THE PARASITIZING AND GUTTING OF RADICAL FEMINISM

THE PARASITIZING AND GUTTING OF RADICAL FEMINISM

Bev Jo

Too many women and girls are put off Radical Feminism because of the bland, vague politics that masquerade as Radical Feminism. Too many have been personally insulted by false “leaders” of a movement that is based on having no leaders. The energy, excitement, and love that can exist among Radical Feminists is being sabotaged by imposters substituting anti-feminist politics.

I object. I object to our Radical Feminist movement and culture being appropriated and parasitized. I object when men do it, claiming to be Radical Feminists and demanding we accept them as women. And I object when women who are not Radical Feminists do it, setting themselves up as the bosses of our movement, misrepresenting our politics, policing women to accept their distorted version of Radical Feminism, and harassing actual Radical Feminists who object. This movement is not theirs to steal.

It’s clear that men can’t ever be women, so they also can’t be Radical Feminists. But a woman who is not yet a Radical Feminist could yet become one, making it more difficult to draw the line about who is or who isn’t a real Radical Feminist. However, just as there is a clear definition of “female,” there is a clear definition of true Radical Feminist politics as developed for over forty years. Still, lies repeated enough begin to be believed, especially when supported by arrogant cliques who use ruthless tactics.

Some present these new anti-feminist politics as the ultimate law of “radfems,” yet no Radical Feminist I know ever voted on it or agrees to it. It’s like a cult where no thinking, or questioning the contradictions with real Radical Feminism, is allowed. Women who dare to object are immediately bombarded with ridicule and hatred to shame them into mindlessly obeying. They then are trained to police other women who step out of line. Some women who want to learn about feminism, and who want and need to share support with other women, instead find this Counterfeit Feminism online and are put off and give up.

This is not about women new to feminism excitedly repeating mainstream ideas they learned from the media or fake women’s studies classes, but about a deliberate weakening and distortion of Radical Feminism.

In many groups now, as soon as Radical Feminists refer to the basic principles of what has been known for decades as Radical Feminism (clearly distinct from anti-feminism, mainstream feminism, or liberal feminism), we are censored, silenced, and even told we are “misogynist” – which are the same tactics the trans cult use with their mock charges of “misogyny” against women who say no to them. This manipulative ploy is being effective in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ takeover of real Radical Feminism because it’s hard to fight such an accusation when you are not allowed to answer at blogs or in facebook “Radical Feminist” groups because you are immediately banned. Then the imposters misrepresent your politics with lies to explain your disappearance. Other women in the group withdraw in terror of being the next to be banished. (By the way, if anyone does hear bizarre misrepresentations of my politics, feel free to ask.)

Many online feminists are well-meaning, but also are isolated and lonely, and fear rejection. It’s in women’s nature to be social and want a community of friends. Yet too often the price of joining the parasitizing cliques is agreeing to abandon common sense. So they learn the new rules and join in the gutting of real Radical Feminism.

This re-defining of Radical Feminism is similar to how the word “Lesbian” has been re-defined to include bisexuals, het women, and even men.

We already know that there are trolls in our online international Radical Feminist movement. Some have been revealed to be MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) but others are women betraying our movement and playing a double game. Too often the women trolls get into positions of power, and even name themselves our leaders. When they are exposed, they just start new pretend Radical Feminists groups to moderate, and real Radical Feminists, not wanting to be left out of the cliques, join, ignoring what these women have done, and so give credibility to the troll groups, draining our movement.

Some feminists talk sadly about how heart-breaking the “infighting” is, but infighting is what happens among members of the same movement. The women dismantling Radical Feminism are NOT part of our movement or culture. It helps protect us as a movement, and protects our hearts individually, to recognize that clearly.

Knowing our history, means knowing that every destructive anti-feminist and anti-female group that infiltrated our culture began by claiming to be feminist and using our language to convince our community they were one of us. (In 1979, the sado-masochists Wikipedia describes as “writer Pat Califia and feminist academic Gayle Rubin,” began Samois, used classic Lesbian Feminist terminology like “womyn” and “womon” in their publication to convince feminists that sado-masochism was feminist. I still hear women repeating some of their stock phrases used to explain the unexplainable. Similarly, many of the men who insist they are women and Lesbians call themselves “feminists” and even “Radical Feminists.” Those two female-hating worlds merged when Pat Califia, the bisexual who also used to appropriate Butch identity now claims to be a “gay man.”)

Our Women’s Liberation movement does not grow if we are forced to re-discuss basic feminist ideas and politics endlessly, which is a classic method of trolling and sabotage. Those who do not know our history keep trying to condemn us to repeat it.

Feminists who have strong politics about some issues suddenly can sound like liberals with no politics when they insist “You can’t define Radical Feminism and tell a woman she isn’t a Radical Feminist.”  Well, why not?  The politics either are or are not Radical Feminism, as opposed to liberal/mainstream/right wing feminism. Any woman who wants to dilute Radical Feminism into a bland, meaningless mess is simply not a Radical Feminist.

So What IS Radical Feminism?

Radical Feminism is liberal feminism taken to its logical extreme. Radical Feminism is where liberal feminists are afraid to explore. Though there are strong het Radical Feminists, It’s important to know that Radical Feminism did come from Lesbian Feminism.

Radical Feminism, which began in the late Sixties and early Seventies, is an international movement of females of all ages who are fighting against patriarchy.  Some Radical Feminists have access to the many books that came later, but other women are just discovering it, as we did, inspired by their own minds and experience, and by talking with other women.

Mainstream, reformist, and liberal feminists support the status quo. They believe everything will be just fine if men as a group would somehow stop raping and killing females, and destroying the earth. Of course they think it’s always up to women to make men change, which means devoting even more time to men and boys. That never works. Reformism does not go past fantasy into reality. Reformists don’t want to face the upsetting truths about patriarchy and males, or female collaborators. As painful as those realizations are, Radical Feminists know that Radical Feminism explains what has gone wrong with mainstream feminism and is the only way to actually change patriarchy and to end male violence towards all females and the earth. It is ultimately extremely freeing.

Liberal/reformist feminism is about pleading with our oppressors and relying on the male system to eventually make things better for women, with women bearing the brunt of the work as usual. Part of the problem is that most women want to just feel comfortable and not be deeply challenged to think or to change their lives. They know that patriarchy is not fair for girls and women. They want a better deal from men. But many do not realize that better deals are limited, as well as subject to removal over time. Those of us who have been watching for decades see the various ways that patriarchy plays games and even uses mainstream feminist slogans for their benefit. Woman wanting freedom from men are turned into “liberated women” who give men exactly what they want, with none of the protections that het women previously expected (like sexually serving men in exchange for marriage, which, while constricting, also means increase in family status and societal status as well as security, money, property, etc. that most women could never hope to get on their own or with other women. Yes, it’s a form of legal prostitution, but with more advantages than servicing men for free. Of course Radical Feminism is against both.)

Women become more bound to men with less safety when they believe the patriarchal version of mainstream MS magazine feminism (with its het porn stories) instead of finding out about real Radical Feminism.

Radical Feminism, and particularly Radical Lesbian Feminism, takes liberal, mainstream feminism past its bland, vague request for equal rights for women into the most courageous and unacceptable extreme of working for true justice for all females. It takes us past where we are forbidden to even think, which is why it’s so threatening. Radical Feminism is about always questioning every single thing that we are told is “reality” or “just the way things are,” etc. Parasitized pretend feminism teaches women to stop questioning and thinking, and to accept lies that can be comfortingly similar to the regular patriarchal cons. Only enough is changed to fit the agendas of the false leaders of this counterfeit feminism.

Radical Feminism is what women discover and invent when all the patriarchal censors on our minds are gone, and the fear of retribution is ignored. Radical is more than the root, it goes beyond all the lies we were taught, recognizing that patriarchy is built on deception. When the lies are exposed, then patriarchal control of girls’ and women’s minds unravels.
Radical Feminism shakes patriarchy to its core because it calls for the very ending of patriarchy. And we believe that that is the only thing that will save the earth from the direction of destruction men have set.

Radical Feminists don’t even pretend to believe that females and males are basically the same, while liberal/mainstream feminists repeat the dangerous myth that male violence is not an innate biological difference, even though male violence can easily be seen and verified in many other animal species. They also push the line that men are somehow victims of “socialization,” and therefore victims too.

The truth is all around us, and even our other animal sisters know better than most women that it’s the norm in males to want to rape and kill.

http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/its-just-socialization/

http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others/

http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/its-just-socialization-revisited/

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/animals-can-be-giant-jerks

Male sea otters kidnap baby otters from their mothers, forcing the mothers to bring food to them. They kill ten percent of the females when trying to rape them. They also rape baby seals to death and continue raping the corpse until it rots. Male koalas, attempting to rape the females, often kill the females and their babies. Male lions kill the babies, including their own, and rape the females. In one bug/hemiptera species, the males literally puncture the females’ abdomen to reproduce. In response, some female animals have built female-only societies, and some have almost completely eliminated the males and control the existence of those they choose to create.

This was one of the clear dividing lines in the Seventies, when the women invested in males said we must help them overcome socialization, ignoring that boys raping animals and baby girls were no way shown in the media or approved of in most families, religions, neighborhoods, and cultures. If the boys who do this bring shame to their people, then where does the “socialization” come from?  (There was a video online showing a boy raping a chicken, and then his father hitting him in the head, knocking him down.) Would women really pay to go to brothels where they could sexually assault animals, like men have constructed?

Already for millennia, before there was mass media, males were as dangerous as they are now. Now over forty years after the theory of men as “victims too” was introduced, we see how well the making of new non-misogynist males has worked. Some of the most female-hating men come from women trying their hardest to make decent men out of their boys. It’s not the mother’s fault that their sons absorbed their love and energy to become even more entitled and now have inside information. (One of the worst, pornographer Tobi Hill-Meyer, even while posting online photos of his erect prick, insists he’s a Lesbian and Butch, and is given a power position on the board of Butch Voices to ban real Lesbians and Butches from doing Lesbian workshops.)

The Radical Feminist politics of males and females being biologically different matches common sense and what men themselves admit (just ask them), and is also what most non-feminist women know. If we want a worldwide movement, we must be aware of what aspects of feminism put off most women. The insistence of liberal feminists that there are no brain/mind/spirit differences is one which most women know is not true.

We’ve been saying no to excuses for male violence for decades. (The classic “he’s a serial rapist/murderer because he was abused” would mean that most women would now be serial killers.) Feminists should be questioning all patriarchal propaganda instead of making up a fantasy world which excuses men.

One clue to the pretend “radfem” tactics is to notice how much they attack real Radical Feminist ideas with nonsensical charges. Some of these women actually lecture us that our daring to name the truth about male violence being biologically caused somehow excuses male violence. Of course it doesn’t — they still have free will, and they do control themselves when it suits them, usually when the consequences are higher than they want to risk. Of course they are still accountable for the choices they make to rape, torture, kill, and contaminate the earth with their territorial marking (male nuclear marking is forever, whether from contamination through accidents and storage of radioactive material, or use of nuclear weapons, including “depleted uranium”), which is why men will not give it up in spite of the obvious. As the scientist we quoted in Dykes-Loving-Dykes said, “a male human being loves to see an explosion.”) Men know the truth about themselves, but women are too often willing to sacrifice other women and girls to protect men. That is not Radical Feminism.

Another tactic has been to insist that only men are our enemy, forbidding any mention of women’s crimes because somehow no woman is recognized as having any real power. This tends to come from women whose lives revolve around males, and who ignore that many of us have moved on, knowing we want nothing to do with males and are now focusing on making women’s communities as good and safe as possible. It’s almost as if naming some women’s betrayal will blow apart fragile feminism, but this fantasy works only for the most extremely privileged women who rarely feel oppression from other women, or for those who somehow continue ignoring the world all around them. Radical

Feminism is not a cult that needs institutionalized fantasies and lies to protect it.

Denying the truth weakens Radical Feminism, while daring to say the truth strengthens it. Some newer Radical Feminists despair and quit after seeing how some women participate in the worst of men’s crimes. Insisting that collaborators are mindless victims who can’t choose anything is not the answer. It’s simply not true. Of course some women betray us, and Radical Feminism explains why. Our book focused on explaining the reasons many women collaborate with men, but we still don’t believe that women would be raping and killing and destroying the earth on their own. Yes, some women are our enemy, but as a group, women are never close to being life-hating and female-hating as most males are. (By the way, because many men are now legally accepted as women, the statistics on violence caused by ”women” is increasing.)

Why Are Liberal and Mainstream Feminists Pretending to Be Radical Feminists?

Of course not all women who name themselves “radfems” are parasitizing Radical Feminism, but still, “radfem” is the newer trendy word that some of the cliques opposed to original Radical Feminist politics use. Yes, “radfem” is an abbreviation, but so is RF (Radical Feminist) and so is the trivializing term “women’s lib,” which no feminist would ever use.

Much of what we took for granted as basic feminism is being dismantled and eliminated. We never thought that we would ever again be forced to argue with women claiming to be feminist that of course heterosexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, etc. exist among us and have to be fought. Never did we think we’d be lectured about how all money comes from men, so classism doesn’t exist among us (just ignore the rich “radfems” with servants), and then see class appropriated and confused when used unnecessarily in phrases, such as “the class of women.” Nor did we think that even our clear and direct language would be muddied with academic terms that are intentionally substituted to further confuse women. An example is how “intersectionality” is used to discredit early Radical Feminist politics describing the multiple differences and oppressions that we must deal with to avoid having a segregated pretend feminism of only the most privileged. (As soon as the academic term “intersectionality” is used, I know that the writer either does not know Radical Feminist history or that they are deliberately undermining Radical Feminism. I explain at my blog in  http://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/
Progress Versus Cooptation in the Radical Feminist Movement).

Attempting to erase our Radical Feminist history of fighting all oppression among women so we can have equality is also an attempt at segregation. This is all the more infuriating for those who know that Radical Feminism was created by those very women they want eliminated, such as class-oppressed and race-oppressed Lesbians.

It used to be that misogynist men claiming they were women were supported only by a few women who felt sorry for them or who bonded with them in the “Leather” sado-masochist and porn culture. Most women just said no to the embarrassingly obvious men parading around as their prurient fantasies of women. But that’s all changed — now women who say no to the trans cult are called bigots, are censored, sent death threats, etc. What was once sensible basic feminism now appears radical only because of how bad things have become for women. But hating men who pretend to be women and being targeted by them is not enough to make someone a Radical Feminist – and hating real Radical Feminists is definitely not being Radical Feminist.

It’s easy enough for counterfeit Radical Feminists to read our extensive history. When they say what we’ve done hasn’t worked, telling us to weaken our politics, they are ignoring how governments and media and MRAs have been undermining us for decades, as well as have the majority of women who betray females for males. Many more Radical Feminists are poor and barely surviving now than in 1970, with the worldwide change in economics, and that has made it very hard to organize in the US. (Rooms rented in Radical Feminist group houses were $50 a month, and houses $100. Spaces could be easily rented for women only events where we could do political work and socialize. Since surviving was cheaper, Radical Feminists had more time.)  Nothing was wrong with our movement and politics, considering a handful of women were fighting all of patriarchy and creating an entirely new culture. What Radical Feminists did all over the world was amazing and is still having an effect.

So why don’t the pretend “radfems” just leave Radical Feminism and us alone and start their own movement as a segment of liberal feminism? They won’t though. They want to claim Radical Feminism for their own.

Posturing as radical is trendy, but those who really ARE radical are a constant reminder of the truth, so the counterfeit feminists mindfuck, accusing us of being “liberal, “third wave,” and other projections. They want to erase our existence since we are proof of their lies, similar to how the trans cult wants to erase true female existence.

Also, some women new to feminism believe they are radical because they go further than the vague, meaningless con that is generally presented as feminism. The media made “feminist” stars of privileged liberal women in spite of the basic feminist tenet that feminism has no stars or leaders. Patriarchal spokeswomen’s “feminism” would make almost any woman think she is radical by comparison. Plus, having fleeting fantasies about hating men causes some liberal feminists to be accused of being “sexist man-hating fanatics.”  And of course all women on some level will be drawn to the truth in Radical Feminism. But none of these alone make a woman a Radical Feminist.

Then some women want fame and notoriety, so they started blogs plagiarizing feminists’ writing from decades earlier, forming elitist cliques with their own elitist “radfem” language that automatically excludes true Radical Feminists and requires those wanting to join the cliques to submit to the humiliation of asking what the bizarre terms mean, even if they were the original writers of the plagiarized work. Real Radical Feminism is opposed to hierarchy and inequality, dominance and submission that the cliques thrive on. One of the most quoted of these privileged pretend “radfems” admits she came to feminism as a “funfem” (women who participated in the female-hating pseudo feminism that men push, such as glorifying male-invented “femininity,” porn and sado-masochism.) She also has a history of being a cruel bully who uses ridicule to try to intimidate Radical Feminists. She is heterosexist and particularly targets Lesbians. We have no idea how many girls and women we lost from our movement who were searching for feminism and ended up being her victim. I believe it was her and other bloggers’ het privilege (some still with their “special” men) that gave them more authority and appreciation since het women are generally far more valued by feminists, including Lesbian feminists.

By undermining real Radical Feminism, these “radfems” eliminated any potential questioning of the hypocrisy in their own lives, such as presenting themselves as courageous man-haters while still keeping their own “exceptional” men (as feminists used to sarcastically say). When I saw the online bullies referred to reverentially, I asked what they had said that made them so worshipped and was told in almost hushed tones that they were writing against “PIV” (the new gutted feminism loves elitist, middle class, exclusionary terms — in this case, “penis in vagina” — as if the women who want to be fucked by men must be protected by using a fake, twee euphemism that blunts the shock of the graphic image of that reality) —  as if this issue was something new that hadn’t been extensively and more radically written about as basic feminism in the late Sixties and early Seventies.

No one seemed to even notice that the more radical question of why would feminists even be sexual/intimate with men was completely ignored, since patriarchy literally could not go on without women helping. And that, of course, was because the pretend “radfem” bloggers certainly did not want to lose their het privilege.
Even worse for Radical Feminism, it somehow became a crime to question women’s choices, which had been the basis of even liberal feminism in the Seventies. To further deflect, gaslight, and mind-fuck, the new parasitized feminism’s rules say that not only are women’s choices not to be questioned, but that women have no choices!

So why are these women, who either did not care to learn our history or who are happily plagiarizing parts of it and gutting Radical Feminism in the process, so lauded?

Meanwhile, we are treated as imposters by the imposters. If these women weakening our movement were new and excited and wanting to learn, that would be fine. But just as men say they are better women than we are, these women declare that they and not we are the real Radical Feminists. Both men pretending to be women and women pretending to be Radical Feminists refuse to argue directly and honestly, because they can’t. Instead, they insult, name-call, and use every bit of their privilege, hoping that by oppressing us, they can drive us away. When that doesn’t work, they just lie, censor, and ban.

This is not an issue of Lesbians versus het women because some of the strongest and most courageous Radical Feminists are women who choose to be with men. Yet when they support Radical Lesbian Feminists, they are ridiculed and banned. How dare they break ranks?

The more Radical Feminist a woman becomes, the more she realizes the fact that males (“mankind”) are destroying the earth and raping whatever girls and women they have access to. Those not actively raping (yet) are fantasizing through their beloved porn. It’s over forty years since the massive changes of feminism and yet the rape of girls and women has increased.  “Exceptional” men might exist, but more likely they haven’t been caught or haven’t taken the risk to rape. (Remember how Ted Bundy was considered the ideal man?)  I always say that we never know what a boy or man is doing when he is alone with human babies or animals. There certainly are enough horrific true stories. (I personally know a Lesbian whose friends’ dog was raped by their male gardener. A dear friend was abused by her mother’s boyfriend, who was known to have orally raped his baby daughter to death.) None of this is rare. Almost every woman I know has been sexually assaulted as a girl and/or adult, often multiple times. All have been sexually harassed. This isn’t about “crazy” or “sick” men. These are normal men, who measure “normal” on psychological tests. And even if some men are trustworthy, why do some women who claim to be feminists spend so much energy trying to find them, making them more important than women?

We’ve been seeing the same circular discussions among feminists for the last forty plus years. Clearly we can’t just stop men and patriarchy. But some Radical Feminists suggest that if every woman could deal with the man who had sexually assaulted her, that would not only get rid of most men, there wouldn’t be enough to go around — impossible, though, unless it was done at the same time. So then what?  Well, a simpler, safer method, as some of us said in the Seventies, is that women could end patriarchy by not giving males any more love, attention, support, etc., because men simply could not continue without women supporting them. They would fall apart. And instead of producing the 85% males that Lesbians getting pregnant produce, what about all women saying no to reproducing more males? That would certainly end the problem in a few years and save the earth as well. (A giveaway of right wing mindset is the often frantic response “But the human race will die out!” – as if that’s even a possibility when it’s doubling every few years.)

The most right wing pretend feminists immediately attack these longtime Radical Feminist ideas with their new, dangerous politics that I call “Counterfeit Feminism.” 

Counterfeit Feminism”

I was there when Radical Feminism was created. I saw it and I remember it. I watched the battles between the reactionaries who wanted a segregated feminism where they could get a better deal from their men and patriarchy, as they treated less privileged women like dirt. I saw when most of those women left to return to patriarchy for their careers and/or going back to men. I saw the porn, academia, sado-masochism, genderqueer propaganda, and the heterosexism of the main “sexologists” (who pretended to be Lesbians, while defining us out of existence) come into our community at the end of the Seventies. I also saw the trans cult (and have been fighting it since 1971), though those men did not have widespread liberal/right wing feminist support until decades later.

I like to keep things simple. There are many reasons to do that. Convolution and academic styles of writing confuse things and are methods of establishing class dominance. I want to reach all females, including those who, because of oppression, haven’t had access to patriarchal “higher” education and those whose first language isn’t English. That was why we wrote Dykes-Loving-Dykes in direct, honest, and clear language. As we said, it’s also harder to refute or dismiss something that is direct and clear.

Reformist feminism is about trying to get a better deal from patriarchy while betraying women. It’s about women invested in patriarchy not wanting it to really change because the reformists will lose their privilege. I mean, my god, if patriarchy ends, what good is that law degree, and how will you keep your servants?

Liberal feminism is about wanting to do good, trying to improve patriarchy, but also not wanting to go very deeply into how bad things really are and not wanting to question too much, and, ultimately, not wanting to really change because it will shake up the liberal’s world. It’s about not wanting to take risks, mentally or physically. This is a more comfortable position to be in than Radical Feminism because you can feel part of the mainstream while also feeling superior, and you can still keep your privilege. (This is why “Counterfeit Feminism” religiously forbids the once basic feminist idea that women make choices.)

Counterfeit Feminists say “Women are just too oppressed, too ‘colonized,’ and too uninformed to be able to make real choices….All women participate in patriarchy….No woman escapes male rules, etc.” This ignores reality as well as denies the existence of any of us who have made good choices and who have said no to men and male rules. (And we are not magical mythical privileged freaks. We are among the most oppressed of Lesbians and women in our movement.)

Counterfeit Feminism tells women we are powerless victims, while Radical Feminism is about empowering women. That is partly why the feminist movement seems to have lost much of that incredible sense of excitement and pride in ourselves, as well as hope for the future. Even Sixties and Seventies reformist and liberal feminism was almost completely focused on women thinking, exploring, and making choices to change their lives. Women were sharing skills, going into work previously reserved for men only, forming collectives, etc.

Who wants women to stop thinking and to wallow in feeling helpless in order to not think about past, current, and future choices?  And who then wants such women to police other women to also stop thinking, especially about saying no to men?  The MRAs couldn’t have thought of a better plan than to parasitize women and send them on their way to spread the new gutted feminism.

A question I’ve asked when this topic comes up, but which I haven’t yet seen answered, is how do they reconcile their “radfem” politics with hiring women to clean their toilets? How do they deal with the embarrassment of seeing their Radical Feminist servant at “radfem” events?  (They solve this by making the event unaffordable for anyone but the privileged.)

This is where some reformists and liberals merge into “right wing” feminists. I believe both groups want a segregated movement where more oppressed women are not allowed in or are condemned to “knowing their place.” If they had their way, we would have no feminist movement, because our strongest best writers and theorists were primarily the kind of oppressed Lesbians they want to eliminate. Doesn’t sound too different from how the Male Left treats women, does it?

Another giveaway is how they deal with disagreements and conflict. These colonizers have been very comfortable in feeling superior to other women who refuse to submit to their dominance. They don’t really know how to deal with women who talk back, so they just keep repeating their male tactics. They do not argue with mutual respect about the issues. They can’t really. So they immediately go to name-calling and insults. They use classism and every other possible privilege to win. And yes, the women who parasitize Radical Feminism are primarily very privileged compared to the majority of women. (Again, no excuse since some of the strongest Radical Feminists are also privileged, but the difference is that real Radical Feminists don’t use their privilege to hurt other women.) They patronize and condescend, calling us “stupid” or say we “need educating” or that we are “old fashioned,” as if the reality of patriarchy has changed, meanwhile ignoring the many Radical Feminists with our same politics who are in their twenties. They wildly project what they are doing onto the Radical Feminists they are fighting against, etc. In other words, they imitate male and trans cult methods.

Just look at the issues being discussed and it becomes clear. With this dilution of feminism, women who choose men are presented as somehow victims, denying the significant power they actually have in relation to and over women who have said no to men. How did feminism become “Counterfeit Feminism,” where we are not allowed to talk about the most important choices of our lives without severe punishment?  As soon as Radical Feminists say that most women make choices about whether to be invested in men or not, suddenly we are asked don’t we know there are girls in the world who are literally slaves, chained to the wall in the most oppressive patriarchal countries? The privilege of the woman berating us, and her own choices of men over women, is conveniently ignored.

Instead of harassing us, why don’t these counterfeit feminists confront Gail Dines and other famous feminist activists against porn and prostitution who are married to men and demand that they admit they are mere victims of “Stockholm Syndrome”?

In one Radical Feminist facebook group, I was called “misogynist” and reprimanded for “blaming the victim” because I said that women choose who they love. It was the usual patronizing lecture about how women are with men only out of fear, and Stockholm Syndrome. I had no idea that this bully who professes to be “smashing patriarchy” actually has her own ” unicorn,” as she calls her man (Having such a rare man makes her the exceptional woman, doesn’t it?) So how is she a victim? Interestingly, she, like a number of radfems who constantly talk about how evil men are, never say they are with men, deliberately concealing their hypocrisy and obvious conflict of interest. No talk of her leaving her man.

It seems that the online gang-up attacks on Lesbians and other Radical Feminists who say that het women are choosing to be het are attempts to stop a very obvious contradiction in loyalties, and certainly to prevent mention of what used to be a common Radical Feminist topic: het women as collaborators with men against other women and girls. This has been an ongoing discussion among Radical Feminists in books and articles, at conferences, etc. for over forty years. To bully women into stopping talking about it is to censor Radical Feminism….on behalf of men and patriarchy.

What kind of feminism wants girls and women to not be aware they can make choices away from men and into Radical Feminism?

There is no integrity in the methods used. When het choice is brought up, immediately they deliberately confuse rape with voluntary het sex. One online group was actually called “PIV Is Rape.” That not only trivializes the horror of actual rape, but defines it out of existence. Of course being fucked by men IS horrifying and harmful to women on many levels, but these women have to know that many liberal feminists do brag in pornographic detail about loving it. Some of these women now saying “PIV Is Rape” once bragged about loving it themselves. Meanwhile, they usually avoid mention of the existence of women who have said no to men, but if there is a rare acknowledgement, they use the patronizing term “gold star,” and spread the lie that Lifelong and Never-het Lesbians and celibate women have never been raped.

If you dare to say that women who are invested in males automatically have more societal respect and power and privilege than women who say no to males, suddenly every other issue imaginable is brought up, even though these women previously tried to censor those same topics – like what about poor, disabled women oppressed by racism, etc. – ignoring that more oppressed women are also the women most likely to have said no to men and are still saying no to men.

In the Sixties and Seventies, when feminism meant questioning all of our choices individually and as a community, women’s groups supported each other to go further into feminism, including sharing support to leave their men. NO ONE ordered women to shut up or insisted that women were just complete victims with no choice about the men they were with. That would have been laughed at. Women still with men were quite proud about having gotten a man and made sure everyone heard about it. Women who left men and came out were also proud, but still endlessly bragging or complaining about their ex-husbands and boyfriends, making sure everyone knew it was definitely a choice in order to separate themselves from “perverted” Lifelong Lesbians.

