The Crimes of Mankind — and why heterosexuality is not compulsory

 Chapter 3

                   The Crimes of Mankind


How Patriarchy Uses Heterosexual and Bisexual Women against Lesbians


Bev Jo

(Based on the Original Version by Bev with Ruston and Linda)

All males as a group have power over all females. The overwhelming majority of men and boys harass, attack, and rape the majority of females. Those who aren’t able to physically attack us have other forms of power over us and attack us in other ways.

[2011 addition]: Even when a man seems to be socially responsible and fighting for justice, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t privately harming girls and women. There are some men who do seem to be genuinely kind, caring, and trustworthy, but that, sadly, doesn’t change what the majority are doing.

As Julian Real, a man who has a blog against patriarchy and who many women would consider feminist, says:

 “Women are essentialized and sexually commodified by all men, regardless of their culture, location, beliefs or lack of beliefs; trying to change men is futile — feminists of all stripes must get this.

We cannot kill men with kindness. If we could, they’d all be dead by now.

Any and all means necessary should be employed by women and allies to resist and rebel against patriarchy. After all, men, collectively, use any and all means necessary to oppress and destroy women and the Earth. This is not the ethic of “an eye for an eye” It is an ethic of “I have the right to kill those who seek to destroy me and my people before they succeed.”

Iman Gautam in India wrote this:

“I have heard the socialization excuse too. It’s nonsense. Biological men are naturally born rapists. What feminists say about men — that they rape because of their upbringing and social conditioning —  is total B.S. I am a man and I hate men and rapists because I was raped as a kid and I know how painful it is. Even after that, I feel like raping women when I see them. It’s a natural feeling because of testosterone. I try hard to control it because I know how painful it can be to be raped. But I don’t trust myself. I am a man and a potential rapist and I don’t trust myself because I can’t help with the testosterone. I can say that 100% it is not my upbringing – it’s nature. The only way to stop rape is to just not give birth to males. Girls and women can only be safe when there are no boys or men on this planet.”

Sadly, too many feminists are devoted to proving that men are no different from females. Why don’t they pay attention when men tell us the truth about themselves? Telling women to give yet more time and energy to males in order to change them is a mistake. That’s what women have been trying for millennia, and it obviously doesn’t work. Meanwhile, almost all females are raped, species are being exterminated, and the earth is being destroyed.

Most men pollute the earth for the sheer pleasure of it, not just as the by-product of their industries. Men love to leave their mark as a territorial statement, just as many male animals mark “their” territories by spraying. Of course, human males also mark with urine, as anyone who’s been in a public telephone booth knows. Even when public toilets are available, men leave their smell and mark on objects in ways females don’t.1

Some Lesbians say in anger that men are such “animals,” but that’s insulting to animals. Of course all mammals, including humans, are animals, but men are the least natural of animals. European-descent men in particular seem to have the goal of creating a completely artificial worldand have left their mark on the earth forever by altering the natural landscape in many places. They kill forests, build their ugly cities, change the land’s shape with their destructive farming and mining methods, and they’re even changing the weather.3 They’ve exterminated countless plants and animals, and their murder of entire species is accelerating. Their radioactive and toxic chemical wastes will contaminate many parts of the earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Plutonium, which is completely man-made, remains deadly for 250,000 years. One sixteenth of a millionth of a gram can kill a person, and men have already made thousands of pounds of it.4 If we didn’t know this was true, it would be hard to believe. Even so, it’s still unimaginable except in nightmares.  Man has truly left his mark on his territory and, for the most part, he’s very proud of himself.

People speak of “man’s inhumanity to man,” because the effect on females isn’t even considered. But Man enjoys his power and cruelty. It makes him more of a man. A male nuclear scientist who watched numerous nuclear explosions said what a “rush” it was because, “A male human being likes to see an explosion.”5   (And there are over 50,000 nuclear weapons on earth.)

Mankind has also left his mark on his female possessions. Many female humans of all ages across the earth, in many cultures, are literally owned by men. Some adult females are even owned by the boys who are the heads of their families. Fucking and inseminating females is the epitome of males marking their territory. Throughout the history of man, rape has been used for this purpose. For instance, what better way is there to permanently mark a people after invading their territory than for the invaders to rape and impregnate the females so that their future people are partly descendants of the invaders? Many females still think of rape as merely an expression of uncontrollable male sexual urges, but rape is literally marking and expanding territory. It’s a form of genocide.

Males raping girls in their families is also a territorial statement. Fathers who rape their daughters are saying, “This is my property to do with as I like. She will forever bear my mark.”  A huge number of females are subjugated in this way.

Because of the hierarchies men have created, men also oppress each other. Women with racial and class privilege have some power over more oppressed men, but all females are vulnerable to rape, sexual harassment, and other attacks by all males. Racist and classist lies portray racially- and class-oppressed men as the primary attackers of all females, but statistically, females are most likely to be attacked by males from their own racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds, and the attacker is usually someone we know.

Statistics show that over one-third of all females report being raped.6 The actual number of females raped are many times that — it’s been estimated that only 10% to 20% of sexual assaults are reported, which means that the majority of females are attacked by the majority of males. Most rapes aren’t reported, since dealing with male authorities like police, hospital, and courts mean experiencing mental and emotional rape. That’s not surprising, because men in those institutions are also likely to be raping girls and women.  And victims are often raped by the men they go to for help.7

Males everywhere are waging a physical and psychological war against all females that can only be described a gynocide. The few males who aren’t attackers benefit from the male rule of terror and do little to fight it.  Heterosexuality is a protection racket in which women choose particular men to protect them, thinking they’ll be safer.  But they’re actually putting themselves in more danger.  In the U.S. alone, a woman is beaten to death by her husband or boyfriend every four minutes8 — in fact, three out of four women murdered in the U.S. are killed by their husbands or boyfriends.9 It’s ironic that Dyke Separatists are baited by being told we “just want to kill all men,” when the reality is that it’s men who kill women.  If every female, including babies, were able to kill in self defense any boy or man who sexually assaulted her, there would be few, if any, men or boys left on earth. (There would be even less if every non-human female who was raped and tortured by male humans was able to kill her attacker.)

One of the biggest patriarchal secrets has been the rape of girls by male relatives in “normal, happy families.” We’re taught the lie of “family love,” but we live the reality of family rape.

Many Lesbians don’t want to know about the extent of family rape and the reality of male violence in general, and say that talking about it is “negative.”  That attitude weakens us. Knowing and facing the truth stops the flow of self-hatred in ourselves.  Men don’t want us to remember or to know what they’ve done and continue to do.  They don’t want us to remember the power we felt in our essence as little girls before they began their assaults.  And they don’t want us to regain our full selves, because then we can stop them and change the world.  Our families fight to stop us from talking about rape by male family, to protect our attackers.  For most of us, we already know the truth.  To finally say it out loud and to fight it politically releases the horror and frees us.

Girls are literally owned by their rapist fathers.  Families exist in order for men to be served by females — domestically, emotionally, and sexually.  A lot of us haven’t realized until recently that such sexual service is required of daughters as well as wives, and that the rapists include all male family members as well as fathers.  Combining the numbers of reported assaults10 with the many more unreported ones (especially knowing that many victims of rape by male relatives forget the attack, and others lack information to name it for what it is), we believe over 90% of all girls are victims of family rape.  Of the many females we know who were raped as girls, none reported it to the authorities.  The majority don’t tell what they know won’t be believed.  And they’re also in fear for their lives.  Most who did tell their mothers were not protected.  Instead, the mothers defended and protected their husbands, sons, and other male relatives, and the attacks continued.  The horror of living with rapists, sadists, and their collaborators — usually without the support of one person –means many little girls survive by forgetting the attacks and ultimately forgetting much of our/their own girlhoods.  This mental and psychic colonization10 is even more powerful than males’ ownership of our bodies.

The resulting amnesia of individual females mirrors the worldwide mass amnesia of our own female past, of the time before patriarchy existed, before subjection, rape, and torture were the “natural” order of things.  An entire population that’s brutalized into forgetting its own memories is easily manipulated.  Just as cultures are destroyed and colonized by the censoring of history, so also are individual lives damaged by the denial of our/their own pasts.  Those who do remember are made to feel confused, alone, and shamed by attacks which we/they were powerless to prevent.  Girl rape victims are told it was their own fault, just as adult victims are.  We’ll never know how many girls were murdered to prevent the truth being told.11

Meanwhile, the male media has rapidly co-opted the work of Dykes who’ve been publicizing the prevalence of rape by male family, faster than any other female issue since the beginning of the present wave of female liberation.  This attempt to control the issue shows how central it is to the oppression of females.  Rape, especially the rape of girls by their fathers, is the basis of patriarchy.  It’s the most brutal, early lesson we receive in our subjugated status as females.

The media talks of “child-molesters,” concentrating on the minority of boy victims, when it’s girls who are the prime victims.  They focus on the rare woman or Gay male perpetrator, which protects the vast majority of attackers, who are heterosexual males.  The truth is concealed about who the rapists usually are, and fathers, step-fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, etc., thus escape blame.  The attacker is described as “deranged,” “unusual,”12 and “sick.”  The reality is that the average rapist is a normal male, and studies have found the convicted rapist and “average” male to be psychologically indistinguishable.13  Elizabeth Ward writes,

“…it is obvious that the Fathers come from every class in society.  A judge, a          barrister, a diplomat, an eminent doctor, a university lecturer, a teacher, a university student, a businessman, a film star, a labourer, a tradesman, a public servant, a farmer, a counsellor, a minister of religion, a soldier, a politician, unemployed, handicapped, very old, very young:  Everyman.  All have raped girlchildren.”14

Far from showing concern for girl victims, the male media makes money off our/their bodies.  Rape has always been a big seller, spoken of in sexually provocative, sensationalistic, and pornographic ways.  Ads show young girls looking seductive in cosmetics.  For decades, the male media has depicted girls as “rape-bait.”  Men attack girls and then make films about it to get a thrill by watching themselves in action.  Now they’re trying to take credit for “exposing” rape by male family, which also means they’re controlling women’s reaction to it.  An explosive issue which could forever change all women’s attitudes toward men, heterosex, and the family is turned into a TV soap opera.

Something so full of pain and horror is actually trivialized by men.  How can they make rape seem trivial?  They take away the sharpness of the brutality and injustice, and present it in a bland, unreal form:  Daddy rapes his little girl, but he still “loves” her, and she “loves” him, and everything’s all right in the end — just like a het “love” story.  The family even stays together.15  IT IS LIES. That’s one of the most horrible things about patriarchy — it’s terrifying and destructive, yet also deeply boring and numbing.  The horror and damage immobilize us and take away our hope for change.  The numbing makes us passive.  Either way, men make it very hard to fight back.

The long-term emotional and physical effects of rape by male family are so severe that it’s a wonder that any girl survives, let alone survives with any spiritual strength, health, and clarity of mind and feelings, as most do.  Family rape is the cause of much illness, suicide, and psychiatric incarceration of girls and adult females.

“The idea of torture is to … demonstrate that there is no hope, that you can’t trust anyone, that you have no control from the point of torture on.” “Torture as a conscious exercise of … policy [is] systematic violence used to keep entire populations depressed, disorganized, humiliated and quiescent.”  These are statements in a newspaper about torture victims from Central America living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  “Symptoms can include anxiety and physical aches. There may be nightmares, painfully vivid memories, muteness, overwhelming grief, insomnia or withdrawal.” These are also among the many effects victims of rape by male family suffer.  They’re reacting the same way as torture victims. “A terrifying message can be sent to entire communities by returning prisoners to their families, broken and silent, or by dumping mutilated bodies in public places.”16 — like girls at school witnessing each other’s silent pain, like girls, Lesbians, and women hearing about yet one more attack, rape, mutilation, and murder of a girl or adult female. Comparisons to political torture clearly demonstrate the true reasons for rape by male family in a way nothing else can.  It’s a male policy decision about the management of potentially rebellious female-kind.  (Females in countries where prisoners are routinely tortured are doubly terrorized, and damaged, being subject to this plus family rape.)

We’re not claiming men openly talk with other men about their decision to rape their daughters.  But their actions all point to a mass male agreement on the rape and torture of girls:  the male media either ignores or exploits the issue; the male police, legal, and social work systems collude by failing to prevent this crime and convict the rapists; so-called “radical” men are silent in the face of the now widely-publicized statistics, trials, and victims’ stories; and males tolerate, defend, buy, act in, and film pornography involving girls.  They may not make explicit government policies saying all men should attack and rape all girls, but in every way, men’s reaction to the issue indicates their approval.  The judge who fails to convict a rapist of girls is, after all, likely to have raped his own daughters.

Boys Will Be Boys

Mankind is poisoning the Earth.  The air and water are contaminated, cancer and other man-made diseases are epidemic,17 and the same men who can create nuclear war at their whim are casually raping their daughters and other females.  Female apologists for men and boys say that males are rapists because they were sexually assaulted when they were young.  Why then aren’t most females rapists too?  Or they say the problem is merely socialization — that “males were only taught to do these horrible things” (by who?) and “they’re really no different from females.”  But the truth is obvious to anyone who’s not invested in believing the lies.

Females are clearly physically different from males.  We have different organs, physiology, and body chemistry. Our brains are also anatomically different and function differently.  The corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects its two halves, is bigger in females, which means that females use the intuitive right side and factual left sides of our brains in a more balanced way than males.  Female brains also use 20% more energy than male brains.  Testosterone changes brains permanently, causing males to be much more violent than females.  Ninety percent of violence in the world, across all cultures, is committed by men and boys.  The man who compiled this information said, “Men are competitive and less sensitive to context.  How do we insure global peace in an atmosphere charged with testosterone?”18 Why do Lesbians so avoid thinking about the proven effects of testosterone?  Men talk about it openly. It’s why male farm animals are routinely castrated — otherwise they’re uncontrollably violent and dangerous.19 (As Michael Moore, said to Bill Maher on his HBO show, “We want to fuck anything in front of us.”)

The behavior of other male mammals is similar to human mammals; brutality, constant violence, fighting over territory, obsession with fucking, and sometimes killing females they are trying to rape.  Certainly socialization doesn’t cause male animals to act the way they do, because they don’t have the same cultural history as humans.

Some female mammals, such as elephants and lions, choose to live in groups where the adults are all females.  The adolescent males are ejected and from then on live alone.  Male lions frequently prey on the female societies, intruding on their territory, stealing their food, and killing lion cubs, including their own offspring.  These aren’t just biological differences, but spiritual differences.  Body and spirit are united.  You can usually distinguish a male animal from a female just by its facial expression.  Most radical Lesbians don’t believe in the innate differences between males and females even when they can feel that difference.  Perhaps it’s too hard to face the fact that nature isn’t perfect, because that also means facing the fact that males won’t change their brutal ways.  Yet it doesn’t really matter whether males can’t or won’t change, because they aren’t changing.  And that is their choice and their responsibility — Lesbians shouldn’t devote our lives to males, pleading with them to stop their violence.

Why do most adult females forget the incredible cruelty and nastiness of the boys of their childhood?  Boys are miniature men who grow up to have the power of adult men.  They actively oppress girls in the same way men oppress females, by humiliating, insulting, beating, raping, and even killing them.  We know Lesbians who were sexually assaulted when they were little girls by boys as young as seven years old.  We know of a seven-year-old girl raped by her nine-year-old brother.  This isn’t uncommon.20

Boys also verbally and physically assault Dykes and women.  Adult females sometimes arrogantly believe themselves safe from boys’ physical attacks, but if there are enough boys or if the females are unable to fight back, they too can become victims of even very young boys.  And because of their age, boys are rarely punished and are safe from prosecution even when they’ve committed murder — after all, “boys will be boys.”

