Monday, February 20, 2012

Me to Z: I am a woman, and I don't hate or fear men.

I have seen a lot of stupidity in human actions. I have seen a lot of beauty in human actions. I have noticed that, while there are certainly trends in biology and society, that doesn't even come close to being able to define individuals. Generalization is a handy tool, but it shouldn't be mistaken for a call to judgment.

I am in mourning. I have had certain ideals taken out into the street and flogged. I have seen promises of yesteryear shot in the head. I have been betrayed by people who claim to have MY best interest in heart.

In the Pagan community, there are people who are leaders, elders, or BNP (big-nosed pagans - I don't know where the term came from). These are the famous ones who helped pave the way for how Paganism is viewed and practiced today. Some of them need to go away now.

I say this as one who has been considered an up-and-coming elder/leader/BNP. I am not famous, nor have I achieved the title/respect of that status... yet. But I, and several others, am well on my way. And, this is something I take very seriously. It is a duty.

One of my fellow U&Cers (up & comers) had a talk today about what happens when Pagan leaders/elders stop growing, when they become caught up in issues as they WERE, not as they ARE. And, to be blunt, people like that do no one any good. That is why I am mourning.

Many of you are aware of PantheaCon, a wonderful gathering that I have been, as of yet, unable to attend. Last year, it made news, which was summed up nicely on the Wild Hunt blog. The leader at the eye of this storm was one Z. Budapest, a wonderful author and progenitor of Dianic tradition and mysteries in the modern Pagan movement.

She did it again. She turned away transgendered women from a women's ritual, drawing a line for what constituted a REAL woman. And, as if that was not enough, she posted a blog outlining how all men hate women.



I am now taking it upon myself to respond, as a powerful woman beloved of men around the world (no, really, it's a fact), to this atrocity entitled "Nobody Loves Women".

No woman was sexy enough, good enough, trustworthy enough... This is what women are most afraid of. Loosing the love. The slim chance of male protection. This is the H-bomb of our psyche.
Loosing the love or protection is not even close to a consideration in my relationships. Communication, honesty, goals, mutually-assured progression: that's what I strive to bring to relationships, and what I expect from them. If you can't provide this, you aren't worth my effort. You'll take away "the love"? Bummer - buh-bye. You think I'm not good enough. Good for you - buh-bye.

Sadly, this means that I am forced to endure the adoring attentions of my significant other: a male who treats me with respect and honesty, who loves me for me, who cares for both my children equally (only one of which is his biological offspring), who APPRECIATES when I am BETTER than he is at things, who caters to my needs to be pampered and gets all hot-n-bothered when I take up power tools to be "butch". Sucks to be me.

...the fact that they chanted [“No means yes, yes means anal.”] together with each other, young men, their brains were actually having sex with each other... Many many young men at collage age are latent homosexuals, which is dangerous to women.
 I can't even wrap my mind around how completely out-of-touch, judgmental, and... WRONG this is. I know many men. While in college, I was friends with many men. For 15 years, I've been very close friends with several homosexual men. I can say with a HUGE amount of surety: This is fucked up.

I won't even talk about how this was taken out of context AND punished rapidly by the college.

I am, instead, going to say that this strikes within me the same horrified, disgusted reaction as when (some, not all) Christian conservatives declare all homosexuals to be pedophiles. The thought of anal sex itself does NOT imply homosexuality.

The reason for my conclusion is the word “anal”. Anal is not what young women are dreaming about when they think of intimacy. Women think of sex as the culmination of an emotional surge, and coming together with love and aroused body. But “anal” is most important in homosexual contact, in man on man love... So here the anger against women comes from the fact that having sex with girls is seen as normal, but anal is not. They need to loudly claim it. Because they are closet gays. And pissed off about it too.
Firstly, many homosexuals would disagree with this idea. My dear friend and partner in so many things, RevKess, a gay man, disagrees with this. "Most important"? Only if you cannot conceive of gay men who prefer snuggles, or who engage in non-anal sexual acts, or who just want someone to hold their hand and talk to them, only then can you say that it is that important.

Secondly, and this is quite TMI, I am not alone as a woman in considering anal sex to be a HEALTHY and ENJOYABLE aspect to my heterosexual relationship. It, like fellatio and cunnilingus, role-playing and bondage, and even coitus, are aspects of sex that each partnership must decide upon - whether to do it, how often to do it. It isn't something that is restricted to or symptomatic of (as if any sexual orientation is a disease with symptoms) a specific type of partnership.

