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Pre-2008 Posts

On What Radical Feminism Is and Isn’t

Meena, murdered founder of RAWA

Caveat: Recently I have come to agree with radical feminist theorist Joyce Trebilcot that it is wrong-headed for feminists to debate or argue with other feminists with the goal of getting them to change their minds or to come around to our own points of view, replacing their opinions with ours.   I agree with Trebilcot that feminism is not about "selling" our "truth"  to other women, and that when we try, competitiveness, guilt, and envy — all tools of the patriarchy — tend to infuse our feminist process, making it unproductive to destructive.  Feminists didn't arrive at the herstoric distinctives of our movement by way of argument, debate or persuasion.   We arrived at the herstoric distinctives of our movement by way of consciousness-raising. 

Consciousness-raising has nothing to do with debate, persuasion, arguments, or smacking one another around rhetorically or discursively.  It has to do with women talking about the realities of our lives as women under male supremacy, taking one another seriously, speaking only for ourselves, always searching for the way the "givens" of our lives and views have been shaped by patriarchal oppression as well as our own biases and experiences, and then finding — and making — common ground with other women with the goal of changing the world in ways which will benefit us as women.  Radical feminism is not supposed to be a meal some women force-feed to other women; it is more like a potluck which is always available to women, where women can pick and choose what will nourish and sustain them at any given moment, where they can leave the rest until it has some appeal for them for some reason or until they find themselves to be a certain kind of hungry and needing a certain kind of sustenance.

It's with these thoughts in my mind that I'm writing this post.  I want to give voice to my own thoughts without having any expectation that anybody will be persuaded, but with the hopes that what I say might ring true or be useful or enlightening or empowering for other women reading.  Writing is a consciousness-raising experience for me, reading other women's writings is also consciousness-raising, and I assume the same is true for other women.  We will understand our own lives and experiences and situations better — our consciousnesses will be raised — as we read about, write about, and talk about our lives, women's lives in general, our own thoughts and ideas.  From there we move in the direction of change, both as individuals and as a movement.— Heart

Recently a number of blogs have been created by women who identify as "radical feminists."  In general, these are young white women with fair amounts of various kinds of privilege who oppose porn, the prostituting of women, sadomasochistic sex (well, kind of.  More, they seem to oppose bondage and the more overt, easily-identified forms of sadomasochistic sex) and patriarchal religion.  While I agree that opposition to porn, the prostituting of women, sadomasochism, and patriarchal religion have been important distinctives of radical feminism, it is important to realize that it is possible — and quite common — to stand in opposition to all of these things without being a radical feminist at all.  There are millions of women in the world who hate and oppose pornography, prostitution, sadomasochism and patriarchal religion who also oppose feminism, and especially radical feminism.  This is especially true of women trapped within patriarchal religious systems throughout the world. 

There is a sort of almost giggly enthusiasm about being "rad" in this group which nettles, especially where the bloggers do not appear to be particularly "rad."  "Rad" in its herstoric definition is hard.  It costs, sometimes a woman's very life.  Always, it gets you into deep doo-doo, very troubled waters, with the patriarchs.   It isn't anything to giggle about.  It's not festive or funny of fun.  It's not the latest fad or rage, or fad or rage material.

Radical feminism is not about opposition to pornography, prostitution, sadomasochism or patriarchal religion only.  It is about opposition to subordination and dominance in all of its endless forms:  subordination of women to men, of children to adults, of creatures and the earth to human beings.  It is about opposing imperialism, colonialism, racism, homophobia, dominance heirarchies of every kind, and every mechanism and device by way of which human beings are dominated and subordinated.  Especially, radical feminism is about the building of, the creation of, a new world which rejects dominance and subordination in all of its forms in favor of mutuality, and therefore, the potential for real and true love, including erotic love, between human beings, and with it, the flourishing of human creativity which is the offspring of real love.  In the end, radical feminism is about the possibility for real happiness and real pleasure for all human beings.  Radical feminists believe that this kind of world is not possible so long as  some are ruled, dominated, subordinated, and some dominate, rule and subordinate.

Radical feminism isn't about reading books or mastering ideas or believing patriarchy is wrong or bad, although radical feminists do and believe all of these things.  It isn't about raging on the internet about the latest male supremacist violation of a woman, although there is often value in doing that, if only to the woman doing the raging.  Radical feminism has to do with going about making change in the world, beginning in our own lives, including in our everyday, apparently small acts and decisions, but never ending there, and not because somebody persuaded us or convinced us that we should, but because we are so compelled by our concern and love for women, and our awareness of what women suffer in the world, and men, too, for that matter, that we can do no less. 

Being radical might mean refusing to wear a veil in an oppressive theocratic nation and ending up dying for it, as Homa Darabi did.  It might mean leading an uprising against Russian invaders and the Taliban and being murdered by KGB operatives and Islamic fundamentalists as Meena of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan was murdered.  It might mean representing Bosnian and Croatian women raped for genocide in Serbian rape camps at your own expense, during wartime, taking the risks, the hits, the threats on your life, as Catharine MacKinnon did.  It might mean enduring years of  political imprisonment, as has Aung San Suu Kyi or being hunted down by the FBI, placed on its list of 10 Most Wanted, as Angela Y. Davis was. It may mean being fired, in your 70s, with six Ph.Ds under your belt and having published groundbreaking books, after being tenured, and having to scratch and claw your way to justice over the jeers and insults and lies of a society which despises your woman-only politics, as was true for Mary Daly.  It may very well mean, at some point, ultimately, particularly as you age,  being marginalized, silenced, and forced into poverty, being unable to find publishers for your articles or books or anyone to promote or advocate for the art or music you create, as has been true of most Second Wave radical feminist leaders ultimately(1).  It may mean being institutionalized in mental health facilities or adjudged to be mentally ill.  It might mean the loss of your children, your home, financial support, and everything you  have because you have dared to leave a particular man or to forsake partnering with or marrying men in favor of commiting yourself to women.  It might mean risking government levying of your bank accounts or liens against your property because you refuse to pay war taxes when you file your income tax returns.  It might mean being targeted by police and homeland security for your ongoing anti-war activism. 

Anti-porn work is good, but there is more to being "radical" than being anti-porn.  It's possible to be anti-porn and yet a white picket fence feminist, greasing the wheels of the patriarchal machinery which grind out all of the mechanisms of women's subjugation, pornography being just one of many.  It is possible to be conservative as the day is long and absolutely devoted to dominance hierarchies while also opposing pornography.  Being anti-porn and anti-prostitution are not the litmus tests of radical feminism.  Opposing all subordination and all domination, wherever they occur, and living out one's opposition in every possible way, are the litmus tests of radical feminism.

It's very true that we all cut our deals under male heterosupremacy.  This is unavoidable.  At the same time, our love for women is going to compel us to lie awake nights dreaming up ways we — and ALL women — can STOP cutting those deals.  It's going to compel us to avoid, wherever we can, the kinds of personal compromises which actively harm other women.  Participating in the routines and rituals of the patriarchal beauty establishment funds that establishment, supports it, and entrenches it.  Getting married (whether we are het or lesbian) entrenches and perpetuates heterosupremacist values and oppressions.  Buying misogynist music, movies, entertainment, supports the men who make them.  To enlist in the military is to support the making and the funding of war, including war for conquest, imperialism and colonization.  To apply for work at Dow Chemical or Monsanto or Halliburton or Boeing is to offer personal support for the way these and other multinationals and defense contractors devastate the earth, destroy communities and cultures, foul and pollute the air, land, water, and make war for conquest possible.  Elective cosmetic surgeries, surgeries for weight loss, elective c-sections actively support patriarchal medicine as an institution that has always made, and continues to make, war on women.  To shop at Wal-Mart is to support and endorse an exploitive and abusive corporation which is actively harming men, women and children throughout the world.  It costs, a little or a lot, to reject these things, but it's possible, many women have, and to suggest that it's too hard, to use the unavoidability of cutting deals as an excuse for compromise,  adds insult to injury in light of the work of the Arundhahti Roys, the Vananda Shivas, the Catharine A. MacKinnons, the Meenas, Homa Darabis, Cindy Sheehans, Emma Goldmans, Alice Pauls, Shulamith Firestones, Kate Milletts, Robin Morgans, Sonia Johnsons of the world, who put themselves right out there, their lives on the line, and have taken the hits for all of us, some of those hits including losing their lives fighting for women.

Again, I speak only for myself here.  I do not speak for radical feminists or any feminists.  But I do speak for myself.  One important distinctive of feminism, and obligation of radical feminism, is that we do find our voices as women and that we use them on behalf of women, and in the interests of building a new world, as often as possible.  Hence, this post.


(1) See The Politics of Erasure by Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, Women's  Space.



40 thoughts on “On What Radical Feminism Is and Isn’t

  1. Yes! Well said!

    Posted by Willendorf | May 29, 2006, 2:21 am
  2. I agree with you, absolutely. Debate v. CR — it’s funny how even that is usually positioned as a debate! CR is one of the most important things to understand about being a radical feminist. Even if we don’t do it in groups anymore (what a loss!) we certainly do it individually.

    Thank you for this post and your quoted earlier essay. Your shout-outs to Robin Morgan, Shulie Firestone, Mary Daly, and Kate Millett (among others) are very appreciated.

    I’m a young duck, but I sometimes feel differently from some of the radfems out in the blogosphere because, well, Andrea Dworkin didn’t radicalize me. Kate Millet did. Radical feminism existed before anti-pornography and is not dependent upon anti-pornography as its only issue. Radical feminism isn’t fun. Radical feminism is very powerful. Radical feminism is for personal use. The personal is political. Whoa, now I’m starting in on a whole other bag of beans.

