Thursday, September 3, 2009

A few years ago I was in touch with the editor over at, about publishing some of my work there. They have recently renovated their site in some great ways. So check it out by clicking here. There are tons of interesting articles and essays, booklists, and blogs, all for men striving to be more humane and less oppressive to women.

When I very recently found the pieces I'd submitted to that site years ago, I had to make notices about putting comments here, not there. And then I realised that some of those pieces had never made it onto this blog. I had hoped, early on, when A.R.P. was new, to collect up all the pieces I'd published at a few places. I thought that project was done, until a few hours ago!

So a few posts have been added here that were written in 2006-2007. I'm sorry they are out of sync, chronologically, with the other material here, but that's the way it goes.

Thanks to Michael Flood, of, for publishing those pieces!

The Trauma of The Gendered Child

[image of traumatised white boy is from here]

Copyrighted 2007 by Julian Real. All rights reserved. No duplication or reproduction through any means, electronic or otherwise, is allowed without written permission from the author.

Note: CRAP is an acronym I coined in the summer of 2005, to make the world's suffering more comprehensible to myself; it stands for Corporate Racist Atrocious Patriarchy.

A special thank you goes out to Audre Lorde and Alice Miller, for all their humanitarian work.

From around 2005 until early 2006, I delusionally entertained an idea of myself as ungendered. Then a radical activist friend, Yolanda Carrington, pointed out to me how politically absurd this notion of mine was. And I realized that the white male supremacist mind—mine in particular—is quite capable of generating lots of mental CRAP. How could I have grown up in a deeply white male supremacist society, and not be socially and interpersonally gendered? Her point was that regardless of what I thought of myself as, I am in a real world where gender—and race—matter, a lot. And being gendered, as a woman or man, a girl or a boy, is not something one can escape. Privileges and power are distributed based on how we are perceived, and according to our anatomy. The anatomy is biological, but the political meaning is entirely social.

The central contention of this essay is that human beings are dehumanized in traumatic ways by being gendered, and that trauma is repressed and acted out in atrocious ways. I paid attention, from the age of nine, approximately, to what the hell was going on. I saw people struggling to become boys and girls while also being coerced into these compulsory identities.

I have most forms of male privilege, but not the complete set. I am socially perceived as a white male of the human species, which in patriarchy means first as a boy, then as a man. But I never deeply identified as such; I didn't willfully do many of the things that meant being either of those identities, especially not IN ORDER TO BE a boy or a man. I also did not wish to be a girl or a woman—as the cost of being a white female in U.S. late 20th century patriarchy was still very high—even with a white women's movement happening all around me. I rebelled, internally, or, rather, I held my moral ground—or so I thought. I believed I was resisting being gendered. But because I was perceived as male and white, I was afforded white male privileges. And once you got 'em, they're yours.

As an adolescent, I took full advantage of the right, the entitlement, to violate others visually, by using pornography and through acts of private voyeurism—unethically turning whole people into sexual things for my viewing pleasure. With pornography, the corporate pimps do this work for me—the people-turned-things are already, and often traumatically, prepared as such for my patriarchal pleasure. These forms of acting out my entitlements, my power, continued well into my adulthood. Due in part to the loss of a dear feminist friend over this behavior, I have since stopped voyeuring, and have also, with emotional and social support, consciously and conscientiously, left behind the desire for the person-as-thing. I'm not repressing it, but instead seeing it for what it is—a serious form of sexual violation. My erotic life is currently free from CRAP's expectations and imperatives—others are no longer in danger of being turned into fetishized things when around me. Now THAT'S personal sexual liberation! But males of many ages are also taught, formally or not, through family behavior, mass-media (including pornography), or social custom, that we are entitled to physically aggress against girls and women. This leads to terrifying atrocities such as battery and rape.

A question that has been with me for some time, while the obviousness of the answer stared me in the face, is this: what is it about being raised to be a boy and then a man is traumatic-while-status-giving, such that boys and men do what we do, call it "my right," and disregard it as harm to others?

When I was a kid I saw boys slowly or rapidly dis-identify with girls, and girls do the same with boys. "Ew, I'm not one of THEM" was a commonly heard childhood expression. At the same time, one group (boys) was given rights to behave in certain ways, while garnering social status for doing so. Girls, it appeared to me, lost out in the deal. "Throwing like a girl" was never intended as a compliment on any playground I was ever on. The girls I knew thought boys were gross in certain ways, but also deeply envied their freedom of movement and, in some ways, their freedom of expression. Boys, after all, could get away with being, well, boisterous. Many girls I knew wanted to be like boys, but not BOYS, exactly—although some girls did deeply desire to be the only other gendered option. They wanted the freedom from the physical restrictions of being a girl, and in patriarchy, that means becoming a boy, and then a man. Transsexuality, as a practice, can only happen in a politically enforced dual-gender society with a patriarchal medical system willing to perpetuate and perpetrate the idea that gender is biological, not social and political. In most patriarchies, it's a two-party hierarchical gender system, and in the U.S. it's the kind of party where there's plenty of brew and an abundance of acquaintance-rape. And sometimes the rapists aren't intoxicated and the raped have been drugged into unconsciousness.

The budding misogynist boys I knew had no easy ride. It was not ALL about freedom of movement and expression. No. What being a boy, what making that compulsory, enforced choice meant, was that boys had to give up important ways of being humane, in order to be proper boys. They not only had to dis-identify with girls, but also had to shun whatever activities and modes of being were associated, culturally, with girls. To not do this brought ridicule: shame and punishment—the loss of respect from friends, and the loss of approval, in some cases, from family.

Each culture operates a bit differently, and in any culture there are customs and ways of being and behaving that play out this drama of gender trauma differently, but usually with the same basic message and results: boys gain status by not being girls. Girls cannot obtain that status. Girls obtain stigma. Boys can get that stigma by doing what girls are mandated to do. This is not to say that all boys don't like being boys or that all girls hate being girls. No. It is to say that there is no real choice, no meaningful choice, in this happening, if by "choice" we mean we could opt out (say "no thank you") without suffering negative consequences. As a corollary, as a middle class Western child, I had no choice as to whether or not to go to a certain kind of school. Did I like that schooling? Sometimes, but it was accompanied by a rigid racist, patriarchal curriculum and lots of bullying. Did I have any real options? No. This is how it is with gender, in my experience. Except now some rural and suburban middle class white kids I know are sometimes home-schooled. But one's home, in most communities, is usually not a place to escape the pressure to be gendered.

