“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
The past day I’ve been mulling over my thoughts about Allecto’s post Big Porn Inc at the RadFem Hub. There were parts of it that were honestly quite triggering and got me thinking about what kind of pain and trauma we subject ourselves to as radical feminists. To boldly look into and name the horrors that polite society just isn’t able to see (or doesn’t want to). To carry all of this terrible knowing around with us. Its enough some days to make a woman feel crazy.
First there’s the isolation. Intense isolation of knowing that you’re probably going to lose a lot of people in your life because they can’t handle that you’ve taken the leap into the terrible knowing. Also little quirks about the person that may be very common among the human race may just leave you with the sour smell of patriarchal bullshit in your nostrils. The isolation of knowing that you just cannot be yourself or let your guard down around most people because they do NOT understand you. This isn’t some desperate teenage feeling of not being understood, its a deep well of knowing that you’ve had your eyes opened to some cold hard truths that most people are brainwashed from birth til grave to just not see.
There is the isolation of being unabashedly pro-woman in a society that is just as unabashedly anti-woman. The isolation of being kicked out of other political communities for daring to speak up about all the little obvious inequities. The isolation of being the one that brings everyone else down.
The quote from Nietzsche in many ways sums up the dilemma of radical feminists as they plunge into the terrible knowing. The abyss is staring into us. Many of us have experienced the traumas we see enacted on the bodies of other women, many of us have been through toxic bonding with males, many of us have experienced intense violence labelled “love” or “passion”. We take the dive in, ignoring our own safety and dare to see the truth of what male violence is and how it manifests and it fucking hurts and we want to fucking scream and we want to destroy the men who do these things. DESTROY like Kali beating her arms in righteous rage. This is not a world with justice for women and we are stepping off the path of what is known in the hopes of finding that we can one day make it so. We fear we may become gruesome like the monsters we despise, that they will poison us with their wickedness and transform us into being like them and we are labelled as worse than them from the left, right, center and even other women who call themselves feminists.
But we survive.