Hello feminists!

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Welcome to my blog.  I’ve learned about all I can, easily, from Facebook.  The security there concerns me, and it’s time to step up to the world of blogs, anyway.  Half of my Facebook posts were Notes.  I look forward to real feminist discussion!

‘Forest’ refers to my view that the devastation of the Earth is primary, selfishly because we require the planet for our existence, and simply because we don’t have the right to view all other life as subordinate to our kinds’ continuation.  Please understand this:  The survival of the Earth is primary — because without our beloved, life-supporting planet, there is no ‘us’ or ‘ours.’  This is a basic premise at Forest Green Feminism.

Comments that are not related to the post at hand will not be published.  I work hard to make my thoughts and views concise and carefully-constructed.  If you can’t address what I said (or what the commenter above you said), it’s disrespectful.

I should probably add that here feminism is by, about and for women, which means those born female — and not those who have chosen to appropriate all that is us.  Pro-feminist responses will probably be posted if they don’t involve men/non-women telling women how to be feminists (our oppression so the consequences accrue to us).  Trolls will be dealt with appropriately, and I get to define appropriate, with my sisters’ input.

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Fixing Feminism

Who broke feminism?  And how, and really, why?

Is it just feminism, or is the collective fight against oppression equally broken?  And isn’t that still a reflection of the discounting of women’s liberation?  I found myself in an ugly conflagration with a man I had thought of as an ally.  I certainly – and carefully – supported him!  But as it turns out, because he was oppressed for reasons other than sex, he couldn’t also be an oppressor, in his view.  And even if I was oppressed for reasons of sex, for being a woman, that was insignificant compared to my ability to oppress owing to my whiteness.

Why is it so difficult to step away from the oppressed-only frame (the Victim frame) and see oneself as also an oppressor (a Victimizer)?  And maybe a better question concerns how we ended up so tightly focused on individuals, and not on institutions?  On the fact that this oppression is systemic, is woven into the very fabric of our culture, and individuals changing their views is nice but insignificant compared to the power backing the status quo?

Isn’t this a bit like lifestylism, where we want to focus on household recycling, or on making one trek a week on foot rather than driving?  Yet institutions such as the military, the government, and industry are the primary instigators of environmental degradation, consuming 85 to 99% of whatever resources are in question and releasing a similar proportion of the worst pollutants.  Again, we seem to be terrified of challenging the big players in the system to effect any real change.

I understand that it’s at the individual level that our hearts are broken by those closest to us.  Should-be allies find cause or excuse to see us as lesser, and they lie, discount, or devalue us, in public or in private.  It’s also very individual to experience violence:  rape, battering, and murder; but the fact that these are acts done by men, overwhelmingly, on women, also needs to be stated clearly for feminism (and all anti-oppression work) to move forward.  And until we replace the system that creates self-important males without restraints on their entitlement, or redirects their valid discomforts at women, specifically, and others marginalized, generally, with something more humane than this brutal white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, everyone not of the top 1% or 5% will pay dearly.  But still not equally.  Abuse of others is the carrot that keeps non-elite white men focused as programmed, and entitlement to the benefits of those same men keeps other men focused as programmed, as well.

White women have very little power without blatant conformity to the male elite power structure, including siding and living with individual men.  And yet, with this conformity power, white women can and do oppress.  Second wave feminism, in great part because it was born from frustrations with men within oppression theory circles and their fight was against white supremacy (and later, war), had a foundation of anti-racism.  It didn’t hurt that many of the authors of second-wave feminism were Black women, and often Black Lesbians.

What has happened among women, especially but not limited to young feminists, is that women yet again have been relegated to the back, replaced by the “transgender” issue centering men:  the people of concern in this are natal males, so-called transwomen.  Within this arena there is NO debate allowed.  Within institutions priding themselves on critical thought, there is NO debate, no critical thought, allowed.  Colleges and universities discredit their own to the point of discipline and firings, and allow for the no-platforming of “gender critical” speakers in advance of presentations.  Public meeting place arrangers are harassed until they pull events.  And political groups either hold to the “transgender” agenda line or they face serious backlash from “trans”activists.  In the UK and elsewhere there has at least been some public discussion, even if the voices of sanity – including experts’ – have been shouted over to the detriment of any discussion.  In the United States, laws were simply changed with no public involvement whatsoever.  Generally, only when these laws have been discovered by citizens, usually through disruptions to primary education, have ballot measures contesting the rights been created.

Instead of fighting for the liberation of women and girls as a discrete sex-caste, feminism has been remodeled into an almost unitary (in representation) social justice warrior campaign against women!  The whole “sex work” and “empowerment” and individualist bent has made this feminism into something entirely palatable to the vilest of men.  A new vocabulary  came about to explain its parts:  “SJW” as shorthand for social justice warrior, not a kindly term, and “virtue signaling,” calling out oneself as on the side of righteousness and in opposition to those who are most generally horizontal in powet, and occasionally lower on the hierarchy!  But, more, it has moved feminism away from a collective liberation effort entirely.  There is no fundamental focus on female oppression, or its bases – patriarchy with capitalism and white supremacy at the very core.  And white supremacy is vital to the discussion as this is how hierarchy is maintained!  As I’ve explained, white supremacy is one of the master’s tools for keeping people focused on a patriarchally-preferred target, one lower on the hierarchy, or sometimes approximately horizontal.

A brilliant woman I know wondered aloud recently why so many feminists want to dialogue on grievances rather than work on the issues at hand, to actually move toward fixing the problems in women’s lives.  What a thought!  Fixing as opposed to wallowing in recriminations, very often on others’ behalf, rarely allowing for the targeted individuals to speak.  An otherwise-brilliant feminist set this up on her own social media account, much to the chagrin of those more seasoned in SJW signaling, and in speakers-on-behalf.  (I had to be educated on this, however; SJW and virtue are easy soothers!)

My answer, probably only partially correct, is that we have gotten far too comfortable with the quick and easy fix.  The United States electorate put Obama into office, and quietly went back to gazing at navels, focusing on porn, sports, and shopping.  When he bailed out banks and let individuals lose their homes, there was still porn – and sports, and shopping – to distract us.  When the propagandists directed the focus of white men and their wannabes onto immigrants and feminists and non-Christians, and made plain the case that Hillary would emasculate men and keep up the same Wall Street allegiance, the US electorate put a showman (though not a puppet like Reagan was) into the highest office in the country.   Why did the white women who voted for him do so?  This is an era of intense women-devaluing, if not outright woman-hate, and very likely these self- and like-hating heterosexual white women opted to align with their men.  Another scenario I’ve witnessed (small sample) is that women who were raised in very patriarchal homes or who otherwise absorbed as positive the image of the dominant father-protector were far more likely to vote for the showman.

