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Hate Speech July 12, 2012

Posted by FCM in books!, pop culture.
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how many times as a radical feminist blogger am i going to have to hear a woman reader respond to my (or any, or all) radfem work thusly: i have a male child, how do i reconcile that fact with what i have just read?

the woman doesnt disagree with what shes just read, she isnt confused by it either, she just cannot reconcile it with the fact that she has a male child, as if that has a single goddamned thing to do with whether radical feminists are right or wrong.  frighteningly, the truth is not the issue: mothers of boy children are struggling to accept radical feminist observations and theorizing about boys and men independently of their assessment of the truth or falsehood of our observations and theorizing.  that is to say, something being demonstrably true is not enough for that thing to be accepted into these womens worldview.

the truth is not enough, when you are a mother to a boy child.

this is an enormous problem, and its not just women struggling with radical feminism.  mothers of boy children frequently struggle with reality in general, since the reality about boys and men is often that they are violent, sexual predators.  like this mother, who said, as her son was being led off to begin his prison sentence for possessing the documentary evidence of children being raped by men which he apparently found not inconsistent with his own values and worldview i mean child pornography: This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening.

that mother ended up being an activist for male sex offenders.  an activist.  for.  male sex offenders.  not against.  handmaiden of the patriarchy much?  also, activist?  really?  that strains the very spirit of the concept if not the letter of it.  she is also spending her own time, energy, money, and self, every moment and calorie and penny of each, and her female self, on making the world a better place for male sex offenders, and a worse place for herself, and girls and women.

to these women who already have boy children, and are struggling with the obvious conflicts of interest that creates, i am sorry to say it, but it might be too late for you in some, many or even all ways.  you are in very, very deep.  this is deliberate, of course, and a fine way to make sure that women are so internally and externally conflicted that they cannot even accept the truth into their worldview.  the truth is irrelevant.  (but if the truth doesnt inform your worldview, what does?  this is not a rhetorical question).

the truth.  is irrelevant.  the truth.  is irrelevant.  whats the definition of “delusion” again?  this problem is huge.

radical feminist science fiction addresses the issue and envisions a future world different from this one: for example, joanna russ’s “the female man” presents one possible future where there have been no men around for 800 years, and where mothers and their children  — genetic descendents of two mothers — spend the first 5 years of the child’s life together then are separated.  i thought that was interesting, because there will certainly be mothers who do not want to be separated from their daughters and would probably fight russ on that.  its russ’s vision, cannot she be allowed to have it, even if its not ideal, or even if its wrong?  at least its different.  i liked that she didnt not-publish the book just because her vision for the future was somewhat harsh, or (arguably) lacking.

i think, in order to imagine a future without patriarchy, we have to be willing to imagine a future where there are no people at all.*  if we decide that its worth it to have people survive, and if women can figure out how to do this outside of patriarchal constraints — including patriarchal reproductive technologies obviously — then we will need to decide what that looks like, and what we are able and willing to do (and what we arent).  honestly, doing it the other way — where we have to consider culling the herd of existing or even potential males — might just be too hard.  its also a derail, of the “what about the men” variety.

* “because its not consistent with propagation of the species” is not feminist analysis.  its not.

Comments

1. Liza - July 12, 2012

Raising children often is one of the most difficult tasks that women face. Men rarely face it, although they can. Some Lesbians, even some of the old fashioned Lesbian Separatists, raised boy children. Some did not, either because they chose not to or because their children were taken away from them. Some of the boys even grew up to be feminist men. Some did not. It’s tricky but not impossible to learn how to be Radical and a Lesbian and a Feminist and to treasure familial relations. Having good boundaries helps.

2. bugbrennan - July 12, 2012

It’s difficult when our personal lives make us confront our beliefs. Children are vulnerable. Women have children. Half of those children are male. This is a reality that needs to be considered. I don’t think telling women to abort male children, or telling Lesbians they are supporting patriarchy if they have male children, advances this conversation. I don’t think defensiveness by women with male children advances this conversation. This is truly the individual choosey choice dilemma that ends conversations among women with different opinions – “all men are bad except MY men.” That is, I AM SPECIAL.

The good/bad distinction (and specialness) is unhelpful. Facts are better. Fact is that males harm females. Many individual females (and individual males) want that to end. That will require sacrifice by males to occur. Such sacrifice will never occur. If that’s the case, then this is hypothetical. It’s still worth considering. What kind of world do we envision, if we dare? If we had a true tabula rasa? It’s almost impossible to conceive.

Thanks for letting me babble a bit, interesting post.

3. m Andrea - July 12, 2012

I’ve give her major cudos for recognizing that male children contribute to global oppression of women. As you point out FCM, most moms couldn’t deal with that factoid, so many/most pretend it doesn’t exist and others go so far the other way that they pretend men are victims.

But she did ask how she was supposed to reconcile the problem of boys with her radical feminist understanding, and we’d like more moms to be radfems, and it’s not likely that every woman is going to stop having boy children any time soon, so developing some workable solutions and practical advise to give to women like her is a most excellent topic of discussion. Love to hear what others have to say.

I’d suggest trying to raise him not just to be a feminist, but to be a pro-radfem. It’s possible. Ten years ago, when I first started hearing feminists say they were trying to raise a feminist boy, I thought it couldn’t be done, that the sexist culture they were soaking in would be too much to overcome. But many of those women have made good on their attempt, and have produced some seriously awesome young boys. So challenge his sexist assumptions and causally point out the sexism whenever possible.

4. m Andrea - July 12, 2012

Just make it second nature to notice the sexism in every situation. without making it seem as if “everything” is all his fault, because hey it’s not.

FCM - July 12, 2012

how about this for mothers who are interested in reconciling motherhood and pro-female (feminist) beliefs. agree and understand before you ever give birth that you will nurture and support your girl children unconditionally. agree and understand before you ever give birth that you will CUT OFF your male children unconditionally if they ever victimize girls or women, or if they become sexual predators. do not support sexual predators. do not nurture them. do not advocate for them. do not waste one single moment of your time on a violent or predatory male, even if he came from your uterus. GIVE UP. GIVE UP ON YOUR OWN MALE CHILD IF HE DOES THIS. give up on him completely. do it forever.

is that even possible? many women dont seem to be able to do this, whether its coddling and supporting abusive male partners or their own pieces of shit male children no matter how badly they turn out. can we agree that this agreement and understanding would be ideal? or not? why/why not?

5. MarySunshine - July 12, 2012

FCM,

What you write above is, of course, better than what we have now.

But it sidesteps the main issue which is that nature of the attachment of female humans to their male offspring.

6. MarySunshine - July 12, 2012

oops … “that nature” should be “the nature”

7. m Andrea - July 12, 2012

love your suggestion FCM!

FCM - July 12, 2012

yes mary. it also leaves “victimize girls and women” open to interpretation, which is extremely problematic and could undermine the whole thing. for example, i think that subjecting females to mandatory PIV counts as victimizing girls and women. are any mothers of boy children — otherwise “good ones” — going to be willing to completely cut off their sons for participating in this? i seriously doubt it.

FCM - July 12, 2012

also mary, what is the nature of that attachment? can you explain what you mean by that, as well as why you think its central (and shouldnt be sidestepped)?

8. Sargasso Sea - July 12, 2012

I am also quite interested in what Mary has to say about the attachment issue.

As for parenting in general I feel very strongly that the patriarchal/nuclear family (with or with out male parents) model completely ignores that children are individual organisms and that they are going to grow up to believe and do as they please. And even being an “old fashioned Lesbian Separatist” (sheesh, where are my blue stockings?) parent does not guarantee that even our girl children will embrace feminism no matter what pains, great or subtle, we go to to point out the ubiquitous sexism.

9. MarySunshine - July 12, 2012

Hmmm. Well, ok, this comment is going to be a bit of a bombshell, but you’ve been warned.

Also, since this is not a lesbian separatist page (which wouldn’t be on the open internet anyway) I’m a bit queasy about attempting an answer.

The human mother-son bond is the primary heterosexual relationship and the key to the persistence of patriarchy all over the planet. It is a physical, sensual, heterosexual relationship *originating* in the reproductive and sexual organs of the female connecting her to that male psychically and “karmically” until one or the other of them dies. It can never be cut off.

He is her successfully male incarnation.

Never in my 68 years of life have I known, known of, or heard of, any mother of a male cutting him off for any reason.

It is the key to the persistence of the patriarchy because the strength of that psycho-sexual bond overrides any concern or awareness that the mother may have of the malignancy of his male being, and the danger that he poses to all females younger than himself.

See, we’re not talking about beliefs here: we’re talking about desires.

Her desire is that he unconditionally live and breathe, however evil, sadistic, murderous, arrogant or useless he is. And that she always be in connection to him, in his dwelling place during his childhood, or being aware of it after he is an adult. That is her desire, and that will never change.

I’ll leave it at that for now. We must start with what we know. The nature of the mother-son bond; and the fact of femicide. Males are annihilating us. Females, the sex, are being annihilated while maintaining unswerving loyalty to males and maleness.

“We”, the set of all human females, don’t get to make any “collective” decisions.

*Some* females will establish female strongholds. The women and girls within those strongholds will have sought them out, built them, and defended them against incursions by males and their female protectors. “We”, some set of random individuals, will do that. Not because of an intellectual conclusion, but because of Desire.

Desire for shared, uninterrupted, unadulterated and ongoing Female being. Female energy. More intensely, Lesbian energy.

The opposite of mother/son.

It’s not about right or wrong, good or bad, any kind of logic. It’s about female desire. And, ultimately, about Lesbian Separatist Desire.

10. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

I’ve raised two girls and a boy. I don’t see the problem here. I taught all three the exact same principles about patriarchy, violence against women, women’s rights, etc.

The only difference was that with the girls, I gave them stratagies on how to resist cultural and media pressure defining them as lesser than, and with the boy, I taught him the same in reverse.

As to not supporting a boy who harms girls, how is that different than not supporting girls who harm others, steal or commit other crimes? They all knew they were on their own if they made those wrong choices. One of them did. I stood fast to my principles, and it was never repeated.

My house has always been a gathering place for young people. Currently it is a gang of boys. They all get a dose of feminism. One of them arrived the other day and couldn’t wait to discuss my Newsvine column, which he’d just discovered. His focus was the parts about feminism. He loved what I wrote.

Boys today view women as equals more than any other generation. I’ve heard these boys talking about another student who was arrested for serial rape. They despised him.

So, again: where’s the problem?

11. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

BTW, I complete agree with Saragasso Sea’s comment #8. I believe our continuing shift toward single mother/female head of households will eventually bring significant changes. When we have multi-generational matrifocal family units, as is happening more and more, the dynamics of the hamilies are completely changed. This is how the first families were formed. In sociiety’s that are still matrifocal, violence against women is not tolerated. This is true in the great apes too. Female chimps have been seen ganging up and really beating a male who harmed a female.

12. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - July 12, 2012

I’m so utterly unmoved by male children and I have found them so unappealing and uninteresting all my life that it’s honestly a mystery to me how even their mothers could love them.

13. Mia XX - July 12, 2012

‘I am an enemy of nationalism and male domination. This means that I repudiate all nationalism except my own and reject the domination of all men except those I love. In this I am like every other woman, a pretender to rebellion because to break with patriarchy I would need to betray my own.’
-Andrea Dworkin, the first lines of the intro to Scapegoat. I think love of men by women is a huge deal, and in terms of overthrowing patriarchy, surmounting it (if such a thing is possible) means moving beyond the dialectic of battle and confrontation. I don’t know what else there is though; the problem is that men don’t love women.

14. Kris R - July 12, 2012

Ask yourself why it is a ‘problem’ for mothers to have sons – while it is not a problem for fathers to have daughters.

BTW? (And in the interests of full disclosure) It was my father who did the most to convince me I was an actual human being. No, he wasn’t perfect – but some people will overcome their culture for their children.

Maybe those mothers who can’t raise full human sons and daughters have to consider what is really best for the child. Hint. Patriarchy prob. isn’t it.

15. Mia XX - July 12, 2012

sorry, did I mean dialectic or rhetoric? perhaps both.

FCM - July 12, 2012

kris R, i have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

FCM - July 12, 2012

hugh hefner got his start with “nothing but a thousand dollar loan from mom.” notice how he minimizes what she did for him — how many women 50 years ago or now have a THOUSAND DOLLARS to give away to anyone, let alone choosing to give it to this disgusting fucking pig of a piece of shit boy child to start playboy? im not blaming hefners mother for the start or the success of playboy, or what its done to women. far from it. my point is that 1) she completely threw all women — including herself — under the bus by giving her son money and helping him start a business that was exploitative of women on its face and 2) it was probably the best investment she ever made, and assuming hef reciprocated, she ensured her own survival in her old age, where she wouldnt have to be doped up in some nursing home being raped by the orderlies because she was poor and vulnerable.

this is one way women benefit from male privilege — their sons. its a good investment. obviously, if women took care of each other in our old age, (or if the patriarchal “social safety net” did this effectively, which obviously it never will due to the conflict of interest) having this kind of nauseating “insurance policy” would not be necessary, but it *is* necessary, isnt it? how many women would say NO to this, if given the choice? i wont even ask if they should.

16. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

In reply to Mary Sunshine at #9: you may not know any women who have repudiated their sons, but I have. Two of them are my mother and my best friend.

You seem to think the so-called motherhood bond is both real and unbreakable. That’s patriarchal teachings at its finest. Patriarchy loves to glorify motherhood even as it degrades and devalues mothers. If motherhood was so unshakable as a relatinship, no mother would abuse or neglect their children. No mother would look the other way while their children were sexually abused by men (as one mother testified to in the Sandusky case, and many abuse victims have felt betrayed by). No mother would murder their children or abandon them. Yet those things are done every single day. They are very common.

This so-called motherhood bond is a lie that benefits patriarchy and harms women. Look that the fight between women and the Catholic church over birth control. The predatory RCC wants to force women to have babies. Women don’t want them. Women who choose to be childfree are attacked as selfish (no so with childfree men). Women who try to be childfree in an abusive marriage are subjected to forced pregnancies.

Our society depends upon guilting women into becoming mothers because not enough of them would choose motherhood if not pressured into it. Mills in the 18th century remarked upon this while remarking upon the resistance to laws providing more rights to women. AS he pointed out, the men who opposed them pretended motherhood was a woman’s yearning (just as you are doing) while at the same time fighting for laws that forced them to be mothers whether they wanted to or not. The hypocrisy then is still present today. Just lisen to the people who still fight against a woman’s right to choose while screaming what a great honor motherhood is — and demeaning mothers at the same time.

Childhood is used as this gleaming goal and is used as political capital to keep women under patriarchal control. Feminists shouldn’t embrace the same argument that patriarchs use to keep women subjugated.

17. Sargasso Sea - July 12, 2012

BTW, I complete agree with Saragasso Sea’s comment #8. I believe our continuing shift toward single mother/female head of households will eventually bring significant changes.

I think you misunderstand me, LK. What I’m saying is that is does NOT seem to matter, generally speaking, whether men are in the home and/or *caring* for the children or even if the women are lesbians or radical feminists – children are, and will grow up to be, whoever they are just like every single one of us.

More to the point of the original post:

My brother and I were raised by a (lesbian) feminist mother and an *in-home* father. My brother is considered the feminist in the family in spite of the well-known fact that he is a porn-taught sexual sadist/misogynist who has the Good Guy routine down pat, which not-so-surprisingly includes “despising” other rapists.

Me? I’m the bitter, jaded, radical, man-hating lesbian for pointing it out.

18. Sargasso Sea - July 12, 2012

Meant to say two things:

Thanks for the post Fact, and thanks too to Mary for your elaboration.🙂 🙂

FCM - July 12, 2012

loretta, to clarify, i am not talking about supporting or cutting off your children over being bad people (or not), or for misbehaving (or not). i am specifically talking about cutting off male children who are discovered to be abusive to girls and women, including violent or sexual abuse of girls and women. to further clarify, when i say “sexual predators” and implicate “rape” i mean the violent enforcement by men of womens sex role as fuckholes for men and breeders. that would only apply to males because they are the only ones who can do that.

FCM - July 12, 2012

i also didnt suggest it would be EASY to unconditionally support females (if they turn out to be bad people or whatever) nor will it be EASY to cut off males unconditionally when they abuse girls and women. it doesnt mean its not the right thing to do, or that its inconsistent with pro-female beliefs. im not suggesting a perfect utopia at this time, just something that is consistent with both motherhood and pro-female beliefs. thats all.

19. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

In reply to #17: Of course, under patriarchy, the home is a reflection of patriarchy, no matter who is living there. I was speaking of the future and the devlopments that female parent households will bring.

To FCM: I understand. I know mothers — including my best friend — who cut off their sons for just that reason. I’m not sure why people are surprised at this.

Of course, I also know mothers who didn’t. But I don’t know a feminist mother who is among them.

The idea that motherhood makes a woman into a robot with no ability to retain her values is mindboggling. Is that really the argument we want to make?

FCM - July 12, 2012

i cant speak for anyone else, but i am not making an argument that motherhood turns women into robots. im suggesting though that having male children is complicated and creates conflicts of interests, and introduces variables into the equation, including whether a mother will have whatever it takes to cast off the benefits of having a close male relative who is sexually or otherwise abusing girls and women, but who has earning potential and might provide security, when women and particularly mothers own ability to provide either for ourselves or each other are so sadly lacking STILL. women protect their male partners for this exact reason, so mary’s parallel between heterosexual bonds and mother/son bonds is very astute isnt it?

if women did not have male children — or if they had NO CHILDREN — this would not be an issue.

FCM - July 12, 2012

but besides the issue of mothers of sons potentially benefiting from male privilege and the conflict of interest there, i am also talking about MOTHERING and the intense caretaking behaviors that often entails. if you havent already, please read the article about the mother who dedicated her life to her sexual predator son and to all male sexual predators, after her son got into the prison system for “child pornography.” for her, it was not an option to NOT do it, and it took a lot of time and wasted time for her to come to terms even slightly with the fact that she couldnt “help” him like she wanted to. besides being pedos and sex offenders, these men are morons who cant even get home on time to satisfy their probation — so the mothers make sure they get home on time. yannow? shes not a robot, but what is that, where you cannot seem to stop yourself from performing these intense caretaking behaviors? women do it with their male partners, and they absolutely do it with theirs sons too. its a tremendous obstacle to breaking free. not having them in the first place would seem to make more sense, or at least would offer the only guarantee of never bonding with or parenting a male sex offender who is your child but also an affront to all girls and all women.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/12/living/mothers-sex-offenders/index.html?hpt=hp_bn10

20. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

The subject of childhood, children and mothers is far more complicated than we can dissect here. Women are high pressured into motherhood and the myths surrounding motherhood, so this goes beyond the financial status and all that revolves around that. It is very difficult to forego motherhood or to not perform as demanded once a woman is a mother.

But yes, the finanical and social status aspects certainly play a part.

21. Loretta Kemsley - July 12, 2012

Sorry. My comment got cut off.

As long as every woman is forced to embrace motherhood as the ideal role for women, as long as they mythology says only “bad” mothers give up on their children, as long as “bad” mothers are held responsible for whatever their children do wrong, it is extremely hard (and perhaps impossible for some) to let any child go, no matter how awful that child is and no matter which sex that child is.

As mothers, we are required to love our children instantly from the moment we suspect we are pregnant. That is a fundamental underpinning of the abortion and birth control arguments. Society expects all women to “glow” when pregnant. Women who don’t are considered “bad,” “sluts,” and worse. That does not stop once a child is born. It gets worse. A man can abandon his child without adverse reaction but a woman who takes a day for herself is condemned.

She is a “bad” mother because he is a “bad” child. If she gives up on him, her “badness” is magnified. In some communities, the first may be enough to result in shunning her. The latter would definitely result in shunning and condemnation. After all, if she was a “good” mother, he wouldn’t have done what he did, so who is she to abandon him now that she’s created this monster?

So it is understandable that some women cannot turn loose of their children, including the mother in the CNN article.

22. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

“how about this for mothers who are interested in reconciling motherhood and pro-female (feminist) beliefs. agree and understand before you ever give birth that you will nurture and support your girl children unconditionally. agree and understand before you ever give birth that you will CUT OFF your male children unconditionally if they ever victimize girls or women, or if they become sexual predators. do not support sexual predators. do not nurture them. do not advocate for them. do not waste one single moment of your time on a violent or predatory male, even if he came from your uterus. GIVE UP. GIVE UP ON YOUR OWN MALE CHILD IF HE DOES THIS. give up on him completely. do it forever”

Yes, I think this is the answer.
You know it’s interesting that it was a Japanese friend who first said to me years ago, before I became a radfem, that it’s “not always good to have a baby because they might commit a crime”.
It was the first time I’d ever heard this point of view, if you can believe it! She didn’T need to say it, but of course she was talking about having a boy. NObody needs to worry about their daughter committing a heinous crime because the chance of that happening is roughly zero.
So she was talking about having a boy, that boy committing a crime, and then the mother being in a position of wishing she could turn back the clock and regretting that she’d ever given birth.
THat lady is no radfem by anyone’s measure, but she had access to a truth that many women are in complete denial about. (she is the mother of 2 boys and 1 girl)

Anyway, I intend to give my daughter AT LEAST the same amount of emotional and economic resources, if not more, than I give my son.
And I would cut my son out of my life if he did something that hurt a female. I intend to give him the same PIV talk that I’m going to give my daughter, (the radfem version LOL).
I have a bookshelf of radfem books for my daughter to read when she hits the right age, which my son will be welcome to read also— but I don’t hold out much hope of him ever “getting it”. Women have tried and failed to raise boys as feminists. It simply doesn’t work. Males cannot SEE, and I don’t know whether this is down to their social conditioning, or nature.
At the end of the day, whether your boy turns out well or not is down to luck. There is not much mothers can do to counteract the violence in the media, which teaches boys that their role in life is to hurt females. Even cartoons do this.

23. phonaesthetica - July 13, 2012

What bugbrennan said, and also cherryblossom’s last paragraph: Much of this is down to luck. None of us can totally ameliorate the patriarchal circumstances in which we live, unless we drop out entirely and move to women’s land (and even then, I think you have to chase your son into the woods when he reaches the age of 13). We can only stack the deck in terms of parenting and education and media exposure — and pray, if we are believers — in hopes that our sons do not victimize females and that our daughters escape victimization.

FCM - July 13, 2012

There was absolutely nothing hypothetical about this post. Imagining a future without people at all was intended as a thought exercise because thinking about aborting male fetuses is too hard. Lets think about not having kids at all, there, isnt that easier? There is a bizarre pro-life undercurrent to these conversations that makes no sense to me. Whats so great about having kids at all, especially considering you might end up with boys? Infanticide is as unneccessary as it is troll bait in these forums, populated as they are with women who, generally speaking, could choose not to have kids at all if they thought it was that important to avoid male offspring. Clearly some here do not think its that important, but i think they are wrong about that, and that the proof is in the pudding.

I am talking about women who admit they are unable to reconcile, now, in real time, what they are reading on these blogs with the fact that they have male children. That having and mothering male children makes them unable to accept radical feminist observations into their worldviews, even though the observations are demonstrably true and there is no dispute about that. I think we need to hear them when they tell us (and show us!) what mothering sons has done and is doing to them.

Just today, a reader asked me what she is supposed to do to reconcile the truth about men (specifically piv criticism) with the fact that she has sons. The only answer i can come up with is that you should accept the truth unconditionally, because its the fucking truth. Radicals accept that. The truth is always acceptable, no matter what, especially the truth about womens lives and about what men do. I have no idea how we ended up here, talking about prayer. Wtf?

24. radicalementvotre - July 13, 2012

I have to say that when I learned that I was going to have a daughter, I was relieved. I love children, regardless of their sex. The problem is that boys are eventually catching up on patriarchy-manufactured male privilege, which they use and/or abuse (to different degree, but they do). One mother’s influence, which is overestimated (easier to blame her later for the problems patriarchal society created), is not enough to counter larger society’s patriarchal teachings.
I may be talking about things I don’t know all about and which I will never experience, but for me, the answer to the question ‘i have a male child, how do i reconcile that fact with what i have just read (i.e. radical feminism)?’ is: if you are a radical feminist, you raise your son accordingly and keep putting women first, even if that means you need to stand against your own son. Yes, it would be heartbreaking, but still… Having a son and putting women’s wellbeing first does not have to be mutually exclusive. As a radical feminist, my first loyalty is to women/myself. Children are not extensions of ourselves.
We know that we sometimes make ‘choices’ in life that are not always consistent with our feminist beliefs (shaving our legs, etc.). As radical feminists, we do not think that anything a woman does is feminist on the basis that it is her choice, neither that choices are influence/pressure-free. Is not having children altogether is the ultimate radical feminist choice to make under patriarchy? I don’t know…

FCM - July 13, 2012

And im sorry, but anyone with male children is pretty much obligated to back away from piv criticism eventually, if they want to continue seeing their wee nigels in a flattering light. Even though mandatory piv has harmed more girls and women across time and place than probably anything else, even radical feminist mothers of sons will gerrymander their definition of abuse and female harm to exclude piv (wont they?) as soon as little nigel falls in love for the first time and starts placing his gf in harms way with his dick. This is just more of the same shit though. Women are expert gerrymanderers. None of their nigels are abusive or bad at all, nope no way. As long as you define abuse to exclude everything he actually does.

25. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

“but anyone with male children is pretty much obligated to back away from piv criticism eventually, if they want to continue seeing their wee nigels in a flattering light.”

It’s not just sons. It’s boyfriends, husbands, fathers and brothers. It was not easy for me to realise that my beloved little brothers didn’t get radical feminism. It certainly was not easy for me to accept that my father didn’T see a problem with porn, and that all my mother’s problems had essentially been caused by him, not by her “madness”. And it won’t be easy to accept that my son will one day uphold the patriarchy in some way. Plenty of wives enable their husbands abuse of women. I find that MUCH weirder.

But for mothers, it’s as hard for a daughter to admit that her father is not the great guy she thought he was, as it is for a mother to admit her son is not the great guy she thought he was. We know that many daughters will defend their abusive fathers.

It’s about control and about being taught that your child’s behaviour is a reflection on you as a person. The mother who defends her sex-offender son is doing so because she has been taught that he’s turned out that way because of her. This is what patriarchal psychiatry teaches us, after all. So if she can convince herself that he’s not bad, then she can tell the world that she didn’t fuck up as a mother.
Women are taught that their self-worth is wrapped up in how their children behave. All of this is social conditioning. I don’t believe there’s anything natural about always seeing the good in your children.

It’s terribly sad, because nobody is telling her that there was nothing she could have done to create a different outcome. Patriarchy created the monster, not her.

So women have to be willing to let go and realise that they are up against cultural forces beyond their control. When they do this, they are able to stop seeing their sons in a flattering light.

26. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

So that’s the first issue: whether mothers can accept their little nigels are bad. Yes, I think they can.

The second issue is whether women should have children at all. I think this is where we will probably not agree. I don’t think women should not get pregnant for the sake of the revolution, because even though many women around the world don’t have the choice, some of us do, and it’s our birthright as women. I’d be more in favour of taking up arms in an organized, violent revolution. That would be my strategy.

Japanese women are not having children. Japan has the lowest birthrate in the entire world, so they are enacting your strategy right now as we speak.

27. Loretta Kemsley - July 13, 2012

Okay, now your into the realm of conflicting desires. Assuming the mother believe all PIV is harmful (the CNN mother doesn’t seem to be there), that won’t necessarily stop her body from wanting PIV. For herself, she may be able to manage the conflict, but her children are another story — children of both sexes.

There her conflict would be her belief about PIV and her desire to believe her children won’t come to harm and/or commit harm. How would she tell an adult child who wants to be a parent “I forbid you from having PIV”? For that matter, how would she tell an adult child who really loves PIV not to have PIV?

Parents don’t have that control over any choice their adult children make. The best they can hope for is they did a good job of teaching the child their beliefs and the child adopts them.

That very often does not happen, not even with religion which is a powerful dominator of people’s decisions. So how would her belief in the harm of PIV be powerful enough to have her children follow her beliefs?

The average parent would not condemn their children for engaging in PIV (although religions have tried that for centuries) no matter what the parent believes. They would respect their child’s right to make their own decision.

Of course, if an adult male child was forcing himself upon a woman, that would be far different than voluntary PIV. (Yes, there is voluntary PIV, IMO, because of personal experiences)

Unfortunately, too many religions still teach obligatory PIV within marriage. If the parent believes this, then it would not occur to them their son was doing anything wrong — or their daughter for giving in, for that matter.

The CNN woman is an aberation to the above in that she’s defending her son’s child porn use. She’s bought into his perversion. Most women would agree with that, but would most women agree that the son is commiting perversion for voluntary PIV? I don’t think so.

FCM - July 13, 2012

Of course the not my nigeling applies to womens relationships with all men, yes. This is an issue. But whether we have male relatives like fathers or brothers is not voluntary on our part (although they can often be gotten rid of), and male partners are not vulnerable like children are. Mary obviously believes that bond is for life. Cherry says it makes more sense for women to defend their sons than to defend grown men which is absolutely true imo. Thats kind of my point actually. What the cnn mother did makes terrible, terrible sense, yes. Which is an excellent reason not to ever put yourself in that unique position occupied by mothers of children, if you may end up performing that function for a boy, because of what boys are known to do AND because of what mothers are known to do for their children, which is absolutely everything they can, isnt it? Even so called bad mothers are often doing their best arent they?

Having boy children is an obstacle to accepting and processing the truth and to advancing pro female beliefs for women who want to do that. Handmaidens like the cnn mother are not there obvs, nor are they the ones leaving pained and conflicted comments on my blog. Im just saying.

FCM - July 13, 2012

I also keep imagining what would happen to a mother of a young son if she suddenly became aware (for example) that males as a class were revolting. Disgust and revulsion are antithetical to the cuteness and attachment many women report being a part of motherhood for them (baby smell and big eyes, hormonal bonding during breastfeeding) so what would happen if part of that bond was broken for any reason, but she still had legal, social and moral responsibility for a male infant? Resisting the truth is a survival mechanism, we already know this, but the conflict of interest here for mothers of sons might be worse than in other situations. Evolution itself might be against it. It is possible isnt it? Avoid revulsion at all costs? Im trying to listen to what these women are saying. Normally i dont even publish these comments but i do get them fairly frequently.

28. witchwind - July 13, 2012

Didn’t have time to read all the comments to the end, but just want to add that I know quite a few women who would not only reject their sons if they sexually offended against women, but would also make sure they would be punished and went to prison. And they are very firm about it.

In Kenya some women who survived rape in war and were subsequently shunned by their communities (because they supposedly “dishounored” the family), decided to form a village of only women, outside the other villages. When some women have male babies, when they grow up, if they don’t obey the rules of respect to women, they get immediately chucked out from the village by all the women and sent back to the former male-dominated communities.

This is what all women need to do with any man who enforces PIV on women, whether it be their father, husband, friend, son, cousin, brother or whoever.

