Too Damned Many

As usual I’ve been reading my favorite blogs and they’ve struck home with me this week. You see, when I started writing here at The Den it was simply a place where I could go and speak freely and anonymously about the world as I see it.

I never would have believed that the-world-as-I-see-it would inspire so much hatred and fear but it did. I remember when I first started getting comments; I was excited that someone out there was hearing me. But the first thing I noted was that yes, they were hearing me, but they fucking hated what I was saying. I’m not sure why, but I kept writing, often I look back and wonder why I kept going. Hell, I often look around me and wonder why I’m still writing.

*sigh*, my thoughts are becoming muddled and I’ve lost my direction. Let me try this again.

This week we’ve lost yet another blogger, one more voice silenced in a string of courageous women who have gone before her. When I read the news I shook my head sadly and fought the wave of emotion that swept over me. Sadness and despair took me for a moment. In the short time I’ve been doing this I’ve watched as woman after woman has taken a big breath and decided to start blogs. The circle of radical feminist bloggers is too small, so very, very small, but their spirit and their fight is big. They start blogs, one small voice that has decided to speak out, and then it begins. The trolls invade, the ‘pro-sex’ bloggers take notice, hell sometimes even other radicals argue with them. The point is that oftentimes they will just sort of disappear one day.

I’ve watched them come and go, I’ve watched radical voices crumple and disappear and I feel angry and I feel sad and I feel despair and all of these things I feel at the same time. I’ve come close several times to walking away from this project and goddess knows how many times I’ve read yet another article and shook my head in anguish at the unfairness of it all. So when I read that we’ve lost another voice it hits me like a personal H-bomb exploding in all of its dismal glory and it occurs to me as I shake my head sadly while holding back tears of rage that I will have to update my blogroll once more.

When I began doing this I never could have believed just how big this blog would become. I never would have believed just how many words of support I would have gotten but there’s another side to it as well, a side that radical bloggers everywhere experience. There is the sting of hate from both women and men and gods, don’t ever underestimate that sting.

I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me, maybe I’m speaking in generalities when I have no proof of anything but I think it happens to all of us, or most of us, or a large portion of us. We start blogging, wanting a ‘safe’ space where we can speak. I think in the beginning we all hope to have positive comments directed our way. We all hope that people will show up and say, “Hey! That’s exactly it!” I think we are also looking for confirmation that we’re on the right track, that we’re not freaks, that there are others who believe like we do.

Soon though the trolls come, I think that all blogs are found first by the trolls. I’ve sometimes posited that they have Nextel radios that they communicate with and when a new radical blog opens they call in to each other and report it. Regardless, the trolls seem to be able to sniff out a radical site quicker than fleas can sniff out a new puppy.

The trolls come and we realize that we are being condemned and hated. And then the other radicals show up and I think that we feel relief at first. We finally feel as though we’re not alone. Our blogrolls widen and we march on, the trolls don’t sting quite as badly because we have a circle of supporters and we go to each others blogs and we fight the trolls and we feel like we’re not alone.

Somewhere though, something shifts, perhaps it happens one day when we’re looking at yet another story of a woman being beaten and raped and left for dead in a dumpster, maybe it happens when we decide to stop shaving and we are rebuffed harshly in public and in private. Perhaps some ‘pro-sex’ blog finds us and begins to obsess over us, posting every day about what a big piece of shit we are, or maybe we pick up our first cyber stalker, the impetus changes but I think the effect is the same.

Suddenly that blogroll seems too small and abruptly it’s as if we are transported into a satellite view and we see that all around us there is this vile misogyny and hatred. We find that our co-workers, friends and family refer to us as ‘man haters’ we find that we are but one small person standing on a beach and scooping teaspoons of water out of the ocean one at a time. We look at the vastness of the ocean and it occurs to us:

We will die in the same world that we were born into.

All of our fighting and screaming, all of our defending and begging and frustration, all of our anger and sadness will die, impotent and ineffective for we are battling an army, the likes of which we never could have comprehended. We are, for all intents and purposes, trying to empty oceans with teaspoons.

And then we get it, we’re not fighting because we have any hope of any real change in our lifetimes. Hell, we’re not even fighting because we have any hope of change in our grandchildren’s lifetimes; many of us have given up hope at all and are certain that the situation will never really change. So why are we fighting? We’re fighting because what else can we do?

I know for me there was a moment when my bright eyed optimism failed and I saw the truth of what I’m doing in the harsh light of cynical despair. In the beginning I had hoped for real social change, I had hoped that speaking out; writing about it, trying to raise consciousness would beat back the tsunami that women live with.

I had hoped that a few well crafted posts about “What women have to do to ‘prevent’ rape” outlining how we walk to our cars with keys clutched between our fingers or how we forgo hiking and camping alone or how we always wonder whether or not our new boyfriend really would have stopped the other night after he nagged us for three hours to have sex with him.

I naively assumed that all it would take is to just let people know what was happening. I assumed that it was a matter of speaking out, of letting people hear it.

