Saturday, 12 July 2008

Thoughts on Men, Oppression, and Sisters

Why do (most) men have to be the way they are? That's a question I used to ask myself when I was a little younger and abused by them.

Why do we sisters sometimes have doubts about the future? Why do we sisters sometimes lose our strength?

I mean. . . Where do I start?

Few men are interested feminism in the first place. Most men on this earth haven't even got any interest in any kind of feminism whatsoever, let alone radical feminism.

There are times I'm strong at hiding my deepest feelings about men and oppression, especially sexual oppression.

I mean, there are times when I'm very optimistic. That is when I'm happy about having learned the truth about what's happening around me, what is wrong with this world and how we, radical feminists, can advocate for real progressive change.

I'm glad to have discovered radical feminism and I will always be. Few women ever get the chance to even know it exists, and, quite honestly, I had lived 26 years of my life without even knowing such a truly radical movement for change existed.

And there are other times, like right now, when I just want to scream and cry. There is such an incredible amount of oppression on this planet (that patriarchy causes) that I just want to stop hiding my deepest feelings.

I am revealing them now:

Will all this ever stop? We, women, do share a common condition. We constantly live in oppression and fear of male violence.

We, radical feminists, believe that masculinity is a social construct. We believe that rape, child sexual abuse, battery, the pornography use, the prostitution of millions and millions of women & girls are not inevitable facts of life.

We instead believe that men are human beings, just like us, but that they have been culturally trained to repress whatever feelings they have in common with us (although it doesn't always work). Men are routinely socialized to be tough and not to show their sensitivity (too much).

We also believe that rape, child sexual abuse, battery, the pornography use, the prostitution of millions and millions of women & girls happen because men have had such a masculine or hyper-masculine socialization that makes them do these horrible things.

However, I fear that some of my radical feminist sisters might have already thought about the very same thing that crosses my mind. That is, because men are what they've become, due to millennia of patriarchy, what if there is no hope for change? What are we going to have to do? Consider that the problem lies in the men? And I think this idea is awful because such statement is somehow underlain by rotten "biological" explanation.

As Andrea Dworkin, a feminist who has always been demonized and misrepresented by the pro-pornography lobby, once stated:

The vital question is: are we to accept their world view of a moral polarity that is biologically fixed, genetically or hormonally or genitally (or whatever organ or secretion or molecular particle they scapegoat next) absolute; or does our own historical experience of social deprivation and injustice teach us that to be free in a just world we will have to destroy the power, the dignity, the efficacy of this one idea above all others? [. . .]

. . . the price we pay [in believing biological ideology] is that we become carriers of the disease we must cure. [. . .]

It is shamefully easy for us to enjoy our own fantasies of biological omnipotence while despising men for enjoying the reality of theirs. And it is dangerous--because genocide begins, however improbably, in the conviction that classes of biological distinction indisputably sanction social and political discrimination. [. . .]

What I mean to say is that, if we seriously start believing that the problem lies in the male biological sex, we lose. Our radical ideas, our progressive belief of gender as being a social construct is completely lost.

I mean, yes, men do oppress us.

Men do hate us in a particular way that they do not want to admit.

Men do objectify us.

Men do want to see us submit to them.

Men do spread our legs, grab our arms painfully tightly, pull our hair, bruise our thighs, make our eyes water, etc.

Men do imagine us everyday saying No but meaning Yes or saying Yes & meaning Yes to any possible humiliation that comes from the hierarchical sex they've seen in pornography. (Whatever any other gruesome detail coming from their pornographized mind I'm not going to mention here but you, sisters, know what I'm talking about.)

Men do coerce us into sexual activity.

Men do rape us.

Men do prostitute some of us to feed the demand of other men who want to buy our bodies.

Men do make pornography of some of us.

Men do beat us up.

Men do sexually abuse our children.

Yes, these are the painful realities of abuse in this world. Yes, all this happens every day.

But, you know what, sisters? No, it doesn't have to be that way.

No, no, and no!

The fact that there are some men on this earth who do not use pornography and are respectful of women proves that rape, battery, etc. are not "natural" or biological inevitabilities, no matter how many writers try to argue the opposite.

Throughout history, there have been (almost exclusively male) writers trying to "prove" that hierarchy and aggression were just unavoidable facts of life, and gosh knows how many times they've been quoted by radical feminist writers as examples of defenders of male supremacy by claiming "biological" arguments.

