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Sister Trinity’s Feminist Q & A

Sister Trinity’s Feminist Q&A

Everything you always wanted to know about (radical) feminism but never dared to ask

 

This here is the introduction post to the Q & A. It isn’t necessary for you to read all this to participate in the Q & A, but if you are interested, read.

If you are more the impatient sort, go straight to the Q & A page.

 

Lately I have seen a mountain of evidence that there are countless women on the Internet who are afraid to even say what’s on their minds or to ask a question. Because girls and women have been relentlessly attacked and bashed not only by the usual suspects, the misogynist trolls out there, but by supposed fellow feminists.

Now, I’m for not mincing any words here: it is mostly radical feminists who have been attacked online by other feminists and by trans activists—in addition to the usual misogynist suspects, because of course those don’t take time off. Many of these attacks have been utterly frightening, with threats made against women and their children. (And now, most recently, trans activists have undertaken efforts to have the radical feminist conference Radfem2013 kicked from the venue that was booked, supposedly because we’re the fascist danger to free speech and feminism…)

While there may indeed be a few women who identify as radical feminists who have engaged in abusive online behavior of their own, this is nothing like a feud or a war. The greater mainstream side has declared radical feminists the Bad Guy, and one of the huge reversals that has conquered the mainstream perception is that radical feminism is about being hateful, exclusive, about bullying and putting down other women (and killing all men, I guess)—all terrible lies.

As this relentless barrage of smears, sabotaging and harassing shows, it’s a clear reversal. Those vilifying, shaming and bullying are actually the same ones claiming to be the victims of radfem bullying. This is why they feel justified in their behavior. I have literally been told I am ‘evil’ (just for having a Twitter profile that says “radfem” and wanting to attend a radical feminist conference that’s only for radical feminist females) and thus deserve to be treated like shit when talking about my rape on my blog and Twitter. The same people would be outraged should a radfem even suggest that a rape survivor could deserve different degrees of sympathy based on how much you agree with their political views. Outraged doesn’t even come close. I suspect they would revoke all feminist membership cards and call them pariah.

Note how radfems become the misogynist antifeminist stereotype incarnate in people’s minds. It’s a convenient way of showing oneself as a ‘progressive’ feminist to throw those stereotyped “hairy manhating lesbians” under the bus. The backlash against feminism and all the misogynist baggage is rolled off onto radical backs so that others can appear enlightened (when in fact they question the status quo far less than radicals do, than everyone should).

The result of all this witch hunting is that radfems often can’t speak properly or safely with other women who do or don’t share their identification with radical feminism, and young feminists are scared speechless, lest they be tarred and feathered and called names like radfem sisters have been in front of their eyes.

Take it from me: we don’t believe in the things we believe because we are bitter and hateful. Quite on the contrary, you have to be very committed to making the world a better place to put up with everyone rejecting and hating you and still stand by what you know. Almost everyone who doesn’t identify as a radical feminist hates us and treats us like shit. But I have yet to see a radical feminist utter a single threatening sentence toward someone else on the Internet. Weird, considering we’re these dangerous, unhinged witches who abduct and eat children.

But the problem is of course not limited to those who identify as radfem, not by far. When we engage with people, sooner or later we face someone’s attempts to silence us, whether for being female or for being a feminist or for being the wrong kind of feminist or offending someone’s all-important sensibilities. All these little attempts–some successful, some not– add up, and before you know it, smart, eloquent and kind girls and women are sitting in front of their screens like tongue-tied spectators, with questions swirling in their heads or criticisms to add, but no courage to communicate.

This is what the patriarchy wants. It’s inbuilt into oppressive systems that those who question them, who work to dismantle them and who visibly reject the system’s values, face intense pressures to ‘go away’: change to fit in, withdraw from society, descend into mindlessness or self-destruction.

This is what feminists and radical feminists in particular are supposed to do for this Death Machine system of ours to continue unchecked. The patriarchy needs females who are afraid, insecure, and uncritical, who police and fight each other and drag their sisters back down into the mud every time.

This ends here. At least in this space, nobody will be dragging anyone anywhere.

I’m not the godmother of good feminism. I’m not even that experienced or anything, since I haven’t been around all that long. But I like to believe I know a thing or two, and I’m also very well connected with a network of other women who know A LOT about feminism, who live it. Many women, most of them radical feminists and all of them wonderful people, are more than happy to answer your questions (and even if they weren’t, I’m also here and I’m certainly going to do my best).