As our Separatist friend, Katinka, from Sweden, wrote to us:

“These are just a few of the things I read in the newspapers recently; a 7-year-old girl stoned to death by a boy, a 10-year-old girl stabbed to death by a 16-year-old male, a 58-year-old woman stabbed in the neck and killed by an 11-year-old boy, a 13-year-old stripped naked and beaten in the schoolyard by boys, and a 6-year-old girl who had been kicked so severely by boys her own age at a day care that she had nightmares and screamed while sleeping.  A friend of mine in West Virginia told me about a murder reported in the newspapers there.  A Lesbian had been stabbed to death by her 15-year-old son; he stabbed her lover as well but she survived.  The crimes of even younger boys against girls and baby girls never reach the news media of course and these boys as well as teenage boys are never punished in any way since the girls are blamed and no one really recognizes it as oppression to begin with.”21

In Katinka’s article, “In Defence of Dykes’ and Girls’ Lives,” She says:

“Lesbians are often ‘shocked’ at many Lesbians’ hatred of boys.  Why is that?  I am shocked, angered and disappointed by many Lesbians’ lack of understanding of girls’ lives.  Hatred and anger are healthy and natural reactions to oppression.  These feelings are also politically important and necessary.  My hatred of men and boys grows all the time when I see what they do to women and girls, and the indifference of others never ceases to stun me.”22

Still, feminists defend and protect boys.  In a review of a women’s book of self-defense stories, a feminist wrote about one story that particularly shocked her:

“A woman who taught small children told of a 4-year-old boy in one of her classes who didn’t like the fact that she swam in the ocean.  He told her that women weren’t supposed to do that, and when he grew up he was going to cut off her arms and legs so she couldn’t do it anymore, and then he would swim out farther than she had.  Although such a little boy probably didn’t realize the gruesomeness of what he was saying, it does reveal the attitudes even small children can already have about women.”23

The  feminist reviewer denies that the boy knew what he was doing.  Of course boys know exactly what pain, injury, and limitation is.  After all, a popular boys’ pastime is to torture and maim small animals and watch the effects.  The reviewer then refers to the attitudes of small “children,” which denies the difference between girls and boys and holds girls equally responsible for such violent anti-female attitudes.

Blaming socialization for boys’ violence blames the females who raise and teach boys.24  The implied solution is that even more female lives should be devoted to changing males.  The reality is that men and boys know it’s wrong to rape and murder.  There are laws in most cultures saying so.  Blaming socialization excuses those who commit the crimes and portrays the attackers as victims.  This is the typical patriarchal trick of reversing reality — the truth is called lies and lies are called truth.  In the resulting muddle, no male is ever held responsible for his actions.  The truth is that the crimes of mankind are willful and deliberate.  We ask:  When will men and boys be held accountable for their crimes?  When will females of all ages be protected and cared for, instead of their attackers?  Why do women so often love the rapist more than they love his victims?

Het Women Are Female-Hating:
Het Feminism Is a Contradiction in Terms

One of the biggest losses from Feminism over forty years ago is the abandoning of the self-affirming politics that our being Lesbian is our choice – a choice that all women could make. Lesbian Feminists in the Seventies rejected the mainstream, Lesbian-hating con that we are just an anomaly, while being het is the norm. Of course they knew it was a choice!  Many Lesbian Feminists had been het and later opened their hearts to love other women. For some, it felt natural, because it is – all females are born Lesbian, and it’s the choosing to be het or bisexual that goes against our nature. But then, the seemingly liberal, but actually reactionary politics of “no choice” invaded our communities from gay men – similarly to how sado-masochism and porn entered our communities. We were pressured to join in asking for equal rights by appealing to the pity of lawmakers – of course we queers would choose to have boring, empty het lives if only we could. If we said it was a choice, they would tell us to stop complaining. The entire structure of the campaign for equal rights is built on us virtually agreeing we are deficient in relation to heterosexuals. It’s not that far removed from the old American Psychiatric Association’s assertion that we are mentally ill. So where did all the pride go of Lesbians who said, “We do have a choice, and we choose to be Lesbians?” Returning to our old politics and awareness not only makes it clear that it’s het and bisexual women who are choosing, in this case, to collaborate with patriarchy, but it would free the many Lesbian Feminists who spend their lives working to help “free” and protect het and bisexual women from men and enable them to finally make their own people a priority.

So, how does male supremacy succeed, when females outnumber males and are longer-lived than them?  The answer is that het women support it.  Males couldn’t continue their crimes against the Earth if women didn’t collaborate with them.  Patriarchy couldn’t exist without them.  Males need females for their very creation and for their survival.25

Dyke courage built the International Women’s Liberation Movement.  Yet the focus of feminism, including Lesbian feminism, remains reformist — a way for het women to get a better deal from male rule.  Enormous Lesbian energy goes into working for het women to gain more rights from their men.  Feminist goals are primarily het-identified:  contraception and abortion (to make fucking easier), divorce and alimony, support for battered women’s refuges, pay for housework, childcare (with the emphasis on the father’s role), and the creation of a “men’s movement” to help “free” men from their own sexism. (We support women’s rights to contraception and abortion, but we think fighting for them is het women’s, not Lesbians,’ responsibility.)

Yet most feminists show their ingratitude by denying the existence of Lesbians in their organizations. They’re Lesbian-hating personally and politically. They’re willing to sell out their Lesbian “sisters” in order to not disturb their men. The few het feminist groups that do recognize Lesbian existence tokenize and objectify us, and still expect us to make their het concerns primary.

Why are het feminists like this? It’s because they don’t really want to challenge the basic foundations of male supremacy. They’d rather gain acceptance into its male power structures and share the roles of prime ministers, presidents, and executives with men. The less privileged het feminists who have no hope of such goals want to at least share their own men’s male privilege and to receive heterosexual privilege instead of Lesbian oppression.

[Over 20 years after writing this book, I do want to say that I have some het women friends who I love dearly. Interestingly, they aren’t feminists and it probably makes it easier that we don’t have political discussions. I met them in the Rat Community, which is an international community of people, about 99% women, who love and work for the acceptance of rats, and who do rescue work on behalf of rats. Maybe these women are special because they’ve opened their hearts and minds to these gentle, intelligent, loving little animals who are feared and hated simply because of who they are without being known as individuals -- just like Lesbians.]

The Heterosexual Hierarchy

Besides the unequal hierarchy among females that are based on racism, anti-Semitism, ethnicism, imperialism, classism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, and looksism, and there’s also a heterosexual-based hierarchy created by men and perpetuated by het women. Females at the top most fit the male-defined feminine role, while those at the bottom are furthest away from what men say females should be.

This hierarchy was not created by Lesbians. We’re naming it in order to be able to fight against it. Wherever oppression exists, there are intricate hierarchies within each group which make a great difference in the quality of life of each individual. The older the oppression, the more complicated the hierarchy. Those at the top of any hierarchy get the most social and economic rewards, and therefore get to feel better about themselves at the expense of those considered “beneath” them. This is also true about the hierarchies of racism, ethnicism, classism, and imperialism, as well as ableism, ageism, fat oppression, and looksism. With class, for example, there are dividing lines between poor, working-class, middle-class, upper-class, and ruling-class. If you’re over the line from a poorer to richer group, you’re generally more socially acceptable, more culturally visible, and more arrogant. Poor Lesbians have less power than working-class Lesbians, but both have less power than all middle-class Lesbians. And within each broad division there’s an internal hierarchy. Lower-middle-class Lesbians from non-professional backgrounds have less power than Lesbians whose parents are professionals. And so it goes up to the top.  All the details are important. To say otherwise would over-simplify and deny Lesbians’ realities.

Men hate Lesbians because: 1) We love females in a female-hating world; 2) we refuse to fuck men; 3) we refuse to marry and look after men; 4) we refuse to breed and raise  families; and 5) we refuse to look and act feminine.  Het women, by obeying these male dictates, gain privilege.  The more rules they obey, the more privilege they get, and the higher up the het hierarchy they climb.  But the fewer rules Dykes obey, the more Dyke-hatred we get, and the further down the het hierarchy we drop.

Since marriage and motherhood (preferably together) are the most valued female roles in patriarchy, married mothers are at the top of the hierarchy.  Even if someone isn’t a wife or mother, she’s still expected to fuck with men or to at least want to.  What male supremacists never forgive is females who love other females instead of males.  Lesbians are a serious threat to male rule, so we’re at the bottom of the hierarchy.  And the less feminine a Lesbian is, the more she’s oppressed, and the less het she’s been, the more she’s despised and treated as alien.

The het hierarchy goes like this, starting at the top:  het wives who are also mothers; wives who are non-mothers; divorced mothers; unmarried het mothers; married bisexuals; unmarried het women; unmarried bisexuals; celibate het women (women who aren’t fucking men but are still heterosexual in their thoughts and feelings).  Although those at the top have more power than celibate het women, all are heterosexual and so have the power to oppress Lesbians, and all do so.  (Unfortunately, this het hierarchy also continues among Lesbians, which we talk about in the next chapter.)  The het hierarchy is affected by all other hierarchies.  At each step in it, how much racial, ethnic, class, and national privilege a female has affects her power, as do her age, size, looks, and physical ability.  But when females are similar in these other aspects, those further up in the het hierarchy have more power than those below them.

We’ve heard many Lesbians describe other Lesbians as “male-identified,” but we’ve never heard het women, no matter how devoted they are to males, being called male-identified.  That slur is reserved for Lesbians.  Yet no female is more male-identified than het women.  How could het women seriously want to fight patriarchy?  They live with it, nurture it, love it, and fuck with it.  If they have sons, they’re literally creating patriarchy and are deeply invested in its future.  Heterosexual women are the scab labor that sabotages female resistance.

Even the few het women who seem to befriend Dykes still feel superior to us.  They patronize us because patriarchy says only het women, particularly wives and mothers, are truly adults.  No matter how old we are, Dykes are still treated as children who never quite grew up.  That’s because we refuse to be part of what hets define as “real,” “adult” life — fucking men.  (Lesbians participate in continuing this stereotype — in many novels written by Lesbians, het women characters are portrayed as older, wiser, and mature, while Lesbian characters are portrayed as young and naïve.

Het women focus their lives on empty, numbing relationships with men.  By refusing to let the passion of Lesbianism into their lives, het women keep female relationships on a limited, superficial level.  After all, other females are competition for their men.  Everything and everyone is sacrificed for the males in their lives, usually including their own daughters’ well being, because heterosexuality is based on the betrayal of females by females.

To truly acknowledge Lesbianism is to challenge the foundation of male supremacy.  No matter how much a Lesbian tries to identify with and support patriarchy, no matter how much she’s sold herself out, her very existence threatens male rule at its core.  The essence of patriarchy is maleness, and Lesbians, by definition, refuse to feed, nurture, and intimately support males.  Some Lesbians support males in other ways than het women do — except they don’t welcome men or their semen into their bodies.  Lesbians are therefore much less likely to support males in ways that het women take for granted.  And Dyke Separatists refuse to nurture males at all, which is why we’re such a threat to anyone involved in patriarchy, including men, boys, het women, and even non-Separatist Lesbians.

Dykes Are Oppressed

If Lesbian oppression were treated seriously, het women would be less effective in pressuring Lesbians to take care of them — whether it’s het feminist groups demanding Lesbian support, or het families demanding Lesbians’ time and energy.  Het feminism mirrors families in interesting ways — when they want to disown you and deny your existence, they do — when they want your life’s blood in caring for them and keeping them going, they feel fine about demanding it.  When more Lesbians clearly understand the privileges that het women have over them, it will be easier to say no to their demands.  It will also be easier to rebuild Dyke communities presently weakened by het-identified Lesbians who perpetuate the het hierarchy among us.  Perhaps we could finally have truly Dyke-identified political movements in which we take care of our own kind and not our oppressors.

Central to Dyke oppression is that it’s not taken seriously by anyone, including many Lesbians.  Most politically-minded Lesbians focus more concern on fighting for the rights of almost every group of men, boys, and het women than for their own kind.  When any of us dares to say males are the enemy and het women are collaborators, we face not only men and het women’s rage but also that of most Lesbians!  Our Dyke pain, oppression, and lives don’t matter to them — only non-Lesbians are important.  That’s why feminist health collectives, which exist and function only through Lesbian energy and commitment, focus primarily on het women’s and even gay men’s needs.  If any of us object because there are many Lesbians who are sick and are dying and need help, and we point out that we have far fewer resources than either men or het women, we are called “selfish” — by Lesbians.  How can it be selfish to care about the many Dykes we’ve known who have died?  Unfortunately, the self-hatred of internalized Lesbian oppression often turns into active hatred of those of us who dare to speak out for Lesbians.

Part of the problem is that although Lesbians take women’s oppression very seriously, only het women are considered “real women.”  But Lesbians suffer female oppression in addition to Lesbian oppression, in ways no het woman can ever experience or understand unless she becomes a Lesbian.  Lesbian-hatred is the most extreme form of female-hatred.  WLM politics, which say women are oppressed by men, but ignore Lesbian oppression, have been carried by Lesbian feminists into our Lesbian communities with no revision to fit Lesbian reality.  Het feminists’ attitudes are:  “Females are oppressed.  All females are het, so Lesbians aren’t female.  Therefore, Lesbians are not oppressed.”  This extreme Lesbian-hating exists in our communities as well as among het feminists, because Lesbian values reflect het values unless consciously changed.  Heterosexism wouldn’t be so rampant among Lesbians if het women weren’t so adored.  If we recognize het women as our oppressors, we’d be far less likely to copy their ways.

It’s true we perceive Lesbianism as more ideal, sensible, independent, strong, attractive, and wonderful than hetness.  It’s also true that we’re made to suffer terribly for our choice in a way het women never are.  The fact that hetness means pain for women doesn’t negate het privilege. The social, economic, physical, and cultural oppression all lesbians suffer is not privilege.

Lesbianism is not “freedom!”  Many het women who left their husbands and boyfriends and became Lesbians after joining the Women’s Liberation Movement have spread this inaccurate and offensive idea. Theyfelt relieved to not be living with dominating men any more, but that doesn’t make Lesbians “free.”  As long as Lesbians are slandered, insulted, controlled, imprisoned, deprived, hunted, hidden, forcibly isolated, forcibly separated from each other, attacked, and murdered for being Lesbians, none of us are free.  Legislation outlawing Lesbianism or discriminating against Lesbians exists in most countries.  Only in a few very liberal places (such as Berkeley, California) are there laws protecting Lesbians from discrimination — yet there are now laws in many countries outlawing sexist discrimination.26

Lesbians aren’t even necessarily more happy and self-loving than het women.  Lesbians suffer intense internalized oppression, without the shielding of “normality” that het women have.  The suicide27 and addiction rate of Lesbians is very high.  When Lesbians do seem happier and stronger than het women, it’s not because Lesbianism is more privileged.  For het women, happiness is having the status of normality, husband and children, acceptance by family, money, careers, possessions, and power.  They pay for it through loss of integrity and lack of true love and intimacy, but that’s their choice.  For Lesbians, happiness means having loving friends and lovers, integrity, self-respect, Dyke culture, creativity, and intimacy.  We pay for it through severely increased oppression, which is forced on us by men and het women.

Lesbians are called “privileged” if we show pride in being Dykes or if we’re happy, but if we’re unhappy that’s blamed on our being queer!  Yet when feminists go on about how “strong” women are, it’s not used to disprove the fact that het women are oppressed.  The strength and pride Dykes have developed through fighting vicious persecution are turned against us instead of admired.  Dyke strength and pride do not equal “freedom” and do not negate our oppression.

Lesbians are more vulnerable to illness than het women are.  Oppressed groups’ health suffers because of the daily tension of living with danger and deprivation.  This is known to be true of people oppressed by racism, ethnicism, classism, ableism, ageism, and fat oppression, and we know it’s true of Lesbians.28

It’s a myth that het women’s oppressiveness comes out of self-hatred.  It actually comes from their arrogance and wanting to have someone to feel superior to.  “Self-hatred” is no more of an explanation for Lesbian-hating than it is for classism or racism — nor is it an explanation for het women’s choice to be heterosexual.

It’s important to be clear about our definitions.  Oppression isn’t simply the same as misery. Oppression has clearly defined boundaries measured by such things as discriminatory laws, physical attacks, verbal insults, threats, cultural invisibility and stereotypes, deletion from historical records, discrimination in housing and work, and ostracism by family and other heterosexuals. Lesbians are more oppressed in these ways than het women. And besides all this, we’re forced to live in an alien society that we find repulsive and terrifying, that tells us we don’t exist now and never did in the past.

Our refusal to be fucked by men doesn’t mean men aren’t constantly oppressing us.  Unlike Lesbians, all het women receive some degree of honor and respect from patriarchal societies. No matter how little, it’s more than any Lesbian gets. Het women’s lives and reality are acknowledged every day, at our expense, while Lesbian reality is denied and distorted.  The price of that damage can never be measured. And one thing het feminism ignores is that, unlike oppression, the hardships of being het can be avoided—by choosing not to be het.

No matter how oppressed a het woman is, she’s still given more political and personal rights than any Lesbian from her same background.