Sisters, I do know that men are so fucking dangerous and I totally agree with Allecto.

Yes, I'm not very optimistic when I hear a male porn user speaking that way to a young woman who'd started an anti-porn petition:

"I LIKE WATHCING GOOD BITCHES GETTING FUCKED.
THE PROBLEM IS THE SHIT ROGERS SHOWS IS ALL AMERICAN CRAP WITH THE FILTHY DIRTY AMERICAN GOOK WHORES. THE BETTER PETITION WOULD BE TO SHOW REALLY GOOD HARDCORE UNCENSORED JAPANESE PORN. THE GOOD ONES ARE: GANG RAPE BUKKAKE (COVERED IN CUM) LESBIANS BESTIALITY GANGBANGS NIGGERS FUCKING LITTLE GOOK WHORES. IF YOU SHOW WHITE BITCHES, MAKE THEM MILFS AND AMATURES" [SIC]
-- from the mouth of a john/consumer, as reported by Demonista.

This clearly shows that the secret thoughts of the porn users, which they sometimes express vividly online, are filled with misogyny and racism.

Neither do I feel optimistic when I hear about a so-called "pro-radical feminist man" (who was in fact a porn user) who sexually assaulted a woman and made pornography of her.

(However, as I have lately become a little more suspicious of male allies without necessarily writing them off, I believe, sisters that we'll seriously have to be careful in the future, try to find a way of making sure they are genuine.)

Nor do I feel hopeful when I hear about a gang-rape that was filmed by a bunch of male “bukake” fans.

And I certainly am not seeing this world other than cruel when I hear about all the rapes, the sexual coercions that are endlessly perpetrated in this pornified culture by scores of men who don't even give a shit about any type of feminism.

Nevertheless, sisters, we mustn't give up the fight. We must continue to ask for a radical change in the behavior of males. We must ask for the complete eradication of gender itself.

As Andrea Dworkin, my favorite (and so unfairly misrepresented) writer, said:

[O]nce we do not accept the notion that men are positive and women are negative, we are essentially rejecting the notion that there are men and women at all. In other words, the system based on this polar model of existence is absolutely real; but the model itself is not true. We are living imprisoned inside a pernicious delusion, a delusion on which all reality as we know it is predicated.

In my view, those of us who are women inside this system of reality will never be free until the delusion of sexual polarity is destroyed and until the system of reality based on it is eradicated entirely from human society and from human memory. This is the notion of cultural transformation at the heart of feminism. This is the revolutionary possibility inherent in the feminist struggle.

As I see it, our revolutionary task is to destroy phallic identity in men and masochistic nonidentity in women--that is, to destroy the polar realities of men and women as we now know them so that this division of human flesh into two camps--one an armed camp and the other a concentration camp--is no longer possible. Phallic identity is real and it must be destroyed. Female masochism is real and it must be destroyed. The cultural institutions which embody and enforce those interlocked aberrations--for instance, law, art, religion, nation-states, the family, tribe, or commune based on father-right--these institutions are real and they must be destroyed. If they are not, we will be consigned as women to perpetual inferiority and subjugation. [...]

Only when manhood is dead--and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it--only then will we know what it is to be free.

-- Andrea Dworkin, in The Root Cause.


I am an anarchist of the patriarchy.

I want the whole concept of manhood to die.

In the book Refusing to Be a Man, John Stoltenberg argues that males can refuse to be men and genuinely act out in favor of social equality and justice. Males should be human beings, not men.

The anti-gender ideology which underlies radical feminist politics is very simple once you grasp it: In order to create a just world where rape, battery, child sexual abuse and any form of discriminations would not exist, not only pornography, prostitution and patriarchal religions & institutions must be abolished, but gender itself, i.e. the patriarchal polar role definitions of 'men' and 'women', what it means to be "masculine" or "feminine", must be destroyed.

Sexism must be eradicated. And it will be, on the day people stop enforcing it or believing it as inevitable. It will be when males do realize that we, females are no "other species" but human beings just like them, and vice-versa.

No, sisters we mustn't say the silly excuse "the problem lies in the men", no matter how tempting this becomes when we lose hope while seeing all this violence against women not being taken truly seriously.

