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Finally, A Use For These Graphics! January 15, 2013

Posted by FCM in books!, meta, radical concepts, rape, trans.
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i recently read 3 books by sonia johnson completely out of order like i always do — last summer i read her most recent “sisterwitch conspiracy” and just now i read “going out of our minds: the metaphysics of liberation” and then “wildfire”.  and i still havent read her first and most well-known “from housewife to heretic” — heres another bloggers post on that.

i have reported elsewhere that i found “sisterwitch” to be exceedingly silly *and* that it changed my thinking forever.  specifically, her use of animal imagery and visions, and describing women talking to each other in the kitchen encouraging dialog by repeating “right on!” a lot — along with being self-published in a very large font made it seem too easy.  or something?  the silliness was evident immediately, and the drastic and yet *easy* changes came later.  i dont know her, but i suspect she might think my rather, uh, conflicted response to her book was funny.  🙂  and indeed it is.

from “sisterwitch” came the very simple (!!!) idea that i have been riffing off for months, that women do not equal men and men do not equal women.  and indeed they do not.

the other two…well i would say they are both exceedingly silly as well, and also extremely timely.  like cutting edge, up to the second timely — more on that below.  which is also funny considering that they are old (1980s!  dinosaurs!) and i read them out of order and she implicates literal time more than once — its part of the plot, you see.  time.


in both “going out of our minds” and “wildfire”, she talks about her involvement in what americans were calling “feminism” in the 1980s — among other things, trying to get the equal rights amendment (ERA) passed.  she notes that, despite a hearty response from many women, it was bizarrely difficult to get most or all women involved in much of this politicking — it was almost as if most women knew it was pointless.  instead of assuming that womens overworkedness or paralysis or lack of gas money or whatever explained their flat refusal to drop whatever they were doing and get onboard, she trusted women, and wondered to herself if there was something wrong with the actions themselves.  in the end, she decided there was something fundamentally wrong with the actions — male-centric politicking is worse than useless for women, and will never liberate women from male dominance.

oh, and P.S.  roe v wade essentially shored up patriarchy in the US, and singlehandedly defeated the womens liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  wha?!  in “wildfire” she explains her take on it, which is that the deal to legalize abortion was a sedative to womens righteous anger and (therefore) a poison that killed feminism.  men are laughing at us to this day for taking this deal, in fact.  we have shown them that we can be bought.  and prostitution — and womens pain and unspeakable suffering — is terribly funny innit?  this answers some recent questions i had about how women involved back then couldve “felt” that revolution was afoot, but in the end it turned out not to have been a revolution at all.  (well it answers that for american feminists anyway — whats the rest of the worlds excuse?)

i also suspect that it was women hanging out in women-only safe space while discussing these reforms that made the possibility of a real revolution seem so real — it was real, so long as they were in the room, get it?  as soon as they left, and went back to talk with the men or bargain with the men or negotiate, debate and literally plead (their case) to men, it was all over — as with all deals, when one is dealing with the devil, the “deal” of legalized abortion was a dead-end.  it was the (dead) end of the women-only organizing that was taking place around it, and it was a political deadend too — men could take away this alleged “gain” at any time and they all knew it, and just thinking about it got the men even harder and even rapier than they were before.

to sedate womens rage and kill feminism — and to get men even harder and even rapier — was the plan, of course, and women were the only ones who didnt know it at the time.  because men lie.  and they will never do anything that undermines patriarchy or lessens male power, or that actually increases womens power, ever.


indeed, instead of taking this deal, american feminists wouldve been better off staying mad and staying focused on womens liberation, and telling men to go fuck themselves (or implying it) while we taught each other how to perform abortions on each other.  wouldnt we?  if we had done that, and conserved our energy and kept on in the direction in which we were headed we mightve been well on our way to being liberated by now.  but we didnt.  live and learn?  or…lather, rinse, repeat endlessly?  she suggests the former: that we thank the women who came before us for showing us that reformist politicking and deal-making are incompatible with womens liberation, and that we move on.


on the subject of this being very timely, besides the fact that all radical feminism is always timely because it addresses the ways that women are oppressed as women across time and place, it doesnt take much to see the ways that liberal politicking continues to not-work today, as least as much as it didnt-work back then.  for all the alleged “gains” we have made over the last 200 years, today, like earlier this week (and every minute of every day since) women are being censored and silenced, and im not talking about the goddamned first amendment mkay — i am talking about patriarchy, and men as a sexual class silencing women as a sexual class, including women who say or do anything that legitimately challenges patriarchy and mens entitlement to abuse and penetrate and harass and lord-over women.

i think this “silencing” includes mens raping and murdering us too, including the recent gang-rapes — mens constant rape and death threats against women who do speak up (or, you know, go out) kind of give that one away.  and i think that the medias treatment of these recent gang rapes is meant to silence us too.  so i have to ask dont i, what progress?  what the hell progress have we even made, and what evidence is there that things have even stayed the same, or have definitely *not* gotten worse?  this is a serious question.  i think things have gotten worse, and that this is obvious and demonstrable.  if someone disagrees, prove it.

