Movement? What movement?

I haven’t felt like writing in some time. Part of it is because I’ve been on the road for two months now, and even prior that, I hadn’t had my own home space for six months. Homesickness is strange enough when you love being on the road, stranger still when you realize that the “home” you want to go to, put your feet up and relax in, doesn’t even exist.

Apart from that, though, I’ve been thinking hard about the feminist movement (by which I mean, the radical feminist movement, because funfeminism is not feminism and liberal feminism at its best is merely a band-aid solution to a problem that needs surgery).

And I came to the realization that there IS no “movement.” There are so few of us (more than is often reported, but still not very many), for one thing, and for another thing, we can barely agree on anything. Probably because there are so few of us. We’re willing to give each other shit and even excommunicate one another at the slightest provocation (while egregious provocations often go unremarked upon, for whatever reason).

This isn’t because women are “naturally catty” or any other MRA/mainstream bullshit. Women have historically been given no incentive to form supportive communities, especially not based upon something as apparently incendiary as radical feminism (aka, asserting human rights by and for over half the human population). Those of us who have, have been subjected to both online and IRL attacks, and are thus constantly on guard for “moles” and people who are willing to sell us out — not just in small ways, but in big ways, often borderline-lifethreatening ways.

Which makes sense, but then in compensation we turn on one another almost as a sport. Maybe this all confuses and irritates me because I was a radical before I became a radical feminist.

Now, I understand firsthand that radicals are not women-friendly, and radical “community building” has no place in it for women other than as housekeepers, mothers, and fuckbots … who are also “small and fighty” and willing to “kick ass” in the name of protecting male-activist interests. (There was a perfect comment over on some post at IBtP, but I won’t link to there; the gist was that the male’s ideal of an activist woman is alternabeauty-compliant [while rejecting capitalism] and partakes in both ‘Days of War’ and ‘Nights of Love’: in other words, does not do any pesky questioning of her subordinance.)

That’s not for me. I do not believe, as I was often told, that washing dishes for male activists is “helping the revolution” by giving the men more time to work on strategies — I’d rather sit down and work on strategies myself. And that never worked with male activists anyway, as they never listened to me, at least until another male repeated the same thing I’d just said.

But the basic principle is: I’d already given up “everything” I had (which wasn’t much to begin with — being raised below the poverty line and all) to devote to a cause. To scrape bottom and try to start over again, as ethically as possible, from scratch. And it was worth it. Despite the arrests, and the unlawful detainments, and the beatings, and the profiling, and the economic disadvantages, and the lack of a home base, and all the everything else, it was worth it.

So I suppose I’m so far “out there” that discussions of whether or not one is willing to give up “everything” don’t even make sense to me.

Well, that’s not true. They do. Women are at an extreme disadvantage to men, and this translates into the fact that women often find it incredibly hard to maintain any standard of living whatsoever. Domestic partnership of any kind obviously does not help, and often (if not damn near always) makes the problem worse. Add to this the fact that so many of us are deeply traumatized, and I can understand why a woman would want to make and keep some semblance of A Life for herself. And that means some form of income, and that often means a 9-to-5 job somewhere.

I’m “lucky” enough to be so deeply traumatized, and so far below the poverty line, that I receive welfare benefits. Seriously, I’ve been told that makes me “lucky”, and as deeply scornful as that statement made me feel, I do see the point: I’m willing and fairly happy to live on $12,000 or less per year, if it means I don’t have to deal with the male-saturated, male-constructed workforce and everything that entails.

Because capitalism is patriarchy. It’s built on patriarchy. The whole idea of working for money, acquiring capital, is based on patriarchy. On valuing men, and devaluing women. If I need to explain this, I will, but I don’t feel I should have to.

Sure, it does suck not having money to do things that would benefit me, like getting a driver’s licence, making the downpayment on an elderly camper van, paying for its insurance and upkeep, etc. It sucks worrying if I’m going to get stranded somewhere, or need something, and have nobody to help. But that’s something I’m willing to trade for my (relative) freedom.

That’s perhaps the biggest difference between me and other radical feminists. I basically don’t even come from the same planet, so I’m often confused and frustrated. For that reason, I couldn’t be a part of the movement even if there was one — but though that’s sad and frustrating, it’s not going to slow me down.

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57 Responses to Movement? What movement?

  1. radfemcrafts says:

    Right on. Great post! Except for this part: For that reason, I couldn’t be a part of the movement even if there was one

    Eff that. I’m on the same page as you (I think). Violent radical revolution. It may not start with those who feel they have a lot to give up (bloggers will tend to default to this category naturally) but I trust that as it trickles up to them/us, they/we will get involved. I have to have faith in that, the only other option is deep despair so I’m going with faith in the awesomeness of women.

    And glad to have you back!

    • joy says:

      Thanks, radfemcrafts!

      I do have faith, and I don’t doubt the “credentials” of other feminists per se: I think they do really believe in what they’re doing, etc. (I think that’s why so many get really defensive when I bring up things like jobs and practicing femininity compliance for the sake of keeping jobs: they think I’m questioning their “cred”. To which I say: This ain’t Brooklyn and we ain’t comparing iPods, okay? I don’t care about cred. And if criticism makes you that uncomfortable, change your behaviors or something.)

      I just admittedly feel sometimes that they’d be willing to throw people like me and maybe you, and ultimately the revolution itself, under the bus. (For the record, letting us go first and act as cannon fodder, and potentially tell us we’re crazy and maybe even asking for it when we get the brunt of the discrimination aimed at women who fight back [I’ve heard that gem too], is also throwing us under the bus.)
      It’s bad enough when women throw other women under the bus for Nigels. When they do it for capitalism, it’s just another disappointment.

      • radfemcrafts says:

        Oh, I apologize. I didn’t realize I was glossing over such personal histories. Of course you have the right to feel your feelings, I hope I wasn’t being glib about them!

        You’re right about the lack of Capitalist analysis. Which, as a longtime lazy person, is what kept me from feminism for so long because I believed the mainstream that liberal capitalist feminism is feminism. And screw that, there’s nothing empowering about being a cog in the capitalist machinery.

        We need to keep that analysis alive so that at least the instinctively anti-capitalist women can find feminism.

        (For the record, letting us go first and act as cannon fodder, and potentially tell us we’re crazy and maybe even asking for it when we get the brunt of the discrimination aimed at women who fight back [I’ve heard that gem too], is also throwing us under the bus.)

        Holy victim blaming batman. If someone said that to or around me I’d lose my damn mind.

      • joy says:

        Don’t worry, you weren’t glib and I didn’t consider your comment a glossing-over at all! Most of this is just stuff that’s happened around the interwebs, so I don’t take it -that- personally, it mostly just warrants a headshake and heavy sigh every time it happens.

        (Which is actually more or less my default setting, both on the internet and in real life — dry, wry. It takes a lot [ie, rape and murder, abuse, mansplaining, funfeminism, etc.] to get me pissed off, and even then I don’t relish asshole comments to other radical women. Apparently sometimes my comments are interpreted as mean, but it’s just a question of translation from real life to print.)

