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Misogyny

Guest post by Solveig Lehmann

Everyday feminism wants the women’s liberation movement to be terribly worried by the alleged anti-feminist harm done by little penis jokes.

Once again, they have confused feminism with women spending all our time wondering if our words make men feel bad. No. Men feeling that it’s abusive for women to not be nice enough about their penises is just patriarchy, if not outright men’s rights activism.

Men’s performance of anxious masculinity, especially efforts to publicly overcompensate for insecurity through displays of aggression and dominance, can often be observed to have nothing to do with the actual shape of any part of their bodies. Though it’s certainly centered on the penis, and often phantasmic fears that theirs is too small.

We can know that men obsess over the size of their genitals in particular because they tell us. Oh, how often they tell us. Most women learn to see the particular intensity and quavering fear underlying male genital self-obsession from a mile away. They may even talk instead about honor, or respect, but they’ll make it painfully clear to the women in their immediate vicinity that all these words stand for is a demand that we be considerate of their penis.

It may not be nice to make fun of people, but this article simply encourages men to continue putting their insecurity at the forefront of women’s concerns, and to demand that women be even more reverent and accommodating towards them. This is a perpetuation of patriarchy.

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Guest post by Keely Emerine-Mix

Under no circumstances, ever, at any time, is it appropriate to compare the legitimate, factual, courageous, moral imperative that spurred the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s with the attempts by transwomen to access intimate female spaces. Ever.

Do not conflate Jim Crow and the segregation of public spaces by whites against Black people with attempts to open women’s bathrooms, shelters, prisons, locker rooms, and other female-only spaces to male-born people. Don’t cry that this is “the New Civil Rights frontier!” Don’t suggest that the injury to men correctly barred from women’s private spaces is anything even remotely like the humiliation, hatred, and hurt caused to people of color during the years of legal public segregation. And whatever you do, do not suggest that the preening belligerence displayed by men who demand entry into women’s spaces is really just the same bedrock courage, dignity, passion, and righteousness of those who occupied lunch counters and public toilets to win for others basic civil rights.

It’s not simply incorrect. It’s delusional; more than that, it’s ignorant in the extreme and criminally, obscenely, arrogant.

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Guest post by k8 monsta

Editor’s Note: Horton is a Women’s Holiday Centre set up in England in 1979.  It offers low-price holiday accommodation, in a friendly and supportive environment, for women and children who were otherwise restricted by their circumstances. It was made possible by donations from women and many hours of women’s volunteer time. Thousands of women, children and groups have used the house and it has become a well-established and well-used resource for women in the north of England and beyond. The House has been sustained successfully since then through a combination of income from visitors, donations and fundraising, and many hard working volunteers.

As a women’s holiday centre, Horton’s policy says “we are able only to welcome women born women and living as women.” So it is unsurprising that it has attracted the attention of those who support “trans women” i.e. men, who want to be able to go there. A petition has been created which states “We are 65 women who have either visited or would potentially like to visit the Women’s Holiday Centre, and who feel strongly that you should change your Gender Identity policy.”

This has sparked much discussion on Horton’s Facebook group. This post is based on a comment by woman about her views about Horton and the need for truly women-only space.

Here we have a woman saying that these men are “more of a woman than me”…

I’m thinking of the Brit guy, the bloke who was a boxing promoter for twenty years… He was a father to several kids, a husband, obviously a son and quite possibly a brother…
Trying to get my head around this geezer being “more of a woman than me”….

Are we plumbing new depths of masochistic self abnegation here?
Is this altruism raised to a new power of lunacy?

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Guest post by Karen Thompson; cross-posted on Listening to Lesbians

Editor’s note: This post by Karen Thompson is in response to an episode of the television program Transparent, which disdainfully and contemptuously parodied the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and the women – mostly lesbians – who called it home for 40 years.

(1) One of the things about festival that is so fucking amazing is the sheer magnitude of female competence. The stages, the sound, the tents, the everything is put together with such care and consciousness and that everything — made out of spit and bandaids — can look like something so polished, so professional, so ON POINT. It’s not that we make nutloaf; it’s that we make nutloaf for THOUSANDS OF WOMEN over OPEN FIRES in all weather. For free.

So the general fucking HINKINESS of the look of the “Idlewild” shit pissed me off because it looked jacked up and like someone threw a camping party in someone’s backyard instead of the sheer magnitude and scale of ability that is demonstrated at fest the minute you walk in the gate. And that lack of attention to that sort of detail (when the slickness and smoothness of everything else on that show is never skimped on), once again ignored female competence and what we can do without males.

