I’m not ‘triggered,’ I’m angry: Against the medicalization of women’s rage

trump clinton

Last night I was talking to a male friend about porn. Over the course of our friendship, he has been made quite aware of my political opposition to porn as an exploitative and socially harmful industry. But last night he said to me, “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Why are you triggered by porn?” he asked.

For a moment I was dumbstruck. I had never considered my opposition to the pornography industry as being rooted in feeling “triggered.” Then my rage came rushing in. As if my hatred for the industry and the filmed violence inflicted on the bodies of women and girls is nothing more than personal pathology! As if my anger, discomfort, and sorrow at the injustice of porn and its ideological role in constructing women as subordinate sexual objects that exist for male pleasure is actually only due to some personal history of trauma — my feminist position merely an indication of me being “damaged goods.”

“How could you suggest that!?” I replied. “When your African American friends talk to you about the Black Lives Matter movement, do you also ask them what happened to make them triggered by police officers?”

His comment made me angry because men have been doing this to feminists for generations — trying to construe our opposition to male violence as merely the result of being women who are broken or defective in some way. This question felt no different than claims that, “Feminists just hate men because they’re ugly and can’t get a boyfriend!” or “They don’t like sex because they’re uptight prudes!”

But later, while reflecting on our talk, I realized the kicker: For all intents and purposes, I am triggered by porn. I do not watch porn. But in general online browsing and image searching, it is not uncommon for an image to appear on your screen of a close-up shot of a woman being brutally penetrated by a penis. Nooooo! I just wanted to find Cats of Vhamster, not xHamster! (and no, “safe search” doesn’t work for me, because it also removes feminist articles critical of porn, prostitution, etc.)

When this unexpected assault happens, my heart skips a beat. Flames of adrenaline course over my body as I scream internally with rage. I close the image as fast as possible and need to take a moment to collect myself. It’s an experience that is upsetting, and, if I examine it, I suppose I could say it also conjures feelings attached to some personal history of an instance of an unkind touch or trauma of being sexually objectified.

Now, wouldn’t it be convenient for patriarchy if I decided my objection to porn was rooted in my past experiences and, so, were merely a result of my personal psychology? I could cease my pesky feminist writing and organizing, because golly, it’s not that the porn industry is objectively wrong, I just happen to have this thing that makes me perceive it that way.

After it was revealed that Donald Trump bragged on tape in 2005 about getting away with sexually assaulting women because he’s such a big “star,” many American women said that Trump’s callous dismissal of his actions were “locker room talk,” and that Sunday night’s debate, felt “triggering.” As described in a reader letter to The Atlantic:

“Last night’s debate was a triggering event for pretty much every woman I know. That also seems to be the general reaction online amongst women I don’t know. Whether we were raped, assaulted, harassed, or in an abusive relationship, Trump last night embodied everything we have had to deal with throughout our lives.”

Women began sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault online in order to condemn Trump’s words and actions. It’s as if we hoped that if we made our pronouncements of personal psychological suffering loud enough through collective amplification, someone would finally give a damn. The entire performance underscores a sad truth of our world: Women are not allowed to define reality.

There is a reason women are tying their outrage and heartbreak at Trump’s sexism to personal trauma from the past (which the media demands they share in lascivious detail) — the white cotton panties she was wearing on the carnival ride during her first “grab to the p—-” moment at age twelve, where exactly the man’s fingers were when he assaulted her, etc. As women writers harshly criticize Trumps actions, it seems they are also compelled to explain that his misogyny made them physically ill, in order for their critique to pack more punch. Because what else could we, as women, do? Dare to declare Trump’s actions to simply be objectively wrong? How much weight would that really carry?

Philosopher René Descartes claims we can sufficiently know the material world as it is provided through our senses. However, our perceptions can be altered if we are sick — our senses deceive us and relay a reality specific to our state of being ill, rather than what is objectively true. As the idea of being “triggered” has becoming popularized, PTSD now seems to be the primary mediator through which women are allowed to define male supremacist reality. Women are allowed to denounce the horror they see and live with only by adding a disclaimer about being gripped by fever dreams, which colour the perception they share.

The medicalization of women’s rage and sorrow at the injustice of male supremacy has a long history. Within psychoanalysis, when women desired to work outside of the home or generally have a social station in life greater than the subhuman status they experienced as women, they were given the incredibly insulting diagnosis of exhibiting “penis envy.” When women disliked having sex with their husbands, they were diagnosed as being “frigid.” It wasn’t that sex was unappealing because it was a “wifely duty” to which women were forced to submit by their husbands… No, said Freud. It was just that some women had this psychological problem that made them “frigid.” Similarly, lesbians were said to be retarded in their psychosexual development.

Today, girls who exhibit a healthy objection to social pressure that demands they perform for the male gaze are medicalized, too — called “non binary” or said to perhaps really be a man “on the inside.” Women who find sex with men unappealing according to the current norms of porn culture are said to be “demisexual” or “asexual.” “Demisexual,” by the way, means that a person likes to get to know someone and be emotionally attached to them before having sex. Women’s refusal to have sex entirely (asexual), is construed also as a medicalized anomaly. How convenient for patriarchy to be able to claim, “You know that discomfort and dissatisfaction you feel? Well, it’s not me, it’s you!” While in the past it was “hysteria,” today it is “triggered,” and the legacy of Freud continues (having himself originated the conceptual framework for PTSD).

