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It’s the Trauma-Bonding Talking June 11, 2010

Posted by FCM in authors picks, gender roles, health, PIV, radical concepts, rape, sorry!, WTF?.
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as i continue on my roll against PIV…its come to this, and theres no avoiding it:  thinking about that post-coital meltdown that so many women have, when their mates “dont call.”  and i actually googled “trauma bonding”, if that tells you something.  i never google anything.

as i think has been made abundantly clear by now, women are literally putting their lives and physical and mental wellbeing on the line, every fucking time they engage in PIV.  (sorry!  really, i am).  if its not the very reasonable fear of being raped at some point during the encounter, its the fear of disease, and the dread, absolute dread of an unintended or unwanted pregnancy.  and that last one applies even in wanted encounters with trusted partners, does it not?  every single act of intercourse, from somewhat pre-menstruation to somewhat post-menopause.  or…until your mate gets his nads snipped…and even then.  fear, and dread.  foreboding, terror, and bargaining with god.  counting the days.

because we all know that pregnancy can kill you, or make you very ill, even if you have an early abortion.  right?  (imagine sitting under your desk at work and puking into a trashcan, if it helps bring it home…not that most women really need a visual.  but there is going to be someone on this thread who says they still dont get why PIV is so bad.)

this has got to be traumatic, no?  i mean, how could it not be?  this is a serious question.

speaking of trauma…when men go into battle with each other, they form intense, emotional bonds.  in relation to each other, these men are known as “war buddies.”  and its a close relationship, to say the least.  the feelings that the shared experience of death-defying elicit are “intimate,” in the extreme.  this is commonly known to be the case.  it just is.  something happens to the human mind when we encounter life-threatening situations with other people.  we…bond.  and women are human beings.  yes, they are.

when women have PIV with men, we are encountering a life-threatening situation, with another person, by definition.  not surprisingly, we form intense bonds with our war-buddies, these men with whom we have literally faced death and disfigurement.  terror.  the problem is, of course, that the men dont feel the same way.  because theres nothing dangerous to men about PIV, really, at all.  they were just getting their dicks wet.  or, you know, “making love.”  we were the ones putting everything on the line.  and if it seems like they dont get what it is that we were doing with them…well its because they dont.  nor do they care to.

heres a bit from google on trauma-bonding:

Exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds-chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power.

bolds mine.  you see, any man who demands PIV or engages in it for that matter is making himself dangerous to women, by definition.  and when a woman trusts a man to keep her safe…if that man demands or engages in PIV with her, he is exploiting that trust.

“stockholm syndrome” might seem a bit extreme to apply to most het relationships that arent traditionally abusive…but theres something going on here.  at least, for those of us who arent essentialist, and who just dont believe this shit about women when it comes to sex “feeling” so deeply, and stuff, and things.

because the sad, sick truth of it is that every single man with whom we have ever had intercourse is just some tool who laid pipe, at our expense.  thats all.  if it hurts to think about it that way…well it hurts, whether or not you choose to think about it.  thats kind of my point, actually.  PIV hurts and is harmful to women, but not to men.  how can you tell?  we form emotional bonds with men we have fucked, that are inappropriate, and not reciprocal.  work backwards, if you have to, if you cant see that PIV hurts, and is dangerous to women.  look at the most common “female response” to PIV (emotional attachment), and tell me it doesnt look a hell of a lot like another commonly-recognized bonding-response to having experienced extreme terror, and the fear of death.

women also manage not to stalk or murder our lovers, really, ever.  they are our war-buddies, afterall.  not our pets, our our property.  see how womens alleged “obsession” with men really has no correlate with mens sexual obsession with women?  a more reasonable correlate (besides stockholm syndrome) would appear to be a kind of one-sided war-buddy syndrome, which normally creates intense emotional bonds between people, who face death with each other, in times of war. 

those are my thoughts at the moment.  that, and something i might have wondered about if i were about 15 years younger, cause i dont really care at this point: if we made PIV *more* traumatic for men, would they have the common decency to pick up the fucking phone the next day, but without going all stalker?  im just asking.  that is all.

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Comments

1. factcheckme - June 11, 2010

Made my usual amount of edits to this one. But its done now. For anyone who is just joining us…start with “men are sexual beings” in the sidebar, and work your way up. Enjoy.

2. sonia - June 11, 2010

FCM, you keep pleasantly surprising me when many feminist blogs..oh sorry, I dozed off. Anyway, yes!! I have long thought that this same phenom is responsible for the difficulty that battered women have in leaving their abusers. It definitely matches up to my personal experience. Women in this separated state of patriarchy, don’t have touch-bonding with other women, typically, unless they are lesbians. So any woman engaging in an abusive relationship, which is any hetero relationship in a culture where there’s a gender based extreme power differential, is going to have those trauma wounds and seek to fill them with comfort. But most of the time the comfort is more abuse. It’s a soul sucking cycle, and thanks for bringing it up.

factcheckme - June 11, 2010

I had initially included something about traditionally abusive relationships too, but I took it out. Because as you say, all relationships are abusive to some degree, under the current system. And I think this universally applies to piv.

After the spell is broken, it makes it much easier to see what these douchebags really are. And it really is a lot like a spell, when you are in the middle of it. Statistically speaking, having some piv-entitled asshole barking up your tree is the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Meaning that much if not most of women’s problems are directly related to men, and being fucked and/or fucked over by them. And that’s not even taking into consideration the poor behavior of any particular man. Once one shows you that hes a total douche, the reasonable thing to do would be to put him in your rearview, and leave him there. But we usually don’t. Why?

The question should never be “why didn’t he call?” The question should always be “do you really want this douchebag calling you?” If so, why? This is not a rhetorical question.

3. sonia - June 11, 2010

FCM- I’ve wanted to post this @ you for a while, it’s a book by Florinda Donner, have you read it? Here is an excerpt talking about what you’re saying:

‘ “What concerns me,” she went on, “is that you don’t even know that by the mere fact that you’re a woman you’re a slave.”

Mustering up all the patience I was capable of, I told Delia that she was wrong: “No one is a slave nowadays.”

“Women are slaves,” Delia insisted. “Men enslave women. Men befog women. Men’s desire to brand women as their property befogs us,” she declared: “That fog hangs around our necks like a yoke.”

My blank look made her smile.

She lay back on the seat, clasping her hands on her chest. “Sex befogs women,” she added softly, yet emphatically: “Women are so throughly befogged that they can’t consider the possibility that their low status in life is the direct end result of what is done to them sexually.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” I pronounced. Then, rather ponderously, I went into a long diatribe about the social, economic, and political reasons for women’s low status.’

FWIW, you might dig the book. “Being In Dreaming.”

4. SheilaG - June 11, 2010

This would explain a lot. I think trauma bonding describes why friends of mine have returned “home’ to abusive families in their mid-20s to early 40s — three friends in fact. I couldn’t figure out what the deal was. They literally seemed incapable of adulthood in some basic way.

And it would explain the insanity of heterosexual relationships I see all around me, and the frightening discovery I made everytime I get to be good friends with a straight woman. Abuse. Crazy husbands, controlling husbands, failed marriages, really awful stuff.

Since I was very isolated from most straight women on a deep friendship level for decades, all of this stuff is a revelation now. Part of it has to do with the social progress gays and lesbians have made in the world, the fact that straight women are now getting lesbians and not as afraid of us… progress…

I actually find this blog helpful in trying to figure out what really is going on with straight women in the world, and as a result, many good new IRL friendships are developing.

It must have been a kind of penis addiction… a kind of sexual/emotional bonding that women feel but men don’t, and the comparison to men bonding in war time is very appropriate.

Just last night, three straight women friends and I decided to go to a wine bar after a meeting. It had been an amazing meeting, and we all still wanted to talk and relax, even though at 10 PM it was a “work night.” Anyway, we car pooled, and the woman who was driving me called her husband to tell him that she wasn’t coming home after the meeting. I could hear his voice on speaker phone, and I could tell he was upset, even when she named all her women friends going with her… the subtext of this is that all men think their wives are having affairs if they do something spontaneous, like go out for a drink at a last moment with the girls.

Of course, I didn’t need to call my partner at all. She knew I’d be out late, and had work she wanted to do on her own anyway. This woman noticed this and asked about it. “Well, we trust each other and don’t own each other,” was how I explained this. “Ideally, a lesbian relationship is about freedom for women, not the ownership of men over women.” She wanted to know more over wine, and it was a very good discussion.

