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.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 17:29:07

Sample line from the MRA London page:

'the group's co-founder, Andy Thomas said, "We don't believe in shutting down debate. However, it is vital that there is someone speaking up on behalf of men and boys. And for the first time ever, they now have a voice."

confused

GoblinGranny Mon 22-Apr-13 17:30:13

It's always distressing when a venue or an organisation doesn't have the strength or commitment to stand up to protests, especially if it's a cause you espouse.
It will be interesting to see exactly what reasons and excuses the LIC come up with to justify the cancellation, if that's how they choose to proceed.

However, some of the quotes that the MRA use are quite disturbing, and give them quite strong ammunition to use against RadFems. How accurate are the quotes from the Radical Hub website? The ones that they are using to rally opposition to RadFem2013?

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 17:31:03

They are not very good at facts, are they? They say Radfem2012 was aborted. Er, no guys.... it was merely moved to another venue.

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 17:36:44

The Radical Hub website has closed now, and I never really used it, so I don't know how accurate the quotes are. In any case, though, using a few quotes from internet nutters to discredit an entire movement is wrong on every level. (And if one's going to play that game, it really wouldn't be hard to discredit MRAs based on the many vile quotes from them I've seen on the web and elsewhere.)

JuliaScurr Mon 22-Apr-13 17:38:45

Had fun at that cancelled Radfem 2012 smile
2013 will be even funner

GoblinGranny Mon 22-Apr-13 17:40:29

I agree that it is wrong to selectively quote from unverifiable sources, but they can be used to stir up fear and resentment amongst a group that feel they are being targeted.
Does the venue have to give a decent reason for cancelling, or can they just say no. Presumably there are insurance issues if they cancel this late.

lemonmuffin Mon 22-Apr-13 18:38:05

Has radfem 2013 been cancelled then at the london irish centre? It's not clear from the links.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 18:42:04

It won't be cancelled. If the London Irish Centre decide they can't be bothered with all the harassment the MRAs are giving them (whether or not they believe the loony stuff they are being told about how the radfems want to kill all the boy babies) it will move to a different venue and we will have the conference in peace and quiet like Radfem2012 did last year.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 18:48:03

It always amuses me when nutters accuse rad fems of wanting to kill boy babies.

Do they not think we could do that if we wanted to?

We produce some of them, FGS.

Idiots.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 18:48:55

No of course it won't be cancelled.

Dysfunctional violent misogynist men are not going to stop women meeting, talking and dancing.

They can fuck off.

namechangeguy Mon 22-Apr-13 19:01:51

Wouldn't feminists be uneasy about using an Irish cultural centre, given what happened to Savita Halappanavar in Ireland recently? Her death is inextricably linked with the culture of Ireland.

NiceTabard Mon 22-Apr-13 19:02:33

It does not seem to have occurred to the man posting that blog that there are, in fact, radical feminists who are also (shocker) Irish.

Seems like an odd sort of an oversight.

namechangeguy Mon 22-Apr-13 19:17:18

So I should not mention the issue? It has nothing to do with the nationality of the participants, but the issues are linked whether you like it or not.

Her case has been a massive point of discussion on here and yet I could not see that anyone else has raised this point. I am sorry if the fact that a man mentioned it has upset you.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 19:21:38

Oh please.

I suppose we should boycott any American venue as well, because of the introduction of trans-vaginal scans and the attempts to abolish safe, legal abortions.

And British ones because 72% of government cuts fall on women.

I've got an idea. Why don't rad fems choose their conference venue without reference to what hostile men think?

How bout running with that?

NiceTabard Mon 22-Apr-13 19:25:23

Was that in response to me?

I wasn't responding to your post, I was responding to the OP.

The "man in the blog" I mention is the man in the blog in the OP.

NiceTabard Mon 22-Apr-13 19:27:13

In that, it appears to have literally not occurred to the man in the blog that there are Irish people who are radical feminists.

Which makes him a bit closed-minded, in my book.

namechangeguy Mon 22-Apr-13 19:28:58

Well, actually those are good points. What about using a place with links to more 'female friendly' societies, such as the Scandinavian or Icelandic countries?

And hi, Basil. Haven't seen you since your 'Porn sick men/babygro' thread.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 19:29:08

No, no, it was in response to OMC.

This is a thread about violent woman-hating men wanting to ensure women don't meet together, and some bloke comes on and demands women account for their venue decisions.

grin

namechangeguy Mon 22-Apr-13 19:30:05

Apologies NiceT, I misunderstood.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 19:31:25

Haven't seen you either NMC.

I've missed you.

BasilBabyEater Mon 22-Apr-13 19:32:16

Have you got contacts at smorgasbord establishments in London NMC?

I'm sure rad fems would be glad to know about it.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 19:36:14

Maybe he can get us a discount on the pickled herring and rye bread smile

namechangeguy Mon 22-Apr-13 19:53:26

I take it back. It's not as straightforward as I thought it might be. I can only find a couple of possible venues;

texture-restaurant.co.uk/ - the chef is Icelandic,

or

www.iceland.co.uk/ - hire one of their stores and gorge on frozen vol-au-vents.

Wherever you end up, I hope you have fun flowers

TunipTheVegedude Mon 22-Apr-13 20:00:48

smile
I like the Iceland plan. Will contact the organisers and suggest it. wine

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.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 15:15:56

Leith, I have read Kritiq's links. I repeat, the conference is not about trans.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 15:16:51

Tunip is absolutely right, the conference is not about the trans issue. It will probably be addressed at some point in the workshop critiquing Post-Modernism, Identity Politics and Queer Theory, but that's all.

I think that Christian homophobes should be allowed to speak, personally, and their views discredited by rigorous argument. I don't think proponents of genocide should be allowed to speak because they are inciting violence. I have yet to hear radical feminists calling for violence against trans people.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:21:04

Then your selectivly reading and processing, the conference might well have been about unicycling, however the Irish centre were petitioned by trans people, the Irish centre then did their own research and pulled the event as it conflicted with the Irish Centres own EQUALITY policy.

They felt the conference could lead to a contravening their policy no matter what the subject of the conference was. Like a BNP conference might be about housing policy but we all know the type of language and ideas they would come out with. Thats the view that the Irish centre took.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 15:26:49

Nope not getting in to the symantics thing, its like talking to the swp in that respect. The thread was about how it was all MRA's against RadFems an element of truth is in that but the main story is that the Irish Centre pulled the event as a result of the past history associated with radfem conferences and the use of hate speech against trans people. You do not like the way that reads, that's a shame perhaps do more to change the perception of people as to what radfems think of trans people.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 15:27:08

For heaven's sake, Leith... I went to the Radfem conference last year and have a very good sense of what will be discussed and how.

I'm suggesting that the London Irish Centre are over-reacting based on slanted evidence provided by trans activists and MRAs.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 16:03:48

Thank you for the link Tunip

Sisters Tackling Climate Change & Male Destruction of the Environment

eh??????? male destruction of the environment??????

That is abusurd, can not be backed up with any theory or evidence. The way that humans change and appropriate the environment damages it. It isn't something that men do alone.

Building Radical Lesbian Feminist Communities no thank you.

The whole history of humanity has been one of changing and using nature, of producing the means to subsist and to reproduce our species. That is why we ruin our environment (we should find better ways forward now we have the intelligence and means to produce new technologies) and why we have men and women.

What on earth would society look like if all the women had retreated to the "womens" cave and stayed put building lesbian communities round camp fires. Or is it that we simply wouldn't be here.

I agree with leith, if you follow the links the essentially liberal views of the Irish centre combined with the equally liberal equality laws ensure that this conference now has no where to go.

I am no fan of liberalism and one track identity politics but what is as clear as day is that radical feminism is itself single issue activism. So whilst they sit outside the liberal view on equality in terms of trans gender they fail to realise that the proliferation of radfem ideology is quite convenient to the people they claim to be fighting........the patriarchy.

FreyaSnow Tue 23-Apr-13 16:30:36

Lots of environmental issues are heavily gendered. The FAO, which is hardly a radical organisation, has lots of research on this which is available online.

infamouspoo Tue 23-Apr-13 16:42:21

looks like an interesting conference but I am disappointed with the lack of creche/childcare

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 16:45:06

You don't have to want to join a lesbian community. I don't either. But I fail to see why you have a problem with people who do, getting together to discuss it. Are you against their existence?

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 16:56:53

Leith, are you against all radfems meeting to talk about anything, ever?
Given that you don't think the subject of the conference is relevant, do you think we need to define all radfems (all rad fems. Not just ones in a particular group) as a hate group and ban them from ever meeting each other? Because this seems to be the implication.
There is no radfem organisation which has 'kill all men policies' and which is now organising this conference. Some people elsewhere on the internet, apparently in American, who call themselves radfems, appear to have said nasty things about men (though nb this stuff has been taken out of context so it is not clear which men or what it is in response to). And to your mind this justifies preventing UK radfems meeting? NB the organisers of Radfem 2013 are not even the same as those who organised Radfem 2012.
Or is it that you think no-one who disagrees with genderist theory should be allowed to meet with each other, because they are by definition bigots?

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 17:17:54

Interestingly, the company that organises the bookings for the London Irish Centre does not seem to have a problem with the content of the conference. Or, seemingly, to believe that twaddle about it being against the Equalities Act. This is their statement:

'In response to those posting about the Radfem conference, Off to Work apologises that we are unable to proceed with the booking of the London Irish Centre (LIC) which we took previously. Off to Work is the exclusive booking agent for commercial hire of this venue, which is used for a variety of social, cultural and other purposes, in Camden.

Our cancellation of the booking was a very difficult decision, but one that we have made to protect the safety of our venue staff. It is also due to the increased operational demands of the conference, which we are not now equipped to deal with as a very small organisation and venue, used mainly for weddings, community events and training.

We have made this difficult decision based entirely on our available infrastructure and the wellbeing of our staff, without pressure from any group concerned with the subject matter of the conference and we are making recommendations to the organisers about other possible venues with the operational capacity to accommodate the event. We wish Radfem a successful conference.'

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 17:31:31

Off to work are not in charge of the facility, they do not own it, pay for the upkeep of it, or have any management responsibility for it. Their view is unimportant as it is the view of the legal constituted community organisation that does own the venue to decide what takes place, or in that case why an activity does NOT take place in their building.