This is being carried out in a wider cultural milieu where the self is increasingly being described through a medicalized rubric of innate dispositions/psychological conditions. The ancient maxim inscribed on The Temple of Apollo at Delphi, “Know thyself,” would today be more aptly written as “Know thy diagnosis” — with the route towards self-actualization considered to be through finding one’s specific psychological dispositions expressed in medicalized terminology: “It’s not that I’m an unfeeling jerk, I’m just a sexual aromantic.” “It’s just that I’m an introvert.” “I’m a submissive.” “I was born this way.” Even the experience of deriving pleasure from listening to sound has been hilariously conceived as a neurological “condition” of sorts: “I have this special thing called ASMR.”

When social reality appears as a set of individual “conditions” or dispositions, wherein each person is “born this way,” we lose the ability to use political analysis  as a means to explain social trends or patterns. For example, if BDSM is just another sexual “orientation,” feminism loses the ability to critique the sexualization of dominance and submission in the cultural maintenance of male supremacy.

Imagine if we applied this version of social reality to the Marxist analysis of class. Marxism says individuals are “alienated” by a capitalist system that turns their labour into a commodity. People feel dissatisfied because they spend their vital energy doing jobs they hate for the benefit of wealthy capitalists rather than for the community they live in and are too tired at the end of the day to pursue more fulfilling activities. Now imagine if we attributed this dissatisfaction of alienation to an individual pathology, rather than a politicized experience common to a certain social class of people: “Oh, I just have this special thing called alien-syndrome.” Now the problem is no longer systemic, but just a personal psychological state of being. All the while the injustices of capitalism are able to continue unchallenged.

Feminism must resist pressure to recast female discontent as an individual pathology or psychological condition. As far back as centuries — even millennia — ago, women defiant to patriarchal norms were pathologized as having been possessed by demons. For a long time, men have tried to convince us that if we don’t like the order of things, it’s a problem with us and not the world. But the truth is plain as day. Patriarchy is a grotesque circus of horrors constantly whirling before us. It is only natural that it would make us tremble with disgust, despair, and white-hot rage.

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

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  • therealcie

    As a woman who has reduced libido following menopause, I’m supposed to be wringing my hands in despair and begging my doctor to fix my broken sex drive. I care far more about emotional connection than sex. I found someone to whom I have a strong emotional connection. He’s very sick and can’t have sex at this point. If I can’t have it with him, I don’t want it with anybody.
    There is nothing wrong with not wanting to have sex. Nothing. And being angry at women being treated like pieces of ass doesn’t mean you’re somehow “broken.” It means that you are aware of reality and want to change things.

  • Césarion

    It’s funny how things work. He asked you why you were “triggered”, but you could all the same ask him why he’s turned on by porn. I’ve noticed it applies on many issues, when you are critical of something, people blame you for being “close-minded”.

  • JohnnyRotten

    Excellent post. But now i’ve started thinking about this I’m slowly seeing this medicalisation / individual pathologisation of womens minds (?)* everywhere! Aptly, a recent post I just read here more or less describes the same phenomenon but from a post-natal perspective : https://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/10/06/not-unexpected-challenge-new-mothers-dealing-entitled-men/ (men see normal post natal changes as an individual pathological problem that needs to be dealt with – because it impacts their access to sex)

    * we really need a new word for this kind of shit dammit.

    • Cassandra

      “…this medicalisation / individual pathologisation of womens minds (?)* everywhere!…
      * we really need a new word for this kind of shit dammit.”

      Gas lighting comes pretty close. And it *is* everywhere.

    • Just Passing Through

      We already have it, it’s called “male entitlement”

  • Cassandra

    This is EXCELLENT, Ms. Cox. Absolutely superb. I recently went into therapy to deal with an acute situation and although it’s helped me, I am constantly at odds with my therapist about just this sort of thing. I say to her, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” But that’s her job, huh? (And I should probably take it easy with quoting male philosophers I don’t know much about.) What a capitalist racket.

    I remembered something while reading this; something I read in one of those Yahoo question/answer things. The question was from a youngish woman who was questioning why she gets so grossed out and angry when older men pester her. She was *already* thinking there was something wrong with her. Unsurprisingly the first answer out of the gate was from some d00d saying something like, “You should try to figure out what’s wrong with you, that you have such a negative reaction. Did something happen in your past?” and blah blah mainsplainey gas lighting blah blah blah pervy gross dickhead blah blah.

    Well, OF COURSE you hate it, Ms. Yahoo! Your reactions are normal and warranted and healthy! There’s NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU! It’s MEN who are fucked-up!!!! Aaaaarrrggh!!!!

    • Sabine

      Great minds think alike – just used that Krishnamurti quote too! Very, very apt with regards to this issue.

      • Cassandra


    • Wren

      FYI this blog and other literature have done more for my mental health than any of the milk-toast counselors I’ve seen. It was a huge relief to me to finally believe my own thoughts and feelings and not have to keep arguing with these “experts.” Just saying.

