Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Culture of Patriarchists Hates Women


"All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable. . . Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort with devils. . . it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of witchcraft. . . And blessed be the Highest Who has so far preserved the male sex from so great a crime. . ."

"When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil."

". . . the natural reason is that she is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations. And it should be noted that there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed from a bent rib, that is, rib of the breast, which is bent as it were in a contrary direction to a man. And since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives. . . "
-- Three quotes from the Malleus Maleficarum (by Kramer & Sprenger), guide to the Inquisition's Witch trials, witch-hunter's manual, and Christian pornography.

"We now know most of what can be known about the witches: who they were, what they believed, what they did, the Church's vision of them. We have seen the historical dimensions of a myth of feminine evil which resulted in the slaughter of nine million persons, nearly all women, over 300 years. The actual evidence of that slaughter, the remembrance of it, has been suppressed for centuries so that the myth of woman as the Original Criminal, the gaping, insatiable womb, could endure. . ."
-- Andrea Dworkin, "The Herstory - Gynocide: The Witches," in Woman Hating, p.149.

"While women who stepped out of line in early modern Europe were tortured and killed as witches, today such women are regarded as cunts or bitches, deserving what happens to them."
-- Jane Caputi and Diana Russell, "Femicide: Speaking the Unspeakable", in Ms., 1 (3), p.34-37, 1990.

"We're not disrespecting women, we're disrespecting bitches."
-- Easy E of NWA, 1990.

"Why is it wrong to get rid of some fuckin' cunts?"
-- Kenneth Bianchi, "Inside the mind of the 'Hillside Strangler'" by Schwartz & Boyd, in Hustler (1981, August), p,36.

"Repeat the syllables
until the lesson is pumped through the heart:
Nicriven, accused of lasciviousness, burned 1569.
Barbara Gobel, described by her jailors
as "the fairest maid in Wurzburg,"
burned 1629, age nineteen.
Frau Peller, raped by Inquisition torturers
because her sister refused
the witch-judge Franz Buirman, 1631.
Maria Walburga Rung, tried at a secular court
in Manheim as a witch,
released as "merely a prostitute,"
accused again by the episcopal court
at Eichstadt, tortured into confession,
and then burned alive, 1723, age twenty-two.

What have they done to me?"
-- Robin Morgan, "The Network of the Imaginary Mother," in Lady of the Beasts: Poems.

Originally, the researchers' goal in this study wasn't to document the effects of pornography on sexual assailants. Their research was aimed at studying the sexual abuse of street prostitutes, both prior to and following entrance into prostitution.

In a comment (in which the offender mentioned some pornographic material) which was reported by one of the prostitutes who was a victim of rape, an assailant told the woman:

“I know all about you bitches, you're no different; you're like all of them. I seen it in all the movies. You love being beaten.” (He then began punching the victim violently.) I just seen it again in that flick. He beat the shit out of her while he raped her and she told him she loved it; you know you love it; tell me you love it.”

Another prostitute reported her rape to the researchers in this way:

“After I told him I'd turn him a free trick if only he'd calm down and stop hurting me, then he just really blew his mind. He started calling me all kinds of names, and then started screaming and shrieking like nothing I'd ever heard. He sounded like a wailing animal. Instead of just slapping me to keep me quiet, he really went crazy and began punching me all over. Then he told me he had seen whores just like me in [three pornographic films mentioned by name], and told me he knew how to do it to whores like me. He knew what whores like me wanted... After he finished raping me, he started beating me with his gun all over. Then he said, You were in that movie. You were in that movie. You know you wanted to die after you were raped. That's what you want; you want me to kill you after this rape just like [specific pornographic film] did.'”

This particular woman suffered, in addition to forced vaginal penetration, forced anal penetration with a gun, excessive bodily injuries, including several broken bones; and a period of time in which the rapist held a loaded pistol to her vagina, threatening to shoot, insisting it was the way she had died in the film he had seen. He did not, in fact, shoot after all.
-- Silbert & Pines study.


Misogyny is historical.

Misogyny is also contemporary.

