Rad Fem Philosophy: Still Needed After All These Years

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What is a mind for if it is not for change?  I’d written a mea culpa to a certain prolific RF blogger  for having said I wouldn’t comment on her blog again because of my perception that her demand for her own brand of “RF think” had run off too many new women bravely trying to comment there for the first time but getting criticized by the blogger’s reply comments   …   and my mea culpa resulted on a balance of factors because the prolific blogger had written a new post that fascinated me, involving great comments from DaughterIsTheSun, LisaPrime, SheilaG, and others as sparked by the mind-expanding post that, well,  caused me to change my mind about participating there.

But although I tried to comment and saw my comment appear on screen for a few hours, the RF blogger removed it.

So I get erased at a RF blog, even when I make a kindhearted mea culpa gesture, and it feels the very same as when men erase women all the time, all the time, gone baby gone.

We can know that it doesn’t seem right, or at least it seems to reflect deep damage in the RF blogger that is unhealed despite the rigor of her analysis and the prolific nature of her blogging (with a strong RF following), but I can at least post what I’d written here.

As a related point, however, if we wonder why RF analysis is so scant among feminists, maybe this sort of sad thing is partly why.  Maybe we need to stop blaming it only on MtT and GLBTQQetcwtf political backlash.  Maybe we each need to heal ourselves first before taking on a public platform in which any one of us has internet power to solicit and alternately erase other women’s comments.  If I were not very strong in my own Be-ing, being erased on a RF blog (for commenting ffs , and in a RF way) would dishearten me to the point of rejecting RF as a philosophy, when indeed it is the only philosophy that ever really helped me understand and face the real world as a woman-born woman for womankind.

Here’s the substance of what I’d commented and had erased:

The natural disaster analogy about male oppression of females is one that resonates for me as to specific instances when I have averted the harm of men to myself and/or daughter by going into instinct about imminent harm avoidance.  Before RF consciousness took hold (in that my global patriarchal cult deprogramming has taken years, still ongoing) I’d do unsafe, unwise things like jog too late at the beach.  One night I was nearly conked in the head by two smiling men who came up behind me, one with his arm behind (indicating the rock of the would-be conk).  It was pure instinct that led me to grab and throw sand in their faces and then run a zigzagging path that somehow through those instinctual connections to what’s alive got me to safety where women were, truncating the men’s pursuit.

There are other similar earlier examples of the natural disaster approach to harm avoidance, including an intruder in my house (baby daughter in back) after the then-nigel husband had left garage door open during my absence.  Instinctively I went into raging “get the fuck out of here you asshole,” with my keys in my fingers like I’d learned in a self-defense class, lunging for him, which made him take a circular route running out through the open garage door (“lady I’m getting out of here.”)  In those occasions I operated on pure instinct, no conscious logic to it, although it may have helped to have in the gray matter the residues of an 80’s “take back the night” self-defense class (not that going out at night walking alone in the 21st century is ever safe for women any more in most places).  :

The parasite model from DaughterIsTheSun also resonates for the chronic, daily reality of men oppressing women.  The level of biological awareness is amazing, and this really resonated:  “Parasitic wasps turn cabbage worm caterpillars into their bodyguards.”  Plus the Alien film reference. Excellent!   Men show us who they are by the monsters and “big suits” they create in movies.

When asked by the blog post for another model from nature other than natural disaster, I’d been thinking, yes, well, definitely that (natural disaster) and also men as virus, maybe biologically much bigger but just as debilitating.  But parasite from DaughterIsTheSun is a much better analogy, because a parasite usually grabs hold and slowly drains, saps and diverts energy without, in the majority of cases, outright killing the host.  (Started to type DITS for Daughter but that’s disrespectful, and I really do appreciate the biology lesson and the women who come here brave enough to comment!)

For the relatively lucky women enjoying relative privilege (not being trafficked, not being constantly raped, not living in a literal war zone in someplace like Darfur, so on), the analogy of how men are would be not the Ebola or AIDS virus but the analogy of a virus like a chronic  common cold, debilitating but not life-threatening, depressing but not killing.

