The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Bizarre Blast From the Feminist Past

Posted on | October 9, 2015 | 48 Comments

Researching radical feminism has led me to many strange sources, few of them stranger than For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology, edited by Sarah Lucia Hoagland and Julia Penelope, a 596-page compendium of lunacy published in 1988. Weird ideas leap forth from every page, as if the inmates of a mental health facility had been issued typewriters instead of thorazine. Feminist Tumblr carries on this tradition in the digital age, but it is instructive to go back and read what was being published back in the day when Ronald Reagan was president and feminist literature was circulated via a network of Womyn’s Bookstores in cities across the land. “Womyn,” “womon,” “wimmin” — such irregular spellings proliferated among feminists who believed that they were victimized simply by a word (“woman”) that seemed to connect them linguistically to those evil male oppressors from whose cruel slavery they sought liberation. For Lesbians Only includes these irregularities, as well as occasional OUTBURSTS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS just to remind the reader (a) these women are crazy, and (b) crazy women are angry.

On pages 248-259 of For Lesbians Only, we find “Interview with A Separatist, January 23, 1983.” This interview is between a woman calling herself Sidney Spinster and another who calls herself “iandras moontree” — no capital letters in her name, you see. Neither does she capitalize the first-person singular subjective pronoun “I,” although she always capitalizes “Lesbian,” so “iandras moontree” reads like this:

My deepest desire is to live in a world with other Lesbians, where murderous patriarchal oppression is unknown. i first got a glimpse of what it might be like to live in such a world when i attended the Michigan Wimmin’s Music Festival. For once, i was somewhere where i could walk at night (and day) and not be afraid of attack or rape by a male. It felt wonderful to be in a space with all wimmin. i had freedom to peel away layers of protection. i had the opportunity to observe the various ways that wimmin relate to one another whem males are not present, when we are in a predominantly Lesbian space.

This sample is offered so that the reader may appreciate the difficulties of quoting anything written this way. Nearly everything written by Mary Daly suffers from a similar problem. At some point in the early 1970s, Daly either overdosed on powerful hallucinogenic drugs or else suffered a schizophrenic breakdown, and thereafter everything she wrote was full of stylistic eccentricities typical of psychotic “word salad.”

Being a member of the “murderous patriarchal oppression” and reading For Lesbians Only is quite an experience, and quoting “iandra moontree” as written is made difficult by these stylistic quirks. Nevertheless, I will try. She believes that “males are a genetic mutation, who biologically possess the traits that make them violent and death-oriented.” In order to “bring about patriarchy’s downfall,” she urges women’s “withdrawal from patriarchy (making ourselves inaccessible to males)”:

Withdrawing our energy from patriarchy and creating new options must be a primary objective. . . .
Sabotage is a technique that we can use strategically to undermine their system. We can organize ourselves and become a strong force against male institutions.

This was included in an anthology co-edited by Sarah Lucia Hoagland, a professor of Women’s Studies at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, presumably one of those “male institutions” whose destruction by sabotage was advocated in For Lesbians Only.

Reading “iandra moontree,” we get a thumbnail biography of her. Originally from Wyoming and born circa 1953, she grew up in an abusive home with “a battering, alcoholic mother”:

From the time i was a little girl, i rebelled against frilly dresses, baby dolls and polite girl-like behavior.
During my childhood and preteen years, my fantasies were always of having an important relationship with another womon. i would fantasize meeting the womon of my dreams and spending the rest of my life vacationing with her. i always had crushes on girlfriends and teachers.

When she was 16, her mother threatened to have her committed to a mental institution, so at 17, she married at man. That marriage ended in divorce seven months later and in 1971, at age 18, she became a “bar-dyke” living in the Midwest. Later, however, she became aware of feminism and heard about the lesbian separatist movement. She saved up $600 in cash, packed all her belongings into duffle bags and moved to a tiny cabin in rural Kentucky, thus to escape the male oppression:

i believe that one of the main ways that males have maintained a powerful control over wimmin is limiting the information we have on any given topic. They virtually control written records. This is a powerful propaganda tool for them.

Yes! That’s it! We control information to such a high degree that, with the aid of, I obtained a copy of For Lesbians Only and am using the “powerful propaganda tool” of my blog to quote this Reagan-era lesbian separatist screed by “iandras moontree.”

And then the thought crossed my mind: Whatever happened to her?