As such Off work have no duty to consider equality policies, only health and safety and any other local ordinance such as noise, I doubt they as a commercial company will have been aware of any perceived issue arising out of previous conferences.

I know why the MRAs are saying its all about trans.

It's because they realized that yelling 'evil feminists hate men' hasn't worked brilliantly, on account of plenty of feminists having their own husbands and sons and male friends.

So now they're trying 'evil feminists hate transpeople'.

I expect the amount of genuine transphobia amongst rad fems is precisely the same as the amount of genuine man-hating. But obviously accusations of transphobia have turned out to be the successful way of going after a bunch of women who want to get together and discuss things.

Sigh.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 17:47:47

Thank you Freya, I will follow that up and have a read. The forces of production wreak havoc on the environment. Women ( & indeed children) have been a driving factor in this as consumers. Plus of course women benefit through the imperialist tendency towards appropriating the resources of poor countries, through their link to men of the capitalist class. Some women in the first world have benefited enormously because of the theft of resources from the third world. Historically I doubt men would have been driven to accumulate capital, or even to work half as hard if it were not for the links btw private property, class and progeny. But that just leads me back to a class analysis!

I have no problem with lesbians, I have several lesbian friends. What I think is strange is that so much of the conference is given over to lesbianism. Not all radicals are lesbians so why is so much time given over to promoting lesbianism.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 17:48:29

Leithlurker, are you going to answer my question posted at 16.56?

I am really interested to hear about men and the environment. It didn't seem an obvious link to me either - but the point of conferences surely isn't to go along and have everything you know already parrotted back to you. I for one am interested to see whether or not the speaker's explanation of why she thinks there is a link, is helpful.

And you know, I would really imagine that the speaker also set out in that way, trying to see if she could make a link and whether or not it'd hold up. That's what people do.

I'm also quite pleased a lot of the conference is about lesbianism - I think part of the reason is that lots of people are interested in lesbianism and separatism and various issues that intersect.

You can see that even on here - when we had threads about separatism, they were packed, even though the vast majority of us couldn't imagine being in a female-only household. And threads about sexuality always get a really strong response too. I think it's a nice step to have a conference that doesn't focus mostly on heterosexuality.

Sausageeggbacon Tue 23-Apr-13 18:02:57

So the whole issue is over one or two of the speakers who have a history of hate speech against the trans community. So long as those speakers are on the agenda there will be a backlash. And looks like Birkbeck won't be hosting.

Which speakers have a history of hate speech against the trans community?

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 18:08:07

Tunip, I agree with you, those creating the problem for radical feminism, are mainly American women who claim to identify as Radfem. As with many things coming out of America, there is often a lack of tact, sensitivity and a huge dollop of hyperbole.

Seems to me that somehow the MRAs need to work out what actually is oppressing and marginalising most men & it isn't women. We have the answer but they are loath to listen to us. They perceive us to be the enemy because some women claiming to be radfem are writing incendiary nonsense all over the web. Some equate patriarchy not with a social system but with male genitalia. Then you have the same number of ill educated men assuming that these women represent the views of all feminists.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 18:10:04

Lots of reasons I should think, Mini.

A lot of rad fems are lesbians and they want to discuss it.
Lesbian communities can provide an example of communities that aren't dominated by men and thus are interesting to those of us who are happily heterosexual.
Lesbophobia is a problem for many, and many lesbians feel marginalised within the mainstream LGBT movement, which they consider just as sexist as any other mainstream movement so they feel it doesn't represent them adequately.
Plus of course once we have killed all the men we are all going to have to be lesbians so the rest of us need to learn about it.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 18:10:33

Oh damn, I wasn't mean to tell them that last bit, was I? [shock}

grin

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 18:11:46

grin v.good! when do we get started

I did actually meet a bona fide 1970s political lesbian last time I went out with MN feminists. It was brilliant and she was fascinating to talk to, but also felt such a world away.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 18:20:49

'Tunip, I agree with you, those creating the problem for radical feminism, are mainly American women who claim to identify as Radfem. As with many things coming out of America, there is often a lack of tact, sensitivity and a huge dollop of hyperbole.

Seems to me that somehow the MRAs need to work out what actually is oppressing and marginalising most men & it isn't women. We have the answer but they are loath to listen to us. They perceive us to be the enemy because some women claiming to be radfem are writing incendiary nonsense all over the web'

I'm not sure that we do agree though. I agree with you that MRAs are looking at the wrong target - there's a great blog post you might have seen about how the solution to a lot of the things MRAs complain about is more feminism.

But I don't think that everything would be fine if the American radfems would just be more polite and I most certainly don't think that these problems are caused by what radfems are saying.
They don't NEED us to say dodgy things for them to find things to twist. That's why I gave the example of when F4J attacked Mumsnet. Were you here when that happened? The only thing that would shut the MRAs up is for women to be quiet and submissive and never demand rights. We should never complain about discrimination and we should most certainly never mention male violence.

I have been quoted on an MRA hate site a few years back for saying something laughably mild. I can PM you with what it was if you're interested. Rest assured it was not manhating in the least, but they presented it as such.

I think many people are very, very ready to believe radfems are weird and evil, even if it means taking the word of a group of MRAs that has been condemned as a hate group by a leading human rights organisation. (The reason for that is partly lesbophobia IMO, but that's another issue.)

Which American radfems are we talking about?

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 18:23:55

And my line about how we are going to kill all the men, by the way - I would not be at all surprised if that turned up on an MRA site some time as an example of radfem hate speech. I am completely serious about them doing this. I have have seen it happen. That's why I take the 'look how nasty the radfems are' sites with an ENORMOUS pinch of salt.

alexpolismum Tue 23-Apr-13 18:33:03

It seems incredible when you think about it.

The EDL presumably hold meetings. They probably all go along the same lines and you have to take your own beer.

Fathers for Justice hold meetings

All kinds of groups who spew various kinds of hate speech have meetings.

Yet radfems are blocked from a venue.

Transphobia? Or a case of disagreement on what gender really is. I have also never heard a radfem advocate violence against trans people.

In any movement of any kind, you are always going to get a fringe element who don't represent the majority. No one believes that all Chechens are plotting bomb attacks against marathons because of the Boston suspects, but all radfems are tarred with the same anti-trans brush because of the alleged actions of a few.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 18:38:16

Yes please, happy if you pm me. I'd like to read the blog post too.

A couple of F4J turned up a while back, I saw one off. grin They really get turned off when you use the least unemotive language. Which is another reason why I wonder what shouting "shut the fuck up" actually achieves.

I really do believe though that men and women throug historical process of production and reproduction have built this social system. History didn't happen to us whilst we slept, we have made history just as we are now.

With this in mind I think the best way forward is solidarity. I know plenty of men who agree that more equality is needed btw men and women. Dp is great and he's a socialist too (so much to talk about here) but he is very defensive when he has encountered some radfem analysis. He will not accept that he has privilege over all women. Actually I won't accept that he has either. And I think this is the place that many of the disaffected MRAs are coming from. Dialogue is needed and that can't be had shouting over the barricades.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 18:39:43

*through must proof read more!

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 18:43:53

Alex - yes, it's almost enough to make you believe in patriarchy confused

Mini - Here it is: The solution to MRA problems: more feminism

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 18:46:37

LRD I linked to a site earlier in the thread. I am also basing my opinion on a few of the blogs and sites I have encountered having followed links from here.

I don't generally read blogs unless someone recommends reading something, then I tend to follow the links in the text from the blog to look for the sources.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 18:52:18

I absolutey agree Mini, the only thing is that in order to have solidarity each and every group will have to compromise. That will mean everyone being willing to give up what ever power base they have. That's not a popular message for most folk, one though that we must make time and again if liberalism/patriarchy/class/capitalism are to be brought down.

I think I'm with tunip on sites like that.

I've got to say - I hear what you're saying about 'solidarity', but what does solidarity mean to you? Does it only mean saying it's not your DH who has male privilege?

I just wonder where that ends. We could surely all say 'yes, it's the patriarchy I mind - but not my DH, he has no part in it', but there aren't any men in the world who are no woman's husband or son or brother, are there?

I don't think my DH is a horrible patriarchial oppressor (oddly enough! grin), but I do think he has male privilege, and so does he. If he didn't like the idea, I think there'd be an onus on me to talk to him about it (since we're married), but I don't think there'd be an onus on me to change my views or expect others to change theirs.

So I guess what I'm getting at is - can I still show 'solidarity' while continuing to believe what I believe as a rad fem, or does 'solidarity' actually mean 'not being a rad fem anymore'?

(I'm not being snide, btw, I mean this totally seriously because I think it is a pretty big issue here.)

Ah. Right, leith at least believes 'solidarity' actually means rad fems not being quite so rad fem.

If you believe something to be absolutely wrong - which IMO the patriarchy is - you can't 'compromise' by pretending to believe it's only a little bit wrong, like you can compromise about how many conference sessions to fund.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:03:33

Yes that's exactly what I believe LRD, the same with MRA, being way less MRA, racists being not racist at all, the rich giving up their wealth and the symbols of wealth, countries that have the power to annihilate everyone on the planet three times over GIVING UP that power. Solidarity being that no one gets to wave the privilege card or the oppressed card. So you betcha you radfems dont get to be radfems but that's because you need the rest of us to change and once we have you also change.

I swear to god, if you mean that to be sarcastic, you probably need to tell me the next nine posts whether you're serious or not, because I will struggle to tell.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 19:06:34

Excellent leith, you are so right. I don't believe in any hierarchical power structures, right through from child rearing to managing staff. We can not overcome any form discrimination whilst other forms still exist. The place to start is in finding common goals and to do that we need to locate the cause of the oppression.

LRD I am a feminist, it doesn't stop me from also being a mother, daughter, friend and Marxist. Being all of those things doesn't stop me from running a business.

I can see that if you believe that patriarchy is located between the legs and the ears of the male of the species you may actually find it fairly difficult to have any solidarity with men. If you conclude that patriarchy is a social system alongside capitalism (for which I don't blame individuals) then its entirely possible to start a dialogue that includes men and therefore men and women in other groups.

mini - why should being a feminist stop you from being those things? confused

I don't think the patriarchy is located in those places.

