If gender was performance, then there would be a way to perform that didn’t result in rape for women. But men rape housewives. Men rape butch lesbians. Men rape quiet women in dresses and lipstick. Men rape snarling punks in leather jackets and safety pins. Men rape every type of woman. There is no way for a woman to be that doesn’t risk rape. There is no way to perform that lets women escape the confines of gender because gender is not performance; it’s the designator of who can rape – us, the people called men – and who can be raped – them, the people called women. Performance has nothing to do with it.
When gender is a violent, unnatural hierarchy we are born into, the abuse of females is understood as a brutal result of a power structure that subjugates one class of people to another. When gender is an internal, subjective choice we make, the abuse of females becomes a hazard of identification, a set of circumstances implicitly welcomed by anyone who puts on a particular performance – or even an “affirmation of femininity”, in the words of a particularly noxious figure in the trans community.
Conversely, linking the massive privilege bestowed on men to an internal state erases the structural and political institutions that give power to males at the expense of females – and, shockingly, the ideology that does this is being largely pushed by males with the hopes of gaining access to female spaces, female resources, and female identities. This should be troubling to anyone who seeks to challenge actual, real male supremacy – not male-identified supremacy, not cis-male supremacy, not person-with-this-certain-set-of-feelings supremacy. Male supremacy. You know, the violence men do, to women, because we can.
The heart of gender performativity as a concept is a twin project of blaming victims and excusing perpetrators. By obscuring the brutality of our sex-caste system in a postmodern mist that privileges the internal identifications of men – the oppressors – over the material conditions of women – the oppressed – any attempt to throw the strongholds of patriarchy into focus is immediately neutralized. On queer theory, men win, women lose. What a surprise.
A revolutionary feminist organization.
WoLF is an organization that I’m proud to have had a role in starting. We began at a radical feminist strategy meeting in September of last year, and we have solidified around the organizing and execution of Radfems Respond. We’re getting off the ground in earnest now, so please check us out, and think about joining, working in coalition, and supporting our work. We’ve needed an organized, strategic, cohesive radical feminist-dedicated organization for a long time, and I hope that WoLF can provide that.
- That female humans, the class of people called women, are oppressed by men under a male-supremacist system called patriarchy.
- That patriarchy is organized around the extraction of resources from female bodies and minds in the service of men, including reproductive, sexual, emotional, and labor resources.
- That gender is a hierarchical caste system that organizes male supremacy. Gender cannot be reformed – it must be abolished.
WE WORK TO…
- Halt male extraction of resources from female bodies and minds, by regaining reproductive sovereignty, ending male violence including the sexual exploitation industry, and ensuring that women control the material conditions of our lives.
- Disrupt and ultimately end the propagation and enforcement of the gender hierarchy, because women’s liberation can only be won when the caste system called gender has been abolished.
- Empower women to organize as a class, including the creation and maintenance of women-only spaces.
- Unapologetically radical feminists.
- Dedicated to the total liberation of women.
- A women-only organization: We are biological females who survived girlhood.
We say to the left: in this past decade you have failed to live up to your rhetoric of revolution. You have not reached the people. And we won’t hitch ourselves to your poor donkey. There are millions of women out there desperate enough to rise. Women’s liberation is dynamite. And we have more important things to do than to try to get you to come around. You will come around when you have to, because you need us more than we need you… Fuck off, left. You can examine your navel by yourself from now on. We’re starting our own movement.
- Shulamith Firestone
Where does the belief come from that people who choose partners/lovers based on sex have a hard time finding out if they’ve met the “right” person? I’ve already heard this a couple of times and it never ceases to amaze me because I’m pretty sure that up to 99% of the people I meet are indeed the sex I perceive them to be.
There are several (very obvious) reasons for this:
1) The amount of trans people in a given country is very very small.
2) Many of them have a hard time passing (especially those assigned male at birth) because of physiological dfferences due to puberty.
3) Most people actually know or have experienced in some way or the other that socialization matters. Most have definite sexual preferences. So they will actively try to learn how to spot trans people before any uncomfortable situations arise (which might only be the case if you’ve chosen a social environment where this is crucial).
The only people who could have trouble telling men and women apart are those who really do think that men and women are defined by gender, i.e. the social stereotypes intended to uphold patriarchy.
Two Female Sexual Assault Survivors Booted from Take Back the Night RallyDuring the opening rally of Eugene’s 2014 Take Back the Night, two female survivors of sexual assault were kicked out by student security simply because of their radical feminist politics. Both women are…
TBTN Eugene has shut down comments to their facebook page, so the best way to get in touch with them is through firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let them know that excluding survivors based on their radical politics is shameful and unacceptable.
