Saturday, October 17, 2009

Transgendered and non-transgendered being and behavior

"Women and men are made, not born" -- Simone de Beauvoir, French white cisgendered feminist.
To read an essay based on that quote, go here.


[the image above is from here, an astoundingly racist, sexist, and classist and "unaware of gynocide or genocide" webpage]

What follows is a reply I was going to post to a commenter here, but decided to make a separate post because it ended up bringing up issues that I've not brought up here before.

So, hi everyone, and hi especially to Anonymous of Oct. 17th, 2009 ECD.

Note for what I'm about to say: seeking to know anyone who is part of a of diverse population that is not seen or understood as "one's own" (by oneself), including by trying to find modes of behavior that "they" have in common, or by discerning the values of one or two or twelve or seventy people in that group is called discrimination where I come from.

That said, my conclusions about "men" are based on knowledge of thousands of WHITE men I've seen or known, and on what millions upon millions of men have done in society, in the so-called great literature they've written, in the good and bad movies they've made, and in the patterns discernible in their behaviour across eras and across continents. "Sociology" is a field as reputable as any other--or as irreputable! "Anthropology", on the other hand, is so thick with white men's racist assumptions, values, and practices, that it needs a major overhaul by antiracist, antisexist folks, by people of color and by women, and especially by Indigenous people--particularly Indigenous women, before it will have much legitimacy for me personally. When the perspectives and theories in the field of "anthropology" are fully and completely centered around the experiences of Indigenous women and other women of color, I'll start reading anthropology books again--well, the books that reflect that shift in consciousness.

I have known only one American Indian man intimately. I was his boyfriend years back. He did not behave the way white men stereotypically behave, AT ALL. He was raised on a res in the Southwestern U.S. among other people of his Nation. And he told me about plenty of men on the res who behaved about as oppressively towards local women as a few white men I have known personally.

But I do believe "male supremacy" is often a term racistly used in white society to mean "white male supremacy" which can and does shape everyone of every gender and race pretty much across the globe, at this point, but not entirely so. There still are people on Earth who have little to no contact with white men and white male supremacist social-economic political practices and institutions. But Japan, to name but one non-white country, is so Westernised, so infiltrated by Euro/U.S. white male supremacist culture and economics, that however men treat women there, it cannot be said to not be influenced by those practices and values of white men that are racist and misogynistic.

The only FtM trans person I know well is among the many dear, sensitive human beings I know (across gender), and clearly fits well enough into the category you said: comes from queer/lesbian community, was feminists/is profeminist, cares deeply about all women's issues, isn't "into" hanging out with asshole cismen, sexist cismen, etc.

And of course transgendered people, like any other group of completely diverse people raised in white hetero male supremacist societies, will absorb various things, be taught various things, be valued for various things, be rewarded for various things in such ways as to be shaped and influenced to behave in ways consistent with the "standards of being" in any given white heterosexual male supremacist society. I wrote "various things" to mean "very varied ways of behaving" just so I wouldn't have to type out those extra words so many times! lol (Gee: what WILL I do with all that extra cyberspace!)

I hope we all know that those of us raised in such societies may be butch boys, butch girls, femme boys, femme girls; children, teens, and adults with the very varied experiences of having AIS; children, teens, and adults with the experience of being intersex, poor to rich, of color and not of color, disabled and non-disabled, with various levels of conscious trans awareness of things like sexism, racism, and heterosexism. For example, if you grew up with a conservative or liberal or progressive known-to-be transgendered or lesbian parent I think it's safe enough to say that you will likely have more awareness about some aspects of transgender and lesbian existence vs. in a radical home with cisgendered parents. I can't conclude what sort of awareness: some kids raised by queer parents are deeply aligned with queer issues, some are not, and some become militantly anti-queer.

Also, if one is a female-born girl raised in house where she saw her ciswoman mother yelled at and beaten up regularly by her cisman father, she may grow up identifying more strongly with one or the other parent. And some lesbian batterers are women who grew up identifying with their battering fathers.

A butch boy who identified and loved his mother strongly, so much so that he 'got it' that women are mistreated and oppressed by men, socially, may be far more sensitive to gender issues than those boys who did not identify with their mothers at all.

Many MtF trans people grew up more like sissyboys than "REAL BOYS", with the stigma of being "like a girl," and never really developed the male ego structure and or acquired the complete set of privileges that many boys do achieve, especially non-"effeminate" hetero boys.

That said, I was more or less a sissyboy and I certainly learned how to absorb and act out male privileges. I've also been extremely close to women, emotionally, my whole life. The privileges I have tended to act out most were not conscious to me as such. They were pointed out to me, often repeatedly, by women in my life.

In my experience of meeting thousands of people, I can conclude a few things:

Manhood and whiteness are states of being and behaving that carry great power and generally denied privileges. These ways of being and values and practices and behaviors are encoded and enforced into society structurally, institutionally, systemically, and socially. Also interpersonally.

Being heterosexual, if a man, makes life easier than being gay, assuming both males come from the same demographic: such as being white, upper middle class, and educated through college in what are considered to be "the better schools".

Being a disabled trans woman means one will live with more challenges and lack of understanding than a non-disabled trans woman within their same demographic group: such as being Chican@ and raised among primarily Chican@ people, or likewise if Black, American Indian, or white; also working class, raised in standard school systems not "the better ones".

Trans and genderqueer people will probably live lives of greater inner turmoil than those who are gender normative, with regard to gender issues, assuming comparable levels of mental health and endurance of trauma. And gender issues may not be what most concerns any individual trans person.

I have met very obnoxious, bigoted, willfully ignorance, highly race-privileged whites, of whatever gender, who behave in MANY of the same oppressive ways that feminist women critique about the group "men". White people, in my experience, are about as willing to own their shit as men are. And among men, I know far more who are at least measurably conscious of how gender is political and socially acted out oppressively against women and who try and not act out in male supremacist ways, but do, and when they do are poorly to moderately accountable to women in their lives, whereas among white folks, I have men relatively few I can say that about. Most white radical men I know have women intimately in their lives. Most radical white women I know do not have people of color intimately in their lives.

(And I've met WAY more white people than men in my life, by far.)

I'm wondering what your thoughts are about any or all of that.

And, I have a question I've been meaning to ask SOMEONE for AGES, and now seems like the appropriate time to ask it:

Why do you use the term "woman born woman"? It seems like it's a basic tenet of many forms of radical feminism that women are not born, they are human beings raised into a world that categorises and treats them as women when they are adults and as girls when they are children.

Women are not born women. Women are born as babies.

Another feminist tenet is to not consider "womanhood" the equivalent of "girlhood" or "infancy".

So the term "woman born woman" complete perplexes me and I cringe whenever I hear it because it sounds like a term male supremacists and gender essentialists came up with. And, of course, it ain't my business what women decide to call themselves.

I'm just curious to know why you, specifically you, use that term.

END OF POST.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Woman born woman' is a term used by seperatist groups who are actually gender essentialists. they have a different view of essentialism than the mainstream one, but it is still essentialism. Simon did not adhere to these theories, she believed gender to be socially constructed and trained, so under her view, the notion that one is born with a gender is absurd.


Also, just because someone interacts with women does not mean they do it in a positive, equal way. We live in a society that makes it pretty hard to have no interaction with women (particularly because we tend to define people who give birth as women) but that does not automatically result in an end to bias. The reason that men do not segregate to the degree that whites do (though men do segregate in many activities, including business) is because our gender system is so closely linked with heteronormative nuclear family structure. A man who does not have sex with women is seen as failing in masculinity, a white person who does not associate with people of color is not seen as failing at whiteness.

Anonymous said...

"But Japan, to name but one non-white country, is so Westernised, so infiltrated by Euro/U.S. white male supremacist culture and economics, that however men treat women there, it cannot be said to not be influenced by those practices and values of white men that are racist and misogynistic."

So, ALL misogyny stems from white men? So, for example, in China when historically the borders were effectively closed and Europeans were allowed to trade only on small strips of land, there was NO misogyny in parts of China isolated from white European travellers? Yes, the era of white European colonialism has certainly infiltrated many cultures and inserted a number of exclusively white European values into other cultures. But, no, misogyny is not one of them, I don't think. Anthropologically, although you may hate the discipline, there have certainly arisen many different socio-sexual structures, from monogamy to polyandry and back again. Misogyny has sprung up de novo in many (but not all) of these diverse cultures.

I'l agree that we should look critically at the modern-era problems that stem from "virtual colonialism" (e.g. commercial infiltration of non-Western cultures with luxury product ads from the US, featuring white models, etc.), but either you're trying to make a very specific statement about Japan (in which case your "to name but one non-white country" remark is misplaced), and I don't know enough about Japan to fully engage with it, or you're making a really broad and indefensible statement about the roots of misogyny that only points to perpetuating ignorance.

And, as another matter, I don't think ALL racism stems from white men either, as there are plenty of examples of Asian racism against people from other Asian countries that is not inherently predicated upon white values... Racism and misogyny are not the preserve of white men.

Without seeking to minimize the influence of white male values, I think you're definitely overreaching a bit here, perhaps because your own experience is primarily white-infused?

Julian Real said...

To Anonymous of 8:34am,

Re: paragraph one:
I knew I'd asked the right person! Thank you so much for making that super clear to me!!!!!!!!

Re: paragraph two:
GREAT POINTS!!!!!!!

