42 Comments

Thank you for the list. I'll take a look. I've read a couple of books this year on feminism: Mary Harrington's book, Feminism against Progress and Louise Perry's The Case Against the Sexual Revolution. They were very similar in their theme, which makes sense as I know they are friends. I look forward to learning more.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

You are so fucking brilliant Holly!Thank you for being.

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Thank you so much for this post, Holly - you said what I've been feeling. I am still very much in my anger during this post-anger phase and often feel like people don't take me seriously for it. All of this post spoke to my soul, as your writing does.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you, Holly, for putting into words what I’ve been thinking about and struggling with since April when the case against my abuser was dropped after a performative prosecution that left me re-traumatized without support and without justice or closure of any kind.

https://www.propublica.org/article/ed-sniffen-sex-abuse-case-dismissed

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I’m so sorry, Nikki 😢 please know I’m sending you good vibes & virtual hugs

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Nikki, I'm so sorry for what happened to you at every step.

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Thank you for your words of empathy, Holly. Your book and your writings here have helped me stay afloat when I thought I might sink and have buoyed me throughout my recoveries from alcohol use and sexual abuse. You will always have my appreciation and gratitude.

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Nikki, you (and all people) deserve so much better. I’m so sorry.

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This is horrible and enraging Nikki. The fucking patriarchy.

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founding
Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Well said. Thanks for sharing this essay, and all the books and articles. I’m looking forward to reading Touched Out.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Holly, this is spot on!!! What’s so frustrating is the absolute blindness of some people from this entitled group, and their complete incapacity to entertain a different perspective. The “liminal web” guy is on another planet if he thinks he & his ilk will “midwife us” to the future 🤢 I saw he threw in a dose of gaslighting for good measure. Gimme an effin break

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I just finished a novel, "My Last Innocent Year" by Daisy Alpert Florin which explores consent. Highly recommend. Sadly, I think we've all been there with experiences that aren't rape but also aren't consensual... or at least all the women I've talked to about this topic.

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Sep 12, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

This was cathartic to read, thank you.

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I was seeped in the Buddhist/Non-Buddhist world of thinkers years ago, before the #MeToo movement. I was getting my Masters Degree in Applied Meditation (yes it’s a thing and is accredited and so legit that my GI Bill approved and paid for it.) I really enjoyed bantering with respected Buddhist Philosophy thinkers (a lot of cis white hetero men.) I was also a speaker for RAINN, and wrote a lot about my experience of childhood rape and abuse. I also enjoyed digging into the current shortfall of modern meditation dogma and how it can so quickly turn into victim blaming. I remember a very prominent (will remain nameless) Buddhist thinker/writer personally emailing me. (He had to work to get my personal information because I had not given it to him and I has tried hard to keep it private, which was easier then.) He sent me a gross, predatory, abusive email telling me to shut up, stop talking about my abuse, and that every time I talked about it I was playing the victim. He said I would never evolve until I stopped talking about it. (That’s a shortened version.) Instead of engaging me and having an intelligent conversation about how some modern Buddhist/Meditation dogma does not serve marginalized communities, he chose to shame me and shut me up. (I have the experience based idea that you simply cannot pursue a No-self if you are a marginalized individual without first constructing an actual self, because a lot of us have lived as a no-self our whole lives and it is NOT healthy.) He equated me simply talking about my experience with playing the victim, and did so in an utterly awful way. I am ashamed to say I stepped back from him and his cohort. I realized he was/is likely a narcissist who is power hungry instead of an actual intellectual. He still has a lot of “followers,” and I occasionally read things written by him and I wonder how others don’t see it. I privately tell people about my experience with him as a warning. It rarely works. Anyway, your article stirred that up for me, and it felt relevant to share. I haven’t spoken about it in years....but I still carry the repercussions. I guess I AM still angry, and perhaps I should be.

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I suspect I know who you're talking about. And YES to having to have a strong self before you can no self yourself. I've been steeped in Zen practice for years and am currently on a bit of a hiatus because I felt like I was eroding myself when I needed to be building in order to thrive.

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Exactly. My mentor (not the guy I spoke about) was a zen practitioner and we talked about this all the time. These ideas of emptiness only really work when you come from a place of privilege and are full enough to be able to empty. Similar to what Holly talks about with AA. When your ego has been fed your life, of course it makes sense to question it and seek emptiness….but, when you have been told (implicit and explicitly) your whole life that you are already nothing and empty, the emptiness simply reinforces trauma and shame and silence. I always say I am silent and still ON the cushion…so I can know exactly what I need to be LOUD about and actively rebel against OFF the cushion. Some people get it, others do not.

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100%. What's hard for me is that the zazen itself has been life changing, for the reason you mention. It's when I dip too far into the teachings that I go astray. Definitely see the connection between Holly's work on AA and it's why I subscribe here. Great to meet a kindred spirit. :)

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I thought of this too in terms of Holly's analogy with why AA works for privileged white guys but often doesn't work for others. The problem, continually, seems to be when we act like there is ONE right way of being vs many right ways to act and be based on where you're coming from or what you're coming out of.

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you for this. Thank you for your vulnerability.

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Holly, all I can say is thank you so much for saying all of this. The sick of being mad part, the part about still falling into patterns of letting men do stuff to you even after all you've been through and learned. It's so hard.

Where I really jumped out of my skin, however, was when you got to the bit about the metamodern white dudes. I'm interested in this space too and am often stunned by the obliviousness. To actually use the word 'midwifing'!!!! The fucking gall!! And this: "You can complain about the way these spaces have beeen defined or go define them yourself…I know which path you’ll likely take." Talk about missing the fucking point.

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I screamed when I read the "midwifing" bit! Gigantic eye roll.

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you! I wish I had a more prolific response, but all I can say is thank you. Thank you for putting into words the frustration I feel. It's like my rage is covered and simmering, but it's rage. So, how can it be simmering?! This is how and why. Thank you!

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Sep 15, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I purposely waited before commenting because I had so many different reactions and I wanted to see what other people had to say because I didn’t have the words. I feel it all too. We are all here with you and for you.

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<3

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Holly. I am always so grateful for what you write.

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founding
Sep 16, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Yes! To all of it. Thank you for putting into words all the frustration and anger I often feel.

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God damn Holly, this brought into sharp focus so much that has been bubbling in my mind. I’m sorry you had that sexual experience, it reminded me of several I had (and had forgotten about) in my drinking days when consent was assumed but not given. My interior monologue was around ‘what did you think was going to happen’, ‘you deserve this’, ‘he has a right to this’. 😣

Particularly love your point about including people as ‘foundations’ not ‘ingredients’. A NZ man told me recently that we live in a matriarchal society ‘because we’ve had two queens in our recent history’. FFS.

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