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Pre-2008 Posts

Dreaming of Women’s Country

I’ve been listening to Maire Brennan today, the first snowy day here in the Pacific Northwest, so beautiful!  I went looking for her on youtube, then found her voice accompanying yet another Mists of Avalon video.  The song is “Perfect Time,” and this is a perfect time, for me, for this song.  Be inspired and encouraged.

–Heart, house filled with incense, enjoying a hot buttered brandy

Discussion

29 thoughts on “Dreaming of Women’s Country

  1. I thought you might find this article interesting, Heart:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2178643?GT1=10733

    “As luck would have it, there’s new data out there about the shifts that take place when women run the world.”

    Posted by Kiuku | December 2, 2007, 8:39 am
  2. You know, I read something about this, or skimmed it, recently and meant to go back and find what is probably this same article you’ve linked to, Kiuku, so thanks, I’ll go read!

    Posted by womensspace | December 2, 2007, 5:13 pm
  3. Interesting article. The MBA case study (Heidi & Howard) was most revealing.

    51% of the population, we STILL don’t have equal (51%) representation. That is the case to continue the feminist cause.

    Posted by stormy | December 3, 2007, 8:23 pm
  4. That was beautiful Hearrrt, thank you.

    And Kiuku is here! Yay. Kiuku is fabulous. I’ve seen several comments of hers over at radfems, and wanted to reply, but usually the subject of Dr. Sock’s article just enrages me, so by the time I’m figured out how to get my comment past Violet’s politeness filter it’s usually too late to bother posting it.

    But I am internally motivated to improve, so maybe someday. 🙂

    I really like how you get your point across, Kiuku.

    Posted by m Andrea | December 4, 2007, 7:55 pm
  5. I have never dreamed of women’s country more than today, oh oh oh. Not like I didn’t appreciate you and what you do before or anything Heart, but I am realizing that this is maybe the only feminist internet space that takes women-born-women’s feelings completely seriously, no matter how unpopular it is or easy it is to label it as man-hating or transphobic. I’m finding it’s an anomaly to listen to women-born-women without threats of silencing, often even within radfem spaces. I am so fucking tired, though I’m basically a new feminist! Much gratitude, love, and utter awe and respect for your ability to stick it out for us all, for the long-term. This is truly the most hated type of feminism, and I still can’t fully comprehend why. Its observations and principles seem so intuitively and intellectually obvious.

    Before, I would have guessed that feminist transwomen were the most hated type of woman, but I actually think that this brand of radical feminism inhabits the bottom of society’s garbage bin, not to be a downer or anything. I think I’ll have to watch Mists of Avalon and do the brandy-incense thing myself to calm down!

    I agree, Kiuku does rule! I will never forget how happy it made me that she and Ghost of Violet actually agreed with me on my long-term personal nemesis, Simon Baron-Cohen. I thought I was going crazy there for awhile.

    You people give me hope, even if I have to permanently check out of this exhausting bullshit called “the enraging, depressing documentation of women’s every day realities.”

    Posted by K.A. | December 6, 2007, 5:23 am
  6. This is truly the most hated type of feminism, and I still can’t fully comprehend why. Its observations and principles seem so intuitively and intellectually obvious.

    That’s why. That’s totally why. We are hated because women are, still, hated.

    Thanks, K.A. How I appreciate what you’ve said.

    Hugs,

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 6, 2007, 5:34 am
  7. “Much gratitude, love, and utter awe and respect for your ability to stick it out for us all, for the long-term.”

    Well yes, K.A., it is about being persistent, and knowing that your way of life and political analysis is correct.

    I often wonder what it will take for women to be persistent enough to finally overthrow this evil 5000 year old system, and what we’ll create as its alternative.

    Women either want freedom or they are willing to settle for the enemies land and territories.

    It is simply a question of dignity for me. I won’t give up until I get the freedom I want. I simply never ever give up, and over time you become better informed, you develop an understanding of the larger world out there.

    Radical feminism has actually been around for a long time, and new troops are being added to this epic battle every day. Men hate this feminism because they know it won’t let them off the hook ever. A lot of women hate this kind of feminism because women are afraid of taking on the big guys big time; they prefer to pacify and throw out a cake now and then, perhaps they think that being nice to killers, rapists and bombastic jack asses will win the day.

    Tyrants never respond to “please” they respond to absolute refusal to cooperate. They respond very quickly to a tank coming down the avenue aimed directly at them.

    How women can think that the great feminist revolution wouldn’t take a lifetime of effort is beyond me. But I find the small victories well worth it.

    We either take our freedom seriously, or I can assure you our oppressors will take our servitude very seriously indeed.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 6, 2007, 7:18 am
  8. Rowing the spam boat through the Erie Canal… low bridge everybody down….

    Posted by Satsuma | December 6, 2007, 7:19 am
  9. (NOTE: I wanted to go through my response and edit it down to make it more readable, but I am late for an appointment and have to run now, so sorry about the length!)

    It is simply a question of dignity for me.

