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On Intentionality. Or, What Is It For = What Does It Do? September 25, 2012

Posted by FCM in authors picks, books!, feminisms, gender roles, logic, radical concepts.
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there exists a tendency in various discourses to insist — and to theorize from this place — that patriarchy is just some grand mistake, or misunderstanding.  the evidence on which this conclusion is based is never quite spelled out, and in fact does not appear to exist, as it flies in the face of the actual, real evidence.  which leaves its adherents with essentially the status of cult-members, does it not?  more on that below.  so, the mistake-believers (or “cultists”) tend to advocate “educating” men and anti feminist women to induce feminist change, or they insist that, just as women arent naturally fuckholes and slaves for men, that men also are not naturally dick-sticker-inners or sexual, reproductive and domestic slaveowners.  the poor male babies!  they are just mistaken, you see.  misguided.  acted-upon.  its not their fault.  because reasons, which have nothing to do with intentionality (or design).

now, im not saying than men are or arent naturally anything, behaviorally speaking — who can prove that afterall?  i am saying that its highly probable that womens twisted, victimized servitude (or “femininity” if you will) isnt our natural state.  let us feminists concentrate on women for a moment, shall we — we feel this dissonance, this incongruousness strongly, and indeed the evidence would suggest that, because women as a sexual class hold neither the power nor the resources to build a local, regional or global culture that reflects ourselves back to us, that our culture does not, in fact, reflect ourselves back to us.

the fuckholeness, the servitude is not *us*.  while currently impossible to prove, we speculate that this is true.  but it is not baseless speculation — the evidence suggests we are right.  the evidence of our lack of power and resources to create something reflective of or congruous with *us* being, well, our actual lack of those things.

the same cannot be said of men of course, and whether or not “culture” (lets just say patriarchy instead of culture, shall we, its the same damn thing) is reflective of mens values, tendencies, preferences and solutions.  they created it, afterall.   in fact, in the case of men, the evidence would tend to show the opposite of what it shows for women — that its in fact highly probable that mens violent, destructive and dominant “role” is their natural state, or reflective of men on whatever level.  that patriarchy does reflect mens values, tendencies, preferences and solutions.  that patriarchy — and the utter destruction, degradation and decimation of women and of pretty much everything for that matter — is congruent with mens Z.  if you dont like the word “nature” then dont use it.  call it Z, or green eggs and ham for all i care.  or refer to it by its elements (values/tendencies/preferences/solutions).  it doesnt change what it is.

now, i would like to propose a thought exercise to highlight the difference between intentionality and coincidence.  “coincidence” connotes “unintentionality” or unrelated by cause or effect.  mary daly talked about causation and intentionality (we discussed it here and here) where she noted that, once an outcome is known, any continuance to produce that outcome is intentional.  “unintentional” pregnancy — within the PIV-as-sex paradigm — might be the most obvious (its also a reversal).  daly chose to talk about men surgically lobotomizing women, knowing that the surgery removed all of womens creativity and made them good housekeepers.  the “psychosurgeons” can, did (and do) wax poetic all day about lobotomizing women as a “cure” for this, that and the other, but it cannot be denied that they were intentionally creating brain damaged fembots to clean house and be compliant semen receptacles for men.  if they didnt like or want that outcome, they wouldve stopped doing it.

so regarding intentionality versus coincidence…think “kitchen gadgets” for starters.  does anyone think this is a coincidence?  lots of people need to open cans, and coincidentally, a handheld device appears with two rotary cutting blades that neatly accomplishes that very thing?

coincidence?

or, was it intentional?

or…take a look at this.  assuming you recognize it as a garment, (it could also be used for other things i suppose) through simple observation of this objects physical characteristics, you get a very good idea about some of the physical characteristics of its intended user:

how many fingers do i have?

please dont tell me this was a mistake mkay? im not hearing it.

now, objects might be a bit different from systems.  so lets go there.  some systems “just exist” like some objects “just exist” and they dont really do anything.  like a rock exists of its own accord, without being a specifically functional object some systems just “exist”.  sometimes you just make observations about what they do, like this:

the solar system

its not really “for” anything, or anything that we know about, it just *is*.  and no, i would not say that this is a life support system for humans, even though it functions as one.  like a rock isnt a hammer exactly…

some systems just “exist” (naturally) and you make observations about what they do, and from that, you can also make conclusions about what they are for, like this:

the respiratory system. what it does *is* what its for.

what it does = oxygenates the bloodstream.  whats its for = oxygenating the bloodstream.  in the case of the human respiratory system, these things are the same.  like the solar system, its a functional design — but one that works toward an ends, rather than merely staying out of its own way?

some systems are created by people (men, more specifically).  like all systems, these systems do stuff.  and like *some* systems created by nature, *all* systems created by humans were created for stuff.  to solve a problem, or fulfill a need.  like this:

the US highway system. gets you from here to there usu. via terrestrial vehicle (or walking, to a lesser extent).

it seems that systems that were created by humans do stuff “because reasons” that have everything, actually, to do with intentionality.  what they do = what they are for.  otherwise, why bother?

so if we agree that patriarchy is a system, (is it?) created by humans, (it was, if men are considered human) if we want to know what its for, and to consider issues of intentionality, functionality and design, the question we have to ask ourselves about patriarchy, i guess, is what does it do?  acknowledge what it does, and you will know what it is for.  and that its not a mistake (far from it) and that it *probably* adheres to certain physical realities as well.  think: glove.  or…skyscraper?

i maximize rental income for the property owner, among other things.

and note, for example, that the US highway system is built horizontally and adheres to physical principles, and isnt made of gallons and gallons of chocolate pudding.  because reasons.

it also occurs to me that the solar system is essentialist.  it just *is*.  and that patriarchy — while still a system — is more like the US highway system than it is like the solar system.

