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May
31

“AMERICAN GYNECOLOGY” from Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daly

 

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AMERICAN GYNECOLOGY

GYNOCIDE BY THE HOLY

GHOSTS OF MEDICINE AND THERAPY

 

(Excerpted from” Gyn/Ecology, The Metaethics Of Radical Feminism” by Mary Daly)

 

“I have shown in the earlier chapters of this passage how women in various cultures—which are merely multi-manifestations of the overall culture of androcracy—

Have often been lulled/lobotomized by the myths and habits of their particular social context. Drugged by the prevailing local dogmas and disabled physically, they have not always seen the intent behind the vicious circle of maiming and murder of mothers and daughters. In twentieth century America, women are lulled by the myths and rituals of gynecology and therapy, believing that “doctor knows best”. We have entered the Ice Age of Gynocidal Gynecology.

 

A BREIF CRONE-OLOGY

Many feminist have noted the significance of the fact that the massacre of the wise women/healers during the witchcraze was followed by the rise of the man-midwives who eventually became dignified by the name “gynecologist” Gynecology was slow to rise. Man midwives of the 16th 17th 18th and 19th centuries were under fire from women mid-wives, such as Elizabeth Nihell, who described their instruments as “weapons of death”2

Nevertheless, the 19th century witnessed the erection of gynecology over women’s dead bodies.  By 1883 —The year of the death of J.Marion Sims, the “father of gynecology”(known as the “architect of the vagina”)—gynecologists could ”apply their knives at will to the whole range of women’s being reduced, as it were, to sex. “3

 

As G.J. Barker-Benfield shows, the more notorious mid19th century gynecologists were bent upon reducing women to their sex organs.4 Sexual surgery became The Man’s means of restraining women. J. Marion Sims, known for his hatred and abhorrence of female organs, remedied his problems (becoming very rich in the process) by ruthlessly cutting up women’s bodies. He began his life’s work “humbly”, performing dangerous sexual surgery on black female slaves housed in a small building in his yard. But rapidly moved up the professional ladder, becoming the “moving spirit” behind the founding of the Women’s Hospital in New York, which provided him with bodies for his brutal experimental operations. It also provided him with a theater, in which he performed his operations upon indigent women used as guinea pigs before an audience of men.

 

In his private practice, where he charged enormous fees to the rich, Sims used the “knowledge” gained through the pain and mutilation inflicted upon the poor patients at the Women’s Hospital. There were plenty of victims for Sims and his ilk, for there were women suffering from fistulae and general bad health who were desperate for any hope of help. The historical evidence suggests strongly that their “helper” Sims did not differ essentially from his gynecological colleagues in intent, attitude, and method. He simply was more monomaniacal and ambitious than most men. Internationally famous, honored by his peers, he was an object of adulation at Harvard Medical School, where the students recognized ‘divinity’ in Sims and counted him ‘one of the immortals. ‘5 As Peggy Holland has remarked, such men are” immortal “in the sense that they pass on death and fear their only true offspring.

 

*Mary Smith, an Irish indigent, suffered thirty of his operations between 1956 and 1959.

The black slave Anarcha had suffered the same number in his backyard stable a decade before.

Comments

  1. KellyAnnPritchard says:

    In Texas at age 21 I was put in a hospital ward at Parkland Hospital ( where Kennedy died) The ward was filled with 16 young brown and black women of color and there were 2 wards: 32 women a day. We were all there for hysterectomies. 1/2 were vaginal 1/2 were not to “experiment” which technique was better for faster healing. I ws given the total cut her open one. I was there for a week. every day about 1/4th of the women went home and 1/4 more were admitted. There was not one person there who appeared caucasian, unless they were like me: Brown with european features.
    There was much crying and most of us had never bore children. My doctor, after my surgery told me the following. “You can have sex with whom ever you want, and you don’t need to use birth control” No mention of aides or other sexual diseases. I am sure this ethno-genocide still goes on in places. It ruined my life’s plans of being a mom and a wife. Mary Daly is righ on the mark. Thanks for posting this, Roseanne. and for the space for comments.

