Halloween Twofer: FCM & S4

Part I: “Haunted” Asylums = Patriarchy, Unmodified by FCM

hello!!  here i am, hanging out with sargasso sea in a super secret feminist location enjoying a lovely fall day.  since halloween is coming up i thought it would be nice to do a hallo-weeny type post, which i will.  but first let me comment on the hanging out with sargasso sea part, which i think people might be interested in reading as well.  because its exactly where we left off, isnt it, over a year ago when i first quit blogging (and was getting ready to quit).  feminist in-action, together.

i have missed some things about writing and particularly the discussions very much and have often thought about coming back, but like a bad and well reasoned break up, i always decided not to.  the reasons i left in the first place are still valid and the things that made it not worth it to me or to anyone for me to continue are still there, namely the scarcity problem and the desperation it causes in radicalism-starved women who “just” want something to read that isnt steeped in misogyny and porn (and to spin and spiral together).  i feel this desperation every day when i read online and it does not matter if there is no, or one, or 6 new posts up from radical feminist writers (although on most days there are none).  this scarcity and desperation problem hasnt gone away, and it is not something that one (or one more) woman writing will be able to help.  its a contextual issue.  the context of the internet *is* misogyny and porn.  this is the context of patriarchy of course — or of “culture” where culture and patriarchy are synonymous.  so no matter how badly i have wanted to write again i havent done it because there would have been no point.  i think i have said everything i wanted to say and that the exact point i left was the exact moment that my continuing would only be repetitious.

but.  hanging out with sargasso sea and spending time and sharing space with another radical woman is in fact different than anything i was doing before and obviously i never wrote about it because i couldnt have.  and now i can!  so thats different.  good, something different that might be interesting for someone to read — different and interesting having always been criteria i used in deciding whether writing anything was worth my time (or anyones).  so what can i say about it that everyone doesnt already know?  well, if you have been doing this the whole time, hanging out with other radical women i mean, you probably already knew things that i did not until recently.  i do not want to bore you either, so let me sum up.  it really is everything its cracked up to be.

for me, and something i definitely did not expect, was that, surrounded by only radical women, and no one else, for the first time in my life i knew the people around me didnt think — no, they knew, they *knew* i wasnt stupid.  i dont think i realized that my own (shameful) stupidity was the context i was swimming in every day, having graduated near the top of my class and mostly fulfilling the extreme expectations laid on me by my parents (for example) i did not think that was my issue.  but apparently it was.  having experienced the opposite, i now think that every single interaction i have ever had with everyone, no matter how otherwise benign (or not) these interactions were, was within the context of myself, existing as a stupid person.  or more specifically, of everyones — mens and womens — condescension, pity, disgust and dismissal of me as a female person. perhaps this is the crux of it — and there are really no words for this, so i am making it up — before spending time with radical women, i had experienced as normal and invisible, literally nothing except condescension, pity, disgust and dismissal for being female.  every day.  and in every way.  perhaps “stupid” is not the perfect word for this, but its a pretty good one.  i mean really.

and with that, i would like to comment on something hallo-weeny for your (hopefully) reading pleasure!  i have had reason to note of late that abandoned asylums are really creepy.  these places are just palpably evil and everyone knows it (a new reality show called “haunted asylums” takes it to the next level…with ghost traps and stuff, made up macgyver style with beer cans and fish tanks no less.  talk about stupid.)  anyway, it made me wonder what it is about abandoned asylums that is so palpable, and you do not even have to believe in “ghosts” or the supernatural or anything else to feel this.  whatever “it” is, its not a belief, or based on a belief system — its reality based.  so what is it?

i suspect that abandoned insane asylums are “patriarchy, unmodified” and that this is what patriarchy, unmodified feels like, what it is and what it does.  reading anything about these places when they were functional and what they did there reveals extreme torture and necrophilic policy and practice, often carried out on female bodies, but it was not just “people” doing this — it never is.  insane asylums were where powerful males granted themselves free reign to be male, where men were themselves, unmodified by females, and they were allowed to go to the ends of their thoughts about whatever they happened to be thinking about at the time.  and like men as a class, what these men thought and what they thought about, was literally willed into being, by them.  this is the “creative” power they have granted themselves — the power to destroy.  witchwind talks more about this on her blog.  and in increasingly creative and innovative ways (like all industries, the male industry of necrophilia builds on the work of those who came before and takes it further).

