The Fistula Foundation Charity: Preventing and Treating Obstetric Fistula

by FCM

the HUB applauds the important work of the fistula foundation, and encourages readers who make charitable contributions this time of year (or anytime) to consider giving to this reputable charity.

on a personal note, i simply cannot overstate the importance of their work, or the impact the fistula foundation has had on my radical feminist awakening: it was the catalyst for it.

the fistula foundation is a charitable organization that works to prevent and treat obstetric fistula worldwide. obstetric fistula is a devastating birthing injury that causes urinary and/or fecal incontinence in women who experience prolonged, obstructed labor; it is frequently the result of young or malnourished women birthing where their pelvises are too small to safely pass the fetus.

when i saw the PBS documentary “a walk to beautiful” highlighting the work of the FF, it stopped me in my tracks. at the time, i had just begun blogging and i was still feeling my way through the gender-politicking and this “what makes a woman” post-modernist doublethink: i admit that i was still confused about it. what makes a woman? well, there are years and years of patriarchal abuse, including sexual abuse of girls and women, by men; grooming to be a wife and mother; fuckability mandates, etc etc. these things do appear to separate women from men (women experience them; men perpetrate them), and these things are problematic, yes. but the gender politickers have that covered: apparently, there are men who wish they could experience these things, as victims, and women who believe that they can overcome having experienced these things, as victims, just by wishing it. oh, okay!

and i admit that it can be difficult to separate the female “sex” from the female “gender” under certain situations (where somewhat-reliable contraception is available, for one) and particularly when internalizing certain dialogs that are deliberately meant to obfuscate the difference, like PIV-positive rhetoric and bullshit genderqueer tropes (see above). but once these obfuscating influences are removed, and we observe (and identify with — we are women afterall) what women experience both objectively and subjectively in the absence of these influences…well, see for yourself:

ah, okay. it suddenly becomes very clear doesnt it? what makes a woman…is female reproductive organs! and half of all human beings are born female, and they live and die as females, in a world where men routinely stick their dicks into female-bodied persons, which is objectively and demonstrably harmful to us because it causes unwanted pregnancy and resultant medical events, and a shared-fate which all female-bodied persons are subjected to, across time and place.

if we are very, very lucky, perhaps some of us, for some period of time, can mitigate the severity and frequency (but not the occurrence) of the female-specific harms perpetrated on us, by men. and female-specific harm includes the risk of female-specific harm…which is harmful in itself, because its stressful and requires behavior and thought modification, because we were born with babymakers in a rape culture, and that has meaning. oh yes it does.

and it doesnt *just* have meaning for female-bodied persons, either. men know that women are impregnable, as a sexual class, and thats why they rape almost exclusively girls and women, and almost exclusively *not* other men. raping female-bodied persons is like throwing spaghetti against the wall, and knowing some of it will stick: by raping women, all women, regardless of age, and not men, (individual men perhaps, but not men-as-a-class) they know that pregnancies will result. they just wont be around to see it. kinda like insisting on PIV-centric sexuality in fact! but i digress.

women as a sexual class, around the world, are defined by our ability to become impregnated by men. our biological reality, and mens exploitation of it, is our shared reality, and no amount of bullshit PIV-pozzie rhetoric will ever cure it. it may attempt to erase that shared reality, and it may well succeed. but it will not cure it, and it cannot change it. so why are they trying? this is not a rhetorical question.

for more information on the fistula foundation, or to donate, please google “the fistula foundation,” click through, or use the FF widget in the sidebar. >>>>>

42 Comments to “The Fistula Foundation Charity: Preventing and Treating Obstetric Fistula”

  1. Even male fetuses are more dangerous to their mothers than female fetuses. Female children are subjected to infanticide and slow death by starvation and lack of medicine in favor of their male siblings. So this destruction starts even before birth, all the way up to the death of women and men. And then transmales come whining and bleating and beating their phantom cocks at us about how people in theory would want to do the same thing to trans children and babies and fetuses — the same thing that happens in reality to female people — ergo, they are more oppressed than female people. LOL! Even though these things actually DO HAPPEN TO FEMALE PEOPLE, all over the world! Ugh, male privilege is disgusting, and no matter what any male’s obstacle is, it always smells the same.

    You cannot say femaleness isn’t the basis of misogyny, ever. Anyone who says that is a big honking male-identified misogynist in denial.

