August 3, 2012
Lierre has invited folks to email her for a complete transcript at the following address:
May 18, 2012
Radfem 2012 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking conference for females organizing for female liberation. The first three speakers have been announced and are Gail Dines, Sheila Jeffreys, and Pragna Patel. From the RadFem 2012 website:
Gail Dines is a long time radical feminist activist, and a founding member of Stop Porn Culture. She is a Professor in Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College, Boston, and her publications include Gender, Race and Class in Media (ed.) and Pornography: The production and consumption of inequality. Her most recent book, Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality, was published in 2010 by Beacon Press. Gail lectures widely on the radical feminist critique of pornography, and organises regular conferences and trainings on radical feminist anti-pornography activism.
Sheila Jeffreys is a lesbian feminist who has been an activist against violence against women and the sex industry since the early 1970s. She is Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and her many books on the history and politics of sexuality include Anticlimax: A feminist perspective on the sexual revolution, Unpacking Queer Politics and The Industrial Vagina: The political economy of the global sex trade. Her most recent book is Man’s Dominion: The rise of religion and the eclipse of women’s rights, published in 2012 by Routledge. She is the founding member of the Australian branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
Pragna Patel is a founding member of Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism. Having left SBS in 1993 to train and practice as a solicitor, she returned in 2009 as Director. She has been centrally involved in some of SBS’ most important campaigns around domestic violence, immigration and religious fundamentalism. She has also written extensively on race, gender and religion. Her many publications include essays in Black British Feminism: A Reader (ed. Heidi Mirza) and From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers (ed. Rahila Gupta) and Feminist Judgements from Theory to Practice (ed. Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley).
More speakers will be announced soon.
Anti-female activists are already organizing against the rights of females to hold a conference for females. Besides the usual conservative MRA types, some of the anti-female forces against this conference include transgender activists and pro-prostitution pro-trafficking activists who claim that females must be prevented from organizing and meeting together in female-only spaces.
Controversial anti-lesbian University of New Hampshire representative Joelle Ruby Ryan, the male transgender who recently forwarded the theories that “lesbian erasure” is code for “trans bashing” and that males are justified in wanting lesbians dead, has dedicated his entire twitter to the idea that even allowing females to meet and organize together is a form of “hate” against males. (The anti-gay University of New Hampshire rep previously supported a series of seminars called “Breaking Through The Cotton Ceiling” which were male-only sessions devoted to organizing around the “problem” of lesbians not wanting sex with males, and formulating reparative/coercive strategies against lesbians, who the males claimed were “discriminating” against males by not wanting sexual relations with them). Ryan has called for flooding the RadFem2012 website with anti-female spam emails.
The once popular F-Word blog (the “word-too-shameful-to-be-named” is purportedly “Feminist”) has openly declared that female activism “oppresses us all” by excluding males, and suggests that its readers boycott the event.
Commenters on Democratic Underground offer that females organizing around female concerns are “sickening”, “disgusting”, to do so is anti-male “bigotry”.
The twitter hashtag #RadFem2012 is chock full of comments expressing alarm that female liberationists are meeting to discuss female concerns. “I’m kinda surprised #RadFem2012 allow *any* kids or mums, considering that’s all a tad difficult without a bloke being involved somewhere.” Says one. “Smash RadFem2012” says another. One suggests organizing a UK version of Camp Trans, which is a group of anti-lesbian and anti-female activists that conducts harassment, vandalism and terrorism against the lesbian and female-only US Michfest Women’s Music Festival.
And all this within hours of the first three speakers being announced. Clearly even one group of females organizing for female liberation is so threatening to males and handmaidens of the patriarchy that they would like to “smash” and otherwise prevent such a meeting by any means necessary. Anti-female activists have started letter-writing campaigns against the venue holding the event- again WITHIN HOURS of the first speaker announcements.
The rights of lesbians and females –even the basic human right to meet and congregate- are UNDER SEIGE by conservatives, religionists, genderists, anti-gay activists, pimps and pro-trafficking forces, and now even some of those that call themselves liberal or “fun feminists”. Make no mistake. The outlawing of female gatherings and political organizing is NOT a “third world” concern. The very right of females to meet and gather in lesbian or female spaces is under siege by anti-lesbian and anti-female forces.
