Radfem 2013 and the MRAs

(861 Posts)
MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 17:05:46

As many of you will remember, the Radfem 2012 conference in London was explicitly open only to born women and consequently attracted lots of condemnation and anger from people who saw this as transphobic. It was kicked out of its original venue at Conway Hall and went underground (very successfully in the end).

This year Radfem 2013 has not explicitly banned transwomen... but instead it's come under attack from Men's Rights Activists, who have staged a demo at the planned venue, the London Irish Centre, while making lots of unpleasant and ridiculous claims about how radical feminists want to murder small boys and the like. As a result the venue is threatening to cancel the booking.

www.mralondon.org/

bugbrennan.com/2013/04/20/statement-from-rad-fem-2013/

I have mixed feelings about the whole trans issue but have no hesitation in declaring the MRAs utter misogynist knobbers and am disappointed the London Irish Centre has seemingly caved into them.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 20:06:43

We could re-create Borgen...

And do traditional Scandinavian things

Like this

grin

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 20:08:47

And wear those sweaters

Or one of these

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 20:22:30

Oh yes, it would look lovely over our dungarees!

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 21:01:41

Loving the Scandinavian turn this thread has taken. There is a nice Finnish church and cultural centre in Rotherhithe, maybe I should suggest that?

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 21:18:29

Just to bring us back down to earth, here's a rather depressing article about what MRAs are actually like here

NiceTabard Mon 22-Apr-13 22:21:16

That stuff is just scary. It really bothers me TBH. And it works. I imagine there are a lot of women who don't put themselves out there as they are not prepared to receive this sort of attention / are scared of the threats.

Darn, I was just getting into the Icelandic theme.

Seriously, though, what an bizarre idea, that the Irish centre isn't good enough because Irish women are oppressed - so what, we should all bury our heads in the sand? confused

I'm afraid I stopped reading the link halfway through, which is wussy, but it is horrible. It bothers me, too, nicetabard. I can't imagine what it's like being that woman who's had to hear it all directed at her.

I'm really looking forward to the conference, wherever it happens.

KRITIQ Tue 23-Apr-13 12:08:30

Perhaps all is not as it appears to be. For those interested, there is a link within this tweet which includes screen shots and information on the issue from behind The Times paywall.

Best wishes.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 12:47:32

Thanks Kritiq. Rather a weaselly statement from the venue here:

"“We did some research into RadFem and discovered certain language was used and some statements were made about transgender people that would go against our equalities and diversity policy."

It's hard to make a definitive judgement without knowing what's gone on behind the scenes and the details of the speakers. I don't think any conference should allow Julie Burchill-style hate speech against trans people, or invite speakers of that ilk. But I do think that the radical feminists are perfectly entitled to voice their position on gender, and indeed to critique beliefs held by prominent trans activists on gender issues.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 12:54:49

Usual bollocks talked about Cathy Brennan, I see. Cathy has outed transpeople who have threatened her. I think this is fair enough tbh.

I would like to know what they mean by 'RadFem'. That the conference organisers said things as part of the their official conference literature? That some people calling themselves radical feminists said things elsewhere on the internet?

In any case, I think the situation we are moving towards where you are automatically a bigot if you do not believe transwomen are women, and are not allowed to say so, is a worrying one. There needs to be freedom of conscience on this. Enforcing a particular theoretical position on the nature of gender as the only one allowed is both oppressive and academically ridiculous.

msrisotto Tue 23-Apr-13 13:44:02

What TunipTheVegedude said.
The shutting down of discussion is a worrying trend. and the fact that personal threats are allowed to stand (as referenced in that article linked to earlier) is scary.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 14:13:38

I accept your point Tunip, to use censorship to close down all debate is unhelpful especially within academia. but........

I have followed the links, I watched the Vid of the woman with the red hair shouting "shut the fuck up" repeatedly, I wouldn't be inclined to listen to someone so obviously unpleasant, I can't imagine what she hoped to achieve. She is to me the epitome of what is wrong, she sums up perfectly why men are becoming radicalised. As do some of these rad fem blogs, that are full of bile and hatred. A lot of these blogs appear to be American. They are full of hatred and vitriol.

Whilst I fully understand the radfem analysis on trans I do think something needs to be done to stop these hate filled blogs. Something needs to be done about the thousands of women who call themselves Radfeminists going about the internet leaving a trail of what amounts to fascist comments. That is what needs censoring because otherwise we are likely to see a situation where women become increasingly under threat. Rad/feminism will not be the vanguard that ushers in equality but the fuse that sparks all out antagonism, fear and hostility. That's if you think it hasn't already done so.

I followed the links to this theterfs.com/2013/03/02/terf-quotes/ which is particularly ugly.

I have also done a quick scout around some of the MRA sites, nothing too surprising. They locate their "Oppression" in the wrong place, something they share with radical feminism. It is class society that perpetuates their oppression just as it does ours. All out turf war btw the sexes as has been the case since the break up of the civil rights movement & it only serves to create more bogey men, more antagonism, more inequality and stops us from getting on with what needs doing. So whilst rads are taking pots shots at angry men and the angry men are busy reacting and becoming increasingly radical, we miss the fact that more and more people of both sexes are being impoverished, starved and exploited so that the real "patriarchy" can line their pockets with yet more gold.