    The problem with the world at large is that it’s male-identified. The problem with feminism is that it’s queer male-identified.

    That’s why we need radical feminism.

  2. yes, male fetuses are more dangerous to carry. yet, female fetuses are more often selected for sex-selective abortion and women are shamed and punished if they do not conceive and carry males to term, and are impregnated repeatedly until they do conceive one, which is more likely to cause her complications up to and including death and disfigurement.

    also, it seems as if women have known this for a long time, and yet the male medical machine dismissed it as an “old wives tale.” more here:

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-9-old-wives-tales-tell-truth?image=4

  3. Having anything to do with males takes from women, whether they be husbands, sons, or politicians. Males take their time, their energy, their vitality, their health, their creativity, their contributions, their self-esteem, their relationships with other women, their opportunities, their futures — and even their longevity! Having sons reduces a woman’s life expectancy, and a man with daughters lives longer (oooh his own personal servants, no small wonder why that might be).

    Men HATE that women live longer than men, so every effort to prolong male life seems to be measured against the yardstick of closing the gap with female people (just look at how many of these medical studies are worded in that way if you don’t believe me). Yet women’s longevity is still affected by men, whether it be from patriarchal institutions that don’t provide access to women’s health care (and by women’s health care, I mean conditions affecting FEMALE PEOPLE, in case the dude who sued the shit out of a struggling clinic for underserved women because they failed to call in an andrologist for his entitled transfantasy is reading this) — yes, I mean like desperately needed obstetric care, regular gynecological care, that women need political power to prevent pregnancy in the first place so they don’t have to go to or go without an obstetrician at all [meanwhile any old dude will have his Viagra covered by insurance]), being disproportionately poor, disproportionately traumatized by sexual abuse and neglect in their youth, etc. I could go on forever.

    But the “transwoman” is the most oppressed kind of woman, because they dont have cis-privilege. LOL! What transmales really mean is that gender conformity confers a privilege, but geez you pea-brained appropriators, listen: not all female people are gender conforming. Males who are non-gender-conforming lose gender conformity privilege as well, but they still have male privilege. So non-gender conforming women have *less* privilege than they do, while gender conforming women merely have different privileges than a non-gender-conforming man, not MORE!

    I remember seeing either this PBS special before, or a different one that covered the same topic, ages ago, and it was so infuriating and devastating I couldn’t even make it to the end. I’m glad you keep highlighting women’s oppression and not capitulating to the transfantasist definition of what women’s oppression looks like.

  4. Your words, FCM, very moving and, to paraphrase some so-called “public service” imagery here in CA, said what needs to be said about babies born as potential baby-makers in a rape culture to mothers dis [not cis]-privileged by female sexual organs. It’s also inspiring to hear about the threads woven into your rad-fem awareness.

    For weeks I’d been bothered every time I saw the public service (so-called) imagery and message of a poster at the gas station featuring a pink-wearing (aka girl) Asian baby posed by adults with her legs spread wide open. (In a global porn culture, duh-in-dudeland the mental associations are obvious.)

    Smoking, literally the supposed topic, is in word-emphasis tandem with the pink-baby-girl photo where you’d have to have been living under a rock not to make the word associations also with “smoking” hot as in hot body from celebrity cult-ure.

    Today I read your blog post here and couldn’t let my being bothered by the “public service” pitch rattle around unfocused any longer. The master’s tools won’t dismantle the master’s house (Audre Lourde), but digital cameras are sweet. I snapped the photo and blogged about it today, http://noexcuseformen.wordpress.com/.

    A picture may say a million not a mere thousand words. And it takes effort to pick our spots and not block from consiousness about patriarchy those aspects we’re ready (when we are) to transform. Any time one of us can, there’s hope for more of us.

  5. I am a relatively new lurker, and I’ve commented once, but I wanted to say thanks for all the incredible posts on this site and on the author’s personal blogs. I am so happy to have found an alternative to feminist sites that won’t talk about Dworkin, Daly, Jeffreys, and other truly thought- and life-changing women writers.

