Man Cleanse PLUS

Readers have privately alerted me to the fact that, for experienced harridans and women who have really let themselves go, MAN CLEANSE is pretty much 101-level stuff. They want a greater challenge! More, more, more!

And I aim to deliver, as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you have any hints to help fellow man-cleansed women fill in the blanks of our detoxification processes, please feel free to share them here. You will be duly and gratefully credited in the eventual post.

Thanks, all! Keep revolting.

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9 Responses to Man Cleanse PLUS

  1. Sargasso Sea says:

    Back in the old days before we were all banned from Twisty’s ( :) ), I sure did enjoy the exercise of not starting sentences with “I” as per The Rules. Although I’m not exactly sure what Jill’s thing is about the “I” word, what I began to notice that *women* usually start sentences with “I” immediately followed by “think”, “feel” or “believe” as a disclaimer to whatever followed. It also occured to me that I (historically) never really did that. In fact what really brought it into focus was that I once had a woman lash out at me (after I’d been defending Dworkin), along these lines:
    ‘You can’t just say stuff like it’s the truth! If you had said, “I think” or “In my opinion” then that’d be different. Gawd, you just sound like a man!’

    So, talk to people *like a man*. Make an unqualified statement. Own your right to speak your mind, really OWN IT, cultivate it, deep inside yourself; that vibe is serious powerful and it has a way of getting them to zip it. They won’t listen to what you have to say of course, but usually they just go away because you confuse them and they’d have to think too hard to keep up….

    Man-Cleanse PLUS!

    • joy says:

      That is excellent advice!

      I liked that rule too, though sometimes seek to reclaim “I” statements as part of acknowledging my self and emotions. (“Yes, I am a person, and I feel things, and I am not a robot.”)

      The trick, perhaps, lies in owning our thoughts inside ourselves, before we even give them voice — the way dudes do. “This is my fucking thought, and I can state it without having to temper it!”

      There is probably a way to make an “I” statement in a confident manner, but (not to sound New Agey) the confidence must come from within. Doing away with “think”, “feel”, and “believe” statements for a while is a good way to ease oneself into this state of mind and get used to the ownership of thought.

      Question, S4 and others: how does one who is, for example, a minority among feminist women (a woman of oppressed class, a woman of color, a timid Lesbian, etc) go about making statements so as not to offend the ruling-class women? (Because we still get called out on our ‘tone’ and ‘hostility’ and ‘incoherence’ a lot when we try to articulate our thoughts directly, and that is an extremely inhospitable climate for communication.)
      Is that an appropriate time to use “I” statements in a self-aware manner? Or is it okay to not care in that situation either?

  2. Sargasso Sea says:

    As women who speak our minds we are often *misunderstood* as having attitude or being incoherent or whatever and in my experience it most often comes from other women. Of course a lot of that could be attributed to the fact that I rarely speak to men anymore unless I’m forced to…

    In the incident which I spoke of above I was on a board for women who had been either raised-in or had bought-into “patriarchal religion” in which female submission is mandatory. The woman who likened me to a man identified as an “egalitarian Christian feminist” and was genuinely concerned about the damage being done to female *freedom*. To her (and to most women, really) my unequivocal statement of fact that males are 98+% responsible for rape (backed up with stats/links) was crazy talk. But I guarantee you that if a man had said it in exactly the same way he would have been fawned all over for his sensitivity to women’s issues.

    In any case, to answer your question, “I” statements are absolutely necessary when speaking from a personal place, but facts are facts. The problem is that males make no distinction between what they “think” and what are facts – they spout either with equal authority because they can get away with it.

    My advice? Just keep on saying what’s on your mind always with respect (when speaking to women, of course) for them from your Self.

    If they don’t like it, then too bad for them. You dig?

    • joy says:

      Hell yeah.

      I asked because I actually care about other women’s feelings — not really so much about men’s. Men don’t really care if they hurt *our* feelings, so it’s not difficult to treat them as they treat us.

  3. To the extent that more-elite women show interest in real communication, doesn’t it make sense to approach levelly and reach for the common ground — and if the Tone thang comes up, then for others to help disperse the attack (deflect the whomping-with-privilege) by stepping in? Yeah, it’s absolutely inhospitable, and that’s always seemed the point. Which makes it reasonable to me to not care. Or to care.

    Care needs to be given *down* the hierarchy. Up it? That’s just generosity, and maybe worth it if it’s really appreciated. No guarantees. Sometimes not caring is like withholding an entitlement that more-privileged women are used to. And if that creates a functional controversy, one that can be worked through, then great. I just don’t think it’s fair to expect someone in a one-down position to have to face other women’s entitlement solo. But if it’s long after the fact, it can be really hard to know how to wedge in that support, too. It probably means looking for the same stuff to come out again, and confronting it then. Again, from a position of genuine care (I just wrote about this under ‘horizontal hostility’ at my bog, so it’s on my mind).

    I agree with you, Sargasso Sea, about “I” statements. I’m just not real certain, as a privileged person but also as a radical feminist, that I can claim to hold the absolute best available truth … part of which I have learned from you, Joy!

  4. Bev Jo says:

    I also really agree with what you all are saying. It’s taken me a long time to learn to say “I think” or “I believe.” It’s middle-class talk and AA, isn’t it? Women, let alone Lesbians, should not speak our minds as if we are confident. Even more so for those of us class-oppressed. I mean, how dare we be strong and sure of ourselves? So I’d get, “Speak for yourself,” “You have no right to say that without proof,” “What degrees do you have to be saying that,” etc. So now I just get threats, false accusations, ridiculing and insults. But why pretend we don’t believe what we’re saying?

  5. Maria says:

    love this thread. Navigating through the patriarchy is essential and A-mazing.

    Back when I started my radical feminist journey, I was working in a service industry. Waitress, bank teller, shopkeep -your boundaries are open season. Engaged in coping mechanisms, cloaked as “being polite”. So when Mary Daly woke me up, I was resolute not to be complicit in my own subjugation. I went to work and stopped performing the expected. A customer makes an uncomfortable or patriarchy compliant ‘joke’, you just don’t respond. No one’s going to conversationally dance with you, guy. Let the silence hang. It only takes a few seconds and they get disoriented. As with Sargasso Sea said, “that vibe is serious powerful and it has a way of getting them to zip it.” I have NEVER seen so many men cut their shit. I actually got unsolicited apologies. It was as if I had found some cheat code.

    I’m grateful for your advice Sargasso Sea. Lately, I’ve found myself in endless arguments with men; your hint is precisely what I need.

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