feminism

Fem v. Fem; What’s the Point? It’s ALL Female Oppression!

“Us and Them;” Culture and Female Oppression

By T.L. Dayen burka_muell_igfm

Oppression is the anti-thesis of liberty. Women all over the world enjoy different degrees of liberty, so you could say that women all over the world also suffer different degrees of oppression, from the right to equal pay to the right to not be burned alive in our own kitchen. Culture, perhaps more than anything else, is the lens through which these differing degrees of liberty and oppression are perceived. So when feminists attempt to assess and evaluate global female oppression outside the context of culture, conclusions will no doubt be skewed and ineffectual; skewed because conclusions have not allowed for “differing” cultural perspectives, and ineffectual because skewed conclusions are not taken seriously to effect change. Advancement in information and communication technologies have made the world a “smaller” and less unfamiliar place since the 2nd wave feminist movement of the mid-20th century here in the U.S., but unique and personal female experience (most often defined by culture) has been said by many to remain overlooked when assessing female oppression, and remains a source of contention within what has become a fragmented feminist movement. A truly empathetic understanding of Culture, which encompasses ones race, ethnicity, religion, class and even sexuality, seems to be the one factor that continues to divide women and prevent a unified approach to emancipation from female subordination and oppression. However, we cannot risk the danger of allowing culture to justify oppression. Culture explains social norms of female acquiescence, but cultural oppression reflects mandated social constructs that demand female capitulation often by threat of harm.

The Challenges of Cultural Divisions

As females, we need to understand that our everyday lives, responsibilities and personal experiences can be dramatically different from one another dependent upon the social norms of not only where we live, but by those defined by the culture within which we live; even in the same geographic location.   The need to recognize our cultural differences is real and pertinent to the feminist discourse. In this context, representations of all female voices are crucial within the movement to gain the trust and engagement of all women. The feminist perspective within the gay community will be dramatically different from that of the Latina community, and the Latina different from the African [American] community, and African American different from the Muslim community, and the Muslim different from white suburbia or Wall Street, etc. Female oppression is experienced on a level unique to each of our ‘cultures.’ Linda Alcoff writes of this dilemma; “the advocacy of the oppressed must be done by the oppressed themselves,” as it “will have a significant effect on the content [impact] of what is said.” She goes on to warn that the “practice of privileged persons speaking on behalf of less privileged persons has actually (in many cases) resulted in increasing or reinforcing the oppression of the group spoken for.” (Alcoff, 78-91). Although it is not always possible on every occasion the movement has a chance to be heard, whenever possible, the empowerment of oppressed voices to speak for themselves is always more potent (and valid). However, I would argue that for those whose voices are invalidated by their own cultural constructs, then sensitive, sensible and cognizant advocacy is not only legitimate but often necessary.

Is Oppression Culturally Justified?

Repression is synonymous with ‘oppression.’ According to the North American English Encarta Dictionary, repression is “being politically or socially kept down by force;” also a “psychological protective mechanism by which people protect themselves from threatening thoughts by blocking them out of the conscious mind.” When we speak of cultural oppression, we have to be mindful that from within an ‘oppressive culture’ there is not a collective sense of injustice, but rather a consensual social construct shared and enforced by the community.   When confronted by perceptions ‘outside’ the purview of those within the social construct, defense mechanisms may be necessary to protect oneself from facing what may otherwise be horrible truths. These can include justification involving explanations that account for history, tradition and religious beliefs, and/or projection, which entails transposition or false equivalents.  In other words, instead of facing a difficult truth we’re confronted with, we may instead choose to assert that the confronter’s situation is similar to our own to dilute or negate unpleasant realizations brought about through otherwise stark comparisons.

I believe that Uma Narayan is doing just that when she compares rampant “dowry deaths” in India to cases of domestic murder in the U.S. No murder should ever be considered “better” than another, but the circumstances surrounding the act can be deemed more or less egregious! Murder is not cultural. What is cultural is the uniformity of victim, motive and method, and of the collective social response. Narayan uses false equivalents between Indian dowry murder and U.S. domestic murder in the defense of her own culture when she says, “fatal forms of violence against mainstream Western women seem interestingly resistant to such ‘cultural explanations,’ leaving Western women seemingly more immune to ‘death by culture’” (Narayan, 62-77).  Domestic murder in the U.S. has no uniformity in method or motive. They are random acts of violence that are often not premeditated or intentional. They are often motivated by spontaneous moments of rage and often facilitated by substance abuse. They are committed by spouses and non-spouses alike who are often not cohabitating at the time of the act. In contrast, Indian dowry murder is a frequent (5,000 annually) act of premeditated murder for dowry profit, committed only by a husband against his wife by burning her to death in only one way that can also be culturally explained as an accident; “pressurized kerosene stoves [that] are in common use in [Indian] homes; a tin of fuel is ‘always kept in reserve’…. A highly flammable nylon sari easily catches fire…signs of struggle do not show up on bodies with 90 percent or more third degree burns.” (Narayan, 62-77). The victim, motive and method are the same in every case and specific to Indian culture.Dowry death

Social and community response is another factor that differentiates fundamental female subordination from ‘cultural’ female oppression. Women are not the only victims of violence; however when they are, they are nearly exclusively victim to men. This is globally consistent and not confined to the U.S. or India. What is not globally consistent is the customary response from local communities, authorities and governments, and that is reflective of culture. Culturally justified female oppression does not – cannot – occur in societies that, 1) have collectively established an infrastructure of support and safety nets for women in need which includes education, housing/shelter, economic, employment and legal assistance, and 2) have collectively recognized civilly, politically and legally, a woman’s autonomous right to liberty. These were once feminist issues in the U.S. and the world, but they are now woven within our collective cultural fabric as “civilly humane” issues. Narayan concedes to “the virtual absence in India of state-provided welfare, education, and medical care…legal services… that would enable Indian women to leave family contexts where they are victims of violence.” She also cites the powerful social “stigma” in India of “women living on their own” that deter even those with financial means to leave abusive situations (Narayan, 62-77). A lack of support structure to address social vulnerabilities specific to women fosters the cultural message to both men and women that these vulnerabilities are tolerable and acceptable and therefore ensuing consequences are ‘culturally justified.’ Even while Narayan admits that “feminist policies and solutions are dependent upon the background social, economic and institutional features of the national landscape,” she actually appears indignant when she says that “some Western feminists seem to have assumed that the Indian women’s movement is “less developed” (Narayan, 62-77). I say she is right, but taking a ‘personal’ offense to the Western observation of institutionalized female oppression in India is not only counterproductive it actually fuels the defensive narrative that female oppression and violence can be culturally justified.

