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Because It’s Unconscionable Bullshit Gaslighting. That’s Why. December 21, 2014

Posted by FCM in meta, news you can use, politics.
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sonia johnson asked and explored the question, why do women almost universally reject feminism and feminist activating in discussing her involvement with ERA legislation politicking in one of her books.  she and many feminists had long pondered, when feminism is in womens best interests, and is in fact the only ideology that adequately represents the interests of women across time and place, why is it so difficult impossible to get women on board?  and interestingly, when women do come together to do something great, it almost always doesnt last.  why/why not?

johnson concluded that women almost universally reject feminism and feminist activating because its worse than pointless: feminist activating is actually making things worse.  women pouring their time and resources into reformist (foreground) pursuits-that-are-bound-to-fail-because-patriarchy actually energizes, motivates and activates men, who vampirically feed off female energy, and besides that, men like things the way they are.  many, many women know this is true at a feeling/intuitive level and they shy away from feminism and feminist activating because they know it wont work.

i would also add that feminist activating is unlikely to help, and likely to make things worse because men love watching women writhe and suffer because they are men.  in other words, feminist politicking is in reality a sophisticated form of torture whereby males purposely withhold necessary social changes palliative care for women and gleefully observe the fallout with their dicks in their hands.  males get off on it because it is torture.  this is obviously the case.  and women almost universally reject this, whether by instinct (and they do not get involved in the first place) or later, experienced radical women come to reject radical feminism because they know better.

furthermore, because radical feminist activating is based on the premise that males can and will respond to females without violence (isnt it?), against all evidence that this is in fact true, radical feminist activating is also unconscionable gaslighting.

thus, we have the public face of “radical feminism” which seems to consist largely or entirely of women who either do not possess or are ignoring instincts that it is pointless or worse than pointless; and women who simply have not done it long enough to know better.  aka.  the nuts leave.  there are also power jockeys, drama junkies and ass-kissing hangers on, as there are in any movement, but i am not talking about them — if this was an enormous problem, there would be plenty of radfems to go around.  the place would be crawling with “us” in fact, if there were anything at all to be gained from this, even squikky political leftovers like networking and career ops but its not.

if this sounds like a fairly motley crew, well, i think it obviously is.  and, if anyone thinks most women will willingly spend their time this way, when women have so little time, energy and resources to spend any way, they (obviously) wont.  women almost universally will not do this, or they wont do it for long, because it is unconscionable gaslighting, and thus is abusive and bullshit.  and women who sucker other women into this, or who tell other women to “keep going” and “never stop” doing radical feminism and repetitiously making pointless fucking points are abusive.  or something.  there are no words for this.

women will not spend their time and lives this way, and i personally have rejected it, yet, every single day i witness man-ifestations of patriarchy that nearly beggar belief (and virtually beg for a response).  every single day i could write a thousand posts (or as many as i could physically write) and start an entirely new blog based on an original idea (like celebrating examples of male violence against other men — yay!) but i dont because it would only deplete me, and there would be no point.  yesterday it was the sony/north korea “thing” whereby the hollywood, corporate and washington patriarchal elite in unison denounced “silencing” and reaffirmed their (alleged) belief in speaking truth to power, and not being bullied, terrorized and brutalized into submission.  but again, this is all gaslighting bullshit.  women do not share this world, nor will we ever.  it is beyond ridiculous to even point it out/respond to it, and the only reason i am even mentioning it now is to illustrate a point — it never fucking ends, and it will never end, this is but one example of literally endless examples.  get it?

i also mention it as a lead-in to what may well be my final point, because it is *the* final point.  or endpoint, if you will.

besides what sonia johnson wrote about her experience, i have never seen it written anywhere that radical feminism is gaslighting bullshit, and worse than a waste of time.  i have never seen it written that women who pressure other women to join or to keep going with radical feminist activating are being abusive and that it is gaslighting because it implies that men will respond to women without violence, when thats simply and obviously not true.  so *i* am going to say it.  it is, and they are.  radical feminism is gaslighting bullshit.  and it is my sincerest hope that no woman will waste months and years of her life figuring this out, only to figure it out too late — after she has been made sick and broken by it.  and this does happen.

andrea dworkin, shulamith firestone and valerie solanas — some of our best and most radical thinkers who mostly did not lie for a living (like the academics did and still do) and who instead told the unvarnished truth about men and what they are and what they do — all died early deaths after years of poor health, and i have to wonder why that was.  that is to say, i have wondered about it, and having done this “work” for several lifetimes now (several internet lifetimes that is, where most blogs only last 2-3 months before they fail, and i maintained several blogs for several years) i think i can answer my own question.  which is what this is about afterall, for women who cannot reconcile their subjective feelings female selves with patriarchy, we need to know why things are the way they are.  i always needed to know.

welp.  i now believe that radical feminism probably killed them.  and if it did, it means that gaslighting and being abused and gaslighted by “radical” and even well-meaning women, and purposely and callously tortured by men (of course), can actually kill you.  kill, as in drain the life out of, and die.  i think this is not only possible, but that it has actually happened.  and i think we ought to not let this happen to any more of us, and that we each should make sure this does not happen to us individually.  which is the only way we can do it by the way.  there is no other way except that.


1. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

Yes, well I agree with everything you say of course.

What really upset me, was that when I was attacked that time, there was nowhere to go, and it possible that having an awareness of patriarchy made it more difficult for me.

Women are oppressed, so they have literally no resources. It was never about “leaving men” at all. Where were all the resources for the women who finally “got” patriarchy, and how deeply entrenched it was? Well, they weren’t there. And that’s not women’s fault, by any means, but the shock of it all: understanding patriarchy, knowing you had to leave, and realising there was literally no support network or resources enabling women to improve their situations kind of contributed to me having a nervous breakdown, if I’m perfectly honest.

I remember once calling an organization designed to help foreign women. They just gaslighted me, as you say. Because they, as women, had NO POWER to help me. All they could do was offer “support” which meant convincing themselves and me that the situation wasn’t that bad.

And yet.. that feeling you get when you first read Daly’s Gyn/Ecology. I would never want to un-know that. And if it contributes to women having one less baby, or seeing the possibilities of a life beyond men and hetereosexuality, then perhaps a quiet sort of radical feminism is needed and necessary.

And what I really like about radical feminism is unequivocally knowing what is what. In particular, I’m glad that I understand the connections between “nice men” and “not my nigel” mentality in women and how this concept supports patriarchal power and how every.single.man is in on it, without exception. It helps you move away from the hows and whys when you’re wondering how on earth a particular atrocity could ever have happened. (let’s say, the holocaust of the Jews, or the recent murder of all those children in Pakistan). It helps to understand that it’s patriarchy and male dominance that is the root of all this evil.

FCM - December 21, 2014

yes! i agree that the KNOWING is important. i always wanted, no, i NEEDED to know what the hell was going on, and how things worked in general, but in particular why did i feel so bad and wrong all the time. i have a dozen young, angsty journals brimming with this kind of questioning, it was so painful to not know, i kept asking WHY? and then reading it again as an adult was painful, because at that point, i knew. i wish i could go back and tell my younger self what was what because i was in agony for the not-understanding. and at this point, i think we have this down, the gears page on radfem images (radfem 101 page on this blog) is the culmination and summary of decades of feminist work. it is 10,000 words, 40 pages, which is exactly as long as solanas’s SCUM manifesto — i know its 10,000 words and 40 pages because i wrote it. the gears page, not SCUM manifesto.

and yet, as we discussed before, it also made me sick. i am fairly sure it was PARTS of the experience that made me sick, and not the whole thing — not the learning/knowing (surely?) so, can we isolate the parts that cause disease get rid of those and keep the rest? if so, how?

2. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

Well, blogging and writing attracts men’s attention and that was making me sick. I remember that I’d booked a weekend away and thought to myself, “Fuck it, I am so tired of censoring myself”, so wrote that post about the Y-chromosome and just posted it. Well, it did attracts men’s attention, which was an utterly pointless exercise because of how much their reaction frightened me. Which I knew it would anyway, because I’d had previous experience of interacting with men online…

When I put it like that, it looks like I had a death wish!

What is good is discussing other ways of being with other women, and then coming across that indefinable shiver of recognition when you remember points in your life when things were good or better, like a camping trip you had with a friend. And realising there is no reason for life not to be like that all the time, and it would be if it weren’t for men’s obsessive interference in women and children’s lives.

