Women Out In The Cold: Hey Ohio, You Decent?

As much as I hate to admit it, I grew up in Ohio.

Classy Dame

A classy dame like me? Weird, I know!

For a long time people called it America’s Weathervane. A hub of midwestern culture, Ohio picked the President every election from 1960 until this last one.

Despite my six years in Tennessee, I watched with great interest as  State Representative Jena Powell spoke before the Ohio Legislature in defense of women’s rights. She’s a Republican, of course. Representative Powell may not be the best feminist spokesperson, but the aggressive, frightening reaction she triggered made my blood run cold.

She was given the floor to introduce an amendment called the Save Women’s Sports Act, “a fairness issue for women to be able to achieve their dreams in athletics in our state, and is crucial to preserving women’s rights and the integrity of women and girl’s sports.”

As she talks about the girls losing out on opportunities across the country, the first objection is heard from the room: “Point of order!”

Before she finishes her sentence, someone begins banging loudly, could be a book on a table.

“This amendment will require schools that are part of the OHSAA – “

More shouting, each word punctuated with another thunderous bang, “Point! Of! Order!”

” – to designate separate teams – “

The shouting and banging become continuous, making Jena fight for every word.

” – for the biological sex. No school inters…” She only pauses briefly, long enough to shoot a withering look at whoever is interrupting her. “No school interscholastic conference or organization – “

The banging continues, but I guess he needed to catch his breath.

” – that regulates interscholastics shall permit biological males – “

The banging quickens, the same voice braying over it now in short, wordless bursts.

” – participate on an athletic team or in athletic competitions designated only for biological female participants.”

The howling carries on, there’s some shuffling and maybe one or two others begin banging on tables. Eventually, the Chairman is forced to stop her and address the issue.

Grownups Were Talking

The grownups were talking, darling! What is it??

The video isn’t very long and cuts off before we learn more. What was the Point of Order?? I need to know!

Extra info is scarce but, according to the local ABC affiliate, Representative Powell tacked her amendment onto a bill that had already passed the State Senate. Their bill was aimed at giving college athletes the right to profit from schools’ use of their likeness.

Jena’s amendment looks a bit out of place, but her own bill has been stalled in committee. And time is running short.

ABC says the Ohio Senate went around her the very next night, attaching the college profit scheme as an amendment to an unrelated bill. I guess they can’t be mad at her for that! But shouldn’t legislators be expected to show relevance like lawyers do? This kind of agenda-juggling erodes a lot of confidence in government.

And the sound of the baboon-level freakout coming from the State Representative off-camera is harrowing for a couple of reasons. The mental image is conjured up of a red face, gnashing teeth, books and papers flung here and there as you listen to them thrash around.

Aside from the unhinged nature of this performance, it’s even scarier if this is coming from the so-called ‘liberal’ party. All because a woman spoke up to defend our rights!

We know we can’t depend on conservatives to stand firm for women outside of our right to do Girly Things. Their moral panic working in our favor for once doesn’t mean they will suddenly support our bodily autonomy.

Chasing A Fantasy

Hey Judy, how you been? Still chasing that fantasy, I see!

The fight over abortion and birth control is still raging, and Ohio is one of the worst offenders. Abortion is illegal in Ohio before many women even know they’re pregnant, thanks to the infamous Heartbeat Bill.

Representative Powell might want to ask them about that, too.

Because with Dems completely beholden to gender activism and few progressives in sight, being a woman is a pretty embattled position at the moment.

We’re going to visit family in Ohio over the July 4th holiday. It’s been a while, the kids are in for a treat. I’m nervous for lots of reasons, but that’s nothing new. It’s strange to be going home and leaving it at the same time.

Beyond politics, life goes on. A lot has changed in the last six years, but some things never do. As the culture war imitates the Summer weather, checking in with a few of them is sounding better all the time.

Feminists On Fox: Suicide By Optics

There’s been a lot of discussion in Radfem spaces about whether cooperating with conservatives is a good idea.

