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Pre-2008 Posts

Which Presidential Candidate’s Views Are Most Like Yours?

If you go here you can take a quiz which matches your political opinions with those of the 2008 Presidential campaign frontrunners.  My views, says the quiz, most closely match those of Dennis Kucinich.  I took the quiz for the 2004 campaign and learned that my views most closely matched those of Ralph Nader and the Green Party.

Which sounds about right, since I voted for Nader (my first time ever voting; I am a life- long anarchist and have conscientiously objected to voting until this last presidential campaign, when for the first time, there was an opportunity to participate in the beginning of the end of our two-party system).

It’s an interesting quiz and the site on which I found it is a good resource.  The voting records and other information about presidential, senatorial and house candidates are available there.  This site is where I got the information about Julia Carson’s voting record.

Heart

Discussion

56 thoughts on “Which Presidential Candidate’s Views Are Most Like Yours?

  1. “My views, says the quiz, most closely match those of Dennis Kucinich.”

    Well, except he’s buds with Larry Flynt. And you, not so much.

    You know, it would be a lot easier for Kucinich to explain having a wife half his age if he wasn’t out there high fiving patriarchy.

    Posted by Rich | December 17, 2007, 11:02 pm
  2. Kucinich is friends with Larry Flynt? That piece of absolute shite incestor/woman-hater who passes himself off as a human being? Well, that’s no surprise, I guess. Most apparently progressive men have huge blind spots when it comes to pornography/prostitution/male-bonding-behaviors-over-women’s bodies. Do you have a link so I can enrage myself? :p

    And yeah, that does tend to remove any benefit-of-the-doubt points Kucinich might receive for having married a much younger, traditionally beautiful woman. Thinking about it — and I try to think about it as little as possible, so depressing — marrying a young trophy wife is a classic, time-honored way for geeky-looking liberal types/sensitive New Age guys like Kucinich to earn a few macho/manly-man bonus points, i.e., “he must have something going for him if he could get HER,” wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

    Argh. I don’t know if my blood pressure can take this particular discussion. I had the grave misfortune to have done too much poking around in the blogosphere and coming across an absolutely stupid discussion in which apparent progressives/feminists were defending his marriage using reasoning to yawn for: “But it was her choice!” “They’re both adults!” “It was a spiritual connection, it wasn’t about the looks!” Oh gag me. Everybody needs to stop and *think* about what is done to young, beautiful women in this society, what their worth and value really is understood to be. And then they need to stop and think about the fact that it is white, rich, powerful men who are the definers of the worth of young women.

    Well, I never liked Kucinich much, in any event. Then again, I don’t like ANY of the presidential candidates currently running, except myself, of course!

    Posted by womensspace | December 17, 2007, 11:26 pm
  3. Heart, here’s the first link I found when I googled the two names:

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/68317/

    It said they’ve been friends for 40 years. 40 YEARS.

    JJ

    Posted by JJ | December 17, 2007, 11:43 pm
  4. Ish.

    But do we believe Flynt when he says he’s been a “friend” of Kucinich for 40 years?

    Flynt lies his ass off all of the time about everything and everybody. It sure wouldn’t be the first time he lined up to endorse someone who wanted no such “favor” and I’m not recalling now exactly who it is I’m thinking of.

    I skimmed the comments and of course some WOMAN says she appreciates Flynt because he exposed the hypocrisy of the Republicans. Dear god, that takes no brains, no skill, no insight, no education, nothing. If you can fracking READ you can see the hypocrisy of the Republicans.

    Never mind this is a guy with incest cartoons in his magazine for DECADES, just so damn funny, and of course, that’s the least of his atrocities.

    Posted by womensspace | December 17, 2007, 11:56 pm
  5. This was a truly bizaar survey of the candidates, because very few of the issues I care about were even listed.

    I’ve already supported Hillary Clinton and will continue to do so. Most of the women I’ve voted for have turned out to be very good leaders, and I’ve been working on women’s campaigns since the early 1970s.

    I think the biggest problem women face is their inability to get behind good women candidates. They expect things of the electoral process that are beyond its systemic features.

    As for not voting at all, well, there have always been good local candidates everywhere I have ever lived. Even a neighbor down the street once ran for city council.

    Women do need to take every opportunity to use the rights we won in the past, and to work on things we want for the future.

    Radical feminism functions purely as a grass roots push upward, just as lesbian rights, so obscure and unknown when I was growing up, came to national attention because of the grass roots work.

    The mainstream exists as a separate entity, usually for the average person who doesn’t get all that involved in anything — except maybe their children’s issues.

    So the mainstream of anything does not serve or understand the needs of radical lesbian feminists — we have other purposes in the world I think.

    I don’t expect non-radical lesbians to really get much of what we truly want in the world, but I am happy knowing what I want, and I usually get it over time.

    For the most part, we are simply creating a body of both theoretical and practical work that really does justice to our inner vision.

    Ideally, I’d like to create a country of lesbian feminism, or perhaps at least several small cities or towns. We’re working on this here. It will take time.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 18, 2007, 12:24 am
  6. I don’t know, Heart. I asked myself the same question after posting that link and went looking. I can’t find anything (so far) that says what Kucinich thinks, it’s all from the Flynt side. I may go down to his campaign hq and see what I can find out since it’s not far from where I live.

    And no, it takes nothing, in my way of thinking, to see through Republican hypocrisy… although my (few) (okay, two, lol) Republican friends and my entire Republican office are staunchly supportive of the terrorist regime and think GW akin to a god. I don’t understand the mindset at all.

    JJ

    Posted by JJ | December 18, 2007, 12:31 am
  7. i don’t really know how i feel about kucinich, but i’ve been a bit put off because so many online “progressives” seem blindly obsessed with him. i think a lot of his policies and ideas are good, but i’m not in love with his tone on abortion issues, and i’m just generally unconvinced that he’s better for women than any of the other candidates.

    also, as far as his purported relationship with larry flynt, it’s hard to say whether the whole “friends for 40 years” thing has any merit. but flynt DID hold a fundraiser for kucinich at hustler headquarters, and kucinich DID attend AND made a speech. so he has definitely accepted flynt’s support, and he doesn’t seem to be trying to put any distance between the two of them. that’s enough to make my skin crawl.

    that’s why i’ll be voting seelhoff🙂 by the way, where are my bumper stickers??? the rear end of the doctoritamobile is waiting patiently . . .🙂

    Posted by ladoctorita | December 18, 2007, 1:51 am
  8. In 2004 I switched political parties from Green to Democrat so I could vote for Kucinich in the primary before voting Nader for president. When Oregon’s Secretary of State deceitfully refused to count the votes of people who voted for Nader I sued him and lost and to this day no one will put a number on how many Oregon voters chose Nader. People, most of them Democrats, know the number but they won’t tell us.

    Watching my vote get thrown away caused me to adopted a more anarchist view of voting similar to your pre-2004 stance.

    Several GB people, including me, wrote letters and called the Kucinich campaign but to my knowledge no one has gotten a reply.

    Posted by sammanberg | December 18, 2007, 2:56 am
  9. Go you, with the lawsuit, Sam! I didn’t know about this great activism of yours (whether you lost or not). (I owe you an e-mail. I’m on it. I’m way behind. :()

    Satsuma, does it strike you as a bit … something … to support Hillary here when yours truly is running for President? I really am running for President. Why any of us, as radical feminists/lesbian separatists, would support any of the frontrunners is beyond me. None will make substantive, material change for women if elected. Some will be immensely destructive so far as women’s issues go. All are rich and white, save Obama, who is rich and male. None has his or her finger on the pulse of the issues of concern to the vast majority of women, in particular.

    I was completely behind Winona LaDuke when she ran as the VP candidate alongside Ralph Nader. I’d have 100 percent voted for her for president as well, if she’d run. I cannot support someone like Hillary Clinton, who, for example, voted FOR the building of a fence between the U.S. and Mexico for god’s sake, who has supported the war in Iraq, and who “forgot” to tip a waitress who showed up all excited to support her and was fired by her conservative boss for it (after blabbity blabbing it up about the plight of the poor/working class and turning it into a photo-op moment). The people of this country need a President who knows what it is to struggle, to be poor, to attempt to raise children in this hellhole of a nation in which to raise children, who has not had riches, power, influence, Ph.D.s, J.D.s between herself and the ordinary abuse the rest of us receive, as women, every single day, and who will be their advocate, as Julia Carson was an advocate for the poor, the homeless, women, children, working people. Radical feminism is grassroots push upward, but we’d best move ourselves front and center and in people’s faces if we are ever to get our issues front and center and in people’s faces and we are not going to do that by supporting Hillary Clinton or any of the candidates currently leading in the poles.

    As an aside, Huckabee is the worst bad news EVER. He has the fracking HOMESCHOOL vote, think Michael Farris, think the Reconstructionists, think theonomists who want the Bible to be the law of the land. That homeschool vote is being mobilized as well. I wish as radical feminists we could tap into some amount of the energy that is the homeschool movement. That crowd, deluded, deceived, and patriarchal as they are, gets stuff done. Dangerous stuff. Destructive stuff. If we could summon that energy for candidates and views which are good and of benefit for us, we could do SO much good, I’m convinced of it.

    Ladoctorita, xxxooo. I am setting Feb. 1 as the date my bumper stickers will be available. I do have someone who has stepped up wnating to create them.
    🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 18, 2007, 5:11 am
  10. Flynt lies his ass off all of the time about everything and everybody. It sure wouldn’t be the first time he lined up to endorse someone who wanted no such “favor” and I’m not recalling now exactly who it is I’m thinking of.

    I thought you might be recalling Not In Our Name, but the guys who had taken over that group appreciated the endorsement. Flynt tries to pass himself off as this great progressive activist. Or was it Cindy Sheehan? Who knows if Flynt or his pals were behind the stunt I protested on the Randi Rhodes forum, a photoshopped picture of Ms. Sheehan in the Hustler office with Flynt, forging a political alliance. I discovered this post two weeks ago. A wide ranging discussion ensued, from porn to trolls to the attacks on womensspace and friends. Last week the poster decided to yank the picture, instead of responding to repeated challenges to prove its authenticity.

    Posted by Aletha | December 18, 2007, 6:29 am
  11. Since I had many opportunities to see Hillary Clinton in action at Senate hearings, I thought she simply wasn’t the very worst human on earth. In person, she has a quiet intelligence and a clarity of thought that I haven’t seen in all the candidates I’ve met over the years. It was personally striking to me, and I find it interesting that Hillary the person, is so different from Hillary the public figure.

    I simply thought she had a rather introspective and intelligent demeanor that I thought would be good for the country.

    I get chided all the time for being rich and white, so this line of attack seems suspect to me. Women who do achieve have to face the eternal lobster pot of other women trying to pull them down. So I identify with the women who do study and who stick to a line of reasoning over a long period of time.

    Hillary was responsible for getting lesbians appointed to the cabinet, and I have seen no other candidate who ever ran with a good working knowledge of lesbian culture and issues. This goes way back to her student days.

    She has been very devoted to change and public policy, and she has a toughness that is so lacking in the men who have never had to deal with the things she dealt with publically. Women are always subjected to such picky higher standards, and I find this annoying. One waitress doesn’t get tipped and the whole world remembers it, for example. As if none of us has ever been so preoccupied that we’ve forgotten something as dozens of people are coming up and shaking hands with us.

    It is very surprising that so few women in daily life actually talk about this campaign. It is unusual to hear women bring up politics on their own without me bringing the subject up first. The silence strikes me as odd indeed.

    Hillary Clinton started out as a very intelligent hardworking woman, and she has remained this. I admire women of great achievement and intelligence — these are two words I use often. The 1990s under the Clintons were some of my best years in business, and I attributed this prosperity in part to their rather complex leadership.

    No one who gets close to the presidency is perfect, and I do believe that when she gets into office, she’ll crack open the last glass ceiling in America. She’s spoken on feminist issues for decades, and been a committed feminist for a very long time. This longevity counts with me.

    As for the comparison with home schooling and its energy, it is a very interesting observation. Feminism has stalled, women are not putting passion for their own rights into the public arena, to the degree that the right wing idiots are.

    Conservatives do have the advantage of playing off of “traditional” structures. Feminism is so radical a concept, that even women don’t seem to grasp its incredible power. It is very hard to harness the power of women, because we have so few chances to really work together for change in a grass roots sort of way.

    There is a certain indifference a lot of women have in daily life that seems down right odd to me. I chalk it up to the social isolation and fear most straight women seem to live in. They feel they will lose everything, when in actuality, they have nothing to begin with.

    Well, the election is complex. A powerful and intelligent woman who wins the White House really will change the social landscape for women in America. It’s why the right wing wanted Hillary dead so badly for so long. Maybe they take her candidacy a lot more seriously than feminists, who knows.

    But this is it folks, we have our chance. Don’t all go blow it this time, even though I know most of you will. And then you’ll be very sorry about this years from now. Maybe women really are afraid of winning the top job after over 200 years. Maybe the hardest thing is for women to back very smart, very clever women.

    You have to wonder why over 50% of any population is missing it again and again. We can’t always blame men for everything, we can look to our own ambivilence about power in a governmental structure.

    I sure know that few if any women initially encouraged my career in finance. They thought my interest in this was perverse, and they had no idea where I wanted to take this.

    There was that same confusion for almost all the things I’ve done in my life. I always had the idea that I had to build my own life outside of that straight world so many women are so in love with. Somehow, I sensed a kindred spirit in Hillary Clinton, a drive, an ambition that I could really relate to. In the mainstream world of the presidency, that’s what a powerful woman actually looks like. Or maybe we just want to all stay home and let the men have the job yet again. Well I’m not willing to sit this one out again and have that happen, and I hope a lot of women who read this blog can really get what I’m talking about here. Lobster anyone?

    Posted by Satsuma | December 18, 2007, 6:44 am
  12. “As an aside, Huckabee is the worst bad news EVER.”

    It seems as if he’ll be implicated more thoroughly in the coverup of his son murdering that dog, etc., fiasco.

