Saturday, April 19, 2014

Preliminary Notes on Being and Belonging, Cliques and Cults and Coalitions

From my blog entry on autogynephilia:

...masochism has high rates of co-morbidity with autogynephilia. Which makes sense when you understand that part of femininity is the sexualization of submission - to a dominant male, in return for love and protection. The fetishization of subjugation on the Left ("oppression olympics,") how it mirrors the subjugation of women via gendered socialization, and how this plays directly into ideological totalism (surrender yourself to the ideology and you will be safe) as well as benefiting the powers that be (the only winners of the oppression olympics are the oppressors) - will need to be the topic for another blog. (Phew!)

I'm just starting to focus my mind on this topic, and I have a feeling it will take a long while to produce anything meaningful. Nonetheless, some initial thoughts:

Under patriarchy, women strive for safety by submitting to a husband, thus achieving "good wife" status, and the protection of the husband. (Protection, of course, from other men, rendering this perhaps the world's oldest protection racket, but I digress.)

Under ideological totalism, individuals strive for safety by submitting to the group, thus achieving "good follower" status, and the protection of the group.

In the current world of identity politics, followers likewise aim to ingratiate themselves, parroting highly moralistic buzzphrases like the teacher's pets of political correctness.

In the current world of Girls Gone Wild and gonzo porn, some women strive for safety by claiming their pleasure is in submitting to men's most dehumanizing urges, thus achieving "good fuck" status, and the protection of peer approval - but I'd also argue that this culture takes the drive to surrender to an even more nihilistic place, where women seek not any illusion of safety but merely the relief from (existential, psychic) pain, in the form of pre-emptive self-erasure. No one can hurt what doesn't exist.

I'd also argue that fighting with strangers on the internet over which person tweeting from a $500 phone is the most oppressed is another kind of nihilism - because if that's your "activism," you've clearly given up on making any real change.

It might shock you to hear me say this, but all of this is understandable.

The world is a scary, exhausting place, and women in particular are trained from birth to feel vulnerable and helpless. But as Andrea Dworkin says, "The pleasure of submission does not and cannot change the fact, the cost, the indignity, of inferiority."

Those who provide protection always maintain the terrible power to take it away. Therefore the retreat into infantilism found in unthinking dependence is always precarious. Adults are better served by striving for critical interdependence.

Not hyper-individualism, nor ideological totalism. Not black and white thinking, nor uncommitted fence-sitting. Not identitarianism, nor power-blindness. All of these options provide the relief of intellectual laziness, but all these choices are false.

I need to do more reading and thinking about all this, but for now I would exhort all of you (who have not already given into my Twitter exhortations) to read this article by Bernice Johnson Reagon on Coalition Politics.

We are all special snowflakes, yes, but we are all also members of many groups, some of which we were born to, others we chose; some we might repudiate, and others might repudiate us. I've argued previously for privilege checking as an exercise in contextualizing rather than silencing, and I'll argue further that identity might suggest but does not determine affinity nor enmity. I'd rather "ally" with those who have similar interests and goals, no matter how much or how little they resemble my reflection.

I'd also rather "ally" with those who never seek my personal surrender. In fact, I insist upon it.


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