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What’s “Fuckability” Got To Do With It? October 13, 2010

Posted by FCM in authors picks, books!, gender roles, health, international, PIV, pop culture, prostitution, rape.
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so what does being “fuckable” really mean, in a world where men as a group are known to stick their dicks into anyone, at anytime, under any circumstance?  most of us spend way too much time, energy, worry, and of course money on fuckability mandates, beauty, and appearing “appropriate” at all times.  which not coincidentally requires an entirely different costume from one hour of the day to the next.  for women, of course, not for men.  women make less, but spend more.  on being fuckable.  for men.  cha-ching!

and there are heavy penalties, too, for paying too little attention to it, or being simply unable to achieve fuckability, in one way or another.  or, you know, losing your fuckability over time, by actually being fucked too much.  like…the woman who “lets herself go” after having too many kids.  or…as dworkin mentions in “intercourse,” the ravaged junkie-prostitutes and toothless bawds from history, who do the elephants share of the fucking across time and place.  yes, thats right: it seems as if the less fuckable you are, the more you actually get fucked.  so what does fuckability even mean, and whats it have to do with PIV?

in actuality, fuckability mandates, and the entire notions of both “female beauty” and “male desire” seem to be a largely unexamined and generally accepted falsehood (that head-spinning quality generally indicates as much) that serves to obscure the actual truth.  and the truth is, apparently, that men stick their dicks into women, because they are women.  because they can.  because “female” is synonymous with carnality and accessibility, and women exist only to be sexually used by men.

these pages are from dworkin’s “intercourse.”  she is talking about joan of arc, and how joan seems to have largely escaped the gauntlet of male desire.  in other words, she wasnt “fuckable” and the men she fought with and slept next to never tried to fuck her, or saw her that way.  however, the image of joan as “not pretty” that has somehow survived as historical fact, apparently wasnt true.  so while the unfuckable “toothless bawds” of history were getting fucked and fucked and fucked some more…joan of arc was beautiful, but the men didnt want her.  now, i wonder why that would be?  i love a good mystery, dont you?

just ignore the dangling words at the end there.  the book continues, as books are wont to do.

anyhoo, it seems as if “fuckability” and female beauty mandates really have nothing to do with anything.  or at least, they arent required for PIV, and even the most beautiful woman (at least one that we know of) has avoided being sexually used i mean desired by men, where there appeared to be severe consequences to using her that way.  for example…fear that she would kick their fucking asses if they tried.  (high heels and footbinding kind of preclude that).  or…an overwhelming sense (by the men) that she was protected by something.  like god, in joans case.  or like…the law.  indeed, these things appear to be a total boner-killer, across time and place.  would that rape laws were even remotely effective ay?  sure, if you are a woman.  not so much, if you are a man.

so, whats fuckability got to do with fucking, really?  welp…it seems very much that its actually female vulnerability that gets men hard, across time and place.  and women spending money they dont have on disabling footwear seems to fit the bill.  you know, just as one example.  and having ineffectual rape laws and social-safety nets in place that are more hole than net seems to achieve that too, as well as a disposable, permanent underclass of women who belong to all men, and are vulnerable to all men, all the time.  aka.  sex workers and porn. 

yes, its a sexxxay, sexxxay world out there, if you are a man.  if you are a woman…well, its all very complicated, expensive, and likely to get you pregnant, is what it is.

Comments

1. sonia - October 13, 2010

oooh first on the comment wagon. that’s riiight.

That’s my favorite part of the entire book. What Dworkin illustrates is that Joan of Arc controlled an entire army of men’s perception and behavior towards her with her own belief that she was unfuckable. It had nothing to do with anything except the way in which she carried herself and interacted with them. I’m sure it helped she was carrying herself for God and Country, but the point stands.

It has to be the early trauma and socialization that creates these emotional wounds in us, and so we behave accordingly. I really believe that we have power over men, but are just divided and conquered out of it. Was it Sonia Johnson who wrote about stopping an attempted rapist in his tracks with the look on her face? I’ve done stuff like that- personal anecdote warning. I got into a fight with a dude one time about the way he was yelling at his daughter. We were all alone on a dark street and he was yelling at his two year old like she was a fucking dog, and I lit him up about it, just absolutely trashed him, and he came at me to hit me and I swear to god I stopped him with my eyes.

You have to really have that fire from within though. I think women in patriarchy are so demoralized all the time that our fire is low, baby. But Joan of Arc was lit from within constantly, and I think it was that fire that kept her in control of all her men.

Bad ass, FC.

2. sonia - October 13, 2010

p.s. Alternate post title?

“What has ‘fuckability’ done for me lately?”

Keeping it soul.

3. mscitrus - October 13, 2010

It’s hard for me to entirely feel comfy with the idea that women can stop men from raping them by acting a certain way at all. It feels victim-blamey to me. Like, if you just acted xyz way dudes wouldn’t even think about raping you. I honestly think the only thing that stops men from raping is fear.

I think maybe fuckability matters depending on what role you want to have to the fucker. Like if you want a monogamous relationship, you have to be fuckable. Same if you want to be a if you want to be fucked as a wife, ala right-wing women. I’d say men like drug-addicted prostitutes because they’re vulnerable. Same with dudes who like “fat chicks”-no joke, I have seen men express that they prefer to fuck fat women, because they have lower self-esteem and thus are more open-minded.* Because they feel like they should be grateful someone would fuck them. I think it’s to the extent that men even develop fetishes for women who are low on the fuckablility scale-see BBW porn, etc. But obviously dudes will still fuck anything female, hot or no.

*read: willing to do anal, be spanked, BDSM, etc

Sorry this comment’s a bit short, I gotta go to class (ugh). But I agree entirely that “male desire” to female “beauty” is a bunch of bullshit-it’s men acting like they’re dignified, when they’re really just getting off on hurting those who won’t fight back.

4. Undercover Punk - October 13, 2010

Oh yes, men GET HARD on women’s perceived vulnerability! The entire heterosexual narrative is firmly rooted in “you are sooooo beautiful, I cannot help my desire, I will now RAVAGE you with my sex!!” What kind of love is that? Possessive, destructive love. It’s bullshit, baby.

5. Bluecat - October 13, 2010

This should be mandatory reading for all self-proclaimed feminists. Seriously! Any person semi-familiar with the feminist blogosphere knows what “fuckability mandates” are, but too few devote any serious contemplation to the subject. The way you’ve equated female vulnerability with male desire brings it all home like nothing else I’ve read thus far.

Thanks to your constant foot binding/high heels references, I’ve pretty much given up wearing heels, save for special occasions (and only then because I would feel too self-conscious wearing flats with formal/semi-formal attire). I used to wear heels professionally and on casual dates…no more. I can’t stop thinking now about my self-imposed disability and it literally makes me ill.

6. sonia - October 13, 2010

I don’t think it’s victim-blamey at all. In fact, I think saying that men can do whatever they want forever and we have no power is victim-enact-y. Women do have the power over men, it’s only through their system of divide and conquer, perpetuated nonstop for 10,000 years, that they’ve been able to almost stop our power. And still, we have a lot of power individually. Imagine what we could do if we were united. I’m not saying women can always stop men from raping them, but we can lay the blame where it belongs and still claim the power we do have and increase it. And I do believe there’ a “supernatural” aspect to it- men have no idea what women are capable of.

7. sonia - October 13, 2010

nor do most women. I think part of the internalization of sexism is believing that we can’t stop a rape. Okay, a lot of the time we can’t. But I’m saying, I think I underestimated in my past, my ability to put fear in men. If I’d known how much fear I could inspire and how terrible I could be, I’d have given my abusive ex a black eye a lot sooner. I’m not one to ever blame someone for being a victim, being through what I have. But I’ve found a power inside me that I never knew, and I dare a motherfucker to try and fuck with me. No, scratch that. I dare six assholes. These idiots have no idea.

8. maria - October 13, 2010

Sonia, I also believe there’s a “supernatural” aspect to women. It really struck me how opting out was available to Joan of Arc because she believed that it was.

Never under-estimate how much damage patriarchy has done to our ability to reclaim power; it took a lot of effort for me to be able to even trust my instincts. Inspiring fear, I see that whenever the guy realizes you aren’t playing the game. Nothing gets an apology quicker than not laughing or smiling at sexist shit.

9. mscitrus - October 14, 2010

I dunno if I believe women have a supernatural kinda power. I definitely don’t see how we have power over men.

“In fact, I think saying that men can do whatever they want forever and we have no power is victim-enact-y.”

I strongly disagree with the whole idea that someone can “act like a victim.” To me being a victim simply means someone or something hurt you, it doesn’t imply anything else. But I think I get what you’re saying.

I do think there are ways we can stop rape, and I don’t think we’re necessarily going to be raped forever no matter what we do. I just think female socialization creates our inability to do so. And most women don’t question it, let alone try and over come it.

I also don’t think we just underestimate our ability to inspire fear-I think a lot of women worry about being a “bitch.” That was part of it in my case, when my friends would grope me. And then when it went further than that with my first boyfriend, I just thought that’s how sex *was* and tried to end it as fast as possible.

It’s good to know we can do something, for sure. But I think most women don’t think they have the right to fight back, and knowing you can and feeling like you deserve to do it are two very different things. We’re so used to men just getting up in our space, many of us don’t call experiences that were rape what it was until way later in life.

I know I would beat the crap outta any friend or stranger who tried to fuck with me, and I hope I’d do the same with my nigel. I have the same attitude as you towards men now-fuck them if they try and hurt me. Which could very well be why I haven’t been hit on or catcalled in a little over a year. I think this approach works, at least towards strangers.

But I guess what I’m trying to say, is even if women knew they could scare men, I doubt they would use that ability on the men close to them, who statistically speaking are the biggest threat. Would they recognize, say, a partner “just” pressuring them into sex as rape, and not put up with it? And so much rape occurs in childhood, too-I can’t see any way for a little girl to inspire fear in her uncle or whoever.

I’m really touchy about this because when I tried to warn my ex’s new girlfriend that he had raped me, she just told me she wouldn’t “let him” do that to her. And that’s not even including the constant, “why didn’t you fight back?” I hope this made sense, and that I’m not saying anything too stupid.

10. girl - October 14, 2010

this was really great. i just love the way you explain things, it helps me understand a lot more than just reading a book would.

sonia, i definitely feel what you’re saying. i’m pretty tall (6 feet even) and men just do not want to mess with us tall women because they’re fucking scared. especially men that are shorter than us. what if we actually overpowered them?

also, wrt our inability to stop some rapes, i think it’s funny that a big reason a lot of women don’t fight (and obviously, no blame to them, but that used to be how courts passed their rapes off as ‘consensual’ sex they regretted later) is because of guns. the ultimate phallus! i wonder if anything has been written about that.

also, lol that genderbitch person was all whining on twitter about how identities are not sacred and they have the right to be mean to you about yours if it’s not ‘right’. by right they mean transactivist approved, obv. but a few hours later she was hating on factcheckme and being like ‘i can call myself a woman if i want!’ how much doublethink can one person do?!

11. FemmeForever - October 14, 2010

Excellent. Just excellent. What does fuckability have to do with it? Nothing. Every syllable of this post and comments is spot on. The entire fuckability concept is designed keep women’s self esteem low and keep us utterly enslaved to male approval. It is designed, like everything in a bogus male supremacist civilization, to keep women down and prop men up. To make men more important and powerful THAN REALITY at all times.

There are people in my life who hate me intensely – active, super intense hatred – for no other reason than simply because I do not buy into this fuckablity mandate. That is, I live, believe, and conduct myself as though I have value and choice in my life irrespective of whether anyone else thinks I’m hot or not. People literally poke their lips out at me for this. When they see me their faces transform into hatred-for no other reason. They call me names like uppity and arrogant simply because I know I have the right to choose who I may or may not be interested in socially. I believe I have the human right to say no, to have a choice. Apparently, I am expected to be grateful for the attentions of any man, be he homeless, addicted, stupid, ugly, deformed, leprous or an asshole. I am expected to go along quietly with any half-way interested male and for shame on my uppity self for even considering that I have a say in the matter. Half of the enforcers of this belief system in my life are educated, man-worshiping women.