Stockholm syndrome and trauma bonding is pretty much the same to men as to sons. Abuse from sons in the home is extremely frequent, especially when the son becomes adult and the father/husband is already abusive – he basically copies his father’s attitude. So the mother is likely to be as subserviant to her son as she is to her husband, except that she won’t be expected to submit to PIV with her son, but sacrifice her life and blood to him. Rather than talking about a natural bond, it’s a traumatic bond and a result of being enslaved to raise and breed male babies for men, and a result of the system of terror put in place by men.

29. witchwind - July 13, 2012

Not so long ago I read a story of a son beating up his mother because she didn’t cook his steack as he wanted (that’s the reason the press gave, but the real reason is that he hated his mother to the point of beating her up).

30. witchwind - July 13, 2012

Last comment, but I’d also say that the extent of devotion a women has to her son depends a lot on the degree to which she was isolated with her male children, the degree to which she has been destroyed by other adult men either in childhood or adulthood, and the extent to which she was ordered by her husband (male owner) or surroundings to sacrifice herself entirely to her son, to the point of losing any kind of individual subjectivitym identity, etc. It’s really the same mechanism as intimate male abuse.

31. Loretta Kemsley - July 13, 2012

I’m as loathe to include evolution as I am religion. Evolution was built by a misogynist group of men too.

The idea of “maternal instinct” has been used to hold women back as much as any other piece of garbage out of misogynist mouths.

But I’ve been wondering: what would be the difference between the mother who truly believes in harm from PIV while still accepting her son who does not believe vs the parent who truly believe in a religion while still accepting a child who does not believe.

My father never wavered in his love for me even though he deeply believed in his religion and I rejected it. He was postive I made a serious mistake, including my eternal future, even though he never believed I was a bad person.

FCM - July 13, 2012

yes i agree that “evolution” as we know it must be a patriarchal concept mustnt it? disagree with making parallels between radical feminist “beliefs” and religion though, although i see what you are saying. is it wrong to cut *existing* people off for not accepting your worldview? in the case of a radical feminist worldview versus the alternative, i would say that it is *not* wrong to do that. its also straining the concept of “worldview” to make it fit both situations, here i think language is lacking, or we are doing it wrong. and we are considering not only existing people, but those who do not exist yet bc we havent created them. again, in the case of children, for many people reading this blog anyway, its a choice. its not a matter of cutting existing people out, its a matter of not putting yourself in that situation at all. we used to have young ‘uns reading here, i hope thats still the case? for some, its not too late to decide not to do it. there is evidence that having BOY CHILDREN is an obstacle to accepting the truth. this should be known.

at any rate, how would women respond to other women who report this obstacle? i think witchwind sums it up nicely:

the extent of devotion a women has to her son depends a lot on the degree to which she was isolated with her male children, the degree to which she has been destroyed by other adult men either in childhood or adulthood, and the extent to which she was ordered by her husband (male owner) or surroundings to sacrifice herself entirely to her son, to the point of losing any kind of individual subjectivitym identity, etc. It’s really the same mechanism as intimate male abuse.

KNOWING THIS, knowing that the way things are set up now, this is likely to happen to you when you have male children, is it consistent with pro-female beliefs — and your ability to continue with pro-female beliefs and actions — to do it anyway? we are all damaged and conditioned to defer to males. does any of us believe we can opt out of that? why are any of us that special? im just asking.

32. Loretta Kemsley - July 13, 2012

As to cutting people off, that would have to be an individual descision. Would a woman feel better or worse? I would also think it would depend upon many factors. She might feel better doing it to one person while worse with another. I’ve cut people out of my life for a vareity of reasons, including their personal beliefs about women and feminism.

I don’t believe feminism is comparitive to religion, at least not to me, but I’ve seen signs some are heading in that direction, especially those who are into the sacred feminine. It worries me because dogma is something I abhor. Dogma stops all progress. But in this discussion, it seemed an apt parallel. I couldn’t think of another.

Witchwind’s posts are powerful. I avoided answering them because I found them painful and haven’t yet had the time to process them. We are all damaged. From the time we’re little girls. I remember feeling dead inside long about four years old. Male violence against women keeps us there, which keeps us dependent because we are so damaged it’s hard to prosper on our own.

Would cutting someone off arise from this damage or from a healthy response to the damage? I have yet to figure that out. I would think we need to answer that question before we cut them off, and yet, we cut them off in order to protect ourselves from more hurt, so that answer may not be possible until after we feel safe from them.

I try to stay conscious about the possibility I’m reacting in the present to things that have happened in the past — which the person in the present should not have to pay for. This is true on a maternal level too. Are we reacting to what our children actually do or represent, or are we reacting to the harms inflicted long ago? If we cannot separate the two, can we instill progress toward a better world for women?

FCM - July 13, 2012

also, i titled this piece “hate speech” because that is what this is: we arent even supposed to be discussing this. it is literally THAT taboo for women to discuss the implications to us of having male children. men (including transwomen) compare this kind of talk to genocide. it would be against the law, if it were up to them. the ONLY reason its not, in the places its not, is bc the men in these places want unfettered access to porn. isnt it? it sickens me to think about where our “free speech” rights come from, but that is where they come from. its the other side of the coin, and men will not give up their side ever.

33. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

I agree with everything witchwind has said here.

I’m interested in the concept of not having children as a radfem strategy, but I do think there are alternatives. Greer (who is childless) did not advocate going in this direction. I also can’t help thinking of China, where women are not allowed to have a second child. Patriarchy manifests in different forms. What does that law tell Chinese women about their bodies and how their reproductive capabilities are regarded by society?

In Japan women have not been having children for a long time. It has helped women in that they certainly have more personal freedom and are not chained to the kitchen sink, but to be honest, I’m the most radical person I know–here and at home– and I’ve got a son, so I honestly do not think there is a correlation between “likelihood of being *for* women” and “having a son”. No correlation at all.

WHat is the point of having loads of childless women in any given society if those women don’t have a radical bone in their bodies? If they defer to men? If they’re obsessed with femininity? If the reason they chose not to have kids so they could buy more Louis Vitton bags?
It doesn’t put much of a dint in the patriarchal structure.

Compare that strategy to the suffragists. I don’t know much about them but I know they broke windows, smashed up property, confronted the police, were beaten and went on hunger strikes. My bet is that some of those suffragists were mothers of sons, and some of the women who stayed at home and didn’t bother were childless.

What if it was more efficient to take the land that was stolen from us all back by force? Our last hurrah. They’re killing and maiming us anyway, picking us off one by one. I imagine a final showdown between men and women LOL. Yes, women against men, and those men who are for women can stay at home (we don’T want us fighting our battles, thank you). I do hope my son would choose to stay at home that day, but if he doesn’t, if he chooses to fight against women, then so be it.

34. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

The book “We need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver touches on this issue quite well. IN real life Shriver actively chose not to have a child just in case it was a boy who by some godawful chance turned into a sociopath that killed his classmates. This was the inspiration for her book.
It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read… and yet Shriver is one hell of a misogynist in her own way. She writes of the “sliver of revulsion” people feel when they pass a pregnant woman.
Well, yes, if you view the world through a patriarchal lense that might be how you react to pregnancy. IN other words, how MEN react to pregnancy.

So again, no correlation between women not having male children and being capable of LOVING other women enough to become a radfem.

FCM - July 13, 2012

i admit that your advocating extreme violence here tickles me cherry. 🙂 again, this is all very taboo. but i am noticing that this conversation keeps…moving toward the hypothetical, or toward futuristic radfem utpoia thinking, or “radfem strategy” and other things which are all very interesting, yes. and i will never knowingly shut down a good conversation (although i may try — and fail — to force a conversation that just aint happening). 🙂

the individualism in this thread is also bothering me, like the very idea of raising unicorns i mean feminist sons, or of still managing to be radical, even though you have a boy child. what about the women who are unable to do that? or, are you all suggesting that its THOSE women who are the special snowflakes and we (therefore) shouldnt take their self-reports very seriously?

35. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

lol🙂
Well, I’ve also just had some new commenter on my blog this week going on about how she can’t reconcile the fact she’s got a son with radical feminism, complete with a LENGTHY explanation of how we should be willing to cooperate with men. I told her to go and read up on radical feminism and come back to me later with any questions she might have.
I don’T think having a son is going to stop you going to the end of your thoughts. Either you’re going to get there, or you’re not. Either you read Dworkin for the first time and the sky falls in, or you read her and shrug and pick up the TV remote. I just don’t think whether you have a son or not is going to influence that paradigm shift that takes place in your thoughts when you GET IT..

FCM - July 13, 2012

I think what youre describing is a troll. I have those too, but this one seemed sincere to me and did not (for example) suggest that we cooperate with men. There are also those who are experiencing this specific obstacle but we never hear from them. Its consuming my thoughts at the moment obviously, perhaps bc its part of the larger conversation weve been having around silencing womens speech in general and around this issue in particular. Its hate speech to even talk about it. The forbidden nature of this makes me want to do it more, not just bc im a contrarian but bc its a giant red flag. Our continuing to mother sons in particular without question is huge to the patriarchs and its supposed to fly under our radar apparently, or we are supposed to feel so terrified of broaching it we never do.

Tl; dr The global genocide against baby girls indicates that our mothering CHILDREN regardless of sex is not really the point. This is about mothering specifically BOYS. Why?

36. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

Maybe this?

http://www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/fryesep.htm

If it is true that a fundamental aspect of the relations between the sexes is male parasitism, it might help to explain why certain issues are particularly exciting to patriarchal loyalists. For instance, in view of the obvious advantages of easy abortion to population control, to control of welfare rolls, and to ensuring sexual availability of women to men, it is a little surprising that the loyalists are so adamant and riled up in their objection to it. But look. ..

The fetus lives parasitically. It is a distinct animal surviving off the life (the blood) of another animal creature. It is incapable of surviving on its own resources, of independent nutrition; incapable even of symbiosis. If it is true that males live parasitically upon females, it seems reasonable to suppose that many of them and those loyal to them are in some way sensitive to the parallelism between their situation and that of the fetus. They could easily identify with the fetus. The woman who is free to see the fetus as a parasite(F4) might be free to see the man as a parasite. The woman’s willingness to cut off the life line to one parasite suggests a willingness to cut off the life line to another parasite. The woman who is capable (legally, psychologically, physically) of decisively, self-interestedly, independently rejecting the one parasite, is capable of rejecting, with the same decisiveness and independence, the like burden of the other parasite. In the eyes of the other parasite, the image of the wholly self-determined abortion, involving not even a ritual submission to male veto power, is the mirror image of death.

