portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

forest defense | imperialism & war

Woman's Greatest Fear

This is the latest in a series of essays about male domination.
This is the seventh in a series of essays concerned with male domination.
The first six are:
A MODEST PROPOSAL CONCERNING MASCULISM  http://www.nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=25801
TEN THOUSAND YEARS IS ENOUGH!
 http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=13070&group=webcast
THE MOVEMENT FOR MALE RESTRAINT
 http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=13624&group=webcast
HOW TO CHALLENGE VIOLENT MALE DOMINATION
 http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=14156&group=webcast
A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF VIOLENT MALE DOMINATION
 http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=14726
THE PROBLEM OF MALE OBEDIENCE
 http://portland.indymedia.org:8081/front.php3?article_id=20208&group=webcast


Woman's Greatest Fear

By emma goldwoman

Imagine a woman proposing a worldwide organization which men can join, can work for (building up the capital assets of the organization) and to which men are encouraged to donate time and money. And this organization works consciously to condition men from childhood with the idea that the most holy and important action men can take is to serve this organization without question.

Imagine a woman proposing that this organization will always be a completely undemocratic organization, rigidly hierarchical, and 100% controlled by a very powerful group of women who will never, ever, allow men to participate in formulating the aims and ideas of the group.

Imagine a woman proposing that this organization shall exist for 2000 years and shall meet every challenge by the men who dare to ask for equality in this group with torture, murder, enslavement, imprisonment, ridicule, assault, expulsion, exile and legal punishments of all kind, barring men from any except the lowest positions in this organization. Please, take a second and imagine a woman proposing an organization of this kind. What would be the response of men?

"Man-hater!" "Feminazi!"

But that organization exists today; it's one of the most prominent, authoritative and wealthiest organizations in the world, and it has powerful overt and hidden influences on political decisions that affect your life... but of course it is not controlled by women. Oh no. It is completely, 100%, controlled by men. Just substitute 'woman' for 'man' in the description above and you have an accurate description of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

A few weeks ago this is what happened to a few women who attempted to challenge this organization:

"Seven women excommunicated as deadline passes."

"Seven women who took part in Austria in a simulated (notice the language!) priestly ordination on 29 June were officially excommunicated at midnight on Monday."
 http://www.cathnews.com/news/207/161.php

"We think that the Vatican will ordain women, perhaps in 2 years or in 30 years or in 100 years, we don't know, but every woman of the world must fight for -- against discrimination of women worldwide. And we will -- we are the first now, but I think other women will follow us..." Dr. Gisela Forster
 http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/cnn_transcript.html

(By the way, for all you conspiracy minded folks, do a google search and try to find actual articles (not just links) about this in the mainstream press. The two references I was able to find are both from Catholic sites who only mention the story in order to support the Pope! That man, it seems, has a long, long, arm.)

Now, how many people did you hear denouncing the Pope as a 'woman-hater'? How many people defined the Pope as a 'masculinazi'? None. It is taken for granted that some men have privileges that no woman in the world is allowed, ever, even to think of having. Otherwise she is 'excommunicated'.

Are the men and women who support this organization accused of being 'women-haters' simply because they follow the Catholic ideology? No. But if a woman followed and promoted an organization that did to men what the Holy Roman Catholic Church has done and still does to women would she not be branded a 'man-hater'? Of course she would.

Clarification: I don't think the Pope hates women, or that the men and women who keep him in power hate women. The Pope and his supporters simply want to continue oppressing women. Love co-exists with oppression and acceptance of oppression; with dominance; and with forced or conditioned submission. That is the history of the world.

Yet, if a single solitary voice peeps from somewhere, even from the relative obscurity of Indymedia, and dares to point out the obvious fact that the political world is still a world 90% controlled by men; that the military violence of this world is 100% directed by men and 90% performed by men; that the economic world is 99% controlled by men; that even the so-called progressive opposition voices to this violence and control are usually men's voices; if a woman dares to point out these obvious truths staring us all in the face, what happens? Do people debate her facts? No. Or her reasoning? No. This is what happens: she is branded with the scarlet letters MH, the label all women fear. She is branded with the name Man-Hater, the most loathsome creature in the world... according to men.

Ask women this direct question: "Are you a feminist?"
And what will you hear? 90% of the time?

"Oh no! I mean, of course I believe in equality, but I certainly don't hate men."

Why this association of feminism with man-hating?

From the beginnings of the women's movement women who had the nerve to point out obvious but uncomfortable truths of social relationships have been accused of 'hating men'. And from the beginning this accusation has been the most effective means of slowing down and stopping the movement and of making women close their eyes to the obvious facts of their own existence.

Women who refuse to identify themselves as feminists are afraid. What are they afraid of?