        I find that even radical feminism lacks a lot of capitalist analysis — because many radical feminists are middle class and come from middle class backgrounds. (For reference: this may piss people off, but if you were able to afford college, you’re middle class. That’s fine. I don’t hate you for it or feel one way or another. But you are.) They didn’t approach inequality from literally standing at the bottom of the pyramid looking up.
        Me? I’ve been Dumpster-diving for leftover pizza and getting handouts (bruised produce, old bread, etc) from grocery stores since I was a little kid because my father saddled my mother with a child and then scrammed without ever paying child support. (“Tell her I died,” was his impassioned plea. My mother, because she was a badass, did not do that. She let me know from the time I was old enough to understand, so I’ve understood for that long: we were poor, and we were poor because we were women, and women are not valued in society.
        My mother isn’t even a feminist, by the way.)

        So I understand what it’s like to stand at the bottom and look up, from the very earliest I can remember. That’s where I’m coming from, and that’s my understanding. It’s okay if other women aren’t coming from the same place, and it’s okay if they don’t want to join me getting down and dirty in the shithole of the lower class right now, but it chaps my hide when they act it’s okay to sell me out.

        It chapped my hide when other women implied that I was “lucky” to be so poor as to be “free” to stop shaving or wearing deodorant. (I don’t stink, by the way. Now that my body chemistry has recalibrated, I can go all day walking around a hot climate and not notice any smell at all.)
        It chapped my hide when other women implied that my being detained, unlawfully arrested, and unlawfully detained was because I really WAS crazy.
        But I’d still never sell a single one of them out. Ignore them, maybe, but sell them out? Never.

  2. ball buster says:

    When they do it for capitalism, it’s just another disappointment.

    Yes. This. I echo the rest of your post, but this in itself, sums it up.

    I have a HUGE problem with anyone encouraging women to conform, to find a better place in a society where women truly, actually, have NO place except relative to that of male interests and supporting the Patriarchy. What nobody mentions is how “success” more often than not requires stepping on other women on the way up, which is just another form of active and purposeful participation in the Patriarchy.

    Partnering up with men is a terrible idea. But how about in the workplace? What about women who throw their lot in with whoever signs their paychecks rather than other women? Does it matter if a woman shares a man’s bed if she’s helping him economically terrorize other women?

    Another issue is, that even if a woman accomplishes enough success with resources to DO SOMETHING substantial for “the movement,” she probably does nothing because the woman-hating required to be a Big Shot becomes more powerful than the instinct for solidarity. There are women who actually have enough resources to start creating solutions right now, but instead want to sit around and dither about shit that doesn’t have squat to do with the price of tea in Tulsa.

    It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to see perfectly intelligent individuals *not get* that Patriarchy isn’t just about women being treated like shit. It’s a pervasive SYSTEM that continued participation is at best an indicator of self hate, at worst, complicity to assist to oppress other women.

    Part of being a radical – especially a radical for our freedom from men – is having the ability to question EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, even many feminists become so invested in the system, that questioning the system is like questioning their whole being. That’s not a good sign for the future. I suppose, maybe one day things will change. I’ve only got my voice, so I’m doing my little part in it. Maybe it’s not enough. Maybe it is. I’m just going to keep plodding along, though.

    Yes, I’m glad you’re back too. ❤

    • joy says:

      Thanks, bb! For the record (you and radfemcrafts and others too), I’ve been reading while I was away, so some of your blog hits every day have been me.

      Honestly, a lot of what I’m talking about can be found on FABLibber’s post about militancy, and the weird scrape I got into at Scumorama over women’s clothing, shaving, et al. I was shocked to see how many of my radfem peers still shaved and plucked, etc, and then they told me that I was actually more free than they were — I had the “privilege” (I think the word privilege was in fact used, although I have no wish to revisit that threat, so please correct me if I’m wrong) not to work, so I didn’t have any place to criticize the compliances they practiced trying to get along in the machine every day.

      I’m still blinking, just typing that. Although, as I mentioned, I do consider myself lucky to be on welfare (I have at least one friend who’s been having a hell of a time getting on it even though she really needs to be and should be), the benefits I receive are not indication of fucking PRIVILEGE. Basic health care, enough food to eat, and barely enough money to afford rent (maybe also basic necessities, if you live in the cheap part of a cheap town and/or are ‘green’ and frugal) are all basic RIGHTS that we are only denied because we live in a capitalist system that sucks the life out of us until we die.

      Especially if we are women.

      So maybe I am “lucky” to be able to slap some patchouli on my unshaven armpits and go about my day, and maybe the women there thought I was so “free” because they assumed I’m a trust-fund baby who’s never needed to work a day in her life. I’m not, but there’s no way they could have known that. (In my unofficial observation, it’s a human tendency to imagine that everyone you encounter came from a background either equivalent to or better than your own.)

      But to those women: there is nothing radical about continuing to work as a cog in the machine, and there is nothing radical about conforming in order to do so. It’s fine, I personally do not care if you’d rather shave your body hair and slap on some carcinogens in order not to starve to death and as a way to have some economic mobility. Knock yourselves out. Just understand that it’s not radical, it’s not a reason not to fight, by which I mean fight IRL, and it’s certainly not a reason to expect the rest of us to fight for you.
      And doing otherwise is not a PRIVILEGE, ffs.

      • ball buster says:

        Gosh, I don’t keep up on blogs like I should. I had to really dig to find the thread you were talking about. I didn’t see the word privilege, for the record, but I did see a derisive comment about being hairy that made me bristle a bit. It reminds me of when I was stereotyped by liberals and funfems as giving the movement a bad name by being too big, too fat, too hairy, too loud, and too opinionated.

        In fact, there’s a post up now about how the word privilege has jumped the shark in feminism. Something about vanilla ice cream.

        I’ve retired the the privilege word for about two months now. Since then, I just simply say what I mean, which opens up a lot more clarity of self expression.

        I’m sure, someday, when I’m a homeless shopping cart lady with twenty ally cats following me around; I’ll be the target of some liberal dude calling me privileged for not having to pay rent or worry about the number of pets I’m allowed to own. I guarantee it. 😉

      • joy says:

        Haha, at the alley-cat scenario! I’m sure that will happen too. Just, uh, threaten to throw your “douche bag” at him (keeping a douche-looking pouch of pickle juice and/or pee and/or bad-quality alcohol on hand for just such an occasion) — and then do so if he doesn’t shut up. Which he probably will. 😉

        Thanks for setting me, er, straight on the “privilege” thing. I think my brain just went there on its own: “Oh, they think I’m privileged for being broke?! Wow, middle class fail.”