Another clue here is that one line of argument against free and easy abortion is the slippery slope argument that if fetuses are to be freely dispensed with, old people will be next. Old people? Why are old people next? And why the great concern for them? Most old people are women, indeed, and patriarchal loyalists are not generally so solicitous of the welfare of any women. Why old people? Because, I think, in the modem patriarchal divisions of labor, old people too are parasites on women. The anti-abortion folks seem not to worry about wife beating and wife murder-there is no broad or emotional popular support for stopping these violences. They do not worry about murder and involuntary sterilization in prisons, nor murder in war, nor murder by pollution and industrial accidents. Either these are not real to them or they cannot identify with the victims; but anyway, killing in general is not what they oppose. They worry about the rejection by women, at women’s discretion, of something which lives parasitically on women. I suspect that they fret not because old people are next, but because men are next.

There are other reasons, of course, why patriarchal loyalists should be disturbed about abortion on demand; a major one being that it would be a significant form of female control of reproduction, and at least from certain angles it looks like the progress of patriarchy is the progress toward male control of reproduction, starting with possession of wives and continuing through the invention of obstetrics and the technology of extrauterine gestation. Giving up that control would be giving up patriarchy. But such an objection to abortion is too abstract, and requires too historical a vision, to generate the hysteria there is now in the reaction against abortion. The hysteria is, I think, to be accounted for more in terms of a much more immediate and personal presentiment of ejection by the woman-womb.(6)

I discuss abortion here because it seems to me to be the most publicly emotional and most physically dramatic ground on which the theme of separation and male parasitism is presently being played out. But there are other locales for this play. For instance,(7) women with newly raised consciousnesses tend to leave marriages and families, either completely through divorce, or partially, through unavailability of their cooking, housekeeping and sexual services. And women academics tend to become alienated from their colleagues and male mentors and no longer serve as sounding board, ego booster, editor, mistress or proofreader. Many awakening women become celibate or lesbian, and the others become a very great deal more choosy about when, where and in what relationships they will have sex with men. And the men affected by these separations generally react with defensive hostility, anxiety and guilt-tripping, not to mention descents into illogical argument which match and exceed their own most fanciful images of female irrationality. My claim is that they are very afraid because they depend very heavily upon the goods they receive from women, and these separations cut them off from those goods.

Male parasitism means that males must have access to women; it is the Patriarchal Imperative. But feminist no-saying is more than a substantial removal (redirection, reallocation) of goods and services because Access is one of the faces of Power. Female denial of male access to females substantially cuts off a flow of benefits, but it has also the form and full portent of assumption of power.

37. MarySunshine - July 13, 2012

Cherry, thank you for that. Marilyn Frye rocks.

38. m Andrea - July 13, 2012

Btw. I said these feminist women have raised “seriously awesome” sons. But it’s important for people to remember that the vast majority of the population aren’t feminist and so aren’t raising their children with those values. Most boys are still raised with the same god-awful entitlement they always have been.

39. m Andrea - July 13, 2012

I meant, let’s notice reality. I don’t trust the opinion of people who are stuck in la-la land.

40. Loretta Kemsley - July 13, 2012

As to this being hate speech, yes, there are many who will claim that. What’s new? I’ve heard that since childhood. Anything that doesn’t toe the line is labeled hate speech.

I agree that having a son won’t stop you from going to the end of your thoughts. Only you can do that and it’s already within no matter what children you birth or what sex you birth. Some people overcome self-censorship. Others never do. That’s their choice and shouldn’t be blamed on childbirth.

This is the bottom line. Very well said, cherryblossom life:

Male parasitism means that males must have access to women; it is the Patriarchal Imperative. But feminist no-saying is more than a substantial removal (redirection, reallocation) of goods and services because Access is one of the faces of Power. Female denial of male access to females substantially cuts off a flow of benefits, but it has also the form and full portent of assumption of power.

We should all aim at the full assumption of power. That’s where women fail the most.

FCM - July 13, 2012

Thanks for that passage cherry. 🙂

41. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - July 13, 2012

As to “seriously awesome” sons – I know someone online who said her son (early 20s) was an “awesome human being”. About a year later she said she found out he was fairly unconscious of what women go through in this world and that it was a “nasty surprise.” And she brought him up as a single feminist mom, thought she knew him so well.

42. phonaesthetica - July 13, 2012

At Feminist Reprise – http://www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/sjohnson1.htm – I found a circa-1989 essay by Sonia Johnson (mother of three sons) titled “Rearing Nice Sons Can’t Change the World.” It addresses radfems’ belief that they will raise their sons to be different:

“…I’m certain that when they say this they are utterly sincere and well-meaning. I am certain that they have no intention of insulting the vast rest of us—living and dead—who have had sons we were not able to turn into a new breed of men. I’m equally certain they believe they will succeed where hundreds of generations of us have failed.

But it still hurts me that they so thoughtlessly participate in this unconscious blaming of all previous mothers for the wretched condition of the world. I am surprised that they believe that women can change the basic formative fact of men’s lives—which is that every man born automatically has violence-based-and-perpetuated privilege—by rearing their sons to be profeminist.

After long thought, I have concluded that women who have not been the mothers of adolescent males understand neither their own position in patriarchy nor the position of their sons. Patriarchy tells mothers unctuously that we are very important and have much influence, but its behavior speaks louder than its words. Of all persons in patriarchal society, mothers have been set up to have least credibility.

In the face of this enormous handicap, and despite there being at present no way to be a man that is both acceptable to the Mothers as well as to the fathers, we have been able to counter some of what patriarchy has taught our sons about how to be human. And so our sons may be more consious, less violent, more decent than their forebears (though to counteract feminist influence, male media violence has been stepped up a hundredfold; mothers’ love is simply no match for it).

Despite our best efforts, however, our sons must be male. And to be male in patriarchy means to have automatic privilege in relation to the females of one’s group, privilege one gets only through unceasing male violence and terrorism against them. Until this is no longer true, our sons will be characteriologically damaged by patriarchy no matter what we do. Until this is no longer true, it doesn’t matter how hard we try to teach our sons another way of being men, they will in some way still be monsters. Some less monstrous than others, but all monstrous.

This is the reason that women’s raising sons has not changed the world, not because mothers didn’t want passionately for our sons to be decent, loving, and good, and do everything we could think of to bring that about, but because by its very nature having privilege at others’ expense renders one unable to be fully decent, loving, and good.

This is the reason feminists rearing sons can never change the world. We must simply give up forever the idea that we can change anything through someone else: our sons, our husbands, any man, any other woman. We can only change ourselves. That’s all, but that’s the She/Volution.”

43. cherryblossomlife - July 13, 2012

Yes, we’re not inventing the wheel. I take it for granted that, since the dawn of patriarchy, mothers have been trying desperately to raise their boys to respect women. Despite their best efforts it’s been proven time and time again that their influence just doesn’t make a dint in their son’s worldview.
And witchwind’s point about sons bullying their mothers is another taboo subject. I’ve seen this in action a lot.

FCM - July 13, 2012

Thanks for that phona. It does imply that its other womens fault we have so many bad men out there to say you could do it better yourself doesnt it? Its not womens fault.

44. radicalementvotre - July 14, 2012

‘i titled this piece “hate speech” because that is what this is: we arent even supposed to be discussing this’.

Women are not supposed to talk about their reality. Women talking about their reality imply naming male privilege, men’s abuse and violence. This leads to asking legitimate questions. Women naming their reality is considered ‘hate speech’ against men because they know the logical conclusion is that we have every reason to hate them.

45. m Andrea - July 15, 2012

hmmm, I don’t know how to say this. An common analogy for patriarchy is the ocean. As in, we’re all soaking in it (and hey some of us are drowning in it). And in this ocean, feminist women give birth to sons and now the sons are swimming in it too.

I have literally never heard any feminist blame a feminist mother if she cannot save her son. And that is what I suspect too many folks here are afraid of — that some of us are “blaming” feminists mothers who end up with boys who are sexist piggies. But au contraire, what is being blamed, is the mother who doesn’t even try.

FCM - July 15, 2012

If a male human grows up unable to fly like a bird, whether his mother tried to teach him to fly like a bird is irrlevant. Thats one point. If its impossible to raise a feminist man, because men by definition cannot be feminist, the mothers actions are not relevant one way or the other. Likewise, if a mothers actions are irrelevant in other ways to how boys and men turn out, including whether they are even basically decent humans who dont kick puppies, then mothers cannot be blamed period. There is evidence that this is, in fact the case. It doesnt matter what mothers do or dont do. If youre suggesting its acceptable or advisable for a woman to have a male child, do her best to raise him well and see what happens, my response would be WHY? Why on earth would it be acceptable or advisable for her to do that? Whats in it for her, and whats in it for anyone? Men are basically worthless. A dime a dozen at most. And the damage they cause is huge. Under what circumstances if any is this ever worth it for an individual woman or all women, or for society at large? This is a serious question.

46. magdela33 - July 16, 2012

I am a long-term reader here but I’ve never posted before – I love your work and I regularly share it far and wide🙂

I just needed to say that although I agree with your theory here (in that women who sell out to males cause enormous problems/pain and that males are absorbing misogyny and entitlement every day of their lives as we all live in the sea of patriarchy) I honestly find some of your wording to be woman-hating and mother blaming.

There is an insinuation that women who are mothers of males chose to reproduce and that is not always or even mostly true.

There is an insinuation that a mother of boys cannot be a genuine feminist, that she is a traitor to the cause; there is a presumption that she will choose her son over females…your comment that it’s “too late for them” – reeks of superiority.

But the most offensive aspect of this post is the condescending depiction of mothers that presents adult human beings who happen to be female, who happen to be mothers, as infantile idiots who cannot separate their own shit/baggage in order to comprehend radfem political analysis just because they birth a male.

There is a sense of women being held responsible for the accident of biology which resulted in them birthing sons. There is an implication in your post and comments that women are so blinded by the bullshit of ‘maternal devotion’ that we are too love drunk to wake up and smell the misogyny of our sons – this is not a universal truth – at all. Women from all classes can and do wake up.

We are all steeped in misogyny from birth – having a son makes it no harder – being childfree makes it no harder … All women with intelligence and study can come to understand radical feminist theory: our brains don’t fall out during childbirth.

Also, women are groomed to accept PIV, PIV leads to birth, 50% of babies are male, many women come to radical feminism after having children and there is no way for them to turn back time to become gold star radfems but they can, like all radfems, see through the bullshit if they open their eyes.

I understand lots of radfem analysis and I don’t believe that understanding radfem analysis is dependent upon never having birthed a male. This article does project nasty woman hating ‘dumb breeder’ stereotypes onto women – stereotypes I’ve heard used by men to disparage women – I hate that shit – I don’t care who is presenting women with kids as ‘dumb breeders’ – I get angry about misogyny when I see it.