Hating women is still fashionable. It’s manly. It’s a proof of masculinity to each other. It’s a male affirmation... The gender wars must be fought off camera, off printed matter. Never discussed in public...
This isn't the 50s, and this isn't what MY experience of gender discrimination is. I've seen gender discrimination, but this isn't the reality any longer. Or if it is, this aspect is so rare, we cannot logically apply this generalization to the male population as a whole.
The male gender is gender conscious, “us boys together” against the other gender. Women are human identified, not so much gender identified. They should be.
 We aren't? Funny, we have Girl's Night Out and Women's Mysteries, among other things, but we aren't seen as a gender-identified group? Put three to five of us in a group, and most men (REAL men) would rather go into military combat then speak to us. Cuz we are WOMEN and we can, and sometimes do, intimidate men. Welcome to the two-way street.

Why are we universally hated by the male gender? What have we as a female gender done to merit such lack of respect? Nothing.
I love this: "universally hated". I actually cannot think of a single male of my acquaintance that hates women. Maybe a few guys who I know second or third-hand, but directly? Not my father, not my brother (his issues aren't about women), not my SO, not my son, none of my coworkers (and they are "guy's guys" types), none of my male friends.

Now I feel like I'm missing out on something. Have I been sheltered my whole life that I know so microscopically few of these males? But they "universally" hate women. So that's ALL males, or close enough, statistically, to not matter. Then wouldn't some of the several hundred males I know be women-haters? Men who don't respect women as real people? Men who secretly want to violate women? Men who despise not owning women in some way?

Maybe I'm just not seeing it... Maybe I brush over the signs... Maybe I'm actually blind to their hate...

Which means that there are a LOT of seriously good actors in my life - Not likely.

Next we explore how universally (what? I like that word...) epic women are.

No males are allowed to love female values. If you assume female values of peace, cooperation, communication, men will loose their fury little balls. They will loose rape culture. War culture.
Gosh, that means that I'm the pacifist among my male friends... HA! Not likely!

Men don’t see why they have to pay for a child they fathered. They imagine the mother would abuse this and spend the money on herself. Since she is no longer “his” wife, back into the hated gender with her. Hence withholding the money from families is justified.
Only if you are a dick, and that has NOTHING to do with genitalia. BTW, the list of men in my life who pay or (for grown children) paid child-support willingly: my step-father, my son's father, my former roommate (hi, Scott!), and at least one not-so-closet gay man. Men who have taken LOVING responsibility for children who aren't their biological progeny: my step-father, my significant other, my SO's step-father, my boss's SO, and at least one of my male co-workers.

Evil bastards, all of them.

God is male, and men are gods... Religion long ingrained into our impressionable psyches, since childhood, declared that anything male is sacred, anything female is suspicious and subordinate. Weak.
This is a condition of one aspect (becoming defunct) of society and a few (admittedly majority) religions. This is NOT an across-the-board way of looking at things, even in Christianity.

 So the genders represent the opposing views of how to live on earth.

Women feel they need peace to raise children and civilization which includes commerce, the arts.
Wow, more universalism. I personally know a few women who don't feel this at all. They don't want their children, except as pawns to manipulate the unfortunate (but evil!) males who helped create those children.

Glorious male self created doom. Why still cling to it? Because what if other men attack us? Then what? Who would defend us? The women fall quiet, because the answer is that globally women would demand an end to violence, ending wars altogether. Globally.
 And here we have the perfection of woman.

Are you kidding me?!? Women aren't universally pacifist any more than men are universally war-mongering. In fact, check out a episode of any of the Real Housewives franchise, and you can get an eyeful of how non-pacifist women can be.

Warning: the following is pretty... um, real.
Z, I'm talking directly to you now: HOW DARE YOU! You don't like when women are seen as the Whore, so you push the equally false and equally harmful idea that we are all the Virgin? YOU DARE paint me into a corner because I have a vagina and I'll tell you where to shove your women-superior attitude. I do NOT appreciate being put up on a pedestal for ANY reason, especially for what is or isn't between my legs. If I want to be on a pedestal, I can DAMN well get up there on my OWN. I don't need to ride the coattails of my my birth channel. A COW can give birth. I'm BETTER than that and for better reasons.

I am WOMAN, and I am AWESOME. But the fact that I'm awesome doesn't come from the fact that I am a woman.

Now, I'm all for continuing the fight to make women safe and equal. In fact, front-line me on that battle (oh, wait, women are pacifists...). But I will not say that women are better then men. I will not believe that all men either want to fuck me or want to fuck me over. I will not believe that men are sexually aggressive because of a propensity for rape or because they are closet homosexuals.

In fact, I'll introduce you to a staggering number of sexually aggressive BBWs, and you can tell me how they fit into your delusional pattern of the sexes.

I will not believe that all women want peace. The goddesses themselves cannot reflect that. Check out Hel, Sekhmet, Athena, Freya, Artemis, Tiamat, Durga, Erishkigel and Kali, just to name a few. These are women who are strong unto themselves, aggressive, war-loving Goddesses who can and will kick some ass. Most of them are PROTECTORS and mothers, but they know when to bring out the war machines.

And most importantly, aside from Artemis, none of them had to say that males were lesser beings.