There are two sexes, male and female, do you think men made history whilst women peeled potatoes or do you think we may actually have had something to do with creating our own social reality? Or is it that men created hell on earth whilst we slept?

If men are becoming increasingly angry, vocal and radical, increasingly feeling oppressed attacked and marginalised, Radfems need to ask why?

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 14:28:51

Mini, I think you are enormously over-estimating the influence of radical feminists.

If some men are becoming angrier and more vocal (and I'd argue that these men are not only in a minority but inadequate knobbers) it's much more likely that they're reacting against women's increasing power and freedom. But they can't say that, so they blame a few radfems on the internet.

Yes, there are some unpleasant radfem blogs... alongside unpleasant blogs of many other flavours. It's the nature of the internet, I'm afraid.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 14:30:38

Absolutly Mini

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 14:42:54

It's very easy to take things out of context to create a hate site. Remember what F4J did with Mumsnet: they went selectively through posts where people were slagging off their exes or saying men who refused to support their children were arseholes, and produced an advert accusing Mumsnet of being a hate site and misquoting statements about certain types of men as being about all men.
I have seen radfems get very nasty about violent men, and I have seen them defend themselves robustly when attacked.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 14:48:03

Hi Leith.

MooncupGoddess the MRA are over estimating the power of the RadFems and think that feminism is denying them their rights and causing their oppression/marginalisation. The radfems are playing to the crowd and perpetuating this notion by their own behaviour.

Men are directing their anger upon women and not on those that actually oppress them. This is the problem with single issue activism.

When I say radfems need to listen, I think we all need to listen. Then we need to forge alliances and create solidarity.

Liberalism is at the root of why rads are censored in their analysis and liberalism is at the root of the creation of single issue politics. I suspect many equate liberalism with the left, no way. Liberalism is a right wing construct that serves the interests of the wealthy oppressors.

It is the way in which the elite political and financial class have obscured the truth, all this fighting benefits no one but them.

I can't remember which American politician said it but basically they said that "we need to create single issue activism, around gender, sex, race and culture because it obscures the economic realities that would otherwise ally these groups to each other"

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 14:56:48

Anyway I won't be attending smile I am too busy worrying about government cuts to benefits and services which disproportionately effect women & the erosion of ALL workers rights. Worrying about whether men can become women is least of my worries, What concerns me more is the fact that women are the exploited working poor whilst men once proud are increasingly being thrown on the scrap heap through unemployment because of changes to production and the greed of capitalist scum.

Being able to feed yourself and pay for shelter, to reproduce yourselves on a daily basis is a more pressing need than checking what people have in their underpants.

MilgramsLittleHelper Tue 23-Apr-13 14:57:20

Mini,
i couldn't agree more. Thank you.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 14:58:59

We-ell, up to a point, Mini. I agree that squabbling about identity politics only benefits the elite, but radical feminists are very good at drawing attention to the enormous violence wrought by men (of all classes) on women (of all classes). I would be reluctant to see that issue swept under the carpet in the interests of social solidarity.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 15:02:23

Mini. The conference is not about the trans issue. You've decided to go with the MRA version of what it is about, rather than the actual version.
The biggest issue up for discussion is violence against women.
The programme is here.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:03:08

No the way to stop hate speech is do not believe in hate and then their will never be a reason to write hate. The "Them and us" thing is used to justify power, from all I have read about the radfems and the issue of trans, it seems to come down to the fact that radfems do not want to share the identity they have as women with people who live as and think of themselves as women, because in some way Burchill and Jefferies et all see this as an attack on the power they have to dominate other women with their position.

As Minx says the enemy is not people in the same class or with the same goals, the enemy are those within who claim power and right to speak for others. This crap that "we should have free speech" exactly the same argument as put forward by homophobic christens, racists, and genocide proponents.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:04:51

Turnip you are saying the Irish centre are MRA then?

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 15:07:39

Eh? No. I am pointing out that the conference is not about the trans issue. If the London Irish Centre has got the impression that it is, they are wrong.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:09:45

In that case Turnip do go and read the links posted by Kritiq, they explain that the issue is trans and past radfem conferences.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 15:14:47

'No the way to stop hate speech is do not believe in hate and then their will never be a reason to write hate.'

The idea that if you just ignore it it will go away is very seductive, but if it results in everyone simply ignoring when MRAs attack women through rape threats, for instance, rather than calling attention to it and naming it for what it is, it's not the answer.
I agree that sometimes it is tempting to wish rad fems wouldn't rise to the attacks, but when you see them being attacked or threatened it is fairly understandable when they give like for like. Cathy Brennan's approach of giving trolls her own phone number and saying 'Do you want to talk about this face-to-face?' is brave and impressive but not everyone is capable of it.
Women do seem to get held to a higher standard than other people sometimes: men can make violent threats but when women respond to them, they are the ones criticised for it.

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