Posts Tagged 'Radical feminism'

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.

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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.

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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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