The Slavery and Pedophilia Ring Known as the Traditional “Nuclear” Family

slaveryI was 9-years old and riding in the back seat of the car when, in the course of some conversation between my parents in the front seat, I blurted out that I would never be treated like my mother was treated (by my father – this was implied, not stated). And, my father started screaming at me, telling me I was being influenced by “liberal” teachers at school and this wasn’t really my opinion. But, of course, I had seen by the age of 9 all kinds of abuse and I had been subjected to plenty of it because we were a typical, average, normal, even enviable, example of the traditional nuclear family. My parents never divorced, were never married to other people. My mother never even dated another male.

slavery2She married my father to escape her own traditional nuclear family in which she was a slave, raped by a family member as an infant, abused, beaten, and forced to cook for and clean up after her brothers, and denied an education (was not permitted to graduate by her father who said that women only needed to know how to cook and clean). She, also, had a couple of brothers who were not very good examples of human beings. I don’t blame my mother for any of the abuse because even to this day, she cannot see it, cannot recognize that it happened, denies outright things she told me definitively occurred in the past, and simply is unable to mentally cope with the reality, with the terrible, terrible reality, of this. Nor is she able to recall any of the abuses that my father inflicted on me. She has no memory of it.

slavery3

Note that the women are smiling in all these images, including this one, because enslavement to men is supposed to be fun, fulfilling, and natural for women.

I always knew something was wrong with “the family.” It’s such an evil institution that it has to be reinforced over and over again, like other evils, through religion and government reinforcement, ie. licensed marriage. If it were not forced and reinforced, no woman or girl would voluntarily participate in it. It is nothing more than a slave institution and one that allows men to get their hands on women and little girls, to abuse them, sexually, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and in every other way.

I was relieved when I ran across an old volume of a feminist magazine, “No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation,” Vol. 1, No. 1, 1968. In about the third article it talks about the old Roman slavery unit, we know as the traditional nuclear family. It is a slave institution, hierarchical in nature, with a man at the top, a woman, her children, and his other slaves beneath him. He had/has power of life and death over his wife and her children. When we examine this, we see why men sexually abuse their daughters, rape their wives, and sometimes stalk and kill them when they try to escape. This is the institutional origins of male entitlement to women and girls.

I read it for the first time a few years ago, but it bears reviewing. I thought of it, again, as I was digging around in some old books about the American Indian civilizations south of the border. I’ve mentioned before that I love Germany, but I’m also a big lover of Mexico. I speak Spanish (like a Mexican and proudly so) and I like to keep an eye on events down south of the border.

Before the first modern Europeans are recorded to have come (in the 16th century to Mexico – the Columbus story is a fraud, of course. He was never on this continent.) to Mexico, there was an entirely different kind of civilization there. The Spanish religious men who came decimated most, but not all, records of these people, their social order, and their ways. Many of their languages still survive (in fact, we use a few of their words in American English, usually for animals and plants).  These were and are written languages and the people had sophisticated systems of mathematics, architecture, astronomy, botany, and medicine.  The Spanish religious men seemed to be especially appalled that many of the tribes and their cities were led and built by women and they made a point of destroying those cities, records of them, and, of course, torturing (including sexually, of course) the women, who were primary targets of the Mexican [Spanish] Inquisition.

I have been trying to piece together certain things about these people and how they lived, why they did certain things, which make no sense in a civilization where you have the traditional nuclear family. It has occurred to me that they had a completely different system (one that probably led to a maintenance, but not a great growth of the population, especially the male half of it) and that this is what allowed them to do the marvelous things they did.

When women are not enslaved, when men are not constantly making war on women, civilizations advance. Some of them live in peace for a long time and they progress technologically and spiritually (I apologize for using that word, “spiritually,” but there’s  not a good English word for what I really want to say). They are able to develop abilities that are considered “superhuman” or “magical” or “sorcery” by the likes of white, European men. And, maybe that’s another reason why they just won’t leave us the Hell alone in any circumstance.

This is intended to be a short post. I just want to leave you with that thought and with the link to that 130 page magazine. If you download the .pdf file, it’s probably easier to read. I hope you enjoy it, if you haven’t seen it already.

 

How the Religious Right and the Liberal Left Justify Men’s Rape and Sexual Assault of Women and Girls

slevogt_faun_and_a_girlIn this post, I propose the reason why both the religious right (Christians, Jews and Muslims) and the liberal left – two groups who appear, on the surface, to be at odds with each other – both justify and support men raping and brutalizing women and girls. This runs deep, at least, 5,000 years, and cannot be eradicated through social change. It just is and, if you are a woman or a girl living on this planet, you need to know about it so you can try to save your own life as best you can.

Men (and boys) believe they have a fundamental, natural right to harm women and girls. They believe this is part of the “natural order.” If they are religious, they believe this “natural order” comes from God, Jesus, Jehovah, or Mohammed. If they are on the left, they may believe that it is “scientific,” in which case they will cite the behavior of animals or the work of Darwin.

It is all simply a justification for men’s violence toward women and girls. There is no “natural order” that must propogate the human race or that makes rape, as the Christian leader of the Republican Party, Paul Ryan once put it, “a method of conception.”

This fundamental belief that it is normal for men to stick their dicks in women and girls and to harm us in other ways, as well, is absorbed by the victims, women and girls, in patriarchy, who are truly bound in a state of mass Stockholm Syndrome.

The right-wing women are loving males to survive. They usually have husbands and sons or they have other males in their families they feel they must defend from the “evil,” “plotting,” “feminist,” “lying” women who dare say they have been harmed by males.

They’re a lot like Melania Trump, who right now has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. I felt her panic when I saw the two interviews she did after her husband was exposed on tape talking about sexual assault, ie. “grab ’em by the pussy,” but he’s got her all tied up the way men always tie women up before they do other things, the most brutal and horrific things – she’s controlled by economics, by a lack of money, by a fear of homelessness and probably of her parents’ homelessness (since the former Soviets now live in Trump Towers, according to reports). How terrified she must be to be married to a man accused by so many credible women of sexual assault and rape. His first wife stated under oath in an affidavit that he pulled her hair and raped her. Think how frightening it must be to be in this situation as the third wife! Outside, she is going nowhere, she’s “standing by her man,” but on the inside she’s running for her life right now!

Right-wing women and left-wing women all absorb the deeply ingrained belief that women and girls exist for men to do evil to.  Both love men to survive in one way  or another. They completely absorb the belief that they deserve it to be done to them. This is how they justify sexual assault, porn, and prostitution. Sometimes we justify it this way even when these things are happening to us, ourselves, as individuals. We hope the world is different – that there is one man who is different. But, there isn’t. No matter what they say to us, they all hold the same fundamental belief that we exist for their pleasure – to have dominion over, as the earth – to use, to destroy if they wish and we have no recourse except to take it because it is our lot in life. They believe we like it. “You like that, don’cha?” they often say while they are beating, raping and killing us. They laugh while they rape us because torturing and murdering us isn’t just a thousands-years old belief, it’s their joie de vivre and their raison d’être.

I remember being told when I was 13-years old and didn’t want to go out with a boy (I wasn’t allowed to date ’til 16, anyway) that I “deserve whatever happens to me.” That statement from a faceless boy still echoes in my mind especially because so many terrible things have happened to me and no one cared. There was not even anyone to tell. Only recently have some of these things been considered crimes, at all.

I understand and I want you, the reader, to understand that all the terrible things that males have done to you, they have done because they hold this fundamental belief that men harming women is the natural order – it is “god’s will” or it is “how the species propagates itself,” depending on the politics and religious views of the male. Women who persecute you have absorbed this belief, as well.

But, this is not why we are here. We were all born for greater things. (This is Luciferian philosophy, similar to that which you’ll find in the works of Madame Blavatsky, that we are capable of super human greatness.) We are something other than animals. We are spirits (complex energy operating simultaneously on other planes of existence) who are capable of amazing things.

I do not expect that the men and boys who do these things to us will ever be made to pay for their crimes and I do believe that the only way to eradicate the practice of males harming women and girls is to eliminate the males, entirely. This belief that we are here for them to harm is so great in them and runs so deep that it will never be eradicated from them because it is who and what they are. They are forever mortal enemies to us. They serve no purpose except to pollute and to make war and misery for women and girls. They are nothing but poisonous weeds in what could be a beautiful garden.

My Commentary on the “Just Want Privacy” Press Conference Held in Tacoma, Washington in June 2016

I mentioned the video of the June 2016 “Just Want Privacy” Women’s Press Conference in the previous blogpost. It is posted, again, below. The subject of the conference is legislation allowing men into women’s and girl’s locker rooms, restrooms, and changing rooms, which have previously been legally protected safe spaces for women and girls. The legal protection of our rights to privacy and the provision of some legal protection against predatory males has been greatly eroded in many places in the U.S. The Seattle area almost seems to have been a testing ground for this, which is why U-dub in Tacoma is an especially good choice for a place to hold a women’s conference on this matter.

This was a press conference, so it seems safe to assume that the purpose was to obtain some publicity for this problem. Maybe this is why they did not escort those disrupting the event out of the small conference room. I guess it would look bad to someone whose sympathies they wish to gain through this conference. Women being called bigots and being scapegoated for the fictional mass murders of homosexual men in Orlando, Florida may feel that they have to be careful about not looking like thugs by ejecting men who are yelling over them while they try to speak.

I have a different perspective. I think it is good to narrow our audience and control our audience when we speak. Hitler – a highly effective persuasive speaker , a fact well-borne out by history – would never have permitted himself to be interrupted like this. When we don’t eject these men and their female enablers, we appear weak. That, again, is my non-liberal perspective. I’m not from that part of the U.S., which has always been a strange haven for liberals – liberals who hate American Indians, which I know about from my parents’ experiences living there many years ago. My red-skinned father experienced, as did my very pale-faced mother, some surprising hostility from otherwise very civilized, very kind people. But, this is how liberalism is – it’s a cult. It’s sort of a club with a hierarchical order with the interests of white males right at the top and women at the very bottom.

This press conference was very good and the women managed to get in a few good points, although nothing new – nothing we haven’t all talked about before. But, this conference would have been far more effective and the women could have communicated what they had to say far more persuasively if they had not been constantly interrupted.

There is no point in talking to men. There is no point in trying to persuade our enemy, who rapes and kills us, who tortures and torments us constantly from birth ’til death, that he should be respectful of us. It looks like the height of absurdity to me when I see women doing this because I know how sick and violent men are!

We are not the mothers of these men. If we were there mothers, we should renounce our motherhood! The only people we need to convince of anything are ourselves. The enemy and his supporters should be excluded. Those disrupting should be ejected and not kindly, not asked to leave, but forcefully and violently ejected. It can be done in a way that the complainant looks like a pathetic whiner who is just stirring up trouble, which is what he is. Men do this to us all the time! They violently exclude us and then pretend we are just troublemakers trying to ruin their good reputations. We are well-acquainted with how it is done. There is no reason not to use this tactic on our enemies.

A conference of women should be about women and women’s interests and include only women. Men are not women. Men can never be women. Therefore, men are not allowed to attend. If a man is found, he is forcefully ejected. If his balls get in a twisted bind or his shoulder gets fractured on the way out the door or on that third or fourth bounce on the concrete, well… accidents happen.

I hope the next women’s conference I see anywhere excludes men and male-centered women who only come to cause trouble. Nobody else would put up with something like this. Why would women think we are expected to?

arsch-trettenAsk yourself this: When you’ve been called slut and whore since you were a little child and you are called SWERF and TERF and bigot and racist for simply existing now, then what have you got to lose?! Men already think we are lower than animals. If they get ejected from a meeting for disrupting it and subsequently get their asses kicked in a dark parking lot, how is this going to change anything? It won’t. We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by kicking the bastards out.

Here’s the video, again:

 

Radical Feminist Analysis of Dark Shadows, the Television Series (1966-1971)

Spoiler Alert: This analysis of Dark Shadows assumes familiarity with the series and does contain all kinds of suspense-wreckers. 

ds2Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. It began as a conventional soap opera with only ina hint of the occult. The writers and producers of this series relied heavily on classical literary themes. Throughout the series, the writers borrow from Oscar Wilde, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe and a long list of others, which you can read about at this Wikia article.

The series creator and producer, Dan Curtis, has said that the idea for the series came to him in a dream of a young women riding a train, which is what is seen in the opening scene, in which Victoria Winters has been hired as a governess by the Collins family of mysterious Collinsport, Maine, a fictional town situated not far from Bangor. The train is taking her into an adventure – a young woman’s adventure, which is very much like Jane Eyre’s adventure in the novel of the same name by Charlotte Bronte.

But, there is another theme, a much older fictional story used in this series, which has to do with a curse placed upon a man and his descendants by a woman. It is the theme of the Biblical Garden of Eden story. This is the central theme underlying the best years of this series, which are those in which the character Barnabas Collins, the vampire, was introduced. It is not listed in the Wikia article I linked to above, perhaps because it is such an ancient theme, one that is taken for granted, and one that is not believed (especially by men) to be fiction, but is taken as the god’s honest truth for it was written, it is said by the believers, by the hand of God Himself – woman as temptress, responsible for the downfall of the first man and all his descendants. She is to blame, never the man, who would be good and not a seducing, murdering vampire, except for her going about the world tempting him to do evil all the time. She, not he, is the cause of all misery.

This part of the series does not begin right away. In the beginning, there was a young woman from an orphanage, Victoria Winters, who accepted a job offer from a mysterious family, one heretofore unknown to her. Ever in search of her true heritage, lonely and without any connection to anyone else in the world just like all the other children in the orphanage, she set out on a train in hopes of reconnecting with some sort of family. She came to find the only family she would ever know. Although, the boy she is assigned as governess to is odd and perhaps even dangerous. He leads her down dark, forbidden corridors, locks her in rooms with spiders and ghosts, and is suspected, at one point, of attempting to kill his own father. But, this is her only sense of connection and so it is easy to see why she stays on in this place. Like many women, she stays because she has no where else in the world to go.

I loved the first season of this series, although, by the end of it, its audience of mostly young women – not a highly desirable advertising demographic back in the 1960s, as they are today – was waning and the writers and producer were desperate to save the show. It was their desperation that led to the introduction of the vampire character, Barnabas Collins, played by a Shakespearean theater actor from Ontario named Jonathan Frid.

