Summary of lefty male anti-feminist tactics

Or: mapping some of the big branches of antifeminism, where they come from and where we are today etc. Or: looking at intersectionality, radical lesbianism, contempt for victims and general male activist / reformist practices from a broader perspective.

I’ve been preparing a synthesis between the criticism of radical lesbianism and intersectionality to have a bigger picture of both and where they come from, and as I see things in patterns I thought I’d first draw it out to make it clearer to myself and others. So this is a first introductory part and more will come later.

We do know the vast majority of women from the women’s movement in the 70s either came from the left or civil rights movement, and were subsequently joined by women coming from lesbian and gay activism.

The positive influence from the left was that women carried with them and further developed the structural analyses that led to the radical feminist theories we have today. I assume at the time, many more women had a basic understanding of politics and oppressive structures compared to today where neoliberal patriarchal ideology has completely taken over, and so many women are convinced that everything they think comes from their own mind and their choices are the result of their own self-determined will.

However the lefty escapees who shaped the WLM also brought with them some of the internalised male attitudes and masculinist activist practices they had to cope with in the male-led organisations, which then visibly shaped the way they applied their feminism. It’s true that these women made a great effort to decolonise from the imperialistic practices of the organisations they fled from, such as getting rid of hierarchical structures, vertical decision-making and doing the immense work of cutting through all the misogynist lies and reversals about patriarchy etc, however some of this work remained largely incomplete as is evidenced by the fact we still struggle with it today, even with newer generations of feminists. Not that it’s their fault, I think it’s a normal process and they went as far as they could at the time.

The interesting thing is that the pattern works the same whichever the generation of women it concerns: what men did against women in leftist organisations then, and how it trickled down to feminism once women left those organisations afterwards, is happening today with younger generations in the same way. The tactics of sabotage of feminism haven’t really changed.

Hereunder I’ve summarised the different male left anti-feminist practices I’ve identified, then and today – unwittingly brought in by women escaping the left and forming women-only movements. It’s also a summary of the different anti-feminist politics I’ve observed in radical lesbian or intersectional-lefty influenced feminist groups, from which male groups they come from and what they have in common. For instance, a lot of misogynist radical lesbian ideologies and practices come from gay male groups. But radical lesbians are also heavily influenced by intersectionality since RL is based on liberal identity-politics and more generally influenced by the left, so that’s where it crosses over with lefty /socialist men.

Anyway hope it makes sense (click to see it full size).

male toxic influences on feminism

I’ve also noticed that whichever lefty liberal strand anti-feminist strategies come from, they present the same characteristics. This is what I’ve tried to summarise here:

Lefty male strategies of anti-feminism

I assume this is very obvious to radical feminists but it helps to have it laid out properly. If I’ve missed anything or if you’d add anything to these lists, fire away!

What’s female-centred anti-racism?

Sparked by Cherry’s recent post “the White woman” and by the discussion that ensued (and my über long comments) I decided I’d make a post of my own, or make my comments into a post: I’m very far behind my blogging now and there’s a massive queue of posts waiting to be finished and posted, but when my mind is in posting mode it just takes me forever to finish my post, whereas in comments I just spin off spontaneously. So comments into a post it will be.

Anyway, this is a followup from the intersectionality series. I’m quite glad to see more and more criticism of intersectionality (= the fact of attacking feminists in the guise of anti-isms) springing up lately, as it’s greatly needed. We really don’t have the luxury to keep on with all these forms of backlash within feminism, and it’s been going on for decades, it’s time to stop this shit. Formulationsofoppression is no longer public but she also wrote a couple of insightful posts on this issue too.

We talk a lot about the effects of pseudo-anti-racism on feminism, how it’s male-centred, how it erases female experience of racism and patriarchal oppression in general. How it’s used to destroy all the basic tenets of radical feminist theory and to sabotage the movement from within (by lefty men). But little have I seen feminists talk about what female-centred anti-racism actually means to us.

Yet it’s crucial for feminists to work on this seriously. How do we try our best to make liberation the liberation of all women? What is an anti-racism truly centred on women’s experience of racism and our need to free ourselves from men collectively, that doesn’t target women as straw enemies and isn’t used to divide and conquer women?

I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I’ve been discussing and thinking about this for some time already. This is what I said at Cherry’s, reformulated and edited:

What I’d like to see happen wrt anti-racism in feminist circles, is:

#1. Misogyny to be considered always as seriously as racism, classism, anti-lesbianism (and all other isms) and not LESS as is often the case from those who claim to defend the anti-racist cause (or anti-classist, anti-lesbian, etc.). And especially to consider all other forms of oppression as variations stemming FROM misogyny, and thus as having similar patriarchal mechanisms, intents and effects on women, since they’re all organised and executed by and for men within patriarchy. The central organising principle of all oppressions is men’s oppression of women, all other hierarchies are subordinate to, serve this primary purpose. Therefore within feminism we should treat racism (and other isms) in the same way as we’d treat misogyny in women: through consciousness-raising, with all the conditions it entails for the unravelling of thought to be possible, or self-protection when the woman is too violent to be dealt with.

#2. That as a rule we stop attacking women in feminist circles for any reasons whatsoever, whether it be racism, misogyny, whatever. Assuming that something she said / did was problematic, just try to explain to her how what she said / did was anti-woman/racist, without accusation or guilt-tripping. Most of the time it isn’t a big deal and it’s just a matter of getting it and not repeating the same mistake: like, “putting it this way is actually racist” “Yeah, you’re right, it’s racist. I’ll be careful not to say it again”. If simply laying it out doesn’t work, if she isn’t capable of hearing that right now, just leave it for a time being and maybe take some distance. Depending on what the problem’s about, and generally as all forms of consciousness-raising it might not be integrated overnight. It might need some time, patience, etc. Nothing’s straightforward when we decolonise, and the process might reveal a lot of pain. Changing the way we think and behave and see/relate to the world is a very long process, and the time it takes depends a lot on the material conditions in which we are at a given time, which determines the freedom with which we can actually change (ie whether we’re in a fairly safe situation or not wrt male violence / institutional violence, strong PTSD etc.). As said in the paragraph above, we should protect ourselves and our work from women who are too destructive to be dealt with, and if necessary warn other women about the way they operate in groups so to prevent them from continuing their rampage, but that’s all. Never attack women. Never ever.

#3. I want to see an anti-racism actually focused on the big picture, that is on identifying, naming and challenging the institutions and men responsible for racism, and on researching how racism against women operates specifically in our area (or globally) so that we can actually do something about it collectively. Ie sharing resources, making services accessible to women excluded by them, supporting women who face administrative discrimination, putting pressure on institutions, etc.: this to me is far more effective and productive than having our eyes autistically riveted on ourselves or other individual feminist straw enemies. Bashing women (or ourselves) as an anti-racist strategy is not only destructive and divisive but is of no use whatsoever for improving the condition of women affected by racism. Alone, women don’t have the power to change other women’s situation (ie bring down the racist institutions) precisely because they don’t have this power, because we are all oppressed by the men in charge of racist institutions.

#4. And especially, I’d like to see an anti-racism focused on seeking to reach out to, developing ties, friendships and networks with as many women from different classes as possible, and to integrate this as a constant feminist ethics and effort of liberation. It is only through getting to know women and by working or being with them on a long-term basis that we can support each other, create the kind of actions that can really protect us from certain forms of institutional (racist) persecution or exclusion and create meaningful alternatives for ourselves; it’s also the only way to better understand how women from different social backgrounds or histories of violence are affected by patriarchal oppression. Feminism remains limited in scope and depth when it doesn’t have the potential to adapt to, involve and include as many women as possible (as long as it remains strongly feminist-focused), whether coming from the lower or higher male social hierarchies. Depending on where we come from, it might take a lot of thinking and some effort to figure out how to reach out to groups of women in our area we don’t usually have access to (for social, economic, class, generational, cultural, ethnic and many other reasons). It especially requires a lot of time and patience as certain groups of women can be so far off from our own social world that it can take years to find each other, build trust and start doing things together. On the other hand, it’s really not that difficult, and it really leads to amazing things.

#5. This effort of constantly trying seek outwards for long-term feminist friendships and networks with women rather than staying within one’s own group out of habit is also, I believe, the only thing that can truly eliminate the divide and conquer patriarchal rule between women. Once we become friends or colleagues, the question of how we should “include” such and such women becomes completely obsolete. We’re part of the same network or group, it’s obvious everyone will actively participate from beginning to end, and this in turn will necessarily affect the result and the kind of women who attend. Once we know each other and work together, it reduces the potential for conflict, and women are there to speak for themselves.

[NOTE: This stands in contrast to token inclusion which usually makes up for the fact that the event or service has been made by and for a fairly monolithic group of women. In the case where true feminist partners haven't been found, whatever the reasons, I'd find it more honest admit that there's still some effort to be done and not to invite some women in the last minute to serve as tokens, especially if their agenda doesn't really fit in the context - you can't invent cooperation. It actually reinforces a sense of separation and resentment between groups and is also an insult to the intelligence of the women invited to speak - it means to some extent that they're not invited for their work and skills but to represent a social group and be used as a cover-up, and it also reinforces the lie that feminists can only be found within certain social classes. So inviting women mostly for the group they represent also results in forsaking feminist standards in the name of token inclusion, which can lead to awkward situations whereby such women say awful anti-feminist things and the set-up makes it impossible to criticise because it would then appear as racist.]

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Here are the rest of my comments, edited for clarity

***

I find pseudo-anti-racism disguised as feminism far, far more damaging to ALL women within feminist circles than the problem of racism per se, because it destroys feminism more than racism itself does, and it’s totally deliberate. This is the pattern I see over and over again. I must say I’ve never seen a feminist collective being destroyed by the sheer level of racism from women against other women within it, such as concerted, organised group efforts to attack women in front of everyone in a racist way, however I’ve seen countless collectives being brought down because of women attacking other women as straw racist enemies: women attacked in the most vicious ways, that literally took the form of a trial, under the guise of purging racism from a group. Sometimes even 50 or 80 women would stand around one woman, who would be the accused, and she’d be denied even the right to defend herself. What it did was to purge feminists from a group.