    In regards to this post, I actually read another post (short essay, really) a few days ago in which a man, was quoted as saying something to a lesbian along the lines of “You think you are a man, but I will prove to you that you are not. I will make you pregnant.” It was corrective rape, obviously. I’d been reading trans-critical articles and while it all made sense to me, it just didn’t *click*, for lack of a better term. That quote just hit me upside the head, and the instant I read your post today, FCM, I was immediately reminded of it. Pregnancy and childbirth really are the basis of patriarchal control and terror, aren’t they; and the gender hierarchy is patriarchy’s “big stick” (so to speak) with which it beats down all dissenters.

    http://kmiriam.wordpress.com/feminism-or-barbarism-the-patriarchy-papers-2010/

  6. yes, there are a lot of forces involved that can make sorting this out very confusing, and nearly everyone is very invested in obfuscating the primacy of “sex”. but once you see its importance for women, how men use female reproductive reality to dominate, torture and kill women around the world and always have for as long as written history, and how *obvious* this truly is, you cannot help but start seeing all of this academented gender-speak for what it is too, and everything changes. it truly is an ah-ha moment, and you only need one. i will never forget mine, and you will never forget yours.

    and yes, corrective rape thats meant to cause pregnancy is very revealing too. susan hawthorne wrote about that for HUB here:

    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/are-all-lesbians-sex-mad-the-fight-for-lesbians-human-rights/

    thanks for de-lurking!

  7. from the FF website:

    You may choose to fully sponsor one woman’s surgery by making a one-time donation of $450 or a monthly donation of $37.50 for 12 months. In thanks, we proudly offer you this personalized certificate celebrating that this life-changing donation has been made in your name or in honor of someone you love.

    New this year!

    You may also choose to make a Love-A-Sister donation to help pay for a portion of one woman’s surgery.

    $240 can help provide transportation for twelve women in need of treatment
    $85 can help provide nursing care for one patient
    $50 can help provide either an anesthetist or lab tests for one patient’s surgery

    http://fistulafoundation.org/whatyoucando/

  8. I cried my eyes out during the whole film. I’d seen it before once but couldn’t watch it to the end first.

    This is why men try so hard to make us forget what we are and our female-specific harms in patriarchy, because of our capacity to create babies. They want us to believe that women can become men, that men can become women, that it’s just a question of attitude, role playing and cosmetic change. They want us to hate this part of us and be so ashamed of our sex so we don’t see it as ours, that we hate ourselves for it: or to believe that having equality in the work sphere will give it all. They want us to stick to the status of cattle reproducing the human male, to be eternal slu** and always available for PIV and rape. They get us to ingest artificial oestrogen to make us believe that now don’t have any reason to withdraw from PIV anymore, to make sure that PIV will always be central.

    Anyway, I could go on and on. Great post, thanks.

  9. thanks witchwind. i posted this vid on femonade several times after my “awakening” and what kept happening was so revealing: people werent watching the video, and they were arguing with me about my premise, which is that organs matter, when you are female. this really couldnt be more obvious, and the video MIGHT be the thing that finally makes this clear. it did for me. but instead of watching it (perhaps because it was too long?) they spent HOW MANY MINUTES and hours of their lives arguing with me, accusing radfems of “reducing women to their organs” and derailing about “identities” and even choosing-my-choice-to-perform-in-porn. HUH? watch the video please! it really couldnt be more clear.

    and BUT FOR western advantages like proper childhood nutrition and contraceptives, western women would be suffering the same fate in the same numbers as these women are. so what western women are really saying when they are PIV-positive and or genderqueer or whatever is that they worship the male medical machine, and they are grateful for being given crumbs from men, like abortion on demand, or the pill. okay, fine. thank god for small favors. but THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. its not that organs dont matter, its that you are employing harm-reduction techniques to mitigate the harm that comes to all female-bodied persons under the current regime. mitigating the harm, not removing it, and not changing it. instead of acknowledging, identifying and removing the harm. they are using harm-reduction without acknowledging the harm. thats like choosing the “lesser of two evils” without recognizing that you are dealing with 2 evil things. which is exactly the deal when you are using birth control BTW: hormonal contraceptives can kill you. they are even bringing back IUDs. the denial here is stunning, it really is.

    watch the video! its worth it!

  10. mechantechatonne wrote about the “rebuttals” she has come across to the radfem position that PIV is mandatory, and harmful to women. my favorite is “you know about car accidents but you still get in cars.” so PIV is like a carcrash ay? well, why doesnt everyone just admit it then? just admit that radfems are right, and stop attempting to “argue.” its pointless, because we are right, and demonstrably so. PIV *is* like a car crash, or a possible car crash, very much so. the truth outs.

    http://mechantechatonne.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/piv-is-totally-optional/

  11. Yes I cried watching this film after seeing it on femonade.
    It drives a tank through all the trans politics.
    how DARE they. How DARE men ride roughshod over the reality of what it means to be female, as they pose pathetically with their lipstick, swishing their long hair.
    How very dare they.

