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Lesbian Feminism

Guest post by Syd Mutschler, cross-posted on Listening to Lesbians.

Editor’s Note: This commentary by Syd Mutschler is originally from June 2014, not long after the Indigo Girls reneged on an agreement to play at MichFest in August of 2014. At the time, they made quite a public show of their sudden boycott of an event that the Indigo Girls as a group and Amy Ray individually had played many times. They gave the organizer of the event very little notice that they were pulling out and did so well after brochures, posters, and other materials had been printed and women had bought tickets expecting to hear them at the Festival. Treating women who had supported them financially and in other ways over many years this badly would be ugly enough, but they undertook this boycott after many years of the exact same controversy, yet it hadn’t stopped them from playing and spending time at the Festival at any time in the past. This was very likely a decision based purely on finances (they were afraid that they would be boycotted, yet they continued to play at a venue with an owner with extremely questionable ethics), not deeply-held beliefs about “inclusivity.”

As the yearly debate about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival heats up, I have been having a lot of thoughts around boycotts, artists pulling out from the line-up, or artists who have stated they will not play again until the intention of the festival is changed from a gender/sex separate space to only a gender separate space. Artists and trans activists such as Red Durkin have made a lot of statements about why they will not play or why the festival should be boycotted, but I find them to be vague, condescending, emotionally manipulative, and intentionally inflammatory.
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In a recent anti-radical feminist screed, published prominently on several leftist blogs, a trans* activist attempted to equate gender critical analysis with homophobia. This is the latest twist on the conflation of the lesbian and gay rights political movement with the trans* political movement. And it’s the latest indication that it will be lesbians, other women, and girls who are most harmed by that conflation.

Though there are claims that our groups have reason to have a strong political alliance, it’s arguable that Gay, Inc. – the large, well-funded and influential political groups – created this conflation simply to increase funding and reach. There doesn’t seem to have been a period of time where lesbians and gay men were allowed any discussion or input about this decision. But there are obvious reasons to question the unholy alliance.

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Guest post by Maggie H.

This post is the second part of a series of posts based on some of the RadFem Reboot 2012 presentation talk that I gave in Oregon recently on the patriarchal takeover of women’s sexuality.

Warning: This post contains some graphic depictions of pornified lesbian culture. I believe it is important to know what some lesbians are watching, making, writing & reading for fun’ these days. The examples taken from lesbian media are not ‘isolated cases.’ Many lesbians I spoke to actually say that they ‘love’ websites like Autostraddle or magazines such as Diva UK. These things are part of mainstream lesbian culture today.

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As pointed out at the end of the first part (on lesbian BDSM fanfiction, a cultural phenomenon within lesbian culture), the fandoms of Xena, Buffy, Stargate SG-1, Rizzoli & Isles (or whatever show lesbians want to read BDSM fan fiction from) are not the only lesbian cultures that have been affected by patriarchy. No, unfortunately, there are many more aspects of contemporary lesbian culture that have been poisoned by patriarchal ideology and male-centred sexuality too.

So let me take you through contemporary lesbian culture now.

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butch-femme-LGHaving been educated into radical feminist analysis by a group of incredible Australian lesbian feminists who collectively have a very clear view that the butch/femme hierarchy in the lesbian community as one that is unhealthy to lesbian relations, it surprised me to discover, both online and in real life, a push to incorporate butch/femme ideologies into lesbian feminist practice and theory. The push seems to be from a strong concern that women classified as ‘butch’ are a class of women who are specially oppressed under male supremacy and that they are being transitioned out of existence. Read More

Part 1 covered Book 1 (Walk to the End of the World) and Book 2 (Motherlines)

Book 3 – The Furies (1994)

For some, this is the least popular book, for others, the most powerful of the series. Charnas has said in interviews, this was the most difficult book of the series to write, and took the longest (over 15 years):

“One reason THE FURIES took so long to write was that I wanted to skip over the harshest part — an actual war, or more properly a slave-revolt, of the “fems” against their male masters — and go right to a better life for all;….. just as so many women with feminist ideals wish desperately to be able to “skip” the harshest part in reality, the part where we seem to have the most to lose, and the most to suffer, the part where we demand full recognition of our humanity, and do whatever it takes to get it.” Read More

 Books in review; Some thoughts on the story of a speculative ultimate ‘War to End All Wars’
the War Between the Sexes.The Holdfast Chronicles, is an epic saga of a post-apocalyptic future told in four sequential novels written by Suzy McKee Charnas:


WALK TO THE END OF THE WORLD (1974)

MOTHERLINES (1978)
THE FURIES (1994)
THE CONQUEROR’S CHILD (1999) 


THE SLAVE AND THE FREE
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(a 90’s reprint omnibus edition of Books 1 and 2)


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Guest post by Susan Hawthorne

There is a misconstruction of sexuality in the mainstream.  It says the only thing lesbians ever think about is sex.  Lesbians are always harping on about our sexual rights.  The thing is that as a lesbian: if you talk about sex, you are sex mad – but you are recognized as a lesbian.  If you talk about climate change or poetry or violence against (heterosexual) women – you are not recognized as a lesbian.  But if you talk about climate change or poetry or violence against (heterosexual) women and make it clear that your analysis is a lesbian analysis – you are sex mad.

How do we, therefore, talk about lesbian human rights and not be pigeon holed as “sex-mad lesbians”?  I think probably there is no easy answer.  Let’s look at some examples of abuses of lesbian human rights and then come back to these questions.  But first, we must look at lesbian sexuality, and how patriarchy specifically oppresses lesbians. Read More