Meghan Murphy Says RadFems Are Mean!

Radical feminism has many detractors. Finding Meghan Murphy among them lately has been a surprise.

Beach Read

Holy shit, brain worms might be real!

As her follow-up to defending Benjamin Boyce’s right to talk about ‘whores,’ Meghan has stepped up to tell us How To Feminist. And it’s not a great look.

Even worse, I understand and agree with a lot of what she said! But she paints with a broad brush without so much as a personal anecdote to anchor the conversation. Her bitterness is palpable and she comes across as pretty condescending,

Her title –Radical Feminism Has A Humanity Problem – sets an adversarial tone from the beginning.

“Radical feminism offers a reason for and a solution to much of the sexism we did not know how to respond to, or claims to… It makes sense that young women would want to spread the word … [and] I think that, because feminism is so much about women’s lives … it doesn’t feel like just politics.

“It can feel very intimate, personal, emotional, and triggering. I think this is why … some women might see it as the answer to the world’s problems. I’ve been there. I get it. But it’s not true. And it’s not the answer.”

Unfortunately for anyone hoping to learn, she’s not really clear on why radical feminism isn’t the answer.

But Meghan does make a point I have made over and over, “Theory is not meant to be applied directly to life.”

She could have phrased it better, but the system and the individual are not the same. Every individual man doesn’t need to be oppressing each individual woman at every moment for men as a group to be oppressing women as a group.

“It is a way to analyze the world around you, systems, practices, patterns … Theory is just ideas, … it should not be treated as a rule book.

But after this, Meghan and I begin to part ways. “The world and people’s lives and problems are too complex for that. Which is why there are so few radical feminists in the world.”

Because treating their theory like a rule book is something only unpopular ideologies do, right?…

It’s frustrating that Meghan distracts herself, because these things need talked about. Theory is not dogma. Radical feminism is not your life coach. If you are looking for a rule book for your daily life, look somewhere else.

But after emphatically bringing theory into the discussion, she gets distracted by criticism: “I’ve found so many radical feminists to be deeply out of touch with what real men and women care about, think, and do in their day to day lives, on account of limiting their engagement to online radical feminist circles,” Who are these women? Where is she meeting them?

If online, many of these communities exist to give women space to rant without judgment and escape daily life. You often have no real idea who anyone is, much less what their life looks like.

If she’s meeting them in real life, Meghan can hardly say they’re only engaged in online circles (nice reference there, Meghan!) So, I’m not sure exactly what she’s talking about here.

Read To Sleep

It’s exhausting keeping up with her leaps of logic!

Regardless, the victim-blaming continues, “Radical feminism veers far too quickly into misogyny for a movement that claims to exist to eradicate misogyny.” Bring a group of abused, traumatized animals together, and the first thing they do won’t be to lick each other’s wounds.

Women bring our own internalized misogyny with us, whether we know it or not.

Additionally, there is a tendency to stop reflecting when you’re focused on activism. When you find a path and set yourself to it, your energy is directed outward. In holding the world accountable, it’s easy to forget about yourself.

But this is certainly not limited to radical feminism, and I can’t get past how she tries to pin our smaller numbers on this kind of reactionary thinking. I have seen it in so few people in so many years in the trenches.

As if we don’t all need to watch for rigid thinking. As if radfems haven’t been kicked off of every major platform. As if criticizing men isn’t always unpopular in a patriarchal world.

It’s almost as if she’s forgotten what she’s talking about. I think too many self-defined radical feminists advocate isolation over understanding (or choose isolation over understanding),” This little wink is the kind of insufferable snideness one might do well to avoid while arguing for understanding.

And anyway, feminism is supposed to be about making the world understand us! About enabling us to understand ourselves. I have lived my life surrounded by the culture and company of men. I think I understand them fairly well, thanks.

But she does name the masculine elephant in the room, “If heterosexual women are all compromised and not to be trusted, … the vast majority of women cannot be trusted to engage with feminism or politics in general. Does this sound at all familiar?”

Honestly, this terminus hadn’t even occurred to me. It’s a frightening idea, and obviously self-defeating for any kind of ‘women’s liberation.’ All I really know is that radical feminism is the most practical framework for these issues. And that if we’re excluding most of the female population by default, we’re wasting our time.

This is why I have no problem dismissing anyone who insists on total male exclusion. If you’re going to get serious about changing the world, you’re gonna have to involve men at some point. Figuring that out is monumental. This is not the time to be fighting among ourselves!

Meghan takes a weak swing at purity politics but, in her telling, flashpoints become will-o-the-wisps beckoning from the liberal bog.