Leopard

What? He’s tame!

Plenty of writers and activists have stepped up to remind us why conservatives don’t make good allies. Just because Sky Daddy agrees the sky is blue and talks real sweet, doesn’t mean we need to go back to him. He’ll only hit us again sooner or later.

But with such a complete media blackout, with social platforms banning us for nonsense like ‘misgendering,’ it’s not hard to understand why some feminists choose to take advantage of the few opportunities on offer to get the word out.

It’s easy to see how I ran across a Christian News article on Ovarit this morning about a little girl standing up to her school system, that devolved into her mother talking about Jesus.

Most of us are well aware that Jesus is not our friend. Regardless of presentation, anyone who preaches absolute life roles is not a feminist. But it’s getting lonely in Leftland lately, and conservatives are the only ones even calling women by name anymore.

Defection is possible because each side has a point, in its own way. But each side is getting too much mileage out of demonizing the other to ever admit this, making real answers impossible. Any admission of nuance is cast as ideological creep, asking questions risks slipping into no-man’s land.

But this pressure to conform tends to have the opposite effect, of course. The forbidden fruit looks even sweeter, and eating it makes you a rebel. You’re halfway to being a Revolutionary / Rugged Individualist already, depending on your perspective.

Most feminists traditionally thought of ourselves as liberals. But our leaders have abandoned us, and our organizations have shunned us. A few people here and there of various liberal pedigrees are peeling off and ‘leaving the left.’

Lesbian YouTuber Arielle Scarcella is a great example of the ideological creep that can happen when, instead of questioning things, someone just goes looking for alternative answers. Defection doesn’t solve anything, because the same problems exist across the political spectrum.

Read To Sleep

All this heavy thinking really takes it out of me!

Conservatives believe women are private property, liberals believe women are public property, remember? Misogyny is always recognizable, regardless of the motivation behind it.

But feminists have been arguing with conservatives and winning for a long time. They feel familiar, even safe, in a weird way. The old values have been defanged by modernity. Jesus might not be our friend, but he’s mellowed a lot with age.

We know that church attendance has been dropping for decades, and conservatives have needed to invoke all kinds of tricks to stay relevant. We can talk to The Heritage Foundation or Tucker Carlson, confident in our ability to walk away whenever we want.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if walking in was our fatal mistake.

Too often, the truth just doesn’t matter. You know how humankind has been writing the same story over and over and over, about how the Good People win the day just by Doing What’s Right? I wonder if that’s our favorite fantasy because that’s almost never how it really works out.

Barbarella2

Being the Good Guy means I’m bullet proof, right??

We’re naive if we think we can simply walk in, present our rational arguments, and win most people over that way. Optics are everything because they’re what we use to bring the picture into focus. Most people in the US are either looking through a red lens or a blue lens.

If you’re sitting across from Tucker Carlson, you will be seen through that red lens. Conservatives will mostly agree with you anyway, and liberals will ignore you out of habit.

Which is fine by the Trans Lobby, by the way. They are happy to have us all corralled in one corner where they can disgrace us all at the same time.

Accepting the conservative invitation is climbing aboard a sinking ship. Unless we’re talking about legislation that supports women and girls, it’s nothing but a photo-op for those looking to slander us.

And it’s working! I think the comparison of feminists to Nazis was metaphorical at first, Nazi was a byword for fascist for a minute there. Rush Limbaugh first used ‘Feminazi’ back in the last century, deftly condensing decades and centuries of resentment toward bossy, uppity women into a metaphor for the ages.

But it was a long time before the comparison became literal. Even Limbaugh wasn’t that absurd.

I laughed it off at first, but things have turned darker these past few years and Nazis aren’t metaphorical anymore. Anxiety is cranked up to 11 and loyalties are being questioned.

Add in generalized economic stress, and most people are too busy to look very deeply into much, and too tired to absorb it anyway. All most people are going to see is the Radfem sitting next to Tucker Carlson, in the clip their favorite YouTuber is smirking at.

