Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be feminists…

feminist cowboyIn News from Train Wrecks (apologies to HelenK), I give you Alisa Valdes, author of the just released memoir The Feminist & The Cowboy. The book is the story of how a hyper-masculine dude tamed all Valdes’ feminist-sewn issues with distrust and self-hatred. Except maybe not:

The book, which features a cover image of a woman’s bare legs tossed high with a cowboy hat perched atop one foot, has been heavily marketed to the anti-feminist crowd, even earning a plug from Christina Hoff Sommers, who called it a “riveting tale about how a brilliant, strong-minded woman liberated herself from a dreary, male-bashing, reality-denying feminism.”

But now the author, Alisa Valdes, a prolific romance novelist, alleges that the man who taught her to “submit,” and to enjoy it, turned out — after she wrote this love letter of a book about him — to be an abuser.

Yesterday, Valdes published a blog post claiming that after she turned in the manuscript for “The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story,” said cowboy became emotionally and physically abusive, and during one fight “simply dragged me down the hall to the bedroom, bent me over, and took me, telling me as he did so that I must never forget who was in charge.”

[...]

The deleted blog post is an excruciatingly painful read. It tells of an unplanned pregnancy that causes the cowboy to leave her, a miscarriage and then a reconciliation. What follows are several scenes of brutal violence, including one in which she allegedly jumps from the cowboy’s moving truck because she’s afraid he will kill her (“he’d hinted at it”).

Via The American Conservative, we get some of the actual text of Valdes’ now-deleted post (but none of the juicy parts):

I believe very firmly that the truth is the only currency a writer has, and that if there is any hope of redeeming this book and making it meaningful it lies in the full story of my relationship with the cowboy and not just in the candy-coated version that appears in the book.

[...]

The book was true, when I wrote it. But life changed. I didn’t try to fool anyone, or to exploit anything. Rather, I believed in a man who didn’t deserve it. I fell for the incredible charm and manipulations such men are capable of. I failed to see what women who are wiser than I was are clearly seeing as they read my book — that this man was “a jerk,” as one reviewer said. I didn’t know. Worst of all, I wrote about my love and my flexibility and compromises in so glowing and beautiful a way as to secure a book deal from a wonderful publisher, an elite publisher, and now the same publisher is treating me like I have the plague, all because, I feel, I have saved my own life. I didn’t set out to deceive them. No one wanted the fairy tale more than I did! Ironically, being “punished” by the publisher feels a bit like the abusive emotional stonewalling the cowboy would do to me when I didn’t knuckle under and do what HE needed me to do for HIS needs…it’s familiar territory, only now it’s being done to me by a progressive woman in New York. I’m not a commodity. I’m not an object. I’m not a thing to be sold. I am a human being, a writer, an artist, a work in progress, and real life is messy sometimes, especially when it comes to love and abuse. I am deeply wounded by the stonewalling from my editor, as wounded as I ever was when the cowboy did it to me…

Thus, I had to come out of my hibernation module to declare that it’s not a lack of complimentarian rhetoric or feminism itself that’s the problem, Ms. Valdes. The problem, my dear, is you. I haven’t even read the book, but I can tell from your words here, and what I’ve read of the reaction to your book and your reaction to the reaction that, while you claim to seek and love the truth, you never actually ask the hard questions to find it. You suffer from the same problem so many women in my generation and younger do. Question everything! Except for what I agree with. Don’t you know a good critical thinker always starts questioning their own assumptions first? No, clearly you did not.

Feminism served you while you needed it. Then, when you were staring down the last days of estrogen, you decided you hadn’t quite had it hot enough yet, so you went out and found yourself a mechanical man to ride and wrote off all the bullshit you swallowed along the way to your wild Latina heart and the failures of feminism. Even now you make insulting jokes about “being tamed.”

When confronted with the fact that you lied to yourself and misled yourself and put yourself in danger, you did not take responsibility. You added The Cowboy to pile of blame to be sorted. He may deserve his fair share, but so do you. So do so many women who don’t understand their own biology and who subscribe to some of the coolest, ergo stupidest, shit around.