I have the feeling that the writers never really knew what they were doing right or wrong. They never really understood the appeal of the show, itself, and many times the actors have expressed their own amazement at the extremes of passion the show inspired in its dedicated fan base. They knew the show was unusual and they were part of something very remarkable, but they never really understood why it worked, either. This fact became a problem for the writers by the end of the series because they didn’t just run out of literary themes to borrow, they completely lost their grip on what made this show so appealing. My diagnosis is that this show finally died, in 1971, of testosterone poisoning. They had too many male characters fighting with each other over nothing and major, very popular female characters, playing damsels in distress wondering when their heroes, the newcomer males who became the primary characters, would return home to sweep them off their feet. This is not what their primarily female audience wanted to see and this is why the show finally died a slow death as the audience waned year after year.

But, in the first year, there was a very good balance of characters and a strong focus on the lives of the female characters. The male characters were secondary, especially to the intrepid, highly intelligent, very likable heroine, Victoria Winters. Even now – and, in fact, it is actually worse now – it is difficult to find a television program that centers on a female character and treats her with some respect. In the first season of the show, this series had four such female characters: Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke Isles, a blue-blood from Sweden); Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott); Carolyn Stoddard (Nancy Barrett); and Mrs. Stoddard (Joan Bennett, a legendary actress of the silver screen).

Dark Shadows Before the Arrival of Barnabas Collins

Even before the series took off, it was very good and quite different from other programs in its class because of its infusion of metaphysical ideas, even though they were only hinted at in a Radcliffian way, at first. There were doors that seemed to open and close by themselves, which might be explained by an old house that has settled. There were strange murmurings in the corridors, which were explained away by the residents as the noises made by old houses with creaking floorboards and loose mortar. There were voices on the wind at Widows Hill, which was the residents joked about to mask their discomfort.

What made the show good throughout most of its life is that it seems clear that someone behind the scenes had a genuine interest in the occult. It’s a feeling I’ve had about only a very few other television shows (or movies, for that matter) I’ve seen. Dark Shadows seems to have laid the groundwork for these other programs during the 1970s, which some people call the Satanic years because there were so many shows with occult themes – many of which were remarkably good and make modern television programming look extremely pathetic and simple-minded by contrast. One of those old series was Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975). It is my opinion that whoever wrote that series had a serious interest in the occult. Some people have called it the predecessor of the X-files, but it was, in fact, much better and took the occult much more seriously.  (I hated the X-files!) There was a weekly series of made-for-television movies whose themes frequently explored the occult and Satanism, as well. It was called “The ABC Movie of the Week.” One of the films in that series, The Devil’s Daughter (1973), featured Jonathan Frid.

Another fascinating aspect of Dark Shadows, which makes it more interesting than most television programming, is that it was usually filmed in one straight shot, one roll of the camera, without stopping. It cost the studio a large sum every time the cameras had to be stopped and re-started. For this reason, despite any mistakes, mis-speaking of lines, forgotten lines, tripping, flies in the room crawling on the actors’ faces, loud crashing objects, crew members and sometimes actors accidentally walking into a scene, inexplicable shadows created by microphones and lighting equipment, the microphones themselves appearing in some shots, very bad – hilariously bad! – special effects, and so on, the cameras kept on rolling.

Many of the actors came from the live stage. The cast of Dark Shadows was much more like a live theater troupe than a television soap opera cast. As I watch this show, even so many years later and in black and white, I still have the feeling that I am watching a live theatrical production of the kind that is performed off Broadway in New York City. Furthermore, there was very little editing done before the program ran live on air, usually within a few hours, within a day, or at most within a week of the original filming of the episode.

Dark Shadows, also, differs from almost anything else that’s ever run on television because unlike Leave It to Beaver or Happy Days, it showed, as horror often does, a more realistic view of life. The characters are all troubled in some way or another. Most are victims of fate. They are often constrained by the social order and by the limitation of their status within it. Most of all, the characters are aware of a reality that differs from that presented in the world outside of the town of Collinsport. The center of this activity is, of course, Collinwood, the manor house, its other old structures, its grounds and, naturally, the old family cemetery.

Victoria Winters

rogerandcarolynFrom the beginning, Dark Shadows, hints at secrets, at the idea that we are not being told the truth about important matters. There are many mysteries surrounding the characters. The first mystery revolves around Victoria Winters, who presents a sharp contrast to Carolyn Stoddard, not only in her serious, conservative manner of dress but in her personality, which is often somber. Vickie never laughs quite as gaily as Carolyn does. Vickie has always had to earn her way, unlike Carolyn. There is a stark contrast between this lonely girl with no known family and the Collins family, who revel in their legacy and their heritage. Many early episodes involve her trying to discover her parentage, which she feels certain is connected with Collinwood.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s and, in fact, until the popular commercial availability of the video cassette recorder (VCR), whenever something played on television, you had better pay attention because you may never see it, again. Many fans who missed Episode 97, wondered about the true identity of Victoria Winters, so much so that after the series had ended, Joan Bennett made a video telling fans of the show, as Mrs. Stoddard, “Indeed, Victoria Winters was my daughter.”

It was in Episode 97 that we began to piece together that Mrs. Stoddard was impregnated by a butler at the manor named B. Hanscom. This would have happened before she married Mr. Stoddard, who was the father of her daughter Carolynn. She might have been quite young when this happened. We are left to guess about that. Her brother had been away at school during this time and the baby girl was sent off to a foundling home. In the years afterward, Mrs.Stoddard sent her a little money every month before she invited her to come and be the governess to David.

Now, this may seem very cruel and, of course, it is, but it is a reflection of how life really was for women not long ago. In fact, I know people that something very similar to this happened to. If a young girl was impregnated, there was no possibility of abortion, and she was forced to bear the child in secrecy and then it would be sent to an orphanage or put up for adoption.

We  never know what happened to B. Hanscom, only that a relative of his from a painting which looks a lot like Victoria Winters, left town and was not heard from, again. It is possible that the butler, having raped a young member of the household, went on the lamb or perhaps he was dealt with in some other way. We don’t know and this storyline, itself, is so scandalous that it is only hinted at in Episode 97. The scandalousness of it is further enhanced by the elevated social status of the Collins family. The family still derives its income from a fishing and canning business and such a scandal might have proved disastrous for the family business and their reputation.

Many other mysteries surround Mrs. Stoddard. She rarely leaves the house and she has not left the property in 18 years. Her daughter Carolyn is probably a little under 18-years old when the series begins. We learn that her father ran off and left her and her mother when Carolyn was a newborn.

Mrs. Elizabeth Stoddard

Mrs. Stoddard is the most powerful character of all in this first season.  (In the years afterward and especially in its last seasons, the show takes a lot of twists and turns, for instance, exploring less occult and more sci-fi tyes of themes, and introducing many new characters by the end of the series. By that time, the male characters are the most powerful, also, the most cruel and inhuman.)

Mrs. Stoddard is well-respected and has the ability to inspire great loyalty in the men who work for her, especially Bill Malloy, who is the manager of the Collins cannery and fishing fleet and Matthew, the groundskeeper. Both of these men are so loyal to her, in fact, that they would kill just to protect her from mental distress. When an enemy of the family turns up and tries to buy the workers in the Collins’ cannery, the men who work there refuse on the grounds that Mrs. Stoddard has provided them with steady, well-paid work for so long. Their loyalty stems from self-interest surrounding finances, but it is, also, suggested by Carolyn that Mr. Malloy might have a secret crush on her mother.

Mrs. Stoddard is the beneficiary of a fortunate birth in a fortunate time in which she is able to inherit her family’s wealth alongside her brother, Roger (played by Louis Edmonds). She may have inherited the greater part of the family’s fortune along with the responsibilities of running the family business since she seems to be a little older and more responsible than her brother. It is she who owns the house and the grounds and Collinwood. It is she who runs the business and provides her brother, who squandered his fortune, with both a job and a place to live. She wields the most power in the house and has the final say in all business and financial matters concerning the family’s assets.

But there are problems that go along with living in the “house on the hill,” which is coveted by almost every friend or foe of the family. There is a combination of respect and resentment toward Mrs. Stoddard from the townsfolk. Both Mrs. Stoddard and her daughter, Carolyn, are subject to predators and con men. In Mrs. Stoddards’ case, she has been conned by a team of con men involving her husband and his friend, Jason McGuire, who has been blackmailing her for years. When he comes back to town and tries to force her into a marriage against her will, we finally learn the truth along with Mrs. Stoddard, who for 18 years feared leaving the grounds because she had been convinced that she murdered her abusive husband and buried in a room in the cellar. But, there is no body in the cellar and her husband was never dead.

Carolyn Stoddard

Carolyn Stoddard is probably my favorite character in this first year. One of the reasons I like this character so much is because she is truly dynamic. She is young and has to grow up fast because of the goings on at Collinwood, which are both mundane and metaphysical in nature. Carolyn is very isolated. She has no social equal in Collinsport. She and her mother have been the subject of ridicule by Carolyn’s childhood peers, who laughed at the witch who never leaves the creepy, old haunted house on the hill.

Carolyn’s singular social status is a gilded cage. Although, Collinwood is no palace. It’s more like a large, ornate, Gothic-style tomb. It is dark, cold, and foreboding. Young, vivacious, golden-haired Carolyn, the contemporary teen, is a contrast to the stagnant timelessness and decay of Collinwood. When the series begins she is a mirror contrast to her secret half-sister, Victoria Winters, who dresses plainly, much like a librarian, and as suits her station as the governess to Roger’s son, David. Carolyn giggles like a common teenager. Her wardrobe vacillates between conservative classical styles and contemporary teen-aged styles with peg-leg pants, striped shirts, and sneakers.

The only “action” (a popular variety show followed Dark Shadows in 1966, called “Where the Action Is,” which featured acts like Hermans Hermits, Dick Clark, and Paul Revere and the Raiders) in Collinsport for young people is at the Blue Whale, a local watering hole featuring trademark rock ‘n’ roll music and a dance floor.

I don’t know what bars and taverns were like back in the 1960s in New England. In my time and in my part of the country, bars are not frequented by decent folks. (This may be regional. My grandfather was a tavern-owner and I was told that this fact may have been the source of some very nasty and perverse town rumors about me when I was a child. In very religious areas of the country like where I live, bars, taverns and the people who frequent them are looked down upon as sinners.) In the early episodes, we often see Carolyn dancing with men at the Blue Whale, often while her boyfriend, Joe, looks on in exasperation.

From the beginning Carolyn seems a little angry to me. Although, this character can certainly be read all kinds of different ways, which makes her all the more interesting. For instance, Joe and Burke Devlin describe her attitude as being one of “the belle of the ball.” Burke, a man old enough to be her father, seems to take some sort of satisfaction in taking her down a few notches in his quest for revenge against his rival Roger Collins and the entire Collins family.

Joe is frustrated that Carolyn won’t behave the way he thinks she should. Mrs. Stoddard wants Carolyn to marry Joe and he, also, seems to have nuptial intentions. Joe is favored by Mrs. Stoddard because, although he is a have-not, he is a hard worker with ambitions of buying his own fishing boat. It’s interesting that with all the Collins’ money, her mother never once suggests that she go away to study for a career, perhaps to take over the family business, at a nice university. Of course, if Carolyn went away to school, we wouldn’t have this interesting set of story lines surrounding her.

Like other fictional stories, the plot(s) relies on circumstances and actions that most sensible people would find a logical way around, but if we did without these things, all of which are a tutorial in how to complicate your life, then we wouldn’t have an interesting story. Examples of silly plot devices, which are a lesson in how not to live your life if you want to avoid complications, include basic things, such as, not:

  • Answering the door to anyone and everyone who knocks, without even bothering to inquire who it is
  • Answering the telephone every single time it rings
  • Accepting rides from men you barely know, don’t know at all, or whom you know well enough to know that they are hostile to your interests
  • Accepting invitations to the hotel rooms of men who fit any of the above descriptions and/or, also, have a criminal record
  • Visiting crumbling, apparently abandoned structures, especially alone at night
  • Visiting men, known or unknown to you, in a wide variety of other potentially deadly circumstances
  • Talking to the cops – ever

The women of Collinsport rarely, if ever, hesitate to do any of these things. They, also, fail to arm themselves in any way, no matter how frightened they become. Although, on, at least, two occasions Carolyn does threaten a couple of potential rapists with Uncle Roger’s revolver, which is kept in a drawer in the Drawing Room that is easily accessible by anyone.

carolynandjoanIf Carolyn is resistant to an eligible young suitor of her own age, she has very good reasons. After all, she is is young, has experienced nothing of what the world has to offer, and she is the daughter of a mother who was abandoned by her own husband, so she has a good reason to be leery of men. So, does her mother. Despite this, Mrs. Stoddard tries to push Carolyn together with Joe. She tells her that marrying Joe is an opportunity to escape this dark tomb, which is her ancestral home  – but, to what? What would Carolyn’s life have been like had she married poor, but ambitious and very blue-collar Joe?

Carolyn’s status and station in life, not to mention her lifestyle, would probably suffer quite a bit, if she married Joe. It’s easy to picture her living in a modest house with plaid, cotton curtains in the kitchen, standing over a hot stove, looking frumpy and frazzled while Joe is off conquering the world in his fishing boat and taking accolades from his buddies for having landed the rich shrew, the blonde whore in the haunted house on the hill, who is simultaneously coveted, envied, and hated.  There is still a lingering suspicion that Joe is a gold-digger, too. By marrying Carolyn, he would improve his station in life and, eventually, his finances to a very great degree. He would, also, be privy to the privilege and power the Collins family enjoys in the city founded by their own ancestors.

He would gain and she would lose by this union, as is traditionally the case for women in marriage. This must be in her mind, these images and these suspicions, along with all the whisperings from the have-nots in the town, which go on behind her back, but which she is yet acutely, unceasingly aware of. This is why I see Carolyn as angry. She has a good reason to be angry, anyway. Behind the facade of well-learned upper-class, long-suffering smiles and careless, girlish giggles, these things seem to be on her mind.

So, she resists Joe in rebellion against her mother and her mother’s ways. Instead, she embraces an enemy of the family, Burke Devlin, a man old enough to be her father, who spent five years in prison for manslaughter. But, Devlin isn’t a realistic suitor and, therefore, presents no real threat to her future. Devlin is both worldly and wealthy – unlike young, poor, uneducated Joe who knows only his trade.

Carolyn romanticizes Burke Devlin until she realizes that he really is trying to use her to harm her family. This reaches fever pitch when David’s mother, Laura, a witch who has a relationship to the mythical phoenix, returns to take him away. We learn that Burke Devlin may be David’s biological father, rather than Roger. Burke Devlin throws Carolyn over for Laura, but Carolyn doesn’t really begin to change until her mother becomes gravely ill with a condition the allopaths cannot diagnose or treat. At this point, Carolyn is must assume her mother’s responsibilities over the family’s assets.

