What I’m Reading

by FCM

i currently have 3 books going at the same time, which is one or two (or three) more than usual.  and i dont have to read any of them.  it might be a personal record.

first, i am re-reading dworkin’s intercourse.  this one was a game-changer for me the first time, but as i’ve gone on with my work i have started to think that she didnt go far enough.  is this possible?  the first time around, it was the first time i had ever encountered a critique of intercourse as an institution and a harmful cultural practice; what changed the game for me was dworkin calling attention to the fact that intercourse directed toward the vagina is historically fetishized, and procreative intercourse is historically fetishized.  this made me realize that there was a biological component to this practice that hadnt occurred to me before.  not that there is a biological drive to do it or any of that ev psych shit, but that there is a reason that women are fucked, and it has something to do with the fact that we are impregnable.  hmm!

obviously this set me down the road i am currently on, but what did she mean when she said what she said?  what did she actually even say?  its hard to remember, which says nothing about the power of her words and her ability to write things that stick in your mind forever.  there are forces out there set out to deliberately confuse.  (all sex is rape, blah blah lie obfuscate negligence slander).  after receiving more shit and hate and threats than many women or men experience in a lifetime no matter what they do or dont do, she later explained her belief that intercourse as a cultural and sexual practice would survive equality.  how so?  thats what im trying to figure out.

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next, i am re-reading gavin de becker’s the gift of fear.  i first read this one in high school, and am reading it again.  for those who arent familiar, gavin de becker is a doodly expert on “security” and making predictions about future violence.  the question that stays with me while reading it (obviously i had no such questions the first time) is “what would a man say if he were being paid handsomely to tell the truth about violence, men, and what men do?”  seems that lotsa money brings out the honesty in some cases.  for example, de becker leaves a note for us between the table of contents and the first chapter:

Note: Men of all ages and in all parts of the world are more violent than women.  For this reason, the language in this book is mostly gender-specific to men.  When it comes to violence, women can proudly relinquish recognition in the language, because here at least, politically correct would be statistically incorrect.

obviously he is still just a man, and i anticipate that he will show us his true colors at some point.  but looky there, a man said it, so therefore and ergo its credible.  men are more violent than women, everywhere.  the number-one factor in determining whether a person is a risk to someone elses safety is whether the suspect is male.  brought to you by a dood who knows what hes talking about and is paid to tell the truth, and stands to lose quite a bit if his predictions are ever wrong.  as i recall, he also told his children when they were growing up that if they ever get lost at the mall, to find a woman (not a man) and ask her for help.  because men are known to be extremely dangerous to children, and women arent.  duh.  and, timely.

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and finally, the only book that i am *not* reading for the second time (but ive been working on it for many months) is cargo, cult & culture critique.  this one piqued my interest because the anthropologic “discovery” and interpretation of south-pacific cargo cults describes a logical fallacy that all radical feminists are familiar with because we combat it daily, whether we know what its called or not: basically that if something happens first, it causes what comes after.  the south pacific cargo-cultists, for example, seem to have believed that the rituals the military colonizers performed that preceded the dropping of supplies (“cargo”) on south pacific military bases during world war II were what caused the cargo to appear.  so, after the military bases were closed, the indigenous peoples started replicating the rituals, including walking around with sticks meant to resemble guns, and building fake radio towers and shuffling blank papers around, believing that this is what caused the cargo to appear the first time, and that it would make it happen again.  seemingly completely unaware of the multiple underlying and overlapping systems and structures that were responsible for the result the first time around.  and unaware that the original rituals had actual function, and were directly tied to a complex and deep, invisible infrastructure, and werent necessarily meaningful or causative in themselves.

of course, this “interpretation” of what the indigenous people were actually doing, and the meaning it had for them (rather than what it looked like to the white men observing them) is going to be deeply flawed and the book gets into the ways this has historically been so.  its a “critique” of cargo cult understanding, and its very interesting.  but i believe that even the flawed “interpretation” is useful for our purposes, in that it illustrates in a very graphic way what this particular logical fallacy can look like when it centralizes cultural rituals, as if they are causative of other things.

