My musings on a recent post at You Think I Don’t Understand but I Just Don’t Believe You, called “Rethinking Gender Abolition”.http://bugbrennan.com/2012/07/03/guest-post-rethinking-gender-abolition-by-pogoniptrail/#comment-2045
Although Radfems were the first ones to name gender, explaining to those who would listen that certain feminine traits did not necessarily grow organically from the XX chromosomal make up, but were in fact imposed upon the female sex in order to uphold male dominance, Radical Feminists have never regarded gender abolition as a priority. Rather, they theorized that outside of a society ruled by male tyranny (specifically male violence) women would not be pushed into little boxes of behaviour, would not be stunted sexually, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and that women’s behaviour would probably look very different to what it does today.
But the plot thickens. I am a Radfem who believes that while female and male brains are probably identical ( in that it’s unlikely that men are better at maths and science, or that women are better at music and and art), I also think that male and female behaviour is innately different.
How could it not be? Men are expendable to the species, whereas women are vital. Men are in constant competition with each other, whereas women have no evolutionary need to compete. We do not compete with our sisters because any woman who wants to be pregnant can find a man to help her with that. Killing off other women does not improve our chances of reproducing, whereas this actually is the case for men, who have to convince women that their genes are worth it, and that they’re a decent enough specimen to risk going into labour for.
Patriarchal media tries to convince us we must compete with other women (keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved, or he’ll trade you in for a younger model), but this is just a ruse to keep women tired, nervous, and mistrustful of other women. While it’s true that women have to keep men interested if they want the economic pay-offs that come with that, if they were free, the “need” to compete with their sisters would be obliterated.
Not so for men.
The patriarchal system enables almost all men to reproduce. Culture dictates that even the runts of the species are able to aquire a wife by means of hoarding economic resources and then offering them up in exchange for reproductive services. Sex discrimination in the workplace is not arbitrary. It’s a strategy. It buoys male dominance. Keeping resources in men’s hands is the only way (bar overt violence) that they can convince women to live with, and reproduce, for them en masse.
Without this set-up, women who desired children would simply raise them with their friends, or sisters, or mother. In regions of low socio-economic status, where males do not have property to exchange in return for women’s reproductive services, you can actually see this model in action. Girls (teenagers) tend to have a baby with a boy who already has a child with another girl, but has since moved on. The local stud, if you like. Other boys that don’t get a look-in: nobody would consider having sex, let alone reproducing, with them. Patriarchy skews these natural behavioural tendencies, obliging women to be beholden to all men. ( Not all men are supposed to reproduce. Harsh, but true. I’m past worrying about men’s feelings on the matter.)
Patriarchy appears to have created diseased behavior among males. Rather than competing with each other, they seem to be now competing against women. Instead of killing each other off, which would make evolutionary sense, they appear to regard women as the enemy that they must destroy. It’s completely bizarre and they’ve clearly gone beserk.
It’s as though their brains have short-circuted. They know they must kill someone, but they’ve kind of forgotten who. The person they actually need to kill is that tall, good-looking graceful kid who is quite the success in the bedroom, and who has fathered umpteen children around the village…. but instead they kill their wife, girlfriend or the prostitute they’ve just visited. Maybe this what keeps patriarchy going? If men killed who they were supposed to, the ratio of women to men would be higher and it would be easier to organize and become liberated.
[And correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that it is only in humans that the female of the species has to deal with her own males murdering her kind daily. Does this happen anywhere else in the animal kingdom? AFAIK male animals don’t even murder females that don’t “belong” to them. So WTF is it with humans?]
At any rate, any woman who has become a mother knows that our biology determines our behaviour. There is nothing cultural or “socialized” about the fact that you Definitely Intended to Return To Work four months after the baby was born to Pursue your Career, only to find that you feel like your arm is missing if you’re parted from your newborn for 30 minutes and you have no choice but to stay with your baby. You’re better able to understand women’s oppression. Not all mothers feel the same, of course, but most do have a physical and hormonal bond with their child. When her baby cries, a woman’s stress levels increase and her breasts fill with milk. Hell, if you’re in the supermarket you get tingly nipples if you hear another woman’s newborn crying (which reminds me how narcissistic the nuclear family is; surely we were supposed to care for each other’s children as well as our own, for the good of the species?).
And I don’t think I need to mention men’s track recorｄ with children at this point, but I’m going to anyway. Men have a tendency towards sexually abusing their female offspring; they murder their families with alarming regularity; and that’s when they’re not abandoning their pregnant girlfriends. It does not matter to me whether men can or are able to be socialized into being “good dads”. Their time is up. We need to forget about Men’s Role in Child-Rearing. It’s irrelevant. They’ve fucked it up, so to speak. Women need to focus our efforts on organizing a way of becoming liberated from men economically and socially. Where we can live without men, preferably in groups. I would say this is the Radfem priority.