there is also something palpable about the spaces themselves, being commonly extremely vast permanent structures built on large grounds, and then abandoned — this smacks of male hubris, wastefulness and lack of foresight (or simply not caring about what lies ahead — a cognitive and emotive dead-end).  and probably other things. in the case of the asylums, the next generation(s) of males made these massive buildings and grounds largely obsolete when they created psychotropic drugs — a different man-ifestation of necrophilia and torture (and misogyny).

anyway, what this made me think of — patriarchy, unmodified and how the effects linger and are palpable to just about everyone — is that, if this is what males do and what they are when they get together, we can assume that individual males have these qualities too but perhaps on a smaller scale.  in other words, the palpable grossness of asylums are the aggregate effect of many individual males values, beliefs and behaviors that are also gross in the exact same ways. to figure out just what in the fresh hell, in aggregate, could ever produce the bone chilling effects of abandoned asylums, all we have to do is look at “normal” small scale (individual) male values, beliefs and behaviors across time and place.  this is not hard to do.  even the fun fems recognize “creepiness” when they see it afterall.  and “boys will be boys” is pretty universal.  in aggregate, these things are what is colloquially known as “evil”.  it is a real and palpable force that literally everyone can see and feel for themselves, although no one acknowledges it for what it really is — aggregate maleness. its terrifying alright, but its super natural (and not natural). and this “whatever it is” is definitely not specific to one sex.

and interestingly, whatever else halloween might be or might have been in the past, it has now become a celebration of mens violence and necrophilia.  play-acting chainsaws, masked men and the tortured screams of mens victims (for example!) as if this *isnt* the stone cold reality of living in mensworld for real every day.  re-enacting reality makes reality a fantasy. thats rich.  and, where have we seen that before?

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Part II: No Tricks, Just Treats by Sargasso Sea

Happy Halloween! And what fun to have a post from FCM! Yay!!

It’s such a pleasure to be with her, to continue our conversations (and build our friendship) in person – just hanging out and rapping about whatever comes up and always in light of the ways the littlest and/or subtle events and circumstances inform (and, unfortunately, plague) women’s lives. Our lives.

A serious bonus for me, beyond the refreshing and heartening ease of conversation with a woman who gets it, has been to have the opportunity to observe and ask questions about what always seemed to me to be her fluid and free writing process. And I have to say that FCM has a certain gift for communication that not many possess. What’s interesting to me is to realize that while she ‘has’ this gift, it’s really those of us who read who are being gifted.  So, thanks Fact for all the treats you’ve laid on us over the years!

Now, oddly (or maybe not) asylums and sanitariums have been creeping onto my radar recently as well and I’ve been giving some thought to how the rise of these Institutions generally coincided with a post-Victorian cultural movement of getting ‘back to nature’ – that nature was no longer to be thought of as an adversary but as healthy, invigorating and curative. But when you look just a little closer what you find is that while these asylums were being sold to the public as an humane, wholesome environment for ‘troubled’ people what they were, in actuality, were work farms for undesirables. Here, instead of work making you free it was supposed to make you better.  And this is a model that only men could come up with: house hundreds of people with varying degrees of ‘unworthiness’ (violent psychotic men, depressed and broken women, people with even minor disabilities and at times very, very ill people with highly communicable diseases) all together in a self-contained prison-like environment wherein the inmates are expected to work themselves to health…

And as FCM mentions above, one need not believe in ghosts or hauntings to see and feel (when in close proximity to one of these mostly abandoned sites) or to simply intellectually understand that The Establishment forcing such large numbers of  dangerously dis-balanced men together with relatively benign ‘not-perfect-examples-of-humanity’ that the end result is clearly and completely outside the realm of natural and is in fact a conscious design for an altogether anti-curative space – a space to further drive those on the margins even further out and eventually to death.