  2. LadyJane Green says:

    As I read this Daly Gyn/Ecology excerpt, Angelina Jolie’s Boobs came to mind.That’s right.Her.Bewbs. Those “perfect” by most American Male standard’s ones. Her recent announcement that she had undergone radical breast surgery and reconstruction took the world by storm. My dragon friend told me about it, and I’m sure my face was coding classic surprise/fear. Hereditary breast cancer had reared its multi-hydra heads again into my consciousness.
    My Mom died of breast cancer back in 1997. She was diagnosed in 1988, so it took a while to get her tough Irish ass. To be more correct, It was the experimental chemotherapy that finished her off. Ever since then I have been left in that high fear, full family history category of screening for breast cancer. Can you say many, many extra Mammograms? I sure can. 3 benign cyst removals later, I have changed my lifestyle to be healthier and less prone to this cyst stuff.I have personally never been told about or offered the cancer gene test, probably because of my barely insured status. It must be nice to be able to “afford” the diagnostic test and subsequent surgeries, since this preventative type of surgery is not covered by standard insurance. Basically, you can save yer life like Angelina, if you can afford to Pay Like Angelina. I’m thinking most women can’t afford this level of prevention. A point that could have been made in the mainstream media more effectively.
    I really don’t want to be stuck at the mercy of a cut for pay medical system. Thirty five years after M. Daly wrote this chapter,I am still at odds with a “for profit”medical system that is failing the people it is supposed to serve. The prospect of a male Gynecologist makes me have PTSD-like symptoms as I recall the myriad lies and bullshit I have dealt with at their hands. I eventually learned that Nurse Practitioners are far more available,and can relate to fellow women in need of alternatives. Forced pregnancy is one of the ways young women are controlled within the “Capitalist Patriarchy”. Inept Sexist Male Gynecologists are not helping. They continue the legacy of hurt.
    The lack of Empathy in not having their own personal “pocket Vagina ” to explore is certainly an obstacle to Male Political/Gynecological true understanding of women and their Genitals.
    Women’s right to decide what happens to their own bodies is being legislated out of our hands. Think of Roe vs Wade under attack, the potential return to the era of back alley abortions, and the blatant use of trans-vaginal probing at the local police station. The victimized Vagina is guilty until proven innocent. Social Media further dehumanizes a horrible situation.
    The Vagina is Still Under Perpetual Attack. In the courts, In Steubenville Basements,New Delhi Busses, and on the street where you live. There is a Bulls Eye on all our Vaginas. It has been inscribed on it since the olden days.
    WOMEN: Don’t be afraid to ask for a female gynecologist. It’s your right. At least for now.

  3. Liz Powers Moore says:

    Unfortunately, things have not gotten much better for women when it comes to Reproductive Health choices. I remember being given this book by my teacher/midwife back in the late 80s. Blew my little catholic girl mind. In a good way. Midwives/Wisewomen/SassyAssWomen are still being persecuted, not only by Big Daddy Religion/Medicine, but by our fellow female victims. And, for what? The infant mortality rate is unbelievable. The c-sec rate is through the roof. Mainline feminists continue to treat Birth Choice as the redheaded stepchild.

  4. wittyweinstein says:

    thanks for all this info – i have not yet read her, but i can already tell daly was a ROCK STAR – she had such great titles for books and chapters etc. they are total rock n roll albums. buying the whole lot online now.

    could you imagine if she and a bunch of chicks formed a rock band back in the day?

    i wanted to ask – i know she had an acquaintanceship with hillary clinton – and i know not everyone is a fan of ms. clinton, and with good reason, but i don’t want to turn this thread into that… does anyone know how hillary felt about daly’s work? i tried googling but can’t find anything, other than info from misguided religious zealots saying that daly helped turn hillary into a witch (ha!), and i am fascinated to know any non-personal details of their relationship.