“What feminist movement treats 95 per cent of women as stupid idiots, too blinded by emotion or sexual desire to think rationally and make choices that are right for them?” I have no idea, but it sounds like Meghan has picked up some flotsam about Choice Feminism. One of radical feminism’s key arguments is that no choice is made in a vacuum, and our environment is heavily gendered.

It’s not the most empowering thought, but I find someone’s reaction to Nature vs. Nurture very telling. In disregarding this key radfem idea, it almost feels as if the lady doth protest too much.

This may be the shadow of having defended a man’s use of a female slur. He was free to say that, and she was free to defend it. It wasn’t a terribly feminist thing to do, but Meghan digging her heels in is the real problem. In her hot-blooded attempt to argue micro vs. macro and plead for nuance to distract from that, she has insulted many of her readers.

Toro

Please don’t cancel me, you mean old radfems!

Worse, she seems to think she can do both of these things at the same time, with no awareness of irony whatsoever.

“I am not suggesting women don’t have expectations and boundaries – those are a must. But I think there needs to be a balance between those expectations and boundaries, and also having flexibility, understanding, and compassion.”

What do we make of this? In the span of two years, Meghan Murphy has gone from speaking on behalf of women before Scottish Parliament and elsewhere, to defending sexist jokes and saying radical feminism should be more inclusive!

“In general, it is weird to approach life and people with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.”  I’m sorry, madame, did you forget where you are?

Under certain circumstances, this is exactly how we should approach people! The man in the women’s spa absolutely needs to hit the road. Women struggle against the urge to give in, to make nice, to placate those around us. It’s a pretty universal thing that many of us don’t understand very well.

It’s insulting of Meghan to say radical feminism isn’t popular because we’re not nice enough.

For a minute, I was worried that this was another Dear John letter to The Left. But her criticism doesn’t lead to flat-out rejection, “Radical feminism is not a guide to life. It offers useful tools and analysis, but does not provide all tools and analysis”

It would have been great if she had actually illustrated this instead of ranting about mean girls. We all see the issues, Meghan. I wish you would use your high profile to help us build a better community instead of as a platform for your personal grindstone.

 

 

“If Cis Women Stop Wearing Makeup, I Will Never Pass”

A powerful tool in our fight to preserve women’s rights may be staring us right in the face.

Vanity

The answer was inside me all along!

It’s easy to take the obvious for granted, and confronting this social norm is a flashpoint for many of us. 

But why is makeup mandatory? It’s obviously a holdover from older, stricter ideas of what women should be. What a corset does for the waist, contouring does for the face. And we all know it’s at least as bad for us.

I’m not going to lecture anyone about harmful chemicals or animal testing. There are plenty of other people more qualified to take on these very important issues. 

I want to talk about Womanface, and how we begin taking back our identity.

In one of her many excellent videos, Vanessa Vokey spotlights an episide of a Jubilee video series called Middle Ground. Her featured episode showcases a diverse panel discussing makeup, the pressures, practices and their personal feelings.

Vanessa points out the clear double standard: “Both of the males, even though one is presenting as a man and one has altered his body to appear more like a woman, they still have basically the same attitude toward wearing makeup.

“And it’s almost a childlike attitude, this idea that putting on makeup is sort of like dress-up, putting on a costume, putting on a cape like a superhero would.” 

Vanessa cuts to a woman who says she felt sorry for people having to see her bare face. Her cognitive dissonance is clear: “Makeup makes me feel very empowered and beautiful, but then I resent myself more when I take it off.”

Radical feminists in South Korea have it right: “I realized that the makeup and outfits [were] not my decision and I do not actually like it, so I choose to take off the corset.”

Their Take Off The Corset movement rebels against a culture of unattainable goals so intense, it’s driven some to take their own lives. Western culture is trending in similar directions, but circumstances have given us a moment to step back and ask ourselves if this is what we really want.

Pinned

Hey, this wasn’t part of our agreement!

2020 brought many lessons, like how lipstick is completely pointless behind a mask. Foundation is invisible over Zoom and contouring looks heavy in bad light.

Masks aside, no one should be ashamed to show her natural face. We are pushed to conform and given short-term rewards if we do, but it’s time to coordinate for the long game.

Everyone everywhere has been forced to reevaluate our priorities at the same time, and we should take advantage of the chaos.

Through the new tears in the social fabric, we can glimpse strange new possibilities that were unthinkable even a few years ago. Maybe we can bring back cloaks. Maybe we can be more self-sufficient. Maybe the consumerism we were raised with is toxic bullshit.

Makeup is a multi-billion dollar industry that supports child labor, which Vanessa also covers. If we all abandon it together, we can hit capitalism and the trans movement at the same time!

It would be so simple to demonstrate that women are whole individuals. Female impersonators of all shades rely on us perpetuating the impersonal stereotypes that they steal. 

