Archive | March, 2013

Through a Rapist’s Eyes

10 Mar

After seeing this post:  http://banoosh.com/2012/10/16/through-a-rapists-eyes-pls-take-time-to-read-this-it-may-save-a-life-reblog-this/.

The title warns its female audience: THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” (PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THIS. it may save a life.) Reblog this!

 A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts: 

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

I only listed three of the many interesting facts in this post because frankly I couldn’t read any further. After seeing this “warning post” to women, I Just had to respond. First let me just get the obvious out of the way; men need to stop hating, violating, raping and murdering women.  Now back to reality or more apt, sanity. Since men are not going to stop hating, violating, raping and murdering women,  we need to stop the insane belief that they will. We need to stop the insane belief that our individual and global efforts of changing our hair, our clothes etc…. will stop male violence because we’ve been there done that for approximately five thousand years.  Imagine the above list if the tables were turned, if men were on the receiving end, would they cut there hair short, change their clothes or stop using their cell phone to stop someone from attacking them? Are men asked to see their world through a rapist’s eyes?

Moreover the sad fact remains that with the majority of male violence and rape, the male perpetrators are men that women know; therefore, the list is merely a smoke screen and a scare tactic that hides the real problem, our relationships with men and our insane need to be with men, the same men who oppress, dominate, disrespect, rape, violate and murder women.  So in my opinion the issue is not whether or not women have long hair or if they talk on their cell phone but instead facing the reality that needing to be with men is insane. The truth is, women need men like they need a kick in the face (because more often then not, needing men = a kick in the face). Women need to realize that the desire or need to be with men is a symptom of male violence or as Graham states in Loving to Survive, Societal Stockholm Syndrome, a disorder that is caused by male violence and trauma.

Let’s face it, patriarchy a society that depends on male’s dominating females through violence, is one big trauma fest, not to mention, the micro patriarchies, the nuclear family and the intrinsic epidemic of domestic violence. The nuclear family was set up by men to support patriarchy and supporting patriarchy means controlling women and controlling women means violating and murdering women and what better way to do so then isolating women under the rule of the Father in patriarchy and of the individual father in the nuclear family.  This way men have covered all their bases in the effort to keep women enslaved and dependent on men; if Patriarchy doesn’t keep women in line then the men we choose to have relationships with will.

Graham’s hypotheses in Loving to Survive, is that similar to kidnappings where the hostages or captives must use their manipulative skills versus their physical skills to survive the captor (s), in male dominated social systems such as patriarchies, the same dynamics exist.  In order to survive, women (the captives) try to curtail the trauma and violence by clinging to their men (captors), catering to their every whim in the hope that they can through tireless effort, love and care, control their men keeping them from being as violent towards them.  This gives the captive/women (even if an illusion) a sense of control and with that a sense of safety. Part of this insane equation is that the captive over time must deny that the captor is dangerous; otherwise, the emotional, mental and physical trauma would be too much and the chance of survival lessened.

The captor will mix violence with small acts of kindness showing the captive that if she behaves a certain way, appeases him (physically or otherwise) that he will be less harmful to her, less dangerous. The captive then finds out quickly that she needs to put herself in his shoes see herself and her behaviors through his eyes in order to behave the way he wants her to, to minimize his violence towards her. She literally needs to become him, to keep ahead of his violence. In some cases she may even push him to harm her in smaller degrees, so that when he decides to beat her, the aggression isn’t as “built up” and the beating less devastating.  The captive also feels a sense of control over her situation by forcing a beating on her terms whether then feeling like a victim on his terms.

This dynamic for women can also cause them to enter into prostitution and pornography for the same reasons because they believe that if they control the rapes and abuse on their own terms, this makes them less of a victim. Knowing this, we then must ask ourselves, do women in prostitution and pornography really make a “free” choice to be there, or have they adapted to their abuse, putting themselves in situations where they can, on their own terms, initiate the rapes and abuse,  changing the abuse in their minds to empowerment; the empowerment resting solely on their feeling like the perpetrator not the victim, even if the perpetrator is the victim.

