Saturday, November 29, 2008

White Gay Media Spokesperson Dan Savage Doesn't Speak for me

Below, Dan Savage, makes an appearance on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report.
"You can't be pro-gay and anti-gay marriage." -- Dan Savage
Then what am I, Dan, chopped liver? I know, it's not all about me.

Dan Savage is "connected" to media hotties like Stephen Colbert. And what they do in the pseudo-privacy of the backstage area behind the Colbert set is, frankly, none of my business.

What is my concern, however, is the issue of turning all matters of social justice into late-night humor-fodder, but I find that raising criticism or concern about the likes of straight white liberal boys such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is, apparently, a particular form of heresy in secular straight white Amerikkka. I do find a good portion of what both those men do to be very funny, even hilarious. In the realm of U.S. white straight male comedy, I believe they are very talented. Hey, you don't get your own show on Comedy Central for nuthin'!

I'll save a deeper critique of their humor for another time.

For now, I want to speak out against the ways in which dominant national white media stereotyped and targeted Black Californians--lesbian, gay, and neither, in its reporting on the Nov. 4, 2008 decision to repeal an ordinance, aka Prop 8, which, prior to Prop 8 passing, meant that "gay marriage" was legal in California. It was a classic case of "divide and conquer" without realising that there is a group of people, Queer African Americans, who do, in fact, exist--including in California, and who are also not monolithic politically. As has been reported elsewhere, there is one group of people without whom Prop 8 could not have passed: white heterosexual social conservatives. Far outnumbering socially conservative African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Latin@s*, that demographic is, in my view, the one responsible for the outcome of that vote far more than any community of color. Hence white gay activists getting one thing right: protesting in front of white churches, not Black or Latin@ ones. (Humor about this fact is in the above clip from The Colbert Report.) It was son of the uber-white Mormon Church who was part of the major financial contributors to the "Pass Prop 8" campaign.

*Available demographic stats show that the percentage of Californians who are "African American/Black" is 6% to 7%. The percentage of white folks in California is 50% to 60%. Now, even those of us who suck at math can figure out that even if ALL Black Californians voted to keep gay marriage legal, the burden of it remaining law would clearly fall on the shoulders of white folks. Since when does being part of a racial majority suddenly not matter when the results of any election or referendum get tight?

What the press did that was seriously fucked up was to deploy various methods-- statistical and otherwise, for scapegoating Black Californians--allegedly 100% heterosexual and "70%" socially conservative as the population of homophobes that non-homophobic people--white and of color, btw, are not. From my experience, homophobia is a product of many factors, many having to do with what "being normal" (including employable, apartment-worthy, an asset to the white neighborhood) means in Amerikkka. Patricia Hill Collins, among many other writers, deals responsibly and sensitively with the matter of homophobia in some African American communities.

This ought not be news to anyone, but there are no white communities I'm aware of where it is safe to be completely 'out'. In white-dominant cities and towns where there are few to no people of color, homophobia results in gay-bashing murders and self-loathing suicides.

Let's not forget the not-so-long history of the what can now be termed "the white church" in the U.S. Various Protestant denominations have worked with great white male supremacist passion and commitment over the last two-hundred-plus years to destroy the cultures and communities of people of color, noting particularly the Mormon mission to destroy American Indian families (who knew not of Jesus or the misrepresenters of his few inaccurately recorded teachings) before settler-genocidalists came West from Europe. Let's also keep in mind the ideas of gender and sexuality that are now popularly understood as normal and/or genetically based, were not on this land or part of the many nations' cultures before white folks settled here. (Yes, this does mean science is racist and heterosexist.)

For those who want to blame "the Black Church"--well, last time I checked anything homophobic or heterosexist being preached there was being sermonised by pastors in white churches--and, let me tell you, those white Baptists (among other white denominations) can really preach some vicious anti-queer hate. So fuck all the media--gay and otherwise--who made it seem as though Black Californians were "to blame" for the outcome of the election, re: Prop 8. Lest we forget, this is still a white supremacist nation, and no population of color has the institutionalised power, the economic and police resources to make that be radically different anytime soon. And, for the white folks who insist on arguing this idiocy: having a Black president, AND Oprah be prominent, wealthy, statused U.S. citizens doesn't mean the end is in sight for U.S. corporate white heteromale supremacy. As noted in an earlier post, I do firmly believe white supremacy took a blow when Barack Obama became president-elect. And I think the overall meaning and effect of that historic accomplishment cannot and ought not be underestimated or cynically dismissed with a very racially privileged roll of one's blue eyes. (I direct this to the cynical white "progressives" and "radicals" I know.)

As a matter of understanding the value of basic civil rights, I wouldn't organise against any Queer group working for "Gay Marriage" legislation or rights.

Nor would I put any of my activist energies into such a cause.

As noted elsewhere on this blog, I'm decidedly anti-marriage--particularly the kind that oppresses all women and further marginalises people of color and poor people from the mainstream, in part by promoting State-sanctioned middle and working class unions as necessary and desirable. Across much of the globe and throughout time, there have been many forms of partnership, kinship, and community, most of which CRAP has destroyed, stifled, or rendered null and void. Add to that the not-so-spotlighted effort by the powers-that-be in making such things as "best friends" not a legitimate or sanctioned category of relating.

"Best friends" do not have the rights that a husband and wife have. Why is that? The best friends I know are far less abusive and neglectful of one another than most of the married people I know. Is "marriage" geared, in part, to regulate and mandate certain forms of sexual behavior? If so, it only works to a degree: most of the married heterosexual couples I know, and gay couples, aren't having much, if any, sex. This is reported on talk shows as "a serious problem"--for the straight folks, that is. Not a peep on these shows about how this impacts gay or lesbian couples. Maybe it's just that many folks don't like sex as much as pimps, corporate pornographers, Madison Avenue, Hollywood, sex addicts, and incest perpetrators tell us we're supposed to.

The extended family, the close rural community--generally sustainable relative to suburban and urban neighborhoods, have all been shoved aside as mountaintops come crumbling down, after coal was ripped from those mountains' bellies, to pave and repave highways leading from one unsustainable, ecocidal place to another. Ecocide is not only the destruction of "the environment", as that terms is popularly used in mass media. "We" are part of "the environment." Not caring about it, neglected it, is neglecting ourselves and amounts to paving our own way right into a very ugly, panic-laden mass death. See Derrick Jensen's work for more on this. Although it is not reported on much, the destruction of ways of being among humans-in-relation-to-the-Earth, is systematic, on-going, and is synonymous with genocide. (Genocide is not just the mass-murder of one group by another. It is, among other things, a destruction of cultures, the elimination of a people's means of survival, the banishment of spiritual practices that don't worship a white male sky-god.)

There are indentifiable institutions and systems which, while seemingly benefiting the few (for the time being), are simultaneously killing us all. The activist support for these institutions and systems, while critically necessary for some, functions to make knowledge of other ways of doing things invalid, illegal, or evil.

From the lofty privileged place from which I sit, I see what what has become normalised and naturalised as "heterosexuality" and "marriage" as stifling-to-deadly social/religious/political/economic institutions, particularly for women. I refuse to "unknow" this, even while I must also know the ways that many people with far fewer privileges need these institutions in order to help them survive, in the ways CRAP wants us to survive.

For the time being, I want to publicly denounce the very white Dan Savage as a spokesperson for "Gay Rights." He doesn't speak for me as a white gay man, or for other radical queer, Two Spirit, and same-gender loving people I know and respect. Nor does anti-Black racist Arab American, Marke B. over at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Should Dan or Marke happen upon this blogpost, may I make this recommendation: give the mic to Jasmyne A. Cannick. (See the prior post.) Revised on Dec. 1, 2008.

No-on-8's White Bias: a Black Lesbian Perspective

The right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights.

No-on-8's white bias
By Jasmyne A. Cannick
November 8, 2008

I am a perfect example of why the fight against Proposition 8, which amends the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, failed to win black support.

I am black. I am a political activist who cares deeply about social justice issues. I am a lesbian. This year, I canvassed the streets of South Los Angeles and Compton, knocking on doors, talking politics to passers-by and working as I never had before to ensure a large voter turnout among African Americans. But even I wasn't inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition.

Why? Because I don't see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn't about to focus my attention on what couldn't help but feel like a secondary issue.

The first problem with Proposition 8 was the issue of marriage itself. The white gay community never successfully communicated to blacks why it should matter to us above everything else -- not just to me as a lesbian but to blacks generally. The way I see it, the white gay community is banging its head against the glass ceiling of a room called equality, believing that a breakthrough on marriage will bestow on it parity with heterosexuals. But the right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights. Does someone who is homeless or suffering from HIV but has no healthcare, or newly out of prison and unemployed, really benefit from the right to marry someone of the same sex?

Maybe white gays could afford to be singularly focused, raising millions of dollars to fight for the luxury of same-sex marriage. But blacks were walking the streets of the projects and reaching out to small businesses, gang members, convicted felons and the spectrum of an entire community to ensure that we all were able to vote.

Second is the issue of civil rights. White gays often wonder aloud why blacks, of all people, won't support their civil rights. There is a real misunderstanding by the white gay community about the term. Proponents of gay marriage fling it around as if it is a one-size-fits-all catchphrase for issues of fairness.