Money means survival, and het women have access to more money through their husbands, boyfriends, sons, and male relatives. Females still earn only a fraction of what men earn, but het women are more likely to get jobs, including non-traditional and highly paid work, than Lesbians. They’re more likely to advance at work and are less likely to be fired, harassed, or threatened into leaving their jobs.

All government and private organizations discriminate against us, and het women participate in this. There’s no claim on any territory in the world by Lesbians as a people, nor is such a claim a possibility. Because we’re Lesbians, we’re more likely to be incarcerated in prisons or mental hospitals than are het women. Insurance, tax deductions, and health care all benefit hets. We’re forced to be separated from our lovers and friends by anti-Lesbian immigration policies. Even our dead bodies are often forcibly taken from our loved ones by family and other heterosexuals. Lesbians are rejected by our families, cultures, and nations, while het women ally with all these structures. We’re especially isolated when we’re very old, young, ill, or dying.

We’re social outcasts and targets for hate—either made invisible or ridiculed and caricatured in the media. Stereotypes of Lesbians are very damaging: “inverted,” alone and lonely, ostracized, disowned, hated and self-hating, sick, crazy, desperate, pathetic, ugly, violent, suicidal, molesters, and murderers. We aren’t even considered to be females. In films and books, we’re most likely found in bars, mental institutions, and prisons.

Het women proudly announce they’re het to any stranger. It’s almost impossible to meet one without her immediately making a point of mentioning her husband, boyfriend, or children. Meanwhile, Lesbians are expected to stay silent. Such het talk isn’t casual, random conversation. Het women constantly mention their het lives as assertions of het privilege and messages that they’re not queer. They do it to get approval and acceptance. It if wasn’t so important to them, they wouldn’t do it so obsessively. Just like rich women bragging about their possessions, it’s hierarchical behavior. And when they know we’re Lesbians, they say “your private life” or “your sexual preference” “doesn’t matter to me.” That means they don’t want to hear about our lives, but they assume that they’ll talk about theirs and get support. Calling our entire life choice a “sexual preference” trivializes us into absurdity. How dare we complain about oppression that’s caused by a mere sexual choice?

Men and het women oppress Lesbians every day in ways het women escape. Het women are more likely to be treated better anywhere in the world than Lesbians are, whether it’s at jobs, on the street, in stores, prisons, courts, hospitals, or mental institutions. That difference in treatment at times means the difference between life and death. Het women are also treated better in feminist women’s centers, clinics, bookstores, and even in specifically Lesbian places. The more out a Dyke is, the worse treatment she receives. Dykes who can’t or won’t pass as het are attacked by hets and scapegoated by many Lesbians. Yet Lesbian apologists for het women still talk about how much luckier, “freer,” and fulfilled we are as Lesbians — therefore het women’s lives must be “harder.” But luck has nothing to do with it. They should remember that just as we chose to come out, so also can het women.

What Is the Cause of Heterosexuality?  Is There a Cure?

Many Lesbians ask,” Aren’t some het women’s lives just too hard for them to come out?” No. This argument implies that it’s a luxury to be a Lesbian. In trying to trivialize our oppression, defenders of heterosexuality completely reverse the truth. No matter how difficult and painful a het woman’s life is, there’s always someone from her same background and experiences who chose to be a Lesbian. (We are everywhere!) And that Lesbian is not only more oppressed than that het woman—she’s oppressed by that het woman.


Well then, what about an uneducated woman who was virtually sold by her father into marriage with an older man when she was 13 years old? She lived poor and isolated in the country, was beaten by her alcoholic husband, and had her first of eight children by age 14. What choice did she have? That woman was my grandmother. She did choose to leave her husband and kids and run away to the city, where she cleaned houses for a living. But instead of becoming a Lesbian or even being celibate, she married another brutal alcoholic who was later sent to prison for burglarizing a house where she worked. Then did she decide to at least be celibate if the idea of becoming a Lesbian was too repugnant? No, she got herself yet another drunken boyfriend.

It certainly wasn’t her poverty that prevented her from coming out or being celibate since she economically supported her men, as do so many poor and working-class women. My grandmother’s life was very hard, but the fact is that there are females from her same background who chose to be Lesbians. And she was treated better as an ex-married het woman than she would be if she were a single het woman (who’d only be able to get approval by talking about wanting a man) — and she’d be treated far worse than either if she was a Dyke.  For all the hardship in my grandmother’s life, she still had the power to oppress me as a Dyke, and she made it clear she hates Lesbians.

Why is there such a pervasive belief that it’s a privilege to be a Lesbian? Why are the lives of upper-and ruling-class het women conveniently forgotten, even though some of them have the power of life and death over many people?

Many class-privileged, European-descent Lesbians don’t want to recognize the existence of millions of racially-oppressed Lesbians or to acknowledge that the majority of Lesbians of all races are from poor and working-class backgrounds.29 (Similarly, the existence of Dyke Separatists who are racially and/or class-oppressed is denied by anti-Separatists.)

Most upper- and middle-class females are het. Women often gain in status and money when they marry, while Lesbians usually lose what economic privilege we got from our families. (That’s why so many women are against females getting equal pay for equal work. They know that their men will get paid less if other females are paid fairly.) Working-class women can get some middle-class privilege or at least stay working-class through their association with men. Working-class Lesbians often become poor because females not living with men have fewer economic options. Although a class-privileged Lesbian can use her privilege to treat a class-oppressed Lesbian badly, even the most oppressed het woman still considers both Lesbians scum and is likely to say so to their faces.

Lesbians who refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of Lesbian oppression are still identifying primarily with het women – some even refuse to acknowledge that het women oppress Lesbians. Ex-het Lesbians who identify with het women are doing so at all Lesbians’ expense.

Many Lesbians also claim that het women become het because of self-hatred resulting from being victims of rape by male family. This is particularly ironic, since it’s been wrongly said for years that sexual assaults on girls cause Lesbianism, as further “proof” of our being “sick.” The fact is that rape by male relatives is so rampant that both Lesbians (including Lesbians who were never het) and het women are equally likely to have been victims. This can make each lie sound plausible, since both lies are Lesbian-hating. One lie makes us seem less oppressed than het women, while the other supports the theory that it takes something horrible to create a Dyke. Both obscure the truth that most girls are sexually assaulted.

Many Lesbians say, “But what about societies where Lesbians don’t exist? Some women have no choice.” Since when does any Lesbian believe propaganda spread by men? How many Lesbians’ lives have male biographers and historians distorted and lied about until our existence throughout history has been completely denied? Dykes have had to do a lot of research and read between the lines to find the few Lesbians from the past that we now know about. When we hear of cultures where every female is said to be het, we should be skeptical about where such “information” comes from –especially if the sources are European or European-descent male anthropologists. Such “scientists” are notoriously racist, sexist, and heterosexist. Likewise, we should be wary of patriarchal governments and leaders within any culture. Every patriarch declares: “There’s no Lesbian in my family, my town, my society, my country. It’s an insult to even ask!” In capitalist societies men lump us together with leftists, while in socialist and communist societies we were explained as “evidence of capitalist decadence.”

We know Lesbians manage to exist everywhere, even when we’re completely hidden and threatened with death. Even in more tolerant cultures, many Lesbians think themselves the only Lesbian alive. Why the eagerness to prove that there are places where we don’t exist? Is the international, irrepressible inevitability of us too threatening?  The fact that Lesbians exist even in cultures with forced child marriages means that in more tolerant cultures, heterosexuality is clearly a choice and even less excusable.

Heterosexuality Is a Choice

Many Lesbians repeat common fallacies as their reason for having been heterosexual: “Becoming het isn’t a choice. I didn’t know any different. Everyone does it. I didn’t know Lesbians existed.” They continue to use these same excuses to support het women’s present choice of heterosexuality.

Saying “everyone does it” is used as an excuse for almost every horrible and insensitive act. That makes it acceptable to be Lesbian-hating, racist, anti-Semitic, ethnicist, imperialist, classist, ableist, ageist, fat oppressive, and looksist. It’s a convenient lie, because “everyone” obviously does not do it. It’s also a cruel way of thinking, because it denies the existence of anyone who doesn’t fit into the privileged “norm.”

Most Lesbians don’t hold men and boys accountable for the crimes they commit. You’d expect those who believe that the majority of men are well-meaning would think that het women make an understandable choice to be het. But instead, they insist that women are incapable of making such a choice and are the victims of the terrible oppression of “compulsory heterosexuality,” suffering far more than any Lesbian. Why the inconsistency? The same Lesbians who defend men as being no different from females suddenly sound as if they’ve become Separatists when they talk about how het women are oppressed by brutal, cruel men!

Why do these Lesbians patronize het women by saying they’re incapable of making the major choice of their lives? And why do they act condescending and disbelieving toward Lesbians who say they know het women who’ve boasted about making that choice?30 As Separatists, we don’t think males treat females fairly at all, but we do acknowledge het women’s ability to make their own decisions, and we do hold them accountable for those decisions. No one chooses her race, age, or class background. But heterosexuality and Lesbianism are clearly chosen. We’re born into het and male cultures, but we are not born het.

If you think het women don’t make a choice, try a random sampling on the street and ask them. If you think they’re more oppressed than we are, try asking them if they wouldn’t have happier, more fulfilling lives being Lesbians. Most would be outraged and you’d be lucky if they didn’t attack you — or call the nearest man to attack you for “insulting” them.

Still, many Lesbians persist in believing women become het without deciding. Some say that all heterosexuality is “rape.” Heterosex is harmful to women physically and emotionally, but it’s still a choice and is actively initiated by many women.

Older women often admit they hate fucking, but with the modern co-option of feminism in the phony “sexual revolution,” many women now proudly say they love to be fucked, as often and by as many men as possible. That means some women’s choice in inviting men to fuck them affects how all of us are thought of and treated.

One example is the two women who started a business called “Wear And Share,” making and selling earrings for women that are simply condoms on cardboard.31 Stores that carried them sold out immediately. What better way for women to publicly say they want to be fucked? Another example is the introduction of high-cut bathing suits that expose the pubic area. If women didn’t buy those suits when they first appeared in stores, they would have “gone out of style.” Instead, they’ve become so popular that it’s almost impossible to buy the more protective old-style suits. They’re even made for little girls, and mothers buy them for their young daughters. Similarly, many women not only wear make-up but choose the style that looks like bruises on their cheeks. Violent anti-female porn and, later, “family” television shows made this style popular—but women choose it even though it also makes them look clownish. The porn industry itself would be almost non-existent if women didn’t agree to be its models. (There are a few women who were abducted to be used in porn films, but the majority choose their jobs.)  Some women write and film porn.

And then there’s Joan Kelly, a “radical feminist,” who (in 2011) has a blog called “Chicks Dig Me.” She seems to be accepted by some of the most radical of feminists online, in spite of the fact that she’s still selling her book, “The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive.” The Village Voice gave her a glowing review in “BigBucks for Pain Sluts:”

“Over the course of her career, Joan Kelly 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 … Byron Mayo, co-owner of the BDSM advertising hot spot and former owner of a commercial San Francisco dungeon, has nothing but praise for the skills pro subs bring to their trade … ‘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.’” Kelly goes into more detail in her book: “I had a client sew my vaginal lips shut … 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.”

Feminists most likely would call Kelly a victim, but Kelly herself is not just a feminist, but radical feminist. She didn’t become a prostitute out of desperation, but for fun. She’s from a very privileged background.

Equating hetness with rape is more than a defensive lie — it negates the horror of actual rape. Baby girls who can’t run away are raped. Females of all ages are physically overpowered and threatened with torture and death to stop them from fighting rapists. How can these experiences be compared to the lives of rich, ruling-class women, for instance, who can leave their husbands whenever they like? What about the choices of millionaire het women who spend tens of thousands of dollars on each of their designer dresses? Yet even the most oppressed het women can and do leave their men. Again, for every het woman existing, there are females from her same background who refused to be het and others who chose to be Lesbians.

When will het women be held responsible for making their own decisions? When they support the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi party? Radical Lesbians don’t excuse women who choose to be right-wing racists in the same way they excuse the most Lesbian-hating het woman, about whom they say, “It’s not her fault. She’s so powerless. She’s just doing what she’s been taught and doesn’t know any other way to live.” This is because Lesbian oppression isn’t taken seriously. There’s nothing inevitable or neutral about heterosexuality. It’s based on hating females and Lesbians, often consciously and aggressively. Yet hetness is just taken for granted.

Some Lesbians say het women don’t give “informed consent” — “If women aren’t given positive descriptions of Lesbians, how can they be expected to become Lesbians?” Well, that lack of support certainly didn’t stop the millions of Lesbians who came out before feminism. Patriarchal societies don’t tell any girl that Lesbianism an option. It’s a contradiction that Lesbians who talk about how difficult it is for women to come out usually have little concern or care for Old Dykes who did come out without the support of the WLM. Saying they lack “informed consent” also doesn’t explain why women don’t choose to stay celibate instead of participating in heterosexuality. Anyone who doesn’t want to suffer Lesbian oppression can simply remain celibate and so not be giving more power to males. What prevents them from simply saying “no”?

What does inform us? Aren’t feelings, instincts, perceptions and observations, our deepest knowledge? It’s true that many of us didn’t grow up with any positive images of Lesbians, although most of knew “queer” girls existed, and we certainly all knew about “old maids.” Every family and neighborhood has at least one. Celibate women also exist in the media and in literature everywhere. But they’re looked down on, pitied, and ridiculed, even if they aren’t as viciously despised as we are. Newspapers, radio, television, libraries, and families are full of horror stories of brutal, cruel men, yet most het women are grateful and proud that they’re not a “pathetic old maid.” They feel lucky to have a man. The privilege of heterosexuality is a powerful incentive to collaboration.


Throughout my teens and twenties I was devastated by the loss of one woman friend after another as they began dating men, fucking, getting married, and having babies. I wasn’t a Lesbian, but neither was I actively het until my late 20’s (I finally became a Lesbian at age30.)

The worst loss was my best friend, who I’d been secretly in love with since we were both 18. We had a close, confiding, and playful friendship. She prided herself on being a gutsy rebel who resisted authority. We both swore we’d never get married and have children. Then at age 20, she suddenly changed. That year, I attended her wedding, shaking and dizzy from the intensity of my “inappropriate feelings.” I was reeling from the impact of seeing her contract herself publicly, legally, and ritually to a man she hardly knew.

I knew then that I was losing my friend to a system that was destroying me — my life was filled with grief and loss, and she was choosing to do this. She had told me she didn’t love this man, but she was worried about being an old maid, didn’t want to work, and he had a steady job and would “take good care of her.” It was the same reasoning I’d heard from a half-dozen other friends: a cold, economic decision. On her way back up the aisle, she winked at me. Shaken to the core, I thought I had no right to feel betrayed, no right to feel rage and grief.

We stayed friends for a few years afterwards, but the closeness was gone. She had the status of married “grown-up real” woman, and then of mother (authoritative “grown-up real woman”). Her main allegiance was to her husband and children. I became her old maid friend who she saw only when her husband was away. (In our working-class community during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, women were expected to be married by ages 18 to 20.)

While my friend was accepted and helped along by her family and friends because of her valued position as a man’s helpmate, I was treated as a misfit. Anyone who’s experienced that unspoken, bland ostracism knows it cuts deep. Rejection and isolation are some of the worst social punishments. They engender loneliness, fear, self-doubt, grief, and sometimes despair. The victim becomes shut out of the everyday exchanges that sustain life, like information about jobs and apartments. The misfit is last on the list, and she’ll hear about the job or apartment only if no one else wants it. It doesn’t matter how endearing, helpful, or admirable she is, she’s then just an admirable misfit.

My friend was a lot better off than me, because the het world was rewarding her for fucking, marrying, and breeding, and it was punishing me for not doing any of those things, nor showing any desire to do so. That is privilege and oppression: hierarchies institutionalized for the purpose of maintaining hetero-patriarchy. The system runs so well that hets play their roles without even thinking about it: “That’s just the way things are.” “That’s life.”

It’s usually assumed that all little girls are het and that none can be expected to decide to become Lesbians. But it’s heterosexist to assume hetness is innate. In reality, most girls actively hate and fear boys. They’re harassed and assaulted by boys in their families, schools, and neighborhoods. Most girls have the sense to separate from boys. Many girls love other girls and are Lesbian in their hearts and spirits. Their alliances and friendships are with girls and it’s not until much later, when the privilege of heterosexuality becomes more obvious, that many betray their girlfriends in favor of boys — sometimes even the same boys who’ve been their tormenter and attackers.

