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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Truth about Zealotry

The following is an excerpt from one of the chapters from my forthcoming book "Feminist Truths". This is not the final draft of the chapter.

Not all women are feminists.

Some women, sadly, are zealots. More specifically, they're male hating zealots, and they will use lies, trickery, subterfuge and any number of unethical things to accomplish things which have nothing to do with equality, but are all about hatred and revenge against the male half of the species.

These zealots give feminism a bad reputation and its one we have to live with.

Now you might wonder how they ended up this way.

The truth is these women have suffered and been traumatized, usually the result of bad relationships and they have become (for lack of a better phrase) "damaged goods". Any male readers out there will know what I am talking about.

We're talking about women who have been traumatized so many times in relationships that they've lost the ability to trust, to love and instead have become consumed with hatred of men.

Now I don't have any statistics of what percentage of women are zealots. Based on the percentage of women who suffer sexual abuse during their lifetime (one in three) and based on the number of women who have been in bad relationships (ie. divorced) we can estimate that the number of women who are 'male hating zealots' is actually quite high.

I should note however that zealotry doesn't mean they believe in female superiority. Based on personal experience I would say there is a very tiny percentage of women who believe women are superior. Almost nil.

I should also note that zealots still believe in equality, but from a very warped perspective and with an 'any means necessary' approach which rubs people the wrong way and thus gives them a bad reputation. The zealots might claim to be "Radical Feminists", but unless they can actually quote historical examples of radical feminists I think they're just bullshitting you.

I believe in the practical approach to feminism. Think with your brain, not your bruised ego. If you are going to marching or doing any kind of feminist activism you need to be smart about it and thinking about optics.

ie. If you behave like a belligerent idiot people will treat you as such.

But if you behave calmly, rationally and still stand up for women's rights then you are a shining example of feminism in action. You want to be Lady Liberty lighting the way to equality... not a male-hating Amazon and poster child for the anti feminist movement.

Its all about leading by example. You have to be better than the people who stoop to such levels.

I would argue that some women out there need to examine their own morality of what is right and wrong. If they foster goodness and discipline themselves by keeping equality on their mind (and not being distracted by anger) then they will be able to build upon and create a strong sense of morality which will be like a lighthouse to them in the dark storms of patriarchal society.

If you lose your way and get drawn down the road of anger (and I am sorry for paraphrasing Yoda from Star Wars), well then anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, suffering leads to the Dark Side. Oooooo!

Let feminism and equality be your guiding light. Going down the path of zealotry will only cause you more anguish than its actually worth.

Imagine 2 women with the exact same boyfriend. It turns out he is cheating on them both. Worse, he ends up stealing both of their rent money / cleaning out their bank accounts and the 2 women end up having to move in with friends.

'Woman A' forgives and forgets. She chalks it down as a lesson learned and will be more cautious about who she shares her bank account info with. Years later she doesn't even remember whatshisname's name.

'Woman B' bears a grudge, not just against the jerk who stole her money, but also against 'Woman A' whom she blames for stealing her boyfriend away. Over time and more bad relationships 'Woman B' begins to hate and despise all men, becoming what men commonly call "damaged goods".

But Woman B doesn't stop there. When she expresses herself in some therapeutic way (ie. art with castrated men) it ends up becoming pretty clear that she has become a zealot.

I believe however (because I've seen it happen) that zealotry can be cured over time.

I will cite the example of Canadian artist Victoria Van Dyke.

When not even a teenager Victoria Van Dyke was used as a body shield by her own father in a police stand off. Later when she was placed in a foster home she was raped and sexually abused for years by her foster brother and foster father. Its no surprise that she lost all trust for men. Suicidal and suffering from severe depression Victoria was in a mental asylum for many years before finally being declared fit enough to re-enter society. During that time however she produced a wide array of poetry and artwork dealing with her own trauma and also her desire to castrate sex criminals.

However with time even damaged goods like Victoria Van Dyke recovered. She doesn't write poetry or make art any more, but is in university. As to the reason why she recovered I have here an excerpt from an email she sent me:

"I realized that the stress was getting to me. The constant stress just seemed to erupt like a volcano and I found the more I dwelled on the unhappy thoughts of my abused teen years the unhappier I became. I needed a break from being unhappy all the time and one day I just decided no more."

"You might say I went cold turkey. I just stopped hating myself. I stopped making art, stopped writing. I threw out all my depressing clothing. I only buy clothing I consider happy looking now. I took up exercising and going outside."

"I have more friends now too. People I can actually talk to. I still talk about my past, but its more like a footnote now. I started making art again recently, and I might make my own website sometime to promote my art and poetry. The big difference however is that the stuff I make now is much more happy and sensual. I get more joy and release from making art which makes people laugh."

"You might say its all about thinking positively, but I think it was really that one day where I finally decided enough was enough. I was tired of the sexual abuse from years ago messing with my life. I just wanted to get on with my life and find happiness."

- Victoria Van Dyke

And there you have it, a reformed zealot who suffered years of sexual abuse. It broke her down emotionally until she simply couldn't take it any more and she had a mental epiphany.

Sadly I don't think many zealots have that mental epiphany. They end up hating and blaming men for the rest of their lives.

But maybe, if we're lucky, a few will read this chapter and realize that the path of hate isn't helping them and they will learn from Victoria's example.

A true feminist doesn't hate men. She learns to live with them and tries to teach them the truth about equality.

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