I didn’t understand how very far off base I really was. I didn’t account for, nor understand, the depths to which misogyny had been embedded in the very fabric of our lives. In short, I didn’t realize that I was trying to do the impossible. I looked at that ocean and thought it to be a lake and I looked around me and saw the other voices on my blogroll and assumed that the entire shore was dotted with them. I didn’t realize that there were only a handful of us and that the lake was an ocean and that the twenty or thirty of us were trying to do something that was impossible.

Gods, when that hit me I was devastated. I vividly remember sobbing huge tears in the shower, collapsing on the floor while the hot water ran in rivulets over my skin. I remember crying until there were no more tears to cry and my skin was pruney and wrinkled from the water. I remember looking down at my hands and understanding, fully and completely that this would be a battle that I would fight until I was old, until my hands really did look like the water soaked hands I was looking at now.

I realized that I would be fighting this battle until I died, an old woman with pruney hands, and I would hand my spoon over to the next young, naive woman and let her continue to try and empty an ocean.

There are days when I understand that this battle will not be won in my lifetime, and the sadness that envelopes me is too much to bear.

I will never walk free down the street, unafraid, unconcerned, as a human being walking amid other human beings.

I will never walk to my car without that niggling fear that we feel, without shifting my bags in my hand or wondering if my bag would be heavy enough to act as an effective weapon.

I will never feel confident enough to camp alone in the woods, unafraid and unconcerned.

I will never experience a day when I can fish at 2:00 am and when a man approaches me I can smile at him with no fear or misgivings in my heart and say, “Hi! How are you doing tonight?”

I will never experience a time when I can, without fear, without reservation, bring a man to my house and not have it even cross my mind that he would rape me.

These are only a scant few things that I will never experience. Other women have more of them, different than mine perhaps, but regardless for me there came a time when I understood completely that I will not change the world. That this world doesn’t wish to change and indeed, that it will actively resist any and all attempts I make to the contrary. No amount of anger, begging, sobbing or pleading will change it for me. It’s too entrenched. It will not happen in my lifetime.

When that realization hit me I was in a pool of despair, sobbing upon my shower floor and then sobbing some more until I was so dehydrated that crying anymore was not physically possible. When I got out of the shower Dubhe was worried and concerned and he said to me, “Oh BB, what you are doing is important” and he said it the way that a man, who has never felt the raw heart stabbing pain in their gut when they read of another woman who has been brutalized at the hands of men, says such things.

Despite his intentions his surety came from that place that men can afford to inhabit. After all, it was very easy for him to tell me to go on when he didn’t, and never would, feel the gut wrenching pain of reading that a woman was dragged to death by her abusive boyfriend, leaving a blood trail a mile long and that the residents were primarily concerned with the removal of the bloodstain.

He would never feel the raw fear, the edge that is felt when we find ourselves face to face with a stranger in the park. He would never feel the rumbling in the guts when your boyfriend gets mad in front of you for the first time and you become painfully aware of each and every single woman you’ve known who has been beaten, raped, groped, assaulted, slapped, hit, abused, fondled, ogled, catcalled, bullied and scared by men.

Of course he could easily tell me to keep going. Of course he could tell me to keep writing. Of course he could have hope when he didn’t feel each and every violation upon his own body. When he wasn’t forced to relive his own attacks each and every single time he wrote. Of course he could be courageous when it wasn’t his people who were being systematically enslaved, degraded, dehumanized, bred to death, outcast, mutilated and murdered.

But I couldn’t be so optimistic. When the death threats start coming and the rape threats start coming and yet another man writes you an email telling you that, “If I ever find out who you are I’ll fucking rape you to death you stupid cunt”,

When even other women wage a war on you, talking about you, screaming about how awful and stupid you are,

When perfect strangers feel entitled to create images of you being raped by animals,

When men feel entitled to stalk you and harass you for the crime of speaking,

When your mother tells you that you’re a ‘man hater’ while simultaneously believing and approving of everything you write,

When men use your story of abuse, rape and degradation as pornography and then write to you telling you that they orgasmed when you described your rape at the hands of men,

When friends, family and coworkers turn from you,

When your children tell you you’re ‘gross’ because you stopped shaving your armpits,

When people set up blogs designed for the sole purpose of telling everyone what an evil person you are,

When you see the influx of trolls coming and telling you that you’re stupid and worthless and crazy,

When you see the search terms that men are using, “Raped sluts”, “Beaten and raped whores”, “Bleeding ass fuck”,

You start to feel not so optimistic.

So, when I find out that we’ve lost another voice I sob silent tears that nobody will ever see but me. But what can I do? I feel torn. I sure as hell can’t tell them to stand back up and fight for a war that we will never win, or at least, one that we will never win in our own lifetimes. I’ve seen too much shit to believe that anymore. What do I do? When we’re fighting a battle we will never win? When society views us with generalized scorn and hatred? When our emotions, feelings, experiences are wiped away with a dismissive wave accompanied by the old refrain, “Well you’ve been abused but you have no right to be wary of all men”, or better yet, “You should let go of your anger, I know plenty of women who have been abused and they’re not angry”. When all of it can be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a pat on the head from some asshole man or some sex-pos woman then we realize that we’re fighting for the sake of fighting.