I don't actually find it difficult to have solidarity with some men, either.

What I asked was, do you think the 'solidarity' you mention, necessitates compromise of radical feminist ideology? Do you mean, you think radical feminists shouldn't really be allowed to be radical feminists?

If so, I think you're perfectly entitled to feel that way, but I disagree. Just as you and I obviously disagree about hierarchical power structures.

My view is that it's fine to disagree, and that's why it's useful that we live in a world where - most of the time - people do accept in principle that others can peacefully express different views. But that is precisely what these attacks on Radfem 2013 are not allowing.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:18:13

I am not Marxist, probably more socialist, or even old, old labour men and women united in struggle to bring up families in proper housing with enough food and heat with out any compromise of dignity.
So were never going to agree on some things Mini, but in that the need for the majority to work with each other to bring about the changes to society that groupings like radfems want, you and I agree.

FloraFox Tue 23-Apr-13 19:20:37

I'm not comfortable with the idea that the responsibility is on women to compromise or moderate their speech. That seems like appeasing the MRAs to me. Based on what they have posted on the Cathy Brennan site, they don't seem to distinguish between the radfems and the liberal fems who were protesting the men's rights issues at U of T. It seems like the root of most MRA's concerns are the position of family laws currently, which are not exactly rad fem.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 23-Apr-13 19:21:38

Mini I think you are completely misunderstanding radical feminism if you think they think the patriarchy equates to male genitalia, but I have to put kids to bed/have tea now so I will come back later if I get time to explain why.

I feel like that, flora.

Chubfuddler Tue 23-Apr-13 19:28:00

MRAs don't feel opressed by radfems. That is bollocks.

They feel "waaaaaahhh evil bitch ho thinks she's my equal but I'm better than her because I have a PENIS".

Men are opressed by our society in many ways. The solution to the problems of gender pressures on men is not to silence all the bitch ho radfems. The answer is more feminism.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:28:19

Your discomfort is personal Flora, if by working with MRA's, and radicle trans, as well as black panther, radicle lesbians/gay men, you could put together the type of coalition that would start by sweeping away the type of political parties that we have now on a platform of addressing the major issues of all the groups in the coalition like banning pornography for example, or enshrining 50/50 child care, or banning the bnp/ukip/edl, would you flora live with your discomfort?

leith, if you could advance feminism massively by enduring the discomfort of not being able to post any more on MN, would you do it?

I'm just curious, like.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:31:00

What would you give up LRD?

Ooh, I dunno. What would you like me to give up? Could I balance it out against the pain of the last few threads, maybe?

FloraFox Tue 23-Apr-13 19:38:53

Leith I don't believe that would ever work. A coalition requires some shared ground or beliefs. I don't think that MRAs or gay men (for example) are generally in favour of banning pornography. Feminists groups don't have consensus on that point either. I would not be in favour of banning the BNP, UKIP or the EDL.

My discomfort is political, not personal.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:40:17

Dunno why your in pain did you hurt yourself? Spluttering hot drinks can cause nasty burns.

I really do not want you to give up anything LRD, you are who and what you are.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:44:22

The question then flora is how do you square the fact that the changes in society that YOU want, will never happen as the status quo will always be maintained. That makes me really blody angry thinking about the lives, hopes, potential of women and men lost, and the continuation of human life only being valued by how much money they can make/accrue.

Good good, that was useful then.

I think the issue isn't just the lack of shared beliefs. It's that some things can't be compromised upon. If one side wants 50% less of x and the other side want 50% more of x, there is absolutely no point in trying to meet in the middle, is there? All you can do is hope (rather hopelessly) that one or other will completely forget the issue existed in the first place. That isn't compromise.

I think there are loads of issues on which individual feminists can work out a compromise position when they want to talk to people with other ideologies, but it's not really possible to compromise the ideology of radical feminism so that it fits in better with what MRAs want.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:54:19

Thats the point of solidarity LRD, compromise is not only understood it's the reason to meet in the first place. Things always seem difficult or impossible, that's the major barrier to starting projects, it just looks to hard. Until you try it though you never know, the main question is though is the lack of willingness to believe that things wont work going to be the hurdle to trying?

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 19:55:15

BTW LRD if that was useful then perhaps we could try it again sometime.

I think you are misunderstanding what 'solidarity' means, leith. I have already asked some questions to try to explore whether or not this term is being used in a meaningful way, or merely as a euphemism for 'compromise'. It appears it is the latter. This is not very helpful, because as flora has already explained, political ideology is not quite the same as personal feelings.

Does that make more sense now?

You will be aware that people have been trying to think about the possibilities for compromise for a very long time, but maybe you can tell me - since you think there is a way - how precisely you would expect radical feminism to compromise its ideology? And what you imagine would be achieved by those compromises?

I'm not 100% certain, but I would be dubious you can come up with compromises that do not, in fact, change that ideology, such that you're no longer talking about radical feminism.

As a rule, it is rather a lot easier to get people who aren't rad fems to agree to compromises of rad fem ideology, but I can't help feeling it also misses the point ...

FloraFox Tue 23-Apr-13 19:58:29

Leith in a democracy, we don't all need to agree to compromise to make changes. What you are proposing is radically different from any system of government I am aware of and I don't believe it is workable. If you look at the last 50 years, there have been huge changes in the status quo that have not come about because groups at either end of any particular belief system have come together to compromise.

That's true, flora.

I think compromise can be important - but I don't quite understand what compromises are being asked for here, and how on earth they could be made to fit with rad fem ideology.

My sense is that, truly, what is wanted is simply 'oh can't you be a bit less ... well ... feminist'.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 20:02:23

I do not accept that analysis nor do the men and women of the occupy movement, the many green initiatives, in fact lots of groups, most fundamentalist it is not acceptable to the billions who live in abject poverty in third world countries, rape torture, trafficking oppression of belief, and freedom of movement and thought. All these things are reflections of the social structures that we built, it is up to us to knock them down not just for us but for thos who have no voice. There need is more important than politics.

Leithlurker Tue 23-Apr-13 20:04:03

Less feminist wanted by whom? Me and Mini or just me?

Do you have an answer for me at all?

And why is it you're only upset about 'those who have no voice' when they're not the radical feminists who, you seem to be saying, should not be entitled to a voice simply because they disagree with you?

That seems rather hypocritical.

You do realize that radical feminism believes that the social structures 'we' built are the patriarchy, which oppresses women? I'm not sure who this group are, who 'have no voice' in those social structures 'we' built, if it isn't oppressed women?

I didn't think you were speaking for mini. I will continue to assume she'll speak for herself, unless she says otherwise.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 20:10:13

LRD who are the "some" men?

Marx proposed that "historical materialism is the view of the course of history which seeks the ultimate cause and the great moving power of all historical events in the economic development of society, in the changes of the modes of production and exchange, in the consequent division of society into distinct classes, and the struggles of these two classes against one another"

As I remember, Firestone broke ranks with the civil rights activists because not enough emphasis was placed on women's issues. Despite the fact that civil rights encompassed all rights of the oppressed groups.

She proposed that " Historical materialism is that view of the course of history which seeks the ultimate cause, and the great moving power of all historical events in the dialectic of sex: the division of society into two distinct biological classes for the procreative reproduction, and the struggle of these two classes with one another; in the changes in the modes of marriage, reproduction and childcare...."

Firstly we can not have known and we do not know with any certainty that the first evolutionary steps taken from pre-historical tribal society would have lead in this direction.

However before we even think about procreation we must first produce the means to subsist just one more day. We must find food, shelter and protection. We reproduce the means of subsistence first, that is our overriding urge after which comes procreation.

Patriarchy is real, it isn't to be found in btw the ears of men. It is to be found within the superstructure above the socio/economic base. All explanations for life arise out of the need humans have to make sense of the material conditions of their lives, their lived experience. Because patriarchy is a social system built on the material base and as a "catch all phrase" can be used to explain the state, judiciary, institutions etc which also sit within the superstructure It is not the cause or the catalyst but a term used by sociologists and people to explain how those institutions have shaped relations btw men and women.

What actually creates the division of the sexes is what happens in the base structure, the modes of production and of course the biological differences btw men and women. What happens in the superstructure only reinforces this.

Which is why accepting that a social system has been the cause of women's oppression has led in my opinion to a situation where there is disagreement about biological determinism.

It stands to reason that if you believe women's oppression is not a casualty of the material or of the biological then you are left thinking that men created a complex social web simply to oppress women. So where does all the other forms of oppression fit into this?

For me personally? It tends to depend when I meet them. Or read their work, if you're thinking about people more in the public eye. DH, obviously! But loads of male friends, people I've worked with, that sort of thing.

I'm sorry, but I can't follow what you're saying about the rest?

I believe patriarchy is real, but I don't believe it's found between the ears of men - why do you think anyone does think that? confused

I don't too much care about the origins of women's oppression. Fair enough if you do - I can see it's interesting to speculate, and sometimes I'm in the mood for a bit of that.

But now it's here and real, for me, the big issue is simply, what do I think is the best way to end it? And for me, that's radical feminism. I do believe that other forms of oppression intersect with oppression of women, of course (never met a rad fem who didn't). But I don't believe that men are oppressed because of their sex, so I can't accept that MRAs have a point. And I do believe that men are privileged relative to women when we consider sex privilege.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 20:47:03

Would it be fair to say that your analysis is based on the judgement derived from feeling?

What is difficult to follow? happy to elucidate on anything smile

I think the origins are important because understanding the origins is understanding the theory.

I thought radical alluded to the "root of" it isn't enough to say that some radfems understand how other forms of oppression interesect because that doesn't explain how sex class oppression caused other forms of oppression. If it isn't linked in a causal manner then it simply isn't the root of the problem is it?

No, I don't think so.

Why do you think it's about feelings when it is political? I understand your feeling of wanting to dissociate your husband from analysis, but I don't share it, not at all.

I don't follow why you think the points about Firestone etc. are relevant - what are you trying to say?

