Tuesday, July 18, 2006

 
File this under "things it's too hot to argue about":

Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...: "If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist. These institutions are the props of patriarchy and have nothing to do with women's self determination, ergo they are NOT feminist."

Well, okay then - thanks for clearing that up. Guess I'll take my picket signs and secret lentil-loaf recipe and go home...think I can get my money back on my slightly-foxed 1st edition paperback Sisterhood is Powerful? Apparently I won't be needing it anymore...

Seriously - I have no problem with Witchy looking upon non-antiporn or non-antiprostitution people with disdain. She makes a good point, don't get me wrong. I'd have no problem at all with this post if she had said "If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist I RESPECT", or "If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist I AGREE WITH".

But here is what can happen when a non-antiporner (like me) comes across that post, phrased as it is -

She may feel like her voice does not count in the world of feminism - and if, like me, she's been considering herself a feminist for over 20 years, working and marching and donating time and money and resources, this can come as quite a shock.

She may feel like all the work she's done on other issues, work which may have exhausted her physically and drained her emotionally, counts for NOTHING.

She may no longer feel comfortable expressing her true self among people she used to trust.

She may feel like, in order to stay connected to her community, she must either truly have a change of heart, or claim to have a change of heart.

Me personally, I have not truly come to jesus on these issues yet - I don't think I ever will. So that means that, to stay a feminist, I have to SAY I agree, or risk being alienated from the community I have worked for 20+ years to build and to reinforce. The movement has just given birth to a great big stinking hypocrite. Was that the plan?

If it is true that non-antiporn women are not feminists, then that means we are not welcome in feminist spaces, but merely (barely) tolerated. What does this mean to our participation on other issues?

Comments:
Personally, I'd like to see some better credentials than "because I say so" before accepting that anyone has authority to excommunicate you for Porn Heresy.

Seriously, this is like some loony bishop shouting "If you believe in the Gospel of Thomas, you are NOT A CHRISTIAN! Not to mention you filthy Patripassianists!" ...Meanwhile, all the Gnostic Christians shrug and go about their business.

If you believe in the personhood of women independent of the inherent rightness or wrongness of dirty nekkid pictures, there are lots of places where your voice and work will be welcome, and where they let you call yourself whatever the hell you want. Not being allowed to take communion at the Radfem Cathedral is a loss for them, not you.

And certainly not for feminism, which from where I'm standing is pleased as anything to have you aboard.
 
aw, Dan. :)

Personally, I'd like to see some better credentials than "because I say so" before accepting that anyone has authority to excommunicate you for Porn Heresy.

heehee - I don't think this was personal.

She can make the case that she has the authority though - it's sort of a Priesthood of All Believers, to extend the Christian Schism metaphor.
 
No, I didn't get the impression it was personal, or at least not specific to anyone in particular. Only that there's been some... tension in this neighborhood of Blogopolis from that quarter for a while.

it's sort of a Priesthood of All Believers

Emphasis mine, natch. :)

Because there it is - if you're going to embrace the egalitarian ideal and eradicate heirarchy, well, yanno, you kinda give up the right to Make Pronouncements. You accept that consensus, when possible, is only attainable by conversation, debate, argument when necessary - and that sometimes it won't be possible, and you have to agree to disagree and maybe make allies and compatriots out of people with whom you don't see eye-to-eye. Declaring those folks cast out of the circle just because you're frustrated you haven't been able to convince them is, to my thinking, contraindicated.

All of which, the more I think about it, implies that there is or ought to be some kind of Unified Feminism. Which I suppose would be nice, but I don't think it's necessary. What's becoming increasingly clear to me is that "feminism" describes a loosely connected constellation of philosophies more than anything else, all of which have that same "radical notion" at heart but which may well take wildly divergent perspectives on it. And that's Okay, too.(Stop me now before I make the comparison to genre fiction again.)

OTOH, back to the idea of religious schism: it sort of depends on how much you believe schism is either destructive or healthy to the community's ideals. The last church I attended regularly was Unitarian, and I remember a conversation with our minister where he mentioned that it's probably good to disagree with at least one thing your church is doing, because otherwise you're just hanging out with people who are Exactly Like You and you're not going to have opportunities to grow.

YMMV.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
oh well, 'twas nice while it lasted.

as I said over there, which may or may not get through moderation: you can shame and blame till you're blue in the face. It's not gonna get me to change my views; and it's not gonna change the fact that I'm a feminist. Any more than all my attempts at persuasion are gonna -make- w-w (or anyone) sit down and actually read/address any of the reams and reams of writing i and others have put forth on this subject already, some in the form of questions directly addressed to w-w (and never answered).

KREPLACH!!!!

well, bon appetit, i guess.
 
>Because there it is - if you're going to embrace the egalitarian ideal and eradicate heirarchy, well, yanno, you kinda give up the right to Make Pronouncements.

Well, yah.

It's even more ironic when you sputter "butbutbut I'm not appealing to any authority! this is, it's, well, it's, JUST THE WAY IT IS. it's OBVIOUS."

not only is that still an appeal to an authority (and putting yourself in that role), it's disingenuous to boot. how can you challenge an authority that won't even acknowledge that it IS an authority?

and then so what you get instead is the stonewalling.

"sorry; you're just beyond talking to."

Hokey-dokey then.
 
As far as spaces: well, I expect we'll see each other at events for reproductive rights and so on.

i trust that the irony of the whole "my body, my choice" absolutist line in this particular instance will be lost on absolutely everybody.
 
That's all well and good, but why do I get the sense that our contributions may not be so valued as the contributions of those who have come out as strongly antiporn?
 
Valued by who?

If the answer is, "by the people who are shutting me/us out," then I'd say don't bother. You're not going to get that validation, so don't worry about it and just do your thing.

Because making them happy isn't, ultimately, the point. The point is: What were you able to do to make the world better?

If the people who are "supposed" to be your allies won't listen to you because of some disagreement over dogma, then, I'm sorry, but - fuck 'em. Find someone who will listen. Make your own allies. Change the world in whatever way you best can, and stop beating your head against some mad bugger's wall.
 
oh but it feels so good when I stop...
 
That post made me so angry I think my eyes are now bleeding.

I'm a pro-porn, pro-prostitution, sex-positive feminist. I take it very personally when someone feels that he/she has any sort of right or authority to tell me what I am and am not. Feminism is a part of me--it is a deeply ingrained belief system that I have been cultivating for years. Just because I like porn and used to take my clothes off for money doesn't mean that I'm any less of a feminist.

I just finished reading Whores and Other Feminists and am currently reading Pornography, Sex, and Feminism. The authors and contributors to these books make their points about sexpos feminism much more clearly and succintly than I ever could.
 
To clarify, the post that made me so eye-bleedingly angry was WW's, not yours, antip. Although you probably gathered that *grin*, I just re-read my comment and realized there was a bit of room for misinterpretation.
 
What everyone else said.

And, why does there seem to be an inherent assumption among radfems, that if you are not anti-porn, you are pro- all porn. You jump around doing a song and dance about how awesome every porno ever made is! None of it is problematic! It's all or nothing, kids. Binary worldview.

Bullshit. Sex-positive feminists spend plenty of time discussing problems with the adult industry, problems with certain types of porn, problems surrounding sex work, and so on. It's just that, for me? I don't think those things are bad across the board - just like I don't think they're awesome across the board.
 
