I was listening to Saturday’s coast-to-coast and a woman came on to tell us all that patriarchy is the reason why everything’s wrong in the world. And that men being in charge is why there’s rape and torture and men have made a huge mess of it all. She ended by saying that the old goddess religions were peaceful because ‘women are communal.’
It should be noted that neither the guest nor the host disagreed with her assessment and the host gave a ‘you go grrl’ nod of agreement. Both were male.
I find these kinds of assertions, that women are non-violent and men are violent monsters, to be incredibly ironic.
Why? Because shame is violence. And what she’s doing is visiting violence on others.
It’s like watching someone beat the crap out of someone else for not being a pacifist.
It should be noted that this kind of mainstream misandry is both pervasive and rarely challenged. That means this society, which according to gynocentrists is oppressing women, is putting a continual psychic beat down on men.
I’m going to practice my rueful chuckle right now.
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yup, shame is used to control…..
I know it’s been discussed before…
and yeah, the more powerful guys love it when women “beat down” lower status guys….
just look at Biden “mansplainin” over Whopee Goldberg when she said “And ladies, don’t hit your men….”
For many years I was deeply involved with the Wiccan community, and was constantly faced with this particular notion over and over again. It has become so pervasive in the Pagan religious community that it is entirely invisible, and insidious. If you accept the notion that many of the world’s ills are due to “An imbalance favouring masculine spiritual energies” and that “the world is naturally re-balancing itself by giving voice and power to Feminine Energies,” any pain you feel as a Man is accepted as a natural and inevitable part of a natural cycle.
This idea wasn’t part of the religion I’d joined and been initiated into, but it became all-pervasive in it over the course of a couple of decades. Paganism stopped being about the acceptance of the inner and primal, and started to be about “Goddess spirituality.” This idea has rendered the whole pagan community unrecognizable from what it was in the 80s, in terms of practice, attitude, beliefs, and makeup.
By the time we got to the end of the 90s, books on “Wicca for Men” or “Paganism for Men” were entirely built around the notion that Men in our current age had a duty to serve the women around them, and really were about the best way to position yourself as a servant of The Goddess and her priestesses, while building contempt for Men who were still “holding back the change to a new era.”
My direct experience was usually one of exclusion. I wasn’t welcome in most covens and circles in my area because I was a man – or I was only welcome if I remained outside the ritual circle, or in a specifically subservient role, like guard of the ritual space entrance, in it.
Ultimately, I had to withdraw from Paganism for a long time, because it had become so unwelcoming, and so un-empathetic to the male participants.
I want to thank you for putting words to the notion of shame-as-violence in this context. It is one that really needs to be heard. I am currently gearing up for a major talk on Men’s Spirituality at a pagan festival, and this will help me immensely.
Brian, thank you for your story. It is remarkabale how several unrelated religious movements of the 70s and 80s ar undergoing deep changes and being challenged from within.
On the religious right you find the younger generation turning way from the God, guns and gays formula and asking why there is so little emphasis on social justice and mercy, the themes Jesus and the prophets bang on and on about. Even in the atheist community – and god or no, there are relgious aspects to it too – there is a definite schism between female supremacists and actual sceptics.
And by the way, a religion based on western European traditions that ignores or slights the Green Man and Cernunnos is quite simply inauthentic. It is a new invention, not a reverence for what the ancestors taught.
“She ended by saying that the old goddess religions were peaceful because ‘women are communal.’
Then she is either lying or ignorant. The old goddess religions were blood-saoked. Bull fighting comes directly out of the bull sacrifices of the Minoan goddess religion. The Medusa comes out of the same religious complex, and probably also the horrible cult of Cybele too, in which its priests castrated themselves. Blood-soaked. But perhaps for that women that blood doesn’t matter, since it was all male blood.
SWAB, you make a powerful point. Women are often the weapon of choice in the kyriarchy when it comes to maintaining the dominace hierarchy amng men.
This is why the Goddess Feminists are such a joke. It is a discredit to society that these historically and anthropologically bankrupt fictions are allowed to be voiced unchallenged in public and it is a discredit to their movement that they are so often held up as equal or even superior to genuine scholarship.
I am currently holding a copy of a scholarly work on Celtic myth and religion. I assume that it\’s mere presence would would burn the authors of statements such as those quoted (a side-note of possible interest: Although the book in question is now a century old, it contains both a brief examination of socially-constructed gender roles over time and several references to an quotations from female scholars who had written on the subject. This stands in stark contrast to claims more recent feminists have made regarding the radical nature of their contributions to academia).
