Nuclear Fallout

I only write on holidays now.

There’s a parade impeding traffic nearby in celebration of the millions of men (and, in recent years, a few really weird women) who — willingly or via conscription — traveled overseas on the orders of other violent, authoritarian men in order to kill (and rape and torture) people in one of the nearly countless wars the US has instigated or horned its way into. War always has been and always will be the province of men who demand obeisance, crave domination, and have no compunction about the physical and psychological damage their violent whims cause to other human beings. The war impulse doesn’t materialize out of thin air; authoritarian men learn authoritarianism from other authoritarian men, and nearly all men are authoritarians because they’re accustomed to a world ordered around their desires.

The fundamentals of children’s personalities and their understanding of how to relate to other people are formed by the time they enter school. Gendered behaviors become ingrained in early childhood; girls learn to suppress their personalities and opinions, to take up as little literal and metaphorical space as possible, and to consider everyone’s needs and comfort before their own, while boys learn to despise everything associated with femininity, to do everything they can to force their will onto the world around them, to push boundaries, to expect. The degree of male authoritarianism they’re exposed to — in the home, via popular media, by simply looking around — will determine in large part what degree of authoritarianism boys will exhibit toward anyone they perceive as falling below them in the social order. The degree of male authoritarianism girls are exposed to will determine to a similar degree how little they will value themselves and how cowed they will be by men and their whims.

In theory, authoritarian patriarchy — the absolute rule of the father — in the nuclear family is supposed to produce ideal male workers (dependent on the company for their continued household authority), patriotic soldiers, and compliant, agreeable wives (and/or cheap and docile labor). The institution is and has historically been protected by men’s self-serving division of social life into the realms of the public and the private, the latter being the sacrosanct purview of male heads of household, to be intruded upon only in the most egregious of circumstances (and rarely even then). This arrangement has been slowly breaking down over the course of the last few decades, but we ain’t there yet, and we certainly haven’t emerged from under the legacy of the era in which these institutions and the dividing line between public and private were considered inviolable.

Assuming father figures behaved like Lucas McCain in The Rifleman, this arrangement has historically only seemed noxious to feminists (and, in rare cases, anti-capitalist and anti-war activists, though few of them seem to understand or care how this functions). It works great for men, the managerial class, and the government. But when men all tacitly agree that a man’s home is his castle, there is no check on how despotic and deranged the king of the castle can become and almost no telling how far the effects of the “private” sphere can ripple outward into the “public” world.

My maternal grandmother Maria* died when my mom was seventeen, thirteen years before I was born, when she was crossing a street on New Year’s Eve and was hit by a car, after which my mom was taken in by the sympathetic mother of one of her friends. I only met my maternal grandfather Chuck* once for a few minutes, when I was eleven and he was enfeebled by old age and disease. He died about a year later and my mom seemed simultaneously relieved and nonchalant, which I found peculiar given my attachment to my own father.

I knew there was a reason I had never met my mom’s two older brothers, Dale* and Bob*, and had only met her two older sisters, Sarah* and Deborah*, and their adult children once when I was a toddler; details were slim, but she told me on the many occasions when I asked why we spent holidays with my dad’s family and not hers that I was lucky I didn’t know them, the PG version. Reaching adulthood — in addition to inaugurating the horror of hearing my parents tell dirty jokes without whispering the punchlines — brought with it top family secret clearance.

The king of the castle my mom grew up in — even when his wife and children were the only breadwinners within it — behaved like a whiskey-fueled Ivan the Terrible. He routinely brutally beat and sexually assaulted my grandmother in front of their children, abused my uncles so severely that Bob lost several of his toes, and almost definitely sexually abused my aunts and mother (I don’t push when my mom drops hints). Because my mom was fourteen years younger than her oldest sibling, she got to witness her oldest brother Dale unload that physical and sexual abuse onto his own children when he moved them into the house and allowed his mother to support him and them until her death; the apple moved in with the tree and helped suck the last of the nutrients out of the ground.

Both of my mom’s sisters, having had no contrary examples, married abusive monsters who beat them and their children, and Bob ended up dying a homeless, mentally disturbed alcoholic on the street in San Francisco. Lord knows how, but my mom was the only one who escaped the family curse, probably in part because she finally witnessed a functional family when her friend’s mother took her in and she subsequently made the decision to do whatever she had to to avoid what she had grown up immersed in.

I saw my aunt Sarah when I was in my twenties and she was nearing death, and she was the most pitiful being I’ve ever encountered in my life. Here was a woman in her late sixties who had survived unspeakable abuse at the hands of her own father, only to move on to a husband who was just as bad. Her own children physically abused her and had stripped her home of everything in it that was worth more than a nickel. She was completely alone, the paid “caregiver” who spent the entire day sitting on her ass and blowing smoke all over her notwithstanding. That she managed to smile at me nearly knocked me over.