Women, the victims in this equation like any victims of trauma such as being held hostage, have adapted these captive victim behaviors to survive male violence. Graham also points out that feminine behavioral traits are the same as captive, subservient & victim behavioral traits.  That animals and even men display feminine behaviors when they are dominated and abused.  In patriarchy, women are the victims and their behavior is completely understandable and even heroic. Regardless, women’s biggest enemy now continues to be men but there is an added detriment–the male identified female–women seeing themselves and other women through men’s eyes.

The title to this post, through a rapist’s eyes is a good example of this phenomenon along with many other tag lines such as, violence against women, domestic violence, the war on women and so on. When women name their experience with male violence by leaving  out the male perpetrator, we are speaking from the male perspective.  There is violence against us, but we don’t want to name the agent, because the agent in a round about way–is us. If we are seeing ourselves and other women through male eyes and therefore we are HE, then we are being violated by ourselves and the violence is our fault.  The absent referent, the perpetrator here is missing because women believe (subconsciously and insanely) that they are to blame for the violence against them. They didn’t behave correctly. They failed at what they have learned to do to survive, curtail male violence. They can’t admit this even to themselves because by doing so they would have to admit that they are not safe, their denial threatened.

The other added issue is the adaptive captive behaviors, because with these adapted behaviors, there is a level of denial over the reality of our enslavement and male violence.  Men become the good guys and women the enemy.  These adapted captive behaviors also keep women frozen in a state of victim-hood because they aren’t able to admit that they are victims. This denial keeps women believing that their efforts for curtailing male violence through manipulation alone is working, when in reality a more aggressive tactic is necessary. Women can not break out of their captivity if they remain in denial about their captivity and about male violence. Women must also realize that they have taken on the male identity, seeing themselves and other women through male misogynist eyes. Further,  women need to realize that doing this has not curbed the male propensity for violating and murdering women, on the contrary,  it has confounded the problem by isolating women from other women.  In Loving to Survive, Graham wrote about another side effect of  women’s captivity: 

“Women’s self-hatred, associated with Societal Stockhom Syndrome, can cause us to dislike, mistrust and disparage other women. We have come to see ourselves as our oppressors see us—as unimportant, silly, and conniving”

Women who are socialized in patriarchy learn to distrust themselves and other women, because the dominant men have deemed women to be the enemy. When women take on their captor’s (patriarchy and their individual men) perspective, they must also see themselves through His/his eyes. Since men hate and disrespect women, the captive then must hate what the captor hates even if this entails hating themselves. Women learn to hate “femaleness” and respect “maleness.”  Women become male identified.  This is why most male violence against women is by men that women know and this is why women stay with abusive men.  Even abusive men in patriarchy are to women, life preservers amongst a sea of abusive men.  Moreover, if you think about it, heterosexuality in a male dominated patriarchal society can be seen as insane if you put it in the right perspective.  Why? Because in such oppressive conditions, choosing or needing to be with men is insane.

Women have and continue to believe they need men–a patriarchal lie–because they are in denial a survival mechanism that keeps them safe from their own terror, not to mention the constant pressure from our society telling us we must be with men or there is something seriously wrong with us.  In the back of all women’s minds their terror is asking the sane question; who’s to say that if women fight back, men won’t become even more violent towards us?  The idea of needing men to protect us from men is the ultimate oxymoron. It is a circular argument that defies logic.  Would a sane person choose to be with a person who disrespects and violates her?  Would a sane person choose to have a relationship let alone an intimate one with a person who demeans her?  Men disrespect women with their every breath, mentally, emotionally and physically and yet women still stand by men.  Does this sound logical or sane?  Knowing this, we must then look at female/feminine behavior and the need for men differently, as an adapted survival mechanism, not as a choice and then we can begin to analyze and change this.