(Needless to say I have quite an enthusiastic response to you comment today!)

Julian Real said...

(part one of several replies here/below)

To Anonymous of 9:53am,

Hello. Thanks so much for your challenge. I genuinely appreciate it. (NO SARCASM.)

I find your comment to be thoughtful and very well-stated, not that I'm your English Comp. teacher, but.... (lol)

It deserves a thoughtful reply which I hope to offer below.

Clearly my comment does need some clarification.

You wrote:
So, ALL misogyny stems from white men?

No. Clearly not. I hope I've never made that claim. I'm not an Academic, and so theorising about what happens far beyond my scope of knowledge and experience (such as, say, into calculus or sports medicine) isn't terribly interesting for me to do, and, as you note (about what I said initially), I think Anthropology is almost irreparably fucked up.

You wrote:
So, for example, in China when historically the borders were effectively closed and Europeans were allowed to trade only on small strips of land, there was NO misogyny in parts of China isolated from white European travellers?

Why did you jump to China? I was speaking about societies (globally) that are not white-dominated and white-majority. China has an entirely different history that Japan, re: its relationship to the white, white West. If I'd said "among Asian countries that comprise Eastern and Northern Asia" I'd understand why you are comparing Japan to China. But they are so very different, and I don't make the claim that EVERY country or region where people of color predominantly live, is equally impacted by white hetero male supremacy. I noted Japan specifically because of the was it has been so impacted by the West.

Julian Real said...

Yes, the era of white European colonialism has certainly infiltrated many cultures and inserted a number of exclusively white European values into other cultures. But, no, misogyny is not one of them, I don't think.

If across the globe (including many parts of Asia, including Eastern and Western Asia, South and Central America, to name but four fairly sizable regions) women who have the means to do so are changing their appearances (surgically: body hair, eyes, noses, particularly but not only) in order to look more like white women, how can you argue WHM supremacist misogyny has not made it to that region?

Anthropologically, although you may hate the discipline,

I have little respect for it, which is different than hatred. I don't hate it.

there have certainly arisen many different socio-sexual structures, from monogamy to polyandry and back again. Misogyny has sprung up de novo in many (but not all) of these diverse cultures.

Misogyny in many differing forms exists across the globe. If the question in your comment is "Do I believe misogyny was rampant across the Earth prior to the white Christian calendar year of, say, 1500, I'd say "how would I know?" I've not read accounts of life from the time period before then, except among what have come to be termed white regions, although I have some awareness and knowledge about where my people are originally from, which is what is termed "The Middle East".

Clearly the Old Testament and the New Testament have misogynistic elements, although non-Jews tend to misunderstand much of the Old Testament, in my experience, including where the misogyny is in it.

You posit something far more theoretical than known. Especially the "and back again" part. Which cultures and countries are you speaking about that were monogamous, then polyamorous, then monogamous in the same way that they were before?

A general reply to you is that I think it's best to deal with what is, rather than what we hypothesise once was. There are, currently, some Indigenous populations, I've heard, where people have not been horrendously impacted by white peoples (quite yet). We can know something of patterns of misogyny by getting to know people alive today, and NOT, btw, by sending white anthropologists into those societies where white anthropologists, and any white people, do not belong.

But how gender is conceived/lived, for one thing, which you note, is so varied, that what "misogyny" is becomes a Western projection, in part. I'm not saying rape isn't rape. I'm not into the somewhat postmodern practice of theorising one's way out of life into the realm of language-as-the-only-reality, or the modernist one of ignoring differing voices and contributions to our knowledge base.

Julian Real said...

I'll agree that we should look critically at the modern-era problems that stem from "virtual colonialism" (e.g. commercial infiltration of non-Western cultures with luxury product ads from the US, featuring white models, etc.),

Yes. And I don't see what's so virtual about that. It's pretty concrete and damaging. If you're distinguishing between a place where white folks don't live being invaded and taken over by whites, vs. places where only our culture has been invasive, you'd have to have lived there for at least fifty to one hundred years to tell me what the differences are between virtual and non-virtual colonialism. Yes, having white people come to your land and rape and slaughter you gynocidally and genocidally is different than "only" having access to white Western media and commerce. I'll give you that. And, white Western media and commerce are loaded up with all the misogyny and heterosexism that the white white West sees as so very necessary to spread around the world, for profit and power.

but either you're trying to make a very specific statement about Japan (in which case your "to name but one non-white country" remark is misplaced), and I don't know enough about Japan to fully engage with it,

Part of my family is Japanese, which doesn't mean I'm more or less knowledgeable about Japanese society, but that's partly why I picked that country. Also because it is one example where the Western "influences" can be clearly traced.

I don't think my comment is misplaced at all, unless your read of it is that I'm only talking about East Asia.

or you're making a really broad and indefensible statement about the roots of misogyny that only points to perpetuating ignorance.

I don't think I'm doing that either. I think you have read too much into my comment, or read beyond it, so to speak. Which often happens here. Sometimes because my writing is sloppy, and often because people read with their own filters on.

And, as another matter, I don't think ALL racism stems from white men either, as there are plenty of examples of Asian racism against people from other Asian countries that is not inherently predicated upon white values... Racism and misogyny are not the preserve of white men.

And white men--not saying whether you are white or a man--love to discuss THAT sort of racism, so we can ignore our global destruction of humanity through gynocide, genocide, and ecocide and make stupid claims like "they're just as racist as we are". Not by a long shot. White Western reach is so much greater and influential than, for example, the racism of Japanese people toward and against Korean people, if we're speaking only about East Asia for the moment. I hardly find those forms of "racism" comparable, as ours is genocidal and ecocidal, and the racism in Japanese society that has existed against the people of Korea is neither of those things. That's quite a significant difference, no?

Without seeking to minimize the influence of white male values, I think you're definitely overreaching a bit here, perhaps because your own experience is primarily white-infused?

I don't think I'm overreaching, no. And I think to make this a long intellectualised argument while whites and men slaughter people, rape people, and kill the Earth is a bit of a luxury. And I'm not willing to indulge in it.

Anonymous said...

I don't use the term "cis" to describe myself, nor do I believe that people who were born male have any right to be in lesbian space ever. Men will do everything in their power to colonize women, even to the point of being made to look like fake women.

Drag queens, drag, trans-women, it's all a continum of male denegration of women. And why is it that transwomen harass lesbian spaces, rape crisis centers etc.? Why don't they target male only spaces like the Vatican, corporate America or the Pentagon? How about trans people picketing masonic lodges? But no, they go after radical feminist spaces, because trans-women are men, and still act like men, and like wolves in sheep's clothing have no right to be in the rare women only spaces that still exist in the world.

If women can't control their spaces, can't keep the wolves out, can't set the rules that protect and place women first, and men be forever banned, then what power do feminists have? Do we need to just get guns and kill them? Is that what our self-defense should look like?

We should all know, that men can't change, and there is no point to this.

I want women to change. Men are just a waste of time, and I truly believe they are inherently evil.
That's right, they were born bad.

So when women organize and create women only spaces, we intend to defend them.

I see no value in lesbian feminists tolerating the latest trans-woman tactics. These same trans-women attack exclusively women's spaces, like rape crisis centers. Imagine having a trans-woman working in a rape crisis center! If any man can call himself a woman, this let's the potential rapists right in the front door.

Men who invade women's spaces are potential rapists, and should be treated as such---stomped on so that they never can walk again, and beaten so that they remain in excruciating pain for the rest of their evil natural lives. Now that is justice for women.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Men worldwide are woman hating oppressors. Go to China, go to Philippines... it's not only white men who are inherently monsters, it is all men everywhere.
In every country of the world, men rule. I want a country where women run everything and where men either are never allowed in, or they are simply made to do all the heavy work, and are nothing but servants, with their tongues cut out preferably! Geez, that's the least women deserve for 5000 years of male terrorism, rape and idiocy.
When will women rise up, and when will we get revenge for every male crime ever committed?

When will women finally run something free of those monsters? When will we get our own country?

Anonymous said...

All men rape. The crime is worldwide.

Julian Real said...

(one of several consecutive responses below)
Hi Anonymous who sent comments at 1:40 and 1:42pm,

I hear and deeply appreciate and support your rage at men, and about rapism, at the fact that gynocide and other forms of atrocity against women as a class are utterly ignored, or, worse, celebrated by men.

I also share your commitment to their being [cis]women-only spaces, and to organisations and agencies which serve only [cis]women. And I agree that men and other people who are not girl-raised women can and should organise their own support sysstems, and not drain women's resources, which already cannot meet the needs of "only [cis]women".

And I don't believe women ought to have to accommodate trans people or non-trans men in spaces designed to allow women to feel safe from those who have been raised with male privileges and ways of being and behaving, and/or those people who have penises which many woman have had used against them as weapons of violation and degradation.

Julian Real said...

What are your feelings about AIS women and intersex women being "women"? There are people who have always appeared to be and have been treated like girls and then women from day one. And many are have only ever known themselves to be girls and then women, and you wouldn't know at all by looking at them that they aren't women with less common or so-called "atypical" chromosome and hormone patterns.

Do you consider the woman runner who was "outed" as intersex to be a woman?

And I find some of what you say here deeply problematic, which is to say not accurate about trans people generally, and not accurate about men in some instances, at least. And I think some of your statements are the kind that are used time and again against radical feminists by men. I'm concerned about the effect of putting out such statements as "all men are rapists", for example.