Feminism is awesome. What today’s women–and publishers–do with it, however, is a fucking tragedy. If you believed it was about man-hating and avoiding marriage–which you clearly want, since you’ve jumped into a relationship with the man you think you’ll “probably spend [your] life with” a mere four months after you ditched The Cowboy–you clearly weren’t subscribing to feminism. You bought a brand, not an ideology. Think deeper, honey, and question more. Because feminism is what we make of it. Right now you’re making it a mess.

(More on the story…)

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87 Responses to Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be feminists…

  1. votermom says:

    Did you fix it?

    And omg that book description makes me want to barf!
    And I say this as a romance reader. Ugh.

    • I did fix it. I inadvertently clicked add new page instead of add new post. Fallout from being up for 26 hours straight. Probably shouldn’t have written it, but after digging in trying to find the deleted post (still haven’t…hint, hint you internet whizzes) and reading the reactions all the way around, I had to say something. Call it blood pressure relief. Here’s her blog. Check out her latest fake-correction post.

      I suspect it’s all a marketing ruse, anyway, to generate interest in her book….

      • votermom says:

        The title on the American Conservative post made me laugh:
        “Author Says: My Book Is A Lie & I’m A Head Case”

        • Haha. So true. I know women like her. I used to be a woman like her. Unlike her, I had a bunch of shit figured before I hit 40, including how it was sex-induced hormones, not feminism, that was the root of my troubles with men. Women are different from men, all the way down to why, when, where, and how they have sex.

          But honestly, I don’t blame her entirely. She’s likely never met a forthright, forthcoming women in her life. We women do not hand down information like we should. Young women today are often so stupid precisely because they don’t have enough honest information about womanhood and the stages of life. They listen to each other and discount the wisdom of age. Older women and younger women both fail each other every day, and that’s a big problem, and part of what keeps us down.

        • votermom says:

          . Young women today are often so stupid precisely because they don’t have enough honest information about womanhood and the stages of life. They listen to each other and discount the wisdom of age.

          I just read a book that says a very similar thing. It says that current culture is letting kids get too attached to peers, and because of human nature, this is alienating them from parents. So basically we’re going into a “lord of the flies” direction.

          Interesting read:

          Hold on to your kids : why parents need to matter more than peers / Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté.

  2. HELENK says:

    my ideal of a feminist is a women who expects respect from all around her. She stands beside her man, not in back of him or in front of him. She understands that both have strength in different areas and that working together they can achieve much.
    She is also strong enough that if circumstances make it so that she is on her own, she is willing to learn what she has to do to survive and do well..
    Women have being doing this for generations in a quiet way.

    From what you wrote the writer does not understand you expect respect and if you do not get it get rid of the guy what he giving and she is getting is not love it is stupidity

  3. votermom says:

    Speaking of mamas

  4. myiq2xu (D) says:

    One thing I have learned from feminist authors is that bad relationships are always the man’s fault.

  5. HELENK says:

    my bllod pressure just hit the roof

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-us-has-fallen-short-ideal-afghanistan_695181.html

    ONCE AGAIN BACKTRACK HAS BLAMED AMERICA.

    how about the afghanstans did not do their part and it is their country

  6. forgive me for being redundant, but at 60 years old and proud to be called a feminist, I have always loved men!!! When I was in college, I went to a politically radical school (Columbia University) at a politically radical time (1970—74) which was then a hotbed of feminism. I loved the message except for the “hate men” part, and that message was not even implied at the time. It was front and center. I found that part to be a total turnoff.

    It seemed to me that it was really stupid to go in that direction since there were and still are plenty of men who support women’s advancement, and they need to be part of the effort to get there, now more than ever. It is sad to see this author blame her problems on feminist philosophy. What a bunch of crap!!

    Lola—-it’s great having you back to rant. I’ve missed hearing what’s going on in your brain!!!!

    • Not much is going on upstairs these days. I’ve had to check out severely to deal with myself and my reality. I’m almost done dealing. It’s back to work on Monday. Self will surely follow… Thanks for your kind words!