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Comments

1. FCM - September 25, 2012

if anyone is experiencing thought-termination over this issue, its not just you. this is kind of like moving through mental molasses — it probably has something to do with the fact that literally everyone, “radfems” included, are attempting to shut this conversation down. to prevent it from happening. to destroy, erase and “no true scotsman” this conversation and this train of thought from our history and from existence. well guess what? its happening. if not anywhere else, it *will* happen in this space. and i will continue to talk about it, until im finished.

thanks for reading!

FCM - September 25, 2012

i will also say, regarding the no true scotsman fallacy, that the last damn straw for me was the newest UN letter, which implied that mary daly was not a “feminist” bc she believed or suspected that there was something wrong with men. like physically wrong with them. mary daly! not a feminist! thats rich. IF WE MUST, how about we go back to the beginning and examine EVERY SINGLE STEP and mis-step that caused us to end up here. bc its clearly not true. this is unacceptable. thank you!

http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/2012-submission-to-the-un-commission-on-the-status-of-women-the-legal-category-of-sex-and-understanding-the-status-of-women/

2. MarySunshine - September 25, 2012

I’ll tell you who has *never* shut this conversation down is lesbian separatists. We are famous for asking other women, ” then where did ‘the patriarchy’ come from, outer space?”. And then getting shunted off into oblivion.

You’re going to get thought-stopped every time by females who have a heart felt interest in the well-being of some male or other. We all get thrown to the wolves for the sake of that guy. The name of the game is Let’s Make A Deal.

Women throw our own sanity and self-love to the wolves to force ourselves to love males. I think we do so at an early age because we do not have the mental or physical powers or skills to prevail against the surrounding psychic force-field. Then, as we grow older, we find total isolation combined with extreme punishment for not accommodating to males, or including them in our circle of even *mental* affection.

I’ll wear a t-shirt at a lesbian festival proclaiming myself as a full-on SEPARATIST, but I’m not going to wear it to the grocery store in my home town. Are you kidding? And I look like nothing other than a dyke. Nobody would ever see me and imagine me as het. I’m not passing as anything.

The loss of female-only space has come as a direct result of females fearing the very real pay-back dealt out by males to man-haters. (And, heaven forfend, boy-haters.)

FCM - September 25, 2012

well, les seps and what/who else, mary? i am not a les sep. and yet, i am going there. why? this is a serious question.

thanks for that though, it does give some perspective. and i am sure i can count on the les seps to defend me on FB and other places, where i am being trashed for this, correct? or is FB just like the supermarket? srsly, this shit is getting old. like im not totally used to being trashed by now. LOL and as if its going to work to shut me up, when it never has before….but lets look at who/what we are dealing with i guess…do the same thing, expect a different result ay? typical.

3. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - September 25, 2012

I love this conversation, find it fascinating and will be following it, FCM. I’m relieved that it’s at least taking place somewhere. It rather parallels what I think, such as that there is nothing “complementary” about women and men (and that that should be men’s problem, not women’s). I do find it difficult to express my thoughts on this though.

FCM - September 25, 2012

yes, that “difficulty” you are experiencing would be the thought-termination and trashing, barbara. thanks for reading.

4. MarySunshine - September 25, 2012

FCM,

Not sure who’s trashing you on FB for being an essentialist – I haven’t seen it. I’ve had to cut way back on my fb subscriptions, else my feed becomes unmanageable. Plus I figure others have done likewise. Friend lists are no indication. Oh, and then the people who have each other blocked. WP is less incoherent that way.

For sure, one need not be a les sep to *know* or to *say* that there is a biological gravitational pull, as it were, of the male to attack, rape, murder and destroy.

I’m not sure what academics mean by essentialism. For myself, I know that there is a female essence that I experience in myself and other females, and that is missing in males. I often sense that you feel or experience that, but I don’t know if you have ever said so.

I know that academic feminists hold as an unalterable tenet of faith that *all* behavioural differences between males and females are socially constructed. Until … wait a minute … let’s see what the trannies want. :-/

Of online feminists, you have come the closest to the forbidden males-are-mutants headspace that the seps I have known inhabit.

FCM, in my personal (non-internet) experience, the women (other than les seps) who have come out and said what you say above have not been “feminists”. They have been “ordinary women” who are weary and discouraged by the danger that males present to themselves and their daughters.

I think the reason that feminists won’t touch the subject goes back to the deal-making. And the public visibility. The “ordinary women” who confide in me privately are not publicly visible in speaking those thoughts. They are not trying to strike any deal – merely unburdening themselves.

5. lush - September 25, 2012

FCM, you’re a genius and I love you. This immediately clicked for me, but I need to keep thinking this over before I can come up with anything intelligent to say about it. I guess this will just be a complimentary comment. In my Latin class, we’ve been reading Lucretius, a Roman Epicurean poet, and I’m just loving him, dreading next week when we switch over to sucky self-obsessed war-sick Gaul-conquering Caesar.