I urge every female, every lesbian, and every male who supports the rights of females to lend this conference your attention, your attendance, or your financial contribution as appropriate.
From the RadFem2012 website “Why RadFem 2012”:
“RadFem 2012 has developed from the passionate conviction that a UK-based radical feminist conference is badly needed and long overdue.
‘Radical feminism creates an original political and social theory of women’s oppression, and strategies for ending that oppression which come from women’s lived experiences.’ (Rowland and Klein, 1996).
RadFem 2012 puts women, and women’s lived experiences, at its centre. The event takes place in the context of epidemic levels of male violence against women, the ongoing expansion of pornography and the sex industry, cultural misogyny as an everyday reality and the devastating effects of neoliberal economic policies and environmental destruction on women across the globe.
It takes place in a historical moment where structural analyses of oppression have been marginalised, and where those who are oppressed are blamed for their own oppression. At a time when a powerful sex industry lobby has adopted the language of feminism in order to try to persuade us that the sexual objectification of women is a route to ‘empowerment’ and that women’s involvement in pornography or prostitution is simply a matter of individual choice.
Radical feminism is a revolutionary politics for the liberation of all women from male domination. Radical feminists neither seek ‘equality’ with men within a fundamentally oppressive system, nor simply to extend women’s range of choices whilst leaving that oppressive system intact. Radical feminists are engaged in the struggle to end all forms of male violence, and for the liberation of all women from patriarchal oppression. In short, we are engaged in a struggle for total social transformation. In Catherine Mackinnon’s phrase, radical feminism is ‘feminism unmodified’.
RadFem 2012 aims to provide a space to discuss and develop radical feminist theory and action, rooted in the realities of women’s lives. We take the necessity of women’s autonomous organising as a given. In doing so, we recognise the additional oppressions faced by many women, and are committed to building an explicitly anti-racist and anti-oppressive movement that is inclusive and supportive of all women, across differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age and caring responsibilities. We celebrate the power of women uniting and organising collectively.
Many of us involved in radical feminist organising feel isolated, even within the wider feminist movement. In our experience, the need for an autonomous women’s movement and the value of women-only organising are seldom recognised. Women-only spaces are either rare, non-existent or under siege. Radical feminism is often misrepresented and maligned. The trend towards post-modernism and queer theory have marginalised feminist critiques of patriarchy, and rendered lesbian feminism all but invisible.
RadFem 2012 aims to provide a space where women can connect to reflect, learn, plan and take action.”
October 10, 2011
CLICK ON IMAGE
Not enough time in the day to follow all your favorite blogs? Pissed because you missed that great conversation on that seldom-updated blog you forgot to check? Click on RadFemCentral to instantly see which blogs have new posts, and to keep up to date with all your radfem news. Please contact me with URLs of blogs I have missed. All will be included equally.
As some of you know, I’ve been talking for months about an aggregate RSS feed for RadFem Bloggers. I finally got one started! But I need Your Help. I know I’m missing lots of sites. Please let me know which ones I’m missing, even if they are new sites, or sites which haven’t been updated in ages (that way if they DO update, we will all know about it because they will go to the top of the list). In weeks to come RadFem Central will grow in size and scope. And I may even pretty it up a bit at some point. I hope this will be a useful tool for all of us in the community to keep in touch, and support your overworked and under unpaid blogging sisters.
Also, if for any reason someone wants to be removed from the site, please let me know.
P.S. Inclusion on RadFem Central does not mean the bloggers featured agree with the views expressed by other bloggers, or that I agree with all the views of a blog, or even that the site is purely “Radical Feminist”, rather that the sites are female owned and of interest to, and/or supportive of, some Radical Feminist ideals, etc etc disclaimer disclaimer blah blah blah.
*If anyone wants to use this little picture on the sidebar of their blog help yourself
May 18, 2011
As the so-called Third Wave (or “No Wave”) of feminism begins to wane, many women have been discovering (or re-discovering) and embracing Radical Feminism. There’s been an explosion of new writing, new blogs, new voices, many of them from young women who came of age in the era of Fun-feminism and Post-modernism and Queer theory. The third wave told them “Hey, feminism isn’t about women, because female is only a “concept”. Now feminism is about being sexy! Loving porn! Embracing gender!”
