Small Post

There are no long essays this weekend, and it’s not because I’m on blog vacation, it’s because I don’t have any new pieces on the go. I’ve been saving lots of interesting articles on Facebook lately but when I go back to read about them, I just think “ugh, this is not worth my time.”

For example, here is a “non-binary” woman who knew she was non-binary because she wanted to play a male character in a play. From what little I know about her watching this video, she appears to be a conventionally feminine straight woman who just has short hair. What silliness! Even feminine women can rock the short haircuts, and anyone can want to play any character in a play and it doesn’t mean a thing. Last time I was in a play I was a male character. This woman also admits that “female is a sex” so presumably she knows she is female. Why female pronouns wouldn’t be appropriate for her is a mystery to me. Of course she has a unique relationship to masculinity and femininity—all of us do. If that’s all it takes to be non-binary, then everyone is non-binary, which renders the concept pretty meaningless.

Another article I saved this week is a BDSM article from Autostraddle in which a submissive woman who doesn’t use female pronouns for herself writes about how she loves being used for sex, in a way that precisely mirrors the way that men abuse women and girls. She says:

“…sometimes, sex is not for me. Sometimes, sex is me being used — warm, open, and at the whim of someone else’s pleasure. I like being used. Within the confines of a well-negotiated BDSM scene, I like when my opinions are ignored, when it doesn’t matter what I want, when my body is present for whatever my dominant decides to use it for.”

This whole article is about her sexualizing the way that men objectify and dehumanize women and it should actually be given a trigger warning. What she describes is exactly the way porn presents women—as nothing but warm holes for men to use, with no feelings or desires of our own, who only exist as a sex toy for an abusive man. Sometimes women learn to sexualize this because it’s the type of sexuality we see from the media we consume—especially porn itself, but also other pornified media such as music videos and magazines. Women learn that what makes her worthy and desirable is when men want to abuse us, and then we learn to crave that abuse as a form of validation. What we should do is work to identify this and unlearn it, not promote it to other people as a fun thing to try in bed. Abuse should not be viewed as sexy. One of the steps we all need to take toward ending abuse is identifying when abuse is being sexualized and speak out against it. Autostraddle is purportedly a magazine for ‘queer women,’ but these days ‘queer’ has nothing to do with being lesbian or bisexual and everything to do with the abusive, commodified sexuality that sex-pozzitive types promote. There is no reason to think that the average lesbian or bisexual woman wants to bring porn-style abuse into her sex life.

In queer theory, any kind of sexuality that goes against the status quo is considered “queer,” except queer theorists ignore the existence of sex-based oppression and instead of identifying patriarchy as the status quo they regard imaginary “anti-sex prudes” as the status quo. This means their idea of “queer” sexuality is any sexuality that goes against the wishes of the “anti-sex prudes,”  which is why, when you deliberately recreate the type of sexuality you’ve been taught by the dominant culture, it is considered “subversive” by queer/sex-pozz types.

On a similar note, here’s a unicorn horn dildo.

A dildo should be shaped in a way that it fits comfortably in a vagina, but this is pointy. Presumably, since it’s being sold as a dildo, I’m guessing it’s intended to go in a vagina. So what is this for, exactly? It’s not intended for her pleasure, or it would be shaped smoothly and with a rounded end. It looks to me like it’s for people with a unicorn fetish and who like the idea of putting a sharp object inside a woman. I’d run away really fast from anyone who wanted to use this on me. Thanks to the sex-pozzitive movement, sexual activity is a weird, commodified performance designed to titillate an abuser or a third party who is watching, and it’s not safe for women.

Here’s my feminist and anti-capitalist sex advice: sex is free. It doesn’t cost any money for “services” nor for “products.” It’s not something you “spice up” by buying weird shit or doing weird shit, it’s something you do with your body and a partner who is as excited about you as you are about her/him. If sex is somehow boring for you when you are not doing weird shit, then don’t have sex.

Damn, I’m on a role with the kink-shaming today!

