Women and anger

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I ran across a rather intriguing documentary (see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKDJxOm2RfY) of a Ukrainian feminist group called Femen recently. They are unique in that they attract attention by having their most attractive members remove their shirts in protest. I found it intriguing because they describe their approach as using their breasts as "weapons". It's about the most obvious expression of feminine sexualized anger that I've seen yet. (This recent clip shows it more obviously http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2OKgky72Y4). It was originally quite confusing for me because they are so attractive (and clearly very intelligent and creative) yet their language is quite clear. They are working towards a feminist revolution and "matriarchy". They are also attempting to stop pornography and sex tourists in the Ukraine.

I'm not particularly interested in going beyond patriarchy by flipping over to matriarchy, nor am I confident that using the law and political power is going to stop pornography and sex tourism. They certainly are, however, drawing attention to the issues and that's undoubtedly a good thing. I'm sure that they will get the odd male who wouldn't normally give a woman 10sec from their football matches and beer to give them some more of their time. Perhaps some of their concerns will get through.

They helped me see through their physical attractiveness to the reality of their anger (Not likely to be partners in healing. Sigh). At the same time I feel a little sad, (particularly in view of their most recent scrap with an MP), because I like their stance against prostitution and sexual tourism. I'm not sure how else they'd get their message heard.

Sincerely,

"Arnold"

Comments

Might want to mention that

Might want to mention that the first link could trigger some.

Though they talk of matriarchy, are you sure they aren't looking for some balance or at least some representation that honors female needs?

Trigger

Thanks Freedom,

Yes I probably should have mentioned that it could trigger people. It sort of triggered me, but it also helped me see through their physical attractiveness and nudity. I chose the documentary because it showed them in the most unsexualized form I could find them represented. Originally I stumbled upon them because there was a news item about them on Yahoo! Quebec which pops up when I read my emails.

Regarding their objective: I think that they might settle for having more representation if they had to. Basically I think they are very angry and justifiably so. That anger is fueling a will to power which, in my mind, can't heal. They will certainly draw attention to the issues though. For real change to happen, men are going to have to come forward who have an interest in more cooperative and more conscious approaches to problem solving and the women are going to have to work with them. Men are going to have to speak more openly about how prostitution (in all its forms) doesn't work for them without denying that women who use their bodies for political motives can be very attractive. Women are going to have to find ways to release their attachment to these methods.

I did a very interesting experiment last summer. A woman friend of mine asked me to go public about a men's group I helped create over 3 years ago. We call ourselves "Men for Love" and were inspired originally by "Peace Between the Sheets". When I communicated our group's existence to a broader public the reactions were quite interesting (and disturbing to me). It seemed that very few people could understand that the words "Men" and "Love" could go together. Many people interpreted our name as meaning "Men for Sex". It was a huge eye opener for me.

So if men can't be motivated by Love (the impression of a great many men and women), then these women don't have a hope of creating a world in which men and women can live in peace and mutual support.

Will to Power

Ok. I should be more careful with my words. I'm thinking of power over others. Nietzsche's use wasn't quite what I had in mind. I've thought of emailing them, but their main website is in Ukranian and I don't speak Ukranian. There is a Femen International Facebook page (I found it just now), I'll try that and see what happens. I'm not confident that I'll get a conversation going, but it's worth a shot. Thanks for the idea.

PS: I can't seem to find a way to send them a message via that page or Femen USA. There is a way to send them money but that's about it. If you find a way to send them a message, please let me know.

Commerce perhaps. Try info

Commerce perhaps. Try info@femenshop.com and ask how to contact them.

Can one reverse tweet? I don't use Twitter so I'm not sure.

Whatever their true agenda, non-sexualized nudity can't hurt. I don't sense they want power for themselves any more than any other political group. Is their perhaps zero sum approach troubling to you?

Hurt

Hi Freedom,

I realize that what they are doing is harmless, quite innovative, and creative. The thing that I like about their gig is that their anger is fairly obvious. I have a very strong habit of being attracted to deeply angered women. THAT does hurt. So it was fascinating for me to feel the attraction to their physical appearance, creativity and intelligence and yet recognize their anger so clearly (Usually its difficult for me to perceive it).

