Category Archives: Language
This post consists of some background to my most recent survey on rape, which is still open to participants (click the button below):
The survey was designed to explore people’s understanding of and beliefs about rape. The content of the survey was drawn from collected data and research, a wide range of reported personal experiences, news stories, and myths and propaganda propagated through various entertainment outlets. If you plan to take the survey – and it would be immensely appreciated if you did – please click through before reading further. My personal views are not important to the survey, and I don’t wish them to colour participant responses.
After years of thinking and examination of the number one influence on and limitation to my existence as a girl first, and later, a woman, I have to conclude that any discussion or consideration of rape must begin with a discussion of language. Indeed, any thinking on hierarchy, power dynamics or control mechanisms (which is where rape finds its roots) must take into account the role of language.
Humans vs. All Other Creatures
In considering the differences between humans and other mammals or any creature for that matter, there are some significant differences that set us apart. And note that this is in no way a comment that humans are superior to animals, as I don’t believe that for a second. Each species has its strengths and weaknesses, which makes hierarchy-development a rather stupid and pointless endeavour. In considering humans, language and the capacity for deep and complex self-awareness set them apart from all other living things on earth. Other creatures may have systems of communication and a limited ability to reflect on simple behaviours, but none rivals human capacity. That is not a judgment, just a fact. Dolphins don’t conjugate verbs and chimpanzees don’t chronically and masochistically self-sabotage or even commit suicide over lack of purpose or meaning in life. Non-humans also don’t develop systems of ethics or morality – even misguided, faulty ones. These are uniquely human ‘achievements’ and are only three of many, many examples of the complexities of human language and self-awareness.
Humans are also the only species capable of malice. Now, note that I am not talking about survival instincts. Men and silly women who defend men often argue that male violence is just a reflection of the instinct to survive and is comparable to the killing that any other species does. This is classic male logic designed specifically to try to justify violent male behaviour. Some of my Chinese male university students will state without blinking that we ‘live in a jungle’. Now, I do believe that males are naturally violent. They are wired for it. But as I’ve written before, as humans, we also have self-awareness, and it is this unique and incredible ability that allows humans to override violent impulses. But, as humans are also uniquely malicious creatures, instinct and deliberate cruelty frequently play off each other. No creature other than the human (male) kills for pleasure. And no creature other than the human (male) tortures other living things. There is no evolutionary or ‘survival’ purpose for killing for pleasure or for torturing. I’ve met a lot of men who try to argue with seriously twisted logic that there is a need for these things. This is when I back away, and wish I had a weapon at the ready in order to do like all other creatures do out of instinct – remove a dangerous threat to one’s survival. But, alas, human females are the only creatures on earth who are NOT allowed to defend themselves.
And this is where language enters the scene.
The Role of Language in Power, Control and Hierarchy
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Language is one of human’s oldest tools. Like all tools, it can be a beautiful mechanism or system used to do wonderful things and inspire the best in all of us. But like all tools, it can also be used to destroy everything in its path. In the hands of men, language is frequently used to express male ‘love’ and ‘creativity’, which as most women eventually come to find out, are dangerous things and not at all what female love and creativity are.
As human males have come to realize, weapons alone will not get you sustainable power. Sure, you can overwhelm a perceived enemy, but it is really difficult to maintain that victory for any period of time without a much more powerful weapon. That weapon is language. Language is, in fact, a much more powerful weapon than any ‘sword’. But they work together. Just as it is hard to sustain control with only swords, it is also difficult to gain and keep power with only words. We’ve all heard that common description of successful evil dynamic duos: ‘You have the brawn and I have the brains’ (cue the Pet Shop Boys here…). Well, that is an apt description of the sword and the pen. Employ the brute force, overwhelm the enemy, enact the mindfuckery of the brutalized population that only language can achieve (e.g., “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.”), and then all future brutality just becomes an accepted part of the system. Those few who see beyond the language mechanisms and refuse to believe have no leg to stand on, and find themselves very much alone and often questioning their own sanity.
Whoever Controls Language Controls the World
As a tool and building block of control and power, it is safe to say that if you aspire to megalomaniac status, you need to master language. I don’t mean that you should learn to speak several languages. I mean you need to learn how to use language to manipulate people and situations, and to obscure facts. You need to weaponize language. You need to see where language has its greatest influence. My Oppressor Triangle discusses a few major centres of influence, but there are other arenas. Language has had its greatest influence in the areas of politics, law, economics, academia, and the health care system (industry). These areas don’t function separately. There is much overlap. The language enacted in the political sphere can and does affect all other spheres of power, for example.
The question becomes: who controls language? And the answer is: men. Men have always controlled language. And they control it as much today as they have in the past. It’s not a race thing, as much as some people might wish it to be so. It is a MALE thing. If you are a big picture thinker, if you think internationally across time and place – and really, you have to be if you are ever to hope of ending oppression – you have to accept the truth that males control language, and as a result, they control everything. If you get bogged down on other group affiliations, you’ll change nothing. Only the truth can set you (and everyone else) free.
How do we know that males control language, and as a result, the world? It’s pretty easy. You have to take an overarching look at lifestyle and living conditions and determine who overwhelmingly benefits and who overwhelmingly is denied choices and freedoms. Look at any country. It is the same no matter which country you look at and no matter which race is being considered. Who is the poorest group? Females. Look at any field of research: who is studied meticulously and who benefits from the research? Males. Look at entertainment in any country. Who makes the most money, and who is hired based on talent rather than physical attributes? Males. Who is human trafficked most often? Females? Whose social justice complaints actually make progress? Males of all races and orientations. Who receives the poorest health care, and the most needless and harmful surgeries? Females. Who has been hurt most by the field of psychiatry? Females. Whose bodies and decisions about bodies are controlled by the state and institutions like religion and marriage? Females. Who is barred from politics, employment, education, and safety on a regular basis? Females.
And more. So much more.
There are data to back up each of these. Easy to find. Google, government web sites, academic journals. I’m not doing that here. This is not an academic journal article. And it is tedious to state and restate everything that has been said by women a million times before. What I find important here is the theory that it is language and the control of language that facilitates control on every other level.
Language and Rape
Men have been raping, torturing and killing women since they realized they could. It has nothing to do with evolution or survival. Any man who tells you that it does is dangerous and you should get away from him before he hurts you.
Male control of language has had its greatest impact on the one thing that has allowed them to maintain control over women. Rape. Without rape, men don’t have a hold over women. Control the language surrounding rape, and you control the crime itself – or whether it is even considered a crime, or who can commit it, or who is responsible, or who can be raped. We know that women have no power, and certainly have no control over language, because rape is so rampant and that they are on the receiving end with little ability to avoid it or seek justice for it.
It is only relatively recently that rape was even considered a crime, and only extremely recently that rape was considered to be a form of torture. In Western cultures, the rape of a women was considered to be a crime against the man who owned her. And it could only be committed by a male who did not own her. She herself, as a rape victim, was deemed dirtied, rendered an embarrassment, and often tossed out like so much garbage from family and community. Even today, rape victims often end up in prostitution or suffering from mental health problems that leave them unable to self-actualize, let alone take care of themselves properly. The propaganda and brainwashing campaign that all societies provide to women to get them to accept rape as reality, as normal, often succeeds in neutralizing female protest to unlivable conditions. Rape is a crucial part of Western entertainment – drama as well as comedy. Many women will suppress their experiences or deny that rape even happened. Rape victims who don’t follow the rules are often punished by society, and frequently by other women who prefer to lash out at other women than to name the real problem.