Becoming a woman in patriarchy means deciding to forget yourself, forgetting and rejecting the girl you once were. It also means rejecting the girl in each of us. This loss of the self is chosen. It results in privilege, not increased oppression. We still have these feelings and memories, deep within us, of knowing the differences between females and males. We can be true to our inner selves or we can reject ourselves, which means choosing heterosexual privilege and female-hating. It’s male and het lies that call remembering our choices and lives as girls “immaturity” and “childishness.” It’s Lesbian-loving to keep that innate female wisdom that others have abandoned.

The fiction that heterosexuality is a completely passive, involuntary reaction to coercion, denies our right to be proud of Lesbian courage, strength, determination, and awareness — or to appreciate celibate het women who resist fucking. Then we’re all just “strange accidents.” The reason male propaganda claims that queerness is inborn, like a congenital illness, is to obscure the truth that we all make choices. Men don’t want us to know that, because it would increase (and already has increased) the numbers of het women who become Lesbians, and the idea of heterosexuality as the norm would be challenged. Het women continue these lies because it gives them an excuse to not question their choices. Lesbians participate in these lies to protect het women and also to excuse their own past choices. But by continuing the lies, they end up participating in the vicious oppression of never-het, Butch, and Old Dykes, viewed by the ex-het Lesbian majority as “those inborn/strange/inexplicable queers over there.”

Why do women subject themselves to abuse if they can choose not to? It’s because the privilege of being considered normal and being treated as normal is so important to them that they’ll pay the price of degradation and pain. It’s important enough to them that they’re also willing to allow their daughters and any other females they have control over to be subjected to the same horrors. And that is not their choice to make.  Most het women would like to be able to force all females, including Lesbians, to be het. If hetness is so “hard,” why do most mothers aggressively pressure their daughters to be het?

Lesbian apologists for het women don’t believe they’re making a choice even today in countries where there are pro-Lesbian books in public libraries, occasional positive Lesbian characters in films and television shows, and mention of Lesbian political actions in national news reports. Even though the media images are almost exclusively the distorted products of men’s and het women’s anti-Lesbian imaginations, there’s now some minimal representation of Lesbians in the media in many countries (far less, of course, than het female images), and some of it’s actually pro-Lesbian. Until recently, media images of Lesbians were all hideously anti-Lesbian, yet countless Dykes still managed to come out under those circumstances. In addition, millions of Lesbians who’ve come out through Women’s Liberation have come out to their female relatives, friends, teachers, neighbors, and co-workers and have portrayed Lesbianism as positive to them all. So millions of het women have had contact with Dykes through this in a way not possible before.

What of the het feminists who work politically with Lesbians and yet choose daily to stay het? As many Lesbians know, talking with and supporting het friends over years, gently giving them information about Lesbianism, still isn’t enough for women who are firmly committed to heterosexuality. Some Lesbians don’t even hold accountable het women who used to be Lesbians and have gone back to men. Instead of considering them traitors, they say “How did we fail them? What’s wrong with our communities?” Blaming heterosexuality on Lesbians is extreme Lesbian-hatred. The fact that many “Lesbians” have returned to heterosexuality makes it even more clear that hetness is a choice.

Some Lesbians say, “But isn’t criticizing heterosexual women’s choices woman-hating? Lesbians should respect het women’s choices.” The implied meaning is: “Lesbians aren’t real women and don’t understand real women, so they have no right to criticize them.” The truth is the opposite: It’s het women who are female-hating.32 Lesbians love and defend het women countless times more than het women defend Lesbians or other het women or girls. It’s het women who, by their choices and actions, are Lesbian-hating. Fighting heterosexism isn’t the same as attacking het women, although Lesbians who are het-identified usually think it is.

Because of the denial that Lesbians are female, het women’s hatred and fear of us isn’t called “woman-hating,” which is exactly what it is. Men and boys are the most female-hating of all, but het women also hate females. Het women’s commitment to and support of males is harmful not only to Lesbians, but also to their own daughters, other female family members, and all other females, as well as to every other living creature who patriarchy threatens. It’s precisely because we do love female-kind, including Dykes, that we criticize het women’s choices.

Some Lesbians say, “But women are het because of self-hatred. They shouldn’t be blamed.” How could any female not be self-hating in this world? That doesn’t give her the right to endanger others in her quest to fulfill her self-hatred. Because we suffer Queer oppression in addition to female oppression, Lesbians are subject to much more hatred, which then causes additional self-hatred. We’re more likely to have low self-esteem and to doubt ourselves, which is why Lesbians are so thrilled when a het or bisexual woman declares she’s a Lesbian. Certainly het women don’t similarly rejoice when a Dyke declares herself a woman!

Het women hate females so much they can’t bring themselves to be intimate with them. If het women cared for their own kind, why would they choose to be with offensive men in the first place? Many have never even been friends with other females except in the most shallow ways. Since women are competition for their men, they choose to fear and resent females. Female-hatred explains why many mothers treat their daughters so cruelly, while loving and encouraging their sons. Het women’s self-hatred doesn’t oblige us to accept their hatred of the rest of us.

What other group of oppressed people so sympathizes with, looks after, and welcomes collaborators into our lives and communities as Lesbians do? What other group of freedom fighters so “respects the choices” of traitors? If Lesbians don’t care enough for our own kind to hold het women accountable, we should at least care for their other victims.

“A Mother Knows”

Although many het women are upset when male strangers attack females, the majority silently condone what their own men do. Some even actively participate. In 1984, the U.S. news media reported that a multiple rapist in Oregon had been sheltered by his rich mother who claimed all his victims were lying. In 1988, a man convicted of “indecently assaulting” his six-year-old daughter for a year and giving her an STD was publicly forgiven by his wife, who wanted him returned to the family.33 In spring, 1986, in Santa Ana, California, a 10-year-old girl had the courage to bring her mother’s boyfriend to trial for raping her, even though her mother pressured her not to report it. The mother married her boyfriend just before he was taken to prison. We can only wonder what revenge she’ll take on her daughter, who’s still her legal possession. In August, 1986, a mother was jailed for participating with her husband and son in the rape and sexual molestation of her four daughters who were all under the age of six. The little girls were also hired out as sexual slaves for other men’s use.

If a woman is willing to subject herself to the degradation of heterosexuality, and to misname it “love,” it’s not surprising that she would subject her daughter to the same degradation.

In less obvious instances, women may say they “didn’t know” what was happening, but how many really care? When the majority of little girls are raped by their fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and male cousins, usually as ongoing attacks over a period of years, how can their mothers not know? Even if they don’t directly witness the attacks, how can they ignore the girls’ terror, nightmares, illness, and utter misery? Little girls are incapable of completely hiding their reactions. If the mothers’ own horror at seeking and facing the cause for the girls’ devastation is “too great,” why can’t they realize that their own emotional reaction is nothing compared to what their young daughters are going through? Even if the mother herself is a family rape victim, she has not excuse to fail to protect a little girl. In fact, her experience should make her more protective and alert towards her daughter, not less. No truth is so shocking that an adult woman can be excused for depriving girls of their rights to safety. No adult woman is so powerless that she can’t try to prevent her daughter from being repeatedly raped, or at least give her the healing support of knowing her mother is doing everything she can to protect her. It’s the girl who’s utterly powerless.

There are a few het women who are horrified when they find out what the men they love have done. A few mothers leave or fight their men in order to protect their daughters or other females. But, unfortunately, the majority don’t. We’ve heard many stories of adult Lesbians telling their mothers years later about being raped as girls by male relatives, and not once was care or concern shown to the victim. In every case, the mother denied the attack occurred and spoke in defense of her husband, sons, brothers, or father. Protection was offered to the attacker rather than his victim. The mothers pressured their daughters to not tell anyone because “what would people think?”, and told them to be friendly and behave like a “proper” daughter, granddaughter, sister, or niece to their attacker.

One of the worst responses we know about was from a het mother who’s renowned in her community as a feminist. She continues to support her son after her adult Lesbian daughter (our friend) told her that he’d raped her when she was little. Several years later, our friend discovered that her other brother was raping his 18-month-old daughter. When she said she was willing to testify in court to prevent him from having further access to the baby, her mother completely supported her son and told her daughter, “I wish you’d never been born.” Thus the het feminist betrayed both her daughter and powerless baby granddaughter in her effort to protect a rapist. But after all, he’s her son. This woman is a frequent speaker at feminist events and has received dozens of humanitarian awards, including a local “Woman of the Year” award. She was also nominated “Mother of the Year.” She’s even been elected as a delegate to represent women at international feminist conferences.

Lesbians eager to defend het women talk a great deal about how het women are victims too. Some compare het women to slave overseers. But het women’s position isnot the same as that of overseers who are slaves themselves. Het women’s role is more like that of collaborators who voluntarily marry soldiers from an invading army and betray the resistance fighters. They’re oppressed as females but, except in rare instances, no one is forcing them to collaborate in their males’ crimes. They can leave whenever they want. It’s not just poor women who stay with men, but middle-class and rich ones as well. The same woman who would immediately leave her husband if he brought home another woman to fuck will usually stay if she finds out he’s raping her daughter.

We also know of a case where a Lesbian mother participated in keeping secret her 12-year-old son’s rape of another Lesbian’s nine- and seven-year-old daughters — in order to “protect the boy.” The girls’ mother participated in the cover-up, and the boy is still in that community, having access to Lesbians’ daughters. When it’s revealed that a boy or man is an attacker, his mother often says “but he’s my son” — as if that gives him license to do whatever he wants. Lesbians find it difficult to hold women accountable because male authorities often blame mothers in order to excuse rapists and murderers, and because men have always blamed everything bad on females. By refusing to participate in the lie that society “causes” men and boys to be brutal attackers, we’re saying something that few females have ever dared to say before. Mothers aren’t to blame for what their sons do, but they do share the blame if they protect their men and boys by keeping the attacks secret. If they continue to nurture and support males they know are violent, they do become partly responsible for the violence those males commit. This is true not only in the het world, but also in feminist communities where mothers have fought battles to win boys’ access to female-only space.

“But I Love Him”

Women’s allegiance to men is unbelievable.34 Lawrence Singleton vaginally and anally raped 15-year-old Mary Vincent, cut off her forearms, stuffed her into a drainage pipe in a remote area and left her for dead. Bleeding profusely and in great pain, she ran for help and survived. Singleton was arrested and convicted of the attack. When he was released from prison after just eight years, nearby towns protested and demanded that he not be paroled in their area. No one wanted him except for two women who each invited him to live with them. One was his ex-wife, who said, “I’m not scared of him. He’s served his time.” The other was his girlfriend, who he moved in with briefly in Pinole, California, before pressure from townspeople forced him to leave. She said, “I’ve got no reason to doubt Mary Vincent. He may have blacked out. I don’t know.” When asked if she knew for certain if Singleton was guilty, she said, “It wouldn’t matter one bit, not one bit. There is the other 99% of him that is good.”35  (Singleton finally moved to Florida where he was convicted of killing a woman. No one knows how many other girls or women he may have killed.)

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.36 The night before his execution for murdering 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, his mother told him, “You’ll always be my precious son.”37

Lesbians show great concern for beaten wives, but where is their concern for tortured girls? Some women who are beaten by their husbands or boyfriends use their daughters to draw away beatings from themselves. Six-year-old Lisa Steinberg was beaten to death by her illegally adoptive father, Joel Steinberg. He had severely beaten his girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum, for years before they “adopted” Lisa. A friend said she believed “… Nussbaum thought adopting the little girl was going to be an answer — a protection from Joel Steinberg.”38 Yet the feminist media has greatly sympathized with Nussbaum, even while knowing that Lisa was beaten and neglected for years with Nussbaum’s knowledge.

In 1987, Robert Chambers strangled Jennifer Levin, his 18-year-old girlfriend, 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 S & M 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.”39

In 1984, college student Brad Page beat his 21-year-old girlfriend, Bibi Lee, to death. He later went back and raped her corpse. It took authorities five weeks to find her body, while Page pretended to help search for her. In 1988, he was convicted of “voluntary manslaughter” and was given only six years in prison. It’s likely he’ll be locked up for only two and a half years, and he was released on bail awaiting appeal. The judge set his bail relatively low because, he said, Page “… does not pose as a threat to another person, with the possible exception of his wife.” Since his arrest, Amy Hacker married Page, and she cried brokenheartedly as he was sentenced. Page’s lawyer asked that he be freed on probation because of his new “family responsibilities.”40  

Het Women Hate Lesbians

Some Lesbian Feminists have said that we should love all women, and that women aren’t our enemy. But as long as het women attack us and support the males who attack females, they are our enemy. It’s healthy to distrust or be angry at those who do you harm. “Love your enemy” is Christian crap that keeps the oppressed from improving our lives, and it’s suicide. We can’t love ourselves if we don’t fight those who hurt us. Recently at a march, Lesbians were shouting “Lesbians Unite!” when a het woman went up to them and yelled “Nuke Lesbos!” That about sums up the attitude most het women express towards us. Not all het women appear to hate Lesbians. Some despise us as a group, but are more respectful towards het-identified Lesbians who use credentials that establish them as having been successfully het in the past (such as being wives and mothers). But even the most “loving” het woman is likely to reveal her hidden Lesbian-hatred if questioned closely. A “caring” het mother, in one conversation, says she’s glad her daughter is a Lesbian, yet at another time asks, “What do you think went wrong, to make you be ‘that way’?” Another “loving” het mother says she’s proud her daughter is a Lesbian, but then warns her to not tell other relatives because “what will people think?” These mothers aren’t acting this way because they’re “powerless” or “unaware.” In fact, they were each given devoted feminist support for years by their Lesbian daughters.

Contrary to what many Lesbian feminists believe, het women do feel superior to Lesbians. Deep down, we’re just queers to them, no matter how they profess to “love” us. After all, if they really loved Lesbians, they’d be Lesbians.

As a group, het women are deeply resentful of females who refuse to support patriarchy and heterosexuality. They participate in virtually every crime men commit against us, from ostracism and name-calling, to denying us work and housing, to physical attacks. Het women neighbors have gotten Lesbians evicted. Friends of ours were harassed by het women yelling “disgusting perverts” and “you need to get fucked by men.” We know of a Lesbian who was being beaten by a gang of men—when they stopped for a moment, a young woman neighbor yelled, “Go ahead! She’s a Dyke and she thinks she’s tough”—the men resumed beating her.

The power of hetness is obvious when even het girls are capable of being oppressive to adult Lesbians. Young girls who haven’t yet become physically het, are still het if that’s where their identification, feelings, and goals lie. Het girls make Lesbian girls’ lives hell. Some Lesbian mothers’ het daughters have made insulting, anti-Lesbian comments to adult Lesbians. That means we aren’t protected from Lesbian-hatred even in the rare safety of female-only gatherings, one of the very few places we have any hope of really relaxing. Although het girls have far less power to oppress us, and although they may feel understandable anger at adults’ control of them (especially their mothers’), any queer-hating attitudes damage us and shouldn’t be tolerated. There’s tremendous pressure in schools and het youth culture for girls to fit in with het standards. Any of us who remember our own school years know how cruel girls can be to anyone who’s “different.” Those who don’t fit male models of femininity are fair game for attacks.

Het women often give filthy looks and ridiculing smirks or act scared if they see an obvious Dyke. It’s not unusual for a het woman in public to snuggle closer to the man she’s with when Dykes are nearby. Het women channel their suppressed fear, anger, and hatred of men onto Lesbians. Men are the rapists and attackers, but het women act scared of us. At the same time, some are drawn to Dykes by our strength, realness, intensity, and attractiveness. Their own lives are empty of feeling in comparison, so they flirt with Dykes, completely uninvited. They use us, while reserving their primary energy for males. Men say Lesbians “prey” on het women when it’s het women who prey on Lesbians. We know of a Lesbian who was actually slapped by a het woman because she tried to stop the het woman from kissing her. There was a story in a Gay San Francisco paper in 1987 about a Lesbian fired from her job because of being a Lesbian. One person active in getting her fired was a Christian het woman who, at the same time as denouncing and insulting her, rubbed her breast against the Lesbian’s arm. The het woman had made other physical, sexual overtures on many occasions. This is sexual harassment.

