Archive for the 'Male reversals' Category

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.

 

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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).

 

Intersectionality, part IV: attractive vs. destructive forces, or what can we do

Our task as radical feminists is to undo, unlearn and un-peel the workings of men’s violence – including how men’s patterns are embedded in our psyche – and to reveal them to other women, so to spark our movement towards liberation. We are to revert the reversals, crack through the lies and myths, name the horrors, uncover the truths, dig out the treasures of our past and present being hidden beneath and between the depths of men’s dead grey layers.

As said in the second part, women’s class and status is defined by the class and status of our husband or father. If we leave our male lord, we’re nothing. However we might keep in appearance the traits and habits of those men. For instance white women bear the skin colour of their male oppressors and are assimilated to their male racist culture. As such, women reproduce and embody this male presence – as all women do with the male determinants they grew up with. Their cultural assimilation to white men is a forced-upon mask that men have fitted on women’s bodies and spirits, which does not belong to women. It covers who we really are and separates us from ourselves and from womenkind, deliberately so. Assimilated and tokenised in men’s clubs, non-feminist women afflicted by a sense of superiority towards other women are totaled and totally deluded. They have been whirred by the illusion of exceptionalism, blinded by male worship and frozen by the contempt directed against her sisters who supposedly haven’t ‘made it’.

We have to understand that cultural and social racism or insensitivity from part of women is integral to our colonisation by the men who occupy us. Racism, sexism, classism, any kind of condescension – all are one and tied to the same anti-woman package, they are inseparable. It’s male-identification.

‘Racist feminism’ or ‘classist feminism’ is an oxymoron, in other words. This means we cannot be feminist without wanting to exorcise all forms of male domination and subordination, without seeing them as interlinked and mutually supportive of women’s oppression. We discover empathy and searing rage for the plight of all our sisters and that in spite of differences, we are all subjected to variations of male rapism. We see patriarchy as universal. By identifying ourselves as women we identify to all women as women, embrace each other as our people and reject male blocking of our movement/convergence. When woman-identification fails us, it means we haven’t been fully touched by feminism, maybe we have reached some glimmers of truth such as perceiving some “unequal” treatment between men and women, but conserve our hope in men / ascension in male clubs and haven’t yet dissipated the fog obscuring the big picture.

When I look at intersectional articles, who are they directed against? Women, women, women, women, women, women and women. All of them. It is the primary distinguishing factor of intersectionality. But if women are so oppressive to us, what’s the point of being feminist, may I ask. Either we perceive men to be our oppressors and we’re feminist, or we hate these women who oppress us so much – and we’re misogynist. But we can’t have it both ways.

Women, girls and animals are the only beings we are given license to attack, because it reinforces men’s power. We are very easy targets and scapegoats, because we know deep down that women won’t have any means to fight back. We’d never dare to confront men in the same way since it would be too dangerous. By contrast it is possible to flatten or disintegrate our little self-esteem and sense of self in just a few words. It takes no effort to guilt-trip each other because we already feel guilty for merely taking up space. Woman-punishing is always credible and legitimate in patriarchal sado-society, in fact it’s the only thing men allow us to do.

Targeting women also gives a false sense of power and of activating against our perceived powerlessness. Sonia Johnson said that we get highs from it. Ultimately, doing so is the response of the colonised, we’re still colonised by men’s reversals and woman-hatred because we got the enemy completely wrong. Radical action is to stop blaming women.

I really understand the maddening anger of consistently going through an oppressive situation that some other women are (more) exempt from, and this problem being ignored by them. Even after being told, they refuse to understand or act upon it. It feels like being choked, slammed in the face, stabbed in the heart. Feeling pain and anger is normal because it’s disgustingly unfair. I wish we all had enough money, housing and access to certain resources and that everything would be justly distributed. But men don’t let that happen for a reason – which is why freeing ourselves from men should always be our utmost priority.

If some women have escaped some worst forms of drudgery or torture, well good for them. They’ve been lucky. But wounding or resenting these women won’t make our wounds feel any better. Whether the woman’s ‘fault’ is simply to have it less worse or to actively participate in anti-woman practices – shouting at, blaming and fighting against such women will not change anything to alleviate/eliminate the oppressive setting that causes our pain.

I like these insightful and humorous quotes from Flo Kennedy:

We don’t say a word when Madison Avenue makes millions off us, but we get all resentful and suspicious when somebody in the Movement gets attention or makes a dime. That’s Nigger Nobility. If you have to lose to prove you’re a good person, we won’t get anywhere.

Divide and conquer–that’s what they try to do to any group trying to make social change. I call it D&C. Black people are supposed to turn against Puerto Ricans. Women are supposed to turn against their mothers and mothers-in-law. We’re all supposed to compete with each other for the favors of the ruling class.

In the name of elitism, we do a crabs-in-a-barrel number, and pull down any of our number who get public attention or a small success. As long as we’re into piranha-ism and horizontal hostility, honey, we ain’t going to get nowhere.

Guilt-tripping is wrong because there’s no guilt to be had for being colonised by men or for the atrocities committed by men. As explained in previous parts, it is unfounded since we aren’t responsible for patriarchy. Guilt is corrosive and counter-liberation, and the climate of fear caused by guilt-tripping tactics paralyses women and increases barriers and misunderstanding instead of enhancing connectedness/ deepening insight. Whatever the reason, it is uselessly abusive to punish women for having been groomed into participating into her/our own demise and annihilation. Doing so is reinforcing the cycle of abuse against women instead of helping each other getting out of it. As Adriene Sere says in her article “In Remembrance of Mary Daly- Lessons for the Movement:

The accusation of racism needs to be treated carefully, rather than thrown at people like sticks of dynamite. … The dynamite-throwers, when they are tolerated, or even treated as “leaders” on the issue, manage to generate a climate of fear and disparagement that crushes female-identified empowerment – just as racism itself does. Such a climate also inhibits honest connections between women, allows a sexist disdain to be directed toward women who aren’t oppressed by class or race, and legitimizes a finger-pointing that might coercively yield results but is not necessary to making real and deep change.

In short, the mechanisms of intersectionality are strikingly similar to trans-phonery: setting up women as straw oppressors (especially feminists); putting women in harm’s way as outlets for other women’s (and men’s) anger; use of punishing, silencing and public shaming tactics; requirement to ritualistically confess your guilt before you speak (something pointed out by Janice Raymond in A Passion for Friends).

More fruitful than guilt or punishment in the face of male-identification is to see that we all have the forever-going responsibility to stop and disengage from harmful and necrophilic practices against women and the elements. Each woman has the duty to continually seek to exorcise the maleness and males from her life, whichever male religion, ethnicity, class, group or nation we’re bound to. We are to disrespect all the father-founders, no group is exempt from patriarchal rule.

And if a woman can’t change a destructive behaviour after being told, it’s because this disengagement from patriarchal influence isn’t psychically available to her at present time and the best option I think is to protect ourselves and withdraw from such women if we haven’t found a safe way to engage. Just leave them and do your own thing, craft with the women with whom you can craft and maybe get back in touch when time is rife.

I’ve learned that enforcing change on a woman who is destructive to the ‘movement’ and shows no willingness to change or isn’t ready, is a mistake. It will require using ourselves some amount of coercion or violence which not only is unethical but will fuel more destruction, as she will respond to it by fighting back more and increase her defences against what we’re trying to say. Instead of stopping the destruction it generates more of it – as a friend said to me, this is like reformism. Withdrawing doesn’t mean we’re ok with the harm but it’s simply a choice of focus. We can’t allow ourselves (and I certainly can’t allow myself) to be constantly distracted by and drawn into negativity or the men in women’s heads. Our focus should be on attraction and convergence of those currently willing to make the leap, not running after those who presently can’t – we can trust that they will find their own path at a different time or in a different life. There are three billion women on earth, it’s ridiculous to think that this one woman or small group of women are going to stop us from bonding with women all around, or that these women are our only hope or way of doing feminism. If we look around, there are always women to be met and with whom to spark new paths of liberation. Women are everywhere.

So this is what I mean in my title by attractive force vs. destructive force, which is a concept I drew from Mary Daly in Outercourse. As Mary Daly says, radical feminism should do good, it should be fun, ecstatic, spiraling, lead to new dimensions and deep change, undo the blocks and unleash our splintered selves. What inspires to move is to experience women’s courage to be/to sin. Radical feminism touches women by attraction, not by conflict with women. Conflicts mostly teach us that we need to get away from them, they are repellant. In Outercourse (p.159) she quotes the following passage of hers in Beyond God the Father:

The power of sisterhood is not war-power. There have been and will be conflicts, but the Final Cause causes not by conflict but by attraction. Not by the attraction of a Magnet that is All There, but by the creative drawing power of the Good Who is self-communicating Be-ing. Who is the Verb from whom, in whom, and with whom all true movements move.