I cannot look any woman in the eye who has chosen to lay down and stop fighting and tell her to stand back up again. I cannot condemn them for they have reached that moment when they realize that they will be fighting their entire lives, sobbing all the time, begging men to stop, explaining themselves over and over again and they will never understand why they are so hated and maligned, until they die without the freedom of ever having lived without fear.

And when they express this notion they are greeted with such things as, “Well, men have to be afraid too!” or, “You know, you risk your life driving to the store in your car” and so on and so forth until they’ve explained it a dozens of times and they’ve heard analogies comparing rape to getting the flu or being in a car accident.

 

These are women who have come to understand that our own lifetimes are but drops in the bucket for we are fighting against ideologies that are thousands of years strong. Thousands of years of embedded ownership, oppression and humiliation, an entire society built upon the degradation of females in any and every way possible.

The news that schoolgirls were systematically separated from boys and murdered is not a point of interest. Men, on this very blog, continue to deny that women are even raped. In the face of statistics, studies and so forth they wave it away with a shake of their entitled hands and in so doing they ensure that their undeserved privilege will remain intact.

Some of us, myself included, moderate comments on our blogs to keep out the most vile and hateful filth that would be inflicted upon the women who post with us. But make no mistake, we still see those comments, and we still see the trackbacks and we still see the filth that is spoken of us. And after awhile we grow tired, as so many bloggers before me have done and they decide to lie down and be done with the whole nasty business.

Sometimes they just stop posting, I those ones on my blogroll as long as I can, always hoping and praying that they will come back, but unable to bring myself to beg them to stand with me once more. I will not beg them to subject themselves to the same vile hatred that so many of us experience.

How can I, a woman who feels the despair daily, a woman who has heard the same stuff that is directed at them, a woman who is certain that the screaming and begging and yelling will never bring about real change in my lifetime, ask another woman to stand in the face of it? How can I ask another woman to willing take the abuse that will invariably be meted out to her when I know, only too well, how awful that abuse is?

Just today I received yet another threat against my person in my inbox, another man who hates me and feels that he is entitled to write to me and threaten me with bodily harm. I am reminded sometimes of that scene from The Return of the King, when the forces of Gondor are amassed at the black gates and they’re calling Sauron out. At one point the camera pans up and we see Gondor’s forces standing in the middle of a huge wave of opposing forces. We know, as do the characters, that they have no way of winning, there is no hope.

How can I tell a woman to go into that battle knowing that there is no hope of victory?

In real life there is never a ring of power which will balance the scales. There is never a small hero who emerges to overcome the awesome forces of the opposite side. Indeed, in real life there is a certain failure that radical bloggers learn to deal with, there is knowledge that the oppression and degradation of women will not be overcome in our lifetimes.

So yes, I am deeply troubled when we lose another important voice, it cuts through all of the false bravado, all of the courageous words, and it reminds me that there are real, live women out there who are speaking this truth and dealing with a very real, systematic hatred and wave of violence for nothing more than speaking their minds. Do not be fooled by our tough words and our almost mocking tones, I think it’s safe to say that all of us are affected by the violence. We deal with it differently, but that doesn’t mean that the affect is any less real.

There are times when I am enveloped with a hopelessness so vast and so large that I hope for an apocalypse and no, that’s not an exaggeration. I have often heard bloggers stating that they must take time off, they must have a hiatus from all of it. Gods, I understand that feeling all too well, there are days when you read another story and everything just sort of leaks out of you. Days come when you don’t think you can bear to live another day in this world, when you wonder and daydream of a world where women are safe, where children aren’t prey and where men aren’t monsters.

On those days, when you read another article or see another story or look at another study or statistic you feel your heart sink and you realize that you are completely, 100% stuck. And no matter how loudly you scream, no matter how angry you get, that tomorrow another woman will have experienced the life altering event of rape and that your voice will do little to stop that ocean from consuming yet another of your sisters and it feels as if you simply cannot go on.

You feel as if your voice, your anger, your experiences, thoughts and emotions are impotent and useless. There is no escape from this world save death, no escape from the worry and the fear that men will never experience. There is no way out, no magic portal that we can escape through; we are well and truly stuck.

In those moments everything seems to close around me and my breath sticks in my chest and I need to hide. I need to walk away, to lay down for awhile and hand my spoon to my sister who will not condemn me for my exhaustion. And I shut down the computer and I don’t look at my email and I stop looking at comments and I just hide and pretend that today no woman will be raped. And I spend a day imagining a day in which a woman isn’t killed for the crime of being raped, and I imagine a day in which no woman has to submit to having a man scream “Nice ASS!” to her as she is walking down the street and I imagine that perhaps today is the day where no woman is beaten by her husband.

And then I think to myself, “BB, maybe today is the day that you should pack up your stuff and just go camping for the weekend?” and then I remember that I’m a woman, and to go camping alone and unprotected by a male is fraught with fear and difficulty.