    That’s all I want: the same respect and assumptions males are naturally afforded to be extended to me just as easily. Simple, right? Nahhh.

    Women are reliably bullied and expected to act like a nurturing mother-figure/doormat no matter where they are, even within feminism! I have to say, being validated by others is helpful–like Kiuku and Heart do, which saves my sanity, ha ha–but my personality tends to be more driven immediately to focusing on my offensive front and accelerating from there rather than looking for common ground initially. I think that behavior would be more readily accepted were I a man talking about any political issue other than women’s rights, but whatever. Toeing the line between sexist expectations of women’s political and social style and maintaining efficacy aside, striving to validate others prior to trying any other strategy–in political discourse or otherwise–is actually proven to be the most effective:

    (Please forgive the moronic but amusingly accurate username of the person who uploaded the vids).

    Cooperation, the stereotype for women’s inherent tendency, is actually the superior way to go strategically. Women’s country would therefore be the most sensible and logical–the strategy is actually not an appeal to “emotions” and “nurturing” or what have you. It’s the most logical. Too bad I’m so cockheaded about all things infuriating then; I wish I could say it would get me as far as it gets men in a man’s world, where it’s still considered an asset. But in women’s country, theoretically, I wouldn’t have to open and close every statement with self-effacing apologies, lest I step on someone’s toes by not knowing my place, which is to put everyone else ahead of women. So my cockheadedness wouldn’t be SO averse to the more civilized cooperative strategy that would predominate woman’s country, ironically, which is why it is an exceedingly appealing fantasy for me. A RADFEM women’s country seems utopian probably mostly from the freedom-from-rape-and-violence perspective, but all that other jazz is what I would actually appreciate the most. Well, enough unplanned navel-gazing.

    How women can think that the great feminist revolution wouldn’t take a lifetime of effort is beyond me. But I find the small victories well worth it.

    It seems like there’s a sick-making upsurge in misogyny, along with an upswing in people who feel more comfortable proclaiming how edgy they are for not being “politically correct” about racial issues, but maybe that’s just an illusion caused by the internet giving us more access to information we were previously shielded from if we lived in a comparatively progressive area. I am wanting to know if salivating for victories is setting myself up for my blood to boil every day with no relief.

    We either take our freedom seriously, or I can assure you our oppressors will take our servitude very seriously indeed.

    Yeah, it’s not like I can just stop reading forever and deactivate the feminist scope in my brain at will. It’s hard-wired now, and I can’t selectively ignore reality, unless I resorted to hard drugs or something, as some women of color are relegated to doing in their double/triple social bind.

    I would probably feel schizophrenic, like I’m in some kind of alternate dimension, if not for this specific brand of radical feminism, this website, with brilliant users who share a similar scope in their brains, though mine still needs more time to focus the lens perfectly due to my newness. Oops, more navel-gazing.

    Thanks for the helpful responses! I have a tendency to ramble but I appreciate that side being tolerated too while I work on adhering to blog-nation regulations. My overall point is that “womensspace” is the closest thing right now to a women’s country, and I really, really need it, and you really have no idea how much I appreciate you maintaining it, or your commenters’ insights. At this point, the isolation of having the perspective I do is more crazy-making than living with culture thats lifeblood is misogyny. I didn’t know enough in college to take women’s studies courses when I had the opportunity. Again, I’ll look for Mists of Avalon if it’s available outside of HBO, and thanks for the promo. Something needs to refuel me for getting hated on by simply stating the truth: that I’m a human being who rejects misogyny, no matter who the perpetrator. Radical, indeed!

    Posted by K.A. | December 6, 2007, 8:01 pm
  10. M Andrea and K.A it is good to see you guys here too! That was so great over on Ghost of Dr. Violet’s board.

    Posted by kiuku | December 7, 2007, 2:44 am
  11. K.A.,

    You had some very insightful words above.

    “It seems like there’s a sick-making upsurge in misogyny, along with an upswing in people who feel more comfortable proclaiming how edgy they are for not being “politically correct” about racial issues, but maybe that’s just an illusion caused by the internet giving us more access to information we were previously shielded from if we lived in a comparatively progressive area. I am wanting to know if salivating for victories is setting myself up for my blood to boil every day with no relief.”

    It is not your imagination, there really is an upsurge in misogyny — at least what men now say all the time about women on the radio, and on FOX. You have women doing really weird things too — Ann Coulter being a prime example.

    We do, however have victories. Larry Summers, the sexist head of Harvard is now gone, and a woman has replaced him, for example.

    We didn’t get as far as we thought in feminism, and there is still a long way to go.

    We wasted a lot of time fighting legal battles and we didn’t spend enough time creating alternative spaces, companies and businesses. Women are still stuck in the social isolation of the home, which makes it very difficult to organize.

    I think too that women overemphasize cooperation, and don’t work hard enough on just getting jobs done with the minimum of drama.

    But bottom line, we need to see who the enemies of women really are, and women still need to make sexism so uncomfortable for men, that they fear expressing it openly.