I mention this because Lucretius’s writing reminds me of yours, or vice versa. Not so much in content [although Epicurean philosophy has some delicious proto-proto-feminist touches: the emphasis on not wasting your life fearing death and pleasing gods because we are only made of atoms that dissipate and redistribute upon our death, which threatens the entire structure of Roman religion/politics/life/patriarchy; a distrust (at least on Lucretius's side) of romantic/sexual love (between men and women, natch) as the unassailable power of 'good' patriarchs often try to sell it as; a desire not to wrap this philosophy in academic, artistic pomo jargon (which makes L's choice to write this Epicurean treatise in a poem -- in epic meter, no less! -- even more bewildering) but to write clearly so that it can reach and mobilize the entire populace; and, most incredibly, its interest in reaching WOMEN alongside men], but in his valiant attempt to express his thoughts within a system that despises his thoughts, and with a language that is too limited to adequately convey them. Latin, as much as I love it for being condensed and compact, is lacking many of the grammatical weirdnesses that make Greek so great for philosophers, and, as my professor says constantly, his writing can be hard to follow because he’s “making it up as he goes.” He has to invent a whole new way of describing things to make up for this lack, in the same way that feminists writing in a patriarchal milieu, with a patriarchal language have to eff-ulate the ineffable, say the things that haven’t been properly said before.

Sooo, tl;dr version: thanks for managing to say all the stuff I’ve been thinking way in the back of my mind but didn’t have the language to ever describe.

6. cherryblossomlife - September 26, 2012

“so if we agree that patriarchy is a system, (is it?) ”

With this line you’ve just proven that radical feminism is the opposite of essentialist because we are saying that patriarchy is like the US highway system, rather than the solar system… Radfems believe it is not natural, it has been created *intentionally*, BY MEN (nobody else)…
…and this is our springboard to creating a solution.
Whereas if we (like many non-radfem feminists) believed that patriarchy was more like the solar system, that it just sort of happened coincidentally, THEN we would be being essentialist.

7. karmarad - September 26, 2012

fcm, you do have a style that gets it across! You go to some amazing places here. I agree with lush, you have a way of writing about impossibly difficult things that lets us all in. I’ll solve the riddle of the can opener, and the highway system, and the solar system in my dreams.

FCM - September 26, 2012

ETA: link to cherry’s post at the HUB “the case for the sanity of women”

http://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/the-case-for-the-sanity-of-women/

8. Sarah - September 26, 2012

FCM, I’m a relatively new reader of your blog. I don’t have profound comments or questions regarding this most-recent post – yet. I’m still working on your thought exercise and examples (love them, by the way; brilliant) while pushing through my own mental molasses.

Meanwhile, thanks for writing this post. I second what Barbara Di Bari Visconti wrote, above, “I love this conversation, find it fascinating and will be following it, FCM. I’m relieved that it’s at least taking place somewhere.” And also what karmarad wrote, “…you have a way of writing about impossibly difficult things that lets us all in.”

Not that I consider myself a part of the “us” that karmarad may have been referring to (I’m a total newcomer and stranger here). My point is that I find your writing to be both profound *and* accessible.

FCM - September 26, 2012

i love it when the lurkers come out. :) thanks for reading.

9. witchwind - September 26, 2012

Thank you FCM for continuing this discussion online, it’s great that we can do this here!
As far as my thoughts have led me, I assume that men are different in various x ways, but that their violence is related to this x nature only insofar as they choose to act in this way according to what their biology allows them: which means it’s an interaction between intentional conscious reaction and use of a biological given which is non-chosen to obtain a system that favours their status that they would otherwise not be able to obtain. and only men can create such a system because it reflects both this biological given and their reaction to it and use of it. If that makes sense.

And I think that fundamentally, this, patriarchy, is what society looks like when *driven* by men. That men, in power, will make society this way because when they decide to do things according to what they are, it will be this way, because they can’t figure it out in a different way. And that only if they are not in power *might* there be a chance that they behave differently, because then they don’t get to determine what is for women.

The thing is, that women, as bearers of life, cannot be decided for by people that are not bearers of life, because it would *always* be an irresponsible decision, that could lead to death. I think men are naturally irresponsible of life. That we cannot let them have the responsibility of life, and history under male rule has demonstrated this.

I’m stil working on several hypotheses to untangle causes and consequences

10. witchwind - September 26, 2012

Anyway, that and cherry’s post, is very interesting and we need to keep this research forward.

11. Mia XX - September 26, 2012

FCM what you have said makes sense to me. Im a het female but whatever.
The question being what does patriarchy do and what is it for, I found I had to think about other systems of dominance to answer the question. (though obviously they all operate within, as part of patriarchy- but for the purposes of discussion). So in thinking about racism and colonialism it seems obvious to me- what does it do? What is it for? It chews up a people and takes all their resources- both labour and land and natural resources. And it allows other people to become rich because they have taken what belongs to someone else. Both in terms of labour, energy, and land and natural resources.

I really don’t like the ‘women as a colonised people’ thing- I think I’ve had that discussion before here, maybe I was posting under a different name though I can’t remember. But I find it kind of thought-terminating for a number of reasons. So I’m not really intending to actually use it as an actual literal statement, only as a comparison. But thinking about that helps me answer your question to my satisfaction (so far). I think that’s what patriarchy does and what it is for. It takes women’s resources be they emotional or material or biological or energy expended in labour, it chews women up and gives their resources to men.