You may be right origins are important. I'm not sure myself. But no, the 'radical' bit means that rad fems think that sex discrimination is the root issue. It doesn't mean we go back to imagine what it was like for cavemen and women, and try to think what 'went wrong'. That's pretty pointless IMO (not that it's not interesting, but it's not going to solve much now!).

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 20:52:38

I believe patriarchy is real, but I don't believe it's found between the ears of men - why do you think anyone does think that? that is because of the incomplete or total lack of theory on the part of the radfems who are posting man hating horse shit.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 20:54:03

The points about Firestone are relevant when discussing the formation of radfem theory but also in any discussion about social solidarities.

Am I posting man-hating horse shit, mini? Because you seem to think I think this about the patriarchy.

I'm not entirely sure which rad fems, where, are posting man-hating horse shit, TBH. If there are some, I will continue to ignore them and focus on the vast majority of rad fems who, like me or tunip or the women I know attending this conference, are not in the least 'man-hating'.

I still don't follow the relevance of Firestone - this isn't me criticizing it, I just honestly don't have anything helpful to say, but explained I didn't see the relevance because I didn't want you to think I was ignoring that bit.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 21:05:44

OK, so the root issue is sexism ? is that what you think ?

Why?

Discussing the origin of oppression is important because it will uncover the root of all oppression. In doing so it is possible IMO to see where multi-issue politics can take the place of single issue activism.

Otherwise I win rights at a cost to you, you win rights at the cost to malcombe or who ever, he wins the right to do something or say something and then all hell breaks out. That is called liberalism. This is where no ones rights trump another's rights but no ones oppression can be overcome without trampling on someone's rights. This is why liberalism is so popular with the ruling elites (whether you think they are all male or not (I do) This is the status quo. Nothing can be resolved because where one gains ground another feels he has lost. Some men believe that women demanding rights mean them handing over some of theirs. Of course this isn't really the case but when you have many separate groups you always have a perceived and sometimes real conflict of interests.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 21:13:03

Hell no LRD. I have never once read you post anything man hating. I appreciate everything you say and give a great deal of thought to it.

Maybe I'll give in, I don't know, I didn't think I was that incomprehensible or vague.

Firestone came out of the civil rights movement and founded the womens movement.

"Shulamith Firestone (January 7, 1945 – August 28, 2012)[1] (also called Shulie, or Shuloma) was a Canadian-born feminist. She was a central figure in the early development of radical feminism, having been a founding member of the New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. In 1970, she authored The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, an important and widely influential feminist text."

Wiki

Without her ground breaking analysis which turned Marx on its head (I posted this above) you wouldn't have radfem.

I would say misogyny.

I don't know why it is the root issue, but I am sure that it is, because the majority of adults living in poverty are women, because the majority of victims of rape and domestic violence are women, because women still do not earn as much as men and are not as well-represented in the professions and in parliament as men, even in a first-world country like the UK. Because when I look at history, there is never a time when misogyny doesn't exist.

I do see what you're saying about the importance of origins. My reservation is, though, that the origins of misogyny are evidently located in the time before recorded history. Whatever they may be, they apply to a time so far back we can't imagine what it'd be like to live in it - and we wouldn't want to.

I think it is quite possible that the fact women have children has a lot to do with it - but I am not interested in trying to work out a situation where we return to a world where childbirth kills huge numbers of women, where contraception isn't known and where there is no alternative to breastfeeding for a baby whose mother can't feed him or her. So I have no interest in trying to reconstruct and retroactively right whatever wrongs may have happened back then. I'm more interested in pointing out that - in the here and now - it's a crock of shite that women are still being treated this way.

I agree that some men think they must lose rights in order for women to gain rights (and, no doubt, vice versa, though women have fewer rights in the first place). And I agree this is not necessarily correct. However, when we are talking about 'solidarity' and you feeling your husband isn't part of the patriarchy, I can't help thinking we're talking cross-purposes.

The patriarchy describes sex oppression. It is not a personal insult; it is simply a description to say that men (as a group) are more privileged than women (as a group). To say 'well I don't like that because I don't believe that's true of my DH and if you wanted to show solidarity you wouldn't say it' - which is what it feels as if you're saying - is muddling the personal in with the political.

If that isn't what you meant, I'm sorry - but, what compromise did you have in mind? What do you mean by 'solidarity' in the context of radical feminism, Radfem 2013, and MRAs?

Cross posted.

Whew! I was wondering what the heck I'd said.

I expect I am not following correctly - I'm sorry about that.

I know who Firestone is (though I'm not sure I agree without her we wouldn't have radical feminism, because I honestly believe radical feminism is immensely simpler and more obvious than some folk like to make out).

Personally, I like to think Mary Wollstonecraft pre-empted quite a bit of Marx anyway. grin

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 21:34:24

I agree that childbirth has a great deal of relevance both to the formation of the general relations and the formation of class society (whether we accept that to be patriarchal or socio/economic materialist)

There was a time I think when women were revered for their life giving properties, we had fertility godesses and temples devoted to female gods. Men created (patriarchal) mono-theist religion where men became the central force in creation, supplanting women's role. A male god became the creationary force. This seems to have happened as a way of trying to reinforce women as child carers and token of exchange within the class system. A system where women were denied sexual freedoms because men wanted to be assured that their progeny was theirs in relation to protecting private property.

Hegel's dialectic informed Marx's thinking which he then applied in a materialist analysis of history.

I think that if radical is truly to mean "the root" then leaving out the materialist historical enquiry of Firestone which is key to the formation of Rad feminism is actually counter productive to finding a way forward in understanding the formation of class society (be that patriarchal or socio/economic) But then I am a sucker for theory smile

I'd like to think that too (about goddesses etc.). I hope so.

I think 'radical' can mean 'root' without requiring us to do historical guesswork - and necessarily there is a big element of guesswork here. I think it is perfectly possible to say that the root problem in the world is the patriarchy, without being certain of how the patriarchy came to be.

I don't see how this means radical feminism is counter-productive, though? Am I being really thick here? (You can say yes!). I just think that identifying a root problem, and trying to identify the roots of that problem back in the mists of time, are quite different things.

And I will say, I am truly terrible at theory. I can cope with political ideology, but pure theory is something I think my brain just doesn't do.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 21:49:23

I am not suggesting that we work backwards. Because I find historical materialism intuitive (and for me simple) I am always working forwards.

An analogy, why are some countries still pre-capitalist? ie third world and still largely undeveloped along industrial lines? why did capitalism happen here first and why did the industrial revolution happen in Britain? because the pre-exsisting relations btw classes and the existing mode of production, the fact that the peasants became the proletariat when they had no land to farm created the conditions for new forms of production and new social relations. So everything is always moving forwards.

In India and some areas in the east where pre-capitalist production was not feudal in nature capitalism exploits the historically specific and backward forms of production and exchange to its advantage. BUT things move on as can be seen now the peasants are being expelled from the land (that no one actually owns) to make way for capitalist forms of production. The shanty towns are being raised and in their place flats and offices are built. The proletariat are created, they are now propertyless and require employment for wage labour.

But India has a class system (caste ?) and women have appalling rights but strangely there are more women in politics than here.

If you cycle back to the civil rights movement, women were involved in politics. It isn't necessary to want to have power over others and sit in Westminster. To do so may only extend a few rights to a few women and always within the existing socio/economic class system that creates inequality.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 21:52:04

Of course there is lots of evidence for fertility goddesses etc... but is there any evidence that there has ever been a truly equal (or indeed matriarchal) society? I've read Engels on the subject but thought his position was generally seen as rather ill-supported (but would love to hear more of this if I'm wrong).

Yes, I know there is evidence for fertility goddesses ... but I think in thousands of years people might very well look at statues of the Virgin Mary in a similar light, and we all know that Catholicism is not deeply, deeply committed to women's lib.

I disagree that everything is always moving forwards. That seems to me - historically - to be a meaningless statement. What is 'forward', who gets to define progress? What backwards movements do we have to ignore to define this progress? It is an artificial way of looking at history, to say that we constantly move fowards, IMO.

I would like to believe we always move forwards but I know it is not so.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 21:55:25

My brain can't do English lit or retain anything like.......syntax grin I was grappling around wondering what had changed in the English language that made some books seem Greek to me.

grin

Well, my syntax can be shocking.

I think to be honest, I am just not up to this. I'm sorry - I'm trying, and I can see you're trying to simplify, but it's over my head.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:06:47

Do you think we might think Mono-theist religions aren't sexist at some point in the future. I hope not, if that is so we might still be oppressed.

I recently read Gerda Lerna (again after many years) and she wrote about some of the finds that had been made by archaeologists. They had found the small stone carvings of women with huge bellies, some squatting as though in labour. Apparently many women within domestic settings kept these stone deities for luck long past the creation of "god" as male creator of all life. Seems to me that men in early pre-history may have been both amazed & suspicious of women giving birth but by the time of state formation and writing, building temples and cities I think they would have understood perfectly well how babies were made. I think it was Aristotle who thought women were immoral and had to be guided, his ideas stemmed from the idea that both slaves and women must be ruled over to protect the property rights of the man. Of course by this time there was a fully formed class system.

It's possible we might not even know they were monotheist, I think.

We don't really know how the cultures that made women-goddess figurines thought about religion. In fact we don't know for certain those figurines are goddesses at all.

It's just an interpretation - one that suits us nicely because we like to make pictures of an idyllic past and patronize it slightly at the same time. But we don't know.

I think far into the future, people will probably be equally ill-informed about us.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:13:00

Engles, really difficult to read. I have read some but I found it very hard work. MooncupGoddess I take my hat off to you if you have read a lot.

I did read a while back that more recent anthropologists are looking at archaeological and newly found artefacts of all kinds and increasingly concluding that Engles was more correct than not. I'll see if I can remember where I read this and link.

I do think, btw, that it is always a spectrum, understanding stuff like how babies are made.

In Tudor times, there wasn't a consensus about when women were fertile.

Even later, people still thought female reproductive organs were basically a penis turned inwards, because women were a repressed, wrong-way-round echo of men.

And it's only within the last couple of generations that we've learned that sperm don't just swim towards a passive waiting egg, they're actively pulled in the right direction by the woman's body.