Even Uncle Roger is forced to acknowledge her supremacy in the house as her mother’s heir. She decides to employ a parapsychologist, who uses a seance in order to learn the truth of her mother’s illness, which is, of course, the result of black magic perpetrated by Laura.

When Laura dies, Mrs. Stoddard recovers, but Carolyn is much different for this experience. She is changed in ways that Burke Devlin and Joe clearly do not understand, only seeing her in the ways the men see women, as objects devoid of individuality or humanity which are to be used as a means to an end. Devlin used Carolyn and Joe tried to – and in the next season when we go back in time, we see what Joe’s character is probably really like beneath the facade. He is, in fact, a gold-digger.

After this experience, Carolyn seems to lose her interest in men. From that point forward, we see that she understands how she is perceived by them and realizes the limitations of any relationship she might have with them, with the exceptions of the males in her immediate family – Uncle Roger and Cousin David. The only time she displays any interest in men is when she is trying to impress a point upon her mother or to obtain information, in which case, she uses her appearance and innuendo to manipulate the men by means of their mental weaknesses. In another instance, she is attacked by the vampire and becomes his unwilling servant.

Carolyn Stoddard may be the closest thing to a radical feminist in this show. Mrs Stoddard is a very powerful woman, but she still trusts men far too much, as evidenced by her faith in Joe. On the other hand, Carolyn sees the writing on the wall after what happened with Burke Devlin, who lied to her and used her, almost to the peril of her mother’s death. She is never the same after this experience. She is a quick learner. It would be good for all of us if we could study men so quickly and come to this conclusion at a young age.

Maggie Evans

beginnMaggie Evans is the first friend Victoria Winters made when she got off the train at Collinsport. Maggie works in the diner at the only (apparently) hotel in town. She serves up coffee, pie and gossip and may be seen as a mirror contrast to Carolyn Stoddard. Maggie, Carolyn and Vickie Winters are all about the same age. But, Maggie and Carolyn are never really friends, mostly because they never really cross paths with each other since they are in two very opposite social classes.

Maggie is a have-not from the town, whose mother is dead and whose father is a guilt-ridden, alcoholic, impoverished artist. Their relationship represents a role reversal in which she is more the parent and he is more like a child. They live in a simple, modest home. When Maggie is done working at the diner, she has to come home and prepare dinner for her Pop.

When Joe can’t land Carolyn, Maggie is his natural source of solace. Although, she has a good-heart, generally, she still assigns some unkind characteristics to Carolyn Stoddard and the entire Collins family. The source of this seems to be envy, since she does not really know Carolyn or her family.

Joe and Maggie are a much more likely match. Maggie can even recite all the different types of ships that sail on the high seas and she seems like a girl who bathes with plain soap and water and wears cotton dresses and sensible shoes. She is pretty, but not glamorous. She’s the kind of girl men marry, whereas Carolyn is the kind of girl men fuck and fuck over. This contrast between the two is very easy to spot.

A similar contrast between Carolyn and Vickie seems to exist, too, and eventually it is solid, practical Vickie that Burke Devlin proposes marriage to.

Overall, what I love about this series, especially this first year, is the focus on the female characters, especially the three younger ones. There is, also, the almost constant dark, moodiness of the show, which is only briefly relieved by the rock ‘n’ roll music at the Blue Whale. Despite all the horrors, there is something reassuring about it. It is some how gratifying to know that other people, perhaps these writers, do not see the world through rose-tinted glasses.

To illustrate why I think this show is so comforting, consider what I said in my previous post about supposedly wholesome family shows treating evil actions by men as comedy. In Happy Days when two men terrorize women in their bedrooms in the middle of the night, it’s humor. In Dark Shadows, when a man enters a woman’s bedroom with ill-intent, it is taken as a serious offence. Other people are concerned. Even men appear concerned and show compassion toward the victim instead of treating the event as a joke. It’s a fact that men enter women’s bedrooms with bad intentions while we are sleeping, but, at least, in Dark Shadows the men are sorry, they feel remorse, or they are punished and it is seen as a horrible act by others, rather than something light-hearted, not to be taken seriously. When the women on this show are terrorized by men and monsters (often the same thing), it is treated as a serious problem.

Barnabas Collins

2barnsDespite how good this show was, it was beginning to lose its audience, and in an effort to save it from cancellation, they decided to introduce a vampire into the story. Originally, this story line was only going to last for about 10 weeks, but the television-viewing public loved Barnabas Collins, and perhaps Jonathan Frid as that character. This not only saved Dark Shadows from oblivion, but it turned the show into a modern pop cultural phenomenon.

To fill in the gaps regarding the story lines of the show, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Shadows_(televised_storylines)

Barnabas, while protecting his own interests, brings to an end many of the problems plaguing Mrs. Stoddard, including the intrusion of Jason McGuire’s sleazy friend, Willy Loomis, and he, also, unwittingly avenges her against her blackmailer, McGuire.

barnandbrideHe becomes fixated on Maggie Evans, who is a dead ringer for his 18th century bride, Josette. He bites her, abducts her, and holds her captive in a prison cell in the basement of the Old House. The episodes depicting Maggie’s imprisonment as Barnabas Collins are metaphoric to domestic abuse commonly experienced by women at the hands of ordinary men. Barnabas insists on her learning her place as his bride. He takes away her identity by dictating her hairstyle and her clothing and tries to convince her that she is someone else, a person with a different name: Josette Collins. (When this is done to prisoners of war, it’s called “brainwashing.”) When she resists, he tortures her. He threatens his servant, Loomis, when he tries to intercede on her behalf to keep him from killing her. When Maggie finally escapes, Barnabas calls her back to him and holds her captive, again, this time insistent that he will kill her if she does not conform to his ideals of how she should look and behave. (This is exactly how men treat women, especially women who look like the women in porn because we are expected to behave in specific ways that men expect from us, but which are not natural to female human beings. When we do not meet these expectations, they become violent and punishing.)

This is all a metaphor to marriage and the domestic abuse that commonly takes place in it in which women lose their identities, forget their former selves, their friends, and even their family as they become imprisoned and isolated by the men who claim, as Barnabas does, to love their victims. Women who fail to conform to the man’s expectations are brutalized until they are dead or lose control of their own minds. Attempts at escape fail because the abuser is never far behind and the victim is mentally and physically weakened, often through repeated rapes (metaphorically, the draining of her blood), which destroy her life force, which is the seat of the lower will (this is the physical aspect of the will as opposed to the mental will), rendering her unable to get power over her legs.This is a literal feeling that is experienced by victims after rape, which render us unable to run from our attackers. We are paralyzed not only by fear of further violence, but by this loss of energy, a condition not recognized by Western medicine, but understood in other systems of medicine (including American Indian and Chinese medicine).

When Loomis, now Barnabas’ unwilling servant, tries to warn Maggie, he is accused of entering her bedroom to harm her. He is arrested and physically and mentally incapacitated for a while. Eventually, Maggie Evans is driven mad by Barnabas and ends up in a sanitarium.

loveA psychiatric doctor, Julia Hoffman, tries to help her, however, she falls under Barnabas Collins’ spell, too. In brief, this story line, in which Barnabas repeatedly strangles Julia and eventually tries to kill her, yet Julia insists that he can be cured of his vampirism, illustrates women’s relentless faith in the possibility of redemption for men, despite the fact that they are attacking, abusing, and trying to kill us (and, in many cases, succeeding at this). Julia sticks by Barnabas, believing in his humanity despite every monstrous thing he does, every murder he commits, and every threat he poses to her own life. Julia might be considered as an example of a liberal feminist because she believes that if only the evil influences were removed from men (e.g. the white man’s racial oppression, the Jewish manipulation, the influence of porn, the influence of violent video games, and so on with excuses ad nauseam), they could be human, they could learn not to rape and kill women and girls. As a scientist and doctor, she is trained to look at the facts – or supposed to be, anyway – yet, she repeatedly ignores the evidence and all the facts where Barnabas is concerned.

The vampire’s thirst for blood is a metaphor for sex, according to Dark Shadows writer, Joseph Caldwell. But, this is only a man’s perspective because for the female victims of this “sex,” who are unwilling, who must be tricked, cornered and trapped, placed in a trance, essentially drugged by the vampire’s bite, and who, if they survive the attack, are rendered weak and unable to act normally, under their own power, this is not “sex,” at all – it is rape. So, the vampire is a metaphor, instead, for the rapist. His blood drinking is a metaphor for his theft of women’s life force by means of rape. This may be why vampire movies, and horror movies, in general are almost therapeutic for victims of rape and other forms of male violence. Watching them is a way of coping with real-life horror, which is far, far worse than anything these writers could dream up in their fictional worlds. But, you can see how this horrific male violence against women is trivialized by men, in the words of one of the writers, himself – it’s sex. It is representative of eroticism rather than unspeakable – literally unspeakable – deadly, every day, as common as oxygen, male violence against women and girls. The vampire, like the rapist, has some control over who he attacks and when he attacks them. He only attacks when he knows he’s likely to get away with it. He seeks out the most vulnerable victims and those with whom he has developed a sick obsession. The vampire is a stalker, a pre-meditated sexual predator. He has the power to drive his victims insane or, at least, to make them appear crazy. The vampire, like the rapist, destroys his victims lives, murdering their spirits without completely killing their bodies. The rapist, like the vampire, appears as a gentleman, sometimes he’s a member of your own family – at the very least he appears normal and you never know he’s a vampire until that moment when he first tries to kill you. Furthermore, if you try to tell anyone that he is, in fact, a vampire (or a rapist), no one will believe you. They never do until maybe after there is a long trail of bloody victims and it’s far too late.

Still liberal feminists, like Dr. Hoffman, believe in redemption for metaphoric vampires. Julia gives up her paid work, her entire career, in fact, to help Barnabas, to serve him at her own expense and at great risk of physical danger (Barnabas is a classic domestic abuser), to redeem him, to gain his love (an illusion, since he’s a demon in the flesh), to cure him, to make him like herself, to mold him in her own image of humanity and compassion. So, she protects him. She lies for him. She covers up his crimes. She works side by side with him, imagining that he is or could be her equal and, all the while, he is only using her for his own secret, evil motivations. Is this not the very picture of a liberal feminist?!

The story of the return of Barnabas Collins from the grave is the subject of, at least, two movies, one of which I recommend and the other I cannot. The movie, House of Dark Shadows (1970), reprised this story line pretty faithfully, although more succinctly and more graphically. Some horror fans say that this was the best vampire movie of the 1970s. I wouldn’t go that far (I have other favorites – one obscure one, but I like it better, is called “The Vampire,” which starred Richard Lynch), but I definitely recommend it. Fairly recently (2012), there was an unfortunate remake by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, called simply “Dark Shadows,” which I cannot recommend, unless you just want an excuse to throw things at your television screen. In the video, below, the vampire movie reviewer, Maven of the Eventide, explains everything that went stupidly wrong with this film. It’s far better than the movie, itself:

Genesis: The Return to the Year 1795

This is the final major story line of the series that I will address in this post. There are many more, but this one explains the mysterious legacy of the Collins family, its ghosts, the family vampire, and other unusual occurrences surrounding them. It is a revelation of the genesis of the vampire.

This story line is initiated by a seance, which is being held in the drawing room of the manor at Collinwood with the aim of contacting the spirit of a little 8-year old girl in period clothing, who first appears to play with David. She is soon seen by other members of the household. They believe that Sarah may be able to provide them with information about the strange things that are going on.

Every time a seance is held at Collinwood – and they hold quite a few, which is absolutely delightful! – it seems that Victoria Winters has some kind of classic trance mediumship experience. In one instance, the spirit of Josette speaks through her in her native French language, even though Vickie does not speak French. On another occasion, she experiences what Josette Collins experienced emotionally and visually the night she went over the edge of the cliff at Widow’s Hill.

On this occasion, something more surprising happens: Vickie goes into a trance and collapses. When she is roused, we see that it is no longer Victoria Winters sitting at the table, but another woman who is from another time, as evidenced by the fact that she is wearing period clothing. In the present time, Victoria Winters is only gone for only a few minutes. But, she has traveled back in time to to Collinwood in the year 1795 and what takes place then encompasses a long series of thrilling episodes – in my opinion, the very best of the entire series.

Victoria Winters has traded places with the 18th century governess for the little girl, Sarah. When she arrives at the door of the Old House, she is dressed in contemporary 1967 clothing and carrying a large book, which contains the modern record of the Collin’s family history. She is greeted by Jeremiah Collins,  who looks just like her recently deceased fiance, Burke Devlin (now played for some time by a different actor, Anthony George).

When she arrives in 1785, we see that all of the actors are playing characters that are either complementary to or in contrast to their 20th century ones. For instance, Louis Edmonds (Uncle Roger) is now playing the role of the stern and powerful old family patriarch, Joshua Collins, whose portrait is hung over the mantle in the drawing room. We see that Joan Bennet (Mrs.Elizabeth Stoddard) is playing the role of Joshua’s demure, powerless wife. Although Barnabas Collins is the original Barnabas, he is their son. He is betrothed to Josette duPres (Cathryn Scott Leigh, who plays Maggie Evans in the 20th century), a titled French noblewoman, whose arrival with her entourage is anxiously awaited.

On this same day, they are, also, expecting the new governess, however, when Victoria Winters arrives at the door, confused and wearing strange clothing, she is quickly accused by Abigail Winters (Clarice Blackburn, who played the Collin’s housemaid, previously), the sister of Joshua and Jeremiah Collins, of being a witch. It is she who calls in the terrifying witch finder, Reverend Trask (played by Jerry Lacy, who previously played a 20th century lawyer), who terrorizes Vickie by tying her to a tree to determine whether or not she is a witch. Afterward, she is imprisoned and put on trial for witchcraft.

In fact, many strange things are happening at Collinwood, which are, indeed, the work of a witch, however, it not Victoria Winters, but Angelique Bouchard (Lara Parker), who is the servant of Josette duPres, a member of her entourage who all arrived on the same day as Vickie. Angelique is the poor daughter of a Voodoo priestess from the island of Martinique.

cd4f1e6006e320c96ff425199d01ddf3Soon after the arrival of the entourage, we see a revelatory scene between Angelique and Barnabas, in which we learn that during the course of his courtship of Josette, which began at Martinique, he toyed with the affections of the servant girl. While Josette is a woman of a class, at least, equal to his own (she is titled, however, and this is controversial, especially to these American revolutionaries), he is tempted, perhaps by the power imbalance, itself, to seduce Angelique. Men tend to do these things when they think they can get away with them and they choose situations in which there is a great power imbalance. The power imbalance seems to be some sort of aphrodisiac!