Het women play games with Lesbians in order to “spice up” their fucking with men. They treat us as sex objects, thinking of us and acting towards us as if we exist only to provide them with porn-minded thrills. Meanwhile, as attention to males’ sexual harassment of females grows, the male media tries to divert our attention by reporting on so-called harassment of women by women. A 1988 article on sexual harassment of women in the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet, and a 1987 television show about harassment of women actors in Hollywood both mentioned women being “sexually harassed” by women. Of course, the het public is led to the “obvious” conclusion that Lesbians are “harassing” het women. Again, the feminist politics that Lesbians established are co-opted and turned against us. The truth — that het women harass Lesbians, is given no attention anywhere in the mainstream media, and only rarely in the feminist, Lesbian, or Gay media. Because of this co-option, it’s even more important that Lesbians not be afraid to speak out about our experiences of sexual invasion and objectification by het women. Some of the most dangerous het women are those who seem on the verge of coming out for years—they may look like Lesbians and spend a lot of time with Lesbians, yet they stay firmly allied with our oppressors, and they share intimate information about our lives with men, feeding men’s voyeurism. Our existence provides titillation for het couples’ amusement and pornographic imaginations.

Het Women Betray All Females

For women to stop being het, they must give up tremendous privilege, including economic and class privilege. Most importantly, becoming a Lesbian means giving up the privilege of “normality.” It means being true to yourself in your mind, feelings, and body — but it also means being seen as queer, and women will do almost anything to maintain their “normal” status of fitting in and doing what “everyone else” is doing. Most would rather risk being intimate with men who beat, rape, and even kill them, than be ostracized, hated, and ignored by their families and societies. They let themselves be fucked night after night, year after year, by men they detest. They give up their own sensitivity, passion, and essence, and live lying lives. They sell themselves cheaply.

Unfortunately, they sell the rest of us out too, by agreeing to other females being raped, mutilated, and killed, rather than risking their own economic and social position. Too often, women collaborate in their husbands’, boyfriends’, and sons’ attacks on other females, including their own daughters. It’s happening now — at this moment, while we’re writing and you’re reading, across the earth, everywhere, het women’s self-betrayal betrays us all.

Heterosexual supremacist arrogance and selfishness leads het women to protect and excuse men, even while men are exterminating entire species, because het women benefit from male rule. Those who claim to care about what’s happening, say: “Save the earth for our children”—meaning boys, the future patriarchs. Other creatures and plants have a right to exist for their own benefit, not for men’s or women’s enjoyment. The earth is being destroyed now and entire life forms are already gone forever. Het women’s choices do literally affect all of us. Male supremacy could not continue without het women.

Het women aren’t responsible for boys’ and men’s destructive actions, but they are responsible for supporting them and helping keep the system going. Het women police other females for patriarchy. They punish Lesbians for daring to fight against the established order. The vast majority of mothers train us early to hate ourselves and other females, especially Lesbians. In addition, the privileged ones almost always teach us to continue men’s hierarchies of racism, anti-Semitism, ethnicism, imperialism, classism, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, and looksism.

There’s an unacknowledged, real war going on against all females, and het women are collaborating with men against us. They don’t just collaborate passively, but they actively support their men’s positions of power and everything their men do. The men who run governments, death squads, and the Ku Klux Klan couldn’t continue if their wives didn’t physically and emotionally support them. We read in 1988 of wives and mothers at a Ku Klux Klan gathering happily exchanging recipes for the food they brought along for their men. They wrote them on the back of racist hate literature. You’ll rarely see a rapist or murderer brought to trial without a loving woman on his arm. Het women make excuses for men, and Lesbians make excuses for het women.

We’re not saying all het women are completely horrible or that all Lesbians are completely wonderful. We’re saying privileged Lesbians can change from being oppressive to being responsible politically and personally, but het women—as long as they choose to remain het—are limited in how much they can change, whatever their good intentions. No one can effectively reject the methods of male rule without rejecting male rule itself.

We know some het women have shown great courage in fighting injustice, but they’ve done it within a heterosexual, patriarchal framework, which still keeps females subjugated to males. As long as any so-called “revolutionary” society is heterosexual, men still rule and Lesbians are still viciously oppressed. When it comes to females’ lives, het women’s choice is to stay committed to male supremacy.

Our people, Lesbians across the earth, should no longer give our lives to fight for the rights of any men or het women. Dykes are subject to every kind of oppression that exists, in addition to being oppressed as Dykes. When we focus on fighting Lesbian oppression, we also unite with Dykes everywhere to fight all injustice. That means fighting all of men’s hierarchies. It means creating justice and equality among all Dykes, and finding ways to ally with Dykes from every nation and background. No one else fights for Dykes, so we must. We are worth devoting our lives to!


1  This study of men’s toilet behavior found that men leave a hormonal secretion on toilets. When they have a choice, men choose a toilet unmarked by this hormone. Females don’t leave such secretions. A. R. Gustavson, M. E. Dawson, and D. G. Bonett, “Androstenol, a Putative Human Pheromone, Affects Human Male Choice Performance.” Journal of Comparative Psychology 101 (1989): 210-212.

We know a Dyke whose parents visited her Lesbian household in the country, and the first thing her father did was to urinate against the outside wall of their house in full view.

2   It’s revealing how obsessed men are with the idea of artificial, man-made “people” and whether they can have true human emotion. At the same time that men call it “anthropomorphizing” and “wishful thinking” when some people believe that animals have emotions like humans, men continue to make up these android characters, from Date on “Star Trek the Next Generation” to “WALL-E.” The male media is full of dramas showing machines with feelings. We can’t help but think that men are obsessively trying to explore their own lack of emotion. Their question actually seems to be “Can men feel real emotion?”

3 Man’s technology and forest destruction is producing excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, causing the “greenhouse effect,” a warming of the planet, which will lead to huge storms, floods, droughts, and land loss. Many scientists say this is the beginning of an irreversible planetary disaster. (We wrote this over 20 years ago. The situation is obviously a lot worse now.)

“Dark Circle,” a documentary film produced by Judy Irving, Chris Beaver, and Ruth Landy, first shown on KQED, a San Francisco PBS television station, in 1986.

 5  Independent Documentary Group, 1982, shown on U.S. PBS television stations in 1988.

6  Information from Bay Area Women Against Rape, Berkeley, California.

7  “West 57th Street,” a CBS television news program, U.S., 8 October 1988. A 10-year old girl who’d been raped for five years by a family “friend” finally summoned the courage to tell her doctor. He raped her too, telling her she was “trash forever.” There are also reports of police raping rape victims.

8  Information from U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

9 Jeffner Allen, Lesbian Philosophy:  Explorations (Palo Alto, California: Institute of Lesbian Studies, 1986), 28.

10 Diana E.H. Russell says that in her study of 930 females, according to the broader definition of “incest,” including “ … exhibitionists as well as other unwanted noncontact sexual experience … 54 percent … reported at least one experience of … sexual abuse before they reached 18 years of age, and 48 percent … reported at least such experience before they reached 14 years of age.” (p. 62) However, Diana also says that “Many people cannot remember any childhood experiences before the ages of three or four or even five. How often incestuous abuse occurs with small babies … is unknown … One such recent case involved a father who self-disclosed that he had orally copulated with his two-week-old daughter. Most of these very young victims will never remember the incestuous abuse—a fact that some perpetrators are likely taking advantage of.” (page 34) The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women (New York:  Basic Books, Inc., 1986).

“One out of three girls are sexually abused by the time they reach the age of eighteen.” Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, Courage to Heal, A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (New York, U.S.A.: Harper and Row, 1988), 20.

“Some studies indicate that 38% of all girls … have been sexually abused …” “Frontline,” PBS Television, originally broadcast Apr. 12, 1988. WGBH Educational Foundation, Transcript No. 609, p. 1.

“Research indicates around 85% of child sexual offenders [men who rape girls] are either a family friend, a relative, or acquaintance of the child” “ … around 70% of girls who are sexually abused … are 5 to 11 years old.” Family Violence Prevention Committee and Accident Compensation Corporation leaflet, New Zealand Listener, 10 December 1988, 117.

11 Females living in countries under foreign rule experience additional colonization.

12  “Most frightening of all is that many ‘inexplicable’ family murders that adorn the front page of afternoon tabloid newspapers are a response to incest. The family murders I am speaking of are those where the father apparently kills his wife and all their children, then shoots himself. When this causal theory was originally suggested to me … I felt skeptical. I asked the then most senior female police officer in the NSW police dept. if she had heard of this theory. Her reply rocked me: ‘Oh, yes, we know that. There’s nothing we can do about it.’” Elizabeth Ward, Father-Daughter Rape, (London:  The Women’s Press, Ltd., 1984), 90.

13 In San Francisco in 1987, there were a number of sexual assaults at a military childcare facility. In an effort to prove how “unusual” this was, the blame was placed on the influence of “Satanism.” Not only does this take the focus from the actual frequency of child sexual assault, it indirectly blames witches, including Lesbians, because in most hets’ minds, witchcraft and Satanism are the same thing.

14 Leaflet, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Berkeley, California. “Alan Taylor, a parole officer who has worked with rapists in the prison at San Luis Obispo, California, said, “Those were the most normal men there.’”

15 Elizabeth Ward, Father-Daughter Rape, 87.

16 This was the theme in Something About Amelia,” U.S. film,1984. Girl rape is also a common theme in television advertisements. An ad for baseball games said a good reason to attend the games was “pretty girls—lots of them,” as the camera showed a girl who was about three years old. KPIX-TV, San Francisco, 6 September 1987. An ad for the U.S. NBC television series “Hunter” said, “The bait in a murder trap is blonde, beautiful, and two years old!” San Francisco Chronicle, 1 December 1988.

17  Edward W. Lempinen, “Memories of Torture Haunt Bay Area Refugees,” San Francisco Chronicle, 1 August 1988, A6.

18  In the 1950’s, females had a one in ten chance of getting cancer—it’s now one in three, Rose Appleman, “Cancer:  Breaking the Isolation of the Epidemic,” Coming Up, S an Francisco, December 1988, 9.  As of February, 2011, it is just over one in two.

19  Roger Bingham, “The Sexual Brain,” Community Television of Southern California, 1987. Shown on KCSM-TV, San Mateo, California, May 18, 1988.

20  And look at the effect of testosterone on females! Margaret Thatcher told the English magazine Board Room that she takes male hormones because “they preserve my body and spirit.” San Francisco Chronicle, 25 June 1987.

21  In Florida, a seven-year-old boy pulled a gun on two girls in his class at school and demanded that they have sex with him. Information from friends, 1988.

22  Katinka, “In Defence of Dykes’ and Girls’ Lives,” Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes d’Aujourd’hui, No. 20, Québec, Canada (June 1988), 205.

23  Liz Quinn, review of Her Wits About Her:  Self-Defense Success Stories by Women, in off our backs, January 1988, 18.

24  Anna Lee wrote an excellent article on this, “The Tired Old Question of Male Children,” in Lesbian Ethics, Vol. 1, No. 2, 106.

25  Many het women are so female-hating that they selectively abort female fetuses so they can later have a son. Some even kill their newborn daughters, especially in societies that legally restrict the number of children people can have. M. Lloyd, O. Lloyd, and W. Lyster, “Slugs and Snails Against Sugar and Spice: Changes in the ratios of boys and girls might have profound consequences,” British Medical Journal 297 (December 1988) 1627.

26  In Aotearoa, there’s a government Ministry of Women’s Affairs specifically devoted to “women’s issues.” It’s so liberal that it organizes women-only feminist events and sponsors others. Yet, when it was originally suggested that an open Lesbian be employed to work on Lesbian issues, a heterosexual feminist organization complained, so the idea was rejected.

27  Karla Jay and Allen Young studied 1000 Lesbians in the U.S. and Canada in 1977 and published their findings in The Gay Report in 1979. Thirty-nine percent of the Lesbians stated they had attempted or seriously contemplated suicide. By contrast, 19-26% of het women in an earlier study cited by Eric E. Rofes had attempted suicide. From Lesbians, Gay Men and Suicide (San Francisco, U.S.A.: Grey Fox Press, 1983), 17, 18, 20, 21.

28  One of the few studies on the health of “homosexuals,” including Lesbians, said, “Those living a homosexual lifestyle in our society are at greater risk of ill health …. This vulnerability is predominantly a consequence of social stigma. In this respect homosexuals suffer in a similar way to other stigmatized minorities.” A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, Homosexualities; a study of diversity among men and women (London: Mitchell Beazley, 1978).

A more recent study says: “ … stress related illnesses are what most distinguish Lesbian health from that of the female population as a whole.” Judith Bradford and Caitlin Ryan, Final Report of the National Lesbian Health Care Survey, PO Box 65472, Washington D.C. 20035, U.S.A. From a report by Jamakaya, Hag Rag, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A., September/October, 1988.

29  A Lesbian wrote about the poverty she saw on a trip to India: “I hadn’t believed that people had to live in such conditions! The first coherent thought that hit me was, ‘Shit, what’s the oppression of Lesbians in the West, compared to the oppression of wimmin here, of children here, of people here!!’” “Wimmin in India,” LIP, Tamaki-Makaurau, Aotearoa, July 1988, 6.

Why does she feel a need to so discount Lesbian oppression? Her eagerness to rank heterosexuals’ pain as more real than Lesbians’ pain led her to forget the existence of Lesbians among the poor Indian people she saw. If she hadn’t automatically put heterosexuals first in her mind, her immediate thoughts would have been about how much harder it must be for the Indian Lesbians in those communities. She may have privileges that protect her from feeling much oppression as a Lesbian, but that doesn’t give her the right to deny the oppression of other Lesbians in any countries.

30  Feminists are also condescending towards prostitutes. Judy Helfand, a former nude model and topless dancer in San Francisco said:

“It makes me angry when feminists lump all sex-industry workers into a pile of poor, exploited, brain-washed victims without minds of their own.” “I was a young woman who needed to earn a living and chose to pursue the highest-paying least-demanding jobs I knew of.” “These women … were not victims.”

Quotes from Sex Work: Writings by women in the Sex Industry (Cleis Press), in a review by Tara Bradley-Steck, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 August 1987.

In a review of Working (Dolores French with Linda Lee, E.P. Dutton, 1988), Dolores French is quoted as saying prostitution is “as legitimate a career as nursing or teaching.” She suggests many women have “chosen prostitution because they like the independence, the money, and the satisfaction of providing a needed service.” Review by Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 August 1988.

As Separatists, we’re totally opposed to any female working as a prostitute because that hurts all females, but we do recognize their ability to make their own decisions.

Then there’s “radical feminist” Joan Kelly, with her blog called “Chicks Dig Me.” She is still selling her book, The Pleasure’s All Mine: The Memoir of a Professional Submissive. Here’s a longer excerpt from the Village Voice review of her book:

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 ( 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.


    photo: David Rodgers
    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 (, 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 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.”

31  Newsweek, 28 March 1988, 50.

32  While 25% of a mixed group of male and female voters said they wouldn’t vote for a woman for president, 29% of women surveyed said they wouldn’t vote for a woman. KGO-TV News, San Francisco, 29 September 1987.

33  Evening Post, Whanganui-a-Tara, 30 January 1988.

34  A magazine article describes how the U.S. film Mississippi Burning (a fictionalized account of the murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner) erroneously depicts the deputy sheriff’s wife helping break the case by giving evidence against her husband. In reality, deputy Cecil Price, indicted for participating in the murders, was completely supported by his wife, Connor Price. “She has never asked Cecil what happened on that … night. ‘Don’t you love your husband?’ she asks by way of explaining this steadfastness.” People, 9 January 1989, 38.

35 San Francisco Chronicle, 3 October 1988.

36  People, 6 February 1989, 46

37 Tim Swarens, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, 25 January 1989. Bundy said of himself, “ … I grew up in a wonderful home with two dedicated and loving parents … where we, as children, were the focus of my parents’ lives, where we regularly attended church, two Christian parents who did not drink, they did not smoke, there was no gambling, no physical abuse, no fighting in the home.”

Bundy was such an “exceptional” man that he wrote a pamphlet for women on rape prevention while he was assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission. “Tears and Prayers: Killer Ted Bundy Executed in Florida,” San Francisco Chronicle, 25 January 1989, A1.

In a television report, Ann Rule, who worked with Bundy as a counselor at a suicide crisis center, said, “He was the perfect young man … the kind of man if I had been ten years younger or my daughters ten years older, I would have thought this is the perfect man for a mate for life.”

Men also were fond of Bundy. Right after he was convicted of clubbing two females to death in their beds in a sorority house, the judge who sentenced him said to Bundy in a compassionate tone of voice, “You’d have made a good lawyer. I’d have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. Take care of yourself.” 20/20, ABC-TV, 27 January 1989.