This defensive position taken by women in the international feminist community is not uncommon. An incensed Chandra Mohanty-Talpade gave a seething indictment of Western feminist perspective when she said there are “issues around which apparently all women are expected to organize,” and that this “reinforces the assumption that people in the third world just have not evolved to the extent that the West has.” She asserts that the West has a “paternalistic attitude towards women” whose lives are constrained within the social constructs of “religion,” “domesticity,” “child marriages,” and “illiteracy” (Talpade-Mohanty). If the Western paternal or dominant perspective is the expectation that women should “organize” around the abolition of child marriage, female illiteracy and even forced child birth, than Chandra is correct in her assessment, but severely misguided in her scorn of such an expectation. True liberty allows for personal choice of religion and domestic ambitions such as motherhood. Children and illiterates are not equipped to exercise informed and unshackled personal ‘choice.’ Civically or religiously mandated female behavior under threat of harm or exile is nothing more than culturally justified oppression, whether its child marriage, female illiteracy, forced child birth or even veiling. This is not a matter of evolution, but one of dissolute cultural authority.

Prospects for UnificationChristian female oppression

The 3rd wave or “postmodern” feminist movement of the 21st century may hold the key to recognizing our differences without having to ‘reconcile’ them. Coming from the perspective that differences and even contradictions in the female experience should be welcomed and even expected, perhaps unification against female oppression does not require an objective consensus but rather a subjective coordinated effort. In other words, is it really so much about whom “we” are, as it is about what “oppression” is? Can we objectively define what we are fighting while subjectively maintaining why we are fighting it? Stephanie Riley quotes philosopher Paul Ricoeur when contemplating “bridging the gap” between the complexity of feminists and the simplicity of our cause, “a process of self-attestation takes place as a moment of constituting self-identity: we are, we act, and we suffer.” (Riley). From this approach, a multi-cultural feminist narrative is “free within a text to be appropriated not as an individual possession, but as a shared notion that contributes to change. Feminists reading each other… can share one another’s stories to shape and color their own existence.” (Riley). Part of the nature of our cause is the lack of empathy to our plight. I believe that if the feminist movement is mindful that we should expect of ourselves at least what we are expecting of others, that a balanced unification is possible.

Change is Always Evolutionary and Sometimes Revolutionary.

Evolution cannot occur without change. They are intrinsically intertwined. Change can come slow, as in ‘movement,’ or change can come fast, as in a ‘revolution.’ Regardless of how change comes about it is inevitable and constant. But how it comes about can determine the degree and pace of change. It is generally agreed that the feminist movement began during the Enlightenment Era of the 17th century, and more specifically during the French Revolution. Terms like “liberty” and “freedom” and “social justice” and “self-determination” sparked the courage and insight of an entire generation of women to embark on the long journey that is the struggle for female equality and emancipation from oppression known as the “feminist movement.” Its momentum has been marked in terms of “waves.” The 1st Wave was women’s suffrage (the right to vote). The 2nd Wave was equality and the end of sexism in the work place. It is said we are now in the 3rd Wave or post modernism. This reflects multi-cultural and multi-national feminist identities, issues of female oppression and violence, severe income inequality and women’s health issues. Given the history of the troublesome fragmentation of the movement and its inability to coalesce, this 3rd Wave feminist effort seems to recognize our need to ‘pull together’ the voices of ALL women to affect real, positive and lasting progress for women’s liberties.

The feminist movement is now global.

Groups like the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) that advocates for “equality around the world” and the National Organization for Women (NOW) that advocates for the diverse issues of women in a multi-cultural U.S. and uses the strength and influence of the U.S. within the United Nations (UN) to address multi-national women’s issues, are both organizations that reflect a renewed sense of urgency in the feminist movement to come together as a global force.

Using new networking technologies that can converge and rally millions of women all over the world, these groups focus on petitioning governments whose policies are oppressive to women, educating men to the benefits of a world of full equality, empowering and supporting women in their local communities, as well as staging and sponsoring protests, and national and international discussion forums.   There is also a renewed push to engage women in the political process and encourage women to run for political office. Both the FMF and NOW are educating and encouraging their members to urge their legislators to finally ratify CEDAW; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Adopted in 1979 by the UN, “187 countries have ratified the Convention, pledging to give women equal rights in all aspects of their lives including political, health, educational, social and legal.” (Global Women’s Rights: CEDAW). Shamefully, the United States is not on this list. In fact it is one of only seven countries including Iran and Somalia that have not ratified the only International Treaty that “comprehensively [addresses] women’s rights within political, cultural, economic, social, and family life.” The FMF justly contends that, “the United States compromises its credibility as a leader for either human rights or women’s rights.” (Global Women’s Rights: CEDAW). The feminist movement has yet to inspire a “revolution,” but it’s fair to say we may be closer to such an event then we have ever been.

Conclusion

There’s a term, “Think globally, but act locally.” Originally coined to support the environmental movement, I believe it is completely apropos to the feminist movement. While we all need to have a clear and empathetic understanding of the global challenges that women face in the 21st century, our individual focus needs to be in our own lives and our own communities. Whether you live in Alabama or Bangladesh; whether you’re gay or straight, black or Latina; by working within our own cultural infrastructures and addressing the issues unique to our own experiences, we will surely and steadily change the reality of female oppression on a global scale.