This fuckability mandate bullshit also feeds the equally delusional idea that a good man is hard to find. Ohhhhh men are just such priceless sparkling diamonds that you have to be good enough to deserve one and you better get to perfecting post haste because there is an ever dwindling supply and don’t forget you’re supposed to battle to the death with any woman who might sideways look like she might smile at or talk to “your very own priceless gem of a man”.

Bullllllllsheeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiit!

Men are not in short supply. Men are utterly gettable and keepable. As long as you are willing to hate yourself as much as he hates you. There is a man on every corner and every linear foot in between. To say they are a dime a dozen is to grossly overvalue them. They are not special snowflakes that enrich and complete a woman’s life. What they are are soulless leaches come to drain every ounce of love, affection, money, energy, self-esteem, leadership, intellectual property, and good will you posses. Fucking soul-sucking, soul-killing, utterly valueless, limp dick bastards.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

yeah i noticed i had been twittered. lol. some people have way too much time on their hands.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

To say they are a dime a dozen is to grossly overvalue them.

this made me LOL. srsly.

12. Boner Killer - October 14, 2010

This post reminds me of being in grade 9, I really liked this boy in my small town, he was a few years older than me and pretty popular. I really liked him, but i remember going to school one day and hearing that on the bus the boy told a few other boys that he was dating me. One boy said “OH ya…she looks pretty fuckable” and he said “yeah she’s got some holes” or something along that line of me being just a series of holes.

It was the first time anyone spoke about me that way…I felt so horrible about myself but i told him i didn’t want to be his girlfriend anymore and that was that. Ugh…what the fuck hey? SO many dudes speak this way about women, like it’s no biggie.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

i dont know what to make of this “supernatural” stuff, or the victim-blaming/enacting stuff either. i am an atheist, and i therefore dont really get the metaphysical references, or how or why anyone believes in any of it. it just never made any sense to me. what i will say is that, for whatever reason, i felt some kind of a shift in my own thinking, when i was first watching “buffy the vampire slayer” on tv. I KNOW, it sounds dumb, but i think that just seeing it portrayed, where a woman fought back against usually multiple assailants and kicked their fucking asses instead of being raped, made me think that it was possible. WHICH IS RIDICULOUS, because buffy wasnt real. but frankly, almost none of what is portrayed on television is real. buffy is just as “real” as the shows featuring a female corpse at the very beginning, and the guys get to try to figure out what happened to her over the course of the hour. you know? where we dont even get to see her ALIVE, let alone putting up a fight. but for every portrayal of a woman fighting back AND WINNING, there are hundreds if not thousands of portrayals of the opposite. this has to effect us. and it has to effect men too. of course…the NEWS is real enough isnt it? and we all know what kinds of things make it onto the news. which also makes me wonder, i guess, what DOESNT make it on? how many women have actually escaped, or fought back, and they just go to work the next day like nothing ever happened?

regarding victim-blaming…i dont remember what its called right now, but A LOT of people subscribe to the theory that if nothing bad has ever happened to you, its because you did everything right. but this is just patently, and demonstraby false. specifically, all of us have been drunk, or walked home late at night, or took a ride from someone, or were alone with your brothers friend, or alone with your DAD, or any number of things that were probably just DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. and nothing happens. until it does. just be careful, thinking this way, if any of you are. because the second something bad does happen, you are going to blame yourself, even if youve done the same thing a million times before and nothing happened. its a dangerous road, and never ends well is all.

13. thebewilderness - October 14, 2010

You can’t have a victim without a perp.
Sometimes the victim and the perp are the same person. When you drink, drive, and hit a tree. You are the victim of the accident as well as the cause.

When people “play the victim” all you have to do is look around for the perp. If you see that there is one then they are not “playing the victim”. They are a victim.

I agree that fear, and lack of fear, is the key component.
Fear is the boner killer.
My apologies to novelist frank herbert (Dune) and to boner-killer upthread.

14. zeph - October 14, 2010

Brilliant post. There is so much truth here it is breathtaking.

Joan had the power of a king behind her who used her religious conviction to raise his political and military game, in a similar way that we use celebrity pull today.
The man would have been killed for saying he would fuck her publicly, in the same way that a film studio would pay out huge amounts of money and even disappear someone who was distorting the image of their top stars. When the king had no more use for her, he abandoned Joan, then men moved in on her, and all her personal power could not prevent her being tortured, burnt at the stake and in all probability at some point during her interrogation raped, because what is more vulnerable than someone who is wounded and in pain.

A woman can sometimes stare down a man, if she is a very exceptional fighter she may be able to bring down a couple of men. But men just go and fetch their friends, so if she has no women to stand beside her, staring and even fighting are short term solutions. Both tactics are worth trying, they often pay off but not always. Sadly there is no one right way to behave, that will always make it better and never make it worse.

15. SheilaG - October 14, 2010

It’s hard to know how to respond to this, because I actually do believe in the strong spiritual power of women. Joan of Arc has long been a heroine of mine dating back to childhood, and I think her life was kind of a lesbian maid pro-type to me. It’s the kind of world a girl inhabits, connecting very strongly to women of the past.

Back in the day, there were very few women of history ever mentioned. I know, I know, it is hard for most women to believe who were born say in 1968 instead of 1958.

Joan of Arc did have a very powerful spiritual life, and she really did lead the French in battle.
We have the trial transcripts that talk about the voices she heard, and she is considered the founder of the French nation.

You can laugh at this all ye atheists here, but I believe that lesbians who have never had sex with men, do contain a strong sense of self. We have literally never given in to sex with men, which in my mind always constitues rape. To have sex with men is to be owned, to have one’s body colonized.
It’s why some women of the past had this special power, Joan of Arc being one. But read a book of many of the social reformers and 19th century feminists, and all of them were spinsters…Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams etc. I should compile a list of virgin women. Even Queen Elizabeth I was considered the virgin queen– some debate on this, but nevetheless, that is a name given her.

Saints of the catholic church also can be decoded as lesbians, and the legends of resistance to marriage are legion in the early church. All of this will seem like nonsense to FCM… who lives in a very rational time. But our battle agains patriarchy is spiritual as well as material. It is visionary, and you need a much larger mind for this conflict.

But to me, there is a deep power, a depth of authority that uplifts me. I have studied martial arts, and I have defeated men in hand to hand combat. It may not be common among women, but my hatred of male invasion is so great, that I do have power. We had lesbian martial arts classes, and we were literally amazons in training.

To me, when I see straight women tottering on high heels on the arms of these pigs, well it boggles the mind.

So I return to the women of the 19th century or the 8th century. You can actually hear music today composed by Medival nuns, and all women’s communities flourished. Janice Raymond writes well of this in her book on women’s passion for friendship. Every woman who longs to be free should read that book.

We’ll I’m wandering here, as I think of Joan of Arc in armor, raising a sword toward the 21st century lesbian ideal. Some of us fight, some of us have fought forever. Gather ye here — women– come and listen to the tales of lesbian nation and learn.

Our battle against male supremacy and the patriarchy is an epic worthy of Athena or Artemis or Joan of Arc. It is as old as the Venus of Willendorf. It is the double ax of Minoan civilization.

16. Miska - October 14, 2010

@mscitrus

I’d say men like drug-addicted prostitutes because they’re vulnerable. Same with dudes who like “fat chicks”-no joke, I have seen men express that they prefer to fuck fat women, because they have lower self-esteem and thus are more open-minded.*

Yep yep. I read a post once by a sex pozzer who ran bdsm workshops. She was writing about how over a few workshops she kept seeing this het couple – the woman was fat and unattractive and looked utterly and completely miserable to be attending these workshops. The blogger went on to say something along the lines of “I see these kinds of couples all the time. There are so many fat/unattractive women who end up in the bdsm scene who really just dont want to be there”. I wish I could find that post, because it is one of the more honest things I’ve heard a sex pozzer say.

17. Miska - October 14, 2010

This fuckability mandate bullshit also feeds the equally delusional idea that a good man is hard to find. Ohhhhh men are just such priceless sparkling diamonds that you have to be good enough to deserve one and you better get to perfecting post haste because there is an ever dwindling supply and don’t forget you’re supposed to battle to the death with any woman who might sideways look like she might smile at or talk to “your very own priceless gem of a man”.

Bullllllllsheeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiit!

Oh, so true. Those “zomg! MAN SHORTAGE!” articles that pop up in the news media all the time enrage me. It’s a load of shit.

Though in one sense it may be true that there is a shortage of “good” men relative to the equivalent women. Men make up the majority of degenerates in any society – the gamblers, the criminals, the addicts etc. So the middle tier of women – who are neither prize catches or bottom-rung dwellers may indeed find themselves having to settle for one of the many male degenerates floating around.

Because that’s the assumption – that if a woman cant get a good man, she’ll settle for any man, because any man is better than no man.

What a load of shit. Even the “good” men – the very “best” men – they’re still a weight on women’s backs and a chain around our necks.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

you all are, of course, free to believe in anything you wish, including spirituality! i just dont believe in it. i am more of an agnostic i suppose, than a die-hard atheist, because i think there are things we cant know, and there are probably things that the human brain CANT know, i would just never make the leap that its anything “supernatural” rather than “natural” in origin. and i get that there COULD be. theres just no way to prove it. i would like to know, other than needing a bigger, wider vision, why anyone thinks its necessary to be “spiritual” as a feminist, or why they think the fight is supernatural as well as natural? anyone can feel free to answer, and i am not judging anyone. eventually i will get to mary dalys work. perhaps sooner rather than later, as i definitely feel like i am missing out.

anyway, i would also add that theres no evidence AT ALL that joan of arc was a lesbian, as far as i know. i think this whole “spinster” idea is really going to turn all this lesbian-identification on its head, both in people “accusing” radfems and spinsters as being lesbians, and with lesbians themselves, who might be tempted to label spinsters as being lesbian, and appropriating “spinster” experience as lesbian experience. its not the same. not saying anyone here has done that, as sheila correctly used “virgin” and “spinster” in reference to women who were, indeed spinsters. but my last couple of posts have been a deliberate jab at the liberals and sex-pozzies who cant tell the fucking difference, and who (rather inexplicably given their identification as progressives–HA) STILL THINK, in this day and age, that calling anyone a lesbian is an insult, because (they obviously think) that lesbians are always wrong. d’oh! obviously, spinsters and lesbians DO share some experiences though, like being free of the female-specific trauma-bonding and medical events inherent in PIV. and thats not a small thing, at all. its fucking amazing, is what it is, and i think theres definitely some potential there that not many women get to realize, ever. i do like to think that women who have had PIV can recover from it, but its hard to know whether that is, in fact, possible, or not.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

and YAY, miskas back!

18. sonia - October 14, 2010

All I’m saying is, there’s a mental aspect to victimhood that prevents people from mobilizing themselves and each other. Factual, doll- people in greater numbers and of greater strength have often been oppressed by the power of ideas. If women all woke up tomorrow and collectively decided no more, that would be it- it would be over. We don’t because of the mentality, that makes us behave with vulnerability. Yes, there’s a real power-over, but it would crumble if we mobilized. It’ll never happen, but I’m illustrating.