  12. The most moving part of that video for me was when that woman was looking around the hospital in awe, smiling, and saying “there are lots of us! It’s not just me!”
    I was also very moved by the fact her mother managed somehow to scrape the money together for the operation. It was a big wad of cash. I really wonder how her mother managed to do that, to be honest.

  13. yes, how dare they indeed. men can SAY they are women, but what do women gain when we SAY we are men? are the harms to us any different no matter what we say or do or feel? of course not. transmen who sterilize themselves either temporarily or permanently are doing what many “cis” women do every fucking day of our lives, if we are lucky enough to have access to it: we are removing the possibility of unwanted pregnancy, because this is what men threaten us with every minute of every day. this reproductive reality *is* a large part of what “being female” means and transmen rejecting that doesnt make it less obvious that this is the case. if transmen reject being victimized that way by men, if they reject how that dynamic reproduces dom/sub, if they reject all of this either temporarily or permanently or if they *would* if only they could afford it, what does that make them? does it make them men? not like any men ive ever heard of.

    and castrated men who are no longer reproductively viable as either women or men have nothing in common with women, whose entire lives revolve around reproduction because men make it this way. because men keep sticking their dicks into female-bodied persons, womens lives are dictated by reproduction. castrated men who believe that, being sterile, they are in close alignment with female reality are DELUSIONAL. delusional. the absurdity of this position cannot possibly be overstated.

  14. obvs the same thing goes for non-castrated men too. non-castrated men who believe that, being able to harm women reproductively and being unable to be harmed that way themselves, they are in close alignment with female reality are delusional.

  15. As prevention is better than a cure, mandatory sex and it’s effects needs to be acknowledged as manslaughter if not murder.

  16. “castrated men who believe that, being sterile, they are in close alignment with female reality are DELUSIONAL”

    LOL LOL

  17. Michiru, yes, definitely! I’ll put that in my next womanifesto ๐Ÿ˜€

    FCM, I like how you put it as a worship of the male medical machine. Western women are only a thin line away from going through what the women in the film go through (if at all, depending on your status, etc), and what the male medical machine gives to some women is the illusion of escaping their condition as women, of having some sort of control over their bodies, of surpassing and contolling nature, plus with the bonus of them thinking they’ve got it all compared to other women, so fosters division between women of different countries. It’s just glitter in the eyes.

    Recently a student at my mum’s uni had to go the emergencies, and discovered she had pulmonary embolism (blood that clogs in the lungs I think). Would she have waited one or two days, she would have died. DIED. Guess what caused it? The pill! She was only 23.

    And LOL at “castrated men who believe that, being sterile, they are in close alignment with female reality are DELUSIONAL.” It’s like if I chopped my hand off, I said that I’m not human anymore. Duh.

    It’s not the first time in history that men as a group castrate themselves to replace women. In the 18th century, with the rise of profane singing (open to women – with the opera, etc) gradually replacing christian singing (which was reserved to men of the church), the Italian church, rather than letting women enter the male club, preferred to castrate their men so they could imitate women’s high voice and pretend to be women.

    In many traditional theatres, such as Nรด or ancient greek, it would also usually be men who acted women’s roles: they had to exclude women at all costs. I’m sure there’s many more examples.

  18. Even sterilizing yourself, as a woman, is dangerous – even as a “female identified woman”. I’m still very divided, from day to day, on whether or not it was a good thing I did it. I was definitely encouraged/pushed to do it, subtly. They said it was a simply outpatient operation – I was 30 years old and convinced by everyone around me (who had an interest in keeping me a compliant, non-troublesome, low maintenance sex toy) that it was a great idea. Maybe I didn’t want/couldn’t afford more children anyway. Maybe they would have been bad for my health – I don’t know.

    What I do know is that I ended up with a dreadful secondary infection that almost killed me and an eight day hospital stay afterward with a second operation to fix the infection left behind from the first one.

    And it was still less physically traumatic to me, short and long term, than the pregnancy I had with my son.

    Nothing makes me more angry than these anti-abortion fucktards who act like “you can just send your child out for adoption if you don’t want it!” as if a woman’s body is a little rubber container through which a child passes easily and then it snaps back into place with no harm done to it. PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH ARE TRAUMATIC.

