Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

International Twat’s Day

Posted: March 14, 2014 in politics, sex

sometimes wonder if IWD was created as bait, to draw all ball-worms out of the woodwork:

Tiny Reviews

It was International Women’s Day on Saturday and a couple of references to it make my twat-o-meter tingle (does that sound rude?  It’s really not rude).  The first was at a gig by Glasgow band Chvrches on Saturday night.  The band’s singer, Lauren Mayberry (who talked about some of the horrible sexist abuse she gets on social media in the Guardian here) gave a shout out to the day.  For some reason a small number of guys in the audience decided to boo this.  Luckily Lauren is as able as you’d expect a pop star in opaque tights to be and threatened to go into the audience and kick their cunts in.  But seriously, who the fuck is booing International Women’s Day?  Are these men who have considered the impact of the event and the on-going need to highlight how women are struggling for equality around the globe and…

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I can see how it happens now, the Twitter wars. In one of Douglas Adams’ Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, can’t remember which one, we learn of the Krikkit Wars, where the peace-loving inhabitants of said planet end up reducing a whole galaxy to ashes (hence the rather distastefully named sporting trophy, the Ashes).

I got into a rage about a stupid article by a feminist journalist, who allowed herself to be used by a right-wing rag, for a piece which combined hypocritical titivation with self-righteous slut-shaming in a way that only such a cynical piece of toilet paper can.

I don’t know if Julie Bindel is vicious, reckless, cynical, gullible or just plain stupid. It was predictable they would use her that way. I suspect an inflated ego blinded her to the use they would make of her: why else would the Mail her a noted feminist? It aint because of the cogency of your argument. Sorry, love.

I stand by what I said about her article. But I got drawn into a much more blanket condemnation, in love with my own rhetorical declaration of war. In other words, I did exactly what I condemned her for.

I have been in conversation on Twitter with someone who describes herself as a radical feminist, with whom I have a lot of agreement. It’s caused me to reflect: is it fair to say all radical feminists are hateful?

She says they do good work for women, and once I allowed myself to think, I could recall lots of women who use that label about themselves and work tirelessly for rape crisis, women’s aid, against domestic violence and for lots of international causes. I lost a friend last year, a beautiful, loving woman who called herself a radical feminist, and whom it would be obscene to put in the same category as Bindel.

So to all those women who call themselves radical feminists and don’t attack women for their life choices, I apologise. I think your political analysis is wrong, but we can debate that. I think the ultimate logic of radical feminism is hatefulness, but that’s not the same as saying you are hateful. That’s like saying someone who is for immigration controls wants to burn down mosques or go on a killing spree like Anders Breivik. One may be the ultimate logic of the assumptions contained in the former, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. And part of our debate would be to examine why I think one leads to the other, and to get you to abandon the former because of what it leads to.

So to all non-hating radical feminists out there, sorry, lets talk.But that does not mean a truce on the haters. To distinguish them I think we need a new term. In the ‘trans wars’, they came up with TERF: trans exclusionary radical feminist. So I’d propose WHERF: Women-Hating Radical Feminist, which is anyone who excludes from the category of women:

women whose sexual practices they don’t agree with (heterosexual, bisexual, role-playing lesbians, Butch/femme, ‘lipstick lesbians’, women who like porn, BDSM practitioners:);

women whose work they don’t approve of (sex workers, porn stars, lap-dancers);

women whose politics you don’t agree with (members of ‘male’ groups);

anyone not natural-born unambiguous-cis woman (trans, intersex, gender-fluid, gender-queer)…

Blimey, it’s exhausting just listing the exclusions. And I haven’t even started on exclusion-by-invisibility (women of colour, working class, disabled…

this could take a fucking long time

Anyway, if you exclude women on any of these grounds, you can fuck right off.

I give up on compiling the list, but women have been excluded either physically (trans women, sex workers) or by negating discourse (No woman likes porn; all PIV is rape…)

So non-exclusionary radfems lets talk.

WHERFs fuck off.

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.