        I also recall derision towards my patchouli. I was offering it as an alternative to deodorant: when I wear it, I always get at least one woman telling me I smell amazing, so I assume that other women can also pick a scented oil to wear in lieu of deodorant and still be socially presentable. If patchouli doesn’t work for someone’s body chemistry, there are other scents.
        Wearing underarm perfume/oil costs less than deodorant in the long run, smells better, and doesn’t cause cancer, so what’s not to love?!

        What I ultimately have to say on that whole misunderstanding is: think macro! I rarely if ever say something just to say it — my words have meaning, I’m trying to relate things to other things and possibly offer help. Mocking and deriding doesn’t help anyone, and is actually a favored liberal-dudebro strategy, in case anyone hasn’t picked up on that yet.

        (Which I realize is a flippant thing to say, and thus might also fall under the umbrella of mockery. Damn it.)

  3. ball buster says:

    I find that even radical feminism lacks a lot of capitalist analysis — because many radical feminists are middle class and come from middle class backgrounds. (For reference: this may piss people off, but if you were able to afford college, you’re middle class. That’s fine. I don’t hate you for it or feel one way or another. But you are.)

    Yes, this can’t be said enough. Middle class does NOT equal poor. So many in the middle class try to say they grew up poor, but it really does erase the homelessness, hunger, humiliation, and hate of being Actually Poor.

    I think the reason why there’s no criticism of capitalism, is because people still believe that it’s a redeemable political model that everyone can benefit from. That, with only a few tweaks, the entire system of patriarchy will become woman friendly. It’s kind of like a woman who takes back her abuser and tries to make it right. It’s frustrating, but sad really, in a way.

    • radfemcrafts says:

      I think the reason why there’s no criticism of capitalism, is because people still believe that it’s a redeemable political model that everyone can benefit from.

      I was thinking tangentially about this in bed this morning. I think this really shows up when radfems default to “fun feminism” instead of “liberal feminism”. For me it’s important to say “liberal feminism” because liberal feminism is the monster that fun feminism is one part of. And by saying “fun feminism” radfems are kind of saying they’re not interested in a class/Capitalist analysis. I think we need to be clear that we think capitalism is not reformable, we must overthrow the white male capitalist patriarchy.

      • joy says:

        I think a lot of radfems can understand on a macro level that capitalism is bad, and that it causes oppression, etc etc. But when it comes to micro, they don’t really see a problem. Because hey, women need money to live, and women having money means they can avoid male oppression at home!

        Nobody seems to stop to question why anybody needs money, or why we can’t form communities where we women DON’T need money.

        Suggesting it tend to get you dismissed as “a hippie”, or someone cracks out the fact that anarchists and anticapitalists are not feminist — well, to the latter: no fucking shit, Sherlock, and I should know firsthand. That doesn’t mean radical feminist and radical anticapitalist viewpoints can’t be combined.

        It will just take work, and women are afraid of “losing” “everything.” Which, as I wrote, I can completely understand … but yet I can’t.

  4. ball buster says:

    I’ve never tried scented oils… I think I’ll find some and give it a go. 🙂

    Yeah, doodbros love to watch women hate each other. Every time I see women degrading other women, I wince because I *know* for a fact, that men are watching and they are getting a kick out of it. We are only doing men a favor by degrading another woman.

  5. jj says:

    I envy your really living free. I’m new to reading all this radfem stuffs so forgive me if step on toes with my comments- as I’m not college educated as well. Your blog and posts really make me think.
    I was raised in a similar fashion- dad left at 2, no child support. I grew up on welfare and in the projects being the only little white girl there. It was hard.
    I was sexually abused and assaulted by numerous men including a uncle who also abused my mom when she was growing up. (She btw grew up without indoor plumbing, when it was widely available to most.)
    I too use oils for my underarms. And I hold a insanly corporate america job.
    Let’s just say I work for one of the world’s largest soda companies. 🙂

    I feel like a hypocrite most days. But at the same time I go to work everyday showing my full Butch dyke lesbian self. I take full advantage of the same sex benefits my company offers. I would love to give it all up and go live off the grid amongst the trees, I’m a hippie at heart. But the dream seems pretty unattainable at the moment.

    • joy says:

      Hey again, jj! Don’t worry about stepping on toes, everyone starts somewhere. Also, college education (I’m starting to find) don’t mean squat: I’m largely self-educated, never went to college either, and though some women seem to decide I’m either unintelligent or lazy when they find out … you can probably tell where I very politely feel they should put all that.

      (For the record: education =/= intelligence. Anyone who’s been around most college professors or your typical mathematical genius can vouch for that.)

      Most radical feminist ideas are available to the wide world and are best learned outside of the classroom, anyway. Not that radical feminism is actually even taught in any classroom, anywhere.

      As for the rest: I don’t judge. I’m not a perfect radical feminist, much less a perfect radical feminist separatist. As I wrote elsewhere, some of my friends right now, people I’ve been trusting my life with (both situationally and generally), are dudes. If they end up deciding to rape me and dump me in a coulee, I suppose that will be my own fault, but I’m not living or sleeping with any of them; I figure strangers could rape me and dump me in a coulee too.

      One of the reasons I have dude friends, and this relates back to the whole “freedom” thing, is because (for reasons I’ll talk about later) there are just not a lot of women out here on the road doing what I’m doing. Almost none with the same ethics and priorities as mine. This group of dudes is the closest I’ve come out here. They’ve seen me fight and admire it, but they’re very aware of my vulnerability as a woman living on the road; while part of their concern is probably rooted in sexist thinking (“she’s a little woman, she needs help”) … they’re all scrappy, one of them must weigh 300 pounds, and not a single one of them would be willing to do what I’m doing either.

      So when they say, “Oh, you’re out here alone, nearly broke, and at the mercy of the world — we’re going to look after you and make sure you’re okay” … part of me internally bristles at the reminder that my femaleness makes me vulnerable, and part of me is glad that I’m not completely on my own.

      That’s a cost of my kind of freedom. Having to cast my lot with a cast of characters I wouldn’t otherwise. But there are so many risks regardless. I’ve almost been kidnapped out of and/or raped in truck stop/bus station bathrooms, I don’t have a van or a firearm right now so I can’t camp alone, all the regular FAB risks multiplied by the fact that I’m completely on my own without a particular home base and more or less literally at the mercy of the universe.
      If someone were to snatch me off a roadside, my daddy wouldn’t be calling news stations and rabblerousing; the best my mother could do is call and ask the dudefriends (another benefit of the potential enemy I know vs the ones I don’t: I can give their names and contact information to my mother) and take their word for what might have happened. If she and my friends were to contact any law enforcement, they’d be roundly ignored or derided, on the basis that I’m “a transient” with an arrest record (and cops always assume any given woman is a prostitute, so they’d probably tell my concerned loved ones that I’m an extra low priority because it would be assumed I was hooking [I’m not]).