These adapted captive feminine behaviors have become who women are so much that we actually believe that femininity is innate female behavior, never asking ourselves the hard questions about patriarchal male violence and how this has affected women and their behaviors and their need and desire to be with men.  Men of course will never question femininity and women’s insane need to be with men because doing so would not be beneficial for them or patriarchy; however, sadly women for the most part do not question it either, especially heterosexual women.  Unless women have pursued feminism and finally radical feminism, digging deep into their world externally and within themselves internally, they cannot recognize their own captive behaviors when it comes to their relationships with men, because they have no knowledge to the contrary. They believe then that it is normal, human nature, female nature.  Further, for women to reach for information to the contrary is extremely difficult because, although it seems beneficial to do so, women’s survival instincts and terror tells them not to.

If we questioned our insane need to be with men, this would force us to face our denial about male violence and male hatred towards women and our own hatred towards ourselves and other women. Our identity as we know it (male identified) would be in question. We would then have to face that we are literally sleeping with the enemy and ultimately that we are not in control, never have been and this would uncover our terror. Facing this would also force us to realize that our sacrifice, the loss of our lives, our authentic identities, our relationships with other women, that we were forced to give up in an effort to survive, was ultimately to no avail and finally we would be left with the bleak reality of  our own enslavement.

Women need to understand that there is a fundamental difference between men and women. ALL MEN hate ALL WOMEN most of the time.  ALL MEN believe ALL WOMEN are inferior most of the time.  Men will not change and if we are honest, we would realize that our efforts to change them are not really about changing men anyway–but about changing ourselves. If women are male identified, looking at themselves and other women through the eyes of men (through a Rapists’s Eyes) our efforts to change the way men feel about women, efforts to make them hate us less thereby making them violate us less, is ultimately an effort to change how we feel about ourselves and other women.

Consequently, we are entering the issue through the back door, beating our heads against the patriarchal wall, trying to change ourselves through men and the almighty male perspective.  I think the title of this post, “Through a Rapist’s Eyes” is extremely apt because it points out that even with our best intentions, we have Freudian slips like this title. We are looking at the problem of men raping women, through the rapist’s eyes. We do this because we still insanely believe against all evidence that we can win the battle of male violence by seeing through his eyes, by taking on the rapist’s perspective and by behaving accordingly in an effort to not be raped. The rapist rewards women with the kindness of not raping us because we behaved in a certain way.  If we have long hair, if we wear skimpy clothes, if we talk on the cell phone, walk alone at night, we deserve to be raped. Women have been and continue to be trained like animals through reward and punishment.

This battle cannot be won through osmosis, through men. Women must put down men and put down the insane idea that we can solve male violence through or with men and attack it directly. WOMEN DON’T NEED MEN. Women would be more effective fighting male violence directly instead of continuing the insanity of depending on men to protect us from men (and ourselves). Instead we must depend on ourselves and other women by banding together in solidarity and defending ourselves and our sisters in any means necessary.  Finally, women need to avoid men like the plague because historically, traditionally, figuratively, literally and reasonably– they are the plague.

Advertisements

Doing Work for Patriarchy

3 Mar

After seeing this poster at this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151502804657110&set=a.51895502109.87823.684087109&type=1&theater;  The poster states:

“Pussy Power, Slut Nation is Here and We Are Pissed Off. Run and Hide You Misogynist Crusty Fuck Heads!”

I was immediately struck by two emotions, on the surface I wanted to raise my fist and yell, “yeah, you fuckers!” and then my secondary more deeper response was sadness. I agree that women need to get very angry and to express their anger and this poster connected with my own rage as a woman; however, I take issue with using the words, “pussy” to define female power and “slut” to describe the nation of women.  Both pussy and slut reduce female power to their sexuality, which is exactly where patriarchy and men want our (false) power to remain. Because women have had no power historically, they have had to use their sexuality in an attempt to gain admittance into a male dominated society. This type of sexual “power” is dependent on men therefore it is not true power.  Woman must use their pussies (allow men to penetrate them) to gain favor with men, which is not real power at all. When the men leave, the power leaves with them, without men giving the favor, women have no power.