FCM - December 21, 2014

and dont even get me started on the role of “social workers” in this mess. you are absolutely correct to identify their role as gaslighting because as you say, as oppressed people, women by definition have no resources, but the role of the SW is to identify resources for the victim so they can help themselves. you just identified the exact problem with that, as well as how it feels to be on the receiving end of it. so thanks!

FCM - December 21, 2014

or at least, we have no “resources” in the patriarchal sense which is what social workers are trying to identify. i would say the gears page is an excellent resource, but its nothing a social worker would ever give you, and its not likely to help you pay your rent (but could still change the game). perhaps that would even function as the “phase shift” in chaos theory wordwoman mentioned in the last thread? a total game changer that you cannot predict based on the past?

3. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

Right, so if there are resources available, then the organization is undoubtedly run by men and if you accept those resources there will be repercussions (untold interference in yours and your children’s lives). And yet if it’s run by women, and was set up by and for women, all they have to hand is gaslighting, or if they’re radical feminists, all they can do is help you gain an awareness of how bad your situation is.
Unbelievable situation.

4. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

X posted.
Yes, I meant resources in the patriarchal sense! Money to change women’s living situation and laws in place to protect women who don’t want to live with men.

5. endlessleeper - December 21, 2014

incredibly enlightening post. i would never want to give up my radfem leanings or stop going to the root or stop my quiet brand of feminism but you’re right, it can be (and often is) really abusive to tell women, who lack energy and resources, to stick it out in a political situation where there is literally no major benefit for them. nothing we do is ever the right thing because we have x trait or y characteristic or have a husband/child(ren)/illness/etc and refuse to apologize for it. i have NEVER seen a male activist be told he needs to cling to politics until they actively hurt, depress, terrify, wound, and gaslight him, and i think this is due to the fact that women are constantly “never good enough” and we mistake our horrific suffering for progress. the world is so shitty that we assume feeling horrible about it means we’re becoming enlightened; we’re on the right track; nobody can say we aren’t real activists; it’s better to die on your own sword than the patriarchy’s. there is zero reason for this, you’re absolutely right. your blog and so many others (as well as the excellent commenters) have given me the tools to know how men are going to fuck me over, why they’re going to do it, and how i can either try to prevent it or heal from it, and really, that’s kind of all you can do. i much prefer this brand of individualism to the kind that says a single woman can oppress an entire group of men. (hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. women have NEVER had that level of power, influence, audience, resources, energy, or money; and we sure as hell don’t hoard what we get like men do) and don’t even get me started on the men who are allowed by the women they manipulate and coerce to talk about and participate in radical feminism–they’re all shit and they always and forever make it about how much THEY’VE suffered, how much THEIR lives are awful, how a mean woman once tried to assert her humanity in front of them. disgusting and 0% worth fighting for our right to participate in that.
also, as an aside, i would read the hell out of a “male violence against men” blog. tee hee.

FCM - December 21, 2014

also about attracting mens ire, i do not even drop links anymore to males ive criticized because why make it easier for them to hunt me down, terrorize and kill me? this includes DGR and NTE where i purposely did not drop links to their work. i wonder if the DGR women have ever considered that other radical women are not criticizing DGR much because they are terrified of the asshole men they associate with (derrek jensen and owen lloyd for example). all is not necessarily “OK” just because pretty much everyone is going along with what DGR is offering, not when to criticize them would be to draw mens ire (in that case, men in these groups including founding members and “leaders”). just putting that out there. 🙂

i have also heard it said that “for some reason” it seems like women need to each learn this for themselves, this is in response to the question why are we all the time reinventing the damn wheel? WHY do each one of us have to learn this shit the hard way? is this really true? well, women are definitely NOT masochists, the effort (and entire lives) many of us spend trying to get out of abusive situations is testament to that. so what is it? can we not use each other as shortcuts and learn from each other the easy way? if not, why not?

6. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

Well, men are sneaky and they have thousands of years experience in oppressing women.

I remember knowing that marriage was bad before I did it. I KNEW. But I had also heard about “the incredible pain of infertility” in women who wanted children but couldn’t have them because they’d left it too late.

I had no idea whether or not I wanted to have children, but “incredible pain” was not something I particularly wanted to experience, so I thought I’d learn from THOSE WOMEN (i.e the only women whose voices you can hear in the foreground) and have children early.

WTF?! haha!

I have a friend, who was a professional woman in a big European city. Had a brilliant job and her own place. Who knows what patriarchal meme she had stumbled across, convincing her that she needed to marry an immigrant and support him with her work, and have a baby with him. She got puerperal psychosis after her baby was born and lost her job.

(I also had a kind of homeless problem going on around the time I got married which MAY have contributed to my decision to do it…)

So men “have this place on lockdown”, as WWWW once said. There is no avenue for escape.

FCM - December 21, 2014

re what anyone expects from male politickers, even if they do it until they get sick, or if they get hurt or beaten during an “action” for example, ALL men have women to help them and take care of them until they get better. what do most women have? no one at best, at worst, a dozen other people SHE is responsible for besides herself. so naturally, politicking will be based on the male model, which is a subsidy model where males do not bear any of the actual costs of what they do (and where women bear all the costs of everything like always). plus everything is harder on us because we are women and not men, we have to work orders of magnitude harder and longer than men do and that includes in our activism. women literally cannot afford to be doing this crap.

7. Sargasso Sea - December 21, 2014

There’s a lot to be said for not entirely walking away from spreading the radical word – think delphyne and bronte and others who seem to appear out of the aether to drop words of wisdom…

But in our own lives it has to be a balance. It’s to the point with me that it’s more important to cultivate my autonomy, my daughter’s autonomy and the autonomy of the women I personally know and care for than it is to cast any kind of wide net.

I do have one venue where I limit my involvement to speaking about male violence. I stick to that and I know that women who won’t ‘speak up’ still appreciate the message.

8. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

Like cats, then, we should just do what we want.
I went to a Feminism in London conference with a bunch of Mumsnet women about 7 years ago. I was ecstatically excited to meet them before going. I am still in contact with them, and I had such a good time. The whole day was a blast.
It wasn’t politicking per se, but it was meeting other women in a feminist capacity.
It worked.

9. Sargasso Sea - December 21, 2014

But, yes, Radical Feminism is nothing but gaslighting anymore.

Again: when any male can claim to be a radical feminist – or any kind of feminist at all – the label game is lost.

Autonomous is the only way a woman can truly BE.

FCM - December 21, 2014

funny you said that s4. 🙂 i was just reading the archives, the “on credibility” post where delphyne dropped in to tell me that the mansplaining asshole who was trying to start a blogwar with me was “hugo schwyzer” and the history there, and that was fully 4 years ago before most people knew hugo from adam. it was also delphyne who alerted me to the oddly trannified pomo position on “gender” espoused by DGR. and yes, bronte’s comment about NTE really started something didnt it? interestingly, there was no gaslighting involved. they made these comments publically, so that they shared some of the risk of speaking these truths instead of putting it all on me. just thinking out loud here. interesting.

FCM - December 21, 2014

cherry, how many times in a day do i see radical women “patting other women on the back” for the work they do — encouraging it, in other words? many times, women who are not sharing any of the costs/risks/responsibility for any of the real work, the real theorizing, the real organizing, the real writing, just show up and gush about how badly we are “needed” and how we should never stop. this is the context in which we are trying to decide what we “want” to do, and how long we might “want” to do it. its coercive, in other words. and people are assuming its working, but few people ever discuss or even notice that its not, and that its actually getting worse! all this context is important and critical to our making these decisions.

and this thing about “needing” certain people is also bullshit and memories are short — when one of us leaves, its as if we never existed, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. we can and do get along just fine when people leave, but no one ever says this. this is very dangerously likely to tap into our sense of responsibility and duty which is patently unfair and often manipulative. and critical information is withheld from us, like that women who came before were made sick from this, or decided not to do it anymore and left, and why. i agree with you, that like cats, we should do what we want. with full disclosure and all the information necessary to make that decision.

FCM - December 21, 2014

for example, would you still do it, and for how long, if you knew:

1) it wasnt likely to work because men will never stop and they will always respond to women with violence;
2) there is evidence that it will actually make things worse;
3) there is evidence that it can actually make you ill, up to and including death;
4) no one “needs” you and life will go on for everyone else no matter what, including if you die;
5) many, many, many women who came before decided that it wasnt worth it and left and they had actual valid reasons for this (either the payout was too small, or the costs were too high, or both);
6) 1-5 are deliberately obscured and erased from our history, both by anti feminists and by radicals themselves for various reasons.

if so, why, and what would you do, and how long would you do it? if not, why not?