Which was one of central liberatory aspects of Festival for me.
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Guest post by Liz Waterhouse

When an article on Germaine Greer was posted by the Star Observer recently, I noticed that the comments were aggressively misogynistic. Distressed by how much this excluded and insulted women in the LGBTI community, I asked posters to stop using such hurtful and upsetting language. As a lesbian, I expected that my community would be a relatively safe place, and I expected a degree of solidarity. What resulted was hours of increased insults, ridicule and finally personal abuse. It left me wondering why the community would attack a request for basic respect and why any woman would speak out if this is how they were treated.

Most responders were male and they used crude, aggressive and dismissively sexist language to attack first Greer, and then me, in post after post, correctly assuming that their comments would be tolerated by other posters.

Eventually, the Star Observer intervened and deleted the worst of the comments, but there remained a steady stream of insulting posts, eventually escalating to personal messages of abuse and lesbophobia.

Particularly upsetting were comments like this one:
 dicking
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-Janet Mock, Author of Redefining Realness (former title: Fish Food)-

-Janet Mock, Author of Redefining Realness-

Janet Mock is a transwoman author who has strong opinions on gender and the sex industry shared in this memoir. Mock discusses many topics, but this review will cover five: essentialism, the term “cis”, the term “fish”, hormone blockers for children, and the sex industry.

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Many feminists object when I say that the sexualization of dominance is anti-liberation. While I analyze BDSM practices through a feminist lens, they see me as stomping into their bedrooms and wagging my finger.

But none of my writing or conversing on the topic is done with the goal of “shaming” people who practice BDSM, though I am frequently infuriated by men who use BDSM culture to push women beyond their stated limits.

Rather, I am compelled to analyze the sexualization of dominance and submission through a feminist lens because radical analysis is as I see it central to dismantling oppressive systems of power. Read More

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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IDENTITY VERSUS SOCIALIZATION

I want to explore what “woman” means when male-born persons can be “women” just the same as female-born persons.

Most significantly, the term “woman” must be disconnected from the socio-historic context that gives the term coherency in the first place. Without any material or experiential framework “woman’s” origin becomes irrelevant; she can be anything or nothing at all.

When male-born persons can be “women” just the same as female-born persons, the skin-deep veneer of social identity is being substituted for the complex, lifelong process of class-based socialization. This is neoliberal individualist choice-theory masquerading as the politics of liberation.

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Sex Role BoxesI was coercively assigned a sex role at birth. As soon as medical personnel saw that I didn’t have a penis, the process of putting me and keeping me in a very narrowly-defined box began. From then on I was coercively stopped from doing or being things associated with boys and coerced into doing and being things associated with girls. I fought many bitter, painful battles over years of being forced into that box. A handful of those battles I won; most I lost, because the full power of adults was brought to bear to keep me in my proper sex role.

It’s intensely frustrating that in the intervening years experiences like this have continued for girls and boys. But worse, rather than meaningful progress toward simply allowing children to live their lives outside of any box, there is now a very powerful movement that claims that forcing children into the other restrictive sex role box is the solution. The problem, these people claim, is not that the person was coercively assigned a sex role at all, it’s that they were coercively assigned the incorrect sex role, and that (of course!) can be fixed by adopting the other sex role.

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womans-inhumanity

“As feminist women, we knew that we were doomed without sisterhood – so we proclaimed it, even in its absence. We wanted to will it into existence, verbally, without wrestling it into being.” ― Phyllis Chesler, ‘Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman’ (2002/2009)

Feminist writings on ‘horizontal hostility’ among women, tend to focus on articulating various means by  which to reduce it, ‘work-around’ it, or heal it through creating new foundations of feminist community ethics in our relationships with each other.  Although there is always recognition that the hostility exists, they also reflect a strong desire to quickly ‘move on’ beyond the problem, to the outlining of more-or-less utopian “solutions”. Hence we have a number of books speculating on how female-friendship and feminist ethics should be.

If you are looking for similar ‘solutions’, this book is not for you.  Phyllis Chesler does not provide any ‘solutions, but seeks to go to the ‘root’ and unpack the common characteristics of female experience of such hostility both personal and political in an attempt to more fully understand, in the lines of ‘Understanding the problem, is half the solution’. (But only half!).
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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

This post contains graphic descriptions.

Radical feminists often argue that BDSM practice is about degrading, humiliating, violating and torturing women.  It is patriarchal violence against women—whether it occurs in your bedroom, on your computer screen, or is simulated during your lunchtime book reading.

We do not blame women who participate in it, but we will analyze it through a feminist lens.

BDSM is the legitimization of domestic violence against women. Case in point: The Feminist and the Cowboy.  Author Alisa Valdes wrote an erotic semi-autobiographical book about a dominant lover who violently f’ked her under the guise of consensual “play”. After her book was released, Vales wrote a blog post detailing the real life abuse that the “cowboy” inflicted on her. Though the abuse was framed as consensual in her book, her real life experience with the cowboy involved being raped, verbally abused, threatened, and abandoned once he discovered her pregnancy.

