Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jennifer Drew on The War Against Women and Men's Refusal Stop Men From Perpetuating It

[image is from here, at a blog called The Kitchen Table. That blog is now archived only and I link it on the right side of this page in the blogroll]

The above image appears on The Kitchen Table blog in a post which contains a link to an article from the NYT. The New York Times piece doesn't show the image above, however. Instead, the NYT shows a different image with a story about Afghan women protesting in their home country, against laws that would make men's violence against women, and other means of subordinating women, much more "legal". I wish I had more information about the women in the image above, and chose it as a visual reminder that women are struggling to survive men's war against them, globally. It's rather telling of the conditions of women in patriarchies across the Earth, that when I see an image of women in protest, it is generally depicting an effort by women to fight for their rights and liberty, against those inhumane "rights and liberties" of men, who rule the places where women protest. Unfortunately, white men tend to do one of two things regarding images such as this one: they either believe it's only "those" men (usually of color) who are abusing women, or they believe that such an image proves that conditions here in the white, white West are not at all misogynistic and oppressively brutal to women as a class.

What follows is radical feminist Jennifer Drew's response to this October 7, 2009 post, where it also appears as a comment.

Increasingly, and with a combination of rage and a hope that refuses to die--even while on life support, I believe that if men can't listen to and hear women speak out on this matter of emergency, fuck them for listening only to a man. Fuck them for being so SELF-CENTERED, MISOGYNISTIC, and INDIFFERENT as to think women don't speak truth on matters which most negatively impact their own and other women's lives.

So here's Jennifer Drew's comment, and to all men: READ THIS TOO, and read it as if the person you trusted most in the world to tell you the truth were saying it, to you, every hour of every day of your life, because this IS that much of an emergency. From Jennifer Drew to Anonymous of October 7:

So true [...] and every word you write is fact not fiction, not man-hating - just facts.

This also shows society is indeed male-centered, male-dominated and male-obsessed.

Where indeed are the men loudly shaming other men who rape and commit male violence against women. I and many, many women continue to wait in vain. In the meantime women are hounded, sexually insulted and denied their right of speaking their truth.

Granted there are a few men who dare to challenge other men but I refuse to put them on pedestals. Instead they are doing what all or most men should do and that is denounce men who hold women in contempt; refuse to hold misogynistic views and finally but perhaps most importantly, believe women like men are human and innately entitled to human status and all it entails. Those men who go against dominant masculinity are not more worthy or more praiseworthy rather they are doing what all men should be taught as boys and that is women just like men are human and women are not men's sexual commodities or put on this earth to cater to men's every whim, demand or pseudo male sex right.

If any male imagines men's crimes against women are exaggerated and lies then do yourselves a favour and read The War Against Women by Marilyn French. Oh but I forget anything written by a woman and particularly a feminist woman is apparently man-hating and can be dismissed as 'fantasy.' I wish!

Is it really asking too much for men to cease enacting 'bystander behaviour' and for once just once -condemn those men who rape and commit other forms of sexual violence against women. For once speak out against normalisation of prostitution because despite propaganda it is men who are driving the sexual exploitation of women and girls not the reverse.

Yes, because it is all about male power and male control over women. Now I await a deluge of hysterical complaints from men all claiming they are being victimised by such 'unjust treatment.' So it continues - men's never ending war on women.



Anonymous said...

"By-stander behavior" is a very good phrase for describing just how cowardly men really are in their silence about what other men are doing to women every day.

I believe men are cowards, I believe they are animals beyond redemption. I see no chance that they will ever change, nor do they have the moral or intellectual capacity to do so. The dumb things men say about women every day of the week would fill the Libary of Congress.

True story, just yesterday. A gay man told me, "I didn't know that lesbians liked Halloween." I kid you not. This was a simple statement, not earth shattering, but imagine someone saying this to you!! "How many lesbians do you know?" This is typical of how men are ignorant, how they will actually honestly reveal this to you. They are clueless in the small things, incompetant in the large things.

So what we have to do as feminists, is to write them off. To say that they are too primitive, too cowardly matter anymore.

The challenge is for women to band together, to simply go and do what women must to gain freedom.

The war on women is every day. The killing of young women on college campuses-- Yale and the attack on a young woman yesterday at UCLA is what men do. Hear of an attack on a woman somewhere, you know a man did it without even having to read the news.

I think white men are particularly insideous. They actually believe they are different from those male muslim clerics who write the law, enforce the law, and then think they are the experts on everything.
Men are indeed the know it alls of the universe, and I believe they are morally incapable of anything meaningful in the world, unless it benefits them.

Men will do absolutely nothing unless they are the beneficiaries, and the centers of attention. They drain women like vampires, they terrorize public space and they kill women.