10. FCM - December 21, 2014

and cherry, about getting married, to this day i have a recurring nightmare that i am about to get married against my better judgment. its really weird. i have other self destructive dreams as well, but they dont repeat, like one where i was cutting off pieces of my arm and putting them into a frying pan, where the whole time i was thinking, in the dream, wow, i really shouldnt be doing this, this is a terrible idea and will have lasting effects…but i have had the marriage one multiple times and in the dream it is exactly like the frying pan one with the sense of wrongness and serious damage being done, and yet i am going through with it anyway. like i said, weird!

FCM - December 21, 2014

and i would add a #7 to the list above:

would you still do it, and for long, if you knew that there was EVIDENCE of runaway global climate change caused by mens rapism, necrophilia and greed and that the changes happening now were set in stone decades ago, and are imminent, catastrophic, exponential and cannot be stopped.

so the list would look like this:

regarding radical feminist activating, would you still do it, and for how long, if you knew:

1) it wasnt likely to work because men will never stop and they will always respond to women with violence;
2) there is EVIDENCE of runaway global climate change caused by mens rapism, necrophilia and greed and that the changes happening now were set in stone decades ago, and are imminent, catastrophic, exponential and cannot be stopped;
3) there is evidence that it (radical feminist activating) will actually make things worse;
4) there is evidence that it can actually make you ill, up to and including death;
5) no one “needs” you and life will go on for everyone else no matter what, including if you die;
6) many, many, many women who came before decided that it wasnt worth it and left and they had actual valid reasons for this (either the payout was too small, or the costs were too high, or both);
7) 1-6 are deliberately obscured and erased from our history, both by anti feminists and by radicals themselves for various reasons.

if so, why, and what would you do, and how long would you do it? if not, why not?

11. cherryblossomlife - December 21, 2014

omg, your analogy of what it’s like when you’re making the decision to get married is perfect. Getting married, for a woman, is as insane as cutting off pieces of your arm and putting them in a frying pan, knowing you are doing it “against your better judgement”.

As for writing.. At one point, I wrote because I “had to”. But then women, ideally, should not be in a situation where writing radical feminist articles is therapeutic! Because the material is so horrific.

Dworkin looked unhealthy for years, and it was because she had been writing instead of exercising and eating properly. She had most likely poured every spare minute into her writing.

Yes, there has to be a better way.

12. Rachel - December 21, 2014

I read this blog cover to cover years ago and went forth as a radical, now i have given it all up.
I felt harmed … Well, this post says what i needed to say.
For this, i thank you.

13. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

I think the only reason women go on activating for change is because they don’t think there is anything else to do. In other words, they are trapped in the foreground, in an foreground understanding of the world and how to effect anything in it. they still believe men, in other words, even when they think they know what’s what. they still believe the man-made namings of reality, like politics and political procedures to be true and that it’s possible to use them in women’s favour.

they feel guilt for “not doing anything,” especially women who are in a relatively “privileged” position (have ANY time and recourses available to themselves at all) and would consider it shameful to be concerned only about themselves and their own survival.

We get labelled lifestylists and individualists when we say something like you have said in your post, fcm.

However, the way i have understood Mary Daly is that we can effect reality in ways that seem invisible to the foreground eye, by strengthening a certain electrical charge, a morphogenetic field that makes other women’s evolution/awakening possible, just by doing what we are called to do by our inner voice (which is the goddess speaking to us), in other words by authentically participating in Be-ing.

I think this is the same as striving for autonomy. For a while now it has occurred to me that “The Women’s Movement” is another foreground that effectively gaslights and distracts us from moving according to our own rhythms. women, moving (to their own rhythm) is what it’s about, which will weave a pattern that can be described as women’s movement.

But then radical femininsts will say that this is unpolitical, and wrong, and leaving our sisters in standing out in the rain, etc. More gaslighting.

I keep coming back to the red tent idea that I have linked to in the comments thread to one of your previous final posts. 😉
I like it so much because it is not radical feminist on it’s face, it is about women coming together as women, to allow ourselves and each other the space we need to access that inner voice in us. I firmly believe that if women were grounded in ourSevles that we would naturally invest our gynergy in ourselves and each other instead of giving it to men and patirarchy (in the areas of our lives and to the degree that we can actually decide to) and that this would be the opposite of activating for change with “political” tools (and thereby strengthening men and their world as you described above). women are constantly distracted and violated out of our bodies and so are very rarely in our own powers. This is of course intentional on the side of men.

I think women are scared to care about themselves because that gets us labelled selfish and then we think we are like men. But women being “selfish” (putting ourselves and other women first) and men being selfish looks very differently, because if we are selfish we start weaving webs that are good for us and are ALSO good for other women and the earth herself. When men are selfish they destroy webs of life. It’s the essential difference. Gaslighting indeed.

14. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

arg, affect vs. effect, I always get confused.. 😉

15. bronte71 - December 21, 2014

Sargasso: Thank you for the ‘words of wisdom’ bit earlier. However, I don’t think I’m wise: just lots of experience of being bashed around, a nervous breakdown ten years ago for the same reason as Cherryblossom, and tired of staying silent. If any of my words reverberate, I think it’s because of the following.

In Andrea Dworkin’s “Right Wing Women”, one of the questions she sought to answer was, “Why is the Right succeeding in opposing women’s rights?”
She argued that Right wing women very consciously and knowingly signed an (invisible) social contract to be submissive to the authority of men. Specifically, Andrea wrote: “Right wing women see that within the system in which they live they cannot make their bodies their own, but they can agree to privatized male ownership…..through submission and obedience…..etc.”

Mary Daly, Sonia Johnson and, later, other brilliant radfems (yes, that means you, FCM, Cherry et.al) have also written much about women’s amnesia, brainwashing, patriarchal grooming since childhood, the resultant Societal Stockholm Syndrome and trauma bonding: all psychological phenomena related to why there is a lack of universal sisterhood in patriarchal society and why feminism has failed so spectacularly.

With very deepest bows to you all, I think there is one critical piece missing from the rad fem analysis. At present, I’m reading an online book titled “The Authoritarians”; authored by Bob Altermeyer.

Click to access TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Only half way through and my mind has been pinging loudly in agreement.
The argument is that the human species (both women and men) is essentially divided into 3 psychological groups:
1. Authoritarian Leaders
2. Authoritarian Followers
3. Anti-Authoritarians/Free thinkers/independents

I happen to fall into the last group – strongly Anti-Authoritarian- and have since childhood. All the patriarchal abuse and grooming experienced has not altered that basic character. And for a long time I have believed that all other rad fems were/are “born as Anti-Authoritarians.” Doesn’t matter if we came into rad fem consciousness in childhood or much later because it was always there.

Conversely, I also believe that what rad fems term staunch Handmaidens of the P or Right Wing Women were also “born that way” as either Authoritarian Leaders (eg. Phyllis Schlafly) or Authoritarian Followers.

Yes, I can hear all the howls of “Biological essentialist” protest from where I’m sitting but please, please read the book (and many others similar such as Conservatives Without Conscience and the Milgram Experiment) and consider it. Don’t toss the argument away on the basis that it is very ugly.

In short, if The Authoritarian argument is valid (and I believe it is because of our primate ancestry) then what that means is that there was never any chance of feminism succeeding after the fall of the pre-historical matriarchates; there was never any chance of feminism succeeding in recent times because there are just too many Authoritarians in the overall population compared to the small numbers of Anti-Authoritarians. Further, rad fems are probably a small sub-set of the already small Anti-Authoritarian group.

I do not like what The Authoritarian theory states of the human species. I hate it. Nevertheless, this piece of knowledge also – somehow- makes me feel freer. No more wasting time for me with both men and, unfortunately, some Authoritarian women.

16. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

the dilemma as i see it wanting to know WHY (and incidentally, I also found an old journal of mine last night (from 10 years ago) and it was interesting but also painful to read how much i identified with men and how my whole personality revolved around attracting men, and also how much in pain i was and didn’t know WHY.)
radical feminism has saved my life because it gave me a framework to understand why and how this is all happening and how it is all connected. but then once you wake up, the question “now what do we DO about it” torments you. And this is where they get us again, by diverting our gynergy into poltical activism and such. So i think radical feminism as a framework, writing and speaking our analyses is important, but the conclusions many of us draw from them are faulty. We need to realize how vicious this war is and how much we need to guard ourselves and do everything we can to survive. that men don’t care if we can see through their systems or not, because they know that they have all of the aggregated power of their patterns of violence and bro-code of several thousand years (plus that utter contempt for life) behind them and we can never win on their terms.

