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Pre-2008 Posts

Sheila Jeffreys on Sexual Essentialism, Lesbians, “Pseudolesbians” and Love Between Women

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I have been reading, off and on (the way I always read!) the above book, Sheila Jeffreys’ The Spinster and Her Enemies — Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930.

I am LOVING it. This book should be required reading for any feminist or pro-feminist, but particularly those of us who devote time or activist work to challenging destructive sexual practices, prostitution, pornography and compulsory heterosexuality. There’s a history of feminist work and activism around these issues from the 1800s of which few feminists are aware. And, given patriarchy’s amazing powers of self-healing, the work has been largely erased and so here we are, more than a century later, having to re-invent the wheel.

From the book:

There are certain basic assumptions underlying the work of historians on the history of sexuality which must be overturned if the significance of the women’s campaigns is to be understood. The most pervasive is the assumption that the last 100 years represent a story of progress from the darkness of Victorian prudery towards the light of sexual freedom. Implicit in this view is the idea that there is an essence of sexuality which, though repressed at times in the past, is gradually fighting its way free of the restrictions placed upon it. On examination this “essence” turns out to be heterosexual and the primary unquestioned heterosexual practice to be that of sexual intercourse. Despite the wealth of work by sociologists and feminists on the social construction of sexuality, the idea remains that a natural essence of sexuality exists. Another assumption is that there is a unity of interests between men and women in the area of sexuality, despite the fact that sexuality represents above all a primary area of interaction between two groups of people, men and women, who have very different access to social, economic and political power. Thus historians who concern themselves with writing the history of the “regulation of sexuality”, that is the way in which people’s sexual behavior has been restricted by repressive ideology and the state, without paying serious attention to the way in which the power relationship between the sexes is played out on the field of sexuality, can be seen to be subsuming the interests of women within those of men. …

…The propagandists of the 1920s and 1930s attacked the earlier feminists for being prudes and puritans. Contemporary historians, for whom the new ideology of the 1920s has become the conventional wisdom, have replicated this attack. When looking at the 1920s, they have been unable to be objective or critical.

…The effect of the “sexual revolution” was to cripple the feminist campaign to assert woman’s right to control her own body, and to exist, as Wolstenholme Elmy put it, “free from all uninvited touch of man.” This aim has never been given its deserved significance by historians as part of the range of political objectives of the nineteenth century women’s movement. This may be because the right to bodily integrity has not been included in the political platofrm of any male political struggle, and only those objectives which men have seen to be important for themselves have been given serious attention. …Women’s right to escape from being the involuntary object of men’s sexual desires has not earned itself a place in the pantheon of human rights. Woman’s “frigidity” became an issue in the 1920s as attempts were made to construct a female sexuality which would complement that of men. The struggle of women to assert their right to say no gradually faded into insignificance whilst male sex theorists debated astride the conquered territory of women’s bodies.

From the chapter, Women’s Friendships and Lesbianism:

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries many middle-class women had relationships with each other which included passionate declarations of love, nights spent in bed together sharing kisses and intimacies and lifelong devotion, without exciting the least adverse comment. Feminist historians have explained that the letters and diaries of middle class women in America in the first half of the 19th century frequently contained references to passionate same-sex friendships. Lillian Faderman’s book Surpassing the Love of Men details innumerable such friendships between women…

These women wrote about their feelings to each other in ways which would nowadays seem quite inappropriate to same-sex friendship. …Historians could not fail to notice the expression of such sentiments. They have tried to ignore them or explain them away so that they could not be allowed to challenge their heterosexual account of history. The commonest approach has been to say that such romantic expressions were simply the normal form of friendship at that time. They say that it was fashionable to be effusive. …the same explanation has been given for the romantic, emotional expression between men of the 16th century. In this way historians have tidied away what they found incongruous and wiped the history of homoeroticism from the slate of heterosexual history….

Today intense emotional and sensual interaction between women friends in the West is not seen as socially acceptable. …In contemporary society women are only expected to feel a controlled and non-physical level of fondness for their women friends and to wonder if they are “lesbian” if they feel more. Why and how did this change occur?

[Lillian] Faderman explains that women’s same-sex friendships came to be seen as a threat in the late 19th century as the women’s movement developed to challenge men’s dominance and new social and economic forces presetned middle class owmen with the possibility of choosing not to marry and be dependent on men. She sees the sexologists who classified and categorized female homosexuality, including within it all passionate friendships, as having played a major role in discouraging love between women for all those who did not want to adopt the label of homosexuality.

In American women’s colleges up until the late 19th century, the practice of “smashing,” in which young women would pursue their beloveds with gifts and declarations until their feelings were returned and they were “smashed” was perfectly acceptable. These friendships were gradually outlawed and rendered suspicious by college heads who were often living with women they loved in passsionate unions themselves. By the 1890s it was seen as necessary to root out these friendships as unhealthy practices.

…As part of their self-imposed task of categorizing varieties of human sexual behavior, the sexologists of the late 19th century set about the “scientific” description of lesbianism…. They codified as “scientific” wisdom current myths about lesbian sexual practices, a stereotype of the lesbian and the “pseudohomosexual” woman, categorizing women’s passionate friendships as female homosexuality..

Havelock Ellis ..classified as “homosexual” precisely those forms of behavior for which spinster feminists, the New Women of the 1890s, were criticzed by antifeminists. In the 1890s some women were trying to escape the “effeminate” stereotype of woman. Those feminists were neatly slotted into a picture of lesbian women who were neatly pseudomen.

…As a counterpart to the “butch” masculine stereotype of the lesbian which the sexologists were creating, they provided a model for “pseudohomosexual.” They made it clear that their concern about the pseudohomosexual stemmed from what they saw as the spread of homosexuality within the feminist movement. Edward Carpenter expressed in 1897 his alarm at the phenomenon of lesbianism within the women’s movement, combined with a quite obvious horror at the extent to which feminists were abandoning the constraints of the feminine sex role:

[feminists were] naturally drawn from those in whom the sexual instinct is not preponderant. Such women do not altogether represent their sex; some are rather mannish in temperament; some are “homogenic”, that is inclined to attachments to their own sex rather than the opposite sex; women are ultra-rationalizing and brain-cultured; to many, children are more or less a bore; to others, man’s sex-passion is a mere impertinence, which they do not understand and whose place they consequently misjudge. It would not do to say that the majority of the new movement are out of l ine, but there is no doubt that a large number are…

Edward Carpenter, like Havelock Ellis, is currently seen as the founding father of sexual enlightenment, and as a male homosexual who, in writing abuot men’s love for each other positively, was an inspiration to the burgeoning male homosexual rights movement. In the light of his reputation as a homosexual revolutionary, as well as a friend to feminism, such comments on lesbians and feminists strike a rather discordant note. What they suggest, like the rest of his writings, is that his view of women’s emancipation was that women should have equal rights so long as they remained different, feminine, and passionately attached to men.

…The pseudohomosexual was characterized as a woman who did not necessarily fit the masculine stereotype, had been seduced by a “real homosexual,” and led away from a natural heterosexuality to which it was hoped she would return. Real homosexuality was seen to be innate, and pseudohomosexuality a temporary divergence.

… The pseudohomosexual is shown to be not just easily led but intellectually inferior which should be enough to discourage women from “imitation.” [One writer] informs us that “original” homosexuality is much less common amongst women than amongst men, “whereas in many women even at a comparatively advanced age, the so-called pseudohomosexuality “is much more frequently met with than it is in men”. This pious hope that women are somehow more innately heterosexual than men, he supports with the explanation that heterosexual women are inclined towards “tenderness and caresses,” which make it easy for “pseudohomosexual tendencies” to arise.

For [the writer above] as for other sexologists, male homosexuality was defined by genital contact and their lack of other kinds of physical contact with each other prevented men from straying from the heterosexual path. Through the defining of any physical caresses between women as pseudohomosexuality by the sexologists, the isolation and stigmatising of lesbianism was accomplished, and women’s friendships were impoverished by the suspicion cast upon any physical expression of emotion.