Instead we must carry on asking for change even if all the oppression of the world looks like it has the size of an ocean and we're trying to empty it with teaspoons, even if we feel like we're losing our strength.

Recently, I had someone telling me that I was "hysterical" (this isn't an exactly pro-woman term). But we, rad fems, have a complete passion for being angry, as our anger often suppresses our sadness or pain.

Of course, male-supremacist society particularly dislikes angry women.

But, you know what?

I don't care about sounding angry or "hysterical". I want to keep up the fight for radical change.

I wanna keep standing up and carry on asking our oppressors to stop oppressing us or stop apologizing for sexual oppression as "unavoidable".

I do know, sisters, that pro-porn women are females, just like us, who share our common condition.

But they are also the smokescreen to conceal our real proscribers, our real 'nemeses'-wannabes: the (largely) male supporters of pornography and prostitution.

The men who defend pornography and prostitution do defend female sexual slavery. They are the real guardians of the status quo. They are the ones who predominantly support the gynocides,(*) the sexual terrorisms that are called pornography and prostitution.

We must carry on exposing the harms of pornography and prostitution while arguing against "biological inevitability", which is anyway nothing but patriarchal ideology we must refute.

We must ask for men to change, to understand us and to stop hating us (whether they admit it or not).

We must ask for conversations on pornstitution to be directed toward the subject of the johns/users, who always have a 100% choice in the matter. They are the ones who feed the demand for the gynocides,(*) the sexual terrorisms that are called pornography and prostitution.

Apologists for bad things as "being natural" are people who do not want the status quo to be overthrown. They want it to be maintained.

We must be strong, sisters, and keep up the good work.

Those who try to shut us up will not succeed. They will fail. :)

No matter how small a group we are. We are a sisterhood.

One day, we'll get bigger. No matter how much time it takes.

Most women out there do not defend pornstitution and aren't comfortable with it. That is a fact. We must count on it.


(*) Gynocide, according to Dworkin, is "the systematic crippling, raping, and/or killing of women by men." (Dworkin, Our Blood, p.16) Also referring to the witch-hunt in early modern Europe. Patriarchal religion orchestrated the killing of nine million women as witches. The Malleus Maleficarum was a form of (Christian) pornography.


"Female sexual slavery is present in ALL situations where women or girls cannot change the immediate conditions of their existence; where regardless of how they got into those conditions they cannot get out; and where they are subject to sexual violence and exploitation."
-- Kathleen Barry, in Female Sexual Slavery, p. 40.

.

51 comments:

allecto said...

I'm right there with you Maggie. While it hurts to be called names I think that we have the right to speak out in whatever way we can abou the violence men inflict upon us. I myself have been called critical, judgemental and negative, and I drew the same conclusion as you, that yes, I am all of those things, but one thing I will never, never be is silent. I'd RATHER be critical, judgemental and negative of male supremacy, and be perceived by other women and men as a harpy, an evil bitch, batshit crazy etc, etc... than be silent on the atrocities that men are committing against women every day. It sickens me too much not to speak out. It sickens me too much not to speak out loudly and angrily. Men's violence is just too horrendous and sickening to ignore.

lost clown said...

Yes and yes.

Maggie Hays said...

Me too, Allecto.

Yes and yes!

h2281n said...

Maggie
I have just been watching a video given by Professor Susan Greenfield for a Women In Technology conference. Her talk was really about her views on the difficulties women face in pursuing a career in science, but she gave some very interesting insights about the role of genes (and hence the influence of gender) on how our minds work. She basically said that women and men's brains are indistinguishable physiologically, and that genes only very indirectly influence the way we think and do things, so our experiences determine what we are like much more than our gender. This I think is heartening, as it means that men are not born brutal misogynists, but the environment in which they live that makes them that way. There is hope yet!

You can watch the video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2831554154018590585&hl=en

Her talk starts about 11 minutes in and goes on for an hour or so, but Susan Greenfield is an entertaining and interesting speaker. Well worth a watch!

Love your site!
Best wishes
Helen

Debi Crow said...

I didn't call you "hysterical", what I said was I sometimes find your "hysterics" embarrassing. Meaning, usually in comments on other people's threads, the overuse of exclamation marks, repetitions etc. "Hysterics" was meant as a comment on the style of writing, not the woman. And it's a bad choice of word, I'll admit that. My criticism (which isn't even really a criticism) was for the *way* you sometimes express yourself, not *what* you are saying, which I nearly always agree with.

