“I-dentity (aka trans) politics is fundamentally LIBERTARIAN and INDIVIDUALIST. It is ahistorical and acontextual. It essentializes sex stereotypes by renaming them consensual “gender identities.” It invisibilizes power structures that give rise to female oppression. It is anti-feminist.” – Bess Hungerford
Archive for the ‘speaking out’ Category
DUDE SPOTTED AT OCCUPY PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
When confronted (I took his picture and called him a fuckhead with all the venom I could muster), dude says, “Hey, you are being violent to me!!!” Poor little man attacked by nasty feminists for not doing anything at all! He valiantly tried to defend himself saying that his father bought him the t-shirt from Thailand! And the t-shirt WAS NOT VIOLENT in the slightest. Not like us nasty, mean feminists.
Misogyny? I’m loving it! Are you?
This is a speech I gave at Reclaim the Night Perth, 28th October 2011.
Women are a colonised people. Under male supremacy, our original selves are forcibly buried and we are reshaped, our Selves conditioned for use and abuse by the men who occupy us. And this is a truly encompassing occupation. They not only occupy our time and energy, they infiltrate and invade, they alter what it is we believe about ourselves, they construct our identities from birth into being for them.
Under male supremacy, rape and sexual violence is the fabric of the culture in which we live. Women’s purpose is shaped according to what men value about us. We are valued in accordance with our fuckability, our submissiveness, our conformity to their value system which posits women as whores. We are vulnerable, we are penetrable, we are for use and abuse, we are colonised and we are for men.
Men construct the world around this value system. They buy and sell women and girls as sex and call it prostitution. They create degraded images of women being hurt and fucked and raped and call it pornography. Women and girls survive this occupation. We see ourselves starving and trussed up in shop windows, on the sides of buses, on newsstands and in the grocery store. And we survive this. We see little girls wearing Playboy bracelets, young women and girls being branded by the sex industry, stamped as whores, stamped as being owned. And we are still surviving this.
Tonight we are reclaiming more than the night. We are reclaiming ourselves. We are saying, loudly and clearly, “no woman is a whore”. And we are standing with every woman who has been beaten, every woman who has been raped and we are reclaiming ourselves. Men have shaped our realities for far too long, it is time we take back what is ours.
that no matter what you have done
i am still here.
and it has made me dangerous, and wise.
you cannot whore, perfume, and suppress me anymore.
i have my own business in this skin
and on this planet.
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Thursday 22nd September *note* the launch is not part of the official SCUM program
13:00 Feminist Book Launch @ Parliament House: Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Porn Industry: Spinifex Press
Friday 23rd September: Theme – Women Revolting and Revolting Women
9:00 Conference overview, acknowledgement of country, breakfast, board games and hang out with other A-Mazing thrill seeking females.
11:00 What does feminism really mean? Eva Harper + Lyn Ariel
The first session of the conference will explore what feminism really means and whether there are distortions and misconceptions of feminism currently being perpetuated throughout society.
12:00 Women keeping peace through men’s war time: Noushin Arefadib
Solutions to critical feminist issues of rape and violence against women during war.
2:00 Revolution Revisited: Framework for a Radical Feminist Future Betty McLellan
Questions and discussion about the future of feminism and the role of radical feminists in that future. Is a feminist revolution still on our agenda? If so, what would such a revolution look like? Is a feminist revolution even possible in today’s socio-political climate? My emphasis will be on the need for us to embrace today’s challenges and push ahead with courage and determination.
3:30 Afternoon Tea
4:00 Revolting Women Go Public: Lyn Ariel
Session on reasons behind and meanings of slogans.
5:00 Drinks and Social Time
Saturday 24th September: Theme – Creative and thrill-seeking Hags
9:00 “Heart of Feminism” expressive workshop with creative writing and construction: Georgi Stone
11:00 Morning Tea
11:30 RadLesFem conversations about goddesses and lesbians too sacred to mention: Spider Redgold
An Afternoon to Re-Member Valerie Solanas:
2:00 Up your Ass – Kat Pinder
An overview of the life and work of our well loved civic minded, responsible, thrill seeking sister.
2:30 A look back at the SCUM Manifesto – Chris Sitka
What the SCUM Manifesto meant to me (and other radical feminists) at the time and a look back at it from our current perspective
3:45 Fem-manifesto-ing – Susan Hawthorne
An examination of feminist manifestos and comparisons to the SCUM Manifesto
5:00 End of session
7:00 Creative Hags Performance Evening (food + wine provided)
Sunday 25th September: Theme: Re-Membering Sisterhood + Feminist Identity
9:00 From Skipping-Rope to Splitting-Hairs : Women in Conflict: Rain Lewis
Many feminist/lesbian groups will go through “splits”. This presentation will explore various ways and means of girls and women-only conflicts for discussion from both political and personal perspectives.
10:15 Morning Tea
10:30 Radical Activist Strategies: Samantha Berg
Zero risk through high risk acts of resistance and reclamation.