  • This is a fantastic piece, Susan. I had never thought about some of the analysis you make here. Thank you for your work and making all the connections. Thank you!

    • Susan Cox

      Thank you, Rosario.

  • melissa

    Spot on Susan! I can relate to so much of this.

    • Susan Cox

      Thank you!

  • Be Human

    One “medicalized” sexual “pathology” you didn’t mention is that when older women challenge the patriarchal gender/sexuality binary that men are “sexual” (sexual subjects) and women are “sexy” (sexual objects) by flipping that script and expressing their sexual attraction for younger males, they are called “predatory” “cougars” with “unresolved daddy issues” (as an “expert” once claimed on the Dr. Phil show). Men are allowed to have sexual agency at any age, but women expressing sexual agency beyond the age of 35 are pathologized, too.

  • Karla Gjini

    great article, Susan!

  • betty barcode

    Case in point: next time you’re near Dr. Google, look up drapetomania. It was a 19th century medical diagnosis of the desire to escape from slavery.

    • Susan Cox


  • Kellyann Conway

    Brilliant! Thank you!

  • BenEsler

    “Why are you triggered by porn?”

    “…Why are you not?”

    • Independent Radical

      Exactly. Having a strong physiological reaction to images of violence and degradation is the default for most human beings. People get desensitised out of feeling this way, even strong advocates of violent media (of which pornography is a subset) acknowledge this, saying that you have to watch a few milder horror films in order to “prepare yourself” to be able to “handle” the more violent ones. It sounds a lot like the claim that you have to smoke a few cigarettes to get used to them. Why should I get used to something so toxic. I’m squeamish and proud.

      That said, I don’t want to disregard the whole act of medical or psychological diagnosis altogether. Some behaviours and tendencies (e.g. the desire to practice violent sex or the desire to have sex with children) should be seen as disorder which need to be treated with the purpose of putting an end to such desires. Instead these diagnoses get used to imply that these conditions are genetic and the men who have them thereby get to avoid accountability for what they do.

      The idea that the process of diagnosis itself is evil (ahhh labels, ahhh categories, ahhh science, how scary!) strikes me as a liberal idea that could be used to push an anything-goes mentality that the psychological community is going along with (e.g. by refusing to diagnose paedophilia as a mental disorder unless the paedophile feels bad). The problem isn’t that mental issues are being labelled, the problem is that this labelling is being done in a way that reinforces the status quo.

      • Susan Cox

        I agree that there is a prominent thread in current ideology which views “labelling” as a primary source of social oppression. But only labels which are conducive to class consciousness (such as “woman”) are viewed as harmful. Labels of the self which individualize society are viewed as beneficial.

        • Morag999

          Yes, this is what I was thinking, too.

          Neoliberal influence encourages people to frown upon labels which unite individuals to resist power, while, at the same time, encourages people to embrace labels which individually pathologize those who do resist.

          In fact, often the resistors themselves accept and celebrate their labels as positive — because, not only does this make them personally unique, and suggest a possible strategy/solution for the problems they have navigating the neoliberal shit-show, but it releases them from having to examine the context in which their supposed pathologies find their expression.

        • Independent Radical

          “But only labels which are conducive to class consciousness (such as “woman”) are viewed as harmful”.

          Really? Aren’t liberals basically obsessed with those labels? I’ve seen liberal profiles that say things along the lines of “I’m a bisexual, Muslim, able-bodied woman” as their opening line, which makes me cringe and ask “Can you tell me something about yourself other than demographic information? You’ve told me nothing except what social categories you belong to.” Even “Muslim”, which is supposed to refer to a religion doesn’t mean much to liberals, since they think you can identity your way into any religious group whether you believe in the religion or not. They just use it as a way to seem distinct from Western culture which they see as the enemy, but which they are ironically buying into by being liberals.

          Liberals do not object to talking about collective social categories. The problem is that they refuse to see them as class categories (categories that are parts of systems in which one class has power over another) and instead see them as neutral identities. They turn these social categories into their individual identities, saying things like “I’m a disabled bisexual black woman” as if that fully described them, when really they’ve told be next to nothing about what sort of human being they are. Is this person intelligent, kind, extroverted, creative capable of being anything other than a list of categories imposed by society to maintain hierarchies? I’m left wondering.

          We need to acknowledge these class (including race and sex) categories, but the roles society forces us into and the oppression society inflicts on us because of our physical traits are not our “identities”. We are all born human and society tries to stop us from being such.

          “Labels of the self which individualize society are viewed as beneficial.”

          In my experience, liberal academics have always bitterly condemned psychological diagnoses or at the very least refused to see the presence of a mental disorder as a problem that needs to be fixed. Even psychopathy is seen as useful to society (we wouldn’t want businessmen to be too compassionate, right? Then they wouldn’t function well as businessmen! I’m not kidding, they see this as an argument in favour of psychopathy, rather than an argument against capitalism) and depression is seen as a source of great art (art which is often about how horrible depression is and which should be evoking sympathy towards depressed people, rather than feelings of admiration for their suffering). Who cares if people die, so long as nobody gets negatively labelled and stigmatised, right? It’s getting really ridiculous

  • Keffisha

    Wonderful piece! Your Marxist example made me think of pathologizing women within the corporate world – when women in senior positions are sexualized as part of their jobs (eg farmed out to entertain clients in corporate law or finance) and then given ‘resilience training’ to help deal with their lady feelings.

