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MRA Totally Pwns Domestic Violence! (Take That, Bitch!) February 10, 2010

Posted by FCM in authors picks, health, international, MRAs, pop culture, race, rape, WTF?.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

yeah, domestic violence, you bitch!  take my manly criticisms!  adore me while i make disingenuous parallels, and skew the stats in my favor!  and…make me a sammy!

these MRAs are something arent they?  even as they attempt to make a contrary point, all they really do is reinforce feminists observations about them.  basically, that they are aggressive, entitled assholes who only care about themselves, and how the vile, misogynist things men do affect *men* and not how *they* (aggressive, entitled men) affect their victims. 

according to the MRAs, for example, its “sexist!” to say that most perpetrators of DV are men…even though its fucking true.  and its “unfair” to paint “all men” as DV perpetrators, without qualifying that by also saying “but many men arent.”  who cares about you, dickwads?  sheesh.  get over yourselves already.  (and dont even get me started on their kindergarten-level understanding of what constitutes both “sexist” and “unfair”.)

of course, in the above video, this particular dickwadish MRA completely misses the point: that world-wide, women are brutalized at the hands of men, in ways and in numbers that simply have no correlate to female-initiated violence against men. 

perhaps most obviously, when this MRA dickwad focuses on the made-for-television bruised and battered faces (ooh, compelling!) he conveniently ignores the many sexual victimizations that happen constantly and arent even counted as DV (they are “merely” rape…resulting in unseen injuries including “mere” unwanted pregnancies and STD infections…and by “merely” i mean “doesnt affect men so who cares?”)

and whats “domestic” anyway?  how long do you have to be in a relationship with your abuser before its considered “domestic,” as opposed to just boring old “run-of-the mill” violence against women, by men?  is a month long enough?  how about a week?  how about a day, or an hour?  surely whatever time-period they are considering is long enough to include pissing off your GF to the point that she blackens your eye, but conveniently cropped so that all sex-work and “dating” violence wouldnt count?  how…disingenuous utterly unsurprising.

and like most MRAs, this asshole MRA’s western-privilege is coming through loud and clear, by including only stats from the american-government’s CDC on whatever they thought constituted DV at the time, instead of including findings world-wide of rape, torture and murder of women by their intimate partners AND MALE RELATIVES too.  again, bride-burning, villiage-gang-rapes and honor-killings dont affect men, so why count them?  i mean who cares about rape and murder, or what your father and brothers do to you, when that bitch blacked my eye, i feel so violated!!!11!1

and lets not forget for a single second that one of the biggest problems for women involved in DV situations is not even necessarily the batterings themselves (although these are absolutely not to be discounted).  the stress and fear that women live with every single day when involved in violent partnerships is conveniently ignored my MRA “DV activists” who only focus on “that bitch blacked my eye!” and dance around the cycle-of-violence inherent in true DV situations, which rises to the level of psychological and actual, physical terrorism, rather than the mutual combat bar fights and blackened-eyes that most men can relate to (and the MRAs ALWAYS AND EXCLUSIVELY REFER TO).  are we honestly supposed to believe that men are living in constant stress and fear for their lives, even if their GFs do slap them around?  i mean really.  are they constantly afraid that their wife will come home drunk and rape them to within an inch of their lives?  are they still having flashbacks and depression from the *last* woman that did this to them, or fear that their *next* sexual partner will beat and rape them, too?  this sums up the cyclical nature of true DV pretty well:

look familiar, MRAs?  nope, i didnt think so.  by contrast, british actor patrick stewart addresses the problem honestly when he relays his own experience as a child in a “violent home” (aka. his dad was an abuser).  although he misses some opportunities to really call men out onto the carpet as the primary perps of DV, and mischaracterizes male violence as “losing control” rather than “specifically controlled and designed to control others” he does at least refer to the problem as “domestic violence against women” thus slamming the door on any possible MRA derailing, and he doesnt victim-blame.  he is also speaking as part of an international campaign by amnesty international against DV, which is the proper context in which we all should be discussing DV.  as an issue that affects women as a born-class, around the world, and as an example of oppression against us based on our born-sex, not our “gender”.

fuck off MRAs.  you are just making yourselves look stupid, and you arent doing yourselves any favors either when you attempt to refute statistics and feminist critiques of male violence by being aggressive, deceitful and abusive.  i mean really.

they just dont get irony, obvs.


1. desert harpy - February 10, 2010

MRAs are perpetrating a cruel mind-fuck on women. It’s quite a bit like what abusers do to keep women under their thumbs. Just one more form of male terrorism against women.

factcheckme - February 10, 2010

exactly right desertharpy. its a deliberate mind-fuck, and its just more of the same abusive shit they claim they *arent* guilty of! i dont know who they think they are fooling, really, but the women that are blind enough to fall for it are the only ones these guys would have anything to do with, relationship-wise. because its all about being in control, always. if you are smarter than they are, and call bullshit on them, they want nothing to do with you (nor you with them, obvs). unless you have a blog, then they can troll and harass.

my own dad started telling me i was a bitch, from the time i was 13 and started calling him on his shit. i might do another post called “my father was a white man” or something, because we have such intimate experience with these MRA fuckwits from the day we are born, its really a problem. but some of us see whats going on, for some reason. i wonder why that is, actually. i (and other feminists) somehow managed to not be religiously indoctrinated either somehow, which is weird, considering that almost the entire human population has been. and most people buy into “mens rights.” glad some dont.

2. rhondda - February 10, 2010

I couldn’t watch it. His pompous voice just grated on my nerves as if what he has to say is so important. Where have I heard that? Well from just about every male I know. One man gets smacked and that is supposed to equal the millions of women who get hurt by men. The utter arrogance of it. I know there are aggressive females out there, and I have met some, but they are in the minority and they do not have an ideology to back them up and rest their puffed up self images.
Yesterday, a high commanding officer in the Canadian Armed Forces was arrested for murdering two women and sexually assaulting two others. Everyone is shocked. I felt threatened, but not shocked at all.

factcheckme - February 10, 2010

yeah, i watch some of this shit against my better judgement, thats for sure. i do it so that i can rip it apart later, but some of it is literally painful to get through. i hope people are watching the vids because they are really illustrative of the points being made, but you know, most of us have plenty of daily examples to draw on just from living life, and watching the news. i didnt hear about the canadian officer yet. thats horrible. but, as you say, not exactly a shock.

3. rhondda - February 10, 2010

Yes, I do that too. Go back later when I know I can handle the shit. It is important to analyze this stuff. Thank you for doing it.

factcheckme - February 10, 2010

and, his voice *was* completely grating wasnt it? i dont know if i could watch it again. the arrogance! by contrast, patrick stewarts voice is extremely soothing, but all us americans are vulnerable to a british accent. his is lovely, IMO. oh, and what hes saying doesnt stink like MRA shit either. that helps. the animated video is his voice too, and its short, at about 2 mins as opposed to the others which are about 11 mins each. its kind of an investment i know. i posted a vid here on the “you go hillary” thread that was an hour (and totally worth watching, more than any of the other ones put together, for real). i cant tell if any of these are being watched, but its fun putting them in anyway. it adds some color, and they are good viewing at work if you have some time to kill (and headphones).

4. Sam - February 10, 2010

I can’t watch the videos because I’m at work… but I can well imagine how it goes.

Possibly my favourite thing about MRAs is how they seem to be convinced that they have some hugely groundbreaking, compelling argument, when a) I could come up with better at 8 years old and b) we’ve heard it all before. If there are any MRAs reading, I shall repeat, for clarity. WE’VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE – it was bullshit then, and it’s still bullshit now.

Whenever women try to discuss domestic violence, indignant men force their way into the discourse and say “MEN ARE ABUSED TOO!!!”, because as always, their attitude is ME ME ME ME ME WHAT ABOUT ME, and their theoretical abuse of men (which they personally, have invariably never been a victim of) is deemed so important that it needs to be acknowledged and placed at the top of the agenda whenever domestic violence is discussed, far above the REAL LIFE ABUSE of millions, if not billions of women, daily. In Europe, 1 in 4 women (at least) are the victims of domestic violence. Women are killed every single day by abuse in their own domestic environment, and I’m expected to give a shit because a man got hit and his manly pride is hurt? Because, lets be honest, since droves of men aren’t fearing for their lives at the hands of violent women, that is exactly what it boils down to. Give me a god damn break.

factcheckme - February 10, 2010

what they really dont want to diuscuss is the fact that when men are abused in intimate relationships, including rape, its almost always BY OTHER MEN, not by women. but you know, the MRAs and the “faggots” dont really get along too well, and the MRAs dont want to get real about mens violence at all, even when it victimizes other men. they would rather focus on what *women* are doing to them, even when statistically and realistically, it doesnt even compare. why would that be? this is not a rhetorical question.

and you are right sam, about the “manly pride” being hurt, as well as their sense of “whats fair!” yeah, its not fair for a woman to hit you. but it doesnt make it “sexist”, and it also doesnt make it DV. DV is a cycle of abuse that escalates over time. DV is a pattern, not an event. if my partner hit me once, or i hit him, neither would be DV, although either one of us would be more than justified in leaving the relationship over it. but teh mens like to pretend that they are victims, even when (for example) they piss off their female partners to the breaking point and she slaps him, or even goes fully off on his lying/cheating/gambling ass (or whatever). THIS IS NOT THE SAME, people. cant you see that? all people have their breaking point, and women are people. (yes, they are). ask a self-reported male “victim” of DV whether that wasnt the exact scenario in which they were hit. the answer is ALWAYS YES (if the men are being honest). male-victims of DV are a fucking urband legend. we have all heard they exist and have yet to meet one. all in all, i am surprised that women dont hit thier male partners MORE. FFS. look what men are doing. they fucking deserve a wakeup call of some sort.

even if it were a pattern, where a woman consistently battered a man, men have financial and social resources to start over, when their relationships fail. so true DV is a pattern of escalating abuse that exists within a framework of institutionalized misogyny, where women are dependant on the very men who abuse them. very often the abuser sees to it personally that she is dependant on him in every way, by isolating her and controlling the finances etc. to the extent that the physical and social dynamics of it are not the same, its not the fucking same. to call what men experience “at the hands of women” DV is a fucking insult. even if they get beaten to a fucking pulp, all the time. and they hardly ever do (except by other men).

