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Deadpan October 1, 2012

Posted by FCM in meta, thats random, WTF?.
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i always assume that if a woman ends up dead, a man did it.  i assume this across the board, no matter what it “looks like.”  fell down the stairsdrowned?  was there a kennedy man anywhere nearby?  it was probably a man that killed her, it was almost certainly deliberate, and if she was partnered or married to a man, it was probably him that did it.  the cops know this too, of course, because its the truth about “violence” and “crime”.  to put “male” in front of those words would be redundant.  that must be why no one ever says it.

of course, theres no need to name the agent if the event never occurred (what event?)  like the notorious nonreporting on all the male violence that happens every day: theres not enough time in the day, or page space, so oftentimes, no one reports on any of it.  some of us are left with the impression that this absence of information means that this doesnt happen every single minute of every day, and that men are not extremely, supremely dangerous.  that impression is wrong, obvs.

so anyway, i recently read about a womans apparent “”””suicide”””” (thats 4 sets of red-flag quotes) and immediately suspected her husband.  he was a psychologist, which made me suspect him even more — doctors wives seem especially clumsy and prone to attracting sharp objects, projectiles, poison.  and psychologists/psychiatrists just might be more sadistic and misogynistic than your average sadistic, misogynistic male.  creepy, pervsplaning fuckers, those.

so more background.  she was a psychologist too.  (the husband reported) no history of depression.  no reported history of clumsiness or proclivity towards attracting sharp objects, projectiles, poison.

she was, however, the proprietor of a feminist bookstore.

for probably the first time in many years, i actually believed the husband.  i do not think he probably killed her.  i think it probably happened exactly as he said.

my conclusion was involuntary, and surprising.  upon reflection and discussion, i still think its probably right.  although obviously the husband should be investigated to within an inch of his life, just to be sure.  and because his wife died on his watch, that should count as at least one strike against him, and should be taken into consideration in all future contexts, including but not limited to dating, job prospects, and jury service.  you know, instead of counting as zero strikes like it does now.  it doesnt count, even when the guy actually did it, and even when everyone knows it.  that is all.


1. Deadpan « mechantechatonne - October 1, 2012

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FCM - October 1, 2012

hmm, one pingback, no comments, massive traffic. let me get the convo started (and finished?)

anticipated responses to this post:

1) i dont know what shes talking about. my response: you probably havent been involved in feminism long enough. you will.
2) but but but youve just given a free pass to male partners of feminist women to murder them! my response: they already have a free pass.
3) (standard MRA response) my response: none.

FCM - October 1, 2012

and maybe 4) wow, thats in really poor taste? my response: perhaps, but its also true. based on my own experience of being involved in feminism, i actually believed a man. i wish it wasnt true, but it is. and i will apologize a thousand times to the victim if im wrong.

2. MarySunshine - October 1, 2012

I’m curious. Why do you think you believed him?

FCM - October 1, 2012

because she had to deal with feminists all the time mary. if it was anything else, i would NEVER have believed it. i still might be wrong, but there it is.

FCM - October 1, 2012

in this vein:

For many of us, feminism may be about the only thing that clings us to life and hope. Without sorority and feminism, many of us would be dead, would still be heavily controlled by men or have seeped into madness. This existential relation to feminism means that conflicts or treasons within our groups may be all the more difficult to cope with when they occur, because it threatens the little haven of safety and sanity we might have managed to create. Our wounds are still bleeding, our hearts scorched: blows may be fatal or devastating, and we often have nowhere else to go.


3. MarySunshine - October 1, 2012

What you said above: just that.

Bloody hell.

( bells reverberating and clanging in my head )

4. silverside - October 1, 2012

I think I know the case you’re talking about. And when I read the account about how the feminist bookstore was closing because of the woman owner’s suicide, that was my immediate gut impression too. He was either responsible through commission or ommission.

FCM - October 1, 2012

also, the story just sounded very believable to me. heres what he said:

Stevenson, 47, a clinical psychologist long active in feminist causes, shot herself in the head April 12 at the West Los Angeles office where she conducted her practice.

Stevenson’s husband, psychologist Carl Faber, said she had no history of clinical depression. He said he believed that his wife’s suicide was in part an outgrowth of her “personal pain and despair that had a lot to do with her efforts to inspire change as a feminist and leader.”

