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Moron Issue Framing. Or, Why Male Violence Against Women and Children Survives a Cost-Benefit Analysis December 19, 2012

Posted by FCM in logic, politics, self-identified feminist men.
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the responses to recent calls for banning firearms in the wake of the sandy hook elementary school annihilation are stupefying.  heres one now, from some allegedly pro-feminist dood equating male violence against other men with male violence against women and children.  stupefying!  or the even more stupefying “what about the pens!” argument: men will use any object as a weapon, (link within to a “school massacre” where the man used a hammer against children — and all the children survived their injuries, get it?) therefore we are obligated to make mens job of annihilating large numbers of women and children easier by giving them access to guns.  what?

now, obviously, gun control is a harm-reduction strategy only.  lets be clear about that: women generally are not so stupid as to ever believe that we can eliminate the problem of violent men, and reducing or eliminating mens access to guns will not cure or even reduce the problem of violent men.  we have been in mens crosshairs since before there was such a thing as crosshairs mkay?  we know guns arent really the problem, but to suggest a real solution (eliminating or reducing the number of men, or female separatism) garners us rape and death threats and worse.  some of us do it anyway, because the problem of male violence against women is so ghastly and so penetrating and so real that it makes very little difference whether the threats against us are made more-overt.  they are overt already.

and i am about as disinterested in harm-reduction strategies as anyone could possibly reasonably be: which means that i am very interested in them, and i do think about them, but i dont like to waste my time writing or talking about them.  other people can and do perform that function better than i ever could, and i am happy to let them — i invest my time and talent elsewhere, because thats what *i* do best.  mkay?  but look.  even *i* cannot stand by whilst people make the same idiotic remarks on this issue, making false equivalences, stinking the place up with equality-rhetoric and worse.  this is maddening.  maddening!  so allow me to try to help, if i may.

the problem, i think, is that in mainstream and even “feminist” discussions of male violence, there are several issues being discussed as if they are one issue, or different issues being discussed as if they are the same.  when they arent the same at all.  firstly, male violence against women is a different animal than male violence against other men.  mkay?  because women do not equal men and men do not equal women.  women are the oppressed class, men are the oppressors.  women are impregnated while men impregnate.  get it?  different, not the same.  we have to assume meaningful sex-based difference, i think, and work from there, lest we fall into obfuscating and male-centric equality-rhetoric accidentally.  if there are no meaningful sex-based differences implicated, thats one thing, but there frequently are.

secondly, from womens perspective, male violence against other men is bad too, but our reasons for thinking so are not mens reasons, or they cannot be assumed to be the same or even similar.  okay?  because women are not men and men arent women.  clearly, if the issue of male violence against either women or men was the same issue for us as it is for them, women and feminists would probably care about it as much as men seem to care about solving the problem of male violence, including the problem of male violence against other men, which is to say we wouldnt care about it much at all.  except to use it to derail, obfuscate and negate womens calls to reduce or eliminate male violence against women perhaps, like old tremblay did there with his “what about the pens?”  its pretty useful for that.

to wit, i think we need to realize and accept that everything man-made that currently exists, exists because it has been found by men to survive a cost-benefit analysis.  male violence against other men survives a cost-benefit analysis, and male violence against women survives a cost benefit analysis.  to men.  if it didnt, they would stop doing it.  can we agree on that much at least?  if not, please detail any reasonable disagreements below.  i dont think there are any.

and when analyzing both sides of the equation of male violence against both women and men — the cost-side and the benefits-side — things like hierarchies, and power, and misogyny, and sadism, or the political usefulness of paralyzing fear might be too abstract to plug into a mathematical equation.  for the purposes of understanding the cost-benefit analysis men are obviously applying toward male violence, i keep coming back to the issue of “gynergy” which isnt abstract at all — where women consistently put their time, resources and literally our life-energies into the survival and growth of ourselves and our children, this can be measured.  when men kill *anyone* they are killing womens gynergy, and each child and indeed every adult is the embodiment of a real womans gynergy: a 6 year old child represents 6 years (and 9 months) of its mothers time, resources and her very self.   a 50-year old, for that matter, represents 18 years (ok who are we kidding — the full 50…plus 9 months) of its mothers — and other womens! — gynergy.  when a man kills someone, to the killer and to all men, the victim may be no more valuable within mens value system than any other 200- (or 50-) pound meatbag, (whats even the most expensive meat worth? not much) but that is not the value of a human life to women, as a sexual class, around the world, now is it?

and thats just the beginning of the discussion, i think.  and the conclusions we will be forced to draw, when we analyze mens value system and compare it to ours, including the reasons for obvious difference will likely be devastating.  but we have to do it dont we?  at the very least we should probably shut the hell up if we cant make a decent observation about male violence so we dont confuse everyone.  but that is kind of the point of doing it, when you are a man.  right, tremblay?

male violence against women, and male violence against men, consistently survives a cost-benefit analysis to men and male supremacy — if it didnt, men would stop doing it.  its time we look at the equation they are using, to figure out how they keep getting the result they are getting.  and why we get a different result when we do the math.  and if it seems cold and calculated to think of it in these terms, blame men mkay?  if they werent all the time killing people, and obviously finding a net-gain to themselves in doing so, we wouldnt have to examine why that is, and whats in it for them, or to examine anyones values or the nature of our investments so closely.  but they are, so we do.  that is all.

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1. bugbrennan - December 19, 2012

Constantly having to keep the train on the track. It’s fucking work.
Thank you for keeping the train on the track.

2. Bedelia Bloodyknuckle - December 19, 2012

Excellent post. People are always saying it’s a mental health issue too. While, yes, that is the case for what happened in Connecticut, it’s not the only issue. People just love to tiptoe around the issue of male violence but they will say everything and anything about mental health, or guns and whatnot.

3. MarySunshine - December 19, 2012

Property ( … or any form of ownership) cannot exist without male violence. That’s one of the tracks the train has to run on.