Radical feminist movement is indeed self-communicating, I think this is a very important insight. Freeing ourselves will automatically spark women around us to awakening, it happens mechanically and naturally. Feminism can never be completely experienced and understood in conditions of enforcement, punishment or guilt, the effect will be reverse, of repelling and undermining. Enforcement is antinomic to radical feminism. To paraphrase again Mary Daly, the process itself of Seeing and Naming connections and of being present to ourselves and each other is what generates more awakening, kindles more female fire/gynergy, heat and light. This spinning makes possible new leaps, increases the momentum of our movement. (Outercourse, p.198).

This process is true for every form of male sadism. Since all forms of domination such as racism, classism, urban vs. rural domination, adult vs. child, human vs. animal, etc. stem from the same male-rapist root, our attitude to all of them should be the same – in short, only a radical feminist attitude towards male domination can be liberating. It is what we already do: raise awareness, name the workings, lies and reversals of patriarchy and reveal our reality as women in this or that form of patriarchal oppression. Explain how men benefit from this practice and how it’s at the expense of all women. How it deceives and traps women in its net. How it reinforces and is linked to male rapism. Seek to meet, make friends with and listen to as many women across male classes, borders and race, and talk about our respective experiences and lives.

Women will relate to that, it will expand our consciousness, deepen our understanding of how men oppress us. It will give each other the power to see which will spark our ethical rage and rage to be free.

 

Intersectionality, continued: part III, reintroducing the start

I realise that my first part deserved a more in-depth clarification on my perspective on racism and classism beyond the definitions I provided in the first and second posts, lest it gave the impression that I consider racism and classism to be of secondary importance or that it doesn’t really exist compared to sexism, or something… Even if I haven’t said or implied any of these, I have no doubts that such claims might be used against me. Besides, there is always more to say about intersectionality, and as I said in my first post, getting lost in sub-sections was my regular fate whenever I attempted to tackle the subject. Consider this third post to be a reintroduction to the first.

I would like to stress that anti-racism, anti-classism and creating deep bonds with women beyond men’s wounding separations is fundamental in our flight and exorcism from male violence. However since racism and sexism necessarily target women in sexist ways, and that men are the common denominator for all forms of oppression, our anti-racist analysis needs to be precise, focused and above all, feminist. Female anti-racism/classism should always be a potential for deep re-connection with women and for connecting the dots.

Intersectionality is none of these: it’s obscuring, putrescent, leads us astray in a whirl of false directions and bottomless list of oppression-identities, and is poisonous to the women’s movement. It pulls us away from feminism, back into men’s hands, and it’s intentional. I obviously don’t have all the answers as to what we can do to replace intersectionality, and differences between women and class dynamics vary a lot from place to place. I find it all very complex to think about. But I definitely know what doesn’t work, and I know a few things that do work, which I will talk about later.

It is very unfortunate that most anti-racist analyses available in the mainstream or even in more radical spheres are insufferably liberal, individualist and male-centred. Intersectionality is academic, post-modern and Western at its core, very narrowly focused on day-to-day racist situations faced by female university students, women in academia or journalism, and always, always inclusive of men, putting men and women at the same level and assuming men and women benefit in similar ways from whiteness or economic wealth.

It is also insufferably US-centric, being originated in the US or North-America it is primarily a liberal criticism of certain forms of US-based racism, yet this perspective is uncritically propagated and applied in other continents with disastrous effects. For instance it is sadly ironic that feminist groups from non-western regions ardently positioned against white colonialism are colonised by this western, academic pseudo anti-racist theory, where you hear them quoting Audre Lorde in one sentence, and in the next, defending trans and sex-work inclusion and cursing “white feminists”, all in the name of intersectional theory – having themselves learnt this at university and not questioning its philosophical origins: white men, North America, the emperors of the emperors.

I know that some academic women from Canada, Ottawa University I think it was, have claimed the maternity of intersectional theory in the 90s (forgive me if I’ve forgotten their names, though last time I checked it was written on dickipedia), however their theory is not devoid of social context and their influences are very easily traced to post-modernism and lefty liberalism, both of which were the dominant ideologies of that period which had taken over women’s studies and social science departments as a form of backlash against the more radical years of the 70s. A quick look at the curricula in “gender” studies of some major Canadian universities suffices to show that it has completely souled-out to male shite.

On the male lefty strand, intersectionality stems from a very old male habit in (western) civil rights movements of punishing women with slurs of “classism” and “racism” for stepping away from their male peers, for denouncing the sexism of the movement and deciding to focus solely on women. Needless to say that it was very effective in disrupting the second wave of feminists, and no doubt must have been based on some truth, such as snobbery from part of some women, but as far as calling out all white feminists for being actively racist, hm. As far as I know, all of the prominent white radicalfeminist figures of the second wave weren’t racist (forget the liberal faux-feminist ones or women such as Lily Allen and Madonna, who have never represented feminism more that Disneyland has represented true adventure – ok the comparison is flimsy but you get the idea). Ethnocentric, (from their white-western perspective) certainly, but this is different from being racist or classist, as in deliberately ignoring race or class issues or deriding or putting down multiple-oppressed women.

The male-lefty dynamic of targeting white or bourgeois women is very similar to current male animal-liberationists who paint the white, bourgeois woman as the ultimate enemy to be publicly pinned down as traitor to the cause for supposedly wearing animal fur (most middle class women totally wear animal fur!!) and use this as a pretext for the most vile forms of woman-hatred in their campaigns. Yet it is a complete reversal since those who are responsible for such industries and economically benefit from the abominable treatment of animals are men, just as those who design those horrible fur scarves in the first place and decorate women with them like dead dolls: women have no decision-power whatsoever in men’s genocide of animals.

Intersectionality being a branch of post-modernism, it is closely linked to queer theory and as such, both have proved to be deadly weapons of reinforcing male surveilling presence in women’s movements, in the name of anti-discrimination. Notably by persuading women that we could oppress men on the basis of their “trans”sex (cis-shit, etc.). So much has been said on tranny and queer bullshit that I have no insight to add on this matter. You can check Sheila Jeffreys, Janice Raymond, Gallus Mag, Davina Squirrell and many more writers for further information.

Most of the solutions suggested by intersectional proponents are liberal, that is focused on token inclusion of class/race-oppressed women in male grounds, and as means of social change, requiring of white feminists useless individualistic navel-gazing and self-flagelatory behaviours such “privilege-checking”, with little or no mention of the wider structures, as if “internalised stereotypes” were the primary enemy in racism / classism (remember: it’s men).

This logic of tokenism may go as far as complaining about the lack of adequate representation of black women in pornography, advertisement or male media. The implication being that women in general would benefit from sexist dehumanisation, torture and rape once the racist element has been retrieved, and it implies also that white women are class-privileged for being over-represented in sexist imagery. This twisted logic thus promotes the equal dehumanisation and sexual torture of all women in the name of anti-racism. Such ill-logical woman-hatred is the logical consequence of adopting men’s perspective on racism, that is anti-racism without the centralising feminist focus on men’s specific sexual and reproductive harms against women. It leads to complete dissociation from our condition as women and causes us to treat men’s sexual and reproductive violence against women as inexistent non-problems – which is what they are from men’s perspective. See how it works? Adopting a male perspective on anything is necessarily detrimental to all women.

Male media is indeed horribly racist on top of being sexist and it is undeniable that the degree of erasure and violence against women increases along race and class lines, but intersectional theory misses the point that both women of colour as well as white women’s presence are erased in men’s foreground world – that the foreground appearance of white-woman-centredness is an illusion, since misogyny erases and excludes all women.

Not to belittle the harms of racist biases, snide comments and subtle digs, humiliations, exclusion and insults which permeate the wider western racist culture which are absolutely undermining and corrosive to the soul – but by focusing only on this aspect, it’s much easier to lose sight of the primary racist mechanisms which operate on institutional levels: state and institution-enforced acts of violence and control by the men in chargea systematic violence which is completely beyond women’s reach. This can be state decisions that grant secondary status to immigrants and excludes them from certain rights, restricts their movements, opportunities and liberty, persecution of immigrants, second or third-generation migrants or native people by the state and state officials, systematic geographic and economic ghettoing, and on a wider level, continued imperialism, colonialism, military occupation and invasions of global South countries by Western countries, which continually regenerates masses of expropriated, enslaveable, pliable, exploitable, rapeable peoples.

Once we see racist oppression in the big picture, it’s very easy to see how futile privilege-checking of some white feminists is to prevent this. However what privilege-checking is extremely efficient for is stifling women in paralysing guilt, thereby blocking our lucid understanding of both racism and sexism, and for crumbling down collective after collective. It works to undermine our liberation.

Intersectionality treats racism/classism as distinct from patriarchy, as if men weren’t the string holders of it all.

Moreover, by focusing only on the cultural and stereotype aspect of racism, it is far easier to see white women as the primary enemy and vehicle of racism, and to forget how it is the racist patriarchal institutions, the men on the top, who put certain women down and against other women for patriarchal reasons, and how this increases all men’s power over women as a result. This is made clear when we look at prostitution and pornography: not only women don’t benefit from the raping of multiple-oppressed women but widespread pornography and prostitution affects all women, even if in different degrees.