So the next project I’m working on is reading a novel sent to me by a reader. This one is a lesbian novel and it’s not yet published. Hopefully she will publish it this spring because so far it’s really good! In the near future I also hope to read some more books by Leslie Feinberg and some introductory books on Marxism. I’m going to look for anything approximating a “Marxism for Dummies” book because I am starting pretty much at the beginning. I understand some leftist concepts just from interacting with people online but I need a solid foundation. I’m getting so sick of people saying that transgenderism is “the far left” because I know this is not true but I cannot prove why, beyond saying that choosing an identity for yourself is not at all compatible with nor related to eliminating class-based oppression or seizing the means of production. I had a look at Marx’s book on Capital in a bookstore recently, and it was huge, written in tiny print, and way beyond my mental capacity. I’m gonna need something for beginners before I can ever tackle that, if I ever tackle that.

I’m guessing it’ll be a few weeks before you get another long essay from me, because I have lots of reading to do before I actually have another long essay to write. I’m not exactly on “blog vacation,” just need some time. Maybe I’ll post something short occasionally though.

Hating feminists as virtue-signaling

After the Vancouver Women’s Library was attacked by “queer” anti-feminists, even more anti-feminists started jumping on the bandwagon and writing social media commentary condemning the library. I read several comments by people calling for feminist books to be banned who did not seem likely to have ever actually read the books in question. I believe the reason why these people are calling for feminist books to be banned without ever having read them is because they are virtue-signaling.

There is a distinct culture that has formed out of the toxic soup of neoliberal “queer” culture and anti-feminism that has taken over what is supposed to be the political left. (I do not believe these people are actually on the left, but they are considered to be the left, unfortunately.) For the purposes of this blog post, I will call them radiqueers, short for radical queers. One of the things radiqueers delight in doing is hating feminists. They claim to be feminists themselves, but their views align perfectly with patriarchy, and they fail to recognize this because they refuse to listen to actual feminists or apply any critical thinking to their political positions. Because shutting down feminists is one of the goals of radiqueer culture, anytime they tweet or comment about wanting feminists shut down it serves as a way for them to show their group membership and virtue-signal to their fellow group members. It is not an intellectual disagreement with the information that feminists present, it is a performance to demonstrate their group membership. It’s a bit like making sure to sit with the cool kids in the cafeteria instead of the geeks.

Here I will show you what I mean by discussing one of the books that the radiqueers want removed from the Vancouver Women’s Library, Female Sexual Slavery by Kathleen Barry, a book which I have actually taken the time to read, unlike the radiqueers.

Kathleen Barry did extensive research into the sex trade in order to write this book. She interviewed survivors of prostitution and checked the facts of their stories as well as she could by also interviewing lawyers, reporters, police, district attorneys, and anti-slavery organizations. (p. 7) She traveled and visited brothels, and she researched historical abolitionist movements. From her research she was able to form a definition of female sexual slavery, name the methods used by pimps and recruiters, and name the reasons why the problem of female sexual slavery has not been sufficiently exposed or fought against.

Here is her definition of female sexual slavery:

“Female sexual slavery is present in all situations where women or girls cannot change the immediate conditions of their existence; where regardless of how they got into those conditions they cannot get out; and where they are subject to sexual violence and exploitation. (p 40)”

She explains further:

“Female sexual slavery is not an illusive condition; the word “slavery” is not merely rhetorical. This is not some condition in which a woman’s or child’s need for love allows her to fall into psychological patterns that make it possible for her to accept abuse with love or to feel joy in pain. Slavery is an objective social condition of sexual exploitation and violence. The experiences of sexual slavery documented in this book reveal that it is not a practice that is limited to international traffic but it is pervasive throughout patriarchal societies.”

Barry found that when she spoke to police and described situations where women were being sexually exploited and were unable to leave, the police still didn’t see the problem. They believed so firmly in prostitution as acceptable and inevitable that it didn’t occur to them that it was a human rights violation. They seemed to think there was a class of women whose role was to be prostitutes and that it wasn’t a problem. This problem persists today; people still think that the sexual exploitation of women and girls isn’t a problem, and radiqueers are perpetuating this belief by rebranding sexual exploitation as women’s choice and agency. They are working to hide the reality of male violence, just as misogynists have always done.