The thing that is especially disconcerting to me (and I am a *knower* of earth-bound spirits and other entities) is that great suffering creates a sinkhole of negativity that is not easily disbanded or freed or made better – it’s a sort of toxic waste – and that’s what I feel when I pass by, or ‘recreationally’ visit, such a space.  Not only do the monuments of hospital wings and dormitory buildings remain as a mark of men’s power over architecture and budgets and ‘health’, but also the darkness of the enforced and heightened suffering of others that fed their own false edification.

@ D Squirrel – Continuing the Conversation

Since comments are closed at Radical Wind (on this excellent post and conversation) I have taken the liberty of continuing the conversation here – re: how, where, and why to critique a woman’s work – because I think it is an important issue that should be discussed as openly and publicly as possible.

And since Davina Squirrel’s last comment came in ’under the wire’ and did quote a portion of something I’d said on the subject:

@ D Squirrel -

It is entirely confusing when you say that the “direct criticism” of other women is well done in private or semi-private spaces and at the same time suggest that disagreements are easily googled for the source.  That makes no sense when radical feminist work is regularly shut down/erased by men and feminists alike and as any criticism of a woman‘s work by women is seen as an ‘attack‘ on her personally (as I said, lose/lose) whether public or – perhaps even more so – in “private“.  Frankly, insinuating that is it wise or less divisive to criticize a woman in private is engendering an atmosphere of distrust in general.

Yet you go on to say, as an alternative, we can comment directly on the blog/site as you say you do frequently.  But what if the comment is not approved being seen as troll-ish or rude or off topic or a personal attack by the host?  Are we then to not to make very clear in our own public space what our disagreement is so that other women (or ‘newbies”) can see that there is disagreement on an issue especially if, as you say, one of the prime goals as radical feminists is to be an educational service of sorts? Would it not be in the service of education to name and link to the writing in question as WW suggested per ‘academic rigor‘?

And it is all of these observations and questions I pose to you now that caused me to say that a plea to ‘not name’ in public is essentially silencing women.  Without honest and public conversations about our disagreements there can be no forward movement/spinning as has been proven time and time again.

Your thoughts on my questions would be appreciated.

Normal: Men’s Violence

Aside

It is very telling that when a handful of women speak the truth about male violence, and the clear need to protect ourselves from it in ways that target the perpetrators, there is always knee-jerk backlash from men.

When it is clear that men are the ‘people’ who require women and children, first, to fulfill their own gratification it is astonishing that the disconnect can be so simple-mindedly complete.  When men have for thousands of years killed women and children in every way imaginable (including live streaming of the attempted/successful murder by rape of children and women in the ’modern’ age expressly for mass male sexual gratification) how on earth can it be possible for so many ’human beings’ to decry, in threatening and violent terms – or even just liberal reformist terms – the speaking out of this handful of vocal women and then accuse us of violence against children and men?  Really, who is doing the actual raping and murdering of women and children since forever?

When a simple linking to a public blog, by a woman, is called out as an “attack” (violence) against a man, what are we to make of hundreds upon thousands upon millions of men perpetrating actual real life violence against women and children for thousands of years?

Normal.

This is NORMAL.

And if we (no matter how small or large our number might be) disagree, if we say that it would be within our natural right to protect ourselves in any way we see fit from this un-natural ‘normality’, then we ‘deserve’ to have violence threatened/perpetrated against us – we ‘deserve’ to be hunted, stalked and terrorized because we speak of male violence and some of the simple ways to stop it.

That anyone would ‘argue’ that we have little or no right to be honest, in public, about male violence simply proves the point – men are actually, really, violent every day for thousands of years and something needs to be done about it and it can‘t be done through ‘normal‘ means.

