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I’m not sure when the definition of progressive queer activism changed to mean defiling and destroying women’s spaces, but unsurprisingly, the violent men of Queer activism (terrorism) are at it again. And quite honestly, they (GAG) can fuck the hell right off – violent patriarchal repression of women with a shiny coat of queer paint is still male violence and misogyny – and has no place in a society that claims to value women and stand for ‘equality’.
This violent shit doesn’t raise eyebrows or cause a stir in the media because the targets are only women after all. Meghan Murphy and the Guerrilla Feminist Collective are on the case though. Thank heavens.
“GAG / Gays Against Gentrification have vandalized the building housing the Vancouver Women’s Library. This latest action is prompting the following comparison of this new alt-white group’s activism.
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Protest methods against for-profit business in Chinatown:
* Stand across the street, 1/2 a block away, sing a nice christmas song with the lyrics changed protesting gentrification & racism (as an all white group)
* Inch closer, but remain outside the business, on the far side of the sidewalk so as not to disrupt customers and business operations
* Smile, sing, display signs neatly and respectfully, either laid on the sidewalk or in their hands
* Abide by all common-sense understandings of legal protest on/near private property
* Take responsibility for and pride in their action
Protest methods against volunteer-run, no-profit, free & inclusive women’s library on the night of their launch:
* Shout and scream slurs at library visitors outside
* Enter and take over the space with outraged entitlement
* Jason, a white male, continually asks which women inside are sex workers, and shouts “we don’t want you in our fucking spaces”, referencing the fact that he outed himself as a “trans person involved in sex work” thereby staking a claim to the area (?) which is a well known hunting ground for Johns seeking children and indigenous women specifically. Jason, are you a John? Can you clarify what you meant by “involved in sex work”? This can have so many meanings. TIA
* Destroy and steal library property: ripping artwork, destroying books, stealing wine, pulling the fire alarm
* Physically intimidate and assault library visitors outside
* Scream sexist slurs at women library visitors outside
* Bar library visitors from entering the space, actually turning people away who travelled in the heavy snow to reach the library
* Steal hand-painted sandwich board outside the library
* Vandalize the building that houses the library. A space shared by a diverse group of artists and artisans, jeopardizing the safety, livelihood, and work of many, not just that of the library.
* Discard all common-sense understandings of legal protest inside or on private property
* Deny any responsibility for their actions although almost every member of GAG was present and engaged
* Repeatedly claim to be committed to engaging in learning and discourse, yet reject, shut down, delete any and all criticisms, coming from a wide range of people and groups.”
So, GAG understands what peaceable protest looks like, but they chose not to when it comes to a library for women. This is what happens when women challenge the dominant male narrative in society, and this is why we need a feminist movement that is dedicated to fighting for female emancipation from patriarchy.
Well, nearly quoted the whole damn article, but so very important. Go to the national observer for the rest.
“In Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on Bill C-16, also known as the Transgender Rights Bill, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who introduced the legislation back in May, explained:
“Gender identity is a person’s internal or individual experience of their gender. It is a deeply felt experience of being a man, a woman, or being somewhere along the gender spectrum. Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. It is an external or outward presentation through aspects such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, or voice.”
But these statements show a deep misunderstanding of what gender is and how it works. Gender is a product of patriarchy. Ideas around masculinity and femininity exist to naturalize men’s domination and women’s subordination. In the past, women were said to be too irrational, emotional, sensitive, and weak to engage in politics and public life. Men were (and often still are) said to be inherently violent, which meant things like marital rape and domestic abuse were accepted as unavoidable facts of life. “Boys will be boys,” is the old saying that continues to be applied to excuse the predatory, violent, or otherwise sexist behaviour of males.
The feminist movement began back in the late 1800s in protest of these ideas, and continues today on that basis. The idea that gender is something internal, innate, or chosen — expressed through superficial and stereotypical means like hairstyles, clothing, or body language — is deeply regressive.
Beyond misguided language there is the fact that we are very quickly pushing through legislation that conflicts with already established rights and protections for women and girls.
Women’s spaces — including homeless shelters, transition houses, washrooms, and change rooms — exist to offer women protection from men. It isn’t men who fear that women might enter their locker rooms and flash, harass, assault, abuse, photograph, or kill them… This reality is often left unaddressed in conversations around gender identity. This reality is sex-based, not identity-based. Men cannot identify their way out of the oppressor class so easily, neither can women simply choose to identify their way out of vulnerability to male violence.”