The trauma of being gendered includes removing from consciousness many parts of one's pre-gendered self. These dimensions of being and behaving must be put away—stigmatized, self-ridiculed, and banished. I think this part of the process is normal and therefore invisibilized as harm to humanity. In patriarchy, enduring this trauma is required if one is to become a successfully gendered human being. This psychologically bloody sacrifice is seen as necessary, in order to go on living as a socially acceptable (while dehumanized) gendered person. Gender, in the dominant West at least, is deeply dualistic, hierarchical, and oppositional, with little to no room for grey areas. This means that the individual and non-dominant cultural complexities of our diverse humanity are shoved, not delicately, into one of two camps, by the dominant culture's patriarchal imperatives. These emotional and spiritual concentration camps necessitate ignorance of who we really were (pre-trauma), are (while enduring the trauma), or could be (if we'd never experienced the trauma). To replace these lost parts, spiritual and secular traditions resurrect these parts: as the divine or degraded feminine, as the heroic or horrific masculine.

When I was little, I saw the price paid by males in CRAP. I think most males can relate to this odd combination of socializing forces: as a child, then a teenager, one got some privileges, and also got to be sacrificed in neighborhood gang wars or off-shore military wars. But becoming a man—at whatever age such a behavior-made identity was unconsciously, if anxiously, sought—meant one had to publicly disrespect women, or actively hate or harm them. It also required boys to sacrifice (try to destroy) the most vulnerable emotional parts of ourselves. We must make ourselves as invulnerable to other men as we can, in order to be socially acceptable. There are regional, class, and ethnic differences in what it means to be a man, but every male had better become one, or else. If he's especially successful in this psychological and behavioral transformation, he will get paid better at jobs, if paid at all, will gain more cultural status, and will always have social access (visually and/or physically) to a population of females for sex, usually those within his own ethnic group and economic class. Should he want to avail himself of this unjust access to real human beings seen as being essentially "for him"—and becoming for him to the degree that they are unjustly accessed sexually—they are "his", whether through affection or aggression, with religious and secular law historically on the man's side.

White-dominated feminism came along, and by the 1970s had proposed a better way for women to raise children: to not gender them. Feminist children's books and other media promoted this humanely open "free to be, you and me" approach. Then patriarchy caught wind of the potentials for radical human transformation, and began a systematic backlash against feminism, claiming it, not patriarchy, was to blame for all this gender mess. Apparently, as conservative patriarchs argue, having no choice is better, and, bizarrely, means freedom. But the freedom "no choice" provides is a conservative-liberal (not radical) freedom only to be men who exploit and oppress women, unrelentingly and mercilessly. Primary parents, disproportionately female, are entrusted, in patriarchy, with the terrible task of gendering their children. Feminism-bashing reveals a shocking level of denial about the real causes of men's harm to themselves, to women, and to children. Patriarchy is the cause; feminism is the cure. But men have so learned to demean women and praise men that the idea of critiquing patriarchy simply hasn't occurred to most men, I find, while the idea of blaming women for men's woes is both notorious and ubiquitous.

Men hardly know patriarchy exists. Most women, on the other hand, viscerally know that it exists, because they must survive it, daily. Men in most societies, having privileges and entitlements relative to women in their own economic and ethnic groups, can benefit from patriarchy in a way that women cannot, in my experience. Women tell me their tales of date rape, being accosted, being stared at and stalked, being commented on in racist-sexist ways, working inside and outside the home (which is nothing new for African-American women), and being seen and treated primarily or only as a patriarchally female thing (in the family, on the street, and at the job-site). No woman has yet told me about being treated, her whole life, or in any portion of it, as a free person with full human rights. Most women I know have been sexually assaulted, at least once, for being girls or women, or to punish girls and women for not being patriarchally acceptable enough. Sexual violence often makes the recipient submissive and deferential to one man or many, in order to survive: social submissiveness is part of what is expected of "well-adjusted" girls and women. To adjust, according to, means several things:

1. To change so as to match or fit; cause to correspond.

2. To bring into proper relationship.

3. To adapt or conform.

4. To bring the components of into a more effective or efficient calibration or state.

This is all a part of the gender trauma for girls and women.

The United States, as a nation, is at least male supremacist and misogynist; in the last several hundred years it has simultaneously been thoroughly racist through the savage and brutal manifestation of an ideology of white supremacy. The deeper, even more denied and repressed truth is that the dominant ideology of Anglo-America is white male supremacy.

Denial and repression of knowledge, and varying degrees of dissociation of the complex vulnerable traumatized self, are the primary ways to survive as children and then adults in patriarchally gendered and misopedic (child-hating) societies. Children are forbidden to know what has been done to them, from their families, by media, and in cultural peer groups; this means that men can remain deeply unaware of how patriarchy has shaped them, through a whole lifetime, however short and troubled that lifetime is. It is safe to say that most women who are close to men can verify that men are deeply unaware of what patriarchy has done to them. And women suffer for it. Men's lack of insight and access to the vulnerable self, means women (and children) are often not safe, sexually or otherwise. Since women occupy lower status levels than men, relatively speaking, in patriarchal cultures, men can get away with blaming women for their woes. To instead hold patriarchy accountable would not only require the painful re-acquisition of this knowledge of dehumanization, but could also result in a loss of status at least, and violence at worst, to the humanized rememberer. So self-unawareness and denial become key values in patriarchy. With these values psychologically in place and socially enforced, a patriarchy's misogynist status quo is thus preserved.

The boys who did not act enough like boys, when I was growing up, were not treated well by those who strove to be real good patriarchal boys. Those “politically correct” patriarchal boys, as noted above, had sacrificed parts of themselves to become that way, often unconsciously, or with willful pain and effort. In order to complete the process of transformation to gendered being, they had to beat the shit out of, or at least systematically shame, all the boys who didn't follow suit (a masculinity-adoring suit): vulnerable boys, effeminate boys were hurt and humiliated. Boy culture was vicious when I was a kid: troubled, insecure, and cruel. (It has worsened since then: now boys sexually exploit girls at much younger ages.) At one point in dominant Western culture, boys were obsessed with toy Transformers. I believe this obsession derived from what they were doing, unconsciously: remaking themselves (repeatedly, compulsively) from emotionally vulnerable humans to hard invulnerable machines. See:

When I was a sissified and systematically attacked male kid, I noticed that boys knew they could not be human in certain ways without garnering the stigma branded into girls. But I also saw, quite clearly, that boys, and all children, DID have vulnerable feelings. Pesky things, those. Boys (and not a few girls) just had to put them away. If this "putting away" is accomplished through force by parents, or is done self-aggressively, then those boys and girls are likely to be aggressive and hurtful to other children who show those feelings publicly. Peer pressure to act inhumanely towards others is yet another dynamic. Through a combination of individual trauma re-enactment, and acquiescence to peer values, tough girls and boys didn't like or tolerate me, while still-sensitive kids liked me just fine. Those marginalized sensitive, vulnerable kids and I were physically and emotionally abused throughout childhood. (I wonder what happened to them.)