To me that is just not a true statement, nor is this one, to me:
"it's not only white men who are inherently monsters, it is all men everywhere", or that "Men are just a waste of time, and I truly believe they are inherently evil.
That's right, they were born bad.


To such claims I would ask you to respond to this speech by Andrea Dworkin. And of course you have a right to your beliefs, and I can well understand why a few people of color experience white people as evil to the core, as inherently evil. And why some women view men as inherently evil. Men, collectively, and whites, collectively, give us plenty of evidence to back up such claims.

Do you believe all white people are inherently evil as well? And are you white?

Julian Real said...

I do sincerely believe that "all men support rapism in one way or another, actively or passively, and far too many support it by being rapists". And I believe all white people support racism and white supremacy, actively or passively.

But there are males who are born so physically and mentally incapacitated or who become quadroplegics who may still violate women with their eyes, but not with their bodies. There are also blind boys and men, who can never violate any woman visually, and, if they are greatly physically incapacitated, cannot harm women physically either. And obviously those are a tiny minority among all men.

And I am wondering if you think it's ok to call men who visually violate women "rapists". I do not, as I think it turns "rape" into something that is no longer about direct physical intrusion/invasion/violiation against a woman.

I do not think "rape" ought to be defined phallocentrically or patriarchally, with the protection of men as the most important concern. I think men can and do rape women in many ways, and that many of the ways men rape women society would not call rape. (MacKinnon, chapter 19, Women's Lives, Men's Laws gets at this quite well, I think).

Julian Real said...

But clearly not all men rape, unless you are using the term to mean something else. And I respect the fact that there are places of disagreement between us, and I am fine with that and won't silence you here because of those differences.

I don't know how much of the world you have traveled in, but patriarchy as we experience in the white west is not perpetrated everywhere--certainly not in the same ways, and there have been and may still be societies in which men do not rape women. And rape is not the only means by which women are subordinated and dominated by men, of course.

I have known men who do not rape, and do not desire to rape, and are sensitive enough to women's non-verbal (and verbal) communication to not welcome or want to rape to happen with them as the rapist. Do I think those men are a majority of men on Earth? No--not by a long shot.

And I think we agree that most of the world's population of what we call "women" (in English) do not live in rape-free environments, unfortunately.

I support a women's nation as long as it places great value on that nation not being racist or white supremacist or heterosexist (against other women). And I don't ever plan to serve on any committees which may decide where such a nation should be. So my thoughts are just thoughts, here. I wouldn't want their to be any men on such a committee, and I'd hope that any committee that decides such things, even as a plan, are not white-majority or white-dominated.

Would you agree with that?

We know white, usually middle to upper class heterosexual men like to rant on and on endlessly about "well, such and such feminist said all men are rapists". And I believe they do this not because it is true, but because it gives them reason to not examine their own oppressive and bigoted ways of being. If they spend hour after hour ranting about what some feminist said thirty years ago or now, they don't ever have to take responsibility for patriarchal rapist societies that men rule and regulate.

And frankly, I wish all the men who do rant on and on about "how wrong feminists are about stuff" would shut the fuck up and just stop other men from committing rape, by any means necessary, including by stopping themselves from raping, or obtaining access to raped women such as through systems of prostitution, and stop obtaining access to visual images and video of raped women who have been turned into pornography by pimps and video producers.

I won't allow MRAs voices here, and they continue to write comments to me as if anything they have to say makes any sense at all, or shows any degree of humanity about the reality of gynocide.

Message to you MRA dudes: just wallow in your own self-absorbed self-pity and unowned privileges, and ignore the harm we as men do to women, if you must be so callous. But please just leave women alone, stay away from all women if at all possible. And live your life only with men, and note how men harm other men far more and far more fatally than any women do. You assholes equate what you call "anti-male bigotry" with gynocide. Sorry, boys, no comparison. And for you to even think those two things are remotely similar, shows how fucking privileged and protected you are. May you be stalked by men larger than you, more powerful than you, more callous than you, for years on end, and have your bodies torn apart by a man who wants to treat you like dirt, who thinks "sex" has to include violence and violation, who thinks humiliating and degrading you bodily will be a compellingly good time. Because if you knew that, as adults, you wouldn't mistake what you call "bigotry" for what women experience as rape and other gynocidal atrocities.

Anonymous said...

We never know if men are rapists or not, that's the problem. I believe so many men get away with this crime, and they escape all detection. That's why given the choice, I prefer male free spaces, because I know if men are not there, there will be no problem.

How do you know for sure if a man isn't a rapist? That is a very valid question to ask I think.
As for intersex women, again, my concern is about men who were raised as men, and thus were raised to dominate. Then they change into women, but their dominating behavior never seems to stop with that operation, otherwise, I'd say change all men into women. Girls who are intersex and then are raised women are not taught these male dominating ways of being. So that's a pretty simple one.


Men will do everything in their power to prevent a woman's nation and culture from forming, and do this all the time.
Let's put it bluntly, you have to walk to your car in the evening, but first you have to walk past women who are aiming AK-47s at you. They smile and promise they won't gun you down, and you have to trust what they say. They point the guns at you, they fire over your head and then say "Oh, what are you worried about, don't you have a sense of humor...shesheshe." How long would you continue to work at that company or park your car in that lot?

That is what the life of women is like. Men ask women to trust that THEY are NOT the rapists. Sure, whatever. But I'm not going to believe one word these guys say. Just like men say they don't use Internet porn or have never bought a prostitute, until of course we catch the Elliot Spitzers, the Dick Morris', and thousands of other very 'respectable" and powerful men in the world. Sure, they put on this great family values face, but who are they really? Who are men really? Even they don't know they are such hollow shells, the original hollow men. Good old T.S. Elliot got that one right.

That's what I mean when I say all men are rapists, because in my mind, how would I ever be able to tell the difference? How would you Julian? And you can't tell one way or the other.

Men will delude themselves into believing anything I think, and since they don't really know women well, expect as bosses, masters, husbands or oppressors, what would they know?

Can men have a logic or understanding of the evil they commit in the world? I think they are like Stalin, they don't know, but they sure as hell believe they have liberated the working classes.

I think to get back to transgender, you have to ask yourself, why are these transwomen attacking Michigan Women's Music Festivals...read what they do every year there. Why do transwomen insist on getting access to lesbian spaces, thus making young women who are just coming out as lesbians very uneasy?
Why if they are really women, do they still want to dominate, invade, and colonize? Why wouldn't they act like women and ask permission or better yet, set up a festival in which they do all the work, cook all the food, and then invite women born women to join them? Why would they want to destroy fragile lesbian nation? And I think I'll challenge you to do some research on what transwomen's agenda is... take a look at Vancouver Rape Crisis Center, Michigan, and other lesbian/feminist, separatist spaces, and see the pattern of attacks. See how they target these spaces, and then ask yourself, what is really going on here? See how they target radical lesbian feminist discourse and philosophy, see how they attack lesbian feminists in queer studies departments, and finally, see how they are actually teaching women's studies classes. Will this absurdity never end?

You'll have to find out all this for yourself, and then see if you still think MTFs should ever have access to lesbian feminist space or even women's organizations.

Anonymous said...

And to answer your question about women's nations-- I think the ethnicity or race of the women's lands would depend on the places they were established. So if Ethiopian women formed a women's nation, it would be based on that culture.

I think women's nations could be formed anywhere. Women would simply accumulate the land and form a nation state, or some sort of entity where only women would run the country or entity.

Every time I'm in all women's groups or organizations, there is something heavenly about this. For a few hours, I am completely free, and women communicate in special ways that just doesn't exist when men are around. I call men the great destroyers of intimacy and conversation, and they show no signs of ever being able to intellectually keep up with the complexity of women's ideas in conversation with each other.

We would have to be completely outside of patriarchy, and it might take 20-100 years to fully have women free of this. Patriarchy is kind of like nuclear waste, its toxicity is around for generations.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say, that if all men support a rapism society, and if men do things like cheer other men on as they rape women, then what does this say about all men, who continue to act like innocent bystanders?

It says, that men don't care who women are, and feel entitled to buy them, rape them or degrade them in public. Men don't believe women are real human beings, and I must admit, I don't see men as real human beings either.

Julian Real said...

Hi Anonymous,

I so appreciate this last set of comments you've made, as I think they make excellent points using excellent examples. I've been thinking about what I last said in response to you, feeling like there was a lot more to say that didn't get said.

For example, I think that when women say "all men are rapists" the appropriate/responsible response by men is not to challenge the statement as "factually true or not true" (as I did--I'm calling myself out here!) but rather to pose the question to other men: under what sort of politically terroristic conditions would you conclude that all of a certain group were rapists? What would you have to experience, and know others experience, to come to that conclusion?

I think that type of response can lead somewhere that isn't about challenging women's "truth" claims as men (mis)understand them, and I'd say as I misunderstood you there.

In other words, when women say things men say alarming, about men, why don't we men take that as an indicator we need to reflect on ourselves as a political group, instead of pointing out possibly incidental exceptions?

So, having said that, I'll make a few comments about portions of your wonderful comments (which I'll put in italics):

We never know if men are rapists or not, that's the problem. I believe so many men get away with this crime, and they escape all detection.

Yes, I completely agree. And I have been stunned to learn that some really "sweet, dear men" (in my view) have turned out to be abusers of women in various ways.

And, just to reiterate, I totally support women seeking and obtaining spaces and lives free of men.

