i hope you hit your limit yesterday.
yesterday, male people told you precisely how pathetic, worthless, & contemptible they find the female experience.
to them, any attempt to organise as female people is laughable & shameful. no matter how abstract your slogans (“no uterus no opinion” makes no attempt to exclude anyone from womanhood), no matter how obfuscatory your circumlocutions (”dfab”, “dmab” in reference to unambiguous sex). any solidarity between female people will be ridiculed as the enterprise of “cis women”, i.e. members of the female sex who have not dissociated from it.
i hope you listened to them & i hope you saw their tantrum for what it was: the same entitlement, the same ego, the same contempt for female people, the same ignorance of female experience.
engels said that: The first class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage, and the first class oppression with that of the female sex by the male.
patriarchy, male supremacy, institutional sexism, whatever you want to call it: it is the sex-class system through which male people subjugate female people, first & foremost to assert control over reproduction.
bell hooks said that: “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
feminism is the movement to dismantle that sex-class system. feminists must speak lucidly about sex, sex-class, socialisation, & reproduction.
& yet that speech & movement is condemned as oppressive, exclusionary, & cruel to male people, because sexist male people will never be happy with feminism. never. it’s not worth it to try to appease them.
the whole “abortion is too exclusionary to bring up at a women’s march” thing makes no sense regardless of how you define woman (i.e. “female people” vs. “anyone who identifies as a woman”).
is rape an appropriate topic for a women’s march? not all women are raped. not all rape victims are women. is bringing up rape at a women’s march oppressive to women who haven’t been raped? if never-been-raped women protested that anti-rape activism “excluded” them & hurt their feelings, would we take them seriously? if never-been-raped women proclaimed that anti-rape activism “reduced women to rape victims”, would you take their side?
so is female reproductive autonomy an appropriate topic for a women’s march? every person that suffers under the exploitation of female reproductive capacity – denied abortion, forced abortion, forced impregnation, etc. – is a member of the female sex. the vast majority of those people consider themselves “women” (or the equivalent word in their language).
so what if members of the male sex feel offended & excluded by discussions of male exploitation of female people? their bruised egos don’t need to be assuaged by women.
if rape can be discussed at a women’s march, why not female reproductive autonomy?
it would actually be great to discuss white feminism with respect to white women uncritically expecting black women to take over their domestic roles when white women “empowered” themselves in the workplace in the 60s and 70s or, like, white women CEOs exploiting women of color globally in sweatshops so they could join the boy’s club of millionaires, but no…. alas……. it’s not to be……… instead we get to say that referencing menstruation is the pinnacle of white feminism
Those on the frontline of this rage know it is there. Millions of us marched last Saturday. This has rattled Trump, who is obsessed with size, with ratings and with reviews. But let us now pursue clarity and strategy, and name what is happening.
Patriarchy is the sea in which these sharks gather. I am glad to see that people are using this word again. It went out of fashion for a bit when feminism was portrayed as a series of tedious personal choices over shoes, shopping and sex toys. But the concept of patriarchy is essential to understanding what is happening right now. It is a system by which men hold power over political leadership, moral authority and every kind of social privilege, over women and children.
Patriarchy is not some men-only affair. Many women play a role in sustaining it. The far right, by the way, is not afraid of using this word. It claims it as the basis for all that is good in western civilisation. The elevation of Trump is absolutely patriarchal fundamentalism. He has swept up a lot of the Christian vote because of it. The adulation of Putin is the worship of another white power based on patriarchal rule: unapologetically anti-women, anti-gay, anti-black and anti-Muslim. It is obsessed with displays of masculinity to the point of fascist camp. The right promises the restoration of a time when men were men and women were sanctified mothers or whores. Such authoritarianism may be delivered by both men and women. As the American author and feminist bell hooks says, patriarchy has no gender. It is not situated only within the individual – which is why screaming “Sexist!” at someone only gets you so far. Were the women who voted for Trump furthering patriarchy? Yes, obviously. They may believe it can protect them.