This complete lack of any men in my life for over 30 years… hey I don’t live with them, and rarely socialize with them… it is what makes heterosexuality so mysterious to me, because my mental reality is so different all the time. It’s scary for me to observe the lives of straight women, the prisons, the trauma bonding, the sheer danger.

5. joy - June 11, 2010

FCM, this is the best thing I’ve read in a long while. I’m not able to come up with anything more coherent to add right now, but know that these two days of reading your blog have done more to help me feel like I’m not “insane” or “bad” than has a decade of counseling (I’m 23, for perspective).

Seriously.

factcheckme - June 11, 2010

Wow, joy. Really? That’s really saying something isn’t it? Thanks, and thanks for reading.

6. joy - June 11, 2010

Really! And you’re welcome.

I wrote a little abstract about myself over on your “Funfeminism = Bad For Your Health” post, and that will probably say even more.

I’m just glad there’s someplace out here that makes sense.

7. me - June 12, 2010

I don’t know your experience on pregnancy, but mine really wasn’t all that bad. No morning sickness for me… but as far as becoming quite uncomfortable in my own skin, very much so… not to mention the sheer terror that your mate might find another woman attractive when you’re carrying around his spawn. Come to think of it, yeah it is traumatizing, if not physically mentally. But does that mean we should not procreate through means of PIV?

factcheckme - June 12, 2010

one thing i forgot to mention obviously is that pregnancy is dangerous, and can make you extremely ill…EVEN IF ITS A WANTED PREGNANCY. duh.

8. joy - June 12, 2010

Yes, “me.” People should stop procreating.

It’s selfish, pointless, and unsustainable. Not to mention that it puts women at extreme risks, not only for the duration of each pregnancy but for the next eighteen years, possibly the rest of the child’s life.

If people want children, they should perhaps consider adoption first (and even that’s not without its problems, obviously).

But of course, no dude’s gonna wanna do that, is he?

Ask yourself why not.

factcheckme - June 12, 2010

regarding reproducing, my point is really that if it werent for unintended pregnancies, the birth rate would plummet. and that even wanted pregnancies are fucking dangerous, and traumatic, and inspire fear, anxiety, and anticipation around PIV, for women. the fear, literally, of death, and disfigurement. so, even wanted pregnancies and intentional reproduction are going to have the affect of producing trauma-bonding in women, that keeps them emotionally attached to men in a decidedly unhealthy and unreciprocated way. the question is, is it worth it? and all men would of course say yes, it is, because PIV is not an option, its a right. and most women would probably say the same thing.

this is a counter-culture blog, for anyone who hasnt figured this out yet. i am pointing out the ways in which all women are victimized, and most women would disagree with my assessment. that doesnt mean the points made here arent valid. the comments should tell you that there are a precious few other people who see it, and that its not just me. but for all intents and purposes, i am completely alone. thats why it absolutely chaps my ass when some fun-fem troll comes on here and makes the “opposite argument.” your “opposite argument” is the mainstream argument, its everyones argument. its THE argument thats currently carrying the day. so its completely banal of anyone to say it, and its not clever at all. its fucking boring, is what it is.

9. me - June 12, 2010

I came here to learn your point of view, I’m completely for keeping an open mind. I for one didn’t want children, but was confused and irresponsible at the time, and yes now I do depend on a man. I really didn’t come here to argue at all. I was asking for a point of view that I at one time shared and even through all the confusion still regret making certain decisions. I never said I disagreed with anything you said, just wanted to know why. I’m sorry if I brought a “boring” argument, but it was never meant to be an argument in the first place. The internet is such an anonymous void that to assume you know who I am, what thoughts I bring to the table, and what general attitude I have and to have the balls to tell me I’m a fun-fem… (bleccccch!!!! ) is rather brash. I love your blog and everything you say on it, even these posts that I may not have seen the other side of, those are the most thrilling. It’s something I’ve never thought about, and to get my mind going in different directions is exhilarating and refreshing. I’m very much for counter-culture, but not being in contact with many counter-culture people, I’m still learning. I know you must come in contact with many sheep that just want to argue, but I am not one of them.

10. mallorykathleen - June 12, 2010

While I think you make some cool feminist connections to the psychological theory of trauma bonding, I think that you might look further than Google to get a better understanding of its context. It’s very complicated and is a markedly ABNORMAL experience within romantic and sexual relationships. I think you are onto something really insightful by connecting how this can relate to gender and sexuality behaviors in heterosexual relationships, but you also should remember that full blown “trauma bonding” is a phrase used by trauma specialists to address a pattern of extremely sick, exploitive, co-dependent and abusive behavior between partners. While I believe you are correct in arguing some aspects of trauma bonding exist in the way we, as a culture, currently “do” heterosexual relationships, don’t forget that these are just aspects.

factcheckme - June 12, 2010

Yes, most trauma professionals would probably love to believe that their specialty is really, well special. My point is that its not. Women’s suffering within the context of het relationships is invisible. The only trauma anyone cares about is mens trauma, ie war trauma, and men’s ptsd. But not women’s. Most rape victims have full blown ptsd, as do people in the helping professions. Again, mostly women.

Ps. You sound like a dude.

11. joy - June 12, 2010

“a pattern of extremely sick, exploitive, co-dependent and abusive behavior between partners”

I’m going to guess you haven’t been sexually or “romantically” involved with a man for a while, have you.

The means by which men will acquire women to fuck, and the lengths to which they will go to do so, are often extraordinary. And for what reason? Because they “love” us? Hardly. Because they derive pleasure from watching other people suffer. They are basically all adrenaline junkies.

It’s wonderful that you’ve never had (or never thought you’ve had; I’m going to be so bold as to venture you’ve had and are in denial) an (emotionally, sexually, and/or physically) abusive, codependent, sick, or exploitative relationship. People here, however, are saying that is ALL we can have under the current system, and all the “blah, blah, not MY pregnancy! Not MY Nigel*! Not MY PIV! Not ALL pregnancy, not ALL Nigels, not ALL PIV!” is just so much more blah blah fucking blah.

* Actually, yeah, not “all” Nigels. As FCM and mscitrus uphold. But most Nigels. And the people who tend to not-my-Nigel the hardest are the people whose Nigels are in that “most Nigels” category.

PS: FCM, sorry, I have a big mouth and get worked up over this type of thing.

12. joy - June 12, 2010

“Most rape victims have full blown ptsd …”

Yep! And it’s awesome, lemme tell you.

When the cops most recently came to my house because a misguided neighbor called them out of “concern” that I’d been crying and not leaving my apartment, they really had no idea how to handle it. Why would I have PTSD? I haven’t been to war. I’m not a veteran. It was just a rape. Why does being handcuffed frighten me? It’s for my own protection, after all. They’re just taking precautions.

I have pregnancy PTSD, too. And abortion PTSD, although not because I’m anti-abortion. Nope – because pregnancy was living hell for me (no morning sickness, just the sense of my body having been invaded, colonized, taken from me, changed against my will) and abortion was the worst physical pain I’ve ever felt. This from a person who’s previously bruised a kidney, dislocated her hip, got a hairline pelvic fracture, and broken three ribs — in the same incident.

I’ll reiterate: All this not-my-pregnancy, not-my-Nigel, not-my-PIV is just so nauseating and boring. Like, zzzzzzzz-inducing. But it makes me angry too. How many women have to say, “I’m glad you’re living in a sugary fantasyland, but damn, it was hell for ME” before anybody fucking cares?

13. SheilaG - June 12, 2010

It is completely counterculture to describe the very structure of heterosexual relationships as trauma bonding for women. There is no study I know of that addresses the social conditioning aspect that makes even the most innocent interactions between male and female partners frought with “trauma” or “menace.”

We don’t look at how PTSD affects women, and how prostitutes, “caring professions”,battered wives, rape victims etc. suffer from this. We don’t look at how heteronormative culture completely degrades and destroys lesbian culture… actually it is the erase button that is continually on as far as lesbians are concerned.

I would argue that every heterosexual relationship as it now exists in America is about degrading women. I would argue that the ultimate countercultural argument is to say, when are women going to rise up and be free of men, if nothing else, to create a women’s country?

