Archive for the 'Our movement' Category



Sisterhood, sisterhood… Thoughts on identity and what it does to radical feminism.

Last week, through a conversation with a friend I finally came to understand why identity making made me feel uneasy, which led me to think about the definition of identity and why it’s an embodiment of foreground male presence as opposed to female being (I’m using Mary Daly’s notion of male foreground / female background).

I’m not talking about identity politics here, which may be related but is more blatantly liberal and generally comes from the queer / intersectional fringes and has really nothing to do with radical feminism. It’s something else. I was thinking about this more than a year ago, then left it as it was, and these thoughts sprung back again in the same state the other day. I knew something was wrong somewhere but I couldn’t tell how exactly, put words on it. What I felt was a ‘something missing’ which left a dissonant aftertaste in my tongue, as if there lacked some deep understanding. Something appeared superficial. If there was a problem in the understanding of men’s oppression such as with social constructionism, or problems in the way they were acting that contradicted their sayings, I had already broken that down and there was something else still.

I’m racking my brain, thinking about it: superficial, that’s fake. Sisterhood. Why do I not like the way it’s used? Something in there is fabricating an idea of a happy sisterhood that’s too exaggerated to be true. It has a groupie feel to it, that horrible feeling I had in school with girl cliques you were supposed to want to be friends with, and many of us pretended to stick together only because being alone was too dangerous, it meant you would be scapegoated and that was akin to death, so you had to obey to whatever conventions in order to show your belonging to this group, to give the impression to yourself and others you weren’t alone. I always found group assimilation alienating as it would leave me feeling more isolated than when I was alone. I never managed to fit in any of these groups.

In a similar way, I find alienating the repetitive use of ‘sisterhood’ and ‘sisters’ in contexts that don’t relate to the reality of an association or trusted group of friends. You’re invited to feel part of or witness a wonderful community in which all women are happy together dancing, laughing and singing and holding hands or whatever… but you know this isn’t true, simply because it’s not happening as you read / listen – at best you don’t have any connection to the women writing, reading, commenting, publishing, talking etc because you don’t know them – or at worst you’ve heard about behind-the-scenes stuff which are too stressful to think about. In either case, you’re invited to share an experience that doesn’t exist or contrasts sharply with reality.

I presume sisterhood loosely means a large or small group or community of women bound together in a solid and positive way. I do know the existence of groups but I have no interest in mentioning them except if it’s relevant to what I’m writing. So it isn’t something that happens or appears just because you use the word. It isn’t like the word “I apologise” which is also an action and so when you say it you’re making it happen. In this case sisterhood – or derivatives referring to false images of a big loving community, words and names of radical feminists – are used as rallying symbols for following or inclusion, instead of for the meaning they convey in a relevant context.

This is what advertising companies do. This is what male ideologues do, what religious males do. Not that women are any of them, but some of the strategies bear a resemblance as we’re made to believe that diffusing feminism is about recruitment, communication and convincing. But persuasion and recruitment are only necessary for men since their institutions are based on myths and lies. Feminism is the opposite: either the truth of men’s violence is blocked out or either you see it – because it’s always there right in front of our nose. The method of radical feminism is peeling off the veil that men covered our eyes with, it’s consciousness-raising, connecting the dots outside and inside, it is Seeing and Feeling.

Just yesterday a woman told me she wouldn’t attend a woman-only feminist event because it was “politically biased” (in feminism) and she didn’t want to feel tricked or forced into an “ideology”. Well, I found that laughable because she ignores that everything else she goes to which is supposedly neutral is a manifestation of patriarchal ideology, and the only thought and movement that isn’t ideological is feminism. I reminded her that feminism, unlike an ideology, isn’t based in reversals and myth-making as a tool of control of one group over another: it’s naming reality, saying the truth of what men do to us and there aren’t 3,000 ways of naming it, the fact men’s violence exists isn’t debatable. It isn’t about recruiting and brainwashing an army to take power, wage war, occupy or colonise. To this she replied, “well all ideologies strive to tell the truth and give their own interpretation of reality, religions do that, political parties do that, and so does feminism”.

Oh dear. No, male institutions don’t ever strive to tell the truth, this is female projection and blindness here. I gave up the conversation at this point, as she was too far away into male liberalism to understand a word I said.

The point being, while feminism isn’t an ideology, it’s sometimes treated as such. My friend pointed out references to rituals. Rituals! Yes that makes sense, it’s like religion. It’s about upholding an artificial reality through regular gestures, pomp or actions, and are explicitly or implicitly mandatory to show your belonging to a male group or institution (religious, legal, military, other).

Ah. Now I understand. Identities may be a form of ritual – performance, role-playing. Just like rituals, you have to repetitively execute a certain number of actions or use a certain number of symbols to keep up those roles, to uphold the myth, to prove your belonging to the fictional group, collective or nation. This is male identity-making. Actions are retrieved from their experience, the goal is separate from the process of doing the action in itself. You’re deprived of the sensory experience, which is why it makes you feel empty and repulsed by it. That is you’re no longer doing something regularly because it feels good and it sustains you but because you have to do it in order to be part of the group at this particular time. And if you don’t comply, you risk being excluded, of being called unsisterly, you’re punished in some way or another, it may be subtle enough so you don’t realise it but feel guilty. It really is about control.

I think this is what we mean when we criticise the use of radical feminism as an identity: the actions, symbols, words and names are emptied of their meaning and context and used in ritualistic ways to uphold a fiction of group-belonging, for power over or to show conformity to a group because you need to feel included, so you become emotionally attached to it and it’s actually what prevents you from continuing to understand things on a deeper level. Identity = ritual = fiction = trauma-bonding to false inclusion = tool of control. Hence why it’s so stressful to read / listen, and my impression of shallowness.

Blogging and internet makes this role-playing easier I suppose, as you can just create an alias and invent a whole persona, the truth is easier to hide. But dynamics are the same online as well as in real life.

I don’t think the identity-making is always done deliberately or maliciously. Often it is, as a manipulation tactic to gain control, but sometimes it just flows from our desperate need to feel part of a group, because radical feminism may have been the first thing that broke our isolation, it may have been the first thing that gave sense to our suffering. I think this is very sad. We have all terribly suffered from being abandoned, scapegoated, excluded, and we want these women to be the happy family we never had. We cling to women very quickly and place all our hopes and dreams of a free sisterly community in them. Except that it doesn’t work this way. It’s tempting to make an identity out of radical feminism because our female culture and sense of being in this world is constantly erased and we want to recreate a sense of community and belongingness very fast because we’re desperate, so we recreate one before it exists, in ritualistic ways. These idealistic images of sisterhood are tempting but most often they’re not true.

That’s it, it’s lovebombing – a word that Delphyne used some time ago. Don’t be fooled by love-bombing, because it may hide abuse, control or manipulation. Experience has taught me that in patriarchy it’s dangerous to leap into a group or a relation without taking a very long time to build trust, without giving it the test of time.

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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.

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.

When we’re angry against women

I’ve finally figured something out. That we’re not supposed to be angry against women, as in, our anger against women is purely manufactured by men. And if we are angry, we’re angry against the male colonisation in her, not really her, though what happens is that we confuse it with the woman and hit on her instead.

This ’embedded maleness’ or ‘incarnate male presence’ as Mary Daly called it, are insidious male ideologies that men have hammered into our psyche, like an anti-personnel landmine fastened inside us which explodes in contact of other women, so that women turn against us, instead of turning against men and feeling sorry or compassion for the pitiable state that men have put us in. The things the colonised woman does out of male colonisation are effectively unbearable, or even violent because embedded maleness will always externally discharge as token torturing of other women, since it’s set up as an inside dagger pointed against all women, including the woman colonised by it, because she’s a woman too. Therefore what we must always remember is that the landmine explosion is hurting the woman infiltrated by the landmine as much as women in her surroundings. Or to put in another way, it can’t fuck with my mind without it having already fucked up hers.

