23 8 / 2014
"My colleagues and I refer to this belief as ‘The Boiler Theory of Men.’ The idea is that a person can only tolerate so much accumulated pain and frustration. If it doesn’t get vented periodically—kind of like a pressure cooker—then there’s bound to be a serious accident. This myth has the ring of truth to it because we are all aware of how many men keep too much emotion pent up side. Since most abusers are male, it seems to add up.
But it doesn’t, and here’s why: Most of my clients are not usually repressed. In fact, many of them express their feelings more than some nonabusive men. Rather than trapping everything inside, they actually tend to do the opposite: They have an exaggerated idea of how important their feelings are, and they talk about their feelings—and act them out—all the time, until their partners and children are exhausted from hearing about it all. An abuser’s emotions are as likely to be too big as too small. They can fill up the whole house. When he feels bad, he thinks that life should stop for everyone else in the family until someone fixes his discomfort. His partner’s life crises, the children’s sicknesses, meals, birthdays—nothing else matters as much as his feelings.
It is not his feelings the abuser is too distant from; it is his partner’s feelings and his children’s feelings. Those are the emotions that he knows so little about and that he needs to ‘get in touch with.’ My job as an abuse counselor often involves steering the discussion away from how my clients feel and toward how they think (including their attitudes toward their partner’s feelings). My clients keep trying to drive the ball back into the court that is familiar and comfortable to them, where their inner world is the only thing that matters."
Lundy Bancroft in Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (2002), pp. 30–31 (via mikroblogolas)
19 8 / 2014
Choosing women is a political choice for me and I’d struggle in a relationship with someone who wasn’t at least positively discriminating towards relationships with women, as much as I’d struggle in a relationship with someone who could vote Tory.
And whilst I don’t subscribe to the view of feminism as a movement for validating women’s individual choices, I do subscribe to the view of feminism as a movement to make free choice meaningfully possible for women. Same with GSRM activism. So treading carefully around issues of choice is incredibly important for me and safeguarding the choice not to have sex with someone, for whatever reason, is a bottom line I would defend in the teeth of anything. Attacking anyone for the sex they don’t have crosses a line directly into rape culture. And attacking lesbians for our sex lives, for not having sex with the right people, is pure lesbophobia, smuggled directly over from the rapey rapey malestream and still in its original, patriarchal packaging — even the words are the same. The fact that they’re not words you would ever use against cishet men says a lot: lesbians are an easy target for people who are also oppressed, albeit not by us, and who have a lot of legitimate rage to vent. We’re scapegoats, in other words, and I’m tired of it."
21 7 / 2014
Radical feminism is basically historical-materialist so ‘being precedes consciousness’, i.e. the material world determines what you can think about it (your ideology). Or, the material world of humans is produced by capitalism so then humans have a capitalist ideology (substitute ‘capitalism’ for ‘patriarchy’ when talking radical feminism).
But in queer feminism/ theory, consciousness precedes being so the root that the ‘radical’ so often affixed to ‘queer politics’ refers to is what you think. Which sort of makes sense if you take an ‘I think therefore I am’ approach — you have to have a consciousness for the material world to exist for you, therefore the material world stems from your consciousness (for you). Therefore you can think the world differently.
Personally I think being and consciousness are in a kind of chicken-or-egg loop, but if pushed I opt for historical-materialism.
21 7 / 2014
When I first encountered feminism I thought what my problem in life had been was a question of sexual orientation. I had been strange because I wanted to have sex with women. BUT in some way this account of my life did not fit. The fact that it was now ok in lesbian circles to have sex with women did not make any difference to me. I did not believe that the way I was, was defined by the fact that I wanted to have sex with women. It felt more like a deep desire to be free…
What I saw when I read the Political Lesbianism paper was that inside me was not a lesbian (woman attracted to woman - struggling for expression in a heterosexual world) but a woman, a completely woman-defined-woman, struggling to be free of a world where women must be shackled to the demands of men, including the demand for sexual submissiveness…
What this has meant to me now is that I cannot cannot separate my love for women from my love for women - the passionate from the political."