Riley reflects on the words of famous feminist literary icon, bell hooks, discussing our individual needs in relation to our common desires; “she [bell hooks] emphasizes the importance of a feminist theory that would offer everyone, men and women alike, a liberated vision of love and sexual expression. From what humanity is freed differs for each [person], but that something exists from which to be liberated, and that liberation involves love, remains a constant.” (Riley).

We must all be informed by our unique and personal experience, but I would suggest that if we have indeed made a personal commitment to the cause of female emancipation and equality, then we have indeed made that commitment to breach the cultural boundaries between us and them.

Bibliography

Alcoff, Linda. “The Problem with Speaking for Others.” Trans. Array Theorizing Feminisms.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 78-91. Print.

“Global Women’s Rights: CEDAW.” Feminsit Majority Foundation. Ms. Magazine. Web. 6 Dec 2013. <Feminist.org>.

Narayan, Uma. “Cross-cultural Connections, Border-Crossings and “Death by Culture”.” Trans.

Array Theorizing Feminisms. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 62-77. Print.      

           National Organization for Women (NOW). Web. 6 Dec 2013 <now.org>.

Riley, Stephanie. “”First” and “Third” World Feminism(s); Does Paul Ricoeur’s Philosophy

Offer a Way to Bridge the Gap?.” Ricoeur Studies. University of Pittsburg Press, 2013. Vol. 4, No.1 pg.

57-70. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <ricoeur.pitt.edu>. (Riley)

Talpade-Mohanty, Chandra. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial

Discourse.” On Humanism and the University I: The Discourse of Humanism. Duke

University Press, 1984.Vol.12, No.3 pg. 333-358. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <jstor.org>.

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After Women Took off Their Aprons, Advertisers Began Taking Off the Rest!

fem 17Once we won our equal liberty to choose our personal “place” in the world, the male ego swiftly began to make sure that women would never forget their universal “purpose” in the world.

By T.L.Dayen

They say “a picture paints a thousand words.” Imagery has the power to elicit emotion and provoke thought. It can also be used to subconsciously persuade or manipulate. Imagery has also historically been used to disseminate propaganda such as the iconic “Rosie the Riveter;” an animated image of a strong-armed woman in a factory uniform intended to convey that it was acceptable to see women; the majority of the domestic work force during the war effort of WWII, as strong and capable. Images can also portray social behavioral norms like iconic Norman Rockwell fem 15paintings depicting ‘normal’ life in middle and working class America from the early to mid 20th century. Culturally, our social norms are reflected through imagery in our media; movies (entertainment mostly) and advertising (expressly to persuade).

Imagery in advertising works to convince, confirm or inform viewers about what they should want, think, identify with or accept as good for them. When advertisers use sexually implicit images to sell a product, it is reaffirming stereotypes that objectify women’s bodies and marginalize their humanity.

Selling Sex

Exploiting sexuality to sell a product is, unfortunately, effective. The ‘sex kitten’ eating Doritos on T.V. prompts the dorritosman to buy the chips because he wants to “get the girl” in the ad, and the woman buys the chips because she wants to “be the girl” in the ad; “We’re a visually explicit culture that’s become comfortable with selling domain names and winter coats on the backs of pretty, naked people” (Thompson, 2011).

Using sex in advertising subliminally links our most primal motive of procreation to the impulse desire for that product/service. In other words, buy the product, get (feel) the sex.

Sell Sex; Buy Sexism

The problem with ‘selling sex’ is that it takes the elemental human drive to procreate (which requires dominant and pliant roles), and attaches it to everything in our lives from food to cars to clothing to cleaning products to insurance. fem 14The dominant/ pliant roles of our sex organs become the roles we identify with as represented subliminally by the products and services we need and use every day. By ascribing the yielding female sex organ to her overall nature and character (as subordinate), advertisers can use sexually explicit imagery to not only potently objectify women’s bodies, but also marginalize female humanity by transforming “actual women into [sexual] objects, devoid of individual will or subjectivity” (Benshoff and Griffin 238-256).

The female body, pliant in sex, becomes the objectified woman, subordinate in life.

Even while women have made stellar strides in education and work force parity since the blatantly sexist advertising of the 1950’s; “an era when women’s roles were confined to the corridor between the bedroom and the kitchen” (Thompson, 2011);

the ‘new sexism’ is simply explicitly sexist imagery without the explicitly sexist messaging. In the 21st century, the message of sexual servitude is “implied.”

“Having lost the argument that women are incompetent, American advertising has had to settle on the argument that fem 18women are [still] attractive” (Thompson, 2011). In other words the iconic domestic dependent ‘June Cleaver’ telling viewers something like, “Your husband will never complain about undercooked eggs again with this new and improved egg timer!” has been replaced with the sexually implicit ‘cleavage and stilettoes’ seductively and silently stepping out of a Lincoln Continental. I call this “objectified female imagery.” This more modern version of sexism has only fed new life into age old social constructs of female subordination, because “American women still develop a sense of self-worth based primarily on how they look, rather than how talented or intelligent they are” (Benshoff and Griffin 238-256).

Domestic dependent submissiveness has simply been replaced by sexual objectification; both are demeaning and subordinate positions of “service.”

What’s even more poignant is that some of worst offenders of this type of sexist advertising are ‘women on women.’ fem 19Women who appeared on a Phil Donahue Show “fashion segment,” un-apologetically defended their unusual preoccupation with ‘perfecting’ their hair, skin, eyes, clothing and bodies. Susan Bordo took note of their naiveté and that “putting on makeup, styling hair, and so forth are conceived of only as free play, fun, a matter of creative expression,” but in reality is, “also experienced by many women as ‘necessary’ before they show themselves to the world, even a quick trip to the corner mailbox.” Bordo expresses her concern that the true messages being sent by ‘fashion statements’ are merely “whimsical and politically neutral vicissitudes [that] supply endless amusement for women’s [apparent] eternally superficial values.” Bordo goes on to say in the context of the fashion and beauty industry, “the specific ideals that women are drawn to embody…are seen as arbitrary, without meaning [by society].”

In other words, obsession with fashion culturally indicates frivolous and superficial priorities.