Here is what I said in w-w's comments. Don't know if it will get past moderation, so I figured I'd cross-comment here:

Believe it or not, w-w, there are women who have the same level of education and variety of choices as (I presume you're implying) you do - and they choose to work in the sex industry because that's what they want to do.

One such woman is one of my closest friends. A sex worker with a Master's degree? Ye Gods!!

Yes, they are in the minority. But they do exist, and to talk about all sex workers without acknowledging these women and men does them a disservice.

I realize this may fall on deaf ears. But I'm saying it anyway.
 
Okay, I was on a roll. I went back and also said (also in moderation at the moment):

And, furthermore? As to your suggestion that I do a 6-month stint as a hooker? Sounds good to me, but give me some time to get my marketing materials in order, place ads, choose a pseudonym, etc. You may not believe it, but for quite some time I've considered doing sex work on the side, but haven't done it because I'm too lazy to deal with all the administrativa. So instead I build web sites. But I sure don't like the way some clients treat me like I'm nothing more than their code monkey, to be used and abused...
 
Hi Whitters! I don't think I've seen you around before - welcome!
 
Oh hell no. I just saw this hunk of junk:

http://www.christinielsen.com/blog/about2getskinny/2006/05/sluttin-my-way-to-skinny.html

Ah, feminists calling me a slut! Never gets old, does it!
 
And, furthermore? As to your suggestion that I do a 6-month stint as a hooker? Sounds good to me, but give me some time to get my marketing materials in order, place ads, choose a pseudonym, etc. You may not believe it, but for quite some time I've considered doing sex work on the side, but haven't done it because I'm too lazy to deal with all the administrativa. So instead I build web sites. But I sure don't like the way some clients treat me like I'm nothing more than their code monkey, to be used and abused...

Aren't a lot of the people they love to hate sex workers in some way? For longer than six months? Annie Sprinkle, anyone? Michelle Tea? Carol Queen, IIRC? Maybe even Patrick Califia? Kate Bornstein? They're usually just derided as not doing the right kind of sex work in the right circumstances. I know there was a stripper arguing on the Alas threads; I can't remember who and don't want to speculate.

And, why does there seem to be an inherent assumption among radfems, that if you are not anti-porn, you are pro- all porn. You jump around doing a song and dance about how awesome every porno ever made is! None of it is problematic! It's all or nothing, kids. Binary worldview.

Mm-hm. Or that if you argue against the idea that BDSM is in general/inherently patriarchal and misogynist, you're an apologist for abuse within the BDSM community. I have a dog in that fight; I don't downplay that issue.
 
Valerie Solanas was a sex worker, as was Andrea Dworkin, if I remember correctly.
 
Hah! Money comment:

When I start seeing MEN upside down and spreading their legs on a surrogate metal penis in a supposed "excercise" popularized by pubescent urban rent boys for the thrill of sugar daddies with fistfuls of cash to shove in their crotches, then I'll believe the strained "it's just a workout" argument.

What's that you say, men don't have their own sexy sex-organ jiggling forms of bellydancing, can-cans, burlesque, and pole-dancing to perform as erotic excercise? Go figure why that might be (no, really, go and figure it out.)


Sounds like somebody doesn't have any gay friends. Is there some political difference between obsessively working out at the gym so you take your washboard abs clubbing, and combining the two?
 
And, more than that, they've never been to any pole-dancing classes. That shit is harder than anything I've ever attempted at a gym. Full-body workout, especially the abs and arm muscles.

Oh, and the company that offers it here? Run by women. Who aren't strippers.

(But I guess they're dupes.)
 
Or that if you argue against the idea that BDSM is in general/inherently patriarchal and misogynist, you're an apologist for abuse within the BDSM community. I have a dog in that fight; I don't downplay that issue.

you and me both.
 
Oh, and the company that offers it here? Run by women. Who aren't strippers.

Well, see, if they haven't ever really had to gyrate all-but-naked on a pole while sweaty fists waved dollar bills in their faces, then maybe they don't understand.

They're romanticizing it because they have no experience with it, clearly.
 
Clearly. Especially the part where, at the beginning of class, they give a little speech about how "this isn't about stripping" and how it's about helping women to become comfortable in their own skin.

Dupes, really.
 
you and me both.

While I would never lay the social acceptance of abuse at the feet of feminists, it's irritating from that standpoint because it makes it even more difficult to discuss real safety measures. The difference between "good" BDSM and "there is no good" BDSM is an articulated format for recognizing and preventing abuse where it can occur. There's a clear bright line between the kind, tender, conscientious tops I play with and the dangerous assholes I refuse to play with. Pretending it's not there gives those dangerous assholes a way of obscuring the real crime they're committing.
 
I mean, if a case can be made that I'm enjoying abuse, what does that say about what I've permitted in my own life?
 
And what tools does that leave me for rejecting the next person who wants to argue that being a submissive means that I've consented to being hurt and dehumanized, that I have surrendered my will?
 
What piny said:

The difference between "good" BDSM and "there is no good" BDSM is an articulated format for recognizing and preventing abuse where it can occur.

What Amber said:

why does there seem to be an inherent assumption among radfems, that if you are not anti-porn, you are pro- all porn. You jump around doing a song and dance about how awesome every porno ever made is! None of it is problematic!

That's the crux of it to me. We can condemn all sexual entertainment, we can condemn all sex work, we can condemn all non-normative sexual practices, and these things will not NOT NOT ever go away. As a queer person, I can say this with 100% certainty. I was having queer sex without ever having seen or heard anything affirmative about it, without ever even having seen or heard anything directly about sex between women, and hearing that dykes were sick and bad and twisted and going to hell. But it was happening in my life. I just hid it as hard as I could. If I'd been abused in my partnerships (I wasn't, thankfully) I wouldn't have anyone to turn to or anywhere to go to help me.

When we blanket an act or groups of acts with a negative connotation, we are no longer able to suss out what's "good" and what's "bad". With porn, for example, I'd admit that the great majority of it isn't for me. That doesn't make it wrong. But some of it is coerced, some of it is wrong. Hard to find when simply admitting one was taking part in porn already makes one "wrong" and "bad".

The response I've seen to this from a lot of anti-porners is "Well, we don't blame the woman, she's a victim. We blame the men who make the porn." Or, "We shouldn't prosecute the prostitute, just lock up the johns and the pimps." For one thing, just saying that women have no agency doesn't make it so and, for another thing, fucking with another woman's ability to support herself (and sometimes her family), even if it's "via men", doesn't seem like feminism to me. And finally, I don't want men's desires criminalized; I just want the good and bad to be divisible. I want people who hurt other people to be punishable and keeping everything under the radar doesn't make that possible.

Finally, I feel fully comfortable being sex-positive while disliking most porn, not being personally into a lot of the sexual practices discussed in these places. But, I don't feel comfortable with the other folks. So this idea that sex-positive people enforce some sort of radical agenda of doggy-style and bukkake is ludicrous.
 
It's like everyone has taken the crazy pill today!!

Look at this:
http://punkassblog.com/2006/07/18/oh-smug-sense-of-cultural-superiority-how-you-love-your-footbinding-female-circumcision-shoes/#comment-3673
 
Hi, antip! Yes, I've been a lurker till now, reading your blog religiously via Bloglines. But I just couldn't stay silent after reading WW's post.