I admit I have written posts which were very powerful and, even sometimes, yeah, optimistic, on this blog. This ain't going to stop and I will keep writing such posts in the future.

But right now, I'm just feeling low...

We live in a world that doesn't take violence against women seriously.

Most people say rape is bad but they do nothing to work toward a world where rape wouldn't exist, let alone analyze or identify all the institutions, customs, behaviors, etc that make rape inevitable.

People would rather say that rape is "inevitable", which is false. Rapists are not born, they are made. Most radical feminists have identified the things that make rape possible, which are notably socialization to masculine norms and behaviors, repression of empathy toward women, children, and/or some other males (in the few cases of men raping other men), pornography, pornified culture, patriarchal customs & institutions, etc.

Regarding prostitution, millions and millions of women and girls are being raped on a daily basis. And hardly anybody cares. Many people just do not want to hear the truth about the sex industry. Some feminists or women who genuinely care about other women are having that truth hidden from them, often by malestream media, sometimes by glamorized prostitution culture, etc.

I reject the term "sex work" as it is somehow too convenient for the men who (ab)use prostituted or prostituting women. I still acknowledge that there are some very unprivileged women in the sex trade who call themselves ’sex workers’ while feeling negative about prostitution though. And when they tell their painful stories while using the term ’sex work’, well I’m absolutely fine with that. Their stories matter as much as so many others’ who’ve been harmed in the sex trade. It is possible that their pimps or madams (and some of their johns) called it “sex work,” “a job” or “work” when they spoke to them, which makes sense why some prostituted women have internalized the term “sex work.” In contrast, however, there are some formerly prostituted women who loathe the term "sex work" because they feel that it attempts to conceal the great suffering they've experienced in the prostitution industry and that it also tries to make prostitution look "respectable" when it's not, when it is in fact a violation of a woman's body and rights. Anyway, I can fully understand both cases.

We live in a patriarchy. . . Patriarchy socializes us, fucks us over, violates us, restricts our freedom and our autonomy, etc. The list goes on. . .

That doesn’t change the fact that “sex work” is not a term I use, as it is patriarchal and it benefits men with their age-old anti-woman beliefs. Prostitution has been called the world’s oldest profession for ages and ages. And prostitution has not yet been recognized as an inherent form of sexual slavery and violence against women (for the vast majority of the women & girls in it) by most people. . .

As I said somewhere else, the term ‘prostituted women’ is accurate because most women who enter prostitution do so with choices that are NOT free. So, when we say ‘prostituted women,’ we also mean that women in the sex industry are being prostituted not only by the men who sell them or buy them, but that they are also being prostituted by the whole oppressive patriarchal system and all its restrictive forms of socializations. Patriarchy limits choices. And so does porno-iarchy!

As I said: Patriarchists (that includes the few women patriarchists too), do not ever try to control my language! The language was invented by the patriarchy, and I want to obey no edict or rule given by the male-supremacist system. I use terms I want to use, terms that recognize women & girls’ oppression under patriarchy, sometimes even new terms I invent if I want to.

For instance, when we, radical feminists, say 'herstory', we mean by that beautiful word: the history of women, pointing out that the history of women should matter as much as the history of men. But the history of men has always been more documented in patriarchy. That's why accurate documentations of herstory would be so important in order to understand how much, as women, we have been hated for a very long time. The witch-hunt in early modern Europe is only one of the so many examples in the history of misogyny.

I have another definition for pornoiarchy. It is also a society that restricts sexual imagination, i.e. that constricts us as sexual beings, because it is a patriarchal society invaded and controlled by pornography. Because pornography tries to control sexuality; it maps out people's sex lives with the same old scenario of male-over-female domination. To me, not being able to imagine an egalitarian sexuality (that wouldn't rely on the objectification and the degradation of another human being) is myopia. I believe that sexual imagination can go beyond the boundaries of pornoiarchy.

To me, anybody who defends pornography, prostitution, Christianity, capitalism, and/or male-supremacist laws, customs or institutions, etc (while being fully aware -without necessarily admitting it- that these things are inherently misogynistic or oppressive) is a patriarchist.