5. pmsrhino - February 10, 2010

I adore Patrick Stewart. Always have. He beats William Shatner any day of the week. I won’t even bother watching the MRA video. I’ve had kind of a ragey week already and I fear if I watch it I won’t be responsible for my actions. But I can pretty much imagine what it’s on about. My dad is one of those people I don’t have certain discussions with because he is an expert on male victims of DV. I know I should be educating and explaining, but you really cannot educate those who KNOW they’re right no matter what. And I’m not a person who remembers specifics like article titles, authors, or exact statistics, but I know what I’m talking about. So I tend to get extremely frustrated with people like my dad who think I’m full of shit or that they know more than me just because I can’t recite sources off the top of my head. I’ve been thinking lately how funny it is that I got my BA in sociology but it seems that everyone I talk to is more an expert on society and how it works than I am. Funny that.

And to let you know I do enjoy when you post videos (even if I don’t always watch them right away, lol)! Please don’t ever stop. I’m one of those people with a ton of down time at work and the videos do a good job of filling up time. 🙂

6. rhondda - February 10, 2010

Dads are funny like that. It seems their ears just cannot hear a women’s voice. When they frame the conversation, nothing else matters unless you frame your words the way he wants to hear it. Funny that all right.

7. Sam - February 10, 2010

Spot on FCM about DV being a pattern of abuse, a simple fact so many people (males) seem to conveniently forget – a pattern of abuse with its roots in men holding power over women – always. Women can be aggressive, just as they can have any other negative characteristic that can be attributed to an individual (far be it from any feminist to perpetuate the myth was women as caring, submissive rays of sweetness and light ffs!), but they do not hold any real power over men, physical or otherwise (no matter how much they whine that she’ll spitefully take away the kids they can’t be bothered to look after anyway or whatever), and are therefore not capable of the systematic abuse of men in the same way that a man can abuse a woman. As you say, anyone can hit anyone, or even beat them to a pulp, and while it may not be pleasant – that doesn’t make it domestic violence.

It drives me over the edge when men (and women trying to win extra patriarchy cookies) come up with the bullshit, simplistic “Well if you want equality it has to be the same for everyone; a woman hitting a man is just the same as a man hitting a woman”…. erm, yeah right, only if you live in a vacuum, which, more’s the pity, none of us do. When you live in the real world, where “equality” between men and women is about as fanciful as me sprouting wings and flying off to my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is a different story entirely, and when the fabled day comes when men live in perpetual fear of physical violence from women that they are incapable of escaping from (for the reasons you mentioned), then I’ll give their cries of domestic violence as much attention as I do women’s.

Now I’m home I skimmed through the video and had to stop before I threw my laptop out of the window… as I expected. It really brings home exactly how much arrogance males are raised with. I wish I could come up with such a ridiculously predictable crock of shit and have such a overblown sense of my own importance that I believed every word of it and felt the need to broadcast it to the world!

factcheckme - February 11, 2010

i kept triggering myself with the original opening (i get so many trolls on here calling me vile names) so i changed it to something thats at least recognizable as my own writing rather than a trollish MRA attack. heres the new opening:

yeah, domestic violence, you bitch! take my manly criticisms! adore me while i make disingenuous parallels, and skew the stats in my favor! and…make me a sammy!

instead of “yeah bitch! take it!” i mean, i was deliberately channeling an MRA rapist for that material, but that was a little too authentic for my taste.

8. SheilaG - February 11, 2010

I don’t think men are capable of understanding that they are totally the problem. They can’t bear the truth at all, and will do everything in their power to put a stop to women’s voices. It’s as simple as that.
Now why do adult women live with men?

9. berryblade - February 11, 2010

“my own dad started telling me i was a bitch, from the time i was 13 and started calling him on his shit. ”

yeah my dad accuses me of sexism when i say i hate men. and he knows i’m a rape survivor. yes. because you know, hating the class that oppressed and hurt you is TOTALLY sexist.

‘but all us americans are vulnerable to a british accent. his is lovely, IMO.”

Hahaha so are most Aussies, Stewart’s voice is very soothing, even if I want to punch him in the gut for the countless rape jokes on American Dad.

“simplistic “Well if you want equality it has to be the same for everyone; a woman hitting a man is just the same as a man hitting a woman”….”

Yes, oh gods, this irritates me to NO end. Me hitting an ex-abusive arsehole boyfriend for pulling a knife is not equal to him hitting me I don’t give a fuck what anyone says. And when you consider that at least FORTY per cent of womyn who commit murder do so in self-defense, that’s a pretty big “minority majority”.

I didn’t watch the videos cos I haven’t taken my meds today (oooh I’m out) & I don’t think I could handle it. But usually I watch all your videos.

10. SheilaG - February 11, 2010

Now why do adult women choose to live with men? Why?

11. SheilaG - February 11, 2010

Another thought occured to me… men will fight tooth and nail for even the most basic facts about their worldwide infamy being made known. They have a vested interest in always counterattacking, accusing women of being as violent as they are. Remember, men don’t see women, they see reflections of their imaged idea of women.
I don’t think men have the slightest clue as to how violent they appear to be to women. They seem so self-centered, so oblivious, so sexually obsessed, one wonders if they are ever human.

factcheckme - February 11, 2010

sheila, i love your point about men seeing their own image mirrored back to them. its something i have been thinking about ever since the first time you mentioned it here. they certainly appear to be oblivious as to how violent they are, and about how *they* appear to *us.* one interpretation of that is that they are lying about both things, and that they really do know. i mean really. how could you not see whats real? they have to be lying, right? these MRA fuckwits seem to be just pure evil, and the mindfuck is so obvious and yet so complete, it really does feel like a lie.

then, i wonder what if they are telling the truth about what the world really looks like, to them? how literally insane would they have to be, to not see whats real? the implications of that (that they really are insane) settle in and things look really scary. they are in charge of everything, and they are insane?

so are those the choices then? they are either liars, or crazy? which brings me to your question: why would any adult woman choose to live with them? the obvious answer is that most women, worldwide, dont have a choice. as for western-privileged straight women like myself…well i will have to think about that one for awhile. but i am sure its…complicated.

12. Sam - February 11, 2010

Personally, I think it is a case of arrogance rather than being completely oblivious. The vast majority make a conscious choice to wilfully ignore these issues because to try and address violence against women does not benefit them in any way, and if its not sucking their dick then why bother? Only a man could be faced with statistics about the abuse of women worldwide yet still manage to convince themselves that violence against women occurs in a small number of isolated incidents. Until of course, a feminist starts talking specifically about DV in Europe/USA, at which point they’re quick to point out that Western women have it *so* great and we should be thankful we weren’t born in Saudi Arabia or somewhere where there’s a *real* problem with sexism. As if they give a flying fuck.

I think heterosexual women (the ones who have a choice to enter a relationship with a man) remain convinced that they can find a “good one”. And let’s face it, if you’re a man, you don’t even have to be half way decent in order to look good compared to a rapist or whatever. So you have women who live with domineering, manipulative bullies who treat them badly, behave like children and expect far more than they’re willing to give, but they’re just grateful that their man doesn’t beat the shit out of them or that he does 20% of the childcare or that he isn’t fucking his secretary behind their back or whatever. Women are willing to settle for this shit because it’s all they’ve ever been socialised to expect. I see it every day, when men get heaped with praise for being a “good dad” or for being considerate to their partner etc… getting extra brownie points for what it millions of women do every day.

Even the most decent men I know (all 2 of them, one of whom is my flatmate) can be belittling when I talk about sexism; which is sexism in itself. As for the rest of them… I don’t envy heterosexual women, I truly don’t.

13. rhondda - February 11, 2010

Well is it not that we have been trained by a belief system called patriarchy and that it is instilled at an early age? Mary Daly calls it ‘mindbindings’. It is scary when they start to fall away and one has made an emotional investment in the belief. It hurts and finding the right words to describe that is very hard. One can fall down a rabbit hole of extreme personal doubt.
Just for me, I have been reading Andrea Dworkin, and other radical feminists, plus works by women of colour. I read their words and not someone’s interpretation. One personal conclusion I came to was that the patriarchy instills self alienation. At an early age I are taught to please others and that it is selfish to need it reciprocated or that I even had that right to ask.
Because sex can be great fun, one does not usually ask oneself if one is self-objectifying or if one is just seen as a fuckhole or a breeder by one’s partner. That is scary in a psychological sense because one does not want to believe that. Not me. Yet how many men harbour those thoughts deep in their unconscious and never bothered to dig them out because patriarchy teaches it is ‘natural’.

factcheckme - February 11, 2010

i would add that some of it is needing protection from other men. seriously. the thought of living alone, and of coming home every night to a dark house always scared the shit out of me. and i never thought that a female roommate cut it in that respect, and living with any roommate is hard when you arent emotionally invested in each other. and i am not a lesbian, so i always knew that wasnt going to work. i mean really. how is that supposed to work? from what i keep hearing, older women are getting together as roommates and “insurance policies” after their husbands die (think “golden girls”) but younger women are really in a weird spot. i will add more later.

14. rhondda - February 11, 2010

I live alone. I love it. A man does not protect a woman from another man. It is their little facade. Even when I was pregnant, he was more afraid of other men than I was afraid of them. I thought not only do I have to watch out for myself, but I have to watch out for the stupid he does. They use women to protect themselves from each other.

15. pmsrhino - February 11, 2010

@fcm: “i would add that some of it is needing protection from other men.”

Yep. I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own, living in a place all by myself. I’ve lived in my house my entire life and I still get freaked out when I’m by myself at night (which thankfully doesn’t happen too often). My boyfriend will chuckle a little when I ask if he’ll walk the dog with me when I get home kinda late or it’s cloudy and darker outside. He knows I’m a better fighter than him, so he thinks it’s funny that I feel like I need him around when it’s not a nice bright sunny day with people outside. He doesn’t understand that just having a male around me will keep other men from deciding to even start something. No matter how skinny he may be. I do the same thing when I go to places like car shops or dude centered places like gun shops. Places filled with more men than women make me feel especially vulnerable no matter how much I know about dudely things.