By my count, my mom and her four siblings begat at least fifteen children. I’m the youngest by at least a decade, and I’m also the only one who isn’t either a chronic victim of domestic violence, a homeless drug addict, or a violent criminal of one sort or another. Two of Dale’s sons, Joseph* and Allen*, are serving triple life sentences for three counts each of first degree rape and kidnapping, crimes they committed together after they had been convicted of rape and other felonies in another state fourteen years prior. They’re also on a short list of suspects for over forty unsolved murders in the metropolitan area in which they were arrested. One of their sisters was a prostitute in the same neighborhood in which they stalked their victims. The oxy plugs and wife beaters who round out the clan pale by comparison, but I no longer imagine that I’m missing much by not attending family events.

One violent, authoritarian man with no self-control directly destroyed the lives of his wife and four of his children and severely damaged the psyche of the fifth, and indirectly destroyed the lives of all but one of his grandchildren (and, surely, of most of his great-grandchildren). One of his sons directly destroyed the lives of his wife and all nine of his children, two of whom directly destroyed the lives of at least four women they violently raped (and there is no fucking way there aren’t more). It is nearly impossible to quantify the exponential toll this piece of shit took on the world, all by himself, from a position of zero economic power, simply because his maleness conferred upon him the social prerogative to do it.

This is admittedly an extreme example, but it isn’t as if it’s rare. Domestic violence, misogyny, and general male authoritarianism are hereditary global pandemics that resist cures because they’re shielded by systemic male supremacy, the public/private dichotomy (which, by the way, also shields men’s porn use and prostitution from scrutiny), and the lionization of the nuclear family that stubbornly persist despite decades of effort. Male supremacist societies and authoritarian men produce insecure, angry boys who simultaneously kowtow to more powerful men and shit all over women, children, and men they feel hold less social power than they do. They produce fearful, self-loathing girls who acquiesce to and collaborate with societal and interpersonal misogyny. And they’re responsible for very nearly all violence, up to and including war.

There may be a silver lining here. It’s obvious to me, from personal experience, that nurture can dominate nature in some cases. If the culture of male authoritarianism and supremacy can be overthrown, it will be when it exerts itself in full, brazen public view, and we are there.

*Fake names, obviously.

34 thoughts on “Nuclear Fallout

  1. First I want to say thank you for blogging, thank you for keeping your blog up even when you weren’t writing, thank you for sharing your life experiences, and thank you for being consistently mature, articulate, and responsible in your dialogue.

    However, I have to ask what this post is trying to accomplish because it seems like the main goal is trying to squash certain minority opinions/narratives and reinforce the prevailing popular ones that socialization is the only reason men are violent. If you had said “These are my experiences and this is why I think that” then fine. I understand your position and why you would draw that conclusion.

    However your post doesn’t seem to allow any room for those of us who have experienced something different and have drawn our own conclusions from being exposed to coddled and privileged males that act out NOT because their father beat them or because their mother failed to love them enough (example: Adam Lanza), but because they grew up in a society that lets them do whatever they want no matter how shitty it is and tells males that their feelings matter more than anything, even other people’s rights. What about violent males that were not raised in authoritarian homes, or abusive homes at all? What about violent criminal males that had relatively decent and normal childhoods? What about men who have been abused but do not grow up to be abusers themselves? Socialization theory does not explain those males, nor does it explain violent criminal males who have nonviolent law abiding brothers and were raised by the same parents (!). David Koresh, for example, was raised by a single mother and did not have a father figure at all. He became the leader of a militarized cult that had over three hundred guns and he raped barely pubescent little girls. Who do we blame for that? His mother?

    It seems like every time a woman suggests that there might be something wrong with men that the default response is to immediately strike back with the “wounded male syndrome” as an explanation that we are to take on faith that violent men are just damaged goods. And of course the Internet cheers because that’s what people want to hear because men are never ever truly responsible for who they are or what they do. It’s always someone else’s fault, especially if you can find a way to trace it to a particular individual (usually the mother, because again, it’s always women’s fault)… except when you can’t and those of us that can’t aren’t allowed an opinion because it would mean admitting that there’s something more going on than just socialization.

    When you say that a disadvantaged male has no political or economic power, that’s just odd to me. Of course they do because they are men. Period. Everything in this world revolves around men, and is all about giving men what men want. There is literally no other reason that Patriarchy exists than to give men all the perks of a warlord at the cost of women’s collective human rights. Even the poorest man is seen to be more valuable than the most privileged woman. If a poor man rapes a poor woman, his version of events will be considered the most credible. A poor man will always make more money than a poor woman. How is that not power, especially when poor men will always have other men in politics to look out for their interests?