And then I realize that saying such a thing aloud will most likely bring more condemnation my way and I realize that as I’m pondering these things a woman is being beaten so I go to my garden and I understand that as I’m pulling a weed out that a woman is being raped somewhere just because she is female. And so I come into the house and I turn on the radio and I understand that somewhere a woman is being enslaved for the purposes of being used sexually by men and that people would support this practice instead of condemn it. So I decide to turn on the TV and I watch as another pretty white woman is paraded across my television screen as another victim of rape, but of course I understand that I will never see the face of a black woman or a fat woman because they still don’t count as human beings.

And so it goes until I can take no more of it and my anger grows larger than my exhaustion and I pick up the laptop and find myself writing once more.

I’m sorry that this post seems so full of despair and so full of sadness and defeatism. I’m sorry that this isn’t a happy, jolly, optimistic post that promises everyone that if we only keep fighting we can make it stop. I apologize that I have succumbed to my own anger and sadness and despair and spread it onto my blog, the one place I have always tried to show a strong front, but right now I don’t feel very strong. Right now I feel anger but it is a useless anger for the 2000 people who will read this today are but a small drop of water in an endless sea, even with 20,000 or 200,000 thousand or 2 million or even 2 billion we are ineffective because right now, as I am typing this, there are 6,662,822,662 billion people on this earth, and now, …663, 754, 766, and so on. Every second I type the population soars and it continues to do so, it continues to rise; now there are 6,662,822,870, in the scant 30 seconds it took me to type this it has jumped again.

Even if 2 BILLION people agreed with me and fought with me and were busy spooning out this ocean out with their teaspoons we would still be woefully unequipped.

It is in these moments that I feel the most despair, when I think of the bloggers we have lost. When I look at my blogroll and see that there are those who haven’t updated in months and I think, My gods, this will never change.

But for some reason I am compelled to stand once more, as I hear the voices of my sisters screaming and begging and I know their fears and I feel their sobs and I am wrenched from my daydreams of equality and peace and a world in which we’re allowed to live in peace, unfettered and unafraid of the violence of men. I am pulled back to my feet and I continue to write and to speak and to delete the hate mail, rape threats and insulting comments from my screen even as I understand that I cannot delete them from my mind.
This is why bloggers quit. This is why brilliant voices are silenced. This is what happens when we stand back and look at the bigger picture and despair enters our hearts and we look to our sisters with tears in our eyes and say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it anymore” and other women will hug those of us who simply can’t continue and we’ll embrace them either physically or spiritually in our writings and we’ll say, “It’s ok my friend. I understand and I’ll take your spoon for you”. And we do this with tears in our eyes and we wonder if perhaps we would be better off if we left with them, if we laid down on the beach and just let the ocean take us as well.

And some of us are able to see the ocean and we feel it lapping at our feet and we decide that even though we cannot empty it, even though we will never know a day when we will see results from what we’re doing, that we can’t stop. We try, gods, there have been days that I have begged to be released from this knowing. This awful, terrifying, horrible knowing. There have been days that I wished, with everything inside of me, that I could reverse that knowing. That I could go back to when I didn’t see it, back to when the ocean was invisible to me, just as the women standing on the beach were invisible.

But I can’t. And I keep trying to lay down but as soon as the waves lap at my feet I realize that I can’t just let it take me. And so I listen to the words of my brave sisters and I look up at them from the sand and I take their words and use them to lift myself back up because damnit, I don’t want to be swallowed whole.

To my sisters, to all the women who write, and speak and talk and fight. To all of you holding your spoons right now and looking at the vastness of what we’re doing. To those of you who have watched others lay down and feel frustration and sadness and who are fighting back tears.

I feel your pain.

Your words are treasured jewels to me. They are the hope that I can cling to and the fire under my ass and damnit, sometimes I hate you for speaking out. Sometimes I hate you for continuing to show me this ocean when all I want to do is lay back and let the waves wash over me. But somehow you always manage to inspire those few remaining words I have and your words and bravery and dedication manage to pull me to my feet once more even though I feel so tired and I’m still so very young.

 

You are all beautiful. You are all intense and amazing and brilliant. And Heart, while I read your words and see the stories about more women being devoured by the ocean and I grow angry at you for reminding me of it and pulling me to my feet once more, I love you for the inspiration that you give to me.

All of you are wonderful. All of you are incredible. Stormy, Sparkle, Spotted Elephant, Breatheinspirt, Lost Clown, OAG, Sam, all of you and so many more that I can’t name you all, thank you for making me mad. Thank you for enraging me in those moments when all I want to do is run into the ocean and let it consume me. Your words, your stories, your articles are inspiration to me.

There may come a day when I throw it in completely, when I am consumed by misery and sadness and despair and I lay down and I don’t stand back up, sometimes I hope that the day will come soon. Looking at the threads of my life that are spreading before me and knowing that as long as I am in this world, as long as I am alive and breathing and typing that I will be facing the raw hatred and condemnation that I have received thus far makes me terrified for what the remainder of my life holds.

