Why don’t we consider violence against women and girls terrorism?

From female genital mutilation to domestic violence to femicide, women and girls around the world are living in fear.

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With ever-increasing global access to the internet and social media, communication between the world’s countries — even the most remote — has become part of most people’s everyday life. This real-time communication has meant that discrimination, injustice, and violence — which has been hidden, tolerated, institutionalized, and even defended as part of culture for centuries — is increasingly more public and seemingly less tolerated.

But despite heightened awareness and push back, violence against women and girls remains a global threat: half of humanity should be female, but 117 million women and girls are “missing” (dead) due to discrimination, systemic injustice, and a lack of human rights under patriarchy. That’s more deaths than World War I and World War II combined, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), 171 people died from terrorist attacks in 2015. By comparison, in just 20 European countries mapped by Eurostat in 2015, 1014 females died from femicide — almost six times as many. In 2016, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) published a report on combating violence against women, revealing some very alarming numbers: 43,600 women and girls were killed by a family member or an intimate partner worldwide in 2012. That same year, 11,133 people were killed by terrorism worldwide. Violence against women and girls shapes society as we know it, yet local and international governments still don’t treat it as a crisis to be addressed with any particular urgency, as they do with terrorism.

Despite the progress made by the global feminist movement, attitudes are slow to change, violence and discrimination against women and girls continues, and legislation supporting the rights of women and girls remains contested and under threat. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (better known as the Maputo Protocol), for example, is a treaty binding all the countries that ratify it, yet it is opposed by many Catholic and African leaders because it supports women’s reproductive rights. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been illegal in Egypt since 2008, but continues to be practiced in Christian and Muslim communities. Despite the fact that prostitution has been recognized by institutions like The Crown Prosecution Service and by politicians like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as violence against women, many political parties (including Trudeau’s own Liberal Party) and NGOs (including Amnesty International) continue to push to legalize brothels, pimping, and the purchase of sex, and to repeal hard-fought for feminist legislation (such as the Nordic model) where it exists.

Worldwide, abortion continues to be a controversial issue. Legislation that gave women autonomy over their own bodies and health is at risk of being stripped back in a number of American states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, Indiana, and South Carolina. Poland, a country that already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, voted to pass a bill imposing even more tough new restrictions. There are still many countries around the world that don’t allow abortion under any circumstances. The Dominican Republic doesn’t allow abortion even if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger: in 2012, a 16-year-old girl who was three weeks pregnant was denied treatment for leukaemia out of concern it might terminate the pregnancy. If a woman in El Salvador miscarries, she can be persecuted for aggravated homicide and sentenced to up to 40 years in jail. Political leaders and religious leaders continue to put the rights of the “unborn” before the rights of women, who remain, under these conditions, breeders, not human beings.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is “the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence, and punish perpetrators” and the first international treaty defining “gender” as “social roles, behaviours, activities, and characteristics that a particular society considers appropriate for women and men.” Despite the fact that the Convention is an effective way to coordinate policies and measures to combat violence against women throughout all European countries, when the treaty was submitted earlier this year, a number of governments and religious groups opposed it. Bulgaria and Slovakia voted against ratifying it, citing concerns that the treaty would threaten the traditional family structure and gender roles.

It might seem odd that, in these supposedly modern times, legislation and treaties aimed at protecting the lives and safety of women and children are up for debate. But the roots of society as we know it are steeped in centuries of women’s subordination — a subordination that continues to uphold men’s status, power, and privilege today.

In the earliest known law codes (the Enmetena and Urukagina cones of 2400 BC), we can see that violence against women was already institutionalized. One edict from those cones says, “If a woman speaks out of turn, then her teeth will be smashed by a brick.” Later, in 1700 BC, the most complete surviving example of the Mesopotemiam law code (the Code of Hammurabi) demonstrates the power the law gave men over women’s bodies. Marriages were arranged by fathers and because while it is clear who a baby’s mother is, but not necessarily who the father is, severe restrictions were placed on female sexuality. Women had social status only in relation to men, and too often they had to relinquish themselves on a sacrificial altar for the honour of their families’ men and social conventions.

In this centuries-old patriarchal culture, human beings are considered to be born with a predetermined sex role, meaning males are assumed to be “masculine” (dominant, rational, and aggressive, for example), and females to be “feminine” (nurturing, passive, and emotional, for example). Challenging these roles (commonly referred to as “gender”) is said to upset the “natural balance” society believes should exist between men and women, yet this “balance” manifests itself in decidedly harmful ways.