Iandras Moontree, An Artist
with a Unique Blend of Talent

I call Louisville, KY home, drawn here in the early 80s because of the beauty of the Commonwealth’s natural settings. I have always been creative in my approach to life, studying art in school, but I’ve received no formal training.
I began painting acrylics on canvas 15 years ago, creating a wide variety of scenes from themes involving nature and food, as well as abstracts and pet portraits in vivid colors. I have experimented over the years with different methods in painting and have won awards for my unique blend of mixing reality with fantasy.
Fascinated by the way colors can be intoxicating to a viewer, I have also taken my art to children to help them express their inner selves. I have worked with children and adults with mental and physical challenges, coaching them to feel free in their expression and encouraging them to experiment outside the lines. In addition, I have also taught art to elementary children in after school programs.

What a long, strange trip it’s been, eh?



48 Responses to “A Bizarre Blast From the Feminist Past”

  1. Southern Air Pirate
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:05 pm

    Well she is sort of right in that 1983 crazy wasn’t always published by the mainstream publishing houses. That is unless it was a media whipped frenzy about the crazy. Let alone the fact that in the early 80s unless you lived near the bohemian culture of SoCal/LA, the Village/NYC, or the Mission District of San Francisco (before they were gentrified). You had a better chance of seeing an iceberg in the Gulf of Mexico than you did a raging lesbian feminist who hated even the English language. So there was no place for her to feel accepted way back then in the 80s.
    Also, kind of interesting that she calls her mother a raging alcoholic and spent time looking for a woman to belong to and be cared by. What is the constant joke that most feminists have daddy issues and this is why they hate men. Well this woman appears to be the exception to that rule. She hates men and is a lesbian because of mommy issues.

  2. JeffWeimer
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

    And, if her “resume” is any indication, she’s a crazy *dog* lady.

  3. RS
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

    Her “long strange trip” has at least included a stop in Punctuationville.

  4. robertstacymccain
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

    It usually takes both “daddy issues” and “mommy issues” to create women this crazy. Nature and nurture tend to work together in such cases. Damaged women often come from environments very similar to those that produce male criminals. If you investigate the family background of Charles Manson, for example, you see that he grew up in a bad environment provided by bad parents. One is reminded of what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in Bell v. Buck, “three generations of idiots is enough.” In a pre-industrial society, these maladaptive behaviors tended to get weeded out by starvation, disease or other such consequences. The affluence and technological advances produced by the Industrial Revolution helped make it more likely the stupid, feeble and perverse could survive and reproduce. Then came the Welfare State, taxing the honest, intelligent and industrious people in order to subsidize the lives of the criminal, dishonest and lazy. Then liberals wonder why our prison population is exploding and the underclass are mire in helpless poverty.

  5. texlovera
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

    Beat me to it.

    I don’t know who taught her about “art”, but she should demand a refund…

  6. texlovera
    October 9th, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

    Lookin’ for her lost comma and quotes…..

  7. Joe Guelph
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

    I also think that the obnoxiously, publicly insane used to suffer far more beatdowns, institutionalizations, and/or shunning in the old days, making these types far less nervy and visible than they are now.

  8. Finrod Felagund
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:23 pm

    And she finally became a Capitalist.

  9. Dana
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

    She saved up $600 in cash, packed all her belongings into duffle bags
    and moved to a tiny cabin in rural Kentucky, thus to escape the male

    Huh? Wait a second, we bought our retirement home — a small farm, actually — in rural Kentucky! We won’t have her to close by, will we?

    I call Louisville, KY home, drawn here in the early 80s because of the beauty of the Commonwealth’s natural settings.

    Wait, Louisville? I’m afraid her definition of “rural” is somewhat different than mine. And I’m having some difficulty seeing the Watterson Expressway as part of “the beauty of the Commonwealth’s natural settings.”

  10. Fail Burton
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:29 pm

    Well she was right. That MichFest “wimmen’s” festival was just closed down by men… transgender men. Battle of the lunatics… only one side left standing. I don’t have to dream of a world without wimmen. Just get a job at a freezer warehouse. Trust me, you won’t be seeing any wimmen.