FCM - December 19, 2012

do we really know that the sandy hook shooter was mentally ill, or are they just saying that? as far as ive heard, he mightve had aspies, which isnt even a mental illness, and the aspies parents are rightly pissed to have been dragged into this discussion. was he mentally ill or not? if so, what is the P willing to say is a mental illness — when men do it — and what isnt it? this is all highly subjective and male-centric, and therefore highly suspect, even if he had a legit diagnosis. and so far, i havent seen that he did.

4. bugbrennan - December 19, 2012

Yeah, mental health, race, class – anything except to discuss the glaringly obvious truth.

FCM - December 19, 2012

thanks mary! yes, the idea of property and ownership is very important to this discussion. as in, if men didnt like to use and to *have to use* violence to enforce their property rights, they wouldnt have set it up to require exactly that.

and to be clear, we need to discuss BOTH SIDES of the cost-benefit analysis, meaning both the costs of male violence (including who bears the brunt of the FULL, unsusbidized cost and why) and the benefit (which also includes mens RELATIVE power increasing as womens decreases). men absolutely depend on and indeed require womens unpaid domestic labor (gynergy) in raising children. then destroying the “projects” women have spent entire lives on developing and nurturing, where men have no investment in these “human resources” at all decreases womens power/gynergy. it also destroys womens spirit, and it has that destructive effect on women even in the in-between times, between massacres. men have no concept of this type or degree of loss, or cost — although i think *they think* they know what its like. they know its destructive to us, or they wouldnt do it. if a man spent months or years working on a project for his job, then SOMEONE ELSE destroyed their work either accidentally or on purpose they would be completely devastated. but even that (obviously) doesnt come close to the quality and quantity of resources women pour into raising children. neither version of the truth is ever addressed — what the misogynistic destruction men deal out means to men, or what it means to women either.

5. karmarad - December 20, 2012

Oh you sweet women trying to stop male violence,

I love you all.

Male tolerance of male violence is the problem.

Imagine a world where men can’t hoodwink other men into making war. Imagine – male weapons of mass destruction, Forbidden.

FCM - December 20, 2012

omg. thanks, CNN, for the obfuscating bullshit (as always):

Until we transform that definition of manhood, this terrible equation of masculinity and violence will continue to produce such horrific sums.

yes thats it. men dont kill people, its DEFINITIONS that are the problem…


6. MarySunshine - December 20, 2012

And the DEFINITIONS came from …. OUTER SPACE !!11!

And just appeared all over the planet, independently of each other !!!

Now we need the space aliens to come and peel them off all those innocent menz, cuz the space aliens are the only ones who know how to dissolve the speshul glue !1!1

Can’t somebody please help the MENZ ??!!

FCM - December 20, 2012

also, lessening male tolerance of male violence you say…okay, but why would they do that? more importantly, why should they? surely they have considered that option and it failed their cost-benefit analysis (or they wouldve implemented it immediately). or do you think otherwise? please share.

i think we need to figure out what these analyses consist of, since the results seem central to policy and practice regarding male violence, if we are going to talk about it at all. what do men individually and AS A CLASS gain from male violence? what does it cost them? be specific. and do a different, separate analysis for male-on-male versus male-on-female violence.

also, what about men actively and passively (but deliberately) preventing women from stopping men by any means necessary, including by naming the agent and talking about it amongst ourselves? thats an important piece i think, and one the writers are exposed to every second of every day. men do not want us discussing this amongst ourselves AT ALL. why not? what does it cost them really? or, what do they stand to gain if we dont? these are not rhetorical questions. and i will leave comments open for as long as people are actively discussing it, bc i think its that important. thanks.

FCM - December 20, 2012

exactly mary. they always gloss over the demonstrable FACT that men are the ones who make the rules, and the definitions too, and that they have their reasons. oh yes they do.

FCM - December 20, 2012

also, that was funny, thanks! teh speshul glue, we needs to dissolve it nowwwwww!!!1234

7. MarySunshine - December 20, 2012

“Male violence” isn’t a concept to males. It’s not visible or audible to them. They experience it as a triumphal force within their own beings, but can’t “see” it, in the same way that an eye can’t “see” itself.

It is a concept to us, because it defines our lives from birth to the grave. But for them, it is just part of their instrumentality that they recognize in themselves and each other.

They know that when we females talk to each other about it, there occurs an instability in the usually smooth social discourse of lies and obfuscation. They know that we are starting to get a focus on the actual, immediate threat to female survival that the existence of males entails. It is a mote in their eye. They notice it.

8. cherryblossomlife - December 20, 2012

Regarding men eliminating women’s gynergy every time they kill someone, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. There was a case a few years ago, in Australia, where a divorced father was taking care of his three children for the afternoon, two boys and a four year old girl. He was in the middle of a custody battle with his soon to be ex-wife. Anyway, he and the three children were walking along a bridge, when he picked up his four year old daughter and tossed her over the bridge to her death. That’ll teach his wife, he must have thought. You can read about it in the Telegraph here:

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s significant that he didn’t throw his boys over the bridge, only his girl, but it probably is. He made some lame excuse like “she wouldn’t stopy crying” or something.
BUt it struck me at the time, as a mother who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth, that in a blink of an eye a man can flush all those years of mother-nurture down the toilet, without even batting an eyelid.
I got the same feeling when the tsunami hit Japan. Ancient people had written that settlements should not have been built in that area, but men, in their arrogance, thought they knew better and went ahead and built them there anyway (as if women ever have a say, or choice, in where our residential areas are built..) I’ve also noticed that men are absolutely OBSESSED with cutting down as many trees as possible, which means there is no barrier anymore between the sea and residential areas. All those children, lost and killed, because of men’s arrogance in the face of nature.