I could have left my abusive relationship a million times, but it was mental. I am definitely stating that there’s a mental aspect to patriarchy. They need that because we’d never be controllable otherwise. Waaaay too much is made of men’s “greater physical strength.” But I see your point as well. We gotta be careful. I always just stress, it may be mental at times, but even that is never our fault.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

It’s not just a fear of men’s greater strength though is it? It’s that they are fucking violent. It’s that they go crazy. And frankly for me, its that I literally cannot afford, financially, to be injured, in any way. Women are less likely to have health insurance, and less likely to have seniority or union protection at their jobs, that would protect them if they became injured and unable to work. Women are more likely to have face to face contact with the public, where showing up to work with facial injuries would get you fired. There are serious consequences to women, of everything. Everything is worse for us, than it is for men. And its not just mental, and I don’t even think its MOSTLY or even largely mental. It’s real, and we are vulnerable, and we know it.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

also, did someone actually stop wearing disabling footwear because of these posts? holy crap. thats awesome.

19. sargassosea - October 14, 2010

In regard to the ability to recover from the effects of PIV I can say that the jury is still out in my case. Even more than 15 years beyond it I feel like I was so robbed of the full person (sexual/non-sexual) I could have been that I’m in a place of mourning.

Also, I’ve stopped fuckers with nothing but the force of my being. But only like a handful of times amongst thousands…

20. sargassosea - October 14, 2010

(There’s way more I’d like to add but I’m dealing with new technology here! Thanks again for another FACT post and comments – what’d I ever do without them?)

21. Level Best - October 14, 2010

“i would just never make the leap that its anything ‘supernatural’ rather than ‘natural’ in origin.”-fcm

It is in my particular nature that I experience the natural as so amazing that it leads me to receptivity to the possibility of the supernatural. This is definitely a YMMV sort of thing–maybe my temporal lobes are just really amped, or something! Hmmm, what was mom eating when I was in utero? Anyway, I know many, many, many people see/feel no need for anything more than the natural in their lives, and I can and do frequently really appreciate their reality-based thought processes. Rationality definitely helps clear out the total B.S. that organized, patriarchal religion has mired us in. Me, though, I am a woo-friendly sort, because that’s just me, and because it truly does work for me. Female diversity is a good thing; female unity is a good thing.

“i would like to know, other than needing a bigger, wider vision, why anyone thinks its necessary to be ‘spiritual’ as a feminist, or why they think the fight is supernatural as well as natural? anyone can feel free to answer, and i am not judging anyone. eventually i will get to mary dalys work.”–fcm

Dr. Daly (actually, I believe she actually had at least two doctorate degrees–talk about a strong woman!)turned mystical in her last two books, Quintessence and Amazon Grace. I haven’t finished Amazon Grace as yet, but in Quintessence she talks about the Archaic Future. She believed in the primacy of women in the far past of the human race before the patriarchs took over the whole damned planet (Bronze Age and further backwards, I think). And somehow she believed that Quantum Physics theory supports the possibility of women be able to re-imagine, once they start disbelieving in and start resisting patriarchy’s B.S. precepts, the archaic past when women were at least equal in status to men AND that such women in re-imagining it, can re-create it. Like, literally! So she finally came around to where Sonia Johnson had been, as a spiritual feminist, in her book Wildfire, which was VERY mystical. (Want to be liberated? Poof, you’re liberated!)

I don’t think there IS a necessity for women/feminists to be spiritual in order to be terrifically effectual. We definitely need a huge number of uber-rational feminists to clear out the man cobwebs, get us organized, and get us all actively working towards the betterment of womankind. I do think that it is a legitimate path for a number of us to be spiritual, however, and that earth-based spirituality and other un-organized, non-patriarchal ways of experiencing the divine are fine if we don’t let them lead us to being all privatistic and splintered off from from political and activist action. I believe Studebaker, an antropologist who wrote Switching to Goddess, and Hecate (a real witch!)at http://hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com/ are good examples of how active, political feminists can also entertain the supernatural.

Ha, I am an impaired woo-ster, though, because my affinity for spirituality is combined with a VERY concrete mindset and a peasant practical, pragmatic bent that just doesn’t allow me to be able to see the heights that Daly and Johnson do. I’m a lot better at going 1, 2, 3 and handling everyday things than I am at being mystical. I understand (“in my head” as young people say) what they mean, and I wish it were true, but I don’t experience it. Maybe because that’s because I am one of the very few people from my generation who never has taken LSD or peyote. I’m so clean-living that my doors of perception are double-bolted! 🙂

22. Level Best - October 14, 2010

“If women all woke up tomorrow and collectively decided no more, that would be it- it would be over. We don’t because of the mentality, that makes us behave with vulnerability.”–sonia

I agree. The mo-fo’s that oppress us can’t stay awake 24 hours a day, and women are EVERYWHERE. And whether males live or die already is in the hands of their mothers. And, boy, men know this at a gut level and fear it. Hence all the anti-choice male protesters. Also, see Paupau New Guinea.

There was a Greek myth wherein there was a bunch of sisters who would welcome men into their home and then dispatch them as they slept. I can’t remember it much at all, but I do remember that one sister betrayed the others by alerting the men, who conquered. I think this was an incorporation into myth of the time in which men imposed patriarchy and bound the loyalty of women to it with religion and fear.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

ok i think i see what you guys are saying. you mean that if we all woke up one day and refused to wear oppressive clothing that day or ever again (for example), that there wouldnt be an issue over oppressive clothing anymore. or at least, the issues would CHANGE. thats clearly the case, yes. but its also never going to happen. theres no way that every single woman would ever be mobilized to do that. and of course, now we have the fucking empowerfulized fun-fems and BDSM crowd who say they LOOOOVE oppressive clothing.

its of course worth exploring, yes. it just frustrates me to think about it, because i know i will never see it.

23. FemmeForever - October 14, 2010

Though in one sense it may be true that there is a shortage of “good” men relative to the equivalent women.

So the middle tier of women – who are neither prize catches or bottom-rung dwellers may indeed find themselves having to settle for one of the many male degenerates floating around.

First of the all the phrase “good men” is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. All men are exactly the same where women are concerned and therefore all are bad all the time. It’s so hard for women to detangle ourselves from male supremacist thinking.

Further women are not on a totem pole of value. Another male-centric belief system. People are all created equal and the ONLY thing that stratifies us is not looks, not hotness, not income, not power, it’s character – the only legitimate means to stratify people. More in a bit.

24. sam - October 14, 2010

theres no way that every single woman would ever be mobilized to do that.

fackcheckme, I have moments like that too. Whole weeks. If a friend doesn’t pull me out of the funk, eventually self-preservation gets my mind around to remembering Sweden and Iceland.

Oh Iceland, where strip clubs are banned and where last month pornography became the subject of Reykjavík city council debate because the mayor repeated an overtold joke about the internet & porn.

Iceland, where on Oct 24th 1975 90% of the country’s women went on strike for a day, marching out of their workplaces and refusing to cook, clean or look after children. Ninety freaking percent.

You and me, we live in the noisy asshole of the beast, so it’s easy to forget some women are socking that fucker in the eyeball. I don’t know if it will ever be enough to take him down, and he sure is getting pissed at the re-sisters, but they are putting the damage on and making change.

This moment of optimism brought to you by “Tears without action are wasted sentiment.”

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

well yes that is somewhat heartening sam. but…with our nonexistant social-safety net here in the US, as well as our preoccupation no OBSESSION with male speech…does it seem like anything like that would EVER likely happen here, even if its happened somewhere else?

25. SheilaG - October 14, 2010

There is so much to comment on here. I don’t think I can be quite articulate in talking about the vision of lesbian nation. The spiritual or the mystic comes from another time in human herstory, but I believe that women’s dreams are very important.

I like the idea of all women uniting as spinsters and amazons and lesbians… well the whole thing.
Spinsters can be lesbians or straight women, just as virgins and nuns can. FCM has come across a very powerful point… spinsters can be women who have rejected male PIV colonization, but aren’t necessarily lesbians. Lesbian is not an insult, and I hold that word to have great power. I hate the weak word gay, BTW. To me, the lesbian is the all powerful amazon, the woman who loves women. The gay woman is kind of a sell out, a woman afraid of woman identification on some level.

Oprah keeps using the word “gay” for women, because I believe she is still quite skittish about lesbians. Even Ellen Degeneres usually uses the word gay. Gay erases women.

That said, spinster is a powerful word, and Daly spends a lot of time talking about spinsters, and the connection to the spider and Charlotte’s web.
Daly is linguistically powerful and mystical… don’t know how you’ll react to her FCM. To use your vernacular, she’s a f—ing genius!

PIV recovery… can’t speak to that, but I often feel for the sex pozzie women. I feel they have been cheated and used in really awful ways. I saw what happened to a college room mate who was very sex poz straight… long story.

BDSM being a place men bring fat women so they are trained in this outrage… creepy!

Lots of thoughts flying around. Bottom line, for women to free themselves, go on strike for a day (Iceland example), whatever it takes will be monumental. Together we can find a way I think.

I am sensitive to lesbian erasure, and am adept at finding lesbian sisters of the 19th century who have been erased. We do have a legacy of a very secretive world, a hidden world. To this day, I never reveal the lesbian identity of a sister unless they give me permission to do this. To this day, there are deeply closeted women in organizations. I feel for them. I don’t understand that fear anymore, but I respect their choices for safety.

That said, to me, Daly is poetic, which might drive you nuts FCM… but her language has something in common with William Blake… and somehow I can relate to Blake’s vision. It can’t be explained here; it’s the power of poetry in my life. It doesn’t go over well in radfem materialism, but nevertheless, this “languaging” power, to quote Illyana van Sant, is the power of naming stolen from women.

Spinster, maid, virgin, lesbian, witch, prude, sexual inviolate, recovering PIV… lots of words.
Words can free or enslave. This is too long… sorry. But be mindful of the power of words and poetic naming. I can attest to the power this has brought me in life, and I know it is very real.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

poetic naming. like “liverlips”? heh. it makes me laff everytime i see someone else call him that. hes a joke now, as he should be. its perfect.

factcheckme - October 14, 2010

thanks for the link level best. my computer crashes everytime i mess with blogger though. 😦 i am kind of surprised at myself that i never got more into mystical stuff actually. i was always obsessed with bewitched (i know its dumb but still, and i still love it), and i loved going to catholic mass with my friends. the incense and candles were really mind-altering, and the mass was in another language actually, which helped, since i cant stand knowing what the catholics are saying. and i actually did hang out with a couple of witches in college and did some spells and stuff. but it never seemed real to me, at all. it never worked. i dont know what i was expecting, but i was completely and utterly disappointed, in all of it. at the same time though, i have had “experiences” that i cant explain. and i have actually been told that i am a medium, if you can believe that. anyway, the other stuff always won out for me, in the end. there wasnt any payoff in the mystical stuff. i guess i am comfortable playing the “rational feminist” role as you say. i never thought about it like that, but i think you are right. it takes all kinds.

26. joy - October 14, 2010

In a hurry right now, so I can’t address all the comments I’d like to (yay conversation)! but:

The other day, in the NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal at ass o’clock AM, I was running to catch a Greyhound, dragging a duffel bag with all my current possessions. Rather than help flag down the driver or assist me in any way, or even, fuck! just leave me alone and get out of the way — ome asswipe pissant said in a squeaky voice, “Run, Forrest! Run!”

He was probably getting his rocks off by harassing what he probably thought was a Mennonite woman. I turned in my tracks and said angrily, “FUCK you.”

Bystanders were shocked. I added, “No, fuck you. Whoever said that. Fucking bite me, and eat my dick.”

The Port Authority is a scary place. But nobody else who witnessed this, fucked with me for the rest of the night. Or the rest of my journey.

Fear is the key. Strike fear in the bastards’ hearts. I’ve always loved something about Joan of Arc, and now I want to try to live like her. Minus God, you know. And war. And the country of France.