    White people haven’t changed, but white people fear massive public attack if they use the N-Word. Women don’t massively attack men if they use the B-word– kind of a small example here, but one I have noted. It’s ok to attack women openly, unless the intersection of race and gender comes together, which is why Don Imus temporarily got derailed. But then again, so called liberal women appeared on his show, because they wanted to be Washington insiders. A better tactic would have been to make it so hard on men for going on his show, that we showed power in this way.

    Again very small tactical examples here.

    I don’t know about you, but I am still working for feminist goals and a connection to women worldwide. My venues have changed over the years, but I can see progress.

    It’s not uncommon to meet business women of influence now. It’s not uncommon for women to refuse to give up their last names upon marriage, and women are sharper politically.

    We also have more horrors to deal with — a lesbian feminist I used to know maybe 16 years ago, now has transitioned into a man, and now writes for an S & M magazine, for example. It’s horrifying. Lesbian pornography and horrific ads are in lesbian slick magazines now. These magazines are filled with ads, have no community content to speak of, and seem like the same old money making enterprises that the gay male publications have turned into. One magazine that bills itself as the oldest in the U.S. doesn’t even run a letters to the editor column anymore.

    It’s harder and harder to find a lack of contamination even in lesbian spaces these days.

    However, that being said, we are indeed creating a women’s country right here on this blog. We are spending time sharing our ideas and dreams, and this helps give us a sense that we are not alone. Remember patriarchy wants us to believe that we are not powerful and that sisterhood isn’t real, but it is!

    I guess I’m optimistic, because in my youth, there were no lesbians at all! There was nothing at all, and in my short lifetime, we have created an avalanche of ideas, books, movies and small institutions worldwide. Not enough, but more than nothing! And now here we all are on the Internet!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 7, 2007, 6:00 pm
  12. I would disagree that we wasted a lot of time fighting legal battles, because we’ve won a lot of legal battles that were instrumental in women’s progress. On the other hand, I agree that Woman-State, women-spaces, and Woman-Country are of huge importance. We can’t have any of this by picking apart other women or blaming them.

    Showing power in this regard will be instrumental. Mostly it is not fear that stops people from using the “N” word but the recognizing of men that other men are human, where women are not. The “N” word hurts men. It’s acceptable to deride women. You can’t really hurt them. They’re not human.

    Posted by kiuku | December 8, 2007, 10:55 am
  13. Thank Goddess for this space; I don’t know what I would do without it. I just escaped from a hell-ish patriarchical workshop about 10 mins ago and I’m so enraged I don’t even know what to do with myself.

    There’s a girls mentoring/coming-of-age program starting up in my community, which I was initially very excited about, and today was a 6-hr meeting/workshop about it that the woman starting the girls’ group invited me to, so I went… it turned out to be THIRTEEN MEN and FOUR WOMEN, and it was actually a meeting about the BOYS’ coming-of-age program, with 60 mins scheduled later in the day to talk about “the girls’ piece.” WTF!!! I stayed way longer than I should have, mainly because I was hoping the other women would find the set-up as problematic as I did and we could split off into women-only-space to talk about OUR program, but OH NO. One of the other 3 women present, about 30 mins into the group discussion, started going on about how lovely it would be to have a co-ed coming-of-age-program, and people were nodding and agreeing and applauding, and I wanted to fucking tear my hair out. And one of the men leading the boys’ program started blathering about how they need women in their organization “behind the scenes” to help them out and bring some “necessary feminine energy” to counterbalance their “cavemen” energy, and everyone was chuckling, while I was ready to explode. WOMEN DO NOT NEED TO BE BEHIND THE SCENES OF MEN’S GROUPS TO HELP THEM OUT. WOMEN NEED TO BE FRONT AND CENTER CREATING AND LIVING AND BEING IN OUR OWN SPACES, WITH EACH OTHER.
    I didn’t even want to try and explain my position to everyone… I just had to get the hell OUT. Just being in that room had my stomach in knots. I waited until the first break, then told the woman who had invited me that I was leaving, and her program will not be a good match for me, because I’m looking for something that’s more female-centered, not merely a subgroup of a male program. She tried reassuring me that the girls stuff “is coming” if I just wait a bit, and then smiled that patronizing smile and gave me the most dreaded line of all: “We DO live in a world with men, you know!” EUWAHREWU;AFHDA AURHEAUFHDSA; EUAWRH URWHAERAHW;!!!!! ::::: HEAD SLAMMING AGAINST WALL :::::: !!!!! Then she said that she had tried asking if the day’s program could have more balance between the girls’ program and the boys’ program, and the boys’ program leaders said no, so, shrug, she figured it was at least better to be invited to the party than crash it. I responded, why do we NEED their party… why not just start our OWN… “Well, this is more like a potluck!” she said, “And we’re not there yet!” WTF?!