    Posted by Rich | December 18, 2007, 11:34 am
  13. I’m not even gonna take the quiz… since I know my views are most similiar to yours, Heart!🙂

    And now I’m kicking myself for not personally asking Kucinich the Flynt question when I had the chance. He was doing speeches/meet-and-greet’s/Q&A’s all over my parents’ town a month or so ago, when I was going to my parents’ house for a family dinner. Earlier in the day, even, my mom had run across him on the sidewalk and convinced him to stop into her/my stepdad’s coffeeshop for a few minutes! (Hillary Clinton and Obama have both stopped by, too).
    And my mom told me I could be late to dinner if I wanted to first go follow Kucinich around town to ask him the question, but on that particular day I just didn’t have the energy or patience.😦

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | December 18, 2007, 2:19 pm
  14. when i found out that flynt was having a campaign *party* for kucinich, i started asking some questions, too. flynt seems to be very vocal, and mums the word from the kucinich campaign. at the very least kucinich should address his feminist followers who’ve always supported him about this issue with flynt and kucinich. but i get the feeling that the silence from the kucinich campaign is very telling indeed. kucinich’s voting record is shameful, too. to only look at his voting record, he’s an obvious misogynist. not to mention the buzz going around that kucinich and ron paul are thinking about pairing up for the ticket. paul is getting financially endorsed by the grand master of the f’ing kkk!

    heart, i’ve been sporting one of my grandmothers old campaign buttons that says “it’s a man’s world / unless women vote!” oh, heart! how i would dance for joy if you were president! i could probably sleep at night knowing that someone at the top cares.

    Posted by avril joy | December 18, 2007, 6:02 pm
  15. From Wonkette:

    This weekend, Flynt managed to do something even he has never done before: host a political fundraiser. The other members of the host committee included noted anti-war activist Sean Penn (and wife Robin Wright Penn); noted pro-marijuana activist, Woody Harrelson; noted hottie Edward Norton; and noted lesbians Melissa and Tammy Etheridge. Yes, it was held in LA.

    Two things:

    1. One awful thing (among many) about the Kucinich-Flynt connection, regardless of how shallow or deep that runs, is the gleeful insistence on verbally linking Elizabeth Kucinich’s attractiveness to it in any way, shape or form. She’s being made into pornography due to her husband’s choice of political support. Alternet and Wonkette have two less-offensive-than-many sidelong remarks about how pretty she is and what a pornhound he is…wink, wink. Inexcusable.

    2. Kucinich should absolutely have to answer for accepting Flynt’s support. It really bothers me. The list of co-hosts upsets me, too; Harrelson’s no surprise, given that he played him in that propagandist movie, but I’m disappointed about the rest.

    I’m one of the few who isn’t bothered by Kucinich’s changing views on abortion, though; to me, it seems possible that demanding he explain Flynt’s support might result in him changing his mind about it…at least more than I’d expect another politician to repudiate an endorser. Whatever else he is, Kucinich seems comfortable enough refusing broad-based support and the money that brings with it when he thinks the issue matters enough to take a stand on (see: “Department of Peace”; veganism).

    Probably I’m giving him too much benefit of the doubt. Enough to write a letter, though, which is a good thing, I think.

    Posted by funnie | December 18, 2007, 6:03 pm
  16. Yeah, I don’t really care about Kucinich (or any candidate) changing his/her views. People change their minds, doh. Unless the change is obviously not really a change, but strategic (lying to some interest group to get their support), I don’t care about it.

    And yeah, ME and Tammy align with Queer, hence, shitty misogynist politics. It’s discouraging but not surprising. It’s why I never read what ME writes (her book). If I did, I might stop enjoying her music!

    Anyone who makes pornography out of Kucinich’s wife sucks rocks.

    But the politics of who Kucinich chose to marry and why deserves some scrutiny.

    Posted by womensspace | December 18, 2007, 6:16 pm
  17. And thanks, eeni and Avril Joy! 🙂

    Avril Joy, how cool you have your grandmother’s button about women voting!

    Posted by womensspace | December 18, 2007, 6:17 pm
  18. And here’s the thing about slimy bottom feeders like Flynt. If Kucinich or his wife took a very public stand against pornography/prostitution, FLYNT would make pornography out of both of them. He is one hater extraordinaire.

    Aletha, I think I was remembering either Not In Our Name or something connected with Aura Bogado, can’t recall exactly.

    Posted by womensspace | December 18, 2007, 6:19 pm
  19. Sorry to be a serial poster! :p

    Satsuma, I think we have to be skeptical of whatever the rich and the white do, particularly if they are male, rich and white, given that they are largely responsible for the shape of the world as we know it, not good shape. I think rich white women do not have to apologize for who they are, because they are still women under male heterosupremacy. At the same time, they are vested in the system in a way the nonrich and the nonwhite are not, and so we ought to view what they say with some skepticism.

    I think it’s interesting that given, in general, your reservations about heterosexual women, you are such an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton. I get it, though, that when we know someone personally, it alters how we feel towards them, regardless our politics (something we don’t talk often enough about in our online interactions.)

    I don’t think the reaction here (or elsewhere) to Hillary is about crabs in the crab pot. Hillary’s been hanging over the edge of the crab pot for the longest, for one thing, when has she ever been down amongst the crabs, where any of them could so much as grab a crableg? She’s been an attorney for a long time, she’s the wife of a former president of the United States, and so on.

    I mean, I am sure not going to support Condoleeza Rice in any way, shape or form, and that’s not going to be about crabs in the crab pot, that’s going to be about Condoleeza Rice’s total sellout to white, male heterosupremacy and her selling of the interests of women right down the river. I don’t view her with disgust (as I view males with her politics). But her politics hurt women and I’m going to say so.

    I don’t like Hillary’s stand-by-your-man history. It may have been strategic, cerebral, and designed to enhance her own status in various ways, but that just makes me like it less. If she hadn’t stood by her man, if she’d said, fuck you, buddy, I’m out of here the first time he pulled the misogynist, exploitive, sexually harrassing stunts he pulled, I’d have had a lot more respect for her, a lot of women would. And if she ran for President then and won, I’d know Bill wouldn’t have his ass sitting up there in the White House, it would be just Hillary, and I could get behind that. Bill needed to tie a knot in it a long time ago, you know, why do we want to take any more chances on his disgusting antics there in the White House. Just his history means, to me, that he needs kicked far to the curb and nowhere near the White House, including via Hillary. I get campaign stuff from the Clinton campaign and most recently Bill sent out a missive in support of Hillary, “For as long as I’ve known her.” Ugh. I didn’t even read it. This is a man I have no respect for.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 18, 2007, 6:32 pm
  20. Yeah, I’m definitely OK with critiquing the politics of Kucinich’s choice of partner.

    Just not with mentioning her, or any other woman, in conjunction with Flynt, unless one’s actually talking about a direct connection between that woman and Flynt.

    Because of who he is and what porn does, it can have the same effect as mentioning both Al Qaeda and Iraq in the same series of speeches; you don’t necessarily have to draw any connection in order to convince people there is one.

    Posted by funnie | December 18, 2007, 6:46 pm
  21. My quiz results most closely match Dennis Kucinich too. But I won’t be voting for him.

    I looked to see how closely my results matched Hillary Clinton’s. Except for 1 or 2 things, we both support and oppose the same things. Except I tend to take a more extreme stance. Which makes sense since I’m a revolutionary, not a politician, and don’t have to compromise anything.

    The one thing that we were not in agreement on is allowing churches to provide welfare services. This is so dangerous I don’t know where to even begin.

    The majority of female welfare recipients use the system to escape domestic violence. The church has a stand-by-your-man-no-matter-how-big-of-an-asshole-he-is attitude. The last dv shelter I stayed at was funded by both church and state. I saw children literally ripped out of their mother’s arms by order of the church and state and given to the abusive father in order to force the woman back into the home of the abuser. The church opposes birth control and divorce and if they know you’re gay, forget about it. You’re not getting any help.

    I use to live across the street from a Catholic hospital and I saw first hand how they provided services all right. Any unmarried pregnant woman was turned away, even if she about to give birth right there in the lobby. Unmarried fathers, however, received services just fine.

    So churches being allowed to provide welfare services? It’ll set women back to square one. Might as well turn your clocks back to 10 b.c. It’s a big enough issue to sway my vote.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 19, 2007, 2:47 pm
  22. And even scarier is how public hospitals are being bought up by the catholic healthcare system. It is happening all over the place. One example – Community Medical Center, the only hospital in my town and formerly public, has been bought up by the St. Barnabas Healthcare System (catholic).

    Posted by Branjor | December 19, 2007, 5:45 pm
  23. Totally agree re “faith based initiatives”! DV and rape shelters are the most obvious conflicts of interest for patriarchal churches to be running, but it doesn’t end there. Even when we’re talking about food banks and soup kitchens, if they are overseen by churches, you get @&@$*$@%&@^@ horrific buttinskis who want more and more scrutiny paid to whether or not people who go to the food bank or for a bowl of soup “really” are the ones who “should be” getting the food, i.e., maybe they’re just slackers on the dole who love to eat out of the goddamn food bank and at the soup kitchen, gotta watch those guys, you might be out seven bucks.

    UGH. Few things make me so intense as this particular subject.

    Not to mention these very people who want to interrogate poor women at food banks about what they do with their cash are Republicans because, say they, they don’t like bureaucracies! Oh go soak your cheap, stingy-ass, Scrooge-like head in a big bucket of cold water, you cold-hearted, mean-spirited person.

    I’ve known plenty of them.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 19, 2007, 6:30 pm
  24. I found all of the comments particularly interesting. It makes me realize how far we haven’t come in terms of women’s general awareness of what is happening in daily lives.

    Kucinich has always made me feel a quiet distaste; I have a very low opinion of “liberal straight men” because they so love pornography. So he is out.

    I try to meet as many candidates personally as I am able to, both in presidential races and locally. You get a much better sense of a person when you actually meet them. I don’t trust how mainstream media reports on women in any way shape or form. I knew that I had to see Hillary in action to get a sense of her.

    We’ll wait till the cows come in for the “perfect” feminist candidate to come. Radical feminism isn’t really about mainstream politics or ever the mainstream at all. That’s its contradiction, because when it succeeds, it tends to drive out the women who became successful because of the principles of radical feminism, but then when you do become successful women resent that too. Oy vey! You don’t know how many times rich white women get attacked on this blog. We are hated just because we achieve. I find this rather odd. Why would you want to be stuck in fewer options, when women could have more? Why do women always want to eat crumbs?
    ***

    Faith based anything is fine, as long as the government does nothing with it. I have no problem with churches feeding the hungry or creating shelters. But I don’t want any government money going to any churches for any reason whatsoever.

    Someone mentioned Catholic hospitals buying out public hospitals. If you are dealing with “reproduction” this is bad, if you’re dealing with other illnesses it doesn’t matter.

    And that old saying really is true: there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you get free food, you will be harrassed for this.
    I don’t like this attitude, because if someone shows up hungry, they should be fed no questions asked, and the same is true for women going to shelters and fleeing men beating them up.
    Not “domestic violence” it’s men beating women up MEN beating women!

    I don’t really have much interest in the spouses of candidates. They aren’t going after the job, and should not be judged. When I apply for a job, my partner is never interviewed. I think we have to decrease spousal involvement in campaigns the way they do in other countries. Nobody pays any attention to the prime minister of Japan’s spouse, for example. I’m sure many people here don’t even know who the prime minister is!

    I would never vote for Condoleeza Rice; she is one of the most horrifying public figures out there. I don’t get why she is like this, and the only thing I can guess is she overcame the fear of racism by achievement — like Bill Cosby or even Barak Obama.

    Speaking as a lesbian who is often in strange straight environments, you do develop a kind of public mask to handle the strange quality of straight women in business environments. it’s just a natural weirdness I think, because I don’t like the topics straight women dwell on- children, husbands, relatives, in-laws– they can really go on and on about these “femilies.” Yuck! Straight men rarely bring these subjects up, and are more likely to talk about “subjects” rather than personal stuff. It’s a point of conflict I’ve noticed over the years.

    And getting back to poverty; I simply think that poor people should be included in the decision making process about shelters and food kitchens and everything else. The people who are served should also be on the boards of the “servers’ and then you’d get real input about how to solve the problem of poverty.

    I know I don’t know anything about poverty, and have no interest in poverty issues. I simply focused on income and investments for most of my life, and I look at social class as largely about a comfort zone.

    The more successful you become, the more people resent this. It’s why we have social class divisions. It is a problem, because people don’t accept the growing power of women either.

    So we’d have to work hard to form a policy to aid people in trouble, and at the same time, create a social structure that wouldn’t drive upper middle class lesbians like me out of the program because we had to face classism directed against us.
    There are a lot of things that I simply don’t volunteer for anymore, because I was just trashed too much. So I tend to be indifferent to anything that I feel is not in my best interest.

    I want women to be very economically successful, and I know that as a lesbian, I get far better treatment within that social class than I have in poor communities that are extremely sexist and homophobic. It’s not that this isn’t a problem everywhere, it’s just that when people are in the survival mode, they have no interest in the things I am interested in.

    Women were traditionally forced into care giver, social worker, teacher roles for decades, and I don’t want any part of that world. Since I fought for women to get into all professions, I feel that women should focus on what they do best.

    It is not politically correct to say that children bore you to death, and that you don’t want to deal with low income issues. It’s not politically correct to say that there are ways to achieve with cleverness in the world, and the key is to find other like minded people who will support your dreams or aspirations.

    Poverty is about a lot of things, and I think it’s even worse than ever because it is often mixed with drugs and mental illness.

    I don’t think wealthy white people are good at dealing with poverty. Just listen to Robert Kennedy’s speeches in `1968 — it was all about white people “helping” the less fortunate.
    It’s not about poor people running their own programs, and getting rid of all the invasion of privacy that poor people are subjected to. I think it comes down to tax money. People don’t like being forced to fund poor people with their tax dollars. If you get something for “free” you will always pay a high price for it. It’s why I am so adament about women getting their financial act together when they are young.

    Another issue is that we have relied on the “family” to handle all these issues. Women were too accustomed to being “taken care of” by men, and thus they become overly depenedent on men. It makes it hard for women to escape men who beat them, because they were not working themselves, nor did they have an independent means of support. Every straight woman who accepts the role of non-working spouse, is really setting herself up for trouble. I would never concent to such an arrangment ever! This is not blaming the victim, it is simply an observation about how women give up power in marriage.

    Heck, women are STILL changing their last names to the male’s last name! What hope is there for women if they can’t even protect that identity from colonization!

    Oy vey, I’m wandering here. I’m going to defend rich white women I think. We’re a small group of lesbian feminists, but hey, I’m always a fighter for the most oppressed on radical feminist blogs🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 20, 2007, 1:22 am
  25. Spam a linea comin down the ave…

    Posted by Satsuma | December 20, 2007, 1:23 am
  26. Just another quick comment on the Hillary campaign. Why does a husband’s behavior have to do with anything that involves being president of the U.S.?

    In my extreme worldview, I can’t imagine why women would ever marry men to begin with. This is itself is shocking and horrifying to me.

    Obviously Bill and Hillary have worked out their differences. I wouldn’t put up with a marriage like that, but then again, I wouldn’t tolerate living with any men EVER! So even the fact that women live with the enemy is beyond me!

