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Hetero Men Suck March 5, 2006

Posted by sybil in Phallocracy.
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Men are still asking, What does Woman want? And an awful lot of them believe they know the answer.

Even the most well-intentioned men I’ve known basically just want to understand what is the minimum they need to do to get by: Sex, communication, domestic duties: Give me a To-Do list and I’ll see how we go. I don’t know how we can change that. The prevailing attitude still seems to be something like, ok, tell me how much of these things I need to do to get you to have sex with me. On the positive side, more men are spending more time with children and enjoying it more, and more men call themselves feminists or pro-feminist.

All infants suck to survive. Girls are conditioned to transmute sucking into nurturing, to become involved in the care and feeding of men. Men, by and large, to greater and lesser degrees, continue sucking.

There is a near-universal phenomenon that a post-adolescent male will dominate any public space. That is, he sucks. When women do the non-paid home work, without an equitable trade-off, she is having her very self sucked dry. (And often what looks equitable at the time, turns into the nightmare of the struggling divorced woman.) When women invest the majority of their energy in attracting and pleasing and caring for men, what is left for the self?

To attack sexism is to attack the foundations of society. To be radical is to go to the root cause of the matter. Wiktionary helps us here:

Radical: Of or pertaining to the root or root cause of the matter;
Thorough- going or fundamental. Favouring fundamental change, or change at the root cause of the matter. His beliefs are radical.
The spread of the cancer required radical surgery, and the entire organ was removed.
Slang: Extremely, incredible: That was a radical jump!

We call people fundamentalist because they want fundamental, radical changes. While even many of those who call themselves Feminist distance themselves from the term ‘radical’, the other polarity are ecstatic to be able to wrap themselves in their varied colored flags of fundamentalism. And we are brainwashed into finding this palatable. When in fact it’s disgusting, putrefying, and sickening. To all living things.

How do we attack it at its roots? When we can’t even get well-meaning (so-called) liberal women to get behind women’s rights? Women’s rights are human rights.

This damn accommodation to being polite is getting us nowhere. The current climate is way too close to the energy of Germany in the 30’s. People don’t want to entertain that idea, just as there has been major resistance to likening this war to Vietnam.

Fundamentally, we need to observe and analyze the overwhelming effects of the patriarchy. It is sucking the air out of the planet and out of our daily lives. And the approach needs to be radical, to go to the heart of the matter.

Does that mean I think once we label it we can attack and kill this terrorist organism? As I believe neither in fairies nor god, I doubt it. But it does mean that we can and must stop burying our heads in the sand and looking the other way and putting our fingers in our ears, going, lalalalala-I-can’t-hear-you. We can come out of denial. Maybe we apply some of the 12-step principles. I’m not the person with the answer, but I do suggest we all keep questioning. And learn to question.

Blaming the patriarchy is just the beginning of the process for those who are pro-women’s rights. Until we recognize and label the omnipresent atmosphere in which we live, we cannot do anything to free ourselves. Just as, not until we recognize that the environment is seriously compromised can we begin to remedy it.

Once a person can see the all-pervasiveness of patriarchal beliefs and structures, then it is possible to look within and see what can be done to strengthen inner resources and to not contribute to this ism which is sucking the life out of societies around the globe. The dominance of the 3 monotheistic religions has endangered life for all the rest of us. And, just as ultimately no one escapes global warming, from greenie to industrialist, no men or women are safe from the ravages of patriarchal thinking. This is the thinking that forces women to bear children so that the state can turn those children into products and means of production. Serving as soldiers or merely over-worked units of production (zombies), these are the rewards to us of the patriarchy.

This might be approaching the reality of a Clash of Civilizations: Monotheists vs. the rest of the world. Ever was it, Jews, Christians and Muslims making war upon those who believed and worshipped differently. Around the world men are fanning the fires of fear. The old versions of hell, damnation, devils and evil women have been dressed up in quasi-modern garb.

We are being wound back, and drugged into complacency by ritalin, prozac, viagra, television, porn, consumerism and lies.

Sexism is the air we breathe, the atmosphere we live in. And woe to the women of color, facing down the double barrels of racism plus sexism.

If I examine the depths of my sorrow as a 2nd Wave Feminist in the current climate, it has to do with so many women refusing to ask questions. When we are identified with a belief or personality trait we cling to it as if it is our very definition. Buddhist practice focuses in part on dis-identifying, being able to see that I am not my thoughts or emotions or beliefs. Awareness is the first step.

As people all over the blogosphere note, once they identified some particular illness or handicap, the relief is usually enormous. Now that the thing’s labeled, treatment and inner resources can be used. Once we acknowledge the overwhelming nature of the patriarchy, we can begin to educate ourselves and grow inner resources. No, it isn’t easy and it isn’t overnight. But just like The Chimp’s Long War, just like the War on Drugs, just like the War on Women and Homosexuals, we can equip ourselves for the struggle.

In the same way the monotheists are marshalling their followers with enticements for chastity, conformity, modesty, activism, those supporting human rights for women must arm ourselves with the willingness for a gentle discipline. To be disciplined enough, to be interested enough, to recognize the ways the patriarchy has affected you today. Every day. To start noticing it, to start talking about it. Maybe in addition to Friday cat and dog blogging, Friday becomes, how the patriarchy messed up my life this week. Although I have to say, most of the sites I visit do that daily. How about sidebars with stats, me vs. Patriarchy.

