see themselves in society. In my view, feminism is a movement that encourages women to define for themselves what being “feminine” means. The antithesis of feminism is men deciding what is feminine and what is not, and women accepting it. For example, during the Victorian era it was considered feminine for women to be weak, clingy and childlike. If you were a woman and you didn’t exhibit those characteristics, there was something wrong with you–you weren’t feminine.

    But going back to your quote. In my long-winded way, I am trying to say that I agree with you. Getting startled at the movies is a little like role-playing, and I daresay that we modern women enjoy playing the damsel in distress from time to time just as much as you enjoy playing the manly-man. In real life, we have so many pressures, responsibilities and obligations that it is fun to pretend, even for a moment, that some big strong man is going to take care of us.

    Of course, we know that at the end of the day, we have to take care of ourselves–and for the most part, we’re okay with that.

    I find this discussion interesting because I’ve been working on my first novel and experimenting with a protagonist who is ultra-feminine. It’s kind of a backlash against the current trend of female characters in fantasy who have to prove their worth by acting like men. I’ve noticed that fantasy readers tend to be really hard on female characters, so I’ll be really interested to see if others find her as likable as I do. :-) Tristania

  37. afkesler
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Been reading a long time, but registered here to post this one comment.
    Each year when I teach “Porphyria’s Lover” we digress into the discussion of femanisim and chivalry. Within the poem, besides the thematic strands of class difference and the ideals of a sexually repressed Victorian era, we always digress into the discussion of Porphyria usurping the man’s position as a man. There are roles we play that are hardwired into us from long before birth and challenges to them aren’t always met with open arms, although most may agree strangling her with her own hair crosses a small line of some sort.
    Times being as they are, we have put what has been a clear role for the man for centuries and made him doubt it. Not for any wrong reason, but simply because he wants to please the woman – something women should appreciate, yet when they ask to carry a parcel, women say ‘no,’ so men stop asking…and the women complain. The 17-18 year old young men I teach are very confused. Their mothers have taught them one thing (protect their sisters and girlfriends) and yet they find those same concepts met with scorn in their daily lives by other women in their paths.
    I like your notions that femanism means one side of the other doesn’t HAVE to conform to one role or another, but if they CHOOSE to, it’s acceptable. I’ve looked at the issue as black and white for too long. Your analysis is something I look forward to incorporating this year. Thank you for the perspective.

  38. AlanAdams23
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    My favorite story along this topic:

    My wife is a huge gamer. Waaaay back in the day we played tons of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 at the arcade. One day we were waiting for a guy to finish a single player game of UMK3 and my wife put her quarter on the machine to signify she wanted to play him as soon as he got done.

    Once it was her time to play, he looked at her and said “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ll go easy on you”. She looked at him and sweetly answered “ok”. We had drawn a small crowd of kids at this point, waiting for the girl to get her ass kicked so they could play. She then proceeded to kick the crap out of him and get a Flawless Victory. He looked at her and said “Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be? No more Mr. nice guy”. She just smiled and mopped the floor with him again for a Double Flawless victory. The dude slunk out of there as the crowd gasped and followed him. We had the machine all to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon.

    • resemblelife
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

      Would have loved to have been there to see this. Women gamers: feminism GO. Ready players one AND two.

  39. duke7883
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Maybe I am missing something here, but your comment was this: ““My plan is to go see it, preferably in the company of an attractive, easily startled young woman. That way, when the movie gets scary, she will cling to me desperately for comfort.””

    Not: “My plan is to go see it, preferably with a young woman. That way, when the movie gets scary, she will cling to me desperately for comfort.”

    The second option, pretty bad. You’re implying all women are the same and will react in a feminine way, by seeking solace in you, the man. However, you specifically stated an easily startled woman, which is just a particular type of woman. IE – a jumpy woman. What do nerves have to do with a woman’s viewpoint of feminism? You’re a guy that likes women who cling to him. That doesn’t seem sexist, it seems like what you enjoy, it makes you feel good to be the solid person in a scary situation. You said attractive, which could be anything at all to you. You didn’t say, “…preferably with a young, 5’6, 100lb blonde haired green eyed woman with x breast size, etc.” I’m digging for ways to see your statement as anti feminist and I only see it if I really stretch for it, which is most often the case.

