Outcast: a person who has been rejected or ostracized by their society or social group.
We are taught that balance is a good thing. And, for the most part, I’d agree with that. In many areas of life, moderation – a sister of balance – keeps you healthy. Don’t eat too much of one thing and make sure you get a little of all the vitamins. Don’t sleep too little or too much. Overexercise will injure you, but doing nothing will destroy your health. Don’t work too much or play too hard. Etc.
Achieving balance or moderation is a matter of compromise, in my opinion. And we compromise constantly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But is compromise, moderation or balance always a good thing? I’d argue that no, it is not. Sometimes, compromise is an attack on your convictions or beliefs. To compromise on what you believe, is, in my opinion, to live a lie. This is counter to what almost every person in every society on the planet will tell you. Compromise is the key to getting along in society; the key to relationship maintenance. If you are a moderate, non-thinking sort of person (sorry, I find that those people who are best liked and most popular tend not to have much to say on anything and don’t think too deeply about issues or righting wrongs), you do just fine. It is easy for this kind of person to compromise because they are not deeply invested in anything except not rocking the boat. To compromise, they really aren’t giving up anything important. When you won’t compromise on your beliefs, you find yourself slipping farther away from mainstream society, until you realize you are an outcast. And it really doesn’t take much to become an outcast. Imagine what happens if you even hint that men are the cause of 99.9% of the violence in our world, and that things would be better if they didn’t exist… In some places, that kind of heretical thinking might get you killed, nevermind outcast status.
I’ll come back to that.
So, I’ve been offline for about a month. Not just a ‘not writing’ kind of offline, but I went so far as to make my site private. Apologies if you came by only to find yourself barred access. I’m back online, now. You see, I found myself at a fork in the road. Not an unusual occurrence. I frequently assess my life and decisions, and this occasions a pause while I figure out what to do. For the most part, I’m an all-or-none kinda gal. I try to maintain balance in certain areas of my life – I have achieved ‘balance self-awareness’, but seldom balance itself. It’s a struggle. But I’ve come to see that there are situations where balance (aka ‘compromise’) is just not a good thing at all. For me. It has made me an outcast. I do have friends, but I’m not sure that there are more than one or two people with whom I can have a truly honest conversation about uncomfortable stuff. Most of my relationships are based on compromise – or lies. I suppose this is normal. Each person in your life serves a different function. Is requiring all friends to have a working knowledge of gardening any different than requiring all friends to be able to talk to you in depth about patriarchy or to be 100% truthful about beliefs? I don’t know; I understand less and less about what friendship is supposed to be the older I get. But blogging is not a relationship, so the idea of writing publicly without speaking truth makes no sense to me. Why have a blog if you write bullshit you don’t believe just to please the faceless masses?
Funnily enough, I have spent most of my life, working in service-based jobs – work based on helping and relating to humans. I’ve spent many years teaching. But I’ve done other service-related jobs as well. I’ve always wondered why dealing with people steals so much of my energy, even though I do get a certain amount of pleasure from helping people. The latter I think is due to the lady-brainwashing that is forced on all girls from birth – we exist to serve, and we take our happiness from making others happy. Gawd, how many times have I heard a woman parrot those mantras, and I note how I’ve never heard it from a male (since they exist to take, steal, use and destroy rather than serve). The energy sapping part of my work in service is partly due to being an introvert, but a lot of it, I think, is that I have to present a facade in order to do the job well. I have to hide so much of who I am in order to deal with people, in order to make them feel comfortable. But this is how I earn my pittance. It is ‘work’. Blogging is a leisure activity, and it should be to please myself, yes?
So as I set my blog to private and began to contemplate whether to continue, I asked myself how I had gotten to this point. I suppose being aware of what is happening in the world brings me down. Sometimes, being aware of the fact that I will never live in a world where I or any other female is free is depressing. Sometimes, knowing that I can never fit into a feminist community because I don’t compromise in order to please liberal agendas puts a damper on my writing activities. And on this particular occasion, the awareness that my blog is becoming more and more popular with men (I logically assume) who are looking for videos of white women being raped by Muslims and/or Arabs kind of kills my soul. The search terms used to find my site – and every woman who writes publicly has the same experience – confirm to me that men as a class are pure, dangerous, rapey filth. And so, as all of these realizations build up and fester, I wonder what the point of writing is. And that’s what was going on.