Deep down women's strongest and most secret worry, our greatest fear, is that it may be true... maybe we do hate men, and we are afraid of facing the reality of our feelings. Because we do have powerful frightening feelings about men, alive today but deep-rooted in the uncharted past.

However, I maintain that this powerful feeling women are taught to call hatred springs from another source. Yes, it is powerful, like hatred. It can move mountains. It can make the most mundane woman in the world become a heroine overnight. Who knows, maybe it can change the world.

I maintain that this feeling that women are afraid to face, this feeling that most men and some women call 'hatred of men', is our feeling of injustice.

Every woman I have ever known in my life loves at least one man, usually several: a father, a boyfriend, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a former lover, a co-worker, a nephew, an uncle.

But women do have this rarely acknowledged feeling, buried for centuries, for a hundred centuries, three hundred generations. A voice breaks out sometimes expressing this feeling of injustice, only to be stifled by opposition or self-imposed shame.
Why do men control the world, and create such suffering through the way they control it? Is that just? Where are the women in the halls of power? Where are the women when decisions are to be made? Who usually decides to cut down this grove of old-growth forest, or to rain bombs on that poor country? Where are the women with financial power? Anywhere money talks it is men's tongues saying the words, and women are reduced to props and decorations.

And remember, all you guys itching to pull that mouse out of your holster and start clicking it in my face: I'm talking the 95% rule. 95% of the time, men rule.

Are the zillions of men who have never uttered a word opposing male domination called 'women-haters'?

If women dominated political decision-making to the same degree that men do now, would the men who pointed out that fact be called 'women-haters'?

Women are taught to call our feeling of injustice 'hatred' and to be ashamed for feeling it. And we stifle it, stuff it away. But reality does not allow us to live in illusion forever. Maybe for a day, a year, even twenty years. But reality acts upon the human heart and when injustice exists we feel it as injustice.

But then we hear the voice, 'No that is not the feeling of injustice, that is hatred. You are blaming men!' and our sense of injustice is twisted, thwarted, and it returns to a fitful sleep.

Women, we must recognize our strength. Our strength is our love for men and for women, and our respect for the reality of our own perceptions. And we must recognize what guides our strength, what tells us where and how to use our strength: it is our sense of justice and injustice. And any man or woman who defines us as a 'man-hater', simply because we state the obvious truth of our society, is doing what people have been doing for centuries: they are trying to shut us up.

If you dare to point out the reality of American foreign policy, you are called 'anti-American', and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of your own country. If you dare to point out the suffering of a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation you are called 'anti-Semitic' and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of Israel. And if you dare to point out the reality of male domination you are called 'man-hater' and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of our male dominated society.

I will never feel ashamed for trying to describe accurately what I see with my own eyes. I know which way the wind blows but the weatherman is stuck in Plato's cave.

Women's full participation in the economic and political and intellectual and spiritual and artistic life of humanity is the hope of the world, and it is going to happen. It is happening right now.

And it's going to happen in ways men may not want it to happen. Because just as men have defined the rules of authority, they have also defined the rules of resistance and revolution. But now is the time for women to creatively break through the ideological definitions of the past.

Men, you men who see the future which our present is leading to, it is time to join the women's movement; politicized active women are your best allies in creating another, more humane, society. And women, all you women who see the reality of who is dropping the bombs and directing the bombers, it is not hatred you feel, it is your feeling of injustice. Let that be your guide and nobody will stop us.
Hey Emma 24.Sep.2002 14:08

iam

I don't read all your posts and am not that interested in the "male domination" topic, but I gotta say I admire your stamina. You definitely keep debate on IMC lively. Thanx for being here.

i do read them &.... 24.Sep.2002 16:40

todd

I generally have found your analyses a little sloppy though well intended. I did enjoy this article and I agree with much of what you say. I think that your writing is certainly progessing as well :)

I thinkk previous hate posts regarding your articles further prove your points

mouse clicking 24.Sep.2002 17:00

planker

my mother was a woman of power. personal power. she told me nothing about women other than they would treat me as they were treated. Manners out of bed but not in it.
It is said men marry their moms. not me. she was too hard. my dad loved her and she him, he was treated like a king and all else was in the way or fluff.
seduction is a wonderful game. mom was right.......

I am not married, I go for fish who dont need bicycles..


mom also told me, a few days a month keep the guns locked up.

here we go again 24.Sep.2002 17:02

evil penis operator

The point has often been made that, when dealing with an immature adolescent, that negative attention is attention, too, from the point of view of someone desperately seeking attention, any attention at all. Now, judging by the many women I have been involved with....

Here we go again, Emma. I hope you are quite sated this time around, and will leave some room for more pertinent topics. We men have wars to fight and work to do and food to put on the table while you sit knocked up back by the hearth, yakking away, just like always.

