Surprise! A republican man hates women

Bonnie Bacarisse, writing for The Daily Beast, researched a republican representative and demonstrated that he is in fact the founder of ‘The Red Pill’ men’s rights forum. She wrote a thorough analysis of both how she found out it was him and the nature of the MRA forum, going back several years. It’s long but worth reading—it’s a good look at the type of misogyny that festers beneath the surface of men who talk about things like “traditional marriage” and “family values.”

Robert Fisher, a representative for New Hampshire, has written some of the following comments:

“I’m going to say it—Rape isn’t an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he’d say it’s quite good, really.”

“Marriage, and yes, female oppression, slut shaming, religion, these were all a means to control hypergamy. Marriages might be considered loveless, and women might have been unhappy, but for men it meant marriages that lasted, commitments that continued, and protection against the fickle whims of females.”

“To give women autonomy is to take away the very thing that made marriage a realistic institution.”

He also believes that it’s “evolutionarily advantageous and perfectly natural” for middle-aged men to ogle the breasts of 15-year-old girls and that women’s personalities are “lackluster and boring, serving little purpose in day to day life.”

This is a man who is so paranoid about false rape accusations, that he claims to have a video camera set up in his room in order to document any sexual encounters.

As Bacarisse reports, “As a candidate for state representative, Fisher proposed bringing concerns about the supposed plague of false rape accusations into the statehouse.”

Time magazine got a quote from him about the revelation that is the founder of a misogynist hate forum.

“I’m disappointed that this sort of attack has replaced real news, but it strengthens my position and resolve that fighting for equal rights is more important today than ever. Here’s my message to the public: I am not disappearing. I will continue to stand strong for men’s rights and the rights of all.”

He literally just said, “Yep, I’m an MRA.”

Take note women: republican men say “family values” because that sounds nice, but what they actually mean is reversing the feminist movement, taking away women’s autonomy, and giving men full control over women. They don’t care about “families,” they care about preserving male power.

Right wing women attempt to try to explain away their husband’s behavior, but the rotten truth is that: he hates you.

Another lesbian feels like a guy

A reader sent me this video and asked for a post about it. It’s a short documentary-style video about a lesbian who identifies as a man and has no plans to transition. Here’s the video:

She says the same thing I’ve heard 100,000 times now from women who identify as men: “Ever since I was small, I always identified more with boys, I always kind of felt more like a boy.”

As is very common in stories of women who identify as men, they turn out to be attracted to women. Gender dysphoria doesn’t just randomly strike random women. A large majority of the women who “feel like a boy” are lesbian or bisexual. This makes it really freakin’ obvious that gender dysphoria in women is often related to the difficulties of being a same-sex-attracted woman in a sexist and heteronormative society.

This particular lesbian who identifies as a man doesn’t plan to transition. This means what she is experiencing is not discomfort with her female body, it’s discomfort with the feminine gender role. She’s okay with being female, she just “isn’t a woman.”

Dear readers, please raise your hand if you feel discomfort regarding the feminine gender role.

When dressing as a woman, Lauren feels like she is in drag and like she is putting on a character. She feels this way as an actress, but she seems to be implying that that’s the way she feels about being a woman all the time. This is also a comment I’ve heard before. Some people think that “being a woman” is an act that has to be performed, involving specific dress, appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, and behaviors. This is not true. A woman is an adult human female, and the only way to be a woman is to be born female and to grow into an adult. Anyone who is existing in a female body is “being a woman.” It turns out that women can have any kind of mannerisms, appearance, and behavior. We can have any kind of personality and thoughts and feelings. Everyone with a female body is a woman, no matter how she feels or what she wears. There is no acting involved at all.

In the video, Lauren is shown on a bus “manspreading” across her seat. This is probably supposed to display her masculine mannerisms, although she looks like a typical woman and no one would mistake her for a man.

So why does Lauren “feel like a man”? I can tell you right now. Lesbians often grow up feeling different from other women. We are often baffled at straight women’s behavior, and we often identify with the cultural stereotypes assigned to men. These days there is no on-the-ground lesbian community, so there is no way for lesbians to share their feelings with other lesbians and find out that we have similar feelings. Instead there is a “queer” community that is all too eager to label women who aren’t feminine and who vaguely and subjectively “feel different” as not-women. They can be nonbinary, or trans men, or genderqueer, or any other bloody thing. The message is clear: real women are feminine, therefore unfeminine women aren’t women. It’s the same old-school sexism that caused the last two waves of feminism, repackaged as “progressive.”