The dismantling of this power cannot possibly come from those who won’t name it and spend the entire time shoring it up, largely reaping its benefits: that is, much of the liberal establishment. By assuming the culture war had been won, the myths of impartiality and neutrality have allowed far–right voices to go unchallenged. The assumption that we all believe in equality, are anti-racist, love an art gallery and some heated debate turned out to be wrong.
Patriarchal power asserts itself through cultural as well as economic resentment. And that is everywhere. The oft-repeated sentiment that feminism is itself an extreme movement is evidence of how liberalism bows down to authoritarianism.
So much more important now than whether dullards profess their allegiance to women’s rights while refusing to listen to women is understanding who will get down on their knees to service the new man-child patriarchy. And those of us who won’t. The power of telling it like it is is ours.
QotD: “There is, I think, a link between the purity politics of the left and the misogyny of left-wing men”
The left never, ever has to tackle misogyny because it’s something that only ever happens to women and women are, as we all know, less pure than men (menstrual blood, original sin and all that).
There is, I think, a link between the purity politics of the left and the misogyny of left-wing men. The exploitation of women’s bodies and labour is not merely not a priority for them; on the contrary, it is a necessity. Women get their hands dirty – cooking, cleaning, nursing, birthing – in order to free men up to get on with the more serious business of “fighting for equality.” Misogyny may be deplored in theory, but when you look at actual women, they are never good enough to merit protection. Men are. Men always are. There’s not a man on earth who doesn’t benefit from the unpaid labour of women, but that is only natural. As Andrea Dworkin put it, “God is the right, nature is the left.” There’s always a moral reason for hating women. Ruth Smeeth worked for an evil corporation, as have I. Screw us. While men’s humanity is not in question, women only get one humanity token and we blew it.
Today’s left wing men have their own bastardised version of intersectionality to use as an excuse for continuing to dismiss women’s issues and needs. I don’t think for a minute any of them have read any Crenshaw, yet they consider themselves experts when it comes to lecturing their female peers on privilege. Crenshaw had an important point to make about the way in which intersecting oppressions require specific analyses and practical responses as opposed to one-size-fits-all solutions. As far as your average lefty male is concerned, intersectionality simply means calling a woman a bigot whenever she seeks to articulate the material nature of female oppression. Only a whorephobic bully objects to the sex trade. Only a transphobe considers abortion and surrogacy to be women’s issues. Only a middle-class bitch shirks the housework and pays another woman to do it. It’s funny, isn’t it, how the left-wing intersectional ideal ends up being not the liberation of all women, but ensuring all woman remain barefoot and pregnant, serving men. Because it just wouldn’t be fair for some women to get out of this and not others.
If you want to be one of the righteous, don’t pay other people a pittance to do things for you when you can get the women right on your doorstep to do it for free.
And I’m pissed off with this. I’m pissed off with the fact not only that purity costs money (very few of us can afford to quit a job in moral pique) but that it imposes a specific, unacknowledged tax on women. We’re meant to shut up about rape threats for the sake of party unity. We’re meant to carry on cooking, cleaning, caring, serving, because it would be “exploitative” to expect anyone else to do it. We’re meant to pretend that Hillary Clinton is the same as Donald Trump even though Trump clearly thinks all women are scum. We’re meant to perform the exact same role capitalist patriarchy has always expected us to perform only don’t worry, girls! Come the revolution you’ll be scrubbing floors and sucking cock in a socialist utopia!
I’m sick of it, men. But you don’t have to listen to me. My hands, unlike yours, are unclean.
Exploitation is real and identifiable, and fighting it makes you strong, not weak. Sexual violation is real, and it is intolerable, and fighting it makes you strong, not weak. Woman hating is real, and it’s systematized in pornography and in acts of sexual violence against women, and fighting it makes you strong, not weak. And the right and the left both — whether it’s Phyllis Schlafly lecturing on how if you had been virtuous you wouldn’t have been sexually harassed or the left explaining to you that you should celebrate your sexuality and forget about rape, forget about it, don’t have a bad attitude, don’t feel like a victim — they both want women to accept the status quo, to live in the status quo, and not to organize the political resistance that I talked about earlier. Because the first step in resisting exploitation is recognizing it, seeing it, and knowing it, and not lying about where it is sitting on you.