As unpopular as this fact has become, a man or boy who wishes to identify as a woman or girl, perhaps taking on stereotypically feminine body language, hairstyles, and clothing, is still male. He still has male sex organs, which means girls and women will continue to see him as a threat and feel uncomfortable with his presence in, say, change rooms. Is it now the responsibility of women and girls to leave their own spaces if they feel unsafe? Are teenage girls obligated to overcome material reality lest they be accused of bigotry? Is the onus on women to suddenly forget everything they know and have experienced with regard to sexual violence, sexual harassment, and the male gaze simply because one individual wishes to have access to the female change room? Because one boy claims he “feels like a girl on the inside?” And what does that mean, anyway?
Generally, the claim that one “feels” like the opposite sex “on the inside” is connected to a list of sexist gender stereotypes: a boy likes dolls and dresses, a girl plays with trucks and cuts her hair short, a man enjoys wearing pantyhose and getting manicures, etc… There is no scientific foundation for the idea that sex is defined by a “feeling” or by superficial choices. One cannot, in fact, “feel” like a man or a woman “on the inside,” because sex is something that simply exists. It is a neutral fact. Aside from having a mental condition like body dysmorphic disorder, the only reason one could claim not to “feel” like the sex they are, biologically, is because they identify with the gender roles assigned to the opposite sex. Key word: assigned.
It is unlikely any of us feel comfortable with the restrictive roles we are socialized into as men or women. Certainly those who step out of those roles are punished viciously, and that includes trans identified people. But that problem is a social one, and the solution is not to reinforce sexist ideas about gender, but to push back against the idea of gender itself – that is to say, the idea that males and females have innate behaviours and preferences they are born with. As feminists and progressives, we should challenge the idea that superficial things like clothing, toys, makeup, or mannerisms define us.
We live in a time when women and girls are killed every day, across the globe, by men. Things like rape, domestic abuse, and the murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada are still not considered hate crimes. Yet we have managed to push through legislation that may very well equate “misgendering” to hate speech.
Women are protected under the human rights code on the basis that we are, as a group, discriminated against on account of our biology. Employers still choose not to hire women based on the assumption that they will become pregnant. Women are still fighting to have access to women-only spaces (including washrooms and locker rooms) in male-dominated workplaces like fire departments, in order to escape sexual harassment and assault.
Legislation and policies that protect “gender identity and expression” unfortunately set up a clash between women’s rights and those who identify as transgender. There are solutions. It was not always the norm, for example, that public buildings had to be accessible for people with disabilities. It is perfectly reasonable to expect public buildings to install private gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms for people who don’t wish to use either the women’s or the men’s room. We can effect change and ensure people have access to the services and support they need without imposing on already established and still very much needed rights of women and girls.
Women are socialized, from the time they are born, to prioritize the feelings and comfort of everyone else but themselves. We learn that our boundaries will not be respected by men, as we are talked over, leered at, cat called, groped, and raped. Girls’ images are constantly being shared electronically by boys and men alike, against their will. There is a real fear that images of our bodies will be put online in order to exploit and degrade us.
Our fears of men are justified, proven over and over again to be (sadly) rational, not irrational. That is something that needs to be respected, not treated as bigoted or hysterical. Society has disregarded women’s feelings, concerns, and safety for long enough.
This is an excerpt from Meghan Murphy’s manifesto posted on the Feminist Current titled : ‘We need to be braver’ — women challenge ‘gender identity’ and the silencing of feminist discourse.
““Cis” is another term that has been adopted by those who wish to see themselves or present themselves as progressive but that is rejected by radical feminists. “Cis,” we are told, means “a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex.” Therefore, a “cis woman” would be a woman who identifies with femininity, which I most certainly do not, nor do many other women. I reject the notion of femininity and I therefore reject the notion that women who have femininity imposed on them are either privileged or are naturally inclined towards their subordinate status. “Cis” is a regressive term, as it pretends as though women somehow identify with their own oppression. Nonetheless, women who reject the term are labelled “transphobic” — yet another way feminist speech is shut down and the general questioning of gender politics is disallowed.”
The current state of gender politics makes raising objections against the trans-narrative dangerous for women. Any public narrative should be subject to scrutiny and critical analysis – shutting down dissenting voices is not progressive in any sense of the word.
I applaud Ms.Murphy’s stand on gender politics and strongly encourage people to read her website and support her in her struggle to defend the rights of women.
The Feminist Current is a bastion of “not the fun kind” of feminist discourse – Meghan Murphy steps up with this bold article and describes the challenges that women face when fighting for the radical notion that feminism should centre women in its practice.