Deriding women on the basis that they have birthed is woman hating.

FCM - July 16, 2012

Im talking about the implications to women of having boy children. If you think there arent any, please provide a reason you think thats true. Include a response to women who report the opposite, if you think their self reports are relevant. Include an analysis of how patriarchy does not benefit from this at womens expense, if you can. Describe in detail how this conversation should be had or worded so that no women are offended, or as few as possible (bc while its impossible to not offend anyone, offending some women is ok, as long as YOU, individually, arent personally offended. Right?)

Im talking about the conflict of interest there that patriarchy literally delivers to women globally, on purpose, through mandatory piv and rape and cumpulsory heterosexuality and the myths of motherhood, combined with global female infanticide. And pointing out that some women, and ones who read here do have a choice which is true.

Honestly i see a lot of misplaced anger in your comment, and i say that bc you are angry at me or this post or whatever for things i havent said and would never say. That all women choose to become impregnated and give birth, for example. If youve read my work, you would know i understand very well that this is not the case. Yet you *think* youve read that here. That specific reading comprehendion fail is interesting, considering the subject of this post.

What would happen if all women who did have a choice, which granted isnt many globally, decided not to birth males anymore? Why do they continue to choose the opposite when they dont have to? Do they have an actual reason? What ever happened to community, and making decisions with the community in mind? What ever happened to protecting your own self interests? How could deliberately birthing males be or do any of that? Im just asking.

What you seem to be suggesting is that we not have the conversation (bc to do it inoffensively would be impossible). But there are in fact young people reading here who might benefit from an honest discussion about this particular issue (the implications to women of having boy children) and framing it as a conflict of interest, which it is. And i dont know, sorry you dont like it? Maybe you will enjoy the next post better.

47. Loretta Kemsley - July 16, 2012

I like the analogy of patriarchy being the ocean, and women drowning in it. I also like the idea of their children drowning in it too. I’d go a bit further and suggest some mothers risk drowning in order to try to save their children. We see this in domestic abuse, where the mother steps between the abuser and her child, taking the blows herself in the hopes her child can escape. Of course, that works only temporarily unless she can gather her children and take them to safety somewhere far from the terrorist called husband and father. Doing so is almost impossible although a few do make it.

Our legal system imprisons mothers who do not make that escape then the terrorist finally kills a child. Failure to protect. Acting by not acting. Call it what they will, they blame the mother for the actions of the terrorist.

So is the mother who births any child at all, but most especially a son, in the ocean of patriarchy also to blame when her child drowns? Failure to protect. Acting by not acting. Is that what we’re arguing here? Should she save herself from drowning while letting her child drown, or is that too callous and in need of prison terms? If she’s willing to sacrifice herself in order to (at least temporarily) save her child, is she to blame then too?

Most mothers do not have a choice. In one way or another, they are forced into pregnancy. Of those who think they have a choice, that’s usually a false belief. Our society compels us to birth children or face shunning. Whenever I’ve posted something about being childfree on my column, there are people who show up just to shame, blame and guilt the childfree women into birthing children they do not want — women they do not know. Can you imagine the fate of childfree women they do know? Our medical networks do the same. Can’t have a tubal ligation until you’ve produced enough mandatory children. If you can’t get pregnant, you must spend your life savings on IVF. You can get some form of birth control, but we all know that isn’t reliable. Lots of children born to women on birth control. Politically, we’re pressured too. Birth control and abortion are always in peril with a large contingency trying to outlaw them. Religion is the worst. God says women’s only purpose is serving patriarchy via sex on demand and birthing children.

So debating the difference between women who can “choose” vs women who can’t is rather pointless. I didn’t choose. My biology did, but I’m still a mother. I didn’t choose to become a grandmother but I still am a grandmother.

I agree with Magdala that birth doesn’t stop our ability to think critically. in fact, i think it might inspire a lot of women to become rad fems. They see how powerless they are to save their children from drowning, so they learn more in an effort to get those tools that will save their children. Doesn’t work, but that is their inspiration.

That’s how I became a feminist: I was trying to escape my personal terrorist while the patriarchy kept insisting I had no right to escape. I saw the danger to my children while the patriarchy kept insisting there was no danger to them. It is not women who create feminists. It is patriarchy and patriarchy’s terrorists. When you know you are drowning, you grab onto what helps you float. Feminism is the only raft available.

As a mother, grandmother, woman and human, I know it is not in me to let boys drown anymore than it is in me to let girls drown. Hope springs eternal. But that doesn’t make me less a feminist. It just means I want there to be more rafts so more can be saved.

Collectively, we are making an impact even while we’re drowning. Patriarchy won’t disappear in our lifetime, but it’s hold is lessening legally. That’s why there is such a backlash against birth control and abortion. That’s why pressure is increasing to force women into motherhood and even why women are being punished for not living up to the false ideals once they are mothers. Motherhood is the key to keeping men in charge. Patriarchs know that and they’re panicking because women are figuring it out.

We do need to have this discussion, and I suspect there are many whose comments are being trashed because they are screaming in ways meant to shut this discussion down. I don’t see Magdala’s comments as being in this league and I know you don’t either, FCM, because you didn’t trash it. I’m glad she spoke out because she probably represents many mothers who are reading and confused as to why they are being blamed or if they are being blamed.

Yes, even having this discussion at all makes mothers (all of us, including me) uncomfortable. But isn’t that what we need, to be brought into discomfort so we can think it through and then reach beyond our comfort level to a better place? But we also should be clear: we’re not blaming mothers. They aren’t responsible for the ocean and the millions drowning in front of their eyes. They don’t even have the power to stop their own child from drowning although they can provide a raft or two in an effort to save them.

FCM - July 16, 2012

I believe i was clear that blaming mothers is inappropriate. I said it more than once. Suggesting that any of us individually or collectively can conspire to birth and raise sons that are not raging misogynists, is blaming mothers imo. Its the other side of the coin is all, it blames mothers but without doing it directly. Accepting responsibility for how men turn out AT ALL whether for good or bad is blaming mothers for raising bad boys and men (as well as good, see how that works?) its a trap. Its not fair to do that but several on this thread are doing it anyway, and its not being interpreted as mother blaming even though it is. Whats going on here?

FCM - July 16, 2012

Also, unless i am missing something, i dont see anyone responding to the women who are self reporting on my blog that having boy children, for them, presents a significant and potentially insurmountable obstacle to assimilating radical truths into their worldviews, even though they understand the concepts and do not necessarily disagree with them.

I guess i am suggesting that those women are probably not statistically insignificant outliers. Do others think they are?

48. Loretta Kemsley - July 16, 2012

I have been interpreting this entire discussion as being about them. I just don’t understand why they cannot assimilate rad fem theory into their worldview because they have sons. Would they assimilate it if they didn’t have sons? I have doubts they would. By framing their objections around their sons, aren’t they really saying, “I don’t like that idea, so I’m going to reject it”?

We see this in women married to terrorists. They don’t want to reject the terrorist, so they reject the realities underlying domestic terrorism. It’s not his fault. He “snapped” because of something that happened that day. The fact he “snaps” at least once a week is ignored and that “snapping” works for him because it keeps her from exerting power in her own life is also ignored.

It isn’t that she can’t assimilate the realities of domestic terrorism. It’s that she chooses not to. Same with a mother with a son. If she chose to assimilate rad fem theory into her life, she could. Having a son doesn’t disrupt that ability. Lots of us do. So she needs to look deeper and find the real reason why she opts out. She needs to quit blaming her son and own the responsibility as her own.

FCM - July 16, 2012

Well, I dont know why they are self reporting that they cant. Cherry had a troll who started out talking about her sons and then went on a what about the men rant. Theres a person who is clearly making excuses for men, and criticising and dismissing radical feminism but who doesnt actually get it or want to get it. I get some of those from time to time. I also get some of the other kind who seem different. Maybe theyre all just trolling me. lol

Maybe there really is no *related* political point or significance to what appears to be a global policy of making sure women are mothering specifically boys, by enforcing mandatory piv and motherhood, and then killing baby girls. Maybe.

49. Loretta Kemsley - July 16, 2012

There is no doubt that there is a global effort to ensure boys survive and girls are killed off. But does that have anything to do with the mothers? I don’t think so. Mothers are invisible as people in those societies. It’s the boy who is important, not his mother.

The woman who posted at Cherry’s sounds like she fits exactly what I’m talking about. She rejects rad fem theory because she doesn’t like it.

The “other mothers” you speak of….how are they different? If they liked rad fem theory, would having a boy in their house prevent them from making it part of their world view? if so, how? Boys don’t control their mother’s thoughts. Their mothers are in total control of what they think. They’ve opted not to go to the end of their thoughts, for whatever reason.

Perhaps they feel guilty or ashamed to have those “secret” thoughts, so they can’t adopt the worldview that discusses them publicly.

Perhaps they belong to a religion that shames them for any thoughts about how women are equal and deserve better. To adopt rad fem theories would mean they’d risk going to hell, per their religion, so they have to be prepared to jettison their religion — and they aren’t there yet.

Maybe they’re afraid to deal with the memories of childhood abuse.

Lots of possible reasons that have nothing at all to do with birthing a son.

50. Sargasso Sea - July 16, 2012

Accepting responsibility for how men turn out AT ALL whether for good or bad is blaming mothers for raising bad boys and men (as well as good, see how that works?) its a trap.

Absolutely agreed.

So we’re all drowning in the ocean of patriarchy and feminist consciousness is our fleet of life rafts? Why on earth would I extend a hand to a male child who was born with a life jacket firmly buckled and who WILL with near 100% certainty be responsible for ever more *drowning* (mandatory piv, violence, etc.) when the girl child drowning right next to him has a 50 pound weight tied to her ankles and she WILL NOT with near 100% certainty be the cause of more drowning?

How do mothers of boys reconcile their radical feminism with the fact that their boys will grow up to be men who cause harm? They can’t and it’s obvious to those of us who don’t bother trying. Unlike men, we don’t have the privilege of having our cake and eating it too.

FCM - July 16, 2012

ok, but if its the boy thats important and not the mother, why not kill off all the baby girls, in places that practice female infanticide? its bc they need girls to grow up to be future mothers. not future mothers to CHILDREN, mind you, but future mothers to SPECIFICALLY SONS, and to future mothers of sons (daughters, but only in the technical sense). obviously there are many ways that global female infanticide benefits males at females expense….