…American lesbian feminist historians suggest that female homosexuality and all strong emotional expression between women was stigmatized by the sexologists in the late 19th and early 20th century in response to … social and economic circumstances which offered a real threat to men’s domination over women. …the number of women in excess of men in the population was steadily rising in the last half of the 19th century. When this “surplus” of women had the possibility of living and owrking outside the structures of heterosexuality, they became a threat to the maintenance of men’s control….This threat was particularly serious when independent women were engaged in passionate friendships with each other and were in a position to form a strong female network which could bond against men. It was this last danger that the development of a strong feminist movement appeared to be creating in the late 19th century….

…[The sexologists] saw themselves as progressive in their attempts to separate off lesbianism, which included passionate frienship, from “innocent” women’s friendships. Once lesbianism was an isolated phenomenon, it provided a much clearer target for attack and by the early 1930s the climate for women’s love was becoming increasingly hostile. Loveliest of Friends (1931) by G. Sheila Donsithorpe, an American novel, seems to have been popular in Britain and went through three editions in as many months. In the novel the innocent Audrey becomes involved in a passionate and exciting relationship with Kim. Very soon it turns sour and Audrey twice attempts suicide. At the very end of the book when the affair is over, Donisthorpe turns to pure propaganda and concludes, about the forsaken Audrey:

This, then, is the product of lesbianism. This the result of dipping the fingers of vice into a sex welter whose deadly force crucifies in a slow, eternal bleeding.

And yet there are those who hug as a martyrdom these sadistic habits, who clamour for the recognition of the sinister group who practise them, those crooked, twisted freaks of Nature who stagnate in dark and muddy waters, and are so choked with the weeds of viciousness and selfish lust that, drained of all pity, they regard their victims as mere stepping stones to their further pleasure. With flower-sweet fingertips they crush the grape of evil till it is exquisite, smooth and luscious to the taste, stirring up a subconscious responsiveness, intensifying all that has been, all that follows, leaving their prey gibbering, writhing, sex sodden shadows of their former selves, conscious of only one ambition, one desire in mind and body, which, ever festering, ever destroying, slowly saps them of health and sanity.

[Sheesh! — Heart]

To make the message absolutely clear, the dedication of the book reds, “To all the contemplating Audreys of this world the message in this book is offered.”

…Once women’s relationships might have spanned a continuum from casual friendship through intense emotional and physical involvement, to, in those cases where it seemed appropriate to the women concerned, relationships involving both lifelong commitment and genital sex. By the late 1920s a distinction had been drawn between an acceptable level of friendship and lesbianism. The middle ground had been cut out. Women were no longer in a position to engage in passionate involvements with each other without being aware that they were on the edge of a precipice which might plunge them into the stigmatised world of the lesbian. Women’s novels later than the 1920s do not provide us with portraits of love between women which is devoid of suspicion until the advent of lesbian feminist writing in the 1970s.

Heart

Discussion

35 thoughts on “Sheila Jeffreys on Sexual Essentialism, Lesbians, “Pseudolesbians” and Love Between Women

  1. i’ll be getting the book…
    thats another thing, i think that a sex boycott [from men] is in order, seriously [and a hell of a lot of castrations, lol]
    course know thats not going to happen,
    but, i do have to say that the ‘choosing lesbianism as a political choice’ appeals to me,
    a lot [but for me it would be a bit more than political choice..but thats another area i struggle with due to past, etc] but anyway,
    i love Dworkin, i think the woman was a genius, i may not concur with her on every point but she stripped away so many layers in the whole sexual dynamic and power dynamics between men/womyn, especially in regards to control and violence.

    though i would have to include the questions in that whole relationship regarding materialism, because i think the material development of humanity has done more to increase violence and destroy intimacy and that was another area of question i had on the whole ‘materialist dialectic’ in this assumption that if capitalism was overthrown then commodification of womyn would end….obviously if any have really studied the history of these movements in former Soviet bloc countries and in former fascist countries liberation from sexual violence was a myth…in fact, it increased — they just didn’t talk about it.

    sexuality and power is a topic that i have been researching and questioning [theorizing] on for some time due to wanting to resolve personal issues as well as understand why the sexual freedom movements have done more to hurt womyn,
    but then, there is that other pole and that hurts womyn too…

    but in both cases, its about the sexual behavior of womyn, rather than men. sort of like the mommy wars, its about the behavior of womyn and men are like, still in that ‘safe zone’…so typical.

    and i still have many unresolved questions on this topic but one thing i will say that i found to be interesting…

    during the so called Puritanical age, [what I term before Marx/Engels, Freud, etc…] i have found that there is this whole extremist interpretation of what sex was in that epoch…

    and it was much of it from the very men MEN now and a few womyn who we rely much of our theories on today, in all the schools. but if you read the poetry and the love letters of people before that epoch,

    they were hardly prudes…yes there were constraints on womyn in regards to marriage and so forth but its like, the framework was different then…hard to explain but i find in many ways that womyn were actually more valued as womyn then…not just as mothers or wives but as sexual beings.

    now maybe i’m just an incurable romantic but seriously all the earlier writings and studies in antiquity, i find that many of the post-industrialization theories on sexuality of that day are more for the benefit of men,
    meaning, the men [liberals of that day] were only opposed to puritanism [what they labeled it or should i say that victorian outlook] on sexuality/womyn because
    they had to stay within the confines of marriage and respect their wives [though yea sure i mean doesn’t mean they DID that but the social expectations were there]

    and these men were like, wanting to sleep around without that social stigma–because there was more of a social stigma on men who were just loose pants then, more than i think many realize, it was that whole ‘gentlemen’ thing and men were very judgemental against men they deemed as savage or uncivilized, etc.

    like that code of honor thing…but anyway, yea don’t get me wrong i know men weren’t saints or like these angelic knights in shining armor, but the social mores then, put it this way,

    men were expected to behave in certain ways, if anything at least put on the face of behaving that way, and that included how they treated, talked to, and loved womyn.

    and you can really see this when you read the poetry and especially the letters then…

    men had to work, WORK, to woo [is that the word] womyn then, what they called courting,

    even Napolean, if you read his love letters to his lovers/wives, this was a man now, a brutal man who left his soldiers to starve and freeze to death in Russia [general winter] but who pleaded and wrote words of some of the most beautiful lyrics to his wives and mistresses…even after he divorced them…

    men today are just to fucking lazy, hell to even make a phone call,
    seriously, think about it,
    they just expect womyn just spread like butter…and they still aren’t any better in bed wise, if you know what i mean, in fact i think they’ve just gotten more lousy at being lovers. seriously

    there is no creativity [and thats a lot due to porn, which should be labeled ‘the stupid lazy guide to misinformed sex and sexuality of womyn’ for dumbed down men who are too lazy and dumb to pick up a book, or to learn listening skills and watching skills]

    there is no effort, hell even the Karma Sutra, which is still patriarchial but hell even it has some reference to ‘effort and understanding’ that most men wouldn’t underdstand today and yes, many womyn because its more than just about the physical,

    so, point is, because this is an issue to in the lesbian relationships because our sexuality is learned, from what? porn influenced societies/misogynist societies and media…quick gratification and quick consumption society/culture…

    so, how much of all these variables play a huge role in the dilemna we have today with womyn, sexuality, finding our comfort in being sexual and free with that but in the same frame work not being exploited or debasing ourselves?

    and something else, with freedom,
    comes responsibility…

    maybe we gained the freedom, but we didn’t take the responsibility that comes with that and i think that does have a lot to do with how we commodify in our world and also, that whole gratification thing…quick quick, no effort, everything visual,
    and what play there is or creativity, is bound up in buying things, or taking from porn, [which is male centered] and even, self-debasement.

    which goes into that whole surrendering power or taking power…
    and we think thats intimacy,
    but is it? i think, its more than just sex…i think we have to reclaim what intimacy is, what earns the right to be intimate with ourselves and what it takes, to gain that place in where people feel safe in that intimate way…

    today we’ve lost that, and what little there is , its just surface, ritual and cheap knock offs.

    i dont’ know but some of the really old antiquity i’ve read, poems, songs, letters, i just don’t think,

    they were as prudish as we think they were or womyn as frigid as they’ve been labeled then…

    i think if anything, we today, have more sexual dysfunction and really,
    the jokes on us.
    and they obviously were having a lot of sex then…average 13 kids i mean come on…like one man said to me, when you have no t.v. no media no theatres no restaurants and no lights, what else do you do with your time….? and if you read the love letters of womyn then,
    uh, of all the relationships i’ve had, i’ve yet to have one, with even that tiny bit, of passion on that deep level.
    just thought i’d throw that out there…i could be wrong, but something tells me, i’m not.