    So here I am back at home, feeling like a goddamn Martian because I was the only one bothered by this, the only one who even NOTICED that the whole event was Patriarchy In a Nutshell. And I live in an otherwise progressive, liberal, intelligent, environmentally-conscious, artsy, GLBT-friendly, awake, aware town in New England. It’s not like I’m in the Bible belt. Which is why it’s even more depressing – women, radical feminists, female persons… we and our issues ARE at the bottom of the barrel. Everyone here cares so deeply about preserving fossil fuels, advocating for gay marriage, funding the arts, buying organic and fair trade, empowering youth, and on and on… but women and girls? Who gives a shit?

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | December 8, 2007, 6:34 pm
  14. Satsuma,

    I appreciate the response. Ann Coulter and the rest of the religious right climbing to power is probably one major reason there’s a lot more anti-woman stuff. Another reason is probably how the internet allows misogynists to get together and groupthink occurs, allowing their fantasies and delusions to spiral out of control, breed, and fester. But anonymity protects them. Plus, net porn is all over the place while they’re using it, and studies show it makes men much more sadistic and misogynistic regarding women after viewing it–we’re not even talking torture porn here. I learned those studies from some old white dude in one of my college classes. I really didn’t care about the studies whatsoever at the time, unbelievably. Unfortunately, that was also the same old white dude who informed everyone in the lecture hall that outrage over what Larry Summers said was ridiculous, as was his firing. And this was in a college with a good reputation! The Larry Summers debacle reminds me that lots of men in academia think the same way–whether it’s supposedly-cream of the crop brains in an ivy or tenured dudes at well-known public universities–so it depresses me as much as his firing gives me hope. You’re right, there’s still a long way to go, but I think I will see some substantial changes in my lifetime, though not all the ones necessary. Blood will boil whether I read feminist news from the blogosphere or not, so I may as well keep shunning the MSM and instead feel my heart beating in my eye most of the day. Ha. Like you said, more women are CEOs and don’t buy into rituals surrounding chattel ideology if they bother with nuclear family contracts at all, and you went from total isolation to finding an active lesbian community in your lifetime.

    Women are still stuck in the social isolation of the home, which makes it very difficult to organize.

    I hadn’t thought of it that way. It’s a great point–the alternative spaces would have made the legal battles easier from that starting point as well.

    Re: drama–there seems to be a lot of internet drama between feminists that I don’t understand without the background of long-term readership. It’s the petty squabbles that make a lot of spaces biased by playing to the harassers to avoid any more potential unfounded criticism from some vicious person. So then the space fails to be free for women, once again, and they are shamed, derided, inhibited, even pathologized for not toeing the line just like in every other space the rest of the time. Of course feminism is political, but the politics become, you know, excessively POLITICAL.😛 Being stoned to death for having squeaky shoes isn’t just a literal problem for women in the world, but it’s a problem within feminist spaces too. I mean, different intellectual perspectives are inevitable, but for example, that belledame222 seems to show up everywhere all the time simply to attack other women with vicious MISOGYNY. It really is bizarre, but there’s that subconscious influence from sadistic porn again, which she’s into.

    …women still need to make sexism so uncomfortable for men, that they fear expressing it openly.

    That’s a great point. Like you said, racial decorum has made strides that way, though that’s also under attack now. But once the tone somewhere is set, the mentality is free to snowball exponentially (which is why I have a problem with pro-prostitution feminists justifying having porn available to men on military bases as though it’s unrelated to their de rigueur harassment and rape of their own, for example). Another example is that hate crimes against women go up when strip clubs and porn shops crop up in a community, because that barrier is broken: “women are Other. They are worse than objects. There, someone had to say it! Everyone in the community tacitly approves being open about it, too!” It’s a big flashing sign indicating what community standards and expectations are regarding women.

    Women don’t massively attack men if they use the B-word

    I do! No, but I know what you’re saying. It seems justifiable to men because it’s a mainstream word and women use it just as often. Consciousness-raising is in order to explain that it is only appropriate as an 80s throwback to mean “cool”–“That’s a bitchin’ Camaro!”

    I was also disturbed that Imus’ misogyny is so normalized that it was effectively invisible. But try pointing that out when all the tooootally liberal white dudes could barely be convinced of the unacceptability of his racism.

    A better tactic would have been to make it so hard on men for going on his show, that we showed power in this way.

    You’re right, that’s so true. That really is the more effective tactic. I’m going to carry that one around with me and explain it to other women when appropriate, too. It seems so obvious now that you’ve pointed it out, but it’s pretty brilliant.

    Lesbian pornography and horrific ads are in lesbian slick magazines now.

    I think once a disempowered people become more empowered, they feel the best way to validate that the power really exists is to revel in freely miming the empowered group, which wasn’t possible before. “I am now free to be the perpetrator instead of the fetishized garbage.” Hooray. On a smaller scale, a lot of times when people are mistreated growing up, instead of shunning the abusive dynamic, there is this subconscious need to actually repeat the learned dynamic later on when they can play the role that inflicts damage on another unsuspecting entity. They “take back the power” instead of deconstructing the abusive setup. I even see women whose mothers act/talk to them in really weird, dysfunctional ways look for moments when their girlfriends are vulnerable to act out the same dysfunctional dynamic against the unsuspecting friend (since they don’t have kids of their own yet). It’s really weird but maybe sexual politics is an extension of this as per human nature. I’m sorry that even lesbian spaces have been infiltrated. And to think, only a year ago I wouldn’t have even understood the need for separatism. As an unseasoned feminist, from my outsider perspective, feminism seems broken and it’s so disappointing. Womensspace is the life raft of radfeminism. But maybe we can upgrade to a boat and then a misty island.