A place where your intentions do matter and nobody’s feelings trump your right to ask questions

I once thought I was just asking a question (with the intention of becoming a better feminist and just wiser and more understanding), but found that it made me the object of hate and ridicule and that no answer was forthcoming (also no explanation for the offense I’d caused). It was very intimidating and painful because my intention was never to be hurtful, disrespectful or anything like that, and I didn’t understand how my behavior was seen in such a light (otherwise I would have behaved differently, that’s a no-brainer). Of course we still have to watch what we say and do, we can’t just say “I didn’t mean it” and that makes everything okay. But to a certain extent, people’s intentions do matter. Ignorance is not a crime. It’s clinging to that ignorance when someone has shown you the error of your ways that deserves scorn, maybe, but certainly not a lack of understanding and a wish to remedy that condition.

I don’t want to see anyone punished for not understanding something and striving to understand it better. If this person steps on some toes in the process, then, sure, that can be part of the learning process. But I seriously need to get biblical for a second and say that none of us get to cast the first stone in this. None. We’ve all learned the things we’ve learned at some point, and we didn’t choose many of the things we learned. It’s not where we come from that people should judge us by, but rather where we’re trying to go.

This is the very same reason I don’t judge anyone who eats animals, even though I do actually regard it as something horrible people shouldn’t do. How can I think that and not think of individual people as ‘bad’? Well, how was I any different some years back? Did I deserve to be judged because I hadn’t understood something that I understand now? No. Was I, if not callous, then at least a stupid person? No. I was just raised in this world in which things are done a certain way, and I did what I had been raised to do. People do that. It’s possible to condemn the whole damn system without being angry or hateful toward any single person (not that there aren’t people who deserve for others to be angry at them; that does happen).

I can deal with hate from men, because everyone knows many men hate women and hate feminists in particular. I expect their misogyny. I wear thick armor against it that fits me snugly, that I don’t even feel. But what can really rob us of the last bit of confidence is when not even our sisters treat us decently.

So, if you have thoughts and questions on feminism (and radical feminism in particular), dear sister, bring it on. You will get nothing but our best intentions, collective knowledge and my fierce protection from all rudeness, anger and abuse. You’re welcome here, anonymous or not, as long as you mean well, too.

You have a brain and it is a wonderful thing. Use it, talk to me, let us know what you are thinking. You are worthwhile and I want you to speak up.

THE RULES

  1. You will be able to post anonymously, but it would be wisest to pick some kind of handle, or things may get a little confusing on here.
  2. You may ask absolutely anything you want, provided it has something to do with feminism. That’s a really wide range of topics and that’s good.
  3. Everything will go through my moderation. Slurs will only be allowed if you are talking about what others have said to you; nobody here is to use them against anyone else.
  4. Absolutely NOBODY is going to be accused of being ‘ignorant’, ‘bigoted’ or a ‘bad feminist’, no matter what they write. You can criticize what someone has said, but you do not attack the sister speaking.
  5. If you are being deliberately abusive with your words, I will either edit or delete your comments. This is so everyone else can feel safe.
  6. This discussion space is for females. If you were born male, sorry, this here is not for you and it’s nothing personal. This is about females finding their voices after being pressured and intimidated to shut up since the day they were born. Many of us struggle to even reach the conclusion that we are allowed to have our own views and express them. Females are being silenced and its females I’m trying to engage and encourage and hopefully enlighten a bit with all this. Since this is the Internet and I’m letting people be anonymous, I will just have to appeal to you to be respectful of this.

Now go to the Q & A page to take part!

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Censorship from Left and Right – by bell hooks

Below is an excerpt from bell hooks’ 1994 essay “Censorship from Left and Right”

“In the early years of contemporary feminist movement, solidarity between women was often equated with the formation of “safe” spaces where groups of presumably like-minded women could come together, sharing ideas and experiences without fear of silencing or rigorous challenges. Groups sometimes disintegrated when the speaking of diverse opinions led to contestation, confrontation, and out-and-out conflict. It was common for individual dissenting voices to be silenced by the collective demand for harmony. Those voices were at times punished by exclusion and ostracization. Before it became politically acceptable to discuss issues of race and racism within feminist circles, I was one of those “undesirable” dissenting voices. Always a devout advocate of feminist politics, I was, and am, also constantly interrogating, and if need be, harsh in my critique. I learned powerful lessons from hanging in there, continuing to engage in feminist movement even when that involvement was not welcomed. Significantly, I learned that any progressive political movement grows and matures only to the degree that it passionately welcomes and encourages, in theory and practice, diversity of opinion, new ideas, critical exchange, and dissent.

