Censored Again at RadFemHub

December 15, 2011

Jesus. I commented in response to a butch lesbian told to “shut the fuck up” by outlining the desperate survival measures taken by those who know they are Lesbian growing up:

My Comments as Submitted

wtf?

Screen caps, what would we do without them? Be silenced. That’s what.

Holy shit.

87 Responses to “Censored Again at RadFemHub”

  1. Mary Sunshine Says:

    Female children aren’t a homogeneous lot. Some few succeed in resisting feminization. No doubt it takes courage. I haven’t read that whole thread at the hub yet, just picked up the link to your post here from the Radfem Central feed.

    The screen cap speaks for itself. This is an essential part of radical feminist understanding that many het and feminized women reject because as adult women they resist being shamed for something that they/we experienced as an *inescapable* (if hateful) part of growing up.

    It’s as essential a part of radical feminist understanding as is the radfem rejection and repudiation of tranz ideology.

  2. Barbara Di Bari Visconti Says:

    Gallus, sorry that happened to you. I was censored on Radfem Hub too and I have no idea why.

  3. yttik Says:

    That’s a shame, because I’d like to have more discussion about why women do some of the things they do. Cognitive dissonance, brainwashing, who knows why we accept things that are simply unacceptable?

    Sheila G began the discussion by saying, “Just what will it take for women to say no to men, and yes to women?”

    That is the puzzle I’ve been trying to figure out for several years now. We can’t end the patriarchy, we can’t fix men, so we have to find a way to lift women up, to help ourselves. Something that’s surprised me in the last couple of years is how controversial that is. All of a sudden people are kicking you out of their groups or deleting your comments or accusing you of the ever present gender essentialism accusation.

  4. la redactora Says:

    Well, on the one hand I agree with FCM that some of the stuff SheilaG talks about would indeed have been impossible for millions of girl children, including me. I grew up with some undiagnosed developmental issues, in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road, with no social circle outside of my family, their friends, and a few classmates. I didn’t really know how to even use a phone until I was nine or ten, thought lesbian was a dirty word mean girls called me (starting in fourth grade), etc etc ad infinitum. Even if we had had public transportation (lol) if I had tried to use it or even gone for a single unchaperoned walk outside of our property my parents would have called the bored and vindictive local police force (something they still threaten me with to this day).

    On the other hand none of that stopped me from knowing at a pretty early age that I did not want to let men stick their dicks in me (ewe), get married, or have children.

    And I agree with the comments and post here and find it comical that the shut the fuck up comment made it through mod but your comments about lesbian survival did not make the cut. I have recently been modded to oblivion there as well, for no discernible reason beyond my admitted tendency for rambling incoherency.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I agree with everything you say- except the idea that your commenting style may have been a factor in your being censored. I find your comments to be coherent and succinct, and even if they weren’t, so what? Why should women be silenced for that? They shouldn’t.

      • la redactora Says:

        Thanks. I was really struggling that day to string sentences together, but you are right. Women should not be excluded rambling, bad grammar, or other ‘presentation’ issues.

  5. GallusMag Says:

    Thank you for your comments. As I said in my (screencapped) censored comments on that thread, I think Lesbians take what may seem like extraordinary measures as a means of survival, as opposed to some inherent surplus of cleverness or courage as Sheila implied. I left a three-part comment. By censoring the critical parts of my commentary and just leaving the last part, it changes the MEANING of my comment. Instead of a critique ending with appreciation for Sheila’s sharing her thoughts, it was turned into a cheerleading comment with no critique. Like I just jumped in the thread and said “hey great job”. Jesus that really pisses me off. It’s COMPLETELY unethical. And DEEPLY disrespectful.
    I’m very sorry for the other women who have been censored, those here in this thread and elsewhere. What I find especially disturbing is that women would internalize the experience and “blame themselves” and question whether their ability to contribute is “good enough”. That literally makes me want to weep.

  6. twanzmooselike Says:

    Posting only that comment sure did change the meaning. And I do think Lesbain women have the right to the conversation you are suggesting should have happened. But that’s not where SheilaG was going, in my opinion.

    It was another of her bombastic, women abusing delusional rants, and in a thread meant (I think) to bring attention to the Fistula foundation’s need for funds.

  7. Bev Jo Says:

    Gallus, I am so sorry that that was done to you. Yes, I agree that type of censoring that changes your actual meaning IS completely unethical and deeply disrespectful. It is also the opposite of the Radical Feminism that I love. You said that so eloquently: “What I find especially disturbing is that women would internalize the experience and ‘blame themselves’ and question whether their ability to contribute is ‘good enough’. That literally makes me want to weep.” That is what I’ve been trying to say also with: Who are we losing? Who is driven away, feeling, once again, not good enough? The censorship I’ve been seeing, with name-calling and attempts at humiliating the woman disagreed with is consciously calculated to drive them away. I keep saying, that considering who is being treated like this, if this had been done in the early Seventies, we would have lost our very best thinkers, writers, theorists, etc. since they were not privileged women.

    Some of the smartest of our people (Lesbians, women) are uneducated and may not say things “properly,” but are clear and brilliant nevertheless. I miss the days when the Women’s Press Collective printed the autobiographical story of an uneducated working class Lesbians without changing a single one of her “misspelled” words or “bad grammar.” Her story was absolutely clear and direct and heart-rending, which is more than can be said for most “proper” academic writing, following male rules, and which is virtually incomprehensible.

    The more relaxed we are about writing styles, the more welcoming we are to women whose first language is not English.

    At least you know how love and appreciated you are, yet it still harms you. (And I know this kind of oppression affects the health too.) Injustice is damaging. But what about those without support? How many just quit, ashamed and humiliated, and never try again?

    It is no coincidence that you are not a privileged woman, Gallus. That is who I am seeing targeted for this. I believe this is a conscious attempt to permanently silence, beyond this censorship.

    How often is this happening? Censoring is bad enough, but selective editing? That was done to me a few days ago, in a radical feminist fb group, and I am still in shock that a “radical feminist” would do that (and it was also done to another working class feminist.) We got the usual classist treatment — instead of being argued with directly, honestly, and with respect, we were ridiculed and name-called. Finally, our attacker said to the other woman, “Gee, let me dumb this down for you….” which proved what I was saying about how classism divides us, and if those with privilege would stop feeling superior and treating us like dirt, that could transform our movement. But the moderator selectively edited out the comment and my response to it, and then banned both of us.

    The other woman posted my original post at another feminist group, and the same woman again started ranting and insulting at us, so I posted the censored section. (I have the entire thread, if anyone wants to see it.)

    What the hell is going on? This isn’t remotely feminist, or, as you said, Gallus, ethical or respectful. Isn’t this what the right wing does? It is the opposite of Feminism. I believe these two individuals are part of the same clique and are causing incalculable damage. They are both invested in maintaining privilege and power at the expense of less-privileged women. And in FCM’s case, she has been Lesbian-hating as well.

    I don’t go to the Hub. I find it too upsetting and depressing. And I feel too oppressed there. I might as well be reading a male site where I know that I have no chance of being posted. My last experience there was objecting to some Lesbian-hatred by a het woman, which was not printed. That makes it clear right there, who is welcome and who isn’t. I do not want to support or participate in something which is so harmful to us.

    But this makes me even more upset because Gallus is doing such important work, consistently and continually. I’m outraged that you’re treated like this. What can we do about it?

    I haven’t seen the comments there at all, so I’m not responding about the content, but only what I see here. Twanz, I have to object to your insulting attack on Sheila. If you object to her politics, why don’t you say specifically what that is instead of calling her politics “delusional rants?” That seems to be the current line to call any questioning of het women oppressing Lesbians as “women abusing,” which is almost like comparing Lesbians to men. Men abuse women. You’re implying Sheila isn’t a woman? That is classic Lesbian-hatred and Butch-hatred. A Lesbian objecting to being oppressed is not being abusive. That kind of accusation is aimed, again, to silence and censor. You just want to shut her up. Why is she such a threat to you? I appreciate Sheila’s courage in saying what few women dare to say. And I also appreciate her kindness and caring and commitment to women. She deserves better, and so does Gallus.

    • GallusMag Says:

      “What the hell is going on” indeed.

      “Twanz, I have to object to your insulting attack on Sheila. If you object to her politics, why don’t you say specifically what that is instead of calling her politics “delusional rants?”

      Fuckin’ A. Let’s hear the critique, if there is one. LOL the idea that Sheila is “women abusing” by stating her thoughts. Is she editing the comments of radical feminists to deliberately misrepresent what they said, without their consent, and against their will, the way RadFem Hub does? I think not.

      And a het woman saying “I do think Lesbain women have the right to the conversation you are suggesting” AS IF such a conversation 1.) Requires your het permission and 2.) Should be marginalized into some gay ghetto of no interest, consequence, or relevance to any women but Lesbians. In-fucking-credible. Wow. Like thanks for your hetero permission that us Lesbians should “have the right” to have a conversation that you obviously find distasteful and/or irrelevant to females in general. Holy Lesbophobia.

      I have to say that I deeply appreciate Sheila’s comments and perspective, even though I don’t always agree with every nuance of what she posts. I have learned so much from her, and I hope she NEVER EVER “shuts the fuck up”. I also can’t recall a SINGLE INSTANCE where she told another woman to “shut the fuck up”.