      So I’ve thrown off the shackles of the male working world (which, to be honest, probably only happened because I am literally unemployable due to PTSD), but I’m still not free from the threat of rape, violence, disappearance, death. Having a bunch of friends who’d be more than willing to help, and defend, me is great … but there’s also the risk that any one of THEM could rape or even kill me.
      Not to mention, if I ever get stuck somewhere with no money, I’m SOL until the first of any given month. As long as I can keep my benefits, too — if I ever lose them, I might as well cash it right in. Having my own van will cut down on a lot of risks and allow me to be more self-sufficient, but has anyone else ever seen ‘Wendy and Lucy’? I’ve seen something very similar happen in real life (woman, or woman and companions, trapped in a nowhere town with a broken vehicle, no money, and no way out), many more times than one.

      Plus I get a lot of profiling leveled my way: I’ve chosen to outfit myself in thrift-store clothes that mostly allow me to fit in with the hipster crowd, so people often assume I’m just “eccentric, pushing the style envelope” as opposed to “I’m broke, so I picked this wild outfit from what I had available.” But I still get followed around grocery stores sometimes and eyeballed like a hawk in places like Greyhound stations; once I was detained in a Greyhound station basically under suspicion of being a nonconformist. When pressured, they said they thought I was a drug smuggler, but they were obviously stretching.
      I often get mistaken for “mentally ill,” and thus dodgy, shifty, unstable, dangerous. Thanks, patriarchy, for your wonderful stereotypes!

      Not to make it sound like it’s all horrible: I’d much, much rather live like this than the other options. But it’s not romantic and it’s not for everybody. If you like your job, and it can keep you out of dire situations, I’m not going to judge you in the least.

      • joy says:

        Also, I think a lot of women from our situations (growing up poor, molested, etc) choose jobs because it gives us a measure of stability we didn’t have growing up. I can never begrudge a woman that, even if I was in the habit of begrudging women.

        All we can do, in the meanwhile, is work — to build other options for ourselves and other women.

        I’m working to build an all-female, all-radical contingent of dropouts, but not everybody’s ready right now — in fact, basically none of us are. But someday, it will exist. It’s my fondest dream that one day, dropping out will be an option for more women, and I want to do my part to make it so.

        In between now and then, dropping out doesn’t take a huge investment of time (although I suppose it could, if you’d like to ease yourself into it) or money, just of effort and faith in yourself and what you’re doing. That can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be an all-out, all-to-nothing gambit. One of my friends (N, who I’ve written about before) burned her state ID card and other identifying documents — but while I had to raise my eyebrows at and appreciate the sheer boldness of that act, I wouldn’t recommend that. (For anyone, even her.)

        Ballbuster has a great series of how to get started, and I’m thinking about doing a post of tips as well. One of the first places I started was with hygiene products (ie, soaps). I only shampoo about once a month, and when I do, I use “Black Soap” (so called because it is black in color, not, as is often assumed on the internet, because it’s “for black people”) — which I also use for my body, laundry, and assorted sundry household cleaning.
        Some people prefer Doc Bronners or Dr Woods (my personal favorite) castille soaps; I think the ideal combo for laundry is half Black Soap, half Dr Woods Peppermint.

        There we go — immediately cutting down on multiple extraneous purchases, making one’s body and environment (both immediate personal environment and wider environment) cleaner, and clearing a hell of a lot of space too! Bottles of these soaps may cost a little more than other agents, but they last longer, and if you stop buying other agents the money adds up quickly.

        I also made and use my own washable, reusable menstrual pads out of cloth. I read recently about people using washable, reusable rags as toilet paper (for pee situations, anyway), and while I’m intrigued, I haven’t tried that yet.

        There are all kinds of ways to start small, and end up saving a lot — of time, of mental effort (being free from that advertising is such a blessing), of energy, and of money, that you can then immediately devote to The Revolution.

        Because revolution is ultimately the only solution to any of this.

        And now I feel like I should be tying a bandanna around my head, assuming a very serious expression, and making a ‘peace sign’ with my first and second fingers.

  6. radicalesbian says:

    I have at least one friend who’s been having a hell of a time getting on it even though she really needs to be and should be

    Is this referring to me or some other Crazy? 😉

    What I saw in that Scumorama thread was women defending the concessions they must make to keep their professional jobs. That world is entirely foreign to me, since I’ve never had a job which I couldn’t show up to unshaven, undeodorized, unadorned, and dressed in comfortable, non-feminine attire. It’s not a matter of “growing up and getting a real job”, but of class differences.

    • joy says:

      Presactly, it’s the economic-class difference.

      And yep, that’s you! I don’t know anybody else -quite- like you (take that as a compliment). I just didn’t want to name names, for internecine politeness sakes. 😉

      Now I’m briefly going to riff on sex-class differences: Female crazies never have it quite as good as male crazies. Even the male crazies I know (the one specifically, the elective mute) are given a lot more free reign to be loony, including in public, than women are.
      For example, the mute has taken to talking quietly to himself in a made-up language, holding his head in his hands, and rocking, sometimes all at the same time — and while I’m sure he’d be in more trouble if he took it any further (smelled like pee, carried a sleeping bag on him at all times, etc), and that we’d be roundly thrown in the clink if we were to both appear in a polite setting in one another’s company at the same time, people mostly ignore the egregiously crazy behavior from him. “Oh, that’s just [his name], isn’t he a little weirdo, LOL.”

      Also, if he were to appear in front of a judge for a disability hearing, he’d probably get that paper stamped right quick. If only to get him the fuck out of view and into that hermit cabin in the woods somewhere he won’t bother anyone or bring property values down by parking his shitty RV on people’s lawns and wandering around muttering to himself.

      Meanwhile, you and I, who are far less outwardly loony than that, get a whole lotta shit: followed by cops, detained, searched, etc., just for walking around looking a little weird and less like sexbots. We have a hell of a time getting and keeping our benefits. Because women must be kept in line at all times, at all costs, and also they want us to die a lot sooner. Preferably, like, right now.

      Thanks again, patriarchy!

  7. radfemcrafts says:

    Nobody seems to stop to question why anybody needs money, or why we can’t form communities where we women DON’T need money.

    Yeah, to me this is the logical evolution of understanding how to be Nigelless; to form less Capitalist dependent community. If we don’t take Nigellessness to its logical end we’ll be stuck in a recursive trade-off between Nigel dependency and Capitalist dependency, with the women who “choose” capitalist dependency always winning. We already have a name for this, it’s called liberal feminism. It doesn’t work and it just makes enemies out of housewives instead of enemies out of the enemies (Capitalist Patriarchy).

    Suggesting it tend to get you dismissed as “a hippie”, or someone cracks out the fact that anarchists and anticapitalists are not feminist — well, to the latter: no fucking shit, Sherlock, and I should know firsthand. That doesn’t mean radical feminist and radical anticapitalist viewpoints can’t be combined.

    More importantly, they have to be combined! Radical feminism that can incorporate Capitalism into its worldview is a doomed movement. If there are radical feminists who believe they can be capitalist radical feminists maybe they need to look up “counter-revolution” because you have one coming in your futures.