Domestic violence is a pertinent example. Indeed, the biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of domestic violence is to be born female. This violence can take the form of psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse, and too often it is when the victim tries to interrupt an abusive relationship that men retaliate. It is not uncommon for murder to be the final step in his ongoing abuse. In the United States, more than three women per day are murdered by their husbands or partners and in Europe, 50 women die per week as a result of domestic violence. More than 70 per cent of these murders happen after the woman leaves her abuser. In half of domestic violence homicides perpetrated by men against women in Australia, the murders took place within three months of the relationship ending.

It is perhaps due to advancements in women’s rights in recent decades that we are seeing an increasing culture of violence against and sexualization of females in popular culture, ranging from pop music to video games to social media to advertising. Today, women are told that being a sex object is empowering by the media as well as by liberal feminists. Indeed, accepting the objectification and pornification of the female body is treated as a necessary and progressive part of a modern, liberal society.

This year, at the 2018 British LGBT awards, Playboy was celebrated with an award in the brand or marketing campaign category because they featured a transgender “Playmate.” Queen Elizabeth II made Catherine Healy, a founding member of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, which lobbied New Zealand to decriminalize pimping, brothel-ownership, and buying sex, a dame. In the American documentary series, Hot Girls Wanted, a group of young women are interviewed about their experiences in the industry. They see pornography as a chance to earn money and to become powerful and famous. This distorted vision of sexuality is viewed by many as modern sex education. The fashion and music industries have embraced the mainstreaming of pornography and consequently the normalization of it in our daily lives, and the video game industry continues to produce games that objectify women and perpetuate rape culture.

We have normalized and accepted violence against women and girls for centuries now, and it is very much ingrained in our culture and society. While advancements have been made, institutions continue to follow familiar social and cultural norms, justifying the actions of perpetrators, and refusing to hold them accountable. Despite anti-sexual harassment laws won by feminists during the second wave, for example, women in various industries have continued to experience harassment and assault at the hands of men, all evidenced too clearly via the #MeToo movement. And while words like “rape culture” and “victim blaming” are now commonplace, we still see men blaming women and girls for their own victimization.

A few years ago, an Italian priest claimed women were to blame for the domestic violence they suffered because they failed to clean their houses and cook properly, wore tight and provocative clothing, and were too self-sufficient. In the last decade, politicians in India have minimized and justified their rape crisis by saying that rape is sometimes right, happens accidentally, and that women want it. Recently, in Canada, an incest victim was asked in court why she didn’t keep her legs together to avoid being raped. “You would agree with me then… all you had to do was clench your legs together and your pants would have been unable to move,” defence lawyer Krysia Przepiorka said in her cross-examination of the young woman.

As many as 14,000 women and 2,000 children are killed in Russia by male family members every year, but in 2017, Russian politicians and religious leaders pushed through a law decriminalizing beatings of wives or children that result in bruising or bleeding but not broken bones, in order to support “family tradition.” These crimes have become so normalized that Russians have a saying: “If he beats you, it means he loves you,” And when a woman does manage to escape an abusive man, she is often painted as somehow “bad,” crazy, or hysterical by the community, because a good woman would stay with her husband to keep the family together.

In this daily war against women, many women internalize misogyny to the point that they become the accomplices of their executioners. Men may be in charge, but women are often their soldiers.

Despite having no health benefits and, in fact, being dangerous to women’s health, FGM is generally performed by women in the name of honour and social acceptance. Girls and women who undergo this practice generally suffer long term physical, psychological, and emotional consequences for the rest of their lives. FGM is not a religious requirement, either — it is not mentioned in the Quran, the Bible, or the Torah. Rather,the most common reasons for practising FGM are to control women’s sexuality and their desire, to ensure women cannot engage in “inappropriate” sexual and social behaviour, and to make them valuble candidates for marriage.

Similarly, it’s not uncommon for women to participate in honour killing. In India, it is often mothers who kill their newborn infants because they were born female. In many poor countries, mothers will sell their daughters — sometimes when they are as young as seven or eight years old — into prostitution or other forms of slavery in order to survive. During a discussion at the European Commission, the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mr Angel Gurría, said, according to their research, “one in three women believe that violence against women is justified” [24:45].

The etymology of the word terrorism comes from the Latin terror, meaning, “fright, fear, terror,” and from terrēre, “to frighten, terrify.” The violence women and girls are subjected to under patriarchy does not only impact the individual females who suffer abuse, but it serves to keep all women and girls afraid. Systemic terror — women’s learned fear of male violence — functions as a socialization method, teaching females they are vulnerable to victimization and abuse from the time they are young, and that they must capitulate or be punished, too often by torture or death. No matter where in the world we live, women are afraid of men — whether those men are strangers on the street or on public transit, fathers or husbands, or other authority figures who use their power to exploit. As long as men’s violence is institutionalized, normalized, and internalized, women will not be able to escape it or hold men accountable. This pandemic violation of human rights is not just violence against women and girls, but terrorism against women and girls. Perhaps if we started referring to it as such, worldwide governments will finally understand this as a serious threat and take action.