    Posted by Edith | May 30, 2006, 9:00 am
  3. Yeah, Edith, that’s another thing I’ve been thinking about blogging — this really truncated view of radical feminism that is out there, as though the whole of it is expressed in what amounts to a very small portion of one woman’s, like Andrea Dworkin’s, writings. I had an interesting experience a while back where I was involved in a sort of heated debate with several women I appreciate and respect, and one kept arguing with me, arguing with me, and it was weird, her arguments were sort of off, like she wasn’t really arguing with me exactly, and finally she said, in response to something I argued, “Well, that’s not Dworkin’s or MacKinnon’s position,” or something like, “You’re misrepresenting their views.” And I thought, and said, “The hell? Who has even mentioned Dworkin or MacKinnon?” (!) I appreciate them both, but when I am writing or speaking, I am speaking for myself, not channeling — or attempting to channel — Dworkin, MacKinnon, or any other feminist. I think this discussion was about power imbalances in het relationships, and I think, if I’m remembering clearly, I was thinking much more about what I’d learned from Kate Millett and Shulamith Firestone and Sonia Johnson and Robin Morgan than from Dworkin or MacKinnon.

    It gets to me, really. Feminism is not about leaders and followers, teachers and taught, it’s about women, talking about our lives, exchanging ideas and experiences. There are no “experts” when it comes to feminism just in general, there are just women with points of view.


    Posted by womensspace | May 30, 2006, 3:40 pm
  4. Oh, and thanks, Willendorf. πŸ™‚ I added you to the blogroll, of course!


    Posted by womensspace | May 30, 2006, 4:28 pm
  5. It’s not festive or funny of fun.

    Well, it can be fun. Not always, but sometimes. The Patriarchy is not fun or funny (though it is often festive); but radical feminism is. It is to me.

    Humor is a major component of my understanding of radical feminism. MacKinnon has no doubt undertaken countless harrowing responsibilities in order to seek justice for women, but she also dead-panned the quip, “I’ll be a post-feminist in the post-patriarchy” during a presentation and the response was (of course!) agreeable laughter and applause. Roy very well risks her life every day publishing criticisms of various governments and regimes, but she also delivered a hilarious speech drawing an analogy between Thanksgiving turkeys and imperialism. The audience laughed and she laughed while delivering it.

    Radical feminism is tough feminism in more ways than one. So radical feminists have to be resilient. We have to be able to survive ridicule and threats and distortion and violence. Humor is a major part of how I do that. Radical feminism has to be fun and funny for me, at least a little bit. I have to be able to be funny AS a radical feminist, I have to be able to find something to laugh about. I have to be able to make other radical feminists laugh and I want them to make me laugh too. And that even means sometimes laughing at ourselves, AS radical feminists.

    That’s not to say radical feminism is ever easy though. Indeed, it’s everything else you describe above, Heart. Which is why it’s so worth it.

    Posted by Sassafras | May 30, 2006, 9:28 pm
  6. I don't disagree with what you say here about feminists being funny or about humor, Sass. I think radical feminists can be, and often are, way funny, and that as radical feminists we can (and should, as often as possible) have fun while we are doing our work.

    I wouldn't describe our work itself as fun, though. I'd describe it as deeply satisfying, compelling, energizing, inspiring, consuming, invigorating, "worth it," as you say– but not fun. I think we can be funny while we're doing it, even though it isn't really fun. Which is one sense I make of that Andrea Dworkin quote I love so much, "I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind."

    I think there's a lot to be said for being dignified in the work we do. The world doesn't make much space for women who are dignified, stateswoman-like, distinguished. I think MacKinnon, Roy, and all the others I listed in my post were and are like this. And being this way definitely doesn't preclude humor, as you say — Mary Daly is a freaking riot! — but I think it does preclude being frivolous or flippant or careless about the way we go about the work, and that's what I was wanting more to get at.


    Posted by womensspace | May 30, 2006, 9:51 pm
  7. I’ve had similar discussions (okay, arguments) too, Heart. Like, what the deal? I was to talk to the woman I’m talking to, not a woman trying to stick as closely to MacKinnon’s words as possible at the expense of her own.

    In some ways, I think this narrow focus is good, because nothing brings together a bunch of people like having a single cause that we can all agree is Most Important and that we all want to fight, which is what the pornstitution stuff has become. It has helped create a nice internet sisterhood which was very sorely needed. But when people start saying things — on other blogs, most recently BB’s — that discussing anything besides pornstitution is harmful to radical feminists and causes needless division, I just sort of burry my head in my hands. I didn’t know radical feminists were supposed to shy away from uncomfortable discussion!!


    Posted by Edith | May 30, 2006, 9:54 pm
  8. i fully agree with you on this, heart, and i appreciate you putting it out there.

    i started as i guess what’s known in some circles as a liberal feminist, but after reading a lot of what you said on alas and on the margins, something clicked with me and i felt really energized and impassioned to do more; be more.

    your dworkin tag always stuck with me. at first it scared me but as i’ve grown and become more invested in feminism and less attached to my lifestyle, it really spoke to me. i can be funny and fun, but this is serious business and i’m not screwing around anymore.

    i’ve still got a long way to go and i’m evolving, slowly but surely. as always, i am inspired and encouraged by what you and many others in the rad femisphere have to say. you challenge me and i think it makes me better, so thank you.

    xoxo, jared

    Posted by ms. jared | May 30, 2006, 10:41 pm
  9. Hey, Edith and Ms. Jared, thanks for the good thoughts. I think it’s good to find solidarity around specific issues, like pronstitution, the problem is not understanding the way pronstitution is connected to all of these many, many, many other issues, all the way down to what we do in our everyday life. The early radical feminists had no problem at all saying straight up, for instance, that legal marriage has a lot in common with prostitution, that there’s a continuum there. Now days, woe to you if you say that! It will cause division! But it IS all connected, all of it is. We forget the connections to our own peril. I think that’s why liberal feminism is in such a mess… sometime along the way abortion rights got to be all anybody talked about because that’s all anybody could agree about! :/


    Posted by womensspace | May 30, 2006, 11:29 pm
  10. thankyou! this post is awesome!

    Posted by nectarine | May 31, 2006, 1:07 am
  11. Hey, thank you, nectarine! I have added you to my blogroll and have a new post fomenting having read your latest post. πŸ™‚


    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2006, 6:34 pm
  12. Your writing is diplomatic and inspiring but I have to disagree that sole women telling their own stories one by lonely one is the best way to raise awareness about social issues such that debate and persuasive arguments should be cast aside in favor of a kinder, gentler passive approach. I think both these methods, and a hundred more, are necessary to fight the myriad of oppressions women face and I welcome them all.

    I believe in the power of hashing out a problem and holding my peers accountable as I hope they challenge me and hold me accountable, and I appreciate that people have different ways of learning new things. For years in NYC I got a daily cup of coffee in a paper cup with a paper bag and a wad of paper napkins, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested I get a travel mug that I stopped my wasteful habit. It’s not that I meant to waste so much paper, it’s just nobody before had said to me, “Hey, here’s something more in alignment with your ethics you may want to try.”

    Women as a group are not believed, and individual women are believed less. I believe in strength in numbers especially for women because men gang up against us to great effect. I respect the philosophical notion that there should be no leaders or teachers while continuing to believe inspirational leaders and teachers are the backbone of social movement bodies providing support and strength for the other bones to grow. I love that feminists are more open to changing leadership roles as the need fits; sometimes the expert on midwifery is the teacher and we’re all her students and sometimes the midwife sits back and learns from the woman teaching how to make a documentary.

    I mostly agree with the sentiments you’ve expressed but can’t help but feel the “leaderlessness” you propose for radical feminism is a liability for a social movement more than a benefit. I first personally analyzed my pornography use after reading the vigorous debates you and others like bean were engaging in at the Ms Boards, and that site was the only place I’d ever seen substantive, evidenced criticism of prostitution and pornography. I was as aware that pornstitution had critics as much as I was aware of the funny feeling in my stomach I learned to silence when I went to strip clubs, but without being challenged it didn’t sink into my consciousness. That’s what good leaders do, draw out what’s already there to the surface and inspire action. As one of people I draw inspiration from, Ralph Nader, once said, “The job of leaders isn’t to lead, it is to create more leaders.”

    When anti-pornstitution activism began trickling into my reproductive rights activism I looked around for guidance from more experienced peers and found none. The Ms. Boards were it, and when they got shut down there was no support left for me and other young women like ‘one angry girl’, no wise women helping us get to the next level. So oag and I started an anti-pornography blog, but the blog grew too big and was too top-down hierarchical so we transformed it into a forum board where everyone can equally post articles and comments. Lacking the leadership we craved, we made our own in the hopes that other activists would not feel so utterly lost and unable to express themselves in the pornstitution-dominated feminist mainstream. I’m proud to be a vertebrae in the backbone that others are building on so people trying out their new anti-pornstitution legs won’t have as hard a time as we did four years ago.

    You are a leader, Cheryl, in your own way making more leaders like me to pick up the tools we have and use them. Instead of shying away from the icky connotations that men have imposed on the idea of leadership you should embrace your gift of inspiration and use it to make of those women who are leaders-in-waiting rise up to their full potential as the leaders aiding the next generation of leaders to rise to their fullest. To paraphrase another inspiration of mine, Ani Difranco, “Do not be afraid to let your talent shine.”

    with my deepest admiration,

    Posted by Sam | May 31, 2006, 8:37 pm
  13. Ah, Sam. Sniff.

    You know, I have to give a presentation at work right now, and I don’t have time to read your post carefully, but I skimmed it, and beforehand I know it’s good. Just know that we are thinking about the same issues, we are on the same page, and I’ve already started a blog post directly responsible to what you’ve said here.