    It will just take work, and women are afraid of “losing” “everything.” Which, as I wrote, I can completely understand … but yet I can’t.

    Yeah. I think we need to take a historic look. Bottom up revolutions organically start from the hungriest and most desperate. Middle-class women can acknowledge that without clinging to their own comfort. We need to acknowledge that if we have comfort and three hot meals a day the revolution probably won’t start with us but that as soon as we become aware of it we join. There seems to be obfuscation on that point. We already know the revolution won’t start with the comfortable people it never does, you don’t have to remind. But radicals need to know that their radical peers are committed to radical action. By vocally clinging to their comforts and “everything” we don’t hear that.

  8. FAB Libber says:

    For the record, letting us go first and act as cannon fodder

    Joy, I don’t think anyone suggested this (I had a quick skim through the thread). My suggestion was to at least start with the (peaceful) street marches, show the numbers of women pissed off with what is going on, because polite letter-writing just is not cutting it. The marches or activism would probably have to escalate, because peaceful marches alone still would not be enough.

    There are still some women who cannot risk all (by getting arrested), primarily those working in the support organisations like refuges and rape crisis places. In the UK we have a thing called a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, and all those who work with vulnerable people have to have them. I frequently volunteer in the sector, so being gung-ho just for the sake of it, is not something I would take lightly. However, it depends on how bad the situation gets. But, I am not totally goodie-two-shoes, because I tend to push the envelope a bit, with some cheeky unauthorised street protests (you are supposed to get police permission for all London protests). We might have to start those up again I think.

    Having said that some women cannot risk their work for activism, there are others who don’t mind, or it is not as critical to them. It is a case of those who are willing, go for it, those who aren’t, don’t. It’s not a case of cannon fodder.

    As for uni, I actually worked and put myself through uni at the same time, as a mature-age student at age 25, I also had to defer and split years to allow for more work (expensive course). I worked hard all the time I was doing it, lived very humbly, none of it was handed to me or anything. Not a dime from the parents.

    • joy says:

      Working for rape crisis and providing other women’s services is already a revolutionary act.

      Women say, “Well, I can’t have a revolution right now because I have my job.” If that’s the case, we will never have a revolution. I understand why women have jobs, and that many of these jobs are important (public health sector, certain areas of research, counseling, social activism, etc) — but whenever I hear that, I hear “Well, but I love my Nigel.”

      Also, I don’t care if you’re middle class. I hold no grudge. (Actually, I hold no grudge about any of this — I just needed to write about it, because it wasn’t being written about.) But if you could afford college AT ALL, you are middle class. A lot of people, myself included, could not afford to go AT ALL.

      Perhaps it’s a difference in times. But all throughout time, even and especially today (when more and more even middle-class people in America are on food stamps) — even with student loans (which are a huge fucking scam and leave women in debt for life) or scholarships, many women cannot afford to go at all. Even working to put themselves through. I’m one of those women.

      • FAB Libber says:

        But if you could afford college AT ALL, you are middle class. A lot of people, myself included, could not afford to go AT ALL.

        I am not from the US, so it was in a different system. I went to uni, surviving mainly on the government student allowance (with additional work, which varied). It was also at the time the Australian Govt brought in HECS (when I was part way through, which is changing the rules for those already doing courses). But anyway, yes then there were more non-middleclass students, and HECS was certainly a way to discourage more from doing higher education. I still have the HECS debt sitting over my head … when I return to Oz, but I hope to avoid it by being under the tax threshold (which is how it is collected, on a sliding scale of increased taxes).

        The selection process for the course was on talent and aptitude, and as a muture age student (who did not do the final year of high school), it was a way to get around that.

        I am not sure how you can construe all of that into automatically being middle-class benefit, because none of it was. I survived on less-than-nothing throughout the period (as I do now actually).

        Frankly, you are being ameri-centric, viewing the whole thing through the american system, and making judgements accordingly.

      • joy says:

        FABLibber, I’m not ignoring you, just on the road, busy, and thinking about my response.

        You say “americentric”, and while I do understand that higher education is available for lower cost if not free in Europe and elsewhere, I still hold that college is for the middle class. WHICH IS FINE, by the way!

        But regardless of where one lives: even the idea that, yes, I can go to college, much less the ability to do so (instead of having to take care of one’s children [probably after the children’s father has abandoned you, and/or is loafing around on his ass expecting someone else to do his housework and/or pay his rent] or family or just get a shitty full-time job in order to survive), is a very solidly middle-class, yes, even privileged concept.

        Again, that’s fine. I don’t want guilt or defensiveness, just (for attribution’s sake, echoing radicalesbian) acknowlegement that there is a hierarchy within the hierarchy. “And if that point [continues to go] over everyone else’s head, I’m gonna be super depressed.”

        I’m sorry if you or anyone has taken anything I’ve said to be a personal attack on yourself or your life choices. Please, keep making life better for women in this shitty world we live in. In this current system, we need all the bandage solutions we can get.

    • joy says:

      And when women (who are not already doing revolutionary things, like staffing rape crisis, which is still just a band-aid resource that should be a given — fuck, never being raped at all should be the given) say, “You go first, I’m holding down this 9-to-5,” they ARE making other women into cannon fodder. I’m sorry, they are.

  9. veganprimate says:

    “Nobody seems to stop to question why anybody needs money, or why we can’t form communities where we women DON’T need money.”

    I was thinking along similar lines this morning. I realized that our system is just one big circle jerk. I perform a service for which I am paid so that I can pay someone for their service, after which they’ll take the money I paid them to buy goods and services, etc. One big circle jerk. Well, why can’t we have this same exchange of services WITHOUT the money?

    And I think people should only do what they like and enjoy. With working for money, people are doing things they don’t like and may even hate under conditions that aren’t nice.

    We may not have access to every good and service if people weren’t being economically coerced, but we’d have a lot. There are people who love working on cars, for example. They’d do it for free. Maybe not for strangers, but certainly for kin. I think we need to get back to having tribes. People can only truly concern themselves with about 150 people.

    Using myself as an example, I would be willing to knit warm things for people in urgent situations, or for people who were infirm or disabled. But I’d prefer to teach others to knit and crochet so that they in turn can clothe themselves and their loved ones. I think there should be a lot more do-it-yourself happening and less dependence on other people to do things for us.

    • joy says:

      As a dyed-in-the-wool DIYer, I wholeheartedly concur.

      With enough practice and know-how (often via self-education or being taught by others, including other “average Jos”), it’s possible to do pretty much anything for oneself. I’ve seemingly met someone who does some degree or another.
      In addition to the soapmakers, wool felters, bee keepers, carpenters, etc., I’ve met people with some pretty elaborate skills — DIY electricians, DIY transportationists (someone who built a cart for their bicycle and pulled people in it, in addition to the DIY mechanics), DIY tech support/IT for practically every appliance and gadget, even DIY doctors (other than for massive trauma or surgeries that require general anesthesia).

      Bring it on.

