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On Creativity April 2, 2011

Posted by FCM in meta, politics, pop culture, thats random.
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there is a surge of energy lately in the radfem blogosphere, and i think its really terrific!  there are new blogs popping up all over the place, and new names and new voices and new ways to waste time at work i mean more afternoons well-spent perusing radical ideas.  its…well its amazing, is what it is.  i started here in august, 2009 and there were only a few radical blogs being regularly updated at the time…but they were going loud and strong!  oh yes they were.  and there were radical ghost-towns (abandoned blogs) full of amazing archived material of course, but the feeling at the time was that there was a serious drought of inspired radicalism, and indeed the atmosphere was unwelcoming, and outright hostile to those of us who dared delve into trans- and PIV-criticism.

and the women who were around to see the shitstorm known as “the terrible misogynistic razing of radical feminist blogs in 2007/8” and then surviving the fallout that has lasted for years (and years) realize even more acutely than i do that the radical drought is over.  or at least, the rain has come again.

meanwhile, i am feeling completely uninspired!  this happened the last time i finished a dworkin series actually, so i am assuming it will pass.  we have discussed the creative process here before, and i think its become relevant again…because as thrilled as i am to see so many radical voices sprouting up out of the shit and the muck, i am also afraid that its all going to end just as quickly as it began.  i know people get busy, and they become uninspired and pissed off and disillusioned.  BUT.  i hope so much that this is not just a fleeting moment, and i hope so much that its going to last, and that any of this actually means something.  i hope this is going to work.  and i hope there will be dozens of amazing radical blogs being regularly updated, as far as the eye can see, until the blogging platform is no more, and we have to think of something else.  i really do.

to that end, i offer the above videos, from two well-known writers who talk about creativity, and writing as a process.  just in case there are new bloggers here that have no experience with writing, or being creative-types or artists of any stripe…you are all artists now.  YES!  you are!  i mean…you can be, if you want to. connecting with radical energy, and letting the words come as *they* want to come can be very transcendent.  other times, you just have to show up.  put one foot in front of the other, and then do it again.  kind of like…a job.  one that pays nothing, where you are subjected to constant harassment and disapproval from all sides, and where no matter how successful you are, you will never, EVER benefit from any of this in real life, because any meaningful change that might actually occur will occur well after youre dead, and anyway, its all anonymous.  are we having fun yet?

here are two more videos on the “new social media” that i thought were interesting…the first one describes how “demographics” are becoming obsolete because of the anonymous nature of the internet.  apparently, instead, advertisers and others are favoring users actual “likes and interests” (instead of presuming them).  and (AND!) this video illustrates how women are driving the social media revolution.  hmm!  there has to be some way we can make this work for us, isnt there?  i personally am no good at strategy, afterall i just work here!  but still…even *i* can see that theres probably an angle that needs working:

and heres a doodbro take on the social media revolution…at the end, he claims that the “revolutionary” aspect is illustrated by obamas use of social media in his political career.  namely, that the revolution is about “convening” people, instead of controlling them.  BUT as i think most radical feminist bloggers agree, for women, its actually extremely important that we *are* able to exercise complete control over our radical spaces, to keep them radical.  to keep the mainstream, male-identified and misogynist view out, so that a truly unique and inspired woman-centered discourse can emerge, and flourish…and spread out across the interwebs like an unstoppable, fertile weed…like squash!

so just in case any of our new bloggers are easily distracted, or run out of things to say, or arent feeling inspired or whatever…heres a final nugget that you can take or leave.  when i am not feeling spontaneously creative or particularly tortured or inspired to write…i read, instead.

happy blogging everyone!


1. FCM - April 2, 2011

any newbies can feel free to drop a link…seriously, i cant keep up!

2. Sargasso Sea - April 2, 2011

“[…] a truly unique and inspired woman-centered discourse can emerge, and flourish…and spread out across the interwebs like an unstoppable, fertile weed…like squash!”

Yes, like squash! Because squash is beneficial and tasty unlike kudzu, for instance, which is neither unless you are a goat. (apparently people eat kudzu too. way to kill my joke, you freaky kudzu eaters!)

On the pro-active radfem blogging/commenting for the teen/tween girls front, The Kid alerted me to a post at f-bomb wherein the young male author refers to that fucking Rango movie in order to illustrate how mainstream culture force-feeds the poor little children heteronormativity. We decided it would be a good idea to point out that it was also normalizing *male* sexual predatory behavior; that’s it’s adorable even.

It’s late. Looking forward to the vids in the morning with my tea 🙂

FCM - April 2, 2011

love, love, love hearing about the Kid reading (and understanding!) radfem blogs s4. and critiquing pop culture bullshit…amazing!

also, i wouldnt care if the weed was poisonous, with itchy oils and huge thorns. its all good! and goats need to eat too!

3. Noanodyne - April 2, 2011

Thank you for this. Couldn’t have come at a better time.

4. thebewilderness - April 2, 2011

Everything happens in wave cycles so never worry when we are in the trough, cuz it is only the trough between waves, eh?
I, a raggedy old second waver, hereby denounce the so called third wave as an antirevolutionary antifeminist trough between the waves of feminism.
So there!
And the next one is gonna be a doozy because of all of you wonderful younglings.