  40. capblye
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Ugh … that Jezebel site is a nightmare.
    I wanted to post a reply to one of the comments … a “MrsLadyLady” (SO Not) … but i couldnt get that half assed site to let me post.

    Here is what i wanted to post:
    “When you used the words “Tired” “Boring” “Cliched” … i suspect you were staring in a mirror when typing.
    You have single handedly pushed the Feminism movement back a step.
    It’s the uninformed, narrow minded rhetoric such as yours that makes it hard to have a rational discourse on the subject.
    You give feminism a bad name.”

  41. Lastasis
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    You are a beautiful human being
    That is all

  42. Mona
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    I think, dear Patrick, that the not-being-a-dick-about-it part is very true and applies to so many things in life.

    The next time I stumble upon a discussion about feminism, I see myself trying to recite your beautifully written blog entry or (failing that) excusing myself for a moment in order to dig it up in the vast wildernis of the internet.

  43. JoBird
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    It doesn’t bother me that you’re attracted to women. I am too.

    Like many people, I’ve read every blog post you’ve put up. The only one that ever made me uncomfortable was the one where you signed your first breast.

    It’s clear that doing that is okay from your perspective, at least based on your criteria points above. And I get that argument, I do. The position makes sense.

    After all, you certainly didn’t hold her down and rip her top off before signing.

    Still. It made me uncomfortable. The reason: I felt it was somewhat demeaning, and worse, I felt it was playing off of a base of low self-esteem on her part. Judgmental on my part? Very possible.

    It would, without a doubt, be easier for me to sit back and say, hey, don’t judge, let folks be folks. It’s harder to realize that lines have to be drawn somewhere. For instance, I don’t condone excessive drug use, reckless driving, verbal abuse. Well, in the same way, I don’t really condone something I feel marginalizes women. Unfortunately, my position is shaky and subjective at best. I do recognize that. Obviously, I can’t prove that it’s demeaning or coming from a place of low self-esteem. I can only suspect that it is.

    But, in fairness, I would judge a man who asked a female to sign his testicles in much the same light.

    • iceheartx
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

      breasts are not in the same social arena as testicles.

      both are secondary sexual characteristics, but there are few/no occasions where testicles are appropriate in public and plenty where breasts are.

      mothers have been working to make feeding their children in public more socially acceptable for years. Many states make going topless in public legal (a way to bring equality where men are allowed to go shirtless with impunity?).

      She wasn’t asking him to sign her groin, but instead to sign a part of her body that might very well have been on display to some extent either way – comparing breasts and testicles is apples and oranges in terms of social acceptability.

      • JoBird
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

        Admit it. You toyed with the idea of writing melons to golf balls instead of apples to oranges. I just know it.

        But seriously, at the risk of sounding presumptuous, she didn’t ask him to sign her breast because that’s where her baby drinks. There was obviously a sexual connotation involved.

        If you’re blind to that possibility, then–well–that brings me to what I suppose is my point:

        We don’t live in a utopia; this isn’t a society of free love–whether you (or anyone else) wants it to be or not. The fact is, there are psychological ramifications to actions. And that remains a fact despite any false pretense to ideology.

        I don’t believe the government should arrest women for getting their breasts signed. But I do believe it’s a potential sign of low self-worth and that it objectifies women on its face.

        I just think it’s wise to remain guarded against participating in that kind of stuff.

        • iceheartx
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

          all I’m saying is that breasts aren’t only sexual. Yes they can be sexual, but that isn’t their only focus or context – nor should it be.

          By defining the breast as something that can only be sexual aren’t we being rather limiting?

          I don’t think “sign my breast” is any kind of sexual act. She’s not being brought to paroxysms of physical delight by the person who is signing – she’s asking someone to sign a location she can easily (and may already be) showing off.

          Think about a logo. Put that logo on the front of a t-shirt, you can see it from a distance, it’s immediately obvious what direction is up and how it should be viewed – no explanation or drawing attention to something that could otherwise be missed – it is all front and center. Take the same logo, and put it on the sleeve of your long sleeve shirt and all of a sudden it takes more effort to see where the top of it is, and people could easily overlook it because your arms are usually in motion. You have to take special effort to show off your logo.

          admittedly my argument works for the face too, she could have asked him to sign there, but honestly, I would be more comfortable asking Pat to sign my chest than my face.

