Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NotMe[n]Too: men's invasion of women posting #MeToo

The #MeToo campaign initiated to show the true extent to which women are being subjected to sexual harassment and assault is really catching fire on social media.  Any #WLC care to share your thoughts about the effectiveness of this type of activity?  Are you participating why or why not? #OpeningConversations #OpenDialogue
I believe us. Women can be trusted. #MeToo #IBelieveYou #WomenCanBeTrusted
image is from here: http://www.theimgrum.com/p/metoo

For anyone who doesn't know the history of the #MeToo campaign to challenge and put an men's sexual harassment against women and the climate which encourages it, you may find the story here:

"I have heard in the last several years a great deal 
about the suffering of men over sexism. 
Of course, I have heard a great deal 
about the suffering of men all my life. 
Needless to say, I have read Hamlet. 
I have read King Lear. 
I am an educated woman. 
I know that men suffer. 
This is a new wrinkle. 
Implicit in the idea that this is a different kind of suffering is the claim, I think, that in part you are actually suffering because of something that you know happens to someone else. 
That would indeed be new."

Andrea Dworkin,
"I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape" 
(1983, Letters From a War Zone)

Across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook this week, I've seen the courageous effort by women to come out to other women, and men, as yet another women who has experienced predation via sexual harassment by men, often men in positions of power above and beyond standard, run-of-the-mill male supremacist power. Whether in the workplace or home front, school or street, or anywhere else, sexual harassment of women is something men are learning is profoundly widespread and devastating. The women I know find the sharing of the hashtag as a public notice that, yes, me [another woman] too--it happened to her also, it happened again, here, to her, and to her, and her and her and her. No surprise. At all. Have not most women been harassed sexually at least once, if not dozens of times?

I heard today a story of a 14 year-old girl harassed by a boy in her grade at school. I will spare you the details, but what I also noticed was how 'normal' the whole thing was for her, like walking or talking. Oh, yeah, and by the way, he ..." Scary and disgusting. I see this happening as it has ages due to capitalist colonialist patriarchal norms and entitlements and privilege bestowed upon men. In part due to pornography--one of the most normalized forms of misogyny being passed off as what women and girls want. And in part due to men's refusal to see the world from women's point of view, however varied that is. And in part because it serves men well, on the collective political front, to keep quiet about the whole thing: what men do to women that is invasive and violating.

So what is deeply troubling to me is the fact that men are joining in posting or tweeting #me too. This infuriates me and I've already gotten into some heated arguments with guys about this--about how fucked up it is that men are turning this into a "Men's Lives Matter" kind of thing. Yeah, we get it. When did we not get that? As Andrea so clearly states: we know you suffer, men.

You inflict that suffering on women all the time.

I told one guy, #me too, when posted by a man, means only one thing: #men too. And at a groundbreaking--hopefully groundbreaking--time when women are coming out about this trauma, this utterly ubiquitous trauma, men want their/our pain to be front and center. There are so many things wrong with this but I'll identify two for now.

1. We know what the effect off this is: Men expect to be congratulated and empathised with far more energy than will women. Men expect to be told how brave they/we are and are eager to hear: "thank you for joining women, for standing with women" in the struggle for visibility about this form of predation. But honestly, that's not what I see men coming out about. I see men speaking of being sexually abused in other ways, thereby taking the focus off the issue at hand in yet another way. This week the story on the news is about a Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein*, a producer with extraordinary power within one industry acting like all the other men with structural power in the industry. He got called out for his blatantly criminal acts by enough women to get the public to believe he really did all these vile things.  See two links below for more. We all have learned what Harvey Weinstein did to them, against them, terrorising and/or seeking their further subordination to him, the prick. We learned it is still going on, rampantly and without stop. I hope this is more than a pause, but we know these fuckheads are doing it as I type this and later today and tomorrow ad nauseam. (*And before him, in 2017, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly of FUX Women Over NEWS. And most notably and visibly, our new President, Donald "the predator/terrorist" Trump.
2. What is amazing to me is that this becomes a moment, a week, perhaps a much longer period of time, in which women are publicly supporting other women as they continue to come out with these horror stories, these utterly predictable and persistent horror stories. So men getting in on the act means they/we are leeching away from women that potential bonding and camaraderie through the various levels of pain, disgust, and/or triggering when revealing something so shameful--with all the shame belonging to the men.

