“Equal Rights Are Not the Same As Equality” by Elaine Charkowski

As mentioned in the title, this piece is not mine.  It is the work of Elaine Charkowski, who gave explicit permission for others to share the work copy-free.  There are a few things in the piece with which I am not in full agreement.  For example, there is considerable debate regarding the information used in the work The Chalice and the Blade.  However, I am in full agreement that women should not be looking to act as most men currently act.  I am also in full agreement with Elaine when she states that men are not naturally violent, and women should not seek to be.

The article is in PDF format.  You can access it by clicking the link below.

Equal rights are not the same as equality

The Means of Reproduction: The Evolution of Women’s Oppression and Exploitation

Marxist have long held that the working classes would find their way out of a life of exploitation by seizing the means of production. Only this would lead to the revolution and true workers’ liberation. In The Dialectic of Sex Shulamith Firestone adapted Marxist arguments to speak of women, and how we would find our way to the revolution and true women’s liberation. Her discussion of the means of reproduction speaks to the very nature of our oppression and exploitation: the ability to bear children. That is, our biological nature.

Many people argue that speaking of women’s oppression in these terms is limiting and exclusionary. The claim that it leaves out those women who are unable to bear children, for whatever reason. They claim it leaves out transwomen. I would argue that neither of these arguments are relevant. The nature of women’s oppression and exploitation has evolved over the millennia, but it is rooted in one simple truth: the idea that all women are assumed to be child-bearers, and those children and the women who bear them are assumed to be the property of men. It does not matter whether an individual woman has a child, wants to have a child, or can have a child; it is assumed that she is capable of doing so, and that she inevitably will do so. It is assumed that the woman’s children will take the names of their father, because that is the only heritage that matters.

As I have written previously, and as many other historians and thinkers of the past have written, the original family unit of the human being is mother and her offspring. This is true of most mammals—indeed, most animals, in general. The mother and her offspring are the primary unit. The larger clan is made up of female relatives. Males are with the group until they reach sexual maturity, then they leave and join an unrelated group of females for procreative purposes. In this social set-up, there is no lifelong pair bonding of male and female. They procreate, but the father is not considered integral. In fact, the father may be unknown, since the female may have had sexual relations with more than one male.

Most Socialist thinkers, along with many anthropologists and historians, believe this set-up began to change when humans began to settle into permanent or semi-permanent societies. Although it has some historical weaknesses, Frederick Engels’ The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State explores this from a Marxist perspective. The idea is that the social status of women was destroyed when humans began what we now call “civilization”. This was often based upon agriculture and landowning. Under earlier socioeconomic arrangements, there was little surplus. Hunter-gatherer societies, for example, gathered the food they needed for the present moment and a short time in the future (e.g. the winter months). In these societies, women were often actively engaged in the accumulation of food, not just in its preparation. They could do this, while also bearing and rearing children; the physical drain was not too great for this to be possible. This gave them much more freedom in their personal lives. To know you can subsist without the aid or protection of another is a primary requirement for personal freedom.

It was only after the invention of agriculture that surplus was gathered and that food production became a physically difficult task. It was no longer as easy for a woman to engage in food accumulation and childbearing. This change in food production also led to a sense of ownership over the land, hoarding of goods, and trading of this surplus. All of these things required a female to have a long term, stable tie to a single man. The man’s primary (or exclusive) role in food production meant that the means of this production came to be seen as his sole property and his sole domain. This was property that he wanted to remain in “his” family, to follow a patrilineal inheritance path. As a result, he needed a guarantee that the children borne by “his” woman were, in fact, his biological children. Hence, the desire to control female reproduction and sexuality. That is, the drive to control the “means of reproduction”.

The growth of patriarchy can be seen as based upon the drive to control the means of reproduction. As such, the exploitation and oppression of women are direct outgrowths of our ability to bear children. The myths, methods and excuses for exploiting and oppressing women took on lives of their own, but were and remain rooted in this fact. Patriarchy would become entrenched, but was borne out of socioeconomic arrangements. Social organizations and belief systems would arise to reinforce the patriarchy. All lived together in one incestuous relationship.

As the socioeconomic reality changed, women became more and more tied to the one thing that we did that was different from men: our childbearing capabilities. The various manifestations of patriarchy are built around this. We see this in the view of women’s sexuality, in the social requirement of marriage, in sexualized and other male violence towards women, in the battle against reproductive choice, and in the discrimination against women in the political and economic arenas.