After all, men are the ones using women as vessels for racial reproduction – either for containment or expansion reasons – who are obsessed with the genetic “purity” of their offspring.

 

Cutting through the throes of intersectionality: part I

This is one subject that I have been intending to write about for several years and have written a few drafts here and there, scattered around my notepads. The subject is so vast that every time I started writing I simply got lost in a maze of sub-sections, which is why I let it lag behind. But now I’m quite happy to give it another go.

Historically, intersectionality has come from men, in the 80s and 90s, with the purpose of persuading women that they could be oppressed by us too, that women were also oppressors of men and that the oppressed could all oppress each other. It’s an antifeminist mix between liberal male academentia and lefty male activism and forms a deadly weapon designed to undermine bonding of women against men.

In this oppression festival where everyone is considered both oppressed and oppressor, the definition of oppression is of course emptied of all meaning and this is exactly the intent of intersectionality: to erase and divert our eyes from the primary truth and fact that men are the only oppression-organisers of this human world, and that rape and impregnation of women is the fabric and central organising mechanism of men’s system of domination.

All forms of domination stem from and serve this purpose of maintaining men’s sexual access to women, globally: it is the first and final cause. There is no system separate from patriarchy because men are the sole rulers everywhere on the planet, and their tyranny is always and inherently sex-based, based on their sexual domination over women. Power-over is phallic and male, and men treat subordination as female and receptacle-shaped. Men’s dom/sub relationships and interaction with the world follow this male/penetrating vs. female/penetrated syntax, either literally or subliminally/symbolically. Being male, holding the rape-weapon between their legs, is what grants status in patriarchy, power to oppress and the privilege of being considered a subject. That is because at the very basic level, their oppressive power is both achieved and maintained with the use of their penis-weapon, through the raping, impregnation, capture and domestication of women globally. This is fundamentally why women will never share men’s power, but this is off-topic so I will discuss it more another time.

Intersectionality is liberal because it focuses on the particular, on individual agency and on individual perception of one’s condition at the expense of structural analysis and the reality of men’s oppressive structures. This is one major reason why it’s incompatible with radical feminism because our analysis is based on a structural, macroscopic perspective: we look at the structure of male oppression, at how all women, based on their sex, are held captive in a giant patriarchal cage.

So this is what I’m going to do here, I’m first going to look at the structure of men’s system in order to explain how intersectional analysis doesn’t fit the big picture.

Lie number #1: Women may oppress men.

(ie white women may oppress men of colour, etc.)

This configuration is not possible, as all men are oppressors to all women. If A oppresses B; B can’t in turn oppress A – otherwise B wouldn’t be oppressed by A. Oppression, as an institutionalised and organised form of domination by one group over another, isn’t revertible in any way. It’s by definition one-sided and unilateral, at the benefit of the oppressor group and detrimental to the oppressed. Men can’t be oppressed on the basis of sex and therefore can’t be oppressed by the sex class they themselves oppress, even on a racist or classist basis. For women to be able to oppress men in any way, men would have to no longer be our oppressors, but this is not true in patriarchy. Oppression can only go downwards in the hierarchy, that is, A oppresses B and B might oppress a third group beneath them, C. Although only men can be both oppressed and oppressors. Women are never oppressors because women as a group have no control-power whatsoever on whomsoever in male society. We only have token power-over. Which leads to the point #2.

Lie number #2: Some women can oppress other women when it comes to racism and classism or other isms

Sub-title: on the structure and function of difference in status between women, part I.

For the same reasons that women can’t oppress men, women can’t oppress women either. First because women lack the primary weapon of female oppression which is the penis, second because, as said above, women as a group have no autonomous apparatus of power with which to enforce any kind of oppressive system. Women’s status will always be a token one in patriarchy and the token’s only power will never exceed that of a subordinate executing the dirty work of the masters, policing women and undermining the spirit, solidarity and liberation potential of her own kind. Their condition is similar to that of a Kapo in the Nazi concentration camps, except that for women there is no outside world where there are no nazis, to which we can escape.

If some women may be exempt of certain kinds of limitations or violence, or may be individually assigned to dominate other women, this does not make them oppressors. To look at who the oppressors are, you have to step back and look at who is holding the reigns of the system of domination and who benefits from women dominating each other and from all forms of domination in general. It is evidently men. It is not difficult to see that men rule every aspect of this society and that women are excluded from any meaningful decision-making role. Second, it logically follows that the oppression planners are those who benefit from their own system of domination – that is, men. The benefits are intended and men’s oppressive system indeed increases their power over women in order to use them as reproductive hosts.

By contrast, women’s status in patriarchy never exceeds that of being owned or controlled by a privileged man (or its institutional representative). The reduced limitations or minor advantages certain positions might confer don’t benefit women to the extent that in and of itself, it doesn’t give the power to be free from the male owners (husband, father-state, religious institution or any form of male impersonation), nor does it protect us from men’s sexual/sexist violence. Men still conserve their right of ownership and sexual access to the token or assimilated women, it’s the whole point of the deal. It won’t protect her from sexual harassment, psychological conditioning, abuse by her husband, forced impregnation or domestic slavery. Exposure to men’s violence and tight control of our movement or thoughts is the very purpose of being granted pseudo-status in fatherland – it keeps us close to the masters. And the higher up we go in male hierarchy, the stronger their control will be, and the more dissociated and anti-woman we will have to act in order to survive in their midst, which of course is at our expense. If we chose to withdraw from men and men’s violence our pseudo-advantages or statuses would be greatly reduced or taken away. However only by withdrawing from men can we be free.

By submitting to the framework and rules men have dictated, assimilated women or token torturers work against the liberation of her own kind and therefore against their own liberation too – both are inseparable. Her escape from the fate of women is an illusion. Tokenism and assimilation to male institutions are not only useless but a crucial and deliberate strategy of men’s domination.

The analogy can be made between women’s situation and animal husbandry, even though it has its limitations. With domesticated animals, there are differences in degrees of violence inflicted to the animals according to whether they are farm animals, industry and battery farm animals, and domestic pets. According to animal-rights activists, farm animals are by far the most badly treated, especially pigs, but also other animals. Second in line are better-treated farm animals who live outside and are well fed but still destined to be killed and eaten eventually, closely followed by domestic pets, who are more likely to receive better treatment overall, even if most are punished and beaten too. With a stretch of imagination, we could imagine that the domestic pets have been groomed to believe in the superiority of their condition and show contempt or discriminate against their more unfortunate peers, as a way to show allegiance to their masters.

An intersectionalist would say that the domestic pets oppress the farm and industry-bred animals and are privileged traitors. But it’s perfectly clear here that none of the animals have any power to oppress any of their peers because they are all isolated from one another, and all are owned by their masters: they all share the same condition, only some have escaped the worst forms of torture. The only oppressors here are the human masters.

This logic equally applies to women’s  situation. But as opposed to animals, there aren’t vast numbers of undomesticated and uncaptured women living in the wild. All women are domesticated by men and most individually or collectively owned, and subjected to varying degrees of torture according to which male group, individual or institution they belong to.

I made another drawing!

male class system2

This is a very simplified diagram of men’s sex class / oppression system.

You can see that women’s status is aligned to those of the men they are controlled or owned by, which means that the woman who belongs to the man of class 1 will only set her slightly ahead of women from lower male classes, and so on, but it doesn’t put her in the male oppressor camp since she is still owned by a man / men. All women share the same condition albeit in different degrees. As you can see, the women are isolated from each other because they are shut in men’s homes, and are also divided by men’s class strates, but men aren’t – not on a sex class perspective: all men get to fulfill their sex-based right to possess (rape, marry, etc) a woman.

That’s it for now, the next part will continue my thoughts on the structure of hierarchies between women in patriarchy.

 

Men’s theft is more literal than we think.

We often underestimate that many women do in fact have some amount of resources of our own. Even though we may be ourselves privately owned by a man, father or pimp and most of our work and production are stolen by men, whether with forced domestic and child raising work in the home, by slaving for husbands or other males of the family to sustain their businesses, the constant extra burdens of unpaid chores required from women in paid jobs or when men steal and exploit the products of our intelligence, findings, inventions, genius and creativity at work – many of us still manage to earn something of our own, even if it may be minimal: we may have some income, and if we’re lucky enough, we may have just enough money to be able to pay a small rent and food for ourselves, or we have some property, furniture of our own, a flat, house, land, or we may have inherited of a bit of money from our grandparents, or have some daddy government benefits, etc. It might be barely just enough to live, or maybe not enough to live with but with a few arrangements over time can eventually made to be bearable. That is, we could potentially find ways to survive on our own, if our captor didn’t kill us after leaving him.

So despite women being the poorest and most destitute, pillaged people of the entire world (obviously, since men’s system of oppression is only directed against women), we are often not completely without any resources at all.

