Verso Books and "the problem with TERFs"

(36 Posts)
ArcheryAnnie Sun 31-May-15 20:17:19

Verso Books, who describe themselves as a "radical" publisher, have been doing the very boring, conservative and unradical thing of dissing second-wave feminists on their twitter account.

Their social media manager has been tweeting selective quotes from Judith Butler, insulting the second-wave feminists WHO THEY PUBLISH AND THUS MAKE MONEY FROM as "transphobic" and casually referring to "the problem with TERFs".

Dissing feminists. But it's totes OK, as they are older feminists! How very radical. Not.

@VersoBooks, if you can be bothered scrolling through all the other rubbish they are currently tweeting.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 21:26:14

Can you link to the quotes? I couldn't find them.

ArcheryAnnie Sun 31-May-15 21:37:43

I don't have time to find the original posts, but I'd taken a screencap of one exchange in case it was deleted. Basically their argument is that they should continue profiting off the work of women while insulting them selling these texts in order to facilitate their critique.

Am totally bored of "radicals" who think it is radical to hate women, and to suck up to others who also hate women.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 21:46:01

Thanks, got them now! I can't find the one where they use the word TERFs - is it too much to hope that they've decided misogynist hate speech will make them look very unradical indeed, or did I just scroll too quickly?!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 21:48:52

Meh, found it. Because of course using a word that is used almost exclusively to denigrate women and frequently to threaten violence is just really really radical.

LassUnparalleled Sun 31-May-15 21:53:48

There is an interview with her here. I gave up fairly quickly.

www.versobooks.com/blogs/2009-judith-butler-on-gender-and-the-trans-experience

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 31-May-15 22:04:49

There is a fabulous line in one of the comments, though - 'theoretical violence, the battle cry of all fascists who throw their political opponents into jail'. I have always rolled my eyes at the claim that nonviolent radfems are committing actual violence by disagreeing with trans ideology and that makes the point well.

Badonna Mon 01-Jun-15 00:39:00

That is, indeed, a fabulous line. Thanks for sharing it.

Heckler Mon 01-Jun-15 00:40:33

What the countless said.

I am completely fucked off with claims of violence for stuff like, oh... Saying a penis is male.

PuffinsAreFictitious Mon 01-Jun-15 08:19:39

Is it like saying that you don't believe in fairies?

Quick, everyone clap and all shall be well.

LassUnparalleled Mon 01-Jun-15 12:57:51

^"I reject totally the characterization of a transwoman as a mutilated man. First, that formulation presumes that men born into that sex assignment are not mutilated "
What is this mean? Especially the bit in bold?

FloraFox Mon 01-Jun-15 17:59:03

It's all nonsense and this is just more of it.

FloraFox Mon 01-Jun-15 18:00:38

Also I continue to be disappointed with so called radicals.

LassUnparalleled Mon 01-Jun-15 18:04:19

I see my own ability to construct a coherent sentence failed.

"What is this mean" possibly reflects my mental state by the end of that interview.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 02-Jun-15 12:19:51

I get very tired of the constant pitting of feminists and transwomen as each other's natural enemies. Firstly, there are places where the groups intersect, secondly, both transwomen and feminists are much more likely to be hurt or killed by cis men than by each other. The vast majority of feminists and the vast majority of trans people just want to go about their lives without getting threatened or attacked - and there are many areas of common ground between trans people and feminists. It's just a few screaming bucketheads and self-righteous bullies on either side who are making all this unnecessary mess.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 02-Jun-15 14:27:11

I've said on another thread, SolidGoldBrass, that I am encouraged by the small but growing group of trans women who reject their own masculinity and live as women, but who don't deny their privilege, don't insist everything revolves around them, and don't push their way into women's spaces. Some of them are really sticking their necks out in defence of women's space, and are (illogically) getting called "TERFs" alongside the rest of us, by trans activists.

On the trans activist side, unfortunately the screaming bucketheads are getting legislation and mainstream political opinion on their side. That's why it matters.

Where do you see the screaming bucketheads on the side of women who think penis is male?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 02-Jun-15 15:46:50

Those would be the ones calling transwomen 'shims' and 'trannies' and using male names and pronouns for them in public/to their faces despite having been asked nicely not to do so, and insisting that every transwoman is hellbent on raping lesbians and that's the only reason they want to use female toilets (rather than, you know, just wanting to go to the loo when they're away from home without being stared at or assaulted by straight men for being a 'poof' if they go into the men's toilet...)