In order to keep control over their property, assuring it passed to their male heirs only, men had to control the sexuality of women. This was accomplished in a number of ways. First, female sexuality had to be shown as dangerous. Women had to be convinced that sex was not desired by a virtuous woman. We had to feel in our very bones that it was something we did as a duty to men, but not ever for our own enjoyment. Sex would be based upon what brought pleasure to men. It would reinforce the overall social dictates of dominance and submission, teaching women that everything in our lives—up to and including our sexual interactions—should illustrate our submission to men.

To keep control over our sexuality, we had to be taught that it belonged to a single man—our husband. The demand of female chastity outside marriage was put into place. The demand that marriage be our one and only goal in life became integral to the very definition of “woman”. We were to provide men our bodies and the fruit of them (i.e. children). In return, men were to provide us with the very material means of survival. If we were not tied to one man, we would be forced to serve many men in order to meet our material needs. This might mean prostitution, or it might mean serving patriarchal religion. Regardless, we were not allowed the means to survive without ties to men.

In addition to the means of survival, men were to provide us something else: protection. Protection from whom and from what? Well, other men, of course. The threat of sexualized and other male violence is a very effective tool for keeping women tied to “good” men. We know all too well that we are vulnerable to attack. This is based purely on our biological nature as women. When we are victimized, it is almost always by men. That victimization is then turned on us; we are blamed for the violent actions of these men. It may mean being married off to a rapist. It may mean being put on trial for “adultery”, if we are married or the rapist is married. It may mean being asked why we were in that place at that time doing whatever we were doing. It may mean having someone demand to know what we did to provoke this man. And what is the fix for this? The protection of “good” men—fathers, husbands, brothers, sons.

Since all of these things tie into the control of women’s reproductive capabilities, it stands to reason that reproductive choice would be the enemy of patriarchy. Giving women the right to control when we have children and how many children we have negates the male control over our bodies. It implies that we are full human beings. It says that our bodies and our children belong to us. It also denies the essential nature that patriarchy has assigned us: the means of reproduction. The means of creating new workers, new bureaucrats, new warriors, new power brokers, new captains of industry. This is why the “old maid”, the childless woman, is the most hated person in patriarchal society. We have but one purpose under patriarchy: to give men more men. This has been true whether the economic structure was feudalist or capitalist, whether the political structure was monarchic or pseudo-democratic.

Keeping women from the spheres of political, social or economic influence was both a function of the control over our reproduction and a means to perpetuate that control. Our biological capability to give birth has been used as an excuse to keep us from the means to economically support ourselves. We have been told that some jobs are just too physically difficult for us. We have been told that other jobs are dangerous for us due to our childbearing capacity. We have been told that, as mothers and nurturers, we do not have the “nature” to perform some jobs. We have been told that our biological nature and hormones make us emotional and unstable, thereby unsuited for some jobs. We have been told that taking time off to give birth and rear our children is an undue economic burden on potential employers; that we will eventually want time off to marry and to have children.

Of course, this is a vicious circle. Women have been cut out of the means to succeed or even to survive in society, regardless of the socioeconomic system of that society. Then, the fact that we have not enjoyed success at the same rate as men is considered proof that we aren’t capable; that patriarchal attitudes and practices were right all along. With the advent of technological means of production, that has subsided to a degree, but it still exists. We are still told that women don’t get to the highest levels of government or business because we take too much time off to bear or rear children.

An even more insidious practice is to relate our biological nature with socially constructed gender and the physical expression of gender norms. The concept of femininity is culturally tied to submission, physical representations of our biology (i.e. accentuation of breasts and the “feminine” form are what makes us worthwhile human beings), expressions of nurturing behavior, and a willingness to sacrifice Self for the benefit of others, among other things. All of these concepts which are tied to the feminine gender are based upon the patriarchal requirements placed upon us because of our biological nature as child bearers. Gender is yet one more tool in the patriarchal toolbox of our oppression and exploitation.

Some have adopted a misguided notion that gender is integral to the fight for women’s liberation. The historical record and years of fighting for political rights has proven that our oppression and exploitation is rooted in our perceived child bearing capabilities, so a fight based upon gender will never liberate women. We will continue to be oppressed based upon this capacity–whether or now we, as individual women, want or can have children–so such a tactic is doomed from the start. We must recognize that the roots of our oppression lie in our biology, and the attempts to control that biology. We will not become free or safe by being more or less feminine, since femininity is something created in attempt to justify and reinforce our oppression. We will only become free by taking control over our own biology, by attacking the ideology that gives men a say in controlling our sexuality and our reproduction. To tear down the structures that allow men to use our biology as an excuse for keeping us from the places of power, whether that power is economic, social or political. That means attacking the deeply entrenched cultural biases about what it means to be a potential bearer of children.