What I realised recently, is how misleading the male-centred view on labour exploitation is on explaining women’s primary source of impoverishment. Women’s first and foremost source of excruciating impoverishment is not, as reformists say, the 20 or 30% pay gap, the “double work shift” of paid job plus unpaid domestic work, the “glass ceiling” (man-ceiling) preventing women from accessing better-paid positions, etc. At best this perspective doesn’t explain anything and is dead circular logic. It takes a peripheral fact disconnected from its context by presenting a microscopic symptom of men’s accumulation of wealth (based on rape, theft and destruction) as a cause as well as consequence. Which is like saying the explosion is what caused the house to explode. The tautology is even worse than that actually, a more apt example would be: the presence of flying debris caused by the explosion is what caused the house to explode and this is at the same time a consequence and symptom of the explosion. Get that level of mindfuck and omission of agent? (where’s the terrorist who put the bomb in the house?)

Even if we adopt the more radical view that men’s global accumulation and monopoly of wealth is primarily achieved from trading women for rape and forced reproduction, and from pillage, genocide and destruction of the elements (one of men’s most lucrative businesses are prostitution, pornography, general trafficking/trade of women for rape and marriage, and derivative “cosmetic” businesses capitalising on the systemic torture and crippling of women), well that still doesn’t completely explain women’s excruciating poverty compared to men in places where women can work and have minimal income. Even these horrors alone aren’t enough to completely quash and disable all owned women economically, whatever their economic status.

That’s because the central cause of women’s impoverishment isn’t impersonal and institutional, but comes from men individually stealing from women in their individual homes. The owner, husband, master, stealing from the woman’s own pocket. I only realised how literal it was quite recently. This is the primary pattern of women’s crippling poverty. It became clear to me after hearing story after story of women being ransacked to the bone by their own husbands or boyfriends, it was typical of every abuse story I’ve heard of – these men systematically stealing their salary, signing credits, debts or mortgages in the woman’s name, binding women in suicidal financial situations or reckless business plans, stealing women’s property, flats or houses by signing it in their (the man’s) name, taking siege of the woman’s flat or house and refusing to move out, spending women’s income on drugs, cars, expensive restaurants, gambling, prostitution or whatever their pet fetish is, controlling access to their bank account, or systematically sabotaging their access to work, income or property in any form, by moving her far away from her work, wrecking her chances to find employment in any way possible, sabotaging her relationship with her employer, or finding ways to cut her benefits for childcare, preventing her from using the money she has for herself, etc, etc. The list is endless.

And what is peculiar about this theft is that men will do it regardless of their own status, income or actual financial needs, regardless of the woman’s status or income – they will steal her money or any potential to make money of her own, leaving her with barely enough to feed herself and the children and to pay for her daily necessities, and very often with not enough to feed herself and the children. The man can be rich and the woman earning a minimum wage, the woman may be earning a good salary and the man unemployed and without any resources of his own, or both having similar income – I have seen every possible combination, nothing stops them.

This is what “Domestic violence” training programs would call “economic violence” (yes lots of quotes here). What they mean euphemistically by “economic violence” is control of the woman’s resources by the “abuser”. This is actually inaccurate because they don’t just control her resources, they literally take it away from her. We call this theft, plain and simple. It’s the systematic pillaging of woman’s personal resources, and her complete financial crippling. The element of control is added to the theft when he demands his victim to justify her slightest spending and has to provide receipts to him for everything she buys. Well, that reminds me of something doesn’t it, isn’t that what the father state requires of women’s organisations, to justify every penny spent on the pocket money he gave them?

This sheds further light on the complete reversal and lie which is the idea that men maintain women financially so that women have to depend economically on them, explaining why they don’t leave. Well, the reality is worse, and men are far more parasitic than I even thought. The reality is that most women are most poor when living with a man, regardless of how rich or poor he may be, or regardless how rich or poor she was before she met him – he will rob her. I’ll always remember the example of Virginia Woolf who was well-off thanks to the success of her writing, yet her husband made her poor by taking away all her money: “By April 1938, the year she published Three Guineas, she was existing only on the pocket money Leonard allowed her– out of her own earnings.” (Cherryblossomlife, “The Life and Death of Virginia Woolf”)

Women can survive economically without men, and most would actually fare better without men from an economic point of view, contrary to what reformist stats say: stats generally state that after a separation or divorce, men’s net income increases, while women’s net income decreases: what it fails to look at is in who’s hands were the resources of the woman during marriage. Despite all the horrors committed to women at work, the fact women are globally impoverished by men in every way, the underpayment, the theft of our labour and creativity, the fact we have to raise kids in terrible conditions with no help at all (etc.), well despite all this, women are far better off economically on their own than with a man, because they avoid the worst kind of theft – of being financially drained by her own husband. Men don’t marry women to support us economically, they marry women to suck the life out of us, to own us, rape and forcibly impregnate us, and this requires plundering everything and anything we may have for ourselves – even our souls.

The reason why the reformist perspective is so misleading, above being a mindfuck, is that whenever we look at men’s oppression of women in male-centred terms, that is in terms of collective exploitation, slavery or institutional oppression, we miss the centre of men’s oppression of women which is the oppression and ownership of one individual man on one individual woman, whether by a husband, father or pimp. It is essentially a one-to-one oppression, of one man against one woman, and the wider institutions are only there to aggressively uphold this one-to-one appropriation. The reason it is configured this way is of course because this is how each man gets to control reproduction and force reproduction on women – in order to have this reproductive control, it is biologically necessary for men to keep raping a woman over time. And to prevent her from escaping she has to be locked in his home, deprived of any autonomy. This is what marriage is all about.

When we see it in these terms, it becomes obvious that the primary source of all women’s horrendous misery and poverty comes from being owned by a man and not from remote, impersonal pay gaps or lack of political representation. Women will always be safer by staying away from the men closest to us; always.

What this led me to think about is what it meant for women to free ourselves individually from each of our own primary oppressor (husband, father, boyfriend, pimp). That is, if we survived the hardest part, which is getting away from him without being maimed or killed by him in retaliation and managed to disappear from his reach after our flight, then I think the hardest part of liberation has been overcome. The rest is decolonising progressively from embedded maleness, and surviving in a hostile, male-driven, genocidal world. Surviving on our own in a male economy and confronting our pain and wounds might be harsh and even excruciating but it’s nothing in comparison to living under the constant reign of terror of a husband, father or pimp. It’s nothing in comparison to being imprisoned by our torturer 24/7. The biggest threat that we face in our lives is of being owned by a man or pimp, and being raped and killed by him or any male occupants. If we manage to escape this fate, anything else is violence of a lesser degree. It left me wondering what would really happen if all women started to leave men at the same time. What would men do? Would they start an open war against all women? Or would they target individually each woman that left them? Would everything collapse? Is the leap easier than we think it is, given that many women are persuaded that they’re better off with men despite all evidence of the contrary?

Intellectually dishonest?

It’s quite by chance that I stumbled upon Elizabeth Hungerford’s latest post, and had to read it a second time before I understood that it was a hidden critique of my and other women’s posts on essentialism and PIV as rape (Anntagonist, FCM, TYP…) – it was so indirect that I totally missed the point of the post at my first reading:

The gist is that you can only be a Real Radical Feminist if you agree with the specific ideas currently in vogue. For example, male essentialism is very popular among women identifying as “radical feminists” on the internet. That’s fine, but it is intellectually dishonest to present this as The One True Radical Feminist Way. Andrea Dworkin wrote a scathing critique of biological superiority in feminist thought.^4 If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend taking the time to do so. Even her preamble is interesting. But presenting certain conclusions as foregone– such as the biological inevitability of male dominance, or that all heterosexual sex is rape– when these ideas were not universally accepted in the first place is historical revisionism. And nobody likes that except The Man.

(Italics mine).

I usually ignore the vacuous, passive-aggressive criticisms from other women because they’re boring and replying to them is even more so, but I think this time is a good opportunity to address them and break down what’s happening and what it means politically when they say that. I know how easy it is to be convinced by it through intimidation even though the arguments have no substance whatsoever. So I think it’s worth recalling basic principles of rational discussion and assess those criticisms in this light. Just so you know, this isn’t about EH specifically and I don’t want it to be understood that way, it’s about a wider patriarchal mechanism against radical feminism.

E.H. claims male essentialism is very popular in internet radical feminism. I find it weird to frame radfem thought in terms of ‘popularity’ because radical feminism isn’t about advertising and making things nice and palatable to the masses. To me the purpose of radical feminism has always been a rigorous and honest research for truth about men’s system of domination, where the insights we gain through discussion inform our actions and reshape and transform our lives, shape the way we free ourselves from men’s dominance. This is very important because it might be life-saving or fatal. It’s not an abstract intellectual pissing contest; it’s thought that emerges from the real horror of what men do to us, grounded on the real emergent need to escape men for our survival, and grounded on millennia of universal and timeless EVIDENCE of who men prove to be. The truth isn’t nice. The only reason we take the insane risk to publish those thoughts on a blog isn’t to gain popularity but in the hope that our insights may be shared with other women, as a way to transmit our knowledge and research for the sake of women’s liberation.