How do you know for sure if a man isn't a rapist? That is a very valid question to ask I think.

I agree. And the truth is, given the many forms of rape that exist, many of which men don't even identify as rape, it is impossible to know that any man is not a rapist, which is to say, that he has not raped someone knowingly or, especially, unknowingly. For if he's done it unknowingly and isn't sociopathic, he's likely to do it again and again.

As for intersex women, again, my concern is about men who were raised as men, and thus were raised to dominate. Then they change into women, but their dominating behavior never seems to stop with that operation, otherwise, I'd say change all men into women.

I hear you on that.

Girls who are intersex and then are raised women are not taught these male dominating ways of being. So that's a pretty simple one.

Yes, which speaks to now social manhood is, and also how "unnatural" it is.

Men will do everything in their power to prevent a woman's nation and culture from forming, and do this all the time.

I believe that is completely true. I am in full agreement with you. I think men would find disgusting ways to violate such spaces, to invade them and attempt to colonise them.

Julian Real said...

Let's put it bluntly, you have to walk to your car in the evening, but first you have to walk past women who are aiming AK-47s at you. They smile and promise they won't gun you down, and you have to trust what they say. They point the guns at you, they fire over your head and then say "Oh, what are you worried about, don't you have a sense of humor...shesheshe." How long would you continue to work at that company or park your car in that lot?

That is what the life of women is like. Men ask women to trust that THEY are NOT the rapists. Sure, whatever.


I love such analogies, because in my heart I hope maybe, just maybe, men will read that and finally "get it" about rapist culture and society that men are so fucking silent about, so complicit in, so unconscious of. Thank you for sharing that example!

But I'm not going to believe one word these guys say. Just like men say they don't use Internet porn or have never bought a prostitute, until of course we catch the Elliot Spitzers, the Dick Morris', and thousands of other very 'respectable" and powerful men in the world. Sure, they put on this great family values face, but who are they really? Who are men really? Even they don't know they are such hollow shells, the original hollow men. Good old T.S. Elliot got that one right.

Yes, they are people who behave as if their entitlements are just, fair, and kind, not often (rarely to never) owning that men's privileges and entitlements are completely unjust, unfair, cruel and callous, and systematically displayed in oppressive, hurtful, and lethal ways.

That's what I mean when I say all men are rapists, because in my mind, how would I ever be able to tell the difference? How would you Julian? And you can't tell one way or the other.

I agree with you. And as I said, I'd been thinking a lot about that very issue since I responded to you yesterday, if that was yesterday!

Men will delude themselves into believing anything I think, and since they don't really know women well, expect as bosses, masters, husbands or oppressors, what would they know?

I agree.

Can men have a logic or understanding of the evil they commit in the world? I think they are like Stalin, they don't know, but they sure as hell believe they have liberated the working classes.

I think that's an excellent parallel, although the force, if not always the personality, of one human being person named Stalin is shared among millions of men.

I think to get back to transgender, you have to ask yourself, why are these transwomen attacking Michigan Women's Music Festivals...read what they do every year there. Why do transwomen insist on getting access to lesbian spaces, thus making young women who are just coming out as lesbians very uneasy?

My only point was that it is not most transwomen who do this. But I do support transwomen holding one another accountable to this sort of male supremacist/colonialist behavior and pressure put on [cis]women.

Why if they are really women, do they still want to dominate, invade, and colonize? Why wouldn't they act like women and ask permission or better yet, set up a festival in which they do all the work, cook all the food, and then invite women born women to join them? Why would they want to destroy fragile lesbian nation?

I have asked those very questions many times. Why do those trans people and cismen who wish to have access to ciswomen's space not respect ciswomen's space, and resources designed to help ciswomen?

Julian Real said...

And I think I'll challenge you to do some research on what transwomen's agenda is... take a look at Vancouver Rape Crisis Center, Michigan, and other lesbian/feminist, separatist spaces, and see the pattern of attacks. See how they target these spaces, and then ask yourself, what is really going on here? See how they target radical lesbian feminist discourse and philosophy, see how they attack lesbian feminists in queer studies departments, and finally, see how they are actually teaching women's studies classes. Will this absurdity never end?

For me, knowing full well that most transwomen do not ever make it to the MWMF, or do not live near Vancouver, for example, the issue is what is their political stance on such issues? Do transwomen who are political defend ciswomen's right, in patriarchies, to [cis]woman-only space and resources? And I can't say I know any transwomen who will defend that space for ciswomen. I've looked online and in books and among people I know. Maybe I know one MtF trangendered person who would be clear that the MWMF is and ought to be [cis]women only space. But I'm not sure about that, actually.

You'll have to find out all this for yourself, and then see if you still think MTFs should ever have access to lesbian feminist space or even women's organizations.

I hope you've never seen me say that I'm not fully supportive of [cis]women's space, rights to convene in woman-only groups, rights to celebrate in woman-only groups, etc. I hope I've never given you the impression I feel otherwise, and if I have, I welcome you calling my attention to it.

And I like your response to the matter of women's nations very much.

Every time I'm in all women's groups or organizations, there is something heavenly about this. For a few hours, I am completely free, and women communicate in special ways that just doesn't exist when men are around. I call men the great destroyers of intimacy and conversation, and they show no signs of ever being able to intellectually keep up with the complexity of women's ideas in conversation with each other.

I so hope you continue to have that time, that space, that experience.

And it occurs to me that if men actually admitted it, many would say "I too feel safer in spaces where there are no [other] men." And maybe that insight and feeling would lead men to appreciate and respect woman-only spaces. And I'm not holding my breath.

We would have to be completely outside of patriarchy, and it might take 20-100 years to fully have women free of this. Patriarchy is kind of like nuclear waste, its toxicity is around for generations.

Like nuclear waste, I'm afraid, which many take centuries to overcome. But I hope it's in twenty years, and in time for you to see it.

I just have to say, that if all men support a rapism society, and if men do things like cheer other men on as they rape women, then what does this say about all men, who continue to act like innocent bystanders?

It says at least two things about men: we are cowards, not heros, and we are inhumane, not humane.

It says, that men don't care who women are, and feel entitled to buy them, rape them or degrade them in public.

Yes.

Men don't believe women are real human beings, and I must admit, I don't see men as real human beings either.

I can understand why.

Julian Real said...

On October 17 @ 11:43pm I left a response to a comment that included this sentence:

To such claims I would ask you to respond to this speech by Andrea Dworkin.

The issue at hand was whether or not men are oppressors of women due to natural not social factors. I answer than firmly: "No. Males are not born with some sort of innate asocial, acultural, ahistorical biological/chemical/hormonal/chromosonal hard-wiring to rape or batter or otherwise oppress women. Men learn what we can do in any society, and we tend to do what we can get away with that reinforces our sense of self, which is socially constructed in a patriarchal context."

But the link was missing from that sentence above, and I'm putting it into that sentence, above, here in this comment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Funny that you referred me to Andrea Dworkin's speech, because just recently I've been listening to her radio broadcasts and speeches on Nikki Craft's website. Her logic is impecable, but it is interesting that in her debates with men, the men don't want to deal with what is done to the women who pose in pornography or are used as models in pornography. Men support freedom of speech and don't care what happens to real women when this so-called speech is published.

On a side note: I actually was at a gay and lesbian writer's conference where Allan Ginsberg was on a panel discussion and publically celebrated pedofila. A woman stood up, an incest survivor and challenged him. All the gay men in the room actually booed this woman. I'll never forget that moment for as long as I live.

But to get back to your points. I go back and forth all the time, thinking about this stuff. What if women rose up and killed all the men on earth? What if I had a device in which I could push a button and kill all the men on earth? Would I do it? Or, would I set up a deal where men would have to come before the court of me, they of course would be sitting at a tiny table, I would be on a high stand like a judge, and they would have to argue for their very lives. What would these men then say if confronted with a woman who had the literal power of life and death over every man on the planet? How would they defend themselves?

Let's say I had a device that could project everything they ever thought or did to women up on a screen for all to see. Then they would have to face a court of say 15 lesbian feminist judges, and I mean really really angry lesbian judges, not the nice kind.

When the thoughts of each man who was brought before the court were revealed, and they had nowhere to hide, what would those miserable men do? Would they beg for their lives? Continue to deny everything? What would they do?

Imagine all the courts of law controlled by women, all the laws written by women, all the guns owned by women. Imagine a world like that for men.

So is the collective anger of all women justified? Are men born bad or trained to be bad? I often wonder this, because I have never been in a culture where men are any good at all. They just aren't, and I watch how they treat women of their own land, not really how they treat me.

I can honestly say, that I have yet to go to a corporate conference where men predominate where they are actually well behaved towards me. Their hostility and sexism is ever present. They don't want women in THEIR clubs, that is well paying jobs. They hate it when women are promoted or even when women run for president. I think men hate women to such a degree that if we knew what they REALLY thought, we'd die of shock on the spot.

And yet Andrea Dworkin argues that men aren't born bad. I don't see a place where men don't behave badly, where they don't control stadiums and yell in the streets and vandalize cars because their team won. I don't encounter men who seem to have any idea of who I actually am, or what my political take on their sexism actually is.

They don't even know they are sexist, or that they are damaging women everywhere.