    • Noanodyne Says:

      @Bev Jo: “(I have the entire thread, if anyone wants to see it.)” That is exactly why you were banned from two FB groups, Bev. Because you take the contents of PRIVATE discussions among a limited number of women who have agreed to be in discussions only because they are PRIVATE and then you pass that information on to women (and who knows who else, since you don’t actually know who you might be sharing that with, including MRAs) who are not in those discussions. That is an abuse of the privilege women gave you of being in those PRIVATE conversations. You have zero right to share PRIVATE discussions without those women’s permission. And as long as you keep doing that, you will keep getting banned from FB groups (and other places).


  8. Totally off-topic: I stumbled on this today, and wondered if anyone else has–RadFemHub has been “infiltrated” (probably nothing new) and this human has posted names, etc. of bloggers–and of course the usual MRA feces…but I find this a little scary. Is this thing new, or am I the one who is new…
    [Link removed-GM]

    • GallusMag Says:

      Kitty I’m not going to send hits to the sites of idiots by linking them on my blog, so I have removed that link. Men stalking, harassing, threatening, and targeting females that talk about women’s liberation is not a new thing. It’s a very old thing. It is scary, and it is disgusting. But what are ya gonna do. All females should be aware of it, and protect themselves accordingly. By any and all means necessary.

  9. GallusMag Says:

    Let’s keep comments on topic please.


  10. You’re absolutely right, and this was not the place to post this. I’m sorry. I’m new to the blog world, and I feel safe here, as it’s the only place I really pay close attention to, and have some friends here who I trust.
    Jeesus. It’s a weird world.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Don’t be sorry- you are right to be concerned. Men target all women online. When those women express liberationist thoughts the abuse is multiplied. It’s a weird world, and it’s also a world that is horrifically violent and hostile against females. Hang in there hon.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Here’s a good example:

      fuckingbitch
      76.84.245.139
      Submitted on 2011/12/16 at 5:53 am
      You are a massive, bleeding cunt

  11. yttik Says:

    Above, BevJo said, “What the hell is going on? This isn’t remotely feminist….”

    True it’s not feminist, but it is common behavior for many women. So many of us are trained from day one to view other women as the enemy, so we shun them, we censor them, we attack them. We can be very hypercritical of each other.

    Many of us have a huge double standard so our expectation of women is very high and our expectation of men is very low. You see this in our culture at large. Sheila said, “Just what will it take for women to say no to men, and yes to women?” Women have to learn how to be more tolerant of each other, to give each other the benefit of the doubt more, and to build some solidarity. This is very difficult because the patriarchy works hard to keep women separated, divided, and controlled.

    One thing I’ve had to do is make sure I am giving women the same benefit of doubt I give men. You wouldn’t think I had this “boys will be boys” attitude buried deep inside, but oh yes, it’s there. On many sites, if a man makes some rambling comment that manages to avoid any threats of violence, 15 women will praise him for taking the time to address such an important issue. Often when women address the same exact subject, they will be pounced upon and criticized for everything from their writing style to their thought process. This is women doing this to each other. I don’t know how to convince women how to be kind and tolerant towards each other, but when a comment pisses me off, I try to pretend they are a man. You would not believe how my perspective changes, how much crap I am suddenly willing to over look. Rather then criticizing her for her “wrongness,” suddenly I have the urge to praise her for taking the time to express herself. It’s revolting to realize that I’ve internalized this double standard, but that’s the way it is.

  12. jane hathaway Says:

    I too avoid the radfem hub. It oppresses me, and triggers me. I’m sorry you were censored, and disrespected, there. It’s jarring to be censored by someone you felt allied with. Gallus Mag, and especially Bev and Sheila, you 3 are an inspiration to me and others, more than you know.

  13. SheilaG Says:

    Thanks for the support folks. I have never told another woman to “shut the f— up” ever. I just don’t talk that way, and I also have no objection to women expressing their opinions and thoughts. We won’t all agree with everything, but this thing I do know, lesbians have a completely different world from het women. They know very little about our culture, our political work and our courage. They actually think all girls will completely swallow the het feminizing cool aid, and this is not true.

    I can’t speak to degrees of isolation… some people can take a bus, others might be more isolated in small towns. But I do know that lesbians at a young age often are precosious intellectually, and very inventive in our resistence to forced femininity.

  14. Bev Jo Says:

    No Anodyne, that is not why your clique bans me and other Radical Feminists, and you know it. Is that why you banned Megan? Will you never take responsibility for what you do? What do you call an abuser who wants the abuse kept behind closed doors?

    Of course I wasn’t going to name names, but just include the content because it is absolutely relevant to Gallus’ topic here where this seems to be the new strategy in silencing the most radical Feminists, or anyone who you have a vendetta against. And of course you don’t want anyone to know that what you said to Megan. I have her permission to talk about it and how my response in support of her was also edited out.

    What you are trying to do is get me banned here because you know I will not obey you in keeping quiet how you treat other women. It is not “private” when these abuses are done in feminist groups where those left don’t even know what happened because the discussion was selectively edited. And then you and your clique can continue ridiculing us and we aren’t there to defend ourselves.

    What I offered was to show another example of how censoring in the form of non-consensual selective editing is outrageous abuse of power and against all principals of basic feminism.

    How many have feminists have you and your reactionary clique driven away? I’ve seen you block some of the most radical from joining groups. How many were isolated and gave up because you attacked them, censored them, humiliated, banned them? Every group we are in, you go after me and anyone else who dares to talk about oppression among us. And you try to get us banned wherever you can. You don’t care about what we might share in common and how we might support each other. I don’t even know why you are doing this.

  15. Bev Jo Says:

    I agree, yttik.

    And Gallus, you explained it all so clearly. This is part of how to create a truly Radical Feminist movement. It is not even liberal feminist to selectively edit. That is what the right wing does.

    How can you justify it, Noan? No, don’t tell more lies about why or start namecalling or saying you have to “dumb it down” for us stupid working classes to understand. Why don’t you tell the truth?

  16. GallusMag Says:

    I get that people may have needed to get some things off their chest and that’s okay. I hope you (general you) feel better having done so. But is it okay for me to ask that the minutia of specific private facebook disagreements not be re-hashed here on my site? I think that’s a fair request. Thanks.

  17. Valerie M Says:

    I just want to say that I can’t think of a lifelong and/or Butch Lesbian online that I haven’t seen censored, banned, and silenced, just for expressing her thoughts, in very PUBLIC conversations. In the so-called ‘radical’ community.

  18. SheilaG Says:

    Yeah Val, they just can’t fathom who we are, what our lives are about, and how we do radical feminist politics. They just don’t get that there are women who chose to be lesbians from very early on, that we were not going to have sex with boys, and that we were not going to submit to male authority.

    We just don’t do it. What we do tire of is het women screwing up their lives with men, and then getting mad at us for saying ‘we told you so all along.”

    The hard work of radical feminism was the work of lifelong lesbians. It was the work of women who never lived with men or cared about them. We cared about women’s community, and we were a part of a real community… het women bloggers have no community IRL, they wouldn’t know how to create one because they still live with men. If they live with men, they are siding with the enemies of lesbians.

    They choose hetness because they are lazy… they are not the innovators, they are the reactionaries.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Women go along with compulsory heterosexuality because they are “lazy”? Are you serious? To be honest that sounds like a troll type statement. I get your premise that females are the only people that can make the changes that will undermine male supremacy structures. And I agree with that premise.

      I understand and share the disconnect between us and the straight feminists who regard the idea that “PIV is not mandatory” as some sort of groundbreaking watershed idea. It seems outdated, absurd and reactionary to us, rather than revolutionary.

      And I protest the profound Lesbophobia evidenced on, and enforced on, some hetero Radical Feminist sites. And it is completely shocking for Lesbians to read accounts from women who position themselves as standard bearers for the Radical Feminist movement about how they struggle to tell their male partner that they don’t want him to put his dick inside them. That is very shocking to Lesbians, even those who aren’t politicized.

      But is that because these women are “lazy”? Or because they are brainwashed like yttik speculated above. “Lazy” implies a failure of character, a moral failing. I think we need to be very careful about accusing women of a character defect because they have internalized the programmed inferiority that has been imposed on them from birth due to their sex.


      • SheilaG, I always enjoy reading your posts. You have opened my eyes to many issues that I hadn’t thought about previously, especially lesbian invisibility coupled with institutionalized heterosexualism (society rewards women for marriage, and punishes them for rejecting men) and how this affects all women’s choices and paths in life.
        At the same time, I do see FCM’s point that it’s really not the individual women who can be blamed for the choices they make. It is a *system* of oppression, which begins at birthl. I’ve just blogged about how I go out of my to find anti-patriarchal fairy stories for my daughter… but you really have to search for them. Most little girls are force-fed the princess story. I certainly was.
        Many a time I’ve wanted to just shake a woman I’ve been chatting with on mumsnet, *knowing* that she’s intelligent enough to “get it”, but that she’s too frightened to alter her perception of reality. I can see how you might be frustrated at het women, knowing that if they just withdrew their energy from men things would get a lot easier for the movement. Having said that, many het mothers scoff at the concept of trans, because they have birthed babies and know how ridiculous it is, whereas there are lesbians out there who fully support the trans movement. So it is impossible to generalize.
        This is why I love reading the truly great feminist authors: they manage somehow bring all women together under their wing.