    Peace
    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 3, 2007, 6:29 am
  2. …the right to bodily integrity has not been included in the political platofrm of any male political struggle, and only those objectives which men have seen to be important for themselves have been given serious attention. …Women’s right to escape from being the involuntary object of men’s sexual desires has not earned itself a place in the pantheon of human rights.

    Thought that quote was well worth repeating

    Tasha, I think you are looking at the days of yore through rose-tinted specs. Romanticising the romantics as it were.

    Men who fancy themselves as poets and romantics are preening themselves, creating a self-image for themselves to admire and a distraction from engaging with women as actual live human beings. Now and then, the same.

    And historically, chivalry was only really made available to to the upper classes ie a select few women. The lower order women would still be treated pretty badly. Though even for the aristocracy, in pre-Victorian Britain, 12 year old brides and politically arranged marriage were not uncommon.

    Posted by therealUK | June 3, 2007, 12:34 pm
  3. Lots of good and interesting thoughts, Tasha and therealUK!

    So true the way communist/socialist revolution does NOT necessarily liberate women! How many times have we seen that non-liberation go down and then the situation of women worsen.

    I think everyone should read the Sheila Jeffreys book for all sorts of reasons. One is, pre “sexologists,” it was very common for women to have romantic, intimate relationships with one another, and this was true even when they were planning to marry. The relationships were not stigmatized and were viewed as positive, as sort of a “preparation” for the “real thing” which was, of course, het marriage, so that is disgusting, but still, it is interesting the number of women who did have intimate relationships with one another, love relationships, and memorialized their relationships in letters which are obviously romantic and often sexual.

    Jeffreys and others she sites to in the book say that it wasn’t until the women’s movements of the later 1800s-early 1900s and then the advent of, again, the male “sexologists” that these relationships were stigmatized, probably in part because now they were a threat to male heterosupremacy. If women could not live independently of men because they couldn’t get education, jobs, etc., then there was no real threat from their romantic relationships with one another. But once it became *possible*, because of feminism, for women to live independently of men, have jobs, get an education, that’s when lesbian relationships were stigmatized, in that now the supply of women available to serve men was threatened.

    It’s interesting, going along with what you’ve said there, Tasha, Jeffreys believes these early-1900s “sexologists”,who are now given all of this credit for being pro-gay, etc., and one in particular, probably got most of their information about lesbian sexuality from the pornography of that time! Which was, as it is now, made by males for males, of course. What these guys wrote was helpful to gay men, in that homosexuality was criminalized for men and the sexologists suggested it shouldn’t be because gayness was “natural” for some. But lesbianism wasn’t criminalized for women and all the sexologists’ writings did for women was stigmatize women’s intimacies in a way they hadn’t previously been. The writings also cast aspersions on the women’s rights’ movements as being rife with predatory lesbians of the male imagination. That really struck me given the gigantic numbers of times, comparatively, we see references to Betty Friedan’s ideas about the so-called “Lavender Menace”, i.e., lesbians in the feminist movement, but how many people are aware that males were denouncing women in women’s rights movements as “lesbians” and declaring that these lesbians would destroy the movement a century before the Second Wave, and because the men held the status of “experts”, their views carried weight and greatly harmed the suffrage/women’s rights movements, such that it went into a tremendous decline between the 1920s and the late 1960s in the U.S.

    If this history had been known, the 60s and 70s in the women’s movement might have been different, might have been able to learn from what happened all of those many years prior. But as is SO COMMON, as has happened over and over and over again, women’s work and herstory is erased, is not preserved, and so women have to reinvent the wheel in a million ways with each rebirth of women’s rights movements. Very frustrating.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 3, 2007, 3:12 pm
  4. Not to mention the way this “expert” stigmatizing of lesbianism affected women’s heretofore intimate relationships with one another, instilling fear in women about demonstrations of love and friendship, lest some asshole projecting male accuse them of who knows what.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 3, 2007, 3:14 pm
  5. why I said twice, the social norms may have been there but we know the men were not that way,

    in other words of course i realize that it wasn’t all roses etc…

    i’m was simply referring to the value of womyn as percieved by men as sexual beings, and in antiquity yes it was patriarchial and yes the class strata did have a hell of a lot to do with the debasement of womyn [and i thought of including that but didn’t want to get into that]

    my point is — regarding this book and other debates is that either way, whether womyn are sexually active outside of social norms or whether she isn’t, in today’s world and since the industrialization days i think the value of womyn in men’s eyes [not that there was much to begin with o.k. i’m very well aware of That] but its gotten worse…

    o.k. like you quoted from the book, “only those objectives which men have seen to be important to themselves’ and thats exactly what i’m referring to when i bring up the so called ‘liberating theologies’ of the revolutionary men of that whole epoch…

    as far as womyn’s right to escape from being involuntary object of men’s sexual desires…

    question, has it always been involuntary? and, how would we go about this, become competely non-woman, become men? i say this because this is a topic that is heavily discussed within anarcha-feminist groups, and in many Marxist groups…to become not the gaze of men’s sexual desires some have claimed that womyn should do all in their power to purge all traits of sexuality…

    and i think thats extremism. that and it still is putting the responsibility of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexism

    on WOMYN. as it says right here,
    finish the quote:This may be because the right to bodily integrity has not been included in the political platofrm of any male political struggle, and only those objectives which men have seen to be important for themselves have been given serious attention. …Women’s right to escape from being the involuntary object of men’s sexual desires has not earned itself a place in the pantheon of human rights. Woman’s “frigidity” became an issue in the 1920s as attempts were made to construct a female sexuality which would complement that of men. The struggle of women to assert their right to say no gradually faded into insignificance whilst male sex theorists debated astride the conquered territory of women’s bodies.

    and thats exactly what i was saying, Marx/Engels, Freud and even Bertrand Russell, four examples…

    and i sort of agree and disagree in regards to the days of antiquity and men ‘simply putting airs’, that may be true if they only spoke that way and behaved that way towards womyn they were in relationship with or luring…
    but they also spoke that way and wrote that way to other MEN too,
    i read the letters writting as well during the Wars, regarding rules of engagement, letters written in sympathy, etc…

    and i’m in no way saying these men of that epoch were Civilized jesus hell no, there was brutal class wars/slavery and slavery,

    i’m not some naive romantic…don’t get me wrong here, but i do take strong dislike of this ‘myth’ of degendering womyn into non sexual beings as the answer to the male question…

    because That plays into the hands of none other than

    capitalists and state capitalists and STATISTS who would love nothing more than womyn to become completely desexualized, and families to become completely deconstructed and not just on nuclear level [which i concur with there] but on a whole social level
    and we all just become borgs in that materialist machine…engineered by the social scientists by none other than

    ‘those under the influece of MALE POLEMIC’.

    and in which we will find that womyn are still in the same damn boat…
    i concur with the assertment that yes the intigrity of womyn’s bodies has never been in the goals of polemic…
    but thats just it isn’t it,
    do we demand intigrity and respect for ourselves, our fact that YES WE ARE SEXUAL AND YES WE HAVE THE BIOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT TO MAKE BABIES AND CARRY THEM AND FEED THEM MILK FROM OUR OWN BODIES,

    AND YES WE ARE ATTRACTIVE TO THE MALE, ETC…

    or do we instead continue to demonize that part of ourselves and continue to work to deconstruct it and really just kill itm

    meanwhile men still walk around sexual and just as happy in their dicks and their skin and nothing has changed.

