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News ::
Woman's Greatest Fear (english)
02 Oct 2002
this is the latest in a series of essays

This is the seventh in a series of essays concerned with male domination.
The first six are:

Woman’s Greatest Fear

By Emma Goldwoman

Imagine a woman proposing a worldwide organization which men can join, can work for (building up the capital assets of the organization) and to which men are encouraged to donate time and money. And this organization works consciously to condition men from childhood with the idea that the most holy and important action men can take is to serve this organization without question.

Imagine a woman proposing that this organization will always be a completely undemocratic organization, rigidly hierarchical, and 100% controlled by a very powerful group of women who will never, ever, allow men to participate in formulating the aims and ideas of the group.

Imagine a woman proposing that this organization shall exist for 2000 years and shall meet every challenge by the men who dare to ask for equality in this group with torture, murder, enslavement, imprisonment, ridicule, assault, expulsion, exile and legal punishments of all kind, barring men from any except the lowest positions in this organization. Please, take a second and imagine a woman proposing an organization of this kind. What would be the response of men?

“Man-hater!” “Feminazi!”

But that organization exists today; it’s one of the most prominent, authoritative and wealthiest organizations in the world, and it has powerful overt and hidden influences on political decisions that affect your life…but of course it is not controlled by women. Oh no. It is completely, 100%, controlled by men. Just substitute ‘woman’ for ‘man’ in the description above and you have an accurate description of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

A few weeks ago this is what happened to a few women who attempted to challenge this organization:

“Seven women excommunicated as deadline passes.”

“Seven women who took part in Austria in a simulated (notice the language!) priestly ordination on 29 June were officially excommunicated at midnight on Monday.”

“We think that the Vatican will ordain women, perhaps in 2 years or in 30 years or in 100 years, we don't know, but every woman of the world must fight for -- against discrimination of women worldwide. And we will -- we are the first now, but I think other women will follow us...” Dr. Gisela Forster

(By the way, for all you conspiracy minded folks, do a google search and try to find actual articles (not just links) about this in the mainstream press. The two references I was able to find are both from Catholic sites who only mention the story in order to support the Pope! That man, it seems, has a long, long, arm.)

Now, how many people did you hear denouncing the Pope as a ‘woman-hater’? How many people defined the Pope as a ‘masculinazi’? None. It is taken for granted that some men have privileges that no woman in the world is allowed, ever, even to think of having. Otherwise she is ‘excommunicated’.

Are the men and women who support this organization accused of being ‘women-haters’ simply because they follow the Catholic ideology? No. But if a woman followed and promoted an organization that did to men what the Holy Roman Catholic Church has done and still does to women would she not be branded a ‘man-hater’? Of course she would.

Clarification: I don’t think the Pope hates women, or that the men and women who keep him in power hate women. The Pope and his supporters simply want to continue oppressing women. Love co-exists with oppression and acceptance of oppression; with dominance; and with forced or conditioned submission. That is the history of the world.

Yet, if a single solitary voice peeps from somewhere, even from the relative obscurity of Indymedia, and dares to point out the obvious fact that the political world is still a world 90% controlled by men; that the military violence of this world is 100% directed by men and 90% performed by men; that the economic world is 99% controlled by men; that even the so-called progressive opposition voices to this violence and control are usually men’s voices; if a woman dares to point out these obvious truths staring us all in the face, what happens? Do people debate her facts? No. Or her reasoning? No. This is what happens: she is branded with the scarlet letters MH, the label all women fear. She is branded with the name Man-Hater, the most loathsome creature in the world…according to men.

Ask women this direct question: “Are you a feminist?”
And what will you hear? 90% of the time?

“Oh no! I mean, of course I believe in equality, but I certainly don’t hate men.”

Why this association of feminism with man-hating?

From the beginnings of the women’s movement women who had the nerve to point out obvious but uncomfortable truths of social relationships have been accused of ‘hating men’. And from the beginning this accusation has been the most effective means of slowing down and stopping the movement and of making women close their eyes to the obvious facts of their own existence.

Women who refuse to identify themselves as feminists are afraid. What are they afraid of?

Deep down women’s strongest and most secret worry, our greatest fear, is that it may be true…maybe we do hate men, and we are afraid of facing the reality of our feelings. Because we do have powerful frightening feelings about men, alive today but deep-rooted in the uncharted past.

However, I maintain that this powerful feeling women are taught to call hatred springs from another source. Yes, it is powerful, like hatred. It can move mountains. It can make the most mundane woman in the world become a heroine overnight. Who knows, maybe it can change the world.

I maintain that this feeling that women are afraid to face, this feeling that most men and some women call ‘hatred of men’, is our feeling of injustice.

Every woman I have ever known in my life loves at least one man, usually several: a father, a boyfriend, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a former lover, a co-worker, a nephew, an uncle.

But women do have this rarely acknowledged feeling, buried for centuries, for a hundred centuries, three hundred generations. A voice breaks out sometimes expressing this feeling of injustice, only to be stifled by opposition or self-imposed shame.
Why do men control the world, and create such suffering through the way they control it? Is that just? Where are the women in the halls of power? Where are the women when decisions are to be made? Who usually decides to cut down this grove of old-growth forest, or to rain bombs on that poor country? Where are the women with financial power? Anywhere money talks it is men’s tongues saying the words, and women are reduced to props and decorations.

And remember, all you guys itching to pull that mouse out of your holster and start clicking it in my face: I’m talking the 95% rule. 95% of the time, men rule.

Are the zillions of men who have never uttered a word opposing male domination called ‘women-haters’?

If women dominated political decision-making to the same degree that men do now, would the men who pointed out that fact be called ‘women-haters’?

Women are taught to call our feeling of injustice ‘hatred’ and to be ashamed for feeling it. And we stifle it, stuff it away. But reality does not allow us to live in illusion forever. Maybe for a day, a year, even twenty years. But reality acts upon the human heart and when injustice exists we feel it as injustice.

But then we hear the voice, ‘No that is not the feeling of injustice, that is hatred. You are blaming men!’ and our sense of injustice is twisted, thwarted, and it returns to a fitful sleep.

Women, we must recognize our strength. Our strength is our love for men and for women, and our respect for the reality of our own perceptions. And we must recognize what guides our strength, what tells us where and how to use our strength: it is our sense of justice and injustice. And any man or woman who defines us as a ‘man-hater’, simply because we state the obvious truth of our society, is doing what people have been doing for centuries: they are trying to shut us up.

If you dare to point out the reality of American foreign policy, you are called ‘anti-American’, and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of your own country. If you dare to point out the suffering of a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation you are called ‘anti-Semitic’ and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of Israel. And if you dare to point out the reality of male domination you are called ‘man-hater’ and made to feel ashamed of your criticism of our male dominated society.

I will never feel ashamed for trying to describe accurately what I see with my own eyes. I know which way the wind blows but the weatherman is stuck in Plato’s cave.

Women’s full participation in the economic and political and intellectual and spiritual and artistic life of humanity is the hope of the world, and it is going to happen. It is happening right now.

And it’s going to happen in ways men may not want it to happen. Because just as men have defined the rules of authority, they have also defined the rules of resistance and revolution. But now is the time for women to creatively break through the ideological definitions of the past.

Men, you men who see the future which our present is leading to, it is time to join the women’s movement; politicized active women are your best allies in creating another, more humane, society. And women, all you women who see the reality of who is dropping the bombs and directing the bombers, it is not hatred you feel, it is your feeling of injustice. Let that be your guide and nobody will stop us.

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