But the black civil rights movement was essentially born out of and driven by the black church; social justice and religion are inextricably intertwined in the black community. To many blacks, civil rights are grounded in Christianity -- not something separate and apart from religion but synonymous with it. To the extent that the issue of gay marriage seemed to be pitted against the church, it was going to be a losing battle in my community.

Then there was the poorly conceived campaign strategy. Opponents of Proposition 8 relied on an outdated civil rights model, engaging the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People to help win black support on the issue of gay marriage. This happened despite the warnings of black lesbians and gays that it wouldn't work. While the NAACP definitely should have been included in the strategy, it shouldn't have been the only group. Putting nearly a quarter of a million dollars into an outdated civil rights group that has very little influence on the black vote -- at least when it comes to gay issues -- will never work.

Likewise, holding the occasional town-hall meeting in Leimert Park -- the one part of the black community where they now feel safe thanks to gentrification -- to tell black people how to vote on something gay isn't effective outreach either.

There's nothing a white gay person can tell me when it comes to how I as a black lesbian should talk to my community about this issue. If and when I choose to, I know how to say what needs to be said. Many black gays just haven't been convinced that this movement for marriage is about anything more than the white gays who fund it (and who, we often find, are just as racist and clueless when it comes to blacks as they claim blacks are homophobic).

Some people seem to think that homophobia trumps racism, and that winning the battle for gay marriage will symbolically bring about equality for everyone. That may seem true to white gays, but as a black lesbian, let me tell you: There are still too many inequalities that exist as it relates to my race for that to ever be the case. Ever heard of "driving while black"? Ever looked at the difference between the dropout rates for blacks and for whites? Or test scores? Or wages? Or rates of incarceration?

And in the end, black voters in California voted against gay marriage by more than 2 to 1.

Maybe next time around -- because we all know this isn't over -- the gay community can demonstrate the capacity and willingness to change that America demonstrated when it went to the polls on Nov. 4. Black gays are depending on their white counterparts to finally "get it."

Until then, don't expect to make any inroads any time soon in the black community on this issue -- including with this black lesbian.

Jasmyne A. Cannick is a writer in Los Angeles.

Anachronism and American Indians

With thanks to the moderator at Racialicious, I repost this:

In many places in the midwest the American Indian is very present, but in other places in the U.S., like in California, Disney’s Pocahontas is as close as we get to “Indians.” The idea that American Indians are gone comes, in part, from the ubiquitous representation of them with feathers, buckskins, and moccasins. These anachronisms are everywhere (see, for example, here, here, here, here, and here).

American Indians are as modern as the rest of us, why are representations of American Indians, as they live today, so unusual? And what effect might that have on the psyche of American Indian people?

Via PostSecret.

This was originally posted here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Twilight": another tale of the awful plight of the troubled white serial killer

Where the vampire's otherness posed a terrifying threat for the original readers of Dracula, [...] today that same alien quality is often perceived as an attraction. As rebellious outsider, as persecuted minority, as endangered species, and as member of a different "race" that legend portrays as sexually omnicompetent, the vampire makes a fitting hero for late twentieth-century popular fiction. --"The Vampire as Alien in Contemporary Fiction", by Margaret L. Carter, p. 29 of Blood Read.

The white, dark-haired, not-so-badboy is back. His name is Edward Cullen and he's "sexier", and paler, than ever. Edward is keeping his damsel-in-distress, Bella Swan, out of trouble with the enemies of true white love--you know, those with the "longest incisors". Keep in mind the story of The Ugly Duckling--with feathers all stubby and brown--the first three and a half minutes of this YouTube video tells the tale. Only when it becomes a white swan does it become bella, or beautiful. So of course he's desired by and desires a young thin pale white woman--duh! ("Out" gay men and butch lesbians of any color are not likely to make the cut as "the romantic love interest" anytime soon in a major motion picture.) And of course he desires to BE WITH HER ALWAYS (creepy!), never letting him out of his sight, or, well, to be her soulmate. (Too often in real life: same diff.) This is where this story lures us in: is he a bad "irresistable" pale guy who wants to be good, or a good guy whose passions will lead him to be bad? Even without long incisors, we are aware he carries danger somewhere inside himself... perhaps in his molars.

It sometimes gets confusing as to who exactly is evil in racist Western patriarchal cultural mythology. But generally speaking, in cinema, all that is white, including good-whiteguy cowboy hats, represents good. All that is dark or black, including bad whiteguy cowboy hats, as well as anyone with unpale or "black" skin and allegedly "black" eye color, is ominous, dangerous, and just plain evil. The 1960s campy TV vampire soap opera was called "Dark Shadows" not "Sunny Days" for a reason. More on Twilight's racism a bit later.

This story draws on themes that go all the way back to the Old Testament (with that original irresistible white temptress who only makes the weak white man feel badly about himself for giving into temptation). Is this another telling of male supremacy's Adam and Eve'l or Romeo and Juliet? Well, the woman in such myths is a threat to a man's well-being or she's dead; or, in vampire films, perhaps a combination of both.

This is the dilemma our newest pale male vampire faces in Twilight: to love Bella, be with her, as an abnormal human doing his best to assimilate, or to steel himself away from her, for her own good. Edward isn't your common cannibal, after all. He only goes after non-human animals for snacks, unlike the other more overtly predatory heteromale vampires in this film, such as James--a common cannibal who really hates vampires who won't suck the life out of people who are (only) human. (Figuring out what to serve such a lot at a U.S. holiday supper must get so problematic. I don't get the sense anyone would be all that happy with tofurkey.)

In Edward and James we have the eternal inner struggle of the perrenially tormented pale vampire: To bite/penetrate/kill or not to bite/penetrate/kill? For Edward, a diet of pets may suffice. But not so for James, whose specific tastes might be termed Bellatarian. Good vampire vs. bad vampire. Each battling for the love, or blood, of Bella. The subtitle to this film could just as well be "It's Hard Out Here for a Vampire". Poor fellas. Poor Bella--drawn to a man who cannot love her without the risk of her being destroyed. Here is the painful passion found in many abusive relationships: she wants him, but he's not good for her; he wants her, but his love might result in her death. But back to fiction.

Vampire movies are, historically, a Hollywood film genre known for eroticising pale male violence against [traditionally] young thin white women, in that "oh-so-sexy-while-creepy" way. Sure, there was that 1994 ECD oh-so-controversial Brad Pitt-Tom Cruise homoeroticism pervading some scenes in Anne Rice's best-seller brought to the screen, Interview with the Vampire". (And, the blogger noted sarcastically, they really pushed the envelope regarding who is seen as handsome in Hollywood with that film, eh?)

We might note the number of women involved in the maintenance of this genre. I suspect because these stories are, on the surface, more romance and passion than ugly predation and woman-killing. (Male writers and directors still hold the market on the bloodier, "terrify, fuck, and kill the woman" films. But given the racist-sexist pornographication of Western society, it matters not if the story is written by a woman or a man. All these lines between love, romance, danger, and death have been blurring for some time. Terror and horror can be themes in a dominant society that won't own the real horrific and terrible things that it does, like, say, keeping a genocide going on this soil.

In fact, the blending of racism (not just symbolically), heterosexism, the potential and impending death of a woman or women, spiced with turn-on or terror, is something that U.S. films and many top rated TV shows just can't exist without. For Hollywood, leaving the violence out of sexist and racist themes, and the sexism and racism out of violence, would, well, be like depriving a predatory heteromale vampire of fresh female blood. Well, the female blood that comes from the neck area*.

[*There are plenty of tired, misogynist jokes about male vampires being drawn to women who are having their periods. The idea with this humor is that it is "gross" (hence funny) because, you must understand, menstruating women are really gross, so men say. Menstruation = gross = funny. Yes, this does mean dominant male society's emotional maturity level is perpetually in elementary school. Perhaps because of being raised in the company of plenty of girls and women, I've never understood the aversion to menstrual blood. Women friends and I have discussed using it in political work. For me, the more it is in men's faces the better. Why is it "in vogue" to cover women's faces in men's semen? Because it shows who is degrading whom, and that semen is gross, not hot, when it touches female flesh. (In gay male pornography, it's only hot, because it never touches female flesh.)

I can't seem to get through to my gay and heterosexual brothers on this topic. They'll shriek and cringe like, well, the misogynistic mensesphobic grown men they are, when I bring up the subject of menstrual blood. They share stories of personal "horror" such as when a young or older man finds external evidence lying around of a woman having her period, such as when a woman doesn't waste water by not flushing the toilet when there's drops of blood in it as well as urine, or when the disposal of a tampon or pad is shamelessly left atop a bathroom wastebin "insufficiently" cocooned in toilet paper. The key to understanding misogynist men's attitudes about women and blood is this: blood from the uterus--not sexy. Blood from any other area of a woman--sexy. Menstrual blood is not the kind of blood men eroticise in (or on) women because it is a sign of pre-menopausal women's health, and life. Women bleeding is, in the misogynistic imagination, supposed to be fused only to the possibility of female death. Of course this still allows men the pornographic option of being the violent cause of women's internal bleeding, anywhere in her body, including down there.]