Andrea Dworkin was absolutely amazing. I believe she was hated because she firmly stood against patriarchy and she was very vocal about resistance to patriarchy. And, in a patriarchal society, such a woman is hated, including by some (patriarchist) “feminists”.

Any radical feminist woman who speaks out eloquently against porniarchy becomes unfortunately #1 on the patriarchists' shitlist.

Thus, because patriarchists have the power of naming (i.e. the power of language, which was invented by the patriarchy itself, the power of words, the power over communication and expression), they can hate and misrepresent radical feminists as much as they please. That is to say that every single word, every single argument, every single phrase, every single expression of feelings, etc that a radical feminist uses, says or writes can potentially be (deliberately, carelessly, or disingenuously) misunderstood, twisted around, quoted repeatedly out of context, and bent out of shape by the patriarchists. Because (you see?) the patriarchal status quo has to be protected by its cruel guardians.

As a result of only this simple fact (patriarchists having the power of words), the list of misrepresentations of radical feminism (& radical feminists in general) is endless. It is present in the malestream media, in the academia, on the Internet, etc.

It is as though this great amount of lies and distortions about radical feminism were this huge vortex of water, and we, radical feminists, were constantly being dragged down to drown underwater inside this whirling mass of suffocating misinterpretations of the words we say.

Patriarchists have to be powerful in the ongoing task of slandering us. They are trying to make sure that we will never be taken seriously and that the male-supremacist status quo is being bolstered.

Therefore, pro-pornography views are usually what's popular out there, while radical feminist views are (usually) either totally hated or not even heard of. I witnessed all this in real life as a fact. During years and years, I had only heard pro-pornography views on the subject (especially from men and ex-boyfriends, and the mainstream media, etc) before discovering radical feminism by chance when I was online. I only found radical feminism by chance. I had never heard of radical feminism before May 2006. And before I decided to become a radical feminist, I'd quickly figured out how much radical feminism was hated, misrepresented and/or shunned from mainstream society. That didn't stop me from becoming a rad fem, but that's another story.

Note: While I say that pro-pornography views are usually what's popular out there, I am talking about the culture of men. I believe that most women are anti-porn at heart, even amongst the few ones who use pornography. Most women want to stay away from pornography because it is too painful to look at. They usually use the terms "disgusting" or "filthy" but they in fact do notice that porn is degrading to women. As for the ones who use it, I believe that, when they can look at it with a clear mind, they obviously notice that it is not advancing freedom for women, or that it does not promote equality.

Before hearing about the feminist critique of pornography, I only had vaguely heard about feminism and never heard of radical feminism. But now, being a radical feminist and having heard and read about all the multiple misrepresentations of my type of feminism, I realize how much it hurts.

I've realized that radical feminism is the complete antithesis of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the very system of oppression and control we're living in. Therefore, radical feminist politics are the solution to the overthrow of the male-supremacist system. What makes me mostly sad is that most women do not know all this.

Wouldn't there be such a huge barrier imposed by malestream media in order to prevent mass-communication from rad fems to women, along with stereotypes & lies being widespread about radical feminism written in so many places on the Internet, women would know about radical feminism and they would know that it is not to be hated but understood clearly. Radical feminism is a call to freedom from all forms of oppression through the destruction of power structures.

A fellow blogger once said to me:

"I think a lot of women have some sort of coping mechanism that allows them to deny or ignore reality. I take it as a luxury, when I can.

But long-term, it becomes resistance to change and the women who work remain few and the task relentless."

-- Sophie, of 2 B Sophora.

This is true.

I believe that women don't necessarily need to read radical feminist writings to see how much men and the culture of patriarchists hate us. They just have to seriously open their eyes to notice that fact. However, I do believe that radical feminist books help you identify all the different complex structures that cause all these atrocities perpetrated by men against us. It gives you words to be able to properly describe your experience of having been born female within a world that regards female humans as second-class citizens.