Politics and movements do not always advance over time. In the Seventies, Lesbian Feminists proudly said they chose to love other women, yet liberal feminists don’t seem to know that the “born this way” theory they so vehemently believe actually originated with our enemies. Before feminism, psychiatrists declared most women were born het, but that a few were born Lesbian because of genetic abnormalities or from later damage during development. Girls were expected to go through a phase of being attracted to other girls before they grew out of it to become “normal” women who want to be fucked by men, rather than being pathetic mentally ill “inverts” who continue loving our own kind and refuse boys and men. Another cause was attributed to having been sexually assaulted by males in girlhood – as if almost all girls weren’t). Then as feminism was over-shadowed by the later genderqueer/gay male/trans cult re-write of Lesbian Feminist history, the  “born this way” propaganda was reinstated when gay men pleaded for equal rights from hets who said Lesbians and gay men had the choice to just stop being queer. (Somehow bisexual choice is ignored in the plea for rights based on pity.)

Why on earth would any kind of feminist want to join with medical and genderqueer misogynists in believing the con that Lesbians are an aberration – other than that it releases het women from the responsibility of admitting they are making a choice rather than believing the lie that they are just “normal?” Interestingly, this game is played in reverse when feminists do start questioning why they chose or choose men over women. Suddenly, they insist they had the traumatic childhood as an explanation for choosing men and het privilege. Yet how many of these women once and still do openly ask or secretly wonder if a Lifelong Lesbian is “that way” because of terrible childhood trauma?

These attitudes and politics ignore reality. Some of us do remember watching our friends go from hating the boys who harassed us to making them far more important than us and other girls. I heard the girl I was in love with when we were fifteen describe how she had to get herself to learn to be attracted to boys and to flirt with them if she didn’t want to be an outcast. She was already thinking of Lesbians as freaks. (She asked if I really wanted to use the men’s restroom when I told her I loved her.)  Some of us also remember those friends turning on those of us who refused the rules, name-calling us to cement their new het membership status. It is a denial of truth, as well as insulting, to now lecture those few of us who did not join with males against females,  claiming to be much more oppressed than us.

Since we can’t change boys or men, the main obstruction to ending patriarchy is that het women support and even create it. That is something women can control and change. What keeps patriarchy in place is women believing the misogynist con that, by nature, women somehow belong to men. End that lie, and you have full scale revolution. This self-hating, female-hating myth of heterosexuality as normal is so deep that when recently I explained to a woman that it was wrong to call ants “he,” “guys,” and “little fellows,” etc., because, except for a brief, rare appearance of the few winged males for a day, all the ants we ever see are female who live in a true sisterhood — the “queen,” all the workers and soldier ants, all ants ever seen walking around, are female — she could not get it. Commenting on how hard they work, she tried again to present an ant heterosexual supremacist world of the men ants lazing at home while the women ants worked, probably thinking she’d made quite the feminist statement. No, there are no husband ants at home. Female ants do not belong to male ants. All the ants are female, together, sharing everything, working for each other, willing to die for each other, intimately feeding each other from their mouths, with only one ant out of thousands or millions having been het for just a moment.  Even in mammal animal societies, it’s more common for females to live together away from the dangerous males. And though reproduction is usually rape and the males often will kill the babies and females, in many species, the majority of adult females do not reproduce.

Another con by pretend radfems deeply invested in males is to try to convince women to obey men by spreading the myth that some women must be with men or otherwise men will enslave or kill us all for saying no to them. I thought I’d seen all the excuses women make to stay with their men, but this was a new one, which I never heard or read in over forty decades of Radical Feminist writings and discussion. I say, give it a try and see what happens, but really…. that is not why women stay with men.

Note that as soon as collaboration with the enemy is mentioned, het women invested in men will accuse us of having the secret agenda of wanting them to become Lesbians. Our response is: PLEASE do not flatter yourselves, and please do us the favor of not adding any more female-hating, Lesbian-hating, male-worshipping women to our beleaguered communities where such women already outnumber us. They also tell us that they just don’t feel “sexual” towards women – conveniently ignoring that saying no to their men does not mean they have to become dreaded Lesbians. There IS a third choice between that horror and intimate alliance with our oppressors, but it’s conveniently ignored for a reason — being celibate/single is a significant step down in privilege for het women. Most will make sure everyone knows they did have a man in their past and that they aren’t that most despised of women (constantly joked about in the media, and even among Lesbians, as in discussions about the Michigan Women’s Music Festival) – a virgin. Of course, if virgins are seriously mentioned as more than a joke, the bullying starts with insistence that virgins don’t really exist. Again, erase the lives of actual women in the quest for insisting that all women have to have chosen men.

This derail/diversion away from admitting that choosing men means supporting  patriarchy is relevant in terms of being a Radical Feminist though. But notice the het/male term used about being a Lesbian – “sex.” Well, I’m a Lifelong Lesbian and I don’t feel “sexual” towards women either. That is exactly the heart/mind/body/spirit disconnect that women who choose men have learned from their men. “Sex” is the male term as well as their obsession. It turns Lesbians into a mere “sexual orientation,” the offensive term which of course is never used to refer to “normal” women — anything to avoid the terrifying truth, which is that choosing to be a Lesbian is not about anything as trivial as “sex,” but is choosing to love women. And making that choice in spite of getting severe oppression — not only from men, but also from women allied with men — would literally change everything in patriarchy. At this point in the discussion (if the Radical Feminist hasn’t been banned already), the pretend “radfems” scathingly comment that being a Lesbian doesn’t mean being a feminist, playing on the Lesbian-hating still lurking in most feminists.

Well, yes and no. I have a badge from 1971 that says “Lesbianism Is Revolution.” To actually say no to men and then go further into oppression and risking hatred and rejection from everyone in your life in order to love other women is pretty damned feminist and revolutionary. Yes, there are some Lesbians who do bad things, but using that to vilify Lesbians as a group is similar to anti-feminists saying women are as bad as men when male crimes are named. (Lesbians also are actually way out of proportion to other women in devoting their lives to fighting oppression and the harm done to the earth and other species.)

If all women chose to be Lesbians, of course patriarchy would be over. Why do these “radfem” pretenders try to stop this fact from even being mentioned?  It was commonly said in the Seventies, including by het feminists who knew clearly what they should do to end patriarchy. When radfems now lecture us about why we didn’t “win,” ignoring the reasons, do they even consider what it means that this revolutionary idea is now almost censored in online “radfem” groups?

The worst part of the parasitizing of Radical Feminism is the shutting off of women’s logical thought processes and excitement at exploring these common old Radical Feminist issues, which is exactly what men want. And that brings up again, how many of these women are working for the MRAs and how many are just trying to steer women away in order to protect their own privilege?

Almost all girls do feel in love with other girls at some point. That’s natural. Making a cold decision to transfer those powerful love feelings to boys and men, even though males are empty and boring at best, and repulsive and dangerous at worst, is not natural. But most girls do it, just to fit in, be “normal,” to not be hated and rejected by family and friends. If that woman finally returns to her love for other women, sometimes decades later, she is unlikely to say, as courageous Radical Feminists did in the Seventies, “I finally returned to my first choice of love, our own kind.” Instead, she will say, “I was always a Lesbian, I just didn’t know it,” in order to not upset the liberal genderqueer/gay male line. It’s one thing for non-feminists to explain themselves in this way that defines Lesbians out of existence (because women who chose men at that point in time are NOT Lesbians), but why do feminists participate in propping up this cornerstone of patriarchal propaganda?

You can clearly see many women finally and happily choosing to become Lesbians in their fifties and sixties and older. Some leave husbands, and many are left by their men. Some of these women grew up in places where they saw out Lesbians in public and some were friends with Lesbians for decades. They usually have far more privilege (houses, careers, savings, etc.) than Lifelong Lesbians — or celibate women. (I’m not criticizing these women who are my friends. I appreciate how they honestly admit that our oppression and existence and visibility made it easier for them to make conscious choices. One friend said she felt uncomfortable having so much when it looks like being a Lesbian means being poor.)

These non-feminist new Lesbians are aware of their past het privilege, so why do women who pretend to be Radical Feminists try every trick possible to shut down such discussions now, including accusing us of “reverse oppression?” They, who are often hyper-critical and condemning of women who don’t measure up to their brand of feminism, and especially go after traitor women who support the trans cult, accuse real Radical Feminists of being “judgemental.” Talking about the differences in access to privilege gained from choosing men is not “judging.” It’s daring to speak about something real that we are not allowed to mention without punishment. They also imply that the women who choose men are more real women, compared to celibate women, Lesbians, and the least “real” women — Butches. So of course het women are more important, and we are expendable. Really, many radfems just wish we would disappear.

Recently in a Radical Feminist group I was chastized for not admitting the “special benefits” I got from living in a “women-only community.”  I have no idea where that mindfuck came from since I write continually about our having no women-only space left, having to deal with trannies and other het men leering at us, trying to grab us, etc., at “Lesbian” events, and that I live in one of the most dangerous cities in the US where guns are fired off in the street in front of our house.

The most obvious proof that women do choose, usually ignored, is the fact that many ex-het Lesbians choose to go back to men for privilege. I certainly remember my Lesbian Separatist lover, much more privileged than me on every level, who I held as she told how abused she’d felt by past boyfriends, how she wished she’d never been with men, felt so damaged by them, crying with her, for her. And only a few years later, she told me in graphic detail how much she loved being fucked by the boyfriend she left me for. She, who had placed limits on our love-making, theoretically because of the abuse she suffered from men, now bragged, “We do everything.”

So please don’t tell me women don’t choose to be het.

And why would a Lesbian say she feels sorry for het women?  Is she in a strange vacuum where she never goes outside, or is she so convincingly passing as het and is so non-threatening to patriarchy that she doesn’t get Lesbian oppression? Feminists who obey male-identified rules of femininity will complain about being sexually harassed by men. I can tell them that if they stop all participation in those male rules (which freaks out most women to where they won’t even consider it, making up the most bizarre reasons for why they have to wear toxic makeup, ugly dresses, etc.), they will no longer be sexually harassed by male strangers. Of course, they might be assumed to be a Dyke and get dirty looks and insults. That is the main reason women keep participating, as well as wanting to attract the “male gaze” which they hypocritically complain about. (This double standard was very clear when a “radfem” online who had tried to stop a discussion about Butch oppression and about the privilege of women who obey male rules of femininity posted on her own page a photo of a little girl in lurid makeup, saying she was a “princess.”)

I can’t avoid seeing the looks of contempt aimed me for just being my unapologetically Lesbian and Butch self. This disapproval and hatred are not just from men, but from het women in this area, many of who have far more privilege than I could ever hope to have. So no, in spite of the bizarre “radfem” line that being a Lesbian is being privileged, it clearly isn’t. How can it be? Choosing to be a Lesbian means being harassed, raped, and too often, killed, for saying no to men. It means that during your vulnerable teenaged years your girlhood friends turn on you because suddenly you are something to despise. (And for those who insist there is no choice, do you really think we forget what you did to us?) It means having your family ashamed of you, disowning you. Too many young Lesbians are locked up in psychiatric hospitals by their families where they are tortured. With other oppressions, you usually at least have your own family and friends reflecting you so you are not alone in being treated badly. For the young Lesbian, and even more so, the young Butch, it means being hated and ostracized with no support.

Choosing to be a Lesbian means having less access to money, which also means less access to a place to live, food, medical care, etc. In some parts of the world we are executed. Until recently, we were either a pornographic joke or said not to exist. When some of us dare to talk about how het and bisexual women choose to be with men, we don’t forget how those women once treated us – and many still do — as objects of contempt while parading on their arms of their men. Some of them deliberately go where they know Lesbians will be, like at Dyke Marches, to video the freak show with their men.

When women brag about being with men they are making it clear they are part of the heterosexist power structure, and that we are not. It’s about heterosexist domination when they say how wonderful it is, how they love it, etc. Some ex-het Lesbians do this too, like the “friend” who showed me a photo of an erect prick on her cell phone, and another who showed a grotesque key chain of a male figure also with an erect prick, laughing “this is going to scare you,” and yet another “friend” at a dance who asked our group of Lesbians, “Wouldn’t you like a great big dick right now?” I was the only one who said, “No, I’d rather eat dog shit.” A few minutes later, she publicly humiliated her Never-het Butch lover by announcing loudly that she was the only one who had ever been inside her. In my experience, there is no getting away from this kind of harassment — so then to hear how het women don’t choose, because they have Stockholm Syndrome, is infuriating.

One of the most dangerous examples of anti-feminist het-supremacist propaganda about how all women are helpless victims of all-powerful men – not because of male violence, but because of how “attractive” men are – comes from a much-praised “radfem” blog: http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/grooming-pimping-into-heterosexuality-politics-of-love-pt-ii/

Even to this day if a man is kind to me or just smiles I can still feel this “attraction” and gratefulness that I’d feel before and tried to get rid of, which simply means that men are still our captors and there’s no way we can completely get away from stockholm syndrome so long as they hold us captive. Which is precisely why I know I have to stay away from them as much as I can…

The reason so many of us trauma-bond so instantly and intensely to men in our proximity and sometimes to just any man that crosses our way, whether we are lesbian, celibate, separatist or “het”, is that we are programmed and groomed to react in this way to male threat since birth.

If I hadn’t seen this kind of woman-hating masquerading as feminism reflected elsewhere, I would have wondered if it was written by a man because of its worship of male power. I have never known a feminist to describe men like this. In the Seventies, men were acknowledged as dangerous, but even liberal feminists wrote about men as weak fools, delusional in their assumption of women being attracted to them. Mainstream films, like “Nine to Five,” depicted men as pompous buffoons who had institutionalized power, but were easily dealt with by smarter and stronger women working together. And that was het feminism. Lesbian Feminism was even more scathing towards men. No feminist attributed such power to them as at this blog.

The new “radfem” attitude is disturbing on many levels. This writer is so determined to appear as a helpless victim, not of male violence, but of her own uncontrollable “attraction” to men, that she reads almost pornographic in her masochism. She says she must keep away from men, not because she hates them or recognizes how how dangerous they are, but because she can’t control herself around them.

Men reading this will love it. It’s bad enough that we have the male media bombarding us with images of women swooning over men, and presenting them as being so powerful that they can just take a gun from a woman’s hand because she is crying too hard to fire. (This scene is never shown in reverse or between two men.) Why would any woman calling herself a radfem want women to feel so helpless around men or promote the woman-hating propaganda that all women are captives of men?

Even worse, how dare she implicate Lesbians, celibate women, and especially Separatists in her pervy obsession with men?  Any man in front of us and we “trauma-bond?”  I don’t know any woman who reacts that way other than the most male-worshipping of women. How dare she erase those of us who do not obey men?  Counterfeit Feminism means not taking responsibility for loyalty to males over females. Why can’t she control herself around men?  Why isn’t she naturally repulsed by them?  And even worse, how dare she completely erase the existence of women who do not feel equally obsessed with men by saying “men are still our captor.”

This is classic mind-fuck/gaslighting. It reads like a bad romance novel. She ignores the real reason she was with men, which is privilege. It’s that simple. And saying that women choose men because of “trauma bonding” denies the existence of women who refuse to bond with men in spite of suffering horrific girlhood abuse. The girlhood sexual assault theory again makes Lifelong and Never-het Lesbians invisible.

Patriarchy teaches us we have no control over our attractions and choices, but we do. In fact, most girls do feel attraction/love for other girls that they stifle, and then systematically teach themselves to go against nature in transferring those feeling to males. True feminists would never say that women have no control of sado-masochistic feelings that they’ve learned. The assumption is that women must fight those impulses, knowing how and why they came about, and that they are not innate.

Even after several years of not interacting with men any more and choosing to love only women, I still get invasive flashes and dreams of PIV/rape, and I still TB to men if I can’t avoid them and they’re “friendly”. I hope it will dissipate more over time though.

She is STILL “aroused” (the word she uses earlier) by pricks. Since most longtime Radical Lesbian Feminists I know rarely think about or talk about men except in to acknowledge one more horror they’ve committed, I believe women pushing these victimizing politics are continuing to obsess about men as they have done most of their lives, and are only pretending to want to be done with them. I believe this “radfem” is actually bragging on some level, and is likely to return to the men she can’t stop thinking about. (I’ve certainly seen enough “man-hating” ex-het women do that.)

Sure, PIV is pleasurable, but the political and social prices are not worth it.

Make up your mind – is it horrific rape or is it a “pleasure” that you choose?

This propaganda is destroying the feminist movement. We need to separate completely from these women. They are our enemies. Who does it serve to say that women have no real choice in one of the most important decisions they will ever make?  Men.

Why do too many feminists want to deny the reality of the choices on all levels, weakening and disempowering women. Choices are still being made now.

Another “radfem” online commented:

The fact that all us womyn are thoroughly immersed in Societal Stockholm Syndrome by virtue of having been raised in captivity does NOT mean that we are to be blamed for not freeing ourselves! Always remember that it is the ABUSER, not the victim who is to blame for the abuse, even if the victim has been inculcated into capitulation as her primary mode of coping with her captivity.

I responded:

I don’t see women who support men against women as victims. All women are NOT “thoroughly immersed in Societal Stockholm Syndrome” or none of us would be feminists. Many of us said no on various levels.

WE are the victims of those women. Liberal feminism is so diluted that the politics of understanding about collaborators versus resistance fighters is lost. Those who are blamed are those who are the resistance fighters.  And of course I never say that women who choose men choose to be abused. I’m saying they choose men for many reasons, including because it means going with the flow, fitting in, feeling normal, etc. A few say they were attracted to men, but most I’ve heard say that it was the thing to do and they didn’t question it and so they crushed their love for other women. Some even talk about breaking the hearts of girls who loved them.

Part of this is that we are not supposed to exist in hetero-patriarchy. And we are not supposed to exist among many feminists. The other part is that we are said to have some special privilege to be who we are or that we are just “lucky.” That denies that some of the most oppressed Lesbians I have ever met (oppressed by racism and classism, etc.) are Lifelong Lesbians and/or Butch. We don’t have to speak out to get targeted. We just have to be. But yes, when ex-het Lesbians say “We’ve all been het,” and we dare to say some of us haven’t, that intense hatred of being treated like freaks,  we’ve experienced from hets since girlhood, gets turned on us once again.

We are warned to be quiet and ashamed of being Lifelong Lesbians or being Butch, or we’ll get even more hatred. Not long ago, some “radfems” made cruel posts to simply attack Butches, with one saying we didn’t even exist. We get the brunt of Lesbian-hating in the male and het world, and we also get it from women pretending to be radfems.

This issue is very personal to me because Butch-hating kills. I can’t tell you how almost every Butch I knew when I was a young Lesbian is dead — from cancer, from being beaten to death, suicide…. Three more Butch friends died this year from cancer, and two more diagnosed. One of those was harassed and ridiculed by her family and Lesbian friends at her own birthday party, by being told she should wear a dress and makeup – “to be more of a girl.” Being Butch is closer to what all women would be without patriarchy, and is therefore as far away from being “male” or “masculine” as a woman can be, yet Butches are targeted by pretend radfems as being “like men.” I have actually been accused of “lesbosplaining” and “sounding like a man” by het feminists when I was objecting to their man-loving politics.

This is the way the mindfuck works: “We must protect and defend real women at all costs. Lesbians aren’t real women. Only women who want to be fucked by… oh, excuse me, ‘have sex with’ men are real women.” But if Radical Feminism means really thinking about male crimes, from the boys who torture and rape animals and even little girls, to the majority of men who would rape and kill if they knew they could get away with it, and, as a group, are destroying the earth, then isn’t it logical that this is a war of survival, not just for human females, but for the earth and all other species? And in that case, aren’t women who keep men going, who nurture and reproduce males, collaborators?  Patriarchy and men rely on women. They could not survive without women’s intimate support.

But of course in the new parasitized version of Radical Feminism, no woman is ever to be criticized. (Unless she really IS a Radical Feminist and then she is fair game to be banned, lied about, etc.)  Just keep those women with the most privilege from being disturbed. In fact, forget they exist. So the most privileged het women, secure in being rich, owning companies, property, political power, and with Radical Feminists as servants, must be erased from the mind. Forget you see them in the media or out in the world or in some of your families. Forget the rich women who are film stars who keep the increasing porn in mainstream movies going. Yes, they make less money than men, but many still make millions. Some of these women are writers and producers, like Lena Dunham, whose acclaimed television series, “Girls,” normalizes the most disgusting scenes imaginable, like where Lena’s character’s beloved boyfriend, who continually sexually abuses her, is shown graphically wanking off on a protesting woman’s chest while calling her a “whore.” This series is lauded as “feminist” and Lena is in full charge.

And then there are women like Miley Cyrus who are continuing the pornographic selling of females to make fame and fortune, in the tradition of Madonna, except that she has far greater influence on young girls. These women know exactly what they are doing.

Obey the fake radfem cult. Just keep talking about girls far away who are chained to walls. Definitely ignore the ones who are so proud of their men and who look at Lesbians like we need to be exterminated. Forget the ones who fire and evict Lesbians, and who join with their men to destroy us.

It’s actually horror movie scary how women who want to be Radical Feminists, but who are indoctrinated into Counterfeit Feminism, respond to obvious female-hating atrocities, like when a Radical Feminist posted in our Radical Feminist group about women who sell their little ten year old girls to men who hire them out to be daily, multiply raped. This is so premeditated that the women first pay to get their daughters medically certified as virgins because then they will make more money selling them. One little girl escaped home, but her mother sold her again. Some of the true Radical Feminists in our group responded with reasonable outrage, saying they would sell themselves first rather than ever sell their daughters, But others actually lectured us about how oppressed the mothers were, they didn’t have a choice, etc. I wondered at what point they would hold a collaborator accountable. We wrote about some of the more outrageous cases in our book, like what about the women who lined up to marry serial rapist and murderer Ted Bundy when he was on death row: http://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/heterosexualityselling-out-is-not-compulsory/

Ted Bundy confessed to murdering 23 young females in four U.S. states. He’s suspected of actually murdering over a hundred. He usually vaginally and anally raped his victims before murdering them, and in at least one known instance he forced one girl to watch while he raped and murdered another, before killing her also. Many of the bodies were found decapitated and otherwise mutilated. It’s believed that his first victim was an eight-year-old girl who he killed when he was 14. After he was in jail for two years, a woman named Carol Boone married him. The night before his execution for murdering 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, his mother told him, “You’ll always be my precious son.”

In 1987, Robert Chambers strangled Jennifer Levin, his 18-year-old friend, and left her half-naked body in Central Park in New York City. He claimed she was forcing him to have “rough sex” with her and he killed her “accidentally”! Since his family is very rich, they hired the best lawyer money could buy, and Chambers was let out on bail. In December, 1987, before the trial even began, he went to a “slumber party” consisting of just him and four women. A videotape was made of the party, showing the women wearing pajamas, laughing, dancing, and playing sado-masochistic games with each other and with Chambers. At one point, he holds a Barbie doll up to the camera, twists its head around and says, “Oops, I think I killed her.” In another scene, one of the women plays at being a baby crying and tells him, “I’ll tell everyone.” He says, “I’ll say you’re lying. I lie and they believe me.” The women were laughing throughout these scenes, even though they were also Jennifer’s friends. One of them, Chambers’ new girlfriend, was interviewed on TV. She said she “loved” him, that he was “warm and funny,” and that everyone at the party knew he’d confessed to the murder. She said he’d received over 400 letters of support, many from women. When asked how she felt about the murder, she said, “I don’t feel it’s really my business.”

How about Susan Smith who murdered her two sons because the man she was leaving her husband for didn’t want her kids, and blamed it on a mythological “Black man”–  or Nancy Garrido, who helped her husband abduct Jaycee Dugard at eleven years old, keeping her prisoner to rape and impregnate for twenty years? What about women kapos in concentration camps, or the Klan members who contribute to bake sales, sew the men’s robes, and cheer at lynchings.

What about the laughing woman who was concerned her fifteen year old son had been raping chickens since he was eleven, not because he was torturing innocent small animals, but because he might get an STD. The boy was shown stroking the chicken as if he loved her, calling her cute, and then showing her cloaca where he rapes her. The announcer says that chickens are easier to get than “girls.” Throughout the video, comparisons are made with consensual heterosexuality. Finally, his mother says she should get him a prostitute, even though she thinks he might have STDs. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vwjdNJCjQ4  There is another video of a different boy showing him actually raping a chicken, but this isn’t it.)

I know women whose mothers supported their rapist sons to keep raping their little girls. No one has posted about this, but I can imagine the responses excusing such women. When it’s about women leaving husbands or boyfriends who are raping their daughters, the line (which was unthinkable decades ago) was about how the women have no choice because of fear. But what about a seventeen year old Lesbian whose mother invites a six foot four military man to stay in her daughter’s room over a weekend, where he rapes the girl until her bed and even walls of the room are covered with blood? My friend has very limited memory of this, but remembers her mother being so set on making her het, that she had bought her birth control pills before the extended rape, acting like everything was fine, and afterward mimicked the man’s accent, telling her how easy it would be for him come back and open her window to get inside to rape her again. Please, “radfems” who believe women are always victims, explain this betrayal according to your anti-feminist convoluted female-hating politics.

Many other Radical Feminists, like most women, have experienced horrific abuse as girls by males that their mothers allowed or encouraged for the rapists’ benefit. Calling these women “victims” is a direct betrayal of the real victims, many of who are still vulnerable to these cruel and sadistic women. Even in patriarchal courts, it’s sometimes acknowledged that the men who help the actual rapist are equally accountable. We reject pleas that the men are victims too. Feminists were outraged when I reported that one of the men organizing the community rally for the fifteen year old Richmond, California girl who had been gang-raped for hours outside her high school dance said in his speech that “the rapists are victims too.” That large group of boys and men had texted for their friends to join in. If excuses are made for women who help men against women, why not excuse the men also?

Another post was a link to a dishonest article by a woman who was almost every man’s fantasy of a Lesbian going back to men, blaming San Francisco for making her het again.
http://www.salon.com/2012/03/01/san_francisco_turned_me_straight/

This was a classic mindfuck article like many I’ve seen before, by a genderqueer, porn-loving, sado-masochist whose hatred for Lesbians just poured out. She is the worst kind of collaborator, on a par with the bisexual pretend Lesbian sexologists like Pat Califia, JoAnn Loulan, and Susie Bright, who made money off ridiculing and manipulating Lesbians, bringing their porn and sado-masochism into our community in books and workshops – except that this article was entirely for men’s benefit. Yet, in our Radical Feminist group, one newer confused woman wrote an elaborate explanation describing this particularly repulsive writer’s supposed past trauma (never referred to in the article) to explain her betrayal of Lesbians and women, and why she was really another victim. This level of mindfuck is enough to get some of us to just give up.

So why this horrific double standard when applied to women?  It’s like wanting a fantasy world where all females always are trustworthy allies, but that is not reality. Women who push this as a feminist line are losing and betraying women who remember what the truth is. Just as you cannot love both the real victims and their rapist/murderers, you cannot support both the victim and the collaborator.

Feminism in the early Sixties and Seventies was about empowering women to know they were making choices. No superior boss feminist stepped in to tell women to shut up talking about choices because they are so oppressed they must not even think about, let alone form, consciousness-raising groups to discuss leaving their men and to decide whether they should then be celibate or return to their early love for other women.
One “radfem” who was constantly posting extremely man-hating posts actually told the group one day about her husband and how nice he was. I said, “Well, this is amazing. I’m guessing you are going to be honest, unlike some others, and at least admit that you, as a Radical Feminist with a husband, are choosing to be het.”  She actually started to waffle and say she was “Stockholm Syndromed” to make sure she didn’t step out of the cult line of het women as victim only.

Another het “radfem” posted about how a woman who had been fucking with a married man for a year because he had promised to leave his wife was a now a victim of “rape and male violence” simply because her boyfriend stayed with his wife, and shouldn’t she have the right to sue him for fraud, violence, etc.? When I responded that she was defining real violence and rape out of existence and wasn’t the wife the real victim, she started insulting me for being a Lesbian Separatist, completely distorting my politics. She also said “It’s also a form of Domestic Violence for a man to fraudulently obtain sex. Saying that a woman should leave a man when she finds out he’s married is similar to saying that a woman should leave a man who beats her.”

True Radical Feminists who are honest and don’t pretend to be victims of the men they are choosing to be with are rare and precious.

Radical Feminism versus Reformist/Liberal/RightWing/Counterfeit “Feminism” 

If those of us who helped define and invent Radical Feminism are not allowed to say what our movement is, then who is?

I first met feminism in 1970 when I discovered the Lesbian Feminist community in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was intoxicating, with love of women and Lesbians, amazing Lesbian Feminist politics, women only space taken for granted, and support to choose to never voluntarily have to be around males. Male crimes against girls and women were named for the first time, and that awareness of patriarchy was incredibly freeing, explaining so much of what had been wrong with girls’ and women’s lives.

We met in the famous unfacilitated small consciousness-raising groups and read and talked and explored. We created politics and culture and community, with newspapers, journals, books, poetry, music, dancing, parties, bookstores, coffeehouses, dojos, conferences, and gatherings. We were ecstatic with our love for each other.