I knew that on an intellectual level you see, but somehow I didn’t apply it to all cases. I would get frustrated or really angry with some women because she would want to hurt me, she would be too alienated for me to be able to communicate with her, or she would talk or write in such a male bespoken or mindfucking way that it would drive me crazy. But instead of being angry against the maleness in her, I would be angry against her, in person. What it does on an interpersonal level is that I am endlessly angry against this woman and this anger has no limit at all either in time or depth. This is because woman hatred has no bottom to it. You might as well do it forever, the reason for this is because being angry against a woman doesn’t change anything to the situation, doesn’t unblock the lock or repair the tension, it’s like running endlessly on a hamster wheel and you can feel that it’s destroying you, too. This is fundamentally because the anger is misdirected. It’s completely the wrong target. You’re targeting the victim and there’s nothing she can do for that anger. It’s not the woman’s fault she’s behaving that way, it really isn’t, but the fault of men who buried their phallocratic presence into her head, it’s the fault of that crept-in phallocratic presence. She’s behaving as an automaton for men, as a vehicle for MALE violence; it doesn’t belong to her as a woman, it belongs only to men.

Being angry against a woman for her male-embedded behaviour is destructive because it’s based on misogyny and reversal of blame, which may ultimately lead to death, because misogyny is genocide of women and necrophilia. I’m saying that because I really do feel the death and dead-endedness of anger against women.

The changing factor was to stop seeing the shit coming from her. I suddenly had this image of my friend as her whole body strangled and tangled with barbed wire and the needles sinking into her skin. The only way for her to stop the harm she was doing was by realising what harm she had been put into herself, because only then would she understand why it’s harmful to others. So I should consider it as our common interest to exorcise her from that entrapment. And it IS our common interest as women, because there’s no liberation if she doesn’t free herself from that black blob or the barbed wire. She’ll continue to harm other women and harm herself. She should better figure out how to break that evil spell on her, for instance by naming what that behaviour is, what it does, where it comes from, that it isn’t her self acting but a persona acting on behalf of men, and try to decolonise from it, break the mechanism down and get rid of it – or ‘exorcise’ it, which is a term Mary Daly used.

Before you’re all up in arms against me for saying that we should embrace token torturers and antifeminists as our best friends, that’s really not what I’m saying. What I’m suggesting is a way of understanding our own anger against any women and how we react to other women’s embedded maleness (in ANY form), what is our disposition to it so that we don’t let that blob fulfil its purpose of destroying ourselves and wreaking havoc between women, between me and her. It’s a way of cracking the blob’s soul-killing projectiles, of neutralising its deadliness. It can be with women we don’t know and whom we’ll never get to know, or with women we know and are close to, the workings are the same. It may not imply interacting with her if you don’t want to and if it’s unsafe or abusive for you to do so then it’s best to run away fast, but at least having that understanding preserves from self-destroying in pointless rage against her.

So what it means as well from an ethical standpoint is that it’s possible to consider a woman responsible for her actions in the sense that she’s the one doing it and she only has the responsibility and moral obligation to stop doing it – and at the same time see that it’s not her own agency and integrity acting because she’s been implanted with this horrible man-made self-destruction weapon inside her, telling her to go against her own interest, her own good and the good of her own kind: women.

See, this principle works with women only because women have a default humanity underneath the male layers of shit, and only women can be colonised by maleness / male violence. Women aren’t natural mindfuckers, we are born integral and healthy, or this is the way we are meant to be at least. We become more like men because we are forced to assimilate to them through violence and trauma which turns us into a sort of victim mirror image to them. But this isn’t how we would normally be. Men obviously can’t be colonised by maleness because men already *are* men, they *are* the male colonisers. It’s not only false but really dangerous to project our being and experience of oppression onto our oppressors, to apply the same kind of understanding with men because it keeps us exposed to their violence without the man or men ever changing for the good: it will only make them worse in fact, because men knowing exactly what you think of them and you intend to do increases their lethality.

women’s supersensory powers, continued

The main point in the previous post was to say that if we look at the truth on biology from a radical feminist perspective, it doesn’t just lead to conclusions on male nature but also inevitably to certain conclusions on female nature, which is we are doted with higher cognitive and sensory capacities than men, due in part to their cerebral asymmetry and smaller corpus callosum. Looking at female brain attributes is completely different from saying “gender is hardwired” since we know that women are not naturally subordinate to men and we are not explaining any form of female behaviour here but cognitive and sensory potential. What it means is that compared to men, women simply seem to have a fully functioning brain (or far better functioning than men at least). This fits to the fact that women are genetically the default human, and men a maled mutation from women. The mutation process clearly generates a deteriorated version of the original – the question is whether this mutation is accidental or actually serves the purpose of maximising the reproduction of male species by turning their brains and bodies into potential rape-machines, which is certainly the effect of male attributes on the brain and body.

When comparing male and female cognitive / sensory powers, I find the example of male shamans very interesting. In most – if not all – current traditional societies where shamanism is still practised, males monopolise this function and pass it only to their son or the next generation male. Typically, all male shamans across the world have to resort to drugs in order to “see” and thus perform their “healing” function as shaman (imitate female healing powers). These drugs may be anything from tobacco, hallucinogenic mushrooms or other products, alcohol or also putting themselves in extreme and painful physical conditions in the aim of achieving a “second” state.

What is interesting is to see that the drug-taking is primarily a male practice. Female seers, by contrast, do not traditionally need or take such drugs. I’m certain that men need these external drugs to access parts of their brain that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access, because of their cerebral deficiency. Besides drugs always have a physical cost, they aren’t without negative consequences to the body and brain, and men often have almost as little regard to their own bodies as they have for the external world. I have always deeply distrusted drugs, saw it as a tool of control and dislike the way it shifts your consciousness in an artificial and coercive way, that makes it unsafe and unpredictable. I don’t see the need for an external product when we can simply learn to connect ourselves naturally, which is a far healthier way of doing it because it’s something that comes from you, in your own time.

If we take a look at Ayahuasca, which is a very hallucinogenic beverage male shamans from the Amazon drink; as far as I can remember, in order for ayahuasca to have its desired effects, the bark of the tree or plant has to be brewed and stripped in a very specific and precise way with other ingredients, it takes a number of hours to prepare and without this preparation the ayahuasca will not have its hallucinogenic effect. I learnt this some time ago in a detailed documentary on its fabrication, and the commenter (a British white male) was flabbergasted at the precision of the recipe, and wondered how they’d find about it amongst the million other plants and ways of preparing them for medication. It’s not something you can improvise at all and there’s no way they would have come across it just by stumbling into the plant and randomly tasting its different parts to see what it does, it would probably be indigestible. He asked some of the people there and they replied that the plants told them, something in this vein. The commenter didn’t take it seriously of course.

But here’s the thing, if men aren’t as endowed with seeing as women are and aren’t naturally connected to the elements it seems very unlikely to me that men themselves discovered the powers of that specific plant and how exactly to prepare it in the first place. To do that without the aid of ayahuasca you would have to be already connected to plants or that plant in particular would have to tell you herself, or other spirits or beings around you. And to do that you would have to be a woman, I’m sure.

