19 8 / 2014

"

Choosing women is a political choice for me and I’d struggle in a relationship with someone who wasn’t at least positively discriminating towards relationships with women, as much as I’d struggle in a relationship with someone who could vote Tory.

And whilst I don’t subscribe to the view of feminism as a movement for validating women’s individual choices, I do subscribe to the view of feminism as a movement to make free choice meaningfully possible for women. Same with GSRM activism. So treading carefully around issues of choice is incredibly important for me and safeguarding the choice not to have sex with someone, for whatever reason, is a bottom line I would defend in the teeth of anything. Attacking anyone for the sex they don’t have crosses a line directly into rape culture. And attacking lesbians for our sex lives, for not having sex with the right people, is pure lesbophobia, smuggled directly over from the rapey rapey malestream and still in its original, patriarchal packaging — even the words are the same. The fact that they’re not words you would ever use against cishet men says a lot: lesbians are an easy target for people who are also oppressed, albeit not by us, and who have a lot of legitimate rage to vent. We’re scapegoats, in other words, and I’m tired of it.

"

18 8 / 2014

radtransfem:

I admit I sometimes find myself flailing a bit when I read all these questions on tumblr which read, “Can I be a…?” Can I be a woman who is also ____? Can I be this gender or that gender? Or the corresponding answers: Yes, you can be that thing, or combination of things, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise…

On re-centring doing over being (I think)

09 8 / 2014

In a letter to Andrea Dworkin over at Tiger Beatdown (which gave us ‘my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit’, so definitely a blog worth visiting), Sady Doyle writes that the sum of lesbian and radical feminist theory seems to be ‘don’t have sex with dudes’ which, apparently, is just not going to work for hetero and bisexual women.

This makes me sad. Doyle admits that this is a reductionist reading — there’s a lot more to lesbian and radical feminism than that, in fact the latter isn’t always even lesbian! But it’s also a misreading of the bits that are about not having sex with dudes (who I’m going to refer to as men from here coz I’m just not that cool).

21 7 / 2014

Radical feminism is basically historical-materialist so ‘being precedes consciousness’, i.e. the material world determines what you can think about it (your ideology).  Or, the material world of humans is produced by capitalism so then humans have a capitalist ideology (substitute ‘capitalism’ for ‘patriarchy’ when talking radical feminism).

But in queer feminism/ theory, consciousness precedes being so the root that the ‘radical’ so often affixed to ‘queer politics’ refers to is what you think.  Which sort of makes sense if you take an ‘I think therefore I am’ approach — you have to have a consciousness for the material world to exist for you, therefore the material world stems from your consciousness (for you).  Therefore you can think the world differently.

Personally I think being and consciousness are in a kind of chicken-or-egg loop, but if pushed I opt for historical-materialism.

21 7 / 2014

"

When I first encountered feminism I thought what my problem in life had been was a question of sexual orientation. I had been strange because I wanted to have sex with women. BUT in some way this account of my life did not fit. The fact that it was now ok in lesbian circles to have sex with women did not make any difference to me. I did not believe that the way I was, was defined by the fact that I wanted to have sex with women. It felt more like a deep desire to be free…

What I saw when I read the Political Lesbianism paper was that inside me was not a lesbian (woman attracted to woman - struggling for expression in a heterosexual world) but a woman, a completely woman-defined-woman, struggling to be free of a world where women must be shackled to the demands of men, including the demand for sexual submissiveness…

What this has meant to me now is that I cannot cannot separate my love for women from my love for women - the passionate from the political.

"

Jessica Wood (letter), printed in Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism and Political Lesbianism (Onlywomen Press, 1981), p54 (via radtransfem)

12 7 / 2014

So anyone who knows Foucault knows that we’re all ‘confessing animals’, convinced that we’re carrying around some inner truth we need to a) locate, b) name and c) share with the world.  Then we can ‘be ourselves’.  We can ‘be free’.  So far, so familiar to anyone who’s had a coming out process.

But we’re also supposed to know that actually, there is no inner truth.  It’s all ‘free floating artifices’ these days.  So sexuality, nationality, gender, race, class — these aren’t written into anyone’s DNA and even if they were, DNA, like everything else, is only readable through ‘discourse’, a superimposed ‘matrix of intelligibility’, which decides which bits of the data being read mean ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ or ‘white’ or ‘black’ etc.  The fact that ‘discourse’ uses a lot of these mutually exclusive binaries also makes it fairly obvious that the point really is intelligibility — making things easy to understand — not accuracy or nuance or, you know, ‘truth’.

That last bit seems fairly irrefutable to me and the first bit about the coming out process definitely rings true, so I can understand what’s happened with these two bits of more or less common knowledge: we’ve created a kind of mashup which goes ‘people need to find their inner truth and share it with the world in order to be free and themselves, and because being free and “yourself” is so important, everyone needs to respect that, but also, because actually everything is just free-floating artifices, and any truth anyone ever finds is just a particular reading, also we cannot demand any corroborations of the truths we must nonetheless respect’.

I don’t know why I have a problem with this mashup.  It amounts to respecting people’s self-definitions and the people whose self-definitions get the least respect — I’m thinking trans people — are also undeniably some of the most oppressed people in the world, as statistics about the preponderance of trans people in poverty and getting murdered and things will tell you….

11 7 / 2014

sexandsocialism:

is for men not to oppress women.

Common ways in which men oppress women include*:

Reblogging myself because, you know, important

11 7 / 2014

"

I know men don’t want to give up using porn. Why should they when they know they don’t have to? It’s there, it’s often free, it does the job they want it to do, and they’ve already convinced everyone that they’re entitled to do so.

Maybe because it hurts the people involved in its production, it hurts the women who have to deal with men who use it, and because it hurts the women they are in relationships with. A man who uses porn while he’s in a relationship is basically saying to his partner, ‘I care more about the fact that I want jerking off to be quicker and easier than I do about the fact that someone I’m jerking off to might be being raped, about the fact that it hurts you and damages your self esteem and security in our relationship, about the fact that it is detrimental to our sex life’.

"

08 7 / 2014

I just trawled my favourites for TWO HOURS to find some bits of feminist theory Tumblr had secreted away somewhere for me to remember just imperfectly enough not to be able to google them.

08 7 / 2014

holisticsexualhealth:

Don’t Confuse the V’s

holisticsexualhealth:

Don’t Confuse the V’s

(via lesradicalfeminisms)