  19. of course medical sterilization is traumatic! yes. i found this link yesterday: huff po reports that UNWANTED PREGNANCIES are traumatic for women. DUH. its all traumatic for women, and it could all be stopped tomorrow if men stopped sticking their dicks into women. period. of course, they will never do that, no matter what disasterous consequences to women. arent men awesome? yay!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/abortion-mental-health_n_1138545.html?ref=mostpopular

  20. Not only will they not stop sticking it in, the idea that they should *hand to forehead faint* WEAR A OH NOES CONDOM WHILE DOING IT is such a horrific imposition that women are expected to take dangerous chemicals or undergo dangerous surgery to avoid imposing such a terrible imposition on men. Also because, you know, they won’t do it. Even though it actually benefits them too (by preventing STDs). *cue whining* “ewwww it feels like taking a shoooower with a raaaiiiin coat on!’
    But you know, when women get pregnant, they did it on purpose. To trick men. Who are of course totally helpless to not wear a condom which is 95+% effective to prevent pregnancy and disease and causes no health risks at all to either partner. because women totally go through all the risk and pain and trouble of getting pregnant just to get the pathetic amount of child support and welfare that unwilling men and governments dole out.

  21. being that there is NO contraceptive that is 100% effective against unwanted pregnancy, you would think that men would be grateful for any amount of PIV a woman was willing to give, using whatever contraceptive the woman wanted, considering the tremendous risk she is taking in engaging in PIV at all. but no man thinks this way, they do not acknowledge the risk we take, but its not because they dont *know* where babies come from. no, it has to be that they are intentionally creating unwanted pregnancies, and terrorizing women with the risk. if men didnt intend this result, they would stop doing it. but thats the one thing they will never do.

    that there are so many other reasons for women to engage in PIV besides “pleasure” is telling. PIV is not about “sex” for women, or its not only or even primarily about “sex.” but neither is it for men; if men were so concerned about orgasms, they would do whatever they could do to get an orgasm instead of fixating on PIV. PIV is not about “sex” for women OR men. its about something else entirely.

  22. ugh. its just stunning how women are just expected to risk our lives, in order to be in relationships with men. and thats not even “abusive” relationships! thats just your boring everyday “vanilla” het partnership. our lives are worth that little, and we are that expendable. its just expected! unbelievable.

  23. You know, I’ll just never get it. No matter how much info is out there, millions of well educated women will choose to have PIVwith mn who could care less about complications from pregnancy, and who think women are slaves.
    Women will willingly choose males as partners, risking their lives, keeping the patriarchy well oiled and fueled, and our little itty bitty lesbian nation has been saying for years, WHY? Just what will it take for women to say no to men, and yes to women?

  24. You mean all those tens of radfem classics some of which are out of print, that they don’t teach in school, and that most bookstores don’t carry? Yeah the info is everywhere, assuming you know where to look and can order books online. I have no idea how anyone would’ve gotten their hands on any of this before the internet, which hasn’t been around that long. Srsly. I lived most of my life pre-internet, and I’m not even that old!

  25. Honestly Sheila, you take so much pride in your own ignorance of how the majority of women live. Why? I thought I was being progressive and expanding my mind when I tried to read ghandi or timothy leary. And of course, I wasn’t wrong about that. I thought progressivism was the best thing I could do/learn/be. I didn’t know any better until it was too late, or at least VERY late in the game. I’m not the only one, either.

  26. Oh I had heard of Andrea Dworkin during the time I was a “consensual” BDSM slave, and when I was a libfem, and all that. I “knew” she was a whacko from the 60s who hated sex and men and had “gone too far” and that we all knew better now.

    One day when I was about 30 it suddenly occurred to me that I had never read a single thing she had written. Every discussion I’d ever seen about her or even taken part in was somehow carefully crafted to avoid suggesting ever actually READING any of her books. None were available at the library, of course. nostatusquo.com is the first place I ever read a word Dworkin ever wrote.