In my opinion, here’s the background or truth of the story: either men coerced or tricked women into giving them the recipe for the potion, or women felt so sorry for men’s pitiable, unconnected state that they gave men this potion in the hope that would understand what it feels like to be connected. Although it’s more likely that men manipulated and implored women to give them such a thing, and once they got hold over it, they eliminated the female shamans and oracles and put themselves in stead, using this potion to give the illusion of female powers and acquire legitimacy. In other words, the same genocidal process as everywhere, where men slaughtered the priestesses, witches, oracles, seers, herbalists and other gifted women and replaced them with fraudulent male professionals.

The interesting thing is that they managed to get hold of these potions, remedies and shamanic functions everywhere in the world, in Africa, America, Asia and Europe, which suggests that wherever men started doing it, they reached a critical number and it spread to all other human males on the globe. That is, if we follow the holographic principle – for nothing else explains the universality and synchronism of patriarchal progression across the world.

I know as a matter of fact that some women do have the capacity to communicate with plants and trees and living beings in different ways, they ask the plant what kind of healing powers she has and the plant may reply, if she wants to.

 

more science and essentialism

My first essentialist thought on men’s violence was that only men could ever build an entire necrophilic society around the raping and controlling of women’s reproductive capacities because only men are biologically capable of doing it, using their own biology as weapons against women – penis and semen. So I saw that patriarchy fitted to men’s biology to the extent that it is only achievable through their biological capacity to rape and impregnate women. Also, I saw their hatred of women partly as an of envy women’s reproductive power and obsession with their own incapacity to reproduce life. But I still believed it was all a mistake somehow and that it wasn’t inherent in men, that they could change if we just pointed it out to them, and they were caught up in this sad masculinity thing enforced on them, TOO!

The next step to essentialism wasn’t really difficult, because men’s system is neither the consequence of some historical accident nor external to them. FCM cleared a lot of ground in essentialist argumentation by putting it this way:

1) Evidence such as the need for abortion and other pregnancy preventive methods going as far back as possible into our history point to the fact that men were rapey/violent across all times of known human history. IOW, men have always proven to be a rape threat for women.

2) Male sexual violence against women is universal, that is, covers the entire globe – there’s no exception, no my-nigel, no far-away land where men are all as sweet as lambs.

3) there is nobody outside men forcing men to be violent. Their patriarchal system is created and enforced by them alone. no invisible force is secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes. Since it comes from men and not from anyone else, this is the definition of inherent. It’s internal to them.

4) If patriarchy didn’t suit men in some basic, inherent way, they would rebel against this enforcement, but they don’t, ever. (see also here and here, arguments by FCM in comments). Not that they lack the power to do so, given that they monopolise all political power in patriarchy.

All this leads to the conclusion that their systematised violence is consistent with their natures. It’s simple, logical, solid. Inherent is the opposite of extraneous – it means “intrinsic” (Merriam Webster). And indeed, men’s violence is not externally imposed, but comes from them only, and universally so. Therefore, men’s violence is inherent to them. Easy!

Then bloggers and commenters moved on to defining maleness as parasitism (men being inherently parasitic to women), which Mary Daly, Valerie Solanas and Sonia Johnson had already talked about in their works (and surely many other women I do not yet know of), and which were taken on in various blogs recently.

I’ve also been very interested in scientific explanations for male violence and male parasitism, and have looked at mitochondrial DNA some time ago. Then someone commented on that post notifying me about the difference in corpus callosum between men and women: which propelled me into even more biological essentialism. FCM said a while ago (can’t remember where exactly and what the exact phrasing was) that male-essentialist view does not equate to saying that women are naturally subordinate to men, and in fact we have always resisted men’s violence since as long as we know, and one of the basic contentions of feminism is that subordination (femininity) is enforced on us, not natural. She went on to say that therefore, we shouldn’t make claims on female nature because we’re not able to figure it out or something (this is where my memory falters, I can’t remember what the words were, something like making claims on women’s nature is harmful, because, something… please notify if you find that passage as I haven’t found it).

Well, I actually do think it’s possible to make some claims about female nature without falling into the trap of essentialising female subordination (femininity), which I obviously reject. Especially, to make claims about our essential powers and gifts that men lack.

I base it on an intuition and experience: being around with women is substantially and physically different from being around with men. The physical and sensory experience is simply different, and I’m not talking about touching in just a physical way, but the physics of soul-touching and sparking. Men are incapable of spinning; in every possible sense of the term. Any energy sent to them never comes back, it’s a dead end, a black hole, it goes plop, or flop, it stops there and never moves, there is no real exchange, and at the very least we’re left with a feeling of unease. Whereas with women, especially with radical feminists, you can actually feel the spinning going on, the revitalisation, the constant movement of mind and senses, things just flow. It fills your blood with life. I can feel the exchange like tiny fireworks bursting around and moving up in circles, like a happy dance. It feels colourful, musical and blissful. It has a very real and physical effect on me. I think deep down women know this, that we don’t and can’t have the same connection with women as with men.

Second, it is common scientific knowledge that women and men have different brain attributes: women have on average 23% more corpus callosum* than men, and men’s brain is more one-sided, localised in one hemisphere of the brain (apparently the left). Women also have a deeper and larger limbic system, which is the memory system. *The corpus callosum is situated in the middle of the brain between the two hemispheres, it’s a very large arched tissue of nerve fibres that connect the two brain hemispheres together, as well as the different lobes and areas of the brain (memory / limbic system, pineal gland…).

These facts are well-known and you can find them easily by googling it but when you look up mainstream research, the significance of this information and its implications for men and women are always obscured: to quote Mary Daly, commenting on one such researcher:

Julian Jaynes sweeps over significant information as if it were barely worth nothing, when such information relates to the powers of women. He writes: “And a comment can be added here about sexual differences. It is now well known that women are biologically somewhat less lateralized in brain function than men. This means simply that psychological functions in women are not localized into one or the other hemisphere of the brain in the same degree as men. Mental abilities in women are more spread over both hemispheres… And it is common knowledge that elderly men with a stroke or hemorrhage in the left hemisphere are more speechless than elderly women with a similar diagnosis. Accordingly we might expect more residual language function in the right hemisphere of women, making it easier for women to learn to be oracles. And indeed the majority of oracles and Sibyls, at least in European cultures, were women” [all emphases mine]. … This fascinating point is mentioned in only one other place in the book, and there even more scantily (p. 350). Shrewd Shrews will notice that Jaynes’ language is deceptive and patronizing to women. For by his syntax he manages to belittle the oracular gifts of women and the Elemental integrity of female mental faculties, while at the same time obscuring the negative implications of overly localized psychological functions in males.

Bolds mine. In Mary Daly, Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy, 1984, p. 148, in the notes.

This is another typical example of how the crucial info and its implications is totally wiped out by male-vetted language:

A robust sex difference in the splenium of the corpus callosum, reflecting greater interhemispheric connectivity in women, was observed on magnetic resonance images from 114 individuals. In addition, bulbosity of the corpus callosum correlated with better cognitive performance in women but not in men. source

The way these differences in brain functions link to male violence and female powers is illuminating though.