Here’s the thing: a lesbian is a female homosexual. If you are female, and you are exclusively attracted to females, you are a lesbian. Whatever feelings you have toward yourself are lesbian feelings. If you feel like hot stuff, you walk with a swagger, you like looking at the ladies, you want women to think you’re a stud, you like wearing comfortable clothes, you don’t fit into the same culture as straight women, but identify with men, you’ve always felt “different,” and you don’t meet the dominant cultural idea about what women are, then congratulations! You are a perfectly normal dyke. Your membership card’s in the mail. Welcome to the club.

Question: What does it mean to be trans?

You may recall I ordered several books at once and that I’m reading “all of them first.” Two of them are by Leslie Feinberg. I’m not going to review them each separately because to be honest I have indeed been reading both of them at the same time, (along with Hannah Hart’s book, and some more books I just signed out of the library yesterday because apparently I need to be reading like six books at the same time because I’m a nutcase.) I’m just going to tell you my thoughts as they come to me, and these thoughts might be inspired by either book.

Reading Leslie Feinberg has been setting off lots of fireworks in my brain, and by fireworks, I mean thoughts, questions, and realizations. One of these questions brings me back to the very basics of the issue, which is what does it mean to be trans?
Feinberg offers two definitions of trans in her book Transgender Warriors, (page x of the preface):

  1. Everyone who challenges the boundaries of sex and gender; and
  2. Those who reassign the sex they were labelled at birth

The definition #1 is fascinating to me because it’s so broad and vague that it could include almost anyone. To even begin to understand this definition, we’d have to agree on the definition of ‘gender’ (a word which has many meanings) and then once we’ve agreed on a definition of gender we’d have to agree on what it means to challenge gender.

John Money, who coined the term gender, defined it as: “the overall degree of masculinity and/or femininity that is privately experienced and publicly manifested in infancy, childhood, and adulthood, and that usually though not invariably correlates with the anatomy of the organs of procreation.”

Knowing that gender corresponds to how masculine or feminine a person is, and knowing that the concepts of masculinity and femininity are largely based on stereotypes about what men and women are like, feminists have taken “gender” to mean a set of culturally-constructed sex stereotypes. As we feminists note on a regular basis, the culturally-constructed sex stereotypes limit both sexes but primarily harm women, who are at the bottom of the sex hierarchy.

The feminist movement is, in part, a movement to abolish the feminine gender role—to abolish the limitation of women to the role of wives and mothers whose job is to stay in the kitchen, to abolish the sexist beauty standards that reward women for wearing uncomfortable clothes and makeup, and to give us the freedom to express ourselves as we see fit. (Of course, the feminist movement is also about ending male violence, which is related to changing the masculine gender role and restructuring society so that men and women have equal power.)

So, from a certain standpoint, feminists as a group can be lumped into the category of “trans” on the basis that we challenge the concept of gender. So many times I’ve read some writing by a human female who says she doesn’t identify as a woman because she doesn’t want people looking at her breasts instead of treating her like a person, and I’m like “DUH. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a woman, that means you’re a feminist.”

This isn’t usually what transgenderists mean when they talk about challenging gender. They aren’t usually talking about abolishing stereotypes. Usually their focus is on treating ‘gender’ as a social category of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ or other categories, that are divorced from biological sex, where ‘challenging gender’ means challenging the idea that there are only two possible ‘gender categories’ for people to identify into. Transgenderists are a wide variety of people, and some of them do want to abolish sex stereotypes while others want to reinforce them because that’s what props up their identities.

With a definition of trans that is so wide open as to include anyone who challenges gender, which is itself a wide open concept, you can argue that radical feminists are inherently trans. It’s a hilarious thought, I know.

Magdalen Berns has an excellent video where she explains some of what the issue is with the definition of trans being so wide open. I’m throwing this in here because I like the video and it’s related to this topic.