Some of us continued to go further into what the most radical female-identified feminism would become, which was Lesbian Separatism. We transformed ourselves and our beginning feminist movement into Radical Lesbian Feminism. And we paid a price for it, then as now, being censored, lied about, banned from organizations, and threatened. Some quit at the point at which feminism improved their own lives. And some of us did not. Some of us would not stop until everything was transformed for all females and the earth. Our Radical Feminist movement has a clear, unbroken history that is well-documented if anyone cares to look.

So I am very protective of our movement and culture, and I do not want any more true Radical Feminists driven away by pretender “radfem” bullies. The harassment from the men posing as Lesbians is constant, as are their defenders, but the harassment of the women posing as Radical Feminists is more dangerous because they have more direct access to us. I have been banned from “Radical Feminist” online groups for telling the truth, for listing famous classic books by Radical Feminists of Color (responding to racist white women questioning why there aren’t more Radical Feminists of Color), for defending a woman who was announced to be a troll without enough evidence, for revealing a troll who never denied supporting trans against girls (the man won a lawsuit to be able to continue exposing his prick to girls), for revealing a troll who had her man friend in a Lesbian caucus, for calling a Radical Feminist my friend who had been physically and emotionally abused by the moderator of a group, etc. I’ve seen other Radical Feminists unfairly banned from “Radical Feminist” groups also for the crime of being truly Radical Feminist.

I want women to feel free and not trapped. Talking about choices is not about trying to make anyone feel bad for having made bad choices in the past or even about the choices they’re making now. I’m just asking them to acknowledge the truth instead of pretending to be victims. Most of us have been victims of men and boys. That’s different that choosing men to love and making that public enough to get additional privilege.

It’s the same with choosing male-identified femininity, which is giving men what they want and getting privilege at the direct expense of women and girls who are saying no.  Men want all women to be marked by them. They can’t stand it when women refuse to humiliate themselves by masking their faces in toxic lurid makeup that mimic sexual arousal, or accept the badly-made, exposing clothes and crippling shoes they demand women wear as well as refuse to hate their bodies enough to shave off most of their natural body hair. (Women who are anti-prostitution advocates should be aware that makeup and nail polish used to be part of how prostitutes advertised what they were willing to do.) Women aren’t even allowed to have natural eyebrows. (And plucking permanently marks women’s faces as women who have obeyed men.)

Men want women to be immediately identifiable even from a distance as prey and for ridicule. Women aren’t even supposed to be grounded or to safely stand or walk. Men also want women to be terrified at being considered to be Lesbians. No woman is allowed to be in the media without some obvious difference in her clothing from males’ clothing/shoes, etc. Even when feminists have posted online showing reversals of common sexist media images of het couples by switching clothing and trying to show the man in the women’s role, the women’s postures and stances are still submissive.

Most feminists fighting this will still only go so far, yet how can they be against gender while participating in that most female-hating culture? This was one of the most powerful ways that feminists in the Seventies said no to men and male rules. Women in deep with the femininity cult will come up with the strangest reasons why they won’t stop, including that they think they look ugly if they don’t mask their faces into looking grotesque. It all comes back to privilege and wanting to be accepted as “normal,” as well as being in competition with other women. Challenging and changing male-identified femininity is in itself revolutionary. It’s one of the most important ways to say no to patriarchy and is extremely freeing.

Some of our best Radical Feminists are honest about being with men and the privilege they’re getting and do not say they are victims. For those with men who really feel that they’re a victim, then stop. If they can’t because of literal survival, then they are prisoners, not het. (But if this is asked outright, usually women in the Radical Feminist groups will suddenly change their minds because they want status for being with men, as much as they might complain about it.) If they are honest, most women will not leave men because of not wanting to lose the tangible rewards, which the rest of us do not have and never had. It’s not just money and property, but status, including how you feel about yourself. If you can’t bear your family and friends to think that you might be a Lesbian if you leave your man, what are you thinking about us?

Every time you talk about women being victims and having no choices, you are helping patriarchy to keep women trapped. Women are trained to be passive enough. It’s hard enough for women to be able to talk about how they have been betrayed by women. Who is it who wants women to think they naturally belong to men and no choice is possible?

I say to the pretenders gutting Radical Feminism, as I say to the male pretenders — call yourselves whatever you want, just stop trying to steal our name, our movement, our culture, and then parasitizing it for your own use. I say the same to the trolls, and to those who “don’t want to know” what harm that a troll is doing to Radical Feminism and to individual women — please be responsible enough to recognize that we cannot have a movement of women who don’t care about each other, and if that troll, whether paid agent for the enemy or someone who just enjoys pitting women against each other, is not named, held accountable, and stopped, then she will eventually hurt you too. We are in this together. If there is a doubt, let’s make a forum where all concerned can talk freely, with no banning so all can decide what the truth is.

Real Radical Feminists do not prevent discussion about past betrayals of our community. Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. Those who try to prevent discussion about the past that is relevant to now are harming our community. The personal is political. We need to know which women supported men and the trans cult against Radical Feminists. We need to know who lies and uses online bans to eliminate evidence in an attempt to rewrite history. If some women truly do regret betraying us, they will say so, apologize, and explain. They will not make up more lies to continue slandering those who are warning our community about them. And they certainly won’t threaten women to silence them.

Question everything you have been taught is the truth, and know that the more privilege you have, the more likely you will be oppressive unless very careful. It is a constant struggle to not let our Radical Feminist community absorb the dominant male-worshipping, false-femininity worshipping, sado-masochistic, competitive, hateful patriarchal culture.

If you are outraged when a Radical Feminist says something “too radical,” too man-hating, too questioning of the myths about femininity or het supremacy, then stop and realize what you are reacting to, and consider whether you are trying to stop the truth from being said. Don’t force us to go over what was solved forty years ago – try to learn our past so we can finally go on.

For those who are not Radical Feminists yet, but who are excited about our politics, please do not come into our community, ordering and lecturing as if you are our boss, when you haven’t even bothered to learn the history and the work of this movement. Also, if you are privileged, do not try to impose your dominant culture on us, whether it is heterosexist, classist, racist, ableist, ageist, fat oppressive….

If you’ve been drawn to feminism but still feel like an outsider because you are seeing some of the same heterosexist, racist, classist oppressive crap that is in the rest of patriarchy, know that that is not true Radical Feminism but a posturing imitation.
Real Radical Feminism is the opposite of Counterfeit Feminism. We can still have that excitement that was Radical Feminism, but we need to recognize who is and who isn’t truly Radical Feminist. Trying over and over to accept the bullies and trolls who often dominate is done at the expense of the women who should be with us. We need not just a growing, powerful, truly Radical Feminist movement that welcomes all girls and women, but a refuge, a safe space where we can finally talk about the most radical of feminist politics, to go as far as we can. We want the women who have been isolated, marginalized, and othered to finally know they are not alone and that they have finally come home.

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If Looks Could Kill: Lookism — The Most Personal Oppression

Chapter Eight

IF LOOKS COULD KILL

Looksism: The Most Personal Oppression

Bev Jo

Men teach us that there are intrinsic standards of beauty (“aesthetics”) that apply to people, but these standards are political and manipulated, and aren’t an innate part of ourselves. If we don’t think them through, we’ll just accept them and think they come from inside us.

Patriarchy couldn’t exist without a complicated network of lies that are made to feel so familiar that they’re taken for granted as the truth. When you believe those lies, you believe in patriarchy. When you support those lies, you support the rule of male over female and the rule of the more privileged over those they oppress. But when you decide to question and reject patriarchal beliefs, you challenge patriarchy at its core.

In order to improve our lives and to even survive, we must challenge every lie we’re taught.  Changing the basis of what you’re taught to believe is “natural” or “unnatural,” “normal” or “abnormal,” “beautiful” or “ugly,” changes everything. Recognizing patriarchal cons as universal, rather than our own personal problem, is Radical Feminist. We don’t just accept other lies we are taught, like that sado-masochistic feelings are innate and inevitable – we say no to them.

Fear of being oppressed by being called “ugly” is part of what motivates many women to be looksist by “othering” and marginalizing women with the least looks privilege. Yet, what if we could create more camaraderie and empathy among us, instead of the usual  competition?  We are all in this together — all women are vulnerable to looksism. Unlike most of the other issues that divide women, no woman is guaranteed looks privilege forever.

This is an oppression by which girls and women torture themselves, mutilate themselves, and kill themselves – because of focusing their self-hatred (driven by patriarchal rules) on themselves.

Some consider looksism a trivial issue, but it reaches right down into the heart of who is loved and who is rejected. It is one of the major weapons that patriarchy uses to divide women. Other oppressions are linked with looksism, but looksism is the most difficult to get political acknowledgement and support about. The politics of looksism is connected with genocide and gynocide.

Most women never feel attractive enough, because male standards of beauty are unnatural and keep changing. The patriarchal media and corporations make billions off selling women surgery and toxic products that damage their health and, ironically, their looks. These stinking products also literally kill, and pollute the earth and water.

Yet women could be freed from this self-destructive game if they used basic Feminist politics to examine and reject male “beauty” standards that, in reality, are often quite ugly. Most women are afraid to even think about what is truly beautiful because it completely disturbs their sense of reality. Some question particular standards, but don’t question what is named beauty itself in patriarchy. I see so many feminists talking around the issue, but clearly still believing the artifice that what men tell us is beautiful, in reality, is.

Mainstream media shows us almost no images of Lesbians or women just looking ordinary. Women are portrayed grotesquely altered in ways that men never are, and women are judged by completely different standards than men are. In the media, the more sloppy and “unattractive” (by the standards set for women) that men are, the more attractive and “manly” they are considered to be. Even ageism seems to not be problem for old men if they are rich enough.

Because of the pressure on all girls and women to alter ourselves, mothers police their daughters, and women police other women, including friends, to fit the various male standards of looks and femininity. The more natural and unaltered a woman tries to be, the more policed she is. Her weight, hair, clothes, shoes, etc. are all criticized in an effort to make her obey male rules.

When I explore issues that affect Lesbians and women, I think about who does it serve — and who doesn’t it serve — to believe what men, and women allied with patriarchy, tell us about how we should look and about what is attractive or “ugly.”

I grew up seeing that my mother’s measurement of value for herself and other women was based primarily on how they looked. Were they “’good-looking” or not?  Her standard of what was considered “good looking” was rarely based on what I considered to be intrinsically beautiful – a girl or woman who was natural, courageous, strong, kind, and loving, who thought for herself, no matter the opposition, who fought for justice, and was radiant with a love of life and nature. A female who glowed with love for other females added to her handsomeness. And she did not follow or reflect the demeaning artificiality women use who obey patriarchal rules of “beauty.” She refused all signs that would mark her as a man’s woman.

I remember my mother calling one of the first girls I was in love with (when I was five), “homely.”  I didn’t know what it meant until she told me, but I remained convinced that that girl was beautiful.

When we are trained from our beginnings with propaganda about what beauty is and what ugliness is, and who to trust and who to fear, we are also taught what our roles are to be in patriarchy. Grotesque Disney cartoon images and later animation teach us what “normal” women are supposed to look like, even if they are a travesty of a female hippopotamus with a bow on her head and garish lipstick on her mouth. No female animal ever looks or sounds the way they are portrayed in patriarchal media. But when you grow up with bizarre, unnatural images, it’s hard to not internalize them. Even later animation that attempts to be less sexist still shows females, including animals, in some form of traditional male-defined feminine role that hurts all females.

One day I went with a group of Lesbian friends to an aquarium. I saw some of the most amazing beings I’ve ever met – cuttlefish, who are cephalopods, related to squids and octopuses, and considered to have primate-level intelligence.  As soon as I saw them I again wondered how anyone could believe the story we’re taught that “man” is the furthest evolved of all animals. Humans are animals, but men are so obviously not the pinnacle of perfection.

The cuttlefish were soft and sensuous, swimming by gently rippling the edges of their bodies, with ever-changing patterns and flashes of color flowing over them.  They use their colors to communicate, and can decide to show intricate designs and colors on one side of their body which are completely different from the other side. Even though they were captives in a sordid place, there was a deep sense of peace about them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any being as beautiful.

I moved closer to the glass, and a cuttlefish came up and looked deeply into my eyes. She had to work hard, undulating the edges of her body so that she stayed at eye level with me. I felt that she was speaking to me, but I couldn’t understand. I wanted desperately to free her and the others. I was in awe of these exquisitely beautiful beings.

As people passed by, I began to hear their comments. “God, I’ve never seen anything so ugly. What is that weird thing?” The hatred aimed at these luminous beings was a shock.1   I’m used to Lesbians getting this kind of treatment, but not usually animals. This was an example yet again of people obeying patriarchal rules about what is considered beautiful and what is called ugly.

I wanted to protect the cuttlefish as I want to protect Lesbians and all females. I felt more clearly than I ever had before that some men and some women’s alliance with the worst men means they don’t just hate us — they hate all life — except, of course, that life which is useful to them. To protect ourselves from such hatred we have to change everything we’ve been taught by patriarchy about what’s “beautiful” and what’s “ugly.” That changes how we relate to each other and to life itself.

The Politics of Beauty

Hetero-patriarchy is based on lies: the lie that patriarchy is inevitable, the lie that males are superior to females, the lie that all females are naturally meant to be het and/or mothers, the lie that Family is good, wholesome, and necessary, the lie that racism and classism are inevitable, the lie that christian European-descent peoples and cultures are superior (even though their “superior” technology is destroying the Earth), the lie that all animals and plants are inferior to mankind, and the lie that a Higher Power has created innately good and innately bad people on Earth who are easily recognizable, because god bestows “beauty” on the “Good” and marks the “Bad” with “ugliness.”

One of the earliest, cruelest lies we learn is that we should fear and hate those who are different from the hetero-patriarchal norm – even if it’s our own selves. From fairy tales to the film industry, the “ugly,” “deformed,” or old person is depicted as evil, while brutal men who have the power of life and death over us are considered “attractive” and “charming.” The courageous witch is called “hideous,” while some of the most dangerous men on Earth are called “handsome.” And of course, Dykes are portrayed as unnatural and horrible, if we’re mentioned at all.

Children are barraged with this destructive propaganda in cartoons and animation, so most children quickly learn that children’s society often means the popular, “attractive” children ally in groups who exclude and sometimes bully the less “’attractive.” (Classism and racism and other oppressions also greatly affect who is popular, including how children appear, whether they wear more expensive, new clothes versus used, shabby ill-fitting clothing, to having surgery to correct “defects.”)

In a recent blog post a feminist described why she was accepted in a male group: “I was exactly what a Boy’s Club wanted. I was a young, not-hideous woman who passionately supported their cause.” I’m still in a bit of shock that a self-described feminist would use the term “hideous” to describe other women and am still wondering what she actually meant. Certainly, by the context, old women might be considered “hideous,” but I’m also thinking Lesbians, women oppressed by racism, ableism, etc. What kind of feminist thinks other women who lack her privilege are “hideous”? This is more than just projecting and spreading how the men would think, but reflect her own thoughts and politics. It’s horrific that any feminist would use “hideous” to describe any women. But that reflects how acceptable looksism has become.

Looksism is often ignored even by politically aware Radical Feminists, partly because it isn’t considered a valid oppression by male political groups. Yet looksism is intensely political, and is used to perpetuate all other oppressions, including heterosexism, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, classism, imperialism, ableism, ageism, and fat oppression. The people who are visibly a member of an oppressed group get the worst treatment. Those who are clearly more Butch, fat, dark, disabled, older, or not yet adult, and poor are more oppressed than others of the same group who look less blatant. Those who look the most female – the most like Dykes – get treated far worse than those who look effeminate and who obey the rule of male-defined “femininity.” It’s no coincidence that gay men attacking in print Lesbians who they had never seen, called the Lesbians both “man-hating and “ugly.”3

When men control governments, they control the cultures of their countries. The most powerful countries also influence and control the cultures of others. Men in power decide which faces and bodies are to be loved and admired, which are to be tolerated and pitied, and which are to be shunned and despised. Those decisions are based on what will serve men, regardless of the pain and oppression they cause. In many parts of the world, white/European-descent gentile men have enforced the idea that pinnacle of perfection is rich, thin, young, able-bodied, het, christian, light-skinned Euro-descent men, even though, as a group, those are the most selfish, hateful, thieving, murderous, and destructive men on Earth. This propaganda protects patriarchy by setting up women to fight each other on behalf of “their” men.

Instead of bonding together, oppressed people who are more privileged than others in the patriarchal hierarchy are more likely to despise those that the men in power designate as beneath them. That’s how oppression continues: the rich woman knows she’s not worth as much as a man, but at least she feels superior to a poor woman. The poor woman is treated badly, but if she’s thin and has “good looks,” she can pride herself on that. The fat poor heterosexual woman knows she’s despised, but at least she’s “normal” and not a Dyke. The lowest in status are those who are the most oppressed and who suffer multiple oppressions – the racially or ethnically oppressed, never-het, Butch, lifelong Dykes who are fat, poor, old, disabled, and considered ugly.

One of the cruelest aspects of patriarchal hate propaganda is that it can even make one’s own group seem alien, while the more privileged group appears in the media as cozily familiar. Studies were done in the U.S. using two sets of dolls that were identical except for color, with one group dark-skinned and the other light.3 Young children were asked which doll “you would want to be, you want to play with, is a nice color and would take home if you could.” In spite of African-American Pride movements, 65% of the African-American children chose the light-skinned dolls.  This is alarming evidence of the effects of institutionalized racism in which everyone in the U.S. is taught that European-descent, especially WASP, appearance and culture is the best. (There is a excellent more recent video of African-descent girls talking about the effects of racism on themselves and the idea of beauty — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjy9q8VekmE)

Racist propaganda has been going on for hundreds of years. History is re-written so that the accomplishments of racially oppressed cultures not only are hidden but are often credited to their oppressors and the invaders of their countries. Many light-skinned peoples pride themselves on the lie that the ancient civilizations of Egypt were created by people who looked like them. Much of the evidence of the truth has been systematically destroyed over the centuries, yet there are still many portraits and sculptures that survive, showing dark-skinned ancient Egyptian queens and kings.  Drawings from several hundred years ago show the face of the Great Sphinx of Egypt to be clearly African, and not Arabic or European.4 The Sphinx was not eroded into unrecognizability by weather and time, as so many historical and archeological books claim. Invading soldiers deliberately used her for target practice until she was no longer identifiable as African.5 African and African-descent researchers have made this public, but most white/European-descent historians still ignore and deny these facts – just as they deny proof that humans were in the Americas for over forty thousand years and came from the south and central Pacific as well as from Siberia, as if that gives Euro-descent people more claim to the land they stole. Their painters and sculptors even portray their Jewish god and followers as looking northern European.

Racism fuels some lies, while male-supremacy fuels other lies. Male historians deny the existence of female-centered cultures before patriarchy existed.

Who knows what else has been changed? There are still a few statues of female sphinxes, but most ancient representations of women from many cultures throughout the world have been altered or destroyed, leaving us little evidence of the time before men took power. (Max Dashu’s Suppressed Histories Archives is a wonderful international comprehensive counter to patriarchal lies.) Male historians also attribute as many of women’s accomplishments as possible to men, and when they can’t ignore certain women in history, they make sure they are portrayed as heterosexual and devoted to men, even when they are well known to be Lesbians. A more recent version of this male re-writing of history is when the transgender cult describes Dykey women and Butches from the past as being “transsexuals” or “transgender,” and actually calls them by male pronouns!  Nothing like desecrating the memory of dead women on behalf of men.

The politics of the European christian gentile ideal of beauty developed when the European aristocracy decided they needed excuses for oppressing their own poor people and the people in the countries they invaded. When the Roman Empire had invaded and controlled most of Europe, northern Europeans were considered uncivilized and inferior savages by the imperialistic Romans, but when they themselves later became invaders, they also called their victims “savages,” making those people less human and somehow deserving of the atrocities the Europeans committed against them. (Other patriarchal cultures, such as Islam, were also spread by invasion from Arabia into Africa, parts of Europe, Asia, and reaching to Indonesia, and did similar things, but the European dominance, which is still affecting many of us, went beyond imperialism into genocide.) Most European cultures became competitive, cruel, greedy, and domineering, and met anyone different from themselves with only conquest, theft, slavery, and murder in mind. (As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

Many christian European and European-descent social scientists have written about people’s so-called “natural” fear and hostility toward those who are different than themselves, but it’s European christians who’ve displayed this quality the most consistently and cruelly. In many countries where Europeans invaded they were at first received with friendship, generosity, and courtesy, even though they looked very different than the inhabitants.  Meanwhile, Europeans named anyone who looked different as “ugly.”

In Europe, the lightest skin was considered “beautiful” because only the rich could be extremely pale, since they didn’t have to work outdoors in the sun.  During the Industrial Age, factory workers were pale from lack of sunlight, while the rich had leisure time to sun themselves at the Riviera, so suntans became “attractive” — as long as it wasn’t someone’s natural skin color.

It’s very likely that thinness became a status symbol because rich European men’s wives were supposed to look fragile and weak, showing that they didn’t need to do any work. The woman’s thinness also made her husband look and feel more powerful by contrast. That mania for thinness is still related to class, nationality, and race.

The supposed “beauty” standards of female facial features are based on the qualities that distinguish gentile Europeans from most other racial and ethnic groups. Some characteristics of “beauty” and “ugliness” don’t seem to fit into set formulas that further racism or ethnicism, because male rule thrives on hierarchy and inequality, so that even in racially similar populations there still have to be standards defining the hierarchy of the “most attractive” to the “least attractive.”  When most people accept those rules, it’s then very easy for them to know their place or be put back in their place if they try to escape. It’s just like hierarchical school play-ground culture – if you don’t like what someone says you can always try to humiliate them by making fun of their looks.

What’s in a face? A face can tell you almost everything about someone – her sex, race, age, class, whether she’s a Lesbian or het, and how female-identified, Lesbian-identified, and Butch she is. People project their inner selves into their facial expression so that you can sometimes tell if you could like or trust someone just by the look on her face.  Expressions can reflect directness and honesty, or manipulation and pretense. If a female chooses to cover her face in make-up and literally change her features through surgery and electrolysis, then she’s making a definite statement about who she is and how she’s likely to relate to you. If her own face isn’t good enough for her, what will she think about yours?

Fear of Nature

I believe that in dominant Euro-centric cultures, we are fed patriarchal lies when we are little girls, which teach us to transfer our reasonable fear of the men and boys who threaten and assault us (often in our own families) onto harmless, innocent little animals — many of whom are revered in other cultures. Most girls are sexually assaulted and all girls are sexually harassed. It is terrible to be living in continual fear, often with no one to go to for support. Why else do girls and women shudder at the thought of certain animals or their body parts, such as snakes and little useful tails on rats and mice, rather than the more dangerous claws and fangs of more popular animals? Films and television producers love to show women screaming in terror at the sight of sweet little animals. Alfred Hitchcock even got women to be afraid of birds!

We are not instinctively afraid of nature and animals. Until fairly recently, nature was the home of humans for millennia, and no one would waste time being afraid of harmless creatures. If it wasn’t for being bombarded with horror stories, we would not be afraid of spiders, rodents, bats, etc.

How many readers just shuddered reading what I wrote, when they envision those animals?  How many shudder when seeing media images of males being worshipped, including sometimes their pricks, and women pornified into grotesque objects? (Girls and women did used to feel horror or disgust at seeing pricks, knowing what they represent. That is what I think we have an inborn fear/revulsion of – not little harmless animals.)

In Laurel Holliday’s book, “Children in the Holocaust and World War II: Their Secret Diaries,” she includes a woman’s story of how, as a little girl, she and her family hid from the Nazis in the sewers of Warsaw. This was a short piece, and yet she mentions how the sewer rats (Rattus Norvegicus, also the domestic rat, lab rat, “pet” rat) were her “friends.” She didn’t say if they brought her food or just kissed and cuddled her to comfort her during such a terrifying time, but it was touching that she included them in her story. Knowing rats’ capacity for kindness, I am sure they could tell how afraid and lonely she was, and so gave her that special deep love that rats know how to give.

(Since originally writing this, I found out about the Rat Community, which is 99% women, most of who are involved in rescuing rats and who go against rat-phobic patriarchal propaganda. Rats are amazingly intelligent, loving, thoughtful little people who are hated and feared by humans who’ve never even known them personally, as also Lesbians and other oppressed peoples are feared and hated.)

Cable television channels that used to show beautiful and informative nature documentaries, now mostly portray wild animals as evil monsters who deliberately want to hurt humans and who therefore must be conquered and destroyed by “courageous,” posturing, cruel men. The men look silly when you recognize that the terrified animal being filmed is clearly trying desperately to escape the hunters, so they rev up the music and intersperse shots of scary close ups of eyes and fangs, often of clearly unrelated species, and repeatedly say how “dangerous” the poor animal is. Most of the remaining channels on animals, science, and nature also show men as conquerors of nature, stalking, hunting, experimenting on, torturing, and killing wild and domestic animals for sport.

Various methods are also used to train people to think of animals as “other” – as not being a person we could identify with or love unless we own them. Instead of saying an animal in a documentary is “eating,” they are described as “feeding.” “The deer were out feeding in the twilight….” When did this ridiculous, pretentious crap begin? Feeding is what somewhat does when giving someone else food, not when they’re eating. And why do people repeat it without thinking?

Instead of using common sense and experience to know that of course animals think and feel emotions as we do, we are ridiculed into believing that it is “anthropomorphizing”6 to recognize what is obvious until we obey “the expert” and stop. We are taught to disconnect our own experience from what we then believe. This is a basic lesson in patriarchy – ignore your own female wisdom and common sense.

Even animal lovers sound embarrassed and apologize for daring to say the truth that of course animals think and feel. And then too often people believe and repeat the lies that some animals are superior to other animals, so that women who think it’s wrong to eat mammals or birds, happily eat fish and kill spiders. When asked why, a friend told me, “Fish don’t feel as much.” This was a longtime Radical Feminist who surely knew the history of male scientists lying when they wrote declaring that women felt less than men, and that people oppressed by racism felt less than Euro-descent people, and slaves felt less than slave owners. I asked her if she had ever seen/been with fish in their own environment and she said no. Yet she repeated the propaganda against fish, a people she did not even know.

I have swum/snorkeled with fish and saw every emotion in fish in that short period of time that I have seen in humans. I saw curiosity, affection, anger, outrage, happiness, fear, jealousy, and even embarrassment. I spoke to fish I’d never seen before, offering them love, and they immediately responded by coming to me and swimming around me, touching me with what felt like a loving answer. I am very impressed with fish, but I certainly was taught to think of them as barely alive. (And I had only met fish who were lonely, mentally ill captives in tiny containers, bored and terrified, deprived of everything that would make them happy, including being fed what they would chose in their own home. That does not help us to see the complexity of fish emotions.) I have had interactions with insects who I met only the day before and who clearly recognized me and came to me. Animals are amazing if we only bother to notice them.

I know my friend who denied fishes’s feelings had been bullied by a vegan activist who had also given her photos of tortured chicks to bring to our dinner, so I think she was trying to rationalize continuing to eat food she loved and that her body needed, while dealing with the contradiction of animal lovers eating animals. Plants also feel, but unfortunately, we all need to eat someone to survive. I’m not suggesting anyone be vegan since human bodies are designed to be omnivore like many other species, and we do less harm to the environment and other living beings if we are ethical omnivores than if we end up supporting Big Agriculture, including Monsanto, which is cutting down rain forest to plant GMO soy.

Many people also think of plants as not feeling or barely being alive, and some are actually afraid of plants, as they are afraid of nature in general. Plants must be “tamed,” altered, damaged, and made unnatural for humans to feel safe and comfortable with them. So many people are obsessed with pruning, shaping, and distorting plants, which literally hurts the plants and opens them to disease and infection.

Many men happily destroy forests as a way to mark territory. They desecrate and pave land so that no beings can live there anymore. They transform beauty into true ugliness. Wild, free nature makes them uncomfortable.

Who does it serve to think of animals and plants and nature herself as something only to use or to fear?

Most animals are terrified of humans with good reason and are just trying to live in peace, which is impossible when their home is being destroyed. But even some feminists seem to lose their sense and politics when they want to kill every wild animal on “their” land, without realizing that their new property already had inhabitants who have nowhere else to go. A particularly ironic case was a Lesbian couple who were about to have a baby, who hired men to trap and remove – which meant, by law, killing – two baby raccoons who we heard crying all night, in separate traps without water or food. The hungry babies had committed the terrible crime of lifting up newly laid sod to look for grubs and slugs to eat. Planting grass in the Bay Area is not a good idea anyway since it needs an enormous amount of water in an area that gets no rain for over five months a year. I managed to talk the women into letting me release the babies into our yard, where I hoped their mother and siblings would find them. Eventually, I fed all six by our front door and became close with their mother, who would hold my hands when I would feed her. (She was a bit rough with her claws the first time, but stopped when I asked her to be gentle – and she remembered the next year, even after I hadn’t seen her for months. I believe the two trapped babies were permanently traumatized though.)

