Rad Fem and the things we learn …

My but what a fascinating education I’ve got recently.

My recent reblog about a trans lesbian being treated rather poorly by a cis lesbian, blah blah blah, let’s all be nice to each other (Cliff Notes version) … Well, the auto-twit about it got replied to by a group/blog – I’m still working out just who/what this is – @GIDwatch (sensitive and kind hearted souls may wish not to follow that link) calling me a “rapey prick pushing #cottonceiling”.  I had to look up cotton ceiling which lead me to discover a phenomena known as radical feminists, which after discussing it with friends I learnt was actually something else called “rad fem”.  It’s apparently rather rude of those women to spell the words out since, it would seem, they’re typically not very nice at all and the people who’d been known as radical feminists first want nothing to do with them.

Wow, these women are … something.  Ever seen PCU?  You know the Womynists (or is it Wymenists?  Whatever)?  Yeah, I get the impression some of these women saw it, and didn’t realise that it was a joke.

It seems to be a sort of misogynist AND misandrist group of phallophobics.

No, really, I’m trying to be nice, but follow the logic they seem to use:  All men are rapists, because [somehow] having a penis makes you a rapist.  Also they are adamant that possession of a penis, or the former possession of one, or having a Y chromosome regardless of anything else makes you a man and … I don’t know, maybe now you’ve got some kind of ghost penis – I couldn’t really follow some of that argument if my life depended upon it.  Essentially trans women aren’t women to the extent that they fight very hard against trans rights (they seem to be quite unaware of the existence of trans men).

The misandry is pretty covered by that.

Now the misogyny.  All women are victims and should hide from men.  Not the exact words, but essentially the root of their arguments.  See, they don’t seem to realise that women are the equals of men and can stand up to them, can prevent rape, etc.  Which is more misandry, they’re the sort that hurt ending this ‘rape culture’ they like to go on about by perpetuating it in all the worst ways, as they believe that only men can rape (or seem to at any rate, which is just as bad really); and by absolving everyone of responsibility – their arguments are dangerous for both sides because they give the women the idea that their being raped is inevitable, and the men are given an excuse to believe that they just can’t help it and it’s part of their nature so they may as well …

As an author I love to learn things about people.  This is the first time since reading about what the Nazis, Spanish Inquisition, and Salem witch hunts got up to that I rather regretted the discovery.

I really wish I could understand what makes these women so afraid, and so hateful.  Were they, perhaps, raped or molested?  Are they just bitter and petty by nature?  I wish I could think more charitable things about them, but their words are just that:  bitter hateful, cruel.  They are so harsh to men, and to trans women, to women who should dare to speak in favour of those two groups, etc.

And this just in:  YES they DO believe that only men can rape.  They replied to a twit I made.  Fascinating.  And their rationale for this does seem to indicate a phallophobic attitude.  Again, fascinating.

Frankly, I feel that things like this really hurt feminism on a couple of grounds.  First off, by being your stereotypical man hating feminazi by the definitions of those who hate feminists you legitimise the criticisms of feminism.  Secondly there’s the aforementioned dangers in belittling women as unable to protect themselves, and in belittling men into mindless rape machines but barely contained by aught but the diligence of women.  You hurt the men who are raped and trying to seek justice, or the women raped by women who might be trying to do the same.

Hatred and the denial of the rights of others is no way to have power; it’s how to shed power.  If you fear a thing, that thing controls you.  If you fear not a thing, it has no power over you.  Love is a tool that lets you share in power – any control that someone or some group you love has over you is given freely by yourself because it means you respect and trust.

To love your trans sister is simply to respect her.  You don’t have to like that she has a penis; you certainly don’t have to have sex with her!  That’s the voluntary control.  You allow her to tell you who she is and you give her the control of that by accepting who she is and show her the love and support she needs (remember, oppressed groups really ought to stand together).

Let’s look at history.  At slave societies, especially the one of the American South just before the civil war.

Who was actually in control there?

On the surface it would seem to be the slave owners.  They certainly were on paper, and they had the guns and educations, etc.  So obviously they’re the answer, aren’t they?  Yes, sort of, to a point.

See, they feared the slaves – some of them.  Those who respected the slaves had less fear; not no fear, just less.  See by respecting them, and some did so just keep with me on this as explaining that would be a very long post by itself, that group of slave owners had the respect of their slaves.  With that respect was a lessening of the fear of rebellion and uprising, BUT they still had to fear the slaves of those disrespectful slave owners.

The disrespectful slave owners were in terrible fear.  They were outnumbered something fierce by a bunch of people who were, by necessity, in pretty damned good shape and who might have known the terrain pretty damned well within a certain range, and who by necessity probably were better suited to survive in it than the owners.

Fear is why the slave owners tried so hard to oppress the slaves.  That fear ruled them.