kinda like…performing the rituals of femininity and expecting that *this* is what will make you a woman, instead of recognizing the male-supremacist, woman-hating infrastructure that drives the whole thing when actual women perform the female gender, but not when men perform femininity.  that we may or may not wear “feminine” clothing or grow up surrounded by pink things, but this is not what makes us women, biologically or even in the gendered sense.  its the decades of abuse and fear of future male violence that make us coquettish fetishize our own submission and appear feminine in our mannerisms mkay?  is not the clothing.  jesus.

now, obviously wearing painful and restrictive clothing for decades is likely to physically hobble you and change your demeanor, yes.  but even the most femininely-hobbled male will never be female: this would be akin to getting a sore shoulder after carrying your fake gun around all day, wouldnt it?  its never going to cause any cargo to appear.  and an indigenous person with a sore shoulder is not the same as a military man, and at any rate, a sore shoulder wasnt what caused the cargo to appear the first time around.

of course, an analogy between trans performance of gender and cargo-cult behavior falls apart when we realize that these were colonized people performing the cargo rituals, and men as a sexual class are not colonized people, no matter what they choose to wear, or how they feel about gender (or about anything).  so…im not making an analogy, but rather an illustration of a logical fallacy in that case.

i would however make an analogy between the white mans interpretation of cargo-cult and women (who are a colonized people) dressing in business attire and entering the male workplace and actually working, believing (incorrectly) that its the rituals of work that are going to get you paid, and respected.  that putting on a suit and showing up and talking on the phone and being productive is what men are doing when they are working, because thats what it looks like.  without recognizing (or recognizing as significant) the complex, deep underlying structures of patriarchy that get men paid, and promoted, and connected and respected.  its not the rituals of work, and its not the work itself.

discuss!

33 Comments to “What I’m Reading”

  1. Great post, FCM, tying the ideas of the writers with larger contexts and our on-going radfem discussions.

    And aren’t you just a ray of sunshine, too:
    “i would however make an analogy to the white mans interpretation of cargo-cult and women (who are a colonized people) dressing in business attire and entering the male workplace and actually working, believing (incorrectly) that its the rituals of work that are going to get you paid, and respected. that putting on a suit and showing up and talking on the phone and being productive is what men are doing when they are working, because thats what it looks like. without recognizing (or recognizing as significant) the complex, deep underlying structures of patriarchy that get men paid, and promoted, and connected and respected. its not the rituals of work, and its not the work itself.”

    And I mean that crack about “sunshine” in both ways, sarcastically and as illuminating. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the reminder, or that you haven’t just made this point so succinctly and clearly, but oh the pain of remembering just who I really am when I imagine that, if I can just play the game a bit better, I will get where I want to go. Cold hard reality is just what I need right now while I make some work decisions. Thanks for always being there with the truth.

  2. Thought-provoking! Great post. More discussion yay!

    “she later explained her belief that intercourse as a cultural and sexual practice would survive equality. how so?”

    I feel quite the same about this particular point. As much as I admire Andrea Dworkin’s work, I don’t see how intercourse would survive equality. Vaginas just aren’t meant to be penetrated and PIV isn’t and never will be recreation for women. There will always be a cost to it! I wonder if she really believed it or just said this because of the hatred against her.

    The work-cargo analogy is a really interesting way of thinking about it. It proves the complete deceptiveness and vacuity of patriarchal rituals in general, and shows how vain it is to try to emulate the oppressors’ dress and mannerisms in any way, cause it changes nothing to the structure. Gendertrender theory debunked!

    “its the decades of abuse and fear of future male violence that make us coquettish fetishize our own submission and appear feminine in our mannerisms mkay? is not the clothing. jesus.” I’d say all the feminine mannerisms we are forced to learn are abuse in themselves and are conducive to self-hatred, which is the every-day practical application of submissiveness, constant surveyance and trauma-bonding.
    I don’t quite understand in which way you mean clothing isn’t important (is it compared to funfems who focus only on “gender performance”?). I believe that clothing and all other aspects of femininity are important in that they’re a tool for men to control women’s minds and bodies at all times, to mark them publicly /socially as cattle and property, make sure that at any time of the day and night they are available for male consumption and completely and absolutely subservient, mentally cannibalised and colonised. I don’t know about other feminists, but one of the first things I did when I awakened / in order to decolonise as best possible my mind and body from patriarchy, was to get rid of this constant control, surveyance and hatred of my body, and get rid of anything that signified to men I was their fuck toy, to love my body, allow myself to eat and wear comfy clothes. Obviously this hasn’t shattered patriarchy but it has given me much more strength, integrity and self-respect, and that’s important for crushing patriarchy.