 3. What women tell me is that a too common dynamic in men's misogyistic manipulation is to plead to women about how much pain THEY'RE in, while abusing those same and other women all the while. It becomes part of an abusive cycle that is intended to keep women's sympathies and guilt about realizing the guy is a predator flowing. It is designed to insist he is real, a full human being while making her less than, a kind of human who ought not take care of herself, against the interests of men, at all times.

I am saying NO. No men, DO NOT DO THIS. Do not make this about you too, again, as you/we always do. Do not egocentrically detract from the power of what is going on by throwing yourself into it as a victim no less! Why not post #IDidItToo on your walls and in your tweets? Now that would be courageous, potentially revolutionary, if you did so and then made sure you and your friends and colleagues and family members and men on the street never did it again.

I will leave the reader with the link to the rest of Dworkin's speech that I think stunningly describes what men SHOULD be doing in the face of such news: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Author and Activist Kate Millett (September 14, 1934 – September 6, 2017)

File:Kate millet 1.jpg 
Source of portrait of Kate Millett is from here
which also contains extensive biographical information

I will leave it to one of the feminists I most admire to describe the impact of Kate Millett, who died today. Above, within the caption to the image, is a link to a wiki page on her life and work.

Here is the opening paragraph of an article linked to just below:

The world was sleeping and Kate Millett woke it up. Betty Friedan had written about the problem that had no name. Kate Millett named it, illustrated it, exposed it, analysed it. In 1970 Kate Millett published the book Sexual Politics. The words were new. What was "sexual politics"? The concept was new. Millett meant to "prove that sex is a status category with political implications". She pointed to male dominance in sex, including intercourse. In challenging the status quo, she maintained: "However muted its present appearance may be, sexual domination obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power." 


With condolences to her loved ones.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump and Comp (TM), Chistofascism, and Dominant Identity Politics

Image result for spherical chess
image is from here
Most but not all of my friends are being terrorised by the values and practices of January 2017 immigration policies and cabinet member approval. Public protest is reinvigorated in the U.S. due especially to police violence and murder of unarmed Black and Indigenous citizens. Tragically, whites view Blackness and darker skin as a dangerous weapon. The chess match Trump and Comp is playing is operating in 3D.

Those dimensions are:
Oligarchic and autocratic rule.
Patriarchal Christian rule.
White straight male supremacist rule.

Upon that tripod of tyranny we see playing out before and against us a more naked display of what we have seen over the last many decades, centuries, millennia. The influence of wealth, the on-going consolidation of power among men, and the dominance of Christofascist colonialism. A weapon in one hand, a NT Bible in another, and the missionary position's physical and spiritual subordination of women preached around the world.

Trump and Comp (TM) has been empowered by electoral success in an election steeped in misogyny, racism, and the cultural dominance of white Christianity and Oligarchy.

What does that mean? It means whether with full intention or primarily by effect, he is working a few steps ahead corporate media's grasp of what is going down. Or, such media is in bed with Trump and Comp, making for a disturbing and messy coalition--rumors of his exploitation of Russian prostitutes by demanding water sports not withstanding.

What I am worried about is Trump and Comp's success in tossing out hand grenades of over-the-top violations of the US Constitution while shoving into government institutions their long-term objectives.

Centering the appeal and influence of Mike Pence and Steve Bannon through less protested actions.

As a whole, the tyrannical and genocidal Western world is imperiled far more by Right-wing fascism and WHM supremacy than by Central Asian opposition to the West's warmongering and mass murder. What is also exposed is how 'white', 'heterosexual' and 'man' are identities at least as much as 'Black', 'LGBT', and 'woman'. WHM disdain for "identity politics" pretends that theirs are not the political identities most promoted and protected.