As a girl, I went from loving every animal I saw, to being terrified of spiders. Finally, when I was eight, I decided that I couldn’t continue living like that. I forced myself to learn about spiders, and, after watching them, my revulsion and fear quickly turned to love. Instead of reacting with fear of being hurt if a spider startles me, I react with fear that I’ve accidently hurt or terrorized her. I worry if I’ve torn her web, and try to offer water or anything that might help her. I see their emotions and tell them I love them. I’m trying to make up for having asked my parents to kill them when I was little, and as a result I’m always meeting little beautiful creatures who I consider my friends. I can handle them without fear and I enjoy learning new things about them. (I’ve discovered that Araneus Diadematus, the beautiful large orb weavers, can dramatically change color to camouflage, and Pholcus Phalangioides seem to mimic the female pheromones of other spider species to entrap males to eat.) If a species is in our house who would not do well, I take them to a safe place. If they are a species who is happy in our house, I water and feed them. I can also grab bees and wasps to take to safety if a human is about to kill them.

I know women who are afraid to walk on trails because they think wild animals will attack them.  I treasure every encounter with wild animals, including rattlesnakes (who always try to escape without striking), and tell women that the only real danger on trails is the same as it is in the cities: male humans and dogs off leash.

Stopping being afraid of nature is incredibly freeing and spiritual. It’s also fun.

Don’t let patriarchy control you and turn you into a murderer or accomplice.

Nature Is Female

Patriarchy’s goal seems to be to destroy Nature and replace her with as artificial a world as possible. Its media are cults of superficiality in which appearance is everything.  Depth, intensity, independent thinking, intimacy, and feeling are all avoided. In magazine ads and on television, emaciated models pose with vapid, cold, arrogant, and cruel expressions. These are the looks that we’re told are beautiful. We’re shown “perfect” bodies that are literally manufactured by men. That’s how men want us to be – as plastic and unreal as their machines. (There are an amazing number of films, television series, and animation/cartoons that portray machines as having human emotion. Men are obsessed with this idea and I can only wonder if that is partly about their own search for the feelings that most seem to lack.)

In their phony world, men have left no room for the natural differences that exist in real bodies, including disabilities. The revulsion patriarchy shows towards people they call “disfigured” is actually part of their revulsion towards Nature herself.  We come in all sizes and shapes, with the infinite variety that Nature loves.  What’s truly repulsive and boring is the image that hetero-patriarchy presents to us as the “perfect woman,” who is shaved/waxed, plastic-surgered, skinny, yet with enormous toxic bags of silicon attached to her chest, pretending to be breasts. (That’s part of what’s so wonderful about going to a large gathering that’s mostly Lesbian, like the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. It’s one of the only ways to see a small part of the incredible variety of Lesbians who have not changed their natural bodies.)

If we go along with what we’re told, agree to love the bodies they want us to love, and agree to hate the bodies they tell us to hate, then we’re supporting patriarchy, heterosexism, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnicism, fat oppression, ableism, ageism, and even classism. Then we’re serving the male ruling class and we’re despising women who deserve our love and support and who can love and support us.  We end up despising ourselves.

If no female is ever good enough – no hair quite the right texture, no color quite right, full lips surgered, while thin lips are injected with poisonous silicone — then more toxic products and plastic surgery are sold to women, and insecure women are more vulnerable to male predation. Now women who don’t even need glasses are urged to get contact lenses to make their brown eyes look bright blue or green, even though contacts are uncomfortable and harmful to eyes.6 Changing fads mean big money. They’re also necessary to keep women obsessed with fitting in and competitive with each other.

Even though many of us have exposed the effects of women contributing to looksism, too many feminists’ attitudes are still that it’s all a matter of different likes and dislikes, tastes and attractions, or that it’s our “’feminine” prerogative to change ourselves. Some women just “happen” to like looking the ways men have decided women should look. If it’s a fad among hets and/or gay men, then it’s “fun” among Lesbians. We’re supposed to believe that bleaching hair couldn’t possibly have anything to do with racist attitudes of “blond is better?” Or that women dyeing their hair when it starts to grey is not about ageism?  (I’m not blaming women for trying to avoid more oppression, but blaming patriarchal attitudes that influence women to harm themselves and other women.)

Some women wear make-up because they say they look awful without it, but don’t seem to realize that it marks them as much as wearing a sign saying “I’m a man’s woman.”  Why else are cosmetics designed to make women look sexually aroused if not to send a message to men?  Besides the usual reddened cheeks and lips, many women mimic high-fashion models who wear make-up on their cheeks that look like bruises. But then men do like to beat women and sado-masochism is an essential part of heterosexuality.

Women against prostitution should be aware that some forms of male-identified femininity that have become mainstream were once signals of the ways that prostitutes were willing to service men, with lipstick for oral sex, red nail polish for hand jobs, etc. Why would any woman want to participate in that? Yet women are now considered to not look proper in some settings without lipstick.

Even someone as courageous as Rachel Maddow has to wear makeup and low-cut blouses on television. Women are never presented as full equals anywhere. Women on the Supreme Court wear ridiculous-looking white ruffles on their chests, as opposed to the dignified ties the men wear. The more you look for the expected differences in appearance, including body language, stance, expression, etc., the more you see.

It’s even more harmful to change our bodies permanently, through surgery and electrolysis, or temporarily, by applying burning, poisonous chemicals to straighten, curl, or color our head hair or to remove our body hair.  Of course, to get a job we usually have to remove our facial hair, but too many women make changes in themselves that are not based on survival needs and are instead based on betrayal of and competition with other women.

Many Lesbians and most het women drastically change themselves because they’ve been convinced that there’s something unnatural about the way our bodies naturally grow. The male medical industry tells us that we’re not supposed to have facial hair, and that if we do it’s a sign we’re “abnormal” because of having too much testosterone. Lesbians are particularly likely to be hit with this insult. As usual, there’s a double standard.  Since men now prefer thinness, they would never consider telling skinny het women with small breasts that they’re deficient in estrogen!  Meanwhile, the fact that some of the Dykes with facial hair also have large breasts, which is a sign of ample estrogen, is ignored because largeness in females is feared and hated.

Men love having reasons to tell us we’re abnormal, and they have the power to declare us normal or not. So they’ve hidden from us the truth that it’s quite natural to have facial hair and “unacceptable” hair on other parts of our bodies.  Even male medical studies show that one-fourth of “normal women college students” and three-fourths of women over 60 have facial hair.7 The truth is likely to be even more, since most women remove facial hair and would be unlikely to admit having it if questioned. Yet even in these studies, men persist in referring to a quality shared by one-fourth to three-fourths of women as “abnormal.” But then oppression is never logical, nor are men.

Now they’re telling us that we should be completely hairless, except for scalp hair, eyelashes, and, occasionally, eyebrows (although they are often permanently misshapen or shaved off to be painted back on). We’re even expected to have naked pubic areas. Advertisements constantly flash naked outer labia at us and it’s almost impossible to see a media image of a woman in a bathing suit that doesn’t clearly show a hairless pubic area. Are they going to tell us soon that female pubic hair is unnatural?  Or will they be satisfied with implying it’s ugly, while getting women to fit into their porn fantasies?  Is the motive simply more female-hatred and a new billion-dollar industry?  Or is it a not-so-subtle message that men want adult women to resemble the little girls men like to rape?

This is becoming so mainstream that I’ve read women who call themselves “feminists” who insist it is entirely reasonable to pay money for other women to wax or shave their outer vulvas. Girls who are athletes in sports that force them to wear revealing costumes are also are expected to remove their pubic hair, which means that girls who refuse will be forbidden to do their sport.

Even our voices expected to be unnatural.  Many women pitch their voices higher than is necessary or natural, to prove their “femininity,” making them sound more like little girls.  Then Dykes with naturally deep voices are treated as if they are the abnormal ones. Only certain accents, dialects, and languages are acceptable and anyone who talks differently suffers constant ridicule until she changes. Just like changing your natural appearance, changing your accent denies and betrays your connection with your class, racial and ethnic group, region, country, and your own self.

One of the most bizarre things in terms of looksism, is that many parents are now ordering breast implants for their daughters’ sixteenth birthdays!  Besides the health risk of surgery, and the humiliation and degradation of girls being pressured to have grotesquely large, fake breasts for the benefit of boys and men, silicone implants are so toxic that they have killed women and made others disabled with chronic illness. Once banned, they are again the most common form of implants in the U.S., since money is always more important than girls’ and women’s health and lives.

This is all about making girls and women saleable to men in the most horrifically grotesque, sado-masochistic, and pornified ways. It reflects male desires to have women pay to harm themselves to look bizarre and unnatural in order to fit in with male fantasies. Even more upsetting, women agree to damage their bodies as a way to compete with other women. Some women have even gotten breast implants so unnaturally large that they can hardly walk. It’s bad enough for women to do this to themselves, but to their daughters?

Now some women are actually having parts of their toes removed and metal pins inserted instead so they can fit into tiny designer shoes.8 Women are also getting parts of their labia cut off if they are “too big” – or as a woman I heard interviewed explained, “so I can be more pleasing to men.” When apologists for such self-hating/female-hating women say it’s about “beauty” and not misogyny, how else would the increasingly popular hymenplasties be explained?

These surgeries are about obeying men and betraying women. Many people understand boycotting and not supporting companies that harm women, but not when it comes to the surgeons, clinics, hospitals, etc. who participate in dangerous surgeries with the only goal being mutilation of female bodies to fit unnatural male demand. Female Genital Mutilation, including clitorectomies and infibulations, are horrific crimes against girls and women that are done against their will, and which can leave life-long pain as well as causing death. Women who voluntarily choose to have their labia cut to fit disgusting female-hating male standards trivialize Female Genital Mutilation and are collaborating with our enemy.

Fat Oppression

If patriarchy announced it was going to limit females’ food in order to control and damage us, there would be a tremendous outcry. But since it’s presented as a way for us to look “beautiful” and be more “normal” and “healthy,” women eagerly starve themselves, and starve and harass their daughters.

Feminists have written great articles against fat oppression, but they, and the excellent feminist anthology on fat oppression, Shadow on a Tightrope, are either hard to find or no longer known by most feminists.10

Patriarchy wants us to waste our time and energy on feminine obsession with “beauty” and thinness, and to avoid thinking about what’s really important in our lives.

There is so much hatred against fat females. The fatter a women is, the more visibly female she is. As a result, many women not only want to be thin, but to look like adolescent boys (I’ve heard feminine women proudly brag about this.)  Meanwhile, females are suffering discrimination and literally dying because of fat oppression.

The medical industry makes a fortune off diets, drugs, and dangerous surgery for fat women. Even though lies about health hazards of being fat have been refuted, there is still far more money made in killing and maiming fat women, so most doctors continue supporting the lies.

Following the medical industries’ recommendations (until recently) to diet and eat trans fat, low fat, soy, and high carbohydrates, such as grains, beans, etc. has greatly increased the amount of people said to be dangerously “over-weight” in the US, but those people are starving nutritionally, while the diet industry tells them the opposite health advice they should be getting.11  

Doctors recommend people eat low fat, ignoring that organic saturated fat is one of the most important nutrients we can eat, stabilizing blood sugar, preventing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.12 People who restrict their fat intake often end up desperately binging on high carbs like sugar (with the fat taken out of dairy products then sold back to them in ice cream, etc.), further depleting their health.

Cholesterol has never been proven to be a cause of heart disease, yet Big Pharma with doctors are making a fortune off prescribing statin drugs which cause stroke, cancer and dementia. Those with the highest cholesterol live the longest. If your cholesterol is very low, doctors will congratulate you, even though one reason could be cancer.

A friend who was in a women’s cancer support group saw most of the women die after following doctors’ advice. One woman, who had had lymphoma, was “treated” three times to chemotherapy, as well as having many radioactive scans – all of which could have easily caused the different cancer that she ultimately died from. Her cholesterol dropped so low that the last doctor she saw said that it looked like that of a famine victim. He was the only one of the many doctors she saw who realized that cholesterol that low was indicative of very serious illness: she had metastasized breast cancer.

“Before looking at the connection between blood cholesterol levels and heart disease, it is worth highlighting a critically important – remarkably unheralded – fact: After the age of 50, the lower your cholesterol level is, the lower your life expectancy.”

“Perhaps even more important than this is the fact that a falling cholesterol level sharply increases the risk of dying of anything, including heart disease”.13

One of the greatest obscenities about fat oppression is that while people are dying of starvation, literally dying of thinness, fat is despised in rich countries. Even when there was such panic about AIDS, with famous people in the last stages of AIDS looking skeletal, fatness is still feared and hated. (In some parts of Africa, where fatness is still associated with good health, AIDS is called “the slim disease.”)

Damage attributed to being fat is actually caused by years of constant dieting, with rapid weight loss and gain. It’s fat oppression that kills, not being fat, but most people don’t know that.14

Lies continue to be spread and are just accepted, like the myth that high cholesterol kills, when the opposite is true. If health concerns were really behind the harassment and oppression of fat women, then smokers would be yelled at on the street and people who drink toxic diet sodas and other artificial “food” would be lectured at the way fat women are.

In 1981, my lover and I became ill with matching symptoms of flu that that lasted for months — low grade fever, exhaustion, aching, etc. (This was before Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, or Lyme disease were known about). The Lesbian doctor we saw said that nothing showed up on the blood tests, so nothing was wrong with us. She me to just lose weight (I weighed about 140 lbs at the time) and advised my very thin lover to drink coffee. Luckily, I didn’t lose weight since my symptoms also matched the early stage of some cancers – except that I hadn’t had the weight loss associated with cancer.

I suspect our illness was a combination of toxic exposure and either viral or bacterial infection (My lover eventually got well, but I never did. I now know a lot of women with the same chronic symptoms.)  If the incompetent doctor had known anything about nutrition and health, she would have told us to eat the opposite of what doctors usually order: only organic food and as much saturated fat as possible, plenty of meat15  and vegetables, no thyroid-toxic, estrogenic, carcinogenic soy ever, no other beans and grains, nothing high in carbohydrates, no transfat or polyunsaturated oils (like canola, which is usually rancid). But doctors are so fat-phobic that another doctor was horrified when I said I ate an avocado a day, because “they will make you fat!” (The irony is that the more saturated fat someone eats if their carbs are low, the more weight they lose.16 But never trust doctors to know about nutrition or health.)

Fat females are accused of being mentally sick as well as physically sick. This propaganda means when thin people look at a fat female, they make immediate insulting assumptions that she has some “mental or emotional problem” she’s “compensating for,” in addition to believing the lies that fat people eat more and exercise less than thin people.

Why this unreasoning fear of fat? If you look at the most ancient statues from across the earth, they are of fat women.They are clearly not “fertility” symbols or pregnant effigies, which male archeologists irrationally declared for years, or any other bizarre theories17 –they are simply, gloriously fat women.18

Fat men are oppressed, but much less so than fat women, and most of the anti-fat propaganda is aimed at women. This also has a direct economic benefit for men, because of the billions of dollars spent on the diet industry, as well as for clothing manufacturers who make money selling women more expensive and shoddier-made smaller clothing sizes. Cyril Magnin, a U.S. department store owner, boasted that in the 1930s he removed all women’s clothing in sizes 16 to 20 from his stores and replaced them with sizes 8 to 14. He was one of the first to do this, and it set a trend, which permanently affected the standard of “women’s” clothing sizes in the US19 and therefore in countries influenced by US culture. Meanwhile, they make money by selling smaller amounts of material. Buying a mini-skirt or short top that exposes the midriff is supporting this con as well as being demeaning and exposing female bodies for male consumption.

Men are always measuring things, from their pricks to their nuclear missiles, and saying “bigger is better.” They want everything to be huge — except women. Women who are the same size as ordinary large, muscled, healthy men are considered fat and unhealthy. And women internalize these lies. In one study, 70% of women interviewed saw themselves as fat, while only 20 to 25% of them were seen by others as fat.20 The patriarchal standard “healthy and fit” female looks emaciated compared to the standard “healthy” man. Men want us to be invisible, except as sex objects — but fat women are blatantly present. Fat women are an offense to mankind. Men want us small and weak, with just enough strength to serve them, so they can push us around. They don’t want us to have fat any more than they want us to have brains or muscle. And they’ve been breeding us for thousands of years, just as they’ve bred “domesticated” animals to be almost unrecognizable compared to their original, natural selves.

Men have bred dogs into forms that would never occur in nature, making caricatures of wolves to fit men’s bizarre fantasies. The most valued dogs, the certified pedigrees, are the least natural and the least likely to survive on their own. Men’s cruel genetic interference has resulted in painful disabling deformities common in some breeds. All this is done in the name of being “animal-lovers” and “dog-lovers.” But then men say they “love” women too. Man has been tampering with nature for as long as he’s been able to. How do we know how much the many years of enforced selective breeding have changed our own female bodies?

Men’s preference for controllable women was the reason for footbinding in China and painful constricting corsets and high-heeled shoes in European-descent countries, and is also the reason most women diet in countries that are dominated by European-descent male culture. One U.S. diet ad aimed specifically at women said simply, “Waist away.” Ads for products to increase weight show men, while ads for diet foods and diet drugs show women. In many places in the world, men and boys are given the first choice of food, including meat, while women and girls eat only what’s left. This means more females die of starvation than males, and they also die sooner than starving males.

Gynocide includes the systematic underfeeding of females and overfeeding of males. An Italian study showed that baby girls are breast-fed less than and for briefer periods than boys, and girls are also weaned earlier: “On the average, the breast is withdrawn at 12 months for little girls, at 15 months for boys. Duration of nursing at 2 months is 45 minutes for boys and 25 minutes for girls. Nursing at 6 months: 8 minutes (girls),15 minutes (boys.)” Studies in Egypt and Jordan show that mothers’ breastfeeding is continued “longer for boys” and they are “generally better cared for.”21

“When is a child worth keeping?” From a 1990 survey22 of parents: Only 1 percent would abort on the basis of sex. 6 percent would abort a child likely to get Alzheimer’s in old age. 11 percent would abort a child predisposed to obesity.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency food consumption charts23 show that young adult males eat approximately 50% more than the average U.S. citizen — yet 80% of 9-year-old girls in San Francisco are on diets24, which will create a new generation of females who are smaller, weaker, and more susceptible to disease than ever before. Lack of sufficient nutrition in a growing body prevents it from developing to full size and makes it much more vulnerable to illness.

As the decades go by, we see how younger women do seem to be suffering the results of enforced starvation, as well as the effects of soy in so many foods and plastic leaching into foods. Soy is thyroid toxic and both soy and plastic are extremely estrogenic, which means they are serious hormone disrupters and carcinogenic. I believe that’s why almost every younger woman I know has excruciating menstrual cramps, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, and/or serious emotional and mental problems.

Endocrinologists are seeing many cases of stunted growth in girls caused by their dieting. Some doctors worry this will prevent women from reproducing, which would affect future generations of males. But where’s the concern for the girls? Many girls are tormented into dieting by the incredible fat hatred which exists in primary schools. In a recent study of nine-to ten ­year-olds, thin children were called “smart” and fat children were called “icky, too much, ugly, and lazy.” In the film, “Portraits of Anorexia25,” one young girl said, “They called me fatso or blubber. I just stopped eating so they’d stop calling me names.”

In a television report, a group of girls and boys about 10 years old were shown pictures of fashion models and asked what they thought of their body size. The girls said the models were “skinny” and that, “you can see their bones.” The boys, pointing to the same parts of the pictures said “their legs are too big” and “humongous.” These girls described being called “chubby” and “too fat” by boys at school, even though they were very thin.

One II-year old girl who looked like a Barbie doll said she became anorexic because she didn’t want to be an “Amazon.” That’s likely to be her way of saying she didn’t want to look like a Dyke and would rather look weak (male-identified feminine) rather than strong. The girls also talked about wanting to be attractive to boys. Another girl ate so little in her effort to be thin that her hair fell out. These particular girls were choosing to diet, but very often it’s the parents who force girls into dieting by depriving them of food.

One researcher says that anorexia nervosa dates from Victorian times in England, when the feminine ideal meant weakness, fragility, and illness. Lord Byron (a 19th century English poet) said, “A woman should never be seen eating.” It was an insult to call a class-privileged woman “robust,” because that suggested she looked working-class. Women in privileged countries have lost their instinctive fear of starvation. When women students in the U.S. were shown pictures of starving, emaciated women from the 1930′s Depression, they saw them as attractive rather than starving.26 Today, in the U.S., 100,000 more girls develop anorexia nervosa each year and, of that group, 6,000 die from starvation.27

Meanwhile, doctors pressure fat women to take diet pills and to have intestinal bypass, stomach stapling, and liposuction. By 1987, several women in the U.S. had already died from these tortures.28

“Lesbians are fat” is actually one of the male/het stereotypes of us.29 This is one case of an oppressive stereotype reflecting the truth — Lesbians ARE less likely to diet than het women since thinness is a heterosexist value. As usual, men take a positive, self-loving Dyke tradition and use it to attack us. Yet many Lesbians do diet, talk of diets, and make fat-oppressive comments.

Ironically, many Lesbians and women are smaller in height and bone and muscle mass than they would have been because of trying to be healthy and/or being vegan for years. Many long-time vegans also have chronic pain and spine, joint, ligament, and tendon damage, as Lierre Keith describes happened to her in her book, The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. She also talks about vegan rages and severe depression. Patriarchy could not have come up with a better plan to weaken women while pitting us against each other since this issue has divided feminists more than any other. Radical Feminist omnivores have even been physically threatened by vegans, and Lierre herself was attacked by three cowardly masked vegans at the Anarchist Book Fair while she was speaking. (Her spine damage is well known, yet they ran from behind and each smashed her in the face with “pies” full of cayenne. They videoed their attack to humiliate her, but that backfired.)

Mainstream medicine teaches the function and importance of all body tissues and organs except for fat tissue because of fat-hating male prejudice.

Fat is literally protection against death. When people are dying of cancer, they usually waste away and die from starvation as much as from the other effects of cancer. So if you’re fat and you have cancer, you’ve got a lot more time than a thin person has to try to get well. Yet even in this age when cancer is a modern plague where more than one in three people in the U.S. getting it and most of us know many women who have died from it, we’re still pressured to be thin.

Fat is a vital body tissue that protects our bodies. It cushions muscles and internal organs, insulates us from cold, and helps us to float, making swimming easier and drowning less likely.30 Fatness strengthens our bones. Osteoporosis, the weakening and thinning of bone tissue is a major cause of injury and disability among older women, often leading to death as a consequence of hip fractures. As our weight increases, so does our bone mass, protecting us from osteoporosis.31 That’s one reason our bodies naturally get fatter as we grow older.

Our bodies know what they’re doing. Male thinking, so obviously reflected in male religions, teaches us to hate and distrust our bodies. We’re told to separate our minds from our bodies and treat them as two beings: “The mind should be the master, and the body the servant.” (This is schizoid thinking — and men call women crazy?)

Fatness is also protection against famine, which is why people who’ve gone through periods of starvation often become fat – bodies naturally interpret dieting as starvation and so guard us against future famine/weigh loss by regaining the lost weight and more as soon as possible. Our bodies then become reluctant to ever lose weight again by permanently slowing our metabolism – which is why the more you diet, the harder it is to lose weight, and the easier it is to gain it back.32 I believe our bodies carry this lesson into future generations, so that the descendants of people who have survived famines will tend to be fatter and more prone to gaining weight as a result of dieting.33 These, after all, are the people who survived.

             Fighting Looksism ls Dyke-Loving  

Lesbians, by our very nature, have separated much of the truth from the lies. Choosing to come out meant finding or returning to our true selves. Some of us had already refused the male-invented feminine uniform which is designed to demean women, but is also a signal of submission to men. Other Lesbians rejected it as they became more their own being, and no longer wanted to please or attract men. That changing of appearance is a powerful personal and political message to the world that we choose to be naturally female instead of being covered in the layers of artificiality men call “feminine.”  As those layers are refused or removed, the truth appears.  Away go the constricting, exposing clothes and the painful, limiting shoes that distort female bodies. Away go the cosmetics that mask real faces and bodies. Refusing male identification means becoming solid, real, direct, and honest in body and spirit.

Men tell Dykes we “look like men” because we look natural – only men are permitted to just look like themselves, including looking their true age. What is more unnatural than dousing ourselves with toxic chemicals to destroy our natural aromas, hair, and skin texture and color, etc.? There’s certainly never been any medical argument about why we’re not supposed to have armpit or leg fur, but men and their collaborators (too often our own mothers) have pressured us for years to cut or poison ourselves removing it. If it’s so “unsightly,” then why aren’t men expected to be equally hairless? Standards of “beauty” are as phony as “beauty parlors.” Men reserve certain appearances only for themselves. How else is anyone to know immediately who’s lord and who’s lackey?  Only men are supposed to have facial or body hair, just as only men are supposed to wear trousers and sturdy shoes. By insisting on being ourselves in such a small thing as keeping our own body and facial hair, we’re threatening men and their women supporters at their fragile cores. That’s why they react to Dyke-identified-Dykes with such unreasoning hatred.

Lesbians need to think about who we’re hurting and stop it. Do we really want communities where anyone who doesn’t look like a mannequin feels like an oddity? Do we only want to be around Lesbians who fit male-identified standards of “pretty”? What about the incredible handsomeness and realness of the diverse faces and bodies Dykes are born with, that reflect the multitudes of races, ethnic groups, ages, sizes, and shapes living on Earth?

Is it right for disabled Dykes to be rejected by non-disabled Dykes? Should older Dykes feel as out of place among younger Lesbians as they are in the het world unless they try to hide their age? Should Dykes with ample hair on their bodies continue being made to feel like freaks? And do we want fat Dykes to injure their health and torture and kill themselves because too many Lesbians believe men’s fat-hating, female-hating lies? As Dykes, we know what it is to be feared, hated, and attacked because we’re “different.” We know what it is to be the alien group that’s ostracized and stared at. So we, of all people, should never treat another Dyke that way.

Men call Dykes ugly? Look at them! We already know they hate us, and we can’t change that. What we can control is avoiding internalizing that hatred and turning it on ourselves and other females. Even if we try to accept fatness in other Lesbians and only hate it in ourselves, then we still do men’s work for them. And, besides, it’s not possible. If we hate our own fat there’s no way we can accept fat Dykes.

We’ve already rejected most of men’s commands and lies. Dykes have questioned and fought lies and injustice more than any other group of people. We’ve been in the forefront of challenging all forms of oppression. The more we continue fighting the lies, the stronger we become, individually and as communities. Why not “let ourselves go” and really be our natural selves?

Looksism Kills Females 

It’s the story of patriarchy: males hate females. They want to own and control us because, though they hate us, they need us for their survival and creation. Why then do so many females do men’s bidding and take into themselves men’s oppressive ideas of what’s beautiful and what’s ugly? If women didn’t continue doing men’s work, patriarchy would end immediately.

In choosing to serve the masters, women are rewarded by being given a higher place in the male hierarchy. Women get privilege only at other females’ expense. There are no upper or middle classes if others are not forced to be lower class. There is no racial privilege without racism. Het women gain status according to the degree Lesbians are oppressed. “Beauty,” like other privileges is never neutral or “just the way things are.” No one can be considered “beautiful” if someone else is not called “ugly.”           

Lookism is wrong, hurtful, and cruel. No woman should participate in it. The extremes that some females have gone to in order to make themselves acceptable – not even to be “beautiful,” but just to fit in – have killed them. Don’t be a victim of patriarchy, and don’t victimize other females on behalf of patriarchy.

Endnotes

There are new endnotes added since the printing of our book in 1990. Most of the references can be looked up to find more recent versions.

1.  Most women love their ” pets,” the dogs and cats they own, and proudly think of themselves as animal lovers, — yet too many don’t seem to care at all that their cats and dogs are relentlessly torturing and killing local native populations of birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and insects, many of who are perilously near extinction as a result. Cats have exterminated all reptiles and amphibians where we live, as well as also killing many birds and even squirrels. It’s very upsetting to want desperately to have a tiny wildlife refuge in our yard, but be unable to because of neighbors’ cats. I’ve actually read feminists brag about how often and how many animals their cat kills. Others may be momentarily upset, but not enough to stop the slaughter. Even a kind friend said, after her cat killed a baby mockingbird, “There are plenty of birds, aren’t there?” The mother of the baby had been frantic for days, as her baby was starting to fledge, but could not protect her.

This isn’t about “survival of the fittest,” but about non-native animals exterminating vulnerable native animals, as well as depriving native carnivores of food.