    I agree that social problems can be socially transmitted, and that those transmissions have a possibility of lasting indefinitely. That’s why I don’t think that nurture can always dominate nature. I’ve seen women do everything they can to try to raise decent sons and their sons still turn out to be shitty people. On the other hand, I’ve seen mothers whose personalities and parenting skills are sorely lacking in various ways, but their sons still somehow turned out to be decent. There is no real explanation for this, that is, unless you’re willing to entertain the possibility that human behavior isn’t solely the product of socialization.

    The reason the world appears to be falling into the clutches of authoritarian men with violent impulses is not mysterious. What’s a mystery is why it has ever not been so. Oh, wait. It hasn’t.

    What?

    And what is this about an argument that racism is just a carbon copy of Patriarchy? Where is this even being said? Or is this your interpretation of arguments that suggest that racism mirrors domination/submission paradigms found in sexism?

    Speaking of racism and sexism, would you say that white imperialism and racism is a reflection on white people themselves? If so, then why would it be difficult to admit that Patriarchy is a reflection on men and maleness, since men are the ones who call all the shots and dominate the conversation about everything (and therefore, are the ones doing all the socialization in the first place)? What is Patriarchy if not the codification of the male pecking order being elevated to the highest law of the land?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m definitely not trying to say that only abused males behave violently. I think I’ve written 25,000 words about what society at large and popular media in particular teach men about what to expect and how to behave, regardless of the best intentions of some parents. I kind of had an inkling that I was blowing it by not addressing men who don’t have the excuse of having been abused (which, by the way, I do not consider an excuse — my mom’s sisters never raped anyone). I’ve edited the post significantly now.

      You are absolutely correct about the (now edited) bit about him not having any political power, which was obviously a dumb oversight.

      I’ve read several very unfortunate arguments that attempt to conflate all hierarchies (in queer theory graduate seminars, naturally). I would say that racism is a reflection on white people, and that patriarchy is a reflection on men. I would also say that the idea that hierarchy should exist is learned in childhood reckonings of male supremacy and is a model on which later oppression is carried out, but I dislike analogies that fail when pushed in the slightest of ways (as analogizing racism to sexism does).

      I was tacitly nesting the current political environment and the history of war within male authoritarianism in general (not just within the family). It is more brazen right now, but I did mean it when I said that the world has always been in the hands of authoritarian men. But, my general purpose was to demonstrate how much damage one unchecked man could do and to criticize the public/private divide that allows men to get away with so much. I apologize if it came across as apologia for male violence, because I don’t disagree with a single word of your comment.

      I write hastily and often under time constraints (and, in this case, emotional ones), so I’ll be the first to admit that I make mistakes. Let me know if you think I rectified them with the edits (if you feel like it).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for your response and I feel bad now because it is not my intent to make anyone (least of all you) feel like they should edit anything. I think the idea of adding social institutions that take the place of authoritarian fathers is a good idea though. I’m seeing now that I missed the political aspects of your post and including social institutions might help bring that to the forefront.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I don’t think you came across as apologia for male violence. I think you spoke to some very real and important REASONS and roots we need to seriously look at if we want to understand something better, which is the first step to changing it.
        I also think it’s important for ppl not to mistake *reasons* for excuses. And of course, personal responsibility is always a thing, no matter what one’s background/upbringing is, but background/upbringing is a HUGE factor in everything when it comes to being human, as is culture. It’s all very complicated and sensitive stuff.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. It’s always a sensitive matter when it comes to men. Isn’t it? When was the last time you saw a woman’s behavior excused because “Patriarchy hurts everyone”?

          When a white woman does something racist, do you see anyone bringing up socialization? Do you see anyone going “well she was socialized to be racist and that’s not her fault… and she’s also oppressed by sex so we must be super careful and sensitive as to the REASONS she did something to hurt someone else because they are another race. Because gosh it’s just so complicated and stuff.”

          LOL no. It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous.

          But somehow the same arguments are allowed when it comes to men, especially after a mass shooting. “Gosh if only he’d gotten that job he wanted, the girlfriend he deserved, the car he couldn’t afford, ect then none of this would have happened! We must work even harder to ensure male happiness… because reasons. Men deserve to be happy!11!11!”