11:45 Telling Lies about little girls: porn scripts: Ryl Harrison
This presentation will look at how porn scripts work in the everyday lives of girls aged between 9 and 13 years.
12: 30 Lunch
1:00 Womyn Only: Re-claiming Sister Space: Dani Tauni
Reclaiming our womyn’s spaces, festivals and communities and Re-membering Our Positively Revolting Lesbian Feminist Identities.
2:30 Afternoon Tea
3:00 Open Space session
learn more about and discuss the work of some of our favourite feminists from around the world: Bring your favourite feminist books!
4:30 Closing Session and debrief
5:00 End of Conference
I’ve spent the day watching youtube vids and researching the situations of the Family Courts in Australia. I don’t think that I could write anything coherent on the subject… it is just too horrific and disturbing. I’ll let you watch the evidence yourselves.
I saw the real ‘Beth’ speak at a protest in Perth about a year ago. Her story will haunt me always.
We just need to look after these children. This is our duty. It’s my moral obligation as a mother and I believe it is the community’s obligation to start speaking up against this. Kids don’t need to die. Parents don’t need to suicide. This does not need to happen. But the courts need to change the way they’re hearing us. They don’t need to hear hysterical. They need to hear women who are screaming for help. Please help us.
I don’t even know why I’m telling you this again. I mean I’ve told so many people… I’ve told this 1000 times but no one seems to listen to what I have to say… I mean, really listen to what I have to say.
I went to the authoritative bodies that I thought could help my son… who all believed me and they believed my son. But when we got to the Family Law Court I was told that they were under-qualified to give evidence… When we went to the law courts no evidence of my son was listened to… I wasn’t listened to. I was told I was a pathological liar, and a lunatic, for believing my son. All the bodies that are in place to help children and help people in my situation were completely disregarded.
…and we were safe for about 3 months. Then the Federal Police came and they took her and they said… “oh, you’ll get her back in about a month”. That was 10 years ago. They’ve said I’m obsessive and compulsive. I keep writing reports. I keep trying to plead with them and give them evidence and they ignore everything. She’s now self-harming and has been for a long time. And since the age of 6 she’s been sexually abused by her step brother in the presence of her father… that’s family protection in Australia.
Incredibly moving video made by Alejandra (Jana) Aravena, a South American lesbian feminist.
Slide show made for the first commemoration of the rebellions Lesbian, October 13.
The sequences are a personal view of the rationale and working from feminism. It is also an account of the referents of lesbian-feminist political training I’ve had.
Hat tip to Isabelle.
I was talking to a friend tonight and she was discussing her discomfort with a conversation she was having around reproductive choices. She didn’t have time to go into particulars and I was unable to respond to her feeling of discomfort, so I was lying awake thinking about it instead, formulating my thoughts into a blog post that would never get written… like I have been doing for quite some time now. As you have probably noticed… my blog has been quiet for a while.
So I thought to myself, “Fuck it, write the damn post now. It will be gone in the morning if you don’t!” So here I am. And here are my half-formed thoughts around a brief mention of the word choice in a conversation with a lesbian sister.
Choice is the catch-cry of 21st century feminism. We are taught by rote that the goal of feminism is to expand women’s choices. That choices can and should be as limitless for women as they are for men. That more choice, quantity rather than quality, is good for women. That uncritical and unexamined choices are evidence of true freedom.
Liberal feminists cling to choice, champion choice, march behind banners of choice. Yet I am left feeling very uncomfortable with this word, what it means for women, and what it leaves out of the equation. In our focus on choice it seems the real motivation behind women’s movement world-wide is thrown by the wayside. Liberal feminists are motivated by a horizon of ever-expanding choice. Radical feminists are inflamed by a passion for liberation.
I am not just talking about language. I am talking about the very different way the libfems and radfems structure our politics and our approach to the fact of women’s oppression under male supremacy. I am talking about the radically different way we see the world, the way we analyse our oppression, and the goals that we set for ourselves and for the world.
I would argue that the politics of choice falls far short of the politics of liberation.
In a worldview where choice is the goal, issues like prostitution, stripping and other forms of sexual violence can be defended as empowering. Where choice is the goal reproductive technologies are not dangerous harmful practices, they are embraced as offering women more choice.
But when the goal of feminism is women’s liberation these practices become senseless. When the issue is not a matter of expanding women’s choices ad nauseum, but about liberating women from male supremacy the word choice become less meaningful and less relevant. Especially when we begin to look at and deconstruct the way that many of our choices are made for us.
I believe that liberation is a fundamental necessity for women’s emancipation from the tyranny of male rule. Choice is a very poor substitute for freedom. There are many, many ‘choices’ that women should never have to make and yet we are forced to make them every day.
I am a feminist who wants a world where certain choices are unavailable to women. Where the image of liberation is a bunch of dykes sitting around a kitchen table loaded with delicious vegan food, rather than a woman on a table shedding her clothes for a room full of men who consume her as they would a steak. I can and do imagine a world where no woman is made to see herself as a fuck toy (prostitution) or a womb (surrogacy, IVF etc). I can and do imagine a world where women are considered to be as human as men. I do have faith that one day women are going to wake up and see themselves and their sisters as human.