In non-Western countries, rape has gone through equally horrible control by men. In some countries, raping girl children isn’t considered rape. Elsewhere, rape cannot occur within a marriage or family. In others, rape has only occurred if a woman can get a handful of male witnesses to support her claim. No, women aren’t in control of language at all. Anywhere in the world. I mean, no woman would ever set up the linguistic, social and legal hoops/barriers to proving rape that are currently in place in every corner of the earth. We aren’t that masochistic or stupid of our own free will.
Men Can Be Raped, Toooooooo!
Likely, in response to women calling more attention to rape and violence against women, men retaliated. Men always retaliate. They are allowed. There are always repercussions to women gaining even an ounce of freedom or power. And language is always at the centre of any retaliation. And there is always violence.
So recently, men decided to change the language surrounding rape. They decided that rape no longer meant ‘male forcibly entering a female through her vagina using his dick’. Suddenly, males could be raped! And further, women could be rapists!
These revelations served a very, very important purpose. You see, if you can show that a crime or negative circumstance ALSO affects men, it is no longer a sex-based inequality. Men no longer are forced to be held responsible. Men are no longer predators. They are no longer deficient in some way. If you can show that they suffer tooooo or that women are doing the same evil deeds tooooo, then men no longer will be examined as the sole source of a major problem or epidemic. Once males can name themselves as victims, all focus can be ‘justifiably’ removed from women and recentred on men and boys. All we need is one male victim to negate the suffering of millions of women. And all we need is one female predator to negate the predation of millions of males. That is the male control of language at work. Change one word or one definition, and you can change the lives of millions. Control is regained.
Predictably, women got on board with the rebranding of rape, as they usually do when males find new ways to name themselves as victims, to detract from female victims, and to blame women for something. Women are usually the first ones on board with helping men hurt women. And men are experts at painting themselves as victims and martyrs.
Rape, in the minds of many, now also means a woman ‘forces’ a male to pop a boner and stick it to her. And strangely, rape now also means a dick forcibly entering an anus. But the thing is this, even if the former is forced, it is not rape. It may be a sexual assault, and if so, it needs to have its own label. The latter is NOT RAPE. It actually already has its own label. It is called forcible sodomy. Women are also frequently forcibly sodomized by men, sometimes in addition to being raped. But ignoring and/or broadening existing definitions has achieved its goal. We’ve taken the focus off what men do to women. And sex crimes are no longer seen primarily as the domain of male perps. Congratulations men and the dangerous women who support them.
Letting Victims Define Crimes
I wrote a short piece in the past on the problem of letting perpetrators define their crimes. Interestingly, it is only with male violence against women that this is allowed. As in my example in that previous post demonstrates, it sounds ridiculous say, to allow a thief to define his crime. But we don’t bat an eye when men get to define crimes against female bodies.
Women need to be allowed to define the crimes against them. As it is, so many victims fall through the cracks because currently, men define what happens to women. Men control women’s and girls’ bodies, and that is a serious issue.
There are several problems with how we deal with rape and sexual assault – besides our unwillingness to name men as the primary perpetrators of sex crimes. One is that we don’t have enough clearly defined categories of crimes. We also have too many barriers to victims coming forward. And finally, our punishment system is inadequate and doesn’t take into account that a) crimes against women are hate crimes, and b) men who commit sex crimes are more likely to commit again than any other type of criminal, even after being ‘punished’ (i.e., no man ever, ever, ever rapes once). Personally, I want all rape, sexual assault, torture and murder of women/girls by men punished by death. This has nothing to do with deterrence (which we know doesn’t work), but everything to do with protecting future victims. It does not make sense that victims and potential victims have fewer rights and considerations and access to safety than hate-crime, sex criminals. In other words, only a dead rapist can’t rape again.
Other things to consider:
- Many women don’t report rape if their attacker is seen as ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’. This includes non-white men, immigrant men, homeless men, disabled men, unemployed men, etc. It is a mixture of fear and compassion that drives women to negate their victimhood and protect their attacker.
- The burden of proof should be on the perpetrators, not the victims. Men should have to prove that they did not rape. In no other crime is the burden of proof on the victim. This exists ONLY because rape is a sex-specific hate crime by MEN against WOMEN, where males, who are in control of language, get to define the crimes they commit. Rape is the only crime where all the perps are male and all the victims are female. And men don’t want to take responsibility or stop raping. This needs to change.
- Consent has always been a problematic issue. It is rooted in property disputes. Bodies should not be seen as property. Further, in no place on earth do women come to the table on equal footing with men, and as such, they cannot give free and equal consent in any agreement with a male.
- Orgasms are erroneously seen as evidence of consent thanks to 2-dimensional male thinking on sex. Females are trained from birth into seeing servitude as a duty and a pleasurable activity. Orgasm has nothing to do with acceptance or lack of coercion.
- Many people believe that rape must involve weapons or threat of bodily harm in order to be considered rape. I’d argue that most rape is of the coercive or manipulative variety. I’d bet all of Donald Trump’s money that almost all women have ‘sex’ with the men in their lives (including husbands) because they fear abandonment, rejection, cheating, etc. All women know on some level that male love can turn on a dime if they don’t live up to the constantly changing expectations.
- Male children are born with a weapon – their penises. They learn about how to weaponize their dicks early in life thanks to parents, television/film, porn, and school. I’d argue that if they are using their dicks as weapons, then they need to be treated as dangerous. Sex predators never stop. I don’t have a problem with killing sex predators who are children – innocent child, my ass. And I also have no problem with holding mothers and fathers responsible for the crimes of their boy children. Rape destroys girls’ lives. No girl ever ‘gets over it’. I know I’m nearly alone in wanting boy sex predators eliminated from existence, but you’re deluded if you think predators are ‘born’ in adulthood out of nothing.
- I think statutory rape needs to be rethought. It’s not that I believe that girls are capable of free and equal consent with a boy the same age. No female of any age is ever on equal footing with a male of any age. This one is a hard one for me though. It saddens me that children are fucking. I truly wish girls were kept separate from boys for the duration of their childhoods so as not to have opportunities, educations and futures destroyed by the straight mandate and public school crash course in fuckholery and blowjobery. One final note: Adult males who fuck girl children and teenagers need to be shot. Period.
- ‘Sex workers’ / porn actresses – paid sex is rape as far as I’m concerned. There is a lot of disagreement on this. And people get mighty pissed when a feminist suggests that sex work is abuse, not work. Abused people often lash out and get defensive when they feel attacked (even if they are not being attacked, but rather someone is trying to help them). All I can say is that women would not sell their bodies if men didn’t exist. It is almost always done out of desperation and/or resulting from childhood sex abuse. These are the conditions that make rape easy peasy to dress up as legit in a capitalist, male-serving society.
- Drugs and alcohol are convenient get-out-of-jail cards for men, and eternal damners of women. It is no coincidence that males joke about helping women relax with a drink. ‘No inhibitions’ is just man-speak for ‘no credible defense’ in a rape trial.
This really is a huge issue. So much more could be written. But it is some background to my survey. Again, if you wish to participate and let your thoughts be known, it would be very much appreciated. The link to the survey is below.
Not super-original, but I’m in a foul mood, and I feel like lightening things up a little. And nothing lightens the mood more than taking a look at the ‘insults’ that men hurl at women.
