When men view our blogs in such large numbers, it’s a threat. They’re not just looking at it, they view it with the intent of harming radical feminists and women in general. They do it to collect information so they know what next to do to prevent women from going there. They batter radfem work in public for all women to see and show the result of their verbal and written battering as an example of what will await women if they do, think or say the same. They write nasty and threatening comments, that in order to trash, I have to read at least a few words of. Even though it doesn’t hurt my feelings, they are still harmful and inevitably affect my thoughts.
85,000, that’s the maximum number of views I had in one day a couple of weeks ago when the liberals and MRAs circulated my PIV blogpost for punishment. Unlike a normal blogger, attracting 85,000 hits isn’t something I want to celebrate. It’s threatening: you know they’re after you, it only means you’ve hit men’s radar and you have no idea what they plan to do. Will they attempt to hack into my blog? Will they try to find info about me? The kinds of thought this leads me to is 85,000 men going after me in real life. Probably a bit less if you discount the women. If that happened, how on earth could I hide from tens of thousands of men?
Receiving so many comments denying what I said one after the other reinforces my sense of isolation, of outlandishness, of being the only one who knows. It makes me doubt the reality of my perceptions, it makes me waver, it shakes my foundations for a bit. I start questioning what I said. If so many people assert this with such confidence and if it contrasts so starkly with my perceptions, how can my assumptions be real? The wavering doesn’t last for long thankfully, I regain my senses quite quickly, sometimes more so than others. Writing, talking about it to friends and receiving radfems comments helps a lot. It’s the only thing that ever helps actually.
All this is gaslighting and bullying, men’s lies are meant to sound convincing. They convince with the use of force, ordering me to comply to their view by using an authoritarian, terrorising tone. ‘How dare you see otherwise. You’re crazy. You’re a bully. Etc.’ Which is why it works so well to instil self-doubt because it’s a mindfuck, it’s thought-blocking, it’s also an assault and it creates fear and willingness to appease to avoid further assaults. Brainwashing works through a mix of mind assaults, terror and constant repetition of a same message until it’s hammered into our brain, which is psychological violence. 85,000 views and hundreds of trolling comments is in effect a blitzkrieg brainwashing attack by men and male-colonised women. Hundreds of men and their pawns attempting to reprogram the minds of deviant female bloggers, women who don’t comply and who break through men’s myths and lies.
It’s interesting that Cathy Brennan’s response to the whole thing led a commenter, Tracy, to comment about what it meant on reformism: I hadn’t framed it in that way (see discussion here, here and here). I’ve been thinking about it for a while but haven’t had the time to comment on it properly so I’ll continue my thoughts in this post. Tracy defined CB’s post as reformist to the extent that CB doesn’t name the agent, that is why men isolating us from one another is so dangerous, why it’s so important to huddle together in this circumstance [because men are waiting in line to rape and kill us]. CB asks us to take safety measures against a threat -men- that she won’t name, and at the same time treats men as an audience to appease, as if they would take note and change their behaviour accordingly. Tracy named that gaslighting because it’s acting as if two opposites (truth vs. omission/lie; threat vs. safety) were the same. Of course it’s not CB’s fault because she herself is victim of it.
So reformism defines as gaslighting because it acknowledges a threat -violence- and the need for it to stop, yet it never names the threat -men- and then requires us to RELY on that threat as a source of help. It requires us to resort to men as sensible beings who would stop being violent if told so, which causes the opposite of the aspired safety: renewed vulnerability to men’s violence. So it IS a mindfuck: we should see there’s a threat, but treat it as if it weren’t, then go back in harm’s way to try to plead with our rapists and murderers instead of getting AWAY from them. Resorting to men – policemen, lawmen, statesmen, whatevermen, to protect us from… men! It always leads to more abuse, not less. We are supposed to seek safety from abusers, and truth from lies. This is very deliberate, the very point is to prevent us from seeking safety where safety is, and from identifying men for what they are, so we never get away from men’s dominance.
Gaslighting is an abuse tactic of individual abusers against individual women. But all male abuse patterns work on the structural level, too. If we apply gaslighting to reformism – which men institute globally as a mode for liberation through state policies, daddy-funded NGOs, the UN, male-led activism etc – well that gives us, as Tracy mentioned, a campaign of gaslighting women at a global scale: therefore reformism is worldwide psychological abuse of women. The repetitive, circular nature of reformism, the erasure of the radfem alternative to reformism (liberation / separatism), the fact it’s always planned from within patriarchal institutions (or with their approval) and applied in ways that assault women, also defines it as brainwashing of women on a global scale: it’s the fabrication and implantation of a false reality into women’s minds on a mass scale – as with all other false feminisms.