  19. KittyBarber Says:

    I’m with you there, GM. This whole thread has left me sort of. . .tired. We have enough to do, plenty of enemies to fight, without going at one another in public this way. It doesn’t further our cause in any way that I can think of. The name-calling, the accusations, all of it–maybe there’s a place and time for this, but I don’t think this is it.
    Anyway, it’s a new day. My thanks to all of you, warriors. Fight on–just remember who the enemy is–and who it is not.

  20. Feuerwerferin Says:

    I’m sorry that this has happened again not only because it is directed against you (bad enough, it can be very painful) but also because the clashes between radical feminists (who are not life long lesbians) and radical lesbians are very upsetting and frustrating. How is a movement supposed to rise when the oppressed can’t even unite? I wrote comments to support you the last time but they were not published, too. Diversity in this matter would be very enriching!
    Tolerance just should be possible. Not all women are the same after all. But most women also do have a problem with that because they want other women to be just like them and this is not possible.
    I guess, we need to accept that differences in political views will always be there and go on from that. Also personalities are different and thus responses to oppression are different and this won’t go away either. I don’t agree with your views about religion but still respect you and will support you because you are the one who suffered injustice in this case.
    An other thing is that people really get along better when they have shared experiences in common. This is a ground for friendships but shouldn’t be confused with politics. I’ve noticed that politics and justice are often abandoned in favour of personal ties. This is injust. This is corruption. The necessary amount of self-restraint shouldn’t be to much to ask for.
    And there is this tendency to evoke homogenity and to shun discussions. Well, discussions won’t solve everything anyway because basically everyone thinks that they are right. Tolerance (within several limits) is the only possible way to deal with differences.

    The problem that (ex)heterosexual feminists face is shame, I suspect. There is this profound feeling of inferiority compared to people who never bought the lie – at least for me. Well, envy, too. And even though I have done brave things too, it does not make past heterosexuality go away. And whenever a lesbian tells her story everyone is reminded of their own story no matter whether this was meant to be shaming or not – it is easily understood as such. Here self-restraint is needed. I have changed and others have changed too, but this won’t erase the painful and humiliating memories of colaboration (even if it was regular anti-pornstitution feminism but still deluded by hetero conformity. It is very painful). All we can do is not to blame it on always lesbians. And this I don’t intend to do. We need to solve this issue for ourselves, dear other not always lesbians.

  21. bugbrennan Says:

    Men are not “the enemies of lesbians.” And the constant drum beat about the evils of heterosexual women is harmful to the goal of liberation for females. Please stop. Please just stop. You don’t know the life experiences of heterosexual women. You don’t know whether they lack courage or not, or whether they are lazy or not. It’s enough already.

  22. yttik Says:

    Sheila G, stereotyping all het women is not going to give you an accurate picture of what’s going on. We don’t all fit in little boxes. I’m a het woman and recently I was invited to a rad/fem meeting, with the enticing comment that, “we’re not all radical lesbians, you know.” So I told them, “that’s too bad, because if you were I just might join!” Sheila G’s comment about “courage” at the Hub didn’t offend me because I had that same exact thought when I was talking to these women. Seriously? This is your biggest fear, that people might think you’re all radical lesbians?! Where’s your courage??

    Unfortunately words like having “no courage” or being “lazy” are not accurate, they are reactionary. If you really want to get to know women and to understand them, you have to step back and consider what their motivations are. At the moment I hear many women not wanting to be dismissed as man haters, dismissed as lesbians, dismissed as uneducated, dismissed, dismissed, dismissed. They want to be taken seriously. They want to be heard by the larger society. Well guess what? You’re female in this society and no matter how anti-lesbian, academically well written, or man apologetic you are, you WILL NOT be taken seriously! Ever! That’s why we are all here. A much more effective way of making change is to build solidarity with other women because there is strength and power in our numbers.

  23. Daisy C. Turtle Says:

    yttik Says:

    “Many of us have a huge double standard so our expectation of women is very high and our expectation of men is very low. You see this in our culture at large. Sheila said, “Just what will it take for women to say no to men, and yes to women?” Women have to learn how to be more tolerant of each other, to give each other the benefit of the doubt more, and to build some solidarity. This is very difficult because the patriarchy works hard to keep women separated, divided, and controlled.”

    I couldn’t AGREE any more!!! Thank you yttik!

    I’m a new radical feminist, and while i’m very happy to have “seen the light” so to speak, i am SO disappointed in what i’m seeing of the online radfem community. So much division and cliqishness and backstabbing, it makes me VERY sad.

  24. Mary Sunshine Says:

    Just dropping a note in here to Gallus to say *thank you* for moderating all these comments. Our words to each other, our understandings of each other, are our lifeline.

    • Daisy C. Turtle Says:

      Thank you Mary Sunshine! And Gallus!!

      “Our words to each other, our understandings of each other, are our lifeline.”

      SO very true….

  25. SheilaG Says:

    I think “lazy” was a bad choice of words. So I’m sorry for that. Language does fail me at times. But I guess what I might be saying is that I’ve met lesbians who have come out late in life. Then they tell me that they always felt like lesbians but felt they had to conform, marry men and have children. Or they wanted to be accepted… every woman has her own story.

    But to me, if you do know you are a lesbian and then you marry a man anyway, it does mean there is a certain go along to get along attitude.

    As I’ve said before, “What will it take for women to finally stop giving energy to men, and finally focus on each other?” And it is a question that genuinely perplexes me. We are half the human race, and yet…

  26. SheilaG Says:

    What gets het women all riled up is simply radical lesbians telling stories of our lives. We don’t go along to get along, we didn’t do it as kids, we didn’t do it as adults. Bev Jo and I don’t like working with men, and we do believe het women sell out to men all the time. All women have to do is assert our rights, fight male supremacy and the great threat het women fear is being called Man Hating. Well I hate those male oppressors, and I really do hate most men, because I view them as a colonial power. Just as most men who were colonized by white men hate the colonizers.

    I don’t really care about winning friends and influencing people, I mean to communicate radical lesbian power, self determination and resistence to male supremacy. We have figured out ways to do this, and we push far harder than most het women ever do. Why we do this is a mystery even to me, but we do.

    When we exert lesbian pride, when we say we have great courage, and when we say we resisted the forces of het conformity, we really mean it. Just saying this throws het women in a rage, and they will tell radical lesbians to “shut the f–k up.” Imagine me saying this about women, imagine me telling women that we can’t tell the story of our lives because het women just don’t know and don’t want to hear it.

    Yes, we have answers and strategy. But you’d never know it to hear het women going on about PIV.
    I agree that fighting this sexual domination by men is what het women try to do, but it is not revolutionary to give aid and comfort, cooking and cleaning for men… the abolition movement wanted to end slavery, not just be good slaves. Radical lesbians believe heteronormativity and the erasure of lesbians, and especially butch lesbians and lifelong lesbians says something.

    Most het women do not know lesbians very well. Most het women over age 50 often have no lesbian friends at all. This tells me something, and this lack of knowledge is well to put it rather indelicately LAZY.

    Why would a woman tell me to “shut the f up? I find that an interesting response to me telling about my life, and celebrating incredible courage. When lesbians celebrate our resistance to men, and our independent lives…. well this is supposedly not possible in hetero patriarchy. That’s what annoys me, the assumptions that all women go along with this, or that all lesbians once had sex with men.

    And if het women believe this, well they are clearly as ignorant of lesbian cultural life as they accuse us of being ignorant of het lives. The thing is, I was born in a het family, grew up in it, and so I know a lot more about het family structure than het women who have never ever lived in a lesbian home would know. We were raised to be het, but hets being dominant have the privilege to not know about lesbian resistence.

  27. Valerie M Says:

    Sheila, thank you so much for your comments. Of course het women being the dominant class (over Lesbians) know less about Lesbians than Lesbians do about het women. Every oppression works that way. And of course that is lazy.

    Lesbians are subjected to the same pressures to be heterosexual that het women are, so why then are lifelong Lesbians able to see through the propaganda when others aren’t? I am not saying that all het women are completely conscious the whole time of what they are doing, but how about a little respect for those that could see selling out for selling out from the get go?

    Whatever the reasons, as long as het women continue to dismiss the courage of lifelong Lesbians, attack them even though they are women’s biggest and longest-standing supporters, and refuse to admit their own complicity by unnecessarily choosing males, obviously that will make it difficult to have a cohesive movement.

  28. Bev Jo Says:

    Considering what FCM just did to Gallus, and who knows how many other women, I don’t understand quoting her here to defend het women’s choices to be het. The “system of oppression” would not work if each individual didn’t make a choice. It’s patriarchal propaganda to deny we have choices. It’s essential to realize we do.

    I understand Sheila’s frustration. The earth is being killed, each day 200 more species go extinct, and women devoted to men are discussing PIV and which men are better in bed.

    No one is used to hearing Lesbians express anger at what feels like het women’s collaboration. Usually, Lesbians are so supportive of het women as to be almost worshipful. (And in my community, a recently out woman is far more valued than any Lesbian.)

    There are het women I love dearly, but as a group, they do keep men as a group going. And men, as a group commit horrific atrocities against girls, women, and other animals and the earth.

    We are bombarded with het life stories throughout the media and from our families, from when we first grow up. There is almost nothing positive or known about Lesbians, yet if a Lifelong Lesbian like Sheila dares to talk about her life, she’s told to shut up. Or we are told how lucky we are?