And I hate that I do that. I really really do. I want to be able to, say, go buy more ammo for my gun without feeling like I need to have my dad or bf come along with me. Hell, I haven’t gone to the shooting range in about a year because I feel nervous about going myself. I try to get over it, but it’s really difficult. Men I don’t know scare me, and when they’re in a large group it’s terrifying.

If I ever end up living alone I’ll just be the lady who’s got 3 dead bolts on every door, alarm turned on anytime I’m in the house, and about 5 dogs. I think a couple of Rottweilers are the only roommates I would need to have to feel safe. And they wouldn’t eat my food or yell at me when I decide to play my video games too loud, lol.

factcheckme - February 11, 2010

i agree rhondda that its a sham, but only in the fact that if men as a group left women alone, we wouldnt need their fucking protection in the first place. when it comes to being chosen as a victim, walking alone at night (for example) is probably worse than walking with someone else, and a male partner may or may not be better than a female one. since i am straight, theres really no chance that i will have a female companion around for these “chores” on a regular basis.

16. rhondda - February 11, 2010

I know what you mean. I am straight too. If I am out alone at night, my super hyper awareness antenna is on. Sometimes that is safer than someone distracting one with jabbering. It does depend upon where one lives of course.
I remember once going to a take back the night conference. It was held in a building out of the way and there were no streetlights. I walked outside with a friend and thought how ironic— being told not to walk in dark places and yet they had not even considered where we were. Those who had cars were okay. I mentioned this to my friend just as two police officers came out of the building and were a little embarrassed and they offered to walk us through the dark.

17. SheilaG - February 11, 2010

Men live in the house of mirrors, and since domestic violence is just that, domestic, it is hidden from public view. Unlike a bank robbery or gang bangers raising hell on the streets of a big city, men beat, humiliate and dominate women behind closed doors.

I suggest, if women still insist on living with men, then at least get some technology to document the abuse. Hidden cameras etc., if you find yourself in a bad situation.

Since the last time I lived with men was maybe 1975, in my family, it just seems weird how afraid women are just to be on their own.
I actually don’t feel all that afraid at night, and have had a very big dog for years now. And then I’ve lived with a female partner for many years too.

I really don’t see how women can escape this domination until all women become fully self-supporting. It gets scary for me to see women put their lives on hold, hoping that some man is going to pay the bills. Let’s keep it simple, if you speak English fluently, have a college education, and live in most western cities or towns, there is absolutely no reason to live with men. None. I often think that perhaps straight women just get addicted to sex with men, or have some sort of emotionally dependency that I can’t fathom.

Since rape, domestic violence and child abuse occur most frequently in the home, women have got to take this reality more seriously. I’d argue that women do have a wide variety of choices, but choose to believe that men are safe beings to be around on a daily basis.

Young women seem absolutely the most clueless in this regard.

I guess as a lesbian outsider, the lives of straight women appear just brainwashed to me, just shut down to the danger, both economic and physical that I see men representing everywhere. It’s painful for me to see this addiction to men, the battered women, the women killed by these monsters, and for what? So it is patriarchal brainwashing or mindbinding at its worst, but very evident to me, since I hate that system. I can’t even bear to watch women interact with men socially, it is so contrived and demeaning to see this. Women seem so much better and more alive when men are not there.

This is so serious, and clearly everything women are doing now is not changing men one bit. If a man living with you can’t even have an intelligent feminist discussion, well there is a problem.

There is so much information out there that never existed when I was a young woman. Andrea Dworkin, Mary Daly etc., Susan Brownmiller and on and on it goes… yet…. where do women face the greatest danger? Not out at night, but in their own homes, living with men they meet but hardly know at all. Is sex that addicting, is independence that scary? I don’t know the answer, but sometimes I just want to scream at straight women STOP FEEDING the sexist pigs, stop catering to them, stop stop stop. It drives me nuts.

18. rhondda - February 12, 2010

It is called love Sheila. Some men do get that it is not about their penises and dominating another. Rare, but they do exist.

19. desert harpy - February 12, 2010

What men have going is a protection racket. Instead of protection money, we hand over our very selves. Then, supposedly, our man will protect us from the other men. It serves all men well, providing them with wives and girlfriends to suck their dicks, raise their kids, clean their houses and cook their food. But it’s a fraud. Sure, a man might provide some small protection from other men who will see that you’re properly owned and respect his ownership rights. But you’re at more risk of violence from the man who is supposed to protect you than from strangers.

20. factcheckme - February 12, 2010

re: more risk from men you know, statistically of course this is completely true. but i think its complicated, too. over on feministe a few months ago, some 20-something fun-fem wrote an article about how great hitchhiking is for women, and its not dangerous because you dont know the men and the statistics show blah blah blah! how f-u-n!!111!!1

i responded that one reason the stats show that men you know are more dangerous than strangers is that women DONT FUCKING HITCHHIKE as a general rule, and we generally avoid stranger-danger-type situations where we can help it. if we didnt modify our own behaviors in this way, the stats would probably look much different than they do now. it DOESNT MEAN that walking outside alone at night is safe, or that hithhiking is safe either. this should be obvious, but as usual the fun-fems are trying to flip the stats on their head to accomodate teh menz, and to accomodate having sexxx with teh menz, and to generally support womens walking in menz circles because gender equality–yay! unfortunately, its a bunch of fucking shit. men are dangerous, period, and strange men are dangerous, period.

also, as i am white, educated, and in my thirties now (as opposed to my 20s) the stats for me are different than they are for black women, or very young women. i also dont have kids and have never been pregnant, when pregnancy is known to trigger DV or cause it to escalate. i am also in a relationship with a man who has no history of violence, and who is approaching 40. the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. and men (even domestic abusers) tend to mellow with age, although this isnt always the case.

basically, its complicated. i think the most dangerous thing that young women can do is to desire marriage and children–because whether a relationship with a man (including tethering yourself to him for life by bearing his kids) is a good idea or not, is completely dependant on the situation. see whats out there, first, and THEN decide whether a relationship and/or kids fit in your particular scenario. this isnt asking alot, and i think even most anti-feminist women could grasp that concept, although many wouldnt (the ones that claim they have a biological clock). the more educated women who dont need a man to pay the bills would have an easier time of this too. but asking “normal people” to grasp political lesbianism and the harms of patriarchy is probably unrealistic, although i dont ever mind discussing it here.

factcheckme - February 12, 2010

oh, and i am a total asshole for not mentioning in the article that one thing that makes women so vulnerable is that they are the primary caretakers of kids. it makes it that much harder to leave, because they dont want to leave their kids with an abuser so they have to have an escape plan AND the cash on hand for not just one person but two, three, TEN or whatever to include all their kids. and if women are primary caretakers, their earning potential is probably in the toilet as compared to the noncaretaking partner, who has been increasing his earning potential the whole fucking time by remaining in the labor market or going to school etc.

i will do an edit/update this weekend to address the kids.

21. desert harpy - February 12, 2010

I agree with what you said, FCM. I didn’t mean to imply that women would be safe taking rides from strangers or that every situation in which a woman lives with a man is unsafe. Just as you say, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, so if a man hasn’t been abusive in the past, he likely won’t be in the future. I was just pointing out the pattern as I see it, sort of a general rule that doesn’t apply to every specific case. And I’m very happy for you that you have a good relationship.

Yeah, I think the most dangerous thing young women do is desiring marriage and children, too. I know, because I once desired those things. Fortunately, I didn’t get them. In the process of seeking them, I found out what dicks men can be and realized that I didn’t really want that life. Now I’m happily celibate.

factcheckme - February 12, 2010

dh, i wasnt directing anything at you, but “the stats” have been brought up several times as well as sheila wondering (in all honesty, and with good reason) WTF straight women are doing. i was just giving an example of what *i* am doing, and how its complicated, and it is. the stats are absolutely true, the men we love and are related to and who live with us are far more likely to harm us, and thats exactly the message that needs to be put out into the mainstream. for those of us who already know that, the nuances can also be discussed. thats all. thanks to everyone who is writing and thinking about this stuff. its very interesting to me, and i have been thinking more on it for days, and will continue to.

22. SheilaG - February 12, 2010

A protection racket just about describes nicely compulsory heterosexual culture. And what women in their right minds would hitchike these days?

We know what puts women in the dumpster economically. We have all the information we need. There is a collective insanity out there that makes women believe they will be different. Or perhaps it is simply a lack of ambition.

I can say with some conviction that I grew up surrounded by heterosexual culture with no lesbian role models. Yet, I could see it was all wrong all the time. Maybe my lack of patience with women cooking for my enemies stems from this. Who knows.

factcheckme - February 13, 2010

sheila, i cant help but suspect i am engaging in some exceptionalism here, for sure. its a difficult discussion to have in that way, because i also know that there are nuances, and that the stats arent the same for all women, or groups of women. everything you say here is correct. all men and all women need to know that an intimate partnership with a man is the most dangerous situation a woman will ever be in, hands down. the mainstream needs to recognize that and embrace it and examine it and absolutely have it down pat so that its reflexive, and known. if this were a mainstream forum, i might not even address the nuances, because it would just be more fuel for the MRAs to say “see the evol feminists are lying!” or whatever, because they dont appreciate nuance at all. they are the same racist dickwads who think we are post-racial because we elected obama to the US presidency. they think we are post-feminist because (fill in the blank, blahdy blady blah with whatever they think supports their idiotic conclusion that patriarchy doesnt have an affect on them OR on us). but i like to think those things can be discussed here, with the foundation absolutely being exactly what you say: women as a group would be better off without any men around, ever.

23. SheilaG - February 13, 2010

I don’t think I would ever imagine an exceptionalism argument from you FCM, you see the big picture far too much for that to set in.
It just is a kind of tragic fog that a lot of women live in not knowing who men truly are. Of all the feminist arguments out there, perhaps I have the most difficulty with the exceptional argument negation. Since I see my own life as so different, so much of an exception to every other female lived life on earth, it could be that there are more exceptions than we think? Just wondering out loud here.