They’ve opted not to go to the end of their thoughts, for whatever reason.

and a really good reason not to, is that you are the legal and moral guardian of a male, and that this is an obligation you cannot easily get out of, no matter how you feel about it, or end up feeling about it. is the problem here that anyone thinks im saying its impossible to be a radfem if you have a boy child? im not saying that, and the presence of radfems who are mothers of sons would tend to discount that anyway. im saying that its a conflict of interest, one of many, but one thats a bit unique at the same time. and that conflicts of interest are problematic politically, and this includes sexual politics aka. radical feminism. cannot we accept that? or is there a problem with that basic premise? from there, its but a stones throw to making an argument that bringing this particular conflict of interest into womens lives and homes is deliberate, of course, so be careful how you answer. 🙂 once we know the outcome, (that its a conflict of interest) and we do it anyway, we can presume intent. im not even talking about women here, but patriarchy, and its insistence that mothers birth (and raise, and live with, and continue to nurture) specifically sons. children are not sex-neutral, i dont know why we generally talk about them like they are. there is political significance attached to sex, we know this.

FCM - July 16, 2012

And honestly, saying that mothers will go to great lengths to “save” their sons doesnt disparage my point at all does it?

51. MarySunshine - July 16, 2012

Here’s an amazing, timely totally pertinent link that I just picked up from Facebook: http://feministactioncambridge.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/patriarchy-and-art/

FCM - July 16, 2012

Oh wow mary. Thanks for the link

52. Elin - July 16, 2012

I think a feminist with a son is something like an environmental activist that is forced to ride a SUV to keep being employed, otherwise she’d get broke/isolated/arrested.
Like, you can do your best, and make the world a better place, but you just have to accept that you are personally limited, you can not incorporate the ideology in its most important logical consequences. Because you happen to have that job. Which you would never have chosen if you discovered the environmental movement before. But it’s not like you are a static time-transcending being or something.

Humans all lament some decisions.
It’s not weird or wrong to regret a part of your past self, yet still live with it.
However humans do prefer to to think of themselves as static moral robots or something.

Now, what Loretta seems to suggest (“It isn’t that she can’t assimilate the realities of domestic terrorism. It’s that she chooses not to”), is that people (in this case mothers of sons) voluntarily and consciously *choose* to belief something, or not. But again, people don’t work that simple.

In reality, this situation may likely lead to cognitive dissonance, in which either the son or the radfem stuff is discarded as being ~wrong~.
The (unconscious) decision is not so hard when there is no son yet, but when you already have a son, it is likely the radfem stuff being discarded, since that’s a whole lot easier than the son.
With cognitive dissonance it is so that the brain really wants to resolve these conflicting beliefs into black-and-white but can’t so you end up with all half-witted semi-arguments (just talk to smokers) whereas, you’d actually be a lot more comfortable incorporating the factor of time, emotion, naivity and what else in your conscience and admitting you are just a human doing your best *from now on*…

Like that SUV-possessing woman would have a harder time suddenly becoming an environmentalist than a no-SUV-possessing woman.

Best thing to do probably is just give basic caring to the boy and hand the care over to his dad a lot if possible… and detach emotionally from him. He’s just a boy/man you happened to bear, not something you should get pride of vicariously, or set high hopes and dreams for.

I don’t even know if it’s possible to selectively select for girl children legally currently, this is just theoretical.

FCM - July 17, 2012

Last i heard, in the US, they tried to pass a restriction on abortion that would disallow sex selective abortion but it failed. It was pretty funny (and gross) seeing the conservatives pretend they supported the restriction on feminist grounds — bc sex selective abortions disproportionately favor males being born and females being aborted, which in practice seems to be 100% true. The dems and feminists opposed it as an attack on womens reproductive rights, which of course it was. I will try to find a link later.

53. magdela33 - July 17, 2012

So it is the view here that mothers of sons are not welcome in radical feminism?

If they claim to be radical feminists they are merely pretenders?

Wow.

And that is not woman hating?

FCM - July 17, 2012

magdela, the reading comprehension fails are not helping your case. at all. please stop.

54. Linda Radfem - July 17, 2012

It’s surprising to think that sex-selective abortion favours males being born, because I never met a woman who actually wanted a boy rather than a girl. Yet I’ve known heaps of women who were bitterly disappointed after having several boys and never birthing a girl baby. It seems to be what drives a lot of women to have more children (the privileged few who actually do have a choice), they keep having just one more hoping it will be a girl.

This is a conversation that I feel I should contribute to, being a radfem who has mothered a son, but even after mulling over this thread for a couple of days I can’t seem to come up with anything profound. But it is something that is constantly on my mind – the dilemma of it all. Because even being raised by a radical feminist lesbian in a matrifocal household doesn’t prevent the male privilege. I’m aware of it because of my radfem consciousness, and his sister who is quite a bit older and also lesbian and feminist, is aware of it. We’ve had discussions about how to handle it, particularly as he gets older (he’s 17) and agreed that if male privilege starts to make him abusive or too unbearable then he’ll have to leave. While he’s being inoffensive, not trying to dominate the environment, cleaning the toilets at least as much as anyone else in the house, contributing financially, he’s ok to stay. It’s easy enough to not do all the intense care-giving practices, and to instead pour my energy into myself and my paid work and into supporting my daughter with her fledgling career – because I have radfem consciousness. I had him before I was a radical feminist so yeah, it was too late for me, but it’s clear to me that we must have less men in order to create a safe, sustainable world so women will have to stop birthing them in such large numbers if we are ever to see an end to patriarchy.

I like to envision a future society where women live in groups and control all the resources, nurture and care for each other, and any males that are born incidentally just sort of hover on the fringes. Most of them would be completely irrelevant to women. They would be already if not for the power they hold and the violence resulting from that power. The violence they commit against each other shows that they know they are irrelevant and disposable. My gut tells me that the caring and the nurturing and the creating of new life would be something women could actually enjoy when it’s helping women and girls, and once it’s no longer co-opted by ugly patriarchal interests. Because patriarchy basically demands that we allocate that energy to men and boys.

FCM - July 17, 2012

honestly, i am starting to think that all the myths of motherhood — all of them — are specifically designed to keep mothers tied to their sons, and to keep mothers from feeling revulsion for their sons, even though sons are revolting. my previous comment that “evolution” might favor maternal feelings — which of course it might — seems less likely than that it is patriarchy itself doing that to women, and further, that this is meant to ensure the survival of boys and maternal attachment to specifically boys, not girls and not “children”. women are not allowed to feel revulsion or detatchment or anything for their “children” but girls are only included by accident arent they? the global policy of female infanticide shows us that girl children are not the issue, and raising girl children is not why mothers are guilted, coerced and outright forced to bear and nurture “children”. obviously, female infanticide keeps all the power and resources in male hands globally, but what else is its purpose and effect? this has been going on a long time, so much that the numbers are skewed globally, and will likely not return to “normal” anytime soon, if ever. we shouldnt blind ourselves to this global practice, i dont think, or consider “western” motherhood and bearing of sons outside the context of the global policy of female infanticide. its an accident of birth (ours) that this policy and practice is not affecting us directly at this time (if its not). i do think this happens here too though, and its not illegal.

55. m Andrea - July 17, 2012

Okay haven’t read the last few comments but wanted to responded anyway since I have to run away right now. Enjoying the discussion very much, thank you all!

All women with intelligence and study can come to understand radical feminist theory: our brains don’t fall out during childbirth.

I understand lots of radfem analysis and I don’t believe that understanding radfem analysis is dependent upon never having birthed a male.

It’s not an either/or proposition. AND, understanding the theories of radfeminism is not enough. Anyone can “understand” the theories. Very few *internalize* those theories. As in, very few ever stop their knee-jerk pavlo’s dog-whistle response which involves protecting teh menz at every turn and policing other women from straying too far from a male centric position. (FCM wrote an utterly brilliant blog post about that, here: https://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/ongoing-to-far/ ).

Fact is, the less a woman is around men, the less men she has in her life, the less she is dependent upon men for anything, then the more likely she is to be woman-centered. To be woman-centered is not “hating men” — it is the ONLY antidote to viewing the world through male supremacy in which women are routinely, subconsciously viewed as second class.

It is not an insult to mention that fact, although many mothers of boys would prefer to analyze that fact through their feelings instead of their brain. So they want to label it as “phobic”, as “mother hating” and “mother blaming”. It may be a fact that some mothers don’t want to hear, but it is a true fact nevertheless.

So anyway. The best that a mother can do, is attempt to raise her son with a more feminist perspective. Yes, that is not a perfect solution and good results are not guaranteed, but it’s better than making no effort at all to contradict the messages sent by the wider culture.

FCM - July 18, 2012

mary, they deleted that post you linked to on the sons who destroyed their mothers house after she died. god forbid anyone call that bullshit out when they see it — no, the poor dears were MOURNING, see. not ERASING the fact that she ever lived. those fuckers. and those FUCKERS for pressuring them to take down the post. does anyone have the post saved?

56. MarySunshine - July 18, 2012

I didn’t save it. I should have. I used to pdf all that stuff, but omg, it goes on forever.

Did you see this? http://feministcurrent.com/5659/not-my-nigel-on-mothers-sons-responsibility-and-denial/

She just posted it. It’s a total s#ck-up to males, and to mothers of males. Wheedling and pleading.

But watch her get shit for it.

FCM, this is how and why the second wave got erased.

It’s the primary, overriding heterosexual relationship. As highly prized by lesbian mothers of males as it is by “het” mothers of males. Separatists see that from a unique perspective – sort of an extra-terrestrial perspective, philosophically.

Naming the agent, and (OMG !!!) “condemning” the agent gets you sent to Coventry. It’s all about protecting the sons>. Erase, erase, erase.

57. MarySunshine - July 18, 2012

Hey! Wait! I *did* save it, including my comments.

I saved as html, then just now, as I opened the file it loaded the images as well. So all that stuff is still on the server, but they deleted the link to the post somehow, without removing the text and images.

I’ve pdf’ed it and will send it to you.

Also the html file.

58. cherryblossomlife - July 19, 2012

I’m still going for the option that there is no correlation at all between the ability to go to the end of your thoughts and whether or not you have a son. Sonia Johnsson believes there is a correlation, it that women who have been mothers of teenage boys are better able to truly understand their place in the patriarchy, that this experience gives you an insight into radical feminism. I don’t really agree with her because I simply do not think that having a boy child can influence your ability to be radical (or not).

59. cherryblossomlife - July 19, 2012

But no, maternal ties are not a myth, no way. There’s a reason why a mother can’t stop looking at her newborn’s face, studying it as though it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen in her life(because it is), whereas to everyone else the infant looks like a monkey.
Having said that… I would say that “unconditional love” is a patriarchal invention. Loretta’s mother cut her son out of her life, and plenty of other mothers do so.