I’m sure I’ll be burned at the stake for saying this, but the fact is, racism coming from feminists within feminism (as opposed to the racist persecutions conducted by male patriarchal institutions) is actually a minor problem within feminism compared to the ravage of false anti-racism (and the ravages of male-instituted racism), which is ironically what prevents and diverts women from doing substantial anti-racist actions in the first place.

Of course radical feminists still say and do racist things, just as they continue to do and say anti-women things: there’s always room for improvement and some things are outright awful, destructive and unacceptable. I’m not denying this. But once women become radical feminist, most are very aware of the different systems of domination in patriarchy and are very careful to pay attention to different women’s needs, and usually try their best not to reproduce behaviours of domination and subordination. They are well-meaning, most of the time (I’m not talking about infiltrators here). Racism (classism..) being one of the oppressions defined by men and thus defined as real (although not racism as experienced by women), many women are MORE careful not to do or say racist things than they would even with misogyny, because it’s considered a far greater crime than misogyny in patriarchy.

We have to be clear: when we talk of racism WITHIN feminist circles, we’re not talking of women who exploit poor or marginalised women, who are employed in the immigration offices that kick female immigrants out of the country, or employed in patriarchal media corporations or institutions that invade and loot people’s land, who manages the slaves of her husband / owner, etc, etc. We’re not talking about any such level of responsibility in racism (not that any of them have any decision-power to make it stop, other than not participating in it herself). No. We’re talking about things that feminists SAID, as in WORDS. Or minor behaviours such as limiting the scope of her projects or actions to her own network of women which reflect her class belonging, to some extent. Or a woman bought a Nike T-shirt. Or she fails to include this or that issue in her book, film or whatever.

These minor behaviours that can usually be corrected through cooperation will be treated by women in feminism as irredeemable crimes of the highest order worthy of being banned from the ‘movement’ forever. And very often, women will be accused of racism in spectacular ways for no valid reason at all. Well yes there was a reason, each time it was in a context of the accused woman criticising men, men’s sexual violence or aspects of male violence. It was very specifically anti-feminist, and framing it as anti-racism was a way of making the attack unassailable by conferring activist legitimacy to it.

It’s a sad reversal to accuse and attack feminists in this way for barely saying or doing anything when in such contexts the REAL agents directly responsible for racism (men and their institutions – state, corporations, media, etc) are never even named let alone directly attacked, and rarely if ever is anything concrete suggested to understand the big picture or make things easier for women who suffer from institutional racist oppression, which would actually do something about racism.

Besides, in these contexts where women are dramatically accused of racism as if they had massacred 20 women, usually nobody bats an eyelid when anti-women decisions are taken or when something misogynist is said and goes unchecked, etc.

***

The attacks are often framed as you, by nature of being white, are inherently  guilty of this great (invisible, multiform) crime, and if you don’t feel guilty it’s because you’re in denial of your own guilt. Alternatively, if I’m annoyed by what she said it’s because I’m in denial of my racism.

This creates a climate where anyone and everyone can be guilty of something even without knowing, like there’s something bad and rotten inside you that can spring up any time. We dread being accused of racism like we dread the Last Judgement, as if it would taint our soul for life and we’d be denied our place in feminist heaven. It’s a climate of terror because you’re made to believe you can be bad in spite of yourself and you don’t know when it’s going to happen, so you have to anxiously survey your thoughts and actions all the time out of terror of being accused, as it can cause you to be kicked out of feminism and that can have serious consequences if it’s the only thing your life holds on to at the moment. You can see the difference in atmosphere whenever we talk about racism: all of a sudden it takes a hush-hush quality, you can feel the tension in the room when just before it might have been quite jovial. Women don’t talk so freely anymore, everyone seems to be stepping on eggshells. There’s this invisible thought-police like a sword of Damocles hanging over women’s head. This is an excellent way to censor women and make feminist women fear to speak and even think.

In this context, if you may have observed, the only one(s) looking relaxed and confident will be the accusers themselves, confident of their moral superiority to the other women. Sometimes they may be even very charming and charismatic, which increases the level of mindfuck or the feeling that you can’t question her politics because she was so nice to you, she offered her help, etc. The women who do this accusing and bullying are undoubtedly colonised by lefty male standards or definitions of racism and usually hold a lot of contempt for feminism, so much so that they might feel legitimate in lecturing an entire assembly of women or radical feminists who have decades of political experience with absolute lousy, non woman-centred political analysis, on the grounds that it presents as anti-racism. I’ve seen it time and again. This legitimacy comes from men, which is why from this perspective women’s work and women’s collectives have so little value as it to be acceptable to destroy sometimes decades of community work in one single bout of accusation.

Anyway we can’t underestimate how anti-feminist it is to persuade women that they might dominate others in racist ways even against their own perception (on top of the fact that it reverts patriarchal blame on women). Trying to dominate someone else certainly isn’t something that can be done unconsciously, we’re always aware of when we want to manipulate, take power or assert our authority over someone. It means telling women to suppress their perceptions of reality, and that’s the best way to gaslight and assert power over someone. Once it’s legitimate to attack women in this way, to use the threat of racist accusation in order to obtain submission, it makes us vulnerable to scapegoating and opens the door to all sorts of power abuse: denying the right to speech, taking control over decisions in the name of anti-racism, etc.

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a not so feminist separatist communitarianism

Or: some reflections on hierarchy, non-hierarchy, control and letting things go.

After a succession of intense and mind-blowing discussions with friends, recent events and several weeks of trying to get to the bottom of why I find radical lesbianism so misogynist, I’ve just experienced a major shift or breakthrough in my feminism. One thing led to another, and I realise that the essential problem i’m trying to talk about is much larger than radical lesbianism, and relates to separatist communitarianism as a liberation strategy – the idea we should form a small, elitist community separate from women as much as from men, rather than focus on our potential to bond with all women and on all women’s potential to wake up to our reality.

Thanks to the women who have made this post possible and for their contributions to these insights.

Even though radical lesbianism is a condensed form of separatist communitarianism, it isn’t exclusive to lesbian separatist communities at all and aspects of such attitudes and beliefs can be found in many different feminist groups, to various degrees. So i’ll use this term as a really broad set of attitudes and beliefs of contempt over women outside of the small feminist group and making this the basis of our group identity.

A friend just sent me the definition of epiphany (wiki):

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. … It can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.

I do have the impression of having having found a missing link which now helps me to see the whole picture with much more clarity and depth. Therefore my focus will no longer be on radical lesbianism and identity politics as such, but on the wider phenomenon of separatist communitarianism, whether it be radical lesbian, lesbian feminist, radical feminist, “intersectionalist”, etc.

When our bonding with women is based on the exclusion of other women, then we aren’t really bonding with women but erecting a fictitious shield of “us” vs “them” to protect ourselves from persecution (a threat in which we include women), but which prevents the spreading of feminism to other women by preventing our contact and bonding with such women. We reproduce a shadow of male bonding or homosociality which is cemented by the exclusion, contempt and putting down of women. We also participate in a very normal – but colonised – survival reaction, reminiscent of our coping strategies at school, which is to gang up in a small group of women and create an artificial group identity based on assimilation to certain behaviours and dress codes as well as exclusion or even mockery of other girls, in order to escape the psychological devastation of extreme isolation, social persecution and scapegoating. Separatist communitarianism bears some resemblance to this strategy. It is understandable, but I realise it isn’t feminist and can’t liberate us as a class.

Separatist communitarianism based on fear and dissociation.

Why fear? Separatist communitarianism, as mentioned above, is a natural reaction to anti-woman social persecution and isolation. Social persecution orchestrated by men is so total that we experience rejection and misogyny as the wiping out of our soul, as psychic annihilation – it’s what it is. We want to escape the real threat of being killed, the end-point of social erasure and persecution.

Separatist communitarianism also is based on the terror of being abandoned or betrayed by women. Putting a distance between ourselves and other women by feeling superior or outside (claiming the most oppressed status is part of it) is an unconscious way to cope with the unbearable isolation of being amongst misogynist women, or a way to cope with the terror of being rejected by the women we love or place our hopes on. We put an emotional distance between us and women in the hope that it will prevent ourselves from being hurt.

This emotional distance comes at the cost of losing empathy with women and empathy for ourselves, and losing touch with ourselves and other women, which is the basis for misogyny. It’s a form of anaesthetic which gives an impression of invulnerability and strength but which isn’t quite true, since the reason we do this is because we’re vulnerable, oppressed, and we’re traumatised by persecution and rejection by people who were supposed to care for us. This distance provides temporary relief or (false) sense of security, but doesn’t prevent rejection unfortunately since it’s based on rejection. If that makes sense.

Our first source of security as humans (females) comes from women, that is, as a child, from our mother. We relate to women and to the world in part according to how our relationship to our mother was structured: our basic psychological development and survival in the first several years of our life is essential and entirely dependent on our close bond and care from the mother or female surrogate.

Men break this security by oppressing both mothers and daughters, taking control over women and girls. They create a state of abandonment and forced betrayal by the mother which they then take advantage of to organise trauma-bonding to men.

Once we become feminist though, it’s easy to separate ourselves from men because our bonds to them were never a source of safety, were always fake. We realise men don’t represent anything to us.

However with women this is different because #1: we know that a true bond is and has been possible therefore it hurts more to  lose it and #2: once we become feminist and no longer interact with men, we’re more likely to associate women with the fear of being abandoned and betrayed once again and #3 our liberation is dependent on our connections with women, which makes rejection even more intolerable. I don’t think there’s a more excruciating emotional pain than that of being rejected by women we love or count on. It also triggers the traumatic memory of first abandonment, more or less pronounced in women.

