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Firefighters group sex scandal exposed

February 15, 2010

A culture of homosexual group sex has been exposed with recent allegations of ‘sexual abuse’ by some retired fire fighters against their colleagues. These allegations have given rise to a debate on the nature of consent within group sex between men. Some sources have jumped to immediate conclusions on the matter, blaring headlines such as “Brutal Abuse Exposed” (Cover of The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 14th February). However the issue is far more complicated than that.

We need to take into consideration several important points before we make such spurious judgment on the nature of this so called ‘abuse’.

One, it is a well known fact that groups of men in dangerous occupations tend to have sex with each other. The men making claims of abuse, knowingly and willing entered into a hazardous occupation which was, and still is, male dominated. What did they think was going to happen? Cup cakes and Kumbayah? No, these men knew full well the nature of other men and they willingly entered into an environment where they knew there was a risk of sex. Haven’t they seen the sexy calenders that firefighters produce for gay men?

Two, after the so-called ‘abuse’ all three men chose to stay within their career as firefighters. None of them reported the ‘abuse’ to the police until many years later. Obviously these men were ambivalent about whether or not this actually was abuse. Surely, if the group sex had been unwelcome, they would have left their positions and reported the crime to authorities.

Three, none of the men indicated that the group sex was unwelcome until years later. They report passively accepting the ‘abuse’, none of them claim to have asked the accused to stop, nor did they indicate that they had struggled in any way. It is difficult to believe that the advances of the accused were unwelcome when no indication was made on the part of the ‘victim’ to resist.

It is obvious that these men invited group sex when they joined the fire brigade. They did not leave their employment when the group sex started. And there is no indication that they did not consent to the so-called abuse. The case against the accused is very thin. It is difficult to understand how headlines like: “Brutal Abuse Exposed” could possibly by justified.

What this incident does indicate is that internalised homophobia and a desire for monetary compensation has driven some men to deny their natural inclinations for, and enjoyment of, all-male group sex. We need to change the culture of male-dominated, dangerous occupations so that men can indulge in group orgies with other men and not feel ashamed by their natural desires. This recent scandal has exposed the shocking truth of our society’s intolerance of the natural male sex drive. We need to accept and support men who need a good group fuck before fighting fires, crime, war etc. Headlines like the one published in The Sunday Telegraph are inflammatory and ignore the realities of what men need. If you want to support our firies in their life-saving efforts, embrace the fact of all-male group sex. It is a necessary, natural, team-bonding experience that makes men, men, and gives them the impetus to keep risking their lives, day after day.

*DISCLAIMER: I do not believe a single word of what I wrote above. I was just so angry with the way that this issue was reported in contrast to the way that the gang rape of women by footballers was reported. In my opinion, they are exactly the same; in fact the women raped by footballers suffered far more than the fire fighters did in this recent sexual abuse case. Why is it that women getting gang-raped by footballers is reported as a ‘sex scandal’ but when something similar happens to a man it is ‘horrific abuse’? Yes, what these firefighters suffered was horrific abuse. It is inexcusable. It is a crime. It should never, ever happen to anyone, ever. SAME WITH THE GANG RAPE OF WOMEN BY FOOTBALLERS!!!!! And yet the above was exactly the way that the media handled the gang rape of Clare… and so many other women who have been deeply scarred by their horrific experiences at the hands of rapist football players.*

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Rebeldias Lesbicas

February 10, 2010

Incredibly moving video made by Alejandra (Jana) Aravena, a South American lesbian feminist.

NO PORN.
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.

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Just a Moment

February 10, 2010

This young woman is an amazing composer. I have been trying to find female composers for the piano that I like. It is really frustrating because all of the composers that I love are male and I can’t find any women that I like. Of course there is Tori Amos and Nina Simone… but their stuff is a little difficult for a beginner like me. The only place I have been able to find brilliant female composers for piano is on youtube. Why aren’t women like this as famous as Einaudi, Cacciapaglia, Tiersen ect? They are certainly good enough to rival them.

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On Choice

February 10, 2010

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.

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Mary Daly: Radical Elemental Feminist

January 7, 2010

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

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Volunteering

October 24, 2009

I have just finished some training that I am doing for a volunteer program that I will be involved in soon and I am feeling pretty drained. I doesn’t help that I drank too much coffee and now I can’t sleep. Coffee and allecto are not usually allowed to keep each other company because it makes her hyper… and also seems to make her talk about herself in the third person! Disturbing.

I don’t think I’d be feeling as drained as I am if I hadn’t had a run in with a man who was also doing the program. See… I am a separatist for very good reasons. Men make my blood boil. I would have really, really enjoyed my day if it hadn’t been for this one overbearing, dominating oaf of a man. Blargh.

But I shouldn’t let this one fuckwit ruin what was otherwise a really great day. I met lots of women who were bloody awesome. I’m really looking forward to keeping in contact with them. I don’t think I have connected so well to so many women in real life for a very long time. And besides I think I scared the oaf so much that he will leave me alone next time.

I am feeling really positive about this program. I think it will be really good… not just for myself, but for other women and girls too. It is very exciting and I have not done anything like it before. Sorry, I can’t give details because the program is pretty sensitive… but yeah. Just wanted to share. It has given me heaps to think about.

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White Supremacy, Feminism and Off Our Backs

October 14, 2009

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.