I would argue that if you have PIV with men, you are on the road to being owned, to being in trauma, to losing your ambition, and if you have kids, you are on the road to poverty in this day and age.

The most radical thing straight women can do is to say no to PIV, and see how a movement of that kind — a large scale hetero women’s movement protesting this and advocating its elimination as a sex act would affect men. They’d freak out, that’s what would happen, because they have no idea how to truly make love to women, they only want to use women like recepticals.

Straight women are going to argue till the cows come in that they have free agency, that their relationships with men aren’t about trauma, and that they are free. I would argue that women who live with men are supremely deluded in this way, because, well they are colonized by men.

Very few women have the space to decide who they really are anyway, because society is designed to sugar coat and hide patriarchy from women. It is designed to delude women as to what women’s true feelings are. When you’re a lesbian looking at the insanity of heterosexual tyranny, and women’s lives within that isane institution know as female colonization, well you just wonder. How badly do women want to be free? And my answer is, not very badly.

factcheckme - June 12, 2010

Just as an FYI, I suspect mallory kathleen is a transwoman.

14. SheilaG - June 12, 2010

Yeah, I picked up on mallory kathleen too FCM, just to weird for words. The words are just so off the mark. It’s just that hard for men to get women’s existence I guess. No surprise there, but why do they keep trying on a radical feminist blog?

As to why the lie of women’s non-PTSD existance is so promulgated, it’s because most of the time, we don’t really know the suffering of women. Middle class women in particular are adept at hiding the nightmares of their daily existence. So one has to intuit just what attrocities straight women are suffering with.

Go to any women’s group, and the sad thing is the play acting and deception, almost as if there was no feminist movement.

I know women who are single parents of teenage boys, a complete and utter drain on civilization, problem children in school, wanna be gang banger and rapists… heck, I meet these boys and they give me the creeps. Then there is the woman who is caring for two young kids, has a mother living at home with demential, a father who is in chronic pain, a husband who cheated on her when she was pregnant, and the list goes on. To see the overworked financially stressed out very capable woman is shocking to me. What I notice instantly is that look of pain in the eyes of millions of straight women out there.

And they take all of this on, and for what? How badly do women want to be free?

15. polly - June 13, 2010

MalloryKathleen FYI two women in my family have very nearly been killed by their partners (one was attacked with a steel claw hammer, the doctor at the hospital said if the blow had been an inch lower, she’d be dead). I either have a very atypical family (possible) or it’s a pretty damn common occurence. Most estimates are that 1 in 3 females will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

factcheckme - June 13, 2010

thanks polly. its ridiculous (RIDICULOUS) that anyone would claim that womens trauma within their relationships is atypical. although i get what she was saying: she probably took a class or something at some point, and teh experts said so. but as usual, teh experts got it wrong, when it comes to accurately assessing womens lives.

actually i suspect that trauma-bonding and traumatized responses are part of “womens psychology.” meaning that there are aspects of womens “personalities” and so-called female traits that are undoubtedly not about “womens” anything, but are a human response to being traumatized. its just that so many women display these traits, they appear to be innate to women. like…emotional attachment when it comes to PIV.

PTSD is also a combination of factors (17 i think) that represent several areas of traumatic response (4 or 5 i think, like avoidance behaviors, intrusive thoughts, hyperarousal) where the frequency of certain thoughts and feelings are assessed, and then scored. so its literally a continuum. where someone who was nearly killed might score high on all or most factors, someone who has “merely” suffered the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of an average het relationship might not score as highly in all areas, but is still traumatized. either with full-blown PTSD, or something less than full-blown. its also time-sensitive, where the questions asked are “how often in the last month…” leaving the possibility that many women score in the near-full blown range (or the low-end of the full-blown range) over many years, where someone who was “traditionally” traumatized (you know, like how men experience trauma, in war) might score in the full-blown range (even the high-end of of the full-blown range) for awhile, then recover.

we also simply dont know how many women were “almost killed” by their mates. the only data available is for those who were badly injured enough to require hospitalization, and who admitted to the events to someone once they got there. so if the woman just woke up in a puddle of blood and shit and cleaned herself off, without going to the hospital, we would never even know about it.

16. delphyne - June 13, 2010

It’s a good point that traumatisation is a part of women’s psychology. In fact that’s what femininity is – the passivity, timidity and fear that are fundamental aspects of femininity are brought on by trauma and the threat of violence. They aren’t natural to women by any means. If you want to create a feminine woman – rape her or attack her.

Speaking of women “almost killed” by their male partners, this article has always stayed with me:

“The day my husband tried to kill me”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2004/apr/06/features11.g22

Of course these are things women keep secret. This woman told one other woman who had had the same experience and that was it. Like you say FCM how many other stories are there to tell?

17. SheilaG - June 13, 2010

“In fact that’s what femininity is – the passivity, timidity and fear that are fundamental aspects of femininity are brought on by trauma and the threat of violence.”– you’re on to something Delphyne here.

For decades, I always wondered at the “femininity” “the playacting” the “cutseypie” the “groveling” the lack of ambition, the inability to move forward, or the general fear women have of even the most basic rejections of daily life — fear of “success” however you care to define a rather nebulous word. Heck, I see women unable to order a Starbucks coffee without it turning into a feminine “helpless”drama or simply order the food and pay for it.

Finally, I just had to find out more. As you get older, you begin to see patterns that had eluded you before. Since I haven’t ever lived with men once I left home in the mid-70s to go to school, and never dated men and boys, and really didn’t have men as part of my social world at all, most of what straight women were going through was completely alien to me. Since I couldn’t figure out what the big attraction was to PIV, or even sexual relationships with men, naturally everything about the straight female psyche had the appearance of insanity to me.

Then, I started learning that women would return to abusive homes. I had a few lesbian friends who had split ups, job set backs etc., and they had to move back in with really whacky parents, abusive fathers etc. Because of all the childhood abuse of these women, including a close relative or two, I could see that their very path to adulthood was totally screwed up. They were stuck in a kind of adolescent suppressed anger untreated PTSD, and they lived in an arrested “daddy’s girl” type prison.

Women who seemed obsessed with acting “sexy” which drives me nuts and makes me sick were simply reacting to all they knew — they were raped or incested, sex became their way of getting attention, even if it was screwed up attention. Since so many women were in this state of arrested development, or even a plain ordinary economic prison known as conventional heterosexual marriage; once ejected from this, they were lost.

So the sickening timidity that so angers me about straight women had the origins in childhood trauma or even teen trauma of being forced to have sex (being raped actually) by the football captain. It’s why so many of the girls I went to school with baffled me all the time… they were being abused at home, and they then becamse Mrs. so and so with no name identity of their own when they grew up.

To document this statistically, well, I think straight women’s prisons and PTSD has been widely documented. Very little hard data exists on lesbian health concerns, and when we do get data, it’s rare.

Just being with men and living with men as young adult women is deadly for the female psychogical schema. PIV sex destroys the souls of women, and it is an addiction of some sort. Men just demand this, women give it. So many women get set up for this. Even in this day and age, I still meet 30-something women who are running the offices of their “professional” husbands, never getting the top training for themselves, taking on loads of childcare, using up their lives in service to PIV and THE MAN. Another disaster in the making…

I’m hoping that enough women reading this blog will be able to avoid a lot of this. You shouldn’t even be dating men until you’re out of high school at least! You should be preparing for a paying career, and getting ready to support yourself, living on your own income and avoiding PIV addiction AND male heterosubsidy colonization. One can hope I guess that straight women will wake up. But from what I see with 30-something women… guess they don’t read these blogs.

18. joy - June 13, 2010

Sheila, the same problems are rampant in radical circles too, just under different guises.

Instead of women playing the uber-femininity game, they like to push the “edgy” envelope. Think, if it helps, on the difference between (sorry to use pop-culture icons; I know of them only through feminist blogs and use them as humor), say, Sex and the City characters and Katy Perry.

In other words, on one hand, unquestioning worship of money/the cock (same thing) and acquiescence to even the most grotesque practices of femininity. On the other, pretending to be “a guy’s girl” (ie, “one of the guys” but not challenging to men, see Sarah Silverman), still practicing femininity while denouncing other women who do, and waving the absurd banner of “CHOICE!!1!! FREEEEEDUMM!!11! Of COURSE I am not like those OTHER women!!!1! LIBERATION!!!!”