12. ethicalequinox - September 26, 2012

I really think that if men *wanted* to treat us like actual humans, they would have found a way to do that by now. They always find some way the get what they want, and if they really wanted a world that was safe for female human beings, they would have made it already. I want to be wrong about this, but there’s just not enough evidence for me to be convinced that I am.

FCM - September 27, 2012

yes, evidence-based belief systems are what we need at this point. the time for believing in XYZ “against all evidence” (if there ever was such a time) has passed hasnt it?

13. ethicalequinox - September 27, 2012

Yes, I think it has. Looking at aggregate male behavior is key here. Someone always comes along and points to one or two men who at least appear to not be overly influenced by patriarchal values and says “see? Look at them! If we don’t start trusting all men now, WE are just as bad as….um….uh…the men…the very very very few men who hate us!”

And these are the same people who know full well that you would never look at a study and use the outliers to prove a point. You look instead for the significant trend. To do otherwise is reckless and dangerous and smacks of denial. Again, I WISH we were all very wrong about this. I would sleep so much better at night if I *knew* men didn’t have some deeply seated (innate/social) drive to perpetually “other” us into oblivion.

14. MarySunshine - September 27, 2012

I *love* this discussion, which is *finally* happening in public. Here’s hoping it spreads far and wide.

FCM - September 27, 2012

I think that’s what patriarchy does and what it is for. It takes women’s resources be they emotional or material or biological or energy expended in labour, it chews women up and gives their resources to men.

yes i think so, although it does other stuff too. and obviously, this “resource” stealing is a prescription and license for male violence against women. if women do not give it freely, it will be taken. the situation is coercive at best. which leads one to question, if men were not predisposed to violence (or if they didnt “like” it or find it essentially plausible and sustainable or even agreeable) would they set up a system — to benefit themselves — that required it? well, would any human set up a system that required us to levitate, or to occupy two physical spaces at once, or do something else that was extremely unlikely, painful or difficult for ourselves or against our natures/violated or ignored physical reality? im just asking.

if we dont think about “pussy” as a resource, or in those terms though, what we are left with is male sexual violence against women for its own sake. what patriarchy does = creates a vast female victim pool for men to violate, abuse and kill. what patriarchy is for = the same. among other things. everything it does, is what its for. the list is long. the resource thing is correct, i think, but its not the only thing patriarchy does. even “unintended” side-effects, once they are known, become intentional if they are repeated. if they didnt want or like the result, they would stop doing it. so yes, i think it will pay to develop this list and examine it, with the understanding that its all intentional, and consistent with physical realities. think: armchair. aaahhhhh, so (physically) comfortable. this is what the P is to men.

FCM - September 27, 2012

to clarify, i mean that it is MORE LIKELY THAN NOT, that the P and the conditions and requirements of the P are physically, psychically, and intellectually (and in all ways) comfortable to men in at least a basic way. in that at the very least, it doesnt go against their “natures” in any serious way. if someone believes the opposite — that its MORE LIKELY THAN NOT that the conditions and requirements of the P are UNCOMFORTABLE or incongruous to mens nature, please provide the EVIDENCE on which that belief is based, so that we may all examine it. like i have done here. EVIDENCE. not proof. thank you.

15. Sarah - September 27, 2012

FCM, hi. Lurker coming out again, here! I realize that this post is about patriarchy, as a system. This might be a dumb (really elementary) question: I’m inclined to also apply this perspective (considering “what it does” versus “what it’s for”) to my body itself; to women’s bodies. Specifically, our ever-sought-after (<–ugh!) vaginas. Is this applicable, in your opinion, to apply same perspective to our bodies, themselves?

Sorry to be so elementary, here.

16. Akuba - September 27, 2012

“the P and the conditions and requirements of the P are physically, psychically, and intellectually (and in all ways) comfortable to men in at least a basic way.”

Yes.

Also, as it has been pointed out before (in the wonderful 4 part rad fem primer on the HUB), all aspects of women’s oppression under the P support men’s power. Having power means having more control over your environment. This mean predictability. It is comforting to know what will happen, and especially comforting knowing that things won’t change without you permitting them.

I don’t think this aspect (desire for some type of control over one’s environment) is particularly male, or even human, but I do think that once males acquired some control over us (Kate Millet’s idea of IDing paternity perhaps?), they stacked the deck against us, to enable the transfer of even more power to themselves at our expense. Some try to suggest that power/control is unlimited, but we know it is not. The more we gain, the more they have to forfeit.

Of course women want control of their environment. It is in our nature too. This is why we resist oppression and loss of control.

FCM - September 27, 2012

well sarah, that reads like a troll question doesnt it? ok, i’ll bite. (how about answering your own questions — and showing your work, so we can discuss it — instead of “asking questions”?) thats about as useful as a brand new commenter driving-by to drop a link with no context at all, and expecting me to publish it. looks indistinguishable from spam from my perspective doesnt it?

anyway, as i said, i think that there is EVIDENCE that SOME of “natures” systems just “are” and do not have a purpose. like the solar system. so if you think i am going to say that womens reproductive system — because its a system or a natural system — is “for” making babies, (and therefore men should rape and/or otherwise impregnate us, yes?) that does not logically follow from my statement that *some* natural systems are “for stuff.” some, not all. if its a discussion you want, its possible to have that discussion, but youve given us nothing to work from/with. its also a derail, as you say, and unresponsive to anything thats been said here in either the post or the comments, and has nothing to do with whether man-made systems are intentional (they very obviously are).