          There was recently a news article reporting a class picture of a bunch of white teenage boys doing a Nazi salute and one flashing the “ok” white power sign. Are you going to tell me with a straight face that their REASONS for doing so are important, complicated, and a sensitive matter so we shouldn’t be TOO mad at them, you see, because gosh we really ought to handle this with all the care best befitting a lobotomy? Because that’s exactly what that kind of argument feels like.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. It’s a sensitive, complex matter when it comes to ANY humans and the cultures that we shape and that we are shaped by.

            Re. the white female racist scenario: Funny that you laugh and dismiss a thoughtful way of looking at something as “ridiculous” simply bcuz you don’t see others thinking this way. Maybe that’s why we’re not getting anywhere as a culture, bcuz of sycophants and inside-the-box-thinking. Literally. Only in academia does Life get packaged into neat little boxes with shiny Label bows. On the ground reality is way messier and yes, complicated.

            Not sure where you came up with the “ensure male happiness” argument for the mass shooting guys. I certainly never said anything CLOSE to that, and haven’t seen anything like that in the article or any comments here.

            Re. an article about teenage Nazis ——> In my *Real Everyday Life*, I live with the aftermath of a loved one having survived a “Neo”-Nazi GANG BEATING 20+ yrs ago that left her disabled and trapped in a broken, pain-riddled, neurologically fried & mangled body. Am I mad at the idiot Nazis? Fuck yeah. Does that do ANYTHING to fix her body or life or anything else? Does my anger – or people’s pity – do anything about future victims of hate crimes, or preventing this shit?

            Whatever my argument felt like to you, got missed in translation.

            In summary: Shit is WACK. And it creates SO MUCH NEEDLESS HARM & SUFFERING. All I know for *sure* is that we need WAY less knee-jerk *reactions* and academic rhetoric and way more thoughtful *responding* if we want to climb out of the colonist-patriarchy quicksand of misery.

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            1. “Funny that you laugh and dismiss a thoughtful way of looking at something as “ridiculous” simply bcuz you don’t see others thinking this way.”

              Funny that you missed the whole point of my comment because people DO think this way… about MEN… all the time.

              “Maybe that’s why we’re not getting anywhere as a culture, bcuz of sycophants and inside-the-box-thinking. Literally.”

              Well that’s the whole point. We’re never going to solve the problem of male violence or get anywhere as long as everyone keeps kissing men’s asses and being sycophants to men.

              “Only in academia does Life get packaged into neat little boxes with shiny Label bows.”

              No, it’s called having applying the same standard of human decency to men that women have been expected to have.

              “On the ground reality is way messier and yes, complicated.”

              Not really. We all learned in grade school that treating other people poorly is the wrong thing to do, so there’s really no excuse for anyone – least of all men who have the most power and social influence – not to know better. It’s almost like you’re suggesting that male privilege should be a given, because it’s just *too damned hard* to take into consideration when it’ really not. Well, not if you’re a woman who actually takes her own oppression seriously.

              “Not sure where you came up with the “ensure male happiness” argument for the mass shooting guys. I certainly never said anything CLOSE to that, and haven’t seen anything like that in the article or any comments here.”

              I didn’t say you specifically said that, nor did I say that Nine Deuce said that either. Re-read my comments and see what I actually said versus your personal interpretation of them.

              “Am I mad at the idiot Nazis? Fuck yeah. Does that do ANYTHING to fix her body or life or anything else? Does my anger – or people’s pity – do anything about future victims of hate crimes, or preventing this shit?”

              Yes, actually it does. The whole point social justice movements are created and participated in is because people get upset about injustice and feel sympathetic towards victims. Also, Patriarchy survives BECAUSE women are expected to live in a state of apathy toward their own oppression, and are also expected to put aside their own thoughts and feelings for the sake of everyone else and are never allowed to think about themselves and the costs they’ve had to bear as a result of being born female.

              “Whatever my argument felt like to you, got missed in translation.”

              Says the commenter who missed the entire point of what I said.

              “All I know for *sure* is that we need WAY less knee-jerk *reactions* and academic rhetoric and way more thoughtful *responding* if we want to climb out of the colonist-patriarchy quicksand of misery.”