I think women are now called to adapt to reality which is that collapse seems pretty much imminent. We need to say goodbye to the world as we know it and maybe if we’re lucky, men won’t be able to adapt (of course they can’t) and largely die out. but this won’t happen from one day to the other so the transition phase from crumbling patriarchy to whatever post-patriarchy there will be (or won’t) is the bottle neck.

17. witchwind - December 21, 2014

I agree that most of the ways in which feminism is accessible to women are destructive, because either based on a male model of doing things that only work when you’re a member of the dominant class (that is, far less oppressed, which implies not being captive to a master, not being violated and tortured by one or several men every day, not being depleted financially and having to serve everyone around you, etc) or because they’re simply and directly controlled by men.

This is very deliberate, and it’s part of men’s backlash against women who try to resist or break free from men.

In either case, the purpose is to prevent women from gaining autonomy from men and prevent us from learning how to protect ourselves and escape from abuse, enslavement, captivity, trauma-bonding, burn-out, etc. Such spaces also actively prevent truly coming together as women and spending good time together in ways that aren’t alienating, or at least less alienating. They are usually repressive and often punish women for merely discussing the ways in which men abuse and oppress us.

This isn’t inherent to radical feminism at all though, it’s true to every single place where women meet or relate and are still heavily controlled by individual men or male institutions. The only reason it’s so destructive is because men still have so much control over our lives and thoughts and responses even as we become feminists. For these reasons our first contacts with feminism are usually very traumatic. We ourselves aren’t immune to the effects violence has had on us, and how it impacts on our relationships with women. For instance, trauma-bonding to feminists followed by harsh disillusionment about them once we realise they can’t save us, or the world, or that they’re still colonised by violence.

But I think that in spite of this, it’s possible to find ways of being together that are healing, sustainable, productive and safe. There are many things that I include in radical feminism that have made my life better and those of women I know, and for these reasons, I will continue to “do” (or be) radical feminism as long as I can, because it truly sustains me.

1)meeting with women and creating friendships based on working on our autonomy and creating avenues for escape.
2) discussing with women in ways that keep giving new insights about patriarchy, about ourselves
3) Being able to focus my life around women and protect myself from men and from abuse in general as best as I can
4) sharing my thoughts and insights with women in writing or in other ways
5) creating activities with women (artistic activities, or other kinds of things) where there is a common goal and understanding about patriarchy and female autonomy.
6) meeting up with as many women as I can with these goals in mind. I find that the more we try to meet in ways that are nice, relaxing, positive, respectful of our time, creative, while still centred on insights and autonomy – the more it attracts women.

18. witchwind - December 21, 2014

Just as one example: the other day I went to a meeting of an institutional feminist organisation, and we could make suggestions of what kind of “activities” we’d like to suggest. I suggested we should make time for ourselves just to discuss things about male violence without any end-goal in mind, to spend good time, learn skills, exchange ideas for autonomy, see how we can improve our lives, heal from trauma (etc), and all the women were immediately appealed by this idea, saying that they needed it.
Just before several women were saying how they had to step back from activating in this org to avoid burn-out.

19. witchwind - December 21, 2014

oops sorry I should have reread that comment before posting, some mistakes

20. witchwind - December 21, 2014

I think leaving activating and male defined, male-controlled forms of “feminism” isn’t leaving feminism but coming closer to it.

21. bronte71 - December 21, 2014

Sorry, wrong spelling in link. Correct link as follows:

Click to access TheAuthoritarians.pdf

22. witchwind - December 21, 2014

Oh and social workers don’t even pretend to be feminist! Their function in patriarchy is to keep the oppressed under control, dull down their resistance or actively putting women and children back in the hands of their abusers: not to help them.

23. witchwind - December 21, 2014

It’s a reversal I think that coming nearer to know what’s abusive and what isn’t, and to being able to protect ourselves from violence, means leaving feminism. I think it’s a natural course of liberation. The more we heal, the more autonomous we are, the less we have to rely on abusive relationships, organisations and institutions.

24. Yvonne flueckiger - December 21, 2014

Absolutly correct! Well, I was a social worker, and I lost my job, because I refused to do “Genderism”, and help to oppress abused women even more. I did “Feminism” and quickly was the scapegoat. Not only for all the oppressing and controlling MEN, but also for all the female “paper-and-fun-and-gender-feminists”. Well, that rather put me down.
I even got stabbed in the back by women I helped getting shelter and monies. What to say. Well, thats why i turned radfem. No friends, no more job in the government, but at least truth, and real female analytical intelligence and understanding. It is like plaster onto my wounded soul. Thanks all of you, Yvonne

25. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

I agree with witchwind that leaving foreground “radical” femininsm is actually coming closer to actual Radical Elemental Feminism as Mary Daly called it. It’s coming to a more coherent understanding of the world as created by men as well as the Elemental world that functions according to natural law and how we can be and act in it and with it to further women’s autonomy.
There is one question though that I can’t reconcile yet, whcih is: the fact that women in the west have more autonomy today than women in countries that did not have a first and second wave of feminism. They did activate for political change. How do you reconcile that with your analysis?
I sometimes think that they did what they could in the context of their time. And, as you ahve written elsewhere, this context is different now. And what worked (at least partly) then, might not work now, because men have gotten worse and the destruction of the Elemental world has also gotten much worse. So we need to adapt.

26. wwomenwwarriors - December 21, 2014

Thank you for writing this fcm because this has been on my mind and I’ve been too afraid of the backlash from other women for coming right out and saying this. I just went through a stint of being completely homeless with two cats for over a month and just barely got a place to live + internet again, and I kept thinking about how many blog posts I wanted to write but couldn’t, all the organizing I wanted to do but couldn’t, etc. And behind all that, thinking, “Oh, so now I’m a failed radical feminist. Other women will be so disappointed in me.”

And what the HELL is that?

So I was just in a discussion recently where myself and Alexis upthread were told that men are not inherently problematic, it’s all culture/patriarchy, etc and that the REASON we shouldn’t think like this is because (paraphrasing the three main reasons):

1. It will make us depressed
2. Then what will we do about it?
3. It will alienate other women

And why? Because, it was emphasized over and over, radical feminism is a “political movement” and it’s about political organizations. So basically don’t think anything outside the status quo of the dominant group to maintain group cohesion in order to attain set “political” aims, even if it means believing a lie and subdoing any deeper senses that might stray from the party line. WAIT A MINUTE that sounds an awful lot like fucking patriarchy.

So ya basically at this point I don’t know what I am doing anymore. See women can help other women, but what does that even do? What are we even trying to do anymore? As Cherryblossom said upthread, I would never want to un-know, or even to un-Be this awakened woman seeing through the smoke screens, but it feels so isolating to be the apparent madwoman of the village and still have to somehow not die, i.e. find food and shelter and dodge violent males.

I know this comment is all over the place. I’m stewing in a brew these days and cannot figure out how to communicate it well. Hope you understood what I meant.

FCM - December 21, 2014

yes, it does in fact seem as if we are talking about 2 different things: foreground radical feminism, or what i refer to as radical feminism’s “public face” and our public movement, and radical elemental feminism. the “nuts” leave or are thrown out of radical feminism, this is what happens to us when we realize that men *are* “really like this” and that even if “culture” makes men what they are, being that this is a PATRIARCHY, men *are* culture. it is men “doing” this to themselves, because they want it this way. it is innate to men, in other words. this is exactly what we mean when we say this. just because we have not identified the gene that it resides in or whatever does not mean there is no way to prove its innate to men. it begins and ends with men, and its not women doing this so who else is there? what else do you need to know?

as for alexis’s request that i “reconcile something with my analysis” well how about *you* try to reconcile it with my analysis and see what you come up with. requesting that *i* do it is just another way to tell me that *i* have to do this work or it will not get done, that people NEED me, but this just isnt true. you try it, and see what you come up with, based on decades of previous work, including my work. obviously, you would need to start with the assumption that what you are calling “autonomy” for women is illusory and is not really autonomy, and has not liberated us from our oppression at the hands of men (because this is the mindset you would have to be in, to see my point). put yourself in that mindset and you will see my point, rather than *me* having to do the work for you, again, when i have already done it, or laid the foundation for someone else to. this is just more gaslighting, that *i* am really so important here when its just not true, and coerces me to stay and do MORE. i have done enough.

FCM - December 21, 2014

also, what is womens “autonomy” worth, when we cannot even tell the truth about men to other radical feminists for fear of backlash and retaliation? this has truly gotten ridiculous.