But examining purpose is a good thing, and I brought myself back. I realized it is important for me to keep writing and to remember why I started writing in the first place. Heck, I set out my purpose in my ‘About‘ page. The mission never changed and is still the same. Perhaps I need to read it more often and remind myself of who I am. I also realized I am under no illusion that I’ll ever be part of even a non-mainstream feminist community, which is okay. So, I’m not writing to make friends or be a part of something officially. The purpose of my writing is two-fold. First, I write to get stuff out. Some feminists pooh-pooh blogs that relate personal stuff. I’m not one of those. I think it is important for feminists to talk about their experiences and to express themselves in whatever way works for them (writing, speaking, painting, sculpting, dance, etc.) and it is important to read about other women’s experiences. If you want an ‘academic’ or ‘clinical’ feminist blog, have at it. I read some of those too. Myself, I’m a mix. Not all of my posts are navel-gazing (like this one), but they are there. And I tell you this month of not writing has been torture, to be honest. The impulse has been there and very demanding, but I didn’t allow myself to do it – not even non-feminist content. And getting back to it, and being aware of the sensations that accompany it, I can say that I write to cleanse my brain and take joy from the writing process.
My second purpose is that I write because I know how important it is to have stuff to read and think about when you are a budding feminist looking for answers or paths to pursue. And it is good to have a variety of things to read, even things you don’t agree with. I remember back when I was reading everything I could get my eyes on. Reading different viewpoints helped me understand and clarify what I, myself, believed. I especially enjoyed reading things that challenged me or made me angry. I have no doubt that I write things that make people annoyed or uncomfortable or pissed off, and that is good. I don’t write for feedback on this as I have enough stress in my life without backlash adding to it all. I just know I can be provocative and that is enough. Only in that way can people understand themselves better and to know that there are a variety of viewpoints and experiences. We are all ignorant beings, and anything different we encounter chips away at that ignorance and makes us think (hopefully). Although not a primary goal, if my writing manages to convince a feminist-in-the-making (or even an experienced feminist that doesn’t realise she is actually supporting the patriarchy) that her actions don’t exist in a vacuum, that is cake.
So, I continue to write. I’m back, and I may churn out some controversial posts in the future. What the hell is the point, otherwise? I’m already an outcast, and the ethical gymnastics required for me to be able to compromise and get along with the mainstreamers at this point would hurt me more than help me. I support female freedom, but feminism really is still in its infancy and women – even feminists – have completely internalized woman-hate despite what they may say. As such, feminist communities are fragile and volatile things. As I’ve witnessed online many a time, women aren’t yet at a point where they will unconditionally support one another. One wrong word, and fellow feminists who had your back suddenly attack you and beat you to death. No thanks. I’m okay with my one-woman show, writing what I truly believe, not giving a shit who disagrees with me, and reading a select group of fierce women who also persist without ideological compromise.
How many times has a scrotum told you that he is ‘a visual person’? If you are female and some dude in your life has told you that – sometimes in all seriousness, sometimes with a smirk – he is trying to tell you a truth about himself and his approach to dealing with women. In all likelihood, you are going to choose to ignore that truth all to preserve the illusion that this dude cares about you and about women. Denial is easier after all. The world becomes a different and much more difficult place for women who truly listen to men’s direct and indirect messages about their universal truth. That truth is that despite layers of subterfuge, all men hate women. And once you decide to acknowledge that truth, process it and live your life according to it, shit gets difficult. Better in some ways, but more difficult in others.
The sentence “I am a visual person” actually translates to “I am a pro-rape rapist.” When a male says: “I am a visual person,” it has nothing to do with any special abilities involving his eyes, optic nerve or occipital lobe. It is not ability at all that he is talking about. He is referring to his privilege over you and all women – the privilege having a penis brings him. The context in which said scrotum will issue this pronouncement of visual proclivity or prowess is always one that demands women be placed in a subordinate, rapeable, and consumable position. He uses the phrase to account for abusive behaviour towards you or another woman. He can’t help himself, you see. He is a visual person.