If we look at men, their localised brain function and smaller corpus callosum links quite clearly to their necrophilia and disconnectedness from life, their sensory atrophy or incapacity to connect both on a sensory, emotional and conceptual level, their addiction to violence or use of violence as their only way to feel things. If their brain function is indeed localised on the left hemisphere, which is known to represent the rational side of the brain, and doesn’t connect easily to the right hemisphere (senses, emotion, intuition) because of less corpus callosum, then it makes sense that they can disconnect violent acts so easily from sensory experience and cognitive, emotional understanding of it, and from understanding the wider consequences of that violence which would normally prevent them from doing it or give them second thoughts about it. It may explain why men need external enforcement in order NOT to be violent or to refrain their violence because they wouldn’t otherwise stop it themselves, they wouldn’t see the need to themselves. It coincides with their extraordinary lack of empathy, their incapacity to relate to other living beings outside of violation and their ability to be so sadistic and cold about their violence. It also explains IMO how, because of their sensory atrophy, violence so easily becomes exclusively experienced as erection and how the want to feel this erection again or any form of arousal (even through more subliminal means) overrides all other considerations – how this is in fact the only thing they can feel, this addictive arousal-violence cycle.

There is undoubtedly a certain amount of conditioning wrt boys, but I believe that men capitalise on their inherent capacity or potential for violence to increase their lethality against women and hence their domination over us. They know exactly what to do to themselves and to girls to keep the system going. The only thing men will sometimes complain about wrt to their conditioning is what other men do to them, but never about what they do to women and living beings.

With regards to women, the implications are immense. Again, if we look at male-talk for information:

Dickipedia says:

Time published an article in 1992 that suggested that, because the corpus is “often wider in the brains of women than in those of men, it may allow for greater cross-talk between the hemispheres—possibly the basis for women’s intuition.”[13]

The greater corpus callosum allows for greater inter-hemisphere connection, which means that women’s brain functions are more evenly spread over both hemispheres – we have more brain functions, in short (contrary to what some men say, women are not right-brained but simply brained, with both hemispheres functioning properly). This accounts for women’s so-called greater “intuition”: which is an euphemism for greater creativity, inventiveness, insight, understanding, capacity to see, hear and feel sensory as well as extra-sensory events and surroundings, of connecting concepts together, of connecting emotions, feelings and concepts, of bonding, etc. It allows for better capacity to heal from trauma – if one area of the brain is shut off because of trauma, the brain can compensate and create new connections more easily. It means all areas of the body are equally connected to the brain and vice versa, not just one part (ie sexual part). Since each part of the brain is connected to and represents a part of the body, brain and body are one, and the body is the brain as much as the brain is the body, if you see what I mean. (as an example, trauma in the brain, having caused neuronal atrophy in that area can be healed by touching and stimulating the body part it is connected to, which will create new connections).

I’m pretty sure that we’d have loads more healing, psychic, telepathic and other transcendental superpowers were we not crippled from birth by men, and that men have reduced our powers generation after generation of genocide.

It also means that only women would have had the necessary brain power to create language, writing, art, science, houses, pottery, and invent all the beautiful things of humanity. There is also increasing evidence that women are responsible for it throughout the history of humanity. Digging a bit deeper into the background of male history also attests of the fact that women have systematically been the inventors and creators while men stole their knowledge and skills, erased women’s motherhood of it and turned the knowledge and skills into weapons against women and life. The only thing women haven’t invented is men’s sexual violence and male destruction in all its forms, and patriarchy.

on the importance of thinking, transformation and metaphysics of liberation.

Or where has thinking gone? Why are so few feminists interested in THINKING (and writing those thoughts down for other women to read)? It’s interesting to notice that while women are made to feel no longer qualified enough to listen to other women’s suffering, to relate it to our own, to support each other and see what we can do for ourselves, at the same time discussions about how men’s violence affects us has been mostly wiped out of feminism as a regular or central practice.

Feminism has indeed become much reduced to tedious, boring organisational meetings, institutional work or media campaigning, hierarchical and professionalised, father-state-controlled-and-paid women’s aid, conferences or lecturing, planning one action after the other up until exhaustion. All have in common that there is very little profound thinking, horizontal talking about our lives and furthering radical feminist thought, because it’s either focused on changing men in male-defined, energy-sucking ways, based on male top-down talk modes or patronizing “victim-helping” from a supposed “non-victim” or “non oppressed” position.

So we have this situation where talking about how men’s violence affects us has been confined to a secluded, professionalised, depoliticised and unequal ‘therapeutic” relationship, which leads to feminists dissociating their feminist-doing from their own lives, as if we didn’t need freeing any more, as if we no longer needed to decolonise from men’s mindbindings and had reached a certain point where our only task is to free other women through LOTS OF ACTIONS. Shouting, picketing, demonstrating, lobbying, campaigning, conferencing, etc. More, more, more, we just haven’t tried hard enough!

In a conversation I recently had with a friend, she noted that women new to feminism were typically action-focused. “What is the next action you’re doing”, “when is the next action?”. It’s action, action, action everywhere, and the punchier the action, the better. But only after several months of talking with women, when the absolute horror of patriarchy dawns on them, do they gradually grow out of their action frenzy, and learn to value the profundity of talking to women more. Still another friend made a similar observation about nowadays generation of younger feminists: “all they want is action, but they never stop to think about the meaning and consequences of what they are doing, of what they’re fighting against and whether it’s the best way to do it. They just don’t think any more.”

Today, if we want to talk to and think with women, we often only have the choice between seeing a psychotherapist, or if we’re lucky, there might be a “talking group” in the style of alcoholics anonymous, reserved for “victims of sexual violence” (implying that they’re a minority of unlucky women). They are group talking sessions coordinated by professional or institutionalised “non-victims” who aren’t there to share their own experiences with other women and grow from this exchange, but positioned as (sometimes but not always feminist) non-victims helping the victims, from above. The point of it is for the designated victims to get better and then carry on with their own lives, not to move each other towards freeing themselves from men’s control and men’s violence. And frankly, they sound dull and dreary. And it’s all deeply antifeminist.

I was told recently that yesterday’s feminists over-confidence in the power of CR was a massive mistake, that we should quit this abstract thought mode to focus more on concrete, to-the-ground REAL stuff such as providing women with shelters away from abusers, get women out of danger etc. But pitting reality against consciousness couldn’t be a bigger mistake IMO. Herstory demonstrates that once women stopped talking to each other to concentrate only on “more serious action” and male-style organising, women began to drift away from liberation to revert back into men’s traps. This is the reformist, male-changing trap. Much has been said on the evils of reformism, look at FCM’s place and read S. Johnson for more.

Women talking and thinking together, raising each other’s consciousness by seeking and discovering the truth about men and our condition in men’s world, is the ONLY thing that ever led thousands of women to break free from their cages all at once. Nothing else has ever transformed so dramatically and profoundly women’s lives. Men have never dreaded anything more than women talking together, realising our condition and acting upon each of our realisations. We need to remember that ALL of our radical feminist theory and writing, the theory that we read today and which continues to spark and move so many women, arose from women talking and thinking together. That the entire women’s movement arose from this. Because it IS movement – metamorphosis. It is the movement of constant intermingling, spinning thoughtstreams of women, bonding and deep exchange, of persistently growing consciousness and change/evolution.

It’s always good to take a look at the original sources again:

Consciousness-raising was seen as both a method for arriving at the truth and a means for action and organizing.  It was a means for the organizers themselves to make an analysis of the situation, and also a means to be used by the people they were organizing and who were in turn organizing more people.  Similarly, it wasn’t seen as merely a stage in feminist development which would then lead to another phase, an action phase, but as an essential part of the overall feminist strategy. [bolds mine]

See how different it is from today? Today collective and personal awakening, if it’s considered at all, is far more likely to be perceived as an initial stage to be gotten over. Once a certain shift in consciousness is experienced, the assumption is made that she now “knows it all or enough anyway” and thus settles at this point to go no further. There is a much male-fostered, rewarded and even harshly-imposed return into stasis, institutionalisation, refusal to go further, repetitive thoughtless action mode. The movement then fails to persist over time and it loses its essential transformative power.