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective, or mayby I just have very low expectations for straight people.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 20, 2007, 1:48 am
  27. Satsuma, there is so much I want to respond to in your last comments, it boggles the imagination, even my active one. 🙂

    But I have to haul my carcass to work, so this will have to wait. I agree with a lot that you have to say and think it’s great, and I strenuously disagree with a rather lot, as well. Maybe others will come in and respond.

    I don’t think who someone’s wife is much matters so far as politics goes. But I think a person’s male partner *does* matter. Male partners are not situated vis a vis their wives as wives are situated vis a vis husbands, and Hillary communicates a long list of uglies by (1) remaining married to someone like Bill; (2) standing by him (apparently, and no matter why she did it); (3) allowing him to campaign for her as though his credibility is completely intact and his reputation as to women is admirable or even acceptable, when it is NOT; (4) acting like it’s no biggie that someone whose behavior has been so atrocious, so far as women goes, might re-inhabit the scene of his various misogynies.

    I completely agree with you that poor people need to run or have a strong voice in their own soup kitchens, food banks, tent cities, homeless organizations. We have a very active homeless population here in Seattle that publishes a newspaper and is active in politics and does a lot of good work.

    I don’t care whether churches/religious organizations are involved in charity so long as the government doesn’t completely rely on “faith-based initiatives,” doing away, completely, with any government responsibility to respond to issues around poverty.

    I actually DO want women to be successful, including financially, for reasons you’ve mentioned and others as well, so don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean to trash or attack you and am sorry if that’s how I’m coming across when I talk about “rich and white.” Don’t take it personally! Kinda like you say heterosexual women shouldn’t take it personally. If something doesn’t apply to someone, then they should not take it personally, though I know at times it’s hard not to. “Rich white people” is pretty sweeping and seems inclusive, then again, so does “heterosexual women.” 🙂

    Fwiw, I know that by the standards of by far the vast majority of the world’s population, I am also rich, (although I’m not rich by American standards) and I expect that what I have to say about a lot of things is going to be intensely scrutinized by the poor for evidence that I am mostly interested in protecting what I have. I *have* been extremely poor at various times in my adult life, a single mom with many kids to take care of and to be judged for having had, and I will never forget what that was like. It makes me intensely interested in/committed to issues around poverty and women’s poverty in particular because poor women face such obstacles everywhere and in everything and most of it is absolutely disgusting, immoral and unnecessary. My own years of poverty include many wonderful memories of the relationships and communities poor women create with one another and this just intensifies my interest in and commitment to poor women’s issues. Money is a solution to many problems, but it it doesn’t solve them all, and it creates a lot of problems as well. Well, I need to blog about money.

    So far as a public mask, I think pretty much all of us who work in the professions, in the corporate world, banking, law, etc. develop those, it’s not just lesbians. We all have to pretend all sorts of disgusting stuff in order to get by. We have to be pleasantly not-too-political. We have to pretend we don’t have any real problems of any kind, even if we have HORRIBLE problems of EVERY kind. We have to pretend, if we are mothers, that we really aren’t mothers and have no issues around child care. (It isn’t just lesbians who have to wear masks, and also, plenty of lesbians are mothers and wear the lesbian mask and the mother mask as well as all the other masks!). We have to pretend that we are never sick and are the epitome and apex of good health. We have to pretend that we sail through life easily and happily without cars breaking down, money issues, relationship issues, health issues, child issues.

    It’s inhuman, it is dehumanizing, it is something I deeply oppose, this, “Aren’t we all just doing great?” stuff so that we can all pretend that the MOST IMPORTANT THING is whatever work we are doing and the lives of human beings apart from the world of work should never get in the way of getting the “real” work done. It’s a lie we all have to live to get by and survive in the world, to make money in the world, to keep the money and stuff we have and the friends and connections we have that, again, allow us to preserve and protect all that we have. This is the value, to me, one value, of having very little. When you have very little you are FAR less likely to compromise, to lie, to wear masks. You might still have to sometimes, but not anywhere NEAR the way you have to when you’ve got a lot and want to protect it. If you’re just living in a little apartment and working at the corner alternative bookstore or the women’s health center (vanishing breed) or something like that, where everybody is as alternative as you are, you can be OUT in every conceivable way, and the masks can come off, because what is anybody going to do to you? Take the house you don’t have? Take the money you don’t have? Take all the stuff you don’t have? There is a price to pay for having made it in this country and it is a HUGE price and women pay it, pay it, pay it in spades, pretending not to be lesbians and not to be mothers and not to be living with abusers and not to be struggling in the ways women struggle because we are women.

    Well, there’s a lot to say. But! I have to go to work. Just today and tomorrow, then I get some time off, yay!

    Posted by womensspace | December 20, 2007, 1:23 pm
  28. I agree with you that radical feminism is revolutionary and is a whole nother world compared with mainstream politics. At the same time, I’ve seen some really interesting things happen in my day when someone or some set of ideals captures the public imagination. For this and other reasons I really do think radical feminists/lesbian separatists should run for public office. The Religious Right segment of the homeschooling movement has managed a coup in just this way, by getting everybody and her brother and sometimes sister running for public office and then managing to achieve a good number of their very radical objectives (radical in the fundamentalist sense), which is why right now we have pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control, abstinence education masquerading as “sex ed” in the public schools throughout the land, fundamentalist “character curriculum” programs operating in schools, government agencies, etc., not only in the U.S. but throughout the world! I keep hammering this, I know. Google “Confronting the Religious Right” and take a look at this article I wrote for off our backs in which I describe how this happened.

    Once in a while in history, a certain wind blows, and when it does, it’s good if you’ve got your sails tilted in the right direction, in other words!

    Posted by womensspace | December 20, 2007, 1:56 pm
  29. I don’t think Kucinich can fairly be called a liberal (despite his liberal alliance with Flynt); though the Democratic Party enjoys pretending there exist only varying degrees of liberality, with the “left-est” making the tent too small, there is, in reality, such a thing as political progressivism. Democrats denying it is so does not remove it as a meaningful category and a worldview that differs *substantively* from liberalism, particularly when liberalism is increasingly defined on neoliberalism’s terms.

    Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal; Kucinich is a progressive.

    Kucinich taking a liberal stance on porn doesn’t change the fact that progressivism exists and is not exchangable with liberalism, or make it simply some extreme manifestation of liberalism.

    Posted by funnie | December 20, 2007, 2:40 pm
  30. Well as usual, Heart you had some very good points about a lot of my comments.

    I liked the way you item by item described Bill Clinton’s awfulness in the Hillary campaign, which I had not considered. I guess I get so fed up with hetero couples and their lovely families wanting to run the country that that usually makes me annoyed. I understand the drive to power women have been denied and made to feel bad about wanting, so I guess I deeply identify with Hillary’s raw desire for flat out power. No apologies, no holds barred, she just damn well wants to run the show, and I say good for that raw ambition publically displayed– finally!!

    She just needs to be challenged about all this stuff. I don’t really know how good or how bad hetero marriages really are.
    It’s hard for me to judge anything about that culture or world. I’m simply not a part of it. I look with detachment at it, or can feel a kind of connection to the struggle of heterosexual women that I don’t share. But honestly, it is hard for me to summon compassion for a world I really don’t like very much.

    It’s more at the distaste stage right now, not the flat out hatred that I used to have for heternormative anything.

    I don’t take it personally when people get mad at rich white women. I’m just saying I do aspire to wealth, it does solve problems, and it does compensate for the very bad stuff I have to put up with from heternormative daily life. Wealth simply insulates you from the horrible insults that you get in poor communities.

    Women I think are afraid of money and afraid of power. It’s not cool to say you value money highly and think it is wonderful to have a lot of it. It’s women being wedded to the back of the bus, and we know that economic power changes things.

    Everytime I see the plight of women on this blog– the New Jersey Four etc., and the appeals for money, I know that nickles and dimes will come their way. Women are accustomed to nickle and diming, of counting out the pennies on the restaurant bill, of simply wasting time on the small details of life. It’s hard to get women out of this stuck state of mind! Stuck, stuck, and more stuck.

    The genius of the right wing is that it gets those millions of poor people to send in money. They are constantly raising money, passing collection plates, threatening the world with the terror of radical lesbians… dum de dum here we come! So they rake in that money, and their troops go out and scarf up those school board seats… and girl to they go go go.

    Women, even in the stage of needy starvation, can barely get beyond starvation… lesbians get so starved for just plain listening time, that they can turn very mean and weird in lesbian only space; especially true of a very struggling new underclass that pervades life in Los Angeles. We don’t have the cross-class solidarity that once was a great strength of lesbian community. Now I never am at a lesbian event where I can see a senior vice president at a major bank talking and cheering on two African American women on the verge of being homeless… once I saw this, once I saw the real friendship and connection, now this has disappeared here.

    The frustration set in. When you no longer starve, where do you then go?

    I don’t know about you, but when I can no longer work, I do not want to be destitute and have to live my life in a hetero nursing home. NO! Never! The older I get the more intolerant I become to that world, the more I want as much freedom from it as I can possibly get. I can’t stand that world, I hate it!!

    The issues of women and poverty have preoccupied me ever since I was a small child. I hated women’s lack of money, and the stinginess I saw. I grew to really hate it, and the lording over that men do because they always have more– they still buy women, and this would really would end if we created a world where women flourished.

    There are all kinds of communities that function at whatever level they are at. It’s just that I don’t want to be in those places, because my interests are intensely specialized. You wouldn’t want me at Planned Parenthood, for example. There are so many things that I have no interest in, and I don’t want to have to pretend that I like that which I truly hate.

    The whole point with power itself, is for the people who need something, to be in control with how it is distributed. We have to trust people to do their own work. Rich people stupidly waste money all day long — I get to see this all the time in Beverly Hills. So it’s ok for people who get government assistance to waste money as well. It’s just a human thing.
    Let’s stop caring and getting all worked up with 1% of the national budget! Let the money loose and people will cope.

    Why we don’t honor power to the people who are affected by something is beyond me. Even close friends who are struggling, I have to subtely find out what they need, and how I can help. I have to listen and do what people ask me to do. It’s hard to figure out what this is.

    Society demands masks for odd reasons. I think I developed the “when I’m talking to hetero women” mask, because I just got sick of their constant terror over bluntness and directness. Every now and then I’ll put my foot down — usually over some dumb thing I’ve heard three times — upscale hetero women and their damned shoes! “Well stop wearing high heels then you goddamed sheep!” was one comment I made recently, to shocked and stunned banquet table silence. Maybe you have to throw a bomb at them to get these women to stop this life! Stop it! Just a little example here.

    Yes, by all means, as many liberal, feminist, radical women should run for offices. I’ve supported many progressive lesbian candidates, and contribute to lesbian campaigns nationwide. I give gay male candidates hell for their republican affiliations, and hold their feet to the fire. Wish I could You Tube this for the folks here– could give you some good laughs!🙂 The gay boys are dumber than the straight ones! But I digress dear reader…

    I guess I don’t get where wealth causes problems for women who control it in their own right. Women millionaires are a significant breed very different from their male counterparts — only self made ones make these academic studies. They are quiet about what they do, and you’d be surprised to find out who they are at Michigan and elsewhere. It’s the great secret of feminism.

    Feminism has a hard time dealing with women once they have become successful. Where do you go then? Do you have to work on low income issues, when you long to play a larger game? Do people fuss because you simply enjoy a lovely meeting place rather than a run down community center? Silly yes, but hey, after all these years, I don’t want to ride third class anymore, I don’t want second best, I don’t want any of that, and I’m just as much a radical feminist as anyone. It’s just that I got bored with women who didn’t want to come along with me. I got frustrated with knowing helpful things that would have helped my friends 30 years ago, but back then they hated that stuff. Now of course they really are poor and struggling, even though I yelled about this for so long and so hard.

    I guess I just hope that the celebration of women and wealth gets a hearing. Radical does not mean lack, it means abundance to me. Every time we have revolutions of poor people, we get a lot of blood in the streets. We get poor men chopping off the heads of rich men, and women get axed in the cross-fire.

    Clearly, if you want radical women running for offices, the money has to be found for them. There are plenty of very progressive lesbian candidates out there, and plenty of straight women too. I meet with them and write to them all the time. I write thank you notes to these women to boost them up. I figure most women are throwing darts at them anyway; lobsters yet again.

    Well I’m rambling here. I’m not sure this is making much sense. I know I have some point or thought process that I’m trying to uncover. I know there is something wrong with the I hate money radical feminist mantra, and I know we have to reexamine the ideals of radical feminism itself. What points have we achieved, and how long did it take to get there? What things never seem to happen? (I’m guilty of hoping for the second coming all too often– my second coming is straight women no longer marrying men or having them live under their roofs, thus forever solving spouse abuse and its epidemic and secret history– but that as they say ain’t gonna happen!– but radical lesbian feminism being part of a religious calling, we still can hope for the second coming anyway… I know I know, it’s silly of me.

    I’m a dreamer, I must admit. I’m taking off the masks here just to see what will happen. My views are contradictory and even I don’t agree with my own self, and yet I intensely feel I am right about weird things.

    I hate poverty and I hate seeing women in it. I take it as a victory when I help women move from 60K a year to 100k– no one seems to tell women how much they are really worth, but I keep hammering. I know what will happen if they don’t get moving and get tougher with salary negotiations. I see women get what they ask for, and when this becomes a habit, economic reality transforms itself!

    It’s what I hope a Hillary presidency can bring — a vision of a moderate/feminist woman in the White House in my lifetime.

    I see Hillary as the 21st century transitional figure, and transitions are very hard indeed.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 20, 2007, 7:43 pm
  31. Strummin down the old spam tree….

    Posted by Satsuma | December 20, 2007, 7:43 pm
  32. Ha ha! You never run out of ideas for alerting me to your poor spammed comments, Satsuma! (Why I also approve your alerts. :))

    I don’t have time to respond at length right now, but this:

    Women I think are afraid of money and afraid of power. It’s not cool to say you value money highly and think it is wonderful to have a lot of it. It’s women being wedded to the back of the bus, and we know that economic power changes things.

    Everytime I see the plight of women on this blog– the New Jersey Four etc., and the appeals for money, I know that nickles and dimes will come their way. Women are accustomed to nickle and diming, of counting out the pennies on the restaurant bill, of simply wasting time on the small details of life. It’s hard to get women out of this stuck state of mind! Stuck, stuck, and more stuck.

    I agree with you COMPLETELY here. This is SO TRUE, the way women nickle and dime and are afraid of money.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 20, 2007, 7:52 pm
  33. Tr la NO spam a coming along, but now I’ll have in invent some clever new song….