But choice is the language of the powerless. Choice is the language and the activism of a colonised people who are (justifiably) terrified of their oppressors. Choice a dead-end politics, the politics of a people who have given up and are now begging for crumbs.
Liberation is the language and the activism of the sisters who have found themselves and each other. Liberation is the language and the politics of the women who can set the world on fire. Feminism needs women with the courage to go too far and the imagination to build a new world when they get there. It is going to be a bumpy ride, sisters, but I’m taking her all the way.
I don’t think I have ever written a post on Mary Daly before, despite the fact that her life and work have had a profound influence on my own. If I had never picked up a copy of Gyn/Ecology from a second-hand bookstore when I was 19… what kind of woman would I be today. I launched myself into Gyn/Ecology, not having the faintest clue about what I was reading. Up until this point my contact with feminism had been through The Women’s Collective at uni. Mostly straight liberal feminists. Good women… but tentative in their politics. And through women’s studies subjects at uni. None of which had any hint of radical lesbian feminism in their reading lists or anywhere else. My feminism was pissed off, angry and raging… but had no direction. I had no words, no herstory, no Background to light up the foreground and show it up for what it was. A dirty and dark illusion made to keep women like me from breaking free.
And then, at 19, I picked up a copy of Gyn/Ecology and my eyes were irreversibly opened. Quite honestly, I did not understand a word that the book said. I read passages over, and over and could not comprehend them. I was pretty ignorant at 19. And then I lost the book and lost a huge part of myself along with it. For 5 dark years I floundered about with queer theory and queer feminism online until I found Gyn/Ecology again, and bought myself another copy from The Feminist Bookshop. Reading it again was like coming home. I could not understand how I had lived without Daly’s Elemental Feminism in my life.
I bought every single one of her books and read them cover to cover. Lovingly stroking the pages that held the most meaning. Crying and crying over the realisations of what male supremacy has cost us. Her work lit me up like a bonfire and changed me irrevocably. She was, and is, and ever will be a raging tempest, a Positively Revolting Hag, and A-mazing Amazon, a Quintessential Woman.
I couldn’t write about her before because I didn’t know what to say. How to describe a woman who is everything. Who casts herself beyond the foreground, into the Background and spirals into Outercourse.
Mary, your journey has only just begun. I grieve your passing and I will remember you. Always.
PS. I cried so much when I read Heart’s tribute to Mary Daly: “Leave the State of Fear. We Can’t Stop Now! We Have Overcome.”- In Memory of a Positively Re-Volting Hag, Mary Daly, October 16, 1928-January 3rd, 2010
It has been an eye-opening experience to watch the events unfold when one Black feminist blogger and writer speaks up about racism in the predominantly white radical feminist community. Jennifer writes passionately, eloquently and with great insight on her blog Celie’s Revenge about issues that affect ALL women. Her blog is inspiring and incredibly brave. She is one woman who truly represents the ideals of sisterhood and liberation.
And yet, when she dares to open her mouth to stand opposed to the racism inherent within the treatment she received at the hands of white feminists… all hell breaks loose. What has shocked me about this whole event is the fact that it has exposed that racism is not present within a small pocket of feminists in the Off Our Backs collective… It has spread like wildfire, with more and more white feminists lining up to tell Jennifer that she is a crazy, angry, racist against white people and, worst of all, a bitch!!! All this just because she insisted that she should be treated as human as a white woman.
This is totally unacceptable. No woman who thinks that this is an appropriate way to treat another woman should think that she has the right to call herself a feminist. What has struck me most about this is the fact that the white ‘feminists’ have responded to Jennifer’s truth-telling is exactly the same as the way that men react to women who tell them the truth. With defensiveness, anger, justification, intimidation, name-calling etc, etc. Really, really shocking.
All illusions that women are better at working through issues like racism better than men have been very definitely shattered for me as I watch white ‘feminists’ trying to tear strips off Jennifer. Trying to paint her as mad and delusional. A few clues women. Black women have the right to be angry about racism. Black women have the right to be angry at white women who demonstrate racism, either politically or personally. Black women need to be supported in their truth-telling. Even when that truth hurts us. Even when that truth is directed at us. We have no credibility as feminists if we don’t.
Please take the time to read Jennifer’s story and support the incredibly important work that she is doing for ALL women. There is no sisterhood, no feminism, no herstory without Black women, there is no point in a struggle which excludes the voices and the truths of women of colour. The white women from the Off Our Backs collective have some serious explaining to do.
Sheila Jeffreys IS my sister. This is a post in response to this ridiculousness here. If you support Sheila Jeffreys and her wonderful work against the sexual exploitation of women in prostitution please copy this graphic and past it into your blogs. If you don’t have a blog come and share your love in the comments here. Let it be known that there are plenty of women (including women who have been prostituted) who love and support Sheila’s awesome, radical and powerful voice. Let it be known that she is our sister and we won’t let her be silenced.