But young women are saying- “Hey, wait a minute. This feminism is not actually addressing my concerns. It has no real platform besides mindless consumerism and accepting things the way they are. This feminism isn’t CHANGING anything. It doesn’t MEAN anything.”
And they’re finding the feminism that does. The feminism that cuts at the roots of patriarchy. The feminism that dares to change the world.
Tonight, a large gathering is taking place. A place in cyberspace, for women to talk, and challenge, and teach and learn, and just plain shoot the shit. It’s the launch of a bustling new Hub for Radical Feminism. Introducing: http://radicalhub.wordpress.com/
SEE YOU THERE!
April 20, 2011
Meghan Murphy has published a wonderful podcast titled “Where have all the Radicals gone? When feminism gets moderate.” She addresses the current backlash against feminism, “funfeminism”, “sexpoz”, the re-writing and misquoting of radical feminist thinkers, the future of women’s liberation, and so much more. The highlight for me was the brand spanking new interview with the brilliant Sheila Jeffreys, which was conducted on April 10, 2011. Do give a listen. Highly recommended.
A brief excerpt from Sheila Jeffreys addressing the McCarthyism of Transgender and the Sterilization of Transgender Children is transcribed below.
“Radical feminist theory was and is particularly revolutionary because it means a total transformation of male domination. So it means the removal of it at its most basic level. It means the total transformation of culture. It means for instance no respect for culture. And I’ve been writing recently about multiculturalism because my new book is on religion, called “Man’s Dominion: the Rise of Religion and the Eclipse of Women’s Rights” (which is coming out later this year). So I’ve been writing about how multiculturalism becomes multi-faithism and how there’s this requirement in multicultural society is to respect culture- which is of course completely impossible since all cultures are based upon the subordination of women and the creation of two different sexes and two different genders and the construction of oppression out of that. And that- if you walk in any street, just look at the way people are dressed , if you look at anything that’s going on on the television, the extraordinary length to which the expression of women’s subordination and men’s domination go is immediately clear to you and that’s in major cities of the western world that I’m talking about. So of course the radical feminist critique is about overthrowing that deep, deeply cultural construction of women’s subordination. Its perhaps clearest on an everyday level, in what women are required to wear. The showing of their bodies: the short skirts, the shaved legs, the high-heeled shoes. The extraordinary lengths to which they have to go to punish and be cruel to their own bodies and be degraded in public places.
Now that’s very very clearly about male domination as far as I can see. But it cannot be recognized. It simply cannot be recognized. So that, there’s a tremendous forgetfulness of the construction of what is these days is called “gender”. Of course I would call it “sexual oppression” I think is that is probably a more reasonable way of looking at it. And its strongest manifestation of course takes place in what’s called “transgenderism” which is a practice in which persons who do not adhere to the correctly gendered practices that have been placed upon the biological sex are considered to have something called Gender Identity Disorder and they’re expected to cross over into the other sex. Not criticize the gendered system as it exists, because that’s unthinkable but to make some kind of “journey” by mutilating their bodies and taking dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives in order to supposedly represent the opposite sex.
Now that shows to us how clearly, and to what an extraordinary depth the idea that there are two genders, with different behaviors, constructed from how different we are biologically has entered culture. Because of course,it doesn’t make sense. I mean, I don’t have a gender. I’ve no intention of having a gender. I don’t do masculinity which is the behavior of male dominance, and I don’t do femininity which is the behavior of female subordination, women’s subordination. I hope to engage in human behavior and I hope at some point in the future everybody will be able to do that too, but gender I definitely do not have. I am a conscientious objector to gender as I would be indeed to being drafted into the military – and I see these things as having some connections (laughs).
So, the problem with transgenderism – which is obviously an expression of men’s sexual rights as well of course( it’s very much about the right to be sexually excited by female clothing, and subordination and so on). But it also comes out of the gendered system. And it means that in order to support transgenderism , gender has to be supported. So the subordination of women has to be supported in order for transgenderism to be supported. Transgender as a phenomenon is the clearest possible indication of the strength of the structures of the male domination going on right now. Of course we know that in Iran homosexuals are routinely transgendered because they’re not allowed to be homosexuals.