On the topic of contacting them. I don't know how to Twitter either. Thanks for the idea about info@femenshop.com.

I've been trying to figure out exactly what I would want to contact them about. Now it seems to be leaning towards asking if there is some way that I can support them in moving towards the more loving, and cooperative culture that a movement away from prostitution and sex tourism would tend to lead us. I might ask if they are affiliated with any men's groups.

I'm wondering about their

I'm wondering about their name itself. Female is to male and femen is to men or is it from feminism, perhaps with an accent of some sort? Does this mean there is (fe)minine and (fe)minism?

Their approach isn't entirely clear. There might be cultural aspects we don't understand.

The name

Hi Freedom,

I'm not sure where their name comes from exactly either. It seems to be a translation of a Ukranian word that resembles it (Фемен). I read an interview of Anna Hutsol who is apparently the originator of the idea behind the movement. She says that they are not a feminist organization. "So we are not against men, but we want to be independent from them." The interviews are quite interesting. See:

http://workthatmatters.blogspot.ca/2011/08/interview-with-femens-founder...

and

http://globalcomment.com/2009/femens-anna-gutsol-on-sex-tourism-and-shor....

Interesting. Using google

Interesting. Using google translate I get мен=man. So maybe it is the (fe)men concept. It's notable that she's still drawn to kindness. Stronger women are not inherently bad for men. It's not zero sum. They might help weed out weaker women adding to the world's troubles by shifting female normative values.

The media seeming to focus on the nudity of the protests more so than their agenda seems to be telling of the breadth of the oligarchs' reach or at least the depth of penetration of these less desirable aspects into societal values.

Maleness & Nudity

There's nothing destructive about strength at all. Anger is not strength however. I see it as the soil from which strength can grow. It's generally a little easier, in my mind, for women to adopt male qualities (such as assertive action and strength) than it is for men to adopt the feminine traits of patience and sensitivity. Our culture routinely values masculine qualities more highly.

It doesn't surprise me that the media focus on their nudity. Anna specifically mentioned in her interview that without it, they are marginalized. It's the only way that they can be heard at all. I doubt they would use it if they thought they would be heard in other ways.

The media loves sensation. So do their readers. Anything that stirs up a fuss gets their attention. Thoughtful readers who are willing to look into the issues in more detail are rare.

Contacting Femen

Hi Freedom,

Thanks for the idea of contacting Femen via info@femenshop.com and using Google Translate to translate English to Ukrainian.

In the end I sent Anna a message to three email addresses and Femen.ua@gmail.com seemed to work. She wrote back from that email address in Ukrainian and it translated quite well using Google Translate.

I'm going ahead with sending her some money (from the kitty of our "Men for Love" group (the other guys approved)), the 2013 agenda from HerStory and a small card.

I like their interest in creating a world in which prostitution and the sex trade are no longer forced on women because they can't find other more rewarding ways to make a living. It's a big project and I like the general direction. I don't think its going to happen without the active participation of men.

Wow, that's neat. Glad to

Wow, that's neat. Glad to help. I'd like to see them speak a little louder about how prostitution ultimately hurts men too. Even if it doesn't hurt the client (it probably does), it hurts the men in and who could be in that woman's life. It hurts the men who interact with men and women who interact with that prostitute. And so on. It hurts everyone who doesn't benefit from another strong woman and all she might contribute.

Were any men in your group opposed? I guess that could depend on what other causes the men might want to support from the resources available.

Men for Love

We are a very small group. There are only three active members right now and one fellow who is kind of like a satellite member. The three active members were all in favour. We've supported a number of causes over the years. The kitty is like our outreach program. We generally contribute to it when we meet and give it away when I get nervous about how much is in it.

My understanding of the core of most prostitution is that it is usually driven by fear. It's unusual to find a woman who aspires to a career in the sex trade. One of the disturbing statistics I've heard from this town is that the most common vehicle in which Johns arrive to pick up their dates is a mini-van. That has been interpreted to mean that most Johns are family men with children. It sheds some light on the level of satisfaction of many family men. There is something very tragic about that.

Elmer's essay

Hi Freedom,

Thanks for the link. It was an intriguing contemplation of Elmer's. I wouldn't have expected it on such a site either.