A chronic common cold virus as analogy for men and their oppression of women would fit for what’s been on this blog in comments described as the patriarchy-lite of Scandinavian countries.   And it would be a common-cold virus always susceptible of mutating wildly and almost overnight (meme-like) into a killer virus like Ebola, yes, even in the patriarchy-lite countries, for individual violence and destruction, by men one by one of women, or in larger groups.

The USA was patriarchy-lite for a brief period of the 70’s and early 80’s for some women with relative privilege, until the men figured out the counter-attack to second wave feminism and women’s consciousness raising.  And it has been cult-like mass media man-ipulated programming, fun feminism and porn infusion ever since to our detriment so that, today, how many of us ever dare to walk outside at night alone for risk of male violence if we live in any USA urban or even suburban area?

I’ve noticed lately where I live that the ratio of men outside to women even in daylight (enjoying ordinary things like taking a walk, being in a park, so on) is about 4:1, no doubt by American women’s self-selection to stay inside if they have a home or to be in their cars en route to places like malls and movies, often with security guards, if they can afford the gas.

The cultural change in my adult life suggests that disengagement instead of activism is a much better strategy now, but how very grateful I am for the second-wave academics, activists, and writers like Jan Raymond, Mary Daly (who taught Jan), Kate Millett (whose book, “Going to Iran” from decades ago is another case study in why it’s better now to view men as natural disasters, parasites or viruses than to engage in the futility of social-change activism alongside them), Sonia Johnson (who, perfectly imperfect, at least wrote spinning, inspiring guides to how it might be for evolving womankind even if the times weren’t right for the evolution now) and Andrea Dworkin who was just such a good writer I’d have enjoyed her authorship about how to grow broccoli.    Dworkin’s little read book, “Scapegoat,” is the best and most heartrending account of how (in her case, shared Jewry, with post-holocaust Israel as the model) even one’s own historically cultural group of shared-oppression men  are still out to get women.

So yes, men’s oppression of women:  natural disaster, parasite, virus.  Take your pick, sometimes it can be all three at the same time.

If we as women were not incredibly strong by Nature’s design despite everything the naturally disastrous parasitic viral men do to us, we’d not still be standing, not even one of us.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s some evolutionary value to all we as women are learning and have been learning around the globe  for millenia in the disengagement and covert warrior modes of protecting ourselves from men that will carry into the next phase of biological evolution for primates (if we even make it at all in primate bodily form).

In any event, for this one day, still standing is something of which we all can be very proud as womankind.  Hug it to yourself.  Every day is a victory over male disaster.

If you don’t want to believe the words, then believe the image at the top of this post.  Take another look.  I couldn’t have staged it better.    All the penis power-over imagery in the world collapsed into one random digital photo snapped while waiting at an intersection in my car in a city where it is now dangerous (because of unfettered power to the penis in the media-stature patriarchy) for women to be out walking along.

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14 thoughts on “Rad Fem Philosophy: Still Needed After All These Years

  1. I’m so sick of penis jokes and everything being about the penis. Craig Ferguson used to be funny. And he was not any more woman-hating (maybe less) than Chelsea Handler. But lately he devolves into male dominance with a creepy male gay sidekick skeleton robot. The silent horse wearing eyemakeup they call a he. There’s so little available to us for laughter in public media that comments topically on what’s going on every day. I’ve resorted to Craig and Chelsea. But they are so far from RF. Even though Craig’s show has lesbian row, he shows his misogyny as in a recent interview w/ Sandra Bullock promoting the Heat as a movie. Bullock is btw really powerfully and naturally gynergetic as a woman (she’d have to be to survive the ratbastard husband’s betrayal and what is obviously some really great but very comprehensive plastic surgery and still be able to suffer spike heels in the interest of making millions of $) but without RF analysis Bullock is only a partially good role model relative to the beautiful male celebrities of the world like the Hemsworth brothers. Same for her co-star Melissa McCarthy who models butch in a woman with hilarity and proves we can do that, too, but irl has a nigel and is a regular patriarchally designed mother trying to put on her pretty made-up face and sometimes go all culturally pink and sparkly.