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 3:36 am
  34. Huh, I’m wondering if one of your comments is missing, Satsuma. I don’t find anything of yours in the spam queue…

    Posted by womensspace | December 21, 2007, 5:11 am
  35. I match up with Kucinich as well. And there is absolutely no doubt in my mind he is the best liberal candidate. He’s not perfect, but he’s the only real liberal/progressive running, and I like him. Honestly how can you not like someone trying to impeach the VP?

    Posted by whatsername | December 21, 2007, 7:59 am
  36. Satsuma –

    In reference to this comment of yours:

    “The more successful you become, the more people resent this. It’s why we have social class divisions. It is a problem, because people don’t accept the growing power of women either.
    So we’d have to work hard to form a policy to aid people in trouble, and at the same time, create a social structure that wouldn’t drive upper middle class lesbians like me out of the program because we had to face classism directed against us.”

    To be brief and blunt (because, ironically, I’m on my way to work right now), I completely disagree. The term “classism” refers to OPPRESSION OF THE POOR BY THE RICH, not the other way around. You are not and cannot be a victim of classism, just as white people are not victims of racism, and men are not victims of sexism.
    And I can’t believe you’re suggesting that social class divisions are a result of the poor being resentful of/meanspirited towards the rich!!! Many, if not most, RICH PEOPLE don’t give a rat’s ass about POOR PEOPLE, which is what causes the social class divisions. I went to a snobby rich kids’ private school for 8 years, and encountered this first-hand and non-stop. e.g. Classmate A’s parents forbid her to play with Classmate B, simply because Classmate B’s father drove a garbage truck and Classmate B was at our school by scholarship. It’s sickening. And thus, I really can’t stomach listening to rich people whine about poor people not accepting them.

    Posted by Eeni B. Bella | December 21, 2007, 2:12 pm
  37. The problem is you are addressing the idea of a landed aristocracy idea of social class, not the situation of women who are completely and utterly self made. In a lesbian feminist context, the focus is on the idea that women should not become wealthy to begin with, and should not be ambitious in this arena.

    So how do you address the real need for lesbians who want to achieve and advance in the world? Usually, the idea of success is derrided or we are accused of being classist. But actually, we are just interested in economic security in a very hetero supportive world.

    I think there are a lot of wealthy people who care deeply about the plight of the poor. I’ve seen this often, but radical feminists aren’t at these events, and never meet these people, so they don’t know what is being done on a daily basis.

    This is an aspect of real life largely unknown to radical feminists in the world. Either feminists are afraid to tell the stories of upward mobility, or they just don’t believe upward mobility is possible for women in their own right.

    I think wealthy people do a lot of good in the world, and I admire their accomplishments. We wouldn’t have the renaissance without the Medicis, for example.

    When I was growing up, we were not forbidden to play with anyone. Our neighborhood was racially mixed, and we also had a healthy mixture of kids from all social classes. You could see vast differences in wealth in Girl Scouts when we’d have events at different girl’s houses, for example.

    Incidently, our family was not wealthy. We probably had less than most kids, but that was not an issue either. Years later, I had to laugh, when an African American lesbian friend made reference to an old T.V. show. I had a blank look, and she said, “Oh, you know Uncle Miltie!!” Well I had no idea what she was talking about. This went around and around until the mystery was solved. “We didn’t have a T.V. when I was growing up, so I didn’t see any of those shows!” I said. My friend was just shocked at this admission. I couldn’t see why she was so shocked. Then she blurted out, ‘I thought all white families had T.V.s in the 1960s!” She really believed this about white people. I think this strange conversation really brought about some breakthrough between the two of us.

    Feminism is about telling the truth not going into some dated and silly “class” analysis of evil rich and noble poor — a rather bad 19th century novel. I think there is a reason that “A Christmas Carol” is considered such a profound work of art, because in that book, the wealthy man is transformed in the end.

    All I am saying, it that people are jealous of success, and radical feminists are particulary hostile to the idea of upward mobility. It might work for people in their 20s, but right now, I am not going to take financial advice from women who have no intention of doing anything for me in my old age, so I don’t support this self-defeating ideology. It will make women on this site mad, but someone has got to say something.

    Poor people are mean and hostile, and so are rich people. It’s not cool to say you don’t want to be around people who are mean, but I know as I get older, I have less tolerance for people who attack or trash me, just because I don’t want poverty to be the lot of women forever. There are many reasons people have trouble in life. We think it is because of being working class or whatever, but we also have to examine the big picture.

    I think there is a kind of leftist mythology that social classes are naturally antagonistic, because they don’t have to be.

    For some strange reason, I never felt all that different in a wealthy friend’s house than I did in a working class friend’s house. Us kids just had fun drinking hot chocolate and doing kid’s stuff together. I grew up with this idea that wealth was about numbers, nothing more.

    Yes, working class lesbians can be very mean. There I’ve said it. Upper class closeted lesbians can be snobbish and awful too. Horizontal violence is epidemic in the radical feminist world. It’s not cool to point this out, but we won’t get anywhere doing the same things we’ve always done, and never questioning this stuff. I question reverse classism — or social meanness I think would be a more accurate term.

    Social meanness does cause women to withdraw from some kinds of political activism. We all search for the places where we can be most effective, and not have people biting and attacking us just because we long for higher standards or better quality environments.

    It’s not that I completely disagree with your anger Eeni, but somehow, I have to be honest about what I think works and doesn’t work for me in the world. That’s all I’m saying.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 7:36 pm
  38. There is spam coming around the mountain when she comes….
    chicken and dumplings here we come!🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 7:37 pm
  39. Here’s my bottom line challenge–
    Hillary Clinton is a dummy for sticking with Bill, or at least that’s what you think Heart.

    I think all women are dummies for marrying men, so where does this logic lead us? All heterosexual marriages seem crazy to me, so you are dumb just by being heterosexual in the first place. No doubt most people here will hate this comment, but it’s ok to keep picking on Hillary for her dumb marriage.

    Maybe straight women are really mad at Hillary because they themselves stopped putting up with the “Bills and Toms and Harrys” in their life. Radical feminist women sometimes have escaped bad marriages or ended them in the name of freedom, therefore, they are going to be extra mad at women who “stick by their man.”

    Oddly enough, some women may not care at all whether their husbands have affairs or not. What they don’t want to deal with is the fact of this becoming humiliating knowledge in a newspaper headline.

    But really, sometimes I see women who simply wanted an easier life. A woman down the street is a lesbian, but she chose to marry a man. Actually, she probably is bisexual, or maybe even indifferent one way or another. It was no big deal for her to live with this nice man. It would horrify me, but there are millions of women who seem to think this is easier.

    I, on the other hand, find men impossible to talk to– or rather they are limited in some way, stuck somewhere. I couldn’t imagine how you could have a true relationship with these creatures. It would be like marrying a dog, with the expectation that if you tried hard enough, you could actually get it to have a conversation about Mary Daly🙂

    Did Jackie Kennedy hate her husbands affairs? You bet she hated this. Could she summon the courage to get angry about this and go on record with her anger? We’ll never know.
    Women of her social class were taught to just suffer this in silence, focus on their kids and let their husbands rule the free world.

    Will getting mad at Hillary get us anywhere? Obviously nowhere. We each love our positions, for maybe silly personally vein reasons.

    It’s easy for me to make fun of the “dumb’ straight women, probably for the same reason that working class people make fun of the “dumb” women of Beverly Hills.

    We just hate people for peculiar reasons, most of which have nothing to do with political anything. It is the raw hatred you develop after years of being personally insulted by the evil group in question. Or we are afraid of the evil group in question and thus turn fear into hate.

    One thing that I find useful is to try to see what are the good things about straight women, or even the good things about children. As an adult, I should be able to accept that women who have children will want to talk about them, even though this topic drives me nuts. Maybe because what adults say and what children actually do are two different things. This is my personal struggle. I have to try to keep giving people chances, and then pay attention when someone invited me to the party. The proper response to a kind invitation is to say “thank you.” Not, oh you rich straight woman jerk I hate your guts!”

    So the truth is, based on how we are treated in the world, we develop contempt over time. I saw straight women behaving like meanies towards me, the social nastiness was something very real. So naturally, I developed a long lasting and passionate hatred for these attackers and meanies.

    I came to see all straight behavior as inherently awful, even though the people themselves are unaware that they are doing anything wrong whatsoever.

    I know I overreact with epic hatred of every little thing straight people do! And how I love to attack till my heart’s content. That’s the easy way for me, but still, I am aware that there is something new we can try now and then. Like all oppressed groups, I sometimes test the waters by being very very confrontational, just to see if the people really do say all are welcome. Or if it’s only about if you agree and know your place.

    If you are black, how do you handle white people who really are being as helpful to you as they would be to anyone else, for example? Now that’s a real challenge. On a show awhile back, a woman who could pass as white, discovered her white heritage as an adult. She went to white only events, and was shocked to discover that white people are cold to each other, it wasn’t coldness to her because she was a black woman, it was really that social distance that is quite normal in certain white settings. This was a real revelation to her.

    Kind of like straight women who love shoes! I have to admit that straight women really DO love them, and love to spend hours in shoe shops! Would drive me nuts, makes no sense to me. In my mind, you only need two pairs of shoes period — one solid last forever dress shoe and one pair of tennis shoes!

    Something as simple as a basically liberal woman who is hardworking gets blown up out of all proportion. Meanwhile, the same kind of man would just get a free ride.

    I don’t think many radical feminists will win elective office, because radical feminists have little or no money, and they hate and get weird about money. That’s one group. Then the women who do have money will feel it is thankless supporting women who will then just trash them anyway.

    It is the women of America who won’t elect Hillary, the women of America who just can’t vote, or just want to be who knows what. But, women get ahead when other women want them to. Mary Daly talked of women as “token” tortueres, and this is true, but still women can say yes or they can say no. Women do have moral agency, and this is hard to take sometimes. It’s hard for me to take when straight women go all gender police on me, when men just act like hey Satsuma is fun let’s go have a cigar! Cigar, lesbian eeek go the gender police. But in so many instances men DON’T Care, or men just write the damn check no big deal.

    The truth is, when women decide to get freedom, we’ll get it. Hillary is the big test. No radical feminist will like her, no she’s not good enough, she sticks with her man… she voted for something bad…. she’s this or she’s that. But I learned something — just vote for her. Give her a break and let a woman lead, let a hardworking rather plain woman get out there and do the job. Just do it for once!

    It’s about the real. Maybe it would be best to say where you stand when you do state an opinion. If you hate rich people, you can then say, “Hey I went to a rich kid’s school and now I hate them.” Then I get it.

    Or you can say, hey I was a fundamentalist christian woman, and I know I’m good, so stop thinking I was a dummy just because I believed at the time that I was doing the right thing, for example.

    Just where are we all situated and what are the true reasons for our beliefs? And have we had personal experience in large quantity with the groups we so hate?

    Where have we felt the most successful and what has worked best for us? Who really helps us when push comes to shove, and who doesn’t do a damn thing for us?

    The answers to all these questions will shock many that’s for sure.

    I know I am always surprised at who became my biggest client, or who was the nicest to me at the company party, or who had a kind word for me when I was really down.

    I have learned over the years that who puts the most money in your pocket — the easiest piece of business you ever got, came in the most surprising way and was a true relelation.
    Wow, that person just wrote me a check for a million dollars, because they instantly knew I was a crack investor. Then you kill yourself trying to get some woman to contribute $25 in an IRA and she goes off on you because one of the 100 companies in the fund did some weird thing somewhere in the world! It’s a weird world after all. It’s weird how you make a living, and who acts up, and who gets richer. It just is weird.

    It makes me question sometimes radical feminism itself. I like to question things and examine them.

    I know Heart is challenging every bone in my body, and I really admire her tenacity. I really respect who she is and where she comes from. In the past, it might have been easy for Heart or me to write each other off, or to get mad or whatever.

    But the fact that we are still struggling through real sisterhood does have meaning for me.

    I’m often unsure if anything I have to say has meaning for women here. I know I’m not your typical radical feminist. I’m not even a typical lesbian. But I often get the feeling that women hide so much of what they really think, that we never get at truths at all, we get the personna but not the person.

    Radical party lines get frozen, when in fact, there are many ways to see radical feminism, and my branch of it has to do with success and the visionary. It had to do with what I can achieve with the power of these ideas, but it’s not the obligation of women to do anything they don’t want to do or don’t like doing.

    I only do what I like. I only work with people I like. I don’t do things I don’t like, and I don’t pretend I care about things just to be nice. I just try to be real, and when women are real, we all know that all hell breaks out loose sometimes.🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 11:48 pm
  40. More spam a floatin down the Nile…

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 11:48 pm
  41. Can’t remember what spam floated into what spam river or maybe what spam fell off what spam train? Or was it a red rubber baby buggie bumper?🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 22, 2007, 8:36 am
  42. Well, I have to do errands. I will blog about moolah. Everybody do not go ballistic in response to Satsuma’s posts, we’ll cover it all in good time. 🙂

    Feminism is about telling the truth not going into some dated and silly “class” analysis of evil rich and noble poor — a rather bad 19th century novel.

    Just a few thoughts.

    The poor, as you say, are not necessarily noble, and the rich are not necessarily evil. Having money qua having money doesn’t equal anything so far as the ethics or morality of the person who has the money, at least I don’t think so. I don’t think anybody has argued for this idea here though. The arguments around the having of wealth, when feminists make them, have to do with what our having wealth, as Americans, means for the rest of the world. The arguments have to do with the morality of a tiny number of people controlling the resources of the entire world, and with a tiny number of people being able to call the economic shots for the whole world because they do control the resources.

    Rich Americans staying rich means — whether they know it or acknowledge it or not — that thousands and millions of people will be exploited and poor. U.S. investors and entrepreneurs, for one example, go to places like India, buy the wells, sell the bottled water to rich Americans who can buy it at a buck fifty or whatever a pop, and now hundreds and thousands and millions of Indian women can’t find clean water for drinking, bathing, etc., because American corporations own the wells.

    So people get sick. And can’t work. Can’t find water to drink for their families. Certainly can’t afford the water corporations are selling from the nearby well!

    IOW, white American wealth *costs* people throughout the world. This is one tiny example of thousands we could talk about.

    Is the American buying the Dasani water an evil rich person? If he doesn’t care at all about what buying the water costs Indian women, and knows what it costs, then yes, there’s an evil in that. If he never gave a thought to what buying his bottled water costs people, that’s not exactly evil, but there is a certain arrogance to that ignorance that, I think, approaches evil.

    That doesn’t translate to the landed aristocracy/poor peasants scenario you’re alluding to, Satsuma. But it’s not so far removed, I don’t think, as you’re suggesting, either.