              Also says the commenter whose own response is less than thoughtful and has a knee jerk reaction to accuse me of being “too academic” as if it’s not misogynist as fuck to tell women that we ought to hide our intelligence and diminish our own mental capacity lest we be accused of being snotty and elitist.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. @Meg, FWIW Natasha Sandy is a psychotherapist. Psychotherapists always tell women to hide our intelligence and not think about things — she called it “academic” here, elsewhere it’s called “catastrophizing” if women dare to identify an incoming (or ongoing) catastrophe when they see one. Capitalism and patriarchy, in other words. And the “thoughtful responding” which she seems to think is the opposite of “reacting” isn’t, as each will always keep us on the defensive. This is what man-loving Western feminists believe is women’s place, always prey animals (or hamsters on a wheel) and never anything else. It’s so aggravating. I for one appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

                Like

        2. @Natasha Sandy I have a problem with nearly every facet of this comment, especially when it’s offered as support for social constructionism and against biological essentialism:

          “I don’t think you came across as apologia for male violence. I think you spoke to some very real and important REASONS and roots we need to seriously look at if we want to understand something better, which is the first step to changing it.
          I also think it’s important for ppl not to mistake *reasons* for excuses. And of course, personal responsibility is always a thing, no matter what one’s background/upbringing is, but background/upbringing is a HUGE factor in everything when it comes to being human, as is culture. It’s all very complicated and sensitive stuff.”

          What? Biology is a REASON too, and is never ever ever offered as an “excuse” for male violence, not by biological essentialist feminists anyway. Yep, there are good reasons for wanting to understand why men are such fucking outrageous sickos, but “changing it” is not, in fact, the reason we need to understand it. We need to know the truth, even if we can’t change it. And yep again: personal responsibility is always a thing, and applies even if men are naturally violent: humans are natural defacators too, but we somehow manage to go around NOT routinely shitting on other people, or other classes of people. Naturally violent men could curb their urges if they really wanted to, or if they really and truly cannot, men would know better than anyone that merciless social controls on men need to be implemented immediately to stop their behavior, up to and including death, and not just for the “most” antisocial/violent ones either like we allegedly do now.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful article, ND. Thank you for sharing more of your story. So much pain and trauma from ONE MAN’s wake of destruction! It really is remarkable, and speaks to just how much POWER one single person has.

    I’m so glad for your mom – and you – that she carved out a different path for her life and changed the course of generational abuse/dysfunction plaguing and drowning the family. How do you mean? What do you envision?

    I see so many (private) domestic violence cases of the extreme variety make it to public view and even judgment via The Law/court system, but bcuz this public system was created and is maintained by these same authoritarian mentalities, nothing really changes. The violent man MAY get thrown into prison (if the wife doesn’t miraculously kill him in self-defence and save herself and her kids, then having to plead for her life on the stand and get thrown in prison anyway bcuz The Law Says So, just like Wendy Maldonado, and so many others), but there doesn’t seem to be much care or change about this truly alarming DV epidemic, or male violence in general in the private domain, when it does rear its head under public scrutiny. One reason for this is bcuz the (colonist/colonized) public domain uses the very same tools that create these monsters – shame/blame/judge/punish. This does nothing to prevent or rehab violent men, or bring about justice in any way. Though getting them off the streets is one thing it *sometimes* manages to do, but usually way after the fact and when it’s too late and so much damage has already been done.

    Sure doesn’t help matters that violent men in the private sphere are made out to be “upstanding pillars of the community” publicly by all those they duped, and so when pleading for their lives in court, it becomes a popularity contest and “character witnesses” are paraded in to speak to how great Mr. Monster is, and the judges/lawyers/cops/jury/everybody else just carry on, business as usual. An image comes to mind of cockroaches scuttling away when a light is turned on – when the light of public view is shone on the depth and breadth of male violence in the private sphere, like cockroaches, the men scatter, instead of taking time to understand how deep this issue is and put some thought into doing something about it. Seems that – as usual – it’s WOMEN who care the most and do the most work to a) take the time/care/effort to *understand* what the hell is going on, and b) try to do something about it.

    Radical change in cultural values needs to happen for this epidemic to change, and it will just dissolve, cease to exist, as will the 99,562 other problems the colonist patriarchal culture creates for itself. It is amazing to me (and gives one hope) to see/know healthy/loving families that create healthy/loving people DESPITE the deeply dis-eased dominant culture they/we are embedded in. They are the leaders/models/teachers for those who’ve lost their way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oops, looks like my “how do you mean/what do you envision?” question got accidentally cut and copied to the second paragraph of my comment, didn’t mean for that to be there. I meant to ask it after quoting these words of yours:

      “If the culture of male authoritarianism and supremacy can be overthrown, it will be when it exerts itself in full, brazen public view, and we are there.”

      Liked by 1 person

        1. IDK about this ND. If the “mask has slipped” it’s only because they allowed it. I think the #metoo “movement” or whatever the hell it is, is more likely a massive distraction from something even worse. I shudder to think what that is, but I continue to search for it, and the reason for my sense that something massive is coming down the pike. There is just absolutely no way this #metoo business is real, or what we have been led to believe. No way.