FCM - December 20, 2012

certainly it was significant that the boys survived and the girl didnt! male violence against women and girls is a different animal, and surely he selected her because a girl child was worthless (or worth less) to him. but its true that if he had thrown the boys over too, that wouldve been three times the gynergy lost for the mother. and forever after that day, literally *all* her gynergy would be poured into raising the boys, with none going to any female, likely including herself. again, that is significant. i think thats the whole point of patriarchal motherhood actually — to harness womens gynergy specifically into raising and nurturing males. the global rates of female-only infanticide bear that out. being a mother unconditionally is not really the point it seems.

FCM - December 20, 2012

also, i think about how easily womens work and accomplishments can be destroyed by men ALL THE TIME. it can all be gone in an instant, and the tsunami example is an excellent one. how many women lost their lives and their children, and how many lost their jobs and workplaces, and homes…their homes, meaning that all the work they had put into making nice, functional, safe and sane living spaces over the years was washed away in an instant. how many woman-hours were spent over the years seeking out, selecting and purchasing kitchen gadgets, or sheets, or clothes and toys for the kids, or whatever, even if it was from a secondhand store? how quickly can it all be for naught? and its NOT because “mother nature” destroyed these womens houses and their lives, its bc (as you say!) MEN decided in their arrogance to build right on the water, or in their disgusting greed or outrageous, pathetic incompetence built with substandard materials, or cut corners that made things way worse than they wouldve “naturally” been. and exactly — we have NO say in any of it! its devastating to think about really. its literally as if we cant win. gee, i wonder why?

9. weirdward - December 20, 2012

Perhaps it is also about destroying joy? A woman who is joyful, or at least has the potential to be so, is more likely to care about her life – to demand more than whatever crap her nigel is dealing out to her. Kill everything she loves – her kids, her wild places, other friendships/family relationships – well, she’ll have nothing left to fight for will she? Lifelong spiritual and psychological dependency on nigel because everything else has been completely stripped away from her.

Also about the cost-benefit analysis – killing women and children benefits all men, and not just in the sense of keeping us all terrified. Because – the few guys out there who are actually okay, and half-decent, and wouldn’t ever kill or hit or even rape a woman (being generous here) – well, women flock to those guys, don’t they? Because they can treat us like we’re half-human and then Mr Nice Guy gets the benefit of all that gynergy that he wouldn’t otherwise get because he looks like a good deal compared to the really, really violent ones.

Meanwhile the really, really violent ones are also doing okay, since they get their manly glory or whatever, and they usually hang out with lots of violent buddies and they all encourage each other to be more violent, and reward each other for it, and have the money to pay to rape women in prostitution and the rest of it, and then when they get too bored or pissed off they can just go out in a blaze of glory and take the lowly women with them. Which – who knows? a lot of men probably consider ‘heroic’. I don’t really think that it’s a coincidence that so many philosophical theories that men have come up with are full of the idea that life is about violence and death and despair, and that this is somehow beautiful. All this death is really just them acting out their life philosophies, I guess, in much less elegant ways than the ones who write 600 page monographs about the pointlessness of life.

This might also give us a clue into why Mr Nice Guy might be opposed to some forms of violence – like war (male on male violence) because he knows that if he were placed in a situation where he had to go to war, he’d be the first to die, not being as violent as many of his comrades.

Whereas the violent ones do well out of war, don’t they? Unrestrained rape and murder, and they come home with medals and a nice pension and get treated like heroes and have their names carved in stone forever, unlike the women who aren’t even included in the body count.

And if the men come home disillusioned or whatever, and write deep books about it, that’s okay too, because it’s still feeding into the same essential patriarchal philosophy of death and hopelessness. And they can still be heroes for speaking out against the horrors of war! And women will love them for that, because we’re so desperate for any tiny shred of hope or assistance, that we’ll give them a shit load of gynergy and get distracted from the fact that actually, they are still doing quite well out of the whole thing, compared to the women, who are voiceless and dead and non-existent.

All of this is probably only the tip of the ice-berg.

FCM - December 20, 2012

excellent point about destroying womens joy — ive been thinking about that recently in fact. i think women who manage to find “joy” in this life (LOL — as if theres another one right) get much or all of it from the background, which is the only place joy exists for women, the foreground being such an awful bore and bloody dick-centric horror show. in the background is where we find joyful moments with our female friends, our kids, with nature, or a peaceful home, or even from foreground things like “sex” when and if we are able to get anything from it — we steal or create a little joy despite it. in general, we are not intended to find joy in the foreground and we dont, including from patriarchal motherhood bc the whole point is to make us miserable and to suck us dry. that has to be the case, doesnt it? when men take these background-joyful things away from us, we snap back into the foreground and it is unbearable. surely thats part of the point too. men hate the background. i think they know it exists, and that thats where we “are” when we are in female-only space (for example). they cannot stand that such a thing exists.

FCM - December 20, 2012

see how seamlessly these kinds of statements pass on the libfem blogs:

White boys and men are not biologically or genetically predisposed to be homicidal mass murders or domestic abusers. However, violence is part of how American masculinity is defined. And guns are part of that violence.


how the fuck do they know that? wishful thinking about the “social” origins of male violence doesnt make it true. and MOAR ABOUT DEFINITIONS PLEEEZE!??!!

FCM - December 20, 2012

and some more garbage about “jendah” and masculinity at the end:

This violence is a public health crises. Other countries understand the vital importance to society of understanding gender constructions, but ours is mind-numbingly resistant. We really, really need to do this if we hope to understand how to stem this hemorrhaging of life. Pretending that hyper-gendered cultural pressures and entitlements that are part of boys becoming “real man” aren’t critically significant to these mass shootings, and to the everyday gun deaths in this country, is the national crime.

because trans men, not on T, are JUST AS VIOLENT AS REAL MEN, because they i-dentify as male. and trans women are exactly as violent and rapey as real women for the same reasons. yes thats it. its about GENDER. and CULTURE, both of which are a creation of space aliens, and definitely NOT a creation of men, BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT THAT WAY BECAUSE ACTUAL REASONS.