We … saw [consciousness-raising] as an ongoing and continuing source of theory and ideas for action. [still the same source]

And this, which was also quoted in FCM’s article on the importance of thinking and writing:

MINDLESS ACTIVISM

The call for “action” can sometimes be a way of preventing understanding — and preventing radical action.  Action comes when our experience is finally verified and clarified.  There is tremendous energy in consciousness-raising, an enthusiasm generated for getting to the truth of things, finding out what’s really going on.  Learning the truth can lead to all kinds of action and this action will lead to further truths. […] In fact, part of why consciousness-raising is the radical approach is that women are not coming to take immediate action.

[…] In the end the group decided to raise its consciousness by studying women’s lives by topics like childhood, jobs, motherhood, etc.  We’d do any outside reading we wanted to and thought was important.  But our starting point for discussion, as well as our test of the accuracy of what any of the books said, would be the actual experience we had in these areas.  One of the questions…we would bring at all times to our studies would be — who and what has an interest in maintaining the oppression in our lives.

Consciousness and awakening is at the core of our liberation potential and power. Consciousness precedes all action, and by action I mean transformation in our reality. Consciousness becomes and is the action, but the action cannot supersede or precede it – it can only flow with or along thought transformation. Consciousness centredness also means that any action can be food for thought, insight or new ideas and thus continually generate new actions, too.

Awakening and consciousness is different from positive thinking, intellectualism or abstraction, because the latter is either wishful thinking / dissociation (in the case where women are required to deny the reality of violence and adapt to it) or a mind-on-reality enforcement pattern, based on male rapism and semen-tic emission. Men have a thought in mind, and for it to become reality they have to impress it on their living surroundings by violating them – because it inevitably entails treating surrounding life as a permanent shallow, dead canvas, battered to fit into their rigid mind schemes – schemes which are inherently unnatural and separated from life. A shift in consciousness does not require an internal-to-external emission, impression or enforcement, because it already IS an experience of transformation in which mind, body and spirit (the elements) are one. Our reality gradually transforms as we transform, it is a natural, inevitable and harmonious process. Harmonious, meaning that no unnatural authority, machinery or effort is required to experience the change of reality, as it is VISCERAL and NECESSARY. Necessary in the sense that it will necessarily happen over time, as doing integrates into being.

To talk of my experience, there is a very physical aspect to this shift, movement or sparking. The first and most overwhelming awakening I experienced actually felt like a bolt of lightening had struck through my head and uncluttered the calcified, buried and glued parts of my brain. Uncluttered is maybe too mild a word, rather it felt as if my soul had burst free, igniting and reuniting the dormant, isolated synapses in myself through a stream of light: everything suddenly made sense. It didn’t happen overnight but gradually, I wouldn’t be able to give a particular point in time – I know it lasted several months, maybe even a year. But I clearly remember this distinctive feeling. It wasn’t all joyful. I was first overcome by a shrieking, horrified rage at discovering and seeing for the first time with unfettered eyes the unlimited genocidal crimes of men committed against ourselves and our kind, and the whole world crumbled down. There was this constant scream. My first coming home to woman-identification and to the awareness of belonging to women as an oppressed group, was a howl of despair and anger at seeing the bleak, ravaged wasteland that men had left behind them. I suddenly felt the pang of pain of men’s violations in full blow, as my anaesthesia faltered away and I reincarnated in my body. So began my gradual return to life, the journey into radical feminism and bonding with women, which of course isn’t without many obstacles. And I can tell that this shift has led to many deep transformations and transforming decisions and actions in my life that would have been impossible had I not experienced it. And the movement never stops really.

As Mary Daly says in Pure Lust, apparent microshifts in consciousness have the power to bring macrochanges in our reality, in women’s world and possibly the universe. The power yielded by moving ourselves and other women along with us is incredible. This is what I understand by the physics, or metaphysics of liberation – meta because it isn’t just a physical process, it transcends the physical realm. It reunites our male-fragmented parts and reintegrates ourselves to natural life movement. (Finally I get what Sonia Johnson meant by metaphysics!! this is how I understand it at least, I don’t know if that’s what she meant.) Anyway please read pure lust by Mary Daly, especially the last chapters on friendship and happiness and movement, it’s amazingly refreshening and tells a lot about the meta-physics of liberation (ie the experience of transformation on all levels).

Some reflexions on therapeutism and reading “changing our minds”

I would really recommend to read the book by Celia Kitzinger and Rachel Perkings, Changing our Minds; Lesbian Feminism and Psychology – a critique of the influence of psychology in lesbian feminist communities.

index

Psychological culture creeps insidiously into our behaviours, discussions and language without us even being aware of it, especially because it appears as a caring, nurturing and self-protective approach to relationships with women. Before I read that book, I was already very weary of psychologists, knew that it’s part of men’s global genocidal scheme and anti-woman repression, that its intent is to depoliticise men’s violence, erase the evidence of men’s crimes on women’s psyches, revert the responsibility of the atrocities, isolate women from one another, put victims back in perpetrator’s hands and finally prevent women from simply talking about their experiences to other women, putting the dots together and becoming feminist. I also hated the fact that psychology paralyses so much of women’s aids and feminist sectors, where therapists are treated as the new saviour gods who will “fix” women of their pesky victimisation problems that they keep getting sucked into.

But Changing our minds took me one step further into making me see how professionalised therapy was inherently wrong and part of the antifeminist backlash, that there’s no way you can make a psychotherapy be feminist. It also struck me to discover how so many words various radfems and I use actually come from the male psychocontingent, and in that sense psychology’s infiltration went much deeper than I thought.

Both writers were students, workers and academics in psychology and know a hell of a lot about it all. They explained very well the different antifeminist intents and functions of male psychology and how it is based on an unethical, unequal power-over relationship between the therapist and the therapee, even if the intents may initially be feminist. They also demonstrate how problematic it is when the only ones we trust to talk about the most intimate parts of our life are ones we pay for being there, with the superficial parts of ourselves reserved to our “non-paid friends”. To paraphrase their points, it fosters the belief that sharing our distress with friends will overburden them and that we lack specialised skills in order to support ourselves and friends too. It takes away from us the power to support each other and be experts on our own emotions and experiences, and entitles therapists as the only ones capable of understanding and naming what we are going through. In fact women need feminist / understanding friends, not therapists, and as feminists we also need to learn how to deal with our distress and trauma collectively and politically. Let me quote the following passages:

Is lesbian friendship … so “limited” and circumscribed that we need to pay therapists to fulfil ordinary human needs for understanding, comfort and support? What therapists are actually providing is prosthetic friendship – an artificial and unequal friendship that is paid for. (p. 84). … With the institutionalisation of therapy, we cease to expect to have to deal with each others’ distress: it is consigned to the private realm of therapy. This deprives our communities of a whole realm of experience, deprives us of the strength and ability to support one another, and deprives us of the understanding the context and meaning of our distress. … Therapy privatises pain and severs connections between us, replacing friendship in community with private therapist client relationship. (p.88)

This struck a chord with me because I do get frustrated when friends tell me they need a therapist because they want to talk about their childhood trauma. Whether I’m the person she would like to talk to about it or not is one thing, but it bothers me that this friend has more trust in a stranger she’s paying, than in a close friend who, as a feminist, understands the workings and effects of men’s violence way better than any therapist does. And it bothers me all the more that she’s going to waste money on that. I just hate how psychotherapists have become the new miracle-makers and one-solution-for-all tricksters in which we are supposed to have blind faith. As with every male field, men strip us from our autonomy and access to resources, destroy our ancestral and communal knowledge, proclaim themselves exclusive experts, reserve the monopoly of this “knowledge” or resource to a selected elite and then enforce our dependency on their lethal, toxic injections for our survival – which eventually kills us off, but does so slowly enough that we don’t see it comes from them. The whole point of psychology is to maintain our captivity to men.