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          1. I don’t think #metoo is that effective. I’ve seen a ton of people calling for men to confess and repent, which is obviously not gonna happen, but they’ve been so emboldened recently that they’re acting the fool in public in ways we ought to help promote. They’re emboldened to the point that they’re shocking their prior defenders, which I consider a good thing. We’re definitely on a precipice of some kind. I have to hope it goes our way to continue to bother.

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      1. I should have added that no amount of feminist consciousness-raising will do a better job of convincing as-yet unconvinced women of the existence of rampant misogyny and the sickness of the average male mind than men just telling the truth about who they are, which is what they’re doing right now.

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  3. “They produce fearful, self-loathing daughters who acquiesce to and collaborate with societal and interpersonal misogyny.”

    I am sorry to read this about your family, ND. There was a similar figure in my family and that was my grandfather. Like HItler, he was a failed artist. So I suppose his way of compensating for his failings was to wreak havoc on the lives of generations of women through incest, my mother and myself included. My sister was miraculously left untouched, though she also lived with him for a spell. I pasted your quote here because it was thanks to my mother that my sister and I moved back in with him. I will never understand why she thought that would be alright. What I understand less, is why she threw salt on the wound and proceeded to sexually abuse me herself. Explaining her repulsive actions away via the ‘patriarchy’ just doesn’t make me feel much better.

    I have of course confronted my mother about this. She always had some pretty terrible excuses, like “I thought you would remember it (the abuse) as a bad dream.” Or “You’re lucky it only happened once.” And probably the best one “I was much younger than you when he raped me.” So to her, I suppose there is a sort of competition between us as to who suffered more, which is beyond absurd.

    I’m bringing this up because I think there are women like my mother who use ‘because the patriarchy” as something to hide behind so they are magically not responsible for negative and sometimes criminal behavior. I understand patriarchal oppression as a real influence in cases like this, but I never did believe in a ‘Devil made me do it’ mentality. I’ve seen far too many Christians (especially the rapey ones) using that sad little excuse. In the end, it doesn’t matter who the Devil is. We still have free will. The real devil is our shadow side, and we are all responsible for knowing its contents and thus removing its power over us.

    Hopefully women can do some real introspection about their motivations and be solidly accountable as adults for all of their choices and actions. Men too, of course, going forward. If as females, we act without thinking, or worse, act out of feeling sorry for ourselves (my mother) or from a place of unexamined bitterness (also my mother), we are not really much better than the men who have perpetuated this sad state of affairs. And having said all of that, I am genuinely relieved that Veterans Day is over.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve experienced this. It’s shocking just how common it is. I just read about a particularly terrifying abduction in the region I’m currently in in which the perpetrator’s wife enabled a hostage situation to continue for seven years. There is a line, clearly, between women who stay with abusers for the many reasons we all know they do, and women who collaborate in or enable the abuse of others, especially those under their care. The circumstances that I can’t seem to untangle are those in which mothers or other women who feel like they have no means of escape end up witnessing abuse because they fear the consequences of intervening or feel that they are unable to. Perpetuating it is clearly inexcusable, of course.

      I should have probably mentioned that every one of these turds are/were “Christians.” Reading Dale’s obituary in which he was said to have “joined his Heavenly Father” nearly made me throw my laptop at the wall.

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    2. I’ve been thinking about this more. There are so many egregious cases in which women collaborate in abuse and are given immunity by the police in exchange for testimony, so many women who work as madams or produce porn, recruit girls for pimps, etc. There is always a way to blame men or patriarchy, but it’s in a lot of cases infantilizing and/or making excuses for women.

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      1. I struggle with this concept. It’s important to hold women accountable when they make choices and choose actions that hurt other women. But I am very slow to blame them due to the hostile, violent, male centered culture that we are all steeped in.
        It’s annoying and wrong when liberal feminism claims, for one example, that prostitution is always a choice, and maybe a few women are trafficked against their will, but so what. I don’t want to be the other side of that coin, where I blame women wrongly or unfairly. Honestly, I tend to believe what women say, if for no other reason, society always gives males the benefit of the doubt.

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        1. We’ve talked a bit about this on Feminist Current and I see it as an ongoing topic for feminist discussion. At which point and to what extent do we hold women responsible for engaging in abusive behavior? The Hedda Nussbaum/Joel Steinberg situation always comes to mind, probably because I lived in NYC when it was shaking out. Of course she was not responsible to the degree that he was, but at which point and to what extent was she responsible? I have no easy answers to this question.
          Thank you, Nine Deuce, for sharing your difficult family story. It makes me think of the authoritarian grandfather I had who was an evangelical Christian; my father told my mother if you didn’t grow up in such a home you could have no idea what it was like. Let’s just say there was no dancing allowed, and my parents went dancing every Saturday night! My father, born in 1916, was authoritarian and my mother was a total rebel — what a combination!