    Hope it wasn’t off-topic!

  3. Really like the analogy you make about women in the workforce right at the end. You’re absolutely right that men do appear to be doing these things, but of course they are also doing male parading (for other men), male networking (for themselves) and various exclusionary activities (many of which take place in the men’s toilets – and in strip clubs as well, or bars after work). When Julia Gillard became prime minister, Tony Abbott had great difficulty (and still does) because he couldn’t walk in front of her.
    Thanks for the insight.

  4. I’d say all the feminine mannerisms we are forced to learn are abuse in themselves and are conducive to self-hatred, which is the every-day practical application of submissiveness, constant surveyance and trauma-bonding.

    yes. this is true for women and our relationship to womens clothing. its not true for men and their relationship to womens (or to mens) clothing. therefore, its not the clothing. even men who deliberately hobble themselves arent women, they are just hobbled men. the underlying structures and systems arent implicated when men do “it” no matter what “it” is. i agree that theres probably something else there that needs saying, and i am still thinking on that part. 🙂

  5. I guess the oppressiveness of femininity isn’t true for men because femininity’s purpose is to service men, so men’s primary experience of femininity is as masturbatory aid or sexual arousal. They wouldn’t take so much pleasure in doing femininity if it wasn’t inherently tied to women’s sexual subservience them, even when the practices are clearly harmful and self mutilatory. For men it’s a pleasure to play out femininity because it’s a way of celebrating the power they have over women, of celebrating one of the things that symbolises the surrender of women to men. I think it actually reinforces the idea that femininity is inherently oppressive, since the oppressors invariably experience it as a feeling of power and arousal while the oppressed experience it as oppression.

    I guess what excites them is also the ability to posses and purchase female submissiveness simply because it lies in their power. It’s quite frequent now (is this really new? no idea) that men pay for female prostitutes to play the dom while he plays the sub. Above the arousal potential of femininity for men, I think they also take a perverse pleasure in changing the roles, of breaking the false patriarchal boundaries while knowing they are still in absolute power (because in reality the prostituted women is stills prostituted and raped whether she’s the dom or sub, and the experience may be no less traumatising). I think they enjoy making fun of us, confusing and deceiving us, giving us men’s clothes and laughing, like humans would put human’s clothes on a dog and laugh.

    i also believe men are capable of extreme degrees of sacrifice, to uphold the belief (for women) that sex doesn’t count, that the oppressor can become oppressed, that women’s oppression doesn’t exist, that patriarchy is just figment of some loony radfem’s imagination and that men aren’t at all interested in possessing women and appropriating women’s reproductive power.

    The cargo analogy reminds me when I went to this restaurant and there was a traditional peruvian dance show. What struck me was the extent to which the traditional dance was a “peruvianised” imitation of colonial dress and mannerisms, with all the wigs, frills, dresses, heels (etc) and how far it had colonised their minds. It was really hard to watch. Women’s situation is actually similar, dancing and hopping around in men’s suits but without getting an ounce of the privilege associated with it. To me the entering of women in the workplace is one of patriarchy’s biggest deceptive adaptation strategy to feminism in the 20th century. There’s the fallacy of vainly emulating male behaviour, but also the fact that men let women enter so long as they remained purely decorative (so while they imitate men, they still have to act as fucktoys anyway), did all the firm’s dirty work (justified by it’s “feminine” nature) and get no retribution for it, continued to do the dirty housework (or paid a poorer women to do it), and continued to serve men sexually, in public and in private. Well, men kept it all!

  6. after receiving more shit and hate and threats than many women or men experience in a lifetime no matter what they do or dont do, she later explained her belief that intercourse as a cultural and sexual practice would survive equality. how so?

    How would people come into the world otherwise? Unless we are talking about artificial insemination or other medical/technological practices I don’t see anything else that would explain why she would say that.