FCM - September 27, 2012

also, i mightve even said too much in response to that non-comment. a vagina isnt even a system. a “body” or a womans body isnt a system either. so sarahs comment was not only NOT about patriarchy, it wasnt about systems either. seriously, im still trying to figure out the point of that comment, and all i can come up with is that it was left by a troll, who thinks that vaginas are fuckholes for men, and who wrongly believed they had me cornered. wtf?

17. Sarah - September 27, 2012

FCM, uh oh. No, i meant the opposite of implying that my reproductive system is “for” making babies. Also the opposite of suggesting that any of my organs exist “for” providing a man’s dick with pleasure or some kind of “outlet”.

I’ve been struggling for awhile with feeling disgusted and resentful over PIV being mandatory. Only i’m surrounded by people, incl. the liberal women around me, who say, “Oh no honey, it’s not mandatory, but when you LOVE SOMEONE you WANT to”, “that’s how a man shows you that he loves you, if you refuse you are rejecting him on a fundamental level”, “it’s natural!” and “I feel sorry for you that you feel it’s so dangerous, did something bad happen to you?” and “oh sex is good!” (sex = PIV specifically!) and “it’s a great stress reliever” and blah blah blah, all that other horseshit. Then some have said to me, “But you have to understand, men need it, so just keep in mind that if you don’t – he WILL go get it from someone else”.

Oh, so it’s not mandatory, or it is mandatory? Which is it? And this situation is seen as okay – that one gender NEEDS TO get inside one of my internal organs – and put me in harm’s way in the process?That’s okay with us, as a society? WTF?

To me it seems so obvious now that that this is a barbaric way of thinking. And that PIV (I didn’t know of that term until just recently) puts women in harm’s way, causes a great deal of suffering, anxiety, worry, and neg consequence. Seriously, no one around me gets it. I realize that I need to branch out and make different connections. That’s part of why I’m here and reading – and reaching out. I’m surrounded by insanity being touted as “normal”, and I’m so over it.

I’m really just now finding my way OUT of that mainstream bullshit way of thinking. I’m 42 fucking years old and just now finding the vocabulary that’s providing some answers. (Sorry if that sounds very sad, but it’s the truth of where I’m at.)

Anyway, so what I meant initially, with my question of applying the “what it does” versus “what it’s for” approach to my body, itself, was along the lines of: Okay, just because an organ of my body CAN provide “pleasure” to a man who sticks his dick inside of it, does not mean that that is what that organ of my body is exclusively FOR.

The popular mainstream perspective that I am surrounded by seems to follow along the lines of, “Oh well that’s what it’s FOR, honey!”. And “we’re so liberated now, get on with enjoying all the liberation and PIV and don’t worry so much”. And don’t even get me started with the shit I’ve heard from men pathologizing what I now consider to be TOTALLY RATIONAL anxiety over PIV consequence.

I’m so over it. Sorry to go on and on. It’s inappropriate within this thread. I’m not a troll, however. I’m struggling to find my place – and my voice. Now that the friggin’ lightbulb has been flicked on.

FCM - September 27, 2012

ok that helps. so, you want evidence or an argument AGAINST a vagina being a masturbatory aid for men, basically. i think youve about named them all. the fact that no one cares (about womens health etc) is the problem, its not that you lack reasonable arguments. im still thinking about it, but im not sure that the framework ive proposed in this article is going to help you with that? or, do you think you can make it work?

incidentally, my vagina is currently providing integrity and structure to my reproductive and genito-urinary tract. women have very serious health problems when they start having their reproductive organs damaged or removed that have nothing to do with pleasure or being receptacles for mens dicks. the woman herself becomes very ill and unable to function as an organism. it doesnt appear to be fatal, although you might reasonably wish for death if your uterus migrated outside your body (or any other of these horrible structural deficits) and you were unable to have it successfully repaired. not sure if this helps, or even where this is going or can be expected to go, on this thread. its an interesting topic though.

heres a bit on vaginal prolapse:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/vaginal_prolapse/article_em.htm

The network of muscles, ligaments, and skin in and around a woman’s vagina acts as a complex support structure that holds pelvic organs, and tissues in place. This support network includes the skin and muscles of the vagina walls (a network of tissues called the fascia). Various parts of this support system may eventually weaken or break, causing a common condition called vaginal prolapse.

A vaginal prolapse is a condition in which structures such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself may begin to prolapse, or fall out of their normal positions. Without medical treatment or surgery, these structures may eventually prolapse farther and farther into the vagina or even through the vaginal opening if their supports weaken enough.

18. Sarah - September 27, 2012

FCM,

Yes, that’s it – I want evidence or an argument AGAINST a vagina being a masturbatory aid for men. I should’ve said that outright. My thinking is not always as clear and direct as I’d like it to be. I’m working on it. I think I’ve been caught in a weird space between being really fucking angry – versus trying to be all nicey-nicey and gentle about expressing my views, because the slightest questioning of PIV sends people into an absolute tizzy!

RE: arguments against a vagina being a masturbatory aid for men you said: “I think you’ve about named them all. the fact that no one cares (about womens health etc) is the problem, its not that you lack reasonable arguments.”

Thank you for the reinforcement. You’re the first person that’s told me that my arguments are reasonable. Maybe I shouldn’t care what other people think, but the validation is helpful. I’m surrounded by people who proclaim to be so totally “pro women’s health” via supporting all kinds of devices, pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, etc., in order to support PIV as the end-all-be-all and to make vaginas into more convenient (as I’ve learned to say just recently) fuckholes for men, basically. I don’t get how that support’s women’s true HEALTH. Boggles my mind.