By the way, I had a friend who knew a lot of Wiccans who said that there is a god and a goddess, but that they only worshiped the goddess because everyone else was focusing on the god. He told me that he couldn’t believe that they were capable of confusing their own god with the god of the Abrahamic religions, an opinion with which I concur (there are numerous differences in appearance visible at a glance, for one thing).
I believe there is a screaming woman from “Starship Troopers 3” appropriate to this situation…
IMO shame is not violence.
How exactly is shame a form of violence?
I understand how shame can be used to cause violence but I don\\’t see where the they\\’re the same or even similar.
Just noticed the system adds a backslash every time I resubmit the comment. This means that the number of times I submit my comment = number of backslashes + 1
“To be worshipped is not freedom.” – Shulamith Firestone
“It’s like watching someone beat the crap out of someone else for not being a pacifist.”
It would be hypocritical. It would be wrong. But it couldn’t possibly be any worse than the present arrangement, where people beat the crap out of us for being pacifists.
Also, unless I’ve copied my comment, to paste after the spam filter blocks me, it is lost, and I need to rewrite it.
Sounds like those Wiccans needed to openly admit what feminism has needed to admit for some time now: that they’re really for and about women, period.
That doesn’t even have to be a bad thing! Just acknowledge the obvious and go on with your advocacy.
“How exactly is shame a form of violence?”
Shame is a form of violence when it is social – and that is the defintion of shame, contra guilt – and when the person being shamed is a member of that group. I am sure someone can dig up studies where social exclusion has impacted the health of monkeys, maybe even resulting in decline and death. That’s just what it means to be a primate.
It is not violence, it is nothing, when you are not a member of that group. Then the group’s disapproval means nothig. As usual, the Chinese have an expression: “Foreigners have no face.” (So we can’t lose it.)
So that’s the choice – either this shaming is violence, or the opinions of the sahmers don’t matter and should eb disregarded. Oooh wait – that would be misogyny. There’s the gotcha. There’s the power.
I have noticed with the captcha that you have to add it the very last thing. you can’t add one letter afterwards or it will certianly not work. If you do it last, you have half a chance it’ll work.
“How similar are the experiences of social rejection and physical pain? Extant research suggests that a network of brain regions that support the affective but not the sensory components of physical pain underlie both experiences. Here we demonstrate that when rejection is powerfully elicited—by having people who recently experienced an unwanted break-up view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected—areas that support the sensory components of physical pain (secondary somatosensory cortex; dorsal posterior insula) become active. We demonstrate the overlap between social rejection and physical pain in these areas by comparing both conditions in the same individuals using functional MRI. We further demonstrate the specificity of the secondary somatosensory cortex and dorsal posterior insula activity to physical pain by comparing activated locations in our study with a database of over 500 published studies. Activation in these regions was highly diagnostic of physical pain, with positive predictive values up to 88%. These results give new meaning to the idea that rejection “hurts.” They demonstrate that rejection and physical pain are similar not only in that they are both distressing—they share a common somatosensory representation as well.”
Shame or social rejection elicits feelings of physical pain. It thus functions as the perfect form of torture: causing physical pain without causing physical injury.
Consider this fact in light of all the social systems that shame men, either for ‘despoiling women’, vectoring sin from generation to generation, being agents of the patriarchy, or by presenting them as the root cause of all rape, abuse and murder in the world.
These systems are, in effect, forcing men to endure a continual psychic wounding. Their excuses for doing so are flimsy and insubstantial and for anyone who believes in an ethical edict of ‘first do no harm’ do not and cannot justify this wide scale brutality directed towards one gender.
I have noticed with the captcha that you have to add it the very last thing. you can’t add one letter afterwards or it will certianly not work. If you do it last, you have half a chance it’ll work.
Hell of a post Typhon. Thanks for the info on the relationship of rejection to physical pain. Very telling.
Cybele? Horrible? Blood-soaked? I’m not too familiar with her religion, but if you’re that attached to your testes, it’s unlikely any goddess will call you to detach them.
“but if you’re that attached to your testes, it’s unlikely any goddess will call you to detach them.”
The cult of Cybele used to kidnap men and castrate them. It’s one of the (legitimate) reasons why the Ancient Romans hated them. One of the less legitimate reasons was because the cult had priestesses in charge and Ancient Roman men did not like to be ruled by women.
“Cybele? Horrible? Blood-soaked? I’m not too familiar with her religion, but if you’re that attached to your testes, it’s unlikely any goddess will call you to detach them.”
Obviously you are too healthy a person to ever do something like that. You kind of disbelief is always diagnostic; comments like yours come from people who just can’t imagine this kind of idiocy because it is so foreign to them.
Well, all I can say is that people have been perfectly willing to lop pieces off of baby boys’ dicks for centuries for exactly the same stupid reason.
“The cult of Cybele used to kidnap men and castrate them.”
