So I’ve expressed the intention to write some posts on Mary Daly’s work, but have not really delivered as I’ve been busy doing other things. Thing one: falling back into my habit of being distracted by male confusion. Thing two: feeling fatalistically exhausted with the subject of feminism because patriarchy is everywhere and I was feeling to suffocated by it to have much at all to say. Well I have resolved thing one by actually losing contact with the Kitten Killer. Deleted his number, I don’t know it by heart, and un-”friend”-ed him from Facebook. And thing two I’ve solved by starting a re-reading of Gyn/Ecology. Her work is always a good reminder of why I write and what it is that I need to say. And it contextualizes all of the icky feelings I’ve been having in a way that takes their weight off of me. And since it’s helped me contextualize the situations that in my previous post on them were largely scribbly, angry blather, I will go ahead and share what I learned about what happened to me.
So with that out of the way, this post will be on Procession, which is the first of her eight deadly sins of patriarchy that I will be speaking on. According to Google, a procession is:
A number of people or vehicles moving forward in an orderly fashion, esp. as part of a ceremony or festival.
The action of moving forward in such a way: “the dignitaries walk in procession”..
One of the more interesting things that I noted (I did highlight it) but I didn’t really think or speak about is the way that militarism and Christianity are inextricably and originally linked. To contextualize where I stand on this subject, I cannot remember believing the myths of Christianity, not even as a child in Catholic school. I pretended to in order to a avoid censure, but it was never genuine. When I was dealing with escalating abuse in my household in my early teen years, I tried to believe in it in hopes that doing so would resolve the situation. It did not, and the more I learned about it in my desperate attempt to get close enough to merit assistance based on my efforts, the more reason to doubt it arrived, finally culminating in me deciding at 16 that I wanted nothing to do with it, following a cover to cover reading of the Bible. The character of the god described therein sounded nothing like a being I wished to be associated with. Selfish, narcissistic, misogynist and overflowing with whimsical cruelty, I felt no sense of love or comfort. Honestly what I felt is that what must be happening is that followers don’t actually hear what he says about himself, they just ignore the words. I couldn’t imagine any other way people would willingly bow down and lay their lives at the feet of a being that would just as soon murder their entire family, destroy their possessions and afflict them with grave illness simply because it made a bet with its supposed enemy that you wouldn’t renounce him even if he did that. If I was suffering because he was betting I would be fool enough to follow him even as he punishes my devotion senselessly, then I didn’t care if he was real, I still wished to have nothing to do with him.
In time, I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t real anyway. The main component in that is learning how to apply logic in my introductory philosophy classes at university. Once I learned for real that applying logic was something that had rules and could be done with consistently in the same way that geometric proofs had rules, I was out of the gate. I started to research the origins of the documents currently described as the bible, the myths that those myths are based on (such as the myth of Horus and a dozen other sons of god that died, conquered the underworld and rose) an even how symbols like the cross had much older origins. I learned of the many inconsistencies, only some of which I caught in my reading because it can be a tedious read. I started to get a real understanding of the effects in the real world of the misogyny of Paul and how the slave holders justified themselves with the slave-holding of the prophets and I was pissed. And I wanted to hear not another word about any of it.
By extension, I also extended my certainty of non-validity to all other belief systems. I would say currently that disproving one line of thought doesn’t mean that all other lines of thought are equally valid. I would describe by current viewpoint as being pagan. I have found a connection to the divinity of the earth and female spirit. And I can totally thank Mary Daly for that, because it’s her books that allowed me to open myself to the possibility of spirituality (which I define as recognizing your connection to the interconnected Whole that is the universe) that is not a patchwork of illogical dogma and misogynist confusion. Realizing that there is a possibility of having a truly woman-centered spirituality is what made me want to open myself to exploring the subject again, but from an entirely different perspective.