But where were we? Ah yes: misogyny and racism.

Pale white is the dominant U.S./U.K. new (oh, and not-so-new, and olden days) "beautiful", according to fables, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and corporate pimps. Surely you remember: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?" and all that other racist-hetero/sexist children's story horseshit. But the claims of the vampire as another race gets tricky in a film like this one. For there are, [SPOILER ALERT!!] actual people of color depicted in this movie. In typical Hollywood racist fashion, American Indians have "a role" to play in this film, and, unfortunately, it's not solely to remind the pale-faced leeches to go back to Transylvania... or wherever in Europe we came from. Here, they can be werewolves. (Wait: isn't that basically how Hollywood has ALWAYS presented American Indians?) As such, they become "animals" for white-night-crawling vampires to drain. (Sarcasm alert:) Humans as animals: nothing sexist or racist about that!

As for the hidden and not-so-hidden misogynist violence within this genre, one need only note that in the 2008 ECD vampire TV show True Blood, there was reference to a "fang-banging". (The dots are all connected, it's just that we're trained to see only dots, no lines.) Curiously, this time it's the TV show that could "go there" while this movie, rated [SPOILER ALERT!!] PG-13, doesn't quite. Ah, the allure of the long period of longing in heterosexual seduction. The endless wait for consummation, a word which means to bring to fruition, to fuck if newly married, and to terminate. (How quaint of the English language to offer up such a term.)

Twilight, according to reports, handles this topic of consummation in an way that shouldn't upset too many folks who are into the whole white Christian conservative spawned (and miserably failing) phenomena of the "virginity pledge" and the "Purity Ring".

There will be no "sex" (meaning, OF COURSE, genital-to-genital male-with-female intercourse) in this new film! Sparing the audience of predominantly white, middle class adolescent girls and their moms of scenes of consummation means you have a Disney-tame plot line with enough sexual tension to take us through several sequels, or centuries: whichever comes first. It also means that grown men are not so likely to go see this one. (We're virtually all addicted to Internet porn anyway, so "Bye, ladies, have fun at the movies!" This is not to say one need leave home to see fangy-toothed men portrayed graphically.

For example, you may have seen this vampiric theme on CSI:


In overtly sexually violent
Vogue magazine photos, and in this more "tame" Vogue image in which such thin white young women seem to walk the line, visually, between life and death.

And in the news, men serially murdering women is also nothing new. To modify a famous quote by C. A. MacKinnon: Man kills women; subject verb objects. There has even been a real life vampire serial killer.

Academics, too, have tackled this theme. For an especially good analytic piece on the subject, see this.

I can only wonder about the on-going jokes of the dashing draculesque dude having blue-balls, and not just because he's so damned cold all the time. All I can say is: Edward Cullen, take matters into your own hands. If you don't get to that nubile female human blood in time, what's the worst thing that can happen? Oh, right: you die, for good.

To Edward, James, and any readers of this blog who happen to be vampires, I recommend that you leave white women, men and women of color, and non-human animals alone and go crawl into a coffin.

Male pale-faces, go home to Transylvania!

Hey, Edward--what do you think of that idea?

I thought so.

Get ready for the sequels, folks.

For a whole book on this subject, see Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Society, edited by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger.

If interested in more plot details, see here.

For discussion and analysis of the racism in the book (which spills over into the film), click here.

For a wonderfully transgressive fictional spin on the same ole plot, see Jewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories. A review of her book is here.

(Revised on Nov. 25)

Indigenous Feminist Voices Heard Here

In this post I am sharing information about a book and a conference, each geared to put the voices of Indigenous Feminists front and center.

If you scroll down on this webpage, you will see the video links to many women's lectures. These lectures are from the conference Native Feminisms: Without Apology which convened in the spring of 2006 ECD (in the era of Christian domination), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The book is not related to the conference above but instead grew out of a 2002 Aboriginal Feminist Symposium in Canada. It was published in 2007 ECD by Zed Books. (If I use that acronym enough, I might actually remember to put it after any Christian calendar year I refer to!)

The book is titled as the above front cover image indicates: Making Space for Indigenous Feminism, edited by Joyce Green. If you click on that title in this sentence, you will be led to Women, Ink. Bookstore's online site and a description of the books' contents. (I am happy to be able to link to online booksellers other than or A review of the book is found here.

A more complete description of the book's contents is available by clicking on the blue "Read more!".

About the Book

The majority of scholarly and activist opinion by and about Indigenous women claims that feminism is irrelevant for them. Yet there is also an articulate, theoretically informed and activist constituency that identifies as feminist. This book is by and about Indigenous feminists, whose work demonstrates a powerful and original intellectual and political contribution demonstrating that feminism has much to offer Indignenous women in their struggles against oppression and for equality. Indigenous feminism is international in its scope: the contributors here are from Canada, the USA, Sapmi (Samiland), and Aotearoa/New Zealand. The chapters include theoretical contributions, stories of political activism, and deeply personal accounts of developing political consciousness as Aboriginal feminists.


Introduction: From Symposium to Book - Joyce Green

Part 1: What is Indigenous Feminism?

1. Taking Account of Indigenous Feminism - Joyce Green

2. Aboriginal Women on Feminism: Exploring Diverse Points of View - Verna St. Denis

3. Metis and Feminist: Reflections from the Margins - Emma Larocque

Part 2: Aboriginal Feminist Analysis and Theory

4. Sami Women and Feminism: Strategies for Healing and Transformation - Rauna Kuokkanen

5. Native American Feminism, Sovereignty, and Social Change - Andrea Smith

6. Gender, Essentialism, and Feminism in Samiland - Jurunn Eikjok translated by Gunhild Hoogensen

7. Indigenous Feminism as Resistance to Imperialism - Makere Stewart- Harawira

8. Balancing Strategies: Aboriginal Women and Constitutional Rights in Canada - Joyce Green

Part 3: Aboriginal Feminist Activists and Sister-Travellers

9. Looking Back, Looking Forward - Shirley Green

10. Maori Women and Leadership in Aotearoa - Kathie Irwin

11. Yes, My Daughter, We Are Cherokee Women - Denise Henning

12. My Home Town Northern Canada South Africa - Emma LaRocque

13. Culturing Politics and Politicizing Culture - Shirley Bear

14. An Aboriginal Feminist on Violence Against Women - Tina Beads with Rauna Kuokkanen

15. Colleen Glenn: A Metis Feminist in Indian Rights for Indian Women - Colleen Glenn with Joyce Green

16. Woman of Action: An Interview with Sharon McIvor - Sharon McIvor with Rauna Kuokkanen

About the Editor

Joyce Green is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Regina. Green's current work focuses on the potential of decolonization in Canada, and on the way in which sexism, racism, and race privilege is encoded in Canadian political culture. She is of English, Ktunaxa, and Cree-Scots Metis heritage, and mother of a daughter from the Peigan nation.

Rights Information

World Rights are held for this title outside of Canada

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bye-bye Men's Rights Brethren

To John Dias, cybro, Kapt Krunch, Fidelbogen, MadShangi, Frostyboy, Anti Misandry, and all the other Father's Rights/Men's Rights/Antifeminist Activists out there:

It has been brought to my attention by a colleague that all the arguments you put forth have already been answered sufficiently (see below). Therefore, I decided it would be an utter waste of cyberspace to further engage you on those subjects here.

Since you don't seem to know it, I'll inform you that you are a group of very privileged human beings who are utterly clueless about the living conditions and lack of privileges most people in the world--who aren't you--live with, endure, and often don't survive.

When you are, from your points of view, unfairly treated, or falsely accused--sometimes by one woman in your past--this "affront" generates in far too many of you the most self-righteous, scathing, and scornful written assaults on women, especially feminists, with a particularly foolish level of deranged irrationality focused on radical feminists.

These sorts of ego-bruises--assuming the occasional personal injustice done to some of you--to which you are apparently not at all accustomed, is but one indication of the enormous amount of privilege you carry day to day. (Most women I know are treated unfairly every day of their lives.)

You give humanity a bad name. So much for the myth of white men being western civilisation's standard of sanity, honesty, and integrity.

Let the record show that, to date, my questions to antimisandrists have never been answered. I gave John Dias his requested two days to reply here, and he did not choose to do so.

I apologise to the anti-misogynist visitors here for giving those men as much attention as I have.

I'll close this post with the following quotes, correspondence, and this important link (a website from which all of what follows was found). What is blockquoted below, in addition to the other information found at the link just above, thoroughly exposes many of the distortions and lies Fathers' Rights and Men's Rights Groups are organised to promote and promulgate.