5. FCM - April 3, 2011

glad you found it useful noan. did you watch the vids? the women writers are FUNNY. women are FUNNY in general. love that!

6. FCM - April 3, 2011

I, a raggedy old second waver, hereby denounce the so called third wave as an antirevolutionary antifeminist trough between the waves of feminism.
So there!

HA! see, funny. i rest my case.

7. Sargasso Sea - April 3, 2011

The story Ms. Gilbert tells about the elder poetess’ creative process is priceless.

I’ve been thinking about holding an idea by the tail all day.

8. yttik - April 3, 2011

Thank you for those videos, they were great!

9. cherryblossomlife - April 3, 2011

The internet is truly democratic in so many ways. I doesn’t surprise me at all that women are leading the social media revolution.

10. cherryblossomlife - April 3, 2011

which doesn’t mean that radfem bloggers have to allow mundane mainstream viewpoints onto their blog.
But it does mean that the mainstream viewpoint can now be challenged. Hopefully men will soon realise that they can’t just pull any old crappy theory or “science” out of a hat and expect the public to swallow it whole.
They might still be able to use their privilege to promote misogynistic work, but at least we can laugh at them and discredit them in the blogosphere

women now actually have some semblance of a platform and it’s becoming harder to silence dissent

11. SheilaG - April 3, 2011

I don’t think this is as revolutionary are we might be lead to believe. Mainly because women are expected to be “social” and expected to be the “social media” experts to guide their shut down husbands through society. It’s why a Henry Huntington marries an Arabella–who no surprise gets him collecting art, same thing with Norton Simon and Jennifer Jones. I am running into women all over the place glazed over with social media, and yet they are still undercapitalized, still behind economically, and still believing in the illusion of this. We had radical feminist magazines worldwide way before email came on the scene– we’ve had radical feminism for a very long time. What we don’t have is access to detailed speeches by radical feminists of another age online, and that bothers me. Because we’ll have yet another group of women cut off from our own past. The radfem blogs are no different from the little magazines of the past, no more or less radical. Social media can help you find the needles in the haystack, but really any lesbian worldwide could do this when we had tightly knit groups that were not invaded by straight bi or trans. The lesbian separatism so derided was a very powerful force that straight women later tapped into, but didn’t further or contribute to.
Ideas are fine, meanwhile women are expected in patriarchy to be this new social glue, and I think we need to be mindful of this.

12. SheilaG - April 3, 2011

What I note in a lot of radfem spaces is the isolation of the women in them. They don’t come out of a community of activist radfems, but are lone voices in the wilderness. A previous generation of radical feminists were very active setting up rape crisis centers, running publishing companies, bookstores, organizing marches, organizing worldwide. So there is writing but no active grounding in meeting with women IRL to carry forth the message, and actually creating spaces for women. I believe we need both. Lesbians were highly motivated to do this and continue to do this because lesbians love women. We don’t suffer the contradiction of massive sexual involvement with men, and many of the greatest radfems were and are lifelong lesbians.
I believe the organizational challenges for straight women are extreme… so they can put out a radical message, but still live in supreme social isolation and that poses some problems I think that will emerge in time.

FCM - April 3, 2011

well, not everyone can do everything, thats true. the women who are setting up rape crisis centers etc (if there even are any anymore, with no funding and the fucking MTFs demanding access) arent necessarily writing, just like radical feminist writers arent necessarily doing IRL organizing. self-publishing is (i think) the next generation of radical feminist writing, no more, no less. i hope that the work survives, which might prove difficult with the transient nature of the medium, and blogs being abandoned and destroyed with some regularity. but this is probably the new medium, like it or not.

we are all anonymous, so the fact of the matter is that none of us know what the others are doing IRL. but as others have mentioned, there are tremendous obstacles in the way of radical organizing, perhaps particularly for straight women, and definitely for partnered women and mothers. i know if i dumped my nigel for example, that i MIGHT extra time and energy to do other things, BUT i would also probably have to get a second job to pay the bills. and (AND!) as far as forming new friendships goes, and spending all my free time laughing, organizing and clinking glasses with other hilarious, intelligent and leisured women…well frankly i think they are as busy and isolated as i am. i really dont think its as easy as some people make it sound. i dont even know if its possible. all my friends are partnered, or with children. they have thier own lives. everyone i work with is too (and not just the straight women either).

13. cherryblossomlife - April 3, 2011

We need to envisage new types of social organization. If we dumped our nigels, there’s no reason why we couldn’t move in with a single friend, or an old friend from high-school, another single mother, or our blood sister (or even brother)
Not everyone’s cup of tea, prefer living alone I’m sure, but still it’s a possibility that most people don’t even think about. It would solve the ageing problem to a certain extent as well. You would have more security as you aged: women are probably much better off relying on their friends than their children.
Two old sisters are living accross the street from me, over eighty both of them. After they divorced their husbands they moved in together.
I know all of this is common sense to lesbians, but to straight women it’s not.

FCM - April 3, 2011

i agree that we would be better off in every way if we lived with trusted, lifelong friends or female relatives. i literally dont know a single one who is single though. this will surely right itself with time.