Well-fed cats can kill up to 800 small animals a year. At least one cat on an island caused the extinction of an entire species. From Wikipedia: Feral cats introduced to such islands have had a devastating impact on these islands’ biodiversity. They have been implicated in the extinction of several species and local extinctions, such as the hutias from the Caribbean, the Guadalupe Storm Petrel from Pacific Mexico, the Stephens Island wren; in a statistical study, they were a significant cause for the extinction of 40% of the species studied. Moors and Atkinson wrote, in 1984, “No other alien predator has had such a universally damaging effect.”

Another study (Leon Jaroff , “Attack of the Killer Cats,” in Time, July 31, 1989, found that the five million house cats in Britain kill and bring home at least 79 million small animals, including 30 million birds, a year. One cat brought in 400 victims a year!  A US study says that the number of native animals killed may be double since cats bring home only half their victims. This is even more serious where cats and dogs are not native, but have been introduced by men. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, a single pet dog killed at least 150 endangered kiwi in just a few weeks in 1985. Until the government started removing cats from Stewart Island, feral cats yearly killed half of the remaining Kakapo, one of the three remaining indigenous parrot species in Aotearoa that are almost extinct. Just a few dozen were left by 1985.

This is not the cats’ or dogs’ fault, but the humans who breed them, release them, and don’t protect their potential victims.

Yet anyone who objects to the inequality of owning “pets” and who protests the number of animals killed by cats and dogs is likely to be accused of being an “animal-hater.” That’s because generally only mammals domesticated by man and introduced into countries that didn’t previously have them (as part of European nations’ imperialist invasions) are considered “real” animals.

Meanwhile, as those whose cats have disappeared know, cats kept inside are safer from disease, predators, cars, cruel humans, etc

I’d like to credit Linda Strega’s wonderful article “Pets: Mine, All Mine” which questions the ownership of other beings as pets, printed in The Lesbian lnsider/lnsighter/ lnciter, January. 1981, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Eileen Anderson’s, “The Politics of Pets,” Lesbian Connection, Vol. 12, issue 1, July/August, 1989.

2.  The April, 1987 issue of the Bay Times, a San Francisco (LGBTQWTF) newspaper, printed a letter from a gay man criticizing Lesbian support of Nancy Pelosi for Congress — “How dumb: the man-hating dykes (ugly ones at that) do the obvious: back Pelosi.”

3.  One study was by Darlene Powell-Hopson, and the other was by Mamie and Kenneth Clark. Both were reported in Time, 4 September, 1987. 74.

http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/the-clark-doll-experiment/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjy9q8VekmE

4. The Mansell Collection, The World’s Last Mysteries, (The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1981), 200:

5. Chambers Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana. Kurt Mendelssohn, The Riddle of the Pyramids, Praeger Publishers, NY., USA, 1975), 54.

6.  Since writing this chapter, I’ve read When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson with Susan McCarthy, and Animal Talk by Tim Friend, which both describe beautifully how ridiculous it is for scientists to claim that animals don’t feel as much as humans do, and as I’ve thought, they question whether they feel more since we don’t see animals experimenting on other animals.

 

7. There  has been a barrage of U.S. television ads, and Newsweek, 30 November,1987, had an ad saying: “Decorate your eyes this holiday season.… contact lenses can change your eyes from brown to baby blue, green, hazel, aqua or new sapphire blue.”

Meanwhile, we’re still learning about the full extent of the dangers of contacts. They’re known to weaken the cornea and make eyes more susceptible to infections and cataracts. Even short-term usage causes loss of the blink reflex which means eyes become more vulnerable to any object which comes towards them.

8.  Lewis B. Morrow, “Hirsutism,” Primary Care 4, (1977),128.

9.  Smithsonian.loveme.com – Smithsonian magazine, October 2012                            The Distressing Worldwide Boom in Cosmetic Surgery, by Joseph Stromberg.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/PHOTOS-The-Distressing-Worldwide-Boom-in-Cosmetic-Surgery-175250541.html#ixzz2F4d24vWQ

In ancient China, where foot binding was invented, a stunted foot signified a prized comeliness. In modern Manhattan, the pursuit of beauty has led some women to surgically shorten their toes and secure them with metal pins to fit more easily into three-inch Jimmy Choo stiletto heels (Kristina Widmer’s foot, post-surgery).  

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For his new book, Love Me, photographer Zed Nelson traveled to 18 countries over five years, documenting extreme measures undertaken in the quest for cosmetic perfection. Nelson’s unsettling images of plastic surgeons, beauty queens and bodybuilders underscore the seduction of narcissistic compulsion. “Beauty is a $160 billion-a-year global industry,” he says. “Body improvement has become a new religion.”

Nelson’s project began when he noticed, while travelling internationally, that global standards of beauty had become eerily homogenized: He saw skin-lightening products in Africa and surgical procedures to “Westernize” eyes in Asia. The popularity of rhinoplasty in Iran was especially apparent…“When I arrived in Iran, I was amazed,” Nelson says. “My interpreter had had a nose job, as had her mother, her sister, and her two best friends. People were proudly walking in the streets with bandaged noses, excited to be the new owners of small, chiseled, American-style noses.”

… Banks now offer loans for plastic surgery. American families with annual incomes under $25,000 account for 30 percent of all cosmetic surgery patients,” he says. “Americans spend more each year on beauty than they do on education.”

Notice how Nelson keeps referring to “beauty” and “body enhancement,” and never questions that these surgeries are the opposite. I believe many men find artificiality more attractive than reality.

10.  Megan Mackin, dear friend, Radical Feminist, and Fat Activist wrote this powerful poem in the tradition of the Radical Feminist Fat Activist movement:

Realities

chiding eyes that look away, tell you how you don’t belong; scowling,
sneering, smirking their silent cues nonverbal; you are wrong!

snarl the narrow turnstiles, booths and halls — the seats that bruise
you, rip your tender flesh; you are outcast, cursed and boundless –

fat that cannot be accommodated within the normal span of chair, or
sizes in the normal styles of clothes; but helpful experts will appear

with their troops prepared and waiting, they will snip you, carve you,
tuck you, band your organs, bind you mentally and starve you;

they will cost you sums of money you cannot begin to know; they will
cost you much, much more in terms of suffering and sorrow;

then, when all your bills are tallied and you reach the journey’s end, you
will find that more than likely you’re still fat — and so you must begin
again.

but now you have the blessing of some of those you’d feared, since, as a
repeat patient/ customer you’ve gained respect from those endeared –

not to you but to the money — behind the pockets you have lined; just
perhaps you’ll be like others who have spent their lives and health to find

that the real problem isn’t that your body size is wrong; instead it’s with
a culture that cannot abide its women being either big or strong;

it’s with a culture where corporations can demand compliance,
and taking space gets perceived — and named — as pure defiance;

it’s where self-absorption, thin-obsession, is demanded from the masses,
to allow the rule, unfettered, of the distant upper class …

there are many ways, of course, to name the problem, and though we
maybe won’t agree on its form, exactly, we can still begin to see

that bodies are more real than all the chairs or booths that people make,
and sizing them too small is certainly the true mistake.

self-hatred isn’t necessary, it’s coerced beneath our skin by the powers
seeking profit, naming fatness (in the guise of “gluttony”) as “sin.”

every body has its beauty, its unique and artful form; everyone deserves
to know this, to distrust the money-manufactured norm;

if you can’t yet see you’re handsome, then simply know that others do;
if you
cannot find your worthiness, please trust that we believe we see that, too.

–diana Mackin
12-something a.m., Sunday February 22, 1998

11.  Layna Berman’s (with Jeffry Fawcett, PhD) radio show “Your Own Health And Fitness” has provided so much valuable health information, including warning people about transfats years before the AMA changed its mind from pushing it. I feel like she has saved my and friends’ lives. Your Own Health And Fitness broadcasts Tuesdays at 1pm on KPFA 94.1FM, Berkeley, California, and on KFCF 88.1FM Fresno. (Check their  list of stations that carry the show for other dates and times.)

From Layna’s website:

“Your heart is big business. Its care is dominated by the theory that cholesterol causes heart attacks. Yet even as the theory holds fewer and fewer advocates, the treatments stay the same.”

12.  Mary Gertrude Enig, PhD, author of Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, is a nutritionist and early trans fat/hydrogenated oil researcher, warning of their dangers before they were widely accepted. She pushed for improved labeling of trans fats on products, which has now become mandatory on products in the U.S. and in Europe.

Enig also disputes the widely accepted view in the medical community that consumption of saturated fats contributes to heart disease. She believes both butter and coconut oil are not eaten enough and are good for heart health, and criticizes the use of polyunsaturated oils, which most doctors and diets recommend, because they are rancid, and also argues that many who follow low-fat diets feel low on energy because they are “fat deficient.”

13.  The Great Cholesterol Con and The Great Cholesterol Myth by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick (Scottish doctor and author of The Great Cholesterol Con, 2008, graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1981, has been a general practitioner for over 25 years, and has woked with the European Society of Cardiology) documents the misguided use of statins in primary care, citing evidence from many trials and World Health Organization data to show that statin drugs do not increase life expectancy overall, and do not prevent heart disease in patients without cardiovascular symptoms. Kendrick states that widely varying levels of cholesterol are inversely correlated with deaths from heart disease, and correlated with cancer mortality, as well as strokes and dementia. His findings show that within a reasonable range, higher total cholesterol is associated with lower cancer mortality, but lower rates of deaths from heart disease—the opposite outcome that one would expect if cholesterol were a causative agent for coronary heart disease.

http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CAE78.htm Nov 18, 2005

Gary Taubes and Robert Atkins also have written excellent articles and books recommending organic high saturated fat as good for health.

14.   Our Imaginary Weight Problem — www.nytimes.com   This study illustrates just how exaggerated and unscientific the government’s claims are on the relationship between weight and mortality risk.

 Dr. Paul Ernsberger, “Is it Unhealthy To Be Fat?” Radiance, Winter 1986, 12-13. A graph with 4 weights of females, 110 lbs., 122 lbs., 224 lbs, and over 287 lbs., shows that the fattest (at over 287 lbs.) live longer than the thinnest (at 110 lbs.). Those in the 224 lb. group outlive the “insurance ideal” weight of 122 lbs.

Jan. 2, 2013 — Could Being a Little Overweight Help You Live Longer?

Newsweek Special Edition on “The 21st Century Family,” Winter/Spring 1990, page 98.

Also, very thin women have higher rates of lung cancer and osteoporosis than fatter women. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 3, 1987.

http://www.ihpra.org/cdc_obesity.htm
CDC: Dangers of being overweight overstated.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2386473/
Stigma and obesity-associated disease

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=209359
Death rates by weight (range)

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/30;%20Nutrition%20Journal%202010,%209:30doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-30

Diets fail

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/9
Linda Bacon’s Paradigm Shift

15.  China Study refuted:  http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

Other studies that purport to show meat is unhealthy do not differentiate between toxic non-organic meat laden with hormones and antibiotics from animals fed GMO grains or highly processed meat full of toxic nitrites and nitrates from healthy organic pastured meat.

16.  Robert Coleman Atkins, US physician and cardiologist — “Atkins Nutritional Approach,” and Dieter’s Dilemma: Eating Less and Weighing More by William Bennett and Joel Gurin.

17.  Male scientists go to the strangest lengths to alter the truth. On the BBC­TV series, “The First Eden,” David Attenborough claimed that the famous many­breasted statue of the goddess Diana at Ephesus actually has a chest covered with testicles! (Shown on PBS television stations in the U.S., December 1987.)

18.  Carbon dated to at least 35,000 years ago…These figurines were carved from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite or limestone), bone or ivory, or formed of clay and fired. The latter are among the oldest ceramics known. In total, over a hundred such figurines are known; virtually all of modest size, between 4 cm and 25 cm in height. They are some of the earliest works of prehistoric art.  

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19.  San Francisco Chronicle, 30 March, 1988.

20. Dr. Dean Edell’s Medical Journal, KGO-TV, San Francisco, 10 November 1988.

21. This study and the following one are quoted from a thesis by Marianne Lens of Brussels, Belgium, 1981-1982, titled “Perspectives D’Analyse de L’Ideologie de Ia DIFFERENCE, Comme Fondement de L’Hetero-Patriarcat.”

L. Van Loon and Van Pee-Grosjean, “La Femme: Objet de Sante Publiquet,” Germ, Lettre de Information 99, June, 1976, 18-19.

E. Gianini Belotti, Du Cote des Petites Filles, (Paris, France: Ed. des Femmes, 1977). Marianne says “Of course these results are of a planetary nature, since patriarchal oppression itself is omni-present.”

22. Newsweek Special Edition on “The 21st Century Family,” Winter/Spring 1990, page 98.

23. Dietary Consumption of Selected Food Groups for the US Population (Purdue Research Foundation for the EPA, Washington D.C., Feb, 1980).

24.  A report on KRON-TV, San Francisco, June 6, 1987, said that 80% of nine-year-­old girls are on diets. In Newsweek, 27 July 1987, a study by Laurel Mellin of the University of California at San Francisco, stated that “81% of the 10 year-­old girls were dieters.” “More than half the girls described themselves as overweight, while only 15% were….”

Corinna Kaarela found that in a study of 500 “middle-income, parochial schoolgirls,” 89% of the l7-year-olds were on diets. UC Clip sheet, Vol. 62, No.1, 9 December,1986.

In Time,14 July,1986, Dr. Michael Pugliese reported that “restrictive diets …now account for one-fourth of the cases of failure to thrive seen at the hospital.” (North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY) “…the youngsters were all on low-fat, low-cholesterol diets and getting only 63% to 94% of the calories they needed.” A 21-month old girl had “…failed to gain any weight in nearly 6 months.”

25. By Wendy Zheutlin, Fat Chance Productions.

26. Joan Brumberg, in a KALW, San Francisco, radio interview, 16 August 1988, about her book, Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia as a Modern Disease.

27. KRON-TV, San Francisco, news feature on “Eating Disorders,” 11 November 1988.

28. 20/20, ABC-TV, U.S.A., 1 January 1988.

29. In the May, 1986 issue of San Francisco Insight, one het woman commented on another het woman’s feeling good about her weight increasing to 150 pounds by asking, “Has she gone gay?”

30. Wearing only a bathing suit, Lynne Cox swam the two miles of the Bering Strait, from the island of Little Diomede, Alaska to Big Diomede, Siberia, in the summer of 1987. The water temperature was 34 degrees Fahrenheit and, although people usually die in such cold water after 2 hours, Lynne swam for 2.12 hours and was fine. Doctors said that her layer of fat acted as an internal wetsuit. She weighs about 209 lbs. Kathleen McCoy, “Making Waves,” Radiance, Spring 1988, 25.

Update from Wikipedia: Lynne Cox (born 1957 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American long-distance open-water swimmer and writer…. She has twice held the record for the fastest crossing (men or women) of the English Channel (1972 in a time of 9h 57 mins and 1973 in a time of 9h 36 mins). In 1975, Cox became the first woman to swim the 10 °C (50 °F), 16 km (10 mi) Cook Strait in New Zealand. In 1976, she was the first person to swim the Straits of Magellan in Chile, and the first to swim around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Another of her accomplishments was swimming more than a mile (1.6 km) in the waters of Antarctica. Cox was in the water for 25 minutes, swimming 1.22 miles (1.96 km).

31. Patricia Hausman, The Calcium Bible, How to Have Better Bones All Your Life, (Rawson Associates: New York, U.S.A., 1985), 36-37.

32.  A 1986 study by the University of Pennsylvania of adopted children and their adoptive and biological parents showed genetic inheritance had a far greater influence on children’s weight than environmental factors such as amount of food eaten. San Francisco Chronicle — 12 November 1986.

A study of Danish people found that the genetic tendency for fatness is passed most strongly from mothers to daughters. “Genetic influences from fathers, and from mothers to sons, are apparently about half that of mothers to daughters.” What could more clearly prove that fatness is a specifically female characteristic? Charles Petit, “Genetics’ Role in Contributing to Obesity,” San Francisco Chronicle, 31 March,1989. A5.

33. Alvin Feinstein, “How do we measure accomplishment in weight reduction?” Obesity, Causes, Consequences and Treatment, ed. Louis Lasagna (Medcom Press, 1974), 86.

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Ageism – A Radical Lesbian Feminist Perspective

Ageism

– A Radical Lesbian Feminist Perspective 

Bev Jo

Do not name me against my will. Do not presume to know how I want to be named without asking me. Do not call me “elder,” “elderly,” “geriatric,” or “crone.” Do not assume that naming me in a category as different from yourself is flattering. Do not assume that I agree to be part of the mainstream ageist and heterosexist separation of females. Ageism is one of the many ways that patriarchy divides women from each other.

Wouldn’t it be better to make all Lesbians and women welcome and have truly inclusive and diverse Lesbian communities without driving anyone away by “othering” and oppressing her?

Similarly, do not call me “cis” or “cunt.” Even the feminist/Wiccan “maiden, mother, crone” is based on sexism and heterosexism – pre-fucked, currently fucked, post-fucked – all identities associated with bonding with men, with no recognition of females who say no to men and to male rules and patriarchy. I do not agree to any of it. My identity is based on being a Lesbian.

Aren’t all old women oppressed enough without doing it in the name of feminism? Why categorize one group of females from another except to divide us? Yes, we may measure and treasure our ways of being different from the mainstream. But ask first before those of you with privilege dare to call us names. Do not patronize us.

A name I particularly hate is “young lady.”  When I was a girl, pompous feminine teachers told us they would force us to be “young ladies,” which meant trying to destroy our natural, wild girl selves. Being yourself means falling in love with other girls and forming communities, like my friends and I did in our all-girls’ high school. Some girls rolled around wrestling on the floor. Not “ladylike.” A few of us refused to obey those ridiculous rules that restricted our movements, minds and freedom. How terrible for a girl to take up space, stand and walk grounded and with pride. Mincing and wriggling while walking is not natural. Holding in your body while males are encouraged to take up space is training for girls to be obedient servants, victims, and rape bait. All aspects of male-defined femininity are devised to separate females’ bodies from our minds and spirits.  “Lady” is also classist, with its origins in English aristocracy. It is especially insulting to any female who refuses male rules to be feminine, such as Butches.

Men use “young lady” to patronize us, as if they expect us to giggle in gratitude for calling us “young.” If you object, they act as if you are insulting them. But they expect themselves to be addressed in ways that gives them respect and dignity.

I am not even that old at 61, and I don’t feel very different from how I’ve always felt. You don’t make a decision to become old. It just happens. So it will happen to everyone, if they live long enough. It is therefore in all women’s interest that old females be treated with respect and equality.

Perhaps that is part of what causes ageism: the fear of becoming old – so you try to make distance and end up objectifying old women. It’s not even that patriarchy is consistently youth-worshipping, because some old men are given the most respect, ruling countries, deciding the fate of everyone else. Actors in their eighties are called “handsome,” while old women are made to feel ugly, unwanted, and even monstrous. There are so many media portrayals of old women as dangerous, fairy tale nightmares, while it is rich old white men who are literally destroying the earth.

Old women are hated, instead of being appreciated for what we’ve learned, and what we can teach. Sadly, some women even say they want to become men in order to avoid becoming “old women.”

The most ageism I’ve gotten as a Radical Lesbian Feminist writer has been from the trans cult – the men who appropriate Lesbian identity and use ageism to discount and erase my and Janice Raymond’s and Mary Daly’s and other radical politics by calling us “dinosaurs.” They talk as if their ideas are new (they aren’t – we’ve been countering their female-hatred and Lesbian-hatred for over forty years). Those of us who have continued being politically active have seen public feminism become so right wing/mainstream as to be almost meaningless. Politics do not necessarily improve as time goes by. Even politicians who were right wing extremists in the Sixties are now considered moderate.

I understand why the supporters of the trans cult want to discredit us – many of them even threaten to rape and kill us – because the truths we point out expose their lies and threaten their power. But why do some women who call themselves Radical Feminists also tell us to “retire”?  It’s for similarly arrogant reasons – to censor us because our radicalism threatens their privilege. Appearing radical is trendy, but truly radical politics reveals them to be more mainstream.

Of course it’s hard getting older, as health tends to decline (although I know Lesbians in their sixties and seventies with far more stamina and strength than some in their thirties and forties). Some older women will live longer than some younger because of growing up before food, air, and water were so polluted, and before nuclear age radiation existed. Modern GMO “food,” toxic soy, and food cooked and stored in poisonous plastic (soy and plastic are xenoestrogens) are damaging our bodies and minds, causing cancer, hormonal problems, depression and mental illness. Almost all younger women I know have health problems that were rare before.

The media spreads lies to get people to accept the unacceptable. We are told that people live longer now, but, except for infants and women in childbirth dying, that isn’t true, as death records show. People also had healthier lives. We are told that cancer and Alzheimer’s are genetically caused, but that would mean no increase over time. Those of us who lived sixty years ago know that cancer was so rare that a child with leukemia was on the evening television news, and no one had Alzheimer’s.

Dementia was also very rare and not assumed to be a common result of growing old. I lived in a very polluted industrialized area, knowing many old people in my enormous extended family and large neighborhood, yet my step-grandfather was the only person I remember who got cancer. It certainly was not one in three or two, like now.

Of course there are genetic vulnerabilities, but the real source of these epidemic illnesses is exposure to environmental toxins, (There is NO safe dose of radiation in spite of the propaganda. Stanford Medical School taught my Physician’s Assistant that 20 percent of all cancers are now caused by CAT scans. That is a horrifying one out of five.)

People now happily buy toxic products to pollute their homes and neighborhoods, with laundry fumes spewing from drier vents making our neighborhoods smell like factories.

And the medical system makes a fortune by “trying to find a cure,” instead of stopping what they know is the cause. It’s all about making the rich richer.

Younger people often don’t know the truth. A current myth is that fascist Reagan was a good president. Lies told often enough are believed – unless those of us who remember the truth tell it.

Barbara Macdonald’s (with Cynthia Rich) book, Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism, from 1983, is still the best book I’ve read about ageism, with that old Seventies direct, radical, and sensible Radical Lesbian Feminist politics that I rarely see now. The book began when Barbara was 62 and Cynthia was 41. Barbara described being so alone as an old woman in her community, treated as “other” by younger women.

Almost thirty years later, my experience is very different, though ageism of course still exists and younger women are clearly more valued. I see older Lesbians being dismissed with a glance, just as I see those with less privilege in other ways dismissed. Still, old and older Lesbians now have a huge loving community. We no longer have our bookstores, coffee houses, or bars, so we meet in public, het, or gay male spaces for a night. There is so much for older Lesbians that sometimes I have to choose between five events in one evening. One of my friends in her twenties likes to go to the dances where ages range from twenties to seventies. I also love that age diversity, especially when older is the majority.

I also object to ageism directed at younger women. When I hear someone called “immature” as an explanation for what I see women in their sixties doing, it’s clearly about choice and not age. It’s a shame when Lesbians automatically reject possible friends or lovers simply because of age. We have many differences among us, but I would like to think that all could be overcome with enough love for each other.

After the feminism of the last forty two years, it’s been a shock to see older Lesbians desperately trying to look young in ways that only accentuate their age. Some even have had plastic surgery, so I appreciate the handsome and beautiful old Lesbians who look comfortable in their skin, proud of who they are, happy to be with other old Lesbians.

Bio

I am a lifelong Lesbian, working class Butch, born in 1950. I began writing as a Radical Lesbian Feminist in 1970, when I found the San Francisco Bay Area Lesbian Feminist community. Iworked with Lesbian collectives, including on one of the first Lesbian Feminist conferences in the US, in 1972, the local women’s bookstore, Lesbian Coffeehouse, Dyke Separatist Gathering in 1983. I co-wrote and published Dykes and Gorgons in 1973, and Dykes-Loving-Dykes in 1990. My articles have been printed in For Lesbians Only, Lesbian Ethics, Mehr al das Herz Gebrochen, Finding the Lesbians, Lesbian Friendships, Lesbian Inciter, Sinister Wisdom, Hag Rag, Lesbian International, Lesbian Voices, etc.

 

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Leather = S/M = BDSM — It’s All Still Sadism and Masochism

Leather = S/M = BDSM –

It’s All Still Sadism and Masochism

Bev Jo

(This is an update of our chapter against sado-masochism from our book, Dykes-Loving-Dykes, which I co-wrote with Linda Strega and Ruston, and which we published in 1990, and which was translated and printed in the German Lesbian anthology against sado-masochism, Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen (More than a Broken Heart) by Constance Ohms (Hg)in 1993. Some other chapters and updates from our book and later articles can be seen at http://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/)

(My focus here is about the contradiction of some Lesbian Feminists, or even Radical Feminists, also being sado-masochists. Some Radical Feminists ask how sado-masochists can be feminist at all, but some do have otherwise strong feminist politics. I am exploring this because Lesbians are my people. But I am in no way saying that Lesbians are more likely to be sado-masochists than are women who choose to be het or bisexual. Sexual interactions with men are by their nature sado-masochistic. Lesbians are the people who are the most free from the sado-masochism permeating patriarchal culture.)1

Most of us grow up with mental, emotional, and physical abuse. I believe most of us have been sexually assaulted, and certainly all females have been sexually harassed as well as subjected to violent hatred of females throughout the media. Patriarchy, reinforced by religions, is a sado-masochistic culture, based on humiliation, pain, and suffering. Most females’ earliest feelings of love, intimacy, and passion are interwoven with dependence, fear, anger, threats, and rape. We are taught to be both self-hating (masochistic) and to hate our own kind (sadistic). We are trained into sado-masochistic scenarios from the day we are born. I believe this is done to disconnect us from our natural feelings of love and passion towards other females. We are also taught to turn our reasonable, righteous anger inward so that most girls feel suicidal at some point in their lives. It is hard to identify with other females who are victims, so many girls and women learn to worship the boys and males who have tormented and tortured them. This also explains some of why women will line up to marry imprisoned serial rapists and killers of women and girls, and will betray other females on behalf of men claiming to be female.

Most girls hate themselves and other girls so much that they choose to become heterosexual. Lesbians fight for the right to love ourselves and each other, but we still carry a lot of self-hatred. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept feelings of masochism and sadism because of the ways we’re oppressed any more than we have to accept the feelings of hatred and self-hatred because of being exposed to the heterosexism, classism, racism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, looksism, etc. that are reflected in the patriarchy around us. Our politics and common sense give us the awareness to say no to oppression, as well using our own privileges against others, and gives us the strength and awareness to face reality and reject the lies forced on us.

It’s one thing to recognize the ways we are manipulated and conned to hate ourselves and other women, but it’s another to glorify, proselytize, and sexualize this misogyny and to justify it as a reasonable political position and identity.

CONTRADICTIONS

It’s telling how many euphemisms Lesbians use for sado-masochism. It’s as if Lesbian sado-masochists, and particularly those identifying as Lesbian Feminists, really do not want to use the most accurate and revealing word for what they do. I believe that’s because they are in conflict about it.

After all, how can they self-identify with the Marquis de Sade, who proudly tortured and murdered women, as well as Sacher Masoch, who pretended to be a masochist2, while also subjecting women to non-consensual sadism. Identifying with these men is male-identified in the worst possible sense. And yet, many Lesbians have joined with the majority mainstream het and bisexual women and with most men in becoming sado-masochists.

When sado-masochism first openly appeared in my Lesbian Feminist community in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late Seventies, Samois, a “Lesbian Feminist” sado-masochist group, played with the terms and with many Lesbians’ minds by calling it “S/M,” saying that the power was equally shared. Their book, “Coming to Power,” began with sado-masochists patronizingly re-naming the rest of us as “vanilla.” (The sado-masochist cult shares many parallels with the trans cult, where women are re-named against our will – trans call us “cis” — and where we are insulted and lied about and lied to in order to con and manipulate us.)

The euphemisms keep changing. The most common one I see now is BDSM and “Leather” and “Kink.” I have been shouted at for daring to say “sado-masochists” rather than “Leather-dykes.” I have also been called “leather-phobic.” Anyone who refuses to call men who appropriate female and Lesbian identity “transwomen” will recognize the cult technique of bullying to censor opposition and political differences. In both cases, we are forbidden to think or say what we think. After enough times of being yelled at and threatened, many Lesbians just obey.

But why should we obey? What right do sado-masochists have to claim the term “leather” for their own or to police our language and politics? Leather has long been associated with Lesbians and especially with Butches who came out before feminism, and has nothing innately to do with sado-masochism.

Can you remember your first reaction when hearing about “Lesbian Feminist” sado-masochists?  Many of us were stunned that Lesbians, and especially Lesbians who called themselves feminists, would participate in such a Lesbian-hating and female-hating practice.

It’s important for those who consider themselves Radical Feminists or Separatists to be aware of how sado-masochism bonds them with patriarchy, het and gay men, and het and bisexual women. Some of us watched sado-masochism brought into our Lesbian communities and relationships by women who learned it from their husbands and boyfriends. Other women learned it from gay male friends. Some members of Samois had previously been in “Cardea,” a women’s sado-masochist support group, which had been connected to “Janus,” a group that included het and gay male sado-masochists.