We can either be complacent, smug, safe, or we can at the very least, in the comfort of our own homes, look within, look outside, apply a bit of disciplined self-examination. We’ve moved beyond pursuing years of psychoanalysis, but learning the art of self-examination, making a habit of growing consciousness, are tools of the new millennium.

Why does a phrase like “I blame the patriarchy” so offend NewFems? Why is it still such a radical position to say, look, this is what this system does to Us All? Of course, it is radical, it does go to the root.

I’ve been a witness and participant in some very intense conversations about feminism during the last weeks. Who gets to call herself a Feminist; who is disallowed; what is good feminist, pseudo-feminist, sex-positive feminist (implying the rest are anti-sex)?

One of the epithets thrown around can be summed up as, “oh, that’s such 70’s feminism.”

What does this mean? I’m here shaking my head, feeling sad and bewildered. What was it about ’70s feminism that’s so bad? I could try to make my own list based on the same old media vox pops. List must include: lesbian. hairy. ugly. hairy. fat. hairy. birkenstocks. hairy. angry. man-hating. hairy. separatist. hairy.

One of the themes that’s constantly humming in the background is that We 70’s feminists somehow messed up life for you of the “3rd wave” We should’ve known that work and family would never be an easy path. We should’ve known that healthy human eggs don’t last forever. We shouldn’t have started all the trouble that led to the backlash that’s flogging us now.

Shoes, clothing, make-up, hair color, surgical enhancement, pornchic, BDSM…I’ve been riveted by the correspondence. What’s The Position on these things? Who’s making the rules? And now I hear the new trend is to be called Mrs. Hubby after marriage (I’m unclear whether those taking this choice identify as feminist or not).

Many women respondents to blogs write, “I like doing things for my man. I like making him happy, taking care of him”. I have never seen even a single reference in contemporary blogging to Radical Separatist Feminism. The suggestion that feminists hate men, and are urging women to abandon men absolutely warps the message of feminists. Beware: Serious Brainwashing in Progress. The patriarchal institutions will always distort feminist messages, and too many women, in the same way that they look into their mirrors and see a distorted reality, accept this perversion as truth. Feminists. Do. Not. Hate. All. Men.

What saddens me is that we are still so mired in Lookism. Strange word, but there isn’t really a better one to describe the degree to which physical appearance dominates our lives, our conversations, our waking and sleeping moments. There seems to be plenty of evidence that human infants innately respond more positively to certain arrangements of facial features, that we recognize and react to ethnicities different from our own with apprehension.

Everyone wants to look attractive. The first art was body art, and never has it been more in vogue. Yet in the growing trend it is as if female bodies have been sucked of souls and replaced by the Consumerist ethic. In the belief that each new trend makes her more desireable and juicy, the woman is sucked dry by the need to pander to achieving looks and status. Innate self-confidence is replaced by insecurity, anxiety, self-loathing, and identifying with the oppressor (ah, such a 70’s phrase).

These sorts of arguments are not new. Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, Germaine Greer and Andrea Dworkin were 4 of the most prominent faces of 2nd Wave feminism. When we remember those faces, we cannot escape recognizing that the most conventionally pretty of these women had greater acceptability and public trajectory.

I started blogsploring when the world was making me feel more and more depressed. But the laughing, ridiculing, sniggering, guffawing, snorting commentary, amidst the moans and groans and frustrated weeping, made me feel alive again. I began to feel engaged instead of overwhelmed. For the first time in many years I’ve felt supported in my being as a woman, when I log onto feminist websites.

I have no doubt that we’re at a transformative moment in human evolution. Let us not go the way of The Chimp. Let’s push forward this human experiment into some fresh air. I believe blogging is at the forefront of organizing, sharing voices, cross-fertilizing, learning how to frame and deconstruct arguments. I’m daily amazed by the quality of writing.

Scorn, ridicule, satire, visual puns: Bloggers are nourishing our souls, letting us laugh and smirk instead of fester, offering us the opportunity to morph into a new organism, to somehow create a new, more conscious paradigm.

[all credit to gentleman farmer t.faster for raising the patriarchy-blaming banner; and the pithy dr.socks for lalalalala-I-can’t-hear-you]


welcome home March 5, 2006

Posted by sybil in Wise Words.
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Occasional postings of a human bean anthropologist taking seriously the game of Being in the Body.

re-considering, re-membering, re-calling, and re-fusing
the realities we call consensual.

The words of a living language are like creatures: they are alive. Each word has a physical character, a look and a personality, an ancestry, an expectation of life and death, a hope of posterity. Some words strike us as beautiful, some ugly, some evil….there are magic words, spells to open gates and safes, summon spirits, put an end to the world. What are magic spells but magic spellings? (morris bishop,american heritage dictionary of the english language 1976)

Magic: the space between the moments.

presently, many, many moments spent in developing embryonic shrewdness with WordPress and html. credits for the look to Binary Moon, linked below.