If enough of us stop adhering to the standard, it’s no longer standard. Normalize your real face. Peoples’ perceptions will adjust. Challenge them to see you as you are.

The Bareface Challenge is especially harrowing for those of us who like our War Paint, but you only feel naked until life distracts you. You don’t need the Painted Veil to be presentable.

Let your presence as a woman in the world speak for itself. It’s something no man can imitate or own.

Bathrooms Are Separatism

Control over men’s physical access to us is the very essence of women’s liberation.

Redhead With A Gun

No means no, goddam it!

Which is what they’re taking from us right now. The spectacle of Trans Rights is a shiny distraction from the erosion of our rights, but it’s such a compelling one because it goes right to the heart of the matter.

It literally hits us where we live!

A US federal judge recently ruled against a religious school’s petition for exemption from co-ed everything. She agreed with the Housing Authority attorney that irreparable harm couldn’t be established. That the Biden memorandum “does not specifically address the kinds of issues the college has raised here – showers, or bathrooms.”

The college is not going to leave it there, and if Trump’s conservative SCOTUS puts a dent in Trans Rights I may die from irony. Just think – The knee-jerk conservative rejection of change might actually work in our favor for once!

But a lot of us are having trouble articulating why our privacy is so precious. Separatism is a very important component of women’s liberation, and I’m starting to get pretty frustrated with the pageant where the most extreme version gets trotted out and shot down, over and over.

Frankly, this being such a taboo, misunderstood topic that we have to frame wanting space to ourselves as a political philosophy demonstrates to me how totally brainwashed we all are! The stereotype of extremists abandoning all males forever is what keeps this vital point out of the conversation.

Many women want nothing to do with men and who can blame them? But they don’t speak for all of us, and the mainstream embrace of this straw woman keeps us reenacting the same scene forever.

Spectral Pianist

Her spirit keeps reappearing, as if she’s trying to tell us something!

I learned a ton about this recently, and I was embarrassingly surprised to find out that separatism is just maintaining strong boundaries around female-only spaces.

Putting ourselves first doesn’t mean we don’t care about anyone else. It’s only natural that we need to focus some energy on ourselves to further our interests! What does it say that we need to put it like this, and wring our hands over it so much??

Women-only spaces should proliferate and if someone wants to dedicate herself to that as a lifestyle, I don’t see why it’s much different than going all-in on any other philosophy. I adore women-only spaces and like being able to go home to my 50%-male family.

Because that’s my part that life has given me to play. But how are we ever going to hash out a modern agenda for women’s liberation if we can’t get a moment’s peace?

Opposing Choice Feminism Doesn’t Make Me Anti-Choice

The current model of Choice Feminism is riddled with problems.

Dumbbell

I’m gonna feel the empowerment any minute, right?

In radfem and GC spaces, we take them as a gimme. We understand that many of the alternatives we throw around are older than any of us, that radical feminism is not a reaction to Choice Feminism.

In our sheltered enclave, it’s easy to forget how confusing it is out there.

French YouTuber Alice Cappelle takes on some meaty subjects with a laywoman’s perspective. She lays out details and liberally quotes others, while admitting she doesn’t always know where she stands on things.

Critical analysis is like any hobby – Easy and fun with the right tools and a little practice. But no amount of skill can fill in one person’s limited toolset. No one can see everything, and education takes time.

I sympathize a lot with Alice’s intuitive approach, and she gave me something that I haven’t found anywhere else.

She quotes Meghan Murphy, “‘I believe we are beginning to forget where choice came from, and what it means.'” Alice sums up Meghan’s point, “I think what she means is the concept of choice in feminist movements used to be much simpler.

“It was about choice over marriage, choice over divorce, choice over career, choice over [our] bodies.

“Now a lot of feminists – usually white feminists like Murphy,” An interesting digression, from one white lady to another. I guess she’s contrasting Meghan with the subjects of her video, Cardi B and Emily Radakovsky. Two WOC who utilized self-objectification to escape poverty.

Because white women never do that.

The urge to virtue-signal is strong, I guess. Just another example of how identity politics divides us.

But her next point was what really got my attention: A lot of feminists … see the situation right now as a reversal of those gains, a subversion of what choice really means.

Alice does show us a little of her thought process, “And that implies that we need to restrict that choice.”

Long Underwear Better

Not exactly the perfect fit!

It seems the linguistic link between ‘opposition’ and ‘opposite’ isn’t limited to English. This is the kind of invisible mental bias that can trip up anyone.

“Or act in a way that there is not even a choice, so regulate self-objectification or the ways in which female sexuality is represented in the media.”

Her rebuttal is as fleshed-out as her straw man, “The problem is that, without choice – as flawed as it is – we’re perpetuating this idea that women cannot decide for themselves.” But… choice good!