So conflicted and hurting are these almost-boys, that they force onto others what patriarchy has made them do to themselves. A boy on the playground who is crying because physically hurt is attacked mercilessly. Patriarchal boys swoop in like vampiric vultures, picking at (on) the vulnerable boy who shows what others regard as weakness. This weakness is marked as feminine. Girls see this horror show. Girls learn, consciously or not, that the stigma they carry cannot be beaten out of them, but, rather, is likely to be beaten more deeply into them. Mainstreamed boys can dream of an adulthood of relative safety and sometimes find it. Whether or not girls dream about such a future, no such world awaits them. Boys become men, and they still rage inside and outside about what they had to banish or destroy in themselves to be proper patriarchal men. And so they despise seeing it displayed in others—males and females. But they long for it too, like a lost friend. Yearning and contempt is what most normal boys feel, in my experience, for those vulnerable parts of themselves. Publicly they say they want to "get a piece of ass" and privately they want to be held, touched, made whole through non-patriarchal, safe, caring intimacy. But because too many men have sacrificed their capacities for certain forms of intimacy, they leave behind that kind of eroticism, shredding it, and forge ahead into the dehumanizing world of adult patriarchal sexuality.

Patriarchal sexuality is an enforced eroticism of gendered and raced inhumanity. It is founded on the entitlement to violate others, visually or physically, and to act callously as one addictively and/or predatorily seeks to consume what one desires both because of what one has become and has not been allowed to become. Also, corporate-patriarchal advertising works. Billions, annually, wouldn't be spent on ads and pornography-production if they didn't work to shape our values and tastes, our desires and behaviors. (What soda, cell phone, and sex do you most like? Corporate America will tell you what choices you have, in each case.) Men, and women, mass-consume what is marketed and sold as patriarchal sex. This kind of sex is sexxx: racist, misogynist, hetero-normative, objectifying, fetishizing, and otherwise degrading. Sexxx is CRAP. Hurting, deep-down-vulnerable boys and men go to pornography because it teaches them how to have sexual feelings in a way that produces exciting sensation, while eliciting none of those pesky, trampled emotions. Men rape in order to have sexual experience (theirs, not women's) without vulnerability, while sadistically witnessing the raw vulnerability of the raped. Once through the adult door of the world of pornography, boys and men learn that prostituted women are all women, that misogyny is sex, that ethnic hate is sex, that sexxx is sex (whether lesbian, gay, bi, transsexual, or heterosexual). The sex that one can have without being “vulnerable”—that awful thing that brings with it the degraded status of girls and women—is the sex that boys and men, and increasingly girls and women too, eagerly want and addictively consume. For good examples of this racist and sexist hate-as-sex/fun, see the images at WARNING: I must alert you to the fact that the images at that website are graphically and overtly misogynistic and racist, among other things. Survivors of racial, ethnic, and sexual abuse are likely to be deeply triggered by seeing them.

Admittedly, some people prefer sex without extreme forms of harm; they simply get off to gendered humans as objects with fetishized body-parts. The sex the not-overt-harmers have still requires dehumanization, however. It is not sex that is about intimately, vulnerably being with another person, in spirited fun or tender fondness, but sex that is about getting off on or in a person-seen-as-hot-thing. "Feeling used" is the common experience of those treated in this manner. I think most of us can recall such an experience, or a dozen, or more, as initiator, recipient, or both. Boys are prepared, through the trauma of being gendered, to desire a corporate, racist, patriarchal sexuality that provides excitement without nurturance; this system actively produces and fuels the desire to do inhumane things to gendered, raced human objects, or non-human animals. There’s nothing “natural” about it.

Boys are not prepared (socialized) to be humane with human beings. Sometimes heterosexual women in heterosexual men's lives try very hard to get them to be real, humane beings. Sometimes those women give up, and become pornography for those men. Sometimes men, acculturated to the racist and sexist world of pornography, impose those values, graphically depicted in aggressive actions, through similar actions, against boys, girls, and women. Sexual atrocities result: incest, child molestation, child rape, date rape, marital rape, stranger rape, and the unethical procurement of prostituted, trafficked, and enslaved children and women, disproportionately poor and of color, worldwide.

Pornography is now so intricately involved in these trans-national human rights violations, that it is rendered invisible as a determining agent, along with the trauma of being gendered. To see this linkage clearly: boys’ gender trauma, to pornography use, to committing sexual atrocities, would be to know more about the contemporary patriarchal social order than CRAP wants us to know. So, we experience CRAP, daily, but we don't know what it is or how it works. Those of us who have witnessed, up close and personal, those links, and have not repressed or denied them, know well how it works. And when we say what we know, we are simply not believed.

This stunning and astounding level of defensive non-belief is also known in other contexts: I once told a sort-of surrogate father of mine that I was concerned that my surrogate mother (his wife) was an alcoholic. She was a person despairingly caught in the traditional life of middle class heterosexual womanhood: she was economically secure through her connection to her husband, and, as wife and mother, was, typically, chronically neglecting and abusing herself. We had spent five years in close friendship, sharing holidays and vacations. After bringing this to the conscious attention of her husband (I knew from their daughter that he was deeply upset by his wife's daily drinking), I was purged from their family in a matter of days. They have not spoken to or contacted me since, except to send me, in a large box, some clothes that I'd left in their guest bedroom closet; the box contained no note.

The socially dispossessed, marginalized, and mistreated know how that works: if you speak the truth, you are told to shut the fuck up, or are otherwise silenced. The sudden loss of that family's connection and affection made me very sad and is still kind of shocking to me, even as I write this. (Yes, I'd been warned that could happen, by a friend who had two alcoholic parents. But that forewarning didn't make the reality of permanent separation hurt any less.)

These are enforced, mandated, compulsory traumas; they both create and lead to racist, heterosexist, and misogynist sexuality; these specific processes of manufacturing harm are never identified as systemic, institutionalized—political. Instead we are told they are only hormonal, genetic, or a consequence of innate brain differences in order to keep us in denial about what patriarchy—as organized, structured power—actually does to us. How patriarchal racing and gendering—how systematic racism and sexism (more accurately called white male supremacy)—affect the development of the brain, the condition of the psyche, the health of the body, the stamina of the spirit, has not, to my knowledge, been astutely studied. Patriarchally "objective" white male scientists do not tell us what they do not want to know: they, like most of us, had to become dehumanized in order to desire what they do because they, too, often enjoy sensation-based sex, rather than vulnerability-based eroticism. Their studies cannot study something they do not want to uncover. So, in the CRAP-unconscious world of biopsychology, and, more appropriately, in the field of social psychology, there is not likely to be a lot of funding or interest for discovering and revealing the traumatic implications of living in CRAP.

