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Pre-2008 Posts

A Few Words About the Latest Round of Anti-Radical Feminist, Pro-Men’s Rights, Propaganda

(Note:  This blog post has nothing to do with the recent difficulties over bannings at the I Blame the Patriarchy boards.  I wrote it in response to a cartoon and post created by Amp at Alas a Blog and the resulting commentary.  — Heart)

A few responses to the latest anti-radical feminist tactics, screeds, attacks, propaganda:

  • Radical feminists are no more “transphobes” than we are “manhaters.”  To allege that we are is to indulge in sexist, misogynist, anti-feminist propaganda.   The herstoric position of radical feminism is that those who are born male into this world enjoy male privilege, for all of the years they live as males and as men.  It is never “_phobic” for an oppressed people group — which females certainly are — to castigate its oppressors, even in harsh and mean-spirited terms, with name-calling, swearing, and hyperbole.  It might be mean-spirited, we might be generalizing, we might be stereotyping, we might — and likely are — angry, but we aren’t “manhaters” because we denounce what men do or because we denounce male privilege, which again, all who are born male into the world have or have had.   Male to female transsexuals/transgendered persons have enjoyed male privilege, for all of the time that they have moved and lived in the world as males or continue to.  To call them out for their sexism whenever we see it, find it, hear of it, know of it, are targeted by it,  are impacted and affected by it  is not “transphobic.”  It is feminism.
  •  Female-to-male transsexuals/transgendered persons are situated much differently than male-to-female transsexuals/transgendered persons.  Transmen have not enjoyed male  privilege for any of the years they lived as females and as women, and they never enjoy male privilege as men do.   When radical feminists call out transpersons, we are calling them out on their sexism.  This means that most of the time, we are calling out transwomen or trans-identified men, not transmen. 
  • To compare radical feminists to the Religious Right is propaganda, it is a smear campaign, it is disingenuous, and it is transparently and hatefully misogynist.   Shame on “progressives” who can’t find more positive ways to articulate their perspectives than to engage in down and dirty cheap shots of this nature.
  • I was personally put out of business by the Religious Right.  I sued eight fundamentalist organizations including several fundamentalist churches in federal court in 1997 and I won by a unanimous jury verdict.   It’s silly to attempt to lump me in with the Religious Right.  Having said that, I would much rather deal with the open and unapologetic misogyny of the Religious Right than with the veiled and unapologetic misogyny of white leftist liberal men.  At least with the Religious Right, all the cards are on the table, and I do not have to, for example, deal with someone who is calling himself a “feminist” who prostitutes women, makes, uses, or benefits from the making of pornography, and engages in other acts of male oppression and privilege while pretending to be my ally.
  • There are plenty of transgender/transsexual people who are religious fundamentalists and the Religious Right does not take any unified  or unitary position as to transgender/transsexuality.  To suggest that it does is to participate in, and be guilty of, the willful ignorance around issues of religious fundamentalism and religion in general of which far too many liberals, self-identified feminists, and “progressives” so-called are guilty, which ruins whatever shreds of credibility remain so far as the Left goes and clouds the credibility of progressive movements in general.  People need to do their homework about the Religious Right if there is to be any productive confrontation or challenge to fundamentalisms (as opposed to tickle-for-a-nickle demonizing and scapegoating).  There are female persons, girls and women, being horrifically oppressed by fundamentalist men.  They deserve and need our educated and intelligent SUPPORT.  Women and girls in fundamentalist religion are not similarly situated with men in fundamentalist religion and should not be lumped in with men in fundamentalist religion.  Women in fundamentalist religion are an oppressed people group.
  • Mary Daly did not “compare transsexuals with Frankenstein.”  This is a lie.
  • Male-to-female transsexuality/transgender is really about men’s rights.  It has nothing to do with feminism.  As such, as feminists,  just as we oppose men’s rights, in general,  we oppose this manifestation of men’s rights as well.
  • One more.  Critiques of transgender/transsexuality are no more meant as attacks on individual transgender/transsexual persons than critiques of prostituting women are meant as attacks on prostitutes or critiques of pornography are meant as attacks on women in pornography or critiques of motherhood are meant as attacks on mothers or critiques of marriage as an institution are meant as critiques of married women or critiques of high heels are meant as critiques of those who wear them or critiques of lipstick are critiques of those who wear it or critiques of shaving are critiques of those who shave or critiques of boob jobs are critiques of those who have them, and on and on and on, infinity.  Some ought to get over themselves and learn the difference between critiques, analysis, opinions, politics and them.  I can critique the hell out of your politics and your theories and ideas and go to the mat for you,  love the hell out of you, and be willing to lay down my life for you.  This is what any mother knows.  This is what any lover knows.   If you want to know how to critique and analyze the hell out of something without making it personal, try unconditionally fucking loving somebody, would you?  Then you’ll understand.  Maybe unconditional love is just so goddamn rare right now, nobody knows what it is any more.  And if people don’t learn, then there will not be any revolution, not any time soon.

Heart

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Discussion

102 thoughts on “A Few Words About the Latest Round of Anti-Radical Feminist, Pro-Men’s Rights, Propaganda

  1. Male-to-female transsexuality/transgender is really about men’s rights. It has nothing to do with feminism.

    I think this trips people up because they’ve have swallowed hook line and sinker this notion that feminism is all about building alliances with other “oppressed” groups of people. Which, you know, alliance building might be feminist if it meant allying with other groups of people in order to work toward female freedom. That would make it a feminist alliance. Unfortunately, when it comes to allying ourselves with males, we end up working toward their goals at the expense of our own, and that doesn’t change just because the males in question start calling themselves women.

    If unisex bathrooms are a feminist cause, does that make the provision of affordable (if not free), non-toxic menstruation products to (especially third-world) women a trans issue? No. If the sexual exploitation of men with surgically created vagina-like orifices is a feminist issue, does that make the education of prostituted women’s children a trans issue? No. Not any more than black men’s feelings of emasculation in Amerikkka are a feminist issue.

    We need to stop settling for these one-sided “alliances” and take care of our own needs.

    Posted by justicewalks | July 25, 2007, 3:37 pm
  2. Preach it justicewalks, my sister.

    Dang. I’m so glad you’re here.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 4:12 pm
  3. Thank you again and again and again for

    “At least with the Religious Right, all the cards are on the table…”

    I am sick with frustration at the numero beacoup times I have been compared to the the Right for my radfem stance. What a crock.
    Sure, I don’t much like some conservative man who opens the door for me because I am a “weak female” who cannot do it myself.
    But it sure as hell is no better than some liberal wank who lets me open the door only far enough to slam it back on my toes!

    Pissers

    Posted by pisaquari | July 25, 2007, 4:50 pm
  4. MRAs are the Right. Same entree different sauce.

    Posted by Sis | July 25, 2007, 5:11 pm
  5. Thanks, Heart! It just seems so obvious to me that even oppressed men ought to be responsible for addressing their own “needs,” especially when they detract resources from or directly counteract our own causes.

    I, for one, am not interested sharing restrooms with men, regardless of its popularity in Europe, so color me mostly unconcerned from the ge-go. Moreover, I see great feminist potential in making fear of male violence (in restrooms and in prostitution) both a women’s and a men’s issue. If MTFs really wanted to be allies, they’d use the male privilege they try so desperately to deny possessing to make fear of rape and other male violence “human” concerns and free them from the pink ghetto of “women’s issues.” That they’d rather support the status quo by abandoning fear of male violence to the “women’s” (special interest) pile, like all the other patriarchs before them, for the sake of some nebulous (and necessarily patriarchy-influenced) identity doesn’t do much to recommend them as allies.

    Posted by justicewalks | July 25, 2007, 5:43 pm
  6. One more.

    Critiques of transgender/transsexuality are no more meant as attacks on individual transgender/transsexual persons than critiques of prostituting women are meant as attacks on prostitutes or critiques of pornography are meant as attacks on women in pornography or critiques of motherhood are meant as attacks on mothers or critiques of marriage as an institution are meant as critiques of married women or critiques of high heels are meant as critiques of those who wear them or critiques of lipstick are critiques of those who wear it or critiques of shaving are critiques of those who shave or critiques of boob jobs are critiques of those who have them and on and on and on infinity.

    Some ought to get over themselves and learn the difference between critiques, analysis, opinions, politics and them. I can critique the hell out of your politics and your theories and ideas and go to the mat for you, love the hell out of you, and be willing to lay down my life for you. This is what any mother knows. This is what any lover knows.

    If you want to know how to critique and analyze the hell out of something without making it personal, try unconditionally fucking loving somebody, would you? Maybe that is just too goddamn rare now, so rare that nobody knows what it means any more.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 5:47 pm
  7. I don’t suppose you’d consider changing your statement, above, to read MOST radical feminists, or MANY radical feminists–rather than simply announce that ALL radical feminists automatically agree with your stance on transgenderism?