Obviously all of those things aren't equally significant bits of knowledge, but I think it is quite telling that we are constantly realizing that our assumptions are shaped by what we expect about sex relations. So I find it hard to accept we can trace 'progress' in any meaningful way through history.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:22:18

I'm not certain. It is tempting to think that we have reached the apex of civilisation, I'm sure at every point in history we have thought this. It might be fear of the unknown. I mean, what comes after the revolution (what the hell is a revolution anyway.......can't happen in a single day) we look back and think that peasants walked off the land on Monday and got a factory job on Thursday and yet it was years in the making. same with the French revolution, it didn't happen in a day, the conditions existed that propelled the change forward. I think we'll have lots of historical sources in the future but we might lack the insight to understand the events fully. Plus history is always written for the ruling class ( men always rich) it is never a complete set of factual truths. How could it be because to study every account however subjective might build a full picture but how do you knit it all together into a complete objective understanding.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 22:25:07

Yes, do, Mini, that would be great. I've only read The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State which I loved.

Surely what you describe is progress in scientific knowledge, though, LRD? Or have I missed your point?

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:25:36

I guess eggs had to be passive because women were meant to be passive. You, know its all down to the men, the active ones to get the job done. hmm

Yes, that's sort of what I mean ... I think we always reckon we can look back at history and say 'ahh, yes, it was then that the true progress occurred/the shift began'.

I don't say this to be defeatest. I am aware that we currently pretend we're getting around this by being ever so carefully qualified in what we say. And it is very fashionable to talk about how one's analysis of, say, chartism or the Peasants' Revolt is actually teaching us more about our own preconceptions and so on.

But we still do it, we still make pronouncements about those historical events.

I am fine with this so far as it's history. I am less fine with the idea that a political ideology is invalid because we cannot know the root causes of the patriarchy. Even if we could suddenly discount the way history works, and achieve a blinding trans-historical insight into those root causes, I don't believe it would change how we fight the patriarchy. I don't belive it would make the patriarchy more, or less, of a root problem in our modern world.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:28:52

MooncupGoddess, wow. Taken hat off. I have only read exerts but its on my to do list. I'll have a scout back through my history on PC and look and see if I can find what I was reading.

Sorry, my last was to yours of 22:22, mini.

Yes, absolutely about 'passive' eggs. hmm It is bizarre, isn't it?

mooncup - yes, what I describe is progress in scientific knowledge. I was responding to mini saying that by the time states and class systems had developed, we knew how babies were made. I am not sure things coincide so neatly, as I think we keep on learning more.

I am also trying to say that I think what we consider to be 'knowledge' (scientific or historical) is conditioned by our contemporary preconceptions (no pun intended). So, people thought they 'knew' how babies were made for centuries. But we keep making new discoveries that re-frame the old certainties.

It is quite likely more such discoveries will be made and we will again find that we have to reassess.

These discoveries don't all go in the same direction, though. People get the wrong ideas, or forget about a good idea for centuries (is it Lucretius who thought the world was composed of tiny particles or 'atoms'?). We live in a particular moment in time, and we naturally see everything from that point in time. So we arrange the past, conceptually, in terms of progress towards our current ideas. And that is a distortion. Inevitably.

This is why I want to get back to political ideology, rather than seeking root causes in prehistory. The political ideology that patriarchy is a system of oppression, is never going to change. People might give up on it as an ideology, but in itself, it isn't subject to change. Therefore it is qualitatively different from, say, the perception that women are born less intelligent than men, or the idea that the earth moves around the sun.

Btw, I really appreciate you both being so patient with me!

Tell me to quiet down if I'm doing that thing of wandering around a discussion being incoherent, won't you? grin blush

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 22:34:57

Yes, identifying progress in political/economic terms is very different from identifying scientific progress, because one has to decide on the criteria by which it's judged and it's hopelessly subjective. It's easy to see political history as being on a bumpy upward ride towards the nirvana of liberal democracy... but liberal democracy, even if the best of our options so far, isn't a panacea for all the other problems in society.

Agree re limited relevance of the roots of patriarchy.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 22:40:04

Sorry, x-post - I see what you mean about our understanding of scientific progress being inexorably distorted by the lens of the present. Though I still think that some types of understanding are more distorted by the lens of the present than others - otherwise one just ends up in a post-modern heap not able to draw any conclusions about anything.

(Aristotle of course thought that sperm were actually little homunculi containing all the material necessary to become fully functioning humans. Women just provided a cosy warm environment for the sperm to develop into a baby. Aargh!)

Oh, absolutely, I agree some types of understanding are more distorted than others. And I agree about the dangers of said post-modern heap. Which is why I like political ideology, and why I don't think it is necessary or valuable to compromise that ideology if it's something you truly believe is right.

Compromise all sorts of things - but compromising ideology really means re-writing it. There is no point unless you believe it's right.

Aristotle has a lot to answer for. hmm

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:43:36

I can't imagine swallowing whole the party manifesto of the labour party. But I know how the labour party came into being and why. I know what it was a response to. I am more likely to accept the ideology (I don't because its sold out)

I can't follow the ideology of the radfem until I can understand what that ideology is in response to. It came about as a response to something and that something is both historical (non specific in terms of time/place) but not rooted in any material fact what so ever. This is why I struggle with it. It is aHistorical but at the same time exists confused

Well...... patriarchy came out of somewhere for it to exists. If it didn't come from somewhere then it can't be proved to exist beyond being a narrative we use to explain the social relations as situated within that superstructure (where all thoughts and feelings exist outside of but in relation to the material base structure)

Fair enough, mini. Is this perhaps just a difference in how we all think?

I wouldn't swallow Labour's party manifesto either. I'd also see their manifesto not so much as a political ideology, but as an application of that ideology that involves plenty of compromises.

I'm trying to think why I don't mind not knowing why the patriarchy happened, and I admit, I'm not sure.

But I don't feel any struggle to understand what radical feminism is a response to, because it is obvious to me that women are oppressed as a class, and that is enough for me. In the same way that, even if I didn't know anything at all about the history of race relations, I like to think I would still feel that discrimination against black people (or whoever) is wrong.

I don't see the issue. I don't see how the patriarchy (which is a structure explaining how the world works) has to 'exist' in the same concrete, historical terms as, say, the Labour party. I don't think the ideals of any political party 'exist' in that concrete, historical sense either, do they?

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 22:51:29

I am now imagining little sperm sized humans grin Aristotle was a twerp.

grin

Awww, but they'd be cute little sperm-sized humans.

I can't help seeing them as tadpoles, really. Not a pleasant thought.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 22:58:15

Hmm, I think we have different perspectives on this, Mini. I certainly find that knowing the early history of the Labour party helps me understand its subsequent development, but it doesn't make me more likely to accept its ideology. Similarly, whether I know where Communism or neoconservatism came from doesn't significantly affect my critique of them.

Isn't radfem ideology simply a response to the world we see around us which privileges men and invents gender roles to keep women down? I guess your objection is that it isn't rooted in the means of production, so for you as a Marxist it's not a legitimate ideology...?

I do get the feeling we are dignifying the MRAs in this situation quite a bit - is that just me?

We are discussing ideologies - am I unfair to think that, although I can see there is a set of beliefs MRAs put foward, they are to a fairly big extent really just pushing an ideology no more complex than 'WTF we don't like these women'? I could be being mean. I've just never met a sensible man who sees things in such ridiculous terms as that bloke Mike Buchanan, or for that matter most of F4J.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 23:01:18

<gives a rousing rendition of Every Sperm is Sacred for light relief purposes>

grin

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 23:04:50

I haven't noticed you dignifying the MRAs, LRD grin but yes a few people on this thread have. I have yet to notice any germ of intelligent or principled thought in their whiny rants.

Funny that, no, I haven't been. You know what I mean - I am really enjoying this discussion and I think it's fascinating. And I do see where mini is coming from about compromise and ideology and so on, even though I'm not sure I understand it enough.

But it's my impression that a lot of the people opposing radfem 2013 actively (as opposed to those who may be sitting around thinking 'bunch of nutters' or 'I really hate women-only events' or whatever), are not really that interested in compromise.

Maybe I am being unfair. Maybe there are a lot of people who passionately wish the event were only slightly different so they could attend in good conscience. But honestly I reckon that, unfortunately, the people who genuinely think that are the people who're respectfully going through the normal channels of arguing their case, not the ones trying to no-platform it and kicking up a stink.

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

I would never seek to make someone's ideology illegitimate. No not at all.

I acknowledge patriarchy I think that sexism stems from the complex social conditioning that both men and women are subject to. So if patriarchy is an ideology it is situated within the superstructure, it is a narrative we use to understand that complex social conditioning which in turn is our way of making sense of the base structure. Its a dialectic btw the two. The base structure is not aHistorical and it constantly evolves, as do the narratives we use to understand the complexity of relations that spring from it.

I might not be making any sense ! I know what I mean smile

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Apr-13 23:25:10

MRAs, well I happen to agree LRD, most of this is driven by nothing more than fear. They think that rights are finite and can't be shared. They think its like a tug of war. Whilst winning rights sometimes means curtailing those of others, I don't think this is such a situation.

I do think though that as more and more men are less suited to changes within the work place and women are more ascendant that men may become increasingly radicalised. I think the sexism of the "common man" is very much rooted in his position as breadwinner and the social power this gives him over the women of his class. As this breaks down (it is worldwide) then we will see more MRA activity. This is why I think its important to listen and start to address the economic system. We really need a situation where I don't have economic cleavage over DP and other women don't have privilege over other women. Only making fundamental changes to the economic system will end the class system and allow equality btw all peoples.

MooncupGoddess Tue 23-Apr-13 23:30:20

I don't see why men shouldn't be suited to the modern workplace, though...? We just need to eliminate stereotypes re men's work v women's work, and the assumption (now on its way out, thank God) that a husband should earn more than his wife.

This is where I fall down with theory.

I have, I promise, tried to understand why people use terms like 'base' and 'superstructure' and I have read up on it. But it's in one ear and out the other.

I think I agree with you, though.

