March 7, 2006
Recently, there was a leaflet by a supposedly Marxist organization attacking gender hierarchy in the Third World. However, there was one rather incongruous demand that wimmin not be prosecuted for crimes.
It was not a demand that wimmin not be prosecuted for adultery, abortion or trying to be religious leaders. It was simply an across-the-board demand "against prosecution and imprisonment of women!"
Now for a hard-core anarchist group, this would not be surprising: anarchists see no need for a state. In the case of this one group in question distributing the leaflet though, it believes the state will not be withering away--ever.
This is an example that we come across from time to time. In my mind, that particular demand in that particular context is almost explicitly as patriarchal as can be while yet covered with a leftist veneer: "we don't want wimmin in prison, because we want access to them."
The demand not to imprison wimmin is progressive and friendly, so it probably escapes notice for most people. What is friendly though, is the first step in romance culture for many and it has to be suspect in the origins of patriarchy. So let's put this in even better form: the demand not to imprison wimmin is necessary to romance culture patriarchy, because it implies a purity of wimmin that makes those wimmin attractive. If we simply assume that wimmin are pure, then the road to focussing on their looks is clear. The pseudo-feminist demanding no imprisonment of wimmin even clears the way to going back to not caring what is between a womyn's ears.
There is a pretty solid group logic there in that demand not to imprison wimmin at all. More often though, we encounter a similar approach with a sexual fantasy behind it that is not quite as explicit.
Hypotheses on sexual fantasy inhibiting scientific advance
1. The number one fantasy inhibiting scientific advance is that only obvious male chauvinist pigs (mcps) have sexual fantasies holding back scientific advance. The porno magazine or film says the womyn enjoys sex and mcp believes everything he sees. The problem is people are way too sophisticated already for that to be the main drag on the movement. It could be the main drag on a population, but not on a feminist movement.
It's critical to recognize sexual fantasy in its pc forms.
2. The most common, garden-variety sexual fantasy of the pc persyn trying to oppose mcps is protectionism or paternalism. In the typical tale, the hero saves the inert yet pure-of-spirit womyn--instead of letting her fall from a building or allowing King Kong to crush her or watching her stumble through her own stupidity.
3. A corollary to number two is that some females will know how to activate number two in males. What is missing from discussion of this point is that it involves activating a fantasy of male power in the female. That is how to be "sexy" and also obtain resources in the 'ho-system.
Here it would be useful to point out that the the interaction between the mcp and the PC female is much centered on. Yet there is a dynamic that most people miss: to the extent that the PC female believes she is being treated strictly as sex object, she will be less inclined to come to elaborate fantasies projecting male power. It is in some ways the prevalence of PC men which prevents PC females' assertion of immediate and outright dominance in some spheres. After all, if females came to believe that males are generally dumb in certain regards and can only process females in one object-oriented sexual way, then what is the point of elaborate projection of male powers in various gender realms? The construction of pseudo-feminism requires the existence of PC man. Otherwise, PC female would quickly rule the roost.
If a power differential between males and females declines or does not exist, the patriarchy may compensate by increasing superstructural distribution of fantasies of male power. This by itself is how the gender aristocracy injects a divisive element in the movement for wimmin's liberation, a self-paralyzing element. At some point though, as we get to the communist future, the bubble will burst, if it is true that romance culture relies on eroticizing power as MIM tends to believe. People may stop having sex and they may stop role-playing. We doubt political role-playing is innately biological. It's not necessarily true that revolution will usher in when the bubble bursts. It could be that biologically female people will simply openly define themselves as men and the struggle could continue with both biological males and females projecting fantasies of male power at the expense of people in other countries.
There is a popular play called "sex-positive," though it handles rape and domestic violence. The "Vagina Monologues" has received extensive corporate and state funding. Last MIM checked, Google had over 800 entries for "Vagina Monologues" in the news section alone.
MIM has found that the "Vagina Monologues" is by far the most common experience on Amerikan college campus today. Typically the play comes with sidewalk chalking events extolling "pussy power" or "sex is liberating" etc. MIM has been to campuses where "Vagina Monologues" was the only social or political activism apparent.
Granted, we do not want Amerikan religious colleges to have the authority to ban the play and still receive any federal funding for student loans. At the same time, we do find it culturally arrogant to seek to play it in Africa.
Our suspicion would be that "Vagina Monologues" is actually a conscious corporate effort to co-opt the activity of MIM, Catharine MacKinnon and others. Maybe even more importantly, the powers-that-be have perceived that young wimmin are going through an adjustment period at this time in history. To continue binding wimmin to the patriarchy, the corporations and government needed to admit the negative side of patriarchy for credibility reasons. However, the real message is orgasm--making pornography in public OK, thus the scenes with females acting out moaning.
"Vagina Monologues" is the patriarchy working overtime. We're not denying that if not for the "Vagina Monologues" there could be many problems of adjustment. The play helps females catch up with where men are already. In fact, the play helps create men that we call gender aristocracy. We wonder how many years "Vagina Monologues" will be able to patch the patriarchy up. What would happen if college females actually realized how much they outnumber men and how they have more independence than ever?
These are just hypotheses. Ordinarily MIM would be in Congress now, but we can think through these hypotheses anyway. MIM believes we should not make too much of our own practice, because it is too small, so it is better to call these hypotheses, the early buds of theory.
The confrontation with the MIM line or 2pac's music has a dynamic involving sexual fantasy. Usually we handle the substance of the MIM or 2pac line. Here we're talking about the social process going into the reaction to the MIM or 2pac line--not mainly the substance of the questions themselves.