38 People, 23 November 1987, 30.

39 The interview and video were shown on A Current Affair, KGO-TV, San Francisco, 18 May 1988.

40 The Daily Californian, 3 June 1988, 1.

About Bev Jo

I've been a Lesbian from my earliest memories and am proud to be a Lesbian. My life's work is defending Lesbian culture and existence against those who oppress us. Working-class, ex-catholic, mostly European-descent (with some Native American ancestry), from poverty class culture. Lifelong Lesbian, born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950. Became lovers with my first lover in 1968, became part of a Lesbian community in 1970, and became a Dyke Separatist in 1972. Worked on some of the earliest Lesbian Feminist projects, such as the Lesbian Feminist Conference in Berkeley in 1972, the newspaper “Dykes and Gorgons” in 1973, the women’s bookstore and Lesbian coffeehouse, and taught self defense to women and girls. Have published in several journals and anthologies, including “For Lesbians Only,” “Finding the Lesbians,” “Lesbian Friendships,” "Amazones d'Hier, Lesbiennes Aujourd'hui," “Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen,” the Journal for Lesbian Studies, Lesbian Ethics, and Sinister Wisdom. With Linda Strega and Ruston, co-wrote our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only” in 1990. Have been disabled since 1981 with ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) or perhaps Lyme disease (who the hell knows) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) I love nature and plants and animals -- and especially the animals who are feared and hated and killed by people who don't even know them, just as Lesbians are. I've learned to love rats especially, who I do not consider inferior to humans. I'm a spiritual atheist, but I've found out that there is definitely life after death because a little rat returned from the dead for three days to comfort us. These hated little animals are so kind and loving, and willing to die for someone they love. I say, in our fight to protect the earth -- distrust all "truths" we are taught by patriarchy. The true truth is often the opposite.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to The Crimes of Mankind — and why heterosexuality is not compulsory

  1. rhondda says:

    This is a very enlightening essay. You have given me alot to think about. Thanks.

  2. lildozzie says:

    Hmm, a lot of this seems a bit extreme to me. I’m not comfortable with the idea of hating all men everywhere. I think some can transcend their biology. But, this is definitely food for thought, so thank you.

    • Bev Jo says:

      It’s not really about hating all men, but about recognizing that most males hate us. It’s a worldwide war against all females. And do listen to the men themselves when they tell us that it IS biology and that they ARE dangerous. Very few men seem to be trying to fight on behalf of females.

  3. Josie says:

    Hi. Sorry, but I fail to see why we should listen to men when they tell us, “It’s just biology.” I am so sick of the “boys will be boys” shit. It seems much more likely to me that it’s a result of social conditioning that enables men to be able to pass off or excuse rape as a “biological side effect of maleness”. I get that testosterone does indeed make men more aggressive, I’m not arguing with that, but I have no doubts that if society didn’t give them the “oh, it’s just biology” pass, they would try much harder to control it. For instance (this isn’t rape, persay, but sexual expression I guess), I have seen and heard of men masturbating in public and heard it laughed at excused with, “Obviously the man had needs!”. I have NEVER seen a female masturbate in public, nor have I heard of such an incidence, and I’m sure if it did ever happen, the reaction would be utter disgust rather than amusement. I also feel quite certain that women have been in public while sexual aroused before, but it doesn’t mean they felt the need to masturbate in front of everyone. So I guess my point is, society teaches women to be demure and suppresses our sexuality, while it teaches men to be aggressive and force their sexuality onto everyone. It’s social conditioning that makes their biological urges acceptable, but I refuse to accept the fact that women should expect rape from anyone. I expect people to act like decent humans, regardless of what they’ve got goin’ on between their legs, until they prove otherwise.

    That was my one minor qualm, otherwise I thought the essay was FABulous. (Pun intended, haha.) :) Btw, I was trying to find your contact info somewhere on your blog and couldn’t — but I was wondering why you believe the AMA’s statement that cholesterol is a serious health risk is false? I really am quite curious. I was also wondering, though of course you don’t have to reply to me, if your belief that cholesterol isn’t an issue related to the reason why you have Let Them Eat Meat on your blogroll, and if you’d analyzed the links between female and nonhuman animal subjugation? Best, Jose

    • Bev Jo says:

      Hi Josie,

      Thank you so much!

      Well, I only quoted the men about biology, not to give them an excuse, but to counter the feminist line that we should all just put even more energy into changing them, as if women haven’t been trying for millenia. It’s way beyond testosterone since the castrated men are just as mean and nasty, if not more so. We can see male violence across species. Of course they can control it since they do when it suits them, but we should still never trust them. It’s the feminsits and other women apologists for males who I am trying to reach, to get them to just stop focusing on them, making excuses for them, and catering to them. You certainly are right about double standards of behavior for females and males in patriarchy.

      I recommend Lierre Keith’s book, “The Vegetarian Myth,” which explains how being vegan for 20 years destroyed her health (and that is true also for many other longtime vegan and vegetarian friends), why it’s big agriculture which is really destroying the environment and other species, and how the soy industry and the AMA and pharmaceutical industry has conned too many people into believing lies that destroy our health. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, in his book, “The Great Cholesterol Con,” explains how not one study has ever linked high cholesterol to heart disease. If we have high cholesterol, it’s because our bodies need it to fight inflammation and/or produce hormones. The people with the highest cholesterol live the longest, but, even though this is occasionally made public, it then is hidden again, because doctors and drug companies are making a fortune off selling statin drugs, which are so dangerous.

      More and more of us are finding that we are greatly improving our health by eating very high organic saturated fat, meat, eggs, dairy, etc., and very low carbs. It’s the opposite of what most doctors recommend, but then, until recently, doctors were recommending transfat, HRT, etc. Lierre talks about all this in detail, including the dangers of soy.

      Yes, I’ve known about the links between human females and other animals’ oppression by patriarchy for almost 40 years. I don’t think humans should ever have domesticated animals. But we all do need to eat someone to live, whether plant or animal, and I think it’s important to do it as ethically as possible.

  4. batsheva says:

    Wow. A friend of mine (female) who linked to this post said that she thought it bordered on hate speech. I can see why, although what I find frightening is how much of what you say is true. I was very happy to see that you acknowledged, however briefly, in the beginning that there are exceptions, when you wrote, “There are some men who do seem to be genuinely kind, caring, and trustworthy, but that, sadly, doesn’t change what the majority are doing.” I was fortunate enough to be raised by such a man, and my brother, and husband would all fall into that category. I consider myself profoundly blessed because I do know how different it is for so very many women.

    I most definitely did not choose to be heterosexual. I was lucky enough to fall in love with a kind, good, gentle, man who fell in love with me. I never fell in love with a woman. There are many women that I love as sisters, some of whom happen to be lesbian, but the prospect of being sexual with any of them, is as weird to me as the prospect of being sexual with a biological sibling. I suspect that sexuality is a choice for the people who fall in the 2-4 range of Kinsey’s 0-6 scale, and I suspect that I’m outside that range. I believe that lesbianism, homosexuality in general, is perfectly natural because it exists in all animal species that have been studied, and I have nothing against it, nor would I be upset if my daughter became one. But I do not think that you have the right to condemn me for “choosing” to be het (which I did not choose), any more than I should condemn you for “choosing” to be lesbian.

    Finally, I’m not sure where you’re going with this separatist thing. If I understand you right, your ultimate goal is the extinction of the human species, since women don’t produce sperm, and you can’t make more women without it.

    • Bev Jo says:

      Where we are going with “this separatist thing,” as you call it, is to build and support Lesbian community and culture, fight for justice and equality, and to try to protect the earth. Considering that humans have overpopulated to the point that over a hundred species are going extinct each day and the earth is being destroyed, I think it’s criminal to reproduce. Yet het women are obsessed with the idea that humans might go extinct, to the point of irrationality. Since that isn’t even remotely about to happen, why be so worried about it other than to be distracted from considering how we don’t need males at all? I know for women who are obsessed with sperm, it can be hard to believe that we don’t need it to reproduce or for anything really. There are certainly more important things to think about. As soon as women stop having their lives revolve around males, so much can change. Except for the fact that males are destroying the earth and are a threat to every living thing, many of us don’t think about them at all.

  5. SheilaG says:

    It is a rather ignorant comment, and a predictable one that straight women make about separatism. There is absolutely no danger of the human race going extinct, because the majority of the world’s women are conformist and cowardly and collaborators. The great danger to the earth is the destructive things men have done to it. That’s the greatest danger, and they show no signs of changing, of ceasing in their wars, in the massive rape culture… We need a far smaller population, and I believe it is suspect for the massive propaganda machine that is the heterosexual indoctrination machine keeps on going. What separatism is, is a great chance to create a new culture that centers women, and challenges women to be as emotionally, financially and physically free of men as is humanly possible. It is not about killing men, raping them or damaging them. It is about true freedom for lesbians, and that is an important goal–something that should be easily accessible to all women. Honestly, if I read one more ignorant “I couldn’t help but be het” comment I’m going to faint. Of course you are het, that’s what the propaganda is all about.

  6. idkwordsnstuff says:

    I’m not sure if you allow men to post on your website, as many radical feminists don’t. I read your entire post and am trying to look at it completely objectively, but that’s obviously hard. I agree that there are a lot of horrible men in this world. I suppose that’s why I find the idea of separatism kind of stressful. I find the concept of only communicating with women only through professional channels and only able to live amongst men excruciatingly monotonous.

    Every time I read about separatism I picture a scenario in which you have women only countries and men only countries (or continents). Is that what the radical feminists utopia is? If so, I have to say I could never advocate for that (separatism). That’s really the only thing that bothers me when reading radical feminism writing. About everything else though, what would you suggest the few men that would like to help change the actions of men, do? Clearly you don’t want us in your women’s studies classrooms or even to collaborate with women to try to help. From what I’ve read on other radical feminist blogs, they suggest we only collaborate with other men. Unfortunately, I’m not ambitious enough to organize rallies or groups to picket anything.

    On a different note, what do you mean “empty” when referring to hetero pairing with men? Empty in what ways? Intellectually? Emotionally? I would honestly like to know what you mean.

    There’s a lot more I’d like to discuss, but I have a feeling you may delete this, so I apologize for posting this or if I offended you in any way, I just wanted to say something for once.

  7. Teratorn says:

    This gave me a lot to think about; I feel that it’s going just a little too far on the anti-male side, though I understand that “too far” may be necessary in order to convince people to go far enough. I’m a dyke and have been with a woman my whole life, and I can’t imagine wanting a het-style relationship with a straight man… but I’ve had a large number of male mammals (rats, cats, and dogs) as part of my family, and had male human friends. I’m sure you know that male mammals frequently need to be neutered to be sociable, but not always. Dedicated training with a male animal can frequently, if not always, reduce the behavioral problems caused by testosterone. My point here is that in an ideal world maybe male aggression patterns could be treated behaviorally and in worst-case scenarios medically (anti-testosterone treatments?)… and that as lesbians we should be actively involved in educating the community about the problems caused by male hormones and behavioral patterns rather than simply abandoning our brothers/cousins/sons/friends/etc. as unsalveable. I’m not saying we can love them better–but mightn’t we be able to address the issues as a problem to be solved? Maybe not, but I’d like to think so.

    Also, re: extinction of the species… I think that with current technology women can and should continue the species without the need to be heterosexual, and in fact that child-care should be an integral part of any feminist long-term strategy. Obviously, if every male died tomorrow that would mean extinction. But through adoption and technology (e.g., sperm donation and maybe someday female-to-female genetic mixing as the technology progresses) women definitely can and should have daughters. I think it would be a mistake to leave procreation to heterosexuals, leaving the next generation to be raised in patriarchy. I find it very promising that lesbians are roughly as likely to have children as heterosexuals, because this will be the lifeblood of the next generation of women-identified-women. By the by, the book “The Gate to Women’s Country” has an excellent bit of insight on the possibility of women-centered communities that do involve both reproduction and the integration of those men who are able to overcome testosterone based imbalances.

  8. Teratorn says:

    addendum: … though I recall “The Gate to Women’s Country” actually had a rather homophobic bit about breeding lesbianism out. :-/ I found that unrealistic considering the other societal aspects being described.

  9. Bev Jo says:

    Hi Teratorn,

    The problem is that most women and even Lesbians accept a much worse standard for men. Even serial killers/rapists in prison have a line of women waiting to marry them. The few men who seem decent are actually quite adamant in agreeing with me about most men being not safe or trustworthy.

    It could be that you’re right that males could be controlled to not be violent, but I think that is how things started out and there’s always the danger of it becoming like now. I worry about not just us, but the earth and other species. I do know about castration helping. And uncastrated mammals and other animals do rape and kill for pleasure.

    Women have been trying to make men and boys less dangerous for millennia, but it hasn’t worked. Forty years plus of feminism hasn’t either, but it has meant that women and Lesbians have put even more energy into males trying to change them. I think we have so little for each other and it’s time to give it to our own. Instead, most Lesbians put everyone else first. It’s gotten worse in that regard.

    Eventually, I’ll post the new version of our chapter/article against reproduction. I don’t think Lesbians reproducing will help us at all. It’s something to consider if we ever got to almost no females left, but for now, it’s a way to fit in with patriarchy and hets, and takes away from Lesbians and Lesbian community. Not to mention that unless Lesbians are very careful, they produce 85% males, which is horrific. Lesbians with boys helped destroy female-only space, while too many of the boys assaulted Lesbians’ daughters. And girls raised by Lesbians have often tended to sell out for het privilege. I think the greatest attraction for girls to be drawn to have the courage to be true to themselves by coming out iis to see truly Lesbian-loving communities, which we have yet to have. Really, we have to value Lesbians first and focus primarily or only on Lesbians. We have to create and support truly Lesbian communities.

  10. Julian Real says:

    (Hi Bev. This is a reply to dkwordsnstuff. Pressing the “reply” button under his comment didn’t work.)

    Hello dkwordstuff,

    You wondered about the value of Lesbian Separatism to you. I hear you saying that if you had to live in a world that was men-only, on the personal-social-intimate level, that would be excruciatingly monotonous. I agree. But that feeling doesn’t mean in any way that I wouldn’t support Lesbian Separatism existing as much as it possibly can. Because, let’s face it, heterosexuality isn’t going away any time soon, and even if it did, predatory men aren’t going anywhere soon and unless they are in all-male environments, with no access to women or girls, they will seek out girls and women to prey on. “Preyer in schools” ought to mean there’s a predatory male teacher or professor in the vicinity of an academic institution.

    You wrote:
    “Every time I read about separatism I picture a scenario in which you have women only countries and men only countries (or continents). Is that what the radical feminists utopia is?”

    Most women I know dream of such a reality.

    “If so, I have to say I could never advocate for that (separatism). That’s really the only thing that bothers me when reading radical feminism writing.”

    Are you saying you wouldn’t advocate for it because it would leave you with men-only? That’s an honest but selfish view, isn’t it? Don’t you wish for women that as many as possible could be in a rape-free zone? Including a country, if that’s what it took? (With lots of barbed wire at the borders. Maybe male allies could be guards outside the border so the women didn’t have to waste time doing that job.)

    “About everything else though, what would you suggest the few men that would like to help change the actions of men, do?”

    I’d suggest you not post to Lesbian blogs about your concerns about Separatism. I’m serious. Do you really think responding to such comments is what any Lesbian Separatist wants to be doing with what spare time she has to check in on her blog? I recommend, instead, that you stop by my place and ask your questions. It’s a blog called “A Radical Profeminist”. Men are welcome as long as they abide by my comment guidelines.

    “Clearly you don’t want us in your women’s studies classrooms or even to collaborate with women to try to help. From what I’ve read on other radical feminist blogs, they suggest we only collaborate with other men. Unfortunately, I’m not ambitious enough to organize rallies or groups to picket anything.”

    Don’t worry. You’ll find plenty of Women’s Studies classes to take–most don’t exclude men, unfortunately. And there’s one liberal guy, Hugo Schwyzer, who actually is a Women’s Studies professor, and I’m sure he’ll let you in his classroom. I don’t think he ought to be taking that job away from a perfectly qualified woman, especially with W.S. Departments being defunded or morphed into “Gender and Sexuality Studies” departments, and also with so many WOMEN Women’s Studies profs being out of work.

    “On a different note, what do you mean “empty” when referring to hetero pairing with men? Empty in what ways? Intellectually? Emotionally? I would honestly like to know what you mean.”

    Have you lived and slept with het men? It’s what that would be like, for you.