When I feel the pain of another woman cutting deeply into my own soul I look out towards the future and know that there will be so many more moments like this one. So many more times when my heart feels as if it shall bleed all over my keyboard and I think to myself, “I’m sorry my darling sister. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t stop it for you.” And fuck, I’m not looking forward to a lifetime of those moments, yet, there is no other choice for me right now.

No, this post is far from happy. It’s far from optimistic, it’s far from anything even remotely resembling hope. This is a post of desolation and despondency, of fear and anger and the overarching feeling of being entirely helpless yet, perhaps it is also a peek into what others feel on those days that they post one line,

 

“I need a break.”

Before disappearing for weeks.

~BB

P.S.- I wanted to add that I am NOT going to stop writing. This is not a ‘goodbye’ letter but rather a letter of frustration. I’m not ready to lie down just yet 🙂

Also, some of you will have noticed that I opened comments on this post for the express purpose of showing everyone what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ on some blogs. These are the comments that we keep off the blog for obvious reasons. I think they’ll go a very long way towards proving my point once again.

In Which We Debunk Another Common Pro-Porn Argument

Ok, for the last time, “You cannot make an analogy between violent pornography causing harm to women and action movies”.

You know, I see this defense over and over again. The person who pipes up, in the middle of a feminist discussion about violent pornography with this: “Fine, if you say that violent porn is bad because men can work up to these things then why aren’t you fighting against violent video games?” Invariably these asshats type out their dysfunctional diatribe with a self-satisfied smirk on their faces believing that they have just stumbled upon the equivalent of the feminist silver bullet.

Wrong boys. Try again.

This argument not only displays a frightening level of cognitive dissonance in those who are lame enough to use it but, more importantly, the argument is just plain silly. Sadly however, it appears that people really do believe that a cartoon showing violence against a drawn rabbit and a pornographic film of a real live woman being put into real live pain are really analogous. I’ve heard more arguments of, “You should be working to ban The Terminator if you’re going to try to ban violent porn” than I can stomach.

Now, the well read and well seasoned feminist can easily see the utter stupidity of such an analogy. So much so that we often refuse to even entertain it, however, for the benefit of the uneducated twits who continue to espouse this bit of overused tripe I will go ahead and describe, in full detail, why this is always a check mate in a feminist discussion.

In short, today is remedial feminism day here at The Den.

However, to be able to explain some of the reasons that this pro-porn argument falls flat we must look to a basic human drive: The drive for pleasure.

Humans, as well as other mammals, learn most readily through positive reinforcement. It has been known for a long time that, as a general rule, when a human being experiences something pleasurable then they are far more likely to engage in the pleasurable behavior again.

There is also a little thing that, in animal training circles and also in psychology circles, is known as “Self-Rewarding Behavior”. A self-rewarding behavior is any number of actions which, for the doer of the action, produce a reward which is not dependent upon another person to give. Many animals engage in self-rewarding behavior, that is, a behavior which produces pleasurable results to the participant that they can engage in without aid from anyone else.

Why are these concepts important? Well, in terms of violent pornography and the propensity of human males to have their views of women ‘tainted’ by their chosen medium these concepts are very important.

Orgasm, as it pertains to humans, is arguably the most intense of the pleasurable feelings for the person experiencing it. Humans, like most other critters, won’t normally engage in behavior that they find NON-pleasurable. Example: If you derive no pleasure from being hit then you will most likely try to avoid being hit. Likewise, if you derive lots of pleasure from being hit (forgetting for a moment the mental health issues with such a thing) then you will likely seek out someone to hit you.

Now, it is well known to researchers who study both humans and animals that most creatures will learn far quicker and far more solidly through positive reinforcement. Before I start my upcoming analogy I want to tell everyone that I’m NOT an Evo-psych proponent, however, with that in mind I will try to draw an analogy here and I’m hoping that everyone will see where the analogy comes from instead of saying, “Hey BB, are you saying that humans are animals? Because I remember one thread a long time ago where you got pissed off over this.” So bear in mind where this analogy is going and what it’s intended to do.

I have spent quite a few years training animals. Dogs and horses being the two species that I have the most first hand experience with. For this analogy lets take a common behavior that people would pay me to ‘fix’ in our canine friends.

People would come to me with a dog that wouldn’t ‘come’. I would take the owner and the dog out into an enclosed area and ask the owner to turn the dog loose and then I watched. Invariably I would see this (or similar) string of events:

1. Owner lets dog off of leash
2. Dog runs madly away from owner.
3. Owner yells for dog to “Come!”
4. Dog completely ignores owner
5. Owner becomes more agitated and begins approaching dog
6. Dog looks nervously over its shoulder and runs away again
7. Owner screams angrily at dog to “COME!!!”
8. Dog looks at owner warily
9. Chase ensues with owner running after dog while dog runs away
10. Owner gets close enough to dog, dog squats submissively, ears flattened, eyes looking up
11. Owner yells at dog and hits the dog before roughly putting on the leash, looking over to me and yelling, “See what I mean? This dog is STUPID!!”