Sado-masochism may be trendy, but it isn’t new – it’s as old as patriarchy. Religions, such as christianity, are based on sado-masochism. Those of us who were forced to be catholic as little girls, grew up surrounded by images of bloody and tortured jesus and saints, and were taught to regularly contemplate the blood and gore.

Mainstream culture is full of sado-masochism. I saw virtually every Hollywood movie in the Fifties when I was a girl. I’d thought that sado-masochism in the media was less obvious than now, but recently saw just a few minutes from the 1960 popular film, “Spartacus,” which I’d seen when I was nine. Spartacus was the escaped slave who formed an army to free people enslaved by the Romans. In the short scene I saw, he freed a slave woman who asked him to order her to always obey him, as part of their flirtation. Talk about obvious sado-masochism!  Clearly, sado-masochism was far more important than the idea of freeing everyone. (This scene, which was supposed to be powerful and presumably sexually charged, was just laughable. But then, most sado-masochistic scenes are.)

Part of the myth of sado-masochism is that it is so bold and daring that discussing it or even thinking about it will “trigger” women who have been abused. I believe sado-masochists get off on this because it contributes to their power. Nothing deflates that posturing as quickly as not only refusing to be intimidated, but finding it silly and pathetic. Yes, some aspects are horrifying and play on serious misogyny, Lesbian-hating, racism, etc., but that makes Radical Lesbian Feminists angry rather than afraid.

Sado-masochists attempt to intimidate any Lesbians who oppose them into not trusting our reasonable and instinctive emotional, psychic, and political objections to sado-masochism by using the political language of oppression to silence and censor us.  Just as with the trans cult’s dishonest tactics, sado-masochists use feminist politics against us. The fact that many responsible and caring Lesbians don’t want to oppress other Lesbians is used to manipulate us into accepting sado-masochists as an oppressed sexual minority. In reality, they are the mainstream majority, with sado-masochism providing titillation for otherwise bored hets. Sado-masochism (again, like the trans cult) is a right wing backlash against female-loving. It’s mainstream as well as deeply misogynist and Lesbian-hating. Reverse discrimination does not exist.

In my experience, when the political cons don’t work, both sadists and masochists resort to their usual verbal/emotional abuse, including using classism, by calling us “stupid, ignorant fools” and telling us to “educate ourselves,” as if that will make us be more open to their obviously warped politics. Attempts at shaming and humiliation are classic parts of sado-masochistic scenes, so most are quite used to these techniques.

The main pro-sado-masochist argument is that someone should be able to do whatever they want in the privacy of their bedroom and it’s no one else’s business. Well, the same can be said for porn and prostitution, as well as other right wing political practices. Such decisions affect all of us, individually and as a community. We’ve had enough decades seeing the harm sado-masochism does to Lesbian relationships and communities to have the right to talk about it.

At this point, for me, it’s really just about saying “no” to sado-masochists. But I haven’t seen that work very well, whether I’m trying to be friends or work politically with them. What I’ve experienced is non-consensual verbal and emotional abuse with my “no” being ignored.

The last time I ignored my common sense and worked with two sado-masochists in a Radical Lesbian Feminist political group, I was subjected to one of the members bringing her bullwhip to every meeting, presumably because she needed to practice. (You can’t make this shit up.)  From what I could tell, she was using it to flirt and to try to intimidate me. The intimidation didn’t work, but the flirting with other members did. Another member who claims to be against sado-masochism gave me an insulting lecture saying that I was showing bigotry equivalent to racism because I’d said my experiences with sado-masochists are that they inevitably do non-consensual emotional abuse.  (Again, this is similar to the kind of mind-fuck the trans cult uses against feminists.)

I lost a sadist friend from that group who I otherwise shared Radical Lesbian Feminist politics with. She accused me of “outing the worst and darkest hour of the Leather-dyke community” because I wrote at a Radical Feminist blog about gentile Pat Califia non-consensually carving a swastika into her Jewish lover’s back. What Califia did has been well-known for decades as an example of what sadists can do in spite of claiming to be respectful of “no.”  It is even more volatile and relevant because Califia is one of the original stars of the “Lesbian Feminist” sado-masochist movement and was instrumental into bringing it into our communities. Linda Strega, Ruston, and I wrote in our book in 1990 about what Califia did. It’s never been a secret. Yet, this friend was so desperate to keep it hidden that she verbally abused me and tried to censor me. She acted like I had betrayed her beloved sado-masochist community and expected that I should keep their secret, which I have to say is a bit reminiscent of keeping Daddy’s secret about molesting daughters – especially since sadists (including my ex-friend) like to be called “Daddy.” Considering how many women have been sexually assaulted by “Daddy,” it is also hard to accept “Daddy” being used as a “play” term for sadists in sexual encounters.

Rather than being discriminated against, sadist pornographers seem to get preferential treatment.  Califia has continued being Lesbian sado-masochism’s poster girl in spite of the fact of her increasing public male-worshipping. Califia said decades ago that she “would rather fuck a hot boy who’s into S & M than a vanilla Lesbian.” It’s actually a relief that she has come full circle back to men, although in a slightly different version of her former male-identified self. She is now claiming to BE a gay man – or what the more rational of us recognize as a het or bisexual woman obsessed with gay men (“fag hag”). Yet Califia still has so much power that even after abusing her lover in such a horrific way (can you imagine removing that scar?), after being forgiven for calling the police on the lover’s friends who went after her, and after writing books with some of the most Lesbian-hating misogynist sadistic porn imaginable (in “Macho Sluts,” one story is about a Lesbian being given the birthday “gift” of being gang-raped by gay men posing as cops), she was still made Lesbian sex/relationship advice columnist for the Lesbian magazine “Girlfriends.” She was allowed to keep that job even after she “came out” as a gay man and called herself “Patrick Califia.”

I do not believe the gay male line, which has done so much damage to Lesbians, that we are all “born this way.” Lesbian Feminists in the Seventies proudly said that we were making a choice to be Lesbians, as opposed to the mainstream het lie that says only a few perverts are born queer. Women being aware we are making a choice to be het or bisexual or Lesbian changes women and changes the world. It’s an enormous threat to patriarchy. It brings up the fact that all woman could choose to be Lesbians, which is what I think they would do if it wasn’t for the extreme punishment for refusing and reward for obeying.

As our once independent, strongly feminist Lesbian community was being eroded by gay male influence, many Lesbians started to explain their past het choices and later coming out as “I was always a Lesbian. I just didn’t know it.”  The right wing’s attitude is that we don’t deserve equal rights because we are choosing to be queer, so gay male and now mainstream Lesbians’ answer is that “We would of course choose to be het like you if we could, but we’re just pathetic queers who have no choice, so please give us equal rights.” It’s a politics based on shame and pity, not pride and self-love, like Lesbian Feminism.

I believe that Pat Califia has always chosen to be a bisexual, like the two other women (JoAnn Loulan and Susie Bright) who were the main “sexologists” who pushed their agenda of sado-masochism, porn, heterosexism, etc. in our Lesbian community in the Eighties. They pretended to be Lesbians partly because writing porn/sex books and doing workshops for Lesbians meant they were accepted by Lesbians and made money and careers from Lesbians. JoAnn Loulan redefined “Lesbian” in her destructive book, “Lesbian Sex,”(which Linda Strega and I reviewed in our article, “Lesbian Sex – Is It? In 1985) by saying that “some Lesbians have wonderful ongoing sexual relations with men.” This was such a mind-fuck that one of our headings was “Can Therapists Make Lesbians Disappear?” We knew Loulan could not be a Lesbian by her own definition, and years after taking money from Lesbians, she admitted on national television that she was with a man. But most Lesbians seemed to believe and trust these women based on the authority and expertise they claimed as therapists or “sexologists.” In restrospect, it was actually quite the dominance and submission scenario. This was also where our community seemed to switch from not trusting anyone who set themselves up as stars, to just obeying “authority.”

Those who were pro-porn and sado-masochism were scathing and ridiculing towards Radical Lesbian Feminism. The glossy magazine, “On Our Backs,” that glorified “Lesbian” porn and sado-masochism and role-playing, chose that name in opposition to the longtime Feminist newspaper, “off our backs.”  It was all clearly so reactionary and right wing, yet few seemed to question it. Or maybe they did and were censored in the Lesbian media. And then the “Lesbian” strip shows began – not just in the usual male porn districts, but in our own communities, prostituting all of us for men and endangering us. (How many men have raped Lesbians after reading Califia’s porn about Lesbians wanting to be raped?) Suddenly, mainstream or liberal and leftist bookstores replaced Feminist or Lesbian Feminist books and newspapers with porn and sado-masochist books by “Lesbians,” for Lesbians, and whoever else wanted to spend the money. I still believe that the male porn industry funded this takeover of our communities.


SADO-MASOCHIST “CONSENT” IS AN ILLUSION

The “consenting” exchange of power and trust said to be the core of sado-masochism is in reality a re-play of the betrayed trust and abuse of power most of us experienced as girls. What does it mean to be unable to accept “love” unless punished? Why ask someone you love to play your rapist? Why want to hurt, beat, cut, whip, burn, humiliate, and shit on someone you “love?” How can re-playing scenes of sexual terrorization ever be good for someone? How can anyone who is sexually excited by the inequalities acted out in sado-masochism be trusted to respect limits. If it was a release, then why is sado-masochism so addictive and those who join the cult increase the level of pain and destructive games? Why do so many lose control?

When Lesbians are used to playing emotional as well as physical sado-masochistic games, do they automatically stop when they are around Lesbians who do not want to play games of hierarchy and humiliation? In my experience, they don’t. Besides friends and acquaintances being treated in sado-masochistic ways, some scenes are done as public displays, with unwilling spectators, because many sado-masochists are stimulated by having an unwilling audience. Even just parading around in sado-masochistic regalia, and bragging about sado-masochistic events is exhibitionistic and an example of shoving sado-masochism at us against our will, like the sadist who brought her bullwhip to our political meetings.

It’s hard to take seriously a Lesbian who accuses you of “demonizing” sado-masochism while she is wearing the Nazi-style leather cap that gay male sado-masochists popularized. Gay men made an entire business out of producing expensive leather sado-masochistic paraphernalia, as well as fabricating a political movement, complete with a “Leather Pride” flag (black and blue with a red heart3), which they march with and fly over the Armory, an enormous dungeon that takes up an entire city block in San Francisco. Demanding respect as an oppressed minority parallels the trans cult again.)  My ex-friend first became a sado-masochist in a bisexual community when she was still quite young. She became a Lesbian within a year, but, in spite of her otherwise Radical Lesbian Feminist and Separatist politics, her first loyalty lies with the sado-masochistic community, which became obvious to me when she clearly still thought of Pat Califia as a courageous hero, rather than the male-worshipping misogynist porny bisexual sadist who brought the worst aspects of gay male culture directly into our community, as well as the genderqueer crap my friend so rails against.

But then sado-masochism is about ritualizing inequality and oppression. Hero-worship without examining what that means is just one aspect of mainstream sado-masochism in patriarchal culture.

Another example of non-consensuality is in female-identified Lesbian support groups which are meant to provide a safe space for Lesbians who do not want to be around women identifying as male and using male pronouns, yet special exemptions are made for sado-masochistic “play” language. Why the double standard?  Even more interesting is that it would never be allowed for someone to bring a beer to such a group since that might trigger a Lesbian in “Recovery” to want to drink, yet there is no concern for anyone who has been raped by their “Daddy” to not want to hear Lesbians play with that term sexually.

A friend of mine had dinner with a Lesbian who defines herself as a “Top.” When my friend went to leave, the sadist grabbed her arm and told her she was staying.  My friend finally had to push her away to get her to let go. What if another Lesbian in that situation had been too intimidated or upset to be able to show that she was willing to defend herself?  It sounded like this was a game/scenario the sadist was used to playing. How many Lesbians has she attacked?

I have to ask: What atrocities have sado-masochists managed to hide?

“WHAT CAN TWO GIRLS DO TOGETHER WITHOUT A —–?”

Sado-masochists tell us we need games, apparatus, and role-playing scenes to be exciting, which is similar to when men and het women ask “What can two girls do together without a prick?” Instead of asking how can we be passionate without rape and slave and prisoner scenes, handcuffs, whips, dildos, role-playing, etc., I ask why any Lesbian feels so bored and empty that she is driven to increasingly unsavory and bizarre scenarios. It’s running away from real passion and intensity. There is nothing like being completely present with your lover, looking into each other’s eyes, as you make love. But then, many sado-masochists have anonymous sex with complete strangers.

To me, the epitome of sado-masochism, which, after all, is based on male violence against women, is the glorifying of maleness. Using dildos, and believing you need dildos for Lesbian love-making, is more destructive for Lesbians than the worst aspects of sado-masochism. I just don’t understand the reason for it other than pretending to be male or pretending your lover is. There is nothing you can do with a dildo that you can’t do far more intensely and passionately with your Lesbian hands and Lesbian body. Most Lesbians find pricks disgusting, so why play with a fake one?

From what I’ve read, it’s ex-het Fems who primarily brought dildos into our Lesbians communities (Joan Nestle wrote about this in “A Persistent Desire,” when she described carrying a dildo in her purse in case she met a Butch she wanted to fuck her), and then brought them back after they seemed to be rejected by most Lesbians. I can’t help but distrust the motives. A self-hating, lesbophobic, Lesbian-hating Lesbian can pretend it’s not really a Lesbian making love to her if a dildo is being used. And that same hateful woman can feel more “normal” by pretending to be a man touching a woman when she is “making love” with a dildo. It’s a way to avoid touching and being touched. It’s a way to distance, as well as to pornify Lesbian sexuality.

I have heard so many Butches say they hated and felt objectified by being asked to use dildos on lovers. But, of course, Lesbians, and especially Butches, want to please their lovers. I’m guessing that dildos came back into use because some Fems demanded them, and then lovers complied. Dildos merged with the rest of the sado-masochistic “sex toys” that Lesbians talk about in order to not feel left out.

I’ve seen two documentaries where Lesbians decided to have mastectomies and take hormones to please their lovers who did not want to think of themselves as Lesbians, and to please their lovers’ families. So if mutilating yourself and risking your life is required for some relationships, why not use dildos?

When I protested at a Butch Conference that it was wrong to assume that we all used dildos, a sado-masochistic Hard Fem lectured me as if I had no awareness of what dildos were. When I refused to submit to her, she dismissed me by using ageism, telling me that I was probably too old to change. Is fourteen too old?  That’s the age when I first heard about dildos, in 1965, when I visited the girl I had been in love with since I was five and she was nine. Now, at eighteen, Rosemary had found a sort of Lesbian community, though it sounded like it was the ex-het, ex-wife Fems in control and who taught the younger Lesbians what to do. Rosemary was in love with her Butch friend, but that was disapproved of. She asked if I knew what a dildo was and proceeded to explain that Lesbians needed to use them to satisfy these women since they didn’t have pricks. I only vaguely knew what a prick was and was repulsed. I was also confused since I was sure I was a Lesbian, having been in love with other girls since my earliest memories, but if this was what it meant to be a Lesbian, then how could I be?  How many young and older Lesbians are made to feel more alone and isolated by the normalizing of dildos and other sado-masochism in our communities?

Butches are particularly objectified in regards to dildos. A local “sex toy” party and demonstration was given recently by a Fem who made a “joke” about having to watch to make sure that no Butch would steal her dildos. Why would any Butch want her ugly dildos/

It is so disturbing how absolutely mainstream and acceptable dildos have become in our communities. Where once Lesbians said no, they now feel guilty and not trendy enough if they don’t use them. I even hear Lesbians complaining about the cost — after all, it’s become a big business. It’s also become a het and mainstream joke in the media and elsewhere, and therefore is a way for men to be reassured that, deep down, Lesbians really do want pricks. How can any Lesbian with a sense of pride want to participate in this? Men appropriating Lesbian identity are also using dildos to claim that their pricks are just a variation and so they should be allowed to be in female-only space. (GenderTrender is a blog by Gallus Mag, where she posts some of these Lesbian-hating men in their own words — http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/)

SADO-MASOCHISM IS ADDICTIVE

Many sado-masochists are also addicted to alcohol and other drugs. The popular gay male drug, poppers (amyl nitrate), is used to make it easier to have something shoved up your rectum. While it can be damaging to be lovers with addicted Lesbians who are not careful, it can be dangerous to do sado-masochism with one. Sado-masochists say that when someone is sexually aroused, sensations which normally would be painful are no longer felt as pain, or that, mystically, there becomes less distinction between pain and pleasure. But why wouldn’t there be more sensitivity, rather than less? Why is insensitivity to pain said to be good when it is actually dangerous to our safety? If a Lesbian is feeling numb sexually, why is sado-masochism recommended, rather than exploring why she is shut down? The oppression and brutality that we’ve suffered as Lesbians and as women have caused many of us to become numb, physically, psychically, and emotionally. It can be hard for many of us to really feel our bodies because they’ve been the objects of torture and ridicule for so long.

A friend has said that we’re not born wanting to feel pain. Babies move away from pain, not towards it. Craving pain is not natural. It’s a sign of damage.

We’ve all internalized a connection between love and violence, pleasure and pain – it’s a natural response to constant assault and abuse from an early age and a culture that glorifies rape and torture. It’s not our fault if we’ve internalized some of those feelings, but it’s therapized crap that we should just accept them. Do we just accept oppressive or suicidal feelings that we might have? Sadistic and masochistic feelings are not naturally ours. We must fight them just as we must fight suicidal, addictive, or other destructive impulses.

Another addictive and male aspect of sado-masochism is competition to see how far you will go. There is definitely status into being into “heavy” sado-masochism, including wearing the black handkerchief in a back pocket (again, Lesbians imitating gay male culture.)  Along with this are the putdowns and ridicule of non-sado-masochist Lesbian love-making as being weak, passionless, prudish, etc., when the truth is the opposite.

The fact that many sado-masochists keep increasing their dosage of pain and humiliation, as addicts do, in a desperate attempt to feel less numb or just to feel something, is ignored, as is the fact that as a group, Lesbians are the most passionate people on earth.

Sado-masochists, like other addicts, insist that what they are doing is good for themselves and that they are making a healthy choice. Once addicted, doses tend to increase, and so does the level of sado-masochism.  Lesbians start to do more and more, bragging about pushing limits. It becomes necessary to do sado-masochism to feel sexual at all or to have an orgasm. And sado-masochists relentlessly push sado-masochism on the rest of us, nonconsensually.

An example is from an interview with Joan Kelly (an upper-middle class woman who describes herself as a Radical Feminist and who has a blog called “Chicks Dig Me.” She is still selling her book, The Pleasure’s All Mine: The Memoir of a Professional Submissive. Here’s an excerpt from the Village Voice review of her book:

Big Bucks for Pain Sluts: Inside the Kinky World of a Professional Submissive4

My favorite part of the job is the physical high, while the biggest drawback is tending to bruises several times a day after a heavy corporal scene. “I surprise myself at how far my pain tolerance has evolved. For example, I had a client sew my vaginal lips shut, and I didn’t make a peep,” Ophelia (Joan Kelly) boasts via e-mail. “I had another client who took 18-gauge needles, heated them until they were red-hot, and used them to pierce the insides of my butt cheeks. I could hear my skin sizzling as the needles penetrated me.”

Why have I never seen any feminist challenge this woman’s right to call herself a feminist, let alone “Radical Feminist,” while selling herself and all women out in such a disgusting way? She is making money off feeding men’s fantasies about women loving being tortured by men.

A friend describes these public proud sado-masochist prostitutes as being in the pimp role, because they proselytize prostitution. In this case, Joan Kelly is also pimping all women into being targets for male violence. Certainly men use this kind of porn as an excuse for assaulting women, since it’s not just “snuff” films (where women are literally killed for male pleasure) which lead more men to attack women and girls. Explicit pornography in advertizing, TV, movies, magazines, and online has massively increased as a response to feminism until it’s become a “normal” expression of heterosexuality and is now part of mainstream “culture” in many countries. It’s also part of the backlash against the Women’s Liberation and Lesbian Liberation Movements and has contributed to the rise of sado-masochism in het and Lesbian society. “Lesbian” porn for and by men is the most popular porn. The mainstreaming of sado-masochism in the everyday propaganda of women being willing victims or “sluts” is just as dangerous. There is a direct link between sado-masochist “toys” and high heels, make-up, slutty clothes, etc.

Too many Lesbians get involved in sado-masochism because of desperately wanting to please lovers. How many Lesbians now want to become free of the addiction of sado-masochism, but don’t know how, and instead of getting support, are called traitors by the proponents of sado-masochism? It is very hard to leave a cult.

THE DANGERS AND THE DAMAGE

We really are not supposed to talk about this, but some sado-masochist Lesbians have suffered permanent physical damage from: lacerations of the vagina and cervix, loss of bladder and bowel control (from fisting), uterine injury, scarring from whipping, burning, and cutting (how do you remove an incised swastika?). Some Lesbians have gotten STDs, including Hepatitis and AIDs from blood and shit contact. Joan Kelly described loving the feel of those hot needles inserted into her body and from having her labia sewn up. Can you imagine her scars? (Sorry to focus on the scars, but it’s a permanent reminder even after a woman decides to quit sado-masochism.)

One Lesbian sado-masochist book’s “suggested guidelines for safety” only reveals how unsafe sado-masochism is.  The needle for nipple piercing has to be carefully placed to not puncture the milk ducts. “A womon’s nipple will take three months or longer to heal, with daily attention to hygiene.”  For labia piercing: “You will need to wash the vulva at least twice a day…until it has healed. It will take at least 6 to 8 weeks to heal.” For “golden showers:” “Anyone who drinks piss should be sure to drink plenty of water afterward, to help wash the excess urea out of her system.” “If you receive brown showers, you should monitor your health closely. In particular, you and your partner need to be checked regularly for intestinal parasites.” Since it can take a while to show up positive for certain blood-borne illnesses, some women can be contagious without knowing.

What does it do to a Lesbian to be whipped, chained, cut, burned, humiliated – to lick someone’s boots, to have cries of “No, stop!… please stop….” be ignored as part of the game – to be literally shit on and ordered to eat shit, to be called vile names? What is the effect on the Lesbian doing these things?  How does it affect anyone else they relate to? What does it do to a Lesbian to be told she must hurt and humiliate her lover in order to please her?  And how often does the “safe” word end up being ignored?

Lesbians have been made the scapegoats for the men and boys who sexually assault girls and women. What damage does it do to play out those scenarios? When a Lesbian plays “rapist,” she is inviting the forces of Lesbian-hatred deep into herself and into our culture. When a Lesbian plays at being a willing victim, she is mocking all victims of rape. (I still believe that glorifying rape by feeding the lie that women want to be raped, as Califia has done for money and fame, is one of the worst betrayals any woman can do to other women.)

What damage is done for a Lesbian to be called a “slave” and call her lover “master” or “Daddy?”  On US national television a European-descent Lesbian was shown calling her African-descent lover her “slave,” as she led her around by a leash. What damage is done when a gentile dresses up in a Nazi uniform and carves a swastika on a Jewish Lesbian’s body? What damage is done in playing out rape scenarios for “fun?” How can any Lesbian defend, identify with, or justify these actions?  I ask the same question about those who read and watch porn. I say that it damages Lesbians who do these things, on many levels. It is hard enough to not be contaminated by misogyny and Lesbian-hatred that is all around us as it is.

Some “Lesbian Feminist” sado-masochists are outraged at what we and others have written, and they protest, “But we don’t do that!”  Yet by saying they are into “Leather” or “Kink” or “BDSM,” they make a public statement identifying themselves with that cult. I have yet to read or hear any Lesbian publicly protesting or disagreeing with any aspect of sado-masochism. Loyalty first goes to other sado-masochists, including someone as abusive as Pat Califia. My ex-friend never sounded upset at Califia, but only at me for writing about what she’d done.

Most sado-masochists insist that sado-masochism helps free them from past trauma and abuse. They say they know the difference between real and pretend, consent and abuse. But Lesbians who leave the sado-masochist cult say differently and talk about how lines are crossed and consensuality ignored. Even Lesbians in non-sado-masochist relationships that become abusive can have trouble recognizing what is abusive until it’s in the past. Instead of freeing you from past abuse, sado-masochism is like cutting an old scar, deepening the damage.

MASOCHISM IS SELF-HATRED/SADISM IS LESBIAN-HATRED

“Top” (sadist) and “Bottom” (masochist) are roles used by het and gay men, het and bisexual women, and Lesbians to define their sado-masochistic roles. Although sado-masochists may switch, most define themselves in rigid roles. Sado-masochism is defined as a “mutual exchange of power.” Why then, are the vast majority of sado-masochist Lesbians self-defined masochists who crave pain and humiliation? The few “tops” usually don’t look very comfortable in their sadist role.

We live in a very Lesbian-hating world and it is almost impossible to escape internalizing that self-hatred. It’s no coincidence that many sado-masochists Lesbians, including “tops,” are still self-mutilating. Rather than accepting and encouraging the roles of dominant and submissive, sadist and masochist, why not fight those roles?  Many sado-masochists are addicts trying to be sober. Why don’t they see the connection with sado-masochism as another kind of destructive drug?

We have enough trouble from having grown up in patriarchy with inequalities like heterosexism, sexism, classism, racism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, looksism, etc. as being the norm without glorifying abusive power differences. It increases and reinforces inequality to ritualize and sexualize it. Yet, it used to be said that playing sado-masochistic games would somehow free Lesbians from the oppressions we’ve been indoctrinated with. No one is so trustworthy that it’s safe to play with such pain and oppression. Even when the roles are reversed, how does it affect a relationship for the more oppressed Lesbians to focus a lifetime of justified rage onto her Lesbian lover? The situation still isn’t equalized.

All these years after this fad became popular in our community, has anything seemed to change for the better?  I sure haven’t seen it. I only see the sado-masochists I know refusing to take “no” for an answer.

TRENDY IS REACTIONARY

Patriarchy loves to create subcultures so that the boring, bland privileged can feel even more superior compared to “common, ordinary” people. Meanwhile, their trendy subcultures, with their own expensive clothing and hair styles, create new markets for the fashion industry. Often manufacturers themselves determine which new fashions will become “counter-culture” styles. This game-playing at who’s trendy and who’s passé helps hets feel less numb, since being het is incredibly boring.

The most popular fads are those pretending to express “rebellion.” Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol had that appeal in the past, but they have long since become part of mainstream dominant culture.  Still, in spite of how passé they are, and how dangerous they are to the health of the users as well as those around them, many Lesbians still use them simply because they are associated with being trendy.

Trendy Lesbians often act as if they are still rebelling against their parents who don’t want them to look slutty, but they are actually allying with the parental attitudes that prefer a Lesbian be or look ANY way other than identifiably Lesbian. Looking male-identified feminine is very much part of sado-masochism, although many non-sado-masochists also consider it exciting and sexy. This is where the line between non-sado-masochists and sado-masochists can blend and merge. It’s interesting that some feminists who object to leather and studs on Lesbians feel fine about the more traditional male look for women: high heels, make up, dresses etc. But the conformist, reactionary politics that support Lesbians looking het also fuel sado-masochism.

Anything that reflects how men want women to appear, including looking ridiculous and emaciated, is innately misogynist.  Mainstream and fashion images of women often mimic or promote sado-masochism, such as showing women wearing makeup that mimics bruising – once you start to recognize sado-masochistic promotion, besides the overt images, you see that the media is full of it.

For het and bisexual women who are already male-identified, being sado-masochistic is just “normal.” Het and gay male culture and media constantly show sado-masochism in films, television, plays, books, etc. Many het and bisexual women seem to whole-heartedly participate. I believe that heterosexuality is by its nature sado-masochistic. Women being fucked by men is humiliating and degrading, which is why many het feminists are against women being fucked or “PIV” (Penis in Vagina), as many call it. (I really don’t like euphemisms, and the current feminist term “PIV” both pretties up the reality as well as making it sound even more grotesque.)  There’s a reason that girls’ first reaction to learning about fucking is to be horrified and disgusted.

Many women now proclaim proudly how they love being fucked, but that’s a fairly recent phenomenon, which I believe is in response to the intense pressure on women to obey men’s rules, which is a direct response to the threat of the Women’s Liberation Movement. In the past, it was an open joke that women chose a form of legally contracted prostitution, to sexually service one man in exchange for het privilege, respectability, “being taken care of” (since men’s wages are so much higher than women’s), to be considered “normal,” please their families, etc. – with the joke being that they hated being heterosexual with their men. (“Not tonight, dear, I have a headache.”) All that changed with the “Sexual Revolution,” where men got “free love” (no more paying), while women got STDs, pregnant, and less rewards (though still enough for most to not consider being celibate or Lesbian.) The “Sexual Revolution” was men’s way of dispensing with the game of heterosexual “love” in order to admit that they just wanted to fuck, rape, and abuse as many girls and women as possible.