    • Susan Cox

      “Resilience training”??? Wow, I had not heard of that. I am very curious as to what goes on in that training.

  • Marmalade Teardrops

    Great fucking piece. Thank you.

  • Sabine

    “While in the past it was “hysteria,” today it is “triggered”….”

    That’s it in a patriarchal nutshell!!!!

    “Patriarchy is a grotesque circus of horrors constantly whirling before us. It is only natural that it would make us tremble with disgust, despair, and white-hot rage.”

    Quite. I am “triggered” by a great, great many things happening in this world on a daily basis. Not because I am a pathologically unbalanced mess who has had direct, personal experience of everything that profoundly horrifies and sickens me, but because I am a human being bearing witness to suffering on a universal scale and that causes me often unbearable pain.

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”. J. Krishnamurti.

    I am happy to be one of the (too) few and to retain some shred of humanity.

    • Susan Cox

      I am reminded of when I saw the earth-shattering, feminist poet Dominique Christina perform. She said something along the lines: “I don’t do trigger warnings. Because you’re already triggered. Everyday. You were triggered before you came here.” Her poetry very much deals with the violence we face as females and the near unbearable fire ignited in our hearts from having to see the injustice of patriarchy continue. I recommend her so highly!

      • Sabine

        Thanks so much Susan, I will definitely check her out…she sounds very much a kindred spirit! I sometimes think I have TSD…no post about it. Just a fluctuating but ever-present feeling of shock, confusion, fear, rage, despair and ultimately disbelief at having been born into a world I simply cannot fathom in its mindbogglingly unevolved, (to me)inexplicable cruelty. I really do feel like an alien being at times…I cannot really be here? HOW have I Ianded up HERE?!!! It can and does become utterly overwhelming and genuinely shattering…agonizing…and it happens over and over again unless I can somehow numb myself to the almost unimaginable suffering in this world. But I am always aware I am doing it, engaging in a survival tactic to stop myself going stark raving insane and blowing my brains out… so I am therefore not ever fooled by myself. It’s exhausting. So maybe I’m not actually happy to have this shred of humanity after all! x

  • neurofluff

    I agree in principle and mostly in practice, but my PTSD symptoms are ramped up to 11 by this, and I’m ten years into recovery from sexual assault. When I was only 12 months into my recovery this conversation would send me to my bed for days at a time, crying non-stop. I so get what you mean but please don’t dismiss or discount the very real, very physical, very neurobiological responses being triggered by this. I know the difference between being “very angry” and being overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms and I say with all the respect I have for you, that your article is unhelpful to the many women who will be in bed crying for days and feeling too scared to go outside or be online at the moment. Thanks xx

  • neurofluff

    I’d like to add to my previous comment that you wouldn’t dismiss combat veterans’ PTSD as simply the medicalisation of failed hypermasculinity, would you? There is plenty of research to suggest that rape survivors actually experience worse PTSD than combat veterans, as vets have some positive experiences of comradeship and community in war, while rape has nothing positive about it. I’ve also seen a study that suggest that childhood sexual assault victims can suffer worse PTSD than child Holocaust survivors who had experiences of closeness and community while in the camps if they were protected by their parents or other caring adults. The more I think about your article, the more off-base I think you are and I suggest if you haven’t already read Judith Herman’s brilliant “Trauma and Recovery”, you do so before you speak on this topic further. For reference I’m currently part of a research project working with a preeminent doctor in the area of the mental health impacts of sexual violence on women, so I know both from personal lived experience and solid medical evidence that you could do with some more research on this subject. But again, I see what you mean and in many ways I absolutely agree about the medicalisation of women’s anger.

  • linnet

    I refuse to use the word ‘triggered’ anymore because if you’re speaking to someone outside the feminist sphere it immediately connotes a memey sort of mockery, and nothing you say afterwards will be heard. “U triggered now? KEK”

    • Morag999

      Yes. And it’s too bad what has happened to this term, which did, and does, have a specific or even technical psychological definition.

      As I understand it: when a traumatized person reacts to particular stimuli by intensely re-experiencing, in the present, a horrifying experience or events from their past. This is nightmarish, a feeling of anguish. Not at all the same ballpark as feeling upset, sad, angry or frustrated.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    This is wonderful.

    Interesting point of view about “asexuality” and ”demisexuality”, too. Demisexuality is one of those things I thought I might be before I realized it’s… actually pretty damn normal to want to know someone before you have sex. Especially when it comes to women with men : we have reason, in this world, to desire a true connection with someone, as ”sex just for sex’s sake” with whoever is likely to mean lousy sex with a guy who only cares about his erection and getting his dick wet to validate his manhood, even dangerous sex because the guy will feel entitled to our bodies.

    But what of asexuality ? It exists in men too as well, no ? I don’t know much about it, but if you’re framing it this way I suppose it means there are many more women who come out as asexual than men, in which case it would be telling.