The definition of sexual slavery Barry wrote can allow people to see the objective conditions of slavery even if the victim has become convinced that she chose her situation or if the people controlling her are insisting that she chose her situation. Some women and girls brought into the sex trade were initially willing because they thought they were going to be in control of the situation, make money, and have a glamorous life. Instead, they found themselves controlled by a pimp, unable to choose their clients or to choose what sex acts they perform, and, due to both the violence of their pimps and the stigma against women in the sex trade, they find themselves unable to escape and begin another life. If a woman is being subject to sexual exploitation and she cannot change the conditions of her existence, she is objectively enslaved. This situation occurs in human trafficking, street-based prostitution, and forced marriages, all around the world. Historically, many wives have been in situations of sexual slavery, because divorce was illegal, marital rape was allowed, and wives were completely dependent upon their husbands and unable to say ‘no’ to sex.

She describes the role of pimps and procurers and the methods they use to bring women and girls into the sex trade and then keep them there. To summarize:

  • Befriending or love: Procurers find teenage girls who are naïve and seeking love and attention from men and they act as a boyfriend toward these girls. They particularly use this method on girls who are runaways or who are bored and looking for excitement. They make the girl feel like she is in a romantic relationship even though it is really just a business strategy for him.
  • Actions of gangs, syndicates, and organized crime: these organizations will often procure girls and women into prostitution as a part of their gang activities.
  • Recruiting women under false pretenses by offering them a job such as dancing or modelling, or by offering them marriage, and turning them to prostitution when they arrive.
  • Purchasing women and girls from other male “owners”
  • Outright kidnapping

“Together, pimping and procuring are perhaps the most ruthless displays of male power and sexual dominance. As practices they go far beyond the merchandising of women’s bodies for the market that demands them. Pimping and procuring are the crystallization of misogyny; they rank among the most complete expressions of male hatred for femaleness. Procuring is a strategy, a tactic for acquiring women and turning them into prostitution; pimping keeps them there.” Barry, p.73.

She described the abolitionist work of Josephine Butler, who campaigned against human trafficking in the late nineteenth century. She also described the backlash against Butler’s work:

“Mob violence began to accompany her speeches. During one campaign against a liberal who would not support repeal of the Acts, mobs of men and young boys scuffling and throwing rocks forced her to hide in a hotel attic. The next day she was forced by the management to leave the hotel. Wearing a disguise, she sought refuge at another hotel, but the mob located her there also. Despite the threats, she insisted on addressing the women’s rally as she had planned. A number of bodyguards, brought up from London by her supporters, enabled her to address the meeting, but afterwards she had to run through streets and alleys to escape the mob. She eventually made it safely to the home of a supporter where she was taken in and looked after.” (p17–18)

This book is excellent from start to finish due to its clarity in exposing male violence against women and its thoroughness in exposing how male violence operates. Wikipedia says that this book “prompted international awareness of human sex trafficking.” Radiqueers want this valuable and groundbreaking book on female oppression banned from a women’s library, on the grounds that it makes a group of people they call “sex workers” unsafe.

The term “sex workers” is misleading in a couple of ways. Firstly, “sex workers” can include anyone in the sex trade, including both exploited persons and their exploiters. Therefore the term hides the power relations between pimp and prostitute by branding both of them with the same name. The term “sex workers” is also designed to hide the coercion involved in the sex trade. Although most women in the sex trade are there due to a lack of better options and want to get out, the term “sex worker” seeks to rebrand exploited women as empowered women who are there because that is their true desire. When radiqueers claim that “sex workers” are harmed by books written about human trafficking, they are being misleading. It is certainly not harmful to exploited persons to describe the terms of their exploitation. It is, however, harmful to the men who are doing the exploiting.

