Hmm. Many are the times I’ve said that “My life is bizarre. It’s surreal.” Well, I guess that goes for most of us – trapped in culture and rules and regulations. Punishment and reward. Good or bad. Keep your feelings in and hide cause otherwise you’ll be ridiculed and demolished by the dominant culture – A Big Bully. No space for insecurities cause then you’ll get hurt. Stay in line! Conform! Silence!
And if you’re a woman it doesn’t really matter where you go or how you twist and turn – Hurt is the Role we carry in this world. Pain is What We’re Made For. So why not go whacko? Break all the rules. Cross all the boundaries. – It’s more fun than submissively waiting for the slow kill. People won’t like you. They’ll think you’re crazy. They will loath and hate you, FEAR you – openly, secretly; knowingly or un-knowingly but – surely. Hmm. “They”… of course there are some of “they” in all of us. “We” are “they” and “they” are “us”. But still the lines are drawn. Conflict lines shaped by prejudice, fear, hope and ideals. All a mix in one. Ever-changing.
I guess I draw my lines along the oppression known to me. Sexism. When I speak of it and I find myself being belittled ridiculed denied, told that it’s “just me”, “just my reality”. If I feel harmed and I’m told I can not speak about it with someone who’s been wanting to be comrades, wanting to share love intimately. If this is a consistent pattern clearly recognizable in both past and present, and there is no space made to speak of it, no space to confront. Then there’s an enemy-line drawn in front of me. Pushing through is a highly personal matter. I still don’t know how to. There would need to be a collective. Cause all these lonely voices of women working on men in their near surroundings slowed down and made to patiently wait for our turn with “Yeah, yeah right. I’ll listen to you when I’m good and ready. Later. Learn how to rephrase your anger and pain, then I’ll consider a slight change. And, btw, how you feel is none of my business, so don’t come and spoil my day.” We’re so easily hushed. Not many will empathize or support a woman with a single voice. Most will think of it as ‘personal’ or ‘private’. The understanding will be there for the men. Condemnation, shame and silence for the women. These are Power Lines I confront in my everyday life. Mentally, verbally, physically. They are there. I know them. They harm, they hurt, they drive me mad. And when I speak of it, I feel crazy, and I have to fight an inner struggle to survive, not to go submissive and shut myself up. The men we love, do not deserve it, as long as they remain ignorant of the power lines women have to struggle with daily, as long as they keep themselves above criticism, as long as they shush us up with their self-pity, and do not open up space for confrontation on women’s terms. Complaints and concerns should not have to be made with smiles and caring warm bosoms in order to be heard.
Daniel says she’s super insecure about meeting. That this is the reason for not wanting to meet me face to face in Tampere.
My insecurities and fear is put into second place. At first she said that I could come there as well, that she could ask (e) about me staying over. (i) – a woman she feels “bursts of teenage love” for – but at the same time says that it’s related to being depressed and that it’s the opposite of being low, and that I shouldn’t consider her to be ‘competition’, that she would ‘have a good affect on our relation’. I got so angry hearing this. That having a talk about sexism and gender patterns in our relation should be pushed aside so that Daniel could get an ego-boost, by spending time breaking through the boarders of this woman, and then – most likely – drag her through the same problematic behaviors that I’ve been through. No. It’s not competition. I do not compete in being treated in a demeaning and sexist fashion. I do realize that relations is something that requires time. And time and effort is a real hands on thing to ‘compete’ about.
At first I told Daniel that I wouldn’t like the idea of meeting up in Tampere at the anarchist gathering, cause there would most likely not be any support or sensitivity for my situation there. And also if (i) would be all loving and caring for Daniel, then that would just be too much for me. (The depression and trauma I’ve gone through in relation to the conflicts within the scene have been long-lasting and severe).