    I just wanted to respond quickly to let you know I so appreciate the time you put into your comment and, of course and as always, your ongoing support and friendship.


    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2006, 10:25 pm
  14. Hi,

    I’ve read the first few lines of this post and just know it’s going to be good stuff so I’ve printed it out and am going to read it while having a bath. It’s very topical for me at the moment because, although I mostly refuse to get into arguments and debates, there are days, like today, when an immature urge to squabble comes over me.

    Posted by Feminist First | June 1, 2006, 8:50 am
  15. I’ve read the post now and it’s left me with a feeling of unease, which signals to me that I’m resisting the truth in what you say. This post has reminded me of the privilege that I do enjoy as a white western-European and it has also given me a kick up the butt.

    Posted by Feminist First | June 1, 2006, 10:37 am
  16. “Radical feminism has to do with going about making change in the world, beginning in our own lives, including in our everyday, apparently small acts and decisions, but never ending there, and not because somebody persuaded us or convinced us that we should, but because we are so compelled by our concern and love for women, and our awareness of what women suffer in the world, and men, too, for that matter, that we can do no less.”

    Loved it Heart – I really believe we must start with the war in our heads because if we can’t, there will never be peace anywhere.

    Posted by dykotomy | June 1, 2006, 10:20 pm
  17. Here via the Carnival.

    Minor question for you (and for anybody reading this).
    How do you define feminism? For yourself, if you don’t want to speak for anybody else.

    I’m trying to collect as many personal definitions of feminism as I can, in hopes of finding ground to build consensus.

    I’d be most appreciative of anything you can contribute, including links to old posts of yours I may have missed or quotes from books or articles.


    Posted by Lis Riba | June 7, 2006, 1:08 pm
  18. Here via Carnival-

    Thanks so much for your post. My habit of speaking only for myself in the blog-arena has led to many charges that I am being passive-agressive. I think part of the problem I have in the blogging world is that I am much more likely to live as a feminist than to articulate my position.

    Thanks so much for this post!

    Posted by That Girl | June 7, 2006, 4:45 pm
  19. Hi, Lis Riba πŸ™‚

    I would define feminism as a movement which is determined to end the subordination of women to men. I could write a great big definition, of course :), but for me this is the bottom line. I’ll be interested in what you come up with so far as common ground amongst feminists.

    Hi, That Girl! Interesting that you are accused of being passive aggressive for speaking only for yourself! Whoa. Well, maybe some of what you write comes close to home for some, and hit dogs howl? :/

    I don’t know. I have invested way too much of my good energy on internet trainwreck threads and nothing good has come of it. When debates get out of hand — as they often do when the topic is controversial — people lose perspective, say things that are unwise and that can be taken out of context and later used against us, and worst of all, sometimes people who might have been allies turn against one another.

    In my old world we used to say (altered for feminist use :)), “A woman persuaded against her will is of the same opinion still.” I have found this to be true. We can pound something into the ground, so much so that those opposing us really do “lose” the debate, but human nature being what it is, that doesn’t mean we have won it. That might just mean that we were the better debater — which doesn’t mean the other side was actually persuaded. Even if she acknowledges the truth of our position. The things we are concerned with, the issues, the ideas, are complex and often difficult and always, they are close to home for women. We can’t expect people to change their mind — even if we can show them we are “right.” Because changing our minds isn’t just about what goes on in our minds.

    Sam, I haven’t forgotten my blog post. I’m working on it. πŸ™‚


    Posted by womensspace | June 7, 2006, 11:01 pm
  20. Thanks, that’s great.

    I’ll be interested in what you come up with so far as common ground amongst feminists.

    It’s interesting, some phrase it in regards to the patriarchy, some more universally in terms of society, some specifically mention women (often in comparison to men), and some with more generic references to gender.

    It’s going to be a pain trying to find some semblance of order in which to post these; I somewhat wish I could hold off and just collect definitions for longer to avoid putting words in people’s mouths. Still, it’s refreshing to see so many variants of similar positive activist sentiments…

    Anyway, I’m ramblilng.
    I’ll let you know when I get the entry written up…

    Posted by Lis Riba | June 8, 2006, 2:55 am
  21. i was extremely relieved to come across this post through the carnival of feminists. lately i’ve been happening upon several feminist blogs that equate radical feminism absolutely with racist and anti-sex ideas. i was really surprised by these sweeping generalizations. of course there are people who consider themselves radical feminists, who have these beliefs, but do they represent the entirety of a movement? i personally don’t agree with anti-porn and anti-prostitution legislation because it is treating a symptom of misogyny rather than the source, and it may actually be more hurtful to make porn or prostitution illegal than to get it regulated so that sex-workers can have health care, etc. yet i consider myself whole-heartedly a radical feminist. i believe that change for the better, change that eliminates oppression and violence against any group of people, especially based on their sex, sexuality, race, class, and/or religion, is not something we can wait around for. it’s something we’ve got to fight for every day, every moment, and it can make life very, very hard for us. and we as individuals can be wrong about some of our beliefs, but that doesn’t make radical feminism wrong.

    thanks again for this post.

    Posted by Midge | June 9, 2006, 11:20 pm
  22. Hey, Midge, I’m glad you posted. πŸ™‚

    You are right– there’s a lot of anti-radfemism out there and it’s so unfortunate! As to anti-porn, anti-prostitution legislation, I would want to do what Sweden has done as to prostitution– I would like to see us have some mechanisms in place by way of which we could punish the makers of, and traffickers in, specific works of pornography which have hurt people– in other words, I’d favor the MacKinnon/Dworkin anti-pornography ordinance. This wouldn’t make pornography per se illegal, but it would make it possible for someone who could show she was harmed by a specific work of pornography to get it taken of the market and its makers punished.

    Well, anyway, you’re welcome! Thanks for your good comment!


    Posted by womensspace | June 10, 2006, 4:40 pm
  23. Hey. Thanks for reminding, CR vs. debate. A propos for me today. πŸ™‚

    Posted by Professor Zero | June 12, 2006, 9:55 pm
  24. Hey, Professor Zero, thanks for thanking me. πŸ™‚ I’m working on a blog post about that very thing. And thanks for all your other good and encouraging posts. I’m going to blogroll you here pretty quick. πŸ™‚ We are both admirers of Paulo Freire, among, looks like, lots of other people and ideas!


    Posted by womensspace | June 12, 2006, 10:37 pm
  25. This is a wonderful post and just what I needed to read on this cold, foggy morning. Thank you so much. I’d like to quote from this in my next post on my own site, and hope this is OK with you.

    “β€œA woman persuaded against her will is of the same opinion still.” – never a truer word spoken.

    I’m currently experiencing the odd discord caused by being a radical feminist in thought terms – and I love your definition above – and a lipstick “liberal feminist” (patriarchy appeaser?) in daily life. It is a problem. I think I need to reconsider the contradictions of my living choices more thoroughly.

    Agree with Midge about porn/prostitution being a symptom of systematic misogyny rather than something to concentrate on in isolation.

    Thanks again for this great post, and to the other commenters for their interesting insights too. Great read.

    Posted by Lizzy | December 21, 2006, 10:49 am
  26. Okay, I will admit that I am young and might not have all the facts but hear me out.
    I’m 15 and, at this very moment in time, identify myself as a modern day feminist. I guess because I am annoyed with the idea of women as sex object while having to repress their sexuality.
    I agree with your position up to a certain point. The idea that feminists fight against oppression and hate is one that I cheer very louldly at. However, it is not the males that are the problem, it is the way women see themselves.
    At my school casual dress day is a day to express what you wear. It is also very interesting to see what people come to school in. They walk down the corridor with long, lean legs that are artificially tanned, tops that show every asset they have to show. These are girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen, the next generation.
    They have the pressure put on them from an early age by advertising companies to look sexy, desireable, sensual from an early age. I walk down the street and there are some children wearing miniskirts and sleeveless, dropping neck tops.
    However women are bagged out by other women for having three boyfriends in a year or being a lesbian.
    What I am saying is that if you want to change the world you have to get past this barrier of fear and hate that men have put up before you can tackle the big issues.
    If I have repeated anything said previously, sorry. If I have offended you, tough luck.

    Posted by Ann | February 22, 2007, 10:32 am
  27. Hi, Ann.

    You say:

    However, it is not the males that are the problem, it is the way women see themselves.

    And then you say:

    What I am saying is that if you want to change the world you have to get past this barrier of fear and hate that men have put up before you can tackle the big issues.

    So it looks like you agree that men oppress women (something you also said elsewhere) and that men have instilled fear and hatred in women. I think you’re right about that. I think it is this fear and hatred, which result in large part from being oppressed by men, which result in women competing for male attention and presenting in ways that make them acceptable to men. Having said that, I don’t think there’s anything per se wrong with young women presenting in shorts or low-neck shirts or any way they feel like presenting. That’s their business. But I do think we have to look at why they attempt to present according to standards created by men. Girls being “bagged out” for having more than three boyfriends or for being lesbians again has to do with men, oppressing girls and women and punishing them for not being het or for being sluts (even though girls are also pressured to have sex with lots of men. Patriarchy is full of double binds, damned if you do, damned if you don’t, for girls.).

    Feminists tackle all the issues, big and small, whatever it is that keeps girls and women afraid and less than fully human. The pressures men place on girls and women which cause them to compete with one another (to survive) or cause them to work for the approval of men, the “fear and hatred” in other words, are not small issues. Those are deep, core issues.


    Posted by womensspace | February 22, 2007, 1:57 pm
  28. Sally Gerhart once gave a sermon at Metropolitian Community Church in San Francisco. In this sermon she mentioned that persuasion itself is a form of violence, and she wouldn’t do it anymore.