Women everywhere bend to men, perhaps to keep from seeming threatening. Everyone knows that men see female competence in any arena, from ordering coffee to buying groceries to functioning in the workplace, as a threat.

(My domestically abusive ex, who identified as a feminist anarchist, got angry if I KNEW DIRECTIONS or could independently identify the proper SUBWAY TRAIN to take home, ffs.)

So some of the bowing is deferential, a learned helplessness ingrained in women since, as you said, childhood.
Some of it is actual terror. Me, for example — radical feminist, does not care about men at all any more, does not practice femininity — I’m still terrified. I’ve been alone, no men in my life, no desire to please men, for six months, but I still feel terror sometimes. Terror that someone is going to be mad at me, and then (as this is the logical progression in the patriarchy) take that anger out in absurd violence upon my person.

This is irrational behavior, but not irrational behavior from someone who (say) was once given a skull fracture for politely pointing out that we were going the wrong direction on the 6 train.

It’s hard if not impossible to unlearn this kind of fear, too. I know my ex isn’t going to jump out and strike me over the back of the head any more; he’s in jail. I suspect the cashier at the supermarket isn’t going to suddenly reach over the counter and cuff me across the face for perpetuating capitalism, either. I’ve got no real interest in stroking a male ego, much less a cock. But the bastards are so fucking frightening. All of them. The threat is implied just by their physical presence.

Separatism FTW.

19. Monique Louicellier - June 13, 2010

Hey Sheila, tha’ts a month you did not write me back.. I hope you do not sulk me.
And I need your help as well as the help of any feminist there.
I would need infos if you have on lesbian endowments in the States if it has existed, which would help lesbians in need, and which you can bequeath your estate after your death.
Next, and it is very important as well, this time for an idea I have about spreading a feminist revolution: I need any written material you could have (or find or create) about feminist mental self-defense or self-protection.
Thank you to email me at monique.louicellier@yahoo.com

Thanks..

20. SheilaG - June 14, 2010

Hi Monique, haven’t checked my email in awhile so I’ll write you.

Joy, thanks for the explanation of all the fear women are in. I’m not familiar with Silverman or Sex In the City, and the “edgy” stuff I’m afraid I’m not up on either. Just not really interested in the pop hetero world I guess. But that internal fear of getting bashed or threatened within the family or by a husband, boyfriend, ex-husband etc. must really get to women more than external threats. A lot of this originates in childhood. My parents, for whatever reason, simply never pressured me to be feminine, nor did they seem to care that I never dated boys. I was always studious and hard working and ambitious, so that part was an advantage. They seemed to actually like it that I put in such long hours when all the other girls were frittering away their lives on boys. So that set the stage I think. My dad once told me that the best way to deal with boys was to smash them in the head, that all they understood was getting beaten bloody, and that talking to them was a complete waste of time. Unusal advice I now realize.

For example, I’ve always hated boys, and fought them. They punched me, and I beat them up back. I have a furious temper, have bashed many a male head in, and still now and then kick some stupid teenage boy’s head in if I catch them calling girls names etc. I took a lot of martial arts, and have always liked the art of war. I see men as basically subhuman, not even worthy of human life, so I guess I never lost any sleep defending myself or other girls and women. And I’ve had this odd connection to the Amazon Warriors, which I feel genetically related to. Long story, some unusual DNA testing, and I looked to lesbian existence as a warrior class, as a group of women who would wage war on men. As some friends have always teased me: “You’re an army of one.” And that’s true. I simply can’t sit and listen to men call women bitches without a confrontation.

Maybe when you beat enough boys up and bash a few male heads, you simply loose fear of men. You just see them as pigs worthy of slaughter. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t go looking for trouble, and I’d rather run and get out of place than deal with a fight. But the thing is, men are terrorists, they will go on raping, beating and attacking women till the end of time. We don’t have to be the door mats, we can study warfare, we can learn martial arts, and we can teach our daughters to kick boys to the curb and praise them for being aggressive and warriorlike– if I had girls, I’d definitely go to martial arts training classes with them.

I just don’t feel fear all that much, nor do I feel all the cultural pressure to conform that most women seem enslaved by. I can’t really say why this is. Maybe I had too much work to do, and didn’t have time for male bullies, and most certainly never had much to do with men and boys at all. The contact was minimal, especially when I went out on my own. There was less liklihood for conflict because I was in all lesbian places, clubs, organizations, women’s centers, and my client base is almost 100% women. So there is so little contact, that the danger diminishes.

One thing that I’ve always felt, is that I would kill a man at any time for any reason. I’ve never done this, but I hold them in such contempt that they are like a rat that you would squash with a boot. This kind of hostility, tends to keep men away. They just don’t want to test the waters with me, and don’t very often. So it’s a different mental mindset than most women in America. Can’t speak to other countries.

How many women have ever bashed an attacking man’s head in? Or kicked a stupid teenage boy in the teeth? I’m not a pacifist, and can’t identify with a lot of stories women tell.

So women can live in fear or freedom. I’m just not going to tolerate male jerks of any kind, and hey, I’m a lesbian, I’m not attracted to those pigs, that’s the cross of the straight woman, and I often feel very sorry for straight women. You were dealt a very bad hand genetically or socially or whatever. It’s easy for me as a lesbian, obviously, straight women have all kinds of issues I can’t imagine, and I try to learn. But it’s hard because inside I’m always saying: “Why in hell do they have sex with those monsters and marry them why?” And I’ll never know the answer to that. It just seems crazy to me, and I know that is unfair to think. I want women’s liberation yesterday, I want women free of these brutes, I want women to do what it takes to be financially secure without some damn man behind the scenes.

21. joy - June 14, 2010

Sheila, I don’t know why straight women marry or sleep with men either.

There was always an expectation for me to someday be hetero, or at least “not one of them” (lesbian) – but my family also told me never to sleep with men, that they were a waste of my time and would hurt me.
Fine by me. I didn’t like men (they were horrific to me! The ones who were related to me, the other children at school, strangers in public … we lived in a rural area, so I didn’t get the whole ‘stranger-danger’ inculcation that many children did, but even from the time I was a child all men seemed disgusting and frightening to me), didn’t see a use for them, didn’t find them attractive. (I didn’t find girls attractive either, for some reason.)

When I was a teenager, I started kind of looking at boys, but they didn’t “turn me on.” I’d pick one (usually one who would end up being in the closet, btw) and decide he was my best friend and we were inseparable for about a year; that was what passed for me “dating.” In my late teens, I found -A- (meaning one, wow, one) boy attractive, but knew even at age 17 that he was not as smart as I was, and knew he wasn’t worth my time!
A year later, when I did become sexually active, it was grudging, and done to please the other “radicals” who said I had “hangups” and needed to “kill the cop in my head.” About six times in the intervening years I’ve thought a male person was “handsome” or “cute” (difference), but never once have I thought one was as smart as me or worth more than a very fleeting interest.

The abuser only ended up with me because the radical community pawned him off on me. He was unmedicated schizophrenic, I was PTSD. There, you crazies can live together and not bother the rest of us with your annoying problems. I was already done with men and saw him only as an object of pathos, like a brother, but he had other ideas. It took him about a week to whip out a knife and the line, “If I can’t have you, no one will” — he was going to kill me, then kill himself, if I didn’t agree to monogamously date and then marry him. A great start to my first “real” “relationship”, and unless there really is such a thing as a fucking unicorn then it will also be my last.

Women know, you see. Even a lot of “hetero” women (I use scare quotes because what do you call a woman who doesn’t want to have sex with anyone but DOES have a sex drive?) know, and don’t mind avoiding men, in fact do so gladly. My mother is another such woman who has no interest in dating men, even though she’s not a feminist by far.

So how do we get everyone else on board? How do we get all the other women to figure out they don’t need these adult children/immense man-babies/horrific monsters in their lives? I have no idea. Probably tear down pop culture, which I am all for.