Found this... says a lot.
Z, get a grip on modern reality, find a bit of self-esteem that doesn't use the crutch of hate, and then, maybe, I'll consider you as a role-model again. Until then... buh-bye.


  1. Oh, wow. When Ms Sarah gets angry she gets angry. *applauds politely from the corner*

    1. The term Big-Nosed Pagan was coined by Isaac Bonewits as a way to remind himself and others who had become prominent in the Pagan movement during the early years that they were just regular people. Sometimes they get to full of themselves and have such a large nose to look down on the common people, as it were, that they couldn't see what was going despite the nose on their face. :) Just thought I would clear that one up for your readers.

    2. The show, Pagan Weekly News, part of the Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel line-up, was not just about how some of the leaders of yesteryear have lost their way, or at least lost sight of the reality of today's Paganism. It was also about how gender issues have become a hot button topic in the Pagan community and how some leaders, not just the old school leaders, have lost sight of how what they do and say can have a major and negative effect on the newer generations of Pagans. Let alone how the rest of the world might see Paganism. We also talked about African witch children and other issues during the show.

    3. I have a feeling Z Budapest is going to be getting a lot of heat for her cis-women only ritual and she may lose a lot of support from the community. Both old school Pagans and the new generations.

    Very good blog post and thank you for writing it. I know when we talked this morning that you were ready to spit nails. Looks like some of those nails were slightly blunted, but hopefully the hammer of your words will drive those nails into someone's mind and wake them up enough to consider the words and actions of others, and of themselves, and how those words and actions can have a very serious negative effect on the community.

  2. I have encountered men who hardcore hate women. They do exist.

    However, none of them spew as much hate as I've seen from Z Budapest in the past year.

    Honestly, I personally couldn't give a rabbit's rump if cis-women want to have exclusive rituals at Pantheacon -- so long as it's NOT part of the main program.

    I mean, really, is there ANYthing wrong with having a ritual that's not part of the main program? After hours, somewhere around the rest of the conference. If it were really about healing for cis-women then it wouldn't be an issue. It seems Z is more concerned with making trans women feel marginalized and discriminated against -- as if they didn't feel that enough in our transphobic society.

    Also, I worship the Morrigan. She's TOTALLY all about peace and love and kittens pooping rainbows. *nodnod*

  3. I was one of the women who commented on Z's blog. I am so disappointed with what she said there. I had no idea about her turning away trans-gender women. I don't know what's going on but I will not join in this diatribe of hers, as I said there. This blog of yours is exactly what I was thinking, you just articulated it. i will be book-marking it. thank you for posting this.
    Lisa Ingram

  4. Before I had the opportunity to read on some of what Z's blog actually had in it, I was focusing mainly on gender as a sliding scale in the community. I just read her blog and followed the comments to yours.
    I'm alright with ciswomen only rituals, I'm alright with trans woman only rituals, I pretty much don't care what someone feels comfortable with and I think that there's a time and place for everything from cisgender only to all inclusive and all the others in between.

    But all this about ALL men hate women, as if men have this genetic predisposition to belittle their female peers?

    I can read into it a bit and say that where she comes from sounds like personal experience; and not the flowers and chocolate kind. I can even empathize with those kind of feelings if something tragic has happened. I feel sorry that she is enduring so much hurt and fear that it is making it hard to let go of preconceived notions of reality...but isn't it about time for another BNP or peer of hers to just grab her and shake her?

    I expect that kind of spewing from a recent trauma victim that is going through healing stages, or a young neo-feminist going through her first class of Woman Studies in college...not a leader of a ritual at a Con.

    I am disappointed in Z for not acknowledging this for what it is, but I am also slightly disappointed at the community for allowing her to continue on in a position of respect if her views are that bigoted and close minded. I mean, you can't change anyone's views..but you can not invite them back to host a ritual.

    And I work with Nepthsys and Mafdet; who are obviously just misunderstood goddess' of peace and moon mysteries...right? Such silliness....

  5. Well said! It's sad, really, that there's people out there taking Feminism as a tool to push men and turn tables on them, judge them as we've been judged. One would say that after all women have fought for, after all that have been accomplished we understand better the value of equality and equal right. And wasn't it that why Feminism started? Wasn't that what Susan B. Anthony fought for?

    Ms. Budapest should quickly realize something: MEN are EQUAL to WOMEN. Yes, they are equal to us, and have the same rights and the same aspirations than us, and if you cut them they bleed and their hearts can be broken, and they can sob, and cry and smile just as we do. They are people too and they deserve respect as well.

    You said it right, you are on the spot.

  6. Outstandingly well put, Sarah! It is amazing how many people make their living making others feel like "victims". I have seen so much behavior along these lines in my many years in the craft. It made me angry 30 years ago, and it still does today. This was incredibly well written! Keep up the good work.

  7. For the record, the text is actually still available via the project. I give you: