For women, there is no change of presentation, mannerisms, clothing, name, or pronoun that will alter the reality of second-class status. And thus, there is no change of any of the above that will allow men to understand what it is to be a woman.
Abolishing gender means abolishing concrete institutions of oppressive power: battery, trafficking, reproductive control, and on and on. Radical feminists understand that it is these, and not mere identity, that keep women below men on the hierarchy of gender.”
You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.
If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”
On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.
The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.
There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?
Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.
This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.
For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.”
an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced” (via lostgrrrls)
HOLY FUCK THE TRUTH.
Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it. Which is where you come in.
It’s also just rude and disrespectful to patently ignore what someone has told you regarding their personal space, body, and time. Get a clue.
I will always reblog this. Always.
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone.
Oh my lord, everything in this.
Inserting the ‘cissexism’ meme into feminism also robs women born female of language they need. Suddenly, WBF can’t discuss male violence or rape. They are robbed of the medical language necessary to talk about their reproductive and sexual health (which is especially tragic during a time when this language is integral to fighting back against regressive conservative attacks on female reproductive autonomy). They are robbed of the language necessary to describe their experiences growing up under patriarchy and the male gaze (see #sharedgirlhood on Twitter). They are denied the right to establish their own boundaries based on common experiences as an oppressed class.
Not to mention the fact that my Tumblr dash is full of responses to asks where young lesbians are frightened and self-doubting because they keep being accused of cissexism for not being willing to accept penis into their sex life. I’ve only been posting here a week and I’ve already received several of these messages myself. How can anyone deny that what these lesbians are being subjected to is homophobia and abuse?”
Read The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. How it came about is quite a long story, you see. In short: agriculture —> need for labor —> rape —> patriarchy —> gender.
Hi there. I’m so glad you are interested in radical feminism. I must warn you, though, this is going to be a pretty long post with a ton of resources so be aware, I’ve been trying to pile all of this together for the past couple of days. If any other radical feminists would like to submit something, just shoot me a message and I’ll be glad to include it.
So I’ll get started off on the basics and general things to know. If you are looking to become a radfem, please realize:
1. You will probably get harassed because of your views. Be extremely cautious as to whom you share your beliefs with. I only share my views with people I’m close to.
2. You’re going to be a much more intense version of yourself. You’re going to get angry at the patriarchy and the general system itself. It’s normal and it’s okay. It’s also normal to want to clear your mind after you’ve read some heated debates. It can get to you, but I think it’s worth it.
3. Unlike liberal feminism, this is a very critical and intellectually-based community. It takes some time to understand the arguments, but radical feminism is straight to the point and makes absolute sense.
4. Radical feminism is all about analyzing your life and your actions. Some say this is a religion and a lifestyle of learning and growing. I would have to agree.
5. Radical feminists are anti-capitalists. I’m an anarchist, but many radical feminists are Marxists and socialists.
6. I can’t emphasize enough as to how prioritizing, supporting, and encouraging lesbians and women of color is so important. This is a selfless community to be apart of and it takes into account of the women minorities’ struggles.
First and foremost:
For books, I highly recommend starting out with Dworkin, de Beauvior, and Friedan. They will give you valuable insights into feminism.
You should definitely study the second-wave as well and try to get different perspectives from those who participated in the movement.
Since I’m an art history major, I can’t exclude studying second-wave feminist art as well, which you can read into more here.
Deep Green Resistance is a radical feminist environmental movement. I hope to be apart of this one day.
I know it has been posted on a previous tumblr, but just in case it doesn’t get deleted I have posted it again:
rageagainstthemanchine: I don’t agree with everything Nine Deuce says, but she’s very anti-porn. I started to visit her blog more when I was crossing over to radical feminism from liberal feminism. I enjoy the way she writes. Very witty, yet cool.
feministcurrent: I like Meghan Murphy’s critique of the Sl*twalk.
liberationcollective: Also great as well.
stoppornculture: offers more resources to other organizations dedicated to women
There are definitely more out there that are noteworthy, but this should get you started.
On supporting and prioritizing lesbians and WOC (Women of Color):
I asked aislingetmaya a question just a bit ago and was able to receive some insightful and educating responses from members of the radfem community.