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understood it as sexual practice oustide reproductive purpose, like cunnilungus or something. If it’s only the one or two times in lifetime (if at all), it can hardly be called a practice, can it? Plus I’m convinced we can reproduce without the male sperm teehee : D

  8. yes i dont think she was talking about reproduction either. rape causes pregnancy, would any feminist (or would dworkin) say that men raping women would survive equality too? doubtful. it still begs the question, what on earth could she possibly mean when she said what she said. she was always brutal in her honesty, was she pulling a punch here for the first time? or was she making a hopeful statement, perhaps related to the fact that she was partnered to a man? i dont know. its really troublesome.

  9. Always love reading what you guys have to say. I think fashion is important because that is one of the things controlling women and that has been feeding industry for years. I think this has been the way of most cultures throughout history in one way or another. Saying that I have worn comfortable clothes for years now. Also comfortable shoes. I buy what I like but not because its fashionable but we all start off that way. There is so much going on about health now.. Another influence where women are all targeted.. And we are bombarded with it .And environmental issues. All the time. But there is always something subversive behind this. Mainly out to get women in general.

    Years ago a magazine came through my door called What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You. You have to use your common sense and experience. I was thinking about one article and it covered research done about the harmful affects of body lotions shower gels and bubble baths and the chemicals in them. It said these dangerous chemicals actually went inside your body through the pores of your skin and when used over a long period of time then they caused major physical illnesses.

    All toiletries go under this.. This is something we really need to think about because how many of us cannot stop using nice smelling toiletries or cosmetics? When you check out the lists of ingredients on the bottles and packages of these toiletries that article makes you think.

    From my nursing experience I know that our skin is the largest organ in our body. Without a doubt because our skin is so porous anything can be saturated into it.And via our skin go through into our system.. And then circulate throughout our bodies. This all makes sense to me..

    So how many of us actually know anything about the chemicals used in modern toiletries and cosmetics? Wouldn’t it take a scientist or somebody of that calibre? Somebody who worked in the labs of one of these major companies?

    Women start using these toiletries from birth. How harmful are they? Even the ones recommended for babies?. And has any other research been done into this? Everybody is bombarded with food and water and the health issues about them. And smoking. And fashion. And medications. But toiletries? They could be the most harmful of the lot.

    I think that article makes a lot of sense. All the cosmetic industry from everything in it is another major sell.Probably the most profitable around the world..Then there are soap powders and fabric softners also .And detergents. Alll used by women.Household air freshners. Polishes. There is probably others I can’t think of right now. I know health has improved for the majority of people compared to when I was young and my mum’s generation. But there is always something and this is a 21st century issue now and it affects women and children more than men.

    Because I am basically a coward and I can’t stand pain or hospitals. That article has got to me at last. So I threw all my cosmetics away and now just use perfumes on my clothes. I can’t get out of using soap and shampoo. Isn’t this just major conditioning harming women in the same old way to finance industrial mega industries and line the pockets of the men who head them. This isn’t looked into or discussed much. I would be interested to know what people think about this.I’ve decided to throw my detergents away as well except disinfectant. But I am finding it hard to consider not using soap powder? And what about washing up liquid?.

    Maybe some industrious and imaginative women could start a business selling inexpensive harmless nice smellies. There are some stores I’m aware of but as for their harmless effects I have no idea? Does anybody? The only ones that come to mind are the ‘Simple’ range and ‘Dove’ and they don’t give their ingredients on the packaging And who on earth could make sense of it anyway? It would take a women scientist experienced in that field. My local health store sells cosmetics but I don’t know how harmful they are.. There probably are ranges out there so I will look into it see what comes up on line. But can they be trusted?

    Always interesting reading what you say .Bear in mind these toiletries enter us via our vaginas also something else I don’t think we should welcome either.

    In future I’ve decided not to buy any cosmetics except just the basics. Save all that money Then in a few years hopefully I will have saved enough. And be able to just buy one really gorgeous bottle of perfume from the highest perfume house. But saying that perfume houses are industrial chemical industries in themselves. I don’t know the ingredients they use either so my purchase would be purely on trust. .Wouldn’t it be really difficult for any women or young girl not to use any cosmetics whatsoever?.. But what a personal statement and how brave you would have to be when you think about it. Isn’t it the chemical industry that is basically destroying our planet by poisoning it? Could anyone not use anything at all?

