Re: theos-l digest: October 03, 1999
Oct 04, 1999 07:01 PM
by Bart Lidofsky
> Bart wrote:
> > Note that your sources (quoted below) are almost entirely death in
> >CHILDBIRTH, not spousal abuse (unless you are about to say that
> >pregnancy IS spousal abuse, in which case you follow a brand of
> >postmodernism which has no place in a Theosophical discussion list).
> For brevity's sake, please see my post reponding to Grigor connecting early
> marriage and childbirth to spousal abuse.
OK, let me be straight with you. There is a technique among certain
radical groups, called "consciousness raising". A person, classifying
him/herself as a "victim" and the person to whom they are talking to as
the "oppressor", makes outrageously false statements with absolutely no
backing (after all, according to radical post-modernism, you don't need
backing if you really FEEL that it's true. Research is unimportant, too,
since there is no such thing as expertise and everybody makes it all up
anyway). In any case, the "oppressor", being raised in a society which
demands politeness, and trying to prove that he/she is not an oppressor,
is tricked into a position of trying to meet the "victim" halfway, and
thereby agreeing to compromises that go way beyond truth.
The only way to deal with it is to recognize it as the bullshit that it
is, and recognize that one is NOT the oppressor, and that the motto of
the Theosophical Society is correct: "There is no religion higher than
Truth". So, it is better to be rude and truthful than it is to be polite
While what you are writing does not qualify as "consciousness raising",
it is clearly the product of such techniques (I am not at all surprised
that your professors in college taught this to you; radical
postmodernism has infected many universities. You should see the
garbage that comes out of the Black Studies department at the City
University of New York, a mild example being "it is impossible for a
black person to be bigoted")
> Regarding you statement about my "brand of postmodernism" (whatever that
> means): Fortunately, Bart, you do not control what can be discussed on a
> Theosophical discussion list.
I never said that it was yours, I said IF it was yours. Do you really
believe that pregnancy is a form of spousal abuse?
> > And most men didn't have the right to vote until the 19th century.
> Bart? WHO was making the LAWS of society in the 19th century?
I said UNTIL. Even in the United States, only men who owned at least
$50 worth of property were allowed to vote. The people who moved out
into the "frontier", who actually went back to an era when men and women
both had to work as hard as they could just to survive, brought the
concept of every person being able to vote, brought back the concept of
men and women as partners, and was the origin of much of the thinking
that generated the concepts of equal rights for women.
> I'm not
> even sure if you statement is correct, however, for argument's sake I will
> assume it is and respond with the following: Voting wasn't necessary
> because there was no need for it - what was considered democracy did not
> include ethnic minorities or women. It was the classical "good ole boys
> network." Male aristocrats, including the revered Founding Fathers, ran
> the whole show.
> Give me a break.
There is nothing in your paragraph which contradicts anything I stated
> > Look at the context of the sentence; the idea is that a man can
> >impregnate a woman who is not sexually aroused,
> What!? Are you saying that this is what Genesis was suggesting in stating
> that a man shall "rule over" his wife? I've never heard that before.
I got that straight from Rashi, who is generally considered to be the
greatest commentator on the Torah in Jewish history.
> treatment of women. Did you know that, on the wedding night, men did not
> engage in vaginal intercourse with their wives, but, instead sodomized
In which culture? I am most familiar with Judaism, and in that culture,
it was customary for the husband and wife to have their first vaginal
intercourse right after the wedding ceremony, in a separate room while
the guests wait outside (the custom today is for the wife and the
husband to just spend some time alone together in the room).
> Hardly a kind act towards a woman who knows nothing about sex.
How do you know that she knew nothing about sex?
> > And that was the period when women WERE the victims of oppression, due
> >to technology making the previous male-female relationships unnatural.
> How was this oppression due to "technology?"
Not the technology, directly, but the fact that you no longer had a
situation where both earning a living and childrearing were from waking
up to going to sleep. Largely, what became easier was earning a living,
so that the husband started interfering with the childrearing, trying to
(and succeeding) in taking charge of that, too. Also, it became much
more possible for women to earn a living without a man. The few men who
were in power saw this, and saw that there were areas where their power
did not touch. And they couldn't take it, so they started passing laws
to limit the power of women. And there was the origin of the modern
oppression of women.
Note, for example, that women's medicine used to be handled mainly by
midwives, rather than male doctors. Abortion was usually handled by
midwives, and was legal (at least by Catholic Church rules) until the
fetus started to kick. When men started taking over medicine, they
marginalized and minimized midwifery, and that is when abortion was made
completely illegal (mid 19th century).
> >> In
> >> present day, medical insurance will cover Viagra for men, but not birth
> >> control for women.
> > It will also cover reconstructive surgery for mastectomies, but not
> >penile enlargement. It's the difference for restoring a natural
> >condition, and preventing it.
> Wait a minute. Are you saying that performing mastectomies are "restoring
> a natural condition" (which I agree)
Actually, I said restoring the breasts after mastectomies, via plastic
> and that penile enlargement is
> "preventing" a natural condition? This doesn't make sense. How is penile
> enlargement preventing a "natural" condition.
You're right; it is altering a natural condition to a non-natural one.
> I fail to see how the
> ravages of cancer and the desire for a bigger penis fall into the same
> category. A penis, no matter what size, still has sensation - a woman
> loses a fundamental part of her sexual pleasure when she loses her breasts,
> gaining only a visible, and often, unsightly scar.
It is comparing restorative plastic surgery on a woman to elective
plastic surgery in a man.
> >Of course, that is assuming that your
> >statement is right; every medical insurance plan I have ever been on
> >includes sterilization procedures for both men and women.
