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Our helping of Radfem goodness for the day. Thank you for the incisive commentary Purplesage. :)
It’s time for another talk about the meaning of personal agency among oppressed people, because anti-feminists are still saying shit like:
- You’re denying women’s agency
- Take some personal responsibility for yourself
- You just have a victim mentality
Anti-feminists say these things because they believe that, since feminists point out the structure of women’s oppression and feel pretty alarmed and upset about it, we must therefore be people who just want to choose to be victims because we like being victims. Apparently, if we didn’t want to be victims then we’d simply decide not to be victims, because we have free choice and agency. I’ve seen this exact line of reasoning argued a ton of times from various people, and it’s bullshit. This is a misrepresentation of what feminism is about.
The best paragraph ever written about “I Choose My Choice” politics is this old gem by Twisty Faster:
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The more you know…
This is the second in a series of posts on postmodernism.
Postmodernism arose from the intersection of two trends. One was the onset of hard times economically as the long post-world war 2 boom finally came to an end. Profits were increasingly being made not by expanding production but by sackings, by welfare cuts, by intensifying the work process, and by cannibalising the system itself, running down and/or selling off public infrastructure. In this climate personal life and relationships became harsher.
It came at the end of the social protest era of the late 1960s and early 70s. Rather than boosting those protests, it played a key role in snuffing them out. Unemployment lowered workers’ bargaining power and confidence to act; the union officials were won to the need to defend the “national interest” instead of their members’ living standards. So just as things were getting worse, the vision of something…
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Wow. Insightful writing. :)
There’s a new catchcry in town. It’s been flying around New Zealand media like a ball in a pinball machine since February 20, when Family First launched a campaign called Ask Me First. The campaign amplifies the voice of Laura, an 18 year-old student who has challenged policy changes at a New Zealand all girls’ high school. The policy changes were made to accommodate a student who identifies as trans. Liberal media is reacting to Laura’s concerns with loud wails of “transphobia!” – but have any of these journalists really considered what “transphobia” might actually mean?
Does transphobia really mean, never questioning or turning over in one’s mind the views or demands of a trans person? Couldn’t obliging with haste and without question to someone’s demands, be a sign of fear?
And could noisy, flailing overcompensation perhaps be a symptom of deep discomfort, too?
I’m thinking of that
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A brief foreword: This is the first in a series of essays on sex, gender, and sexuality. If you agree with what I have written, that is fine. If you disagree with any of the following content, that is also perfectly fine. Either way, your life will go on undisturbed after you close this tab irrespective of what you think about this post.
I refuse to remain silent for fear of being branded the wrong type of feminist. I refuse to remain silent as other women are harassed and abused for their views on gender. In the spirit of sisterhood, this post is dedicated to Julie Bindel. Our views may not always converge, but I am very glad of her work to end male violence against women. In the words of the late, great Audre Lorde: “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
When I first enrolled as a Gender…
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“[…] Sex isn’t assigned. Socially constructed gender is assigned to sex. Here, let me offer you a visual aide I made a little while ago. (See above).
So we’re born female or male. This is because we’re an allogamous sexually reproducing species. This is easily observed and tested and well understood.
Our word for pre-pubescent and adolescent human females is “girl”, our word for adult human females is “woman”.
Our word for pre-pubescent and adolescent human males is “boy”, our word for adult human males is “man”.
With me so far?
So in human society behavioral expectations are imposed on girls and women, boys and men. This is called gender. And it’s bad because it tends to keep girls and women, the humans born female, in an inferior social position.
Beyond the expectations of behavior are social roles assigned to the sexes, these are gender roles.
Adopting the gender roles of the opposite sex and saying that makes one the equivalent of the opposite sex only serves to reinforce the idea that those gender roles are an inherent part of being that sex. All it does is continue to perpetuate them, and the oppression of girls and women, the humans born female, especially.
The solution then is to do away with gender, not further codify it. Then no one has to feel their sex is wrong because they don’t meet society’s behavioral expectations.”
And the above is the radical position that is causing so much anger. It is logical, offers a solution, and more importantly works toward a version of society that emancipates females from patriarchy – i.e. feminism.
“Women seem to be engaging in these events as activism because we somehow believe that normalising exposure of “the nipple” will help liberate “it” because men will become so accustomed to seeing female breasts in everyday settings, that they will no longer find them arousing, and then women will finally have the same privilege as men do to go topless. One of the problems with this notion is that it rests on the same habituation principle as pornography does, and the trajectory does not lead to liberation. What happens instead is that men are habituated and desensitised to the point of boredom, and then the game is lifted. In pornography, that means more explicit degradation and violence. Men did not used to like watching a woman being anally raped until she suffers rectal prolapse: they do now. It’s called “rosebudding”, and it’s the new trend.