Most boys and men desperately crave "sensational" sex because it is the only route to something that even remotely resembles the real comfort and intimacy they need, but are too afraid to ask for or accept, or, more tragically, too invulnerable to desire and deeply receive. And, often, men get mixed messages from those around them, in queer and straight culture, about the degree to which they are to be vulnerable AND a stud. Do we want men to have a functional heart or a functional penis? Men shallowly and medically choose the latter, often, to avoid deeply experiencing the former, regardless of the requests of loved ones for a more emotionally, spiritually present partner.

Once men kill off all that is considered "womanly" (read: humane) in them, they can be molesters, batterers, rapists, and serial killers. Once men do this to themselves, or have it done to them, they can, as noted earlier, violently despise and resent seeing it in others: in vulnerable boys and men, as well as girls and women, of course. So misogyny is, inside patriarchy, socio-psychologically (not biologically) constructed in the socialized male. This leaves boys "ready" or "desirous" or "hungry" for pornography, or other forms of exploitation and inhumanity.

"Natural human females" (I'm positing here an apolitical, asocial condition of being that isn't culturally real) do not appear in pornography. Only man-made, usually prostituted, often abuse-surviving women are chosen to pose. No doubt, some sexually mature, economically enfranchised, and enthusiastic adult females choose to be in the sexxxism industries. This demographic is, by all sociological accounts, a miniscule minority of women who are, more commonly, seduced and trafficked as children by pimps and parents, often under excruciatingly horrendous circumstances of poverty and coercion. But that this tiny population of sex-workers exists at all, only means the gendered, pornographic norms of patriarchy work to teach women that their value and esteem, their desire and desirability, their pride and their power, ought to come from being sexxxually objectified by strangers. Can women, "authentically" make this choice? Yes. Can those same women choose not to endure the gender trauma, and not absorb patriarchal, misogynist values? No. No such misogyny-free, ungendered social or psychological zone or community exists in corporate patriarchy. CRAP's economies pay women more to be sexxxually available to men than to do anything else. The fact that women cannot choose to live human lives WITHOUT these racist-sexist messages being systematically dispensed and enforced, and this economics of white supremacy and misogyny being coercively present, is a point most "pro-sex" academics, addicts, and apologists do not note as they champion the sex-work many of them have never done.

Pornography teaches males the details of heterosexist and racist misogyny-as-sexxx, which becomes sex for them, and, increasingly, for everyone who is also consumed by this patriarchal desire callously cultivated by multi-millionaire corporate pimps. Gay and lesbian pornography, contrary to predominant queer belief, is not operating out of any other value system than CRAP's. Read Unpacking Queer Politics (2003), by white British lesbian-feminist Sheila Jeffreys, for an astute analysis of primarily white, increasingly patriarchal—woman-harming—queer culture. It includes a whole chapter on gay pornography.

Boys and girls need lots of safe space to have their more tender feelings, and instead are systematically shamed, and otherwise abused. Men are coercively privileged for becoming anti-woman and otherwise inhumane. For women there is the on-going degraded status, the negative social stigma, the efforts to survive in patriarchy, against great odds. But women, too, are made inhumane. Usually white women who rise to relatively high power positions in CRAP's economy are just as likely, in my experience, to be patriarchal and corporate in their values and actions as the men in comparable positions already are. A patriarchally good (politically correct) white middle class woman may cry on a TV talk show—especially when discussing sexual violence and its related survival strategies (compulsive sugar consumption and obesity, post-traumatic stress, addiction to drugs and alcohol). But she is not often encouraged by male partner, psychotherapist, or talk show host, to rage, especially in an organized fashion, in a militant style, against patriarchal atrocity. Rather, she is hospitalized and medicated, or she self-medicates, drugging down (depressing) the rage of being treated as a thing-for-men. Sometimes, especially in economically and racially privileged societies, she purposefully starves herself to death.

Anorexia, a disease primarily afflicting and killing white middle class or wealthier females, is one of many forms of lethal self-harm that being gendered and raced can produce. Heart disease and hypertension wreak havoc disproportionately on African-American women, killing them slowly. Racist-sexist magazines and other media that promote dangerous and debilitating white beauty standards, simultaneously invisibilize or insult physically substantial white women, and all women of color. Come on, Vogue!

Now that stimulants like methamphetamine and opiates like oxycodone are prevalent in white suburbia, the popular media are beginning to pay attention, but will not, of course, make the links made here. Economic trauma, race trauma, and sex and gender trauma are the leading contributors of addiction, disease, depression, and despair. But the popular media are corporate: racist and patriarchal. Will they put these pieces together? And, whether they do or not, what will we, collectively, do about this?

When not-yet-boys and not-yet girls are given safe space to have their more vulnerable feelings, and have them SEEN and RECOGNIZED as meaningful, important, valuable, and precious, (that is, socially statused by family, peers, and media) then they can stay humane in a way most children don't stand a chance of being and becoming in contemporary patriarchies. An ungendered humanity also necessitates not being rewarded, by family, peers, and society-at-large for being inhumane to girls and women. When "effeminate" or "womanly" qualities, however patriarchally contrived or compulsory they are, stop being denigrated and ridiculed, then humanity may stand a chance of living fully humane (ungendered, unraced), ethnically and erotically diverse human lives.

When the each of us turns to look at what we all do to ourselves, to be accepted into CRAP, and when all our stories are told, when all our suffering is real to us, neither repressed, denied, or turned away from, then we will all know why our world is as it is. In the very mean time, I remain defiantly hopeful, with dreams of that humanely diverse world.

Health and peace to us all.

Carefully Listening To Radical Feminist Women, For A Change

[image is from here, where this button is also for sale]

[There's a recommended profeminist reading list put together by me and a radical feminist colleague, Celie's Revenge, located at the end of this piece.]

I am a U.S.-born radical activist and writer who strives toward the realization of women's full human rights. I support radical feminists' humanitarian struggles to end all manifestations of white, heterosexual, and male supremacy, and have done so for the last twenty-plus years. Most of my closest friends during that time have been women systematically harmed by what I not-so-affectionately call Corporate Racist Atrocious Patriarchy (CRAP):

incested, molested, and raped women; women in systems of prostitution; women who have been physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by men; economically impoverished women; women who have endured countless damaging and hurtful experiences—interpersonal and institutional—of racism; women who have endured socially ubiquitous anti-Semitism and governmental and media-fueled virulent anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination, and every other kind of systemic bigotry that exists; women who have suffered from or do currently suffer with eating disorders and post-traumatic stress-related conditions; women with low to no self-esteem, who sometimes feel dead, who compulsively do life-threatening things to bring them back to reality, like slicing up their own flesh; women who are fighting to empower and liberate themselves and other women from having to be only girls and women as men tyrannically define and maintain those terms against women's bodies and minds. Some of these women are lesbian, but not in ways that pro-patriarchal societies find sexually entertaining. The women I know and love work to create a life that is not in service to men's expectations of women. My work is to responsibly support radical feminist (activist) efforts while being fully accountable to these women who are bravely battling against patriarchal men's thousands year-old war against women. Where and when I can, I try my best to compost CRAP.