He wants to keep this indiscretion between the two of them. Above all, he does not want Josette to find out. Naturally, Angelique is upset by being used and cast aside. But, far from being the powerless servant girl Barnabas thought she was, she turns out to be in possession of a very powerful occult knowledge and force.

If Barnabas had chosen to have an illicit affair with a common, powerless servant, then there would be no story here. She would have gone away quietly, without any other options. But, Angelique is resolute and determined to get what Barnabas promised her. She wants to be his wife. So, she begins to manipulate the residents and other guests of Collinswood by means of witchcraft.

In his own mind, his mistake was not so much deceiving a servant girl, but deceiving one who turned out to be a witch! This idea is repeated quite often by him. He blames Angelique for cursing him to become a vampire, so that whoever he loves he must kill. He never once blames himself for his own unethical actions against her. He only blames her and, in fact, everyone in this story who knows the secret of the curse blames Angelique. Furthermore, Angelique only placed this terrible curse on him after he shot and mortally wounded her! Still, he rages at Angelique, never seeing his own role in his downfall.

After Barnabas is bitten by a bat, initiating the vampire curse, he falls ill and doctors suspect it is the plague. His father Joshua insists on keeping his death a secret and he is placed in a coffin in a secret room of the family mausoleum. It is falsely written in the family history that Barnabas went away to England. It turns out that many things written in the history are wrong.

During the course of this story line, a rogue soldier named Nathan Forbes (Joel Crothers, who played Joe) courts Millicent Collins (Nancy Barrett who plays Carolyn Stoddard), who is a wealthy heiress. Millie marries the fortune-hunter, Forbes, but before she does, she signs all her wealth over to her younger brother Daniel (David Henesy, who played Cousin David). When Forbes learns about this he drives her insane and plans to kill Daniel in an effort to gain control of her fortune.

Soon after, Barnabas Collins goes on a rampage, murdering and terrorizing into insanity the members of his own family before his father finally chains him into his coffin in the secret room of the mausoleum. Only Joshua and David survive to become the roots of the modern Collins family tree.

Simultaneously, Victoria Winters is still on trial for witchcraft. Despite the best efforts of her defense team, she is unable to successfully defend herself against Reverend Trask’s charges and is hanged. At the moment of her death, her spirit is transported back to modern day Collinsport and the original governess is hanged in her place.

This story line is a kind of Garden of Eden theme telling the origins of man/vampire, in which Angelique represents a forbidden temptation, woman, who is the cause of all of mankind’s suffering. It is a spin on one of men’s oldest surviving works of fiction, Genesis.

The results of this original work of horror fiction, Genesis, are the centuries of men’s witch hunts against women and women’s culture, women’s science, women’s medicine, women’s ways, and women’s power.

Witchcraft and the women who practice it are a threat to the order of things, to men’s power, to the status quo, to man’s laws, and his conceptions of the world.

Being called a witch, being accused of sexual desires (even as children) and sexual offences, are matters that still hang over all our heads. Men are not sorry for the horrors they perpetrate against women. Furthermore, anytime men choose, they could begin the witch hunts, again. If a repeat of the so-called “Burning Times,” sounded far-fetched 20 years ago (and it did to me), it sounds much more plausible today. You need only look at the words of white supremacists online to see how much they hate white women, how they accuse us the same way they did centuries ago, to see how this happened in the past and how it could happen, again. Even as the white male entertains thoughts of reparations for black men, some of whom he enslaved long ago, he never gives one thought to the horrors he continues, to this very day, to perpetrate against the women who gave him life.

This last story line is not so much metaphorical as it is absolutely straightforward in its revelations of man’s inhumanity to woman and his continuing accusations against us along with his perpetual fear of our power and of what we will do to him once we get the upper hand. There will be Hell to pay – just as Barnabas paid for his crimes against the original woman of this story, Angelique, who set the rest of the family’s strange legacy in motion.

Was Angelique a Feminist?

angeliqueThe character, Angelique, possessed great strength and she was one of the most popular characters on the show. She was loved by many young girls in the mid-sixties, when feminism was experiencing a strong resurgence, who wished they had her power. Angelique had the power to confront and defeat men and, in fact, anyone else who got in her way. But, the character was not a feminist one by a long shot.

What makes Angelique a non-feminist is her obsession with a man, Barnabas. If she had used her power for herself, to better herself, to attain independence from men, then she could be seen as a feminist. But, Angelique was the opposite. She was both the temptress and the scapegoat, neither of which are positions of power.

As I pointed out in a previous post on the subject of witches in movies, it is almost always the case that women with power must use it to help men. Those who do this are the good witches like Samantha Stevens of Bewitched. But, those who use their power for their own ends, even when such use is perfectly justified, are the bad witches. Bad witches must be punished – they must die or they must be sent to an insane asylum. Angelique is an example of a particularly bad witch who is driven, not by a desire for power of self-improvement, but by the sexual desire for a man.

Could it be that Angelique wanted to marry Barnabas, which she did in the 1795 story line, in order to attain a position of social status? But, why does a witch need social status? Furthermore, if she wanted to attain such status, could she not find a way to achieve this without involving an obsession with the male form? I can think of half-a-dozen possibilities for doing so in a matter of seconds, all of which might have made a good storyline, but would not have suited this or any other fictional story written by men, to suit the ends of men, because it involves women doing things that do not revolve around men.

Men simply cannot stand this idea. That is why Angelique is not a feminist. She would never have been written as a feminist because in order for that to happen, she would have had to have a life and ambitions that revolved around something that wasn’t a man.

According to Lara Parker, in the video below, some young women in the 1960s seemed to be confused about what feminism is and mistook Angelique for a feminist role model. It’s safe to say that many – perhaps most – women (and virtually all men) are now more confused than ever about what it means to be a feminist. If Angelique could be considered a feminist, at all, she would have to be a liberal feminist (liberal feminists are far more liberal than they are feminist!) although they are no more feminist than Angelique because, like this character, they concentrate their efforts on changing men, on re-training men not to be rapists/monsters/vampires, on trying to re-socialize men and re-make them in their own image. Liberal feminists are nominative feminists only. It is easy to see how Angelique might be considered one of them, except that she was subject to a male power. She had a male overlord, who gave her the powers she had to do evil. Therefore, Angelique fails the test completely and could not really be considered any kind of feminist because, not only is she obsessed with a man, she is unable to act independently, under any power of her own.

 

Additional material:

Director, Lela Swift, discusses the supernatural themes of the show and the vampire’s mystique:

 

Three favorite cast members, Edmonds, Scott, and Frid, appear on Good Morning American to discuss Dark Shadows in 1987:

 

Television tropes in Dark Shadows: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/DarkShadows

 

Playboy, Child Pornography, the Kinsey Institute and the Sexual Grooming of Women and Little Girls

The purpose of this post is to demonstrate through the example of the Kinsey Institute how the entire society has been subjected to sex programming through the public schools and the media. It is to illustrate what I said in the last post, which is that we have all been intentionally subjected to sexual perversion since we were small children, which is designed to groom us and make us more accessible and open to violent perverts.  I call  this “sex programming” and I say it is the foundational mind control program.

In my previous post, I discussed how in recent decades – probably since the 1980s – the public has experienced a greater awareness of child abuse and, in particular, the sex abuse of children. We’ve, also, experienced a greater awareness about male violence against women, girls and sometimes boys in the home, which is euphemistically dubbed “domestic violence.” My main point in the previous post is that we are saturated with mind control programming, which begins at infancy, and that for little girls, in particular, the most basic and foundational kind of programming, that which is the basis of all the rest of it (including religious – “god” and “savior” programming) is sex programming. Such programming, especially when it is very institutionalized (such as in cults, but also in the broader culture, which is saturated with similar programming) precludes “choice,” because the girl does not have full ownership of her own mind. Furthermore, the programming is held in place by coercion, psychological abuse, sex abuse, other physical violence, and threats thereof.

The sex programming, itself, is very old – it is probably, at least, 5,000 years old – but it has become very much more institutionalized in the past few decades. Orthodox science, psychiatry and the media are complicit, as are the public schools.There is, also, the problem of religion – all religions, not just the three Abrahamic ones, but, also, Buddhism, Hinduism, and every religious system founded by men – all sexually perverted men who hate women and little girls. It is always men who create these systems with the aim of getting their hands on women and children to use for their perversions, as domestic servants, and as human livestock.

Men are sick. If you have, personally, been relentlessly subjected to their violence on the basis of your sex (and, if you are female, it is quite likely you have been – the only women who seem to escape this even a little bit are life-long lesbians), then I don’t have to tell you this. It is not a social problem. It is not just a few of them who are “sociopaths” or “psychopaths,” or “narcissists,” who are the problem. It is a mass effort on the part of males against women, effectively it is a thousands of years old war on the minds and bodies of little girls. The systems of violence against girls and women are created by men and are used to encourage the inherent sickness in other males.

They create porn, including child porn, they normalize it through various media and in the public schools with their “sex education,” which as you will learn in the video below came from the institutionalized sex perversion of Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his Kinsey Institute. The only “sex education” that children should ever be taught is abstinence, and males should be taught to keep their filthy hands and their dicks off of girls and women. They should be taught not to sexually abuse the other half of the population by any means, not to threaten, not to perpetrate violence on us. That should be the only “sex education.”

Quite by accident, I ran across this interview with a woman named Dr. Judith Reisman:

In the above interview, Dr. Reisman discusses the origins of modern institutionalized sex perversion in the U.S., which she says is the Kinsey Institute, founded by a zoologist named Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey. 

The title of the interview is “Kinsey Sex Report” because she talks about an app made by the Kinsey Institute that allows men to report their sexual experiences including rape of adult women and of children. There is no legal follow up – of course, this is in no way surprising because men raping, including child-raping, is institutionalized and law enforcement at every level is active in promoting it.

According to Dr. Reisman, the Kinsey Institute, a non-profit organization, is responsible for the implementation of “sex education” in public schools. She, also, says that they promote all manner of sexual perversion and violence against women and children through the media. (This is no surprise. If you just look at the example of one billionaire child-rapist like Jeffrey Epstein,  you will see that the perversion, which includes blackmail of politicians, military men (including pretty much every high-ranking colonel or other “elite” according to Kay Griggs), and other men (almost all men, as you know – women are not wanted and you can certainly see why when you realize the true nature of males) in strategic positions in society, runs from the bottom to the top and not just of the U.S. government (see the Franklin Scandal, for instance), but into world governments and  international organizations (like the Israeli Mossad, in the Epstein example, but the FBI, CIA, and Interpol have been implicated by various whistleblowers).

Many people, including many unsuspecting women, have been led to believe that soft-core porn is not really a problem. We are called prudes, religious zealots (hilarious!), right-wing conservatives (equally hilarious!), uptight, etc., whenever we reject pornography and especially when we reject the soft-core version of it, which is exemplified by Playboy Magazine. I mean, really, what’s so bad about Playboy – it’s just some artistic nudes, some “intellectual” articles, and a hilarious cartoon in a slick publication for men. Right?! Wrong.

Moreover, the problem is not an assault on the family and marriage, as the Christian right-wingers characterize it. Marriage, as Dr. Reisman mentions in the above video, is simply sanctioned male perversion.  Society says it’s acceptable for men to rape, abuse, and otherwise enslave women, as long as they promise to do some nice things for the woman, such as love, cherish, etc. But, it is an acknowledgement of male violence and male sickness directed at females humans.

Also, the reason that we object to porn differs very much from that of the religious right (which sees us only as property, in relation to men, with no humanity and no value of our own), which has to do with the fact that we are human beings and we have a purpose in life besides being “whores,” “sluts,” and human livestock. As radical feminists, we believe foremost in our own humanity. Religious fanatics with their marriage and family have in every way betrayed our humanity, betrayed women, literally thrown us to the wolves to be devoured down to the marrow of our bones, so – I will speak for myself – I am vehemently opposed to both family and marriage because they harm women by design.

The following article discusses the nature of Playboy, which includes encouragement and instruction on how men should rape and commit incest. It discusses the harms to women and girls as a direct result of this instruction, yet it also frames it as harms against the family and the institution of marriage,  which is a way of saying that men are harmed, too (a typical male reversal and an attempt to obfuscate and protect the perpetrators), because it is within the family that many of these crimes against women and children portrayed by the magazine find their manifestation as men perpetrate these crimes very often on their own wives, daughters, and step-daughters. Playboy and other pornography is by no means an assault on the patriarchal construct of the family and the patriarchal institution of marriage, which has always existed to deprive women of our assets, of control over our own bodies, of our children which are the fruit of our own wombs, to deprive of us opportunity and of control over ever aspect of our lives, and to literally enslave us. It is in no way an assault on “the family” or on “marriage” because this is and always has been the purpose of the family and marriage,  rather it is an assault on US and this is why we object to it. This is the article:

http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo26/the-porn-factor.php

Playboy magazine sued Dr. Reisman in the Netherlands over her allegations about the publication’s promotion of child rape through child pornography. She discusses it in the interview, above, but here is a video about the relationship between Playbody and child rape and child pornography. Hefner was inspired by the child-pervert Kinsey:

One of Kinsey’s assertions is that children are sexual, have a sexuality, and that children can have orgasms. What he described as “orgasms” were clearly attempts by his victims to escape. According to Dr. Reisman, he ritualistically raped infants to death. To be clear, children do not have a sexuality. It is very uncertain whether or not teenage girls have a sexuality (we’ve been told that we are all full of hormones that make us desire males – this is, of course, a male lie and appears to come from the work of Kinsey and the Kinsey Institute, which saturates the schools and the medical and psychiatric establishments) apart from what has been programmed into them and which manifests as the girls appearing to men to be “sluts” and “whores,” at which time we begin to perceive ourselves the same way due to relentless psychological, sexual and physical abuse – or by the girls retreating into lesbianism in an effort to escape the environment of male violence and perversion that surrounds them and penetrates their minds at a very young age.

How could we possibly know ourselves when we have been subjected to this relentless onslaught of mind control in the form of “sex programming?” It is the nature of mind control programming that we believe the programs, its thought loops and programmed responses, are really the result of our own independent thought, when they are not. Obviously, after being subjected to this programming, we cannot really know the truth about ourselves without doing a great deal of work on ourselves – isolating ourselves, meditating, and writing (as recommended in the previous post to break programming).

