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.
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
Another way of putting embedded maleness: instead of being whole like this:
We are pushed outside of ourselves like this: (it’s as if we take the shape of the impact of men’s 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.