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From My Corpus Callosum

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January 28, 2001: Poor Linda Yniguez! She'll never be a guest on Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. First, the psychologist and host of Shrinkrap: A Women's Forum had the nerve to admit she strongly disagrees with Jon Gray during her June 2, 2000 interview with Susan Hamson and me. Then, during her December 1, 2000 interview with sociologist Allan G. Johnson, she had the chutzpah to ask, "Why won't the popular media challenge John Gray?" And Dr. Johnson had the chutzpah to answer:

"Because the popular media are not interested in challenging John Gray. The popular media are patriarchal institutions . . . and so, do they want to challenge the idea that men should be left alone by women? John Gray's basic message is: don't try to change men, just let them be the way they are. And his basic message to men is to find ways to use the appearance of sensitivity to manipulate women so that they'll leave you alone and let you do what you want to do."

Dr. Yniguez was hardly defending "Dr" Gray here. Instead, she was gasping in delight and laughing as she said, "People are really getting upset now." I don't think she'll get a phone call from Cybill Shepherd anytime soon. And if Shepherd ever reads Cybill Obedience, my critique of her performance on MMWV, neither will I. But that's OK. If we have nowhere to go but the alternative media, so be it. As you finish making New Year's Resolutions for 2001, commit to supporting alternative outlets like adrenalineradio.com, the sponsor of Linda's webcasts, and Said It!, which provided a golden opportunity for me to critique the MMWV TV show. By all means, get a chutzpah transplant from Drs. Yniguez and Johnson when your friends tell you about the wonders of John Gray.

As usual, this page contains the most interesting commentary on Out of the Cave: Exploring Gray's Anatomy. Thank you for your accolades, your support, and your challenges. Due to your queries, I have updated the FAQ. Please take a moment to check it out.

And now, let's enjoy the newest batch of stimulating letters:

P.S. I am building archives of past From My Corpus Callosum entries. For starters, check out:


How Can I Make a Difference?

From: Otter7kk@aol.com
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 21:26:22 EDT
Subject: Out of the Cave

Hi Kathleen -

I am a member of POWR-L and through the list was introduced to your website and essays. I love them, and am right there with you on everything. Because of your recommendation I am reading The Gender Knot, which my husband will begin when I am finished.

The point of this email is:
I am very interested in activism, especially as it relates to patriarchy. Currently I am a graduate student working on my Masters in counseling, and I have worked for several years with individuals who live with chronic mental illness. I do enjoy and value activism as it relates to marginalized populations such as my clients, but I really want to know how to "break in," so to speak, to the socio-political spectrum regarding feminism, patriarchy, etc. I consider myself a radical feminist and know that I could use my counseling skills and chosen profession toward this kind of activism. Do you have any suggestions on how I should proceed?

Thanks for your time.

Kim
Kimberly Kleckner Miller
University of Idaho
Counseling and Human Services
VP Professional Development, CASPAS


From: hraisz@sjc.edu
Subject: RE: Newsweek Article
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 10:23:02 -0400

I love your web site. I will use it in my Sex Society and Selfhood Class. Perhaps you and others could develop a supplemental "reader" based on the web sites of WMST-L members.


Thanks for the compliments. It makes my day when teachers use my materials in their classes. Kimberly, I hope you'll become a feminist family therapist who doesn't shy away from talking to her clients about "how patriarchy affects your relationship". You won't make as much money as you-know-who, but you'll do more for society and the therapy profession. If you have organizational talents, I hope you'll start a "Naider's Raiders" type of watchdog group for the relationships industry. We desperately need it! If you need specific advice on how to break into feminist family therapy, I suggest you talk to the subscribers of POWR-L, the Psychology of Women listserv. Several members volunteer their counseling skills to various social justice organizations. I've heard of therapists going to Bosnia, Sierra Leone and other devastated areas to work with the victims of torture. Again, the socially concerned psychologists on POWR-L could give you more specific advice. Good luck!

My message to "hraisz", who didn't give a signature, would be to encourage (or assign!) your students to develop a supplemental reader and use it to initiate dorm discussions on the Mars&Venus issue. Campus activism is making a comeback, so why not use the John Gray books to show students once again, as we did in the 60's, that the personal is political.



Do We Have to Mention Patriarchy When Talking About Relationships?

From: Lisajoneswrites@cs.com
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 12:40:35 EDT
Subject: Re: on your critique of socialization=violence

Kathleen,

Currently I am prepping a course on the family and I wondered if you have taught and if you have suggested readings. I can find readings on your website, but I was wondering if there are any in particular you would recommend. I have assigned a couple chapters of Schwartz' Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works before and students liked that, but I think I would need to balance it with something less focused on gender and power because when I have focused on inequality throughout the course it has burnt them out.

I can wait a long time for reply. I think you might be in South America right now.

Best,
Lisa Jones


Well, Lisa, you can always refer them to Mars&Venus if they're burnt out on gender and power. ;-) But seriously, both of us know you can't avoid focusing on the 'p' word if you're going to talk honestly about family life. Just listen to Barbara Risman's "right on the money" remarks in Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition (p. 36):

"Marriage is only one institution in which gender stratification is manifested, and it may not even be the most oppressive institution, softened as it can be by warm feelings. Yet marriage is one of the linchpins of inequality in American society. In what other institution are social roles, rights, and responsibilities based--even ideologically--on ascribed characteristics? When life options are tired to racial categories, we call it racism at best and apartheid at worst. When life options are tied to gender categories, we call it marriage."

