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Solnit's Dog Fixation
Dreamed 2017/4/2 by Wayan
with condolences to Rebecca Solnit,
whose work I generally admire
I reread one of my favorite books--Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw, a pseudo-Victorian novel about Social Darwinism, full of inheritances, parsons, class snobbery, lawsuits, marriage proposals and deathbed confessions... by dragons. Since, as Walton's introduction points out, the Victorian depiction of femininity certainly isn't human.
I meet a woman I knew long ago, in the 1970s. Is this my ex-girlfriend Kay? No, but she has Kay's intelligent but acerbic aura. What's her name? A writer in the feminist movement... a harsh separatist. Not... Valerie Solanis?! When I nearly call her that, I stop myself just in time, realizing Solanis is dead and I never met her. Can't be her. Can it?
She tells me what made her a radical. As a teen she was kidnapped and raped. Forced to have sex with the guy's dog, even.
Then it gets weird (yes, only then.) Telling her tale, she gets distracted by that dog. She explains "he was a nice Lab or golden retriever, just praised and rewarded for fucking anyone his master told him to. Can't condemn the dog, or males in general, or dicks. It's men I hate, and only men. But about that dog..."
And she goes on about the dog forever.
She really liked that dog!
NOTES IN THE MORNING
- Valerie Solanis: I never met her. Author of The SCUM Manifesto [Society for Cutting Up Men], she actually tried it--carved up Andy Warhol. Ouch. Proving, I guess, that men don't have a monopoly on sexist hatecrimes.
- Living feminist writer: I just read a piece by Rebecca Solnit (close enough to Solanis to jog my memory I guess). Solanis disses men who say "not all of us are violent"--counter-arguing "They don't get it. Male violence hurts all women, we're all unsafe--gotta watch where we go, what we do." I immediately thought "Oh, like I'm safe! Sure, SOME men are clueless about the dangers women face, but lots of us aren't, for good reason--we face MORE violence and die sooner. And not just from men; a woman battered ME. You claimed we feel (& are) safe, but we're not; you call us complicit, but we're not. Condemn patriarchs all you like--the President deserves your blame (and then some). But I don't."
- Kidnapped, raped: in Tooth and Claw, Sebeth trusts Avan, but is wary of most males. She was kidnapped as a teen; her rich family didn't pay the ransom; her abductor made her a sex slave. She killed him, freed herself... and never went back to her loving, caring family.
- Abuse in past: Solanis & Solnit overgeneralize to say men are the problem; but I overgeneralize too, from Kay's abuse of me. I assume ALL women are potential abusers. Untrue.
- Preferred the dog: I'm transcribing old journals from the 1970s, when Kay was raging at me (and breaking my nose); near the end, I pictured running away from her with Sunshine the dog, just giving up on humans. Since then, I've had furry sex-dreams & fantasies, like Solnit in the dream; do they arise from those years, do I feel animals are safer or kinder than humans?
- ACTION: Quit focusing on old abuse--that generates mistrust, discourages dating. Tell both dreams in therapy, and expect hard work ahead. Dream-Solnit-me wasn't violent or angry like Solanis, but still fixated on the past, and mistrustful in the present. Sigh!
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