    I believe she said this in 1988, and I sat in that church absolutely stunned by this.

    The reason I was stunned, is that Sally Gerhart used to be the head of the speech and rhetoric department at San Francisco State University, but more important, I was shocked because I believed passionately in persuasion.

    Young radical lesbian feminist that I was then (and still am now ), I was into the very heat of battle.

    Sally’s words took me aback, and at the time, I felt scared. Sally knew something was up, and I didn’t understand it.

    “Pesuasion as a form of violence,” stayed with me, and I kept thinking about it.

    As the years went by, I came to understand its depth of meaning, and to use this wisdom as a tool for understaning people’s motives. I began to see the “violence” in people’s unsolicited advice. I began to question how I conducted myself professionally, to become more ethical in how I did “presentations” to clients.

    In time, I came to understand that Sally had come upon a profound truth.

    Heart’s introductory words about radical feminism rang with a similar truth about what radical feminism really is all about. It is not about domination of any kind, and this dovetails very well with the compassion of non-persuasion as a way of life.

    We don’t have to persuade women to be “radical feminists,” but we do have to live our truth the best way we know. We have to be honest about what we do in the world.

    If we love women as radical feminists, we can show this love by standing by women, and avoiding the pitfuls of patriarchy’s divide and conquer tactics.

    Yes, there is a price to pay for radical lesbian feminism and it is a very high price. It is not some game or some fashion, and to a true radical feminist, it is a lifelong commitment that to me equals a kind of spiritual path in and of itself.

    Like the holy grail, I search for the radical feminist path and my sisters who are on this path. I try to mentor and reveal what it was I did to outwit patriarchy and to share triumph and accomplishment with my younger feminist sisters.

    Being a radical feminist means standing up to some pretty scary men, and speaking my truth, when every other woman in the company is shaking and afraid. It means being a very out lesbian in the corporate world, and using my position like a pirate— Mary Daly’s concept of plundering patriarchal ideas that were once stolen from women to begin with.

    I disagree with Heart that radical feminism involves great suffering. The kind of sacrifices I made were not about hardship, they were about taking the blows to be an authentic self in the world.

    I know that being a radical feminist will never make you the most popular person these days. Young lesbians sneer and laugh in that post modern giggle giggle hee hee sort of way. You’ll still lose friends just by being honest, and you’ll see awful things in the men in your life that other women simply don’t see.

    There is the suffering of illness, and the dangers and temptations that are out there because of radical feminism.
    It means you will be seriously made fun of for your belief that pornography is an ultimate evil. You will be made fun of for your devotion and dedication, and this can be very hurtful.

    Being a radical feminist means you will feel great pain at being betrayed by sisters you deeply loved. Not the pain of lovers leaving you, but the pain of the loss of friendship over some thing that they can’t quite take in you.

    A radical lesbian feminist cries more over the death of sisters than anyone on earth. You cry over women who are still in chains everywhere. You see the suffering all the more clearly, because you see the truth and you don’t hide from it in the McWorld most people settle for.

    At times, you are tempted to want to go to war. A real war. For me, I developed a real love for seeing my enemies killed off or dead. It disturbs me to think these things.

    I see all these posts and comments on this site, and it gives me courage. I get lonely for my species, that rarified species known as radical lesbian feminist. Studies show that lesbians who have only had relationships with women are about 1.4% of the world’s population. This was in a new book called “The First Sex- how women are changing the world.”

    To put women first and to demand this always will really rock the boat.

    To me, I hate the diminutive words used for radical lesbian “Rad”– probably with a damn smiley face next to it.

    We are so powerful as radical lesbian feminist, that the catholic cable channel still rails about our evil influence.

    A radical feminist kows the traps of “coalitions” translation, everyone BUT women first. We know the lies of the LGBT establishment, and the time we waste trying to “assimilate.”

    I don’t assimilate but I do integrate, and there is a huge difference between these two words.

    There will always be special women who step in and reveal the radical lesbian path… just when you think you are alone, suddenly an Internet website will pop up, and you’ll read more truth in a day than you’ve seen for the past 15 years.

    A radical feminist has to risk being forgotten by history, or having one’s ideas trashed by the young. A radical feminist often cries alone over the death of some beloved sister… we see the huge numbers of sisters who seem to die in their 50s. We see our friends trapped in paranoia and poverty.

    We see men prosper at women’s expense and make millions of dollars insulting and degrading women. These men seem to win everytime, and you get angry that other women support these pigs of patriarchy.

    You get upset that a lesbian becomes an air hear like Ellen each day, and you rejoice when Rosie kicks Donald Trump’s butt and makes you laught and laugh at her clever immitation of his hair and facial expressions.

    You worry that your heroines are getting older. Mary Daly will turn 80 next year, for example. You’ll see more coverage of some crocodile man in Australia than Betty Friedan. You can honor Betty, and at the same time remember the day you actually hear her LIVE trashing lesbians in a speech.

    Being a radical feminist is a calling, a powerful idea that takes you over. It is the greatest imagination you’ll ever have, the most profound dream. It gets better with age, because we know we were triumphant. We see new women rise up like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and we revel in the defeat of an enemy like Larry Summers at Harvard… replaced by a woman no less! How great is that!

    You celebrate at Don Imus getting kicked in the butt, even if it wasn’t really about sexism at all, at least we got it half right.

    We know that we were successful because even conservative straight women owe their success to radical feminism. Ungreatful lot that they are, they trash us like Laura Ingraham or the killer blond on FOX news.

    We know that we had the beauty industry on the ropes, and then it seemed to win. As radical feminists, we watch sadly as women spend more on make-up then they do planning for retirement.

    Radical lesbian feminism is a lot of things to me. It is my authentic voice and life, it is my most brilliant self in the world, it is my connections to the ancestors… Gertrude, Alice, Eleanor Roosevelt, Matilda Joselyn Gage. It is the dusty used bookstore… the search for knowledge, the thrill of the intellectual woman!

    Ultimately, radical lesbian feminism is freedom most profound, it is our septer and throne, our great feast of oysters and lobster. It is a love that speaks its name for women louder than all the women of herstory.

    Posted by Satsuma | October 27, 2007, 2:54 am
  29. Dang, Satsuma. Where have you been all my life?!

    I am feeling *so nourished* and encouraged by all of your comments, and I need that encouragement like food and water and air.

    When Mary Daly was fired from Boston College, I fought for her, I was there for her (not physically but in spirit, I had her back), I spoke up, I stood for her. It cost me, though — nothing, obviously, compared with what she was going through — but it *so costs* to stand for what you believe and know to be so beautiful in all the ways you describe. That’s why I get to talking about suffering at times. I get so bogged down in the attacks and threats and sometimes I feel so alone and the good times seem so few and far between.

    I had the great privilege last June of spending time on wimmin’s land (not Michfest, wimmin’s land community, land dykes community). There are wimmin’s lands all over this earth that very few people know about. They are mostly quiet and unpretentious, they are often humble and it seems like they never have money, but the wimmin are there, loving one another, loving the earth. The land I stayed at was owned by and entirely built by wimmin, everything, the houses, all the outbuildings, the solar heating systems, the composting toilets. The spirit of the land was palpable, discernable, it wasn’t like the surrounding communities at all. In these communities from time to time and place to place, the old values still prevail and wimmin still care for wimmin– no drugs, no chemicals, no SM, no weapons, just wimmin loving wimmin, wimmin singing together at all times of the day and night because they feel like it, songs outsiders might make fun of, but so beautiful, and it is this which creates the lasting connections between us. On the one hand I want to write about these places, on the other hand I don’t, because I don’t want them destroyed by anyone, I want to protect them, I don’t want them violated.

    I love what you say about transwomen. This is exactly what I have always believed. If you are a woman, you do not crash the gates! If you are a woman, then be a woman, live as a woman, and in time, women will recognize and respond to you, but don’t hurt women, don’t violate us, respect us, respect our boundaries, find it within yourself to understand what we have lived, what our sensibilities are.

    Everything you say about the health and poverty of so many of our sisters just rings! We are not a wealthy people. I have sat so many days before my computer or in my room or on the phone crying my eyes out with a woman or for a woman or for some situation wimmin are in. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it hurts at times, and especially when I get to feeling alone and lonely.

    Well, I am tired tonight. I am so glad you are here, again, Satsuma, to encourage all of us! There are many likeminded sisters who read here and I know they will be comforted and inspired by what you have written.


    Posted by womensspace | October 27, 2007, 4:24 am
  30. P.S. Re persuasion. I do think it’s important and that reasoned arguments have value. I think it’s a little different within the sisterhood, though. When I sense resistance in a sister, a radical feminist/lesbian feminist, to what I am saying, my sense is it’s usually best to let it be. There are so many reasons wimmin believe what they believe, so many different situations they might be in. I suppose I am saying relationships with wimmin matter more to me than arguing over some issue or other. Which is not to say there’s not a time and place to get our views out there. My experience is, it’s enough to get my views out there and then let them be.

    Posted by womensspace | October 27, 2007, 5:16 am
  31. I am glad that my words encourage and uplift you Heart.
    There is something quite porfound and lovely about all the words on this site.

    When I read what everyone says, I often don’t even know where to begin! A passionate feeling comes over me of coming home! I walk in the door and the most lovely dinner is cooking… it is home in the most profound sense. You have created a welcoming home to the old warriors.

    Just a touch about persuasion: I guess what Sally meant about it and I understood about it, was a manipulative type of persuasion, not the truth in living your reasoned comments.
    I would liken it to the patriarchal love of “debate” where men in ties go before judges in a “pro” and “con” combat, and then quickly reverse roles, because it’s all about the “technique” but it is not about profound truth.