Source? I’d like to see strong evidence for this claim, independent of Roman or British paranoia. The British made the same claim about the Hijras, to justify the criminalization of the entire Hijra community, the seizure of the temples, and the ban on nirvan.
” I’d like to see strong evidence for this claim, independent of Roman or British paranoia.”
I’m not exactly sure why the British would be paranoid of a cult that died out thousands of years before their empire.
Anyway, what you’re asking is impossible as actual Ancient Romans are the only source for first-order accounts of Roman history.
With that quote in this context, you seem to be suggesting that I should feel sorry for someone who is specifically demanding to be worshiped. The suggestion is an absurd one, and I will not follow it.
Goddess religions were always just as “blood-soaked” as other faiths of their places and eras (occasionally more so, but the reverse was also occasionally true). Anyone suggesting that they represent a kinder or gentler force is deluded.
Forcible castration of boys for purposes both religious and secular was hardly an uncommon practice throughout the ancient world, and continued in many places well beyond antiquity. What makes you think goddess worshipers would have been any nicer about it?
“It would be hypocritical. It would be wrong. But it couldn’t possibly be any worse than the present arrangement, where people beat the crap out of us for being pacifists.”
I’m finding it difficult to parse this. Are you saying that all women are being beaten on because all women are pacifists?
That seems like a stretch.
However it _is_ the case that mainstream thought believes men to be responsible for all or most of the ill in the world. Which is shame thus a form of applying pain. And, IMHO, since I believe even types of torture that leave no physical marks are violence, this widespread shaming of men *is* violence. A completely unchecked form of violence solely targeted at men.
Unless you’re going to argue that society commonly promotes the demonization of women.
this is what I found when I googled the cult of cybele….
\\\\”Anyway, what you’re asking is impossible as actual Ancient Romans are the only source for first-order accounts of Roman history.\\\\”
You might be able to test the reliability of those sources using Bayes Theorum.
(I really don\\\’t understand this spam filter. What am I supposed to do?)
\”I find these kinds of assertions, that women are non-violent and men are violent monsters, to be incredibly ironic.\”
well, Palin and Hillary Clinton are both War Hawks in my book….
and many have called Margaret Thatcher bloodthirsty….
indeed a kinder and gentler machine gun hand….
I was severely beaten for protesting the wars. Nothing about gender there.
I read up on the white feather campaign, and it struck me that people were shaming each other into killing each other and making the world worse for everyone. If only people could put the same effort into not killing each other…
I thought the white feather campaign was women giving white feathers to non-combatant men?
This is an example of the direct application of shame as coercive violence.
“If only people could put the same effort into not killing each other…”
Yes, but it takes ten times the effort. Shame is very powerful and pretty easy to use. But it’s violence, so it doesn’t really conduce to nonviolence. You know what will work? Absolute realpolitik. The most airtight case for nonviolence comes from that theorist of total war, Sun Zi. He points out that nonviolence is the most efficient, least costly way to achieve your objectives – the key being that you have to define your objective widely enough, accurately enough.
No. Social rejection is not conducive to non-violence and not just because it *is* violence but because it erodes people’s ability to resist violence as a solution.
Which may be one reason why it’s turned full force on men–the same reason why people who engage in dog fighting might burn a puppy’s nose with cigarettes.
Make ’em mean, meaner then the enemy’s attack dogs, and turn ’em loose.
Then enjoy the spoils of war they bring home.
I was wondering when someone would mention this and surprised that it was Marja who brought it up. It seems that as a peace activist, she should definitely be able to understand how that sort of shame is a form of violence! Psychologically, we must assume that the level of pain endured at the hands of the White Feather campaigners was as great or greater than what they had endured at the hands of enemies trying to kill them. There are even accounts of men who had been shamed into reenlisting.
Can I just throw out something personal? Growing up, I had been indoctrinated with the idea that men who go off to war are all foolish and naive, seeking adventures and glory. And that war becomes a rude awakening to them all. This was then contradicted by the same people who would also say that it’s economic hardship and “the system” which gave these men no choice but to become cannon fodder. And they would typically add that these men are “tools.” It’s funny how that works. The shaming actually comes from both sides. When I was in the Marines, I definitely felt that stigma from some circles. I had always been of the opinion that peace activists are their own worst enemies when they use the same tactics against their biggest natural allies that the bad guys use to get those men to fight in the first place. If you’re a peace activist and you use use shame as your weapon, how is that not hypocritical?
No one should use shame as a weapon. This should be distinguished from legitimate criticism which can be a force for good.
Shame says: ‘you’re worth nothing as a person.’
Guilt(or better yet, regret) says: ‘that behaviour is beneath you as a person.’