– In terms of pop culture, I don’t give a shit about it either. Haven’t watched TV in eight years (it terrifies me too) and listen only to indie music that my friends make or I download for free. The only things I see are ads when I go out (I live in NYC), and those always make my skin crawl (even though I know I still subconsciously internalize the body-image bullshit).
What I do know, I know from reading other feminists’ essays (either radfem or older-libfem, even though I have to skim over the latter’s horrible ‘liburation!!!!” [sic] shit), some of which come to very interesting conclusions re, pop culture. The messages that I have gathered from these feminists’ essays are (to clarify what I wrote):

Sex and the City (never personally seen it): Women are all idiots who worship shoes and think only about fucking men/having babies. All of us. Yep. That’s it.
Katy Perry (never personally seen her “perform”): SOME women are prudes, but I’M ‘bad’ and all for you, Random Hetero Man! Also, I will pretend to be bisexual so you can watch. Hottt!
Sarah Silverman (never seen her shtick either): What’s WRONG with racism and sexism? I’m just being ironic and funny! Hee hee! Also I will suck your dick.

22. joy - June 14, 2010

Also, re, beating up men.

Great. I weigh one hundred thirty pounds and am extremely weakened from chronic PTSD. Should I just get a gun? Because if I knew I wouldn’t get caught, I’d waste a motherfucker every damn day.

See, I’ve tried beating up men. I get caught, because the bastards run whining about it the minute little lady sticks up for herself. People in authority have little sympathy for women as it is, they have less sympathy when women fight back. For evidence, look at any woman who’s ever killed or injured her abusive husband. Look at Lorena Bobbitt.

Beat up a bully on a playground? Doesn’t matter if he hit you first. We have a no-fighting policy. Suspended.
Fight back against a rapist? We can’t prove he did anything. Expelled.
Slap a man you know raped your best friend? Crazy bitch! Kill the cop in your head and loosen up, or a bunch of us will do it for you.
Attack back the man who’s trying to kill you? Musta brought it on yourself. Do you both wanna go to jail? I suggest you settle down, little lady.

Actual quotes from actual people.

Yeah, I attacked my abuser. A few times. Gave him a black eye the first time he hit me. People used this to say we were “mutually abusive” and “liked to rumble.” People including the cops. I hit him once with a cast-iron pan, and I wish I’d killed him but I missed JUST enough. Besides, then I would have gone to jail too.

Every time, if the cops or someone else got involved, they assumed I “brought it on myself” and no one came to my aid. No one. So eventually I stopped fighting back. Unless I was willing to kill him while he slept and then go to prison for it, there wasn’t a way I could actually win.

Before you get high and mighty claiming I still did in fact bring my own abuse on myself by not killing the bastard, let me tell you this too. When he finally did go to jail, he took down two strangers and two cops before he did. Two cops! Didn’t kill them, just took them right down. Wham! Wham! Like falling trees. Schizophrenia can give a person super strength. You really think I should have tried harder to fight a man who could easily take down two armed, burly officers of the law in quick succession?
Yeah. You and the MRAs and anti-abortion people too. Thanks. Glad SOMEONE’s got our backs out here!

I have a hard time believing it’s different for many women, anywhere. Even women who have the inclination to fight a man.

23. parallelexistence - June 14, 2010

FCM, if you are interested in this trauma bonding/PTSD stuff there is a very good book by Judith Herman “Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror”

It’s not an easy book to read, so proceed with caution. Even I found it quite disturbing – despite not being particularly new to the information and concepts in it.

24. Level Best - June 14, 2010

joy, you’re doing well to avoid pop culture. I try to, as well, but I still get more dosages of its toxicity than is good for me. I pretty much hate the world as it is (that is, the cultural/social world as created as men, not the natural world, which would be better off without humans).

25. joy - June 14, 2010

Agreed, Level Best. Voluntary human extinction for the win.

People may pick on me for it, but I’m glad I became a hippie at age fifteen. (Again, for perspective when I give numbers, I’m 23 years old.) I only wish I had stayed a hippie, and become a separatist (because the modern hippie movement is, not surprisingly, chock full o’ misogyny), instead of trying out “radicalism” (aka fauxgression, but with more chickenhawks and less showering).

People in NYC have really creative ways of rearranging subway ads. Not sure how much of it is political and how much of the politics it HAS are “good”, but I was pretty fond of the ad for a new movie where both characters are holding guns, and someone changed the angle of the female’s arm so that it was firing at Ashton Kutcher. This was probably meant as a joke about Kutcher, who I know enough to know is near-universally reviled, but I saw it as a feminist commentary.

My thoughts on the “new and improved” ad: That’s it, P2K-compliant blonde lady. Stop holding that gun incorrectly, and use it instead to smoke that fucking bastard hipster dude. Start small. There are plenty of them out there when you’re ready to move up, and I’m more than willing to help you too.

factcheckme - June 14, 2010

Just to clarify, my point was less about trauma-bonding and ptsd as we currently know them to be, and more about drawing an uncomfortable parallel between traumatic bonding responses and the typical female response to piv, which to, well, bond over it. To date, we have always been perfectly fine explaining this common occurance in essentialist terms: that women are naturally (or naturally more) emotionally responsive to “sex”. I am not ok with this explanation, for obvious reasons. And this piv series has really brought home, I think, another very glaringly obvious explanation for why women might bond over piv, and why there seems to be a difference there, between women and mens response. Ie, because its traumatic for women. And there is no equal risk, or equal trauma for men.

And it explains it in human terms, considering women’s humanity, rather than in mystical or essentialist terms, or our deviation from the male model of non-attachment to piv. And, you know, the timing was right, considering what’s been transpiring here lately. This is where I ended up, and i think its the logical place. I mean really. Like all my posts, this one pretty much wrote itself.

factcheckme - June 14, 2010

Oh, and I lolled @ joys breakdown of sex and the city etc. I have seen it, and you got it about right. I would probably literally gag now if i tried to watch satc though, now that I know what i know about piv. Those women didn’t get it, obvs. And we weren’t supposed to either.

26. SheilaG - June 15, 2010

Again, knowing what we now know, what would it take for women to give up their sexual addiction to men?

And to reiterate, I recommend all women train in the martial arts, because an expert in karate need not be very big or very tall. A martial art uses the weight of the adversary against the adversary.

What drives me nuts is the massive denial out there among straight women. I believe they do know the dangers and STILL move in with men, still avoid self-defense classes, still sit silent in meeting while men insult them. They can’t even stick up for themselves in meetings I’m in for goddess sake! This is not difficult women. For the third time, how badly do women really want freedom? And most of the time, I think hetero women just aren’t committed to this project.

Take karate, get good at it! Teach your eight year old daughters this art. I drive by karate schools all over the place and see loads of girls, and a few all girl classes. THIS IS PROGRESS!!

27. joy - June 15, 2010

“more about drawing an uncomfortable parallel between traumatic bonding responses and the typical female response to piv, which to, well, bond over it. … I think, another very glaringly obvious explanation for why women might bond over piv, and why there seems to be a difference there, between women and mens response. Ie, because its traumatic for women.”

Sorry for the derail(s), FCM. Personally, I both fully agree with you and am the case-perfect example of this phenomenon as you describe it.

I’ve never liked the “women are just more emotional” drivel, because not only is it essentialist, it never described my own experience. I’m not and have never been interested in a relationship. I’m barely even interested in men as human beings (I used to be interested in their experiences, humanity, etc, but nope. no more).

So why have I ended up crying and hurt when the bastards never called me back? Why have I wound up cyclically tied to a few of them who’ve been total jackasses and I knew it/made no excuses about it? Why did I even attempt to befriend my own rapists, ffs?

When I’ve known every time, even the “non-rape” (hahaha) times, that they weren’t worth my time. That they were idiots and assholes. That I didn’t even want them around me. I’d thought maybe I just liked the sex, but I haven’t even liked the sex.

The idea of them as trauma-buddies makes the most sense of anything I have ever read, ever. Especially because I also have PTSD, and now see clearly the exact correlation.

That was what I meant when I said this was the first thing, even more so than a decade of counseling, that made me realize there was nothing really “wrong” with me. And my brain stops there, at this wall of gratitude, except to say — if you want to use me as a guinea pig to test any specifics, fire away. Me and my “mental illness” are at your disposal.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

It’s not just you though, joy. It’s happened to me too. I was just merrily going about my business many times, when some jackass inserted (heh) himself into my life. I didn’t know or care about him from Adam as they say. I was just having fun, or one thing led to another, or whatever. And the next thing you fucking know, I am bonded to these assholes. I never understood it, at all. I thought there was something wrong with me, too. That’s kind of the whole point. It’s not just one woman or a handful of us that this is happening to. The bonding response has been noticed and noted for a long, long time. But noone is willing to be fucking honest about why that’s the case. Why might that be? Because it shines a very unflattering light on our precious piv, thats why. And for those who even know she existed, it makes it obvious too that Dworkin was right. God forbid, the angry fat chick in the overalls was right.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

I would also object to characterizing this war-buddy syndrome as some kind of cock addiction Sheila, unless you reject my thesis on its face. Or would you say that the Vietnam vets are addicted to each others cocks too?