At which point I laugh my ass off and respond by saying, “NO, the dog is fucking BRILLIANT!”

The dog was a smart dog, after all if you were a dog would you want to come back to an owner who hits you and screams at you every time you return to them? Then its time to do a bit of role reversal (and for those of you who are curious, YES I have actually done this with clients in the past). I explained to the clients that we were going to do a little test. First off I will not be speaking to you in any way that you understand me (normally I would simply say, “Blah, blah, blahblahdoodeblah”).

Then I would tell the person that their job was to act like a dog. When we got into the role-playing aspect I would wait a few moments as we walked around the property but soon I would begin yelling, “BlahBlahblah!” at them and motioning with my hands. The owner, who was busy assuming that I wanted them to stay next to me, would stand there and look at me while trying to be a ‘good dog’. In my mind, I wanted the owner to ‘Sit’ but I never told them that. In any case, as the scenario played out I would take the owners hands and slap their hands before screaming, “BlahBlahblah!!!!” at them until the owner was completely flummoxed and invariably ran away from me. It was then that I would begin chasing them screaming, “BlahBlahBeeDoopBeBlah!!!!”

At which point we would both start laughing, you see, the dog was pretty damned smart after all eh?

We would then do the same scenario, only this time I used positive reinforcement to get what I ‘wanted’ from the owner. We would start off the same way, but this time my voice got quieter and my ‘blahblahblah’ was softer. I used my hands to touch the owner’s hips and I’d say, ‘blah’ nice and quiet. Within moments the owner figured it out and sat on the ground at which point I would smile and hand them a candy bar.

The point of this ridiculous trip down memory lane is to point out that ALL creatures learn faster, better, and happier with positive reinforcement. ALL creatures enjoy positive feelings and experiences and they seek to replicate them whenever possible.

Enter orgasm and, in particular, masturbation.

Now, it’s also important to note that we also learn by repetition. When we are rewarded, (or reward ourselves) over and over it becomes far more likely that we will engage in the same behavior.

Orgasm is arguably the most powerful tool that we have in our arsenal of positive reinforcement. Orgasm initiates the release of very powerful chemical in our brains which leave literal chemical implants in the surface of that grey matter. (I will pull the cites for it later, I have them on the harddrive but my time is fast growing short) It has been shown that orgasm, and the release of the all important endorphins that come with it, leaves lasting chemical ‘markers’ in the brain. Chocolate cake doesn’t do it, neither does just about any other thing that we experience on a regular basis, but orgasm DOES.

Now, let’s try to tie it all together ok?

With violent pornography (ok, ALL pornography) we are exposing our brains to a heady dose of chemicals that will leave a lasting impression upon the surfaces of the old grey matter for a very long time.

We are using repetition to, in essence, ‘train’ a given set of associations to a given behavior. Just like ‘triggers’ for people who deal with PTSD or other such trauma related conditions we are placing ‘triggers’ into our own minds when we masturbate and orgasm to violent images. In essence a ‘trigger’ is something that brings back the feelings that a trauma survivor experienced. Many times these ‘triggers’ are things that imprinted upon the brain during a time of particular stress. For many people a ‘trigger’ can be a place that reminds them of where they were when violence was wreaked upon them, for others it’s an image, or a certain touch or a smell.

But what if those ‘triggers’ were associated with very pleasurable memories?

When we masturbate to violent, degrading pornography we are, in essence, placing ‘triggers’ inside of us while simultaneously reinforcing it with what is arguably the most powerful feelings of pleasure the physical body is capable of. We are literally etching chemical ‘pictures’ in our heads of whatever we were viewing at the moment of orgasm. These ‘pictures’ remain, oftentimes for an entire lifetime, and they become a ‘trigger’. When something we see reminds us of that image we are then reminded of the extremely pleasurable sensations we felt when we last saw the ‘trigger’.

We are literally conditioning our bodies to respond in a physical way (i.e. sexual arousal) to the ‘triggers’ that we have etched into our minds. We are using the pinnacle of self-rewarding behavior, (masturbation) to repeatedly imprint a given scenario in our heads which we have trained ourselves to associate with the most pleasurable feelings that the human physical body is capable of.

Don’t fool yourselves people, this is a dangerous as fuck phenomenon.

At BEST a lifetime of viewing degradation, violence and pain inflicted upon women will cause you to not be able to orgasm without the use of such visuals whether those ‘visuals’ be physical pornographic pictures or mental ‘visuals’ that aren’t ‘real’.

This is the BEST case scenario. Worst case scenario? Your head becomes so mired and stuck in ‘violence against women is the equivalent of the pinnacle of pleasure’ that you attempt to act it out by either A) Talking a woman you presumably love and care about into pretending to be your rape victim or B) Actually raping a woman.

There is no other outcome to a chemical saturation that imbeds these ‘triggers’ into your mind.