So what to do? Are men biologically bad? Or are they a product of what exactly? Most men are raised by women and go to early education with women teachers, then they become teenagers and turn into pigs. Should men be separated from women at an early age, and taught by men to be human beings? Do we have anthropoligalevidense that can be easily verified where a culture like this exists? Are women studying this culture, or is it some male professor believing that these men are "different?"

Are men ashamed of their rapist sexism ever? Or only when they get caught? Do men themselves believe other men who harmwomen should simply be executed?

Anonymous said...

Yes, not all transwomen ban teh singer Bitch from the Boston gay pride march, or cause "Genercator" to be banned from the San Francisco gay and lesbian film festival. Imagine lesbian artists being banned because of what transwomen say.

Not all transwomen do this, but the politicized many of them do attack lesbian and women separate spaces. They don't attack men's powerful clubs like the Vatican or the military, because guess what, if they attack men, men gun them down.

You go after large male powerful groups and you will be killed? What do lesbians do? We don't attack aggressively enough when our spaces are threatened. Once upon a time, dykes would pick a man up and throw him out in the street. I loved those days. I loved fighting back, and making my enemy fear ME for once.

I wish all women would rise up and just go to war someday, I really do.

Nevertheless, I don't trust any human being who has ever been raised as a man. They are too dangerous, too indoctrinated, and there are plenty of women's spaces that would welcome them, as long as they really acted like women.
As a test, see how long they remain silent while other women are talking. That in my opinion betrays their male natures every time, but hey, they learned how to put on make-up properly, just like drag queens do. Criminey Jickett!

Julian Real said...

To Anonymous of 10:37pm, Monday, 19 Oct. 2009,

First, a great public thanks to Nikki Craft for all her very hard and very unpaid work to create the Dworkin Online Library of Andrea's writings, and more recently her speeches in audio and video. This is such a gift to humanity!!!

I wish you and Christina would make a film about this. The world needs to see it. A film about men going on trial for heinous crimes against womanity. I've thought about such a film for years.

I love your version!!

Imagine all the courts of law controlled by women, all the laws written by women, all the guns owned by women. Imagine a world like that for men.

I wish!

So is the collective anger of all women justified?

HELL YEAH!

Are men born bad or trained to be bad?

I'm with Dworkin on this one: there's nothing natural about men's sexism. The white children of U.S. slave owners in the plantation-laden South may only ever have seen Black people enslaved to white people, and concluded that Black people are slaves naturally, and that white people are natural colonisers. For me, that's dangerous nonsense.

And my latest post addresses this also.

I can honestly say, that I have yet to go to a corporate conference where men predominate where they are actually well behaved towards me. Their hostility and sexism is ever present. They don't want women in THEIR clubs, that is well paying jobs. They hate it when women are promoted or even when women run for president. I think men hate women to such a degree that if we knew what they REALLY thought, we'd die of shock on the spot.

I hope, instead, men would die of the shock of bullets penetrating their brains and crotches, fired by the women who bear witness to that atrocity.

See also the post on MacKinnon, and listen to her speech. If Sweden can reduce prostitution by 75% in a short period of time by passing and enforcing one law, surely this means there's nothing natural about men's misogyny.

I think the answer lies in creating and maintaining systems of full accountability--included by passing laws like the one in Sweden, and then ENFORCING IT, so that men get what we deserve for what we do to women. I also believe men must betray and report one another and call one another out, and take out those we know are serially doing harm to girls and women. But only men of one's ethnic group should do this to the men of that group. Otherwise, racism would reign supreme.

Are men ashamed of their rapist sexism ever?

I suspect a few lonely bastards in prison get to that, perhaps before being fried. Not that one in a million men who commit sexist acts against women are ever jailed or fried. But my guess is that the development of men's psyches precludes a certain kind of empathy and depth of humanity necessary to prevent them from harming women in the first place. And I see the ideological contents and value systems in men's psyches as fully social, not in the least bit natural. (Again, I can parallel this with the unowned privileges and oppressive behaviors of white people against people of color internationally.)

Or only when they get caught? Do men themselves believe other men who harm women should simply be executed?

I do. And I suspect I'm quite alone on that one. Because I've heard from no other man who agrees with me.

Christina, if you're out there, what do you think about working on this film idea? You brought it to me weeks ago.

Julian Real said...

To Anonymous of 10:37pm, Monday, 19 Oct. 2009,

First, a great public thanks to Nikki Craft for all her very hard and very unpaid work to create the Dworkin Online Library of Andrea's writings, and more recently her speeches in audio and video. This is such a gift to humanity!!!

I wish you and Christina would make a film about this. The world needs to see it. A film about men going on trial for heinous crimes against womanity. I've thought about such a film for years.

I love your version!!

Imagine all the courts of law controlled by women, all the laws written by women, all the guns owned by women. Imagine a world like that for men.

I wish!

So is the collective anger of all women justified?

HELL YEAH!

Are men born bad or trained to be bad?

I'm with Dworkin on this one: there's nothing natural about men's sexism. The white children of U.S. slave owners in the plantation-laden South may only ever have seen Black people enslaved to white people, and concluded that Black people are slaves naturally, and that white people are natural colonisers. For me, that's dangerous nonsense.

And my latest post addresses this also.

I can honestly say, that I have yet to go to a corporate conference where men predominate where they are actually well behaved towards me. Their hostility and sexism is ever present. They don't want women in THEIR clubs, that is well paying jobs. They hate it when women are promoted or even when women run for president. I think men hate women to such a degree that if we knew what they REALLY thought, we'd die of shock on the spot.

I hope, instead, men would die of the shock of bullets penetrating their brains and crotches, fired by the women who bear witness to that atrocity.

See also the post on MacKinnon, and listen to her speech. If Sweden can reduce prostitution by 75% in a short period of time by passing and enforcing one law, surely this means there's nothing natural about men's misogyny.

I think the answer lies in creating and maintaining systems of full accountability--included by passing laws like the one in Sweden, and then ENFORCING IT, so that men get what we deserve for what we do to women. I also believe men must betray and report one another and call one another out, and take out those we know are serially doing harm to girls and women. But only men of one's ethnic group should do this to the men of that group. Otherwise, racism would reign supreme.

Are men ashamed of their rapist sexism ever?

I suspect a few lonely bastards in prison get to that, perhaps before being fried. Not that one in a million men who commit sexist acts against women are ever jailed or fried. But my guess is that the development of men's psyches precludes a certain kind of empathy and depth of humanity necessary to prevent them from harming women in the first place. And I see the ideological contents and value systems in men's psyches as fully social, not in the least bit natural. (Again, I can parallel this with the unowned privileges and oppressive behaviors of white people against people of color internationally.)

Or only when they get caught? Do men themselves believe other men who harm women should simply be executed?

I do. And I suspect I'm quite alone on that one. Because I've heard from no other man who agrees with me.

Christina, if you're out there, what do you think about working on this film idea? You brought it to me weeks ago.

Julian Real said...

To Anonymous of Monday, October 19, 2009 10:52:00 PM EDT,

Not all transwomen do this, but the politicized many of them do attack lesbian and women separate spaces. They don't attack men's powerful clubs like the Vatican or the military, because guess what, if they attack men, men gun them down.

I have no idea what most trans people do politically, but I doubt it's focus on that. But to the degree any cisgendered men or transmen or transwomen do politically organise against radical feminists, I agree with you: why don't they take on the big boys, who are, in fact, in control.

Once upon a time, dykes would pick a man up and throw him out in the street. I loved those days. I loved fighting back, and making my enemy fear ME for once.

Damn, I want the video footage of that!!! I will post every bit of it here!

I wish all women would rise up and just go to war someday, I really do.

Me too. And I wish men would do that dirty work so women could take time and energy in creating woman-loving communities.

Nevertheless, I don't trust any human being who has ever been raised as a man.

Without knowing you personally, I have to imagine you have every right to feel exactly as you do.

As a test, see how long they remain silent while other women are talking.

Yes, that is a good way to test the sensibilities and sensitivities of those raised as boys or as men. I've shown my gender privilege many times in such situations. So I've taken to shutting the fuck up when in female-majority spaces, and to just voicing myself here, where I won't be socially interrupting any woman.

Julian Real said...

Hi Anonymous,

I hope it is ok with you that I relocated your comments to a post that discusses trans issues. And please let me know if it is not ok.

I fully support lesbian feminist girl-raised, female-born, women's space and oppose anyone else trying to enter that space.

Since MtF transgendered people are a relatively speaking small population of people, I'm uncomfortable with huge generalisations being made about "them" as if they all had the same experience, politics, and agendas.

Again, the trans person I know best has a political agenda of getting through each day. He's not trying to go to the MWMF and wouldn't try to, and he's not organised in any way against radical feminists and/or feminist lesbians.

I don't conclude every MtF trans person is just like him. But I hope you can see that saying something like:

This means MtFs don't even know they are bring male entitlement into lesbian spaces, they don't even suspect their own aggressiveness and domineering natures. Heck non-trans men don't even know what they do to women conversationally, in the world place or as a dominant sex class, so why would men who were raised as men know this?

You make it sound like all MtF trans folks (MtFs, "they") are part of some club with one political agenda. That's my objection. Feel free to discuss here any personal experience you have or know of regarding transgendered and non-transgendered men, preferably in the posts that most apply.

If you want to say "politically active antifeminist MtFs", I'd accept that just fine. Or "all MtF trans men who organise against or try to gain access to all woman events". But without qualification it comes across as bigoted.