          Choosing to identify with something, strongly perhaps, and wanting to show off your association is endemic in our culture. People buy label clothing, people buy products with logos, people wear religious symbols – choosing to identify themselves with these larger thought-structures.

          Why is it only a person who gets their breast signed – by an author who wrote books with which she identified strongly – that gets slapped with a “low self esteem” tag here? Only because the location *can be* (but is not *only*) sexual?

          I get not wanting someone to sign your breast. I agree, I wouldn’t personally ask someone to do it because I don’t think of autographs as particularly interesting. But I wouldn’t be terribly comfortable assuming that the only reason someone could want an autograph is because of low self esteem and a desire to be objectified either.

          • christie
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

            If that were the case…he could have signed her t-shirt.

          • JoBird
            Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

            I don’t think anyone is assuming only one reason for anything, certainly not in regards to the motivation of getting a breast signed.

            It has to do more with possibilities, with potential hazards.

            As far as the logo stuff goes. Well. I’ll just second Christie’s response post.

    • rundlesten
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

      Interesting, in both cases you judge the man

      • JoBird
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

        It probably came across that way more because of my wording than my actual feelings on the matter.

        The truth is: I judge the situation. Which is just a dodgy way of saying that I judge the man and the woman involved.

        Is it right of me to judge? You’ll have to be the judge of that. :)

        I’ve tried to be clear in the posts above that it is all just my opinion, just a sense of discomfort that I got from it. I made sure to include terms like *think* , *possibility* , and *potential*. And I tried to examine why it made me uncomfortable–hopefully, in a polite manner.

        I do believe that Pat’s way of thinking is supported by sound logic. I just happen to think that it leaves out something crucial–at least, in my estimation.

        When is it okay to enable behavior that *may* stem from a lack of self-esteem? At what point is a cry for attention being taken advantage of? To me, these are important issues.

        I think marcon below makes a good point, which I intend to address momentarily.

        • rundlesten
          Posted October 3, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          Understood and thanks for the clarification, JoBird.

          Yep, I see your point and agree that it has merit. It is hard to really know without being present though. I guess I personally would give Pat the benefit of the doubt here (based on what I know of him via his blog). In doing so I would assume that he made a sound judgement call on the state of mind of the woman making the request, the underlying reason for such a request, etc.

    • marcon
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

      Let’s assume it’s her personal sexual fantasy to have her favourite author sign one of her breasts, or just find it extremely funny. So it is sexually charged. Nothing to do with babies. And let’s further assume that the author finds the idea funny and exciting enough to go through with it.

      What happens, if she is a head-strong, self-confident, maybe slightly quirky feminist? Would no such person have a fantasy like that? Would it be sexist for the author to have a fantasy like that?

      The fact that there is a possible sexual connotation here, does not in my opinion cause a power gradient between the two players in itself. I don’t think wearing someones signature on your body, a clear sign of “devotion”, is necessarily degrading to the wearer . Only if that act of devotion would result in an act of submission would I really start to see problems. And even that should/could be the free decision of any consenting adults.

      I am not saying in any way that everybody or even anybody should automatically feel fine to have someone paint their autograph on their body.

      In my opinion, the only person with any right to really feel offended is called Sarah Rothfuss and there is the matter of possible boy/girlfriend/partner of the autographee. But since Pat writes freely about it, I am assuming the whole thing was mostly harmless and Pat’s wife found it funny rather than offending.

      At the same time, you should be perfectly free to feel offended. Let’s just agree to disagree in keeping with Pats rules above.

      • JoBird
        Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

        To start, I’m not offended. I don’t find the act of signing to be offensive, not necessarily.

        But, in my (albeit limited) world view, there is a *possibility* that signing a breast may reinforce negative cultural stereotypes, it runs the risk of reinforcing the woman’s *possible* opinion that she is worth exactly two breasts in this world.

        Is it also possible that the woman in question is super duper confident? Absolutely. Is it possible that she has been taught (by the climate of our culture) that her worth only revolves around her body’s sex appeal? Absolutely.

        And it’s that possibility that makes me uncomfortable. What may seem like good old fashioned rock star fun could actually and even inadvertently be taking advantage of someone’s low self-esteem. Which essentially reinforces and enables those thought patterns.