Agreed, the view has gained a bit of momentum in the last year or so, but if we talk of popularity in terms of numbers, it isn’t difficult to see that the vast majority of women in the radical feminist community, especially those who have written and influenced current feminism, are not male-essentialist. As bloggers and regular commenters, including those who left, we’re just a handful, probably around 8-9 women, and the only published essentialist writers I know of are Mary Daly and Sonia Johnson. That’s two. Sonia Johnson, who in order to have her work published uncensored, self-publishes, and Mary Daly, whose immense philosophical work is often discounted as merely spiritual, and her essentialism is rarely if ever discussed seriously in radfem work. By contrast, the number of non-essentialist, genderist bloggers is around 30 (probably more), and published writers, around 50-60 (that I know of).

So we have on one side, the genderists who comprise of the vast majority of published writers and bloggers under the name of radical feminism, and on the other hand, a handful of women writing on male-essentialism and PIV as rape. Now when a group is numerically much smaller, and isn’t recognised as representing radical feminism as a whole, you call this a MINORITY. We are a minority, that’s a fact.

So what has happened in the last year or so is that some women such as FCM, me, Cherry and TYP have carefully outlined arguments, based on evidence, observation and reason, leading to the conclusion that men are inherently violent, that PIV is inherently harmful and PIV is rape. And have pointed out the various contradictions, false equivalences and problems in genderist thinking and politics. To this, E.H. says:

It is intellectually dishonest to present this as The One True Radical Feminist Way. … presenting certain conclusions as foregone– such as the biological inevitability of male dominance, or that all heterosexual sex is rape– when these ideas were not universally accepted in the first place is historical revisionism.

Her first criticism is that we don’t accept the genderist view as true: well that’s true, I do hold the view that genderism is an inaccurate, misguided and even endangering perspective of male violence, and there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s correct. Critical thinking is perfectly reasonable, and is part of what research and learning is about: you understand where something went wrong in order to improve on it, to take it further and not repeat the same mistakes, remember this is in a situation where we are trying to save our lives from men’s violence.

The next bit is lies. Our conclusions aren’t foregone at all since we formed them with serious consideration of evidence and arguments. And I don’t see the problem with an idea that’s not universally accepted, why that makes it wrong and how that links to historical revisionism. What the hell! Nobody’s denying the historical presence of genderists and their prominence in the radfem movement. In fact to criticise genderism we have to acknowledge its existence. And yes, if we define radical feminism as dedicated to the truth about the roots of our oppression, well that does entail excluding certain positions or definitions from radical feminism if they prove to inaccurately explain the root of our oppression. Why not? What’s wrong with that, again?

I expect women, when criticising my work, to measure up to very basic standards of rational discussion and reading comprehension. If you say my conclusions (ie that all PIV is rape) are wrong, you need to demonstrate it, explain why I’m wrong and where, otherwise your criticism isn’t valid. You need to show for instance how the conclusions don’t follow from the arguments, that the evidence used is incorrect, the global worldview (ontology) is unsound, something doesn’t make sense or the pieces don’t connect together and fit, on a logical/rational or even intuitive level. And I always appreciate good criticism. If I’m told I’m wrong, and that criticism makes sense, well I’m going to accept that and move on, or take that seriously and review my work to verify that.

E.H.’s criticisms and many others in the same vein aren’t valid. They fail basic reading comprehension, never address or discuss the content of my work, let alone demonstrate why it’s wrong. In fact EH never even says my conclusions are wrong, she’s not really concerned about the truth or falseness of my (and other women’s) work. Her real problem seems to be with these conclusions being published and gaining minor credibility amongst a tiny group of women.

So when that takes the form of lies and false statements about what we say (foregone conclusion, historical revisionism, erasing feminists, intellectual dishonestly) we call that slandering. It’s intimidation and reprisal.  Interestingly, all the accusations can be reverted to her own post. Her statements are foregone conclusions and intellectually dishonest since based on no evidence or demonstration whatsoever; slandering has the effect and intent of silencing essentialist feminists; she effectively erases essentialist feminism by failing to mention the content of work and the writers even in name.

This is not new, and has recent historical precedence of which FCM has discussed at length on her own blog. It’s a classical antifeminist response, and you know it’s antifeminist precisely because it’s full of slander, mindfucks, reversals and gaslighting, which are male anti-woman tactics / patterns. Antifeminism occurs when women are colonised, act as token thought police on behalf of men. The very nature of colonisation (type two colonisation) means that such women will have to shut down and prevent any discussion, event, or whatever because they perceive it as a threat to themselves: it’s a survival mechanism, which works as continued self sabotage.

What’s happening here, is women from a male-embedded group – reformists, liberals and genderists, a number of whom are given token status by a some males and male institutions for holding and publishing these views – attempting to quash women from a minority group – essentialists, who certainly aren’t given token rewards by men for publishing these views: and women know this, that there’s a threat, a loss of token status, a loss of hope that men will change, something to lose, at least in appearance. They see what men do to the women who say such things. The rift is thus between those women more colonised by male ideologies such as reformism and genderism, and those who see through the traps of reformism and tokenism and name them for what they are.

In retrospect to the 85,000, reformism and other things

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.

intercourse and manufactured female pleasure: politics of love part III

My previous post of the series was about how emotional/sexual attachment to men (‘heterosexuality’) exists only within the context of OPPRESSION, GENOCIDE or globally organised violence against women by men as a class. Which means that this emotional bond to men can’t be anything else than an uncontrolled chemical response to that inescapable violence and oppression. A response to which men have conditioned us through a fine-tuned system of repression, deprivation, constraints and reward, grooming and brainwashing – aimed to modify our behaviour to ensure our long-term submission. Within this inescapable subordination to men, we can only fear them or trauma-bond to them: therefore love does not exist towards men.

One aspect I haven’t talked yet about men’s heterocage is the role pleasure plays in securing our sexual submission. In other words, how sexual pleasure with men is manufactured – it’s not pleasure but dissociation from the invasion, pain or fear. It’s always worth reminding FCM’s definition of fear and trauma-bonding inherent to intercourse:

as i think has been made abundantly clear by now, women are literally putting their lives and physical and mental wellbeing on the line, every fucking time they engage in PIV. (sorry! really, i am). if its not the very reasonable fear of being raped at some point during the encounter, its the fear of disease, and the dread, absolute dread of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy. and that last one applies even in wanted encounters with trusted partners, does it not? every single act of intercourse, from somewhat pre-menstruation to somewhat post-menopause. or…until your mate gets his nads snipped…and even then. fear, and dread. foreboding, terror, and bargaining with god. counting the days. … when women have PIV with men, we are encountering a life-threatening situation, with another person, by definition. not surprisingly, we form intense bonds with our war-buddies, these men with whom we have literally faced death and disfigurement. terror.

Before I go any further I just want to pull up again some basics on consent, violence and oppression, because that applies to every situation of violence: no matter how much you think you want, enjoy or choose to submit to an act of violence, violence excludes choice by definition, so it’s never something you could have chosen. When we define an act of violence and a system of oppression, we look at what the abuser or oppressor class does to the victim that qualifies as violence or oppression in any form. This is the only usable criteria; anything else than the actions of the oppressor is excluded from the definition, such as how the victims react (or are made to react) to this violence, whether or not she submits. When we define patriarchy we look at the structure, the pattern of what men do to us. All this is always external to us, outside of the victims. It doesn’t have anything to do with women and our individual choices as free beings but with men, patriarchy. Their violence is about them.

The very purpose of violence is to inflict something on you that you don’t want and that’s against your interest: the point is to harm, destroy you or go against your will. It’s biologically impossible to want your own destruction, you always only want what’s good for you and your survival, because that is how female life is designed. The only reason we seem to be drawn to subordination to men is because men’s violence functions in a way that turns our survival impulse against ourselves, by making us paradoxically seek self-destruction for our survival (see previous post on colonisation).

Consent is meaningless and irrelevant with regards to defining men’s violence and describing the objective reality of it. The only ones to choose and want are those who do the violence: men. They choose to resort to violence because they want to obtain something from us that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain (using us as their dick receptacles, control our reproduction). Will, calculation, intent and choice of means to achieve their end are all on their side. Saying that we choose and want it is a reversal and lie. The illusion of our choice protects men not us, because deception and reversal is in part how they maintain their rule.

Violence only gives two possible options for the victim:
#1- to get away from / stop the violence (therefore there is no more violence)
#2- to submit to violence and oppression because there is no escape > forced to stay in proximity to abuser

Neither of which are a choice. In situation one, for the sake of your life and safety, you have no choice but to get away. In situation two, for the sake of your life and safety, you have no choice but to do what the abuser/oppressor orders of you.

What (liberal) men want us to believe is that the options in violence are split between:
#1- to choose not enter in the situation, because you don’t fancy it, you’re not that kind of girl.
#2- to choose to stay in the situation because you want more of it.