28. joy - June 15, 2010

“It’s not just you though, joy. It’s happened to me too. I was just merrily going about my business many times, when some jackass inserted (heh) himself into my life. I didn’t know or care about him from Adam as they say. I was just having fun, or one thing led to another, or whatever.”

I know, I tend to do the Dworkin and see my experiences as universal. The great relief of knowing, This is not just me. This is all of us (hetero people, or people who prong/get pronged by men).

29. joy - June 15, 2010

SheilaG, I also still get more “you brought it on yourself” feelings. I could be wrong, because that is the narrative I am used to from everyone other than my DV counselor, but … if it is what you’re saying, I’m horrified.

I didn’t get beaten, raped, burned, and traumatized because I “like cock” and “couldn’t stand up for myself.” I don’t, and I can.
I daresay most women, although I never like to say “all”, are in the same boat.

It happened to me because I was outmatched. Maybe if I’d known karate, I could have kicked his ass. Maybe if I hadn’t been such a pansy, I could have killed him. Maybe. Maybe.
Or maybe I just would have gone to jail, like all the thousands of women who go to jail every year for fighting their abusive partners (who they DON’T fucking stay with because they have a “sex addiction” and are pathetic weaklings).

A radical feminist revolution is the only way to go. I’m ready. I think FCM and others are ready. So please stop saying “hetero women don’t want to be free.”

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

Joy makes an excellent point about women going to jail for harming or killing their partners. Women risk everything when they fight back. Just ask lorena bobbitt, or aileen wournos how liberating it is, to beat, disfigure and kill men who have done the same things to you, and worse.

Frankly sheila, I wonder about some of your stories. Not that i don’t believe them, but anyone would rightly wonder whose what you are greasing to stay out of fucking prison, considering your little hobby?

30. SheilaG - June 15, 2010

All I can say, is that ever since I was a little kid, I always fought back and defended myself. I had no patience for bullies I guess. And, I believe as a lesbian, I really have a completely different psychological make-up compared to straight women. Men are nothing to me, and when you feel nothing for half the human race, this changes the power dynamics considerably.

Mostly, I just don’t give a damn. Straight women…much too much connection, much too much exposure to danger. We are at war, but most women don’t know it. Knowing the enemy, being aware that we are in a war… that alone changes things considerably.

I really believe that once women have sex with men, already it’s a slippery slope. Once women move in with men, the game is up.

Young women out there, get self-defense training. I consider it a necessity in today’s world, believe me. About a mile from my house someone was murdered. All kinds of stuff goes on. I just don’t have the luxury to not be trained.

Self-defense training will make any woman healthier, stronger, more self-confident and less fearful in the world. You always want to run or avoid conflict, but if push comes to shove, you are going to have to fight now and then. Most of the time, simply being socially away from men will lessen the chances of being emotionally, sexually or economically colonized. Just a loud voice, a direct gaze, a whistle, refusing to drink with men… I still see women in clubs with large groups of men as I drive through city streets. Lines and lines of women in super high heels waiting in line to put themselves at risk… it just is weird, what can I say?

Self-defense is a necessity women. Get some training. You may never have to use it, but having the training makes men stay away. They know who is strong and who is weak, and women wobbling around on high heels… oy.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

yes, high heels are bad. very, very bad.

31. rainsinger - June 15, 2010

I’m not so sure about the individual fighting back thing – I want war too, I think men/patriarchy will never change. just read women’s history of women’s status down through the ages. Goes up and down like a yo-yo, it does not – and has never “progressed”.

But no woman can be ‘independent on her own. No woman can fight back on her own. A personal solution might work for some individual women – like you Sheila, but not for us all as a class, or even for very many as individuals.

Shit rolls downhill, or down the heirarchy – thats why women get it so bad under the law, when they try to fight back – even in divorce/custody cases that dont go as far as physical violence – the legal violence is bad too. Women who try to fight back in workplace discrimination tend to lose far more often too.

Patriarchy puts some winners up, to *prove* falsely, that women have “equal rights”….. for every winner, there is 500 losers…. for every women who gets a good deal out of divorce financial settlements, there are 500 who didn’t. And each of those women, think its just their bad luck.

Like Suzy McKee Charnas’s theme in Holdfast – women’s liberation, is more about how women relate to each other, than how women relate to men.

The first step is consciousness-raising, raising conscious awareness in women of their slave status, not just personally – but politically, and coming to recognise that all women are in that status, because of the anatomy between our legs.

I see spaces like FCM’s here as A-Mazing for this first stage.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

Will there ever be a second stage, is the question. I kind of doubt it, i am sorry to say. I don’t even know what that would look like. And even Dworkin made the mistake of believing, or at least hoping that her books would be a call to action. But I don’t think they were.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

And it does kind of piss me off to think that “all I’m doing” here is calling bullshit. I mean, i would love it if there was something more. But the number of people showing up here and saying they just don’t get it, or showing that they don’t, tells me all I need to know. And that is that we are still very much in the calling bullshit stage, of whatever this is. So be it. Pass the fucking shovel, I’m game.

factcheckme - June 15, 2010

Just as an FYI, I stopped approving comments a few weeks ago that evince a lack of reading comprehension, or add nothing to the discussion. It’s just so fucking boring to me now. I’ll call bullshit, absolutely, but I’m not going to rearrange it into interesting shapes for people who cant fucking see it for what it is. At least, I am not going to do it more than once. And i think my posts are pretty clear. As I have said, if someone can’t get from a to b to c, its because they don’t want to. If you guys enjoy responding to those kinds of comments, let me know. Maybe I will start letting some of them through again. God knows I did in the beginning, before I got even more cynical than I was before. I hadn’t though that was possible.

32. SheilaG - June 15, 2010

I think rainsinger that it is about consciousness. Despite all evidense to the contrary, I find it amazing that most women don’t even know that men are at war with women. I can’t help this ignorance. But I do know that once this is a part of the picture, you’ll have a very good life with proper knowledge and lack of delusions. And of course you do have to take some practical steps, and do the work.

From a radical lesbian point of view, it’s actually pretty damn easy. I just don’t deal with hetero… I love the solidarity of women, but I can’t help it if they must have men.

33. mscitrus - June 16, 2010

Obviously, There is a CLEAR LINE between abuse and normal. Only the most TERRIIIIBLE relationships result in trauma. It’s like men set up a low standard to make them look like awesome sauce just for not raping us. Rape of course meaning holding a gun to your head. But seriously FCM, this post was SPOT ON. That dreadful stomach sinking feeling after having sex, especially PIV or anything “kinky,” with a man is so horrifying. I never understood how men didn’t freak out and get all needy after, but it makes SO MUCH SENSE. I just realized proof-reading this that I always describe your posts with caps lock, because they are AWESOME.

To be honest, Sheila, I really envy you. In middle school and elementary school, I was pretty much exactly like you-fought back, yelled at guys for teasing girls and generally believed that boys suck. Hell, I refused to wear a bra 90% of the time until I was around 12.

But everyone breaks under some amount of pressure. I remember the first few times I was groped. It was at a party with friends, and I was winning whatever we were playing (mario party I think). So marshal groped me to distract me. I hit him, he called me a bitch, but I didn’t care. But then he wouldn’t stop, and when I kept fighting and trying to squirm away, some of friends were laughing. I pretty much “broke” inside at that point, and didn’t do anything other than swat at his hand and cover my chest. Started giggling along with the rest of them-because hell, attention is attention right? I still went bra-less a lot at this point, and in an attempt to get him to stop, told him he couldn’t touch me because I wasn’t wearing anything under my sweatshirt. I can’t remember his exact words, but I remember it was something along the lines of “well then you’re Asking For It.” I can’t describe how much that changed me. Knowing that me defending myself was laughable made me stop. Add to that I could tell they got off me struggling and its hard to imagine.