FloraFox Tue 02-Jun-15 15:58:04

^^ complete misrepresentation.

almondcakes Tue 02-Jun-15 18:26:14

Even if these two descriptions were equally true, they're still not equal.

Getting legislation changed regarding another group to your advantage reduces their rights.

Using terms to refer to people that they haven't chosen, be it calling someone a terf or calling someone 'he' isn't a very nice thing to do, but if they're not a colleague, a client, or someone else you have particular legal obligations towards, it isn't equivalent to reducing their rights in law.

We're not under obligation to be constantly validating the identities of strangers. If some random person on the internet or walking down the street calls me a terf, wench, misgenders me or whatever, as long as there is no threat or they're not sexually harassing me, that's up to them. I would rather they didn't, but as individuals, people are not required to validate my language preferences.

A successful attempt to remove legal recognition of people sexed female as a class, and as a consequence the material rights given to that class, is a serious issue of basic rights.

Other people are not the UN, the UK Government or my mum. They do not owe me validation of my identity.

almondcakes Tue 02-Jun-15 18:31:34

And terf is a word invented by trans activists to describe women who disagree with them.

Tranny was a word which was invented by gay male drag queens to refer to themselves. For most of its history, it has positive connotations. It then started to be used by males in porn as a way of objectifying trans women, and as such became an objectifying slur. The whole history of the word has not been influenced by women. Why are we being blamed for the actions of the porn industry?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 02-Jun-15 20:31:09

I have no problem with people disagreeing with each other on theories, etc. Nor do I have a problem with people choosing to hold certain events that are exclusive to some types of person - basically, if there are equivalent events that members of the excluded group can attend instead, so no one is actually being denied facilities/services etc then so fucking what? That aspect of transactivism irritates me a lot: it's like yelling and stamping your feet because you weren't invited to someone's birthday party - go and have a party with your own friends...
But there definitely are ignorant, self-righteous, spiteful bullies on both sided of the debate. There is no movement, club, organisation, workplace or street that doesn't have a few thoroughly unpleasant people in it.

almondcakes Tue 02-Jun-15 20:42:55

Well, yes, of course there are.

But if one of the main purposes of your movement is to have other people socially validate your identity, you are going to be a lot more vulnerable to finding it bullying when others disagree with you.

And that seems particularly popular in all kinds of online activism.

ArcheryAnnie Wed 03-Jun-15 13:28:17

SolidgoldBrass the people I know don't do that. I'm sure some people do, but you are presenting them as equivalent, and they aren't.

Who is being no-platformed, having their jobs threatened, having their safety threatened, having their access to organise peacefully, quietly and independently taken away? Women who think penis is male, that's who.

FloraFox Wed 03-Jun-15 21:24:59

But there definitely are ignorant, self-righteous, spiteful bullies on both sided of the debate. There is no movement, club, organisation, workplace or street that doesn't have a few thoroughly unpleasant people in it.

This is a very lazy response. It's all too easy to write off everything that is happening on this issue by saying it's equally bad on both sides. It's not. Women say "penis is male" and transactivists say this is violence while transactivists threaten violence and rape and say this is understandable outbursts.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 03-Jun-15 23:43:28

Ah, no-platforming. Given how very fond of it the likes of Julie Bindel used to be when it was happening to other people, my sympathy for them on that issue is extremely limited.
I don't actually approve of no-platforming at all. No one has the right to not be disagreed with EVER boohoo! So no, I do not support the no-platforming of radical feminists who object to the presence of transwomen. Nor am I in favour of people sending death threats to people who disagree with them.
But (once again) it's a small number of bucketheads - many of whom are not making pests of themselves exclusively over trans issues - who are trying to foster a culture where no one is allowed to disagree with whatever party line is going on, and nothing 'upsetting' can ever be mentioned (in case it, well, upsets someone). Most transwomen have better things to do with their lives and more important things to worry about than trying to bully their way into one small radfem meeting - it seems to be the case (as it always was with the whole 'political correctness' thing) that the people doing all the screaming and threatening are the ones who used to be able to keep themselves busy banning Christmas cards in case any Muslims were offended (despite not being Muslims themselves) - your common-or-garden self-righteous More Politically Correct Than Everyone else arseholes who could start a fight in an empty house.

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