Slave revolts in the ancient world were less common.  This is due to “slavery” being a rather different thing there, something far closer to an indentured servitude, for one thing.  Still they were slaves, and property.  But they did often have respect.  They could earn wages; they were sometimes the doctors or lawyers; their status as slave brought protections that some enjoyed and others chafed at the lack of freedom, but could buy their freedom since they were allowed to have money … Rome didn’t tend to fear its slaves until it adopted a model not so different from the American south.

Slavery is stupid.  Seriously.  No human should ever own another for any reason and in any capacity. The point of the history lesson is to show that we have to respect one another.  Right now LGBTQ and women are like the slaves.  Society has laws in place to hold us down to deny and reject who and what we are and to oppress that.  We’re chiselling away at that, but it’s there, little by little the members of the community and their family, friends, and supporters.  The fight is fought by those who are first class citizens – our underground railroad, so to speak, if we wish to carry the slavery comparison – as well as by the second class and downtrodden.  That’s important, too.  LGBTQ need the straights and the cis, because together the numbers may or may not be equal, but it’s not like the slave owners with the clear advantage of numbers going to the slaves – in a democratic world we have to respect each other and that class of the people around us who might see as ‘the enemy’.

It’s fine in a political campaign to say as you will about Communism, or Democrats, Republicans, Populists, etc.  That’s the point of political campaigns (though, even there, more might get accomplished if there was more and better mutual respect between parties and voters – mud slinging clouds issues and wastes time that could be spent on real solutions).  But when fighting for rights, when fighting for acceptance, we need to look around to see who are friends are.  Women are 51% of the population, as I recall, but I believe that’s world-wide.  There’re parts of Amereica, for examples, where we are in fact a minority.  And 51% is not a big advantage; we, therefore, should embrace and cherish those men who would stand with us and say “these women deserve respect, equality, etc” rather than pushing them away with cries of “rapists”.  After all, love is not sex; a lesbian can love a man as her brother, as her equal, as her friend … that love need not be romantic and sexual, that’s clearly for some lucky woman somewhere.

Trans, bi, it doesn’t matter.

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

I don’t care if you’re Christian or not … I’m not.  Doesn’t change that it’s a good concept.  Love that which you feel is divinity, and love your neighbour.

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Udanavarga 5:18

Is another good one.

I think I’ve wandered down a tangent.

Back to the point I’d wanted to make:  I didn’t know what a rad fem was, now I do and wish I didn’t.  I’d like to think they were doing something positive, but they rather strike me as a sort of anti-male KKK analogue as I simply cannot find anything in their comments and essays that speak otherwise; they don’t even empower or support women in any meaningful and positive way!  I’m saddened by that, just as neo-nazis, Klansmen, and other groups whose foundations are built in hatred and fear … until they find love and joy they can’t know peace, and fear and hatred are anathema to love, joy and peace … thing is, if you can find them, love, joy, and peace are often far more powerful and can rather banish the hatred and fear.  It’s one thing to dislike; several of them seem to be lesbians, so fine they’re not crazy about men and penises – to each her own – but dislike and hatred are different things, dislike is a preference whereas hatred is a desire for harm.

My … I can get rather preachy when I’m riled about something, can’t I?  I suppose there’s more of myself in Lauren’s character than I tend to realise.

The oppressed should stand together

The transgender pride flag

The transgender pride flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know, sometimes I think the oppressed groups of this country (America), and possibly of much of the (at least Western) world are sometimes the worst for bigotry and hatred, cruelty and intolerance.

Oh, there goes my readership.  Fascinating whooshing sound.

Seriously, though.  I present to you a situation.

Introduce a group of cisgendered, straight men to a woman who is extremely masculine and love sport and can talk shop with them all day long and show them up on the basketball court, or introduce them to a transgender man of the same sort, etc.  Now, please note, I said men, not overgrown children and adolescents full of insecurities and nonsense.  In this scenario the woman may or may not get flirted with, both she and the transgender will be welcomed as brothers to the football couch in every example I’ve ever enountered.  Sometimes the woman, or the transgender, might have to talk a bit more shit, as they say, and be a little manlier than thou to be accepted, but for the most part in this very mainstream scenario she/he is welcome.

Take underdog minorities.  Gays, Lesbians, Transgender, Women, Geeks, etc.  The bullied and oppressed.  The downtrodden and reviled.  The ones who ought, really, to understand one another and stand up for each other and protect each other as brothers and sisters … well.  If you want to know about geeks I suggest Seanan McGuire or John Kovalic — “Fake Geek Girl” is the catchphrase to search their LJs, Twitters, Facebooks, and Blogs for.  The rest?  Feminists who reject transgender women as not really women.  Homosexuals who won’t accept that someone who favours the opposite sex from their own, but the same gender … well, “you’re not really gay, you’re just a cross dresser” is how it is most politely put.  Transsexuals who get upset with people who are content to only be transgender and don’t want their balls/ovaries, vagina/penis to be removed or ruined and say they’re not really trans, only confused.  It goes on.