    If the poor person steals money in order to get water, does that make him not noble? Or noble? If she finds a way to divert the water from the well American investors bought so she can use it for her and other women and their families, does that make her noble? Or evil? If she steals water for herself and her family, is she noble or evil?

    If the rich person buys up wells in a country where there is a shortage of clean water, does that make him evil? It certainly doesn’t, to my mind, make him noble! Even if it’s not a he but a she, even if the she is a lesbian and is just making sure she has enough money that she doesn’t have to depend on anyone else and can live the life she wants to live.

    Are people who invest in Dasani evil? Or noble? Are they noble if they are women/lesbian/feminist because they will use the returns on their investing in what amounts to an evil corporation to benefit women or lesbians or feminists or just to lead their own (comparatively) self-sufficient life?

    And if the poor person who has to steal to get water feels resentful or jealous of the person who bought the water — in addition to being thirsty — well, so what? So what if people are jealous or resentful. I can see that that might be an issue where the poor, thirsty person is directly engaging the person who owns the well, i.e., a calm, mind-y discussion might not be possible. (!) Or to my mind desirable. But for our purposes here, I think we really do have to think and talk deeply about the ethics of what the rich person has done and what responsibility he or she has to the person affected by it.

    So far as silly class analyses, I think class analysis is central and basic to any revolutionary or radical feminism. If the focus is on individuals, individual behavior, individual solutions, individual hardships, then the most important questions do not get asked: why are women marginalized compared with men? why are people of color marginalized compared with white people? And so on. The only people who can afford to call class analysis silly are people who, I think, benefit from the class standing they have.

    I don’t think that was really what you meant, Satsuma. At the same time, realize, mens’ rights people, conservatives, etc., are always espousing this “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of stuff, this “you can be rich if you want to be,” and it’s nonsense. It really isn’t true, and as you say, as feminists, we have to talk about what is true. This is not true because the class standing people have — their sex, race, economic class, disability or not, lesbian or het — does matter and figure in to what they will be able to have and do in the world, in other words, to whether or not they have or do not have power.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 22, 2007, 6:21 pm
  43. What most Amerikans don’t seem to get is that you don’t get to buy class. You are born into it. Bill Gates may be the richest man in the world, but he’s still only middle class. He’s considered “nouveau riche” — a derogatory term used among the upper class to denote that someone may have acquired some wealth to throw around and buy some toys, but comes from a lower social class and is “not one of us.”

    Class is about one’s social standing. Not about how much money one has in their bank account. I thought the movie “Titanic” did a decent job in depicting class. If one remembers correctly, Rose and her mother had no money. It was “all gone.” But they were still considered members of the upper class because of Rose’s father’s “good name.” IOWs, his class and social standing in society. Which was passed down to Rose as her birthright. Compare that to Molly Brown’s character. Despite the considerable wealth Molly Brown had, she was considered “nouveau riche” and “not one of us,” and the upper class regarded her with disdain and contempt and looked down their noses at her.

    Upper class = “old money.” Wealth and social standing passed down through multiple generations. Usually, but not always, through the male heirs. Women’s class status is more determined by her father or by her husband. Class is very sexist. A woman may gain or lose class status through marriage. Because, whether we like it or not, a woman is viewed, even today, as the property of men. A man’s class status doesn’t change no matter who he marries.

    In short, it is near impossible for a person to switch classes or be upwardly mobile. That is a lie. One of the many lies the patriarchy tries to sells to us. That if we work hard and invest our money well and do all the right things, anyone can acquire upward class class mobility. Not within one’s lifetime it won’t happen. Because again, one’s class and social standing is determined by birth, not by economic status.

    Posted by Luckynkl | December 22, 2007, 7:23 pm
  44. Satsuma, I wanted to say that I think you’ve said some GREAT things in your comments and I want to respond to them and will.

    Just sayin. 🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 22, 2007, 8:36 pm
  45. But the thing is Heart, I did indeed change social class. I did it because I wasn’t satisfied with my life in middle class. One day I realized, hey, I’ve got to get my act together. I had very compelling reasons for making this decision, and I won’t reveal them because the story is too awful and discouraging, and it does not show women in the best light.

    I just studied jobs to see which profession would accomplish this the most efficiently, and which profession also contained the most elements of creativity at the same time. If I had serveral very high level skills, where would this take me the fastest? I started with the purpose of work is to earn money, and worked ahead from that. Not the purpose of a job is to serve my masters at minimum wage…

    So you can say over and over that women can’t change social class, but I have, and I did it because I did the analysis.

    It’s not that I’m any smarter or better at all, it was just that I got fed up with the ghetto of low expectations that is the shadow side of radical feminism. I assure you Heart that I am average, but I do unaverage things. I do things that very few women think to do actually. They could do these things but for some reason they don’t want to.

    Another woman I personally know went from being the working class daughter in a struggling family to the manager of billions of dollars. She got pushed out of the movement too, but she still supports it.

    There are lots of radical lesbians who do this, and then the movement denies that we even exist. “You can’t do this, there is no such thing as a change in social class” yeah right, and once upon a time the president of Iran said there were no gay people in his country.

    Lots of heterosexual women think tbey know no lesbians! So I win the jackpot, I get a double invisibility of no class change exists and I get to be an invisible lesbian to boot a root a toot toot🙂

    I’m not saying all lesbians out there are running billion dollar hedge funds. Most radical feminists don’t read about money, they stay stuck in struggle, and I think our focus on the “lack” of the material or the $2.99 killer flip flops are a part of the problem. Not that we shouldn’t be mad at Walmart and at their calous inhumane corporate culture. Believe me, I am in direct contact with women high up at Walmart about all of this right now! It’s not just that!

    One thing I do know, when women get access to money, power dynamics with men change. You can see this in the micro loan movement that started in India and Pakistan, and you can see it in the micro loans my friends and I regularly participate in. You can go online and give a mirco loan to a woman in Uzbekistan if you want to, and get her craft business launched, and you can make a profit for your venture.

    You can lend women $100 and they’ll create businesses out of very little. This is concrete and real. I prefer to invest in the women who are doing and growing. I want to work to build things, and I know that women’s plight is really changed with economic support and business guidance.

    We all thrive economically when someone we love really cares about our economic advancement! One o9f my friends got a job at Starbucks, and I was able to help her get going with the benefits package, and I kept on cheerleading until she got her first small management position there. She needed a lot of support. She had incredibly low self-esteem, and the lesbian group she was in was just lobster pottish to the max!
    Support and encouragement are the best things we can offer as women to other women. Bar none! I need to do some rah rah here now and then, although my power in this department doesn’t come off very well in print.🙂

    American feminists should really get these, because compared to women worldwide we are incredibly wealthy.

    Now does wealth abuse the world? Of course we all know it does. Why do men have more power than women? Well women still consent to work for nothing in the labor of love known as “the heterosexual sweatshop…oopps I mean “***Family*** halo, saints and angels flying around “family” What lifestyle do all the countries of the world have in common? Who stays home? Who does not? It’s women’s very real connection to children that poses some issues, things we have to think about.

    As long as women continue to raise children ‘for free’ and continue to cook and clean “for free” and continue to shower love and attention on their particular man in their particular dwelling, we will aid and abet this worldwide system. That’s just one aspect of it. Now women can honestly “choose” anything, but when you get the propaganda machine going night and day on this, well….

    What we can all do is support women, condemn the worlds of evil that destroy women — pornography and the sex club industry and sexual slavery being a huge part of this empire.

    We can provide good data on what causes patriarchy to flourish, and women to be sucked into it generation after generation.

    But telling women they can’t move from one social class to another in the age of the internet is not really true 100% of the time. Just like it’s not really true that lesbians have created wonderful partnerships for decades despite every heterosexual assault on our lives and souls. Yes, lesbians don’t exist either, or little girls don’t become radical feminists even though they are born into heterosexual families that indocrinate them 24 hours a day into the wonderful world of heterosexuality. Like it takes all women a gazillion years to figure out that patriarchy is a force to reckon with.

    There are a lot of feminist beliefs out there that should at least be examined now and then. Otherwise we get stuck in group think. Some of us are fine on bread and water, and others of us love fine food, but we all are out there together doing our part in the world.

    It was being forever outside the suffocating world of heterosexuality itself that gave me the creativity to go further out of the box in terms of investments, business partners and even world travel.

    I thought to myself, I can either suffer my eternal anger at the stupidity of heterosexuality itself, and throw rocks at it till the day I die, or I can create things, and see how far this creative self takes me. I can choose to have bad teeth, or I can choose to build up investments and take care of the teeth.

    I can choose to go to good doctors or bad ones, but I have to make a choice, and if I have a radical feminist community that is always telling me I can’t rise above my lowly lesbian station in life, then I have to ignore their economic advice and rise as far as I want to rise.

    I need to find the best in our movement, and laugh over the rest of it. And I need to talk about this openly so that new radical feminists can know that not everyone is on the same page with economic analysis or theory or practical reality.

    It’s important for me to speak out about this, because otherwise you’ll all live in the mythology that changing social class is impossible. It’s not easy, but if you want this change badly enough, you’ll find a way to get there. If you don’t care about it one way or the other that’s fine too. I just want the best in life, because I know heterosexuals get this by the bucketfull every time they bore us to death with their wedding photos and baby pictures and christmas carols and goddess only knows what other stuff they expect the rest of us to put up with! Ba humbug! I just love saying ba humbug even though I’m kind of laughing at my own hyperbolic self right now. :-0🙂 it’s always hard for me to convey both deadly seriousness and a kind of comic court jester aspect to my personality here, but I’m still trying!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 22, 2007, 11:03 pm
  46. Tr la la la, la la la la, sail away oh spam of state, do not go gently into this good night….

    Posted by Satsuma | December 22, 2007, 11:04 pm
  47. Satsuma, just wanted to say I am not ignoring you, but I really do not have comparable time to answer you. I will say, this blog really is not about mainstream politics. That is the game men created. Women need not play by those rules. Call me a dreamer, I would never deny that, but I am deadly serious as well as you.

    Posted by Aletha | December 23, 2007, 8:37 am
  48. Satsuma, I too am pressed for time right now, but I won’t be in a day or two, yay!

    I wanted to say that it wasn’t me who said women can’t change social class. That was Lucky. I agree with Lucky that people who don’t come from old money never will be regarded BY old money AS old money, and people who become upper middle class professionals, for example, but who come from poverty will never be regarded as upper middle class BY the entrenched upper middle class.

    It’s true that people can “change class” according to the charts that hierarchicalize persons by income level, i.e., the ones that say that people who make $9,000 per year constitute the “poor,” those who make $10-20,000 per year constitute the working poor, and so on. Iow, just by having more or less money people can change their economic class. The fastest way for people to do this, of course, is to marry into it. Or out of it.

    That doesn’t change the fact that what Lucky says is true– there really is an aristocracy in this country, despite what Americans say about themselves, and it is not permeable or a function of how much money someone has at any given time. You are born into it or you aren’t part of it.

    But I wasn’t really wanting to talk about that or referring to that (or thinking about that) so much of what you said in your most recent post isn’t responding to anything I’ve said.

    When you say this:

    But the thing is Heart, I did indeed change social class. I did it because I wasn’t satisfied with my life in middle class. One day I realized, hey, I’ve got to get my act together. I had very compelling reasons for making this decision, and I won’t reveal them because the story is too awful and discouraging, and it does not show women in the best light.

    I wouldn’t argue with you at all, so far as economics go, and class status goes, because I did the same thing.

    But I did it the opposite direction. I moved *down* the economic and social class hierarchies as they exist under white male heterosupremacy when I was 22 or so by taking up with a poor black man who had been born into a cold-water shack in Baltimore in the 1940s and who was a brilliant political revolutionary. I was the daughter of a highly respected white attorney. I met my first ex when I was going to college and living in a sorority and was on a career path similar to my dad’s. He had gone to the same college and been a member of a fraternity there. I was making the connections there which would firmly entrench me in the world of the upper middle class for the rest of my life, so long as I continued on, entered a profession, accumulated wealth, committed no crimes, and either got married to someone doing the same and of the same race or stayed single.

    I DIDN’T WANT TO DO ANY OF THAT.

    I didn’t want wealth. I didn’t want “success” as my family or as mainstream American culture and society define it.

    I wanted success ON MY OWN TERMS– success defined not by all of the above but by living *by my own lights* and by my own values and in accordance with my own politics. I wanted to love *whom I wanted to love*. I wanted to live *as I wanted to live*. Even if it meant I would be rejected, hated, despised, marginalized in various wayas and would forever LOSE my capacity to be recognized as a middle class woman. Who the hell wants to be a middle class woman and recognized as such? Not me!

    [diversion]
    (Heads up to a few of those reading — maybe what I’m saying here might flesh out a bit that out-of-context quote of mine which was circulated recently in a slanderous and overall shitty manner by people with zero interest in what I have really said about this in the past or intended to communicate via the quote that was circulated. But, when all ya got is a hammer…[/diversion, sorry to be cryptic to those who have no idea what I’m talking about.]

    The last thing in the world I have ever wanted, then and until today, was to study how to make money and get ahead in this country and move up class-wise and then pursue that course!

    There is nothing revolutionary in that. That is simply working very hard to *be part of* and recognized AS part of the machinery that keeps male heterosupremacy in motion.

    Similar to the way there is nothing revolutionary in gay/lesbian marriage. That is simply working very hard to *be part of* and recognized AS part of the machinery that keeps male heterosupremacy in motion.

    This is so clear to you, Satsuma, re gay/lesbian marriage, and I don’t get why it is just not so clear to you so far as earning money, etc.

    Yes, certain changes are possible for progressive/liberal people who do what you have done: look at the system, look what it rewards, and *do that*.

    You can send microloans to women (a FABULOUS idea and something I wish every woman on the earth would do, I agree, this changes lives.) You can help women buy houses. You can help women invest intelligently. This improves the lives of individual women.

    But you don’t make revolution in the way you’ve described. The wheels of the system that is in place, in which men and white people in general, are on top, remain tuned and oiled and in motion. Individuals, communities, and whole nations remained oppressed and in indentured servitude to the super powers that rule the earth, more corporations than governments in this day and age of incipient fascism.

    On its deepest level, radical feminism is about the overturning of all hierarchies– sex, class, race, who we love, ability/disability, age, ALL. The long-term goal of radical feminism is not to make it easier for individual women to move up the food chain, it is to ELIMINATE the food chain altogether and with it all of the structures which serve to keep the food chain from being altered in any significant way.