And, why does there seem to be an inherent assumption among radfems, that if you are not anti-porn, you are pro- all porn. You jump around doing a song and dance about how awesome every porno ever made is! None of it is problematic! It's all or nothing, kids. Binary worldview.
Amber- Perfect. I happen to love Playboy (I'm even a subscriber) and some of the more woman-friendly videos. That doesn't mean I somehow lack the understanding that yes, there is porn out there that is degrading to women (and/or men) and objectionable. Rather, it means that I don't cast the all-encompassing net of "bad" over anything that shows some T&A.

Same thing with sex work. I stripped while in college and enjoyed it. I've had many stripper friends and some friends who were prostitutes--most enjoyed their work, some were just doing it to pay the bills. I realize that some sex workers (again, both women AND men) are exploited and abused. Again, that doesn't mean that all sex work is evil/anti-feminist/etc.
 
>Sounds like somebody doesn't have any gay friends.

HELLO. THANK YOU.

not to mention heaven forfend any male-type persons who actually aren't into the whole me-Tarzan you-lapdance, but are kinky in some entirely other way, which may well include themselves being "objectified."

i just love the whole "oh, dear, the whole sex-pos thing is just the same ol' same ol'." no; that's what YOU see, because you haven't bothered to look any further.

and now turn right around and bitch about the way your brand of feminism is so misrepresented and misunderstood and why can't anyone do any decent research before going off on it.
 
per abuse, etc.:

what's really insidious about the whole thing is the way "abuse" is now constructed to mean "sexual or physical violation only, and pertty much by default women at the hands of men."

there are plenty of ways to be abusive without laying a finger on someone.

but ah, that might hit a little too close to home for some people.
 
seriously: what is the big fucking deal about pole-dancing? how is it substantially different from playing around on the monkey bars? oh right, 'cause you're acting SEXXXY while doing it. christ jesus forbid exercise might actually have anything to do with sexuality.

i wonder if belly dance is on the Highly Disapproved Of list as well.
 
For fuck's sake. I have got to get off of that w-w thread. She's already appealed to "the Godalmighty power of the penis," and not surprisingly, she is twisting my words all around and being condescending. Goddammit. I probably never should've commented in the first place, but I couldn't help myself, I'm fundamentally strident after all.

Plus, now I'm all riled up after spending 2 hours at Barnes and Noble reading the first few chapters of Female Chauvinist Pigs. (I figured I should actually read it, since everyone references it.)
 
I'm increasingly convinced that, for all practical purposes, the cornerstone of radfem is to never do (or talk about doing) in public anything that Some Man Somewhere might be thinking about while masturbating.
 
I made it through the "boi" chapter of FCP, and then I had to stop.
 
Dan- So true!

Heaven forbid any man see a woman, especially a feminist, as sexual. GASP. After all, it's very easy to override thousands of years of instinct, plus completely turn away from pleasure, and not EVER think of ANYONE as a sexual being.

There's a HUGE difference between seeing someone as sexual and objectifying someone. Just because you see sexuality as a facet of another person does not mean you have objectified that person. Similarly, just because a woman (or man) acts in a sexual manner does not mean that that person is merely portraying her- or himself as an object, or that said person is any less intelligent or any less of a feminist.

Heaven forbid we admit that we are sexually attracted to other people. Heaven forbid some people make their living using this knowledge.
 
Just because you see sexuality as a facet of another person does not mean you have objectified that person. Similarly, just because a woman (or man) acts in a sexual manner does not mean that that person is merely portraying her- or himself as an object, or that said person is any less intelligent or any less of a feminist.

THank you, Whitters. I remain quite confused as to why this is such a difficult concept for some people to grasp.
 
I have mixed feelings about the idea of "objectification" anyway (much of which Sage said better than I could a couple of months ago, talking about the tension between objectifying and appreciating, and how an eye for aesthetics makes us all objectifiers just a little bit, and that the lascivious gaze and respect are not mutually exclusive to a conscientious person - a truly fine and wise post). But mostly I think there's a big difference between thinking of or treating someone like an object - a thing or a tool, a not-person - and making them the object of your attention, appreciation, or even lust.

It's that "lust" that seems to be the stumbling block. And while I have some empathy for why it's problematic, it mostly comes down for me to what several other folks have already said: I don't think it's all that useful or healthy to pretend that we don't respond sexually to the sight of other people's bodies, or imagine what we might like to do with them were they willing.
 
And one more thing: WTF is up with that "if you think the sex industry is so great, get your teenage daughter into it"? Talk about your false dichotomy; that's like saying that if you don't think there's anything wrong with two men having sex, you should visit a prison and get yourself ass-raped.
 
"if you think the sex industry is so great, get your teenage daughter into it"?

it's the PeeWee Herman offense:

"If you love fruit salad so much, why don't you marry it?"
 
I should clarify re: my opinion on usage of the word "objectify"... http://blog.pulpculture.org/2006/07/18/confused/#comment-8949

And, about the "if you think it's great, get your daughter into it" argument? That just makes no sense. I think biology is cool and I think it's great that there are women biologists, but that doesn't mean I feel like running out to be a biologist myself.
 
Oh for fuck's sake. Seriously? (<-- I know I say that a lot lately. But I am flabbergasted a lot lately.)

http://witchy-woo.blogspot.com/2006/07/to-all-pro-pornstitution-feminists-out.html#c115332191484115315

I left a response but who knows if it'll get past moderation. I forgot to save it to my desktop before hitting post.
 
I left a comment two days ago that said, in essence, what my blog post said. After about 24 hours it looked like my comment was not going to get out of moderation, so I posted on my blog.
 
Amber, your comments and B|L's in re. objectification in the thread you linked seem pretty spot-on to me. Thanks for pointing me to that; it says what I wanted to say, only better.
 
"You're too old if you're a day past 15"? Great merciful Buddha.

First - I may have at some point seen some obnoxious swine of a sexist male cut down a woman that viciously on the basis of her age/looks/dersirability before, but I sure can't think of it it now.

Second - What was that about porn creating a fantasy that people confuse with reality?
 
what I just left on the relevant thread @ Witchy's, in case it gets modded out:

this reminds me of that fable about the five blind men asked to describe an elephant - the first man says "an elephant is long and skinny, like a snake", the next guy says "an elephant is flat and flaps in the breeze", the next guy says "an elephant is tough and leathery", the next guy says "an elephant is thin and stringy", the last guy says "an elephant is soft and mushy" - the point is, of course, that each one has ample evidence, based on personal experience, to assert the nature of the elephant, except for the fact that the elephant is too big for an individual to grasp alone.

The sex industry is soft and mushy/flat and flappy/long and skinny/tough and leathery - I'd venture to say it's all those things and more, and one really can't hope to fight its abuses until one has an understanding of it based on its whole reality.

BTW Pony, I expect that many women are very grateful for the work that you do for them,not only for the wipes and hot chocolate but for the kind words and human dignity. That is a great thing.

Although you may have a good point based on your own sagacious and reliable observations (which I don't doubt), for me you weakened your case when you made it all about Amber's relative success/failure. How was that necessary, except to be insulting?
 
further on, in reply to Amber, I wrote:

I guess my statement that one of my closest friends is an educated woman working in the sex industry by choice is assumed to be a lie?

no - she's not calling you a liar, she's calling your friend a dilletante.
 
I posted this on PunkAssBlog, but in case it doesn't get through moderation...

----------


Wow.

I don’t know Rachel personally, but she and I have mutual friends, and I’ve exchanged emails with her. Maybe this makes me want to defend her against these attacks a little more than I would otherwise?