To rid us of exploitation and oppression is not an easy task. It is not about just ending patriarchy. It is not just about ending capitalism. We must end both at the same time. We must demand that the means of reproduction be seized and controlled by those of us who do the labor. We must dismantle the structures in place that seek to allow men and the societies built on patriarchal philosophies to control our reproduction. Only Socialism can allow for this. Only in a society where women and their children are guaranteed the right and the ability to survive and to thrive—whether or not they are attached to a man—will females be free of exploitation and oppression.

Meanwhile, we must tear down the supporting structures that have taken on lives of their own. Patriarchal religion, the concept of gender, male violence against females—all of this and more serve to keep us entrenched in a world where the female is not valued. Where Socialism has failed in the past is that it has focused solely on the economic structures and philosophies of a society. The rise of patriarchy may be linked to socioeconomic evolution, but it has taken on a life of its own. It has developed its own ideology and social structures that are apart from government and economics. These ideologies and structures, which are based upon our biology, must be attacked and destroyed.

The Nature of Consent: Ideologies, Material Realities and Misogyny

When I discuss my opposition to porn with the devotees of the male-dominated Left, I am commonly attacked for either promoting censorship, being anti-sex, or being obsessed with the “worst” porn.  I’ve already stated–repeatedly, in fact–that I don’t believe porn should be legally banned; that doesn’t mean I have to support it as a public good any more than I have to support racist speech or anti-Semitic speech as a public good.   As for being “anti-sex”, that’s the critics’ hang-up.  Fucking and watching other people fuck aren’t the same thing.  I guess some people still don’t get that.  As Gail Dines has stated, being anti-porn is no more about being anti-sex than criticizing McDonald’s is about being anti-food.  As for the “worst” porn charge, the fact is that the gonzo market has become the primary porn market.  That’s what the (almost completely) male market is buying and viewing these days.  Facts are the facts.  The thing that really bothers me, though, is that none of these three criticism of my position on porn has to do with the real issue, anyway.  The real issue at the heart of the porn debate is ideology.

The core of the porn debate is how ideologies are communicated and reinforced.  Once they are communicated and reinforced, how do those ideologies influence the material realities of people’s lives?  In this case, how does the ideology of misogyny so prevalent in the modern porn video influence the realities for women and girls?  We are all ready and willing to believe that hateful depictions of minority groups in the media are damaging.  We are all ready and willing to publicly condemn those as being part and parcel of a hateful ideology.  We are all ready to work to try to eradicate them–not through outright censorship, but by exposing and shaming them.  Why, then, is there a refusal to recognize that porn is about ideology, too?  That it reinforces a hateful ideology, and should be publicly criticized and condemned as a result?  That is the heart of the matter.

This issue returned to the front of my mind after I watched the TV documentary Hardcore.  The documentary was produced in 2001 for the U.K.’s Channel 4.  Like most British documentaries, it is heavy on pop psychology.  If one can get past that minor annoyance, however, it reveals a lot about how women are treated in the porn world.  The most important revelation of Hardcore is how the boundaries set by the women of porn are torn down by the male producers and agents.  The idea of “choice” that is so often bandied about by the defenders of the industry is as pure fantasy, as revealed by the experiences of this woman and these men within the industry.

The documentary follows Felicity, a 25-year-old single mom from Essex.  Felicity has been performing in British porn for a while.  At this point in her life, she is being brought to L.A. to see about working in the U.S. porn industry.  Her agent, a British man named Richard, seems to specialize in bringing British women to the U.S. to work in the L.A. porn industry.  Richard is there to meet Felicity when she arrives at LAX.

