aka, winnie wrote a tumblr response, and it morphed into an essay. and so I decided to FINALLY write a new post. I’ve also been sitting on my post on Radfem Rise Up for months, just have to reread it/revise it now.
I’m in the middle of this “we don’t hate men” vs “misandry 4 lyfe” division. I love “misandry” as a rhetorical stance (eg satire, showing that men can’t be oppressed based on sex under this system, etc) and I can definitely get behind the hatred of what older males turn younger males into, how psychopathy towards women is basically what men and teen boys indoctrinate younger males into. I don’t think males have one nature as a species (male half of the human species) or sex, but I do think the social meanings men have made of sexed biology plays a role.
I basically think the genesis of patriarchy is organized psychopathy, inspired by domesticating animals and controlling their reproduction, backed up by propaganda/ideology, weaponry & warfare, force towards females, force and tangible benefits and payoffs to males, compulsory heterosexuality, rape, institutionalizing piv, male homosociality and female heterorelationality, etc. While I can accept that some males are born psychopaths (as are some females) or even otherwise deficient at birth (although this can, imo, easily veer into ableism and support for eugenics, and so I find the reliance by some radfems on genetic inferiority and such problematic in itself and in logical application to other “genetic inferiors”) this does not explain how patriarchy became THE social system of the last 500-5000 years, depending of which area of the world.
They needed organization, as mentioned above. And feeding the desire for dominance and harm only creates more desire for the same; Ti-Grace Atkinson called it psychogical cannibalism—the more power over you have, the more you want; the more you harm others, the more you want to harm them. I also think this is where male biology played a role—not in the y, or testosterone, or an inborn universal psychopathy, but on the level of ideology and what men were offered—no males could create, carry life within, and birth, plus as post-pubescents, males generally could not have multiple orgasms. I do think this created in some men a jealousy, which festered and spread over time/generations through males seeing themselves as apart, different from women. I do think some of the non-psychopath males also came to see this, not as recognition of how needed, valuable, powerful, etc women were to their own existence and in enriching their lives (eg though a woman sharing her sexuality) in ways unique to female anatomy, but as something over which they needed to tame, control.
We were doing it to animals, especially and in unique ways to female animals, so why not women? Why not take women’s reproductive, sexual, domestic labour? Humans were doing that to animals. And those “beasts” were being ruled over the same way men could rule women. So I think this knowledge of female abilities that they just lacked, with the practical knowledge that *we were doing it to a population we had Othered for our use* made male control of women *logical*. Othering animals made it possible and practical to Other women, take from and punish our bodies. So those “inspired” males said our reproduction and sexuality made us like those degraded animals, and, through war, colonialism, capitalism, etc spread that message as far as they could. The entire globe. Again, domination just creates the “need” for more domination, and this knowledge of animal domestication plus this male-invented inferiority complex some felt, and subsequently sold to us all as a patriarchal reversal of men being the real creators, worthy, more sexual, etc combined.
This is also where biology is relevant as it was this biological sexed difference that was used by men to cut off men and boys from women and girls and to re-orient males towards men—here’s the class that we are nothing like, and here’s the class who are “made” (by nature or by God) for us to stick our dicks in, control their reproduction, etc. Also very relevant for why it was men who have fucked up the world and women, and not women fucking up the world and men is while women *could* (and in some cultures did, although to nowhere near what we have with marriage by capture, pornstitution, sexology, etc. It was far less organized and not wide spread, due in part to *when women control reproduction there aren’t a lot of people*) sexually exploit men (eg, men owe women orgasms, women are encouraged to be polyamorous while men are expected to be monogamous, men are blamed for female sexual decisions, etc), women simply could *not* reproductively exploit men, because our roles in reproduction were so different. Men simply ejaculated. We experienced menstruation, ovulation, could carry an embryo *within* us, could birth. Their contribution was less than a per cent in the grand scheme of reproducing. There is almost nothing to exploit. (Harvesting sperm would be it.)
This also leads to what I mentioned above: when women control their own reproduction, there is no overpopulation, let alone even a whole lot of people. We know the cost of becoming pregnant and bearing children, and make both decisions seriously. And create social codes based on this, such as long breastfeeding (which supresses fertility), not having piv be common let alone the definition of sex, holding men accountable for where they place their ejaculate, having taboos around piv, celebrating other forms of sexuality and having them be freely practiced, including males as brothers, uncles, etc and having no concept of “fatherhood” (males generally wouldn’t have felt left out as “fathers” because they were uncles to their sisters’ children—they didn’t ”need” to “spread their seed” as their genetic heritage passed through their sister & other female relatives), having extended kinship & community systems in which children had many caregivers, etc. This also reduces how far and to how many patriarchy can spread.
Also coming into play is size and strength differences, to the degree they are sexed. Most (I’d guess 66% or so) is created and enforced by men, but some biological difference does exist. Men are biologically, on average bigger and with greater muscle mass, especially in upper body strength (on leg strength, we are pretty evenly matched, NOT TO MENTION THE WARRIOR STRENGTH NEEDED TO GIVE BIRTH), so they can, generally, overpower us. This has little to do with patriarchy as an institution now (with technology, capitalism, the nation state, etc), but it does explain how men more easily overpower women one-on-one, as well as explain how it was part of what was needed to institute patriarchy. In order to get women and kids to submit to ownership by men, men needed to be able to overpower us, have the threat and reality of force.
Where this examination of biology also plays a role is not in the how patriarchy came to be, but in how it is being justified or explained in recent history and the present. I don’t think males are so into existential crisis that they intuitively or magically sensed that what made them inferior or different to women was something they had no concept of, such as the y chromosome or testosterone. Men are in control of the decisions they make, esp those who dominate more and create more power over for themselves, so neither can be blamed for men’s wrongness (dominating, exploiting, violence). Some radfems have posited that while of course men are responsible for their actions, testosterone or that y makes them that way.
I’ve addressed testosterone multiple times (eg on facebook), and will dig up and paste some responses if needed, but studies generally find that testosterone is in a feedback loop with environment, actions, and reactions/responses in men and women, that estrogen also plays a role in aggression and powerseeking (in women at least), and that base level testosterone doesn’t determine/reveal how aggressive men are (eg men with differing base levels will have the same levels of aggression, men with the same levels will have different aggression levels).
On the y chromosome, it is true that it is deficient in comparison to the x. It contains far less information, and far more can go wrong on it (ie genetic disorders). However, this also means, genetically, that men are mostly women, because they are mostly x. Also, the chromosomal formation with the highest level of aggression is actually single x girls (again, I can go into this more with fb copy pastes). The ones who survive to birth, that is—an estimated 99% are never born/miscarry. They also usually have serious health issues. So a single x isn’t enough either. And it seems to me that the best examination of whether it is the y chromosome, would be women and girls with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (I say women/girls because they have vulvas, are labelled and raised as girls, usually spend years believing they are impregnable, etc). This, imo, would be the perfect test of the “it’s the y chromosome” or related hypothesis as they are XY, but alas, I just thought of this a couple days ago and haven’t looked to see if any research has been done yet, and what it is. Do we think AIS women have the same or even similar levels of violence, aggression, powerseeking, johning, pimping, child abusing, etc as do men?