    It’s CNN as opposed to CR, for example. That’s what I meant, so your P.S. above I agree with. Just to clarify here.

    One of the things about radical lesbian feminism is that I have actually lived it in every way imaginable. It was my natural disposition even from a very young age. I was naturally this. It didn’t come as a conversion, it just was.

    As I got older, I began to see that the precepts of radical feminism can be applied, and that the application is its radical nature. It gets incredible results in the world.

    In some ways, I was born lucky. I think it would be very hard to be a radical lesbian feminist if you were sexually attracted to men, for example. Or perhaps the supposed sexual attraction to oppressors is another smoke and mirror game of patriarchy. I’m not entirely sure of myself here, but otherwise, how can you explain the hysteria the religious “wrong” has over gayness? How else could you explain their overreaction to a seemingly insignificant species known as radical lesbian feminists? Like transwomen at MichFest, they sense real danger!

    The fact is, men do know the power of radical feminism. They sometimes take this more seriously than women do. The patriarchy knows that one day women will all wake up, and overnight, we’ll see McKinnon’s “post patriarchy.” It’s why they hire the Condoleeza Rice’s of the world. They know.
    They fool us with tokenism.

    But women often are unaware of their incredible power. And men do everything in their power to keep it this way.

    Is the evil oppressor class of men about an overreaction or an exaggeration? Just listen to talk radio everyday, if you want to see what men really think of women! And how rare it is for men ever to be outraged about this! They’d be outraged over the “N” word but not the “B” word. Telling! Chillingly telling.

    But Heart, part of my life purpose is to encourage. I can speak from personal experience about the pride I feel in a life well lived. I know the power of lived radical lesbian feminist experience.

    Your comments about women’s land were great. I understand your wisdom in keeping them secret and protecting women’s spaces. You protect us from Internet blog invaders, from people who don’t really care about radical feminism at all, they just want to attack it.

    Because radical lesbian feminism came so easily to me, and because I was so lucky to have personally met and worked with so many of the great ones internationally, I sometimes forget the accident of herstory I was born into.

    Mary Daly taught me the most powerful things to withstand corporate power. Her autobiography actually whisked me to Germany for a feminist conference, where I met and had lunch with Janice Raymond. Her courage caused me to survive even being fired from a job, and then rehired, because a sister outwitted my rather dumb boss. A long story, but it was a real Mary Daly moment that even now amazes me.

    Maybe christians have this moment of divine intervention, but I would say I had a Daly intervention… a psychic spiritual way of telling me that I am on the right path, and this goddess or idea of women’s freedom sometimes protects you.

    I don’t want to go all woo woo here, but I do feel this a lot of the time. I do feel a kind of “be in it but not of it,” as it were.

    It was radical lesbian feminism that caused me to examine what exactly transgender does in our world, when other women can’t see this coming. I know that if transgender activists get their way in banning all women who have performed at Michigan, for example, then they’re really trying to shut down Michigan. You should see this for the tactic that it is. And I know you’ve already got our back on this issue!

    We should challenge transwomen to be real women, to learn the true nature of women, just as immigrants to America become citizens. I like to make the comparison of naturalization here, because this country was built by people who left their native lands to come to relative freedom. I believe that becoming women is about freedom from some inner oppression. I don’t really like the idea of humans going under the knife, but I also know that there are many types of people out there.

    There are many straight women who would be horrified at my life. They wonder why I would reject all the trappings of social acceptance and wealth that heterosexuality confers upon them. How could I not want to be married to a man?? they might think in horror. Or how can I be completely uninterested in “femininity?” or fashion? or make-up? or goddess knows what else?” And these are the trivial things that most people think about when the phrase radical lesbian feminism comes up. Geez, even lesbians in La La land say this stuff!

    So this discussion of Michigan and transwomen really is important, because how do we deal with people who want to import patriarchy into women’s land? Just when you think you’ve got your bases covered so to speak, patriarchy will cleverly come up with something new to throw at you.

    It’s hard for transwomen to really see this, because they weren’t born into oppression. How would they really know? How would they really know how they feel after taking so many emotional altering drugs? They might be feeling empathy and connectedness for the very first time in their lives, once they have left the male hormonal universe, and this in and of itself must be trans-formational, so what would you do?

    No gay man has ever once said to me that he wanted to go to Michigan. They don’t know anything about Michigan and never bring up the subject of women’s music even. Most gay men live in worlds unto themselves, and they don’t even have lesbian friends, except me. Camp Trans and the Michigan issues are invisible to most straight men too.

    Patriachy will do one thing, it will always try to steal and invade the energy fields of women. It’s why we have the secrets of women’s land, but we don’t have our own country yet.

    Anyway dear reader, I digress.

    A true application of radical lesbian feminism will transform your life in so many ways. You have to work through this journey very much like Dante. It is a process of political and spiritual transformation through the practice of uncompromised freedom. Like all great spiritual and political paths to freedom, radical feminism is a journey, and you need to find sisters along the way who care to share this special journey with. Your reward is that you get to come home, a beautiful feast has been prepared for you, and you feel honored to have been welcomed home with such love.

    I’ve learned the profound love of women through this trip through time and space. I’ve learned to hear the clover speak of its existence!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 27, 2007, 5:39 pm
  32. I often don’t even know where to begin! A passionate feeling comes over me of coming home! I walk in the door and the most lovely dinner is cooking… it is home in the most profound sense. You have created a welcoming home to the old warriors.

    Satsuma, you know, if I have managed this, I will die happy! This was my goal on the internet, to create a welcoming home to the old warriors. For one thing, I wanted to create a welcoming home for my old warrior self! I wanted to create what did not exist for feminist women and women period, on the internet, because there are plenty of radical feminist women who just don’t know that about themselves yet, that that is what they are, or don’t call it that. I wanted to make a place for them and for myself where we could be at home. Looking around, I couldn’t find any place that “felt” like a home to me, even though there were plenty of feminist places.

    I know just what you mean about persuasion/argument, and what you said was just what I was wanting to say. There’s room for persuasion, discussion, disagreement, of course, but the male style, tit-for-tat, win/lose kind of debate doesn’t work for me when it comes to peers, sisters especially. If I win the argument but lose my sister, then I’ve lost the argument, even if I won it! I have learned this by sad experience. Which is not to say there isn’t that knife edge we have to tread at times where we have to walk in our integrity and not compromise either. But I know you know all of that.

    We should challenge transwomen to be real women, to learn the true nature of women, just as immigrants to America become citizens. I like to make the comparison of naturalization here, because this country was built by people who left their native lands to come to relative freedom. I believe that becoming women is about freedom from some inner oppression. I don’t really like the idea of humans going under the knife, but I also know that there are many types of people out there.

    This is also what I have always believed, although in debates with transpersons or their advocates (who are often more unreasonable than most transpersons are) we never get far enough to discuss it for the raining down of the epithets and slams! I think that as with all other people groups, the decision as to who is granted safe entry through and into our lands and who is not ought to be ours. That’s really where the issues and difficulties are right now, that our right, as a people, to determine who our people are is resisted, contested or outright rejected. U.S. and probably other countries’ laws as well affirm the right, for example, of indigenous people groups to decide who is “on the rolls” and who is not. If you follow that particular story in the U.S. there are many interesting applications to the situation of women/transwomen, i.e., the “blood quantum” issue where the question is, how much Native “blood” does someone have to have to be on the tribal rolls. In fact in many tribes, there are people on the rolls who have very little Native “blood,” and people not on the rolls who are full blooded Indian, but, for example, in the first instance the person has been dedicated to the tribe for forever, is fully invested, where in the latter instance the person perhaps never participated in tribal affairs, knows nothing of them, has lived in the outside world practicing its will and its ways, then decides he wants on the rolls for some reason (maybe because he wants to cash in in some way). The Supreme Court of the U.S. has affirmed that these decisions are up to the tribal counsels, that it is their decision.

    I think the same should be true of us as women, that those of us who view being female/women/woman-centered and who view ourselves *as* a people, as at Michfest and on wimmin’s lands, should have a similar right to make these decisions in whatever way makes sense to us. It might well be that given that right, some transwomen would end up “on the rolls”. The difference would be that it is our people who make that decision. It is hard to imagine outsiders in other groups gate-crashing the groups and demanding entry. They would not, but if they did, they might be in danger. But as female persons, we do not enjoy this respect. Our boundaries are open season, we are violated at will and expected to smile and enjoy it and punished for resisting.

    I have also never known a gay man to have any interest in the Festival. But there is a certain type of “progressive” man who *does* and *would* have such an interest and these men trouble me deeply. They consider themselves to be “lesbians” or “bisexual”, they present as women at times, usually when it costs them nothing, but they also at times, maybe most of the time, present and live as men. And they are men, biologically, genetically, culturally and socially, even when they are presenting as women. They are not “lesbians.” They are heterosexual men. Sometimes they are not lesbians but heterosexual men even when they have had surgery/hormones, this based on my interaction with them and knowing them. They may have had the surgeries but they are not lesbian women. When these people crash the gates, they cause great harm among female persons. Their willingness to crash the gates is the best evidence that they are not female, really. But it’s as you say, they don’t get it, they do not know what they are doing, and that is why these decisions must be left to female persons, to those of us who see the dangers to our people and are willing to speak out.

    I like to think of all of the women who are unhappily partnered with men (zillions), who are living miserably surrounded by men, who are lesbians and radical feminists, yet entangled with men and with patriarchy in a million ways, as a sort of “diaspora” of women, and I look to the time when, like me, they will be able to make their way back home. That’s another reason I made this spot, so they can have this safe, internet home to come to, where they might realize that they *are* home, and then make their plans to go home in real life, too.