So if the stats are accurate… maybe they aren’t accurate. I have to read a book or two to really get that thousands and thousands of children were raped by male priests, for example.
How could this happen for generations without a peep?

So this stuff is hard for me, because I see all the abuse of men, all the battery, all the MRA stuff on the Internet, all of it. I see the huge suffering of straight women, just looking into the faces of women with no education, no skills, stuck holding several children by the hand as they struggle through the grocery line.

So maybe men aren’t bad and most het marriages are basically ok?
I don’t really know the answer, and am probably too biased in my horror at the lives of average het women that I see on the streets.
Or it’s painful to meet a 75 year old woman with no assets, nothing to show for all that time and all that work. Yeah, same story, divorced in her 40s, fell behind, time went by, and whamooo– desparate cry for help.

You read about the horrorland that is the foster care system, and still, you are considered cold to say, “Really, women stay away from the babies, you can’t afford them… you can’t afford to be beaten, you can’t afford time away from decent education” and again and again and again, it’s the same old story.

So are the men really dangerous? Is life an illusion, or do I just see men as a menace, because I’m an outsider, I don’t have much social contact with them, and I pick up on the sexism that is so blatant, that the straight women must tune out somehow. Or they live the excuse, “Well he’s really a charmer at home…” “Well he didn’t mean it, he’s not like that normally…”

A lesbian reality and a straight woman’s reality must be so shockingly startlingly different, that neither can truly understand the view of the other. Maybe that’s the issue?

factcheckme - February 13, 2010

sheila, i dont think that “most het marriages are basically ok” because for example women get fucked in the divorce, which happens 50% of the time. the ex-husband gets off without any childcare duties at all (unless he WANTS them, in which case he lawyers up and continues to abuse his wife through the legal system by trying to take her kids away, when he likely wasnt even the caretaker during the marriage). by law, the ex-husband cant be forced to pay more than he can reasonably afford in child support and/or alimony…which means that he gets to live comfortably and the wife and kids gets whatever is left over, even if its just a hundred bucks a month. and he doesnt have to keep her on his health insurance either, something that would cost her hundreds if not thousands a month if she has to then find an individual policy on her own. and thats just for her, assuming that he had insurance to begin with and the kids are still covered even after the divorce (and assuming he keeps up with the premiums). many times, the man pays nothing at all.

even in the 50% of marriages that dont end in divorce, the wife is the one who sacrifices her earning potential, almost always. shes the one that works part time, or quits school, or stays home to take care of the kids. meanwhile, the husband is gaining experience, education, seniority, a pension, respect in the field. and she loses seniority and has to re-earn respect in her field every time they move to another city to further HIS career, and she has to start over while he moves up and up, and every time she takes off work “just until the kids are older” etc. same fucking shit. and all this works fine in a way, as long as he keeps up his end of the deal, to further HIS career in order for him to take care of the family. but men are terrible at keeping up thier end of the deal! they think that the money and the job belong to them, even though they couldnt have done it without the domestic labor of the wife, who makes sure he has clean shorts to wear to work and doesnt have to spend any of HIS precious time on menial tasks like shopping. and the men think that the kids belong to the wife (UNLESS THEY THINK THAT THEY BELONG TO HIM, conveniently only AFTER the divorce proceedings have begun) and they are surprised and mad as hell when they realize the kids are an ongoing responsibility, even after he bows out of the marriage. and all this creates a terrible dependance on the part of the wife, who is going to have to put up with shit she might otherwise not, like cheating, abuse, assholish behavior etc because she knows that she is completely and utterly fucked if the marriage fails. even if he never shirks his duties, she is still dependant on his CHARITY to not act like a dick. and depending on men to be charitable is walking a very thin wire indeed.

so no, absolutely not, het marriages are NOT basically ok. there are fundamental, and i think irredeemable problems there.

factcheckme - February 13, 2010

also, regarding dependance, i should mention that women are depending on men to be charitable and not fuck them over, sure…and they are also depending on the men not to DIE, or get sick, or get injured, or any of the millions of things that can go wrong with any one person. you are completely living on blind faith and luck in that case, if you are depending on another person for your very survival. and the game is inherently rigged, since everyone dies! hello! fucking shit. when men think its “hard work and ambition” that gets them through, while women are relying on LUCK and TIMING you know there is something very wrong.

no woman in this world should ever begrudge another woman for being on welfare. we are ALL fucking on welfare, if we are relying literally on the charity of men. and we all are. even if its just walking to our cars at night, we have to hope that the man in the parking lot or the one on the corner or the one in the alley is feeling charitable that night, and will let us pass. for fucks sake. its fucking insane. and dont even get me started on the MEN who go on and on about “welfare queens.” its their fucking fault most women are on state-run welfare to begin with, and even if they are “good guys” (and most of them arent) all it would take is a nice bloody accident to befall her breadwinner and his own wife and mother and sisters etc would be on the government cheese too.

24. pmsrhino - February 13, 2010

It always seems to come down to children. Women lose so much more in hetero marriages when children become involved. But there are women who get in marriages or who have divorces who have no children (or no children that need to be taken care of). And it’s been stated before that a woman’s potential ability to get pregnant is what makes us a target for men, so it makes sense that actually having children makes us so vulnerable in a society that has decided that women are the sole caretakers of children at all times (unless the man decides otherwise).

And I am interested in how to reconcile my life situation which doesn’t seem to fit in with the statistics and readings and experiences that I know so many other women have. I grew up with a stay at home dad who cooked and did the house chores while my mom worked on her career and continued her schooling. Even today my mom makes more than my dad and has far more years of schooling than he does. But I know that this is not the case for many many families and women in the world. I feel anger at men in general when I think of this, and sometimes it is so hard to not have that anger overflow to the men I know in my life. Men who love me and have never hurt me. There is the big picture and then there is my own experience. And sometimes I want to talk about my own experiences that conflict so often with what I read on feminist blogs. My parents’ relationship and my own relationship seem to run counter to the statistics. I was molested and abused by older girl friends when I was a child, and I have never been hurt by a man, physically, sexually, or emotionally. But because I know these experiences are not that common sometimes I feel bringing them up would make it seem like I am trying to deny the statistics because of my own lived experiences. Or trying to lessen the pain and abuse women face at the hands of men every second.

I am angry at men. I want to tear down the patriarchy. I want to feel free as a woman and like I can walk alone without fear of men. But all people are not statistics and things can be complicated.

And I dunno if I lost my train of thought there, lol. I’ve trying to get this kinda stuff worked out in my head lately. Hope it didn’t just kind of derail there. :\

factcheckme - February 13, 2010

psmrhino, i think your family situation really illustrates whats been said here. that how far a woman goes is extremely/completely dependent on the men in her life, particularly her sexual partner, and how supportive he is. i dont think its any more complicated than that. your mom got lucky. does she feel lucky? because she should. i hope women who are in good situations know how lucky they really are, and understand that if the man decided otherwise that things could easily have turned out completely different, and they still could. for example, military wives are reporting that their formerly loving, supportive wonderful (etc etc) husbands are returning from war with traumatic brain injuries, and have turned into basically monsters. i am NOT saying that the root of male violence is in their brains, but i am saying that anything can happen at any time, to turn your life on its head. it couldve been a gambling problem, or another woman, or an accident that actually killed him. our dependence on men, and on shit to NOT happen is completely misplaced.

factcheckme - February 13, 2010

i think your family situation really illustrates whats been said here. that how far a woman goes is extremely/completely dependent on the men in her life, particularly her sexual partner, and how supportive he is.

under patriarchy. under patriarchy. under patriarchy. under patriarchy. just wanted to make that clear. this is NOT about women inherently needing men, or about women being inherently flawed. the game is rigged, thats the whole point. we need men to be charitable with us, because of our own lack of power and autonomy under patriarchy. even lesbian seperatists are reliant on men not to rape them, and on misogynist institutions to give them work, housing, medical or professional services, and yes even state-run welfare if it comes to that. even lesbian seperatists are dependant on men, under patriarchy. the dynamics are somewhat different obviously, if theres no sex or intimacy involved. but there it is.

25. SheilaG - February 13, 2010

So with a 50-60% failure rate for marriages in the U.S., why is it that so many young women I meet are still unaware of the dangers?
Again, it is perfectly easy for most women in America to get jobs, become self-sufficient. You can get credit in your own name, there is more help for women who want to start small businesses than ever before. All of this information, and support from other women didn’t exist when I was younger. Susan Brownmiller’s book was written when I had just graduated from high school.

At no time in the history of the U.S. have women had more access to more information that would serve women’s best interests.

It is the mystery of the ages as to how it could be that I now meet women who have literally been divorced from men three times! And every one of those women was intelligent, financially able and capable, and yet again and again and again they opted for the marriage lottery.

To me patriarchy is like a planet with a heavy gravitational pull. The farther away you are from planet patriarchy, the better your chances are of voyaging to feminism. The most dangerous place for women is in homes with men. And that is where the gravitational pull of patriarchy is the greatest. That is where women have children and wham-o career gets derailed. Talk to any 44 year old woman who seems to be starting over again with zero, and you can bet she wasted a decade on a bad marriage and had a divorce, only to have the same silly notion that she can find another man again.

This system is so incideous. What I read from women on the Internet is that they finally seem to get this, but by then it is largely too late, unless they are very driven, very focused and very determined… all of which is definitely possible.

The gravitational pull is strongest when women are young, that’s when the marriage, love, man crazy stuff sets in. That’s where you get the cheer leaders and home coming queens, that’s where high school is the last bastion of compulsory heterosexuality. That’s where they indoctrinate the most. So heterosexuality, as it is constructed now is like most religions. Get the kids while they’re young, inculcate a belief system that no sane adult mature woman would ever buy into, and you have this system.

We all have the information now, but perhaps men are a kind of virus that women catch. To be outside that seductive system is a strange place to be. Perhaps one of the purposes of lesbian nation is simply to create a social alternative, a structural alternative.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

i think asking women to go an entire lifetime without sex (since most are straight) or emotional intimacy (they go together since most men demand regular access to vaginal intercourse when they are in emotionally intimate partnerships) with a partner is really asking alot. are you really asking straight women to either be celibate, or political lesbians sheila? because i really dont get how that is supposed to work. and most women want kids, and cant afford IVF. most women worldwide HAVE kids, at some point. many times, before they are ready, or more kids than they wanted. in order to avoid that, now we are back to the celibacy/lesbainism idea again? really?