Self-Evident

When time and time again women (young and old) come forward to say that they have found truth in the words of radical feminists who have spoken of the inherent violence of ‘sex’ – the domination and control that the violence of PIV visits not only upon their bodies but their psyches – that they come out to say that they always doubted their own instincts, that they thought there was something wrong with them until they found other women who know (and share logically and without compunction) the same experience, there is evidence of truth.

Truth is simple and easily stands by itself unless there are forces acting against it, to muddy it up, to change the definition.  In this case, the radical feminist truth regarding the very basis of female oppression by men via a global culture of PIV defined as ’sex’ and the erasure of  its violence to female bodies, has been long been considered tantamount to treason.  Yet there remain women and men who do not embrace this evident truth who continue to take on the guise of Radical Feminist.

Radical feminism has been muddied and redefined to mean anything other than men’s domination of women based on ’sex’.  Radical feminism has been, again, reduced to very little more than saying the vast majority of rape (‘non-consensual sex‘) is perpetrated by men and that men (or more commonly: people) are failing to do enough to stop it.  Radical feminism in the hands of the liberal/progressive female mainstream is nothing but simple reformism, believing that men will… somehow… change their ways.  In the hands of the liberal/progressive ’radical feminist men’, it’s sex-positivity coupled with ’gender equality’.

And reformism would be laudable if the goal was to eradicate PIV defined as ’sex’ – that no woman or girl would ever be in any way prone to believing that she was supposed to engage in any thought or action related to male defined ‘sexuality’, that no woman or girl would ever be subjected to any thought or action based on ’sex’ – but it is not.  Reform is based in believing that the current global structure can be modified and that based on those modifications we then have more ‘choices’.  How can the modification of a culture that associates the mere talk of PIV as violence-against-women as something to be dismissed as crazy, violent or, in the best of circumstances, something to be tolerated as a personal ‘choice‘ that is ‘different than yours’ bring about the liberation of women from men?  It can’t.

Reformism can not have a place in the demise of PIV as ‘sex’ and, thereby, the liberation of women and girls from domination by men.  Reformism is crazy-making for women, it is gaslighting and simple denial of the vast powers at play in the patriarchal/political/social matrix of men’s domination. To say that not all men benefit from the world-wide epidemic of sex/violence against women and girls or that it’s your choice to be sexual with ’good’ men is not being honest.

 

 

Radical Cults vs Radical Truth

In men’s minds radicalism is associated with violence and control of others.  Their minds jump to cult leaders and religious fundamentalists and terrorist groups – this is what radical means to them as they can only perceive of radicalism through their own male lens.

With cult leaders the most notorious and deadly have been men who had/have an extreme need for domination.  Many use ‘sex’ (and the prohibition of it) to enforce dominance and control over their followers.  Male followers are denied the ‘right’ to ‘their’ women for their own sexual use, mothers are required to relinquish their daughters to the leader for his (or his favored male followers’) sexual use, individual women are expected to offer themselves up to the leader for the same purposes.  Men are robbed of their ownership of ’their’ females, thus emasculating them, and females are denied ownership of themselves.

Often religious fundamentalists operate in the form of a cult, or mini-cult. Warren Jeffs and his polygamist sect come to mind – virtually no different than many other cults in terms of ’sex’ used as a weapon of dominance and control. On a smaller scale, individual polygamist ’families’ operate in the same fashion. In a different, but not at all unrelated way, Quiverful families (like the Duggars) are headed by one man with complete control over the woman’s reproductive system and those of their many female children, this in the sense that he is the one to decide which man will be awarded their sexual servitude.

Although terrorist groups often have sexual-reward components, they are primarily driven by socio-political agendas that have little to do with the ’leader’ actively and directly imposing his dominance over women and girls in a systematically sexualized way as part of the overall group control toolkit.  Yet terrorist leaders are often lumped in with the two other types.

