Red Bird wrote: Could you describe what kind of gender related suffering your female friends went trough? I don't like to externalize suffering and put it on society because it is something I can't change. Seeing women as a victim of society or men to me is standing contrary to the idea of self-empowerment.
The easiest case to talk about here - and also the most extreme one - is that of my long-time girlfriend, who killed herself in the spring of 2016. There are other examples as well, but as these involve people who are still alive to care about their privacy, I'd not be as comfortable describing them. This is a fairly quiet (indeed 'occult'!) forum, and users can remain anonymous, but disclosing someone's ongoing mental health issues here would be too great of a liberty for me to take.
So. E. (let’s signify my girlfriend with that initial) was anorexic. She had many other problems, but this was the main one. She’d had trouble eating since she was a preteen. The Sickness (I always heard a capital S in the way she pronounced this word’s Finnish equivalent) was so far progressed that it resembled a drug-addiction: she wouldn’t physically function unless she skipped meals, etc. It is true in a certain sense that at this stage, even living in the world’s most egalitarian society would not have cured her: the whole hellscape of paranoia, shame, and helplessness had collapsed inwards long ago, and it was an inner struggle she faced (and lost).
More could perhaps have been done earlier. It seemed clear to me that she was much infantilized by her family (as troublesome girls often are), treated as a patient to be nursed, with most of her negative emotions seen as symptoms instead of self-expression. It’s almost a cliché in studies about anorexia that it’s a (girl’s) way of taking control: when outward aggression and assertiveness are discouraged, they’re directed inward. This is one of the manifestations of what I see as the dark inverse of the doctrine of femininity as passivity, patience, unselfishness, etc.: hurting oneself is ”traditionally womanly” indeed! On the other hand, it is precisely the inability to conceive of a subject as female (not neuter, which can convincingly be argued to covertly mean male) that forces a girl to remain an object
of care, treatment, looks. Or, well, doesn’t exactly force — there are always individuals who simply defy their upbringing and surroundings — but certainly makes it more difficult to act in an independent way.
E. used to say that being cured, she’d be just a loser with no excuses, while being sick she at least was a loser for a reason. (She often engaged in gallows-humor at her own expense. Fuck, writing this makes me miss her.) This is a good illustration of some of the other political implications of her condition — and of those of being marginalized, mentally dispossessed, in general. The same psychological-societal structure that closes each of us in a sphere of privacy, where we only have to worry about our own projects and achievements, also makes ”losers” in E.’s sense possible — people who do not have an acceptable front to show to the ”market” of social capital. E.’s eating disorder could be seen as her basically telling this ”market”: Look, I would
have a dream job and an Instagram full of sickeningly perfect pictures were it not for my disease. Anorexia was her safe haven from the senseless demands of a competitive consumerist society.
Explaining these kinds of things with reference to what I call politics does not mean thinking that a régime change or new laws could immediately alleviate complex psychological suffering. It only means acknowledging the connection between our way of life (ALSO the boring non-occult aspects of it like the economy etc.) and our individual minds. I don’t see this perspective as very different from the doctrine of unity of spirit and matter that the SoA rightly emphasizes.
Sorry for taking so long to reply! This is a pretty touchy subject for me, as I’m sure you understand. Hopefully you’ve had a nice trip to Norway; as it happens I’m also leaving to hitchhike around Finland in a few days.
Tiden läker inga sår.