Andrea Dworkin, “Woman-Hating Right and Left,” from The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism, eds. Dorchen Leidholdt and Janice G. Raymond, 1990
Apart from the reference to Phyllis Schlafly, this could have been written today.
hate speech: my body belongs to me. there is nothing wrong with me. i don’t owe anything to anyone.
If someone had told me, one week ago today, that a simple bake sale aiming to educate students about wage disparity in Australia would rile up a university campus to the point of death threats to the organisers, would reach media sources across Australia, the UK and US, and would result in the single most successful bake sale ever to be held on campus, I would have told them not to be silly; no one cares about a bake sale.
I also would have been wrong.
The now infamous Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale was an afterthought, a supplementary event to the panel discussions, workshops and stalls to be held throughout feminist week on the University of Queensland campus. We have hosted bake sales before, we just wanted this one to have an educational catch: why not educate students about wage disparity while feeding them sugar?
The idea was that each baked good would only cost you the proportion of $1 that you earn comparative to men (or, if you identify as a man, all baked goods would cost you $1). For example, for a woman of colour in the legal profession, a baked good at the stall would only cost you 55 cents.
Other university campuses and women’s collectives around the world have done it before – from campuses in the US charging more for white students than black students, to campuses in the UK only giving students the proportion of a cupcake they would earn in real life. This was not a new idea.
This particular bake sale, however, started something we could never in a million years have foreseen: a spiral into the darkest depths of gender inequality, the online world of cyberbullying and firsthand experiences of what women face every time they raise their voices.
Far from simply starting a discussion about wage disparity in Australia, the online backlash over the Gender Pay Gap Bake Sale brought to light hundreds of other issues of gender inequality, from sexual violence and threats against women, to why we still need feminism in the 21st century. This bake sale did its job and more.
We had students who had previously dismissed the idea of feminism approach us at the bake sale, purchase an item and explain that they “didn’t believe feminism was still needed until reading the comments posted online.”
These comments, posted by anonymous keyboard warriors (those who love to sit behind their computer screens and attack people changing the world) threatened violence against attendees and organisers of the bake sale, with posts including:
- “I’m so glad I know this event is on, now I won’t have to sort through all the ugly chicks when I’m out clubbing cos they’ll all be at feminist week instead”
- “Kill all women”
- “I’d punch a chick if she winked at me at the bake sale”
- “Females are fucking scum, they should be put down as babies”
- “I want to rape these feminist cunts with their fucking baked goods”
These comments were posted on the public event page, on subsequent posts about feminist week and sent directly to the email accounts, personal Facebook accounts and, in one case, via voicemail, of the organisers of feminist week, general members of the UQ Union Women’s Collective and to staff members who spoke out in support of the event.
This innocuous bake sale drew a vitriol of negative, derogatory and threatening online comments from people threatened by a discussion about equality and feminism; a discussion that we now, so obviously, need to be having in a public space.
As with all keyboard warriors, however, they never materialise in real life. The actual bake sale event was filled with positivity, support and enthusiasm for starting the conversation about wage disparity, the online behaviours of others, and, most importantly, global gender equality.
But while the keyboard warriors remained behind their screens, the threat to the safety and lives of women, the silencing of women in public spaces, and the wage disparity around the world are still very real issues that impact upon women and other marginalised groups in everyday life. These are the issues that the vitriol of online comments regarding the bake sale brought to light.
The bake sale may be over, but this discussion is just beginning.
And it all started because a couple of male students were upset that they would have to pay $1 for a cupcake.
Madeline Price is described in her bio as “the current Vice President of Gender and Sexuality (Women’s Officer) at the University of Queensland Union. A proud feminist and student at the University of Queensland, Madeline is also the founder and director of the One Woman Project, a gender education organisation.”
What amazes me, is that someone can write about rape and death threats against women, but never use the term ‘misogyny’ or ‘woman-hating’ once, instead it is somehow about ‘gender equality’ as if this violence would go away once women have wage parity with men. I guess this is one of the many consequences of liberal feminism, even when women see the problem, they can’t quite name it.