I have been called "hysterical" many times for being rightly angry about something and refusing to shut up about it. I call myself a "harpy" on the tagline for my blog! It is not something I would call someone else.

Does that explain it at all?

Maggie Hays said...

I'd RATHER be critical, judgemental and negative of male supremacy, and be perceived by other women and men as a harpy, an evil bitch, batshit crazy etc, etc... than be silent on the atrocities that men are committing against women every day. It sickens me too much not to speak out. It sickens me too much not to speak out loudly and angrily.

That's what I meant by "Me too, Allecto", earlier on, BTW. We do have to carry on speaking out on male violence.


My criticism (which isn't even really a criticism) was for the *way* you sometimes express yourself

Debs, I express myself as an angry survivor of abuse. And you do know what I'm talking about: Us, rad fems are survivors of male violence.

I hope, Debs, that you do realize (at least a little) that you somehow hurt my feelings during the last couple of days, but I don't want this to be a thread about that so I'll email you tonight, I promise. Debs, please wait for my email.

Everybody, please try to stay on topic as I do not want this to derail like in the comment thread I had in my previous post.

This new post here is really important to me as I'm expressing some of my deepest feelings in it. So, please, anybody who ever comments here, give feedback, questions or reactions you might have about the subject of the post, or what is generally talked about in this post.



She basically said that women and men's brains are indistinguishable physiologically, and that genes only very indirectly influence the way we think and do things, so our experiences determine what we are like much more than our gender. This I think is heartening, as it means that men are not born brutal misogynists, but the environment in which they live that makes them that way. There is hope yet!

Yeah, very excellent insights, Helen. I will check out the video you sent me. Thank you so much. :)

Men are not born that way, they are made that way.

delphyne said...

Yup, we can't stop fighting. Never give up and we will prevail in the end.

Thanks for linking to BitingBeaver's teaspoon and the ocean post Maggie. That was one of my favourites. I remember how I responded too, that my teaspoon is enormous. I think we can imagine them as big as they need to be.

You're right too that we must keep our focus on the men who hurt us and oppress us. The so-called porn wars are just a distraction to keep our eyes off who is hurting women. We don't need to be taken in by it or drawn in the pointless battles, it only saps our energy from going after the people we need to change - men.

Great post.

Maggie Hays said...

Thanks, Delphyne. :)

You always speak the truth.

pisaquari said...

As loudly as one can:
"We must be strong, sisters, and keep up the good work."

:)

stormcloud said...

Excellent post Maggie.

laurelin said...

This is an amazing post, Maggie. Yes to everything! xxx

buggle76 said...

Yay Maggie :) Nice work.

Calling women hysterical, crazy, and all of those other lovely insults- they just want us to shut up. They don't care how they do it, as long as we shut the hell up. Glad to hear that you are NOT going to shut up!!! I'm never going to stop either. Never, ever, ever. Take breaks, sure. But give up? No fucking way. I'm way too fucking awesome for that, and so are you :)

Maggie Hays said...

Thanks, Buggle. :)

And I would also argue that I do not see any difference whatsoever between the words "hysterical" and "hysterics". Both words aren't very pro-woman.

give up? No fucking way.

That's right, Buggle. The whole patriarchal system based on male-over-female domination and all the institutions that enforce it have to be overthrown. And we've got to carry on fighting for that to happen! And never shut up! Yeah!

(And I don't care if some people don't like my exclamation marks. I'm an angry radical feminist! :P )

buggle76 said...

Yeah, I'm an angry radical feminist too, and I swear and use whatever type of punctuation marks I want. I am an empowered woman! I get to choose, all by myself, when I want to use an exclamation point. I can use one, or two, or even 15 if I fucking want to. Don't try to control my punctuation!!! Hee :)

All this shit is making me nuts. Yep, hysterical, hysterics, same shit. It's basically saying "shut up, you overly emotional woman you." And coming from a supposed "women's libber" that really stings.

Maggie Hays said...

Buggle, you rock!

(((Big Hugs)))

And:

Fuck the patriarchy!!! :P

buggle76 said...

