The Crimes of Mankind
How Patriarchy Uses Heterosexual and Bisexual Women against Lesbians
IS NOT COMPULSORY
(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 world2 and 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 Eros-Guide.com and former owner of a commercial San Francisco dungeon, has nothing but praise for the skills pro subs bring to their trade … ‘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.)
4 “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 (submarnie.com) has been strung up and splashed with freezing water, had her labia sewn shut, gotten caned, and taken countless bare-bottomed spankings—and has loved almost every minute of it. As “Marnie,” the Los Angeles–based kinky gal works as an independent professional submissive. For $260 an hour (to start), you can hire her to lie across your lap and get whacked good and hard (her favorite) or, for several thousand dollars, go deeper into your dominant fantasies. She’ll even come right to your hotel room, or you can use a local dungeon.photo: David RodgersJoan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional SubmissiveIt’s clear from Kelly’s (Carroll & Graf, 2005) that this job’s about much more than money. Her excitement is evident over the phone, as she reveals that she’s been single until recently, getting her pain fix on the job. “When I started, I had that Pretty Woman fantasy, thinking I’d meet Mr. Kinky Right. If that had ever happened, I would’ve quit in a heartbeat,” she confesses. “If I don’t have someone in my personal life [to be kinky with], I’m physically compelled to do sessions. I’ve tried to quit a few times, but I couldn’t—I have to have this in my life.” Kelly’s current paramour, whom she met online, is “getting kinkier by the minute,” responding to her cues.
Local pro sub Submissive Ophelia (submissiveophelia.com), who claims she’s “New York City’s most hardcore masochist,” also got into the work after a failed relationship. Her first boyfriend made her his captive, and after that, “I had a difficult time meeting men who enjoyed dominating me. My submissive urges kept growing, and I decided being a pro would get me more playtime and fulfill my desires.”
Her favorite part of the job is the physical high, while the biggest drawback is tending to bruises several times a day after a heavy corporal scene. “I surprise myself at how far my pain tolerance has evolved. For example, I had a client sew my vaginal lips shut, and I didn’t make a peep,” Ophelia (Joan Kelly) boasts via e-mail. “I had another client who took 18-gauge needles, heated them until they were red-hot, and used them to pierce the insides of my butt cheeks. I could hear my skin sizzling as the needles penetrated me.”
Byron Mayo, co-owner of the BDSM advertising hot spot Eros-Guide.com and former owner of a commercial San Francisco dungeon, has nothing but praise for the skills pro subs bring to their trade. “You can touch places in a really good sub session that most marriages don’t get to in years. The result is a sense of psychological intimacy most of us crave but rarely get,” he says. “In a world of political correctness, confusing role models, and enforced ‘equality,’ the ability to tell a beautiful, intelligent, and demure woman to get on her knees and do what you say is a fantasy come true.”
A woman after my own heart, Kelly’s favorite type of scene involves over-the-knee hand spanking and role-playing. “The hottest thing for me is if they’re ‘punishing’ me for something. I could do back-to-back spanking sessions all day, every day,” she enthuses, then clarifies—”but not if it were eight hours of super hard spanking.” She has done five hours in a row, but she enjoys the challenge. “I’m tired at the end of a day like that, but mostly from the emotional energy of plugging in with one person after another.”
Being a sub is decidedly more risky than wielding a whip, which is why pro subs make more than your average dominatrix. Kelly explains that in L.A., dungeons often start women as subs who can work their way up to being doms. They may go through the motions, but for Kelly, it’s all real. “Virtually any pro sub will do spanking, but if it’s not their fetish, they’re not gonna have the kind of response that turns a fellow fetishist on. Spanking pushes an instant arousal button in me. That’s not common in the professional s/m scene.” Mayo praises such dedication. “I’ve seen pro subs come out of sessions glowing like they’ve just spent a week on an island vacation with a fantasy lover. Others emerge needing to curl up and be held because they exposed so much raw emotion. They have to do it because they love it, or it will quickly go sour.”
Novice clients, be forewarned: Cash alone will not buy your way to smacking Kelly’s ass. This proud “spanking fetishist, selective and submissively responsive bottom, and excitable pervert” (according to her website) insists that although she enjoys herself immensely during sessions, she’s no one’s plaything or naughty little girl. Don’t call her and expect instant obedience; you not only have to pay for that, you have to earn it. “Clients have to respect me as an equal person. I get to say how hard things will get, I get to say what I need,” she explains. “Guys will call up and while I’m trying to interview them as a potential client, ask, ‘Are you kneeling?’ It’s embarrassing for the guy.” Her advice? “Never assume anything about a woman you approach for a pro session—we’re all different. Some subs won’t take off their G-strings but will let you cane the shit out of them. There are women like me who’ll get naked and jerk off in front of you, but you better not start caning the hell out of me unless it’s my idea.”
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.