    I don’t think so!

    But when you think about this isn’t this a major way of saving our planet and keeping ourselves healthy and also our children? By not buying this crap. Would it really be so difficult and I am thinking of the actual impact that could be made by women if they stopped using all these products and the good that could come from it. Maybe making more public awareness as well

    Maybe even saving our planet!

  10. You’be got me mulling that Dworkin quote over! If she said that due to reproduction, and in Intercourse she did say without PIV or reproductive technology, humans wouldn’t exist, then that in itself is not an accurate reason. Meaning, PIV or medical “artificial insemination” isn’t needed for reproduction (eg anything that gets spermed semen in or on our genitals, sometimes near, can result in pregnancy). I wonder if it was the “some women like it”, so it will continue under equality? It’s odd to be a bi woman who doesn’t have PIV (or pia) and yet do a lot of reading into it and listening to women talk. There are some women who generally like it, even prefer it, and I struggle in how to approach that. But as you say, an orgasm isn’t a fair payout to risking pregnancy. And I don’t want to be all “false consciousness!” Or “that’s just because you don’t know anything else with a male”. If vasectomies were widely done/mandatory, and PIV only done at females’ interest and initiative, would that be PIV surviving equality? There would be far less of it, and few women would frequently engage in it, and some wouldn’t at all, and most would rarely to sometimes? I also guess my realizing some of the things I really liked to do had some pregnancy risk (I will provide details upon request, but shall spare y’all) has me mulling over piv and how most women desire it *some* of the time (often of course, we do it anyway, when not desiring it, almost always rape). We need to unpack why we like it (and other things that pose risk) and what the social context is, as you have done. Eg, what we often say we like about it can be done without PIV, eg full body contact, pleasure, orgasm, seeing him get pleasure and orgasm, “intimacy” (usually actually trauma bonding), genital-genital contact, wanting to be envelop, etc. We don’t need PIV to have these. In whose interest is it that we think we do? Not ours.

  11. two thoughts struck me as I was reading this post.
    The first is tangential to your last line. I have a very wealthy friend, whose husband is extremely powerful… and never seems to be working. When I go and visit her, he’s taking afternoon naps upstairs. It’s a pain in the arse because neither of us can relax when he’s around. And yet the *property* he owns! Just for doing.. *what* ? idk
    Which reminds me of a point Greer made in The WHole Woman, which is that status and leisure go together. When you get to the top ranks of male society, the men are no longer even pretending to work. The *lack* of work is a sign of status. Compare this to women’s behaviour. They are the busy bees of society, and you see that industriousness means nothing in a patriarchy. Women’s busy-ness, conscientiousness and industriousness, even their ability to get their work done on time, are signs of their *low* status.
    Teh menz keep us running around on a hamster wheel, and it changes nothing. All it does is burn us out and give us no time to plan the revolution.

    the other thing that struck me, was that since I was attacked by a man a few months ago, I have embraced femininity again. Not that I’ve embraced it, just that it feels the safest option for me right now. I’d been resisting femininity when the attack took place, (well as much as I feasibly could and still keep my job). Women who resist femininity make men angry. That is a fact.

  12. LOVE “The Gift of Fear” and re-read it every couple of years. I recommend it to all my female students…every single one who reads it is able to connect it to a personal experience of some kind.

  13. it still begs the question, what on earth could she possibly mean when she said what she said. she was always brutal in her honesty, was she pulling a punch here for the first time? or was she making a hopeful statement, perhaps related to the fact that she was partnered to a man? i dont know. its really troublesome.

    Perhaps this quote by Dworkin will shed some light for you?

    … “as sex is currently socialized and existing in our society, men can’t have sex with women who are their equals. They’re incapable of it. Right? That’s what objectification is about.”

    I think it’s pretty self-explanatory what Dworkin meant by it.

    Btw, Dworkin was lesbian and Stoltenberg was gay. As far as I know, they remained so and their marriage was not traditional. I was told it was done for medical/insurance reasons when Dworkin’s health declined.