    • elliesmom says:

      Cynthia, the same time you were at a very politically active school, I was at a very conservative engineering school- 1700 students, 26 of them women. While some of the 1674 male students were worthy of being hated, we knew wasting energy hating them wasn’t going to get us accepted into the club. A few of the young women thought being available to the guys sexually would get them a ticket in, but it most certainly didn’t. The way in was to set our academic and personal standards high, be willing to “best” them even when it hurt their egos a bit, and to offer our congratulations sincerely when they “bested” us. In other words treat them the way we wanted them to treat us. Of course, it didn’t change the ones who were worthy of being hated, but it did change how some of the men ultimately treated women, and mostly, it gave us the skills we needed to succeed in a field that is still male-dominated 40 years after our graduation. Were we feminists? Of course, we were. But we never marched or sat in or protested. We just succeeded. Which is what women need to do now. Just do it. If we had that attitude, we could elect a woman to any office we wanted. And none of us would buy this idiot’s book.

  7. yttik says:

    Good to hear from you, Lola.

    I would be happy if women would stop believing that feminism has something to do with sexuality, because they always muck it up. Feminism is now 50 Shades of Gray and the right to take pole dancing lessons. It’s now Slutwalks and pro-pornography demonstrations. WTF people? Sex is not the problem. Women have been doing sex for centuries. We’re not going to reinvent it. It’s kind of nice when women have choices, can say no, and aren’t sexually abused, but beyond that, I don’t really want to hear about it anymore.

    • HELENK says:

      honk honk

    • Sex IS a big part of the problem, and it was here. Fucking for equality was never going to work. The pussy is the prize, to put it bluntly. The penis, not so much. It’s great and all, but note that there was no Helmut of Troy.

      It’s great to have sexual choices and to not have to wait until marriage, be judged like women once were, etc. But just adopting the male ideal of sexuality doesn’t work for women, for some very specific biological reasons that do not specifically deal with pregnancy. Our brains just work differently when we’re on a sexual high. That’s where Valdes found herself. She was completely high on the sex, and her rationale followed. If she had been educated about her brain’s and body’s responses to sexual stimuli, she might have known better.

      I was 30-someodd years old before someone pointed out this salient fact to me. I stepped off the hook-up train and was married within 4 years, which is what I’d wanted in the first place. And there is no hook-up sexual high that can compete with marital sex in a good, solid relationship, in my experience.

      • votermom says:

        Yup. Women are biologically or hormonally wired to become attached to someone they’ve had sex with. Maybe it’s pheromones. Casual sex doesn’t come naturally to us – we need to be brainwashed into it.
        Men, on the other hand, are wired to impregnate as many as possible.

      • swanspirit says:

        I don’t know that she was as high on sex as she was on ” being in a relationship ” To conflate feminism with being a women independent of men is confusion at its worst .This woman needs therapy , as one has absolutely nothing to do with the other , and she seems to have lost herself in the relationship . If you lose your self in a relationship , you have a problem with healthy relationships , not feminism .

        Feminism never was about hating /blaming /bashing men as much as women with issues tried to make it so , and yes many men took it that way too ; but that was not the case .

        Feminism never was and still is not about being able to exploit yourself sexually The line between having the freedom to express your own sexuality , and allowing yourself to be exploited can be blurry at times but is not that difficult to sort out with a little introspection . and examination of your own feelings , and whatever the situation might be . Valdes is a very confused individual , and she hasn’t helped the cause .

        Great to hear from you Lola !

  8. votermom says:
  9. HELENK says:

    everybody seems to think that women were weak up to the 1960s.
    That is so false.
    just in America think about what women did and what they endured

    coming to a new and uncivilized place. they survived and raised families and helped their husbands get started

    A revolutionary war on their doorsteps. they survived and raised families and fought in their own way helped their husbands start a new country

    A civil war on their doorsteps , the survived and raised families and helped their husbands rebuild they also fought in their own way

    A westward migration, they survived and raised families and helped their husbands start new homes

    The sweatshops of the late 1800s and early 1900s they worked raised families and helped their husbands prosper

    WW1 watched husbands go to war in a foreign land, kept families together and helped husbands when they came home

    !920s crime prospered due to stupid laws and the party went on until 1929. they raised families and taught good values

    1930s depression kept families together, taught them how to do with what they had

    1940s WW2 went to war, worked in factories, kept families together

    1950s housing shortage, Korean war, kept families together and worked for less wages then men

    one time when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter a woman who I did not know, stopped me on the street and told me it was not a good time to have a child. I asked her when was a good time, and recited all the years that I mentioned here. Do not think she ever stopped another pregnant woman.