MIM's claim that the principal contradiction is between imperialism and oppressed nations can by itself set off a fantasy. In fact, a large part of the 1960s feminist movement was a fantasy-laden response to the Black Panthers.
The line that there is a principal contradiction and that Mao led the most successful wimmin's liberation by making it secondary is not obvious. In fact, talking about Mao and the Black Panthers sets off a fantasy of male domination. Damned be the facts about wimmin's liberation in China--that is all esoterica anyway. Not even Catharine MacKinnon does research on that.
Here are some people saying the armed struggle against imperialism is primary. Is that not male power? But the key is, that even if it were not, there would be a sexual fantasy that it is. If Peru, Eritrea etc. had mainly female fighters, it would not matter to the fantasies. In fact, for those who are too reality-driven, it would be little trouble to construct lesbian or gay male fantasies.
What kind of fantasy is this? That is one mega-problem for pseudo-feminism. Robin Morgan went on at length in her book Demon Lover. We should probably be thankful for its honesty. Pardon us, but it is simultaneously a rape, terrorism and love fantasy, as she knows. Just as womyn appeared in HIS-STORY, with food, shelter, clothing, college education and even corporate-funded jobs spreading pseudo-feminism, the book Demon Lover also appeared. In other words, as male power relative to female power within a country declined, the fantasies about that male power needed to be bolder than ever, and nothing could conjure that fantasy better than a terrorist, the erstwhile subject of Demon Lover. MIM and similar political forces cause an orthogonal reaction, because of the needs of the gender aristocracy at this moment.
What would be the alternative after all, that Morgan was powerful herself, that she was taking advantage of her nationality, class and education to oppress Third World wimmin? That she even instigated a whole war and invasion against Afghanistan? Obviously it's much better to fantasize about the power of terrorist men and rejecting them in favor of Democrats. After all, what role says that powerful womyn is sexy? (What would happen to fantasy if we started talking like MIM?)
Pseudo-feminist wimmin are complicated, relative to mcps and even pc men. There is a lot of time that can go down the Robin Morgan rabbit hole. She spends a long time rejecting the Demon and knows she will be evaluated for "doth she protest too much?" What she does not say MIM will: her book-length fantasies about the demon-lover were actually a fantasy about the egalitarian, liberal Democratic male. He is not often mentioned, only drawn into ever sharper relief by Morgan's tall tales of tall terrorist power. Morgan's rejection of the terrorist or Fanon puts her in approximately the same place as the pc man, one who needs a certain mental picture to be in place for fantasy to work, crucially, right now.
PC Amerikan men also have their fantasies. They need to believe that wimmin are grinding steadily forward on gender questions--somehow. If the vast majority of the country's females were oppressors and the rest children, that would be very disruptive of pc male sexual fantasy about pseudo-feminists. The mcp takes the porno literally, but the pc man is only one step better: he believes the pseudo-feminist invoking his great power.
This is one controversial point we need to absorb: when power is not really there, there will have to be a fantasy of power and that will fill in at least temporarily for the patriarchy. Where the power gap is missing or in question, the pseudo-feminist must conjure it into existence, with what other than alleged feminism exaggerating the gender gap within the First World while ignoring it between the First World and Third World.
PC man also continues to believe in the purity of whiteness, just without calling it that. If PC man admitted the truth that Euro-Amerikan womyn is an exploiter, prison guard, liar and the number one killer of children, that would make it more difficult to get aroused. Stereotype says the mcp does not care about the space between the ears, but pc man does whether he knows it or not.
If in the 1770s, with such a small percentage of men being able to write at all, a womyn said, "oh, you are so powerful, and I am naught: I will not write the Declaration of Independence," then maybe we have to believe it. Today with females vastly outnumbering males in college degrees, it's time to call it out: it's just a fantasy. For those who find that too harsh, and MIM's line too harsh--it's time to stop protecting a pc sexual fantasy about gender-privileged females.
True, some may object that even as we realize the factual truth that Amerikan females are the number one murderers of children, there are people in imperialism who will find a way to fantasize about that. No doubt this essay will provoke some gender bureaucrats into action to rebut the MIM, and whether they know it or not, they are in fact eroticizing the power of adult females to kill children. That goes without saying for those who do not want to imprison any wimmin.
There is always the danger that our attack is provisional and not all-encompassing enough. On the other hand, if we can push the battle that far, the joint dictatorship of the proletariat may be on the horizon. Fooled by "lipstick jihad" the Third World proletariat might be. Fooled by Susan Smiths, MIM does not think is likely. So there is a tipping point, as hopeless as our struggle might seem in some ways right now. And if there isn't a tipping point, then there is nothing in materialism that says this species deserves to continue.
As a group, the gender aristocracy is educated, but it's not going to pop the bubble. Still MIM is looking for some individuals to go with an overall line--not a line just to attack this or that manifestation of patriarchy in order to let patriarchy as a whole off the hook.
MIM's line of "all sex is rape" is necessary in the imperialist countries. It orients people simply and correctly, that we are not going to be picking on Iran's sexual practices this week or slamming 2pac while worshipping Eminem. With MIM, we know the whole patriarchy is headed for a fall. We hope some individuals will join us and attack the eroticization of power across-the-board, even and including right in vanguard parties but not more in vanguard parties than the rest of the society. The people who focus on limited aspects of gender within vanguard parties are Liberals working for the imperialists. At the same time, people unwilling to acknowledge that what goes on in the vanguard party is still patriarchy are not giving up their gender privilege. There is no subreformist oasis of purity. It may be useful to recognize how sexual fantasy works selectively in order to recycle patriarchy. This essay was to give some examples.