    “There’s a lot more I’d like to discuss, but I have a feeling you may delete this, so I apologize for posting this or if I offended you in any way, I just wanted to say something for once.”

    Don’t apologise for things you do. If you sense they might be offensive, or unwelcome, don’t do them in the first place. And as for whatever else you’d like to discuss, come on over to my place. I recommend that you stop posting comments on women’s blogs unless you are explicitly asked to do so.

  11. Sonia Soto says:

    I find your essays and that of your fellow feminists to be quite intelligent and thought provoking. Being the heterosexual in the room- the elephant in the room- certainly puts me on the spot. I agree with a lot of your assertions on hierarchy, as it is explained by heteronormative conditioning that we are all subject to in patriarchal dominance. I feel all women and men are victims of patriarchy. I know that some rad fems will find that comment insulting- for it is women who suffer most of the repression and abuse, in a top down fashion that elevates heterosexuality above any form of sexual expression. However, whether we like it or not men do exist, and they are here to stay. And most men are conditioned into objectifying women. I don’t think that objectification is a natural state. If we removed the conditions by which this state exist: men hold most of the resources and the recognition, men and women will start to see each other with equal respect. Most hetero women make their decision to marry based on their social conditioning, and they pick the men who hold the most status as they feel incapable of accessing that status on their own. Women are not raised to assert their own sexuality away from hetero normative conditioning and of course the less likely you are to make those explorations during youth the most likely you are going to get married. This is no accident.

    Men do suffer in patriarchy, they have to prove their worth at all times in the objects they keep or the power they hold. To them that translates to respect. While feminists around the world know that women are a subclass of what it means to be human, men under patriarchy are no symbol of humanity either. A human being is an utopic state we can’t reach collectively until we are all freed from oppression. That oppression is defined in the ways we view and distribute sex and resources.

    A revolution to freed humanity will not happen under some separatist state of either sex. It will bring comfort and safety in numbers to some women to live in closed communes, especially lesbian women who are the most oppressed and alienated victims of patriarchal dominance. But hetero sexual relationships will not disappear so long as the resources – access to opportunities and power- are held by men. It will not disappear so long as we covet objects and praise based on production and wealth. Why is motherhood the lowest status in our society? Most women who can’t have it all- job and career_ risk poverty when they choose family over career. Motherhood has a type of lip service recognition, just like altruism, everybody admires it but nobody honestly seeks it. Our system of praise is based on wealth, not service. And the Earth suffers.

    A freedom revolution is a values revolution. Our value and reward system needs to change to free us all.

  12. Bev Jo says:

    Saying “whether we like it or not men do exist, and they are here to stay” plays right into the feeling of powerlessness that women have about changing the world. The fact is that men are not here to stay because they have almost destroyed the earth in terms of how it will be liveable for humans. It won’t be long at the rate things are going. And besides that, it IS in women’s control in many parts of the world about continuing to support and reproduce men. We could say that smallpox was here to stay, but it obviously wasn’t, even though it killed millions. Men, through their media, are always telling is how powerful, invulnerable, and in control they are, but they are actually very vulnerable. It is women who create them and keep patriarchy going.

    We can say that of course women will not stop producing men and making them more important that females, but that is another subject. For girls and women to think for even one moment what is possible changes things. And one of the most important things is to be aware of is choice. Liberal feminists agree with the genderqueer and gay male movement in arguing that we have no choice in being queer or het, but Radical Feminists know that is not true and have watched our radical politics being taken over by the genderqueer movement.

    Anything that takes our choices away or denies that we have a choice is dangerous to us.

    I don’t think more class-oppressed women try to raise their status by picking men with more status. I never saw that in my family. They married for “love” or from getting pregnant and that was almost always within their poverty class or working class culture. How would they even meet a middle class man?

    By saying that “hetero sexual relationships will not disappear so long as the resources – access to opportunities and power- are held by men,” sounds like you are saying what some of us have been saying for a long time now — that many, if not most, het relationships are a form of prostitution whereby the woman is making a contract with a man to have money and resources. Of course we are taught that that is normal, unavoidable, noble, and literally a sacrament. But the truth and reality is that prostitution is never good for women or girls. It inevitably sells ourselves way too cheaply. But it does give some women a tremendous amount of power and wealth.

    I do not agree at all about motherhood being low status. It’s as high as a woman can get (Chapter 5 in our book is about the privilege of motherhood.) Women know they are not considered full, adult women if they are not mothers. I’m not saying it’s easy being a mother, but that also depends on the father. Providing an heir has made many women very rich and transformed their lives. But for the rest — just notice how much more respect mothers get among women than non-mothers. Mothers are promised more and are often bitter at not getting it, just as many wives are, but that doesn’t take away from the privilege they do get, which is at the expense of non-mothers.

    Of course males and females are completely different beyond socialization. Men know it. My male vet knows it when he recommends castration because of the “nasty, dangerous testosterone.” People who work with large domesticated animals know it. People who observe wild male animals raping and killing even their own babies know it. People who are not completely invested in males know it because they can’t help but see it. Even very little boys are killing and torturing animals. No matter what women do to try and change them — and women have been insisting for 40 years that they can be changed — it’s still the same. Most males sexually assault females. More would if they thought they could get away with it. Most have tortured and killed animals for fun. Insisting it’s socialization blames the women for not training the rapists better.

    The socialization theory keeps women in their place, which is to put almost all of their energy into males, futilely trying to change them. How radical and revolutionary to put our energy just into females, finally.

    Finally, your dismissal of Separatism shows you know nothing about it. I have been a Lesbian Separatist for 39 years. I have never lived in a “separatist state” or “closed commune.” I live in a large city. It’s all about who I choose to love and put my energy into. Choosing to love only other Lesbians or females is a radical and revolutionary act. It must be very threatening because I have seen Separatism put down for years by those who don’t even first ask what we mean by it — they just announce it can’t work or that we must be living some unusual privileged life. If someone objects to us doing the very forbidden and threatening act of not making our lives revolve around males, why not criticize us directly about that? I think it all really comes back to thinking that we are not doing much of use since females, and especially Lesbians, don’t matter. Only males really matter, so how dare we not make them the center of our lives like women are supposed to do?

    Of course if all females stopped putting energy into males, it would change everything. At first men would try to rape and kill whatever girls and women they could, but eventually there would be no more war, atrocities, environmental destruction, etc. Can you think of any horrific thing happening on earth that would still happen without men or boys?

    A “values” revolution just won’t do it. Anyone who has watched the incredible female-hating in both the right wing and left wing knows this. Yes, confronting classism would help, but that also leads to Lesbian Separatism, as far as I’m concerned. I see the liberal feminists being far more classist than the radical feminists. They can’t even stop patronizing us.

    So why not consider it? Why not do it and say no to men? If being a Lesbian is too horrific an option to consider, there is also the movement of celibate radical feminists.

    I say it’s because women who choose men over women are so invested in them that they feel they have to tell the rest of us how wrong we are.

    But really, all women could try for a little while to withdraw all energy from males and see what happens.

    • Sonia Soto says:

      I just can not relate to the description you have of males in general, Bev. That has not been my experience, at least within my family and friends. I live with three, and they are gentl and kind to me. And so was my father who never lifted a finger against me. My experience might not be representative of all women, I know, but I don’t think most men are rapists. If that was the case, if all men are rapists then why stop at separation? Why not arm ourselves and shoot them all? A war of preemption. The idea ,is of course preposterous, but so is suggesting that all women stop loving men or having children.

      Why isn’t a value system needed? One that rewards sharing, cooperation and altruism rather than admiration, wealth and objects? Isn’t sex related to wealth? Do men aim for power and wealth with the expectation that they will remain celibate? I say most men who sit in highly visible positions do it to get laid as many times as they can with as many different women as they can. I think that a small group of males- Alpha Males- own the vast majority of resources and that their core values are desired by most males by a systemic indoctrination from chilhood. That value system is what our socio-economic organization thrives on, it is inherently exploitative and it creates a generalized state of oppression and repression.
      I think that elevating women status is recognizing motherhood just as much as choosing a career. Didn’t matrifocal societies thrive when women inherited property? When they knew that they could raise kids without depending on one male? When they knew they could leave men without being stigmatized, or left as social outcasts, and beggars to their ex husbands? Why can’t society remunerate motherhood and make women independent from a dead beat dad, for example. If men own women and rape them is because they know they can control them economically and manipulate them. they have the “property” mind set that the state has given them, a license to rule their wives and women in their lives.

      Isn’t that what blacks fought for, economic and social emancipation? Isn’t that what freed them as a class, to erase their state of property from the white man’s mind?

      Bev, I understand that separatism is a choice for some women, but I don’t think that all women will relate to it and make it their choice, nor do I think that most women will find it a feasible solution. I think that freedom for women will happen when we emancipate the womb.

  13. Bev Jo says:

    Well, I HAVE heard some women say that if every girl or woman had been able to kill the boys and men who sexually assaulted them, few males would be left alive. I was just reading today about the woman who was married to the Green River Killer who had thought he was the perfect husband and had had no idea he had killed over 70 women. Even after they caught him, she believed he was innocent at first.

    Ann Rule had worked on a rape crisis line with Ted Bundy and had said how she believed he would have been the perfect husband for her daughter, or, if she’d been younger, herself.

    Women don’t always know.

    If women did defend themselves against rapists, it wouldn’t be preposterous. Neither would it be for women to stop loving and reproducing men. We are running out of time.

    Why is it so outrageous to consider doing what hasn’t been tried before since nothing else has worked? I truly do not believe that any female would choose to be het if it wasn’t for the intense punishment for refusal and intense reward for obeying. I never saw one girl when I was growing up who naturally was attracted to males. I saw girls desperately trying to go against their nature and talking about what methods they used. Meanwhile, girls’ attractions to other girls was natural and beautiful. But few had the courage to follow their hearts.

    Why do women who want to enforce the normality of heterosexuality so often use ridicule and other classist put-downs (“preposterous”)?

    Of course we need a new value system, but the one you suggest still continues the same old patriarchal structure. And of course most women will not want to stop being het and certainly not become Lesbians because they are deeply committed to patriarchy — if they’ve created males, they are invested in it. Most women still support any males over females. We see that clearly even when the men are claiming to be women or Lesbians. Males always come first. Rather than “emancipating the womb,” women need to emancipate their minds. But that is not happening because they value males and male culture too much. And, as you alluded to earlier, heterosexuality is mostly a form of prostitution.

    That’s what this chapter was about. Sadly, liberal Lesbian feminists too often put men first also, and definitely put het women before Lesbians. The closer someone is to males, the more they are valued.

    Very few dare to say what really could change everything — which is for women to stop supporting males. Of course most won’t, because it means giving up privilege. It also means opening yourself up to amazing love and potential — far more than women can get with men. But losing being considered “normal,” acceptance by family and society, etc. are much more important to most women. Meanwhile, how long does the earth have?

  14. Bev Jo says:

    No other oppressed group is assumed to so belong to and be owned by their oppressor as females by males. We are absolutely forbidden to question that we belong to males and even more forbidden to refuse to be. How is it feminist to ridicule and put down the few of us who have the courage to do that?

  15. SheilaG says:

    Sonia, what the hell are you doing on this blog? I want at least one country in the world that is completely woman owned and operated. You can stick with your male crowd, go ahead, hang with the males. Bev Jo and all lesbian separatists have better things to do with our time. Again, we want 100% male free space. Sonia, go kiss ass with men, you belong with them have sold out to them, and we don’t give a damn about you. Get the heck out of our space, you penis colaborator. Again, why are you here? This is our space of lesbian freedom, it has nothing to do with sell outs like you! Go to men, continue to support the rapists and oppressors of women; we have no respect for you. Again, why do you come to lesbian sacred space?

  16. Sonia Soto says:

    I think you put words in my mouth I didn’t say, Bev. I called the idea of exterminating men in pre-emption of a possible rape preposterous. Just like we can not determine a killer in advance. Or a good/bad marriage before hand -no matter how in love the couple might have been when they wed- we can not predict rape with any amount of certainty. Did I say that separatism is all bad? No. What I said was that expecting all women to stop loving men or having children on the basis of a latent lesbianism preposterous. I find there is no real evidence that sustain your argument that ‘all women’ are naturally lesbian. there is not evidence to say that they are all heterosexual or bisexual. Just like all men are not naturally gay or heterosexual or bi. But there is no room for sexual diversity in a separatist ideology so it has to be no matter how little the evidence.

    Why is it that a loving relationship is only possible between women? Women don’t get divorced? They do not fight or have domestic abuse? They don’t have child custody battles? Very utopic.

    Why isn’t the distribution of resources and access to opportunities to support herself not a big factor on a woman’s decision to marry? Marrying for love is a relatively novel concept. Did marriages who got together as partners ever evolve into loving relationships later in the earlier days of marriage? Love won’t guarantee you eternal bliss either or a nasty divorce. Andrea Dworkin herself stayed married for 30 years to a gay man, and she is a lesbian. Is that kind of harmony between the genders unheard off?

    Seggregationist ideologies are not unique to women as a class. They permeate through history. Most of them are based upon fear and control. No real solutions or change ever came out of seggregation of any particular class in history, except for more xenophobia. If anything seggreagation made the classes more suceptible to being attacked, ostracised and deprived of resources (ghettos). I think that the lesbians who decide to integrate to the overall communities are the true courageous ones. Those are the ones who we owe the normalising of lesbianism and the fight for same sex unions. And many are integrating all over the US. Feminists who are true to all women do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or the clothing personal tastes- whether they are an expression of their individuality or a political stance. Feminists accept all women, lesbian or not. And they are supportive of their choices- whichever they are.

    Once again, did I say separatism is all bad for all women?, no I didn’t. So to answer your question again Bev, it is a good option for some women, but can we realistically expect all women to follow that directive? whatever happened to the idea of becoming self-directed, not other directed?

    @ Sheila, I came here through Bev’s invitation from my FB page where she left her blog on one of my threads. Those comments of yours are are the reactionary comments of someone who has no real argument. Hatred is the guise of the weak minded.

  17. Bev Jo says:

    Yikes! Unlike some other blogs, I do not want to censor here, unless something is clearly from abusive men. I hadn’t advertised this as Lesbian-only space and don’t want non-Lesbians friends to not feel welcome, but I do understand Sheila’s feeling like we have almost nothing of our own left (there never has been Lesbian-only space that I know of in the US, like what there was in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and now we don’t even have female-only space anywhere because men claiming to be women have invaded it, with the help and support of Lesbians). So we don’t want to be lectured and patronized in one of the only truly Radical Lesbian Feminist spaces. Our usual treatment in male-worshipping and het-catered-to and liberal feminist spaces is to be ridiculed, patronized and censored, so just to have a space where we can talk with each other with love and respect, and not have to defend ourselves and our politics, is precious.

    I don’t want Sonia or anyone to feel badly, but it is true that this is rare space and that her politics sound so liberal as to be barely feminism, which is certainly reflected in many other places. Yet she does come here to give her opinion about how wrong and misguided we are, as if we haven’t heard what’s she’s saying for over 40 years. I don’t know if you realize it, Sonia, since you seem like a kind person, but we have heard it all before, many, many times, and yet you say your politics as if of course they are right and superior to Radical Lesbian politics — which that is part of what this chapter is about — that women committed to males get enough privilege to really be part of the system and so are deeply invested in it — so much so that it is unthinkable to not be. That is why I believe you don’t know what Separatism or even truly Radical Feminism is. On the fb thread, you put down Separatism, yet you obviously don’t really know what it’s about other than females separating from males, which you say will not/does not work. Well, it depends on your goal. It definitely does work to make a better life for women on many levels.

    And it’s true we have limited time and energy. As I said, allmost anywhere we go online we are insulted, baited, taunted and censored, so yes, it would be nice to share support and talk about the issues the affect us that few have the courage to talk about elsewhere. I put information here to support and encourage women to fight patriarchy in whatever way they can, without having to personally keep defending basic Radical Lesbian Feminist politics. So then we can go further without having to re-explain over 40 years of feminism

  18. Sonia Soto says:

    Sorry if I came across in a way that offended you , Bev. It was not my intention.

  19. Sonia Soto says:

    How can we free our minds if we are confined to small spaces and to our own choir? And so women go on their own safe heavens and leave others behind who do not fit. With all this separation from one another could there ever be a movement ever finds some common ground and once again gets something accomplished for all women, not just for a few? I doubt it will.