          Liked by 4 people

    3. “I’m bringing this up because I think there are women like my mother who use ‘because the patriarchy” as something to hide behind so they are magically not responsible for negative and sometimes criminal behavior.”

      What an odd thing to say. Feminism has a lot of flaws but I have never seen feminists justify female sexual abuse or criminal behavior “because Patriarchy.”

      Sorry but your comment sounds like an air-tight silencing technique: shut up about Patriarchy or else you’re just like my evil child molesting mother.

      Like

      1. Here are some links I’d like to add to my original comment that refute the idea that women are playing a “gender card” to magically escape responsibility or legal culpability. It would appear that the opposite is true – women face much harsher sentences than men do under failure to protect laws (even when those men rape and murder children), and women’s incarceration rates have been higher than men’s since the 1980s.

        ***

        The number of women in prison has been increasing at a rate 50% higher than men since 1980.

        https://www.sentencingproject.org/issues/women/

        700% Increase in number of women incarcerated in the U.S. since 1980

        https://www.newsweek.com/women-girls-black-white-hispanic-prison-jail-skyrockets-920436

        Women in US lagging behind in human rights, UN experts report after ‘myth-shattering’ visit

        “We were appalled by the over-incarceration of women, mostly for non-violent crimes, and the failure to find non-custodial solutions for mothers of dependent children,” they said, expressing deep concern at the women prisoners’ conditions, which include mass accommodation spaces, over-crowding in cells, solitary confinement, shackling during childbirth and lack of support for re-entry.

        https://news.un.org/en/story/2015/12/517932-women-us-lagging-behind-human-rights-un-experts-report-after-myth-shattering

        With more than one million women behind bars or under the control of the criminal justice system, women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985.

        92% of all women in California prisons had been “battered and abused” in their lifetimes.

        https://www.aclu.org/other/facts-about-over-incarceration-women-united-states

        He Beat Her And Murdered Her Son — And She Got 45 Years In Jail

        https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/alexcampbell/how-the-law-turns-battered-women-into-criminals

        Also from that same link:

        Almost half, 13 mothers, were given 20 years or more. In one case, the mother was given a life sentence for failing to protect her son, just like the man who murdered the infant boy. In another, the sentences were effectively the same: The killer got life, and the mother got 75 years, of which she must serve at least 63 years and nine months. In yet another, the mother got a longer sentence than the man who raped her son. In one more, a father fractured an infant girl’s toe, femur, and seven ribs and was sentenced to two years; for failing to intervene, the mother got 30.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dammit, my original comment is missing some pieces, so here’s a piece that got lost somewhere:

    I had said that in my own quest to better understand male violence, I learned a lot from Dr. James Gilligan’s 1997 book “Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic”, which among other things, spoke to what a huge factor SHAME plays into creating violent men. Gilligan was/is a psychiatrist who worked in some of America’s maximum security prisons with the country’s most violent men. Worth a read for anyone interested in better understanding male violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m positive that shame played a huge role in that family. Nothing makes men angrier than shame, because they rarely experience it. The most common arena in which they do is being victimized by other men, because it makes them feel like women.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yes. I just dug up the Gilligan book and in flipping through it, thought I’d share some of the stuff I highlighted:

        “The two possible sources of love for the self are love from others, and one’s own love for oneself. Children who fail to receive sufficient love from others fail to build those reserves of self-love, and the capacity for self-love, which enable them to survive the inevitable rejections and humiliations which even the most fortunate of people cannot avoid. Without feelings of love, the self feels numb, empty, and dead. [..]

        The word I use in this book to refer to the absence or deficiency of self-love is SHAME; its opposite is pride, by which I mean a healthy sense of self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love. When self-love is sufficiently diminished, one feels shame. But it may be somewhat paradoxical to refer to shame as a “feeling,” for while shame is initially painful, constant shaming leads to deadening of feeling, an absence of feeling.

        All of us know what it is to experience feelings of shame and humiliation, rejection and ridicule. These are painful feelings, to be sure, but most people are not disastrously overwhelmed by those feelings to the degree that violent people are, which may be one reason why we find it so difficult to understand those who become so deeply shamed as to undergo the death of the self.

        To be over-whelmed by shame and humiliation is to experience the destruction of self-esteem; and without a certain minimal amount of self-esteem, the collapses and the soul dies. Violence to the body causes the death of the self because it is so inescapably humiliating. When we cannot fend off, undo, or escape from such overwhelmingly unloving acts, when we cannot protect ourselves from them, whether by violent or nonviolent means, something gets killed within us – our souls are murdered. [..]