I still didn’t give in to makeup or skirts until later, after my FTM ex started raping me. No coincidence I picked up femininity then. Now, I fight back verbally at the least. I’ve had to walk away from men making their usual arguments (well women have the real power because we want to fuck them) because I was damn sure I’d punch them. Sympathizing with men or making implying that men do not rape and dominate women in anyway instantly makes me think the dude is a rapist. And honestly, I’m probably right.

It seems like I scare the crap out of men now or something-I haven’t had one hit on me since I got with my current nigel, and I’m in college for gods sakes. But I’m still going to get a concealed carry license and keeping the gun near my bed, since I am most likely to be attacked by my nigel or a dude friend (if I ever have any of those again, lol). I dunno if living with men can ever be safe, and I sure as hell do NOT want women to do it, even tho I am pretty sure I want to live with my nigel.

Consciousness is really important, and definitely the first step. But I think the biggest obstacle is overcoming the guilt we’re taught to have for doing anything “selfish,” let alone “bitchy” or violent. The worry that I’m a bad person or just as bad as violent/misogynist men has always stopped me from acting more than fear of retribution, since I’ve been self-destructive for a very long time (which is VERY feminine).

Dang I missed all of y’all. 🙂

factcheckme - June 16, 2010

Yay! Mscitrus is back.

factcheckme - June 16, 2010

Regarding kink, I would imagine that a good way to figure out whether it was traumatizing or not would be whether you feel bonded afterwards, or not. As fucked up as that sounds, I think its something that I will always have to consider from now on, whenever I feel bonded to a situation, or a person. For me, I always felt less bonded (ie more sane) when we were doing something that wouldn’t get me pregnant or transmit disease, as opposed to something that could, even if it was kinky. But its going to depend on the person. I don’t know if a rape victim for example could have done the same things and not been traumatized by them.

34. Miska - June 16, 2010

This is a great post. Trauma bonding is such an interesting concept to apply to women’s oppression generally and het relationships specifically.

A few years ago i went through a stage of dating a series of nigels but not having PIV with them (it wasn’t any conscious decision on my part, I just didnt feel like it at the time – though looking back it was probably part of me becoming more radicalized).

Anyhoo, each of these nigels I saw for a few months, and then just kind of ended the relationship, out of the blue. They were all decent guys (inasmuch as a guy can be decent under the patriarchy), I liked them a lot … But I dunno. After a few months I just couldnt be bothered having them in my life anymore. I simply did not feel invested in the relationship, or in having any kind of future with them.

I’ve always considered that year to be a kind of interesting aberration in my dating history. But your post gives me a new context to view that period. Especially because one of the guys, I am sure that if I had had PIV with him, thereby investing myself in the relationship and bonding to him, we would probably still be together now.

Also, FCM – I came across this photo essay and thought of your PIV series:

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1993805,00.html

(it depicts the final moments of a woman who dies in pregnancy, NSFW as it contains some nakedness and some blood.)

Says it all.

35. rainsinger - June 16, 2010

But everyone breaks under some amount of pressure. I remember the first few times I was groped. It was at a party with friends, and I was winning whatever we were playing (mario party I think). So marshal groped me to distract me. I hit him, he called me a bitch, but I didn’t care. But then he wouldn’t stop, and when I kept fighting and trying to squirm away, some of friends were laughing. I pretty much “broke” inside at that point, and didn’t do anything other than swat at his hand and cover my chest. Started giggling along with the rest of them-because hell, attention is attention right?

MsCitrus – Because you were alone and unsupported, you weren’t just in a one-on-one conflict with this dude – his male friends backed him up as a public display. Males cull lone women out of the herd, and then gang-up on them. If 3 or 4 other girls had backed you up, he would back off.

Thing is, girls and women, do not generally stand up for each other, the way males do for each other. Even pairs, or groups of girls going out together, males will try to cull individual girls out of the group. Like most predators, they will look for the weakest, easiest prey. If she fights back, well..call in the buddies ..

36. SheilaG - June 16, 2010

It’s not really luck at all Mscitrus, I just don’t go to events with men for the most part. If they are not at the party, they can’t grope you right?
I don’t like to see straight women deferring to the pigs, and I like straight women all the more at male free events. I just don’t want to even watch the groveling and smiling and male pleasing. Just can’t take it anymore. Most straight women are so used to acting like this around men, that they don’t even know they are doing it. Scary.

factcheckme - June 16, 2010

Miska, thanks for the link, although im afraid to look at it. I am assuming you mean she dies in childbirth, yes? How fucking horrible. HORRIBLE. And that’s exactly my point. Exactly. Ugh. I will report back when I gather the stomach to actually click through.

37. lesboseparatiste - June 17, 2010

I looked at the link, yes it is terrible, I experienced the death of animals linked to pregnancy since very young.

When I was 7, I had a very smart goat I liked, only one goat, she was like a pet, and my stupid mother forced the goat to have babies (in order to profit of the milk to make cheese), the goat was very happy before that, but sad all the time afterwards and the goat finally died for the second pregnancy (in order to have milk) the second time she gave birth.

I was so sad myself for the goat since the very first time my mother said she wanted her to have babies and the goat did not want to be brought to the farm where a family had the he-goat, she escaped once and had to stay there for weeks and weeks. I wonder if the idiots in the farm did not inseminate her in fact in the end, to get the money from my mother, cause our goat did not like the he-goat at all and everybody was worried. So a goat that refuses to let the he-goat approach her, can you see that, this rebel, how strange, but no compassion!

My mother said, it is life, it is nature when she forced the goat and when the goat died as well.

F….. mother ! It was just cheese f… hobby, greed and abuse and totale lack of empathy.

Women as cattle as well, for reproductive, sexual, economical and foil purposes that please to men with the blessings of women.

These emotional cripples, like said Solanas, who would be totally unable to emotionally survive without parasiting women, without women around, just living amongst men.

It is life, it is nature.

So great illustration, great, great, I will use it if I post around the dangers of pregnancy in which even lesbians are trapped nowadays with the patriarcal propaganda for integration.

(((Sheila, thanks for your email. Hugs. and thanks to posters there who already sent me self-defense material, as did some In France from my blog. It will serve as a mass feminist awareness weapon sent by email, once I have prepare something with that. My other project is to build an easy searchable database about these new -real feminist- bloggers, their political views and connectionsover the internet and locations between blogs)))

38. Monique Louicellier - June 17, 2010

Back to topic: Why women would go into meltdown after PIV and feel more tightly bond to their males?
I am not sure because I am a lesbian, but what I can imagine is this:
Men can be happy to have PIV or PIA, any P Inside Anything/Anyone, because no matter if it is rape (I read on another blog that 6 men out of 10 would rape if they could get off with it) or any strange sexual situation.. Because as I read once, but can’t remember where, men or any male animal can still experience orgasm under torture even leading to death if something or someone is exciting their penises.

That should not be the case with women I think although sexualisation of ill things could still provoke arrousal..

So if the situation of coït seems very weird to women, maybe it is the cause of their meltdown, and then maybe they feel the urge to connect deeper to the human side part of their males (and to all the religious clichés and social prejudices that can justify the act) in order to reassure themselves that what they did was not totally bestial, irrelevant and dangerous but can still be accepted as included into love, social acceptation, nature explanation, etc..

Because, don’t you feel that heterosexual coït or PIV is bestial by the way?
Maybe lesbians have a kind of early guess about it, just by looking at animals and maybe they develop a subconscious feminist awareness about this at least.

39. Imaginary - June 19, 2010

I am really scared of being around men, yet I am scared of defending myself. I’ve been in situations where I know I’m going to do something, but then I just dissociate and can’t move.

Physical exercise (like marshal arts) brings up a lot of self hatred issues for me, which is why I don’t do it. I keep hearing men talking to me when I was very young about how girls aren’t as strong as boys and blah blah blah. Again, I dissociate.

I try not to be around men though, and that’s a start.

I only hope one day I can be as badass as you SheilaG.

40. SheilaG - June 20, 2010

Imaginary, I think your strategy is really your way of protecting yourself. If you feel unable to fight, then avoidance of men completely is a very viable form of self-defense, and I applaud your attempts at a life of freedom on your own terms.

A lot of women I know have never been able to fathom just what fuels my epic anger, because it is far greater and more explosive than most women out there. I even had a military woman ask me how I managed to access such rage, and I never really knew the answer.