Get the kids while they’re young, inculcate a belief system that no sane adult mature woman would ever buy into, and you have this system.

this i absolutely agree with. it starts when we are young. older women are wiser too, and i really think thats one reason we become useless to the patriarchy, and are discarded. not so much because our boobs are sagging and we are getting wrinkles or whatever, but because we no longer buy into the shit. it absolutely requires that we buy into it, and most women do. the ones that “get it” most often do so by experience, not by reading a book, although for me it was both. i needed the theory to go along with it. but lets face it, many people (including many women) in this world arent that smart. they cant even digest difficult material, let alone radical feminist stuff. what about them? or are only educated women supposed to become political lesbinans? and if so, how does that kind of “feminism” help women, worldwide? these are serious questions.

26. ashley - February 14, 2010

Again, it is perfectly easy for most women in America to get jobs, become self-sufficient

It really isn’t though. Do you see that it’s to the point where 10$ an hour jobs are considered good pay. People can’t afford housing on that. There are a lot of jobs that pay less than that, even, and employers are telling them they should be thankful for that.

I think it’s important to work on alternative living situations for women — women-only co-op type housing for example. Because we have really seen what happened with the housing market, and we are seeing union wages get busted and everything. Something has to be done, because it is really in no way, shape or form going to be about women somehow waking up and realizing they need to start bootstrapping it to solve this.

It is just extremely difficult for women to be financially independent. The system is just set up that way — that there will be a very large part of the population at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, and we know that we are far from any kind of meritocracy, so no one should ever assume that hard work and dedication alone is going to keep her out of the bottom rungs. And those who are lucky enough not to be are just that: lucky.

So we are going to continue to see single women, single mothers, women of color, and other women who are massively doubly and triply discriminated against with literally no way to get out of the hole in our current system. I don’t know the stats, but I would be kind of surprised if lesbian women have on average much better economic situations that straight women. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that a marginalized group would be granted an advantage like that.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

ashley, thanks for addressing that. i was still thinking about what i wanted to say about it, and you are right. its extremely difficult to get anywhere when you are making $10 an hour. and i made significantly less than that my entire working life, until only a few years ago in fact when i finally finished school. for the record, i am extremely driven, and i digest extremely dense subject matter well and i am good at taking tests. not everyone is. and i didnt have elderly parents or sick or injured relatives (or kids) to look after. i just had me, and every once in awhile my mom helped out when she could. i was lucky, and i still barely made it through. i was depressed and suicidal for much of it, because i felt so isolated and stressed out and alone. it was fucking terrible. and i am still paying back credit cards i used while i was in school, 5 years after the fact. not everyone has credit, and now that the credit markets have crashed, its going to be even more difficult for women to get anywhere, without help. you know, from an actual human.

and lets not forget that the system is set up exactly as you say: more people have to be on the lower rungs than the upper ones, by definition. for all the bitching and whining the rich white guys do about the poor and uneducated being a “drain” on the system, thats the only way the rich white guy could ever be as successful as he is. if everyone were as smart and driven and yes fucking privileged as he was, there would be that much more competition out there for HIS JOB. we cant all be competing for the top spots, thats not how it works. thats why the ones who are doing well need to help the people who arent. they are dependent on others misfortune, in every way.

27. SheilaG - February 14, 2010

I feel lucky that I have lived to be over 50 years old, because so many of my lesbian contemporaries didn’t make it.

I felt lucky to have met wonderful lesbian feminist mentors early in life.
I felt lucky to have met the love of my life my first week in college.
I felt lucky that a really great dog wandered onto my door step at a time in my life when things were not great.

But I don’t feel that money is about luck. It is simply about preparation. There is no luck when you knock on over 3000 doors or make thousands of phone calls to build a career. No luck at all staying up late studying complex economic data. There is no luck at all studying economic data that most women don’t want to be bothered to look at.

This kind of persistence has its own reward, and radical feminism inspired me to be great, not to settle for average, whether it is average wages, average dogs 🙂 or even average women 🙂

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

well sheila, you are lucky enough to be smart and able bodied then arent you? and its a privilege and a half to never have to worry about being impregnated and raising kids (although lesbian seperatists get raped too). not everyone is as smart as you, and they arent as smart as me. i am sorry but its true. there are many many people in this world who are just completely fucking stupid (and women are people, yes they are). there are also many, many personality characteristics and survival behaviors that people pick up over the years that make them unemployable. or reasons that would make someone call the cops on you if you tried knocking on their fucking door. all this bootstrapping language is making me pretty mad, to be frank. i dont think i am the only one. i will be back tomorrow.

28. SheilaG - February 14, 2010

I believe in the power of lesbian nation FCM, and I believe in the inspiration of self reliance. I’d love to have tea with you and discuss this. It is too complex an idea to discuss on the Internet.

Lesbians have to be self reliant, it is a virtue of our nation.

29. rhondda - February 14, 2010

Thank you fcm. I worked for 14 years in social services. Theory is great, but empathy is better. Trying to make the system work for women and children is probably the most frustrating job there can be because the system is against them from the beginning, in policy and for the most part in practice too. It was my peers who pissed me off the most as they used bullying tactics to advance their careers and look good for their superiors. Not all did, but those of us who did not, did not advance. It was a choice I made for myself. I learned more from those women and children than all my educated peers put together. To get to the position where one could effect policy requires selling your soul and god knows who you would be after that.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

rhondda, i had to work at an urban nonprofit before i fully got it, and even then i had to ask one of my trusted colleagues (not all of them would have entertained my question) “why dont most of our clients work?” i really wanted to know. i didnt even start wondering about it until one patricularly terrible case where a 50 year old disabled woman was going to be cut off her public asistance and evicted if her grown, able-bodied son who lived with her didnt get a fucking job. and he wouldnt get one. i told the woman that she needed to kick her son out, or they were both going to be on the street. and she wouldnt fucking do it. when i asked the question out of utter frustration, about this unique situation where the unemployed person was not disabled in any way, my colleague told me that many of our clients dont work because they are literally unemployable. they have to survive intolerable living situations and become street smart, but “street smarts” is antithetical to having a “work ethic” because you arent loyal to anyone except yourself; you dont trust other people or believe that other people know better than you do; you dont necessarily respect the business owners or other more senior employees because they are basically giant pussies compared to you; and frankly, many of these street smart people have such chaotic lives that they cant even keep a promise to be at a certain place at a certain time every single day because shit always comes up that they have to deal with. important fucking shit, too. like helping friends and family members move out when they are being evicted, or all their belongings will be taken out to the curb by the landlord. and thats just one example.

and this 50 year old woman was about to go down the tubes because her grown son was a street-smart black man who SHE STILL HAD TO FUCKING SUPPORT because he couldnt or wouldnt get a fucking job. thats one advantage that white women have over black women, and i have said that before: that we benefit from racism because when white men do well, we do well, to whatever extent we rely on them for anything. when our white fathers, husbands and even ex-husbands do well, we do well. when our GROWN SONS can get fucking jobs and leave the nest eventually, we benefit from not having to support them for their entire fucking lives. black women are having to support thier grown children for their entire fucking lives, because they cant get fucking jobs. is this black, disabled woman expected to “sit up all night pouring over economic data?” for what purpose? fucking shit. many of my clients couldnt even read. the ones who could read werent that smart. sorry, but its true. not everyone is intellectually capable of digesting dense material. they just arent. some people were fed fucking coffee-mate in thier baby bottles instead of breastmilk or formula, when they were supposed to be developing mentally, physically and in every other way. (i have an article here about that, search “coffee mate” or “nutrition” in the sidebar). to the extent that we even had a chance in life, because we developed properly due to good childhood nutrition, we are privileged. we have to understand that, and accept it.

now, if we want to talk about why more smart, western-privileged white women arent becoming political lesbians, thats one thing. i think its an interesting question actually, because if we cant or wont choose that path then who the hell can or will? if thats our understanding beforehand, then fine, but i cant see talking about this without an explicit understanding that we are a tiny, tiny minority to even have the choice.

30. rhondda - February 14, 2010

Wow, that post was triggering for me. I know those kinds of dilemmas and they are not easy to deal with. You are right white middle class women have tons of privilege
I worked on the child protection side of things which for me meant trying to get mothers economic and social stability which was often difficult to do because they would choose the man over the kids.
Then welfare would be cut back and child care and education programs came next. This is in the so called socialist utopia of Canada.
Easing up on prostitution laws here is just going to force these women into that.
The idea of being able to choose lesbianism is moot to me for I am not sexually attracted to women, period and I don’t care what the pomo’s say about that
My clients were in survival mode 24/7 and taking it from all sides. What little I could do within patriarchal policy was absolutely heartbreaking for me. Racism here is disguised as benign benevolence. With street smart kids, it took at least two years to earn their trust, most being damaged by the system, whether school or foster care. I left with a tiny pension because it was tearing me apart and they were of course downsizing.
So I guess my point is that it is not just domestic violence, but no economic opportunities also to get that money to invest and dream of utopias. It is a middle class fantasy.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

what part was triggering rhondda? it was of course intended for sheila too, as well as everyone else who is still reading. i wasnt calling you out, quite the opposite.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

ps. i added a new custom header. i love making collages, i used to make them all the time out of old magazines. something gets lost in the translation though when making digitallages…oh well. got to go with the digital flow i guess. maybe its time to get rid of my old victorola too. (j/k)

31. rhondda - February 14, 2010

Don’t worry. Your description of the black woman’s predicament, just made me remember a few of my own very stressful times when a mother would justify a man’s behaviour, deny abuse, blame the kids, yell and scream at me, and I would have to remain calm and persistent.
Then, when I get back to the office I would get some racist remark such as ” what do you expect from a …..”.
I know you were not calling me out. I appreciate your intelligence, more than I can say. You are making me think.
I retreated into books to help me understand all this.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

sheila, i would love to have tea with you too. for real. i appreciate the radfems i have met on the internetz more and more each day. i always wonder if we would get along in real life. LOL personally, i am not that great a conversationalist, and i hate people. but i do like me a good cup of tea.