When Richard takes Felicity around to a casting call the next day, she is given a sheet to fill out.  In includes a list of “will do” and “won’t do” for her to fill out.  Richard guides Felicity in how to fill it out.  Richard explicitly tells her to circle that she will work without condoms.  She says she doesn’t want to do anal sex, but she indicates on the sheet that she will.  Later, when she speaks directly to casting agents, she tells them that she doesn’t want to do anal scenes.  If she must do one, she needs the man to have a small penis.  In other conversations with Richard, she states emphatically that she will not do anal sex scenes, she has never wanted to do them, and that he has pushed her into saying that she would.  He tells her that these scenes are “required” if she’s going to be a real professional.  In short, this is a boundary that she’s not allowed to have.  They also have discussions about him negotiating fees for types of scenes that she has already said she will not do.  He states that he’s just talking money with the producers; she points out that there’s no reason to talk about money for a scene she does not want to do.  Again and again, Richard pushes her to do things she doesn’t want to do.  Again and again, the reason is that he makes more money if she does these things.  Her boundaries don’t matter to him.  Pure and simple.

At present, the prevalent form of porn consumed is so-called gonzo porn.  In concept, this form is similar to the old-fashioned “stag film”, which had no plot or point outside of depicting sex.  The content, however, is far more extreme.  While there was a period of time when porn attempted to mimic the feature film with things like plots, that has largely been consigned to the realm of the soft-core offerings of premium cable channels (i.e. “Skinemax” movies).  The type of porn consumed via DVD rentals/sales, pay-per-view rentals and the Internet is almost exclusively gonzo.  These videos consist of simply one sex scene after another.  Most of them are heavy on anal sex.  The “facial” money shot is the norm.  In fact, it’s such the norm that the only reason this shot wouldn’t exist is because the producer thought of an even more demeaning way to show a woman consuming or wearing the semen of one or more men.  In Hardcore, every producer Felicity goes to see or performs for is a gonzo producer.

Richard slowly works on Felicity, trying to get her to violate her own boundaries.  He takes her to watch others film the types of scenes she has already said she won’t do.  One is a “gang bang” of 8-10 men and one woman.  Felicity has repeatedly said she won’t do these scenes, but Richard at least wants her to be a fluffer on the set of one.  In his grooming, he also takes her to meet with the notorious Max Hardcore.  This interaction is the most troubling of the entire documentary for a number of reasons.  Many would say it’s because of what Max ends up doing to Felicity.  That is certainly awful, but even more awful is the way it serves to groom her to go beyond the boundaries she has repeatedly and explicitly set.

As Felicity waits for Max Hardcore to show up, she is shown preparing for an anal sex scene she says she really doesn’t want to do.  She looks so sad, so anxious, so scared.  Yet, she says she must do it.  Richard talks about how angry he will be if she refuses to perform with Max Hardcore.  The pressure being brought to bear on this young woman is difficult to watch.  During the scene, Max Hardcore forces his penis so far into her throat that she can’t breathe.  When she gets up and runs away, he follows her.  To get her to comply with his demands, he psychologically manipulates her.  First, he attempts to build her up by talking about how she’s providing for her child.  (Felicity is a single mother.)  When she still says she won’t do what he demands, he begins berating her, calling her a “loser” and saying that he’s only had one other woman who was less “professional” than she is.  After his verbal beat down, she agrees to resume the scene.

The next day, Felicity is a changed woman.  She speaks of how she was unable to sleep the night after her encounter with Max Hardcore.  How the choking frightened her and kept her up all night.  Then, she essentially says she will do whatever Richard and the producers want her to do today.  She has been broken.  Her boundaries have essentially been nullified by the concerted effort of the pornographers.

While the porn industry tries to portray Max Hardcore as an extreme, someone outside the norm of their everyday world, each and every casting Felicity goes on features some sick fuck talking about how “filthy” his films are.  Anal sex is their favorite topic of conversation when it comes to proving their “filth” cred.  The day after her encounter with Max Hardcore, Felicity goes to a casting to appear in a film.  She is told that her scene will be an anal scene, which she has always said she did not want to do.  She does not object.  She is told that the movie she will appear in will feature women being hit, having their hair pulled and being called names.  The casting directors get off on asking Felicity to verbally degrade herself.  She is instructed to repeat the phrase, “I am a piss-drinking tart.”  She complies.  When she says that she doesn’t want to be beaten so much that she is “marked for days” and that she doesn’t want to be strangled, they say that they’ll have that happen to another woman instead.  Apparently, it’s very important that it happen to some woman.  If not Felicity, then someone else.  Because the degradation of and infliction of pain on a female body are crucial, of course.