When a woman, especially, a feminist is called any of the following – shrill, bitter, humourless, prudish, or a man-hater – I really have to laugh. I don’t consider these insults, perhaps because I have a lot of interest in what words mean. Other than the last one – man-hater – all of the terms have broad application. They weren’t designed to hurt women, specifically. The insults that really bother me are those with very specific, woman-harm in mind. I’m talking b****, c***, s***, w****, etc. Those terms, which are becoming much more common, normalized, and publicly used in entertainment accessible to impressionable children, hurt women. They hurt women in the same way that the n-word hurts blacks. But racism is taken seriously these days – you won’t hear the n-word used as a slur in the past few decades of television or film unless you’re looking at a character who is specifically a race-supremacist or within an historical context. Woman-hate or misogyny, on the other hand, is becoming mainstream and embraced. Misogyny has always existed, but it is no longer buried under innuendo in the public arena, and this is reflected in the language. Slurs against women are hurled at females (or as a grave insult to men) in entertainment as comedy and or as hate by male and female characters alike, by all racial groups, and by characters of all ages. I was watching an American show the other day where an older black man forced his way into a white, teen-aged girl’s house, called her a ‘bitch’ with hate behind the word, and when she tried to stop him, he yelled out to the street, “Racism!!! This white girl is oppressing a old, black man!!!” Yeah. That’s where our world is going. Slurs against women are fine and dandy, and men of colour are often leading the pack as some of the most protected perpetrators. ‘Art’ reflects life which, in turn, is informed by ‘art’.
Now here’s the problem. The slurs that are really bothering women, especially feminists, these days, are not the ones I just talked about. Hell, call a lib-fem a ‘slut’, and she’ll take her top off and shake those titties at you with pouty lips and a defiant “yeah, I’m a slut, so what?’ look. No, what really gets women a-scampering these days is being called a prude or a man-hater. And even radical feminists will bend over backwards to demonstrate exactly how they couldn’t possibly hate men or want to stop men from putting their dicks into people.
Let’s break these suckers down, why don’t we?
Shrill refers to a sound that is high-pitched or piercing. It is used by men to refer to their dislike of women’s speech. They even use the term to refer to women’s writing, so we know it may only partially refer to the actual sound. The content plays a major role, too. You see, strangely, the voices are more piercing or ‘shrill’ when women are trying to fight for their basic human rights. Personally, I’ve encountered very few women’s voices that you could categorize as ‘shrill’. Occasionally, I’ll run into one that is hard to listen to because it is high-pitched. But on the whole, for me, voices that are annoying or difficult to pay attention to are that way for more complicated reasons. No two are exactly alike. It can include geographically-based accent, pitch, timbre, loudness, and/or whether someone whines or slurs. And a bad laugh can make things worse. I find men’s voices equally or even harder to endure than women’s mostly, but not only, because they are so loud and the content is so boring. I remember years ago, participating in a weekly trivia group thing in grad school, and there was always this one dude sitting across the room who would drive my ears fucking crazy – like poison-ivy-itching crazy – with his freakish, weird, loud voice and laugh. If I’d had a steak knife with me… Anyhow, shrill is more about men not liking to hear about human rights for women than any objective qualities of women’s voices.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever met a bitter feminist. I’ve met a lot of bitter men, that’s for sure. And I’ve also met a few women who are IN relationships with men and who defend the penis who are actually bitter. What does bitter actually mean? It refers to someone who is “angry, hurt, or resentful because of one’s bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment”. The bold is mine because it is the important part of this definition. Having a sense of being treated unfairly doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually being treated unfairly, and this is why ‘bitter’ doesn’t apply to feminists. Women ARE treated unfairly. Regularly. All over the world. For thousands of years. Women SHOULD be angry and hurt and resentful. Men, who often have hurt feelings and anger because they may not get what they feel they are entitled to (i.e., free access to as many women’s bodies and free labour and attention as possible), are bitter. They think life is unfair for them. But it is decidedly not. Bitter. Bitter men.
Of course men are funny. To call women humourless is the funniest thing EVER. But seriously, men’s humour, which mostly relies upon slamming the oppressed (women) through rape jokes, cheap ho jokes, female biology jokes, or through boring, repetitive jokes about farts, poop, masturbating, etc., is not funny. Men are humourless. Women are funny. They really are. Now, we’d have a better sense of this if men didn’t control the entertainment industry. As it is, to become a female comedian, you have to be fuckably hawt first. Being hawt is unrelated to comedic talent, so we miss out on probably 98-99% of the funny women out there. Funny women who are not hawt are barred from speaking, performing, acting. I have my personal (growing) list of female comedians whom I like to watch and laugh with, two of my faves being Tig Notaro and Janeane Garofolo. But there are many. Many. Google. Watch. Laugh. They are women and they are funny. And somehow, they don’t need rape, whores, shit, farts, or penises in the mix to do it.
Oh, this one makes me tired. Countless rad-fems have spent time doing justice to the ‘we’re not prudes, we just think PIV (penis-in-vagina; aka ‘dude-sex’) is harmful’ argument. So I’m not going to go through the whole thing here. Femonade is a great resource for this, and FCM does it better than I ever could. There is a massive difference between hammering home (yes, I know the imagery I’ve created) the point that penises are the source of most, if not all, of women’s problems, and doing the religious, woman-hating, anti-sex, guilt-hate-shame parade. Feminists aren’t anti-sexuality. They wish for women to be free from men’s sexuality so that they can finally figure out what theirs is about. As it is, men define all sexuality, and it is all about serving men and harming women. Period. There is nothing prudish about wanting women to be free to be or not to be sexual beings on their own terms.
Perhaps my favourite insult? Maybe. I also like the word misandrist, but most men can’t pronounce it and so don’t use it. Plus ‘man-hater’ is catchy – like a venereal disease! All I know is when men call women ‘man-haters’, it makes me laugh and laugh. Men are so fucking insecure. It is an unassailable truth that men hate women. We’ve got that down, right? And since they can only envision hate, it is impossible for women to exist in a state where they don’t hate men. Or perhaps it is this. Men know that if women treated them the way that men have always treated women, hate would be the inevitable and rational effect. Simply put: “We men treat you women like you are maggots on shit. How can you not hate us?” And craftily, men will use this assumed hate to justify more shitty treatment, anger, ranting, violence, etc. And really, whether we hate them or not is actually irrelevant. All men need is the belief.
But so what if a woman or group of women or all women do hate men? It is justified, reactive, defensive hate. And when we hate, we don’t follow it up with violence. In fact, most women will feel the hate burn, and then find excuses for men, allowing them to continue trying to destroy us. Men, on the other hand, have aggressive, unjustified hate for women that is the fuel for all the violence they do to us. We have done nothing wrong – except exist – they hate us and try to destroy us. And then they blame us if we speak up to defend ourselves.
So ‘man-hater’? Give me a break. Take a look in the mirror, assholes. Read the papers. Take a look at the women around you in a human, non-pervy way. You are more likely to see fear in women’s eyes than hate.
To women and feminists, especially, stop defending yourselves against male accusations in the form of ‘slurs’. It is a waste of gynergy. If you really must fight something, then fight the real slurs – the b- c- w- and s-words. The slurs that actually hurt us and are designed to do so.
We live in a world where men are allowed to follow their thoughts to the very end and announce them in bold caps, surround sound and techni-colour.
Men are the censors, the thought police, the free-speakers, the fuckers, the threat-issuers, the policy-, law-, and rape-makers, the law-breakers, the judges, juries and executioners, the johns. The Free.
This is how they turn their fantasies into reality. This is how they turn their crimes into rights. This is how they turn their mediocrities into merits. This is how they turn their hate into freedom.
Women are not allowed to speak freely. We must support Dick or shut up. If we don’t shut up, we will be shut up. Women may not state the facts. Women may not question the status quo. Women may not ask ‘why?’ Women may not fantasize in response to what men put out there in the name of ‘free speech’, in the name of our annihilation, in the name of their orgasms. Women may not defend themselves.
It is a rare woman who dares to follow her thoughts to the end, and she pays dearly. A few applaud her bravery within earshot, eyes gleaming and then darting, careful. A few more silently support, nodding in privacy and anonymity. And the majority wish her harmed, silenced, erased, dead. Sometimes, they get their wish.