Ginkgo and TyphonBlue:
I think the kidnapping story smells too much like blood libel [I don’t think that was your intent though], so I’m naturally more suspicious and want more solid sources than usual. In the case of Victorian British sources, the kidnapping story was used to legitimize policies criminalizing the Hijras. In the case of Roman sources, the approach of Cassius Dio, who despised Elegabalus and threw shit at the wall to see what’d stick, is a good bad example.
I don’t think it’s necessary to assume kidnapping to account for recruitment. By Russell’s old estimates [“Late Ancient and Medieval Population,” 1958], Rome had 350,000 people in the 1st Century and about 172,600 in the 4th Century, and that’s not counting the hinterland. By Conway’s estimates [“Estimating the Prevelance of Transsexualism,” 2001-2012], about 1 in 200 people is transsexual. Roman citizens could not be full Gallae, but there could still be more Gallae than in most other Roman priestesshoods. And that leaves aside other Cybelline priesthoods and priestesshoods.
Has anyone seen this? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/17/german-court-ruling-circumscribing-law
I think the essay is completely wrong. It shouldn’t be the parents’ choice. It’s the kids’ bodies, and it should be the kids’ choices when they’re old enough. I know it’s not as extreme as clitoridectomy or John-Money-approved assignment surgery, but it’s still violating their bodily autonomy.
They have a second piece on the same thing on the same day:
It has a 25-page comment thread, mostly opposing infant circumcision. But that’s what Comment is Free is all about, writing provocative pieces that’ll get lots of comments and generate loads of advertising revenue. I think the Good Men Project also works that way.
\\\\\”I don’t think it’s necessary to assume kidnapping to account for recruitment.\\\\\”
Marja, I agree with you there. I hadn’t heard the kidnapping part of the story, but I just basically discount what Roman writers wrote in general. What they wrote about the Celts, even when they weren’t actively churning out propaganda, is of such a low, sloppy quality that none of it is reliable. They couldn’t for instance be bothered to distinguish between Celts and Germans, or Celtic languages and Germanic languages, FFS.
And besides, men don’t need ot be kidnapped to subside into the Mother. It is a very easy dysfunction to fall into. And there are plenty of men who are so convinced the penis is evil – Hugo Schwyzer jumps to mind – that self-castration is not too far-fetched an idea.
Origen wasn’t some priest of Cybele, and he did it to himself. And was denounced by the Church for it, but too late.
And on those circumcision threads, the commentary is like 80% against, and the reasoning has evolved beyond the usual religion-bashing.
I fail to see how putting forth flat caricatures is a legitimate criticism. Many of the criticisms of the sort that I mentioned are probably projections of the way activists themselves view military service rather than the way military servicemen see it. Maybe the views might be reactions to the stuff that’s depicted in recruitment posters rather than what the military is really like. At any rate many of the peace activist tactics end up being contradictory and dripping with shaming tactics, IMHO. And while there are undoubtedly some who fit the descriptions of naive adventure seekers and others who fit the role of absolute toolbags, those men are probably the least useful to a peace activist’s cause.
\\\”They couldn’t for instance be bothered to distinguish between Celts and Germans\\\”
Caesar did. He basically contrasted the Germans with the Celts as more barbaric, describing them as much more sparsely populated, and lacking any druids or priests.
Very nice, Viking. None of that is new ot me but it is very conveneinet to have it gathered all in one place.
In some cases Gimbutas’ conclusions have ben undermined by information that wsn’t avaliible to her at the time – her chronology is off; Old Europe had eclipsed long before the various IE waves of migration out of the Ukraine – but even when she was writing all that, she should have been on guard for presentism. Her vision of invading hordes from the steppe was wildly anachronistic and she could have seen that at the time if she had bothered to think any of this through.
Caesar used the labels Galli and Germani, but inconsistently and for propaganda reasons. He wanted to tie his first few campaigns to Marius’ campaigns. He needed to establish a geographic limit to Gaul. But there were Germanic-speaking tribes in Gallia [the Batavi] and Celtic-speaking tribes in Germania [the Usipetes].
Referring to any of these people as Germans is a bit anachronistic. It’s not completely inappropriate for West Germanic peoples, as long as we agree we’re writing in German on this blog, but it drives me nuts when this is extended to East or North Germanic peoples.
It usually takes me about ten tries to get through the spam filter. All things considered, I would expect it to take 26*26 = 676 tries.
This is hardly my area of expertise, but I recall reading recently that an oath formula attributed by Caesar to a pair of Celtic messengers is found repeated almost identically in a Gaelic text put into writing in Ireland centuries later.
[…] Because of this, it was no surprise to find out that the Wiccan/Pagan community has the same problem with feminist infection and being feminized: […]