Bordo’s trepidation with the multi-million dollar fashion and beauty industry is shared by Benshoff and Griffen who assert that this advertising strives to persuade women to “buy their [own] femininity;” be re-made into “some ideal fem 20form” as an “object of the male gaze (objectification).” This, alleges Benshoff and Griffen, actually convinces women “to be complicit in their own objectification.” A massive and still growing fashion and beauty industry in America may be evidence that many women have indeed “internalized the ideology that their self-worth is based upon their public image… that achieving total objectified desirability is the only thing that will give them happiness and fulfillment” and that, “this mythical ideal keeps patriarchal (male) domination in place” (Benshoff and Griffin 238-256). If women are buying sexism, then apparently sexist advertising is working.

Hijacked Sexuality

Full disclosure: as a woman myself, I am frustrated that an industry has “hijacked” my God given sexuality for their profits! Can a woman in the 21st century fully express her innate sexuality without the implication that she is consenting to, even encouraging the sexist messages sent by the objectified female imagery in media advertising? And what of those who feed into the ‘cultural messages’ that are fabricated from objectified female imagery in the media; that a woman’s sexuality is by its very nature literally “there for the taking?”fem 5

Can a woman in the 21st century fully express her innate sexuality personally without the implication that she is “asking for it” publically? I fear that the answer to these questions today is “no.”

Sharon Marcus writes of the misleading dialogue used when legislating rape laws or hearing rape cases; “The rape script describes female bodies as vulnerable, violable, penetrable, and wounded.” A website called “Controltonight.com” ran an ad showing a young woman’s legs with her panties around her ankles lying on what looks like a bathroom floor. The ad reads, “2:19 a.m. She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say NO.” The ad intends to warn against drinking and date rape, but the ‘message’ is that women’s bodies are simply up for grabs by anyone who may gain the advantage to take it – and that’s somehow a woman’s fault. Marcus purports, “the adherents of rape culture see female sexuality as a property which only men can truly own, which women often hoard, which can thus justifiably be wrested from us, which women themselves merely hold in trust for a lawful owner. Rape thus becomes the theft or violation of one man’s property rights by another.”

fem 8If women’s sexuality is not even seen in our law as our own rightful possession, it is no wonder it could be unabashedly exploited personally or commercially by whomever and however it serves to benefit.

Audrey Lorde writes of the uses and power of the ‘erotic’ – in this context, ones ‘passions;’ sexual or otherwise; “We have been taught to suspect this resource, vilified, abused and devalued within western society… the erotic has been encouraged as a sign of female inferiority.” So a woman’s capacity to “feel deeply” has been equated with weakness, and that “only by the suppression of the erotic within our lives and consciousness can women truly be strong. But this strength is illusory, for it is fashioned within the context of male models of power” (Lorde 188-192).

If we follow Lordes’ premise, then a woman’s capacity to feel her own sexuality is considered “suspect” and therefore only passably expressed within and through our patriarchal society’s consent and capacity to control it.

Conclusion

What came first, female objectification or female objectified imagery? The truth is not what you might think. While media imagery only began in the early 1900’s, female objectification is just one arm of female subordination that has fem 12stigmatized the male/female dynamic for thousands of years. However, in the 21st century human kind is capable of growing beyond our prejudices; capable of a much broader perspective of the male/female dynamic.

In the 21st century human kind is capable of recognizing our two species as ‘different in measure but equal in value.’

This is where the media continues to culturally perpetuate female objectification even as we are collectively capable of moving beyond it. Advertising media imagery is especially harmful because it is scrupulously knitted within the fabric of our consumer based culture. Every decade that passes, fem 4human kind becomes more familiar with women in leadership positions of authority in politics, more acceding to our dependability as an equal successful womanpartner within the home, and more reliant on our equally competent skills in the work place and industry. While this reality of the male/female dynamic may smack of truth, the false postulation of our disparity and subordination continues to be culturally projected before us as sexually objectified minions of the patriarchal social construct.

Women’s sexuality; our very autonomy is reduced to a collective cultural commodity, and only valid through its collective cultural usefulness to the patriarchal bedroom, boardroom or billboard.

If sex is selling, it’s only selling women out.

fem 16

 

References

Benshoff, Harry, and Sean Griffin. America On Film. 2nd. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

238-256. Print.

Bordo, Susan. “Material Girl: The Effacements of Post Modern Culture.” Trans. Array

Theorizing Feminisms. N.Y., New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 385-404. Print.

Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” Trans. Array Theorizing Feminisms.

N.Y., New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 188-192. Print.

Marcus, Sharon. “Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention.”

Trans. Array Theorizing Feminism. N.Y., New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 369-

  1. Print. (Marcus, 369-381)

Thompson, Derek. “Are T.V. Ads Getting More Sexist?.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly

Group, 31 Oct 2011. Web. 16 Oct 2013. <theatlantic.com>.

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Why Does the Evolved Female Seek “Equality” with the Destructive Male??

Some women are tragically sacrificing their own creational consciousness to become “like men!

dads pic

By Shane Stewart

Modern women are struggling for their “freedom;” something they erroneously consider that men already possess. Many modern women therefore, feel it necessary to “have what men have,” “do what men do,” and “act like men act,” in order to be “free.”  This attitude displays that many women have “accepted” the negative image that the male ego has painted of them; that they are indeed “inferiors” of men, and therefore must reach “upward” to match the status of the “superior” male. Sadly then, many women (and “feminist” organizations) consider female emancipation, or “freedom,” to mean women attaining “equality” with men! This is ludicrous! It is obvious that more women of the Earth are already generations ahead of most men in every “quality” of human consciousness that matters for our survival and evolution: compassion, compromise, cooperation, and community.  These “human qualities,” possessed by the female of our species, are necessary elements in order for humanity to move forward in evolution.