    I can name several who don’t, starting with my favorite theorist, bell hooks.

    When you state unequivocally what ALL radical feminists MUST believe, that segues into dogma, which I find a male-identified approach. Would you please reconsider your choice of words?

    Posted by Daisy | July 25, 2007, 5:51 pm
  8. Daisy, I changed the *one place* that *might* — *might* — be universalizing in the way you suggest. Nowhere did I say ALL radical feminists “automatically” agree with anything, neither did I “state unequivocally what ALL radical feminists MUST believe.” As to the accusations of dogmatism, dear goddess on high, not even going to go there, there is dogmatism *everywhere*, there are ideologues *everywhere*, including in progressive/queer/liberal-feminist politics and yet who gets accused of “dogmatism”? Anybody who stands up to all of the above. It’s a silencing technique. Not going there.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:02 pm
  9. “Mary Daly did not “compare transsexuals with Frankenstein.” This is a lie.”

    perhaps i misunderstand you. here’s the quote from Mary Daly’s GYN/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
    Chapter One: Deadly Deception: Mystification Through Myth
    pg 70 – 71:

    “Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent not only in religious myth, but in its offspring, phallocratic technology. The insane desire for power, the madness of boundary violation, is the mark of necrophiliacs who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses. This necrophillic invasion/elimination takes a variety of forms. Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes.”

    Snark edited out by me, Heart.

    Posted by nexyjo | July 25, 2007, 6:11 pm
  10. And you know, one of the most striking evidences of the male privilege which operates amongst so many transwomen and trans-identified men is their outrage over anyone discussing surgeries, body modifications, and gender coercion and the way it is all oh-so-personal and dear GOD someone talked about what I did to my body! The very idea! Hearty and resounding :::gasp::: They are outraged because, unlike those of us who have lived as females all of our lives, they are not accustomed to having every last thing that they do or do not do to their bodies being criticized, scrutinized, held up for analysis, denigrated, mocked, sneered over, plastered all over the news, and so on. But that’s just same old same old for females under patriarchy. We are *born* to that. We live with that from day one under male heterosupremacy. So, you transition in various ways or present as a woman or whatever and suddenly it’s all about all of this outrage because somebody says something about it? That tells me you have enjoyed substantial male privilege.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:12 pm
  11. Actually, I got the accusation of dogmatism from Mary Daly, who once told OFF OUR BACKS, humorously (during an interview): “I’m not going to go out and have dogmas over that.”

    I forget what the exact subject what, but thought her reply was funny, considering she first began her career as a theologian. I had never heard the phrase “have dogmas” before.

    Using Webster’s second definition, I define dogma as “an authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true. See synonyms at doctrine.”

    When something theoretical, ideological or theological is presented as an absolute fact, with no wiggle room for alternate thinking, I tend to consider that dogma, no matter where it comes from.

    Posted by Daisy | July 25, 2007, 6:15 pm
  12. When something theoretical, ideological or theological is presented as an absolute fact, with no wiggle room for alternate thinking, I tend to consider that dogma, no matter where it comes from.

    Fair enough, but that hasn’t been done here.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:17 pm
  13. All right, what happened to my response to nexyjo.

    Nexyjo, read what you pasted there. Daly does not say that transsexuals are Frankenstein. She says that patriarchy/male heterosupremacy, in its mythology, religion, technology, institutions is possessed of what she calls the “Frankenstein phenomenon.” There is a *big difference*.

    If anyone wants a detailed discussion of this particular aspect of Daly’s work, they should read the substantial commentary about it in the I Am A Monster thread here, which you can find by doing a search. Then do a search on “Frankenstein” and you will be able to pull up what we have already spent substantial time and energy discussing.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:22 pm
  14. And you know, one of the most striking evidences of the male privilege which operates amongst so many transwomen and trans-identified men is their outrage over anyone discussing surgeries, body modifications, and gender coercion and the way it is all oh-so-personal and dear GOD someone talked about what I did to my body! The very idea! Hearty and resounding :::gasp:::

    Is there a link? Which discussion are you referring to?

    I would like to hear more about the surgeries, who gets them, who doesn’t, why they decide, etc. There does seem to be some silence around this. But since there is such hostility, maybe that’s why they choose not to discuss it openly.

    My problem with surgery is less with surgery itself than it is with making doctors, hospitals, insurance companies richer and richer, and in the process, impoverishing the people who get the surgery.

    Posted by Daisy | July 25, 2007, 6:25 pm
  15. Other evidences of the Frankenstein phenomenon would be invasive and boundary-violating reproductive technologies, religious fundamentalisms in which a male god “births” himself or other deities and all of the rituals which surround those male-created “birthings,” cosmetic surgeries, torture devices masquerading as women’s clothing and beauty products, cloning, abuse and invasion of the bodies of animals for breeding purposes or to use their bodies in beauty products and other kinds of procedures, abuse of the earth via genetically engineered and modified seeds and bioengineering of crops by patriarchal agribiz, experimenting on animals.

    There’s a FEW. The “Frankenstein phenomenon” is about a whole constellation of invasive, boundary violating, necrophilic *practices* of male heterosupremacy.

    And of course, we don’t call the violated bodies of human beings, of women, or of animals, or the engineered seeds and crops themselves “Frankenstein.” We call the theories and technologies and power which resulted in all of the above the “Frankenstein phenomenon.” It was the *doctor* who was Frankenstein. Not what he created.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:27 pm
  16. It is so wearying. This supremely central and significant theme of Daly’s work and contribution, the way men and their created institutions have abused, violated, invaded all of creation, all of it — the earth, the soil, the air, the skies, the seas, seeds, growing things, that which is supposed to nourish all of us, animals, creatures, women — as though it all belongs to them to do with as they will, as though its only value lies in how all of it can be made to be of service to them and to service them, as though they are god, becomes, “Mary Daly called transsexuals Frankenstein!” As I said, this is a lie.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:37 pm
  17. Is there a link? Which discussion are you referring to?

    I am referring to discussions all over the internet and in articles and books which are readily available via Google search or purchase-able via Amazon or independent book dealers. All you have to do is go read wherever transgender is being discussed by those who believe it to be subversive or transgressive or progressive.

    I’ve been having and reading these discussions for *years* now, actually, for at least seven years. I am reflecting on what I have read and seen and on the *many* discussions I have been involved in over many years’ time. I was not making reference to any specific discussion but to the ubiquitousness *of* that particular discussion.

    I would like to hear more about the surgeries, who gets them, who doesn’t, why they decide, etc. There does seem to be some silence around this.

    Argh. Daisy, no offense, but where have you been? There is certainly *not* any silence around this, this discussion is all over the place. All you have to do is do a search using relevant search terms.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:40 pm
  18. More examples of the Frankenstein phenomenon: The Ashley Treatment. The surgical “treatment” of people born intersex or with “ambiguous genitalia.” Artificial wombs. Egg donors and all other facets of the “reproductive brothel.” The “Snowflakes” program where fundies buy frozen embryos before they are discarded and get them surgically implanted hoping to get pregnant.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 6:53 pm
  19. Argh. Daisy, no offense, but where have you been? There is certainly *not* any silence around this, this discussion is all over the place. All you have to do is do a search using relevant search terms.

    A discussion about why one person decides to use hormones but another does not? Arguing about the pros and cons? Admittedly, I don’t know where these conversations are being held.

    The best discussions I’ve seen personally have been over on the Dykes to Watch Out For blog.

    Heart, were you one of the people in the 70s who thought taking LSD, etc was automatically a bad thing? I don’t think using a chemical substance to achieve an end, is necessarily always bad, and can sometimes be very good–depending upon the individual and where they are in their process.

    Thus, I see an extension of an old hippie rift here, not just radical feminist. ;)

    Posted by Daisy | July 25, 2007, 6:59 pm
  20. Daisy, to find all the relevant discussions you will ever need on hormones, surgeries, etc., again, just do a few simple google or dogpile searches on “transgender,” “transsexual,” “SRS,” “transwoman,” “transman.” You’ll pull up tons of stuff. I am not interested in linking to those discussions here.

    I don’t think and never have thought chemical substances are “automatically” a bad thing. I think they are irretrievably and always bad only when their use serves only or primarily to further or advance the interests and institutions of patriarchy/male heterosupremacy, i.e., patriarchal medicine, patriarchal psychology, patriarchal religion, patriarchal science, patriarchal technologies of various kinds, agribiz, torture and mutilation of animals, destruction of the earth, etc. LSD use by individuals would not be automatically a bad thing because it doesn’t serve the interests of patriarchy. Which is why, of course, it’s illegal, or one reason.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 25, 2007, 7:16 pm
  21. “It was the *doctor* who was Frankenstein. Not what he created.”

    Yes, please read the work. It actually underscores rad fem theory.

    Daisy, I admire that you want to know this and that, but I don’t think it’s fair you expect someone else to teach you individually what you can learn by reading and googling.