The frustrating bit about that book however is that the political alternative they propose to privatised, depoliticised therapy is reformist activism such as picketing and demonstrating, which isn’t a very satisfying response either. Also, in their refusal to pyschologise women’s emotional pain, they sometimes go to another extreme of considering pain, distress or despair as a natural aspect of life that we should accept as normal and just do with; rather than seeing it as mostly (if not always) a natural consequence to violence and abuse. This “that’s the way life is” position is depoliticising and disempowering too. And irritating. Last, through their rejection of psychology’s pathologisation of women’s pain, they appear to reject the notion altogether that women are wounded by men’s violence and do need to recover from those wounds. In that sense they reject the notion of healing altogether. Yet politicising oppression shouldn’t be cause for denying the reality of the different emotional and psychological (as well as physical) harms it causes, and the need for not only getting away or stopping the source of harm (men, men’s violence) but also recovering from it too. If someone breaks your leg, you will need a plaster for a certain amount of time after that and some amount of care and rest, so your arm can heal. In the same way it seems logical to me that if we were violated and humiliated for years, we’d also need time to recover from that.

So I do think it’s possible to affirm that there’s nothing wrong with women, women don’t need to be ‘fixed’ from the inside by psychogenocidal surgeons and mind rapists, and at the same time acknowledge the effects of men’s atrocities committed against us – that we may have special needs for care (whichever they may be) as a result of this. Men’s violence cause a whole lot of chronic physical problems and various forms of PTSD in us, and we do need to be knowledgeable about these physical and psychic effects of men’s violence in order to help recovery – as long as it’s from a radical feminist perspective of course.

thoughts on feeling our way to freedom

Despite deciding consciously that I would always avoid men and male things the best I could and only interact with women on a close basis, to protect myself as much as i could, i realised a few weeks ago how still my thoughts and my life revolved so much around men, because making a constant conscious effort to avoid men still meant men were occupying my mental space, the threat of their violence always looming in the back (or front) of my mind). Obviously men are never very far, and if they’re not physically there, they spook and infiltrate every aspect of our lives (to use a Mary Dalian word) with their death infrastructures. Reminders of men and their system are everywhere in nearly everything that surrounds us, especially if you live in a man-made flat our house in a man-made town.

It just struck me, that despite my efforts in being only with women, talking to women, reading women’s books and articles, listening to women, and focusing on feminism, in fact so much of feminism revolved around men – either understanding them, their violence or the effects of their violence on us. talking about them in some way or another. Being exposed to stories of their violence, gory details of their necrophilia, their raping of women and the earth and living beings. Which is perfectly normal given that we are the most colonised people, or THE colonised people in fact, and this is a consequence of colonisation, and we have to talk about them to untangle ourselves from the effects of their violence on us. But it struck me to think about what my world would look like without men, and what struck me even more was to realise how little I had actually thought about it, my mind being so occupied about getting away from men. I often have the thought “oh if only all men could disappear”, but actually imagining myself now in a world without men and without ever thinking about men, without having to think about them at all, I don’t do so often, let alone feeling what it would be like. I realised once again how i had structured my life around something (understanding men and patriarchy and protecting myself from it) which was of course necessary and I don’t think there’s any other starting point than beginning to identify to the source of violence/danger and protecting ourselves from it. But in the same time i realised how this heavy investment had me invested into not discovering my freedom in ways that made me let go of thinking about men at all. AT ALL. It felt forbidden.

All of a sudden a strong feeling of relief came to me, it completely brightened my mind. It contrasted so much to my constant survival strategy building. And this sudden contrast of feeling brought me to some realisations. I realised that I spend most of my day thinking about how best I could escape having to work, escape contact with men, escape the town while being able to survive, eat and have a place to live. Fearing one day that men will destroy the little I have managed to put up for survival. Looking for solutions. How will I get in touch with women around me and create networks given that we are so separated from one another. How will I find a male-free space so we can meet or gather or be together. How could I create a better world for myself and for women. Should I engage in this interaction, activity or organisation or not, is it safe, is it energy sucking or dangerous. But most of all, so much time, energy and anxiety wasted planning survival and protection. My life in this sense still revolves completely around men, maybe not in such obvious ways as it would if I worked for them or lived with a boyfriend or husband, or were in prostitution or owned directly by a man one way or another, but still.

I realised that so rarely did i or could i be with women or with myself and just imagine men never existed, and not think about them, fear that they would violate my integrity, or think about survival in their world at all. Not think about what I would have to do next and that I would have to do it soon and worry about not being able to do it, and about how I would survive if i wanted to keep doing it. Because in a world without men there is no need to accomplish anything in any deadline, we never have to worry about not doing something in time, if just eating and sleeping and eating preparation. And I love that.

No guilt of not “doing” something useful for feminism (or any kind of work) because we wouldn’t need to work to survive, nor would we need feminism as a means of survival because men wouldn’t exist, our world would be purely female and gynocentric and naturally female-bonding. We’d BE there, there is no getting to feminism because we’d be it. We would just do we what we enjoy and do it so long as it brings us joy. No activities save those related to eating and shelter would have to be finished because finishing isn’t the point. We can just let time flow and obey to our bodily needs without guilt, too. Sleep when we’re tired, eat when we’re hungry, walk or swim or play when we’re in need for moving. Communicate with the elements, the plants, animals, beings and the stars. We wouldn’t have to worry about our needs because everything around us would be in abundance, there would be no scarcity. We wouldn’t have to worry about being lonely or crave to see friends because there would be no violence, therefore no trauma-bonding, no worrying about our protection, no being on constant alert for toxicity, no nightmares at night, no anxiety or PTSD or dissociation. We wouldn’t have to worry about how best to avoid men. We wouldn’t have to spend all of our time untangling men’s violence. Interaction would always be invigorating and sustaining, never energy-sucking. We wouldn’t ever have to depend on technology to communicate, it wouldn’t even cross our minds to use such mean and drug-like communication forms. We would live in beautiful houses that we would have built ourselves in ways that fit our natural surroundings and ourselves. We would be in constant contact with the earth, the trees, the skies, wind and water or sea, there wouldn’t be this numbing sensory deprivation we experience every day.

Most importantly, a free world would be one where there is a complete absence of fear. Nor do we fear the night. The night brings its richness and softness and security to sleep.

The possibilities are so infinite. Suddenly my perspective of death changed too and the thoughts that came to me was that a free world is one where we aren’t afraid of death, and death is a natural part of life, and it doesn’t lead to annihilation of our soul as men want us to believe. Annihilation is denying our existence, through rape, torture, murder – destruction for destructions’ sake. But it is not death per se. Death of a beloved person wouldn’t be so traumatising because we would appreciate the time we spent together and accept that she has simply changed from one life form to another. Because we wouldn’t depend on any one person for our emotional or physical survival, because we would live in a state of abundance, where our needs would be met. I remembered that when I was younger I wasn’t afraid of death at all neither mine or the death of other people, and i knew that those who died around me (if they did) went somewhere safe. And I remembered too that when I was younger I was far more connected to my senses and to the elements around me. Hearing the noise of the leaves through the wind and smelling the grass could give me incredible and lasting joy. So many things that would have been unthinkable to me then, I have been groomed to tolerate now.