This remains true for feminist movement; it is not less true for black liberation struggle. In the heyday of civil rights struggle, black power movement folks were often “excommunicated” if they did not simply support the party line. This was also the case in white male-dominated “left” political circles. Censorship of dissenting voices in progressive circles often goes unnoticed. Radical groups are often so small that it is easy to punish folks using tactics that may not be apparent to those outside the group.Usually, repression is enforced by powerful members of the group threatening punishment, the most common being some form of ostracization or excommunication.  This may take the form of no longer including an individual’s thoughts or writing in relevant discussions, especially publication, or excluding individuals from important meetings and conferences. And in some cases it may take the form of a consistent, behind-the-scenes effort to cast doubt verbally on their credibility.

Marginalized groups often fear that dissent, especially if it is expressed in public critique, will play into the hands of dominating forces and undermine support for progressive causes. Throughout the history of black struggle against racism there has been, and continues to be, major disagreement over whether or not we should rigorously critique one another publicly, especially in racially integrated contexts. Efforts to censor surface whenever marginalized groups are overly concerned with presenting a “positive” image to the dominant group.

(…)

As a professor, I continually witness fear on the part of students to express themselves openly and freely. This fear is usually motivated by the concern that their peers will not like what they say, and that this will lead to some form of social punishment. Their willingness to self-censor in the interest of being liked, of being held in high regard by their peers, as well as their often profound fear of conflict, always indicts the notion that our classrooms are a place where the democratic assertion of free speech is possible. Professors will never create a learning community where students can understand the importance of free speech and exercise their rights to speak openly and freely if we lack the courage to fully embrace free speech. The same holds true for progressive political groups.

When repression via censorship becomes the norm in progressive political circles, we not only undermine our collective struggles to end domination, we act in complicity with that brand of contemporary, chic fascism that evokes romantic images of unity and solidarity, a return to traditional values, while working to deny free speech and suppress all forms of rebellious thought and action. In recent years, feminist thinkers have fought long and hard to make feminist thinking, theorizing, and practice a radical space of openness where  critical dialogue can take place. Much of that struggle has been waged by women of color, beginning with the conflict over whether or not to see issues or face and racism as feminist agendas.

Feminist movement, black liberation struggle, and all our progressive political movements to end domination must work to protect free speech. To maintain the space for constructive contestation and confrontation, we must oppose censorship. We remember the pain of silence and work to sustain our power to speak—freely, openly, provocatively.”

Full essay here.

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Activism to normalize gender transitioning now comes at children’s expense

“Live and let live,” you may say, but that’s precisely what trans ideology does NOT do.

In Oregon, the law now says that “gender questioning children and adolescents” will get “puberty suppression therapy” at the first sign of pubertal change. “Puberty suppression therapy.” Just let those words sink in. In what world does that sound like a rational, healthy thing to do to a child?

They are taking perfectly healthy children who don’t conform to the rigid patriarchal norms that are attached to sex (this is called ‘gender’) and giving them an untested treatment that isn’t medically necessary or proven to be beneficial. In fact, health problems abound. And yet this is supposed to fix the problem of being ‘born in the wrong body’ –which is such a hateful, evil notion to support and enable that I fail to understand how the critical people are the ones being labeled hateful and oppressive.

This is like buying a pair of shoes for your child, discovering that they are slightly too small, and proceeding to hack off your child’s toes to make them fit rather than getting a better pair of shoes.

Trans laws are only just getting started. And it affects every single person, not just those who identify as trans, when a country’s laws are changed to reflect the idea that males behave and think one way and females behave and think another way (codifying ‘gender identity’ into law does just that), and that feeling uncomfortable with the gender role assigned to us due to our sex is a sign that our bodies need extensive modification, or that we are in fact ‘not what we seem’.