    • Jemima Danielle

      I’d agree with you if you’re using that definition of Demisexuality. But the definitions I’ve seen have been about attraction. In that sense it isn’t that demisexuals just want to know people before they have sex, it is that they do not feel a sexual attraction to people that they do not have a close emotional bond with. In that sense they could have sex with anyone they like, however they mostly choose wait *because* they have no sexual attraction to people they are not emotionally connected to. This is different to the definitions of allosexuals (accepted as ‘normal’ sexuality) who also do not control who they are attracted to but could be attracted to anyone stranger, picture of person, friend.

      • Susan Cox

        The thing with “demisexuality” (and much of the psychological compartmentalizing of women that is performed in this way) is that it sets up the patriarchal norm as the universal. For example: if you don’t sexualize strangers, or images of strangers, and are only sexually attracted to a person once you have gotten closer to them, then you must have a special condition. In this way it shields men’s patriarchal sexuality from critique, as it universalizes the idea that sexual attraction occurs mostly on the basis of what can be judged immediately by a person’s body. This is a common strategy for patriarchy of trying convince women that they are just as depraved as men: “Women watch just as much porn as men.” (lie) “Women use men for sex just as much as men use women!” Etc.

      • Wren

        Honestly I think it just means that they have respect for themselves and others. Geesh.

    • Wren

      “Demisexuality is one of those things I thought I might be before I
      realized it’s… actually pretty damn normal to want to know someone
      before you have sex.”

      I was laughing about this new “sexuality.” All along I just thought I had standards and didn’t want to have sex with fuck-wits.

    • Mal Skinner

      That’s not what demisexuality is – the author defined it incorrectly. It is an identity along the asexual spectrum, and refers to someone who literally doesn’t feel attraction until they’ve formed an emotional bond with them. That’s very different than just wanting to get to know someone before you have sex with them. One is about attraction (something innate), and the other is about action (something you control). As for asexuality, it exists in both men and women and was presented in a very strange and innaccurate way in this article.

  • BenEsler

    Exactly. It’s not just a trigger. It’s a trauma.

  • Alienigena

    I just don’t find the vast majority of men that likeable so find it hard to see them as friend material let alone potential intimates. I always seem to see the ‘skull beneath the skin’ in male behaviour even when others think some guy is OK, a decent person. Mannerisms, how they move, things they say, what they say (topics of interest to them), their perpetual look of irritation (many seem to have a disdain for the world and the people in it), the tone of voice, how much space (including acoustic space) he takes up, it all seems obvious, even if the guy is not a perv or overtly nasty, he is not the kind of person I would like to spend any time with. Especially egregious are men who say they like women (all women, uhm, no). They may like certain women they want to have sex (or women play to their ego) for a microsecond, even then, do they really like those women, or are they simply a means to an end, sexual gratification. But the rest of us (who have opinions and may yell at the television or radio, e.g. at Trump and his puckered anus of a mouth), men seem to hate, or rarely even tolerate. I have never really found overt male sexuality appealing, just sort of gross and oily. Never really saw the appeal of Captain Kirk’s ripped shirt or the swivel hips or lush lips (or commercially exploitable bad attitudes) of pop stars. Most women I like as people, but I don’t feel romantically or sexually attracted to them. That is why I consider myself asexual, and/or aromantic. I think circumnavigating the globe on a sailing vessel is romantic (writ large), not interactions with other people. I agree about sexual feelings having nothing to do with other people, or even a desire to act on those feelings with anonymous sex (as the feelings aren’t directed at another person, they are just feelings).

    • Cassandra

      “acoustic space”
      For sure! So many of them just about blow your eardrums out.

      • Morag999

        Ha, yes, I enjoyed and appreciated Alienigena’s employment of the phrase “acoustic space.”

        For example: men on telephones, using that high-volume, boys-club voice, which is a relative to the violent, bone-crushing handshake. Why does being “friendly” involve yelling and causing pain to others? I have to get away from men like that (a few women are also offenders of acoustic space, but their voices don’t have the same reberverating properties.) Loud men rattle my ears. Literally. My ears itch after the noise assault is over …

        • Cassandra

          The guy in the office next to mine is incapable of using an indoor voice. My walls literally vibrate. He also clears his throat like a barn animal all day.

          Thank goodness for headphones.

          • Alienigena

            And thank god for white noise. Try Canton Becker’s plain white noise. http://cantonbecker.com/white-noise-mp3-sleep-sounds/

            Or low volume classical instrumental music (chamber music or orchestral) or solo piano (works for me as well).

          • Cassandra

            Thanks for the tips! I’ll try it, but I’m telling you, you could hear this dude a mile away. It cuts right through even my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Sigh.

  • Cassandra

    Thanks, Tinfoil the Hat. She’s actually alright; better than many I’ve tried. We’re all hooked-up to The Patrix and it’s very hard to yank those cords out and see the truth. And that’s beside the fact that psychiatry/psychology has deep dude roots. As far as I’m concerned Freud can suck a dick. 😉

  • Susan Cox

    There’s a reason why they made Anita Hill describe every little instance of her sexual harassment in pain-staking detail in a televised hearing in 1991. They were trying to humiliate her and intimidate other women from speaking up about sexual harassment.

  • Susan Cox

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mira. However, this essay is not an indictment of using terms to describe reality. The argument is a bit more specific than that.