I know many white heterosexual and gay middle class and working class men. Beyond superficially white conservative to liberal understandings of "equality," they don't get it about how women of every ethnicity do not have basic human rights—to freedom from terrorism in the forms of rape and battery, for example. The reason they don't know is because they are too busy playing Ultimate Frisbee, poker, and spending exorbitant amounts of time each week in competitive fun in front of videogames. They pay attention to some sports on TV (not women's), especially, most recently, the men's World Cup. They don't do their dishes very often, which sometimes, in typical sexist fashion, defaults the task to the women of the household. Some of the heterosexuals among the men I know, who are sexually active, have intercourse with women without using condoms: they think it is acceptable to not take responsibility for spreading their STDs and STIs, nor for birth control. Again, these tasks then default to women, for whom birth control, for example, is not always safe. With few exceptions, all the heterosexual men I know don't recognize when they are being sexist, or even understand the definition of sexism. (I will recommend a book later that will help, if you or anyone you know is confused about what sexism and racism is.) And I love all these men. These are the men I am closest with interpersonally, because they are dear and sweet men. Also and importantly, they are not misogynistic, virulently racist, overtly anti-lesbian or anti-gay, nor are they ethnically bigoted men. They are politically and socially liberal to progressive gentle-men, have good hearts, and wondrous souls. And they are clueless. Utterly clueless about the atrocities—the standardized and ritualized abuses happening to womankind, that is to say, humankind.

Before describing some of these abuses, I will, from the same humanitarian perspective I use to understand the struggles of women in CRAP, tell you what else I know about us, men. We were not born with a gender, even while most of us were born with so-called "male-looking" genitalia. We were born with a various range of enlarged, urethra'ed clitorises, and usually lowered gonads surrounded by fused labia. (Men have given these body parts other names.) We have different proportions of the all the same hormones women have, coursing though us. Some of us are very shy and withdrawn; some are very brazen and arrogant. Some of us wouldn't hurt a fly; some of us are sadistic serial rapists and child molesters. Most of us fall somewhere in between those two extremes of nonviolence/violence.

Some of us were abused, neglected, or abandoned by our fathers, some by our mothers, and far too many of us were physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by older males, primarily, but also by a few women, sometimes our mothers, while ridiculed by male peers. Those of us who are gay had to hide it at some point, and those of us who are heterosexual had to learn what heterosexuality is, in the context of misogynist CRAP—religious or secular. Those of us who are bi often still maintain heterosexual male privileges but try and deny we have them. Most of us learn about sexuality from CRAP-influenced peers and racist, sexist, heterosexist pornography. Most heterosexual, bi, and gay males (that I know of) regularly masturbate to internet pornography and are incapable of simply enjoying their own bodies sexually without commercialized dehumanized beings displayed before them, called up, on demand, with their fingertips and sometimes a credit card number. This affects the way men actually view and treat women in our lives (negatively).

Men of almost every ethnic group and economic class have learned we are superior, in some ways, to women of the ethnic group and economic class we occupy, culturally, or through an identity of opposition to women made socially real through institutional, structurally-enforced support systems of misogynist harm and sexist disrespect. This shows up in interpersonal behavior, usually in many different forms of being controlling or condescending, or by not listening and not caring about how our actions effect women, especially when we feel "entitled" to our actions, and that we have "a right" to them. Especially then, I find, is when we are insensitive and sexist, and, if heterosexual and white, also heterosexist and racist. We often refuse to acknowledge that we see the world through privileged eyes, relative to women of our cultural group, and that those privileges, and the obliviousness to women's human suffering that too often accompanies them, biases us against seeing the harm that is happening in the real world of human surviving and dying. We are too quick to become defensive about things that have no humanitarian political defense.

A bit about myself: I was sexually abused by a few heterosexual men as a child, was physically and emotionally abused by misogynistic and homophobic male peers from the ages of seven to fourteen, and experienced many forms of ignorant to threatening ethnic hate and bigotry (in my case, as anti-Semitism), as well as a nauseatingly tremendous amount of heterosexism. I cannot begin to convey the damage all of this has done to me, but as a result I am functionally (and legally) disabled. I can walk and I can type, but there are many other ways to be disabled, something that non-disabled people often forget, in my experience. But, I am also white, male, and economically privileged. I am among the most privileged group of people in the world, except for rich Anglo/Christian/Gentile/Aryan white heterosexual non-disabled men. I have never experienced anti-Black racism aimed at my personal being, ever. I have never had anti-Arab and anti-Muslim ethnic and religious hate directed at me, ever. It goes without say that too many women and men do. (And one is too many.)

As a Jew, I am obligated to speak out about the Nation of "My People." The Israeli government is perpetrating gross atrocity in the name of self-defense, but it is not so simplistically only self-defense; it has been and continues to be naked racist, classist, colonialist, imperialistic—and misogynistic—aggression against Palestinian people, women and men, girls and boys, and against Israeli women and girls, and it is wrong and contemptible. And, global anti-Semitism lingers and flourishes in different parts of the world, and that is something this Jew also can never forget. I encounter anti-Semitism too often, especially in discussions about Israel, and recommend a book about this topic below.

There are other things I can never forget: women, tens of thousands perhaps, if not millions, were burned as witches in Europe, in the U.S., and in other regions of the world as well. Right now women are currently being burned with acid by men, with lit cigarette butts by men, in house fires set by men, around the world. Female infanticide and other systematic killings of girls and women by men have shifted the ratio of human females to males, globally. Some men, as men, beat women unconscious, rape them, and murder them. Some of them videotape it for private or public entertainment. Some men force objects into women's bodies and enjoy doing it, as men. Many men, mostly heterosexually identified married men, as well as men living with women as boyfriends, sexually assault children, usually girls, often their own daughters, nieces, and grand-daughters. Male priests molest children, and rape nuns. The list of atrocities that men-as-men commit is almost endless.

I love men's humanity, and I hate men's inhumanity.

I respect men who fight to end CRAP if and when they do not simultaneously use their stature and status in various pro-feminist movements to obtain sex and romance from young admirers. I am also in despair and rage about the number of men who don't and won't do shit about ending CRAP, or who make matters worse for women and girls by using and abusing them. As a political Jew reflecting upon WWII atrocities, I call these men "the good and not-so-good Germans."