and furthermore, thanks to equality-activating, we cant organize in women-only space anymore either.  or, we cannot legally do this in some places, and are unable to “ethically” do it anywhere else.  because poor men.  that we continue to do this anyway goes to womens spirit, womens soul, and our intuition, or something, and at any rate our seemingly unassailable desire and commitment to meeting with each other in women-only space.  we *know* how important this is and we keep activating for this.  *all* women around the world (except fun-fems apparently) know how important women-only space is, if women are to survive patriarchy.  survive in it, and survive despite it, and survive it — we plan to outlive (Out/Live?) it.  for this, we go to each other dont we?

call it “strategizing” or consciousness-raising or coordinating your upcoming congressional testimony, whatever.  what if what *felt* so revolutionary about the feminism of the past — from the perspective of the women who were there, and who felt they were on the cusp of a real revolution (sonia johnson felt it too) — was that they were in women-only space or nearly women-only space, talking about and imagining being free?  what if they had actually achieved what they were looking for…and the only mistake they made was that they left the room to resume talking and dealing with men — and stayed out?

for my part, i am starting to believe that damn near anything is possible.


1. witchwind - January 15, 2013

Haha!! Men work hard on making us believe that we can a) either change them or be) get things to change by doing things according to them.

great point. Going back to men is a normal consequence of male brainwashed belief that we can’t do things without men – whether with us or against us – but it is always according to them. Everything I read about what felt revolutionary in the 70’s was women getting together, talking and finding themselves. Male politicking is a trap, energy sucking at the very very best, and completely destructive overall, both to the individual women involved and the movement in general. One way to avoid male politicking for instance is to never get involved in anything that includes men, for activist, political reasons. And all the equality crap disappears in a second, lots of time gained all of a sudden!!

FCM - January 15, 2013

haha! the “all of a sudden” and the ease of some transitions is very interesting to me. i hope people read sonia johnsons books if they have a chance! they all lead/follow perfectly from what we have been discussing here for months.

johnson didnt exactly say it, but the only thing i can think of that explains why women felt this revolution was happening is because it was happening. something stopped it — johnson says it was roe, and i think that makes perfect sense. and the “it” that was stopped wasnt what any of them thought, or expected — it had nothing to do with abortion, or the ERA or these idiotic bills at all did it? i think they imagined “survival” at long last not because of anything these morons were promising them, but because they were surviving and thriving in women-only space (she says a LOT about imagining things being a necessary to creating them). it wasnt the words on the page bc as we can see, even when these “laws” are implemented, they dont mean what we think they mean and they dont assist womens survival at all. i cannot believe that women misperceived this on such a mass scale, or that they were all wrong, or ignorant, or naive, or any of it — i am willing to trust that women got it right. they were *there* or well on their way, but they came back. ugh.

2. Sargasso Sea - January 16, 2013

No time to comment properly BUT what an excuse for this TV commercial imagery (turn your speakers off – the male voice-over kinda kills it). Any wonder I like it so much??

3. Sargasso Sea - January 16, 2013

That should read: No time to comment properly TONIGHT 🙂

FCM - January 16, 2013

very apt s4. lol. well done.

4. wildwomyn - January 16, 2013

I read “Going Out of My Mind” years ago when it came out. I recently read “SisterWitch Conspiracy” and have “Wildfire” in my queue. I’ll have to go back in “SisterWitch” but there were a couple of statements in there that made perfect sense to me. I’ll double check and post again when I find the statements I want to quote.

5. Eva - January 16, 2013

Hey FCM, you’re famous. Rod Dreher of the American Conservative just linked your blog in a post about the Cotton Ceiling:


Interesting that the Orthodox Christian dude thinks that men telling women their sexual boundaries are up for debate is “really funny”.

Hilariously, Dreher’s tipster thinks the CC had something to do with orgies where trans women weren’t allowed to take off their drawers! Jessica Sideway’s linked blog post about the “institutionalized discrimination” of these events (orgies are institutional?) is a hoot too.

6. WordWoman - January 16, 2013

“what if what *felt* so revolutionary about the feminism of the past —
was that they were in women-only space or nearly women-only space, talking about and imagining being free? what if they had actually achieved what they were looking for…and the only mistake they made was that they left the room to resume talking and dealing with men — and stayed out?”

You have made an important point here, FCM. This is the thing that these women had never experienced. This is what made the women’s movement light years different from the other “liberation” movements of the time. Women in the civil rights and anti-war movement began to notice how the men running the show with these movements were behaving toward women. Oppression. Misogyny (Much like today’s Occupy movement and others like it from what I read). They woke up to it.

But women’s liberation is quite different than those other liberation groups. women as were never permitted to have their own space. The socialization is very pervasive. The only class where each member of the class has to live intimately with males, at least growing up. Unlike other classes/groups who have time and space together.

So when women got together in women’s only groups, whooppeee! Things appeared very different from that vantage point. Women, long silenced began to find their voices. But find them in a context that resonated, not a harassing place.

7. cherryblossomlife - January 16, 2013

“in “wildfire” she explains her take on it, which is that the deal to legalize abortion was a sedative to womens righteous anger and (therefore) a poison that killed feminism. ”

We really need to take note of this! It’s connected to the big brouhaha that has gone on recently in the media about a rape in India (I don’t watch the news, but I heard about it on here). It’s all about letting a tiny bit of steam out of the pressure cooker.