    • Mira

      I feel you Susan. Good article nonetheless! <3

  • Wren

    I, on the other hand, found your article both comforting and empowering. And I have shit-loads of ptsd. Just wanted you to know 🙂

  • Wren

    I like it.

  • fragglerock

    Same sh*t, different day! The patriarchy has been medicalizing women’s sorrow and rage for centuries: from “hysterical” neuroses treated with fire hoses to “anxiety” treated with sedatives, it’s the same old song and dance. If women aren’t complying, there must be something wrong with them. The solution? Find a way to trivialize their true experiences and shut them up. Just another attempt at killing us slowly.
    Check out a blog post I made awhile ago on the topic, not a masterpiece but some salient points and lots of pictures to look at

    • Cassandra

      Loved the post on your blog. Peeps should check it out!

  • Meghan Murphy


    Don’t ask me WHY I watched the whole thing, because every moment was annoying as hell… It was SO clear the thing was directed by a dude who is COMPLETELY certain he is totes progressive and feminist, and is actually just a giant, privileged douche.

    If you missed the Marc Maron episode, count yourself lucky.

    • melissa

      Just saw the trailer out of curiosity. Looks very deja vu, cliche and generic.

      Thanks for the heads up ladies.;)

  • radwonka

    its crazy how much you can see that it was drawn by a porn sick male. You can tell that he was probably turned on while drawing that awful story.

    • melissa
      • radwonka

        I wanted to add a manga which had a whole volume of rape with porn like drawings, on the forums men saif that it was “hot” and the only reason it was “kinda” sad… was because the BF of the woman couldnt save her… which is just the most male-entitlement/anti-victim thing Ive ever read. They insulted all the few women who said that these chapters were not necessary at all. I couldnt belive that it was taboo to criticize disgusting propaganda.
        I read this when I was 15 yo thinking it was a normal shonen a la Naruto, but I was so wrong. I couldnt finish the chapter and stopped reading the manga. I guess this is how I started to become a feminist, all this pro abuse propaganda in the name of “art” and “freedom of speech” was clearly used to create norms. Anti female norms. Which is why men are so fucking defensive when you dare to say to something.
        (trigger warning explicit porn/male violence/rape, dont click if you are asurvivor:

        But yeah, its like those thrillers/horror movies were women are tortured and you can see the similarities with porn. You can feel the rape gaze everywhere in our culture.

        The manga I used as an example is probably just an example of what well see soon in our books/movies/etc. Japanese have already done it, it is to be expected that western countries will put their porn fantaisies everywhere too… as if things arent already worse.

        In my country, some doctors draw a gangbang with disney characters on a wall in a hospital, some women tried to complain, but the politicians, and all the men I know, mocked them called them prude and said “_If I think its my fun, you have no right to oppose my freedom of speech”. It was sickening.
        If women dont understand that men PURPOSELY harass us with these pro-abuse messages,… I just dont know what to do anymore. Women are scared, libfem promote our abuse, men are not going t stop… I just wish I could burn everything lmao.

  • radwonka

    Huh? Even if there was no money, porn promotes the degradation of women. Its a social problem.

  • Cassandra

    Yes, I saw the title and thought “WTF I can only imagine what “that* piece of crap is about!” Glad I skipped it.

    Next time you’re on Netflix or HBO go especially, scan the visuals of the thumbnails and it’s instantly clear that we live in a culture that sexualizes male violence against women. I’d betcha a dollar for a donut it is MALES deciding what image to put in those thumbnails to get attention. They’re over and over again images of women’s bodies or body parts, or women crying and/or in pain. Once you see reality you can’t un-see it. Obviously you know this as do most of us here, but damn is it depressing.

  • melissa

    “having porny sex where he implies domination and violence – a little
    hair pull, moving her around like a toy – and they live happily ever

    Ooh so edgy, so cool! /s

    *Sigh* there’s no end to this bullshit.

  • radwonka

    Yes sorry, I realized that the link didnt work and changed it! (TW: Rape, misogyny, violence)

    And yeah! I dont know whats wrong with men, they just cant let women live in peace. Porn, rape, feminity, etc. Men enjoy not respecting our limits and always force us to see/watch degrading stuff. Thats why they put porn everywhere on the internet. Thats how they remind us that we are nothing but sex objects in this society.

  • Rachel

    I’m glad you brought up the grooming of the therapist. It’s understandable that the family can be groomed more easily, but people overlook the therapists being groomed, as they assume therapists can “read minds” and spot psychopaths easily. I think sometimes it’s even an ego thing on the therapists part – they don’t want to admit they can be manipulated, and in essence, “out smarted”. It is a scary thought, but at the end of the day, therapists are only human, and psychopaths think entirely differently to the way the majority of humans do.

  • anne

    When you say “I do, however, believe that the number of people (mostly men) who are in this category are much fewer than we think” who is “we” you are referring to? General public? Papers? Psychiatrists?
    Because not all these goups will have equal insight into the reality of the situation.