    MY POINT IS, THE BEHAVIOR NEEDS TO BE CHANGED IN MEN,

    HOW MUCH MORE DO WE AS WOMYN HAVE TO CRUCIFY OURSELVES?

    and sure, it wasn’t all roses then, ok., in antiquity,

    BUT GIVE ME A MAN ANYDAY THAT WILL GO THE LENGTH TO WATCH AND SPEAK WORDS OF BEAUTY TO MY SOUL EVEN IF IT IS AIRS,

    THAN SOME SOB SAYING, WANNA FUCK?

    that was what i was trying to get at, and you want to know the worse men who treat womyn like this are the very ones that spew materialist politics and who want to see womyn deconstructed and degenderized and literally just turned into birthing machines when the state wants is [and believe me the whole support of lesbianism to destroy the nuclear family as soon as the STATISTS get in control and they need that labor guess what, they’ll do EXACTLY WHAT HISTORY HAS DONE, STALIN, HITLER, ETC…THEY’LL KILL THE LESBIANS OR ‘CURE’ THEM, ]

    and one more thing, read some of the folk music in antiquity, folk meaning FROM THE PEASANTS AND THE POOR,

    the poor didn’t treat their womyn like the ELITES HAVE ALWAYS ACCUSED THEM OF, IT WAS THE ELITES AND THE RICH AND THE FUEDAL LORDS THAT TREATED THE POOR WOMYN LIKE TRASH AND THAT HASN’T CHANGED…

    one doesn’t have to be upper class to speak beauty or to treat human beings with respect. not now, and not then…it was only AFTER THE CLASS FEUDAL STRATA WITH THE VIOLENCE IN FEUDALISM AND SERFDOM that men became more violent and misogynist to their sisters…in that Framework that is…

    and to a degree [meaning the misogyny and violence etc increases with class oppression, and becomes more acceptable and internalized]

    my concern today and i have to concur with Bakunin on this is that we now have this ‘scientific ‘elitism’ that is just as dangerous to womyn,

    i don’t think we will find liberation from deconstruction in its extremes…

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 3, 2007, 3:19 pm
  6. i think the value of womyn in men’s eyes [not that there was much to begin with o.k. i’m very well aware of That] but its gotten worse…

    I don’t think it’s a simple linear descent. It fluctuates, and takes different forms.

    At the moment, certainly in the USA and other westernised societies, the mainstream acceptance of quite explicit violence and degradation of women as entertainment is going through a particularly bad phase.

    BUT GIVE ME A MAN ANYDAY THAT WILL GO THE LENGTH TO WATCH AND SPEAK WORDS OF BEAUTY TO MY SOUL EVEN IF IT IS AIRS,

    If it’s fake, and all about the man’s own image of himself, then personally I would not be wooed.

    THAN SOME SOB SAYING, WANNA FUCK?

    You describe two different manifestations of disrespect. If someone is trapped and the only choices are abusive or less abusive disrespect, then obviously less abuse is preferable. But better still is the option to walk away or choose respect elsewhere, if available.

    Posted by therealUK | June 3, 2007, 5:21 pm
  7. Exactly the realUK,

    ‘two manifestations of disrespect, if someone [and womyn are] trapped and the only choices are abusive or less abusive disrespect, then obviously the less is preferable…”

    but the option to walk away [TO WHERE I MAY ASK? AND REMEMBER I WAS DECONSTRUCTED FROM A VIOLENT FEMALE/BIO MOM AND IN THERAPY I MEET LESBIANS FLEEING ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS AND SOME WHO’VE BEEN RAPED BY OTHER LESBIANS, SO THATS OBVIOUSLY NO UTOPIA EITHER, SO TO WHERE I MAY ASK TO WE WALK TOO?]

    BTW CAPS FOR EMPHASIS, NO BOLD ON HERE…

    and then,

    to the CHOOSE RESPECT ELSEWHERE, AGAIN,

    WHERE?

    I researched alt-porn, same shit, researched lesbian communities online, hell some of them are worse, and researched bi-sexual communities and some of them are worse worse…

    i was i have to say a bit shocked to see the balkanization of womyn’s bodies into parts by none other than on lesbian forums…and i researched a couple of different ones,

    so, i’m not sure where we go to get that respect in a patriarchial society, or in a deconstructionist society because,

    is our deconstruction simply an extension of the woman question that really is the

    FINAL SOLUTION TO THE WOMAN PROBLEM?
    Why isn’t it simply a Linear descent? I THINK IT IS, ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL ESPECIALLY,

    its like, even in the solutions they are always coming back to that psychological framework of deconstruction and destroying,

    the essense of woman. I could draw this better than write it because i see it in a dialectic…and it like,
    well, speaking of fake, hell half of what i’ve read even on lesbian community forums/alt porn is still fake, its still that replaying of what

    we’ve learned from male sexuality…does that make any sense?

    see i guess i see it differently due to having been deconstructed in two ways, one having violently any trait remotely femme attacked and demonized by my bio-mom [who was the perfect assimilated female into male in many aspects]

    and then being demonized and deconstructed or balkanized by men [speaking of body, etc]…and exploited, etc…

    so, i dont’ know but i just see it differently and i see this linear slow gendercide against womyn,

    and not just via patriarchy but in the solutions, or theories and its almost like, until womyn find on an instinctual level apart from all male constructs i am not sure we are liberating…i worry that we are just fulfilling that linear final solution, so to speak…

    this is theory, i just see flaws, holes in the theories…and not sure as to what i am going with this,

    but i see it.

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 3, 2007, 5:45 pm
  8. Just one point at the moment, and that is, don’t judge lesbians, lesbian feminists, or lesbian communities by what you see online! Yes, there are issues in lesbian community, lesbians are human beings, and the influence of trans/pomo/queer/pro-porn/pro-sm ideologies have left their mark, but radical feminist lesbians and communities have always rejected subordination in all of its forms, including pornography, including SM, including inequality in intimate relationships. That has never changed, despite ongoing efforts at silencing and erasure.
    Tasha, to bold text, use html, i.e. left carrot, b, right carrot in front of the word you want to bold, left carrot, slash, b, right carrot afterwards
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 3, 2007, 7:45 pm
  9. One more thought– the book we’re talking about here is The Spinster and Her Enemies — Feminism and Sexuality 1880-1930. Spinsterhood — remaining solitary as a lighthouse, as M. Piercy puts it — is always an option and, in my opinion, a very good option. Some of the finest work done on behalf of women has been done, and is being done, by women who, by conscious decision, were unpartnered — Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, after her kids were grown, and many others living now whose privacy I do not feel comfortable violating, especially after some of the crap I read in the Levy foreward about Andrea Dworkin. Quite a few woman-centered women throughout history have decided they enjoyed their lives more when they could devote most of their time to their own work, creativity, fun, hobbies, individual pursuits. Romance, sexual intimacy, “falling in love” — it’s all good, I guess, these have their place, and I know better than to talk any woman out of them once she’s in the thrall of them. But these also take their toll on us as women, they drain our energy and divert our attention. Ideas about romance, love and sex which are heteropatriarchal and sexist through and through, impulses and feelings which are destructive and self-sabotaging to us, as women, run deep in almost all of us. It’s going to take some generations for intimate relationships to be revisioned into mutality and egalitarian-ness, I’m afraid. I’m just saying, ain’t nuttin wrong with spinsterhood — it is a legitimate place to go, a “place to turn to” away from the misogyny, sexism, and disrespect of the not-so-conscious, the misognists, the sexists — and there’s a whole lot right about choosing spinsterhood, which is why the spinster, herstorically, has had so, so many enemies. She’s a true threat to the heteropatriarchal way of things.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 3, 2007, 7:59 pm
  10. Where do we post the post :

    Happy Birthday Heart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Uppity

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | June 3, 2007, 9:48 pm
  11. Is that true? Then double happy birthday Heart!!

