QotD: “I would love to know, if it’s not the artificially constructed social status bestowed on them due to their biological sex under patriarchy, what left-wing men think makes any of them *not* women.”
I would love to know, if it’s not the artificially constructed social status bestowed on them due to their biological sex under patriarchy, what left-wing men think makes any of them *not* women. What do they assume they have/feel/think that women don’t?
I honestly don’t see any essential difference between me and these men beyond a) my female body and b) their social privilege. But obviously they have some magic qualities they just can’t bear to reveal.
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.