    This seems really off topic, doesn’t it? it is however sparked by your saying that we’re still standing … even the women sellouts to patriarchy who feed us starvation rations at the movies (the Heat being better for women, for ex., than anything else but Twenty Feet from Stardom currently at the multi-plex), and despite everything women have to do that men do not to be celebrities, are still standing despite the strong efforts of destroyer men (like Bullock’s ex) to take us down into the depths of broken heart hell.

    I know b/c my last nigel tried similarly to break me with betrayal and grossly public infidelity. B/c we being women unlike men actually connect (or at least bring cosmologically powerful connections out of our own surfaces and depths) and we really care, it can break some of us. (Michelle Pfiefer’s character in the film Dangerous Liasons is a classic ex.; betrayed and broken emotionally by her male lover, she goes off and dies quietly. Virginia Woolf. Betrayed by her incesting sibling and by her narcissistic nigel, not to mention ‘analysis’ by the actual Freud who we know in retrospect hated women by his coverup of women’s incest histories as if “penis envy” fantasy. What an evil and self-serving fucktard Freud was! Indirectly the agent to send Virginia Woolf off into the water to die with pockets of rocks to weight her down. She was so brilliant. Ex.: ” I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.” Also (to paraphrase) identifying women as the mirrors to magnify men to twice their size.

    Here’s to not being locked in. And to being connected with other women. Even if they try to lock us out, the music of the spheres (a Mary Daly phrase) calls to us, and we connect in consciousness. N’est-ce pas? One of the few French phrases I know. It just rolls off the tongue. Probably invented by a woman, because as Virginia Woolf said (paraphrase), over time whatever is attributed to anonymous was said by a woman.

  2. I’m sorry your comment was disappeared on that blog. I agree that by the time most women become radical feminists, they are very damaged because most women are generally damaged by the P.

    I’ve noticed that radical feminists that have been on the scene for a while on the internet aren’t very welcoming to baby radfems like myself especially if our analysis isn’t very strong, but I figured that it’s because there’s been so much backstabbing in this community. I don’t know. It’s sad. Maybe we would be more open and compassionate towards each other irl. I hope so anyway.

    I also wanted to let you know that I’ve started reading Mary Daly based on your recommendation on GM’s blog.

    • Thank you for your kindness, Nadege. You have such a warm and caring spirit. I appreciate what you’ve said because sharing the sadness about rf (and women’s) damage cuts it in half, as an old Irish saying goes, while sharing a joy doubles it.

      Just being rf or female doesn’t make me or anybody else perfect, and the best we can hope is to be perfectly imperfect and open our spirits to others who indicate an interest in freeing themselves.

      Mary Daly really opened my eyes and wrote basically the same things we all keep reinventing for ourselves on rf blogs. But it helps to understand it for ourselves, and put our own thoughts into written form, so the blogs are a very good thing.

      Daly opened Pure Lust (Elemental Feminist Philosophy)with an intro including: Pure Lust Names the high humor, hope, and cosmic accord/harmony of those women who choose to escape, to follow our hearts’ deepest desire and bound out of the State of Bondage, Wanderlusting and Wonderlusting with the elements, connecting with the auras of animals and plants, moving in planetary communion with the farthest stars. … One moved by its magic is Musing/Re-membering. Choosing to leave the dismembered state, she casts her lot, life, with the trees and the winds, the sands and the tides, the mountains and moors. She is Outcast, casting her Self outward, inward, breaking out of the casts/castes of phallocracy’s fabrications/fictions, moving out of the maze of mediated experience. … Elemental female Lust is intense longing/craving for the cosmic concrescence that is creation. … woman, wisely wielded, Names a Wild and Lusty Female claiming wisdom, joy, and power as her own.”

      What a great way to re-member and re-vision lust as lust for Life! And thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

    • If you’re on FB, go to Organizing for Women’s Liberation, for blogs go to hagocrat.wordpress.com. No, not all blogs are open to everyone to comment, even though all can read, but in my opinion, those blogs should say — by invitaion only — rather than be abusive to women who try to join in. One way to ‘take part’ is to take the topic back to your blog and invite a few friends to delve into it there, riffing off what you read at the originating blog.