    Some ex-het Lesbians do feel shame, as Feuerwerferin says, but I think they are in the tiny minority because whenever I’m around groups of Lesbians, I’m subjected to hearing so much bragging about their het pasts and their men (to make sure we didn’t think they were born queer), sometimes in pornographic detail. If most aren’t proud of having been het, they sure act that way.

    And I never hear these Lesbians being told to stop talking about their past men. So why are Lifelong Lesbians told to shut up?

    I have never had so much contact with het “feminists” as recently in online groups, and I’ve been amazed at how they ignore or discount our existence, or call us “weird” and discuss us as if we are specimens under glass, and cheerfully talk about their men. As we said in our book, if any Lesbian thinks het women are so oppressed, try asking a random sample about wouldn’t they prefer being Lesbians?

    Just as Lesbians are expected, and it is demanded of us, to understand, be sympathetic, support, and put men claiming to be women first, so also are we told to put het women first. In both cases, the line is that they are more oppressed than us.

    Most defenders of het women from any Radical Feminist questioning or criticism forget that MANY het women used to be Lesbians.

    I do agree about building solidarity together, but we can’t if Lesbians are still being oppressed by het women, as Gallus just has been. And unlike other issues, this one IS about choice. The choice isn’t just “lifestyle.” The choice is about loving other women, or putting men first.

    Lesbians need support far more than het women do. Lifelong Lesbians are very rare, so it says a lot about Lesbian-hatred to want to stop any Lesbian from telling about her life.

    Some het women do respect us though, and are good allies, as I just experienced. Nothing like being attacked together to bring us closer. I just wish more were like these.

  29. SheilaG Says:

    I think the whole point of feminism is to get at what would make women free of male domination. How that could be accomplished.

    I can assure you, to get out the simple message that not all women have sex with men is huge. Because since this message is rare to non-existant, what does this say? It says that het women collude in this propaganda machine, and want it to continue. And if they want it to continue why?

    What is the rarest message? What is the message almost never heard? Well, there are many messages never heard or almost never heard, and we need to know about all of them.

    Het women need to get over wanting to be liked and accepted by men all the time. This desire to serve men is engrained in all women, but it can be actively resisted.

    Ex-lesbians who go back to men, that is common too. They CHOOSE this to get a better economic deal, just as Het women choose this because it is an easier way out, or so they think.

    For many het women I suppose this might be true… the wealth, the social preening and status to flaunt everywhere, the children to show off endlessly… but since I don’t see the lives of these women at home, they might be in a living hell. Their husbands might be battering or humiliating them, they might be forced to do porn sex acts… you won’t know this based on the fascade.

    Lesbians offer a very clear alternative to male pleasing and male dependence. We have developed many powerful strategies not only for survival but for uplift, sisterhood and community. How we do this with each other is amazing, and I think het women could learn a lot from this.

    But it seems like they have little to no interest in the very group that has resisted male sexual colonization, and created a vibrant woman loving culture that is global. If you look at the great political accomplishments of women of the 20th century, lesbians are at the center. Our herstory is erased, and rediscovered, but if you knew about what lesbians built in the US and around the world, you would be very thankful indeed.

    The key roadblock to het women is when they become radical feminists, it is out of hatred of men NOT love of women. Het male culture failed them in some way. But a lesbian girl loves girls, and is on a completely different path. Sure we don’t like boys and think they are obnoxious pigletts, but that is not what is extraordinary about my life. What is extraordinary is the love of women, the adventures that takes me on, the happiness it produces, and the pride I feel in avoiding sexual colonization.

    And I smile when het women go on and on about being abused by men. Hey, I could have told you all this when I was 10. If we want global women’s liberation, I can assure you that every sex at with men is not going to get us there. And that’s a hard thing to know.

    We don’t really know how lesbians are created, but we do know that patriarchy causes women to NOT love other women. Men co-opt girls at an early age to exploit them for life. So if you don’t feel love for women, really, it is about patriarchal indoctrination. And I think het women need to seriously think about this. I’m not saying go out and have sex with women… but I am saying the stories of lesbians hold a key, a way of life that could be quite valuable. Sure we’re not going to make you feel good, and sure we are blunt about what we consider selling out. Of course we see this all the time. Get over yourself and get real.
    We are talking about the end of male supremacy, and our little group is just watching and waiting for the rest of women to finally wake up.

    • sapphocles Says:

      /The key roadblock to het women is when they become radical feminists, it is out of hatred of men NOT love of women. Het male culture failed them in some way. But a lesbian girl loves girls, and is on a completely different path. Sure we don’t like boys and think they are obnoxious pigletts, but that is not what is extraordinary about my life. What is extraordinary is the love of women, the adventures that takes me on, the happiness it produces, and the pride I feel in avoiding sexual colonization./

      This is *such* an important distinction. I have never heard lifelong lesbians talk about other women *or about men* the way het women invariably do. And I think yours is the best description I’ve seen of what the difference is. Patriarchy and compulsory heterosexuality are hateful, coercive systems; how could the feelings they stimulate be anything other than shadings of rage? Lesbians are not only free to love women; we are also free not to hate men. Most of the lifelong lesbians I know don’t invest enough energy in men to hate them; we want to stop them from doing what they’re doing to women, but that doesn’t require hate — what it requires is clear thinking and steadfastness in the face of tremendous opposition.

    • Chocolattruffaut Says:

      “And I smile when het women go on and on about being abused by men. Hey, I could have told you all this when I was 10.”
      This is an interesting choice of words; why does it give you satisfaction to see women suffering and being able to say “I told you so?” Why is it that het women are the ones responsible for male behavior, instead of the men themselves?

      I think you do a disservice to het women by generalizing them as vapid man worshipers who only have the mental capacity to open a tube of lipstick. I just don’t see how a woman taking 2 minutes to apply mascara means that she doesn’t care about the status of women and is a traitor to her sex. You probably don’t want to believe it, but there are het women who like to discuss philosophy and art over gossip about sex.

      I think you probably encounter het feminist women who are hostile to lesbian separatism because, in their view, you’re telling them to put their personal happiness last (which is often what men do). In their mind, they have to put up with patriarchal shit coming from all sides, and if they find solace in heterosexual love, now that’s another thing off limits because they’re impeding the revolution.

      I don;t want to come off as attacking you because that’s not my intention at all. I just get the vibe that you have this anger directed at straight women that’s more due to patriarchal conditioning than you’re willing to admit. If you claim to love women so much, why can;t you give some the benefit of the doubt?

  30. SheilaG Says:

    I’m not biologically superior…. can’t run very fast, and certainly won’t be in the Olympics any time soon unless it’s the oppression olympics LOL…

    So should I settle for intellectually and morally superior to all het women FCM? That might be fun for a couple of seconds LOL

  31. Mandy Says:

    Because I’m mostly a lurker who only rarely ever posts comments, I want to start out by saying that I greatly enjoy nearly all of what I read in the radical feminist online community – both RadFem Central that Gallus took the time to set up and the RadFem Hub that I believe FCM played a huge role in. Heck, it seems like I’m the only person who still likes both SheilaG and FCM right now (although I do agree that some comments at RF Hub get filtered out that really shouldn’t be – was this because the comments had drifted too far from the topic of her post? Probably at least in part). So, without further ado…

    I’m not quite sure how it can be said, in one breath, that men’s treatment of women is appalling and then in the next, that women who live with men are privileged sell-outs who just want to oppress women who don’t live with men. It could in fact be considered a privilege to have had the circumstances of your early life be such that you had the capability to choose to reject the patriarchal* conditioning that all born females are subjected to. (Not that I’m a fan of who-has-the-most-privilege contests, because the answer just always happens to be “not me!”, but I do think that this concept needs to be considered a little more than what it has been. I can certainly see how the circumstances of my life made it much easier for me to avoid too much interaction with males and thus reject them far earlier on than what most other women are capable of.)

    If I can take up a little bit more of Gallus’ space here, I also want to say that I think a lot of these blow-ups are due at least in part to the fact that we are having these discussions over the internet and not in a more natural, face-to-face setting. People say things that are poorly thought out all the time, but the advantage here is that these things are not preserved on a comment board for everyone to read over and over again and stew over them and start thinking in an “us vs. them” pattern.

    *To no one in particular: Please stop saying “het” like it’s a pejorative and then claim that you and you alone are the only one to support all women.

  32. Bev Jo Says:

    I want to get on to check out Gallus’ other fantastic posts, but just wanted to add more about her original topic here.

    I am still in shock that any “feminist” would edit against a feminist’s will her own words that alter her meaning. What is the dividing line between feminist and right wing?

    Any of us who have been Radical Feminists, Radical Lesbian Feminists, or Lesbian Separatists know what it’s like to be censored, lied about and not allowed to respond, banned etc. by those who support trannies and pornographers, etc. It is against basic Feminist principles to do this to each other because of differences of opinion or politics that are not oppressive.

    Do we want an ever-growing inclusionary movement where no feminist is left out or made to feel inferior and driven away? Do we want a Radical Feminist movement that represents all women, including the most oppressed (remember that that is who created our movement) among us? Or do we want a tiny elitist exclusionary segregated club that can never be a feminist movement, and which is crushing truly radical discussion?