I made a post once comparing the oppression of women to the oppression of the Welsh, in particular the Welsh language, because there are some parallels. Sorry to quote myself!

“The Welsh say that the language has survived, and outlived many other minority languages which have long since died off, precisely because the English tried to crush and destroy it so vehemently. Imperialists have always despised and feared minority cultures, but there was something particularly bitter about the way they set out inihilliate the language of the Welsh people.”

Had the English been a bit more lenient towards the Welsh language, and a bit more benevolant, it is possible that the Welsh language would have died out completely, due to apathy among the Welsh people. But the absolute alacrity with which the English tried to crush it ensured that the fire remained in the belly of the Welsh— and the English failed to make it extinct, or to destroy the Welsh collective consciousness, even though the Welsh population is minute, and the English by then were running rampage around the world, crushing languages and cultures left, right and centre.

Anyhoo, one of the tactics used against the women’s movement is that men AREN’T mean all the time. (Actually, this is connected to societal stockholm syndrome as well). They DO make concessions. THey *buy* *us* *off*

They never bought the Welsh off. THey were mean bastards to them all the way through, because they were so certain they would crush the culture….

… and yet they didn’t. The Welsh remain the thorn in the side of the English to this day. But a decade ago, they did make a concession, and the Welsh were allowed to create their own National Assembly… and I often wonder whether this was a scam to appease the Welsh’s righteous anger…

8. Miss Andrist (@MissAndrist) - January 16, 2013

What can I say? Other than FUCKING FINALLY.

I am SO SICK of talking about men. I’ve been saying this until I couldn’t fucking say it any more. Men? ARE THE PROBLEM. NOT THE SOLUTION. And anytime men are involved, it is a goddamn waste of women’s time (at best.)

FCM - January 16, 2013

a waste of time AT BEST, yes. 🙂 and really it is so much worse than that isnt it? we need to start looking at NET-GAINS, not just “gains” devoid of context — net gains would be gains minus losses. and we have suffered HUGE losses recently and throughout that are completely ignored.

one of the problems with taking crumbs is that then you arent allowed to “bite the hand that feeds you.” it is completely taboo to criticize roe for example, and i dont think i have ever seen it done anywhere (except by anti feminists who do it for anti feminist reasons completely antithetical to womens liberation from male dominance). johnson reports that she has taken back control of her own writing and exclusively self-publishes now, which is THE ONLY way that these messages get out isnt it? i daresay there has NEVER been anything truly revolutionary published in the mainstream or even feminist press — how could it be? the only possible outlier i can think of is daly, and johnsons writing is daly-esque but even daly didnt criticize roe did she? i also think daly flew under the radar due to being in the background, and likely thousands of times smarter than any of her editors, publishers or critics, but even so, TODAY dalys work would never be published bc of its perceived TRANSPHOBIA, see? now tell me things arent getting fucking worse. the trannies would deprive THE WORLD of mary dalys genius (including riffing off of misogynist males ideas — LOL — and the ways she puts her 3 doctorates to feminist use too) bc it hurts their feelings. and todays law and ethics would both support censoring her, perhaps especially in the UK where equality-rhetoric has completely taken hold now, and its a “hate crime” to hurt “anyones” feelings, including those of the oppressor. ABORT MISSION. this isnt working people.

FCM - January 16, 2013

and yet it is notably NOT a hate-crime to offend (or rape or kill) a FEMALE. see how that works? this hasnt worked for us AT ALL. its worked for everyone else EXCEPT us. this is not a coincidence, and its not an accident — its the only way men would have it. they accepted equality-activating (and even nonthreatening pro-feminist activating like roe and legal remedies for workplace sexual harassment and discrimination) because they knew it wouldnt work, because it couldnt work, because the words on the page even when they appear to support equality, since men created language, will never be sex-neutral and in fact will always favor men. add in the male-centric legal system interpreting all of this, including any and all ambiguity (bc mens language is also ambiguous) and it becomes clear that where we find ourselves now is the ONLY place we couldve ended up. theres no reason to keep going in this direction, now that we know this, is there?

FCM - January 16, 2013

there is so, so much to these books too, even though they are very *easy* it makes me kind of wish i had done this as a series…

heres some background on the images i chose:


9. MarySunshine - January 16, 2013

I *love* those!

I think of radical feminism and lesbian separatism in mathematical imagery, too.

10. witchwind - January 16, 2013

Why do you find her work silly by the way?

“one of the problems with taking crumbs is that then you arent allowed to “bite the hand that feeds you.”


“Anyhoo, one of the tactics used against the women’s movement is that men AREN’T mean all the time. (Actually, this is connected to societal stockholm syndrome as well). They DO make concessions. THey *buy* *us* *off*”

Completely! Exactly! And I love your expression “letting a bit of steam out of the cooker” (I can’t find the exact quote now). Demonstrations, activism concentrated on demanding change from male institutions, demanding that men write laws for us and that they apply them: all this is deliberately channelling our energy towards strengthening male control over our movement of liberation, and giving men yet again a head-start in perverting feminism, re-using its language to attract the new generations of women into trojan horse feminisms.