14. cherryblossom - April 3, 2011

LOL “this will surely right itself with time”

FCM - April 3, 2011

this is why its so important that young girls start thinking about this stuff, about the horrors of het partnerships and the utter, utter lies, bullshit and reversals they are being force-fed about partnering with men. if 2 or 3 childhood friends decided to stick together and take care of each other, their lives would be completely different and so much more free than if they all seperated and went off with men. my sister and i had a shared friend from the time we were 4 years old that we are still friends with today. from my perspective, i wish we wouldve stuck together and tried to make it that way, instead of the way we did. i dont know if they would share that perspective or not. and all my friends from high school and college scattered to the wind after graduation. none of us were thinking about the future in the way we needed to be thinking about it: extremely critical of het partnerships, seeing men as a sexual class for what they are, and realizing what was in store for all of us as elderly women, if our het partnerships failed, or if we tried to make it alone in the world, without any help from anyone. its almost impossible to do, without help. thats the thing. partnering with men seems like the logical solution, but its absolutely not.

15. thebewilderness - April 4, 2011

So there is writing but no active grounding in meeting with women IRL to carry forth the message, and actually creating spaces for women.

You are mistaken.

16. yttik - April 4, 2011

“I believe the organizational challenges for straight women are extreme…..”

They are. We do indeed live in supreme social isolation. Another way of saying it, is that we live on the front lines, in a war zone, in survival mode. Our heads get so screwed up sometimes we can’t even see the forest for all the trees.

I’ve said for years that the key to womens success and financial stability is going to be to align ourselves with each other and buddy up. Two single moms living together, sharing incomes, sharing expenses, exchanging childcare, can double their standard of living by the simple act of moving in and working cooperatively together. If women could just be taught to invest all that time and energy into themselves and each other, rather than into men, our quality of life would improve dramatically. Men, the pursuit of men, the propping up of men, is one of the greatest wastes of womens energy ever. It’s a huge drain on our talents, our finances, our creativity.

I spent 20 years helping to set up rape crisis centers, working for a domestic violence program, marching for choice, creating spaces for women, reading Ms Mag. Without fail, every one of those places was invaded by men, by trans, by fems who think porn is empowerful. I kid you not, I lost my rape crisis center job to a man. Ms Mag put the male President on the cover with a, “this is what a feminist looks like,” tee shirt on. The Women’s Center I helped create became a new age, liberal bookstore/coffee house. Women are now tucked in the self help section, under psychological issues. There are lots of books about dieting and embracing your sexuality, too. There is nothing about revolution or even equality.

Social media provides us an opportunity to regroup, to regain clarity, to rediscover our priorities. Rad fems do exist in isolation, often undercover in their own communities, but rest assured we are still here and the internet is a great way to inspire each other and to network.

If anyone cares, I don’t just read blogs and write. I am currently focused on womens financial independence and increasing their economic power. Het women do indeed have emotional, sexual, psychological, reasons for aligning themselves with men, but here in the year 2011, the biggest trap of all is still the inability to survive on your own financially.

17. cherryblossomlife - April 4, 2011

All I ever wanted to do in school was live in a small appartment with my best friend and have a blast. Actually that was an ambition of lots of girls in my school. As time went on we paired off with men, but we all had glimpses of how it could have been.
Like my college sabbatical year abroad when I lived in a flat with two fellow students, one girl and one guy. Easily, without a doubt, the *best* year of my life. I knew it wasn’t going to get any better than that at the time. But I *still* paired myself off with a man. WTF.

18. FAB Libber - April 4, 2011

the key to womens success and financial stability is going to be to align ourselves with each other and buddy up.
Absolutely, it is a way out of the trap of aligning yourselves with a male.

I lost my rape crisis center job to a man
omg, that is total crap (I had a not dissimilar situation at a DV centre). Males are ‘welcomed’ into all sorts of FAB-only spaces now, under the guise of ‘equality’. It makes me sick.

Ms Mag put the male President on the cover with a, “this is what a feminist looks like,” tee shirt
That was unfuckingbelieveable.

FCM - April 4, 2011

Well, as far as sharing incomes goes, I am really not sure how this is supposed to work, especially now when everyone is unemployed, and also when you have women who have essentially no earning potential needing way more help than they will ever be able to offer someone else. This is a serious problem. And when you live with straight women, they are always bringing fucking nigels home, and depending on how fucked up and traumatized the woman is already, she will bring home the most dangerous dood she can find, and sometimes more than one, or multiple doods in rapid succession. I have experienced this firsthand and it was fucking terrifying.

FCM - April 4, 2011

Re creativity, I wanted to mention what I find most inspirational, and where I have always found fodder for more posts. The most obvious of course is the trans acting like morons, because its so easy to point out the obvious idiocy and flawed arguments. But way more influential than that for me have been the discussions here. The comments and back and forth with the people who read here. I will also mention that at times the discussion has died down for whatever reason, or become periodically less active. Once, there was a very public disavowal of certain blogs, and a very dramatic exit by a couple of regular commenters who never officially came back, but have tested the waters multiple times since then by hitting the “like” button over at scum o rama for example. Yes, I noticed. Ha!

I mention this because when the discussions and the players change drastically, it changes the game for me, creatively. I have to find inspiration in other ways, or try harder or whatever. But its ok. I have always bounced back creatively, and in fact I thought some of my best work came from the privilege dustup with arooo for example. And it gave me the opportunity to use monty python clips! See the “white male activist intersectionality fail” and the “so much for young privilege” posts for more on that.