And I know this: Gender was forced upon us from day one. It is necessarily traumatic experience to take vulnerable, fragile humans and turn them into patriarchally gendered beings. Boying children traumatizes and benefits us while girling children traumatizes and oppresses them. Intersex kids are lucky if they can grow up surgically unaltered and respected just as they are. Men carry our male privileges and entitlements from childhood and adolescence, with new powers acquired in adulthood, to do things to women, as men, that are wrong, plain and simple. Not wrong like "you're a bad, bad boy, now go to your room" wrong. Not wrong like "you're evil and are going to burn in hell" wrong. No. Wrong like global warming is wrong. Wrong like lynching is wrong. Wrong like rape is wrong. Exactly that kind of wrong.

It is precisely those sorts of wrongs that men I know call our "rights": our right to use pornography, to use women as pornography, to abuse prostituted women and non-prostituted women; our right to visually violate (objectify and voyeur) women, including our "right" to have visual access to women while violating women's human dignity, such as in the contemporary practice of "up-skirting"; our right to stalk women, to scare women, to control women, to beat women, to rape women and, especially, to not call it stalking, scaring, controlling, beating, and raping. That's what men claim we have the right to do. To do those things, and call them something politically benign: just looking because men are more visual, you know; just catching a quick peek, nothing wrong with that, right?; just trying to figure out when she goes to work, or to the grocery store, or outside anywhere, or inside her bedroom and bathroom which is across the street from mine; just correcting her, because she often gets the facts wrong that are important to me; just interrupting her to let her know I've heard this all before, even while I rarely listen carefully or validate her feelings and experiences as just as valid and real as my own; just threatening her because she's getting too angry; just pinning her down because she hasn't put out in far too long, and she's my wife; just smacking her around a little, because she won't listen to me, and do what I tell her to do. There's nothing "just" or benign about men's sexism.

I know men very well. I am one. I know what we do, and the political meaning of us doing it. What we do is CRAP, and the excuses we come up with for doing it are even more CRAP. CRAP-coated CRAP.

Far too many of us "good Germans" defend these degradations of women's humanity as men's rights. Radical feminist women, as well as my own heart, have shown me that these actions are, in social reality—if not (yet) in law, men's wrongs. Most of the white men I know, whether conservative, liberal, progressive, or radical, understand the violation and degradation of our male children or adult male bodies and minds as wrong. We call it wrong. What we don't call wrong is when those things, and others beyond some of our imaginations yet within our privileged locations, are done to women, because they are women, to keep them women, as patriarchal men and white male supremacist institutions define them. More often than not we won't listen to women, as if women were actual human beings. We see women as placed in the world differently but are unwilling to see that placement, by men and our institutions, as political. We also fail to see that what they experience systematically, and daily, is not what we experience remotely, or even occasionally. Men especially won't stop other men from doing it, by calling one another out, by holding ourselves and each other accountable, by ending friendships and connections to family, if necessary, by letting every woman we know that those guys who just approached you do not respect women—especially when "those guys" are our buds and bros.

Men generally don't stop men's violence towards women by reporting our fathers, male cousins, male best friends, other men we know, or ourselves, to the police for committing sexist criminal acts. We don't demand that the State recognize what happens to women, at the hands and institutions of men, as wrong: a civil rights issue, a human rights violation. We don't tell men, systematically, "You're rights are wrong." If humanitarianism means anything, those uses and abuses of women named earlier are all human rights violations of real human beings, human beings called and treated like "women." The fact that men do these things to women, for fun of it, for the cheap or expensive thrill, as sex, for orgasm, as a means of control, out of desperation and the fear of being left alone, does not make those acts, in any way, rights.

Now, needless to say, any good CRAP-worshipping man will beg to differ, or will mercilessly deride and derail those who seek to point out this glaring reality of political harm, in part by calling all feminists, and the men who love their efforts, man-haters. Funny how men don't call one another woman-haters, when man-hating, in women, is about as common as lesbian Black women owning corporations, and woman-hating, in men, is about as common as heterosexual white men using pornographized women as masturbatory aids. All the negative emotions normal men attribute to feminists are what men feel and systematically express to women, and to other men. While it is overwhelmingly obvious that women's and men's enemy is "man-unkind," delusional men pretend that "the much more serious problem" is "those feminists."

Men's routinely misogynist feelings are institutionalized—unlike women's occasional and sometimes intense negative feelings about men; antifeminism is reinforced by State and Religious power, as well as multibillion dollar-a-year industries, controlled by white men with lots of money and lots of lawyers. Radical feminists have no accurately maintained voice in this world: no access to popular media, no appearances on weekday talk shows, no representation in governments, no presence on Sunday morning political programs, little money, no multi-million dollar secular or religious funding, and no access to the most expensive attorneys rich men's money can buy. You know who has the most access to media in part by controlling that media? Anti-Semitic claims notwithstanding, the answer is: Christian or secular Gentile heterosexual, pro-corporate white conservative to liberal men. And this group of men feels "threatened" by a not-so-sexual fantasy that a group of women called radical feminists hates them. You know what that level of fallacious, paranoid thinking is called? Histeria.

Men are seriously histerical about "women's power over us" and "all the power women really have in the world that you can't see." You're right; I can't see it. I see wives and girlfriends in ERs, I see men slaughtering other men in military wars, while also raping and killing women and girls as part of the plan; I see women harassed daily on the street, called out to in sexist ways, grabbed, threatened, by men who obnoxiously and arrogantly assume women are "flattered" by that sort of attention. I know this because I listen to all the women I have had any interpersonal contact with. Nowhere on this planet, not even in Sweden, do I witness women (let alone liberal feminist women, let alone RADICAL feminist women) in humanitarian control of nation-states, religious institutions, government agencies, economic policies, civil laws, social space, sexuality, or their own bodies. Everywhere I see antifeminist dehumanized men controlling women and working to have MORE control over women, all the while complaining women have so much damn power! It's pure histeria.

Another ridiculously histerical claim men make against radical feminists is that they are "anti-sex." Nowhere can men provide me with an ounce of evidence of this. I do know feminists who have taken this stance: "If sex is sexism, I'm against it." For the record, that statement reflects principled humanitarianism; it is an appropriate stance if you care about women's human rights than you do about having an orgasm. Most men can't seem to get that, perhaps because so many men don't know what sex would be like without sexism.

One area I will focus on now is sexuality, because I hear from men so much, so often, that THIS is where women have the ACTUAL power. This is, men say to me, is the great equalizer that somehow takes the stink out of CRAP. Women have this "natural power" over men, I am told, sincerely, by nice men who claim to be for equal rights, a very politically moderate and liberal notion that would still be an improvement over what we have now.