Faber said his wife was suffering at the time of her death from fatigue, insomnia and stress, all of which were related to the running of the bookstore.

personal pain and despair? i dont know about that part, bub. but then he goes on to say that she was suffering from fatigue etc all related to the stress of running the feminist bookstore. and i thought that it was probably true. same with this:

“People have been really reeling since Gail died,” Schwarzenbach said. Adding to the sense of loss, he said, was a sense among numerous friends, activists and customers that Revolution “was just starting to make it. The book signings were becoming an institution and the community center was just taking off. Gail’s death happened before the bookstore put out deep enough roots.”

Faber said he hopes to sell the bookstore in the next month to someone whose “interests are in the spirit of what Gail wanted to do with the store.” There are about five prospective buyers, he said, none of whom he would identify. The store, which is part of Stevenson’s estate, is in probate.

Peg Yorkin, president of Fund for the Feminist Majority and a longtime friend of Stevenson’s, said she considered taking over Revolution as a tribute to Stevenson but has since bowed out. Yorkin said she concluded that “it just is not what I do.”

“I was willing to put money into it, but I couldn’t very well be an absentee owner,” she said. “It’s a shame for the community. It wasn’t just a feminist bookstore; it was a beautiful children’s center and community center.”

heres what i read (between the lines): she was putting every ounce of herself into this project, and getting nothing but FUCKING SHIT AND HASSLES in return, from every side. especially from other feminists no doubt. and even though she probably had an extensive cheering section, if she ever asked anyone to help, no one was available, couldnt make time, just wasnt “their thing” or whatever. and no one volunteered either, bc why bother when someone so smart and capable is doing everything herself? i loved the part about the investor backing out bc it just wasnt her THANG, you see. even though it was SO IMPORTANT to the community, no one could be bothered to do anything to support or save it, either before or after the beleaguered (but much loved and appreciated mind you!!!) owner committed suicide.

call it a hunch. this sounds 99% believable to me.

FCM - October 1, 2012

heres the story i am referring to (its also linked in the post):


5. background spinner (@backgroundspin) - October 1, 2012

Most of us are standing on very shaky legs, and those legs can be knocked out from under us oh so easily.

With regards to the crumbling of solidarity, I’m reminded of a prisoner of war (which we all are, to one degree or another) being shunned into a kind of solitary confinement, where she is forced to live inside her own head. There is no escape or respite even there, though, since her mind has been colonized and poisoned with self-doubt and self-hatred.

The real difference for women, of course, is that “solitary confinement” usually means extra work detail, carried out in a kind of numb, silent cocoon.

It sounds to me as if this woman was expected to do the heavy lifting for Sisterhood without the benefits of sisterhood.

6. cherryblossomlife - October 2, 2012

Yes, she committed suicide, but being thoroughly let down by women was just the icing on the cake,
It takes even feminist women, a hell of a mental leap to accept that the institution of marriage is the cause of their problems. Many women commit suicide because this leap is too great to take. Their individuality requires expression, but this is always impossible for a wife, and there is still a surprising amount of shame surrounding divorce, especially in the middle classes, and it sounds to me that she probably couldn’t articulate her marriage as being the source of the problem (which I firmly believe it was.)

Everybody thinks Sylvia Plath committed suicide, suffocated herself with the gas from the oven, so the story goes. Robin Morgan did a bit of research and found that Ted Hughes’ second wife died IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, and nobody talks about it. Nope. Still a suicide, apparently.

FCM - October 2, 2012

yes, and can you even imagine what it might be like being married to a psychologist?? ugh. and cherry, i will never forget the piece you wrote for the HUB about the famous author who shot his wife in the head, killing her, and went on about his merry way, never being punished for it at all.

Burroughs held a strong belief that women were superfluous and should be eliminated. He wrote seriously on this issue, which I will address in a moment. But in case you are under the impression he was being ironic by promoting this grand plan of his, it’s worth pointing out that he “eliminated” his own wife with a gun, getting away with it, unpunished, on the grounds that her murder was “a sex game gone wrong.”

No charges were pressed and after a few days he was released from police custody.

Umpteen intellectuals backed his political opinions. They were not at all horrified by his stance on eliminating women and wholeheartedly supported his writing, so we can only assume that they were in favour of it. J. G. Ballard declared Burroughs to be “the most important writer to emerge since the Second World War. Norman Mailer called him ”the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by genius.” This should come as no surprise: Mailer was also in the habit of eliminating females, or attempting to, as exemplified by the stabbing of his own wife.


