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“Intercourse” House Party (Part 3) May 15, 2010

Posted by FCM in authors picks, books!, entertainment, feminisms, gender roles, health, international, PIV, pop culture, rape, thats mean, trans.
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part one is here.  part 2 is here.  this was intended to lay the groundwork for a future discussion of dworkin’s “intercourse.”  but three parts later, i am under the impression that we’ve been discussing it, this whole time.  no?  actually, theres much more that needs to be said, and some loose ends need to be tied.  and this, my friends, is what will constitute part 3.  enjoy.

womens bodies are not synonymous with penetration, and vaginas are not fuckholes, for men.  and people throughout history have had something in common: they dont like being colonized.  that is, people coming into your neighborhood and setting up shop in YOUR SPACE.  when this happens, and it has happened to many peoples, around the world, the people who have been colonized understand what has happened to them.  they have lost their autonomy, and their privacy.  they have lost their identity.  the ones that survived would not be mistaken to characterize it thusly: “there was a war, and we lost.”  am i wrong?

and being poked and prodded physically is not inherently erotic.  think about it.  going to the dentist?  not erotic.  going to the gynecologist?  not erotic.  acupuncture.  vaccinations.  breast exams.  prostate exams.  medical experimentation.  torture.  not erotic.  right?  at least, any reasonable person would agree that theres nothing *inherently* erotic about these things, even if there are some people who enjoy some of these things, some of the time.  so, is there the teeniest, tiniest chance, then, that PIV (“intercourse”) is not inherently erotic, either, to women?  can we at least admit that much: that theres at least an infantiscimally small chance that this is true?

if you can even imagine that this might be the case, then you have to also consider that women have somehow managed to eroticize something thats not inherently erotic, to whatever extent they might “enjoy” PIV.  and there are many reasons this might be the case for any individual woman, and for women as a sexual class, around the world.  love.  motherhood.  garnering attention and affection from men, who love to fuck women, even women they hate.  because to some extent, most women in most places eroticize PIV somehow.  most women who are engaging in it dont report “feeling raped”, afterall, whatever the fuck that means (although many more find it about as arousing as going to the gynecologist).  do try not to imagine what would happen if they changed their minds at some point though, either mid-act or across the board, within the context of het relationships.

PIV is not inherently erotic for women, but it *is* a fundamental part of the narrative that keeps us in servitude, to men.  women are fucked by men, and men fuck women.  its essential that it be this way, because PIV causes pregnancy.  PIV causes illness.  pregnancy, illness, and babies (upon babies, upon babies) cause women to become dependant on others, on men. 

women as a class are subservient to men as a class, then, due pretty exclusively to PIV.

now.  gays and lesbians are vilified, under this system, because homosexuals fuck up the narrative (again, the narrative is, and must be, men fuck women, and women are fucked by men).  see?  regarding gay men, they make it too clear that men have asses that can be fucked.  its not *just* women that can be fucked, men can be fucked too.  but how is that supposed to work???!!!!!1  no, its not fucking unless women are fucked.  its not “fucking” unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant.  because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.

and lesbians fuck up the narrative too: they make it too clear that PIV is not inherently erotic, for women.  so, they arent really women, at all.  and what they are doing to and with each other isnt fucking.  because its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant.  because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.

and i have kinda been harsh on transwomen in this series, but they fit in here too, dont they?  because transwomen are men, and they have asses that can be fucked.  they have fake fuckholes that can be fucked.  but its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant.  because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.  and its not a fucking coincidence, is it, that many times when a straight man murders a transwoman, its after he has fucked her (or right before), and finds out that shes not a woman?  because the transwoman reminds him that he, too, has an ass, that can be fucked.  that what they have just done or almost done together wasnt fucking or almost fucking, it was something “disturbing” in fact, because its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can get pregnant.

because fucking and female subservience are the same fucking thing.

Comments

1. factcheckme - May 15, 2010

I think this is the end of the series. There was definitely a lot more in the book, and I hope everyone will read it, when they have a chance. It’s thick, and rich (and creamy!) But that’s no reason to avoid it. Ultimately, its not difficult to understand, once you stop equating piv with sex, or sexuality.

That is all.

2. Loretta Kemsley - May 16, 2010

Great series of posts. I love Dworkin. She’s a life changing experience.

In a recent Kinsey survey, 95% said penile-vaginal intercourse was having sex, 11% said it wasn’t sex if there is no ejaculation.

Think about that last part. What should a woman call it if she’s been penetrated but he doesn’t ejaculate? Since it’s not intercourse (in the minds of 11% of our population), what is it?

Of course, no one stated it wasn’t intercourse if she didn’t orgasm. It is so commonly accepted that she won’t, unless she’s damned lucky, that it isn’t even part of the definition of sex.

Why shouldn’t sex be defined from a woman’s POV, with her orgasm being the end, with or without penetration?

Why don’t women stand up for themselves and say, “Hold on. Either we play by my rules or I’ll kick your butt to the curb?”

Let’s face it. We have what they want. So why aren’t we more aggressive about getting what we want in return?

factcheckme - May 16, 2010

well…PIV isnt exactly voluntary, in most het relationships. its absolutely required. and once a woman has kids with a man, its very likely that she will be dependant on him, and very invested in mainaining the “relationship” whatever that means, and whatever that takes. on part 2 (i think) veganprimate described a scenario in which a woman had a decent paying job (a nurse) but had a few kids with her husband and was dependant on both incomes to survive…one day she realizes she doesnt really care for PIV. is she going to act on this new realization? highly doubtful. women cant even get their partners to care about their sexual health, or their lives. the importance of female orgasms is not even on the radar, and if it is, its only a sidedish, and PIV is the main event.

the stress and worry of contracting STDs and becoming impregnated is surely something thats keeping women from orgasming, even when their partners do care about their pleasure. they dont care about it enough to ease the womens minds by not demanding PIV as part of the encounter. this is the truth of the matter, in most het relationships. and many if not most women are in no position to demand change. if you are asking why women who are in a position to demand change, arent demanding it…well thats a good question. for me, i have been in this situation, where i wasnt financially dependant on my partner, and frankly i just got sick and tired of asking. every time, it was like the first time, as if we had never discussed it before. those relationships ended eventually. not soon enough, but they did end. notably, they were NOT ended because i was unhappy with our sex life.

factcheckme - May 16, 2010

oh, and regarding PIV not being “sex” unless the man ejaculates…well thats rather disingenuous isnt it, since more than one pregnancy has resulted from pre-come? sheesh. now we have men making babies with women theyve never even had “sex” with. they are such liars arent they? and delusional. absolutely delusional.

of course, 100% of people would still agree that PIV was “sex” whether or not the woman even likes PIV, let alone whether she orgasmed, or not. the more we talk about this, the sicker i feel.

3. Loretta Kemsley - May 17, 2010

I grew up in the 1950s, came of age in the early 1960s, when girls weren’t supposed to want sex, not because they naturally didn’t want intercourse but because they were valueless if they weren’t virgins.

I tossed all that aside when I fell in love. We had a wild, joyous affair. Being my first, I did not know that his skills were extraordinary and I would never find another man who could make love like he could or that I would love as much as I did him. I should have left with him when he asked, but I was too fearful, unsure of myself because of the emotional abuse inflicted by my mother since birth.

So it was with glee that I saw the coming of the era of free love. Not that I needed it to give me permission, but because it gave all young women permission to be their sexual selves. We tossed aside the constraints, grabbed onto birth control and had a great time.

But then I belatedly realized I had no guidelines for my daughters, so I improvised, along with all the other mothers my age. We didn’t want to cram them back into the “if you’re not a virgin, you’re a worthless whore” mold, but we also didn’t want them hurting from too much, too soon. Guess I struck the right balance because they survived to become fine young women.

The last few years, I’ve been watching the sexual freedom of the young girls both with delight and trepidation. They are embracing too much, too young — and they’re catering to the boys instead of being true to themselves. They seem far more gullible than we were. Is that true? I don’t know. I hope not. I hope they are more learned than we were, but I haven’t seen a lot of evidence of that.

I never thought I’d say this, but perhaps we should be telling them not to have sex. No vaginal intercourse. No anal sex. No blow jobs. Let the guys pleasure themselves. But I’m not saying this because I think the virginity idolatry is right. I’m saying this because they’re being used by men and teen boys who don’t give a damn about them.

We need to teach them that they have what men want, that they don’t need to give it away for “love” because any man or boy who claims that’s how to get their love doesn’t love them at all. These young gals should be learning about pleasuring themselves so they know what they want from a sexual encounter with a guy. If he isn’t into what she’s into, tough luck. Send him on his way.

The first requirement should be being treated well. Any guy who can’t treat a woman well needs to be sentenced to lonely nights. The second requirement should be romancing her however she wants to be romanced. If he can’t be bothered, then he should be provided plenty of time to romance himself. The third requirement is for him to take care of her in every way she needs, from pregnancy prevention to proving he’s not a carrier for disease. Let’s put that ball in his corner because she doesn’t need the risk. He should also understand that her orgasm is more important than his. He’s the one who wants in her pants, and there is a price to pay. If he can’t bother learning the right skills, then he shouldn’t be able to get the payoff.

And the last requirement: after sex is done, he treats her like she wants to be treated. If she wants him out the door until next time (if there is a next time), then so be it. If she wants him to stay and fix her breakfast, he’d better be a good cook. If she wants commitment, then he’d better be up to the job. No more of this “cater to him so you don’t scare him off” routine. If he’s that easy to scare off, then he doesn’t care about her anyway.

Better to play with a toy than a boy who could care less what happens to her after he gets his rocks off.

factcheckme - May 17, 2010

Women’s sexuality is always on men’s terms, particularly when they are having sex with men. Dworkin wrote that women eroticized piv bc it was the only thing that the men were offering, and that the obsessiveness and violence of it is so easily mistaken for passion, esp when the woman was in love. That the men were really making war on our bodies, but again, thats the only thing they offer women. Many times, the man won’t even touch or connect unless its in the context of piv. It’s so sick, it really is. I don’t think its a bad idea at all to educate girls as to what boys and men are all about. The feminist context is important to teach too, otherwise it feels like shaming the girl. My mom tried to tell me what was up too, but she wasn’t a feminist so it was very shaming. And I imagine I didn’t want to believe it was true.

4. Loretta Kemsley - May 17, 2010

We need to teach women that men won’t just hand over power. No one with power just gives it away. You have to take it if you want it. In this case, we have it but women are taught it isn’t fair to use what they have to get what they want, so they give their power away.

I agree about the shaming. No woman or girl should feel ashamed for wanting to define, control and enjoy her own sexuality. Unfortunately, patriarchy has used shaming and guilt for centuries in order to force women to be the virginal female for her entire life. It’s a sick way of existing, but it benefits men in numerous ways.

The cult of virginity needs to be knocked down and the age of female empowerment needs to be enhanced. To hell with rules guys make up so they can maintain control or get what they want with no care about the women they use and too often abuse.

If he doesn’t want to touch or connect without PIV, oh, well, that’s his loss. If enough women refuse to play, he’ll either get a clue or resign himself to pleasuring himself.

But women need to learn to stand up for themselves. Even if they want PIV, it should be done on the terms of the woman.

5. sonia - May 17, 2010

“fucking and female subservience are the same thing.”

word.

6. veganprimate - May 17, 2010

Loretta, I love your list of requirements for girls to engage in sex with guys.

factcheckme - May 17, 2010

I loved the list as well. Can you imagine how different your dating life would’ve been if those rules had been in place, with someone to help you enforce them? Being treated well would’ve been a great place to start. Unfortunately, my mom was and is still being treated like crap by men who aren’t worth the time it would take to tell them so. So all she said to me was that if she ever found out I was having sex with boys, she would make my life a living hell. I’m pretty sure she also threatened to make me a ward of the court, if she couldn’t control me. Gee thanks mom. Explaining the difference between sex/sexuality and piv would’ve been more helpful in the long run I think. Although I didnt have piv until I was 19 and old enough that all the consequences were mine alone to bear. Which was pretty much her thinking with slut shaming a 13 year old virgin. She never even wanted kids, let alone grandkids living in her house.

7. SheilaG - May 17, 2010

It seems to me that girls aren’t being given the chance to be truly educated for their own protection.

All this negotiating with men strikes me as supremely exhausing, however. Is it a complete waste of time for women to engage in men sexually? My radical notion has always been, you can’t kiss up to the colonizers and expect freedom. It has never happened with dominant domineering groups, so why should it change between women and men? That’s the basic question radical feminists have to deal with. As an outsider, I’d say the colonizers are not worth the effort.

8. Undercover Punk - May 17, 2010

I’m gonna agree with Sheila here. It is exhausting to try to “coerce” men into behaving. I mean, maybe under more ideal circumstances, but given the social climate of Patriarchy, it’s just too hard for women to get what they want. It’s not as easy as MEN getting what *they* want. Women have to expend more energy and more thought and be more vigilant. We are conditioned to be emotional and insecure– it’s an uphill battle for us to serve ourselves. Not to mention all the risks that this “Intercourse” series has highlighted as DIRECT RESULTS of PIV.

Loretta’s suggestion sounds a lot like modified SEPARATISM (my way or the highway). So why not take it further? Why not refuse to engage with men AT ALL? Why not start teaching females how to pleasure EACH OTHER? Men don’t have anything to offer us that we can’t do for ourselves. And you know that’s true.

Also, if women refuse to be subservient to men, I’m not convinced at all that we will continue to “have what men want.” They WANT to dominate us.

We need to walk away. We need find happiness with other women.

factcheckme - May 17, 2010

Also, if anyone has any thoughts on dworkin or the intercourse series, feel free to post them. Part 3 was the last part. It was really interesting to write, and I hope that they were interesting to read. Dworkin loved literature, and I read somewhere that she modeled intercourse after dantes inferno, taking her readers through the circles of hell, each one being worse than the one before it. She also realized that all the greats were absolutely soaked with misogyny, but long after she had already read them all, and knew what they said, and how things were said. She felt betrayed, as a lover of literature, that the authors were all such sick pieces of shit. Her writing reflects all of this. Post em if you got em.

9. Loretta Kemsley - May 17, 2010

I had similar experiences to Dworkin’s when it came to literature. Mine was on two levels.

The fact that women’s writings has purposefully been excluded from being called literature for centuries is disturbing, especially since the reason they are excluded is because they discuss subjects of interest to women. Unless a woman wanted to write about things of “importance” with “importance” being defined by men, then they were shunned in literature. They didn’t make it into collections like Norton’s Anthology and weren’t taught in literature classes.

Of course, that totally skews the perception of all literature, even that of men who might want to write about sujbects other than “important” as defined by male culture.

As a child, I hungered for adventure. The only books I could find that contained adventure featured male protagonists. Most were written by male authors. I had to imagine myself performing as the opposite sex in order to participate in the plots. Of course, I didn’t know that was what I was doing, but I suspect that this was the first part of my development that brought me to feminism. I knew I did not fit what was then defined as being a woman. Feminists were the first people who did not try to force me to fit rather than view me as who I am.

I adore Hemingway, Fitzgerald and other authors from the twenties and thirties, including Stein. As a writer, I took my style from them. But, like Dworkin, I went through a painful period of disillusionment because they were all steeped in misogyny. Even when they struggled against it, it still permeated their writing.

Now that I am older, I am more forgiving of them because I too struggle against it and don’t quite make it. I’ve also learned more about the intergenerational asepcts of our culture. We learn the culture that our parents know. They in turn have learned it from their parents. It takes several generations to overcome even the smallest harms within the culture.

My mother was abusive. When I was young, I was filled with anger at her. But now I see that she learned it from her mother. How many generations does that go back? I have no idea, but I can see why women struggling to cope with a culture that despises them end up abusive. They learn to despise themselves and their daughters too.

The same with literature. Part of the reason why our culture has such a low opinion of women is because of the oldest piece of literature that is reverenced and even worshipped: the Bible. If it did not exist, then most of our customs concerning women would be far different.

Dworkin’s writing reflects the reality of this, even while she generally ignores the Bible as literature. It is the permanence of the designation of literature that brings the intensity. While the misogynists will still be taught decades from now, the women won’t be because what they wrote about isn’t “important” enough to be considered worth preserving.

10. Loretta Kemsley - May 17, 2010

I agree with the various posts about including girls experimenting with girls on a sexual basis. I should have been clearer about that. In my mind, I lumped it into girls learning to pleasure themselves.

But I am also a realist in that many girls are never going to consider life without boys. So we need to teach them an alternative to the cultural dissing they receive now. Their perception of self and of relationship has to change or they will always be the one who does not realize her power.

I’ve long told every female, including my daughters, that it is better to be in no relationship at all than a relationship where you are not treated well. Unfortunately, most are not taught that. They are relentlessly taught that a girl or woman without a man is nothing — and must work harder to get one at any cost.

That is the mindset that needs to change. It is changing as evidenced by the fact that there are more single women than married women in the US today. That’s a huge historical first. The next step in the evolution will be no relationships at all. That too is already happening. There are articles that lament that young women are not focused on sex. Of course, they present this as a tragedy rather than a triumph.

That and FCM’s articles are what sparked my realization that it is time for us to speak to our daughters along a completely different line: that of defining relationships, if we’re going to engage in them, from a woman’s POV. And kicking them to the curb if they don’t want to play.

When women reach the tipping point of “who cares,” then men do change. They try to comply to get the woman back. Most women are already done by then, which is good because he’ll just fall back into old habits, but if every male was raised with the idea that they have to pay to play, they’ll expect to focus on her rather than have her focus on them even when they could care less about her.

Will it be hard? Sure. But so was the work that changed the ideas about women’s right to education, careers, controlling their own finances, and all the rest, including voting.

Even if we were to start the ball rolling, we probably won’t live long enough to see the full change but it would be satisfying to know it is in progress even as we speak, wouldn’t it?

factcheckme - May 17, 2010

loretta, i like your idea of speaking to young girls and women about defining their own sexualities and relationships. i hadnt thought of that, but since you mentioned it i have been thinking alot about what my own mother told me, and how really inadequate it was. she never told me that its ok to be sexual, but that PIV was dangerous. thats what i would hope the discussion would be today, and its both pieces of the puzzle that the “sexual revolution” of the 70s and 50s conservatism could have brought to the table, but didnt. both things are true, but they absolutely challenge mens entitlement to PIV, and to define appropriate female behavior and female sexuality. the liberal and conservative men are both going to hate it!

11. Miska - May 18, 2010

Also, if women refuse to be subservient to men, I’m not convinced at all that we will continue to “have what men want.” They WANT to dominate us

I think this is a really important possibility to keep in mind. I cant remember who said it, but some feminist, somewhere, said that men are seemingly incapable of feeling equal to women – if they’re not feeling superior to women, then they’re feeling inferior. Why this is so is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s cause we possess the means of reproduction or something.

Anyway, I think that it’s a pretty shrewd observation. And it gives further weight to the idea that men WANT to dominate.

This is why trying to re-frame sex as being about mutual pleasure etc is so difficult. I suspect that if sex with women was no longer an exercise in domination for men, their interest in it would plummet.

A lot of hetero dudes engage with sex with other men,purely for the pleasure, because it’s a ridiculously easy and hassle-free way to get their rocks off. If the domination aspect was magically taken away from sex with women, I think there’d be a good chance that getting their rocks off with other men would rise to being their method of choice overnight.

factcheckme - May 18, 2010

Miska and up, absolutely agree re the domination. If sex and sexuality was about pleasuring women, it would look completely different than it does today. Does anyone believe, for example, that men’s international fucking pastime would be picking women up in bars, so they could pleasure us with ugly external vibrators and go home when they were finished, without ever getting to penetrate us? That seems laughable, even if men were engaging in that kind of sexuality with women, it wouldn’t be the sick team sport it is now, and they wouldn’t need alcohol to convince us that we wanted what they were offering. It’s so obvious that domination is exactly what they want. If that were taken out of the equation, everything would be different. Men pleasuring themselves and each other seems like a reasonable bet.

12. Undercover Punk - May 18, 2010

miska @ 11: thank you.

Loretta @ 10: I did not say “experimentation.” Nor do I think that “experimentation” is a fair characterization of woman-love. AT ALL. What I actually meant is that, given the ubiquitous climate of male supremacy, we should be propagating lesbianism as the preferred method of human connection.

While I agree that no romantic relationship is better than an abusive relationship, a LESBIAN relationship is prima facie more egalitarian and emotionally fulfilling than any comparable hetero relationship. BECAUSE: an exchange or alleged “partnership” wherein one party is categorically superior (even subconsciously!) to the other, is fundamentally harmful. There’s no way around this.

When men make changes “because they have to,” I am not satisfied. To put it mildly. As far as I’m concerned, intimate engagement with people who GRUDGINGLY treat women as humans is SETTLING for less than we are worth. Whether it’s realistic for young women to recognize it or not, lesbianism offers objective benefits that male-female relationships cannot touch. By definition. We should be vigilant against passing internalized lesbo-phobia onto our children.

factcheckme - May 18, 2010

lots of girls do “experiment” though, way more than end up being lesbians i’d wager. i did, it was my first sexual contact with another person, and i did it again in college (it never stuck, obvs). experimenting with other girls (even having sexual relationships with them) isnt going to get you pregnant either, so whats wrong with it really? i mean i know its not political enough for some, but still. there are no parents alive (are there?) that are going to encourage their daughters to be lesbians, if for no other reason than many if not most people who have kids in the first place do it for the completely narcissistic goal of “having grandkids someday”. i dont know UP. i hear what you are saying, and i agree with you that it would be preferable in every way, to have ONLY lesbian relationships. i think its a great way to end this series actually, because we are talking about male dominance afterall, and how het “sex” literally embodies male dominance, and it perpetuates it too. BUT. not everyone is a lesbian. most lesbians arent even feminists, and they practice this dom/sub dynamic in their lesbian relationships too (although its never going to knock anyone up, and that cant be minimized, its absolutely HUGE as far as differences go). and encouraging your daughters to be lesbians would probably constitute child abuse (how sick is that?? compared to, say, pimping them out to the neighborhood boys, which would be considered “dating”.)

still chewing on this. thanks for posting.

13. Monique Louicellier - May 18, 2010

Hi Femonade and friends or just posters who can find an appropriate debate’s place there when it is so difficult to find one anywhere,

I am a lesbian since ever and I want to fight for lesbians liberation, for lesbian feminism (but being a leabian it is not the more important thing, as I don’t want nowadays that my sexual attraction could lead or influence my reflexions and my relationships with other lesbians/women, I want only meaningful and respectful relationships).

I am a kind of separatist too. But I am careful now with words, I don’t want to be manipulated. And politics has all to do with manipulations as well as with ideals and in the end, we have to rely on our own feelings and analysis, coming from what we experience in real life, as you said Femonade, and be cautious with others and what they pretend to be or fight for, cautious with their sincerity and history.

I like the word radical too, but it is really too bad that anyway radical feminism or radical lesbianism holds big red flags for me now, at least in France (and in fact you are the only exception I know Femonade), I believe that in France the ones who call themselves radical feminists are mainly Queers-pro-sex and academics radical lesbians, both relating well with each other or at least not willing to confront, as the first ones are the academic heirs of the second, with a common point which is materialism until the endpoint and academic complicated theories, intellectual elitism, wich means for radical lesbians that they are not willing to debate about their theories if you are not an academic yourself (and even so..) or start a movement that they would not be able to control and that they never started anyway, just showing off and represent feminism (while there is no movement behind them), possibly sell their books and continue in their stable academic jobs is enough for them, and hijacking what remained of a mass lesbian feminist and feminist movement that is now dead. Not only because of them, but they contributed.

Also I wanted to say hello and I wanted to say that soon I will try to post, but it is not always so easy for me because English is not my first language, also please do not wait for too long replies from me.

I will update a blog I have and pass you the address then (in fact it is Lesboseparatiste and Lesbospolitique, but at the moment it is a real mess), but especially I need to think about ways of action, if there are still solutions, I don’t know, maybe you will help me.

Anyway Femonade, I am sure that to read your blog and pass on this very address will be a first step in helping me and others (if you don’t change your opinions of course).

I think it is a wonderful blog indeed and I like your refreshing ideas, although you pretend to be radical (unfortunately some trends and people that I consider ennemies of feminism pretend too), there are nice and open debates there that are clearly really feminist and not sneaky masked anti-feminism.

It is exactly what we need for mass feminism, for a movement back, that’s only a pity we can’t do the same in reality, gather, connect, meet in real places that we would invest or create from scrap (like in the 70’s, 80’s). Virtual is almost nothing.

To have a place of our own is very important, it gives a home, an anchor, as women in precarity can’t always attend or support a discussion group, they need to find it still there when they join again, they need to know where to go and nothing is stronger than reality and real acts. We still need to know if we have the guts to take the streets and to feel the support of others, but it won’t be only in the somehow diconnected of the reality and schizophrenic world of the internet.

Internet is a way to express but as well to dilute people’s opinions, nothing would be better as meet in reality.

And discuss and let other women/lesbians join us, any woman who wants and begin a feminist revolution and movement back.

A meaningful one, not led by academics or by people under influence.

Also I will post later. Keep on going !

Cheers,

Monique Louicellier

14. SheilaG - May 19, 2010

Well the only study I ever read that compared all couples — lesbian, gay male, straight, bisexual was the Pepper Schwartz book in the 80s called “Couples.” All the different types of couples were interviewed, and only the lesbians had ever achieved true egalitarian relationships. Gay men were into dominance and submission, straight couples, obviously a male supremacy playground.

You don’t get equality with men ever, and it seems to me, that if women really want freedom, then women have got to own up to this reality. Otherwise they are all in denial, and for what, having kids and grandkids? Is that what these people want? A sad commentary indeed on the cause of female freedom worldwide, but then again, only the very few actually do do what it takes to gain freedom. The minority of men revolt, the tiny minority of lesbians have never had sex with men, and yet some of us so hated male dominance, and found the love of women so preferrable that no het propaganda machine could change us. No matter what the culture said about the joys of PIV, we weren’t drinking the hetero cult cool aid, and I must say, that gives me serious, and I do mean serious bragging rights within radical feminism🙂 Thanks UP for your two cents as well.

15. Loretta Kemsley - May 19, 2010

Whether we like it or not, girls will experiment. They’ll love some of it and discard other parts. This is true in all things, not just sexuality.

But to try to dictate to them what they choose is no different than what patriarchy has done for thousands of years. I don’t want to go there. It isn’t up to me how millions of girls in each new generation express their sexuality — even if I think they are on the wrong path.

The best I can do is share my ideas and listen to the ideas of others.

I’ve watched many generations bring changes over the decades, including my own. My particular group was defiant in the extreme. We didn’t follow any rules laid out for us in our teen years. We had good reason. Each of us had been abused in one form or another. As we aged just a bit, some of us fell into the traditional mode — marriage, children (as much because of a lack of birth control as anything) — but then each of us left that path and returned to our rebel ways.

What we came to realize is that female friends are friends for life while all others come and go. We might marry men or have male lovers, but each in turn disappeared over the horizon while we held each other’s joys and griefs.

I believe this is the natural way of life: women working together because of shared interests. Whether or not they also choose men is beside the point. Some of us did; some of us didn’t. It made no difference in the long run.

16. mscitrus - May 19, 2010

UP, I agree with only lesbian relationships as being the ideal. I also totally agree that we shouldn’t settle for people who grudgingly will treat women as human, “because they have to.” Though I will admit I’m too pessimistic to think men will ever “have to” see us as human or that most women could/would hold men to those standards, due to the masochism we’re brainwashed to perform from birth. All I can say is men who won’t get it until its required should be kicked to the curb too, not just because of the settling factor, but because they will *always* be on the lookout for the first opportunity to get the upper hand. And I’m damn sure they’d take it. My way or the highway is how I approach any interaction with men now, friends or lovers. The highway for me is separatism, and I try and make sure whoever I’m interacting with knows this.

If I ever parent I’m totally gonna encourage my kid (er…if they’re a girl) to be a lesbian or, if they feel attraction to both, explain the benefits of refusing intimate relationships with men. As long as male violence continues, I think separatism and an awareness of it as an option is a right (and should be recognized as one) of women and girls. Most women are abused or raped at least once before they hit 18. Even if not encouraging a girl to be a lesbian, I think pointing out how fucked up men are and the problems with heterosexuality in general is important.

And yeah, this is a totally rockin’ way to end the series. I’ve really enjoyed all of it, thanks FCM.

17. polly - May 19, 2010

I am very opposed to the idea that lesbians are lesbians because they hate men/because men are arseholes/because of their politics. I didn’t decide to become a lesbian because I hated men, I AM a lesbian because I’m attracted to women.

If predominantly/wholly attracted to men women want to have sexual relationships with women, that’s their business and the business of whoever they have sex with. But it is erasing of lesbian sexuality to suggest that that’s all lesbians are – heterosexually attracted women who don’t want to have sex with men for whatever reason. I wouldn’t want to have sex with men even if I really,really liked them as people. As it happens I don’t so much hate them as they bore the living crap out of me but that’s not the reason I don’t sleep with them. I don’t have sex with men BECAUSE I’M NOT SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

there is something indescribably strange about demanding that straight women become lesbians because its “smarter.” obviously its a western-privileged concept to begin with, and an “option” for only a tiny fraction of women worldwide. but most women arent lesbians. i find it odd, to say the least, that we have a lifelong lesbian (sheila) and a new hetero convert (UP) telling straight women that we should be having sex with women. i can accept the feminst sisterhood part just fine, although i dont know if that would work for me either, being an incurable introvert. BUT. where does having sex fit in to any of this? FFS. most straight women arent having sex with men because they find it sexually satisfying afterall. men are notoriously terrible lovers of women. terrible. awful. when they arent forcing PIV on women, they are just fucking them once and rolling over, when they women want more.

i feel as if we are pornifying feminist sisterhood. or something. i really dont know why it has to involve sex, especially for women who dont want to have sex with women. if i didnt have my nigel, i wouldnt go barking up some lesbians tree for sex. i think i would just stay single, and take care of my self. is it just me?