I wish to see, hear, read more women who are ‘out there’. Daring to follow their thoughts to the end. Speaking the unspeakable – women’s words. Daring to be seen, heard, read… potentially silenced. But ultimately, daring to be believed and joined.
During my first go-round in graduate school in the US, my closest friend was this brilliant, quirky, and tortured Dutchwoman. Through her and other Dutch I’ve encountered, I, the over-polite Canadian, came to appreciate their delicious bluntness. I’ve since found that they have a just-so way of putting things that hits the nail on the head without destroying your thumb.
I’ll always remember something my friend said that has since had great application in various situations. While she was speaking literally, her words provide a great metaphor.
We were talking about bathroom habits for some strange reason, and I think she was commenting on what she believed was the American tendency to spray perfume or some other artificial smell after doing one’s business in the bathroom. She said:
“I don’t know why people do this! I’d rather just smell your shit than a mixture of your perfume and your shit.”
The implication, of course, is that you can’t cover up reality. And to follow: why should we try? It doesn’t actually work.
I’ve found myself coming back to this simple, but brilliant, comment on the recent human tendency to put a positive spin on political/social/research conclusions and theory. And recently, I’ve been reminded of it in critiques of certain feminist conclusions about the state of things. Conclusions and theories are discarded with the sweep of a hand simply by calling them ‘pessimistic’ or ‘depressing’. It’s not even a valid argument. Something may well be depressing, but that is unrelated to its veracity. This kind of dismissiveness can show up when feminists rightly point out that men have behaved as vicious sons-of-rapists for millennia, and if they wanted to change, they very simply would. Dick supporters will start in with their “That is too pessimistic! Too depressing to contemplate!” spiel. They insist that men can and will change if we just reason with them. Show them the error of their ways. They just need our bottomless female understanding, coddling, and education. But smart feminists have pointed out that men already have been sucking our helpfulness dry for a long, long time. We’ve done all of the above and then some. To no avail. Men don’t want to change. And they never will change. And hell, yes, it is depressing. But it is true. The truth usually isn’t roses and puppy dog kisses. The truth is slavery and rape for women and girls, ad infinitum.
And there are other arguments/theories/conclusions about the state of things and the state of things to come that receive similar reactions. To be honest, it is much the way many women are treated when they try to talk about their experiences of rape and assault – their reality – people don’t want to hear it. It’s too depressing. Too… real? You can lose friendships, family ties, and partner-relationships if you try to talk about your depressing reality (been there a few times, myself).
Why can’t people handle truth? I think this is subject matter for a future post. I want to get into suicide and death and such. People absolutely hate those topics and I think they are very important. Not only does each person have to face reality eventually, but we are soaking in effects of the male death drive and all that implies from the day we’re born. Ignoring it gets us nowhere but a world of hurt.
I prefer the Dutch approach. I may not want to smell the shit, but I’d rather smell it than have my brain confused by the conflation of two incompatible scents. You can’t spray optimism on the toxic air of Patriarchy and expect to find a viable solution or ‘hope for the future’.
The following will be really, really hard to understand if you are a man, especially a man living in a Western country run on ‘democracy’ (there has never been a true democracy, so I put that in quotes).
If you have lived in any kind of dictatorship – and by that, I mean a real dictatorship, not a ‘democracy’ that many men will call dictatorships because they don’t get to abuse or rape women as freely as they wish – or you are a member of an oppressed group, such as women, LGB, or racial minorities, then this might be easier to understand.
In the semi-free societies that result from a ‘democracy’, people have rights or what we conceived of as (morally, legally) protected categories of behaviour. There is no set list of rights, and in fact, there are rights we likely haven’t conceived of yet simply because we live in a male-dominated society that has different priorities for human life than, say, a non-sadism-based society would have. You see, rights are not innate or natural. Rather, they are symptoms or markers of a civilized society. The more advanced a society, the more numerous and more equally applied to all people these human rights are. Likewise, the less civilized or advanced a society, the fewer rights are allowed for everyone equally. In a sense, rights are a gift to be shared by all members of society, not to be taken for granted or abused.
Even within our currently semi-free societies, these rights are not equally allowed or protected. The ruling class – specifically, men, since all societies are currently male-dominated – will be more protected than other groups, and they will often take liberties in defining those rights for themselves and in restricting those rights for other groups (first and foremost, women).
The most troubling thing about the most ‘advanced’ societies that actually build rights into their governments’ legal mandates is that the most powerful people (men) don’t see rights as the communal gifts that they are. They see them as more like property or collectibles that individuals can own. And instead of using them for good or for further social and intellectual advancement of their society – which I see as the primary goal of human life – they use them to further agendas of hate, violence, dominance, oppression, and self-centred pleasure.
If one uses the right of ‘free speech’ as an example, we can see blatant abuse by the dominant class (men, of all colours). The abuses take the form of silencing the speech of women, while promoting the voices of men. Redefining oppressed groups’ (especially women’s) non-violent speech as hate and violence. Defining or including hate and violence against women (e.g., pornography) as speech, when clearly it isn’t. Using speech as a weapon, rather than, say, rhetoric, to actively and deliberately hurt groups of the least powerful people (women) who have done nothing wrong.
These instances, and common ones at that, are abuses of a gift. And it is shocking to me that when the powerful (men) are fortunate enough to have access to a gift, the first and central things they want to do with that gift is to destroy people (women) who have no desire to harm them.
Please think, men. You abuse the gifts you have, and in that way, you hurt ALL of society in many ways you probably haven’t thought of.
I teach a few different things in China. My least favourite course is ‘advanced oral English’. First, there is nothing advanced about the abilities of the majority of students – ‘advanced’ is just a word that, in typical Chinese fashion, is for appearances only . And second, I am not an orator. Decent teacher, yes. Orator extraordinaire, no. Oh, and third, trying to have a heavily interactive class when the standard number of students in a small, participation-based university class is 50 is a waste of everyone’s time.
If I must teach communication methodologies, I prefer to teach writing. But if I had my druthers, I’d be teaching a variety of other things within the analytical realm.
Anyhow, I’m in the middle of two weeks of the dreaded speech-making unit. This is where I give a choice of topics (ranging from easy to requiring more insight and imagination). One of the topics requires these 18- to 23-year-olds to think about what they want their lives to look like in 20 years.
If they choose this topic, inevitably, they talk about the family they want. If you can believe it is possible, the Chinese romantic narrative is even more boring and standard than the Western one. Everybody says almost exactly the same thing. I have never, ever, ever met anyone here who wants something different than the rest of the 1.35 billion people.
While it is depressing to hear the young women spout the romantic dream that is the curtain that hides their impending slavery, it is worse listening to the men. And sadly, most of my students are men. Even though I spend an entire class talking about how to describe personality or character, and get them to brainstorm adjectives, they ALL describe their future wives in exactly the same two-dimensional way, and unsurprisingly, there is never a reference to character unless it is to imply that she exists to wait on him and provide children, which is still not really ‘personality’. They describe Future Wife as ‘beautiful’ and that is it. She has no substance. The only thing that matters is that she is beautiful. One of the better speakers did say: “I don’t like girls with strong opinions.” So there you go.
Interestingly, when I teach the class on character and do the brainstorming exercise, most of the students include beautiful, pretty, or cute on their lists, and I do the requisite explanation that physical attractiveness is not a personality characteristic. And although you could, in English, call someone beautiful and refer to their personality, that is not at all what people are thinking here when they put it on their list of personality traits.
When describing men, there is a much richer palette. Men are allowed to be intelligent, talented, creative, hardworking, diligent, responsible, etc. Oh, to be multifaceted – dare I dream?