11. witchwind - January 16, 2013

And when you talk about the ease of some transitions – obviously they depend on many factors and how deeply stuck in male traps you are (marriage, abuse, threat), but the day I decided to hang around or date men only according to some criteria (various ways in which I defined respect of integrity and boundaries and capacity to exchange and listen, and no-sexism rule) well, it was very sudden, all the men in my life just disappeared!! Not a single man to fit the criteria. And the other way round too, I wasn’t interesting to them any more. That’s when I realised on a profound level that men didn’t WANT equal relationships with women. What attracted them in women was the fact they could exercise domination over them at some level.

Separatism did not take long after that.

FCM - January 16, 2013

ww i have been thinking about why i find her work “silly” and im glad you brought it up bc i think its important (which is why i included it in the post). it seems ridiculous to me that something that had such a profound effect on my thinking would strike me as “silly” but indeed it did. the animal imagery, the visions of the past and future, (and literal time travel) and line-by-line dialog in the womens kitchens didnt make my eyes roll back exactly, but thats just not normally how i roll you know? daly used the same techniques in “quintessence” and “amazon grace” and i thought hers were silly too. quintessence was my first daly book and that also changed my thinking and worldview forever. how can this be? BTW daly specifically addresses (and favorably regards) “silliness” in “amazon grace” and its listed in the index.

johnson said something about learning writing or lit or something in school where the male prof told everyone that the “and suddenly she realized!” genre was cliche and really bad writing. i wasnt even aware this was a “genre” but anyway, she thought about that for a bit and then “realized” that of course he thinks that, bc men hate it when women realize anything, let alone doing it quickly, you know? so she seems to think that her writing is “really bad writing” too, but not in the way her asshole lit teacher meant it. more like what her prof said was a reversal, and the proof is in the pudding innit? as i said, this is paradigm shifting work.

what do you think? have you read these 3 books? i think her first (from housewife to heretic) was very different than these but i havent read that one yet.

12. Sargasso Sea - January 16, 2013

Out of our minds was a gift brought to me from Mich this past summer and I had just begun reading it (finding it especially fascinating bc of sonia’s mormon background) and I packed it into my hospital bag knowing that I would probably be there for a while – I was reading it in the ER when a male nurse came into my *cubby* and said to me: So, are YOU going out of YOUR mind?

I put it back in my bag and I haven’t looked at it since. They have a way of ruining everything, even my splendid ER experience!!

13. SheilaG - January 16, 2013

I read all of Johnson’s books years ago. From Housewife to Heratic is more a traditional autobiographical narrative, and so you can trace the trajectory Sonia took as she became more and more radical.

Her work is based on her real lived experiences as a feminist, but the thing that did strike me is how she framed the abortion debate. Her answer was unique— women should all learn to perform abortions, so that men would have no control. I believe she compared this to rendering marijuana laws null and void, simple because massive numbers of people frew their own pot, or just broke the law.

What she argued against was women even trying to get men’s laws to change, because she said men own the law. When women started to really break free, the men had to find a way to hook them back in. Hense liver lips of today.

Since I was a part of an all woman movement starting in the late 70s, I can tell you that it was radically different from what even most lesbians settle for today. It is powerful to be in a woman only movement for social revolution, but feminism did get co-opted along the way. Men do doll out little goodies to get “the girl’s” attention back. Patriarchy is expert at this, and we should take its 5000 years of expertise very very seriously.

14. WordWoman - January 16, 2013

The silliness thing makes sense to me. I have been reading gyn/ecology and like the way Daly plays with words. Shes very playful and this has been labeled silly in the culture, especially when women do it. Playfulness. Or simplicity. All of our institutions are shaped around seriousness and that seriousness is just big bullshit.

One place I worked was all women except for one man. He was always strutting around taking himself and his work so seriously. But we had his number. We used to make fun of him behind his back, being so pompous. We got down the seriousness hand gestures, postures, etc. The thing is we were all quite a bit smarter than him. His acting was so transparent. We were silly and did things simply all the time. We were really, really good at what we did. But played a lot while doing it. None of us got paid enough to become very serious in a malestrutting way. Goddess I miss that job.

So, that’s my silly riff. I haven’t read the books yet, but plan to get them. Curious to see what you mean by silly.

Love the graphics! Time flowing differently. Not cobbled together in a malestrutting way.

15. WordWoman - January 16, 2013

S4, that’s so sad.

16. SheilaG - January 16, 2013

Many women say this type of feminism is impractical, but have we for long periods of time ever tried this stuff? And the answer is no. I think men are very good liars, they bore me to death, and women seem to believe a lot of what men say, for reasons beyond me.

I do know we had a very fine feminist movement with women only, and we didn’t meet with or work with men. We created radical revolutionary space to dream big, to write radical feminism, to make our movement powerful. Now of course even lesbian space is being invaded by MtTrans, and this shows the desparation of the patriarchy.

Men fear feminism and want to destroy it. They take its power and women’s power deadly seriously, and do everything in their power to co-opt, lie and keep the game going.