I also believe that women have this coping mechanism, as Sophie explained, to pretend that reality is not what it really is. I resorted to that kind of psychological dissociation when I was younger. I also admit that now I still have my 'mind-split' process taking place now and again to avoid falling into depression.

When I notice too much the increasing aggression against women as a class, the sexism that permeates society, the ever-increasing violence and misogyny within pornography, the fact that prostitution has still not been recognized as a violation of women and girls' human rights and the numerous distortions and misrepresentations of radical feminism, I sometimes tend to mentally disconnect from all this pain. Because I'm just this little person and I can't take all this. Consequently, like Sophie, I take it as a luxury, when I can.

Nevertheless I agree that, in the long term, the 'mind-split' becomes a resistance to change. Women have to speak out on male violence:

. . . 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.

-- Allecto, in a comment to one of my posts.

Allecto's words echo in my ears. When I listen to these words, it gives me strength. I feel like I don't care about being criticized for speaking out on male violence and male supremacy; I want to keep screaming and shouting about how much the culture of patriarchists hates women; I want to keep screaming and shouting about how much men hurt women in a patriarchy.

In this society, men hurt, abuse, rape, beat up and, sometimes, murder women. Not all men abuse women, but many of them do. I've already explained that masculinity (i.e. social gender construct) is the root cause that underlies this system.

Male violence against women is not only widespread; it is often accepted as being "just life." How do we explain that within a culture that has eroticized rape in the first place, i.e. that has made rape "sexy"? :(

Nowadays, it is almost impossible for a woman to have a close friendship or relationship with a guy without him trying to force intercourse onto her, or trying to persuade her to "do this" or "do that". Also, generally, a wife has to allow herself to "be fucked" by her husband as a 'duty'.

I get a clear picture of the current situation here: Rape (as real feminists define it) is commonplace, tacitly considered "normal" in our patriarchal [pornified] culture.

As Ruth Anne Koenick, director of Rutgers' Department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance, said when she was interviewed by Robert Jensen:

People don't come out of the womb wanting to be rapists nor believing that they are to blame when they are victims, but that's where so many end up. What does that say about the culture's belief systems?. . . One of my favorite people once said, "Rape is illegal, but the sexual ethic that underlies rape is woven into the fabric of our culture."

During my life, I have been raped, coerced into sexual activity and domestically abused by some men who used pornography.

I remember the pain. I remember the lack of empathy I could see in their eyes. I remember how they would sometimes ignore me when I cried.

I remember them grabbing me, them slapping me, them bruising me, them tying me up to the bed and telling me I'd "enjoy it".

When the pain became too intense I'd just mentally shut down, dissociate my mind from all this.

When I was living in domestic violence, I kept ignoring the bullying through dissociation, denial, by splitting my mind into parts, by pretending that the cruelty that I was subjected to was not there. . . I just had to. . . keep pretending this abuse I was sustaining wasn't happening to me. . . I'd split my mind into parts. . . I'd numb the pain. . . I'd take the pain away. . . by splitting my mind into parts. . . I was perfectly able to ignore all the pain when I could. . . split my mind into parts. . . numb the pain. . . blank out all the sexual and domestic abuse I had suffered from men.

The pornography, I wanted to stay away from it. There was some kind of a sick feeling I was getting when seeing it, I could not quite describe what it exactly was at the time. But now I think that it had something to do with the fact that only taking glimpses at the raw woman-hatred that it was made me sick, which is why I tried to stay away from it in spite of boyfriends constantly trying to force the pornography - visually or sexually - onto me. Ignoring the pornography was another way of numbing pain.

In general, when something was too painful, too sexist, too demeaning, too hurtful, I would just mentally shut down from it by escaping to another corner of my mind.

It is an excellent coping mechanism. But it just doesn't always work. And we, women have to speak out on male violence. We also have to speak out on victim-blaming; that is atrociously widespread in this patriarchy.