So how do we fix feminism?

What would it mean if we were to focus on the issues, and work toward fixing them?

One of the things I suspect we’ll need to do first, given the intensity of feminists toward grievances, is hearing those out.  Separately from the issues at hand, women who have been hurt deeply and who carry that pain with them (us?) may need to air the grievances before becoming willing to talk about issues or fixes.  I’ve seen this in other women, but also in myself.  Often the problem presented isn’t the real issue.  The real issue needs dredged up and heard first.

Something to be aware of:  somewhere between one and four percent of the general population can be accurately classified as psychopathic.   These individuals tend to be charming when necessary, and brutal when it meets their needs.  For some of the women who rise to prominence in feminist circles this might be useful information to hold onto.  Another chunk of the population is narcissistic.  Neither group is likely to shift focus after a grievance.  Compounding this is the fact that non-pathological women who don’t really feel heard are also unlikely to shift focus until they feel they have truly been heard.  This is not going to be a quick fix, and for some very good reasons.  The idea is to truly hear what has hurt individual women within feminism, and find the pattern and the logical solution to ending it.

Another part of the picture will be to prescribe steps and efforts to be sure the same grievances don’t stall the feminist process in the future.  The cause of the pain, as it’s possible, needs fixed.  For feminism to function, we need to be able to be allies to one another, even if we don’t agree on specifics.  And this will need clarified, and worked out, as well.

For feminism to thrive, diversity even on the hierarchy needs to be OK, so long as it’s not abused.  Working definitions of abuse need to be shared.  It has to be OK to be Black, Latina, Native, Asian, Arab, as well as to be white; it has to be OK to be Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic, as well as Christian.  It has to be OK to be Lesbian, Bi, disinterested, as well as being heterosexual.  And it has to be OK to be working class, working poor, poverty class, as well as middle class or above.  Let me say the controversial parts of this again:  it has to be OK for women to be white, to be Christian, to be heterosexual, and to be middle or upper class.  It’s not where we are that matters so much as what we do with what we’ve been handed unearned.  Each woman landing on the privileged side has to bring with her, ultimately, an understanding of that privilege, and how to deal with it; each grouping needs to move beyond the Victim-only framing to honestly deal with both the effects of entitlement and the effects of marginalization.  They both count.

Also, more controversial but equally important, are the traditions in each grouping.  There will be white feminist traditions – ways of seeing that make sense to white women because of our white experience.  So long as this doesn’t demote or demean other women’s traditions, these are OK.  There will, similarly, be heterosexual, and Christian, and middle and upper class traditions of thought.  And so long as these do not marginalize the traditions of those oppressed via these hierarchies, they need to be OK, too.

Feminism, to be effective, needs to be All Women’s Liberation where the liberation is from patriarchy, male supremacy, where the other supremacies (white, het, class-elite) have been worked out adequately to create a sisterhood of deep allyship across both difference and existing, challenged hierarchies.  Feminism is, of course, for, about, and by women and girls.  On a different level men can be allies.  But it will always be necessary for men to follow women’s lead – the direct effects of actions chosen accrue to women and girls.  Within feminism, the alliance of sisterhood I envision is more, and women who face the consequences of directions chosen need to lead.

And then we can work to get away from grievances and onto solving the issues that face women in this patriarchal culture.  And after I’ve edited this 433 times (my average, I think), I’ll get to considering the issues.  Or maybe that will have to be Part 3.  Part 2 might be what’s been laid out here and challenges to it.

Thoughts, corrections, criticisms?  Thank you for reading.

Agency, really?

It’s not that women are helpless pawns, it’s that women are oppressed:  the subjugated sex, the sex with all the rules and constraints and expectations for meek conformity.  Women are raped (at least one in four is the accepted stat); women face violent abuse (50%), and even death (1300 per year) from the men they love at statistically horrifying rates (http://www.stopdv.org/index.php/statistics/).  And when women leave their abusers?  That’s where men commit 75% of DV murders.  (http://www.domesticabuseshelter.org/infodomesticviolence.htm)

Where is “agency” in all this?

I can tell you where it is – it’s in the minds and the ideals of so-called Third Wave feminists.  Take that “agency” out and test it, and it falls flat.  It’s no protection, it’s no counterbalance to very real male behavior.  The belief that women are things, varying from arm candy to cum dumpsters, is at the core of pornographized culture.  And most of the culture is deeply pornographized.  We are living in porn culture.  If you don’t believe these last three sentences, take a look at Pornhub, and note that in 2017, the site had 81 million views – per DAY, and 800 searches per second.    (https://www.pornhub.com/insights/2017-year-in-review)  Don’t buy their propaganda, though.  In most of the US “lesbian” is the most-searched category, of course by men, but Pornhub quietly attributes the searches to women, and uses the words “MeToo” and “empowered” to preach feminine agency.

“From the “Me too” movement to prominent females the likes of Hillary
Clinton and Nikki Haley on the world stage, women are feeling more
empowered and they have found their voice. This is a sign of things to come.”

Are there men who actually see women as level equals?  If you put “separate but” in front of that equality, then sure.  Because all of maleness is determined by not-femaleness.  Don’t believe me?  How often do you, if female, share clothing with your significant other, if male, IN PUBLIC?  How often do you wear his shirts to the mall?  His shoes?  How often does he wear yours?

Male clothing is different from female clothing, and those who overlap, defy the difference without making a spectacle of it, are female.  Our notion of sex, male or female, is based on difference.  And our notion of sexuality is also based on that difference – for heterosexuals, men are different from women and that is part of what is supposed to create the sexual tension between the sexes.  Problem:  it’s a hierarchy.  Heterosexuality is BASED on dominance and subordination.

Have some hets worked beyond this?  Of course we (female partners) have.  “But that’s also an issue to deal with in the larger culture.