    As a short-term strategy, yes, it makes sense to help women get into the professions, make money, get into political office, own homes, and so on *because the lives of individual women matter, their happiness matters, their enjoyment of life matters, and their voices matter* and because women with some money and some power can, in fact, “tweak” the system. But that’s all they can do — tweak it.

    We should not delude ourselves that getting women better situated in male heterosupremacy is revolutionary or about radical change.

    Radical change would mean the end of social classes and stratifications of all kinds, for example, in favor of *deep and abiding respect for every single individual no matter who, what the person has, whether the person measures up in various ways, etc.*

    Radical change would mean, instead of individuals having to scan the male heterosupremacist menu in search of the best ways to make money and “succeed” without sacrificing one’s creativity and humanity and soul wholesale, individuals being recognized and *rewarded* for the unique gifts and talents they bring to the human table.

    Because when we have to choose amongst the offerings of male heterosupremacists in order to be “successful,” we are offered and are able to “choose” ONLY amongst options which perpetuate and strengthen the system as it exists. We can be lawyers, doctors, politicians, investment counselors, stockbrokers, salespersons and so on. Sure, patriarchy will allow some smart women in to do these jobs, so long as they do things, for the most part, in the patriarchally prescribed manner and conduct their lives in ways which patriarchy can endorse. So long as the system, in other words, remains intact with white guys and the U.S. and superpowers profiting and staying on top.

    What you can’t do under male heterosupremacy is live by your own lights, as a woman, contributing your own unique gifts and talents, and be compensated for this if your gifts and talents ARE NOT RECOGNIZED UNDER MALE HETEROSUPREMACY AS VALID OR DESERVING OF RECOGNITION OR COMPENSATION.

    This is ALL about values.

    Why should the brilliant musician/poet/writer/sculptor/lover of disabled persons/lover of old people/lover of animals/rescuer of animals, for a tiny number of examples I could list, be forced to choose amongst what patriarchy compensates richly as her life’s work? Forsaking all of these amazingly NEEDED and VALUABLE gifts and contributions to humanity AS life’s work because patriarchy won’t compensate, or recognize the value of, this work?

    Why should people, iow, do what they find acceptable enough JUST TO MAKE MONEY?! Or be “successful” as patriarchy defines this. When it means they can’t do, or can barely do, WHAT GIVES THEIR LIVES MEANING?! And on a deeper level, what makes life MUCH better for ALL the world’s people!?

    We need musicians, and not just the kind who rise up through the patriarchal ranks, we need the folk musicians, the creative geniuses, and the same with writers/poets/sculptors. We need people who LOVE walking alongside the elderly in their old age and who love nothing more than to sit at the feet of those this society calls “disabled” to offer an assist in order that the “disabled” might offer their AMAZING contributions to this society. We need people who are learning to, and who can, *communicate with animals* in order for us to begin to live harmoniously with animals and the earth so that we don’t fracking destroy it all by our ignorance and arrogance.

    These are penultimately VALUABLE contributions which deserve compensation and recognition but patriarchy recognizes and compensates NONE. It relegates these and similarly gifted people to feminist/progressive/anarchist/activist ghettos unless they will agree to leave all that foolishness behind and do what patriarchy says is valuable.

    I could say so much more, just no time.

    I am saying, when you tell women to choose what patriarchy promises will make them rich, to choose to change economic classes upwardly, this is not about revolution OR radical feminism. This is, at most, about liberal feminism, or a sort of libertarianism I have seen quite a lot of, actually, amongst successful lesbians. I think there is value in the world seeing a powerful, successful lesbian, no argument. But again, to become successful and powerful as an individual lesbian in a man’s world is not to about the making of revolution wholesale as radical feminists have envisioned it.

    What it looks to me as though you’ve done — and there’s a lot I’d like to respond to in your last several comments around this — is set yourself against, not male heterosupremacy, not patriarchy, really, but heterosexuality qua heterosexuality, determining that to be successful as a lesbian in a heterosexual world is revolution enough. And as I’ve said, that is a revolution of sorts. But it does not change the system that oppresses all of us, as women, as persons of color, as poor, as disabled, and so on, in any real way. The system grinds on, just with a few outliers near (never AT) the top this time.

    In order for the system to change, all persons and creatures must be recognized as valuable in their own right, as having gifts, talents, brilliances which deserve recognition and compensation. Compensation must not be exchange-based (because of the inevitable hierarchies which are inherent to exchange economies) but gift-based (because gift-based economies are inherently anti-hierarchical), and so on.

    So while we can applaud individual women’s successes, and we can work to make them successful, and we can be happy about our OWN successes, we should not say or think that an individual woman’s success within the system as it exists is revolutionary.

    Because it isn’t.

    Ren Ev has commented a couple times here lately and I know my approving her comments has been controversial and some of my radfem sisters disagree, I see that and acknowledge it.

    Ren Ev did what you did– looked at her options within the system as it exists for making money as a person who came out of poverty and got a college undergraduate degree. Her decision? To be prostituted and to make pornography. Because that’s how she can make the absolute most money and establish the self-sufficiency and security she feels she needs in her life.

    And that decision right there, which shores up male heterosupremacy at its very roots, is inevitable if the politics are simply, let’s figure out how to make the cash and therefore how to be “successful,” because under male heterosupremacist capitalism, money = success. So people choose to be prostituted or choose to be drug czars or choose to be drug dealers or choose to rob banks or choose to be professionals or investors, all depending on where they are situated class/race-wise and socially, and yeah we can say some of this is criminal and some isn’t, but the line there is a LOT more fuzzy than most people invested in the system will ever acknowledge or see that it is. If you’re poor and of color you are “gang members,” for example. If you’re white and less poor you are “police.” And you know what, there is VERY little difference between the two groups, it’s just that the state backs the police and not the gangs. Both groups are corrupt.

    For again, one tiny piece of such a complex picture.

    You know, lots of women make extraordinary decisions and live extraordinary lives, revolutionary lives. They are often not recognized as revolutionaries until after their deaths. They often die penniless and impoverished or just poor and invisible, like Zora Neale Hurston or Sojourner Truth or Emily Dickinson or millions of other women I could name, including radical feminists/lesbian separatists. That they are not recognized and compensated in their lives, that they struggle to survive economically, is NOT about their having “chosen” some “economic ghetto,” it is about — again — living by their own lights, values, loves, gifts and talents, not being willing to throw those under the truck in order to “achieve” a “success” that — for them — would not be success at all.

    Well, that scratches the surface!

    Posted by womensspace | December 23, 2007, 4:58 pm
  49. Yes, Heart I can see all your arguments, the problem is, every time some group has tried to make a classless society, it is never classless. I would rather know up front what the class structure is, then have it be invisible.

    Sometimes I play a game, I ask people to guess my background, my social class, my religion or some other little detail. Or I play the game in reverse, and try to guess this of other people. It is always interesting to me how little anyone knows about anyone! There simply is no connect most of the time. So in order to be treated according to your social class, you would have to see it to begin with. If I’m in a certain social setting, I am assumed to belong there. You can meet the wealthy and the poor and each experience is unitque to that person.

    I think you can have revolutions any time you want to. I got to see all those peace demonstrators throwing rocks at police down the block from my house. I think people in the 60s thought they would have a revolution, but would you have really wanted that one?

    I guess I just want more laboratory work before I sign on to anyone else’s revolution. To me radical lesbian feminism is about resistence to my enemy, which is heterosexualism for lack of a better word. I’m not interested in gay and lesbian marriage, geez, that is silly. Why would lesbians and gays ever want to take on that institution? You got me on why this has become such a thing!

    Since ever lesbian couple I never knew has split up, I think a lot of lesbians have trouble having a life all the while the hetero world constantly attacks us in every way imaginable. Some women gave up as a result of this, I simply became more intolerant of any heterosexual insult and I started to really fight back hard!
    You can create all kinds of structures, but the strange thing is, women aren’t doing this to the degree their numbers dictate.
    Women are the majority now, not the minority. So obviously other things need to be done.

    I like your ideas Heart, but I am a practical person. I want to see results. You are getting results in a critical venue — the laboratory of ideas and discussions. This is not an a easy ualistic and self-made people.

    However, someone determines something after the revolution is over, and it is rarely the lesbians who win the brass ring.

    The thing is, women struggle with the basics all the time, and oftentimes they have no idea how the choices of youth will impact them later on in life. We seem unable to really get a lot of this across to young people sometimes.

    Yes, we had Sojourner Truth, we had Mary Daly (and still have her), we even had the closeted Angela Davis… I wouldn’t really put Emily Dickison in the radical camp, because she herself didn’t intend her poetry to be published.

    We could end poverty tomorrow, but if we didn’t change the minds of poverty, it would revert right back to poverty. I see this all the time in L.A.

    I have always said that people should be their most creative selves and do that. I also tell people to find out what is enough, and then you’ll be free of the out of control materialism that just wears me out.

    When I was talking about income, I was just referring to census data — what the country looks like in dollars. If the top 10% of all Americans earns $135,000 a year, then you don’t have to feel bad for earning “only $125,000, for example.
    Heart says:
    “They often die penniless and impoverished or just poor and invisible, like Zora Neale Hurston or Sojourner Truth or Emily Dickinson or millions of other women I could name, including radical feminists/lesbian separatists. That they are not recognized and compensated in their lives,”

    I think we don’t have to buy into the paradigm of the starving artist Heart. Women don’t have to hold up disaster to grasp at freedom, and I think your idea of freedom and mine are not the same.

    All I’m saying is I don’t believe in disaster feminism. I don’t see the world as a big disaster. Having lived as a child in the 60s, I developed a certain distance from a lot of the “revolutionary” talk of that time. I noticed that out of the leftist big shots, came feminism in its modern form.

    If we are talking about a social structure called patriarchy, then we are looking at a global system that has been in place for 5000 years. In every country of the world, you can see visible evidence of women’s second class status. You see it in the eyes of women.

    Heart says:
    “So people choose to be prostituted or choose to be drug czars or choose to be drug dealers or choose to rob banks or choose to be professionals or investors, all depending on where they are situated class/race-wise and socially, and yeah we can say some of this is criminal and some isn’t, but the line there is a LOT more fuzzy than most …”

    I think that comparing the work I do to a drug czar is not at all the same thing. The drug menace is a legacy of the 60s, where all those people who thought drugs were fine and dandy released the genie from the bottle.

    The thing is, what results do you want to get now? And I think that we do have to deal with the idea that feminism is powerful, and you’ll want to do a lot once you understand it, and then you are in the position of having women get mad when you do go out and do things.

    We have yet to conjure a world of honesty for all women within a women’s context. We have yet to even begin to scratch the surface of heteronormativity, which is an offensive and awful system that I navigate WITHIN women’s groups, so therefore it is a major irritant.

    I don’t know why women get involved in prostitution or drugs or why the world thinks it’s ok for people to live in carboard boxes along Broadway — not far from my place. The people I often have conversations with are mentally ill, or they had some awful childhood that destroyed an inner part of them.
    I think you have to get at the never ending sexual exploitation of women by men to begin with — child rape, incest, husbands who beat everything in their house.

    I try to get girls to pay attention the consequences of a sex saturated society, and even in lesbian groups, when I hold up some degrading ad of a woman pole dancing in a LESBIAN magazine, and ask them if they think the ad objectifies women, they are often shocked. No one, but no one has ever bothered to ask this question, for example.

    This is the garbage that floods large urban lesbian populations now.

    So, yes, I agree that we have a dreadful world system. But when I wake up tomorrow morning, just what kind of life am I going to live? My mind loves math and analysis, and when I create a portfolio that works, it is my canvass and my poem. It is a work of art to me, and something that makes me very happy. Somehow an investment person appears to be inferior to a poet in your opinion, but that’s not how I see my work at all.

    You can use the language of art, poetry or money, but it is all about a language and what humans create. Will women really have a revolution? I think some women will at some time, or they are doing it now somewhere somehow. Do I go for the pie in the sky? No. I don’t believe in self-sacrifice and I don’t believe in accepting second best. Maybe a lot of women are stuck in this, but I believe the whole idea of self-sacrifice among women is patriarchy at its best. When you say you are number one, and you will no longer be number 3 or 10 or 12, then you are making a profound statement about how you see yourself as a woman who challenges all the forces that hold women back.

    I am challenging radical feminism not to hold women back, and not to sing the song of disaster, when there isn’t one all the time.

    *Heart says:
    “If you’re white and less poor you are “police.” And you know what, there is VERY little difference between the two groups, it’s just that the state backs the police and not the gangs. Both groups are corrupt.”

    The thing is, poor people are always shortchanged– they want more police in their neighborhoods, and the city denies them adequate protection. I think if you had 5000 person units, you wouldn’t need police at all. When you have a city of 26 million, that is a different story. I don’t think all police are corrupt and they certainly aren’t monolithically white. Police are usually working class people who get training and a profession. It’s who they really are as people.

    Maybe the white police are like the gender police to me, that would explain your meaning, so I agree, each minority has to deal with its corresponding majority police. I get a lot more grief on a daily basis from straight women then I do from straight men. Straight women are the gender police, they get easily horrified by non-femininity performing lesbians. I don’t perform this like a “trained seal” I don’t do that at all. So there will be big trouble in little China all the time for me. Just like white people subject black people to the white police, and you can hear this in white people remarking about how Obama is a “clean and articulate black man” articulate when directed by white people at black people is like lipstick lesbians to straight women.

    So we can all have grand ideas, and we think our ideas are right, but what I focus on is actions. What actions do we do to change things around us? I am sure if you met the women who once worked for $60,000 and now make $100,000, and then you told them about how evil investment councelors are, they would be a little surprised. I am in the poverty prevention business with a lot of the women I work with.

    Usually no one will listen to a woman and know that they are worth a lot more than they are currently being paid. So I get a sense of this, I tell them flat out that they are worth more and can get more. A lot of these women are now around 53 or 55 years of age, they are all divorced, they are all starting over, and I think because I was never in the hetero system as a young adult, and I got my training in a foreign country, I simply see the potential in women that they have trouble seeing for themselves.

    I am very proud of this work, and very happy to catch people in time. Will the world change or will poverty end because of this? Of course not. Will other investment advisors do this kind of work? No. I get yelled at all the time for working these kinds of cases. Believe me, I don’t get well rewarded for doing this work at all; it is not sanctioned in our corporate model at all. Can I do this 40 hours a week? Of course not.

    The thing is Heart, is it’shat we do that matters. This economic stuff is my life’s work, and it is as noble as playing the flute. Radical feminism is a set of ideas, and we don’t know how far these ideas have really taken women worldwide.

    We do know that patriarchy is on the blunt attack night and day on talk radio. We do know that women are hammered with the “submit to your husband” kind of radical propaganda night and day. We know this. We have a very powerful force in radical feminism, and we have a radical force in all the people that want women to be poor and easily controlled.