FCM - December 21, 2014

and my point in saying all of this is that what is known as “radical feminism” is only part of the picture, and i am saying this lest anyone get the wrong idea — the wrong idea i held for years that this is all there is, and that this is what radical feminism is all about. that all our voices are heard and represented in other words, and that what you see is what you get. in reality, anyone who doesnt hold out hope for men, and anyone who calls bullshit on all the lies and gaslighting (which others have noticed, its not just me) no matter how reality-based and no matter how solidly their foundation is based in radical feminist theory, is “no true scotsman-ed” right out the door. and we and everyone are told that we “nuts” are not really radical feminists, because radical feminists are reformists (and hold out hope for men). elizabeth hungerford did this quite explicitly in her letter to the UN #2 when she said “feminists” do not believe than men are naturally (innately, with no help from women) violent. gaslighting, and lies. and for what? what tangible or even intangible benefit did she or anyone gain by lying and alienating nutty (radical elemental) women this way? of course, the answer is NONE. so its hardly worth it.

endlessleeper - December 21, 2014

“…just by doing what we are called to do by our inner voice (which is the goddess speaking to us), in other words by authentically participating in Be-ing.”
could not agree with this more. when i’m singing/making music/walking/thinking/reading/painting/anything creative i feel like the world is speaking through me. everything else is just a distraction.

27. wwomenwwarriors - December 21, 2014

I’ll take a stab at Alexis’s question. Sure, politicizing made some changes for women’s conditions….but it’s the difference between men letting us own the house and them renting us a parcel of land on their property. They can kick us out still at any time and the carrot-stick of the situation is that by allowing us small gains, they start a new illusion: that if we keep at it, eventually we’ll get the house, liberation. In reality, what we’ve done is bartered for some immediate relief, but I see it as a dead end, cause men still own everything and can take back what they’ve lent to us on a whim, as is already starting to happen in countries where these gains were made. Men in the US are taking back some of these rights.

Then there’s the issue of where the trade off is. We get to vote and work, but porn is out of control, trafficking is epidemic, and getting to vote and work, well, we vote for men and work for men to get money to spend in their man-made economy….they’ve got us running on a hamster wheel and doing politics is like petitioning for a better wheel, not to get off it entirely. Getting off the wheel means not engaging, but how can we not engage when every single thing we need to survive they have, and to get it, we have to give them what THEY want which will never be in our best interests. The feeling I get is that women come to understand the problem and want to fix it (I have been there myself) and start thinking what CAN we do, because the alternative seems to be that we can do nothing and just sit by and let it happen. So we figure “it’s better than nothing” and put our energy there. I’m not sure yet where the best place to put that energy is, but it’s clear to me at this point that the urgency of putting that energy anywhere is what causes us to act for the sake of not taking this shit laying down, yet these actions still don’t take us where we want to go. Some women believe it’s just a matter of time and to keep doing this eventually we’ll get there. I think that’s another ruse men have fooled us with. They can renege all gains at any moment.

How to get out of this? Well if we weren’t busy running on the wheel, we might get creative. I don’t know, just throwing ideas out, but could be help men self-destruct better? Could we just find a way to redirect them more at each other? Could we find creative ways to sustain ourselves that doesn’t force us to engage with them so we can opt out of their system and create a new one? I just want to hide in a cave in the forest from them, but hey that’s me, and it doesn’t help other women. If we all did that, they’d come looking for us for sure, cause their laundry would pile up and then they’d realize something is wrong. I do not know how to fix this, but I do think that when we put our energy into politics, that’s energy we cannot put elsewhere, and thus it’s another way to keep us depleting ourselves and unable to find the way out of this. It will take a lot of women digging deep into the issue looking for something maybe we haven’t seen yet, some opportunity or angle that would make the cost of giving that energy have a return worth the investment. Otherwise, we’re better off not letting them in our homes if we can possibly choose to say no and then trying to ally with other women to pool resources and survive this hell-hole. I don’t know what else to do at this point but I believe collectively there is a chance women could figure it out if we all had our brains back from their hijacking by men.

FCM - December 21, 2014

also, i think many women dont get involved at all, even with fun fem or reformist stuff because they know theres no hope and that things arent going to change. knowing what i now know about runaway global climate change, i think it is possible and even likely that these women are right, and that men have killed us all already just by being themselves. since the self-reinforcing feedback loops that will cause this were set in motion decades ago, even women who rejected 2nd wave feminism would not have been wrong if they sensed it was too late, or that it was futile. the title to this post is the answer to the question, why do women reject feminism en masse (and also, why do experienced women leave). because its unconscionable bullshit gaslighting, thats why. and there is more than one reason this is true.

endlessleeper - December 21, 2014

i’m sort of wondering if there’s some weird, sneaky way of turning them against each other too. can we say our male friends and relatives all do/did x and so should they? not that they’d listen to a woman but men are sheep and if they hear “other men” are refusing to do piv/let women do their work for them/start families/consider themselves valuable or useful/etc then maybe they would still be egotistical cowards but leave us the fuck alone. it’s fun to imagine how we could trick them but in reality it would probably backfire horribly and implementing it would be a giant waste of energy :/ there’s also the almost 100% chance that their killing each other would result in damage/destruction that women would of course have to clean up. how sad that this is really our easiest way to let off steam, by imagining killing men! i’d rather just live a great, safe life with other wonderful women. it seems like even our lives without men will still involve them, if that makes sense. buncha parasites (however i do love the idea of turning them on each other…) btw fcm, i love having the space to just download a bunch of thoughts and create streams of new ones. thank you so much!

28. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

fcm i wasn’t requesting for you to answer the question. Sorry if it came across that way. I was more asking myself (and other women) aloud, because women have asked me that and i had found it difficult to answer. what wwww said makes sense, however i do see a difference between the way I can live (single, having a job and a rented room all to myself) and the way my grandmother had to live (on a farm as one of at least 10 kids with uncles and grandfathers who molested them and with no other perspective than to marry). But i agree, if you look at the big picture, then it becomes apparent that patriarchy has really only gotten stronger, despite the fact that women here have more “freedoms” than most women globally. And it has to do with the fact that women here are more severely brainwashed. we don’t need actual shackles anymore because we have to throroughly internalized the oppression and do it “to ourselves” and choose it. (piv-pozzies, happy hookers etc.)

29. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

and by choose i mean “choose.”

FCM - December 21, 2014

i think feminists also need to realize that after 100 years, we have not managed to change mens basic desires, behaviors or natures. there is no evidence whatsoever that men “really are” anything but what we see them acting out every minute of every day on every continent in the world. and that means that men are rapists, they are murderers, torturers, and predators. we have tried so hard to legislate reduced proximity to them, which is our only defense really, but when we have the slightest success there they just come around the other side then we have to deal with them there. we are always, always on the defensive, what does that tell you? it tells me that we are prey animals and that men are predators. this basic relationship has not changed at all in 100 years of feminist activating.

so in your case, you have a job and a room, which to you means autonomy, but what is really a calculated, decreased proximity to violent males (if you were truly autonomous, you wouldnt have to work for anyone else, and you would always be safe). and i am glad you brought that up, i will think about it more. are women, as a result of feminist activating, better able to decrease proximity to violent males now than we were before? i think this is the question to ask. keep in mind that in the UK, it is now illegal (or arguably illegal) for women to gather without men, because it discriminates against men. because equality. and dont forget, no matter what the answer is, it does not change what men are. none of this is a reason to hold out hope for men, or to believe men are anything other than violent predators, and saying or implying otherwise, which radical feminists do all the time, is gaslighting.

30. nuclearnight - December 21, 2014

Having a conversation about this post elsewhere amongst “radical feminists” and feeling the gaslighting there as well. When we’re made to stop ourselves before we even speak the radical feminist truth lest we offend. I mean FUCK!!!!!

Women don’t seem to understand that there’s a place for reformist measures while that place is not radical feminism. Radical Feminism is for dreamers, not femocrats.

FCM - December 21, 2014

“dreamers” perhaps, but based in reality at the same time. there is no hope for men, and this is how men really are. to believe otherwise, against all evidence to the contrary, is a straight up delusion.

31. Sargasso Sea - December 21, 2014

I’ve always thought of radical feminism as the philosophical arm of feminism. RF is the space where you’re SUPPOSED to muse and make connections and throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

And if real “autonomy” is not truly possible for women then we should at least have this one autonomy where we are free to think and say what’s on our minds.