All I knew is I hated men with a passion, and always wanted them dead. I just had no feeling for them at all, and actually enjoyed every misforture that befalls them.

41. m Andrea - June 26, 2010

This is the third time I’ve heard a reference to trauma-bonding, but never by that name. It’s definitely accurate! I read about it here,

http://www.mdjunction.com/emotional-abuse/articles/why-we-stay-the-psychology-behind-loving-your-abuser

when the author mentioned a study which indicates that the best way for an abuser to ensure that his victims identify with him is to use a technique which cycles through positive and negative behavior towards the victim. First slap then coddle, slap then coddle, repeat. Apparently the periods where the abuser is nice, makes the victim feel as if the abuser “isn’t all bad and could be rehabilitated”. So the victim sticks around through the bad times, hoping for the situation to improve.

It reminded me immediately of typical heterosexual women, who are all patiently tolerating perpetual sexism because they hope men will improve “someday”.

factcheckme - June 27, 2010

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

42. joy - June 27, 2010

“the best way for an abuser to ensure that his victims identify with him is to use a technique which cycles through positive and negative behavior towards the victim. First slap then coddle, slap then coddle, repeat. Apparently the periods where the abuser is nice, makes the victim feel as if the abuser “isn’t all bad and could be rehabilitated”. So the victim sticks around through the bad times, hoping for the situation to improve.”

Some of us stick around because he’ll kill us if we leave. Hunt us down and fucking kill us.

I’ve had a dozen people, plus the media, tell me I “loved” my abuser. Dude. I live in my own body. I hated the bastard. Saw through his nice-horrible, nice-horrible cycles. But if I’d left him, he would have killed me. THAT is why I stayed.

I’m certain, dead certain, that many other women feel the same towards their abusers. Hatred, resentment, but the knowledge that if they wish to live, they have no choice.

I have no idea why that’s hard to understand.

43. joy - June 27, 2010

Also, the youtube video makes me glad my computer can’t handle youtube.

For any MRA/funfem types reading: Pregnancy IS disfiguring. That is not insulting to “mothers” (considering, as you do, that all women who get pregnant are mothers).

I was pregnant a year ago and did not even carry it to term. My body IS disfigured. My hips widened — the actual bone. Even post-pregnancy and post-anorexic starvation to whittle me back to size, I cannot wear the same clothes as I did before. That necessitated buying new items, which is a hardship for lower-income women.
My feet flattened slightly and my weight balance shifted to the outside. Walking often causes me physical pain.
Don’t even get me started on my breasts. I technically weigh the same as I did before the pregnancy, but my stomach and breasts are forever fucked up.
I use myself as an example because these are things that happen, in varying degrees, to every pregnant woman from the time she gets pregnant until the time she is no longer pregnant.

In a patriarchy, where each of us (yes. even you. yes. you are. it’s true whether you say it is or not) is judged like a fucking piece of meat on a plate or a slave at auction, this type of thing. makes. a. fucking. difference.

Pregnancy causes permanent negative change, even after only a few months. Claiming it DOESN’T is insulting to women, many of whom express major postpartum disappointment. Blame the patriarchy, folks, but our pain is real.
To claim that pregnancy is all “glow” and “happiness” and “satisfaction” and “baby bumps” and “cute maternity clothes” is the true insult. It infantilizes women a whole lot more than telling the fucking truth.

factcheckme - June 27, 2010

thanks joy. i could create quite a list too of pregnancy-related disfigurements. one that is particularly gruesome is nerve damage and pain syndromes that sometimes result from c-sections. RSD is a chronic pain syndrome that i recently learned can be caused by cutting the nerves in the abdomen during a c-section. it is caused by other nerve-damaging events too, like getting shot. NERVE DAMAGING TRAUMA. do we get it now? WHICH C-SECTIONS ARE. but is this ever discussed? nope. and if you tear upwards instead of down during labor you can lose all the feeling to your clitoris. just what we fucking need. and urinary incontinence. and keloids. HELLO.

just because you think its “worth it” doesnt make RSD or keloids not-disfiguring. this denial game is such bullshit. and i absolutely agree that lying about this shit or minimizng female pain in any way is infantalizing us. because it takes away our ability to exercise INFORMED CONSENT. which all adults are entitled to, and children are not.

44. joy - June 27, 2010

Oh yeah! Nerve damage! I nearly forgot.

Yep. I didn’t even make it past 3.5 months, but my pelvic nerves are fucked up and not only does my abdomen feel vaguely “hurty” all the time, my vagina is also totally numb now. Just a tube of muscle with no feeling to it.

On one hand, it’s a blessing in that it woke me up to exactly how much PIV sucks/is pointless, but on the other hand … I used to be able to make -myself- feel pretty good, and no more. Maybe never again.

No. It was not fucking “worth it.” A lot of women probably feel the exact fucking same.
Especially, like FCM said, if they’ve actually given birth and had tearing or worse as a result.

45. kurukurushoujo - June 27, 2010

NERVE DAMAGING TRAUMA. do we get it now? WHICH C-SECTIONS ARE. but is this ever discussed? nope. and if you tear upwards instead of down during labor you can lose all the feeling to your clitoris. just what we fucking need. and urinary incontinence. and keloids. HELLO.

Not to mention the disfigurements caused by reckless doctors. My mother had been completely torn up during the course of my sister’s birth. The doctor responsible for stitching everything up did such a bad job that her gynecologist asked what they had done to her during the ensuing examination (and then redid the procedure).

factcheckme - June 27, 2010

Yes, absolutely. Whenever we rely on medical doctors, and tie ourselves to the medical establishment, we are putting ourselves at risk for their incompetence, and subjecting ourselves to their biases too. I have read about docs deliberately sewing women up too tightly after giving birth, so their husbands dont have to suffer their gaping twats. Just what she fucking needs after a painful delivery right? Painful intercourse. Fucking assholes.

46. joy - June 27, 2010

“so their husbands dont have to suffer their gaping twats.”

Dude. All these fuckers who worry about “is she going to be tight after?!?!?!” need to be fucking shot.

For one thing, it’s a tube of muscle, not a hole (thank you, FCM). It doesn’t just stay open (except for the cervix, which can apparently stay open for a long-ass time and should not be fucked with until it closes; mine took six months to close, for some reason) — it goes back to more or less ‘regular’ size eventually.
For another thing, it’s the fucking man who puts the fucking kid up in there in the first place. No woman can get spontaneously pregnant. So if you make a woman squeeze out a child, you have no right to bitch that her cunt is too big afterwards.

For a final (‘ginal) thing, NO MAN HAS A FUCKING RIGHT TO BITCH ABOUT A WOMAN’S VAGINA ANYWAY.
NEVER.
EVER.
FUCK YOU.

Sorry, that gets me kinda pissed off. And by ‘kinda’, I actually mean ‘seriously, intensely, horrifically, homicidally’.

47. joy - June 27, 2010

Also, FCM, hafve you heard about this recent wingnutty thing that tries to say birth isn’t painful?

Yeah. I went to their sites when my friend was pregnant and terrified about her impending delivery, and it’s weird.

The pros are that it encourages women to find midwives as opposed to doctors and to give birth in medically supported but non-hospital settings; it can help to alleviate terror for women who are frightened, and it’s true: being afraid makes your muscles tense, which makes more horrific pain and increases risk of injury; and it promotes a reasonably positive mindset, which can also help to some degree (if you’re already nine months pregnant, and terrified, and depressed, the only thing you can really do is hope for the best, right? sadly).

The cons are that, dude, giving birth HURTS. There are ways to minimize the pain, yes, but it fucking hurts and there’s no two ways about that. Pretending it doesn’t, and making websites with pictures of sunflowers and smiling babies to manipulate women’s emotions is infantilizing bullshit.

Also, dudes (“proud fathers”) have clearly fucked up whatever ‘movement’ surrounded this idea. One dickhead testified that he felt birth was -sexually pleasurable- for his wife, because she groaned when the child’s head hit her G spot. Only wish I was fucking kidding.

It would be nice if there was some way to mitigate the terror women feel when they’re pregnant. No one deserves to be frightened alone and to suffer.

But the fact that so many of them — of us — DO feel terror should probably suggest something, right? I definitely think so.


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