  14. i think that anyone who goes to the ends of their thoughts about PIV would have to conclude that PIV as sex would not survive equality. it bothers me that dworkin may not have gone to the ends of her thoughts on this issue. the quote you provide is not helpful in that regard. nor is discounting the FACT that she was partnered with a man. also, the fact that she self-identified as a lesbian for a period of time is bothersome for some lesbians, when she was (again) life-partnered with a man for some 30 years. stoltenberg was “gay” before and after dworkin (he partnered with men) but i read that he considered dworkin his soul mate from the first time he saw her, and that he didnt see her gender. or something. whatever the hell that means.

    is there some genderism going on in intercourse? is it all about “gender” and reproducing gender, and nothing about the female specific harms of the penis? im starting to get that impression. i am re-reading and hoping this will be made more clear one way or the other. if its all about gender, and reproducing gender, im going to say that she didnt go far enough. if people are upset about me saying that, they can be upset about it.

  15. and how in the hell could a “sex act” that causes unwanted pregnancy survive equality? dworkin “went there” in intercourse, she said that womens impregnability was relevant. but she did not continue down that road, not really. why not? thats what i want to know.

  16. also, i havent gotten there yet, but i remember from reading it the first time that she thought that eliminating the “thrusting” element of intercourse would make it less dom/sub. ok i can see that to a degree. still gonna knock you up though. and unilateral trauma-bonding in fear over an unwanted pregnancy absolutely reproduces dom/sub. the traumatized party is the sub obviously (the woman).

  17. FCM, I read her as talking about PIV for procreation only. IN which case there would be no fear of unwanted pregnancy. And the trauma bond comes from the fear of pregnancy, in the main.
    I’m on the fence about this. I lean towards Dworkin’s analysis in that PIV *possibly* *could* survive the revolution, but the power structures would be completely different to what they are now. So for example, as Zeph is always pointing out *not* *all* men would have the opportunity to have PIV. We’re talking about a select few men that women themselves choose. Yes, I think women would choose the same men, that they wouldn’t mind sharing.

  18. “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker is one my favorite books. I’ve read it twice also, though it’s been quite a few years since the last time I read it. I don’t know if de Becker is exactly a feminist, but I know that a lot of feminists are huge fans of the book, and for good reason. It’s very honest indeed, so much that it pisses men off sometimes. He tells not to trust any men you don’t know, and he tells you about all the little tricks they use to try to get you into a rape situation. Once of the tricks is making you feel you’re being a “bitch” if you don’t let them give you ride or help you inside with your grocery bag or whatever. And he flat-out says that it’s better for some guy to think you’re a bitch than to end up raped or dead by that guy. So true. I basically see every man as a potential rapist. I do my best to stay out of situations in which I might be victimized. Gavin de Becker is OK for a dooood, I think. 🙂

  19. Just consider Dworkin and Stoltenberg were bff. I think Dworkin wrote by night, Stoltenberg by day, so they had opposite schedules. They were out and identified as lesbian/gay, not bi-sexual, before, during, and after the marriage. They married for health reasons. Period. My info comes from those who were close to her. I met up with Dworkin near the end. Trust me, that woman wasn’t rolling around in the hay with anyone. She was in excruciating pain and could barely move. I think she had rheumatoid arthritis or something, which as I’m sure you know, is a very debilitating disease. She could barely walk and was all but crippled. It makes perfect sense to me why she married John. Physically, he could assist her with her mobility issues. As a male, he would be a deterrent to other males who wished to harm her. As her spouse (remember, lesbian marriage was not an option), he could make decisions about her health and business affairs should she become incapacitated. I don’t think she had family. Without next-of-kin, doesn’t the state take over? Yikes, I sure wouldn’t want the state making decisions about my care and affairs, especially if I was as hated as Andrea Dworkin. Stoltenberg was a proven life-long friend. She trusted him. Bonus: John was gay. She didn’t have to worry about sexual advances. Personally, I thought it was a pretty smart move on Dworkin’s part to marry Stoltenberg. He was the perfect solution. That’s my take on it anyways.

    Why didn’t Dworkin go much down the road of PIV and unwanted pregnancy? **shrug** I guess we all have our own experiences, personal issues and agendas and that’s what we write about. Unwanted pregnancy apparently wasn’t foremost on Dworkin’s mind. Given her background, it’s understandable what she wanted to zero in on and address. No doubt she was traumatized by rape, porn, prostitution, and sexual violence and that’s apparently where her head was at.