Also @ bronte: your words ARE wisdom 🙂

FCM - December 21, 2014

also, it used to really chap my ass that people would take these discussions elsewhere, because i always relied on the conversations (spinning and spiraling) to make leaps in my own understanding, and to produce more work. i thought it was just another example of women “taking” from me and not giving anything back, and that it partially lead to my depletion, and it may have. but if all thats happening on FB is gaslighting bullshit, then i say, you can have it. i have never made space for the mainstream view on this blog, this was always a counter culture blog and i was clear about that. also, it just proves my point anyway, without me having to moderate lame, exasperating comments. win?

32. FCM - December 21, 2014

i mean, i am very serious when i say that i think this stuff can literally kill you over time. that being gaslighted by other women is abusive and it takes its toll, up to and including serious illness and death. this is a very serious matter and i think it deserves serious treatment. and when i say you can keep your gaslighting bullshit, i really really mean it. it is toxic and dangerous. and i truly hope that others will distance themselves from it, if they have sensed this but didnt or couldnt believe it was really harmful. it really, really is.

33. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 21, 2014

yes you are right fcm, what i was talking about (having the job, the room) is obviosuly not autonomy (because that is absolute) but reduced proximity to violent males. So what these women who asked me this question really meant is that women in the west may have reduced proximity to violent males (on average) compared to pre-feminist activating.
And this is definitely good for the women who have access to that (reduced proximity). But in the grander scheme of things this is basically just patriarchy letting go of the leash a little bit, while pulling somewhere else (for example that porn is everyhwere and its absolutely fascist).
And if radical feminism is about women’s autonomy (freedom from males) then those really are just palliative care/scraps.
Still i admit to being happy about the fact that I got them.

I feel time is also a factor in this. Maybe our foresister felt called by an inner voice to fight the way they did. So the way they manifested this inner call might have looked like picketing for the vote and even going to jail for it, but for us it might manifest differently. And to insist that because our foresisters did it this way, we also have to do it this way, means just being ignorant of how patterns work. I believe what is speaking through all of us the goddess, the collective female consciousness of Elemental women/creatures and she wants to be free. She will use different tools when she is acting out of different women. but the surface is not important, it’s the impulse behind it. I don’t know if I’m making any sense, and I’m struggling to put this into words, its more like an image of energy taking different forms over time, according to context.

34. WordWoman - December 22, 2014

I think the gaslighting of women by women has happened very young. Mothers who have wanted to protect their daughters, who want their daughters to survive have done this. There is very deep fear we have picked up from mothers and other older women around us. So, the right-wing women dworkin wrote about would have expected their daughters to behave in “ladylike” fashion while still being “sexy” enough to secure and keep a marriage to a “good provider.” Providing male offspring is valued in many (all) cultures for a similar reason, as are the many “beauty” practices that may be utterly destructive of women’s health in cultures past and present. Mothers usually go along with this since the only alternative is seeing their daughters be exposed to continual rape by many men. Is there, in some/many of these things, an element of trauma bonding that ensures the confusion of women’s thoughts, started very young.

One of the values I see to this is that is it strategic. I don’t mean strategic in the sense of activating, political strategy, but strategic in making the best of a terrible situation. I think these mothers have always lived in terror for their daughters. I mean the mothers who did want to protect their daughters. (Not assuming all mothers have done so, but many, many have).

That is on one level. But there can be another deeper level of bonding that I assume is not trauma bonding. That level is the background. It lives along side the other thing.

I am in favor of strategy in the foreground. Not to win political battles, not for activating, but to stay as secure as is possible in an impossible situation. I do think some women who are feminist activists say and do things out of fear and to sugar coat thinking it is strategic and wise. But this other kind of strategy is something people do in life-threatening situations, to stay under the radar as much as possible. How many women are doing this? It is hard to tell since those women would be publicly invisible.

One thing this strategy might do is to allow women more time to live in the background. Perhaps even to enjoy, or at least not hate their lives. The forms this takes might not be apparent or look feminist. But the seeds of it are there, and the connection between mothers and daughters also have this background element between them.

At some level, I think we know about this primal bond so it hurts much more to be gaslighted by a woman than a man. It’s because something more can be there, is sensed, with a woman. Romance propaganda makes this into a heterosexual (and trauma) bonding thing, but the reason it works so well is that there is that element of bonding that we sense is right. Bonding between women makes sense. It cannot happen with males, who make it into a sexual thing or a power thing of some kind. Ever tried to be platonic friends with a het male? Bwaahaaahaaahaaahaaaa.

FCM - December 22, 2014

thanks for the comments everyone. there is a lot going on here. i would like to respond to bronte’s suggestion that there are 3 “human” psychologies, by saying that while this is possible, there is just no acceptable (non patriarchal, objective) way to assess the natural psychologies of women considering their historically oppressed and colonized state, and we certainly should never assume that women share psychologies with men. when i read the 3 categories you describe, i thought, well maybe this is true about men, but what is true about women? perhaps all women are naturally anti-authoritarian/independents and without male colonization and trying to ape males down to their very thoughts, no or virtually no women would be authoritarian either leaders or followers. we would all be free. i think the conclusion that feminism was therefore doomed to fail is still probably correct though, since so many women do ape male authoritarian psychologies. the very tiny subset of free thinkers (radical feminists) would always remain very tiny and we would not have numbers behind us. i do not know how primate ancestry plays into that so i cannot comment on that part. male primates are very violent as well, a trait human males obviously share.

also, i think i have been clear and i have said it several times now that i do not think the generations of women who came before us have necessarily done anything wrong. it is possible that everything they did was necessary and needed, for whatever reason even if part or most of it was “spiritual” or invisible or whatever, and at the very least there was no direct evidence that it was the wrong thing to do and that it would not work. but that this is no reason for *us* to keep doing the same things when we have the benefit of 100 years of herstory to reflect upon and examine and decide for ourselves whether it worked or not, or whether it is likely to continue to work in the future. this is what alexis said above and i would echo that sentiment. what women did not have 100 years ago was a bunch of women gaslighting them about their own feminist history (like we do now) because there wasnt that history then. although frankly, the vote took some 80 years or something to get passed (didnt it?) at some point in there, taking note of the extreme male resistance to females activating for the most banal and basic “rights” i should think that some of them started to get the picture. if they didnt start abandoning male neonates at that point, they mustve considered it. which brings me back to the issue of runaway climate change. if women had started abandoning male neonates in the 1950s or earlier, that mightve worked. and we know that global (especially male) overpopulation is one of these feedback loops that is fully out of control now, but i dont think it was then. note that this is well before the 2nd wave was a glimmer. by that time it seems like it was already too late.

FCM - December 22, 2014

overpopulation being but one of these feedback loops, obviously there are others resulting from emissions and the like, and NTE cites these as being set in motion decades ago, i think 1950s and earlier?

35. WordWoman - December 22, 2014

I never finished my comment, because I was cooking and the timer went off :D. I wanted to conclude saying that I think the second type of strategy is very different from the political activating type. Making this distinction seems important because it grows out of the understanding of the hopelessness of trying to change both males and NTE, etc. It is about our own connection to the background and protecting that, being as invisible as possible to the foreground. The goal of that is not to try and change any of mensworld’s systems through their form of strategy. It could be that many women are already doing this instinctively, but doing it deliberately would be a new thing (for me anyway).

S4, I appreciated your comment about clear thought and the philosophical arm of feminism. Women’s strategies might give us more space for that, too. Plus preserve energies.

36. WordWoman - December 22, 2014

@FCM “no or virtually no women would be authoritarian either leaders or followers. we would all be free. ”

I have been in MANY groups of women (for cooking, for work, for community, etc) where the women did just fine without authoritarian leaders or followers. Most often these groups excelled at what they did. The women just naturally followed or led without a lot of fuss, in other words, shared responsibilities that were needed, etc. I have never been in a single group that included a man where this happened. And I’ve been in groups that were all women where a man joined and it changed the whole thing. Even if the male was supposedly a namalt male. I am convinced that this is so and began noticing this decades ago.

nuclearnight - December 22, 2014

Any dream that includes men is known as a “nightmare”.

FCM - December 22, 2014

i really wonder what it will take to get even radical feminists to see and/or admit the truth about men. it cant help that some of them are still fucking men and are “pro-sex” and pro-PIV like DGR is. talk about unconscionable gaslighting. that is absolutely unforgivable IMO.

37. bronte71 - December 22, 2014

Re: “no or virtually no women would be authoritarian either leaders or followers. we would all be free.”