        Of course, this is why feminism is a very difficult topic. There is a major flaw in my point of view. My feelings could be construed as trying to shame the woman for getting her breast signed. Which is not at all what I want to do. So, in the delicate balance of trying to do the right thing and equally not do the wrong thing: it seems only prudent to avoid doing anything at all in such a situation.

        In other words, don’t condemn a woman for wanting to get her breast signed. But, equally, don’t indulge in the signing–if only because of the potential hazard of doing so.

        Shrug. Just my opinion and an attempt at explaining where my discomfort came from.

  44. Mark G. Schroeder
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    “And you know what? I’m gonna be completely honest with you here. Occasionally, it’s nice to have an attractive young woman cling to you in a moment of pure animal terror”

    Pat’s a better man than I am. I would have probably stopped the third sentence at “Occasionally, it’s nice to have an attractive young woman cling to you” and not bothered with the situational modifier. Maybe that makes me a sexist ass. I hope not, but just as honestly, I haven’t spent nearly as much time thinking about this as others here obviously have.

    I also appreciate the discussion of the notion that women and men can do things that appear to be a mindless fulfillment of societal gender roles without actually mindlessly fulfilling gender roles. My wife, for instance, who’s pretty fierce about her own brand of feminism (she once took a welding class just to make a point to a male teacher who didn’t want her there, and let me tell you, having a wife who can weld is sort of a turn on), chose to stay home with our boy when he was born 8 years ago. She’s been judged somewhat harshly for that by some for that, even within her own family at times. And unfairly so. Quite frankly after working for 8 years while I diddled around in college and law school and made little to no money, I think she’s entitled to do whatever she likes without being judged for it, thanks.

    Pat made me all ranty…

  45. alice
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    For the most part, Pat, I agree with your working definitions of feminism, but there’s an additional element for me – breaking down gendered expectations. Your 2nd and 3rd points get at a bit of this, in that we as a society shouldn’t punish people for following their desires because they happen to be something that a man or woman ‘should’ do. But for me, a key part of feminism is examining those expectations, and working to reduce their prevalence and influence.

    Some of that happens when people follow their desires – as more dads are active caretakers and as more women show that they can kick ass as firefighters, we tend to get more flexible definitions of what men and women can do. But when we make choices that go along with traditional gender roles without being critical of them, we end up reinforcing the idea that there are still distinct things that men and women should do.

    For example, I’m planning on working less and doing more day-to-day childcare in our family because it makes the most sense for our situation. But since I’m a chick and my partner’s a dude, it means that we’re going to be sure to talk with our kids about it, because if we don’t, the dominant social narrative of ‘men’s careers are more important than women’s’ will be reinforced by what they see.

    For most of us, we’re going to spend a lot of our lives making choices that don’t directly oppose these expectations, and I agree that there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But if we’re going to make gender roles more permeable and less proscriptive, I believe that we have to critique these situations when they come up far more often than we do.

    • Mark G. Schroeder
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

      “… it means that we’re going to be sure to talk with our kids about it, because if we don’t, the dominant social narrative of ‘men’s careers are more important than women’s’ will be reinforced by what they see.”

      Part of me wants to question why that is. I mean, to a child who doesn’t have the life experience that we do and who, at least at first, isn’t aware of traditional gender roles, why can’t it be true that the person who stays home with the kids, regardless of their gender, is the one who’s doing the “more important” work? I mean, in the vast majority of cases it has the benefit of being true.

      While I don’t like the idea that we have to take the time to deliver these specific and deliberately voiced ideas to our kids, when I think about it, I suppose we’ve done it too. We just did it without specifically thinking about delivering that message. When our child asks us about our history we very plainly tell him that Mom essentially put Dad through school and it’s just Dad’s turn to be the primary bread winner. I’m not saying that sitting down and explaining the philosophy to your child(ren) is wrong, I just suspect that they’re far more likely to pick up those ideas and outlooks from the people you are, and the way you live your lives as you raise them, than they are from sitting them down and telling them what you think.

      but what do i know… maybe it’s a distinction without much of a difference….

      • alice
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

        For me, it’s important to be intentional about these kinds of things, because (especially when the conversations are a bit tricky or uncomfortable), it can be easy to not end up having them.