Now I’ll go ahead and answer the question from above:

“BB, you have a problem with violent pornography? Well, why aren’t you going after violent video games?”

My answer: If people were masturbating to violent video game images designed specifically to arouse and bring about orgasm then they would no longer be violent video games but would instead become violent pornography.

The simple fact of the matter is that there can never be a comparison between a movie, a video game or a song and the repeated, prolonged, and conditioned response that one sees when one has spent a lifetime masturbating and etching images into ones head.

It is the masturbation (i.e. the orgasm) which makes the pornography far more dangerous than the average violent video game.

Most boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 13. When these boys die they will likely have practiced the pinnacle of self-rewarding behavior (i.e. masturbation) many times more than they will have experienced the actual act of sex with another human being. Under these circumstances, knowing what we know about repetition, it is far MORE likely that these boys will have absorbed the messages that pornography is sending them FAR more than they will ever have absorbed the messages that real, live women who have real live sexual relationships with them send.

On average young boys are engaging in masturbation to pornographic images far more than they will ever have actual, physical sex with a woman. Therefore, the chances of having the chemical etchings and instilling the ‘triggers’ into their minds via what pornography shows them will indeed have a far greater chance of being permanently instilled than any experience they have with a real live woman.

Of course, it really shouldn’t take a huge post to get this message across but some folks still insist on hiding behind ignorance and refusal to use any sort of critical thinking (or at the least to use Google to search for actual data). These same folks are the ones we hear saying things like, “Well, you should ban violent music as well, and while you’re at it you should go after Cowboy movies too!”

Perhaps us crazy radical feminists would be going after cowboy movies if they were designed to bring about an orgasm through repeated watching designed to condition the viewer to be sexually aroused and masturbate every time a showdown at high noon is mentioned.

And now that we’ve covered that topic again I hope not to have to deal with it for a good, long time.

~BB

Published in: on April 26, 2008 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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S&M Story

{Editor’s Note: I don’t know the original title of this post, and the last few paragraphs are missing.  If you have a better version, please contact me.} 

Several years into my second marriage, my husband, like so many others, came to me with a problem. Our sex life was getting ‘boring’, why don’t we try to ‘spice it up’? I was a bit puzzled since, to me, the sex was fine and dandy, but I was open-minded and had a “Sure, I’ll try anything once” outlook. So, with that in mind, my X took a trip to the local sex store and came home with a pair of fuzzy cuffs.

At first, I kind of enjoyed it. The reasons for this, I have since come to understand, were a direct result of my earlier abuses. I fell into a submissive role easily and readily. In some way, I was trying to act out my earlier rapes in a ‘safe’ environment and, just for the record, that is not healthy either. However, at the time, this seemed like a ‘safe’ way to regain control of earlier abuses in a ‘controlled’ environment.

Soon, however, it escalated. It began with fuzzy cuffs with cute little ‘safety releases’ which worked well to soothe me into believing I actually had control. Eventually, it moved to Velcro stuff which was more difficult to actually remove if I wanted to. All the while he was bringing me home BDSM magazines and videos with women as submissives. The material became more and more hardcore and he wanted to play out every picture in the magazines and videos with/on me.

Honestly, I’m not sure when I began feeling unsafe, I’m not sure at what point the ‘therapeutic’ reenactment of my previous rapes became not-so-therapeutic and, more than that, damaging, but it did happen. The nightmares came back, haunting me in my sleeping hours. My self-esteem plummeted, and I began internalizing the things that my husband told me while having sex. I began to believe I was a whore, a slut and that I liked to be hurt.

The dominance play gradually escalated as each new ‘thing’ quickly got ‘old’, and was rejected in favor of something more extreme, more painful and more degrading. I have since heard of this process of desensitization and now I understand what was happening; what was once titillating and exciting for him, quickly became an old hat and something new came in to take its place. The new stuff was always a bit more extreme than the old stuff.

In the time that I lived with BDSM, I watched as the abuse began to escalate. And I was confused, I was frustrated. I didn’t know whether I liked it or not. I knew I hated the clamps and the chains and the whips but I didn’t hate the way he seemed to value me when it was happening.

I felt like a sort of traitor. He would talk to me, tell me how much he loved me, as he was tying me up, spread eagle, to our marriage bed. He would kiss me gently, more gently than he ever kissed me before we fell into this strange ‘fantasy’ of BDSM. Then he would hit me, or whip me, or stick strange things inside of me and I was supposed to like it. I knew, somewhere inside of me, that I was supposed to like it. The confusion set in and my mind became divided. This was my husband, the man I had sworn to be with, the man who pledged his love to me. Surely, he didn’t WANT to hurt me, and, even if he did, it was my husband, the man I loved. The man who loved me. I was supposed to be enjoying his attentions.

Love, sex, rape and pain became synonymous with one another. Sex didn’t exist without pain. Love didn’t exist without being called a slut, a whore, or a dirty nasty little slut whore. My concept of love began to twist into something so alien that I fight, right now, as I’m writing this, for the words to describe it. Rape didn’t exist, it was simply sex. Sex didn’t exist, it was always rape. Love couldn’t exist without degradation and the phrase “Love Hurts” began to take on a whole new meaning for me.