Sitting in your own home, discussing decisions to be made, voices may be perfectly equal.  Say you’ve decided on a paint color for your kitchen.  Now go to the paint store together.  Even though it’s for a kitchen, considered a female domain, and even though both men and women capably paint walls, chances are the worker at the paint store will focus on the man.  Or go buy a car together.  It matters not that you’ve done hours of comparison work, have memorized the 0-60 time, wheelbase, engine specs, and trunk capacity for ten comparable cars, and he’s checked out colors he likes, the sales staff will gravitate toward him.  Out in the culture, you’re not allowed that equality you think you established at home.  He will be treated with deference, as an expert or authority, while you will be adjunct, and ignored.  He may not even realize it, because it feels like basic decent treatment to him.  And he hasn’t spent a lot of thought, short of egregious things like shoving and swearing, on how you’re treated.

It comes out when discussing plans for your home and he says, “I’m going to …” Or “I did this …” when you know damn good and well that you participated, sometimes did the majority of the work, and will do the same in the future.  He also says “My house” and never “Our house” when he’s talking projects.  He’s been trained to do this all his life.  He has agency; he sees himself happiest as a free individual, able to make decisions without encumbrances from anywhere.  It turns out that agency is really a male ideal, and one that has some irksome effects on the females who care about them!

Is agency a female ideal?  Should it be?  In an article focusing on female agency  (http://www.refinery29.com/2018/01/187589/female-agency-post-weinstein), the author writes of  photos of a nude male torso, and of nudes passed as a part of work (she never lists the nature of this work, but it sounds odd to me), saying:

“I’ve seen young women obsess over equally innocuous behavior — and I’m worried about how many of them might spend their lives feeling powerless because of one tiny moment.”

But women aren’t feeling powerless because of a momentary glimpse of a body – the powerlessness comes from realizing, as the author has written earlier in the piece (without any hint of irony):

“While I am certainly aware that men wield power over women in this society, what I find more difficult to accept is that they wield power over me, specifically. I can’t stand that it’s impossible to make myself equal simply by behaving as though that were the case.”

If young women are obsessing, then it’s time to encourage confronting the issue and healing by working through it.  We old/er or simply other women have done this, either decades past or we’re still doing it, but from a place where we function, no obsessions.

The powerlessness comes from recognizing the hierarchy, and the fact that women are the Low to men’s High!  It’s a completely accurate analysis!  We CAN’T wish ourselves into equal power.  That’s the point.  That’s why it’s Women’s Liberation and not Wishful Agency.  Actual feminists want to take down the system, including its hierarchy, and create something different.  Not Lean In, not some version of male-defined power with female faces, not women’s equality with men, not even “agency.”

In comparison to male agency, women’s communication is focused on community, connection.  We’ve been trained to do this all our lives.  People who study communication, especially by sex, find this difference to a striking degree.  (See the classic, “You Don’t Understand:  Women and Men in Communication.”)

If agency is a male ideal, women using it in dealing with men in a hierarchical setting have little chance of success.  Does that make women into children?  If it does, it’s patriarchy that created the situation, not me.  And not my framing.

If calling out the fraudulent nature of female “agency” infantilizes women, it is the culture that renders women childlike.  We need to change the culture.  Granted, it’s easier to critique the various writings by women, often claiming feminism as their basis for understanding the issue, than it is to do the work of tearing down the culture.  But it’s the culture that is our biggest issue.  Its hierarchy.  Its individualizing and isolating men, except in devaluing women:  arm candy or cum dumpster.  No, really, take a gander at Pornhub, or read Suzzan Blac’s blog at http://theviolenceofpornography.blogspot.co.uk/

A more useful analysis starts from recognizing women’s strength in our socialization.  It’s not winning in competition or freedom from encumbrance that motivates most of us most deeply.  It’s not the individualism of agency that grounds us best.  It is in connection with others, and in creating community and then nourishing it, that we find ourselves – in both senses:  we end up there, and we find fulfillment there.  Genevieve Vaughan has written that humans find their worth in meeting the legitimate needs of others.  A more useful analysis would then require men to become and be human.  Or at least get out of the way.

So argue with me!  If you’re a woman who sees men as almost as helpless before the gods of culture, share and explain your view.

I see male power.  I see the opportunities to use it for good, even as men claim it’s not enough, it’s virtually useless!  Bull.  I see white privilege, another name for power.  I see the opportunities to use it for good – and I see my kind dodging responsibility, not wanting to make waves or stand out or be labeled a troublemaker.  But, oh, this culture needs trouble from the wave-makers!  It needs troublemakers who dare to stand out.  Not every single moment, and not without risk assessment – best to live to fight another day, usually.  But fight.

The Journaling Group

There is a group I’d love to attend, on some levels, and so I went to the introductory session with the following thoughts in mind.  The journaling group is based on the ideas of its creator, combined with the wisdoms to be found in Dr. Estes’s popular book, Women Who Run With the Wolves.  My first comments are my hope of finding other women who want to help women become re-empowered locally, something I share with a dear friend who received the original email notice for the group.  Later I refer to the introductory flyer.

We old women have the time, energy, and relative freedom to make effective, lasting change that young women, as well as the middle-aged among us, often do not.  We may even have acquired wisdom – especially if we have been marginalized in some way AND have engaged in analyses of our oppressions via existing writings on the topics and in discussions with other women, or people who share those marginalizations.

I want to find the boat-rockers.  I want to find women who already have some depth of analysis and who want to strike out against what is wrong based on that deeper understanding of HOW things are wrong.  And then, together, I want to work on helping to empower other adult human females so that we can wreak havoc on wrongness, as an effective and caring coalition of women.  A sisterhood would be awesome, but that needs to be earned; coalition is good enough for now, I think.  You can be who you are, that’s fine.  I’m a radical feminist.  My political analysis is based on the hierarchies of the castes assigned to people under the existing system.  Those are hierarchies by sex, race, class analysis beyond the 1 vs 99% view, and more.  Radical means getting to the root of any issue, and one of my strongest motivations is the empowering of all human females so that we can create an effective, and level, counter to the inequities that rule our lives.

Maiden – Mother – Wisewoman (Crone) has issues beyond what the added ‘Prostitute’ brings in.  This is age-related, so why not just use Crone?  Ageism is inherent, though, if wisdom is solely seen as being gained with age.  Even age doesn’t guarantee it!  And the age-triad reinforces the errant concept of ‘linear progress,’ where young feminists, except for the especially brave and brilliant, have been coerced to believe that second-wave feminism was not in their best interests, and was actually anti-woman!  It was, it is in women’s best interests, as it is female centered.  That’s its flaw in the backlash:  it refuses to center men.