    • ball buster says:

      YES! Less dependency on the system, more creating our own shit to survive.

      It can be done. Especially in the age of Google where there are instructions for pretty much anything and everything.

      I got online today and found an entire manual on how to work on motorcycles. How awesome is that? Sure it was full of Jesus stuff but I can skip over that and make use of the rest.

  10. “I was detained in a Greyhound station basically under suspicion of being a nonconformist. ”

    Joy, your reasons for being arrested always make me L.O.L. 🙂

  11. I meant, the way you translate the shitty reason for your arrest into rad-fem language. Not that you being arrested makes LOL. it doesn’t

  12. I’m still LOLing. Everytime I read this sentence:
    “I was detained in a Greyhound station basically under suspicion of being a nonconformist. ”
    the LUDICROUSNESS of it all hits me square in the face.

    • joy says:

      They always think I’m smuggling drugs and/or plotting revolution. Which is unfair — sometimes I’m not! haha. Sometimes I’m tired and just thinking about getting on the next bus.

      They often think I am “mentally ill” and/or on drugs. (It’s the hairy legs that give me away, I think.) Which, in their minds, “crazy” and/or on drugs automatically makes me a danger to the public.

      Contrast this with some truly “crazy” male behaviors I’ve seen (the guys on the Greyhound who really ARE on drugs and start screaming incoherently halfway between Birmingham and Mobile in the middle of the night; my friend who rocks back and forth and mutters to himself in a made-up language) that have gone unremarked, and it’s pretty clear that cop tactics regarding conformity are just more ways of trying to keep women in line.
      Hell, the cops would have been perfectly happy watching my abusive “crazy” ex batter me to death in public, and they demonstrated this willingness more than once — as long as he never turned on one of them, on a woman who wasn’t “his”, or on some other dude. Which is ultimately how he finally got arrested: not for hunting me down and threatening my life and my friends’ lives, not for breaking my skull with his fist, but for punching some white dude who muttered an insult at him in passing.

      I am not a danger to the public. Which is probably why they turn on me: because it’s SAFE to pick on an unattended little white-looking girl. Especially if it looks like maybe she likes women or at least doesn’t like men/doesn’t care what they think of her: there is nobody with an ownership deed who will come looking for their property if something happens to her.

  13. Laur says:

    Hi Joy,

    I think we’re gonna meet soon at the radfem seminar in june, so I wanted to say hi and admit I come from one of those middle-class backgrounds you talk about.

    It was actually recommended that I go on SSDI, but after my very severe depression lifted thanks to better eating habits, I was able to go to college. Of course, that wouldn’t have happened without the help of my parents, and their middle class income. I am very, very aware of this, and actually feel an intense amount of guilt, because I know most of the world’s population does not “get” to go to a school like I do.

    And I actually LIKE being in school, being occupied with something. When I was a “dropout” I basically did nothing all day and went psychotic. Not much of a revolutionary, there, huh? 😛

    Despite these differences in class backgrounds, there was a lot in your post I can relate to. I don’t have a driver’s license, and I end up walking long distances, which means men repeatedly try to pick me up (under the pretense of “giving me a ride”, but I assume for sex–women NEVER offer to give me a ride, btw). I’ve also been mistaken, not for noncomformity, but being homeless—even know, while I go to my private liberal arts college. I was at a doctor’s appt. (another middle class thing, I know), and I ended up sitting in the ground of an apt. building to eat something. Someone saw me, and I assume they were the ones who called security.

    Anyhow, I am in total agreement that the ONLY economy that will work is a gift economy. But, I don’t know how to get from where we are now to “there.”

    I also agree if one always puts her job first, the rev. will never happen. It happens when womyn get desperate…which is why I don’t see revolutionary possibility at my private, predominately white, liberal arts college.

    • joy says:

      Hi, Laurel!

      The thing is, I don’t care if people go to college or not. I don’t care if people drive BMWs or buy fancy things. (I do, but I don’t.) It doesn’t matter to me, and I’m not trying to be Ms Privilege Police and make you check your bags at the door while crawling across gravel on your knees or something.

      It’s just very difficult for women born “rich” to understand the lives of women who weren’t. It’s like growing up white in western society: nonwhite people understand white reality, from the perspective of an outsider looking in, because that’s the dominant perspective we’re shown constantly and encouraged to live our lives emulating, the lens we’re supposed to look through … but white people don’t understand nonwhite reality except that which they’re spoon-fed. (ie, Native Americans love the earth and are super spiritual and shit.)

      So, no, I’m not ignorant and I don’t breathe through my mouth (except when my nose is clogged, and I hate it), nor do I have a meth habit or sniff glue. I spent two hours talking on the phone with an Ivy League Ph.D today, and we got along fine. People who’ve gone to college are forever asking where I went to college. Whether it’s just that most people assume that all other people have their same experiences, until I crack out the “self educated” thing, most people have no idea I’m not wielding a degree.
      I’ve got a habit of redefining words to make more sense (for example, when I talk about “positivism” I don’t mean the sciencey science concept, I mean the relentless pushing of a “stay positive” agenda), and I love me some regionalisms, but I’m not a damn dumb fool (a regionalism).

      I’d really like to see more women (and men, but I rarely care about what they think, say, or do) understand class. Not just “Oh, I went to a class about class one time, there is stratification and capitalism is probably bad, I think I get it.” But to truly understand it. And I don’t want to be thrown under the bus. I don’t even necessarily think anyone was specifically throwing me under any buses. I just won’t stand for it in general, and it’s why I can’t say for sure that I’d be a part of a revolutionary movement.
      Until I can determine that I’m not just going to go first, guns ablazing, and all the other women in cushy jobs or lacks thereof (I’m thinking of one blogger that people call classist — what does she even do? review restaurants … ?) are going to say in my wake, “Well, thanks for this lovely revolution, have I told you how much I love my Nigel today?” — then no. Fucking no. Thanks, but no thanks.

      • Laur says:

        Hey Joy,

        Well, I for one wouldn’t assume you smell or can’t talk because you haven’t been to college(??!!!). My closest friends aren’t college-educated, and neither are some of the people I admire most, people I know in person who are super, super smart.

        Even though I’m in college now, I recall how annoying, it was to get that “so where’d you go to college?” question for years. I didn’t even WANT to go to college in the first place, but that was never considered an option; I tried and tried to tell people I didn’t want to go, but they wouldn’t listen, so I basically ended up flunking out my first semester and returning to spend years out of school.

        It’s funny how many of the people who claim to be the most “radical” told me I HAD to go to college!

        I agree schooling is about conformity. I’m a sociology major though, and there is sociology of education, which is about the ways school is meant as social control. And I’m in one class right now where the prof. doesn’t care what time we come in, and he doesn’t give grades during the semester….but as with all classes, there are still *some* rules, including, of course, the unwritten, unspoken ones.

        And college is ultimately a money-making place.

        I don’t come from the same background as you, Joy, but I think it’s important, when relating to others, to find small ways we can relate in our own lives; that’s one of the things that makes me good at listening to people, I think.