Similarly, during a recent BDSM play abuse session, abuser Steven Lock strangled a woman he had recently met on a dating site with a rope, chained her to his bed, lashed her 14 times, f’kd her, and then left her chained. She had to call a friend to help her escape, but Lock was cleared of all abuse charges once he claimed the assault had been “consensual”.

BDSM occurs in the context of patriarchal rape culture, where women always “deserve” the rape, violence, abuse and death that men dish out to them, and women who object to this treatment are called names, and dismissed out-of-hand.

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(Note : this post was inspired by a comment I made over on the Ms. Magazine)1

If you’ve been paying attention to latest events and declarations by transwomen and transfeminists, you might be wondering, like I am, why transfeminism contains the word “feminism” at all.  Feminism is about the liberation of FEMALES/WOMEN from the system of MALE/MEN’S dominance (patriarchy), so one would expect any term containing the word “feminism” to have at least *some* connection to females (I am using the word female here to mean the majority of women in the world who have been assigned female at birth, including intersex, and raised as girls/women, in contrast to trans women, who were assigned male at birth,  have lived and been socialized as men, and remain biologically male even after -or if- they transition).  And yet, as transfeminism becomes more mainstream, it seems to be narrowly focused on only a few issues that are specific to trans people only, and not even exclusive to trans WOMEN.

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Jan Brewer, Handmaiden of the P

-Jan Brewer, aka Handmaiden of the Patriarchy-

US  residents may have noticed the recent War on Women being perpetrated in this country using the excuse of “religious freedom” to justify this rollback of women’s rights.

For the most recent installment of this assault on our rights, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed House Bill 2625, which authorizes employers with religious affiliations to refuse to cover contraception on their employees’ health insurance plans.

States Brewer about the bill:

In its final form, this bill is about nothing more than preserving the religious freedom to which we are all Constitutionally-entitled.  Mandating that a religious institution provide a service in direct contradiction with its faith would represent an obvious encroachment upon the 1st Amendment.

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— FROM THE ARCHIVES —

Phallosopher contemplating his meaningless existence, and how deep his meaninglessness is.

Ok, so I’m currently thinking a lot about the episode of Firefly, Objects in Space. This was the last episode of the TV series before production was stopped. And as such it became one of the most important to the fans of the series. Now I did want to talk about the racism of this particular episode. And I will. I will be focusing particularly on the construction of lust, both in this episode, and in the series as a whole. But first I wanted to talk a little about male philosophy as Wank.

Joss Whedon really loves Wank. That is basically the moral of this episode Objects in Space. I will be referring to Joss Whedon as a Phallosopher throughout this entry. I envisage Phallosophers to encompass all the Great Male Phallosophers throughout the ages. From Aristotle to Camus to Sartre to Whedon. Phallosophy is characterised by self-obsession, misogyny, and a disturbing, yet relentless tendency to produce Wank. Phallosophers are generally Bores. Now, what is common to most Phallosophers is their acute susceptibility to Male Artist Syndrome, as theorized very superbly by Dissenter:

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Salon continues their tradition of having a male write on a subject he is less qualified to write about than any of the many women who are experts on the subject that they could have gotten to write the article. Michael Barthel takes on the subject of women in the film industry and does a predictably ridiculous job of it. But don’t take my word for it, here is what he said in this article at Salon: “The Oscars’ woman problem.”

The title and his opening give an immediate glimpse of what’s to come. Using the trope “woman problem” gives his perspective away immediately. As Simone de Beauvoir said in The Second Sex:

“[T]he whole of feminine history has been man-made. Just as in America there is no Negro problem, but rather a white problem; just as anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, it is our problem; so the woman problem has always been a man problem.”

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Angelwish is a charity whose mission is to provide gifts to children living with HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic illnesses.

On Feb 12th, Angelwish gave Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine and worldwide misogyny promoter, its Humanitarian of the Year award “for all his charitable efforts over the years.”

Angelwish, a charity dedicated to an uncontroversial cause, provides strong approbation and endorsement of Hefner by giving this award. It has not seen his lifelong commitment to hate speech against women as inconsistent with the descriptor “Humanitarian”.

But why exactly are Hefner’s actions and lifestyle inconsistent with the term “humanitarian”?

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A culture of homosexual group sex has been exposed with recent allegations of ‘sexual abuse’ by some retired fire fighters against their colleagues. These allegations have given rise to a debate on the nature of consent within group sex between men. Some sources have jumped to immediate conclusions on the matter, blaring headlines such as “Brutal Abuse Exposed” (Cover of The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 14th February). However the issue is far more complicated than that.

We need to take into consideration several important points before we make such spurious judgment on the nature of this so called ‘abuse’. Read More