  20. Bev Jo says:


    I left the links to my and other blogs to give information without having to explain the same basic things over and over — not to invite what feels like patronizing mainstream lectures that aren’t even liberal feminism.

    I cannot believe that you call Sheila, who is one of the most courageous women I have ever met, “weak minded.” It is you who are reactionary. Sheila has plenty of arguments, if you have been reading her elsewhere. In this case, I’m thinking she was outraged that you came here to lecture and patronize with the usual mainstream criticisms of Lesbians and Separatists that we’ve been hearing from men and their women for decades.

    None of what you say is new to us at all. Segregation and ghettoizing is what the privileged do to the oppressed. Separatism is the opposite — it is the oppressed making our own community away from our oppressors, and is what the oppressed have always done to survive and to keep our own culture. Very few oppressed cultures who have blended into the mainstream have survived intact. inevitably they assimilate because the hatred at them turns into self-hatred.

    Separatist values is what fueled original Radical Feminism to make our culture of female-only space, with all the creativity that it nurtured: articles, newspapers, books, music, films, dances, parties, etc. It was the only way to get away from men harassing us. Rare Lesbian-only was a way to get away from het and bisexual women harassing us.

    You did say:

    “… if all men are rapists then why stop at separation? Why not arm ourselves and shoot them all? A war of preemption. The idea ,is of course preposterous, but so is suggesting that all women stop loving men or having children.”

    — which wasn’t even relevant to what I had written. It was just a way to ridicule my politics.

    For you, the real world, the important world, consists of men and their women, or you wouldn’t call women-only or Lesbian space “small spaces.” You must have no idea of the richness and diversity that exists among us. Would you say that to any other oppressed group who has created their own communities where they do not have to daily face harassment and attack from their oppressors?

    We have no value to you, yet you ask “With all this separation from one another could there ever be a movement ever finds some common ground and once again gets something accomplished for all women, not just for a few?” — meaning we should do what women have done for millennia, which is to devote our lives for our oppressors. It is our separating that built strong communities, and those communities have almost been destroyed on behalf of men and women devoted to men. That is why most women and Lesbians have no idea what feminism even is. It has been co-opted into yet another way that women and Lesbians are supposed to work on behalf of men and het women.

    You insult us further by saying, “the lesbians who decide to integrate to the overall communities are the true courageous ones.” What is courageous about that? That is what was demanded of us. It has cost most Lesbians their sense of pride and community, and is what destroyed our communities. It is why too many Lesbians returned to worshipping men, het women and patriarchal values.

    And then you lecture again about “feminism,” when you don’t seem to have a clue what it is: “Feminists who are true to all women do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or the clothing personal tastes.” True feminists know that “sexual orientation” is a mainstream media myth to con women into thinking no choice is involved. It is men and het women who discriminate against us. Our not trusting women who put men first isn’t “discrimination” — it’s an oppressed group’s understandable response to being treated like dirt. How many years do you expect us to tolerate it before saying “no more?” And “clothing personal tastes?” You mean, how dare we speak and write about the enforcement of male-invented femininity that is forced on all of us from girlhood, that demeans, caricaturizes, and humiliates us, but which many women have embraced since obeying men makes them more saleable and valued.

    Lesbians seem to take care of almost everyone rather than ourselves, if you know anything about our history. Gay men asked for our blood (literally) and got it. Het women ask for far more. Have you any idea of how much Lesbian energy that keeps so many movements going? Do you care? Why do you want all of it? Who are you to demand we give it to you and your males? Men think all women and girls belong to them. You seem to think that all Lesbians belong to you. Why? What do you ever give us in return? Why is it such a threat that a few of us try to refuse to give to you? And yet, here we are, giving to you? Do you demand this from other people you oppress?

    You seem to think it’s our job to save your world. Men are destroying the earth. Women could stop it if they stop supporting men. But as you said, of course they won’t. Why should they? They benefit from their privilege. But at least you have answered the liberal Lesbian Feminists who go on about how poor het women don’t have informed choice.

    What do you really want from me? I don’t expect “women to stop loving men or having children” because most women are selling themselves and their daughters very cheaply for privilege and empty promises, while missing a life that could be full of depth and love, which they can never get with men. Of course you have no understanding of that or the idea that all females are naturally Lesbian because of the choices you’ve made.

    I didn’t disagree with your saying that “the distribution of resources and access to opportunities to support herself is a big factor on a woman’s decision to marry” — I kept responding that yes, marriage is a form of prostitution. I questioned your supporting that.

    I have no idea why you mention Andrea Dworkin. I know you must think that all Lesbian Feminists worship her, but I was a Radical Lesbian Feminist before she began writing. I don’t really consider a woman married to a man a Lesbian, so what is your point?

    By the way, it’s not a mystery that there a lot of difference between females and males. In spite of the liberal pseudo-feminist line, I think all girls and women know this, which is why most do hate males deep down. A couple of hours ago I was talking with a het woman healer who I knew to be extremely male-worshipping and who I had thought believed she really had the exceptional gentle man, when suddenly she said, “But you know how men are — they just cannot empathize the way women can.” (This was right after she told me how her man had sealed some little wild animals into a building so they would die.)

    I do not believe that any woman who is around males very much does not know how they easily or even enjoy torturing and killing animals, and molesting whoever they can get away with molesting.

    Of course it’s not easy for Lesbians, and a lot of that is because of Lesbian-hating and self-hating, which we explain in Chapter Three of our book. (Which, by the way, would you go on and on with criticisms of a man’s book that you haven’t read?)

    Again, it is Separatist politics, ideas, and love that created and fed the international Feminist and Lesbian movements. It’s the Separatists that give strength to every movement. As our communities became mainstream, we have lost almost everything we once had. But some of us know we could get it back if we support each other instead of everyone else.

  21. Bev Jo says:

    Feminism has been coopted into a bizarre form of humanism to where I don’t even understand why some women claim to be feminists. Even more upsetting, I keep seeing women with these extremely mainstream and anti-feminist politics lecture Radical Feminists (including some of us who helped create the Radical Feminist movement) about what “feminism” is.

    Feminism is not saying that men are also oppressed by patriarchy. Does anyone say that white people are also oppressed by racism? (Well, not anyone who is sensible or sincere.) Or that the rich are oppressed by classism? Men ARE patriarchy and certainly benefit from it. This skewed reactionary politics leads right into some men declaring they are more oppressed as women than women are, and more oppressed as Lesbians than Lesbians are, while they proceed to try to define us out of existence.

    These aren’t just extremely frustrating politics — they are extremely damaging and harmful. So please just admit if you are humanist and male-worshipping and if you are just trying to get a better deal for yourselves from your men. But do know that all of this has been written and talked about for over 40 years and things are far worse for women now. Women make even less money than men but have to work more hours. Now Lesbians are even told at government jobs, including those for “equal opportunity” that they should wear high heels to meetings. Sixteen year old girls are bought not just nose jobs now, but dangerous breast implant surgery by their parents.

    When you see all men wearing high heels to work and elsewhere (and not just as a way to fetishize and demean us), they still won’t be oppressed by patriarchy, but at least something will have changed.

  22. SheilaG says:

    Lesbian feminism and separatism is an international movement. I’ve been all over the world, and the biggest and most creative forces in Germany, Japan, Taiwan, England, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada…just to name a few have strong lesbian feminist communities. Ireland, Australia… I correspond regularly with women in Saudi Arabia… risking their lives to be free lesbians. South Africa, lesbians help write lesbian and gay rights into their constitution after Apartheid fell…guess who was in the forefont of the anti-aptharteid movement? That’s right, lesbians. So Sonia, you don’t know what you are talking about. You seem like one of the most uneducated and uninformed straight women to wander onto a site in years.
    Lesbians gather to create power, art, culture and male free space. We are a freedom movement for women worldwide… we’ve always rescued idiot het women from battering husbands, from poverty, from bars where men are preying on them. We created the rape crisis movement, we wrote power books that opened whole academic disciplines to het and lesbian women alike. But, all you do is shoot off your mouth, without any knowledge of what all of this is really about.
    So why are you so male pleasing? Why are you such a right wing conservative… that’s what you seem like to me. Just what is your point? Narrow minds… that’s what het women have…you are the ones feeding, giving birth to and supporting men. We’re are building alternate structures and changing the world. What are you doing? What kind of work have you done for the freedom and protections of lesbians worldwide? Did you help end apartheid? Did you open a Rape Crisis Center abroach? Did you help create whole departments of women in theology? Are you listed in every anthology on women and religion and feminism in America? Just what have you done? Nothing I suspect. Why are you hear if you are so clueless? You actually have nothing of interest to add to this discussion, and are too indoctrinated with male pleasing. We don’t need you, we have important work to do. Go please the men.

  23. SheilaG says:

    Do you even speak a second or third language Sonia? Narrow? I have the equivalent of about 5 PhDs, and have saved more women’s jobs, lives and houses than you ever will. Bev Jo, me and others wrote the texts and the laws that put women on the map. We helped create the laws against sexual harassment. Lesbians led the suffrage movement in the U.S., created the powerful field of anthopogy that women flourished in. We’ve founded women only institutions early in the last century that still flourish today.
    What would be narrow about a life of world travel, a serious partnership with another academic genius for over 30 years, and a political activist legacy that’s lasted well over 40 years now.
    What have you done Sonia? I suspect nothing much.

  24. Jennie says:

    You really covered all bases! Amazing essay-you need to write a book! I have read several, several radical feminist blogs, but yours by far, is my absolute favorite! No holds barred, and you definitely speak the truth about men. I am glad you write what you do about men and het women. You are absolutely right, and the truth must be told. I hate men, and will not apologize for it. I have my reasons, and they are completely valid. I will not apologize or kiss ass to het women, either. I can’t stand most of them, and your right about het women talking endlessly about their boyfriends and husbands! I hate it! I want to hear about their hopes and dreams, not about some guy! I love your unapologetic honesty. Never change!! I support you fully, as a sister rad fem! You are the voice that we so badly need. Thank you.

  25. Bev Jo says:

    Thank you so much, Jennie! I did co-write a book, which is Dykes-Loving-Dykes, half of which is updated here, and the other half I’m not getting to because of other writing.

    I really appreciate you too and all that you said! xoxo

  26. Radical Fiesta says:

    Hi Bev Jo. It’s been an honor reading your blog and having the truths you reveal further my understanding of lesbian oppression and heterosexual privilege. I have been searching for truly radical work on political lesbianism and having found out that you are also in the Bay Area and have done so much work for the lesbian community here was a joy to learn. It’s hard finding female-identified lesbians here where the queer/trans cults, heterosexualization of lesbians, and “born this way” propaganda from mainstream culture is rampant and overflowing.

    I loved your post on loving animals and remembered how important they were to me as a young girl. I felt connected to animals and felt that females shared this the most. You are so right about males tearing down females’ psychic connection with animals and pushing the term of “anthropomorphism” on our intuitive wisdom of animals having emotion and communication. Since childhood I had a deep love for females and animals, was in love with my female friends, and knew males were alien to us. My love for females and animals is something I have chosen to return to because I know this is the true, natural way for women which was torn from me by many factors including me buckling under pressure and previously choosing to be bisexual out of intense fear, cowardice, depression, and oppression.

    Although I was pressured, socially conditioned, bullied in school, policed by my mother and sister, and experienced a lot of male violence and homophobia that lead to depression, self-doubt and conformity, I acknowledge that I was choosing normalcy and status when I was living as a bisexual. You are so right about many lesbians choosing to love women in spite of all the oppression and violence they endured, thus exposing the lie I’ve been seeing from het-privileged radical feminists that there is no such thing as being able to choose women over men. I have decided earlier this year that from now on I want to put women and lesbians first because the first love I ever had was for females and I want to continue this love and build solidarity. I should have stuck with this love and should have trusted my instinctual aversion to males when I was a child. I have been and continue to take actions to eradicate femininity, heterosexuality and heterosexual privilege from my life. I have decided that no matter how much pain, oppression, and ostracization I experience I cannot stop being a lesbian.

    Your blog has been an amazing resource for learning what steps I should take to ensure I eradicate any leftover male-identification and to stay loyal to lesbian existence and female solidarity. Your words, courage and herstory are an inspiration. Thank you for all your written and community work! I hope I can someday meet you and other radical lesbians who are living so bravely and proudly.

  27. Bev Jo says:

    Thank you SO much! You are local? Let’s visit!

  28. hexacorallia says:

    Thank you so much for this Chapter! It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve read since I became feminist and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you are doing, so I’m writing this comment. Sorry for my English which is not perfect.

    I deeply agree with almost everything in this text, but I have some problems with seeing het women as «collaborators». I’m one of these radical feminists who think het women are «victims» and have been subjected to a compulsory heterosexuality. They identify with males because of Stockholm Syndrome and are «prisoners» of their own mind. Althouth they DO benefit from their collaboration with men, they suffer too. What makes me think like this is that the price they pay for what they get seems inadequate for me: how can one live and sleep with these beasts by their own will? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    My whole work as feminist consists in trying to explain to all kinds of het women what’s happening and present the truth in the way they could understand it. The problem is… they are NOT listening and continue defending men. Even feminists are defending men: gay men, transgenders and other kinds of poor «opressed» men. They turn against you once you say men are evil and heterosexuality is a kind of women’s gift to this evil. But still it’s difficult for me to see such women as «ennemies», it hurts to think like this. Some of my friends share the idea that het women are collaborators and I’m always arguing with them, trying to defend these women. I think it’s because seeing all women as potential friends is less painful and gives hope. But the reality is not that nice, and it looks like I’m lying to myself… and to other women.

    So thank you again for all the ideas and very clear explanations of different things I could already notice but couldn’t understand, as well as for confirming many of my thoughts. Many things made me smile – so true ! For instance, how het women (especially those who have children, especially married) feel superior and treat Separatists as «childish» and stupid, no matter how old and educated you are. I hate this !

    I think I’ll need time to digest some of the ideas. Anyway what I’ve read is extremely useful and enriching, and the whole blog is just amazing.

    • Bev Jo says:

      Thank you so much! Your English is excellent! Where are you from?

      It’s not Radical Feminism to see het and bisexual women as victims. That is a later dilution and is liberal/right wing feminism in that it’s reactionary and shuts down real Radical Feminist discussion. It’s a very clever con to keep privilege. And we do have a few het women allies who agree.

      I was horrified when I went online to see how real feminism had been so gutted from the Seventies by women calling themselves “radfems.”
      So I wrote this article about it:

      Thinking of the women who betray us as “victims” ignores the women who go back to men or back and forth, keeping their het privilege, which can be substantial, while having access to Lesbians and Lesbian communities.

      Why women choose men doesn’t make sense to me either, but I know Lesbians who keep going back, and see how they are now accepted by families and the culture far more than before. Others get even more substantial rewards of houses, money, careers, status, etc. And I remember one of the girls I loved in high school coldly describing how she’d better get moving on learning how to flirt with men to be het.

      I know what you mean, but it doesn’t really make things more hopeful and happy to be deluded about how some women do collaborate against other females. It’s always better to know the truth to be able to defend and protect ourselves and each other. Some women do change and being honest can help them to change. Plus your friends who know the truth really do need your support more than the women who are collaborating. It ends up again supporting our oppressors against us and hurting friends on behalf of collaborators.

      • hexacorallia says:

        Thank you for your reply!

        I am Lithuanian – lived in France for several years – now in Japan – going back to France soon. I discovered feminism not so long ago and I define myself as a radical feminist because my opinions are closer to those who call themselves radical feminists or radfems. Though, after reading the article (tht link you gave, THANK YOU!) I recognize I know NO Radical Feminists you describe and certainly I am not the one. At least not yet.

        I came here on wordpress trying to better understand what feminism is, because all I’ve seen until now is exactly what you describe in the article – continuous gaslight, when you are no more able to understand where is the truth and what is Feminism, because some of those who call themselves radical feminists seem to tell very strange and contradictory things. For instance they called me and my friend who choose to be Separatists and childfree “male-identified” etc. My friend has been accused of “mysoginy” and called “mother-hating” when she told that “housewives salary” was not a feminism priority. So coming to this blog feels like winning a lottery for both of us (she’s reading too), because what you’re writing really makes sense and makes the things clearer. I think I’ll have to forget all I’ve learned until now and start from the very beginning.
        I’m also really sorry if I wrote or am writing stupid or primitive things, please understand I’m a bit lost in all kinds of feminism all around internet. I’m just trying to learn and to understand, and I see this blog will help me a lot.

        Again, thank you so much for what you are doing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s