27. FemmeForever - October 15, 2010

To continue my earlier comment, although I suppose I can understand where the idea came from historically, for the life of me I can’t see why modern women are still clinging to this idea that money comes from men. It never occurred to me for one millisecond of my life that men were the source of money. For me a career or job has always been the only source of money in my mind. Some people might say a business but always from your own efforts, not from some sugar-daddy that’s supposed to dole it out to you. I have always thought when I see those gold digger stereotypes in media plots or the rare woman who buys into that thinking that just because a man has money does not mean he’s going to give you access to it. I never understood why some women think a man’s money is automatically their money. But then, for as long as I can remember I have always, always, always, strived for independence from the oppressor be they parents or men. Of course, I am speaking of women who are capable of working for a living. Some women, if they are disabled or sick and can’t work, have no other choice but to succumb to wifeing.

factcheckme - October 15, 2010

I never had a sense of that either FF. My dad did me the service I suppose of teaching me that if you depend on a man for anything, he will humiliate you every chance he gets, and he still wont come through and actually give you what you need. So don’t count on one, ever. Like most men, he taught this one by example. Luckily I was paying attention.

It wasn’t until I left home that I realized gee, I need a roommate to help pay the bills. And once I started having a man around all the time, eating all my food and using all my stuff, and generally being an entitled prick and not paying his way…I thought well he’s here all the time anyway, and we get along ok, why not just have him move in and split the rent?

This is how it starts. If there are any young uns here, I hope they will see the complete and utter logic fail that falls between “entitled prick who does pay” and “split the rent”.

28. Undercover Punk - October 15, 2010

I like the Hecate blog! WITCHESSSSS!!!! I so, soooo want to live in Salem, MA in my Dream Life. I’d have a big garden and lots of animals. Way spiritual, sisters. Way.

29. rhondda - October 15, 2010

I am not trying to derail here fcm, but I just want to say to ‘the bewilderness’ that I have read Caliban and the Witch and I am totally blown away by it.(I have no other means of telling her.) The modern ‘Wicca witch’ is just a romanticized piece of crap who is no threat to patriarchy. The real witch of the burning times and the real witch of the third world nations is one and the same. Long live resistance! Thank you for suggesting this book.

30. sonia - October 15, 2010

All witches are bitches, but not all bitches can be witches. It takes a special bitch🙂

I know I”m a dork, but at least it rhymes.

@FCM- yeah, I mean basically that’s all I’m saying. Men have incredible power, but most women are brainwashed to believe that it is more than it is. That there’s no hope, ever. But the sad truth is, there’s no hope because we BELIEVE there’s no hope.

That shit is like a big circle or something.

31. sonia - October 15, 2010

@UP- have you watched Practical Magic? It’s ttly beauty mandate but I love that movie…

32. thebewilderness - October 15, 2010

YAY rhondda!!

33. sonia - October 15, 2010

” The real witch of the burning times and the real witch of the third world nations is one and the same.”

Church!

34. SheilaG - October 15, 2010

I just have never had this idea that there is no hope. I know that men are cowardly and idiotic. I know that women united can shut them up. The hardest thing about feminism is just getting women to pay attention. I don’t give a damn about men; I’ve written them off. What I want is for straight women to truly wake up and take over. What if all women made a pact to never rely on men for money? What if women stopped buying gargage and high heels?

Just the other night, I was dealing with a man who was tending bar at a private event. He was on the verge of telling some women waiting to buy a drink that he had a joke to tell. I stepped in, and told him I didn’t want to hear a racist, sexist or demeaning joke, and since that’s all the humor men know, that I didn’t want him to tell it at all. I shocked the hell out of him, because he knew that the joke was awful, and I just shut him up! The straight women near me were kind of dumb founded. “You never have to tolerate this from men ever!” It’s this kind of stuff that women can do, because we know that men are incapable of telling any jokes that won’t offend us, and we use our power to speak up. Men think they are original thinkers, but they are utterly predictable in certain settings. Most polite straight women aren’t going to get in men’s faces like this. Lead by example I say!

35. Undercover Punk - October 16, 2010

@Sonia, no, but I read the book when I was in high school. It was my favorite story for a long time!! I’m not sure I could tolerate the narrative style these days, but the basic tale about women living together and being spiritually powerful is AWESOME.

Also, it makes me LOL when you say “church!”. And I second that CHURCH to rhondda’s comment. Maybe I need to read that book too.😉

factcheckme - October 16, 2010

So, I wonder what teh menz are thinking right about now, that their “sexuality” has been dissected and debunked so easily, obviously, and completely? Someone commented here that the post has so much truth to it, that they found it breathtaking. And that’s what Dworkin did, always. She told the truth to women, and her work IS breathtaking. To hear the truth for once in your fucking life takes your breath away. Once you recover and the handprint fades from your forehead, you say OH MY GOD, she’s right. She’s absolutely right.

No wonder men hate her so much. Seriously. This isn’t a surprise, at all. They depend on the lies, and on their perspective and their interpretation of events carrying the day. They depend on women thinking themselves crazy, either mistaken or literally insane, when they start to see this shit for what it is. Like the visceral “NO” that goes off in their minds and bodies like a bomb when they see porn, as just one example. And teh menz are always right there, to tell us we are wrong. But we aren’t wrong. We are right about men, and how deluded, dangerous and deranged they are, when it comes to pretty much everything. And the truth does take your breath away. But its only because its so horrible, and it was right there in front of your face the whole time. It’s not rocket science. It’s really not.

factcheckme - October 16, 2010

And no, this is not an invitation for teh menz to start commenting here. because I already know what they think. also not rocket science. fucking bitch deserves to die. no, that’s not true, shes wrong. no, she’s wrong about ME, I would never do that. But I love my wife/gf/daughter/mother.

Sorry assholes. But this applies to you. Not only does it apply to you, it applies to your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, etc etc. And it applies to your sons, and your grandsons, and great grandsons too.

36. kristina - October 16, 2010

ugh…I’ve heard the run forrest run shit before too…It pisses me off to no fucking end…when I was in high school, I used to have angry out bursts at random assholes…guys wouldn’t really date me, girls relentlessly spread rumors about me, and guys I did date got teased (I often would “attack” the perpetrators who teased them too)…high school totally sucked in terms of my place in the social hierarchy…but I got bothered a lot less than other girls who just took it. The less I cared about them, the more preoccupied with me they got…it was interesting.

37. rainsinger - October 16, 2010

anyway, the other stuff always won out for me, in the end. there wasnt any payoff in the mystical stuff. i guess i am comfortable playing the “rational feminist” role as you say.

I can’t wait until you digest Mary Daly.

For me, its not about spirituality in the same sense that men/patriarchy use it.

I was born and raised a fundamentalist atheist, my parents were communists, and I just never *got it* about any form of religion or arty-farty bs.

yet I still *got it*, when I read radical feminist views of ‘Goddess spirituality’. (For want of a better word, we are stuck with using man-made language – if we can stop using the “male gaze” when looking at porn/sexuality, then stop using the “male gaze” to look at spirituality)

The ‘Goddess’ for radical feminism, is Metaphor.
Symbolism. Mythology. A metaphor, or a way of conceptualising an ethical and moral framework. Abstract art, symbols, myths, poetry etc do say stuff to people, (well some people).

Some of us are very scientifically-brained, can only relate to the concrete physical world of our senses. Others relate to symbolism, metaphor, abstractions etc. Some of us can do both.

One of the quotes Mary Daly uses in Gyn/Ecology is from a poem:

This time, I do not speak of the Rape of my Body,
This time, I speak of the Rape of my Soul.

38. joy - October 16, 2010

Also, re, spirituality:

I may be misusing the word “spirituality”, but I think it’s possible to have some sort of spirituality that’s independent of patriarchal, godbag religion.

You don’t have to worship anything, or go out of your way in any way.

But then again, this is from someone who’s done hallucinogens. Even prior that, I’d been having strange experiences since my childhood. I’m a synesthete and (what is widely regarded as) a psychic, clairvoyant, and medium of some sort. Maybe I just have really good instincts.

I’ve also been an atheist since age six, and have been disdainful of religion for that same amount of time.

It’s up to the individual, is all. And sometimes it can be a great comfort to see something mystical in, well, everything. Something mystical you don’t have to bow to, or worship, or get out the hoo-doo crystals about.

39. joy - October 16, 2010

Heh, basically what rainsinger said while I was typing that.

Thanks for the part about metaphor, too. I’m really into language, possibly because I am a synesthete. So yes, some of us relate very well to the abstract and metaphorical. Some don’t.

factcheckme - October 16, 2010

I think having “good instincts” has a lot to do with it actually. I have heard that growing up in an abusive environment works, because you need to know when the shits about to hit the fan, as long before it happens as possible. And all women grow up in an abusive environment.

40. rainsinger - October 16, 2010

yeah, there is other stuff too, working from a shaky memory.

Like heroines in mainstream pop-culture, Xena, Buffy, samantha in bewitched etc etc etc… serve a similar purpose as archetype or iconic images of Virgin Mary in Catholicism.

They are tattered remnants of the original Goddess image/metaphor. Or as Mary Daly called them ‘glimpses and shadows’ of the Real Thing. Women are *hungry* for heroic images of our own, so we tend to latch on to the empty vessels and shredded characters patriarchy gives us.

41. zeph - October 16, 2010

“No wonder men hate her so much. Seriously. This isn’t a surprise, at all. They depend on the lies, and on their perspective and their interpretation of events carrying the day. ”

Totally, you can always tell when a woman is close to the mark by the degree to which men denigrate her words. Isn’t it interesting that a post about fuckability has become partly about spirituality. I think if women get past the desirability/beauty myth we are halfway to being free, but it is such a hard journey and the messengers usually get shot.

I agree with Rainsinger, about goddess as metaphor, and as a centre around which women can form alliances.
I also think Joan Of Arc was awesome, and that there is hope through unity. I consider that Joan may have arisen as a leader because the unofficial goddess religions still existed among ordinary people in her day, and that the idea that a female would arise and lead them was not unusual, but commonplace. But even without brainwashing most women cannot control men for long on an individual basis, only as a group, and I don’t believe we should underestimate the bravery of women who face violent partners, the most common time for women to be murdered is after they leave men and some are shot (hard to fight guns without one of your own), often their children are killed too.
If all women left their partners overnight men would come after them, torture and burn their leaders, in the same way as the rich suppressed the poor for centuries and the colonialists suppressed indigenous peoples. Even if a woman succeeds in fighting a man off, she then faces courts systems that are rigged in advance by men. We need to build new systems were women invest in, and live among each other, even if they still have male partners.

42. veganprimate - October 17, 2010

“so, whats fuckability got to do with fucking, really? welp…it seems very much that its actually female vulnerability that gets men hard, across time and place.”

This is brill! It’s spot on.

I also am inspired to read more about Joan of Arc. I know very little.

Does anyone have any book recommendations? Ones that aren’t dry? I have an aversion to history b/c the history books are so damned dry.

43. joy - October 17, 2010

zeph made a good lead-in to a point I couldn’t articulate earlier.

When I talk about spirituality and all that mumbo jumbo, I’m talking (partially) about things like, the sense of myself as part of a much larger sisterhood — ie, all women, whether they know it or not. We’re all on the same side of a war, whether or not we all know we’re fighting, or that there’s even a war.

It’s also my sense of power as an individual, by which I do not mean anything close to what funfems mean by power. I mean, I can be mean enough to stop assholes in their tracks. I can hold my own head up and refuse to crack. Like Joan of Arc (who never cracked, and that’s why they burned her alive — because she would not crack and put on women’s clothes).

But women, of which I am one, will never have institutionalized power. The courts and the keepers of law will never recognize our humanity. Other humans will often if not always fail to recognize our humanity. Rapists and other assholes will continue to see us as chattel, and will continue raping us, beating us, robbing us blind with zero impunity.