With that said, I am going to bring this back to one of my many problems with the Kitten Killer. He is a Christian. The reason that we have not had conflict about this before is that he chooses to avoid preaching, generally, and as I have little to say to him about the subject, and he has little to say about the subject, it rarely came up. What I didn’t really get until the series of incidents described in the last post is that just because he doesn’t bore me to death with talk about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contextualize his worldview. And because it contextualizes his worldview, it would be wise for me not to forget what him viewing the world in that fashiln means for me if I elect to associate with him.
Earthly processions both generate and reflect the image of procession from and return to got the father…thus in this symbol system there is an eternal circular pattern/model for muted existence; separation from and return to the same immutable source.
Christians, according to to tradition, participate in the “supernatural” processions through the sacrament of baptism. That is they officially join the army of believers. Significantly, the word pagan is derived from the late Latin term paganus, meaning civilian, “because the Christians reckoned themselves soldiers of Christ.” The processions of Christians, then, are profoundly connected with military parades, mythically as well as historically…Thus the mythic procession toward god presupposes belief in possession by evil forces, release from which requires captivity by the church. Consequently the sacrament of initiation (baptism) explicitly contains a rite of exorcism, blatantly belying the fact that this is really a rite of entrance into the State of Possession.
This connection of the sins of Procession and Possession really rang a lot of bells. Primarily because I was being effected by both of them. Both his obsession with participating in the male myth of procession and his desire to possess me came crashing down at me when we hit the issue of procreation specifically. And neither of these confrontations were the least bit fun.
In the section “Flying Fetuses: Mythological\Technological Necrophilia,” Mary Daly speaks of Rovert Byrn, a man who chose to represent in court fetuses scheduled to be aborted. His attorney said that “the fetus mind well be described as an astronaut in a uterine spaceship.” She goes on to further describe the parallels, such as how although the astronaut is considered to be the captain of the ship, the truth of the matter is that the astronaut’s survival is dependent on the males outside the vessel. Without the vast network of male rocket scientists, computer programmers, architects, engineers, grant proposal writers, political lobbyists, corporate interests and politicians and so on, there would be no “captain,” and if this support were revoked even for a short amount of time after launch, he would be fucked. The idea that the astronaut is in control of the ship is desperately incomplete, yet that is the mythological image that we are given.
In the same way, the fetus is considered to be in control of the woman, and this illusion is maintained by a vast patriarchal army of doctors, fixers, priests, nigels, legislators and the like. Only by the combined power of these forces are fetuses able to control the lives of women.
Males do indeed identify with “unwanted fetal tissue,” for they sense their own condition in the role of controller, possessor, inhabitor of women. Draining female energy they feel “fetal.”
Following engaging in PIV with dear nigel, my period was late, I reasonably worried that I was pregnant. He told me that I was being unreasonable, since we used protection. NONE OF THAT SHIT IS FAIL-PROOF, READ THE PACKAGE! was my response. Pregnancy is the point of PIV, so it will never be the case that they will come up with anything entirely effective. It would defeat their purposes, since the purpose of having partially effective methods is so that they can convince prudent women who don’t wish for children not to reject them outright. But the fact that they are all fallible gives room for plausible deniability when repeatedly they are inflicted with unwanted pregnancies regardless. They shrug, say “whoopsie” and pretend that getting unlimited access to our time, energy and bodies was some sort of unfortunate accident.
I had always thought about the subject of having abortion in rather vague terms. PIV happening more than a few times a year is years back for me. My last nigel that I regularly scheduled for such an activity was in 2009. Since then it was something I simply did on occasion with the kitten killer when I was in town, as an aside. And I had never been failed by contraception, nor had strong reason to feel I had been. So I didn’t really think about having one myself, but I felt I probably would if the situation arose since I definitely don’t want children.
Well when faced with “situation arose” I knew it was in my best interest to decide how I was going to handle it, and do so before mentioning it to nigel, if I didn’t want his opinions muddying or confusing me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a very lengthy deliberation at all. Within a day I was certain it was what I was going to do. So I went to discuss it with nigel, as I’ve heard that even if you’re sure what you want to do, it’s a formality you should engage with. Worth noting is that he and I had discussed what would happen in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. I had told him that I was going to have an abortion, full stop. I wasn’t actually that certain myself when we had that discussion, but I knew that it would be a lot easier for me in the long run to go with that as the established plan, and discuss the situation in that light than to go the other direction if I changed my mind and unexpectedly wanted to keep a child, because I’m aware that he wants children, so getting his hopes up about getting them from an accident would be an unhelpful thing to do.