This particular section intrigued me the most and underlined a gap in his thinking in my understanding:
[quote]But what incentive does a man have of developing his feminine side? It won't get him a better job or more money, or even more sex! In fact, it impairs these areas of his life drastically leaving him stranded in a pool of feminine vulnerability. Perhaps that is the most effective way for a man to develop his feminine side, like a fragile stem braced against the oppressive elements. I don't know. [/quote]

I think that an increased valuation of our own feminine side amongst men is very important. What's in it for us? Well, for starters Love and meditation are essentially rooted in the feminine. The pursuit of these, in my understanding, is essential to a life well lived and a graceful acceptance of death. There is even the possibility in my mind that they lead to an experience of ourselves as eternal beings. There is also the preparation for meeting with an intimate partner as an equal. You can't do that if you deny half of your being.

I saw a really interesting TED talk recently (see: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html). Brene Brown mentions how a man approached her and claimed that the women in his life were far harder on him than the men. My sense is that he feels trapped and unable to be on his own, hence getting set up to fulfill the unloving agendas of the women he is closest to. This wouldn't happen if he were comfortable with his own feminine energy and able to be on his own.

So much is tied into norms

So much is tied into norms that are roughly 50% influenced by the opposite sex. Reprogramming is challenging to both sexes because it requires vulnerability.

I agree that the opposite sex has the potential to be more toxic. This is an element in my life. This is probably an aspect of gaining same sex friends as a way to realize one is actually fine the way one is.

Men

Yes, I think I demonized men (and my own maleness as a consequence) pretty thoroughly. It's easy to do if you have any sensitivity at all. I've had trouble getting close to men because of that I think. I've done so much to develop my feminine side as a way to survive a rather stressful youth that positive connections with men are challenging for me. I'm just not into war, football, sex, and beer. It's very important when I'm dealing with couples. The best way for me not to get dragged into the conflicts that seem quite normal to me in most couples is to somehow drag the male partner into the conversation and do what I can to satisfy his needs.

Arnold wrote:

[quote=Arnold]I think I demonized men (and my own maleness as a consequence) pretty thoroughly. It's easy to do if you have any sensitivity at all. [/quote]

Can you say more about this? Sensitive men appear to have a rough time compared to the rough time of sensitive women.

Not liking war, football, sex in certain forms, and beer might not be demonizing men. It seems that is restoring men to a form of wholeness we might more naturally enjoy. I was chatting with someone the other day about this and he seemed to instantly come alive in a new way. He said something later and realized that statement was keeping him living in the anti-male world in which men operate. As I'm rewiring in this way, women are more willing to open up to how they aren't in their ideal form. Men can take the lead, perhaps. Maybe the sensitive men have been doing this all along.

Demonizing men

Hi Freedom,

Sensitive men have a rough time because they aren't valued. Sensitivity is for women. Most of the men I met (and worked for) who were doing well financially in upper management positions in government were remarkably insensitive. Assholes get paid well. Nice guys don't. Rich men get laid. Poor men often don't. I know that's on the crude side but I think there's truth in it. It also sheds some light on how far the prostitution scene goes. I think it is far greater than the street scene we normally associate it with.

Brene Brown in her TED talk about shame (see:http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html) lists some very clear ideas based on research about what is generally seen as acceptable traits in men (emotionally controlled, good workers, status seeking, violent) and women (Nice, thin, modest, good looking).

I grew up in the military. My father worked for an organization that was actively maintaining the capacity to blow this world up 7 times over. There is an insanity in that that is hard to describe it's so far gone and yet so totally acceptable to our culture at the time. This direction was dominated by men's agendas. My father viewed it as a game he played with the Russians. My father was very much a good family man and highly valued by our culture. There is a level of denial in that that is heart numbing to put it very mildly. The violence in it is off the charts. Yet we celebrated the people who created it and still do. Our economic system tends to value aggressive, loud, cunning and competitive people. Our legal and political systems have the same value set.

Little boys are routinely and unconsciously treated more roughly than little girls by both parents because there is the idea that we have to be tough.

Maybe I should have said that I demonize the role models for men that I learned in my youth. It's difficult for me to embrace the side of me that is aggressive, loud, violent, and sexual. These are the very traits that are most commonly associated with maleness in our culture. I hope this is changing, but in order for the change to be effective it will have to be accompanied by deep changes in our basic social structure and our economic system.