So far I’ve recognised a standard of free feeling, which is the sensation I have after swimming in the sea, especially if I do that regularly. And contact with women who are the freest women I know has a similar feeling too. It’s invigorating and not energy-sucking. It’s life sustaining, and calm, serene. It’s not intense but subtle. There is no feeling of emptiness afterwards, but of integrity and strength.

I’ve also recognised that between the moment I take the decision to free my self from something I’ve identified as harmful and the moment I actually feel this freedom from it, there is a time lapse. The body integrates it slowly but surely, like a chameleon that changes colour, it’s very slight and barely perceptible at first and then all of a sudden you’re all blue and it’s perfectly blended into you and it feels right. Things come naturally.

So at that point I realised also how I still felt guilty at the idea of not thinking about men at all, as if I’d betrayed radical feminists, because so much of radical feminism has been about men after all, even though it’s to say the truth about men and about what men do to women. And I’m not saying that’s bad, because this is what frees our consciousness from men’s imposed mindbinding. It will be necessary to say the truth about men and their violence so long as they exist I think. But perhaps one shortcut to radical feminism or freedom is just being with women and with the elements and enjoying our connection to each other, where men don’t exist in the past, present or future of this moment or even in the idea of the “after” this moment, absent in every form – especially in thought.

Obviously all these realisations and thoughts made me think about my readings of Sonia Johnson and the discussions at FCM’s about the importance of feeling free. So after maybe a few months of thinking and experimenting personally about it, these are the first colours that have appeared to me, the first rays of sensations I’ve blended to and written in anarchic form.

Radical feminist, you say?

I have been quite a few years now around various “radical feminist communities”, enough to notice that the majority of women who claim to be radical feminist, lesbian feminist or radical lesbian feminist today don’t in fact get anywhere near the ethical, pro-woman and anti-violence behaviour they claim to believe in or embody. They are simply not the radical feminist or radical lesbian feminist community they claim to represent, but a sad parody of it, and actively prevent women’s liberation from men, from men’s control, men’s violence and parasitism.

This is a difficult topic and a difficult post, but the reason I venture to talk about this is because as radical feminists I believe we have a moral duty to take a stand against harmful behaviours within groups that claim to be radfem, and make it easier for us to identify it and disengage from it. It’s not about criticising women’s individual behaviour but seeing it as politicised destruction of female truth-sayers and male-organised erasure of radical feminism, the transformative and liberating kind. I want to take women seriously and hold each other responsible and accountable for our actions, and also want to be truthful about what represents itself as the radfem movement today and what consequences it has on women, so it can be discussed.

When we look at the more radical spectrum of feminism (this excludes the funfem, queer, pomo, liberal, conservative kind), within this range there are still quite a few ideologies to be found that are toxic to radical feminism. What’s confusing is that the women who buy into those ideologies claim to be radfem, which makes the phallacies more difficult to spot if we’re not used to it. They will say some things that make sense or that borrow from radical feminist theory (anti-rape, anti male violence, anti pornstitution, anti-queer, etc.) yet some aspects will feel like a false note, will feel wrong, empty, plastic, thought-terminating. Amongst those ‘plastic’ or ‘potted’ feminisms (terms coined by Mary Daly) we can find liberal influenced feminisms and reformist activism (the men can change trope), male-friendly feminism, “gender roles/dom-sub as the problem” feminism, radical lesbianism, pro-PIV or pro-relationships with men, intersectionality, refusal to see men as inherently violent – just to name a few.

I’m not going to go into those different ideologies specifically and how they trap women into murky male quicksands because it would take pages to take them down separately and it isn’t the point here.

The fact is that all those different groups have in common the following:

  • they claim to be radical feminist / lesbian radical feminist;

  • they repeat or produce key radical feminist ideas (anti rape, anti porn, anti prostitution, anti male violence against women, sometimes even anti-PIV or anti men)

  • but their analyses are partially flawed or truncated or obfuscate some of the truth, whichever the male ideology it is intoxicated with;

  • The women have reached a certain feminist consciousness but freeze at a given point because of a perceived interest in doing so (status, regognition, publicity, hierarchy, group inclusion, any male carrot)

  • continually forwarding, developing and improving radical feminist thought and action is only secondary (or inexistant) to their aims;

  • In practice, their relationships are ridden with violence which prevents women from moving, and they have to deny this violence in order to keep hold on their male carrot (whichever it is). This ‘freeze’ state is thus maintained through violence and brainwashing.

I’m going to focus on the last point because that’s the most important here. It’s not enough to dislike men, or be anti-pornstitution and anti-lots of things, or to throw some theory or quotes here and there. The base of radical feminism – before we even look at ways of understanding, naming and explaining men’s violence, how it affects us and how it works on many different levels – is to identify the danger and get away from danger. May I repeat: to get away from danger – whichever the danger, from PIV to physical and verbal abuse to mind control to exploitation, etc. If you identify actions that endanger your integrity and expose women to violence, our responsibility is to get away from it, and if we can, to encourage other women to get away from it and identify the source of danger – with all the deprogramming it may entail. Radical feminism, at its core, is about ending all forms of abuse against women and in our own lives, whether it is exercised by men or by male-colonised and mind-controlled women.

This is basic radical feminism and also very basic, common-sense ethics and human decency. When we see abuse in our groups, we need to 1) always empathise and side with the (female) victim, including ourselves, and refuse to identify to the abuser or give excuses for it – and 2) disengage as soon as possible from the abusive woman / group if she/they refuse to stop (with men it’s different, they are inherently abusive so we need to get away from them regardless). If the abuse doesn’t stop, there is no point in negotiating because she will continue to use you for her abuse as long as you are in her reach.

So: side with the victim, cut all proximity and contact with the abusive woman or group if she/they continue despite being warned, and warn other women about the abusive behaviour so they don’t get trapped into it either, to prevent new victims to be drawn in. This might mean leaving the whole group if the others happen to side with the abuser and try to shut you up for calling it out. It might be a difficult decision but it’s a necessary one, because it means leaving an unsafe, dangerous environment where the costs of staying are far too important, regardless of the perceived benefits. The world is big, possibilities are infinite, it is a lie and a reversal that your life and sanity depends on this group. And if it’s me being abusive, I need to stop immediately and thereby try to understand why I need to inflict pain on others or to control others, what pain or fear am I trying to escape by doing so, so I won’t repeat the violence again and again.

There is simply no change and no liberation possible if we continue to expose ourselves to some form of threat or violence, whichever the form of violence. It is antithetical to freedom, life-terminating, psychically and physically maiming. So at it’s most minimal, the point of radical feminism is to rid our lives not only from men but from all male instituted forms of relating based on life destruction, trauma, sadism and parasitism. This doesn’t disappear magically just because women get together in a same physical space. It requires deep, dedicated and continual change from the way men groomed us to be, so we can experience freedom.

Now back to the last point of the list. I said that the vast majority of those claiming to be radfem and representing the “radfem movement” aren’t, in fact, radfem. Yes. And really, the most striking aspect of this is the observation that in practice, their relationships are ridden with violence. I realised this in group after group, with disbelief (or not). To me the presence of interwoman violence is the most important factor to look at when judging whether I can trust a woman to be radfem or not, and it is also a matter of personal survival and personal safety – I can’t afford to expose myself to more destruction. And women who condone, excuse, deny violence, side with abusers or exercise some forms of violence themselves and especially refuse to stop when told, are not radfem and actively prevent women’s liberation. I’m saying this because it is important that women realise this and don’t repeat the same mistakes and stop doing them.