Robert Okun, a specialist in men's issues and domestic violence, pointed out that many of today’s dads, whether married, never-married or divorced, are doing their best to stay actively involved in their children’s lives. But of men in the organized father’s rights movement, who typically represent themselves as the innocent victims of gender discrimination and manipulative ex-wives, Okun writes: "Some may very well be getting a raw deal. If so, it is essential that divorce lawyers, psychotherapists, family service court officers, mediators, guardians ad litem and judges educate themselves about those circumstances and take steps to intervene when a man has been erroneously targeted as part of a strategy in a contentious custody complaint. However, in a dangerously high number of cases, many of these fathers have a documented history of abuse."
[C]oncerned citizens who've taken the time to investigate the activities of father's rights groups in greater depth -- notably Trish Wilson, a freelance writer who considers exposing the shady underside of the father's custody movement her part-time job. Ms. Wilson first became curious about the movement when she stumbled into a father's rights message board on AOL ten years ago. When she questioned the accuracy of child support statistics posted on the board, Ms. Wilson reports she was "attacked by the regulars there. The woman who had posted the original out-of-context quotes told me that I believed all women should have custody of their children because they had uteruses, which is nonsense. There were similar, ugly flames thrown at me by others. I was taken aback at how nasty they were." Since then, Ms. Wilson has conducted extensive research reviews and produced a series of articles disputing the studies and data father's rights advocates use to justify their intention to overhaul child custody and support laws.
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 06:12:26 -0500 (CDT)
To: liz
Subject: Re: SMH


One evening I was sitting at dinner with a man who stated "Women don't understand abstract justice." I said, "What do you mean by that?"

He said, "They can only see the world through relationships, and that is all that matters to them."

Thanks for proving his point.

Look for this man's book coming out this year, "The Case for Father Custody." [5]

Liz, a man is very interested in raising his progeny, not somebody elses.

"Organisms have evolved to expend their very lives enhancing the fitness prospects of their descendants. Parental investment is a precious resource, and selection must favor those parental psyches that do not squander it on nonrelatives." --Daly and Wilson, 1988.



I see you've run out of arguments and now have descended into thinly veiled insults, i.e. telling me (a lawyer), that (being a woman) I do not understand "justice," as well as resorting to sloganism, and the "authoritative fallacy," i.e. quoting others, who are to be given extra credence because their words have been published.

You go on to say: "A man is very interested in raising his progeny not somebody elses."

I have a question back. It's "why?" Why do you think so? Are you sure it's RAISING that progeny and not merely passing on genes?

My response to you is this: catering to an adult's ego is just not a priority consideration. It has nothing whatever to do with the interests of a child. If you believe a parental DNA connection is a motivating thing, well that speaks volumes.

We're talking "possession" here, as in property, as in "mine." And "molding" here as in "indoctrination into my beliefs." Not caregiving. Not a child perspective. But self-adoration and replication. If the biological connection alone was so motivating, how is it we have the numbers of nonmarital unions and bad marriages we have? what about adoptive parents? what about sperm donors? I'll agree with you that some men think this way. I just don't buy it as some naturally arising drive, and even as a result of social indoctrination, I don't buy it as a given.

But let's accept your theory for the sake of argument. If a biological father's ostensible natural interest is in raising his own progeny, that interest nevertheless still is unlikely to compare favorably with the gestating mother's interest. She's got the very same biological connection, PLUS the biological relationship in fact with the child! And how is the father's interest later on demonstrated? Who is more likely to be the primary caregiver?

"The Case For Father Custody?" Nonsense. By your own measure, natural mothers' parenting generally would come out on top on both counts: your "abstract justice" theory, as well as my real life relationship preservation.

In one breath you've pretended (that male superiority thing?) that "women don't understand abstract justice," and then implicitly called upon nature, quoting talk about about organism evolution. Evolutionarily, the male reproductive drive in species the world over is merely to pass on the genes, not to raise the children. Most organisms also have evolved such that mothers raise their young.

And what about your "abstract justice?" Life is not lived in the abstract, and some men's egos are just not the sum total of what counts.

This is really what the FR movement is about, isn't it. Children and women as men's possessions. The ideology of property rights. Patriarchy. It has nothing whatever to do with the well-being of children.

By the way. Clarence Darrow, a famous man lawyer well known for his righting of wrongs, had this to say about "abstract justice": there is no such thing, in or out of court.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

MadShangi is the Feminist Killer [according to MadShangi]

This is one of the most hostile antifeminist diatribes by a man I have ever read.

I think it constitutes a serious, terroristic threat against a specific group of people (feminists). What's posted here, below, is just the beginning of it. WARNING: VIRULENT RACIST WOMAN-HATING LANGUAGE FOLLOWS. IT IS LIKELY TO TRIGGER ANY FEMALE SURVIVOR OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR ASSAULT. I am wondering if this sort of hate speech is prosecutable.
Monday, November 17, 2008

"Fuck The Feminists"

Fuck the Feminists, 'cause they've gone too far
MadShangi's gonna expose what cunts they are
I'm no fake, and I'm no player
MadShangi is the motherfucking truth sayer
You say you want equality, you're lyin'
You're just a greedy bitch that wants what's mine
You stupid bitch, don't be a sequel
To the last bitch that thought she was equal
You're a stupid ass motherfucking bitch ass ho
MadShangi says: "Fuck your soul!"


Gonna spill more blood than your average thriller
'Cause MadShangi is the Feminist Killer

To view his YouTube video, in which he speaks about himself and his opinion that he doesn't hate women, see this. A significantly less serious warning: this video is rambling and boring.

This is his email address, in case you'd like to challenge his hateful views:

He reportedly is from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is listed as 24 years old, and is white with short to medium-length brown hair. Women should regard him as a dangerous individual.

Oh, and Patrick Doran, re: your allegations of me stalking and being, um, attracted to you:

You're not my type. My type is humane, thoughtful, caring, profeminist (anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-homophobic) men who don't behave like the stupid, hateful asshole you repeatedly portray yourself to be.

In case my motives aren't clear to you, Patrick, let me spell them out:

Revealing how misogynistic, antifeminist, antiWomanist men behave is part of my political work, and reporting men who threaten to kill women is important for anyone to do. Therefore, I'm placing your threatening statement here, with your contact information, where it might be seen by someone living in your part of Canada who can report and/or arrest you.

(That's not an invitation to go out on a date, in case you are still confused.)

Misogynist-racist misopedic white man Roger Sweet

I want to thank Heart for posting this news story. I link to it here to make it available to those who come by this way.

When will white heterosexual men's gross human rights atrocities end?

As B. Dylan said, the answer is blowing in the wind.

"The Anti-Dworkin", aka John Dias

As we await John's reply to a recent post here, I wanted to give visitors to this blog some information about who John Dias is and what he does.

John is listed at the "anti-man-hating" site as being 38 years old and refers to himself as "The Anti-Dworkin".

He is the founder of the website It's motto is: "Stopping False Allegations with Surveillance Technology".

I am linking to two pages from his website with more info about John. The first, here, is his FAQ page. The main function of his site it to get men who live with women to purchase surveillance equipment so that if a man is falsely charged with domestic violence by a woman he lives with, he'll have proof that it was really she who is the abuser or, at the very least, a liar.

The story about why he created that website is linked to here.

He joined on July 13, 2006, which, though a while ago, is not when the site was hatched. The site's first listed member, Marx, has a "join date" of Nov. 5, 2005. That antimisandry website also has members ranked according to what they term reputation. This appears to be similar to a ranking system found in Scientology, in which Tom Cruise is first or second most reputable. At the antmisandy site, reputation appears to connote one's commitment to the Men's Rights Movement, antifeminism, and related activism and writing, including postings on their site. John Dias is listed as among the most reputable members. [Note: I am not making any other comparisons between this antimisandry site and the Church of Scientology. For one things, doesn't appear to ask its members to hand over all their money.] From what I can tell, members are primarily from North America and the UK; most are male, but not all, and most are white.

John is a skilled debater; he's no novice as we can note here, on a page where he gives Men's Rights Activists an opportunity rank themselves.

He is practiced in scoring points when debating on feminist and Men's Rights issues.

John tends to use liberal argumentation.

Another regular at, dyslexic banana argues similarly here, about prostitution.

There are things that outrage me in the course of a day. Sometimes it's the latest news story about the latest battered and killed ex-wife, usually by the man who "loved her" [here meaning wanting to completely possess and control her]. Sometimes it's the news of a woman coerced into sexual slavery. Sometimes it's the news from yet another woman or gay man leaving an office workplace, who has been harassed on the street, yet again, and followed by a predatory man after she or he made it clear, usually far too respectfully, that s/he did not welcome any contact. Sometimes it's blatant or subtle white male supremacist racism in combination with misogyny and heterosexism, which shows up in too many ways to name here.

According to this post, there was a particular Diamond Ring billboard that really angered John. I'm not sure how he reacts to the far more numerous billboards, print ads, and online industrial strength pornography, which relentlessly and virulently depict women as things that apparently exist for [hetero] men to exploit, f*ck, and rape. Perhaps he'll address this too, in his reply.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Response to John Dias who is an administrator at

Hello visitors.

I recently got a flurry of misogynistic/antifeminist comments (um, unposted here by me, needless to say!) from men associated with the site. I also got this much more respectful comment:

John Dias said...

I am an admin over at Are there any questions you would like to ask, rather than just making deductions? I extend my hand to you; please ask away.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:50:00 PM EST.

I informed John that, in fact, my questions had been posted over there, and they were not responded to, but were instead by-passed so a few men could rant on in antifeminist and misogynist ways INSTEAD of responding. But I don't assume each administrator over there reads everything, so John may never have seen my q's.