18. Undercover Punk - May 19, 2010

I point out the objective benefits of lesbian relationships and now I’m PORNIFYING THE FEMINIST SISTERHOOD?? Are you serious.

Sorry, but this reaction is very funfem: DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!

No one is telling you what to do. I’m suggesting that your hesitancy to acknowledge the INHERENT INEQUALITY of hetero relationships (and your corresponding resistance to lesbianism) is yet another product of our patriarchal conditioning.

Use your head. When two people are of the same social class, they can establish a relationship on more egalitarian terms (than 2 people from oppositional social classes). There’s nothing particularly RADICAL about that statement. It’s just true. And it just makes SENSE.

FYI: I am 31 years old, I have been having sex and relationships exclusively with FABs since I was 20. I had a significant hetero relationship in my teens. Call me a CONVERT if you will, but I’ve been a Lesbian much longer than I was “straight.” And if you haven’t noticed, I DO love the female body. It’s beautiful. Go read my blog. Thx. So I may very well hate men (for good fucking reason), but that is NOT why I’m a lesbian. I am a lesbian because I LOVE WOMEN. Make no mistake about it.

19. Undercover Punk - May 19, 2010

Also, I have a very hard time believing that one’s fascination and commitment to the male penis is so overwhelming as to preclude other forms of pleasure or desire.

most straight women arent having sex with men because they find it sexually satisfying afterall. men are notoriously terrible lovers of women. terrible. awful.

There is NOTHING men can offer us besides the penis that we can’t do for ourselves. Oh yeah, and they don’t have those scary vulvas. But what do I know!? Men are HOT. And so is their sweet male privilege!

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

But what does sex have to do with anything? It’s a serious question. Why can’t we spend time with women, or be committed to women without wanting to fuck them? Or expecting them to fuck us? Honestly, i think its disrespectful. Or at least, there’s something disrespectful, and a little too common about it. Flip out all you want up, seriously. But I think its weird.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

Other kinds of pleasure? You mean like where I specifically said that I would just do it myself, if my Nigel wasn’t around? What’s with the selective reading up? I am not attacking you.

20. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

Excuse me, could you please stop to argue so loudlly, I am a lesbian too, but to my experience, there are many different kind of lesbians that exist. I am 44, I began my sexual life at 17, being lesbian and this until now, talking with lesbian feminists, with lesbians by feminist political choice, with lesbians next door, my lovers and so on..
I discovered and talked with many lesbians and unfortunately I can tell you that for example lesbians who would have the same kind of attraction to women, repulsion with men, and same history as myself are maybe 1 in 50. Some were becoming lesbians after a political decision in the 70’s, some after discovering women while having been married for years with a guy, some after having compulsive sexuality with guys, some after having tried with 1 or 2 men but not feeling having been harmed by them.
Moreover some lesbians will accept to be with another woman, whatever her past history, some will choose only the ones who have no kids, others only the ones who have kids even if themselves never slept with a guy before, some will never accept to have sex and live with a woman who had even just one straight sexual encounter..
And so on, and so on.
So I think, let other women and lesbians of any kind express themselves, because it is their way and good luck, but to my mind lesbian world is not so easy when you look for a serious partner, as we are all so different.
And we argue too, a lot, and there are power problems too. Don’t forget that lesbians as they endure a double oppression are sometimes very fucked up in their nervous stability.
Anyway for myself I have since ever been very touched by the rape problematic and always repulsed by men for that reason and for others, all that I always guessed they did to women in term of abuse and power. I never had male friends, just some relatives that I did not mind to throw away, I hate to be with men and in that I am different from a lot of lesbians.
For myself I find the women attractive and the sexuality very pleasurable too and I don’t want any other.

But the only thing that is really worth for me is the fantastic feeling you have in a women-only environment, moreover a feminist women-only environement or event, the empowerment, the safety you can find there, the love you feel between women.

But if it one to one relationships, and I like women as well so much, I can be very disappointed when I know them better.

Anyway such places (feminist women-only ) allow you to feel well in the group and then to discover a few individuals you will get along with well, and that will be for others the same way, because we are so diverse, and that’s the magic of it.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

And up, this whole series was all about the inherent inequality of het relationships, insofar as they include mandatory piv. And they almost all do. So I am really wondering what the fuck you are even talking about here, and what you are responding to. This is a serious question. Feminists aren’t really committed to women, or they aren’t really feminists at all, if they aren’t also fucking other women? What does partnered sex have to do with anything? I ask for the third time. Celibacy isn’t an option? Masturbation isn’t feminist? Wtf?

21. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

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And I agree with that Femonade !

Now some can find their way sexually speaking by choosing women, and why not. Now if you have children, why not express your own mind, your choices, but don’t you think that the best protection you can offer them is not to tell them about what sexual choice is to make and that become lesbian is the only solution (although it could be a worthy possibility to encourage if they feel they are attracted to women. But tell them it is not always easy, : ) )?
I just think that if you let them discover feminism, and women-only places and indeed especially let them be aware about this story of PIV that everybody, including lesbians since ever (not sleeping with men ever) has integrated inside their little brain as natural, I think it is the best protection to give them, whatever sexuality or absence of sexuality they will have in the future..

22. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

*But what does sex have to do with anything? It’s a serious question. Why can’t we spend time with women, or be committed to women without wanting to fuck them? Or expecting them to fuck us? Honestly, i think its disrespectful. Or at least, there’s something disrespectful, and a little too common about it.*

I agree.

*Feminists aren’t really committed to women, or they aren’t really feminists at all, if they aren’t also fucking other women? What does sex have to do with anything? *

I agree too of course, I think that sex has to be passed by a kind of analysis filter before to let us go to it, and there is no respect in telling that sex is mandatory, with either men or women. Sex is a animal way of interacting with ourselves and with the other, and it is as well charged with fantasies, with huge social and sexual and economic manipulations (look towards men, but sometimes look towards women too) and so on and so on, so the first thing is to be cautious about sex in order it doesn’t harm us, in order it doesn’t spoil a meaningful relation with the other too.

23. rainsinger - May 19, 2010

Oh buttons pushed again *sigh*. I dont think any lesbians here are saying anything about mandatory lesbianism. Not even close, not in any way, shape or form – but, speaking in glowing terms about how life is for them – is often taken the wrong way. There aren’t all that many of us lesbians, and even fewer of a feminist political mind, so I don’t see a problem with the occasional plea from lesbian feminists for more women to “come over” – but thats all it is – a yearning, a desire for more women to break their bonds with men – its not a patriarchal ‘Thou Shalt’, for no group of women has that power over another group of women anyway.
And, I absolutely detest the phrasing “born that way”. Sorry Polly.

As females, we are all conditioned into compulsory, mandatory, heterosexuality, but a minority of us, just “didn’t get the memo” from an early age. Well, good luck to those of us who through luck and/or circumstance were able to either avoid the het conditioning altogether, or it just didn’t *take*, or not for long, or were able to overcome it later in life.
A friend of mine, knew she was a lesbian at age 5, when she fell in love with her kindergarten teacher🙂 her little Girl-Crushes never went away, and she always thought “Boy Germs, Yuck!”and at 47, she still says ‘Boy Germs, Yuck!’. But – she also says, she was just lucky.

She has a theory, that patriarchy, including its main tool, compulsory heterosexuality, is like immunisation. All girls/women get injections or shots of patriarchal propaganda starting at birth – and then keep given “booster” shots throughout life. But, some of us are immune from the beginning, (or immune to bits of it), some of us, find it wears off over time, and stops “working”. Some of us had stronger mothers, and/or other strong women in our lives, who maybe provided “antidotes”, or weren’t as brainwashed themselves, in making us take our shots in girlhood.

Where I do agree with Polly, is that sex is not a ‘right’, and celibacy is fine – it doesn’t kill you, it doesn’t harm your health, it won’t send you blind, and so on. Having a low libido, isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. For some of us older types, the waning of desire has been liberating – but then we are bombarded with messages about even us oldies should be screwing constantly, and with plenty of drugs around to keep us sexually functional into our 90s.

However, it is part & parcel of patriarchy to have everyone believe otherwise. If you aint coming, you aint living, so to speak. There is something *wrong* with you, if you don’t have a regular sex-life with a partner, preferably a life-bonded partner. This is all tied with the myth of coupledom – Pair-bonding (even temporarily) is not natural for our species, never has been, and “marriage’ is a very, very recent social construction in human history. But the pair-bonding, is socially and politically forced and reinforced with financial incentives, state laws, taboos, romanticisation and fairytale propaganda to keep us yearning for it from birth to grave. It is one of the strongest political tools of patriarchy. Radical feminism has always been against marriage, (or pair-bonding) for everyone, including lesbians – as a *political* thing – but on a *personal* level – we all live in the here-and-now, not in utopia – and if partnering helps you, as an individual, cope and survive, then who’s knocking it?

Personally, I don’t bother much with men in my personal life – I avoid them as much as I can. Women often go through stages in their feminist consciousness-raising. One of the first stages, is rage, anger etc. Some women get stuck in that stage and never stop “speaking-out “ – which is fine too. Others of us, have been there, done that, bought that T-shirt, spoke out, argued, fought back etc – then moved on, to indifference towards men, flat refusal to engage on any level whatsoever , and/or spending all of our time with women, women, women.

24. Hecuba - May 19, 2010

I’ve been following this series on why PIV is inherently dangerous to women and today I read this article. Scientists are attempting to create a stronger vaginal gel in order to block HIV transmission from male to female which commonly occurs when PIV is instigated. Once again, rather than challenging the mandatory requirement that heterosex must always culminate/centre around PIV, instead it is women’s bodies which are being subjected to invasive and questionable medical treatment.

For centuries now, human sexuality has been defined from the male-centric perspective wherein female sexuality is always seen as an adjunct to meeting the male’s sexual needs. Women have been and continue to be subjected to criticism admonitions, pressure, punishment if they do not accept that PIV and now PIA (penis in anus) is what supposedly encompasses real human sexual activity.

The question is not whether or not individual women like/want/need PIV or even PIA but the fact that women as a group are bombarded with the male-centric message that PIV/PIA is the sin que (yes I know I may have misspelled this word) of supposedly ‘real sex.’ Female sexuality has for centuries been pathologised and/or ridiculed as less than/more than supposedly male sexuality and male sexual desire. Sexologists created the terms frigid and foreplay which of course were directed against women who refused to submit/countenance PIV with men.

Yes PIV/PIA is extremely dangerous to women because despite claims to the contrary and the reason is the focus must never be placed on how male sexuality has been constructed and continues to be enforced. It is not about men – but about male sexual practices which are supposedly ‘biologically natural’ not created by societal beliefs.

Women’s bodies and sexualities have for centuries been subject to regulation, control and punishment by men as a group and the obvious reason is because it benefits men as a group. Because only a small percentage of women like/enjoy PIV/PIA this is seen not as problematic but ‘natural’ and the other percentage of women who do not like/want/enjoy such sexual practices are viewed as dysfunctional/frigid/prudish/man-hating etc. Why is this? Because human sexuality as I said above, has been defined by men for men – not women.

Women as a group have still not achieved sexual autonomy or ownership of their bodies. This right continues to be for men only and particularly for heterosexual men. Yes, homosexual men have gained some rights but their rights always supercede lesbian women’s rights.

Young girls and boys continue to be socialised into believing that heterosex can only be accomplished when PIV and now PIA is enacted by the male on the female. Any other sexual practice and particularly ones wherein female sexual desire is acknowledged and respected is seen as ‘deviant’ unless of course the woman’s/girl’s sexual desire accords neatly with ensuring male sexual pleasure is paramount and her only desire is to meet his sexual needs.

The issue is not about individual women wanting/liking PIV or even PIA but the issue is certainly about the belief that these sexual practices are mandatory, unless and if the male partner decides otherwise. It is a huge uphill task attempting to change so-called ‘common sense’ notions of what supposedly passes for human sexuality, given it is intertwined with male domination and female subordination. The widespread belief that sexual practices are not ‘erotic’ unless and if one partner enacts dominance and control over the other partner is very difficult to challenge. Even more so, given pornography is now mainstream and promotes dominance and inequality as supposedly ‘erotic and sexy.’

So, how can an individual woman expect that a man she is sexually interested in, will actually listen and respect her innate right of saying ‘no I don’t want your penis thrusting in me but I do want and like other sexual activities which do centre around your penis.’ Earlier feminists described human sexuality as phallocentric wherein the penis supposedly represents what passes for human sexuality. This unfortunately has not changed and not forgetting too, that PIV is primarily about reproduction, it is not about women’s sexual pleasure, because reproduction occurs irrespective of whether or not the woman experiences sexual pleasure.

However, even challenging the idea that PIV and now PIA is what supposedly defines human sexuality causes many men and a good few women to throw up their hands in horror and declare the challenger is a ‘prude/frigid/man-hater etc.’ What these individuals cannot accept is why should PIV and now PIA be mandatory? Why should so many women be expected to consume birth control pills, have regular gynaecological check-ups and even use gels on their bodies in order to prevent STIs, HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases being passed to them by their male partners.

The answer is because male sexual pleasure is mandatory and if certain sexual acts accord sexual pleasure to men at the expense of women then these sexual acts become supposedly ‘real sex.’ Add on the fact male sexual dominance and male sexual power is interconnected not separate from what supposedly passes for being a ‘real man’ then it is not surprising so many women believe they are the ones who have a sexual dysfunction because their sexual experiences do not accord with porn’s definition or the male sexologists’ definitions of what is supposedly ‘real human sexual activity.’

Does this mean PIV and even PIA will disappear if women are accorded sexual autonomy. Certainly not because women are not all identical. However, it will take a huge societal change for women’s sexual rights to be even acknowledged, let alone accepted. So, in the meantime we need series such as this in order to challenge the phallocentric belief that what supposedly passes for human sexuality is in fact male sexual expression wherein the male’s sexual pleasure and pseudo rights always outweigh women’s sexual rights. We do not know what the world would be like if women’s sexuality and rights were accepted and the idea that dominance and control is ‘sexy’ was dismissed for what it is – inequality and the maintenance of one group dominating and controlling another group. Buying into the idea that ‘dominance and control’ is ‘sexy’ only ensures that issues such as male sexual violence against women are not abuses of women’s rights but just the so-called enactment of ‘role play.’ As though how our society is organised can be ignored, because everyone – women and men are equal – and everyone is able to make free and informed choices.

Many women like and want relationships with men but sadly too many women accept that when it concerns sexual expression their rights and desires must not be raised because they will be seen by the male partner as being too assertive/too aggressive/too demanding. The societal message all women and girls receive that their bodies and their sexuality is for men goes very, very deep and there are indeed severe negative consquences for refusing to accept PIV/PIA as ‘real sex.’ Why do you think ‘frigid and prude’ was created because it ensures the focus is always on women and our supposed dysfunction and it ensures that phallocentric sexual practices must never be questioned.

First Wave Feminists did engage in the issue of mandatory PIV and when they did so, many men, particularly powerful white men sought to pathologise these women as ‘man-haters’ or prudes. Why? Because phallocentric sexuality must never be questioned or challenged. This is why viagra is seen as the answer to men’s supposed impotence because unless the penis is erect on demand and penetrates the other person’s body no sex has occurred.

Sheila Jeffreys’ book Anticlimax discusses the various ways popular culture, the male sexologists and male medical practititoners sought to enforce compulsory PIV and also sought to hide the realities that PIV is indeed medically very dangerous for women.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gAONnTxEVF6asiKJZs70yRXg2JqgD9FOPRAO1

25. Undercover Punk - May 19, 2010

Well, let’s see, first of all, women-only spaces are indispensable. No doubt about it. Unfortunately, loyalty to men in the form of heterosexuality can still be present. So let’s talk about sex.

There are 2 primary elements to sexual exchanges: physical and emotional, right? The PHYSICAL release and benefits of sex (stress relief, etc.) are available under any circumstances, including with the self. And there’s nothing wrong with that. At all. If it’s just physical for you, so be it.

HOWEVER, if one seeks to sexually engage with another human, let’s focus on interpersonal dynamics, shall we?
Using the body as a tool to connect the minds and spirits of MULTIPLE PERSONS is what I believe sex with a partner is most valuable for. The unique emotional possibilities of sexual intimacy with another human are my concern here. (Again, anyone can masturbate and reap the strictly physical benefits)

SO, interpersonal relationships can be intensified by a willingness to engage in sexual contact that reinforces connections between bodies, spirits, and emotions. It’s pretty awesome, actually. One of the cool things about having a body, I think.

Being emotionally aware and expressing genuine concern for other people’s feelings/experiences is, fortunately or unfortunately, how FABs are socialized. That’s how and why MtFs always give themselves away. Therefore, I’m contrasting the insistence on “making it work” with men against the prima faciepossibility of a more egalitarian, emotionally fulfulling sexual experience between women.

I do not believe in sexuality essentialism. That is most likely the root of our disagreement. I believe that bodies are bodies are bodies are bodies. Objective realities that we project subjective preferences on. And our preferences are influenced by external forces, aren’t they? So while I vehemently oppose anyone with socially constructed vulva-phobia going anywhere near a female body in a sexual manner (please do NOT), I also think we need to ask ourselves WHY we are resistant to sexual engagement with female bodies. Particularly if, in fact, penises are not inherently erotic (nor are vulvas) AND we recognize the inherent inequality of engaging in romantic relationships with men. WHY NOT encourage women to open ourselves to sexual engagement with each other?? There are unique emotional benefits to investing yourself in this paradigm of sexual intimacy. Be celibate if you prefer, but I think lesbo-phobia, vulva-phobia, and hetero privilege have more to do with such resistance than involuntary biological heterosexuality. That’s all I’m saying.

26. Level Best - May 19, 2010

Monique and Hecuba, what interesting comments you have left for us to read and think about! I want to read Monique’s blog–let us know the url, please? This thread is very substantial, and I thank fcm and everyone who has been adding to the fascinating conversation. This blog is amazing, in general.

Since I am privileged enough to be an educated first-world woman, I don’t accept the concept or enforcement of “mandatory” sexual activity of ANY orientation upon me. But it’s just a trick of fate that I am so fortunate to have been born in the time and place that I was. It literally makes my chest ache to think of all the dangerous and hurtful penetration that men have forced and continue to force upon children and women throughout the ages/world. Billions have been/are still being victimized by it. I was very unwillingly subjected to it when young; since acquiring adulthood I have sacrificed a lot in monetary/prestige terms to avoid it. But I would rather be a free woman than a colonized one with a Platinum card and blood diamonds.

My opinion, hard gained, is that if someone, ANYone, will not socialize and share time and thoughts with me without a sexual “pay-off,” then that person (either sex) can go straight to hell. I have found sufficient good friends over the years who have found value in my company and personal qualities, and that’s good enough for me. And, besides, I’m now so old there ain’t anybody I can imagine being worth the bother of my taking off my clothes for and wrecking my hair for! 🙂

27. Level Best - May 19, 2010

(And I realize you folks are all younger and that my asexuality is a demographically rare phenom, so please tolerate my previous comment as mere anecdotal data from a happy outlier! All you women rock!)

28. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

Ah Undercover Punk.. It is an interesting reasoning with interesting political findings that heterosexual women there should be able to appreciate.
If they agree with you and with what you pre-suppose and believe, which is : I do not believe in essentialism, bodies are just bodies (whatever the gender).

It is a bit in contradiction whith what you wrote earlier : I do love female bodies !!! That’s why I am a lesbian.

But to myself, I am essentialist for this or that thing and I don’t mind to be, I really don’t care of anyone who would tell me : don’t do this, don’t think that, because materialism (that I don’t even want to bother to study) is the truth.
I don’t believe in materialism, it is just useful I suppose to analyse some situations, not everything, and especially not my sexual attraction.

SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT AT LEAST NOBODY FORCES WOMEN TO BE LESBIANS, SO WE CAN ALL AGREE HERE THAT BEING LESBIAN IS EITHER BY NATURE OR BY CHOICE, and it does not matter the different paths they took to be lesbians, unless you want to impose a way, as they are all happy to be lesbians.

For myself, I am lesbian and it is by nature (and a so strong nature that culture could not destroy it), sorry, although in another life I would not have been against trying to be lesbian by political choice, but now and in this life it is already too late, I am already lesbian and it’s my nature, I won’t change it.
What I can do as a political choice now is trying to respect women and build meaningful things with them, like feminism, and never betray them for a male or for patriarchy in any situation.

My own lesbianism has been to be attracted by girls since I was 3 or 5 years old (and not by boys, to the opposite, I did not like to play with them). Not only by their bodies but by their personalities and presence, I am especially romantically and sexually attracted by other lesbians, and much less attracted by hetero women or just women who had some taste for men by the past or were not strong enough to resist heterosexual pressure.

Now there is another kind of attraction for me (which is not sexual at all): with a real feminist woman, whatever hetero or gay she is, I am emotionally attracted to her and feeling so well and safe, just happy and relax, and there the sexuality or love has nothing to do with it at all.

If it was not this way for me, since ever and really based on all the differences between males and females (bodies of course, smell, way to think, to share, to behave, to connect, moreover way to exist and to blossom without men), then I would not have resisted the pressure towards heterosexuality, if for me bodies were just bodies, if I was not homosexual by nature.

In a way, we are from the same species and bodies can look almost the same, especially naked, if man is not in erection, etc, but it is to forget about chemistry !!! Chemistry of bodies and brains…

I noticed that some bisexual women don’t do a real difference between a male or a female body, for example one of my friend who is now a radical lesbian but was straight by the past, does not mind to sit next to a man now, I mind, and in her particular case she confide me to be bisexual even though she revendicates publicly to be lesbian now, and celebrates feminism, female bodies (she is an artist), romantic and sexual love between lesbians and decided she will never go with a man again, never, or even have male friends.

But I was not feminist immediately, for sure, I had to understand and fight against patriarchy later on in life.

Do you have anything against nature, natural things, being this or that by birth, here ?

And a question I want to ask since long, to FCM particularly, now it is about heterosexuality, : ) , how do you make a kind of exception with your boyfriend Nigel, what is attracting you in him, what kind of sexuality could you develop with him, and how does he react to all your views, does he share them or not, what kind of deep or not so deep connection do you have with him, that you could have or not have with a female ?

Thanks

29. SheilaG - May 19, 2010

I would say heterosexuality protests and over reacts a bit too much here. What is interesting to me, is that I was not conned by the massive 24/7 hetero propaganda machine, even to the point where I was willing to face complete hetero social rejection for a very long time.
Now hetero women are getting somewhat of a clue… the older ones have been divorced or been beaten in straight relationships, they’re living in poverty because of this heteronormative world that malfunctioned for them, so they are less assured in their idea that heterosexuality is superior to lesbian existence. And make no mistake, hetero women do believe they are superior to lesbians, and their lesbophobia is always pretty easy to see or feel. That’s a given.

What I question is why would the hetero normative indoctrination machine be in top gear all the time, if sex with men was so “normal”?
That is the question I ask, and no one really seems to be able to answer it. There could be an answer in that men want women to be factories for babies, and if the factories go on strike, no more male babies will be manufactured. Men have a fear of being wiped out by women, wiped out by abortion. Jesse Jackson has said so, a christian right wing radio guy also mentioned his horror at finding out his mother had had a few abortions, and had thought of aborting him as well. So men, thinking the world is about them all the time, take abortion seriously.

Women go along with this nonsense all the time. I don’t think most lesbians here are arguing that straight women have sex with lesbians. Heavens to betsy, I wouldn’t want to make love to a woman who was hetero conditioned and trained by a man for decades… or a het woman who had too much hetero baggage, kids, ex-rapist husbands lurking around… in-laws, grandkids and all those hetero accourtremounts that they bore us lesbians with in casual conversations. “I have 5 grandkids, 5 kids, a dog, a cat and a kangaroo…” You know how they announce this to one and all all the time; it’s weird, but I digress.

And I can assure you, in rich countries and poor countries lesbians are everywhere, we simply know how to hide from heteros to survive if need be. Believe me, if we want to hide from you we can. Piece of cake. The more oppressive the society, the more hidden we are, so if you travel around the world as a het woman, you ain’t gonne have access to us and our groups ever. Your presenece might cause men to come, and that could mean death to us.

The thing is, how much are het women going to argue for the hetero normative imparative? Is this defending the status quo? Does it address the huge numbers of formerly straight women who SHOCK became lesbians? Again, neither UP nor I are saying that het women should have sex wtih women. I don’t know where het women get this idea. We are simply questioning the huge hetero-sexual complex that thinks lesbian existence is rare or confined to some white western standard. You haven’t met the lesbians of Saudi Arabia or Thailand, or Nigeria. You have no access to that underground lesbian sisterhood, so you wouldn’t know. And we’re going to keep it that way thank you very much, because your existence with your men is a threat to our lives. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but hey, het women bring men to things. We would prefer social interaction with het women free of their rapist attachments (men), but you know, they want their social man on the arm privilege, so what can we do🙂

Too long winded, I know. Funny how lesbians celebrating our superior existence bring out the hetero defensiveness, or the arrogant assumption that we would want to have sex with you in the first place.
Can’t speak for UP, Polly and the gang, but don’t flatter yourself is all.
I’m being factual here, and this is not meant to be mean, it just is.

30. Undercover Punk - May 19, 2010

Monique @ 28. It’s only a contradiction if I said that my love for female bodies was pre-social. I didn’t.

31. Level Best - May 19, 2010

“. . .with a real feminist woman, whatever hetero or gay she is, I am emotionally attracted to her and feeling so well and safe. . .”–Monique

Yes–sisterhood! Lovely description.

32. Loretta Kemsley - May 19, 2010

ShielaG wrote: “I would say heterosexuality protests and over reacts a bit too much here.”

I may be wrong and missed someone, but I’ve only seen two hets here, FCM and myself. I don’t see either of us as “over reacting.” Not sure why you think we are.

FCM is being her normal self in being passionate, direct and aggressive. I’ve simply said I do not support a move to tell girls what their sexuality should be. If you believe what I said is overreacting and protesting too much, then I have to question what you feel is appropriate. But, again I may be wrong, it seems to me that your remark was aimed at FCM.

If so, why do you think that FCM is protesting too much and overreacting when you don’t think the others who are equally passionate, direct and aggressive are not? Do you not see this negative labeling is directly in line with the patriarchal labeling that is consistently used to degrade and devalue women?

I’ve worked for decades to bring freedom to women so they can control and define their own lives. That includes their sexual choices. I could not possibly support a move to tell girls how they must develop their sexuality. That would put me on the same low, abusive level of misogynists everywhere.

I’m quite willing to be free and open with them, provide them with all sorts of information and to listen if and when they want to talk. I already have a strong record of doing exactly that. In fact, I’ve met people, both male and female, who feel I am far too frank and should somehow restrict my comments about sexuality to adults only. They didn’t get very far, but they tried.

If het women are viewed as “protesting too much” and “over reacting” by being passionate, honest and direct about our concepts, then is that rising out of prejudice against us? I would hope not. But I cannot think of another reason why this was said. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

33. Loretta Kemsley - May 19, 2010

Undercover Punk wrote: “Well, let’s see, first of all, women-only spaces are indispensable. No doubt about it. Unfortunately, loyalty to men in the form of heterosexuality can still be present.”

I absolutely value women only spaces. The dynamics of every discussion is changed by the presence of men, even if they are agreeing with the concepts women are presenting. They cannot understand the depths of being a woman if for no other reason than they do not have the lived experience.

I’ve sponsored discussion lists at Yahoo and other forums that were women only spaces. I frequently participate in female only gatherings. Not all discussion is political. Most of it isn’t. But it is still purer, so to speak, to my great appreciation when no men are present.

So your point is well taken. If we’re ever going to define and control our own sexuality, we’re going to do it first in women only spaces, whether it is one woman alone in her house or many women discussing it together. Because all men will object to this. They will perceive it as a threat to them and their interests, which it is.

But that doesn’t mean that the discussion hasn’t been going on for decades in public. Unfortunately, much of it has been consigned to the pink ghetto because it is such a threat to patriarchy. When women free themselves from male sexual domination, then patriarchy crashes and ceases to exist.

If we’re going to spread these concepts to the widest possible audience, then we have to speak about it publicly (not instead of but in addition to). This almost invites the male voice into the conversation but that can be productive too. When men are on forums and openly crude, rude and abusive because their sexual privileges are at stake, it gives us an opportunity to remark on exactly that in ways that would not arise if they were not present and protesting.

So I find value in both women only and co-ed spaces, depending upon what I want to accomplish in the moment.

34. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

( Me too in brackets…
Hi Level Best and SheilaG, and please Level Best, stay with us. : ), for my blog you have to wait a bit more, not good enough at the moment. I begin to have an headache, what about you? Het women can be a danger, men are, women incl. lesbians can, feminists are tearing each other apart, people and animals and nature are in slavery and die stupidly all over the planet and at the very moment academics will monopolize the discussion, we are dead.. While the sun is shining outside and we could use our limited time to enjoy life instead of fighting and torturing our neurons. Huhhhh, it is so hard to be born in this world sometimes!)