    The thing is, I don’t want to deal with the radical feminism of straight women, because I’ve been down that road before. I don’t want straight women controlling my resources or having any say so in my life. I will work in coalitions with straight women, but I certainly will not follow their economic models. That would be dangerous for me. I am not convinced that straight women know one wit about life as a conscious lesbian, and that’s ok. I don’t have high expectations in this department.

    I don’t know one wit about straight women either, why they live the way they live, why the stay asleep for decades, why they suddenly get it and walk out of some awful situation. I don’t know any of this. There really aren’t many venues where straight women and lesbians talk to each other very honestly at all. Except maybe here, so that gives me hope.
    ***
    I recall once talking to a Latina woman who was really mad at white liberals for wanting bilingual education. She said it just played into the hands of the few bilingual Latino male politicos who thought they could “control their base.” Keep them Spanish speaking, and you sentence your children. This seemed very creepy to me.

    Heart:—————–
    “But again, to become successful and powerful as an individual lesbian in a man’s world is not to about the making of revolution wholesale as radical feminists have envisioned it.”

    I’m interested in my own personal power in the world. I didn’t make it or not make it in a man’s world. I created my own work structure within a structure. Radical feminists have yet to create whatever revolution they want to create. We have this idea that revolution is about self-sacrifice– I think you are from the school of self-sacrifice, but I am not. I don’t like it as a model of human life at all.

    If we are to have a feminist revolution, then whose revolution is it? Since I am a minority within a minority, you can bet I’m going to be a little more suspicious about who’s doing it.

    I’m not willing to get my token “10 minutes” after hours of heterosexual women’s revolutionary talk. Nor am I going to be the token on the panel discussion or the token in an organization. No I don’t do token anymore.

    So we are at somewhat of an impass here, and that’s ok. But until we get at this contradiction, we won’t have any revolution at all really. We can talk a good game I suppose, but day to day– well… we’re getting somewhere…

    I can appreciate your comments on social class Heart. I certainly don’t view class the same way you do at all. No one knows my social class at all, and I am somewhat fluent in several class conversation styles. People often see what they want to see with me.

    I do know that each social class has a very distinct view of money, and this is their “idea” of money. Since money is nothing but a concept, how you look at it really determines what will happen day in and day out with it.

    How I look at my own life makes a big difference in how my life goes.

    I am as confused as you are Heart as to why we are stuck with all of this stuff. Since I know for a fact that I can’t depend on you or anyone to pay my bills, I am going to be a little bit fussy about anyone telling me how much money I should or could have. No one is going to tell me this but me.

    Radical feminism is in the eye of the beholder. I can tell women to stay the hell away from pornography, or to stay the hell away from men, or to stay the hell away from poverty producing behavior…. Being outside the system that oppresses me most — heterosexuality the social structure — I tend to tune out a lot just because it can make me sick and angry if I don’t put up a wall between me and it.

    So I hate the objectification of women, and I don’t know why women participate in this nonsense. I wish I knew the answers, but I don’t.

    I suppose all women come to consciousness in their own way.
    I think it is tempting to say that capitalism doesn’t reward all kinds of behavior, but we don’t do things because we’ll get some big reward. No one was singing and dancing for me as a lesbian. Believe me, there is no social reward for this at all, and yet, as the years have gone by, I stopped caring.

    I knew that I was going to live my life and do what I wanted, and I knew that I would study regardless of what other women were doing. I knew I was never going to listen to straight women tell me what to do ever again, and I had written off men as an obvious clueless enemy out there.

    These were givens. I had to have my own freedom of thought, and I was going to define radical feminism for me as resistence to heteronormative oppression– that was what made me the angriest, and that is what I felt the most on the oppression scale of things. If you ask African American women what stings the most, they will often say racism. If you talk to a Jew they’ll say anti-semitisicm, and if you talk to a straight woman she might say male supremacy.

    What stings the most? What makes you the maddest? What is it you’ll kill over? These are metaphoric questions, not real life things we will actually do.

    Where is the source of the deepest anger and outrage, and that’s where you begin to work.

    In the past, I put millions of hours into the cause of all women worldwide. But over time, I could see that straight women weren’t going to put this kind of effort into my concerns, and they still don’t. They try to do this and they are less overtly homophobic as I deal with them, but I almost believe we are completely different beings. We don’t even have the same wired brains.

    We can only be as honest as we can be. Of course, straight women can change social classes by “marrying” the right or the wrong man. You did that Heart. But the fact that the man in your life affects your social standing is key here.

    My partner has no affect on my social standing whatsoever. No matter what she does, the straight world is quite indifferent to her. I have no affect on her social standing. We actually have no legal status at all, other than being American citizens or residents of a state or county.

    We have nothing at all, and with nothing, you really do have a kind of freedom that most straight women could never even dream of having. That is our compensation.

    We listen to the right wing men pound the women into the ground with their male supremacy, and we are amazed that women flock to the churches and sit in those pews and listen to those men! Wow, they sit and listen to men talk!

    What revolution would change women so that they simply stopped sitting and listening to men period? We all do this, but we can do it less and less.

    Heart says:
    “Onits deepest level, radical feminism is about the overturning of all hierarchies– sex, class, race, who we love, ability/disability, age, ALL. The long-term goal of radical feminism is not to make it easier for individual women to move up the food chain, it is to ELIMINATE the food chain altogether and with it all of the structures which serve to keep the food chain from being altered in any significant way.”

    Now will I trust straight women to do this for me? No I won’t.
    I think the goal should be for women to have a much easier life than they do now. Just ask some of the women who have fled real tyranny in Somalia, and they’ll tell you.

    I am very determined to have an egalitarian way of doing just about everything I do. I think personal connections changes social reality to a certain extent. For example, since I am a very visibile out lesbian, it gives straight women to
    hepportunity to get to know the real me instantly. If they do this, then progess is made, and sisterhood happens. If I’m invisible as a lesbian, straight women won’t read me at all. They’ll mistake me or mistakenly believe I am something that I am not.

    Yes, we all think we can eliminate all these things, but I’m not so sure it all works out this way. I believe instantly that all women in America could have what tbey needed. But I don’t know how to deal with the inner worlds that create the barriers to change. That inner work is something we are trying to get our heads around Heart. I see no indication that the food chain has altered in any significant way.

    So clearly, I think we have to determine how we are feeding the food chain, or at least keeping it in business. Just about everything I have done has worked well. I have lived with almost no money and been completely happy, I have lived with a lot of money and been very happy. I have lived as a racial minority and learned a lot, I have connected to people from everywhere.

    I can see people headed for trouble, and there is nothing I can do about it. I get to see the value of women, by observing the gay male world — how much gay men don’t know because of their hatred of women, and they flounder around wondering why no man calls them back for a second date, when the answer is quite obvious to me. Gay men I’m sure are perplexed at lesbians floundering around in the work place, and again, they know something that the lesbians do not.

    Do women want equality simply because they have never had real power? Or do people become corrupt the minute they do get power? Well, we all know that corruption happens very easily.

    Radical feminism is a dream, as long as humans walk the earth and stay at their same level of consciousness, as long as women go their merry way, change happens here and there.

    We might find genuine change in a women’s community. This would end the minute some male gang decided to attack it.

    We have systems of wealth and poverty, and we have descriptions of social class, but we don’t know what really causes people to change.

    I know when straight women stopped giving a damn about lesbian issues, I stopped investing as much of my time on straight issues. When straight feminists abandoned lesbians, well then LGBT became a unifying force. Lesbians wanted more places to meet lesbians, and straight women really did not care all that much at all. Not all the women here mind you, but I’m talking about the world out there.

    So LGBT became the locus of the best and brightest lesbian talent alive today. You’ll see that the “lobby” of the LGBT caused Fortune 500 corporations to give benefits to same sex couples. A meer trifle radical straight women say. Oh selling out they say. Well this creates lesbian visibility, because then the corporation is forced to know we exist in the first place.

    What happened to radical feminism? How did it become the “margins”? Some of it was the sleazy opportunism of right wing christianity. Some of it was the women who got tired of homophobia and having to constantly deal with it. There are a lot of reasons. Is their a radical lesbian feminism that is very different from straight radical feminism? I would say there definitely is.

    It’s kind of analogous to African American women in white women’s organizations — they are always exhausted with the never ending racism — that polite don’t talk about it way that white women never seem to get it. And then when African American woman speak up about this, white women don’t want to hear it! You know the drill!

    What gets me going the most? Well I do believe it is the contradiciton of what lesbians call the sell out of straight women, and no doubt the reverse is true. Perhaps lesbians sell out in the public sphere and straight women sell out in the private sphere. I often think there must be some private world straight women live in where these evil sexist pigs don’t act evil at all. Otherwise why would women continue to marry the very men who seem like piggish monsters to me?

    It’s not that I don’t disagree with you Heart, it’s just that it’s not how I see my life in the world. I am perhaps too practical, too wanting a measurable result. I get frustrated with theory, so I try to convert an idea into an actual action.

    We can convert ideas as actions here. I get to really sound off no holds barred on my hatred of heterosexual tryanny and the evil colonizing aspects of it. I get to name the colonization, I get to say NO NO NO I will not go along with it!
    I stand my ground and speak out on the evil of that way of life, and how I battle it with my lesbian double ax. That is my personal war for freedom. It is the minority within the majority saying whoa… and until I am satisfied that straight women really get this anger and really get how I see their lives within patriarchy, I’m going to be a little like Lewis Carol’s oyster who would not trust the Walrus and the Carpenter when they invited all the oysters to come walk with them.

    Probably the same could be said for straight ring wing women. Why should they reject marriage? What’s the alternative, and of course I know there is a clear alternative that is quite easy, but then I’ve never not gone after a paycheck and I’m not dependent on men for my money–easy for me to say right?

    Whoever said this revolution was going to be easy Heart? But we’re sure as heck a tryin…

    Posted by Satsuma | December 23, 2007, 11:06 pm
  50. Heart, I wrote to a lot of what you said. I didn’t mean to ignore any of your words, because I take everything you say VERY seriously. I think I might have missed a thread somewhere. Anyway, an epic awaits you swimming the currents of Spam River– old Spam River Old Spam River or is it Way Down Upon the Spammy River🙂 tap dance, tap dance…:-)

    Posted by Satsuma | December 23, 2007, 11:08 pm
  51. Heart & Satsuma,

    As a historian I tend to take a very long view of humans and change. Revolutionary change does occur. But from my reading of history such change is long in the making and mostly accidental. Proclamations of revolution, aspirations to revolution, etc. can contribute to change, but these are simply the most conscious calls for change, ideas that will influence and structure the new order emerging on the ground. These calls for change are not its cause.

    It’s more often the unforseen consequences of shifts in technology or human behavior that lead to revolutionary changes. In our lifetimes we glimpse but a fraction of change’s movement and wonder what it is that we are seeing — meaningful trend, offshoot of historical development, bits of ephemera — we really don’t know.

    What I have just said is distilled and probably woefully abstract. I don’t mean it to be. Here’s an example of how revolutionary change is long in the making: The French Revolution brought about by proclamation the end of the nobility, feudalism, monarchy, caste, and forced labor. And it brought the ideals forward of fraternity, equality, and liberty.

    All that shouting and heads rolling ended and the old order of monarchy, nobility seemed to get reinstated, at least for a time. The other things (feudalism, caste, forced labor [except for military service]) remained forbidden. But the human world had truly moved a few notches forward and would not be the same.

    But did the self-styled revolutionaries cause that change? In a way, yes, because they galvanized long-standing discontent and focused it on a system of power that they demanded had to change.

    But in a larger sense, no. Because the reasons for that discontent and the confidence to envision something else — that all came from the breakdown of feudalism, the rise of global capitalism, technological breakthroughs, political change, urbanization, printing, the break-up of a single Western European church, etc. These other processes had been going on about 300 years or — another way of saying it — twelve generations of people mutely looking to the heavens and their own mud-soaked surroundings for answers.

    So when you start arguing about how to dismantle patriarchy — whether by revolutionary turnover of the present order or through changing one person’s station at at time, I would simply add that it will probably occur both ways — first by individuals and at its conclusion by proclamation and turnover in grand sweeps of pen and oratory. Mostly though, change will come about gradually, almost invisibly to the living, and due to a lot of changes beyond any political movement’s control or consciousness.

    Here’s a futurist and not a historical thought — it seems pretty clear to me that within the next 300 years women will not be carrying pregnancies to term, bearing children through the natural birth process. And if women do this, it will be a choice. Women will freeze their eggs, have children via laboratory methods, have them when they want. Women won’t be forced to make decisions to honor family versus work at key periods of their careers. They will be as free or as tied to reproduction as men are. What will the world look like then? Will that be a key ingredient in the equality of women and men? Will that contribute mightily to the end of patriarchy? I don’t know. But my point here is that this technological/scientific breakthrough, along with many other structural changes that have nothing to do with active feminisms, will lay the ground for a lot of unforeseen social changes and revolutionary ways of human interacting.

    I wish I could be there to see it. But right now, I have to go scrape the mud off my boots.

    Posted by twitch | December 25, 2007, 7:06 am
  52. I’ve never commented here before but I just wanted to say I am really,really glad for your input here, Satsuma. It’s a viewpoint I’ve never in real life been exposed to, and sadly a lot of women haven’t either.
    I’ve never thought of heterosexuality as a world unto itself before ( because forced h/s IS the world, ha ha) and you’re completely right, it is. Even if one doesn’t practice all the mainstream external behaviors associated with it (family/kids/wedding type activities), it does, if you’re a woman, take up a lot of your energy and emotional space just thinking about partnering with a man. It did for me, at least. I know a lot of young women like me who are always saying how they wish they could forget about it completely, just stop worrying about it so they could focus on achieving their artistic/scholastic/business whathaveyou goals, but alas, you’re not a “real” woman unless you’ve got some shlub chasing you or attached to your side. Having both and being fulfilled is damn near possible. Some women have the capacity to bore through it, though.
    I don’t understand the majority of heterosexual feminists either. They seem to want to spend a lot of their energy discussing improving their optional personal relationships with men, housework, sex, what have you. I don’t understand the point, if you’re serious about radical change for women, of voluntarily burdening yourself with worrying about the looks of your personal life.Men take this for granted, that they’ll have access to female bodies and company. Hell, they can always buy it anyway.I advise my friends to adopt the same outlook. Just pretend that everything in your personal sphere will fall into place while you focus on your achievement, and whatever else has meaning for you. Shedding anxiety about having relationships ( which the world advises we most constantly, oh constantly “work” on) is possibly the most freeing thing I ever decided for myself, to put my dignity and achievement of any goals and dreams I may have at the forefront. YOU CAN TRY THIS RIGHT NOW.