Both of which have the effect of erasing the reality of violence, since violence only commands submission or requires escape, without which violence doesn’t exist.

Back to the topic of sexual pleasure in intercourse that so many women claim to have and which is often the only reason that keeps us into it. As radfems, we always say that whether or not we take pleasure in intercourse, it’s irrelevant to the point that PIV is inherently harmful: but that’s partly incorrect, because the pleasure is part of the intended harm too. Here’s why:

#1. The pleasure we experience during intercourse isn’t natural, but groomed. Men teach us how to instantaneously associate the fear, pain and/or invasion of the penetration to clitoral stimulation, so we dissociate from it – cut it off – and think it’s pleasurable. Clitoral stimulation may function in the exact same way as dissociation in a situation of sexual violence because it sends dissociative drugs to the brain. Dissociation is a drug, so this reaction to PIV may become an addiction, a rush we crave for like cocaine.

#2. This groomed chemical response to intercourse is harmful because it deliberately diminishes our capacity to identify rape/PIV as violence and get away from it. It confuses us into thinking we wanted it and enjoyed it. In BDSM for instance, it is very common for men to ask women to rub their clitoris during the acts. They know it will confuse their victim, letting her believe she likes being raped and humiliated and that she is a slut after all, exactly what he told her. It will make her feel more ashamed. It’s intentional. The best way for a man to obtain long term sexual subordination from a woman is for him to get her to believe she likes it and wants it, as he would do for pimping, marriage and any form of sexual slavery. It reduces his efforts in having to control her while maximising his use of her.

#3. So this so-called sexual arousal isn’t about pleasure at all and was never intended to be: it’s about power-over and domination, it’s a way for men to obtain obedience.

Men deceiving us into finding intercourse pleasurable has been documented historically. It was part of a very organised and institutionalised strategy to quash the “anti-sex” feminist movements of the late 19th and early 20th century, to put women back to the function of dick-receptacles and breeders. IOW when women started to run away from men en masse, men launched a massive campaign to trick women back into PIV by making us think we liked it, instead of the normal ‘we should do it because that’s the way it is, we’re subordinate to our husbands’. Sheila Jeffreys explains it all very well in her introduction to Anticlimax:

In my first book, The Spinster and Her Enemies, I showed how the sexologists before the Second World War believed that they would ensure women’s subordination by eliciting a sexual response to men. Compulsory conscription into heterosexuality and the performance of the orgasm with a man were seen to ensure woman’s submission to her husband and the death of feminism, lesbianism, manhating and spinsterhood. A Freudian psychoanalyst of the 1920s made this clear when he wrote: ‘To be roused by a man means acknowledging oneself as conquered.’ Throughout the history of sexology the focus of concern has been the resisting woman. The incitement of women to respond sexually to men continued after the Second World War. This becomes clear in a consideration of the politics of sex in the 1940s and 50s, when the future of male-dominant marriage was seen to hang on curing women’s frigidity. At this time sexologists showed no self-consciousness about asserting the connection between woman’s sexual response and her subordination.

In the 1960s women were enjoined to respond in more varied positions and situations and single women were conscripted into active heterosexual sex. The language of liberation was so loud in connection with the new sexual prescriptions for women that commentators have assumed some obvious relationship between the ‘sexual revolution’ and progress in women’s condition. There is no good reason to suppose that the sexologists changed step and started believing, contrary to all their previous ideas, that women’s sexual response to men would actually liberate women. As we shall see the rules of sexologic remained unaltered. Behind the baloney of liberation, the naked power politics of male supremacy were being acted out. The high priests of sexologic, helped by the pornographers, progressive novelists and sex radicals continued to orchestrate woman’s joyful embrace of her oppression through the creation of her sexual response. Sexologists have for a hundred years dedicated their lives to eliciting orgasms from women in order to prevent our liberation.

Sheila Jeffreys, Anticlimax p. 4-5

The great scam of the 20th century goes threefold: that women’s liberation consists in

  1. being free to be fucked by any man

  2. having orgasms in being fucked by men

  3. achieving equality to men with the pill, so we can now be fucked by men without consequences, that is dissociate PIV from reproduction.

What it is about is men‘s freedom to rape more women, and diminishing men’s restrictions in raping already-owned women. They want to be able to rape even their neighbour’s wife or daughter and not get in trouble for trespassing other men’s private property. It’s about breaking down barriers to male ownership and trade of women, installing the model whereby all women are potentially touchable and violated by all men in public: the model of women’s constant prostitution to men, disguised as our sexual liberation. Liberalism, from its very beginnings, has always only been about liberalising access to property (as women) for all men.

I always find it interesting to look at the language of pre-‘sexual liberation’ for female subordination mandates. It’s surprising how everything was much more explicit before and how much more lucid women seemed to be about the fact that they didn’t have any choice about submitting to PIV and that was what they were married off to men for.

One reason it took me such a long time to get away from PIV and realise that it was destructive was precisely because I thought it procured me those “orgasms”. Believing that I enjoyed it despite the unease, fear and shame I always felt, and the fact I thought I had no other option, I never stopped seeking it until it became painful again, but that’s when I noticed that the dude didn’t stop, he continued regardless and didn’t care whether I enjoyed it or not. It dawned on me that the whole time my taking pleasure in PIV wasn’t about me or about reciprocity at all, but only a useful tool for men so they could effortlessly use me for penetration, having me thinking I wanted it.

As I said above, it has nothing to do with pleasure, because it’s a knee-jerk genital response that men teach us to have to the invasion of penetration, so we numb it off and feel this intense genital stimulation instead. It is over time and repetition that we learn to stimulate the clitoris with PIV and the body memorises this reaction mechanically: the first intercourses are mostly painful or uncomfortable. It’s like Pavlov who tortured / groomed a poor dog into drooling at the sound of the bell because it was associated to reward/punishment. In a similar way, at the sight of men’s erection or at feeling penetration, or even at the sight of men, we mechanically react in that way to protect ourselves from the fear or pain, because they’re either a rape threat or actual rape. It’s an uncontrolled chemical response to violence / threat of violence, just like trauma bonding is, it’s actually one aspect of trauma bonding, the “sexual side” of stockholm syndrome.

You know it’s a form of dissociation because it has this intense feeling followed by a release or a feeling of emptiness or excruciating need for more. If you pay close attention to it, when you’re in need it feels excruciating, like your insides are being hooked out of you. It’s a craving/longing followed by a high followed by a low. This is how you recognise dissociation and addiction as opposed to pleasure.

So a consequence of PIV orgasm policy on us is to to experience men’s presence as potential fucks instead of as rape threats, which is very, very deadly and puts us in harm’s way millionfold. In fact both potential fuck / rape threat situations are one and the same, the same pervy men and the same invasive gestures, but in the first case we dissociate through genital / emotional urges and aren’t consciously aware of the threat, and in the second case, we are aware of the external threat, feel fear directly and take measures to protect ourselves from it. So what helps me whenever I am invaded by such thoughts again in front of a man is to tell myself he’s a rape threat, which is precisely why I’m reacting that way, and he’s even more of a threat to me because of that reaction which hypnotically draws me to him instead of making me run away (thanks to Rididill for pointing out the men as rape threat vs. potential fuck).

Since PIV is violence and dissociative, it causes traumatic memory, which will be triggered in situations that recall it. And everything in this male world directly or indirectly refers to PIV, to women’s status as fuckholes. Any party, bed, public space, every film, book, song, ad, church, every other man leering at us, any man who physically resembles our previous rapist, every damn conversation. Men have turned every aspect of our daily life into a constant PIV threat / rape threat and reminder of our subordinate status. They even turn mundane objects such as cucumbers, beer bottles, lollipops and bananas into rape threats, which they euphemise as “sexual innuendo” or “sexual connotation”. As a result we may be continually invaded by visual/physical flashes of PIV. However what men have called “nymphomania” or “heterosexual thoughts and urges” are nothing but visual and sensory flashbacks of eroticised rapes from which we dissociated through genital arousal, so the thought of it trigger those same physical sensations and the need to dissociate again through PIV to overcome the current anxiety.

These flashbacks in presence of men or PIV ‘connotations’ can linger on for a very long time, even after years of celibacy, separatism from men or lesbianism. It haunts you and it feels like self-betrayal as a feminist, even though it’s not your fault. But more time passes, the more the effect wears off and the more the violence becomes physically and emotionally evident, becomes less abstract.

Our worth is only measured in how much men want to penetrate us, and we are forced into it from all sides; the violence of penetration/rape is erased and named “making love”; genital dissociation reinforces the erasure because we take this for orgasm. Men make us dependent on PIV by dangling carrots of “recognition”, “food”, “affection”, “prince charming”, “orgasm” (scare quotes because these rewards aren’t true) which traps us into a vicious cycle of more and more PIV because we never get what we’re so desperately looking for, so we try again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. More PIV is also offered as the only solution to our more or less unconscious resistance to PIV such as feeling uneasy, apprehensive, anxious, emptied, vulnerable, disgusted, abandoned, used, stuffed – they explain to us that we just haven’t tried it well enough, found the right man or tried with enough men, we haven’t learned to enjoy it the right way, tried the right positions, we need to put more lubricant, we just need to chill, be more cool and liberated and sexy.