“Women who challenge discourse around “gender identity” have been largely isolated on the front lines for the past decade. Liberal feminists and progressives have chosen identity politics over feminism many times over and this is no exception. Those who are not invested in women’s liberation are well aware that the power they seek cannot be gained from supporting the independent women’s movement, and most haven’t bothered to think hard enough about the roots of patriarchy to understand what it is we are fighting in the first place. But even many of those whose politics are otherwise rooted radical feminist principles have felt afraid to publicly question the dogma of gender identity discourse. We are only too aware that refusing to accept and parrot back commonly accepted mantras places you on the wrong end of a modern witch hunt.
I don’t deny that I felt afraid, for many years, to take a firm position on discourse surrounding gender identity and trans politics, despite my opinion that women-only space and organizing is central to the feminist movement and to supporting women recovering from male violence.
In fact, for many years, I wasn’t quite sure what my position was, and worried that speaking out against the naturalizing of sexist gender roles that has come hand in hand with support for what is called “trans rights” would distract from my fight against the sex industry and violence against women. Punishments for questioning trans politics include losing one’s job, censorship, blacklisting, being physically and otherwise threatened and attacked by transactivists, and social ostracization — all things that prevent women from speaking out. (I have suffered many of these punishments already, of course, for failing to toe the party line and for allying with women labelled “TERF” or “transphobic.”)
We live in a time wherein basic feminist ideas have become unspeakable, while anti-feminist slurs and smears are widely accepted and even celebrated by those who claim to be social justice activists and progressives.
Regardless of the risks, I cannot, in good faith, support the neoliberal, individualistic notion of “gender identity” — not as a feminist who understands how patriarchy came to be and continues to prevail or as a leftist who understands how systems of power work. I do not wish to be silent in the face of regressive and anti-feminist discourse, because I know that my silence does not help empower other women to speak out. I do not wish to abandon my sisters who have already suffered immensely for speaking out.”
Go read the rest of this article at the Feminist Current, it is an important powerful work.
Ms.Murphy describes the radical treatment necessary in order to make our society a livable place for women:
“Without the things women are expected to provide in order to “prove” abuse — pictures of injuries, hospital records, DNA — we are already not believed. In fact, “believed” is the wrong word — we are not understood. It is not understood that “consent” does not negate male violence and it is not understood that abuse comes in all sorts of forms, most of which are unprovable in court. It is not understood that pornography grooms women to accept abuse and that gendered socialization teaches women to politely absorb sexual harassment. It is not understood that the limited “sex-positive” discourse pushed by liberals gaslights women into believing they are “prudish,” “uptight,” and “anti-sex” if they don’t accept a male-centered vision of “sexuality.” “Believing women” is not the only thing we must do in these circumstances.
I understand the anger women across Canada are expressing at this unjust verdict. I can only imagine the pain Ghomeshi’s victims are experiencing today. But I don’t, for one minute, believe that a guilty verdict is enough, in terms of holding men to account and changing the public’s view of male power and abuse. We, as a society, are responsible for having that conversation and for effecting real change, in terms of ending male violence against women.”
Wow. Meghan Murphy simply and clearly posits what Feminism is about. Check out her blog here.
“There are various ways the divide between “feminisms” is articulated: liberal vs radical, third wave vs second wave, sex-positive vs sex-negative, but none of those have ever seemed wholly accurate to me. (In particular, challenging male-centred or coercive sex does not make one, “sex-negative,” so…) A feminist is someone who supports and/or is active in the fight to end patriarchy. The feminist movement is a political movement that fights towards women’s collective liberation and towards an end to male violence against women. That is to say, if you don’t support those goals, what you are doing is not feminism, no matter how many times you claim otherwise.
We cannot have both objectification and liberation, because being a sexualised object does not allow one to be a full human. We cannot both celebrate sexualised violence and have freedom from sexualised violence because sexualising violence, er… sexualises violence. We cannot normalise male entitlement by saying “men need access to sex and therefore we, as a society, must maintain a class of women who are available to satisfy men’s desires” and also expect to build a society wherein men don’t feel entitled to sexual access to women. We cannot say “women are more than pretty things to look at” but also tell young women that desirability will empower them. We cannot frame “choice” as political while simultaneously depoliticising and decontextualising the choices women make, in a capitalist patriarchy. We cannot confront rape culture while normalising the very ideas that found it: male entitlement, sexualised violence, and gender roles that are rooted in domination and subordination (i.e. masculinity and femininity).
While, the arguments I’m articulating here do, effectively, constitute “radical feminism,” in that it is a kind of feminism that “gets at the root,” I am defining something even more straightforward than that: Feminism – a real and definable thing that holds meaning!
“Join us or don’t – that really is your choice. But redefining a political movement that aims to protect real women’s lives and humanity in order to make the world more comfortable is not.”