        You are so right when you say understanding class is not just about taking a class about class. I once had a social worker, who I was brought to for a mental illness I will not get into, say, “oh how exciting! I did my dissertation on X mental illness!”

        Well, gee, what am I, an experiment?! Of course, she was a terrible social worker to boot, with no understanding of what I was going through.

        So just reading books and writing papers is totally different than having the *lived experience* of [fill in the blank] type of oppression.

        okay, that’s enough for now.

      • Laur says:

        oops, I lied, back for one more comment!

        I think also, to paraphrase Andrea Dworkin, because my leash is a little longer than some women’s, I have the responsbility to give back all I know, all I have, to fight for women’s liberation.

      • joy says:

        Comment at will, please! That’s what this blog is for.

        Yes, absolutely, being someone’s experiment is a shitty feeling. It would be like being a Black woman and having a white woman say, “Wow, yeah, I took an African Studies class one time!” Uh, okay, thanks for the effort and for not thinking I’m inhuman? Maybe? Thanks for playing, try again?

        When I was a teenager, I had a rudimentary idea of white privilege and was also a baby antiracist, so I often tried to engage Black classmates in discussions that in retrospect I’m sure they thought were fucking stupid. Because they were just trying to go about their day, ffs, and here’s this dumb white girl asking them what their thoughts were on the stratification of race in America. Well, obviously, it fucking sucks and is terrible, so shut up about it and let’s talk about things as if we’re just two human beings! That’s what I think about every time a situation comes up like the one you described with the shitty social worker.

        And college is a lot like marriage and kids in the way you described: if you say you don’t wanna do it, people think you’re weird and insist that you’ll change your mind. Ah, the capitalist dream.

        Again, though, I definitely don’t mind if people go to college. Of course not! I know a lot of people who have done it and who are doing it and are wonderful people. It just takes a special kind of mind to go through it and come out with the ability to think truly radical thoughts. Maybe I even respect people more if they can do that?

        It’s like splitting your mind: the part that can do the work and keep your head above water in an environment that is completely antiradical and aggressively conformist, and the part of your mind that’s analyzing situations and plotting revolution.

    • joy says:

      Also, college is not really about learning. Like the K-12, primary/secondary schooling, it’s about teaching people to conform to standards in thought, expression, and behavior. Most of the work is busywork.

      Which is not a judgment: if people enjoy that, power to them. Most things are busywork, really, and busywork is soothing to people: that’s why Sudoku is so popular. (Personally, I’m partial to Mah Jong myself, but that’s just my taste.)

      I love learning, and that’s why I’m a radical feminist and adventurer. I learn something new every day. I do not do well in oppressive, highly structured environment (people claim college is the opposite, but those people have obviously never looked at college from the outside), though, and I think many people don’t. We’re just not told that college IS optional, just like many people are never told that marriage, three kids, etc. is largely optional.

      Just like marriage, kids, money, The American Dream (the Capitalist Dream elsewhere, I suppose): if you opt out of it, people give you shit, but oh well. For me, I’d rather take some shit than put myself through so much more shit.

  14. “there is nobody with an ownership deed who will come looking for their property if something happens to her.”

    The sad truth this that this is all “love” means to men. “Love” for their daughter means nothing more than asserting property rights. It’s only the thought of property violation that would ever make them avenge a daughter’s rape, for example (except often brothers, fathers and husbands kill the raped woman, rather than the rapist, to save their honour)

    In the movies, men get to define themselves as “honorable” heroes, but they don’t even know what the word means.

    THat Spanish woman who recently burned her daughter’s rapist to death, (the daughter was 13), is now being forced to see psychologists for her “mental condition”. The truth is, that woman had real honour and avenged her daughter’s rape, even though she knew the repercussions meted out onto her by the patriarchy would be enormous. No-one ever thanks a woman for being a hero.

    They redefine real honour as “Mental illness” when it comes to women. They redefine cowardice as “honour” when it comes to men.

    • joy says:

      I read a woman’s comment recently (I forget whose it was, and I’m sorry! maybe it was even yours) that said they were willing to kill to avenge their own daughter: some day they might even be willing to kill to avenge someone else’s daughter.

      I think avenging someone else’s daughter is one of the bravest things someone can do. Most women won’t even do it (for good reason: we’d be punished and but harshly!), and it’s a completely foreign concept to men who don’t even think any harm against women is a big deal unless it happens to their own daughter. (Even then, many don’t care. And many who would care, wouldn’t care if it was their wife, or their sister, or their mother, because if they cared they would have cared already.)

    • FAB Libber says:

      Actually, to be clear on the spanish woman, she did not do it purely for avenging her daughter’s rape (if at all). It was that the smarmy perv go out of the jail on a few days’ free pass, went back to his (and their) local area, and happened to make a veiled threat against the daughter (something like “how’s your daughter doing”). You can imagine the leer that went with that.

      So what she did was for her daughter’s protection, to protect her from being raped again by this scum. Given that he was let out like that, and allowed back into the area where his victim lived, she had every reason to KNOW (not just believe, but know) that the justice system would not protect her daughter from this monster.

      So, she took the one action that would protect her daughter from him forever.

      Her action, was not only sane, logical, and rational, it was an act of bravery, loyalty, and honour.

      • joy says:

        Even “just” killing someone who’s raped your child is an act of honor. Killing someone you know will do it again, is additionally a public service as well as an act of defense.

        I hope this woman won’t be punished, but I know she will. We should find a way of communicating our support.

        My mother, who is a Society of Friends/Quaker-style pacifist, told me yesterday that she would DEFINITELY kill someone in self defense, or to defend me. No questions asked. Women know. Hopefully more and more of them will start to wake up to the overwhelming smell of bullshit that saturates this patriarchy.

  15. Yes it was me.

    I do think women have to be *whole* before they can snap. The saner you are, the less you’ve been brainwashed, the more likely you are to avenge a daughter’s rape, or kill a paedophile.
    The patriarchy would have us believe the opposite (that the women who avenge rape are the mad ones and not the ones with their hair in pin-curlers kow-towing to men). We women are going to have to put some serious effort into defining the truth.

    At some point, when you’ve just read that yet another paedophile has been given a minimum sentence by a paedophilic judge, then it’s the choice between going insane or killing one of them.

    The more I think about it , the more I think that the justice system is men’s way of protecting rapists, paedophiles and murderers. AND punishing women for the slightest discrepancies.
    Rehabilitation? What right do they have to be rehabilitated? It’s not ALL ABOUT THEM. It’s about protecting society.

    “because if they cared they would have cared already.)”

    Exactly, why does violence and rape only matter if it’s *their* daughter? It’s the clearest sign that they see it as a property violation. And it’s pure narcissism.

    • joy says:

      As a “crazy person”, I definitely think the standards of “sane” and “insane” are basically just yardsticks judging how well one conforms.

