With ‘sisters’ like these… Part 2: the Invisible Woman

Posted: March 9, 2014 in politics, sex
Tags: ,

Back in the last century, 1980 when Margaret Thatcher, that bastion of women’s rights, first came to power, I did a little street theatre piece, called the Invisible Woman. Fairly simple concept – me wrapped in bandages to highlight that the official figures did not show women’s hidden unemployment. Invisible Woman, geddit?

It looks like the bandages with have to be dusted off again.

Not just because women’s unemployment and poverty is again on the rise, thanks to Coalition austerity policies. You probably already knew that. And some good people used International Women’s Day to draw it to widcr attention. Just as others pointed out that there are 7 million women refugees worldwide. Good on both of those campaigns. I’m right behind you, sisters. That’s what International Women’s Day is supposed to be about, solidarity with working (class) women worldwide.

No, this time the Invisible Woman has another purpose: to highlight the invisible women in radical feminist discourse. That’ll be about 3.5 billion of us, all but their tiny but media-dominating clique.

Yesterday I got pretty irate at the hijacking of International Women’s Day by radical feminists to attack other women. In particular, an article by Julie Bindel in the Daily Mail. For readers outside the UK, this is a Hitler-supporting, immigrant-bashing right-wing rag. I found this article bi-phobic, misogynist, and potentially damaging to the “Impressionable young [women]… questioning their sexuality” whom Bindel professes to be so concerned about.

It mocked two celebrity women, because they’d previously had relationships with men. The words ‘bisexual’ or ‘bisexuality’ were never mentioned in the article. It was never suggested that this was a possible sexual choice. That’s what it means to be invisible. ‘Bi-phobic’ is probably not the best word: phobia would be a step up from non-existence. We don’t even fucking exist!

I got mad, I ranted, I posted a link to this article on Facebook. I was going to move on to other objectionable attacks by radical feminists – on sex workers, transwomen, women who like porn. I felt better having got that off my chest.

So, this morning, I find on my thread, that I posted: “more men telling us how to do feminism”. One glance at my profile pic, read one sentence of my post, and you couldn’t be in any doubt: I AM A WOMAN. But that can’t be. I don’t agree with the radfem analysis, so I can’t exist. QED

Enough is enough. All my conscious life, I have fought for women’s rights, and for those of workers, poor and oppressed people. I have so had it. You will not make me invisible, you will not shut me up, ‘sisters’.

And for those of you who say, lets deal with our differences in private: I didn’t start this. I didn’t use a fascist-supporting millionaires’ rag (Julie Bindel) to attack bisexual women. I didn’t go on CNN Freedom Project (Robin Morgan) to attack Amnesty International and sex workers. I didn’t use my university professorship in gender studies (Sheila Jeffreys) to compare transwomen to racist black-face entertainers.

I didn’t start this war, ‘sisters’, but you sure as hell aint going to win it.

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