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Begging Bowls and Battering Rams

April 16, 2010

The constant appeals to existing institutions by those who have been cast out are completely unjustifiable.  I don’t understand the compulsion.  I really don’t.  It’s really very pathetic to beg repeatedly, and violent to make repeated demands, for entry after multiple denials.  The very most one could reasonably hope to obtain after such groveling, or pommeling,  is a very grudging tolerance and unveiled disdain for one’s presence.  It’s not as if beggars (if politically powerless) and tyrants (if politically powerful) are ever welcomed with open arms.

This has, of course, unlimited applications.  It applies to trannies demanding access to female spaces, to children begging to be let into the “cool” clique, to the nouveau riche clamoring to be let into country clubs, to blacks beseeching whites for the use of their water fountains, and so on.  The best solution in any of these cases would be for the outcasts to form their own organizations and facilities.

Now, I am perfectly aware that these examples are not constant so far as power is concerned – that the trannies demanding access to female space are privileged and politically empowered over women, that blacks are oppressed by whites, and that whatever power the “cool” kids have over other children is extremely situationally limited.  But I’m not talking about “justice,” in the sense of the oppressed rising in the esteem of their oppressors – or, if so, only indirectly.  I’m not talking about proving arbitrary the exclusion of the oppressed by their oppressors or proving righteous the exclusion of the oppressors by those they oppress.  I only mean to point out that, no matter how righteous or ignoble the separatism/segregation, those begging for or demanding acceptance can never truly hope to attain it.  The best they’ll ever have is grudging admission.

I specifically had in mind religious lesbians who beg and plead for acceptance within their communities of worship, who pledge loyalty to religions that vilify them and, in many cases, condemn them to death.  Wrong as it may be that god-fearing folks find community, at least in part,  in damning lesbians to hell or worse, I just can’t see begging these people to change their minds as being the answer.  Begging for acceptance only returns to these institutions a validity that should have been permanently forfeited by the dissemination of lesbian-hating propaganda.

I’m not even saying that one has to be an atheist, like me.  Can one not still believe in deities without buying into the hatred in men’s “holy” books, without seeking acceptance from men’s priests?  Why should those who have been oppressed be assimilated, incorporated into institutions that will always retain their fundamental purpose of control and oppression?  It baffles me.

14 Comments
  1. Mary Sunshine permalink
    April 16, 2010 10:38 am

    Margaret, it baffles me, too.

    As I was reading you, the thought flitted across my mind of abortion. Women in the 70’s doing vacuum extraction for each other in their own homes made more sense to me than anything.

    Aussies have taken matters into their own hands with right-to-die. The RTD advocacy group are developing a home kit for synthesizing pentobarbital. If you want to get something done, do it yourself.

  2. April 16, 2010 11:18 am

    Exactly, Mary. Why make yourself more beholden to your oppressors if you don’t have to? Good on the Aussies for finding their own way around the RTD opponents.

  3. pseudoadrienne permalink
    April 16, 2010 1:38 pm

    I specifically had in mind religious lesbians who beg and plead for acceptance within their communities of worship, who pledge loyalty to religions that vilify them and, in many cases, condemn them to death.

    That’s what kills me the most. Didn’t Mary Daly say that it’s futile for a woman–certainly a lesbian or a bisexual woman– to find genuine acceptance and equality in patriarchal religions? I know we’ve all been socialized from birth to believe that as women we must strive for acceptance to the point it becomes masochistic, but it still bothers me that so many women waste their efforts and resources trying to find “equality” in inherently misogynistic institutions. There comes a time when we need to just say “fuck ’em” and leave.

    • April 16, 2010 5:52 pm

      I know we’ve all been socialized from birth to believe that as women we must strive for acceptance to the point it becomes masochistic,

      I actually think that we’re taught outright to be masochistic from birth. I think the acceptance-seeking (among other behaviors) are results of our learned masochism, rather than that our learned behaviors get taken to a masochistic extent, if that makes any sense. Femininity itself *is* masochism. Any behavior deemed feminine is already and inherently masochism.

    • April 17, 2010 5:01 am

      Didn’t Mary Daly say that it’s futile for a woman–certainly a lesbian or a bisexual woman– to find genuine acceptance and equality in patriarchal religions?

      I do wish you wouldn’t lump lesbians in with “bisexuals.” So far as I’m concerned, bisexual women are straight. In my experience, the only women who routinely use the term to define themselves are women who are currently with men, but who may at one point have “kissed a girl,” or had a “girl-crush,” or whatever.

      Now, I’m not saying that those women are the *only* women who use the term, but I do have to wonder why a woman who’s not that way would use it, considering the anti-lesbian connotations and associations it has.

    • April 17, 2010 6:24 pm

      I have had various times of confusion about identifying as bisexual or not. Partly because of the following feelings I have on it:

      – that I feel like I see and hear of many/most even?, self-identified bisexual women ending up in hetero relationships as their major adult couplings in life (even some who originally identified as lesbians, and later ended up married to men, etc.), and so my gut feeling is of bisexual identification being a way to signal male-identification, even if one doesn’t feel, in themselves, *solely* identified with males. Basically what you said about it.

      – that I have never had bi-lateral feelings when it comes to sex and love – I have never felt towards men, and there is and never has been any reason for me to believe I ever will, the same way I feel towards women, in the sack or out. There is no “bi” -anything to it, it’s not even like a continuum for me where it’s just more heavily skewed towards women or something. It’s separate and unequal.

