Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why men should not be defining feminism and femininity

Not really directing this towards anyone specifically, there are many, many articles written by so called feminist men. This particular post was just a classic example of what I speak of, “Why it is necessary to challenge parodies of feminism.”

When I first started speaking out against feminism, what I was not prepared for was so much outright hostility from men. That caught me unaware and surprised me. Also, allow me to play the girl card here, but it was also flippin scary, terrifying actually. Kind of blows all my arguments against male privilege and oppression when “feminist men,” start trying to silence you. That is a parody of feminism right there. There’s nothing quite like having men shrieking at you about male privilege and doing their darndest to prove it’s a real thing in the world.

I hardly know where to start on this post, so I’ll just highlight some of the words being spoken over women, “male privilege, you can’t make a proper fist, way down in the pecking order, slut shaming, she is bossy, women are paid less than men, slavery, denied their very humanity, they are dirty, calloused and seemingly incapable of thought, they will be known as chattel, feminism seeks to right the wrongs of millennia…”

No! Just no. Stop it. That is not the world I walk in nor is it how I define myself. I do not “voluntarily surrender (briefly) that (male) privilege when I don those heels, skirts and bras.”  That is just a total parody of womanhood itself. I surrender nothing! I am not chattel, a slave, denied my humanity, I actually enjoy a rather privileged status. Men open doors for me, they stop by to put a light bulb in my car, they help me carry groceries, they drop some encouraging words on me. In the context of marriage, there is a great deal of protection and provision. I am not “chattel,” it is a bit more like being a princess. Yes, a princess! The  never ending slam on Disney movies did not go unnoticed.

Women have immeasurable value in the biological equation, we produce the children, we look out for hearth and home. We encourage and support men, we provide intimacy and companionship. This is hardwired into who we are, reflected in the natural world around us. Men protect and provide, they enable women to be women, they make it possible for children to grow and prosper.

Feminism seeks to not just erase the masculine, but the feminine as well. It is a rather appalling deception because it teaches women that they don’t walk in the world confidently, as a being having worth and value, as someone who can enjoy the love and protection of men, but rather as an oppressed creature having second class status, a slave, a hated and feared creature, a bit of prey just awaiting the hoards of barbarians and rapists.

Perhaps that is how men who don heels, skirts, and bras feel when they walk in the world of men, perhaps they become acutely aware of the sexual dominance at play there, but that is a distortion, a projection. What many feminist men call “sexual dominance,” and sneer at as if it is a very bad thing, an oppressive thing, is not how most women perceive it at all. It says far more about how feminist men feel about their own selves than how women feel about men in general.

Feminism teaches women that they are prey and that men are predators. It creates a victim narrative that rivals that to be found in the worst of the world of patriarchy and misogyny. If you want to get technical about it, patriarchy itself has often been supported and nurtured by women themselves, as the keepers of culture. Patriarchy and many of the ideas therein are actually designed to protect and provide for women and children. Outside of the structure of culture and civilization, we do become prey, forced to compete in a world of might makes right, just as smaller, weaker competitors. We don’t fare so well under that system!

There is always going to be injustice in the world. There are always going to be yahoos that don’t play fair. But are women truly oppressed? Do we walk in the world as chattel, as prey? According to statistics, not so much. Men have far higher suicide rates than we do, far higher homicide rates, they die earlier, and they are far more likely to get themselves maimed and injured than women are. I’m reminded of an experiment on street harassment, a woman who roamed some city streets and bad neighborhoods for 10 hours seeking evidence of the harassment women face. It took her ten hours just to collect a couple of “hey baby’s!” When men walk the streets looking for trouble like that, they don’t fear harassment, they fear death.

“Oppression” is really a subjective thing, often based on our own personal projections and experiences. Sometimes it involves some confirmation bias, because what you seek, you do tend to find. But is it objectively accurate? Not so much.

I really resent many aspects of feminism, because what they seek, they are also compelled to destroy. Feminist men often speak of equality, but what they really mean, is that they wish to pull women towards what they perceive as dominant, as superior, and that no matter how enlightened they claim to be, it is actually going to be the very masculinity they are rejecting within their own selves.