    I also think Dworkin held out hope for men in her earlier years. I can understand why. The time was ripe for change during that time period and it seemed as tho men were becoming more human. Dworkin was quite a bit older than me but I saw and experienced it too. But since we both hail from the same neck of the woods, maybe it was just that time and place? In later years tho, I think Dworkin changed her mind about a lot of things. In 1999, she said, “My prayer for the women of the next millennium: have hard hearts; and learn how to kill.” That doesn’t too hopeful about men to me, lol.

    and how in the hell could a “sex act” that causes unwanted pregnancy survive equality?

    Bah, maybe we’ve lived too long in a misogynist rape culture? Think outside the box. In matrifocal societies, which tend to be much more egalitarian, unwanted pregnancies are not the norm. She doesn’t exist to please him. It’s a more mutual thing. So she has say-so with when and where just like he does, if not more so. Heavy on the when. Timing is everything. Women have been using the timing-method since time on end. It’s not 100% foolproof, but it works most of the time. I seriously doubt tho that egalitarian societies are as obsessed with sex as they are in patriarchal societies, as men’s identities and manhood wouldn’t be so wrapped up it. Just saying.

    I think you already know what I think about PIV tho:

    I could not, would not, do it on a boat.
    I will not, will not, with a goat.
    I will not do it in the rain.
    I will not do it on a train.
    Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
    Not in a car! You let me be!
    I will not do it in a box.
    I will not do it with a fox.
    I will not do it in a house.
    I will not do it with a mouse.
    I do not like it here or there.
    I do not like it ANYWHERE!
    I do not like PIV with any man.
    I do not like it,
    Sam-I-am.

    :p :p :p

  20. Very interesting I remember talking with friends when I was a bit younger when we planned to go out at night, the code if “anything happens” may as well been “if any-man happens” we never said it out loud but we all knew.

  21. children should always approach a woman for help, NOT A MAN. oh dear, i hope the MRAs have time for a full-scale war against a man who could buy, sell and (probably) have every single one of them killed if he wanted to. lemme guess, they dont attack de becker bc they have too many previous commitments? yeah thats what i thought.

    https://www.gavindebecker.com/resources/child_safety/its_every_parents_worst_nightmare_-_your_child_is_lost._find_out_what_you_s/

  22. but those fucking cowards did make the time to go after a mommy blogger who dared suggest that she was uncomfortable with her daughters PRESCHOOL letting grown men take her 3-year old to the bathroom. apparently the MRAs descended, threatened her and her kids, and she then apologized to them for spreading the “misinformation” that men are violent and threatening to women and children. i actually think it was an ingenious move on her part. its as clear as day what happened here.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/2011/10/apology-to-mens-rights-activists-2/

  23. i would also note that de becker has been saying the same thing for going on 2 decades now, about men and how dangerous and violent they are to women and children. do the fucking cowards name de becker as public enemy number one? why not? gee, i wonder why. its just not clear to me at all why this is the case. why oh why might this be? fucking cowards and hypocrites both. if they had “truth” on their side they wouldnt pull punches, just like we dont. we tell the truth always, and they lie and threaten and use predatory culling techniques to victimize women who discuss how men are dangerous and predatory. what a fucking shitshow these clowns are. and its right there for everyone to see.

  24. I have just read the first few chapters of this book by Gavin de Becker and I hate it, with reservations. He gives a good statistic in his intro; namely that a woman dies every two hours in the US of partner and spousal abuse. He then encourages them to use their intuition to avoid dangerous strangers!

    Women’s intuition is shut down because the fear levels that human females must endure in patriarchy are beyond the capacity our nervous systems can sustain. Denial has a biological function— to try to preserve those systems from the corrosive chemical effects of constant fear. If women followed their intuition 90% of them would never form live in partnerships, let alone give men legal sanctions over their uteruses through marriage.

    He blames women and encourages them to blame each other by distracting them from what is really happening on a systemic level, using exactly the tools he exhorts them to look out for in his book; myriad individual details! Women are simply swamped by details, virtually everything that happens to us in the proximity of males contains potential danger. If we did not drown it out we would never go to work in the morning.