    Posted by Sis | July 25, 2007, 7:45 pm
  22. Heart,

    I just want to delurk and say that I enjoy this blog and appreciate the work you are doing here. In the past I have disagreed with you about the trans issue in IBTP comments, but every time I have visited The Margins, I have learned something valuable and felt (for lack of a better adjective) safe. I am not an advanced blamer, and I have no claims of ideological purity, but I identify with a lot of the radical feminists I have read. In fact, all of this reading has helped lift the fog of patriarchal conditioning and help me become much happier.

    Your final bullet point is inspiring and important because, although I am new to participating in bloggy discourse, I am a reader who has witnessed several tedious and timewasting flamewars that could have been avoided if people would recall that critiques of choices and ideas are not personal attacks.

    I used to get my knickers in a knot when I’d read a hilarious Twisty post maligning high heels or lipstick. My own dress is not radical. It is “feminine,” meaning that it is sometimes restrictive and always for the viewing pleasure of strangers more than my own comfort. I could get upset when a feminist criticizes my choice to dress this way, or my complicity in my own oppression, but then I remember that no coping mechanism that a woman uses to get through her day is really “feminist” in any sense, and should not be defended as such. And then, creak, my mind opens!

    Anyway, what I mean to say is Thank you, and I think I get it!

    Posted by millipede | July 25, 2007, 8:29 pm
  23. This was wonderful Heart and Justicewalks. When I read that some radfems were “threatened” or “offended” by the trans issue I just felt so frustrated. That statement was either disingenuous in the extreme or just plain uninformed. What is really annoying me is that deliberate or ignorant mischaracterisation of the points of difference is impeding all of the useful discussion that had previously been happening with people like BDL. I think what Justicewalks said about the permeability between radfem issues and trans issues being unidirectional is a really important point.

    Posted by su | July 25, 2007, 9:15 pm
  24. superb work Heart. Loving it. Justicewalks too, you both are saying such meaningful things, particularly about “taking care of our own needs”. we so often put those last, rushing to put other’s needs first and trying not to be exclusionary. and then we are drained from other’s battles and can’t fight hard enough in our own. thanks for the burst of energy here!

    Posted by Pippa | July 25, 2007, 10:02 pm
  25. su : When I read that some radfems were “threatened” or “offended” by the trans issue I just felt so frustrated. That statement was either disingenuous in the extreme or just plain uninformed. What is really annoying me is that deliberate or ignorant mischaracterisation of the points of difference is impeding all of the useful discussion that had previously been happening with people like BDL. I think what Justicewalks said about the permeability between radfem issues and trans issues being unidirectional is a really important point.

    I saw that too, but methinx the use of words like “threatened” or “offended” is deliberate. Using emotionally loaded words that are designed to personally attack. Such words mean in effect, that *some* radfems, are *personally* just silly little things for being so phobic. Elsewhere I’ve heard it called the ‘Yuk Syndrome’, and its a tone of condescension, as in sort of like – we could all get along if you silly ones will just get over your ‘Yuk’.

    They ignore that it is a political issue/conflict, and their underlying politics is just another face of patriarchy and they are about subordinating women *again*. Individual trans people are like anyone, some of them aren’t political at all, or see their lives as a political statement of gender subversion – but on a political level, its a basic underlying political conflict between radfem and patriarchy.

    I’m sorry Daisy, but it isn’t a dogma, its not a “disagreement” amongst individual radfems or factions of radfems, radfem is about women’s freedom from patriarchy, and trans-politics, and trans-activism is a full-on patriarchal one, and a woman-hating one, and its ultimate goal is the continuing subordination of women. Full stop. End of story.

    But its a very popular and attractive one, Mary Daly also discusses this, men-in-drag, ‘gentle’ men, liberal men have always seduced women in large numbers, because they lie, and pretend they are on our side, they pretend they are ‘one of us’, but they are not. They lie.

    As heart said, on some levels it is much easier to deal with the christian right-wing faction of patriarchy, because they at least are very honest and up-front, and all their cards on the table. The trans-activist political patriarchal faction are not honest, they lie and deceive, obfuscate and confuse, and actively seek to ultimately destroy feminism from within.

    Rain

    Posted by Rain | July 25, 2007, 10:15 pm
  26. I’ve had a bit too much beer and I’m very soppy, but I just have to say this: I love you Heart. thank you soooooo much for this post! Your timing is great, and I really needed to read this.

    xxx

    Princess Martyr Laurelin*

    *Just some titles given to me by hostile blogs lately. I don’t mean to stir things up by mentioning them… but you can see why I need some great posts right now!

    Posted by Laurelin | July 26, 2007, 1:20 am
  27. Don’t let them drive you to drink, Laurelin!

    Posted by Branjor | July 26, 2007, 1:45 am
  28. Lol, Branjor, don’t worry- the beer and the blogs are unconnected! :)

    Posted by Laurelin | July 26, 2007, 1:50 am
  29. Laurelin, Rain, Pippa, Su, Milllipede:

    xxxooo
    :)

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 4:57 am
  30. Sorry it was probably my comment that made this seem to others that it was a response to the IBTP thing. My apologies, it was on my mind when I wrote and I have muddied the waters.

    Posted by su | July 26, 2007, 6:07 am
  31. My nickel’s worth:

    RE: Bell Hooks. Bell Hooks isn’t a radical feminist.

    RE: Radical feminists being compared to religious right fundamentalists. Radical feminism is to the left of the left. Religious fundamentalists are to the right of the right. They are on opposite sides of the spectrum and there is no comparison.

    The religious right and their fundamentalism has a patriarchal ethos. IOWs, they are part of the dominant group which wields power and control. Power and control — politically, economically, socially and culturally — to legitimize, legislate, force upon and oppress. As currently and historically can be seen.

    Radical feminism is on the opposite end of the rainbow. It is the only political group that was created by and for women. As such, they are not part of the dominant power. Women are the oppressed, not the oppressor. So comparing radical feminists to the fundamentalism of the religious right is a perverse reversal. Used by liberal and libertarian men, who are also card carrying members of the dominating power known as the patriarchy, in an absurd, perverse “us” vs “them” mentality. Which goes something along the lines of: If you’re not for us, then you must be against us, and thus, just like religious right fundamentalists. Bush uses the same absurd thinking. That if we don’t support his war on terrorism on his terms, then we must be terrorists. As if there’s only 2 parties to attend. Both, strikingly patriarchal.

    It’s such a favorite game of the boys, that one begins to wonder if it’s stamped on their Y chromosomes or something. Hello? Trading in one set of boy’s ideals and values for another boy’s set of ideals and values is still… drumroll, please… patriarchy! It’s just one set of boys battling against another, all vying for the title of being king of the hill. But for women, it doesn’t much matter which one wins. Either way, women lose.

    RE:Frankenstein. Frankenstein was the doctor, not the creature he created. So no, Mary Daly was not comparing trans to Dr. Frankenstein. Trans are no more the doctor than I am the pope.

    RE: ftm trans. Tokenism and illusionary inclusion of women to make women seem important. **chuckle** When have men ever seen women as important? Except when it serves them. Used by men to cover up the patriarchal ethos of transgenderism and save face for males and promote the argument that transgenderism is human and sex-blind rather than uniquely restricted to men. Women are not the originators or the present agents of transgenderism. Women have been assimilated into the transsexual world just like they’ve been assimilated into other male-defined worlds, institutions and roles. On men’s terms. It matters not their numbers. If the included group is not the controller of its own ethos and the initiator or legitimator of action, no matter how numerically present it may be, it is still a token group. — Janice Raymond, “The Transsexual Empire.”

    Posted by Luckynkl | July 26, 2007, 10:28 am
  32. RE: Bell Hooks. Bell Hooks isn’t a radical feminist.

    She subscribes to the belief that men as a class, oppress women as a class. Isn’t that the central tenet of radical feminism?

    And she calls herself a radical feminist, and her books are classified and designated as such. Isn’t that sufficient?

    Are you announcing her excommunication, here? By what authority? Are you speaking ex cathedra?

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 4:16 pm
  33. Are you announcing her excommunication, here? By what authority? Are you speaking ex cathedra?

    What the heck, Daisy.

    All we have here is women, speaking our opinions. That’s all we have here. We have no hierarchy. We have no “authority.” We have no pope or pope-ess. We’ve got women, speaking our opinion.

    Last time I looked, as feminists, we were still allowed to speak our opinions.

    We can even be arrogant about them. We can assume, like men have, the “hubris of the godmakers.” We can even be assholes as we state our unapologetic opinions.

    And they will still be *just our opinions.*

    Lucky doesn’t believe bell hooks is a radical feminist. You do.

    You disagree.

    So what?

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 4:46 pm
  34. Honestly, why do people make that absurd leap? Somebody states an opinion and people get all fired up: “By what authority?”