FloraFox Wed 24-Apr-13 01:14:14

This discussion is very interesting. I can't contribute anything sensible on the theory side. I find it interesting to think about but I'm more with LRD that if you identify the problem, you can think about ways to fix the problem even if you don't know precisely how that problem arose. I also agree with Mini that to the extent that we can identify the history, it is helpful in analysing the problem. I think that can be done somewhat with industrial / economic relations because our current economic structure (capitalism) is fairly recent and somewhat documented. With sexual relations, I think it is too far in the past to be usefully analysed and it's too susceptible to being derailed by evolutionary psychobabble.

I agree with Mini that men are becoming more radicalised as women become more ascendant and this is (to some extent) related to the shift in skills required in the workplace and women's ability to support themselves economically without a man. However, at the risk of agreeing with everyone (weird for me), I also agree with Mooncup that this is not necessarily the case and that men are just as suited to the modern workplace as women (men are certainly still dominant in my workplace).

Where I can't engage with MRAs in their current state however is that I believe they are primarily motivated by seeking to preserve a power they once had. In general, they seem to identify themselves as not "alpha males" and seem quite obsessed with power distribution among men. A lot of them use PUA / game type language. Placing themselves as low status males, their "movement" seems to me about keeping a higher status than women as a class and certainly higher than women of their own class. To achieve this, the internet warriors among them resort to the age old manner in which men as a class exerted power over women as a class - the threat of rape and violence.

I don't believe that appeasing these men will solve anything unless women give them the dominance they seek. I also don't believe that we need to change the entire economic system in order to address this problem (although I wouldn't necessarily be against that). In all likelihood, we won't change the economic power structures in our lifetime (could be wrong) and I agree with Mini that there is likely to be an increase in radicalisation in the future. I believe we need to hear lots of feminist voices and encourage feminist thinking even if we don't agree with everything that is said as a result. I have never considered myself a rad fem but I really do want to hear what they have to say.

Elohim Wed 24-Apr-13 09:38:49

Hi, as a much loved Aunty to many nieces and nephews I can't believe what I am actually reading here. I'm very upset by all these comments and the comments that I am referring to are those that some of the members of the "Radical Hub" website have made in the past about little boys. I am pleased that the website previously owned by Cathy Brennan is now defunct - thank God - we all have to be grateful for small mercies. I am a female member of "MRA London" and as a men's rights activist, I am appalled that such an organisation as Rad Fem could be entertained on here! However, I am so glad the London Irish Centre declined their booking for this year's Rad Fem's conference. I am aghast that the men I work with can be classed and condemned as misogynist violent women-hating bastards. The guys I work with are passionate about what they believe in and I along with many other females support them all the way and have great respect for them. I strongly disapprove of what these extremists have to say about innocent baby boys; I am reminded of a comment that was fortunately captured from the Radical Hub website before it was made defunct and it was this: "I have honestly have been reassessing the fact that I am giving care to these little future rapists, and what that says about me about me and my separatism. I know it is kinda going against my principle to support and care for these little fuckers." and can I remind you, that this comment came from the mouth of a Childcare worker! All I can say is this, "God Help any child that comes into her care whether it be girl or a boy." I have many nephews and the youngest is only two and I love them all equally and I wouldn't want it any other way but from what I have read here today angers me, I may as well go around saying this: "I love my nephews but I know one day they'll become rapists so any girlfriend they have, I'll just warn them to be careful. Yeah be careful girls my nephew will rape you." Totally sick, I am so angered at having to write that because it doesn't matter who the child is - no male child born into this world as a baby, or as a toddler, or teenager or as a young or fully grown adult should ever be made out to be a rapist but to even contemplate the idea of wanting to kill the child as a baby boy before it has had a chance to live is beyond me? Discrimination from birth. What about Jesus? You going to try and say that he was a rapist too? Born humbly into the world so that we might live....what is the world coming too?

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 09:42:26

Gosh, just when I thought the thread had come to a stimulating and mutually supportive end.

Have you ever actually met a radical feminist, Elohim?

JuliaScurr Wed 24-Apr-13 09:45:43

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Toward-Anthropology-Women-Rayna-Reiter/dp/0853453993
http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Engels_Revisited.html?id=dtoOAAAAQAAJ&redir_esc=y

those books are quite good updates of Engels

JuliaScurr Wed 24-Apr-13 09:59:26

Oh, Elohim- you might find it useful to read a bit about what all those men and boys you love think of you:
www.uic.edu/depts/owa/sa_rape_support.html
there is no reason to think UK is any different to US
Why do you want to maintain the situation that creates 1 in 12 men admitting to acts fitting the legal definition of rape? And lets them believe it's not rape? And lets you believe that 1 in 12 men are not rapists?

infamouspoo Wed 24-Apr-13 10:50:58

Ive been following this with interest although not understanding everything but the insertion of a middle eastern jewish guy from 2 millenia ago has me a little hmm. Eh?
Is the conference something that can be booked late? I'm waiting on a surgery date that is late May/early June.

flora - brilliant post. You summed it up. Reet then, I will bite for elohim.

Hi, as a much loved Aunty to many nieces and nephews I can't believe what I am actually reading here.

I have a niece too, two much-loved brothers and a very dear husband.

I am pleased that the website previously owned by Cathy Brennan is now defunct - thank God - we all have to be grateful for small mercies.

While I didn't get to see the website, and have no reason to disbelieve the posters who've already explained all might not be as it seems, I've been fortunate enough to hear from Cathy Brennan on occasion (I've never met her), and she always seems intelligent and compassionate and interested. I'm sure I might not agree with her about everything, but I can't help feeling she is being stigmatized here and it's rather nasty.

I am a female member of "MRA London" and as a men's rights activist, I am appalled that such an organisation as Rad Fem could be entertained on here!

'Rad Fem' is not an organization so far as I know - it's a conference. Lots of us are going. It's not being 'entertained' on here, it's being discussed.

I am aghast that the men I work with can be classed and condemned as misogynist violent women-hating bastards.

Not working with misogynistic violent women-haters would solve that problem. The word 'bastard' is a fairly disgustingly misogynistic term, you know.

I'm not even going to get into the Jesus stuff. As a Christian, I am disgusted and quite seriously offended that you're exploiting the religion many people sincerely believe in, to support this rubbish.

There, all out.

Now I shall wonder why I bothered, I know.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 11:51:10

Elohim, I wasn't even going to respond to your post because you have such a bizarre idea about what radical feminism is about, based on what some people who might or might not have been radfems might or might not have said once on the internet. But this line here struck me:

'but to even contemplate the idea of wanting to kill the child as a baby boy before it has had a chance to live is beyond me? Discrimination from birth'

Absolutely. Of course killing boy babies would be bizarre and wrong. And you think the same about killing girl babies too, I trust. Because that ACTUALLY HAPPENS, and in enormous numbers.

In China alone it is estimated that over a million girl babies are aborted every year, and that tens of thousands of girl babies go missing each year. Tens of thousands. Babies are being killed for their sex and it is not boy babies it is happening to and it is certainly not rad fems who are doing it.

This is some of the violence against women and girls that rad fems are concerned about. You know, the ACTUAL violence, that IS HAPPENING NOW. As opposed to the imaginary violence that some MRAs claim rad fems would do to boys in some imaginary future where we ruled the world (which is not what we are aiming for anyway - we want true equality between the sexes, not domination).

Why you have decided that something someone said on the internet is a more pressing problem than the actual deaths that really happen, and why you think the women who meet to organise against actual male violence should be stopped from doing so, because of something that may have been said by a completely unconnected woman on another continent, is a complete mystery. The only reason I can think of is that you really don't think girls matter as much as boys. It is a bit bizarre and insulting to girls really.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 11:56:33

or alternatively Elohim just didn't know about the missing girl babies, and honestly thought the quotes the MRAs are circulating had something to do with the actual agenda of all rad fems <gives Elohim the benefit of the doubt>

I've no clue what the killing boy babies thing is about, and obviously can't check now. I am pretty ok with dismissing it as 'people being weird on the internet', whether it's MRAs making stuff up or what.

As you say, it's rather more sad and concerning if we're actually talking about abortion/infanticide, which is a huge feminist issue.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 12:11:27

Seriously, Elohim, do you seriously think rad fems want to kill boy babies? Truly?
I just want to know how this all works.
Do you think these people who said something nasty about boys are, like, secret leaders, and those of us on here who have boy babies ourselves and don't know anything about the secret Killing Them All plan, are being really naive and we will discover that we've signed up to something really sinister and they'll take us into the woods and make us hand our babies over?
Or do you think there is a power struggle within the International Rad Fem Conspiracy Organisation between the pro-killing-boy-babies side and the anti-killing-boy-babies side? And if so, is it that we know about it and are all being dishonest on here and pretending we don't know about it, or is it kept secret from the members?
I just want to know what you think goes on.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 12:39:29

What Tunip said.

SigmundFraude Wed 24-Apr-13 12:42:54
Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 12:53:31

I can't say I have massively looked into Brennan's stance on anything, but if her opinion on transgender is as attributed then I don't agree with her. I think trans women are women. I can understand the fear that done radfems have that basically some cunt MRA puts on a dress and demands to be let into the conference claiming to be transgender. . I totally see that is something that could happen.

As for Brennan .... you know every single feminist doesn't agree with every single feminist in every single issue. I see no reason why the entire Debste should be constantly high jacked by the agenda of "ooh Brennan said some nasty stuff online therefore all radfems are evil bigots/wannabe child murderers blah blah blah" whining.

Actually I do see the reason. It's a deliberate attempt to derail and set the agenda because the idea of women talking amongst themselves about issues that are important scared the fucking living day lights out of some men.

Elohim Wed 24-Apr-13 13:10:11

To all of you who have put comments to mine - You really have made my day because it seems as though I have touched a nerve for some of you?!!!

"Long before the child (boy or girl) learns to talk properly, and long before it learns to think philosophically, the world will have become a habit. A pity if you ask me."