It is clear that these ‘radical’ cults are simply smaller specialized subsets of the global patriarchal culture – violence and sexualized domination used as weapons to wield control over others – although this connection is rarely made by men and most women.  ‘Radical’ cults are wrong and bad in the minds of men because one man has too much control over too many others; they go too far with their demands on other men and keep too many women and girls for themselves – they are too transparent, they give away the secrets of male domination because they are too greedy, too violent and too crazy to care about the need of all the other men in the world to be believed to be generous, kind and sane by the women and girls they have a ‘right’ to dominate and control with violence and ’sex’.

Enter the concept of radical feminism – there is a leap of non-thought and non-logic to male defined ’radical’ groups or cults when radical feminism is brought up.  Because radicals are focused on domination and control of others, are violent and often use ’sex’ as a weapon, radical feminists must be out to dominate and control others by means of ideology, ’sex’ and violence.  Just like male cult leaders only in reverse.

Historically there have been very, very few female ’cult’ leaders.  Many of the few were women who took patriarchal religions in an offshoot direction, who expected ‘sexual’ abstinence/restraint (no/little PIV – which benefits females) for various reasons, but who were adamantly against violence of any kind; one can suppose that at least some of these female leaders considered PIV violence.  An even smaller number of female ’leaders’ who did commit acts of violence (human sacrifice, for example) were self-proclaimed and were joined by men in the group or by male family members in those crimes, however sexualized control of the group in those cases does not appear to have been a factor.

Radical feminists bear no hallmarks of ‘radical cults’ – there are not hundreds of women gathered together in compounds supporting a sole leader’s need for domination.  No children (or women or men for that matter) are being demanded for ‘sexual’ access.  There is no violence against anyone.  Yet we, as individuals, are held up as the same as the most murderous, ‘sexually deviant‘, greedy, ‘crazy’ men who have been, and are, the leaders of ‘radical cults‘ and only because we tell the truth about men.

And that truth is that men use violence and ‘sex’ (PIV) to dominate and control every aspect of life on the planet.  When a handful of radical feminists state that truth clearly and unequivocally they are held up as dangerous and crazy by men and women alike as though we are ’radical’ and have no business claiming to be feminists, or even radical feminists of the male-acceptable (PIV positive, boyfriend and husband keeping) pabulum variety – we serve as a cautionary tale:  to accept the logic of the inherent violence of ’sex’, the purpose it serves in domination and control of all women and girls on a global scale, is to be a monster akin to… men.

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See this as an example of a liberal (feminist) woman ‘defending’ the radical feminists in their venue… 

Reading Comprehension

There was a period of time in my life when people, my mom in particular, told me that I had a talent for writing.  What no one ever knew back then was that I hated writing (and still do) because my thoughts rarely slow down enough and/or stay linear enough to capture them in any coherent way.  Or that’s the way it seems to me and that’s why I don’t write much or often. 

But I studied writing a lot mostly by way of reading – Toni Morrison was one of my favorites for her economy with words and, of course, her subject matter – brilliant.  In fact I was supposed to graduate from college with a writing degree.  What my professors didn’t know was that I would dash off my *better* pieces the morning before they were due.  The *lesser* of my works were tortured piles of crap that I’d agonized over, going through the motions of *doing it the right way*.   Maybe my mom and all of my writing mentors were right?  Anyway, I still think I’m best at comprehending the written word and the intention of their authors than I am writing those words.  I’m also quite sure that I’m not alone.  

So when I see some women in our little radfem blogworld (I don’t do, or get even, the social media joynts) go off on others, I simply do not understand – it doesn’t compute and I’ve read the links and I’ve understood all of the postions involved.  The conclusion HAS TO BE that there are some really great researchers and writers who cannot, or will not, comprehend others’ words.  Because short of a reading comprehension failure I see no reason (usually) for otherwise smart and committed women to be issuing insults and expletives and accusations at anyone involved in our movement publicly or privately.  I mean, what’s the point?  Are they not entitled to the product of their thoughts?

Attack, attackattackattack!

It’s on all over again.  And again, again.

Butch “bretheren” and *you can’t speak for me!* and reading comprehension FAILS that… astound.

Young women saying the same things that old women were saying long before they were born and washing, rinsing, repeating.

Repeating.