In short, if the male ego continues to force us to “think” in terms of “superior and inferior,” then female creational consciousness is already far “superior” to the negativity of the male ego and its consciousness of destruction and oppression. Women have let themselves be “fooled” by the destructive male ego into believing that the “physical” human body is the primary and fundamental “reality” of “being human,” and therefore a woman, not physically being a man, nor generally being physically as strong as a man, can never be “equal” to a man, and therefore can never be as “truly free” as a man. Women are admonished by the male ego to “accept their place” in the human structure and do what they were “created” to do; which is of course, to serve men! Many young males who might otherwise seek “individuality,” and think differently, have been duped by males of previous generations with the fallacy that “this is a man’s world,” and therefore it is a man’s “birthright” to control the female.  Men therefore, have succeeded in “reversing” the polarity of truth in human consciousness, because it is men who should be striving for “equality” with women! Women cooperate: men* conflict. Women give life: men* take life. Women create: men* destroy.

The concept of women trying to attain “freedom and equality” by being “like men” is comparable to a scenario in which humanity has to attain “equality” with the Apes in order to be “free” because apes are free. Because men are generally “stronger” than women, they have convinced women that “physical strength” equals “superior person”. Accordingly then, following this “logic,” does it mean that weaker men are inferior to stronger Apes? The way the male ego forces men to behave, it would appear so! If women succeed in lowering themselves to “become like men,” then the world will suffer a tragic void of female creational consciousness. We will be left with only the male consciousness of destruction and domination and therefore have no way of altering the course of our eventual annihilation upon which the male ego has set us. Our survival and subsequent evolution is entirely up to female creational consciousness.

Women cannot “become” men and expect to make the positive changes within humanity that are necessary. If women “think” like men and “act” like men, they are going to make “men” choices. Men make destructive and personal choices. This is how they are destroying our world. If women keep their female creational consciousness, and that creational consciousness is emancipated, then we will have a chance of continuing as a viable species. You must understand that it is precisely the female creational consciousness that the negative male ego is so desperate to continue oppressing, because only through female oppression can men maintain their false image of male “superiority.” As long as the beast of the male ego controls humanity, we are doomed. Men must strive to develop their creational consciousness and women must strive to help them. Men must lay down their weapon of male ego, and dissolve their negative attitude and false image of male superiority.

Every destructive, violent, and oppressive situation in the human world – past and present – has its origins in the male ego. 99.9% of all violent, destructive activity on this planet is carried out by those men driven by their negative male ego to dominate and control everything around them. The male ego is devoid of compassion, compromise, cooperation and community. This holds true especially in situations involving the female of our species.

We have had countless centuries of male leadership and false images of male superiority and female inferiority, and I am desperate to find the progress we have made in human consciousness under male leadership during those centuries. Where is it? Why are men, with their male ego, still the most violent and destructive creatures to ever have walked the Earth?

“It is MEN who commit the violence; against women, against each other, against the planet. All life on Earth is victim to violent acts from the human male!! Physical violence, sexual violence, domestic violence, gang violence, military violence, terrorist violence, racial violence, ethnic violence, homophobic violence, gun violence, serial and ritual killing, mass killing, honor killing, animal sport killing, species extinction, and violent environmental and planetary destruction; it’s ALL committed by men under the parasitic control of the male ego!”  (Shane Stewart/T.L. Dayen, The Female Imperative, 2014, p. 204)

Men fill our world with “technological wonders,” and convince us that this is indeed human “evolution” when it is merely advancement in technology. And sadly, technology is mostly used by the male ego to configure greater weapons of mass destruction through which men* can destroy more of humanity and continue their wars of domination until all is lost, including the Earth itself. Technology is the world of “it”, the world of things, not the world of humans, human interaction, and human attitudes toward each other. Men are “it” motivated; “thing” motivated. They see reality as being outside the self in the world of “it,” in the situation, not inside the self in the world of “I am.” To the male ego reality is; “It is. I want it. I dominate it.” And that includes how most men think and feel about women. Women are “it,” men want “it,” and men dominate “it.” Being focused outside the self is one reason many men can kill so easily. They have no problem with killing “it.”

Women of the world I say to you;

“You are not an ‘it.’ You are the evolution of ‘human mind’ in society. You are our only hope! As ‘creators‘ of life you understand the ‘self.’ You understand ‘I am.’ You must not sacrifice your ‘creational consciousness’ to the male ego and ‘become like men.’ You must stand as women, not as ‘men.’ You must shed the yoke of the image of female ‘inferiority’ that men have hung around your necks. There-in lies your ‘freedom,’ as well as the opportunity for men to free themselves from the male ego image of ‘superiority’, which has arrested their evolution. You must help men to rise up and become of ‘human mind.’ You must help men to develop the creational qualities of compassion, compromise, cooperation, and community. The male of our species is like a man who is so deep in a feverish illness that he doesn’t even know how sick he is. This fever of course, is the negative male ego, and it results in violent male convulsions that are destroying you, the Earth, and everything on it. The male ego is the antithesis of anything and everything creational on our planet.

Women of the world, your leadership of our species is essential to the continued survival and evolution of humanity. You must not become like our destroyers! Males and females were never meant to stand alone as two equal but separate parts of humanity. This is the false image of feminism created by the male ego that relishes in perpetuating this feminist argument, because as long as you are fighting for an “equal but separate” equality with men that can never be achieved, you will never realize the hidden truth that men and women are in fact two incomplete halves of one integral human whole. The destructive dominant male ego will cease to exist only when this evolutionary male/female union finally occurs, and the positive male nature will at last flourish.”

~  ~  ~

*It must be noted that my co-writer, T.L. Dayen and I, are not advocating that “all men” are violent destroyers. We are simply acknowledging that the violence and destruction carried out on Earth is and has been overwhelmingly carried out by men inflicted with the dominant and destructive male ego. This is not misandry. This is a statistical and historical fact! Most men are of Animal Mind. Fortunately, many men of Human Mind are working as I speak toward a sustainable future of compassion, compromise, cooperation, and community. I am one of them.

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A Feminist Critique

Sorry I’ve been MIA to my readers.  If you’ve read my bio, you know I’m a full time student in Political Science.  My schedule has been challenging, but I had an opportunity to write something for a political philosophy compulsory that I wanted to share with our TFI community.  Enjoy!

