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Not Chattel July 29, 2013

Posted by FCM in books!, liberal dickwads, logic, meta, race, rape.
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its hard and painful enough to get your head around the idea that under patriarchy, women are “chattel,” meaning that we are not human and are only a partial (or no) step above mens personal property in the grand (male) scheme of things.  this “chattel” concept was useful to me once or it felt like it, in the same way perhaps as other “feminist” concepts like the male gaze, enthusiastic consent and other things that move the emphasis a little, or shift your everyday perspective/perceptions a bit and give you an inkling that there is something more/else (inequality, men, rape) there than what you thought.

but chattel?  really?  this reminds me of liberal dickwad and white anti-racism activist tim wise waxing idiotic about american black slavery, and how his great-great-great (or whatever) “grandparents” owned slaves exactly as one would own a table or a lamp.  those are his words, not mine.  of course, when talking about personal property like tables and lamps one is talking about chattel.  for this to be the truth of american black slavery (or any slavery) however, his “grandparents” including his grandmothers wouldve had to have been able to own property to begin with, which may or may not have been the case and tim wise doesnt address the legal status of his grandmothers at all or indicate any feminist awareness at all when analyzing an institution that implicated both women and men (as all institutions do).

and importantly, for the chattel designation/analogy to work, the “grandparents” wouldve had to stick their dicks into their tables and lamps and create shared children with them.  get it?  either something is just like something else, or its not.  and “like tables and lamps” does not describe the reality of slavery at all, either for female slaves or for the “people” who own/ed them.  it just doesnt.

beyond that, there is evidence that “chattel” is not just an analogy badly drawn; as a concept applied to women and mens relationship to women, its actually impossible because of time.  and this is because men owning women likely predated the concept of personal property and personal ownership — women were the first property (mens), its where the idea and concept of “ownership” of anything actually came from.*  so in reality, men own tables and lamps like they own women.  saying it the other way is like saying that wal-mart predated (and perhaps caused) moms and pops opening the first stores on main street.  isnt it?  its a time-thing.

so besides revealing the truth of the matter, what does examining and then using/refusing the “chattel” analogy mean for us?

well, for one thing, discarding the flawed “chattel” analogy opens up the concepts of ownership and property beyond just “personal property” like tables and lamps — real estate is not counted as chattel for example, even though men “own” it.  and natural resources arent chattel either, but men own those too — rather like they own women as a matter of fact.  taking complete dominion over something they know nothing about and are actually powerless to control in any meaningful or absolute way, or in a way existing outside mens own delusions.  im not saying they dont try of course, or that they dont really believe this is their “right” and that its even possible, or that they arent abusive and threaten to use it all up and kill us all (and themselves!) in the process because they obviously do.  the point there i guess would be to consider that women function as natural resources to them (and not chattel), or more to the point women were/are the first/original “natural resource” which helps us isolate the root of our oppression (and explains why mens abuse of us is mostly sexual.  duh).

the women-as-chattel analogy also reverses the the timing and causation elements, where something that comes after something cannot cause it, or provide the model for it (among other things).  again we see the “time” element is important to our thinking about it — men have “owned” (or whatever, exploited, used and used-up) women for a very long time.  this brings up other issues/questions, including questions of ownership in general, and (perhaps?) whether increasing/creating female wealth including ownership of property is likely to free us, or whether “womens land” is something we want or if its even possible seeing as how its basically a contradiction in terms (womens (male ownership of women)) or where “female ownership” like “land ownership” can only mean women being owned by men and cannot mean anything else.

or where the relationship of “women” to “ownership” considering origin and historical meaning is dependent to such a degree that the very words/concepts cancel each other out (and where “womens land” would mean, essentially, womens women and/or lands land)?  i dont know, im still working on that.

anyway, its a time-thing, and a word-thing.  its a concept-thing, where we are dealing in ideas and concepts and, using words, getting to the root of our oppression so that we can liberate ourselves from male dominance.  and chattel as a concept does not describe womens reality, or how men relate to us, or anything really — even more than that, it obscures our most basic truth(s) and this is probably deliberate.  so we might as well get rid of it.  women arent chattel to men, this is a wrongheaded concept, and this is obvious.  we are something else.