Feinberg offers a list of the possible people who could be included under the trans umbrella:

Transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, transgenderists, bigenders, drag queens, drag kings, cross-dressers, masculine women, feminine men, intersexuals, androgynes, cross-genders, shape-shifters, passing women, passing men, gender-benders, gender-blenders, bearded women, and women bodybuilders. (Transgender Warriors, preface, page x).

This is a really varied group. I have the same problem with this group as I have with lumping Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals under the same umbrella. We have different interests and different needs, sometimes our ideas conflict with each other, and we cannot speak with one voice. For example, gay men will sometimes adopt babies via surrogacy, and lesbians don’t require the “right” to purchase children birthed by other women. In fact, lots of us are against surrogacy on the grounds that it exploits women’s bodies. Gay men and lesbians can’t be said to always have the same interests or even that our interests are always compatible with each other. In addition, bisexuals often accuse lesbians of “biphobia” and the reverse happens too; lesbians feel that bisexuals are homophobic for some of the things they say. I don’t see how all these groups can be under the same umbrella when we often find ourselves against each other. We can all work together on broad issues such as same-sex marriage, but we don’t often have much in common.

I believe the interests of transsexuals and cross-dressers are very different and often contradictory, to the point where they cannot be under the same umbrella. A transsexual wants to change his or her body and permanently live as the opposite sex. A cross-dresser isn’t trying to change his or her body but just likes dressing up. Whereas transsexuals want the right to modify their bodies, cross-dressers want the right to cross-dress without modifying their bodies. How to accommodate transsexuals and cross-dressers in washrooms is very, very different. Whether or not “being trans is a choice” or whether it should be a protected category of people is a very different conversation whether you’re talking about transsexuals or cross-dressers.

How many times does a person have to cross-dress in order to be considered “trans”? I have worn men’s clothes before, so am I trans? My partner often wears men’s clothes so is she “trans”? Am I a TERF with a trans partner then?

Also, I wrote a fairy tale with a cross-dressing character. My character Noble is someone who “challenges the boundaries of sex and gender,” and I celebrated this character as a hero. Am I a TERF who celebrates trans people in fiction in addition to having a ‘trans’ partner?

Another thing. One of the groups listed in the umbrella up there is “masculine women.” I’m attracted to masculine women, so am I ‘exclusionary’ of the people I’m attracted to?

When you leave the definition of trans wide open like that, all sorts of interesting interpretations are possible. This really sheds light on both the need to define trans in a coherent way, and the meaninglessness of the idea of “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” If my partner and my friends and my fictional characters and maybe even me, can fall under the umbrella of ‘trans,’ then how can I be trans-exclusionary?

A trans blogger once wrote a hit piece about me arguing that I am indeed trans-exclusionary, despite the fact that I listen to trans people (watch their videos, read their books), have a partner who is a gender-bender, interact politely with trans people in real life, and have never actually banned a trans person from anything. His argument was that I am exclusionary because I exclude transwomen from the definition of woman. I don’t think this is accurate, because it’s not me personally excluding transwomen from the definition of woman, it’s the definition itself. A woman is an adult human female, and a transwoman is a human male. Males aren’t females. All males are excluded from the definition of female for the same reason that cats are excluded from the definition of fish. They are two different things, so naturally they don’t fall under the same definition. This has nothing to do with me or my personal prejudices, it’s how language works.

I regularly celebrate people who challenge the limitations placed on us because of our sex; in fact, I even wrote a Manifesto for such people (with the help of a few friends, thank you!) so I am actually doing some of the work that Leslie Feinberg considered to be liberation for trans people. People on the Internet like to frame issues in very black-and-white terms with no room for nuance, they like to ignore what people are actually saying and argue against straw men, and they like to misrepresent their alleged enemies in order to make a big show out of hating them. Far from being bigoted and hateful toward those who are gender nonconforming; we feminists have many of the same goals as they do.

I find it very frustrating and disappointing when people prefer to argue against straw men rather than engaging with what someone actually said, and when people claim to disagree with someone whose position they have not even read or understood.

The question of “what does it mean to be trans” has not been settled. There is no answer; the trans community leaves this wide open on purpose. I think this is a bad strategy, because there are people who don’t have gender dysphoria and don’t make body modifications calling themselves trans and speaking for trans people and this is wrong.