Lidia Lidia is an artivist whose work seeks to analyze the impact of socio-cultural conditioning on women and girls.

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  • Jane Rogers

    Yes! Exactly this!

  • Alienigena

    “No matter where in the world we live, women are afraid of men — whether those men are strangers on the street or on public transit, fathers or husbands…”

    But do they admit that they are afraid or suggest that they ‘respect’ men rather than fear them? This is why my allyship with women is so problematic because so many just cannot admit that they are afraid of men and that is why they defer to them. I admit that I fear and dislike men but I am willing to verbally express my dislike for them as well, it doesn’t go unsaid. I am not under the illusion that if I play along (with the existing social order) everything will be OK.

    People who claim that men are no more likely to be violent than women are liars (men are violent to other men, women and children) and they obscure the seriousness of male violence – violence that is often injury causing or fatal to women and children.

    Men have even commodified and codified violence through war (militaries), professional sports, politics and the media. They are the only people (women and children don’t benefit) I know who can enjoy all the benefits of committing or supporting acts of violence (real or virtual), including the financial ones (owning sports teams, owning companies that design violence video games, owning media production/distribution companies).

    • Meghan Murphy

      I think a lot of women deny that they fear men. They tell themselves men are their equals, sometimes because they are deluded and really believe the compromises they make to placate men/avoid conflict means they have equal relationships with men, sometimes because they want to pretend as though they are somehow more well-adjusted than those crazy, hysterical women who are afraid of men. In essence, they have just normalized men’s behaviour to the extent that they can tell themselves it’s fine. And wish to identify with men instead of women, hoping it will give them power.

      • Alienigena

        “‘And wish to identify with men instead of women, hoping it will give them power.”

        This is what I have always thought but I don’t sympathize with that stance, just can’t anymore. I was never someone who avoided the company of girls growing up, I always sought out women’s organizations for volunteer opportunities. But I just realised (slow on the uptake) that I have been avoiding heterosexual women (while nominally being one) and choosing not to form friendships with them (with some exceptions) for a few decades (not even consciously). I just can’t take the constant judgement for my non-compliance (I wouldn’t describe myself as gender non-conforming) with heterosexual femaleness.

  • Beautiful!

  • myrto

    Great and depressing article! I judge femal accomplices to patriarchy way more than men because I expect nothing from men or rather I expect them to be the worst so I’m never surprised by them. But women who embrace their own alienation? It makes me so angry because we women could be so powerful and we’re not.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, also (unfortunately) too many mothers turn a blind eye to their husband’s violence/abuse of their children to ‘keep the peace’….

  • FierceMild

    I call that domestic fascism. All women live under terrorism.

  • pinecone5

    That number for Russia, 14000 per year, is genuinely shocking. I’ve always thought of Russia as being a modern country, albeit one that doesn’t play nice with other countries. I mean, they just hosted the World Cup, and they had the Winter Olympics not too long ago. 14000 per year sounds like a death toll more appropriate for a civil war.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Great word by the Spanish!

  • TwinMamaManly

    Could I even add that DV and IPV is “state sponsored” based on the continuing patriarchal nature of the judiciary and judicial system, and the revictimisation of victims by the process?

  • calabasa

    I’ve been reading about Kate Manne’s: Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (as someone else on here pointed out, when men inevitably respond that “more men are assaulted/killed than women,” try to remind them that women are “civilians,” i.e. do not, for the most part, participate in violence, whereas violence is a part of male culture; are there innocent men that are victims? Absolutely. So when are the men who use this argument going to stand up to the men who are hurting them, rather than use it as a derail tactic when we talk about how men hurt us? Men rule the world, not women. It is not women who are creating the policies or performing the violent actions that hurt men, by and large; it IS men who create the policies and perform the violent actions that hurt women, by and large).