    By NO authority. Radical feminism is ANTI-authoritarian. What we say, we say as individual women, speaking for ourselves.

    I don’t even know where this concern about authority comes from but it is a diversion and a problem every single time.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 4:48 pm
  35. As to your post, which you tracked back to, Daisy, you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “What is a woman,” and “Who is a woman?” — those aren’t our issues as feminists. To go there is a diversion. Those are men’s issues, not women’s issues.

    You’re so right that these issues go back to the very beginning of the Second Wave, back to the late 60s, back to 1971, a national lesbian feminist conference where a transwoman insisted on attending, threatened to sue if not allowed to, and caused the same kinds of divisions we still see today. That particular transwoman had raped a member of the Daughters of Bilitis, which was a huge reason many of the women at that conference didn’t want that person admitted. You know? They believed THE WOMAN. That was a huge focus of feminism then and should be still today and too often it isn’t. Of course, to say that — that this transwoman had raped a lesbian member of the Daughters of Bilitis — is incorrect. We can’t afford to believe the woman who was raped by this person, but if we do, keep it hush hush! Somebody might call us a transphobe.

    This stuff, yes, goes way, way back. The story has been half told, by people intending to demonize radical feminists. The story from a woman-centered perspective has yet to be told because most women are way too intimidated by all of the people who will happily and quickly clobber her for speaking up and telling the whole truth, from the perspective of female persons.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 4:53 pm
  36. Because when I became a feminist, I tried to EXCISE authoritarianism from my personality. I don’t think anyone can do that completely, especially white people in Amerikkka, but we can certainly make an effort.

    I consider those kinds of blanket statements to be male-identified: who qualifies as THE REAL_____ (Christian, Catholic, feminist, communist, republican, artist, goth, whatever)… and feminism is pointedly about NOT DOING THAT. That is what men do and have always done. Why would we want to be like them?

    If Lucky says someone is not a real feminist, by what authority does she say that? How many books of bell hooks’ has she read, before coming to that conclusion?

    Or is it ALL about trans? Again?

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 4:56 pm
  37. As to your post, which you tracked back to, Daisy, you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “What is a woman,” and “Who is a woman?” — those aren’t our issues as feminists. To go there is a diversion. Those are men’s issues, not women’s issues.

    I agree. However, when you say someone is not a woman, you are putting the issue front and center. You are the one deciding they aren’t women, so aren’t they within their rights to ask you what you mean by “woman”?

    Since they are regarded as women by most people, you are the one who holds to a particular definition that you think they aren’t adhering to.

    Can’t we ask what that definition is?

    As you said about Lucky, why can’t we disagree? Why can’t we have differing concepts of what “woman” means, as long as we agree about feminist goals?

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 5:02 pm
  38. Lucky said bell hooks wasn’t a radical feminist, not that she wasn’t a real feminist, Daisy.

    It sounds like you are trying to exercise your own bit of authority there by saying that Lucky shouldn’t express her opinion about bell hooks. By what authority do you get to decide what is and what isn’t male-idenitified? By what authority do you get to say that Lucky isn’t allowed to express her opinion?

    Like Heart said, you think bell hooks is a radical feminist, Lucky doesn’t therefore you are in disagreement. So why not have a discussion about it instead of trying to shut down the person you disagree with.

    Posted by delphyne | July 26, 2007, 5:10 pm
  39. Daisy, have you posted in the past, to the Ms boards, for example, under a different screen name? Because you are sounding sort of familiar to me at the moment. If I’m wrong and we haven’t engaged in the past, my apologies.

    Because when I became a feminist, I tried to EXCISE authoritarianism from my personality. I don’t think anyone can do that completely, especially white people in Amerikkka, but we can certainly make an effort.

    “Authoritarianism” isn’t an issue when people, in fact, do not *have* authority over one another. I mean, people can spout off all day long in an authoritarian tone or feeling themselves to be an authority, but if they aren’t, well, they aren’t. Other people will listen and say, “Oh, interesting,” or “Oh, sorry you feel that way,” or just “Oh.”
    :/

    Authoritarianism is a problem in relationships for people who want mutuality and do not want to be coerced or coercive, and in that context, sure, people have to work on their tendencies to be that way to the degree that, in fact, they have *power* over the other person, as men have *power* over their partners and kids, and as women have *power* over their children.

    Authoritarianism is a problem in real life communities where somebody, in fact, has power that others don’t have and is willing to wield it to get their way. And it’s a problem for the authoritarian person herself if she doesn’t want to coerce or dominate other people.

    Here, we are just writing. There’s no authority. There’s no hierarchy. There’s no power differential. There are women. Writing their opinions. If they want to sound authoritarian, so what? If they want to *be* authoritarian in their real life relationships, also so what? That’s them. Here, we’re just talking and sharing our opinions and people’s propensity towards authoritarianism, or not, might be a nice discussion, but it’s its own discussion for some day we feel like having it.

    I consider those kinds of blanket statements to be male-identified: who qualifies as THE REAL_____ (Christian, Catholic, feminist, communist, republican, artist, goth, whatever)… and feminism is pointedly about NOT DOING THAT. That is what men do and have always done. Why would we want to be like them?

    I don’t really care if blanket statements are “male identified.” When women utter the blanket statements, they utter them *as women* and hence as members of that category which is subordinated, by men, under male heterosupremacy. I think being male-identified is a mistake, which is one reason I think the idea of females transitioning is a mistake. Be that as it may, once again, women uttering blanket statements aren’t situated in the power position as men are when they utter blanket statement, i.e., with the power in the world to make their blanket statements “stick.” Females just don’t have that power.

    Also, I sure don’t make my decisions about things based on whether or not something is “like” what men do or don’t do or whatever. I think it’s wrong-headed to imitate men, to copy men or to want to be men. But the fact that men do something or are some way is neither here nor there. There are a lot of things that men “do” or ways that they “are” that women’t aren’t and can’t do because we’ve been subordinated. That’s what gender is all about, men doing certain things/being certain ways and calling that “male” and “masculine” because that way they ensure their continued and ongoing dominance over women. So the fact that men do something, are some way sure doesn’t mean to me women should never do it, or be it! Otherwise we’ll never have a woman president, for one thing!

    If Lucky says someone is not a real feminist, by what authority does she say that?

    By her own authority as a female person. By her authority over herself. Out of her own individuated self-interest. Because she wants to. Because she feels like it. No woman needs to have any “authority” in order to say whatever she says.

    How many books of bell hooks’ has she read, before coming to that conclusion?

    Who cares? That’s her opinion. Take it or leave it. You are free to, certainly.

    Or is it ALL about trans? Again?

    Well, here I’m not following you.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:19 pm
  40. Delphyne is right, Daisy. It does sound as though, under the aegis of “what authority,” you are attempting to assert your own!

    That’s the trouble with “meta” discussions like this, i.e., discussions about how someone says what they say. You call someone authoritarian, or intolerant, or whatever, it’s as easy for them to assert that you are being authoritarian over *them* or intolerant of *them*. It’s no-win and not productive.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:21 pm
  41. What if we just stopped talking about trans? When inciteful things like Deutch’s cartoon come up, when Camp Trans starts slinging accusations, when radical feminists are maligned over and over again on this subject that is NOTHING but a stawman, given that the issue is really about gender-based oppression, PERIOD… well, why don’t we just ignore it and see it as it is, more strawman crap.

    I think people like Ampersand know that radical feminists aren’t aligned with the Religious Right, they know that radical feminism isn’t transphobic, but it’s cool to hate radical feminists, it gets them points with the in-crowd, and it allows them to be bullies because their target is so busy fighting strawmen that the shit rarely falls back on them.

    Truly, what would be lost if we just let the trans/WBW business alone, for at least a while since that was never the crux of radical feminist activism and theory in the first place? I know this probably isn’t a popular suggestion, but at least consider it for a moment? What would really be lost if we just let the accusers listen to themselves only? What is gained by this constant back-and-forth where one side is just constantly accusing and the other side is just constantly defended itself? This is all so insane to me.

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 5:21 pm
  42. Amber, you’re right of course. And usually I do ignore this kind of thing. Once in a while, I just feel like saying what I have to say, so I do.

    One reason we can’t let the trans/WBW business comletely alone is, some of the issues are real life issues which have to be addressed, i.e., the Gendercator torpedoeing and the cancellation of Bitch’s performance at the Chicago Dyke March and things like the lawsuit against VRR, the ongoing plans to bring male persons onto the land at Michigan, and so on. In other words, it’s not just words we’re talking about, it’s actions which hurt female persons.

    So when it makes sense to I respond. Usually, I don’t.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:26 pm
  43. Heart, I also posted as Daisy to Ms. Not too often, maybe a dozen times? I posted on the threads about Lacy Peterson and others. (I read you and Lynne going round-and-round several times, like for about a year?…before I ever had a clue!)