Dear Emma 24.Sep.2002 17:57

Catholic Man

Dear Emma,
Thank you for acknowledging that I, a Catholic man, don't hate women. But to say that all Catholic's want to continue oppression of women isn't true either. I have female friends who would make excellent priests, and I would love to see them ordained, and hear their homilies.
Two years ago, I stopped using the masculine adjectives in reference to God. Frequently, after mass, I am asked by those around me why I use God and Creator rather than Him and Father. I love when I have an opportunity to explain that God is far greater than man or woman. It is de-meaning to God to apply a sex on our Creator. In the pews, I've noticed more and more people who are using gender-neutral language.
There are many many people in the Church who want to see women's ordination. I believe it will happen in my lifetime. And I believe it will happen because I share my beliefs with others, who in turn share it even further. We will achieve critical mass in our struggle.
Many things about the Church have changed and evolved over the years. While the Pope provides leadership, parishioners united is a strong tool in re-forming the Church.

Peace be with you.

A question 24.Sep.2002 18:11

Alexander Berkwoman

Ms. Emma,

Having been too annoyed by the clever sophistry and twisted, albeit well intentioned, logic of your previous posts, I never posted a response. However, it seems you have finally allowed yourself to see through your justified rage and write something less combative and less aggressive.

You have offered an analysis of the catholic church and its male-dominated hierarchy of oppression. I agree that the abhorrent things that are done in the name of the church are wrong, but do you honestly believe that replacing the male hierarchy with a female hierarchy (even a gender equal hierarchy) will change the way the church works?

Your logic is as follows:
-Men run the church
-the church is oppressive towards women
ergo, men are oppressive towards women
ergo, if women run the church, then women will not be oppressed by the church.

You fail do address the underlying system that allows for male domination and female oppression to happen: Authority, hierarchy, state and church. The real EMMA was very clear about this!

<<Love co-exists with oppression and acceptance of oppression; with dominance; and with forced or conditioned submission. That is the history of the world. >>

This is very clear and very concise and very true. The history of the world however is neither the history of men nor the history of women. Poor women amd poor men are both exploited and oppressed. Poor women and men are both exploited by the oppressive and powerful few. I guess what i am only partially addressing is a lack of class consciousness in your writings. You haven't offered any gender analysis based on class and i think the blinders you wear towards this topic are limiting the efficacy of your arguments.

<<However, I maintain that this powerful feeling women are taught to call hatred springs from another source. Yes, it is powerful, like hatred. It can move mountains. It can make the most mundane woman in the world become a heroine overnight. Who knows, maybe it can change the world.
I maintain that this feeling that women are afraid to face, this feeling that most men and some women call 'hatred of men', is our feeling of injustice. >>

This very beautiful language , nice imagry but again this argument is teetering down the razor's edge of sophistry. Do men only feel hate and women only feel injustice? No, ok i didn't think that's what you meant, but you still equivocate with the meaning of hatred. Is injustice felt my a man merely hatred? Is injustice felt my a woman merely hatred? You imply that the answers to these questions would be different. Does hatred and injustice really mean different things to men and women. Might some of the branding of feminists as man haters come from the feelings of injustice men feel when a feminist makes oppressive and false arguments about men? Injustice does spring forth great and powerful forces, this is not unique to women, and as a man who is against patriarchy and against the state and church and all authority, I find your suggestions fruitless and counter productive (although your analysis is quite good)

You should never feel ashamed for trying to describe accurately what you see with your own eyes, but please don't let your experiences of injustice blind you to the fact that while you might think you have risen from the darkness of the Platonic cave it is clear you have merely traversed from the darkest cavern to a slightly more illumined one.

You want men to join a women's movement...

<<Men, you men who see the future which our present is leading to, it is time to join the women's movement; politicized active women are your best allies in creating another, more humane, society. And women, all you women who see the reality of who is dropping the bombs and directing the bombers, it is not hatred you feel, it is your feeling of injustice. Let that be your guide and nobody will stop us.>>

Men ARE dropping bombs and scamming the masses and will continue to do so unless the people unite. Why a women's movement? There are examples of women with power who are equally as corrupt and dominating and unjust as the men (Vera Katz) just not as many. Why not a people's movement, presuppose gender equality, work to maintain it and move forward.
There is a war we need to stop and there is an unjust economic system we need to overthrow, if we can find ways to organize without hierarchy and authority, ones that are directly democratic, the gender issue is easier to address.

We need more people with your energy if we are going to make any real changes. I hope people will maintain this dialogue.

OTOH 24.Sep.2002 23:16

Bill

Perhaps, if the gender issue were addressed, we would be able to find ways to organize without hierarchy and authority.

The statements which you impute to Emma's "logic" are also in the wrong order.

reply to bill 25.Sep.2002 02:27

alexander berkwoman

do you mean to imply that hierarchy and authority come from male domination and patriarchy? If so, please explain. There are plenty of examples of women organizing hierarchically, one example is the patriotic "woman's league" so common in the 40's 50's and 60's. You might argue that this comes from the systemic oppression of woman and perhaps this is true, however, it seems fairly obvious that rather than woman organizing in this manner because they are systemically oppressed by powerful men that perhaps the women have bought into a greater scam (as most do) the scam that teaches us that there must be a master and there must be subserviants.

I honestly wish that by addressing gender issues, and overcoming them, would solve the problems of authority, control and injustice. I am deeply skeptical of this. It seems to be addressing merely a symptom of a greater dis-ease, I don't know. chicken or egg perhaps, but do you honestly think the gender question is the root of all evils?

please, if you have time, point out the fallacies I have made regarding emma's logic (despite common, relativistic tendencies, accurate representation of ones reasoning is important in dialogue and argument)

let's keep talking!

Hey Emma 25.Sep.2002 02:59

pose

How do you feel about First World "Feminist" organizations that support American military aggression around the world--such as the National Organization of Women's support of America's recent colonization of Afghanistan in order to "liberate" Afghani women from their Burkas?

The type of feminism that Emma Goldwoman practices is a Feminism of privilege and power, one which takes for granted her relatively privilege economic and social position as a citizen of the American Empire.

Cloaked behind Goldwoman's pseudo-radical rhetoric is an underlying belief that Goldwoman (and white, middle class women in the Overdeveloped world in general) have a right to speak for and represent the political interests of women in the Third World.

Goldwoman's feminism is fundamentally an Imperialist ideology, fundamentally no different from the system of (First World) Male Domination she claims to oppose. Her feminism is essentially born of the grievance that she is not accorded the same position of power and domination what her (white) male peers in the Industrialized/Overdeveloped world take for granted.

some thoughts in brief 25.Sep.2002 09:32

snowydave snowydave@yahoo.com

Alexander B, I guess you shouldn't take that imaginary "Womens Catholic Church" too literally. Rather than a proposition to develop such a movement, it's an analogy to help us men, enjoying (and blinded by) the privileges of a patriarchal society, to understand how the Catholic church of our times (and perhaps society at large) appears to women. Although Emmas earlier posts have been disturbing in that she's suggested another hierarchic structure, matriarchy, to substitute the existing structure of gender domination, this article from her doesn't seem to imply that. (accidentally?)

Some have criticized feminism for not taking into account class domination. But just as class domination penetrates the gender division, patriarchy penetrates all social classes. In my opinion, if we're to create an egalitarian society from the grassroots, the first thing to do is to look around and admit the male domination in our very own social relations. And join the womens movement. Before this's happened within the social movement, there's no real chance of creating an attractive alternative that would bring an end to all sorts of domination, including 1st World domination brought up by pose.

In the end, I would like to thank Emma, who made me realize this.

men that DO care 25.Sep.2002 14:32

0ne_man_0pera

'I maintain that this...feeling that most men and some women call 'hatred of men', is our feeling of injustice.

Every woman I have ever known in my life loves at least one man, usually several: a father, a boyfriend, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a former lover, a co-worker, a nephew, an uncle.'

--maybe certain womyn just hate "*strange*" men :)

nice positive and understanding-building comments

cherchez la femme 25.Sep.2002 21:37

Nadine

Feminists need to just mind their own business!

Also 90% of all bad things are "controlled" by men - how do you mean "control"??

not to be simplistic or reductive or anything 26.Sep.2002 05:18

forced into misogyny

There is a phrase in common use among working class men, who are a bit older, and who understand, or at least attempt to understand, the complex and yet simple barrage of mixed messages, hyperbole, hyperemotional panicked decision-making illogic, and outright hypocritical situational ethics which some call "Womyn's Behavior."

It varies, though I have heard it on the streets, in Jail, and at terrible, stupid, demeaning jobs with other men, as we discuss the womyn who are busily spending the money we prostitute ourselves for...

But the best phraseolgy belongs to the fancily printed card that fell out of a humongous, soft-spoken, Black mental hospital worker's wallet one night at a sandwich shop that I worked at in Texas a few years back :

"Never Trust Something that can Bleed for a Week Straight, Once a Month, and Not Die as a Result."

Feminist greatest fear... 27.Sep.2002 09:02

The Goat

The greatest fear of all feminist is that some woman somwhere is not having an abortion...

shut 18.Oct.2002 20:00

whu

why do some males respond to this and feel the need to defend themselves personally?

i dont know. misogyny exists all over the damn place and as long as we each personally combat it, then we're getting somewhere.

but ive seen too many fucking "activist" males who have made sexual advances towards ALL of thier female friends who are thin or otherwise "attractive".

why do so many activists look at me as "the feminist", and when tehy go to a confernece or what and come back with alot of literature, i'm handed the feminist stuff, and nothing else?