    She takes Susan Brownmiller’s approach, which I tend to agree with. Although I think there are many reasons for rape and many reactions–and maybe someday I’ll write a book about rape, using facts and figures and reason and logic and also what I have learned from my own–I think the majority do have to do with some perceived transgression (not giving the rapist something he feels he’s owed, or in some way angering him/making him jealous, not behaving as a woman is supposed to, having too much female power, etc). There are those that come JUST from entitlement, but they are often also tied to the delusions of an ugly man envious of his betters (that is to say, a Harvey Weinstein type who forever has his blood boil that most women would never sleep with him willingly; he comes to enjoy predation and may even think he has some “special bond” with his victims. Whether it’s money and social power a man like this holds over his abuse victims, or whether it’s that he carefully picks damaged women to manipulate, in some way or another this type of rape is about entitlement as well as rage at women for not really wanting him/who he feels wouldn’t want him if they were mentally well or unafraid of his power, or if he were not grooming them, i.e. they don’t really want him). Almost all motivations for men raping women are misogynist in nature, and these sexual power dynamics run deep in het relationships (and indeed inform abuse dynamics regardless of the sex of the person abusing or being abused, within a relationship); essentially, heteronormative sexual relations are made of abusive power dynamics.

    She argues that misogyny is similarly about keeping women in their place. I think Brownmiller (and later second wave feminists’) mistake was in claiming rape is *solely* about power; it’s not. It’s also about sex, and specifically about the ways in which men feel entitled to sex, the ways in which their identities revolve around sex, and the way sex has been weaponized within patriarchal cultures. But she IS right that it is about, on a grand scale, restricting women’s movement and freedom and keeping us in our place, as well as encouraging long-term partnerships for protection.

    So rather than being about hating women, misogyny is about controlling women. A man who is a misogynist doesn’t necessarily hate women, but he does want to control them/think they should be controlled. I agree with this.

    It will never be called terrorism until patriarchy and capitalism fall. The Witch Trials have not been called terrorism by anyone but feminists, for God’s sake. There is no such thing in most countries as a hate crime against women for being women. Look how willing society is at large (the left most glaringly and hypocritically) to throw women under the bus for the rights of men.

    We will never see male-on-female violence called terrorism as long as patriarchy stands.

  • Can’tUnseeIt

    “It is perhaps due to advancements in women’s rights in recent decades that we are seeing an increasing culture of violence against and sexualization of females in popular culture, ranging from pop music to video games to social media to advertising.”
    Advancing women’s rights does not cause or increase male violence towards women and girls. Males do that. Whether our rights advance, retreat or simply stall, men will rape, torture, stalk, buy, sell & trade women. But when our culture is constantly pointing the finger of blame at women for what men have always done to us, “uppity” or not, this kind of false correlation instills more fear in women who might otherwise speak out and fight back. Patriarchy is so insideous at times.

    • FierceMild

      I think we’re seeing an increase in the intensity of gendering if all children, in sexualization of girls, and in the degree of connection between sex and degradation of women because of the social progress women have made in recent history. I think it’s evidence of anxiety on the part of men and backlash from the Patriarchal system.

      However, I agree that sexualization, degradation, and male violence aren’t caused by anything women do or don’t do, achieve or do not achieve. Male violence is a result of choices men make. But the choice to commit male violence is being made in the context of Patriarchy and Patriarchy promotes, excuses, and lionizes male pattern violence. The more women fight Patriarchy the harder it works to put us back down. That’s a fact we have to face as feminists.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Humans are capable of rational thought… They can make ethical choices.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But fear doesn’t necessarily = hate…

  • Lidia Lidia
  • Blazewarrior

    A man enters the room and mansplains as to what he considers to be ‘real acts of terrorism!’ News flash – mens’ war on women has existed for centuries. Male violence against women is specifically to ensure male control/male domination over all women and girls. The fact ‘villagers left female babies on hillside to die’ convenient ignores who or what instigated and ordered these murders? Same applies to the systemic male initiated femicides of female babies. The answer is men – men are the ones in political power and it is men who demand that ‘worthless female babies be murdered because male babies are so much more valuable than a female child.

    Mens’ war on women is specifically to terrorise women and girls into submitting to male power. This is why men wage war on women but hey pointing out the real facts is a no no for most men.

    Terrorism is systemic (male) violence wherein the male political aim is to maintain male power over all women and girls. This is the real definition of terrorism – but then obviously this male is the expert because he is a man! I as a mere woman cannot possibly define what is and is not male terrorism against women and girls.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I hate to have to defend men (lol), but I have close male friends who are great… Yes, many, many men are terrible, but it isn’t true that all men are lacking in humanity… I’m not sure it’s useful for the feminist cause to say that all men are inherently bad. What is the point of trying to change society and argue against inherent gender, in that case?

    • Tobysgirl

      Exactly. If males are inherently bad there’s at least some implication that females are inherently masochistic, neither of which I accept. Years ago (I should say decades ago) radical feminists said they had a better opinion of men than other women because they expected men to learn how to behave like decent human beings.

  • Meghan Murphy

    My mother and I are currently in therapy together, actually. Which has been very useful. (I know many here are opposed to therapy, but I’ve managed to find a couple of decent, feminist therapists over the years who have been helpful for me.)