*for more on the idea that women were the first “property” see gerda lerner, the creation of patriarchy.  its worth the read.

1000 Years of This. 40 Years of That. April 25, 2013

Posted by FCM in books!, gender roles, international.
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i just finished reading gerda lerners “the creation of feminist consciousness” which is part 2 of her 2-part series.  part one, “the creation of patriarchy” was previously discussed here.  this series is an excellent history lesson and one i appreciated very much, although i admit skipping/skimming many of the details and getting straight to the conclusions/insights which is what i read feminist works for afterall.  the big picture.  when i see something that fascinates me, such as the material and social conditions that make slavery possible, i go back and try to grok the details the best i can.

in this case, i went back and tried to grok the details of 1000 years of feminist bible criticism, by which lerner demonstrates feminists tendency to reinvent the wheel when it comes to feminist reasoning and conclusions, and why this is.  she concludes that womens history is lost to us via silencing and erasing feminists and feminist work, which stunts and thwarts the development of a global feminist consciousness over time.  and that this erasure of history is one reason women have remained oppressed for so much longer than any other oppressed group on earth.  she notes that despite starting from scratch every time, women have long struggled to be free of male oppression and have resisted it, and have tried to think and reason their way out of it even when they thought they were the first and only ones to do it and at great cost to themselves in terms of mental labor and personal risk, up to and including death.  this is striking, yes.

but what particularly struck me was the substance of womens 1000-year history of criticizing the bible, where women specifically protested its prescriptions/proscriptions about womens natures, including womens roles in a patriarchal culture (thats redundant of course.  patriarchy *is* culture).  remember that institutionalized patriarchy, where legal and religious texts merely codified preexisting patriarchal relations that had already existed for a long time, is not the beginning-point of womens oppression by men.  institutionalized patriarchy appeared about 5000 years ago, but male dominance over women, including mens control of womens reproduction and mens self-granted right to define womens role has been around much, much longer.  (this is discussed in part one).  so in reality, women were protesting something that had been around for perhaps 10,000 years or longer: womens role as fuckholes and slaves for men.  and each woman who did this thought that she was the first to do it.  women rarely built on previous womens work because they didnt know about it.

now, i ask you.  where did this resistance and core-deep courage come from?  how could each woman, who believed that she was a cognitive minority of one (or some other very small number) gather the gumption and conviction to realize, believe and assert that womens nature was *not* to be fuckholes and slaves to men, but was something else entirely?

note that for 1000 years, while women were resisting what the bible patriarchy said about womens nature, these women were not saying that mens nature had been misrepresented at all.  although lerner concludes that early feminist thinkers articulated the difference between sex and gender, and that *both* mens and womens “gender roles” were arbitrary and socially-prescribed, i would note the complete absence of the assertion that men were not naturally violent, necrophilic and parasitic for example.  in my own estimation, these have nothing to do with the male gender, and everything to with the male sex.  i think early feminists knew that only too well, and that the ways this played out on womens bodies and lives (in the absence of relatively-reliable birth control for example) made the reality and unalterability of mens despicable natures more than obvious.

behold an early feminists articulation of gender.  in the context of arguing that women were fit for the ministry, she asserts:

…that intellect is not sexed; that strength of mind is not sexed; and that our views about the duties of men and the duties of women, the sphere of man and the sphere of woman, are mere arbitrary opinions, differing in different ages and countries, and dependent solely on the will and judgement of erring mortals.

this from a woman named sarah grimke who lived from 1792-1873.  she is talking about jobs, and roles.  she was notably not talking about mens demonstrated tendency to be violent necrophiles, sexual abusers and predators across time and place.  and frankly gerder presents *no* evidence in this history lesson that any early feminists disputed this at all, or conflated male behavior, specifically male violence, with culturally-determined gendered roles such as who can and should do what job.  get it?