    Kiuku,

    What was that John Lennon song? “Woman Is the Nigger of the World?” Yeah.

    Posted by K.A. | December 8, 2007, 9:11 pm
  15. P.S. I don’t mean to trivialize the REAL stonings of women for having loud footsteps and such by using that hyperbole! Obviously they’re not equivalent.

    Eeni: That’s the thing! We’re not even in the Bible Belt! I live in the NY-metro area, where people are relatively privileged and educated. But misogyny and sexist practices are still as reliable and invisible as the air we breath. I feel like a martian in my daily life too.

    Right now I have to go to a baby shower for a woman whose baby-daddy treats her like second-class waste. Rah-rah, such a celebratory rite of passage indeed. We’re bringing a gift from right off her registry–it’s a pink and flowery toy covered in bows for the baby girl, naturally.

    Sigh.

    I’m signing off with a brilliant quote of Heart’s I found on an old, unrelated thread:

    A man cannot “fail to identify with [his] gender.” . . . Gender is about subordination, not “identification.”

    Off to tacitly approve a subordination ritual for mother and daughter!

    Posted by K.A. | December 8, 2007, 9:35 pm
  16. ***We’re bringing a gift from right off her registry–it’s a pink and flowery toy covered in bows for the baby girl, naturally.***

    Ugh. What’s the protocol these days for baby showers? Do you *have* to bring a gift from off the registry? My mother and I went to a baby shower once for a woman who was having a baby sex unknown. I brought a little baby bunting in pastel pinks, blues and greens and my mother brought a little bedside table lamp with a clown holding multicolored balloons for a base.

    Posted by Branjor | December 8, 2007, 10:55 pm
  17. OOOH HOLY CRAP Eeni..just HOLY CRAP

    Posted by kiuku | December 9, 2007, 2:02 am
  18. “Woman Is the Nigger of the World?” Yeah

    K.A, exactly

    Posted by kiuku | December 9, 2007, 2:22 am
  19. Dear god, eeni. SO DEPRESSING!!!

    Posted by womensspace | December 9, 2007, 5:36 am
  20. Eeni’s story: So depressing is right. But not surprising.

    Re “feminine energy”: Women certainly do not need to be behind the scenes of men’s groups helping them out. I think that if women were *not* behind the scenes helping men out, counterbalancing their “caveman energy” or whatever, men would be thrown back onto their own resources to nurture and encourage young boys. These resources have been largely undeveloped over the centuries because men didn’t have to develop them – women were always there helping them. If women withdraw this help, men will either rise to the occasion, develop their own resources, or they will not. If they can (and do), that’s great. If, after centuries of nurturing by women, they cannot (or do not), then I think boys should only get only that which men can give them.

    Posted by Branjor | December 9, 2007, 2:07 pm
  21. I believe that we are in this for life. The social change we want will come as we persist in going for it.

    One thing about being a feminist is you do have to constantly create new spaces, so that women and girls are served.

    Cavemen need balance! Who comes up with this stuff? Focus on the Family? A lot of it sounds like fundamentalism and its countless radio shows.

    I still think that women have yet to model ideas that actually cause women to massively show up. Men still control public squares, and women don’t have nearly enough political space all to ourselves.

    We need five times the political time to flesh out these ideas, and also so we can share tactics.

    There are a lot of socially uncomfortable things that I do, because if I don’t do them, no one else is going to do them either.

    Someone above said “gay marriage” is not as important as everyone else’s issues. It’s not the “marriage’ per se that is important to me, it is simply being acknowledged as a human being in the straight world. I always notice that it is far easier for me to function at a holiday party without my partner — within a straight group, than it is when I bring her with me.

    Straight people are completely freaked out by the mere presense of a lesbian couple, and they act in this really weird way that is polite yet terrified.

    So gay marriage, although something I feel is not personally necessary, is also about lesbian visibility in an erasing culture, and to me, visibility is about my number one issue. This is something that straight women will never know about, and can’t possibly imagine, but it does affect how you live and work in the world.

    It’s what has made me such an aggressive take no prisoners type of lesbian. I have lost my ability to feel compassion for the most part, and see an answer just in being very adament about my existence and very indifferent about all straight social structures.

    I would never go to a baby shower, a wedding, and if I did, I would bring a gift that I thought would be good for a girl. I would not even bother with registries, for example. If it was a boy baby shower, I’d bring nothing at all, since boys are showered with enough attention as it is, and still they grow up to be sexist idiots.

    The most politically and spiritually successful groups I have ever been in were at least majority lesbian. I’m not sure I am even capable of cooperating with straight women on a political / spiritual basis anymore.