The sad thing about Sonia Johnson is that these ideas faded from time, but I’m glad women are still reading her books. It feel weird to know that I read “Going Out of Our Minds” around 1988; in fact I have a picture someone took of me reading that book, and it is filled with margin comments, yellow and orange highlighted passages, and I can still see how excited I was by her ideas when I take a look at the book today.

We can as women completely and utterly take back the power, and the topic of abortion is just one example of what women’s abilities could really do. All I can say is I did small things — never lived with men after I left home, never had sex with them, never had kids, and focused from a very early age on economic independence. I knew you could never live with men and be free, just as you can’t be in feminism with them and be free. But sadly, most women, who could do this don’t, because men were very aware of the threat Sonia and Daly and others posed, and the trans invasion is something Daly and other foresaw from the get go. Too long a post… but there you have it.

FCM - January 17, 2013

s4 im sorry you went to the ER?! and that you didnt have anything to read?! damn. i wouldve put that book away too, if i had some damn whitecoat sniffing around asking questions like that. how utterly creepy.

FCM - January 17, 2013

miss andrist, for some reason i see a comment of yours has gone to spam. i dont restore comments flagged as spam by wordpress’s spam filter, but if you want to resubmit, go ahead. 🙂

17. cherryblossomlife - January 17, 2013

I’ve only read From Housewife to Heretic, but what you said, SheilaG about women learning how to do their own abortions is really close to my heart, because I absolutely LOVE midwives. LOve them. They were the reason for the burning times; men had to get rid of them at any cost.
Anyway, midwives were the ones who originally gave abortions too. Under patriarchy, that is a paradox. Why would people who were life-preserving, and helped deliver babies, also kill “babies”. BUt because I think FCM is right in saying that we have gone BACKWARDS, and have LOST so much power over the centuries, it makes perfect sense when you consider that midwives have always been *female-centric*. They have never given a shit what men think. To be an independent midwife, even today, you have to be as tough as nails because patriarchal medical institutions are STILL witch-hunting them and trying to get their licenses removed.

I remember reading a book in French called Manon des Sources, and even though the author was a guy, there was a lot of interesting information in there about *herbs* . He wrote it as a work of fiction, but stated that he had wanted to include the beauty of provence, and to describe it, before it disappeared forever and was swallowed up by rampant modern development. One of the things he did was describe the flora and fauna of the region in minute detail— then BAM, he *briefly* mentioned a herb called ‘rue”, which was an abortificant, and women used it regularly until the FRENCH GOVERNMENT outlawed it in the early twentieth century.
He just slipped that piece of info in there! Of course he didn’T realise the significance of what he’d written; he was just interested in the varity of herbs, but I read it 15 years ago and I still remember being blown away that women used to do their own abortions.

18. cherryblossomlife - January 17, 2013

And yes, the French government outlawed it precisely because they wanted to control women. This happend in the twentieth century! Imagine, until then, women in the provencal countryside were doing DIY abortions.

We are surely going backwards.

19. weirdward - January 17, 2013

Good point, Cherry. I’ve read other stories (mostly family orientated history) that seems to suggest women’s past knowledge of how to induce abortions was much more widespread than we would imagine now. But of course the women never talked about it directly – they knew that was sacred knowledge that had to be kept away from men.

And then what happened in the 20th century? Well, men took over doing the abortions and consequently women started dying horrifically. They erased women’s earlier autonomous control of abortions, and then pretended to generously give us the ‘right’ for the first time ever in the 60s, as if it was some great triumph, when very likely it is worse than whatever women used to practice back in the day. And of course still in male hands, ultimately, and they’ve been using it to control us ever since.

20. luckynkl - January 17, 2013

t’s PIV which took the control of reproduction out of women’s hands to begin with and placed it in men’s. Banning midwives and herbs used in abortion were par for the course. It’s about what it’s always been about. Reproduction and who gets to control it. Men have been trying to wrestle reproduction out of women’s hands since patriarchy first crawled out from under its rock. Men understand that he/she who controls reproduction can control the world.

Until one gets that, feminism will continue to fly right over their heads. This is what defines sex and casts us into our castes in our caste system. Our roles in reproduction. This is what the war on women is all about and has always been about. Men in power aren’t concerned with gender, ffs. What they are obsessed with is birth control, abortion, and maintaining its rape culture. PIV *is* rape – precisely because it takes the control of reproduction out of women’s hands and puts it men’s, but women have been railroaded and convinced it’s about consent instead. Men are the masters of bullshit and the con and what they are expert in is marketing their bullshit, cons, and propaganda.

FCM - January 17, 2013

yes, “eroticizing” and placing positive social value on mating was the original scam wasnt it? its all downhill from there. or uphill, depending on your perspective. i mean, why not place positive social value on shitting, or nose picking? there is absolutely NO non-patriarchal non-misogynistic reason i can think of, to elevate mating above anything else or attach any particular value to it at all, or to separate it from reproduction (which is a reversal and a lie — this cannot be done, but its talked about as if we have achieved the impossible). PIV-as-sex is absolutely the cornerstone of patriarchy. if anyone needs proof, kindly notice how the big-3 of the patriarchal institutions (medicine/religion/law) all attach to womens bodies at the moment of conception. men have granted themselves the ability to open the door to patriarchal (including formal, institutional and even state) control over women via intercourse. and the patriarchal effect is the same whether the intercourse is “consensual” or not, making PIV and rape identical politically, yes? this *is* whats going to keep anyone from understanding any of this, or accepting it bc everyone positively-values the precious sexxxay so much. but that doesnt change what it is at all.