The kind of violence or disruption I have witnessed include:

1) the bystanders:

  • Basically, they never side with the victims, rationalise the abuse and refuse to take a stand against it, identify to the abusers, continue to engage with them in spite of lots of evidence that they are destructive, deny the facts, etc. Subtle variants are:

  • to indirectly or unwittingly drag other women into unsafe or abusive situations simply because they themselves are incapable of getting away from it. This is why bystanders aren’t safe to be around with either if they show no willingness to change.

  • refuse to listen to the women victims when they say they were abused / badly treated by other women

  • remain silent or “neutral” to maintain an imaginary sisterhood, which equates to siding with the abuse and abuser

  • they’ll admit the abuse happened but won’t accept to see XYZ woman’s behaviour as chronically dysfunctional or toxic and therefore side with the abuser.

  • they’ll admit that they themselves were badly treated but deny that it’s abusive, or minimise the harmful impact it had on them and rationalise that the benefits exceed the costs – therefore they can’t identify with the other victims

  • they don’t accept the abuse happened so they will deny the abuse altogether and try to erase it from their minds by silencing the victims (accusing them of being divisive, of lying, exaggerating, trashing, of being unsisterly, etc.).

Bystanders form the majority of the non-movement and are in large part responsible for the undermining and sabotaging of radical feminism (or maybe, should I say, responsible for nothing else but the fraud of their non-movement, because once you disengage from them, they don’t sabotage your work any more because they don’t have access to you). Responsibility not in a punishment or guilt-tripping way but in terms of responsibility to stop, disengage and take an ethical stand against the abuse and disruption. So few women take that responsibility in the “community”, it’s shocking (or maybe unsurprising?).

The essential dynamic to understand with bystanders is that it works very much like victims of cult groups (which does mean that the groups in question function like cults). Radical feminism is perceived as a status or source of recognition that can be gained, lost or competed for (as opposed to a way of being and thinking regardless of where and with whom we are), and the group or the leaders of the group perceived as holding monopoly over delivering such “status” or recognition. The point is to “move up” to the leaders / and stay close to the group to continue to benefit from this recognition or magic status, or access to resources or audience, or whatever carrot. The leaders take advantage of their own scarcity as “radfems” (scarcity which is man-made) and of other women’s emotional deprivation to reinforce their dependency on the group and gain control. A common tactic to reinforce dependency is to alternate between love-bombing and abuse or domineering behaviour.

Victims will believe – to different degrees of course – that this group is their only means for emotional survival, that without this group there is no hope for women’s liberation, nothing else exists, they would be alone with nobody to help them and will suffer terribly (exclusion can be perceived as a matter of life and death, especially when it touches on trauma of childhood emotional abuse, this is not to be minimised). Their fear of being excluded or of losing the perceived benefits secures their loyalty to the group or leaders no matter how unethical, perverse, disruptive to radical feminism or abusive the leaders are. The bystanders must forsake their critical thinking and belief in their perceptions and be in denial of their own pain and suffering to remain in that group.

This is of course profoundly anti-radfem, and goes against women’s freedom. I believe we have a responsibility to stop supporting abusive behaviour, or if some don’t want to stop, to be at least a bit coherent and stop calling it radical feminist. We also have a responsibility to stop calling the bystanders and abusers of the non-movement, radical feminist, because doing so is participating in their fraud. It indirectly supports the destructive power of some women over others, allowing them to usurp radical feminism to recruit more victims, putting women in danger and actively preventing women’s liberation from men.

2) the abusers

  • They are a smaller part of the non-movement and do the lion’s share of abusing and terrorising women, and are usually chronic abusers. I have witnessed such behaviours as:

  • Generally functioning only in power-over modes, and driving out those who refuse to submit.

  • Punishment of women who exercise individual, critical thinking

  • Alternating between abuse, threats, and lovebombing

  • Destroying, pillaging, exploiting, stealing women’s work in radical feminism, especially from women with no perceived status

  • Contempt for women’s time, involvement and safety, extreme poor planning that strains or endangers women and saps energy

  • Outing women and compromising their anonymity

  • Economic control over women, or using economic resources to gain control over women

  • Domineering behaviour, control of all processes of organisation at the expense of the group or group decisions, underhanded or under the table decision-making processes (for instance where the real decisions are taken outside of the meetings by a small minority and the collective meetings are merely used as a facade)

  • Strong involvement in male-modelled politicking, careerism, activism, all based on male modes of power-over, control, competition, hierarchy, scarcity, sacrifice, dissociation

  • taking over groups as a form of ‘coup’, and purging of all opponents

  • Purging of women from the network who threaten their monopoly over xyz resource and control over the group, doing everything to prevent their access to resources or contacts.

  • Pathological lying, chronic trolling

  • Constant instrumentalisation of women to achieve dubious ends, and then discarding them if they are no longer of use / treating women only as useful means for ends

  • Invasive behaviours (for instance blackmailing)

  • Aggressive verbal / psychological behaviours: shouting at women, treating women like shit, insulting women until they cry, demeaning women, mocking them, humiliations, verbal attacks and public libel/accusation, guilt-tripping, gaslighting, manipulation and deceit, terrorising, causing panick attacks, etc.

  • reprisals against women who denounce or name the harmful behaviours (usually by creating alliances against the name-caller, isolating her and silencing her).

  • Securing of certain key positions, alliances and resources so they can continue to dominate and abuse with impunity.

  • Sexual objectifying of women

  • Sexually invasive and aggressive behaviours, including sexual assault

  • Abuse within a lesbian couple, including physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

Disgusting list ey? These are horrible behaviours yet they are the norm in the ‘radical feminist’ non-movement. And those are the behaviours that the bystanders support. Sad picture. There’s not that much more to say about the abusers really, most has been said about how they organise their monopoly and control over women in the bystanders’ part. The most important thing to remember though is that abusive women rarely change in a fortnight, especially if they still have access to their victims. Unless there’s evidence that she can both listen to the victim and change her behaviour, that is, put an end to the harm in a short amount of time (because sometimes the former is possible but not the latter) the best thing to do both for the victims and for the abusers is to cut all ties with them, never to contact them again, and disengage from those who support the abuser, too.

It’s pretty simple in fact, and it changes your life! I personally feel much freer now that I’m not tied any more to those from the non-movement. I can tell you that non-abusive, non-dominating relationships between women are perfectly feasible and it takes you very far, it’s wonderful. And no more wasted time and energy reacting to the endless soul-destroying and life-sucking non-activity. The possibilities are so much more infinite.

To conclude, it is our responsibility to refuse to name destructive groups or behaviour as radical feminist, even if they claim to be so or are longstanding ‘radfems’, and to be very rigorous in our definitions of radical feminism. This isn’t about hurting women’s feelings and excluding women (from what?) but about being coherent between what we say and do, and acting ethically. It’s taking our liberation seriously and refusing to live in a world of violence and insecurity. It doesn’t mean we should all be perfect at once, but that we should strive to refuse violence and act on it when we see it in other women or ourselves – all women are capable of doing this. Women aren’t stupid, we know when things feel or are wrong or not. If we claim to be radfem when our behaviour says otherwise, it’s exactly like abusive parents who tell children not to do something while doing it themselves. It completely discredits the intended message, the messenger, and it’s lying. It is of no use at all, except to prevent women from accessing radical feminism. For those who think I’m harsh, well, what I find harsh is all the abuse and tolerance of abuse in the so-called radfem community, the harm it does to women.

 

* I thank all the women with whom I’ve had discussions about this, it helped me see everything with much more clarity. Thanks to Delphyne for putting the word ‘bystander’ to the secondary group of damage-supporters.


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