On Male-identifying women

“These are not breasts” — image by FCM.

“What having breasts feels like” — image by FCM.

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Women’s culture/positive images.  Here, the images illustrate the difference between men’s objective (technically speaking) experience of women’s breasts, and women’s subjective experience of living in a be-breasted body.  Men objectify the breast, and men’s experience of women’s breasts is by definition “objective” — meaning not subjective, although far from neutral or unbiased, obviously — and only from the perspective of an outsider observing them.  Thus, men experience women’s breasts as two roundish globes, located approximately in the center of the chest.  Surely, men also experience women’s breasts as something to be touched, rather than something that produces sensation when touched, as they do not and indeed cannot experience subjective feedback from women’s breasts, but only from their own hands (or whatever) when they touch women’s breasts.

Unsurprisingly, women do not report the same experience of their own breasts.

Breast augmentation surgery, where “breasts” are fashioned from whole cloth and using the woman’s own tissue to visually obscure the reality of what was done to her, cause women to then experience their own breasts as men experience women’s breasts: the breast no longer feels the same, and often the woman is left with little sensation to touch, while the sensation of the implants themselves surely approximates two roundish globes, located approximately in the center of the chest.

The post “Male-identifying women” was written to describe and foment discussion of Mary Daly’s book “Pure Lust.”  The post is reproduced in its entirety here [NSFW & trigger warning: “before” and “after” pictures of women who have had breast augmentation surgery; anonymous “headless woman” variety.  See also Femicide; Mansplaining/women’s perspective is wrong; Necrophilia; Supports patriarchal institutions (medicine/religion/law).]

in pure lust, mary daly dissects the patriarchal process of erasing and replacing womens lived experience and female-centered reality with male-centrism: the psychic castration of women that removes the thorn of female knowledge and experience from the side of patriarchy.  or…removes the burr of femaleness from under the patriarchal saddle?  i dont know.  but apparently womens lived experience as women, constituting sexual class:female and womens awareness of it all is irritating enough to the patriarchal powers that be that they willingly invest much time and energy into subverting and destroying it.

through brainwashing with patriarchal propaganda, and literally murdering women who dont comply with patriarchal mandates, women are taught from day one that womens reality isnt real.  at least, its not the one thats going to get you anywhere, or anywhere worth being, and it could actually get you in quite a lot of trouble.  “male-identify or die” is the law of the land, when you are female.  obviously.

and its not just a mental or a metaphorical erasing and replacing of womens experience either: men very nearly succeed in plastering their own objective experience of womens bodies over womens subjective experience of our own bodies…and the result is something truly bizarre.  kinda like…blasting a tunnel through a mountain, then almost convincing the mountain that the tunnel is really a train-hole. (!!)

[image of illustrated train entering tunnel]

almost convincing…but not quite.  the mountain always knows the truth doesnt it?  well, i dont know about that, but i do know that women never forget we are women, not really.  i mean, if you take a birth control pill every day, every day and can remember that much: that you are supposed to take it every day at the same time for some reason, that counts.  doesnt it?  and when a woman is ”triggered” by depictions of male violence against women, medical experimentation, sexual torture, very likely because shes already been a victim of it herself…whats being triggered exactly?  this is a serious question.

terrifyingly, men and their patriarchal medical machine can and do literally mold and shape womens bodies in their own image, or the image they have in their own heads when they think about us and experience female bodies, from the outside.  and they have advanced their own medical technology to the point that they can make *us* feel what *they* feel, and they can make *us* experience our own bodies the way men experience womens bodies from the outside.  yes!

a very obvious example of men absolutely outdoing themselves in this department, laying a male-centric perspective over female subjective experience, is breast augmentation.  men imagine womens breasts (because they only ever see them and experience them from the outside, rather than experiencing and having them, from the inside) as two roundish globes, one right beside the other, approximately in the middle of the chest.  kinda like this:

[image of fruit above]

however, the experience of subjectively having breasts, and living in a be-breasted body doesnt tend to remind the be-breasted person of fruit does it?  not one single time that i can recall, have my own breasts ever evoked anything fruit-related for me.  nor are they normally evocative of two roundish globes, side by side, approximately in the middle of my chest.  no!  in reality, the experience of having breasts, for me, is something like this, depending on the day and the temperature (among other things!):

[image of sleeping lamb, blanket, etc. above]

yes, one day our breasts are for feeling, and may feel like something approximating icicles or a warm blanket (depending on the day!) and with some medical intervention, the very next day, and every single minute of every day after that, forever and ever until we die (or until we attempt to undo it with another medical intervention) hundreds of thousands of women are made to permanently experience their own breasts like men experience womens breasts: two roundish globes, side by side, right in the middle of our chests.  yep, thats what this probably feels like!  behold:

a freshly-minted, male-centric female experience.

horrifying.  just horrifying.  and thats just one example, and an obvious one at that.  all female experience, all female knowledge, even about things that men literally cannot know because they are men, is dismissed and obliterated and replaced with male-centrism and we are all required to go along with the program or face devastating consequences.  this is what we are up against, as female-bodied persons under patriarchal rule.  this is the process of male-identifying women.

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One response to “On Male-identifying women”

  1. gaiamethod says :

    I remember reading Mary Daly when I was in my twenties!!! I am now 49! I live in Upper Egypt and watch and experience the misogyny here daily! Even in a culture which seeks to completely control women’s bodies through the misinterpretation of the Koran the media pander to men’s fantasies of women’s bodies. There are ‘belly-dancing’ channels which many young women now also watch and copy. Girls as young as 3 will watch these channels and dance like the women on TV. They grow up believing that belly dancing is a good thing and yet when they reach a certain age they have to ‘cover-up’. Then the dancing is used at weddings in order to attract a potential husband. When they do marry they have to tolerate their husbands enjoyment of these channels. Most Muslim women here have been ‘circumcised’ anyway!!! So sex is not for them! It is all about the man here.
    But all of these channels are basically Islamic! Breasts are not so much the focus as any bare skin!!!Muslim men who have used the internet to satisfy sexual urges without damaging their women’s honour tend to objectify women in the same way as many western men. But any bare skin is seen as attractive to most men here.