Very much related to the question of ‘what does it mean to be trans’ is the question of ‘what is trans liberation, exactly’? Is trans liberation the liberation of people with gender dysphoria in order that they may treat their dysphoria the way they see fit, or is it the liberation of cross-dressers who wish to cross-dress in public? These two things are not the same at all. These are two different movements. One is a medical movement about how to treat people with an illness and the other is a movement to change social rules about appropriate dress and behavior in public.

I enjoy reading Leslie Feinberg. She writes from experience, and unlike the college students who claim that cupcakes are transphobic, she has experienced actual violence for living in a body that people can’t easily recognize as male or female. I value her perspective and I agree with her on a lot of things. For example, I don’t think that people with ambiguous gender presentations are ‘freaks’ nor should they be denied basic rights such as housing, employment, and health care because of people’s prejudices toward them.

I’m going to explore my next question, ‘what is trans liberation, exactly?’ in another post, since as usual it’s going to get long-winded.

Seriously, Autostraddle?

Autostraddle published another super-gross article that takes an element of women’s oppression and rebrands it as “empowering.” (Of course, there is no end of articles like this in the world—neoliberalism has been deliberately rebranding oppression as empowerment for at least three decades, for the purpose of destroying leftist movements and supporting capitalism.)

Anyway, this article is called “How My Dad’s Dirty Magazines Shaped My Queer Sexuality.”  Like most sex-pozzie articles on Autostraddle, this should have come with a damn trigger warning.

The author narrates how, as a young teen, she used to come home quickly after school to look through her dad’s magazines while she had an opportunity to be alone in the house. She started on motorcycle magazines with sexy women draped over the motorcycles like decorations, and then moved on to magazines with real nudity, then eventually moved on to Internet porn from there. She says she was about 13.

She thinks the whole experience was positive and empowering:

“More powerful than guilt, shame or feeling just plain ugly was the sense of empowerment I got from those magazines. I believe that sexual images of women are a positive thing. Porn and dirty magazines were a huge part of finding myself, taking ownership of my sexuality and seeing other women empowered by theirs. Looking through my dad’s dirty magazines was an integral part of my self-discovery as a queer woman.”

Does anyone else cringe when they hear the word empowerment, because of the ridiculous misuse of this word by third-wave sex-pozzies?

Being a passive object who is sexualized by other people is the exact opposite of empowerment. The people with the power are those who get to be seen as full human beings and who have the ability to reduce others to objects. One of the most important elements of third-wave sex-pozzie politics is the use of disingenuous claims that are so obviously untrue that one wonders how anyone can claim them with a straight face. The claim that black is white, up is down, freedom is slavery, submission is empowerment! Sorry, sex-pozzies, but this is a bald-faced lie, and you look totally silly saying it.

A lot of the things this writer describes happened to me, too. I used to also come home from school before anyone else in my family and relish the time I had alone to look at my own dad’s magazine stash. I also learned the joy of looking at naked women at the ripe age of 13. I also moved on to Internet porn eventually, having developed a taste for it. Like everyone else in the goddamn world, I learned to sexualize objectification, dominance and submission. How could I not—this stuff is everywhere. It’s in our own homes as we grow up.

The difference between this writer and me is that I became a radical feminist and she did not. She is continuing to sexualize objectification while I am writing against it. Here’s my take on why it’s not “empowering” to “discover your sexuality” while looking at your dad’s magazine stash.

First of all, your own sexuality is not what you see other people creating and publishing, your own sexuality is your own thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, and wants. You don’t learn about yourself by internalizing someone else’s idea of sexuality. The best way to learn about your own sexuality is to just interact with your peers in a normal way, and discover who strikes you as attractive and what you find yourself wanting to do with them. You also learn about your own sexuality by masturbating WITHOUT PORN and by thinking about things that naturally interest you.

Using porn is not discovering your sexuality, using porn is looking upon depictions of sexual abuse and learning to find it arousing. There are no depictions of healthy sexuality in commercial pornography. There is dominance and submission, and men are always dominant. Women are objects for consumption, we are painted with make-up, shaved, placed in submissive poses, and sold for entertainment. We are passive things being acted upon. Women’s sexuality is not being portrayed in porn. Men’s idea of what women should be is what’s portrayed in porn.