If I ask these men: "What does it mean that we live in a world where men will pay women more to take off their clothes, to strip for men, to have sex the way men want to have sex, than to do ANYTHING else?" Do you know what happens? The men I am speaking with suddenly get quiet. If I ask men: What does it mean that so-called "naturally sexually powerful women" are mandated by society to bleach and straighten or curl and crimp their hair; to lighten or tan their skin; to shave many areas of their body, or have the hair that is naturally there ripped off, torn off, routinely; to compulsively diet; to wear tight clothing that is designed by gay and heterosexual men to attract heterosexual men, but hopefully not so much as to garner degrading and threatening male attention such as harassment and rape; to wear make-up and use age-defying "beauty" products, which bring profits to white men and our companies while draining women's resources? What does it mean that women stuff their feet into shoes that are injurious to their bodies; that women paint their real fingernails or display fake ones in order to feel better about themselves, or to feel sexy? What does it mean that women feel like they have to wear fake eyelashes, and fake breasts, and get lipo-suctioned, tummy-tucked, and face-lifted? Men usually stop me here, at this point. "But women CHOOSE to do those things" men will tell me, earnestly, as if believing it. In the sense that I chose to go to public school and be bullied by homophobes, yes. In the sense that poor, disproportionately Black men, choose to go into the U.S. military to kill Brown people for a form of "freedom" no Black person has ever known in Amerikkka, and also to get killed, yes. In the sense in which homeless people choose to eat food out of dumpsters rather than starve to death, yes. They choose it.

But men never ask: Can women NOT choose it and live without any loss of social status, cultural acceptance, and interpersonal intimacy? When I ask heterosexual men, of any Color: How many straight women would you date with DARK brown skin, or with lighter-to-pale skin and hairy legs, hairy armpits, hairy faces and lower backs, hairy thighs, who wear loose-fitting clothes and no make-up, who are not thin, who may be taller than you, and large-framed, carrying a lot of weight, and have short hair, the men are speechless. Except the one middle-aged white hippy dude, who says "I love my chicks like that." "Desirable women's sexuality" is promoted and sold by CRAP, especially the sexuality that is generated out of systems of prostitution. Even daytime TV has shows teaching class-privileged women how to pole dance for their husbands' enjoyment—and the husbands do enjoy it too! If the husbands DIDN'T enjoy it, do you think the women would still do it? Where do husbands and straight boyfriends learn to appreciate pole and lap dancing? You have one guess. These industries, including the pornography industry, are controlled by white heterosexual men—men such as the infamous corporate pimp, Larry Flynt: THE Hate Speech Hustler. Flynt is not the "free-speech hero" portrayed in the R-rated version of his seXXXist life called "The People vs. Larry Flynt." For the actual Larry Flynt, read his autobiography, where he brags about raping and killing a chicken ass his first sexual encounter, and also see: to freely view his virulently graphic hate speech. (Note: Hate speech is a harmful act.) Here is where the racist-sexist-ageist standards of superficial, commodified beauty are set. Here is the political "aesthetic" that induces CRAP-dependent orgasms. We now see this aesthetic in more mainstream media (like on Deal or No Deal and CSI), and in the advertising, cosmetics, and fashion industries.

This realm of "how things work" seems to escape most heterosexual men who talk with me, or they find this information "symptomatic" but not "causal" of the problem. Or they want "proof" that this harm exists. I say to those men: Prove to me it doesn't exist. Look into the systematically used and abused women's eyes in pornography stills and videos and tell me what you see? Are they drugged up? Are they glazed over? Are they dissociated? Look into the eyes of the strippers you see for entertainment, if your eyes trained by CRAP to "go to the breasts, go directly to the breasts" can make it up that far, and tell me what you notice? A woman working in dehumanizing conditions yet another day in all this CRAP? Do you call that look in her eyes freedom, boredom, or trauma? How about if YOU do this "liberating, freely chosen sex-work" for years and tell me how exciting it is for you to be stared at by predatory or sex-addicted men all day, and fucked by them all night. After you conduct that "scientific study" get back to me with the results, would you? I get really angry about this. Why?

Because these sincere if defensive, argumentative, and self-serving white heterosexual men never ask me to "prove" that bullying is harmful, that war is harmful, or that poverty is harmful (to white men). There are a lot of "facts" that they take for granted as "The Truth" without requiring any proof, such as that male aggression resulting in rape is natural and inevitable, and that women are the opposite sex. (How does having, on average, more fatty tissue on your chest and unfused labia make someone an "opposite" sex?) But if men are getting off to something that is politically harmful to women as a class, as well as to individual women inside and outside the pornography industry; if men are enjoying male entitlements and privileges we would rather not interrogate, let alone deal with responsibly; if men want to remain socially oblivious and politically unaccountable, we suddenly demand to see "the evidence" and need a stack of scientific studies (designed by white men) to "prove" to ourselves that it's harmful. And we need for that harm to be "the sole cause" of the larger problem, as defined, always, by academically (liberally) educated men. Men never put such demands on social scientists to prove "sole causality" on matters that bolster or maintain our unethical entitlements. Men demand proof only when those things are called out, by radical feminists, for what they are: anti-humanitarian CRAP.

What most men don't realize is that it is men in charge of the misogynist practices that most heterosexual women choose to do, and that if women didn't choose to do them, they'd be socially ostracized, not hired, fired, called "dyke," not asked out, turned down for a date, and worse. Girls learn very young that boys only "like" certain kinds of girls. Boys will only pay attention to girls with certain appearances: the thinner, lighter, and younger, the better, generally speaking. (Ask any darker-skinned thirty-five year-old Black woman who isn't a size zero.) This is racism, sexism, and ageism confused with sexuality. And there are increasingly restricted cultural variations of "sexiness," in CRAP. This is due both to pornography and advertising, and to a racist, misogynistic plastic surgery industry which narrows, shortens, and straightens some Black, Brown, Arab, Jewish, and Gentile white women's noses, and also "Westernizes" Asian women's eyes. With or without surgery, all U.S. women (at least) are measured against a terribly narrow media-hyped beauty standard: from Marilyn Monroe to Farrah Fawcett to Bo Derek to Pamela Anderson to the late Anna Nicole Smith to Paris Hilton. What "look" do all those women have? Answer: a deeply sexxxualized female Aryan look; men of many ethnicities have been masturbating to images of all of the above women, for decades; the latter three women are "known" for being in pornography or in sexxx-scenes with past boyfriends, which are now on the internet. Within each ethnic and cultural group, girls learn fast what boys want them to look like (and do), and learn that their esteem comes directly from boys liking (or using) them. So, yes, girls and women choose to do those things, the way men choose not to cry when physically hurt around a lot of other men. As if there were socially available and acceptable humanitarian options.