I became a divided woman. When he came to me in the morning and put the nipple clamps on me I knew that I was not free. What began with fuzzy cuffs and playful ‘spanking’ ultimately led me to a place where the man I loved tried to seal my vagina with hot wax. And you know what? It was all the same. By that time, pain, love, sex and rape, abuse, and degradation were all the same. Respect was nonexistent and the saddest part of all, the part that makes my heart hurt even now as the memories race through my head and my hands shake from the fear welling within me, is that I didn’t know the difference.

His muttered “I love you” was the same as his “You like that you little whore, don’t you?” His fingertips trailing down my side was the same as the numbing pain when he fisted me after hitting my genitals with a whip.

The previous abuses I had endured, my rape when I was a child, became the same as the ‘sex’ we were engaging in. The line disappeared, and, for a time, I didn’t think that there was such a thing as rape, so hazy had the line in my head become. Of course, a part of me rallied against this, and it was that part that insisted on showing me nightmares at night. That part of me wailed at the division, it insisted on reminiding me, in mind numbing horror that I had been raped. At night my head showed me everything for what it was. Flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety attacks, all of these things haunted me daily.

I think that the first time I felt ‘real’ terror was when I looked down at him with a needle in his hand, poking into the skin of my nipple, drawing blood, threatening to pierce it. I screamed in terror and unadulterated horror as the cross stitch needle, the very needle that I had used to make the wall hanging in my living room, disappeared into my flesh. When I screamed he stopped, put his hand up, and clamped it over my mouth. I felt fear. I felt it wash over me and all the pretenses fell away. I knew I wasn’t in control. I knew that his words had been lies. His reassuring words, whispered in a husky voice that I was ‘Safe’ that “No matter what happens know that I won’t hurt you, I love you” I knew it was lies. I saw behind the veneer and I was terrified at what I saw.

From there on the rift inside of me widened. My ‘Mouse’ (the part of me who was the quiet, meek, finishing school girl) told me that I was being silly. She soothed me with her words, telling me that I was simply being unfair to him to suddenly desire to deny him what he so obviously wanted from me. She told me that I had the ability to make him happy and here I was denying him. She reminded me how hard he worked to provide for us and how I was a traitor if I believed that he could or would, actually hurt me badly. Every time he raised the bar she excused it and I believed her, or I tried to anyway.

On the other side of the divide was the Warrior. She screamed at me to kill him, to hurt him, she screamed at me that he was raping me. The Mouse countered by telling me that I enjoyed it, how could it be rape if I enjoyed it? And, even if I didn’t enjoy it, I was his wife and that’s what women do they sacrifice and THAT is the greatest power of all. The two sides began warring for control, the Warrior telling me that pain and sex and love and rape are NOT the same, they are different, they are opposite poles on different ends of the galaxy. The Mouse told me what is pleasure without pain? What is love without anxiety? And mostly, she argued that I was being so uptight.

Meanwhile the abuse continued and escalated.

At the high point of my abuse, cloaked as BDSM, he would insert things into my rectum and force me to go to the store. He tried, on several occasions, to ‘seal’ my vaginal lips closed with wax, or clamps. Rape became not only inevitable but indistinguishable from sex. He held me down amid my screaming protests and raped me, and it was the same as the sex. There was no difference. I took it all as different shades of grey in our ‘enlightened’ sex life.

I began to doubt that my rape at 10 had even occurred, as in, was it even rape? How could it have been, when it was the same as what was happening in my bedroom all the time? How could it be rape? Surely, I wouldn’t be living with a rapist? Surely, the man who told me he loved me couldn’t actually be a rapist? My mind refused to latch onto that concept, the Mouse would have none of it and the Warrior screamed from beyond the chasm in my mind.

Abuse and pain were the norm of my life for a period of about 5 years.

Finally, I spoke to him. Finally, I told him that I was tired of BDSM. I told him I longed for the days when he had actually made love to me. When he was tender without ropes, without chains, without pain and spit and whips. I cried. I asked him, in my desperation that day, to “Please, just make love to me. Please make love to me now, prove to me that you still can.” I told him I needed, craved, desired a gentle touch without pain.

He tried. Until he entered me, then his hand crept to my neck and there it was, the same old dominance. He squeezed my neck and I was gasping for air as my head got light. I cried as he ‘made love’ to me and the tears flowed freely down my face before dropping onto his hand. He kissed the tears away as I cried and it was then that I realized that this was not love. He was incapable of love and I wondered and I heard my warrior crying out to me, I heard her words from across the divide and my heart sank and my tears dried as he finished the act.

From then on I resisted him, I resisted the BDSM. I tried to tell myself I had won, I tried to tell myself that he no longer took out the whips and the chains and leather lay unused in a duffle bag under the bed. But I hadn’t won; every time we had sex, he had a hand on my throat, he had a hand pinning my wrists.

 

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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