  3. That’s an amazing image. Almost like you staged it. Think of the thousands more out there. Or don’t it’s too depressing.

    I’m sorry you had that experience on a certain blog. I agree with keeping discussions rad fem, but not with elitism and classism which seems to be the ethic in one or two places.

    • I also do not agree with being abusive, ridiculing the wishful commenter and talking trash about her efforts or person. After all, it’s a compliment that women want to take part it seems to me, so why not thank wannabes, but say it’s by invitation only rather than savage someone’s ego.

      • Thanks, Red, for the insights. Agreed. Not that we have to agree, because an exchange of divergent ideas can help us grow, but when there is naturally agreement, it can be sweet.

        Instead of a divided camp of rf’s, it seems to me there are such bigger concerns women face, like the ever-increasing gonzo-porn-fueled rates of male sexual violence including abductions against girls and women (not that man-stream media reports it that way with the global corporate takeover of the now unfree press).

        Or what about just reaching more women with the idea that they deserve to put themselves first in their lives (the way men have always put themselves first)? That one changed idea would remove women who are brainwashed volunteer victims from being energy to be vampirized by men. That one changed idea in billions of women might just change the world.

    • The cosmological synchronicities put it together for me! Hope some day to have more time and the resources for photography of the photo journalism variety that no longer gets funded.

  4. Hi, Sally, I’ve followed you back from another blog and am delighted to have another radfem blog to read. We must all fight like hell, as Mother Jones said, and I hope you won’t let a thing like not being posted on a very carefully modded blog (for important reasons) bother you.

    LisaPrime (Oserchenma)

    • Hi, LisaPrime, I’ve enjoyed your comments immeasurably; insightful analysis. Thanks for the encouragement. I still read the very carefully modded blog because the writing there (posts and comments) is generally so strong, so what happened to me doesn’t bother me in the long game at all. Once the RF horse races out of the barn, there’s no turning her back in any event, is there?

  5. Hey Sally, it’s really good to read this and thank you for your kind words at my blog. This treatment really threw me and made me want nothing more to do with the RF blogosphere for quite a while. It is a really harsh thing to do and I hate how often this is justified by ‘my blog, my rules’. Doesn’t give you the right to treat people like crap when they are only trying to participate. But you are right, there is no turning back!

    • Hey there, NBB101 … appreciate your commenting in response! It’s good to feel connected in print. And yes, no turning back! It has occurred to me that some women who “get” RF analytically or mentally may have such repressed emotional damage (from men and the patriarchy) that it is impossible for them not to take it out on the only people they now have contact with — women, and on their blogs. That’s really only sad. It would be bad if some who blog or have blogged brilliantly about RF (because all it would take really, is lots of discretionary time which most women don’t have and reading the 2nd wave RFs to “get” how to write about the philosophy of RF) might pretend to be women blogging but actually be males in disguise planning to discourage and dishearten women who comment by disparaging them personally in a hateful way. It might be to the patriarchy’s advantage to fund that bad behind the scenes. The US had “cointellpro” during the 50 years past civil rights movement including second wave feminism (also during Vietnam war protests) to infiltrate and stop the face-to-face activisim — and I’ve never believed it was really dismantled (only a pretense of doing so for the press). We’ll never really know for sure as to any RF blogger who’s essentially anonymous, as required for most of us to avoid backlash that would put our economic survival (if not physical survival) at risk. None of us should take personally anything said online by somebody we don’t really know. That goes for what I write, too, but hopefully I’m only seeking to help us open our minds and engage in Be-ing. Btw, this weekend I read Toni Morrison’s Beloved (Pulitzer Prize winner) from decades ago and in addition to its indictment of slavery, it is such a powerfully written story about the terrible things the global heartlessness of white men drives women do for love and safety of loved ones, as well as the natural grace of Life when we as women, black, white or any color, know our worth.

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