    Another time I was in New Orleans and met this woman and we got to talking about how women during the Civil War had to keep the plantations going and look good and helpless while doing so.

    Feminism did not start in the 1960s, there have always been strong women but in the 1960s they started demanding more credit for what they do. Some feminists got the whole idea wrong. It was not a war against men, it was a demand for them to understand what women can and will do to make the world better for all

    end of rant

    • votermom says:

      Great rant.

      one time when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter a woman who I did not know, stopped me on the street and told me it was not a good time to have a child.

      That’s so mind-boggling.

    • yttik says:

      Well said, Helen!

      LOL, and sex was not invented in the 60′s and 70′s! That’s my pet peeve, many young women seem to believe sex was just invented, so now they have to go out and conquer a new frontier. The problem is, like the author of this book discovered, what they first think of as empowerment, is actually just the same old crap. They’d already know that if they didn’t insist on believing that they’ve invented sex and relationships.

      • DeniseVB says:

        In the 60′s Helen Gurley Brown re-invented sex, so I was more of a Cosmo girl than a feminist.

        • elliesmom says:

          She didn’t re-invent sex. She just opened the closet door. Single women were having sex long before HGB made it fashionable. Like bras and girdles – sometimes we wear them on the inside, and sometimes we wear them on the outside, and sometimes we don’t wear them at all. But they’ve been around in one form or another since forever. Throughout history sometimes it’s been OK for women to be sexually active before marriage, and sometimes it hasn’t been, and sometimes celibacy is celebrated. But sex has been around since before the first flowering plants.

    • lildoggy4u says:

      I’ve studied and always been fascinated by women who made the westward track, lost their husbands or families and survived the untamed land. History is full of them and what they had to do to survive. I’d love to read a book on that. Losing oneself in a sexual fantasy with a cowboy not so much – thats more like pornography to me.

  10. HELENK says:

    Last night I watched an old movie made in 1945. Roughly Speaking. It starred Rosalind Russell ( whom I have always admired) and Jack Carter.
    It is about a woman who lived thru the WW1 – 1920s – 1930s up to WW2. It was made in 1945

    This is a movie about a strong woman, and it is based on the life of a real woman. One of her sons became a Hollywood screen writer.

    the immortal words of Cool Hand Luke ” what we have here is a failure to communicate” was written by her son.

    If you ever get a chance to see it, please do

    • westcoaster says:

      I watched it too- what an amazing story.I love movies from the 40′s, when people weren’t ashamed of their religion or their country. She was a true feminist. If we had movies like that now, people wouldn’t be moping around and letting garbage happen in DC.

      • HELENK says:

        the funny thing is I grew up with movies about strong women. They did not use sex to get what they wanted. sometime take a look at the movies of that time. We had just come through a war where women did their part. Think about some of the female stars at that time

        Rosalind Russell
        Joan Crawford
        Bette Davis
        Veronica Lake
        Betty Hutton

        they did not portray weak women.The roles they played did a lot more to empower women than a lot of the stars and roles today

    • elliesmom says:

      I fell in love with Rosalind Russel as a kid when I saw “Auntie Mame”.

  11. HELENK says:

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/flu-us-deaths-cdc/2013/01/11/id/471009

    has everyone had their FLU shot?? this year looks pretty bad

  12. myiq2xu (D) says:

    Katie Couric is doing her show today sans make-up.
    :shock:

  13. Grew up watching really strong women pulling their freight in the defense plants during WWII. Have known since then the “weaker link” meme is fiction, Never understood why “modern women” wanted to give up their natural advantages and climb down into Hugh Hefner cesspool, but recognized their right to do so. So thankful that after a disastrous first attempt, my second sweetie is so smart, sexy and self-confident. Against all odds she’s kept me around for over 43 years, for each day of which I’m extremely thankful.