    That board went far too quickly for me! If you missed even 2 days, bham, you were left behind!

    Re: trans. I wondered if that was Lucky’s main reason for announcing bell isn’t a RADICAL feminist? There can be no other reason.

    RADICAL feminist, is what bell hooks calls herself, at great personal cost. Hooks might be at an Ivy League school now, if she renounced that little word RADICAL, but she won’t, and I have a lot of respect for that.

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 5:27 pm
  44. To be clear, if we don’t talk about these issues, make our position known, then it is much more difficult to discuss the issues when they arise in real life, i.e., the real life attacks I’ve mentioned, because nobody *knows* what our position is, in that we have been so relentlessly lied about by people like Amp and the people he wants to score points with. In order for people to know what the issues are, and our perspectives are, we have to, with some regularity, put them out there.

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:28 pm
  45. Truly, what would be lost if we just let the trans/WBW business alone, for at least a while since that was never the crux of radical feminist activism and theory in the first place?

    Because somebody is going to show up, eventually. Many transwomen are feminists and will be in feminist space, as many want to go to Michfest.

    That is what started the whole Olivia records rift, back in the day. People tried to ignore that, let it go, and it just got worse.

    I don’t think ignoring the issue will do any good. But maybe we do need a breather.

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 5:36 pm
  46. “It’s no-win and not productive.”

    Absolutely. I hope Daisy realises those questions are rhetorical.

    In fact the authority that Daisy has to say that radical feminists are authoritarian, or rather the power behind that statement, comes from the exact same place that Ampersand gets to liken us to the religious right – it’s patriarchal propaganda designed to stop radical feminists declaring any opinions whatsoever.

    Posted by delphyne | July 26, 2007, 5:37 pm
  47. Daisy, did you post under any other screen names at Ms?

    Also, if you were around back then and know all about the Lynne debacle, over a year’s time, no offense, but why were you here yesterday, or the day before, asking all of these questions about where you could get information about issues of transitioning and hormones and surgeries and all of that? Surely if you’ve been around since the Ms boards days, you know where to get that information?

    As to being RADICAL and how that gets you in in academia, that’s horseshit. Academia is all about “gender studies,” these days, and men rule over those, not radical feminists, not feminists, not even women. Radical feminists have been fighting an uphill battle in academia for a long time now.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:37 pm
  48. Daisy: I agree. However, when you say someone is not a woman, you are putting the issue front and center. You are the one deciding they aren’t women, so aren’t they within their rights to ask you what you mean by “woman”?

    They can ask if they want. And I can say, that isn’t my issue. You’ll have to talk to somebody else about that. As to their “rights,” sure, people have a “right” to say anything they want. And I have a right to ignore them, especially if they seem to mean me no good.

    Then again, I do not say “someone is not a woman.” Some people do, but I don’t.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:41 pm
  49. And I’m all for that – putting our perspectives out there vis-a-vis gender/biology/oppression, etc – but I guess I wish it could be more – no ENTIRELY – active rather than reactive. Especially when what we’re reacting to are really random allegations. I mean, “essentialism”???? C’mon!

    I just think in letting anti-radical people frame the debate, we cannot ever win. It’s like George Lakoff pointed out about liberals and conservatives – when conservatives always frame the debate, always pick the language, always put liberals on the defensive, then OF COURSE conservatives are always going to win.

    Anti-radical people are like that. Like conservatives invent words like “pro-family,” anti-radical feminists mis-use words like “transphobic.” It frames a specific debate (like MichFest being for female-born women only) in a way that, in reality, has NOTHING to do with the issue. But radical feminists are (understandably) so busy defending themselves, I don’t think we realize we’re in a fight we CANNOT win! So we’ve got to get better at seeing the forest for the trees.

    When Bitch is cut from a line-up for being “transphobic,” then YES! let’s talk about that! But let’s frame it so it really defends our position and doesn’t even pay one moment’s attention to how they want to frame it. Saying over and over again that “We’re not transphobic” just gets that word out there again and again. It’s not fair to our position and it’s not fair to the true meaning of transphobia which gets misapplied and becomes meaningless when used that way.

    And another part of it is picking our battles – Amp has made clear over and over again that women matter only circumstantially to him. He earns money off of violent pornography, for god’s sake. He and his followers are NEVER going to care about or respect the radical feminist position on anything. He’s not worth our time or breath.

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 5:43 pm
  50. Yeah, really great comment, Amber, and you’re right.

    But you know, no matter whether we actually are proactive and work to do the framing ourselves, or whether we react, in the end, we get hammered and clobbered and lied about regardless. “Questioning Transgender” has been up for a long time, the Vancouver Rape Relief site has great articles on defense of woman only space. But that is consistently ignored and we get lied about and then when something happens, like the Gendercator thing, it’s just more of the same hammering, as though we had not carefully set forth our position many times.

    I agree, Amp isn’t worth our time or our breath. I’m kind of concerned though about young radfems or those new to radical feminism who aren’t aware of the issues and get sucked in by what Amp and his commenters say. A lot of what I say I’m saying to them.

    And if you read through the comments here, there is palpable relief expressed among women who have felt really frustrated because they haven’t read our position expressed clearly and often enough. You and I and others have been through the wars with this stuff for years now, but a lot of women have not. They’re just learning what the issues are.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 5:51 pm
  51. Daisy, did you post under any other screen names at Ms?

    I might have posted under a Deadhead name, like China Cat Sunflower or Scarlett Begonias, after one of those many board-crashes. I wasn’t a regular but I like to read the board. I particularly enjoyed the stuff your friend “Jeanie” posted, as well as Flea, whose blog I still read.

    Why, who is imitating me? :P

    My time online has been very spotty. Usually, depending on where I was working and how much internet access I had there. I only recently got high-speed at home.

    As I said, I didn’t know Lynne was trans for the longest time, and then she kept denying it. If you didn’t know what was going on, it was damned confusing. For a long time I thought people were simply insulting her politics or something and never entertained the idea she actually WAS trans, since she kept saying she wasn’t and that TRANS WAS BAD. *Do you know how BIZARRE that shit sounded?*

    Also, I found Lynne virtually unreadable.

    I don’t recall anyone discussing hormones and surgery at Ms? If they did, I didn’t see it?

    Yes, I know there are websites about transitioning. I guess I wasn’t too clear. I meant, I never encountered websites in which these issues were hashed out, how much to use, how far do you go, feminist analysis of gender presentation or an effort to blur the two together, which I guess is called “genderqueer” rather than androgyny these days? Still learning.

    Most of the websites seem to have very low feminist consciousness, unfortunately.

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 5:57 pm
  52. They can ask if they want. And I can say, that isn’t my issue. You’ll have to talk to somebody else about that. As to their “rights,” sure, people have a “right” to say anything they want. And I have a right to ignore them, especially if they seem to mean me no good.

    Then again, I do not say “someone is not a woman.” Some people do, but I don’t.

    However, the “Questioning Transgender” website does, and you just endorsed it.

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 6:02 pm
  53. It’s like George Lakoff pointed out about liberals and conservatives – when conservatives always frame the debate, always pick the language, always put liberals on the defensive, then OF COURSE conservatives are always going to win.

    While I agree with this — and thanks, Amber, for this interesting exercise, I always appreciate your voice :) — I think there is a much deeper consideration which has to do with who has the power *to* frame the debate. For the past, what, 30 years, conservatives have been able to frame the debate and put liberals on the defensive, and win, because conservatives had the societal power to do just that. It’s been a conservative reign of terror in this country for decades now. They have had the money, the people in office, the corporate power, and the majority vote in this country. They’ve had the upper hand in media as well.

    The fact that someone has successfully framed a debate evidences where the power is, I think. In order to successfully frame a debate, be proactive, a group has to have the power to do that. Females don’t. We virtually never do, in situations in which a preponderance of men stand to lose something.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 6:03 pm
  54. Daisy, there you go again. I don’t care if the Questioning Transgender site includes writings where someone says someone is or is not a woman or whatever. That’s them. I, Heart, say what I, Heart say. I do not make statements about who is and isn’t a woman. It’s a waste of time, it’s a useless exercise, it’s not my issue. In general, the Questioning Transgender site sets forth the radical feminist position as to gender.

    You know, in the past, we have had commenters come as you have, Daisy, and comment rapid-fire, many, many comments, many of them adversarial or sort of inflammatory, requiring a lot of my and others’ time to respond to them. So far none of those commenting situations turned out well. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen that things might turn out well, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. I don’t really have time to engage you in the way you seem to want to, particularly when you frequently introduce issues into the discussion which don’t have to do with what anyone here has actually said. I checked out your blog, and I see a blogroll *full* of people who fairly live to give radical feminists grief and I can’t deny this concerns me.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do about my concerns yet, but I’m letting you know I’m concerned, but also am really not willing to engage in this kind of back and forth, or to approve your comments without responding to them, because of the confusion which may result.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 6:13 pm
  55. Daisy: Yes, I know there are websites about transitioning. (snip) Most of the websites seem to have very low feminist consciousness, unfortunately.