T's Toes

“On Susan Mendus and Heidi Hartmann”

By T.L. Dayen

We humans, for better or worse, categorize ourselves by color, ethnicity, religion and income, which are determined by our race, nationality and/or culture. These categories can also indicate our status, which is dependent upon geography. Where we live will largely define the status level of our color, ethnicity, religion and income: the value of our assets. However, there is one fundamental category that crosses all categorical barriers, and is not determined nor bound by geography. Our biological sex is the only human category and status determined by a chromosomal coin toss at conception. This “flip of the coin” will determine whether you are a man (superior) or a woman (subordinate). Only the degree of that superiority or subordination is determined by geography and/or culture. This chromosomal segregation is so entrenched, that it is considered literally, a “law of nature;” when in fact this “law” is only derived from our own definitions of our “natures,” and the values we have allotted to them. More specifically, the ensconced pillars of the social construct of male superiority and female subordination are founded upon the natures of men and women as defined and evaluated by men.

The differences of our sexes are both fundamental (physiological) and socially constructed, but the latter developed from the male perspective of the former; “We are born female and male, but we are created women and men, [by our] socially recognized genders” (Hartmann, H., p. 395).   Susan Mendus (2003), on the writings of Emanuel Kant (1781 – 1804), makes reference to Kant’s musings that a woman’s nature is “distinct and singular;” having to do with “the unit and coherence of the family;” that “woman relinquishes her equality and allows the man to dominate in political life in exchange for her own domination of domestic life;” and finally that men concede to this arrangement because “he loves domestic peace and readily submits to her regime” (p. 306 – 307). But why was/is domesticity considered the “regime” of women in the first place? The nature of a woman’s biology and the natural cycles that control it kept women physically vulnerable and immobile. This made women naturally adapted to the home front (hearth), while men were naturally unencumbered to defend, to govern, to provide (hunt). But this doesn’t explain why Kant also believed that “woman should reign and the man should rule; because inclination reigns and reason rules” (p. 307). Again, women’s bodies were at the mercy of natural cycles over which human kind had no control (menstrual; ovulation; breast milk; reproduction itself); hence naturally “inclined” or adapted to a specific purpose. While man, once again, was not encumbered by nature and had control over every facet of his own body including when, where, and with whom to plant his seed; hence free to “reason” or self-determine and collectively determine; “rule.”

The fact that our biology defines us as superior or subordinate was socially constructed from the male’s perspective that a mysterious and unpredictable natural world associated with females was something that needed to be controlled, conquered, and kept in check by men in order to survive; moreover that nature had intended it that way. But I would ask Kant today, how is the ability to achieve and provide “domestic peace” for a family considered subordinate “inclination,” while the inability, in fact failure, to achieve and provide “domestic peace” for human kind considered superior “reason?” Are we not one human family? Who is really better equipped to provide for the survival of our species?

Generally speaking, women tend toward inclusiveness, compromise, compassion and community; attributes that lend to social justice, equal opportunity and global prosperity. Heidi Hartman (2003), a “feminist socialist,” makes the connection between our “natures” and our economics; “If we examine the characteristics of men… – competitive, rationalistic, dominating – they are much like our description of the dominant values of capitalist society” (p. 401). Indeed one could even say that capitalism and socialism represent the Mars / Venus struggle between our Republican and Democratic political system. But why is one considered superior, while the other is considered weak and ineffective? Perhaps, as Hartmann (2003) posits, pure capitalism is actually a patriarchal system that perpetuates male domination (p. 398). Capitalism emphasizes independence, individualism and personal ambition; characteristics generally well-suited to men, and to a patriarchal society that supports female economic dependence and domestic servitude; as evidenced by the pathetic lack of females in the highest positions of government, industry and finance. A system that primarily increases the likelihood of success for men also increases the likelihood that men will hold the dominant positions of control in society, and as Hartmann (2003) states, “That control is maintained by excluding women from access to necessary resources and by restricting women’s sexuality” (p. 397). So once again, it is not our natures, but the male perspective of that nature that puts females in a position of disadvantage and subordination to the more advantaged and superior male; in this case, economically. I would add that women not only require equal access to necessary resources, but also equal determination as to what a “necessary resource” even is. Equal access to a set standard is one thing; an equal voice in setting that standard is quite another.

As Hartmann stated above, “restricting women’s sexuality” is a tool to maintain male dominance. This is perhaps the strongest connection between our natures and the male fallacy of female subordination: female sexuality. Referring back to our physiology, the female body is seen by man as a compulsory receptacle for his sexual drive, both physically and objectively. The female sexual biology is involuntary, and requires penetration of both her body and her egg by a man who is, by the way, biologically equipped with “choice;” and while a man can chose to ejaculate with or without a female partner, the female can only equate her sexual experience with receiving a man’s seed for reproduction. This is, I believe, the root of the male fallacy that the female is naturally subordinate to the male, without which, men could no longer support their claim of natural dominance. The advances in medical science, that gave women the same biological sexual “freedom,” “control” and “choice” as men had enjoyed since the dawn of time, was no less than a direct mortal threat to the male ego’s dominance over the female race. It is no coincidence that the Party who is fervently working toward eliminating a women’s ability to control her own reproductive process, is also the patriarchal faction of our two-Party system! Not all women need to be mothers neither to contribute to society nor to utilize our innate abilities and recognize “both human needs for nurturance, sharing and growth, and the potential for meeting those needs in a non-hierarchical and non-patriarchal society” (Hartmann, 2003, p. 403).