Or maybe it just all hits a little too close to home and takes me back to somewhere I don’t like to be?

People critiquing my appearance… my clothing… derisively calling me a “goth chick”… I feel like I’m right back in the middle of the abuse I endured from boys (and quite a few girls) during my early teenage years.

All I can say is, I have a pretty thick skin at this point in my life… and I hope Rachel does, as well. I hope she doesn’t let all this horrible ad hominems get to her - in fact I hope she doesn’t read them at all. Because, thick as my skin may be, there are parts of me that still hurt like hell if you poke ‘em at all… and if I were to read attacks like this on me after I had endeavored to write about something near and dear to my heart, well…

I don’t know what I’d do but…

I would feel deeply wounded and betrayed. Just like I did 10 years ago.. only this time, by people who I thought were allies.
-------------

Later I might post it on my own blog. MAYBE. I don't knnow.
 
You know what...

I may need to take a hiatus from visiting these radfem blogs... -oh wait, I need a new descriptor, bc I never considered PunkAssBlog to be radfem, but..

ANYWAY...

They've moved right along to mocking people's pain (meaning MINE in this case) and minimizing the significance of having experienced abuse.

Wow.

I put myself out there in a somewhat vulnerable fashion, in a way I don't typically do in blog comments. I guess I was operating under the misguided notion that the keepers of feminist blogs might be a tad more supportive than the blogosphere in general?

Boy, was I wrong.

If this is feminism, then I want no part of it. Fuck it.
 
Amber, you know me not at all, so take my unasked-for advice for what it's worth. That being said: If this nonsense is hurting you, a hiatus (of indeterminate length, maybe) is probably more than due. It's really not worth it; the discourse, such as it is, is rapidly spiralling nowhere, and it's now taking more from you than it's giving. That seems to be as good a measure of any for when a relationship needs serious reconsideration.

Fortunately, this isn't feminism - not all of feminism, any more than the burqa is all of Islam. This is just a bright and shining demonstration of the principle that there is no cause so right you will not find idiots following it.
 
Amber - as Belledame says, "Welcome to the Church of Flame".
 
I just want to say that I love the "cult" comparison on the w-w thread.

the irony is, well, pretty overwhelming.

dude, if you think it's so easy arguing someone out of a cult, then how come it's impossible to even get *you* to sit down and answer a simple question without retreating back into Dworkindogmaville?

And remind me again exactly why it's okay to "swat down" male rape victims, or even people saying that, y'know, it happens, might be worth paying attention to?
 
I don't know if R. Mildred is in the same camp as these folks. I think R. Mildred is sort of in a flamey camp of her own.

but even the original "bite me Twisty" thread was pretty damn harsh on abuse survivors, so.
 
>If this is feminism, then I want no part of it.>

And there we have it.

How much do I love this whole business:

1) Say, in so many words, "you're not a feminist if you don't blahblah."

2) Back it up by repeatedly throwing shame and sticking fingers in one's ears and going LALALALALALA whenever someone else tries to actually talk, as in, *talk.*

3) When other person finally throws her hands up and goes, "nu, so all right, I'm not a feminist,"

4) Wring hands, cast eyes to the heavens and wonder,

Where O Where have all the feminists gone???

head. desk. bang.

Here's a hint for all y'all making this sort of argument out there who still might be reading:

At this point, even if you were right: it doesn't matter.

That's right.

Because your political and communication skills, frankly, suck ass.

If all you want is the deep tingly satisfaction of waving the bloody martyr shirt, then by all means continue doing what you're doing.

If you actually want to change any minds? At least, in your favor? You're doing a piss-poor job.

This message was brought to you from the Department Of Huge, Honking Clues.
 
but even the original "bite me Twisty" thread was pretty damn harsh on abuse survivors, so.

That's true. I guess I shouldn't be surprisd anymore. And yet I continue to be.

I plan to write about all this on my own blog, later...
 
but even the original "bite me Twisty" thread was pretty damn harsh on abuse survivors, so.

While I don't excuse it, I think she was mostly being harsh on abuse survivors who assume that their history is paradigmatic. I'd be annoyed by a Johns Hopkins graduate who simply refused to believe that thousands of people have not gone the HBSOC nor yet the informed-consent route. Especially if those people decided to set themselves up as experts on how transition works for everyone everywhere, and if they wanted to complain that _they_ were being silenced.
 
Sure, I interpreted it that way as well, piny. and similarly with the current post: i think that there's a fair amount of room for various interpretations.

trouble is: it still doesn't feel any better to the actual abuse survivors who might (justifiably) read it otherwise.

and it's alienating.
 
I mean, the problem here is not so much what people did or didn't experience: the problem here is when people can't or won't go, say, you know what, other people might've had a different experience. *Maybe it's worth hearing what they have to say.*

Some people who've been abused can do that; some people can't or won't. Likewise, some people who don't (that we know of) have a history of abuse are able and willing to hold dialogue; and others aren't.

The day someone figures out what actually *does* make or break in that regard is the day we figure out how to solve 75% of the world's problems, I'm convinced.
 
Also, wrt the w-w thread? She never answered my question:

---------

w-w wrote,

Anji - I'm not pulling the "I'm more feminist than you" trick. I'm not blaming women for where they happen to be individually placed in the power paradigm. Really.

Really?

If that's the case, then how am I supposed to reconcile that statement with what you wrote in your original post:

If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist.

Does it count as not saying "I'm more feminist than you" because you're actually saying those that disagree w/ you about porn and prostitution aren't feminists at all?

---------

Hmmm.
 
amber - I have noticed that many an honest question goes unanswered around the blogosphere - I expect I'm guilty of it too, although I try hard not to be.

very frustrating, though, isn't it?
 
I've asked w-w a number of questions that never did get answered, even obliquely.

considering that our whole interaction started off with her calling me not only "not a feminist" but a "fraud" and "belledamned" and only interested in making the mens happy (!!) after I dared to question some things Catherine MacKinnon said, frankly it's quite something that I even spoke courteously to her at all, when she came onto my blog and made what looked like an attempt at actual dialogue. even if it did involve kneejerk sniping at another poster, among other things i found, well, annoying.

what i particularly like is how she thanked me for actually reading what she'd said (when defending her against someone else making generalizations).

sure would be nice if she'd ever, like, return the favor; but I'm not exactly holding my breath here. never was, tell the truth.
 
and uh yeah: how exactly is "you are NOT a feminist if ___" *not* pulling the "more feminist than thou" trick?

oh never mind, really.
 
"'belledamned'"

*snort*

Well, at least you're giving her work.

and uh yeah: how exactly is "you are NOT a feminist if ___" *not* pulling the "more feminist than thou" trick?

...Because it's a dichotomy, not a scale?
 
"Here I stand, I can do no other..."
 
belledame - two Martin Luther references!

Holy Reformation, Batman!
 
The whole "get your daughter into it" is sort of interesting, too. So much for the anti-natalist camp, then, eh?

i mean, why assume i have a daughter, or want a daughter?

frankly i think that's rather, well, i don't know what sort of feminism THAT is. *sniff*
 
My latest comment on the pertinent thread, pending moderation:

Sam -I may be wrong - the W. McElroy preliminary study was the one I was thinking about. I didn't know it was preliminary and not finished.

It would not be the first time I was ever wrong, nor the last, and the world will not cave in if I admit it.