in fact, grimke astutely notes that mens enslavement of women was deliberate, disgusting and dickish.  she notably does not suggest that men were acted upon by aliens, or were acting against mens own natures when they did this:

Men have not only degraded women, but have made them mere instruments for their own comfort.  They have enslaved women’s minds, deprived them of education, and finally robbed them of the knowledge of their equal humanity.

and “equal” here does not really seem to mean “equal” in any modern way.  for example, does grimke seem to suggest that women are attempting to gain political, social and interpersonal standing so that they can indulge “equally” in the enslavement, deprivation and robbery that all humans are prone to?  i dont see it.

hilariously, in the 1500s, a woman named jane anger (!) describes and documents mens parasitic, filthy natures when she asserts that men are “comforted by our means.  Without our care they lie in their beds as dogs in litter and go like lousy mackerel swimming in the heat of summer.”  without women, men would lie in their own shit and be completely uninterested or unable to perform self-care.  not because aliens, and not because “gender” either.

so whats my point?  i guess i have two.  feminist-thinking women have been asserting for over a millenia that womens nature is misrepresented by patriarchy (and via patriarchal institutions such as religion) and that this is a deliberate ploy on behalf of men who want to dominate and enslave us.  women know, somehow, that this is not our true nature and we resist this propaganda/terror campaign bravely, actively and passionately.  we can feel that this is true, and we know that men are lying about us.  and we notably have *never* as far as i can tell tried to convince anyone that mens true nature wasnt and isnt exactly what it appears to be, and what men demonstrate by their own behavior, institutions and dictates across time and place.

this rather significant addition to feminist thought appears to be new.  this is not our history, but a recent development that seems to have appeared with equality rhetoric, and certainly after the burning times, where women learned more and more (not less and less) what men were capable of, and what they did to women who said and did things men didnt like.  and following a global campaign to silence and erase feminist thought, including women who for 1000 years (or more) have been documenting what appears to be a universal model of male behavior that doesnt differ *at all* across time and place, including males *acting out* parasitism, necrophilia, violence and rape, regardless of what jobs they do, clothes they wear or anything else.  i think this needs to be discussed.  that is all.

The Presence of Absence. An Illustration? April 13, 2013

Posted by FCM in books!, health, news you can use, radical concepts, thats random.
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in pure lust, mary daly talked about the presence of absence/absence of presence whereby women seem “present” in the foreground, but only as male-constructed fembots and handmaidens.  in reality what we see of women in the media, the male identified/dominated/defined workplace, entertainment, our “representation” in the law etc is the complete absence of “female” or anything having anything to do with women at all.

notably, one thing “women” hawk constantly in the foreground is poop, and everything feces related.  jokes on women!  so you want to be an actor, or more specifically a working actor ay?  how badly?  will you literally talk about shit — scooping it, wiping it, dealing with the literal shit and filth of all of humanity and its pets too — even though male actors almost never have to talk about anything anywhere near as degrading, and women are specifically shamed for demonstrating nay possessing gastric function?  thats what we thought.

i wont post actual videos, because there are so many, but see women talking about wiping their own and their familys asses herecat poopfarts.  it also seems as if there are a lot of women lately who cant poop at all or are otherwise suffering from “irregularity” for which there are consumerist remedies specifically targeting women.  honestly, if you ever see a male commercial actor talking about shit, or more specifically wiping it, scooping it, or improving upon it, its an aberration and not the norm.  so while i think there are several things going on here, including deliberately humiliating female actors (hey, at least its not porn, right?  right?  right?  right?) and normalizing and degrading womens role as the shitkeepers of humanity, there is probably a whole vein worth excavating in a presence-of-absence sense.  meaning, we see a lot about women and poop.  therefore, we can probably assume what we are seeing is the absence of women and womens truth about it.  we see a lot about women and “sex” too, but thats another post.  from like 2 years ago.  🙂