So I tell him, and a few days after I tell him that I’m late, and it still hasn’t happened. We’re at a week late. So now he’s starting to believe me (since he either thought I was hallucinating/didn’t know when my own cycles would usually happen.) He is elated all “we’re gonna have such cute kids.” I am so angry at this reaction I’m almost beyond my powers of speech. What fucking part of “having an abortion” did you not hear? I am NOT having your goddamned bastards. So look somber plz. Fuck you.
I didn’t exactly say it in those words, but it’s true to the spirit of the conversation. And had the desired effect of being instantly sobering. Sorry astronaut, but mission control is out and your ship decided to eject you. Suck on that. And after getting pouty, he starts getting angry. Immediately I recognize the misogynist waves reverberating off of him, so really it got easier and easier to deal with once he was kind enough to clarify just how little I have to do with his little procreative fantasy.
…it is the condition of all males to be childless, and there is evidence that this condition is experienced as disturbing to those who are obsessed with reproduction of the male self…Males identify the immortal soul with biological offspring.
That is the first reason why men are so obsessed with forcing women to bear countless unwanted children; they cannot bear children themselves, and in identifying themselves with fetuses, they project their desire to propogate themselves in the propagation of fetuses. They see every last one of these fetuses as themselves, as being helpless before the fertility of women because lacking the ability to sustain lives without the assistance of women, they wither. I like that she goes a bit further than that, though. She goes on to say that womb envy is just a part of the picture, the other part of the picture is vampirism.
In order to survive, fetuses rely on the body of the mother. They are quite literally parasitic. In the same way, men are parasitic to women. They drain our time, attention, money, energy and creativity. They use that which we make for ourselves to nourish themselves. That vampirism is the big picture of why men are so attached to fetuses. Possession. They take possession of our bodies in order to turn us from independent beings into their own possessions. And these desires are intimately linked in the way that men are given access to women through forcible pregnancies. Because of fatherhood rights, in order to allow continued access of the child to the father, there is by extension continued access to the mother. All of those patriarchal religions blathering on and on about the importance of two parent homes, and demonizing mothers raising children on their own, they give themselves away if you have the right words for the feelings you get about what they’re doing. As men like Mitt Romney speak about the criminality and violence of children (cough men) raised by women, but mask it by instead calling it the importance of “family” for averting violence, as opposed to saying the importance of “unconditional access to women” as important for the aversion of reactionary violence from men, they tell the truth.
What the kitten killer wanted from me wasn’t just to carry on the procession of his soul, he wanted to stage a possession of me. when he told me not to worry because he has a job, he was very explicitly laying out his plans to trap me. Once he has laid this enormous expense on me, he’s created a situation where I must rely on him. Why? Because the Christian idealists in charge of government seek constantly to de-fund services for single parents–and by that I mean women, because the overwhelming majority of single parents are women. Why do these “family” organizations (as they consistently bill themselves) seek to make life more of a struggle for families that don’t include men? Because they seek to force women to take shelter with men. Christian mission control asserting itself in the form of someone who admitted he fantasizes about killing kittens telling me he’s fit to be a father is fascinating. Hearing him go into a rant about being still (years later) filled with rage about a former girlfriend of his having an abortion (for likely the exact same reasons I would have) was illuminating. He told me this woman had a miscarriage and that it was tragic. In fact the only tragedy is that once more his efforts to possess a woman were thwarted.
The analogy between the astronaut fetus, mission control patriarchy and the spaceship as the mother shows itself to be a false patriarchal projection when you get to the very last part: women are people and space ships are machines. Unlike that ship that the astronaut can pretend to be commanding, I am an animate object and I can force both that astronaut and mission control to admit they’re not driving SHIT.