Some mothers try to protect their daughters from being fuck fodder for men but many girls and young women rebel against their mothers by becoming even more of what patriarchy calls “sluts” and are proud of what they mistakenly believe is being “liberated’ and daringly rebellious. There is nothing more conservative, reactionary, destructive and old-fashioned than for a woman to be fucked. The male “Sexual Revolution” capitalized on this by encouraging as many women as possible to agree to being fucked by as many men as possible to feel “liberated.” Some women literally died as a result from getting lethal STDs such as AIDS and Hepatitis.

There is a whole level of sado-masochism that carries over into oppressing Butches, but with the same kinds of erroneous assumptions that are similar to the trans cult, where the most female and Lesbian and most oppressed in the situation (Butches) are equated with being the opposite – the most male, the dominator, and the privileged. The reverse is true, which we explained in our book and in my recent update, “Supporting Butches Supports All Lesbians.”

For the Radical Lesbian Feminists who don’t understand, equating Butches with privilege, is similar to how the trans cult says that Lesbians are more privileged than trans, even though they are either men wielding their male privilege against Lesbians and women, or are women who want male privilege and are self-hating enough to despise Lesbians.

FIGHTING SADO-MASOCHISM IS PRO-LESBIAN

I went to a party recently where a friend brought out a paddle and explained that sado-masochism helps to heighten sensation. Another friend, rather wearily, I thought, repeated almost verbatim, another old Samois line about how playing with sado-masochism helps women overcome past abuse (as opposed to the reality of becoming addicted to reenacting it.) It is very sad to see all these years later, younger women continuing those sado-masochist con lines.

Some Lesbians promote the myth about sado-masochists being an oppressed minority by saying they shouldn’t have to “be in the closet” about their sexual preferences. We agree that we would prefer knowing who is and who isn’t a sado-masochist since so much of how they act is based on enjoying power imbalances and there’s enough of that already between women without playing games to add to it. So, no, we don’t want anyone hiding that they enjoy humiliating lovers, cutting and beating lovers, pressuring lovers to drink their piss or eat their shit, etc. or that they are masochists who want a sadist lover, and we object to comparing being sado-masochist to Lesbians who have to hide who they are to survive.

Some have credited sado-masochism with making it easier for Lesbians to talk about sex, but Lesbians do that all the time without being sado-masochist. Perhaps it just isn’t considered “real” sex if it isn’t in a male context? — Just as men don’t consider whatever is not fucking to be “real” sex, no matter how many more orgasms women can have with other women.

We support Lesbians who have stopped being sado-masochists and know that they get bullied in a similar way to how women who leave the trans cult are harassed.

Haven’t we learned enough by now to know that wanting to do something that is destructive to ourselves and other females is just not good? For our survival and self-respect, we need to turn our justified hatred against our enemies and our oppressors, instead of inward, letting men’s war against us to be successful.

Many Lesbians are becoming Radical Lesbian Feminists and Separatists, saying no to male and het values, and are fighting unjust hierarchies and oppressions. Recognizing

heterosexism among ourselves and in our communities opens the way to freeing ourselves from it. Rejecting and fighting sado-masochism is part of that. Some Lesbian events, like Dyke Separatist gatherings have been publicized as sado-masochist-free.

If Lesbians give up sado-masochism and allow their natural Lesbian passion to come out, they’ll find that nothing can compare with that wild love that only Lesbians have and can give.

 ENDNOTES

1   Susan Hawthorne has also written against Lesbian sado-masochism in http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/againsthate/journal4/04ancienthatred.pdf

2  From Wikipedia: On 9 December 1869, Sacher-Masoch and his mistress Baroness Fanny Pistor signed a contract making him her slave for a period of six months, with the stipulation that the Baroness wear furs as often as possible, especially when she was in a cruel mood….Sacher-Masoch pressured his first wife, Aurora von Rümelin, whom he married in 1873, to live out the experience of the book, against her preferences.

3   Leather Pride flag – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_Pride_flag

4   Big Bucks for Pain Sluts
Inside the kinky world of professional submissive
By
Rachel Kramer Bussel Tuesday, Feb 7 2006

Over the course of her career, Joan Kelly (submarnie.com) has been strung up and splashed with freezing water, had her labia sewn shut, gotten caned, and taken countless bare-bottomed spankings—and has loved almost every minute of it. As “Marnie,” the Los Angeles–based kinky gal works as an independent professional submissive. For $260 an hour (to start), you can hire her to lie across your lap and get whacked good and hard (her favorite) or, for several thousand dollars, go deeper into your dominant fantasies. She’ll even come right to your hotel room, or you can use a local dungeon.

Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive

It’s clear from Kelly’s (Carroll & Graf, 2005) that this job’s about much more than money. Her excitement        is evident over the phone, as she reveals that she’s been single until recently, getting her pain fix on the job. “When I started, I had that Pretty Woman fantasy, thinking I’d meet Mr. Kinky Right. If that had ever happened, I would’ve quit in a heartbeat,” she confesses. “If I don’t have someone in my personal life [to be kinky with], I’m physically compelled to do sessions. I’ve tried to quit a few times, but I couldn’t—I have to have this in my life.” Kelly’s current paramour, whom she met online, is “getting kinkier by the minute,” responding to her cues.

Local pro sub Submissive Ophelia (submissiveophelia.com), who claims she’s “New York City’s most hardcore masochist,” also got into the work after a failed relationship. Her first boyfriend made her his captive, and after that, “I had a difficult time meeting men who enjoyed dominating me. My submissive urges kept growing, and I decided being a pro would get me more playtime and fulfill my desires.”

Her favorite part of the job is the physical high, while the biggest drawback is tending to bruises several times a day after a heavy corporal scene. “I surprise myself at how far my pain tolerance has evolved. For example, I had a client sew my vaginal lips shut, and I didn’t make a peep,” Ophelia (Joan Kelly) boasts via e-mail. “I had another client who took 18-gauge needles, heated them until they were red-hot, and used them to pierce the insides of my butt cheeks. I could hear my skin sizzling as the needles penetrated me.”

Byron Mayo, co-owner of the BDSM advertising hot spot Eros-Guide.com and former owner of a commercial San Francisco dungeon, has nothing but praise for the skills pro subs bring to their trade. “You can touch places in a really good sub session that most marriages don’t get to in years. The result is a sense of psychological intimacy most of us crave but rarely get,” he says. “In a world of political correctness, confusing role models, and enforced ‘equality,’ the ability to tell a beautiful, intelligent, and demure woman to get on her knees and do what you say is a fantasy come true.”

A woman after my own heart, Kelly’s favorite type of scene involves over-the-knee hand spanking and role-playing. “The hottest thing for me is if they’re ‘punishing’ me for something. I could do back-to-back spanking sessions all day, every day,” she enthuses, then clarifies—”but not if it were eight hours of super hard spanking.” She has done five hours in a row, but she enjoys the challenge. “I’m tired at the end of a day like that, but mostly from the emotional energy of plugging in with one person after another.”

Being a sub is decidedly more risky than wielding a whip, which is why pro subs make more than your average dominatrix. Kelly explains that in L.A., dungeons often start women as subs who can work their way up to being doms. They may go through the motions, but for Kelly, it’s all real. “Virtually any pro sub will do spanking, but if it’s not their fetish, they’re not gonna have the kind of response that turns a fellow fetishist on. Spanking pushes an instant arousal button in me. That’s not common in the professional s/m scene.” Mayo praises such dedication. “I’ve seen pro subs come out of sessions glowing like they’ve just spent a week on an island vacation with a fantasy lover. Others emerge needing to curl up and be held because they exposed so much raw emotion. They have to do it because they love it, or it will quickly go sour.”

  • Novice clients, be forewarned: Cash alone will not buy your way to smacking Kelly’s ass. This proud “spanking fetishist, selective and submissively responsive bottom, and excitable pervert” (according to her website) insists that although she enjoys herself immensely during sessions, she’s no one’s plaything or naughty little girl. Don’t call her and expect instant obedience; you not only have to pay for that, you have to earn it. “Clients have to respect me as an equal person. I get to say how hard things will get, I get to say what I need,” she explains. “Guys will call up and while I’m trying to interview them as a potential client, ask, ‘Are you kneeling?’ It’s embarrassing for the guy.” Her advice? “Never assume anything about a woman you approach for a pro session—we’re all different. Some subs won’t take off their G-strings but will let you cane the shit out of them. There are women like me who’ll get naked and jerk off in front of you, but you better not start caning the hell out of me unless it’s my idea.”
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22 Years Later – 2012 Butch Update

2012 Update – 22 Years Later

SUPPORTING BUTCHES SUPPORTS ALL LESBIANS

Bev Jo

So how are things for Butches now, since 1990, when we published our chapter on Butch oppression (now at my blog) in “Dykes-Loving-Dykes?”

Well, things seem  a lot worse – some of which we predicted, based on how mainstream and assimilated (and Lesbian-hating) Lesbians were becoming. But some of it has still been a shock to me. I have never seen or heard such overt hatred of Butches among Lesbians as I’m hearing now, even while Butches have organized and allied as an oppressed community.

In my old Lesbian Feminist and Separatist community from the Seventies, there was disapproval about role-playing (which I still agree with, but not for the reasons said then), yet Butches were more respected than now. Even without clear politics about what it meant to be Butch, there was an awareness that Butches were the most visible of Lesbians who had kept Lesbian existence known while other Lesbians were hiding. Some of the out Butches had created our Lesbian Feminist community with their brilliant Radical Feminist politics, articles, poetry, music, etc., and were appreciated and acknowledged for that. Looking like a Lesbian or Dyke was valued, so most Lesbians, even most of the Hard Fems (the most male-identified feminine in mannerisms and behavior, and who we referred to as “Queens” in our Butch chapter in our book), cut their hair, wore trousers and boots, and the infamous flannel shirts. We didn’t wear “men’s” clothes. We rejected the flimsy, demeaning, and restrictive clothes men ordered us to wear, and we proudly wore OUR Dykey clothes, which were handsome, practical, comfortable, cheaper, sturdier, and safer (in terms of being able to defend ourselves, do physical work, and not be such a target for male harassment.)  We were saying yes to being Lesbians and no to men.

The only reason I can think of why Lesbians make fun of that time and of how we looked is that they are embarrassed by so many women being so clearly out and rejecting male rules and they want to police us into being less threatening and more assimilated. (You would think they’d invested in the cosmetics and other industries selling male-invented femininity.)  A few Fems from that time now talk bitterly about the “pressure” they felt to look like Lesbians, ignoring the harassment and sometimes lethal punishing pressure in patriarchal society (from family, het women and male friends, at work, from strangers, etc.) to look more het/feminine.

Now, most of the Lesbians I know pass as het. The more extremely male-defined feminine a Lesbian is, the more valued she is. Occasionally, there are defensive comments like, “What do you mean? How does someone look like a Lesbian?”  But we all really do know what it means – it means looking the way patriarchy forbids us to look, which deeply threatens those who support patriarchy. It means looking free and looking how only the most oblivious would not recognize as Lesbian. It means being able to identify each other in public. It means being proud to not assimilate or succumb to the pressure to feminize, including saying “I don’t want to waste my time and money trying to make myself fit impossible standards that leave most women feeling inadequate.” And to some of us, it means looking far more attractive.

There is a high price to pay for always looking like an out Dyke. It can mean being harassed by family, being disowned, hated and ridiculed, being threatened and attacked physically and verbally,  evicted, losing jobs, not getting jobs, etc.  Out Lesbians have been raped and killed for looking like Dykes.

Many Lesbians who are not Butch get Lesbian oppression. The more Dykey they look, the worse it is. But Butches basically do not or cannot pass as het, even the few who try to. That creates a whole other level of oppression. But it’s how Butches are treated in Lesbian communities that I’m writing about here, because if we can’t treat Butches as equals and with respect in our own communities, there isn’t much hope elsewhere.

For the first time, I am hearing Lesbians point out a particularly attractive Butch, saying “She’s so ugly. She looks just like a man.” Well, no, she doesn’t look like a man at all. She looks the opposite. The policing is so extreme, that I’m even hearing such insults said about stereotypically “cute” Fems with painted toenails, just because they have short hair and look like Lesbians. It is not a safe time and place to be an out Lesbian among Lesbians, let alone a Butch.

In just one week recently, I heard three Butch-hating comments from Lesbians. (And I can only imagine how much harder these onslaughts are for Butches with no support.)

On a hike, two Fems began commiserating about how hard it had been for them in college to find Lesbians to identify with because the only Lesbians they’d seen were Butch. (From experience, I’m guessing those “Butches” were probably mostly Dykey Fems since there aren’t that many Butches.) It didn’t occur to these Lesbians that by adhering to mainstream standards of how women are supposed to look, they were making it impossible for other Lesbians to find them. It’s as if they thought it was Lesbians’ responsibility to seek out and rescue them. The “Butches” took risks to be so visible, yet instead of being appreciated, they were criticized. Would it have been better for all the Lesbians to pass as het at those colleges? I think the real issue is that looking so Dykey was and is threatening to women. But why? What are they really scared of?

I think it comes back to the fear of being considered “abnormal” and not fitting in (“what will people think?”) – and daring to challenge rigid male rules of how females are “supposed” to look, which women continue to enforce. I frequently read Lesbian writers being very impressed with women displaying the various feminine styles that pretend to be wild, outrageous, and edgy with piercings, tattoos, elaborate hairdos, high heels, etc. – but these are just a variation on how women are expected and demanded to look, and are actually boringly mainstream. It is Butches and Dykey Fems, who are truly showing courage and, by their existence, are threatening patriarchy.

I don’t understand why so many women don’t seem capable or willing to understand basic feminist politics, like that “femininity” is male – male-invented, male-identified, and a caricature of true femaleness. It’s a colonized status, with obvious parallels with other colonized people who are pressured to assimilate. It is a demeaned appearance, demanded of women to display their supposed inferiority, and especially their subservience to men. That’s part of why it’s such a joke for men to dress in drag – they love to humiliate women. Nothing about “femininity” is female. It’s a patriarchal con. Yet, most women wholeheartedly accept and identify with it, and will defend it so rigidly and irrationally that they refuse to even think about the issue. Again, why is it so terrifying to explore?

The flip side of women’s fear of being too “Other” is women being extremely concerned about protecting some people who claim to be oppressed for being “Other” — as the “trans” identify, even though they have far more privilege than Butches — while undermining our communities by showing no concern for Butches. During that same week of the hike, I went to a Lesbian brunch where a Hard Fem was telling us about how terribly difficult it was for F2Ts (Female to Transsexuals – women who say they are men.)  I answered that they are women who no longer want to be us, and no longer want to be oppressed as women and/or Lesbians. (I do not believe people can change sex any more than they can change species. They are women opting for privilege at our expense. I’ve heard/read some say that they want to be men to get better jobs, more “chicks,” and because they dread becoming “old women.” I do not understand why we are expected to not only support them, but to put their desires above Lesbians,’ other than that usually everyone is considered more important than Lesbians. Of course it’s important to support anyone who is oppressed, but F2Ts are not more oppressed than Butches or Lesbians.)

As soon as I started to object to the comment, the het-looking woman began to lecture me with the trans cult line: “You have no idea what it’s like to grow up never feeling like you fit in!” Had she not bothered to look at me? This was an objectifying insult because anyone can tell immediately that I grew up exactly like she had described – knowing I never fit in as a “normal,” proper feminine girl. I have always felt like an outsider because I hated and rejected male-identified “femininity” from my earliest memories. I had no support — not one book or film showing Lesbians in anything other than the most horrible, degrading, terrifying stereotypes. You certainly couldn’t turn on the television like now, and see much-loved public Lesbians. Meanwhile, many F2Ts actually are Fem or het women who grew up fitting in quite well. But here was an example of the experiences of Butches being appropriated by a privileged Fem who was oppressing a less privileged Butch on behalf of F2Ts who had betrayed us both.

Then another Hard Fem at the brunch told us about how her nineteen year old daughter was a Butch who was lovers with another teenaged Butch. This sounded like a rare and wonderful event to me. But the mother was very upset because her daughter’s lover was “too Butch” and she preferred her to be with a more “womanly” Lesbian. When I protested, the first woman said confidingly to me, “It’s really more about class.” Meaning the young Butch was just too blatantly poverty class to be good enough for her daughter.

Sometimes I despair about Lesbians and women. But then I remember what all this means politically – it is clearly about the worshipping of patriarchal oppressive standards which too many women have adopted as their own – and that means that these attitudes and ways of hurting other women can be changed, just as some formerly right wing women have changed and now fight for justice. But unlike with other issues of privilege and oppression, specifically Lesbian issues are ignored. Our communities have been inundated with women who were determinedly het, sometimes for decades, often with the privilege and arrogance that that means. Unless they examine and change their lesbophobic and Lesbian-hating attitudes and politics, they undermine and destroy our communities.

The reason we wrote our book was to explain the internal factors among Lesbians and feminists that keep us from fully allying and fighting patriarchy. Recognizing female-hating and Lesbian-hating – which means recognizing all the ways that women who are more allied with, identified with, and committed to patriarchal standards betray Lesbians and women who have rejected those male rules – is the only way we can have truly loving, diverse and egalitarian Lesbians communities. This is in addition to fighting other oppressions among us, such as racism, classism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, etc. Other feminists have written about these issues. Almost no one has named the oppression of Butches, Lifelong Lesbians, and Never-het Lesbians in Lesbian communities as well as in patriarchy. If anything, growing up as a lone Lesbian or Butch, feeling like you never belonged, being ostracized and put down by other girls, family, neighborhoods, schools, etc. is said to be “lucky” or a “privilege.” Even though oppressed by the dominant culture, other people who are treated as inferior or who are marginalized usually at least have their families, neighborhoods, and communities where they experience belonging. Most young Butches grow up completely alone, with no one around them reflecting them or supporting them.

Lesbians who betray other Lesbians on behalf of patriarchy, to make themselves more comfortable, do end up hurting themselves as well. But they still benefit from the power they wield over other Lesbians, sometimes including their own daughters.

I experienced another example of common anti-Lesbian attitudes recently at a Lesbian party in a town known for being right wing and mainstream. A Lesbian I was talking with said that she felt different from the others at the party. Since common introductions at some of these events consist of: “What do you do?” (career talk), “My children…,” “My grandchildren…,” I was very curious how she was different. But then she said, “I’m more suburban, I don’t like the word Lesbian, and I want to be more normal.” She looked almost startled for a moment when she realized what she’d said. She’s not the only one to feel like that. Self-hatred is sad enough, but it’s worse when it affects other Lesbians as well.

Femininity Is a Choice

I want to talk about how assimilating into men’s rules for how girls and women “should” look hurts Butches, but I also don’t want to upset my friends who do choose to look male-defined feminine. There are many compromises that we all make. I have a Dyke Separatist friend in her twenties who said, “I have to look like this — gesturing to her long, styled hair and feminine clothing — if I want a lover.” It’s not true, but any increase in privilege does give an increase in options. If it’s that difficult for someone who’s prime age, how much harder is it for old Lesbians who are being subjected to ageism, including disapproval and ostracism?

Looking extremely feminine improves Lesbians’ and women’s career options. Some women singer/songwriter/musicians know that being respected, with their skill and talent recognized and appreciated, is greatly influenced by how they look. They are expected to look “beautiful” by feminine standards. I don’t criticize them or any woman for this, but I just want to stir awareness for women to support women who will not or cannot fit male dictates for what a woman is supposed to look like.

I don’t mean to make anyone who chooses to look feminine feel bad. But there is no way to talk about the increase in butchphobia and Butch-hatred without talking about enforcement of male-created femininity. We can’t stop societal and male hatred of us, but women can stop policing girls and other women to obey male rules. And when feminine-looking women object to and talk about Butch oppression, it’s taken more seriously. So they can be excellent allies.

Lesbian oppression (for being Lesbians) hits Butches much harder. That is part of why we all need to be aware of it and acknowledge it. Far too many Butches (particularly those who are also oppressed by classism and racism) have already died far too young. Being hated and scapegoated, in mainstream patriarchy, among feminists, and even among our own Lesbian people takes a severe toll.

If all Lesbians made sure they were visibly Lesbians, that would dramatically change things for us – as opposed to most now passing. When the subject comes up, most Lesbians profess to not understanding at all what it means to be Butch or Fem, other than extreme caricatures. Yet, each woman does daily make a conscious decision about how she will look in the world. There is even a distinct look that some Fems choose, which seems to be a kind of uniform or signal identifying them as Lesbians but which is still clearly Fem and not any way that a Butch would choose to look.

For those who don’t feel safe being out, do try to help fight Lesbian-hating and Butch-hating when you can. For women choosing femininity, do think about why you make that choice. Is it out of fear of harassment? Is it to look “attractive?” For Fems attracted to Butches, you clearly find that look attractive, so why not choose it for yourself? If your reaction is about wanting to look like a “real woman,” and you recoil at the thought of looking like a Dyke, please explore and change your bias. There should be groups for Unlearning Butch-hatred and Unlearning Lesbian-hatred as there are about other issues that divide us. Since some non-Lesbians and het women are also working to fight male-identified femininity inside and outside of themselves, I want to acknowledge these women as WFF – Women Fighting Feminization – which reflects that it is a continual and essential process for fighting patriarchy. (An example is Megan Mackin, a non-Lesbian, who, in an effort to be supportive to Butches, explored the issue of rejecting femininity at her blog.)

“Why don’t Lesbians just stop separating and identifying as different groups? That’s divisive.  I don’t even know what a Butch is anyway.”

Well, I guess that’s because you aren’t one and don’t notice how we’re being treated. (Most Butches do understand and know who they are, even those in denial.) We wouldn’t need to identify separately if we weren’t made to feel like we don’t belong — if we weren’t being treated as different, other, inferior (including in lover relationships). Typically, in patriarchy, the most privileged, especially if they are a majority, dominate. They either drive out those they oppress or they bully and insult. Their dominant position is too often taken for granted. Many Fems, particularly those who identify as “radical feminists” and claim to not be Fem, question why the existence of Butches is even mentioned. This is exactly how most het feminists treat Lesbians.

Butches are like a barometer of Lesbian oppression – the more that Butches are maligned, the worse it is for all Lesbians. So it’s in all Lesbians’ interest to support Butches. But for the lesbophobic, we completely upset their het-identified world of “normal” Lesbians. The same thing also often happens when ex-het Lesbians are dominating a conversation with assumptions that we all have been het, and make jokes about “virgins.” Do we object and say we exist, or do we not put ourselves through the inevitable harassment and attempts to humiliate? It is all about the most privileged Lesbians’ experiences and lives being the most recognized and valued. It’s the classic situation that happens with other issues of privilege and oppression, except that those with otherwise good and even radical politics, too often revert to being right wing when it comes to specifically Lesbian oppressions.

For those who just can’t handle their lesbophobic emotions about the existence of Butches, do you really mean to be asking “How dare you exist and how dare you make those of us looking down on you uncomfortable?” Do we not have the right to say we exist and to discuss how and why we are treated differently from other Lesbians and other women?

How Butches are treated in patriarchy and in our Lesbian communities is a more severe form of how Lesbians as a group are treated. When the existence of Butches is denied or we are treated as freaks, then love and acceptance of Lesbians as a people is missing. Butches are the most obvious, the most out of Lesbians. We are feared and hated. We are ridiculed and scapegoated. We are even said not to exist. That is how Lesbians as a group are treated by Lesbian-hating hets, and that lesbophobia and Lesbian-hating are brought into our communities from ex-het Fems, who are the majority and so dominate.

The fear and hatred is damaging enough, but having our existence denied is much worse.

Whenever a Lesbian says she doesn’t understand why anyone identifies as Butch, that’s because she’s not Butch and it doesn’t affect her. She’s not hurt for being Butch or she would understand. It’s similar to het women not understanding the importance of Lesbians identifying as Lesbians. (Although there is a difference, because het women could choose to be Lesbians. Being Butch is also a choice, but one made in childhood.) We need to define ourselves because we are not represented in the dominant culture or even in the Lesbian media. We are rarely, if ever, represented in media images of Lesbians or we’re presented as a horrible stereotype or a joke. Sometimes we’re commented on as a prurient interest of Fems who objectify us.

We are treated as Butch whether we want to be or not. Those who profess to not understand what this issue is about, do treat Butches differently. It’s like those who profess to be unaware of class or classism, claiming to be “class-free” while being classist.  That’s a privileged option for those in the power position because they are not the ones being treated as inferior, which happens to the class-oppressed whether we identify or not – and the oppressiveness is still there because people do know, whether they are conscious of it or not. Those of us who are aware of these issues can see it clearly even in personal and written interactions.

Those who deny the existence of class or of Lesbian or Butch oppression are more likely to use their privilege to control, intimidate, and hurt others. Those who dominate always insist there is no oppression. This is what men do to women in denying that sexism and patriarchy exist.

I often wonder what Lesbians who deny the existence of Butches think when they hear men and het women and the media joke about us. Do they cringe and then vow to be more obedient to male rules so no het would ever take them for such a despised creature?  In spite of Butches being a joke in the mainstream and even Lesbian media, there is so much pressure to feminize girls and women that they rarely show a real Butch. When a “Butch” is shown, it’s a feminine woman who is a bit less made up and less drag queen-looking, but who is still clearly not Butch. Even the “L Word” television series had not one Butch. The long-running cartoon series “Dykes to Watch Out For” never showed a Butch once, but did show a boy pissing on a Lesbian and semen dripping from a condom. That was amazing to me about how threatening Butches are, for these supposedly diverse representations of Lesbian community included so many characters over years and still did not show a single Butch. (Many Lesbians thought the sado-masochistic, non-monogamous, trannie-supporting character with a crewcut, Lois, was a Butch, but her look and behavior was the opposite of Butch and very much the image of a genderqueer “boi” Fem.)  Male money and a television network was behind “The L Word,” but the comic book series was done by one Lesbian. Both influenced our cultures and our lives.

Again, why are Butches so threatening that the mainstream media and Lesbian media refuse to even show us?

The horror of being called Butch is used to terrorize girls and women into being even more artificial and male-identified feminine to escape such an insult. Most women want to placate their oppressors, who, after all, ARE dangerous. Women then police girls and other women on behalf of men. (Very important to not anger Daddy.) Women who are the most threatening to men are the most policed. This can be subtle – with constant suggestions about “improving appearance,” which just happen to fit in more with male standards – or less subtle, like open ridicule of Butches.

Identifying as Butch can bring up self-hatred since “Butch” is a term so used against us with contempt, but it can also give us pride and a way to share support and culture with others. I believe that identifying who we are gives us a means and language to connect with others and defend against bad treatment.

For those who are not defensive, and who love women and Lesbians enough to care, it is easy to learn about who Butches are. I have friends who can immediately recognize Butches. Many can do it from just seeing a photograph or hearing a voice. As a Fem friend said, “Just look around. Butch oppression is obvious.” There is a Butch look that is instantly recognizable. I have seen that same exact look among Maori, Thai, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Chinese, Filipina, Native American, Mexican, Serbian, English, French, German, US (from so many backgrounds and races) Butches.

Butch Myths and Objectifications

I believe that Butches are closer to what all females would be without patriarchy.

But the common myth about Butches is that Butches are “male” or “masculine.” Refusing to follow male rules does not make someone “masculine,” but the opposite of masculine. Butches are the least male of women because we refuse to obey men. Just because men have declared that the more comfortable, better made, and less humiliating clothing is just for them, does not make it male.

Feminists have always known that it is an insult, not a compliment, to be called “male” or “masculine.” But now too many women eagerly embrace that insult or they caricaturize themselves in order to escape it.

Standing in a natural grounded way also does not make a woman male. Women are told from girlhood to look uncentered to not appear masculine, which is part of why wearing high heels is required. (If men like how they look, they should wear them!  It’s horrifying to see the comeback they’ve made, including in singing TV contests where women are at an extreme disadvantage compared to men.) Notice the vast difference in images used to denote female versus male. Many public restrooms signs show men taking up space with a wide stance, while the “women’s” sign is like a one-legged top in a dress. Humiliating and demeaning. Every media silhouette I have seen depicting female versus male shows a dignified strong male image and a weak, flimsy female image. None of this propaganda is innate, natural, or normal, but it affects us from girlhood about how to look “properly,” though unnaturally, female.

In some cultures women aren’t allowed to drive. When a few brave women risk torture and imprisonment by driving, do we call them male or masculine?