Well, I am hoping to find volunteers to create women- and certainly lesbians(only)-only spaces where to discuss politics (away from academics) and where to organize ourselves, because these spaces disappear, they have always been heavily attacked or do not exist yet where we live.
Ideally have a kind of state status and be able to give women from around the world a permanent citizenship.

Any idea, or only a bomb on the planet would really fix the situation?

35. Monique Louicellier - May 19, 2010

Sisterhood, yes, sisterhood, a so wonderful feeling and achievement, so difficult to create, you are luckier in the States, you have it better than in other countries, you have the Michigan Women Music Festival, it is only for a week but so so lucky you!!

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

Oh noes, teh lesbian Borg don’t want to have sexxxay with me. Boo fucking hoo. Sorry Sheila, but that’s such a cliche.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

Level best, I think the sexual payoff aspect of social interactions is very lame and very boring too. Most people wouldn’t interact socially at all if it weren’t for the chance of getting laid. I don’t care that much about getting laid anymore, and I dislike social interactions in general. So there’s a lot about this conversation that just very strange to me.

Monique, I am very much with you on the intellectual attraction to smart and learned feminists. I have a particular thing for writers, who have a gift for communication, and making people understand. How anyone gets from there to wanting to fuck that writer is kind of beyond me. Maybe I will just observe this convo and see where it goes.

36. Undercover Punk - May 19, 2010

Well, let’s review. In order:

I said @ 8:

Why not start teaching females how to pleasure EACH OTHER?

Loretta @10

I agree with the various posts about including girls experimenting with girls on a sexual basis. I should have been clearer about that. In my mind, I lumped it into girls learning to pleasure themselves.

Ok, good. BUT. This is dismissive of Lesbians and Lesbianism. Also, maybe ya heard, one of the age-old complaints against homosexuality is that it is the ultimate narcissism. So when lesbianism is “the same as” learning to pleasure ourselves, it reminds me of homophobia. I’m sure that wasn’t anyone’s intent.

So I went further @ 12:

we should be propagating lesbianism as the preferred method of human connection.

I, personally, have never claimed NOT to be a Lesbian Propagandist. I am. Unpleasant as that may be to some. But discussing and supporting–even “marketing”– a particular way of engaging with others or viewing the world is NOT equivalent to mandatory anything.

So when Loretta replied @15:

But to try to dictate to them what they choose is no different than what patriarchy has done for thousands of years.

I have to ask WHY would you interpret support for lesbianism as “dictating”?

And FCM under Polly@ 17:

there is something indescribably strange about demanding that straight women become lesbians because its “smarter.” … i find it odd, to say the least, that we have a lifelong lesbian (sheila) and a new hetero convert (UP) telling straight women that we should be having sex with women. ….

i feel as if we are pornifying feminist sisterhood. or something. …

That is just ridiculous. So I replied @18 with:

Sorry, but this reaction is very funfem: DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!

and FCM @ 20, under Monique:

Feminists aren’t really committed to women, or they aren’t really feminists at all, if they aren’t also fucking other women?

Who said that?? Not me.

And finally, rainsinger@ 22

I dont think any lesbians here are saying anything about mandatory lesbianism. Not even close, not in any way, shape or form

Correct. No one said that.

Reacting defensively to the assertion that lesbianism is the preferred dynamic for human sexuality, RE-PHRASING appeals for lesbian support to “dictate to them [young women] what they choose” and “demanding that straight women become lesbians” and “pornifying the feminist sisterhood”, seems lesbo-phobic. And reminiscent of funfem discussion shut-downs. That’s what I said.

37. SamC - May 19, 2010

I’ve really enjoyed reading this series of posts, but I’ve refrained from posting because I’ve had trouble collecting my thoughts lately. I don’t have much to add (not that I’ve been able to form into coherent sentences anyway!), but these discussions have been excellent and thought provoking and I’ve been loving reading what you all have to say.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

And I said, four times now, Wtf does sex have to do with anything. And I still haven’t gotten an answer. See, I refuse to even contemplate loving women and fucking them in the same thought. I don’t think a straight woman who loves women would ever make that leap, because in the heterosexual world as you well know, loving someone and fucking them are the opposite. So everyone here can rest assured that no matter how awesome I think you are, I probably will never have the desire to fuck you. I think that’s about as safe a space as you will ever get. If your life as a lesbian gets better and safer than that, then good on you. I’m not talking about scary predatory lesbians, either, although I am sure there are fingers twitching at the keyboard, ready to use that phrase. Fear and sex go hand in hand, when you are a straight woman, for obvious reasons. It bothers me very much to go from a discussion about womens suffering, around the world, at the hands of men, and to think about these same women sexually at the same time. It feels like a violation of trust. And since most women aren’t lesbians, it kind of is a violation of trust. It is, if they say it is. Most women need to be liberated from sex, not by it.

38. Loretta Kemsley - May 19, 2010

8: Loretta’s suggestion sounds a lot like modified SEPARATISM (my way or the highway). So why not take it further? Why not refuse to engage with men AT ALL?

12: I did not say “experimentation.” Nor do I think that “experimentation” is a fair characterization of woman-love. AT ALL. What I actually meant is that, given the ubiquitous climate of male supremacy, we should be propagating lesbianism as the preferred method of human connection.

That is what you wrote, not just the parts you quoted. In effect, you are saying we should tell all girls to be lesbians because it is politically better — which totally excludes those who are attracted to boys and have no yearning for other girls at all. Why should I do that? That isn’t a position I hold nor would it have been one that interested me at any point in my life.

No matter how much you enjoy being a lesbian, most girls won’t choose it except on an experimental basis. That’s life. Some of those who experiment will choose it. Others will become bi (which you seem to ignore all together). Even so, most are het and will be interested in boys with no thoughts about being anything else, even when it is suggested.

You can translate that position at “lesbo-phobic,” but you would be wrong. I’m a realist. I write to reach the largest number of people, not to be ignored because my message has no appeal. I can write anything I wish, but if no one wants to read it, then it accomplishes nothing. Every time someone reads what I write, they bring their own perceptions that are added to mine in their mind. That’s how it should be and how I expect it to be. That means that every single person who reads what I right will receive a personal message, perhaps even something far akin to what I meant when I wrote it because they filter it through the knowledge and wisdom they have already acquired.

I also don’t write thinking that whatever I write will automatically transform the world tomorrow. Ideas need time to be considered and then, if appealing, to be acted upon. I’ve seen many changes since I was a child and expect to see many more in whatever time I have left. When I read some of the posts here, it seems to me that they do not reflect anything beyond the present when I am aiming at the future.

factcheckme - May 19, 2010

Thanks samc. I have enjoyed it too for the most part. This series got tons of traffic, which was very unexpected, and not from keyword searching intercourse either. Very interesting indeed. Thanks for posting.

39. mscitrus - May 19, 2010

Er, I might count as het, since I’m currently partnered with a man and as a result am pretty exclusively attracted to him for now. (And obviously get het privlege.) I never know what to call myself in these conversations.

FCM: “It bothers me very much to go from a discussion about womens suffering, around the world, at the hands of men, and to think about these same women sexually at the same time. It feels like a violation of trust. And since most women aren’t lesbians, it kind of is a violation of trust. It is, if they say it is. Most women need to be liberated from sex, not by it.”

Yes, I’ve always had this feeling myself but never was quite able to articulate it. Thanks FCM.

I think instead of discussing *who* we should have sex with, since we all seem to agree that lesbian relationships are an ideal, we need to put the emphasis on *how* we have sex. Is it intercourse? Anal? Blowjobs? BDSM? Etcetc. We need to educate women and girls about the drawbacks and alternatives to all the crap that’s considered “just sex.” Unfortunately, BDSM plagues lesbian sex too. As Loretta says, we can’t make girls into lesbians, so I think our best bet is in warning them about the shit men will try and pull and what things should be deal breakers (like porn).

I think I’m getting the intellectual vs. sexual attraction stuff? My sexuality works so that when I meet someone smart/empathic/engaging, I’ll be sexually attracted to them if I’m not currently in love with someone. I’m guessing a similar thing takes place for you, UP? (If I’m getting this wrong, you can just correct me.)

40. SheilaG - May 19, 2010

First off, it is amazing to me just how many lesbians there really are in the world, and also the complete absense in the world of any straight women who ever present the idea that their girl children might be lesbians. There is always the assumption of heterosexuality out in the world, and this is deeply amusing to me, because occasionally, when I meet the daughters, they are obviously lesbians or going to be lesbians. Being old school, I never tell anything about this to straight parents because it could endanger the daughter.

The assumption that asexuality or sex with self is the same or similar to lesbian sexuality I thinks roundly negates lesbian sexuality. The idea that people only socialize for possible sexual purposes also strikes me as a bit odd. Especially since I worked in so many lesbian groups that had nothing to do with this. We were working on political projects not dating each other. Now men might only be socializing with women with sex on their pea brains, that could be true. I wouldn’t know, because men repulse me, maybe because they really are thinking this way, who knows.

If straight women aren’t really educating daughters on lesbian existence in the world, and I’ll bet 99.999% of the straight women on the Internet or IRL have NEVER done this, then we are talking about het women’s complicity in hiding lesbian possibility or lesbian existence. Maybe one reason right wing people flew off the handle so much about “Heather Has Two Mommys” was over the fear of “what about the children, what about girls even being told about two mommys to begin with.

There is the greatest homophobia over issues involving children among straight people. Only recently have mothers really started to think that there should be great fear of children even being alone with men unsupervised — priests, uncles etc.

Women only space, pretty easy to come by. Women love to be together in groups. Lesbian only space rare and rarer now with the transwoman invasion… another story… Feminist discussions among straight women unprompted or begun by yours truly close to 1% of the time. Talk about clothing, make-up, weight loss, jewelry and husbands… well they could go on endlessly with this if I let them🙂

Can straight parents even see lesbian daughters? Nope, probably not.
I can assure you that even Dykey me gets mistaken for straight often, hard to believe but true. Straight people can be pretty clueless and locked into hetero glasses. As outsiders, lesbians often laugh at the comedy of straight life.

All I’m saying is that straight women’s denial of lesbian existence on a larger level is significant, and lesbian nation helped make lesbian visibility more of a thing. Lesbians did have the most to gain by inventing Michigan, lesbian music festivals all over the place, rape crisis centers etc. Heck, we even drove the creation of a lot of women’s studies departments, the creation of all women’s colleges in America, the 65% of single women involved in suffrage movements, the invention of workman’s compensation in upstate New York, the genius behind Roosevelt’s new deal, the invention of nursing and social work… all lesbian accomplishments.

Women who avoided childbirth in the 19th and early 20th century had a huge intellectual advantage, and I’d argue child free women still have this advantage. FNC can devote time to this blog precisely because she doesn’t have three little kids at home.

The bottom line of course, is how free do women really want to be, and I’d say there will be no feminist revolution if women still live with and are supported by men — it won’t happen, because men will undermine the sisterhood of women, take up valuable time, and of course whine. And I can watch the band aid actions of straight women’s feminism, but hey, it’s still men living with women, and still basically problematic.

What is the total possibility of women being lesbian worldwide? Well take away all the social stigma, the crime and punishment, the 24/7 het propaganda, all the social perks young girls get from being well girly, white dresses and weddings, Beauty and the Beast, and every other fairy tale— take away all those trappings and legal sanctions and just plain social meanness that is ever present among striaght people in groups…. create a world where girls really did have a choice, and you’d see something socially new. That’s the whole point of radical feminism, to make women central… and then see what happens from there.

41. rhondda - May 20, 2010

Thank you fcm. I am not a lesbian. I am not sexually attracted to women, but at the same time there are women I love for who they are and have very heart felt affection for them. They have taught me something about life that is not based on sex, but based on an affinity of knowing something about the how women have had to cope with life in a patriarchy. I am grateful to them for that affection. It means alot because I never got it from my mother and my relationship with my mother was never based on sex. I just wanted her to love me, but because she never loved herself, she could not do it.
I have been accosted by women who claim to be lesbian, and just because I listened to them and heard their stories, it totally freaked me out when they wanted to go for sex. How did they come to that conclusion? As far as I was concerned it was just the same as men. I was not respected as a person, it had to be consummated in some weird ritual. Then I figured out that they had not been heard before and that triggered some deep desire. Am I perceived as a mother figure? So sorry, I am not your mother. Even my sister gives me this subliminal message, just because I am older than she is. Women have got to chose themselves and know what they want. What I have discovered is that I will not be dictated to by either a man or a woman and that I prefer my own company to anyone else. It is freedom from other people’s expectations and needs. This is not to say I am a Ann Rand fanatic, but really we all need to figure out how much we can diminish ourselves in order to help someone else. Screw self sacrifice. I morn for my mother and how she did diminish herself and therefore not show me how to take the steps to make my life meaningful. I am a DIY feminist, yet I also believe in standpoint feminism. One’s experience informs one’s philosophy. We learn from each other.

42. Undercover Punk - May 20, 2010

FCM @ 37 under samc: see my comment @ 25 regarding WTF sex has to do with Woman-Love. I think you already got it, though, based on this “Most women need to be liberated from sex, not by it.” Liberated from sex WITH MEN. Because of compulsory heterosexuality. Let’s be clear. You call it fucking for a reason.

Loretta @ 38: yeah, that’s what I said. It doesn’t change my argument that there are OBJECTIVE benefits to a relationship founded on social-class egalitarianism. (Also, I haven’t said every time, rather on its face.) It’s not “political;” it’s towards the best interests of females. Still, it sounds like you’re at “marketing” than I am!

mscitrus @39: yes, exactly. If I hate someone, it doesn’t matter how beautiful they are, they’re ugly to me. If I like someone, they become more sexually attractive to me. In fact, I’ve felt surprisingly attracted to people I would never call generally “good looking.” That’s how my sexuality works.

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Liberated from sex with men…means liberated from sex period, up, when you are straight. Sorry. You aren’t going to have a lot of luck convincing victimized women that having anyone go down on them is a good idea, although you have tried before on this blog, and failed. You ultimately apologized in fact, because it was so clearly inappropriate to market your het convert seperatism in a discussion of rape. Well, this is a very similar discussion, and you are marketing the same damn thing. It’s pissing me off, and thats 2 other readers now who have said something similar to what i have said. Theres something not right about it. Or, are they lesbophobes too?

43. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

rhondda wrote: It is freedom from other people’s expectations and needs.

That’s it exactly. You expressed it very clearly for me. I don’t want to have anyone hanging on my coat tails that is an adult. Children are another story altogether. I may not want to sacrifice the time and energy, but they need adults to help them survive.

The problem, from my POV, is when adults want to act like children and suck me dry instead of allowing me to be who I am and who I want to be. Because I am a rebel since birth, I refuse to try to pigeonhole someone else with my exprectations and refuse to accept being pigeonholded by theirs.

The parts of this discussion I am having a problem with is the posts that demand that others comply with the poster’s ideas. I appreciate the ideas themselves but do not like the attitude of entitlement that seems to be behind the demands.

I am for freeing up our definition of women’s sexuality so that all women can choose to be involved or not involved with anyone they choose and also have the freedom to make other choices throughout their lives.

That is the bottom line for me. All else is details.

44. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

Undercover Punk wrote: “It’s not “political;” it’s towards the best interests of females.”

What is good for you is not good for all females. It isn’t good for me. What is good for me is also not good for all females. It would be arrogant and grandiose if I thought it was.

One of my pet peeves are people who try to make a monolith out of individual women, a monolith where they all are perceived as clones of one another. I’ve even had men tell me that we women need to get together and decide what we want. As if. Each of us wants something different. No one would make that demand from men, so why is it considered okay to make it of women?

I do not allow men to rule my life. However, I’ve known quite a few men I’ve enjoyed being with, both as lovers and friends. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where they did not influence me.

So what you are preaching has no appeal to me. I doubt it would appeal to most women, although I’m sure there are many who it does appeal to. For myself, when I move beyond the sexual relationship dynamics, men are great friends. And yes, I’ve done that my whole life, so it is no impossible.

So let’s get off that track and discuss what I came here to discuss: FCM’s presentation of Dworkin’s concepts. I admire both FCM and Dworkin. Is there anything in their concepts that appeals to you?

45. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

The bottom line of course, is how free do women really want to be, and I’d say there will be no feminist revolution if women still live with and are supported by men — it won’t happen, because men will undermine the sisterhood of women, take up valuable time, and of course whine. And I can watch the band aid actions of straight women’s feminism, but hey, it’s still men living with women, and still basically problematic.

That depends upon how you define the sisterhood. If you define it as no men in any woman’s life at all, then you won’t get very far. Men exist. If you define it as women make independent decisions with or without male influence, then more women will want to participate.

Jealousy of men being in my life is unattractive from other men and just as unattractive from other women. I don’t allow jealous people to make my decisions for me. That would be dysfunctional and would only serve to harm me.

If straight women aren’t really educating daughters on lesbian existence in the world, and I’ll bet 99.999% of the straight women on the Internet or IRL have NEVER done this, then we are talking about het women’s complicity in hiding lesbian possibility or lesbian existence.

I can’t speak for all het women, but het women in my circle have never had a problem being friends with lesbians or talking about lesbian sexuality with our children. I’m not sure why you are lumping all het women in with right wing women or even all right wing women in with homophobic right wing women (usually based on their religious values).

My daughters were raised around both lesbian women and gay men, along with straight men and women. There were never any secrets. The same goes for my grandchild.

I think it is far more likely that all het women have discussed homosexuality with their children according to their personal beliefs rather than ignoring it completely. I could be wrong. But I’ve never met a het woman who had not discussed it with their children.

46. SheilaG - May 20, 2010

Heavens to Betsy, maybe I’m the outlier here, but I most certainly have never been sexually attracted to straight women. Ever. And I would say that women have a right to be free and not coerced or conned into sexual anything! If lesbians do this to straight women (again, I drive the drunken straight women home to protect them from predatory men on occasion), it’s not ok with me. I’m from an old school lesbian sorority that doesn’t exist very much anymore. I protect straight women from abusive men, I’ve bopped a few unrulely potential rapists in the gullet, I helped found a rape crisis center that served mostly straight women. I got them raises, I made sure they were well cared for by making the jerks get life insurance on their wives… hey I buy these women drinks on occasions because they are dead broke… Like Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get much respect from straight women on the Internet. But straight women are ungrateful and clueless a lot of the time. They get used and abused in patriarchy in ways I can’t imagine, no wonder they take it out on us now and then.

Straight women do show up in our clubs and attempt their little games… that’s what happens in a big city. They are not cool, I can spot them at 50 yards, and they most certainly are not sexually attractive in anyway whatsoever… it’s a made up face… it’s a male colonized porn thing… hey, can’t I have my brandy and cigar in peace?🙂

That said, we still have to deal with the middle ground — all the women who have no idea who they are. I’ve got bi-friends, believe me, it’s male it’s female… hey they’re bi.

It is the middle ground that so gets the heterosexual police state up and arms. It’s fundamentalist christian men terrorized at the thought of lesbian nation. It’s husbands who break up their wives’ friendships with me… me, for goddess sake, stuffed shirt, open doors for women, buy drinks… starched white shirts, upright, never ever even hug women unless they make the first move. I respect women, and would never ever do anything to not respect women. Sexual preditors? Hey that’s a guy thing. But my generation, no, we come from a completely different place, we have no place actually, all the fun femme lesbians have taken over the planet, we’re the dinosaurs about to be erased from herstory. Hey, Mary Daly died, Audre Lorde is dead… Alix Dobkin wrote a memior…

You’ll have no problem with us genteel victorian types straight women of the universe.

Still, though, we dino lesbians with our cigars and smoking jackets watch the hetero women suffering machine, the manufacture of babies, the divorce courts, the rapes, the husbands sticking it to you… hey I just try to intervene and save your financial butts even when you don’t see the divorce coming five years into the future.

And I must admit, us radical lesbians have a certain proprietory pride in our ideology, in our freedom, in our utter contempt for men. We have always known they are jerks, we have always seen them as obstacles — orange cones on the freeway to drive around, or actually run over — run those pigs over —🙂 We see the suffering hetero women worldwide, raped beaten underpaid, worked to death like work horses or yaks from Tibet. We see the long hours of minimum wage deadening jobs… we see the welfare food stamps… we see it all. We see women worldwide in yet another damn wedding to another damn man in Pakistan, Jamaica, or New South Wales…
we see what happens 30 years later… we watch, we shrug our shoulders, we say “oh well we wish you well…”

47. SheilaG - May 20, 2010

P.S. It’s a rant… sorry, two glasses of turning leaf merlot and I’m launched I’m afraid. In vino veritas…

48. rainsinger - May 20, 2010

FCM @ 37 under samc: see my comment @ 25 regarding WTF sex has to do with Woman-Love. I think you already got it, though, based on this “Most women need to be liberated from sex, not by it.” Liberated from sex WITH MEN. Because of compulsory heterosexuality. Let’s be clear. You call it fucking for a reason.

I agree with you in theory UCP, and I also sympathise with grief with the erasure of lesbian experience too, with the unconscious knee-jerk defensive responses. But, you know UCP – if women, are not in a mindset to speak/think of it, or just aren’t ready to *hear* – then they just aren’t, *shrug* – and is not going to help by pointing it out. You need to *let it go* hun – you know what I mean? Tis like when I was working in DV/Sexual assault centres – many women go back, if not to the same man, then to another who is no different than the one who put them there in the first place. It happens  All you can do, is show them there is an alternative, and you are willing to put yourself out to help them – but if they reject it, even with disgust and anger – Let.It.Go.

BTW – I hate the word “homophobic” – as that includes gay men, and in general usage, is talking primarily about gay male experience, (which is totally different as chalk is to cheese), to lesbian experience.
. In effect, you are saying we should tell all girls to be lesbians because it is politically better — which totally excludes those who are attracted to boys and have no yearning for other girls at all
No Loretta, nobody is saying that, not at all. In my experience, it is the opposite which is true. Lesbianism is forcibly, totally EXCLUDED from girlhood. It is not just social conditioning TOWARDS compulsory heterosexuality, but also social conditioning AGAINST lesbianism – which is part of Self-Hatred that all women internalise to a degree. Woman_Hatred comes out in self-harm, eating disorders, emotionally self-damaging and masochistic behaviours, poor self-esteem, as well as rape-culture, pornography and prostitution . Men hate women, because they are taught to do so – Thing is, women get the same message as men, so we are taught to hate Our Selves, and Each Other. The thought of touching or being touched by another woman intimately, turns a lot of women green with an internalised disgust, a conditioned “gag reflex”, if that’s not a Pavlov’s Dog type of instinctive conditioned physiological reflex, what is? As Mary Daly said, it is the Ultimate Taboo.
Besides which, no group of women, have any structural power or socio-political authority over any other group of women. White women do not have the power to oppress Black women in a *political* sense, although individual white women can and often do behave in *personally* racist ways because of thier conditioning – they can’t as a “group”, however, do it in a *political* way. Similarly with lesbians, even if lesbians wanted to – and they don’t! – but even if they did – there is no way in hell, lesbians could ever coerce, force, convince, argue or in any way, shape or form, *impose* anything on any other women!! And LOL, hahahaha…. *sheesh* – Men would never allow it anyway!!🙂

49. rainsinger - May 20, 2010

Sheila wrote: “All this negotiating with men strikes me as supremely exhausing, however……”

yeah, I hear you Sheila, many women think you can *negotiate* – Many tend to think if they just bargain hard enough – men will capitulate and “play fair”. what did Andrea Dworkin, call it? women playing the game “Let’s Make a Deal”. and the eternal “Protection Racket” – selling ourselves for ‘Protection’. There’s some Andrea dworkin that I particularly like.

Like the old saying, you can’t “negotiate” with terrorists. You can’t “negotiate”, when you have no bargaining chips to negotiate with, its a heavily unequal bargaining table. The deck is loaded, but only on HIS side. But women, in their desire for peace, will always bargain away whatever little they do have, for “Peace at Any Price”. Nonetheless, I do admire the tenacity of women who just never give up trying to bargain with men.

50. Undercover Punk - May 20, 2010

Insulting my I-dentity and bringing up the past. Nice. But why don’t you deal with what I’m SAYING?

Yes, rhodda is clearly lesbophobic. WTF do mothers have to do with woman-sex? Very Freudian, though!

But yes, let’s be clear: it’s ok to talk about “making it work” with rapists, but discussion about the objective benefits of an alternative that excludes both rape (PIV) and rapists all together is inappropriate. Gotcha. Loud and clear!!

Sheila did a beautiful job of explaining how girls are disadvantaged by the refusal, or neglect, to present lesbianism as a viable option.

But carry on with the rapists. Make it work! And tell your daughters the same. VIVA compulsory heterosexuality!

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

loretta, thanks for remembering dworkins work in all this. thats why we are here, and in thinking about this discussion its where i think we need to return. please, read the article again, if you need to. i have re-read it a dozen times myself, to edit or see if the words still say what i wanted them to say. they do. dworkin’s theory was that lesbians and gay men fuck up the narrative, because they make it too clear that “men fuck women, women get fucked by men” is not the only way. but it *is* the only way. patriarchy isnt going to let a little thing like the reality of real peoples lives, and the fact of real peoples desires, get in the way of its false, phoney narrative of compulsory heterosexuality. but make no mistake. compulsory heterosexuality isnt the rule because people hate gays and lesbians. homo and lesbophobia exist because womens bodies are synonymous with penetration. homo and lesbophobia exist because women are and MUST BE colonized, by men, and be made into babymakers, for patriarchy to function. homo and lesbophobia exist because of misogyny. the absoluetely blackest, purest misogyny there is too: the literal objectification of women. that women exist only as fuckholes, for men, and as babymakers. and i dont personally give a fuck about gay men, for that reason. number one, they are men. number two, teh poor gay menz would have any problems at all, if womens bodies werent the battlefield they are. this isnt about gay men.

this is about women, all women. and lesbians fuck up the narrative too. they make it all too clear that PIV isnt inherently erotic, for women. if it was inherently erotic, ALL women would desire it. thats what “inherent” means. lesbophobia exists because all women are seen as fuckholes for men: if you arent a fuckhole for men, its not because being a fuckhole for men is an unnatural state for some women (or all women). if you arent a fuckhole for men, its because you arent a real woman. see? if you are engaging in sexual acts that cant kill someone or make them pregnant, its not because sex acts dont have to be dangerous: no, what you are doing ISNT SEX. its “foreplay”. yes? its such a lie, and the sleight of hand is so tricky that its easy to miss. its easy to miss the misogyny. but its there. and i imagine that it would be tempting to jump on the “equal rights” bandwagon with the gay men too, because “homophobia” is so unfair. and it is. but look at the common denominator here, because there is one. its not some random hatred of a random difference among people. its not misandry or homophobia or anything else at its core. its misogyny. and i think that feminists can see this, for what it is. most gay activists arent feminists though, just like most gay people arent feminists.

so…did dworkin get it right? if not, why not? and if so, what does it mean for this discussion, which has kind of turned into a pissing match between gay and straight women?

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Oh, and up, what you call bringing up the past, I call context. Just like when dirt came over here taking shots at Dworkin, and I knew that she also thinks that straight women deserve to be raped, by men, and that she has a strap-on fetish. Not gonna let that slide. If you are embarrassed by your own past behavior, you might consider learning from it. I haven’t said anything here that I regret, or have had to apologize for later. You have.

51. rainsinger - May 20, 2010

FCM.. BWAHAHAHAHAHA…dirt is a po-mo (post-modernist), aka ‘queer’ politics – nothing ‘feminist’ in that view of the world. As there are many non-feminist hets, there are also plenty of non-feminist lesbians.

But, I dont see the conflict here on the blog, as a pissing contest between lesbians and hets, but as stereotyped reflex of playing Divide & Conquer, on grounds of personal versus political, that we women are all taught to internalise from little girlhood, in the girls bathrooms of little kiddie school and beyond. We all do it, including you, FCM. Most women, cannot see the political very clearly, for the personal so often gets in the way. I dont have an issue with it, although it can be painful and unpleasant – I think such conflict is healthy, if we ever could work together through it ….most women don’t or won’t tho’ , unfortunately….

Anyway, back to Andrea, Dworkin in her book Intercourse, amongst her other works, and other feminists works, have analysed and theorised the basic tenet of radical feminist political theory – at the root of all isms, is misogyny. Full stop. End of story. That includes racism and classism, this-ism and that-ism. Some disagree (strongly) and try to separate out all the isms. (Which is also called the Rule/Tool of Divide & Conquer) In ‘Intercourse’, she is focussing on one cultural construction in the arena of heterosexuality. In other books, she uses the same methodology to deconstruct and point out the misogyny rooted deep in other common cultural constructions, like marriage and family.

So obviously, LOL – of course, I think she got it dead right in ‘Intercourse’, and also hit the nail on the head in other books, where she says “Marriage = Prostitution”.

52. rainsinger - May 20, 2010

now. gays and lesbians are vilified, under this system, because homosexuals fuck up the narrative (again, the narrative is, and must be, men fuck women, and women are fucked by men). see? regarding gay men, they make it too clear that men have asses that can be fucked. its not *just* women that can be fucked, men can be fucked too. but how is that supposed to work???!!!!!1 no, its not fucking unless women are fucked. its not “fucking” unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant. because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.

and lesbians fuck up the narrative too: they make it too clear that PIV is not inherently erotic, for women. so, they arent really women, at all. and what they are doing to and with each other isnt fucking. because its not fucking unless someone can die from it, unless someone can become pregnant. because fucking and female subservience are the same thing.