What if we had a feminist war crimes tribunal against all men worldwide? Well I know what I'd do, and it wouldn't be jail time that's for sure. I wouldn't bother with a trial, because that would give more attention to the monsters. They shouldn't even be allowed to have a trial for the crimes they've done defy description. They sit by age after age and do nothing about other men. NOTHING at all, no words, no outrage, no commentary, nothing. Men are killing and raping and creating these horrifying laws, and other men are just sitting home watching a football game. That's what men do in America, they play ball, they watch repetitive games, they deaden themselves with porn with mindless male 'banter'-- womanhating words.

Men hate women with a passion. They believe women are objects. I hate men, I hate them as monsters, as clueless as ignorant idiots that I am forced to interact with on a daily basis. I see them close up in work situations, listen to their simeon minds. As far as I'm concerned the "bystander behavior" won't ever stop, because men are cowards.
It's why the cover this up with all their boring macho posturing... it is about masking just how socially cowardly they really are.

A man who can't stand up to a sexist or degrading comment about women coming out of the mouth of another man is a coward. And they revel in this cowardace, they pretend ignorance all the time. Perhaps if you held a gun to a man's head and quizzed him on the position of women in the world, what would happen? What would happen if women controlled the guns, had the power of life and death over every man on the planet 24 hours a day? What would happen? I predict that they would continue to say sexist things, and then we'd kill them, and they would continue with this, because that is who they are. They can't change, because they are men.

So the key is for women to rise up, to not bother with these moral incompetants. I really don't see any other way.

Anonymous said...

And I just had to add how interesting it is that it is ALL men against and ALL women's groups in the streets here.

Notice how NO men speak up for the women's protest, not even a small group of men countering the gangs of men yelling at the women protestors.

Again, I think men, who pride themselves on courage in war time, really have no courage at all in the cause of women's freedom worldwide. This social timidity of pack animals, known as men, is fascinating behavior. It renders them morally or even mentally incapable of confronting other men in public.

Women I think delude themselves into thinking men are just or that they would ever stand up against other men to change the course of male violence worldwide, but they really won't. EVER.

So if we know that men will never confront other men or stop other men from raping in packs, or even attacking women in packs, what does this mean?

Feminism must change its tactics, if we are dealing with men who will never change, that's what it means, and women must know that men have no intention of risking their lives shouting down male packs attacking women. We know that the male clerics of Islam are really no different from fundamentalist men in America or liberal men.

We know that men kill women, slash the throats of women lab partners, do everything in their power to sexually degrade women.

We know this as feminists, we have such clear evidense of this. So what does this mean for women as we continue to get our freedom? Does it mean that we can hope men as a species will die out, as Mary Daly suggests? Does it mean that men could become extinct, as women create new methods of reproduction?

What does the bystander bahvior of men worldwide signal to the world?


Thank you Julian for reproducing my comments on your blog, but I'm only too aware my comments are not about myself but about the many women I know who have suffered male violence in differing forms. No I am not reducing these women to 'victims' but if we cannot recognise responsibility always lies with the perpetrator(s) not the victim and how male-centered society consistently excuses and justifies such violence, then we cannot begin the long process of changing public opinion.

Justification for male violence against women is seen as 'common sense' rather than a deliberately skewed re-interpretation of facts.

Scapegoating women conveniently allows men who commit violence against women to continue doing so because they know their actions will not be condemned by non-violent men since these men will continue to look the other way.

Women as a group are guilt tripped because their experiences are re-defined from the male perspective and serves to keep women constantly wondering 'what did I do to cause a man/men to do this to me' or 'why did I not take more care of my safety and well-being.' This is how male power is maintained by ensuring it is women not men who have to constantly monitor their behaviour and actions because women know if they challenge male domination there are consequences.

But women are not passive 'victims' because there will always be resistance to male domination which is why men as a group have to work incessantly at demonising and scapegoating women because one group dominating and controlling another group is never certain of total control.

Julian Real said...

To Anonymous poster of comments on October 9:

Notice how NO men speak up for the women's protest, not even a small group of men countering the gangs of men yelling at the women protestors.

Again, I think men, who pride themselves on courage in war time, really have no courage at all in the cause of women's freedom worldwide.

I couldn't agree more.

We know that the male clerics of Islam are really no different from fundamentalist men in America or liberal men.

I am not sure who you are speaking about above when you say "the male clerics of Islam".

But for the record, just to make sure U.S. readers don't buy into stereotypes--very dangerous ones, most male clerics of Islam are not fundamentalists nor are they from the region the U.S. calls "The Middle East". I just want to be sure that it is clear that "the male clerics of Islam", as a term about a population, is not taken as a synonym for "virulent misogynistic fundamentalists".