The girl who uses porn learns to think of herself and other girls as sexualized objects, and learns to identify with both the sexualized object and the oppressor at the same time. She learns to crave being sexualized and objectified because that’s what gives girls validation that they are worthy. She learns to identify with the male gaze and look upon other girls as objects for her use. When a “queer” girl discovers her sexuality through porn, she discovers a world of dominance and submission where she can play both parts, oppressor and oppressed, and where objectification is what makes sex sexy. This is all a process of grooming—it prepares her to be a sexual libertarian and to accept sexual abuse.

It took me several years to unlearn what I learned from porn, to see myself as a subject rather than an object, to understand that to objectify is to abuse, to really understand and feel that my worth as a person is not based on my ability to be a sex object, to separate my own real desires from what I learned to sexualize while viewing porn. The person who helped me the most with this was Gail Dines. Her Ted talk “Growing Up in a Pornified Culture” is incredibly valuable.

What the author of this article is remembering fondly and practically gushing about is something that is abusive and that she hasn’t been able to recognize as abuse. How strange it is to browse through Autostraddle, which is apparently a magazine for “queer women,” and find articles that sexualize the abuse of queer women. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt sick to my stomach after reading one of these articles because something negative in my life that I’ve worked to overcome is being presented as “empowering.”

Of course, I could just ignore Autostraddle entirely, but I read this stuff and write this stuff to “pay it forward”—I learned feminism from anonymous bloggers, and I’m doing the same for anyone else out there who needs it. Women need to know that there’s something more helpful out there than the stupid abusive bullshit that passes for “feminism” in sex-pozzie publications. Women deserve to be able to learn that being positive toward sex means being negative toward abuse. We deserve to learn to identify abuse, since our culture is constantly trying to confuse us by selling abuse as “empowerment.”

There is a vague, eerie suggestion of incest in the idea that girls can “learn their sexuality” from something their dad does. The fact that there is a long tradition of dads leaving porn around the house for their kids to find is a sign of how little anyone cares about sexual abuse. It’s totally normal for dads to groom their kids into abusive sexuality by leaving porn around. It’s totally normal because abuse is totally normal. This writer really should start thinking about the negative effects of dads showing their kids porn instead of waxing lyrically about it.

I hope that, now that people only use porn on the Internet, and every idiot knows how to delete their browsing history, this tradition will stop. But that’s hardly comforting considering that 11-year-olds have their own smart phones, and what they will be exposed to there is much worse than the pin-ups we used to look at.

This is the concluding paragraph from the article:

“In a time where queerness wasn’t as accepted, I’m thankful that I had an outlet (however pervy it was) to explore my identity. Dirty magazines and porn were a large part of my self-discovery and have positively influenced my sexuality as it is today. Even though identifying myself as queer when I was young seemed terrifying, seeing women unabashedly owning their sexuality taught me to be unashamed of sexuality. I missed a lot of shame and guilt surrounding sex, because I introduced myself to it so young. Being in tune with my sexuality, or even being in tune with my confusion — just simply letting myself feel and experience has led to me being a sexually empowered adult. I thank and honor the perverted 11-year-old I was; she created the proud queer woman and writer I am today.”

Nah, porn didn’t “positively influence” your sexuality. This whole article is a demonstration of the grooming you experienced, that you still have not been able to escape from. One of the primary things that helped me recognize my own grooming was the Ted Talk by Gail Dines that I posted above. She mentions that she has gone to prisons to interview convicted sex offenders, and they have told her that they hardly had to groom their victims at all, because the victims were already ready and accepting of sexual abuse. Victims are coming “pre-groomed” now, thanks to porn itself and also porn culture in general. The sex-pozzitive movement is a movement that gets people to accept porn, prostitution, dominance and submission—it’s a process of grooming. Anyone who wants to put an end to sexual abuse needs to name this, analyze it, and then stop it.

It seems so incredibly obvious that I can’t understand how even Autostraddle doesn’t see it. Women who love women shouldn’t be learning their sexuality from abusive men.

A conservative rape apologist

This article from the Federalist came across my news feed today and HOLY CRAP. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a horrific rape apologist train wreck. Conservative writer Suzanne Venker essentially argues that men want sex more often than women and therefore it’s women’s inevitable duty to just lie there and take it whether we want it or not.

Get your barf bucket ready before proceeding!