If one is a man attempting to walk in the world as a woman, one’s perceptions of the world of men and women are going to be that of a man, attempting to perceive his own self through the eyes of women. As interesting as that is, it is still the subjective perceptions of a man and how he experiences his own self. Women rarely perceive men this way, we tend to seek their higher selves.

Not to be impolite here, but I rather enjoy being a girl and really wish that the feminists, the feminist men, the lesbians, the gays, the cross dressers, and the transgendered, would stop trying to define womanhood for every born woman on the planet. I do not wish to pull rank here, but when a woman herself is not even allowed to define what it means to be a woman, we have the strangest kind of male privilege going on, one that often seeks to project itself by force if necessary. Yeah, tolerance ain’t always so tolerant.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"The Inner Ring"

Ever read “The Inner Ring”, by CS Lewis? It was published in “The Weight Of Glory” and is a commemoration oration given at King’s College, University of London, December 14, 1944.

It is a remarkable essay and speaks to the nature of humans, our innate tribalism, our desire for belonging, our willingness to compromise our values and beliefs to be part of the in-crowd, the hierarchy within a hierarchy. CS Lewis wrote, “Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”

These hierarchies are invisible to some, they remain elusive and baffling. Some of us however, often through a series of unfortunate events, become highly tuned into them. Hypervigilance will teach you to recognize and identify who holds the power quickly. Hypervigilance is simply “an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats.” It’s not a bad superpower to have, if it is not attached to its common inconvenient relatives, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Also, it can be rather exhausting if you do not learn how to turn it off.

The world we live in today is so full of blasted inner rings and people seeking favor there, it is a distressing and chaotic world indeed. It contaminates every aspect of our politics, our popular culture, our media. My spirit longs for simpler times, when there weren’t so many alien lizard overlords or magic wizards behind the curtain pulling puppet strings. I navigate through this maze rather poorly, because rather than seeking inner rings, I am repulsed by them. It’s like trying to do a constant two-step to avoid the doggy poo buried under the leaves on a fall morning. Mind fields I call them.

“Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.” People will often do anything to belong, to achieve some desired or perceived status. Especially seductive is the lust that grows when you think you are privy to something else no one else knows, some bit of awareness that the rest of the humans don’t have. It’s a very heady experience to perceive yourself inside the inner sanctum.

Cult leaders, and many politicians even, know this and they are very good at exploiting it. They can take good people and make them do bad things, or at the very least, foolish things. Before you know it, a large group will be following an absolute monster, being so fearful of getting tossed out of the inner sanctum, that they will compromise their very beliefs and values. They can even rationalize atrocities. They will protect, defend, and translate the words and quotes of whomever they perceive to hold the power. “What he really meant is…” are common words to hear from those inside the circle. They never take what is said at face value anymore, in fact they don’t even hear the actual words anymore. They hear what they want to hear.

Those who lead within these inner rings are very good at using rhetorical trickery, so what they said is not quite what they said, not if you were to question them. It is not their fault you misunderstood exactly what they said. They are extremely deceitful and they gaslight their followers constantly. It’s a good ego boost, calling others out for technically not understanding what you said from a purely legalistic stand point, makes you think you’re far more intelligent than you really are.

I am a complete outlier. Such an outlier it would almost be amusing, if it also wasn’t something that sometimes kept me out of the church or away from city council meetings, or outside of any organized groups or clubs at all. Or people in general. It’s also not such a bad thing to be an outlier, I just mention it because I realize so many people aren’t outliers at all.

This post sounds like a really poor after school special on peer pressure or something, but I just wish more people would listen to the warnings and advice that CS Lewis gave us in his essay on “The Inner Ring.”
“It is the very mark of a perverse desire that it seeks what is not to be had. The desire to be inside the invisible line illustrates this rule. As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.” -CS Lewis

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the way we draw towards ourselves the validation of our own experiences and perceptions of reality. It is the story we tell about ourselves and the world around us.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. In a way it really is. We create our own realities, define the little individual planets we all live on. A bit like decorating, we will bring the things that match our decor, home with us. We are the interior designers.