    This is the way it was for me. 13 years ago when I returned to the feminism I recalled in the late 60s, early 70s, I couldn’t find it. I kept thinking, huh, well, maybe all of the women I remember from back then changed their minds while I was out! Maybe they learned something and I have missed it. (And this is an example of what transwomen rarely do in my experience; they don’t consider that they might not know something so far as the community of women go, that they might be missing something, they are so often so sure they know.) Anyway, I felt adrift and sure couldn’t find anything, group, leaders who spoke to me, this being 1994 or thereabouts with all of the “sex positive” stuff, so called front and center, GLTBQ, etc. But then I encountered radical feminists, just a few, and my immediate thought was, “Yes, that’s it! This is it! This is what I’ve been looking for, this is who I am!” It was a homecoming to me, as Michigan was a homecoming, this past 10 years has been transformative in so many ways, ways I dare not write about publicly because of the attacks on all of us as you describe. I have already been more open publicly than almost anyone I know who is situated as I am, and it has cost me very dearly, often I wonder if it has already cost me too much. But then someone like you comes along, like you say, not to be all woo woo, but might as well admit it, here I am all “woo woo,” because I have consistently felt myself to be led, the doors opening, the people appearing when the time was just right, to the degree that I have settled into a deep assurance that in time, my transformation will be complete and I do not need to stress about that at least. I spent many years married to men, living in male heterosupremacist culture, and my exit has been difficult, very complicated, and three steps forward, two steps back, or that is how it has felt to me at times. But I realize that this is all essential, part of the journey you describe, a certain kind of transformation, and there are no shortcuts when it comes to certain parts of it. I have to live it and feel it, work my way through the difficulties and hard times knowing it is the only way to freedom.

    When I was excommunicated going on 14 years ago now, one of my closest friends who had mentored me, actually, she was 10 years older, said she had a vision of me as a butterfly caught in a net and trying to free myself. When the time came and I would not “repent” she shunned me just as all of my old world did, and I am sure that her interpretation of that vision was much different than mine finally was! But I do think that her vision was correct, and she *was* seeing my state. I think, though, that by far most, almost all, female persons are butterflies caught in a net, and we free ourselves only at great cost, with the greatest difficulty. Some of us — many of us — do not survive. We die right away, or we die slowly, our wings immobilized, injured, paralyzed, unable to help ourselves. Getting free can be a slow and agonizing process, and yet, if we are able see the butterflies who do fly free — as you have described your own life, as so many of my own radical lesbian friends do, as Mary Daly and others of our leaders, who are flying around from flower to flower freely, do, this can be an inspiration and an encouragement that the freedom we feared was impossible for us, really is possible, though it may cost us and perhaps we will have some nicks in our wings to show for our struggles and maybe we will fly with a limp. This is one of the things which is centrally important about the Festival. A certain number of women realize, when they enter the gates, that they are home. I knew this the moment I walked through the gates. I was home. This was home. This was it, the place I had longed for and searched for and imagined all of my life.

    I so agree with you that radical feminism is like a portal. Its insights and wisdom can be applied to every relationship, to every institution, in ways that are transformative.

    I fear that we have already lost Michigan, but I try to remain optimistic and hopeful. If we lose Michigan, we may have to create many small Michigans only we know about, in places where we can ensure the protection of our own “homes.” I think that’s an interesting insight re what drugs/chemicals/hormone therapy might do to transwomen, the way their thought processes and emotions might be affected by these. It must be frustrating to be in that situation, and realizing so many things and not getting why female persons, some of us, insist on our own spaces. I can acknowledge that frustration and despair and even feel with it, while still insisting, as you have so well, Satsuma, that as a people we must have our own spaces, our own lands, our own nation one day, perhaps.

    I love your reference to the clover! “I am.” “Continued existence.” πŸ™‚ I have just finished an article on the Feminist Hullaballoo, the reunion of the “Wild Sisters” that I attended last year in Santa Fe. I wish you’d have known of it! I’m sure you would have really enjoyed it. Mary Daly spoke, Sonia Johnson, Alix Dobkin, Margie Adam, played, Julia Penelope was there, Suzanne Bellamy from Australia, Kim Duckett, who is *great*, led the rituals. Anyway, my article will appear in off our backs if you get that publication, but one of Daly’s fabulous imo ideas was the creation of traveling “gyneversities” which as radical feminist women we create throughout the world to replace “wimpy women’s studies” as she called them. I see so much potential for this. I would love nothing more than, for one thing, to attend your classes as an Adjunct Professor in my Gyneversity!

    So our conversation continues. I’m so glad you are here.


    Posted by womensspace | October 27, 2007, 7:36 pm
  33. Dear Heart,

    Well here we all are once again.

    Our political experiences are very similar. I’d wondered myself around 1994 or maybe 1995 that something had happened to our grand movement.

    Then I had one hell of a medical challenge in our family, and things got very bad. So there was a decade when I was very preoccupied with all of this, but still I hung in there.

    So your story of the excommunication and the shunning by all you once new was hard to read, but also… well words fail me here.

    What the hell happened? One of my lesbian feminist mentors dropped out essentially, and all the women I started meeting had no idea what I was talking about. Mary who? Janice Raymond? I could go on… Another Mother Tongue…??? Then so many women in my life died… a lot, more than the national average. You had the sexual vulgarity that became the norm here in lesbianland, and it was truly awful. Lesbian pornography for heavens sake!

    You had the fake accusations about feminists and the talk radio conservative men calling us names. And the amazing thing is that younger women believe these ninnies! Mentally ill women became a huge presense in lesbian drop-in groups. It got so mentally toxic that I couldn’t continue in them… the mental illness, the sexually menacing aspects of the S&M crowd…it was scary.

    Here our movement had such success, but I knew from Mary Daly’s Seven Deadly Sins of the Fathers that we were in for errasure. The tools of patriarchy were getting sharpened once again.

    The Internet was filled with promise, but the feminist sites shocked the living hell out of me. You know what I’m talking about….

    I knew our lesbian feminist rebellion had a nobility to it, and that we were right. I knew that I had succeeded because of the theories I actually applied to the real world, and you might say, that despite rejection, disaster, abandonment and Gen X, I remained true to these ideals.

    Something was up! Daly had warned us all.

    So all the old and the new warriors can gather again, and I did read about the radical feminist conference in Santa Fe, alas too late! I can’t wait to read yourarticle about it, but more important to get your personal insights into where we all are collectively now.

    I chose the Internet name Satsuma after the 19th century Satsuma rebellion in Kagoshima, Japan. The Satsuma clan was old samurai, and they were fighting the imperial government over modernisation. It is my historical imagination that identifies with the struggle to maintain your culture in a “post” modern world, and it is a metaphor.
    I once had a sake bottle with a statue of Saigo Takamori, leader of the rebellion on my bookshelf. Getting a bit off point here.

    How did sex positive take over? How could lesbians talk about S & M clubs? What the hell had gone so terribly wrong?

    The forces of anti-feminism were out to terrorize a whole new generation of women, and young women were falling for the bait. There was nothing I could do, but listen to them go on and on about this.

    They had no training, they would not read, and they seemed to hate the old generation of lesbian feminists, which was the opposite of the old feminists I knew when I was young, whom I revered! Clearly lesbian youth was mad as hell at something, and taking it out on us!

    They lost their ability to keep their eye on the real enemy and its tactics. Patriarchy has been around for 5000 years, which means it’s devilishly clever and it is a survivor oppressor ideology amazingly able to adapt, fool, lie and cheat!

    As Sonia Johnson once said, “patriarchy owns the law.” Mary Daly talked about patriarchy reversing all pro-women laws and twisting them. Think of the perverse concept of “reverse discrimination,” for example.

    Well, I don’t have to explain this to you. Should I go to Feminist Hullaballo to see your article?

    A lot of things derailed us. When universities created women’s studies departments, they really rendered them harmless. Then transgender women actually taught “gender” classes, and I even met a guy who teaches a feminist philosophy class, yikes!

    Real women’s revolution is about the Satsuma rebellion. Saigo Takamori once helped usher in the Meiji restoration, but once the Meiji reforms went into place, Emperor Meiji decided it was time to disarm the old guard…take away their swords etc.

    To me, gender-blender feminism does just that… it attempts to take away our ancient rites, our swords, our radical passion, even our prophets are banned from academentia.

    To say that women should be educated without men present was used as the “reverse discrimination” charge against Mary Daly, and it worked like a charm this time. We should pay attention to this like they pay attention to canaries in mines!

    The power comes, when those of us gather again, and create the space, and invoke the great power of radical lesbian feminism. Its undilluted power draws women who long for freedom.

    All women long to hear this message, even if they don’t have the courage to speak up on their own. We can speak this power, and provide this space for women to talk in such a civilized way. We are free of their stupid debating tactics, we can disagree with politeness, and then rethink an agreement.

    We can say that there is love and truth and beauty in this.

    We need not worry if Internet “men” pretend and write on this site, because they’ll have to be very good actors to do this. Even a transwoman lesbian feminist has a very hard time of it. There is always an academic quality about it that is the same as an accent that a French feminist can instantly detect, for example.

    You can’t argue against this trans-obsession with Michigan, because people don’t listen. They don’t respect the space of women, because they are so used to being men. Again, they don’t know this, just as the confused patriarchal men don’t get that it’sactually harder for me to learn in THEIR patriarchal classrooms. The male voice simply dulls the mind, and you feel tired, you feel drained.

    This exclusion is lost on men, because women don’t exclude men successfully for long periods of time.

    We even have women who marry men for 20 years and then come out late in life as lesbians. It can be hard to see mainstream society as a complete lie, when you grow up in it.