  5. Christopher Michael Ward says:

    people can also send me links on Mary Daly on twitter @chrismichaelw- Thanks!

    • LadyJane Green says:

      Hey C. M. W. I am lucky to have access to some incredible loaner texts courtesy of a Sister Dragon. These books are very hard to come by. I was also a women’s studies minor and have read a ton of shite. I also am an unabashed fan of music, singing and popular culture, and Majored in (Feminist) Film Production. We all have our own beat to march to. People like Mary Daly weren’t afraid to piss people off. Now a days things are a little different. This thread is a work in progress…

  6. LadyJane Green says:

    Daly was a true pioneer of Radical Feminisim. Controversial, outspoken, and brilliant, she fought tirelessly against the Patriarchy throughout her academic career. As a Radical Feminist Lesbian, and a self-described “Positively Revolting Hag” she stood out in the conservative Boston College Jesuit landscape. Daly’s academic credentials were stellar, with a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Frieborg. No matter what, Mary Daly always put women first! She wasn’t really interested in what men had to say. The male voice and presence changes how women behave in the classroom in her opinion.Eventually legal challenges to her female only classroom policy forced her retirement from teaching. Mary Daly’swritings continue to influence,excite, and provoke thought. New readers discover her Fire and Vitrol and are pushed into challenging the status quo.
    One of the more unique aspects to Daly’s writing is her use of a self created lexicon of radical feminist words and concepts. She compiled these new words into her own dictionary called The Wickidary. This reference guide is pretty much required reading in the study of Daly’s works. Some students read the Wickidary first when first discovering these texts. I was exposed to Gyn/Ecology first. Even yesterday my sister in law and I had a heated discussion about Male Gynos And their “Sadistic Indifference”. Learning that this treatment has a long and horrible her-story is always shocking
    . This Thread is opening as a conduit to Discussion about M. Daly, her works and all things related. We are creating an environment of inclusion to all; Seasoned Dalyites and those just just inquiring….and please…Respect each others right to speak, and act like Big Mama is sitting right here with us. Cuz you know She is. Be Cool. This site stands as a place where women’s voices can be heard.

    LJG

    Commentary

    This reading from Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology is disturbing and controversial, it is the first thing of Daly’s I ever read. I was in my early twenties and it blew my mind. Re-Reading it it at 46, I’m still impressed, reading passages out loud and encouraging others to hear and discuss its grim facts. This article will get you “where it counts”! It is also an eye-opening look into the Her-story of “Modern Gynecology” Many people are empowered by Mary Daly’s writings. Others are enraged. She is definitely not for everyone! There are deep divides today in the feminist and gay communities that center on issues of race, transgender inclusion, and privelege. These arguments were audibly present against Mary Daly back then in 1978, when these words were written. They are just as relevant today.
    Participate.

    • Christopher Michael Ward says:

      LadyJane i remember when Big Mama talked about Mary Daly in her book Roseannearchy, and after that i have been wanting to read up on Ms Daly. I was unable to find mary’s books at a barnes & noble a few months ago, so i am glad i found this Thread. I want to learn more about Ms Daly, and hope i find new info here. Thanks!

      Christopher Michael Ward- @chrismchaelw on twitter.

      • That would be Dr. Mary Daly. I have every one of her books. She is readily available on Amazon. I’d start with Gyn/Ecology, although it is her third book. In order, they provide a vivid description of her philosophical evolution: The Church and the Second Sex (1968), Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation (1973), Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism(1978), Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy (1984), the autobiographical Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage (1992), Quintessence . . . Realizing the Archaic Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto (1998), and Amazon Grace: Recalling the Courage to Sin Big, (2006), and of course, Websters’ First Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language, (1987) Conjured in cahoots with Jane Caputi.

        Read more: Mary Daly Biography (Philosopher/Theologian) | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/biography/var/marydaly.html#ixzz2Uw0DFERw

    • So, essentially we learn here that men took control of women’s reproductive “medicine” in order to wield power over our bodies?