        Kids start interacting with the wider world at a pretty young age, and they pick up on patterns pretty quickly. Since more women do sacrifice parts of their careers when it comes to raising kids (part-time work, pursuing less demanding specializations, taking time off, etc.), and society does devalue unpaid work inside the home, I think it’s important to talk about it when it comes up.

        Knowing that I want to talk about the bigger stuff means I’m much more likely to do it. I’m not going to go into a discussion of the need for paternity leave with a toddler any more than I’d start talking to them about the hormones involved in ovulation, but sexism and sex ed are both topics where I want to make sure we aren’t vague.

  46. Bengmark
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    I will admit to being philosophically uncomfortable about the pinup calender. But I’m fairly bewildered by the complaints that your books are sexist or that daring to enjoy the emotional response of your partner is somehow sexist. Any person should be able to mutually enjoy the response of their significant other to a shared media experience. Everything you outlined here is exactly the right response to the very large and ill-informed skepticism about feminism.

    Your books are very much written from a male point of view. I assume that the criticism is a problem with “Male Gaze.” This is a something that needs to be acknowledged and paid attention to, but I don’t think you diminish the identities of the women involved by acknowledging your protagonist’s sexual interests. Denna is a legitimately complex and interesting character that, I believe, Kvothe is incapable of ever properly understanding. But Kvothe acknowledges this on some level. This isn’t in issue of social male gaze, this is an issue of Kvothe realized Kvothe gaze.

  47. itsjusthim
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    I just want to say that I think you expressed feminism beautifully. I’m not surprised by this at all because you’re obviously amazing with words. In my experience my discussions on feminism that go ugly (which is very rare) tend to happen more frequently with other feminists than with people with more sexist (toward women) tendencies.

  48. Jam
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Ok ok, I’m sorry I can’t read all the other comments right now, I hope someone else hasn’t already said something like this but I need to say stuff..

    I had a big argument with a friend yesterday. He said things along the lines of: If your wife/girlfriend stays at home and doesn’t work, she should do all the housework and cook all the meals and do all the washing. If there were 5 children then the housework would be split. We didnt discuss the boyfriend/husband side of the coin, but the argument stands.

    My answer was along the lines of: Why don’t you just hire a maid.

    But it made me sad. I think it’s the expectation of work. I think that if I stayed at home the house would probably be clean enough to perform surgery in (except when there’s a new epic fantasy out.. then I just lose the world for about 15 hours) but that’s my personality and choice, but I wouldn’t expect someone to clean and make food for me. Of course I would be delighted if my girlfriend cooked dinner as a surprise but I would much prefer to cook together.

    • iceheartx
      Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

      there’s a sense of inequity when one part of a couple goes out to work and the other stays home.

      one person is “sacrificing” by working.
      the other person is “sacrificing” by keeping the home clean and tidy.

      both partners are sacrificing some of their time in order to contribute to the upkeep of the relationship.

      the gender roles of the two are unimportant, what’s important is that both partners feel their contributions are valued and feel that their partner is also contributing to the relationship.

      “I worked all day I don’t want to come home and do dishes all night while you sat around all day and played video games” is a fairly reasonable complaint in my mind.

      “I worked all day and I don’t want to do the dishes, but you were busy with the laundry all day so I guess I’ll have to take care of them” is also viable and allows for reality to not match expectations. Just because someone stays home doesn’t mean they had nothing better to do that do your dishes.

      “I worked all day and therefore will never do dishes ’cause that’s your job, since you stay home” is where it starts to get tricky. At that point you’re implying that there is NO reason that the dishes didn’t get done that is good enough. At this point you have a live in maid as you are applying professional (ie. I pay you) expectations to your partner – which may or may not be appropriate.

      • iceheartx
        Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

        and of course this is all predicated on “one stays home to keep house” – there are lots of couples where that’s not the agreement at all

        • Jam
          Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

          Yes yes Thankyou I completely agree with you iceheartx.. I am such a poor debater, I felt my friend was coming down on the side of your last paragraph: expects dinner, washing, a clean house from whoever his wife would be..

          I guess everyone’s different and a relationship is sometimes better defined by the sacrifices you make to stay together and different circumstances can work.. mm I don;t know y I got so riled up about this.. I guess it’s just one of those mobilising topics

  49. guessingo
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Some people will read sexism into anything. I read some posts on the Robert Jordan fansite ‘dragonmount’ where some women were complaining that his books were sexist. Jordan had stated many times that he went out of his way to make strong female characters which was something that was uncommon when he started the series 20+ years ago. He specifically said ‘I wanted to create a world where the women’s movement happened so long ago that no one even remembers yet’.