The focus on motherhood, both a main basis of female oppression and of privileging within the sex-caste hierarchy, is an issue of unnecessary female divide.  I say ‘oppression’ because motherhood is our bodily ‘resources, extracted’ by the other sex, and I say ‘privileging’ because any capitulation to patriarchy is rewarded so long as it benefits men.  Women who choose not to be mothers at all in this era of global climate catastrophe and human overpopulation should be commended, not marginalized.  It could be simply girl, woman, old woman — but why the emphasized division by age, anyway?  If it’s focus, name the focus.  It might be stated as:  Building Self (a major portion of girlhood is drawing or weaving together the characteristics chosen as valuable, creating an honorable and worthwhile Self), Building Family (the gifts of adulthood that women bring include community, connection, and care, which are vital to the creation of one’s own chosen and supportive family), and extending the community outward, or Building Tribe (often older women build across divides).

And why is ‘Prostitute’ an included archetype???  Prostitution is, by definition, female sexual slavery (wherein pornography is the literal depiction of that enslavement).  The number of women trafficked into prostitution, often as pre-teen girls, is astronomical.  In the US alone the number of girls and women trafficked into this country’s sex trade is roughly 15,000 a year.  Worldwide, sex traffickers ‘buy’ or steal almost 2 million children a year.  The body-buyers and -abusers are men.  It is the ultimate proof of patriarchy — men buy fuckability in human form; under patriarchy men own the right to use others’ (lessers’) bodies for their sexual indulgences.  Some countries, legally or otherwise, have sex tourism as a major – if not economically THE major – industry.  Thailand and Singapore are “vacation” or “business” destinations most often visited by men, solo or in groups.  When businessmen brag about trips to Singapore or Thailand, this is probably what they’re telling you, and getting away with because you don’t know and aren’t encouraged to consider in the current cultural climate of “agency” and acceptance.  Now you know.

Awakening the inner artist in every woman, also a time of self-building, makes sense.  The warrior in many of us does come out in full force as our immediate obligations to sustaining others’ lives decrease.  Women often cannot be frontline activists easily when others are completely dependent on them; women with children feel this deeply, and are released into fighting back overtly, once those children are grown.  It may be dangerous to say in this day and age but having children really can limit what women can do communally; maybe that is a lot of the point.  Women who settle into culture are also seen as sexual targets up until their early 30s; performance (of “beauty” and of “sexy”) for males is demanded.  The freedom of greater age can be a time of community-building, both small and local, and large and bridging customary divides — including race and class and love interests (that which in the negative is Lesbophobia).  The wild woman archetype CAN open women to building — fierce and fighting alliances, or coalitions of care, but it can also be co-opted, in this era of more-backlash-than-actual-feminism to mean highly-individualized and individualist goals:  being seen as sexy in later years, developing a personal style or look, taking on causes without much analysis.  Look at the tremendous boost to the anti-feminist “trans” cult, and the subsequent loss of women’s rights abetted by older women!  Or look at the acceptance of pornography and prostitution now seen as “liberated” among so many older women!

During the meeting it became clear that Dr. Estes’s and the group leader’s essentialism, that men and women have very different, roles, goals, and innate personalities, was going to silence my dissenting view.  No, I don’t believe that men are innate competitors perfectly fitted to war, football, and sexual aggression aimed at spineless, simpering women.  I’m sure to women who are afraid of conflict this might be soothing, another version of ‘it’s not our fault.’  But that is infantilizing, nowhere near a true picture of womanhood, and certainly not covering the range of what many women already are:  brave, centered, caring, fierce, loyal builders of connection and community.  Some men have shown they are capable of that, but all men are taught to be destroyers, and all women are schooled in valuing men and maleness over other females.  That last stuff is culture.  I challenge that, always, and in a group where the basis for understanding place, as a woman, is in opposition to this ‘true nature of men,’ I can’t fit.

As I wrote to my friend:  I’m just not interested in fawning praise for masculinity, or loyalty to gender.  Gender is fake — the social roles each culture enforces upon the two very real sexes are not uniform across cultures, and usually only serve the power structure.  I am not a woman who ever fantasized of rape, or who eroticized power differences, men over women.  Possibly I’m fairly rare, I don’t really know.  But it’s something I never had to confront in myself, or worse, try to unlearn. The whole thing of ‘Ooh, men are innately power-driven and isn’t that SOOO sexy …’ smacks to me of the kind of accepted female subjugation that gets masochism labeled ‘female,’ innately ours.  Just no.

I’m glad I attended the introduction.  It was comfortable walking in as simply another woman, one among others.  I was one of the youngest, too, something I’m not used to, but not by much; we were probably early 60s to late 70s.  Seated in the presence of aged women, with agile bodies and active minds, was also comforting.  I love my sex; I deeply appreciate women.  But the woman who wrote The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football wasn’t praising men, she was critiquing culture.  Me, too.

So Many Snowflakes

Snowflakes mean ‘specialness.’ Far beyond what Mr. Rogers sang and spoke, people in the US are invested in self, in aggrandizing that self, and in staking space for that self, often in very public ways. A version of Snowflake pairs well with youth, but others as easily accompany age. It’s the “I always knew you were special” of Blade Runner: 2049. It’s the focus in parenting of the Sputnik generation, where students HAD to math best and science finest because Russia HAD to be beaten in the space race and beyond; it’s the birthright of the Gymboree generation. It’s US rugged individualism carried to a petty, obnoxious, all too self-important level, with its basis in group-think. And I did it, too.  Maybe I still do, I don’t know.  And, of course, it’s wrong.

Two manifestations these days are vegan/vegetarian arrogance, and the cult that allows young men to claim womanhood and, with social approval, punch older feminists who disagree.

This all came up because of a discussion on nutrition. Some of us are aged and experienced, honestly took wrong turns and want to talk about them, and actually care that our miseries don’t repeat unnecessarily. We’ve started offering up articles on nutrition that showcase, usually too simplistically, the results of our deeper and well-considered analyses. If Trump’s given us nothing else he’s provided an escape for us all in claims of “fake news” we can aim at whatever we dislike, in studies and other science. Goddess knows “journalism” has done its part, and science is sold and sealed by corporatocracy. If exposure to education has garnered no other benefit, it has allowed for a critical analysis of studies and philosophies, alike.  Feminism is as strong and as accurate as the philosophies of its adherents — and as damned as its backlash is welcomed, culturally.