The origin of female oppression lies in the male perspective of our “purpose” as determined by our “physiology.” While much more could be said on this subject, especially in the context of religious doctrine, in short, the social construct stems not from whom or what woman are, what they do or how they think, but from the fundamental male perception of what women are for. Sexual objectification, divided labor and the resurgence of the effort to repeal women’s reproductive rights all support the archaic premise that the human female is for the purpose of sexual and domestic servitude to man. In other words, the female only exists as a reflection of what the male needs and desires. Mendus’ analysis of Kant’s meanderings on women as inherently incapable of civic authority, and Hartmann’s feminist socialist analysis of patriarchal capitalism as an effective means of maintaining female economic dependence, both indicate the elemental male presupposition that the human female cannot create, but only participate in what is only created by the male. A woman cannot be authentic (creational) when she is merely an image of what serves man, and so her voice can only represent the [male] consortium with which she has aligned. In closing, feminism cannot be about “equality.” It must be about “unity.” Male and female are not two equal wholes side by side; we are two halves of the one whole of humanity. Only through the unity of our consciousness, not the equality of our [socially constructed] roles, will we evolve past destructive and counterproductive socially, economically and religiously constructed gender division.

Resources

Hartmann, H. (2003). The Unhappy marriage between Marxism and feminism: Toward a more

progressive union. Social and political philosophy: Classical western texts in feminist and

              multicultural perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

 

Mendus, S. (2003). Kant: “An Honest but Narrow Minded Bourgeois?” Social and political

                philosophy: Classical western texts in feminist and multicultural perspectives. Belmont, CA:

Wadsworth  Cengage Learning. (Kant’s Original works published 1781 to 1804). “

The Consciousness of Humanity

All Male; Half Female. All Female; Half Male

Female creational consciousness resides within all humans

By Shane Stewart

Every human being on Earth is genetically comprised of male and female chromosomes. This is an obvious fact, a biological truth, and something “everybody knows.” But it is rarely considered when we think about “who we are.” This is because the negative male ego discourages discussion, debate, and acknowledgment of this “truth.” We’ve been programmed to think of ourselves as being entirely male or entirely female. We are “men”: or “women” period! The male ego does not want us to dwell on the fact that everyone is half male or half female. Why not?   Whether you are all male and half female, (man) or all female and half male, (woman) does not determine your “character,” the “kind” of person you are, or your “sexual” preference. And this is what “frightens” many men about recognizing that they are half female. But it is just a biological fact. This biological fact has nothing to do with sexual preference whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise!

My body is a male body. But I acknowledge the fact that I am also biologically half female (my mother)! This does not mean that as a man, if I accept the truth that I am half female, it will lead to the exhibition of “feminine” characteristics or sexual “preference” in my behavior. I am not “feminine,” but I am half female. The only thing about us that our physical “maleness” or “femaleness” determines is our reproductive capability. Most everything else about our “being” male or female comes out of the process of stereotype, male/female, gender behavior programming we receive during childhood.   We appear to be feminine or masculine in our physical behavior because that is how we were “taught” to act as young boys and girls. And who taught us? The negative, violent, destructive male ego, of course! Boys are quickly taught to act “dominant” around girls, and girls are quickly taught to act “subservient” around boys. All this for the purpose of maintaining the destructive “image of male superiority.”

Many men, especially the “macho man,” will not even discuss the fact that they are “half” woman. To them this means they would have to have a tendency to behave in a “feminine” manner, and this means appearing to be gay! These men focus upon being a “product” of their father. It’s almost as though they consider that their mother had nothing to do with their journey toward, and subsequent arrival upon, the Earth! Many men have a strong image of male “superiority”, and the image of male superiority depends upon the image of female “inferiority” continuing to be recognized. To these men, women are just physically weak, mentally deficient, emotionally inept, indecisive people; the very antithesis of the “strong” man, and they are meant to be of service to, and dominated by, the stronger male. This domination includes female sexual servitude. This devastatingly negative attitude the male ego nurtures about the female is based entirely upon the shape of the female body. Men have a penis that makes them “men” (dominant), women have a vagina that makes them “women” (subservient), and forever this establishes our position of “inferiority” or “superiority” within society.

The negative male ego keeps humanity locked into “physical” identity, separated and divided distinctly into male/female camps for the purpose of maintaining female oppression. The violent male ego considers female qualities to be “feminine.” The sad thing is that the male ego image of male superiority cannot allow itself to be “contaminated” with “female qualities”, such as compassion, compromise cooperation and community. This is wholly irrational and neurotic as our physical identity has nothing to do with our “humanness.“   Many men are violent and “hard”. They are taught that they must be strong and avoid displaying weak soft, “emotions.” This is considered to be the domain of the female. Sadly, the male ego animal mind image of male superiority is the very beast that is destroying our planet and everything on it.

The fact that everyone is physically half female or half male leads to a greater truth of humanity. This greater truth is the fact that we all possess half male or half female “consciousness”. It is within this world of consciousness where men must be willing to journey. Female creational consciousness resides within all humans   Even macho men can keep their “manliness” if they would accept that qualities such as compassion, compromise cooperation and community are not “feminine” qualities, but human qualities that every human being can be proud to exhibit. For a man to express these qualities would truly be the exhibition of “strength.” That strength is the strength of character, not the strength of body. The male ego must step “outside” the body and see the path of annihilation upon which it has set us. Men must now be willing to ask women to teach them compassion over cruelty,   compromise over conflict, cooperation over destruction, and community over selfishness.

Men were once the proud “protectors” of our species, but they have left that fact far behind and now only seek “power” through domination and destruction. But miracles do happen, and I think eventually men will be able to shed their violent male ego and join with women in creating a peaceful world of compassion, compromise, cooperation, and community so as to pull humanity back from the brink of annihilation upon which men and their male ego has placed us, and set us once again on our natural journey through evolution.

Is The Female Imperative Misandry?

T's Toes

By T.L. Dayen

Even with all of the current evidence of the destructive male ego permeating our media and our national consciousness this summer of 2014: the immigration crises, murder and mayhem in Iraq, Syria, I.S.I.L, the Ukraine, Israel and Palestine; the rash of men of color dying at the hands of those “sworn to protect” and no less than five governors under investigation for “abuse of power;” my first blog post must answer the question, “Is The Female Imperative misandry?” After all, that’s the main question many of our visitors will be asking. Am I right? Not that the answer isn’t already known by Stewart and I as a definitive “NO!” but honestly, if a definitive “no” was all it would take to answer that question, then the title of our book could have been “The Female Imperative is NOT misandry!” and it would be settled. But Stewart and I both know, as do you I’m sure, that any mention – at all – of “The Female Imperative” (TFI) equates to misandry in the animal mind of the male ego. SO – my first inaugural blog post on TFI.com unity must clarify this one very important misunderstanding!