  11. Southern Air Pirate
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    With respect towards the underclass mired in poverty. Remember that thier earlier fix wasn’t well thought out either with the forced eugenics by state law. So now they give money and make it easy to stop the consequences of poor life choices from affecting folks. Both extremes of those policies were bad. But getting a modern left progressive to admit the policies is wrong would be like trying to get Fonzie to say he was wrong. The sad thing is that there will always be an underclass and they have usually brought upon themselves the unwillingness to leave thier situation with the blame on others for why the world owes them a living.

    I would hazard that her mother made poor choices after a high school football game with Johhny QB or even at the local diner with a wildcater who was working the fields for Sinclair. So left alone and with upstanding parents disappointed in thier daughter (this is 1953). The mother ended up trying to find happiness at the bar or bottle. A story that is as old as time immortal.

  12. darleenclick
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

    Ever notice that people who have no skill at painting stick with “abstract”?

  13. The original Mr. X
    October 9th, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

    To be fair, her pieces do bear a passing resemblance to what they’re supposed to depict. That probably puts her in at least the top half of painters nowadays.

  14. Steve Skubinna
    October 9th, 2015 @ 4:39 pm

    Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know… it’s my own damn fault.

  15. Steve Skubinna
    October 9th, 2015 @ 4:40 pm

    Well, if the observer can’t even tell what the painting is of, then he can’t complain that it doesn’t look like one, right?

  16. CrustyB
    October 9th, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

    “a 596-page compendium”

    Imagine that much text used to argue for a mistaken ideology. It’s like the few times I’ve read HuffPo, that collection of elaborate, long-winded, erudite articles expressing utter nonsense.

  17. Whitney
    October 9th, 2015 @ 5:29 pm

    I have a question. I work with animals and there are clear differences between sexes. For example, any breeder will tell you that, generally speaking, a female dog is easier to control than a male though there are exceptions of course. How do the gender neutral crowd explain sex differences in the lower animals?

  18. Prime Director
    October 9th, 2015 @ 5:36 pm

    there’s booze in the blender

  19. Dana
    October 9th, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

    They don’t, and you are clearly a white cisheteronormative patriarchist pig for asking.

  20. Southern Air Pirate
    October 9th, 2015 @ 5:57 pm
  21. Steve Skubinna
    October 9th, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

    Oh, that patriarchy, its influence is everywhere, I tell you!

  22. McGehee
    October 9th, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

    By the mid-to-late ’80s it was rampant at Cal State Sacramento.

    All the political psychoses that even today flabbergast the veteran observer, I was seeing with my own eyes while Ronald Reagan was still president.

  23. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:01 pm

    You left off the most important 3 words in the SJW lexicon: “I denounce you!”

    You’re slipping in your old age.

  24. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

    I have a friend at church who is a retired electrician and worked at the paper plant in Canton, NC. They had a number of women who were constantly complaining about the temp in their section of the plant. He put in a thermostat that wasn’t connected to anything and the complaints stopped. They never figured out it didn’t do anything.

  25. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:05 pm

    and soon it will render…

  26. trangbang68
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:09 pm

    nice place for a traffic jam though

  27. PapayaSF
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

    I will defend abstract painting, but not hers. She seems to have little sense of color or form.

  28. DeadMessenger
    October 9th, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

    I paint abstracts. You’re right, color and form. Structure and balance. A really good one is much harder than it seems.

  29. DeadMessenger
    October 9th, 2015 @ 11:59 pm

    Hmm, well, according to the story, that pair “dropped the ball” the first time out, and an egg has only been given to them twice. Because I’m a mathematician, using advanced statistical formulas, I am able to determine that this pair has a 50% success rate.

    “Well, last year we neglected Mr. Waddles until he died, but this year, we seem to be having much better luck with Flappy.”

  30. Southern Air Pirate
    October 10th, 2015 @ 12:14 am

    That is only because you are a h8r! Gay Penguins! I mean that just proves that all you h8rs are wrong and there is non-hetronormative sexual connections in the natural real world and not this false construct of the imperialist capitalistic society has created of humanity.

  31. robertstacymccain
    October 10th, 2015 @ 2:14 am

    That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.

  32. robertstacymccain
    October 10th, 2015 @ 2:17 am

    It’s about sabotage, see?

    Revenge against society by destroying “male institutions.”

    Lot of that going on the past few years, if you pay attention.

  33. DeadMessenger
    October 10th, 2015 @ 4:20 am

    I denounce myself as a h8ey h8er, and a running dog of capitalism.

