Hey, everyone: I’m Calliope, a rising senior-gal in a Connecticut high school who is (just now!) discovering Tumblr for the first time. And I have a rather serious personal problem to share with you all that does not involve GIFs, cats, or BBC shows. My problem is with
my dream college
that superspecial place of ironwilled and astonishing women I want to be a part of
Smith College and its policies (rather: problematic UNpolicies) on accepting transwomen into its ranks.
Typical male entitlement. Young sir: you are not a woman or a girl and never will be. Also, you are acting like the worst sort of man by telling (real) women what they should do. And finally, if you’re so interested in inclusion, apply to an open-admissions college. Or does your speshul snowflake elitism not allow you to study somewhere anybody can get in?
Guilty verdicts in Steubenville rape trial today. Not terribly surprising, but nonetheless welcome news. What made the convictions possible, ironically, was the perpetrators’ obliviousness to the fact that what they were doing was so very wrong, hence the large amount of physical evidence against them.
I do agree with the decision to try these boys as juveniles, considering their actions grew out of a general culture that encouraged and condoned rape and did not consider it wrong. To paint them as individual monsters obscures and minimizes the widespread participation and encouragement of this crime. The actions of the boys were not an isolated event in the evenings’ drunken melee and the Steubenville rape is not an isolated event in the country. What was on trial at Steubenville was rape culture. Not in the legal sense, of course, but in the court of public opinion.
The Ohio Attorney General has stated that he is requesting that a grand jury look at indicting others who took part in the Steubenville rape, in part due to the lack of cooperation of some of those involved. Speculation in the media has been that the ability to prosecute others has been compromised by efforts to get witnesses to testify against the rapists. But at least an attempt at holding others accountable is being made.
The quote in the title is by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. That it even needed to be said, says it all.
The ultimate goal of all feminism is women’s liberation. The various branches (which often are not mutually exclusive) have different ideas about what that looks like and how to get there. Ultimately, none of us really knows, but everyone has strong opinions. I recommend reading Mary Daly if you haven’t found her already. As for feminism in the San Francisco Bay Area, I haven’t lived there for many years, but I still have friends there. You won’t have trouble finding other feminists and radical feminists. San Francisco is also ground zero for the worst transgressions of gender identity politics, it has a strong porn industry, and there are a lot of anti-social men who couch their behavior in the rhetoric of anarchism. In other words, it’s a place that needs all the feminism it can get.
Sometimes I feel like the phrase “radical feminist,” like the word “woman,” became redefined on me while I wasn’t looking.
For those who don’t follow me regularly, I define “woman” as an adult human female (like Webster). A “man” is an adult human male, and “woman” and “man” describe the manifestation of your xx or xy genetic makeup. “Woman” is not a title you earn; it is a description of your biology.
I have considered myself a feminist since the 70’s and a radical feminist since the early 80’s. The way my friends and I understood the phrase at that time, radical feminism meant creation or re-creation of a matri-focal world. (“World” as in planet earth, not a utopian community.)
The creation or re-creation of a matri-focal world. Women envisioned. Women defined. Women in charge. Do you see a statement on gender here? Because I don’t.
Gender equality. Gender abolition. Gender identity. Gender Gender Gender Gender. Take your gender identity and your gender abolition and your gender equality to Mars or Venus, I don’t care. It’s irrelevant. A red herring. De-focusing. Women’s power in a woman-defined world is where it’s at.
I don’t know where the “gender” derailment got started, but I think it was (male-driven) pomo-academia or (male-driven) transgender politics. Either way I don’t care. Gender is too much about men. Also, it sounds like grammar.
aka 99% of Fox News programming.
EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET SHOULD HAVE THIS AT THE READY.
oh but we’re missing so many popular pro-IJ ones
A lil gift to our followers.
This is definitely something I need to just put up on my front page for people to read so they can leave me alone.
Derailing mansplainers and male fauxminists are fond of most of these, in addition to false equivalence.
A handy guide. Yes, false equivalence should be added. Also Ad Feminin attacks, in which the argument is disqualified because the person or the position is feminist. (or radfem)
Last summer I wrote a long article explaining why I am not on board with total abolition of gender. I hesitate to bring it up again because it caused a bit of a stir, both by women who do support (at least in theory) complete abolition of gender and those who accused me of creating a straw man by following the idea to its conclusion. In other words, my ideas were identified as both a threat and irrelevant, which could mean that they need to be considered.