“Which is a very patronizing attitude!” Could not agree more. And I have never seen a GC feminist say any such thing.

This is the factual opposite of what feminism is about.

This is the definition of a conservative mindset. Personally, I don’t like it when conservative women call themselves feminists, it’s claiming to be an oxymoron. But with identity politics, anything is possible!

Feminism is pro-choice in its essence, recognizing women’s agency the only real entry fee. But I think we’ve found another node in the TERF connect-the-dots game! 

I’m not sure how the meaning of feminism became so diluted. I know none of the older women in my family knew or cared much about it. They were Modern Women with a midwestern conservative bent, leaving my sister and me easy pickings for liberal social movements.

Radical feminism gives us a third way, firmly rooted in material reality. Setting us free from the two-dimensional false choice of Liberal vs. Conservative.

Alice goes on to address race in her video. I’m still working out the details, but hingeing analysis on personal identity atomizes the large groups that political movements need to be effective. Your personal identity is beside the point.

Taking race out of the equation actually evens out application of social programs. Educating and feeding poor children should have nothing to do with their race. 

Cardi B becoming a stripper to lift herself out of poverty is a sad story for me. And once the floor is open to identity talk, someone will make the point about how ‘ableist’ beauty standards are – Our narrow definition of ‘hot’ is the real problem! – and distract from the issue. I have been around this block so many times!

Elegant Conversation

Ramps in strip clubs would go a long way to achieving equality!

Cardi B has no interest in escaping her identity. She performed as a human sex toy to escape from poverty.

But Alice turns to infamous race-baiting tome American Apartheid for context. She describes how even Woke sociologists insulted black people’s humanity, and the collective middle finger they got in return. “Yes, it’s true, using self-objectification doesn’t sound super-feminist. 

“But it also sends another message, that you can rise in society and earn as much money as the people who oppressed you or the men who neglected you.”

This is actually a good articulation of something else that’s been bugging me: Cultural subversion is a powerful tool for social change, even if it doesn’t immediately change anything.

There’s some debate about how social change drives political change, but it’s definitely the more organic route. Feminism as a social movement needs women being unapologetic in public.

Feminism as a political movement has forgotten why she started all this in the first place. What is a woman, anyway?

We Need To Talk About Separatism

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea what separatism was.

Doing some long-overdue digging, I learned it’s at the root of the weed that’s choking modern politics.

Weeds

Ugh, I should have pulled these ages ago!

Research Is Safe And Fun!

I quickly found myself lost in a dense, dry old bramble. Kathy Rudy’s tale of joining a ‘radical feminist’ group is littered with breadcrumbs along the trail into the political wilderness.

She describes the lesbian community she joined in North Carolina in 1980. They put separatism first, theorizing among themselves about an ‘essential female nature’ that inevitably reflected their own experience.

The fate of their community is a perfect example of the destructive potential inherent in building our politics on identity.

This snapshot of separatist lesbians is a portrait of the familiar cultural character: “People dressed mostly the same, ate the same foods, cut their hair the same, had the same social activities.

“The strength of our community was built on the very vulnerable assumption that being lesbian was enough to hold us all together.” 

A Case Of Mistaking Identity For Reality

But right from the beginning, their pool was impossibly shallow – “By claiming the shared status of victim in male, heterosexual culture, we thought we could overlook or deny racial, ethnic, religious, class, geographic, and many other differences.

“It became clear very quickly that fractures and problems existed at many different levels.” 

No one’s identity can be completely contained by one label. Political movements should not try to define people this way, because it doesn’t work!

A movement without roots in physical reality (lesbian is more something you do than something you are) has no external definition. Founding your politics in subjective identity is sowing seeds in sand.

“The first signs of these fissures … manifested themselves in conversations about what counted as a real radical feminist.” This sounds very familiar. The quickest way to reinforce a social group is to draw a big, black line between Us and Them. 

Both sides of the larger political argument have been preoccupied with this for ages.

“We started asking each other to declare primary or even sole allegiance to ‘the women’s community.’ We began policing ourselves in order to guarantee that our members were faithful to the principle of putting women first.”

Modern liberal feminism and Queer theory! The parallel is uncanny.

As the torrent of difference continued, smaller tributaries overwhelmed their shallow unity: “It had become clear that most generalizations about women did not hold true, especially across racial, class, or ethnic lines.

“African American lesbians and other lesbians of color told white radical feminists in no uncertain terms that the female nature they had theorized did not represent difference.”

I never caught how exactly they defined this ‘female nature,’ but I may have missed it tangled in the bramble. Maybe she didn’t think it was worth including, since apparently the existence of black women shattered it completely!

“Thus, throughout the 1980s, the lesbian feminist idea of a unique female nature slowly began to grow thin, to lose substance and texture.”