  34. DeadMessenger
    October 10th, 2015 @ 4:36 am

    Actually, abstracts are more difficult than photorealism, in that they capture mood and emotion rather than just an image. In my experience as an artist, I painted the standard type of portraits and landscapes and such, but abstracts are more challenging and thus more satisfying. To me as an artist, and I believe to the viewer as well.

    The idea in any painting is to draw the eye across, then around the composition. You’re not seeing that in the example “art”, which is why it is not appealing to you. Your eye is moving around with nowhere to rest. Abstracts, done well, have composition and structure, which encourages the viewer to look further.

    They are fun, in the sense that the artist can make use of unrealistic hues and values, as well as patterns, angles and shapes to set the mood and hopefully, to evoke emotion in the viewer.

    I’m having fun right now using synthetic substrates like YUPO paper, along with foundation layers, and visual and physical textural layers, and layering of inks and watermedia to create interesting compositions intended to invoke a reaction in the viewer. A good long stare is what I’m shooting for. : )

  35. Fail Burton
    October 10th, 2015 @ 4:44 am

    Since there is no standard, one can never fail in an abstract.

  36. Dana
    October 10th, 2015 @ 5:13 am

    There’s always a woman to blame!

  37. Dana
    October 10th, 2015 @ 5:14 am

    They do have them, both frequently and often.

  38. Dana
    October 10th, 2015 @ 5:15 am

    Are you denouncing me for failing to denounce Whitney?

  39. Dana
    October 10th, 2015 @ 5:16 am

    You are a h8ful h8ey h8er, and I double dog denounce you!

  40. Fail Burton
    October 10th, 2015 @ 7:40 am

    One wonders why it never occurs to a single individual that if they think all 3.5 billion men on Earth today plus all men in the past hate women that the more likely answer is that single individual is nuts. How does a group of lesbians who started this whole ball rolling not understand misogyny is a delusion but their own pointed obsession with misandry very real? The real problem is the astounding naivete of Americans who’ve bought into this phobia. “Rape culture”? Really? Mating pairs of tigers or scarlet macaws are a fake social construct – compulsory heterosexuality? In nature? Really?

  41. Quartermaster
    October 10th, 2015 @ 9:33 am

    Certainly not! Wouldn’t hear of it!

  42. Quartermaster
    October 10th, 2015 @ 10:01 am

    You’re being redundant. But, so are traffic jams.

  43. Finrod Felagund
    October 10th, 2015 @ 10:43 pm

    I miss the pre-AOL days of the ‘net, before about September 1993. Back then if you posted something stupid on Usenet, you could count on receiving 100 or so pieces of email telling you in exacting detail precisely how stupid you were. This tended to be a deterrent to being stupid online. It’s been Eternal September ever since.

  44. Finrod Felagund
    October 11th, 2015 @ 12:22 am

    Are they ever going to build the bridges to connect Indiana I-265 with Kentucky I-265?

  45. DeadMessenger
    October 11th, 2015 @ 12:44 am

    But as I said, there IS a standard. It’s how you draw the eye around the composition. Abstract is kind of different, in that you either hate it or love it, but there’s no middle ground.

    Perhaps you are someone who just doesn’t like abstracts, and I can dig that. When I was a young artist, I didn’t either. I didn’t “get” them. But now that I have more experience with colors, hues, values, textures, and so on, I do. I’m a “professional” artist to the extent that I sell my work. But that’s not my profession. I have fun, and if I can make enough money to bankroll my supplies, then it’s all good.

    But if you don’t like it, that’s cool, too. Everybody’s got their own thang, baby. : )

  46. Dana
    October 11th, 2015 @ 3:50 pm

    ‘Twasn’t a mistake, but a fairly frequently used Picoism, something I do often.

  47. Dana
    October 11th, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

    I don’t live in Louisville — or anywhere in Kentucky, yet — and I don’t know the answer. My best friend, who does live in Louisville (pronounced Lou-uh-vul) mentioned something about a bridge, but I didn’t get the details.

  48. News of the Week (October 11th, 2015) | The Political Hat
    October 11th, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

    […] A Bizarre Blast From the Feminist Past Researching radical feminism has led me to many strange sources, few of them stranger than For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology, edited by Sarah Lucia Hoagland and Julia Penelope, a 596-page compendium of lunacy published in 1988. Weird ideas leap forth from every page, as if the inmates of a mental health facility had been issued typewriters instead of thorazine. […]