Hee :)

Big hugs to you too, my dear :) Today is sort of sucky. I'm going to go home, put on my sweatpants, and water my garden. I need calm!

Anonymous said...

"Fuck the patriarchy!!! :P"

Well said Maggie, and everything else.

...Sparks here (WP throwing a wobbler)

witchy-woo said...

Never shut up. I absolutely agree.

Oh, and "Fuck the patriarchy!!!:P" Definitely. Always. Without fail. And as loud as you can.

Cellycel said...

A lot ofd the time (most of the time) I'm in that 'scream and cry' frame of mind rather then the optimism. Its something I struggle with.

I agree with what you say about genr roles being social and not innate, and ask for the end of masculinity, favouring it for humanity. I also love the Dworkin you quoted.

I'm not optimistic, but I'm not going to give up either, you know. I'll plod along sadly, doing things slowly, hoping people take notice and change. But... not expecting much...

Peace yo!

Maggie Hays said...

I'm not optimistic, but I'm not going to give up either

Great, Cellycel. I'm glad, sister! :)

Wow, that post sure gave me strength!

Marc Keen said...

Thank Maggie..

Yes, I am reading "Centerfold Syndrome" now by Gary Brooks and he essentially points out the same thing, that its not a biological imperative in us men, but we are socialized from a young age to think and act like we do. That gives me hope that I can undo all this crap in my brain that now I am aware of, I can see how imbedded it is, most men are largely unware of it. I want it gone and I want to stop objectifying. The book talk about somke men that made progress so I am hopeful. thanks -M

Mary Sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maggie Hays said...

Marc, glad you found hope! :)


What did you mean, Mary, by your comment? :?

(I saved it on my computer)

Maggie Hays said...

Mary,

Speaking out is very important!

Mary Sunshine said...

What happened to my comment?

Who took it out?

Maggie, isn't this your blog?

Maggie Hays said...

Of course, it's my blog, Mary.

I did saved your comment to my computer and I could restore it but, please, Mary, could please explain to me:

What did you mean in that comment? It was very confusing to me. :?

I mean of course there is a sisterhood and we do have to speak out in an impassioned way and ask for men to change.

What did you mean by what you said, Mary?

Is it possible for you to elaborate a little? 'Cause it was very confusing to me...

Mary Sunshine said...

OK.

You want me to discuss it with you and yet you've removed it from your blog?

*You*, the woman who wants to discuss it with me, needs to hide my words from the prying eyes of the internet?

But then what will the internet know what we're talking about?

Holy Hannah.

BTW, I read Sisterhood Is Powerful in 1970.

I was there.

I know a few things.

You don't have to squash me like a bug.

Maggie Hays said...

Mary,

I'm so sorry. I may have made a mistake. Please don't get mad at me.

What I meant is that I did not understand your comment but I've still got it on my computer and I can restore it.

I saved it on my computer. I can restore it.

It's just I'm so sorry but I thought that in that comment you were denying that there was a sisterhood. Is that what you were doing? It was confusing to me.

I couldn't understand what you meant. What did you meant, Mary.

I'm so sorry. :(

Mary Sunshine said...

For starters, why don't you restore my post so that people can see what it is that I'm explaining?

Also, please publish the post that I have sent to the blog previous to this one.

Mary Sunshine,
The woman behind the curtain.

Mary Sunshine said...

((( Maggie !!! )))

I'm not mad at you.

Just mind-boggled, but that's OK. It happens a lot.

:-D

Restore the post and we can take it from the top, sans the confusion.

xx Mary

Maggie Hays said...

First comment by Mary Sunshine [restored by Maggie Hays]:

We must ask (men) for ...

And when they refuse?

Impassioned rhetoric and "sisterhood" is not a plan of action.


Mary, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I'm sorry.

But were you denying that there was a sisterhood or not?

Now that it is restored could you please explain what it meant?

And what do you think of my original post?

p.s.: I'm so sorry I hurt your feelings and you felt "squashed like a bug". I just meant I did not understand your original comment. I'm now waiting on your response.

What do you think of my original post?

Maggie Hays said...

Mary,

I felt confused by your first comment and I screwed up.

Nobody's perfect...

I hope you come back.

I'm so sorry I hadn't understood your comment (which is why I'd temporarily saved it on my computer before restoring it).

