White males

“White males are most responsible for the destruction of human life and environment on the planet today.  Yet who is controlling the supposed revolution to change all that?  White males.”  Robin Morgan

Rereading Refusing to be a Man: essays on sex and justice, John Stoltenberg

Read this years ago, but thought I’d read it again as I hadn’t been able to afford to actually buy it back then …

Talking about how men typically behave, he says they “[disregard] completely the reality of anyone who is not fawning and flattering and full of awe for our masculine prerogative …” (p24). 

Well-put.

“… [M]en experience combat as the ultimate test of their masculinity …  If we did not hold on so desperately to masculinity, might we not also then be able to let go of warfare?” (p77).

“Though they [men in the antiwar movement] espoused nonviolent, equitable, and nonhierarchical forms of social organization, they continued to act toward women in male-supremacist ways.  it became clear that they were interested only in rearrangements of men’s power over other men, not in any fundamental change in men’s relationships with women” (p79).

“Without the absolute right to true reproductive self-determination, women as a class will continue to be exploited and manipulated in service to the economic, sexual, and psychological priorities of men” (p81). 

So well-put.

“Men, it is said, do not express their feelings—or if men do, they do so only with great difficulty.  Both women and men believe that men are unemotive and unemotional, that inside men’s tender psyches is a wellspring of feelings, stonewalled and speechless.  Men respect and fear other men whose feelings are undisclosed and well defended.  women also respect and fear such men whose feelings lie dormant beneath a permafrost of mastery.  And women who live with them implore them privately to emote just a little, begging them to say what they are feeling, beging them to warm.  But men odo not express their feelings.  Or so the story goes.

     “In fact, throughout history, men as a class have always expressed their feelings, eloquently and extensively: Men have expressed their feelings about women, death, and absent fathers and turned those feeling into religions.  Men have expressed their feelings about women, wealth, possession, and territory and turned those feelings into laws and nation-states.  men have expressed their feelings about women, murder, and the masculinity of other men and from those feelings forged batttalions and detonable devices.  Men have expressed their feelings aobut women, fucking, and female rage against subjection and formed those feelings into psychiatry.  men have institutionalized their feelings, so that whether or not a particular man is feeling the feeling at a particular time, the feeling is being expressed through the institutions men have made” (p91-2).

“Given the current frequency of abortions in the United States, it can be predicted that over the course of all American women’s lifetimes, two out of three will have an abortion.  And the rate of involvement for men is the same: Over the course of their lifetimes, two out of three men will have been responsible for impregnating a woman who subsequently decides to abort.”  

Of course!  For almost every abortion there is a nonconsensual impregnation, a whachamacallit, a … rape.  If men didn’t rape, women wouldn’t need an abortion.  So men, those of you who are so against abortion, stop impregnating women who are not enthusiastically consenting to having a child!  Duh!!

“The history of men’s ideas is the history of what men feel and the history of what men feel to be real.  As a class, men never feel more real than when their penises are erect and penetrating—and never feel less real than when their penises are flaccid.  As a result, men’s ideas about what is real, what is objectively as real as themselves, tend to be utterly self-referential and almost entirely phallocentric” (para 97). 

Wow.  Just—  Wow.    That explains sooooooooooo much.  An argument against men in power if there ever was one.

“…men don’t like the feeling of not feeling like having sex. … It’s as if men don’t really feel their male identity unless they’re experiencing their own body in a way that is explicitly, culturally, sexually phallic” (p110-111).

Aha.  I’ve never really understood viagra etc.: here’s a tube of poison ivy sap; go ahead and spread it all over your body.  Why would you want to create an itch, a desire to scratch?  Don’t you have enough to do with meeting the itches and desires you already … just have? 

“Sexual freedom has never really meant that individuals should have sexual self-determination …  it has been about maintaining men’s superior status, men’s power over women; and it has been about sexualizing women’s inferior status, men’s subordination of women” (p127).

“Pornography institutionalizes the sexuality that both embodies and enacts male supremacy. … Pornography keeps sexism sexy” (p129-130)

“Homophobia keeps men doing to women what they would not want done to themselves.  There’s not the same sexual harassment of men that there is of women on the street or in the workplace or in the university; there’s not nearly the same extent of rape …  And that’s thanks to homophobia …”

“We’ve got to be telling our sons that if a man gets off by putting women down, it’s not okay.

           “We’ve got to be telling merchants tha tif they peddle women’s bodies and lives for men’s consumption and entertainment, it’s not okay.

           “We’ve got to be telling other men that if you let th epornographers lead you by the nose (or any other body part) into believing that women exist to be tied up and hung up and beaten and raped, it’s not okay” (p135).