FCM - December 20, 2012

and if they are trying to isolate and examine RACE as a factor, then they should just say it, AND THEN DO IT, and not talk about “american masculinity” and other broad and obfuscating statements that make it clear that they are NOT trying to isolate race but gender (and definitely not sex!). DUH.

10. weirdward - December 20, 2012

Yes – agree with everything about the foreground / background, and men wanting to destroy it, or at least destroy women’s access to it if they can’t touch the background itself.

Have been reading up on the witch trials recently. Men believed that witches couldn’t cry – and (never mind what happened in the torture chamber) sometimes the judge would give a witch one last chance to prove her innocence if she would cry for him at her sentencing. Like, the final, public humiliation after being raped and tortured and being forced to implicate all her female family and friends. Men like it when women will debase ourselves by showing them our grief. They like to cause it, they like to watch its effects in us. They destroy what we love so that they can have the pleasure of seeing us cry.

11. silverside - December 20, 2012

From my study of the men’s rights/fathers’ rights movement, i learned an interesting paradox. These dudes don’t give a shit about men. Seriously! They would rather obsess about the miniscule numbers of wives and girlfriends who kill their partners in “unproked” attacks than the overwhelmingly huge number of men killed by othermen, both on the streets and in the home. They are more interested in bashing women, than making sure anybody–including men!–are fed, sheltered, clothed, provided with physical and mental health services, etc.

FCM - December 20, 2012

yes thats so true silverside. men simply do not care about eradicating violence against men, when the vast, vast majority of it is male violence against men. they do not care, and their not caring reveals alot. namely, that eradicating male violence against men does not survive mens cost benefit analysis. and preserving it does. why, is the question, or it is if we really want to understand it, which anyone who cares about reforming it would need to do wouldnt they?

thinking on this more, i think we dont even have to assign a value to any of the things on either side of the equation, or we dont have to YET, which is good bc we would likely get it wrong anyway considering that mens value system is so deeply fucked up and misogynistic, and (therefore) literally beyond most womens ability to grok. i think its enough to put things in the “benefits” and “costs” columns, and then assume that the benefits column is worth more to them (that theres a net benefit, or something left thats greater than zero when the cost is subtracted from the benefit). thats surely the case, because if it wasnt, they would change it. this could be an enlightening exercise too, because i think we would see “heartbreak, my kids are dead, no biological heirs” etc on the “cost” side, but then on the benefits side we would see things like “supports male power, sexual gratification, its fun” and we would have to understand that TO MEN, these things are worth more than the heartbreak of having your kids and loved ones taken from you, and worth more than everything else (all the costs) combined. this is the relative value of these things TO MEN. its obviously not what these things are worth TO US. yannow? its enlightening and devastating both, but i think thats the only reasonable conclusion. its true, in other words. this is the truth we are dealing with, or we are NOT dealing with the truth at all.

12. witchwind - December 20, 2012

Men’s system would not survive if men were not violent against each other.
The kind of violence men exert depends on the man’s status: the higher his status, the less he has to dirty his hands with killing or beating other men, and the more he is protected from violence by other men. It is other men under his orders who do the work for him: employees, soldiers, bombers, etc. Physical violence against men is the mark of lower class men. They don’t have so much power to decide so in order to achieve status and protection among men (be feared by other men because this is the only interaction they have), they have to resort to beating up and threatening other men.

However, every single man, whichever his rank in the male caste system, resorts to sexual, physical and psychic violence against women and girls. And actually, the higher his social status and the more he is powerful, the more likely he will be violent against women under his control (wife, female child, female employees), the more access he will be given to vulnerable women and potential victims, the more impunity he will have.

The only reason men have power of life and death over us is because of their military hierarchy and slave system between themselves which makes possible their massive industrial, war and state powers. This unattackable and totalitarian super-structure enables men to permanently keep us captive, under permanent threat & control and unable to sustain ourselves without men so we have no way of getting out of captivity and PIV / forced pregnancies. For men to maintain this system, they need a rigid caste / slave system, which can only be kept through instutionalised violence against “lesser” men (male children and low-class men), war and colonisation.

All men benefit from male violence against men because this is what makes it possible for every single man to access women, rape us, impregnate us and steal our work.

While adult men can only experience institutional oppression (racism, classism, capitalist exploitation) where the oppressor is an outside, distant enemy (white men, the state, corporate managers, police…) and a certain degree of integrity, identity and subjectivity is maintained; every adult woman on the other hand experiences the direct oppression of a man on a one-to-one basis – that is, she is directly owned by a man and has nothing of her own, not even her mind and body. The degree of destruction, disintegration, loss of self, alienation and annihilation is simply incomparable and beyond words.

13. WordWoman - December 20, 2012

Brilliant analysis about the destruction of gynergy. It happens in major and dramatic ways when men kill. But it happens in thousands of daily ways, too. For example, women clean up after men all the time. A woman washes the floor. A man walks across the floor with muddy boots. This says, “I own this space and can do with it as I please.” All the daily household details are about this. Built into the fabric of our lives at home and at work. Of course, who is looked at judgmentally if a “woman has a dirty floor.” Why, it’s all the woman’s fault, then. It’s “her” floor. If she says anything about these messes, she’s a nag or a bitch. If he listens, he’s henpecked. But even the so-called “nagging” is part of the gynergy. It involves constant monitoring of the environment for a dirty floor caused by lack of respect for the work to clean it (or lost keys, or adequate food in the house). This constant monitoring is a lot of work and a drain of gynergy. But even if a woman does not share a house with males, it is part of the culture outside the home, fending off intrusions, the daily, draining of gynergy.

All of these things are unremarkable. They bear no remarking, in other words. Not in the least bit dramatic like the shootings. These boring details are part of the “normal” fabric of the culture. The “normal” life and the dramatic violence are woven into that as well. They are all of a piece.