Our normal physical defence reactions are defined as personal flaws, as frigidity and vaginismus, so instead of doing less or stopping altogether, we think we need to do more in the hope that we’ll end up becoming used to it, adapt to it, that this will eventually shake off the fear and make it feel as normal as eating.

We are also told that our feelings of fear, disgust, apprehension or second thoughts are due to the “double standard” that shames women and not men in intercourse. The inherent problem of PIV and men is displaced to being an external problem of diffuse societal shaming of women who do PIV. Men’s solution to this is to encourage us to be proud and open about PIV and our ‘sexual urges’, to free our inhibitions, be more open, push our limits to fear and pain further and further, which of course traps us back with men’s dicks and men’s violence. And their solution never works because the more we do it, the more we accumulate dread and shame, the more worthless we feel. And the more worthless we feel, the more vulnerable it makes us to assholes who manipulate us for intercourse/rape. As said before, this order to free our inhibitions to PIV is about men’s will to free restrictions to their sexual use of women, not about freeing ourselves. PIV escalation leads us to sink more and more into dissociation. There is no limit to this, it’s a bottomless pit, and the logical conclusion of this is “slutwalks”, “slut prides”, BDSM, torture, death. We can be trapped in this cycle forever, circling into more and more violence, forever trying to find freedom in our annihilation.

If we look at those genital arousals from a purely logical perspective, we have this. Intercourse may be experienced in three different ways:

either:

#1. PIV causes Genital Arousal

#2. PIV causes Genital Arousal + Pain

#3. PIV causes just Pain

or

#1. PIV + more Violence = Genital Arousal

#2. PIV + more Violence = Genital Arousal + Pain

#3. PIV + more Violence = Pain

or

Male violence on its own = GA

Male violence on its own = GA + Pain

Male violence on its own = Pain

or

just male presence = GA

just male presence = GA + Pain

just male presence = Pain

PIV / male presence are the minimum level of violence, and most often but not always in evident ways, men inflict additional violence on top of PIV. Genital arousal, contrary to choice, coexists with violence and doesn’t annul it. It may be experienced from the minimal to maximum level of violence, even torture. It follows that the experience of ‘orgasm’ is the same as experience of pain: it’s a natural and uncontrolled reaction to violence.

On colonisation by men, friendships with type #2 colonised women, and how we understand it as radfems

There seems to be two types of colonisation:

#1: one where the woman is colonised but something of the spell or the rigidity of the colonisation has been broken somewhere and she is ready for the leap. In other words, radical feminism has the potential to create connections and liberate her from invasive male presence. If talked to about radical feminism, it will immediately make sense, or very shortly after. These women are great to be around with as a radfem because convos just flow, there’s no mental blocking out to what you’re saying and you can trust that she understands the words you use, which is not a small feat in patriarchy.

#2: one where men have placed auto-immune defences against feminism in a woman: she is made to fear and block out feminism from her mind or some parts of it, to see it as a threat, and will eliminate, sabotage or shut it down or turn against herself and other women.  It works very much like an auto-immune disease or cancer where she is unconsciously, unwittingly acting on men’s behalf, defending their interest by destroying her healthy cells. (Men are cancer).

In fact the two are really different things or states. I still don’t know exactly what makes the first situation possible, that is, how the transition or short cut operates from #1 to #2. There has to be some freedom from a man at some point to have been able to go to the end of our thoughts somehow, but how exactly, for instance if that transition or realisation happens while still being individually enslaved or controlled by a man, is still something I’m thinking about. However I do know what puts women in state / stasis #2, I know what makes spiritual, intellectual access to radical feminism IMPOSSIBLE in the present moment – which is male violence and men’s constraints. And this is what I’m going to focus on here.

**

Note. I’m writing on colonisation because I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships with non radfem (though already into feminism) women lately and how difficult these relationships are. This is a really important question to me because talking to women about feminism (spinning) and creating bonds with women in order to decolonise collectively from men is really what’s most important and what I believe feminism and liberation is based on. But sometimes I just get so much shit, and it never stops being painful and exhausting. I make friends with women, I introduce them to feminism, I’m full of hope that finally there will be women with whom to discuss and further radical feminism, just BE with them and not in dissonance as it usually is with colonised women, but at some point they end up betraying me, hurting me, they stop and stagnate in the middle of their tracks, may revert even, turn against me, because i’m too far ahead and they can’t go there yet, because they’re not ready to meet certain feminist standards, they have a boyfriend who keeps undoing what she just learned, they’re still not feminist enough to value our friendship and the feminist space we’re giving each other, they have no idea how rare and precious it is, or may still prefer male company. It hurts every time the same.

At first I was always wrought from brain contortion by trying to figure out what I’d done wrong for them to do that to me, I’d go over and over the situation to decrypt some hidden understanding I might have missed, something I could do so it wouldn’t repeat itself. But something new always crept up again. And I had enough, I had to find a way to protect myself because the whole thing is just too unbearable, it’s not feminist to let myself continually be hurt by women. So recently I’ve figured out a pattern: that every time a woman does this to me, this weird turning down and gaslighting or whatever she chooses to do to harm me, it’s because she was type #2 colonised. It is the common denominator to all these women, no matter how ‘almost there yet’ I thought they were. It never happens with women who aren’t type #2 colonised, or if it does happen, it mends itself easily, I know I can trust them and I don’t feel like our relationship will be threatened every minute, not knowing what to expect from them.

Through thinking and talking with other radfems, I came to the conclusion that it’s just too dangerous to have high expectations of and become emotionally close to women who aren’t yet radical feminists, in the nut sense – especially women who are still with men and colonised by those men. They are too occupied by men’s violence to prevent themselves from exposing it to you too, they will inevitably turn against you because it’s the way male colonisation is configured to work, there’s nothing personal about it; so long as they’re colonised they will be likely to turn down the relationships with women that are most likely to lead them to feminism or free them from men or embedded maleness.

Even just acquaintance-type, friendly interaction with a colonised woman is stressful because I know to some extent that I can’t rely on her, that I’ll be in the waiting for her for whatever we’re involved in together because she might pull away for being freaked out by what I say, cancel meetings in the last minute because of a dude or out of disrespect to my time and won’t take me and our/my projects or work seriously enough because we’re women, I’m a woman, and a feminist. Or she’ll expect me to abide to mindfucking politeness rules that are impossible not to break. She won’t share with me the same desperate need to talk about feminism, blame men and value feminist discussions, spinning and sparking. Now I know for my own safety not to expect too much of colonised women, to not place too much hope in them, not to drain my energy – and trust that they will take their own path in their own time even if they end up rejecting the stuff I say (and myself with it) at the beginning. I won’t take it personally any more.

My disposition now is to what I can do, say as much truth as I can in the short time I have, and then run away to leave her with processing while maintaining distant contact in case she’s ready to move forward again. Becoming close to her too soon is not only risky for me but for her too, as it might damage any chance of being there when she’ll really need it: because it gives her the opportunity to destroy that relationship before she can appreciate what it means.

**

Male psychic colonisation is the most deadly and effective way for men to maintain our submission. It consists in them turning our uncontrolled self-defence mechanisms against ourselves, so that each time we defend and seek to protect ourselves from male threat, we hurt ourselves, not them. Hereunder are a few illustrations to make my point clear

Case #1: reduced psychic colonisation.

low colonisation

This illustration isn’t describing the ‘transitional’ situation #1 as written above, but rather a post-first-transition situation, after a first leap into radical feminism / lucidity or male-myth cracking. In this situation, psychic colonisation may still subsist in the form of PTSD. That is, we are still internally inhabited or spooked by men’s violence (past or present) through traumatic memory and may continue to act in ways that go against our interest or expose ourselves to violence, but we are aware of its workings to a certain extent and continually seek to free ourselves further from the layers of embedded trauma / male violence.

#2: strong psychic colonisation

high colonisation

Another way of putting embedded maleness: instead of being whole like this:

looking whole

We are pushed outside of ourselves like this: (it’s as if we take the shape of the impact of men’s violation)

impact male violation

In this state, we are colonised, occupied in every sense: men occupy us totally, it is a totalitarian regime in every possible aspect.

PHYSICALLY: men physically and sexually violate us with extreme frequency and severity (PIV, impregnation and sexual violence and harassment), enforce lack or absence of physical and body autonomy, privacy and integrity, restrict and tailor our physical and biological movement in many ways. Men can touch, grab, verbally invade, take and penetrate us whenever they want, impose their presence on us. The repeated and ongoing nature of men’s sexual and physical violence and our captivity to those men who claim ownership rights over us, makes escaping psychic and spiritual colonisation by those men almost impossible, even without their added tools of anti-woman propaganda, reversals, erasure and brainwashing and their whole system that supports them.