Below is the paragraph I posted over there, with its original questions separated out, and in bold, so as not to be missed. I have welcomed John Dias to answer them here, respectfully and sincerely. I await his reply.

I began by responding to a strange comment by an anti-misandrist man called "cybro" in which he said something about "indians". But the discussion, on my end, was focused on whether and how misandry shows itself socially, and includes issues that negatively impact American Indian women. Anything in brackets is material I have added here today at A Radical Profeminist, hopefully for clarity!!!

OK, enough already! Here's the comment:

I think we all know what happened and is still happening to Indigenous people all over the planet: white men and our values, industries, and institutions are killing them, genocidally. And white men are also systematically raping Indigenous women. See this for more:

What is your humanitarian response to these atrocities?

In what institutions, in what social venues, in what regions of North America, in your view, do "women rule over men"? I am eager to hear your answer.

As for where men get to speak like this: have you looked at the pornography industry in the last thirty five years; men have been putting down women there in every conceivable way, degrading women, raping women, pretending to rape women, cumming on women's faces, gang-banging women, treating women of color like sh*t in particularly racist and misogynist ways.

[So, John, I'll restate the question: Are you familiar with the content of online industry-produced "heterosexual" pornography? And would you describe the content as misogynist, not misandrist, unless it is dealing with the stereotypical portrayal and abuse of men of color?]

Often and routinely over these many years, the pornographers (I'm here I'm talking about the big fellas: the white corporate pimps, not someone at home alone or with a partner using their webcam) make feminists and feminism the targets of this scorn, contempt, and defamation: that's a multi-billion dollar a year industry.

I ask this in earnestness: can you name for me one multi-billion dollar a year industry that promotes (accurately) the perspectives of radical feminists?
Because I can't, and I've looked.

Practically every woman I know has been seriously harmed physically, emotionally, and sexually by a man or by several men, often within their own families of origin: I'm not a youngster, and this means dozens and dozens of women, just those women to whom I am personally connected. One woman friend was molested by three different men over one summer when she was nine years old. Another woman was raped by her father, older brothers, and male cousins when she was a girl. My female dental hygienist was murdered by her ex-boyfriend; he came to her home when she was alone and killed her. I also know boys who have been raped or molested or assaulted by men: again, their numbers are in the dozens, but approximately half as large as the population of females harmed by men in these ways.

Do you know even five women who have been charged with rape, incest, child molestation, criminal battery, women who have detained boys or men in their basements as sexual slaves, women who have trafficked in boys and men for the purposes of sexual gratification, at the expense of the humanity of those so used and abused?

I see men treat one another like sh*t often, beating each other up outside of bars, shouting and threatening each other: white men threatening and discriminating against men of color; heterosexual men bullying and beating gay men.

I'm curious why you don't see men as a significant population of man-haters. [That's a question.]

I honestly (I'm being entirely serious here) know of not one single woman who hates men. Not one. I know women who fear men, based on past experiences; I know women who fight for justice for women, for women to be free from rapist culture, from pornographic culture, from a dominant culture in which Indigenous North American women can be raped by white men without any recourse. I can't "reverse" this phenomenon and match it to reality.

Could you name the social experiences, on a large scale, that lead you to see the world this way?

Regarding your use of the term "feminazi": Given social-political reality, aren't white men "the Nazis," and women of all ethnicities more like "European Jews" than the other way around?

In what sense do feminists in North America control the media, run state police forces, direct the military, and form an unfathomably inhumane dictatorship, as Hitler did?

What sense does it make to call any feminists "Nazis"? Please explain this to me. (Thank you.)

How have you been harmed, personally, by women?

I look forward to your response. Thanks for engaging on this topic. I appreciate your willingness to keep the dialogue open.


[NOTE: the above was posted on July 24, 2008 11:13 AM at John never responded to me there. There were no extended hands... until now.]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Advocate Cover is so Damned Racist and Heterosexist

I never have had any confidence at all in The Advocate speaking for a majority of queer folks, who, btw, are not white. This is not to say the magazine is "all white". It isn't. But it is a pro-liberal, pro-corporate, pro-consumerist magazine, promoting a sadly and predominantly dominant cultural and political agenda that won't benefit hardly anyone but possibly the most privileged white gay men.

Once again (and again, and again...), the assumption is made, as in the cover's saying, that all the gay folks are white, and all African Americans are heterosexual. WRONG.

I may write about the content of the article as well, but just wanted to get this stupid Advocate cover posted, while it's fresh.

As for the subtitle on the cover, "The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle", I address this comment to the white male author, Michael Joseph Gross:

There are several "last great civil rights struggles" going on, and many human rights struggles as well, one of which is to radically challenge heterosexism and homophobia. Fighting white supremacy, anti-Black racism, and other forms of racism, are still "Front and Center" in the struggle, if you care about humanity. So too is the fight against male supremacy and misogyny, Western cultural and economic imperialism, and ecocide. And each of these struggles is intricately intertwined, overlapping, or synonymous in the experience of many human beings.

For those who don't know it, what is now often termed "Queerness" has its roots in civilisations, societies, and communities that were and are not white-majority or European. And in many societies that have since been seriously and detrimentally impacted, if not destroyed, the "queers" weren't seen as odd or peculiar, as we are now in white heteromale supremacist Amerikkka.

Here is a resource page, and as the disclaimer says, an imperfect one at that, with a list of African American same-gender loving writers. It's a good starting point for self-education, if you are among the people who are white and who also conjure up an image of "white people" when you hear the term lesbian and gay community.

19 Nov. 2008 UPDATE! Queerty's site has an analysis of the Advocate cover article, with a handy pie chart!!!

Let's give the last word to conrad who posted a comment following the Queerty critique:

No. 6 · conrad

this is identity politics at its worst and ugliest. im so tired of lots of white folx saying gay is the new black, as if there arent any queer black people (that bare the brunt of both white supremacy and homophobia)…

Bayard Rustin anyone?

Fuck the advocate.

Posted: Nov 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Friday, November 14, 2008

To Any Woman who is involved intimately with a Misogynist Man: Take This Test for Validation

There is a test [here] one can take to find out if one is in bed with, in love with, or married to a misogynist heterosexual man. That first link was to page one of a five page article. Here are the links to page 2, page 3, page 4, and page 5. Please note, at the end is a link to another quiz to find out if you are in an abusive relationship.

Note: at the end of page 5, there is a place to rate the article, one through five stars. Click on star 5 if you found this article very useful. And check out the misogynists comments below that! It's tough for misogynist men to be identified accurately, for they have so many systems, structures, and strategies in place to never be held to account.

Dutch Men-Wanting-Rights Group fought to rape children without consequence to the men

From this webpage

Outcry over launch of Dutch pedophile party

May 31, 2006 - 1:05PM
Belgian child rapist Marc Dutroux.

Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalisation of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage.

The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its web site it would be officially registered today, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"

The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether.

"A ban just makes children curious," Ad van den Berg, one of the party's founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

"We want to make pedophilia the subject of discussion," he said, adding the subject had been a taboo since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighbouring Belgium.

"We want to get into parliament so we have a voice. Other politicians only talk about us in a negative sense, as if we were criminals," Van den Berg told Reuters.

The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, was shocked by the plan.

An opinion poll published today showed that 82 per cent wanted the government to do something to stop the new party, while 67 per cent said promoting pedophilia should be illegal.

"They make out as if they want more rights for children. But their position that children should be allowed sexual contact from age 12 is of course just in their own interest," anti-pedophile campaigner Ireen van Engelen told the AD daily.

Right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders said he had asked the government to investigate whether a party with such "sick ideas" could really be established, ANP news agency reported.

Kees van deer Staaij, a member of the Christian SGP party, also demanded action: "Pedophilia and child pornography should be taboo in every constitutional state. Breaking that will just create more victims and more serious ones."

The party wants private possession of child pornography to be allowed although it supports the ban on the trade of such materials. It also supports allowing pornography to be broadcast on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening.

Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.

The party also said everybody should be allowed to go naked in public and promotes legalising all soft and hard drugs and free train travel for all.


Pedophilia?! What's LOVE got to do with it?

copyright 2008, by Julian Real. All Rights Reserved.
An alternate title for this piece is "When Love is Hate".

The above photograph is of child rapist Kevin Smith. For more about his crimes against humanity and for the source of the image, see here.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I can tell you from experience that "love" (in any form) didn't have anything to do with the intentions, feelings, desires, and actions of those who abused me. To call my abusers "lovers of children" is, well, a tad off. And yet this is the term many English speakers have settled on as the most accurate or responsible term for such perpetrators. Bear with me through the next bit: I promise you, this post is not entirely a lesson in etymology!

Let's contemplate and compare the following Greek-rooted U.S. Anglo-English terms such as Philadephia, anglophile, misogyny, misanthrope, and philanthropy. The ones beginning with "miso" mean, varyingly, showing hatred for, or the hatred of. "Phile" means one who loves or a lover of. "Pedo" is the Greek root in English terms meaning child.