Please, Mary, Come back. :(

sophie said...

Hi Maggie.

I think I get what Mary means. And she's right.

Sisterhood is a support, and it's nice. There's a lot of history behind those few words.

Action, that's something else. Blogging is part of it, a small part.

You know, in our church we have a sisterhood, a strong sisterhood. But it doesn't make any difference to the patriarchal hierarchy - it's merely a support within that patriarchy and in many ways also, a tool to ensure status quo remains. Sisters indoctrinate each other and their children, teaching them the ways of the fathers.

And to be clear, I'm not drawing any parallels. Simply saying that this is one sisterhood I'm very familiar with, and this is how it works.

Maggie Hays said...

Thank you, Sophie, for your interesting comment. :)

I agree with some of the things you said (like I know sometimes "it's merely a support within the patriarchy") although, I admit I wouldn't call it "church" as I'm not the religious type at all. I'm an atheist/secular/agnostic.


Sisters indoctrinate each other and their children, teaching them the ways of the fathers.

Probably because they have been socially trained by the fathers to do so.


As I said, I still believe that there is a sisterhood we rad fems have and we do have to carry on speaking out in an impassioned way and ask for men to change.

Anyway, Rad fem women commenters, I promise I'm not screwing up anymore. If you give me any reaction you might have, I'll publish 'em right away and respond to them, even when I don't understand them. :)

sophie said...

To be clear:

As I said, I wasn't drawing parallels. When I said 'church', I meant the especially patriarchal church to which I belong.
I've spent my lifetime watching interactions within this religious community.

I should read more Andrea Dworkin, she's an amazing writer :-)

Maggie Hays said...

Okay, Sophie.

I'm not religious at all, but I respect your choice if you wanna be.

I'm an atheist but it's good, Sophie, that at least you recognize that the Church is patriarchal.

And thanks Sophie for saying that Andrea Dworkin is an amazing writer. :)

buggle76 said...

Hey there, I'm thinking (but this is just speculation) that what Mary Sunshine meant is that, we can ask men for whatever we want, doesn't mean they are going to do it. And then what? I mean yes, it's good to ask, or demand, that men change. But when they don't? Then what do we do?

Just my guess :) I don't actually know if that's what she meant.

[Also, Mary is super cool, so if you were worried that she's some troll, she's not :) She has shown me the light about a lot of things, although she probably doesn't remember :) Usually she'll say something, and I'm like "no way!" and then I think about it for a few days and then I'm like "oh shit, she is totally right. Fuck." Hee :) ]

buggle76 said...

Oh, and I also wanted to say to marc, yeah, to your comment. It is amazing to realize how fucking brainwashed we all are! It's hard to admit, and it's pretty sickening. But, there is real freedom in seeing it for what it is, and for slowly starting to take your desire back. You real, human, authentic desire and arousal.

I did a lot of work to unchain myself from the whole dominance/oppression bullshit that is forced on us. It is hard work, but so amazingly worth it. My boyfriend has done some hard work as well, he has been slowly getting through Robert Jensen's book. And we talk about it sometimes, although it's tough for both of us. My boyfriend has told me a lot about how much porn was part of his life growing up, and it shocked me! I just had no idea what a big part of life that was for so many boys. Pretty scary.

This is making me think I need to actually blog about this, yikes! This is SUCH hard stuff.

Mary Sunshine said...

Hi Maggie,

Thanks for sorting all this out!

You put a lot of work into your blog, as all you feminist bloggers do, and I am one of the many non-bloggers (yet) who get to reap the benefits of that.

Yeah, what Sophie said.

Sisterhood? I love it! I felt that my real life began when I heard women talking about it, creating it, and transforming our lives with it.

But see ... it doesn't affect the power of the patriarchy. Sad fact. It makes our lives (I think) much happier and fulfilling, but does nothing to stop rape, porn, war, the destruction of the earth, etc etc.

How could I possibly deny that there is sisterhood? It has given more meaning to my life than any other single phenomenon, including motherhood (I have a daughter). Practising it gives me more pride than anything else I can possibly do in my life.

But see, some of us have been at it for decades (in the context, at least in our own minds), of lived feminism. The patriarchy is worse than ever.