So I think separatist communitarianism, by way of putting lots of distance, statuses, hierarchy and barriers between me/”us” vs “other” women (lesbians vs het, radical vs colonised, “real” victim vs. “false” victim, “star author and academic” vs anonymous blogger, etc.) is an unconscious way to protect ourselves from the risk and fear of the pain of future betrayal by women (which we may consciously rationalise as a way to protect ourselves from women’s misogyny infiltrating in our groups or minds). It also explains in part the bottomless anger we can feel against women when our needs and expectations of safety and sorority aren’t met, on top of male reversals etc.

Anyway, I don’t think separatist communitarianism works as a liberation strategy – as in dissociating from “other” women and from oneself on top of separating from men, however appealing the idea of escaping patriarchy may sound: It isn’t viable as a way to liberate all women.

Recruitment is not a feminist strategy

The obsession with recruiting masses (or even smaller numbers) of women into a more or less purist elite club doesn’t work. Recruitment is based on the wrong perception that we are already outside or above other women and that they need to make the effort to heave themselves up to our ranks; not the other way round. While it’s true that women who’ve escaped individual appropriation by men have escaped the worst of oppression and that freeing ourselves from men is the major part of liberation, it’s not true at all that we’ve reached some kind of pinnacle, a “there yet” land outside of patriarchy or outside of the influence of colonisation by male perversions. The fact is that separatist communitarianism is a very product of oppression. The very fact of feeling superior to this or that “other” woman is a colonised reaction. There’s nothing to feel guilty about, but it just isn’t feminist.

Recruitment into a movement is a male tactic. It requires the use of force, even minimally: that is the use of persuasion. It requires controlling speech and interaction (out of fear of hearing misogynist or anti-feminist things), not really listening to the woman in front of you, not paying attention to where her position comes from and on what violence against her it’s based. Even if it’s well-intentioned, it requires treating her as a target for your explanation and recruitment rather than as a person and requires treating women as numbers. We forget the bond we can create with this woman and that she too has the potential to originate feminist insights and participate genuinely in the movement. It’s alienating, both for the recruiter and recruitee. Women don’t need to be “taught” but to find the means to wake up to our own reality, we can’t bash or brainwash the truth into a women’s head: liberation can’t be imposed on.

We want to recruit because we are desperate, we are isolated as radical lesbian feminists, and we can’t stand the constant backlash against feminism or how dire the situation is. But the irony is that recruitment and putting ourselves above or outside women reinforces isolation, anger and desperation more than anything else. It puts in a perpetual state of frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment because we’re always waiting for and expecting something that doesn’t yet exist and isn’t happening now. It fuels resentment on both sides because it’s based on unrealistic expectations of what women can accomplish given their current situation. So when women aren’t capable of meeting these expectations (for instance that all women call themselves lesbians in solidarity of lesbians, or that they all leave their boyfriends NOW, etc.) this causes feelings of guilt and shame of being a failure in the “othered” women, and causes feelings of being betrayed and let down in the “aboved” women.

But being impatient about women not ‘freeing themselves fast enough’ is like asking women to run when their feet are still chained and to leap when their minds are still bound. It’s a mindfuck. It’s like requesting someone to swim now when they’ve never learnt how to swim. We should see things the other way round. It’s up to us swimming experts to spend time with women and show them how to swim and help them overcome their fear of water, and once they are ready we’ll dive in together as naturally as fish. If we want our sisters to “join” us, we have to come to them. Reach out to them. Help create emotional and material conditions for all of us in which they can free their minds from the male mindbindings – and once such conditions are met the mindbindings will unpeel naturally one after the other, the magic will unfold, there will be no great effort to produce as the magic of consciousness raising is that change happens viscerally. As women lucky enough to understand the workings of patriarchy, the onus is on US to do the work of consciousness-raising. It makes complete sense to me.

Feminism is about bonding with women

(I know, I know this is being repeated again and again and sometimes in so many vacuous contexts but I just uncovered a new meaning to it)

Creating divides between women and treating women as “other”, divides us. It’s not feminist. I realise how strongly feminism is dependent on the inter-individual connections we create with women since the only alternative to patriarchy is the world we create between ourselves. And for our world to be truly alternative it has to be based on relationships that are sustaining, safe, nourishing and feminist. This can happen online, IRL, etc, but I don’t see any other way. Otherwise we automatically fall back into dissociation, denial, fragmentation, division, anger against women, etc. I find it important to interact with women from as many backgrounds as possible, talk to them, listen to their stories.

Feminism just can’t happen or flourish in conditions where we put ourselves above other women or castigate them for not being feminist enough, are frustrated when they don’t meet our expectations of what a good radfem should be, or distrust women’s potential for change and leaps. It doesn’t mean that we never make any mistakes, that there are never any tensions, conflicts and obstacles, but if we can understand that, there’s always room for adjustment and cooperation according to our needs and circumstances.

Feminism can only spread by creating genuine horizontal relationships with women and genuine bonds in which we trust each other’s capacity or potential to participate in radical feminism and freedom of all women. When we take each other into consideration it’s easier to respect our pace and rhythm, to be aware of what we’re capable of doing right now, of the level of danger we face and reward each other for the small (yet big) steps we’ve made.

One day all our bonds will form a web so tight that I hope nothing will be able to break it again.

As a radfem / lesbian feminist, creating a trusting relationship with a woman is in itself a concrete material condition which makes leaps possible. Feminist-centred woman-bonding has to be experienced directly in order for it to be conceived as an alternative, in order to be able to live this alternative. It can’t be explained if the woman has never experienced it. This is another reason why woman-bonding is the driving force of feminism. Sparking can only happen in a situation of true equality and horizontal exchange.

It really doesn’t mean we should accept misogyny and violence from part of women and I never will, but the response to it isn’t by going against such women. The only way to share feminism is within a context (discussion group, gathering) defined by radical feminist principles, by really taking women into consideration rather than trying to distance ourselves from them by one means or another. Once we stop viewing women as an “other” camp, once we’re in empathy with how they’re being trapped by embedded misogyny or men and trust in women’s capacity to free themselves, once we trust women’s potential; it really takes the tension and desperation away, relieves us from the feeling that we have to control the interaction and from the perceived burden of having to free all women. We no longer see the world as resting on our shoulders, and just let things flow.

Non-hierarchy is truly the most amazing thing to experience: that is when you come to the point where you can rely on your feminist peers, follow the flow, and everything you create is intimately intertwined with the creations and input of other women. Where you trust that everything they will say will be mindblowing, witty, and bring a new light and dimension to what we are discussing, or what we are co-creating. Where ideas that aren’t as good are naturally discarded for the better ones.

I now much better understand the profound meaning of women being naturally anarchic. We really are. And when it happens, it’s just magical. When we let ourselves be carried by the flow, It feels like witnessing bursts of life, the very movement of life, and participating in it too.

Anyway, I don’t know if any of this makes sense.

 

Additional notes on heterosexuality and privilege

Just to make things clear, my series:

is NOT in any way a defence or excuse of anti-lesbianism from part of heterosexual women. Anti-lesbianism is part of men’s arsenal to crush women and prevent us from resisting compulsory heterosexuality and bonding with other women. Just as with anti-feminism, racism, classism and general maiming of women, men use the women they own as vessels of anti-lesbian repression. I have repeatedly stated in many of my posts that any form of misogyny from part of women, whoever the woman is and whatever the form it takes, is a result of being oppressed and colonised by men and that it can be unsafe to be around such women. Although I never blame any woman for being oppressed or colonised by male ideas, I do hold her responsible for ceasing to harm other women.

I also maintain that just as with any aspect of male oppression, anti-lesbianism is driven and organised by men, not women. Focusing on the snide remarks, exclusion and snobbery of women compared to the institutional crushing of lesbians by men is like looking at the pebble instead of the mountain. It is not women who set up the asylums to lobotomise and electrocute lesbians, who commit corrective rapes of lesbians, who write the laws to outlaw lesbianism, who control the medical and psychiatric institutions which pathologise lesbians and force us to mutilate ourselves so to assimilate physically to men, nor do women secretly control the male gay movement which turned lesbianism into phallic-worshipping BDSM practices, own the porn industry which transformed the entire lesbian movement into an LGBTQ male porn fantasy, or control the male trans lobby which erases lesbians to the extent of replacing us by men in dress, etc, etc.

My series is also NOT a judgement of lesbianism, of lesbian communities, lesbian commitment or of the rightful anger against the oppression and erasure of lesbians, and actually my post has not much to do with lesbianism at all (sorry). I’m criticising the misogynist and male-centred views on heterosexuality of a very specific, small group of women which has emerged in the 80s and call themselves radical lesbians. Radical lesbianism is a small fringe within the lesbian and lesbian feminist movement and doesn’t represent all of radical lesbian feminism at all. It’s a hybrid lesbian separatist movement with some twisted input of pseudo feminism, intersectional and gay/queer ideology on heteronormativity. For some reason some radical lesbians also call themselves radical feminists or radical lesbian feminists and I don’t know whether or not they’re aware of the difference in meaning but it’s important we don’t confuse them and name radical lesbian ideology accordingly.

In fact radical lesbian views on heterosexuality works very much like intersectionality in that it’s displaced anger against women based on a myth and reversal of female privilege, and especially based on pervasive hatred and disgust of what men have reduced women to be under eons of debasement and sexual subordination – the disgust of women who are penetrated by men. While the anti-lesbianism of such women is real and truly felt by lesbians, the fact these women are beneficiary agents of this erasure, and deserving of contempt for being owned by men is totally wrong. As I said colonisation of women by definition works against all women, the colonised as much as the recipient of their misogyny. Take a look at my posts on intersectionality and colonisation for further information as I’m not going to repeat myself.