    Luckily, Gallus has this blog where she can tell us all what was done to her. She’s made it possible for every woman who has been censored and banned to get support and to know she is not alone. That kind of coming together is what originally sparked our Radical Feminist movement.

    I since have found several other women recently banned elsewhere. Two are Black het feminists who made the “mistake” of bringing up racism. Another is a white feminist who seems new to all of this and is trying to learn and be supportive in every way that she can. I was censored/banned for bringing up classism and daring to mention as a white Lesbian the names and books of Feminist of Color who transformed our movement. A courageous het Radical Feminist who supported me was banned with me (and, in spite of our differences, we share so much and I am proud to be her friend. I mention her too because my politics about het women’s privilege do not upset her at all. She is a true ally to Lesbians.) And because I didn’t quit, I am meeting these other Feminists who didn’t quit either.

    Meanwhile, an 18 year old working class Latina Lesbian from Brazil posted with brilliant Radical Feminist politics at my blog and didn’t seem upset with anything being too radical there at all.

    If those of us who are not scared of real Radical Feminism and do not want to see any Radical Feminist who has the basic feminist principles of treating each other with respect and care, continue coming together, our numbers will grow. If we try to not be oppressive to each other, and are willing (and excited) to learn about each other’s cultures (particularly the most oppressed cultures), then our differences should not matter, and our numbers will grow. We won’t just be re-building a powerful movement, but helping each other to survive. This work won’t be just heart-breaking, but full of joy and hope.

    It’s not so acceptable to talk like this anymore, but I never tend to do what’s “acceptable:” I love women and I love our Radical Feminist movement.

  33. Feuerwerferin Says:

    Bev Jo, I can’t believe that you have dismissed ALL of FCMs work like this. What she writes about can hardly be found anywhere at all! She has written so many interesting things and it surely has taken her a lot of time, too. And she IS genuinely concerned about women. That is why she blogs. There most probably a huge load of women who have come to desire freedom just because of her work. Your contempt seems to be more appropirate to be directed at non-political consumerist individuals than at her. She is one of those who blog about it! Of course I don’t justify how she treated GallusMag.

    Sheila, do you seriously think that every straight woman only has children in order to show off? (lesbians have children too) Don’t you think that at least some really love children and want to have children? My guess is that the legal system prevents lesbians and single women from having children independently from men in most European countries because otherwise fewer women would choose men. In my country (Germany), it is forbidden. So it is in France and in Eastern Europe too and probably almost everywhere in the world. I don’t say that everyone wants the same. Some women want children others don’t. We can’t possibly all be alike or can we?

  34. jane hathaway Says:

    To Mandy, I’m always surprised that some feminists experience the word “het” as a pejorative. It’s only a shortened word. I, on the other hand, as a lesbian, do experience the word “straight” as oppressive, since that word implies that heterosexuality is normal, making lesbianism less than, or other.
    I was wondering if you disagree that men are our enemy. If so, that’s pretty surprising, given the system. But if not, then why wouldn’t we point out that hetero women support our enemy?
    Lastly, I want you (but not only you) to stop calling oppressed females (namely, lesbians) “privileged.” That’s a mind-f*ck, pure and simple. Lifelong lesbians had the same obstacles that the rest of us did (I am ex-het), but they had the determination and courage–yes, courage–and heart–to resist. Give them credit, because to not give them that credit is only making excuses for ourselves, at their expense. And that is oppressive.

    • Mandy Says:

      Is it a privilege to experience male hatred and violence in your own home, day in and day out, as “het” women do? Is that how you’d prefer to experience life? If not, then you should see why some feminists are confused by how living the life that men want women to live can be considered a privilege. That’s what I’m asking here. And of course males are the root cause of this problem. I don’t see how that can be debated. Also, if you indeed read all of what I wrote, jane, you’d notice that I myself am not “het”. (I’m also fully aware that the word is an abbreviation of heterosexual.) I still believe that a woman’s life is made immeasurably better when she does not depend on or cohabit with males – it’s a *privilege* that the circumstances of my life have allowed me to escape that hellish nightmare. No, I’m not hugely popular with certain people and others do say things behind my back that I take pains to not ever find out, but I’ll take that any day over living with someone whose idea of love is nothing but sadistic, manipulative, death-by-a-thousand cuts (or maybe just one) torture.

      This is the last I will say on this matter as it is not worth our collective energy to focus on this disagreement. It is not imperative that everyone agrees on every detail of the subjective experiences of someone’s life in order to form a functionally cohesive movement.

  35. Bev Jo Says:

    Feuer, I don’t know FCM. My first experience with her was terrible, and I dread to think what other Lesbians she has treated like that. It was on the first “feminist” blog I ever went to, where she treated me like dirt. She was insulting, ridiculing, and not at all radical. Her feminism that I saw there was barely liberal. At the hub, Gallus and I and others I know have been censored. As I said, at least we have support, but how many women has FCM humiliated and driven out of our movement? I see her being a bully with no kindness are caring. She is one of the worst bullies I have ever seen in over 40 years of being in the international Radical Feminist community. To not just censor, but alter Gallus Mag’s meaning is outrageous.

    I don’t have contempt for FCM or any woman. But I am angry and outraged for all who she has harmed. It is she who shows contempt for anyone she disagrees with — not honest, direct, respectful disagreement, but contempt. It feels to me like she just wants to destroy some women.

    What is her work actually? I’m curious if you can tell us here a single thing that feels interesting to you that has not been written by feminists previously. I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but I’m serious about seeing what that might be.

    I do agree with Sheila that most women (including Lesbians) who choose to have children do it for bad reasons: to placate their demanding families, to fit in, to be considered “normal,” to get privilege and be fussed over, to satisfy their religions, etc. It is also a death sentence for the planet. There is no excuse to reproduce when the population is 7 billion and 200 species are driven to extinction each day — and there are girls languishing in institutions.

  36. Bev Jo Says:

    Mandy, het women do not have to stay het or with their abusive men. I know the rational for why they do, but it does give them privilege that Lesbians do not have. Why are you assuming that Jane doesn’t know what it’s like to be het herself, since most Lesbians have been?

    I explain in great detail at my blog about why many women choose to be het and the many privileges they get for it, including how they wield that privilege against Lesbians and celibate women.

    You might feel that your privileges helped you escape the horror of men, but most of the Never-het Lesbians I know are more oppressed by class and race out of proportion to their numbers, and have not had easy lives at all. If the most oppressed women can say no to their families, religions, cultures, etc. by saying no to men, then what excuse do the women with privilege have.

    I am very aware of the ex-het women I know who have houses and survival resources I can never have because of the men they married — not to mention the still-married women who have those resources. This is a life and death issue for those who have no health insurance or are homeless. You think I am not daily around het women and don’t see how they look down on me because I am clearly not het? I am oppressed by them. And what about the Lesbians who go back to men to get more privilege? How are those women victims?

    Do you feel sorry for and not hold accountable feminist het women who actively hate Lesbians?

  37. SheilaG Says:

    I do see a lot of het women showing off their children, and going on and on about them, as if they are a prized possession. So this seems — well a kind of het woman’s bragging or degrading to women who have no intention of reproducing the next generation of rapist and oppressors.

    FCM’s commentary is not new. It was all written about decades ago. Hey, everyone who writes a “new” version of Romeo and Juliette at least acknowleges the source. FCM simple is repeating all the work of radical feminists of 40 some years.
    This means that het women act as if there was no very large movement, and that they were too out of it or too LAZY to find out about it. So that’s an irritant.

    Het women do gain privilege from marrying men and dating them. They gain economic access. Every time I’ve been to a lesbian home in the Hollywood Hills, I always know they were formerly married to a man, that they get alimony, and that they got the house after an expensive legal fight. So het women marry men for a reason, and it is essentially legalized prostitution… het women sell their bodies to one man rather than many– that is the trade off they make within male supremacy.

    Jane Hathaway, WOW, thanks for recognizing the incredible courage of lifelong lesbians. Yes, we do resist the hetero cool aid, we do manage to avoid sexual contamination with men… AND we grow up in the same world as all the women who sell out sexually and otherwise to men. So there is a significant number of us who somehow figure it all out, and choose to love women.

    So you might call us the vanguard in the revolution for women’s freedom, and we are. For het women to even admit and celebrate this is beyond their capacities for the most part. They just don’t want to believe that het women CHOOSE men, they reject women, they CHOOSE to sell out for money, houses and social status… they collaborate willingly with men (in the west), and then they wonder why radical lesbian feminists get so tired of collaborators.

    Well we just do.

  38. diana Says:

    That males are violent, including intimately with females to whom they have access, is a part of patriarchy, a part of female oppression. Not experiencing it doesn’t mean “privilege” in the social justice sense. And since we’re talking social justice situations, I think agreed-upon terminology is important to use accurately. The ‘privilege’ in heterosexual privilege is societal, cultural, institutional. Patriarchal culture strongly rewards female heterosexuality over any alternative (celibacy is another), and often brutally punishes Lesbians. Individual women within patriarchal culture reinforce this, and act as if their male-given entitlement were real, valid, and not at other women’s expense. Privilege always comes at someone else’s expense.