Wordwoman: Identically to you I have been in many groups of women (cooking which I adore, for work, community etc) and I more than agree with you that women – under those specific circumstances-do fine without authoritarian leaders and followers. Everyone cooperates and it is a magical feeling: being at peace with the world and with that easy flow of energy that doesn’t happen when men are around.
But I ask you: how many women were there in those groups of yours? Less than 30? Less than 100? Less than 300?

Group size matters tremendously within the authoritarian argument I mentioned/proposed upstream. And it matters because of our primate ancestry.
Personally, I hate being a primate but I accept it the same way I accept the reality of patriarchy. My rad fem analysis goes back that far because I wanted answers.

As I keep reading ad infinitum ad nauseum in books of primate evolution, “humans (sic) are social animals who evolved to live in egalitarian groups of 150 or so.” (300 at maximum.)
NB: Whether men were ever ‘egalitarian’, I don’t think so. However.
Beyond that specified group size, I believe something very ugly kicks in because our brains (both women’s and men’s) are simply not sophisticated enough to interact in larger groups. Our brains weren’t designed to live in cooperation in large towns, teeming cities of millions, etc.

What that ugly that has occurred since the beginning of so-called civilization is the creation of pyramid-style hierarchies in societies: with the Alpha males (Authoritarian Leaders) on top, the second-tier Authoritarian Followers, and then the lowest tier Anti-Authoritarians.
NB: Think high school groups. Of course, a complex, chaotic system is not as simple as that but you get the picture.

The one line that leaped out at me in flashing neon red from the book I linked to (and I wish I could find it to quote exactly) was that Authoritarian Followers continually do things AGAINST their own best interests in order to conform to the rules/diktat/dogma of their particular Authoritarian Leaders. Think Right Wing Women.
It is a form of unconscious societal “group think” writ large because it is ‘hard wired” in our primate history.
For me, this was a revelation because suddenly a lot of things I’ve pondered my whole life made sense.

FCM: because of that new knowledge, I no longer believe that all women want to be free. Perhaps I’ve never believed it because I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary.
On the other hand………if we all get back to living in and interacting in small groups, then I DO believe full cooperation among women would be a reality. I also think some of the problems you and others have had with organized rad feminism were related to group size: all the nasties of authoritarianism just creep in against all best intentions.

Apologies for the length of this.Two days ago I was at a family funeral with the church over-flowing with uber Authoritarian Right Wingers and it was murder: reason for my earlier comment.

38. wwomenwwarriors - December 22, 2014

Do you reckon also that perhaps deep down, these women know, but they want to do things the “nice” way? By that I mean that this situation could definitely be solved if women at the very LEAST stopped birthing males. An international “Kill Your Rapist” free for all day would reduce current male numbers by, oh, maybe 70%-80%, and then we could stop making more of them. I feel myself doing this too: trying to find the “nice” way to solve this problem without resorting to the full-proof way to solve the problem, which would obviously be: get rid of the males. It feels so “mean” and being as we are empathetic creatures and then groomed on top of that, women seem ready to twist ourselves into pretzels before just calling for the End of Dudes. It’s like we need to make sure every single other option the world over has been tried before we can justify to ourselves the one thing that would definitely work (or most likely work) if women really did it.

And all THAT reminds me of the abusers I have been with in my life, trying every other thing imaginable to make the relationship work before leaving him at all costs, ready to kill him if I must to get out that door. I couldn’t justify to myself walking out on him unless I had tried every other option first because a) I “loved” him and b) I had told him I’d always love him and be there. So I put up with a LOT of abuse before I finally left….how could I have sped up that process? Maybe this is what is going on collectively….we are not “there” yet as a group of women, at least not all of us. I AM THERE. I AM SO THERE. Now it’s other women blocking my exit, telling me to give him another chance, try to work it out, he really loves me, he’s trying, he can change, it’s just he had a bad childhood (socialization), and anyways how would I make it on my own etc, etc, etc.

No. It’s time to LEAVE aka men need to go. Nicey nice time is over. At the very least: stop making MORE men. At best, the rapists need to go. If I killed all the men who raped me and every other women did the same, we’d have a whole new landscape to work with and whatever men were left would know we are not fucking around anymore, so keep your dicks to yourselves.

39. Alexis Flamethrower Daimon - December 22, 2014

i’d like to spin off of what we said about autonomy vs. reduced proximity to violence of males as indicator of freedom or final cause of radical feminism.
I remembered what mary daly says about the the final cause, which is also the first cause.
“The Final Cause:
the indwelling, always unfolding goal or purpose, perceived as Good and attracting one to Act, to Realize her own participation in Be-ing; the beginning, not the end of becoming; the First Cause and Cause of causes, which gives an agent the motivation to Act; Radical Feminism, the Cause of causes.”

so wouldn’t full participation in Be-ing, fully be-ing be what we are striving for? More fitting than autonomy, IMO because to me autonomy feels like beign completely independent from anyone. And that is not how the Elemental wordl works. All beings participate in the larger whole, and are interdependent on one another for doing so to the fullest. We create abundance collectively, which in turn provides abundance for each of us.

So how do we get there? By doing stuff that are in alignment with the First Cause: Be-ing. or in mary daly’s words: goddess the verb.

And what does goddess want? To weave beautiful patters of energy, flowing naturally.
Sorry if this is too esoteric. Just some thoughts that came up in relation to your remarks upthread.

endlessleeper - December 22, 2014

reading this gave me delighted shivers. you’ve definitely got the right idea, alexis ❤

endlessleeper - December 22, 2014

i’d also like to add that i feel very much the same way. i’ve got a disabling chronic illness and total autonomy might not be possible for me or other ill women should it ever happen (although with our hypothetical female-specific medicine it sure as hell wouldn’t be as bad anymore). while i am ferociously, fearlessly independent, i LOVE being connected and talking about be-ing and the goddess makes the “i’m home” part of my brain ping. i want to hear more about how our desire to be entwined with nature sustains and nourishes us both (it wouldn’t surprise me if pure, continued love and joy could make plants grow). imagine a world where love, respect, privacy, independence and connection were the norm, how much healthier everything would be. love this comment.

40. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

@bronte “On the other hand………if we all get back to living in and interacting in small groups, then I DO believe full cooperation among women would be a reality. ”

It is highly likely that men organized these larger groups for their own purposes. I think of that old black and white footage of Hitler with crowds of lockstep Nazi soldiers. On youtube, I’m sure. What woman would ever do this kind of thing on her own. These large groups are both a symptom and ongoing cause of patriarchy. This size group is not natural to women.

About the cooking thing, I’ve gotten together with women doing canning of various kinds of produce, jam etc. What fun!

41. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

On group size: Here’s an example on youtube of Hitler footage though not the one I was thinking of. That one had soldiers as far as the eye could see, responding to Hitler in lockstep saluting. Largeness/precision, etc. Mensworld writ large. I’ve only posted the link, not the video since I didn’t want it popping up in this discussion.


Someone talked about an evil tone/vibe in a recent post here. It reminded me of seeing this type of footage when I read that post.

FCM - December 23, 2014

BTW, i do not think s4 is talking about “independence” when she says autonomy.

FCM - December 23, 2014

more like, free to do and to BE as you see fit, freedom to follow your instincts and inner voices, within the limitations of NATURAL (not mens) laws. disabled women are limited by natural laws, just like everyone is (like gravity and physics) but could absolutely still be autonomous. and i agree that none of us is independent. the very concept is absurd.

42. Sargasso Sea - December 23, 2014

As much as I don’t care to cite dictionary definitions, one part of “autonomy” is: self-directing freedom and especially moral independence.

This is what I am talking about when it comes to women as we are so entirely limited in every which way. We cannot be ‘independent’ (we cannot ever get away from men and/or men’s power in our ‘real lives’) but we CAN know – and act upon – our own MORALITY. Women know the difference between what is Right and what is Wrong.

And when we venture into the realm of meta-physics/goddess/universe I cannot imagine any of that grand energy expecting individuals should not do the very best for themselves if only (especially only?) in their own actions! IOW when we do the best for ourselves first it will only follow that others’/universal-positive-energy will bind to our individual energies and thereby strengthen the whole – it’s far from the post-modern academia ‘individualism’ that has been shoved down the throat and adopted by so many.

Autonomy is not about being cut off from others or turning one’s back on necessities, but thinking of yourself – what you need, what you want, what you desire – FIRST.

And that’s the LAST thing patriarchy (and all of it’s many handmaidens) want you to do.