If you do manage to get people to describe women in any detail, you get a more intense and benevolently misogynist list than you get in the West – today’s Western woman might be called strong, but what is meant is that she is a sexual being with all that entails regarding character (wild, masochistic, uninhibited, slutty, etc). It’s just as superficial, in my opinion. In China, it is all naiveté, innocence, and purity – these are all ideal ‘girl’ qualities. The ideal woman is ‘a girl’ – she acts like, looks like, and thinks like ‘a girl’. It’s so ingrained in the culture – even trying to get people to refer to females over 18 as women is really hard to do. They have no problem calling 18-year-old males ‘men’, though.
I decided I have to stop assigning this topic for speeches. As my educational techniques regarding women and personality and human status are clearly not working, I am now going to give my barf trigger mechanism priority.
In another post, I’ll tell you about a) Chinese misogyny in hero/role model discussions and b) how my writing classes approached their assignment on short fiction.
Part one: That’s Some Toolbox You’ve Got There, Ladies.
In the previous post linked to above, I talked about several of the tools and techniques women have at the ready in order to survive as slaves in a patriarchal system. These are the mechanisms that lead women to:
- accept abuse, rape, heaps of discrimination without complaint;
- seek out and stay in romantic relationships with men where anything can and does happen (keep in mind that no relationship between men and women is equal);
- comply and perpetuate Patriarchy by attacking potential allies (non-compliant women/feminists) and indoctrinating children in the ways of gender; and
- fail to notice the millions and millions of daily messages, large and small, direct and indirect, aimed at women to let them know that they are members of the sex class, meant to serve men, and undeserving of freedom or respect.
That post was about defense. This one is about offense. I want to talk about the tools and mechanisms – or weapons – men have in their arsenals to reinforce their supremacy by keeping women in line. Note that ALL men are given starter arsenals as boys, and most grow up to add more vicious and effective weapons as they get older – even the liberal, so-called ‘Nice Guys’.
I’m not going to talk about physical weapons like guns or knives or physical violence like rape or beatings or BDSM torture. These are obvious. Instead, like in the previous post, I’m going to talk about psychological warfare and what men do to mindfuck ‘loved’ ones, acquaintances, and strangers.
In case, you’re prepared to jump in with a standard, knee-jerk “But women do it tooooooo!” whinge-fest, please note that a) this post is not about individual women attacking individual men as DOES happen, but is not a systematic problem, and b) this post is about class warfare – by men as a class against women as a class. There has never been a war waged by women against men. If so, there’d be millions of dead and maimed men out there. As it stands, the only ones killing men in any number are MEN. So zip it and read on!
Note that some of the defense mechanisms talked about the the previous post can be used by men as attack mechanisms. Projection, for instance, can work the following way in the hands of a man on the attack. As a rule, men have a socialized, underlying hatred of women. Many men will project their hatred of women onto the women themselves claiming that women actually are the ones who hate men. This is the current chant of the MRAs (morons’ rights activists), and is why terms like ‘feminazi’ and ‘man-hating, lesbo feminist’ exist without evidence for them. Men’s hatred is turned into women’s hatred to make men feel justified in issuing rape threats, actual rape, beatings, and psychological warfare.
This is a form of denial, but it is denial used to attack or manipulate. By refusing to admit that something is true, often repeatedly, the attacker causes their victim to begin to question their perceptions and lose confidence. The more off-balance a victim is, the more likely she is to remain in thrall to an abuser. The victim is increasingly likely to overlook often outrageously bad behavior, especially if they are in a relationship.
Example: On an individual level, imagine a newbie to the BDSM scene. She feels like what she is experiencing is abuse, but her dominant repeatedly says it didn’t happen or reframes her experience as something entirely different – submitting isn’t abuse, it is freedom, it is love. It is actually she who has the power. He invalidates her perceptions and she comes to doubt herself. She becomes primed for a deep commitment to submissive status.
We also see this in the low incidence of rape reporting – we can apply gaslighting to women as a group. Women are almost never believed when they dare to speak out about being raped. As a result, women as a class, often doubt their own experiences of rape and don’t bother to speak out. Women are not believed, so most women believe their experiences aren’t real.
It is common for those who don’t conform to mainstream expectations to be pathologized. If someone doesn’t meet expectations, there must be something wrong with her. She needs to be fixed, medicated, given therapy, subjected to surgery, controlled and brought to heel.
Example: The current craze in pathologizing is, of course, centred on sexuality. These days, women need to be ready for sex and thrilled about it 24/7. Of course, sexuality and sex are still defined by men for men, so the perfectly reasonable avoidance or lack of desire on the part of women to engage in something that will not benefit them in any way (and is actually dangerous in many ways) becomes ‘a problem’. Instead of seeing and accepting it for what it actually is – a normal response to sexual slavery and erasure – women are labelled ‘frigid’ or ‘depressed’ or something that indicates that they aren’t fulfilling the expected role. Out come the drugs, sex therapy, psychological abuse, demands for polyamory, and porn.
Shaming and Guilting
Very simply, the act of inspiring feelings of guilt or shame in someone to get them to do something they don’t want to do or to back down on requests for fair treatment.
Example: Men love to push women to the edge and over it in relationships, and inspiring shame or guilt – some of the first powerful feelings young girls experience in all cultures – is a very effective way for men to get what they want. Men often play the victim. Their lives are so hard, and according to them, women make their lives even harder with their nagging and unreasonable demands for respect or consideration. It is these techniques of shaming and guilting that inspire the following: “If you loved me, you would…” and the demands almost always entail some demeaning, degrading, brutalizing, unfair sexual performance or concessions on the part of the woman.
Shaming and guilting (in addition to spreading lies and misinformation) are the key tools in the Pro-Choice movement’s assault against women who need abortions.
A tool used to silence another person by claiming greater victimhood status.
Example: This has recently become a very effective tool in our modern age of oppression status. Everybody is being oppressed. It is a common tool used by men of colour against white women who rebuke their rape or harassment attempts. These men will scream ‘racism!’ or society will do it for them if the rape attempt becomes public knowledge. It is one reason I didn’t report being violently raped by my Arab Muslim boyfriend 8 years ago. ‘Islamophobia’ is a buzzword right now, and current Liberals can get enthusiastically on board with the idea that a white woman is using her poorly suppressed Islamophobia/racism to make a false rape claim but have an incredibly hard time believing that a man has raped a woman.
Some of these men know exactly that is what will happen when they scream racism – it is a joke and a get out of jail free card since racism is taken seriously, but misogyny and violence against women are not. For others, they truly believe they are being oppressed when a woman refuses or fights against their violence. Men of all colours (and SES, religions, etc.) are taught from birth that they are entitled to pussy any time they want it.
Others argue that this is also what is happening with some of the male-to-female trans community trying to silence women by one-upping them on the oppression scale. By using male tactics of aggression and claiming status as ‘women’, actual women are forced into silence. Again, some of these folks know exactly what they are doing, while others may wear oppression as clothing and truly believe everyone is hurting them personally.
The most egregious examples of one-upping occur when a white dude with no true difficulties in life claims victimhood status that is more important than a woman – any woman. This happens CONSTANTLY (see MRAs, for example).
I truly can’t count the number of men – white and non-white – who have silenced me by shouting me down with examples of how they perceive themselves to be the most unfortunate victims on the planet. It has been especially effective when coupled with guilting.
Hope / Manipulated Forgiveness
Hope, is probably one of the most powerful forces out there. Giving someone the impression that things will get better can erase the effects and memories of an incredible amount of abuse.
Example: The most common scenario is that of the battered spouse/girlfriend. Despite the well-known mantra of psychologists and statisticians that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, the battering male will erase this idea by promising that he will change. And he seems to… until the next time he beats and rapes his wife/girlfriend. It helps that women are programmed from childhood to forgive.