This is the only bit I would quibble with. And it is a minor quibble. Heirarchies exist amongst men, and its a male-on-male thing. The root of all the heirachies, is sexism, because males beat up on other males lower down, by “feminising” them. The lower down the hierarchy males are, the more they are ‘feminised’ by other men higher up the hierarchy. That is, treated as if they are female. Treated as if they are less human. But even the lowliest status males are still higher than almost all females – and most importantly, they are also more socially mobile, and their status is often temporary – they can move up and down the male-on-male status ladders. Females can’t. Male homosexuality is not vilified, as much as the propaganda would have us think. Male-bonding and brotherhood, against females is very strong. It is the political male-bonding which underpins patriarchy. Men love each other, far more than women.

53. Monique Louicellier - May 20, 2010

I think Dworkin tells right as well.
I never read her yet though..

Glad for you and us Femonade that our discussion seems to generate a lot of traffic..

SheilaG I really agree with you, if you want to come in touch you can email me at monique.louicellier@yahoo.com or elgeneve@yahoo.fr.
With SheilaG, Raisinger and others there, why wouldn’t we launch a common blog named : Feminist lesbians of the world or something like this and begin an opposition to the Queer and pro-sex propaganda, express our vision of the feminism amongst lesbians, and who knows maybe write a book?
But I will add something in another post about the word radical feminist or radical lesbian, that is used as well by ennemies of feminism.

It would be interesting to analyse something further about Intercourse:

Certainly Dworkin and others have written about it, but I did not read.
I have a question there.

From what I have observed, animals, also I mean male animals, use violent penetration, invasion of females bodies and rape, also PIV as a common form of sexual behavior and seem not to be able to refrain from it.
Female animals seem to be conditionned to desire penetration, for a very limited time, but they don’t want to be penetrated by a male penis specifically or by a specific male, they seem to prefer to do this with anything smaller and less harmful if there is such a thing available. To be on heat is like a punishment for them, it is not so happy.
Then we see joy to be together (love?) and complicity as well amongst animals and other sexual behaviors, it is seldom between a male and a female as the male always seem to want to fuck – the female or another male. The female then refuses to be fucked if she is not on heat and is always angry of the male’s behavior.
But males fuck happily each others, not always but mostly, it is more sexual than complicity and it could be any male coming and wanting to fuck and not to attack, they would be ok, it is only the opportunity to fuck.
Females can have both behaviors, joyful but sexual one with most females coming or strong complicity (love with sex or not) with one particular female but I have no example coming into my mind of females imitating a male fucking a female. Maybe you have to give me.

Now in humans, how is it that a lot of females have fantasies turning around penetration, rape of themselves or them penetrating/raping another woman and sometimes around phallus ? This including a lot of lesbians…

I would like to know if this is coming partly from our biological inheritage and added to it this is coming from the society pressure, sexualization and propaganda too that turns it to eroticize the power on (and of) another individual during sex, the abject and the rape, a kind of sado-masochist thing or inititiation ritual in order to be accepted in this society that opresses, a kind of Stockolm syndrome, or what kind of explanation can we give to this ???

Thanks

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Actually I am sure that dirt would object very much to being called pomo! I think her head would explode actually. I don’t know what would happen to her strap-on. Regarding Dworkins treatment of gay men, I think you are right rainsinger, that she makes too much of it. Or at least, she makes exactly enough of it to show us that homo-phobia isn’t the problem we all think it is. And 20 years ago, I imagine it was required for even radical feminists to throw teh menz a bone, to make the larger point.

54. Undercover Punk - May 20, 2010

FCM, please stop making this personal. Please stick to the issues.

Yes, I once apologized for engaging in a tangential discussion on a thread that was about something else- about which I don’t recall. I did not apologize because I regret what I said, but for civility’s sake and because you asked me to stop. It was out of respect for YOU and your blog. Big diff.

I’m going to try to step away now and Let. It. Go. Please.

55. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

There’s a trend here that I do not want to participate in: the demonization of het women as if they are the enemy. I get enough of that from men, so I’ve decided not to respond to any of that anymore.

I’m alarmed at the posts about het women and rape, as if that is a sexual choice of het women and/or being les is a shield against rape. It’s inclusion in a discussion about sexual choices of women is problematic for me. No rapist cares about the choices of his victim(s). Some rapists care about raping les women because of the excuse they are “correcting” her bad choices. But that alone shows that he does not care about her choices. He only cares about dominating and terrorizing women no matter what her sexual choices are. So why is rape even being brought up in a discussion about women’s choices?

If het women are the enemy and if rape is seen as a viable “choice” of het women, then I’m in the wrong place to be discussing my views, which only pertain to widening the choices of all women in freedom from male domination.

I have a meeting this morning that I must get ready for, so I’ll close for now. I may post more later about the topic from my POV, but I won’t be engaging in debate about het women vs. les women. That’s counterproductive IMO.

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Up, thats not what happened, and you fucking well know it. Unless your “I don’t recall” was really an admission that you don’t remember any of it, which is what it sounds like, to me.

This was not a discussion about women’s sexual choices in fact, it was an article describing, essentially, rape. Which is what many of my posts are about. And up did what she always does, when the discussion is about rape: she makes it about women’s sexual choices, so that she has a platform to market her het convert seperatist propaganda. And she admits almost as much, and the rest can be gleaned from what she wrote. Maybe I should have stopped it when I first recognized what it was. I would note however that I never even spammed dirt for what she said about rape. Dirt just never came back when multiple readers called her out. Whereas up seems to take it as a personal challenge.

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

I just reread the comments here, trying to figure out what happened with this rape-to-seperatism transition, and I found what I was looking for. Loretta observed that what we teach young girls about acceptable behavior in sexual relationships is important, including the fact that being single is an option if the boys don’t comply. Up replied that what loretta said was really just “modified seperatism” and began talking about seperatism, and that’s what we’ve been discussing ever since. The question here is whether what loretta was talking about really was like modified seperatism, or not. And the answer to that will clarify whether up is merely a shrewd propagandist, or whether shes a liar. And I am not just bandying the terms about.

Because here’s what up did: you are talking about hoosewhits, which are “really” just modified glods, so let’s talk about glods from now on! And that’s what we did. But if hoosewhits aren’t anything like glods, then up lied, and is just a derailer. If hoosewhits are kinda like glods, then it was just a shrewd manipulation, and falls into the propaganda column, that up already freely admits she does.

So…which was it? Anyone? I am tempted to let loretta decide whether her “this” was really just a modified “that” but since she has already said she doesn’t like the turn this conversation has taken, I would already know the answer.

Either way though, its a pretty shitty thing to do.

56. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

I’ve already decided, as you said. What I discussed was not even remotely similar to what the discussion became. I’ve never felt there is a competition or war between het vs les women. I don’t want to participate in that now because it has no interest for me. If that’s what others want to discuss, I’d rather bow out.

You know me well enough that if someone tries to derail the topics on my column or blog, I put a stop to it immediately. I have not been that directly confrontational here because it is not my space. I’m a guest here and want to follow the Netiquette established for guests in other people’s Net spaces.

I’m quite willing to discuss the original essay and/or my original ideas. I’m not willing to be the recipient of or defend myself against accusations that have nothing to do with anything I’ve said or done.

57. Rachel - May 20, 2010

First of all, referring to UP as a “het convert” stikes me as intentionally insulting. Sexuality is socially constructed, and not all women come to Lesbianism the same way.

Second, please point me to where Dirt said that straight women deserve to be raped.

58. rainsinger - May 20, 2010

53. Monique Louicellier —> For information: There is a series of posts on my blog about biology versus social construction around sexuality.

59. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

Monique wrote: “From what I have observed, animals, also I mean male animals, use violent penetration, invasion of females bodies and rape, also PIV as a common form of sexual behavior and seem not to be able to refrain from it.”

I don’t know why so manu think that animal males rape females. In most species, the female is in complete control of when she copulates. No, she doesn’t wait around for true love in most species, but should we hold them to human standards of love forever before sex? Can’t see why. Some species, like wolves, do mate for life. I don’t know if that’s a form of love or not. It might be. Some animals clearly display love. Most of the love animals display has to do with family rather than sexual partners.

Some insect females eat the male as part of the mating ritual, so there’s a wide variance in how the male is treated by the female, but rape isn’t part of the equation in most species. I don’t know of one where it does, but there might be, so I’m not ruling it out.

Some animals do exhibit homosexual behavior, like female dogs mounting female dogs, but that rarely (if ever) happens during heat. It’s not so much intended as a sexual display but as a display of dominance.

Since every species of animal has a different mating pattern, I’m not sure of the value of looking to the animals to inform ourselves about human sexuality. We too are a different animal species but are far from our animal roots in every aspect of life, including sexuality.

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Animals also don’t use toilet paper that I know of, but most of them shit. What I mean is, even if its natural doesn’t mean we won’t modify it, as soon as we find it offensive. Rape is sexxxay, so its not going anywhere, and won’t be modified anytime soon.

60. SheilaG - May 20, 2010

It’s kind of hard to follow all this.. I think there will be divergent opinions, especially when it comes to rape, the heterosexual indoctrination of young girls, and the ideology of PIV. Dworkin tries to highlight the commonality of all the things women face, including trying to understand why right wing women exist (another brilliant book BTW).

Also, truth be told, it is very rare that hetero women and lesbians have honest discussions about anything. They just ignore the things I have to say IRL, put me back in the closet, and dismiss politics… a bit skitish about this most of the time. So rare is the discussion where compulsory heterosexuality comes into play, as part and parcel of the indoctrination process of women overall.

No women are immune from rape, that’s a given. But I do believe not living with men and having limited interaction with them in the first place will minimize the risk, compared to women who hazard a life in the clubs with men pouring the drinks. Just a metaphor there.

I wished we had studies of the least raped women worldwide, where they live and how they live. The cultures where men almost never rape women etc…. there is so much we don’t know about women of all countries and cultures. When you travel, you really learn how varied women’s existence really is.

Usually, when the discussion gets blunt, a lot of straight women (not all) but a lot run, not wanting to engage in what makes PIV so all pervasive, and what might call UP a het convert to lesbian identity.
Most lesbians out there did waste time with boys, dating men that sort of thing. Most got stuck in marriages to men, and eventually found their true selves. It’s why there is such a premium on suppressing lesbian existence, because then a whole heck of a lot of women wouldn’t marry men. Take away the social approval and economic incentives and constant lesbian bashing, and you’d see something else. Only the hardiest of lesbians stakes out on completely PIV free existence, and a man free existence. Figure this out early enough in life, and you have a shot at freedom. But again, this type of discussion rarely happens IRL, and I think it was a loss to feminism actually. Lesbians just got fed up, and took our energy to gay rights movements, and started working on gay and lesbian issues, because straight feminists didn’t even want to be bothered with the subject.

I am still a staunch feminist, and don’t like the LGBT soup I’ve been thrown in. I am in solidarity with all women who want freedom, whether they are lesbian or not. To me, the more free women are out there the better! I will work for the benefit of women in my best capacities, but I’m not interested in all issues. So I focus on where my strengths are in service to all women. I’m very honest about what issues interest me and what bores me, and I don’t do stuff that bores me… it’s about the source of focus and energy.

Since so many women out there struggle with chronic depression, a lot of this might be about doing things they don’t like, or not setting boundaries. Whether it is popular or not, I just say what I need to say.
I’m open to all connections, but I will state that I’m not a part of hetero culture anymore, and haven’t been for decades. That world can wear me out socially, so I have to have balance.

The use of the word “gay” and “woman” is highly problematic to me. When women call themselves “gay” they are afraid of being out and proud lesbians. The word lesbian itself carries a lot of taboo power, even on feminist blogs.
Monique, I’ll try to email you soon. Good stuff here everyone!

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

And thats in the event its even natural, to begin with. If it is natural, and other animals do it too, I would like to know the stats on rape-murder, for those animals too. The stats on humans are pretty easy to find.

factcheckme - May 20, 2010

Yes Sheila, I noticed I had made that mistake. Gay means man, or some sort of gender queer identity. That was an error, and I should have corrected it.

61. Loretta Kemsley - May 20, 2010

Sheila G wrote: I wished we had studies of the least raped women worldwide, where they live and how they live. The cultures where men almost never rape women etc…. there is so much we don’t know about women of all countries and cultures.

Here’s an interesting take on misogyny around the world. It’s my discussion on a book by David Gilmore. There’s a link to the book on this page :

Newsvine – Misogyny: The Male Malady

As to cultures where rape does not exist, there’s the Mosuo in China:

No Father’s Day: Remote Group Has No Dads, And Never Did

This is a matrifocal culture where women make all the sexual decisions, including who she has sex with, when and when he goes away. There is no marriage there. I’ve included links to videos where both men and women from this culture are interviewed.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010
factcheckme - May 21, 2010

ps. next time rachel, you can look it up yourself. thanks.

62. Rachel - May 21, 2010

FCM, I did see that comment, but she didn’t say that straight women deserve to be raped. Nor do I think she implied it in any way. So my question remains.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

sheila, i absolutely agree with you that women going to bars and participating to ANY DEGREE with the pick-up scene is terribly, TERRIBLY dangerous. absolutely, yes. but this doesnt mean that the women should necessarily be home fingering each other either, unless they want to. the two have NOTHING to do with each other. thats all i am saying here. WHAT THE FUCK DOES SEX HAVE TO DO WITH IT. thats what i am saying. stay away from men: YES, almost always, this is a great bet. mandatory girl-on-girl action: NO. different conversation? YES.

i think its a different conversation, and it literally sickens me to know thats its not, becuase that means that straight girls and women dont have a chance. and thats not fair. it also means that MOST WOMEN ARENT BENEFITTING FROM YOUR FEMINISM, or even potentially benefitting from your views. as much as anyone might hate it, many if not most women would rather be celibate than have sex with other women. i have had sex with women, and looking into the future, i can see myself being celibate, but i cant see myself in a long term sexual relationship with a woman. does that mean i should just date men afterall, because sex is a need and a human right (or something), and you wont let me into your little club? NO, IT DOESNT. it means that i will just stay away from men, and have that be the end of it. which is all i have been trying to say, from the beginning. i dont need women-love, to be a seperatist, or to reduce my chances of being raped.

i dont even think you believe much of this yourself sheila, with your victorian starched underpants et al. so why are you chalking this up to “differing views” instead of coming out and saying that you think its a crock of shit? this is a serious question.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

read the article and the other comments then. the article was about rape. dirt says women get what they deserve, in the context of rape. and she didnt come back to clarify, and she still hasnt. and i am going to hand it to the next person who makes excuses for what dirt said, in that article, or in this series, where she reduced dworkin to a “raped vagina.” dirt fucked up, and she never came back to discuss it, which is telling. it was a drive-by straight-woman bashing, both times. she meant rape, and its obvious what she meant. no more apologism. none.

63. Monique - May 21, 2010

Femonade, I did not say the rape was natural, to men maybe, not to females I don’t think so, and regarding penetration fantasies, well maybe in fact, maybe our every desires are just conditionned by the education to take such a form and it is not the nature in cause.

Nature is only guilty to have men and males (I want to change planet! Where can I ask for my life-back?).

And I agree with you, if nature was harmful, then we have to change it, we don’t owe anything to anyone except to ourselves.
But in the end I think it may well be the education, brain and fantasies formating, images put in our brain that become linked to our desires and guide our acts, because when you see how you can invest for example in food to comfort you and then become boulimic and kill your body just with your mind, or how media control our emotions to make us buy more and to format us to loose or act as they want at their profit, wooooo, there is such a power of emotions over the body.

I even imagine that a warm bath and wrapping massages may be one of the ultimate sex experience if the heavy non-stop propaganda was not there to remove every search for what satisfies us in reality and was not fucking our brains with penetration of women, the thing to desire because it will happen or to be afraid of because it will happen, bad or good, it doesn’t matter because it is what we will be forced into, so now young ladies, make your brain work and you better have fantasies about it.

Thank you Sheila, I agree with all you have said and thanks if you email me because I feel very isolated too, as I want to live away from hetero culture myself, including the one alive amongst lesbians..
When I have lesbian friends who have male friends, you can be sure they bother me by telling me about them and I just can’t continue to be friend.
And my hope to re-launch lesbian feminist discussion groups and activism in France has just failed, so I am depressed.
Sadly I could not find others like myself, or any support from the *official* feminist lesbians in this country, who are mostly radical lesbians, but certainly not of the same *species* as you here, they have no interest in re-lauching a real movement, they don’t want it to be too popular and to recruit anyone. A presence in some conferences where they sell their books or deliver some sample of their thesis is enough for them, and I will post later what I think is the situation now in France.

For myself I think I want to claim I am a separatist lesbian, but a separatist who still wants to be in the world to fight and militate with other feminist lesbians.
My preferred and fetish reading, maybe you will laugh, but it is Scum Manifesto, I love it.

Some months ago, I was so disappointed and discouraged to be able to change anything, so discouraged to be able to launch a movement again, and subsequently so much willing to save my own ass first and profit of life selfishly, that I was contemplating the idea to find the last separatist lesbian communities still existing and try to join them if they wanted from me.

It did not work this way as I only found one of 4 individuals, and the lesbians there were not the ideal I had imagined, not in term of their lifestyle, but it was problematic the way they obeyed to some (guru type style) and especially agressed me without any reason. I had to accuse me and apologize to have made studies to one of them who did not have this chance and who suddenly thought it would be a good idea to attack me on that topic, this although I never used it against any women there, would not even have spoken of me having studied if they did not ask. And the thing is I made molecular biological studies indeed, I went back into the studies as soon as I could, at 25 and then at 35, because my parents did not care about me and threw me out of the house when I was only 19 and I could not do any, so it was by thirst of knowledge, I was totally on my own, in absolute miserable conditions and I never had any will to make any money with that.

Also I thought, well, if it’s gonna look that way in separatist communites, I’d better stay out at the moment and focuse on my first wish to fight in the outside world with feminist lesbians if I can find any still alive.

In Italy, feminist lesbians are using this word separatist to describe the fact they don’t want to militate in mixity with men (example : Pianeta Viola in Brescia) but they have no will to live in communities and maybe worse, most have male friends, which is not in Scum Manifesto’s best practices, and certainly not in separatist communities tradition.

Now I wonder if they are open to any feminist lesbians or if it is still a small circle of friends of the “upper feminist society* introduced in media, political parties, academic conferences and snobbing the others. When I asked them to tell me about the story of their group and if they would agree to welcome me for a visit, they did not seem to enjoy my proposition.
It shows at least that the enthusiasm of the 80’s is gone.

So Sheila, I am very happy to get to know you and hopefully we will not argue…

About rape, it is very difficult for a woman to protect herself from rape indeed, even if she does not like men, even if she is a lesbian and is afraid of being raped by men since ever.
And if I am even not speaking about a blitz-rape coming from a total stranger by surprise somewhere, the fact to be lesbian and in fear is not a sufficient protection and we can very well end up raped like a lot of hetero women are, because if one day, we happen to be weakened by a trauma, or by a situation where we put ourselves in danger (alone with men or with a man we tried to trust), or where we do not hold the power and sufficient distance, including emotional distance, or just if one day for whatever reason we would like to know if we can have the same kind of a man can take advantage of us immediately, and even easier as we have no experience with men.

Did you read about the Rape-axe, Rapex, a kind of comdom with small teeth that will harm the rapist ?

I don’t know but if there is a justice, maybe one day women will stop the production of male babies, males and especially their sex, a dangerous and ugly sperm sowing tool obeying to no-heart.nor-brain invading folk (Alien, erk, looks similar..), being the worst evidence of animality, bestiality, and not compatible with life in a modern species which hopefully will get rid one day of Her parasite, or maybe the sexuality will only be to take a good bath and be warm and safe and not forced into anything by force or by ruse, by parasitism, mass brainwash and separation from other women…

64. Monique - May 21, 2010

*or just if one day for whatever reason we would like to experience with a man and know if we can have the same kind of contact and affection we have with a woman, a man can take advantage of us immediately, and even easier as we have no experience with men.*

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

now that i have linked to it and re-read it, the “plan-c” thread is also where we can see UP apologizing for derailing with an irrelevant topic, specifically, for discussing womens responsibility and womens agency, in the context of rape. you know, what she said she never did, or didnt remember doing, just a few hours ago.

what is it about rape that brings SOME lesbians in for a straight-lady bonfire? this is not a rhetorical question. perhaps this needs to be discussed, because SOME people just cant stop with the drive-by “sexual choices” lectures. IN THE CONTEXT OF RAPE. that last part is important. discussions of seperatism in and of themselves obviously are not a problem.

65. Rachel - May 21, 2010

FCM, since the focus seemed to be contraception, I interpreted her comment to refer to that, not rape. I hope she does return to clarify. Please note that I never defended her assessment of Dworkin.

66. dirt - May 21, 2010

LOL…try reading anything I write, you’ll find NOTHING “post modern” let alone “queer” in any of it. I advocate pure Femme/Butch lesbian essentialism from a radical lesbian feminist perspective. A modern day Wittig if you will sans the Marxism.

Also, no where did I take “shots” at dworkin, pointing out truths (whether you like them or not) isnt shot taking. Dworkin let her abuse dictate her politics, pure and simple. She was merely another (like soooooo many out there now) hurt, confused, straight woman who used her white straight privilege to co-opt lesbians, lesbian spaces and lesbian time only to run off and marry a MAN! Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering there, its the same ole same ole. It is out if that garbage that “queer theory” sprang!

And while you’re at it try utilizing feminism to SEE Butch women ARE women! That Butch femininity is Butch women expressing themselves as women in unique and beautiful ways that is ignored or as is the case here misunderstood and frowned upon because it doesnt bow to the all mighty penis. The greatest radical feminist were, are and remain: Butch women.

And btw strapping has zero to do with fetishizing the male penis, but to comprehend that would take a radical feminist mind, clearly something not found here. Do not forget I am a lesbian and occupy lesbian spaces both real time and on the net, strapping is something a good many of run of the mill dykes do as well, interesting how they always seem to be left out of the strapping equation considering they far out number the Butch women who occasionally strap.

dirt

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

at least UP stuck around to discuss it though. i will credit her that, whereas dirt just chucked her flaming balls of woman-hating shit (times two, counting the dworkin raped-vagina comment) and ran away.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

HA! oh now dirt shows up…and doesnt clarify AT ALL or even address or acknowledge the “straight women get what they deserve” comment. i wonder why that would be? and taking more shots at dworkin for being abused. how delightful to have you back dirt. although i did try to explain earlier that you would never self-identify as “queer” and lobby very heavily against it in fact. thats what i like about dirt’s work. these other turds she leaves laying around…not so much.

67. Monique - May 21, 2010

Sorry Femonade, I was writing there and I saw your post only now.
What is the issue with Sheila ??? I don’t think she has supported Dirt and I don’t see why you attack her with these words : Victorian starched underpants.. ??
Dirt was certainly a terrible mysogine to say so that women deserved to be raped.
Sheyla never tried to tell you you had to be a lesbian, did she?
And we lesbians are entitled to militate between us as well for the reasons she gave you.
And there are still different trends inside feminist lesbian activism..
We won’t get along with every feminist lesbian although we would wish to.
It does not mean we can’t share our views with you and we cannot be part of a women (not mandatoriyl lesbians) feminist group, to the opposite, we can, especially if already happy in our own lesbian activism.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

monique, sheila refers to her own victorian starchiness often. no offense was meant.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

also, in re-reading the older article (and other articles here) i notice that i used to be alot nicer. LOL i got over it.

68. Monique - May 21, 2010

Huhh I am counting the shots.. And I will go to bed, more than 3 o’clock there.
Dirt appears.
She is right, Dworkin was straight and pretended to be lesbian, but maybe like Valerie Solanas, she understood a lot about the dynamics between men and women.
But if she suffered abuse as being a prostitute, Dirt should not forget that a LOT of lesbian (at birth) suffer abuses too, are beaten and raped and have mistreating parents.
Simple, two third of the lesbians I know and who never wanted to experiment with men, have been raped, or by their fathers, step-fathers, brothers, foreigners when a child, or sometimes later in life.

Butch astrology and straps are just another het formating of lesbian brain, Queer-inspired.

But some *butches” ignore it.

It is so funny, I guess that even Dirt could not tell me if I am a butch or if I am not, as I am not wearing any feminine clothes in fact and is supposed to look quite masculine.

But I am not considering myself as a man or as a butch, I am naturally me, lesbian looking, no need of an astrology label.

The funnier is when some say, ohhh you know my butch side makes me wear big army boots but my fem side makes me adore to wash dishes.

And me I am capricorn cross cancer lesbian type, it is special identity really… Hum, but at least no strap in my underpants…

Are you sure you have some pleasure or give some with your strap?

Am sure it is all in your head and your fantasies, it is exactly what I said before. Well head plays a lot in pleasure, and thanks but you are not doing a lot of good to help liberate women, regarding sexuality, it is the opposite to my mind.

Dirt, if I was a doctor, I would prescribe you a formatting detoxifying cure..

But I am not, do what you want, but there you get the opinion another lesbian has on your presentation, not only the opinion of the hetero Femonade.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

FCM, since the focus seemed to be contraception, I interpreted her comment to refer to that, not rape. I hope she does return to clarify. Please note that I never defended her assessment of Dworkin.

rachel, you clearly have a dog in this race, so tell us: what is it? if dirt “merely” meant that straight women deserve to have problems with our contraception…completely independantly of the fact that we often need it because of unwanted PIV of course (ie RAPE), since thats what you want to believe she meant…is that totally forgivable, in your mind? and you appear to have an issue with what dirt said about dworkin…but you arent going to tell us what that problem might be. and she just said that she stands by that one, and made even more insulting remarks about her. so…are you going to agree with it now? i could go on and on with this. why are you defending dirt, when she didnt care enough to defend herself initially?

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

omg monique. that made me LOL. thanks for posting.

69. Monique - May 21, 2010

If Andrea Dworkin let her abuse dictates her politics, then very good because it takes women like her to open the eyes of the others, it is just too sad she has been abused to come to that conclusions but sadly it is the victims who can see better what is going on.
Why accuse her, would she still have to be ashamed to have been mistreated, used and abused?
She was not alone as a victim, we all are victims of a war at various degrees and all as a class of parasited-by-male women.
See the situation in other countries, for example Iran where there is a systematic use of rape in jail by warders on the opponents, even on men. But women in all cases.
If you are never victim of a crime or close to someone who has been, how do you want to just name a crime as such and begin the analysis.

70. dirt - May 21, 2010

And please point out in anything I wrote where I advocated women (or anyone for that matter) deserved to be raped. WTF???? Try reading my blog, you may learn something regarding the rape culture we live in and hetero males continue perpetuating.

dirt

71. dirt - May 21, 2010

Monique,

Pathologizing clothes is what the the DSM is trying to currently do with the latest version due out in 2013. Clothes do not make the Butch, a mothers womb does, long before clothes ever come into it.

But given most ignorantly adopt and adapt to the pathologizing of clothing/toys etc with regards to male/female and trannification is being pushed earlier and earlier in order to maintain strict gender norms, unless that pathologizing ceases you wont have to worry about us strapping Butches because there will be none of us left.

Meanwhile trannification will continue in Freeman fashion because the hetero patriarchal medical establishment foolishly believes Butch women and differently masculined males are the only ones trannifying when in fact we are the least.

dirt

72. Rachel - May 21, 2010

The only dog I have cares primarily about hunting birds, not radical feminist infighting.

I interpreted Dirt’s comment to mean that women who choose to sleep with the enemy (NOT women who are raped) deserve the hassles related to contraception. I’ve asked her privately to come back and clarify, so now we wait. From what I know of her politics, I’d be shocked to learn that your interpretation was correct.

I object to the idea that Dworkin was really just a damaged straight woman who co-opted lesbian identity. I doubt anyone here has sufficient knowledge about her personal life to make such an accusation. Additionally, a friend of mine who actually knew Dworkin says that she had female lovers, but remained (platonic) life partners with John Stoltenberg, who is gay. I’ve read elsewhere that their marriage was strictly for legal benefits, including healthcare.

73. rainsinger - May 21, 2010

Butch astrology and straps are just another het formating of lesbian brain, Queer-inspired.
Yes, very much so – but thats just my own personal take on most of what I see dirt writing about.
although i did try to explain earlier that you would never self-identify as “queer” and lobby very heavily against it in fact. lobbying against selective parts of it, does not mean that the other 80% of it, has not been taken fully on board.

WHAT THE FUCK DOES SEX HAVE TO DO WITH IT. thats what i am saying. stay away from men: YES, almost always, this is a great bet. mandatory girl-on-girl action: NO. different conversation? YES.

It maybe just my confusion in my interpretation of others comments. But I dont see/read anybody advocating mandatory anything. It sickens me that straight women so often assume this, and I find it offensive that straight women so often do it – by arrogantly assuming, lesbians – as-a-class – as a group identity – are driving-by to tell straight women what to do. No. We don’t. Individuals might, (and such individuals, I would call their feminism into question, same as I would for the not-my-Nigel straights) but lesbians as a class of people, do not.

