Shame is a double-edged lightsaber. A prominent ‘counter-feminist’ reminded me last week that feminists are not inured to this emotion. Yes, they feel shame; what is more, I wager that it is precisely this emotion that lubricates the mechanism of what passes for their minds. Their perpetual revolution – their unending scorched earth policy seeking the unfettered denigration of the male of the species is likely born of a compound mixture of maladaptive emotions (including shame.) You only have to peek into the personal lives of many of the second wave luminaries to grasp just how badly damaged they were.
Betty Freidan, a self-proclaimed “bad tempered bitch” who was subject to ‘screaming fits of temperament,’ frequently enacted acts of physical violence on her husband, Carl.
Valerie Solanas – sexual abuse survivor, paranoid schizophrenic and one time prostitute. She acted out in fits of retributive violence while still in school (whereupon she even struck a nun.) It is notable that her mental illness eventually segued into a series of attempts at murder.
Andrea Dworkin, a one time prostitute and victim of an incident of sexual molestation and repeated domestic violence, grew up in a household ‘in may ways dominated by the memory of the holocaust’. She became so embittered by her life’s experiences that she famously exclaimed that she wanted: “to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.”
Gloria Steinhem, while still a child, witnessed her mother descend into complete psychosis and alienation, before her parents divorced at the age of ten years old.
What we see here is a thread of trauma and pain running through the lives of each these women. Where there is dysfunction, shame is not far behind. It comes in a myriad of forms: ‘I am not good enough to stop Mommy getting sick;’ ‘I must have been bad for him to do that to me;’ ‘Turning tricks is not who I really am.’
Without therapeutic intervention, the need to take another human-being as a hostage into the parentheses of our personal pain is great. Indeed, to share this pain is to feel relief from the isolation that any such trauma induces. Inevitably, this turns into a cycle of abuse; it is when ‘hurt people begin hurting people’ as the old maxim goes.
It is my belief that this shame is at the root of all feminism. In addition, I feel that feminism is a mechanism whereby women are able to avoid recognition of their core shame through the conduit of a diversion away from its kernel, it’s real tap-root. By taking up ‘women’s issues,’ women are not addressing their core human pain. Feminism came as a signpost that said, effectively, ‘your pain is over in this corner, in this nice sunlit corner we have furnished especially for you.’ However, the essential, real truth, is that true human healing comes from effectively addressing the source of suffering. In a Jungian framework, this is pain hidden in the realm of shadow.
In that Jungian sense, feminism (and feminists) have not approached the shadow archetype in any meaningful sense. It has not passed through the regions of what Saint John of the Cross called ‘the dark night of the soul;’ it has not resided one moment in the belly of the proverbial whale.
Aided and abetted by gender ideologues within the field of psychiatry, that were encouraged to examine false narratives that explained their trauma. Esoteric reasons were given to assuage their souls; all the while the esoteric reality of their true pain was not expunged in any meaningful way. They could increasingly blame male hegemony, the patriarchy and maintain an outward focus for their anger. By doing so, they became encumbered within a sarcophagus of retributive righteousness that seemed ‘almost restorative.’ As such, feminism is an ersatz healing modality; it does not address the wounds in the female psyche one iota; for if it did take women back to that authentic, crepuscular night, back to the crime scene of their individual psychical trauma, they would surely individualize and heal. By extension, they would not be calling for selective male eugenics and a reduction of the human population to that of 10%. They would not hate and despise men. No, a healthy human being is not compelled to hurt anyone or anything.
I say ‘shame on feminism’ for betraying women and turning them away from their pain, for offering them a ‘get out of jail free’ card whereby they were able to bypass the true hard work of authentic healing. I say ‘shame on you’ for holding out a promise to an entire generation of women and then reneging on that deal.