I’m tempted to say that radiqueers are calling for this book to be banned because they don’t want people to know the definition of sexual slavery for the purposes of naming it when it happens, or that they don’t want people to know the methods that procurers use to bring women into the sex trade, or that they don’t want people to know the history of the abolitionist movement. But I can’t even give them that much credit. They haven’t even read the book. They don’t know or care what it says. They aren’t interested in countering the points being made in the book, by, for example, offering different procurement methods that they have found in their own research, or in offering a different definition of sexual slavery, or in adding to the historical documentation of the abolitionist movement. No, they aren’t interested in countering the points made in the book or even in explaining what points they disagree with. They only want it banned on the grounds that it names prostitution as violence against women, and they prefer to think that prostitution is a woman’s choice. Anything that challenges the idea that women “choose” their own exploitation is labelled “unsafe.” They would have a difficult time explaining how naming male violence against women is “unsafe” for women. In truth, it’s only “unsafe” for male abusers, because it threatens their ability to continue their abuse.

Ironically, the radiqueers who imagine themselves to be “feminists” are doing exactly what the mobs of men did to Josephine Butler. They are doing the 21st century equivalent to throwing rocks at her for daring to name male violence against women. Throwing rocks and threatening her in order to attempt to silence her. If radiqueers were actually concerned about women, they would have absolutely no problem with books that expose the problem of human trafficking, and they wouldn’t be threatening women for providing this information.

What would actually make women safer is knowing the information provided in Kathleen Barry’s book. Women and girls should know the strategies used by procurers for the sex trade so that we can identify them when we see them. We should all be aware that when a man starts flattering a young woman and saying he has a modelling job or a dancing job for her, that is a red flag. Law enforcement professionals need to understand the conditions of female sexual slavery in order to identify women who need their help. Far from being “unsafe” for women, the information in this banned book is crucial for keeping women safe.

The radiqueers who want to ban a list of feminist books from a women’s library are doing the work of anti-feminism, whether they’re aware of it or not, and they are engaged in the practice of woman-hating, whether they are aware of it or not. They are being intellectually dishonest because they are attempting to suppress information that is clearly helpful to women on the grounds that they imagine it to be “unsafe” for women. Although I cannot prove that no radiqueers have read any of these banned books, I think it’s a reasonable assumption to make, based on their politics and their behavior, and I find it reprehensible and cowardly for people to regard a book as unsafe without having read it. If any radiqueers have read any of these books, feel free to tell me I’m wrong about that, and let’s discuss the book! But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I hope that I will get time throughout the year to quote from more of the banned books on their list, in order to discuss what information radiqueers want banned and why. There is a general theme though: any time feminists describe male violence against women in the form of sexual exploitation or gender identity nonsense, radiqueers get all up in arms. That’s because their politics are generally about promoting the sex trade and promoting people’s choice to choose genders, both of which are harmful to women as a class. They are men’s rights activists cloaked in rainbow disguise.

Despite this group of anti-feminists throwing rocks at us, we will persevere, just like we always have.

Agency, choice, oppression, & victimization

It’s time for another talk about the meaning of personal agency among oppressed people, because anti-feminists are still saying shit like:

  • You’re denying women’s agency
  • Take some personal responsibility for yourself
  • You just have a victim mentality

Anti-feminists say these things because they believe that, since feminists point out the structure of women’s oppression and feel pretty alarmed and upset about it, we must therefore be people who just want to choose to be victims because we like being victims. Apparently, if we didn’t want to be victims then we’d simply decide not to be victims, because we have free choice and agency. I’ve seen this exact line of reasoning argued a ton of times from various people, and it’s bullshit. This is a misrepresentation of what feminism is about.