    I also want to say how much I appreciate your words on spinsterhood. Though I’m not one technically (I’m divorced), I’ve lived alone for years now. Since I’ve hit my mid-forties, people have stopped treating me like a young woman on the verge of finding true love, and I’m just now starting to feel the hostility. Women who choose a single life are indeed perceived of as a threat. It’s very hard.

    Posted by roamaround | June 3, 2007, 11:23 pm
  12. roamaround

    most of the womyn i know live alone…why they hostility? is it because you choose to live alone or because of ageism? i think most womyn in their forties feel that hostility whether they are alone, married, whatever….

    or is it different environments expect/demand different things? but most womyn in my neighborhood that are divorced or older are alone…most that i know…and they aren’t looking to remarry or many to even date.

    i always thought that most womyn though who’ve delt with men on long term basis [marriage, etc] usually did choose to be alone after, or at least thats been my experience. so i wonder who much of the hostility is due to ageism,

    because i do see so much of that, pretty much everywhere…

    tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 3, 2007, 11:40 pm
  13. Heart,
    happy birthday…my daughter’s birthday was yesterday, so Leo’s then in zodiac….

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 3, 2007, 11:44 pm
  14. Ah, thanks, Uppity, Roamaround and Tasha! Yes, indeed, it’s my birthday. I am a triple Gemini, Leo Rising, dragon, true to every last word of it. 🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 4, 2007, 12:44 am
  15. to clarify:
    most of the womyn i know living alone [over forties] ARE also very low income…very very low income,
    and i’m sure that too, adds to the whole dynamic, because they just dont’ have the luxury, money, or time to invest in relationships,
    but they are not happy womyn. None of them that i know are,

    most of them are very bitter, and not saying that as judgment against them, in any way,

    but relaying the reality. poverty is a big part of it, most of them have been married more than once,

    one of them, a friend of mine, not close but a friend, she’s in her 80s, was married two times, raised six kids on her own with no support [white woman] in Nebraska, divorced her first husband, waited until her second husband died,

    i will never forget this but she was telling me one day that she didn’t think he’d live more than five years but the old coot lived fifteen more years, i had to laugh at that one but at the same time i could see the hurt and bitterness…

    majority of mobile home communities are low income single womyn or poor families, many womyn with disabilities,

    i think its really tragic though, how many of these womyn have been married, have invested so much time in their families, in work [most of them have always worked both in the home and out of the home] and they can barely pay the lot rents…

    most juggle, between paying for lot rent/mortgage and also having to upkeep the lots [yea we are fucking sharecroppers in good ole USA] and

    having to pay for medicine and food…most go without.

    so in a way when i see the word spinster i think of these womyn,

    i don’t see them having a lot of time and luxury to create or do much,
    just surviving, most of them barely.

    sometimes i see that as my future and i think, no, i think i’d rather just be done with it…seriously,

    cuzz poverty, is being stuck, in so many ways. i’ve lived in communities that were also majority of Latina and African American, the one difference I see however is the family support,

    you dont’ see the amount of isolation in Latina and African American communities among the older womyn that you do in mostly white communities….

    so i’m not so sure spinsterhood is all its cracked up to be.

    not in white culture, thats for sure.

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 1:44 am
  16. Happy Birthday Heart!!!!!

    Demonizing the older woman is intertwined into our culture. It is a major aspect of the Western mythology, –its narrative.

    Meet Cinderella. Her mother dies and is replaced by the evil stepmother. The message, women who are post-fecund are evil and nasty. If they are not, then they are magical, “not real” as in the Fairy Godmother.

    The biological mother cannot remain in the story because it does not reconcile with the intended patriarchal plot, which is to dispose of women who are no longer useful for to the population (producing babies for the workforce). It is sociopathilogical really. No one is worthy of growing old and being cared for when old but the menz.

    Currently on Disney Channel, there are the shows Hannah Montana and Corey in the House. One is white centered the other black centered, however, both are missing the mother. Supposedly in Hannah Montana the mother dies, in Corey in the House the mother abandons (everyone seems to be okay with this abandonment too) her husband and teenage son to pursue a law career in England. Subsequently, the sexism is racialized because Billy Ray Cyrus’s character (the white male) in Hannah Montana is free to be the stud to date hot babes, where as Victor Baxter in Corey in the House becomes sexless (no longer a threat as black men are stereotypically portrayed) because he is in fact still married.

    Every thing works out for the menz when older women are erased.

    Posted by Chasingmoksha | June 4, 2007, 2:40 am
  17. interesting anaylsis Chasingmokska,

    and very right on…but something too that has bothered me a bit and its the use of the calling older womyn

    hags and crones in some of the pagan beliefs, and that has really irked me a lot. I’ve noticed this in Slavic paganism as well as Euro-centric paganism, especially in wicca.

    and its like, you said, once a woman has outlived her ‘social’ usefulness, in birthing children she’s cast aside, and i know in Russia there are several feminist artists who have been revolting against this mentality.

    due to the art work that i do [reconstructed clothing/embroidery etc] i keep up with the fashion industry and i study the trends, history [and its very tied into the capitalist exploitation of womyn’s work but started actually in the male taking over of arts via academia] and anyway,

    i can’t recall what brand but one of the high fashions did a layout of older womyn in pastel suits…I LOVED IT, i mean FINALLY, OLDER WOMYN, IN PINKS, LAVENDERS, GREENS, BLUES,

    and not in dreary drab puke brown and beige and black…

    and THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL…ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL and i thought,

    THATS WHAT I AM GOING TO DO IF I LIVE THAT LONG, TURKEY NECK AND ALL, LOL, I’M GOING TO WEAR PINKS AND LAVENDERS AND LILACS WITH PEARLS AND TO HELL WITH THE DICTATES OF SOCIETY.

    I wanted to Jump into that photograph and just enjoy being with these womyn all day for weeks on end, they were the most beautiful models i’ve ever seen, sexual, powerful, full of wisdom and strong,

    it was such a contrast in comparison to the usual photo-fashion layout, and the thing that struck me so much was that these were older womyn WHO LOOKED LIKE OLDER WOMYN, NOT WITH THE HARSH FACE LIFTS AND THEY ALL HAD WHITE HAIR.

    another example: one day, on the bus, two older womyn were sitting next to each other talking in barely a whisper, i was sitting across from them and they both had their heavy winter coats and their knee high stockings with loafers, but dainty loafers….hair nicely done and it was like they were lovers, with long time held secrets and i remember watching them and thinking to myself,

    i want that, i want that closeness and relationship with a woman like they have…i’ve never forgotten it, but of all the couples i have seen, i remember those two, i remember them and with all the alone older womyn i see every day, as i live in a neighborhood with them…it was encouraging but its rare, it really is rare because of how our society is structured…not so rare in other cultures and regions.