14. WordWoman - December 20, 2012

I’m still considering your points about what men gain from violence. It’s a new way of looking at it, a cost-benefit analysis. Here’s one thought:

A number of the male mass shooters have a motive. They want to be remembered, they want the publicity, fame, glory, attention. Either for themselves individually or for a political stance. (Maybe then they win a leader/martyr position in the political stance) Like that guy in Norway who also killed children.

Even the ones with a mental health (whatever that is) issue frequently have this as a motive. What did Hitler gain? He was insane but also had these motives. In films about Hitler and Nazism like “Sophie’s Choice” you can see the gynergy issue. I never looked at it this way before reading this blog post and comments.

FCM - December 20, 2012

yes it is a constant trickle, and yes the “nagging” is an enormous piece of it. even if you “can get” nigel (or anyones) help, the KNOWING you need help and what needs to be done, the NOTICING it, the (repeatedly) asking for it, then performing quality control analyses on the results and handing out appropriate gratitudes afterwards are all completely draining to the point that it would be easier to just DO EVERYTHING ourselves. it is completely exhausting, and that is intentional. its also a huge fucking joke isnt it? every sitcom ever has commented on this facet of (het) domestic life, normalizing and invisiblizing womens enormous suffering and egregious thefts of our services by men. i have written about that part of it before:



and “the gears” page at radfem-ological images details many of these mechanisms which are supportive of male power and deleterious of women and womens power (and energy). see jokes on women, woman as useful object, male entitlement, normalize abuse/neglect etc


FCM - December 21, 2012

also, while individual men surely have considered reasons for perpetrating their individual acts of violence (like why not, amiright?) and sometimes they have to take one for the team by going to jail or whatever, its men as a class that benefit from all mens violence. if they didnt want it, like it or need it they would severely punish it to EFFECTIVELY deter others from doing it, or cull the herd of those who refused to get with the nonviolent program in whatever way they chose. or you know, give all the social and political power over to the nonviolent group (women). but this is exactly what we never see. women still only have less than token representation in politics, and the perspective thats required of those women is that of the dominant group (male-centric and patriarchal). and the dominant (patriarchal) group doesnt even try to deter male violence against women at all. if they are trying, they SUCK at it, but i dont think there is any evidence AT ALL that they are even trying in good faith to stop or curb it. AND WHY THE HELL SHOULD THEY? thats my question, and this conflict of interest is what i hope to demonstrate here. they have their reasons, and they arent going to stop doing it just bc we ask them to. its not a matter of educating them. they KNOW whats best (for themselves) and THIS IS IT.

15. karmarad - December 21, 2012

Thanks for this column and the comments that raise so many big points. I noticed we haven’t said much about the largest arena for male violence, so let me attempt a few preliminary thoughts:

The cost-benefit analysis is always a good way to examine a feature of the System. So let’s have a look at war.

We could consider whether the biggest benefit to having violently-inclined men in any society is that they are crucial for making successful war. Successful war brings big benefits to any particular society; new oil fields, new territory for agriculture, treasure-looting, taxing the conquered society, spread of genetic material, etc. A “strong” country is not just a country that is rich and technologically advanced so that it has more WMDs than the other guy. It is also a country whose men are trained from birth to glorify and accept and tolerate violence. If the men won’t go to war, or if they go to war and won’t commit the atrocities against other humans which are the stuff of war, the country won’t fare well against the other guy.

So the strategy of the countries demonstrably is this: it is in general not cost-effective for men to live in constant terror of violence, so laws are made against it. But the laws are only enforced to a certain critical extent, maintaining some public order and also tolerating a large degree of violence in spite of the laws. Therefore they have laws against shooting people, but they arm unstable men with mass-killing guns and let them run loose. They have laws against rape, and some men are punished, but as the thousands of untouched rape kits in the US testify, many or most get away with it. They know alcohol is an overwhelming factor in removing inhibitions and leading to violent crime, but they sell it cheap on every corner. They know male biology may include a maladaptive predisposition to violence, but they make the topic a taboo for researchers. It all seems insane unless one understands that violence must be commonplace and accepted to keep a society’s men in a state of willingness to go to war.

And what of women in this analysis? We have not been a factor, except as spoils of war, victimized people whose injuries demoralize the other guy, and laborers supporting the warriors. There is an interesting change afoot, though; women US soldiers are suing to be warriors, that is, to be combat troops. I am in favor of women “serving” as combat troops. Why? Because I think women combat troops cannot be socialized to commit violence and atrocities against others. It’s a matter of empathy, and there is some evidence (besides the overwhelming weight of history) that women’s greater empathy is hardwired (see “Men are from Justice, Women are from Mercy” in In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, 1982, Harvard University Press, cited in Pinker, Stephen, The Better Angels of Our Nature at p.531). Therefore, women in combat will help end war, just as the opposing generals already know and hint.

I don’t have time to look at another important aspect of war, but the general argument might be that young men, who are the most violent group in any society, need to be “bled off” by being sent off to war as a group to avoid causing intolerable chaos at home. Or at least that is how men in power have handled the aggression of young men from time immemorial. Maybe what is going on is that the glorification and acceptance of war can’t be gauged all that carefully, so when violence at home in the form of riots and domestic bombings and crime rates gets too out of hand, a war is drummed up for that purpose.

So war is an enormous benefit to the men in power, or it appears to be when hubris and aggressiveness are part of the calculation and one expects to win. It’s also a safety-valve for dangerous aggression at home.

As for the cost, well, I would say the cost far outweighs the benefits. All countries must disarm, and other ways found to handle male aggression and issues between societies. But men in power I’m sure will continue to ignore that notion.

Is there any real need for war any more, with the availability of global associations and peacekeepers and aid for stricken countries who must have food and fields, and with the development of international law to a point where mandatory and binding arbitration could resolve just about any issue between countries? Again, I would say, no.