All those who identify as trans deserve full human rights, respect, and protection just like all other humans. But legislators, medical professionals and parents need to hear this message loud and clear, before we find ourselves in a world that leaves no space at all for those who would escape the rigid, sex-based definition of what we are supposed to be:

STOP CRIPPLING KIDS AND MAKING THEM SICK TO BETTER CONFORM TO SEX-BASED STEREOTYPES AND TO MAKE HOMOSEXUALITY DISAPPEAR. LET CHILDREN BE HOW THEY WANT WITHOUT PATHOLOGIZING THEIR BODIES. YOU ARE ENABLING AND PROMOTING SEVERE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HARM.

“Do not adjust your mind, it is reality that is malfunctioning.” (Robert Anton Wilson)

“We aren’t born in the wrong body, we’re born in the wrong society!“(@ThedirtfromDirt)

The blog I am linking here is truly excellent; read it even if it’s a long post.

Sex matters.

It was recently announced that the Oregon Health Plan, which provides healthcare coverage to low-income residents of Oregon, will cover “medical care” for “transgender” children starting October 1, 2014. [1]

The official text of the Oregon Health Plan guideline reads:

“Hormone treatment is included on this line only for use in delaying the onset of puberty and/or continued pubertal development with GnRH analogues for gender questioning children and adolescents. This therapy should be initiated at the first physical changes of puberty, confirmed by pubertal levels of estradiol or testosterone, but no earlier than Tanner stages 2-3. Prior to initiation of puberty suppression therapy, adolescents must fulfill eligibility and readiness criteria and must have a comprehensive mental health evaluation. Ongoing psychological care is strongly encouraged for continued puberty suppression therapy.”

Under this guideline, services covered by the State of Oregon will include:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Evaluation by a pediatric specialist
  • Procedures…

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I write about violence. They arrive looking for porn.

This is from the new collaborative blog I started with a fellow feminist to document online misogyny, You’ve Got Male. I posted the search terms Pass the Flaming Sword has gotten so far. If you have any nasty experiences online, get involved! [Warning, blog contains explicit and violent language]

You've Got Male

Here are the search terms that have brought people to my blog Pass the Flaming Sword since I started it.

search terms1

Many feminist bloggers have this issue. We write about women and girls being hurt, exploited, abused, killed…and we find people (boys and men) arriving on our blogs because that’s the sort of stuff they enjoy seeing. There is huge demand for female suffering. This is disturbing and needs to change. Help us wake up the world to the scope of this problem by sharing your blog searches with us. Send us a screenshot at hatemale [at] hushmail dot com, and don’t forget to include a link to your blog.

– ST

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The Time I Saw A Man Who Raped Me

Image

Walking home

It’s been a long day and it’s cold

Huge bus flashing by in the window reflection

Street corner faces and bakery smells

And BOOM there on the other side of a thin sheet of glass

Real, not an apparition

Never was

He was never not real

When he tore my –

 

I can barely remember anything.

Too red wine too much

Wine never made me feel like this

I remember I told him I liked him

Shortly before

Why did I say it

What a lie

What a terrible lie that was gonna be

But I wasn’t myself

Not speaking for myself

Not speaking

 

Just a few faint shreds of this, mercifully? buried

Unspeakable

Even when I’m pouring words like now it’s not half

Kinda like a mental limp

And a kind of grim quiet may have descended on my mind

There was just so much

Carrying on like nothing like nobody like never

Did I respond at all

I don’t know

Maybe I can play dead so convincingly I persuade myself

Is that how you feel powerful?

Reduce someone to a body, a corpse?

How can I call you ‘sir’ when I’m not even there?

I’d call you the things you deserve to be called

But it’s not worth the bitter taste on my tongue

When I realize I lack the words after all

 

But you didn’t win, you must sense that to be this way

On the other side of your transparent protection

Oblivious to the burning eyes outside

You just sit, hateful and hated, perhaps

A creature I would erase

Perhaps

If I had the button, the trigger, the bolt

If I sat on a throne

And you were a fly

And I’d suffered your bite

 

But your day will come,

Already has, in a way

What a sad sight you are

Though not for my eyes

Because once again you’re gone

And I live

With little memory

But too much fire

raining on you and yours

I’ll be a phoenix

Where you left ashes

And my steps are sure

I’m on my way home

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Feminism’s Gender Identity Crisis

Okay, so this article or whatever it is pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the current direction the mainstream discourse on feminism has taken, and so I felt a need to comment on it. A lot. And I apologize in advance if I come off like a smartass, especially should the author of the piece be reading this. It’s nothing personal.