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men raised by single moms and with sisters, I find, are often the best ones. They have *actual* female friends, are far less caught up in all this masculinity bullshit, actually enjoy female company and can relate to women, etc.

  • Alienigena

    Fear doesn’t mean I don’t defend myself or express legitimate (or frankly illegitimate) anger toward men but yeah, men have been trying to hurt me since I was an infant (according to my mother’s account of my father’s maltreatment of me) so I am wary of them and generally view them as entitled jerks who mostly get between me and enjoyment of life (I am perfecting something I call ‘active ignoring’ re: people who enjoy intimidating others, often these people are male).

    • Tobysgirl

      More description of active ignoring, please.

  • dandelionseed

    Uh … Russia hasn’t been a communist country since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. That’s why the US sent in so many political and economic advisors there in the 1990s, to help Russia transition away from communism.

  • calabasa

    Where did I argue that? I said simply that women were not nearly as violent as men, which is true. Do you think that women goad men into killing each other commonly?

    I’m sorry you grew up in an abusive household. From your wording I’m guessing a female family member participated in a male family member’s abuse, or incited him to abuse in some way, or neglected to protect you and others from his abuse.

    Of course women can be abusive and in fact I think it’s infantilizing to argue that women have no power and no role in upholding patriarchy. We absolutely do.

    I’m not sure how women are responsible for making men go to war or otherwise making them kill each other, though. Are women responsible in some overarching sense for the majority of male violence (including that directed at them)? I hope you are not suggesting that.

    Can women also urge on male violence? Sure. But I don’t think this is the norm, and it’s certainly not the institutional norm.

  • FierceMild

    What responsibility do you see women having for male violence?

  • FierceMild

    And large sporting events and the culture surrounding them are known to go hand-in-hand with male pattern violence.

  • FierceMild

    Agree. But they sure can try the patience. My sister and mother are both right wing women and the misogyny they enact is nauseating.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Sure, I agree that women need to be able to make a world for ourselves, regardless of men’s behaviour. I was responding to another commenter’s argument, which says that, as I understood it/essentially, males are all inherently inhumane.

  • Wren

    Ehhhh you’ve been telling an awful tall tales here.

    • Robert Lindsay

      All of those stories of violence are 100% true. You women don’t understand men at all. My experience is not abnormal at all. By the time a man is 50 or 60, he’s been in some very serious life-threatening situations, often involving beatings, mass beatings, beatings with objects, very serious fistfights where things like furniture get broken, serious showdowns with weapons like guns or knives pulled on one side or the other, either getting into fistfights with cops or getting roughed up by cops, being a crime victim, pulling a gun or knife on someone else, walking around armed with guns or knives all the time, and that’s not to mention wars.

      And my life is not even unusual. I am a pacifist and I try to avoid fights in general. I just don’t take shit and I fight back hard. And I’ve never been arrested for a violent crime other than possession of a weapon (a club).

      This is simply what it is like to be a man. You women just don’t get it. Doubt if you ever will.


  • Wren

    I hate them cause they’re intolerable blowhards.

  • FierceMild

    Most women do regard all men as possibly dangerous. It is law and custom that should change to deter instead of incite violence in men, and to remove the advantageous legal and political position granted to males in relation to females.

    • Robert Lindsay

      “Most women do regard all men as possibly dangerous.”

      Don’t want to tell you what to do, but maybe you should.

      I’ve seen enough male violence up close and personal to where I just suck up and kiss up to other men all the time. Or if they’re hostile, I go submissive or leave. Even with that, I still get in ~1 fistfight a year with another man. And I am 60 years old!

  • FierceMild

    My husband was raised primarily by women as well. I think it’s why he always saw women as humans never as objects. Porn always grossed him out, strip clubs horrify him. I think that is the natural state and males are ruthlessly socialized out of it and into masculinity.

    One of the most interesting aspects of men who view women as humans of equal worth to themselves is that they do not exhibit that possessive jealousy in relationships.

  • Wren

    I’m not saying Sweden is the perfect country (so fucking cold!), but this interview and the statements made by Detective Sporenda had me tearing up a bit today. It is a testament to the power the law has to overturn the historical subjugation of women. If only more governments would follow suit:


  • FierceMild

    Very interesting.
    “Men are whiners. And I just don’t find them that interesting.”
    I con-freakin’-cur! The greatest gift feminism has given me is the wit to see how fantastic women are to hang out with. Women are smart and funny and they’re kind to you when you need it and demanding of you when you need to do better.

    “Frankly I find the fact that a woman can get along with most men a bit suspicious, given the latter’s whiny, belligerent way of being. What kind of woman can get along with personalities like that?”
    I think the answer to that is relentless social conditioning from birth.