As Laurelin once wrote:

‘Victim mentality’ assumes that there is something about the victim that makes them a victim, something the victim does that invites victimisation, and that therefore the victim is responsible for their suffering. It asks the victim to take responsibility for the actions of their aggressor. And it is used because it easier to pile more blame upon the vulnerable than it is to stand up and point out that there is something wrong with the world in which the victim, the aggressor, and the speaker live.
-- from Perpetrator mentality.

I wish all the victim-blaming which pervades society would stop. It is the aggressor's fault when a woman is raped, abused or beaten up; it is, broaderly, patriarchy's fault, not the victim's. But how do we explain that within a culture that is contaminated by sick messages (rape ideologies) like these?= "Women don't know their own minds; men know better what women really want and need sexually," "A woman might not want it at first, but once she gets a taste of hot sex, she can't get enough," "Women are sexually manipulative," "Getting her drunk is a way to get her in the mood," or "All women are whores at heart and want to be fucked by any available man;" these are misogynistic messages that come straight from the mainstream contemporary pornography industry. Fact: we live in a rape culture.

I go to college five days a week and I have to put up with the fact that I'm studying in the same classroom as men of my age who probably use porn (just under half of the class is male; a little more than half is female). It makes me sick. When I hear guys laugh at sexist porn or rape jokes, it demoralizes me, but I'd rather remain quiet. Sometimes, these things still shock me too. Probably because I so much want them to stop; I want this pornified culture to stop. But then, after the 'surprise' effect is over (it usually lasts for 5 minutes at the most), I just feel terribly exhausted and distraught and I almost feel like shouting at them, "Fuck off with your porn! You woman-haters! You're fucking abusing women, only by watching this." Sometimes I swear I wish I could say that to them, but I don't. . . because I know I'd get terribly slammed for that. I'd be hated, just for telling the truth. :(

Thus, I'd rather work with women, or get the chance to talk to the women whenever I can. Because I know that, 90% of the time, women will listen to me (and sometimes will discuss the issue at length) when I say to them that pornography is degrading, woman-hating, violent, etc.

Finally, I would like to add that this is pointless women arguing with each other or hating each other in this world, because it distracts us from seeing who really is in power in this society, who is in a position of privilege, i.e. men in a patriarchy. I believe that when women fight or are being cruel to each other it can be called "harem politics" (as some writer once suggested - see quote below). Women who fight, who hurt each other, who are jealous of each other, etc will not unite against patriarchy.

I mean, of course, we all screw up sometimes. We all sometimes happen to, intentionally or unintentionally, hurt each others, e.g. Woman A hurts Woman B, then Woman C hurts Woman D, etc. and vice-versa, etc. Arguments we sometimes have among female survivors of male violence and among women as a class are patriarchy-related. Patriarchy intends to perpetually distract us from being angry at the male-supremacist system which maintains rape, pornography, prostitution, battery, etc as "inevitable facts of life."

Patriarchy often disconnects women from each other. Woman-hating is historical. Male supremacy takes different forms: patriarchal religions, marriage, forced childbearing, prostitution, pornography, institutions that protect gender roles, etc. The list is big. I believe that women would have to identify all sites of oppression under patriarchy if they ever want to be able to overthrow the system.

Patriarchists are counting on our ignorance, our disconnection from each other, our refusal to see how much their society and culture hates us, our refusal to see all the harms men have been doing to us throughout history. Patriarchists are counting on all that. They "are betting that we cannot face the horror of their sexual system and survive," as Dworkin wrote in Pornography: Men Possessing Women (p. 224). This is why, like many other women, I struggle everyday in this patriarchal culture. . .