    There’s a reason for this!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 6:18 pm
  56. The fact that someone has successfully framed a debate evidences where the power is, I think. In order to successfully frame a debate, be proactive, a group has to have the power to do that. Females don’t. We virtually never do, in situations in which a preponderance of men stand to lose something.

    And continuing from this idea, part of gaining the discursive upper hand, if we’re talking about language, debate, part of becoming “empowered” so that we can *be* proactive, is, I think, finding the best ways we can to respond, to react, even though we *are* reacting and can’t win at the moment, because in fact, we do not have the power.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 6:35 pm
  57. Yeah, I agree totally, Heart.

    On a related but not-altogether-serious note, I think this whole thing is ripe for satire. Like replace the two characters in Barry’s cartoon with two dudes, the one without a phone being Amp.

    EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE

    Amp: Excuse me, I overheard what you said on your cell phone… and I totally AGREE. There is NOTHING wrong with pornography!

    Phone Dude: Oh! Well, THANK YOU. It sometimes feels like the whole IDEA of “pornography” is being ATTACKED.

    Amp: EXACTLY! I’m sorry, but there’s MUCH MORE to profiting from pornography than humiliating and objectifying women!

    Phone Dude: Yes, yes, yes. There’s something ARTISTIC and down-right PATRIOTIC about getting to say whatever you want and using women’s bodies to do so.

    Amp: You wanna know what I REALLY hate? The term MISOGYNY.

    Phone Dude: ME TOO! The word is a SCARE TACTIC they us to SILENCE anyone who DISAGREES with the RADICAL FEMINIST AGENDA.

    Amp: This is so nice… I LOVE meeting other enlightened feminist dudes!

    Phone Dude: Enlightened feminist? Are you kidding??? I’m an MRA! (Does this mean we can’t be friends?)

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 6:57 pm
  58. Thank you for that Amber. Thank you.

    Posted by Q Grrl | July 26, 2007, 7:05 pm
  59. HAAA!

    I want someone to draw that cartoon right now.

    I had the SAME idea (not for that but a different cartoon) and even asked one of my kids if I could borrow her sketch pad! I’m no artist, but hey, I’d even give it a shot.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 7:13 pm
  60. I thought about finding a stock photo of two guys talking and just copying it over and over into a panel. But that would take a certain combination of Photoshop skills and ambition that I just don’t have. :)

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 7:17 pm
  61. Don’t forget the gut hanging over the sporran, while he makes his living off teen girls who are about size 2 and have to stay that way, slightly older women with plastic breasts leaking carcinogenic chemicals, and race/sex slaves.

    Posted by Sis | July 26, 2007, 7:19 pm
  62. He Sis, I get what you’re saying there, but I don’t think Amp’s body has anything to do with his hypocrisy. Thin guys benefit from porn the same way he does.

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 7:27 pm
  63. Yes, Amp was playing to the mob, no question. Amber, good one.

    I also felt the comic was directed to feminists only, because I don’t think most fundies even realize any radical feminists agree with them about this or anything else, do they? It’s feminists who are concerned about that, not fundies. Who did he expect to see the comic? All the legions of fundies reading his blog?

    Right.

    Posted by Daisy | July 26, 2007, 7:28 pm
  64. Daisy, others can correct me, but I don’t think that rad fems are agreeing with any fundies.

    Posted by Q Grrl | July 26, 2007, 7:45 pm
  65. It’s metaphorical, and an illustrative device. As is the sporran. Amp’s getting fat off of women’s slavery.

    Please re-focus.

    Posted by Sis | July 26, 2007, 7:52 pm
  66. Amp also offered to ban me if I reminded him again of how he’s getting fat off of women’s words.

    Posted by Q Grrl | July 26, 2007, 7:56 pm
  67. It’s metaphorical, and an illustrative device.

    Even so, the association of a fat stomach with the exploitation of women is insulting to fat people, none of whom are fat because they partake in the abuse of women.

    Please re-focus.

    That? That is the kind of patronizing crap that makes me hate talking with people on the internet. We wouldn’t say stuff like that to each other in real life.

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 8:17 pm
  68. It’s absolutely apt to use this as a rhetorical (and illustrative) device because of women’s body image always having to meet a porn standard.

    Amp can look any way he likes, but the women he sells have to comply to a porny, patriarchal, half starved ideal; malnourished but gigantic false tits and asses is best.

    When you do your illustration (or whoever is doing it) make sure to take into account the size 0 to size 2 little girls with HIV which make his lifestyle so fat.

    Posted by Sis | July 26, 2007, 9:46 pm
  69. Amp can look any way he likes, but the women he sells have to comply to a porny, patriarchal, half starved ideal; malnourished but gigantic false tits and asses is best.

    But now you’re talking about a literal thing – the bodies of women in porn – and saying it’s unfair that Amp gets to be LITERALLY fat when they don’t. So it’s not a metaphor afterall, the way you are using it.

    It sucks that women in general have to adhere to impossible body standards that men don’t. That’s got nothing to do with Amp’s profiting off of porn though. Again, for every fat guy making a greasy buck on the back of a pornstituted woman, there’s some thin guy doing the same thing.

    So, any caricaturization of Amp as a “fat pornographer” is fat bigotry, pure and simple, literal or figurative. His behavior is loathsome enough as is, we don’t need to make him look fat to enhance the dispicable nature of his hypocrisy.

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 10:23 pm
  70. Your desperation to split hairs and divert here and focus on some other, any other, rather than the slavery of women by this fat pig is so offensive to me.

    You’re talking to yourself now.

    Posted by Sis | July 26, 2007, 11:07 pm
  71. What???

    Posted by Amber | July 26, 2007, 11:13 pm
  72. Hey, Sis, I hear you– I hear Amber, too. I’m not sure if you have met Amber but she’s a long time radfem and Women’s Space commenter, a great woman, and I don’t think she has any intention to divert attention away from the slavery of women. I do see that that is the result, that we are moving in the direction of talking about fat bigotry toward a man now, as opposed to the slavery of women. I think it’s worth thinking about that a bit.

    It’s interesting, on the blog of a self-identified feminist a while back, I came across something HORRIBLE commented about me, yours truly. I was called vile, woman-hating names and this person, a man, said I looked like Angelina Jolie, but “uglier”, no, “much uglier,” and with fewer plastic surgeries. On the one hand, HA! On so many levels!! On the other hand, wow, that’s freaking scary.

    What was more interesting was, nobody spoke up to say anything about that. Nobody challenged the sexism or misogyny in attacking my appearance, though the blog owner challenged other things the guy said, including calling me a “c***.”

    On the one hand, since as women, we are constantly attacked for our appearance, we can’t stand it and want to scream when we see it– even when it’s done to a man who has used us, sold us down the river. It’s like this principle matters more to us in that moment than the selling down the river, or the making money from the slavery of women, we need to talk about the attacking the man’s appearance more than what the man has actually done to women. Some of the people who have gotten all up in arms over what Sis has said about Amp (nobody here) read what that commenter said about me– and said not a word about it.

    I wouldn’t attack anybody’s appearance, man or woman, nobody’s. I can’t bring myself to. But I do think it’s interesting and revealing what happens when a feminist does that to a man who has harmed women. Speaking cautiously — again as someone who wouldn’t do this myself because I really wouldn’t — I think I see what Sis’s intent is.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 11:36 pm
  73. It just happens over and over, with woman after woman, because we have been so socialized to put everyone else’s ism before ours. It’s almost a litmus test. And it is so god dam male lefty centric.

    Posted by Sis | July 26, 2007, 11:50 pm
  74. Wait, here’s the real clincher: the thread in question was one in which the blogger was defending — GUESS WHO —

    three guesses

    three

    AMPERSAND

    Against me because I was too hard on Amp for selling women down the river.

    So. In a thread created to defend Amp against me, I am horrifically lied about and trashed for 70 some posts by many of the people who have jumped up and down because Sis says things about Amp’s appearance. These same people made this HUGE to do about that.

    And yet not a one of them — including Amp — said *one word*, not one, about what this person said in that thread about me. This person was some random guy, not a regular commenter. It wasn’t like they didn’t want to confront their best bud.

    What this guy said sure did NOT divert the thread into a discussion of the misogyny or sexism inherent in attacking a woman’s appearance. There was no diversion at all. Everybody just evidently read it and thought it was a-okay or not worth saying anything about.

    See, we do have integrity here. We have such integrity that we *cannot bring* ourselves to do to men what they have done to us. I’m not saying we should. But I am saying that is one reason it’s so hard for us to get free.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 26, 2007, 11:52 pm
  75. Very good. They are the same people who’ve never read Frankenstein, and think Frankenstein is the monster, not the doctor. They are the same lefty boo-boo defenders who sought to flay Lucky because she read the book and understand literary allusion.