    Well, I try to have a coherent line of reasoning here, but this is just impossible with all the posts and counter posts. It is a style of writing that takes time to do.

    As for the legal battles, I don’t disagree that they were and are very important. But right now what I want is for women to build up women’s spaces. If they can have AA meetings everywhere at all hours, then why can’t women have feminist drop in groups to be ongoing?

    We believed that we could win with a legal strategy, but as Mary Daly has often warned — I think it was Mary or Sonia Johnson, patriarchy owns the law. It can adjust to legal changes the way a germ can adapt to anti-biotics. We have to understand how quickly patriarchy can and will con women.

    Women’s persistant lack of herstorical perspective makes it very hard to combat this. For instance, when I was a child, I went to see the movie “ary Poppins”when it first came out. All of us kids were wild with excitement about the movie, and we all adored Julie Andrews. There was a scene in the movie, a song actually about “votes for women” and it contained a scene with the British suffrage movement. I think the movie came out in 1965, which was only 50 some years from the time the movie was set in.

    This one little image of women’s rights from that era was powerful to the then seven year old me! Today, we rarely have documentaries or movies about the rise of feminism. How many times have you heard the I have a dream speech? How many times have you seen feminist leaders in retrospect on T.V.?

    It’s why each generation of women has such a hard time seeing the big picture of women’s oppression. If you are a straight feminist, you probably have never even read a lesbian magazine from 1975, so how would you know that the same lesbian magazine in 2007 is now contaminated with pornographic and sexist advertising? You don’t know the past, so you have no idea what the present is all about.

    It’s why this site exists, so that all generations of women can come here and finally get our acts together.

    I know I really love hearing the voices of women in their 20s, so I can get some idea of how you form your arguments or how you perceive the same world I live in, for example.

    We can do this women, but again, we have to have faith in our women spaces and our ideas. We have to know that we are power collectively, and that here we have a luxury, a space where we can “speak” without interruption at all!

    You can all have the luxury of time to respond and write back, or to even see what ideas cause women to be engaged or what ideas cause women to get mad at you.

    I find this invaluable, because some of my most deeply held beliefs get women the most upset. I know it is very hard for straight women to even get a radical lesbian feminist aggressive in your face ax throwing point of view. It’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s also a point of view as an insider, which I assume you all to be. It means that metaphorically, I am imagining my audience to be all lesbian, and I am including straight women as my lesbian sisters here. It is an invitation to solidarity, and I like this feeling, because otherwise, I would be content in my persistent contempt for the straight world. It’s not a good thing to be, but I am honest that I do feel this often. So this is my way of reaching out and trying yet again to help the cause of sisterhood here. We really are doing this, and maybe the next time around, we’ll be even better at it!🙂

    It’s also an act of courage for straight women to tell what they really do, and how they are conflicted about it. It means you are thinking, you know something is wrong, and yet you are not quite ready to take action at this time. But you are thinking, and this causes the possibility of future action to be possible. I’m talking baby shower here, where instantly I’d never go, or never buy a sexist gift, but this might not be as easy for some women, for reasons that have social complexity to them.

    I’m not accustomed to caring about what the neighbors think, or about “mandated” social codes. I’m not a straight woman, I have no stake in the heterosexual way of life, it’s easy for me to have contempt for it as worthless. This isn’t a fair point of view, but it’s my disgust at homophobia that makes me feel contemptuous, so I have become that.

    Things that are easy for straight women are hard for me, and no doubt vice versa. Straight women can bring their husbands everywhere to social events, I can bring my partner everywhere too, but the social price and anxiety will weigh on me, whereas you’ll just have a pleasant evening that you probably don’t think twice about. Bringing my partner to a corporate social function is about political activism, it is never about “having fun.”

    There you have it!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 9, 2007, 7:26 pm
  22. I’m dreaming of a spam queue christmas, just like the ones I used to know🙂 Spam ahoy coming at ya!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 9, 2007, 7:26 pm
  23. Ugh. What’s the protocol these days for baby showers? Do you *have* to bring a gift from off the registry?

    This is the first baby shower I’ve ever attended, but I think you can bring stuff that wasn’t on the registry. But then you’d have to be careful not to get something that won’t work with the planned decor, as per the registry. I wanted to get a cute wild animal mobile, but that butterfly-bow-pinkness was the overall theme for the room as one element of a furniture set. The gender neutral baby bunting (I had to google that!) and lamp sound very cute, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that, unless maybe other lamps were on the registry as part of a theme. I also brought diapers and a quacking duck stuffed animal, neither of which were requested. It was a nice shower, though it started a few hours late because the dude didn’t bother showing ’til then. We played bingo and had to fill in our own cards with stuff we thought she’d get as gifts. I specifically put “glittery pink onesie” as some sort of bitter feminist joke with myself, and I could have put 8 chips on it by the end of the night!