19. maggie - April 4, 2011

Wonderful post. The comments are indeed enlightening. I share the childcare with a friend who is also separated. We need to do this to survive. We often eat together and this brings the bills down. However, I can’t ever see myself as living with her as she would drive me up the wall. It would ruin a lovely friendship!

Yttik. Losing your job in a rape crisis centre to a man. Crap. However,

“I am currently focused on womens financial independence and increasing their economic power.” Brilliant. Power to the positive.

FCM - April 4, 2011

To clarify, I know this will end for all of us at some point. I mean, I can’t imagine doing this for 30 years! Can anyone? And the platform will have changed half a dozen times by then anyway. My point really is that writing is a process, and I know there are people here who don’t know that, because they’ve never done it. I hope to stave off the inevitable end of each individual blog for as long as possible, and to increase the probability that when someone does leave, it will be on her own terms, and not because this creativity thing eluded her.

20. Sargasso Sea - April 4, 2011

Okay, I’m just going to get this out of the way:

Sheila! Christ! What is this, like the 50th time you’ve brought up how all this yakking-on-the-internet-isn’t-going-to-get-us-anywhere-we-should-be-getting-out-there-doing-something-in-*real life*-in-order-to-be-an-EFFECTIVE-radical-feminist?

And wouldn’t this be like the 51st time women have felt the need fucking DEFEND THEMSELVES and their feminist cred against your sometimes impossible standards? It’s like freaking groundhog day with you. Seriously. The sisters are doing what they can already; give us a fucking break! (this pissed off dyke would have simply stuck that snowflakehead graphic in this space, but she’s just as lame at html as she is at FEMINISM apparently)


Yttik, I think, said somewhere yesterday something along the lines of *I have to remind myself [being a writer] that writing isn’t the only form of creativity!* and I’ve been thinking about that.

I was groomed to be a writer and most of my schooling was focused that way but really the most highly creative thing I have done is dance choreography. (Dance is my preferred method of locomotion, actually so there’s a good reason people IN REAL LIFE think I’m nutz. Asian Honky worries that I’m going to get arrested for my public displays of West Side Story or, say Evita [I do a mean Che] but I’m all: What?! Entertaining people is a crime?!?)

But lately I’ve been having some pretty grandiose fantasies about having a Radical Feminist Revue/Supper Club… told you I’m nutz!

FCM - April 4, 2011

Thanks s4.

I tried at one point to work in the trenches with the most impoverished, the most traumatized, the most vulnerable. And to my utter dismay, I was horrible at it, and had serious and legitimate criticisms of the organization, and learned that unfortunately these do-gooder organizations are all the fucking same. The women working in the trenches aren’t necessarily writers, and they aren’t necessarily even feminists either.

There is a place and a need for radical feminist writing, and some people are better at it than others. The work needs to be done, by the people who are good at it, who are committed to showing up, and who can put words on the page in a way that makes sense to other people. Besides that, there IS such a thing as revolutionary thought. There just is, and I think everyone here has seen it. Jeffreys and Dworkin and mackinnon etc were revolutionary thinkers, and I have read work on these blogs (and produced some of my own) that I have never seen anywhere else, ever. This means something, I know it does. Revolutionary thought is social evolution, isn’t it? What the hell does a rape crisis center have to do with revolution? This is a serious question. It’s damage control only. And its needed, of course. But serious radical writing and thinking is needed too.

FCM - April 4, 2011

And as for other forms of creativity, I like stuff I can do with my hands: sculpture, painting, collages…now ask me if I am any good at them. Heh. Actually collages I can do, and I’m pretty good at drawing nudes, but can’t draw anything else. I also had an excellent ear as a child and should have probably played the violin. I tried a few other instruments later, and wasn’t good at any of them. The guitar and piano made absolutely no sense to me, at all. I still don’t understand poetry or songwriting, to me writing that way would be impossible, and excruciating.

Which makes me very glad there are people who ARE good at these things. They make it look easy too, but for anyone who is bad at them, they definitely are not.

21. maggie - April 4, 2011

S 4. I would book that flight. But the USA, like China, execute people for crimes and I just can’t go. Civil rights and all. I will be there in spirit though. Right by that wood you live by… I’m in the middle of an election in the UK. And my time is limited on the internet. I love these rad fem blogs.

Peace. U.

22. SheilaG - April 4, 2011

Well perhaps this is the ultimate tragedy of straight women, because lesbian communities have been at this for over 30 years, and a lot of us have connections worldwide that we have maintained.
We did do the magazines, but the purpose of the magazines was to provide a central place for lesbian information. Lesbian only publications that have been around for over 30 years still have contact Dykes worldwide, and this helps new women in town get situated. We always had extra rooms, money to share, and a revolutionary unity… lesbians of a certain era do take lesbian connection very seriously. It is not impossible to get a group of 30 lesbians together for projects, we do it all the time. Or even 12 women with pooled resources. Many lesbians I know have very low income, but they have communal values which enables a life free of men. This is crucial, because het women get so male dependent.
I can call lesbians anywhere in the United States, and many foreign countries– I’ll have a place to stay, I’ll be connected to a network of like minded women– there will be no men involved, and no men living in the places. Lesbians have always been highly motivated to build sisterhood communities worldwide, because we are not part of a hetero social structure. We either build it or it doesn’t exist. But the key is there are no men involved. None. Many of us over the years have acquired rural property, again, because small groups of Dykes can create communities of sharing.
Sometimes Het women are welcomed into these communities if they are well behaved, honor the no male policy, and don’t disclose the locations.