Pink Bouquet

I don’t get it – Every time I isolate them in this bowl, they die!

This is what happens when you behave as if what you want overrides what is. As if observation is what makes the world. It strikes me as pretty narcissistic, but that flows with every stream from that period.

The extreme version of individualism that was fashionable at the time put blinders on the psyche. How else do you explain such jaw-dropping naivete? “The writings of these women demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the special attributes we had associated with womanness actually described only the womanness of whites.”

I cannot imagine how they managed this but, their amazing trick exposed, the community crumbled pretty quickly. Kathy went to grad school, and spent some time having what had happened figured out for her.

She lists many books from the late 1980s and early 90s and quotes them extensively.

First, Kathy brings in Alice Echols as her adversary, saying Radical Feminism Is Dead. Then, without realizing it, she tells us how radical feminism died.

How Radical Feminism Classic Died

“Echols argues that in focusing their politics on lifestyle issues, feminism after 1973 was void of serious structural potential.

“By the early ’70s, radical feminism began to flounder and, after 1975, it was eclipsed by cultural feminism” – The creation of women’s communities like the one our author joined.

“Although this woman-only space was envisioned as a culture of active resistance, it often became an end in itself, where patriarchy was evaded rather than engaged.

“The focus became one of personal rather than social transformation.”

Yep, that sounds like pretty much every insular group ever. A distant threat becomes a memory, and the urgency fades. But Kathy identifies with none of it.

“Echols comments on … the late 1970s, ‘More than ever, how one lived one’s life, not one’s commitment to political struggle, became the salient factor.'” Political struggle meaning push for material change in the physical world.

This turn inward sucked all the life out of RadFem Classic.

Kathy defends RadFem Lite by describing their shallow isolationism, We were not socialists, because we believed that too much focus on things like workers and owners would suck us into the muck of patriarchy.

“We were not Marxists because we believed that true liberation accompanied the transcendence of men and the material realities they had created.”

No shit! But how does turning your back on the problem solve anything?

Black Pussy

Don’t worry, Lady Ravenclaw – We don’t need anybody!

“We were not interested in building coalition with men. We wanted only to organize our lives to be free of their patronizing dominance.” Politics is hard! Let’s skip to the good part!

But she brings in her favorite writers as backup. “In her later works, Mary Daly explicitly challenged the validity of materialist and socialist politics from a radical women-centered point of view.

“For her, feminist activism should be centered on the poetic quest of finding a female reality deeper than that created by men.”

Ok, I think I’m starting to see what those black women were talking about.

Personal Identity Excludes Everyone

Which brings us to the spot where feminism intersects with the larger political world.

I am definitely not black, but I have spent my life bobbing in and out of the working class. I recognize the blind privilege of insisting the most important thing women can do for our liberation is to search for female reality.

Female reality is the reason liberation is necessary! Kathy does a great job describing the problem without ever recognizing what she’s looking at.

“The introduction of difference between women pointed out the weaknesses inherent in building a politics on a cross-racial, cross-cultural, unified identity of ‘woman.'” Introducing race and culture into the equation is the mistake, not the woman part! Blunting the edges of material analysis with personal identity padding turns a scalpel into a club.

Politics shouldn’t be about your personal background, no matter how big your group is. Political movements need to focus on the material effects of the system.

Material Reality vs. Personal Reality

Many black people live in poverty, but many of them don’t. They are not even the majority of poor people, but ‘poor’ has become code for black.

Set aside for now how this completely ignores poor people of any other shade –  This is the kind of confusion that grows from rooting your politics in what kinds of people are affected by the system instead of what’s happening to them.

This gives asshole politicians language to rile up poor whites against their black neighbors. Harping on the differences (which are only sorta real) while distracting from the uncomfortable truth of their own situation.

And coding social issues along racial lines causes an overall decline in civic engagement.

To cultivate real change, we need to draw a hard line between the identity politics salting the ground of public discourse, and material politics rooted in quality of life.

The Physical World vs. Our Perception Of It

We can see the difference between the physical realm of politics and the mental realm of social movements in the persistence of their effects.

Dandelion

Observing cause and effect without personal judgement lets us manipulate things!

Something like race only affects your life as much as people think it does. Race doesn’t actually make a person smarter or stronger. Science has shown race to be a phantom of the human mind, a lot more cultural and not as real as people once thought.

The material aspects of our lives, on the other hand, don’t depend on how people perceive us. Class has measurable effects on intelligence and health. Sex obviously has a big impact on our lives, and its existence is definitely not subjective.

But Kathy is unable to find a straight path, so her studies only lead her further into the weeds.

“These feminist theorists prodded us to question our attachment to radical feminism’s stable category of woman.” Then you should have thrown them away! Woman is such a stable thing that we all came out of one!