You, Sam, are absolutely an expert on this topic, for which you have devoted tons of time and resources and emotional energy. I have no problem deferring to your expertise and in any numbers-quoting competition I'd lose hands down.

However, I maintain that most studies ABOUT ANYTHING are biased in some manner (and if the researchers are funded by foundation grants, so much the worse for the results.)

More to the topic -

I absolutely get the fact that prostitution can be a hard life, a humiliating life, a destructive life. And I absolutely get the fact that you, Sam (and others) are doing The Good Work helping people break free from the paradigm that enslaves them.

That said, I do not believe that every exchange of sexual activity for something else is by definition an egregious violation against Class Woman.

Neither do I believe that, by saying this, that it is the same as saying "I believe women actually want be every man's fucktoy-for-hire". A condemnation of DDT is not a ringing endorsement of the malaria mosquito.

Further, I don't believe that how I feel about this issue should be the defining aspect of my feminism.

Regarding Witchy's serious question -

I am monogamous with my partner so won't be turning tricks until he's dead. apologies.

I don't have children so can't claim to know what to do if my children wanted to exchange sexual activity for something else.

In my own history, I have never exchanged sexual activity for money. I've absolutely exchanged sexual activity for groceries, for dinner, for a place to stay.

I thought it was a pretty even trade.
 
A condemnation of DDT is not a ringing endorsement of the malaria mosquito.

I love that analogy! It gets the point across very clearly.
 
Of course, if you're the sort of person who insists that butbutbut eliminating the malaria mosquito must be accomplished at ALL COSTS, FULL STOP, on account of it's SUCKING OUR PRECIOUS BODILY FLUIDS, then, well, sure, anyone who doesn't agree 100% is agin' you.
 
amber - thank my husband for that. I don't know if he heard it from someone else or if he made it up, but that's where I heard it first.
 
I love Witchy and have some big problems with porn, but you know I also have to say I feel anytime we tell women "You should," "You need to" or "Why didn't you" we are ultimately silencing women's voices.

I may not agree with something you have to say about porn, AP (tho I guess it would have been wise to READ your whole post -- which I will go back to do now --before getting all excited and Commenting) but I WANT to hear YOU and all women, ya know?
 
Hey, km, how're your teeth?
 
reply to Delphyne's latest on the relevant thread, in case of moderation:

(note that it's probably fairer to read her whole comment at the relevant thread for full context)

I remember you doing something similar on Twisty's thread when you got told that BDSM wasn't feminist, antiprincess.

Delphyne, I assure you - if I hadn't been treated like yesterday's garbage at Twisty's back in February, I would not still be on about it today.

go where you can find thousands of like-minded feminists. Not only that, but there is the mainstream culture which just loves porn and prostitution so you will find many of your ideas and beliefs reflected there too.

you know good and well I never said I "just loved porn and prostitution." Part of the problem with this whole discussion is that it's too too easy for one side to paint the other side as absolutist, even as we're all raising the chorus of "I never said that!"

And if I found many of my ideas and beliefs reflected there,why would I bother to come here? The rest of the libfemblogosphere does not particularly speak to me or for me.

I can't actually believe that you are trying to paint yourself out as some oppressed minority. Anti-pornstitution feminists aren't the dominant majority in feminism, your group are.

I didn't mean to imply a)that I was part of any sort of organized group or b) that I felt "oppressed" - you're right, that would be stupid - I just meant to say that I felt excluded and disrespected by people I really admire and like to work with.

Although a great many voices claim to stand in opposition to antiporn feminism, the important voices not only come out loud-n-proud antiporn, but scornful of those who are not as loud-n-proud as they. it's the scorn that bothered me then, and still bothers me now.

I'm not calling a truce in that battle any time soon. Maybe you should all just get out of our way.

I wonder if you meant that as your coup de grace or as a serious point for discussion. It's a good coup de grace, but an even better serious point for discussion.

I'm not sure having two seperate feminist echo chambers is the way to go. I think that's a good way to waste resources and lose ground.

If I had gotten out of y'all's way six months ago, I never would have read Pony's comments to this thread, which have definitely added some depth and meaning to the issue that was missing for me previously.

Why does all this have to be about you anyway?

me personally, or non-antiporners in general?

I can't speak for others, really - but I think it's at least somewhat important to determine the extent that the people I otherwise respect and agree with don't want me (or any others like me) around.
 
oh Delphyne. well.

as for "get out of our way:"

likewise, toots.
 
question for you, paleofem:

when you say the rest of the libfemblogosphere doesn't speak for you. Who/where do you mean? more to the point: what doesn't speak to you? What would you like to see addressed that isn't?
 
...ijwts that to me the phrasing of this sums it all up:

"when you got told that BDSM wasn't feminist,"

"got told."

"This Is The Way It Is, Like It Or Lump It."

you know: lately I try more and more to break it down to the individual in question.

if someone tells me that they're not interested in truce or dialogue--and to me the above-quoted is saying that amply even without the more explicit statement of just that farther down--I tend to believe them. bye. see ya.

that doesn't mean *nobody* who might share some of the same opinions about...stuff is worth talking to.

but.

just sayin'.
 
belledame - maybe I spoke in haste?

I tell ya - I can absolutely count on Delphyne to help me lose my shit on any given day. For some reason my normal sense of what is nice/appropriate/wise goes right out the window.

that is - I'm NOT trying to blame Delphyne for the shooting-off of my own mouth - my words are my responsibility completely. I'm trying to say that, for reasons I don't understand, every time I find myself in a conversation with her I seem to abandon my wits entirely.

in that remark "the libfemblogosphere does not speak for me" - I totally played the "more-radical-than-thou" card. Which I did not mean, or even realize I was doing.

Maybe the line I draw between "liberal" and "radical" is inaccurate?

now that you press me I can't think of an example. I know Delphyne cited Bitch PhD - I don't read her anymore (maybe I should?) but for some reason in my head I file her as more lib/less rad.
 
go where you can find thousands of like-minded feminists. Not only that, but there is the mainstream culture which just loves porn and prostitution so you will find many of your ideas and beliefs reflected there too.

Yes, and if Twisty became a Carmelite nun, she could spend the rest of her waking and sleeping hours in the company of other women, and no one would ever pressure her to make herself sexually available to men again. What? That would be anathema to her feminist beliefs, you say? That arrangement has nothing to do with separatism except on the most technical, superficial level, you say? She'd rather become a fact-checker for Cosmopolitan, you say?

I am sick and tired of being told to go back to the mainstream to find like-minded people. By and large, mainstream self-appointed sexual arbiters are not kindred spirits. They do not respect sexual women. They do not understand sexual women. Plenty of them wish to harm sexual women. I don't want to get coffee and danish with Jenna Jameson, let alone Larry Flynt. They don't have any more in common with me and my desires than the quiverful crowd have with feminist motherhood ala Hip Mama. "Sex positive" is not the same as "sex positive" feminism. What next? Are they going to tell me that she-male porn is trans-positive? Are they going to argue that Charing Cross is proof that society lurves transsexuals?

Oh. Wait.
 
(((piny)))
 
Charing Cross?

I don't know what goes on in some peoples' minds, honestly.

I do find it kind of richly ironic when people who spend apparently most of their passion and energy going on about such things as other womens' sexual choices and footwear accuse anyone *else* of inappropriate fixation on unworthy targets.
 