The best paragraph ever written about “I Choose My Choice” politics is this old gem by Twisty Faster:

“Largely because of the success of the funfeminist movement, which argues that women do too have agency, dammit! (as long as their choiciness stays perfectly aligned with male interests), to view women as victims has become passé and unpopular. Women aren’t victims anymore now that we can own property, vote, and have the right to pole-dance in our boyfriends’ apartments. Furthermore, the argument goes, if we traipse about the countryside exaggerating the sorry plight of women (when in fact the plight of women, though admittedly not quite as awesome as men’s, is at least not as sorry as it was), we’re just buying into that unattractive, unempowerfulized, hysterical “victim mentality.” We freely choose to wear 6-inch heels, and if we author this choice, we cannot therefore be victims of it. If we don’t think we are victims, we won’t be victims. You know; only sick people take pills; therefore, if I don’t take pills, I won’t be sick. What this argument fails to consider, regardless of a few funfeminists’ purported choice to choose choices, is that, hourly, billions of women worldwide suffer everything from discrimination to murder exclusively because of their sex. Women cannot choose the “I’m-not-a-victim” choice. Not even the funfeminists can choose it, not really, because when stuff like “you cannot rape me” or “my appearance is meaningless” or “the state cannot interfere with the contents of my own personal uterus” is not on the menu of choices, no real agency exists. But apparently, claiming that patriarchy victimizes women is just whiney.”

I’m going to write about what feminists and socialists actually mean by using Twisty Faster’s “menu of choices” example.

Let’s say that we all have free choice and agency. Can we choose to do absolutely anything? No! We are limited by a lot of things. For a very obvious example, we are limited by the laws of physics and gravity. I can’t just decide to jump off a cliff and fly; I would fall to my death, because no matter how much “agency” I have, humans cannot fly. We can only make choices according to what choices are actually possible. There are a certain number of things on our “menu of choices,” and we cannot choose anything that’s not available.

When feminists talk about women’s oppression, and when socialists talk about class-based oppression, we are NOT saying that oppressed groups of people have zero choice or agency. We are saying that oppressed groups of people have fewer options on our menu of choices than we should have, due to the power structures that limit what we can do. We are saying that the privileged people have used their power to limit choices that should reasonably be available to us, and that those privileged people benefit from our options being limited. This can be demonstrated with many real-life examples.

Men benefit from women’s limited role in society. Women are paid less than men, giving us less material power than men have, and women with children are often dependent on male providers, again putting them in a disempowered position. Men benefit by using their relative power to control us and get us to do unpaid labor in the home.

People with massive amounts of wealth benefit from the oppression of the working class because they have the ability to own the means of production, to pay workers insufficient wages and not provide us with health benefits, and to keep us in a powerless position. They profit financially from the work we are forced to do for them.

The power differences between privileged and oppressed groups cause tons of everyday problems for oppressed groups.

There are things that are not on women’s menu of choices that should be there. Women should have the option to earn the same amount of money as men, we should have the option to go about our lives every day without fear of rape, and we should be able to control our own fertility without being jailed for it, for some examples. Women cannot just “choose” not to be rape victims as long as we are surrounded by rapists who go unpunished for their crimes. We cannot just “choose” not to go to jail when the laws of our country criminalize us for having a miscarriage. This doesn’t mean we can’t choose anything. We can choose a lot of things! But there are some things we should be able to choose that we can’t, and this is a problem and it’s the reason for the feminist movement.

Workers living under capitalist rule cannot choose to opt out of working for wages, unless you count being homeless or in jail as other options. We cannot choose to produce what we think is valuable, instead we have to produce what capitalists want us to, even if we disagree with it. We cannot control the economic system we live under (until the communist revolution) nor can we control how our countries use our resources. This doesn’t mean that workers have no agency whatsoever. We can have somewhat of a choice over where we work for wages, and we can have some choice over what we do in our free time.

It is not possible for feminists to “deny women’s agency” nor is it possible for workers to deny the agency of other workers. It is capitalist patriarchy that removes items off our menu of choices. Feminists do not have the power to remove any items off of anybody’s list of choices, because we are not the ones who hold systemic power and influence over society. The whole “denying women’s agency” argument is a garbage argument that anti-feminists use to turn the conversation around and deflect from the real issue. The real issue is that power structures in society remove options from women, and when feminists state this, anti-feminists claim that women have all the free choice in the world and it’s actually feminists limiting women’s choices by telling other women they can’t do things. That’s not what’s happening at all.