    It’s not only male defending knee-jerk lefty, it’s illiteracy.

    Posted by Sis | July 27, 2007, 12:09 am
  76. It’s true. You never really think about it. A woman’s appearance is always the subject of ridicule or criticism, even by other women, seeking acceptance from the men.

    I can’t think of how many times men have tried to get me to ridicule other women with them. Bizarre. But I’m a lot more grown up now, and mature and able to confront that for what it is.

    Yet it is very much taboo to comment on men’s appearance in a negative way or a ridiculing way. How is that? That they don’t realize that the thing they abhore and hurts them so much they do to women all the time? I suppose they do realize it.

    But it makes sense that male-“female” sex changes would present a whole set of problems where the individual still expects male priveledge and comes with all of those expectations.

    If there was a way you could make it work for women…If Transsexuals would fight for women’s rights and equal rights with us, you could make a case. I don’t see that happening, unfortunately. My biggest fear is the push for the belief and acceptance of biological harmful gender “norms” in order to justify their identity crisis. Sexism basically. They are the embodiment of sexism, and so how can they stand with feminists against gender discrimination and harmful gender norms and sexist stigmas? If they can do this then I have no problem accepting them, personally.

    Posted by Kiuku | July 27, 2007, 2:15 am
  77. OK, call me an ignorant stump if you will, but I thought when you said someone (a person) was battening or getting fat off someone else it meant their purse or wallet was getting fat, not their body.

    Posted by thebewilderness | July 27, 2007, 5:10 am
  78. Quote: “Your desperation to split hairs and divert here and focus on some other, any other, rather than the slavery of women by this fat pig is so offensive to me.

    You’re talking to yourself now.”

    This is very clear in my opinion and it is insulting to me, a fat woman. I am not trying to divert discussion but this is something I have to react to.

    Posted by Danu | July 27, 2007, 12:19 pm
  79. Hey, bewilderness, I think that was what Sis had in mind.

    Danu, I hear you, and also hope you’ve read my comments and others since Sis’s comment. I believe Sis had no intention of insulting fat women and that her comment, in fact, had nothing whatsoever to do with any fat woman, anywhere. I really would not like this thread to go down that particular path, so that a man ends up inadvertantly defended. I don’t think fat women and fat men are situated remotely similarly.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 27, 2007, 12:50 pm
  80. As Danu says, remarks about Ampersand’s size also insult and hurt other fat people, particularly feminists who are fat who will feel excluded when they read the insults.

    However what you’ve said Sis has made me think about the men and boys who take the food out of women and girls’ mouths and grow large and strong whilst the latter go hungry. Would it be possible to have a separate and more general discussion about that and leave Ampersand’s size out of this one which needs to be about his lies and vengeful propaganda against the radical feminists who showed him up for the pimp he is?

    Posted by delphyne | July 27, 2007, 12:53 pm
  81. I don’t think fat women and fat men are situated remotely similarly.

    This is so profound in its simplicity, and it’s applicable in all dimensions of oppression. Please let me know if I overstretch your analysis, Heart, but I believe the following are also equally true.

    Black women and black men are not situated remotely similarly.

    White women and white men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Brown women and brown men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Disabled women and disabled men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Poor women and poor men not are situated remotely similarly.

    Feminine women and feminine men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Illiterate women and illiterate men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Abused women and abused men are not situated remotely similarly.

    Posted by justicewalks | July 27, 2007, 2:17 pm
  82. Rock on, justicewalks. Really, this profound simplicity is “feminism.” It’s so discouraging how successful men have been in its obfuscation and erasure.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 27, 2007, 4:04 pm
  83. Wow. I’ve learned A LOT from the last few posts. A lot. And this just isn’t for me.

    That’s not to say I don’t agree 100% with what you’ve said about men and women being situated differently and so on… and I disagree that I was in any way defending Amp, or men in general. Sis’s comments offended ME, a WOMAN. Her line of thinking about fat = greed offended ME, a FAT WOMAN.

    But I have tried to read those of you who are regular posters here with an open mind and see where you’re coming from with this (and thanks, Heart, for showing me that same courtesy – that’s become a rarity on the net nowadays) and I am satisfied that I’ve done that – AND STILL I cannot abide the language Sis chooses and others of you are okay with. And maybe that’s just me and maybe I’m totally wrong. But for now anyhow, I’ll leave you to discuss things the way you want to with the language you see fit and that can be that.

    That’s one good thing about the internet – you can avoid the conversations that get your ire up!

    Posted by Amber | July 27, 2007, 4:12 pm
  84. Yeah, Amber, I hear you. But I think “greed = fat” might be something more like “fat cats”? As in male politicians and political types who cut deals, exploit people to fatten their pocketbooks.

    If we view it in the worst, most insulting way, that fat = greed means physical fat is the result of greed, it still would not apply to women. Women don’t get fat because of greed, because they eat too much, or anything like that. They get fat because they are poor, because they can’t afford good food, because they give the good food to others, to their kids, and don’t eat well themselves, and their bodies are starving and so they are hungry, and they keep trying to assuage their hunger with the same old crap foods that do not nourish them because *that’s all they can afford,* and the fat goes on because the body thinks it is starving. And it is! Women are fat because we diet, and having dieted and dieted and dieted, we have starved our bodies and they are fighting starvation by storing fat way out of proportion to what we eat; in other words, we have dieted our way fat. Women are fat because we have eating disorders and are anorexic and the result is fat for the same reasons as the result of dieting is fat as the result of poverty is fat. Women are fat because of genetics, hormones, body chemistry, physiology. In general, most of this is not true for men, certainly, by *far*, not in the same numbers.

    I’m just saying, I don’t think what Sis said was meant for any woman, and I think she was speaking metaphorically.

    I feel angry now, though, over the turn this thread has taken. It was completely unnecessary that it go this way. Fat is a sensitive issue for women, and as women, I think we have to take that into consideration any time we make any reference to it at all. I am not “okay” with Sis’s language. But that’s her language. And I think it brings up important issues which it makes sense to discuss, even if I’m not okay with her language. It really bothers me the way feminist women seem so eager to police the language of feminist women! WAY more — WAY more — than they police the behaviors, acts and language of men too much of the time! I think as women we are going to have to learn to give one another the benefit of the doubt WAY more often than we do. Otherwise, there are going to be a whole lot more justicewalks and delphynes and nowhere for them to speak freely without worrying about offending someone! While I understand feeling offended by what Sis said, a bunch of people over on Twisty’s boards can use similar reasoning to be offended by what jusicewalks and delphyne said, you know? It just goes on and on and this is one big reason our movement struggles so. Women get more angry over what women say to them in the course of discussion than over what men are doing to them!

    I also feel irritated that nobody responds to my own experience of being called horrible things and my appearance attacked and the meaning of the very different response to my experience and Amp’s experience. That’s worth talking about. Dang.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 27, 2007, 4:31 pm
  85. Hi Heart,

    Yes, yes, yes.

    The dynamics of horizontal hostility amongst females, and specifically within feminism.

    Which goes right to the title of this thread.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | July 27, 2007, 5:07 pm
  86. “I also feel irritated that nobody responds to my own experience of being called horrible things and my appearance attacked and the meaning of the very different response to my experience and Amp’s experience. That’s worth talking about. Dang.”

    I responded in my head but didn’t put anything down here. You are absolutely right Heart about the complete *hypocrisy* that allows people to jump all over Sis for making sizeist remarks about Ampersand the pimp and exploiter of women, but completely ignore any vileness that is said about you. Those same people have said terrible things about Sis too and terrible things about pretty much every one of us at some time or another. You get it bad because you have a high profile so they go after you harder because they realise the threat you are to them.

    Something else I notice is that there are radical feminists who will give these people the time of day, even after all the insults, after all the vicious attacks, after all the lies, distortions and betrayals. Yet they do get angry at any woman who defends herself and fights back. I can’t get my head around that and I don’t think I ever will.

    Posted by delphyne | July 27, 2007, 5:32 pm
  87. delphyne, I didn’t mean to make you feel you had to say something! But I’m glad you did. :p

    And yeah, I don’t understand the double standard either, the radfems who will give the worst woman-haters the benefit of the doubt, people with a proven record of hating female persons, who will patiently engage them or excuse them or whatever, but who will get pissed off because one of us gets angry one time or something like that.

    It *is* horizontal hostility and it *does* hurt us because it diminishes our capacity to trust women. That really does hurt.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 27, 2007, 5:38 pm
  88. Traditionally, women have gained safe places for themselves in the patriarchy by policing other women.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | July 27, 2007, 7:12 pm
  89. So true. Our stake in the system is our complicity with the system.
    :(

    Posted by Heart | July 27, 2007, 7:32 pm
  90. “Male-to-female transsexuality/transgender is really about men’s rights.”