walk with me.  i am currently reading gerda lerners 2-part “the creation of patriarchy.”  in part one, she provides a thorough history lesson and concludes that patriarchy — institutionalized male dominance and female submission to male rule — has been around for about 5000 years.  it was modeled after the widespread miniature, private patriarchies of the male-headed household which existed even longer.  this means that women have been dominated by men for a long, long time.  and the institution of slavery itself was modeled after mens oppression of women.  womens oppression predated it.  and women were the first slaves too — knowing how to control their own women (via rape) and utilize their unpaid sexual, domestic and reproductive services, conquering males first enslaved enemy women and killed enemy men.  men they didnt know how to enslave.  men developed tactics to enslave enemy men, but that came later.

interestingly, the conditions that make institutionalized slavery possible include food surpluses — slavery “seldom if ever occurs in hunter/gatherer societies but appears in widely separated regions and periods with the advent of pastoralism (animal husbandry), and later agriculture, urbanization and state formation.”  slavery does not predate agriculture — it came later.  to the extent that women were ever free, their freedom predated slavery — by how many years i dont know.  but after slavery (and agriculture) women were never free.  this is one of the conclusions i have gleaned from this book, although there are others.

now.  i have recently had cause to examine an essentially pre-agricultural diet.  it seems that people with various digestive issues, including serious and even potentially life-threatening diagnoses such as crohns and celiac disease, are helped with a diet devoid of grains, lactose (milk) and sugar.  symptoms of crohns and celiac include gastric complaints such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, and malabsorption/malnutrition which causes osteoporosis among other things.  (think: poop and problems associated with poop).  advocates of this diet call it variations of the “what our ancestors ate” diet — to the extent it is possible to currently do this, and this is not an insignificant qualifier, it may in fact be largely if not fully impossible at this juncture — adherents only eat (approximations of) what was likely available pre-agriculture.  which means meat, berries, and some fruits and vegetables, but which notably excludes grains.  one variation includes dairy but excludes most non-grain starches as well as lactose (hard cheese and 24-hour fermented yogurt are acceptable).

anyway, heres my point.  for months now, i have been aware that if women were ever free, this was a long long time ago — and that the materials and activities in *my* daily life do not mirror theirs at all.  i literally have no idea what its like to be free, because i am not free, but i am also not privy to the everyday experiences and sensations of free women.  all the experiences and sensations i do have are *only* shared between myself and other women who are oppressed.  feeling the seat and steering wheel as i sit in a car.  feeling my feet on cement.  that kind of thing.

in order to experience a sensation, any sensation that was likely also experienced by free women, so that i might feel part of what it felt like to be free i have tried to walk on a dirt path wherever possible.  i have gone outside at night and looked up.  i pick up rocks and branches and smell them.  these sights, sounds, smells are something that free women experienced, and i want to experience them too.  to the extent that sensations lead to thoughts, i want to know what free women thought.  to the extent that sensations evoke memory, i want to remember what free women remembered.  and to the extent that feeling my ass in a car or my hands on a plastic container (and other things) lead to thoughts and evoke memories shared *only* by oppressed women and slaves, and they could do nothing else, i do not want to experience those things anymore at all.  its surely no coincidence that its going to be exceptionally difficult if not impossible to do this completely.

but right in the middle of this sensory experiment i have been conducting, i received this detailed historical lesson about agriculture, and concluded that if women were ever free, it was never in an agricultural context.  and i actually wondered if it would be possible to eat a pre-agricultural diet in order to cultivate a shared dietary experience.  the answer, really, is NO, although the internet explains how you can get as close to that as possible.  but i also began to wonder, to the extent that women are experiencing this, and perhaps especially to the extent that a (modified) pre-agricultural diet alleviates or cures it, are womens “tummy troubles” (poop problems) their bodies literally rejecting patriarchy and the conditions of their own oppression and slavery?  because stranger (equally strange?) things have happened.  see depression.

that is all.