“The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable. The power of the master is absolute and incontrovertible. His authority is protected by civil law, armed force, custom, and divine and/or biological sanction. Slaves characteristically internalize the oppressor’s view of them, and this internalized view congeals into a pathological self-hatred. Slaves typically learn to hate the qualities and behaviors which characterize their own group and to identify their own self-interest with the self-interest of their oppressor. The master’s position at the top is invulnerable; one aspires to become the master, or to become close to the master, or to be recognized by virtue of one’s good service to the master. Resentment, rage, and bitterness at one’s own powerlessness cannot be directed upward against him, so it is all directed against other slaves who are the living embodiment of one’s own degradation. Among women, this dynamic works itself out in what Phyllis Chesler has called “harem politics”. The first wife is tyrant over the second wife who is tyrant over the third wife, etc. The authority of the first wife, or any other woman in the harem who has prerogatives over other women, is a function of her powerlessness in relation to the master. The labor that she does as a fuck and as a breeder can be done by any other woman of her gender class. She, in common with all other women of her abused class, is instantly replaceable. This means that whatever acts of cruelty she commits against other women are done as the agent of the master. Her behavior inside the harem over and against other women is in the interest of the master, whose dominance is fixed by the hatred of women for each other. Inside the harem, removed from all access to real power, robbed of any possibility of self-determination, all women typically act out on other women their repressed rage against the master; and they also act out their internalized hatred of their own kind. Again, this effectively secures the master’s dominance, since women divided against each other will not unite against him.”
–- Andrea Dworkin, in Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics, pp. 85-86.


ETA (10/30/08): I just added the sentence "Misogyny is also contemporary," and I definitely should have done it before (see comments).


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21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maggie, excellent post. It's all too easy to become exhausted and disillusioned by the scale of the task we face to transform the world, but it's important to try and hold onto the fact that, even though there is only so much we can do, every little thing that we can manage is important. Your website is a wonderful resource for people to access information and your blog always has words provoking reflection and thought and challenges to particular ways of thinking.
Have you seen the Rape Crisis Scotland campaign, 'This in not an invitation to rape me'? I'd really appreciate it if you would be able to post a link on your blog that others may be able to pick up. The campaign challenges rape myths and attempts to place the blame firmly on male perpetrators. It is another important contribution from feminism which will hopefully be picked up in other countries (it ran in LA a number of years ago).
I hope you can retain your fight and energy to continue the work that you have been doing. We can make a difference if we continue to use our voices.

Maggie Hays said...

Thank you so much, Anonymous. :)

Have you seen the Rape Crisis Scotland campaign, 'This in not an invitation to rape me'? I'd really appreciate it if you would be able to post a link on your blog that others may be able to pick up.

Yes, It's a great website. I've linked it to my blogroll last night, I will mention it in a future post and I will link it to my main 'Against Pornography' site as soon as I update it.

Anonymous said...

So, wait, you think marriage, and having romantic relationships is "woman-hating"?

...yeahhhh. That doesn't even make sense, but okay. Think whatever you want.

Maggie Hays said...

So, wait, you think marriage, and having romantic relationships is "woman-hating"?

No, I don't think that marriage is inherently "woman-hating." I think it's a socially constructed male-supremacist institution that restricts freedom. Marriage is often bolstered by patriarchal religion. Women used to be held captive in marriage and, in some cases, still are. That doesn't mean that every single marriage is oppressive, or that I don't acknowledge that some women in wrong marriages can get freedom through divorce. That means that I recognize that marriage is one of the twin pillars of a patriarchal society. My main attitude toward marriage is that it was socially constructed by patriarchy; and, to me, it would be a restriction of freedom, which is why I'll never get married. I have, however, friends who got married. I don't blame them. It's often portrayed as glamorous by the culture. It's just that marriage has often been used to promote gender roles and heteronormativity and to restricts women's freedom somehow. As I said, "generally, a wife has to allow herself to "be fucked" by her husband as a 'duty'"; and also women often find themselves in abusive marriage relationship where they cannot get out... But, anyway, marriage is not the main subject of my post; it is not what worries me the most. I believe it is a site of oppression, yes. That doesn't mean I say every single married women is unhappy, it means I say that marriage is mainly a patriarchal social construct that can, in many cases (though not always), restrict freedom for women.

Think whatever you want.

You can think whatever you want too. As for romantic relationship, I believe that, yes, *they are possible*. Absolutely. But, unfortunately, men have been socially trained to hate us in a patriarchy...

Maggie Hays said...

Sorry, I meant to write "As for romantic relationships, I believe that, yes, *they are possible*. Absolutely. But, unfortunately, men have been usually socially trained to hate us in a patriarchy...