The whole “personal responsibility” and “victim mentality” arguments are very similar garbage arguments. To argue that women are responsible for our own destinies and we just have to choose the right choices for ourselves is a straw argument designed to take attention away from structural oppression. Feminists are not saying that women should lie around helplessly just crying. Of course we should do whatever is in our power to improve our lives. Duh! That’s why there is a feminist movement, because women are using our free choice and agency to make our lives better. We’re already taking personal responsibility for ourselves, thank you very much! To argue that feminists just have a “victim mentality” when in fact, we have been victimized is basically invalidating what actually happened to us. Anyone who has been victimized has the right to name the crime and the perpetrator. That doesn’t make us whiney or hysterical, it actually empowers us. Naming the crime and the perpetrator is the first step to demanding justice. When the feminist movement named patriarchal power structures as problems, it set to work getting women the right to vote, to work outside the home, to divorce, and to control our fertility, so that we could dismantle the power structures that were oppressing us. Radical feminists today are working on criminalizing pimps and johns and stopping the transgender community from taking away women’s rights. These are the current items on the agenda to continue to liberate women. Naming the problem and being outraged over it does not make us professional victims for fuck sake. We are brave, hardworking women and we’re not taking this shit lying down.

I’m going to provide some examples from my own life in regards to the intersection of agency and oppression. I am a white woman in a rich country who could be described as “lower middle class.” I graduated from university but I am in a lot of debt and will probably never own my own house. I am a worker living under capitalist rule and therefore am obligated to work for wages. I consider this oppression because I have no choice, and having to work for wages severely limits my personal freedom. However as a university-educated citizen of a rich country I have it better than most of the world’s workers. I have a clean, safe environment to work in, I have reasonable hours per week to work, I have a decent salary and health benefits. On a global scale, this is very lucky. (And by the way, thanks to the labor movement!) Many of the world’s workers are forced to work long hours in unsafe environments for very little pay, and the fruits of their labor comes to rich countries where I am one of the people to benefit from it. I can see where I am oppressed and where I am privileged, and I don’t spend all my time being angry about oppression, I also spend some of my time being grateful for the areas in life where I am lucky.

I’m in a country where women can vote, own property, drive, work outside the home, control our fertility, wear whatever we want, and choose who we marry. In these ways, we are lucky. However, there is still a flourishing sex trade, women and underage girls are being bought and sold for rape; sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape are still happening because men are still getting away with it, and there is still a pay gap. I use what “free choice” and “agency” that I do have to do whatever I can to help women, which sometimes means donating money to survivors of prostitution who are campaigning for abolition, sometimes it means bringing radical feminists together to support each other and learn from each other, and it also means blogging so that I can get the word out there to whoever is reading. I don’t have much power but I do what I can.

I have had bad things happen to me in life, and I always overcome them in any way I can. When I’m being treated like shit at a job I get a new job, and when I’m depressed I go to therapy. I don’t spend all my time thinking about women’s oppression because that would indeed be depressing. I have hobbies that make me happy and I spend plenty of time hanging out at home enjoying time with my partner. When someone claims I have a “victim mentality” or that I’m making myself sick by focusing on the negative all the time, they are entirely full of shit. I do have depression and anxiety, but thanks to my free choice and agency and my consistent habit of taking responsibility for myself, I have arrived at a place in my life where I can live without antidepressants and manage my mental health with non-medical means. I know how to balance social-justice activism with self-care so that I don’t burn out.

There is a new-age idea floating around that you can “choose how you react to things” and that you essentially create your own reality by thinking the right way (i.e., if you think positively, you’re reality will be positive.) This sounds good on the surface but it’s totally unrealistic for people who have material disadvantages in life. A worker forced to work in a sweatshop due to having no other options can’t just “think positively” and suddenly have better working conditions. A woman being trafficked by pimps can’t just “think positively” and all of a sudden her pimp will set her free. A child being abused by an adult can’t just “think positively” and that will end the abuse. A black man in America can’t just “think positively” and expect not to be shot by racist whites. A gay person in a country that criminalizes homosexuality can’t just “think positively” and expect to stay safe. In fact, to imply that any of these people’s misery is a result of their own faulty behavior or thinking is victim blaming. It’s removing responsibility from the actual perpetrator and placing it on the victim. It’s highly offensive and disgusting to blame victims for what perpetrators do to them.