    Posted by K.A. | December 9, 2007, 10:13 pm
  24. Branjor, I agree that women should not be “behind the scenes” helping men, or counterbalancing their caveman energy, or whatever. It drives me nuts that in “progressive” circles, men who think they’re soooo enlightened attempt to “compliment” us feminist women by telling us how much they need and admire us and want us to help them. NO THANK YOU. I’m a member of a local anti-pornography activist group that used to be open to both women and men, but then we had a man join us who was “newly converted” to feminism and was basically groveling at our feet, thinking he was doing it “right”… he’d say things like “duct tape me to a chair and educate me, please! I need it!”, but the thing was, he talked non-stop and took up so much energy and it was STILL All About Him. We booted him and made the group women-only. I’m not at all interested in educating men about feminism, because I don’t want to give my energy to men, PERIOD. If they’re seriously into learning feminism, and not merely looking for brownie points, then they can read some damn books or figure it out amongst themselves.

    That’s why I get SO MAD when women brush off my desire (NEED) for female-centeredness by reminding me, “Well, we DO live in a world with men,” and add some junk, like this woman did, about how we need to help boys and girls learn to have healthy relationships with each other, and blah blah blah… no. That’s ignoring or denying that separatism and/or lesbianism is a valid choice. I’m glad to be a separatist, and I don’t NEED to learn how to communicate with/have relationships with men, nor do I have any interest in mentoring other girls in how to do so.

    Satsuma – you said, “Someone above said ‘gay marriage’ is not as important as everyone else’s issues.” I’m not sure if you were referring to my comment? I had said, “Everyone here cares so deeply about preserving fossil fuels, advocating for gay marriage, funding the arts, buying organic and fair trade, empowering youth, and on and on… but women and girls? Who gives a shit?”

    What I meant was, my town is full of “progressive” people who DO think gay marriage is an important issue (and it is, for reasons you said), along with other progressive issues, but the problem is that these people seem to only support issues that affect MALES at LEAST as much as females, if not more. That is, people advocate for gay marriage because it means advocating for MEN’S right to marry each other (and women’s, too), and care about empowering “youth” because it means empowering BOYS (and girls, too), but that no one seems to think it’s good, or even okay, to ever focus on ONLY girls and/or women. i.e. focusing on boys is great, focusing on boys and girls is great, but focusing on just girls is not okay. It’s that annoying post-feminist mindset, to which I say “I’ll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.”

    Yesterday, re: the workshop, I was thinking about the pie analogy from the 70s – about women not just wanting a bigger piece of the pie, but seeing the pie as rotten and wanting to bake a new one entirely.
    Yesterday felt like thirteen men gorging themselves on their Patriarchy Pie, then graciously offering us four women a meager little slice of it, which we were expected to be sooooo joyful to be nibbling on.
    I swear we’ve REGRESSED. Women weren’t even attempting to get a bigger slice of the rotten pie yesterday, nevermind bake their own… women were thrilled to even have the teensy slice that the men allowed them, thrilled to even be “invited to the party.”
    UGH!!!

    My anger masks a deep pain. As I’ve said before, it’s not men’s oppression of women that hurts me the most, it’s women who, instead of bonding together to create something new and better together, convince themselves that they enjoy the oppression and try and convince other women to enjoy it, too. When the men serve us up some nasty, rotten pie, I want women who will help me throw it back in their faces then bake our own, nourishing, delicious pie… not women who will hold my hair back while I throw up, then sweetly reassure me that the nasty pie will taste better if I sprinkle some sugar on it and have a few more bites. That’s what depresses me more than anything.

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | December 10, 2007, 3:43 am
  25. “I swear we’ve REGRESSED. Women weren’t even attempting to get a bigger slice of the rotten pie yesterday, nevermind bake their own… women were thrilled to even have the teensy slice that the men allowed them, thrilled to even be “invited to the party.”
    UGH!!!”

    Eeni B. Bella– thanks for your clarification re: gay marriage. I have always hated the term “marriage” or “wife” and yikes even lesbians are regressing!!

    But you are right re your quote above, women are regressing.
    I just can’t figure out why it is so hard for four women to say, “Ok boys, we want to do a mentoring programs for girls only, we’ll leave you to your all boys meeting, so we can plan a program for all girls.” Reasonable, no arguments, the four women at that meeting just say it, walk it, and do it!

    Men have absolutely no power over women who walk out and set up shop over at the local coffee house.

    This idea that we can have combined space for women and men is insane. The anti-pornography group is another example. I have never met a man who even understands from a feminist perspective why pornography is so awful! It’s just a waste of time.

    Again, it is the reluctance of women to organize on their own now that is so perplexing to me.

    You’d think after 30 years we’d really get that “progressive men’ are just the same as the anti-Vietnam war men, or the 50s men, or the sexually liberated men watching Deep Throat…

    Separtism is the answer!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 10, 2007, 5:03 am
  26. “We believed that we could win with a legal strategy, but as Mary Daly has often warned — I think it was Mary or Sonia Johnson, patriarchy owns the law. It can adjust to legal changes the way a germ can adapt to anti-biotics. We have to understand how quickly patriarchy can and will con women”

    I see you’re learning but you were just praising capitalism in another post.