    In the meantime, women “choose” to be with men after having it beaten into their heads almost continuously, 24/7, from the moment of birth on that there is absolutely no other purpose in life that they have other than to catch and keep a man and that they may as well just go kill themselves if they do not succeed in this task. This is the subplot of almost every television show, movie, and novel that exists. Every move a girl makes, even in infancy, around a man, INCLUDING HER FATHER (if he isn’t absent) is not-so-jokingly constructed as “flirting” in the most nauseating fashion. (I’ve seen people sexualize six month old baby girls, saying they were “fluttering their eyelashes at daddy”.) Lesbians, if they aren’t completely invisibilized, are invariably spoken of as ugly, hateful, miserably fat ugly harridans, evil witches, freaks of nature – only recently has there been any change in that, and not much. Mainly now other than a very few people in large urban centers accepting lesbians who live just like their heterosexual counterparts, being a cool okay lesbian means being a “hot” young lesbian who has threesomes with men and will eventually settle down with one.

  27. I thought lesbianism was a “sex thing” not a safe haven thing, not a community building thing. I also didn’t know that I would lose touch with all my good female friends over the years as a matter of course, even though they were the most meaningful relationships of my life. I know this now. Many women realize this very late in the game. This is what alcohol is for.

  28. Hey, all those radical feminist books were available all over the world. I’d write to friends back in the states, and they’d ship the book overseas. Mary Daly’s works I remember getting in 1980 or so this way. We had over three hundred magazines published worldwide, and I corresponded with women worldwide as well… as in wrote with a pen on paper, and mailed There was no Internet,but there was an international lesbian network that founded bookstores, held conferences etc.
    Honestly, I do not understand how out of it women can be these days, or even several decade ago.
    And we all lived in the same old world with the same nauseating het indoctrination machine going 24/7– thousands of women all over the world just never gave into this “socialization” we knew radical feminism was viable and powerful. I can recall a time in my early 20s when our community had committed women from all over, no kids, no men, just our passion for justice.

    The lesbian world is very powerful, and the women in it very focused. Most of us never wasted time clubbing– we were studying, creating publishing houses for lesbian books….Barbara Grier was one such powerhouse, she died recently. Might be a good time to tell the world about who she was and what she did. Even the Los Angeles Times ran a major obit.

    If you want freedom badly enough, there are the lesbians who don’t submit, bow down…. and we manage against all odds to find these books and magazines…. again pre-internet So if women can’t figure this out now wih the net, well geez…

    How did we all do it before the Internet? Well most of us wrote the books and articles ourselves, we opened the bookstores, we created the feminist collectives that produced all this. And we were all in small or large groups of women meeting all the time, sharing resources. We created the alternatives to the stiffling world of het conformity. We found each other, and we got out and built the networks. All pre-internet, and certainly with very littl or almost no money. You folks have it easy…

  29. yeah whatever sheila. LOL clutch your pearls at the ignorance of het women, and…everyone that didnt grow up in fucking los angeles. with access to radical ideas, or to other people, or to books, and to whatever you wanted. this just isnt how it works. you think all it takes is a library card to get a book and an education, well tell that to someone who lives in the middle of nowhere with no public transportation and no car, or someone who is already babysitting a dozen siblings or nursing ill parents and relatives or doing her 5 brothers chores while they do nothing, or someone who is working a real job on top of it. tell them how easy it is to find time to read, and to network with other women. or to “open a bookstore.” seriously? if thats so easy to do, why dont you do it now? there is currently a dearth of radical feminist publishing houses, why dont you open one yourself?

    i spent many years of my childhood in the middle of nowhere. no library or bookstore for miles, it was too far to even ride your bike to one, and we were used to riding for miles all the time. not that any library in that part of the world probably wouldve carried mary daly, and not that i wouldve even known to ask. when we did take a trip to the library, it was with our parents and my sister and i would fill a brown paper bag with “young adult” mystery novels and such, a wrinkle in time was one of my favorites. we had a ball reading, it was grand. but there was no radical feminist consciousness that i was aware of at that time and place. none. i dont even know what the fuck you are talking about frankly. do you assume that the young lesbians at my junior high school or later on in high school knew about this and i didnt? its possible, but is it really my fault that *i* didnt? i didnt know. the most interesting thing i did as a “young adult” was attend a rally for democratic hopeful jerry brown. and we all thought he was WILDLY PROGRESSIVE because he wanted to legalize weed. i skipped school to go, we werent even given “personal days” or whatever to be involved in politics or community stuff. i just laugh at your arrogance sheila, i really do. not everyone grew up in fucking LA or NYC or chicago. i would even say that *most people didnt* and the fact that you are one of the ones that did has completely warped your sense of reality, and left you out of touch with the reality of most women. why are you so proud of that? i would think it would be very embarrassing.