    Lesbian feminists have created a land of ideas that are powerful and successful worldwide. We can build on the ideals of each generation and refine our sense of self.

    But perhaps what is most needed now is simply the hospitality of a house with a fireplace, and meat spitted and roasted well (my favorite line from Virgil’s Aeneid)… we have climbed Mt. Everest, and we have challenged the dragons of evil. We even face the challenge of the transgender movement that cares nothing for us at all. They really think that the sex role stereotype is the goal. It is peculiar, but it is.

    So Heart, I support fully what you are doing here. I am very sorry to hear that lesbian feminism was such a hard place for you to find. Sometimes the women who have actually lived in these awful men’s marriages really understand radical feminism more than lifelong Amazons like me.

    My life was easier, because I did stand my ground, and I did see the evil early in life. I was fortunate to have experienced radical lesbian feminism at an international level first, where all the women were from dozens of countries. It wasn’t a white woman’s movement where I was living.

    But my comrades started dying, and many of them just holed up in lesbian nests, or they converted to some eastern religion.. they stopped writing, they went to graduate school and got attacked for being lesbian feminists, and then wrote masters’ thesis about men!

    My ways were ridiculed as sex negative, puritanical etc. I cringe when women use the “B” word, I am embarrassed by the ads in the local lesbian monthly, and I had to walk out of a lesbian club because they had “pole dancing.”

    The sexualization of women was going into high gear now. Women were becoming sex objects with the full approval of sexist evil men. Even women calling into these woman hating talk show would agree with the assessments of women. It was self-hatred writ large on mainstream radio.

    The smarmy voices of men on christian radio were in full swing, the voice of the very devil in my opinion, and lesbians here were la de da, what are you so uptight about…sex negative…puritanical…transphobic… oh I don’t know, think up a name and I was probably called it.

    Yet, my dear sisters were starving out here. They were crying for community and love, but yet they didn’t know how to organize, they were cats but declawed cats. Us natural born felines had claws, and we kept on trying to say, “Use your claws little cat…” but they had none. We thought they had claws because they looked just like us…like lesbians…but they didn’t have the skills or the consciousness. They’d pay a $15-$20 cover charge at a lesbian “club” but couldn’t get up the gumption to create a CR group.

    They’d get so mad at volunteers leading lesbian drop-in groups, so attacking and so rude, that we had a really hard time even getting lesbians to volunteer to lead these groups.
    It was out of control Heart, just out of control.

    Still, I knew we were on the right track, and still I knew the answer was to love my sisters, and to look after them.

    I reached out, I listened a lot and I encouraged.

    I hope to make it to Michigan for the first time in 2008, and I hope to make it to a radical feminist gathering too. I hope we can celebrate Mary Daly’s 80th birthday somewhere, somehow.
    Would she like something like this? What could we give her? Is she financially ok? I worry about my old ones who have been so attacked for so long!

    Do we love each other enough? Do we really care enough to show this in actions and in words? We know we make the world better for women, we know we are great writers, and we know the strategies that work.

    Do we have the will to really go through til the end of time? Will we have the courage to expand our lands?

    I believe if we care we will dare!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 27, 2007, 11:42 pm
  34. Just heard the beautiful Finnish folk song! It really is quite lovely.

    I discovered several years ago a Norwegian singer named “Sissel” and she sings in English and Norwegian. Similar in many ways.

    We always had fun decoding the songs, finding the matrilineal connections in ancient places.

    Remember Delibe’s aria “Flower Duet?” For years I imagined this as the ultimate lesbian love song, even though I didn’t understand a word it was sung in. Italian maybe? It was also played in “The Hunger” — the lesbian vampire movie. The song stayed with me for years, until I finally read about it, and it was the queen singing to her servant woman who was bathing her!

    Songs have meaning. We don’t know how music gets out into the world, but the power of women is present, and even men write this without knowing they are accessing something more cosmic than we know!

    Japanese women would celebrate at their goddess shrines, and this was an early influence on the Japanese feminist movement circa 1911! Yes, that’s right, feminism was in Japan way before the American occupation of the 1940s.

    It’s funny how we have such a hard time preserving our recent herstory. I always thought it odd that juke boxes in lesbian bars around here didn’t have a choice of lesbian feminist oldies right along with Frank Sinatra.

    Young lesbians in Phoenix, AZ immitate mysogynist rap, and know all the rap songs. The lyrics are so dreadful, but they get up there and do this woman hating stuff on karaoke nights. I kid you not!

    Mainstream culture and gangsta lyrics are about keeping women confused and in slavery. The local gay and lesbian chamber here wants mainstream companies to conduct ad campaigns directed at us! As if this is validation.

    One of the luckiest periods in my life, was when I didn’t know about any lesbian community at all, but I had plenty of time to read and think. I developed a very strong lesbian self before I got into the fray as they say.

    Now young lesbians have to contend with toxic patriarchy, and they don’t know where to go to get a critique of it.

    You’ll still here the same tired old “feminism is for white women.” Geez, how many UN women’s conferences are there now? How many African women’s groups are trying to get rid of female mutilation? How many countries in the world have feminist and lesbian groups?

    This lack of a global context or consciousness is very perplexing to me. Just reading the stories of Iranian and Somali feminists should cause all American women to wake up.

    The minute patriarchy catches on, it starts to sugar coat and undermine. It’s tactics should be well known by now.

    I am a devoted follower of Mary Daly. I believe she is the greatest living lesbian feminist thinker alive today. Her spiritual insights and time travel into different dimensions paint a visionary yellow brick road for all of us to follow.

    Yes women on college campuses appropriate her ideas without attribution. Christian feminists will say how great she was, and then go on and on trying to find the crumbs of “women in the Bible,” when we could have the full course meal of Mary Daly.

    Lesbian feminists are afraid of the ostracism they experience in academic settings. Someone on this forum mentioned how everyone will teach feminism EXCEPT radical lesbian feminists!

    So yes, we do have to create our own gynerversities on the margins. I for one would be happy to teach something like this. Gather lesbian feminists in small groups nationwide, and you’d end women’s poverty and isolation very quickly.

    Lesbian feminists should work to leave legacies to their living sisters. There are a million financial tools to do this. When was the last time you ever heard of a lesbian feminist approach to life insurance, for example?

    We still can’t bring ourselves to support financially our own institutions. We still don’t talk seriously about wealth.

    Read “Different Daughters” the history of the Daughters of Bilitis. That organization actually was able to survive for so long, because one very wealthy woman secretly subsidized it.
    They got little donations along the way, but this was the one thing that really kept it going.

    I’m going to think of creative ways of supporting this site, and I am definitely open to connecting with networks of lesbian feminists in California and beyond.

    What is radical feminism? Well this sharing is a part of it. As a group, there is wealth available to us. We just have to be more serious about it that’s all.

    If we stand our ground, and create the spaces for us to finally be able to speak again, without having to shout down people in arguments, or waste time dealing with transwomen who don’t get it, we could all pull this off.

    It is up to us to create the centers of learning. No woman should ever have to endure what Mary Daly did at the hands of Boston College! No woman! Is anyone tracking the male idiot who threatened BC with a lawsuit that got the whole thing going again? Do these people ever have to answer for their old woman harrassing ways?

    Feminism began in small groups. It began when things got so bad, that women finally couldn’t take it anymore.

    Now things are quite bad again, and we lesbian feminists had better get a clue. We have to keep working to create these spaces, and to expand our contacts, and ask for what we want.

    We should have such a vast network of financial resources that women would not be without help when they need it.

    For heavens sake, I still read the pitiful stories of very poor and disabled lesbians writing into “Lesbian Connection” a magazine that is free to all women who can’t afford it. They are isolated, they are very poor, and here all we are out here who could easily email and encourage our sisters.

    We can take our money and contribute to “Lesbian Connection’s” 30 year endowment fund. It’s one of the very few lesbian publications that is REALLY lesbian, without the damnable porno club ads, the Fortune 500 beer endorcements of gay male leather events… IKEA, blah blah… la la.

    Lesbian feminism needs to rise unapologetically yet again.
    The old warriors need to talk again! What have we learned? How have we changed? What do we now know that we didn’t know back then?

    So much to do, but what we really need is a lot of love right now. I mean a true and passionate sisterhood.

    One of the things I loved most about this site was the absense or relative absense of all the stupid comments on relationships and dyke drama. We got back to ideas again, thank goddess. How I missed our long winded ideas!

    The very technology of this site encourages writing till we get it out of us. The other sites like Facebook actually cut you off after barely 1500 words, and thus limit thought.

    No over use of pictures, no over use of smiley faces, just the printed page, the powerful idea, and the lesbian feminist home we once had, and somehow lost for awhile!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 28, 2007, 1:49 am
  35. Once again, thank you, Satsuma, for all you have written!

    My article on the Hullaballoo will be in the upcoming issue of off our backs,, for info on how to get it.

    I will look forward to seeing you at the Festival, assuming I can get myself there. I have gone for the last four ears, each year since 2004. The Festival evidences all of the things you have mentioned, sadly, so far as the erosion of lesbian/radical feminist culture and politics. There is SM, there are poles, etc., in the Twilight Zone. I know that in the early 90s, there was a lot of conflict over this stuff and the Twilight Zone was the result, a sort of compromise, but many women were not happy with it for all the reasons you describe. Amazing women still go the Festival every year though, though they are kind of incognito. I was able to spend a little time last year, for example, with Marilyn Frye who still goes every year. I know that in the past, Mary Daly, Sonia Johnson, the old leaders went to Fest, but they sure have not been visible more recently. Or course, they are getting up in years, too, but I doubt that would keep them away, they seem to be in good health, based on what I could tell last June when I met them. Assuming I make it to Fest in August, I will facilitate another Radical Feminist meet-up workshop. About 60 women attended last year, which was a good number.