I’m waiting for redhester's response, if she decides to give a response, and posting it.
Posts that were written by me:
Age Prejudice: Post on including and supporting teenage and young girls
Biphobia isn’t Real: As a bisexual I wrote about my feelings on biphobia, declaring that it’s bullshit and isn’t even real.
Important: Post on looking out for women in public, especially in dangerous places.
Note to all Radfems New and Old: This is a post for everyone apart of this community to go to if you’re feeling overwhelmed with radical feminism. I hope it has helped those who have reblogged and read it.
Confessions of a Former Kinkster: Probably one of my most personal posts here.
Nogender: This is making fun of the millions of made up genders.
I hope to start up a wordpress blog someday, but it’s all kind of iffy.
An idea started by lesradicalfeminisms with #canradfems. I’ve been working with her on this project that includes #usradfems as well. We just started it, so it’s pretty small, but I’m excited to see how it turns out.
If anyone reading this has any ideas, let us know!
Tumblr RadFems to Follow:
And last, but certainly not least! these are some rad radfems to follow in no particular order:
nextyearsgirl, thenowhereriot, delicately-interconnected, radandangry, aislingetmaya, lesbolution, redhester, draumstafir, farxist-meminism, the-uncensored-she, kittenanarchy, blackwomanradical, the-hairy-heterophobe, the-fly-on-fire, killgender, vulvanity, radfemale, genderheretic, lesradicalfeminisms
Here’s a pro-choice radfem tumblr: prowoman-prochoice.
For additional information on radical feminism, read their post, Radfem 101.
If anyone is on this list and would not like to be, feel free to message me. Also, if there’s anyone on the list that should be, also message me.
My general advice is to study, study, study. Apologize if you make a mistake or if you piss off a radfem. Keep your personal information personal by not including any items of privacy on your tumblr.
Don’t let the harassment we get intimidate you. It IS a problem and it’s HORRIBLE, but I find this community worth it. If at one point you or someone else feels threatened, report it immediately. If you must leave, then leave. Don’t stick around if your safety is on the line. I know that I and many others are here to help you, so if you or anyone else needs help, let me or other radfems know.
There are more resources and information out there than what I’ve typed here. Remember, they wouldn’t call us radical if we weren’t challenging the status-quo. The sisterhood can be daunting, but can provide a wonderful chance to bond, especially if you don’t have any friends who are radical feminists. Hope this helped greatly!
Political lesbianism is not an ‘identity’, this is queer BS talk. Political lesbianism is a process. A process of understanding the ways in which we, and our sisters, have been personally damaged by the hetero-patriarchy. It is a recognition that, on a personal and political level, we do not have to be intimately involved with a system which is deeply damaging to us and we can love other women in all ways instead of competing with them or mistrusting them.
It is not purely about sexuality (who you are attracted to). Nor is it about ‘appropriating’ the word lesbian while maintaining all outward appearances of being heterosexual and enjoying heterosexual benefits, such as they are. Nor will it, by itself, dismantle patriarchy, though it is a step along the way. Many women have found it easier to be radical activists without the burden of dissonance ringing in their ears. Many women have freed themselves from the clash of being intimately tied to an oppressive system while having a radical, critical analysis about it. Many women have discovered that they can, and should, love women as a direct result of their feminism. Women’s oppression is the only oppression where the oppressed are forced to live intimately with the oppressor. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to understand what is happening politically while we are in such situations. Our political judgement is inevitably clouded because we have to find a way of covering up personal truths in order to continue to live in such a way. It is only when we have broken free of hetero-patriarchal constraints that we can often name our truths under patriarchy.
The resistance to political lesbianism within the current upsurge of online radical feminism; a resistance to understanding and accepting it, is hugely disappointing to those of us who embraced the concept of political lesbianism many years ago. It is particularly disappointing because that resistance and hostility is taking place within a back-drop of new, younger, women discovering the process of political lesbianism IRL. Most women who ‘come out’ via the process of political lesbianism, do so because they meet radical lesbian feminists, or radical feminists, and connect; politically, personally and emotionally. Online political activity rarely, if ever, captures the process of political lesbianism because it is a real, lived, personal experience brought about through consciousness-raising.