      – my thinking around personal identifications on a public level (which is basically where “identifications” always take place anyway, it’s not like you announce to yourself or your cats “I may be a lesbian or I may be bisexual”) has shifted towards a feeling of not wanting to identify as NOT-something if that something is maligned and something I also feel support and/or solidarity towards. For another example, it’s why I will half-jokingly announce to people in my life offline that I feel half an hour away from becoming a lesbian separatist at any given moment, and am comfortable talking to really anyone now about why I think separatism is a good thing for any woman who might want it, but I don’t feel comfortable anymore saying “I’m not a separatist, but…,” even and especially in any pro-separatist position I might be stating.

      It’s plain enough to see that I am not in a separatist situation, so what would be the point of saying “I’m not one,” even if it precedes “but I support…”, other than to want to point out, well, that I’m NOT one, so no one mistakes me for someone who would get all the abuse that separatists get? That’s how it’s feeling to me anyway, maybe other people experience all of that differently.

      Anyway, so with lesbian or not and bisexual or not, I don’t know why I should need to make it a point to publicly indicate that I have ever fucked males or may ever do so again before I die, other than to in some way connect with the privilege that comes from association with males. Just because it may not (or may, sometimes) be as much approval as straight-identified women receive doesn’t mean it’s still not chock full of approval compared to lesbians, ESPECIALLY separatists.

      So since out in the world I *have* received that privilege, and continue to do so for how I’m generally read (conforming to femininity standards to varying degrees, public record of me going on about how much sex I’ve had with men), why go out of my way to give that extra assurance to males and male-identified people that female people are not the only people I have ever been with? To whom do I owe anything other than, as I please, letting it be known that I love women and am for women and that includes sexually?

      – at the same time, I’m not always sure where the line is between appropriation and/or misrepresentation, versus not. Because it’s true that regardless of my feelings for and experiences with female people, I do not have the life experience – including the specific oppression – that lesbians do. And I think all female-identified female people have a right to know that about me, in terms of whether they want to accept my solidarity, love, friendship, etc. I know how I feel about women; my experience is that women can generally tell, and respond accordingly, but that is not the same thing as any lesbian women having a reason to trust that I am woman-identified. There is something I’m having a hard time articulating (not enough Red Bull yet this morning) about the difference for me between wanting and offering love and solidarity versus feeling entitled to receive, it back by way of wanting to stake a claim to non-male-identification where clearly I don’t have a right to stake that claim.

      So that’s all the rambling thoughts that came up for me when I read your comment.

    • April 18, 2010 7:10 am

      I completely agree with everything you’ve said about “bisexuality” here. It absolutely *is* an indication of male-identification. What on earth is female-identified about proclaiming that you’ll be with a man whenever the “right” dick comes along? I can’t see what else claiming a bisexual identity could even mean.

      I wrote a post a while ago about the difference between personal and political identities/identification. I think it addresses the tension you’re taking about between solidarity and appropriation.

  4. Mary Sunshine permalink
    April 16, 2010 2:17 pm

    OK, this is a bit of thread drift, but, on abortion again:

    Het women aren’t the only females at risk of forced birth. Lesbians are raped at least as often as are het women.

    Things like sad0mas0chism and sucking up to gay males are *not* survival skills for lesbians; knowing how to do abortions for each other *is*.

    • April 16, 2010 5:44 pm

      Completely agree, Mary. And I think that if any women would be open to ending the public abortion “debate” and taking matters into female hands, it would be lesbians. I think it’s generally heterosexual women who want men’s approval to have abortions, since they plan on going back to live with/fuck/bear children for the same men who contributed the sperm toward the fetal parasites they now want to abort. And it would also be heterosexual women who would endanger the efforts of lesbians to perform their own abortions by informing their male lovers of their whereabouts/methods.

      Lesbians would do best by keeping adamantly straight women out of the loop.

    • April 16, 2010 9:09 pm

      “And it would also be heterosexual women who would endanger the efforts of lesbians to perform their own abortions by informing their male lovers of their whereabouts/methods…”

      Sad truth, really. It *would* be hetero women who would tattle to daddy patriarchy for a dog biscuit and head pat. Smdh sometimes we women (most often het women) are our own worst enemy.

  5. Level Best permalink
    April 16, 2010 3:21 pm

    I agree with Margaret’s post and every comment following it. Remember the old song, “Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves”? We’ve just got to provide for our own, with our own meaning females. Anything we receive from the powers that be is insufficient, conditional, and tainted.

  6. Edna permalink
    April 16, 2010 4:19 pm

    “Begging for acceptance only returns to these institutions a validity that should have been permanently forfeited by the dissemination of lesbian-hating propaganda.”

    That nails the essence of the problem, without a word wasted.

  7. April 18, 2010 7:03 am

    I also think this post applies to those women who invite males into their own spaces – thinking that they’ll have male acceptance, if not in men’s spaces, in their own. There are a lot of so-called “feminist” blogs, organizations, and facilities that don’t necessarily directly appeal to male institutions, but who do attempt to institutionalize the inclusion of males. This is, in effect, an appeal for the acceptance from males (ie, male supremacy) themselves, rather than a petition to a specific male-supremacist institution.

    • Mary Sunshine permalink
      April 18, 2010 10:37 am

      😀 😀 😀

      Keep on rockin’

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