  30. We ran a little community ad in the newspaper, and we mimeographed leaflets. Some women went to Michigan Womyn’ Music Festival in the late 70s, and reported back what they had learned. When women returned from trips they’d report to the group.
    I get the sense that a lot of women blogging aren’t in any groups IRL, and that isolation ….

    The other night, I went to a lesbian event -40-60 women, and out of that group I met a few women who shared yet other info with me. In the early 80s, I published a small feminist magazine and had 300 subscibers worldwide. It still can be found in several university archives today. The letters from that time range in the hundreds, and I saved them all. I wrote to just about everyone.
    So this is how we did it. Other magazines sent books for me to review, and we exchange magazines. Since lesbians were used to an underground world, we were outside the system…. het women settled for social acceptance, we were brutalized by the het world. We all recall the het women bullying us and socially attacking us. Some cost us jobs etc. But we persisted.

    But the most powerful thing on earth is women loving women. Lesbian Nation really is focused on freedom and love, and this love fueled the revolution. Het women wake up to discover PIV is destroying them, or that men are horrifing, but lesbians discover our love for each other, and I think this difference is just huge. We are motivated to create out of this love.
    Out of our group of 30 some women, not one had a child, not one married a man, and not one failed in her chosen field. I’d say this lesbian sisterhood is pretty damn powerful. Now most het women I knew back in the day saw me reading these books,knew I had them…. but they showed no great curiosity about this…. they married men, sold out, got divorced… they could have saved themselves so much trouble. To this day, the hetero woman seems dulled into distraction.

  31. Honestly, I do not understand how out of it women can be these days, or even several decade ago.

    and is this really a true statement? you *really* dont understand it? or you just want to act and feel superior to those women who have suffered this way for decades and you didnt? there are some girls who are being subjected to regular PIV already when they are 10 and 12 years old. some of them are much younger. this is a deliberate grooming technique, it grooms girls to be het compliant and sexually available to men. this happens all the time, we know this is true.

    i dont think we know the reason that some women see through any of this at any age, while the majority never do. i believe this is a mystery, but i *dont* believe its because you were better or smarter or more courageous than anyone else. i really dont.

  32. Hey, I didn’t grow up in Los Angeles, I grew up in a mid-western city. I didn’t waste my time on sex, boys or rock and roll. One of the most powerful groups I was in as a young person was the girl scouts. So FCM, I just don’t know how you could have missed this stuff that was in print since the 1970s. I could walk, ride a bike or take a bus. I had no car until I was 30. So most of my early adult life was buses, bikes or walking. I am proud of what we as lesbian nation did, and how far we took our ideas with NO HELP from het women. Really, I knew lesbian girls in junior high and high school, but we were underground… some of us were connected because we were more studious than the boy crazy girls…. this radical seriousnes set
    us apart. I can’t tell you why we were more motivated, but feminism itself spoke powerfully to us.
    No matter where you were in America in say 1977, there was radical knowledge to be had. While other girls goofed around, I attended school board meetings, and actually worked on women’s campaigns for this office. Het girls my age just couldn’t fathom this. So again, I say, het women have huge numbers, and if women really wanted feminism to triumph, it would. You want to know how we did all this…. well I just explained it,and we made no excuses. We persisted, and I do believe lesbians have a very strong bond with other lesbians.. a kind of powerful inspiration. It’s no accident that we created modernism in Paris, the settlement houses of Chicago, the New Deal, and that we pushed forward lesbian rights. Our movement was small back then, but
    look how far we took it internationally. Hillary Clinton’s address on our rights being human rights… innovative right? My partner was doing work with UN type groups 17 years ago, and was advocating for an end to don’t ask don’t tell that long ago too.

    Once again, this extraordinary work of lesbians globally is amazing. We all played our proud roles in this. So out of the ordinary comes these movements. We changed the world, and that is just amazing, even to me.