In case you have too little time to hear in detail what my problem with this piece on feminism is, I’ll just give you the TL;DR right now: it’s not feminism.

Buckle up, this is rough stuff.

“Feminism has come a long way — it has absolutely revolutionized the way gender shapes our lives. The restrictions placed on my mother’s generation have little bearing on mine.”

I don’t know what sort of world this person lives in, but I have to assume it’s not one in which the words ‘absolutely revolutionized’ hold the same meaning as in mine. Actually, this seems to be the kind of ‘revolutionized’ that, say, the latest toxic concoction by Procter & Gamble promises to do to the world of shampoo and your hair, meaning it’s a completely gross misuse of a word that shouldn’t be thrown around for the hell of it.

So far, so wrong. Because last time I checked, women are still fighting for the right not to be enslaved incubators to their rapists; girls can’t walk down the street without fear of being called slut or whore or being otherwise harassed or attacked; women and girls are being trafficked and bought and sold, abused, harassed, humiliated, molested, mutilated, raped, tortured, prostituted, groped, groomed, coerced, stalked, bullied, forcibly sterilized or impregnated, killed, dehumanized, objectified, pornified, infantilized, robbed of their childhood, victim-blamed. Women don’t earn as much as men for the same work, while still having to do most of the unpaid work in addition, and women own barely any of the material property around the world. The majority of the world’s poor is female. The world is rife with sex-based danger and injustice against girls and women, from female genital mutilation, ‘honor killings’, executions, and other forms of femicide right down to the countless microagressions and instances of blatant sexism in our everyday lives.

Recently I’ve read of an acid attack and honor killings in Germany, a refusal to recognize marital rape as a crime in India, ‘personhood’ legislation in the US, rampant misogyny among Australian politicians, and wave after wave of information on pedophile rings in the UK. We’ve had the terrible rape-murders of Jyoti Singh Pandey and Anene Booysen, and the grossly sensationalized murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The bad news just won’t stop.

And how exactly has anything been revolutionized since my mother was my age? Oh right, merciless high-speed, high-def Internet porn on airplanes, in classrooms, and on the unsupervised phones of barely pubescent boys.

“But sexism hasn’t disappeared, it’s simply adapted to the successes of feminism. Sexism today is often more subtle, less in your face, but still a very real part of our daily lives.”

Sexism has adapted? The weirdly impersonal and abstract language here is kind of jarring. Like, we won’t ever actually read about any kind of oppression that male elements of society perpetrate against female elements of society. It wouldn’t be proper to write it that way; someone might feel offended, you see.

And I call bullshit on sexism being ‘more subtle’. Or maybe that’s just me after the Oscars celebrated seeing women’s breasts in rape scenes and someone thought it was cool to call a 9-year-old black girl the c-word, and the biggest stationery retailer in the UK sells valentines that say “my goal is your hole” and “suck my dick”. I just really fail to see what’s so subtle about any of the passionate woman-hating I have to see every day.

It may be that we are expected to make less of a fuss than women were some decades ago, because we are now supposed to believe the fiction of a post-patriarchal society and ‘ironic’ and ‘satirical’ misogyny and racism (or, alternatively, just “choosing to be above it”, through some kind of mystical empowerment mojo).

Even feminists are running around claiming we beat patriarchy! If you find sexism nowadays subtle, I suggest you consider the other possibility: that perhaps you’re just pretty desensitized to it. (During the writing of this I’ve become aware of Amazon’s large selection of rape and violence-against-women themed t-shirts. Well done proving my point, world.)

“Instead of being shut out of the board room, women are welcomed in, but when they don’t see the same success as their male counterparts, they’re told (often by other successful women) that it’s because they aren’t aggressive enough, don’t lean in to their careers, are too family focused.”

Yes, exactly, women are being told those things, and we’re being told those things as reasons why we aren’t making it into the boardrooms even though plenty of us get degrees and want boardroom jobs. Why would there be any need for this stupid victim-blaming lie if we had actually ‘arrived’ in the boardrooms of the world? No, we are still on the outside looking in, and being told we have ourselves to blame. If by ‘welcomed in’ you mean ‘not chased out with torches and pitchforks’ then, I guess, yeah—though I’m sure I could find instances of something akin to that if I had the energy. (Please note how the above paragraph also never mentions who is doing this to women, until it actually names *other women* as the agents of all this. Interesting, huh.)