Lesbians may claim to not be “butch-phobic,” but their Butch-hating can show itself in cruel ways, such as obsessing about physical characteristics, which reveals they believe Butches are aberrations with hormonal imbalances. One Lesbian, who had literally run away from a workshop I and my ex-lover did about equal lover relationships and Butch oppression, actually asked, “Why are Butches slim-hipped if it’s not a hormonal problem?” This reminded me of a doctor and an alternative healer who had both said I must have a hormonal imbalance when I said I was a Lesbian. This “Radical Lesbian Feminist” had just been at a large gathering with several Butches who were out as Butch, and who were anything but “slim-hipped.” She also must not have noticed the large-breasted Butches (and neither do the Lesbians who say such Butches “look like men” — unless men now have large breasts.) Since Butches are less obedient about following male dictates, we are more likely to be bigger and fatter than Fems, many of who starve themselves into being skinny. (This is not a criticism of naturally thin women, but of those who deliberately deprive themselves of adequate nutrition to fit feminine standards.) Of course there are thin Butches, but there are less of them than thin Fems and less than thin het women. I have never heard anyone speculate about inadequate female hormones when commenting on malnourished, bony models. This same “radical feminist” called a Butch friend “a prick” in an argument. Her Butch-hatred reeks of Lesbian-hatred.

Then there are the many Fems who do recognize the existence of Butches, but objectify us with a similar sense of ownership towards us that men have towards women – as if we somehow belong to them. If we say that we are more attracted to Butches or are not attracted to Fems, we are told that we can’t possibly mean that, or we just haven’t found the right Fem yet. It’s the same kind of patronizing amusement men have towards Lesbians. I’ve actually been told that two Butches together are missing out. (On what? Inequality? I never did find out.) It’s just what men say about two women together. These predatory Fems never even bother to ask about how our experiences with Fem lovers we’ve had over the decades led us to prefer being with Butches. Then there are Lesbians who are so freaked out by the idea of Butches loving each other that they announce that we couldn’t possibly be real Butches.

Now it’s true that many Butches are so self-hating that they worship Extreme Fems beyond what would make an equal relationship. Butches aren’t unique in this. Other oppressed people often value those who appear more like their oppressor or who try to assimilate. I see most Fems where I live also more interested in Extreme Fems than in Lesbians who look like Dykes, whether Fem or Butch. It feels like the patriarchal media has won out, after all these years of bombarding us with male-defined “beauty.” It’s not just that many/most Lesbians want to be lovers with women who look like movie stars – they want to be seen to be lovers with women who look like movie stars.  In my old community, these extremely feminine women would have been looked at warily, as if they might not be truly Lesbians. This isn’t being unfair – women who do follow male rules of how we are supposed to look are more likely to have been het and to go back to men.

Women, like other colonized people, have been given a caricatured, fetishized representation of how we are not only supposed to dress, but move, gesture, talk, laugh, think, etc. Most women learn unnatural patterns of behaving while being little girls when they are punished for acting naturally and rewarded when obeying male rules.

What is heart-breaking is how much self-hatred there is among Butches. Some have  been encouraged by their Extreme Fem lovers to believe and say that Butches have “male privilege” — which of course is never true. When I’ve challenged some Lesbians about how that could possibly be, they describe something I’ve never witnessed, such as that Butches are deferred to in conversations. Butches are never treated as men. Butches are treated as the most abnormal, queerest of Lesbians. Fems usually can make more money, have more status in the world and with family and friends (as “real” women), and are more likely to own houses as a result of having had husbands, and sometimes families who gave them money. (Butches are more likely to be disowned, and more Butches are class-oppressed.)

Then there is the lesbophobic myth that identifying as Butch means we role-play. Yet Lesbians can be outrageously Fem and not be accused of role-playing

I have NEVER played roles. Daring to discuss differences does not mean we play roles. Identifying as Butch does not mean playing roles — it means identifying as a marginalized, oppressed, invisiblized minority in Lesbian communities. We get it in the het world for being the most out, obvious Lesbians, and we get it in our own communities.

It doesn’t help that almost the only thing written about us in books is by Fems and bisexual women who further the stereotypes against Butches. What I have seen in decades of being out as Butch is that it’s Fems who have pushed Butches into role-playing, partly because it makes them feel less overtly Lesbian. Sado-masochism, including using dildos, is part of that. Dildos are absolutely mainstream among non-feminist Fems, as is sado-masochism. (The third Butch-hating comment I heard in that one week was by a Fem who was planning a “sex” workshop. She said that she’d have to keep an eye on all of her dildos to stop the Butches from stealing them. Why would any Butch want an ugly dildo? At another event, a Fem threw her large collection of dildos out into the Lesbian audience.)

At a Butch Voices conference dinner, I brought up how upset I was that a workshop organizer assumed all Butches used dildos, calling it “Butch cock.” I asked how many of us have been sexually assaulted by pricks and all that they represent, comparing dildos to sado-masochist use of right wing paraphernalia in scenes. An Extreme Fem bisexual patronizingly lectured me about how much better sex was using objects. I answered that something is seriously wrong if a Lesbian prefers silicone in the shape of a prick over the feel of her lover’s hands and body, and why would someone want to use a prick-shaped object on her lover, instead of feeling her? No way was this het-looking woman in full make-up going to bully me into believing the incredible loving, wild, and passionate love-making I have shared with lovers would be improved with ugly objects. She finally resorted to telling me that it probably was too late to change at my age – an ageist version of the usual sado-masochist taunt implying I was a prude or had never heard of dildos before. I’d been saying no to ugly dildos since first being told about them when I was 14.

I have heard Butches say they hate the idea of dildos, but have been pressured to use them on ex-het Fem lovers – for obvious reasons. I wonder how many of those women are then fantasizing about being with a man, because of their Lesbian-hatred. By using objects, they can disconnect, as opposed to feeling and being felt by another woman’s body, which is a continual reminder that they are Lesbians and are doing things that can still be punished by death in some countries.

A horrific aspect of role-playing that I recently heard about is the so-called “Stone Fem,” who will only be lovers with a Stone Butch. I’ve believed that the Stone Butch is an Extreme Fem creation since I have never known of a Butch who willingly, happily said she never wanted to be made love to. What I have heard is Butches talking painfully about Fem “lovers” who refused to make love to them or who refused to make love to them with equal passion, attention, time, and love. Once you fall in love with  a woman, it can be very hard to acknowledge, even to yourself, that she doesn’t love you as much as you love her. (I believe the “Lesbian Bed Death” myth is usually about the Fem or both Fems – the majority of Lesbian relationships are two Fems together – stopping wanting to make love. Butches are much less likely to stop.)

I believe some Butches, and particularly those without support, do sometimes end up as Stone Butches because it can feel less painful to take on that identity than to continually face inequality in love and love-making. After years of bad treatment, some just stop hoping for real love and shut down. It’s a travesty that some Fems have turned such a traumatic, painful aspect of Butch oppression into a fetish. I can’t imagine how some Fems can justify identifying as “Stone Fems.” It’s like declaring, “I really am an incredibly selfish, misogynist, Lesbian-hating, and Butch-hating person and I’m proud of it. I just want to be the complete center of love, attention, and pleasure, and I want to make my lover feel alone, unloved, and worthless. Aren’t I wonderful?” It reeks of role-playing and sado-masochism.

Identity Appropriation Is Not the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Another part of the objectification of Butches is when Fems claim to be Butches.

It’s not uncommon for Radical Lesbian Feminists who are threatened by the mention of Butch existence to claim that they were never feminine girls. (Many het women film actors in their biographies claim that they were ‘real tomboys,” even though their girlhood photos could not look more feminine.) In spite of these Fems’ attempts to prevent Butch oppression from being discussed and our identity erased, there seems to be a deep awareness that Butches fought patriarchy from the beginning on some levels, and so they envy Butches, but without wanting to pay the price that Butches pay. It’s very unfair for the same women who as girls taunted and ridiculed little Butch girls (do they think we don’t remember?) to now claim our identity, even while some of them still look extremely feminine and would never be taken to be a Lesbian. Others decide to be authorities of what it means to be Butch and even write incredibly Butch-hating propaganda. (An example is Carolyn Gage’s “The Lesbian Butch: Hope of the Planet from Supplemental Sermons for a Lesbian Revival Tent.” Val M. and I co-wrote a response, which is at both of our blogs:Please Stop Butch-hatred: Critique of the Lesbian Butch: Hope of the Planet by Carolyn Gage.”)

It’s become standard in Lesbian communities that no one is allowed to question anyone’s self-identity, no matter how bizarre. So there is no way any Butch can object to an extremely feminine woman (by any standards – long hair in a feminine style with stereotypical swishy mannerisms and speech patterns and wearing a dress) being in Butch groups. Appropriating our identity is one thing, but it’s even more harmful when Fems get into power positions in Butch organizations and control and influence the direction of the group into Butch-hating politics. One national Butch organization has at least two Fems on the boards, and I can’t help but think it’s not a coincidence that they encourage men claiming Butch identity to give workshops at their conferences, while refusing to allow even one workshop by and for female-identified Butches.

Some Fems even manage to force real Butches out of Butch groups. I was in such a “Butch” group for a year (our goal was to organize ongoing female-identified Butch groups), with one member who had long hair in a feminine style, wore lots of jewelry, constantly mentioned her children (Butch mothers aren’t common and they also don’t refer to being mothers so frequently in political groups), body language and gestures that were more like drag queen stereotypes. It didn’t help that the Fem identified as a “Leather top” (what I call a “Sadist”) and she brought a bull whip to every meeting — I believe partly to try to intimidate me. (She just looked silly while brandishing her whip, but I didn’t appreciate the bullying.) Half the original group quit or were kicked out, until I was left with the Fem and her Butch ally. I was soon also kicked out, leaving a “Butch” group planning a larger ongoing Butch meeting led by one Butch and one Fem.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of the women claiming to be Butch who use male pronouns for themselves are what I consider to be Fem. A number of Fems and even het/bisexual women have claimed to be Butch and later claim to be F2Ts, which leads many people to think that the majority of these women are/were Butch. In Loren Cameron’s book, “Body Alchemy,” all the “before” photos show adult feminine women who “transitioned” to male. Many of these women (like Loren herself and Pat Califia) later claim to be gay men because they return to being with men. I call them het or bisexual women – a “trans” version of fag hags. Some Butches became het when they were isolated and pressured, before finding other Lesbians. I have never known a Butch in a Lesbian community to go het.

Many of these women even sound and look more like stereotypical gay men, because their mannerisms and speaking style reflect how influenced they’ve been by gay men.

But the worst appropriation is the travesty that happened at the Butch Voices conference in 2012, where no female-identified Butch workshops were allowed, but where there were two workshops by men claiming to be Butch. One of the men said he had been raised by Lesbian Feminists. The men looked nothing like women and even less like Butches. Like F2Ts, these M2Ts, had mannerisms and voice patterns closer to gay men. They had no shame about appropriating our identity and rare space. I really feel that if they could kill real Butches and take our skin, they would. But, like with all men masquerading as Lesbians, they can never have what they most want – they can never have consensual sexual access and passion with a Lesbian, because any woman who would be intimate with them would no longer be a Lesbian.

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Guest Post — A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression by Pippa Fleming

A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression

Guest Post by Pippa Fleming

I’ve been holding silence for quite some time but now it’s time for me to speak.

When a Black child presents with signs of internalized racism, we want to protect them. We want them to know they are perfect as they are and loved for exactly who they are. If we are conscience Black folks, we try to infuse our young people with the knowledge, skills, wisdom and support necessary, so they may survive and thrive in this racist society.

If little Lakesha comes home with “mommy I hate being Black and I want to be white” we are shocked, dismayed and sadden by her self loathing and rush to find the source of her oppression. Is it school, the media, her peers, society or all of the above?

So why when little butch Lakesha comes home with “I hate my body and I want to be a boy” is she encouraged to take on male identity or the subject matter is avoided all together and she is left to flounder in a sea of gender conforming beliefs that lead to dysphoria and a life lived in the shadows?

From the moment a female child presents as butch she is loathed, feared and rendered invisible by her peers and elders alike. Why are we not outraged by butch oppression and willing to explore gender oppression like we look at race or class oppression? Why is it seen as status quo for young butch girls to hate their bodies the goddess blessed them with? Why are we ushering our baby butches towards male identity rather than exploring the causes of this type of self hatred?

We are quick to say that a Black person is suffering internally if they want to bleach their skin white or have plastic surgery to look more european… but if a child wants to cut their breasts off and get rid of their vagina this is acceptable! In turn, if I question this as a butch female, I am seen as transphobic.

 I am a gender non conforming female butch, who uses the men’s bathroom, is perceived as a man everyday I walk out my door and rendered invisible by society. Instead of expanding the boundaries of female identity to include all of it’s nuances, we have fallen desperate prey to that 1% we claim to despise!

To be Black, female and butch is to be a warrior, let us pray that more of us have the courage to love ourselves wholly and be outspoken mentors to young butches struggling not to conform to the impossible.

 And ain’t I a woman!

January 7, 2012

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Progress Versus Cooptation in the Radical Feminist Movement

 Progress Versus Cooptation

 in the Radical Feminist Movement

Bev Jo

One of the saddest things to me has been the altering and re-writing of the history our magnificent Radical Feminist and Lesbian Feminist movement of the Seventies. Entirely new words have been made up to describe and criticize the politics of that time. I want to ask all Radical Feminists to question everything they have been told, including which ideas and politics they are told “did not work” or were “bad.” Please don’t accept bizarre terms and names for us and our politics that we did not define ourselves.

Those of us who have been around a while know that those opposed to Radical Feminism and Lesbian Feminism make up names to insult and belittle us. “Cis” and “cis-gender” is one example of men simply calling us names. Please don’t accept their definition of us. Please don’t let someone outside of our movement limit us, re-categorize us, and define us out of existence.

Another term that is about re-writing our history in a way to influence our movement now is “intersectionality.” Now what the hell does that mean, really, and who made it up?  It was NOT part of any Radical Feminist discussion I have ever heard about or read until recently. Did I blink to have missed this? Please question any academic or bizarre term that is not immediately obvious, and assume it is a  reactionary attempt to liberalize or destroy Radical Feminism. And please don’t add to the power of a questionable word by using it, as if it is valid. Whatever is being discussed, there is always a word version that everyone can understand. The quickest way to destroy Radical Feminism is by making it an elitist movement for only the select few.

Yes, there was a complaint in the early Seventies against recognizing and ending racism, anti-Semitism, classism, ageism, ableism and more among us. It was quickly recognized as being a reactionary, right wing style of politics by the privileged (which you can see a variation of in the male right wing still), and was never a part of true Feminism or Radical Feminism.I have been part of the early truly Radical Feminist movement since I was a teenager, in 1970. I was not remotely interested in the pretend “feminism” of the privileged since they did not represent me at all. And they were boring. I was immediately drawn to and identified with the real Radical Feminist Women’s Liberation Movement, however. I read everything I could, much of which is far more radical than much of what I see now being written. I soon joined collectives and began writing articles, working on perhaps the first Lesbian Feminist conference in the world in Berkeley in 1972, published “Dykes and Gorgons,” one of the first Dyke Separatist newspapers in 1973, taught self defense classes for girls and women, etc. I never left our movement/community/culture. I never stopped.

I’ve known from the Eighties that our beloved Radical Feminist movement was being diluted and sold out in a number of ways. I blame the influence of academia and the influx of the combination of sado-masochism, porn, “fun fem” politics, and the genderqueer/GBT movement into our communities.

It wasn’t until I went online that I found out about a whole elitist “feminist”….(I don’t know what word to use — it isn’t a movement, it isn’t a community, it isn’t a culture — it feels like an in-crowd pretending to be radical) something…. that uses in-groupy terms I have never heard before, and so limits who is welcome and who can participate. Any women who comes across this group recognizes immediately that she can join only in an inferior position unless she is one of the rare few where her privilege gets her into a high position. An exclusionary movement is by its nature anti-Feminist. This new “feminism” pretends to be the modern, most evolved version of feminism, but is actually a return to the days before Feminism became real and powerful. Instead of being a new stronger feminism, it is more like the groups of very class and race privileged women who discussed how much of a better deal they could get from men, while still worshipping men and denying the existence of more oppressed women, including those who say no to men. (I’m talking of the media Feminism that was threatened by the “Lavender Menace” or any real radicalism.)

This reactionary politics is extremely destructive and narrowing and segregating of our once enormous, all-embracing Radical Feminist and Lesbian Feminist Women’s Liberation Movement.

So where did the term “intersectionality” come from and why is it being used against us?

Wikipedia says:

Intersectionality is a feminist sociological theory first highlighted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989). Intersectionality is a methodology of studying “the relationships among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relationships and subject formations” (McCall 2005). The theory suggests—and seeks to examine how—various socially and culturally constructed categories such as gender, race, class, disability, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and religion-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.

Decades after grassroots Radical Feminism recognized that injustice and inequality from patriarchy still exist among us, even when we are women living as separate from males as possible, this bizarre sociological analysis and term was developed, using the exact kind of language that continues those hierarchies.

The first part of fighting injustice is to refuse to accept the names that those who are trying to hurt you use against you.

“Intersectionality” is an academic term. That would explain why the elitist “101″ is sometimes added to it to explain it. “101″ is used to designate a college or university beginning class. Anyone without the privilege/money to go to college or university might not know this, so they are automatically made to feel that they don’t belong, and are discounted and disqualified from the discussion. Segregation begins, because classism is intrinsic to much of racism. Patriarchy thrives on in-groups, with most on the outside. Radical Feminists should NEVER do that to other Radical Feminists. It is not radical to make anyone feel they are not part of the ingroup, It is not radical to HAVE an ingroup.

Now anyone with half a brain, who is not invested in feeling superior to other women, will know that “higher” education gives you skills and privilege, but certainly does not make you smarter. In fact, the self-educated women I know are far smarter than most of the professors I know. However, once someone becomes deeply entrenched in a patriarchal system, they usually identify with it and then defend it. (Notice how doctors rarely break ranks even when their acquiesing means people die?) For one thing, if you want to write well — clear, direct, honest, accessible, and intelligently — you do not write in an academic style. It is elitist and limits your audience, including those whose first language is other than the language you are writing in, which is not good for any political movement. It is also much harder to con and manipulate your audience if your writing is direct. Anyone who has learned the academic style of writing has to unlearn it to not be boring and to sound coherent. But most academics deliberately use it to prove superiority.

Yes, there are a very few excellent Radical Feminist writers who are academics. Generally, they are from class-oppressed backgrounds and had to sense to never learn (or had the sense to later unlearn) convoluted patriarchal academic writing styles. I am not criticizing any woman who has gotten a good academic job. I am criticizing those who are using that privilege to alienate and isolate other women in order to have an elitist, segregated, intrinsically anti-feminist “feminism” that is more like a country club than a political movement or community.

If those elitist standards were in place in the early day of Radical Feminism, there would have been no Radical Feminism because most of our best, clearest thinkers and writers were class-oppressed and often race-oppressed, and most were Lesbians.

Suspicion of upper and middle class culture and their ties to patriarchal culture were intrinsic to early Radical Feminism. Everything we were taught that was absolute truth in patriarchy was treated with suspicion. Every lie and con, from the media to religion to schools to families, were examined and analyzed. There was no automatic worship or revering of the most privileged. Unlike in many of today’s “feminist” writings, blogs, facebook threads, etc., it was understood that Feminists did not laud science and doctors — these were the men who burned the real healers who were witches, these were the men who explained why genocide and slavery were good, because they set Nordic men at the top evolution and everyone else was there for those men to use, and these were the men who tortured and experimented on women (back when lobotomies shock treatments for women were not uncommon, and before the modern time where most women seem to be put on psychiatric drugs). I still am in shock when a “feminist” on a thread lectures about what is fact based on “science” and statistics formulated for pay by male companies. It is so frustrating to feel like we can never go beyond a certain very limited place because we have to keep going over and over the same things that were figured out 40 years ago.

The tragedy is that almost everyone I know who joined our movement after 1980 didn’t learn these basic ideas of Feminism. The most arrogant insist they know those politics even while revealing that they don’t. I have been on discussion threads that were virtually incomprehensible because of the academic language used. When I’ve asked for the discussion to be more accessible, including for those whose first language isn’t English, I’ve been ignored or told to get a dictionary. This is not like any “radical feminism” I have ever known. It’s not even liberal feminism. It’s right wing politics to separate the most privileged from the least privileged.

I was invited to one of these discussion threads (ironically about “privilege”) by someone I later heard described as a “feminist leader.”  (My original Radical Feminist movement had no leaders. Radical Lesbian Feminism was anti-leader because it was not Feminist to give your power to others. All women were encouraged to question and think for themselves. Those put into a leadership position tried to reject it. Mistakes were made, but the good intentions were there. There was an amazing warmth and camaraderie. There was community.)

I was new to this new reactionary style of not even pretending to not be elitist. I repeatedly asked the one who started the thread to write in clear and direct, rather than academic language. I wanted everyone I knew to have the chance to partcipate. She got worse and was supported by the group. I finally asked if they wanted a “community” segregated by racism and classism. They ignored me. I kept thinking of the brilliant Radical Feminists I know who would not feel welcome there or be able to participate. (One later said she watched it all and did feel too intimidated to participate. What a loss. And how dare they do that to her?) Meanwhile, the “leader” said she was “disappointed” in me and told us that she was “tearful.” She continued to harass and bully me until I felt it had become abusive. At the same time that this was unfolding, I was writing to a Radical Feminist friend and told her what was happening. When she heard who the “leader” was, she warned me that that was an ex-lover of hers who had been physically and emotionally abusive to her. She verified what I was feeling by describing her exact style of the manipulation. I tentatively mentioned to the discussion group who my friend was, and was immediately blocked from the thread. No warning, no explanation. I had gotten support from only one woman there, who had been harassed with me. She was also the only other woman who identified as working class.

Do I think that those who were part of that thread really did want a segregated group? I think it was less direct than that and that they did not want to give up showing off their arrogance and class status and privilege, and that that was more important than trying to make it be open to all Radical Feminists. I also saw them doing class bonding with some very unfeminist women there. Their class connection seemed more important than anything else. I believe that they would have been even worse except they were aware that it might make them look bad.

 But what a waste of a chance to help build a movement which could involve and include all women. Especially now, when those who are poverty class are increasing at a rapid rate, it’s even more important to be never use exclusionary language. Not to mention, I want the warmth, intelligence, kindness, humor, and love that I know is part of poverty class culture and is rare in colder class-privileged cultures. I often think that, with a few wonderful exceptions, the class-privileged are just not too bright or interesting. For one thing, most of them do believe they are better than the rest of us and they don’t even notice that they are not. If they have some feminist politics, they try to hide their feeling of superiority, but it does still show. Again, there are wonderful exceptions, so there is no excuse.

 Someone wants to bully or silence you?  They just use their privilege without shame or accountability. And most witnesses let it happen because those with the most privilege are the most valued.

“Reverse discrimination” and “reverse hierarchies” do not exist. It is a right wing idea, as is “oppression olympics” — as if talking about being oppressed ever got any woman anything other than worse treatment. I cannot believe that women who claim to be feminists are using such right wing language as “oppression olympics” and “reverse hierarchies.” Where does any Feminist who dares to talk about the oppression in her life and how she feels marginalized and patronized in a discussion with more privileged women get anything other than ridicule, patronizing, and banning? The treatment is so bad that most Radical Feminists have learned to just keep quiet about their lives and experiences, and the most privileged dominate and bully. And that is exactly what I believe these women want. It’s the country club mentality. How dare someone who they are oppressing talk about her meaningless life? (Of course, even the right wing has learned to have a few oppressed tokens, so mascots can be useful — as long as they obey.)

Yes, a very few individuals have bullied other Feminists by calling them oppressors. From what I’ve seen, it’s been around 2% compared to the arrogant bullying I’ve seen from those using privilege. Ironically, it’s class-privileged feminists who I’ve seen doing the most bullying about the issue of what we eat. I have dear vegan and vegetarian friends who never bully anyone, but that is the issue that I have seen be the most divisive and destructive for decades to our Radical Feminist movement, with class and race-privileged women (primarily) being the ones who are harassing and attacking other Radical Feminists over what we eat. I believe that using what is virtually the cult politics of aggressive veganism and vegetarianism to shame, ridicule, and lecture other Feminists is a way that a group of extremely privileged people with some awareness of politics can justify bullying other people. It is so bad that I have read self-defined “radical feminists” glory in seeing the video of a disabled Radical Lesbian Feminist — Lierre Keith — being physically attacked by a group of men at the Anarchist Book Fair because she dares to speak out about how having been a vegan for twenty years destroyed her health. Again, not all vegans and vegetarians are like this, but this issue has done tremendous damage in our Radical Feminist community. So where is the criticism about this division that I see with “intersectionality?”

The other criticism of talking about differences in privilege and oppression among us is that it will somehow divide us and get us to ally with men rather than  . Where did that come from? I never saw that being said in the early Seventies. We were discussing differences among us as women and Lesbians. It is the NOT discussing of differences that is a way for women to ally with men they share privilege with, especially if part of that privilege is substantial rewards they get from male family and ex-husbands.

 By the way, I’m a Lesbian Separatist and my political writing is rarely about men. My focus is on Lesbians and women as a movement, community, and culture. Every Radical Lesbian Feminist I know  is working towards us having a truly diverse and inclusionary Radical Feminist movement. Saying that sharing support or daring to talk about racism or classism or other issues of oppression that divide us is to ally with men is simply a tactic to shut us up.

The charge that acknowledging differences in privilege and power fractionalize us is the opposite of the truth. When we first began doing that in the Seventies, we created an open, welcoming, and truly diverse and strong Radical Feminist movement. I can’t think of any other movement where there was such a variety of women and where the poorest to the ruling class (family background) became lovers and friends. Nowadays, our “women’s” community feels much more deliberately segregated. Then, many Lesbians from rich backgrounds did not seem to feel as superior as now. And as a political movement, when you attack and humiliate and drive off the most oppressed, you end up with a weak gang of bullies who inevitably end up at each others’ throats.
If you really want to see what divides and “fractionalizes” us, notice how often classism is used to silence other women. Instead of just disagreeing in arguments, the class-privileged will use patronizing and parental language to attempt to humiliate and infantilize the class oppressed Radical Feminist. An example is to tell them that their politics or ideas are “absurd” or “ridiculous” or to be even more insulting. Notice when a discussion is respectful, as if between equals, and notice when tricks are used to dominate and prevent equality.

Or, as my friend, Val, said more simply, in response to the statement “Worst of all, is that intersectionality highlights the differences and therefore fragments any unity against patriarchy:”

I would have thought it’s the more privileged feminists not realizing that they are perpetuating patriarchy with their unexamined lesbophobic, racist, classist, etc. writings that is fragmenting our unity.


So, do we want a Radical Feminist movement that welcomes all females to be part of it, or do we want a segregated “movement” that consists only of the most privileged women and the few more oppressed women they keep as mascots? The last is not Radical Feminism and is far closer to right wing male politics.

Again, what is the goal of those who name-call and taunt anyone who dares to bring up feeling treated badly by the dominant classism and racism that is in any group, and which does not want to recognize oppression among us as relevant?  I think it really is to silence so they will not lose their positions of power, so they will not feel uncomfortable, and perhaps because they really do want an elitist movement.

If this is not their goal, then they can stop insulting and bullying the rest of us and join us in working towards continuing our original wonderful truly Radical Feminist movement.

Bev Jo

P.S.

December 2011

Since writing this, I’ve seen an even more upsetting anti-feminism masquerading as feminism – and that is deliberate censorship and selective editing on blogs and Facebook groups. These groups have become an important way to build Radical Feminist community and share ideas. I naively thought that such groups would be run collectively, but instead have seen virtual dictatorships with threats and banning, and, even worse, selective editing. A well-known blogger who does important work  exposing the “transgender” cult  posted at another blog and was edited non-consensually in a way that completely misrepresented her. In an fb “radical feminist” group, I and a friend were subjected to what can only be called classist emotional abuse, but the worst, most revealing comment (“Gee, let me dumb this down for you again, …..”) was selectively edited, as was my outraged response in defense of my friend. And then we both were banned, without explanation. (I had made the mistake of recommending a list of books by early Black women Radical Feminists, so an furious white class-privileged woman in the group went after me.)

Again, this is not remotely feminism but is right wing tactics. Editing out crucial parts of an argument?  Editing someone’s post against her will?  Some of the women doing this have amassed quite a bit of power and fame as “Radical Feminist” leaders, even though they are extremely Lesbian-hating het women still with men.

It’s one thing for those of us with support to be treated like this. But I worry about isolated or new feminists who don’t know that being censored isn’t  being done only to them and end up leaving our movement. Again, do we want an in crowd privileged clique of a tiny reactionary few, or do we want a truly diverse and inclusionary enormous Radical Feminist movement?

Please do know that if you have been censored, insulted, and ridiculed, that you are not alone and not all bloggers or fb groups are so cruel and unethical.

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