Charing Cross = hospital, yes?
 
well i guess what I was asking, antip, is what it is that you find in the blogs like the ones you've been addressing here that you don't find at say Feministe or Pandagon. or Bitch PhD, sure.
 
I'm thinking maybe British drag queen, based on context, but I'm not familiar.
 
quiverful?
 
quiverful - striving towards the largest number of children god allows you to conceive.

what I see in the radfemblogosphere (mind you, it may not actually be there, but this is what I see, at its best)- fighting spirit. willingness to live one's principles. deep exploration of motivations. brave re-imaginings of the future. humor.

all good things.

of course, the same could be said of the French Revolution...
 
according to my (albeit limited) internet search of "charing cross" + "transgendered", Charing Cross Hospital is a hospital that seems to specialize in transgendered issues, but I'm not sure from what angle as the IT guy was coming up behind me when I was examining the links.
 
according to my (albeit limited) internet search of "charing cross" + "transgendered", Charing Cross Hospital is a hospital that seems to specialize in transgendered issues, but I'm not sure from what angle as the IT guy was coming up behind me when I was examining the links.

It's the gender clinic in Great Britain. I've heard good things and bad things about them--and met good clinicians and bad clinicians. Basically, their standard is more rigorous than the HBSOC that are current in this country, and they can be a wee bit reductive at times.

I was thinking more in terms of Janice Raymond's argument that Johns Hopkins (John Money's old stomping grounds) was proof that the patriarchy loved transsexuals. Meanwhile, transsexuals were leaving the freaking country so they could get more respectful, less arduous treatment as consumers rather than lab monkeys.
 
Janice Raymond's argument that Johns Hopkins (John Money's old stomping grounds) was proof that the patriarchy loved transsexuals.

headdesk, as the kids say...

seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Hopkins loved transsexuals like little boys love flies - pulling wings off of.
 
Hmm. I guess my mileage varies wrt that blogosphere; or, well, again, depends on the individual in question.

I ask because in all this it occurs to me that we haven't maybe so much talked out our respective ideologies, and the etymology thereof. maybe there's something in the radfem blogs that i'm missing. for me i find a satisfactory hodgepodge, ideologically, from liberals, socialists, some radicals of varying stripes, a couple centrists, some quirky uncategorized people; lots and lots of queer folks, of course.

but wrt the blogosphere at least; like i've said, IBTP was the first major blog i started posting on, so it perhaps resonated a little more when i started feeling alienated. originally what i had liked about her blog was, in no particular order: passionate and eloquent ripping apart of stuff I also found reprehensible (right wing and blatantly misogynistic atrocities); some social critique which i partially agreed with, and was still under the delusion that disagreement was particularly welcome there; funny; posts about food; and what I thought was a campy sensibility, wrt the title and the iconic pic. didn't realize that she takes it both more and less seriously than i had thought. and the parts she takes more and less seriously, respectively, are in exact inverse proportion to what i would do.

so I started branching out, and I'm glad of it. my blogroll reflects pretty well the sorts of people and ideas that I find worthwhile.

I still come back to fisk/snark on this shit because i keep running into some of these people on the bigger blogs that i like (Alas, Feministe, Feministing, Pandagon--by the way, do you know Shakespeare's Sister?), and/or blogpals have their own run-ins.

and because this shit still presses some of my hot buttons from time to time.

but personally, i have no investment in anyone that doesn't reciprocate.

iow, i wouldn't belong to a club that *wouldn't* have me as a member.
 
yes well Janice Raymond has springs coming out of her head; that's far from the wackiest thing she's said.
 
I really dug Twisty when I discovered her, for all the reasons you listed.

That's what made it all so heartwrenching.
 
I really dug Twisty when I discovered her, for all the reasons you listed.

That's what made it all so heartwrenching.


Yeah, I guess I feel the same way. Although I didn't take it as personally. I was just annoyed.
 
anyway back to ideology/activism: like, antip, you've said that the antiporn thing is the one thing that separates you from these radfems.

and what I have come to realize over the last while--and i owe a debt to BL for going to the source of the theor(ies) and seriously tackling this shit, both for her own work and for setting the bar higher for my own research--is that in fact there are other places besides the porn business that I have real problems with radical feminism(s), at least the versions I've seen in a number of young bloggers as well as the writings of Dworkin, MacKinnon, Jeffreys, Robin Morgan, and others (whom the bloggers do read to greater or lesser extents).

I don't believe that male oppression of women is THE original oppression.

I don't believe that control of sexuality is in fact the most dangerous weapon in patriarchal oppression; or anyway, not in the way that I think a lot of people see this. and if I did, I would try all the harder not to do a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" by creating new sexual shibboleths and standards.

I don't belive that masculinity and femininity are two sides of the same patriarchal coin, as one radfem was talking about recently. I do believe in playing with gender; I don't believe annihilation is the only way to go.

I definitely don't believe in Twisty's "Matrix" theory.

...and by the way, considering the etymology of "matrix," that's a pretty frigging ironic analogy for the "patriarchy."

and for that matter, i'm not at all sure i believe in the Patriarchy. at least not in the reified way that a lot of people seem to. i think it's a way to frame and shape certain phenomena, like "ego" and "superego," or "the proletariat" and "imperialist pig-dogs." It's useful to me only insofar as it stays flexible, one analytical tool of many. As a concrete structure, to be Believed in, no questions asked or brokered, i find it no more useful--or less potentially dangerous--than any other fundamentalism.
 
You're not alone; someone else I know said that they had "kind of loved" Twisty.

and obviously i have my own wounds and triggers wrt this stuff, beyond ideology per se i mean, or i wouldn't have been posting about it as much as i had.

but.

something there is that doesn't love a wall.
 
I absolutely believe that masculinity and femininity are totally arbitrary concepts.

I agree with Andrea Dworkin where she says "there are no opposite sexes."

I'm not so sure that the concept of Patriarchy (tm) stands up to that idea.
 
Well, that's what's so ironic and frustrating wrt Dworkin: she says some stuff that people like Susie Bright and some queer theorists take to what you'd think would be their logical conclusions; but she would have none of it. and neither will her diehard supporters.
 
She basically asked the question "would any woman who considered herself a feminist work in the sex industry, put her money where her mouth is", and surprise, surprise, women who consider themselves feminists (myself included) who work in the sex industry replied, and were ignored. Funny how that works when you give people the answer they do not want...
 
yeh, i think i said something to that effect after whitters' story was similarly ignored, dunno if the comment made it through modding.
 
hi RenEv! I was wondering when you'd drop by and say hello!
 
Interesting thread anti-p.

All comments on that thread have made it through modding. I only mod to protect myself personally, not to censor comment or opinion.

Nor have I disregarded the comments of anyone who said they were a sex worker and enjoyed it (though 'sex worker' is a rather more broad term than that of the OP) but perhaps my references were rather too subtle.

Incidentally, my questions about institutionalised misogyny in relation to pornography and prostitution have so far gone unremarked by those who defend pornstitution (unless I've missed oblique references?).

My original reasoning - which hasn't been posted here - is "If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist. These institutions are the props of patriarchy and have nothing to do with women's self determination, ergo they are NOT feminist.

Just to be clear.
 
We heard you loud and clear, w-w.

It's really not for you to say who is and isn't a feminist. There are many schools of feminist thought; the one you follow is not the only one. Your saying it's so doesn't make it so.

And frankly I'm not sure what it is you're trying to accomplish by saying such a thing.