And one of the few comforts of my life is to recall all the ways in which previous generations of women, our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc were amazing in their sisterhood to each each other - and not, in their minds, necessarily in any sort of feminist context. It was just what women did with each other, and for each other. It was an inextricable part of being a woman. Not socially constructed, just there.

Maggie, your post is brilliant, eloquent and stirring.

Your passion, our passion, deserves more than just a chance to (once again) patiently ask men to cease and desist from blah blah blah.

The point of my post was to ask: if we ask, and they refuse, then what?

Where did the eloquence, passion, and sisterhood get us?

What do we do next?

What is our plan of action?

Basically, my post was just an offhand remark spun off from 40 years of frustration - and still feeling the urgent necessity for females to be able to prevail over the patriarchy, males, whatever you want to call it whether or not males feel like giving us a break.

I think this is where none of us know what to do next.

What is the plan of action?

It's not a criticism, but it is a question.

xoxoxo Mary

Maggie Hays said...

Thank you so much, Mary, for coming back!

(((Big Hugs)))

And please excuse my confused reactions. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to sound like a "feminazi". :P

Thanks for your nice li'l comments, Buggle. :)

Mary is super cool, so if you were worried that she's some troll, she's not :)

Of course, I know she's not some troll, Buggle, don't worry. I've always seen Mary Sunshine on rad feminist blogs commenting and showing what a staunch feminist she is! Which was part of what led to my confusion over her first comment. I thought "What the hell, how could a great feminist like Mary Sunshine deny sisterhood?" (she's not), which is why I needed an explanation.

But obviously she now says:

How could I possibly deny that there is sisterhood? It has given more meaning to my life than any other single phenomenon


Thank you so much for your wonderful returning comment (and for your clarification & explanation), Mary, it's such an amazingly brilliant post you've made here! :D And thanks for your kind words about my blog & post.

You rock, Mary!!!

I'm sorry I was so confused by your first comment (which inevitably came out of your decades of frustration).

WRT your questions:

if we ask, and they refuse, then what?

Where did the eloquence, passion, and sisterhood get us?

What do we do next?

What is our plan of action?


All I can say is that we do have to carry on uniting in sisterhood and keep speaking out on male violence (as Allecto said above she'd rather not be silent) and keep speaking out on the harms of pornography and prostitution.

We mustn't give up hope on radical change and speak eloquently about it.

I mean, for instance, if there are a few men like Marc (who commented here & also emailed me at the 'Against Pornography' site) who's an ex-porn user who wants to give up on objectifying women and unlearn what the porno-iarchy has taught him and who admits that "its not a biological imperative in us men, but we are socialized from a young age to think and act like we do" well there is hope.

There is hope, Mary, and we must carry on asking for a radical change, an overthrow of the whole status quo, no matter how long it takes.

We mustn't believe pathetic "biological" arguments that patriarchy taught us.

We mustn't give up on our radical feminist eloquence & passion. And ultimately we must ask for the eradication of gender, i.e. "masculinity" & "femininity" (which are socialized roles separate from biological sexes), no matter how long it takes.

We mustn't doubt our politics, Mary, as we do know, we've read and heard about ALL the things that enforce and maintain the status quo.

We must fight for our real freedom!!!

Happy commenting! :)

xoxo

Marc Keen said...

To Buggle: thanks so much for your comment. yes, in reading this CENTERFOLD SYNDROME and also from reading maggie's and other's great blogs, even though I still react in the haze, i SEE the haze and i guess thats the first part. Undoing the reactions and automatic impluses that years of ingesting porn and also just mainstream advertising will take a bit more time. i am starting to see ads and billboards and all kinds of shit differently and unless your aware of it, you just buy into it without question..that is scary. anyway thanks again..
M

buggle76 said...

Hey Marc :)

Yeah, I know what you mean about seeing the haze, but still reacting to it. I mean, that stuff is designed to get a sexual reaction from the viewer, so it's only natural that we'd respond to it, ya know?

It does take time, and really hard work, to reclaim our sexuality. I'm still working on it.

Maggie Hays said...

that stuff is designed to get a sexual reaction from the viewer, so it's only natural that we'd respond to it, ya know?

Humm, "natural" in a superficial way, yes, but definitely underlain by patriarchal socialization.

I believe we definitely wouldn't ever have gotten aroused to all that stuff without all the patriarchal training we've had & all the male-supremacist porno-iarchy brainwashing we're living in, ya know?