In the same way as intersectionality, radical lesbian views on heterosexuality are an outgrowth of lefty male anti-feminist tactics which renders men’s responsibility invisible, undoes feminist analyses of men’s sexual violence, intimidates and silences those women who denounce it and targets women instead of men.

The reason I insist in writing this and on criticising radical lesbian views on heterosexuality is that it specifically attacks the foundation of feminist understanding of our oppression: the inherent oppressive nature of intercourse and heterosexuality. Intercourse and hetero-captivity being the central building block of men’s oppression, it comes to no surprise that men do everything to erase our awareness of it. It’s also perfectly normal in a context of continued backlash against feminists that the reversals and denials have deeply infiltrated women’s groups, whether lesbian or not. However such misogynist views have no place in radical feminism and my point is to demonstrate that having contempt for the vast majority of women trapped by men’s heterocaptive system is, well, extremely misogynist.

Anyhow I don’t understand why hardly anyone openly protests against the enormity of the reversal that hetero-captivity and intercourse are a source of privilege and freedom of choice for women. This belief fails such basic understanding of patriarchal violence and is such a direct product of common male propaganda that I can’t understand how it’s been tolerated for so long in the radical feminist movement. Not to mention that it is primarily lesbians who produced most of radical feminist criticism of intercourse and compulsory heterosexuality, and saying that it’s anti-lesbian to name the inherent violence of PIV and heterosexuality is just laughable.

I’m also sick of the crass misogyny of statements such as heterosexual women are privileged dick-lovers who should own up to it and go eat more dick (paraphrasing here), and that radical feminists who criticise PIV and heterosexuality are just “ex hets” frustrated about having had bad sex with men and want to whine about it or get sympathy from lesbians. The “you just need to be fucked right” is the typical kind of rape-threat men throw at women who refuse to submit to them sexually. These views are unacceptable and a reproduction of the most vile and base woman-hatred. What it also amounts to is accusing women of being whores who are too stupid to admit they are one.

Well, why not say that to prostitution survivors? Say that to incest rape survivors. Say that to abuse survivors. No? Because this is what we all are as women. Prostitution, PIV/rape and incest *are* the heterosexual institution. Ask a man if it’s gay to penetrate his daughter, his wife, the prostituted woman. The essence of heterosexuality is sexual violation, and no woman has escaped this violation when in close and prolonged contact with men. We are all survivors of male abuse, at different degrees for sure, but male abuse it is.

***

Some basic facts on heterosexuality:

Heterosexuality is compulsory, that is we are psychologically conditioned (through propaganda) and physically forced into it (through sexual harassment, rape, marriage and pimping). This is one of the very basic tenets of radical feminism. Compulsory means the opposite of choice. By definition women never choose to be owned by a man, and the only free choice we can make is to resist hetero-captivity by becoming separatist, lesbian or celibate.

Heterosexuality is the system which guarantees each man sexual access to a woman and exclusive ownership over her so he can rape, impregnate and use her as his personal breeder and domestic slave. It’s the foundational institution of patriarchal oppression, on which all patriarchal institutions – economic, state, medical, religious, military, etc – are built on.

Most if not all patriarchal societies have divided the heterosexual system into two sub-systems: one is marriage in which individual men acquire individual women exclusively for intercourse, reproduction and domestic slavery; the other is prostitution, in which some men (pimps) own and rent women exclusively for being raped by any passing man, as a form of public service by and for men.

In the old days and still very much today, marriage used to be the only political structure that guaranteed men’s right to acquire a woman permanently for intercourse and breeding. The term “heterosexuality” is fairly recent in history, and appeared in the 19th century at the same time as the pathologisation and psychologisation of lesbians and gays. When women started to free themselves from the institution of marriage, men progressively replaced marriage with compulsory intercourse to all men, and this was sold as sexual liberation to women. However this was nothing other than the liberation of lefty men so they could fuck all the women they wanted outside of the constraints of bourgeois society (see Ti-Grace Atkinson, Sheila Jeffreys and Andrea Dworkin).

***

Heterosexual privilege?

No radical lesbian so far has given any concrete and sound evidence for this mythical heterosexual privilege: on what economic, material, psychological advantages is “het” privilege based on? On anti-lesbian behaviour by some women? Anti-lesbianism from part of women is no evidence of privilege, but of being colonised by men. Economic advantages? Possessed women don’t even own themselves and most husbands control or loot their wive’s resources. Heteronormative advantages at work or in social circles? How can it be a social advantage to exist only as a potential prey for sexual harassment and as dick receptacle to men? I can’t see how women who are turned into penetrable, touchable possessions by men, devoid of any right even to basic integrity, colonised to such an extent that we don’t even have thoughts of our own, socially gain from this. It makes no sense at all that this be considered a privilege.

In the same way, the claims that lesbians and celibate women are more subject to violence than women who are directly possessed by men are unfounded. It’s a reversal both from a logical and statistical perspective: the degree of freedom from patriarchal oppression/violence is measured by how much male violence you’re subjected to, in terms of frequency and severity, and thus by the extent to which you’re held captive to an abusive man or male institution. Women who are or were recently possessed by men are by far the most exposed population to regular rape, beatings, psychological violence, forced pregnancy, persecution, exploitation, theft and murder, because that’s exactly how men maintain and exercise their sex right over us. Statistically, around 80% of rapes and all forms of violence against women are committed by men close to the victim – that is men who have ownership rights over the woman (father, husband, pimp/trafficker, boyfriend, brother etc.). Women’s first cause of death in the world is murder by a male partner.

Therefore, absence of male owner = less exposure to the violence and terror of a male owner. It’s of absolute simplicity. Those women who live furthest away from men on a daily basis and who are more economically autonomous from men are those who are least exposed to male violence, whatever their sexuality is. The further away you go from a source of danger, the least likely you are exposed to that danger. Once we leave men and former abusers no longer have their grip over us, the violence is more likely to come from the outside rather than from within our own home, which makes a lot of a difference both in how we perceive it and how we can escape or resist it. And it doesn’t mean lesbians or spinsters are privileged or less oppressed, but simply that once we’ve ejected men from our intimate lives we’ll be less exposed to male violence on a regular basis compared to a woman who lives with and is owned by a man. We’re lucky. That’s all. This isn’t oppression olympics but simply stating a fact that the closer you are to violent men, the more you’re exposed to their violence. And that’s the very point of freeing ourselves from men and becoming a lesbian / radical feminist separatist in the first place, because it’s a way of protecting ourselves from the worst forms of male violence.

If we view heterosexuality as a privilege and free choice instead of as the source of all women’s oppression, how can we even claim to be a feminist? What is women’s liberation based on if the point isn’t for all women to free ourselves from men and save our lives? If lesbianism/separatism is more oppressive than being owned by a man, on what moral, political and ethical grounds should we argue for women to leave men if we see it as forsaking privileges and social protections? On the grounds that lesbianism or separatism is morally purer, that women can purge their sins of being a whore by becoming a lesbian? Is that what it means?

If we view heterosexual women as privileged, then what’s the point of creating rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, support networks for abuse victims who want to get away from men? We might as well send them all back to their abuser’s home and ask them to check their privilege first, how dare they come up with het stories up into our face! How oppressive and inconsiderate to us! And before they leave, not forget to wag a finger at them for having made a bad choice and for betraying us lesbians. Is that what lesbian feminist solidarity is based on? Or, maybe the view is more “nuanced”, and we distinguish between “real” victims who are completely innocent because reasons, and “bad” privileged victims who are slutty dick-loving traitors who asked for it because they had all the choice of the world, but they just can’t own up to that fact and pretend to whine about it?

Seriously, I’m not saying that lightly, I’ve rarely seen or heard such misogynist and woman-blaming statements by women as from radical lesbians.

The truth is that the menace of het privilege is as phony as cis privilege: it’s a lie, to intimidate women, to make us feel guilty for what men inflict on us, and especially, to threaten and silence women for denouncing men’s sexual violence, for calling intercourse and heterosexuality for what it is: rape and enslavement.

Women, don’t be deceived by it.

 

Radical lesbianism from a radfem perspective. PART I: Radical lesbian views on hetero-bondage and anti-lesbianism

The point of this new series is to break down radical lesbian ideology (contempt for non-lesbian women, obsession with purity) and practices (such as butch / femme roles, general depoliticising of lesbian practices in lesbian-only spaces). My aim here is to break down pervasive and insidious forms of pseudo-feminisms for the benefit of feminist readers, so to prevent women from falling in their traps and to improve on our collective understanding of how feminism is infiltrated by male interests.

*Note 1: I refuse to use the words “lesbophobia” or “homophobia” since they are incorrect and psychologising terms. Phobia is a psychiatric term referring to a mental disorder, and means an irrational fear of something, or to be more precise, projecting a fear of a forgotten trauma (ie having been raped by your uncle as a child) on another object (ie spiders or birds). The psychologisation of phobia is itself questionable though, since it’s a direct consequence of male violence and isn’t a disorder per se. Anyway, anti-lesbianism has nothing to do with phobia: it isn’t a mental condition nor a somatic disorder. It’s an organised male system of repression of women who refuse to submit to compulsory heterosexuality and choose to dedicate their affection, intimacy and lives to women.

**Note 2: I also don’t use the term “heterosexuality” uncritically as it defines women’s oppression from men’s experience of it: as a sexuality. From our perspective and condition, heterosexuality is nothing rape, trauma-bonding and captivity.

***Note 3: radical lesbianism is different from radical lesbian feminism. In the latter there’s feminism, in the former there’s a serious lack of it.

****Note 4: I’m aware that I might get in trouble for writing such a series, but what the heck. I’ve been wanting to criticise the misogyny of radical lesbian fringes for a while, I feel it has to be said.

Radical lesbian views on hetero-bondage and anti-lesbianism

What is radical lesbianism?