    Yes – people have trouble with this. Another reason for that is that we are so well trained to see men’s issues as everyone’s issues, or “universal” issues.

    “Our stake in the system is our complicity with the system.”

    Once again, basic and important … hard to understand and easy to forget because complicity with the system is so ingrained as to seem “natural.” Therefore, it is always good to be reminded.

    Posted by profacero | July 29, 2007, 3:37 am
  91. Another reason for that is that we are so well trained to see men’s issues as everyone’s issues, or “universal” issues.

    YES. Great to see you weigh in, profacero.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 29, 2007, 3:46 am
  92. (Moving off the specifics of anti-fat bigotry for a moment, but related to the “policing” topic): I am someone who has stood up and said something, several times, in a non-abusive way, after being hurt by disablist remarks in feminist space. I am _more_ likely to speak up about disablist remarks in feminist space than in other spaces, and I think there are a couple of possible reasons for that, neither of which have anything to do with being more hostile toward women than toward men.

    The first reason is that I feel safer in feminist spaces. I feel that my ideas about disability prejudice are more likely to be considered and heard amongst women who are well aware of what it’s like to be oppressed and hated. I feel that at least some women will take a moment to engage with the ideas, and that I’m less likely to be teased or abused in return for “outing” myself. (I have a stigmatised disability.)

    The second reason is that disablist remarks, for me, just plain hurt more in feminist space. Elsewhere, my guard is up; I expect to encounter ignorance and prejudice. My hands are up and ready to deflect, my mind is ready to switch off and away. When someone in a feminist space suddenly comes out with a disability-hating remark, it smacks me square in the face, unexpectedly. The hurt is greater. Does this have the end result of me holding feminists to a higher standard? Maybe it does. I’m only just now starting to examine that. And it’s possible that one day I’ll feel safe enough to start calling people out in more hostile spaces; but I don’t want to feel as though I’m under some sort of obligation to make myself less safe by doing so because I’m labouring under some sort of ideal of “fairness”.

    I don’t see a civil, face-to-face disagreement as “policing”, however; I’m trying to come up with a more apposite verb. Policing is the use of arbitrarily-delegated power and/or the threat of force to silence someone. Behind-the-scenes bannings are policing. Threats are policing. Face-to-face discussion isn’t policing, to me, unless there’s a significant power asymmetry and a veiled or overt threat. (I have the same sort of problem with terms like “militant” feminist.)

    Posted by lauredhel | July 29, 2007, 5:16 pm
  93. I am going to approve one response from Mandolin over at Alas, but just one.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 30, 2007, 5:26 pm
  94. Although, I don’t know. I’ve read it again, and what you are doing, Mandolin, is arguing, once again, with stuff I do not believe and have never once argued.

    I don’t *believe* any of that stuff you’ve attempted to comment. I am a social constructionist, not a biological essentialist or determinist.

    My sense is that you have yet to fully engage the issues and the arguments, in that you are arguing all sorts of stuff that no radical feminist I respect has ever said or believed. I am not a stand-in for all the people you have ever read on the internet who claim radical feminism. I am Heart. If you want to argue my views, that’s one thing. I can’t speak for the views of every Tomasina, Dickie and Harriett out there.

    Radical feminists do not, in fact, with very few exceptions, believe gender is biologically determined. We believe it is socially constructed. Our politics are centered in biology *not* having anything to do with destiny or with much of anything. That puts us as far from the Religious Right as it is possible to be.

    The Religious Right believes gender is biologically determined and vehemently opposes everything radical feminists have ever had to say about gender on that basis. If you doubt that, do a google search on “Christianity gender feminists”.

    So, I don’t know whether I’ll approve your comment. Why should I respond to arguments I’ve never made?

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | July 30, 2007, 5:42 pm
  95. For your Google search, do it this way:

    Christianity “gender feminists”

    Posted by womensspace | July 30, 2007, 5:47 pm
  96. Why even bother debating someone who posts on a website owned by a someone associated with a compnay that used to make money selling “she-male” (aka not “real-women” in the trans hardline sense) porn? Until someone can answer how that stuff is “trans-positive,” I don’t see what the obligation is?

    Maybe Mandolin can explain how it’s ok for BangBros to go into Mexico to tape that stuff on the cheap but it’s necessary to ride your ass for whatever it is s/he thinks you think.

    Until that happens, this discussion is pointless. And yeah, I bet plenty of rightwing fundamentalists subscribe to those kinds of websites too–where are the cartoons about them being on the same boat as Amptoons when it comes to trans issues…

    Posted by Rich | July 30, 2007, 5:53 pm
  97. If I understand the argument above, male to female transgender behaviors are not a feminist issue, but rather, are a men’s rights issue, an issue which radical feminists oppose because men are ultimatley in control of it. Men ultimately have decided what is male and female and therefore what is transgender, at least for men. Fundamentalist Christians, however, are not necessarily opposed to male to female transgender behavior for the same reason: they love the patriachal construct and if a boy wants to be effeminate–afterall, Jesus may way well have been effeminate, or, as they say in Thailand, “a popular boy–” then there’s no problem. Hmm. Perhaps leftist males who wear hotpants would be better off making friends with the Christian right.

    I think this is true: the feminists in my family despised my hotpants, my flowery bikini speedoes, etc, whereas boys in fundamentalist christian families had no probem with it. Now I understand: my feminist mother despised my sissy boy hotpants, not because she was a transgender phobe, but because it was the behavior of another powerful male redifining masculinity on his own terms and not on a consensus with feminist women. I don’t know.

    But there is a problem here. Whereas my femisist mother and sister have long since gone the route of the republican paarty, i have remained a commie leftist, hiding out in a relatively peaceful country in east Asia, every once in a while accosted by both male and female American hooligan tourists who hate “lady boys.” Are these people rad fems or rednecks? I don’t know. I can’t tell.

    I have heard that there is little or no gneder gap in voting back in Ameirka–that women and men pretty much vote the same and that right after 9-11 Mister Bush had a ninetey seven percent approval or some such thing. Certainly the messages I have saved from the Ms Boards back then suggest it. So i am not sure what is the future for radical feminisim. I guess I had better stay where I am at

    Daniel Sebold

    Posted by Daniel Sebold | August 21, 2007, 5:23 am
  98. I am afraid I have been deluded all these years into thinking that feminism was for everybody. I think there was a book of a similar title about twenty years ago. I remember talk of eliminating sexism–that this was the central tenet of feminist ideology.

    I don’t see any evidence from the feminists here, with their exclusionary thoughts toward transgender males, that they are interested in eliminating sexism for everyone.

    I have no problem with the idea that gender roles are socially constructed. As far as the male gender is concerned, there was a lot more gender bending going on thirty years ago–long hair, earrings, gold chain necklaces, short shorts, even pink bikinis on high school boys swimming teams, than what is going on right now.

    Such behavior among males is no longer tolerated in American society. In fact, it is just plain dangerous. You never know whether an angry redneck, a cop, a manhater of one kind or another might threaten you. We males can no longer walk into shopping malls in short short cutoffs or short running shorts like we could in the seventies. We will be thrown out and the justification is always “to protect women and children.” I have, however, seen women going into shopping malls in bum high shorts and skirts and they are never turned away in order to protect men and children.

    I am tempted to conclude that feminists, not fundamentalist Christians are at the root of this. I have every reason to believe this as I have met so many traditional Christian women pushing baby carriages who give a thumbs up to any male willing to stand up against this conservative hip hop everything below the knees, long baggy sexless swimming ware and shorts for males in America and now all around th world. This is what we men are pissed off about. I think it is feminism–protecting women from men who are so offensive that they would dare mock the female sex role that they have supposedly forced on women. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am not seeing it right.

    I also believe that hip hop style clothing is an angry statement of misogyny. It says this: “Okay, bitch, if I can’t dress like you–if I can’t walk around town with my bum sticking out of the bottom of my shorts, like you, I will let my shorts sag down past my knees and let my bum stick out the top. I’ll really gross you out.” Pretty macho stuff, but you asked for it.

    Posted by Daniel Sebold | August 21, 2007, 2:16 pm
  99. Daniel Sebold, radical feminists have no problem with your hotpants, flowery bikini speedoes, etc. as long as you don’t claim that your partiality towards these clothes means that you are “really a woman” and demand inclusion in the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

    Posted by Branjor | August 21, 2007, 3:47 pm
  100. and Danny, if your “feminist” female family members are now staunch republicans, there’s a very strong chance that they were never feminists to begin with. Women may complain about the way they’re treated without being feminists. I mean really, before you go all blaming everything on feminism, go read some feminist books. And just because some women don’t like the look of hip hop doesn’t mean they’re feminists! lordy.

    *READ*

    and then read some more. The local library will probably have a lot of feminist books there. Or at least some.

    and Branjor: WORD

    Posted by Cinder | August 21, 2007, 11:11 pm

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