What is this?  The social group version of the abused child who grows up to abuse his/her own children?  The molested and raped who go on to molest and rape in their own turn?

I like that:  molestation and rape.  It’s a good image to parallel this discussion because we are molesting and raping the self-esteem, the hearts, the souls of others just to feel even more special about that which sets us apart from the mainstream — as though that which gets us bullied and ridiculed is an exclusive club and we don’t want their kind participating?  It’s sad, it’s pathetic, it’s wrong.

I tend to stay away from social groups.  I don’t go to gay meetings, or trans-parades, or whatevers.  I simply associate with those I meet whatever and whomever that might be.  I swear I never realised how very much like the very same childish bigots for the extremist mainstream some of the various oppressed groups could start to sound until I came across discussion forums and blogs about the subject or even just personally witnessed some of the inter-“weirdo” hatred.  Seriously, folks, isn’t the one thing we’ve learnt from being gay or bi, transgender or transsexual, or whatever is that to each her/his/its own?  That, in the end, we’re all people and that we all love and live, try to find some form of joy and to find someone to share that life and joy and love with?  Do we really need to sink to the childish levels of those who would us and oppress others in our turn to feel that we’ve finally achieved some kind of status, recognition, legitimacy, etc.?  Do we?

Instead of denying that the transgendered woman beside you is even a woman, or telling her that because she has a penis that she can’t possibly be a lesbian … embrace her and treat her as a fellow, as a sister, as someone who quite possibly is going through more and worse shit than you are Ms Cisgendered lesbian or Cisgendered Straight Feminist.  That gentleman over there crying because he cannot get a hysterectomy and it’s time for his period and he thoroughly hates himself right now needs comfort, not derision.  That genderqueer … something in-between … is being very brave to show (for want of a useful English pronoun for a hypothetical person) its face in public, congratulations are due, not insults.  Gay men do not threaten feminism … none of it.

If we as peoples looking for greater respect from those around us … what makes us so special we deserve and are entitled to greater respect than we’re willing to show to others?  The transgenders who are rude to all cisgender.  The gays who are as hateful to straights.  Everyone is so mean to bisexuals — they’re not sex fiends, really they’re not.  We are entitled to respect because every major faith I can name says, in some fashion, “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.  In short, we show to those around us, those who remember that, every bit of respect and courtesy we can, all the love and kindness who possess — because we hope to recieve that love and kindness, that respect and courtesy back … no, because the more love in the world the better the world.  If you’re hateful you, by most logical arguments, deserve only hate — but maybe if you’re shown a little love and respect instead you might come around to a better attitude.  I’ve my own share of prejudices and dislikes — I’m no saint; I sincerely don’t trust or respect most yuppies I meet, I can’t help it they make me nervous.  We’re human, but while that means we’re flawed, it doesn’t mean we have to embrace our flaws, it just means we should know we’re not perfect, watch for the signs of how we’re not and fix them so that, maybe one day, we will be perfect.

I don’t care if you follow Christ or not — I don’t, though I love His teachings and stories — strive to be like Him or any of his various analogues through the course of history.  Be better than those who hate you.  Be a source of love to all.  What would happen if every person on the planet, tomorrow, jumped out of bed and decided to not treat a single living soul like shit ever again?  Pretty awesome world we’d have, wouldn’t it?  We can’t convince the full 7billion+ humans of this globe to do that, but we can each of us jump out of bed tomorrow morning determined to be excellent to each other and make that many more lives that much better than they would have been otherwise.

Just a thought.

This Is What a Feminist Looks Like (reblogged)

Jaye:

This is just wonderfully said. Feminism really ought to BE about women having the right to be themselves, to be treated as equals, to make up their own minds.

It’s even better for how she speaks of her husband. Of rcognising the EQUAL part. Feminism isn’t about dominance. It’s about the elimination of it. The men do those things for which they are suited, the women their own and for those things not affected by gender then share and share alike.

Choices, equality, freedom, respect. Not whether or not one wears bra or corset, not always wearing pants, or any other nonsense. It’s the right to say I shan’t wear a bra because I don’t wish to, the freedom to wear no skirt ever because you hate them. THAT, my friends, is feminism.

Oh my, I must be tired. I’ve gone all preachy instead of hitting share. I’ll shut up and let you read the post now.

Love

Originally posted on Cinnamon&Sassafras:

Several years ago, I was playing Apples to Apples. The adjective to match was “scary,” and the “judge,” a young woman majoring in mathematics, chose “feminists.” I said, “I’m a feminist, what’s scary about that?” Another player, also a woman, who was in her 50s and had spent a long time working as an engineer, said, “Are you wearing a bra?” as if to imply that wearing a bra makes one NOT actually a feminist (not that it matters, but I was. Wearing a bra, that is).

I wish I had had the presence of mind to respond to her as Caitlin Moran would: “What part of liberation for women is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man that you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Vogue by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that stuff just get on your nerves?”…

View original 1,430 more words