I think healthy people have the ability to embrace all traits, both male and female, good and bad, and to draw on them as the situation demands in the service of greater consciousness and Love. That's what I strive for.

Can sexuality be lumped with

Can sexuality be lumped with all that without throwing the baby out with the bathwater? I'm guessing you're referring to a sexuality that incorporates the traits instilled in men that you abhor. In a way, the attacking of men's and masculine leaning women's sexuality may not be helpful either. We might need new vocabulary. Perhaps sexuality is one of the few areas in which men weren’t entirely numbed. Attacking male sexuality by shaming or otherwise could have a negative effect even if well intentioned. Maybe glorification of the feminine isn’t the way to go. After all, women have substantially contributed to getting us to this point as well.

Sexuality

I think that sexuality is lumped in with all this whether we like it or not. It's often, in my experience, a powerful driver of behaviour. If our sexuality is serving a need for power over our partners, or a fear of our aloneness, or a fear of what we feel when we aren't "high", we are likely to see it produce less than ideal results. The military is a strongly fear based social structure. A sexuality (and society) that serves Love, Consciousness, healing, intimacy, and playfulness is a totally different world.

I'm not attempting to shame male sexuality. I'm attempting to express my reality. I would like to find a way to be amongst people who share my values and interests in a more deeply practical way. My efforts, so far, have succeeded only with a very small group of local men and this website at a conversational level mainly. I'm grateful for those few people. It's better than nothing at all.

I do think there are some very real aspects about the way men have expressed their sexuality that have been very hurtful to many men, women and children. It's going to be difficult to create a vision of healthy maleness that includes sexual relations without acknowledging what isn't healthy. Restraint is not generally considered a valuable quality amongst men. Aggression and competition are. I think that restraint is a very important aspect of a healthy approach to male sexuality. So is sensitivity.

I'm not naive to the way women can be hurtful either. As a man, I'm not sure that drawing attention to their faults is helpful. I'd rather build bridges with them by helping them transform themselves. I'll let them discover their faults on their own and support them when I see an opportunity and/or they ask for help.

I'm very aware that over-glorifying the feminine is a dangerous path to tread. I've paid the cost of that trip many many times. Both feminine and masculine aspects of ourselves have their positive and negative aspects.

Arnold wrote:

[quote=Arnold]
I'm not attempting to shame male sexuality. I'm attempting to express my reality. I would like to find a way to be amongst people who share my values and interests in a more deeply practical way. My efforts, so far, have succeeded only with a very small group of local men and this website at a conversational level mainly. I'm grateful for those few people. It's better than nothing at all.
[/quote]

Is it possible to rank and de-link from mainstream male sexuality without shaming it in any way? Perhaps if one accepts that part of oneself too without shame as some form of self-love. That would seem to require accepting those parts of men as a whole.

[quote=Arnold]
I'm not naive to the way women can be hurtful either. As a man, I'm not sure that drawing attention to their faults is helpful. I'd rather build bridges with them by helping them transform themselves. I'll let them discover their faults on their own and support them when I see an opportunity and/or they ask for help.
[/quote]

This seems a good approach. Each sex takes responsibility for its past and future positioning. This all gets complex and leads to some interesting strangeness with men and women. Others seem to sense something is up and aren't sure what to do about it.

How do you process feminine faults or perhaps more specifically their contribution to the hurt of men? Do you treat this compassionately and with forgiveness as you might treat yourself for male contribution to the hurt of women? It seems men have to forgive themselves first.

Questions

[quote=freedom] Is it possible to rank and de-link from mainstream male sexuality without shaming it in any way? [/quote]

I guess this depends on how I view my own sexualized violence. I've been pondering this recently because my recent depression was connected to repressed violent urges in myself. I know that anger transformed can become compassion once I discover and meet the needs in myself that the anger is attempting to satisfy. Once my needs are met, I tend to be able to better perceive the need in the other and hence have more compassion for him or her. I don't have as clear an understanding of violent urges, but I suspect something similar with them. All the dark emotions can be transformed into the lighter more loving ones once they are understood. These days I'm attempting to see their more evolved potential and rather than seeing them as repulsive and necessarily destructive, seeing them as the raw materials for a lighter, more evolved and more loving form. Supporting their transformation is crucial for my own healing. I need to find ways to accept my own violent urges and allow their transformation rather than my usual routine of repressing them (and the hurtful consequences that has on my relationships to other men and my own body).