    I’m aware of the Norway model, my suggestion was based on it, only I feel there needs to be a step further with the specific population I was referring to that needs to be permanently segregated. Reoffending rate in Norway might be smaller than elsewhere, and both socio-economic advantages and more suitable approach to imprisonment are probably responsible, but if you look into the specifics you’ll see that those who do reoffend fit the same known recidivist profile as everywhere else, mainly sexual predators, malignant narcissists, dark triad personalities with history of violence etc. I don’t expect Breivik will ever be ever released, for example. I feel that serial sexual predators are left off the hook theway murderers aren’t, purely because men who make these decisions either sympathise, or don’t feel the urgency because they are not the target. This is the issue that I feel needs addressing, unless we want sexual predators running the show, as they are now.

  • Dear Prudence

    Psychiatry and misogyny
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/151811114838/womens-madness-hysteria-to-hospitalisation Women’s madness: Hysteria to hospitalisation, Misogyny or mental illness? “Why are women overrepresented as ‘mad’? Who decides these women are mad, society, biology or medicine?”
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/146382005733/anorexia-scholastica-everything-you-need-to-know#notes In 1892 doctors made up a disease to try to stop women from receiving an education, they called it Anorexia Scholastica.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-150912/Psychiatrist-jailed-raping-patients.html Psychiatrist jailed for raping patients
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/147909647583/1845-read-novels-cross-dressed-committed-to 1845: Read Novels, Cross-dressed, Committed to Asylum

    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/147914476713/1905-masqueraded-as-man Gender non conforming woman committed to asylum

    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/148121361878/a-letter-from-marilyn-monroe Marilyn Monroe is groped by a psychiatrist and tricked into forced treatment.

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/07/antidepressants-often-prescribed-to-enforce-heteronormativity/ Antidepressants Often Prescribed to Enforce Heteronormativity, Study Concludes Women come to psychiatrist with problems with their relationships. “Doctor” tells them the problems are a brain disease.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/150502542493/irrevocablechemistry Classic retro ads for psychiatric drugs.. All targeted at women and their broken lady brains.
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/06/what-would-a-trauma-informed-society-look-like/ What Would a Trauma-Informed Society Look Like? Author explains how trauma is belittled and mocked and pathologized into the more acceptable “mental illness.”
    http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/blog/271-test Sylvia Plath- Maybe it was just the drugs
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/145516310278/gay-seattle Frances Farmer/Difficult women
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/145222584478/womens-art-on-twitter Sigrid Hjertén was a prolific Swedish modernist painter who died after her botched lobotomy in 1948
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/144615280233/are-psychiatrists-playing-god-by-peter-breggin With the endorsement of her psychiatrists, a Dutch woman in her twenties was recently “allowed” to die by assisted suicide—that is, she was killed by her doctors. This occurred after the failure of “intensive treatment” to cure her of trauma from child abuse. Psychiatrists have a long and terrible history of destroying people in the name of curing them.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/141513382623/insist-on-your-sanity-an-interview-with-kate Kate Millet interview from feminist magazine Off our Backs, she does not accept her “diagnosis” and believes her homophobic conservative anti feminist mother and sister used her diagnosis as a way to punish her for her political ideas. Was forced to take Thorazine, a neuroleptic that causes brain damage and extreme movement problems.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/141741665613 ect scene from movie Angel at My Table. Story of celebrated writer and psychiatric survivor Janet Frame.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/141630351413/httpsscholarworksiuedujournalsindexphpplat Long Harvard University journal article on Sylvia Plath’s experience with psychiatry, suicidal effect of ect and ssri’s
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/138375477323/trauma-art Pamela spiro wagner- Trauma art/psychiatric abuse
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/142087234623/one-flew-out-of-the-new-cuckoos-nest-forced One Flew Out of the New Cuckoo’s Nest: Forced psychiatry in Ohio – Instrument of political oppression? Woman committed to mental hospital for pissing off cop and being a whistleblower.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/148750452283/httpwwwintegralhealthresourcescombruce-levine The Anti-Authoritarian Movement to Rehumanize Mental Health “For too many kids, failure to adjust to this situation can result in a psychiatric diagnosis and a central nervous system dulled by drugs. For adults, many jobs pound the humanity out of us through daily routines characterized by dullness and disconnection, and too many of us adapt to this state of affairs with a “helping” hand from psychiatry. Psychiatry, according to Levine, has become a tool to cover all of this up, a tool that is put to use in maintaining the status quo.”
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/144354346778/court-orders-electroconvulsive-therapy-for-girl “ The Irish Times reports that a judge has ordered ECT for a 16-year-old with depression and an eating disorder. “
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/143654042888/the-loony-bin-trip-conclusion-by-kate-millett Conclusion to The Loony Bin Trip, Kate Millet’s book on her experience as a psychiatric survivor. Talks about coming off lithium and how it deadened her emotions and how her diagnosis damaged her sense of self.
    Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs Monica Cassani
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/144620163248/i-was-given-a-new-assignment-on-the-ship-but-my#notes Rape victims in the military being discharged for “personality disorders.”
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/140935918038/borderline-personality-disorder-and-the-epidemic a feminist perspective on bpd //“BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER” AND THE EPIDEMIC OF SUICIDES OF RAPE AND ABUSE VICTIMS: A EULOGY, A MANIFESTO, A RANT, AND A PRAYER
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/144978159358/12-year-old-candace-downing-was-put-on-zoloft 12 year old Candace Downing was put on zoloft because she freezed when she was taking tests. When she started 7th grade her prescription was doubled. She hung herself shortly thereafter.
    http://unabashedlystupendousbeliever.tumblr.com/post/140054215838/madness-narrative-eleanor-longden-the-voices Elanor Longden TED talk, voice hearer and phd, sexual assault survivor, learned to accept voices as an aspect of her trauma. does not use drugs

  • marv

    Done. Thanks will. Your super response was published.