Remember I led with ‘aged and experienced.’ It’s hard to gather data if you don’t have the time in. And nutrition isn’t, as much as we’d love as a culture to believe, a fast science, leading readily to a quick fix. Dietary changes may feel great, as one toxin is removed, but too often we just replace it with another. Or with deficiency. Most of the adamant vegans and vegetarians are young.  Some of the remainder are recent converts. Many of the long-timers have such medical issues logically attributable to vegetarianism that their claims of health ring hollow. And many of us who were vegan or vegetarian for a long while can claim negative health effects clearly linked to our veg eating. I do, and the children I grew within my skin while fully vegetarian also do.

There is nothing quite like looking your child in the eye and admitting that your vegetarian adamance likely caused, or at least contributed to, their neurological damage.

I was that lecturing vegetarian in quality vinyl softball cleats. I was going to save the world through sanctimonious sermons on why killing and eating animals was wrong. Morally, ethically, and nutritionally wrong. I had science and feminism on my side. But mostly I had the righteousness of the many like-minded behind me, the virtue of our being bloodless eaters among those feeding the horrors of industrial farming: dismemberment, disease, and death accrued to them alone. Much later a friend talked of taking younger folks into communities with little money, where the very best of their food was offered to visitors, a gift they really couldn’t afford, only to have it rejected.  But the youngers didn’t simply reject the gift, they lectured the givers. Across the vast chasms of race and class, the young white people stepped up and spoke down to those who would share the best of what they had, in kindness and in communal connection. I had done that, in my time.

I honestly don’t care what anyone eats. Most of my view is based on once caring deeply about what everyone ate, and then finding I was actually quite wrong. Evading killing others is impossible, except in our shielded imaginings.  We kill bacteria and viruses simply to continue our own lives. Yes, peppers and cucumbers are delicious, and picking their fruits doesn’t end the plants’ lives. What about carrots? Radishes? Kohlrabi? And who carefully takes their apple core and reintroduces it to Nature, not trash and not compost, but back to the ground to have a fighting chance for rebirth? Factory farming is atrocious. But the atrocities also mount in the growing of, say, wheat: biotic cleansing of the soil is just the beginning. Post-harvest, those huge wheat trucks have large numbers of dead grasshoppers in them. We used to sift them out and then crunch the grains, raw and unprocessed, meaning we gained little to no nutrition; the grasshoppers would probably have been better food. But more to the point of beings with faces, with known mothers and families and connections, vegetarian loyalties stated aloud, there is the harvest of death and dismemberment of ground dwellers.  Prairie dogs and ground squirrels and nesting birds are all butchered by the machinery, or poisoned, as once I was required to do, by hand.

I strongly recommend Lierre Keith’s amazing book, The Vegetarian Myth. She is gentle, caring, kind, and honest. Her greatest gift is in offering us reconnection to the cycle of life, to understanding that everything is part of a whole; we skew reality when we part things out. Salmon, bears, rivers, and forests all work together to continue life. Paul Stamets has shown how mycelium and trees interconnect for the benefit of all. The world we inhabit is full of intelligence; individuals are but a part of that. And yet we have inflated the importance of individuals so as to obscure the interconnections between beings. And it’s those interconnections that matter most. They are obscured when we ask, How many humans can live on this planet? And they’re obscured when we tell others to take on our perspectives, without considering there might be other and very useful ways of looking at things that we haven’t yet discovered. They’re obscured when we dismiss kindness and community in the service of self-aggrandizement, fall back on entitlement and the self-righteousness of privilege, primarily of being white and male!

Another problem that seems to tie in well here is that of not wanting to be average.  Of not wanting to be just one of many, and finding place and positive interaction there. Some of us enter most easily where we can be seen as leaders. Do we spend the same energy or time being members? This seems especially true among women, where we are groomed to distrust, and to compete with, other women, usually for male approval and attention. Men adhere to hierarchy and find their place, occasionally challenging a rung or two upward, but little more. Women, who understand equality deeply — community and connection seem to flow in our veins — seem to struggle with both hierarchy and being lost in the sea of many. Especially as level members, we lose the ability to keep other women at a distance. In large groups of women the hierarchies create space — in conflict, more-privileged women demand we ignore differences, to focus on commonalities. Unfortunately it’s usually privileged difference that causes conflict to begin with, say white women not realizing (or caring about) their evident racism or het women their Lesbophobia.

I see it as probable evidence of entitlement when groups of women face internal conflict. It’s best to work through it, as it never seems to go away otherwise.  And sometimes the entitled even make claims of “identity politics” getting in the way of sisterhood. That, not privilege, or entitlement, or hurtful arrogant ways of speaking or seeing. The phrase has become a stopper, a roadblock to further discussion.

Not ironically to me most of the claims against “identity politics” in my field of vision are being made in white female and Black male writings, two groups that embody “identity politics” like no others! Feminism and Black liberation are the original “identity politics.”  What’s missing here is an understanding of the difference between ‘Being identified as a member of a sex or race caste’ and ‘Self-identifying as something you’re clearly not.’  That’s a whole ‘nother post that feeds directly off this one.  But it ties up the beginning paragraph, here.  Snowflakes are self-important individualists with collectivity only in fighting the object of appropriation, in the case of the “trans” phenomenon, or in signalling the highest of virtues, among the adamant vegan/vegetarian lecturers.  Again, I don’t care what you eat.  I care how you treat others.  I care that we nurture one another to be real, humans, caring and connected.  Women are losing rights, and privacy, to men.  And while the planet storms and swelters, we quibble lifestyles as we oversimplify issues and hide our eyes at the destruction wreaked by our own choices.

Men aren’t women, women can’t escape oppression by claiming to be men, and vegan or vegetarian eating won’t save the planet. There are too many Snowflakes for this time of global warming, of climate catastrophe.  My hope is that we all melt, and join in making real, lasting, effective change.

The Decline of Oppression Theory for Discussing Racism, Part Two

Back when I was first becoming involved with feminist activists as a collective group, I met a white woman who, by all accounts, was respected in the local First Nations communities.  When I asked her what worked, she said, “White people come in wanting to lead, wanting to fix things, sure they know just what to do.  But we don’t.  We aren’t the experts, they are.  And whatever the consequences are to an action?  They face them, not us.  So I just do what they need me to do, follow their lead, and use my white skin privilege to open doors, get what they can’t.”  Others added that she had spent years at this, gaining trust and proving she was worthy of it.  She was committed to helping First Nations people, and when she was needed she showed up.  Every time.  She was aware of the different strains of politics among those she used her privilege for, and she stayed out of the political battles.