The film has taken us down the path of boundary-breaking.  A young woman who begins working in the industry, thinking she really would be able to set her own boundaries.  Her boundaries are whittled away.  She is pressured and berated.  She is traumatized by a man who literally chokes her.  One pressure after another is brought to bear on her until she eventually gives in.  If the industry was truly about women making choices, there would not be so much verbal abuse heaped on those who set their boundaries.   True boundaries are set by the person whose body this is; they aren’t negotiated by others.  Sexual consent is something given freely.  It’s not something demanded or negotiated.  Felicity’s “consent” isn’t given freely.  It’s something that she is pressured and groomed into giving.  That’s not consent to anyone who truly knows the meaning of the word.

So, how does all of this relate to the material realities of women’s lives?  As has been discussed, the entitled psyche doesn’t respect “no”.  These sacred “boundaries” that the porn defenders talk about mean nothing to the entitled psyche–within the porn world or outside in the world of real life.

For the entitled psyche, the only reason “No” exists is because it’s a sexual thrill to force past it. The real brilliance of patriarchy is right here: it doesn’t just naturalize oppression, it sexualizes acts of oppression. It eroticizes domination and submission. Through the concepts—and lived reality—of masculinity and femininity—patriarchy institutionalizes domination and submission across the culture and deep into our psychologies.

The dominance and submission featured in the average gonzo movie is obvious.  That doesn’t even have to be discussed.  The unequal balance of power has been eroticized, then called inviolate because it’s all about the “choice” and the orgasm.  What of the boundaries, though?  We have already seen that the boundaries of the female performers are not respected.  What about women outside the industry?  We already know that male dominance and female submission is the guiding principle of patriarchal ideology.  Porn, in its most popular forms, is the visual representation of that.  It is the means of showing that unequal power as erotic.  In the male (and liberal feminist) view, anything called “erotic” immediately becomes out-of-bounds to analysis and judgement.  So, this visual representation of patriarchal ideology has effectively been removed from the arena of political discussion.  Isn’t that convenient?

The fact that the patriarchal ideology is being reinforced by porn has many effects on the real lives of women and girls.  The causal link between porn and sexualized violence has never been established, but porn doesn’t have to cause sexualized violence to make the world a more dangerous place for women and girls.  The patriarchal ideology of male dominance and female submission definitely plays into rape culture, which justifies and minimizes sexualized violence against women and girls.  Ideology is what helps men get away with the violence they commit against women.

Porn is also used as a means of breaking down boundaries in women’s everyday sex lives.  Interviews with males who watch porn with their female partners has revealed the way some males use porn to break down the boundaries of the women in their lives.  Male subjects talk of watching porn that depicts acts they want to perform, usually anal sex.  They see their partners’ resistance and discomfort with these acts, but this does not stop them.  They work to break down the boundaries by normalizing the behavior.  They repeatedly view scenes of anal sex with their partners over a period of time, making it appear more and more normal.  When they see their partner showing less resistance, they broach the subject of doing this is their real sex lives.

A man who respects a woman’s boundaries, who recognizes that consent is only that which is freely given, would see his partner’s resistance and discomfort as a line not to be crossed.  The entitled psyche of the patriarchal male doesn’t see it that way, though.  This male sees it as something to break down.  If he can just convince her, he’ll get to do what he wants with her body.  That’s not how real respect for boundaries works.  Real respect for boundaries is respect for the natural boundaries of that partner.  Rape is the attempt to move beyond the boundaries that have been freely, naturally set by that individual through manipulation, incapacitation, or force.

I’ve debated with some on the Left (mostly males) who ask me whether I believe the filming of people having sex is intrinsically exploitative.  They claim that porn doesn’t “have to be” violent and degrading.  I would agree that the simple act of putting a sex act on film doesn’t mean that it must be degrading, violent and misogynistic.  My response, though, is, “So, what?”

We are living in a patriarchal, capitalist world.  The patriarchy means that women are seen as objects meant to satisfy male desires of some sort.  The boundaries of women don’t matter; boundaries are there simply to be trespassed, by manipulation, incapacitation, or force.  The capitalism means that if money can be made based upon this ideology, the greedy will push to whatever extremes they can get away with to keep that money rolling in.   When we get rid of the unholy alliance of patriarchy and capitalism, we can discuss the concepts of so-called “healthy” porn.  Until then, I have more important battles than some dude’s jack-off material.  I’m concerned about the very lives of women and girls.  Anyone who isn’t needs to do some serious soul-searching to figure out why his orgasm is more important than our lives.