Although there appears to be radical feminists who define themselves as radical lesbians and vice-versa and not everyone seems to use to the term in the same way, what I define as radical lesbianism and the way I have seen it most commonly defined is something very specific:

What most defines radical lesbian ideology is its view on hetero-bondage and anti-lesbianism, so I’m going to talk about that first. Radical lesbianism is based on the belief that ‘heterosexual’ women benefit from (compulsory) heterosexuality and thus are part of a “heteronormative” class oppressing lesbians. A concomitant belief is that heterosexual women are traitors who ‘sleep with the enemy’ or ‘collaborate with the enemy’ (men) in order to reap benefits from being with them. Despite various degrees of awareness about male oppression and patriarchy, radical lesbianism emerges from a shared contempt towards non-lesbian women and from a desire to separate themselves from such women or even from the category of woman itself.

I don’t know how it’s possible to logically believe that women can both be oppressed from hetero-bondage (by men) and at the same time be a beneficiary agent of this oppression. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Well it can only make sense if you don’t view PIV/rape and hetero-bondage as the very core of men’s domination over women, and especially if you fail to see this oppression as inherently violent. That is, if you hold a male-centred view of men’s violence against women, and especially, a liberal gay male view on heterosexuality.

The critique of “heteronormativity” comes from gay male criticism of the repression of gays and of the unfair privileges of men who benefit from heterosexuality. This means that gay men define ‘heterosexuality’ as a status that confers certain social benefits and rights which are assumed as normal and are invisible to those men who conform to it, but from which gay men are excluded and causes them to be more or less discriminated, marginalised, bullied, persecuted, etc. However rather than questioning and fighting men’s patriarchal system at the core of compulsory heterosexuality, the vast majority of gay men simply want to have the same access to the benefits and privileges that heterosexual men have, and refuse to be relegated to a second-class status. Gay men’s political agenda thus consists in pushing homosexuality into the norm, by making it more visible and also by assimilating to heterosexual male values and institutions.

Now, it’s obvious that this definition of heterosexuality doesn’t apply to women at all. Gay men define heterosexuality only according to the male experience of heterosexuality, not women’s. The norm in this society is made by and for men, and only the subjects of heterosexuality are men. Heterosexuality can only confer benefits and privileges to men, not to women, and only men can experience this as sexual or as an expression of their sexuality. This so-called sexuality is precisely how men consume and destroy women, and on what men base their global oppressive system on. To men it means sex life, status, economic benefits, paternity rights, ownership and labour extraction, but for women it means being captive to men and subjected to all forms of violence and exploitation. Hetero-bondage can’t be a protective norm or identity for women because this is how men annihilate us.

So we can see that the problem with this gay perspective on “heteronormativity” is that it doesn’t differentiate between men (those who benefit from men’s oppression and organise it) and women (those who are subjected to this oppression). It’s absurd to see women and men as equal agents of compulsory heterosexuality, and thus to see heterocaptive women as oppressive to lesbians and enemy of lesbians. If hetero-bondage is the way in which men subordinate women as a class, it means that women bonded to men have no power whatsoever in men’s treatment of lesbians and neither do we have any control over how men organise and define the different ways in which they sexually abuse and exploit us. No woman is an agent of the oppression and repression of lesbians or of any other women for that matter.

It is true that women can be anti-lesbian or anti-feminist, but it isn’t possible to treat anti-feminist or anti-lesbian women in the same way as we’d treat anti-feminist or anti-lesbian men. On one hand, the anti-lesbianism of men directly relates to their class interests of subordinating all women sexually to men and of punishing insubordinate women; on the other hand, anti-lesbianism and anti-feminism in women are direct expressions of self-hatred and psychological consequences of being oppressed by men.

To Quote Christine Delphy, translated with the help of a friend: here she writes on anti-feminism but it also applies to anti-lesbianism (just replace the word “feminism” by “lesbian feminist”):

It’s normal for women to be anti-feminist: the opposite would be surprising. And gaining consciousness, becoming a feminist isn’t a sudden and brutal revelation; consciousness isn’t acquired all at once and once and for all; it’s a long and never-ending process, what’s more, a painful one, because it’s a constant fight against all the “evidence”: the ideological worldview – and against oneself. The fight against self-hatred is never ended. Therefore there is no clear breaking point between feminist women and “anti-feminist” women, but a continuum of perspectives on a same situation. Since whatever their “opinions” are, women are oppressed. Their anti-feminism – being a) an obstacle to their awareness about their objective interests and b) their oppression directly reflected into their subjectivity – is thus one of the means of maintaining this oppression.

(In: Questions Feministes, “Our Friends and us: the hidden foundations of some pseudo-feminist discourses”, p. 35, 1977).

There’s a reason why men accuse women of anti-lesbianism and of being lesbians’ primary enemy: that’s because it’s a divide and conquer tactic, it’s meant to obscure the real enemies and oppressors – men – and to pit lesbians and lesbian feminists against non lesbian women on the more colonised spectrum. It increases men’s power over women by diminishing female solidarity and feminist vision. Radical lesbian ideology isn’t feminist, because accusing women of being traitors, collaborators or of oppressing lesbians is deep-seated woman-hatred, a reversal and denial of the reality of men’s violence against women.

The idea that women are ‘traitors’ who ‘sleep with the enemy’ comes from a very old, hateful patriarchal lie that all women are vain ‘sluts’ or temptresses who seduce and manipulate men to get what they want, especially men’s wealth. It’s also a slur thrown at adulterous women, as in women who were penetrated by other men than those they were ordained to in marriage, or other men than those chosen by the male group they belong to. Such women would be publicly shamed and punished, similarly to the women, shortly after the second world war, who were shaved and humiliated after being accused of having had affairs with the Germans, which they also interestingly called ‘sleeping with the enemy’.

What it means is that men claim ownership over women in terms of sexual access and punish women for failing to be loyal to their master / slave-owner, that is, of breaching his exclusive right to rape us. The accusation ‘sleeping with the enemy’ is based on a double lie and reversal: first, that the woman is the agent of penetration and responsible for what the man inflicted on her; second, that it’s about sex, when it’s about a man raping a woman; third, that the woman is manipulative, when it is men who continually harass and blackmail women into submitting to intercourse; fourth, that women gain economically from being raped by men, when the reality is that men loot women from tooth to bone, on top of raping and owning us.

So in a similar way, radical lesbians castigate women for sleeping with (being penetrated/raped by) other people (men) than those ordained by radical lesbians (women), instead of empathising with women and seeing that women are victimised by being penetrated and owned by men. It amounts to a similar kind of sexual objectification and blaming of women.

Finally, systematically accusing women of erasing lesbians and of lesbophobia is an intimidation tactic similar to those that accuse women of transphobia and what not.

 

It seems The End is to come.

Earth, I love you. I always have. You and your elemental inhabitants are the most beautiful beings that I have ever seen, met, felt and experienced. You are the most beautiful life experiment in this universe. You are music to my ears and soul. And your green! The sound of the leaves in the wind. The scents. The sunrise and sunset. The moon. The humming of the bees, the rushing of the waves. The infinite moments of sensory ecstasy and blissful encounters with other beings. Discovering woman-identification has been a constant dance of fire and joy.

***

Alexis linked to the convo going on at Wwomenwwarrior’s. I had already read her post some time ago, when she published it, but not followed the conversation. I had a look and this comment by bronte was of particular interest.

I’ll copy her comment here:

Re: “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accomplished by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.”
Mary Daly

Much as I hate disagreeing with my beloved Mary Daly, with regard to the decontamination of the Earth and how it will be accomplished, I must. Mary was not an earth/climate scientist or ecologist and never professed to be one.

Apart from lurking silently on radical feminist blogs I read NTHE sites: (Near Term Human Extinction) sites, because, according to the science, Near Term Human Extinction within one or two generations is where the parasitical/ cancer tumorous system of patriarchy and Homo Rapiens (males) have brought not only humans but all complex life on Earth. The Sixth Extinction experienced in the 5 billion years or so of
Earth’s lifetime and presently underway is being caused by Homo Rapiens.
Why is this so thorougly ignored on radical feminist blogs? Please don’t tell me that radical feminists – of all people- are climate change denialists?

That is, my radical feminist reflections/ spinning/ taking my thoughts to their logical end have not resulted in Mary Daly’s happy beliefs that women will overcome patriarchy, that there will be a cosmic revolution or that evolution (an unthinking, blind process that cares not a jot about women) will somehow step in at the very last moment and save us and the planet from the male disease.

Instead, my radical feminism – based as it always has been on the search for Truth no matter how ugly and unpalatable- led to the study and cross-analysis of biology, climate science, ecology and complex systems theory.

I wanted the Big Picture of what is happening to the planet because of Homo Rapiens. And that picture is not a pretty or hopeful one.
Hence, whether the male Y chromosome goes extinct within 5 million years (as stated by Professor Jenny Graves) or whether it goes extinct within 1 million years is moot. The rabid ape Homo Rapiens has done so much damage in its 250,000 years on Earth that it is not only extincting itself but everything else along with it.

I believe all radical feminists should be preparing themselves now for what will be the collapse of civilization because the reality and inevitabily of that is, perphaps, one of our blind spots: a dangerous one.

To answer your question, Bronte, as to why this has been ‘thoroughly ignored’ on my blog: I did not know about it. For your information, of course I have never been a climate change denialist, I have always attentively read information on the destruction of the environment, read about the floodings to come, about the collapse of the monetary system, of this and that, but I believed, as Mary Daly did, that some of us could survive the impending doom, and hoped the next generation of survivors would only be females.

Now as I read Bronte’s comment a few days ago, it struck me and was very compelling but I read it in a haste (my attention span on computers is limited these days -maybe I need glasses?- so I usually just read or write things fast) and skimmed past the reference to Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE), especially as there was no link. So as much as this comment was alarming it didn’t stir me particularly, and the next day went on as usual. I didn’t really get the message, I thought ‘oh well, this makes sense, I just hope females will still survive’. Until a friend, yesterday, told me what she had found by googling “Near Term Human Extinction”.