  33. sheila, what part of “too far to ride a bike” and “no public transportation” do you not understand? and i have never said that “lesbian nation” is underwhelming, your posts across the blogs about the power there have inspired me. it what *you* claim not to “understand” about het women thats infuriating. the consciousness was not there, i dont know what else to say. as soon as i had my ah-ha moment, i let you all know about it. i think YOU were even there when it happened. i was reading dworkin at the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. But I had more courage. It just is a fact that at an early age I had more courage. I know it is very hard for het women to admit the courage, dynamism and innovation of lesbians worldwide. It was a gift perhaps to be able to ignore the girls who wanted to block my progress as a lesbian, but courage is common among many lesbians. That’s how our little movement grew. Maybe I saw something in that little girl facing the hate filled white mobs as she walked to Little Rock High, maybe lesbians who live past 50 have more courage than women who have sex with men. In my more visionary moments, I really believe that those women throughout history who stayed away from men, were granted extraordinary foresight and courage. Mary Daly talked passionately about courage being a practice. You get better and better at it with lots of practice. It takes raw courage to come out on the job, it takes raw courage to stand your ground against the het PIV industry the fashion industry, the lesbian hating world. Courage is a practice…. and I watched as straight women chose to not practice this, and I feel sorry for them, but they also wanted male attention… and there is always a price to get this.

    For those young lesbians reading here celebrate your courage!

  35. sheila for christs sake. you have no PROOF that you had more courage. you are just making that up, there is no objective measure for that, there is also no way that you could subjectively KNOW IT either. so just cut it out.

  36. We will just have to agree to disagree on the accessibility of books FCM. Anyone who could read and write by the age of say 15 could order books from bookstores all over the country.

    I even translated parts of Caesar’s commentaries where he talked about the courage of Amazons. Hey, I was a kid before the catholic church changed the Latin Mass to English, so maybe studying Latin was a part of lesbian luck. It’s common for lesbians to travel, to order strange books, to get to know teachers who lend books.
    I think people have this weird idea that before the Internet you couldn’t——– Perhaps my life irritates you, but I sill think you could have ordered books or borrowed them. I was child when there was help wanted male and female in the newspapers.

    I believe a lot of het women simply choose to be blind to what is going on in the world, and I don’t know many lesbians my age who have the luxury of this level of being out of it. It is a mystery to ask a woman age 24 about republican candidates and get a blank look. It’s what I see. I’ve met lesbians who grew up in tiny towns, but our gang gets around. Remember, you are a member of the socially conforming class, you are a part of the 51%, whereas lesbians may well be about 4% of the population, so only the best and the brightest write “GynEcology” or travel overseas, or create lesbian communities.

    Even lesbians in the 19th century discovered new worlds. It’s what we are born to do. But better late than never FCM Had we known each other in college I would have tried to get you to stop the fun feminism partying, but you no doubt would not have wanted to read Jill Johnston or Adrienne Rich…. better late than never, but not everyone drank the heterosex cool aid.

  37. Hey, when you are the ONLY girl standing up against a sexist boy in an English class in high school, and ALL the other girls sit there silently you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that you have more courage. You know you have more courage when you are the ONLY girl taking shop classes, and you don’t give up even when bullying boys are in those classes. You know you have more courage when you get on a plane with a one way ticket to an Asian country where you know little of the language.
    These are facts of courage. …. There are hundreds of thousands of women who have courage. Mary Daly was the only woman in her theology classes in Freiborg.

    So you mean to say that all those silent girls in that English class had courage? NO, they were afraid to take a stand. They may have done courageous things at other times, but I can tell you that very few girls showed courage in those classes. So I do have above average courage… there are still closeted lesbians out there, they thought silence would protect them.

  38. yes sheila, keep believing your own hype. all lesbians are smart, all lesbians are feminists, and all 15 year olds have dispoable income (just bc you did). okay!

    sorry, but not you or anyone has ever been able to answer the question of why some people achieve a higher consciousness and some others never do. you have said before that you believe *you* did because you are biologically superior to others. well, fine! lets go with that. but you dont get a medal for being biologically superior. you thank god, and your parents, and then try to live among the idiotic rest of us, as difficult as it may be.

  39. haha! “above average” courage…in certain situations, as judged by yourself. sure, ok. i already said you were biologically superior in every way, isnt that good enough?

  40. I wish you had the courage to shut the fuck up.

  41. Sheila I enjoyed your comments and they brought back memories for me.
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  42. thanks everyone for giving to the fistula foundation! also, please consider asking your friends, family and colleagues to give donations to the FF in lieu of holiday gifts this year.

    happy holidays (all you nonbelievers!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    anyone who wants to continue discussing the fistula foundation, or anything remotely related to this post, please come over to my place. ive cross posted there.

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/the-fistula-foundation/

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