I don't have a problem with speaking about [cis]men in broad brush ways because "men" are known to me in the thousands, and are known in history in the millions. Their/our atrocities are well-documented.

That literate academic antifeminists can't read and comprehend the meaing of a statement like "Men rape women: subject verb object" (C. A. MacKinnon), means "ALL men rape ALL women" is just a sign they don't know how to read feminist writings accurately.

Julian Real said...

I think lesbians have every right to suspect MTFs and to be wary of male dominance in all its forms.

I support you being wary of anyone you distrust for any reason.

I think we have every right to point out the dangers of this very invasive surgery.

I think it can come across as condescending to trans people when cisgendered people do this. There are plenty of trans folks who do not want surgery, who decide it is not for them, and who are politically opposed to the medical establishment exploiting them. So I prefer if people within a group call out members of that group on something, or in this case warn one another about possible dangers of any kind, including dangers of being outside.

While many MTFs may have perfectly good reasons for transitions, and I will not tell them what to do, I do know that I as a woman have a right to defend and protect my hard won spaces, and I do question residual male privilege that is denied by a lot of trans activists.

I support you and all women defending woman-only space.

And I also have questions about what of male socialisation is left in tact post-op, if a trans person who is MtF goes through that particular process.

There are many sincere MTFs that I have met, but I also know about the activists and what and who they target with male tactics. That is what I'm concerned about, the welfare of lesbian feminist nation.

I only ask that you identify which trans people you are critiquing, not making it sound like "they" are all the same and are all politically active and are all politically active around the same issues. No marginalised population of people is that homogeneous.

Julian Real said...

I just don't trust anyone who was ever a man, and I don't like seeing what young lesbians have to deal with when pre-op trans-women insist on coming to lesbian groups.

I understand your distrust and disdain for people violating woman-only spaces in any way.

Men with penis' in our groups is just not acceptable, and what are you going to say when a woman is raped by one of these people?

I support woman-only spaces that are "penis-free zones". Absolutely.

I have every right to be on guard, and this is horrifying to behold.

Agreed.

I believe lesbian have a right to put lesbians first, not the needs of men or former men. This should be obvious to all by now.

I completely support you doing that completely.

I have personally listened to trans-women in lesbian groups talk about going to wet t-shirt contests at lesbian bars, bragging about being in a porno video, and all kinds of male mind pornographic trash. I kid you not.

Non-trans lesbians talk about and do exactly the same things, don't they? There has been so much tension in lesbian communities I've known over issues of pornography use, being pro-prostitution (NOT anti-prostitute), being sexual liberals, and promoting a sexually liberal political agenda. That's not something in any way unique to some MtF trans folks. Would you agree with that?

It's why I am very suspicious of MTF presence in lesbian defined spaces, and you'd think that if they were really women inside, they would know this.

That statement confuses me. This is what is confusing to me about it:

Women who "were really women inside" are pro-pornography, batter women, sexually assault women, are active sexual liberals, and are antifeminists. Some non-lesbian women deeply resent and feel contempt for lesbian women. I fear it may even be the case that most women--lesbian or not, are not anti-patriarchal and anti-racist in their politics.

I know for a fact that most white women are not militantly anti-racist or militantly anti-sexist.

Would you agree with that? I get that this is due to white people having white privileges they/we don't want to give up, and women generally being socialised or terrorised into being complicit with racist patriarchs and white supremacist patriarchy in various ways.

What do you think about that?

And, again, the focus of this blog is on white heterosexual men, on men with privilege, and on men who harm women and girls.

Shaukat said...

Hi, I agree with most of what's said here, but I would like to challenge a few things that anonymous has said, since I think much of it is grounded in essentialism. I have no problem with using the word 'men' to describe the atrocities committed against women by a class, so long as the word is employed as a marker for masculinity (as I believe Dworking employed the term) and not used to label behavior that springs from a supposedly genetic trait or from the y-chromosome.

I think it is a dangerous mistake to conflate masculinity with biology, since the former is a cultural and social construct that is a reflection of a specific gendered division of labor and social power, which functions as all ideologies function, to reproduce and naturalize that social power. This division of labor is historical, and so in my view it doesn't make sense to argue, as anonymous does, that all men in all cultures have been cruel to women and have always committed atrocities. Such claims are, in my view, ahistorical.I hope my comments are taken to be respectful and sincere, and I invite criticism and, hopefully, reflection.

Julian Real said...

Hi Shaukat and welcome,

I welcome Anonymous to speak for herself, and what I say is in no way intended to argue any points "for" her. She can say what she wishes to say here.

My experience of Anonymous's writings are that they do what you say AND they point out how freakin' biological male (and I'll add white) supremacy appears to be, given various ugly practices shared among men against women, also by whites against people of color.

I do not find anything you say problematic in any way. I agree with you, although "division of labor" as a reason for the gender hierarchy existing I think is not sustainable as an argument. And of course the first question is: whose labor? And, what is labor?

For example, if "labor" in some cultures was divided, with female-bodied people doing "x work" and male-bodied people doing "y work" (which is one hypothesis that has never been acted out so discretely in any society I'm aware of), there is still no explanation of what causes "y work" to be seen as more valuable or the people who do that work to be seen as inherently superior.

Clearly the most valuable work done in any society is the nurturance of babies, the raising of babies into adulthood, if they are able to live that long given other factors like disease and famine. Also there is the work involved in figuring out how to obtain food, and how to prepare it to be eaten. And there's the work of figuring out how to keep ones people safe from weather, non-human animals predators, or invasion by other humans. (And of course the larger issue currently is how non-human animals can stay safe in the presence of unnecessarily murderous humans, and by "unnecessarily murderous" I mean primarily those humans in industrialised, mostly non-Indigenist societies.

I agree that some of what Anonymous says sounds ahistorical and like "manhood" is what necessarily happens when male babies are raised to adulthood irrespective of culture and era. Although "asocial" and "apolitical" might be useful terms here too.

I have been around enough infants to see the psychic and emotional devastation (if not also physical and sexual) that comes with gender-polarising children, which happens both inside and outside the home. (And of course not all societies did or do gender-polarise children as we do in the white heterosexual male supremacist West.

BUT, I also don't think children can be ungendered or degendered in any patriarchy that I'm aware of. Hence I don't accept J. Stoltenberg's and R. Jensen's theories that men can refuse to be men, as if "being a man" is an interpersonal act only. One cannot easily "refuse" social privileges or structural positions which give one more power. One has them or one doesn't.

And so patriarchal societies, at least as the white West arrogantly and assumptively uses the term (by which I mean WESTERN patriarchies which fuse male and white supremacy), THESE patriarchies had best get on with the practice of ending patriarchal modes of being and behaving while simultaneously dismantling institutionalising power that is arranged and enacted hierarchically, by sex and race among other social-cultural-economic-political variables.

And I'm not into long discussions about marxist theory. Been there and done that over to Feral Scholar. It gets brain-numbingly boring really fast, and is a waste of energy, in my opinion. Better to start with anti-white male supremacist activism somewhere and see what "theories" are revealed by doing the damn work.

Julian Real said...

Also to Shaukat,

You state: "I think it is a dangerous mistake to conflate masculinity with biology [...]"

Yes. But you know that it is primarily men who are deeply invested in this connection, and it is one that many fathers believe about their sons: that their male children are born "little men".

So while it may be appropriate in some specific contexts to challenge a woman on this "bias" (and, to be honest, I'm not sure if it is really appropriate for any man to do so), you would do well, if you are male, to call out all the men who "conflate masculinity with biology".

Challenge the soap opera writers, the pornographers, the advertising executives, the newscasters, the music industry, the teachers and professors, the fathers and other men in children's lives who believe this.

Anonymous believing this, to whatever degree she does, is not a social problem at all. MEN believing this IS a social problem. It is a great act of sad liberalism to think that women making such assumptions, or coming to such conclusions harms men in any way, as a class. Men believing this does harm women as a class.

Women do not have the same speech rights and entitlements as men. White people have more entitlements to speech that people of color, in any white male supremacist system and society. So the people whose voices need to be challenged first and foremost as those who occupy those places of privilege and power over others.

Shaukat said...

To Julian:

I absolutely agree. And if a male had left a comment stating that masculinity was just a part of being a man I would have responded far more forcefully. My purpose in leaving my comment was not to dismiss the harmful experiences Anonymous may have had with men etc, but simply to point to what I found to be a problematic comment on blog which, in general, I have high respect for. For the record, I use to follow much of your writing on Feral Scholar, and while we likely have quite a few disagreements when it comes to Marxist theory and the importance of incorporating a class analysis into any study on gender, I still find much of what you write to be invaluable.

Julian Real said...

Hey Shaukat,

Thanks for that reply.

As you know from "the old days" at Feral Scholar, the issue was often how insensitive and obnoxious white hetero Leftist men were to at least one women of color at that blog. The disregard and racist-misogyny was over the top. And these were men who allegedly "got" gender and race oppression through a marxist/postmarxist perspective. But obviously not enough to know how to engage with a Black woman on a blog without being grossly racist-misogynistic, condescending, and dismissive.

I believe those who are white and male on the U.S. Left, and beyond the U.S. have an obligation to call one another out on the racism and misogyny, as well as the anti-Indigenism specifically, of aspects of marxist and/or leninist theory.

I am curious to know what your perspective is regarding Catharine MacKinnon's writings on feminism and marxism in Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, and Ward Churchill on marxism/leninism and anti-Indigenism, in his book Acts of Rebellion: a Ward Churchill Reader, chapter 11: "False Promises: An Indigenist Examination of Marxist Theory and Practice.