I believe we're all equals as human beings and neither should be discriminated. Being a Christian myself is the reason why I brought Jesus into this matter I certainly wasn't trying to offend anyone's religion. Let me remind you what Jesus said? "Let the little ones come onto me." he welcomed both boys and girls with open arms and certainly wasn't casting boys aside because they would end up as rapists and nor was he doing the same with the girls. God gives us free will and it it's up to us which paths we take. Women can be just as abusive and can be rapists too - as I have seen and witnessed from my own experiences. All I am trying to do is making a stand for ALL EQUAL RIGHTS. Let me give you and example, "What gives the right for a woman to rape or physically violently abuse a boy or a man and get away with it? Whereas if it were the other way round and the man was raping or physically violently abusing a woman then he would be arrested and locked up." There needs to be a sense of justice and society and media towards men has to change - there are some really nice guys out there - says myself who suffered sexual and physical abuse from my own Father and past relationships - so there is nothing you can't tell me I already don't know. I fight for what I believe in and will continue to do so :-)

confused

Am I missing something that image is saying? I can only get the image.

I am uneasy about the issues around trans politics and I do feel strongly that it matters to be compassionate. But I also feel as chub does that there is a real worry about that agenda being hijacked by MRAs.

I also think it is important to be able to talk about trans issues - as we sometimes manage to on here - without everything being shouted down into binary 'you're so transphobic'/ 'OMG, you hate women!' shite.

elohim, you are not standing up for equal rights, as tunip has explained.

Why don't you care about the little girls who are being aborted or killed, or die through neglect?

Do you not think Jesus meant them too?

And yes, this definitely touches a nerve, the idea of generations of women who are missing from our planet being ignored by someone who only cares about the boys, not about the children of both sexes and their poor mothers who are forced into this shitty position.

As to the quotation: '"Long before the child (boy or girl) learns to talk properly, and long before it learns to think philosophically, the world will have become a habit. A pity if you ask me."'

Do you agree with this, or disagree? It's not clear.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:21:04

Women can't be rapists in UK law.

Update on the conference which refutes the Sunday Times article:

sisterhoodispowerful.wordpress.com/

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 13:21:07

So many interesting points Flora much that I agree with. On the point about MRAs and the fact that many of these men seem to want to maintain power over the women of their class and resort to the age old violence of either actual &/or threats to rape and violence against women. Absolutely. I also agree with Mooncup that socialisation leads to men being perceived as lacking the skills that are suited to changes. Certain skills seem to be gendered and it is false to assume only women can do certain work.

I do think there are other issues, there is a dichotomous process under advanced capitalism with the requirement for two things: cheap flexible labour & unpaid work mostly carried out by women within the family.

Exploiting women as cheap labour, a move towards flexi, part time, low skilled non-manual and zero hrs contracts coupled with the neo-lib pressure to privatise everything from childcare to old age, education & health leaves women leaves carrying the burden of both paid and unpaid work.

This is very beneficial to the capitalist because labour is cheap and flexible whilst new markets in health and welfare can be pursued.

Men think they are having a hard time? well..... there seems to be more MRA activity since the financial downturn! maybe they should direct the ire at the real cause of their angst.

I have found what I had been reading, linky here readingfromtheleft.com/PDF/EngelsOrigin.pdf

I had saved it, haven't read all of it. Engle's ideas about social anthropology are increasingly being vindicated with new evidence. It's the forward to Pat Brewer's edition of the Origin. I know I have read about new evidence elsewhere but can't remember where confused

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 13:22:11

oops, left tab open too long before posting. Will now go back and read.

Gotta say, I always think it is problematic, the law on women and rape. I don't know the right answer.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 13:27:02

Elohim feminists don't want to take rights away from men. They want to remove male privilege. It's not the same thing. You're arguing against a straw man as it were. The thing you think you're against just doesn't exist.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 13:28:51

Elohim, forgive me for being blunt, but you seem to be believing some rather implausible things.

Did someone tell you radical feminists are in favour of women being allowed to commit violent crime with no legal consequence?

I am a bit gobsmacked that you believed that, actually.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:37:58

Thanks Mini, that Engels introduction looks really interesting. Will read it properly later (am behind on my manchild slaughter quota so that has to be my priority today).

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 13:45:26

<twirls>

I had to namechange.

I hope the Biblical reference and the irony isn't lost on our Christian friend.

feminist4life Wed 24-Apr-13 13:49:01

I have a joke for y'all

How did feminism start?

grin

An unlocked kitchen door!

Thought this was an immense joke, hope you guys like it haha

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 13:49:53

I don't want to offend but I feel very strongly that A) free will is not god given B) doesn't exist because we are socialised into thinking in certain ways long before we develop the ability to think philosophically C) religion hampers the process of thinking philosophically.

Religion is man made as are all the other narratives we use to explain and give meaning to life. Man made god in his own image and used this belief to perpetuate inequality and falsehood, to appropriate the power of creativity away from women. Claiming that a single male in the body of god is responsible for giving life.

When it fails at an abstract and spiritual level, then enters the man himself......and look it is a man but this time he dies to give us life. God comes to us as a man, as a mere mortal that dies on the cross, how bloody and macabre is it and so male centred to believe that only in death can you give new life. So complete is this lie than many millions of men have lost their lives through war to defend it.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 13:59:59

I agree that we are certainly socialized into thinking in certain ways.

I also believe, btw, that theologically this is valid. Even if you are the most hard-line Calvinist, 'free will' does not mean 'I can think and do exactly whatever I like', it means 'within the limitations of what it means to be human - ie., to have a brain that socializes me before I know of it - I am not God's puppet'.

This is, however, theology and not terribly interesting if you reckon it's all nonsense anyway! grin

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 14:01:48

MooncupGoddess grin you had better get a move on there are so many so little time.

Elohim Wed 24-Apr-13 16:50:00

Yes I believe the quote to be true. I used this quote in the general sense to get my point across - baby boys are born into the world with discrimination around them before they're able to voice their own opinion or voice their feelings. It's as if it's been decided in society already and they're innocently persecuted. For your information, I work side by side with both men and women who stand up for the human worth of all males, irrespective of race, sexual orientation or social status. We do this because it is right and strongly believe in doing so. However, this does not mean we're prejudice and only believe in fighting for males human worth - I am sure I can speak for my other supporters as well that in general we would fight for everyone were human worth is concerned. I mentioned Equal Rights for all - the saying goes for everyone....EVERYONE!!

Yes, there are lots of innocent babies and children dying out there - doesn't matter what gender but it is sadly happening for whatever reason it may be. Girls are not wanted in China, my friend who is a Doctor went out to rescue and adopt a Chinese Girl and she has grown to be a gorgeous girl so please don't try to patronise me because I have lived you know and you can not lead me into thinking I have been mislead. Doesn't matter whether I have met a Radical Feminist or not to be able to get my point across and you can either like it or lump it. I voice my opinion freely because I believe what I am doing is right - you will learn the truth one of these days, truth comes to us all in our time!!!!!!

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 16:56:09

elohim, do you not believe baby girls are also born (or, as tunip points out), not born, into a world of prejudice?

Is it not extremely sexist of you to only care about the boys?

I can't see how that has anything to do with equal rights.

Of course it matters what gender of children are dying, and the reason. To dismiss those baby girls as you do is disgusting.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 16:58:41

But you have been misled, Elohim. You have been misled about radical feminists and what they believe.

You have some very odd ideas about them.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 17:03:29

I sincerely doubt there is an ideology in the world that advocates killing baby boys.

I really find it difficult to believe anyone sincerely thinks that could possibly be true.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 17:04:35

But men's rights activists do not campaign for Human rights in general. They campaign for male privilege. Either you are lying have been misled about the aims and objectives of the organisation you are involved with or... Actually I can't think of an or.

BasilBabyEater Wed 24-Apr-13 17:09:58

I've seen the light. Elohim's posts are so wise and true that they have converted me.

I'm off to join the MRA.

<Sings>

"And we're all off to Camden in the green, in the green..."

"The radical Fems, like lightning ran from the wisdom of the MRA"

"I learned all my life cruel women to blame,
So now I am part of the MRA game"

"And every man must stand behind the men behind the keyboards"

"By a lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling Elohim they're taking you away. For you trod on rad fem corns and now they're killing all male-borns and a prison ship lies waiting in the bay. Shr...i...i.....i....i...i..i...ll, hiiiiii....iiiii....iiiii.iiigh, the rad fems voices cry..."

brew

<gets out shopping trolley>

<Buggers off to do the shopping for first born son who unaccountably slipped through the net and managed to not get sacrificed in sinster rad fem ritual>

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 17:26:46

Well frankly Chub, if someone is gullible enough to believe radfems want to kill boy babies and let women commit violent crime without sanction, they're probably a bit of a sitting duck for whatever the MRAs want to feed them about the nature of their organisation.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 17:35:01

I hope it is the light of Christ, basil.

<sternface>

Though I am enjoying the singalong.

alexpolismum Wed 24-Apr-13 17:41:48

Elohim,

Just one small question.

If you truly believe in equal rights for all, then why did you join a men's rights group, which focuses on only half the population, and not a human rights group?

I believe Amnesty International fight for all people, regardless of gender, perhaps they would be a better group for you to direct your energies.

Elohim Wed 24-Apr-13 18:23:13

Who says I don't care about little girls who are being aborted or killed? Of course it goes the same as well for baby girls - equal rights - we should all be treated fairly and I am totally against abortion. No Jesus, did not want the little ones to suffer and that is why he said let them come onto me. The MRA men that I work with are certainly not trying to brain wash me into thinking anything else but what I believe in - you seem to forget we are men and women working together. Killing baby boys has happened and it all started back with Herod and from what I have read in Rad Fem forums it is something you people seem to talk about. Why on earth would anyone write such a sadistic thing if you claim that you don't actually do it? Do you really want to get rid of the 'little fuckers' like I quoted that care worker earlier on? I guess we have different trains of thought but I stick to my guns. I joined a men's rights group because I know just how wicked, evil and vindictive some women can be - note I said SOME!!!! So don't go thinking I'm having a go at you lot out there. I am just relieved that The London Irish Centre saw the light and waved goodbye to all you people that will be attending the RAD FEM conference. You think I am possibly wasting my time and energies on this story - maybe I am with some of you but I merely wanted to congratulate the London Irish and express my disapproval of what Rad Fem is all about.....Here endeth the lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 18:24:23

See, I don't have a problem with someone choosing to selectively campaign on the issues that affect men. I would like to see men being encouraged to make more use of mental health services so fewer men commit suicide. I would like more anti-violence education aimed at boys in school, which would mostly benefit the other men who are most likely to be the victims of male violence, but indirectly benefit women too, as it happens. And I would happily support a male-led campaign against the ridiculous gendering of childhood clothes and toys that focused on the targeting of boys with violent toys (rather than peaceful things like dolls and toy kitchens) and clothes with negative slogans ('Little Monster' etc).