As a lesbian feminist, and separatist (as far as I am able to) I don’t care if women stay straight or celibate or whatever. I might think women are better off in their personal lives, by separating as much as possible from men, and I might think they are missing out if they can’t entertain the possibility of lesbianism *shrug* – and some lesbian-feminists feel more strongly about expressing the positives of their lives around other women – but having said all that – I also still think, that straight women often way over-react, and become so hostile and defensive for no logical reason.
No need to get defensive, when nobody is attacking you.

it also means that MOST WOMEN ARENT BENEFITTING FROM YOUR FEMINISM, or even potentially benefitting from your views. as much as anyone might hate it, many if not most women would rather be celibate than have sex with other women. i have had sex with women, and looking into the future, i can see myself being celibate, but i cant see myself in a long term sexual relationship with a woman. does that mean i should just date men afterall, because sex is a need and a human right (or something), and you wont let me into your little club? NO, IT DOESNT. it means that i will just stay away from men, and have that be the end of it. which is all i have been trying to say, from the beginning. i dont need women-love, to be a seperatist,

How very true. You don’t need women-love at all. The personal is not always political. I also see separatism, in the here-and-now, as just a “coping strategy” that suits some women, but not others. Separatism, is just another *personal* solution – Its not a *political* solution, and never will be. Partly because it is unworkable, not feasible, impractical on a political level. Partly because men, and patriarchy as a political system, would never allow it to happen in large numbers.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

look. the readers here arent stupid, and they can make up thier own minds about what was said, and what they think dirt meant. saying that straight women deserve what we get for sleeping with the enemy, and saying it in the context of rape, disfigurement and death that comes from so many hetero-interactions worldwide is unforgivable. and i havent forgiven dirt for saying it. so EVEN IF dirt was saying “merely” that we deserve repeated unwanted/unintended pregnancies throughout our lives, because this is exactly what many if not most women experience from het sex ultimately (no matter the outcome of the pregnancy, many “happy families” were generated this way) then i dont see how that is acceptable either. its also very pomo in fact, because it assumes that we are all just western-privileged fun-fems fucking our nigels too…when ALL my articles dealing with PIV are considering the harms of PIV to women as a sexual class, around the world. BUT I DONT THINK THATS WHAT SHE WAS SAYING. i am not backing away from that at all, and i have reasons for believing its true. if and when i stop believing it, i will stop saying it.

i am also willing to entertain the possibility that dirt didnt even read the fucking article on which she was commenting, and didnt read the other comments either…AND that she has never thought through the idea of PIV even in the privacy of her own mind, so she “didnt know” that the article was about rape, disfigurement, and death. which is what all my PIV articles are ultimately about. which means that shes a troll. again, still not looking so good, but i will let other readers decide for themselves. again, i gave her so many chances to respond, and to clarify, and at first i thought she was kidding, then i hoped she was kidding, then i knew pretty well that she wasnt. but thats just me, and you know i am pretty unreasonable, and deliberately misinterpret clearly benign statements as a general rule. thats what this blog is all about in fact! just ask the MRAs and transwomen.

as for her blog being anti-rape…well some people only care about their own. so i am sure it bothers her very much to have the nasty rapists eyeing her femmes in public…but as for us “bad sexual choice-making hets” well…you play with fire, you deserve to take a flaming arrow right up the pussy. right?

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

I also see separatism, in the here-and-now, as just a “coping strategy” that suits some women, but not others. Separatism, is just another *personal* solution – Its not a *political* solution, and never will be. Partly because it is unworkable, not feasible, impractical on a political level. Partly because men, and patriarchy as a political system, would never allow it to happen in large numbers

this. thanks rainsinger. i will respond more to this later. for now, i would ask, why is it taken as the ultimate political move by some? is this a point of contention among lesbian seperatists (its personal! no, its political!) or are you an outlier, in believing that seperatism is a PERSONAL coping strategy? just asking. on this thread anyway, i would think you are in the minority.

also, not taking my “i dont need women-loving” as lesbo-phobic makes you an outlier as well, which is why i keep saying that fucking women seems mandatory, at least it seems to be, to the seperatist women in this thread. i have vulva-phobia, i am lesbo-phobic, because i dont want to fuck women? that sounds like a guilt trip to me, and way to familiar to many if not most straight women i’d wager. because we have to prove many, MANY things with our cunts, on a regular basis. for instance, that we love our mates, and that we are sexxxay and empowerfulized women.

74. SamC - May 21, 2010

Well, this got busy since I last read here!

I agree with aspects of what everyone has said here. Most women will never want to sleep with other women, which is fine. I don’t particularly think sexuality is nature/genetic whatever (although I hate debates on the subject…“It’s ok that I’m a deviant homosexual because it’s genetic. If I *chose* to be this way however, that would be disgusting!”). I’m anything by nature, it’s a rebel, and a feminist. So, I do think that it is possible for sexual preferences to change and that a lot of the “ick” sentiment that het women express at the thought of having sex with another woman is based in plain old misogyny. But, even so, just because I think we *can* adapt our sexual preferences doesn’t make it a pre-requisite of “sisterhood” or whatever. Me, being a lesbian, is based on a whole heap of reasons, many of which may not make me a “proper” lesbian in some people’s eyes, but they can fuck off with their lesbian one-upmanship, frankly. Knowing what I know about men and their “sexuality” in a patriarchy, their sheer incompetence in bed, everything they do and say being steeped in misogyny, being a rebellious enough child to always consider the idea of a relationship with a woman and having a beautiful, considerate partner and a completely egalitarian relationship with her have helped. But I don’t think sexuality necessarily has to be directed towards another person, and if we believe what Dworkin says was true, the “loss” of PIV in separatism isn’t really a loss at all, and therefore replacing it with sex with a woman probably isn’t necessary, since we can live without it. In a world without heterosupremacy, there would undoubtedly be more lesbians, but I’m not particularly invested personally in changing the sexual tastes of women who have lived as heterosexual. Showing women that there is an option other than being financially and emotionally reliant on men and PIV is key, and getting women out of the divide-and-conquer mentality that prevents them bonding like men do. Perhaps if it became the norm that sexuality is independent and does not have to be aimed at (or in the case of PIV) inflicted upon anyone in particular, and women learned to rely on one another, there’d be a corresponding shift in women’s sexual tastes. I think so, but who knows?

I find I see eye to eye with plenty of heterosexual radical feminists, as long as they’re not telling me that my issues are “lesbian issues” and not feminist issues (which hasn’t happened to me personally, although I know the sentiment does exist among some radical feminists and it’s not new!). To be honest, I’ve never really approached feminism solely from a lesbian point of view, not because I don’t embrace being a lesbian, but because as far as the patriarchy is concerned, we’re all faceless and sub-human together, and most of the heterosexual radfems who I respect have as little time for male-pandering as any lesbian I know.

75. Monique - May 21, 2010

Hi Rinsinger, I had a look at your blog but it is a bit complicated…
@ Femonade
The few separatist lesbians I have talked to think we are only suffering the general backturn in feminism and lack of vision of women and lesbians nowadays, that’s why our communities tend to disappear.
But some still believe it is feasible, and it will be only on a large scale by the way in order to avoid sect type problems, power problems..
Of course patriarchy will not let us do it, unless we can chase it away from any women’s life, this including straight women (because straight women educate girls).
I have heard some *historic* separatists say that all women are naturally lesbians, and if the pressure towards heterosexuality did not exist, they would be lesbians, maybe they did not mean sex but in connection with other women.
But I feel there is something wrong in that statement (are we sure some women would not be attracted to men) and that we will never know unless we totally remove the pressure towards heterosexuality and the oppression of women for decades and decades.
I never heard of mandatory sex in separatist communities, do not make the confusion with some hippies communities sex lifestyle of the 70’s.
I would even say that sex amongst lesbian separatists is not automatically seen as ok as it can carry oppression and that some lesbians have been rejected because it was known they enjoyed to penetrate the other lesbian with their fingers.
I really heard separatists say any penetration was an agression and politically not appropriate.
Moreover some women join separatist lesbian communities by choice but they are not having sex with women at all and did not have in the past.
For myself, I won’t make my mind yet about that penetration topic, generally women have no sexual problems together and are guessing what the other desires, but once more, it is obvious that as fantasies can be driven by men propaganda, we have to be careful, I think it is to discuss beforehand between lovers especially if your lover is a separatist lesbian and has values of what is politically correct or not, equalitarian or not.
But certainly a woman with dildos or straps will not be very welcome in a separatist community or by a separatist lover!
Although we even saw separatist SM lesbians, (and identified-butches a lot), in fact we saw everything and it is difficult to make any general statement.
Some women were welcome after having been straight before, some were not at all.
We have to create our own values, as you have to create your Femonade.
But in a way, I will share a secret with you, maybe it is personal, but I don’t think so, we have something that is largely like a spontaneous orgasm when we feel all the empowered lesbians/women around in a strictly male-free environment..

76. rainsinger - May 21, 2010

I may be an outlier FCM – but I think the positive promotion of it – stems from personal joy, and sometimes is an excitement phase that many lesbian women go through and *personally* I also find it appealing too🙂 I celebrate the existence of lesbians too. Personally. They have found *personal* joy in it, they find personal freedom in it, and want to share, share, share… (like an excited child – look what I’ve found! Come, come and join with me) but are often taken and read, completely the wrong way, because of ingrained unconscious lesbophobia, which is just another form of Divide & Conquer. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Reading (or mis-reading) it the wrong way, and then attacking back-and-forth trading insults, is what always happens. Like men, Divide-and-Conquer games amongst oppressed peoples exists, but as feminists we don’t deal with it. Interesting about negotiating with men, but women rarely negotiate with each other.

For me, Whatever *works* for women in this world, as an interim coping strategy for their own survival, is worth celebrating in my view – even if its not yours, or my cuppa-T. They are all coping strategies from my own radical feminist understanding, and not *political* solutions – and that includes the negotiated heterosexuality discussed above – if negotiating is capable of increasing the success of your *personal* solutions and abaility to cope, then go fer it.

As Sheila ( I think) said – many of us think such choices around negotiation, are doomed to failure, and it saddens and grieves some of us very deeply – but all we can do as Sheila says, is “wish you well”. For others, they have heard it so many times – they have just gone cold towards other groups of women, in self-protection – otherwise those of us who are woman-loving are just setting ourselves up for more grief. Sometimes the grief morphs into anger. I agree with dirt, in that het women are sleeping with the enemy – but I dont think they deserve what they get, I feel sad, I feel grieved, but there’s nothing I can do or say about it to change it. They will continue to do it. Thats why I gave up IRL activism, its why I gave up working in women’s assault services, and why I usually have to take a break from the net.

Then, there is the different stages of feminist consciousness-raising, some of us are further along the feminist ‘Journey’ (to use Mary Daly’s metaphor).

*politically* on a large scale, a movement of any oppressed group of peoples, has to be in politically united large numbers, and that won’t happen for a long time, if ever, (I’m a pessimist) because women are too busy just trying to survive in each their own *personal* way.

77. Femme Avenger - May 21, 2010

Something I am so sick to death of hearing is the declaration of disillusioned straight woman that ‘men suck so I’m trying women’. No thank you ladies. Lesbianism is NOT a day spa, rehab facility or Club Med for straight women that are pissed off with men and searching for respite. This is not the 1970’s where ALL feminists were recruited into the lesbian nation because we needed the numbers or believed ‘all women really were dykes’. No matter how angry you are at men (we’ve all been there) you cannot change who or what you are attracted to.

As a Femme lesbian, I have seen and continue to see the damage done to butch women by the straight women that gravitate towards them because they see butch women as safe, castrated “masculine persons”, and the ideal male substitute. Their suppressed heterosexuality informs a desire to pare butch women into ‘harmless pseudo-men’ achieved though supporting FTM transition.

Lesbianism is not the antidote, cure or therapy for bad straight relationships or sexual experiences.

As for the issues raised regarding Dirt; she does NOT advocate sexual (or any other kind of) violence towards women. Is she into giving strap-on penetrative sex? Hell YES! And I’m all the happier for it. Does this make her a rapist or rapist sympathizer? NO!
If you take off your hetero goggles and read her blog (including her erotic stories), you will see that Dirt is a WOMAN and loves and adores women and pleasing her Femmes is her priority.

78. Monique - May 21, 2010

Aren’t you a bit pessimistic Rainsinger?
I know the conditions are not so favorable now and there is a missing feminist generation. But if you resign, who will continue?
The Michigan Women Music Festival is still gathering 7000 lesbians and women, most are lesbians, and is resisting to the gender-queer invasion.
This because one lesbian owns the land and is personally commited.
I know that she will be retired this year and that maybe things will change, we don’t know yet.
I was 17 years old and in a political discussion and action group in 1983 of around 200 lesbians, 30 at each meeting every 2 days and we were financing the whole place open to non-lesbians as well (one feminist group certainly with only straight woman was there, 1 for 8 lesbian groups but a beautiful representation was given to them as they were directly commited in the direction board) with our dancing-cafeteria in the week-end, which was cheap, an alternative to the commercial places and was 100% friendly and free of men.
Each of us in my lesbian group had different stories and slightly different opinions, but exactly as here on Femonade’s blog, we were present and active.
This group and the idea of a Women’s House itself with lesbian-identified political groups inside it has been launched in Paris by only one lesbian but starting from almost nothing (she had the idea at a gay and lesbian annual conference in Marseille).
At the beginning she met other lesbians having simply projects and ideas and feminists too and they all agreed about one idea of what they would do at the same place, a Women’s House, a women-only house, and then they searched for a local and they invested a decayed and big house surrounded by squats, quite scary at night and for which it was asked a very low rent, other feminists and amongst them a majority of lesbians joined, a lot joined and attended regularly.
We could choose which group to join or read feminist and lesbian books and magazimes or just enjoy the ambiance there and speak to whoever was present.
We were engaging and launching protests, fighting for changes in law and helping lesbian initiatives like magazines, radios, groups, etc..
After 10 years, apparently the decline began, of course the rise of unemployment that hit lesbians first, the individualism and consumerism propaganda in media and TV, the rights already won and written in the law, the availability of lovers and lesbian entertainment like sport groups, hiking groups and so on, outside the militant groups (available all over France thanks to the lesbian magazine sold in kiosks which was responsible of that situation) were signing a decline in the attendance.
But the bottom line was that the rent increased and moreover the house was about to be destroyed, another important fact is that the founder and leader of my group, also the bigger group (best to never have a leader in a group) decided to end it by not attending any more and by disbanding the association on an administrative point of view, just like this, it was the only lesbian association who had the possibility to be plaintiff in a court. At that moment some presented the very bad idea to ask for subsidies and to move to a larger place, they won the deal when the lesbian Archives (runned by an academic, a radical lesbian and teacher of History at University, that never wished to be present in the first house) were moving to this new place and receiving subsidies.
Unfortunately since this time the new house is no more a welcoming place for lesbians, it looks a lot like a state-run administrative place, there is no place for spontaneous discussions or come-and-go, except if you want to take a coffea but as soon as you want to talk politics with other women there (and in the actual frequentation, these women are not lesbians and are not feminist), then you are not allowed to make your *propaganda*, you need to book a room and to pay around 7 dollars by person who attend and 40 dollars anyway as a minimum.. It is now a free welcoming and social refuge for migrant women who can have a rest, take a coffea and wash their laundry, find advice if they are beaten and a anti-racial political group (runned by the founder of the lesbian archives who does not want to name herself a lesbian anymore, just a humanist, gashh ), but it is no more a place for political lesbian activism or presence (except in the direction board), and lesbian archives are only visited by academics in gender studies, mostly straight, : ) and not interested in participating in any movement themselves (just finish their thesis, lol).

Also what we need to do is start from nothing again but especially own our place and keep a control over it, not let any administrative staff or subidies take the control instead.

That we be feminist or lesbian feminists does not change anything in this challenge which needs to be addressed as well.

79. Monique - May 21, 2010

Is there any way to edit ones posts? My English is so bad, and I know I always need to re-read my text one time in order to see my mistakes, but I am so impulsive.. I knew I could not edit, sob..
When I am writing in French, it is exactly the same problem, although I am a native French, this because I lived in Switzerland and was contaminated by a kind of broken French there, a kind of german way of building sentences, but still I post impulsively, even in French.
Ok, next time I will just take the time to check for mistakes before posting.. Sorry!

80. Level Best - May 21, 2010

Monique, do not be so concerned about editing. Many of us English-speakers are charmed by a French accent, even if we’re reading it rather than hearing it! I am thoroughly enjoying your writing as well as the information you are giving us about European feminism and lesbianism (not to mention academia, which sounds like its craziness is the same world over). You’re giving your readers across the Atlantic an interesting window into things we know little of.

fcm, you have a wonderful blog with some fascinating discussions taking place, and you’re a kick-ass blog host. I am hoping you won’t throw up your arms and give it up from frustration because of the incendiary developments in this and some of the other threads. I wish to goodness that splintering into smaller and smaller factions wasn’t a feature of feminism, rather than a rare bug, but decades of watching it have convinced me that for whatever reason it’s part of the scene (and I hate, hate, hate it; I want women to get together, dammit, and help each other out despite any perceived differences. We all have suffering from misogny in common, and it’s at crisis level now as always. Misogynists LOVE our parallel hostility).

Again (and forgive me, because I’ve said it on this blog before), I also believe that sexual separatism is a PERSONAL solution for a few and not a universal solution to women’s plight, ’cause the currently male-run universe won’t allow it on a widespread basis. That’s not to underrate it at all, though, because each of us women is a PERSON, after all, and any amelioration of our suffering through finding personal solutions is a good thing! We all have to cope as we can.

Overall, I think women need to get politically united. In the countries in which we are allowed to vote, women need to vote for women. And when there are enough women in office to be representational of our presence in our countries, then we can pick and choose among them more along the lines of how progressive their policies about women’s issues are. And those of us in countries where women have a vote need to press our politicians to pressure the countries who do not allow women to vote.

And re this thread’s original subject, Intercourse, I will defend Dworkin from detractors to the end of my life. She was not a damaged wimp with constricted vision; the harm done to her opened up her perception and she lived a life of revelation to other women.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

Monique, I’m enjoying your posts too. Don’t worry about the edits.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

Thanks for that level best. I don’t think I’m going anywhere just yet…although my Nigel would love it if I just closed this place down for good. He informed me recently that he is concerned for my wellbeing, spending so much time discussing atrociously disturbing subject matter, and fighting off trolls. I told him I would be thinking about atrociously disturbing subject matter all the time anyway, whether I ever spoke or wrote about it or not. Apparently, this was news to him. And that, my friends, was news, to me. Srsly? He didn’t know that? Wtf?

Anyway, carry on. I might have something new going up this weekend, not sure yet. I found a really stoopid video you might want to see.

factcheckme - May 21, 2010

Oh, and the point of the above: people never fail to disappoint, and they rarely surprise.

81. rainsinger - May 21, 2010

78. Monique: Aren’t you a bit pessimistic Rainsinger?
I know the conditions are not so favorable now and there is a missing feminist generation. But if you resign, who will continue?

*hugs* Monique🙂 Every now and then, I hear/read/see someone like you, which is maybe why, no matter how many breaks I take, I keep coming back🙂

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

the stoopid video is posted. honestly, its chilling, particularly after this series. enjoy.

82. SheilaG - May 22, 2010

I don’t know how my ideas about separatism got interpreted to mean sex with women. Separatism means you limit to your best ability interactions with men, and that you focus on creating a viable economic, intellectual, political life with women. My idea is that women’s energy gets really used up serving men. The more men are involved with social or even business settings, the less women can get done with each other. The unification of women for women will simply grant women more opportunities for creativity, and their labor will not be as easily stolen and used by men.

I hope I have made it clear that straight women are straight. However, I do know thousands of lesbians who came out later in life and had been married to men with kids and the whole bit. This was largely due to the fact that lesbianism was demonized by the medical establishment, feminism hadn’t really come on the scene in the second wave, and women were much more controlled and monitored under patriarchy. What I want is an end to women’s dependence on men, and an end to attacks on lesbians and a demeaning of our culture and traditions, which most straight women (not all) have no clue about.

My theory is that if something becomes less demonized or hidden, the knowledge of it makes it more available to women who were coerced into being straight in order to fit in socially. These women actually were not straight to begin with, or they tried unsuccessfully to be straight, because marriage to a man was the only game in town, or a complete survival issue. Read the biography of any lesbian feminist practically, and they all were once married to men. A few never were, and the quality of their work is better in my opinion because of this good fortune. Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, Sonia Johnson to name a few were all married to men… oh forgot Adrienne Rich, who only came out as lesbian at age 47. Most of the early radical lesbian feminists were married to men, almost all women got married once upon a time. Now there is much more freedom for women on their own, no questions asked, you get good jobs, top degrees, no problem.

In western countries, this is no longer the case. You don’t need men to develop economic independence, and most lesbians I know are very self-sufficient, very clever, and very well versed in strategies that make our lives meaningful and prosperous. Our activism long term had produced tangible economically viable alternatives to “man socializing” for lack of a better phrase.

It is a real choice for women to create maleless worlds whether they are lesbians or not, and I’ve always said this. I’ve also always said that straight women have never ever been sexually attractive to me, because, well they’re straight… the energy is off… there’s no connection on that point at all. But that’s a detail, because lesbians and straight women can work very well on many things, and our mixed groups are fine IRL. Straight women have created many friendly female only institutions and traditions, and these traditional organizations have the added attraction of being transwoman free. Transwomen mostly invade lesbian spaces, but straight women majority groups are pretty much left alone. It means transwomen are targeting lesbian groups and trolling for lesbian sex, but if it’s almost all straight women, well, they don’t bother with camp trans or their act up nonsense.

Politically, this is largely an issue in lesbian worlds now, straight women are not really privy to this conflict, nor are you exposed to formerly male porn brains etc….

Separatism would be far better understood if we used another term … say woman focus, woman power, woman time…

We have to be aware that men’s revolutions get places, because men don’t do the childcare, could care less if they go off to France and abandon their wives and children (Ben Franklin and John Adams come to mind here). I can see women who have kids, and their ability to focus energy on women is limited, their time eaten up by childcare and household duties and male care. It’s about time, and how you have enough of it to create real social change.

Sex, well it can be obsession in feminism, but quite frankly, I’m not all that interested in the topic. I am interested in my freedom, and in the intellectual virtuosity that lesbians can create in partnership with each other. When I get home, my partner knows exactly what feminism is, what sexism is and how men are complete idiots. There is no confusion, no mansplaining, just women communicating a very sophisticated political consciousness over a long period of time. My time can be spent with women – there are no time wasting man care responsibilities, I don’t deal with family issues– grand kids etc. ad nauseum… my focus can be on liberation, intellectual advancement, the arts, politics and lesbian nation building. I can unite for common purposes with other women, make decisions quickly, take action collectively if one of our group members need help or support.

I don’t have to live in nuclear family isolation, and it is very powerful when women create small dynamic groups. That’s feminism in action, that’s a member getting the funds for a down payment on a house, a bank loan, help at a fair to sell her jewelry, a labor force of 10 on instant alert. That’s what unity and feminism provide women outside the “man’ world. And it is no accident that our groups are the most effective with women who are single (straight), women who are widows, women with grown children, and lesbians naturally. It works well, we don’t have petty fights, we are focused and effective.

Feminism is about women getting the job done for each other, rising to the occasion, creating more prosperity as a group that we would have individually. Individuality is very economically harsh on women, I wouldn’t want to row that boat alone or be socially isolated ever. The sad part of Internet feminism is I think a lot of women are loners, so the feminism is intellectual, but it’s not daily life, and it doesn’t make life better for a group of women IRL.

We’ve been at our small groups for over 30 years now, and it is the most satisfying aspect of feminism and sisterhood for me. Sometimes the groups are lesbian exclusive, but also they are mixed in many ways — young and old women, various races, straight and lesbian. Almost no bi women get involved in these groups, they are problematic for me and even straight women.

So that’s about the gist of it. I speak for myself here, but I would never ever use the F-word to describe the act of making love to another woman. The F-word is a straight woman’s word, it is not a feminist word in my opinion. It is the awfulness of PIV sex that straight women are subjected to. I have too much respect for my lesbian sisters ever to use a word of rape towards love relationships between women, but that is my personal opinion and may not be shared widely.

83. SheilaG - May 22, 2010

P.S. And really, when I’m in lesbian groups, we never talk about men.
Straight women do the most constant and bitter complaining about men… they’re at this complain factory all day long it seems. We lesbians just have to wonder, what’s the attraction, because the best way to tell if a woman is straight is if she starts complaining about men. Funny but so true.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

sheila, thanks for that. it was UP who was all about the woman-love requirement (otherwise its lesbo-phobic!), and it was pissing me off. i like your version of seperatism, i really do. very genteel, as you say.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

i just added 2 more videos. ah you tube. what a great time-waster!

84. rainsinger - May 22, 2010

I see separatism as a continuum, from attending a woman-only meeting or event once or twice a year, to carving out as much man-free time/space in your life as possible. As Sheila said, it has always been about separating your time and energy.

Sexuality is part of that, because it remains a part of human life, the universe and everything, but is only a part, not the whole story. For some its more important an issue than others, at a point in their lives, particularly in our youth. But I never once read UP here as making any “requirements” on others, that was an assumption in the minds of some readers. And yes, that common assumption is mis-reading, misunderstanding, lesbophobic, over-reacting, misogynist, invisibilising, exclusionary and trivialising. But so what? I don’t see that as a big deal, it happens all the time to lesbians, many of us are so used to it we dont notice or bother making an issue of it. Get some perspective, I can’t realistically see a handful of woman-loving joyous lesbians “forcing” het women to do anything – its hilarious!

Some, particularly the young, will be more angry than others about it, because its more *personal* in their lives. Others shrug it off. Its just man-training, we all have it.

I’m in my 50s, and maybe age has mellowed me to it, towards shrugging it off more often than not. I also have grown kids, including daughters in their 20s. Maybe thats why I tend to Let.It.Go. Dunno.

Straight women do the most constant and bitter complaining about men… they’re at this complain factory all day long it seems. We lesbians just have to wonder, what’s the attraction, because the best way to tell if a woman is straight is if she starts complaining about men. Funny but so true.

Aint that the truth? ahahahahahahahahahaha

Like the old slogan “Its not about sex, its about power”….
or as in Adrienne Rich’s essay: “Its not the men in your bed, its the men in your head”. (You can read it here: http://www.terry.uga.edu/~dawndba/4500compulsoryhet.htm)

Anyway, separatism has always been about separating time and energy from men, personally and/or politically – but only as much as you want to, and are capable of, within the limits of your own circumstances.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

If its lesbo-phobic to not desire or accept woman-love, and that was said here more than once, then its a requirement to engage in it rainsinger. It’s a guilt trip, and an utter manipulation. I might re-read those comments in a few days, or I might let it go. Again, UP was the one who was harping on it, whereas you and Sheila have distanced yourselves from that sentiment, which is appreciated.

I really wonder if some lesbians really know or care what straight women are used to sexually, since we get it from every direction when it comes to het sexual encounters, both wanted and unwanted, and that’s FEAR. That fear response is automatic, and I can tell you that it feels the same in my body, whether I am reading that sex is required from a woman or a man. Mscitrus and rhondda both said something similar, so I know its not just me. And I am hard-pressed to read a female fear response when it comes to any sex as misogyny, unless you are talking about internalized misogyny (rather than inflicting it on the poor lesbians) having been on the receiving end of dangerous male sexuality that routinely places girls and women in harms way. That’s what sex is, when you are straight. If straight women commonly respond this way, and it sounds like we do, then perhaps you could approach it from a position of compassion, instead of taking it personally, yourselves. It’s just a thought. And you and sheila are giving me much to think about, so thank you for that. Your serenity is coming through in your writing, and it makes it easy to read. Its an emotional subject, as are most of the things we talk about here.

85. rainsinger - May 22, 2010

*hugs* FCM – I rarely speak for others, its just sometimes I believe I understand both sides, and with compassion for both🙂

I was indoctrinated into het sex/rape at a young age, spent some years of my youth on the streets as a kerb junkie-hooker. I have all those stories too, in my bones and my scars. After drifting for over a year, and having a brief lesbian fling, (of which I was ashamed, and tried to tell myself I was still straight, just had an ‘kinky experiment’ of youth🙂 ) I married the first Nigel that crossed my path and pumped out two babies in quick succession to “prove” myself straight and normally wannabe middle-class. I was in full denial!! At that time, I’d rather be thought of as a slut, than a dyke🙂

Besides which, despite the rapes, including gang-rapes, weapons, the just plain bored and uncomfortable times, the paralysing fear and terror times – I did *physically* enjoy it a lot of the time too, and *physically* desired it. So I assumed that I *must* be straight, because my body responded the way its meant to, in all the Joy of Sex text-books.

But you see, outside the physical mechanics, (and any machine can give you orgasms if it just mechanically pushes the right buttons) I had no desire or attraction to them.

I was “trained” like a dog, to *physically* respond to heterosexual activity. Ever trained a puppy to Sit, Stay etc? And they wag their tails happy as a pig-in-poo to get their pats, treats or cuddles?

But, Emotionally, pyschologically, intellectually? No, way. I never desired it myself, I had just learned to respond the correct way to *their* desire. I fell in love, genuine whole caboodle, the very first time, with my midwife for my home-birthing, during my second pregnancy🙂 I could no longer stay in denial, to myself anyway. Also, it was during that pregnancy and also still a young student at University, I was exposed to radical feminism amongst other politics, and read Dworkin amongst many others, and Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology (I picked it up in a bookshop, thinking it was about gynecology, me being pregnant’n’all…ahahahahahahahahaha).