Don't blame me if you can't get away from male privilege when talking about family life. ;-) I'm not a teacher, but I sympathize deeply with professors who have to tell threatening, but ultimately liberating truths. One problem with discussing these issues is that we have no showcase for role models. If we had an organized egalitarian/feminist relationships movement where people could see couples discussing these issues like mature adults, many people would be amazed at how liberating the topics can be.



Is Susan Hamson My Competitor?

Date: 16 Apr 00 19:51:51 MDT
From: kickout44@usa.net
Subject: thank you

Recently, I had to compose a critical analysis of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Now, as an inclusion, I decided to put in some opposing views. There were only two sites I was able to locate- Yours, and The Rebuttal from Uranus. Now, I read yours first, and to say the least, was very pleased and inspired. Then I went on to read the Rebutall. All it was was the opinion of one EXTREMELY biased person (I believe her name was Susan). Now, On her site, which she obviously spent much time on, she made many sexist remarks about how sexist men are. She accused John Gray of being a liar and a con man (whether he is or not, i don't know.) And she had two different letter forums. One was for the letters that were supporting her point of view. These she praised, and used to back up her accusations even more. The other one was for the people who opposed her view. They would write in (often having a very neutral disposition) and be shot down in a second by a large barrage of sarcasm. Now, I just wanted to say that after that, I returned to your site, and was even more pleased than before. Your site takes an opposing stance, but is not biased, and is not unfair. You do not make jabs at Mr. Gray's love life, or insult his education. I would like to say thank you, and even though i do not agree with your message on all points, please, please, keep up the good work.

Chip


I'm happy that my website inspired you. But I also have some questions and comments. I'll deal with the questions first:

  1. What do you mean by "critical analysis"?
  2. What was the real purpose of your "critical analysis"? I'm asking this question because you had to do a "critical analysis" and then mentioned your decision to add "opposing views". I'm a little confused here.
  3. Why did you just rely on websites for opposing views? Are you aware of brilliant commentaries in scholarly journals? Annie Potts of the University of Auckland wrote a splendid critique of Mars and Venus in the Bedroom for the journal, Sexualities. It's still not on the web yet.
  4. Why did you only find two critiques of Mars&Venus on the web? Several months before you emailed me, I posted Other Feminist Web Critiques of Mars&Venus. Essentially, I made it easier for researchers to find more criticism of John Gray's work.
  5. Why do you think The Rebuttal From Uranus was "extremely biased"? The author, Susan Hamson, stated her point of view immediately (i.e., Gray's book is sexist) and gave much evidence for its validity. You may have been put off by Susan's acerbic sense of humor, but she did back up her assertions convincingly.
  6. Where in Susan's website did you find the remark about "how sexist men are"? I have read The Rebuttal From Uranus several times and found no such comment. If you are going to make those assertions, you have a responsibility to use citations.
  7. How do you define sexist? Susan didn't say it in her website; still it is true that most men have not taken any real responsibility for patriarchy just as most whites have not taken any real responsibility for racism. Likewise, most feminists are women just as most racial justice activists are people of color. To admit those facts is hardly akin to making sexist or racist remarks.
  8. Where did Susan "make jabs at Mr. Gray's love life"? Again, give evidence for your assertions. I have read Susan' site several times and have found NO comments about John Gray's "love life".
  9. Where did Susan say John Gray is a liar and a con man? In Ph.D.? Where Did John Gray Get His Ph.D.?, Susan gave strong evidence that John Gray does not have a valid doctorate, which is a far cry from just saying "he's a liar and a con man". If you are serious about writing a "critical analysis", you can't go around saying, "whether he is [a con man and liar] or not, i don't know".
  10. Chip, did you really read the opposing points of view? The writers hardly had a "neutral" disposition. They asked patronizing questions about her personal life ("has a man hurt you"?), they insulted her ("you're a bitch"), they gave her religious lectures ("I'm going to pray that you submit your life to Jesus Christ"), and so on. None of them were able to prove that John Gray is not a male supremacist. I have read every single one of those apologists' letters and have only found bitter invective. Because Susan is currently revising the "letters" sections, I can't give citations anymore. However, there is no way I can honestly accept your comment that the John Gray apologists had a "neutral disposition".

Now that I've asked the questions, I'll give some comments. Chip, when you say, "I believe her name was Susan", I wonder if you really took the time to examine her site. In several areas, she identifies herself as Susan Hamson. I'm glad you like my site, but resent the comparison to Susan's work. Susan and I do not compete; we are friends and "comrades in the struggle". She has been a good mentor to me. Without a Susan Hamson, there wouldn't have been a Kathleen Trigiani. Because she did the dirtywork of showing the sexism in MMWV, I could get get closer to core issues and show that Gray's books are popular because our society is still so male supremacist.

Chip, I wonder what you would consider "fair and unbiased". I do not have Susan's acerbic sense of humor. However, both of us agree that my site is much more radical feminist. True, I didn't scream it off the rooftops, but still, my message is far more "threatening". You obviously didn't like Susan's style. However, you have to admit she did her homework. Indeed, I didn't have to cover the issue of John Gray's credentials because she did the dirtywork for me. I urge you to give The Rebuttal From Uranus another chance. Look behind the style and appreciate the substance.





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