As Anne Thériault suggests in Vice, Ghomeshi will most likely recover from this scandal. “Men in his position very rarely suffer any real and lasting consequences for these types of allegations — look at Roman Polanski, or Woody Allen, or Chris Brown,” she writes. “Even when there is plenty of solid evidence and a conviction has taken place, men who abuse and rape manage to come out on top.” Indeed — and incredibly — #TeamJian was trending on Twitter earlier this week. Why were some so quick to jump to his defense?
We live in a world where calling out sexism makes you more vulnerable than perpetuating it. That’s why people like George Will, a rape apologist who has called survivors of sexual assault “privileged,” can go on to earn $48,000 to speak at a college, while feminist activist Anita Sarkeesian is forced to cancel her speech after the school received a warning from someone threatening a mass shooting in retaliation. Even when men are accused of rape, they aren’t met with the same amount of vitriol. That twisted logic explains why girls like Rehtaeh Parsons or Audrie Pott were cyberbullied to death after being raped, while their attackers’ reputations have remained largely unscathed. It also explains why the Steubenville rape victim was violently threatened online, while her rapists weren’t targeted at all.
In many cases, it’s easier to have a public life as a rapist than as a rape victim.
Although he is being accused of assault, Ghomeshi has had no shortage of support. Besides the #TeamJian hashtag, two petitions, one asking the CBC to apologize and another defending Ghomeshi’s “privacy,” have already garnered thousands of signatures. Most troubling of all, Ghomeshi’s fan page has more than tripled in likes since the allegations against him were made public, suggesting that support for him — or at least, his fame — has increased. Since when does being accused of sexual assault make you more popular? Even if these allegations turn out not to be true, the fact that he has garnered more followers as a result of being accused of assault speaks volumes about the way rape culture works.
Despite all our talk of equality and our work toward gender parity, the fact remains that today, the pitchforks don’t come out for men who hurt women, but for the women who have the courage to speak their truths. This isn’t just ignorance, it’s the blatant perpetuation of a cultural ideology that will continue to keep women in state of fear at retribution for being a victim.
QotD: “Only when women’s bodies are being sold for profit do leftists claim to cherish the free market”
Only when women’s bodies are being sold for profit do leftists claim to cherish the free market.
Andrea Dworkin, ‘Suffering and Speech in Catherine A MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin (eds) In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings
Over time, academics – Judith Butler, for one – got sloppy drunk on Deconstructionism and started applying the technique to other fields, like sociology, psychology, anthropology. (Scientists, you’ll note, have not jumped on the Deconstruction train because their discipline is, thankfully, rooted in that which can be verified by logic and reason.)
Queer Theory, which has hijacked every Women’s Studies program (as far as I’m aware) in the U.S., is nothing but Deconstructionist Literary Theory applied to human beings – the “science” of “because I say so.”
The other day, California Magazine, published a piece by a gay male academic/Deconstructionist who took some time to, not surprisingly, celebrate the eradication of Women’s Studies programs in favor of those that center around male needs, and to chastise mean ladies who question the assertion that their bodies, their lived realities are interchangeable with male bodies, and males’ lived realities. This man, not unlike so many of his contemporaries, has firmly embraced the notion that woman is a theory, is a text, is whatever men say it is.
One of the first things he does is celebrate that gender discussions in the academy no longer prioritize yucky issues like “male hegemony”:
Today’s hot zone of gender talk has moved militantly past the male/female binarism and its critique of male hegemony. The T in LGBTQ has now taken center stage. Its aim, largely speaking, is to explode the notion that any of us is exclusively masculine or feminine—culturally, neurologically, or biologically. Rather, we are all of us complex, shifting blends of “masculine” and “feminine” traits—depending upon how those traits are viewed across the passage of time.
And I mean, thank god, really that Women’s Studies has gotten away from women and from examining male hegemonic dominance. I mean, we’ve totally solved the problem of women’s subjugation and it’s high time we talk about new topics – like WHAT ABOUT MALES WHO FEEL LIKE LADIES?! What about PRONOUNS?! What about YOU HURT MY FEELS WHEN YOU CALLED ME ‘SIR’?! Queer theory in the university has allowed males to wrest women-centered academic discourse away from women’s lives, and position male feelings/ideology front and center into the discourse. Such wonderful progress!