    [some of the European/east and Russian literature written by womyn reveals so much about the community of womyn and close knit relationships among womyn in those parts of the world]…we dont’ have that here, we do but its a small minority, and economics too i think plays a huge role as it does in creating that ‘cubicle isolationist world’ for all of us.

    i have to add too, that i have a love for older womyn, because of my Nana…my Nana, in spite of her problems, was in so many ways my mother, she filled in, and saved me several times…

    i remember still the first time i hugged her in CA, when we left my father [i was six] and i can still smell her face powder, which i wear now, and her lipstick, which i still wear, usually and her wigs, she wore wigs…to cover her hair. she was a cotton farmer [actually cotton picker slave but thats a long story] and she had black lung disease, which finally killed her, had her lungs scraped once,

    and she drank due to the pain…she is the one who always talked to me about Isis, [though i never drew the connected dots until a year ago] and she taught me the culture of the old world [Italian/Slav and Southern culture–food, she was always cooking deep South food, which i didn’t take to all of it, but i didn’t take to some of the Slav food either, still can’t stomach cabbage rollls, but too, i didn’t take to all the Italian food either, its funny because i’m a texmex and mexican and chinese food addict, lol]

    but i still remember Nana’s chicken and dumplins and she taught me how to make the dumplins but i really didn’t pay much attention…i wish i had of now, as i’ve looked and looked and can’t find the recipe the way she made them…but oh, now thats love food,

    i think she made them to comfort my brother and me, though too it was bittersweet, as she hated men, and she projected some of that onto my brother, and my bio-mom used that, too, against me…yea dysfunctional family big time [it gets worse, the hate between the Irish side-father’s side and the Italian side-granddads’ Nana’s second husband, and i mean brutal prejudice hatred…and us kids, got thrown into the middle, we were demonized on both sides]

    anyway…majority of good memories i have which arent’ many but they are all tied to Nana, and she taught me the value of culture, see she didn’t assimilate as much and great Nana on granddads side REFUSED TO ASSIMILATE, in fact she spoke Italian, and wore the black that widows wear, she was i have a feeling Strega..why i have researched Strega some, hard to find authentive Strega however [like many native beliefs its been prostituted and defiled by marketeers]

    the point is, older womyn hold the keys, to so much more than just family…they can literally SAVE CULTURES…

    example, Ukraine. Gold embroidery, passed down in folk and pagan Slavic tribes, most were wiped out under Stalin’s purges…this woman wanted to revive the lost arts and she looked and found ONE woman, ONE older woman that survived and still knew, how to do this very fine silk gold hand embroidery…

    and she taught this woman and now the fine art is once again, flourishing, as is much of the old cultures that if not for this one woman,

    would have died, forever.

    I love Nana for so much, but most of all, for passing down, the culture that so many in Amerikkka have forgotten, we’ve never celebrated Columbus Day, as it wasn’t a day of importance, that is an Amerikkkan observance, our pride in culture was not in the celebration of slavery and genocide, or in nationalism or in religion…

    it was in the arts of the folk culture that even now, if one goes to Italy, most have been lost…i don’t even Go into the discourse on the colonization via religion there…but there are studies now, on the ancient cultures before the Romans and the Roman Catholics.

    i never realized the importance of so much she passed down to me until i started studying womyn’s art and culture as well as the history of Italian and Irish womyn in Amerikkka…esp in the textile sweatshop slavery which still so many have not a clue,

    most of all, Nana taught me that ‘white culture’ was a myth, a false culture built on racism and classism and religion…over time,

    and since yesterday, in writing no mental illness and womyn, i realized something else,

    the whole establishment on ‘prison systems’ [relating to another topic i’ve posted on here]

    is a

    ‘white’ establishment…which tells me,

    is the defining of mental illness, just another means in which the ‘white’ establishment,

    hides their sins?

    anyway…interesting about the abandonment of mothers or by mothers on the Disney Channel…that does say a whole lot, never thought of it but you’ve hit on something very important there, because its in most of the children’s shows.

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 12:34 pm
  18. “in Corey in the House the mother abandons (everyone seems to be okay with this abandonment too) her husband and teenage son to pursue a law career in England.”

    LOL ! What an asinine premise!

    Now that you mention it, it does seem there have been an awful lot of family shows without moms. Anyone remember My Two Dads or Full House?

    Hmm.

    Posted by Gayle | June 4, 2007, 3:13 pm
  19. Yup. I remember.

    Also, “Three Men and a Baby” (a movie I think.)

    Feeding the sheeple the notion that men nurture children “just as much as women do”. Similar to the notion that women rape males (and women) “just as much as men do”.

    So that all the patriarchy deniers can say, “see … ?”.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | June 4, 2007, 3:24 pm
  20. By the way, the president’s wife is never shown or heard, EVER, nor the mothers of Newt (Corey’s classmate) or Meena’s mother (the girl Corey has a crush on and one of his best friends). No mothers! The females are one teenage girl (the crush) and a “bitchy-nerdy” (defined as strict by wiki) presidential assistant. Yet I am sure Disney is acting as if they are so cutting edge because the president of the United States has a “Spanish” surname, and the girl who plays his daughter is bi-racial. But again, the mom is always busy and never in the picture. When the eight year old has a problem she seeks her father out, including calling him on Airforce One.

    Perhaps it is obvious this shows annoys the heck out of me.

    Posted by Chasingmoksha | June 4, 2007, 3:39 pm
  21. Two men and a Baby? Or, going way back – My Three Sons.

    Even in the Nancy Drew series, the mother was dead. Nancy’s mentor was her father.

    Happy Birthday, Heart!

    Posted by Branjor | June 4, 2007, 3:53 pm
  22. LOVE this book (though your copy has a much swankier cover than mine!).

    And happy birthday, my dear friend. Sorry to have been so out of touch — with all the in and out of town and finishing the Scarleteen site upgrade (upgrading after many, many years of running a site: not the best time ever) — I’ve been outta my mind.

    But once we finish this, I’m taking a week off: I’ve needed to for over six months, and I am just lit. So, if you want to fit a lunch in, or just a nice day on your land, holler: I’m so there.

    Posted by Heather Corinna | June 4, 2007, 4:01 pm
  23. Happy Birthday Heart!

    Posted by delphyne | June 4, 2007, 4:05 pm
  24. Hey, thanks, you wimmin for the happy birthdays. 🙂

    Heather, that cover is from online somewhere, mine actually has the green ratty cover with pictures of 1800s women on it. 🙂

    Okay, I’ll e-mail you. 🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | June 4, 2007, 4:30 pm
  25. reading Gyn/Ecology, i started from back…

    anyway, i wasn’t aware of the meanings behind Hag and Crone, Chronology…in paganism, am now, but

    wanted to add that, i just read that after i posted here,

    anyhow, in the South, Hag is a deragatory term used by men to slander womyn, why i cringed when i saw it in paganism…
    so o.k. well that clears that up.

    tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 6:49 pm
  26. regarding womyn who rape [bio-mom one of them]

    to bring forth into light, is not to be a patriarchial denier,

    instead, it shows the TRUTH ABOUT TOTALITARIAN ‘TOKEN’ WOMYN,

    as Mary reveals in her book, and the polemic is increasing with tokenism and it would be wise,

    to take heed, and listen, even to voices, that differ. esp if they speak warnings…and know, what the darkness is and how it works, in life and in polemics.

    tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 6:51 pm
  27. Tasha said:

    I think its really tragic though, how many of these womyn have been married, have invested so much time in their families, in work [most of them have always worked both in the home and out of the home] and they can barely pay the lot rents…

    most juggle, between paying for lot rent/mortgage and also having to upkeep the lots [yea we are fucking sharecroppers in good ole USA] and

    having to pay for medicine and food…most go without.

    so in a way when i see the word spinster i think of these womyn,

    i don’t see them having a lot of time and luxury to create or do much,
    just surviving, most of them barely.

    sometimes i see that as my future and i think, no, i think i’d rather just be done with it…seriously,

    cuzz poverty, is being stuck, in so many ways. i’ve lived in communities that were also majority of Latina and African American, the one difference I see however is the family support,

    you dont’ see the amount of isolation in Latina and African American communities among the older womyn that you do in mostly white communities….

    so i’m not so sure spinsterhood is all its cracked up to be.

    not in white culture, thats for sure.”