Oh. My. I looked it up for myself. There’s this guy called Guy McPherson, who’s a spokesperson of all of this. I googled various entries and quickly found his website. And I found this essay, a summary of the findings on climate change. Read it yourselves. I’m not going to quote anything because it is too long, just read it very carefully.

What this guy, Guy, says, or rather what he demonstrates with the support of hundreds of long term scientific evidence from many sources including very conservative and mainstream sources, is that all life on this planet will come to extinction by 2030. The major cause of this extinction will be that the global warming and melting of the ice has triggered a series of feedback loops of toxic gas emissions such as methane and carbon dioxyde which were trapped in the soils and underwaters of the earth by the ice and frost. These feedback loops have already started, are now unstoppable and life on earth is already on its way to extinction. No technology can stop this – especially since male technology is part of the problem and their use and fabrication will only emit more greenhouse gases. Even if men’s system collapsed now, if all men died and we returned back to stone age, it is unstoppable. Unprecedented levels of methane and carbone dioxyde have already been released into the atmosphere because of the warming and the more gas is emitted, the more the planet heats because of the greenhouse effects of the gas, and the more gas is emitted again. Once the air is too intoxicated plants will start dying too and if all or most plants die together, all the carbon dioxyde they sequestered will be released too, which only further intoxicates the air. There will simply be no more oxygen to breathe and the time it will take for the earth to regain cool temperatures and for the gases to be sequestered again, if that ever happens, which might be between 100 or thousands of years according to the extent of the damage, all species and life will have been already gone. I’m just paraphrasing these statements from memory, so read his essay for detailed information and explanations of the different feedback loops.

Right. This is estimated to happen by 2030… 2030! That gives us 15 years to live, if we even survive that long. Before that there will be floodings and terrible tsunamis, the sea level is likely to rise at least 50 meters higher. The monetary system will crumble down before, and I shudder to think what men will do once their system falls apart and they will no longer be able to hide the truth.

Do I believe this? Is this credible, is it a hoax? If only. How could this not be credible? The facts are indisputable. Who am I to dispute the long term data and biological facts observed and measured by hundreds of scientists? I’m the first to be critical about male science but this doesn’t seem to be a matter of personal opinion to me. Even if there were room for doubt or error regarding the probability of certain species surviving such as bacteria or fungi, the evidence is so compelling that I don’t think it’s an option to ignore it. I sorely wish it wouldn’t be true.

Now. One by one, my reactions.

It is a Strange moment. I cannot describe the sense of utter horror and grief that first overcame me. It seems utterly surreal yet it is real. Worse than I could have ever imagined. Life on earth as we know will no longer exist. Our beloved, sacred Mother Earth, how I love you, how it grieves me to know that all this beauty of life will disappear. I look by the window, at the trees, the grass, the birds, dear companions. How painful. This is a terrible moment of realising.

I’ve known all along that patriarchy would collapse. It confirms what we have been hearing more or less explicitly for some time now. It also confirms some visions that women have shared with me. I myself have been saying it out loud for a while, that men’s system will collapse, maybe not so much online. My only question was whether men would destroy the rest of us in their demise or if some of us would survive. We now have the answer. It appears that men will take everything away with them.

Men, homo rapiens, you scum, you filth. There is no word to describe the extent of your evil, you are pure evil, pure lechery. I hate you, how I hate you. In the 250,000 years of your rotten, defunct existence, you have managed to kill 5 million years of life on earth.

Men like Guy McPherson, you are also part of the problem. How dare you – yes I’m talking to YOU, and to all liberal men like DGR & co, and I hope you will come across this – indeed how dare you continue to write about the near term life extinction while pretending it is “humanity” who has sentenced to death all life on earth. The unstoppable death-machine has always only been orchestrated by the homo rapiens. By men. YOU. Women are not and have never been responsible for the atrocities committed by men, for men’s global industrial rape and death system. By lying and deceiving you are continuing to be part of the problem, because you are masking the fact that the obvious solution all the time, long before the extinction of all life was impending, was to depopulate the earth of males or to reduce them to manageable levels again – only by doing so would have men’s patriarchal and industrial necrophilic sado-system come to an end without destroying the rest of life.

Those men warning about the final extinction have existed for centuries, predicting the end of the world. Ffs men’s end is even predicted in their genes, their dead-endness is constitutive of their biology. All of men’s stories have a deadpoint, a “the end”. Every second film for the last decades has been about the apocalypse. They Know. Even the Mayan predicted the apocalypse at this period, they got it right. Why have none of them taken action? If these men cared for the planet and knew men would end up killing her, why haven’t they created a global male euthanising service to save the planet? Women know how to care for life. We have known better all along. Goddess knows women have been trying for millennia to put an end to male rule by all means possible, including by culling men. All this time you KILLED us!! you SUPPRESSED us, exterminated women and our life-preserving, earth-loving societies, our cultures, our lives!! And now it’s too late.

Now, even if a few men talk of committing suicide and of reducing global human population – well that’s still doing us a disservice, you egotistic liberal cowards. How many men, at best, will commit suicide? Maybe 1%? Or one in five thousand? What difference will that make? Let me tell you: if the least worse men bother to commit suicide without bothering to euthanise the rest of man-kind, they will be leaving women alone to fend with the worst of worse males: the MRAs, the pornographers, the army-men, the right-wing climate-change denialists, etc. Not to mention the problem of the suiciders that will kill their wives, mothers and daughters along with them, of course. You fucking idiots! You will be leaving the few moments of life on earth to be ruthlessly raped, pillaged and looted by the reamining barbaric males.

So, to all men, before all life goes extinct, you could at least do us the favour of leaving us these 15 last years free of your foul presence. You never really cared about life anyway. You’re not even capable of interacting with her. What difference does it make to you? What is one sub-male human species compared to billions of species on earth? Nothing.

Also, isn’t it ironic that men can publicly talk of drastically decreasing global human population as a final attempt to save the planet without anyone batting an eyelid, when we merely state the obvious – men are responsible for this global, now irrevertible catastrophe, and since they will never change the obvious solution would have been to cull them (which is now pointless) – well, we are threatened to death, killed, and heavens knows all the atrocities men do to us. Anyway, decreasing ‘human’ population isn’t a solution because the problem aren’t ‘humans’ but males.

Phew. This was the rage part.

As I continued reading the essay, as with any moment when we are faced with imminent death and annihilation, everything around me seemed futile, petty and distant. I thought of the things that mattered most in life and all I want is to spend as much time as I can with female companions, whether human, animal, plant or elemental, before we go. We now more literally than ever before, have nothing to lose. I had already begun a survival plan for myself and female relatives for some time, but it certainly encouraged me to pursue this more readily. This feeling resonated with another nagging feeling that I’ve had for several months now, which is that all my radical feminist undertakings seemed to be in slow motion, in such a stark way that it felt like a deliberate message. The more I attempted to respect my limits and the limits of life-time and rythm in the things I did to keep on communicating radical feminism to women, in all and any possible ways, the more I realised how ridiculously slow and tiny it was compared to the sheer speed and scope of men’s destruction. I felt like a snail competing with light-speed, or a twig competing with a tornado. Especially because our situation is now so dire, that most of what I do, I have to it alone since I am either separated in distance from other radical feminists or most of my closer friends don’t have time, swamped by survival pre-occupations. I don’t have much time either but I’m the only I know who has the time to devote myself almost entirely to feminism in ways that I choose. I was more and more coming to a conclusion that radical feminism could not at this point, in and of itself, save women and the planet, and if something were to save us, it would be greater than us. These intuitions or subliminal thoughts became explicit through the last conversation, especially thanks to the intervention of Tracy.

Wandering further into my troubled thoughts, I wondered what would happen with our souls and the souls of all these dear beings on earth once we will be separated from our earthly bodies. Will we continue to hover around the earth and wail the loss of life like rattling ghosts? Will we seek reincarnation somewhere else, maybe on another habitable planet? Will we go and find our life companions and live happily ever after in the ether? Will men continue to parasite our souls even in after life? I remember a woman telling me that the problem of maleness was not only a problem on earth but reflected a cosmic problem, on the level of the universe. Well, I have no idea whether this is true or even if it can be verified.

I now acutely understand why, since when I remember, I have always felt sadness -as well as joy- whenever coming in full contact with the elements and wild life. The sadness was a feeling of loss from the present and past destruction and of a loss to come. It came from the intuition that we would be parted eventually. I think we must have all experienced this more or less consciously since the dead-endness is written in the DNA of men’s civilisation. I now see how real this sense of loss is. I have probably come to life here and now to witness this last phase of patriarchy – or maybe even the last phase of this kind of life on earth. For some life will survive, I am sure. Maybe bacteria, fungi of some sort. I wish I could have been old and left just a few years ago, like Mary Daly and millions of other women. They are lucky, they left at the right time.

I suddenly remembered a time when I was an adolescent, and I used to laugh and say that I would die when I’d be 37, or something like that, for no paticular reason, and people would look at me weirdly. I thought it was an old enough age to die, I saw it as very far away then. Until someone told me “that’s an early age to die”, so I decided it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Later I interpreted it as the effect of a family member dying when I was young, and that strong awareness of death was part of my life for a very long time, so maybe it didn’t occur to me that I could live longer. Maybe I hated myself and my life so much then that I didn’t care if I died. Maybe because I disliked old people because my grandparents had always been stiff and I didn’t see the point of living old if I were to become like them. I tried to remedy this by picturing myself older and seeing it as a good thing, and accepting myself at all stages of life. What if it had something to do with the fact that I subliminally knew I wouldn’t live very old? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a flash of memory that crossed my mind while reading the essay.