As is known well by now, in the West, it is white heterosexual or "sexually conflicted" men who are the vast majority of perpetrators of incest, child molestation, child rape, and other forms of gross sexual exploitation and assault against children by adults, incidents or acts of the misnomer "pedophilia". This is confirmed in and by police reports, Internet news and online predation/pornography/sexual slavery networks, and in criminal and civil trials.

A recently "outed" group of offenders has been white European-affiliated Catholic priests and other Christian clergy-men. They are but one population of heterosexually-identified men who are child-rapists. Such clergy-men have begun to carry the stigma of of being child sexual abusers, with institutional support for them doing this serially going right up to the Vatican, in the case of Roman Catholic priests. What is less often reported is priests' abuse of girls and women. For more, see here and here.

Those of us who are out as gay are not off the stigmatic hook, however. Many non-gay people still think "gay" is synonymous with "child molester". This is, how to say, curious, given the statistics. (This is not to say that being a gay man means one cannot sexually abuse a child, only that there is no social, historic, or statistical reason to conflate the two terms.)

Heterosexual men do not want to be caught or stigmatised as child-rapists, so they have conveniently scapegoated gay men as THE perpetrators of children. But if you want to probe the mind of a serial child-rapist, by all accounts the heterosexual father knows best how to manipulate and force young children into being part of traumatic and scarring sexual acts that are done only for his pleasure and satisfaction. The rape of daughters and other girls under the age of five by heterosexual fathers, or straight step-dads or father-figures, is THE most common form of young-child sexual abuse: children age zero to five. If you see a heterosexual dad out with his daughter, you would be more likely to be correct in thinking he's a "child molester" than if the girls is out with a woman of any sexual orientation, or a gay man. (It's well past time for the stigma to get closer to its source.)

As we know, mis is a prefix meaning "hatred of"; philia (or philos) is a prefix or suffix meaning "love of". Gyn refers to women; anthro to humans; "adelphos means "brother". Philadelphia, alas, is the supposed City of Brotherly Love, even as white man systemically and historically, often with the help of a racist police force, hate on African American men (and women) there.

With both terms, Philadephia, and pedophilia, we can see that terms do not always mean what they say.

A "pedophile" "ped·o·phile (pěd'ə-fīl', pē'də-),(or in UK English, paedophile), according to the American Heritage Dictionary*, is a noun, meaning "an adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children".

The same source presents the following information:
ped·o·phil·i·a (pěd'ə-fĭl'ē-ə, pē'də-)
n. The act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children.
ped'o·phil'i·ac (-āk) adj. & n.

*The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The Online Etymology Dictionary describes the origins of the term pedophilia as dating back to
1905, from Gk. pais (gen. paidos) "child" + philos "loving." First attested in Havelock Ellis. Derivative noun pedophile is first recorded 1951.

The most obvious question is this: why aren't we calling incest perpetrators, child molesters, other child rapists and sexual abusers, including Internet child pornographers and pimps, the term "misopedics? Misopedia is THE term that means the hatred of children.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alleged feminist "male-bashing" is not the same as the actual bashing of women by men

In this post, I will try to make one thing clear: if we add up all the verbal "male-bashing" things feminists are alleged to have said, it would amount to less than the vapor of one drop of water if compared to the deep oceans of contempt and physical bashing men have demonstrated on the minds and flesh of women over the ages.

I have been witnessing, for years, men making the most absurd claims about what one feminist or Womanist said, that is apparently equal to what men do to women. Lately, I've noticed that such absurdities are proclaimed by reactive, histerical antimisandrists, who, if they actually do read what feminists write, they then overreact to and grossly misinterpret certain styles and phrases found in a few comments by those women, usually written to other women, by the way, not "hurled" directly at men. To the extent that such men make truth claims about "women bashing men", these ridiculous men must be called out.

Over the years, Women's Liberationists, of various ethnicities, sometimes dare to speak in angry tones and in cynical styles about the men who hurt women and, more especially, against the male supremacist systems men control. The harmful effect on men as an oppressor class is not even measurable, in part because the harm is not real. Women such as Andrea Dworkin have spoken about male supremacists without first asking His Honor for permission to speak, without toning down her rage, without soft-selling the atrocities men do. Far more than men realise, she has done this with superb sarcastic humor. Given that antifeminists have no sense of humor, these men have chronically and woefully misunderstood this and many other forms of pro-woman speech by women. Some men actually think that the women who speak in such "rude" ways about men actually do harm men, as a group, and that these women also do further harm--beyond speaking, that is, to men individually and as a gendered group. This line of reasoning is absurd.

To whatever extent any feminist, Womanist, or any other woman has spoken out angrily or sarcastically to one man or many, that activity doesn't in any way compare, in degree, quality, or consequence, to what men say and do to women.

In reality, men speak hateful things about women, and mean them, and do them, to actual women. In reality, for example, men bash women with words and fists.

I have seen men, online, collecting statements written by women which appear to be "proof" that women are just as (or more!) hateful of men as men are of women. This is just a part of what constitutes the giant pile of liberal and conservative white men's bullshit.

I recommend reading this commentary very carefully. It is but one example such men wave around excitedly exclaiming "here's proof that feminists hate men" and then open a desk drawer, take out an inked stamp, and slap the moniker "male-bashing" on the document before it is filed away along with all the other seemingly poisonous speech acts.

For "speech-as-bashing" to be a form of significant harm, for it to manifest as one form of gendered or raced oppression, it has to do both of the following:

1. Hurt someone or a group, demonstrably.
2. It must be one action that is part of larger systems of actions and customs, institutionalised, enacted systematically, over time, by one group identifiably socially dominant over another group such that the latter group is socially and politically subordinated by the former.

Hurtful or mean-spirited verbal and physical aggression among peers, such as among white men, among women of color, among men of color, or among white women, is, as feminist Flo Kennedy coined, a form of "horizontal hostility".

This, this, and this is debasing, politically degrading harm to women (and, in some cases, also to men of color) by white men in words that dovetail with the realities of woman-bashing (beating), the rape of women by men, the economic exploitation of women by men, the sexual enslaving of women and girls by men, as well as the genocidal destruction of women whose cultures are under attack by Western white civilisation.

This is not significant harm.

Many men confuse virulent systemic debasement of women--using physical force and hateful speech--with this sort of post by one woman about one man. Note what she didn't say to him. Note the self-restraint in her behavior. She did not harm this man in any way. She does address, to the reader, not to that male caller, that what he was doing was making her feel very irritated, in part because of how many times men have approached her in such an arrogant, self-important, bossy, and obnoxious manner. (This is important: her anger is built on social experiences with men. Men's anger at women is taught to them by white male supremacist advertising, pornography, cultural practices, and social value systems.)

Here's a refresher for what points have been made so far. Misogynists consider these two vastly dissimilar experiences somehow equal to one another:

--a member of an oppressed class stating negative opinions, feelings, or critical analysis about someone from her oppressor class, because that person has behaved oppressively and in full accordance with the privileges and entitlements afforded members of the oppressor group.

--a member of an oppressor class stating negative opinions, feelings, or critical analysis about a whole group of people based on a few pieces of writing, never acted out beyond being spoken aloud or distributed, against social custom and religious code, such as at a rally or in a photocopied document.

Anyone who confuses those two phenomena is deeply out of touch with reality, and what constitutes oppressive harm.

For a list of the kinds of harm women systematically endure from men, see here. (Note there is no comparable list of what women unrelentingly and endemically do to men, privately and publicly, as a matter of custom or as a form of social control which, as a consequence, results in women achieving social dominance over the men of their own ethnicity or economic class.)

I hope that the point has been made: feminists' or Womanists' angry or disdainful verbal expressions, not to men, but among one another, such as on blogs or in books, is not the social equivalent to men calling women all manner of misogynist-racist terms, often while also violating and assaulting them physically. An Introduction

Here's some information about an online community who call themselves "antimisandrists" (people who are opposed to the hatred of men).

The age range of its members is charted here. The entire list of members is listed here (there are seventeen pages of member names with a bit of additional information about each one).

As one reads through the site's many pages, one can see that one of several sore spots for "antimisandrists" is their claim that the degree to which women do harm in the world is not sufficiently reported. They have no facts to back up such claims, however.

From where I stand, I see harm women do to other human beings: white women do harm to women of color; wealthy women do harm to poor women; too many women hurt themselves; white women hurt other white women; women of color hurt women of color; some women hurt children in relationships, but statistically--and in real life, men harm children more often and more severely, including by raping their daughters and other girls; and women are fully capable of being hurtful to men in relationships in many ways, because, as many of the comments at that link express, men are human too.

No post at A Radical Profeminist indicates that men are not human beings or are destructive human beings (collectively) in any innate ways. Unlike many men, for example, I do not agree that rapist men are rapists inevitably or naturally. Every feminist I have ever known has argued against the theories of Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer--that men are inevitably going to be rapists. Men disagree with the feminist position that men are human beings, capable of being very humane. Men keep insisting, in various ways, or behaving as if "I had no other choice". Why aren't you going after those men who malign you, antimisandrists? I hear and have heard men, often, call one another many demeaning names, gender specific ones, that allude to the fact we know what we men do, to women, to children, and to one another because we have to prove we are "real men" or to regain status lost in other arenas, such as economically or racially.