And keep in mind that he wrote this thirty years ago.

Lastly, “If it’s true that men are the doers, the agents of history, the performers, the active ones, how come men are so passive [when it comes to women’s rights]? (p183).

“…no doubt it would be declared illegal…”

– “… no doubt it would be declared illegal, like everything else women wanted to do without men.”  Our History in New York, Linsey Abrams

Women’s Work, Kari Aguila

An interesting novel, worth the read!

“Think about how different our world is going to be when this generation of boys grows up, having been allowed to grow into whole, good, decent men. Nobody is going to tell them that they have to go through life being some stupid caricature of masculinity anymore. They can talk about feelings and beauty and love, and still be respected. We haven’t taken away your freedom, we’ve given it to you. You should be thanking us.” p127

Thank you, Diana E. H. Russell

The Politics of Rape was one of the first (of a great many) works about rape that I read.

See what else she wrote at http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2020/08/diana-e-h-russell-6-november-1938-28.html

(And thanks, Julian, not only for that list but for your comments about the NYT obituary. Sigh.)

A wry smile for those over fifty or so

“Women’s magazines are typically associated with check-out lines in grocery stores, where they sport loud headlines that either promise a “beach body” in ten days, or describe exciting new ways to please a man in bed. (Back in the old days, all you had to do was show up.)” Erica Verrillo

The Pro-Life Position You Don’t Hear

Male privilege

Excerpts from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/06/male-privilege-female-top-surgery-workplace

“After returning to teaching, I started to receive very little, if any, pushback when I said no. This was especially the case with students. Within academia, it is not an uncommon belief that students make more requests (for grade changes, deadline extensions, and so on) of female-presenting professors. In my case, requests for extensions and grade changes decreased, and for the few that did occur, there was zero pushback to my response. It’s like I have a new superpower: the first time I say no, it is heard. Similarly, I rarely have to ask for something twice. I also experience fewer interruptions, and there are more apologies for taking up my time. Language in emails to me is more deferential than it has ever been before. I am no longer a McDonald’s where students place their orders. …

“In research that specifically addresses transgender men in the workplace, sociologist Kristen Schilt has found that a majority of her respondents report receiving some type of post-transition advantage at work, including gaining authority, respect and recognition for hard work, and gaining economic opportunities and status.Respondents spoke to how men can get away with more, and are given the benefit of the doubt, while hard-working women are ignored and their work is unrecognized.

What harm does it do?

So I’ve received a 1/5 review of Gender Fraud: a fiction at Goodreads by someone claiming, basically, TERF!!! Expected. Sigh.

But the reviewer did ask a question that I should have been able to answer, which was ‘What harm does it do if a transwoman wants to call herself a woman?’

Well, here’s the answer:

from Jack Holland’s A Brief History of Misogyny

(All quotes are from Jack Holland’s A Brief History of Misogyny)

“It was a battle for the ultimate mechanism of control within a woman’s body—her reproductive cycle. For a woman, this right is the most crucial of all, and the key to achieving real autonomy.  Misogyn denies her autonomy; her subordination depends on the lack of it.”  (p237)  Well-put.

“Before, men had women more or less at their mercy in deciding whether or not to employ condoms, the most common contraceptive device.  In theory, of course, a woman could refuse to have intercourse with a man unless he wore one, but in practice men bullied, coerced, bllackmailed or otherwise pressurized women into taking risks for the sake of the man’s pleasure.”  (p238)  Which is why men should never be trusted with any sort of competing goods decision: they think that their ten seconds of pleasure (or, as is often the case, relief) outweighs a woman’s nine months of pregnancy, seven-plus hours of labour (with various physical injuries, temporary and permanent, up to and including death) (as well as the emotional pain due to forced motherhood), five years of round-the-clock vigilance and nurturing, and another ten years of care. 

“When I told people I was writing a history of misogyny, I got two distinct responses and they were divided along gender lines.  From women came an expression of eager curiosity about what I had found.  But from those men who knew what the word ‘misogyny’ meant—”  (p268)  Stop right there.  Because that pretty much says it all.

“What history teaches us about misogyny can be summed up in four words: pervasive, persistent, pernicious, and protean.” (p270)  Again, well-put.

“Had the victims of [Gary Ridgeway’s] murderous rampage been Jews or African Americans, there would have been a national alarm sounded, and acres of print covered with soul-searching questions about the state of race relations in the United States as we enter a new millennium.  But the actions of a Ridgeway, or a Jack the Ripper, are usually left to a psychiatrist to explain.  Their urge to kill women is seen as an aberration when in truth it is simply an intensification of a commonplace prejudice.” (p271)

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