32. pmsrhino - February 14, 2010

You asked why some well off smart white women won’t consider political lesbianism. My whole life I have been sexually and emotionally abused by women and girl friends. At least up until 3 years ago when my last abusive girl friend dropped me. I’ve pretty much kept my distance from friendships with women. It is very hard for me to be close to other women because of my history. That is my reason, at least. As great as the idea of political lesbianism sounds in theory for me I would be incredibly uncomfortable in such a situation. I know my circumstances are different than many women, but economic means and intelligence aren’t the only thing to consider when talking about political lesbianism. At least for me.

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

well theres also the fact that most women arent sexually attracted to women, too. i get that we arent conditioned to be, and that we are conditioned to buy into the het game exclusively. but are straight women just supposed to will ourselves to become lesbians? this is a serious question. simply “straight” women aside, what about religious women, or women who want children? is “real” feminism (political lesbianism) or even full personhood off limits to them, since they would be unable to engage in exclusively lesbian partnerships and eschew men for life?

as to our “histories” keeping us away from women (but drawing us to men) since so many women are abused by men yet partner with them anyway, i have a hard time believing that histories have alot to do with anything, really. although the thought of a truly intimate relationship with another woman has always skeeved me out, and i always connected that to my feelings about my mom who was emotionally abusive. but ya know what? my dad was worse, way worse. and yet, here i am, all het and shit. i really dont know why, to tell you the truth. it doesnt make a whole lot of sense.

33. rhondda - February 14, 2010

In Andrea Dworkin’s book Our blood Prophecies and Discourse on Sexual Politics, the chapter titled “The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage’, she says this:
“The mother is the primary agent of male culture in the family and she must force her daughter to acquiesce to the demands of that culture. She must do to her daughter what was done to her.”

So rings true for me and like you my father was worse as he had the power.
She also has a chapter on Lesbian Pride which is very good.
However, in real life, the lesbians I have met were not feminists, had major psychological problems which they thought would be solved by latching onto me. I am saying the ones I have met, not all Lesbians. I did not want to be their feminist mother. They emotionally drained me more than men did and gave back even less.

34. SheilaG - February 14, 2010

I’m the opposite of you FCM, I pretty much like most people and am extremely social. A good conversation can make me happy for ages.

Good points all above. I don’t work in non-profits or social services, but I have spent a good amount of time coaching women, teaching classes and providing concrete helpful information for free. I’ve spent time as a volunteer teaching English to new immigrants. I watch the incredible struggle of women with children and often have this idea of “there but for the grace….”

In a bizaar turn of fate, I now feel the lesbian life is an incredible advantage, and that traditional heterosexual marriage has turned into a kind of nightmare for women.

We simply need to have a more flexibile society, because there are many people who might not be able to work, but they are definitely great people. Some of my friends, for whatever reason, can’t get it together. I’ll never truly know the reason, but anyway, all I can be is a loyal friend, and on occasion we help with the rent and food. It’s small, but I can’t deal with huge, I can only be in the small.

There is huge social pressure to be heterosexual or to dress “like women”… we all know this. Still though, political lesbians is kind of a dumb idea, because a lesbian really is a woman passionately attracted to other women. There must be something to this, because I never feel attracted to straight women in any way, I love them as friends. Clearly, straight women have incredible disadvantages and advantages all at the same time. I used to get mad at the so-called advantages, but that mostly manifests itself in youth. Now I’m meeting them again (metaphorically), and they’ve been through ugly divorces, ugly child custody cases, are struggling to hold onto huge houses, have teenage boys who won’t leave home. Then there are the face lifts and obsession with losing “looks” or realizing that men only wanted them when they were young.

It came as a shock to me hearing all this stuff, because it is the exact opposite of lesbians. The older we get, the more women seem to love us. I went to a women’s dance several years ago, and just loved dancing to big band music with women in their 70s; they were stunningly beautiful in a way that most men would never see. Somehow, they really embodied the romantic, a kindness that younger people really don’t have anymore. It was a moment of deep understanding and happiness.

I don’t know much about “histories” I try not to bore my friends with TMI, and it truly helps me to focus on the optimistic. To appreciate nature, to enjoy life more.

There were so many years of toughing it out in a truly homophobic world and also dealing with brutal sexism when I was younger. The activism helped change the social climate of this country, and around the world. I’m very proud of being a part of it. Like the great depression generation, us radical lesbians kind of made a world we wanted to see. This is a different vision from most of what radfems write about on the Internet, but I do want to share this vision that life has an amazing quality for those who have a dream, or maybe a romantic nature.

There will always been cruel and evil systems, some places better than others. I think that no one should be kicked out of a house as an elder because of a stupid thing a 50 year old son is doing. The woman is being doubly punished because of her “street smart” “child.
Systems have a way of completely overlooking the individual, which is really why I don’t like them all that much.

“Histories”… each woman should decide for herself where she is.
I don’t think it’s wise for women to get involved with men at too young an age. That’s the time to study and focus on where you want your life to go. But again, high school hetero culture never tempted me, so it was far easier for me to be career minded. Not caring, not feeling involved in that social structure is an advantage sometimes.

Ads on TV are so hetero focused, that I feel less manipulated by advertising. That helped me save a larger portion of my paycheck each year than most Americans are able to do. It’s not virtue, it’s just that I don’t spend my money on hetero woman things. It really ads up.

I never felt the need to have children, and was never interested in them. I never had to deal with birth control or extended families. I was much more socially free than a lot of women. I could work longer hours with little worry about anything. No child care, no school issues, no dealing with “teenage” drug use, sex whatever. I’m simply so far out of the heteronormative, that I might as well be on another planet.

That said, I find life after all the lesbian activism satisfying. To see all the progress since I was 12 is truly amazing to me. I think many straight women now actually appreciate me more than they might of in the past. Maybe happiness is likeable, except on radfem sites naturally 🙂

factcheckme - February 14, 2010

i have been thinking about the ways het women spend their money, since the first time you mentioned it here. we spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year on products and clothing in order just to “pass” as women in this doodbro culture. with compound interest, this would amount to hundreds of thousands lost to our retirement funds. money thats spent and we will never see it again, and for what? seriously. women have less disposable income than men do, and we have a hundred more ways to spend it. this is a disaster in the making, and one we participate in daily. thing is, its mandatory. its the cost of doing business, if you will. and it costs women so much more, in every way.

35. SheilaG - February 15, 2010

Yes FCM, this has been a big issue for me, because honest to goddess, I can’t believe how straight women can afford all this stuff.
I really wanted a very simple life, I get easily overwhelmed by too many outfits etc., so I’d much rather have three good suits, one pair of dress shoes, one pair of tennis shoes, and naturally no make-up, no hair products, short hair, Supercuts no frills. No dresses, just pants that can then go into off hours clothing when they don’t look good. I’ve always been aware of this huge economic vulnerability in women, maybe it’s one reason I do what I do for a living. AA man’s shirt is cheaper, both for the shirt itself and for dry cleaning it compared to women’s shirts. I’m sure a lot of women have noticed this, for example.

Maybe it was feeling more social fear of the straight world, more unease, so this fueled a kind of savings mania, so that I’d have several years of fixed expenses. Maybe I over did it, who knows. But women just don’t have the money to be spending on all this stuff. I kind of freak out at the cost of women’s clothing or blouses even.

Since I am such a dyke, there really is no “passing” for me, and while this caused the world to be harsh when I was younger, it fueled my activism because I wanted to have a world where dykes would not be discriminated against just for being our extreme gender non-conformist selves. So while this over compensation was hard, in the long run, I think it was helpful, because the money saved could be invested in a variety of ways. My partner could take time off to go to grad school, I had funds for extra study, and cash could be invested at strategic times. Since 1980 to 2000 was such a huge growth period compared to other times in history, this strategy paid off.

I feel a kind of helplessness watching the incredible cost of being heterosexual in America. The hours spent putting on make-up. I once did an economic analysis of what women would have had they bought no make-up for a 20 year period. A friend of mine was selling Mary Kay, and she would give me prices, and we went back and did the math — Mary Kay vs. the IRA, kind of had a ring to it.
I’m going to see if I can find it, you might be interested in posting it.

Lesbian feminists are often teased for our bad fashion sense. Gay men are merciless in their mean comments, and straight women can act like “the gender police” but somehow, I thought the cost of “passing” was just way over budget, and I wanted a future for myself so that I didn’t have to worry about money. It took way too much time, and since I really was not paid well for a very long time early in my career, some changes had to be made.

I’m sure the radical straight feminists who comment here might use a similar strategy, I don’t know. A lot of things that most women think of as ordinary kind of put me into economic fear, the fear of paying for children, the fear of being evicted from an apartment for being a lesbian, the fear of being fired for being a lesbian… and I must admit, I did believe the propaganda that you need to work a lot harder AND a lot smarter to do the same thing men are doing. It can be a burden, but it is true that by the time you get in your late 40s, things get a whole lot better. I was never sure if society had improved all that much, or the choices of women got better, or more economic security had a better effect on my life.

I do know that it was hard to get this message of radical frugality to straight women, that they were not vigilent enough young enough, and that there was the horrific ad machine directed at getting straight women to buy buy buy and shop shop shop. I’d wished radical feminists would address the dollar and cents issues, because children alone, a divorce or two, wow, it doesn’t look good.

Maybe as a gender non-conformist, I get a free pass in life. Men seem to leave me alone, I just go about my life obliviousness to the lesbian hatred directed my way. Friends note the mean things people near me say, but I think I tune out conversations, and fix my mental power on only the people I’m with.

During the early period of feminism 1968– the protest at the Miss America contest, feminists had the beauty industry on the ropes. There was a moment when patriarchy and the profits made off of women’s make-up and fashion indoctrination had Madison Ave. really scared. So they plotted a counter attack to get women to fear being free of make-up, high fashion and the expense of all of this. And straight women are very taken in with this. It means the difference between being able to afford a house in the future, fully funding retirement, or even having a partner get a masters degree. That’s how crucial this is.