I am opposed, for example, to men calling men who are abusers terms like "monsters". Men are human, even if we have behaved or behave horrendously and atrociously to other humans. Ted Bundy was a human being. So was Adolph Hitler. To think they weren't is to not understand the depth and breadth of what being human can mean, in practice.

I disagree with comment 8 of 10, at the site linked to above, linked again here. That comments reads: "Ofcourse men get Hurt. They don't show it though, they should though".

I understand that commenter to be saying men don't express our hurt (but ought to) in non-aggressive, non-violent statements such as by saying "I'm hurt" or "When you did that, it hurt me very much." I hear her wishing men did just that. JUST and ONLY that.

What men (not ALL men) DO instead, is smash women in the face, throw them across the room, break their bones, stab them, punch them in their pregnant bellies, murder them, rent women as prostitutes and abuse and kill them, denigrate, humiliate and degrade them, and, all the while, blame "women" for one bad relationship with a woman. What men do instead is join groups like "" devoted to promoting ridiculously false ideas about feminism and feminists, all the while pretending Western white male supremacy, domination, and cultural-economic imperialism isn't a real force aggressively and callously destroying women of all ethnicities, men of color, many children, and the Earth and its other creatures.

The Western white male-dominated world I've lived in my whole life does systematic sexualised violence (read: harm and hurt) to all groups of women and to men of color--because they are women and men of color. Women, nowhere, do systematic, sexualised, violent harm to men of their same ethnicity or race or economic class. And no group of women harms white men, systemically, structurally, and endemically.

I hope that the predominantly pale male human beings over at will move themselves more into reality, so that they might better attend to their own wounds humanely, without inflicting injuries on women and the Women's Movement that has been working for a long time for women's (and men's) human liberation from white male supremacy.

More on The Myth of Man-Hating

What have you been smoking? Seriously, this is the lamest blog entry I have ever >read. I am so tired of this "all men are rapists" schtick. Don't take out your pent-up >sexual frustrations on the rest of us, loner. -- MadShangi, a.k.a. Patrick Doran.

This post exists, in part, as a response to the above comment I got from "MadShangi" who spends some of his time and energy over at the camp. His other name is Patrick Doran. He has a MySpace page, and this is part of what appears on that page currently (12 November 2008):

Hey all! I haven't updated my stupid MySpace in awhile, so that's what I'm doing! Nothing really new and exciting. I have no life. I live in Calgary, AB and I have a job. Yep. Nothing new.

I'm just deleting my blog entries, but I decided to post this one on the front page, because it made me laugh.

Dreams and Anxieties Current mood: aggravated

I just had one of those dreams this afternoon. I've just arrived at a house after a long, and traumatic journey. I don't know why it was long traumatic, because as soon as I get to the house, I forget all about it, except that it was long and traumatic. I must be some sort of adventurer. I am soon reunited by a real-life ex-girlfriend of mine, which in fact, in real life, I would rather not be reunited with. Anyway, we decide, that since I was on such a long journey, and I haven't showered in a few days, that we should shower together. The dream turned out to be one of those dreams, where you would peel off layers and layers of clothing that never seem to end, while your fat ex-girlfriend is waiting for you in the shower. Nice, huh? And just when I'm completely naked ready to hop in the shower, the same article of clothing I swear I just took off is back on me. Pretty soon, I realize that this is all a dream, and in every single one of my dreams, every time I'm on some sort of quest, whether it is saving a princess, or trying to get undressed, I'm going to be hindered and interrupted by a variety of obstacles and characters. As soon as I get into the shower, sure enough, all these characters started appearing in the bathroom, to cause me grief. There was the nosy little kid, and after I chased him away, more nosy little kids started showing up. So I punched one of them. Then, his father comes bitching about me punching his kid, so I punch him, too. I yell and scream for everyone to just "fuck off" and let me shower and peace, until eventually, my ex gets sick of my yelling and screaming, and she too leaves along with everyone else. And then, I'm alone. So I just lie on my back in the shower, completley naked. Oh, I also got my check from Manpower today. I'm never going to go back to those fuckers ever again. Not only were they late with my check, they tried to give me a number of bullshit excuses. And to top that off, it isn't a very big check to begin with. The rent is almost due, whatever am I going to do? (That rhymed)

Among Madshangi's MySpace friends is Eminem. (Please click on that musician's name for more about him and his values.)

What is apparent, except to "antimisandrists" and other assorted racist-misogynists, is Patrick's inability to understand that my latest posts have not been making the point that all men are rapists. I hope it is clear to some that my posts are an effort to make the point that misogyny, as a institutional, social, interpersonal reality is real, enacted against real women's minds and bodies, systematically. "Antimisandry", on the other hand, is not socially/culturally/politically real, not even (as David Gilmore alludes, below) in the life and writings of the late Andrea Dworkin.

"Antimisandry" is, in fact, an antifeminist myth, created, maintained, and bolstered by misogynist-racist white men who have nothing better to do than to compulsively play their "woe is me" cards and blame white women and women of color for their woes. To Patrick and the other men who comprise and contribute to, please take Patrick's advice, without projecting it onto feminists and profeminists specifically, and women and men generally: "Don't take out your pent-up sexual frustrations on the rest of us". That is good advice, Patrick. Thank you for that. I hope you find pay-work soon and have a productive life not wasted taking out your pent-up sexual frustrations, as evidenced clearly in your dream, on the rest of us. Peace to you, and may your heart heal from any wounds it has endured to date. And may you not inflict any wounds on any woman's heart, body, mind, or soul.

The following book review was found here. "Oh, Andrea Dworkin" is a book review written by Jenny Dinski about the book
Misogyny: The Male Malady by David Gilmore (2001)

[by Jenny Dinski:] It’s a male thing, misogyny. No matter where you look, then or now, here, there and everywhere, up ethnographic hill, down historical dale, men disparage women. In his trawl of anthropological data, historical records, literature and letters, art and music, David Gilmore finds that men have always and everywhere expressed fear, disgust and hatred of women. From the peaceful and gentle !Kung San Bushmen to the urbane and civilised Montaigne, from folk legend to Freudian complex, from Medusa to the Blue Angel, men blame women for their discomforts and disappointments. Yet while Gilmore’s round-up suggests to him that anti-female feeling is universal among men, he believes its obverse is so rare that no term for it trips comfortably off the tongue. He half-heartedly suggests ‘misandry’ or ‘viriphobia’ as names that might be applied to the female version of misogyny, but since the only practitioner he can come up with is Andrea Dworkin, it’s hardly worth the coinage. In the 1950s and 1960s there used to be a term for it, though lately it has fallen into disuse. In those days it cropped up regularly in conversations that went roughly like this:

Man: Do you want to come to bed with me?
Woman: No.
Man: What are you, a man-hater?
Woman (making her getaway): It’s less general than that.

In those pre-feminist days, everyone knew what man-haters were: they were lesbians (or lesbians were man-haters), ugly (and therefore lesbians), or they were women who wanted equal pay or work parity (and probably lesbians), but mostly they were women who didn’t want to sleep with you. However, Gilmore is right; man-haters were identified as such by men – I can’t remember any woman calling herself one – and the designation was just another aspect of a deep institutional dislike and fear of women that does seem to have been expressed by many men in all times and all places.

Gilmore is an American anthropologist whose ethnographic work has been on the culture of machismo and shame in contemporary Spain and whose previous books have been on the cultural meanings of masculinity. Maleness is his bag. He claims, rather startlingly, that misogyny is a neglected topic, and sets out to remedy the rarity of ‘comparative and synoptic studies of continuities within cultural variation’. Though I would have thought that the prevalence of male prejudice against women has been extensively noted, Gilmore nonetheless compiles instances from standard ethnographic, historical, biographical and literary sources to demonstrate the global nature of misogyny. He produces a digest of universal male disgust. While he acknowledges that its expression can be varied, Gilmore is in search of an explanation for its ubiquity. After all, women do not have the same visceral loathing of maleness – excluding, he parenthesises, ‘the modern-day feminists like the redoubtable Dworkin’ (what a useful woman she is). What exists among ‘many more sensible women’ is a dislike of obnoxious and abusive men and ‘specifically “masculine” qualities like machismo, bravado, or the puerile braggadocio that sometimes appears in the locker room’. Women (apart from Ms Dworkin, of whom I am growing fonder by the minute) are, it seems, more reasonable, more adult and less obsessive because they are less psychologically damaged than men who, we are going to be brought round to believing, are suffering from what amounts to a ‘gendered-psychosis’. So we don’t have to worry about women, except – you’ve guessed it – Dworkin and those ‘radical feminists’ and ‘social constructionists’ who take the ‘reductionistic and sexist view’ that male endocrinology is destiny.