21. DavinaSquirrel - January 17, 2013

Yes to what CBL said about midwives and all women’s reproductive knowledge. That all needs to back into the hands of women, and passed on secretly. Midwives today are still subject to be hounded by the law, the modern day witchhunt.

and the patriarchal effect is the same whether the intercourse is “consensual” or not, making PIV and rape identical politically, yes?

Absolutely, yes. Hence PIV is on the rape continuum, not rape on the ‘sex’ continuum. And the political (and medical) implications are the same for women.

The male politicking stuff is ok to a point, but for females, it is mere damage control/limitation, it is not an end goal within itself. Interesting that Roe was the beginning of the end of the US 2nd wave. I think I would also add, in other places like the UK, having the Sex Discrimination Act (now defunct and replaced by the bullshit Equality Act 2010) also marked the end of the second wave, as the point you brought up FCM, all this stuff is then administered and interpreted by the male legal system – so if rely on this, we are screwed basically.

Furthering what Lucky said about Patriarchy not really caring about ‘gender’, they do to the point that it is a handy trojan horse to disrupt any feminist resistance – and it’s working. This is why Trans have their very own special legislation in the UK (the Gender Recognition Act), which is still intact, whereas all the specialist legislation for every other minority group is supposedly covered by the Equality Act. Women no longer have the SDA, the disabled and POC no longer have their specialist legislation. But the laydee snowflakes are not only covered with the EA, but the GRA too. And cast your mind back to the 2nd wave, women had to take to the streets in their thousands to get the SDA/rights, and trans haven’t even broken a nail to get the GRA. Most oppressed group? Nah… don’t think so!

FCM - January 17, 2013

johnson suggests that its not mere “damage control” bc that implies that it has a neutral-effect at worst (at worst, it does nothing) — at best it mitigates the damage. in reality, it is possible (and even seems likely considering the result, which over time has been that its all GETTING WORSE) that all of this politicking, resisting, arguing and ultimately women laying down and being bought by men has the effect of making men even harder and even rapier than they were before. i didnt just put that line in the post for no reason — this is a critical point in johnsons conclusion.

men like it when women “fight back” it turns them on and motivates them, it doesnt deter them at all. we already know this, but applying what we know to our political dealings with them puts it in perspective — johnson articulates womens direct political resistance as being a catalyst for mens increased misogynistic creativity, where they literally go to new heights and new depths in their misogyny and are helped along BY US. the implication of that for us is not that we should do nothing, but that we should not directly resist, or should direct our energies elsewhere than fighting with men. we dont even have to apply this prospectively but retroactively to theorize about why things are getting worse, not better — for example, even if you disagree that women “fighting back” (as in during sex or rape) gets men harder, you dont have to dismiss the idea that womens political resistance makes men even more creative and effective death dealers. they ARE becoming more creative and effective, and in examining why that might be, we should take serious note of all the female resistance we have been directing toward them this whole time.

22. Sargasso Sea - January 17, 2013

“i mean, why not place positive social value on shitting, or nose picking?”


23. Sargasso Sea - January 17, 2013

Many thanks to all of you for having the stamina (I have indeed been quite ill these past few months but seem to be bouncing back) to keep hashing this stuff out again and again – we continue to push the thought boundries by doing so.

And, yes, men and boys loooove it when we cry and scream and fight bc it reminds them that they have the *power*.

24. witchwind - January 17, 2013

this makes perfect sense even from a purely structuralist point of view. Any outward, open resistance, in a condition where the oppressors (men) never lose the monopoly of power and have the possibility to survey women at all times, actually always gives a head start to the oppressor to organise retaliation and propaganda, misogyny in more “creative”, deadly ways. Having the monopoly over media, law, medecine, the military, the economy (etc), it’s too easy for them to just absorb and coopt our resistants, con us with trojan horse feminisms and derail all our energies to actions programmed to fail.

This is why resistants usually act in secrecy. This doesn’t mean we have to copy men in the way they act because it’s necessarily deadly and anti-women, but not giving men all our tools, analyses, and information about what we do and plan to do, is essential. Prevent men as much as possible from accessing our knowledge, know-how and understandings of the world – including male world – all the things that are necessary for our liberation.