The author then harkens back to the bad old days:
In Women’s Studies circles, the focus has been largely on women’s subordination to men in public policy and the workplace, not to mention rape and household abuse, with less attention given to either gay or lesbian concerns.
Gee, whiz. That really was fucking awful when Women’s Studies concerned itself with women’s subordination to men in “public policy” and the “workplace.” I mean, what a drag that those programs had to subject their students to discussions of rape and household abuse because WHAT ABOUT GAYS?
Here’s the thing, I minored in Women’s Studies in the early/mid 1990s. I took all manner of classes to fulfill my minor, and very few of them centered on lesbians. Fewer still on identity politics. Most of the issues we dealt with concerned women who lived with men/were heterosexual and had more dealings with men than I did or cared to. Most courses rested on the (correct) notion that women’s suffering, women’s subjugation came as the result of living in societies designed by and for males. Even though I was a dyke, I could accept that I lived in that world, too.
Women’s Studies wasn’t about “my special unique human identity” – it was about women and girls.
Gender, too, was a part of the Women’s Studies curriculum. Gender, the courses (rightly) argued, was a scaffolding built by men in order to oppress women. It was simple. It was easy to see. And never once, in my father’s flannel shirts, with my buzz cut (I was THAT Women’s Studies student), did I wave my hand wildly and say, “Uh, why are we not talking about women like me? I don’t present in a way that is typically affiliated with female gender stereotypes? What about meeeee?!”
1) I did not do this because I am female, and I don’t expect all things to center around me; and 2) even as a young woman, I knew that it was my upper-middle class, white girl privilege that allowed me to haunt the halls of my expensive liberal arts college as some kind of “gender renegade.” Shit, I even understood that my ability to sit in those classes reading Marilyn Frye was a privilege few are ever afforded.
I was fine with my Women’s Studies coursework prioritizing women, straight women, poor women, women of color – I didn’t need to always have my individual experience taken into account. I understood that analysis required some degree of generalization. I didn’t expect everything I learned to validate, or even acknowledge, my inherent specialness. (This is a problem in all areas of education today – learning must always “feel good.” If you wonder why America is getting dumber by the day, there’s one reason.)
Naturally, it doesn’t take the author of the California Magazine piece long to bring up radical feminists. Here, he’s discussing how female colleagues – nice women who wouldn’t dare call themselves radical feminists — sometimes question trans/queer politics:
Indeed, the radical feminist rhetoric of the sort articulated by Cathy Brennan and the leaders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival mimics the same sentiment: We—the real women—don’t know and can’t trust what and who they are.
First of all “of the sort articulated by Cathy Brennan and the leaders of Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival” – uh, do these males know that Cathy Brennan and the “leaders” of MichFest aren’t the only women who question bullshit trans/queer rhetoric? Do they know that the number of women who believe females are more than “a feeling in a man’s head” is quite large? Or is this part of the trans/queer delusion, pretending that only, like, five women hold these beliefs? Anyway . . .
What he’s getting at here, is that women should not be able to acknowledge a difference between themselves and males who “feel like women.” Women should not be able to have space away from males who “feel like women.” Nor should women be able to question the politics of “trans/queer.”
Note that this writer, and not a one who holds his opinion, ever argues that gay men need to embrace or “work harder” to validate their gay transman brothers. Or that straight men need to “work harder” to be inclusive of transmen. Where is the concern for transmen’s feelings? Huh?
Oh, right, the trans/queer movement only cares about transmen insofar as they (females) validate the mythologies created by transwomen (males). Got it. (In fact, in this entire article, transmen are only acknowledged ONCE.)
This next line was a personal favorite:
One selling point of queer theory was that it sought to bring sexuality into the conversation alongside race, gender, and class.