If you think that this is a way to win more people over to the anti-porn cause, out of curiousity: what gives you that impression?

Because, see, in order for me to believe such a thing of any particular tactic, I would have to at some point have some evidence that it actually worked.
 
Speaking only for myself, I'll be happy to address the questions of institutionalized misogyny w/in mainstream porn and prostitution, w-w, when you've answered some of the questions I've already asked you, mostly here, in earlier threads. At this point I'm a bit tired of writing lengthy and researched responses that are answered with -crickets.-
 
...or, in the case of our first interaction, w-w, a lot of wild accusations and insults.

Which, you know, since i've returned fire with fire, as is my wont, i haven't asked for an apology or anything. And when you came to my blog and seemed like you were making an honest attempt to engage, I responded in kind.

I did not tell you who or what you were; I did not tell you what to think about thus and so. I presented what I knew and thought and felt; you did the same. So, fine.

And when another regular poster misquoted you and I corrected him, you responded with thanks; thanks for actually taking the time to read what you actually said.

Thing is, that's not a one-way street.

I have problems with the porn/sex/etc. business, yes, obviously.

But what really set me off here, along with other people, if you read them, is the declaration that "you're not a feminist."

It doesn't matter WHY you claim we're "not feminists."

That is a power move.

The fact that you actually have no authority to take away anyone's creds doesn't make it any less annoying; you are speaking as though you did.
 
backup comment:

And no, I don't think you're a femninist anti-princess, although I think you're a person I'd like to sit and share a cup of tea with, which is more than I can say for most of those with whom you ally, who I think are nothing more than colonizers as I've said, crass opportunists and selfish me'ists who have yet to grow up.

ok - I had a little time to think about this, and I must regretfully decline the invitation.

At first I was honored, flattered, pleased that you decided I was human enough to share a cup of tea with, especially given the fact that we've had words in the past.

I was a little blinded by that and it took me a while to realize that you were just faking a gesture of friendship in order to say mean things about people who have supported me, backed me up, defended me against people like you.

what was I supposed to do - sell them out for a cup of tea?

shame on me for nearly falling for it.
 
*mwah*
 
All comments on that thread have made it through modding.

I submitted at least two comments that didn't make it through. blame blogger if you like.

but I noticed that all my comments made it through moderation after I started cc-posting them here.
 
W.W.

"Nor have I disregarded the comments of anyone who said they were a sex worker and enjoyed it (though 'sex worker' is a rather more broad term than that of the OP) but perhaps my references were rather too subtle."

Then I do have to ask, what type of "sex worker" were you refering to? Stripper? Escort? High-End Call girl? Porn gal? "Special Massage Therapist"? Or only women who have had the misfortune of having to work the streets? The broad term of course includes all of these off shoots, but of which type were you specifically looking for?

I particpate in a few of the above mention fields, by choice. If I had a child and she OR he wanted to do the same, BY CHOICE, I would support them. No, I would not want to work the streets nor would I want anyone I cared for to, and I am all for helping people in that life who want out, but the rest of it is not all demons and pain for some of us.

And don't bother to tell me how un-feminist you undoubtedly figure I am am, I can already guess.
 
oh, and sorry for the rudeness, Anti...

"Hello, sorry for crashing your blog uninvited, and, well, I have added you to the must read list..."
 
>she OR he

but this does not compute! male sex workers, zey do not exist!

certainly aren't worth mentioning, anyway. ever.
 
right, right...males sex workers have no feelings and do not count...silly me!

I will remember to tell that to the male dancers I know who complain about the female customers who leave them clawed up as hell after a night at the club and the male escorts I know who, well, suck as much dick as their female counterparts....

but hey, a guy strips or escorts, he is a stud, a woman does it, whore, so I guess that makes ALL the difference in the world....
 
Just tell your boys that they, too, can Blame the Patriarchy. along with the sadly false conscious'd "raunch culture" women who have deluded themselves into thinking that they, too, can have a little piece of that patriarchal pie.

that in fact all is not as it seems; it is not in fact that the women in question are simply ill-mannered objectifying harassing "customer is always right" horndogs in their own right.

and a little lightbulb will go off over their heads, and they will promptly quit their degrading occupation and go do something *not at all objectifying* or exploitive or disgusting or humiliating. Something *dignified.*

Working the kill floor at a slaughterhouse, perhaps.

The guy who chisels pigeon shit off the statues in the park.

Or maybe dressing up in a giant chicken suit and handing out flyers in the 110 degree heat.
 
as for gay men...well.

We just won't say anything about them; that would be best.
 
I was thinking more in terms of Janice Raymond's argument that Johns Hopkins (John Money's old stomping grounds) was proof that the patriarchy loved transsexuals.

Uhhh.... what???

Wow. Laff riot!! Seriously... that may be the most ridiculous "the patriarchy loves..." falsehood I've ever heard.

WOw.
 
Well, her whole book on the subject *was* titled:

"The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male"

and as for insane quotage, it gets much better:

"All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves."
 
Or, here:

"All men and male-defined realities are not blatantly macho or masculinist. Many indeed are gentle, nurturing, feeling, and sensitive, which, of course, have been the more positive qualities that are asociated with stereotypical femininity....The androgynous man and the transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist deceive women in much the same way, for they lure women into believing that they are truly one of us..."

Speaking of prostitution vs. trafficking, I have pointed this out before, so I will do it without further comment here: this is the same woman who heads up the quite powerful and influential Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

except to say: if this organization/she did not originate the idea that there is no difference between trafficking and prostitution, they would appear to be one of the more widely-quoted authorities on the subject.

http://www.catwinternational.org/bio_JaniceRaymond.php
 
"All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves."

Well, except for FtM transsexuals, that is.

Or, do those not exist either? (Shove 'em off into a corner w/ male prostitures and sex workers who don't hate their job...)
 
yeah, that seemed weird to me too.

why forget transmen?

It's not like no one's going to miss them. Someone's gonna figure out that they're not worked into the equation and ask a smartass question - you'd think she'd have planned for that.
 
yeah, that seemed weird to me too.

why forget transmen?

It's not like no one's going to miss them. Someone's gonna figure out that they're not worked into the equation and ask a smartass question - you'd think she'd have planned for that.


I'll see if I can find a cite. She describes transmen as "lost women," victims of internalized misogyny making a desperate bid for male privilege. She reserves the bulk of her ire for transwomen, for two reasons. First of all, transmen are virtually unheard-of (they were a minority at the time of her writing, because, duh, doctors were sexist; they were not as uncommon as she believed). Second, even if they weren't, the institution is patriarchal, period, so the mere presence of these people who are really women doesn't matter. Besides, transmen are only there to make transseuxality seem like an equal-opportunity phenomenon, when it's really an institution created by men for men.
 
and she wrote a whole damn book, piny?

so it's one of those things where being a transman puts you in the majority and the minority at the same time, according to someone else's convenience, and you can get shit for being both at once?
 
The original came out in 1979; as piny says, pretty sure that most people weren't thinking of transmen, if they thought of trans people at all. They were thinking of Christine Jorgenson.

it was certainly good of her to bring this burning issue to the public's attention.
 
that site linked from feminist-reprise has a few things to say about transmen, though.

they know best, of course.
 
The original came out in 1979; as piny says, pretty sure that most people weren't thinking of transmen, if they thought of trans people at all. They were thinking of Christine Jorgenson.