    Tasha, you say so much that’s amazing!!! This hit me like a ton of bricks. I am a white woman who is in daily, intimate contact with African-American and Latina communities and I think you make an important point. It’s very hard to be out here on your own.

    I remember going to the Motor Vehicles Dept. to get my license and I was the only person there alone. Every person of color had at least one and usually several family members there too.

    I know there is often pressure and oppression involved in family dynamics, but life alone is really, really hard too.

    But Tasha, please forgive me for being too teacher-y, I think you mix too many stories up in your posts. You have brilliant things to say, but they get lost in the stream-of-consciousness. Talk to me one subject at a time and I hear you better.

    You are amazing. Your stories about your Nana and the passing down of folk culture are priceless. Thank you.

    Posted by roamaround | June 5, 2007, 4:17 am
  28. ***in the South, Hag is a deragatory term used by men to slander womyn***

    Well, I’m from NYC/NJ, and “hag” is a derogatory term used to slander women here too.

    Posted by Branjor | June 5, 2007, 11:49 am
  29. I have attempted to reclaim hag as a term of endearment, but I have been met with too much opposition. I can only recall using hag toward someone I dearly care for. But I think my inner-world often collides and fails to reconcile with the outer world. Hag is met with hostility and God forbid let the woman be one year older than me or have been accused of looking older, I soon find out the mistake I made. Of course I am talking in the past tense, I no longer use it because of a collective failure to reclaim it. Personally, I associate hag with more of a crone (in the good has obtained wisdom sense), a wise woman, a woman who is not ruled by what others think of her, a witch (again in the feminist sense, not in the demonizing one needs to look out for her sense). Mostly what they think of her appearance, because I do not trust that many people use much else for first impressions, especially not men or patriarchal tools. Also when I was younger I loathed the term “fag hag.” I am not sure if any male homosexual I know referred to me as a “fag hag” because I did not have the time or the desire to put in the work it took to become a “fag hag” (dropping everything at once to hang out with them, compliment their exaggerated state of femininity, drive myself home after I am left in the club, etc) However, I still thought it was derogatory and proof that being homosexual (male) does not guarantee jettisoning one’s conditioned misogyny. Having the “fag” precede the “hag” conveys an ownership or at the very least a suggestion that a hag is just a hag thus worthless unless she becomes a “fag hag.” A promotion.

    The long and the tall, hag=no no.

    Posted by E. K.(Kitty) Glendower | June 5, 2007, 1:58 pm
  30. I love Mary Daly’s “Positively Revolting Hag”.

    Posted by Branjor | June 5, 2007, 6:04 pm
  31. Mary Daly, has done so much through her writings to save me, LITERALLY…that is not an understatement,

    I hope you all know, how much your blogs [I’ve been reading them for some time now], this space, your comments, have helped me these past few months. I found this space, broken, devastated, horrified due to the brutal attacks by some men in the far left, one whom had converted to Islam, is an extreme misogynist, lies to womyn as an activist and targets single mothers who are low income especially, in womyn’s rights groups believe it or not…who threatened me because I dared to take a stand, several stands…

    i cannot tell you how painful that experience was, as a former socialist who had put in so many years in socialism and had trusted, so much trust to see, the feminist ‘label’ was only a lie, a lie to use womyn as tokens, to use them yet still be apologetic and tolerant of rape, child rape, domestic violence and many of the very men in the movement are guilty of one or all three. And the womyn know it, yet for the life of me i don’t know why they continue to support that in some misguided sense of solidarity.

    I realize the class structure as I’m one of the underclass/prolitariat as they term it…i realize the racism as i am a mother of a bi-racial child, i’m fully aware of these social constructs and systems, but it comes to a point, where one has to realize that liberation of one type of slavery while condoning and perpetuating another worse form of slavery is not liberation of any kind. Any slavery tolerated will only eventually, re-establish the entire slave system, in other words, as long as the enslavement and paternalist male dominion of womyn is accepted under phallocracy [thank you Mary, that term NAILS IT], there can never be any freedom from labor slavery, wage slavery, racial slavery/racism, etc…

    and not the other way around.

    The Socialist Forum in Chicago is about to meet, where many from various socialist and communist parties meet, to plan and it lays the groundwork for political action…and still, there is not one mention, of the liberation of womyn [as Mary says it] from the sexual oppression and male entitlements be they in practice, theory, political or religious. NOT ONE PLATFORM, NOT ONE.

    instead, the painted birds, the few that still exist in that polemic, are lumping in with the nationalists [who see nothing wrong with raping womyn–as womyn are P.R.O.P.E.R.T.Y.], lumping in with the labor leaders [who see nothing wrong with sexual harassment, lower wages for womyn, lack of insurance coverage for birth control but oh boy they can get viagra now, under union insurance…], political revolutionary men who see nothing wrong with pornography, child rape, religions that rely on the subjugation and rape of womyn to expand and to thrive, and it just goes on and on and on.

    You know I spent four years in college studying international politics [esp revolutionary], working in activism in far left, working in labor rights, in anti-war, etc..and the whole time i continued to see the apathy and selling out of womyn’s rights, oh, i heard the ‘lip-speak’, read the labels of ‘feminism’ and the ‘false solidarity of womyns’ liberation’ but when push came to shove, each and every time, the minute you mention ending the male supremacy, especially the male heterosexual supremacy, you’d get the usual reactions,

    flat line silence
    the oh you hate men or you need to get laid or are you one of those feminist nazi’s and the ‘are you a lesbian?’
    the outright attacks, verbal and threats of physical

    I held on, for so long, because i believe so much, in the struggle, as a low income woman, who has known homelessness, exploitation, low wages, having to resort to prostitution, who has known and believed in the ‘class struggle’…

    to see it all, wind down eventually to having to face, that all those years, i was duped, used, manipulated and worst, used and willingly, sad to say, as a token, a token that was working to set up a system, that would still, tolerate the dominance and worship of the political analogy of the dick.

    Why I speak out now, why i will continue to speak out, why more than ever womyn need to pull together, as womyn identified feminists, and let the polemic know,

    we won’t be sold out, or contribute, to our selling ourselves out.

    because we are, devine….we deserve more, we are worth more, we contribute so much more and for decades have been dismissed, trivialized, raped, beaten, impoverished, exploited, ridiculed, victimized,

    by men in the personal and men in the political.

    it is time, for the phoenix to rise from the ashes, and claim her rightful place on this earth, as the Mother Goddess created it that way in the beginning…

    and its time, to pull together, and kick the patriarchial and misogynist asses, off their pedestal, because

    THEY DON’T BELONG THERE.

    LOVE,

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 5, 2007, 7:32 pm
  32. Tasha wrote:

    “The Socialist Forum in Chicago is about to meet, where many from various socialist and communist parties meet, to plan and it lays the groundwork for political action…and still, there is not one mention, of the liberation of womyn [as Mary says it] from the sexual oppression and male entitlements be they in practice, theory, political or religious. NOT ONE PLATFORM, NOT ONE.”

    Tasha, I have been there too!! I know exactly what you are talking about. “Feminism is too divisive,” the Chicago socialists told me. And when a man they KNEW used and degraded women was about to join them, they were all excited because he’s Mexican-American and they need more Latinos. His exploitation of women was just “immaturity” they said, salivating over their token Mexican.

    “a token that was working to set up a system, that would still, tolerate the dominance and worship of the political analogy of the dick.”

    You are so right and that’s why they still love Chavez in Venezuela even though he hails and cuddles Ahmedinejad in Iran who throws women activist in jail. For women, their version of “class struggle” just means trading one dick for another.

    Thanks again so much for your perceptive posts. I came to this blog after trauma from the left too, so I hear you loud and clear.