Often we do this with little or no awareness. It is seldom a conscious thing. Our brains are simply taking in data and defining the world for us. See, here are the edges, parameters, boundaries. This is how the world around you IS. This is how other people are. Adapt, adjust, and survive. That is pretty much all our brains do. They don’t filter out this info, moralize it, or even ask if it’s true in the context of the greater world. Not unlike a computer, they simply provide us with data based on our experiences and perceptions.

We are the authors of our own stories however, we have the power within ourselves to change those scripts, to alter the outcomes, to redefine the data, to totally control and change our own perceptions. We are the dreamers of our own lives.

It’s a bit ironic, human nature appears to love control, we want the power, we envy authority, and yet most of us are terrified of seizing it. To seize authority over this one aspect of ourselves that we really do have control over, is to take personal responsibility. With that comes accountability, often tainted by shame, blame, and a keen awareness of our own inadequacies. We are not quite the cool unicorns we thought we were, we are vulnerable, flawed and subject to the whims of the world around us.

One of the greatest deceptions of all is this idea that resisting authority, our own and that of others, puts us in control. We deceive ourselves when we do this because what it really means is that we are bound, ruled by an unrecognized script, trapped in a perception malfunction. It’s a protective and defensive stance, we are walled off, usually as a result of some kind of wounding. It provides us the illusion of control, but it is only an illusion, a deception. In truth we are compelled to walk out a script that is replaying in our minds over and over again, even when we are not aware of it. That’s not freedom, it’s a type of bondage. It is not control, it is the result of having lost control.

As long as we remain in this state, we will continue to draw things towards ourselves that confirm our own biases. Confirmation bias is neither good or bad, it simply is. When we become aware of it and seize control and authority over it, it can be a powerful tool because what we seek, we shall find. What we desire, we pull towards ourselves. Seek good things for yourself.

Confirmation bias is a pretty powerful spiritual law. It can be downright uncanny. One of the easiest ways to spot it in action is in the world of dating and relationships between men and women. A woman who has a negative perception about men and herself will, without fail, date all five of the greatest yahoos in a 500 mile radius. She will confirm her biases about herself and about men in general and it will define her entire world. She will conclude, all-men-bad.

A man may well have five ex wives and spend all his days bemoaning the evil nature of women. He will fail to see that he is the only common denominator there, that rather than being a complete victim of the story he now is living, he is actually the author.

To say such things tends to raise people’s hackles. It’s strange, but we’re often far more comfortable perceiving ourselves as victims of a cruel world rather than as the authors of our own stories. We tend to struggle, resist, avoid seizing our own authority over these stories. It’s a shame too, because that is the one thing we are granted full control over. We cannot change events, circumstances, the world around us, but we sure can change our response to it and our response to it is everything. It becomes our entire universe, the little planet we orbit on, the dream we are dreaming about our own lives.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Public Service Announcement

I would like to announce that after careful and prolonged study, as well as having had many engaging conversations with others, I have now managed to solve all the world’s problems.

Yep, mission accomplished.

I have unlocked the key to healthy relationships between men and women, established a path to world peace, figured out how to catapult all the bad people into outer space, and solved all our political issues.

Sadly world domination continues to elude me, however. The world, in fact the entire universe, insists on ignoring my whims and going it’s own way. A most unfortunate set of circumstance I assure you. If only people would listen to me, we could have this planet cleaned up in no time.

But hey, whatever. Don’t do it the way your mother told you to the first time. Do it wrong 75 times first, THEN resign yourself to the truth and do it MY way. Or not. It’s your bed people, you have to sleep in it. If I am feeling charitable, I shall comfort you when you discover your wrongness. If not, I shall laugh and point fingers gleefully.

Just saying. Your choice. The part where we all march off the edge of a cliff like a herd of wildebeests however, that part gives me pause. If you all would be so kind as to just leave me behind, that would be lovely.

**Also in case the NSA is listening in and that little red light above their keyboards is flashing, my references to “world domination” are only metaphorical.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Civilization as Mutually Agreed Upon Delusion

Kenneth over at Culture Monk has recently been exploring some biblical/cultural themes, especially what I jokingly refer to as trying to reconcile God’s love with the seemingly Cranky God of the Old Testament.

There are several things in the Old Testament that give some people pause, especially as we try to view the bible through modern Western eyes, by what we believe is our new and improved progressive morality. We don’t “believe” in things like sex slavery, rape, tortuous executions, or assorted barbarism. We don’t even want to believe such things are possible.