Allow me, if you will, to engage in a little Deconstruction of my own with this brief moment in the author’s text:
“Selling point” – this is telling, and true. Queer theory is “sexy,” it’s a great academic commodity – much more so than icky, boring, snooze-inducing talk about women’s subjugation. I mean who wants to talk about misogyny and abuse and the glass ceiling when we could talk about sex! Who wants to sit in a lecture hall listening to some bitch drone on about “the objectification of women” when we could talk about porn and deliberate to what degree the penis is actually a male sex organ.
Also, what’s awesome about Queer Theory, is that it makes everything relative and challenges ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about – to quote the writer –“male hegemony.” Everyone’s happy! No one’s feelings are hurt! Men can participate without ever feeling left out! Awe-some! And by “awesome” I mean TOTALLY FUCKING DEPRESSING AND USELESS.
To build on this, the author mentions Billy Curtis, a transman who made sure that Gender Studies programs did not in any way suggest that women were most harmed by gender:
Billy Curtis was part of the effort to bring T front and center to campus awareness, largely following student demand. “Gender still meant women,” he told me.
Listen, gender never “meant women.” If anything, gender “means men.”
Even in the early 90s, before Women’s Studies was hijacked by dudes, we acknowledged that gender was a construct that impacted both males and females, but that males, unlike females, were the beneficiaries of the construct as gender existed to keep females subordinate to men. It’s not rocket science.
Part of acknowledging that gender is a construct is that you can then, if you’re in a privileged enough position, fuck with it. Men can wear lipstick. Women can cut their hair short. Who fucking cares, it’s all a ruse! Do what you like, and like what you do!
Gender is malleable, because it is a pretense. It doesn’t really exist, but as a social construct that is DESIGNED TO OPPRESS WOMEN. And not all women have the luxury of sitting in a classroom debating the classification of genitals or wondering what pronoun they would prefer. Not all women can sit around naval gazing about all their special gender preferences or sexual preferences because they’re busy, um, surviving. And yet, even when they don’t have the kind of privilege afforded to me, or to this writer, or to Judith Butler, women still suffer because of gender and the bullshit belief systems promoted by gender.
Gender is only “fun” to those of us fiscally stable enough, white enough, or male enough to sit around and fucking think about it.
For the vast majority of the world’s female population, gender is a pernicious, toxic, life-threatening construct that benefits men.
And, call me old fashioned, or naïve, but I always thought theory and praxis belonged together. Women’s Studies programs, while theory driven, I thought, were ultimately about providing women (and men, I guess) the intellectual tools needed to challenge oppressive constructs – like gender – in order to affect real change, in order better the lives of women and girls.
In what way does “Gender Studies”/”Queer Theory” improve the lives of women? This is, after all, the discipline that has come to replace Women’s Studies, but how does it attempt to improve the lives of women? How is it anything more than a useless intellectual endeavor that makes delusional males feel better about themselves, and convinces females that their lived reality is utterly theoretical, that their lives, their bodies, their experience is just another text to be annotated, dissected, and redefined by males?
And statements like this, from the author, only serve to solidify my conviction that trans/queer theory is useless for women:
Trans in all these forms is at once a way of being and a performance. Increasingly, however, trans aims to suggest that all of us, if we are able to acknowledge it, are to some degree trans*. We all are traveling through lives that are less and less defined by language, style, presentation, or physical and hormonal capacities.
“We are all of us traveling through lives that are less and less defined by language . . .” – the “we” in this assertion is “males.” Males who “feel like” women, have (owing to their male privilege) been with break-neck speed, changing language, and gaining access to medical products and procedures (say nothing of gaining access to women’s spaces) that will validate their special identities.
Women, actually, are still defined by language, style, presentation, physical and hormonal capacities.
I mean, it’s super awesome that we’ve arrived at a time in history when men can do whatever they want . . . oh, wait. Men have ALWAYS been able to do whatever they want. What I meant to say was it’s super awesome that women have made such amazing strides that we no longer get raped, trafficked, paid less than our male counterparts, harassed on the street, threatened for having perspectives that run counter to the perspectives of men, or called bigots for not wanting to sleep with males. It’s super awesome that women don’t have to fight for reproductive rights, and that we are so well represented in the political sphere, and that males no longer control language. Phew. So glad all that’s over and that we shut those stupid Women’s Studies programs DOWN.