60. Meghan - July 19, 2012

I’m not sucking up to men, I genuinely like *some* men. I have a lot of close male friends. Maybe I’m missing your point. And yes, I am getting shit for it. Unsurprisingly (only on Facebook so far). Such as:

1) I’m not allowed to say the word ‘mother’ without being a mother: “Whenever a non-parent starts sermonizing to parents- specifically mothers- the good points they are trying to make get lost. Throwing mothers under the bus in order to make a point about male privilege isn’t helpful to me as a parent, but maybe I’m the wrong demographic- though the author directly addresses “mothers” throughout the post. I don’t need another person who isn’t raising children to tell me what is and isn’t my fault, nor how powerless I am as a mother. People without kids have no idea how condensing posts like these are.”
2) About how I “downplayed female sexuality. sex workers are not all slaves to men’s desires and porn stars either.” obv.

I definitely didn’t throw mothers under the bus – I feel like she didn’t even read the post. The second comment is just stupid.

Anyway, why did you perceive the post as a suck up to males/mothers of males?

61. cherryblossomlife - July 19, 2012

A silver lining here.
I’ve just been browsing info about human sex ratios around the world and even though more boys are born worldwide, they gradually die off so that by the time you get to +65, the ratio is the opposite. I knew women had a longer life expectancy, but 65 is pretty young for you to be living in a generation where there are more females than males. I assumed it would be 75 + before the numbers evened out. And it’s the same in practially every single country in the world.
Clearly this had something to do with the witch-craze and why society wanted to wipe out so many women: women are born survivors, and men aren’t.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_sex_ratio

62. cherryblossomlife - July 19, 2012

I mean, society (men) couldn’T stand the fact that women just wouldn’t DIE despite all the odds stacked against them (childbirth, prostitution etc). They resorted to the witch-craze.

63. MarySunshine - July 19, 2012

Anyway, why did you perceive the post as a suck up to males/mothers of males?

Meghan,

I retract that statement. It is inappropriate to this particular discussion, which is a feminist discussion, and not a separatist discussion.

It was my first reaction, but that’s because my first reaction is always a lesbian separatist one.

I apologize for publicly making a statement that could only be construed as insulting to you.

64. Meghan - July 19, 2012

No worries, Mary. I was just looking for some clarification. Thanks very much for your response.

65. Akuba - July 19, 2012

This is a great, extremely thought provoking post. I am so totally addicted to the writings of FCM!

I have a hard time thinking of any other creatures who expend energy rearing and nurturing other creatures who will then go on to directly oppress and subjugate them. It’s pretty weird. Cuckoos don’t even come close.

Regarding the non-mothers commenting on motherhood: It’s a valid thing to do. It really is not that difficult for a thoughtful person to imagine what it is like and understand the problems (also, there is such a plethora of writing about it how could you not get a glimmer?). I think I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into when I went ahead with a couple of pregnancies. I didn’t have any wild surprises. I knew having children would take a lot of work to do it how I wanted to do it. I knew it would be limiting. I knew it would make me financially vulnerable. I realized what a big responsibility it would be to have someone so dependent on me, and that I would end up shouldering bulk of the care taking. It’s not impossible to consider these things. I am also a really obsessive pet person, and pets have lots of issues are similar to those of infants and very small children. Was it a good feminist choice? Uh, nope. It wasn’t a good environmental choice either. Why did I do it? It seemed like the thing to do at the time.

I lucked out in that I had girls. I had sort of feminist leanings for a long time that I guess were probably pretty obvious, as my mother commented that it was a “good thing” I only had girls! Though I think I have only recently started to properly understand radical feminist theory.

I also understand that when mothers emotionally “bond” with their infants, it is a chemical process. It is strong. It would be very hard to break when the children are tiny, I think. It is a lot like “being in love”(oxytocin). Then some other chemical comes into play that assist long term bonding, if I am remembering this correctly. This might explain and interfere with women logically looking out for their own best interests as part of a group. I did experience this intense bonding with my children. However, I also experienced thinking while watching as they got older, that I could and would disengage from them if they became dangerous or toxic. Luckily I haven’t had to. Some folks (mostly men) tell me I am cold, but I tell them I just have a healthy preservation instinct and that I didn’t sign up for martyrdom.

I also want to read MarySunshine’s PDF. The article was already down when I tried to read it the other day.

Thanks again FCM. Femonade is just the drink I crave.

MarySunshine - July 19, 2012
66. m Andrea - July 21, 2012

I’m still going for the option that there is no correlation at all between the ability to go to the end of your thoughts and whether or not you have a son.

Sorry, but do you have an actual reason for that, besides your own opinion? Because the reason for believing causation exists, is the same reason which explains why Stockholm, Trauma-Bonding, etc, are accurate dynamics. They all describe what happens to the victim’s thought patterns when she believes the abuser is necessary to her survival.

People keep thinking this is an either/or proposition, and you would be WRONG. with capital letters and exclamation points. This is NOT a situation where motherhood *always* renders mom *completely* unable to comprehend her son’s position in patriarchy. This is a situation where mothering a son makes it *more likely* that she has *a bit more* trouble comprehending her son’s position in patriarchy. Seriously, FCM, post this, don’t post this, but if anybody continues to make this fucking simple ass logic mistake, then there is something WRONG WITH YOUR BRAIN, AND THANKS FOR PROVING IT.

67. m Andrea - July 21, 2012

okay fine sorry. Suppose I’m getting sick of people hiding behind their “opinion” in place of a reason. Opinions are for choosing which flavor of ice cream you want. Anything to do with civil rights, as in, any topic about feminism, requires an actual reason.

68. Feuerwerferin - July 21, 2012

Loretta Kemsley, PIV is not necessary for procreation because sperm swims to the egg even when it is merely placed on the vulva. That is how some lesbians get pregnant. They ask a male friend of theirs to provide sperm. It is just not true that PIV is necessary in order to create life.

FCM - July 21, 2012

PIV for procreation does not have the same problems as PIV for recreation, namely, the risk of unwanted pregnancy. still has the same risks of pregnancy-related complications, but that is a seperate female-specific harm and should be addressed seperately. i also dont know whether the turkey-baster or non-penetrative insemination methods work to produce mostly males like IVF apparently does? if so, those should be avoided.

i am glad we are able to have this discussion here, as loretta said, even though it makes some women uncomfortable. so, thanks to everyone who is participating. 🙂

69. Loretta Kemsley - July 21, 2012

I’m no sure what i wrote to make you think I don’t know there are other ways to get pregnant. For the record, I’m against IVF because it is just another medical specialization designed to place women squarely into the middle of their assigned patriarchal role and bilks them at the same time.

In reference to Cherry #58, I don’t believe in instant mother love after birth. Studies show it does not exist. I know that isn’t what I experienced. It’s just one more myth among many that are designed to keep women in their assigned patriarchal role. That particular myth does a great job at causing shame and guilt in new mothers. If they believe the myth, they have to believe there is something wrong with them when they don’t feel that “instant love.”

This may be off-topic. If so, let me know and I’ll edit the post, but I think it might fit in with the discussion.

Yesterday, on CNN, they featured an unmarried couple who have a child together, an infant son. She also has a four-year-old daughter. They were in the theater when Holmes opened fire. He gave a long, agonizing interview about how terrifying it was, how he lost track of his son (funny how that son was more important than either his partner or the girl child), how he had to jump off the balcony and rush outside to save his life, how once outside he wanted to go back in to find them, how he didn’t want to live if they died, how instead of going back inside to find them he fled to the mall to call 911, etc, etc, etc.

She sat silently beside him throughout this with her face somber and her eyes closed. What did she do in that theater? Well, she kept her children together, took a bullet in the leg protecting them and still got her kids out. Then went to the hospital for treatment for herself and the kids (tear gas inhalation plus a possible bullet wound on the baby). She called him and he met them there.

But let’s all feel sorry for him because he “wanted to die” if they died. Yeah, right. He sobbed all the way through the interview, major drama, etc.

But here’s the kicker: she wants to get married to him right away because that experience made her realize how fragile life is. Well, that latter part is right, but why marry a man whose proven he’ll abandon you when the chips are down?

To me, this is a prime example of how screwed up the concept of our supposed “maternal instincts” is. She did the right thing during the danger but now wants to lead her children into more danger by marrying a man who didn’t care about any of them when the chips were down. There’s nothing maternal about that. It’s a brainwashed reaction to patriarchal teachings. Despite the fact she proved the value of motherhood and the worthlessness of fatherhood, she’s going to attach herself to the father because that’s what society has brainwashed her into thinking is important.

FCM - July 22, 2012

thats interesting loretta. she will probably tell herself over and over that he cared about their son more than he cared about either herself or her girl child bc the son was their shared child, rather than bc he was a boy. she will have to convince herself of it wont she? that is tragic indeed.

70. cherryblossomlife - July 22, 2012

I do think that a natural, drug-free, woman-centred (no males in the vicinity) birth facilitates the bond between mother and child.
In fact, patriarchy has always gone out of its way to disrupt the maternal-child bond. In male-run hospitals the newborn is taken away from the mother and kept in a nursery. Women had to fight this and create more mother-centred birthing units. That was why I chose a homebirth, so that nobody would try to control access to my baby. MY mother in law turned up to the birth uninvited and unexpectedly. Luckily I had just given birth, but she rushed in and grabbed the child without asking me. I swear I am still traumatized by that moment until this very day. I felt like a limb had been amputated.

I think Sonia Johnsson is right in that mothers are set up to have the least credibility on all issues, second only to women in general.
So bearing that in mind, I think at the very least we should listen to what mothers are saying, even if we disagree, or even if our own experience was different.

71. cherryblossomlife - July 22, 2012

Greer writes about how boy children of the upper classes in England were systematically sent off to boarding school to toughen them up so they could become sons of the empire. Disrupting the mother-child bond was the main aim and boys as young as four were sent away. Their mothers never had any say in the matter at all.

72. Loretta Kemsley - July 23, 2012

Interesting quote that applies here, I believe. She was talking about high heels, but it could be applied to a plethora of “choices” women make:

In Taming the Female Body, Katha Pollitt wrote: “Women have learned to describe everything they do, no matter how apparently conformist, submissive, self-destructive or humiliating, as a personal choice that cannot be criticized because personal choice is what feminism is all about.”

73. magdela33 - July 23, 2012

cherryblossomlife said everything I wanted to say but couldn’t express properly.


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