We clearly exist, and this woman did not get her money’s worth from her graduate degree.

“To think of women’s liberation as an event involving ‘women only,’ they said, was not only to miss the complexities of oppression, but it was also to assume and posit the very category that itself perpetuates injustice”

Way to blame the victim. Kathy went from lesbian separatist to queer theorist in a decade, and it’s really fascinating.

Radical Feminist, Political Lesbian, Or Queer Theorist? …Who Can Choose?

One of the most interesting things is that she describes radical feminism and political lesbianism as basically the same thing! “Marilyn Frye captured the sense in which this turn to women was … [how] a new world would be built … becoming a lesbian is a reorientation … a kind of conversion.”

But this sexy diversion was extremely important: “Rather than squelching mobilization, we see lesbian feminist communities as sustaining the radical feminist tradition and bequeathing a legacy to feminists of the future.”

She tries real hard to link her experience to the blooming Queer community ten years later, but all of it begs the question – Who is making these future people?? 

Other women, of course! But we’ve seen how alternative perspectives are too much for her to handle.

The end of the story is sad, but very instructive: “For many, the outcome of these struggles was often segregation.

“Additive identity politics allowed us to feel comfortable only when talking with people from our own ethnic, racial, class, sex, and gender backgrounds.”

True Unity For Real Progress

But class cuts across all the others. Like sex, it touches everyone. It physically, literally shapes our lives, whether we like it or not. The resources available to us growing up have a cascading effect on our entire lives.

But like race, class is only as real as we make it.

The blurring of ‘poor’ and ‘black’ created cover for nurturing hidden racism. Desperate people have been lied to for generations, and robbed while they yell at their neighbors. But give poor kids better food and the differences between them and their richer peers start to disappear.

Give the world better food, healthcare and living conditions, and the stratifications begin to erode. But comfortable people have time to start talking about Justice and stuff.

Identity politics destroyed Kathy’s isolated lesbian community because that’s what it does. Dividing us up into smaller and smaller niche categories until we are each an Army of One.

Building our politics on material change is how we unify the movement. It’s also how we shield ourselves from Woke woo. It streamlines our message and simplifies our goals.

And separatism can be a useful tool for this.

What Is Separatism, Really?

Separatism is not living away from all men and centering everything on our identity as women – Because each of us will experience that a little differently. Separatism is establishing strong boundaries that keep men out of certain physical spaces.

You know, like we already do.

Important Meeting

Well, now that’s settled… Where were we??

The completely reasonable and practical approach outlined in Jocelyn MacDonand’s 2015 Feminist Current article is to broaden and strengthen this.

She also quotes Marylin Frye, “Frye explains that feminism is a philosophy, not for, but against inclusion.

“The dominant paradigm says, ‘Men have a right to women’s bodies, to women’s labor. Women are invited to participate in public life to the degree that we, men, decree.’

“Feminism says, ‘No. That is not the natural or inevitable order of life on Planet Earth.'”

This is a pretty good summary – We want our say in the world as equals. “And here’s the really important part: “This separation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women.”

“It’s not about advocating for an island of lesbians cut off for eternity from half the human race,” No, apparently this pesky vine has its roots in the disintegration of politics over the past 50 years.

“Rather, it means we say when the walls go up and for how long, who passes through the gate and who waits outside.”

This is power. This power wielded by women is feminine power, no special costume necessary.

Because when we focus on the material world, our course of action becomes clear. We need to build a wall between the political movement of women’s liberation and the many social movements we’re invested in.

Your experience of womanhood is as integral but distinct as the rose on the bush. Watering blossoms isn’t going to get you anywhere.

If radical feminism is about getting at the roots of female oppression, let’s be clear what we’re digging for. Just one of many tools, separatism is elemental to our liberation.

After The Tide Turns, We Should Get Busy

The other day, I was reading that same discussion again.

“I can’t wait till the tide finally turns and all these loudmouths on the Trans Train will get their just desserts!”

“Yeah, I think about that, too. But I’m afraid the world will just pretend it never happened.”

Flower Seller

What 19th century Worker’s Movement?

This goes against the gut feeling of Justice, but the pessimists have a point. How many times have we had something completely off-the-charts insane splashed across our screens, only to have the News Cycle churn onward and nothing really happen?

Off the top of my head, the Panama Papers come to mind. Wealthy and powerful people all over the world exposed as nothing more than elaborate hoarders. Hoarders of the wealth generated by the resources of a world we all share.

Really, the fact that Wikileaks hasn’t drastically changed our Standard Operating Procedure speaks volumes.

There’s the Trump administration bungling the pandemic response because he wanted to ignore it. He really seemed to think that if he downplayed it hard enough, long enough, we’d all just forget and he could get back to winning. Considering how often shit like this happens, can we even blame him?