And of course agreeing to disagree on some points is fine. I will acknowledge that I was weak on class issues and capitalism as a force to be reckoned with earlier in my political life. I've tried to educate myself, but if there is something glaringly missing from my analysis here, that you'd like to offer up in comment, please do. Such exchanges, I hope, will only make arguments here stronger.

We might ought to make this a separate discussion, eh? ;) Lorde knows, it could go on and on. lol

Anonymous said...

Well a lot of good stuff was written, so I want to clarify a few things.

I'm not talking about all MTF transwomen, I'm only talking about the tactics of formerly male raised people who are attacking radical feminist organizations, spaces and non-profits. There is a lot of documentation about what MTFs are doing at the Michigan Women's Music Festival, for example, and plenty of info on how lesbian film makers were censored by these activists. Just go look and see what they are doing.

I've never been in a lesbian drop in group where wet t-shirt contests were discussed, or where women bragged about being in porn films, but MTFs have come into lesbian spaces, dominated them with their never ending porn talk, for example. They come in, and can't shut up, just like most men in the world. Their very domineering attitude is male from the get go, so they are a real threat to lesbian feminist nation.

Lesbians have left a lot of the gay and lesbian centers because we are no longer safe in these places.

Then to answer this gender essentialist nonsense, I don't see men anywhere in the world taking a back seat to women's PUBLIC rule. Just where in HIStory have women ruled, and men been the slaves, servants, toilet clearners, or bowing, scrapping and cowering peons? Tell me where? So this is why I believe men are actually born evil, born to dominate, and can only be taken out by miliatry means. I don't even think women should live with men.

I don't see cultures where men don't support rape, porn, or the enslavement of women in some way. I don't see men outraged at how other men treat women to the point of going to war over it.

Just where in the world are men civilized pray tell? Why are only white men attacked, when all men are guilty in my book? Where is a just country where women rule? Where women control ALL the laws? All the industry? ALL the jobs? When is HIStory have men ever been just to women? Name the place, name the dates, name the cultures, and if you can't name and document this, doesn't this support my argument that men are born evil?

So if someone uses the term "essetialist" that's a code word for anti-radical feminist.
I'm an essentialist when I see men at night on a dark street. I say to myself, I'm prepared to kill these evil creatures. I project pure unadulterated hatred at them, and for some strange reason, men just steer clear of me. Why wait to find out one way or the other, they are out at night, they are rapists, why not just gun them down and ask questions later? Why shouldn't women think men are inherently evil? Where is the evidense to the contrary?

You do know who causes all the problems in the world don't you? You do know who will do everything in their power to prevent women's rule? Why should we want equality with these sub-human monsters? I want them out of my life forever, and I don't think, given what I know about men in general that this is an unreasonable opinion.

All men are rapists, that's who they are. I don't know whether they were born that way, whether the defective Y chromosome is the issue, or what the reason is, I just know that if no men are around, miraculously no rape occurs.

Anyway, take a look at MTF behavior in radical lesbian feminist spaces. See what they are up to, and then you can judge for yourself whether women should ever allow them into the clubhouse.

I say no, but will have some exceptions if they go through a complete 5 year feminist training program first. I don't think these men who become MTFs will ever do what women tell them, because hey, they used to be men, and no one says "no" to a man right? Well I do all the time, and I'm prepared to back up the "no" with fists.

Julian Real said...

Hi Anonymous,

I so admire your passion and courage, and the strength you convey in your writings here, as you walk down a street. I wish I knew how to do that sometimes!

I want this to be a safe place for you, where you can speak your truths.

We may not agree about everything, but we do agree on a lot of things. And one of the things we are in deep agreement about is the need for [cis]women-only spaces, and lesbian spaces. And far more than some MtF trans people, it is [cis]men who threaten those spaces, in too many ways to count. That is my experience, anyway. Men move into Women's Studies classes, for reasons that are not cool. Men attend woman-dominated lectures and gatherings, assuming the right to be there. Men design society so that women in the West cannot easily find spaces in which to meet without men.

I have known of societies where all men do not rape. But they have been polluted and/or destroyed by white men. And in those polluted societies, as in ours, women harm children in horrendous ways, even while men harm children much more often, and harm the women also. Women are fully capable of sexual violence against children and I've read accounts by women who have done so. I know survivors of this form of abuse. But it is, relatively speaking exceptional to the norms set up by white men who want access 24/7 to women and girls, one way or another.

So, for example, I know a small handful of men who are survivors of sexual abuse by their mothers. But I know countries full of women who have been harmed when girls and also later in life.

There are societies still that have little to no contact with the white man, and I cannot know what their lives are like, and it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to know what happens there. How can I say they are "rapists" if I do not even know how they conceive of and act upon their notions of gender.

A while ago, when I did study anthropology, I was told of a people who are still around, but whose lives and ways of living, like so many other people, so many other societies, have been polluted by white men. The Mbuti people, for example, are reported to practice "gender" very differently, in a far more "civilised" way than do white men. It is my understanding, and I'd far prefer to hear directly from someone who is Mbuti, that their language did not, at one time, even have words for "man" and "woman". And what we would call the men and what we would call the women shared most chores and duties, including child-rearing, gathering food, preparing food and constructing shelters. These people were also were physically very much the same size: the "men" were not physically larger or stronger than the "women". So that is one example, but given how thoroughly white male supremacy has spread across the globe, I cannot say now that the Mbuti are still unaffected by white men, or that white men have not taught their evil ways to the Mbuti.

Julian Real said...

Again, the most obvious parallel for me is to European, U.S., and Australian white people. Do not many, if not also most, people of color experience white men as the Devil? Does not the white man in history behave as the Devil? And if women of color experience both white men and white women as unrelenting oppressors, ought we conclude that all white people are evil, including you and me, if you are white? Or ought we conclude that white supremacy is evil and can infect and invade anyone anywhere?

Would I tell you to not believe that men are evil? I cannot, because I don't know your experience has been in the part of the world in which you live. Would I tell any person of color who believes white people to be the definition of Evil that they are wrong? No, because I do not know what they have experienced.

If you are white, Anonymous, are you evil, if many people of color say you are evil because they experience so much evil from white people? Would you want to be thought of as an exception?

I cannot claim to be exceptional, and I welcome any woman who believes men are evil to steer clear of men to the degrees that they are able to, knowing full well that most women cannot steer clear of most men, and that most women cannot steer right into most men, mowing us down.

I agree with you that it will likely take militias of women, hopefully with some men's assistance (when asked or when told to assist), to stop things like rape.

And those of us who live in Western countries tend to assume all the world is like our world. So I hope you do not do that. Because that is part of how white supremacy works, in my view: that we superimpose ourselves on everyone, and make gross and narrow assumptions about the being of other people we do not know and cannot communicate with as equals.

Shaukat said...

Hi Julian,

In response to your question: I have read large excerpts from Mackinnon's legal study, "Towards a Feminist Theory of the State," and found it to be brilliant. It is deeply immersed in the historical materialist analytical framework, and the author often employs the Marxian method in order to explain gender as a system of power and how its workings are concealed in the liberal capitalist state. Her argument that the liberal rule of law serves to safeguard gender oppression by concealing and protecting social power that existed prior to the rule of law is nearly flawless. In fact, Mackinnon's work is a perfect example of why I believe Marxian tools are extremely useful in analyzing gender and engaging in feminist work. I'm afraid I have not read the piece by Churchill which you cited, but will pick it up and get back to you on that. I am a fan of his work.

I think perhaps some of your work could benefit by incorporating more of a Marxist-Feminist framework into the analysis. Some books I would recommend are Maria Mies' "Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale," Nancy Hartsock's "Money, Sex and Power," and Rosemary Henessy's excellent study, "Profit and Pleasure." The latter is especially fruitful in that the author illustrates how capitalism has molded new ways of desiring and conceptualizing sex, which are by no means natural.

I also agree with Stan Goff that Marxists would do well to use their analytical tools to unpack "desire" and lay bare the secret of patriarchy in the same way that Marx unpacked the commodity to lay bare the secret of capitalism and profit making. However, I should also make it very clear that I am not a Marxist in the sectarian sense.

Anonymous said...

I know you are wedded to this idea that white men are the cause of all evil, but history doesn't really bear this out.

White men didn't invent footbinding in China, they didn't invent genital mutilation in Somalia, and they didn't invent polygamy.

What I want is a concrete example of a place where women simply have always completely and utterly controlled the culture, and where men did nothing, or were at least kept out of the public sphere. Where is the culture where men supposedly don't rape women? We get these tid bits of "some African tribe" but really nothing specific in history.

If we can find this, and I do know that women have made the supposition of goddess cultures in old Europe, and the cover up of women's spiritual powers and abilities since the beginning of time.

I have read Caesar's commentaries about the Amazon women, and how they terrorized the Roman armies... loved that stuff in high school. But still, what happened later?

As to your question about all white people being evil, again, I will stick to my belief that all white men, Asian men, African men or middle eastern men are evil. Women are innocent of all evil.

Individually, women do awful things. Women can be individually evil but not systemically evil.

But do women create systemtic worlds of evil? Do women invent the witch trials and inquisitions?
Do women rape native people's the way Columbus and his men did?