Why would any woman want the risk of living alone? I sure wouldn’t want to do that especially in this economy. Since the culture is geared to het overspending, and het women’s isolation except on male terms, that is the rut het women are truly stuck in. It is the love between lesbians that is a special socially powerful glue… we connect in a powerful way that is truly woman centered. It is this love between lesbians that is a creative force. To those who want this revolutionary commitment free of the time wasting child production years or time wasting sexual excess of fun fems, the future is indeed bright. But it is a collective process, and since the Internet can bring women together, it can also create space IRL for women to be together. Straight women could learn a lot from these small lesbian communities worldwide, but what we can’t teach straight women is woman love/or collective living. Het women are obsessed with individuality to their own material detroriment. Live alone, ensure a life cut off from sisterhood, and it takes time to do this.

Our groups had no children in them, we had no government funds, but our powerful culture cuts across race and class if done right. But Hetness is its own isolation, its own waste of women’s time, and I don’t have the answer to this. But then again I have never depended on men to get things done for me either, and this caused more lesbians perhaps to cultivate skills that would be essential in worldwide lesbian nation building.

Now a lot of us are already working on old age communities, and women’s land collectives… again no men, no boys, but women who want this life can have it. Ultimately the life of Het women is controlled by men, it is wasted by male worlds, it is about creating the isolation of hetness. Get to work, you can all cut your expenses in half or in fourth with the collective. Four jobs is better than one, four women are better than one, and the social skills that develop in these small groups are what will ensure survival in good times and bad. Stay alone as a woman and take the risk of never learning the sisterhood skills. I may have known a lesbian 30 years ago, or met one last week, but we know this connection is powerful.

23. rhondda - April 4, 2011

I worked in the trenches too. My downfall was professional women who sold poor women out for a mess of professional respectability and pleasing their male masters. What shocked and confused me was their use of feminist language,and then their complete lack of any action that would validate what they said. Pretending to be feminist, but when it counted completely backing down and leaving me and my clients in the lurch. Then the denial. I will never forgive them, even though I know the fear that made them do it. It took me along time to figure it out.Tokenism is very seductive. I can be very naive.
However, courage calls to courage and any kind of creativity that speaks to women’s freedom is good and knowing that the female spirit is alive and well is just the thing we in our isolated positions need to carry on. That is what your blog does for me fcm. Thanks

24. rhondda - April 4, 2011

Sheila I want to free women from the mindbindings and spiritbindings of patriarchy. That means het women. That means women who have been bedazzled by the patriarchal myths of wife/whore, of good woman/bad woman. That means getting down and dirty where they live. That means connecting one on one and hearing where they are coming from and explaining to them why they feel that pain.
I am reminded of something Monique said in her essay the straight mind when she quotes a peasant woman who said in 1848 “Why do the gentlemen say it was not slavery, for we know it to have been slavery, this sorrow that we have sorrowed.” That is wisdom of the earth and needs to be acknowledged and fucking answered by feminists. They don’t want utopian lesbian enclaves. They want to know. I so love women who want to know. That is real courage.

25. rhondda - April 4, 2011

That’s Monique Wittig. Sorry for my lack of precise editing.

26. dasunrisin - April 4, 2011

I’m here to listen and learn. I can’t be creative yet. Thank you for this.

27. cherryblossomlife - April 4, 2011

writing has always been an important part of any revolution. WHen I lived in Russia my teacher told me about how during communism people had to pass around illegal texts in minature form that could only be read with a magnifying glass in case an offical searched them. But they had to get the word out somehow that the regime was oppressive.

So writing is essential. That’s why dictators find it so necessary to curtail freedom of the press. That’s why our media so heavily promotes our own system and relegates certain groups of people around the world as “other”. RIght now it’s Arabs and Muslims, it used to be Russians, and before that Germans, and before that Irish, Blacks, anyone. Media, press, writing influences people in a massive way.

Which actually connects to the social media revolution. I think it’s pretty obvious that women have had enough of watching misogynstic portrayals of themselves on the TV and in movies and they log on to the internet instead where they can create their own reality with other women

I do see Sheila’s point though, and would really like to act more IRL. When I think about the revolutionary acts of women before me I think I should do more.

28. radfemcrafts - April 5, 2011

I feel you, Sheila. There’s nothing revolutionary about acting the social glue that patriarchy has socialized you to act like (and I hate Liz Gilbert, and TED). But the magazine of today is the internet. Even when I buy print zines like Invincible Summer and RAG Dublin I often buy them online.

What we do need online and would help revolutionary feminists are accessible aesthetic well-written wikis, FAQs, propaganda machines. For better or worse we’re online.

…Actually I’m going to bring the rest of this convo to FAB’s private thread.

Thanks for the great post, FCM. 🙂

29. rainsinger - April 5, 2011

They don’t want utopian lesbian enclaves. They want to know.

Sorry. That just cracked me up, and you owe me a new keyboard. I learned years ago, to scan the first line or two of Sheila’s posts, and at least half the time ignore the rest.