There is nothing I can do about that. All I can do is hold my own head up. All I can do is try not to crack.

factcheckme - October 17, 2010

i think its an interesting observation too, that a post on “fuckability” has gone into issues of spirituality. and that we are talking about victim blaming too. because i dont think this post was about either one. did the post evoke one or both of these ideas, or was it sonias first comment that did it? was joan of arc even spiritual? or was she just religious? or both? and i noticed the victim-blaming came up right away, and i wanted to address it, in relation to the post.

insofar as that relates to victim-blaming, i dont think that the “power” joan of arc had over men to not rape her (?), was her “spirituality” at all. i dont think it was anything SHE did, or didnt do. the men believed that she was protected by a vengeful god, and that THEIR vengeful, patriarchal god would deep fry their dicks if they fucked with her, in any way. they were afraid to rape her, or to fuck with her, or to even think or talk about her “that way.” but i dont think it was a power that SHE had, and i dont think any of us could probably replicate it, no matter how spiritual or anything else we were (or werent). it was a sense (by the men) that this woman was protected, and that there would be severe consequences to them, if they violated her. which is EXACTLY what is missing from our legal and social discourses today in fact. the sense (by men, and by women too) that women are protected. because we arent. and i think that this in itself is a huge boner-inducer in men, all men, as a class. because all women are left unprotected by our ineffectual rape laws, and social discourse that rewards rape-behaviors perpetrated by men, instead of punishes them. its as if (!) the entire thing is set up to induce, perpetuate reward and normalize mens boners. which is stunning, when you think about it. its literally a vast conspiracy to keep men hard. at least, the social and legal discourses which are the foundation of our society, are desgined to sexually arouse men. by keeping women vulnerable. hello!

and the second facet of joans “power” appears to be that she was known to be a skilled fighter, and indeed a killer of men. they were afraid of her, too. i dont think that men, in general, have a healthy fear of women like they should. or like they WOULD, normally, if we all existed in nature, as animals. we have been domesticated to the point that they arent even afraid if us, even though we have teeth, and are essentially the same size as they are. i dont know if that kind of fear of women as animals and adversaries existed back then, or not. but it definitely doesnt exist now. for whatever reason or reasons, joan as an individual was able to inspire a healthy fear in men, that they were taking their own lives in their hands if they threatened HER life. which is exactly how it should be. i am not blaming anyone, in saying that this doesnt appear to be the case, now, for very many women. its just not.

44. thebewilderness - October 17, 2010

Oddly enough, Mark Twain wrote a book about Jean d’Arc. She was a hero of his.

At that time the population was still very low, about 60 years after the black death. It was the very early days of the burning times when there were popes and anti popes engaged in a power struggle.

factcheckme - October 17, 2010

also, the fact that fun-feminism is so concerned with maintaining womens fuckability is telling, isnt it? they are literally repackaging FEMALE VULNERABILITY and selling it as FEMALE POWER. its stunning. its the literal (LITERAL!) opposite of whats real. no wonder men are so interested in third-wave feminism (and feminists). on that note, i committed the dire misjudgement of visiting feministe (HA! yes again) and the article on the front page is about j. crew’s recent “unfortunate” product: womens tights that too closely resemble “hairy legs”. oh noes! how unfortunate!

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/10/15/next-hairshirts/

45. joy - October 17, 2010

“insofar as that relates to victim-blaming, i dont think that the “power” joan of arc had over men to not rape her (?), was her “spirituality” at all. i dont think it was anything SHE did, or didnt do. the men believed that she was protected by a vengeful god, and that THEIR vengeful, patriarchal god would deep fry their dicks if they fucked with her, in any way. they were afraid to rape her, or to fuck with her, or to even think or talk about her “that way.” but i dont think it was a power that SHE had, and i dont think any of us could probably replicate it, no matter how spiritual or anything else we were (or werent). it was a sense (by the men) that this woman was protected, and that there would be severe consequences to them, if they violated her. which is EXACTLY what is missing from our legal and social discourses today in fact. ”

That’s a really good point, FCM, and I stand humbled. I think my desire to believe in myself as inviolable, even though I’ve been violated, is just some way of coping.

Clearly, men can violate me whenever they want. That’s never been in debate. I guess I just like to think that, even if they do, I can survive it because I have a personal strength even if not a political one, because otherwise I would go insane.

Perhaps this is deeply naive. It just often feels like I’ve reached the bottom of a very deep well and am looking up. I KNOW the law does not support me; I’ve known that since I was seventeen. I KNOW other people don’t support me; I’ve known that since I was a child. I KNOW the medical establishment seeks to criminalize and institutionalize women who have been raped; I’ve known that secondhand for years, and firsthand since last year.

We as women are all entirely alone, until we find some kind of radical consciousness, and then we become somehow MORE alone because we lose even the superficial “friendships” we’d held before “coming out” as radical/anti-PIV.
Our vulnerability is fetishized. By both men and other women.

So where does one stand if one refuses to be vulnerable (inasmuch as any one of us can)?

At the bottom of this very deep well, looking up, and mourning the sunlight.

factcheckme - October 17, 2010

well, joan of arc was also feared individually, because she was a skilled fighter, and known to have killed men. but…thats not anything that we can replicate either, is it? i mean, we can attempt to look scarey and can be skilled fighters too…but the fear isnt going to be there, because any woman who is a known killer of men will be, uh…well, known. and probably executed. (aileen wuornos aka. “monster.”) sure, we might be able to fight someone off…but we wont be able to instill FEAR. not the way joan did, which was largely (entirely?) due to her circumstances, and that she was accepted by men who simultaneously feared her. i just dont see how this could be replicated. even a military woman who had killed men, and was a known killer of men, would have to go through the proper (ie. deliberately ineffectual) channels, if one of her own countrymen raped her. and this exact thing happens, all the fucking time, to military women. not exactly going to instill any real fear in the hearts of military men, who would be the ONLY men in any position to know whether an individual military woman was truly dangerous, because they saw her in action, for themselves. and raped her anyway. also…not many women are even in combat positions are they?

i do agree that most women survive what men do to us. we kind of have to. many women get up and go to work the next day, as if nothing happened. because if they call in sick, they could lose their fucking jobs, and become homeless. nice ay?

46. girl - October 17, 2010

joan of arc was also apparently raped in prison after the english forced her to wear women’s clothes. i thought that was interesting.

factcheckme - October 17, 2010

YES, i believe thats the case, and that it wasnt by the men she fought with, but later. she was eventually raped, as a part of her interrogation (torture) and execution. dworkin discusses this later in the chapter. once she was nothing to be feared, and she wasnt protected anymore, she was raped.

47. rainsinger - October 17, 2010

Procès de Jeanne d’Arc (1962)
(Trial of Joan of Arc)
Just my own opinion, but I think this is one of the best films ever made about Joan, as it is a reconstruction based on the original trial records & transcripts, and was filmed on location at the very spot where she was imprisoned and tried.

The overlay of men’s politics, is that the English tried her, as part of their war against the French. She was also seen as a powerful ‘instrument’ or ‘tool’ of the French.

Lastly, she would never have had the ‘power’ if she did not have the backing and the support of powerful men.

She had the public support of the French King, it was his word of belief in her visions, that allowed her to remain invulnerable with the French troops.

The English capturing her and trying her and burnign her, was also their way of saying Fuck You to the French King.

factcheckme - October 17, 2010

thanks rainsinger!

48. joy - October 19, 2010

Good point that Joan of arc was only “powerful” because she had the backing of God/religion and military, the biggest big daddies of the patriarchy.

I knew she was raped in prison. I liked to think of her story as a metaphor for female experience: she thought of herself as powerful, inviolable, a vessel of (the divine, in this case, a godbag god).
Then her power was stripped from her, she was violated, and they burned her. Alive. When she resisted.

I’d like to think there is something more after that, not like an afterlife or heaven or that lame shit, but somewhere to go after you’re burned alive. For resisting.

Because I know we all get up the next day and keep going as if nothing happened. (Those of us who aren’t murdered, anyway.) Because we have to.

But often I feel like I didn’t really survive. Not at all. I didn’t really live through it.
There might have been a whole human being of Joy, but I’m never going to meet her. I’ve never met her.

factcheckme - October 19, 2010

i also wanted to mention (since rainsinger touched on it) that joan had “visions.” aka. religious delusions. she might have been fairly insane even, although i dont know that. in this culture, today, we differentiate between religious delusion and mental illness by defining “delusional” to specifically exclude religious delusions, so that the religious types and “normal” god-fearing types dont get hauled off in a padded bus. the definition is essentially a delusion “that isnt shared by many other people in the delusional persons culture.”

and as rainsinger mentioned, she was fully backed by powerful men. she wasnt powerful, at all, except physically and mentally (i guess) in that she was a skilled fighter, and all that entails. but she is still just one woman. she never would have been able to protect herself, for example, from a gang-rape scenario, or if she were ambushed in her sleep. she SLEPT NEXT TO these men every single night, and they left her alone.

and in the end, someone else raped her, and she was murdered. the story of joan of arc is a really stunning story of powerful men actually, and how mens power over women plays out, and wins out. i mean, unless anyone here thinks that joan actually won? i would like to know more about that part of it, for sure, because its not an easy thing to digest. that one of the most (and only) formidable “female role models” who really lived on her own terms for a little while, and escaped male desire, was raped, tortured, and murdered in the end.

49. zeph - October 19, 2010

Here is a link to a documentary of another great warrior, Grace O’Malley. There is also a documentary on Joan on the same page, done by Lucy Lawless, which might interest VP.

Don’t worry FCM, there have been many great warrior women, Tomyris, queen of the Massagetae who defeated the Persian empire, and the great African Candaces, queens of Meroe; who defeated the Romans and according to some sources, Alexander.

But do not believe that any of them were exceptions as men will tell you (if they tell you about them at all). They all came out of cultures were women as a group were still powerful, and had once held equal power to men.

First they will say there were no warrior women, then as a drop back position, they will tell you that they were exceptions. In the documentary on Grace, for instance, Lucy neglects to mention that at that time all women in that part of Ireland were free to divorce and retain their property. Graces’s fathers attitude toward allowing his daughter the freedom to go to sea, was not as unusual as is implied.

50. thebewilderness - October 19, 2010

Two things.
She dressed in mans clothes and when she submitted to their demands that she dress as a woman she was raped. When she went back to wearing mens clothes she was burned for defying them.

The basic rule of a precognitive vision is the question did what they predicted happen. Yes it did.

51. rainsinger - October 19, 2010

yes, exactly, zeph!

The ‘exceptions’ or ‘Tokens’ are pseudo-honoured by men/patriarchy, (eg ultimate sainthood for Joan).

The ‘non-exceptions’ are deliberately buried, and Erased from history.

52. sonia - October 20, 2010

if Joan of Arc was alive today she’d be the victim of the current witch hunters of patriarchy, the mental health system. She had visions and heard voices she claimed were directly from God- most of them were prophetic of the type where the shit she saw came true. I totally believe in that stuff, and that the suppression of it is a major part of patriarchy. In any case, she was definitely favored by someone on the other side, and a “witch” of some kind except for the fact that she defined her experiences through the mandatory religion of France at that time,Catholicism and truly believed that her unfuckability was part of being pure and at one with her creative/prophetic/warrior abilities, which were in her mind a direct gift from her god, the Catholic one. Actually from what i read, her ideas were similar to Lady Gaga’s-that if she were to have sex, it would destroy her psychic connections or whatever. Yes, they gang raped her in jail but they couldn’t break her spirit even when they forced her to wear a dress. She spoke out in the courtroom about what they did to her too. Just generally bad ass. I think her story is a great example of the time that men finally drove the majority of that powerful woman spiritual energy from human culture- not too far off the timeline of massive witch burnings etc, right? That prophetic, magical power was still with some of us super strong.

it’s still with a very few🙂

53. rhondda - October 20, 2010

Sonia, just Yes!

factcheckme - October 20, 2010

regarding the visions/delusions specifically though, if she believed that she was untouchable to men, and thats why she felt safe sleeping with them, and that this was something from “god” but really she was safe because she was protected by powerful men who could remove their “protection” at any time, wasnt she kind of fooling herself? i mean really. i am all for people being kooky, and i dont trust the whitecoats as far as i could toss them. but she was really putting herself in danger wasnt she? people go from kooky to “mentally ill” when the delusions affect their ability to function, and when they cannot make observations and decisions that are consistent with reality. and the fact of the matter is, men rape, and groups of men gang rape. the ironic thing of course is that todays “mental health” professionals want women to believe that this *isnt* the case, and they push another reality on us instead, like that we have nothing to be “paranoid” about, and that PIV is normal, and all mentally sound women want it.

and of course…if we all didnt have to show up to work 40 hrs/wk or whatever, a little break from “reality” every now and again (or even all the time) wouldnt be that disruptive would it? but we are talking about 2 different things. breaking from the whitecoats reality = seeing the truth, the way things really are. seeing actual visions that include (for example) believing that a group of men wont sexually violate you every and any chance they get = ?? and then having it actually happen? i dont know what to make of that, at all. i kind of think that the first one is an example of some kind of witchy-type power actually, to somehow be able to lift yourself out of the muck and see whats going on, when almost noone else is. i mean really. its bizarre. the second example, well, again. i dont know what to make of it.