Just what evil do women do in the world that even comes close to what men present daily to the world? And that is a basic, this great denial by men of their own evil. I have yet to meet a man that has said, "Hey, I'm a rapist, and you should kill me right now." No man ever admits a crime, no man even knows what sexism really is.

So men are either stupid or evil or a bit of both, and they love to create systems of oppression. This is entertainment, literally, for men.

Women on the other hand, simply create separatist worlds. We leave the male world, so that we can have intelligent conversation with each other. Whether we are straight or lesbian, we love our women friends, and every woman I meet says this kind of emotional truth is impossible with men.

If this is true, then it is women who haven't fully realized the nature of evil in the world, and who is the cause of it. But we could if we wanted to.

Julian Real said...

Hi Shaukat,

Thanks for those book recommendations! For those readers here who are not familiar with MacKinnon's work that Shaukat and I are referencing, please see here.

As she notes [what's in brackets is my own writing],

"Sexuality is to [white woman-centric] feminism what work is to [white man centric] marxism: that which is most one's own, yet most taken away. [White man-centric] Marxist theory argues that society is fundamentally constructed of the relations people form as they do and make things needed to survive humanly. Work is the social process of shaping and transforming the material and social worlds, creating people as social beings as they create value. It is the activity by which people become who they are. Class is its structure, production its consequence, capital its congealed form, and control its issue.

"Implicit in [white woman-centric] feminist theory is a parallel argument: the molding, direction, and expression of sexuality organizes society into two sexes -- women and men -- which underlies the totality of social relations. Sexuality is that social process which creates, organizes, expresses, and directs desire, creating the social beings we know as women and men, as their relations create society. As work is to [white man-centric] marxism, sexuality to [white woman-centric] feminism is socially constructed yet constructing, universal as an activity yet historically specific, jointly comprised of matter and mind. As the organized expropriation of the work of some for the benefit of others defines a class -- workers -- the organized expropriation of the sexuality of some for the use of others defines the sex, woman. Heterosexuality is its structure, gender and family its congealed forms, sex roles its qualities generalized to social persona, reproduction a consequence, and control its issue.

"[White man-centric] Marxism and [white woman-centric] feminism are theories of power and its distribution: inequality. They provide accounts of how social arrangements of patterned disparity can be internally rational yet unjust. In [white man-centric] marxism, to be deprived of one's work, in [white woman-centric] feminism of one's sexuality, defines each one's conception of lack of power per se. [...]"

Julian Real said...

Shaukat,

I'll add that C. A. MacKinnon's theory is inadequate to explain the oppression of women of color, in my opinion. So to we must include, add, and centralise various analytic/activist works by women of color, including but certainly not limited to works such as Winona LaDuke's. See, for example,
her writing in All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life, her interview in Talking About A Revolution as well as the interviews with bell hooks and Urvashi Vaid in the same book; Black Sexual Politics and Black Feminist Thought, both by Patricia Hill Collins; Andrea Smith's Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide; This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherrie L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa; New Perspectives on Environmental Justice: Gender, Sexuality, and Activism, edited by Rachel Stein.

Julian Real said...

Hi Anonymous,

I know you are wedded to this idea that white men are the cause of all evil, but history doesn't really bear this out.

White men didn't invent footbinding in China, they didn't invent genital mutilation in Somalia, and they didn't invent polygamy.



I think I'll likely stop using the term "evil" here on this blog. We'll see. It tends to conjure biologically essentialist ideas that I don't hold or want to espouse or encourage. So as for that weddedness, let's consider that relationship broken and annulled.

I hope I have not said that in the history of human life on Earth, only white men have been oppressors, for that would be blatantly untrue. Of course men of color oppress women of color, in similar and dissimilar ways to how white men oppress all women. And of course white women oppress women of color.

The examples you give are problematic, in that they don't offer us insights into the particular dynamics, historical and cultural, that gave rise to such abuses. As a white person, it is too easy to cast a judgment across the globe that all men treat all women the same way. That's simply false. There are some societies that are more rape-prone that others, for example. The work of Peggy Sanday bears this out.

My focus is on the here and now, in the part of the world in which I live and am active, and in this time, not centuries or millennia ago.

Julian Real said...

What I want is a concrete example of a place where women simply have always completely and utterly controlled the culture, and where men did nothing, or were at least kept out of the public sphere. Where is the culture where men supposedly don't rape women? We get these tid bits of "some African tribe" but really nothing specific in history.

I am not aware of such an example, at least that meets all those criteria.

If we can find this, and I do know that women have made the supposition of goddess cultures in old Europe, and the cover up of women's spiritual powers and abilities since the beginning of time. [...] But still, what happened later?

What happened in at least the last 500 years is white colonialism, white male supremacist imperialism, white heterosexist patriarchies influencing other patriarchies, whiteness and heterosexuality congealing as two distinct while conjoined powers across the globe, and white men being centralised as "the epitome of humanity", at least in the West.

Julian Real said...

As to your question about all white people being evil, again, I will stick to my belief that all white men, Asian men, African men or middle eastern men are evil. Women are innocent of all evil.

Individually, women do awful things. Women can be individually evil but not systemically evil.


I consider what you say there to be dangerously lacking in historical truth. Nazi women did participate in systemic evil, cutting the flesh off of Jewish women's dead bodies, as did white women in the U.S. South who whipped and killed slaves. White women actively participated in supporting white men committing genocide here on this land. White women actively organised with white men against African Americans fighting for civil rights here in the U.S.

A white woman mentor of mine--a radical lesbian feminist--worked in the 1960s in the South with Black activists and could scarcely believe the level of pure hatred for Black people she saw in white women's eyes, as they fought viciously to maintain white power there.

Women do not just do individual acts of harm. And white women are part of the class of people who (along with white men and men of color) actively promote, teach, and maintain white male supremacy from a position of relative power over women of color.

But do women create systemic worlds of evil?

Not in the ways men do, no. But those with privilege assist men in the maintenance of them. And that counts as being oppressive, not just interpersonally and occasionally.

Do women invent the witch trials and inquisitions?

No.

Do women rape native people's the way Columbus and his men did?

Who do you mean when you say "women"? Do you mean American Indian women? African American women? White women fed the rapists their supper, clothed them, made sure they were strong enough to fight bloody battles against people of color.

And because women haven't done certain things in history doesn't mean that women are not capable of committing atrocities, such as against children. Women and men do commit systemic atrocities against children systematically.

Julian Real said...

Just what evil do women do in the world that even comes close to what men present daily to the world?

If your argument is that because white men (or men) have done greater global harm that other groups (such as women), that's a spurious reason to discount the harm other groups have done and do.

And that is a basic, this great denial by men of their own evil.

I absolutely agree. And it is a basic rule of oppression that white people, men and women, maintain this great denial of their/our own evil. (If we're going to use that term.) Your comments here participate in that denial and help make white supremacy invisible as a force which systematically and horrendously kills women.

I have yet to meet a man that has said, "Hey, I'm a rapist, and you should kill me right now." No man ever admits a crime, no man even knows what sexism really is.

And I can count on half of one hand the number of white woman who have said to women of color, "Hey, I'm a white supremacist, and you should hold me fully accountable to that."

So men are either stupid or evil or a bit of both, and they love to create systems of oppression. This is entertainment, literally, for men.

And what then are whites? I think oppressor classes generally are ignorant and in denial about their/our ways of being oppressive, both interpersonally and institutionally. I think this is generally the case among the rich, among heterosexuals, among white non-Jews, among white non-Muslims (including, currently, white Christians and white Jews), among the non-disabled, and among those with privileges due to age.

Julian Real said...

Women on the other hand, simply create separatist worlds.

Some women do. Some women who have the means to do so have tried to do so, and some have succeeded to various degrees. I am aware of woman-only communities in the Northwestern U.S., for example. And most women do not have the means to do so. Race-privileged women tend to have the means, and also the lack of attachment to fighting other battles, such as against white racism, which, while still opppressed by white men, makes them/you complicit in the maintenance of white supremacy.

We leave the male world, so that we can have intelligent conversation with each other. Whether we are straight or lesbian, we love our women friends, and every woman I meet says this kind of emotional truth is impossible with men.

Every white lesbian separatists I have known would argue those points. Lesbian battery, the impact of child sexual abuse on women's relationships with one another, internalised racism and misogyny, all contribute to making women's community very difficult. That's what white separatist women have told me directly. And, while so rare it's barely worth mentioning, there are lesbian women who have gotten away from their female batterers, to find much more peace in a relationship with a man. I know one such woman. She was emotionally and verbally abused by a white lesbian separatist for eight years, finally got up the courage to leave that woman abuser, and found love with a man. Yes, he's sexist--of course, but he doesn't abuse her emotionally or verbally. Again, this is anecdotal, and not something I would argue beyond simply making the point that women's community is no heaven on Earth, according to the women I know who have been part of them. Yes, they are wonderful in many ways, they are safe in many ways that the larger dominant society is not safe for women. But abuse happens there too, systemic abuse happens systematically there. As well as powerful, healing love and support. And women hurt, harm, and betray one another far too often. Every woman I know has been deeply betrayed by another woman, often their own mother.

I remain on record as saying I fully support all women-only spaces, communities, and, should this be able to happen, nations.

If this is true, then it is women who haven't fully realized the nature of evil in the world, and who is the cause of it. But we could if we wanted to.

White women most certainly have realised/actualised the force of evil by inflicting it on other women, particularly and especially on women of color.