We Need To Admit That Men Need Sex More Than Women Do

“When it comes to sex, men and women have very different needs. This used to be something people understood (my mother told me as much when I was young, although I didn’t believe her), but in a culture that insists the sexes are “equal,” as in the same, that understanding has vanished. As a result, so has any sympathy for men’s unique sexual desire.”

Who says that men and women are exactly the same? Certainly neither conservatives nor radical feminists believe that men and women are the same, and I don’t even think liberals think so. I can’t think of anyone who thinks that men and women are the same. If anyone knows who these mythical people are that Venker failed to cite in her article, please fill me in.

Anyway, then she gets into how nobody has any sympathy for men’s desire for a lot of sex.

“My favorite description of the male sex drive was explained in the book “Letters to My Daughters,” by former political consultant Mary Matalin. In it, Matalin shares a funny anecdote about her mother, who once said to Mary, “Men would screw a snake if it would sit still long enough.” That had me in stitches!

We don’t laugh at messages like this anymore (well, clearly I do). Instead, we’re hostile toward the idea that a wife should have sex with her husband if she isn’t “in the mood.” But most women’s sexual desire isn’t as dire at most men’s. From a physiological standpoint, a woman’s sex drive is tied to her menstrual cycle, whereas a man’s is fairly constant. Moreover, a man doesn’t need much preparation for sex, whereas a woman prefers romance and foreplay first. So by all accounts, there’s a disconnect.”

Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Like, yeah, it’s true that men will screw absolutely anything. Women, children, animals, objects, holes in the wall, it doesn’t matter. However, this isn’t funny, it’s goddamn terrifying. That men are so barbaric that they think everyone and everything in the universe is there for them to rape, and yet they’re the ones controlling the planet, should be considered cause for alarm and immediate action. Why anyone would find this amusing is beyond me.

And then, she laments that people are hostile toward the idea that women should submit to sex they don’t want! Unbelievable!

“As a rule, men communicate via sex. Via action. Your husband isn’t being insulting when you walk by and he grabs your butt. He’s not being rude when he turns some innocuous statement you made into something sexual. (If I had a dollar for every time that happens in our house!) He’s trying to get close to you. So let him. If he didn’t do those things, you’d have a problem on your hands.

That’s not to say all men and all women have the exact same sex drive. But it is to say there’s a general rule or framework at play. In the same way women need to talk, to release whatever’s on our minds, men need a release of a different sort. But that release isn’t just a physical act any more than your need to talk is just a physical act. When you talk to your husband and he gives you his undivided attention, that makes you feel loved, doesn’t it?

It’s the same way for men. Your husband wants to have sex with you because that’s how he feels loved. And it’s how he shows his love for you. If you hold this against him, or if you deny him the ability to show you his love, you’re effectively telling him you don’t love him. Ergo, to turn your husband down in bed is akin to telling him you need to talk to him about something and him responding, “Sorry, not interested.”

She is literally arguing that when your husband forces unwanted sex on you, he’s showing his love and you should let him or else you’re not letting him love you. Some idea of love she has!

I have a really different idea of love than this. Love involves being delighted to be in a person’s presence, wanting to be there for her and take care of her, because she is important to you, wanting the best for her and wanting her to thrive in life, wanting to share your time and energy with her, forgiving her flaws and devoting yourself to cultivating a relationship. It involves respect, compassion, kindness, devotion, and affection, and allowing your lover the space to blossom while standing by her side.

Forcing unwanted sex on a woman is the opposite of love. This behavior indicates that he does not respect her, does not care about her well-being, does not want what’s best for her, and is unconcerned about her needs.

Venker is aware that she is advocating for women’s sexual slavery:

“That this is true doesn’t mean wives need to be sex slaves (although the culture will insist otherwise). All it means is that women need to be sympathetic toward the fact that men’s sexual needs differ from theirs. If we reject this fact outright, bad things happen, as sociologist Catherine Hakim wrote about here. Men’s increased libido, she says, is like “hunger”: it cannot be ignored. Testosterone is powerful stuff.”

The fact that she brought this point up means she knows that this is exactly what she sounds like. She is advocating for women to submit to repeated rape by their husbands. Although she briefly denies that she is advocating for sexual slavery, she offers no alternative other than women’s submission.

Let’s take another look at Kathleen Barry’s definition of sexual slavery, shall we?