If the lesbian utopian enclaves is so fantastic, wonderful etc – why are you here Sheila?

I always figured that if Sheila and myself, ended up lodged in the same womyn’s community after the revolution, we would have to ensure we lived at opposite ends, and do some serious negotiation on boundary-setting to keep out of each other’s way.

FCM - April 5, 2011

speaking of “well-written wikis” i googled “PIV” the other day and brought up a wiki that said one definition was “penis in vagina” but the entry was otherwise blank. when i clicked on it, it opened up a blank wiki editing page and practically begged me to fill it out. alas, it also told me it would associate my IP addy with the entry if i continued so i didnt. any ideas?

30. cherryblossomlife - April 5, 2011

If you wrote it in word then went to an internet cafe and pasted it wouldn’t your IP be anonymous?

FCM - April 5, 2011

What’s an internet cafe? Heh. Actually if anyone has access to one, that’s probably a good idea. These ideas are exactly what we need, this is good!

FCM - April 5, 2011

Also, yay rhondda!! Your comments are always so excellent. Thank you.

FCM - April 5, 2011

And in case anyone isn’t sure, TED is a liberal dickwad stronghold, its true. I just thought these videos were interesting, and relevant. I did have to wade through some ev psych bullshit and a piv-pozzie monologue by Julia sweeney, who recently had “the talk” with her young daughter, and showed her YouTube vids of animals mating to illustrate piv. Of course, the girl asked whether there were vids of humans “mating” on the internet. Julia told her there were not.

31. Sargassosea - April 5, 2011

“Of course, the girl asked whether there were vids of humans “mating” on the internet. Julia told her there were not.”

Oh lawd, please tell me that Julia was in full on “Pat”-mode and delivered that as a joke. You can see it right?

32. noanodyne - April 5, 2011

To pay the bills I work in online communications (writing, design, technical, etc.) and it’s been fascinating watching as people try to figure out where all these newfangled geegaws are gonna take us. It’s fun to be hopeful and imagine something better. But what I tend to see is the closed-circuit thinking we’ve always seen. Not taking ideas as far as they can go… not following them to the end. It’s just a new realm for imagining just as far as any given person ever conceptualizes anything. It reminds me of how extremely conservative science fiction writing has been and continues to be in many quarters.

Usually it’s all because of how one uses the frame. If you start with the frame of “gender” you’re already conceding something, no? We’ll get rid of gender, Blakely says. Well, we better talk about what gender is, then, which mainstream thinkers just don’t do (and she doesn’t in this talk). She (and many others for many reasons) just posit that there can be this magical place that people go where they’re just people. Imagine how great that would be! But it’s not going to happen through the means she describes: connecting by interest and affinity. Because in the end, the forces of “media” that are providing the space need so desperately for it NOT to happen. Mainstream thinking is all about pulling people away from making radical connections, it’s deeply conservative. Doesn’t matter which medium you transmit that thinking on.

And Blakely is from the academic world of communications theory, a world that has been working very hard to separate form from content since forever. Basically the opposite of what Daly was so brilliant at. I think there’s the process of creation that leads to connection and there’s the experience of relatively passively being drawn into and interacting in a social space. Again, the difference between charting new territory using the new mode of transportation versus going where we already see what we expect to see and that’s why we’re there, supporting the status quo.

It’s not that we don’t need to find a space with like-thinkers. yttik perfectly summed it up when she said: Social media provides us an opportunity to regroup, to regain clarity, to rediscover our priorities. Rad fems do exist in isolation, often undercover in their own communities, but rest assured we are still here and the internet is a great way to inspire each other and to network. But as radomes we don’t expect to stop there, chatting endlessly about how much SocImages sucks ;-). We’ll draw ideas and strength and keep going.

In spite of being somewhat critical of them, I’m very happy you posted these, FCM. Everything is compost for the creative process. And we will keep creating. That’s what I’m most hopeful about. Because we want to keep following our thoughts as far as they go, we’re going to find new ways to use the tools at our fingertips. If not this one, the next that comes along. Our ideas won’t die, they’re just like the thing that flew at the poet and there will always be women who are ready and willing to “catch” those things and put them in some form for many others to see.

33. sam - April 5, 2011

“I worked in the trenches too. My downfall was professional women who sold poor women out for a mess of professional respectability and pleasing their male masters. What shocked and confused me was their use of feminist language,and then their complete lack of any action that would validate what they said.”

Still in the trenches, still banging against walls erected by the social climbers nearest me. Sometimes a brick comes loose, but the blood oh the blood.

The Writer in me yearns for constant creative output, but the Lobbyist knows the most effective campaigns win with concise messages repeated frequently. They arm wrestle internally for control of my hands until the garden needs weeding, then I sigh with relief and regret for the short respite and go get something immediately useful done.

34. noanodyne - April 5, 2011

“radomes” is the spellcheck fix for “radfems” on my text editor. Sorry about that, I usually catch it. And I’ve tried to add it to the dictionary, but it just won’t take. Definition: “a dome or other structure protecting radar equipment and made from material transparent to radio waves, esp. one on the outer surface of an aircraft.” Is this one of the happenstances Tan was talking about? Radfems should be shielded from prying eyes? LOL

35. noanodyne - April 5, 2011

[Weird, I put up this comment before my other one, but this one disappeared? Feel free to delete if I double-posted this FCM]

Finally dragging myself out of a 168-hour flu-related bog. Sorry to miss the convo in progress. So much to think about in those videos and this post!