But that is a reasonable position, the age-old position of women. The benefit of war isn’t a reasonable benefit, because you’re going to suffer and lose eventually. It’s a primitive, wasteful, atrocious way of channeling deep-seated male needs to aggress and slug it out with each other. That’s the benefit, and as long as that benefit takes priority over the human suffering that is its main product, there will be war. So I will personally say: at present, ongoing male violence in our towns is essential to the functioning of the global System.


FCM - December 21, 2012

thanks for that vliet. you know, its becoming more and more clear that “people” who place a greater value/benefit on “get to aggress slug it out with each other, sexual gratification, can more easily rape and colonize other nations, its fun” (and things like that) than the value (cost) they place on things like “heartbreak, my kids are dead, all that gynergy wasted, ow ow that hurts please stop hitting me” do not deserve to be in power at all. we probably couldnt teach or force them to change their value system, even if we were so stupid (eh, generous) as to even want to, or want to try. they are beyond helping, and to make matters worse, they like it the way it is, it is completely congruent to themselves, and they will fight us literally to the death to keep things the way they are.

i have seen it suggested elsewhere that there is no point in proving or even discussing or seriously considering the innateness of male violence, since feminists wouldnt change their tack anyway and would still focus on reformist and social change to help women negotiate patriarchy. nature vs nurture, IOW is a dead end. but i dont think thats true. if its innate to men, then thats the truth of it, and radical feminists accept the truth no matter what it is. we need to know the truth so that the truth informs our beliefs and actions, because if the truth does not inform our beliefs and acts then what does? if women knew the truth about men, and even without being able to “prove” innateness we could show that its LIKELY to be innate and in any case is unchangeable at this point, perhaps *we* would think and behave differently. and what i mean by that is that perhaps women would stop giving their gynergy away so freely to men, would invest in women and womens culture instead of investing in males and male culture, and *gasp* perhaps white, western women would stop making more white males considering what particularly white males are known to do to other people, including other nations through war and colonization. and i am not BLAMING WOMEN to say that it is a choice for many of us. start exercising your “choice” and you will experience your chains for the first time, if you havent already. see what happens if you stop making more white men, or if you even dare talk about it. have all the babies you like, as long as they are female, and then see how much reproduction and “motherhood” is valued by men and by patriarchy. all our actions currently are informed by mens lies. i prefer the truth, no matter what it is. is that so wrong?

16. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

Well, for the sake of argument, on what scale would white women have to undertake such an initiative for it to start having any effect?

Also: to what extent would women and girls be able to withdraw other forms of nurturance, support, and obedience from males before their survival chances dropped to zero?

My own sense of likelihoods with respect to all this is that the greatest is in the aftermath of the collapse of the global money system and the ensuing socio-economic chaos. I don’t see much likelihood before then.

17. karmarad - December 21, 2012

“… if women knew the truth about men, and even without being able to “prove” innateness we could show that its LIKELY to be innate and in any case is unchangeable at this point, perhaps *we* would think and behave differently.”

Yes, if the truth turns out to be that there is a strong “innate” component to male violence, I personally think that radical feminists must acknowledge that, because as you say we are seeking the truth, and also, as you say, because we can then intelligently decide how we as women will react to the the truth. If it appears that there is no way that male-dominated global society will significantly mitigate or prevent its violence with social reform efforts, then as you say, women can at least decide without blinders what they will do.

If there already is this huge fracture underlying human society and we have been trying to smooth it over without mending it for so long, we will have to acknowledge the fracture and react rationally to the situation. Continuing a blind acceptance, or continuing to hope that new laws or raising consciousness of men will stop intolerable violence and the suffering it causes, would be abrogating our own responsibility to ourselves and our children.

I would like to acknowledge something; that feminism over the past 100 years has had real success with reform efforts, and I want to acknowledge all the gynergy responsible for that. If not for that work I don’t see how we could be having this conversation, because we wouldn’t be able to assess how far social reform can take us. We have cleared that question away, but it has only made the chasm under the brush look deeper and more forbidding. We must approach it with great care and rigor.

FCM - December 21, 2012

all good points mary. and all implicate coersion and show that we are in fact coerced into creating and raising and nurturing males. i think if we are honest about that then thats good enough for me, and that acknowledging that demonstrable FACT and understanding our predicament fully is an “effect” of talking about it, and will have an effect as well, even if we never do it.

i have to admit my own fear response in even thinking about it and especially in writing it: men will take away our access to abortion if we start manifesting our resistance and our AGENCY that way. again, fully implicating coersion even within “choice” rhetoric.

18. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

There’s a cost / benefit analysis to female compliance, too. A risk / reward ratio. And in the aftermath of the collapse of the global money system the pre-eminence of the principle that “freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose” ( I ♥ you, Janis )

FCM - December 21, 2012

thanks for acknowledging the tremendous amounts of gynergy that have been and continue to be poured into reformist activity vliet. and interesting point that without all that work, we would only be speculating to this day (and forever) whether and how far society and men could be reformed. we might have our answer now, as you say, but will we ever look at it and see or even consider an endpoint or that it was a useful phase/era leading into something different? will we be able to contextualize our inevitable burnout and the tremendous female suffering that we experience as reformists, including vicarious trauma and PTSD, and understand or even consider that burning us out is one point, if not THE point of men allowing us to do it?

also, its very (and very obviously) true that without the tremendous amount of gynergy invested in even garnering women HUMAN status, in the places that we have that (if any) we wouldnt be able to even read about it or write about it, or “talk” about it on these public forums. or, you know, vote. but again, is there a point at which we transform our efforts, or are we supposed to do this literally forever? are we even allowed to ask questions about it or examine our roles and our effectiveness, or are we expected to continue on unquestioningly and blindly, and if so why?