    He rightly singles out child abuse as a key component in maintaining a system overloaded with violence but he focuses on individual criminals and, so far as I have read, exempts those who have attained money or position, or are born with it. Implying they are probably not abusive because they have success!

    He perpetuates the myth of the deranged lone assassin, though he undoubtedly exists, he is more often a vulnerable person located through mental health or criminal records, then leaned on by powerful factions to be a fall guy and admit guilt for political killings.
    He tells us no more than Dworkin told us thirty years ago. Then prescribes individual solutions for systemic problems.

    Read “The Prince” by Machiavelli and “Candide” by Voltaire for truthful books about the system written by men. They are both misogynistic, but nevertheless enlightening.

    Loved your post FCM; a really interesting choice of books for us to discuss.

  25. Yes I saw him show his true colors a bit today. Disappointing, but to be expected afterall. Excellent point about the function of denial zeph, thanks

  26. There is *one* guy I will defend.
    LUndy Bancroft is excellent. He is the only guy that I know of who outlines the political and cultural aspects of male violence against women. “Why does he do that: INside the minds of angry and controllng men” has helped a lot of women out of their relationships in real life. What impressed me was that he covers the way that the system supports these men, specifically how it regards women as liars. Here’s the blurb:

    “Lundy Bancrodt, former codirector of Emerge, the first U.S. program for abusive men, and a 15-year veteran of work with abusive men, reminds readers that each year in this country, two to four million women are assaulted by their partners and that at least one out of three American women will be a victim of violence by a husband or boyfriend at some point in her life. ”

    ANd from his website:

    His work focuses on three areas: 1) Training professionals on best practices for intervening with male perpetrators of violence against women, toward the goal of promoting accountability and requiring change, 2) Training professionals on the dynamics of emotional injury and recovery in children who are exposed to a man who abuses their mother, to prepare participants to offer the most effective and safe assistance possible to children and their mothers, and 3) Supporting healing and empowerment for abused women, with an emphasis on advocating for the human rights of mothers and their children.

    http://www.lundybancroft.com/?p=103

  27. Agree Cherry, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling men. Was a good book, it was easy to extend its principles to the systemic level.

  28. Has anybody heard of Jackson Katz? I read his book quite a while ago, and though he was great, but my views have quite evolved since then so don’t know how I’d find it now (maybe I should have another look at it).
    He’s an anti-male violence activist and wrote a few books including “the macho paradox: why some men hurt women and how all men can help”.
    Well, re-reading the title, i’d have said “why men hurt women”, without the “some”. Whatever.

  29. Cherry, I love that book too. Lundy Bancroft rocks.

  30. Here’s another male writer, who has been radicalized at the London Men’s Centre, where he counsels abusive men on probation for domestic violence and so on. The name is Adam Jukes and the book is “Why Men Hate Women” (Free Association Books, London, 1993). He writes with the astonishment and total conversion of someone who is watching a massive atrocity occurring with his own eyes. The case studies of how abusive men think are enlightening, and how he attempts to give them some insight into their hateful thinking. The middle section is a long theoretical attempt to explain male violence in Freudian terms, which I skipped, but the rest is very interesting. The statistics he gathers are mind-boggling.

  31. I know this is barely, and not really at all relevant. But even though I like Ariel Levy, I think it says a lot about the trajectory of radical feminism that someone of Levy’s fierceness (perceptive, but on the scale of fierce, maybe a 2) is the Intro-writer in 2011 for someone of Dworkin’s ferocity (19+ on a 1-10 scale) … anyone? I’m not talking s***, it just made me a little sad.

  32. Sonia, I hear you. 🙂

  33. for anyone who is interested (and this post has brought out the trolls) background on the work thats already been done on PIV criticism:

    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/radical-perspectives-lots-of-links/#piv
    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/category/piv/

    of course, radical work around PIV and criticism of male-centric sexuality does NOT center on the almighty orgasm, nor does it posit that NO women orgasm from PIV. being that PIV is a political act and not a purely (or even primarily) a sexual act, orgasm and individual “lived experience” with PIV is largely irrelevant.

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