“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.”

Conservatives still believe that women should be housewives and mothers and obey husbands who earn money outside the home. They still frown on divorce. When women are financially dependent on their husbands, they cannot easily leave an abusive marriage. When women cannot say no to sex, and also cannot leave their marriage, they are being held in sexual slavery. The only reason women aren’t literally being held in sexual slavery in marriage anymore is because of the feminism that Venker is against. It’s so unbelievable I can barely wrap my head around it.

So men’s libido is a “hunger that can’t be ignored,” says Venker. What is to be done about it, then? Anti-feminists of all stripes claim that the only solution to men’s libido is for them to have access to women’s bodies to use whenever they want however they want, regardless of what women think about it. This reduces women to non-human objects for men’s use, and makes men the only humans who get to enjoy legal personhood status.

It’s not just conservatives who think this way, of course. Liberals think the same way, but their misogyny has a slightly different flavor to it. While conservatives think that each man should privately own one woman for his personal use, liberals think that women are a natural resource to be shared among all men. Both positions consider women to be non-human receptacles for sperm. The only people who believe that women are full human beings who should decide for ourselves what we do with our bodies are those pesky feminists. You know, those horrible women who are literally killing both MRAs and MRAs in dresses day in and day out with our refusal to service their dicks.

So what is the feminist solution to the problem of men’s higher sex drive? Is it to castrate all men? (Ha! If only!) But no seriously, both male and female anti-feminists need to stop thinking that every time a man gets a boner, he has no choice but to insert it inside the nearest woman, and that he will die a horrible death if he doesn’t. That’s actually not his only option! He can actually take care of it himself! There is absolutely no reason why men need to hijack other human beings in order to release their own bodily fluids. For fuck sake, use your hands, guys! (And by the way, it’s not necessary or justified to watch videos of women being raped in order to masturbate, just to stick that little PSA in there.)

Now I’m going to randomly take this conversation over to transgender politics, because lately radical feminists and conservatives in the U.S.A. have been finding some common ground, and have been working together on projects, and this article really got the wheels in my brain turning about the different ways conservatives and radical feminists think.

Both conservatives and radical feminists understand that we should not allow men in women’s washrooms, and in both cases it’s because we know that men prey on women and children. Only liberals pretend not to notice male violence. Both conservatives and radical feminists want to protect women and children from harm in bathrooms. However, and this is where we differ greatly, conservatives only want to protect women and children from male violence if those males are strangers. The man who owns the women and children (the father/husband) is free to inflict violence on his family all he wants. Women and children are a man’s private property, they are non-human possessions, and it’s his God-given right to do with them what he wants. It’s also his right to keep other men away from his family, not because his family members are fully human and deserve freedom, but because he doesn’t want his possessions damaged.

Radical feminists, on the other hand, want to protect women and children all the time, everywhere. We want to end male supremacy and female sexual slavery. We want women and children safe both in public washrooms and in their own homes. We want women and children to be legally considered fully human persons, which means it must be illegal and also socially condemned to rape us or otherwise assault us. It means we deserve protection from harm not on the basis of being a man’s beloved possession, but on the basis of us being human persons who are inherently deserving of safety.

Andrea Dworkin wrote about this situation years ago in her book Right Wing Women. She noted the rampant misogyny of the left and made a case for why some women choose the right wing. When left wing men treat women as a resource for all men to use, some women decide they’d rather have only one rapist to deal with rather than tons of rapists. Fair enough, right? At least her husband/rapist is the only one she has to deal with, and at least he protects her from other men. The left-wing women have to service all the guys, and they don’t even get respect from lefty men for their ability to bear and raise children.

Now we have a situation where, not only do left-wing men want women to have the choice to choose to be sexually exploited in porn and prostitution, as they always have, but now they want women to have no boundaries whatsoever and allow all men access to all of our private spaces. Same patriarchy, different day.

Women can choose either right wing misogyny or left-wing misogyny, but either way we have to eat shit. It does no good to tell women they should choose a particular side. It does no good to hate women for being on the wrong side. I hate conservatives as much as the next anti-capitalist feminist, but I can’t actually claim that the left is any better for women, the way they are behaving. The only thing that will do us good is to work together as women to overthrow the patriarchy—all versions of it.

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.