Part 3 of 4 (8 min read time)
By Albert Joon-Ho Hur
[Edited by J]
MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE ALSO FROM MARS
Jesus told them, “If you don’t have a sword, sell some of your clothes and buy one.”
— Luke 22:36
According to Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy Will Kymlicka in his article “The Internationalization of Minority Rights”, violence plays a standard role in achieving collective self-determination for national minorities. In a wide range of cases, the UN and other intergovernmental organizations have endorsed an “Accomodationist” rather than an “Integrationist” approach towards certain national minorities that are not formally classified as “indigenous”. This includes such approaches as the Annan Plan for Cyprus, as well as the EU’s proposals for the former Yugoslavia. In the actual, real-world practice of case-specific conflict resolution, the UN remains inconsistent in its stated presupposition that all national minorities desire “integration”. Why? Why is the UN supporting autonomy for national minorities in Indonesia, and not Pakistan? Why does the UN support autonomy for the Kurds in Iraq, but not the Kurds in Iran? Why are intergovernmental organizations supporting autonomy for Albanians in Macedonia, but not for Hungarians in Slovakia?
The answer, as Mao accurately pointed out, is because power grows from the barrel of a gun.
According to Professor Kymlicka, “In virtually all the cases where the UN has endorsed autonomy for national minorities, it is after the minorities resorted to violence. By contrast, where national minorities have peacefully and democratically mobilized for autonomy, they typically receive no support from the international community and, instead, are told that international norms on the rights of minorities do not recognize a right to autonomy”.
So much for that old chestnut about nonviolence being the most effective route to liberation! Violence is an integral form of any praxis, and those who do not recognize this fact are not interested in bringing about any real social change.
At the same time, this poses an interesting challenge for women. If they truly desire to cast off the shackles of the patriarchy, as opposed to simply being “integrated”, are they willing to pay what Peter Kropotkin calls “the blood tax”³³? Are they willing to be drafted into the front lines for the war against social injustice and oppression? Are they, if need be, willing to take the bullet to water the tree of liberty with their heart’s blood? Are they violent enough? That is the definition of Radical Love — to draw the sword of Damocles³⁴ no matter the personal cost and march against the forces of injustice: the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, all of whom will oppose any attempt by women to gain power, as evidenced by the fierce white male resistance to gender quotas on management boards that happened all across Europe, even in Norway.³⁵
As Barbara Kingsolver says in her Guardian article “#MeToo Isn’t Enough. Now Women Need to Get Ugly”³⁶:
“Let’s be clear: no woman asks to live in a rape culture: we all want it over, yesterday. Mixed signals about female autonomy won’t help bring it down, and neither will asking nicely.”
Research into women’s propensity toward violence is promising. In May of 2017, the Washington Post ran an op-ed proclaiming, “Women won’t save us from violence.”³⁷ The article highlights dozens of studies and meta-analyses on the psychological differences between men and women, and the majority of the evidence suggests that gender has little to no real-world effect, including on aggression. According to psychologist Janet Hyde, almost 80% of all gender differences are small or close to zero. So much for that old sexist canard of women being more “gentle” and “nurturing”! They are made of just as much stern stuff as we are. While men were moderately more physically aggressive on average, and women slightly more “relationally aggressive”, this depended on context. Other studies have shown women to be just as, if not slightly more, physically aggressive than men.
So why does this idea that men are naturally more aggressive than women persist so strongly? Men undeniably commit the vast majority of violent crime in the United States. However, rather than this speaking to any inherently violent tendency of men in general, it may serve more as an indictment of the overall culture of violence in imperialist America. For example, while we often hear about the crisis of domestic violence against women, more than 200 studies show that women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence as men. The disparity in victims apparently seems to stem from men overpowering women in physical confrontations, as well as men failing to report incidents as frequently as women due to shame and fragile constructs of masculinity. There may be an average physical power imbalance, but not any mediation of violent tendencies by gender.
Furthermore, this is not restricted to simply the home. Let us consider the State. 65% of the 43 women leaders polled by Foreign Policy in 2012 support the idea that “the world would be more peaceful if more women held political office.”³⁸ This simply highlights the persistence of false white male supremacist patriarchal notions of feminine “docility”. A study recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at female rulers of European countries from 1480 to 1913 (including 193 reigns in 18 different polities), and whether their countries had ever engaged in military conflict. As it turns out, women had a pretty bad peacekeeping record in real life: queens were 27% MORE likely than kings to participate in inter-state conflicts.
Of course, we must be careful about drawing any conclusions regarding the innate tendencies of women. Political rivals often viewed female rulers as vulnerable to attack, which may have instigated greater conflict. Furthermore, the data was limited, as the study only analyzed a total of 29 queens in Western countries. Different cultural norms and expectations may yield different results under different contexts — for example, the historic traditions of Asia have long celebrated martial women like Hua Mulan³⁹.