FCM - January 17, 2013

i have often wondered about the secrecy thing and have decided against it myself, because i think that getting the info out to women is more important than keeping it from men. but i know that there is plenty that goes on behind closed doors and i am glad for that bc it makes sense to do that, as you say. these are conflicting interests (getting the info out to women versus keeping it from men) that i would like to see discussed. interestingly, i think the most radical stuff (like daly) appears as mostly-incoherent babbling to men anyway bc they are literally incapable of understanding it — this is the background. we can probably do as much of that out in the open as we want to and it wont have any effect on men at all except to attract their rage that we exist and are talking to each other, albeit incoherently. LOL they sit around picking lice off each other in complete bafflement that so many of us are mentally ill — how is it possible that there are so many of us, and why havent we been hospitalized yet? their smug armchair diagnoses are bothersome though, considering the witchburnings and the fact that the whitecoats are not very far removed ideologically from your garden variety internet misogynist…

what is meant by “direct resistance” though — the kind that feeds mens engines and ignites and inspires their misogynist industry and genius — includes all our participation in legal and social reform. this includes all direct actions, (doesnt it?) whether or not the men know about it before we do it. its not a matter of doing this in private, it seems to be a matter of not doing it at all. completely sidestepping the issue of whether reformism works (meaning whether we get the laws written or revised as to be most favorable to us, then having them enforced fairly) is the issue of what our energy is doing to men when we engage in their reindeer games at all, and that includes participating in all their institutions, including the law. johnson obviously believes that we are making it worse, and that there is a somewhat “metaphysical” explanation for that. i have sensed and written about that before, where men seem to tap into a global male consciousness of misogyny, or where their own violence, including the chemical changes that occur inside them physically during the arousal and mid-act, unleashes a kind of creative force that makes previously unthinkable misogyny thinkable, and therefore do-able. the next one builds on what is now possible, and the next one builds on that. that is what happens when genius is unleashed — connections and leaps are made — and i think we have seen a kind of genius in action over the decades and centuries. obviously a really sick, destructive kind, for which there is no adequate word — “evil genius” is the closest we have to describing that i guess, but “creative destroyers” seems more accurate, even though its a linguistic impossibility and an oxymoron. i hadnt considered that we could be making this worse.


25. witchwind - January 17, 2013

you’re right it’s not a simplistic issue of private vs. public, but more a question of where we direct our energy towards. Anything that directs our energy towards men, I guess, is not only lost energy, but energy that will be used by men against us: sabotaged, twisted and perverted. Anything that directs our energy towards ourselves, for ourselves only, is gained only by us – and gained in a way we can build on, hopefully, if we are not killed or erased. Is that what you mean? if so, the equation is very, very simple.

And yet – this *is* what women have been doing and have done for centuries, before patriarchy hit its modern phase, and what happened? A world genocide of women – the women who fled were slaughtered and tortured en masse, all the women-only communities were destroyed, and autonomous women who worked for the autonomy and health of other women were brutally hunted down. If we started leaving men en masse again like women did in the middle ages, is there any reason why history would *not* repeat itself, in worse – the weapons they have today being even more deadly than then? Once we reach the conclusion that revolution is between ourselves, how do we escape men? For sure they won’t just let us run away without budging. Look what happens to women who run away from abusive husbands: he does everything in his power to kill her.

And yes, I also believe in reaching women, so long as women can access it in women-only and safe contexts. Any other context, wherein there are men or female inflitrators, is dangerous.

However whenever I comment on blogs I always do ask myself: how safe is it to go so far when I know men might be surveying what we say? What do they do with these ideas they read, what’s the impact? it is quite likely some men re-use those ideas against their wives, daughters, co-workers, students (etc) to better manipulate them into believing he’s a good guy. Internet belongs to men, men own it, it was made by them so they could spread their images of women-hating propaganda (porn) faster and on a wider scale. Internet has male qualities: energy-sucking – despite the fact conversations are mind-blowing and may change lives, internet sucks energy in ways that real-life conversations with radfems do not, and never do.

I don’t have the answer to this, but just to say that I think about it every time I comment. Maybe one day I’ll go completely offline, I don’t know. Maybe not.

FCM - January 17, 2013

read the 3 books i describe here and you will see what sonia johnson thinks about all that. 🙂 i am still processing it, and have the same general questions you do. incidentally, johnson clarifies in “wildfire” what was apparently a source of widespread misunderstanding in “going out of our minds” that she is definitely *not* advocating a “new age” approach where denying reality and depoliticizing and mischaracterizing mens oppressiveness will set us free. she also suggests that anytime we ask a question and legitimately put our best thinkers and our best selves on it and we are unable to come up with an answer, (bc we are geniuses and perfectly capable of problemsolving, moreso than anyone else on the planet in fact) it might be bc we are asking the wrong question. she thinks that “well what do we DO?” is one of those questions.

i might even have to re-read some of this stuff myself. the images i included with this post represent what it feels like to read these books, and what i think her overarching point was, which is that there is a way to be there NOW without having to take the long way around. (hence the wormholes, implicating time (time/space) travel — daly plays around with time travel too). and that this is very much a feeling-thing, and an imagining-thing. you have to be able to think it and imagine it before you can act on it or create it. and arranging words, sentences and punctuation on a page in a way that allows women — the uniquely, horrifically, globally oppressed class — to “feel” free is not an easy task. seriously, read the books and see what you think. we can always revisit the issue later.

26. Sargasso Sea - January 17, 2013

Witchwind and Fact on a roll (spiral!) 🙂

FCM - January 17, 2013

glad to hear you are feeling a bit better s4! heal on….

27. WordWoman - January 18, 2013

FCM: Ok, I’ve ordered these three books. I hope you will discuss this more later.

Witchwind: I’ve sometimes wondered about the lack of responses to some very good radfem posts/blogs. So many strike me as absolutely brilliant, in fact. I wonder if there are women out there reading them and deciding not to post for the reasons you mention, witchwind. I’ve had an intuitive sense about that before.