54. Undercover Punk - October 20, 2010

I know I say this EVERY time, but about mental health and male terrorism:

I was MEDICALLY DIAGNOSED with OCD because I complained to my (male) psychiatrist about the way Chris Brown’s woman-beating was being treated by the general public– basically that it really upset me. And Big Brother wanted me to DOUBLE my medication. No, thank you! My concerns are BASED IN REALITY.

factcheckme - October 20, 2010

yes, reality is a funny thing isnt it? thats where mansplanations come in. i find mansplanations kind of useful actually, in that we are hearing from the horses mouth what “reality” looks like, from where men are standing. men mansplaining to women who are upset by porn, WHY THEY *SHOULDNT* BE upset by porn, is the perfect example. men cant get pregnant. men think that vaginas are just fuckholes, for men. men think that the only thing wrong with rape, is that men sometimes go to jail, for rape. so they want to redefine “sex” to include most acts of rape, and they want to redefine “female pleasure” to include all the emotions and sensations that a woman might experience, when she is being raped. this is the male agenda, and its male reality. and porn is entirely consistent with that reality. ie. its good, and theres nothing wrong with it.

but the visceral “NO” that so many women involuntarily experience on a deep level (even if they never say it) is evidence that we inhabit a very different reality. we CAN get pregnant. we KNOW that vaginas arent just fuckholes, for men. we KNOW that PIV and rape arent that different, and that rape is problematic in MANY ways, and that PIV is too. and men are LINING UP to tell us that we are wrong. but we arent wrong.

womens experiences of seeing outside mens reality, if only briefly before being squashed back into it, is LITERALLY, L I T E R A L L Y a “break from reality.” its being able to literally see 2 worlds at once, and to remove yourself from your body and observe it interacting with other bodies, as it really is. its…objectivity, is what it is. i am 100% willing to concede that this is a power that we all have. is this something that falls into the witchy-woo category that you all are talking about?

if so…what about the “really” witchy stuff? in other words…the difference between what would cause a psychologist with a masters degree to tell you that you need to be more trusting…and being locked up in the psychiatric emergency department against your will?

factcheckme - October 20, 2010

also, re precognitive visions…i believe the question is really, does the person having them CONSISTENTLY get them right. not whether they had a vision that came true, once. isnt it? i mean, if you are trying to show that someone is psychic or whatever, its the consistency that they are looking for. obviously if you only ever have one vision, and it saves your life or something, thats meaningful, but its only really meaningful to YOU.

which is a funny way of looking at it. its a capitalistic/consumerist way of looking at it actually, as in “how can i make money doing something i am good at?” instead of “wow, i just saved my own life.” but the fact remains that on every airplane full of people, theres probably at least one person thats imagining it going down in flames. (if i am on the plane, that person is me). the plane actually going down in flames, wouldnt make that person psychic. the fact that most people are never on a plane that crashes, but we are all afraid its going to happen and can see it vividly…just makes us all wrong. heh.

55. rainsinger - October 20, 2010

there is also the time and place, for the men (and she was placed with the high-ranking men) weren’t going without – armies have camp-followers, the domestics, the drudges and the prostituted women who inhabit all army camps, and are critically necessary to their functioning. It wasn’t like the men were being sorely tempted by having just one “protected” mascot, tool, token or symbol amongst them.

I see the story more like this:
14-yr-old peasant girl sees visions, from God’s angels telling her to take up the sword, and fight for France against the dastardly evil English.

In the local villages and farms of the times, this was not unusual. Thousands of pilgrims still go to Lourdes today.

But – France had been losing its war (or wars, more accurately – several centuries worth) against the English – partly because, the foot-soldiers, the poorer, peasant men from the outer boonies, did not join the army for the fun of it, or from any love of King, God or country. They were often forced and press-ganged into service and would go AWOL first chance they got.

anyway, this young girl in her local area is not unusual in seeing visions, but the story and rumours spread… and ultimately gets back to the King’s ears..

King: And the local lads believe the girl?
Messenger: Yes, Sire. Many men in the outer provinces are shamed on hearing the story, for a girl to take up the sword for God and King – how can they do less?
King: And you are sure she has no claim on noble blood? Not even of bonds of family service?
Messenger: None at all sire. Free Peasant born-and-bred.
King: Good. Then there are no nobles to be slighted or argue or feel honoured, if I show the girl favour or not.

Thinking… if men and their swords willingly, and loyally, follow this girls visions, who am I to argue?

King: Bring the girl to me for audience.

Publicly proclaiming her visions, after all – this is an era of the ‘Divine Right of Kings’, and Kings rule by Godly annointment, and this girls visions are in the King’s favour, God is on this King’s side… it brings in even more troops, and loyal ones to boot.

And, her visions are saying exactly what the french want to hear, ie that the french side of the war, was the “right” side, the “godly”, virtuous, good side, and the English heathens were evil heathens.

She became a very useful political tool, a mascot, a rallying flag. Still an Object, far more useful, than just another peasant maid fucktoy. Or as Mary Daly’s analysis terms it – she became a ‘Token’.

Keeping her a chaste/virgin symbol to rally the troops was no hardship … she is kept with the lieutenants and generals anyway – all under orders “Don’t fuck with the mascot”, there are 1,500 other women in the wagons behind the tents, you don’t need to touch her!

Five years later, when she was 19, they lost a battle and she was captured by the English. Just like she saw in her visions – not hard to predict that one, probability that a loss would happen sooner or later is fairly odds on in wartime.

Anyway, nobody likes having symbols insulted, its like spitting on the flag. having Joan raped, publicly tried,and executed was the English way of adding ‘insult” to the “injury”. the other soldiers caught with her, were given clean “honorable” executions.

To both factions of men, what happened to her was on the level of the English pissing on the French flag, especially doing it through the Church (In those days, there was no separation of Church and State). Joan was incidental as far as both factions of men are concerned, from beginning to end. She is not human. She is still a “thing”. And she was only canonised, after the English separated from Roman catholicism.

56. joy - October 20, 2010

“if so…what about the “really” witchy stuff? in other words…the difference between what would cause a psychologist with a masters degree to tell you that you need to be more trusting…and being locked up in the psychiatric emergency department against your will?”

Well, I’ve been locked up against my will. For having nightmares about my rape, and being traumatized by rape.

I’ve also had, not visions, not delusions, but interesting ways of experiencing things since I was a child. I’m not schizophrenic, I’m a synesthete. But people fear things that are different, and they fear women who step out of line.

Hence, insane asylum. I honestly don’t know where the line is drawn or what the difference even is. Between ‘insane’ and ‘not insane.’ Reality is subjective, that’s all I can come up with, but men are very deeply invested in making sure that everyone conform to their twisted version of it.

57. sonia - October 20, 2010

“I was MEDICALLY DIAGNOSED with OCD because I complained to my (male) psychiatrist about the way Chris Brown’s woman-beating was being treated by the general public– basically that it really upset me. And Big Brother wanted me to DOUBLE my medication. No, thank you! My concerns are BASED IN REALITY.”

you gals have to stop writing shit like this because I just laughed so inappropriately loud at my desk and there are guys in a meeting in the other room so DON’T BLOW MY COVER with this level of humor!!!!1!111!!!!

Isn’t it ridiculous? It’s as easy as “I don’t like what this bitch is saying….where’s that big old crazy stamp they gave me at medical school, dang it, I can never find it when I…okay, c’mere sweetheart….NUTS!!!!!”

and that’s your life down the drain unless you have half a fucking ovary.

Bejesus.

58. FAB Libber - October 20, 2010

Joan’s support was from the Dauphin (heir apparent), who was about the same age, an early teen, not an adult male.

Rainsinger is correct that Joan was a symbol (an object), and that the English violated her and disparaged her as a symbolic act. It is the equivalent of American flag-burning. And burning her they did, literally. Not before raping her, which was the “fuck you” to the French, again, literally and figuratively.

Joan d’Arc could not possibly have slept among men without another man’s or men’s protection, no matter how many “camp followers” may be at the men’s disposal. She had the “top brass” “hand’s off” order, from the king (an “agent of god”), so it was only the damnation of the men’s souls that kept them in check – not any of “her” power as such.

She probably was a good military strategist (or organiser) as many women actually are. She, unlike many other women, got the opportunity to exercise this.

The whole moral to the story in all of this is that no woman can play a “man’s game” and come out of it unscathed. She had no “power” (these days, “empowerment”) of her own. Certainly it is very clear that she did not actually have “God’s protection”, which surely, if she was actually an agent of, she would not have been tortured and murdered so – but then again, christian mythology is littered with torture and death ie christ – so I guess in their book, was ripe for sainthood.

I gather, if torture/rape/death is the criteria for sainthood, then the majority of women are de facto saints.

The men, who do the torture/raping/murdering, well, I guess they are just scum, even within their own christian mythology?

I really was not sure where I was going with all of this, but it seemed like a logical conclusion in the end. Men are raping scum, if they can get away with it.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

i just received this as an email:

hey just started reading your blog and keep reading the term PIV. I know what it means but as a concept its pretty new. do you have a post introducing the concept of PIV, making an extended argument against or something like that?
thanks,
Sar

well, sar, i am not in the habit of emailing strangers. but i am somewhat curious. you say you know what PIV is, and yet simultaneously assert that the “concept” is new. HUH? read anything here on PIV. start with the earliest, and work your way forward.

i also changed my “contact” info, to state up front that i dont normally respond to strange people who email me, who obviously dont have an issue with emailing women they dont know. i thought that would go without saying, but i guess it doesnt.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

i also very frequently dont even read the emails i get from newbies and trolls who make it their business to email me. who make it their business to BE HEARD. by ME. why do they care so much about being heard? by me? this is a serious question. and its also funny as hell to imagine them spending HOURS preparing to email me, and then actually doing it, fully expecting that i have some kind of mental disorder that forces me to read and engage with all words all the time, including things i dont want to read. just because they are there. guess what. i dont.

59. thebewilderness - October 21, 2010

I think it is again part of the cultural conditioning.
Any woman, anywhere, any time, is expected to give their attention to anyone who demands it.
You see it on the street, in offices and homes, every day.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

so its JUST because i am female, and accessible? thats all there is to it? damn. i was hoping for something more. like…they somehow believe that radical feminism is the key to the kingdom or something. i mean WHY do they fucking care what we think? or what i, specifically think, about them, specifically? no? heh. yeah probably not. it probably *is* just that boring old entitlement thing.

perhaps i should take out the “contact” tab altogether. i mean really. its probably MY FAULT for even HAVING email/being female. what was i thinking?

all the people i really want to talk to are here, hashing this out in the comments anyway. and you all pretty much know where to find me.