Today is one day after I started reading this essay. My life will never be quite the same again, now that I have this picture in mind, now that it is so clear. It is strange to see to how much we can adapt. I am somewhat more tranquil than yesterday. What is strange is that despite this knoweldge of extinction, which still seems surreal, I also know that we will win. That we will succeed. This intuition has never left me. What kind of form will this really take I wonder, maybe this is the only solution to the end of maleness. And something new will emerge again. I still wish this wouldn’t happen, I wish this wouldn’t be true. But somehow it feels somewhat peaceful to know that there will be an end to all of this.

Reacting to Skulldrix’s post and thinking about reclusive separatism vs. boundary-living separatism

Just a few days ago I read Skulldrix’s post on a separatist state of mind, which I have found very refreshing and enlightening, and which brought me back to many of my own first experiences of separatism. I remember some conversations going on at FCM’s on separatism, maybe a year and a half ago, where several of us bloggers and commenters discussed whether we should call ourselves separatists or pro-separatists. FCM at the time argued that separatism wasn’t a realistic or feasible goal for most women under patriarchy because the reality is that we can’t completely escape men, so it would be more realistic to envision ourselves as pro-separatist instead of separatists.

I can’t quite remember what I wrote at the time or whether I expressed myself clearly but I thought that the distinction between pro-sep and sep was unnecessary once we conceive of it as a way of being, an ongoing journey and struggle, according to the means we have and what is safe for our survival. Though I agree about the fact that most if not all of us can’t escape men on a daily basis. Most women will have to work alongside men to some degree because that’s the only or least worst job opportunity we can find. Very often we will have to depend on men to learn a skill, or to heal from severe illnesses, because men monopolise and control all disciplines and sectors of their society.

Well Skulldrix’s take on it as state of mind is really important, because that’s how it is really, and that’s also how radical feminism works. Once you have the state of mind, a strong perception and insight of how male domination works – including on how it affects and colonises us – the willingness and drive to move on, and out, and take women with us on the ride: that’s the only thing that counts. Everything stems from here. And radical feminism and separatism from men and from male mindbindings are one and the same to me, both theoretically and in my experience: both were absolutely synchronous in my life. Radical feminism can’t go without separatism because separatism (or a separatist state of mind) is the logical conclusion to radical feminism, that is to seeing and understanding how men’s domination works and understanding the danger men represent to us. Once you perceive and feel viscerally how destructive men are and how their mere presence may suffice to sap our vital force, your gut reaction is to run away from anything male.

But this is where the importance of separatist state of mind comes, versus mere physical separatism from men. Refusing to interact with men as much as possible is not enough. It is not enough to flee men and hang around with women only, we also have to unwork the effects of men’s ideological and traumatic mindbindings on us and unlearn woman-hatred, and transmit this to other women in some way or another. Separatism is of no use at all if it’s to reproduce similar male hierarchies and values of domination and subordination between ourselves. In order not to do this, it requires a particular state of mind: both a clear vision and focus and a willingness to maintain and especially develop this vision and focus over time.

This is because in patriarchy, our radical feminism / separatism is constantly put at trial, and all strategies are used, from attacks to manipulation – to put as back into fragmentation. There is no moment pure free consciousness or place where we can leave our status of oppressed and where men’s violence will no longer affect us if we are subjected to it. Oppression continues to affect us and our mind, because that’s what violence does, and men’s violence remains pervasive, even if the degrees of violence vary. The separatist state of mind is a commitment to persist into radical feminism, deep empathy towards women and hatred of male oppression over time.

And sometimes, we have to choose between physical separatism of men and our own survival, most notably when we need a job, money, skills, care or resources and we have no other choice but to get them from the hands of men. This is where the state of mind is important because we will choose to give as little energy and mindspace to men as possible, and to try to bond with the women whenever possible.

Finally, one thing I’ve noticed is that to continue sparking other women and reaching women requires to a certain extent working on the boundaries of male institutions (whatever these may be, whether blogs or other platforms that we can bear staying in for a certain amount of time) because there is simply no chance of interacting with women if we live recluded or hidden (although this choice is perfectly understandable). Mary Daly talks about this living in the boundaries in “Outercourse” and Janice Raymond talks about it in “A Passion for Friends”. It takes a very, very long time to bring women to radical feminism and for women to be in a safe enough position to be able to think about it; If we want to find women, we can mostly only find them in places controlled by men, because the vast majority of women in western countries are too afraid of separatism. Separatism therefore also means to me creating a pocket of freedom or an open door within this place from which to move on to and transcend, create true women-only identification and place.

I think this boundary-living must be done with extreme caution however because such experiences can be very abusive and getting the measure of how far we should go or which institutions we should be in the boundary of or when it’s time to leave before things get too nasty, is very hard. I’ve been thinking about the reclusive / vs boundary-living separatism for a long time and I know Mary Daly and Janice Raymond have criticised reclusion, as opposed to Sonia Johnson who embarked on this route fully with her partner Jade DeForest, and documented it in her books – they decided that they wouldn’t even interact with other women any more because it was too endangering to their integrity.

When I first became radical feminist and separatist, not only I couldn’t stand being with men but it was physically impossible for me and endangering for my sanity to be around women who were even slightly colonised. I couldn’t deal with the dissonance, radical feminism was too fresh, I had barely discovered myself, I had much less confidence in my perceptions then and my greatest fear was too lose my mind again. I had a visceral need to expel everything male from my life. Now, with several years of experience in radical feminist journey behind me, I don’t feel that my world will crumble down so easily when my reality as an oppressed woman is denied, because I have much more confidence in my own perceptions than I used to. I have also bonded to a network of radical feminist lesbian friends, learnt not to beat myself up any more when women turn against me out of misogyny or because they can’t follow me farther in my bus ride. I feel my feet and my soul are much more anchored into the ground and it’s less easy to topple me. I’m better at protecting myself, at creating situations that are safe for myself and women and avoiding those who aren’t. It is only with this background that I know feel slightly more confident about finding other women and understand better how it works. I know that the most important thing is to talk with women and create spaces where this is possible, without interference. Three or two years ago this wouldn’t have been possible the same way.

Most importantly, I love being around with women too much. I love feeling the electricity and spark of when we share and create insights together, I love witnessing women unpeeling the mindbindings and freeing themselves from the bonds of a man. I love the stars in our eyes when we See each other and our reality, when we become visible to ourselves. I love our laughter. Being with women-identified women and making this woman-identification possible is like dancing around a fire of joy, you can feel the fire inside you becoming bigger. I would never be able to become a reclusive separatist.

***

Here are the comments I wrote on Skulldrix’s post which spurred me into writing this post. I’ve rephrased the first one and put it here for clarity.

it’s great to see such a nice article on separatism. I relate to your perceptions on separatism, on many levels, and have followed a very similar path. Separatism started for me in a crossroads of circumstances. It started in part when I decided that I wouldn’t date any men because dating with them had been so painful and traumatising and I wanted to protect myself from that. I was already feminist, had almost perceived that PIV was inherently violent and a way to humiliate women, and that all men wanted was to use us as receptacles for their dicks. So I first thought that if I wanted to date a man, a way to prevent being used by them as their dick-socket to be thrown away the minute after, I’d have to choose one I knew for a long time and could trust he wouldn’t abuse me, had already built an equal, friendly, respectful relationship with him which stood the test of time, and especially, they would have to understand feminism and i should be able to be feminist with them without feeling uncomfortable about it.

Well I very quickly realised that this standard was totally impossible! Once I held this standard for interacting with men, they all disappeared out of my life very quickly. It became obvious that men didn’t want to interact with me or with women in general on an equal level, and that what “attracted” them in women was subordination to them – as soon as we wanted to be their “equals” they were repelled by it, lost interest or tried to thwart the feminist drive in me some way or another. This was a major eye-opener. I’ve said this before in various comments but I found this experience really amazing – just setting the bar high for men made them disappear out of my life.

Also once I saw how everything men do is always directly or subliminally a rape threat and reminds us of our penetrable caste, I couldn’t bear being exposed to anything male, either in physical presence or in mediated ways (religion, ideology, media, art, etc, etc,). It re-triggers unconscious or conscious defence mechanisms to rape, PIV and sexualised invasion. It’s stressful and traumatising.

 

Note: comments will be open again on May the 1st

For three days, on 1st, 2d and third days of May.

The thing I don’t like about numbers

While documenting the extent of the horrors men commit against women is important and eye-opening, I’ve always found certain uses of stats, especially the state-approved ones, boring and even obscuring.

In many cases, they grossly under-represent the extent of the violence. Take the statistic that one in four women have been raped in a lifetime: it’s inaccurate even when applying more conventional definitions of rape. Which het-interned woman has not submitted to PIV under some form of pressure, out of fear of loosing their boyfriend, emotional blackmailing, or because they were too tired to say no and to have to justify themselves for the next 30 minutes, or because they didn’t even think they had a right not to do it, etc. ?. But most importantly it completely denies the fact that PIV is inherently violent and is always obtained through some form of coercion or another, and that the risk of rape is inherent to hetero-internment because that’s the point of it. The correct statistic would be that all women conscripted to ownership by men have been raped at least once in a lifetime: which means that we can easily assume that all women have been raped, save for a tiny, tiny minority of very lucky women who have escaped incest rape, hetconscription and sexual violence altogether.

The statistics are state-approved because they don’t depart from a radical feminist (and truthful) definition of male violence. It counts only a minority of the most obvious and overt forms of violence – the rare occasions where male strangers rape non-prostituted women in the streets or in the outside “public” sphere. That is, the kind of assaults we are trained by men to fear and identify as threatening, so we behave like good girls and don’t go out at night by ourselves and consider our owners (rapists) as our protectors and saviours. At the very best, stats will only take into account the few times where the husband or boyfriend used more violence than usual to obtain his daily, weekly or monthly ratio of PIV. The same applies to counting killed women; in the number of women killed by men every year, we don’t count girls, prostituted women, and women killed through forced ‘suicide’, the women who died a slow death from the years of abuse and confinement, form cancer and other consequences of male violence. Sometimes we count them but these figures are rarely if ever put together.