> Bart, sterilization is not the form of birth control most women desire.
> They would like to retain their choice on when to have children. If they
> know they do not, sterilization is fine - but placing sterilization and
> controllable birth control in the same category is not practical, nor very
Reversible sterilization is now very reliable (98% last I heard).
> > Did you ever hear of the statistician who drowned in a lake with an
> >average depth of two feet? Before I accept your statement (do you have a
> >source for the Justice Department statement?)
> Yes, the Justice Department.
In other words, you called the Justice Department, and the Department
spoke to you? Or was it some publication of the Justice Department? Or
was it someone quoting it?
> >I would have to see if
> >there are any other factors involved (for example, are you lumping 1st
> >degree murder, 2nd degree homicide, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary
> >manslaughter, and accidental killing all in one lump? If that is the
> >case, then the statistic is bullshit, combining apples and oranges.
> This is far too lengthy to go into; besides, Bart, I honestly believe you
> know exactly what I am talking about.
The penalties for each individual type of killing are not broad enough
to allow for an average of a 15 year difference; that is why I am asking
if you are comparing killing apples to killing oranges.
> If there are any women in your life
> you care about, I suggest you learn a bit more regarding societal treatment
> of women. If something should happen to a woman you love, ignorance of
> what faces them will not be helpful in their case. You will be surprised
> at the difference in treatment men and women receive in institutions such
> as medical, legal, academic, and, dare I say it?, car repair.
I know quite a bit about it. My sister-in-law is a PhD (sponsored by
her biochemistry department), and, where she was doing research, if a
man had a child, it was no big deal, but if a woman has a child, it is
highly unprofessional. Realistic estimates show that about 75% of
hysterectomies are unnecessary. A woman who knows nothing about cars
will get charged much higher for fixing the same problem in a car repair
shop than a man who knows nothing about cars. There is definitely still
plenty of oppression of women going on. But let's concentrate on where
it really exists, rather than looking for it where it isn't.
> We may agree with the last statement, but is it wise to accept the
> statements that men are materially oriented and lack gentleness? Is it
> wise to accept that that women cannot boast of courage and lack diligent
> application? For me, these untruths mar the truth of the story. In
> present day, statements such as these should not be tolerated. A story
> meant to teach something beautiful and profound, yet, it manages to also
> teach untruths. Even if a person learns that rivalry between the sexes is
> useless (a good lesson), he/she may also walk away with harmful stereotypes
> of men and women. Connecting this back to my main peeve: I believe the
> statement offered by the Caucasus did the same thing.
There are characteristics which can be defined as feminine (not
necessarily the ones you give as examples) and characteristics that can
be defined as masculine. Everybody has a mixture of both
characteristics, although women, on the average, lean more towards the
feminine, and men, on the average, lean more towards the masculine. But,
once again, we must consider the statistician who drowned in a lake with
an average depth of two feet. We cannot judge any individual by the
statistical tendencies of his or her gender, nor can we criticize an
individual for having them.
> > Which shows that you clearly do not understand the saying. It is not
> >"salted assualted and insulted by his wife", it is "salted, assaulted
> >and insulted by the INSTITUTION of holy wedlock", unless, of course, you
> >think it is OK for a wife to beat her husband (I don't).
> Bart, you have way overstepped in suggesting that I may advocate the abuse
> of a woman (or anyone). If it had come from someone newer to this list, I
> could have taken it in stride and tried to clarify. You, however, have been
> on this list long enough with me to know that I would never endorse such a
Good. But your interpretation of the that stupid joke logically implied
that you did. All that means is that you did not think it through, and
all I did was point out that if your misinterpretation was correct, then
it led to a ridiculous conclusion. Realizing that you come from a
country where, while literacy in English is extraordinarily high for a
non-English speaking country, English is not the primary language, the
additional "of course" implies that it is a throw-away phrase, highly
unlikely but needs to be said.
> >> The men who wrote this quote paid NO heed of
> >> women when writing it. Those of us who claim to be educated need to
> >> examine a bit more deeply currently acceptable "words of wisdom." Do such
> >> "words of wisdom" apply to most people and will they work in current daily
> >> life? Do such "words of wisdom" promote peace and harmony, or violence and
> >> suffering?
> > There is a difference between "words of wisdom" and a joke. Those who
> >buy the radical femnist revisionist history hook, line, and sinker, have
> >yet to learn the difference.
> Are you suggesting that the Caucasus quotation was a joke?
Yes, it is supposed to be humorous. I am really surprised that you took
it otherwise (albeit not in the best of taste). The comment about
radical femnism is based on the radical femnist tenet that if you have a
sense of humor, you cannot be a femnist. Hence the joke:
Question: How many radical femnists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: That's not funny!
> feminists? I know it's popular these days, and lord knows, some feminists
> deserve to be redressed, but not all feminists are daffy.
Agreed, on both counts, even going as far to say that MOST femnists are
not daffy, and many are ashamed to admit they are femnists because the
daffy ones have poisoned the well.
> Just as I am
> aware that not all men oppress women.
Which the radical femnists are not.
> For instance: Alan, a companion
> theos-l participant and a male, certainly cannot be accused of being
> insensitive to women
Alan can't be accused of being insensitive to ANYONE.
> >> Since it
> >> was important for Mahatmas to "blend in," what better way to remain
> >> anonymous in their time but to be female?
> > They did not "blend in"; they kept themselves separate unless it was
> Then why did they have to choose to be males? I still do not understand
> why, if they were hidden, a female form wouldn't have served just fine.
They didn't all choose to be males, only mostly. The American Section
of the Theosophical Society in Wheaton, IL should have a tape of a
lecture given by Carol Ward on the Female Mahatmas.
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