7. ethicalequinox - October 2, 2012

” i loved the part about the investor backing out bc it just wasnt her THANG, you see. even though it was SO IMPORTANT to the community, no one could be bothered to do anything to support or save it, either before or after the beleaguered (but much loved and appreciated mind you!!!) owner committed suicide.”

This. Because no one wants to be allied with *that kind* of woman. No one wants to lose their cool kid points with the psuedo-liberal crowd by associating with *women who care about women*. It just isn’t their THANG, as you say. Society is so inured to seeing women giving giving giving and never receiving, so these people around her were just following standard operating procedure…which is to just let women drown.

I hope a legitimate feminist woman gets ownership of her store.

8. luckynkl - October 2, 2012

Shot herself in the head? Well there’s a red flag. Suicide by gun is a very violent and masculine way to die. It is not the means by which most women choose to commit suicide. Women are more fond of drug overdose. It is men who are enamored of guns and use them to commit both suicide and homicide. Needless to say, this “suicide” is suspicious. Very suspicious. Suspicious enough that I’m not buying it that she committed suicide.

9. MarySunshine - October 2, 2012

I had that immediate reaction, too, Lucky.

Although, many years ago, a well-loved dyke activist *did* blow her own head off with a shotgun. She was going through horrific child-sexual-abuse memories, and was living in an all female, rural setting. She was poor and working class, and described as “butch”.

In the case of the bookstore owner, there is a husband. Plus the fact that the woman is a middle class urban professional and therefore unlikely (statistically) to have been a shotgun owner.

FCM - October 2, 2012

do we know it was a shotgun in this case, or just a gun? not sure what the handgun laws are in CA but in some places, its very difficult to get a license to own a handgun let alone carry it anywhere. shotgun would be easier to acquire. but i agree its unusual. what seemed weird to me was that she did it at work. maybe its different when youre self employed (and have a monster at home) but wouldnt you rather go somewhere comfortable at least?

anyway, are people saying that they arent buying it? (i see that lucky said it!) it is very creepy that a husbands word is so easily accepted. they could do anything they wanted couldnt they? and womens default state of being “insane” means that no one would even question it, if he went to the slightest trouble of making it “look like” a suicide. a husband who was also a psychologist, and probably knew all the right things to say to manipulate everyone, plus professional credibility to comment on issues of mental health…even creepier. clearly he already had all his 3 strikes just by the fact that he was a male psychologist. straight women are in quite a lot of danger all the time, arent they? sheesh.

i still strongly suspect her “sisters” let her drown, as ethicalequinox says. of course, that wouldnt be an issue without patriarchy, so im not blaming women exactly. but the “sisterhood” or feminist activist situation is what it is. its hell.

10. MarySunshine - October 2, 2012

FCM, I’m a “hung jury” on the matter. My further reflection just now is that although it would be *unusual* for her to have a handgun, it would have been entirely possible that, as a feminist store owner, she may have acquired one to protect her store from attackers.

OK, I’m Canadian, but I know that lots of American store owners have a gun in the store for that purpose. To protect against armed robbery.

So … in that case, she would have been sharply aware of the presence of the gun in her store. And yes – I can see her sitting in the store, alone, bummed out by the feminist ground having been pulled out from under her feet, and looking around the store and thinking, “what is all this shit?” and then taking herself out.

Sounds like she didn’t have any kids. That would make it easier, because then your life is your own.

FCM - October 2, 2012

according to the story, she did it at her professional practice, not at the store. but yes mary. she may well have had a gun, and she may well have despaired that all her efforts were seemingly or actually for shit.

11. witchwind - October 2, 2012

With adult women, most suicides are related to male domestic violence (I’m sorry I can’t find the stats anymore as it was a while ago).
In those cases, the man doesn’t kill her with his own hands directly, but destroys her and her life and her space to the point that she thinks her self and life is worthless, and that killing herself is the only issue. If he only uses psychological and sexual violence against her, no bruises are visible, no external wounds, so it’s a “perfect crime” from a non-radfem POV

12. Sargasso Sea - October 2, 2012

Guns of any kind are readily available almost anywhere in the US. It used to be wisdom that women didn’t shoot themselves in the head because it would mess up their face (mansplination) or, because women aren’t violent (femsplanation).

I see that it may be increasingly probable that women ARE using guns against themselves to make a very graphic point without knowing it themselves.

Also, Santa Monica is not exactly an historic epicenter of feminist thought/action.