There are many more psychological attack devices that men use against women to keep their system of dominance firmly in place. This is just a taste.
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.Ray Bradbury
I’d go a step further with that quote. After all, it was said by a man, so he doesn’t see the whole picture. I’d say, the best way to prevent a group of people from existing, from contributing to a culture is to prevent them from writing and/or being read. Most people don’t read or take seriously those women authors who are allowed to be published. And most women are not allowed to be published unless they are willing to tell men’s version of the truth. So essentially, the world doesn’t get to read what is not allowed to be there. And that is the story of women.
There are tons of people who don’t read. They can read, but they just don’t. Can’t be bothered. It’s too much work, and requires too much sustained attention, I reckon. I was watching a documentary about the future of reading, and I recall a PhD student commenting that she had to retrain herself to read proper articles in a focused and analytical way after her modern immersion into social media skim-reading. I imagine that an actual work of literature must seem a sisyphean task when you normally spend your day ‘reading’ Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Even among the supposedly superiorly educated Chinese (according to people who’ve never been to, let alone worked in, China), reading non-mandatory books is not common. Last year, I brought in a pile of English language books from my own collection of modern literature to my writing class full of English majors here in China. I’d told them that to become a better writer, reading was a requirement. Only two of my students borrowed books. No one else even attempted to look at the books. Disappointing. But unsurprising. Only occasionally does a Chinese student tell me that they both read and enjoy reading non-mandatory books. It’s all about texting and reading other people’s constant status updates – just like in the West. How is this interesting?
Regarding documentaries, I know plenty of people who’ve never watched even a single one. And those don’t even require a fraction of the attention that a book requires!
But of those few who do read – and I’m talking about great works other than Fifty Shades of Shit or Maxim (seriously, I once dated a British dickface who told me with a straight face that Maxim was the ‘thinking man’s magazine’) – they are still woefully and willfully ignorant of topics and authors who should be a required part of school curricula. The tired old classics are standard, and those classics are written by penises for penises. For most school children and college students, women don’t exist on paper or in politics.
Women authors of literature and feminist philosophy and politics are unsurprisingly absent from school curricula all over the world. Dangerous thinking relegated to Women’s Studies programs, I suppose? As I mentioned, the classics are priapic, but even the edgy or avant-garde have a phallic bent. For many students, misogynists, J. D. Salinger and George Orwell and their social and political commentary have possibly appeared on school reading lists, but who but an English major in Canada has read Margaret Atwood (who is actually a better writer than both of those men)? And everyone knows who Karl Marx is, but Andrea Dworkin’s vast collection of work remains in obscurity in danger of complete obliteration.
But all of these works are available in the public domain, at least for now. There is no reason not to read, not to know.
There is something I find very interesting. I think about my liberal-minded male friends, the few of them I still keep around, and I know they read. They watch documentaries. They learn stuff. They know stuff. They can talk about a number of topics with a level of understanding. And they have one thing in common. They know zero, nothing, nada about women, women’s struggles, the women’s movement, the status of women today. About the movement that concerns half of the world’s population directly and the other half in an important way – they know bupkis. They can talk about other social movements. They know something about racial struggle.
Some of these men, once they come into contact with struggling groups, go out of their way to learn about what these people go through. One friend in the American TV and film business, upon meeting Albanians who had fled their country’s turmoil, went out of his way to learn about the history of their country and plight. But when he was casting actresses for one of his films, he couldn’t figure out why they made sexual overtures to him (other than the idea that all women are sluts always looking to service men). The idea that the film business requires female actors to ‘consent’ to rape in order to get jobs and how that came to be (female subordination/male domination) was completely beyond his educated mind. He got angry when I tried to tell him what many people have said about ‘his business’, the film industry, as an outsider. Yet, while I don’t work in entertainment, I am better read about the plight of women in film than he is. I’ll bet you money that he hasn’t read Rose McGowan’s recent whistleblowing of Hollywood’s widespread sexual assault of its female acting population. He doesn’t have to know about it. He benefits from women’s slavery and to know about it means he has to take responsibility and change the way he does business.
This is the willful ignorance of supposedly intelligent and educated men. The one group all of these men actually live in close proximity to, and sometimes in the same home with – women – they know nothing about. They can’t be bothered to learn about what their close female friends and loved ones have endured and continue to endure. Women don’t matter except when they stop delivering that which is taken for granted. They are objects. They serve men and men’s struggles. The struggle of men is assumed to be the struggle of women. There is no struggle outside that. The concerns of racial groups, religious groups, and gay people matter because men are members of those groups. Women aren’t men, so their continued slavery does not matter.
But these knowledgeable men do know about what the fun-feminists are doing. Oh yes, they are well aware of topless events in the name of political reform. They do know about slut shaming and the movement to embrace sluttiness as a defiant, ‘feminist’ response. They know those powerful ‘feminists’, the Suicide Girls. And by knowing about this kind of stuff, they think they have their fingers on the pulse of feminism. Women just want to fuck more! That’s all. And men don’t need to know more than that. They don’t need to explore the history of struggle. To look for real information might push them out of their comfort zone. Fun-feminists have given ignorance their stamp of approval as per historic male agenda.
Willful ignorance is dangerous. And it comes from failing to read. That failure to read starts at the school level with the censorship of books written by and about women. And it continues through college and into the world of work and survival. We destroy our culture by promoting willful ignorance, by de-emphasizing reading, and especially by negating the contributions of women writers. After all, you can be well read by today’s standards, and still incredibly ignorant by choice.
Not that I feel bad about disabling comments on this blog, but now that the university semester has started up, any pause that I might have had has definitely gone out the window.
You see, I’m forced to listen to the stupid shit my overwhelmingly large classes of male students say. It’s China, it’s traditional, and my classes are almost completely populated with young men. Blech!
The comment of this past week came after asking students to work together to describe where they were from. I put people from the same provinces together, and within the province of my university (as most students stay in their home province for schooling), I grouped people by town.
And of course, there were the standard, meaningless Chinese comments. “People from my hometown are very friendly.” Which, by the way, I guarantee you they are not – people hate outsiders here in China – even among Chinese people – and parents teach their children not to talk to or help strangers EVER. Only family and those in your guanxi (business-social network) count. Outside classroom assignments, my students tell me what their parents really teach them about strangers.
And then of course are comments about girls and women.
The comment winner this week jizzed out the following.
“The girls from my hometown are very beautiful. The men from my hometown are very hardworking. So if you want to get married, you should come to my hometown.”
And this is the general worldwide view of women. It’s not just China, of course. Women are there to serve as eye candy, fuck-holes and baby factories. C’est tout! Despite the fact that women almost always work several times harder than any man on the planet (for anywhere from less to zero compensation), it is the men who are always deemed hardworking and smart and strong and interesting and funny and good leaders, and and and just so fucking multifaceted.
I’ll say it again, I miss having predominantly female classes. The women are just as brainwashed by dick-think, but they say much more interesting things when they have a receptive, non-punishing, woman-supporting audience (me). Only in these classes have I ever heard young Chinese women speak the unspeakable: “I don’t want to get married.” I always give them a loud, enthusiastic round of applause when they are brave enough to speak their minds on female slavery.
I don’t necessarily think that the hatred men have for women has either increased or decreased over the years. What appears to be the case (and one could say this holds for every aspect of societal evolution over long periods of time) is that how the hate manifests can appear to intensify. The hate levels and proportion of infected hater population can stay the same, but the manifestations of the hate can appear to escalate in horrificity. With globalization and improvement in modes of communication and information sharing, there has definitely been a change in the spread of hatred towards women.