60. FAB Libber - October 21, 2010

hey just started reading your blog and keep reading the term PIV. I know what it means but as a concept its pretty new. do you have a post introducing the concept of PIV, making an extended argument against or something like that?
thanks,
Sar

Sar’s biggest problem is laziness (hello… there is a dirty great PIV tag in the side bar?!?!). I read the majority of this blog before I commented, and read many PIV posts, it wasn’t like they were hard to find.

However, the real truth is that Sar is dishonest and a timewaster. It’s not like PIV takes a four-year degree to understand. Duh.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

he could also be after my IP address. thats why i dont email strangers, or even comment on enemy blogs anymore.

61. joy - October 21, 2010

By the way, fcm, the reason more of us haven’t (at least, the reason I haven’t) commented specifically on fuckability is because it seems perfectly obvious that the ‘fuckability’ lie/beauty mandates only serve to cripple women financially and keep them neurotic, mentally frazzled, constantly existing with men in the backs of their minds.

Also, it’s a handy dandy way to allow men to slot women into categories and gauge female submissiveness on sight. “How far would she be wiling to go?” and/or, “How much does she have invested in my approval?”

Which is to say, any man’s approval, but they all seem to think like one giant lump. Like men are the fucking Borg, at least to an extent. “How deeply is she invested in the approval of men? Even if she’s a lesbian, does she need to keep her job? Even if she doesn’t do PIV? Then I’ve got her where I want her.”

This kind of thought is probably the type that got me committed, by the way. Men in white coats would call this paranoid delusion.

Even when a deranged male patient in the same ward was looking at me in that Way they do, that ‘I see you as meat, watch your ass’ way, I couldn’t say anything. They would have called me paranoid and put me on antipsychotic meds. (So he could rape me easier, coincidentally.)
He only stopped when I refused to bathe for twi days and just glared at him as if I -were- insane. Well, as if I were Joan of Arc, who was insane. Which further served to make me look insane. There is no winning between the padded walls.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

heh. thanks joy (i think?) sometimes even the most obvious things arent so obvious, until they are pointed out. and other times…perhaps i write redundant posts addressing things everyone already knows.

and thats an excellent point about medicating female patients, when they are vulnerable to mens abuse. and if you deliberately kept your thoughts to yourself to protect yourself from that exact scenario, well, i think its clear that you were more in reality than anyone there, including the whitecoats obviously, who wouldve endangered you in that exact way, without a fucking moments thought.

62. joy - October 21, 2010

You’re welcome, fcm, I don’t think this post was redundant (especially for the fence-sitters who might be reading, or people who’ve never thought of it before). You just stated your points very clearly, and I’d already thought about it, so there was no further need to debate.

Also I got derailed about witchy-woo-ism and craziness.

“including the whitecoats obviously, who wouldve endangered you in that exact way, without a fucking moments thought.”

One thing I learned from my stint in the lockdown was that nobody knows how to deal with rape victims. Of nine female patients in the ward, one was hearing things, one had senile dementia, and seven (including me) were rape victims suffering from PTSD and/or suicidal tendencies.

They drugged us, forced us to strip, manhandled us … I personally got there in the first place when three uniformed police officers held me facedown on the sidewalk outside my home, even after I told them I had been raped, and I had a full-on flashback.

The nurses and personnel did not believe us. They called us paranoid. They made fun of us. They mocked us and talked about us in front of us as if we were truly delusional. My roommate, an adult woman who was as lucid as I was, and I were the sanest people in the ward. Even more so than the medical professionals.

They put women in harm’s way as if it’s a sport, then call -us- crazy.

We were not allowed to cry. They threatened to commit us and “throw away the key” if we cried.

That is all.

factcheckme - October 21, 2010

i have a new post up. enjoy!

63. FAB Libber - October 21, 2010

That’s a rather sad/bad story Joy.
I have never understood why they have mixed sex mental facilities. Just that right there is nuts.

64. kurukurushoujo - October 22, 2010

joy, I do not know what to say. I’m so sorry that people like the ones you describe exist. I think I will never ever seek a therapist in my entire goddamn life now.

I have never understood why they have mixed sex mental facilities. Just that right there is nuts.

Signed.

65. joy - October 22, 2010

Avoiding therapists is probably a really good idea.

Try to avoid all other people, too. I was involuntarily committed by my roommates, for the record, after I told them I was off PIV and didn’t like having male roommates. They thought I had suffered a “mental break.”

Trufax.

66. Social Worker - October 28, 2010

It is so difficult and heart-breaking for me to read these experiences you’ve had. And for the result to be to shy away from help that IS available. Unfortunately, I can only disagree with pieces of what you say, and NONE of what you have experienced.
I’ve worked in outpatient clinics, mental health hospitals in various ways during my career.
I am very sensitive to how we are treated by “professionals” (I put it in quotes, even being one, because I know we don’t all behave professionally). Maybe it’s working in California, but I haven’t seen the kind of treatment I’m reading here by women with sexual abuse histories. My experience is there’s usually an additional level of sensitivity and discussion amongst the treatment team. These days, “unisex” placement is unusual. There’s typically a male/female division, although I’ve seen lousy set-ups where it’s not difficult for men to get to the women and vice versa.
I’ve certainly seen poor treatment in general, depending on the hospital, and have put myself on the line to advocate for the client (which doesn’t make you real popular in a female dominated profession that’s often headed by men).

In terms of getting involuntarily detained, I’ve again seen abuses, but the law is pretty clear about who can and cannot be detained. I’ve taught classes on this stuff and it isn’t rocket science. I do know it varies from state to state and some states have more lenient criteria than CA.

I guess I just want to say that there are MANY good mental health professionals (oh, and psychologists are the ones with the Ph.D.’s, not Masters); sometimes it takes time to find the right one for a particular person. I have colleagues who practice from a female-only perspective, meaning they see only women and focus on issues of concern to them. That may be something to ask for when looking for someone.

Didn’t mean to derail, but, given how most of us are trying desperately to help, it struck an obvious chord for me to see people being treated so badly.

factcheckme - October 28, 2010

Didn’t mean to derail, but, given how most of us are trying desperately to help, it struck an obvious chord for me to see people being treated so badly.

from what joy described, it sounded to me like she was being detained and/or arrested for something, and when she was restrained, she had a rape flashback and freaked out. the cops thought she was nuts and had her committed. are you honestly surprised to hear that 1) women have rape flashbacks 2) rape flashbacks are considered “inappropriate” and not “reality-based” and 3) this kind of a “break from reality” constitutes justification for mental health intervention?

and everyone (EVERY. ONE.) thinks its NUTS to not want to have PIV. so any woman who doesnt want to have it, and isnt interested in changing her mind about that, and isnt a lesbian, would not have many places to go if they wanted “help” as you say. many of us know damn well we dont need HELP anyway, everyone ELSE needs fucking help! but seriously, are you suggesting that the mental health field, as you know it, is not PIV-normative?

67. FAB Libber - October 28, 2010

It actually does not matter if 99 MH facilities are wonderful and good, and 1 MH facility is as Joy described – the 99 MH facilities are irrelevant to Joy’s experiences.

But, I actually don’t believe that the majority of MH facilities are wonderful (not in the UK anyway). Plus, Social Worker is describing these facilities from the outside looking in, on short visits – not as one of the inpatients experiencing the facility 24/7. And certainly not locked up in there against her will. Trust me SW, you calm demeanour would be lost fairly quickly if you knew you weren’t crazy, and just had a temporary episode brought on by man-handling, and the more you tried to explain it, the more crazy the MH facility thought you were. Involuntary incarceration and injustice is enough to push anyone over the edge.

It all comes back to society’s attitude towards women and PIV and rape. It is a society whereby most men view rape as ‘forced or unwanted PIV’ so “what’s the big deal?” and “that shouldn’t stop you wanting PIV again”, which completely misses the point of what rape is – a violation of your self, usually by someone you know and trust. On top of that, most people will not believe that the woman was raped anyway, or that she brought it upon herself. Disbelief of the rape is the erasure of a woman as a full human btw. And most women do not tell anyone else, let alone report it, which also makes it an isolating trauma. On top of this, in a PIV-centric society, women are told to “just get over it” (being “just forced sex” and all) and to get back onto the PIV-pony. If the woman does not “get over it” and does not want to get back onto the PIV-pony, then something is deemed to be wrong with her (not in my book btw, I find it a very logical and sane response).

Expecting a woman to get back onto the PIV-pony can ONLY occur in a PIV-centric society. If the artificial nature of this society did not exist – ie enforced heterosexuality, mandatory PIV, heterosexual coupling – then I doubt that most women would have much PIV outside of trying to conceive. Most women do eventually wake up to the fact that they don’t really enjoy the PIV act itself, but have to continue as some variation of the Surrendered Wife (ie they must continue to endure it to keep their heterosexual coupling intact). At least in the 50s women were acknowledged that they didn’t like it, but it was their “duty”. These days, women are told they love PIV, and if an individual woman knows that she does not, she begins to doubt herself, and wonders what is wrong with her.

68. Social Worker - October 29, 2010

FCM:
are you honestly surprised to hear that 1) women have rape flashbacks 2) rape flashbacks are considered “inappropriate” and not “reality-based” and 3) this kind of a “break from reality” constitutes justification for mental health intervention?
1) Not at all surprised. I’ve dealt with them right in front of me in session.
2) Well-trained therapists, especially those trained in survivor work, would not see it this way. It is not only understood but EXPECTED to see these kinds of reactions from sexual abuse and rape survivors, just as we expect to see similar reactions from war survivors, as you’ve discussed on here before.
3)That’s an “it depends” question. If we’re talking someone “in reaction” to the point that they are in danger, then (I know this will sound overly-clinical, but bear with me) a containment response isn’t unusual and may be necessary.
If we mean regular talking therapy, that’s up to the person. Of course, I believe it’s helpful for recovery. Who wants to live with flashbacks?
But I can’t dictate that for someone.

As far as hospitalizations go, nowadays, once someone can verbalize that they won’t hurt themselves or anyone else, I’ve seen them tossed onto the street more often than not. The old days of keeping someone for weeks or months doesn’t exist in this day of managed care.

Part of what I am reading here is a throwback to old-style Freudian theory, not how modern mental health concepts apply.
I am NOT suggesting that there isn’t a LONG way to go, but understanding rape trauma and reaction is ahead of where it was 20-30 years ago.

“but seriously, are you suggesting that the mental health field, as you know it, is not PIV-normative?”
Nope. You are right on here. And I definitely see this more with male therapists over female and WAY more with psychiatrists(the M.D.’s who generally prescribe meds) over therapists, female and male. In my particular field, the emphasis is on where the client is coming from, so if someone sees me and states no interest in PIV, then that’s where I go. There’s no need to pursue something that the client isn’t interested in talking about.
But that doesn’t address some of what you mean when a woman is made to feel abnormal for not wanting PIV. If THEY are upset about that and want to focus on it, then most therapists probably would. Though if at the bottom of it all, if she recognized she just didn’t want PIV, then THAT would be the work. Helping her be okay with that.

Again, that kind of sex focus is more a warped version of the old-style Freudian model.

FL:
“It actually does not matter if 99 MH facilities are wonderful and good, and 1 MH facility is as Joy described – the 99 MH facilities are irrelevant to Joy’s experiences.”
Totally agree. That’s why I said that in the first place.

“Plus, Social Worker is describing these facilities from the outside looking in
Without going into great personal detail, I’ve spent some time in involuntary mental hospital settings as a patient. It’s part of what led me into the field. This was back when you could be kept for months.
I don’t pretend to know every setting. I’ve worked at a few (including the one I was in, when I was older) and some provided good care and some were awful and it was painful to work there.
ANYONE held against their will is a painful proposition, but until we have some less intrusive way of keeping someone from harming themselves or someone else, there are few options.

That situation where the cops took Joy down is hideous, but I rarely see police handle these things with any level of respect or education.
That’s why I advocate for mental health-trained responses to those types of situations. It’s really unlikely she would have been detained.

