Monday, December 7, 2009

Who's Your Terrorist? Notes on Who is Socially Allowed to Define the Term and Name the Perpetrators

[image of text is from here]

Offline I am in discussion with a rare white heterosexual profeminist man who wonders about how to effectively intervene on men's sexist behaviors. This post is for him and all the other men who wonder about how to do this effectively and in alliance with feminist women. It is for radical feminists here to tell me whether what I do here is in alliance with them. Some of what I do, admittedly, is not.

What follows will likely not make much sense unless and until you perceive and realise the following social truth, a truth about "civilisation" as white men define the term:
Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims. -- Derrick Jensen, Endgame: Volume One
I have been following some blog discussions, where men get to say what is and isn't sexist, heterosexist, misogynistic, and violent.

I want to publicly support at least a few radical feminist women (one of whom is white) who are identifying a rather pernicious and persistent problem in patriarchies: the matter of who gets to define terms, name behavior, and be seen socially as an annoyance, a threat, or a terrorist? Who gets to be defined as sane or crazy, mentally well or mentally ill? Who gets to be seen and treated as if what they have to say makes sense and who gets to be treated systematically as if what they have to say is utter rubbish, without veracity, validity, or merit?

One woman is having to make the case that a man is being a misogynistic jerk, and is likely an abuser of women, for he goes out of his way to defend abuses of women as legitimate forms of behavior by men towards women. For more on that, go to the Celie's Revenge blog.

Another woman has been feeling crazy because some dickwaddish man who portrays himself as profeminist or antisexist, will not be accountable to her, and will, instead, remain silent while others repeatedly abuse her in writing.

To that woman I wrote a slightly different version of what follows. You might wish to note that this blogger uses the term "her" and "she" generically, to refer to people male and female. I do not:
Keep in mind the madness, truly, is in the way [he] has been behaving throughout, along with his supporter(s), and in the way the [allegedly profeminist group he has connection to] is NOT responding. THAT is patriarchal, pro-male supremacist madness (called perfectly acceptable and nonviolent behavior by the powers that rule).

What you're experiencing, if I'm hearing you and understanding your plight with any degree of accuracy, is an appropriate response to madness presented as normality. AND that you have been feeling what I can only term "an appropriate range of feelings", including, partly, feeling crazy for thinking there's something really wrong going on in this antifeminist/anti-woman militantly "climate-controlled environment" called white male supremacist "civilisation".

What is one to feel in a situation that is utterly insane and maddening? Sane? Happy? Calm? At peace? I don't think so.

The dilemma faced by most oppressed people that I know, including myself as a gay white Jewish man on two of those four counts, is that if we are to refuse to name things the way dominant society does, and, especially, if we are to DEMAND accountability, we will be made to feel like we're ridiculous, silly, crazy, stupid, and EXTREMELY hostile to "a normal, well-functioning society".

The violence the society does is not called violence, after all. Any resistance to it, or critique of it's alleged non-violence is considered an atrocity against the State and its actors.

For more on that go to the blog Another Scene is Possible.

A third situation has to do with a woman questioning the ethics, the politics, of why and whether a state or government gets to label someone a terrorist, and whether carriers of HIV ought to be called, specifically, "bioterrorists". To that woman I responded with a revised version of what follows:

If we’re going to go THERE, as a society…….
Then aren’t all heterosexually active men “bioterrorists” if they carry the forms of HPV that cause cervical cancer in women, if such men either rape women or coerce women into having genital sexual intercourse without a condom–or any other form of sex that allows for the virus to be spread–including a man touching his own genital fluids and then touching her genitals (that’s all it takes). Or any man who welcomes the opportunity to have genital sexual intercourse without a condom by any woman with a cervix who is not aware he has such strains of HPV?

We know the raper is a terrorist, regardless; well, "decent good civilised people don't" but some of us do. But any man that carries the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer who hase the kinds of sexual contact that allow any woman he is sexual with (any woman with a cervix), to contract this STI/STD, is putting that woman’s lives at risk--isn't he? And what shall we call him if we're going to call the man with HIV a "bioterrorist"?

IF we’re going to go THERE, let’s not discriminate and leave out all the straight men do to spread lethal STIs/STDs that aren't HIV.

For more on that go to the blog The Feminist Texican.

And finally there's the "proudsoldier" who stopped by here and posted what was, to me, a piece of intellectual and political absurdity. Here's my exchange with him, which just took place on the thread about the Montreal Massacre, posted here on Dec. 5th, for Dec. 6th. I am especially disgusted with this man for having the audacity to say what he did in a place designed to honor and remember women killed by a man. You'll see what occurs to him to say, in some form of disgust or outrage, in response me taking a bit of time to remember one particular politically common woman-killing atrocity. He seems intent on naming THAT assassin some sort of quirky atypical madman, while calling the others good and decent men. I disagree.

proudsoldier said...
I read this and am so very sad on your confusion of what all decent men stand for. The basic good that we all live to protect is never recognized by your harsh minority huddled in coffee shops or campus basements. While you use your limited and small voice to lay waste, remember those of us fighting and dying every day to protect mothers’ daughter and SONS in shit holes like Afghanistan. Of course you won’t. Like any political body you will use the actions of a sick maniac as a calling card to support your bitterness and discrimination. It's ok though, the vast huge majority is with us. Including my now past working mother who always said. "Be a man". To the jerk off that killed the women? It's sad before you erased the lives of so many future mothers, wives and professionals that you didn't reverse the order of your crime. I dare you to post this. Of course you won’t. But thats ok, we will still rise everyday, in filth & poor weather to protect you as best we are able, against people that hate, world wide until the only thing we have left to offer is our lives. The very brush you hate is now the same one you use. [end of proudsoldier's rant.] My response to his histerical rant is here. Scroll down on that blog page if you wish to read it.

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