SPIRITUALLY: we are constantly spooked and spiritually invaded / alienated by men’s virtual presence. Our soul is driven outside of ourselves through forced dissociation, because we wouldn’t otherwise be able to survive the amount of violence and invasion men inflict on us. We are like ghosts trapped outside of ourselves in nothingness, somewhere between life and death. We follow our lost, invaded self/body around from outside of ourselves with melancholy and a painful sense of loss and separation, without understanding where the pain comes from, believing men’s lies that it’s because we lack them or their attention, instead of lacking ourselves.

PSYCHICALLY: men occupy our thoughts at all times, there is no thoughtspace left for ourselves, we are not allowed to go to the end of our thoughts, we aren’t allowed to even think of being free from men or from thinking about them. We have to control our thoughts so they don’t deviate from submission to men and their orders. We identify to men and no longer to ourselves, we are in a constant state of terror and occupied by obsessive, circular, anxious thoughts.

Psychic and spiritual colonisation is nothing else but trauma-bonding or stockholm syndrome to men or their virtual substitutes (institutions, ideologies, beliefs… such as religion, male gods, universities, states, the law, corporations, schools of thought / political dogmas such as marxism, any form of male instituted dom/sub hierarchy or status, or female token torturers). For more on trauma-bonding and stockholm syndrome, see my previous post on heterosexual grooming, FCM’s excellent post on trauma-bonding or Dee Graham on societal stockholm syndrome. Colonisation is indeed achieved through trauma-bonding. The latter far encompasses so-called “love” relations to individual men, that’s just ONE aspect of it. As all men are our oppressors, their oppression is inescapable and we are forced into dependence on them, we necessarily trauma-bond to ALL men as a class, and their virtual substitutes.

Trauma-bonding and stockholm syndrome, at their very basic, work through a reversal and mindfuck which is achieved through men holding us captive to them.

The way they hold us captive so we can’t escape their sexual violence is by making us dependent on them for our physical, emotional, psychic, economic survival. We have no other choice but to depend on them or their institutions in order to survive and EXIST. This is the reversal / mindfuck / paradox: we’re thus dependent on their violence to survive, but their violence is precisely what destroys us and threatens our survival. The reason it works so well is because on top of this they erase our awareness and memory of the violence from our consciousness, through gaslighting, isolation of women and reversals (such as PIV/rape is love-making, marriage is romantic and being exploited for a salary is independence). IOW they wipe off all external and internal reality of the violence from our minds and prevent us from naming and identifying it, which causes amnesia, dissociation and burial of our awareness in the traumatic, unconscious memory. The violence thus disappears from our conscious perception and we experience this captivity and violence on a conscious level only as being saved and helped by men or by their virtual substitutes. It’s a very clever illusionist trick that men play on our psyches.

As we can no longer experience or perceive men’s violence directly and therefore can no longer identify men as violent, our terror of men is thus misdirected, too.

So on the conscious level, men’s violence has disappeared because we dissociate and we see them as our saviours or life/existence-givers (they have right of life and death over us). Our terror of men is thus experienced not as terror from their actual violence but as terror of losing them (or their substitutes) as our vital saviours and protectors. Loss of that man or male substitute is seen as annihilation or as a threat to our physical, economic, emotional or psychic survival, rather than the violence itself seen as annihilation. It’s a reversal.

As an example, a woman might not go into feminism because she is economically and emotionally dependent on her husband and thinks that she would be homeless and nothing without him, therefore that he protects her. So if she went to the end of her thoughts, that all men are violent oppressors including the man she lives with, her actions would have to follow and she would have to leave that boyfriend but as she sees leaving him as a threat to her life, she stops her thoughts from going there. The thing is that the reversal or myth that the boyfriend is protecting her is based on a half-truth, and that’s why it works well: she is in effect made to be dependent on him. But it’s a complete lie that she can’t live without him or find an accommodation without his financial help, it’s a lie that he’s supporting her since he’s stealing or appropriating her own resources, time and and work, and it’s a lie that he’s protecting her, since he’s invading and violating her. The truth is that she will be far better off without him, in every possible way.

You can replicate this model for anything patriarchal that women fear to lose. Reformism, status, male ideology, etc. It is always based on the lie that our life, career, social recognition, meaning of life, existence depends on it and that these things are helping us, making our lives better. What makes the violence and the illusions / lies inherent in them harder to acknowledge still is that it means letting the reality of the pain and the reality of our situation coming back to us in full blow, it means to reintegrate. And it may be very painful at first, there may be a lot of grieving necessary, to grieve what we have lost of ourselves, what men have destroyed in us. It means letting go of what we built our lives around, admitting that we built our whole lives around myths, lies and self-destruction. It means making a leap into dramatic change, and overcoming the fear of change, or rather redirecting our fear towards men instead of ourselves. The biggest lie of all is that it’s difficult to make the leap. It’s actually really easy, once the spell is broken, the change happens viscerally. What is difficult is to bear male reality on an every day basis, to face your unbearable loneliness because most of the women around you may not have followed your leap and you see them still in middle of destruction. But this is a million times better still than being colonised.

Second, in a colonised state the threat of men is experienced no longer as coming from men, but from:

#1: OTHER WOMEN / FEMINISTS: what we have to cling on (male attention) is a scarce resource and we are in constant threat of it being taken away (loss is inherent to it because the resource in question in a myth, it doesn’t exist: men have never loved, supported, cared for us): as a result any woman is seen as a competitor, an enemy and threat to our access to this perceived vital resource – even in feminism. So we believe that by eliminating other women, by turning them down, pushing them away, sabotaging their work – as a way of eliminating competition (for male recognition, status, resource, etc.), this will increase our chance for survival. The very nature and structure of men’s oppressive system does this, because we don’t have the power to attack men anyway and we attack those who won’t retaliate: women – but men reinforce this dynamic tenfold with this form of colonisation and pervasive woman-hating propaganda, next to constant glorification of men, which means that women despise and distrust other women all the more. What all of this does of course is that we keep betraying each other, destroying our only allies, our own kind, the only bond that saves us from men’s deadly hold.

#2: The threat is experienced as coming from OURSELVES. This is the deadliest of all. everything in ourselves is experienced as as an obstacle to pleasing men (or their substitute) and therefore as an obstacle for gaining this perceived vital male resource, as an obstacle for our survival / existence. We are forced to into ourselves what defects may have caused his anger, his coldness or inattention, his sadism, or to blame ourselves for our lack of social (male) recognition, our lack of (male) status. This is reinforced by men’s reversal of guilt both on an individual and systemic level, and ongoing, all-pervasive woman-hating propaganda in the form of mind and body surveillance dictates.

Any part of our body or thought may be seen as an obstacle to pleasing men and therefore as a threat to our existence, since our body and thoughts never fit to men’s standards, as their purpose is to destroy us, not for us to fit in. A pimple, skin colour, stretch mark, hairs, nose shape, stomach shape, leg shape, hair form and colour, eating food, clothing, body noise, body smell, sweat, body functions or body fluids (etc.), ALL of which are NATURAL and NORMAL human features, will terrorise and disgust us beyond limit. We will hate every fragment of our body and it can be as strong as wanting to rip off our own skin.

Since we are alive and that means we ARE all the time, our body / self is transformed into a PERMANENT threat, at all times. AT ALL TIMES we have to survey our existence, at all times there will be a protruding hair, stomach, foot, pimple, eyebrow, chin, buttock, fingernail to punish. Since we are alive and not dead, there will always be a movement of body or thought to control, it never stops so long as we’re still alive. So it’s like trying to kill ourselves and our natural life movement every second of the day. This is the form that mental occupation takes when we are not possessed / obsessed in thought by an individual man (“love relationship”): the constant, ongoing thought and body control, obsessing every minute of the day about whether our body will be good enough for us to survive in the eyes of men.

What it means is that men have managed to turn our very breathing, Being, into our enemy. It is an unbearable mindfuck and paradox: our existence is made to be a threat to our existence – which is what it means by turning our vital life energy and survival movement against ourselves. This is terrible because it makes every minute of our life excruciatingly painful as we are forced to become a constant burden to ourselves, which makes us want to disappear. We are ripped off of ourselves, committing small suicides, mutilating our life, spontaneity, our creative movement, our organic and biological functions. The end result of this is death.

This I believe is the depth of men’s genocide against women, this inside, every day murder. It is the invisible yet ubiquitous killing of each woman – all the more effective that men have made women do it to ourselves and each other and erased this killing from our conscious perception – from the inside as well as the outside, it looks like the victimless crime, the perfect crime. Their system is very well rounded. But the reality of the violence and the consequences never lie, we are the most colonised, destroyed and traumatised, dissociated people on earth – the signs are there for whoever wants to see them, no matter how much men try to hide it. So just to conclude that when we speak of colonised women, we speak of women who are in terror, a terror which even they themselves aren’t completely aware of since that terror of being annihilated by men is not only misdirected against themselves or other women but completely normalised and made invisible as femininity.


past musings

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