I agree it is hard work but, to reclaim our sexuality, we must ask for non-patriarchal sex. An there's no cookbook for that, just meaningful feelings& emotions, touch and mutual connection. :)

Marc Keen said...

Good point maggie..there has been so much conditioning, who knows what a normal response is anymore? I mean on some baseline, i think its natural to see someone of the opposite sex and have a reaction just based on appearance (both for men and women)or we all wouldn't be here, you know? But what I think we are talking about here is about male gender and the objectification, control, and humiliation of women, and not the simple, physiological response to seeing someone attractive.

You know, upon waking up to this and seeing the state of my mind from years of conditioning generously bestowed upon me by my society, peers, media, (and my own ignoring it) not to mention LACK of education about gender and sex from my parents, schools..i dont know whether i feel more angry or depressed about it. The conditioning is set, so now its up to me (and all men) to do the work of undoing it, but with understanding and compassion, I think. Repression and self-criticism will only increase, not reduce the response, I think. Sorry if got off topic here, Maggie..i know this isnt a men against masculinity blog! : )

Maggie Hays said...

Sorry if got off topic here, Maggie..i know this isnt a men against masculinity blog!

Don't worry, male pro-radical feminist writers are against masculinity, and that's the way to go, I believe. Men should be in favor of humanity.

As a radical feminist, I'm against gender.

As I said, "ultimately we must ask for the eradication of gender, i.e. "masculinity" & "femininity" (which are socialized roles separate from biological sexes), no matter how long it takes."

:)

pisaquari said...

Good thoughts marc keen--want to jump in on this for a second tho:

you'd be surprised how much "the simple, physiological response to seeing someone attractive" actually involves "the objectification, control, and humiliation of women."

Just saying.

Maggie Hays said...

you'd be surprised how much "the simple, physiological response to seeing someone attractive" actually involves "the objectification, control, and humiliation of women."

Unfortunately... :(

Lara said...

I know this might sound cliched Maggie, but this is a very inspirational post. It hits it home that this patriarchy is NOT inevitable, it is not something we HAVE to live in, which also acknowleging that the patriarchy does have very real, tangible effects on women and girls. I do believe that Patriarchy, White Supremacy, Capitalism, discrimination against those who are mentally or physically "disabled" are not only interconnected, but completely rely on each other to exist. So just as White Supremacy and classism are not inevitable, Patriarchy is not necessary or "natural" either. I once asked on another blog: how exactly then do we rid of patriarchy? How do we realize the full recognized humanity of women and other marginalized groups? One person answered that more and more women need to support and turn to feminism, especially radical feminism, for there to be revolution and change. And it's true.
You know, I am a real daydreamer and I always imagine a scenario, a film, in which women all over the world just have a moment where they get up and start killing or ridding of the men who abused them, and rightfully claim the world as their own, and rid of racial and class and other forms of oppression, even ones that some women benefitted from (racial, class privilege, for example). And, of course, I always have an awesome soundtrack to go with it :) Ahh, this is turning into a navel-gazing rant, I'll stop now...

Marc Keen said...

good point! as i said, there's been so much conditioning, i can't even know what a normal response is..thanks for nudge! : )

Maggie Hays said...

Lara,

Thanks you so much for your wonderful comments and your kind words about my post. :)

Although I'd admit that this part is a bit 'extreme' (excuse me):
I am a real daydreamer and I always imagine a scenario, a film, in which women all over the world just have a moment where they get up and start killing or ridding of the men who abused them, and rightfully claim the world as their own

[Though if you meant raped women killing their rapists in self-defense, I'm for that]

Because we do know that patriarchy is NOT inevitable, as you also said, Lara, I say we do not have to "kill men" but what we have to do is to ask for gender (i.e. "masculinity" & "femininity", which are socialized roles separate from biological sexes) to be smashed out of existence.

We must have to ask for the eradication of masculinity, which causes pornography & rape. We must ask males to be human beings instead of 'men' and acknowledge the humanity of women.


Marc, glad to see you didn't take Pisaquari's 'nudge' the wrong way. :)

Maggie Hays said...

more and more women need to support and turn to feminism, especially radical feminism, for there to be revolution and change. And it's true.

Yep, I definitely agree with that, Lara. Absolutely! :)