FCM - December 21, 2012

also, society = patriarchy. culture = patriarchy. i think its useful when thinking about “social reform” or social or cultural anything to see and understand that what these things are *is* patriarchy. can you “reform” patriarchy so that its no longer patriarchal? can a tangerine cease being tangerine-y?

FCM - December 21, 2012

also, i would like to take a moment to remind people what feminists originally meant and what we were talking about when we said that “biology does not equal destiny.” we were talking about WOMEN, and that WOMEN were not NATURALLY fuckholes and breeders for men. that MEN had created this SEX-ROLE for women but that it was not *us* and actually went AGAINST womens true natures which is to be free. we were basing this argument on ACTUAL EVIDENCE and in particular that women FELT it was true, but also that WE did not create “culture” (patriarchy) and that it does not, therefore, reflect our values or our natures at all. or at the very VERY least it cannot be assumed to. get it?

the same arguments clearly do not hold when applied to men. the anti-biological-esentialism argument that originally was intended to express and address the unnaturallness of womens patriarchally-constructed SEX ROLE has been hijacked, and its now being applied to men when the reasoning AND THEREFORE the conclusion is not applicable, and actually produces the opposite result, considering that MEN have created culture (patriarchy) to fit themselves like a glove. im not saying its provable 100% but the evidence suggests that not only is it POSSIBLE but likely and even more likely than not that this is how men really are. they are the ones with the freedom to make “society” fit their natures perfectly, not us. and we can all see what they have created.

FCM - December 21, 2012

god. its like asking people to actually THINK and to think these things through, including acknowledging our own history and remembering our own fucking POINT is asking too much. how is that possible?

FCM - December 21, 2012

im not talking to or about anyone on this thread, just that i am HEARING that there are people getting both whiplash and heartburn over the ZOMG SINCE WHEN ARE RADFEMS BIO-ESSENSSIALISTS I THOUGHT WE WERE PAST THAT ZOMG THE MOVEMENT!!!!11!!1235 apparently some people need a herstory lesson, so i have provided one. youre welcome!

19. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

When it’s no longer cost-effective for women to continue to deny this reality to themselves and each other, they will cease to do so. Again, freedom being another name for nothing left to lose.

FCM - December 21, 2012

very true mary. thank you.

20. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

FCM - December 21, 2012

its interesting to me that there is (obviously!) a cost-benefit analysis being performed by even radical feminists, who adjudge that its not worth it to admit certain truths to themselves even online, and even anonymously. i know that women have surely been discussing these truths behind closed doors for a long time, or chuckling bitterly at certain truths without ever saying it outloud, because it was understood that they didnt have to. and that these discussions have rarely taken place in public, out of the very reasonable fear of male retribution, including male violence (and other costs and lack-of-benefits). how does the relative safety (or danger) of online spaces affect the analysis? is this a safe space or not? clearly its not, but i am left wondering why not, especially for those who are anonymous. does this forum afford literally no protection, or just less than that offered by IRL women-only spaces, or not enough that it changes anything? or, perhaps, is the fear of being run out of our more conservative or “reformist” online “communities” what makes us hold our tongues or continue to make shitty half baked analyses (like all those based on the faulty premise that women equal men and men equal women)? im just asking. the failure to even consider certain obvious truths in general — by radical feminists! — is striking. we are being stunted and silenced, even online. that is very interesting to me.

FCM - December 21, 2012

that awkward moment when conservative = liberal and liberal = conservative. sheesh. you know what i mean. i mean both cautious and oriented toward reform, especially legal reform.

FCM - December 21, 2012

and what if i were to reveal, in the context of the above, that i have members of the online “community” contacting me in private to praise my recent posts and my recent logic, but who obviously dont feel comfortable commenting on-blog? i wont name names, but this is in fact happening. again, its all very interesting isnt it? and it makes me glad that i dont have to rely on “fans” or pleasing a publisher or editor in order to publish my work. this is a relatively new occurrence obviously which adds a variable to the equation. we will literally never know what else daly or dworkin or numerous other anons and unknowns mightve thought or mightve been trying to tell us, or what they wouldve come up with, if they hadnt had to please anyone, and could just try to have an honest AND PUBLIC conversation without being stifled. and that includes policing (by the oppressors) and self-policing by members of the oppressed group who are rightly terrified of the witch-hunt and guilt-by-association. its all been lost to history, or was. what now?

21. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

Women don’t want to comment using screen names by which they are already known.

Nothing that I know and have talked about since coming out as a lesbian separatist decades ago is anything that any other female doesn’t know.

I’ve already experienced the shunning and the abandonment that they fear.

I can persist only because I am aware that I cannot hide from myself that which I know – even when other females refuse to acknowledge it.

And maybe because I can remember being *physically* with other women who knew the same things.

22. MarySunshine - December 21, 2012

And yeah, I figure Mary Daly had to tone it down a few notches to be able to keep her job. :-)

FCM - December 21, 2012

and daly was so rad that reading her stuff actually changes your brain and your entire worldview forever. :) imagine what daly full-force wouldve been? dworkin said that her book “pornography” only ended up being a third (i think?) of what she had wanted it to be, and that she had to stop and publish at the point she did, because reasons. what we mustve missed out on…thinking about it takes my breath away.