Moreover, in patriarchy, female sexuality has been forced into heterosexuality because this is the only sexuality that is enforced; therefore, female sexuality in patriarchy must be very different then female sexuality in an egalitarian society. The word “slut” is used to define women who have sex with a lot of men (not women) therefore to claim the word “slut” or to use it to define a nation of women continues to force women into heterosexuality, into having sex with not just one man exclusively but with a lot of men — a patriarchal wet dream.

Historically, women have had to use sex to temper male violence in an effort to survive.  How can this type of sexuality be empowering? Female power is female power, independent of sex and independent of men.  Women are powerful because they are women, because they are human beings, not because of our pussies or because we are “sluts” who choose to have sex with many men. I understand that our pussies are a biological part of us and we need to accept this part of ourselves; however, limiting the discussion to our pussies and naming ourselves sluts, makes a mockery of women as human beings.  Men have power because they are considered to be autonomous human beings in our society– unlike women who are considered to be men’s sexual property. We never talk about men’s penises or their promiscuity when we talk about male power– so why are we focused on a woman’s sexuality when it comes to claiming female power?

I understand the desire to take back our pussies from men—& the merit in celibacy because quite frankly it makes good sense to do so; men disrespect women and they do not deserve our attention, sexually or otherwise; but I do not agree that a woman’s power is in her pussy or because she “chooses” to be sexually liberated. If women claim “pussy power” and at the same time also claim that they are “sluts” aren’t they sabotaging the power of their pussies by claiming to be sluts?  I understand wanting to emphasize the power of the pussy, if the pussy stood alone on its own merit because I agree, pussies are powerful independently (without men or their penises), much like women are powerful independently.  But to also claim to be a slut, negates this independent power because the word “slut” defined is a woman who has sex with many men; consequently, to be a slut you must also be sexually dependent on men. In my opinion, women claiming to be sexually liberated or claiming to be a slut, choosing to have sex  with whoever she desires, is merely patriarchy entering through the back door.  If heterosexual sex has been and continues to be one of the ways men control and violate women, isn’t women having more sex with men, a win, win for men and patriarchy?

Graham wrote in, “Loving to Survive”

“Women’s sexual organs may be the essential battlefield on which the war for male domination is fought. The more violent a sexual crime against women, the greater the social distance between men and women, and the more clearly that distance is emphasized. Male sexual violence against women and “normal” heterosexual intercourse are essential to patriarchy because they establish the dominance of the penis over the vagina, and thus the power relations between the sexes. The sexualization of people and male/female interactions is central to the practice of patriarchy because it keeps group membership (and thus power relations) salient. Thus, when a male sexualizes and interaction with a female, he is doing work for patriarchy.”

As long as there is a difference in status between men and women and as long as men dominate women, heterosexual sex will be a vehicle for men to oppress and control women.  Heterosexual sex in patriarchy cannot be equal.  Because of the power dynamics of the gender roles in our society, men approach sex with women in a very different way than how women approach sex with men.  Whether this is subconscious or otherwise, women have been forced, due to there being no other vehicle available to them, to use sex as a vehicle to gain favor or power and men use sex as a vehicle to control women. When women depend on their sexual interactions with men to gain favor or power, they become inadvertently dependent on men and this allows men to control them, quite the opposite to what women believe the situation to be.

This of course was set up by men, a patriarchal sleight of hand. Men cause a deficit for women by dominating, violating and oppressing them and women respond to this by behaving in a specific way to make up for this deficit.  Of course this is the dynamics of what we consider to be “healthy” heterosexuality and not the dynamics of rape and sexual abuse which has nothing to do with women trying to gain power or favor and everything to do with male domination and control.  Consequently, if it is true that the male sexualization of females works for patriarchy, isn’t it also true that women equating power to their pussies and claiming words like “slut”,  words that sexualize females, also doing work for patriarchy? By focusing on female sexuality (predominantly heterosexuality) aren’t we glorifying having sex with men and thus inadvertently doing work for patriarchy?  How does either further the cause of female liberation?

By Michele Braa-Heidner