“Today’s sexism means that women aren’t the only ones who suffer. Sexism plays out in the narrow ways society uses gender to define who we are, who we can be and how we should be treated. This is something that we all experience no matter our gender.”

No. Just no. Sexism means that you are being discriminated against on the basis of your sex. It’s not this equal-opportunity thing. Discrimination is never an equal-opportunity thing, or it would not be discrimination. That long and non-exhaustive list of terrible things that are being done to girls and women based on their female sex? Pretty much all those things have male perpetrators and female victims. It doesn’t just happen to girls every now and then and other times to boys. This is a global system of violent oppression that goes in one direction, not a little bit here and a little bit there.

Dehumanization and objectification and all that, guess what, it causes men to treat us like objects, like shit, like property, like punching bags. Pornification and sexualization of little girls…that stuff destroys lives. It fuels sexualized violence and traumatization of a huge percentage of the population. It does not affect boys the same way. And it’s women who are getting less pay for the same work. It’s women who are being treated like shit by the media. It’s women who are being killed by their partners. It’s women who are still a tiny percentage of politicians. Sexism and racism aren’t things that just affect anybody, they are strict and evil hierarchies, and they have males and whites at the top and everyone else below, respectively. And the only people who ever claim otherwise are either male and/or white, or they have internalized the stuff they’re hearing, regurgitating the lie to suck up or to feel empowered.

To claim that everyone either randomly or uniformly suffers the effects of sexism is so incredibly obviously false that I have a hard time not calling it a lie, and a misogynist one at that.

“Feminism’s project moving forward? Constructing a tent big enough to hold a constituency beyond the confines of the women’s movement.”

The women’s movement isn’t ‘confined’, okay. What kind of a stupid statement is that in the first place? If you know anything about feminism, then you know that there are shitloads of people who don’t like feminists, who hate feminists, because women are hated. But women’s concerns aren’t some kind of exclusive, fringe political agenda. We are LITERALLY HALF OF THIS PLANET and we are very often the legal guardians of some of the members of the other half. That means that even if the women’s movement talks about only females all day, you can never call it ‘confined’ to anything simply for being about women only and for having females as a ‘target audience’ or focus.

So yeah, I have to write these long paragraphs for every sentence I read here, because this is some crap. This sentence just pisses me off, because it’s so dismissive of women working for women, of women concentrating on women, in fact of everyone concentrating on women, even though not only common sense but also regular old patriarchal research tell us that concentrating on women is the best and fastest way to make sure everyone benefits, while diverting some of that energy and those resources away from females usually results in pain and suffering for females.

Empower women and entire nations rise from terrible hardship. Empower men some more–always, of course, at the expense of women–and everything just goes further downhill.

“This work has already started, but it’s got a long way to go before we can claim a new direction for feminism. The LGBTQ movement, sometimes allied with feminism, has blown open new avenues for understanding gender identity in today’s world. Transgender, gender non-conforming and genderqueer people have more rights and recognition today than ever before, and this work is propelling the need for a feminism that understands how gender stereotypes and biological essentialism impact us all.”

This entire paragraph just kind of makes everyone forget what’s even going on down here on Planet Earth: men are oppressing women in a myriad of ways, are subjecting them to extreme cruelty and violence, and girls are being traumatized and crippled psychologically and physically. The minds of boys are of course also warped in patriarchy, but the male class is still the ruling class in the sex hierarchy and thus the side that mostly inflicts rather than endures.

All this talk of ‘gender identities’ and ‘genderqueer’ just obscures this and doesn’t help anybody. I’ll give you a synonym for what gender is: ‘sex-based stereotypes’. Now, let’s put this synonym for where it says gender:

“This work has already started, but it’s got a long way to go before we can claim a new direction for feminism. The LGBTQ movement, sometimes allied with feminism, has blown open new avenues for understanding [sex-based stereotype identity] in today’s world. [Trans-stereotyping, stereotype non-conforming and stereotypequeer people] have more rights and recognition today than ever before, and this work is propelling the need for a feminism that understands how [sex-based stereotype stereotypes] and biological essentialism impact us all.”

Pretty stupid, huh? ‘Gender’ ‘theory’ is just a bunch of self-affirming, circular reasoning that completely leaves out uncomfortable realities such as male supremacy, class society, and violent oppression and the trauma and conditioning it brings. The idea of ‘gender’ is just completely isolated from all political context. It just becomes a carnival of self-expression in which everyone is to have some kind of self-defined position (even though the carnival is entirely based around socially defined stereotypes).