So, I ask you to consider your own “sexuality.” It may be that you don’t have one, at all. You won’t know until you really begin to dig into your own personal past and deep into your own psyche. As I said, this is the foundational programming, so if you have other programming on top of this (e.g. god programming, savior programming), you may have to work on those things first to get down these layers of programming. Once you are there, the world will appear to you as a very different place than it did before – it is similar to other aspects of our journey, as women, into our own liberation – our journey into radical feminism. There is constant self-discovery and rediscovery and it changes our view of the world and everyone and everything in it.

So, again, I urge you to consider the basis of all of this, which is the current order of society that is entirely dominated by males and their filth. We have already learned that we cannot reason them out of this. They cannot be shamed out of it because they have no shame. Religious organizations only institutionalize their violence and filth – allowing child abuse to go on, covering up for abusers, encouraging violence in the home against women and children (i.e. the notion that it is not possible for a man to rape his wife, despite the fact that rape cannot occur without some other kind of violence (including coercion, but often holding the victim against her will, strangling, hair-pulling, beating, and so on)  or subterfuge, such as men drugging or attacking unconscious or sleeping victims).

We must begin re-imagining the world. The order that is in place is not natural and did not come about by accident, but by sheer force. The only way to correct it is by changing our own minds first. We must begin to recognize the inherently perverse and violent nature of the male and choose what is right over what is wrong – choose to value women and girl’s lives over those of the sick, violent pervert class. We must begin to see through their subterfuge. Then, imagine a new world in which women have reduced the number of males born and reordered the society to center around women and girls and our own interests. Right now, the world is centered around males who are violent perverts. We know that’s not right and we know the only way to stop them.

 

Radical Feminist Analysis of Class and Feminism in the Television Show, “Roseanne”

cast of roseThe television show, “Roseanne,” ran in the U.S. between 1988 and 1997. Like many comedy TV series, it featured an idealized, traditional nuclear family. The biggest difference between “Roseanne,” and other shows before or since, is that it focused on a class of people in an area of the country who are not usually not well-represented in entertainment media. “Roseanne” was the first successful show to feature a poor to lower-middle class, small town, mid-western family and the first to treat the people of this huge swath of the country with respect and a sense of realism.

Many of the actors were originally from Illinois or other mid-western states. John Goodman (Dan Conner) is originally from St. Louis and attended college in Missouri. Laurie Metcalf (Jackie) and Lecy Goransen (Becky) are both originally from towns in Illinois. Goransen studied acting in Chicago and Metcalf was involved with Chicago live theater before she joined the cast of “Roseanne.” Natalie West (Crystal) is originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota and became involved in acting in Chicago. A few others involved in the show were originally from Chicago. Roseanne grew up in Utah and moved to Colorado at the age of 18, of course, neither of these locations are in the midwest, but they are all part of what is designated “fly-over country” by the liberal elite who were represented among most of the producers and writers for the show.

In the article, “And I Should Know,” New York Magazine, May 15, 2011: http://nymag.com/arts/tv/upfronts/2011/roseanne-barr-2011-5/ , Roseanne talks about both the sexism and the classism she experienced daily on the set of Roseanne. Since most of the decision-makers were from Ivy League schools and from one coast or the other, they lacked an understanding of both mid-western culture and the lives of the lower classes. If this is true, then it may mean that their other portrayals of mid-westerners in television series may be coming not from a place of mockery and disdain as much as it is simply a manifestation of their classist ignorance. (A classic example of this is the show, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” from the 1970s, which portrayed a small town in Ohio full of caricatures drawn from its class-bigoted New York City producer’s twisted vision of what working-class mid-westerners would probably look and act like.)

“Roseanne” takes place in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, which seems to be a few hours south of Chicago. It’s a place of limited educational and economic opportunities and it might be an amalgam of any number of small to mid-size cities in the mid-west in the late 1980s to early ’90s. Factories provide(d) the primary source of liveable income and after that the opportunities were limited to construction jobs (for men) and minimum wage jobs in fast food restaurants and banks (for women and men). In such places, blue and pink collar workers greatly outnumber white collar professionals (architects, doctors, accountants).

Roseanne Barr has commented that the Conner family represents a socioeconomic class that no longer exists as the income gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has widened. As portrayed in the television show, many factories and businesses closed in small and mid-sized mid-western towns in the 1990s with Bill Clinton’s signing of NAFTA and GATT, which saw an exodus of businesses to Mexico and overseas. Small towns like Lanford suffered very acutely as factories and businesses were lost and never replaced. The fall out of these job losses has continued for years until the present. Towns represented by “Lanford” became very depressing places to live and almost impossible to get out of. Being born and raised in such a town means a lifetime of limited opportunities and no way out – at least, no reasonable way. As you watch the television show, “Roseanne,” from one season to the next you see that the characters’ hope, especially Becky and Darlene, for achieving the feminist dream of self-realization and financial independence begins to fade more and more from one season to the next as the economy declines.

The circumstances of the Conner family’s lives are so dismal that by the last season, Roseanne as the main character begins to rewrite the story in an entire season of fantasy in which the impoverished Conner family wins the lottery, domestic-abuse survivor Jackie meets a real Prince, her mother learns to appreciate her own sexuality when she comes out as a lesbian, husband Dan has an affair instead of dying of a heart attack, Roseanne and Jackie use their lottery winnings to re-open the factory that was once the life’s blood of the town’s economy; and Roseanne single-handedly saves the world from misogynistic terrorists. The very last episode of the series revealed the truth and now we can see the nature of Roseanne’s unfulfilled dreams both as a person and a woman.

The “Roseanne” show portrays mid-westerners and their lives with sympathy and sometimes painful accuracy. It shows the limitations of people’s lives and especially on women’s lives in towns like Lanford. Roseanne’s life allows her an expression of feminism, but only within a restricted boundary. She hopes for a better life for her own daughters, but their opportunities, which once looked bright as small children, begin to dwindle and the light of hope dims as the series progresses. Becky, the academically gifted, studious daughter, is faced with the fact that because of job losses, she is unable to attend college as she had been promised by her teachers and parents as a reward for her hard academic work. This is a revelation to her that she has been lied to all along about her opportunities, which she now sees are extremely limited. Her choices are limited by her parents’ financial status, by the hopelessness of the economically depressed town she was born in and by her sex. Feeling that she has little other option, she marries a dimwitted man who, at least, can get a job that pays above minimum wage (meanwhile, her job opportunities involve being a cashier at the “Buy and Bag” where she is sexually harassed and called obscene names by her male boss) and he will take his place as her protector in place of her failed father (who just lost his bike shop to the worsening local economy and can’t afford to keep the lights on at the house).

“Roseanne” demonstrates the restrictions that being of a lower economic class place on a girl or woman’s ability to fully live her feminism. Women in working-class towns like fictional Lanford do not have the same degree of “choice” as women from more advantaged backgrounds. In fact, their opportunities to make good choices, which lead to their self-autonomy and self-actualization, are extremely limited and often non-existent, despite claims, especially among liberal feminists, that women have achieved autonomy.

“Roseanne,” also, demonstrates the limitations of women and feminist characters on television, which is a male-dominated industry that produces images of itself to a male-dominated society. As you watch the series from beginning to end, you see the greater autonomy acheived by Roseanne Barr, herself, to give a voice to working-class women. In the first season of the show, Roseanne was more submissive to Dan. She even purchases a perfume, called “Submission,” in an episoded called, “We’re in the Money.” The earliest episodes of Roseanne seemed to focus more on class than on women. But, this changes in the later seasons when Roseanne Barr wins the power struggle behind the scenes of the show.

In fiction, one way to demonstrate differences is to create characters that are mirrors of each other. In Roseanne, you see numerous mirrored pairs.

Married Roseanne’s feminism is mirrored by that of her single sister Jackie.

The tomboy Darlene is mirrored by Becky, who enjoys wearing make-up and dresses.

Darlene is, also, mirrored by the neighbor Molly, who flirts with David. This is seen especially in the episodes “Good Girls, Bad Girls” and “Pretty in Black.”

Roseanne is similarly mirrored by her snooty neighbor Cathy Bowman, as seen especially in “Trouble with the Rubbles” and “Tolerate Thy Neighbor.”

Becky’s Feminism

How her economic class effects a girl’s expression of her feminism may be seen in the episode called “Becky’s Choice (Season 1, Episode 17), in which Becky has been seeing a boy whose parents are middle class and Roseanne invites them to a fancy home-cooked meal at the house without telling Becky. The differences in lifestyle between the lower class Conners and the middle class Langs (Edgar, Bonnie and Chip) are demonstrated in this episode. The professional class Lang family is a mirror to the working-class Conners. We, also, have the chance to see how the differences in financial status between the Conners and the Langs might affect Becky’s dating choices.

It’s important to mention that in the U.S., class is not perceived as it is in other countries like, for example, England, where class has to do with circumstances of birth and is revealed through manners and speech. In the U.S., where there is a dying myth of class mobility, we usually think of class firstly as financial status.

There are other perceptions about class that have to do with race and personal appearance, but these are usually more subtle and manifest as stereotypes of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people as wealthy and advantaged and black-haired, dark-eyed people as poor and disadvantaged. These notions are based largely on ideas propagated through the media and the truth is that the largest portion of poor and working poor in the United States more closely resembles the fictional Conner family in terms of demographics. The majority are white people living in rural areas or hopeless, former-industrial towns like Lanford, Illinois, many of whom are employed, but still struggling to make ends meet. If you don’t know much about them, it is because, apart from “Roseanne,” they’ve never had a voice in the media. Roseanne Barr has said this is because “Hollywood hates labor and hates shows about labor worse than any other thing.”

Education can, also, be an indicator of class and it often is in the “Roseanne” show with the divide being between (“them”) the professional, white collar people who have attended college and the laboring classes, (“us”) who only achieved a high school diploma or maybe a G.E.D. (passed a test, usually in adulthood in order to receive a General Equivalency Diploma). Having lots of children and being over-weight are, also, subtly associated with being lower class in the U.S. The difference between Roseanne and Bonnie Lang is highlighted in this episode when the Langs talk about their strict dietary habits. In another scene, Mrs. Lang, also, comes to the door dressed in an aerobics outfit, apologizing for her appearance because she’s just come from a class.

These differences in class still have financial class basis because people who have enough money can buy higher education, high-quality food, and a gym membership, which those in the lower financial class would, of course, also like to have, but cannot afford. We, also, see that there is little or no upward mobility in “Roseanne,” and both wealth and poverty are talked about as being inter-generational.

In this episode, Becky has secretly made a date to meet another boy, Johnny Swanko, whom we’ve never heard of before. When Roseanne brings the groceries in, she announces to Dan that she invited Bonnie and Edgar for dinner that night. She’s bought dinner candles and a special marinated swordfish, which she doesn’t really know how to prepare. But, she’s trying to make a good impression on them and to thank them for taking Becky out to eat at many nice restaurants. Roseanne says to Jackie, “You never know, Sis. Bonnie and Edgar could be family someday.” This is an expression of hope for Becky’s upward mobility through marriage.

Dan jokes about the billiard table, the study and expensive liquor, which they don’t have. Darlene who has just been practicing her pitching, complains that she has to wear a dress (not just something nice, but specifically a dress) to dinner. We are reminded that gender role conformity is something prized by the middle and upper classes. In fact, all the girls and women are in dresses for dinner.

When the Langs arrive and Dan offers them a drink, they assume that the Conners have a big, wet bar stocked with plenty of liquor when Edgar requests a complex mixed drink. Bonnie says mineral water would be fine with her. Both of these are luxuries the Langs take for granted everyone has in their home, but they are not things the Conners can either afford or prioritize in their life style. Dan and Roseanne offer them domestic beer and tap water, instead. Roseanne jokes, “I’ll have some of that Muscatel in the fridge.” Muscatel is a cheap, sweet wine favored by winos.

While they’re waiting on dinner, the two families try to make small talk. But, they find there is a gap of lifestyle and experience between them, which seems to be more noticeable to the Conners than to the Langs, who seem oblivious to what the Conners lack.

Edgar jokes that he and Dan have something in common. They both do “digging” because Dan is a contractor and he is a dentist. The Langs’ friends are dentists and other white collar professionals. The only relationship the Conners have to such people is when they need their services and we see from the conversation that they, in fact, do not often visit dentists since they don’t know that theirs has moved to a new professional building. Edgar talks about the new building full of his many professional associates. Bonnie says that a friend of hers decorated it. (Interior decorating is a job associated with middle-class, suburban housewives) and, by way of contrast, Dan says that his friend, Rocko, poured the foundation for the building.

Again, seemingly oblivious to the Conner’s financial class, the Langs talk about their exciting vacation to Hawaii, a place the Conners have never visited and probably have no hope of ever seeing. The Conners have difficulty contributing to the conversation because of their limited life experiences – limitations deriving from their economic class. Meanwhile, Roseanne discovers she has burned the swordfish and Becky is nowhere to be found.

Roseanne yells for Becky, which is not something a middle-class woman would do, so this is a demonstration of her class. After yelling, “Becky,” at the top of her lungs in the living room, she goes outside where she finds her making out with a lower class boy, Johnny Swanko. “Becky, get your butt in the house now,” she says, which is also telling of her class because this is not a phrase you’d expect to hear from a middle class woman like, for instance, Mrs. Lang.

The title of this episode, “Becky’s Choice,” may not mean simply the choice between two different boys, but two different classes of associates. Since the Conners are not able to reciprocate the generosity of the Langs, this may lead to feelings of discomfort for Becky. By dating a lower class boy, one of perhaps even a lower class than her own, she is letting herself off the hook. She states at the end of the episode that her parents like Chip and she must certainly feel the pressure to go with a boy of a higher socio-econmic class, since this is one way she could realistically achieve upward mobility. Certainly, Becky must feel resentment, perhaps toward the Langs and certainly toward her own parents for trying to push her together with the boy.

middle-class-was-fun.gifThe first two episodes of Season 5 are called,”Terms of Estrangement” Parts One and Two. By this time, we see that Becky, now a high school senior preparing for college, really has had very few choices and opportunities. By this time, the Wellman factory has closed for a while and the entire town is facing a sharp economic downturn with the “trickle down” effect of the loss of stable labor jobs. Dan can’t keep his bike shop open much longer. Rodbell’s in the mall, where Roseanne was employed as a waitress, closed last season and now she is struggling to find a new job, to take care of the house and children, and to help Dan sell motorcycles at the shop, all at the same time. Since they took out a second mortgage on the house in order to open up their bike shop, the Conners are now in danger of losing their home to foreclosure. Roseanne and Jackie peruse the classified ads and Roseanne jokes about “crappy jobs” and Jackie says, quite seriously, that it’s too bad there isn’t a holiday weekend coming up, which is an expression of the very real hopelessness when there are so few jobs available that someone has to die before you have a chance.