28. tix8770 - January 18, 2013

Haven’t got my Sonia Johnson books yet. I can only talk about a vision…women meeting at each others’ homes each week…women putting their money together to buy land starting with a couple of sheds.

I want to say something important. I just hired a “handyman” to do some labor on my home. I knew right away he was a dominator. I stayed away as much as I could during the job. But at the end after all my care he managed to maneuver me alone and close and grabbed me by the neck – yeah, just a joke. Just letting me know who was boss no matter who paid. It was sickening. I did nothing. I don’t want him targeting my home. I let him have his satisfaction. I could commit suicide or move on and I choose to move on. Frankly, if he comes to my home again I will try to defend myself even violently.

Oh yeah it’s nothing, like the boys who so painfully attacked me walking home from high school one afternoon (I was sick for months afterward), or in Europe tried to rape me. Or when I was a professional trying to help a client and was attacked by him. Just an ordinary female life.

I want to be left alone.

I feel that I’m williing to kill for that privilege. No more.

29. nix - January 18, 2013

perhaps I’m being dense, but if so it is not intentional. Are you suggesting that women’s liberation could be achieved without ever engaging with men (engaging = in discussion or in violence or in whatever you like, I use this verb to leave that open, however it would be easier for me to accept “without engaging in discussion” than “without engaging in violence”)?

And, relatedly, what is leftover to ask about if we are not going to ask about “what to do”? I’m just not sure what politically relevant questions are left after that one and its variants (“how do we accomplish x”?) are excluded. Insofar as we are materialists (which I would assume most of us are), we must accept that liberation can’t take place outside a world in which we share — irrevocably– crucial material (and immaterial, for that matter) with men (and with patriarchal societies that include women and children who are going along with them). I say “irrevocable” because if they pollute upstream, we drink downstream. If they legislate there, they presume it covers here & intend to enforce that presumption with force. If they want to, they will kidnap us and take us there in order to prevent our “here” from being safe (legal forms of kidnap include penal imprisonment, forced hospitalization, deportation).

FCM - January 18, 2013

yes those are some questions arent they. 🙂 i am intrigued by the suggestion that, because we havent been able to answer this question satisfactorily yet (what do we DO to get liberated from male dominance?) that its evidence that there is something wrong with the question, or that its unanswerable. this possibility comes to the forefront once you accept that women are smart, and that feminist philosophy is the ONLY truly revolutionary not to mention intellectually rigorous and honest discourse that has ever existed. we are pretty good at this stuff, so why cant we figure this one out? this perspective has made me look at the situation differently, and i am still thinking about it.

i also find it odd that a first time commenter comes on my blog and suggests they are willing to discuss engaging in violence against men. LOL is this merely a worm, or is it a garlic scented doughball? the things we must consider when hosting a publically accessible radical feminist blog.

30. Sargasso Sea - January 18, 2013

I do believe that I am beginning to get the background although I have read very, very little Daly as of yet. I think that females do not belong on this *plane* (we DO belong in the spiraling wormhole tho!) and that is actually possible to be here AND not be here at the same time, perhaps even at will.

I have had several instances where I have *disappeared* from everyone’s perceptions when I was right there the whole time – people were actually searching for me when I was sitting right next to them. At those times (I realize now, thinking carefully about it) that the common factor was that I was deeply focused, meditating I guess, on the “normality” of the people around me and rejecting that normality entirely. I rejected so completely that I ceased to exist in their plane.

And, yeah, actual violence is NEVER good for women. 🙂

31. DavinaSquirrel - January 18, 2013

If we started leaving men en masse again like women did in the middle ages, is there any reason why history would *not* repeat itself, in worse – the weapons they have today being even more deadly than then? Once we reach the conclusion that revolution is between ourselves, how do we escape men? For sure they won’t just let us run away without budging. Look what happens to women who run away from abusive husbands: he does everything in his power to kill her.

Good question Witchwind. There is no question that history would repeat itself.

we are pretty good at this stuff, so why cant we figure this one out?

Well, there is a solution. But not mentioned on a public blog.

32. tix8770 - January 18, 2013

I just would like to clarify that I am not a violent person and have never engaged in violence, nor do I think the only way to go is to struggle violently with men, I don’t think that’s possible or desirable. I just was talking about self-defense and how I’m trying to toughen up some and knock somebody’s hand off me if they grab me.

nix those are the next questions to ask, all right. and fcm, I really do think we can work through the options in theory and that this kind of thinking will help women if they get to read it, to decide how to live their lives. I know some engagement with men, indirectly or directly, has to happen in this present world. But women are coming into their power and change is very rapid in our times. A separatist movement, more women’s institutions, more women trained in crafts and technical fields, more women who are not bound up in family obligations, more women worldwide growing more independent by the second…all this may come to pass. Maybe the discussion could include setting new boundaries with men, so that living semi-apart, which may be all our generation can do, is tolerable.

FCM - January 19, 2013

glad to know the super sikkrit radfem FB group is on the case and has found the solution. 🙂 someone let me know when we’ve won. im not on FB.

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