What heterosexual men can do to help compost CRAP:

1. Give up looking at pornography and treating women like pornography. Burn pornography (with fire, not to disc).
2. Stop commenting on women's appearances to women you don't know well, and only to those who ask you, when outside a work environment. Privately praise women you love on their spiritual-intellectual being, not on their physical beauty.
3. Stop purchasing products for women that meet your "sexxx" needs. Boycott all racist, misogynist sexxxism industries. (Victoria's secret is that she's a shill for pornographers.)
4. Stop having sex, if the sex you have requires the exploitation and abuse of women, including with the women you have sought out in bars, strip clubs, and brothels.
5. If you are gay, stop putting down women and commenting on women's appearances. Stop using pornography, because the industry that produces gay porn also harms women's human rights status.
6. Be honest about what you do to other women. Stop being evasive, defensive, and stop lying through your teeth when asked about how you have treated women and girls in the past, or are currently treating women and girls.
7. Care more about human rights for women than about the quality and quantity of your orgasms. Women can't live without human rights. You can live without your sexxxism-dependent orgasms. Really, you can.
8. Care more about being humane to women than about being "like a man," as "manhood" is politically-culturally defined and shamefully enforced.
9. Hold other men accountable to their sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism.
10. Hold yourself accountable, by being very honest with yourself about what you're doing to women that is wrong.

11. Support and encourage men's humanity, and oppose and confront our inhumanity, in any ways you can. It's not women's work to do that; it's ours.

12. Boycott and organize boycotts of all products that portray women in degrading ways, including by not purchasing and sharing misogynist music, video games, and DVDs.

13. Stop telling sexist jokes, and misogynist or exploitive stories about what you allegedly did to a woman or to several women.

14. Never call a woman the "b" word or the "c" word, or any other derogatory, misogynist, racist, anti-lesbian term.

15. Organize together to smash cosmetics counters, tear up pornography in stores, protest in front of any business that Larry Flynt or other corporate pimps profit from, with a statement prepared for the manager and the press as to why you are doing these things (for women's civil rights to dignity and freedom from sexual exploitation and abuse).

16. Slap misogynist recording artists' CDs in stores with "Degrading women isn't cool, it's a human rights violation" stickers.
17. Stop maintaining sexist habits, customs, and other woman-hating cultural practices.
18. Do women's dishes and laundry, if they want you to. Clean their homes, for free, if you have race and class privilege. Don't call your parenting "baby-sitting" or "child-care." It's your ethical responsibility and duty, not a part-time favor we do for women.
19. If you have class privilege, financially support radical feminist campaigns and projects.
20. Practice being a humanitarian who takes women's global and local human rights status seriously. Call yourself someone who fights for women's human rights, and back it up with every action you do, including with every word you speak.

I strongly and respectfully ask men in leadership roles in feminist circles to stop the too-common practice of sleeping with sincerely admiring young people. It's exploitation, plain and simple. When Bill Clinton did it, the women I knew never called his sexual exploits "feminist." Bill was pro-pornography and used women sexually. You claim to be different. Status equals power. Unequal status means unequal power. Please practice integrity in this area of your life. I fully realize that being accountable to radical feminist (women) activists is a challenge and a struggle. But, I believe for any man, this is the way to our own deeper humanity and human integrity: to start being accountable to radical feminist women.

As Pearl Cleage says in Deals With the Devil, page 28: "Although men are allowed to call themselves 'feminists' in some of the more liberal circles, I do not endorse this practice. Men can be enlightened, but I have never met a man who did not cling to and exemplify sexist behavior from time to time in spite of himself. Letting them dub themselves 'feminists' tends to lead to smugness, self-satisfaction and the feeling that the man who is struggling to overcome his own sexism and the sexism of his brothers has somehow achieved a more exalted status, a safe conduct pass that allows him to be a little less rigorous on himself, having demonstrated his good intentions. I am reminded of my grandmother's admonition about what paves the road to hell."

Within the last few weeks, I have been repeatedly called out by several radical feminist women on some of my sexist and racist behavior. I listened, and I learned. And I had to work to understand their experiences of what I did. I apologized but only when knowing that I would do everything I could to not repeat the behaviors. These were behaviors in writing, on an email list-group of primarily radical women. They called me out for writing more than anyone else there, for siding with some women over others (thereby fueling divisiveness), for venting my anger at men's inhumanity, as if they needed to hear it from a man, as if I was "in the clear" in this regard, and, most recently, for turning their lives into an academic question. As a white man, I am telling you in all honesty, I work daily at eliminating my own sexism and racism. The struggle is worth it, because women around me are, I hope, a bit safer and treated with that much more respect, with each passing day.

Please join this struggle to create a humane world for all of us. It isn't easy, but it's better than all this CRAP.

It is my hope that men will support radical feminist activists of all ethnicities, especially women of Color taking and maintaining leadership in every area of social and political life.

Peace after patriarchy.

DVD recommendations: Killing Us Softly (1979), Still Killing Us Softly (1987), Bandit Queen (1994), Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2000) with online study guide:, and CHO Revolution (2004).

The following (obviously incomplete) booklist is meant to be read non-defensively, with mind open to new worldviews and to new understandings, and with heart open to new levels of empathy and compassion, for women, as a politically oppressed class of people.

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker (1982)

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose, by Alice Walker (1983)

Right-Wing Women, by Andrea Dworkin (1983)

Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde (1984)

Corregidora, by Gayl Jones (1987)

Letters From A War Zone, by Andrea Dworkin (1989)

Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, by bell hooks (1990)

Deals With The Devil: And Other Reasons To Riot, by Pearl Cleage (1993)
(this is the book with the best definition of sexism I've ever seen)

Theorizing Black Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Women, edited by Abena P.A. Busia and Stanlie M. James (1993)

Civil Wars, by June Jordan (1995)

Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma, by Ana Castillo (1995)

Writing as Witness: Essay and Talk, by Beth Brant (1995)

Only Words, by Catharine A. MacKinnon (1996)

Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies, by bell hooks (1996)

Making More Waves: New Writing by Asian American Women, by Elaine Kim (1997)

Push, by Sapphire (1997)

Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice, by Patricia Hill Collins (1998)

In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman's Global Journey, by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea (1998)

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life, by Winona LaDuke (1999)

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Revised 10th Anniversary Second Edition, by Patricia Hill Collins (2000)

Homegirls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith (1983; 2000)

Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor, by Patricia J. Williams (2001)

Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation, by Andrea Dworkin (2001)

Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influences on Early American Feminists, by Sally Roesch Wagner (2001)

Some Of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays, by June Jordan (2002)

Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective, by Sheila Jeffreys (2003)

Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West, by Sheila Jeffreys (2005)

Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism, by Patricia Hill Collins (2005)

Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan (2005)

Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues, by Catharine A. MacKinnon (2006)

The Cancer Journals, by Audre Lorde (1980; Special Edition 2006)


By Julian Real

Copyrighted 2007. All Rights Reserved. No editing or revising of this essay, or distribution or copying of it may occur, by any means, without the written permission of the author.