And Renee Richards, by Raymond's time. In fact, she devotes a lot of text to Richards.

Some of the disparity has to do with institutional sexism--which persists in the writings of people like J. Michael Bailey. Some of it might have to do with differences in social/physical transition. Generally speaking, female-bodied people who want to pass and live as men have an easier time slipping off the radar; that's one reason that follow up in transmale studies has historically been so poor. It certainly isn't reason to believe that transsexuality is primarily a male-bodied problem. These days, I think the numbers are about even.

that site linked from feminist-reprise has a few things to say about transmen, though.

Which, Questioning Transgender?

Yeah. I don't even know where to start.
 
Piny - this stuff scrambles my head. What am I missing?
 
Piny - this stuff scrambles my head. What am I missing?

I'm happy to be less confusing--I know I use a lot of jargon--but I need some more specifics on what makes no sense.
 
you = making sense

Janice Raymond and the transphobic hive mind = scrambling me

I know that some portion of the radfemverse stands in opposition to "transgender politics", according to that site "questioning transgender". but their analysis seems to go no deeper than "ew!boys!icky!"

there's gotta be more to it than that - at least so I can sagely stroke my (imaginary) beard and go "hm. yes. I see how one could come to that conclusion, however erroneous..." etc.
 
Well, Heart had some wack convoluted thing about how the surgery--is it just the surgery that's her problem? or is it any cross-gender/genderqueer ID'ing at all? anyway--that this is actually UPHOLDING gender roles, see; whereas her brand of radical feminism ("there is one way, and one way only," verbatim quote) is dedicated to wiping out these patriarchal "gender roles." and thus will we achieve Revolution. (bet you didn't know it was the transfolk who were holding it back. bad transfolk! no biscuit!)

I looked at it and looked at it and looked at it. I stood on my head and looked at it some more. and after i stopped choking and then laughing, I concluded that it means one of two things:

1) She's completely full of shit; of course she has every reason in the world for upholding that pesky binary gender system (patriarchal or otherwise); if it didn't exist she'd have no identity. if she's not a woman, not a radical feminist, not opposed to...the Other; then, what? It can't happen. meanwhile: this is our clubhouse, penii i mean male conditioning keep out.

2) Her argument makes total sense in some subtle Talmudic/otherwordly way and I just don't speak her crazy moon language; dayenu.
 
The argument--and I suppose it'd be unethical for me not to exhort you to read Heart more and closer, because I can't possibly be representing it in all its complexity blah blah blah proformacakes--is this:

There is no such thing as gender or gender identity. Gender is a social construct; gender identity is the way we react to that social construct. It has no biological component; it is not inborn, but taught. By insisting that there is a component to gender identity apart from the social one, transsexuals are cementing gender as real and valid when it is in fact false and damaging. By reifying gender, they inevitably reify sexism.

I think that this is a crap argument. If it's possible to concede the fact of biological differences like ovaries and yet not yield to sexism, it's possible to agree that there is such a thing as gender identity and yet not yield to sexism. Transpeople as a group don't argue that their gender identity is tied to any particular behavior, or that woman- or manhood are. They don't even argue that the options are limited to womanhood and manhood.

All that aside, you can't deny a phenomenon just because it might make it more difficult to argue a philosophy that you otherwise believe, no matter how much good that philosophy might do. It's true that transsexuality is used to support sexism, as is the fact that women can bear children and men cannot. I shouldn't be expected to closet myself because of that.
 
There's another part, too: For Heart, womanhood means being born into subjugation under sexism. That experience is what makes a woman. No one who hasn't lived that can be a woman or feel like a woman, and for a buncha men to say otherwise obscures that truth about women.

Again, I disagree with the idea that gender identity and discussions of sexism qua sexism cannot coexist. Transwomen do not obscure the fact of misogyny in their narratives, or confuse the distinction between feeling like a woman and being treated as one.
 
but if there's no such thing as gender, how can one be born into gender subjugation?
 
but if there's no such thing as gender, how can one be born into gender subjugation?

There's no such thing as gender apart from the social structure of oppression. That's what separates men and women.
 
Disability-rights advocates distinguish between biological difference and socially-constructed difference this way:

1. we have some degree of physical or mental functional loss or difference (we have impairments); and
2. we are excluded from full participation in society because we have impairments (we are disabled).


So in this analogy, according to Heart, gender is the latter problem, the exclusion. Gender has no real equivalent to "impairments," except arguably the ability to bear children. Biological differences certainly don't account for the enormous disparity between the way women and men are treated. "Gender identity," so the logic goes, argues that you can identify yourself as part of a group that is defined by nothing other than oppression, even if you aren't actually subject to that oppression.
 
(sorry about the serial posting, but I realized that I didn't finish the thought:)

...Which is a big problem, and anti-feminist in practice, because it obscures the fact of that oppression.
 
It is bollocks because it is completely reductive. Women have vastly vastly vastly different experiences. I'm no more likely to speak a common language/share common experiences with some cisgendered women than I am with a number of transwomen--less so in some cases. And fuck knows that we share gender-based oppression in common. True, it probably doesn't work in exactly the same way--but hello, that is ALSO true for the not-transgendered women.

and besides. why do i want to make my whole entire common identity about my oppression? Since when is identity only about oppression? And this is an inducement to go to the Fest--how? I mean, I'm sure they don't advertise it that way.

"Come share the Michigan Experience with thousands of your oppressed sisters! where we can all bond in our common oppression! And if you forget that you're oppressed, three nights of sleeping on a rock and getting eaten alive by insects will remind you, by Diana!"
 
There's no such thing as gender apart from the social structure of oppression. That's what separates men and women.

gender as flag-of-convenience?
not buying it.

all a lot of sound and fury signifying boys!icky.
 
Right. I'm most skeptical of this because it's always about transwomen, and hardly ever transmen. They say that they're just as annoyed by their presence, but when they talk about transpeople on the land, it's always about "transwomen males." Transmen are all over the damn place at Michfest, and they're more conspicuous and probably more numerous than transwomen, and they're excluded from attending on their own terms. But their presence and potential presence doesn't merit anywhere near the vituperation spat at transwomen. There's no fear of them, and nothing like fury. So it is inconsistent.
 
So basically this is either

1) some idea that if one was raised as a girl but doesn't ID as a woman now, one is better suited for MichFest than the other way around, because...something.

2) the gatekeepers can't tell transmen from very butch, and don't ask and they don't tell

3) fear of penis cooties

4) some combination of the above.

warm?
 
piny, have you been?

what's it like?
 
piny, have you been?

what's it like?


Fuck no! Are you kidding me? These are the people I take vacations from!

...I mean, no, it's not really my thing. And these days it would be really inappropriate. I'd like to go to Camp Trans, but I'm not sure it'll ever work out.

I don't want to speculate on the climate of fest with or without transpeople, and I wouldn't take the word of Camp Transpeople alone that there were transmen all over the land. But...everyone agrees that there are. And it just doesn't seem to be anywhere near as much of a problem.

And...yeah, pretty much. Although people are outraged at the idea of transwomen violating the honor policy, but just don't talk too much about transmen doing the same. When pressed, they'll complain and say it's just as bad, but not on any immediate level, that's for sure.
 
...or, I guess, they really do believe that the transmen are still women no matter what.

Some day I'm sure I will understand the allure of camping, much less the allure of camping with a bunch of strangers whose politics by and large drive me batshit.
 
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