Some new, younger women are afraid to ‘come out’ or are convinced by the negativity that their feelings are somehow ‘unreal’. It is crucial for any newly ‘out’ lesbian to feel welcomed and accepted, no questions asked. Unfortunately, there are a vocal cluster of online lesbians who associate with radical feminist theory (I am unclear whether they identify as radical feminists themselves or not) who, without understanding the process of political lesbianism, make accusations of ‘appropriation’. Accompanying this offensive accusation is a suggestion that political lesbianism is ‘just like the trans debate – if I say I am a lesbian I am’. This is not only a nonsensical interpretation of the process of political lesbianism, it also fails to analyse the construction of sexuality from a radical feminist perspective. The underlying assumption is that there is an ‘authentic’ lesbianism and a version which is so unauthentic that it is labelled ‘appropriation’. This completely bypasses the radical feminist analysis that heterosexuality is a major part of our oppression and escaping its colonisation has many benefits for us as individuals and for women as a class.
Some lesbian sceptics ask us why we can’t ‘encourage’ women to become celibate instead; leaving the lesbian landscape to the ‘purist’ lesbian. The very question shows a lack of understanding about the social construction of sexuality. In most societies, channelling sexual desire into a social construction leads to a whole range of other factors dictating how people live their lives. Many heterosexual women become celibate and live their days within heterosexual marriages with all the economic benefits this brings. Being celibate, by itself, is not the counter-patriarchal act ‘coming out’ as a lesbian and living within lesbian cultures and communities is. And, again, the emphasis on celibacy defines all relationships by sexual activity, or lack thereof. The social construction of sexuality is far more complex than that.
Whenever this subject comes up, some older lesbians also get on their soap boxes. They are certain, from their past, that heterosexual women would identify as lesbian but not feel sexually attracted to women. The heterosexual women would do it as some kind of misplaced political allegiance, they say. I am not aware of that definition of ‘political lesbianism’ ever being part of my political discussions. It was not something which I encountered in the past and I wonder if it took place in pockets of the US or whether it took place at all and was merely a misinterpretation of the process of political lesbianism. Who knows? Just as radical feminism cannot get stuck because of myths about it, nor can political lesbianism if it means women are afraid to ‘come out’ because they are not accepted as being ‘real’ lesbians.
The over-emphasis on sexual activity as an essential part of the lesbian experience is concerning. Most heterosexual women have experienced pressure to be sexually active. We have all been conditioned to believe that sexuality is a major part of intimate relationships or else the relationship is not ‘real’. Few very old people, generally, have an active sex life. They have other challenges to deal with. Lesbians are no different but they don’t stop being lesbians. Celibate older people do not get constantly questioned on their sexuality; it is assumed they are heterosexual. Whether sexual attraction is current or not, should not be the definition of what it is to be lesbian. Being a lesbian is a social construction of intimacy, community and cultures. Usually, initially, it takes a sexual expression but it does not always for all time for many lesbians.
Heterosexual women have latched on to online hostility about political lesbianism from some lesbians. They, in turn, have repeated the mantra that the process of political lesbianism is appropriation. Therefore, they say, it is perfectly OK for them to assert that, if the world were a lesbian island, they would remain celibate, thank you very much. In the ‘old days’ lesbians would have challenged such assertions but nowadays lesbians are too busy ‘sexing up’ the concept of lesbianism to do so.
Contemporary conversation about sexuality is not framed within a radical feminist analysis – even though it may be radical feminists exchanging words. The ideological assumptions behind the debate is that sexuality is innate and ‘we were born this way’ sexually. It is the only element of women’s oppression where there is a political acceptance that there is NO ESCAPE.