[quote=freedom] How do you process feminine faults or perhaps more specifically their contribution to the hurt of men? Do you treat this compassionately and with forgiveness as you might treat yourself for male contribution to the hurt of women?[/quote]

That's a big story in my history. My anger around the way I've been hurt by my own mother has been intense. As I've learned to put a stop to that pattern in the way I relate with her and other women, it has helped me feel safer and able to relax a bit. I've also been able to experience her love in a way I never expected previously. Once I understood the bigger picture (mothers rarely consciously choose to hurt their young. It happens beneath their awareness) and how social norms affect them strongly (women have only recently been able to function financially independently of men), I started to see the social conditions that set the stage for this kind of hurt (Few intimate relations are focused on Consciousness and Love. Most are dedicated to time (til death do us part) and its inherent fear of aloneness/not fitting in/not being able to survive financially, or getting high. Sexual abuse of women by men is common.).

I think that the responsibility for healing myself and creating loving connections with women (and men) is my own. I can put out the invitation and I can set the parameters that are most likely for it to work (like Karezza for instance if I ever get to that point with a partner). I can decide that I'm interested in a connection that is about a mutual effort to support each other in uncovering the barriers to Love within ourselves. I can accept or reject women who seem to fit or not my interests at whatever level of intimacy is being considered. Once I get that real clear in my head, then its simply a case of sticking to it and healing my past wounding as best I can with whatever help becomes available. I find ways to fully embrace my aloneness and to value my freedom too.

Those wounds have been very deep in me and I've skirted death many times. My body has been through hell for a long time. One of the big revelations for me when I first became aware of the childhood sexual abuse and its source was a comment from a therapist who asked me if I had asked her to stop the behaviour (it was still happening in subtle ways). It simply hadn't occurred to me. The pattern was subtle and started in early youth when I had no power to stop it at all. It had connections to my father that made it doubly difficult to face. Forgiveness for me has come in stages. I'm pretty much at that stage with her. I'm working on forgiving the community that set the stage for that depth of hurt and the role my father played in it too.

The key piece for me has been getting out of blame and taking responsibility for my situation, finding ways to heal and supportive social environments (like reuniting.info) and accepting that healing to the extent I wish may or may not be possible for me (One of my recent affirmations has been: I have all I need to fully satisfy my life purpose). There is something tremendously taboo about being hurt by a woman and even more so by your mother as a man. It reverses the normal perpetrator/victim roles that are considered socially acceptable in our culture. So that kind of hurt, in my experience, goes deep. Finding the support of anyone has been challenging but important for me.

Is that helpful to you?

Forgiveness

[quote=Freedom]It seems men have to forgive themselves first.[/quote]

I'm not sure about this. It certainly hasn't been the way that I've been working. I tend to focus my efforts to heal myself on the people who seem to be the target of my anger and/or resentment. That changes with time and, so far, is rarely me. I've distanced myself from most men and maleness and tend to embrace feminine qualities easily and strongly. Learning to embrace the male qualities in me is where healing for me occurs. It's easy for me to see typical male ways of doing things in a negative light.

At some point, I may need to forgive myself for taking so much distance from men. I'm not there yet.

That said, a major driver for change for me is the failure of a very important intimate relationship with a woman many years ago. At the time, I really did everything I could think of to stay close to her... and failed quite spectacularly. More than shame, I felt confusion. It didn't make sense to me at the time at all. It does now, but I've done a great deal of work on myself since then and much that I was unaware of at the time has come to light.

Confusion

Hi Freedom,

Thanks for writing. Yes I feel I have forgiven myself for my confusion. I didn't know what I was dealing with at the time and had little to no support. I'm glad that I still count this woman among my friends and still feel love for her. I'm glad that I was able to keep the love alive and am very grateful that she was willing to remain my friend. I also know that she's with a man who is much more capable of supplying the things that she wanted most. I was completely incapable of it at the time and am not particularly interested now.