You also said, “im not sure that the framework ive proposed in this article is going to help you with that? or, do you think you can make it work?”

I’m still thinking about that, too. I’m not sure if I can make it work or not, but my wheels are turning. Maybe I can. Will let you know. Then again, maybe I don’t need to create more arguments right now, but have more confidence in the ones I already have. I’ve been in a mode of grasping, grasping, grasping for more arguments. I think that’s what I did with your initial post.

Lastly, thank you very much for the vaginal prolapse info and the link. Oh, and I loved how you said, “incidentally, my vagina is currently providing integrity and structure to my reproductive and genito-urinary tract.” Do you mind if I repeat that exact line, the next time someone says to me that PIV is what my vagina is FOR?!!!!!

(“Incidentally…”, get it? AS IF this is a minor, incidental little DETAIL!)

19. Mia XX - September 28, 2012

FCM- what you are saying about the violence, whether men would set it up to require violence if they didn’t like or want to use violence. I don’t know. I think men know that a lot of men enjoy violence. They direct this violence in ways it is expedient to do so. They use it in colonial dominance. They use it in sexual dominance. In both these situations there are levels of violence that go above and beyond what is necessary to achieve coercion, and move to the point of violence for the sake of cruelty and sadism.
I wasn’t actually thinking of ‘pussy’ as a resource when I made my comment, which was probably an oversight on my part… But yes. It seems to me that what youre saying is that maybe the taking of female resources is a secondary thing. And the actual infliction of violence is the PURPOSE, is what the P does and what it’s for. (This could equally be true of colonialism, again). Ive never thought of this before. Perhaps partly because I actually don’t enjoy violence so it’s hard to concieve of that as a motivation. It may well be the truth. It’s a horribly depressing thought but it may well be the truth.

FCM - September 28, 2012

im going to leave the comments open on this post for as long as i can, and for as long as people are still actively participating in the discussion bc i think its important. so, post em if you got em. thanks for reading and commenting.

20. azahda - September 28, 2012

Hey, another lurker here! I’ve actually been reading these radfem blogs for a few years, but just felt like adding my two cents now because the idea that men’s violence could have a connection to their biological nature has been one that I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so, and so it’s great to see this kind of in-depth analysis finally happening instead of being shut down.

In any case, what I wanted to say is that I believe that men’s violence over the last few thousand years is probably the product of both cultural and biological factors, but that it is the biological that feeds the cultural. Some of my reasons for believing this comes from having taken several ancient history courses in university dealing with many different cultures that dating back to the last five thousand years or so, if not more. Some of these cultures, pre-patriarchy, are considered to be matriarchal, while the others are claimed to be “egalitarian”(but there are a lot of reasons to believe they too were actually matriarchal, a whole other topic). But what I thought was very telling is how in so many cases these matriarchies/”egalitarian” cultures went from being very peaceful to turning to war, violence, and creating the oppression of women and girls. This was basically the transition to patriarchy of course, but it was eerie that it was the same pattern being repeated over and over throughout wildly ranging geographies cultures, and all happening around the same time.

My point is then that: how can we say that it is chiefly culture that makes men act this way, when we are still living under patriarchies that have changed very little since they were first formed, and which were created by men who could’ve shaped them however they saw fit? You’d be hard-pressed to find evidence that there was any culture prior to patriarchies that was powerful enough to brainwash men, against their better nature, to FORM a political system they didn’t truly want. Heck, that sounds like it would be a patriarchy itself, at which point the argument becomes circular anyway. And in fact we have the opposite evidence in most cases, suggesting that patriarchies were preceded by peaceful, biophilic cultures. Not to mention that to maintain a patriarchy, it required not just a few cruel elites somehow controlling every other man against his will, but also an army, a male-led religious sect, common men who were more than happy to keep women and girls as their chattel, etc. It was in every sense a group effort that, again, is almost identical to how it works now.

NONE of these things HAD to happen, or always WERE. Patriarchies were formed with nothing holding men back. As FCM points out, patriarchies aren’t solar systems. They’re systems purposefully created to achieve certain ends; with the control of women and engaging/condoning rampant violence(particularly against women) as major ones to patriarchy it seems. So I have my doubts when I hear that it’s culture that’s primarily to blame – it looks like men only had themselves to look up to in determining how to shape the societies that were now in their control, and whaddya know, it seems to have served their reproductive interests in particular pretty damn well! Violence has also been another mainstay for the last few millennia when, again, men did NOT need to establish such a violence-inducing/-condoning system. It’s like what another radfem said recently(and I wish I could recall who it was); if men loved life, things be very different right now

Human history isn’t the only reason leading me to believe that men’s behavior today has a very probable biological origin either , but I think I’ve said enough for now haha

Phew! Sorry if not all of that was clear- I’m so used to making feminist analyses inside my head that writing them down is like a different animal. Much appreciation for what all of you do! Thanks again for hosting this discussion FCM, as well as to all the other radfems who are talking about it :)

FCM - September 28, 2012

i would like to know more about what you are describing as an “eerie” near-simultaneous global takeover of patriarchy. can you recommend some reading on that specifically?