FCM - December 23, 2014

honestly, if people were reading “independence” when anyone said “autonomy” in these last few discussions, they must not have had a clue what we were talking about. i hope they do now.

43. wwomenwwarriors - December 23, 2014

Love that contribution from Alexis, too. Yeah, we are striving for Be-ing. Amazing to think we have found ourselves as women living in a world where TO BE is even something we need ask for. What is this hell?

I thought the lowest common particle of the problem was: WE ARE HUMAN.

But I guess it goes deeper, yeah, back to WE ARE, we exist, women are real, we are real and we are invisible here. We are not allowed to be what we are, our feelings, bodies, characters, expressions, art, etc etc etc. Women cannot even BE here.

😦 Oh gosh.

44. wwomenwwarriors - December 23, 2014

I really like the word Sovereignty.

FCM - December 23, 2014

i find it odd that women go to the “mystical” so easily (as what happened in this thread) when we are struggling by the minute to not just reclaim our humanity but even our physical, animal existence. women are not supposed to burp or fart, but its not because its not ladylike, and its not because its a particularly HUMAN thing to do, its an animal thing to do. even animals shit, but women arent supposed to. we can laugh about this, and howard stern can tell his audience that his “perfect woman” would have no intestines (he said that) but as it usually is, the reality of the situation is so much deeper and blacker and worse, it is hard to even get your head around it. around how much women are hated, where hate is a VERB (not a feeling) it is an othering and a complete projection of something on to us that is not real, and a denial of what is real. it really is hell here for women. we are supposed to be this ethereal wisp that magically does the dishes and puts away the laundry, and a warm bowl of pudding for mens dicks, and an incubator at times, but we are not supposed to be animals, or humans, or women. or alive, or real. it really is difficult to put this into words. but this talk about BE-ing brought this to the front of my mind (whereas the mystical stuff seemed to terminate those kinds of thoughts specifically). still thinking about that.

FCM - December 23, 2014

at any rate, this stuff about women not existing is a male projection isnt it. its not real — women are real. we know they are wrong about us, so i suppose we can endlessly ruminate about what men think about us, or we can just accept that they are wrong about us (and that this will never change) and start to ACT including IN-ACTING in our own best interests.

45. Sargasso Sea - December 23, 2014

Women are “allowed” to exist in order to be used (and invisiblized at the same time) by men.

Women DO exist by nature no matter what men have to say about it.

The ultimate question is: how do you apply that knowledge to your own personal quest for life and happiness and survival in a world/plane that men have screwed and will continue to screw until they can screw it no more?

FCM - December 23, 2014

and when i say mystical, i am not talking about leaving energy behind, and intuition, these kinds of things can be sensed and are real. this is a part of nature and follows natural law, which does impose limits. plants need water, sunlight and nutrients to live, this is also part of natural law and plants live within the natural limits/boundaries set by natural (not mens) laws. plants cannot live on happiness alone, nor can women. and i really have no idea how this conversation, which was originally about evidence and gaslighting, became about dreaming and mysticism. to be honest, because of the lack of responsiveness to the original post, i kind of feel like im being trolled.

46. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

Can mysticism be gaslighting? There is a woman I used to talk with about patriarchy, climate change, etc. Every time she started to feel hopeless, she would bring in mystical things that like some new age superhero would solve these problems. It was the equivalent of putting her fingers in her ears and going “la,la,la,la,la,la.” She had been gaslighted by this and in turn was gaslighting me. Though she seemed to be a feminist and not a feminist-lite, she would only go so far before the thought stopping technique came into it. It was frustrating before I figured it out and decided not to talk about these things with her.

47. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

It would have been a comfort, in fact, if she had just said something like “yes, it is clearly beyond repair. It may be that none of us will survive, and those who do may wish they hadn’t.”

48. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

Thinking further about her, she was an activist for various things and another thing she’d do in response to my talking about it (saying that it is beyond repair etc) would be to talk about everyone doing their part and some of the things she’d done. This too, seemed to me like thought stopping/activating to avoid looking at the actual situation.

Yet another woman I’ve encountered is big into the mysticism thing and does all these “past lives” and “you chose to incarnate now to help solve these problems” kinds of BS. She considers herself an activist, too. (For nte kinds of things, though she doesn’t call it that).

FCM - December 23, 2014

thanks for that wordwoman. i agree that there is something comforting about admitting that it may be too late and that men mightve done us all in. because its the truth, and the truth is always comforting no matter what. its not comforting like cotton candy and rainbows, but considering that the alternative is mindfucking gaslighting, the truth feels really good in comparison. kind of like writing i guess, it feels soothing because we are in such agony all the time, even though the writing itself can kill us.

what i am thinking now is this. i think ALL women have a “sense” that it will work out in the end. that includes feminists (radfems and fun fems) as well as non feminist women. it would make perfect sense if ALL women had this intuition (that it will work out in the end) because it is, in fact, true. nature will take care of it, that is a 100% certainty and womens intuition would therefore be correct. you can also get there logically but our intuition is a shortcut.

BUT women are not thinking big enough, if they think it will work out FOR THEM, because nature taking care of it is big-picture stuff and nature does not care one way or the other about any of us. natural solutions are in fact ugly and painful, like plague. also, i think feminists are the only women in the world who think both that it will work out in the end AND that they themselves have to ACT in order for that to happen. other women think that it will work out through god, or mysticism, or a miracle, or whatever. but only feminists believe that we have to act (and that they can change men and that this is what will save us). no other women in the world seem to believe that part.

so in the end, it looks like radfem and fun fem is pretty much exactly the same — they think they can change men, and that men will save us. they are therefore the only women in the world who are only half right — the 99.99% of the worlds women who reject feminism are actually 100% correct (both that it will work out in the end, and that women dont have to do a damn thing for this to happen — this is the 100% correct/certain position based on natural law). and if anyone can SHOW me how thats not true, i would love to hear it.

49. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

The one question I do have here is whether any women will survive, like small bands of women here and there. (Solves the too-large group problem, doesn’t it). Will they survive and for how long?

I do think women (some or all?) have a connection with/within nature that is important in survival and this connection is in the background. Autonomy is relevant to this. Is our connection to other autonomous women part of this? It is possible that the rewards of this connection and living in what is now the background will compensate for the conditions that will prevail. Is this also a part of the feeling that it will/would/could work out? Or is it just futile hopefulness. Just exploring here.

50. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

Will women outlive patriarchy? Some groups of women? Thinking about this is a soothing thought (not soothing in a superficial way but rather having a deep sense of something), but is it merely like religious thoughts of an afterlife or something? In one sense it is an afterlife, after patriarchy, ha, ha.

Patriarchy here is a shorthand for the horror that is the present setup, I don’t necessarily like the term since it puts these horrors at a distance. Also it makes it sound fixable in some way, which it does not appear to be based on evidence.

Is it a useful idea that some groups of women will outlive patriarchy? Possibly yes. it gets back to the idea of strategy and things like that. Especially autonomy. Surviving now, especially psychically is a start. Not psychic in the mystical sense, though 😉

51. WordWoman - December 23, 2014

Thanks for this enlightening discussion. Offline for a while now.

FCM - December 23, 2014

i think that if any humans survive, it will be mostly women and girls with the very few males that are able to be born under conditions of extreme pollution, climate change and maternal stress. to me, this is what the evidence strongly suggests. however it also strongly suggests that no humans will survive at all due to the radiation problem of 400+ reactors globally all melting down when the grid fails. this is what the NTEs assume will happen — total extinction — without at all considering that females and males may not necessarily share the same fate, and that in any event females are likely to survive better and longer than males, no matter how it ultimately ends.

also, i like the idea that the P word creates distance, its been a setup from the very beginning if it was framed (by us?) as an abstract thing, or something that can be changed. that makes sense. again perhaps a problem of language failing us, and not adequately representing reality. in order for language to represent our reality, we have had to fill up hundreds of books, thousands of pages over decades, and even now when we use any shorthand at all it is deliberately misunderstood (like sex-negative prudishness). we would have to answer every question with thousands of pages. discussion would be impossible. the alternative would be to use very simple, easy concepts like that men are to be hated and to stay away from them. this also is not taken well. so obviously its the message and not the delivery. either way, it seems like its time to quit talking about it, or for some of us to. not all women will share the same fate either.

FCM - December 23, 2014

and whether it is a useful concept…what an interesting question. 🙂 i would say that its the truth, so its a good start. one thing it does is to separate us psychically and physically from males, so that we understand deeply that we are not the same. i think this is always useful.

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