I got the image of a meeting in Helsinki. One man from Turku, had come there to facilitate it. I had managed to get a meeting about my exclusion from the social centre project, at the Peace Station. It was slow and akward. Some were saying that they didn’t see any reason for me being banned. Others were for it. One fairly sexist man called Matti, was saying that she thought that I should be banned because I had refused her a hug once in the house. I had told her to take care of her own needs. It was damaging sitting there taking this in. And at the same time a woman, Ronja, was there stroking and hugging Matti. Matti was a bit aggressive in her manner of speaking, and was also saying that I was ‘crazy’. Ronja disagreed with this, but was still there full of empathy and care for the one in power to deny me access to the project because of not wanting to hug.
The fear of reliving a similar experience with Daniel, there, comforted by (i) was just too much for me. But after some time my anger grew, and the distrust that I feel in Daniel taking these issues seriously, taking me – or any woman – seriously, when I talk of abusive sexist behavior in intimate relations, made me want to go against all the hurt and mental break downs I’ve been going through lately, and face the situation I would fear the most. Speaking my truth. Getting rejected. Knowing that her love just isn’t there. That she doesn’t really want to know how to love. No matter how much she says it.
In the beginning when we got to know each other, and she was talking of her other relations, then she was talking about “fitting” with people or not. Maybe she’s there with some Cinderella story in her head, waiting for a woman to be her “perfect fit”, like a shoe she can take off and on. Love. Not love. Whenever there are problems or the shoe would start to feel warm or uncomfortable, she could go shopping for a new one. Play the same game – look for the shoe that “fits” – take a break from the old cranky shoes. And since she’s “not in a relation” with anybody, then there should be no complaints. Simple. Off with the old shoe, and try a new one on, maybe some of the old shoes would feel better, if just long enough time has passed, then all the old problems would be forgotten and the shoe would feel all cool and smooth again.
This is just me going blah blah. I don’t know. The only thing I know is that for me it would be important to talk these things through. Or at least have a recognition of that this feminist, person, human being sees some problems. And I have felt diminished as a comrade, and as a person “tried on for size”.
I would really like for this meeting to happen. I don’t understand why a talk on the choices we make in life would be harmful. Reality clashes and power lines are uncomfortable to face, but they do exist, and we should acknowledge their existence. Not hide.
Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.
Hmm. Apart from being low low low, mentally messed up. And crying. And today feeling my heart is just jumping out of my chest and I can’t breathe, I’ve been going on a constant rush through memory lane. Another one of those moments I remembered today, was when a woman interviewed me about sexual harassment for a leftist paper – Libero – and how she at first asked me if I was okay with having my name in the paper. Then she wrote me again, saying that she thought it would be better if my name wasn’t in the paper, in case some of the “squat people” would see it, cause then “they wouldn’t take in the message”. This was said by a woman that had been there in one squat, making a women’s separatist space with me, and also seeing the penis drawn on the wall and the word ‘woman’ written and crossed out . She eventually stopped going there because of the oppressive atmosphere. And, now, writing for a paper that had nothing to do with Helsinki, or squatting, she still thought it would be best to use another name for me in the article. (She also made some comment about removing me entirely if I wouldn’t be okay with a pseudonym. And that she thought that this would be a pity, since she thought I had made some sensible comments on Power of definition and Partiality.)
I wrote to her, and she changed her mind. I ended up with a photo in the paper.
For the email exchange on using my name or not click here:
This kind of goes to show, how far we bend over backwards whenever there is a hurt male ego out there, not willing to take in what we have to say.
What I’m wondering is – How are we ever going to get our message across if we can’t speak it in our own names with our own words?
Well. I for one am not going to take it anymore. I want to be able to speak freely.
And I’m called a “sexist” “man-hater” whenever I open my mouth… Women criticizing porn or any other patriarchal phenomenon, are told that we are against “Free Speech” and for “Censorship”. ‘Free Speech’ for women does not exist within the scene, it’s not welcomed, and when we do speak we are alone and apologetic. We easily give up, because the pressure to remain silent is heavy and deep.
picture taken from http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/Porn/