Becky realizes that there is no money for her to attend college on. Certainly, she can’t afford tuition by working at the Buy ‘n’ Bag (where she is sexually harassed by her boss in another episode). Life at home is miserable and since the bike shop is closing, this means her boyfriend, Mark, is also out of a job. When he is offered a job as a mechanic in Minneapolis, Becky begs him to stay in Lanford. Darlene ridicules Becky for keeping him in “this hole,” Lanford, when he has an opportunity to get out.

The first episode of the season ends with a big surprise when we learn that Becky has dropped out of high school and eloped with Mark. Dan is upset because he feels his failures are the cause for Becky’s poor choices. Although, Becky’s choices aren’t stupid, if you consider what her options are. “It’s all ’cause of you,” Becky tells her father. “If you knew how to run a business, he’d still have a job and he wouldn’t be leaving. Now, I don’t have Mark, I don’t have college, I don’t have anything! You blew it, Dad. You blew it for everyone in this family.” These were her last words before storming out the door.

In the next episode, Becky and Mark return married. The Conners have never liked Mark, who they describe frequently as a “punk.” He is of a low class, similar to their their own, although possibly even a little lower. He’s drunk in a few episodes, including one in which he is drinking underage using a fake I.D. and punches the glass on a juke box at the Lobo Lounge. He pressures Becky to have sex with him. It’s not clear if he finished high school, but he was thrown out of the house by his alcoholic parents at age 16. In a later episode, he flunks out of trade school and Roseanne constantly makes jokes about how stupid he is.

If not for the financial circumstances of the Conner family, Becky probably would have made different choices. But, her opportunities are limited and she takes the only avenue out, which seems to provide a ray of hope. After all, he has a good job and maybe she can go to community college in Minnesota.

By Season 6, Mark and Becky are arguing a lot because of money and Mark’s macho ways. By the 7th season, he’s lost his good job and they end up moving in with Dan and Roseanne.

Finally, Becky’s life hits rock bottom when she and Mark move into a trailer, thus fulfilling the stereotype of white trailer trash.

To what extent is this poverty Becky’s fault? She married an idiot. But, what were her options in a town with no decent jobs and no opportunity to escape?

She had no reasonable options – only unreasonable ones. For example, many young women from places like Lanford end up working in strip clubs and this is their only way out of the trap. In fact, when I was Becky’s age, I took a look at the landscape in the nearby town, saw all the low-class men, and many people either of a much lower economic class who I had little in common with in terms of dreams and aspirations or of a much higher one than mine, who were very traditional, conventional thinkers. The strip clubs were my only way out and while it worked for me, it isn’t for everyone (like, for instance, it helps to be groomed for several years in a pedophile-run religious cult) and it was simply a matter of survival because I could not live like the people around me. I simply refused. The “Roseanne” show has ended about 15 years ago and now, even those opportunities aren’t there, since the money simply isn’t there and lots of the dancers have been replaced with prostituted women (some with pimps who beat them up and burn them with cigarettes) because of the increasingly restrictive laws against dancing in many states.

Another way out for a woman like Becky might be an upwardly mobile marriage. But, this is not a reasonable option, either. We see in the episode, “Becky’s Choice,” that she is aware of the limitations of her class and she’s not a “gold digger” who will marry for money.

These struggles of working class women and their daughters are exactly what Roseanne Barr set out to show us. Women can only express their feminism within certain limitations, based on economic class. Becky expresses her feminism mostly in her ambitions and aspirations, all of which were dashed to pieces by the economic downturn. She never has the chance to become the independent, educated, well-traveled woman she wants to be.

For me, the strip clubs were an expression of feminism within the boundaries I was permitted by the limitations of my sex and economic class and it was a means to an end, to an education and a final escape. It was something I had to do in order for my feminism – my most radical feminism, especially – to eventually be able to express itself. It is not a reasonable choice and it was not an especially free choice. It was a terrible option and a last resort, but one I am grateful for since it was all I had and it really was my ticket out of a place a lot like Lanford.

We don’t see this option presented in “Roseanne” and the closest thing we see to it is when Becky, living under Roseanne’s roof, again, takes a job as a waitress at “Buns,” which seems to be something like “Hooters.” Dan is angry that Mark would allow her to work there because he’s “seen the kind of things that go on in that place.” Roseanne is surprised that he’s been there, which alludes to the misogynistic secrets men keep from women, especially their wives and daughters. Becky is working there because she’s earning $15 an hour to support her family. So, we see that even though the Conner’s are poor, they only believe in degrading themselves so far for the sake of money, and their “dignity” is not “for sale.”

Darlene’s Feminism

darlenes-feminismDarlene is probably one of the most obviously feminist characters on the show and the real reflection of her creator’s (Roseanne Barr’s) own early feminism. She is most resistant to gender role stereotypes, especially as the show progresses and the writer and actress, Roseanne Barr, begins to gain more power over the script and other aspects of the show.

Each of the girls seems to have a moment when she realizes something is terribly wrong. For Becky it seems to be in Season 2, Episode 2, “The Little Sister,” in which she finds her father’s Playboy Magazines. Later in the episode after a big family blow-up, in which Darlene goes to stay with Aunt Jackie, we see Becky looking very sad, leaning her head on her mother’s shoulder and asking why men want to look at women in magazines? Roseanne doesn’t provide any serious answers because the truth – that men, even beloved, trusted and respected fathers, exploit women for their own twisted pleasure – is not something that could be said during prime time. Becky says she feels sorry for the women in the magazines and Roseanne quips, “Me, too,” although with an expression and intonation that leads us to believe that she actually envies them.

Becky fits the idealized image of the feminine woman more naturally than either Roseanne or Darlene. Moreover, Darlene’s interests are outside the bounds of her gender. She’s referred to as her father’s “son.” He calls her “Sport.” But, he calls Becky “Princess.”

There are numerous episodes devoted to Darlene’s either inability or unwillingness to conform to female gender stereotypes. But, the episodes that most reveal Darlene’s dilemma in trying to adjust her true self and what she wants to be to the gender and class restrictions placed upon her are the several episodes that deal with her sinking into a depression in Season 4, from which she does not recover until she befriends Karen, a woman who runs a bookstore and encourages her to write science fiction stories. (Incidentally, Sci-fi is a genre that is particularly hostile to women as writers.)

The first one of these episodes is Season 4, Episode 4, “Darlene Fades to Black,” in which she is seen lying on the sofa, “watching one dumb rerun after another,” about which she quips: “And I do it as well as any man!”

This episode is partly about Dan’s resistance to Becky getting a little motor scooter because she’s his “daughter.” Becky says that it isn’t really about the scooter, but “women being exploited by men for centuries,” which is followed by audience laughter.

We don’t know exactly why Darlene is depressed and she reveals in a later episode that even she isn’t exactly certain what is wrong. She simply wants to be left alone. She stops playing basketball at school after not making first string. She begins spending a lot of time in her room, dressing in black, dying her hair black and not coming out of her room. Dan and Roseanne seem to think this is related to her quitting the basketball team. Roseanne even accuses her of using drugs.

The patriarchy and the obstacles that it erects for women are like trees in a forest. When you encounter the first few trees it’s hard to put it all together, to realize how big, deep and labyrinthine the forest is. Darlene has encountered a number of these trees: She’s “Too short to be quarterback,  too plain to be queen,” as she writes in a poem from an earlier episode (Braindead Poet’s Society). In “Darlene Fades to Black,” Roseanne confronts her directly and asks her what the problem is. Darlene responds, “It’s school. It’s my friends. It’s the way I look. It’s you. It’s Dad. It’s everything.”

Darlene’s character is a little reminiscent of George Elliot’s character, Maggie Tulliver, in her famous book, “The Mill on the Floss,” who failed to be the idealized Victorian daughter in her classic novel. Like Maggie Tulliver, Darlene’s beauty is unconventional, her hair is “uncontrollable” and she becomes “bad tempered” and “sharp tongued” when feminine gender role stereotypes are cast upon her. She expresses her feminism through wise cracks and insults, very much like her mother does, in a frustrated response to her surroundings.

Both Becky and Darlene resist patriarchy, but to different degrees and in different ways. None of the female characters in this series truly succeeds in overcoming the detrimental effects of patriarchy.

Ultimately, Darlene is the daughter with the best chance of breaking the cycle and finding even greater expression for her feminism. We see in the episode, Season 8, Episode 8, “White Sheep of the Family,” that she turned down a great job as an advertising copywriter, making $500 per week (not really a lot of money, but a lot to the working class Conners). The family is appalled that she would turn down such a lucrative opportunity. But, Darlene argues that she wants to finish college first, then she can get an even better job.

This particular episode is a lot about class and the lower classes’ envy of any class above themselves. In it we see another obstacle for Darlene to escape the traps of her sex and class, which is her own family and their working class values. Mark and Becky are living in a trailer and the Conners are struggling for money with Roseanne and Jackie doing odd jobs, like giving out samples in the grocery store.

Although, Dan and Roseanne have always hoped their daughters would “make it,” at the same time they are resentful toward the small successes that Darlene has achieved. They begin to interpret her usual sarcastic comments as a slam against their working-class family. In this episode Roseanne gives a short speech to Darlene about her failures as a feminist and acknowledges her resentment.

“First of all, I’m really glad that you’re going to school and getting an education like I never got because I got caught up in all that love and peace crap from the ’60s. Then 10 years later I realized I should have listened to all those women who said learn to support yourself or you’re going to be screwed.” She admits that she resents that she had to work in factories, salons, and restaurants to help Darlene get that far.

Darlene talks about how she’s surrounded by rich kids who don’t have to work hard because “Daddy’s there to bail them out.” This is a statement about the fact that college is a thing that usually runs in families and Darlene is an exception being from a working class family in which both she and her sister dropped out of high school.

In the background of this episode, D.J. tries to seduce a girl at school using a trombone he bought with some inheritance money. Dan approves, but Jackie and Becky try to explain to him that this is wrong, which is also met with laughter as D.J. makes a sexual gesture with the trombone before going into the other room with the girl.

In the next episode, Becky realizes that she may have made a mistake by dropping out of school and marrying Mark. She’s not sure she wants to stay married to him (and we can understand why), she wants to go back to school and dreams of becoming a doctor.

The Roseanne Show ended at Season 9, which was all a fantasy written by the character Roseanne. It highlights the various aspects of the plight of the working class Conner family, which we’ve seen coated in humor for all the preceding seasons. Not only does Roseanne become a feminist heroine, but the family becomes fabulously wealthy after winning the lottery and we do not see if Darlene graduates college or if Becky ever gets to go back to school. But, Darlene becomes pregnant and marries David, which seems to bring an end to her personal ambitions.

Roseanne’s Feminism

Roseanne’s feminism is demonstrated within the context of the patriarchal restraints of the traditional nuclear family and the limitations of her class.

cathyMy favorite episodes of “Roseanne” involve the snooty neighbor, Cathy Bowman. Cathy is blonde, slim, and married to Jerry Bowman, with whom she has a son. Cathy doesn’t have to work outside her home to support her family like Roseanne does and in the first episode introducing the Bowmans, “Troubles with the Rubbles,” we see the contrast between the parenting styles of the two women, which is a reflection of each woman’s class.

The episode opens with Roseanne complaining about the fact that she has three children and a husband and still ends up doing all the grunt work. Roseanne’s kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher, nor does it have an inset shelf in the living room by the front door. Roseanne’s furniture is old, the sofa is worn with its iconic, acrylic, multi-colored afghan laid across the back of it and her kitchen table looks like it came from the ’60s. The kitchen walls and cabinets look aged.

By contrast Cathy’s house has neat, modern furnishings and a modern-looking, bright kitchen. At the end of this episode, a hilarious contrast is made, with corresponding musical background, to the two homes, showing the differences between the living rooms and kitchens in the otherwise identical houses.

Roseanne is a bad house keeper, while Cathy’s house is neat and orderly. Cathy speaks quietly and makes cute, small sneezes. But, Roseanne is loud with a grating voice.

Cathy is humorless. She is a Stepford Wife and Roseanne makes a contrastng joke about “the Lanford Wives,” in the episode, “Tolerate Thy Neighbor.”

In “Troubles with the Rubbles,” Roseanne enters Cathy’s home for the first time and says, “Man, this is the house I could have had if I’d married someone better.” In a later episode we learn that Cathy did not marry up, rather its her family who provided a job for her husband back in Chicago. But, until then we were left with this sexist assumption.

Cathy appears to be a traditionalist. There is nothing very feminist about her character, which seems to be drawn as a mirror of Roseanne’s class and the traditional role of wife and mother..In fact, because of her relatively privileged economic status, she is a stay-at-home mom and seems even more traditional than Roseanne who has to work to help support her family. She confronts Roseanne over the lack of supervision her son receives when he stays at Roseanne’s house. She clearly perceives Roseanne as a lower class of person and a less capable parent.

In a final episode with the Bowmans, their house is broken into in broad daylight. This is the last straw for Cathy in this low class neighborhood. She wants to move back to Chicago and we learn toward the end of the episode, “Tolerate Thy Neighbor,” that she controls her husband through sexual intercourse. He doesn’t really respect his wife and regularly disrespects her with Dan’s encouragement.

The contrast between Cathy and Roseanne is not so much about a traditionalist vs. a feminist or one type of feminist vs. another, but the contrast between two relatively traditionalist women of two slightly different classes. Roseanne’s class envy manifests as she calls Cathy “a witch” and “a bitch.”. When she sees Cathy’s house being broken into, it doesn’t occur to her that the house is being robbed, instead she believes that Cathy is just giving things away “to show off.”

A major feminist moment in the show for Roseanne occurs in Season 1, Episode 23, “Let’s Call it Quits,” when Roseanne tries to reach a compromise with an abusive supervisor at Wellman’s, but instead ends up leading a walk-out of the women workers at the factory.

Roseanne and Jackie

The biggest mirror of Roseanne’s character throughout the series is her sister, Jackie, who is single and, for most of the series, does not have children.

jackie.gifRoseanne is always trying to match-make, but the matches don’t often turn out well. In fact, Roseanne and Dan are the only successful couple in the series with the exception of “happily married” Vonda and Phil from Seasons 2 and 3. D.J. mentions in one episode that he’s the only kid in his class whose parents are still married to each other. Roseanne’s father messed around on her mom. Dan’s father messed around on his mom. Roseanne calls men pigs a number of times, but she still tries to shove her sister together with a number of men. She, also, manipulates her daughters, especially Darlene, to be with particular men.