        Such actions constitute a form of psychological violence which, even in the absence of physical injury, can kill the self. Thus, people do not need to have been physically attacked in order to become violent. Violent child abuse is not a necessary precursor to adult violence for the simple reason that violence is not the only way in which an adult can shame and humiliate a child. Words alone can shame and reject, insult and humiliate, dishonor and disgrace, tear down self-esteem, and murder the soul.

        Not all violent adults were subjected to violent child abuse. Nor do all who were subjected to violent child abuse grow up to commit deadly violence. Child abuse is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for adult violence. [..] There are, however, plenty of statistical studies showing that acts of actual and extreme physical violence, such as beatings and attempted murders, are regular experiences in the childhoods of those who grow up to become violent. [..]

        We only need to hear the life stories of these men to see the tragic way in which they have been treated with the most extreme lack of love from their earliest remembered and unremembered beginnings by the very people from whom they most needed and wanted to be loved. [..] Those who kill have been “murdered” themselves, or else fear that they are about to be destroyed, and so they kill for what appears to them as self-defense. [..]

        Violence “speaks” of an intolerable condition of human shame and rage, a blinding rage that speaks through the body.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Girls experience near-constant humiliation, often at the hands of little boys, and are taught to see their own bodies as inherently shameful. They are taught that their purpose is to be fuckholes and incubators, to males’ pleasure and their own physical pain. If that isn’t soul-crushing and self-esteem reducing, I don’t know what is. And yet GIRLS don’t grow up to torture (ie rape) and kill at all, not even as revenge against the class that tortured them (males). I was surprised to realize that most girls and women don’t even fantasize about it (although I did/do, but unlike males, I know the difference between fantasy and reality AND I don’t see violence, sexual or not, as even fun, much less my reason for existing. I’d rather that nothing occurs that would necessitate a deserved violent reprisal).

          So, yeah, I don’t think Budding Sadist Baby Boy is only that way because the poor dear feels shame and has a low self-esteem. I think Budding Sadist Baby Boys will only stop their love of violence and rape in a society that holds them accountable for their actions in an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, dick goes in, dick gets cut off” way. The male sexual organ feels pleasure in ramming away despite causing pain, and very often because it is causing pain ( “destroy that pu%%y!” ) I think the penis is a shortcut to understanding the typical male psyche. The same CANNOT be said for female anatomy. We are NOT essentially masochists. All humans move to what caused them pleasure and away from what causes them pain. Patriarchy has successfully made most women masochists, while what causes males the most pleasure happens to cause a great deal of female pain in the world.

          Btw, hi @CannabisRefugeeEsq.! On your side in this one as usual. Fuck that oh noez the poor low self esteem and shame of the rapist murdering penis people! These males don’t feel “shame”, they are proud of being violent rapists. To have empathy is a disgusting girly quality! On with the sadism! Always side with the perp! Bonerz Uber Alles!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. God seriously! The poor, poor men, being shamed for no reason and their mommies didn’t love them. I don’t suppose it ever occurs to anyone that males often deserve to feel shame (but often feel none) and that mommies sometimes can’t fully bond with little psychopaths. Regardless, male children are always, always given the best of everything compared to girl children, so what’s their excuse when compared to girls? Why does everyone always compare men to other men, instead of comparing men to women when it comes to the origins of violence? That’s a rhetorical question of course, where sex-based difference is so glaringly obvious.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. My own family history is somewhat similar, in that both my parents suffered really horrible treatment by really horrible men in their youth but somehow grew up to be different and do better. Hearing about the things that happened before I was born, it sometimes felt a little weird. I didn’t feel survivor’s guilt, but was keenly aware of how down to chance our lives really are. I wasn’t abused as a kid but easily could have been, had my parents been different or had they not learned the right lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Democrats have been the warring expansionist party whilst republicans have acted as somewhat of a counterbalance. Without womens participation in elections we wouldn’t have had nearly as many democratic presidencies, so women have been more than just some weird and small influence in pushing forward the interests of the pro imperialist and pro expansionist section of the elite. People in our culture will support a pro imperialist president so long as they claim to be pro feminist and liberal. Hence why the pro war Rockefellers, who pushed for and greatly benefited from WW1&2, massively funded feminist and liberal studies. Viruses that turn people into psychopaths who will justify US imperialism on the basis of humanism.

    Like

    1. I was referring to women who join the military and seek combat opportunities, which is, indeed, weird. The parties’ respective platforms have changed so much during the course of the past hundred years that it’s not very useful to try to identify one or the other as the warmongering party. They both win that contest, and they both have something in common: male dominance. War is men’s business.

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