    Posted by kiuku | December 10, 2007, 10:25 am
  27. I’m neither praising nor damning capitalism. I’m simply saying I’d rather live in the U.S. and use my knowledge here, then be born in the Islamic utopias of Saudi Arabia, Iran or Iraq.

    I have traveled widely and seen many forms of government and economic systems out there. It is up to women to come up with strategies that work, and by work I mean really work.

    Talk to immigrants who fled Eastern Europe, or families that fled the socialist paradise of Cuba.

    Countries that are partly socialistic, like Japan, are so sexist, that women of ambition suffocate there.

    Honestly, you can trash every economic system in the world, because no matter what it is, women don’t run it.

    So given the choice of living in a developing place or a developed place, I would choose that which is best for me personally.

    I just think a lot of feminists have a very poor understanding of economics, and also a romantic idea of just what works and what will set you back in life. Unfortunately for the economic end of it, time is your best friend, and you have to pay attention to this or you will really struggle as an older person.

    Since I rarely read good quality business analysis on feminist sites, I think we have a ways to go in this department, that’s all I’m saying.

    I most certainly didn’t want to settle for things, when strategy could make my life a lot easier, and I could be with the people I really wanted to be with. I wanted to aim high, not accept the dead ends or the low ends of life. It made no rational sense to me to worship downward mobility, which really is a problem or a subtext for feminism sometimes.

    If I could choose to work the same hours for a much higher wage, why in goddess name would I want to stay at a minimum wage job. The higher the wage, the easier the work.
    If you could see this and think about it, why not go for the opportunity. In capitalism, you do have many choices, but you have to study, you have to think.

    A wage is about creative thinking. It is not just accepting that which the majority settles for. If women have to work twice as hard as men to achieve things, then why not work in a situation where this will be to your advantage? Makes sense to me.

    We love to work on the disasters, but we have yet to build out of greatness or true abundance. We’re still sleeping in tents on “the land,” and I wanted better than that.

    The whole point of lesbian identity is to excel far beyond a heteronormative context, to grow more, to do more, to see how far your mind will go if it is not hindered by a home that holds you back, or by people who don’t want to go where you want to go.

    I’m amazed that women still settle, and I that is not my idea of feminism at all. Feminism is about women becoming very successful throug the applied use of feminist analysis.

    You have how men use capitalism and you have a lesbian analysis of it. Most lesbians or radical feminists have not looked at the economy in terms of what can be done well, they critique things. Critique is good, but then I want to do things. If I had to choose between a low income or a high one, I would choose a high one. If I had to choose between an apartment or a house, I would choose a house. If I could choose between a collective situation or a more privately controled situation, I would choose the more privately controlled.

    We have dramatic choices, and for me the challenge is to think big, not agonize over the crumbs of life. Women have been stuck with the crumbs of history for too long, and I don’t want a part of that. We have more choices now due to aggressive activism than ever before. No economic system is ever perfect, some systems are better for the average, some are better for the above average.

    You could be a brilliant business person, but if you’d been born in Cuba or the Soviet Union, you would have had a lot of trouble.

    I can’t fathom why women like to think of downward mobility as more noble, or low income as noble, or why capitalism is anything other than one system among many in the world.

    It is up to half the world’s population to simply finally do what it really wants. We have the women out there, what we don’t have is the ability to get these ideas out there to a mass public as well. So even today, women don’t know what is out there. They don’t know what choices they have, and to a certain degree, I sometimes feel that younger women might even know less about strategies and structures then the activist generations of decades ago.

    Incidently, we had a great leap into consciousness in America when the economy was at its height. A student radical in 1960s Berkeley never had to worry about finding a job upon graduation. No wonder they had the luxury of “protest.”

    I wanted the luxury of better quality services, and I did not want to rely on government programs to “assist” me.

    Why this is such a reviled notion is beyond me, but there you have it. Perhaps someone needs to write about this stuff, and that is my place– to say that higher achievement is better, richer is better, and if I had to choose, I lucked out because I was born in a wealthy country. Even very poor people in America have homes and cars. Just go to the slums of Mexico, or look at what women have to put up with if they have no economic power in their own right.

    Every day I meet women from other countries who are so happy to be here. They just are! America does have dreams and opportunities for those who want to engage this aspect of the culture. Radical feminism to me is about creative energy, the energy to truly create a life you want, not one foisted upon you by “tradition” or “family” or the “folks back home.” There are those who take the wagons westward, and those who stay back home on the farm. I wanted to go west, and I did.

    Just think of how outrageous it is that women still feel they have to marry men just to survive! Imagine that! That is women in every system in the world now. No thanks!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 10, 2007, 8:52 pm
  28. Oh my darlin oh my darlin Spamin tine… you have sailed out into blogland….🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 10, 2007, 8:53 pm
  29. Satsuma,

    Just a quick note to say that I think you are right.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | December 11, 2007, 3:33 pm

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