    But there is that contingent, at Fest, that you are talking about, the GLBTQ-identified contingent which is all about males on the land, poles in the Twilight Zone, etc. There was a huge brouhaha this year when the Twilight Zone crowd left a gigantic mess for the workers to clean up. They left the entire stage (!), the pole, and mountains of garbage. This is essentially unheard of at the Festival. The workers this year described going all over the land when Fest was over to pick up whatever women had left and filling less than one bag with stuff. That’s 3,500 women, hundreds of acres, and less than a bag of stuff left behind. By contrast, they filled one or a couple of trucks with basically everything that was left in the Twilight Zone. It was as though everybody just walked off and felt no responsibility. Although some of the women did take responsibility for what had happened, some did not. That is really pretty huge. all things considered, because women care for the land in a way that is really amazing, when you think about it. It felt to me like a metaphor for everything that is wrong with the Festival and with radical/lesbian feminist culture in general, this tendency to make compromises (like the creation of the Twilight Zone) instead of working all of the issues through as the political issues they are, just sort of hiding stuff under the rug, so to speak, the accumulation of messes that don’t get cleaned up, etc.

    The Festivla is still an amazing place, there is nothing like it anywhere in the world, but it is compromised now, and I don’t know if it is fixable, honestly.

    I know what you mean about the way basically heteronormativity has made its way into the lesbian community and with it disdain for older feminists and for feminism just in general. It’s very hard to see. There is one dyke rapper I dearly love who performs at the Festival and I met her last year at the airport. Like a lot of the youngster radical/lesbian feminists I know, she gives me great hope because she does rap as a radical lesbian feminist, and she’s really good as is the woman who sings with her. Without getting way into it because honestly, my heart is only to encourage her, she is a cool woman and I want her to be successful, I have been sad to see that the song/rap she wrote that really seems to have taken off is about lesbian sex, so again, there is this thing of having to succeed on male terms, of having to be sexual and perform in sexualized ways to make it as a musician. The rapper I’m talking about does FINE work but her best songs imo, songs about liberation, social justice, feminism, are not what gets the attention, it’s the sex songs.

    Mary Daly seems to be in good health, though she is getting on in years. Sonia Johnson and Jade DeForest, her partner, seem in good health as well. Johnson and DeForest run a bed and breakfast now near Santa Fe. Mary Daly seems to be making it okay– I know she settled with Boston College although the details were never published, probably because there was a confidentiality agreement. The tragedy, of course, is she was forced out of Boston College in the first place, by a libertarian or right-wing organization, really despicable.

    There are many older radical/lesbian feminist leaders who aren’t doing so well financially or physically and it’s hard to see. I know what you mean about all of the older women who can’t afford their LC subscriptions! I am doing my darndest to hang onto my 6.5 acre farm, which is basically all I have. It’s hard and I have to work my ass off to do it. I keep my candles lit that no catastrophe will befall me that prevents me from hanging on to this place I so love. I have a big loft over the barn which I use as a guest room. I keep eyeing it wondering about creating my branch of the traveling gyneversity in there. πŸ™‚


    Posted by womensspace | October 28, 2007, 3:57 pm
  36. Thanks again for all your very detailed information about Michigan. I’m glad to hear so many of the great ones are still doing fine and in good health.

    I wrote about some things we can do to support our artists if they are banned or censored or dis-invited to things in the section of Bitch and the Boston Dyke March.

    There is so much we can do for each other, so much we can share that can be of real value. The key is to connect all the networks of lesbian feminists nationwide, which is what you are doing.

    We are so contaminated by a very decadent culture, that it is vitally important for all of us to connect, so we know we are not crazy, and we know we see a truth.

    We know how hard it is to pass on feminist wisdom from one generation of women to the next, and lesbian feminism’s strongly literary bent often prevents younger women from reading anything.

    I’ve been thinking that Mary Daly’s lectures could be produced on CDs and sold widely, and then we can share film interviews, and stategies that help all of so much.

    I know I do everything in my power to encourage women financially, to teach the keys to money, and how to harness its power. I take lesbian feminist theory, and turn it into business strategy, and it’s very powerful.

    You have such incredible wisdom and clarity, and I love the way you write. You know how to ask for civility on these message boards, and this is one of the most civilized posting board and blogs I have ever seen — and we’re dealing with such controversial issues.

    It will be easier when all the women who do know lesbian feminist theory, and have practiced for many years to share in yet new powerful strategies. I’m very much into numbers and data as a way to truth.

    I know the lies of going for “rights” rather than “freedom” and we all get too caught up in trying “to get” laws passed. We are now in the business of getting government grants…yikes, when we could get ahold of money issues in a very powerful way. We go for “corporate sponsorship” which causes us to sell out sisterhood, to sell out human connection. Gay Pride in Los Angeles looks like Wall Street now! The booths are so expensive that all our little crafts and fanatic political groups and innovators no longer are there any more. They charge $15 to get in, but nobody knows how much money lesbian feminist get out of all this. The do an AIDS bike-a-thon that dozens of lesbians ride in, raise money for etc., and lesbians have no health insurance! The AIDS industry continues to steal all the money, and lesbians just go along with it.

    This economic shell game remains untalked about, uncared about. People think I’m mean for even bringing it up.

    It is peculiar to see young lesbians so caught up in the sex craze, and so unable to see a larger picture. The observation of the amount of garbage at MichFest vs. the garbage in ‘The Twighlight Zone” was a very astute observation.

    I’ve noticed that many young lesbians seem to have no sense of connection to the institutions they participate in. They have a sense of entitlement. I could see this when I passed the hat after lesbian discussion groups. The gay and lesbian center has all the groups donate what you can to pay for the lights etc. Wadded up dollar bills would be put in the hat, and out of 25-35 women, we’d be lucky to get $19. They’d leave dirty cups on chairs, wadded up paper behind, and the rude attitudes and conversation styles were shocking to behold.

    The anger of these women was explosive– and they seemed to take it out on the facilitators, with very little political knowledge of how patriarchy works, and why they would be having such a hard time of it in the world. They seemed to think that feminism was ridiculous and knowledge a waste of time. So they were stuck with no ideals to fight back with, and no way to use the anger to achieve.

    I can’t help but think a lot of this is due to the fact that they don’t know how to create things for themselves… they want to take and not give, and they are in a peculiar kind of psychic starvation mode that is hard to fathom.

    I spent a lot of time trying to give them resources and to be a support to them. I encouraged them to build networks, to share food and meals, to honor achievements and to connect spiritually. Sometimes I was very successful, other times their contempt for people was disturbing.

    You’d see preditory women infiltrate the groups– real sexual preditors, transwomen who revealed a sick pornographic mind that was horrifying. Yet I would persist.

    So we have our work cut out for us, and we can be a support to women. I give out my business cards and always offer free advice, and when I can I cook for small groups of young women, and have them share around a dinner table, so they have a sense of family and home.

    I have high ideals and a great sense of intellectual adventure, a great sense of optimism, I think because I know how much we’ve all accomplished and how sacred our movement really is.

    I am lucky. I always look for the wonderful people out there, and 2 1/2 years ago, a friend of mine said — “you have to find your own species, your own people…” After years of meeting dozens and dozens of lesbians who had read nothing, or who used the “F” word, or seemed to have no boundaries and thought S & M clubs were fun, doing drugs, clubbing and being nightmares in sexual relationships with no ethics at all… well is wore me down.

    Then I had to deal with the corporate lesbians, the real estate agents who talked about getting breast implants, the women who courted defense industry companies for donations… the contempt for lesbian feminism, the utter blank looks when I mentioned honor and respect to a gay elder… geez. It was hard to deal with this world, because I knew it was so empty, and they were falling into terrible life traps, when we knew what the path to freedom really was all about.

    We knew about the power of speaking our truth, and what we had built, so I went looking and I am happy to have found you all.

    In unity there is strength– the strength of character, the strenght of being financially shrewder, the power of sisterhood and what Sonia and Mary and so many others have learned and revealed to all of us.

    My job I think is to encourage, to comment and to work hard to make the world better for lesbians by my life example. I try to show what freedom looks like, to be the change they long for, and for the longest time, this has been the case.

    So Heart, this is what I’m doing, and I know you’re doing the work and aren’t we an inspiring wonderful literate group.

    Wow, this is just amazing. I can’t thank you enough!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 29, 2007, 5:33 am
  37. Satsuma said,

    “I know I do everything in my power to encourage women financially, to teach the keys to money, and how to harness its power. I take lesbian feminist theory, and turn it into business strategy, and it’s very powerful.”

    Satsuma, how can I find out more about this? It sounds wonderful, but I have no clue.


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | October 29, 2007, 10:12 pm
  38. The first step is to know a truth — women do 3/4 of the world’s work and get paid a fraction of this.

    So you have to find the professions that will pay you what you are worth, and not just an hourly or annual wage.

    The second step is to know that everything about money in America is about patriarchal reversal. Men profit over women’s “free” labor and service to them. So you need to radically work beyond this.

    Pay attention to who you pay and how much you pay.

    Make sure you keep money away from men, and keep it circulating among women.

    Encourage all lesbians to get serious about sharing the wealth of knowledge, and being up front about the gifts artists give to our community.

    For example, if you give less tips to male waitors, you’ll be able to transfer this extra money to “Lesbian Connection’ 30=year endowment fund, for example.

    There are many more ideas that I have and have used to good advantage, and I’d be happy to share them and answer you specific questions outside the scope of this forum.

    Please feel free to email me at

    Posted by Satsuma | October 29, 2007, 11:20 pm


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The Farm at Huge Creek, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, The Feminist Hullaballoo