Thanks for this, it’s very telling that you say that there were plenty of women in bands in Australia, but that they have been written out of the histories there as well: this shows that it isn’t just a problem for the UK and US, and would suggest it’s a wider problem. I’d be interested in further debate on that…
I shall have a look at the links you’ve included here, I don’t know an awful lot about Australian punk aside from The Saints, so it would be interesting to find out more (Canada is another area I really should investigate more, as I like Martha and the Muffins but feel there must have been more…)
I think you might find the other, particularly the later, bits of the series interesting in this respect as well, but I don’t want to give too much away… I just hope you’ll carry on reading. It’s really nice to get such positive feedback.
I’ve been really pleased and touched that so many people responded to this article. I can’t emphasise enough how grateful I am for the messages of support and I’m so delighted that people have found the article helpful. My husband was also really pleased and kept saying he was very proud of me. It’s also definitely taken away for me some of the shame or stigma that I’ve felt about this condition, so writing for The F-Word has been a very positive experience! Thank you. Having got to a place now where I’m pain-free 90% of the time, I have actually just asked to be referred back to the hospital for some psycho-sexual therapy. I mulled over this for a while but figured I would like the opportunity to have a ‘normal’ sexual condition restored to me if it is possible. Having said that, this is my very last attempt and my husband and I are now pretty happy that whatever the outcome is we’ll be fine with it.
I would suggest that anyone wanting further information on this condition (or related conditions) have a look at the Vulval Pain Society website.
Women, a review by Charlotte Cooper and Jess McCabe
Jess McCabe, co-author of the review, replies
I don’t buy that the marginalisation in the three documentaries was a result of not having enough time; after all, any documentary will have a limit in terms of length, but that’s no reason to fill the time available exclusively or almost exclusively with middle class cis white women’s stories and voices.
Jess McCabe, co-author of the review, replies
There is and has been so much out there, that it’s hard to even make suggestions on where to begin on clearing up the misconception that feminism is and has been confined to specific countries. I think you’d struggle to find a country with no feminists in it or women’s rights activism going on!
Ah yes, we were all pretty staggered and appalled about that one, how David and Sara kept their faces straight I have no idea… I suppose you could coach an argument for the Grateful Dead in the ‘proto’ punk sense, but you could do that about almost any band with a guitar, so I’m not having it…
Glad it’s exciting debate…
Cazz Blase, author of the article, replies
This was a lovely email to receive, I’m really pleased you enjoyed part one, and I hope the other parts are equally enjoyable for you. It was great to read of your own experience in this respect.
Many thanks for your positive comments concerning my above article and also for forwarding it on to a number of your friends.
However, evolutionary psychology as a discipline is not objective or
neutral because its central aim is the ‘naturalisation’ of male
domination over women as a group. Anne Fausto-Sterling’s book The Myth of Gender discusses and analyses how evolutionary psychology is not a ‘new subject’ but evolved from socio-biology wherein the central concept is that men and women are innately different due to their biological factors. Given that men and women are supposedly diametrically different socio-biologists and evolutionary psychologists continue to apply man=human whereas woman=faulty. Human=woman is always compared to man, with man being the definition of what human means.
The common claim made by evolutionary psychologists and socio-biologists that ‘mating with multiple partners is evolutionary beneficial’ does not apply to both sexes because it is always women not men who are subjected to the male-centered and male-defined sexual double standard. The facts are that women and men are physically capable of engaging in penetrative heterosex but this does not mean all women and all men engage in this form of human sexual activity. There is the matter of social conditioning, patriarchal society’s rules concerning what is supposedly appropriate feminine and masculine sexual behaviour. It is no coincidence that male sexual promiscuity is widely held to be
‘biologically innate’ whereas human female sexuality is supposedly
reproductively driven and women’s only desire to engage in penetrative
heterosex is because they wish to produce children. So the question
then to be asked is why are women supposedly more interested in
reproducing children than engaging in sexual activity with multiple male
partners? Is it because male dominant society by controlling and
policing women’s sexuality and bodies benefits men but not women. Is it because this conveniently holds women responsible for supposedly have the socio-economic power of gatekeeping men’s biologically driven sex drive? Are women accorded sexual autonomy and ownership of their bodies or this privilege still only accorded to men because male
sexuality is supposedly biologically driven and not socially
One cannot separate out evolutionary psychology from how our male dominant society is organised because contrary to dominant beliefs women are not individuals wherein their socialization process as girl children into what is their supposedly ‘natural feminine role’ can be ignored because everyone including men are all individuals, free to ‘choose’ and enact whatever desires and ambitions they seek. Socio-economic constraints which place men at the centre and women at the margins continue to operate and men’s interests and needs continue to be given priority over women’s and childrens’ needs.