I thought she was pretty wise back then.  In the next few years I would come across innumerable authors, feminists of Color, who said the same basic things.  Yeah, she was really wise.

Across my life as a feminist I saw men claiming to be our allies stepping into the same entitlements as did white women working with — really for — people of Color.  I have seen white men (and men of Color, too) come into feminist groups and be allies:  most only for a short while, a few for a long time, and a very small few still worthy of the title at this writing.  Male privilege is just too comfortable to let it go.  I suspect it’s similar for white feminists who work to be allies to people of Color — most of us succumb to the comforts of privilege after a while, and maybe we can be hauled out of our cozy recliner-lined den of entitlement, and maybe we can’t.  But if we’re honest we know it’s always there and accessible to us, with a big sign on the door that says Whites Only.

My friend, the one in Part One who had loosely formed an anti-racism group, thought that there were many men who got the man/woman question, as she put it, quite well.  I’ve spent a great deal of my activist life in groups where women led because the issues were women’s.  I’ve watched men as they wrangled with feminism, with just how empowered women can be and still keep men comfortable — with just how much of a challenge to sex roles and hierarchical “gender” traditions men will actually allow!  That’s not feminism.  That’s not at all ‘getting’ the man/woman question.  It’s expanding the territory women may roam while making sure men still own the perimeter fence.  And the electricity that arms it.  And the right to keep women within it.  Most men fail feminism.  (And still try to claim it; see The Illustrative Value of ‘Pro-Feminist’ here.)

I suspect most whites fail anti-racism.  At least on the first 30 serious tries.  How many of us will persevere to get it and be useful to people of Color?  And how much of the giving up will be because we never found anywhere we fit well enough to try more?  I understand both sides here.  The neophyte comes in with unchecked attitude, unconscious familial biases and a vocabulary to match, and the desire to do good.  Three things.  The marginalized see the first two, and react to those; survival, and certainly self-respect, have depended on seeing these things.  The privileged see the last of the three and react to that.

We had a vocabulary, once, to work through all this.  It’s going away:  I defend ‘privilege’ even as other feminists roll their eyes and whisper asides to one another.  We need this word!  And we need to expand it back to where it once was, including its unearned benefits, the things we cannot help (while skin, being of the male sex, born into money), plus those behaviors that show we expect to earn better treatment:  our entitled words and actions.

We need the words whose definitions were hashed out in late night meetings between activists who considered the ramifications of every slant, who solidified meanings so that they framed (before framing was a concept) the issue in the necessary way for the richest political meaning.  I came in at the end of this era, but participated in some of it.  By the 80s when the culturally-comfortable ones wanted to hold onto that comfort, reversals came into play:  “reverse sexism,” “reverse racism.”  A lot of us — understanding these are themes on a hierarchy and therefore can’t be reversed with any logic to them — opted for re-phrasings:  male supremacy, white supremacy.

What is beyond belief to me is that we now have to fight for the word “woman.”  If I say woman = adult + human + female I am more likely to be told I am a “hater” than to find agreement.  And we now have to fight to show that women-as-women actually matter.  We once objected to the phrasing “battered woman” because it passively obfuscated the perpetrator, invariably a man, and focused blame onto the woman who was the victim.  Now the mainstream phrase is “domestic violence” and women have become simply “people.”  We have lost so much ground.

I recently discovered that in my state, ‘gender’ has erased protections formerly based on who you love, on being Lesbian or gay.  Somehow the duo of “sex/gender” is supposed to cover what’s commonly called sexual orientation (het/bi/Lesbian — but we all know it only comes up if it’s judged deviantly not-het!).  Lesbian is now somehow subsumed under sex/gender.  So, really, which is it, a sex? a gender?  Good grief!  This is a literal erasure of Lesbians!

Another thing I learned from feminists is that good allies, solid allies, matter.  It’s tough to fight the battle alone, even for a short time.  Sisters (and sometimes brothers) in the struggle make it bearable, even when you’re being pushed back.  Having others to laugh with and share activist irony with is indispensable.  Laughter is vital.  Finding others who share bonds with you, and who share feelings of responsibility to the group and to each other and to honor, itself, is important.

In this era, the unfortunate label Social Justice Warrior (or SJW) sums it up too well:  this is someone who doesn’t necessarily believe what is being defended, has absolutely no depth of argument — although the depth of the indignance makes up for it — but rather is signalling his or her virtue to like-minds.  Or hive-minds.  Critical thought, and the ability to listen to opposing viewpoints, once the hallmarks of a liberal-arts education and of a thriving community, are entirely lost at the university level now.  I have even seen activists my (advanced) age advocate for the firing of people who hold opposing views.  Job termination for dissent!  IF the belief means they cannot do their job appropriately (say a Buddhist as a Baptist minister) or IF they hold that people lower than they are on the hierarchy are acceptable targets for mayhem and murder, that’s different.  Please realize that plenty of people in the US Midwest believe that those who practice Wicca should be fired, or worse (and Jews are questionable, too) — this is not a good bandwagon to be chasing.

Unfortunately this era is one of deepening hate, permission to hate and even hurt those who can be Otherized, especially those down the hierarchy.  Especially those who are visible to white oppressors like Black people so often are.  (And, actually, women:  the man behind the Montreal Massacre of 1989 was angry at feminists, and shot women, almost exclusively.)  Unlike massacres, though, the mayhem and murder of Black people often goes unreported unless Black people provide video and force the issue.  No wonder the police don’t want their actions videotaped, and in many places, including my state, it’s been made illegal to film cops.  Which brings up another activist point.

What are we willing to risk?  The one time in my life I ever thought about a life that could do more than my own, I realized that there are people — and issues — for which I’d step in front, risk my life to save theirs.  The one in question is a friend, a young Black man I got to meet in person at a conference on the East coast.  We’d been part of an activist assemblage on the Internet for several years.  I mentioned this to him in passing, because it surprised me, too:  his future was so incredibly important that I would have stepped in front of him to protect him from an assassin’s bullet to the best of my ability.