After a hellish year, the bleakest light is finally breaking through the clouds, and general chatter does seem to have moved on. I’m as sick of talking about Trump as anyone is, but I’m not a Judge! Someone ought to be following up on that. 

I could write a neverending series on this topic. The media may try to forget, but I find that people remember. We’re just convinced no one else does.

But speaking of following up, Trans Rights cannot be added to this list.

Truth Coming Out Of The Well

The Truth will set us free, but first it will piss off the world.

When that wave crests and breaks and falls away, plenty of those left high and dry will try to pretend they just like heights. We can’t let them get away with it this time.

The RadFem community needs to take this new fire stoked in the struggle and spread flames of truth everywhere. I know we’re tired. It’s been a long slog so far and no one can say how long this spell will last. Or how far its tendrils will reach.

But we have to hold tight. Reality is a TERF. Fight the Good Fight and, when it’s over, be ready to be front lines for cleanup. It might even be refreshing after years of being relegated to the margins for ‘transphobia.’

Take good notes now, we have to remember and provide receipts when the time comes. You wanna talk about Cancel Culture? Hypocrites, begone!

Integrity is our strongest weapon against those who have none. If we come prepared, the moment for flexing will be epic.

Two Vital GC Arguments From An Unlikely Source

It’s not every day I find something I think everyone needs to hear.

Today was one of those days. These are the moments that still fill me with hope.

Dreamy Seamstress

Maybe someday, we’ll get to be people after all!

Two Truth Bombs And A New Subscription

Michael Browne has been feministing about as long as I have, with even less exposure. 

I assumed YouTube’s algorithm made the introduction but, retracing my steps, I found his video on Ovarit. He appears to have uploaded it himself.

Michael has been taking on the big boys for a while, releasing long, detailed responses to the likes of Riley J Dennis and Contrapoints. More recently, he commented on Philosphy Tube’s transformation and even Lindsay Ellis. 

Which is great, but I guess podcasts are what the cool kids are listening to while they clean house. This guy’s saying things I haven’t heard from anyone else.

Which is a damn shame. In his quest to leave no stone unturned, he’s sharpened a point or two I think could really leave a mark.

Countering Contrapoints

Contrapoints’ persona is generally outside my tolerance for counterintelligence research. That is to say, I have never sat through one of his videos. I prefer my YouTube dry and educational, or frivolous and weird.

Michael’s style makes watching pointless anyway, stopping every sentence to slice and dissect.

In this way, he manages to sift out the kernel of conflict at the center of modern feminist politics.

Contrapoints: “We’re using a cultural language of feminine signifiers to prompt others to see us for what we are. 

But also, if one person calls me ‘sir,’ that’s gonna ruin my day. So I’m desperately throwing glitter spaghetti at the wall in hopes the light catches some glimmer of womanhood.”

Michael: “You are dressing more feminine than you want to in order for society to accept you as a woman, while at the same time complaining that gender critical feminists are the ones constricting your gender expression. 

It seems to me like you’re much more constrained having to present an overly-feminine image to appease a society that does not largely accept gender-nonconforming people.

Getting The Answer

I think we’ve really got something here!

You don’t want to be misgendered. You’re basically forced to present yourself as hyper-feminine.

[This] totally contradicts the end goals of gender critical feminists. [They] want a world of total gender-nonconformity. 

However, in that situation, you’d be fucked – You cling to gender signifiers as a means to ensure that people refer to you by the gender you consider yourself to be.

Brushing aside the blatant admission of narcissism from Contra here, Michael has got him dead-to-rights and I can’t believe everyone isn’t repeating this everywhere!

This is that contradiction everyone keeps telling us doesn’t exist, spelled out in all its shimmering glory!

The only way they can be women is by wearing a mask of femininity. If we succeed in breaking that mask, they can’t be women. If women are recognized as full human beings and not a set of behaviors and body parts, their charade becomes a lot more difficult.

But we have nothing to lose but our chains.

We are directly opposed to each other in our goals. The amount of energy and rhetoric that goes into obscuring this is truly a wonder to behold, ain’t it?

Trans Kids of History…?

In his most recent upload, Michael credits Alex Aaron of Gender Mapper fame with another keystone insight. 

She said, ‘Thank goodness we don’t have this legacy going back of children killing themselves because of gender dysphoria!

“This phenomenon of children coming out as transgender and killing themselves is a recent phenomenon. We know that because we don’t have stories of people going, ‘Oh, all of these children are killing themselves and we’ve got no explanation for it.

All of this said over the frozen smirk of Philosophy Tube’s resident transwoman, as Michael picked apart every sentence of his coming out video. 

The preoccupation with trans kids strikes many as related to pedophilia, and this may be true. But there’s a strong, simple motivator for every trans person and every ally – Legitimacy. 