    SheilaG writes: “What gets het women all riled up is simply radical lesbians telling stories of our lives.” Bev Jo has said: “No one is used to hearing Lesbians express anger at what feels like het women’s collaboration.” It seems so simple. Radical Lesbians’ lives are all of our stories, our herstory, if with added layers of oppression heaped on; it is vital that we all listen — and absorb these gifts — whenever Radical Lesbians and Lifelong Lesbians are willing to share. The courage, the beauty, the power, the honor are all there.

    It is virtually impossible to live as a het woman without some sort of collaboration (I say this from within); the least we can do is listen, honor, support, respect, and share the benefits and perks of privilege, whenever and wherever we can. It’ll never really be enough — a lot like white privilege can never be ameliorated completely in a white supremacist system.

    But it’s a helluva lot better than what’s offered: ‘Lesbian privilege’ here. I really like Jane Hathaway’s: “That’s a mind-f*ck, pure and simple.” In radical feminist spaces generally, it’s the incessant and unselfconscious talk of PIV/ het sex and the reward-expectation of motherhood, and other entitlements. It’s just not that difficult to think: whatever I’m discussing that patriarchal white supremacist culture rewards, maybe I should be aware also of how other women are hurt. Whenever I’m resting on my own ‘normality,’ who is being marginalized? Who am *I* marginalizing? And why?

  39. jane hathaway Says:

    Hi Mandy —
    Thanks for answering, and for your questions. I want to first point out that we agree on the root cause of women’s oppression being men. Also, we agree that women’s lives are hugely better without men. Looks like the only thing we disagree about is the use of the word “privileged” to describe heterosexual women.
    Because hetero women are more accepted in the world, in the workplace, in public spaces and in most families, hetero women have better access than lesbians do to a lot of goodies, based on their presumed “normalcy.” I’m talking about MUCH better access to things that affect our quality of life, or that are even life & death matters, such as more safety from other men, more money, better access to housing, education, & jobs, better chances of child custody, medical care, etc. This is what privilege is.
    There is no doubt in my mind that women largely choose heterosexuality–whether they actually partner with men or not–to be seen as “normal,” and thereby to gain access to these benefits (a.k.a. privileges). If they partner with a male, they hope their chosen male will not beat the crap out of them, or kill them or their children, and that therefore they will get to enjoy the goodies. But even if they stay single, hetero women get to be seen as “normal,” much more “normal” than lesbians, and they get more benefits. More privilege.

    • yttik Says:

      “…hetero women have better access than lesbians do to a lot of goodies…”

      Well, that’s what the culture tells us, but is it really true? I don’t know, I think it’s subjective. It’s in the eye of the beholder. You mentioned, “….more safety from other men.” Maybe, but then you get to enjoy the “perk” of being abused by your new protector. It’s almost gallows humor to call it privilege.

      Also, I think women really need to question whether or not conforming to the norm actually provides any genuine perks. That myth of getting goodies if you just conform properly to “normalcy,” has harmed a lot of women. At the very least, we should point out to each other that none of these bennies are worth the price.

      • jane hathaway Says:

        yttk — It’s pretty well-known that hetero women do better health-wise, job-wise and finance-wise than lesbians. Not to say it’s a sure thing. But that’s what drives women to partner with males even when they aren’t really feeling it. Also, not to say it works out for them all. But seriously, as an ex-het lesbian who did exactly that, for exactly that reason, and as an hex-het lesbian whose life was put in physical danger by my then-husband, and whose children whose lives were also put in physical danger, and as someone who had to literally fight to live through it, I tell you this. And based on my previous hetness, I now have an education and a decent job, and some money and health care, that I would certainly have been denied had I found the courage to come out as a teen.

      • jane hathaway Says:

        So my point about privilege is that if all lesbians came out, and refused to sell themselves, it would be so much easier for all lesbians, in so many ways. The whole world would see how many there are of us. In other words, heterosexuality gives benefits at the expense of lesbians. That’s the definition of privilege.

  40. GallusMag Says:

    I disagree with anyone saying that all women can choose to be Lesbian. Granted, many women who are bisexual choose to be with men for all the bennies. And some women are closet Lesbians because they just can’t see themselves as one of “those” marginalized women. But I don’t think you can change your sexual orientation, and if a woman is having sex with a husband she does not desire in order to get the social gains, that seems an awful fate. Like prostitution. Having unwanted sex for survival is not a “privilege”. In the same way, coercing women into having female romantic partners that they do not desire is just… yuk. Let’s face it, some women don’t even like their own pussy, much less wanting to bury their face in one. As a Lesbian, I think I’ll pass on trying to get straight women to become gay. Some women are just straight. They are romantically attracted to men. And rejecting men doesn’t make one a Lesbian. Intense sexual arousal for female partners makes one Lesbian. You either feel that or you don’t. I do know a few hetero women who have fell in love with a particular woman and partnered with her even though this same-sex attraction was anomalous for them. When the relationship ends they resume hetero relationships. I have never seen a single Lesbian “go back to men” after coming out, as someone said upthread. And I know an awful lot of Lesbians.

    This is what I tried to say in my edited comment. When a female knows as a child that she is oriented to women and that males are not an option, she is forced to take drastic measures to find ways to survive. She has to find others like her, and she will do so, even if it means risking her life running away to a city to find them or somesuch. These sorts of extreme acts are becoming obsolete now, thankfully, since so many Lesbians and Gays have come out of the closet and there are public resources and more acceptance and visibility, but they were certainly common even 15-20 years ago. That is changing. But when a female child is not homosexual, there is more room for her to negotiate and look for good outcomes without such extraordinary measures. For example she might look for a particular male partner who is not a sexist. She has options and potentials to explore. So she will not be forced to undertake the extraordinary survival measures that so many of us did in the years before gay visibility. When I tell young Lesbians the way things were they can scarcely fucking believe it. Of course we have a looooooong way to go, as evidenced by the mass numbers of Lesbian “transitioners” who seek a “cure” by maiming and poisoning themselves to appear less female. A LONG WAY TO GO.

    But the whole “hetero women are traitors to women” thing, if that’s what’s being said- I just don’t get that. In order to believe that one would have to believe that there is not a single man on earth that is worth redemption. Not a single man who has escaped, or is motivated to untwine his cultural programming. Not a single man who LOVES women. Hey, I’ve met men who love women. Not a lot, but some, and they are quite noticeable when you are around them. Men who somehow escaped their training, seemingly by accident. Men who are not centered to other men. They exist. Rare as a unicorn, but they exist. I’ve seen them. I even fed them kibble out of my hand at a petting zoo. Haha, sorry that was a joke.😛

    unicorny

    How does a hetero woman looking for her unicorn “oppress me”? She doesn’t.

    I do think many many women hate and fear us, or exotify us. Homophobia, born of sexism is rampant both in the culture at large and in Feminism. That does not mean that every hetero woman is by nature an oppressor of women. Yes, they have het privilege, even those partnered with unicorns (or those who try to turn a mule into a unicorn- ha). I love my straight sisters! And YES they are my SISTERS. Can we find ways to work together? What can Lesbians and straight women do to support each other?

    One thing that immediately comes to mind are straight women who put their time, resources and energy towards other women. I know women like this who put women first even though they are straight.

    Also, I think FCM is an excellent writer and thinker who I have always respected – which makes having my comment edited and the meaning changed without my consent (and she even has my email yo) all the more upsetting. I felt I had no recourse to correct the misrepresentation of my expressed thoughts by FCM’s creative editing of my words, so I made this post. If I had not made this post people would have thought I just mindlessly popped into that thread to cheerlead Sheila which was not what I did (although I do appreciate reading her thoughts and reflections and hope she never “shuts the fuck up”). Although FCM’s writings are generally completely heterocentric ( where heterosexuality is presumed to be the only one that exists and is the default experience of her and her readers) I still think she is an excellent blogger who helps many straight women. I’m still very angry so that’s the nicest thing I can say right now but I don’t want this thread to turn into taking a dump on FCM. Her actions speak for themselves, as do all of ours.

  41. Bev Jo Says:

    I absolutely do not want to encourage women who hate women and who hate Lesbians to come out. They’ve done tremendous damage to our movement and culture.

    But I still think it’s important to say that it is all a choice, just as ex-het Lesbians said in the Seventies. That is much stronger than believing we are just accidents of fate, “born this way.” (And the vast majority of Lesbians have been het.)

    Many girls and women trained themselves to turn their natural attraction to other females onto males. I remember a dear friend in high school realizing it just was not going to increase her status to talk about the girl she was in love with, so she soon found a boy to talk about. And I remember the friend I was in love with telling me how she trained herself to be attracted to boys and to stop feeling attracted to girls. She was very aware of how badly Lesbians were treated and she did not want to go through that.

    But self-destructive compulsions can be changed, as anyone who has rid themselves of sado-masochistic or alcohol cravings can tell you.

    I’ve seen MANY Lesbians go back to men, including a friend recently who had been out for 18 years. (And that is true for some here also.) I don’t think it’s usually even attraction for men as much as it is a plea to finally get their families to love and accept them, to stop being harassed in the world, and to just feel “normal” again. For some, it’s “easier,” like my ex who was lonely back in her country and was too shy to approach women, but, as she said, “I know what to do to attract men.”

    I agree, Gallus, about some het women are allies and some men don’t seem all bad, but I do think most het women despise us and many have actively hurt Lesbians, including those who have disowned young Lesbians from their families, have gotten Lesbians fired and evicted, those who cheer on their men who are beating up Lesbians, who are supporting the right wing, who prevent Lesbians from being with dying lovers, etc. What is confusing to me is that a lot of Lesbian Feminists talk about how horribly oppressed het women are by men, and don’t seem to notice that most het women insist they are not oppressed by men or are willingly with their men, including some of the het feminists here.