Evolutionary psychology claims the human race developed along linear lines wherein it was always men who invented items such as tools. Men were the hunters and women were relegated to ‘sitting at home tending the man’s children.’ This in itself neatly ignores the fact men do not produce children but only women since only women can reproduce.
Evolutionary psychology claims men as a group were the ones who went out in male-only parties and hunted. Women because of their reproductive capabilities were relegated to supposedly tending the hearth and awaiting the return of the men. In fact if women relied on men to produce the food necessary for everyone’s survival the human race would have died out in the Ice Age. In fact hunting mammals was not the primary method of obtaining food – but ‘gathering was’ which was predominantly undertaken by women. Therefore agriculture was the primary method of obtaining not hunting which neatly fits into
evolutionary psychological theories of man’s (sic) greater physical
strength and intelligence compared to woman meant hunting was ‘naturally a male only occupation’. In fact women and men alike engaged in hunting for small game but neither sex relied solely on meat for their sustenance. (See pages 58-63 of Maria Mies’ book Patriarchy &
Accumulation on a World Scale). Gerda Lerner explains how male
dominance over women was created and it was not due to men’s supposedly biological need for multiple sex partners – rather the central reason was male power and male control over women as a group, in addition to men’s control and domination over other men deemed to be ‘less powerful’. This was the creation of the fledgling patriarchal system,
wherein all women were deemed to be always in relation to men not
separate autonomous individuals. Women were effectively defined as
men’s private property and it was men who sought to take women from
other men’s ownership not the reverse. (See also pages 63-65 of Mies’
book Patriarchy & Accumulation).
The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner provides excellent analysis of how male domination and control over women and women’s bodies began. Maria Mies’ book Patriarchy & Accumulation on a World Scale also analyses and critiques how the patriarchal system was established and why it is so difficult to challenge. Allan Johnson’s book The Gender Knot too provides analysis of why it is vital myths concerning men’s supposedly natural sexual promiscuity are rooted in male biology and not in the patriarchal system of male control and male domination over women as a group. Even stranger is the fact since men are supposedly biologically driven to impregnate as many women as possible and father children – it continues to be women not men who are the ones given the responsibility of child rearing. If fathering children is so important in order that men can ‘pass on their genes to their children’ why then did not men allocate child rearing to themselves rather than women? Could it be that giving responsibility for childcare to women this
ensured men’s contining domination over women because men were given the freedom to pursue other desires whilst the woman had to stay at home taking care of the man’s children. In fact early societies did not allocate childcare to women only, instead the whole group were accorded responsibility for childcare including men!
Evolutionary psychology is a very simplistic method which takes no
account of social conditioning, how societies operate or how globally
men as a group continue to retain social and economic power over women as a group. Take the example I gave in my article wherein why are men lauded for engaging in sexual activity with multiple women. Whereas despite claims women have achieved sexual autonomy, it is still women who are labelled ‘sluts’ if our male dominant society perceives their behaviour to digress from male-centered notions of appropriate female sexual behaviour. Irrespective of whether or not a woman is ‘sexually active’ if male dominant society perceives her as being ‘sexually promiscuous’ she is punished and labelled a ‘slut.’ Men however, who engage in multiple sexual activity with different women are perceived as ‘studs’ and excused any accountability for their behaviour because men are supposedly biologically driven to need sexual access to women 24/7. This is why male sexual violence against women is trivialised and minimalised because men are supposedly controlled by their biological need to impregnate women with ‘their’ children.
So, in a nutshell evolutionary psychology can never be neutral or
objective but is intricately linked with cultural values and ideas concerning how women and men are supposed to behave. This is why ideas concerning the evolution of human beings changes according to differing dominant cultural ideas. Not too long ago women were believed to be intellectually inferior to men as a group because of women’s reproductive capabilities. This was irrespective of whether or not all women reproduced children. Now we kknow such ideas were nonsensical but at the time they were widely accepted as objective and unbiased scientific fact because the white male scientists proclaimed it to be true. Feminists challenging such male-centered claims were dismissed as ‘man-hating frigid prudes who couldn’t find a man to support them’. Therefore no scientific anlysis is ever neutral, objective or separate from the researcher’s socialisation process within our male-dominant society. Yes, it is possible to aknowledge how culture plays a huge part in how we define the world but this totally different from scientific claims tthat such and such findings are ‘objective, neutral and impartial’.
Thanks for your kind words, Carolynn. I would love for us to run more podcasts, but the organisation of getting everyone together and the time it takes to edit them make it impossible right now.
Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies
We did look into this when we launched the site, but there were a number of practical considerations that meant it wasn’t immediately doable, and we effectively defaulted to Amazon. We are keeping our option open if things change in the future, however.