A handful of years ago, whilst living in rural China, a local teacher explained to me that the internet made people bad. It is still a commonly held view in China that information censorship is a good and necessary thing. My immediate reaction was to oppose her view. I like freedom of speech despite that the principle does not yet serve the oppressed like it does oppressors. We just don’t live in a world where the principle is applied equally. Oppressors (men, religious people, straight people, breeders, etc) use freedom of speech to spew hatred and perpetuate violence, while those they oppress (women, atheists, lesbians and gays, non-breeders, etc) are often censored. And I think the definition of ‘speech’ is often twisted and abused in order to include and protect violent acts like pornography that serve to hurt the oppressed and make money for the dominant class.
Communication tools can be harmful and beneficial at the same time. Unlike the Chinese teacher, I don’t think there is a simplistic and direct, one-way, causal relationship between tools and people’s goodness or badness. That is not to say they don’t influence each other. They do. I would argue that there may be more harm than good being done, but then again, I don’t think any society in our world is set up to reward good behaviour to the extent that they do bad behaviour. That is Patriarchy, and it’s not a good system for most people. The internet was created as a tool to serve Patriarchy, and while some have managed to do good things with it, it still serves its masters: men.
Anyhow, back to the people.
Assholes existed before the internet was created. Awesome people existed before the internet was created. And then came the internet. Assholes became more assholish (perhaps a few stayed the same or reformed). Lots of people found ways to become assholes thanks to this thing called ‘relative anonymity’ – one key, defining element of the internet. And many awesome people became more awesome. Some people used the internet to learn and self-improve, or help isolated people organize and overcome various hardships. Other people found convenient and rewarding outlets for their hate and self-indulgence that they never had before, or found ways to make money off peddling hate. In short, like any other tool, it is impossible to label the internet as good or bad. It made some people better, had little real effect on several folks, and it made lots of people worse. And of course, people had an effect on the internet in a myriad of ways. Cause and effect are hard to discern.
Let’s get back to the woman-hate problem.
Woman hate has existed for a long, long time. The internet has provided a means for that hatred to manifest in disturbing ways. And these manifestations are colouring human interaction in the meat world, which then continues on to affect the online world. Now, the internet has:
a) provided a common, virtual space for men to meet and bond regardless of race, age or religion in a new kind of brotherhood of hate,
b) provided a platform for manifestos and other writings advocating for hate of and violence against women that can be accessed by anyone in the world. Unlike in previous times, ‘publishing’ is no longer limited to those who can write well or think well, or who are connected enough to find a respectable publishing outlet, In essence, any dickface can jizz online and be read by millions of other dickfaces,
c) increased men’s boldness and willingness to hurt women by allowing anonymous hordes of dudes to e-threaten or e-gang rape a woman who dares speak in public. The kind of repulsive hate speech you can easily find online is like nothing we have ever seen before. These dudes far outspew historic sex-based hate writers, such as de Sade. Previously, men had few places where they could go to bond with other men over rape and sexual violence (e.g., strip clubs) and were limited to private hate at home, in the office to a certain extent, or during the clandestine paid rape of a prostitute. Before the internet, men who couldn’t find support for their hate may have suppressed or localized their violence, and may have even questioned themselves, out of fear of repercussion and lack of support. But these days, group think and group acceptance has increased male boldness and made it easier to let loose on women violently, both online and off.
d) provides unlimited access to free or inexpensive depictions of horrific sexual violence (e.g., porn, ‘edgy photo art’ and BDSM sites) for many who never before had access, including young boys. The latter are getting their sex education primarily from sites fetishizing gruesome sexual violence against women and girls. And pairing this ‘learning’ with boners and orgasms (previously not possible in public, but now possible anonymously at home) is unnervingly effective.
There is plenty more to say on that, but I’ll stop at four.
On the positive side of things, the internet has:
a) allowed abused women who have been socially isolated by patriarchal structures such as marriage and poverty to find support, strength and the courage to escape in online support groups,
b) allowed women who haven’t found a community of like-minded women in the real world to find hope and support in online communities,
c) provided knowledge of and access to feminist literature that cannot be found in most libraries due to censorship of women writers/radical material or bias towards providing published penis’ pointless pontification,
d) allowed marginalized radical feminists an outlet and a voice in the form of blogs and web sites that they themselves can control. Men still try to attack them and derail them, but women can choose how much to interact or allow on their sites. They can also choose anonymity and still speak to promote positive change. This is impossible in the real world, and many women have stayed silent in the past due to very real, constant threats to their safety at the hands of men and sometimes patriarchy-supporting handmaidens,
And of course, there are other ways women benefit from the internet.
How does it balance out? Impossible to say, exactly. The positives are encouraging and do provide help to individuals, although I doubt women are taking advantage of it in the way they need to to effect real change on a societal level.
The negatives are disturbing, and I’d hazard a guess that one of a few things will eventually happen.
1) Violence against women will become so normalized that we’ll regress as a society and end up with a repressive something-or-other akin to what Margaret Atwood depicted in her classic novel or the way things went in Iran, post-Revolution.
2) Western men will become so addicted to and distracted by the pornification of women that more controlled and focused societies (aka China) will easily take over global dominance. China is no picnic in terms of women’s status, but they are definitely not as obsessed with porn and normalized, widespread depictions of rape as the West is.
3) Highly unlikely, but I dream – women will finally wake up, get out of their Bibles and off their dance poles and say, “Enough is enough. Time for revolution. Either you’re for human rights or you’re against ’em. Pick yer side!” and shoot the whole place up. Not for the imposition of another dominance structure such as matriarchy, but for liberation from sex-based oppression.
I root for #3, but I suspect #2 is the most likely scenario. As I mentioned in another post, I increasingly find myself in the position of having to explain the American porn and sex obsession to my Chinese undergrads, Masters and PhD students. It’s what they’re learning about and are confused about in Western entertainment.
I love the internet. My life would be incredibly different and much smaller without it. But I worry. It depresses me to no end that so many men have used such a valuable and amazing tool for the most disgraceful, shameful, boring and base of power fantasies.
Yeah, there’s cussing in this one, too. Delicate flowers, beware.
As American television and film degrades further and further into a moronucopia of misogyny, sensationalism, sexual violence, and self-centredness, I sigh.
Racism, homophobia and the disgusting slurs that go along with them are getting the attention and derision they deserve, and we’re removing them from media. That’s good shit! Still a ways to go, but it’s on the agenda.
But for women, the misogyny and the slurs that go along with that are getting worse. I can’t watch a mainstream American tv program without hearing someone call someone else a ‘woman’ as an insult. This isn’t 1950’s “girls can’t do math” bullshit. This is a constant stream of insults and ‘jokes’ that have at their heart a deep hatred of women. Yes, today we have a disgusting, disturbing, demeaning downward spiral of woman-hate normalized through popular media that the entire goddamn world watches (trust me – I live in China and people are learning the ways of English communication, and how!), internalizes and regurgitates. And women are signing on enthusiastically in order to get jobs and keep roofs over their heads. I sigh.
Anyhow, today, I’m talking about motherfuckers. Or rather, the term ‘motherfucker’ and how to replace it with something that makes more sense. You see, like most other overeducated Canucks raised by filthy-mouthed parents, I love a good cuss. Stalking off and swearing my head off has probably saved a number of people a good, well-deserved beating or murdering. But as part of my aggressive self-removal from as much Patriarchy as I can manage on my own, I’m analyzing the language I use. We’re all guilty of throwing hate around without thinking about it. Lifelong self-reflection is a good, good thing. And as I tell my students, language is at the root of everything.
Anyhow, I’ve never understood what ‘motherfucker’ actually means. The English language is filled with slurs designed to insult people, and the majority of them are based on the universal hatred of women. Want to insult someone? As I mentioned above, these days, all you need to do is call them a woman. Voila! It’s so simple, even a moron can do it.