    What I am most concerned about is how Lesbians are oppressed by het women, including some het feminists (like the one who called Lesbians “weird” recently.) I think many, if not most, look down on us and treat us as inferior, and that’s what I object to. And I do appreciate those, like Megan, who are sincere allies.

  42. GallusMag Says:

    Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments in this thread. I appreciate this conversation SO much.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  43. Barbara Di Bari Visconti Says:

    Bev Jo said:
    “Many girls and women trained themselves to turn their natural attraction to other females onto males.”

    This is true. A little girl’s first orientation in life is towards her mother and that has to be reversed and replaced by a less natural orientation to men in order for a woman to become heterosexual. Lesbianism in women is a lot more natural than homosexuality in males.

  44. SheilaG Says:

    You little sneak Gallus… you had me fooled until I scrolled down to the picture of the deer! LOL LOL

    Thanks to the women here actually acknowledging the difficulty of lifelong lesbians even getting a voice.
    I’ll tell you, it has been one huge battle, with het women constantly saying outrageous things about us… we’re lucky, we don’t deserve respect….

    And I agree that some women really are completely hhetero Gallus. But there are so many lesbians I’ve met who used to be married to men and came out late in life. So they did choose het marriage because it made them appear normal. And most women are terribly afraid to step out of “normality and socially acceptable” They are terrified to even be outspoken.

    So one heck of a lot of women choose to be het, choose to marry men. Some hit the het jackpot and get men who treat them well, or materially produce, many het women get the joker and have a man who beats, rapes and fails financially. It’s a real lottery out there.

    I’ve noticed more gay men and lesbians coming out after they retire at age 65— no danger to careers, always felt they were gay, wanted all the jobs, promotions etc. so they role played for decades. Our movement made it possible for these cowards and sell outs to come out now. Many of these men and women contribute financially to lesbian and gay causes… some have even told me they are sorry for what they did and how they didn’t have the COURAGE to stand up. But at least some have told me this and respect my work and my commitment to lesbian nation. Unlike the rest of the het women who get very angry when lesbians like me complain about their collaboration with men. Or complain about their incredible hatred of butch women, or their hatred of Bev Jo and her work.

    Het women have a lot to think about. Us radical lesbians just watch them in amazement sometimes.
    It is still hard for me to believe that women are this out of it even in the 90s, 2000s and now.

    I’m wandering a bit here, but I do believe it is a very deep homophobia that het women still level at us, and really, we do get so sick of the PIV drum beat, when lifelong lesbians have nothing to do with this world. We’ve said all along that if you live with men, you will be owned. There is no way of getting around this. And large portions of the female population CHOOSE to be het, not all, but a lot more than we’ll ever know given what you actually have to give up to be an out lesbian. As long as that monumental hatred of lesbians exists, as long as “normal” is paraded in our faces everyday, you can bet only the most determined will choose to be lesbians in such a hostile social climate.

  45. SheilaG Says:

    Bev, thanks for such clarity. I do believe we need to honestly talk about how awful het women have and are being to lesbians. I have been called “weird” “lucky” and also accused of being a male troll— all on het radical feminist blogs. That’s not even men commenting.

    Most het women have degraded, harrassed and marginalized lesbians, and they continue to do this every day.

    A few days ago, I was talking to a lesbian about my age. I had noticed that het women were not as horribly mean to me in organizations I belong to, and that this change seemed to have occured shortly after the Prop 8 lesbian marriage defeat in California. I thought this was a good sign, but she came back with something I had never thought of before. She said it was guilt, guilt on the part of het women for all the damage they had done to lesbians, and also possibly guilt because they had voted against gay and lesbian marriage at the ballot box in the first place.

  46. SheilaG Says:

    — Her statement that het women were being nicer out of guilt really got me to thinking. Awhile back during the Prop 8 battle one of the women in my office said she supported me but voted for Prop 8 because her religion was against same sex marriage… and that woman had been the nicest to me in the office, and actually asks me about my partner at company social events. So the guilt part may very well be true.

    If we don’t deal with the horrifying way het girls and women treated lesbians in the past, and continue to belittle our stories and reality now, what does this say about radical feminism.

    And I get the distinct impression that het women just don’t get that women being attracted to other women is far more common than anyone wants to admit.

    I never thought het life and sex with men held any allure, so it had nothing to offer me. I was smart, driven etc., so I didn’t need men to bring me money, I was perfectly capable of supporting myself. I was indifferent to social approval because it was all so fake and phoney anyway.
    And I read widely in feminism as a teenager, searched libraries, did the work, unlike the rather lazy het women of today who seem to think a radical feminist book is hard to find.

    So if het women don’t deal with their hatred of lesbians or at least their social contempt for us, we won’t move foreward within radical feminism.

    So guilt may be what’s going down out there. And no het woman can claim innocense of her treatment of lesbians because we are still being called weird, lucky or told to shut the F up, just because we won’t bow down and worship het women who side with the patriarchy by selling their bodies to men…marriage, boyfriends, the bodies are sold and the lesbians are dissed.

    So if het women are so horrified with lesbians, then they should stick with men, because they will hold back and have held back our movement.


  47. […] that’s the furthest from my intentions. For more discussion and a primer if you need one, see these comments at […]

  48. FeistyAmazon Says:

    This is what I tried to say in my edited comment. When a female knows as a child that she is oriented to women and that males are not an option, she is forced to take drastic measures to find ways to survive. She has to find others like her, and she will do so, even if it means risking her life running away to a city to find them or somesuch. These sorts of extreme acts are becoming obsolete now, thankfully, since so many Lesbians and Gays have come out of the closet and there are public resources and more acceptance and visibility, but they were certainly common even 15-20 years ago. That is changing. But when a female child is not homosexual, there is more room for her to negotiate and look for good outcomes without such extraordinary measures. For example she might look for a particular male partner who is not a sexist. She has options and potentials to explore. So she will not be forced to undertake the extraordinary survival measures that so many of us did in the years before gay visibility. When I tell young Lesbians the way things were they can scarcely fucking believe it. Of course we have a looooooong way to go, as evidenced by the mass numbers of Lesbian “transitioners” who seek a “cure” by maiming and poisoning themselves to appear less female. A LONG WAY TO GO.”-Gallus Mag

    Gallus, I want to THANK YOU for this, because I WAS this child. I never fit into female roles except when I was very young, before I realized what sexism was: that is: my brother getting treated different and allowed more privileges than me, or the way the men in the family acted vs the women, or what things girls were expected to do, like household drudgery with their mothers and grandmothers, while boys got to play outside and have fun: so at 7 I rejected dolls. I remember the day when I decided “no more”, and ever since then my family tried to push dolls on me for birthdays and Hanukah…I HATED IT. Then at 10 I rejected dresses, once girls could get out of wearing dresses to school…though I never liked them…and my family greatly shamed me around that. At 12, I KNEW I NEVER wanted to marry a man, have sex with them or have children. Well, two out of three…but the third made me want to look for another alternative: Lesbianism, which completely fit, so at 20 I came out as a Dyke. How did I know at 12 I never wanted to marry a man or have children when there’s so much pressure to do so? It’s not like homosexual or Lesbian relationships were modeled to me, in fact the opposite. Why was I such a hardcore tomboy rejecting femininity since age 7? Because innately I KNEW the social status of women and and I rejected it. At age 9, Feminism came in*(1969) and it very much excited me all the talk of it in NYC, which I was living in at the time….such a great sense of hope, that FINALLY I could be treated as an equal and BE anything I wanted to be, even an astronaut…..even though back then there were no American female astronauts. Though I never followed that career path, I did get into a nontraditional field, BECAUSE OF FEMINISM, Butch Dykes refusing female roles and carving out new spaces and places for women overall! Our brave Butch Dyke pioneers!

    But surviving as a child, with family, schools, peers and therapists all trying to shame or control me around my resistance to femininization made it quite hard, and caused me to largely be unaccepted by family members and schoolmates. Nor were there other tomboy girls, not many, that I could reach out to and connect with, so mostly I connected with the boys, and that was very competitive. I was always having to ‘prove’ myself, and I still have to. It’s exhausting, and exhausting to a young girl child to not be accepted for not conforming to a demeaning role, toys and clothes! Even my college friends told me I’d get over my repulsion to male bodies, which of course I never did…..instead I came out, and all my college female friends who I was quite close with for almost 4 years, just disappeared out of my life, once I came out…and we socialized just about every night, they were a big support to me, but not once I came out….

    It is hard, and I remember buying feminist book and even Wiccan/Goddess Spirituality and/or other womon centered book after book, and they ALL were so hetero centered, and written almost exclusively for hetero women, with maybe one page or a few pages or paragraphs for lesbian/bisexual women. We’re not well reflected in feminism, and even less so in the alphabet queer community these days, with the downfall of our strong Lesbian networks, bookstores, and gathering places and coffee houses…..everything has been queerified, so Lesbian exclusive, or Lesbian centered presence has become even more invisible and disappeared…sadly, and I mourn it. Only when I gather with Lesbian friends do I feel it…but I have NOWHERE exclusively to celebrate it…like I did when I went down to the local women’s bookstore to hang out and could be completely myself and wait till some Dykes arrived to have a conversation, or with the Dyke store owners, perusing the latest books and mags about us…

    All gone….so I rarely buy Lesbian books anymore. Thank goodness for Lesbian Connection.

