Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Beliefs about Men's Complete Inhumanity: a Clarification and a Call to Arms

image of button is used with permission
image of button is used with permission

NOTE: This post has been revised somewhat on 27 April 2011.

I have had several occasions over my life to discuss with radical lesbian women, and many men across a white male supremacist political spectrum, the condition of men's humanity--or lack thereof. What is agreed upon is this: radical feminists, almost without exception, argue for men's humanity; argue that men are not naturally rapists, and that human males do not come into this world ready to enact horrific and terrifying acts against girls and women, as soon as they are old enough to do so.

It is only because these radical feminists critique men's social behavior that they get termed man-haters. What seems to go unnoticed is all the men who argue--if pressed--that men are natural-born rapists, and do just simply grow up, without social influence or peer pressure, to become what men themselves call "monsters", and what I'd more accurately term "terrorists", and woman-hating, male supremacist abusers of all sorts. I find this view held primarily by men, that men are born rapists, not only without merit, but historically and cross-culturally wrong.

About the terms hurled at women who don't believe males are rapist by nature: Men hate and abuse men a great deal, but will not, it appears to me, call one another man-haters or, in the newest parlance, misandrists. No matter how many men terrorise, assault, and kill each other, "misandrist" is a term men reserve for the ladies, not the--ahem--"gentlemen".

I know some gentle men. I know some men who have been interpersonally obnoxious, condescending, abusive, callous, and cruel to girls and women but who now see that their behavior was wrong, and endeavor to do better; and most of those men do better a great deal of the time. They are a minority of men, in my experience, and I've had occasion to meet and deal with a great many men in my life.

The vast majority of men don't engage with matters of "feminism" at all, even when they are literate and academically educated. They always appear to have more important things to do, like play video games, for example. Or discuss comic book or graphic novel superheros. Or drink alcohol or smoke weed. Or discuss sports or food or whatever they wish to discuss that doesn't lead them to stumble on the topic of what men do to women systematically that is horrendous, terrifying, and sexually and socially subordinating.

This matter of taking up men's political, moral, and ethical responsibility to get other men off women's backs seems to not register in the hearts and souls of most men, who I do believe are fully human, despite their unwillingness to lift one finger to assist women in the struggle to obtain sustainable liberation from men's political abuses and social and economic degradations.

What I'm realising is that the discussion of whether the vast majority men behave they way they do due to natural causes or socialisation is in some ways a huge waste of time. The fact is that most men do behave in anti-feminist ways, or in misogynistic ways, or in ways that encourage men--interpersonally, structurally, systematically, institutionally, and as a political class of human beings--to pretend they are not waging war against women and girls (and anyone deemed not manly enough, if male).

I believe men can and will stop this oppressive and horrendous behavior but something will have to happen first. No, it's not that men will need to learn to cry. Many men already know how to do that and it hasn't gotten us very far. What men will need is to become terrifyingly afraid of women as a class, and individual women interpersonally. I mean as afraid of women as any man is of the men they are most afraid of.

What may well need to happen is for it to become legal for women to take out their male abusers (and I don't mean on a date)--whether the abuser be a father-rapist, a husband-rapist, a boyfriend-batterer, or a predatory pimp or procurer. If it became legal--let's pretend, shall we?--for women to retaliate against male abusers who assault and terrorise women and girls, using any and all means necessary--I believe something would shift quite dramatically and radically: the power men have to hurt women without negative consequence to men as a class and to male supremacist power carried on, generation after generation, by interpersonal and institutional actions.

So I'd like to propose that it become legal for women to engage in armed struggle, and in every other form of self-defence known to humanity, if they so wish to do so. To engage in resistance and revolution against terroristic, incesting, molesting, raping, battering, pimping, procuring, trafficking, slaving men. And I believe males must work with accountability to feminists, to support anti-rape, anti-oppression, pro-liberation struggles, and to take out terroristic, normally sociopathic, routinely sadistic, and unrepentantly and serially abusive misogynist men (again, not on a date). I also believe that while women's self-defence against male abusers should be legally supported, the ending of patriarchy is not women's job. It is men's.

That's my proposal. Given what men get away with doing to girls and women by the hour and by the millions, it seems rather modest, don't you think?

To any man who thinks this post is "anti-man", what do you think about what men do to girls and women by the hour and by the millions that is terrifying and horrifying? What do you think an appropriate politically organised response to that might look like? And, if you think this post is anti-man, you didn't read it very carefully. Because no where do I say men cannot willfully and collectively stop the egregious and atrocious behaviors terroristic, sadistic, normal men engage in that other men call "natural" and "inevitable". That I call these men "normal" is to say there is nothing exceptional about them. They are not a few aberrant men. They are men who are celebrated, esteemed, and honored in patriarchal societies across the globe, sometimes because they have done such violence to women. Two words: Charlie Sheen. Two more: Mel Gibson. They are unusual in their level of fame; they are normal in their misogynist practices.


vluk said...

The idea that men are born rapists, oppressors, racists etc is an excuse that strait men have come-up with to justify their actions of terror against women and other men who don’t fit into the category of been masculine. (If men are born that way then they cannot be held responsible for their own actions as they are only doing what comes natural.)

The reality is that men choose by their own free will to dominate and oppress women and girls.
Fathers choose to rape their daughters, boyfriends and husbands choose to rape their girlfriends and wives and men in general choose to rape prostitutes, male gay bashers choose to beat-up men who are gay just because they are gay.
It all comes down to choice.

Looking at strait white males, by the time they are teenagers they already know about white male supremacy. They have no intention of giving up their special privilege and get great delight in oppressing women and girls.