Also, I forgot to put an "s" at the end of "abusive marriage relationships".

Dissenter said...

Hey Maggie, great post. I don't really have anything to add...I think you nailed it!

Maggie Hays said...

Thanks, Dissenter. :)

Evo said...

Hey, Maggie. Great post. The quotes from the Witches' Hammer are especially chilling. I've never read the book, though as a woman and a quasi-pagan I suppose I should.

Keep up the great work!

delphyne said...

I'm with dissenter, I agree with everything you've said Maggie. Thanks for saying it so well.

I can't believe you've only been a radical feminist for two years. You sound like you've been doing this forever. :)

Anonymous said...

I think marriage is about property. It's not "woman hating" it's woman ignoring. The woman becomes a commodity of the male in marriage. That's why she takes his name.

In Levi-Strauss's theories of kinship women are merely tokens of exchange between men.

Sounds about right to me. Romantic relationships are the women are sold marriage.

Maggie Hays said...

Thanks, Evo and Delphyne. :)

The quotes from the Witches' Hammer are especially chilling.

Yes, I agree. The Malleus Maleficarum is pure woman hating.

I can't believe you've only been a radical feminist for two years. You sound like you've been doing this forever.

Really? Wow, I can't believe it. :)

I think marriage is about property. It's not "woman hating" it's woman ignoring. The woman becomes a commodity of the male in marriage. That's why she takes his name.

That's right.

m Andrea said...

Excellent post, really hope you feel better soon. But personally I get tired of all those "perky optimistic" posts LOL.

Been thinking I'd feel more cheerful if I didn't have such a irredeemably low opinion of men. Why is it that some of us can see through the denial, painful as that may be, and most women can't -- or won't?

Oblivion may be bliss but it sure hurts in some unfathomable way far more painful than denial, at least for me.

Maggie Hays said...

Excellent post, really hope you feel better soon.

Thanks a lot, Miss Andrea. *Hugs* :)

Been thinking I'd feel more cheerful if I didn't have such a irredeemably low opinion of men.

I may be more optimistic than you are regarding gender (masculinity) socialization & conditioning, I don't know. But I can definitely imagine how you feel, given the history of misogyny and the ongoing epidemic of woman-hating & male violence against women. All this is absolutely atrocious and so sad. :(

Why is it that some of us can see through the denial, painful as that may be, and most women can't -- or won't?

I think it's something to do with the coping mechanism women have, that Sophie talked about (which I quoted in my post), probably...

I used to be unable to see through the denial, myself, before I became a feminist.

pisaquari said...

oooo, I love all the quotes at the beginning. Exposing men's absurd beliefs and then following up with the likes of geniuses Dworkin, Russell, et al--yes!ness.

College classrooms really annoyed me too. Guys were quick to tie some off-topic sexist joke to a lecture (in the most *reaching* of ways) & then the female students would take to swooning/blushing/turning in their seats and FLIRTING. "You're such a woman-hating jerk, my place later?"


Thank goodness for radical feminist blogs in college. Thank goodness for you Maggie.

Maggie Hays said...

Thank goodness for you Maggie.

Thank goodness for you too, Pisaquari. *Hugs* :)

allecto said...

I meant to leave a comment before and didn't have the time. Thanks for quoting me, makes me feel special and loved. ;)

I personally think marriage is bascially sexual and domestic slavery for women. I don't think this is just historical either. Most women still believe that being sexually available is a duty to their husband/boyfriend and all the studies that I've seen show that women are still doing the majority of child-care and domestic labour within heterosexual households. So no marriage isn't a historical institution of slavery, it is very much a contemporary one. Slightly reworked to better disguise the slavery aspect but far from free nonetheless.

Maggie Hays said...

Thanks for quoting me, makes me feel special and loved. ;)

You're very welcome, Allecto. You're a very special and loved feminist to me. :)

I don't think this is just historical either.