Welll..everything, just fell into place, very quickly at 24 – I already had years of PTSD and the horrors of patriarchy at its worst, (and it still crops up on rare occasions) — and it was over 30 years ago now, but I found woman-freinding, and woman-loving (even without sexual activity of any kind) very healing. On a lesbian dating-site once I saw a survey with a question about what was your first time with a woman like? Over 50% had responded with “It was like coming home”. I can also remember the excitement and joy of what I found by just hanging out, most of my time with other women – just hanging out. Even some of my happiest times were as a young single mother, with other single mothers, in the single mother suburban ghettos. Its sooo different to male-female relationships – because the power dynamic, no matter how butchy, pushy,manipulative and bossy some women appear, is just not there. Without the power dynamic, the fear isn’t such a necessary response as it is with men.

But – in those early years, I too had a bad habit, of wanting to share all these discoveries, with all the other women in the world *chuckle*. In later years, its the straight middle-class women in the workplace, who frighten the shit out of me with FEAR, I have had far more betrayals, vicious back-stabs and so on through “stilletto politics”.

Anyway, have been living as a radical feminist activist (on-and-off) and dyke ever since, and long periods of celibacy – but a celibate dyke, not a celibate het. But thats just *my* story – just wanted to illustrate, where I’m coming from in saying I believe I often *get* both sides.

Take care, FCM🙂

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

And re this thread’s original subject, Intercourse, I will defend Dworkin from detractors to the end of my life. She was not a damaged wimp with constricted vision; the harm done to her opened up her perception and she lived a life of revelation to other women.

thank you for this level best. now that i have read her, i feel particularly protective of her and her work too, although i always have that feeling towards feminist writers (did i mention that i have a thing for feminist writers?) they are a treasure, in the most literal sense. they are rare, and precious, and so valuable. this work should go into the vault as some of the best work that humans have ever produced, and i mean that sincerely.

have you read dworkins memoir “diary of a feminist militant”? i have thought for a long time that some people are just good students of life. you know? some people think that there are “lessons” in life, this is kind of a religious view that i dont and cant share. i dont think we are here to learn stuff, and i absolutely do not see the silver lining in the suffering of so many people, especially women, even if they do come out of it “better people” or whatever. really, i dont see how thats true. they may or may not come out of it at all, and people are always changed by what they encounter and endure. but some people, while they are challenged with the most brutal of circumstances, are just naturally good students, and they do “learn” in that they make connections that most people dont make. dworkin talks about geniuses several times, and “learning how geniuses learn.” geniuses make connections, and go higher and farther than anyone has ever shown them. this isnt a “lesson” that they learned, its a path that they find, and a vision they have, and they blaze ahead without ever noticing or caring that the trail has ended miles back. they are fearless, and gifted. i might even be chanelling dworkins words here, i dont remember how she phrased it exactly but thats the gist.

dworkin was a genius, from the time she was quite young as becomes clear in her memoir (this is my conclusion about her, not her conclusion about herself, i dont think?). she made the connections from the time she was a very young girl, for example, that “adults lie,” and people dont tell you what you need to know, especially when you are a girl. THEREFORE (and this is the connection part) you have to pay attention to what people are NOT saying, if you want to get to the good stuff, and what also happens to be the useful stuff, if you are a girl. she began paying attention to the negative space. the topics that were taboo, things that werent said. etc etc. because thats where the important stuff is, especially when you are a girl.

i love her for what she wrote, i really do. she wrote 11 books (i think) and i have started to collect them all. i have some reading to do. still working on the memoir at the moment.

so thanks for bringing it home level best. i hope you enjoyed the series!

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

thanks for that rainsinger. i normally dont talk about myself or my life either, unless its required (or much, much simpler) to illustrate a point. and you have done that, beautifully. thanks. and funnily too. i lolled when you picked up mary daly, thinking it was about teh babiez. thats perfect. what a wonderful surprise, and a perfect time to read a classic radfem work. i havent read that one all the way through either, maybe its time to pick it up again. picking up dworkin for the second time and actually finishing it was well worth it, to say the least.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA i just received this steaming turd in my email:

In a recent blog post you wrote this: ” what i would like to know, however, is why MEN are continuing to do it [have sex with women], when they know how dangerous it is, for women. this is not a rhetorical question.” Since it is not a rhetorical question, and I happen to be a man, though not one who is sexually active, I thought I’d try and give you an answer.

thats as far as i got. i saw something about “surround my penis with her vagina” out of the corner of my eye, and i knew to stop reading. god. the question wasnt rhetorical, but it also wasnt an invitation for fucking men to email me privately. he didnt even try to comment here (although i dont know whether my response would have been any different, or if i would have even posted it). thats probably why he emailed me privately actually, because he thought he would have a better chance of being “heard.” well dipshit, theres your answer. i didnt even read it.

attention “feminist men”: the issues and questions presented on this blog are for female consumption and discussion. if you wish to think about and discuss this material (and i really think you should) then THINK ABOUT IT ON YOUR OWN TIME, AND DISCUSS IT WITH OTHER MEN.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

ps. actually i would make an exception for richard leader, who wrote “misandry: from the dictionary of fools.” because he has done actual work, and its good, and he didnt do it for cookies. at least, he never asked for any cookies from me. which is important. his website/blog “adonis mirror” is on my blogroll. emails only though richard, not comments. you know, if you want to. thanks.

86. Monique - May 22, 2010

Thank you with your kind messages to me.

I was thinking that it is cool when you can have the totale freedom to choose with who you want to sleep.

There seems to be so many parameters in the choice of a sexuality: heteropatriarchy and forbidding of being lesbian or asexual (oppression), %age of sexual attraction to one sex or to the other sex, and even attraction to one sex but not linked to a sexual desire.

Sheila, when you tell you are not attracted to straight women, I am not either but to me, it is not only a question of time or energy I feel she won’t be able to give to another women (anyway the question can’t even be asked as she is straight and will not be attracted by us). Which is certainly true. And your mind about separatism too.

But reg. my experience and please could you tell me if you think I would finally be a terrible misogynist myself or terribly intolerant, I am not attracted by straight, by bisexuals, and by lesbians either who had sex with men in the past (PIV especially), because I can’t imagine how they had sex then without being deeply sorry for them and disgusted, it has to do with my own sexuality: the scene itself and the feeling she was not loving women enough to resist to it, feeling of defeat for lesbians, of betrayal for all of us, and fear it could very well happens to me because it has happened to her, a kind of feeling of jealousy towards men who have social power and a feeling of helplessness as I feel then that I can’t compete, and finally fear that if it had happened, it may happen again, not sure of her real sexual orientation.
This even if with this other lesbian, we could be similar, have same lifestyle now, and even if she has been lesbian and committed to women for years and years now…

When a lesbian indeed has been having sex with a man, not as a first experiment, I mean an experimental dating that turns to rape, but for years and for example recently, this in a Western country, also with some choice not to do it before she discovers she is a lesbian, don’t you think that even pressured she is a bit bisexual anyway (that it be 1% straight and 99 % lesbian or more likely a higher %age reg. the straight), because the point is that accepting PIV and the (horrible for me) male erected sex is something a lesbian should be really repulsed with, isn’t it?
As even some straight women, loving to be connected with men, loving men bodies (genitalia excepted), making their lives with men and having sex with them, even them they say they don’t like PIV and the male penis.

I have the same problem now with friendship, maybe because I ended up very pricky with friends in order to be sure to go along in the long term.
If they seem lovely lesbians but hang to their male friends, to their nephews, etc.. I am just pissed off, as I know they will let males have priority over me their, friend (or potential lover) and other their own interests, moreover their males relatives often ask undue privileges that are often sexual, like these following examples I will give you:
– A lesbian is asked by her best male friend (a gay) to kiss him on the lips, as he likes to do it with all his friends, so and although she even does not like to kiss cheeks, generally speaking, she accepted.
– A lesbian is asked by her 15 years old nephew to scratch his back all the time he comes to visit her, as he says she is really doing that better than anyone else and he likes this kind of tender gesture between them. She agreed and will never wish stoping to do it.
– A lesbian is always receiving her male friends at home, straight in couple, gay and alcoholic and a gay transvestite (who is looking for a woman to marry him), even sometimes in middle of the night and she manages to be dependant of them and to always be helpful to them, this in spite she has been raped as a teenager.
– A lesbian is asked to care for the little boy of 4 of her boss, when there is less need in her job (she is receptionist in a holiday resort), and to hold him the little penis while he pees. Once the little boy asked her to hold him in her arms and she noticed he was having an hard-on. She asked why to the mother who answered it was just natural by boys.. The same lesbian is enjoying to care for this little boy. (She is also having fantasies to be pregnant, just to feel what it would feel. She always invite collegues at home, both males or females and thinks this is truly equalitarian).
– A lesbian would wish to live in a feminist way with other lesbians and to be sharing a house, maybe join a home for retired lesbians (female-only), but she was married before she was aware to be lesbian and had 2 daughters who themselves have male husbands and male children, also she decided to stay alone in order to welcome her family.
– A lesbian is promoting the project of her son (he wants to be chosen and sponsored for a world-tour amateur reporter challenge) on a lesbian-only community and dating site, she isulted lesbians who were treating her demand as a spam and not willing to support her son, because the son of a lesbian is automatically perfect according to her and deserves to be helps, isn’t it.
I add there that his son has a good job, he just wants to take a break for a year and will have his job back waiting for him, while a lot of lesbians on the community site are suffering unemployment.
– A lesbian is willing to have a baby, no matter what, she says she hates men, she never slept with men, she hates misogyny and so on, but that’s her fate to have a baby, digging further in her motivation, I asked and what if it is a boy, she replied that then he would be the man of her life, the more precious person on this earth and by the way she had a wonderful grand-father who is dead now but she would not like to deceive him and would like to give him a grand-child and if it is a boy who looks like her grand-father, even better ! This lesbian broke up with me violently (as friends) for the only reason I would not like babies (to have a baby myself or to approving it by others).

I have another question: What do you think of women who are clearly women-haters themselves?

Who would really choose in cold blood to go until the destruction of another woman’s life (or many women’s life) sometimes in agreement with a man or for any other reason (power, money, just the joy of doing it or totale indifference), but I insist on these words: in cold blood and knowing what they are doing.

Some of them are lesbians and that’s the strangest thing, because we would suppose the fact that in order to live as a lesbian they would have had to guess and fight against male privileges and for women’s rights beforehand.

Thanks.

To Femme Avenger :

Please consider that butches and femme did not exist in France, it has been 100% exportated from the States in the 90’s.
I have read that butches and femmes existed as a mean of survival in the States for a very long time, like a tradition, but not in France.
Lesbians in France were certainly looking quite masculine, in their clothing and haircuts, all of them, but not all the time expressing more masculine voice or absence of smile or harsh look, but that’s it. The ones who looked feminine, very feminine, especially in their clothings, and make-up, were married and experimenting with other women like themselves, mostly married as well and just for sex, so they were not lesbians to my mind and not going with lesbians but in the cupboard straight kind of misogyne women willing to try swapping and any kind of sexual experiment. The transsexual women were also very feminine looking (well, in a way, in the outfit) but not interesting the lesbians either.

Now I am happy to hear that it is straight females who ask the lesbians you call butches to go transition to FtoM.
If the *butches* were careful not to date or want to date straight women in the first place, it will not happen and you would not accuse straight women of every deffects.
The real culprits are not the straight women.
But patriarchy once again and as always and this time allied with Queers (and there are a lot of straights and bisexuals in queer activists).
You forget that Judith Butler, or Beatriz Preciado and Marie-Hélène Bourcier in France, who are at the origin of the Queer-gender-stuff theory call themselves lesbians. Ok maybe they are straights in their heads, I agree fully to that.
They are not the friends of women anyway and they like men (and even sexually speaking they had a lot of politically correct orgies with transgender identified females whatever their body and with dildos, straps).
I am sorry as well when I see young lesbians on dating-community websites, more and more often say the only solution for them to solve their feelings they are unwell in a woman’s role nowadays is to transition.
And the responsible of that loss of identity is the pressure to conform to feminine heterosexually formatting outlook in order to be considered attractive and not old-fashioned and mannish.

Queers are exploiting the place left empty by the death of the feminist movement and are responsible to never have questionned this issue and to give absolutely wrong alternatives to lesbians, just to adapt to their stupid theories.
They push a lot of people to try to change sex, it is like a kind of best political act your could do. And they do not fight against clichés but reinforce them, ask people to play with them and to really believe in their role.
The alternative is not: reject the stereotypes and the heterosexuality pressure, be natural, and if you feel free when looking a bit masculine, it does not matter.
The Queer alternative is: you are really old-fashioned indeed and not sex-positive nor attractive or tolerant (to men) at all, until you won’t accept to take an identity we have defined for you so far, even if we took a sample of real feminism and lesbians history for that purpose (to make you be sure we are indeed speaking about you and to make you believe in your roots).

Also you have the choice to look like a Barbie doll, and at that moment please tickle the femme box or to be a butch and at that moment please wear straps and take testosterone to impose you fully (on women) as a butch and see if you would not feel better, but if you choose to transition to a FtoM, then congratulations, you win the cult of phallus first prize!!

And in any case please do not forget that SM, Porn and clown performing with bearbs and simulacrum of raping each other are the best practices to be trendy and fashionable nowadays and even to become a real feminist militant. Congratulations.

To thank you to have been able to control your brain and to have fucked it well with all our troubling questions regarding genders and tolerance, we will invite you to a free punk concert, a sex-positive art show, a DIY dildo workshop, a free orgy or a free porn cinema festival, you can choose between non-mixed workshops with only dykes and transwomen or an whole mixture with all genders represented (well not really the choice for porn and orgies) and enjoy sexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, don’t forget.

87. Monique - May 22, 2010

Well I am unfair with Queers, true that if suddenly we become blind, if men are no more men and women no more women, and that we learn to all penetrate ourselves with dildos or penis, helped in that by sex-positive attitude and porn, and play a role as powerful as the one of men, like in theatre, then there is no more problem or sex wars on this planet and we are all reunited, even with men.
Who had the stupid idea?

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

i wouldnt worry too much about being unfair with queers, thats for sure. they are doing really well for themselves, as rainsinger noted somewhere: its a hate crime to assault a man pretending to be a woman, but its just normal (most of the time not even a prosecutable crime, let alone a hate-anything) to assault a born-woman. where this has not happened yet, the “problem” is the former, and definitely not the latter. and the ACLU is ready, willing and able to take the case!

88. SheilaG - May 22, 2010

Monique, I think you have a very astute and nuanced report on what lesbians have to deal with in the world. I may be a minority of two globally, but I do believe that there is great value in a lesbian community of women who have never had sex with men. Most of my friends fall into this category, as do I. We are here to report that lesbian life flourishes despite every hetero propaganda coersion machine on the planet. But if you write about this, all hell breaks loose, because women want to believe that all women feel for the male PIV routine, and that we weren’t intelligent enough from a very early age to know our own inner being.

You’d think with all the information on lesbians out there today, that we could just skip the “Social pressure date men” stage, and just be the lesbians we were born to be.

There is a unique and powerful lesbian self, it’s why straight women always are so straight the moment I meet them. It’s a significant spiritual/energetic difference. You know colonization when you see it, and it’s often as plain as a Step-and-Fetch-It racial sterotype of the 1930s. I think it is the role playing that so repulses me, the fear of true intellectual engagement… it’s just something that is obvious.

When women are free, you know we are free. When women are catering to men, it’s obvious, and that’s the challenge of radical feminism. We know that no group that is dependent economically on an oppressor ever is free. In colonialism, it’s one male dominant culture invading and taking over another male dominant culture. White men dominate and conquer non-white men. The challenge of feminism, is that the colonized are actually sexually attracted to the oppressor, and there is no getting around this. There is no denying this reality for women worldwide.

If I as a lesbian can stand up against all the hetero-indoctrinating nonsense coming at me 24/7 and stand my ground, I believe, me being an average woman with intent could become more common. But first Monique we have to celebrate this, and say that in the west, women have choice and agency, and that we all fought to gain this. We can see first hand what lesbians are doing in other lands, because they are fighting against male colonization as well.

A colonized people… well one of the first items in the American revolution was protesting the forced housing and quartering of British soldiers in American colonial homes. This was cause for war among the colonized men. But women willingly move in with the colonizers, never considering the price of this. Especially young women, who then waste valuable early years in male care and baby manufacture, thus ensuring poverty and low level jobs for a lifetime. It’s a scary thing, I have no answers. I just know that there are many women who are very very determined to have freedom, and that for some unknown reason we will not give in to the oppressors or have them in our homes.

Thanks Monique for the detailed report. I love hearing from French women who have an amazing feminist legacy that has been so valuable to us American lesbian feminists. We were so lucky to have had the privilege of French lesbian feminism, and all its joys and innovation. You’re right on target!

89. Rachel - May 22, 2010

Rainsinger, I’m 20 years younger than you, but we’ve had some similar experiences. And I interpreted the whole separatism and sexuality issue (including UP’s comments) the same as you did. Sex with a woman is so radically different from sex with a man, it deserves a different name. Also, “coming home” is exactly how it felt the two times I’ve been lucky enough to be in a room surrounded by other radical lesbian feminists. (First time was a private gathering to honor Mary Daly and the second was her recent memorial in Cambridge.)

90. SheilaG - May 22, 2010

Thanks Rachel for mentioning the Mary Daly memorial in Cambridge, because this was filmed and gives all women a chance to see the power of radical lesbian feminists gathered to honor a heroine. You can see the power, commitment, the virtuosity of a true woman honoring space. This was so effortlessly about non-patriarchy, what the space and rituals and speeches look like.

Sex with women does deserve a completely different name; because the word Sex itself is completely abused as PIV and male centric. We don’t have enough separatist gatherings for all women to see, and that’s the problem. I think this is what special when you’re in a room of all lesbians, when they have gray hair, the distinguised freedom fighters, where had they been men, they’d have brass bands playing for them.

What pains me, is that women who have devoted their entire lives to women, get so little space from women who call themselves feminists.
There is so little celebration of just what it is to love women fully, with no male agency at all. I think the Mary Daly memorial service might still be accessible on the net. Sex is about the pleasure of men, to the detriment of women– as the sex act is widely understood to be.

It’s why sexual discussions women come up with vis-a-vis their lives with men seem so odd, and also passionless and mechanical and negotiating… so frought with the problematic, so unfocused on love.

91. Monique - May 22, 2010

I will put titles :

SEXUAL INDOCTRINATION

Thanks so much Rainsinger, *hugs too*, to share your feelings about your sexual experiences and what was your indoctrination.
It helps to understand each other and realise we may not be so different, but that the power of this indoctrination both on women and men is the biggest issue and that we over-react easily to the degree of respect of women or of self-respect that we guess about another women.

RASCALS COLONIZING STRATEGIES

Just there, Sheila, you need to tell me more about French feminism innovation (because Queer movement was created in France, it is what I read and it is very unfortunate for feminism in France), well maybe you were thinking of the revolution idea, but thanks anyway, it is just funny because I have always heard that in Anglo-saxon countries, it was easier than in France to make oneself respected by men, or to find lesbian separatist communites, and this because women had a long tradition of meeting together without the men.

I agree totally with you that like for Whites colonizing Non-Whites thanks of an advantage they had on Non-Whites which was better equipment, technology and weapons, and because they were jealous, very greedy, felt super-powerful and wanted to take advantage of these new folks, thinking it would be just so easy to appropriate their lands, goods (women included) and everything until their souls in a way and their free will, and then only at that moment they created the shame to be born Non-White and racism that did not exist before at all, based on natural differences like skin color or anything that would just jump in front of your eyes and would be good enough to make the mandatory separation between the invaders and their heirs and the invaded.

Regarding predation on women, men are just the same kind of rascals they are with other men, I suppose that the advantage of men on women was their physical strength and violence and the motivation was either their greedy appetite for sex, and they were certainly feeling lost on their own and jealous if women were better off together without them as well, exactly like Valerie Solanas said, they are just emotional cripples, they wanted the care and presence that women would not want to give them otherwise because they felt less connection with them and were more ingenious on their side but unfortunately men were gifted by nature with physical strength and violence if they wanted to use it..

What White men asked from Non-Whites was to give them their lands, to be their slaves, to always accept to make a low-profile, to be treated as evils and inferior, then if they agreed to all that, they would be good friends, invaded would not be systematically beaten and killed and raped (rape being a long-time creation for another colonized folk, women of course). But they would be as soon as they would resist and they would be anyway, anyway, and from time to time just in order to remind everybody who is making the rule.

What Men asked from Women was to pass by mandatory PIV and pregnancy to proove to them the rascals, that women agreed about the initial difference that was to find and perpetuate for the sake of poor baby boys so in need of women presence, also and for this purpose to be women and not men would mean to have a vagina that would be colonized (and a womb as well), using the natural differences and even the straight sex in a way, and if they agreed then women would not be beaten or killed.
But they would be raped.
This spatial territory which is the vagina needs to be colonized with violence, this detail is important, and that scene of violence needs to remain graved in the brains, the sex of the woman needs to be colonized with violence and against the free will of the women, any women, even the straights, because a straight women could just think, oh I am swallowing the penis, the penis is my thing and I control everything. No, no, no, she must not think that!
And of course to enforce this invasion over the time, women must be threaten with any kind of violence, and they can endure exactly what other colonized men are asked to show their obedience (low-profile, shame, shitty jobs or no jobs at all) but threaten especially with rape which is about the first deal and allows to engrave the violence and the spatial colonization in their body, their intimacy and their memory, this would be used if they don’t comply or if they gather naturally together as certainly they did before men decided to take advantage of them and maintain them in slavery.

EMULATION OF BOYS TO BECOME A SUPREMACIST, A RAPIST, ETC.. AND NEED OF FEMINIST EDUCATION, FEMINIST CHILDREN BOOKS

Of course, if since they are babies, people did not repeat to boys, even the most stupid ones, that they are a marvel, expecially compared to their sisters, in whatever thing they do because they are the little men, the pride of the family being placed in them, because of tradition, because having powerful penis I suppose, and transmitting the family name as well (this thing needs to be changed. In addition latin languages have gender rules with a male supremacy in grammar of course) and that they have to proove they are men, always, by imposing themselves (on females) and by mean of jokes or direct hints to the PIV…

My niece is having her birthday soon, I am avoiding contacts with my family and best for me is to remain away from them but I will try to find a child feminist book if it exists for a gift, and it it does not exist, why not write it ?

BEHAVIOR IN FRONT OF MEN

I suppose you always noticed that when you meet a man or worse a group of men, you seldom watch them in the eyes and that you feel a bit scared but try to pretend not be (it is like with a big dog, better do as if you are not afraid).
I suppose you noticed that you feel as if you were subject to their sexual interest.
I suppose as well that you know that the best way to release the tension is to make a joke about your sexual availability to them, if not there and now of course, in a kind of formal perspective.
Unless they begin themselves directly with such a joke.

A FEW EXAMPLES OF THIS ORDINARY SEXISM TAKEN FROM MY WALK TODAY, TOPLESS AND NATURISM ISSUES

I am just lucky to live at the mediteranean sea since the past 9 months, there is a village fest for 3 days at the moment with lot of food stalls and music.
I decided to go to the sea this afternoon, a walk of at least 2 hours maybe 4. I crossed *topless* men fishing in the channel on my way. And I was thinking, oh I was feeling so warm and sweating, I too would like to feel the sun and the wind on my torso, at least my torso.
Why can’t I remove my bra and my T-shirt ?
It is not forbidden in France.
Even to walk naked, as soon as nobody protests, and if you are not having sex or if you are a male if you are not showiing on purpose an erection, then it is not forbidden, it is not considered exhibitionism, even in town.
Of course, reality is different.
Naturists, males or females are cautious and afraid when they go naked, they are always afraid to provoke violent reactions from men, even males are afraid, they are touching a taboo there, for a simple right to profit of the sun.
There is not so many differences that jump in the eyes when people both sexes go totally naked (unless you come very close to stare at them), if they have no ritual penis holsters for men or any distinctive sign and when there is no sexual activity involved.
Suddenly women can go naked, without the fear to be raped or desired, and suddenly men if they accompany women would look very harmless, respectful, on the same level, having nothing to hide, nothing to be proud of, no distinctive sign of their supremacy, and no sexual jokes of course as sexual jokes or staring at someones genitalia or accusing the naturists of a sexual intention by being naked is not welcome at all.
Women and children can go naked in company of naked men without fear to be raped.
Because real nudism or naturism spirit is very respectful and it is only at that condition it works.
But it is of course a kind of revolt.

Also even if allowed in France to be topless and it should be equal rights for women and men, so it means that if men go topless, you are allowed too, it does not matter if your breasts are slightly bigger then theirs.
And men have seen the naked breast of their wife for example, and almost all have anyway been feed with the help of a woman’s breats, and all knows that women and men are supposed to be equal, so it should not shock them to see a naked woman’s torso.

But it does because it is assumed that women breasts are sexual .. on their only point of view … Even the oldest and sagging feminine breasts are a invite for sex to their point of view!
That of course without ever caring of what the real intention of the woman is, and ever caring of her will and free will.
Moreover to leave ones torso naked during warm days, like do men, will be considered as a provocation asking for violence, insults (you whore), sexual assault or laughings.
Their supremacy is in danger at the moment women go topless and are not afraid if men think that any female’s body, particularly bits of their body like their torso belongs to them and is made for sex, men get angry at the moment women just show it won’t be the case and refuse to make a low-profile and to deprive themselves of a very natural right to be the master of their body and to escape sweat and profit of the sun rays, exactly like men do.

Also I thought, should I stop and ask these 3 men what they would think about my right to be equal and not suffer from the heat, as well as not suffer any bad joke, violent words or saucy looks (although my breasts are not really exciting, for men standards, and even for mine)?

And I gave up, I was feeling this fear and pointing the finger on it.
Always a low-profile, even me, shit!

Some yards later, once arrived at the beach, where I was not totally alone though, I did it, and removed the top…

It is up to us to give the example. Nobody will really do something, most of the time, the fear is in our heads, but we do not risk so much especially if we stand for our rights and argue, and I walked and passed people both sexes, who did not react, but some youths at some distance whistled loudly and I supposed it was at me, unless there was a dog somewhere.
When I came back, no whistlings, but if it had been, I was ready to go to them and talk, and stand for my dignity and my rights, call the police if degenerating, but I was ready to confront them without fear.

Unfortunately, just reaching my door, a man was there, he was a stupid volunteer guy in charge of serving some food sold by an association which stall was next to my door.

He was wearing a funny hat, and he rushed to me trying I suppose to kiss me (I suppose on the cheeks), I rusked back angry, telling him, away, I do not agree, I don’t want you to kiss me, I hate that and men.. Then he leaned on his knees and he leaned his back like in a prayer for me not to be angry, and still blocking my way to my door, I told him, wait a minute, do you want to stop laughing at me, ok? It is not because you guys hold the manship on women in this society that I will allow you to do what you want and to laugh at me.
He replied, oh no, don’t tell me that, I never laughed at my wife and she deceased 3 years ago, so don’t even bring the topic.
I said, wait, you wanted to kiss me, right?
Did I ever ever allow you to kiss me?
Then he said nothing and went backward, I could just ignore him and enter home.
They never ask us what we want, they do as if we could not have our say and as if they had to be present, even with a totale stranger, they don’t respect us.

WEALTH OF LESBIANS

Now Sheila I disagree a bit about that what you wrote there: *most lesbians I know are very self-sufficient, very clever, and very well versed in strategies that make our lives meaningful and prosperous. Our activism long term had produced tangible economically viable alternatives to “man socializing” for lack of a better phrase.*

That’s good to be positive, could you invite me then because unfortunately even in Western countries and from what I have see in Europe, lesbians (and sometimes single/divorced women who do not trust men anymore), especially if they don’t want to socialize with men are the poorest, most can’t rely on their families who reject them, they can’t rely on lovers who are in the same hopeless situation, and they have no husbands to give them a living.

Most bosses are men, and he is likely to give the job to another man or to an attractive-to-him woman, but not to the masculine girl there.

And the lesbians I know who are financially independant are mostly in jobs nobody wants to do (and especially not lesbians, but no choice) like chambermaid, cleaner, or in a less paid and less rewarding position than men at equal qualification.

TO FEMONADE

Take a break if you are tired.. I am not working but on benefits at the moment, this gives me more time to write, you know. I wonder how many comments wordpress will allow on a post ???? Sorry for the length, I feel at home on your blog, : ) , maybe we should create another one or…
Hugs

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

monique, thank you for that. post all you want, i dont think theres a limit. i love what you wrote about going topless and nudity. i could really imagine your walk, it was that vivid. and the asshole that was waiting on your doorstep when you got home was vivid too, unfortunately. i could absolutely see that happening.

your story and reference to “naturists” reminded me that in college, my good gf and i spent a couple of weekends at a nudist camp, and it is a very (but not totally) different attitude about nudity than most people are used to. as you say, erections arent allowed, and its actually the least sexual thing you will ever do, especially while naked. there were a few younger couples with kids, and proabably 20 older couples, many of whom lived there full time. everyone naked, everywhere you looked. naked volleyball. naked swimming. naked golf-cart riding! that was fucking hilarious. unfortunately, some of it was too typical: we were young and cute, much younger than anyone else there, and someone started a rumor that my gf offered one of the old geezers a blow job, and she either wasnt invited back or didnt want to go back after that. so someone got jealous, or something. but i think everyone should have the opportunity to experience public nudity divorced from a sexual context, or as divorced from it as you can get. just the fact that erections were absolutely discouraged was enlightening. and guess what? no erections occured, even in the presence of naked wimmins everywhere. but even “ordinary sexism” wont leave you alone, anywhere you go, its true. even when everyone is naked, somehow the women are MORE naked. all it takes is one asshole in the bunch, to create a victim.

anyway, thanks for posting, and for describing your walk. i am going to read it again, it was that good.

factcheckme - May 22, 2010

actually, i love everything you wrote here. i will read it a few more times, theres alot there. thank you for taking the time.