    Well, good night all…and talk to you soon. keep on keeping on..
    -FeistyAmazon

  49. Feuerwerferin Says:

    Bev Jo, I’m sorry I made the mistake I have talked about myself. FCM’s blog introduced me to radical feminist writings and I read the books that she discusses (and other radfems mention). Even though she did not write them herself, it is still great that she makes knowledge available like this. In posts, that are not about books, I suppose that she is talking about her own ideas though. And I wish there were more different rad fem blogs out there in general.
    And of course, since she is a heterosexual, she speaks to other heterosexuals (is there something she could tell lesbians or butch lesbians?). And that is probably even the only appropirate thing to do? And it is important to reach heterosexual women, too. What is injust, is that the lesbians who are not hetero-identified like yourselves are left out. That should never happen.

  50. Bev Jo Says:

    I have to respond again to Feisty that for some of us who are Lifelong Lesbians, we were not feeling a “sexual orientation” to women. I was in love with other girls. Girls felt like my people. I saw some meanness, but no where near the prurience and violence that I saw in boys. Even the nicer boys didn’t interest me. There was so much variety of personalities and thinking in girls. I remember this from when I was three. Again, I saw others girls feeling the same. Girls played with girls. I do not believe we are born Lesbian or het. I saw friends make their decision that they’d better get going on making themselves be interested in boys or they would lose status. It did not come naturally or easily. Some of them told me years later that they regretted forcing themselves to become het. They were not het or born het. The family and society pressure was tremendous, but very few girls bonded with boys that I ever saw, until they taught themselves to.

    So yes, some made this such a priority until it felt natural. But some say the same thing about loving porn and sado-masochism. It’s an intrinsic part of who they are and they do not want to stop. But were they born that way? Didn’t they get drawn into it through friends, their subculture, the media, etc.? Is it natural or learned? As a friend says, “No baby wants pain.” It is as learned as heterosexuality is learned.

    In the Seventies, Lesbian Feminists said it was all a choice. That was a point of pride. It was the GBT movement that insisted we’re “born this way.” And we know the “T” part isn’t real. The “B” part is saying they are choosing.

    This is very important politically in terms of feminism as a movement.

    The punishment for being Lesbian is extreme. Even being celibate is punished. The rewards for being heterosexual are extreme.

    And again, even while women are coming out at all ages, many Lesbians are going back to being het, and their reasons sound similar to what many women who claim to be men are saying: They are treated better. They get more respect. Their standard of living goes way up. (Women never with men might not even know that many men make double or more what women make.) I have known so many Lesbian who said they came out decades later than they would of because of intense family disapproval and threats to be disowned. I’ve been shocked at how many older Lesbians still haven’t told their families that they are Lesbians. If a relative comes to visit, they stop sleeping with their lover! Many are afraid to hold hands in public, while hets are all over each other as people beam at them. I remember the first lover I lived with not holding hands with me in public, but getting so much praise when she was in public with her boyfriend. She certainly was making a choice.

    Anyway, thank you again for this, and all your wonderful posts, Gallus Mag. Our champion!

    • Kathrin Says:

      > It was the GBT movement that insisted we’re “born this way.”

      Watching the sound bytes and videos, many people have become accepting because they don’t see it as a choice. “When did you decide to become straight?” can win over hearts and minds, because something that isn’t a choice can’t be a wrong one.

      Isn’t that selling out those of us who do choose?

      Hetero people often have difficulty imagining “choosing” to violate the status quo, to accept discrimination in the name of love, or happiness, or independence. Their inability to imagine a choice, though, shouldn’t have any bearing on those who do.

      It really shouldn’t matter whether someone was “born that way”, or made the choice for any reason(s) whatsoever. It is none of anyone else’s business why we love or live with who we do.

    • yttik Says:

      I don’t know what is choice, learned, or the way we are born, but I am sure that we all have a choice about becoming women centered women and putting women first. Judging from the amount of resistance you get, that is a surprisingly radical act.

      There are some wonderful lesbians who are rad/fems but there are also some who really don’t seem to like women at all. LOL, trust me, I have been called everything from a gender essentualist to squishy brained and girly. I think I’ve been learning that being women centered doesn’t have a great deal to do with sexuality, it is hard work and a choice you have to make and fight for everyday. Men have a good old boys club, men can align themselves with each other, but women choosing to put gender first is simply not done. Women who love women, whatever form that takes, are in for a rough road.

  51. Bev Jo Says:

    Thank you so much, Feuer. My worry is that she will frive away beginning as well as longtime feminists or even just women wanting to learn by attacking and humiliating any woman, heterosexual or Lesbian or celibate, who dares to bring up differences such as racism, classism, Lesbian-hating, ableism, ageism, etc. since she’s done that in the past and has approved Lesbian-hating comments, but forbid responses. I don’t go near her since I have enough oppression in my life, but it really does not look good if she is editing Gallus against her will.

    I am kind of curious though if there are any original ideas she’s written, as opposed to repeating what others have said.

    • Feuerwerferin Says:

      I wouldn’t know if there were, because I am still new to radical feminism and haven’t read everything about it yet. Plus, there is the phenomenon that people come up with many things themselves, when they start to think about something even though somesone else has made a theory about those things already. And as I stated, I think that promotion of Dworkin, Daly, MacKinnon, Jeffreys etc. is very important. (If you propose a reading list, I’ll read it too). But why is this relevant when we talk about censoring and exclusion of lesbians anyway? I would criticize this treatment of lesbians even if some great visionary happened to do it. It would still be wrong.

      Also here is a great post about the problem: https://bolshevikchick.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/are-lesbians-really-a-menace/
      I couldn’t agree more.

      Anyway, GallusMag never did that (as far as I remember). I still think it was wrong to kick her out of the Rad Fem Hub.

    • Feuerwerferin Says:

      Oh, I forgot to say: the Hub provides investigations of current events (slut walk, occupy wall street) and analysis of media (reports about rape, films etc.). Even flyers (by FCM!). Yes, I do appreciate it.

  52. KittyBarber Says:

    I had no choice in becoming the Lesbian I am. I just evolved this way. Like Bev Jo, I always wanted to be with girls–not to play dress-up princess with them, but to be the knight who rescued them from the tower. I wanted to treat them better than the boys did. Even at a very young age, I knew that I loved the girls.

    When I was about five, I tried to ‘shave’ with my dad’s razor, and cut my face open. He bought me a pretend shaving kit! My Mum wasn’t crazy about it, but everyone in my family knew I was a ‘tomboy,’ and they just let me be. I was spared childcare (or they didn’t trust me with the babies!) and when I was seven, I got a BB gun for Christmas. I hung out with my best friend Punky A. from down the block, and HE turned out to be gay.

    When I realized there were others like me, and that we had a name–Lesbians–I knew my life would be all right. I knew I had found my people.

    I came out to my family–officially–when I was sixteen, and my first real girlfriend was living with us. My brothers and sisters said, “Tell us something we don’t know.”

    Feminism was the only sensible path for me to take, and it came naturally to me. I actually believed that once the rest of the world heard about this, that it would come naturally to them, too, that all women would, of course, choose to be liberated, right? Wrong. The choice came, for them, as I saw it, it remaining oppressed at home as well as at work, on the street, in political life, all of it. That was a choice, I thought then, and still think today.

    Much, maybe most of the work of the feminist movement has been done by Lesbians. There is no way one can deny this. We took the risks, shouldered the burden of the footwork, dedicated our lives to freeing ALL women–not just ourselves. LESBIANS stood on the front lines of the abortion clinics so that pregnant women could make it through the hate, Lesbians took jobs that men did not want us to have, ‘non-traditional’ jobs that paid twice that of the jobs we were ‘allowed’ to have.

    In so many ways, the old saying is true: Feminism is the theory, Lesbianism is the practice.

    I don’t expect anyone to say ‘thank you’ forever to us, but I certainly do expect an acknowledgement of our sacrifices, the risks we take, the dangers we faced, and the courage we show when we stand up and tell the truth to power, and back it up with our actions. We do this–I do this–because I love women. I love all women, I always have and I always will. You can hate me for this if you want, and it doesn’t change my mind, or my actions, or my beliefs. I will always do what I do on behalf of women, young, old, in-between, my sisters who stand with men, even the ones who know better and still denounce me. This is who I am. It is not something I wear, or think about, or have decided to become. In that, I was born to be the Lesbian feminist that I am.

    If the world has seen change, it is because of the Lesbians in the movement who stood up and said, “I will.”

  53. Bev Jo Says:

    Oh Kitty, that was so beautiful. I agree completely and so much identify with your story.

    I think we are all born this way, but some choose not to and some choose to love other females. It feels like we were born this way, so yes we were. But we choose every day to continue to be true to ourselves. Not a trivialized “sexual orientation,” but love. Being a Lesbian is about love.

  54. Bev Jo Says:

    I really agree, Sapphocles. You said that so well too.


  55. […] But how much do other things play a role in women’s oppression? Things like poverty? Homophobia? Transsexual infringement on women’s spaces? Certainly racism isn’t an issue, nobody […]


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