    • Alienigena

      Well, I am not a programmable calculator so whatever social conditioning I received I always noticed the hypocrisy between the stated reality (we’re all happy in our nuclear families and at our jobs and our society is designed to support everyone, including the weakest and most vulnerable) and the reality that I experienced. I really don’t understand the social conditioning argument. I was pretty compliant as a child in terms of social expectations but still ran into trouble with social norms around how girls and children should behave. The adults in my family were frequently not benevolent so my mistrust of authority (that disciplined on a whim rather than sound and consistent principles) probably began from an early age. I was not a rebellious teen but was happy to make jokes at the expense of adults and powerful people.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Meghan did a really interesting podcast regarding social structure in animal world “what humans can learn from female-centric animal societies?”

  • Stefy


  • TwinMamaManly

    I am going to make a concerted effort to interrupt men speaking more.

  • TwinMamaManly


    • Can’tUnseeIt

      I tried to post a reply to you to with a link two days ago but it never appeared. So, if you do an internet search “domestic violence in Finland” or Sweden, you will see that neither country has escaped the reign of woman-hating terror. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that no place on Earth is free of it.

  • ptittle

    “Violence against women and girls SHAPES society as we know it” – insightful and well-put.

  • Robert Lindsay

    Uh huh. And if you have Hispanic girlfriends like I have, they more less demand machismo. I had an Argentine gf once who was disappointed to say the least that I was not a machista. It was like a requirement. I mean you wonder why men act that way…

  • Robert Lindsay

    It’s an insult to his masculinity. She’s making all the money, he’s not making jack, so he looks like a pussy and a derelict and a “not-man” as Persians call unmasculine man. It’s like she kicked him right in the nuts.

    So to him, she’s trying to cut his balls off, humiliating him, and making him look like a wuss and an idiot. He reacts to that with rage and attacks her as the source of this shame he feels.

    Not justifying it of course. It’s just that as a man, I know exactly how we feel and why we do what we do.

    • Tobysgirl

      You know, Robert, I read some of your long screed above. My husband is short (but very strong) and I don’t think he’s ever gotten into a physical fight with another man except his brother (I broke that one up). Men, just like women, do not have to accept what is defined for them as proper gender behavior. And your explanation of the unemployed male abuser doesn’t quite fit the lesbian couple I knew in which the abuser was not working and had no intention of working. You can always find a job, it may be a shit job, but you can always find a job. But it’s so much EASIER to sit at home and feel sorry for yourself and take it out on your partner, your kids, and your pets because you’ve been taught all your life you’re an entitled creep.

  • Meghan Murphy

    They are very complicated and difficult… I love my mom and we have generally had a very good relationship, but there’s so much stuff that’s difficult to talk about, especially when patriarchy is so internalized and women have been socialized to put up with, accept, excuse, and normalize men’s behaviour…

  • Tobysgirl

    You might want to look into everything that has been done to countries that have even attempted very tepid socialism. Russia was invaded by Western troops after the first world war and intense sabotage never let up. When you read what was done to East Germany, you begin to understand why a wall was built in Berlin. Ten years after the fall of the wall, a majority of East Germans still preferred life under what passed for communism. I am beginning to understand why there is no left in the U.S. Any time anyone attempts anything meaningful it is infiltrated and sabotaged, and some phony substitute (think liberal feminism) is encouraged and funded.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Exactly. Women are doing all this work, not because of problems in their OWN relationships with each other, but because of problems caused by men (who are doing NO work to resolve their issues or relationships with women). This is my experience, in any case. It drives me mad.

  • Tobysgirl

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!!! The only lengthy comments I generally read on Feminist Current are where women are relating many life experiences, but everywhere men do go on and on. Oral diarrhea they called it when I was young.

  • Tobysgirl

    Wow, you make me feel lucky to live in Maine. It’s not quite like it used to be when one waved at every car or truck when you were driving (you still do this when you’re outdoors working), but people often make eye contact, smile and say hello. People did this in NYC when I lived there, at least in my neighborhood (now gentrified). Maybe I’m lucky because I’m aging and disabled — though these attributes should make me totally invisible — but many people, including young males, hurry to open doors for me and help me.