I do hope that every woman in her 20s really gets this, because the 70-75 cents on the dollar is not going to disappear, and all wages are stagnant. So critical action taken over a very long period of time can have dramatic results, that and paying attention to economic opportunity as it presents itself. The math is the most effective way to cut through the lies of patriarchy, Mary Kay vs. the IRA.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

ooh, a guest-post! yes, email it to me sheila, if you can find it. thanks for thinking and writing about this.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

as far as what i have done financially, not a whole lot. i wasnt able to take advantage of the boom of the 1980s-2000 as you mention, although that was the boom-time for my dad who got fucking rich during those decades and he likes to think it was all his hard work and moxy. rather than givng my mom credit for putting his sorry ass through school and washing his shorts for 20 years so he didnt have to, and his LUCK, yes luck (and yours sheila) for being born at the right time to take advantage of these decades of economic growth (where people my age are coming of age and coming out of school to the worst economic disaster since the great depression).

the cost of grooming products, clothes and dry cleaning is really a problem, as you say. i also wanted to mention the diet industry. for every 10 lbs you lose (and who knows how much coin you spend on products just trying to lose the weight) you drop a clothing size. oh goody, a whole new wardrobe, right? if you lose 40 lbs you have to buy all new clothes 4 times (unless you can just sit at home in your drawstring pants watching the weight come off…but if that were the case, why try to lose it in the first place right?). they tell you its a good motivator to throw away all your fat clothes, so you do. then the weight creeps back on. you have to rebuy all your fat clothes, in every size, all over again, and you might even end up fatter than you were before, by the time its all over. many women live their entire lives this way. not to mention the cost to your health from dieting this way, the cost of clothing and diet products is a constant drain on womens resources. its literally constant.

36. SheilaG - February 15, 2010

I don’t have as gloomy a view of life as you do FCM, I think, because I found all the progress of lesbian nation uplifting ultimately. I can assure you, there is no luck to slowly plodding along. As for diet, we are the weight we are. I’ve been overweight for years, but seem to feel better just hiking in nature with the dog. All women can benefit from being fully alive, and sometimes I feel sad when I read your posts. So much of Internet feminism focuses on this gloom, but really this was not my excitement about feminism when I first came upon it as a (yikes 14 year old girl in a midwestern town). To me, it was about the possiblity of true sisterhood with women, about going out in the world and really flying, testing out wings and ideas. I can only speak for myself here, but to have some idea that there was life beyond having children and marrying men was electrifying. I was so excited to get out there and change the world in small ways, and maybe larger ones. Again, there is some luck to life, but there is also patience and steady planning. I hope your life gets better, and that a spark of life returns to you. I sometimes worry when women say things like “I don’t like people” or “I’m a loner introvert” Especially when there are so many great women to meet, things to do, ways to grow.
I’m sad sometimes for the radical feminism of today, which was so motivating to me when I was younger. Women have the world, have communication, have skills and opportunities that were unknown to me even 25 years ago. Keep an open mind to the health and happiness of women, and every day in every way, I meet women who have made fabulous lives for themselves.
I always dreamt big, even when I was a closeted lesbian, always believed that eventually, I would make a life for myself. My partner and I just celebrated 35 years together, and her Valentine for me was a little computer printout of two photos of us together: one was from 1975 or so (when we were both in the closet), and one was from 2008 I think. Older and I hope perhaps a little wiser. We could move to a few places and actually get married! Imagine that! I met two other women a couple of weeks ago in their 60s, both recently retired, and they had been together 37 some years, and got married in California. I’m not so sure marriage is the best way to go for lesbians, since I think that institution could jinx us, but I was genuinely happy for those two women, who had given so much to our community, who had done so much, who celebrated life with some of the greatest lesbian feminists in America. Somehow, as I watched them at a sad event recently, I could see their love and connection to each other, and they were kind to me (just a “kid” in lesbian years).
We knew the smile of sisterhood, that incredible look of love that each lesbian who’s been through our life and times has. It is a special look of unconditional love, of something that is the spirit of women.
With passion and a belief of what is possible, your life will be more than an Internet “I hate most people” that is kind of a set-up.
I think most of my lesbian sisters of my era, doing the things we did, and making the sacrifices we did, would be gravely insulted by having our belief, work and passion denigrated as meer luck. My partner and I have always supported each other, there was no exploitation, we each had different paths, different interests and different abilities that we shared, for richer or poorer in sickness and in health, and believe me, the sickness part comes, or the bad times come, but we never ever had this feeling that life was about hating most people, being get rich quick lucky, or that we wouldn’t eventually make some sort of life with all its ups and downs. I find this optimism true of the older generation of lesbians still alive, still smiling at all they had done for all of us. I hope your life goes somewhere unique and valuable too.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

oh ffs. i fucking hate optimists who tell everyone else they feel sorry for us, that we are dead inside, or whatever. how stupid. sheila, i was saying that its luck to be born at the right time, and it is. people my age and a little older are getting this, and its not just me: we watched our parents do well, and when it was our time to start our successful career and investing paths, everything was in the toilet. the last 5 years should have been when my partner and i dug out of debt and starting investing and saving, and living a “normal” life. instead, we have been plagued by unemployment and decreasing (not even stagnant) wages, and our debt has grown larger than it was before. it absolutely enrages me when people your age (and my parents) dont see how fucking lucky you were, that you landed in the 1980s with your degrees in hand or whatever and were ready to “fly” and the winds were with you, to boot. it takes way more than hard work, although when things are going your way its hard to see that you have more than your own moxy working for you. and its funny that you both spew the same shit in that regard. how nice for you to have been born at the right time. but how can you not appreciate how people who are 30 now have it different than you did, when you were 30 in the 1980s (and 40 in the 90s and 50 in the 2000s). especially seasoned investors like you, who understand the concept of compound interest (which accumulates on wealth just like it does on debt.) this is a serious question.

i also think both my partner and myself have some PTSD from putting ourselves through school. we really do. i still have nightmares about it, and i have already said here that i was depressed to the point of being suicidal for much of it, as it was completely overwhelming to do with so little support.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

PS. which posts made you feel sad? i never feel sad when i am writing them. although the subject matter is usually pretty intense.

37. SheilaG - February 15, 2010

Hey I’m not dissing you FCM, I’m just saying that I am happy with my life. I’ve lived through incredibly hard times, and no jobs, money, my partner’s health and security, nothing came easily at all. Jobs were very hard to find for a long period of time, my partner was crippled and couldn’t walk for years, she couldn’t get out of bed for two solid years. Things were not a picnic at all. I just couldn’t overly dwell on this, because I had to get up in the morning, and really take charge of our little household, and medical bills, yeowww. So I don’t know where you get the idea that life is a bowl of cherries. Every year will have its ups and downs. But my attitude toward life is significantly different, and it has to be. Remember, I navigate a straight world, and if I got too frustrated with every bad thing that happens to lesbians, or too down over the incredible number of early deaths of friends, close relatives etc., I would simply not have a life.

We fought a good seven years before a disability judge would even hear my partner’s case. What is it with this “I’m so lucky, I had it all so easy stuff…” It just isn’t ever true, and if you were very close to lesbian worlds, you would really see that it is very very common to see women who live very well, with husbands fielding most of the bills etc., and the lesbian couples. I don’t like to sing the blues all that much, unless I feel it necessary to dispell myths of the easy life of our little group of lesbian feminists. I can barely even count on one hand, maybe less than that the number of lesbian couples I once knew who are even together. My partner’s best friend from junior high was put into a mental hospital for being a lesbian.

The thing is, each generation has its challenges. It is how you look at those challenges, and what you do in the face of them that is what life is about. Happiness is something of a process. Sure, I could still feel the pain of having my partner brutally fired the week before Christmas when she first got sick, causing her to lose the medical insurance. I could do that. But I am happy that that has faded.

It was very hard to run a small business in the midst of hellish medical scaries, and to go to dozens of doctors who could not find what was wrong at all. I recall the time when I was at lunch with a lesbian elder, in despair over what to do. She was trying to be kind and helpful, but the stuff she said put me into such shock that I literally fell over in my plate of spaghetti. There is no perfect FCM, there is no best time or worst time, there is simply time. If I didn’t focus on the life that is, didn’t try to do my best, didn’t try to reach out to women every day, I would be in despair.

There is no life right or wrong, but there is our responsibility to our partners, there is my determination to make sure my beloved is well cared for, and that it is up to me to reach out to find the support that inspires me. Believe me, nobody hands me easy street. If there is luck in my life, perhaps there is the luck of me feeling that being a lesbian is fantastic, not a burden, not about self-hatred for not being straight. The world might be homophobic as all hell, but luck would have it, I always thought my life was best for me. The outside world could be very cruel, and obviously you are struggling a mighty struggle. I’m not polyanish by nature, but I did have to come to terms with some pretty harrowing realities.

I could have been deeply embittered by life, or I could still be boiling mad at my partner’s ex-boss and colleagues who behaved so badly when she first got sick. And believe me, it really did feel as if life was terribly unfair. I recall the days of that depth of despair, I recall those moments of being, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf.

FCM, I don’t know what to say really. I understand that life is not your greatest thing, that debt is terrible, that the world can look bleak. It is bleak, it can be a bleak midwinter, it can be the lost chord, the dark angel of death… it can be loss so terrible that to think about it is to cry yet again. It can feel like despair to remember the loss of a dear friend to cancer at age 41, at the dawn of the 21st century. It can be the loss of a lesbian sister who was mentor, friend, relative and beloved… unfair beyond words to lose the few who were me or my life and memories.

The Internet is an awkward place, because ultimately, I believe we struggle with what it is to be a feminist in the world, what it is for women to come to consciousness. I don’t know you, I have never had tea with you, but I can say with certainty that life will become, and that you will come to terms and rise through writing and creativity. Not every job is easy, not every circumstance comes out well in the end.