As Barbara Ehrenreich says in Blood Rites, “women in the past two centuries have more than adequately demonstrated a capacity for collective violence. There is little basis for locating the wellspring of war in aggressive male instincts — or in any instincts, for that matter. Wars are not bar-room brawls writ large, but, as social theorist Robin Fox put it, ‘complicated, orchestrated, highly organized’ collective undertakings.”
So far, so good! Women have what it takes to free themselves, independent of any man — the same capacity and instincts to fight and die for freedom as all men, especially with advancements in weapons technology. But wait! This still doesn’t account for the fact that all empirical evidence still points broadly to the trend of men being more willing to initiate violence in a martial context than women. Why would this be the case?
The answer lies in internalized sexism, especially “benevolent sexism” (the “model minority” variant of female oppression). In one study, participants who believed that researchers would not know their names or genders defied standard assumptions about gender and aggression. When placed into a simulated conflict, men chose to drop more bombs than women when they believed researchers knew their identities – a shining illustration of how toxic masculinity is fundamentally baked into White America’s conceptualization of being male. At the same time, when study participants believed themselves to be anonymous, women actually dropped more bombs than male participants. In other words, women’s relative disparity in violence compared to men is constructed by patriarchal norms enforced upon them by men. We force you to be less violent in order to squash rebellion, and women internalize this docility as something praiseworthy, rather than a stumbling block to true liberation. We cover this up under the fig leaves of “chivalry” and paying for your dinner instead of paying you a fair wage.
This internalized sexism runs deep in Western countries. According to a recent study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by Pelin Gul and Tom Kupfer, women are more attracted to potential mates who treat them with contempt, despite the “detrimental effects” of these attitudes on women⁴⁰. While they do not prefer their male mates to exhibit hostile sexism, they are more than happy to lap up backhanded compliments about how women are more “gentle and nurturing” and “homebodies” than men, an indication of profound capitulation to power and reinforcing the dominant partner’s status, which in America, is the White Man’s Status (to which he exhibits great “anxiety” when challenged⁴¹).
Therefore, any authentic feminist praxis must first contend with rooting out internalized sexism and policing those that believe they deserve “special treatment” based on “nature” arguments, as opposed to the standard underpinnings of moral legitimacy for political movements: a history of brutalization (which Western nations have perpetrated in spades towards women, both at home and abroad), cultural vulnerability, and material imbalances in equality of opportunity, all grounded in empirical reality and a willingness to acknowledge the legitimate moral claims and arguments of others in good faith. Everything else is a con and a stunning example of false consciousness.
Women of color must also contend with casting off the shackles of internalized racism⁴², because there can be no negotiated alliance with the oppressor over the oppressed. Until all of us are free, none of us are. Even as one centers oneself, one must gradually expand out to the periphery, if one wishes to be taken seriously by the world at large. Any politics not grounded in fairness and consistency, which acknowledges real-world situations and takes into account all available empirical evidence and context, becomes either a budding politics of repression and domination or a simple fairy tale.
Asian Americans should not be fooled by any of the squawking talking heads, journalists, and nominal Asian “feminist” bloggers and dubious “activists” that pollute social media and mainstream media outlets.
As outlined by Max Blumenthal⁴³:
“Media outlets like the Guardian, NPR, and the Washington Post feign objectivity before their readers, presenting themselves as arbiters of truth in an era of fake news. However, in countries where Washington is pushing regime change” — Asian countries like ours! — “these same outlets have dispatched a corps of writers to embed with U.S.-backed opposition elements, provide them with publicity, and sell their goals back to the American public.”
So much for a “free press”!
Andrea Smith and INCITE! Women of Color against Violence (the “structural violence” of Archbishop Romero) expound upon this operation in “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex”⁴⁴:
“During the Great Depression, the societal influence of foundations was curtailed by economic crisis. However, after World War II, particularly with the emergence of the Ford Foundation, foundations regained prominence, and focused on how they could further the interests of US-style democracy domestically and abroad. The Ford Foundation became particularly prominent, not only for philanthropic giving, but for its active involvement trying to engineer social change and shape the development of social justice movements. For instance, foundations, particularly Ford, became involved in the civil rights movement, often steering it into more conservative directions.
During the late 1960s, radical movements for social change were transforming the shape of the United States while Third World liberation movements were challenging Western imperialism. Foundations began to take a role in shaping this organizing so that social protest would not challenge the status quo. Essentially, foundations provide a cover for white supremacy.”
Speaking of the Ford Foundation, let it be known that 18MillionRising⁴⁵ – an umbrella organization of “social justice warrior” gadflies and Asian American media personalities such as AngryAsianMan, Jenn Fang from the blog Reappropriate, Mark Tseng Putterman, Hermit Hwarang, and others – was founded by a member of the Ford Foundation⁴⁶ and has received hefty donations from George Soros⁴⁷, who ruined the lives of 24 million Asians during the 1997 Global Financial Crisis and caused thousands of others to take their own lives in the aftermath due to the IMF’s debt trap diplomacy. As the kids say these days, “Yikes.”