I must say, one of the most disturbing things about living in the Western world for me is the way we deny the nature of ourselves, the way we perceive civilization as “normal,” as our natural state, as that which defines all else. It’s like being forced to live in a dual reality, with a split personality. In our safe little bubble, people are just naturally courteous to each other, cruelty is an abstract idea, and safety while walking in the world is all but assured, barring a few random accidents. Morality is all innate, it’s simply learned behavior and everybody just wants to be good because that is just our nature. Barring some wounding or a good head injury, we’re all like this!

We embrace this mutually agreed upon delusion about ourselves, this honor code that we consensually agree to uphold and it serves to disconnect us from the genuine nature of ourselves, from any dark and negative aspects of the world around us. Not all of us in the world live in this blessed bubble of bliss. Civilization is a thin veneer indeed. Even in the modern Western world, many of us have the misfortune of discovering this truth,  that the stories we tell about ourselves are only ideals, they are hopes and dreams, things we want to see manifest in the world. They are not reality or the truth about ourselves as human beings.

So, with all our progressive modern outrage and fury and disgust, we tend to perceive some of these old testament laws as barbaric, and shake our fists at them accordingly. Selling your daughters in to sex slavery? Simply paying 50 shekels for rape? Forced marriage? What is this stuff? Misogyny! Either God is mean and cranky or the bible was written only by power-hungry men who hate women! Men not like us at all, but bad men, rather.

It’s a terrible thing to have to say, but “we” ARE the bad men. Stripped of our modern mores and Christian virtues, we are an appalling species. Heck, such values even momentarily forgotten in the heat of the moment, speak to our horrific nature, over and over again. How quickly we have forgotten that we first passed laws preventing animal cruelty, hardly more than a century ago. It wasn’t until decades later that someone thought to ask, shouldn’t some of these laws apply to women, too?? I mean, if you can’t beat your donkey on a Sunday or let your dog slowly starve to death in the front yard, how come it’s still legal to do such things to your wife? Less than a century ago we asked these question, and in spite of these laws, such atrocities continue to this day.

Yes, it isn’t all goodness and light that lurks in the hearts of men! Women either, women have their own issues. The cruelty and stupidity of women is also evident in the modern world of so-called progressive values and advanced morality, too. I’ll spare you the links to all those dark things. Just saying, human beings are capable of some atrocities that will take your breath away, and not just “those people” either, but us, all of us. Outside this mutually agreed upon veneer of civilized behavior, we aren’t so pretty.

There’s a story told in Matthew 14, about a king and a dancing girl, and the king is well pleased with her.  She seeks his favor, gains it, and he seeks to reward her. Does she ask for gems or gold or perhaps and closet full of shoes? Oh no, she wants the head of John the Baptist delivered to her on a silver platter. The King having given his oath, has little choice but to accommodate her and so the damsel receives John’s head on a platter. The head is for her mother, who felt judged and offended by John. She has won, she has proven her worth, shown her power over a king! She holds  life and death in her hands, she can control and manipulate events with her sexual prowess.  It’s heady stuff. It also speaks well to the nature of women, now since long repressed, but ever-present just the same. Sexual politics were not invented in the 1960’s by the feministi and their academic exercises, they actually have ancient roots.

Evil is not a simple gendered thing, even evil exists in a kind of symbiosis between the two genders.
We forget so many things, like in our outrage over the sex slavery portrayed in the bible, we forget that in the world today there may be more slavery going on than any other time in human history. That today, even with our modern mores and morality, we have failed. Even our self-righteous outrage has not been able to rid the world of people selling their kids into slavery. But still we would believe ourselves qualified to judge biblical law, to judge God Himself, to go on to claim the bible must have been written by bad men? We cannot see the truth of the matter, that those biblical laws regarding sex slavery are no more barbaric then our very own written in just the last century. Those laws were not designed to promote an atrocity, they were designed to assign limits and protection for women and children.