92. SheilaG - May 23, 2010

It’s interesting to get this perspective of straight women being in a state of fear, and that the possibility of sex with men is about fear. I’m simplifying. I never realized this before, because I’ve never feared oridinary life with average men. I would naturally fear a scary group of gang bangers on a street corner at night. I would fear a group of men in an underground parking lot. But I don’t fear getting into an elevator with one lone man, who I could easily kill with my bare hands, and I project this “killer energy” directly at them as I enter the elevator. They feel it, they fear it, they move away from me.
It’s not the kind of raw hatred for a male stranger that I can summon in less than 60 seconds that is that quickly available to a straight woman in a similar situation.

But in daily life, I’m indifferent to the men around me, almost as if they don’t exist. This might be the big divide between lesbians and straight women. When straight women describe their first sexual experience with a man, it is usually not a relaxed situation at all. Sex with men or boys is about sex in the back of cars, pain, fumbling, or just coersion with no conscent.

Sex with women is not the same thing, nor is a kind of free floating sexual attraction among women about that either. When I’m in a roomful of women, I’m at peace. And odd things happen in lesbian worlds. I asked a lovely woman in her 70s to dance one night. I bribed the DJ to put on Glen Miller and it was a heavenly erotic experience. She reported earlier in the evening that her husband of 40 some years had died, that she was celebrating his death, that he beat, raped and humiliated her for decades, that she was lucky enough to inherit a bit of money, and that she realized since the late 1940s that she was really a lesbian, but never had the courage to act on this. This whole story unfolded because I had noticed this woman sitting alone with her drink looking very nervious several times at the local dyke bar.

We are such a stupid youth centered culture now, that old women are rare in lesbian spaces, and I wish so many more old women would be there with all of us.

Anyway, it was a Friday night, and women were dancing, and I could see such a look of longing on her face. I can’t quite describe it, but it certainly caught my attention. I’m a very compassionate listener and a congenial companion to women, so I went over and bought her a drink and introduced myself. Out came this long life story, and it was too much for me. So I asked her to dance, and she gave me a lovely and tender kiss, and weeks later, I took her to old lesbian venues and programs, and she met another woman in her 60s and the two became a couple. I can say, that I have never felt fear kissing women, drinking with them, even getting very drunk with women — a bad habit, but hey, I’m part Irish.

There is no fear of rape, no fear of even going home with a woman, no fear. No fear of a woman who drags me out on the dance floor, puts my arm around her. It is just a lovely interaction.

I don’t think straight women can ever have this sense of fearless encounter with strange men. Men will overstep their bounds dancing, disgusting straight men have messed with my younger lesbian friends… they foolishly believe that dancing with men is harmless, and I can’t get them to listen to reason.

To live in fear after drinking too much, to be in fear of men even while on a nice date with them? That would be a truly terrible burden FCM.
I know I’m not exactly getting what you’ve written down right, but your description of funfeminism as a proactive attempt to “give conscent” and not allow it to be a “rape” really got to me.

I feel on some level, that lesbians always respect my boundaries, never invade my soul. I do know that any woman who asks another to dance is very brave, and any woman who has the courage to kiss you in a public space after 40 years of being terrorized by a brutal husband is special.

That might be the most basic difference between lesbians and our erotic connections to each other, and straight women in the world of funfems, or frat parties, or sexual freedom… the world we live in now.

Also, my rage and access to a brutal aggressive anger is something that even disturbs my friends. But, I don’t believe men are innocent, and I believe you really have to project a raw desire on a psychic level… a kind of killer lesbian ray. It is not a good quality within me, to feel nothing for men, to wish them dead just by looking at them.
Not a good thing perhaps, but then they forfeit their humanity decades ago.

93. SheilaG - May 23, 2010

P.S. And to answer Monique about French feminists… well first there was great Simone. Then there was a whole bunch of French feminists that I met in Europe. They were radical feminists, gave me some translated original works… none of that queer theory post modern stuff. They were radical feminists, very old school. I was a kid back in the day, so many of these very radical women took me under their wing. I was a very good listener, very attentive to my elders, very respectful and polite (women here can LOL at this), but it is true IRL.
My French was an attrocity, but my passion was so out there, that I think they gave this barbaric America a bit of a free pass.

There were so many ugly American lesbians back then, that I must have appeared to be a throw back to Louis XV. We’d go to cafes, I’d take care of everything. At parties, I would run to serve drinks and bring the coffee. I loved those women, adored them actually, and one thing about lesbians, we tend to be very charmed by this kind of attentive chivalrus love. Lesbians can be a pain in the butt to each other, mean, swearing, in your face…. I don’t like mean lesbian culture, didn’t aspire to that, and among my elders, I’m still unfailingly deferential.

Their ease at being women of the world was a joy. I can’t explain it, they were so kind and self assured Monique, so confident, so encouraging of a very young 20-something me. French, German, Australian, Japanese, English and Canadian women changed my life.

That said, I had more of an economic education back in the day than the average lesbian. I was a number nerd, and calculated how work should be done. I wanted to avoid low wages, and also be free of men controlling my income. I spent a lot of time devising ways of getting around these female obstacles. To me, it was a necessity to unite with women, and all our small groups were only 15-30, but this helped women gain economic self sufficiency. The U.S. has no social safety net to speak of, and I was afraid of the government as a lesbian. We just tried to set up alternative economic venues, get each other jobs, trade for services, put each other through trade school that sort of thing.

Now I’ve expanded more… we’ve created small groups of lesbian and straight women, black and white women… small business women.. and we meet regularly for economic encouragement, uplift and a kind of loyal show up as a troop group. If one woman needs help, she gets it. At any time, any member can call an emergency meeting, and so we are not so alone. It is far easier to do this now, because the climate between straight women and lesbians has improved. Either that, or I’ve become more genteel and a kinder person. I’m not as put off by straight women socially anymore, I can see their vulnerablity.. I can see the struggle of single mothers, or hear the stories of abusive marriages….

The unity of lesbians is very important because many of us are very poor. Because I was so good at math, and weary of 60s Marxist rhetoric ( all poor people make the world poor) — that stuff didn’t seem a safe bet for lesbian me. We had little institutional protections of any kind. No social security survivor benefits…. and then little details like insurable interest that no het couple even has to know about.

So poor lesbians surround me, but also this gives economically better off lesbians more incentive. We feel an obligation to our sisters. We share a lot. No woman in our groups will ever know hunger or homelessness ever. We’ll make sure this doesn’t happen. We won’t wait for some stupid government to help us. We just don’t have the luxury of screwing up or being asleep at the wheel when major economic downturns strike. Mistakes, economic and otherwise have a very bad effect on lesbians. I feel I can’t make them, I don’t have the luxury of failure, and Susan B. Anthony said it was impossible anyway🙂

factcheckme - May 23, 2010

its very much about fear sheila. i am glad thats getting through. even in encounters that i have wanted, its been about fear, what if i get pregnant? with partners i didnt know well, its a fear of things getting out of control, if i want to stop, will he stop? what if he gives me a disease? and the fear of pregnancy, that one is always there, even with a long-term partner, even when we are using protection, its always a possibility. even when you are on the pill, if you dont take it at literally the exact same minute every day, you arent using it “properly.” and its only 99.9 effective or whatever, when its used properly. i have female friends that have had a half dozen abortions due to contraceptive failure. they used protection every fucking time. and there they are, sitting at the kitchen table eating cold cereal because thats all they can stomach without throwing up from morning sickness.

and these are all wanted encounters. these dont even consider rape, either date rape or stranger rape, or gang rape, or getting too drunk. for straight women, even wanted encounters have consequences. thats whats ultimately so problematic about PIV: it cannot be done safely, or equitably.

again, your perspective and experience reminds me that theres another way. the kinds of fearless encounters you are describing, i cannot even imagine, especially the getting too drunk part. thats the worst thing you can do, even with a trusted partner, because you will fuck up your birth control, its almost guaranteed. the pill makes this somewhat more convenient, but its also the most dangerous, and one of the most expensive, and if you are out partying or whatever, or sleep in the next day, you wont take it on time. then for the next x weeks, you are waiting for your period, praying for it. i am an atheist, and i have prayed so many times for my period, its not even funny.

94. rainsinger - May 23, 2010

Yeah, the main difference to me with men and women, was the fearlessness, or lack of threat. At first I remember finding myself unconsciously reacting to some of the pushy butchy lesbians, and the polyamourous ones, because of the fear instinct – but one of my first insights was lesbians, generally, are far more respectful, warm, laid-back, easy-going and friendly, at both giving No as an answer, and in taking No for an answer.

Do the maths, yes, there is things like lesbian DV, and sexual violence, and heteronormative behaviour modelling – but it is so much rarer than happens amongst the het population. So the statistical probability of threat from another woman, is much less.

I have heard women say, their early experiences with women were boring or unpleasant or uncomfortable etc. Hence, ergo, they believe they *must* logically be straight – and sigh with relief, thank god thats over with. ahahaha… but then how many straight women can say their sexual experiences with men, were *good* every single time?

Having ‘bad’ or ‘not so hot’ sex with a male encounter is par for the course, and you think, oh well, just bad luck this time around, the chemistry wasn’t there with that one – but will be with another?
LOGIC FAIL.

Also I read somewhere, can’t remember now – that the most sexually active humans, are gay males, the next most frequent are hets, with the lesbians the least sexually active – IF You Define “sexual activity” as Genital-based, or based on an end-point result of orgasm.

Then the statistic I read that lesbian sessions are on average of 76 minutes long. LOL. Now, I dont how true or accurate any of these stats are, but they do tend to suggest a pattern that lesbian activity is a far different scenario, more often than not.

And also, that lesbians are least likely to couple-up. At any given point in time, 2/3 of lesbians are single, not in couple relationships.

Which was a telling point for me – because my experience, was I found it difficult to draw some arbitrary line or boundary in lesbian relationships between physical firendship affection, (eg Girl-Hugs, arm-in-arm, kisses etc) and “sexual activity”.

When I thought about it, I came back to the bottom-line slogan, its not about sex, its about power. The unequal power dynamic is always there with males, but only rarely there with females.

And although I am not a life-long lesbian, I am soooo glad they do exist! For it means it is *possible*, for girls to avoid, resist or escape the pressure to conform.

95. polly - May 23, 2010

FCM has written about fear above. But one thing we have to recognise about fear is that it’s seen as a DESIRABLE state in women. For instance a woman I work with came up to me and said a woman was raped on a late night train from a city we have to visit quite a bit for work. Her ostensible motive was to warn me, but actually I know rape happens on trains anyway, because I’ve talked to women it’s happened to. I can’t just avoid going on trains because of that, it’s not practical, but I do take common sense precautions which is trying to sit in a relatively crowded carriage with other women, moving away if there are men who look like trouble, not engaging in conversation with any men etc. I also know it’s a pretty rare event in the scheme of things. So though you can’t eliminate the possibility totally, it’s not sufficient reason to avoid trains, or going out after dark or whatever. My life would be so ridiculously limited if I did that, I wouldn’t have a life. Of course the woman who told me this, won’t even go home alone after dark, she gets her boyfriend to pick her up.

The thing is that fear is used as an agent of social control. And it’s not even fear of stuff you should be frightened of anyway, otherwise every woman who ever got married would sprint away from hubby as fast as she could halfway through the ceremony. But more to the point fear is seen as anattribute that proves the femininity of the woman expressing it. Being scared of the bogey man (aka the not very common stranger rapist) is ultra *feminine*.

factcheckme - May 23, 2010

there are definitely, DEFINITELY more things to be legitimately afraid of than stranger-rape on a daily basis, thats for sure. BUT. we have to consider that one of the reasons that the numbers look like what they look like in relation to intimate versus stranger violence is that most women are in het relationships, and most women modify their own behaviors to avoid stranger-danger type situations. i have mentioned here before that there was an article up on feministe about how F-U-N it is to hitchhike, and how its NOT DANGEROUS because you dont know the men! YAY! my response to that (other than to leave fun-feminism behind for good) was the above. we simply dont know what the numbers would look like if women stopped modifying thier behaviors to avoid stranger-danger. really, for a lesbian, the numbers dont even mean the same thing they mean for straight women, because your risk of being victimized by intimate partner violence is almost zero. so your chances of being stranger-raped versus intimate-partner violenced are way higher than mine. see how that works? numbers are a funny thing is all.

i dont think the point is that women shouldnt be afraid of strange men. i think the point is that we should be more afraid of ordinary men, and modify our behaviors accordingly. we are very good about avoiding stranger-danger to the point of staying hunkered down indoors after dark etc, but we wont let a little thing like DV, the risks of PIV or deadbeat dads get in the way of our “social life” aka dating and interacting with ordinary men. WTF? of course, there are ways to be vigilant about stranger-danger without completely limiting your life too. being a middle-aged butch lesbian probably helps. just saying. i think it would help if all women weighed 175+ lbs, just for the fact that we wouldnt be such obviously weak targets, but thats never going to happen, as long as women also need to land men. its all a nice, tight little package isnt it?

96. SheilaG - May 23, 2010

Hi Monique,

I tried emailing you but it didn’t go through. Let me know your email address again, and I’ll try again.

Probably the most famous French feminist I knew was Monique Wittig; we meet in the early 80s at a European lesbian conference. I always liked her writing, and visions. Then she became a professor at a university in the U.S. not far from where I live, and we reconnected. I was heartbroken when she died in the early 2000s, but she was an amazingly gifted lesbian thinker. She loved the American southwest, and was deeply energized by desert plant life, among other things.

Then there were a bunch of French lesbian feminists, and we all hung out at a Vietnamese restaurant in Tokyo. It was where I first had citreon presse! They introduced me to the high art of great coffee, and kind of helped me gain a little bit more polish and sophistication.
We had a Swiss-French group, one of the women was very wealthy, and looked after the gang of us. In lesbian culture worldwide, you always meet the most amazing women. It’s a true international community, and I still have visitors and take them around town based on those friendships dating back to the late 70s and early 80s.

I was “the kid” back then, the youngest of the group. I think those women indulged me. Nobody indulges like European lesbians. My young American lesbian friends always reported being intimidated by these women, but I loved them, and was not afraid of not knowing things. They were all shocked that I was not conversent in Russian literature, but I redeamed myself with Walt Whitman, Collette, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and my comic readings of Gertrude Stein (you had to be there). They always challenged me in a kind way, were tough on me philosophically, demanding of perfection.

German and French lesbians were just far more educated than their American counterparts, far better read, far more charming… I know I must be biased, but their charm and compassion was exquisit. One time, we all spent a Sunday at a convent, and the nuns hosted a pot luck. They had one elderly French priest who said mass for the convent sisters, and then afterward I had a huge theological debate with him. I think it was that debate that was my entre into “the club intellectual Francaise” so to speak.

German lesbians had a direct connection to the Weimar Republic, and the cabaret life of the clubs from the 1920s. When they sang those old songs, you felt like you were back in time. Everyone was expected to perform a song, play a classical piece of music — Chopin was a favorite, dance, a group of us sang sections of the Bach Christmas cantata in German… I was in heaven. Now sadly, if I quote a poem, lesbians in the U.S just give me a funny look.

It is considered odd to want to go on a flower poetry writing expedition, the lesbian world got very crass, very vulgar… kind of hard to take. Maybe it was a select group of the best and brightest lesbians I was privileged to meet as a young woman, but there is no reason we can’t draw on our spectacular literary past, our incredible radical lesbian present and reach out in a kind of poetic love of our ancestor Sappho. I know, romantic me. But to me, feminism is about joy, it is about love, and it isn’t always about how awful the world is, because when we’re with all women, in a kind of poetic state, we are outside of patriarchy. Artistically, patriarchy ceases to exist. That’s one thing Monique Wittig taught me, and Mary Daly also taught me this as well.

Both those women could take their minds and go out to a new intellectual world. Remember, lesbians invented modernism, and were major players in spreading modernism to a larger world. We need to think about what this vision might be now, what the state of all women could be. The courage to dream big is as important as the courage to sin big🙂

97. Monique - May 23, 2010

CORRECTED POST

Hello,
Femonade
I believed you too did not believe in butch astrology, maybe you meant looking masculine. I am joking, it really does not matter..
But what does matter is, ok your blog is fine, and I discovered other blogs like yours (not in France) but what are we going to do in real life
and living in different countries or different parts of a big country like USA in order to make things change?
Sheila,
No email of you yet, but it does not matter, I can very well exchange chats with you there after all and if you wish. Even if sometimes it is more difficult to talk about very private things in a group than one to one.
Did you meet Michele Causse, Monique Wittig? Because I think they were the only famous ones to call themselves radical lesbians? I know Michele Causse and I do like her work but I have my opinion on the person. I never met Wittig but what is sure is that she gave a joint conference with Marie-Helene Bourcier a year before her death, I don’t know her opinion on Queers.
Now I was a bit afraid that all of you here placed so many differences between straight and lesbian women, that can go so far as unwanted sex with a man does not make a lesbian a lesbian but a straight, or does not make a maybe free woman, a maybe future lesbian a free woman anymore but a straight.
And I want to discuss the positive and negative aspects of this kind of reasoning.
Regarding rape, I repeat that a lot of lesbians I know have been raped or which is similar have been imposed PIV during a kind of first experiment with no real love or attraction to the man, and this even easier that they did not know men and also did not know that a man won’t stop, like a woman would.
And society really forces women to at least try sex once with a man, even just to be sure they did not miss something if they never did it. This enormous pressure added to the fact that lesbians are an easy target, because they live alone, can be recognized as lesbians, it means rebels to punish, are the number one fantasy of men when they imagine they could fuck a virgin and even better a lesbian, have often a difficult life with rejection everywhere if they are not lucky enough to live near a big lesbian and/or feminist community and so are easily what we can call a sentimental addict, a dependant of the interest shown by the other (men harassment can look like interest), all that put them at risk as well, don’t forget.
Not needing to add that rapists just want a woman’s hole to trash, no matter if the woman looks mannisch or is middle-aged or even 90 years old or 6 months old.
I read comments somewhere on the net, where some posters were angry at some comments, I think the original thread of discussion was an extract from Dworkin, Dworkin telling that after a rape or PIV at least, she felt then tainted, contaminated, not pure anymore, guilty, etc..
And some posters were angry to notice that other posters could call a straight or a more-or-less victim of a sexual agression by a man, a contaminated woman or a contaminated lesbian.
I don’t want to enter in any dispute there, I just want to let you share my thoughts about this sentence and the comments I have read.
Indeed I think that if a lesbian is in an end-result state of having been the fucking-hole of a man, she somewhere does not consider herself pure anymore, and her life will be a living hell until she can forget about the and until she tries to do as it never happened, but also she does not appear as pure anymore to her lovers or to anyone who would be too much concerned by her intimacy or by the political implications of her sexuality, because she has done or she has been done something going against her true nature and against free will, and herself first is considering that things as disgusting, dirty and placing her in a powerless position..
Indeed close friends/lovers and herself may think: how did ( I ) she dare let that happened to (me) her, when her true self dictacted her to be powerful instead and not become the slave of a mean, not become an hole and a kind of still alive human trash can for a dick and sperm, especially if she does not love men and especially when other lesbians or free women relied on her contribution and on her example to free all of us?
But to the opposite of Sheila’s example, I think that most of the time women are not so lucky and have never done self-defense (that is first of all a mind attitude to make oneself respect), or did not do enough, or are weakened by a trauma. And they are not smart enough to guess that in these conditions, they are likely to endure what they would never like it could happen.
Also it means that not every real lesbian (or any woman) can be proud of her integrity and intimacy past history, unless she agrees to be I don’t know maybe 3 % straight (or masochist, or betrayer of self and of sisters) for 97% lesbian (or 97 % integrity and self will preserved), and even lesbian victims of a rape when they were a child or a teenager could be blamed not to have bited the guy at a moment, or not to have closed their thighs tightely enough, or not to have talked to their mother or to the police early enough, that means at the first uncertainty about the perversity of the man (who often is a relative).
And to fuel someone’s opinion, I would insist that to my mind as well, it is of the upmost importance
– and it is not to blame victims unfairly that I say that or to treat someone of being straight or of having collaborated with the ennemy to her own degradation and soreness –
that we care and protect integrity, preservation of dignity, intimacy and self will.
We all know that men are the only culprits, but indeed to always forget and forgive about the wrong sexual decisions of women or about sexual degradations a women can endure – tis even if at the same time it is helping her to heal to tell her she is not responsible – leaves a message that finally it is not so important to preserve and protect oneself, because the circle of close friends or lovers or political mates of the victim will anyway totally forgive them, these friends helping them to forget about all that and doing as if they were pure enough without any effort required from the victim.
Not speaking about what such a message tells to rapists as well.
To my mind, such a message or accepting partners that have been abused and that are not able yet to analyze what happened to them and how it won’t happen again, can deter some lesbians/women who have been able to protect themselves so far to keep their guards on (and it was alreaedy not so easy for them, sometimes they built this self-defense all alone. These women are the example to follow and encourage in order to survive) and it can deter the ones who are not able to protect themselves enough, including the already raped victims or straight act victims, to think about seeking self-defense help before to be destroyed again.
And to analyze themselves better to know how all that happened.
I think that we should analyze and fight, but we should not always tell victims that they are victims.
And I think we should especially take in great estime this question of being faithful to self and being able to express our self will and to protect our life, to protect our dreams, to protect our sexual integrity and sexual orientation.
Sheila, you said you did not feel this fear men are willing us to feel when we meet them, but they do all they can to fear us all the time, and that we be straight or independent pure lifelong out masculine-looking lesbian does not change anything to it.
I am sure you felt this fear as well and that you brought up a solution to the fear when you decided to do martial sports and then convince yourself there was no need to be frightened (which is indeed the right step to take in order to fight a potential ennemy) and that’s why each time you are stuck with a man in a lift, you apply the best strategy which is by beginning to impose yourself first on him and fear him.
If there was no need to fear men at the beginning, you would not try to make them fear you first.
And I think it works well as a protection to impose oneself and to learn self defense.
Personally I need to take such self-defense training, I must not forget it in my agenda..
It is astonishing to see how many women and sadly how many lesbians too are forced in sex with men, this in spite of their dreams, pride, their nature and real interests.
If myself, I had done or have been done on me something against my nature as a lifelong lesbian (or as a free woman), I would tell it to my potential partner, whatever excuse I could have had at that time and even if I could loose my potential partner by being sincere about that.
I mean I would not tell, oh you know by the way, I have been raped, I am a victim, just do as if it never happened. But I would find the courage to accuse me instead, and to tell her how much I have felt guilty and for what things exactly. I would tell her that if she has been able to protect herself so far, that maybe I have taken risks myself, that maybe I am 1 % straight if it is easier for her to figure out how it could have happened and that she and me aren’t exactly the same now, but may very well end up the same if she is not even more careful and avoiding the mistakes I have made myself. I would answer any of her questions on what happened and in details if she asks, especially the parts where I would have lost control, even if it would be painful for me and of course I would tell her that nothing can excuse the man.
I would insist on how everything is conspired by this society, including a big number of fantasies and fears we can strangely find in our heads (and that we could be tempted to check or to exorcise but that are only there in an artificial way, placed in our brains by the society pressure itself in order we do exactly what the men are waiting from us to do, that it be by any sneaky way or by a violent way). And that these basic facts won’t be very different, that we be straight or lesbians.
I was thinking to something else there:
You know that often little girls are neglected by their parents who make always pass the will of their daughters after the men wills and after the social pressure.
Parents always give an excuse to the men or to the boys who are not respecting girls.
Regarding the stupid guy of yesterday, my own mother told me with some anger in her voice I had to shut up and that the guy only wanted to kiss me..
Some families are so mistreating indeed that the little girls are very neglected.
Moreover, these women, these mothers who all want to have babies on purpose to report on them all their frustration and who want to feel important in the eyes of someone else. (children being here very convenient to use in order to have someone at hand, especially if these mothers never miss to remind them that they have to be grateful to be born. These children can’t run away, of course, and the mothers will force them to give them the attention and affection they need so much).
These mothers reproduce the abuses they suffer or they suffered and especially on the little girls.
This kind of mother manages to render the kids very dependent of her, it is not in her immediate and perverted interest to render them independent, also she creates fake stories to make them guilty, she is hypocondriac, suicidal but very selfish and manipulative and she tells the children she can die almost every day, and this maybe because of their birth, she is only interested by speaking about herself and she never listens to the children because she is too needy. She can force her children to care for her own needs, and the children feel commiseration and guilt that if they don’t listen to the mother, this mother who is so in need will die or will stay all alone.
Anyway children are rendered so dependent of the parents in a nuclear family where each parent is also so dependent of the partner, and then the society is treating women as sub-humans, as men’s objects and renders them so dependent also.
All that factors make that little girls become very dependent as women because their own needs are and were not fulfilled and because they have been neglected and have been so used to dependence and codependence inside their families.
In parallel this codependence can render little boys, also later men very dependent of the society’s approval and of other men’s opinions (as free women’s opinions doesn’t count), boys are seeking attention and are trying to find back the fake attention their mother gave them when they artificially told them they would be so good boys when they were in a domination situation, and men are feared of questionning their superpower and their violence, even with their future female victim because their mother, the female they knew and trusted best, seemed so proud to see them in a dominating role).
The girls may do anything to have someone’s attention or just give and give up precious things in exchange.
Most women give attention easily, with respect and with no sexual demand, except some lesbians who can mess up their sentimental relationships and who subconsciously target weaker needy lesbians in order to get sex easily and quickly, quickly before the other lesbian finds out that the relation is not worth it (it is a bit like men, but if it leads to a sentimental plight, at least it does not lead to rape).
And in this context, men who are not afraid to disrespect women or children, and we understand that this definition is covering almost all men, can abuse dependent, suffering and weak needy women (or children) simply by showing them attention (but it is not a real attention, it is just a bait), an attention the victims could certainly have found by other women or all alone by doing a therapy, but if the guys are smart assholes enough and are doing very quickly as soon as they feel a woman is weak and in need to get attention or talk, they can harass them, trick to get their numbers, exhaust them with their fake interest until they accept to meet them or speak with them, the only interest of men being for themselves to get sex easily and they can easily fool up women in need of affection, in need of talking or whatever, and women caught in the trap pass from a return of interest given to the men to a quickly imposed PIV (and only that), and as said Sheila, certainly in a back of a car, when it is almost already too late, with the important a shock, fear and consecutive paralysis render women unable to resist, with ignorance of how it will turn if it is the first time such situation happens, sometimes with a woman feeling hurted too much and already suicidal suffering depression and a distorted judgement for whom a little more or less pain and trauma won’t change a lot.. and this can happen not only to any weak woman, to any straight girl during her first encounter but also, I am afraid, to some lesbians during a first but very common encounter with a predator, these lesbians being maybe 1 % too straight or too stupid and certainly too weak, not necessarily in their sexual orientation but weakened by a trauma for example, and it can happen to any child or teenager as well..
What do you think?
I was looking for a feminist book to buy online, that could have been in English, for my niece who is 10 years old and who can understand English.
With same message passed by Dworkin’s book but which would suit her age.
But sad update, she is in a very abusive family and I told in front of my mother and my other niece which gift I was thinking of, she seemed interested at the moment but later on, she passed the message to my mother that she won’t read a feminist book and did not like them ( ! funny, I suppose she never had the occasion to read one).
It may be a survival strategy for her, she is very smart. I am not, my family being abolutely lesbophobic and mysoginist, I should have given her the book in totale secrecy.
But anyway it is interesting to know which books to give to children.

98. Monique - May 23, 2010

Ok, I failed again, no paragraph breaks.

Sheila my email which is my name as well is this one, I write in capital letter : M O N I Q U E . L O U I C E L L I E R @ Y A H O O . C O M

Sheila, you are romantic and talking about a life, average lesbians won’t even touch in their dreams.

Intellectual elite again?
Who adopted you as you were so reverent and young and approving them with being satisfied of wine, visits, poems, never asking them too many questions.

Wittig did not have to fight for her studies, travels or housings, even openly lesbian, she was coming from a rich family who did not abandon her. At least it is what I have heard, it may be wrong, I did not know her and could not watch with my eyes.

Did you ever ask her what she was thinking of the Queer movement, because she was in touch with Bourcier in France, Bourcier at Cineffable told me that Wittig approved her work!

Causse told me it was not the case, but how to know as Wittig never said publicly anything against the Queers, and Queers are revendicating her legacy. It was her responsibility to say something. She did not!

Thanks with intellectual elite !
I am pissed off by them.

Although believe me I am not coming from a marxist culture myself, I have never been anywhere else than in the feminist movement.
But some marxists are not the marxists they pretend to be but an elite destroying our fight and I am far more a leftie than they will never be!

In Novembre 2009, during the Cineffable event in Paris, I went there to meet every lesbian attending, not only the ones who were holding a stand, but all the women coming to see the movies, I have given all my energy (and I certainly endured a burn out after it), my very limited means and money, sleeping in Paris and in the cold thanks to couchsurfing and a lesbian with a van, while some had the trip and the housing provided for free by a university where they were teaching or studying (gender studies of course, guess, Queer stuff), and they were doing nothing there, just attending.

