Why do (most) men have to be the way they are? That’s a question I used to ask myself when I was a little younger and abused by them.
Why do we sisters sometimes have doubts about the future? Why do we sisters sometimes lose our strength?
I mean. . . Where do I start?
Few men are interested feminism in the first place. Most men on this earth haven’t even got any interest in any kind of feminism whatsoever, let alone radical feminism.
There are times I’m strong at hiding my deepest feelings about men and oppression, especially sexual oppression.
I mean, there are times when I’m very optimistic. That is when I’m happy about having learned the truth about what’s happening around me, what is wrong with this world and how we, radical feminists, can advocate for real progressive change.
I’m glad to have discovered radical feminism and I will always be. Few women ever get the chance to even know it exists, and, quite honestly, I had lived 26 years of my life without even knowing such a truly radical movement for change existed.
And there are other times, like right now, when I just want to scream and cry. There is such an incredible amount of oppression on this planet (that patriarchy causes) that I just want to stop hiding my deepest feelings.
I am revealing them now:
Will all this ever stop? We, women, do share a common condition. We constantly live in oppression and fear of male violence.
We, radical feminists, believe that masculinity is a social construct. We believe that rape, child sexual abuse, battery, the pornography use, the prostitution of millions and millions of women & girls are not inevitable facts of life.
We instead believe that men are human beings, just like us, but that they have been culturally trained to repress whatever feelings they have in common with us (although it doesn’t always work). Men are routinely socialized to be tough and not to show their sensitivity (too much).
We also believe that rape, child sexual abuse, battery, the pornography use, the prostitution of millions and millions of women & girls happen because men have had such a masculine or hyper-masculine socialization that makes them do these horrible things.
However, I fear that some of my radical feminist sisters might have already thought about the very same thing that crosses my mind. That is, because men are what they’ve become, due to millennia of patriarchy, what if there is no hope for change? What are we going to have to do? Consider that the problem lies in the men? And I think this idea is awful because such statement is somehow underlain by rotten “biological” explanation.
As Andrea Dworkin, a feminist who has always been demonized and misrepresented by the pro-pornography lobby, once stated:
The vital question is: are we to accept their world view of a moral polarity that is biologically fixed, genetically or hormonally or genitally (or whatever organ or secretion or molecular particle they scapegoat next) absolute; or does our own historical experience of social deprivation and injustice teach us that to be free in a just world we will have to destroy the power, the dignity, the efficacy of this one idea above all others? [. . .]
. . . the price we pay [in believing biological ideology] is that we become carriers of the disease we must cure. [. . .]
It is shamefully easy for us to enjoy our own fantasies of biological omnipotence while despising men for enjoying the reality of theirs. And it is dangerous–because genocide begins, however improbably, in the conviction that classes of biological distinction indisputably sanction social and political discrimination. [. . .]
What I mean to say is that, if we seriously start believing that the problem lies in the male biological sex, we lose. Our radical ideas, our progressive belief of gender as being a social construct is completely lost.
I mean, yes, men do oppress us.
Men do hate us in a particular way that they do not want to admit.
Men do objectify us.
Men do want to see us submit to them.
Men do spread our legs, grab our arms painfully tightly, pull our hair, bruise our thighs, make our eyes water, etc.
Men do imagine us everyday saying No but meaning Yes or saying Yes & meaning Yes to any possible humiliation that comes from the hierarchical sex they’ve seen in pornography. (Whatever any other gruesome detail coming from their pornographized mind I’m not going to mention here but you, sisters, know what I’m talking about.)
Men do coerce us into sexual activity.
Men do rape us.
Men do prostitute some of us to feed the demand of other men who want to buy our bodies.
Men do make pornography of some of us.
Men do beat us up.
Men do sexually abuse our children.
Yes, these are the painful realities of abuse in this world. Yes, all this happens every day.
But, you know what, sisters? No, it doesn’t have to be that way.
No, no, and no!
The fact that there are some men on this earth who do not use pornography and are respectful of women proves that rape, battery, etc. are not “natural” or biological inevitabilities, no matter how many writers try to argue the opposite.
Throughout history, there have been (almost exclusively male) writers trying to “prove” that hierarchy and aggression were just unavoidable facts of life, and gosh knows how many times they’ve been quoted by radical feminist writers as examples of defenders of male supremacy by claiming “biological” arguments.
Sisters, I do know that men are so fucking dangerous and I totally agree with Allecto.
Yes, I’m not very optimistic when I hear a male porn user speaking that way to a young woman who’d started an anti-porn petition:
“I LIKE WATHCING GOOD BITCHES GETTING FUCKED.
THE PROBLEM IS THE SHIT ROGERS SHOWS IS ALL AMERICAN CRAP WITH THE FILTHY DIRTY AMERICAN GOOK WHORES. THE BETTER PETITION WOULD BE TO SHOW REALLY GOOD HARDCORE UNCENSORED JAPANESE PORN. THE GOOD ONES ARE: GANG RAPE BUKKAKE (COVERED IN CUM) LESBIANS BESTIALITY GANGBANGS NIGGERS FUCKING LITTLE GOOK WHORES. IF YOU SHOW WHITE BITCHES, MAKE THEM MILFS AND AMATURES” [SIC]
This clearly shows that the secret thoughts of the porn users, which they sometimes express vividly online, are filled with misogyny and racism.
Neither do I feel optimistic when I hear about a so-called “pro-radical feminist man” (who was in fact a porn user) who sexually assaulted a woman and made pornography of her.