There are children right now smack dab in the modern Western world of so-called progressive values, that would give anything to have the protections handed down in the olden days by old-fashioned biblical laws. They may not be much, but they were something. Today we haven’t even got the courage to look at sex slavery honestly, let alone try to institute some rules and regulations. Today we simply deny its existence entirely, as if lying to ourselves about the nature of human beings is somehow more morally righteous than then laws handed down in biblical times. In our outrage, in our great offense, we deem ourselves worthy to judge not only scripture, but God Himself.

Like it or not, those old biblical laws were tailored made for an un-godly people, not by a mean God who hates us, or a cranky God who advocates such things, but by an honest God who sees us as we really are.

We are hardly even able to see the nature of our own selves clearly and yet we so often feel worthy to judge the very nature of God! There’s an old bit of gallows humor that comes from the world of sex workers, “if I had 50 shekels for every time, my father would be a rich man.” I give great credit to those stuck in sex work, they may have little else but they have the eyes to see the world as it really is.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Why Not Feminism?

Interesting how some things in life come full circle. For many years I was a pretty faithful feminist. I’ve been to protests and marches, read all the literature, worked at a DV/SA shelter, had intellectual debates with some great feminist minds. I was never a hundred percent enchanted with all feminist ideology, but about ten years ago I took a major U-turn. Why? With the help of Shulamith Firestone and her idea of equality through artificial wombs, I have somehow managed to follow feminism to its logical conclusion, fascism, totalitarianism. Women forced to compete with men on equal footing, except as smaller, weaker, slightly less connected competitors, the state in charge of all reproduction, qualities perceived as feminine, completely erased. See, there’s this thing called biology, and when we’re creating utopian visions in our minds, biology is an important part of the equation. Women have value in this equation.

Today we are beginning to live in that dystopian reality, the harvest of many years of feminist thought. The rad/fems and people like Mary Daly, Robin Morgan, taught me some things about the cultural dangers of gender reassignment, about the dangers of erasing the feminine rather than embracing it. If gender is nothing but a social construct, eventually we’re all going to aim for becoming what we perceive as the dominant gender. The quest for a homosexual gene is also another double-edged sword, we think it will help us to respect gays more, but followed to its logical conclusion, such a gene would likely lead us to eradicate homosexuality entirely. It is simply human nature to remove what we perceive as socially inconvenient. Equality is a fool’s errand if equality does not celebrate diversity, but rather seeks only to elevate the status of those who we perceive as lessors.

When it comes to relationships between men and women, and building communities, again biology plays an important role. Our quest to “help,” our need to solve problems, has often trumped wisdom. For example, since the creation of welfare, relationships in black communities have suffered greatly, marriage rates have declined, active fatherhood has declined, crime has increased, poverty has increased, unemployment has increased. See, it turns out that men, fathers, husbands, actually play an important role in the community, culturally, socially, economically. In many urban areas inhabited by people of all races, the state has replaced the family, with rather tragic results. The State, as an entity, can never care for people properly because it is a bureaucracy, not an empathetic, sentient being. Government is a poor substitute for things that humans were designed to do for themselves.

The most difficult part of feminism for me is actually the modern knee jerk emotionalism. Third wave feminism especially, has descended into a sort of myopic, self-serving, emotionalism, that makes any sort of debate nearly impossible. It’s all about “I feel bad about this, therefore there ought to be a law…” Or “I feel good about this and if you question it, you’re an oppressor.” The personal is now entirely political, so how a feminist thinks, feels, perceives, is the only valid view of the issue and anybody objecting is now the enemy. Or a misogynist, a sociopath, a traitor. It’s a herd mentality. Cult-like.

1511735_664243753631113_1751388520_nMerging feminism with left-wing politics so the two are hardly indistinguishable anymore, has not helped matters. In the “olden” days feminism was more radical, more against the grain. Today feminists spend less time trying to make their voices heard and more time trying to silence the opposition. All my old idols, MS magazine, “this is what a feminist looks like” with their picture of the President, have sacrificed all common sense. We are now living in a world where it is perceived as acceptable to engage in the politics of personal destruction. Just ask Sarah Palin. Feminists delude themselves into believing they are changing the system, but they ARE in fact, now the system.

Ironically, what we sought to create we have destroyed. Rather than empowering women and creating real choices, feminism has simply become yet another knee jerk emotional tool on the path towards totalitarianism.

I’ll save you the top bunk in re-education camp.