There is only one situation in which “thinking positively” is a reasonable way to improve your situation, and that is a situation in which you have no material disadvantages in life and your only misery is in repeated thoughts that are truly more negative than your real situation warrants. Then, yes, think more positively. But “thinking positively” does not change anything in material reality and it doesn’t overturn systems of oppression.

I think the real reason so many people have taken to believing that we create our reality with our thoughts is because it allows them to feel they have some control in a world that is completely out of control. It’s a drug-free sedative, where you use your own beliefs to calm yourself down and tell yourself that everything is okay. But material reality continues to exist, regardless of what we think about it. For oppressed people, oppression doesn’t go away no matter how we decide to frame it.

Radical feminists are strong enough to face the reality of male violence against women, without using any defense mechanisms to pretend it’s not really there. We are strong enough to use what free choice and agency we have to fight back in any way we can. We are not identifying with victimhood; rather, we are refusing to be victimized any longer. In all my years as a radical feminist I’ve never witnessed any feminist just claiming victimhood for no reason or wallowing unnecessarily in misery. I’ve definitely witnessed a lot of men claiming victimhood where there truly is none, for example, when they claim to be oppressed by cupcakes and other such nonsense. There are a few female “special snowflakes” who claim victimhood for silly reasons too, but they can’t be described as feminists. I do not think it’s okay for anyone to claim victimhood just for the sake of being seen as a victim, and I’ve called people out on this before. That’s not what feminism is at all—that’s just special snowflakery and it’s not radical politics.

Book Review: Renegade Nuns

Renegade Nuns by Lisa Jones is a novel about a woman who seeks answers after her sister’s death, and whose quest brings her into contact with a group of powerful nuns. The novel is both murder mystery and fantasy, and there is a third genre I will assign to it as well—it’s a radical feminist novel. That is, it’s a novel that describes male violence against women and the power of sisterhood in a way that only a radical feminist can.

The story of the death of fictional Riva Pine and her sister Becky’s journey to find out what happened to her is based on a true story. Jones’s real-life sister died the way Riva Pine did—from an apparent fall while doing yoga. As preposterous as it may seem, the police and the coroner declared it factual that she died from falling over while doing a yoga pose, as her husband claimed. Jones wrote this book around the more plausible explanation—that her husband killed her, and got away with murder. The novel is a work of fiction, and certainly the supernatural aspects of it are not at all real, but I can’t help thinking that there may be more truth in this novel than in the explanation that a woman died from a cracked skull from doing yoga. How many times has a man’s fiction been recorded as fact by other men while the truth, spoken by a woman, is considered fictional?

Jones describes the relationship between fictional Riva Pine and her husband Mack with expert level feminist awareness. Mack is a manipulative parasite, living off his wife’s earnings and taking everything he can from her, all the while knowing how to fake being a loving husband. Although there are no obvious signs of abuse, due to Mack’s expert façade, he slowly consumes his wife by taking all her energy, love, and money. There is nothing about her that he does not take for himself. Riva’s sister Becky sees him for what he is, doesn’t fall for his manipulations, and does everything she can to find out what really happened the day Riva died.

When Becky goes on a quest for information, she uncovers a group of nuns with supernatural powers. Soon she finds herself involved in their plans, and learning about them and their work as she goes along. These are not regular Catholic nuns, of course, they are renegade nuns. They are free-thinkers, healers, and rebels, using their powers to solve the problems with the Y chromosome and create opportunities for the planet as a whole to find peace. Their powers come from their own selves, and from their interactions with each other. Some of the nuns are lesbians and they use physical touch with each other in their healing. They remind me of radical feminist spirituality—the idea that women are powerful and magical and that we become even more so when we work together in sisterhood.