The point is, that as long as power is still in men’s hands, and men are still buying women, using pornography, broadcasting misogyny, and capitalising from it all, while controlling every position and institution of influence there is – the habituation principle doesn’t work in women’s favour. If we are not taking power away, but we are taking more clothes off in more places, we are succumbing to the demands of men. If we are forcing or coercing other women to accept this status quo, we’re doing the patriarchy’s work for it, gratis.”
A New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) spokesperson has instigated an online pact against yours truly. That might flatter me, if it weren’t so effective. It’s titled “Against Human Rights” – appropriately, since it exists specifically to help negate an individual woman’s rights to further education, a voice, and a livelihood. The pact (below) misrepresents my concerns about women‘s safety and the medicalisation of gender, and asks signatories to collaborate in withholding study, speaking and work opportunities from none other than myself.
This pact was instigated just after I was banned from the Wellington Zinefest, a community hand-made book market; and just before I lost my job. The reason Wellington Zinefest gave me for their ban was that my work is critical of both prostitution, and gender identity politics, and this makes me “unsafe”. Supporters of this ban then trained their attention on the impressionable new manager at my work, making her nervous with allegations of “hate speech”. Her…
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Dear US citizens who want to move to Canada because of the election,
Recently your country has elected Donald Trump to be your president for the next four years. This concerns a great deal of us up here in Canada (and conversely there are some up here that think it’s a great idea). I’m sure it concerns many of you too. In fact I know it as it is hard to escape this reality. The blogosphere, Facebook, Reddit, and even the coffee room is abuzz with this. #Notmypresident is a thing now. People are talking about impeachment before Trump has served a day in office. I get it, people are upset. However I have a few talking points I would like to convey to you at present.
First off, Canada is not a consolation prize, it is a privilege to live here and one that is very difficult to achieve. Just because you don’t like the outcome of your election doesn’t mean we want you here. Quite frankly, we don’t have room. I mean if we even take half of the people who voted for Clinton then we would double our population. But to be honest, we don’t really want you here. We like being your neighbours, but we don’t really want you to move into our house when your left hand is upset with your right hand.
Second, I think you are needed in the USA. Honestly. I really do. Someone has to undo the damage your Democratic Party has done to its base. What they did to Bernie and his supporters is beyond the pale. Actively working against one candidate and for another when they were supposed to be impartial, gaslighting Bernie’s supporters when they complained, impugning their integrity after Wikileaks proved you worked against them, telling them you could win the election without them and you were better off without them. Give your head a shake. You need to make up with these people and then you need to come up with a way to join together. Otherwise what you are looking at in your home is going to become a very familiar story.
Third, you need to get over the delusion that things were that much better under Obama. Obama also has been bombing the shit out of brown people, more so than Bush ever did. He gave you a shitty healthcare option that only gave the health insurance companies more power when he could have pushed for single payer when the democrats owned the Presidency, the House and the Senate. He never did close Guantanamo nor did he even stop the torture that was happening there. Then there was the incident where that man literally went to Flint, Michigan and drank poisonous water and declared it safe. Sure, harm was very unlikely to come to him from drinking such a little amount however is sure as fuck was and still is, to this day and beyond, to all the residents of Flint whom are still there being forced to deal with what I would describe as Hell. If you think I’m being facetious about Flint, think again. If you were the mother of a small child in Flint and are without means, your options are to knowingly poison your children and let them die a slow death or to deny them water and let them die a fast death. The icing on this Hell Cake is when the guy who is supposed to be on your side, Obama, the President of the people, comes to Flint, and you get your hopes up that he’s going to fix this mess but then he not only doesn’t but he almost literally stabs you in the back instead. So Trump might be a lot of things but to date I don’t think he’s ever actually perpetuated the poisoning of an entire community.
Fourth, and finally (not because I couldn’t go on, but because this is getting too long to retain the reader’s interest) you have one of the biggest privileges known to man in this word, that being having citizenship in the most powerful country in the world. With that citizenship you can actually get involved in the democratic process and be the change you want to see. Bernie supporters, this goes double for you. You need to double down and get involved in the party you were so motivated to elect Bernie to just a few months ago. Bernie always said he couldn’t do this alone, that he needed people like him to be elected in all the different offices aside him for him to do the things he wanted to do. This remains true today. And it is now, the “quiet” periods of politics where these shifts really happen. If you want the revolution that Bernie offered then now is the time to go out and make it happen! It certainly won’t happen if you run away to a different country.