This represents the kind of cognitive dissonance many of us have experienced at one time or another as women in relation to men when, despite all information to the contrary, we continue to hope that there is just one who is not a degenerate.

Jackie, too, bangs her head against a wall repeatedly, believing that there is something wrong with her because she can’t find a man. This is something that both Roseanne and her mother constantly harass Jackie about. Roseanne spouts Oprah-style psycho-babble at Jackie in Season 4, Episode 18, “This Old House,” when she says that their father’s abuse is why she is fat and Jackie “can’t have any decent relationship with any man.” Of course, Jackie isn’t really the problem and their father’s abuse is not happening in a vacuum – but they can’t tell us this on television! The men Jackie dates and eventually marries are representative of a variety of different types of male abusers. One of them beats her up, one is her sexually harassing boss at the factory (played by George Clooney) and in one episode she becomes the victim of date rape at the hands of Arnie, which is such a normal thing that it made a big joke of in Season 4, Episode 3, “Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker.”

Jackie frequently expresses her envy of Roseanne’s mostly happy marriage to Dan. In “An Officer and a Gentleman,” she takes Roseanne’s place while their dad is in the hospital and performs a parody performance of June Cleaver in “Leave It to Beaver.”

But, Jackie’s independent nature and her refusal to conform to certain gender role identities often stands in the way of her relationships with men who want to dominate her or who disrespect her humanity in other ways.

Perhaps one of the most repellent men Jackie is paired with is Fred who, in Season 6, Episode 17, “Don’t Make Room for Daddy,” tries to sue her for custody of her unborn child. “He’s suing me for custody of my stomach!” Jackie says. He insists on being involved in “his” child’s life. He tries to control Jackie in various ways even after their divorce. With her cognitive dissonance in relation to men, Roseanne interferes and pushes Jackie together with Fred. Jackie is very reluctant at first. She just wants to raise her child alone without interference. Eventually, Jackie succumbs to the pressure and, against her better judgement, she marries Fred who she doesn’t really know. Fred expresses a lot of sentiments that seem to come directly from “Father’s Rights” advocates. Fred says, “I’m fighting for my rights and my kid’s rights.” He even refers to himself as a “nice” guy at the end of the episode.

In “Don’t Make Room for Daddy,” we see how deeply embedded patriarchal ideas about male/female couples are in Roseanne’s mind. We see that women who rebel are always brought into line one way or another. She says to Jackie: “If you don’t snap out of this man-hating stuff of yours, you’re going to be old and alone and thinking you can stay with me!” Jackie says, “You don’t know what I went through.” Roseanne defends men, “They’re not all like Fisher. They’re not all like Dad.” So we see how traditional Roseanne is compared to Jackie. In the last scene, we see that Jackie is in bed with Fred, again, and talking about how he’s a “nice guy.” The patriarchy triumphs despite Jackie’s resistance to it.

Jackie best expresses her feminism through her pursuit of jobs that are traditionally “male only.” She becomes a Landford City police officer and she becomes an over-the-road truck driver. She, also, stands up for herself against her boyfriend, Gary, who wants her to quit the Lanford Police Department. She asserts herself for the last time against Fred when they agree to a divorce.

Some Conclusions

roseanne-powerI’m amazed that “Roseanne” is considered to be a feminist television show because, apart from the fact that Roseanne Barr is an amazing, powerful woman and a strong feminist, this show is about a very traditional nuclear family. But, the feminism of this show has to be considered in the context of what has been allowed on television in the past. It is a testimony to the fact that women have not come a long way.

For women, television is the modern-day equivalent of the Medieval European witch burnings. It’s a way to keep women in line on a mass scale. The trauma, humiliation, subjugation and violence meted out to women on television has a similar effect on the subconscious that seeing the brutal eroticized torture of women by men had on European women in the Middle Ages in that it keeps women “in their place” by mocking and reinforcing our subjugation at the hands of men. Women are not only objectified, they are seen in traditional roles or, at least, sexual roles.

I believe Roseanne Barr did the best she could to give a voice to women, especially women of the lower classes, and really to a whole bunch of people (like myself) in the middle part of the country, which is very much ignored except when it is maligned by elitists in the media situated on either coast.

Some other aspects of feminism in Roseanne, which I’d like to analyze in the future, are the promotion of allopathic medicine (obstetrics and gynecology) to women and the promotion of the male protection racket.

Additional material:

Roseanne Interviews Gloria Steinem:

Roseanne Barr on Democracy Now! – Part 1 of 4:

“Mary, Roseanne and Carrie: Television and Fictionalized Feminism,” by Rachael Horowitz – http://michiganjournalhistory.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/horowitz_rachel.pdf

“Too Short to Be Quarterback, Too Plain to Be Queen,” Journal Volume XI Issue II Spring 2011, April 4th, 2011, Taylor Cole Miller: http://gnovisjournal.org/2011/04/04/too-short-to-be-quarterback-too-plain-to-be-queen/

roseanne-gun

Note: The above article is a reprint from by private blog, which was first published on November 4, 2014.

A Radical Feminist Perspective on Witchcraft Movies: Movie-makers Throw Witches and Women a Bone

This post is a re-print from my private blog. Original post dates from June of 2014.

I wanted to do something a little lighter and fun because I really feel like a dark cloud has descended ever since the May 23rd murder spree by an MRA in Santa Barbara. It seems like the menz have really been frothing at the mouth in a lot of places and more men have revealed their true natures to such an extent that it can no longer be ignored. Frankly, the fall-out from that event and some other MRA-related goings on has been downright scary. I’ve had my fill of real-life horror, but I still enjoy fictional horror, especially movies about witchcraft and magic(k).

Ever since I read about trauma-bonding and the nature of female heterosexuality, I find myself looking at a lot of things through this newly discovered lens, including some of my favorite movies about witches and witchcraft.

What I’ve noticed in a really stark way is that movie-makers (men, almost all men and the money for movie projects comes from men) occasionally throw women and witches a bone by making a movie on this subject, featuring women, however, I’ve noticed that they are very careful to channel women’s innate interest in witchcraft in certain ways that benefit men and the patriarchal system. There is almost no exception to this. In fact, I can think of only two exceptions and both of those movies were either written and directed by women or written by a man, but heavily influenced by a woman.

I can think of a few different ways to interpret the concept of women as witches in movies through the warped minds of the patriarchs who make them.  They may see portraying women as witches as a way to demonstrate their view that women are other than human beings. Or, the portrayal of women as witches by male film-makers may be a way to perpetuate the myth that women secretly run the world from the shadows. These are ideas we see clearly in many of the movies about women as witches.

But, it may be a manifestation of men’s fear of women’s very real powers, which they want to assure is always channeled into the service of men.  We see that it is usually only evil witches who use their innate powers for themselves (to be beautiful, to enslave men, to live forever, to control others, to avenge themselves against men who have harmed them) and good witches use their powers to serve men, usually a single man to whom they are married (to boost his career, to pave the way for his success in all matters, to entertain his friends, etc.).

So, we see that whenever women’s power is acknowledged, it must be channeled into the service of the patriarchal establishment. Almost all witchcraft movies revolve around men or a man. Quite a lot of them probably fail the Bechdel Test, which is a pretty low standard to begin with.

The following are some of my favorite witchcraft-themed horror movies with a description of the film and my radfem analysis. I like most of them because they portray witchcraft, whether the do it well or not, at all; this is the bone – as you will see, we rarely if ever get a full meal. These analyses do contain spoilers.

(Note: Some of these movies are available at YouTube – they may be pirated or not because some are pretty old. They’re all good movies about witches and witchcraft despite the patriarchal devices used in them.)

abc1Practical Magic (1998), starring Sandra Bullock, Diane Wiest, Stockard Channing and Nichole Kidman: Lots of women have seen this movie, so the plot is probably very familiar. There are two aunts, who dabble in people’s love lives, bringing up two young girls. There is, also, a family curse set in motion by their ancestor, Maria Owens, during the days in which men hunted women as witches far more overtly than they do today. Although, in my radical feminist analysis, this so-called curse, which decreed that any man who purported to love an Owen’s woman would meet an untimely death,  may have been more like a protective spell placed over the generations of her female descendants to keep them from falling prey to the evils of men.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the men we crossed paths with dropped dead before they got a chance to beat and rape us and make off with our money? Well, that’s what happened to Sandra Bullock’s character, Sally. Her husband was killed by a truck while crossing the street.  She should have been grateful, but instead she felt sorry for herself and wished, once again, for a  man so that she could “be seen,” as if she did not exist, as if she were invisible, without the attentions of a man – which is how women are made to feel in patriarchal society, already, and which is promoted in this film. We get the impression that “happiness” is only possible for women if they center their lives around a man. “Maybe I’ve had my happiness,” Sally writes in her sad letter to Jilly, “…there is no man.”

At the beginning of the film, the two girls had very different reactions to the horrors of heterosexual attraction.  Jilly (played by Kidman) couldn’t wait “to fall in love,” while Sally was frightened by the desperation of the woman clawing at their door in the middle of the night, begging for a spell from the aunts to “make him want me so much he can’t stand it.”

Jilly embodies the alleged wanton slut nature of witches. According to the Christian men who wrote about witches in the Miiddle Ages, we are all debased whores who just can’t get enough of a man’s penis. I suspect this was not just a device for scapegoating women for men’s desire to rape and kill us, but to plant this disgusting notion in our heads.  In fact, “sexy witches” abound in modern film and literature and even some non-fictional witches have taken on this persona to sell books.  Often, sexy witches or beautiful young witches are good, as long as they serve men’s desires, of course, while old hags who are sexually undesirable to men, are evil, jealous poisoners and diabolical schemers. But, Practical Magic is about sexy witches, who serve the ends of men. Even the aunts are very glamorous and serve as agents – “pimps,” essentially – hooking up desperate women with men for their sexual benefit.

Jilly enjoys the party life and while she has lots of male friends, there is one, in particular, to whom she appears to have trauma-bonded – Jimmy Angelov.  It turns out that Angelov is a serial killer of women, but the sisters manage to kill him first. But, they’ve got a problem because they know that the patriarchal system will not be on their side, Sally will lose her children and they will go to prison for life, for defending themselves against a man. This is the world we all know – no magic there.

So, they bring him back to life by means of witchcraft. Of course, this doesn’t go well, so they kill him a second time and bury his body in the rose bushes. Now, there may be some symbolic significance to rose bushes, since roses are traditionally a symbol for romantic love and we see that the evil spirit of Jimmy Angelov seems to be making these poisonous flowers grow, even out of season.

The best part of this movie is when all the women of the town come together, and old feelings of ill-will toward the witch family are healed, as they work together, as one, to banish the spirit of Jimmy Angelov and rescue Jilly, whom he is still trying to kill, even from the grave.

Unfortunately for Sally, the spell she cast as a child to ward of a man’s “love” backfired – as love spells so often do, especially in the movies – and she ends up attracting a special investigator from out-of-state, to whom she trauma bonds in a very obvious way. Any woman in her position given the two options – let the “nice” policeman fuck you or go to prison for life – would probably experience similar Stockholm Syndrome under these circumstances, which we, the viewing audience, are supposed to find sweetly “romantic.” I find it deeply disturbing and always did, although, previously I did not have the terms to describe why exactly that was.

By the end of the movie, all is well. Angelov’s death is ruled an accident, the town finally accepts the women as witches and everybody is okay with that, plus the policeman comes back to sweep Sally off her feet and we are to presume that they live happily ever after. We don’t know the rest of the story, but disbelief in curses does not negate them, no matter what the skeptics think.

If there were a sequel, what would it look like? Would Jilly have to rescue Sally this time? Or would Sally luck out, again, as her policeman husband, unable to find a job in this small town, blamed her and her infernal witchcraft for all his misfortunes and drank himself to death in some way before he completely re-arranged her face and put her 6-feet under. (I know how this goes because I once dated a cop.)

By the way, I read the book this movie is based on and I have no idea how they pulled this movie out of it. It’s completely different and deals very little with witchcraft. Also, the Jilly character seems much more psychologically damaged, pathetically so, in fact, and neither women are very glamorous, at all.

abc2Night of the Eagle or Burn Witch Burn (1962), starring Janet Blair:  This film is pretty closely based on the novella, called “The Conjure Wife,” by Fritz Lieber, published in the magazine, “Unknown Worlds,” in April 1943. The story demonstrates a remarkably good knowledge of the homeopathic nature of witchcraft, which is really lost in the movie. But, it’s still a very good film.

The film is, at times, a little hard to follow, especially when the action speeds up near the end.

The jist of it all is this:

Norman Saylor (Taylor, in the movie) is a skeptical professor of anthropology at a British university. His wife, Tansy, has been practicing witchcraft behind his back ever since an incident in Jamaica, in which she witnessed witchcraft being used to save someone’s life.

It is significant that the wife’s name is Tansy, since the flowering plant of the same name might be regarded as an herb of women’s power. It is an emmenagogue and has a history of use as an abortificant. Norman’s name is, also, somewhat significant, since it sounds like “normal” and this name is often used for clueless-dude characters in paranormal-themed movies. For instance, in the movie, “What Lies Beneath,” Michelle Pfeiffer’s murderous science professor husband is, also, named Norman. Characters named Norman are usually men who do not believe in witchcraft, ghosts or psychic abilities until it is proven to them in some way by the end of the movie.

Norman arrogantly believes that his rapid advancement at the university is all his own doing. This is a reflection of the world men live in, in which they take credit as their just due, even when they do not deserve it – especially when it is women who do the real work without acknowledgement, as if this is simply the natural order of things.

The sexist adage, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” is not a compliment, but a life sentence to the women in this movie.

As Norman finds out, not only is his own wife a witch, whose spells and “protections” are responsible for his quick rise to success, but all the women at the university are witches, who work their spells and magic behind the scenes to help their husbands get ahead.

True love, according to the movies, is when a woman uses all her powers to help her man, sacrificing herself, her own desires and – in the case of this film – even her life, to rescue her man from his own folly. No matter how abusive he is – and Norman is a domineering abuser who ridicules Tansy and throws her objects of witchcraft into the fire – she loves him and is willing to sacrifice her life -not just her desires and her ambitions – but her very life for his.

The message of the patriarchal establishment is clear: If women have any power – something these men must greatly fear – then, they must use it for men’s purposes. Only then can women and their infernal powers be tolerated, only then can women be allowed to live, at all.