If this is too off-topic, I apologize. I was just responding to the questions and comments.

factcheckme - October 29, 2010

Well-trained therapists, especially those trained in survivor work, would not see it this way. It is not only understood but EXPECTED to see these kinds of reactions from sexual abuse and rape survivors, just as we expect to see similar reactions from war survivors, as you’ve discussed on here before.

i wasnt talking about therapists, well-trained or not. i was talking about the cops, who make that determination. whether to take someone to the pokey, or to the psychiatric ER. and as you say, the cops do a piss-poor job of this one, on a regular basis. i would also imagine that they would be more likely to find a violent woman in need of psychiatric care than a violent man, since they see violent men all day, every day. and they cant take every single one to the ER. and if she said anything as part of the flashback that implicated any of them in any way (like if she even mentioned the word rape) they would need to cover their own asses immediately. psych ER would do it.

69. Social Worker - October 29, 2010

Yeah, you’re right on there.
The general bias is that a violent-acting man would get arrested and a violent-acting woman would be considered for a psych eval before arrest.
Slice that however you want.

I’ve dealt with a lot of homeless people, especially in the West L.A./Santa Monica area which is known as a reasonably welcoming area (compared to most other cities), so there’s more of an effort by police to consider psychiatric needs before simply arresting someone.
But that’s not at all the typical police response.

Unfortunately, psychiatric mobile response to those kinds of needs is subject to public funding and gets cut regularly, since, you know, we always have those well-trained cops out there to take care of things.
Sad thing is, the cops HATE responding to those kinds of calls. Whenever I’ve done presentations they always ask, why can’t you just handle “the crazies” and let us do our job.
Wish we could, guys. Cause we wouldn’t, you know, beat them and stuff for responding to horrible trauma that someone else caused.

70. FAB Libber - October 30, 2010

Just for the record SW, I wrote my comment because your comment, immediately after Joy’s comments, came across as a bit dismissive of her situation.

It was probably untentional on your part, but that is the way it appeared to me, and possibly to Joy herself.

71. joy - October 30, 2010

I didn’t even see these comments. Sorry.

“from what joy described, it sounded to me like she was being detained and/or arrested for something, and when she was restrained, she had a rape flashback and freaked out.”

Yes. And what I was detained for, was that my roommates called the Suicide Prevention Hotline after I told them I didn’t want male roommates and was going off of PIV. Whenever that happens, the cops show up, and they put me in cuffs and questioned me about whether or not I was suicidal. In that order.

This happened after I saw one of my rapists again, felt uncomfortable, and spoke to one of my roommates in tears. ie, sought human comfort.

“the cops thought she was nuts and had her committed. are you honestly surprised to hear that 1) women have rape flashbacks 2) rape flashbacks are considered “inappropriate” and not “reality-based” and 3) this kind of a “break from reality” constitutes justification for mental health intervention?”

That’s pretty much what happened. One paramedic understood, and insisted that the handcuffs come off, but by then it was too late. I was on my way to the crazy ward. Where it was predecided that I was insane.

There were other women there who had the same thing happen. None of us were schizophrenic. None of us were dangers to the public. All of us had a deep well of pain that we made the mistake of sharing in confidence with someone else. All of us were further abused in the hospital, and none of us were helped. At all.

72. joy - October 30, 2010

FAB Libber — Thanks. I totally agree with your comments, especially the first. Heh, PIV pony.

Which, as a metaphor, is a good one. I’ve ridden horseback professionally, and when you get thrown off a horse particularly hard, the instinct is to NOT GET BACK ON THE DAMNED HORSE.

If someone decides, “Okay, that’s it, I’m done riding for good,” people will probably say, “Good idea!”
And if that person does get back on, people wonder if you’re nuts.

Why is it the opposite for PIV? I know the answer, but what’s yours?

(Of course, horses are different, because they don’t know better than to buck someone off. And when someone gets back on a horse that has bucked them off, it’s not because of societal pressure, and it doesn’t reinforce any particular cultural norm.)

73. Let'sGetReal - October 31, 2010

Two comments: First, I told a longtime close friend about some of the PIV stuff on here and how I agreed with it. She saw me as “angry at men” because of my saying this which surprised me. She’s married.

Second, I loved this post. I am just coming to realize how I got trapped into “looking attractive” as a young teen. I didn’t dress in a sexy way at all, just thought looking pretty was the only option. I had not idea at the time that this was about fuckability. It was about becoming a wife, since it was a pretty good-girl look. This look meant I’d stay out of bed with other men than my husband and that I’d be fuckable only to him. In other words, he’d possess me sexually. In fact, once I cut off PIV with him, he wanted a divorce. Good riddance, really.

Though I’ve been off PIV most of my life, this blog has convinced me that I never again want PIV. It’s a big relief to decide that I am free of it. I believe that I’m off men, too. It’s just way too much trouble.

factcheckme - October 31, 2010

it was a relief to me too LGR. it really was. and good riddance is EXACTLY right. once you cut them off, you get to see what the relationship was really all about for them. for many MANY men, i would wager almost all of them, its all about owning a cunt. and if they cant (or if you make it clear that they DONT) own yours, they will find another one and take ownership of that one. my own partner pulled this shit on me, when i told him i no longer wanted PIV, but that we could still do “other things.” he suggested that he might find someone else who “shared his values.” apparently meaning, that he owned her cunt, and that he was entitled to PIV on demand. leaving HER will all the negative consequences of PIV of course, since there arent any for men, at all.

as an update, my partner most recently has been saying stuff like “love is hard to find” and that what we have together is “real.” i think its true, but you couldve fooled me with his initial temper-tantrum about me very selfishly, cruelly, unfairly, and BIZARRELY “cutting him off.” he thought it was BIZARRE. he really did. he didnt understand it, at all. even when i explained to him that i was no longer willing to accept all the negative consequences of PIV, he said he “disagreed” with me. DISAGREED?? that PIV causes pregnancy, and could make me extremely ill?? no, he disagreed with my assessment that IT FUCKING MATTERED. ugh.

74. factcheckme - October 31, 2010

also, it kind of blows my mind that any women are still completely enamoured with men. and that both men AND women are so willing to tell women who have had enough that we are “angry” or that we “have issues” or baggage or whatever.

in what other area of life is LEARNING your fucking lesson, and seeing PATTERNS and making CONNECTIONS and gaining EXPERIENCE considered a negative? sheesh. no wonder men like younger women. DUH. its so obvious.

75. FAB Libber - October 31, 2010

At the root, you have to look at PIV and rape as existing on the same continuum, just at either end, and with ‘consent’ being the ONLY real difference. After all, essentially the same or similar thing happens for both (stay with me on this, I am going somewhere).

This explains why so many males seem not to see that co-erced/pressured ‘sex’ is rape (whereas radical feminists put these common events into the rape section of the continuum).

It explains why, like FCM’s BF, the concept of perpetual consent (via agreement to be in a relationship with him) exists. And why many like him would see the refusal to participate in any further PIV as some sort of breach of contract. This is scarey shit for het women in relationships, I don’t think they actually know they have signed up for perpetual access (ie consent), effectively ‘signing’ away the rights to their own bodies.

And finally, the actual similarity between PIV and rape (same continuum) does actually dawn on some women. It may be that it is a retrospective realisation that most of the PIV they have had in the past (coerced, or expected to) looked a hell of a lot like rape (probably because by RF definitions, it was). Most girls/women are raped by males that they know (frequently partners or ex-partners) so the connection between PIV and rape can be a strong one. Just as being pinned down by the arm can trigger this connection, so to can the penetrative act itself be a trigger. Usually there is little difference between the physical acts of PIV and rape, except the concept of consent. One of the big lies in pornography is that all women are ‘up for it’ at all times, the consent is faked as much as the orgasms.

If a het woman wishes to test consent, or how similar rape is to PIV, just ask to stop in the middle of PIV. For if consent is to be freely given, then it must also be easily withdrawn. Otherwise there is no true consent. If the dude says “hang on, I’m nearly there” then he is raping you. If he withdraws and stops, then he has respected your consent and autonomy.

In a backwards sort of way, I am actually agreeing with the males – there is very little difference between ‘sex’ (PIV) and rape – but for very different reasons – most (PIV) sex falling into the rape section of the continuum, rather than their view of most rape falling into the sex part of the continuum.

76. FAB Libber - October 31, 2010

sheesh. no wonder men like younger women. DUH. its so obvious.

Yes, this is primarily why men like young women, the inexperience factor, and the YW can be MANipulated and controlled more easily. They particularly like virgins, because virgins have no frame of reference to know whether the male is crap in bed, and also it guarantees any paternity.

As for paternity, it is not the distrust of the woman as such, but distrust of other males (because they know how manipulative they are, so know that the woman can be duped by another dude). However, if the woman does get duped, then the blame goes onto her rather than the bro, this is a safer confrontational delegation of blame, because the other dude might actually bash his brains in if challenged.

77. Social Worker - November 4, 2010

“Just for the record SW, I wrote my comment because your comment, immediately after Joy’s comments, came across as a bit dismissive of her situation. It was probably untentional on your part, but that is the way it appeared to me, and possibly to Joy herself.<

I was afraid of that which is why I tried to make it clear. I absolutely apologize if what I wrote came across as at all minimizing Joy’s (or anyone else’s) experience.
I admit to having a somewhat skewed perspective as I’ve seen survivor counseling and applied use of hospitalization work well for so many women over the years in healing from trauma.
Involuntary hospitalization is always a tricky proposition and I have seen better recovery when it is voluntary.
And the police thing, as we’ve all said, is often re-traumatizing.

factcheckme - November 5, 2010

for my part, i think there are way more important things than anyones “experience” of anything. i think its kinda pomo to even talk about “lived experience”, particularly when its discussed in a certain and predictable way. my problem with “minimizing others experience” is not that experience is dismissed, but that certain “experiences” are normalized and presented in a hierarchical fashion over non-normative “experience.” this is ALWAYS what the fucking pomos do, when anyone wants to discuss experience. anyone who doesnt toe the PIV party-line has “baggage” for example, while others who have “positive experiences” with PIV are celebrated. same thing here i think. joys experience kind of blows the lid off of certain ways of thinking about medicine, and psychology, and rape, while socialworker came in with the normative “experience.” but whats the point, EVER, in countering with (or even mentioning) normative experience? this is not a rhetorical question.

factcheckme - November 5, 2010

anyway, its just something ive been thinking about. i am thinking through what may become a several-part post addressing pomoism. did i mention that i fucking HATE pomos?? i do.

btw, pomo = “post modern feminism.” bbl.

78. joy - November 15, 2010

“certain “experiences” are normalized and presented in a hierarchical fashion over non-normative “experience.” this is ALWAYS what the fucking pomos do, when anyone wants to discuss experience. anyone who doesnt toe the PIV party-line has “baggage” for example, while others who have “positive experiences” with PIV are celebrated. same thing here i think. joys experience kind of blows the lid off of certain ways of thinking about medicine, and psychology, and rape, while socialworker came in with the normative “experience.” but whats the point, EVER, in countering with (or even mentioning) normative experience? this is not a rhetorical question.”

This is totally true. The experience of, say, the Black woman who’s on welfare and having her sixth child with the third man (because she needs to stay in serial relationships in order to avoid being murdered or having to go into prostitution, but keeps getting deserted or having her partners killed/put in jail (Black men are more likely to go to jail over minor offenses because of prejudice in the legal system)) is going to be much different than the norm as well. If she was involuntarily sterilized or given an IUD while in the hospital for said birth, and wrote about it, inevitably some doctor or childcare worker or social servant would try to tell her that her experience was exceptional … and we’re very sorry … but why didn’t she use protection? etc.

This type of thinking reinforces dominant paradigms and power structures, while conveniently overlooking underlying forces at play. It keeps people in their nice friendly little bubbles. Into which they were born simply by having the luck to be white and in a financially stable family.


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