I do have to say that when I wrote the article I was thinking more on the lines of goddess archetypes that are part of the Dianic religion, which it must be acknowledged are gendered even if they are used for women’s empowerment, or along the lines of certain Native American traditions in which old women hold considerable power. I was also thinking that it would be good to capitalize on the fact that girls mature intellectually faster than boys by having sex segregated education, even though this would inevitably either perpetuate or create some socialized differences among the sexes.
But I do not support butch/femme roles.
Butch/femme roles perpetuate femininity as it is envisioned and enforced under patriarchy. The masculine-identified butch role is placed above the feminine-identified femme role. We like to say this isn’t happening, but in practice it is. I reject expressions of gender which subordinate females.
There are several articles about butch/femme making the circuit right now that discuss how patriarchy plays out in butch/femme roles. The first (the first that I saw anyway) is Allecto’s Gender by Any Name Always Stinks. She says “‘Femmes’ become necessary in order for ‘butches’ to differentiate themselves from, and hold themselves above.” Cathy Brennan also has an article on this subject. Hate to Break it to You, but Butch and Femme is also Gender. She says “There is a lack of recognition, it seems, among these transgender-critical activists that Butch and Femme are also gender.” Ann-Tagonist has an article describing how the butch and femme labels are defined and used in practice. It’s Not Butch Oppression It’s Lesbophobia. She says “because she perceived my girlfriend as ‘the Butch one’, it was assumed she must be the sexual aggressor and I must be sexually submissive. Why must Lesbian relationships follow a heterosexual model of dominance and submission? Top and Bottom? Butch and Femme?”
Not unexpectedly there’s some flurry or fury about this even among the gender atheists. Read the comments. Gallus Mag has a rebuttal here. She says “There is no “hierarchy”, no patriarchal authority which grants power to a lesbian who disconforms to femininity over a lesbian whose presentation is socially coded as feminity conforming.”
Rather than reiterating and offering my humble opinion on what has been written, I want to move the discussion forward by bringing an argument to the discussion that I have not seen yet: That any standard of female appearance, to which significant weight is attached, enforces stereotypic feminine behavior. And butch, like femme, is a physical type that some are blessed with naturally and others struggle to achieve.
I have lived in rural areas for many years now and am not as tied in to women’s communities as I once was, but when I lived in San Francisco, where high rents keep unrelated adults living together and no one has any secrets, I heard a lot about the Butch Roommate. She took up most of the closet space with her Butch Outfits. She hogged the bathroom for hours dying and spiking her hair, or performing hygiene on her latest piercing. Her understated makeup was not noticeable to the casual eye, but those who knew her well were aware of the thin eyeliner designed to harden the look of the eyes. Many lesbians like to tout the butch as defying patriarchy simply by existing, but this is not gender nonconforming behavior, however rebellious the visible product. In many cases butch is not a “default female” but feminine artifice taken to a different level.
I am not categorically opposed to feminine adornment, except where in cases where it involves pain, such as high heels, girdles or labia piercings. Even Pogoniptrail likes to discard her cowgirl gear once in awhile and show the world how nice she cleans up. And I concede that close attention to enhanced grooming is required for certain jobs, for men as well as women, although even here we might debate how much of this is really necessary. What bothers me is the pervasive scrutiny of women’s appearance that makes it unacceptable for women to go unadorned even to a matinee, a community meeting, or a “casual” dinner with friends. I hate it that so many women feel compelled to spend money they don’t have on clothes and beauty products. I hate this constant obsession with appearance, and we do ourselves no favors when we re-create this in the lesbian community through butch and femme standards. We don’t have time for this.
A woman who identifies and is seen as “butch” is not necessarily “disconforming” to feminity. She may be gender nonconforming in many ways, or she may be much more conforming to patriarchal gender roles than a woman labeled as “femme,” even in regards to appearance. The very presence of butch and femme standards perpetuates an obsession with appearance that is one of patriarchy’s greatest tools.