The “Nature” of Women

I’ve written before about how I don’t believe there’s a female way to experience the world that is different from the male way of experiencing the world.  This has generally been in reference to my belief that the current theories of gender identity hinder women by tying some ways of being to “feminine” and others to “masculine”.  Gender identity theorists are not the only ones who do this, though.  There are many among the radical feminist and cultural feminist camps who do the same.  They argue that the essential “nature” of women is good, while the essential “nature” of men is bad.  I call as much bullshit on that as I do on the concept of gender identity that’s so strong in the liberal feminist ranks.  In fact, it boggles my mind that people who will argue so strongly against the concept of gender will then turn around and argue that women are inherently of a better “nature” than men.  Those ideas contradict each other.

When we speak about the nature of men and women, we cannot deny that we are a sexually dimorphic species.  There are real, physical differences between the two sexes.  No one can logically deny that.  In fact, those biological differences have been the justifications for the oppression and exploitation of women.  The ability to bear children is a female-only ability.  It is also something that males began trying to control as soon as humans began forming civilization.  Controlling property meant that they had to control offspring.  To control offspring and keep property within the (male-defined) family, they had to control female reproduction.  To justify this, they needed ideology.  In a nutshell, that’s how the system of patriarchy was built.

Most evidence indicates the early family unit (much like the family unit of most species) was the female and her offspring.  Most family groups consisted only of females, as males left the larger group when they reached maturity.  With humans, this created matrilineal culture, where property was handed down from mother to daughter.  Even though larger family groups eventually came to include males, the matrilineal inheritance was the logical way of doing things, because patrimony was often unknown.  If a woman wasn’t bound to any single male, then the father of her children could be any one of a number of males.  Since males wanted to keep property within their (male) families, they began introducing the theory and practice of patriarchy.

Patriarchy was established slowly; it did not spring from the mind of the first humans.  Males with greater strength were able to impose their will on females.  Then, they developed ideologies (e.g. religion and gender) to justify this continued oppression of half the species.  Some argue this was because of the settling of humans into civilizations.  When humans lived by gathering and  hunting, women were able to raise and bear children, as well as to feed themselves, without the “help” or “protection” of a man.  The fact that it took patriarchy a while to come into being would seem to indicate that this wasn’t a “natural” way for either males or females to behave and to interact.  That’s not to say that this wasn’t a cozy set-up for males, and that they perpetuated it and continue to perpetuate it because it is a cozy set-up for them.

As civilization changed and technology improved, the need for brute strength declined.  Women were able to assert themselves economically again to some degree.  This allowed them to insist upon and fight for some reintroduction of female property ownership and matrilineal inheritance.

As women have gained more economic independence, some of them have garnered positions of power in government and industry.  The patriarchy persists, so these women are still few and far between.  However, those who have gained power have behaved in such a way that indicates women are not more “peaceful” or “moral” or better in any particular way.  The involvement of women in furthering the imperialistic, racist, and exploitative aims of patriarchy and capitalism would seem to indicate that it’s well within our nature to be as dangerous as men.  We generally don’t have the brute strength to impose that nature on an interpersonal level–we don’t have the power to rape and to kill at will in the manner that way men do, for example.  On the other hand, it’s impossible to deny the women who have bought into patriarchal and capitalistic institutions exhibit the same willingness to kill and to exploit when technology and ideology grant them the opportunity.  The nature of our oppression and exploitation means that we have had far fewer opportunities to do so.  The fact that so many women who have had those opportunities choose to exercise them, however, would indicate that it’s well within our “nature” to behave the same way men have.

This is why we need true revolution; reform is not enough.  Tearing down patriarchy and its bastard son, capitalism, is required for a truly peaceful, just society.  Since it is within the nature of all humans to behave in these destructive ways, we must tear down the institutions and ideologies that perpetuate this destruction.

I fully embrace the idea that the reality is that men have and continue to embrace patriarchy because it benefits them to do so.  I fully embrace that men, as a group, have embraced the opportunity to indulge in destructive, exploitative behaviors for the entire existence of patriarchy.  I accept that this means that men are, in the world we exist, far more dangerous than women.  However, I reject the concept that women are inherently better than men when it comes to our nature and capacity for good and evil.  We have had fewer opportunities.  I think we see this evidence when women do gain power.  Our natures are neither better nor worse than that of men.  It’s our behavior that has been different.  It’s time we created a society where men behave as women do.  That doesn’t require changing anyone’s “nature”.  It requires revolutionary change of ideology and of social organization.