Misandry is the “hatred of men.” Feminism, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica [sociology] is; “the belief in the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.” It goes on to say that “Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. Throughout most of Western history, women were confined to the domestic sphere, while public life was reserved for men. In medieval Europe, women were denied the right to own property, to study, or to participate in public life. At the end of the 19th century in France, they were still compelled to cover their heads in public, and, in parts of Germany, a husband still had the right to sell his wife. Even as late as the early 20th century, women could neither vote nor hold elective office in Europe and in most of the United States (where several territories and states granted woman suffrage long before the federal government did so). Women were prevented from conducting business without a male representative, be it father, brother, husband, legal agent, or even son. Married women could not exercise control over their own children without the permission of their husbands. Moreover, women had little or no access to education and were barred from most professions. In some parts of the world, such restrictions on women continue today” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Encyclopedia Britannica does not define feminism as the hatred of men, but apparently the recognition and acceptance of the full measure of value of over half of our human population; and by the way, the one half that gave birth to every human being on this planet; yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And yet, as I write this in 2014, my Microsoft Word “thesaurus” tells me that “Feminism” is synonymous with “Radicalism (n.)” – REALLY?? Who among you would consider social, economic and political equality “radical?” Did we not settle this in the late 1800’s after the North won the civil war? Perhaps we haven’t! Perhaps not “all men” were created equal – or should I say “not all humans” were created “equal.” Because equality among “men” is largely determined by demographics; but equality among men and “women” is not a demographic or geographic thing; it is a physiological thing. Our inequality is solely determined by our body parts; no matter where we live, what color we are, how much money we make or the name of our God – female subordination is global and universal.

The Female Imperative is NOT Misandry, but neither is it “feminism.”
TFI is “evolutionism.”

TFI does not advocate for “equality of the sexes.” Stewart and I maintain that our “sex” has nothing to do with our “equality.” Our two human sexes are simply the two human biological functions required for reproduction in the act of intercourse if reproduction is the goal. And of course the female body is equipped to feed her infant offspring. In mathematics, “equal” means “same,” and by these terms, equality of the sexes is physically impossible. In sociology however, “equal” means “non-discriminatory,” and it is by these terms that the male ego uses our physical [gender] inequality as human inequality. The entire global social construct of humanity is built and maintained upon the social attributes, roles and functions of our physical gender differences as assigned by the male ego. Feminism valiantly struggles to challenge the social construct of sexual inequality in vain. As long as it’s about our bodies and the roles assigned to those bodies, the male ego wins, because physically we will never be equal.

From The Female Imperative: “Remember that the dominant male ego cannot tolerate unity or cooperative relation-ship. Division and segregation must be maintained to maintain control and the image of order. To the animal mind of the male ego, “gender” is the most fundamental of these divisions (“primary identity”), and only one’s gender can determine the degree and level of one’s personal liberty (independent self-determination) and civic participation (politics and commerce). In the male ego animal mind, by replacing ordained gender roles with individual self-determination, then gender itself is expunged. If only real men do what men have always done, and only real women do what women have always done, then in the male ego image of feminism, the female disappears and becomes a man (female equality) or the male disappears and the female dominates (man haters). Neither is true of course and in the human mind, both are equally ridiculous. But in the animal mind of the male ego, this image of feminism has effectively precast and forestalled the “female emancipation conversation” into one about “angry women who either want to be men (penis envy) or they hate men (emasculation).”” Excerpt from Chapter 29, page 194.

Evolutionism is not about equality of sex; it is about unity of consciousness.
It is not about the male and female human standing side by side as two “equals.”
It is about male and female consciousness uniting as the two sexual halves of our one human “whole.”

TFI.com unity will continue to explore and explain “evolutionism.”

Empirical Fact and Honesty is NOT “the hatred of men!”

The “anti-feminist” movement (or Men’s Rights Activism (MRA)) occurring in the U.S. today frequently uses the term “misandry” to defend its cause. Men and women of this movement seem to believe that to be pro-woman, one has to be anti-man. This has proven to be an effective psychological weapon against the modern feminist movement. TFI has powerfully and courageously debunked the “misandry myth” for what it is; both a distortion of and distraction from the TRUTH! TFI finally says out loud what no one dares utter for fear of retribution as a “man hater;” that not all men are destructive, but 99.9 percent of the destruction, murder, violence, oppression, torture, greed and lust is perpetrated and perpetuated by MEN! This is not man hating – it is simply a fact. It is not personal! It is empirical! But TFI breaks it down even further; it is not men who commit these atrocities – it is the male ego! We can finally separate the wheat from the chaff and be honest about the fact that humanity is NOT self-destructive – the male ego IS self-destructive.

In looking at the list of crisis’ I laid out in the opening of this blog post, each one of them stems from the out-of-control male ego. Tens of thousands of men, women and children seeking refuge in the U.S. are not fleeing evil women. Evil women in the Middle East are not bombing, shooting, executing, kidnapping, torturing and beheading each other. The wave of those abusing their power in the U.S. whether in law enforcement or politics are not women. This is just the summer of 2014. What about century upon century – tens upon tens of thousands of years? Why can we not finally give ourselves the permission to admit the truth about our humanity – that only men and women of “human mind” (compassionate, cooperative, compromising and communal) are concerned with not just the survival, but the evolution of our race; and that men and women of “animal mind” will continue to grant the male ego free reign over our race and planet to continue its historical and current campaign of domination, death and destruction? TFI is finally giving humanity permission to expect decisiveness to not equal domination; assertiveness to not equal aggression; ambition to not equal greed; motivation to not equal self-service; courage to not equal destructive action.

TFI is not “hating men;” it is rejecting the animal mind of the male ego to continue its leadership over the human race.

TFI is embracing our “humanity.”