I found the nun characters delightful to read about. They prompted me to talk to Lisa Jones about her own beliefs. She says she became a radical feminist around 2010 or 2011 after decades of being a Buddhist. She read Mary Daly and felt that she was “turning on the lights.” That led to her reading more radical feminist books. She also has taken an interest in Christian mysticism. She says:

I met several women who claimed to channel Mary Magdalene or to be her reincarnation. Instead of reacting with knee-jerk derision, I tried to listen to how they were responding to patriarchy. I also met a group of women whom I call the “angel whisperers” — lightworkers, shamanists, herbalists — women who work to heal the world but don’t necessarily think in terms of feminist analysis. Later, a friend suggested that I read Sonia Johnson’s book “The SisterWitch Conspiracy,” which I found outrageous and profoundly heartening. I felt that the book merged feminist analysis with angel whispering. It gave me hope for a better future on this planet.

This is very much what comes through in her renegade nun characters. It’s an optimistic view of the world—that magical women are working on healing the planet already, like a group of feminist angels.

Here is another article about the book that may interest you. Also, here is the book’s website where you can find out how to purchase a copy and read the first chapter online.

I’d like to thank Lisa Jones for writing this book and for providing me with a box of free copies. If you are someone who knows me, just ask and I’ll give you one!

How charming

On International Women’s Day, both men and women around the world talked about women’s status in society and how to end the problems we still face, such as the wage gap and male violence against women. Danielle Muscato, a fully intact male who identifies as a “woman,” Tweeted the following message in honor of his fellow women:

“Some women have penises. If you’re bothered by this, you can suck my dick.”

Yeah, that’s totally the sort of uplifting, pro-woman message that women contribute for a day dedicated to the advancement of our status in society, and totally not what the average caveman MRA would say.

That totally proves you have a Laydee brain, rather than just a normal, everyday misogynist male brain.

Way to go, dude!

Transwomen: proving that transwomen are men every day!*

*I do not believe for a second that Muscato is actually a transwoman. He’s just a guy who likes to get attention by trolling. However, according to popular trans dogma, there is no difference between an narcissistic troll and an actual MtF transsexual—everyone who identifies as a transwoman is a transwoman! #peaktrans

Elevators

There is something that annoys me and I haven’t mentioned it yet because it’s such a very small nuisance that I feel I should just ignore it. But it keeps happening over and over, and now I think I should mention it.

Every single time I’m in an elevator with a man he insists I get off first, no matter who is standing closer to the door. I’m sure men think they’re being nice or polite or accommodating or chivalrous or some other positive thing, but I find this uncomfortable. I use an elevator both at home and at work, and so almost every day I end up in an elevator with a man who says “after you” and waits for me to get off before he does.

I know this is totally a first world problem, but it bothers me because it’s unnecessarily drawing attention to the fact that I’m a woman, which I don’t think should matter at all in a situation where people are getting off an elevator. I feel like it’s treating me differently because of my sex. I know that if I was a guy, other guys would get out of the elevator in order of who is closest to the door first. However, since I am in possession of female reproductive organs, for some reason it’s necessary for me to leave first. Why? Who teaches this to men, and why? I don’t get it.

To me, whoever is closest to the elevator door should get out first regardless of sex, since there is absolutely nothing about anyone’s chromosomes or genitalia that determines the choreography for leaving elevators.

Every time a guy who is closer to the door than I am waits for me to get off first, I feel annoyed, because it’s like he’s saying You’re a woman, and I’m treating you like one!” I just want to be treated like a person, just a regular person, who is part of normal elevator-leaving choreography, and not part of some special category who has to get out first.

So far I’ve never tried to say anything like “No, after you,” or “You’re closer to the door, bro” because (a) I hate talking to people and I use as few words as possible in social situations and (b) he would be totally confused if I refused to get off first and have no idea what my problem was. And to be honest, I would have a hard time explaining why this tiny little thing bothers me so much.

The only way I can explain it is this: I want to be just a person, no more, no less.