I've just added the sentence "Misogyny is also contemporary" in my above post and I definitely should have done it earlier. The word "historical" is definitely double-sided and can be misused/misinterpreted in a patriarchy. While misogyny has a huge history, it is also very much contemporary as well (but I think my post had already made it clear). Thanks for pointing that out to me, Allecto.

Yes, I recognize marriage as a site of oppression and a patriarchal institution.

Of course, there are many great women and great feminists who are married, but personally I'll never get married. It would be a 'social death' to me.

Most women still believe that being sexually available is a duty to their husband/boyfriend and all the studies that I've seen show that women are still doing the majority of child-care and domestic labour within heterosexual households. So no marriage isn't a historical institution of slavery, it is very much a contemporary one. Slightly reworked to better disguise the slavery aspect but far from free nonetheless.

Yes, definitely! You put it well, Allecto.

Dissenter said...

Hey Maggie,

I'm not so rushed now, so I've had another slower and more thoughtful read through of your post.

It's really fantastic, so thanks for writing it!

While I totally agree that language these days is controled by patriarchy (as is culture, religion, ideology and morals), I do wonder whether language was originally invented by men, and if it has always been patriarchal, as you say in your post here:

The language was invented by the patriarchy, and I want to obey no edict or rule given by the male-supremacist system.

Sorry if I sound like I'm nit-picking, I don't mean this at all in a nasty or mean-spirited way, it just got me wondering.

I think a lot of studies show that girls demnstrate better and more complex understanding of language at an early age, so perhaps, long ago before patriarchy, women were actually the ones who invented language, or controled language, and that power was later stolen and corrupted by men, perhaps in conjunction with the development of written language, which was only taught to men (and then only to upper-class men, further restricting power).

I just wonder, because examining the history of literature from a herstorical perspective, what I've found is that women authors were often the innovators and inventors, and it was men who came along later and stole and corrupted their achievements for their own ends, and were then credited with the "invention" of whatever. Maybe it was the same for language, or at least for some languages.

Maggie Hays said...

No bother about the nit-picking.

Well I did say that the language was invented by the patriarchy. Most currently spoken languages were invented by the patriarchy. But I did not say that language, in itself, has always been patriarchal, I don't think so.

women were actually the ones who invented language, or controled language, and that power was later stolen and corrupted by men, perhaps in conjunction with the development of written language, which was only taught to men (and then only to upper-class men, further restricting power).

I just wonder, because examining the history of literature from a herstorical perspective, what I've found is that women authors were often the innovators and inventors, and it was men who came along later and stole and corrupted their achievements for their own ends, and were then credited with the "invention" of whatever. Maybe it was the same for language, or at least for some languages.


Well, yeah, (maybe not the English language or other languages invented by patriarchy but) regarding language as communication, it's possible:

“. . . it is necessary to grasp the fundamental fact that women have had the power of naming stolen from us.”
-- Mary Daly.

Though, within the current system, currently spoken languages were invented by patriarchy as male supremacy is fused in to the language:


“. . . men have the power of naming, a great and sublime power. This power of naming enables men to define experience, to articulate boundaries and values, to designate to each thing its realm and qualities, to determine what can and cannot be expressed, to control perception itself. . . Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it. Thought, experienced primarily as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have defined the parameters of every subject. All feminist arguments, however radical in intent or consequence, are with or against assertions or premises implicit in the male system, which is made credible or authentic by the power of men to name. No transcendence of the male system is possible as long as men have the power of naming. . . so feminists will have to steal the power of naming from men, hopefully to better effect. . .”
-- Andrea Dworkin.

But regarding language as it existed before patriarchy started, well, possibly, I dunno.

One thing is for sure: We will have to steal back the power of naming from the patriarchists, as there is no doubt that they currently have the power of naming.

Dissenter said...

Oh yes, I agree men have the power of naming in contemporary times, and have for a long time, and that women need to get it back. I guess that for me, it just helps to realise that a lot of the power men now hold, was once rightfully women's power. Even if a long time ago.

Maggie Hays said...

a lot of the power men now hold, was once rightfully women's power. Even if a long time ago.

Yes, Dissenter, hopefully. :)