  14. myiq2xu (D) says:

    I bought Shrek today at Goodwill for $1

    Thought for a moment I had scored Jackie Brown on DVD but the sleeve only had the bonus DVD inside.

  15. HELENK says:

    http://www.zdnet.com/homeland-security-warns-to-disable-java-amid-zero-day-flaw-7000009713/

    homeland security warns PC users to disable JAVA amid ZERO Day flaw.

  16. insanelysane says:

    So many great comments above. Thank you all for a good discussion and great writing Lola.

    My family was a family of Matriarchs out of necessity and instincts.
    My Mom’s dad died “in the mines” when she was 6 yrs old.
    She had 4 brothers and sisters at the time.

    My daddy died when I was eight. I had 2 brothers and Mom was pregnant with #4.

    No welfare and no excuses.
    My Grams and my Mom endured and kept their small businesses going and kept all us kids in shoes. Kids worked in the small business as children and I am proud to say I started to work at 8 yrs old.
    I look at the women in my family and I know they are every bit as EQUAL to the men. That’s what real feminism wants.

    Equality in opportunity.

    Hillary says it best:
    ” We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. that is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given potential.”

  17. HELENK says:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/media-rattled-by-possible-nyt-layoffs-86083.html

    the backtrack KISS OF DEATH still works

    cry me a river SUCKER

  18. HELENK says:

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/From-Robert-Penn-Warren-to-Honey-Boo-Boo-People-Magazine-Then-and-Now

    this is a very interesting article on a strong women and the dumbing down of articles written today

  19. swanspirit says:

    http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/12/31/dont-forget-rosalind-franklin/

    As 2012 draws to a close, I find myself haunted by the ghosts of Nobel Prizes past.

    Erik Axel Karlfeldt won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1931; Dag Hammarskjöld won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961; William Vickrey won the 1996 Nobel in Economic Science and, just a year ago, Ralph Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    All were dead when these laurels were bestowed.

    Why, then, is the disclaimer that she was ineligible for the prize because she had died consistently appended to any mention that British scientist Rosalind Franklin did not share the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962? Fifty years ago this month her colleagues James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins did win, for discovering the structure of DNA in 1953–a determination that was largely based upon Franklin’s data, some of which they had purloined from her lab without her knowledge. Franklin was the first to determine crucial elements of DNA’s structure, and she published them in the same issue of Nature that showcased the triumph as that of her colleagues, despite the collaborative nature of such research.

    This is more of an issue for feminism than Valdes will ever realize

  20. HELENK says:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/10/quotes-of-the-day-1255/

    good article on women and backtrack.

    he did give them free birth control, he did not promise them good jobs

  21. SHV says:

    ” Franklin was the first to determine crucial elements of DNA’s structure,”
    **********
    Not an atypical story; the girl does all if the time consuming, detailed hard work and and the boys take the credit. Another example, Lise Meitner, co-discover of nuclear fission. Denied the 1944 physics prize; female and an ethnic Jew.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Einstein wrote almost exactly twice as much while married to his first wife then he did before or after. This was the period when the Relativity work happened. But you know, she was a girl.

  22. Constance says:

    The problem I have with authors like A Valdes is, when I read crap like this book it makes ME want to abuse some sense into this vapid woman which means I am identifying with the abuser and since I consider myself pro woman that gives me the creeps.

    I do like fun romance books and can tolerate the conventions you find in them fairly well most of the time. If you all haven’t read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (the first one must be 20 years old by now) I would recommend it to men and women readers. She plays with the conventions of romance novels making her heroine, Clair, older and more experienced than her love interest with an established career that is a large part of her identity. Of course you need virgins and rape victims in the genre and in Outlander the male love interest is the virgin and the eventual rape victim is a man. And of course there is time travel in the series. Each book in the series gets better as the author has a PhD in environmental science and seems to be teaching herself to write fiction as she goes along. The books have good power balance between male and female.

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