As I have never been either to Southeast Asia, or Northern Africa, or Western Asia, I know little to nothing about what it means to be an Islamic male cleric. I cannot make any generalisations about such a globally vast number of people, who are not from the places I have lived. I have met one white Islamic man here in the U.S. who was and is pro-feminist.

The woman-hating fundamentalists in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, in my view, are to be condemned for their woman-hating practices and values, primarily by those who are also a part of their societies and cultures.

Julian Real said...

P.S. to Anonymous commenter from October 9:

As a white gay man I have no faith at all that white gay men will do anything to assist in the liberation of women from racism, misogyny, or heterosexism.

I cut political ties with that part of "The Brotherhood" decades ago. To witness so many lesbian women helping out white gay men who were suffering from HIV/AIDS, and to not see white gay men organise to end white male supremacy is, well, "a disappointment" to say the least.

Adding insult to injury (or is it injury to injury?) is witnessing the ways white gay men celebrate white male supremacist values and culture, such as by finding humor in jokes that denigrate women, doing ridiculous imitations of what white gay men thing Black women talk like, economically displacing poor women, and by contributing financially to an industry (pornography) that maims and kills women daily.

No, I have no faith in white gay men to do anything other than to work to achieve the few privileges we don't have that white heterosexual men have. I call that political agenda racist, classist, misogynistic, and anti-lesbian.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support Julian. Women would be well served just to know what is and is not possible.

As for lesbian participation in the AIDS epidemic, I just knew how it would all turn out in the end. Men were more than willing to use up lesbian energy in their cause, and recruit lesbians for male caregiving. No big surprise there, and they had no intention of ever paying back any of this work by standing up for lesbian issues. This is pretty much a given, men steal women's energy and resources, they're experts at this.

I'm seeing a renewal of lesbian separatism, if nothing else, because I want as many women only projects, places and jobs as possible, and I want lesbians and women to be serious about building women only communities and possibly countries. And then the male bystanders will be on the streets all by themselves and women will simply have disappeared.

Anonymous said...

P.S. And I wasn't picking on any particular country when I was talking about Islamic clerics. Women are not allowed to be Imams, so this means that all male Muslim clerics are worthless, and that women need to walk out of Islam entirely, just as they need to leave all the male dominated male centric religions. Women just need to leave.

Julian Real said...

As long as it didn't displace Indigenous people, I'm all for women of all colors forming "a more perfect union"! I love Dworkin's idea of a nation for women. Although I'm not a fan of nationdom, at least as that expresses itself in the white male West. But while we have nations, let's have on men can't enter at all! EVER.

And I'm all for women withdrawing energy, time, and resources from men. Leave us to deal with each other, and then we'll see how men fare! What we'll end up doing is lots of violence to one another, and we'll all become man-haters, because our despicable ways will be directed at one another, instead of onto women. (Of course this will likely play out in extremely racist and homophobic ways but hey, at least women will be free! And I think men should be willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of Women's Liberation.) Not just willing... but that men should do it, now, if not yesterday.

And I readily support women/wimmin-only spaces and events, as well as lesbian separatism as a political choice for freedom from daily, weekly, or monthly abuse and indignations from men.

I hope you find lots and lots (and lots) of wimmin-only spaces to breathe easier in.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really in favor of a nation state as such, but more am in favor of women using the spaces they now have, and expanding them.

First we have to create a small town, then we can build a city, and then develop a kind of land that would be women's alone. It would be a large place where women all over the world would be welcome. Since women are half the human race everywhere what would women displace?

I am amazed that women so rarely talk about this possibility. Even separatists who have been in conversation together for 40 some years never quite got to the town building stage. We're still stuck in academies for some reason, or still stuck in careerism rather than vision building.

I just love this blog so far. It is the most blunt place yet. This stuff even scares a lot of women out there!

And as a P.S., I love your homage to Audre Lorde when you say 'Lorde knows..." very cute and clever...

With reproductive technology now widely available, we'd have a land of all women. And I believe women of the world are fools for not discussing this seriously. We really have to say that the time of working with men has ended, it just is over. They're just not interested in justice, and probably aren't mentally capable of this. I think it is male brain deficiency of some sort.

So it is up to women and I think we can do this over the next 40 years.

Julian Real said...

I'm with you that the time is well past for figuring out how to work with men to get us to "get it" let alone "do anything useful about it".

And it is stunning that women have not taken over at least one town by now!

Anonymous said...

I think we as women need to know that not one thing men have done is ever useful in teaching us anything about our own liberation. Not one thing.
So this idea that women start a town and create a wonderful environment for women is about building. If we are talking about half the world's population, women have the numbers to do just about anything. So we need to realize that 100% of our focus could be on the vision of women's liberation, and that it really is about women getting this message to all women.