    Hugs,

    roamaround

    Posted by roamaround | June 6, 2007, 5:35 am
  33. Tasha, I wrote a long response to you but it disappeared! Just want to say that I HEAR YOU! And you are so absolutely right, about the socialists ignoring women’s oppression and lots else. Thanks for your posts. -roamaround

    Posted by roamaround | June 6, 2007, 5:38 am
  34. Roamaround,

    thats o.k. i’ve noticed that if i write long posts they disappear too,

    lol i bet I KNOW who the Mexican-American man is too, LOL, I bet I know which one,

    I emailed one of the socialist planners for the meet in Chicago on the lack of feminist platform and they immediately deleted it,

    assholes. They have me on their little ‘blacklist’, because i continue to put the truth out there, not for them, no, to inform the womyn, to warn…but i have to do it in a non-direct way.

    they prey on passion of the young womyn especially, they are very clever, sinister and subtle in how they work. Mary Daly nailed it when she termed it the Token Totalitarians. The strategy behind the far left in the immigrants rights movement, is extremely nationalist and fascist and misogynist and it blows my mind at how many Chicano feminists have bought into the lie…and western feminists too,

    the right wing has their own strategy [and the poor workers, undocumented workers are the pawns and fodder being exploited] by both,

    the ironic twist is that the socialist feminists are claiming pro-choice rights, [abortion is the big battle but the men could care less about birth control rights, just the abortion, see that way they can rape, exploit, traffick and erase the evidence, its not that they ‘care for womyn’s right to control their bodies’] but the ironic twist is,

    the heavy influx of the Charasmatic Catholics that are Dire Hard Oppenents of feminism and especially abortion rights and birth control rights, that are flooding the borders, so in a way, they work against their own interests, which just boggles me…

    and like its right there in front of them and when you show it to them, its like, you see the ‘cult indoctrination’ working big time.

    if you get the chance, if you havent’ read the book already, the woman that helped me to break free, was her book,
    “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi,

    she is a brilliant and beautiful artist of words, and she exposes so articulately and vividly the truth about totalitarianism and how the Tudah womyn, were betrayed by the Fundamentalist Regime…horribly so,

    they were the first to be rounded up and gang raped in prisons and butchered. I fear for the womyn in Venezuala, seriously do, hey have not a clue as to whats in store for them. But too, i don’t buy into to all the propaganda either, the Token Feminists who speak of praise for both Chavez and Castro…

    all one has to do, is pick up any tourist guide by American men, and they Brag about the high numbers of womyn AND children in Cuba, who prostitute out of desparation, so that tells me, the bullshit LIES of the far left, is just that, LIES. and the Child prostitution in Cuba right now is at an all time high…for none other than Western [Amerikkkan and European and some other nations] CAPITALIST MEN, especially White MEN,

    and the money rolls into the banks of the demi-gods and despots, right or left, same ole thing, STATE DICK-TATORS.

    who drink and bathe in the blood of virgins and swim in the blood baths of the butchered womyn and children.

    with the license by none other than God/Allah, that religion of the Male Devine Order, to rape, pillage, brutalize and devour.

    and the Mexican American men in the far left I’ve spoken too [and i have kept the emails now with their statements but you know, a huge feminist political body here in the states, that is in bed with the far left, refuses to even acknowledge or allow these to be put out in public to inform womyn and if the womyn only Knew…]

    but the few I have spoken too, have all said,

    “womyn’s oppression is not our problem, womyn will have to rise up themselves [yea like in systems where they are shot or raped or imprisoned for even speaking out, uh huh or starved or every other systematic terror used]
    and that, womyn by nature now, are meant to take the seed of men and men are meant by nature, to spread their seed and thats just the way it is, men are primitive and can’t help that primitive instinct [yea no joke, i have this shit in emails now, from some of the Mexican-American and White men leaders in both socialism and communism parties, the Big ones, big parties] and thats just how it is, blah blah blah…

    shit might as well be sitting there listening to some ole woman hating preacher from the Fundie Christians in the South, no kidding….or from some woman hating Iman, spewing that womyn who show skin are whores and beg for rape…

    its the same old bullshit. But the far left, is very clever, in how they LIE to womyn…
    AND THEY USE THEIR TOKEN WOMYN TO DO IT TOO.

    by the time the infrastructure is there, its too late…

    you know after the Bolsheviks took power, in two provinces, it was lawed that any woman who said no to unwanted sex was a puritanical bourgousie and a traitor to the prolitariat class,
    and these men, raped these womyn, mostly young girls,

    this was going on everywhere but in two provinces it was made Law, finally due to complaints the Politburo in Moscow overturned it, but the damage was done and the attitude that womyn owed their bodies to male comrades, was entrenched,

    why Stalin had no issue, with the Soviet troops raping Yugoslavian womyn, during the war, womyn they were supposed to be ‘liberating’. But the men will say, thats Stalinism, no, oh no, it was going on during Lenin too.

    and Kollantie knew it. [founder of Zhenodtel, women’s commission under the Soviet regime]

    there is a Reason, why so many womyn risk being drowned, in fleeing Cuba…its not for wealth.

    but it will take sadly, the betrayals I’m afraid, for many of the Chicano socialist feminists and the Anglo socialist feminists, to see it….and the older ones, the tokens, they’ll be protected by the wealth and power of the left elite — why I loathe them.

    and many of these tokens are in the liberal left, its not just the far left. why i tell womyn to be very wary of propaganda, read both right, left, central, read it all, sift through it, even that that is far right, though it may be in so many ways everything you are against, read it all in an critical way, and compare the notes, you start seeing the threads, you can dump the garbage, the racism, nationalism, bias, etc. and take the common threads,
    and you see alot, especially the betrayals to womyn, from every angle.

    [also good way to see commonalities in how propaganda is used, cuzz the polars use some of the same logic, they just replace words and enemies]

    and search for the lone voices, esp in womyn’s activism why i do so much research, its the lone ones, the ones who are woman identified and human rights oriented that you can see, the ones who are invisible but who say it as it is, like it is, and they are the ones sadly, who are the most targeted for abuse and death.

    but they speak the truth, also why in many regions of the world paganism is increasing, people going back searching for meaning outside of religion and polemic, people who’ve seen the betrayals,

    some of the strongest oppenents against socialist and communist sexism are the womyn in Pakastan, Afghanistan, India [Maoists] and China/Russia,

    and these womyn work in the parties, but unlike the West, they live with the horrors and the betrayals, why the western men [far left] don’t ever refer to their newsletters and warnings nor do they allow them in posts, as i’ve submitted several, they delete them time and time again.

    doesn’t matter how empirical the studies are either, esp gender studies [some of the best are from the Balkans and former Soviet Bloc nations and China] cuzz they tear apart and expose the lies of nationalism, statism and patriarchy and religion.

    but it does break my heart, to see the young womyn activists, being so duped and used and lied too, their passion for feminism used to work to enslave them in the future, why i continue as much as possible to confront these assholes,

    not to change them, forget that, but to warn the womyn, the young womyn, even if it gets them to think, plant that seed,

    it may be the seed that saves them one day. I would love to talk to you, it is uplifting to know there are others who’ve seen it too, we can exchange absurdity stories, lol, you know its in anarchism too, but lately it seems that the anarcha-feminists have taken quite a beating…too spread out and too isolated, there’s a real danger in that isolation,

    why i love studying and learning from the crones, womyn of wisdom, i’m learning so much….so much freeing on the inside, shedding that paint, like floating on air, seriously…

    i never got that from ‘comradeship’, and Mary Daly really nails that one on the head too, I love her writing, love her love her love her…🙂 She’s helped me Sooo much, i don’t know her or anything but oh, if you can get that book,

    Gyn/Ecology, for those who’ve dealt with the totalitarian tokens, this book, will open eyes and free you from so much, the words will break so many chains around the spirit.

    may butterflies sprinkle your paths this week,🙂

    Love,

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | June 6, 2007, 7:54 pm
  35. Just have to say- I have this book, and I love it! Sheila rocks!

    Posted by Laurelin | June 6, 2007, 11:36 pm

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