A male is a visual person if he:
- is ogling another woman while you are talking, sitting or doing whatever with him,
- is distracted by another female while you are telling him about something misogynistic you are experiencing,
- sees pornography as an inalienable male right,
- requires that you wear clothing deemed ‘sexy’,
- can’t seem to have any kind of relations with you without visual aids that you don’t understand or feel comfortable with,
- doesn’t believe his bodily movements and behaviour with regard to interacting with women are within his control,
- can’t watch films unless they have female degradation in them, or
- believes that women must wear make-up in all situations
There are tons of examples, but they are repetitive. Being a ‘visual person’ for men basically translates into:
I am male, so my behaviour isn’t within my control and I am wired to hurt women. Women are meant for sex, therefore, I can do and request whatever I want from women without it being a comment on my character. I should not be held responsible for anything I do to women. I need female subordination and degradation to exist. Expression of my sexuality requires that women be degraded. Any attack on my misogynistic behaviour is an attack on my manhood. Besides… women like it, and if you don’t like it, there is something wrong with YOU.
A rape mentality, in other words.
Now here’s the thing. I know all this for a very good reason because I am actually a bona fide visual person. So, I know what it really means to be a visual person. It means:
- I love maps. I can read them easily. I am also really good at directions and recognizing landmarks. I can orient myself easily in a strange place and seldom get lost.
- I love designs and models and have no problem visualizing intention from these.
- I love colour. I associate different colours with emotions, flavours, etc. Colour tells a rich story for me.
- Patterns catch my eye, and I can lose time enjoying their intricacies.
- I often remember events through visual triggers. For example, I’ll remember something that happened 20 years ago first by what someone was wearing or what the sky looked like, rather than what day of the week it was or some other factual information.
- I love all aspects of math that require visual presentations of information. Geometry and visual depictions of data through graphs and tables are all fields of math and mathematical visual aids with which I feel very comfortable
- My spatial abilities are excellent. I am great at packing a car trunk, rearranging a room and imagining how a configuration will impact how something will work.
- I have an excellent imagination and create pictures in my mind to do everything from solving problems to turning a design or pattern into the finished product in my head, etc.
- I am better at recognizing faces than I am at remembering names.
- I am really good at reading body language and facial expressions. Part of this is being the survivor of childhood abuse, but a lot of it comes from being visual and depending on visual cues to understand a situation.
- I can look at a picture and easily create an entire story to explain what is going on. Photographs and paintings have a huge emotional impact on me. It also means that it is hard for me to watch violence because visuals are heavily loaded with emotion.
- I’d rather look at a political cartoon then listen to a political joke.
- I often need to see a word or sentence written down to fully understand what is being said or to discern an oral or grammatical problem.
- I don’t need graphic sexual displays to get the point. As a visual person, subtlety goes a long way. I find that if one needs graphic displays in order to feel something, one probably isn’t a visual person at all.
And on the topic of ‘sex’ or sexuality, being visual is in no way connected with respectfulness or the way one treats another person. Demeaning another person and calling it ‘being visual’ makes no sense. It is simply a standard example of male illogic and a typical way in which men abuse women and call it something else to legitimize and sanitize it. It’s laughable that so many men say women are illogical. The pot calls the stainless steel kettle black.
Given that so many men are ‘visual people’, I’d like to know why most of them don’t gravitate towards careers in the visual arts or janitorial services, or why most men aren’t able to see that a space is filthy or unappealing. If one is oriented towards visual detail, you tend to have clean spaces and pay attention to how you present yourself. Most men couldn’t give a shit about colour or cleanliness or couldn’t comment on the layout of a room to save their lives. That is visual stuff, so you know you’re not dealing with ‘visual people’ when you’re talking to men. Most of these scrotes are just trying to get away with abuse and to tell you a fundamental truth about themselves and how they view you and women in general. And you’d do best to turn tail and escape the abuse that will inevitably follow as you get sucked further into his web of hurt.
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’.