And speaking of how women are no longer threatened for expressing ideas that aren’t lockstep in line with the male zeitgeist (oh, by the bye, just because a lot of women have bought this bullshit, it doesn’t mean it isn’t male-focused):
Indeed, one of the dark sides of the new social media is how it has allowed bigots of all sorts to express their angry resentment against anyone who threatens established convention—be they racial minorities, feminists, or gender dissenters.
Since the author spent a good deal of time wagging his finger at radical feminists, I’m guessing here he’s inferring that MEAN LADIES are resentful of those who threaten “established conventions.” The thing is, it doesn’t take too close of an examination to see that trans/queer theory is anything but against “established conventions.” Trans/queer theory is simply a way of getting women to shut the fuck up and move over for the boys. (It’s no coincidence that in the academy trans/queer theory doesn’t merely exist alongside women’s studies, it’s REPLACED that discipline.) Trans/queer theory offers reparative therapy for gay and lesbian youth (this has had a devastating effect particularly in lesbian communities). Trans/queer theory promotes the ancient notion that woman is whatever a man defines it as. (Hey, if this guy says penis is female, then it is! Case closed.) Trans/queer theory argues that women don’t “have it so bad” because men who feel like ladies get misgendered. Trans/queer theory equates males hurt feelings with rape and murder (“Radical feminists have blood on their hands” – because they hurt males feelings). Trans/queer theory worries over whether or not males are being considered ENOUGH. (We can’t have Women’s Studies, or women only colleges or festivals, because those things don’t take into account males who say they’re women.)
Ill-spirited as Cathy Brennan and her sister-feminists may be toward a group of people who have manifestly suffered nastier slings and arrows than they have, there exists nonetheless a legitimate question: Once you have struggled for transgender recognition as its own way of being, is it reasonable to claim simultaneous identity as a woman? Is it possible to be both?
“Ill-spirited” – C’mon, broads. Lighten up! Get with the program! Stop being so ILL-SPIRITED. But what really gets me here is “people who have manifestly suffered nastier slings and arrows” – um, excuse me? This is the product of Trans/Queer Theory thinking. I’m not going to play Oppression Olympics, I’m not going to throw out stats about women’s suffering, but I’m going to hazard that the centuries of inequity, injustice, and abuse women and girls have (and still do) suffer at the hands of males trumps the hurt feelings of some dude who really wanted the Starbucks barrista to call him “ma’am” instead of “sir.”
Sorry. I know that makes me ill-spirited. But this is what trans/queer theory has gotten us – men who feel like women suffer so much more than females. This is a way of shutting down discourse around women’s oppression. Who benefits when parameters are placed around how women may discuss their realities? Who benefits when women cannot discuss their experience in honest terms? (Hint: men.)
This way of thinking, championed by males, has succeeded in erasing Women’s Studies programs, to say nothing of women’s spaces, in order to coddle and cater to the egos of males who are drunk on gender and want us to believe we are all the same – not as some attempt toward equity between the sexes, or to liberate women from oppressive gender roles, but rather, like everything else from football to pornography, to make males feel good. If science doesn’t make males feel good, then that science is wrong. If a line of questioning makes males experience discomfort, then that line of questioning is “ill-spirited.” If a woman argues she is not a theory, not a text, but an actual human being, and if this inconveniences males, then her argument is “bigoted” and “hateful.”
Males identities are super precious and important; their feelings around those identities are sacrosanct. Women’s feelings about their identities – say, as lesbian – women’s lived realities, once examined in the dark ages of Women’s Studies programs, are meaningless.
So of course Women’s Studies programs had to go. And for anyone who thinks academia isn’t a pit of dick-driven rhetoric and mansplaining, you are wrong. Academia, just like every other corner of the world, is just as chauvinist and male-centric as they come. Academia fucking invented the lesbophobic, woman-hating, porn-celebrating “queer culture” we’ve come to know and love – and not because academics are “smart” or “progressive” but because academia is, by and large, just a place where males congratulate each other and beat off to the sound of their own “genius.”
My feminism is not a refuge for men who had patriarchy backfire on them.
Blackvulva (original post not found)