also, yes, it makes no sense to assume that male biology doesnt drive (male) “culture.” none whatsoever. i think its very easy to assume that men are as uncomfortable as we are here, but there is simply no evidence whatsoever that they are. we are simply projecting, and using wishful thinking. it is in fact extremely difficult to even imagine the comfort they probably feel, which is why we have a hard time getting to that place. we feel like aliens here, but they are natives. imagine it! and i think the males and their apologists jumped on that bandwagon — the bandwagon of womens projection of our own alienation onto men, who dont feel alienated at all — bc its yet another obfuscation of the truth about men and what they do. oh, uh yeah thats it! lets go with that! they hoped this lie would carry them another hundred years or so, before the next lie was needed, or heck by then they might have all the technology they need to render women obsolete. and they might yet, we will just have to see. the vehemence with which this conversation is completely shut down, as well as the systematic erasure of radfem work is evidence that we are right about all of it, however, its also pretty effective at maintaining the status quo. i am not hopeful. and its the refusal of feminists to tolerate this conversation that bothers me the most.

21. Mia XX - September 28, 2012

I’m just thinking about mental health statistics. It’s often quoted in psychiatry that married men have the best mental health stats, followed by single women, then single men, then married women. We’re talking about het partnerships here. As you said FCM it is comfortable. For men.
(Though I can’t find you a link right now to back this up… apologies)

saw this poem on youtube the other day. Whatever you think of her campaign this poem helps to point out how comfortable the P is for men, and isn’t for women. We live in the same place but not the same situation.

FCM - September 28, 2012

thanks for that mia. i think that illustrates the “comfort” aspect nicely. we see this very basic tenet of patriarchy so clearly in “fashion” which is support men, harm women. males being physically comfortable is a top priority and accomplished with ease.

shoes

from here

http://radfemimages.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/scum-o-rama-summer-shoe-sale111-ps-men-hate-you/#more-1097

22. azahda - September 29, 2012

I’d be glad to provide you with readings! I’m just going through the articles that I still have saved and will hopefully find the relevant ones. Unfortunately I don’t know that I’ll be able to pinpoint exact articles that will reveal all of this for you, as this is something I noticed after doing a lot of research on my own and pieced together info from separate sources. No one seems eager to talk on this topic specifically, probably due to the fact that archaeology is as male-dominated as any other field. So of course that leaves mostly women who are interested in the subject to write about it, and just like women in so many other professions, I’m sure they’d prefer being able to keep their career than publish what the man doesn’t want getting out. So more dangerous female knowledge is being denied to us, as you mention. The perks of controlling almost every single institution in the world, huh

So after a bit of searching, I do still have some of my PDFs of the scholarly articles I read left, but I tried doing a search on google-scholar and you can only get them by paying for them thanks to this ridiculous copyright system. But I have two saved that I could send to you; unfortunately they don’t really touch on the almost simultaneous-ness of patriarchies popping-up (but it seems to around the period deemed the “Urban Revolution”), however they do use evidence and logical thinking in order to dispute the idea that patriarchies are natural in-and-of-themselves, instead of a historical occurrence. Which is part of what I think we’re saying here. One of the articles also notes how similarly many patriarchies operated in consolidating power though, as well as other interesting tidbits. So let me know if you’re interested!

And I completely agree with you that men are very likely comfortable with the way things are now, and that whatever it is under this system that makes them uncomfortable, it has jack to do with women’s subordination. Notice how over thousands of years, through so many male-dominated revolutions all over the world, undertaken by men from so many different walks of life, there can be drastic changes in the society – save where women are concerned. Sometimes, like in the French Revolution, women’s rights would even go backwards. No, it seems like men are more than comfortable maintaining heteronormative, PIV-normalizing, violence-condoning, regimes, even when they have every opportunity to change it. And like you I wonder why this conversation is sometimes being shut down so vehemently – to me it seems akin to the difficult realization for women getting into radical feminism that all men hate women, except going one step further and saying maybe it’s also got a biological component to it? I don’t know, I think in both cases it’s very difficult to fathom, but once you do, you see things a lot more clearly and it provides at least some mental freedom (imo). As well as the chance to take our analysis further. The overall evidence we have available to us, even when men are trying to censor it, still testifies to the fact that ignoring this question all-together may not be so wise. I don’t know, I’m tired of doing the mental gymnastics that are required to think in the opposite direction, that it’s all cultural.

FCM - September 29, 2012

i think feminist women are still wounded and reeling from the last 30 years of having to defend ourselves from accusations of the dreaded “essentialism” and being pulled into foreground debates that are centered on deliberately misunderstanding us. you can see the error in thinking we would ever be successful in that. in doing so, we have managed to lose the plot ourselves. there is also a tendency by reformists, as i have written about before, to prioritize reformism over radicalism, and one way this is accomplished is to blur the line between the two, or for small-thinking or “practical” radical-informed reformists to take over the movement and shut everyone else down. there are practical (read: political) reasons for doing that, because its very distasteful to talk this way and can seem hopeless to admit that there are reasons that will not be easily remedied for the things men do. but answer me this, if you can: why is it also very refreshing to read the no-no material, and why does it fill you with hope? (if thats the case — it does both for me). there might be no political or rational explanation for it, but there it is. personally, i think its bc its the truth. and perhaps other things. its the “background” and this is where *we* are comfortable.

23. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - September 29, 2012

It fills me with hope because while men may have biological reasons for their destructive urges towards women and all life, I don’t think they have the energy or wherewithal to act on it without women’s energy being pumped into them, including the energy of mother to son. I think they run on womanenergy. They’re sort of like cars – they only run if you put gas (energy) into them. But unlike cars, which you can drive wherever *you* want to go once you gas them up, once you “gas up” (put energy into) the human male he goes where *he* wants to go, not where you want him to go. Talking about this gives me hope because if women see the situation as it really is it will finally motivate them to STOP giving their energy to men and boys.

24. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - September 29, 2012

And I find it refreshing because, yes, it is the truth, and it is refreshing and a great relief to be able to hear and tell the truth for once without, as Mary says, being shunted into oblivion. Yes, it is the background, where we truly live and are most comfortable and ALIVE.

FCM - September 29, 2012

yes its all connected isnt it? as usual for this blog, the convos that happen evolve. its always been this way, and its one thing i have appreciated so much about doing it — the comments and discussions here are magical because of the input from readers and other bloggers. and bc men and male-identified (mainstream) derails are spammed. interesting that it was perhaps the MOST taboo subject — male babies — that lead us here. and notice how vehemently THAT conversation was attacked. agent orangepop was a direct response to that line of thinking which first appeared on the HUB. it took a tremendous amount of courage IMO for women to hang around after that, but thats exactly what happened. and these convos continue. its breathtaking, and wonderful. of course, theres no shame in ducking into the background either, and i think both things have happened. as mary says, these convos have been happening behind the scenes for a long time.

25. karmarad - September 29, 2012

Barbara talks about “womanenergy”. In one way this is pumping emotional support, morale if you will, into men night and day. I was disgusted to read today that Maria Shriver was told by her mother Eunice to support her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ambition to be California governor, because “the women in our family always support the men in whatever they want to do.” Maria withdrew her objections against her desires for her family and better judgment, putting her own life and ambitions on hold once again. And Arnold had sex with the housekeeper ( another victim) and had a child (another victim), and kept it all a secret so he could keep Maria in the bagt, and told her the day after his last day as governor. He lied and cheated and humiliated and disavowed and injured women and children, and Maria fell into the whole trap because she believed the bigger lie that her mother passed on from centuries of conditioning: to put your own judgment on hold and just blindly pump that womanenergy into them. And this is an upperclass, privileged, educated, white, career woman whose fate is far more comfortable than the fate of most women. Her fate is to lose the one thing such women treasure the most: her hard-won self-respect. Her humiliation appears to have been total.

Half the world sacrificed for the other half.

Because without that constant infusion of unpaid and grossly underpaid labor, including actual brute labor, housekeeping, childraising, elder and sick caretaking, sex services, emotional support, without the fawning and the lifting and the entertaining, the man would fall down.

26. azahda - September 29, 2012

Agree with so much of what everyone else is saying here.

Personally, I find reading this kind of material refreshing because it so vehemently goes against what I have heard so many different men say in my life, that “world peace is impossible”. Clearly it isn’t, at least according to archaeological evidence, but I think what they mean is that as long as they are in charge that things won’t change, and I certainly agree with them there. Especially if what we are saying here about them is true. However, if it isn’t necessary that they be in charge, and it’s not in any theoretical sense, then their claims don’t have to be true either. I don’t know if it’s too late to overcome male supremacy at this point, but it is nice to know that our subordination isn’t in-itself “natural” or “inevitable” to our being, which men have always loved to claim in order to keep us in line. Like karmarad and Barbara have said, it’s all just so dependent on our (high-jacked) energy to function. So I guess all that knowledge gives me hope in a way.

And yes, reading/hearing material like the type found in this post is like going into the background indeed; it touches on our past, our present, and even our future, learning information that is relevant and comfortable for us, and which tells us differently. Which is probably why this line of thinking has been distorted and re-branded by men into “essentialism”, ensuring that this kind of material doesn’t make it into the collective consciousness of women, which as you noted in another post, is essential (no pun intended) for the success of any movement. This encourages us to keep these thoughts to ourselves or not to think them at all, because apparently even thinking about this subject is seen as deplorable- on the level of what men say. But yes, luckily this conversation has been happening nevertheless, especially in the background and for some time. I only wish this was an issue that wasn’t so divisive among us, because it’s not the “vile” ideology it’s been made out to be. Sometimes the truth is just ugly, but at least you can always do more with correct information than with information that is incorrect

27. cherryblossomlife - October 1, 2012

Not much to add, but to make a slight correction to mia’s point. Mental health goes in this order:
Married men (best mental health)
Single women (second best)
Married women (most depressed group of women)
Single men (most likely to commit crimes, end up in jail or commit suicide)

proving that most men need a woman simply to survive EVEN when the system is set up to support them!!!!

28. cherryblossomlife - October 1, 2012

The differences between single women and single women are so interesting to me. I mean, you can understand the differences between married men and married women, because married men are clearly sucking the life out of their spouses…. but why are single women so much fitter mentally than single men? Even though both groups live in a patriarchy?
It demonstrates how different men and women really are doesn’t it. Because when you’re living ALONE, there is nobody there to oppress or to be oppressed by… and yet the differences still remain.
I’m sure there are lots of variables, but it gives me hope, for some reason.

29. cherryblossomlife - October 1, 2012

*single men* and single women

30. Akuba - October 1, 2012

Is it possible that the tendency of men to be violent has to do with a combination of aggression (because of T) coupled with fear/stress (as in general-type stress through living)? Sort of like what makes some dogs bite.


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