|image of button is used with permission|
|image of button is used with permission|
NOTE: This post has been revised somewhat on 27 April 2011.
I have had several occasions over my life to discuss with radical lesbian women, and many men across a white male supremacist political spectrum, the condition of men's humanity--or lack thereof. What is agreed upon is this: radical feminists, almost without exception, argue for men's humanity; argue that men are not naturally rapists, and that human males do not come into this world ready to enact horrific and terrifying acts against girls and women, as soon as they are old enough to do so.
It is only because these radical feminists critique men's social behavior that they get termed man-haters. What seems to go unnoticed is all the men who argue--if pressed--that men are natural-born rapists, and do just simply grow up, without social influence or peer pressure, to become what men themselves call "monsters", and what I'd more accurately term "terrorists", and woman-hating, male supremacist abusers of all sorts. I find this view held primarily by men, that men are born rapists, not only without merit, but historically and cross-culturally wrong.
About the terms hurled at women who don't believe males are rapist by nature: Men hate and abuse men a great deal, but will not, it appears to me, call one another man-haters or, in the newest parlance, misandrists. No matter how many men terrorise, assault, and kill each other, "misandrist" is a term men reserve for the ladies, not the--ahem--"gentlemen".
I know some gentle men. I know some men who have been interpersonally obnoxious, condescending, abusive, callous, and cruel to girls and women but who now see that their behavior was wrong, and endeavor to do better; and most of those men do better a great deal of the time. They are a minority of men, in my experience, and I've had occasion to meet and deal with a great many men in my life.
The vast majority of men don't engage with matters of "feminism" at all, even when they are literate and academically educated. They always appear to have more important things to do, like play video games, for example. Or discuss comic book or graphic novel superheros. Or drink alcohol or smoke weed. Or discuss sports or food or whatever they wish to discuss that doesn't lead them to stumble on the topic of what men do to women systematically that is horrendous, terrifying, and sexually and socially subordinating.
This matter of taking up men's political, moral, and ethical responsibility to get other men off women's backs seems to not register in the hearts and souls of most men, who I do believe are fully human, despite their unwillingness to lift one finger to assist women in the struggle to obtain sustainable liberation from men's political abuses and social and economic degradations.
What I'm realising is that the discussion of whether the vast majority men behave they way they do due to natural causes or socialisation is in some ways a huge waste of time. The fact is that most men do behave in anti-feminist ways, or in misogynistic ways, or in ways that encourage men--interpersonally, structurally, systematically, institutionally, and as a political class of human beings--to pretend they are not waging war against women and girls (and anyone deemed not manly enough, if male).
I believe men can and will stop this oppressive and horrendous behavior but something will have to happen first. No, it's not that men will need to learn to cry. Many men already know how to do that and it hasn't gotten us very far. What men will need is to become terrifyingly afraid of women as a class, and individual women interpersonally. I mean as afraid of women as any man is of the men they are most afraid of.
What may well need to happen is for it to become legal for women to take out their male abusers (and I don't mean on a date)--whether the abuser be a father-rapist, a husband-rapist, a boyfriend-batterer, or a predatory pimp or procurer. If it became legal--let's pretend, shall we?--for women to retaliate against male abusers who assault and terrorise women and girls, using any and all means necessary--I believe something would shift quite dramatically and radically: the power men have to hurt women without negative consequence to men as a class and to male supremacist power carried on, generation after generation, by interpersonal and institutional actions.
So I'd like to propose that it become legal for women to engage in armed struggle, and in every other form of self-defence known to humanity, if they so wish to do so. To engage in resistance and revolution against terroristic, incesting, molesting, raping, battering, pimping, procuring, trafficking, slaving men. And I believe males must work with accountability to feminists, to support anti-rape, anti-oppression, pro-liberation struggles, and to take out terroristic, normally sociopathic, routinely sadistic, and unrepentantly and serially abusive misogynist men (again, not on a date). I also believe that while women's self-defence against male abusers should be legally supported, the ending of patriarchy is not women's job. It is men's.
That's my proposal. Given what men get away with doing to girls and women by the hour and by the millions, it seems rather modest, don't you think?
To any man who thinks this post is "anti-man", what do you think about what men do to girls and women by the hour and by the millions that is terrifying and horrifying? What do you think an appropriate politically organised response to that might look like? And, if you think this post is anti-man, you didn't read it very carefully. Because no where do I say men cannot willfully and collectively stop the egregious and atrocious behaviors terroristic, sadistic, normal men engage in that other men call "natural" and "inevitable". That I call these men "normal" is to say there is nothing exceptional about them. They are not a few aberrant men. They are men who are celebrated, esteemed, and honored in patriarchal societies across the globe, sometimes because they have done such violence to women. Two words: Charlie Sheen. Two more: Mel Gibson. They are unusual in their level of fame; they are normal in their misogynist practices.