I’ve been looking at the stuff on transgendered kids in the U.S. There are lots of organizations now to support transgendered kids and their families. There’s lots of clinics and therapists, who can identify “transgender kids”. And they’re being recognized as transgender from four or five years old even though the literature tells us, and they tell us themselves, that 70% of those recognized as transgendered will end up as homosexual in later life. So one of the things they are trying to do is eradicate homosexuality at it’s very possible origin, (or they’ll profer a connection necessarily between homosexuality and gender) but they’re maybe being bullied for having the wrong kind of behaviors and so on. So what’s happening in the states is that children are now to be identified in school, to be identified by their parents. This is what we – you know in the seventies we fought against the idea that there were “correct” forms of behavior, “correct” toys and so on for children. It wasn’t radical to do so, that was quite mild I thought. Now these children are being put on programs, where- and this is the big demand now- they have drugs to prevent them, hormones to prevent them from developing the body of their biological sex. So they’ve got to be on these hormones for about nine years – you can see how the medical profession loves this: the drugs, the medical expertise and so on, it’s a very big money maker for them. And very conservative that they even believe in gender. So these poor children are not going through puberty in the normal way, they’re not having the ordinary biological changes. Then by sixteen they’ll be put on the cross-gender hormones of the opposite sex which will make them sterile. So they’re actually being sterilized. It’s the sterilization of the “un-fit”. When it happened in the thirties and the Nazis did it , you know it’s now considered that was unacceptable to do it: it went on until the sixties, in America, the sterilization of the disabled , the unfit. It’s happening now. Those who do not conform to correct gender stereotypes are being sterilized and they’re being sterilized as children. At eighteen years old they’re expected to move on to surgery, so parts of their bodies are going to be lopped off. And then they’ll be on these drugs for the rest of their lives.
Eventually I’m sure, within – because things are moving fast and there’s a lot of criticism of this particularly by young radical feminists now- within the next ten, twenty years it will come to be realized as a horrendous human rights violation. But for these children and young people who have been sterilized, this is a terrible, terrible cost. Because they’ve lost parts of their bodies, they’ve lost the ability to reproduce. It really is a human rights violation on a massive, massive scale.
Now, because I criticize this, I am sort of “no platformed” pretty much, by lots of feminist , lesbian and gay organizations who will not allow me to speak. Even in my own city I was not allowed to be invited to speak at the Reclaim The Night because I was seen as “transphobic”. A major conference in Britain that invited me to speak this year is basically not going to happen because some others said that I was transphobic and shouldn’t speak and everything collapsed and so on. The kind of McCarthyism that’s going on around transgenderism now – if you criticize it , or if somebody who is your friend knows you and you’re known as a “transphobe”, they also are now getting told they cannot speak. So it’s spreading out, and it’s spreading out . The National Union of Students in Britain , their Lesbian and Gay Bisexual Transgender Conference , the agenda I’ve just been looking at actually has a resolution saying that Julie Bindel- who’s also a feminist critic of this practice in Britain and a journalist “is vile”. (laughs) That’s all it says: “Julie Bindel Is Vile”. This is a resolution of the National Union of Students Conference. And of course she is no-platformed, no students organizations may invite her to speak anywhere because she’s also critical of transgenderism.
So really, gender is of course the sort of last bastion because it is the foundation of the subordination of women. And it’s being defended to the death in this extraordinarily grim way. Which means that any radical feminist critics must not be allowed to speak. A reading group that discussed my book and said online that they’ve done so has been told that they were transphobic and that they should not be allowed to discuss my book, so it is an attempt to eliminate, expatriate, from the public discussion and the public forum, any discussion, writing and so on that could possibly criticize gender. Because that’s what it’s about, really. It’s criticizing gender. And that’s the very foundation of feminism and we really have to hold onto that. We’ve got to claw back the ground now. And I’m very pleased to say that there are quite a lot of radical feminist blogs that are not only being very critical of transgenderism, but even dare I say it, laughing at it. Which is a very very naughty thing to do. But sometimes the oppressed and the subordinate have to laugh at the dominant ideology that oppress them.
This is a tiny excerpt from a long and brilliant podcast that is worth every moment of your time. Thank you so much to Meghan Murphy for creating it. <3