  • Tobysgirl

    Omigod, I’ve got Amish living near me, and talk about patriarchy! My neighbor went to an open house they had at the Amish market and she said all the women looked so downtrodden and unhappy, even the young ones, while the men looked just fine. Nothing like having to service a male and bear endless children to make for a happy life! I grew up in Ohio and am all too familiar with the Amish and their ugly practices.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are probably mostly right in your first par. Though there are male allies like Robert Jensen and Chris Hedges and a few others here and there who are trying to effect change and hold men to account. It’s also not true that all men enjoy watching violence, though of course many do… I know men who, similar to myself, don’t like watching upsetting, violent, horror movies, etc…. (ftr I am annoying myself with my #notallmenning lol)

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Us radfems had to spend many years overrriding our malestream conditioning…while being powerless to change the rules and with nobody helping us. Yet we did it. And aren’t even socialised into doing the inhuman male deeds, which should snap anyone sane out of it immediately.”

    But just because we are feminist doesn’t actually mean we’ve necessarily fully overcome our conditioning… There are LOTS of things I still do that I’m critical of — i.e. behaviours/practices I’ve been socialized into under patriarchy. Some of it I struggle with, some of it I just accept and don’t worry about it too much (meaning I don’t spend a lot of time beating myself up)… I certainly am not consistently ‘feminist’ in my behaviour, beliefs, and practices at all times… Feminism is a political practice/movement and a way of viewing the world, but it doesn’t necessarily knock all the patriarchal conditioning out of us…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes the ‘rape is about power’ line has irritated me for some time, as well. It’s not true, in culture where male power, violence, and sadism is sexualized. Our understanding of sex and what is sexy is very much tied up in sadism/dominance/subordination. This is evidenced even in the fact that women learn (or teach themselves, by watching pornography) to be turned on by rape, or at very least, ‘rapey’ sex… Yes, rape is about power, but it’s also about sex.

  • Jani

    Freeze or appease — you are so right. Just think about how automatic it is to respond to a potential threat or predator with the shy smile thing. I think that is the “appease” reaction for sure. It gives us a few more seconds to assess the threat level. Idiot men can sometimes interpret it as “she must like me”. No we don’t. We would much rather tell you to fuck off but that would increase the likelihood of verbal or physical aggression. We just use the appease reaction to politely go on our way and hope you get the message.

  • Robert Lindsay

    Sorry, I’m a writer. Once we get going, a lot of us can’t stop.

  • Robert Lindsay


  • FierceMild


  • FierceMild

    What, no wild beasts throw downs with other men because ladies?!

  • Robert Lindsay

    Women don’t do cults. Cults are created by men but cults revolve around power and domination over others, two things that the domain of men. Instead of seeking power and domination of others, women seek out connections with others.

    Nxivm is simply a BD/SM cult. These things are everywhere. They even have “farms” and small communities set up for this sick stuff. Those women got into Nxivm because a lot of women love the idea of being sex slaves to sadistic misogynists who in this case is also a narcissist and a psychopath.

    As far as why your sisters do this masochistic nonsense, I am throwing the ball back to you.

  • James Dosher

    [Fair Warning: I’m a porn writer, reader and watcher. I’m not a feminist. I come to this site to learn about feminism from actual feminists. If my statements, questions, or very existence offends you ~ I apologize in advance.]

    Mr. Lindsay, I write too. In some of my work, I try to get people to look at the world differently by altering the gender power dynamic and I often push things to the extreme to get the point across. In the story below (written in 2014), it is the man who has to live in a Woman’s World (he knows if he runs away, he will be hunted down and killed). His ‘rights’ only exist at their sufferance. These women possess not only the power of Life & Death over him, they control the legal and social responses to violence against him.

    Yes – those in power (women/Amazons) treat violence by ‘their own’ against ‘their own’ (in this case Amazon vs. Amazon) differently than violence against the powerless (Amazon against men). And the protagonist (a guy) thinks this situation SUCKS!

    … Imagine that.

    {Cáel Nyilas – POV character; recent college grad and an Executive Services intern at Havenstone (the ‘front’ international corporation for the Amazon secret society). He has been unwittingly selected for an Amazons secret project. For the curious, his first name is Irish (from his Mother) and the last is Hungarian (from his Father). He grew up in southern Metro-Chicago.

    Buffy Dubios – an Amazon ‘Runner’ (born in ‘our’ society, but chose and chosen to be an Amazon). A senior member of Havenstone’s Executive Services Department and often Cáel’s boss/mentor.

    Katrina Love/Epona – ‘House’ (born) Amazon, Director of Executive Services (which doubles as the Amazon intelligence Service) and Head of House Epona (Celtic Horse Goddess) as well as protege of Hayden St. James/Anahit, President of Havenstone (and High Priestess of the Amazon Host ~ their Supreme Authority). Cáel starts and ends ever work day in her office with the other six (Amazon) interns.

    Havenstone Commercial Investments (often just referred to as ‘Havenstone’) – a Fortune 500 company which employs over 10,000 women … and now 5 men.

