I have always identified as feminist all through my life. I read a bit of Greer and some other stuff when I was about 16, and then when I was 21 or so I discovered Dworkin and absolutely fell in love with her mind, the same way I fell in love with Frantz Fanon’s mind. And I just had to keep reading more and more. And then I eventually found my way to radfem blogs, actually via a male feminist/profeminist who does videos on youtube. He goes by the name of rubbleofempires. (his stuff came up when I put Andrea Dworkin into youtube) http://www.youtube.com/user/rubbleofempires?ob=0
I only been reading radfem blogs for about eighteen months or so, and I have only veeery recently begun to get involved in a brief bit of discourse with feminists in real life. All this is to say that basically the direction and concerns of current feminism was very alien to me when I began to dip a toe in.
And I’m so confused. Because it seems like about 50% of everyone’s output is about trans. The funfems write about how bad transphobia is and the radfems write essentially the same criticisms of the trans ideology over and over again, till they’re blue in the face… Why? And is it worthwhile?
I guess it’s worth stating your position on any issue, if you have one. I don’t think it’s worth spending 50% of your output on such an issue. I think 50% is a sizeable portion, if you’re doing feminist analysis, and that would be better spent on violence against women, on sex, on motherhood, on labour and birth, on age, on beauty… on pretty much everything that actually affects the majority of women out there in the real world where no one’s ever heard of a privilege checklist.
I think a LOT of this is a result of feminism being largely internet-based. The internet is great for feminist discussion for all sorts of reasons, but there seems to be an entitled attitude that goes with internet sociology- that is, EVERYONE expects to be taken seriously, about everything. People make up all sorts of weird identifiers and cling to to them, then get ‘offended’ if these aren’t respected- and they get loud, talk about how ‘offensive’ criticism is, and act like it’s their human right not to be offended. I mean, the internet gave us furries, for gods sake, but not just furries- furries who expect to have the right not to be mocked.
I don’t think it’s worth taking this kind of shit seriously, because these people, I bet you 90% of them shut the fuck up in real life and don’t start telling everyone about all their fetishes and how these fetishes should be respected. I bet they don’t walk around telling their colleagues or friends in real life ‘what you said is really othering‘. But people on the internet have this bizarre idea that they have the right not get their feelings hurt by other peoples’ ideas.
So the best that I can figure out is trans people are very loud on the internet, and not quite so loud in real life, and I guess the same applies to feminists. I suppose the more dangerous it is to be loud in real life, the more you spend your time expressing yourself on the internet. But why are feminists talking about trans? So much?
I have to say, I think it’s a crying shame what’s happened with RadFem2012. To see feminists spending so much energy making sure cis-women don’t meet up to do feminism is just insane. If cis-women feel they need a safe, wbw-only space, and they want to create that space, bloody hell- let them? If you don’t feel you need that space, fine. But if other women do, how the hell can you actively work, under the banner of feminism, to stop that happening? What the hell has happened to feminism? It’s almost like the word has become meaningless.
In this ‘message to those who would attend RadFem 2012’ http://transactivist.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/message/, the writer, a transwoman, states:
‘you might argue that I, nevertheless, will always have with me the male privilege that comes with being raised as a boy. And I would say yes, I accept that, but I seek to acknowledge and check this in the same way I seek to acknowledge and check my other privileges‘ yet despite this admission, still concludes that cis-women should not exclude her from any space.
Why? If you can see that this exists and can be problematic? Why not acknowledge the need for a faab-only space for women that want it? It’s just illogical.
So it disturbs me that this internet hurty-feelings thing impacts on real situations happening in real-space. But at the same time, and partly because so much internet feminist discourse seems to be taken up with trans, and comment wars, and who-said-what-on-what-blog, I am making a conscious effort to keep my own feminist thinking and analysis rooted in what I call ‘real life’; in non-internet life. In non-internet life, I read Dworkin in public and no one even knows it’s a feminist book or who Dworkin is. In non-internet life, my female friends get beaten by their boyfriends. In non-internet life pretty much everyone I know is critical of the trans ideology to at least some degree, and pretty much everyone will at some level believe a woman was asking for it if she got raped, somehow, and a lot of people take it upon themselves to police me on how I perform femininity. In non-internet life unwanted pregnancy is routine, and so is a degree of homophobia, and so is racism.
And that’s where I’m at. I think current/online feminism is funny as regards the trans issue, in that actually it is widespread to be sceptical of the trans ideology, funfeminism is unquestioningly uncritical, and then radfems seem to feel they are really on the outskirts of things by being sceptical of transgenderism. Whereas infact pretty much everyone in real life doesn’t know the word cis, would never use it to refer to themselves, and at the very least thinks transgender is a bit freaky. It’s just ironic to me that on this issue what feminism considers to be way out there craaazy-radical is actually what most people consider to be common sense. Except obviously rooted in richer analysis.
But anyway, yeah. I will be posting sporadically here, but this is a statement of direction in many ways- I want to further my ideas on the basis of life, of popular culture, and of stuff I’m reading from all over the place- some current online radfem ideas will go into the mix but just be part of the mix, not the directing factor. I just feel uncomfortable with loads of strangers arguing each other into more and more convoluted ideological alleyways, just on the basis of pixels and more pixels back and forth. It’s instinctive for me, more than anything; I suppose what I’m saying is I’m an empiricist, not a rationalist. Though I like to think I’m a rational empiricist 😉 . Anyway; I’m going to try and base this on experience; mine and other peoples’.