    Holding women with hetero privilege accountable is way taboo, and that’s a shame. I wish we would think outside our personal boxes more often, or actually, all the time🙂

    Raising women’s consciousness ( I prefer “awareness”, sounds less condescending) is the ultimate key to change. What if every woman-turned-feminist refused to live with men? I wasn’t around then but I get nostalgic for the 70’s sometimes. What went wrong? We can fix it. We can have a revival. We’ve got the internet, we’ve got widespread feminist resources, we could devote our mass energy to reaching out to women anywhere we choose. We could work together, pool financial resources, with our talents and ambitions staying within a constantly growing feminist matrix, we could do so much. We could connect internationally, transform the world. Comparatively quickly, with our enormous numbers.

    But no, no, nope can’t think about any of that. I don’t know what to do with my life, if I can’t be hopeful about feminist change. Permanent change.

    A lot of women are completely hopeless and don’t know where to begin. Perhaps we could start circulating an internet Pledge to all of the above?

    Well I’m exhausted and I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’ll be sure to contribute more often though, I feel like Satsuma’s comments are finally taking us places.

    >Peace<

    Posted by Rusty Skates | December 26, 2007, 3:55 am
  53. Thank you Rusty Skates. I’m glad my comments were of some value to you.

    The 70s were a hard fought time, so there is no need for great nostalgia. In many ways, all entry levels have opened to women, and the battle only begins much later in life now.

    I am very optimistic about a lot of possibilites for women, and I think I like your use of the term “awareness” rather than “consciousness.”

    The strange thing about social change is that we see women acting like a minority worldwide when we are really the majority, so I think a lot of this stuckness comes on the part of women’s wasted energy on the system of heterosexuality itself. And it is a strange system to watch if you are not in it, and haven’t been in it for over 30 years.

    That women still feel “obligated” in some strange way to wear shoes that are very uncomfortable a lot of the time, is a small example, but yet women will wear things they are not comfortable in for reasons that are beyond me.

    I watch this stuckness day in and day out — the incredible amount of time young women waste on dating! Thank goddess I was’tinterest in that nonsense at all. Even today, we still have prom kings and queens, and this huge waste on intellectual capital in young girls known as the modern high school.

    So heterosexuality the system is a horrific thing for women to be involved in.

    One of the more shocking things I deal with in my profession is overseeing the accounts of women after their husbands have died. At first, I thought a lot of these women would be very sad, but many reported that at last they had a personal freedom unknown to them. They almost never remarried if they had sufficient means to support themselves.

    You’ll notice the economic component in womens’ behavior.

    Now if you critique straight women too much here, they really go through the roof. They usually get a complete free ride out in the world, and have no idea what they are doing in public that is so women defeating.

    You can have as much freedom as you want Rusty Skates. Freedom is an internal job, and it is not at all the same as the more common “equal rights” which is a sad cousin to the real thing.

    Heterosexuality is a system designed to keep women dependent on men, and women chase the illusion that men will someday change. It’s kind of like India expecting the colonizing British to change. It doesn’t ever happen, and the mere day dream of this keeps the system up and running.

    Whether you live in feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communision, tribal clusters, biblical times, renaissance times, the enlightenment or the dark ages, you are still living in the dominant sytem of heteronormativity.

    I don’t think straight women have the strength to resist this sytsem to the degree that they could, and they get very threatened when lesbian feminists critique this. It is somehow unseemly for us to do this, but I see this system in operation every day I’m out and about.

    I wonder how women can tolerate this world, because it really can make me quite ill to see women have so little, when they could have so much more intellectually. I hate to see this timidity of women because they are afraid of some bold social statement, afraid of tough opinions, heck, they’re terrified to talk about a mainstream presidential campaign most of the time.

    Women avoid so much “unplesant” world situations– not most of the contributors here, who are brave and delightfully opinionated, but in the regular middle class world of offices and women’s groups, well this is not the case.

    You can’t change dominators. You can step back and really change yourself and thus present a model to other women who want some change in their lives as well.

    I am hopeful, because I seek to do things by example. It is how I live my life that has its power, and how I can speak up when oftentimes straight women are simply too afraid or too quiet to make waves.

    You can set a personal standard of courage and practice courage daily. And courage is always small steps to freedom.

    I think this came as a revelation to me when I left the U.S. and lived in a completely different culture and social structure for six years. This is when I had a chance to see mself as both “typical American” and unique individual. Before this experience, I couldn’t see who I was, I was so trapped in being American.

    So women need places to go and live for awhile where they fend for themselves, where they can read and discuss and earn a living completely on their own. They need to be away from men for awhile to see what the difference is.

    It is no accident that the women who go to schools like Welesley and Smith, experience great opportunity, because for four undergraduate years, they are not competing with men for school paper editor, for class president. They get to be academically free, and you’ll see the women who graduate from these places with their incredible independence of mind that you can’t find at schools where women are dealing with men in those classrooms.

    Mary Daly felt so strongly about this, that she refused to teach classes with women and men together. She insisted that women be free of male influence in the classroom. She did this for over 30 years, and eventually a right wing man threatened to sue the school if they didn’t change Daly’s policy.

    Daly has 40 some years teaching experience, and she knows how people behave in classrooms, what the dynamics are. The irony is, the first time she was fired for writing “The Church and the Second Sex” the all male student body at Boston College at that time took to the streets in protest and Daly was rehired. When she was fired yet again in the early 2000s women by the thousands did not take the streets on her behalf, and the school succeeded in getting rid of this radical feminist genius.

    Heterosexual conditioning is probably the most insideous aspect of women’s lives worldwide. No man would put up with the oppressive social circumstances that most women tolerate. They wouldn’t stand for it, they’d rebell and probably kill the oppressors without much thought.

    That women tolerate this incredible fraud, known as heterosexual slavery is shocking to me. You can see the colonization in women’s eyes; it still is this odd lack of intensity that women who have grown accustomed to captivity have. Kind of like the difference between the tiger in the zoo and the tiger in the wild, or perhaps it is the parrot that flies free in the Amazon vs. the parrot with clipped wings living in the luxury mansion in Beverly Hills.

    It is something that only the most fearless feminists can address here, and it most certainly is a thankless job. Straight women don’t like to see themselves as parrots in Beverly Hills, and they don’t like to identify the intimate social structure that surrounds them in the “family unit.” They believe they can reform this family, or teach boys to be non-sexist, but this simply isn’t possible. It would be like trying to get your kids NOT to learn English in an all English speaking environment.

    But they will argue that reform is possible, because it is horrifying to know that it isn’t.

    When you know reform is never possible, then you are free to open yourmind to new ways of knowing. You begin to go on this quest for knowledge and spiritual power.

    It is a great adventure Rusty Skates, and the first step is to want freedom, and then you let this longing lead you. You make great discoveries along the way.

    Just think, there was no radical lesbian political theory back in 1948. There was no huge lesbian community out of the closet in America in 1935. There were no women’s studies classes before the late 60s or early 70s.

    All of these ideas were invented, and then women went out to live their dreams. Now we are far from complete freedom, and straight women are far removed from the Amazon right now, but this site will cause ideas to flow, and heteronormativity will be challenged here. Not without a lot of debate, but it is being challenged. You’re ideas will be challenged as serious feminists here. Not tuned out the way men tune out all women, but you will discuss these great issues of freedom with some of the most intelligent feminists alive right now!

    This raw and passionate intelligence creates a kind of power. This power can carry you farther than you ever imagined. I love this. I am proud of my political insights and strategies that have worked so well for me over the years. I took big chances, and did big things when most women were too afraid to do any of the things I did. I wanted freedom and I was willing to pay the price to get it, and in the long run, you always come out ahead with this.

    Men won’t make it easy for you, because tbey can’t stand feminism– now they are more dangerous than ever because they give lip service to this, but they don’t intend to change one thing about themselves.

    Straight women are the greatgender police enforcers among women. They can act as the “token tortrers” to keep women in line. A day doesn’t go by where I am not confronted with this policing mechanism within straigthwomen’s organizations. In fact, most organizations will be called “women’s organizations” but they are really straight women’s culture, and they don’t know this. Since most straight women have never had the opportunity to come into all lesbian political worlds, they really don’t know what this is at all. And in their ignorance, they keep helping my enemies without knowing what they are doing.

    It is not deliberate, it is all they know, and all they have ever known. But this can change. Women can gain freedom– as the majority, women can have this freedom tomorrow. They just have to say YES to freedom!🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | December 26, 2007, 8:35 pm
  54. Well, there is so much here.

    A few responses to scratch the surface, no apparent order, not comprehensive in any way!

    * My point was not that poets are more valuable than investment counselors. My point was that investment counselors are far more highly paid than female poets. Patriarchy rewards investment counselors, female poets, not so much. I have a good friend who is a tenured professor and a published poet and a radical feminist. The amount of money she makes as a tenured professor at a state university is pitiful. The difficulty she has had in getting her books published is DISGUSTING. She is an award-winning poet. But her poetry is distinctively woman-centered and radical feminist and so she pushes the huge boulder uphill attempting to get published. Not long ago a student sued her. Long story, don’t want to identify my friend, but the crux was, this was an issue of Religious Right v. radical feminist professor.

    So, should my friend, the brilliant poet, “choose” to instead do work which patriarchy rewards with a fatter paycheck? I don’t think so. I think she should continue to be the brilliant poet, and that patriarchy should reward THAT, and that we should demand this and not settle for anything less than this.

    * My additional point was, if our goal is to have money, be financially successful, we will have to choose, as an occupation, that which patriarchy values.

    * While I appreciate a lot of what you say about compulsory heterosexuality/heterosexual women, Satsuma, I see things very differently. For one thing, there aren’t a whole lot of lesbian feminists like you. I know that lesbians can be complete lacking in awareness, in feminist sensibilities, in “consciousness.” I know that they can be, and sadly in these times often are, patriarchal in their views, perspectives, behaviors and acts. So when you say things like, are we going to let heterosexual women lead the revolution, well, no, but there are a helluva lot of lesbians I sure would not want to see leading the revolution I envision either. These days lesbians are marrying, making babies, going to strip bars, paying for table dances, into SM, identifying as “bois,” etc., etc. To be a lesbian, in other words, is not to be a feminist, or woman-centered, in these times.

    * Therefore, the revolution I envision would not be led by heterosexual feminists OR lesbian feminists. It would be, and will be, led by *woman-centered* feminists, whether heterosexual or lesbian.

    * I think revolutions can and do happen in short order at times. I have seen this, in fact, in my own lifetime. I’ve written about this and will write more about it.

    * I completely disagree that all women have to do is say YES to freedom. To me, this is pie in the sky. Poor women, battered women, single mothers, women of color, disabled women, old women, mentally ill women, sick women, feminist or no, positive attitudes or no, are female persons living under male heterosupremacy. Freedom is not a matter of what we want or think or assert or desire and to suggest that it is is just wrong. It makes the real lives of real women who are disenfranchised, oppressed and subjugated invisible.

    * I agree completely that those of us who are willing to dare, to risk, can at times achieve amazing things. But there is more to this than our own strengths or intelligence. There is timing. There is luck. There are resources. There is support.

    * While what you say, Satsuma, about heterosexuality contains truth, it isn’t really true. Heterosexuality isn’t the core issue. This is evident when we look, again, to lesbian relationships and see the same problems we see in heterosexual relationships. The issue is dominance and submission. The issue is hierarchy. The issue is some, subjugating others.

    Well, so much to say.

    Posted by womensspace | December 28, 2007, 7:37 am
  55. I find the dialogue between Heart and her commenters to be some of the most stimulating and inspiring writing I’ve seen on the Web. I am looking forward to more! Yes, indeed, there is “so much” to consider from so many viewpoints. And the viewpoints of all are valuable to readers here–so many windows to look through towards the truth and action we are trying to go towards.

    To segue off of just one point among the many here, I would say trying to balance between enhancing one’s own well-being and avoiding doing harm in the world amounts to pretty much a contemplative daily practice. About 25 years or so ago, there was a local 100-acre or so women-only farm within an hour’s drive of my home in Appalachia. The women who had pooled funds to buy the acreage were radical feminist separatists who owned it jointly and had built a large wooden house on a hill and several one-room wooden cabins that women could rent. Consciousness-raising groups met there regularly and on occasion, especially during Thanksgiving, the women through open the farm for any interested feminists to visit.

    Well, it was very inspiring. There was a feeling that overtook my body the few times I visited there that must have been some morphic field of women’s energy–literally my body would feel “buzzy” and my mind “spearmint clear.” The big house on the land was one very large room with a continuous huge window that gave women a view of the women’s land around them. There were futon-like beds, window seat cushions, and a wall on which wood-burning stoves were set for cooking (and I guess heating, too). There was a bathtub with shower in it and a non-flushing compost toilet in the center of the room, separated from the living space only by an opaque shower curtain.

    The one-room wooden cabins had no water at all, open and not glassed-in windows, and just one electrical wire running across the land to each one of the rooms. Thus a woman could run, say, an electric typewriter and a lamp, nothing more. There were projecting wooden bunks in each cabin for sleeping, with storage under the bunks. One of the women who had stayed there told me that chamberpots were the rule when it was too cold to go outside to urinate.

    Needless to say, the women who owned the farm and the women who stayed there were the most “right-on women” I knew. The feel of the energy there was intoxicating to me, but in view of the fact that my compact car nearly broke an an axle everytime I visited and the ruggedness of the accomodations, when I contemplated living there I felt like the young rich man in the New Testament who was said to have gone away with a heavy heart when Jesus told him all he had to do to be saved was sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the poor! I had been raised in the country in a house my father built which was heated by one oil-burning stove and fan-cooled during summers, but we always had had standard plumbing and an even driveway. With a great wrenching feeling of moral inferiority I had to acknowledge that I did not havethe self-sacrificing nature that it took to stay longterm on the farm in one of those tiny cabins. I chose the path of living in central heat and air while on the other hand choosing not to work for any evil corporation, not to eat my fellow animals, and not to leave any of my money at a store with a “Wal-” prefix. This is a joking simplification, of course; there are decisions every day between the easy wrong and the difficult right…

    We all have to make our choices, and we need an education like the one we get from one another on this blog to inform our choices. I take in and consider the stories of Satsuma’s path, of Lucky’s, and of many others who speak here. How are we to live? How are we to bring about good change for women?

    Posted by Level Best | December 30, 2007, 10:20 pm
  56. That should have been “threw open,” not “through open,” above. Sorry!

    Posted by Level Best | December 30, 2007, 10:23 pm

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