Anyway, to the videos… I wanted to be a writer from a very young age (among other things!) and have studied it quite a bit in various forms, through various avenues. Gilbert’s ideas are kinda well-worn for me, but she was entertaining (the story of the poet was great) and reminded me of some things that a creative has to keep being reminded of. What she is above all is a reminder that personality/temperament are so much a part of what “creative” means and what the process looks like for any given person and whether it takes a terrible toll or is enlivening or both but doable or not even possible. I had a lover who was a brilliant novelist, well on her way to winning awards and adulation and she just quit one day. She said it was either her or the writing (which was killing her). Gilbert doesn’t seem quite so burdened.

I’ve seen Amy Tan in person a number of times and she always makes me think. (And the big plus, yes, she’s funny!!) She’s wrestled with how complex and how simple the whole thing is and conveys both and why she chooses to look in the directions she does and how and why a creative has to make choices in the process of creating. (And clearly we need anchors or touchstones or what-have-you — I’ve never seen her anywhere without her dog muse).

Her ideas about ambiguity and not belaboring the “about” but getting to the story and letting it happen are so important in going beyond closed-circuit thinking. But there is a difference in the form of being creative. Daly managed to be creative and to get so much said. But for me there’s been a division in the two kinds of writing I do. There’s the free-flowing creative type that leads me wherever. Anything and everything comes up. I enter the story. Then there’s the didactic writing I do on the web as Noanodyne. I think I’ll talk more about that in comments to my own post…

36. noanodyne - April 5, 2011

[FCM, now I get it, I put that comment under the Quintessence post, sorry about that, I was reading both and obviously still flu-bogged]

FCM - April 5, 2011

Yes, communication technologies can only facilitate communication, they don’t create content do they? Which means that the message and the scope will always be limited by the limitations of the people using them. People who critique and comment on the new technologies get it wrong too. The doodbro in the bottom video was clearly speaking from his own experience and values of being a man, and a liberal dickwad too, when he suggested that we celebrate the ability to “convene, not control.” For women though, and especially radical feminists, control over our spaces is 100 percent key. I suppose it never occurred to him, being a fucking liberal dickwad man, that “control” would be not only a positive thing, but something some of us have never been able to do, before now. Duh.

37. SheilaG - April 5, 2011

it’s not lesbian utopia, it is lesbians who have created these places, and continue to have community lesbian owned and operated for eons now.
It is not hard to get several women together to share things, not rocket science. I look at the Internet as a way to find needles in haystacks–let’s say a radical lesbian or two now and then. I’m not looking for legions, just one or two here and there now and then.
Creativity is about fueling… it is an action, and taking new language — Mary Daly style and testing it out in the world. To replicate the word experiments of the Dalys of the world, or to see the creativity of radical lesbian feminists. You see, we were not in the het units outside a biological family, we were not part of malestream social networks, we were busy doing other things. It’s why reading Daly’s autobiography is so powerful, why it can galvanize any lesbian into action, because she did it, and she explained how radical lesbian nation– her tribe–she said gets it, and she has always spoken radically to her tribe. Each woman must connect with those who utterly get what she is saying, and not all women speak to my experience. If they are straight certainly not. Social media would not change anything at all actually, because we are the same people communicating. I would say it gives women more content control, more editing control that sort of thing. The ideas actually are a kind of looking backward and assessing the last 40 years of what radfems have said all along. Or seeing what worked and what did not. The creativity is in the application as well as the idea itself. In Daly’s case, her ideas and strategies were very powerful for lifelong lesbians, which is why we love her so much. We know she broke through and taught us to take ideas as far as they could go. We know she created lesbian communities and ex-grad student networks everywhere it seems. We knew her gang published widely and creatively.

het women have a lot to learn from Daly and company but are forever hindered by the sexual contact with men, an abstacle that no amount of social media can change, and no amount internalized hatred of the sexual woman can end. It is their dead end to wrestle with unfortunately.

38. SheilaG - April 5, 2011

I think lesbian erotic energy fueled many a mini revolution, because from the get go we were not male focused. We were creating our own groups and energy fields, and my job is to promote lesbian nation everywhere I go. i don’t expect het women to get a lot of what I say, but I always speak to my own tribe far and wide. Ironically, the more stuck het women were on men, the more they held themselves back creatively as well.

In other times, they got saddled with children, raped in marriage (not ended yet), but the legacy on the het girl children being subjected to this tyranny was the dead end. I think it is why I love creativity within a lesbian context, what is fun and playful about it. it is why what Daly writes is so damn funny from a kind of inside the lesbian mind cosmic galactic adventure.

Each one of us finds a creative mentor — be it an author, a friend or a teacher. For lesbians, we have created a giant library of information, and as outsiders we see the stuckness of het nation, but we don’t have answers. We have solved many problems we threaten het nation and all its blocks and mind bindings. We have left a body of activism behind for any het woman to learn a thing or two, but again, the way out of patriarchy is a creative venture first, it is the idea that leads us out, or a turn of phrase. It is useful to know that PIV causes addiction and trauma bonding by het women to men, and that it might take years to escape penis indoctrination.