While it might be extreme, here, I have a history of stepping in to aid or shield, of quietly hurting bullies in childhood, of stepping into the middle of fists when smaller and female people were getting pounded in adulthood.  I don’t necessarily think in these situations, I just do.  I don’t want someone to die because I stood by, helpless and ineffectual and afraid.  I don’t think I could live with myself.  With one young-teen child in the car and someone else driving, I moved to the seat beside her, becoming a human shield to protect her as we were forced to pass a burning vehicle on a busy freeway.  I didn’t think of it, I just moved.  But I do this with my permission, too.  I evaluate later, and I can accept my actions.

What might we risk?  At one extreme there is the bullet, or the explosion from a car fire.  At the other is uncertainty, not knowing quite How To Get It Right.  In between are lesser penalties — going to court for filming police brutality enacted on Black bodies, plus personal failure and looking absurd.  I think we can map out the process, prove good intentions over time, and ask for understanding as we work — hard! — to try to understand that which we really can’t but still should try to get.  I suspect that part of ‘good intentions’ is talking about risk, and the courage to take it.  I can draw a good portion of the map for male supremacy.  I can’t for white supremacy.  All I can do is work to unlearn the entitlement and unpack the ancestral baggage I bring in with me.  And prove beyond any doubt that I do care.

But, honestly, what I need to communicate is a vocabulary that speaks truths and listens before judgment.  Can we find this, share this, and even if it means more hammering, can WE be the activists who create the framing this time through?  Please understand it will only work if me and mine aren’t made invisible.  Or maybe worse, irrelevant.

(All links here accessed October 2, 2017.)

 

The Decline of Oppression Theory for Discussing Racism, Part One

I asked a sister activist about the local anti-racism group she had loosely brought together, since I hadn’t heard from her in a couple of weeks.  Given my immersion in radical feminism, I was surprised when in the course of conversation my friend said ‘the man/woman question’ is well-covered; it’s racism that we aren’t allowed to talk about.  But progress is simply not linear, and feminism or women’s liberation, names for ‘the man/woman question,’ has faced repeated resistance, repression.  And of course we can’t talk about racism — there I agree!  And yet ….

In every surge of movement toward female liberation there has been strong backlash.  With the recent death of Playboy empire founder Hugh Hefner, feminists brought out his direct attack on feminism, which was making gains against unfettered male entitlement to women’s bodies, by turning burgeoning female bodily freedom into subordination.  And he succeeded — he made submission to male sexual standards the norm.  He wrote, “These chicks [feminists] are our natural enemy. It is time to do battle with them,” in a leaked memo.  Further, as Gail Dines has explained in detail, he brought pornography out into the mainstream and made it seem acceptable, normal, and necessary for masculinity, for men.  Following the announcement of his death, she wrote: “He was the first major pimp who brought porn out of the backstreets onto main street. We will never be able to measure the damage he did by turning porn into a corporate commodity that legitimized and normalized the buying and selling of women’s bodies. He hated women, referred to them as dogs, and made porn ‘respectable’ by surrounding porn images with interviews and articles by well known literary figures.”

Currently feminists are faced with the invisibilizing of women.  A book released this summer, called Female Erasure, further details this era’s backlash.  From the introduction on the book’s website:  “Through researched articles, essays, first-hand experience, story telling, and verse, these voices ignite the national conversation about the politics of gender identity as a backlash to feminist goals of liberation from gender stereotypes, oppression and sexual violence.”

I recently asked friends on social media to consider an article on “domestic violence,” overwhelmingly male on female violence (85 percent female victims to 15 percent male).  In it, the first and most detailed case was of a man abused by a woman.  Of course it happens, and of course it’s wrong.  What concerned me was taking a woman-endangering epidemic and making it about men, first, and people, more generally.  My friends on social media understood quickly.  When I complained to a local friend, she immediately mentioned, and talked at length about, a man she knew who was abused by his wife, another nod to focusing on the exception, female violence against men.  We are simply not allowed to name male violence as male violence, as violence perpetrated by men against women (and children and men, too) — but BY men:  MALE VIOLENCE.  What is it about those two words together that is so threatening, including to self-described feminists?

We live under a hierarchy of many sets of rungs, and one of the most dangerous is that of sex, male above female.  Men kill women; cases of women killing men are rare, and generally mitigated by dire circumstances.  Surely it comes, at least partially, from the territory:  men are praised for being aggressive, taking charge, pushing others to do what they want (the football adage:  “there’s no greater feeling than to be able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will”), and for being inherently “better” than women — stronger, smarter in matters that count, braver, bolder, natural-born leaders — all of the stereotypes showing that ‘masculinity,’ the male gender role, is hierarchically “above” all the traits foisted onto females as ‘femininity.’  We may argue details, but we live in a patriarchal culture, and even the arguers give themselves away eventually.  What isn’t said in the debates, amid the ire and the hilarity, is that men kill generally, and women generally do not.  (See also, The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football, accessed October 1, 2017.)

And yet women’s sympathy for men, the oppressor caste, pushes women, the oppressed caste, to pander to men, even to the point of putting them first.  No, I don’t think the man/woman question is at all settled.  In fact it’s more than unsettled.  Definitions have been torqued into meaninglessness, with those that activists hammered out through long discussions on tactics and subtexts replaced by frivolous framings making damning too easy.  Take the concept of identity politics.  Back in the 60s and 70s, feminism — also called the women’s movement or women’s liberation, and Civil Rights, or Black liberation, and the American Indian Movement, were all acknowledged as identity politics.  People who were of a specific group, and who — most importantly — were marginalized by the dominant culture for their membership in such a group which had been identified by the white/ male/ powerful, came together to resist that oppression and fight, unified, for liberation.  Identity meant being identified by the power structure and targeted for oppression.  I believe it was Combahee that coined the phrase identity politics.

Consider what identity politics has become:  an individualistic claim with no basis in fact necessary.  Of course it’s easy to slam the concept — it’s fakery, buffoonery, false.  Lesbians can have penises, some people are identifying out of sex (male/ female) and claiming to be one of a variety of genders — or none at all.  Except that Lesbians are women, adult + human + female, who love women, and gender, the societal role assigned by sex, is itself a hierarchy of masculine over feminine.  It doesn’t matter how creatively “genders” can be made to multiply, the hierarchy — and the artificiality — remains.  To eliminate the problems with gender, again, societal roles, abolish those roles.  Abolish gender.  Let people wear whatever they wish, and do whatever they wish in life, so long as it doesn’t transgress the boundaries of others.  But that is an unfortunate facet of gender as it’s framed these days — the whole purpose is transgression of specifically female boundaries, either to get into female spaces (bepenised people) or opt out of female oppression (vulva-possessing people).  The problem with THIS version of identity politics is that existing people, women, or adult + human + female people, are being shoved out of female spaces.  And we can’t talk about that.  Lately those who try lose jobs and can’t get their research approved.