All I know is that in death, there is art, in facing the terror of permanent disability, in seeing the cruelty in the faces of people who let doors slam in the face of my partner in a wheelchair, to see her lose everything she worked for… well it was worse to see the suffering of someone close to me. But, on the other hand, she gets better day by day. She writes, she has a blog, the wheelchair is in the garage, a reminder I think. Life is a life FCM. Was I lucky to have had to face this in my life? Was it a gift to see a woman confined to bed or a wheel chair? Was that the perfect time to be alive?

One time, I visited her in the hospital, and things were not going well, and those pesky little medical bills…. she shared a room with an 80 year old woman who had millions of visitors and family. We were amazed, since most of our friends completely abandoned us when my partner got sick. To name just a few “disappointments”… turned out that the elderly woman in the next bed had been a concentration camp survivor, and she told my partner some words of wisdom, which my partner then took home and wrote a list of “10 things that I learned from a concentration camp survivor” I won’t bore you with it, no doubt you’ll just trash it, I don’t know.

The 1980s, that period of myth, with degrees in hand, and everyone wanting to hire me? That golden era of lesbian upward mobility right?
What does one do with student loans and medical bills? What does one do with life when it is very very ugly? I think a lot of people have written about this, and ours certainly isn’t the definitive discourse by any means. Hey, I’m not the writer in the family, I’m just your average dyke blogger telling about life. I celebrate happiness or things that go right, because it is my way of reminding lesbian nation that everything isn’t all bad. Lesbian nation can get very down on itself. Again, I don’t find it of much value to compare myself to other people or other circumstances. I was certainly no A student, nor did I feel myself capable of getting a PhD, I think you said you had one.

This is too long, I don’t mean to be a blog hog. I just want to tell you that your life is yours, that people actually do care, and that we are revealing feminism as we see it. I am an optimist, that’s true, I try to cultivate this or develop this outlook, kind of the way an average musician keeps playing anyway. I found the cultivation of optimism somehow a beacon in really horrific times, even when I was bloody damn mad at yet another person, slamming another door into a wheelchair. Or dealing with insurance companies or betrayal from friends when you need help the most.

I don’t think it is wrong to cultivate an optimistic nature, or wrong to be angry all the time, but I didn’t want to only have “down” be the defalt life position. Nothing is always down. Nothing is always up.
But I can say, we can live life, we can tell our stories as women, and feminism will go on.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

So I don’t know where you get the idea that life is a bowl of cherries.

what. the. fuck. does this sound like ANYTHING i would ever say? i seriously doubt it. i will reread your post another time sheila. perhaps you should re-read mine as well.

38. SheilaG - February 15, 2010

I got the impression that you thought my life was a bowl of cherries, just to clarify.

factcheckme - February 15, 2010

then you havent been reading a word ive said.

39. Level Best - February 16, 2010

Well, darn it, I am coming in very, very late in the conversation, but not willfully so: due to weather conditions, I had a long weekend at home, and as I only can comment on most blogs from work, since my 12-14 year-old laptop at home (I bought it used about 11 years ago, not sure of its age) and my Slowski dial-up barely allow me to get to blogs to read posts, much less to see/reply to comments! When my ship comes in, I hope to get a new (well, at-least 21st-century vintage) netbook, but as I am nearing 60, already, I am wondering where that vessel is!! j/k

Seriously, I feel like so many substantive things have been said, particularly by factcheckme, rhondda, and SheilaG (everybody, really) that I am embarrassed to pretty much just be saying, “Atta woman!” to everyone here and not contributing new ideas. But, really, “ATTA WOMAN!,” because this thread has been a fascinating discussion with so much information and contrasting view points and experiences.

Thank you, particularly, fcm, for always keeping in view the relevancy of time, circumstances, and health to one’s particular life journey. I am thankful for those advantages I lucked into, and I try to always be aware of them and not envy those who are better off or in any way blame those who are worse off. We all have decisions to make that affect where we end up at any point, but a whole lot of our story is determined by forces beyond our control.

fcm, I have worked at a college for 30+ years, and I have seen countless young people starting their education. At nearly 60, I am in the odd situation of having grown up when things were still economically good and then growing older as things have landed in the toilet (Thank you, evil corporate overlords! Scrap the planet and its inhabitants so you can stay in the 1% of wealth!). It bothers me to see younger people knocking themselves out, often working full-time while desperately trying to hold on to financial aid/scholarships that sometimes are GPA-dependent because they and their mothers and siblings need the money. And it kills me to know how few of them, despite their efforts, will be able to attain “middle-class” incomes unless things change radically.

This is one of the most thoughtful, interesting feminist blogs I have ever read. Thank you fcm and commenters, again.

40. rhondda - February 17, 2010

Yes, I want to add that debt is a huge issue for young people today.
I tried very hard to help my kids and even with the f…ing lawyer I had for my divorce I had to say no to support for me, so that I could get in the agreement that ‘he’ would help with their education. Lawyers belong to the boy’s club too. Even with that I had to keep reminding the asshole what was in the agreement. It is outrageous that kind of debt young people have to have nowadays. It makes one a slave to a job which one might not like out of fear there will be no other. We thought education would provide something better. It is the stuff of nightmares. My kids will never be able to afford a house, not where they live and work and not without crippling mortgages. What I have, they will get, if it is worth anything when I die. I was extremely lucky to get an inheritance that allowed me to pay off the mortgage, but it was not nearly what young people have today in debts.
I now get young students phoning me asking me for money for the alumni association etc. They are quite taken aback when I ask them if they really think they will get a job in their chosen profession. That question is blasphemy.I tried to get one son to go into a trade, as nowadays they get more than a teacher.
Yet, young people are not stupid. Some are getting it and the lies they have been told. Maybe a cognitive minority. It is those who question everything that will move us forward. Bless them.

factcheckme - February 17, 2010

i also want to thank my readers and commenters. and heck, why not thank the lurkers too. these discussions mean alot to me, and i am so pleased that people are talking to each other, are reading and discussing these things, and are interested in hanging out here. thanks!

41. pmsrhino - February 17, 2010

I remember when I went into college it was because if I didn’t get a BA I would end up flipping burgers my whole life. And then when I finished suddenly it was “oh no, you have to have a Masters to get a decent job. Everyone has a BA.” And I called bullshit, because I was not going to spend another 50 thou on college just so after those 4 years I could be told that the only way to land a decent job is to get a PhD. Hell, I can barely afford the school loan payments for my BA. Not to mention that the trades and degrees that are more likely to land you a job and have a decent living wage are pretty much male dominated. I’m gonna be hard pressed to ever find a job that I could easily live off of with a BA in sociology and a minor in Latin. Just ain’t gonna happen. I’m horribly grateful that I landed a job at a local lawfirm that at least lets me pay my bills and keeps me afloat. So really, pushing women into college isn’t gonna help much when the job market and the good jobs are so male centered (is that changing at all now that more women are going to college than men? Is it still too soon to tell?). To me, it’s bullshit to spend four years accumulating thousands of dollars of debt to just end up in a 10/hour secretary position. I wouldn’t take back my years of schooling because college is what pushed me towards feminism and a more liberal viewpoint mostly because it got me out of my house and away from my parents for a while. But if someone had told me “Hey, you can spend thousands of dollars to go to college and end up a secretary with crippling student loans or you can spend a few hundred to take a typing course and end up a secretary with no student loans to worry about” I know what I would have chosen.

Though maybe this is just indignant anger on my part. My boyfriend spent 2 years at a tech school and will have about the same debt as me but he’s got a starting position at a large engineering company. And I know in about a year or two he will be making more money than me and have more job prospects in his field than I will. He’s got crippling debt and horrible credit and has had a much harder life than I have ever had, but I still feel angry knowing that despite my efforts and schooling unless I get MORE schooling I will never advance like he will. Because he got a trade degree and because he’s a man who has more opportunities in male dominated fields that earn more money and more advancements. No matter my schooling I’m still a woman and will never have the same opportunities.

Also, I’m pretty certain people won’t question my boyfriend’s knowledge of his area of expertise now that he’s graduated and in his field working. But people will still constantly argue with me about shit I spent four years studying and most of my time reading about. But I’m not sure if that is more because I’m a woman or more because every jackass in the world thinks they are automatically an expert on society just because they happen to be alive and talk to people. But that’s a whole ‘nother rant…

42. Level Best - February 17, 2010

“But people will still constantly argue with me about shit I spent four years studying and most of my time reading about. But I’m not sure if that is more because I’m a woman or more because every jackass in the world thinks they are automatically an expert on society just because they happen to be alive and talk to people.”–pmsrhino

This sounds like the double-whammy of mansplaining and over-estimation of their (the jackasses) own abilities. A whole lot of people “don’t know what they don’t know.” Trust me, although it is frequently painful to see through the matrix because of your education, it is a wonderful thing that it will help prevent you from being one of the myriad jackasses that have woven the matrix in the first place and now work madly like malevolent spiders to maintain it.

43. Wallabyx - February 17, 2010

FCM – and thanks right back to you for starting and sustaining such interesting and informative dialogue (in all of your posts).

I’ve never commented before and don’t expect to do so very often because I’m a dude and think for the most part I don’t really have anything to add here nor is it really my place to.

I’m a long time feminist and have put a lot of time and effort into understanding and opposing patriarchy and misogyny, but there’s a lot that I haven’t understood or fully thought through yet and a lot of the discussions here have really changed my outlook.

Thanks for all that you do.

44. factcheckme - February 18, 2010

ok people, get a room!!!!111!!1

45. factcheckme - February 18, 2010

oh, and since noone has complained that the new theme made their eyes bleed or induced seizures…i think its going to stay. i like it. until i decide i dont.

factcheckme - February 18, 2010

and i found it refreshing to have a born-man on here who self-identifies as a man. how utterly fucked up is that. i, for one, did not see that happening, ever. some readers may remember the last born-man who self-identified as a man, max, who left out of here squealing about my comments policy, and demanding that i own my cis-privilege. just like the fucking transwomen, not coincidentally.

46. Sonia - March 10, 2010

I just found your blog and I luvvvv it.

As a dv survivor I was completely prepared to be pissed off by this video. I didn’t at all expect what happened, which was that I just laughed my ass off.

What a fucking douche lord. My favorite is “chlamydia in a cat house.”

And yes, what a liar.

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