And so, we have delightful terms such as ‘motherfucker’. I’m not going to get into all the origins of this shitty word – there is a nice little mansplainer over at Stack Exchange who does a fine job and I recommend taking a gander at his needlessly long explanation that begins deliciously with the mansplainy: “Most fortuitously for you”. Dinkus. But at least, if you are patient enough to wade through it, you’ll get the gist and I don’t have to do it here.
I don’t use the term anymore. Consciously. As I said, we’ve all internalized misogyny. And I don’t use it despite the fact that I despise my own mother as an individual for the constant abuse she heaped on me as a child, for teaching me to absolutely hate myself, distrust acts of kindness in others, and for her rabid misogyny, racism and homophobia. (Don’t worry, Dad’s a fucking asshole, too, but that’s a separate post). I don’t hate women or the general concept of mothers. So I’m not going to insult someone by using such a stupid fucking slur against women.
As I love wordsmithery and neologisms of the non-internet-meme sort, I’m test driving the word ‘otherfucker’. Lemme explain.
First, I love the word ‘fuck’. I won’t explain my whole rationale here – that post is coming. A lot of feminists oppose use of the word, but I have to admit, I think it sums things up just about right. And for the most part, I use it to mean exactly what I think it means (fuck off, Princess Bride-quote fappers! What’s with you fuck-nozzles!?!) I use fuck to mean: to do something self-serving to another person and often without their enthusiastic acquiescence. It started in the realm of het-sex (“Did you fuck that bitch last night?”), but it’s pretty spot on for many other arenas where someone exerts dominance over another and the other can’t avoid it. And of course, it has plenty of other uses that derive from this.
Which comes to ‘other’. I assert that it is pretty hard to fuck someone you don’t consider them an ‘other’. If you hold someone in esteem as an equal or better, it is usually someone you relate to and don’t consider to be ‘other’. And the idea of ‘fucking’ them whether in the sexual sense or not, is not within the realm of consideration.
Hence ‘otherfucker’. So if I call you an otherfucker, I’m saying that you are exerting unrequested dominance over a person you don’t hold in esteem and they can’t get out of it. And that’s not something you should be proud of, you otherfucker!
Damn! That felt good to get off my chest. No murders today!
If only there were only one moron per day, we all could rest a little easier. But alas, they exist everywhere and the more moronic they are, the more they feel they need to speak.
Anyhow, some background to the moron I managed to run into online, mid-coffee, on this lovely Saturday morning.
The internet is a strange place. Unlike in the real world (for the most part), online, it takes about 3 seconds for one to start out in one place with specific intentions, and then somehow end up in the middle of one of your worst nightmares. And so it happened today. I was googling something, and magically found myself on a pro-capitalism site run by a moron that sums up capitalism in his sidebar in the form of a busty, be-bra’d bimbo holding up an ‘I’m your biggest fan’ poster. Capitalism can only exist when women are enslaved. Good job, Captain Obvious. You made your point without having to even speak!
But that is not the moron I’m talking about – although he does qualify. Morons tend to attract further morons, and no place loves morons more than comments sections on moronic blogs.
Click to the ‘About’ page. And moronic comment gold! Especially this one, whom I will call Dumbass.
I have never found a liberal to admit they are wrong or concede to a debate especially feminazis. They just keep just keep doing attack after attack and unless the fight was physical, it would never end. These liberals today are radical extremist and we have to bend to them is what our society preaches. How come society did not tolerate and still does not tolerate Nazis but embraces radical liberals and feminazis?
We’ve got the classic Liberal hate. But that shit is meaningless to me. Generic American Liberals are frequently as stoopid and misogynistic as Conservatives or Libertarians. And those labels are often meaningless and defined differently outside the centre of the world (aka the USA).
No, I’m talking about the misogyny, which is naturally part of the set meal when you go for the Capitalist Dude lunch special. First, we’ve got usage of the meaningless term ‘feminazi’. It’s so overused that it’s getting old. Although we all know it is an insult directed at women, the term doesn’t actually make sense. And as Capitalist Dumbass so blatantly displays through what I’m sure he feels is a Clever Intellectual Question, he doesn’t even understand what Nazis are. This is what happens when a) you’re not properly educated, b) you’re privileged (person who got into a university simply because he had money, pasty skin, and a penis, but alas, no brain), and c) you can’t keep your damned mouth shut even when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
To answer the question posed by Dumbass, We don’t/didn’t tolerate Nazis because they committed genocide, targeting Jewish people, gay people, and non-White people (some of whom overlapped). You know, human rights abuses. Radical Liberals and ‘feminazis’ – or let’s use the correct word, Radical Feminists – fight for human rights. The former may have any number of oppressed groups at its focus or may focus on protecting the environment rather than oppression, while Radical Feminists focus on liberating women from sex-based oppression, while supporting intersectional issues (race, class, orientation, etc.). So to make it clear for Dumbass, Fighting for human rights is a GOOD THING. Genocide is a BAD THING.
But I’m not sure if feminists are ’embraced’ as, Dumbass asserts. His comment is representative of the majority of men in the world and some women, and their hate speech – and it is hate speech to the letter – is tolerated and even embraced.
In short, hate-spewing, capitalist windbags – even genocide-supporting ones – are still tolerated and even embraced. Feminists are derided, threatened, and harmed daily, unprotected from hate speech (although women don’t classify as an oppressed group anywhere, so legally, hate speech directed at them isn’t hate speech and cannot be prosecuted). They are not embraced.
ps: I’m not linking to this web site because a) I have no intention of driving traffic to it, and b) through the magic of the internet, you’ll find it or one of the countless millions like it within 3 seconds all by yourself. Besides, I included a hint above 😉
Let’s face it. It is NOT easy being a woman in this world. It never has been, and still isn’t. When compared to all other oppressed groups, women have been enslaved the longest, progress towards their liberation has been the slowest, and it is the group with the largest number of its members refusing to fight back, remaining brainwashed into compliance and self-sabotage. Misogyny has lived and still thrives in all cultures, all nations, all eras, and all age groups.
Misogyny is so ingrained that most people don’t even notice most of it. When it is noticed, many people rationalize it away or develop defense mechanisms to cope with it. Even egregious examples of woman-hate are held untouchable, and those who dare to expose it are attacked mercilessly, even by the oppressed themselves.
Even in this supposedly enlightened day and age (a common way to view one’s current times, despite all evidence to the contrary), the willingness to see women as full human beings doesn’t exist. Those who fight for this very logical wish to be human are castigated, seen as evil pariahs, and likened to the most psychopathic mass murderers in history.
Internet feminism has served to get the word out there. It is still a dangerous, exhausting business, however. Women who speak and who have opinions are universally hated and are at the receiving end of some horrific backlash. I’ve noticed so many feminist sites start up and then die off after a few years. My guess is that having to constantly deal with the ignorance and hate and violence of men online in addition to that which every woman endures in daily life eventually breaks the writers. Part of the problem, I posit, is allowing discussion. Discussion is important for women, but opening up a forum for this online also attracts evil in the form of ignorant men (and some women who don’t want to accept reality). Constantly moderating and being bombarded with idiocy and violence is very psychologically difficult. Only a superwoman could remain immune. And so, my current policy is to write, but disallow comments/discussion. It is for my self-preservation. Writing is healing and intellectual, and getting the words out and repeating the message trumps any secondary need to interact, at this point. If someone reads and learns, that is a bonus.
I link to other feminist sites (in the sidebar) where discussion is possible to varying degrees. Each writer chooses her level of willingness to interact with men who, generally speaking, are too emotional, impulsive, and illogical to realize that they should just be reading and learning.