Such stats are also confusing because they treat rape or abuse as something accidental, as something that happens to some women and not others, as if it were some kind of lottery between winning the good or bad man. It implies that despite the fact a lot of men are bad, some aren’t, and treats rape as some kind of inchoate catastrophe falling upon some women – like car accidents.

Unlike other statistics which aim to point out the harm of certain situations for those trapped inside it – say, a survey on the damage of coal mine working on the employees, which demonstrates that one in four mine worker gets lung cancer. It will be very clear to everybody that the cancer is directly linked to the fact the workers work in a coal mine: what causes the cancer is constant exposure to coal and the harm of getting cancer is inherent to this exposure. This is the very point of the survey, to denounce and stop exposing humans to coal on a daily basis.

However, stats on male violence always erase or obscure the context in which women are raped, as if it happened randomly and had nothing to do with the inherent problem of being constantly exposed to men (to be more accurate, owned by them). Such surveys will never introduce the subject with phrases such as “We wanted to demonstrate the inherent harms of exposure to men by showing that one in four (or all) women will be raped by a male at least once in a lifetime”. The way the stats are presented is truncated and circular: rape is bad because women are raped. This blindfolding of the context deliberately prevents seeing the big picture – exposure to men is bad because men rape women – and prevents going to its logical conclusion – we should avoid interaction with men because it’s too dangerous.

What I also highly dislike about stats is that it microscopically singles out one small aspect of men’s oppression of women as if patriarchy were just a sum of discreet, separate acts of violence against women, and not a coherent, organised system set up by men. Of course being raped by men is one of the main problems of oppression, but men don’t rape in a vacuum. The very reason men can rape so many women and so often is because they hold us captive so we can’t escape the rapes. They marry us to them. They force us to live alone with them and organise society in a way that we have nowhere else to go than being owned by a man. If we looked at slavery, we wouldn’t denounce slavery by saying that slavery is bad because one in four slaves are whipped once a week. We show how slavery is inherently violent, because violence is necessary to keep the slaves captive and submissive – to keep them enslaved. The problem in slavery isn’t that one in four slaves are whipped, so we should fight for slaves’ rights not to be whipped: the problem is that humans are being enslaved, and that it’s inherently violent, oppressive and deprives of freedom. Or take another example: animals in a cage. The problem isn’t that the animals aren’t fed properly, but that they’re encaged and held captive and this is inherently limiting and traumatising to animals.

The same applies to women. These “one in three”, “one in four” or “one in twelve” numbers obscure the fact that captivity to men is necessarily violent to all women in patriarchy. It encourages seeing rape as something external, as something that happens to other women, to think of ourselves as the lucky 3 in four women who haven’t been raped, and thus encourages the thought that not all women are concerned by oppression and patriarchy, it allows to think of yourself as an exception. It masks women’s oppression and the very nature of oppression: that it’s necessarily oppressive to all members of the oppressed group. And since the primary means of men’s oppression against women is sexual violence, well it follows that all women have been subjected to some form of sexual violence or another because this is how we are oppressed. Sexually violating us and imprisoning us in a system where we can’t escape sexual violation from men at least once in a lifetime, is the reason why men set up their patriarchal system.

Stats give the impression of being objective facts, but if the context is erased, numbers are

minimised and the very point of such stats denied (to encourage women to avoid the danger – men), well, that’s lying. It’s confusing.

 

 

Intersectionality, part V: additional notes on amnesia and springing from Outercourse

When we can’t see men as the oppressors, men’s violence is suppressed in the unconscious realm (or in the “subliminal sea”1) and what remains visible and conscious to us in the foreground2 is the betrayal by puppeted women orchestrated/remote-controlled by the invisible male lords/puppeteers.

Failing to see men’s oppression and turning our anger against women is fundamentally based on amnesia: our forgetting of men’s genocide. The depth of this insight popped up to me with instant clarity as a friend of mine and I were discussing why some women so readily turned against other women even in cases such as having been raped or tortured by their fathers. For months one woman angrily resented her mother for about everything her father had subjected her to, and instead felt sympathy for him. Her mother wasn’t enough this, she had failed to do that, etc. There were vast periods of torture she had forgotten but she remembered the lies her father had told her about her mother and this is what stayed. However when she started recovering memories of what her father had done to her, her anger against her mother abated, she began to see how she too was victimised as a wife to her father and started to express anger against him.

This works on all levels. Our capacity to feel empathy towards women, to reverse the reversals and to make the connections about men’s violence is deeply and directly connected to our uncovering of the suppressed memories of what men have done to us. When we forget the oppressor, there is no other option than to turn against women, because that’s how patriarchy is configured: there is one oppressor class, men, and one oppressed class, women, and if you’re not against men, then it’s mechanically at the expense of women and of ourselves. There is no in-between, or third outlet: women are the only counterpoint to men’s violence. Either we see men as the oppressors and therefore our rage is turned against them, either we have effaced some or all of their role as oppressors and we automatically resent women for one thing or another.

The amnesia is organised both on an individual level and collective level.

It’s individual in that men’s violence and psychic warfare tactics which causes the amnesia happens to each one of us. Individually, we are forced to suppress some awareness and memory of what individual men or institutions have inflicted on us and on our female peers at various points in our lives (violence from our father, husbands, brothers or other males / institutions). The amnesia is organised on this micro level through the lies and reversals of the perpetrators, the denials and terror of our peers and the complicity of surrounding men with the perpetrators. The true stories of rapes against our sisters, mother, aunts, grand-mothers, cousins and daughters will be silenced. We will never understand why our aunt was alcoholic all her life or why our mother had fits of crying and nervous breakdowns every now and then, or why our friend became muted after the age of 8. Men will tell us they are crazy, liars, will instil distrust and contempt in these women. We will never or rarely be told about the women who escaped, the lesbians, feminists or spinsters, whether in school, by our peers or family.

The amnesia is also organised by men collectively: the perpetrators’ lies wouldn’t have so much impact on us if men’s violence wasn’t so absolutely obliterated from discourse everywhere we go – nothing in foreground reality, whether written or spoken, ever confirms the reality and depth of the what we’re subjected to, it is spookily omni-absent. Men have monopolised the power of naming and thereby blocked our capacity to even name our experience and ourselves with their words. We live in this reality of war-zone under male-rule, dying inside and outside, yet all there is to see on the surface are those tantalising fake smiles, “sex”, “marriage” and plastic happiness. For this silence to be maintained, men actively repress our re-calling of the genocide and be-speaking of the truth. They erase all evidence of their crimes, both external historical evidence and in our own psyche, by reprogramming our minds. They erase our culture, our writings, our art, our discoveries, our history of liberation, our presence and love to ourselves. In this context we have forgotten who we are before we could even know who we were.

Amnesia is also a form of dissociation. It’s a coping mechanism to ongoing trauma when the violence is both unescapable and unacknowledged. It is one of the many ways in which the self splinters itself for survival – which is why so many of us suffer various degrees of “multiple personalities” from having to forget event after event, life after life, each time having to distance ourselves farther from who we were and reinvent a new plastic persona in the attempt to add more make-up over our suffering.

It splinters the most traumatic parts from our conscious memory and digs them deep into the unconscious memory, which then only resurfaces in cryptic ways: through flashes, panic attacks, physical and psychic disorders, cancer, etc. Formulating the truth of men’s oppression even in thought being an unthinkable crime, these cryptic ‘symptoms’ or outbursts are messages from ourselves to desperately try to reconnect and awaken our consciousness, to break the spell of dissociation and phallic coding so we reintegrate and get away from the source of harm (men). These messages are there to bring the truth back into our conscious thoughts and direct our rage at men instead of against ourselves. We are saying to ourselves “hello, I’m here”. “Doing this to me is harmful”. “I’ve been hurt.” “These rapes / violations / insults / psychic devastation have hurt me”.

Anyway, all this to say that I recently realised more than ever the importance of seeing and naming the connections, and how this is really the first momentum of liberation because organised amnesia is men’s primary form of psychic – and therefore physical – annihilation of women. Without consciousness there is no doing, and by destroying our knowing/seeing (or pushing it into unconscious, subliminal realms), men paralyse our doing and being.

Amnesia, the obliterating of men’s past and present violence and erasure of our past and present selves, leads to blindly turning against women and more generally, to what Mary Daly calls aphasia, the “inability to Name the Background reality as well as foreground fabrications and the connections among these” and to apraxia, the “inability to act as Radical Feminists” (Outercourse, p. 6 and 195).

Intersectionality, just as any form of anti-feminism, are part of men’s phallic lies and global brainwashing tactics which generate amnesia and the inward-twisting of rage against ourselves and other women. Again, to paraphrase Mary Daly, exorcising amnesia requires acts of unforgetting and be-speaking, of unmasking and breaking through the foreground lies into our background presence. The task of the radical feminist is to actively explicate the connections, to make the reversals, fragmentation, destruction and genocide explicit and overt. (P. 6-11, Outercourse).

“Knowledge [of patriarchal horror] … is compelling and expelling. When a woman really faces the horror she is morally compelled to Act (overcome apraxia) and to begin changing/Be-Witching. She becomes empowered to expel the demonic embedded Self-censor within, who has blocked her from Spinning. She dares to begin Be-Witching.” (P. 197, Outercourse).

1Term by Mary Daly : the Sea of subliminal knowledge, knowledge which is covert, “Background” knowledge that is shared by women in patriarchy (Outercourse p. 13).

Background means “the Realm of Wild Reality; the Homeland of Women’s Selves and of all other Others; the Time/Space where auras of plants, planets, stars, animals and all Other animate beings connect.” (Wickedary, by Mary Daly and Jane Caputi).

2Foreground is defined as “male-centered and monodimensional arena where fabrication, objectification, and alienation takes place; zone of fixed feelings, perceptions, behaviours; the elementary world: FLATLAND”. (Wickedary, by Mary Daly and Jane Caputi).

 


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