This led me to the following insight: thinking about reformism as abuse by men on a collective level, it struck me that the cycles of abuse from relapse to outbursts of more explicit violence applied to the system too. Male abusers of women, especially husbands and boyfriends, never or rarely maintain a constant level of violence over time. There are ups and downs, there are phases, and these phases serve a purpose. After a certain time of ongoing overt violence, women inevitably begin to get a wake-up call. They reach a limit, I have to go now or I will die, I have nothing more to lose. This is a breaking point where the spell of fear or trauma-bonding is broken, where she has the potential to free herself. When men sense that this wake-up call is happening, that women are no longer responding with the usual terror and preparing to escape, they might increase with violent repression to put her back in line, OR they might shift tactic altogether and pretend to be nice for a while to revive her hopes that he will change, that he has finally stopped being violent. He may buy some flowers, say “romantic” things that he stopped saying a long time ago, say he’s sorry, allow her some leeway that he didn’t before, and keep a low profile for a little while.
The fact is that during this relapse phase he never really stops being violent, but the contrast is stark enough in comparison to the previous one to give the illusion to his victim that the violence has stopped, especially if she has been accustomed to much worse for a long time. This phase is crucial in that it enables the abuser to restructure his dominance over her, to reinstall her trauma-bonding and emotional dependence to him, her belief that he has changed for the better, to make sure she won’t escape again. He needs to regain his psychological hold over her. And once this control has been re-secured, he will then rise the bar of violence again progressively and insidiously enough that it won’t alarm her.
On a structural, global level, this is what reformism is about. It’s a phase of relapse between two phases of more overt violence and genocide of women. It’s men collectively pretending to have changed for the better by agreeing to superficial transformations of their system of domination – which contrast enough with the previous phase to give an illusion of a halt and freedom, even though the violence hasn’t stopped. It’s a crisis response to movements of liberation of women, to reinstall women’s collective trauma-bonding and emotional dependency to men. Indeed, it seems that women have never been so trauma-bonded to men collectively now than ever before we can remember.
If you look at the shifts more closely though, none of them pertain to an actual decrease of men’s violence against women – number of rapes, abuse by husbands, etc. The levels have probably never changed, and the power structures have remained completely unchanged too. What has changed is the number of token women in the patriarchal institution (Mary Daly calls this strategy “assimilationism”) and the number of women with token economic and civil rights (to have a bank account, to be salaried exploited, to vote, etc). Have these shifts freed women collectively from men? Nope, not in the slightest.
Historically, it fits, at least from a western-centric perspective, but as far as I can see, western treatment of women and genocide tactics in occupied territories mirrors and complements its own internal genocide of women. We have, from the 12th or 13th century up until the 19th century, a very long period of overt genocide of women by western men across the globe. It has never really stopped of course but at the time there was no illusion that male institutions and colonialists were and could be helpful to women. In Western countries, this wave of genocide was itself a reaction by the religious states to women fleeing men en masse and taking more and more importance in society to the extent that they threatened the monopoly of the states’ power. So what ensued was mass, organised slaughter of women to physically prevent them from gaining autonomy, and men’s global colonisation, resource pillage and genocide served to increase their institutional caste power over all women and reinforce the global rapeability of women with worldwide trafficking in women for prostitution.
What happened from the early 19th century onwards, is a vast and global movement of liberation and decolonisation of women from men in western and colonised countries alike, which continued in major ways until the end of the 20th century, and continues today too. But what has happened this time is that men caught women in the traps of assimilation to them and to their own anti-classist and anti-racist movements: into the trap of reforming men’s system. Men indeed shifted their institutions, their outside appearance and discourse to give the illusion of benevolence to women and shared interests in fighting ‘sexism’. Colonialists, capitalists, pornographers, pimps: they all sold their invasion, raping and killing of women as sexual liberation.
Time and again, woman liberationists in every place of the globe were lured back into male institutional control by being offered money and offices or positions by states and institutions such as the UN, European Union and their derivatives, in exchange of complying to male interventionism and control, and of focusing only on useless, exhausting legal change and tokenism, or ‘gender mainstreaming’ or whatever shit they invent. Women being sorely deprived of money and land, it wasn’t difficult to hurdle them back in with this carrot, or to use this as a way to divide and destroy the integrity of groups between those who refused to take the money and those who believed it would work despite the compromise to their autonomy. The irony today is that there are many woman-only so-called autonomous movements in western as well as non-western countries who’ve identified this male state / institutional takeover of feminism and refuse to have anything to do with them, but on the other hand are completely colonised by the male academic takeover of feminism with all this queer, postmodern, pro-trans and pro-prostitution bullshit. It really has been a takeover on all fronts.
Anyway, so what this presages, is that if we see reformism as an intermittent relapse phase, well that doesn’t look very good does it, it certainly means that there will be a progressive resurgence of overt violence soon. And I think it’s already happening really. It’s not my type to cast doom though, and the good news is that patriarchy fundamentally doesn’t change, so I really don’t think it’s cause for more alarm than usual. All times are good to free ourselves from men. We should do it now.