Maybe young women who think they are straight because of the 24/7 indoctrination may think a bit, and say no thanks. Maybe more radical lesbian feminists can get a clue as to the stuckness of straight woman’s lot. Who knows? But to us, the answers are pretty easy.

39. FemmeForever - April 5, 2011

“If women could just be taught to invest all that time and energy into themselves and each other, rather than into men, our quality of life would improve dramatically. Men, the pursuit of men, the propping up of men, is one of the greatest wastes of womens energy ever. It’s a huge drain on our talents, our finances, our creativity. ”

OMG. It’s as if this came from my brain. I couldn’t agree more.

40. rhondda - April 5, 2011

It was Daly’s deconstruction of Christianity in Beyond God the Father and in Pure Lust where she talks of the sublime, sublimation and sublimination that impressed me the most. In Feminist Interpretations of Daly, there are quite a number of different interpretations by various women. She was not just about one thing. She was for freedom for women. I don’t care what she did in her real life. I did not know her, but I do know her books.
How is this for a quote Sheila
Page 284 Pure Lust
The Furiously Focused re-calling of the history of oppression of ALL women is essential to the identity of a feminist and for sustaining the Pyrosophical Vision even under conditions of seeming desertion and isolation.

FCM - April 5, 2011

Trying desperately to explain feelings, perceptions and experience to men is a dead end also, and an enormous energy drain. Not just online either, but irl where they just will not fucking get it, on purpose. My mom has been trying to explain to her husband for YEARS how his being a giant fucking loser is putting her at risk for homelessness and rape…hes an ambitionless asshole who literally delights in having the electricity turned off for nonpayment, because it reminds him of camping. Oh goody! In the meantime, its HER house they are going to lose, if they can’t keep up with the taxes etc, and he also prides himself in making so little money (“needing so few material things” yeah right) that if anything ever happened they would be out in the street within months. He just tells her how much he likes camping, and tells the same tired stories of how he backpacked and hitchhiked everywhere as a young man, and how awesome it was, and how preferable it was to the way they are living now.

And I have spent days, weeks, months, years explaining things to men too. It’s a goddamned stupid waste of time, times a million. It literally sucks the life out of you. And again, I really think its on purpose.

It even applies for stupid mundane tasks too. How many times does a man have to clean the toilet before muscle memory kicks in, and he doesnt have to ask for instructions? Fucking shit. Apparently its like a tootsie pop: the world may never know.

FCM - April 5, 2011

Heh. If you get the tootsie pop reference, you are old!

FCM - April 6, 2011

rhondda, that was very well played. i wonder if daly would encourage lifelong lesbians to appropriate her work for themselves (instead of ALL women), or of lifelong lesbians referencing her work to throw straight women under the bus? i dont know why she would. i have only read “quintessence” so far, but she didnt seem to hate straight women, and she didnt SAY she was only talking to lesbians. sheila has said here before that daly and other lifelong radical lesbians speak in code to each other, so what do i know. i can only hear the sound of my own tortured heterosexual screaming most days anyway. 😛

41. Sargassosea - April 6, 2011

i can only hear the sound of my own tortured heterosexual screaming most days anyway.

I have a solution for that. Ask me how!


42. yttik - April 6, 2011

Mary Daly’s work continues to delight me. Gyn/Ecology is one of my favorites.

FCM - April 6, 2011

omg. someone twittered the “sorry sex pos transwomen post” AGAIN. yawn! this is why i close the comments after 90 days. these people are way late to the party.

FCM - April 6, 2011

heres the julia sweeney vid…yes, she delivered the last line as a joke, but not really. see what you think. she (and the audience) laughs when she says “i have delivered my 8 year old daughter into the hands of internet porn” hardy har har. but i really dont think thats funny, at all, becuase its probably true. of course, she didnt make any distinction at all between PIV and “sex” which is HORRIFYING. and ironically, there really ARENT vids of “humans mating” online, since the women are being used as sterile fucktoys…and all the pregnancies that DO occur from porn-PIV (and there are a LOT OF THEM) are unintentional, and on the down-low, and not believed to have happened, at all.

FCM - April 6, 2011

why cant i get youtube vids to embed in the comments anymore? anyone?

FCM - April 6, 2011

When I say these porn-pregnancies are “unintentional” obviously I mean unwanted by the women. I think we all know by now that this shit is deliberate, on the part of the men.

43. cherryblossomlife - April 6, 2011

yes, it’s deliberate. I’ve finally understood that.

Porn is a world of paradoxes.Even though women are impregnated (deliberately), there’s also that obsession with the money shot on the woman’s face or what have you. That, for me, is a clear signal that women are nothing but “sterile fucktoys” , and obviously it’s directly connected to humiliating her.

But it may be that to men there is something mystical about conception which the porn-watcher doesn’t want to even think about. He certainly doesn’t want to see another man’s sperm dissappear, because then he would no longer be able to identify with the penis in question. Because…there is always the possibility that something might then take place inside the woman *beyond* *his* *control* . So the money shot brings piv down to the basest level, relieving his sense of redundancy and impotence as he sits there with his cock in his hands.

FCM - April 6, 2011

That was awesome.

44. cherryblossomlife - April 7, 2011


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