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Sisterhood

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 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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Margaret Thatcher has died. The very famous Conservative British Prime Minister enacted a number of controversial policies from 1979 – 1990. She was rightly criticised for, amongst other things, destroying the British coal mining industry, weakening the trade unions through various legislation, and increasing unemployment to over 3 million people.

She is not a likeable woman. But this is not justification or excuse for those in the left to spew misogynistic insults. The word bitch is being frequently used to describe Thatcher. Memes and videos stating “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” are being shared over Facebook and insults used such as “ugly cow.” And it is not simply men reveling in sex-specific insults. Radical feminists are also using words like witch, reblogging misogynistic memes, or excusing others who choose to do so.

Women give men implicit permission to use misogynistic insults against Margaret Thatcher when we do this.

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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
:
(a 90’s reprint omnibus edition of Books 1 and 2)


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Lately, legislation across the United States has been rife with various attacks on anything that gives women even a modicum of control over their bodies. President Obama caved on his administration’s mandate for contraceptive insurance coverage (and no women were allowed on a congressional panel on the matter), Illinois saw two anti-abortion bills pass, Utah is considering imposing a 3-day waiting period before abortions, and three states (Iowa, Texas, Virginia) have proposed (or have already passed) forcing women to have ultrasounds before they can obtain an abortion. In the last week, women everywhere began to realize just how much Republican men hate them when the news Virginia’s ultrasound bill made mainstream headlines. The word “trans-vaginal” had never seen such a limelight before this week.

In response to such “small government” conservative measures, a handful of  female lawmakers have realized something recently too — how to wield satire against this crap.

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Food as a passion, a gift, a means of revenge, even source of power –….Women weigh up the loss of a lover, or the loss of weight; they consider whether hunger and the thought of higher things are inextricably linked; they feast and crave and die for their appetites, or lack of appetite” – cover blurb -The Anger of Aubergines : Collected Stories of Women and Food – Bulbul Sharma, India, 1998

I was once surfing channels TV in boredom when I became aware of the high frequency of images of women and food – and remembered Bulbul Sharma’s book — the social and political connections between women and food is both obvious and obscure.  Food politics is bone-deeply symbolic for women in conflicting clashing paradoxes,  both love/hate combined, both bonding/bondage, both pleasure/pain for women.  More postcards, tourist snaps, 30-second news bites. Russian women standing in food queues. Chatting with a woman neighbour in the frozen food aisle of my local supermarket.  Refugee women in some warzone preparing international AID mash. Backyard barbecues with women around the food tables– helping to toss a salad perhaps, add a dash of mayo, or hand finger-foods to a toddler.

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Guest post by Susan Hawthorne

This is based on a talk originally given at the SCUM Conference in Perth, Australia on 24 September 2011.

I come to the writing of manifestoes with the interests of a poet and political activist. Political activism is obvious. But poetry? An effective manifesto is one in which the language works, the political position is clear – but above all – it has rhythm and metre. A manifesto is a bit like a poem or a song.

Let’s look at Marx and Engels. The first line of the prologue:

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I received my Gold Card for road-service club membership the other day and feel somewhat ancient, as the Gold is issued for 25 years of driving your own car.

Like many other young women of the 70s, I rallied to the “personal is political” slogans of women’s liberation (later termed feminism), because I twigged to the connection between how males treat females in “private” (or personal) relationships, is mirrored in how males-as-a-class treat females-as-a-class in “public” (or social and political) relationships.   Read More

“Continual complicity in the crime of Goddess-killing is mandatory in the Man’s world. Our refusal to collaborate in this killing and Dis-Membering of our own Selves is the Beginning of Re-Membering the Goddess –”
Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, Mary Daly, (1978)

There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that… You say you have lost all recollection, remember . . . you say it does not exist. But remember.
Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent. “
Les Guérillères, Monique Wittig, (1971)

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Guest Post by AMAZON MANCRUSHER

This post is for all of my sisters, but in particular my sisters who are involved in queer activism. Like most of my recent radical feminist writing, it won’t be popular with queer identifying people, but I believe it important for me to write about my perceptions of queer culture, because I do not believe queer will liberate women, anymore than any other patriarchal culture. For me, queer culture almost eliminated me as a woman.

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Sheila Jeffreys recently guest posted an excerpt of a speech which she delivered at the alternative conference which my partner, Amazon ManCrusher, and myself organised in response to the bullying, harassing and intimidation that radical feminists were facing from pro-sex industry activists and queer/trans activists. In brief, the Melbourne Feminist Collective formed to organise Feminist Futures which was “a conference that aims to provide a safe, supportive and active space for discussing different strategies to create a feminist future. It is an open environment for anyone interested in imagining and creating feminist futures in our community.” The conference organisers were well-intentioned but politically naive, obviously having no idea of the hot water they would be jumping into, trying to organise a conference in which “participants will have the opportunity to critically engage with issues across a broad range of feminist perspectives and agendas.”

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