I think I found the perfect video to illustrate what having a “female” gender identity looks like. This is supposed to be revolutionary and transgressive when men do it and call themselves drag queen or transgender.
P.S. Another video with the same song was posted by someone called “asubmissivesissy” who comments that all “sissies” are supposed to be like that. Not only is femininity (= “female” gender identity) a patriarchal invention intended to oppress us it’s also used as a masturbatory tool and fetish by men.
Let me say it bluntly:
Pregnancy is barbaric. I do not believe, as many women are now saying, that the reason the pregnancy is viewed as not beautiful is strictly due to cultural perversion… Pregnancy is the temporary deformity of the body of the individual for the sake of the species.
Moreover, childbirth hurts. And it isn’t good for you. Three thousands years ago, women giving birth ‘naturally’ had no need to pretend that pregnancy was a real trip, some mystical orgasm (that far-away look). The Bible said it: pain and travail. The glamour was unnecessary: women had no choice. They didn’t dare squack. But at least they could scream as loudly as they wanted during their labour pains. And after it was over, even during it, they were admired in a limited way for their bravery; their valour was measured by how many children (sons) they could endure bringing into the world.
Today all this has been confused. The cult of natural childbirth itself tells us how far we’ve come from true oneness with nature. Natural chilbirth is only one more part of the reactionary hippie-Rousseauean Return-to-Nature, and just as self-conscious. Perhaps a mystification of childbirth, true faith, makes it easier for the woman involved. Pseudo-yoga excercises, twenty pregnant women breathing deeply on the floor to the conductor’s baton, may even help some women develop ‘proper’ attitudes (as in ‘I didn’t scream once’). The squirming husband at the bedside, like the empathy pains of certain tribesmen (‘Just look what I go through with you, dear’), may make women feel less alone during her ordeal. But the fact remains: childbirth is at best necessary and tolerable. It is not fun.
(Like shitting a pumpkin, a friend of mine told me when I inquired about the Great-Experience-You’re-Missing. What’s-wrong-with-shitting-shitting-can-be-fun says the School of the Great Experience. It hurts, she says. What’s-wrong-with-a-little-pain-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-kill-you? answers the school. It is boring, she says. Pain-can-be-interesting-as-an-experience says the school. Isn’t that a rather high price to pay for interesting experience? she says. But-look-you-get-a-reward, says the school: a-baby-all-your-own-to-fuck-up-as-you-please. Well, that’s something, she says. But how do I know it will be a male like you?)
Shulamith Firestone, The Dialect of Sex (1970)
comments from Seebster:
My friends, now of baby-having age, are ALL about this natural childbirth stuff. One dear friend, while she didn’t make that mystical orgasm claim, was saying how the movements of giving birth are reminiscent of having sex. Another friend required major surgery sometime in her second trimester I think due to the fetus literally deforming her insides (due to a previously unknown anomalous digestive tract that would have given her no trouble had she not been pregnant) and experienced excruciating pain throughout her pregnancy with minimal medication - but for some reason plans to do it all again. Her twin sister had to watch all that terror…and yet is now pregnant herself and wants to do all the natural stuff, too.
I cannot relate to this level of masochism. I guess it’s good that there are plenty of women who seem to genuinely want this ordeal, since Firestone’s alternative (artificial wombs instead of women carrying and delivering) is an unappealing vision of the future. (I’m thinking: Borg babies.) All I know is that if I were to find myself impregnated for any reason, I would do anything to get it out of me. It does NOT sound “natural” to me, it does NOT sound mystical-orgasmic to me, it does NOT sound glamorous or a fulfillment of some feminine maternal destiny to me.
The truth is, maternal mortality is a real thing, and dying in childbirth is every bit as natural as a healthy delivery. Even in the United States. Even in cases where it should be preventable in this day and age, women die. (see http://www.arhp.org/publications-and-resources/contraception-journal/march-2011) The truth is, pregnant bodies are particularly vulnerable to state coersion. (see http://jhppl.dukejournals.org/content/early/2013/01/15/03616878-1966324.full.pdf+html) The truth is, women are still struggling to define our bodies as just that: our bodies, our being, our physical manifestation in this world - and being an incubator just doesn’t make sense to me as part of that struggle.
It’s almost as though we need to set aside a portion of the population that’s just for this unpleasant deforming processes, convince them that they want this horrible travesty that may potentially be a self-sacrificing death, convince them that it’s in their nature to want it, tell them it’s glamorous or valorous or orgasmic….