But it goes beyond mere changes to definitions.  There is huge money behind the whole “trans” movement, and there were laws passed quietly that I suspect most people don’t know exist.  (Transcript.)

And we still can’t talk about racism.  Not really talk.

In the discussion on the anti-racism group, I relayed a situation where I had invited a local, a leader and effective organizer, and a truly solid citizen gentleman of Color to a meeting downtown.  When he walked in, this powerful, effective, solid citizen looked terribly uncomfortable — as though he felt unsafe.  I spoke with him immediately, welcomed him, and he settled in at the margins, but only there.  My friend was moved, and uncomfortable, by the retelling.  (Good; we need to know, and only the uncomfortable change things.)  When I worked for a fairly large company in the Pacific Northwest I invited a coworker to play on their volleyball league in a nearby public park.  But ‘nearby’ to me was north of downtown to her — and no one of her ancestry ventured (safely) north of downtown.  She was gracious to explain it; she didn’t owe me that at all.  Not surprisingly, I’ve never forgotten it.

We still don’t talk about racism.  And we don’t talk about a lot of things that fall into the general category of oppression theory which, when taken together accomplish two valid goals.  They allow us to see commonalities enough to form, at least, coalitions, making we who are oppressed the vast majority.  And they allow us to see ourselves honestly, as oppressed, yes, but also as oppressor — in other situations.

Black men are horribly oppressed, just look at prisons and the number of men shot by police who get away with it — and still have male privilege, can still act as oppressor against ALL women, to at least some extent.  White women are deeply oppressed by men within patriarchy — from the sexual assaults most of us have endured to sex trafficking, and being beaten or killed within relationships of legitimized “love” — and yet also have very real and very brutal power over Black men.  So often these two groups hold onto how they are oppressed, and what we really can’t talk about is how they/ we also function as oppressors.  If we can see ourselves as both it gives us common ground for listening without immediate defense (#NOTALLMEN, #NOTALLWHITEWOMEN).  And it allows for both groups to evade demand for the loyalty of Black women, a situation that hasn’t changed a great deal across history.

Privilege is decent treatment compared to a logical reference group.  There are too many ways to be privileged, and to have been soothingly sold into believing the rightness of the decent treatment, for any of us to have no culturally-endowed and somewhat internalized urge to oppress another group.  Yes, that’s a long sentence; read it again if it isn’t clear.  In short, we’re all in both camps:  oppressed, yes, for being seen as having membership in marginalized groups, and also oppressor.  Privileged for some things, group membership characteristics, marginalized for others.  All conformity to the elite’s standards equals privileging.  Any self-comfort within that conformity leads to normalizing that privileging and to the inability to see its effect on those down the hierarchy.

When I spoke of privilege, my friend challenged me on making it about personal issues, where I’d previously said that privilege is based on group membership — as determined by the dominants.  For decades feminism has held that the personal is political.  Until very recently no one has ever claimed that the personal is the whole of politics.  Keeping the focus on identity as ‘out-group membership bestowed by the power structure’ should help, here.

Another landmine is in wanting to see everyone as ‘just people,’ making differences more palatable to the privileged.  Where we have privilege we really need to sort it out ourselves, with checks back to the marginalized to be sure we’re not derailing our own education.  Difference is usually sacred, valued by the marginalized group.  I speak at a local conference every year, and while the room is generally packed, only one or two people who know me come to hear what I have to say.  Only one friend, advanced-degreed and a deeply political thinker, has come to hear and support me; she’s never missed a talk.  Never has a conference organizer sat in on my presentation.  Not once in four years.  Every year I speak about how differences are valued by the marginalized.  Not only am I working class, I’m actively challenging the comforts of privilege within the existing hierarchy.

We want change.  We just don’t want to have to talk about it.  And we’d rather not have to do the work, to be challenged, to take risks and actually sometimes fail — and look stupid, and be humiliated, and all of that.  I agree it’s not fun!  But it’s so very necessary to the creation of change.  It still has to be done.  We have to be willing to do the work.

Part of doing the work is to be willing to go beyond talk of unearned privilege, things we can’t change, and dig into our own privileged behavior.  We discussed perfection, and we agreed that perfect is the enemy of progress.  Sometimes it feels like there is a really tight line we must walk as activists, and if we misspeak we will be hammered for it.  I understand this; I also understand that we privileged are often used to being right, and to having extensive freedoms — to use and even to appropriate.  So when we say a word, or worse, claim a word, that we shouldn’t, the response can feel intense beyond reason.  I would ask that we look at it from our experience of the other side, of having someone simply ooze privilege out into the conversation where we look to our own, wondering who the hell has to clean that up.  And someone does, and because that stinks so badly and has such dangerous implications if left untreated, the response is also a warning:  DON’T go there again!

My love, in an anti-racism discussion, used “Voodoo” as a negative, and was immediately called on it by the leader of the group.  Gently and with some adamance.  Having lived with political-me for decades, he was accepting of the correction, and took the education as valuable.  (Notice I’m telling on someone else’s privilege misstep, not my own?  We always have to be able to take what we give; I’m working on it!)  I was impressed with the scenario as it played out.  Yes, there were small gasps in the audience, and spines suddenly straightened, preparation for the battle between the tall, elegant Black man and the big, working-class white man that would ensue.  And didn’t.  Modeling of how to call and respond given, I think, beautifully.  Bravely, on the part of the leader of the group — the room held many white people, including working-class men who are presumed to be the enemy of anti-racism, and here were seriously untested.  And honorably on the part of the white folks who stiffened for the likely battle before them — but neither escalated the situation nor stepped in to align sides.

Can we reside here for a while — can we really talk about white supremacy?  Can we talk without demanding either perfection or tolerance of the inexcusable?

This is already too long.  In the next post I will cover what I understand to be the basics of oppression theory, things I learned through reading hundreds of books, primarily by Lesbians of Color, during the harassment days I endured in the mid-80s.  Your ideas on oppression theory basics are welcome!

(All above links accessed September 30, 2017, unless otherwise noted.)