  • Max Isenberg

    @disqus_8TSz0hZ4As:disqus with all due respect, your comments about asexuality are 100% inaccurate. human sexuality as a whole has absolutely nothing to do with behaviour as that is a choice. instead, it is determined solely by sexual attraction or lack thereof. you cannot make your heart skip a beat or make your eyes dilate for someone but regardless of those aspects, you can choose if/ who you sleep with. the asexual spectrum are valid orientations and many of the people who identify as such can have, like, want, and/or need sex. your article not only erases and invalidates ace identity but further establishes this false man made concept of sexual normativity. allosexuals (non aces) can choose not to have sex for any number of reasons i.e religion, celibacy) just like asexuals choose to have sex for any number or reasons (to please their parter, have kids, maybe they legitimately like it). asexuality is fluid and all aces are different so it is wrong to categorize them all as the same thing. you may be confusing aces with nonsexuals. the ace spectrum is in no way related to feminism. simply refusing sex does not change ones sexuality. i doubt most people accept every offer they are given. i suggest you do the proper research and fact check before making irrational claims.

    • Tired feminist

      You know… this rhetoric is exactly why I stopped taking a large part of the asexual community seriously. It’s the SAME talk of gender identitarians.

      Also, did you just come to a feminist website to accuse a woman of “making irrational claims”? Are you fucking serious?

      • Morag999

        “It’s the SAME talk of gender identitarians.”

        It is! Thanks for saying so. It’s the same obscure, labyrinthine, and unintentionally humorous language that just boggles the rational mind. I mean, stuff like this:

        “your article not only erases and invalidates ace identity but further establishes this false man made concept of sexual normativity. allosexuals (non aces) can choose not to have sex for any number of reasons i.e religion, celibacy) just like asexuals choose to have sex for any number or reasons (to please their parter, have kids, maybe they legitimately like it). asexuality is fluid and all aces are different so it is wrong to categorize them all as the same thing. you may be confusing aces with nonsexual.”

        Even if you wanted to summon the energy and the will to parse it and understand, you’d run the risk of your eyes glazing over with boredom (or chuckles) before you could finish. Because, if there are as many “genders” and sexualities as there are people, but only so many Greek and Latin prefixes to go around, somebody very special is going to get left out, all alone and misunderstood. And, well, who wants to hear long, complicated explanations about the injustice of THAT? Honestly.

        • Tired feminist

          Yes, what the “spectrum” fans don’t get is that, if their claim is true, it’s theoretically possible that every single person
          on Earth is/was on a different point of the spectrum. Which would make it pretty impossible not to “erase” anybody.

          Also, you can be asexual but “choose” to have sex to “please your partner” but this is not rape culture at all! the “ace spectrum” has “nothing to do with feminism”! You can even be asexual but “legitimally like” sex! My brain hurts.

  • Miche

    Careful hun. As an asexual I take some offense to this. I’m sure you didn’t mean to be inaccurate, but asexuality is not woman’s refusal to have sex, rather it’s a lack of sexual attraction in a person of any gender. And we are born this way.

    I think you have good thoughts and ideas but please do your research and do not invalidate a person’s sexuality in the name of feminism.

  • Aurelia

    No offence, but “Fair Trade Porn” is complete bs and will never happen. The porn industry is largely run by men, for men, and real, actual women are degraded, tortured and raped on camera for men’s sexual gratification, which in turn normalises the degradation of all other women for men’s pleasure.

    Regardless of whether there’s money being made or not, there’s no ‘fixing’ it – it is a sick industry built on the suffering and sexual degradation of women that needs to be abolished. It will never be ‘feminist’

  • Dear Prudence

    The Girl Who Wouldn’t Act Like One
    “Even now, 13 years later, the dreams come almost every week. She is being chased by something or someone unidentifiable, swallowed bodily by this great force, her personality dissolving like salt thrown into boiling water. She whimpers, her girlfriend tells her later, then stops breathing altogether. She wakes, startled and exhausted, and runs to the bathroom, where she throws up. Then she remembers the hospital room.

    In the daytime, Daphne Scholinski tries to paint away her nightmares. A large canvas hangs in the hallway outside her small studio in a collective art space in a warehouse in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. It is a white, institutional room. In the corner stands an image of an agonized figure straight out of Rodin’s Burghers of Calais, large, meaty hands gripping his head, his feet bleeding into antiseptic tiles. “I’m not crazy,” Scholinski has scrawled underneath.

    The painting is reproduced as the cover of Scholinski’s new memoir, “The Last Time I Wore a Dress” (Riverhead Books, written with Jane Meredith Adams), an affecting chronicle of an adolescence spent in mental hospitals, where doctors attributed her rebellious behavior and tomboy look and preferences to gender identity disorder–her failure to act like a girl.”

  • Tired feminist

    LOL. You’re new here, I suppose. Your gaslighting won’t work on us.