13. Barbara Di Bari Visconti - October 2, 2012

Sorry for the derail here, but I just tried to ask a question on the previous thread only to find the comments closed. My question: I don’t want to seem ignorant, but what is agent orangepop? Sorry again for derail.

14. lush - October 2, 2012

I’ve always heard that women tend to shy away from guns in suicides because they’re aware that someone’s going to have to clean up all that mess, while men just don’t give a shit (likely because they aren’t trained since birth to think of others and clean shit up). Have no idea if it’s true,but it has the ring of truth to it as far as I’m concerned. If I were going to do that, I’d want to make it as easy as possible for whoever was unlucky enough to find me.

I also find it strange that she did it in a professional setting. The store I could understand (personal attachment), but an office? Of all places? Not only is it so impersonal, but it seems pretty public as well.

15. delphyne - October 2, 2012

Her husband very carefully blamed her feminist activities for her death. He was also extremely quick in putting the bookstore up for sale considering she’d only died a few weeks previously. Usually it takes a long time to deal with property after someone has died, but he had five buyers lined up in no time flat. That’s what I read in between those lines.

From this article though it sounds like she did give herself a mountainous task:


and there were a hell of a lot of men around, including hubby, on the premises:

“There are also workshops that are not gender-specific, and ones specifically for men and for children, such as multicultural men’s discussions, safe-sex talks by AIDS Project Los Angeles, workshops on herbs, poetry readings and children’s art workshops every Saturday.

Many of the gatherings are free. Some are put on by a nucleus of feminists and psychologists who are associates and colleagues of Stevenson and her husband, psychologist Carl Faber. A former teacher of psychology who taught at UCLA in the ’60s, Faber’s discussions have a faithful following among former students.”

16. luckynkl - October 2, 2012

Mansplanation and femsplanation are irrelevant. It has to do with statistics. According to studies, approx. 57% of all suicides are committed via firearms. Males make up 87% of those firearm suicides. Poisoning (including drug overdose) is the preferred method of suicide for females (39%),

So it’s not that females don’t commit suicide with guns, it’s that it’s not typical or the norm. It may have something to do with gun ownership. Males are 5 x as likely to own guns than women.

I should also mention that many of those firearm suicides supposedly committed by women, later turned out to be homicides. It is difficult at best to commit suicide by shotgun. Most women can’t reach the trigger and would have to use their toes.

I also doubt the sisters would’ve had much to do with Stevenson’s death. Stevenson was a married, heterosexual woman, so the big P was the center of her universe – specifically her husband. But who knows? Maybe she discovered she was really a lesbian but would rather commit suicide than come to terms with it? She wouldn’t be the first. But in the end, only Gail Stevenson knows why Gail Stevenson committed suicide – IF she committed suicide. Which I doubt.

17. MarySunshine - October 2, 2012


What you say makes a lot of sense to me. I’m still feeling quizzical. Having a gun in a store makes *some* tiny bit of sense … but in a professional office?

18. Yisheng Qingwa - October 3, 2012

I don’t buy the suicide either, not one bit. This turd is suspicious as Hell to me (I’m a suspicious sort of woman), and I hope that the truth comes to light. The fckin’ TRUTH of this man, and all male assholeism, utter lying-ness, and SCUMBAGGERY.

19. cherryblossomlife - October 4, 2012

“Her husband very carefully blamed her feminist activities for her death.”
I just got a shudder reading this line delphyne.
When you put it like that…

20. cherryblossomlife - October 4, 2012

Husbands *hate* feminism. I bet psychologist husbands hate it even more [wry smile]

21. treepoet - October 4, 2012

If you google “carl faber psychologist” you will find that he’s been dead for a while, a photo that looks like a pretty narcissistic guy (to me, anyway) and that he had a very loyal following of students (the most narcissistic teachers in college always seem to have a loyal following and are kind of cultlike figures). He calls himself a feminist, but I think he was into trendy stuff and also was a Jungian, and the Jungians are into “masculine and feminine sides” of men and women. It’s a weird thing and inherently supportive of misogynist stereotypes. Who knows if he was implicated directly or indirectly? At this point, no one can tell.

22. treepoet - October 4, 2012

I forgot to add: But he gave off a weird vibe, and I trust my gut that something wasn’t right.

23. cherryblossomlife - October 4, 2012

Googled him and found this:
“Carl Alexander Faber, popular psychologist and UCLA educator who wrote a book about relationships titled “On Listening,” has died.”

The irony…


FCM - October 5, 2012

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