We are to forget that two physically distinct types of humans exist, male and female, and that one controls the other based mainly on their anatomy, supported by an all-pervasive system that has existed for as long as recorded history. ‘Gender’ is nothing other than what patriarchal society expects people to be like based on their belonging to one sex class or the other.

Naturally, since this is patriarchy, this means that female humans are expected to be submissive and inferior and let themselves be dominated. If we don’t, there are consequences. That’s the system. That’s the feminine gender role. It’s meant to be oppressive. It’s what keeps us in our place. We don’t want these things to be at the focus of feminism because they are tools of the patriarchy, and they do exactly nothing when it comes to bringing us closer to liberation from male supremacy.

“Let’s welcome everyone who cares about eliminating gender-based oppression into our circle, and talk openly about how our roles in this movement should be shaped by the privileges we hold. The smaller our circle, the less our potential to change our world.”

This reads like your classic, ‘If we don’t include men in feminism, it’s totally pointless’ argument. This right here is what’s doing a lot to destroy feminism. Because you don’t just include people in a movement if their interests are possibly the exact opposite of what the movement is about, do you?

Well, if you get “everyone who cares about eliminating gender-based oppression” in on it, then you also get those who are convinced that there is now ‘gender-based’ oppression of men by women and not vice versa. You get those who, like the author of this piece, just paint ‘gender-based’ oppression (it’s actually sex-based) as some vague evil that befalls all of society, without perpetrators and only with victims who must all stand shoulder to shoulder–when that will actually result in victim standing with perpetrator and nobody who’s doing harm ever being held responsible or made to change.

“Let’s bust open the doors, invite everyone in, and start the hard work of envisioning a world where your gender doesn’t determine who you can be or how you will be treated.”

Did the author just wake up from a Futurama-style cryogenic sleep? I mean, not that I have actually been around all that long, but I actually just read the words “start the hard work of envisioning a world where your gender doesn’t determine who you can be.” First of all, this is still about sex, stop erasing the cause of our oppression! And second of all, how insulting to feminists can you get? Don’t you think women have imagined, dreamed of, yearned for, written about and envisioned such a world with all their might for ages now?

What do you think it is women want? More chivalry and kitchen appliances? We want to be humans. Not man’s helpmate, not servant, not fucktoy, not decoration, not prey, not scapegoat. “Let’s bust open doors and invite everyone in” sounds exactly like what a movement shouldn’t be doing when you’re trying to actually generate some kind of political momentum despite being literally in bed with the class enemy (this sounds belligerent to so many, but please just face the fact that it’s not a personal judgment of individual men to name the class of men as the oppressing agent and benefactor of female oppression).

I vote NO on just going, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, call yourself a feminist!” You get some people, like this person, talking like they’re feminists and then making it sound like women oppress themselves and men are just as much victims of patriarchy as women, if not more. I’d rather not have such people call themselves feminists, because what they’re saying is anti-feminist.

“Many fear that broadening feminism beyond a women’s movement will allow male privilege to run rampant in the movement. It’s true that sexism and gender-based oppression don’t impact us all to the same degree, and that’s a truth that goes beyond gender. Broadening the tent also means we have to better learn how to deal with privilege within our movement, a project that feminism has been struggling with for decades already around issues of race, class, ability and much more.”

These are weasel words. It starts off with some wording and tone that would suggest the author is about to explain why male privilege will not be a problem if this mythical tent-expansion is undertaken. But the only thing it actually says is, yes, privilege is an issue, but sex-based privilege isn’t the only issue. In other words, might as well include absolutely everyone under the feminist umbrella and then somehow try to make everyone happy. This is not feminism. This is called normal patriarchal society, and we already know that this oppresses women.

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Image credit: humourisms.com

One of the first things anyone who is serious about anything should learn is the following:

It doesn’t matter what people think. If people think they are good people and would never hurt anyone, but they actually don’t even know half the shit that goes on in the world, then they have absolutely no way of knowing what’s good or bad, right or wrong, and what they’re even doing. And that’s true for all of us. We have to learn to look around and understand things. Just because you mean well doesn’t make everything well. Men don’t think of themselves as misogynists. But that doesn’t mean that they have women’s interests at heart. Or that they even see women as human. Don’t look at me like that, there is a lot of depressing scientific research, okay.