I was giving all my energy as I said and never watched one movie, in order to try to start from scrap a mass feminist lesbian movement again and with my own very limited money and means, I tried to talk to every lesbian attending and distributed tracts, even sticked slogans on my coat, was there from 11am to 11pm, did not even take the time to eat properly or to pee.

I could recruit 7 lesbians, but my phone collapsed unfortunately, I was not well trained to recruit and forgot to take the phone numbers during the first days, just giving mine. I was blocked as well and lost a precious time to erase the contact details of a lesbian ( a stupid Butch) who Causse put me in the legs and who decided to abandon me at the last moment while we had written the tract together, who asked me to remove her name while a precious conference was going on.

Guess what, not any of the stupid intellectuals there at Cineffable, the legacy of Witting and Co, with the certified radical lesbian label on them, not any of them, dared to help me, to join me, to just support me or to tell me good luck, to ask me any question or to answer my questions!

To the opposite, they ignored me, ostracized me and passed the word, snubed me and tried to block me by yelling at me when I was criticizing the Queers, by asking a lot of money after having promised me a meeting space at the Women’s House for a fixed cheap price they did not respect (and nobody was there, except them anyway to hold the Lesbian Archives meeting, it was not disturbing or it would not have increased their rent!), by attending my meeting but not letting me speak and really blocking me to speak, pretending a movement was alive when my introductory speech was to begin by the opposite.
Anyway I lost a precious time with them, while some lesbians recruits could not come because lost and I was unable to call them from a booth. Do you think the radical lesbian elite would have helped by staying to welcome or by lending their mobile phone to me, never, they were laughing at me.
I could not stay in Paris anymore, and my recruits in the actual state of feminism awareness were not confident enough to meet together before have been introduced to each other first and if I was not there to motivate them and lead the discussion, they did not want to come.

Now, only 1 of the 7 lesbians I recruited is already really feminist but she is in a precarious situation, almost homeless and jobless, 2 others show interesting aptitudes but need a motivation and to be taught, I have found true lesbian feminists in less precarious situation since and by the mean of community sites (when they did not censor my ads because too much man-hating to their mind), but not a lot, 3 others in fact, maybe another 4th, and they could really help me in a meeting but we still have no place where to meet, one is busy to look for jobs and to fight for freedom of women in Iran (she is a political refugee, has been tortured in jail there) and the 2 others are retired or in health problems and have been so pissed off by the elite, like myself, that they are not willing to be involved unless once again I start something myself.

All the elite has done so far is nothing, no really, only repulse sincere – but how to say – poor or average lesbians (but feminist and not so stupid) to continue a mass movement, and that since ever, we did not care of them being so cold and not helping when the mass movement was still very alive and when other non-elitist lesbians were still in charge of groups and places, but later when they took the monopole on our places, in the 90’s, we suffered.

The elite only speaks to the friends they have in the intellectual elite and that’s it, they only help other intellectuals if needed of silent followers, they can pretend that SM or porn is not good but they are as thick as thieves with the pro-Queer intellectuals, they block who is not coming from the elite to take part, to ask questions, to discuss, to ask for a place where to meet, and this elite has drown the movement, has taken the monopole of speech and the monopole over the only few places we had, the elite has transformed these places to useless places for lesbians or to no place at all.

And they do nothing themselves, just store fewer and fewer document in archives that no lesbian visits anymore with our old but good magazines stolen (they came to beg to collect them in the old times) and not any left in a discussion room with a free entrance (I can dream!), they regularly meet with Queers, they launch some vague comments on news and on the internet by email or on one website but no reply or discussion is required, they write some thesis, they work like administrative and in a very bureaucratic way in our places, in universities, in administrations, in unions and in political parties, they are not interested to recruit, to go to a discussion group, or to create one as nothing exists any more.

That’s the situation, you can understand that if I do not use the F. word to name the elite and the Queers, it is only because I may shock your delicate ears!

99. Monique - May 23, 2010

.. or silent followers.

100. Monique - May 23, 2010

I even found back the leader of my former group, the MIEL, where I was in 1983 (after 1983, I was doing the big mistake a lot did regarding the health of the movement and our own, moving away from Paris due to love-following or unemployment).
I did not find her at Cineffable, but at her job, as she was in administration, I remind which one and made my enquiry to find her back and could find her by some smart phone calls, she is now holding a very high position there.
She did not want to help as well, this while having accepted on the phone but never replying to my emails later, while she received them, she confirmed me on the phone.
I was so pissed off, I did not insist.

Anyway she might have worked for something else than only for the lesbian feminist movement, but I don’t want to say more, that’s only my guessing from her past in extremely different political movement regarding the color, one being close to a parallel army.

101. Monique - May 23, 2010

Because don’t forget that feminism is highly political and can interest a lot of people..

102. Monique - May 23, 2010

Here, the email I wrote to a feminist lesbian in Hungary I am in touch with, and that I promised you, certainly I may repeat myself..

Precision I made a burn out because of stress and disappointment both in love and activism matters…

Hello E..,

This time I have your message. I guess that if the title of your message was only Hi, it may be possible that I deleted it myself without opening it, thinking it was a spam, as I did not recognize the name. It may be all my fault.
I will add your other email on my yahoo as a contact. Sorry for the mess.
It would be nice to chat together. Not only because you are a very cute and already feminist girl..

To answer you about your wish to quit Hungary, I think you are right, it is better for you, because as a free individual and as a lesbian, as a rebel, a fringe, as soon as you will want to live free, to create bonds with others, to launch a movement, you will be exposed to persecutions that can even go until rape or murder (it happens even in France but certainly less than in your country), so if you stay or return one day, you need to be strong and have feminist friends to be able to resist all kind of pressures and possibly do a good work for other girls like you and for feminism.
If I can help you with that, to migrate, tell me.

To answer you about sex and relationships, yes I have been pissed off, I was a kind of sentimental addict, easily trusting women, easily falling in love. I made a burn out recently after a long distance relationship of more than 3 years broke up and after I worked hard and in bad conditions to make my partner join me, there was all a past of abuse and difficulties for me as well, and I was just trying to hang on. So the unavoidable burn out came. The following mandatory pause as I was not willing to move until I analysed myself well and tried to think about the meaning of life, allowed me to come to some philosophical conclusions by myself.
And I realised the power of emotions and conditionning on our lives, that the notion of couple was quite artificial and a projection of our illusions on the beloved one, a kind of jail with 2 people inside, sometimes more sexual attraction than real love, and to me sex is just animal and uncontrolled emotions, it is not respect, that’s why I decided to have meaningful relationship with any women and potential lovers first of all, and not to begin by attraction (it is sexual behind what we call falling in love) or by an artificial will of funding a couple.
But it does not mean I can’t love, if I love this time, hopefully it will be very deep, true and reciprocal… Or that I can’t have sex (at a time where I am sure it is not harmful for the truth of the relationship) or that I would have sex with more than one woman.

Now about feminism.

Feminism is a revolutionnary and political movement in itself, especially as 50 % of human beings are concerned, don’t you think so ?
Also it can be used by a lot of people, parties, unions, states including foreign states to reach their goals, the name itself can be used and subverted for any kind of purposes.
The french feminism is a big mess.
I don’t know the situation in Hungary, sometimes feminism crosses the borders without a basis in the country which welcomes it, the question is which kind of feminism is it? There are many. And how are public and women influenced.

We never know exactly how political movements or could we say – manipulation of public opinion and laws – arise.
Do you have an opinion about that?
There is my opinion:

I believe that sometimes academics launch stupid or not so stupid but complicated theories, because as you know academics in any matter what, want to stick to their theories until the end (it is their formal education, their research, their job and their pride) and they make more mistakes than they think and even if they guess they did, they can’t afford to criticize their own work, their own masters, they have a safe job and access to the media for life, they sometimes adhere to a party, to a mason lodge, they have a sphere of influence and are highly influenced themselves, and they represent this or that political cause with hard theory behind it, but their theories can’t be discussed and opposed or just improved in order to conform to realities unless you are another useless academic working in the same field yourself and interested in fighting (who won’t improve anything, anyway as far from the mass)..
The problem is that there are no real mass movements behind these academics as their theories are not the voices of the mass, only an analysis including a lot of other parameters, sometimes wrong and artificial, but themselves and their theories can be used by other people as a banner when they influence opinion.

To the opposite, when a big number of women/lesbians who were not yet indoctrinated in a specific party or trend are gathering, discussing from scrap, bonding, creating their own simplified theory closer to the reality of their problems and dreams and can organize big protests as well as being heard by the media or word of mouth, and so can influence the rest of the public opinion and be an opposing force, then we see a spontaneous feminist mass movement, even if holding different trends in it, it is the best and the most genuine one. It is where individual opinions of women are not just influenced, but created and where acts are made accordingly to ones strong beliefs.
It is where individuals are not treated like a stupid and obeying cattle but are allowed to make ones opinion, it is where basis, mass speak.
At the moment in France, academics in the feminist or political lesbian field just make as if they were representing different trends of a mass movement (but feminism or lesbianism mass movement is dead in France), except they are not considering to start a mass movement, to only start and encourage discussion groups and gathering with any woman or lesbian who would be ok to do it, they are just happy to show off and to represent and influence and be influenced.

As you know, a lot of people do not have interest in letting mass movements arise and grow.
Not only opponents to a cause, ennemies, who can try to oppose, break, infiltrate a spontaneous movement, but as well somme allies, intellectual and academics and their friends, indoctrinated people who think that only them have the intelligence to propose and lead reforms and movements and alternatively who don’t want to loose face or power or their control over a spontaneous movement if ever it could rise again.

And in the end, you can have public opinion manipulation by the means of media, especially nowadays, as people are isolated everywhere with only a thing in common which is mainly mainstream TV (with advertisings, reports, debates, political show, news) and internet.

Women and lesbians are extremely manipulated nowadays by media and oppressed in daily life, although some improvements have occured. There is anyway a huge backturn in freedom and a missing feminist generation and there is no mass movement anymore. It seems that all women, including lesbians want to conform to a feminine caricatural look, to pair in couple, and especially have children ! That’s not a good sign.

The only feminism that spreads well and worldwide nowadays is the Queer movement, it is feminism fraud in fact, it is manipulation of opinion by mean of media, money, political parties, alternative parties and groups like anarchists (often filled by children of powerful economic classes who want to be revolutionnaries and by students in gender, socio, politics studies etc.. or academics) they have infiltrated and totally based on academics theories.
Even real transsexuals (who are rejected from everywhere, that’s true) begin to be pissed off to be used for their transgender theories and to be only manipulated!
Its results and theories pretend to be feminist, radical feminist, or more exactly to be the step after the feminism (known as well as anti-feminism or pro-sex feminism), the results are to harvest revolutionnary energies in youth, spread mixity, mess, orgies, body transformation, cult of phallus and men. Their gender theories are seducing but in the end are a big mess and false and just acting to contribute to a regress in lesbian and in women liberation.
They managed to close rape crisis centers in the US that were held by feminist lesbians who wanted to remain in non-mixity, they are pushing people to transform their bodies and they introduced the liberation by the phallus and by the multiplication of the phallus, by orgies, where your biological sex is not important, etc, etc.. and to use testosterone and breast excision as a great sign of transgenderism for young women, often lesbians who can’t find their place, who can’t identify.
They are revendicating the French political and theorical inheritage of materialism, Michel Foucault (a pervert SM gay academic), Monique Wittig as well, a radical lesbian who wrote books, and other radical lesbians and theoricians of anti-naturalism and materialism.
At the moment, French radical lesbians who have stayed standing to represent lesbian feminism as a whole (CLF excepted) and who discourage new lesbians coming from the mass to militate (of course because average lesbians hoping to discuss feminism with them and start discussions, gathering, etc.. knowing nothing about the history of the radical lesbians in France, run away as they are soooo cold and not willing to speak with them), these radical lesbians are pissed off by Queers of course (they did not want to mix with men at the origin of their creation in the 70’s) but as they were academics at the origin and are still a lot of academics now, they don’t want to openly confront Queers as Queers are their heirs and Queers still have the good taste to revendicate themselves as radical feminists, so everybody is happy!

I am not an academic, I have never been in any political party myself and I want to commit all my energy only in feminism and lesbian feminist movement alone. I think I am honest and I am trying to stay away of influence.

When I discovered feminism, I discovered a real mass movement, the lesbian and feminist movement in 1983 (I was only 17), I did not know feminism at that time, I knew I loved girls and refused to behave like what society was awaiting from girls to a point that I really believed I was a boy trapped in a girl’s body, what is called transsexual, thanks I never met a strong and feminist lesbian or woman before 1983, and when I did meet them by chance in 1983 (attending a debate about transsexuals), I discovered I was a woman and a lesbian and “no more” a transsexual.
At that moment and in this particular lesbian feminist group I discovered and was quickly involved in, all lesbians were welcome, it did not matter if they had a political background or not but they were not allowing girls who adhered to a political party to recruit or speak about what they did in their party too much, as this group wanted to remain a political strenght by itself, we had no academics inside and only a few students but in other fields than sociology, politics or philosophy, we were the biggest political lesbian group, the discussion was the main goal and was open, with no formal theory to accept, all views were welcome and submitted to the views of others, but of course if you had non-feminist preconceived ideas, then you were standing alone against 30 and you were strongly invited to change your mind, all the girls there were present to debate and educate you, mostly with real examples and stories coming from their lives or struggles here and abroad than with complicated theories that most did not know themselves or which did not exist yet, sometimes with readings as well, lesbian and feminist magazines.

Feminist and gender studies in university came much later. But at that moment already, other feminists coming from academic backgrounds in politics or philosophy and from political communist or socialist activism, namely the ones who created the MLF, from which *radical lesbians* split and formed their own groups (with very few individuals in them) tried to represent already the feminism, they wrote theory books when others, the *mass* feminists in France or in other parts of the world only wrote magazines at best but were launching big connections, even communities where feminism and lesbianism had nothing to envy to some extreme ideas propagated by radical lesbians and at least it was real life.

But it did not last.
Maybe the communist influence that decreased in end of the 80’s as we will never know if feminism was not helped to develop thanks to classical parties interests or even chinese and russian interests.
Other elements explained the decrease and the death of the movement:
Lesbians could not focuse on being activists anymore, because of unemployment and search for jobs that became their main focus (especially after some rights had been won over and written in the laws, they believed it was not so urgent to militate), sudden availability of interesting lovers openly out and all over in France thanks to visibility, new rights, and a lesbian magazine that was doing the connection and so they may have relocated to join their lovers and the discussion groups were no more the only interesting place to find love, and the last reason is that some women who remained in the women or lesbians political places to achieve technical goals like lesbian archives or political projects a bit away from the reality in France, were already part of this intellectual and academic elite, these with job stability and influence and they were totally discouraging lesbians coming from the mass to be involved and to continue the discussion groups.

Now you know all I know.

Take care, read you soon and sorry for the length.

Monique

103. SheilaG - May 23, 2010

Monique, thanks for the email.

Monique Wittig never had all that much to say about “queer.” She was always very generous with her time, very kind, rather shy. I always sensed a kind of aristocratic air about her, but I never met her family.
French women have always liked me, but I could never quite figure out why. I’m a rather plain midwestern US type, very friendly and approachable. One time, we had a party, and I brought some homemade cookies, or I carved a pumpkin with the women’s symbol on it. I guess I felt that my purpose was to learn from my elder lesbian sisters, to listen, to be of service to them. I didn’t have a big ego, wasn’t interested in showing off or swearing or smoking pot or having a million sexual affairs… none of that interested me.. But lesbian intellectual vitality did, I somehow sensed that this generation of women was special, and that I might not meet their like again Monique.

In the earlier lesbian worlds, I just think the women were kinder to the young. I was, and still am open to the world. So I didn’t really experience the meanness that you describe. All of these women were a good 20 years older than I was, and in some odd way, I have always felt a deep connection to old lesbians. One thing I really appreciate is how protective they were of me. Traveling abroad can be dangerous for a woman, they always made sure I had places to stay. When I moved back to the U.S., I would host lesbians in town; we had wonderful times together. I loved cooking American style meals for them; taking them to lesbian events, lining up academic connections and research venues for them.

We had deep connections to straight women feminists as well, and in cultures where there is a strong sense of sisterhood, like Asian countries, there is a closeness that women have with each other that really doesn’t exist in America. America has many social problems, many mentally ill women… abroad, there was just more mental sanity and clarity. It was simply a kinder and gentler world.

I blame a lot of the crassness and craziness on too much sex, too many mindless affairs, too much fun feminism, for lack of a better phrase.

Some places I lived simply had better economies, and more jobs were available to lesbians. Life simply was easier than it is today for young women.

I am aware of how kind old and older women were to me when I was young, and so I take it upon myself to shower young lesbians today with plenty of love… I simply am there for them, a benevolent old soldier who smiles silently at all the new generation is about to come.
They envy my stability, but I tell them I envy their freedom🙂 It is touching when this sort of conversation occurs, I can’t really explain the happiness of it. Sometimes I look upon their great sense of freedom, and I kind feel well tears of happiness.

Many of those old lesbian feminists are dying. Or have died. When that generation is gone, I think I will really really miss that sensibility, the kindness of all that was really great about feminism. Now I don’t think feminists or radical feminists can fathom this. Maybe the world became too sex saturated, too crass, too… ???

104. Monique - May 24, 2010

Sex and all that propaganda is only the backlash of male supremacy when mass feminist movement is dead.

Your friends were only surfing on the mass movement, the feminist one and then the lesbian feminist one, and now are old and dying, but they never wanted to be implied with the mass movement too closely and were not at the origin of it, as they were intellectually *active* since 69 to 73, yet no lesbian feminist movement existed thanks to them in the 70’s.
A lesbian feminist movement only existed in mass from 1981 when a place was found and when official feminist lesbian groups (of more than 2 to 5 people like the ones of your friends) popped up from scrap, it encouraged lesbians in other cities or in Switzerland to do the same, and all these groups were not created by your friends who always refused to join or participate, they were not present in the protests to change the laws, in the courts to support lesbians suing their rapists, or in big protests when rapes in middle ot the streets of Paris with indifference of passers-by were reported.
I know because I was there and my groups organized these protests.

It is possible I met Monique Wittig without remembering her name, I met 2 lesbians of the Gouines Rouges in end of 1982 or beginning of 1983, there to present their books at the Maison des Femmes, Cité Prost. They were not very welcoming to a young lesbian like me, 17 years old, they were just telling me that they were lesbians by political choice, not telling much more, that was quite troubling for me at that moment, and they refused to explain me further and did not find a big audience in the hundreds of lesbians present at the place.

It was not their purpose, not willing to recruit, just sell their book, or present them and go, and they returned home being 2 lesbians only, same number as when they came.
A big waste !

The actual innocuous official feminist muppet show is indeed too much saturated but only with emptiness:
Elites who have only been interested in selling books, meet their friends, not caring of what was really happening outside their circle of friends and afraid to go in the streets for protests and to recruit feminists or feminists to be..but yet ok to represent the movement (or absence of movement?) and thick as thieves with Queers.
Monique Wittig should have had her say about Queers, as Queers claimed loud to come from Wittig legacy and this when she was still alive, and Queers sent her their work for approval and invited her for a joint conference !!

I get very angry when I read you Sheila.

Aren’t you a bit classist with your aristocratic taste?

And when you say you envy the freedom of precarious lesbians, it really makes me mad!

105. Monique - May 24, 2010

I add the precision that when I am speaking of lesbian feminist groups or movement, it was separatist, only-women, only-lesbians ones, it was in strict non-mixity, not like the LGBT groups of now.
So there was nothing which could have blocked your friends to join.

But re-read my story about Cineffable (which is a lesbian event in non-mixity as well, infiltrated with queers now but still attended by feminist lesbians, more than 50 years old, grey hairs, as because the movement is dead there is no next generation after them).
And about the intellectual elite or lobby there, not willing to join me or just not willing not to block me and all claiming – alike the Queers – the legacy of Monique Wittig and to have been friends with her.

106. Monique Louicellier - May 24, 2010

I wanted to let you discover this blog, unexpectedly written by a guy,
radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com

It seems to be good and seems to have interesting blogs or websites in reference.

RADICAL FEMINIST WORD

But I am extremely cautious with this word radical, it has a bad past history and I would prefer that people claiming it, change and create another word instead of possibly reappropriate it.

Also and don’t take it as an offense, it means I am cautious even with you Femonade or with this guy or anyone claiming to be radical feminist, pro-feminist or radical lesbian.

Why?

Because and at least in France, this word is associated with Queers (pro-porn, pro-SM or cult of phallus) who pretend to be radical feminists.
It is associated with radical lesbians or radical feminists (like the group of Annie Ferrand, who is an academic) who are part of this inactive intellectual elite I discussed before, and are discouraging average feminist lesbian and have troubling relationships with Queers.

Some pretend to be anti-Queers, but when you dig into their personal webpage, like on Myspace, you discover their relationships with Queer friends, including the worse like Wendy Delorme and this since years.
Or you observe them at events doing active misinformation when one day they hand an anti-Queers tract and the next day a pro-Queer tract.
Or, when I ask them their mind about Queers, I am sometimes lucky enough that they reply me in writing, by email, that they have nothing against the Queers, when publicly they pretend just the opposite.

So?

So I am cautious and regarding myself I will never use this word radical, but possibly separatist lesbian or anyway feminist lesbian in non-mixity.

factcheckme - May 24, 2010

In case anyone doesn’t already know, I fucking hate Julian real and his pro-feminist blog. He says he is doing pro-feminist work not because he wants cookies from the feminists, so I say let him do his work without giving him any. Profeminists need to be writing for other men.

107. Monique Louicellier - May 24, 2010

It does not tell me (us) why exactly you hate him.
Why hate him if he is doing exactly what we would wish men do, I don’t understand your reasons, as you did not tell by the way?

factcheckme - May 24, 2010

Monique, I have my reasons. And he is not, in fact, doing what we want profeminist men to do, because he’s not practicing what he preaches. That’s pretty much exactly what I would expect from one though, and hes delivered several times. Oh yes he has.

108. Monique Louicellier - May 25, 2010

Hum, interesting, if you know he is not practising what he preaches, it is stunning but it makes a big difference, for sure, it is like when I noticed how a group of radical feminists in France were one day handing over a anti-Queer tract presenting their group and insisting about the danger of Queers, but next day I noticed a woman of their group handing a pro-Queer and porn, SM, tract. I was not 100 % sure but saw her speaking with one of the leader of the group in a very gentle way. I came near and said: it is strange how you can be nice with each other as both of you are ennemies, she is a Queer. Then the leader (actually the girlfriend of the leader) replied, you don’t get it, she is not Queer and she is in our group. Then I said: but I saw her handing over a pro-Queer tract yesterday, which was attacking your action here at Cineffable in addition!! And both stayed silent and went away without replying on that..

109. Monique Louicellier - May 25, 2010

I wondered why they did that and could not find any logical explanation.
If you guess one, then tell me.

110. Monique Louicellier - May 27, 2010

Hello again, I have to apologize to Sheila, because indeed she emailed me and apparently she did a lot of things, and this even gave me other ideas of actions than just try to launch discussion groups.

Regarding Julian Real, I emailed him and he has very enlightening views on racism that I need to study as they appear right, and I will certainly check the blogs that are on his websites too.

I did not have to time to check what was the issue with your Femonade on your blog.

BUT, I must say I disagree strongly with him regarding secularism that I see as a progress and a protection, about Islam and religions that I consider dangerous, maybe Christians integrists (that even do not notice they are) and White supremacists are a majority in the US and are more dangerous than muslims, but in Europe we fought Christians integrists a lot and now, they are still dangerous but Islamists integrists are very dangerous and feminists/women from the worse islamist countries rely on us to relay their oppressed voices (not the ones of their governement, to note there that Iran has been recently alloted a seat at the World Conference for Status of Women the CSW (?), while boycotted at the Commission for Human Rights (!!). These feminists that for most become atheist, ask us to remain firm on secularism, that it be on the speeches the politics in charge of the State do (it is not like in the US where there is a reference to the Bible every two words in the officials speeches and in courts, everywhere.. ) or on interdiction of any religious signs at school as well for example, like the muslim scarf.

I remember having seen my own mother wearing a scarf, this one was catholic, like any grown-up woman in France at that time, it was a sign of her inferiority (like hiding the shame to be a woman) and of her submission to church and to men.

Not wearing one was unimaginable, and men or even women would have treated such woman not wearing a scarf of being a slut.

Secularism was already in the laws and Constitution and this since 1789, but it took a while to make evolve the mentalities.

Time have changes now, a woman, a French from French origin, etc.. who would wear a scarf (of course catholic) in public nowadays would not be ignored in the streets or at work, she would be stopped by people, asking her why she is so reactionary, even worse than reactionary, antique, fascist, masochist or maybe they may think she is part of a sect or mentally ill.

But few dare to question muslim scarf nowadays.

They should, because in the suburbs (like in most muslim countries), women and teenagers, but with French nationality this time and raised in the French schools of the Republic, are considered as property of Islamists, as sluts and are gang-raped by young men in name of Islam because they did not want to wear a mandatory scarf, they wanted to continue to live free, like any other French woman.

Also to my mind and in the actual state of such inescapable and verified facts, any feminist who is pro-scarf or pro-religions (Islam and especially Islam included) cannot be a real feminist but a time-waster, a dangerous advocate of regression and someone who is not understanding fully what is women liberation.

Most rapists in the suburbs are new converts to Islam, and were raised without religion in their life before to convert, because even their parents were not really practising Islam and most were atheist, some parents were even from a christian background.

But islam integrism is recruiting in suburbs (like catholic integrism, neo-nazism and White supremacism is recruiting in very wealthy areas), there unemployment, bad conditions of life (as if it was a part of France abandoned to its fates where school level is low, services and jobs as well and where police or doctors are even too feared to come anymore as they are targeted and attacked), concentration of people who are poor and of the same origin (Non-White, or Non-French filiation) create communautarism, hate and violence.

Also usually French (from French origin) don’t dare question Islam and scarf, they consider that these strange people who claim being muslims and who wear scarves in France, all things they are not accustomed to, are kind of foreigners, and as they are not willing to be named racists or not willing to interfere in foreigners customs, they prefer not to say anything against it.

But it is a big mistake, because these foreigners are even not foreigners but French, they have to be accepted and integrated fully!
Now the problem of integration does not only touch first generation of migrants, African or Arabs.

Unemployment, live in suburbs and suventionned housing is touching a lot of other French as well (from French filiation, etc..), it is a question of social class as well and the reason for anger is not only the one of racism, because there is as well sexism, lesbophobia and class segregation.

Nowadays even with a lot of diplomas, it is difficult to reach a better level, to get a decent job and to change class..

Of course racism is a terrible oppression but the others are as well in some extent, and frankly speaking if racist people were not fueling their reactions with a fear of regression in freedom that some foreigners can bring or keep with them, then racism in France would be much easier to fight.

Also there is no way that the French women could be able to win and free themselves of scarf in the recent past and that they want to accept the scarf again in name of I don’t know which integration or fight against racism or freedom of religion.

It is as if you were asking a part of the new-coming population living in totale anachrony, say women in 1950, at a moment the mentalities were not evolved, this in name of autodetermination, rights of the indigenous, anti-racism, and so on.. to have their say about their liberation and to be free to choose to wear a scarf or not.

It cannot be tolerated, because this anachronistic choice will jeopardize all the evolution already granted (but never for ever, never..) not only in the country where this mix of population will be living together, but also in countries where women are still living in Middle-Age conditions and rely on more evolved countries to relay their voices, are expecting us to influence their governements, the mentalities in their societies and hope to find a asylum here as political or humanitarian refugees.

111. lady libido is a lie. | anti social butterfly (IMHO) - June 22, 2010

[…] of said article of shitty-brilliance has managed to conjure the idea that autistic disorders (?) are the same as not wanting to have body parts and objects forced inside of you. Femonade has provided a brilliant analysis of, which I think compliments what I’m trying to […]

112. bella shea - August 4, 2010

I’m a relatively new reader of your blog and I apologize my lateness into the conversation, but I just wanted to let you know that this was the most powerful thing I have read in a long time. After I finished part 3, I burst out laughing and then literally started to cry. Everything seemed incredibly crystal-clear. Women (well, the women who are fortunate enough to have access to information) know that PiV is always dangerous and most women realize that they do not even enjoy the act. We are just so programmed into thinking that being penetrated is the sole purpose of our vagina and unfortunately, many women are forced to exist within the confines of that lie.

A few months ago, after an emotional breakdown, I had the realization that I couldn’t pretend to enjoy it any longer. I’ve had way too many horrible experiences with it and I’ve decided it’s just not worth it. Reading these posts articulated the things that I couldn’t and made me confident that I’ve made the right choice.

Thank you so much for having the courage to tell the truth about matters like this when no one else wants to talk about it.

factcheckme - August 4, 2010

yes, i recently had this realization myself. my partner freaked out, and said that it was “an expression of love!!!111!” and i said it hurts, it lasts 10 minutes, and then i have to worry about it for the rest of the month. how is that an expression of love? cant we do other things? apparently, he is still considering it.

thanks for reading. i am so glad this series has meant something to a few people, at least. i know its inspired at least one person to read dworkin, which is terriffic! when it disappears down the sidebar in a few weeks, i will probably give it its own tab at the top, permanently memorialized on the front page. a series on mackinnons “womens lives, mens laws” is next.


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