    The Amazon Host – roughly 40,000 strong worldwide, evenly divided between ‘Full-Blooded’ House Amazons from among 52 Houses – and the ‘Runners’ (women born in the outside World, but selected to join Amazon Society.

    ‘Runner’ – since, at their genesis, the Amazon leadership rode into battle in chariots, ‘Runner’ refers to the ‘common’ foot troops who ran beside the chariots once battle was joined. In modern parlance, it refers to women born outside Amazons society then brought into the Host.

    The New Directive – that secret project Cáel, and four other guys, are involved in.

    The scene takes place one early Saturday afternoon on the island of Manhattan.}

    “I don’t think you appreciate how popular you are with the company,” Buffy insisted. “You’ve worked really hard to impress them and they value your efforts.”

    I screamed to the Heavens. Elsewhere, I would have drawn some serious looks. In NYC, I barely drew any notice.

    “Yeah – great. Remind me to clap like a pet seal Monday morning. Buffy, you, Katrina and a few others are grinning, thinking you’ve made great strides on this New Directive and the crime for a security guard shooting me as I walk in the office every day is the same – a transfer to someplace less pleasant. Correct me if I’m wrong,” I laid into her.

    “The difference is that they don’t want to shoot you,” Buffy countered.

    “Wow, if you put ‘you-Buffy’ in place of ‘you-Cáel’ you will realize how inconsequential that is,” I informed her. “I’m a human being – unless I’m in Havenstone. Inside, my well-being is based solely on your sufferance – just like a test monkey.”

    “If you really empathized, you would realize the only other people that walk around think ‘gosh, I shouldn’t murder that person today’ are serial killers. Yet you expect me to be thankful for tap dancing faster than you shoot at my feet. You have this happy dream that I’ve accomplished anything,” I shook my head.


    See, those in power (men most often in the Real World) are categorizing violence by men against men (war, assault and civil disturbance/rioting) differently than men’s violence against women (rape, domestic violence and spousal abuse). They also categorize what is, and isn’t, genocide and terrorism.

    And too many men – the ‘rank & file’ – think the same way:
    When a man gets raped, he is seen as ‘less manly’/’a sissy’.
    When a woman gets raped, she’s been ‘soiled’/’damaged goods’.
    We don’t simply think ~ “They’ve been violated, are in pain and need our help.” Not enough of us anyway.

    To me, the key line was:
    “The difference is that THEY DON’T WANT TO shoot you,”

    … as if the powerful making the conscious effort to control their violent impulses toward their potential victims ~ in this case JUST ONE ~ makes everything else alright. Those in power cannot even see the problem is they shouldn’t want to commit violence against any of the powerless IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  • Meghan Murphy


  • Misanthropia

    And what of the war males declared on us millennia ago? Any male who thinks he will win that war is crazy. The time is up for male supremacy. The end of the patriarchy justifies the means which we will use to end it

  • Alienigena

    Well the call for a curfew was tongue in cheek in the original article so points for no sense of humour. And the main point of the article from my perspective was the fact that women face an unspoken curfew on their movements. Women who are assaulted are condemned for their choices (being out at night, even with friends, look at the young woman in India who was out with a male friend, but who was brutally assaulted, and later died). Funny that the males doing the assaulting are never condemned for their choices, not by society and rarely by the legal system.

    • Robert Lindsay

      What!? Men who assault women who walk on the streets at night are never condemned for doing this by society or the legal system.

      Are you out of your mind? What country do you live in? Because here in the US, what you say is completely false. Men who attack women on the streets at night are condemned by most everyone, including most males, and the legal system loves to catch and prosecute these men. You live in Fantasyland.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This happens to many women, I’m sure… The difference here is that you didn’t make excuses for your husband, spoke out about his behaviour, and tried to protect your child/help him escape.

  • TwinMamaManly

    Actually, transwomen are just as violent as biological males. There are plentiful examples if you care to look – Evie Amati (axe-wielding psycho) is a very recent case.

  • TwinMamaManly

    I think we need to do what the elephants do – a matriarchal system for the women and children. All the adolescent and adult males can go fight it out by themselves somewhere else. We’ll let the good ones during mating time…..

  • TwinMamaManly

    I had a try this week – I kept talking. They look at you strangely…like, what is HAPPENING? I don’t get to talk when I want?

  • Liz


  • Nemesis

    [Faux Warning:SEPARATIST SO LITERAL MY KINK IS CASTRATION] Soon, even law abiding women will snap and get tired of male denial and tired of wasting time on corrupt cops and courts. it’s so much easier and therapeutic to just *exterminate* your local sex offenders quietly with a radfem grrrl gang and much easier to recruit when gross dudes fight over seman/tics.