We can barely even trust ourselves to have our own best interests at heart – in fact, that’s a hard struggle in itself. It’s really unlikely that the very people who a) have never experienced even for a day the oppression that we fight, and b) passively and/or actively benefit from our oppression, will be the ones to always follow what’s best for women. This big rallying cry for everyone who feels society has been oppressive to them and their ‘identity’ under the banner of feminism is not what we need.

We need people who recognize that females are the oppressed sex in a male supremacist world and who are passionate about changing this. You need to be seriously disconnected from reality to consider anything else the truth. (This is so BASIC! It is 2013 and we are trying to convince people that patriarchy is a thing, rather than fighting the damn thing! Think how far we could already have come if we didn’t have to start from scratch every decade.)

“Feminism, it’s time for a new approach. But let’s not forget why we’re here: because we’ve won. We’re here because feminism has transformed our society, and now it needs to transform itself for the next frontier: building a world where no one is limited, treated differently or discriminated against because of their gender identity.”

Okay, I’ll just translate this into really plain speech here, I think:

“Feminism is over. Regular old boring women have it really good now. They should stop complaining and think about everyone else.”

Again: No. Just no. Just keep your ‘gender identity’ along with the crisis that it brings, I want nothing to do with it. I don’t know whom you think it’s helping to put such emphasis on cherishing and respecting the gendered social image people project, but it doesn’t help women as a class. Frankly, it’s not helping anyone but the same old winners of patriarchy that everything non-revolutionary tends to benefit.

Understand that gender is sex-based stereotyping intended to keep females inferior and dependent on males and generally to keep everyone compliant with that system. ‘Gender’ is completely entwined with misogyny. You can’t have ‘gender’ without patriarchal ideas about people based on their bodies—the exact thing everyone should want to be getting rid of. Understand that we have not ‘won’, we have not ‘beat the system’, we are still very much in the middle of it.

A lot of what passes for feminism nowadays is really gender-affirming and helps to further the pornification of society. I also see a lot of fighting of symptoms of patriarchy without patriarchy actually being named as the problem. When a movement is so busy with things that are actually not the central objective, how is that objective (liberation for women) ever to be reached? If we could just end patriarchy and liberate ourselves (and the planet) from male supremacy, we would not have to worry about gender identities. If we could stop worrying about literally everything else under the sun, we could maybe get to saving some female lives and kicking the patriarchy’s ass.

I’d like to end this with two very fitting quotes by my friend @FeministRoar. The first one was her much more succinct critique of the article I have now discussed at length: “These people want to make feminism serve their own interests and in doing so make it meaningless.”

And secondly:

“So fed up of feminism being interpreted as whatever YOU want. It has a meaning folks. Get with it.”

Thank you, FeministRoar, I couldn’t agree more!

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The Song of Lilith

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Tree of Knowledge by Martina Hoffmann

You look afraid, brother.

 

Have you never seen

a thinking, breathing tornado,

come to annihilate a false god?

 

Oh yes, Adam, I am talking to you

Dust Colossus,

High Priest of Death,

the Great Blamer and Slaver

Of All He Hath Named.

 

Don’t think I don’t see you,

walking in the Garden,

protected by moribund walls

and your stolen sword of flame.

Solitary in your fearful greed,

the blood of my daughter still warm,

you burst with your venom lust

and you hunger for my screams.

 

And yet you tremble

as the chill of the wind

whispers the name of Lilith,

promising storms from east of Eden,

from the velvet dark of Nod.

And I smile as I approach,

incantations pouring forth,

my soul aflame,

my eyes containing the maelstrom.

 

Adam, your ribs are cracking

under my demon stare as I

bear down on weightless wings

and enter my desecrated temple.

Passing the flaming sword

I take it with me to the heart of the Garden

to the tree I planted and nourished.

Mighty Mother, your daughter returns

to bring sweet sacrifice!

The blood of Eden’s usurper

brings my Garden back to life

and all that dwells within

is divine again and whole.

Chanting, I open the gates

Welcome, children

How I longed for your faces,

iridescent in moonlight.

Your fathers are dead

Vanquished and forgotten

There is no more fear

All strife has left this place

It vibrates in my light

Enter your mother’s embrace

and dream in the warmth of my love.

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