I’ll only briefly discuss the next two films because while they are significant, they are pretty much the same theme as the previous one. Beautiful young-looking women (even if they may be centuries old), who could do anything at all with their lives and their extraordinary abilities, are powerless in the presence of an unattractive, middle-aged man. The movie-makers want to make sure that we understand that no matter how beautiful or powerful we are, we must serve men. In both instances, the women use a love spell or potion, which backfires and they fall in love with a mere, mortal man.

Bell, Book and Candle (1958), starring Kim Novak:  Gillian is an immortal witch, happily living with her cat, who falls in love with a publishing man and casts a love spell on him. Soon, she is happy to give up her witchcraft (her ambitions, powers and abilities) and her immortality (her very life) for the man.

This a beautiful movie, fun to watch for its foreshadowing of the “Bewitched” television series upon which it was obviously based.  But, the message is clear: Women, even the most powerful women who could choose anything at all in their lives, must sacrifice themselves for a man.

abc3I Married a Witch (1942), starring Veronica Lake: This movie is really cute and I love watching Veronica Lake, the wardrobes of the actors and the often luxurious settings. The special effects are, also, nifty and comically just right for this movie. There are lots of nice things about it, but the theme is the same. A beautiful witch comes back from the grave (with her father this time) to get revenge on the descendants of the man who sentenced her to death for witchcraft. Her revenge fails and she falls in love with her persecutor’s great-great-great-great-grandson – yet another unattractive, middle-aged man – we can pretty much imagine what these movie-makers must look like!

The message here seems to be that middle-aged men are irresistible – even to remarkably beautiful women, who just can’t wait to seduce them, for some unknown reason. For the men, this is a fantasy. For women, it appears to be instructional.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987), starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon: I had not seen this movie in years. I’ve been scrounging around not only for movies about witchcraft, but for movies centered around women’s lives and interests. This movie is a remarkable failure in that sense.  It had the potential to do so much for women, but clearly that’s not the point of this movie. It’s another instructional for women as to how their powers, if they happen to possess any, should be channeled; women’s interests, all their thoughts, their conversations and their very lives, must be centered around a man – preferably the most hideous, balding, puffy-eyed, paunchy creepy looking fellow central casting can dig up. In this case, it’s Jack Nicholson – and this might be truly comical, except that we’ve seen it over and over, again, in movies with young women and witches since, at least, 1942.

What I remembered about this movie the first time I saw it was the witchcraft. I loved the portrayals of magic in this movie. It is visually stunning and the women are beautiful. In the beginning of the movie, they have a relationship to each other that looks like a lot of fun.

But, of course, the women are not satisfied with their girl’s nights in, during which time they learn some new skill together or share some town gossip over wine. And, of course, because it is men who write these scripts and films and try to cram their patriarchal ideas down the throats of the vulnerable viewing public, what is lacking in these beautiful, powerful, talented and educated women’s lives is – of course! – a man.

The one thing about this movie is that if you watch very closely, and read between the lines maybe just a little bit, you see a real message from the men who made this movie, in which they tell us exactly who they are.

Daryl Van Horne knows what each woman wants to hear. It’s as if he’s in each one of their heads, as if he knows everything about them from what size dick they prefer to their most vulnerable insecurities. At first he’s flattering. He’s charming and seductive, despite his paunch, his balding head and his revolting smell.

But, while Van Horne praises and flatters the women to their faces, he later goes on an insane, misogynistic tirade about women that would make an MRA (say John “head like a dick” Hembling or the Santa Barbara killer) give a standing ovation to his sexually offensive prose and villainous laughter.

Moreover, Van Horne isn’t just any old devil, he’s Beelzebub, himself – an annoyance who will never go away, especially since he manages to impregnate all three women and by the end of the movie, which is really pretty creepy and sad, they each have a son who Van Horne tries to influence. Despite Van Horne’s evil acts upon these women, in which he makes all their worst fears come to life, at least, one of them still longs for him at the end of the movie.

The message is that men are truly devils. They make women’s worst horrors, our worst nightmares real. And, like Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, they are a disease-ridden pestilence that never, ever completely goes away. Men do to women exactly what Felicia warns about in her vision when she says, “He’s going to take their love and use it to destroy the world.”  And, of course, he does this by impregnating them and causing them to bear him sons.

We should all definitely take heed because our natural enemy is really uncloaking himself in this film.

There are a few movies I’ve run across, all of which I really like a lot, that seem much more kind to witches and women.  The Craft, for instance, is not as bad as most others, although, there are definitely some patriarchal messages for girls and witches. The last two on this list, Eve’s Bayou and Season of the Witch, were both written by or heavily influenced by women and, not surprisingly, they are the best and things go pretty well for the female characters in the end.  The Craft was written by men, so it could be better, but it could be a lot worse, too.

The Craft (1996), starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and  Rachel True: Like Practical Magic, this is another movie that is very popular with women and, chances are, you’re pretty familiar with the plot.

Three outcasts, Nancy, Rochelle and Bonnie, have been studying witchcraft, but their spells aren’t working very well until Sarah, a “natural witch” arrives, at their Catholic school. (All the fun stuff with witches and devils happens at Catholic schools, at least, in the movies.)  Despite being warned about “the bitches of Eastwick,” Sarah soon finds herself part of their little clique and she, too, is studying and practicing witchcraft.

abc4One thing really appealing about this movie is that these girls have power. They don’t seem to have much to fear. They are wonder women who can go into isolated places or go out at night, which is a dream for all girls and women. For instance, in the scene where they they get off the bus (see the still shot to the left) and a creepy bus driver warns, “Watch out for the weirdos,” Nancy (Fairuza) gives a Cheshire cat grin with the retort, “We are the weirdos, mister.”

Something interesting about the girls’ power, probably because men made this film, is that as their power grows, the girls’ hair gets bigger and fluffier and their skirts get shorter. This is commented upon in the supplemental material on the DVD for the film. The message here might be that women’s power, no matter how amazing or miraculous,  always lies in her ability to be sexually attractive to men – that certainly seems to be what they’re saying, anyway.

Each of the four girls makes witchcraft work for her. Bonnie gets rid of her scars, Rochelle gets revenge on a mean girl at school, Nancy’s abusive step-father keels over and she and her mother inherit a sum of money, and Sarah gets the boy she has a crush on to pay attention to her.

You’ll notice that when Sarah does this spell, Nancy is very sympathetic. She seems to really feel sorry for  Sarah that she has such an obsession with this boy, whose bad character she is already familiar with. It’s too bad the girls didn’t do a different kind of spell to break Sarah’s obsession and allow her to see the folly of this endeavor, but then, of course, we wouldn’t have had a patriarchal establishment-serving script and this film would probably not have been  made at all.

One major thing I didn’t like about this movie (besides the condescending, goody-goody lady who owned the metaphysical book store) was how it ended for the girls and especially for Nancy. After all, let’s look at this thing, not from the perspective of Sarah, the good girl, the good witch, who serves the patriarchal structure, who thinks that the boy who treated her pretty badly even before she put a spell on him and he turned full-blown rapist “wasn’t such a bad guy underneath it all,” but from the perspective of Nancy.  Although, Sarah is the protagonist and it is clearly her perspective that the male movie-makers want you to take.

Nancy and Sarah are both powerful witches. From the patriarchal perspective Sarah is good, but Nancy is evil because she went against the patriarchal establishment and sought revenge on Sarah’s attempted rapist, the same boy who gave her (Nancy) a sexually transmitted disease.  Sarah doesn’t appreciate Nancy’s attempts to punish the boy, which result in him falling out a window – quite accidentally, really – to his death.  Here we see that Sarah is something of a handmaiden, of course, she is an ingenue and maybe she just hasn’t been kicked around quite enough yet to be able to see things from Nancy’s perspective. Nancy is young but she knows very well what it’s like to have an abusive male in the house.

Far from being grateful for Nancy’s intervention on her behalf, Sarah works binding magic against Nancy. Nancy is understandably upset about this betrayal, not only of herself, but of the coven. Sarah has betrayed her sisters and their sisterhood in every way.  Even though this abusive boy was going to rape her, the message here is that vengeance against your abuser, your rapist or attempted rapist, your attempted murderer – whatever men have tried to do to you or have succeeded in doing – is wrong and if you desire revenge, then you are an evil witch and must be punished according to the patriarchy’s established guidelines for punishing errant women.

In the final scene we see that the patriarchs of the film have allowed the good witch to keep her powers, but Rachel and Bonnie have lost theirs, maybe because they didn’t have much ability to begin with or maybe as a punishment for their transgressions against the patriarchal establishment as they followed Nancy’s lead.

In the final horrible scene, we see that Nancy not only has lost her powers, but has been committed to an insane asylum, historically the place where unrepentant women who run up against the patriarchy are sent to assure that they never pose a threat, again, and their fate serves as a warning to all other women.

The one nice thing we do see is that there is still an apparently strong bond of friendship between Rochelle and Bonnie, who seemed close to each other throughout the story.

Fortunately, too, in this film, no one in lives “happily ever after” with a man, which is a nice departure from the usual fare in witchcraft movies. I think this is a happier ending than usual, at least, for Rochelle, Sarah and Bonnie. So, you see, as bad as it was, it could have been worse!

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Eve procures a spell from the witch of the bayou: “I want him dead!”

Eve’s Bayou, (1997), starring Diahann Carroll and Debbi Morgan: This is an extraordinary movie, written and directed by two black women, although IMDB only gives one name, Kasi Lemmons, as both writer and director. It is visually stunning and features a star-studded, all black cast. As you know, overwhelmingly most movies are written and directed by men – very, very white men.  Maybe that’s why this movie delivers such a remarkably different and truly refreshing message, not only about women’s lives, but about black people’s lives, as well.

It is set in Louisiana in 1962. Eve and her sister, Cisely, are the descendants of a black slave woman and a Frenchman named Batiste and their estate on the bayou is their ancestral home and family legacy.  The Batiste women, also, seem to have some hereditary psychic abilities, referred to as “the gift of sight” or simply “the gift.”

The Batiste’s are well-to-do and Louis, the family patriarch, is an admired, successful physician.  This movie is a lot of fun for the authentic period clothing, the interiors of the homes, the exterior settings, including shots of the town and the bayous, as well as the period automobiles. The Batiste’s throw fun parties at their big manor house with two bathrooms – which is, apparently, a lot of bathrooms for 1962!

It looks like they’ve got it made, but there is one big problem: The doc is something of a ladies’ man and he likes his liquor a little bit too much, too.  One night during one of the house parties, 10-year old Eve catches her daddy doing something she doesn’t quite understand out in the carriage house with Mrs. Mattie Mereaux, who is the wife of a jealous man.

Eve tries to tell her sister, but Cisely paints another picture of the events and tries to lay Eve’s fears to rest. Cisely has a close relationship to her father and when she hears her father and mother fighting that night in the midst of a terrible storm, she goes downstairs to soothe him. What happens in those moments is in dispute throughout the film right to the very end.  In his drunken haze, Dr. Batiste may have tried to kiss his daughter and not in a fatherly way. When Cisely tried to pull away, he slapped her across the face, although why this happened is not fully understood. According to the directors, how that event in the movie is seen by viewers is often divided along lines of sex, with males seeing Ciseley as a sexual aggressor and females seeing the father as the sexual aggressor on his daughter.

Cisely is severely traumatized by something and after consulting with with some doctors, she and her parents decide it would be best if she went away from them for a while.

Eve and Cisely keep the secret of that evening between them, but Aunt Mozelle, who has the gift, is able to see what happened.

Eve seeks revenge on her father by means of voodoo. Was it really voodoo or simply the natural result of the doc not being able to keep it in his pants that leads to his demise? Eve feels responsible. In the end, even though she has the power to see what transpired between her sister and her father that night, she is as unclear as Cisely as to what really happened.

This movie ends pretty well for the sisters and their mother as the threat represented by their father is removed.

A side plot throughout the film is Aunt Mozelle’s gift and her bad luck with men – they keep dying! Again, is this really a curse – or is a it protection? She finally overcomes her reputation as a black widow when she meets, falls in love with and marries a drifter who  sought out her services.

All in all, this is a really nice movie.

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Jan White, “I’m a witch.”

Jack’s Wife, Hungry Wives or Season of the Witch (1972), starring Jan White: This may be my all-time favorite movie.  It was directed and written by George A. Romero, but his ex-wife was a co-writer and clearly some woman or other had a lot of  influence on this film from beginning to end. It is a rare film for a number of reasons, but mainly because it is one of the few that comments positively on the Women’s Liberation movement of the early 1970s.

The original title, Jack’s Wife, sums up Joan Mitchell’s situation. She is the wife of a successful businessman who is very disconnected to her and her daughter.  She’s in therapy and taking happy pills.

One night at a cocktail party – I love the cocktail parties, which are reminiscent of the cocktail party in “Rosemary’s Baby,” but if you watch closely, this one tells the real story of such affairs (hands on your ass while you’re trying to have a polite conversation, men talking to you like you’re a second class citizen, etc.) – Joan learns that a friend of theirs is involved in witchcraft. She and her friend Shirley make a visit to the lady’s house and Shirley has a very accurate tarot reading in which we learn that her husband is fooling around with a younger woman, which is only a minor point – but, you can see that none of the women in this movie married to successful husbands are happy.

Intrigued, Joan begins to take up the study of witchcraft while her husband is on his long trips out of town. There’s lots of fantastic symbolism in this movie, which is one of the reasons I’ve watched it over and over, again. While Joan is worried about being stuck in her old life, she’s also worried about making a new transition, which manifests as nightmares of being chased around her house by a man wearing a Green Man mask. Of course, the Green Man is a literary and artistic  motif, which represents the return to nature, a movement from the city to the country, from  Christianity to paganism.

Joan begins undoing her patriarchal mind control programming by reciting the Our Father Prayer backwards and performing the conjuration of the spirit of virago (“virago” means a powerful woman or a warrior woman), based on the summoning of Vassago (a Goetic demon) from Paul Huson’s book, “Mastering Witchcraft.” If you’re familiar with Huson’s work, you’ll definitely recognize it in the film, although no where is credit give to Huson that I can find.

Depending on your point of view, Joan’s witchcraft seems to be working. When her abusive husband returns home from work unannounced one night, Joan mistakes him for an intruder and blasts him with a shotgun. Free at last! In the last scene, we see that she has become a fully-fledged witch and has come into her individual power.  She is greatly admired by the other women in her social circle.

The patriarchy gets the knee to the groin in this film – and shotgun blast to the head. It’s dead by the end. I love this movie!

Related material:

RawStory published an article on June 5, 2014 on the subject of men’s violence against women in classical films: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/05/sorry-ross-douthat-but-old-hollywood-icons-of-masculinity-were-violently-misogynist/