No Way

Don’t make me come out there and see what’s making all that noise!

More people are finally waking up to just how upside-down most conservative, old-school ‘family’ values really are. Associating ourselves with them in a social setting implies agreement. Once upon a time, feminists would be on Fox News scowling over the latest challenge to abortion access. Now that they’re the only ones who will have us, we feel pressure to behave ourselves.

It’s not just that we’re talking to them, we’re being nice to them. On camera!

And when the new world sweeps away the last traces of the old, the New Religion will be only too happy to push Women’s Liberation into the past right along with it. A quirk of early Modern History. A quaint movement based upon outdated understandings of things, for a group of people we don’t recognize anymore.

It won’t matter how many of us are Marxists or lesbians. It won’t matter what the true history of women is or how hard we worked to escape it. Because history is written by the winners, and the old ways are on their way out, one way or the other.

Flirting with conservatism is helping to discredit feminism. Failing to address this sacrifices our integrity for short-term visibility. It’s participating in our own smear campaign. It’s handing live ammunition to our enemies.

I don’t think we should sacrifice feminism for views.

Here’s Why Everyone Thinks Radfems Are Conservatives

Hey everyone, 

A harried BrazenShe checking in real quick, because I think I’ve solved a little mystery. 

There’s this idea floating around that radical feminists are conservative. More than that, I have seen us called white supremacists with all the authority a Tumblrite can muster. 

Umbrella'

Dafuq you say?

At first blush, this confused me immensely. I’m from Cleveland Heights. Racism does not compute for me. 

Ok, some of us have made appearances next to conservatives recently. Scratch the surface and you’ll find a frustrated liberal abandoned by her friends. 

The only other people in the room not falling in line with gender ideology are the people who want us back in the kitchen.

Then there’s the idea that Male and Female are projections of colonialism, as if indigenous peoples don’t understand how babies are made.

But radical feminist philosophy is not conservative in the slightest. Reading just a few sentences of any resource will inform the reader of this, so claiming otherwise is suspicious. The obvious reason anyone would ignore our clearly stated views in favor of painting us as enemies of progress is to discredit us. 

Lacking any way to discredit our arguments, they try to discredit us ourselves. But if this accusation has such flimsy evidence, why does it have such legs?

Because it calls back to the very roots of knowledge itself. 

There are two main schools of thought about knowledge: Rationalism and Empiricism. Plato and Aristotle argued about it, modern Enlightenment thinkers tinkered with it, and we are still having this argument. Even if we have forgotten what we are fighting about.

Rationalism is a founding principle of liberalism, of education. Rationalism teaches that the world works according to knowable rules. That an educated person can make wise choices and improve her own life. That ideas are the real Truth of existence.

Empiricism teaches us that the Truth is what we can see, hear, and touch. Ideas are only as good as their practical application.

These building blocks have obvious influence on the current culture wars. Rationalism and Empiricism need each other like mind needs body, and the distinction is probably just as artificial.

Classical Confused

How does anyone keep track of all this??

The Rationalist liberals insist their ideas – Their identities – are the most real thing.

The Empiricist conservatives use simplistic understandings of the world to justify selfish short-sightedness.

Radical feminists cross this line. We are progressives – A liberal creed wanting to rewrite the relationship between women and men – whose practical streak falls back on Empiricism in the Scientific Method tradition. 

Neither Rationalism nor Empiricism is inherently liberal or conservative. They are mental tools that can be applied in either direction, depending on the biases of the user.

But our current polarization of thought has attempted to wedge them into one or the other. Conservatives are against education in their gut because they understand the liberals have claimed ideas. Liberals feel betrayed when an educated person disagrees with the accepted orthodoxy, usually because of observations made in material reality.

Radical feminism appears to exist in a dimension that most of modern thought does not. It doesn’t know what to make of us, we’re not following the rules. I can only hope that, as we continue gathering, discussing, and getting the word out, eventually we will reach critical mass.

With persistence, maybe we can at least bring dimension to the debate.

Happy holidays,

    – Sarah