In fact, sexuality, as a social construction, is far, far more than merely who we are attracted to at any one point in our lives. It is moulded, institutionalised and structured to benefit men, as a class, and oppress women as a class. Women are unpaid slaves in the domestic sphere and that includes in all matters heterosexual. Many contemporary radical feminists have written about the dangers for women of ‘sexual intercourse’ (frequently called ‘PIV’ – penis in vagina) and the pressures women are under to accept this as the only form of sexual activity possible or desirable. Doing so is at the expense of women’s well-being and pleasure. Pornstitution, (pornography, women being bought for sexual purposes), myths surrounding sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, are all forms of direct and indirect pressure and coercion leading to women being sexualised, de-humanized and being viewed by men as objectified body parts and/or his possession. The more subtle forms of coercion and pressure to be slaves include the ‘myth of the fairy tale princess’, that ‘the right man for you is out there somewhere’ and other assorted well-known indoctrinations which take place as soon as we can understand language. Forced and coerced sexual submission, regardless of her wants and needs, are a cornerstone of the domestic servitude which men demand of women under hetero-patriarchy.
The idea, therefore, that women are not bound to that servitude forever because of their ‘born this way’ sexuality, has been a freeing revelation for many feminists over decades. The idea that sexuality, just like all other aspects of life, can shift and change alongside political realisations, is revolutionary in a world where sexuality is seen as fixed and innate. If we demand that men change their sexual behaviour, how can we possibly deny that we have the potential to change our sexual desires to ones which are more liberating?
There is another myth fairly rife on the internet today. It has gained momentum because of the prolific writing of a small minority of believers. It is the idea that a born-this-way lesbian (or woman who has always chosen lesbianism) is, somehow, free from the shackles of hetero-patriarchy simply because she has avoided pressure to ever having a heterosexual experience. Well, I beg to differ, having had sexual relationships with a few born-this-way non-feminist lesbians. They were as woman-hating and self-hating as anyone else – with the added burden of believing they had no choice but to be lesbians. Someone saying “I don’t want to love you but I can’t help it” isn’t exactly encouraging. They sought to ape many of the tenets typical within heterosexuality; such as someone owes you sex if they are in a relationship with you, whenever you want it. There is a lot more to say about the subject but, ultimately, I do not believe that any woman is free from internalized woman-hatred. Always having felt sexual towards women/girls is not a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card.
I would also like to briefly touch on another myth. The myth is: It is only those who have found lesbianism through political processes, as opposed to pure born-like-it desires, who stray off the golden path and ‘go back to men’. Given the varied backgrounds of the women I have known who have redefined as heterosexual or bisexual, there is no basis for arguing political lesbianism is any more likely to result in further heterosexuality than other routes. In fact, I would argue that it is less likely considering political lesbianism is such a deep-rooted process. Claiming that we should value sexual experience as being more authentic than political thought is highly dubious from a radical feminist perspective.
In summary, I urge lesbians who do not understand political lesbianism to stop misrepresenting it and then arguing against that misrepresentation. This is a phenomena which happens to radical feminists all the time so they should already know how frustrating it is. I also urge heterosexual women to stop using the arguments lesbians have between ourselves to prop up your own political positions. You’re not harmed by being open to political lesbian ideas. In fact, many previously heterosexual women have felt our lives to be enormously enriched by them.
If you really cannot grasp why a man, the oppressor class of women, can’t call himself a feminist then you must have missed quite a lot of memos of what feminism is. It’s not a we’re-all-humans-happy-fun-club, it’s a political movement, by women and for women. It’s not a gathering where men can gain points and applause simply by being (or rather, claiming to be, no action needed) decent human beings. You don’t get a cookie for not being an asshole.
Men can be pro-feminism and allies, which is a title you cannot claim by yourself, it must be placed on you by those you are supposedly allied to. I have met actual male allies, and what discerns them from people like the “male femnists” is that they actually understand what feminism is, why they can’t claim to be a feminist or ally and they actually care about women. They aren’t for it just to gain points and cookies.
Men who whine and sulk about not getting to claim being a feminist doesn’t actually care a bit about women, as showed by their complete inability to accept that they can’t be called feminists. It’s all about themselves. They are more upset by not getting that title than they are about any feminist issue. Every time a woman says men can’t be feminists, they are viciously attacked for it by “feminist” men. Every time a man calls a woman a slur, there’s a deafening silence from the “male feminists”. Heck, they may even use the slur themselves, saying that they can do that because they are ~feminists~.