Instead, we can concentrate our thoughts and concerns on the real victims of the malady of misogyny: the psychogenically challenged male who needs all the understanding we can give him. Apparently men’s psyches are ‘troubled’, they are in ‘masculine turmoil’ as a result of universal experiences in ‘the male developmental cycle’. Lord, how easily the image of the oppressed is appropriated. If women think they’ve had a hard time as a result of being loathed and bullied by men, it’s nothing compared to the hardship suffered by men that has resulted in their feeling the loathing. If you are beginning to get an uncomfortable sense of milky mothers and moist mermaids looming on the horizon you are right, because men’s fear of helplessness, suffocation and submergence, in the inescapably female and deliquescent form of uterus, breast and vagina, is judged to be at the root of it all. Women drip with danger for men, who, as we know, first can’t live without us and then can’t live with us. You can love your mother for a while, but then she betrays you with your father and you have to marry other men’s sisters: enemies, outsiders, who as like as not are plotting against you with their sexuality and secretions while trying to abort your sons on whom the patriliny depends. Of course, it’s not women’s fault that it’s all their fault – Gilmore has all the rhetoric of a modern man and throws his hands up sadly at the unfortunate social and biological arrangements that make it this way – but men suffer from having been given birth to by women from whom they have to separate in order to become men; they suffer from having to desire people of the same gender as their mother (my, this is very awkward, Jocasta), and they suffer because they cannot perform the miracle of reproducing the species directly from their own bodies. Men suffer. No, they do. It’s awful.

Gilmore’s evidence for the commonalities of misogyny is based initially on anthropological research, and there is a difficulty here. His pick and mix approach takes some classic not to say hoary old ethnographies at their face value – a bit of a problem, since almost every generation of anthropologists has condemned previous researchers for faulty studies, imperialistic or colonialist arrogance, or plain doctoring of the material. The idea of the participant observer has little credibility in academic circles, and the standing of much ethnographic research is these days roughly on a par with reality TV. Some of the studies Gilmore quotes were done in the 1950s, when fieldwork attitudes were very different, and he quotes the not highly reliable J.G. Frazer and Margaret Mead alongside other, less discredited anthropologists. There are several references to the Yanomamo, a Venezuelan tribe who have become, thanks to Napoleon Chagnon’s decades of research, a byword for violence and misogyny. These men, Gilmore says, ‘are notorious wife-beaters, infamous for their brutality’. But Chagnon’s work has come under scrutiny recently and doubts have been raised about the validity of his findings in Patrick Tierney’s Darkness in El Dorado. A report on the argument in the New York Times suggests that anthropology has become the academic equivalent of The Jerry Springer Show. In any case, objectivity and ideological agendas aside, anthropologists are notoriously the butt of hoaxes and practical jokes or are kindly given what they seem to want by those in the simpler societies being studied who are not quite as simple as they seem.

All Gilmore’s anthropological borrowings from studies made in Amazonia, the New Guinea Highlands, Africa and India attest to male terror of female physicality. Men huddle together, cowering in fear of women’s secretions, which are unclean, polluting and contagious, and likely to cause disease, decay, even death if not strictly controlled. Gilmore’s florid attempt to describe the phenomenon betrays a certain relish at having to say the unsayable:

Misogynistic fear centres on the flesh that makes woman man’s opposite and renders her unknowable to him. Misogynists tremble before the bodily labyrinth: veins, intestines, sexual organs. With her lunar cycles and genital effluvia, woman destroys the idealist’s illusions of a pristine universe. But physical repugnance is only part of the picture. For many misogynists revulsion grows into an indictment not of feminine flesh but of her spirit, her intellect, her character and will.

It is, of course, a love/hate thing. Along with the abuse and fear of women, men, in these ethnographies, are forever cross-dressing, standing in streams cutting the underside of their penises in mock menstruation, and howling in agony while their women are in labour. And it’s because they can’t help wanting women so much that men hate them. Men, not being animals, have constantly to restrain themselves, especially since the human female gave up oestrus. Men want women, but they’ve got better things to do than think about sex all the time. ‘This inner struggle is probably sharper, more physiologically driven, in the male than in the female because of the peremptory power of the testosterone-driven male libido. The result is not only unremitting tension, frustration, and the inevitable aggression against the object of desire, but also moral self-doubt and, in the case of puritans, self-hatred.’ (And women? Well, ‘women suffer in their own way from sexual conflicts, but the result is not anti-male hysteria.’) In Melanesia and parts of Brazil, women are not permitted ever to be physically higher than men, for fear of deadly dripping, but, as Gilmore points out, the sexual fantasy of women astride men is nearly universal. The ambivalence between sexual fantasy and social phobia is key: desire equals danger, an imagined loss of control of the libido threatens the social order, an irresistible physical need undermines an independent spirit. These fears operated just as effectively for the ancient Greeks, the early Christians, the medieval intelligentsia or the Elizabethans as they do for contemporary tribal societies. Gilmore gives us the well-aired rants against women from Hesiod and Homer, St Paul, Bernard of Cluny, Shakespeare and Swift to prove that his case goes beyond the merely anthropological. We hear, once again, Lear railing against ‘the sulphurous pit’, Milton moaning about ‘this fair defect of Nature’, Swift sniffing about ‘all her stink’ and Yeats complaining that ‘Love has pitched his mansion in the place of excrement’ – though I’m not clear why this last should be interpreted as a distaste exclusively for women. Gilmore makes his point by leaving no misogynistic cliché unturned. Splitting spirit and flesh, will and desire, intellect and imagination is a game as old as Methuselah, and the division of humanity into two genders is as handy a way of representing it as any. But these views of misogyny all presuppose that women, who do not seem to have this same ambivalent reaction to men, either do not suffer from compelling sexual desire or have no interest in sustaining the civil rather than the sensual life. Women, at least in Gilmore’s book, are curiously passive creatures who take whatever is dished out to them – or did until the unsensible likes of Andrea Dworkin came along.

Men, however, suffer not just from distress at the strength of their own passions but from an endemic dread of regressing into infantile vulnerability. The danger of the sexual woman is that she is the same creature whose body bore and nurtured the male child, who having dragged himself away from her apron strings must now re-encounter her. His fear of being engulfed or consumed is a terror of returning to helpless dependence, a fear, when it comes right down to it, of oblivion and death. We are just a hop and a skip here from Freud’s Oedipus, and only a triple jump from Klein’s object relations theory. Either way, psychoanalytic theory indicates to Gilmore that men need to wrench themselves from the power of maternally and sexually nourishing women in order to run the world. Moreover, men are very, very cross with women because, running the world as they do, men have so arranged it that they are in fact dependent on women for their physical and domestic comfort. What could be more irritating than, fearing dependence above all, finding that in order to have time to lead the properly male life, dependent is exactly what they are? The simple solution to all this, which is that men give up the project of running the world and settle down to childcare and making supper, is not an option apparently, because maleness is a near impossible dream, and a man’s got to dream what a man’s got to dream.

Gilmore suggests that the enterprise of maleness is so difficult that it must be protected against encroaching underlying femaleness. Maleness is a developmental afterthought, he points out. We all begin in utero as female and only some foetuses develop into males. By analogy, social maleness is a cultivation that needs protecting from rampantly natural femaleness. Maleness can be seen, says Gilmore, as ‘a fragile pose, an insecure façade, something made up, frangible, that men create beyond nature’. Here men, valiant but feeble, are fending off entropy itself. Standing against extinction in the form of their own innate inner femaleness. Whatever way you look at it, men are poor but brave old things.

In search of his own unifying theory, Gilmore gives credence to many of the obvious and available psychoanalytic and sociobiological explanations for women-hatred. He is less inclined, however, to trust feminist and Marxist views on misogyny, which tend to place the blame more squarely on men’s desire for political control and domination. Too crude, too reductionist, he says. Though as a straightforward solution to the coincidental problem of the universality of misogyny and of male hegemony, I’d say they are hard to beat. To my shame, I have to admit to a growing inclination to agree with John Major’s once dismaying view that we should understand less and condemn more – as least in the face of Gilmore’s gathering of pop-psychoanalytic excuses for the sorry state of gender relations the world over.

In the end the patchwork of woman-hating instances of which most of the book consists brings Gilmore round to his conclusion, which hardly seems to merit the painful reading we have been required to do: ‘many theories are needed to explain this malady in all its diversity and richness. Misogyny is complex and has many, often unrelated causes.’ He is not hopeful of a final cure, but thinks the problem might be mitigated by desegregation in schools, the sharing of bathrooms, paternal childcare and consciousness-raising for men in the form of ‘ambivalence toleration’ or ‘conflictedness training’. He considers his proposals for the amelioration of misogyny to be ‘wishful thinking’ but since men ‘are and always will be divided in their feelings about sex and about women . . . only self-knowledge and tolerance can help men appreciate the degree of their conflict.’ What is going to help women put up with these sorry sharers of the planet, he doesn’t say. He continues: ‘Only self-knowledge can free men from fear of women, and self-knowledge in this case means the acceptance of the divided self within and an imperfect universe without.’ The imperfect universe being one that has women in it, I presume. Finally, ‘only through an acceptance of wholeness can men appreciate the loveliness, gentleness and beauty of women.’ Oh, Andrea Dworkin, where are you when we really need you?

From the LRB letters page: [ 4 October 2001 ] John Coggrave, Barbara Blœdé [ 18 October 2001 ] Jim Valentine.

Jenny Diski is writing a book about St Helena. A novel, Apology for the Woman Writing, is coming out in November. And here is the rest of it.