Trans adults generously share their formative experiences. The somatic obsesses them as much as it confuses them, and they have plenty to say about it.

Bored Reader

The plot’s getting a bit predictable, don’t you think??

The narrative is the key. Humans have always made sense of ourselves and our world through stories. Without that backstory, all you have is an adult who decided to switch teams.

Someone old enough to know better. Someone who might be interrogated about the crap they’re saying.

By projecting these ideas backward and linking them with trauma, it makes them unquestionable in the individual. And if there were trans kids 30 years ago, there must be trans kids now, out there suffering the same fate!

That’s the difference between memories and dreams – Memories can be double-checked outside our heads. If there are no trans kids, there are no trans adults. This is why the children had to be sacrificed to the Gender Gods. 

I’m glad someone gave this man an Ovarit invite. We need this kind of sharp analysis if we’re going to cut through the Woo, and I love seeing younger people who make so much sense.

Michael’s channel is small, but I encourage everyone to go and listen to him articulate gender critical arguments with true British precision.

Moms and Feminism Need Each Other

I think men convinced themselves women were just a little too stupid for all those centuries, so they wouldn’t have to face what they had done to us.

Pinned

Thanks for bringing me to this swell movie, Gary!

Exploiting a natural weakness to strip an intelligent, self-aware person of their individuality, and put them to work for the benefit of others – Well, that would be pretty evil. One might be tempted to empathize with such a person, to imagine what it’s like to let go of any thought of personal achievement.

To have no dreams, plans, or hobbies of your own. That’s a miserable existence for any mildly intelligent person, without some serious brainwashing.

But, then, those women were always told they’d never amount to much. Women’s Liberation came about after Enlightenment thinkers (Read: Men) decided an educated mother was a better mother. Suddenly young women got to dream, but only for a few years. Marriage was still the only serious goal.

My generation? We were told we could Have It All – A kickass career, a loving husband, smart kids, a beautiful home and a tight ass – We just had to work a little harder. Never mind that at least two of these are full-time jobs. You’re gonna need at least two jobs to keep that house, anyway…

My daughters are being told that womanhood is a feeling.

The dirty truth, of course, is that a woman birthed every person on Earth. Many of them died in the process. Most of them bear physical scars, and psychological ones are common. All of them were extremely uncomfortable or seriously inconvenienced at least once.

All so humanity could carry on. A job so vital, no able-bodied woman is truly eligible for anything else!

If Only

Sorry, I can’t learn to fly today, I have too much work to do!

But to keep us all there, we had to be held down. Mothers are simultaneously the most important and the least important people in the world. Both a precious resource and totally ordinary, whichever undermines us more effectively.

And it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t have much to say. We’re too busy juggling hats. When women do speak, it’s seldom as A Mother – We have been taught not to identify with that aspect of ourselves, or risk being disqualified from life.

Ironic, since mothers give life.

This is our biggest mistake – Motherhood is both our greatest power and our moment of weakness. The modern, rational mind isn’t interested in mystical contradictions, but we ignore this at our peril.

And children are not just babies. That moment of weakness is followed by at least a decade of preoccupation. Of living two lives simultaneously. Of knowing that, when that cry goes up, your feet better hit the floor because you’re the one on-call 24/7.

Of missed deadlines and internal conflict. Of dumping energy into running two minds – Mommy and Boss Bitch. There’s not as much overlap as you might think.

And moms will never unite and rise up, because we don’t see ourselves as a group. To stand up and be counted is to admit we ought to be at home. And women will never be free.

We may be freed from motherhood, as artificial wombs become a reality. But if freedom hinges on giving up mothering, we will have paid with a precious piece of ourselves. We will have admitted that being free means being like men.

With the majority of women isolated, the only route to liberation will continue to be rejection of men altogether. Straight women cast as sleeping with the enemy, rather than those with the most at stake in the battle of the sexes.

Each of us sits in a corner of her kitchen wiping lonely tears, because she doesn’t know she is legion. We struggle to be Secretary and Cheerleader and Sex Goddess and Boss Bitch and Housekeeper and Cook, never mind who we are!

Vacation

When does my vacation start?

We grope for the support no one can give us. The support that should be there – The network of mothers that raised our ancestors for thousands of years. 

The network that has been destroyed by centuries of putting women In Our Place – A case of slander so intense, the insecurity driving it is obvious.

Men of influence fear women’s power because their precious dominance depends on installing a worthy heir. We are the doorway to the future.  We are the biggest, most influential group in the world.

But not if we don’t know it.

Motherhood is the doorway all of us pass through, in one direction or the other. We don’t need to agree on parenting styles, we just need to stand up and be counted. The strength in our numbers will shake the world.

 

 

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