FCM - December 21, 2012

seriously, its stunning to me that women, as a group, are obviously so invested in not having anything interesting to read, or judging by how well women treat other women writers, we act like we abhor the interesting. you enjoy being bored do you? do you really want every voice you adjudge to be “dangerous” or out there or whatever to shut the hell up, or to TONE IT DOWN or to stop writing entirely? if so, its not just you. shulamith firestone thought the same damn thing about valerie solanas — that solanas was too “out there” and was harming the movement. in a true irony, firestone adjudged solanas to be “mentally ill” when firestone herself would go on to spend the rest of her life in and out of mental hospitals. but now that both firestone and solanas are dead, we can review their bodies of work and decide for ourselves which one was more interesting, more radical, more helpful, or whatever, and you know what? THEY BOTH WERE, in their own ways, extremely interesting. like, the opposite of literally anything you might find yourself reading on any given day, especially anything you would find in the mainstream. interesting, food for thought, *not* soul-crushingly boring, get it? and again, truly ironically, considering what firestone wouldve done to solanas and solanas’ work had she the power to do so, i find solanas’ “SCUM manifesto” more interesting and useful than anything firestone ever wrote, and i think that firestone fell into an obvious trap when she suggested that patriarchal reproductive technologies would save us. wtf? solanas’ work was more useful, and more radical too, no matter what anyone thinks of her. and SCUM manifesto was originally self-published, from what i understand. she ran off the copies herself, and sold them and gave them away on the street. gave to women, sold to men. :)

tl;dr women think like slaves. it hurts my feelings. :(

23. MarySunshine - December 22, 2012

The SCUM manifesto has been my touchstone since I first discovered it in 1970. Valerie was the first to speak the truth to my heart.

I love to think of her.

24. k - December 22, 2012

Firestone was so young when she wrote the words that made her notorious. I need to read her again. Solanis’ Manifesto is a performance piece, art that leads to insight, I think. Her use of hyperbole and satire is obvious–too bad that her words have been spun over the years to make them sound like a simplistic tract. She was a much more accomplished writer than that. In addition to reading more rad writers, I get a lot from the feminist visual art world –a lot of eye-opening work is being done there.

FCM - December 22, 2012

is any of the artwork available online? if so, links please?

FCM - December 22, 2012

just read this today. stunning — a mainstream news outlet maintaining that womens equality depends on patriarchal reproductive technologies. interesting that this position is apparently no longer considered “radical” and is made to seem completely logical and reasonable. and that EQUALITY rhetoric features prominently, (and in fact a good case is made for it) while any mention of womens LIBERATION is notably absent. all of this is evidence, isnt it, that it was never a FEMINIST solution in the first place? wow. still thinking about what this means.


25. karmarad - December 22, 2012

Hi, fcm, here is an interesting site of feminist art. Has some gender-bending stuff too which I don’t mind, but just wanted to let eveyone know. I’m always amazed at how art sometimes leads theory and praxis, and I think feminist art is thriving right now.



26. WordWoman - December 22, 2012

FCM you wrote, “these discussions have rarely taken place in public, out of the very reasonable fear of male retribution, including male violence (and other costs and lack-of-benefits). how does the relative safety (or danger) of online spaces affect the analysis? is this a safe space or not? clearly its not, but i am left wondering why not, especially for those who are anonymous. does this forum afford literally no protection, or just less than that offered by IRL women-only spaces, or not enough that it changes anything?. . . ”

“im just asking. the failure to even consider certain obvious truths in general — by radical feminists! — is striking. we are being stunted and silenced, even online. that is very interesting to me.”

Online is a useful but paradoxical place. Anonymous, yes. Safety, a mixed bag. There is some small safety in anonymity. But radical femists are damn smart, too. Safe? With your words forever accessible? Patriot act in the US? Government endorsed war on women? On gays? Does it make it safer if many women speak up and speak radically? Or easier to identify radicals?. Not just gov’t, but also MRAs, so-called transactivists and their ilk. Hackers can get at anything online. Lest I be labeled paranoid, we’ve seen all these things unfold against men.

Solanis is remembered because she shot Warhol. How many males (writers of manifestos, radicals) shot people? Many. They are never ever remembered because they shot someone. They are seen as heroic by their followers, scoundrels by their opponents. Violent and threatening, yes. But not insane.

Cost benefit analysis–use of violence can be used to label someone insane if the violence is done by women, especially articulate radical women. Forever enshrined as a cautionary tale. “Keep silent. Resistance is futile.” Yet another reversal. Patriarchy is insane. Patriarchy=systematic large scale violence. It’s dire for the planet because of this insanity.

But also it may be that most women understand that any change needs to occur in the background. If anything can save the planet it is gynergy. I think all women likely know this on some level (except women who are sociopaths). Use of violence is anti-gynergy. Patriarchy, the insane system, will likely destroy life on Earth. It’s probably too late.

This all leaves me wondering how to do what we need to do. Online is important for sure. Courageous, free* women need to use it. But how?

*as Mary says, “nothing left to lose”

FCM - December 22, 2012

ive been meaning to post these for awhile to illustrate “what bias looks like.” this is a skit called “judge trudy” from “the amanda show.” the premise is that the judge ALWAYS sides with the children no matter what. it makes me laugh and laugh, partially because its unsettlingly familiar. note that not only is it so patently “unfair” as to be literally a joke (the paper-thin vaneer of “justice” thats so obviously a sham) its also quite insane, such as the types and degrees of punishments. this is what we are dealing with in real life, i think. we have fought and fought and fought for our legal rights, to get our day in court and to be recognized as human, but its a kangaroo court, and *if* we are human we are the losing-kind, and subjected to literally insane punishments that dont fit the crime at all. we arent even listened to, we are humiliated and abused instead. can this be reformed? is *this* what we are so concerned with preserving — our alleged progress via legal reform including potential future progress that will also be unfair and insane — that we reflexively silence radical outliers and make bullshit arguments that dont even follow from our own premises, and let our own points be lost to history? sadly, i think it is. we are so happy to get crumbs, literally any scrap we can take back to our hovels (the background) and craft into something useful. the part thats completely humiliating is not that we are slaves begging for crumbs. i think whats so humiliating about it is our own internal inconsistency and intellectual dishonesty around these issues. has there ever been an oppressed group that thought-terminated and thought-policed themselves? its positively orwellian. he obviously thought self-policing and self-thought-termination would be the most humiliating oppressive thing EVARR. maybe only writers think that?

also i will leave comments open here as long as people are actively discussing. thanks

27. Sargasso Sea - December 22, 2012

omg – Judge Trudy rocks! :D

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