Anyone who dares to point this out is targeted as anti male, hating males, male basher etc.

It is a fact that white males will never give-up their special privilege. I have always said that the only way to liberate women and girls is not to negotiate with white males or give into them as many feminists are currently doing but rather to take their power away from them.

Your idea of women taking up arms is an interesting way of looking at things. But it ignores two important issues.

The first issue is that counties like the US and UK are controlled by white males who would certainly never allow such legislation to be passed. To get legislation like that passed you would have to remove the vast majority of men from any decision making position.

The second issue is fear. Women and girls fear both men and their laws.
Look at Thelma and Louise. After the rapist was shot they both new that they would never stand a chance under white male law. Their lives were over and they had to go on the run.

Fear is extremely difficult to overcome. I am sure this topic could attract much debate.

My solution is that we need more radical versions of Thelma and Louise. Movies often have a very big impact on people.

We need movies that will not only highlight the horrors carried out by white males but we need to see women and girls coming together and turning the tables on men. Letting men feel what it is like to be on the receiving end.

In your current call to arms, a young ten year old girl who is been raped by her father would never stand-up to him as she would be far too intimated. But in the movie she could join forces with other girls and together they would deal with him.

The same would happen with prostitutes, they to would be too afraid to stand up to their pimps and male customers, but once again the movie would show them coming together as sisters in arms and effectively dealing with their pimps and rapists.

Movies like this would not only show how women and girls suffer under both male and white male supremacy but it would also create an atmosphere of solidarity among girls and women, in that together we can stand up to males and end all this terrorism and in its place create a world of love and compassion.
To start with have you ever thought of creating a section on your blog for short feminist stories, these stories would be both fiction and non fiction?

You could post existing stories from the net and you could encourage other feminists to write stories, all of which would highlight male crimes against women and girls and how the women and girls rose up to their oppressors.

I think this could be quite therapeutic, women would be able to write about things that had upset them and in the story they could state how they would have liked the situation to be dealt with as opposed to how it was dealt with.

Julian Real said...

Hi vluk,

I think you or someone or a group of people should set up a website for those stories--fiction and non-fiction, as you suggest. I'd link to it for sure!

rebecca said...

I think that Vluk is right that the "born as rapists" is a justification, but I also think that it is a way for men who don't commit rape to distance themselves from the problem-- if men don't commit rape or physical abuse, they can believe that they must have been born without that problem and therefore don't contribute to a culture of misogyny and violence against women.

That aside, I don't know if I agree with your analysis on this one, Bill. Not only does it put the solution back on women (women must "take out" men to teach them a lesson before they will change,) I'm assuming that when you say "take out" you mean with some sort of violence. Though it seems you were intentionally vague about what you mean by "take out," it is hard to read it any other way. Asking women to participate in violence in order to keep ourselves safe is asking us to participate in our own dehumanization-- I really believe that coming to accept violence against another person as a legitimate solution to a problem detracts from our humanity.

Julian Real said...

Hi Rebecca,

First, who is "Bill"??? My name is Julian. Glad to meet you.

Second, I have changed some portions of the blog post after reading what you wrote. I didn't mean to encourage women to commit violence. I know the likely consequence of any woman doing so is that she'll incur more violence from men and male supremacist systems and institutions of power.

To be clearer: I advocate for women who practice any form of self-defence that is available to her, when threatened and/or terrorised, and to be protected socially, culturally, and legally, no matter what form of self-defence she chooses to use to protect and defend her life.

I do not want women who are being punished by men they know and/or live with intimately or know socially or professionally to be additionally punished or imprisoned by men or the officials of a male supremacist State.

I do not wish for women or girls to lose the few social, political, and civil rights and liberties they may have--not ensured and not at all guaranteed, by the way. I don't believe women who use violence against men as self-defence should be ostracised or harmed.

And, I don't believe it is women's moral, social, or political obligation to be pacifists when threatened, terrorised, or violated.

I'm not advocating for women to use violence against men. I personally would support any woman using violence against a man to escape or end a man's terrorism and violations of and against her, if she determined that to be the best or only means of escape. But I wouldn't unilaterally recommend she use violence.

I hope that's clearer.

There's an important difference there in terms of what this blog advocates and supports. I thank you for bringing these matters to my attention so I have the opportunity to modify the post itself and to comment on the issue here with greater clarity in response to you.

lauren said...

How many women are in jail for shooting a husband or boyfriend who raped and abused them? Who repeatedly raped and abused them?

How could I not agree to armed defense? There is no other defense in a male dominated society, where men are the police, the lawyers and the judges. But we have to take heed that in most cases (if not all) the woman will be found guilty and sent to prison and/or given a death sentence.

I absolutely agree with girls and women creating a front. Does anyone remember the Lorena Bobbit case, when feminists from Ecuador warned the government to intervene
'or else'?

We need a lot more of this.

Julian Real said...

I will do all I can to support such a front, Lauren, and promote it in ways that the women involved welcome and want.

Women who are involved with the perpetrators and predators who serially beat and rape them deserve to be free of fear and condemnation. The women, like all women, deserve to be free from all forms of male supremacist atrocity and authority.

Christina said...

I think what needs to be taken from this, is firstly that men commit horrid acts of violence against women and girls. Secondly men will not stop committing this violence unless women start doing something about it.

Some men claim to care about women and girls but often this has nothing to do with them caring but rather about ownership.

Men believe that they own their wives, girlfriends and daughters. So when they speak-out against rape they simply don’t want other men raping or messing with their property.

To overcome this problem feminists need to start coming together. At the moment we are too divided, chasing after our own agendas.