      Danger to self, others, and/or the public don’t really factor in, or most “normal” people would be judged insane and many “crazy” people would be left to go about their business.

      I’m proud to be labeled “crazy”, if the opposite is conforming to a system that kills us from the outside in, then teaches us to kill ourselves from the inside out. THAT is “insane” behavior, not defending oneself or defending a loved one. Or even defending a stranger, ffs.
      I hope someday I can “snap” and just go for it.

  16. Sargasso Sea says:

    Holy crap, Joy, I can’t believe that I’ve somehow missed this whole thread! Totally appreciating every word.

    You warm the cockles of my heart. Really.

  17. Laur says:

    “It just takes a special kind of mind to go through it and come out with the ability to think truly radical thoughts. ”

    Yup, I have heard womon say that college has changed the way they think. I had a soc. professor (male) say after we got our college degrees we would never want to marry someone who didn’t have one. Of course, that precludes those of us who never plan to get married…

    I sure as hell hope I never end up precluding dating someone because of some initials after their name!

    I believe Andrea Dworkin said she wished she had never gone to college, because it changes the way you think.

    And it really does leave you in debt servitude.

    Could say more, but school has exhausted me. 🙂

    • joy says:

      Way to fail classism, prof.

      My father, who I still talk to occasionally (and kind of wonder why), has always wondered why I’d ever want to date someone who doesn’t have a college degree. Because of *intelligence disparity*! Since, clearly, having the time, money, and opportunity to spend four or more years in a brainwashing institution is directly correlated to intelligence.

      Again: I’ve met a few truly brilliant people who’ve been to college (and emerged radical), but I’ve known as many or more who are brilliant in any number of ways and don’t have that piece of paper saying they now belong to the recognized intellectual conformity class.

      • Laur says:

        I just wanted to vent about the thesis I am writing. It keeps having to be revised and revised, to meet “academic standards.” Yet, I would prefer it to be readable to the average woman, to make sense, and frankly, not to follow rules about using only or mainly “scholarly sources.” It’s really pissing me off.

        Just a vent, since we are on the subject of school and conformity!

      • joy says:

        By “the average woman”, do you mean “people who are stupid”?

        I’m not being pissy: I’ve just noticed that people in academia have a tendency to think that everyone else breathes through their mouths and move their lips when they read.
        (I probably judge similarly, though, when I encounter people who aren’t feminists [or radical feminists] or radicals. It’s something we all have to work on.)

        Personally, when I read academic language, it doesn’t confuse me (I think it doesn’t confuse a lot of people, at least self-educated people; however, maybe I only hang out with intelligent people): I simply think, “Will you fucking get off the high horse and stop using such pretentious language, you overblown fuck.”

        Academic language is another way to create false differences between Us and Them. And also so the academic dudes can put their hands down their pants and wank away to how SMart they are.

      • joy says:

        Speaking of which, have you ever noticed how dudes’ (and thus society’s) idea of what makes a Smart Person (or a Good Person, or a Successful Person; I’m writing a whole post on this, but it might take a few days) is so ass-backwards?

        “Smart” to a dude (and thus society) means “being able to use unnecessarily pedantic and overlong words to express oblique, circular, nonsensical ideas that mean nothing” often hand in hand with “possessing a piece of paper stating you were able to devote x amount of time and money to impressing other people who use unnecessarily pedantic language to express meaningless ideas into awarding you this piece of paper”.

        It has nothing to do with common sense or ability to survive. Much less survive in what I (as an elitist) deem The Real World, as differentiated from The Man’s world.

        This all is from a person who can think abstractly, understand and use big words to express complicated thoughts, and also survive in The Real World. So keep that in mind.

      • FAB Libber aka Dave says:

        impressing other people who use unnecessarily pedantic language to express meaningless ideas into awarding you this piece of paper”.

        It has nothing to do with common sense or ability to survive.
        I agree, it has nothing to do with common sense, and it is usually to hide the fact that no original or brilliant ideas reside within the paper. The style that is often used is so convoluted too. I hate that.

      • Laur says:

        okay I did take a bit of offense at your post. I don’t think of myself as “someone in academia,” but rather “someone barely making it through college after many stops and starts.”

        I did give thought to what you asked by my statement “average women. The truth is, the majority of the illiterate, as you well, know, are women. The majority of women worldwide, do not speak English. And yes, before I entered college, I too, could read books that were much more advanced than what my mother read–and she has a masters!

        OTOH, I’ve also heard that there are women who really struggle to read the writings of women such as Sheila Jeffreys and Catharine MacKinnon–and frankly, I’ve struggle to read their writings, too, nearly giving up at times. I don’t think this is because I’m stupid, but just because they’re very, very academic. When words such as “essentialism” get thrown around, well, that’s not a word that applies to the average woman’s everyday life. Why not just say “racist” instead? I mean, there are women at my school who are nearly done with college who have no idea what essentialism means; I learned what it meant after doing google searches several years ago. I don’t know that reading should involve that.

        Also, I think works shouldn’t have to be reliant on ONLY scholarly sources. These are only available to folks in the academy. And as far as women’s studies goes, they tend to be very pomo, which IMHO, means not-related to the realities of women’s lives. Does that make sense?

        There is one thing I would like to add to this discussion on college, and I am hesitant to say it, because I am not generally an argumentative person. That is, I have known a couple women from working class families who did make the choice to go to college. (Well, they did not feel it was a choice, they both felt tremendous to go). One of them came from a family that had to ration vegetable use due to expense and shopped for underwear and other supplies at the dollar store. She paid for all of her college application fees, and took out all of her college loans, by herself.

        I am most certainly not trying to say that going to college is the superior choice; if anything, the opposite, especially with the impending crash of civilization. I just know for me it gives me some structure in my day right now.

      • FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel says:

        Laur, the comments (well mine at least) were not directed at you – after all, you have to play by the college rules.

        Sheila Jeffreys is easy to read, Catherine MacKinnon not so much!

        Anyway, once you get out of the college environment, write in the way that makes sense, and is easily understood by most people. 😛

  18. Pingback: So much for that « Cherryblossomlife

  19. Sargasso Sea says:

    “Will you fucking get off the high horse and stop using such pretentious language, you overblown fuck.”

    Hah! We are all capable of advanced comprehension skills by virtue of the fact that we are radical. This stuff isn’t necessarily *picked up* by accident after all; it takes alot of research and thought to be at this speed and THAT we are not finding on any campus that I’m aware of.

    Radical is Real ™

  20. Laur says:

    Fab Libber (oops, am I calling you the wrong name??? 😉 ,

    I never thought your comments were directed at me; I was replying to Joy.

    I have had no trouble reading Beauty and Misogny or some of Jeffreys books critiquing queer and lesbian politics, but I’ve never made it through the The Spinster and Her Enemies and I’ve tried multiple times. Just difficult reading. I’ve heard other women say the same thing as well.

    Of course, Jeffreys is free to write how she pleases, which may attract or detract different audiences.

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