    Yet some people complained of sexism. Now you can make the argument that he didn’t do the job that well or that he really only had 1 type of strong female character and this gets tiresome since their personalities are all similiar. However, to say that his work is sexist is ridiculous.

    Props to Pat for his eloquent response.

  50. ASamuelson
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    “It’s like when you’re spooning. Sometimes you’re the big spoon, sometimes you’re the little spoon. They both can be nice.”

    This made me chuckle. Of course spooning is great, but Pat… when are you the little spoon? I don’t dare to speculate…

  51. rundlesten
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    I think this is a great discussion and everybody has stated their opinions very thoughtfully and with respect (something almost unheard of in the blogosphere these days). These types of conversations need to happen, and regularly. It’s good for us to be conscious of and reflect upon our opinions on things like femanism and how our actions do or don’t accurately represent these opinions.

    You’ve got a great group of readers Pat!

    • marcon
      Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Permalink


  52. SMantzoros
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Permalink


    This is kind of off topic, but I just watched Firefly and have the overwhelming desire to start using the word “folk” in sentences. Is that why you started using the word “howdy”?

  53. jplan74
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Great topic, great reply and great discussion by all the folks commenting. Pat, I’ve had this discussion so many times with people and wish I had it summed up like this in my back pocket. Exactly. Its all about respect really. Men still can be men and women can be women, whatever your personal definition of those terms may be. Just treat each other cool. duh.

  54. jordanISyoung
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    perhaps we should discuss more world issues here, this seems to be the one place comments are both thoughtful and helpful. Pat your story and views were refreshingly unencumbered by the political bull that often seeps into a fairly human issue…treat people with respect and dignity is much to rare, though it is the foundation of any worthwhile endeavor, debate, or cause…as always, love reading what you put out there…and now i wish i had my beard again.

  55. WantsToBeAHermit
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    There is a lot of nice discussion here. I was just hoping that the attention from that site doesn’t attract trolls. I was compelled to register *just* to express indignation at some chick on some site speaking for me. I didn’t notice my alienation, my bad.

    As an aside on the pinup thing, I thought the idea was pretty awesome, but there’s an artist that happens to be a dude that happens to probably like drawing/painting chicks. Pretty common. I wouldn’t get weird about him not chomping at the bit to do a guy version, or assume it’s Pat’s responsibility to find someone to balance the scales. Rather, if you know someone with the skills and the inclination, try to pitch it to them ;)

    I know the first thing I thought for both calendars was that I’d like to see one of actual characters (male version and female version) in their setting kind of style, and then thought, “Maybe I will do that. That will be fun.”

  56. MavenSlavin
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    I love you, Patrick Rothfuss.

  57. Posted October 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    So I doubt you’ll see this, but I just wanted to say it anyway.
    You have given me the first definition of “feminism” that I can get behind.
    I used to be all sauve and call myself an equalist because of the actions of some people who called themselves feminist and I couldn’t in good conscience associate myself with them.
    I was reading a post on another website today about the need to the male equipment of the feminist movement to allow men to break free of the gender associations that are still prevalent to this day. I think that your definition fits this perfectly.
    Thank you for not only being a great writer but also a decent humanitarian.

    Ben AKA Christof

  58. maine character
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    I bet even Han’s grabbed Chewbacca for comfort (perhaps while watching the prequels).

    Does that make Han any less of a man? Or does it mean Chewie’s wrong to appreciate being a Wookie? I think not.

  59. cerevor
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    She couldn’t have read your work very closely. Your “affection” for femininity always comes through very clearly before any general recognition of their “sameness”. They get a bonus so to speak. It’s almost a characteristic of the style, if I may say so (as regards gender, at least). But I guess in the context of fiction they find themselves more personally comforted by it rather than seeing anything objectionable about it.

  60. queerlydear
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Catching up on old blog posts and I thought I’d throw in my two cents- I am definitely a little lady, but my dude has been known to shriek at scary movies and it makes me feel good to be clung to in fear, too. Being pleased with feeling protective is unigender, I think. :)

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