(However, as I have lately become a little more suspicious of male allies without necessarily writing them off, I believe, sisters that we’ll seriously have to be careful in the future, try to find a way of making sure they are genuine.)
Nor do I feel hopeful when I hear about a gang-rape that was filmed by a bunch of male “bukake” fans.
And I certainly am not seeing this world other than cruel when I hear about all the rapes, the sexual coercions that are endlessly perpetrated in this pornified culture by scores of men who don’t even give a shit about any type of feminism.
Nevertheless, sisters, we mustn’t give up the fight. We must continue to ask for a radical change in the behavior of males. We must ask for the complete eradication of gender itself.
As Andrea Dworkin, my favorite (and so unfairly misrepresented) writer, said:
[O]nce we do not accept the notion that men are positive and women are negative, we are essentially rejecting the notion that there are men and women at all. In other words, the system based on this polar model of existence is absolutely real; but the model itself is not true. We are living imprisoned inside a pernicious delusion, a delusion on which all reality as we know it is predicated.
In my view, those of us who are women inside this system of reality will never be free until the delusion of sexual polarity is destroyed and until the system of reality based on it is eradicated entirely from human society and from human memory. This is the notion of cultural transformation at the heart of feminism. This is the revolutionary possibility inherent in the feminist struggle.
As I see it, our revolutionary task is to destroy phallic identity in men and masochistic nonidentity in women–that is, to destroy the polar realities of men and women as we now know them so that this division of human flesh into two camps–one an armed camp and the other a concentration camp–is no longer possible. Phallic identity is real and it must be destroyed. Female masochism is real and it must be destroyed. The cultural institutions which embody and enforce those interlocked aberrations–for instance, law, art, religion, nation-states, the family, tribe, or commune based on father-right–these institutions are real and they must be destroyed. If they are not, we will be consigned as women to perpetual inferiority and subjugation. [...]
Only when manhood is dead–and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it–only then will we know what it is to be free.
– Andrea Dworkin, in The Root Cause.
I am an anarchist of the patriarchy.
I want the whole concept of manhood to die.
In the book Refusing to Be a Man, John Stoltenberg argues that males can refuse to be men and genuinely act out in favor of social equality and justice. Males should be human beings, not men.
The anti-gender ideology which underlies radical feminist politics is very simple once you grasp it: In order to create a just world where rape, battery, child sexual abuse and any form of discriminations would not exist, not only pornography, prostitution and patriarchal religions & institutions must be abolished, but gender itself, i.e. the patriarchal polar role definitions of ‘men’ and ‘women’, what it means to be “masculine” or “feminine”, must be destroyed.
Sexism must be eradicated. And it will be, on the day people stop enforcing it or believing it as inevitable. It will be when males do realize that we, females are no “other species” but human beings just like them, and vice-versa.
No, sisters we mustn’t say the silly excuse “the problem lies in the men”, no matter how tempting this becomes when we lose hope while seeing all this violence against women not being taken truly seriously.
Instead we must carry on asking for change even if all the oppression of the world looks like it has the size of an ocean and we’re trying to empty it with teaspoons, even if we feel like we’re losing our strength.
Recently, I had someone telling me that I was “hysterical” (this isn’t an exactly pro-woman term). But we, rad fems, have a complete passion for being angry, as our anger often suppresses our sadness or pain.
Of course, male-supremacist society particularly dislikes angry women.
But, you know what?
I don’t care about sounding angry or “hysterical”. I want to keep up the fight for radical change.
I wanna keep standing up and carry on asking our oppressors to stop oppressing us or stop apologizing for sexual oppression as “unavoidable”.
I do know, sisters, that pro-porn women are females, just like us, who share our common condition.
But they are also the smokescreen to conceal our real proscribers, our real ‘nemeses’-wannabes: the (largely) male supporters of pornography and prostitution.
The men who defend pornography and prostitution do defend female sexual slavery. They are the real guardians of the status quo. They are the ones who predominantly support the gynocides,(*) the sexual terrorisms that are called pornography and prostitution.
We must carry on exposing the harms of pornography and prostitution while arguing against “biological inevitability”, which is anyway nothing but patriarchal ideology we must refute.
We must ask for men to change, to understand us and to stop hating us (whether they admit it or not).
We must ask for conversations on pornstitution to be directed toward the subject of the johns/users, who always have a 100% choice in the matter. They are the ones who feed the demand for the gynocides,(*) the sexual terrorisms that are called pornography and prostitution.
Apologists for bad things as “being natural” are people who do not want the status quo to be overthrown. They want it to be maintained.
We must be strong, sisters, and keep up the good work.
Those who try to shut us up will not succeed. They will fail.
No matter how small a group we are. We are a sisterhood.
One day, we’ll get bigger. No matter how much time it takes.
Most women out there do not defend pornstitution and aren’t comfortable with it. That is a fact. We must count on it.
(*) Gynocide, according to Dworkin, is “the systematic crippling, raping, and/or killing of women by men.” (Dworkin, Our Blood, p.16) Also referring to the witch-hunt in early modern Europe. Patriarchal religion orchestrated the killing of nine million women as witches. The Malleus Maleficarum was a form of (Christian) pornography.
“Female sexual slavery is present in ALL situations where women or girls cannot change the immediate conditions of their existence; where regardless of how they got into those conditions they cannot get out; and where they are subject to sexual violence and exploitation.”
– Kathleen Barry, in Female Sexual Slavery, p. 40.