Unfortunately the existing MRA movement has missed the point massively and is more concerned with blaming women and feminism for problems facing men, rather than coming up with convincing critical analysis of the ways that patriarchy harms men and doing something about it.

If there was a country in the world where boys were being selectively aborted and killed as babies that would be a huge human rights issue. It wouldn't be unimportant because they were boys. Only.... there isn't. And there is more than one place where these things DO happen to girls, so if you come along and bring up the issue of of selective abortion and try to twist it into an argument against rad fems having a conference, you WILL find it makes you look rather like you either don't know or don't care about what happens to girls, because you are asking people to worry more about imaginary stuff you think might happen to boys than actual stuff that is happening to girls in horrifyingly large numbers.

Oh, and one more thing.
'Yes, there are lots of innocent babies and children dying out there - doesn't matter what gender but it is sadly happening for whatever reason it may be. '
If they are being killed because of their gender and all the babies being killed because of their gender belong to the same gender then you're not going to get very far pretending their gender is irrelevant.

alexpolismum Wed 24-Apr-13 18:30:27

Elohim,

Have you actually read 90 % of the posts directed at you? Judging by your last post, I think not.

There are vindictive people around of both genders. That's just the way the world is. There are also lovely, caring, selfless people around of both genders.

No one but no one on this thread has said they want to get rid of any "little fuckers" (not my words, this quote is taken from you). A number of posters have told you how terrible they think it is. Yet you keep bringing it up.

Therefore, you are not reading any responses to your posts. Ergo you won't mind if other people ignore yours from now on, it's obviously a waste of time responding to you.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 18:32:51

elohim - so if you care about baby girls, why are you an MRA? Why did you just now claim that gender 'doesn't matter', despite tunip pointing out to you that huge numbers of girl foetuses are aborted or killed?

Come on. If you really believe baby girls matter, I think you would have a better answer than that gender 'doesn't matter' when we're talking about gendered discrimination against baby girls.

Btw, not that I imagine Herod was any great shakes, but no, of course killing babies didn't 'start' with him. Any Christian - and anyone with the slightest knowledge of history - would know that.

I am sorry, I find you impossible to take seriously when you say things you must know to be untrue and silly.

I do find it deeply offensive you are claiming to be Christian and motivated by human rights concerns, when it stretches credibility to the limit to imagine either is the case.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 18:40:12

I hate to break this to you, Elohim, but there are weirdos on the internet who say unpleasant and irrational things. My advice is not to take them too seriously.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 18:55:46

She's already told us why she joined, and it was nothing to do with human rights issues, it was personal:
'I joined a men's rights group because I know just how wicked, evil and vindictive some women can be'.

BasilBabyEater Wed 24-Apr-13 19:13:26

And of course men can't ever be vindictive and wicked, so no need to join a woman's rights group.

chibi Wed 24-Apr-13 19:21:24

it is difficult for me to judge how vehemently you feel when you use variable numbers of !!! elohim is there any way for you to standardise it

tia

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 19:32:54

Well after she has spent some time in the MRA camp maybe she'll realise just how deranged and beyond reason some men are.

I linked early in the thread to a site that had collated some of the most shocking comments made about men and male children by women who "claimed to be RadFem". I don't doubt for a moment that some women think in terms that are man hating. I feel that these comments from randoms being posted all over the net are part of the problem. Some probably come from a place of great pain others ignorance, some pure spite. But more than anything I think it comes from ignorance, its about lay people adopting incomplete theory, bad analysis and making even worse ideology. For that reason I think the RadFem conference should go ahead. It is important that the academics, the activists and the thinkers get out there and talk. I hope that just maybe the organisers will have the guts to tackle the issue, otherwise what is essentially something good will turn very ugly.

As for Herod and baby killing, he wasn't the first but as I remember he was as is usually the case with any ruling class.......male.

BasilBabyEater Wed 24-Apr-13 19:40:45

I'll start worrying about evil violent rad fems when they start raping, killing and beating up men in the numbers men do to women.

Until then, I think I'll remain fairly unworried tbh.

But of course, a couple of women talking about that sort of thing on t'interweb, is far, far worse, then men who aren't even MRA activists actually doing it to women on a grand scale.

If you've got no sense of proportion. grin

FloraFox Wed 24-Apr-13 20:18:36

Thanks for the Engels link, Mini, that looks interesting.

Elohim illustrates well how hard it is or even impossible to engage with MRAs on any sensible level. You can't have a rational discussion with people who join organisations to fight things that don't exist. It reminds me of this a bit:

blogs.independent.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/down_with_this_sort_of_thing.jpg

arf at Basil's songs.

NiceTabard Wed 24-Apr-13 20:20:33

"Killing baby boys has happened and it all started back with Herod and from what I have read in Rad Fem forums it is something you people seem to talk about. Why on earth would anyone write such a sadistic thing if you claim that you don't actually do it?"

1. Herod was a bloke who was a King in Egypt a few thousand years ago.He was not a radical feminist sitting in the UK in 2013. I am utterly bamboozled not sure why parallels are being drawn.

2. Radical feminists are not murdering male babies as a general ideological thing that they do. If they were, wouldn't someone have noticed by now? I have met radical feminists with sons. The idea that radical feminists are killing their male offspring and no-one is noticing is, um, totally unbelievable peculiar I think.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 20:22:37

King Herod: not a rad fem.

You heard it here first.

NiceTabard Wed 24-Apr-13 20:24:06

Just thought maybe I should have checked where herod lived before writing.

It's been a while since I looked in my bible.

Still the gist is still valid grin

Sunnywithshowers Wed 24-Apr-13 20:31:40

Oh noes! <revises opinion of Herod>

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 20:36:20

However.
In the Old Testament it is mostly God that does the baby killing. Does that mean God is a rad fem?

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 20:36:58

And if so does the Bible keep saying 'He' when it is obviously 'She'? hmm

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 20:37:14

I mean, WHY does the Bible....

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 20:37:52

Oh, sweet! God may be a rad fem.

He does seem to have an ishoo with male first-borns.

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Apr-13 20:38:35

Yep, and notice how he only ever talks to men. These days if you hear voices you get locked up.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 24-Apr-13 20:53:49

This is a complete derail, but I've just been reading The Book of Margery Kempe, who was this medieval English religious woman, and there's a lovely bit where God tells her to stop wearing a hair shirt and wear a hair shirt in her heart instead.

JustCallMeHerodina Wed 24-Apr-13 20:59:28

Even God got a leetle bit fed up with dear Margery.

She is fantastic. In the manuscript version, this Carthusian monk goes through it all and annotates all the bits where she describes having a mystical vision or an emotional experience, and cross-references to what he knows various monks who're a bit spiritual do. I quite like it, it's evidence that women being histrionically emotional over religion could actually be a model for men being histrionically emotional, too.

Chubfuddler Wed 24-Apr-13 20:59:46

See that sounds the sort of sensible thing I would expect god to say. Not some of the crisp he is alleged to say to men.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:06:00

Cathy Brennan's take on the Rad Fem 2013

bugbrennan.com/

Elohim Thu 25-Apr-13 15:55:09

Do any of you listen? I don't just care about the boys. I care about the girls as well, of course I do. For God's sake I am a much loved and respected Aunty and they all fight for my attention and I share my time with them equally and I don't treat them any differently - therefore I know my nieces and nephews - I treat them equally. This would be my view for any boy or girl. By the way a woman can rape a man - I know this from experience and before you all jump to conclusions thinking it's me then think again! Another think, I don't think I have been misled about radical feminists but I can at least tell you this: I know I wouldn't want to be you! Who really cares whether it actually started with Herod or not killing babies, history might not be my strong point but I was merely using him as an example. By the way it was a care worker from Radfem that stated "I have honestly have been reassessing the fact that I am giving care to these little future rapists, and what that says about me about me and my separatism. I know it is kinda going against my principle to support and care for these little fuckers." and she herself is Radical Feminist....any other stupid questions or comments you want to throw at me? Fight me I can take it! Cathy Brennan I do hope you enjoy your conference - on the streets will it be? Let's hope it doesn't rain on you!!!!!!!!!!!

JustCallMeHerodina Thu 25-Apr-13 16:03:50

I'm sure you do care about your nieces and nephews, and that is very nice.

But some of us also care about other people's children, about the huge number of women who are oppressed purely because of their gender. The majority of foetuses that are aborted? Those are female foetuses. Yet here you are, ignoring that and making up stories about male infanticide.

How do you reconcile that with your claim to care about women as well as men?

A woman cannot rape a man under UK law. This has already been explained to you? Did you not understand, or did you not believe us?

I do not honestly believe that the quotation you're repeating is accurate in the slightest, as a representation of rad fem views. You can see it is not, by talking to all of us who identify as rad fems (or try to, in my rather wussy case), but who ... oddly enough ... aren't into the killing of boy babies.

I might as well pretend that everyone who is against rad fem 2013 supports the vile messages Brennan et al have been getting (eg. calling them scum, vile, suggesting they should be raped). You know why I don't assume everyone who doesn't like rad fem 2013 would make those statements? Because I am not a credulous idiot, nor am I deeply interested in lying in order to make people who don't share my views look bad.

Those comments that get made against Brennan ... or Julia Long, or Suzanne Moore, or whoever it happens to be this week ... they're horrible and disgusting, and the blame for them should be laid at the feet of the people who make them.

Maybe you should consider doing the same?

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 16:04:38

I'm sure not all Radical Fems speak for all of them .. people from all sorts of groups say all sorts of silly things.

JustCallMeHerodina Thu 25-Apr-13 16:10:17

Well, indeed, stick.

Besides which tunip has beautifully illustrated how quotations get taken out of context.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 16:32:20

I say that as someone who only identified as a feminist 3 months ago and has a lot of identification with RadFem theory. Some other bits, not so much.
IE I like th ethought of female only space.

Shit me, the pub was male only space a few short years ago!

BTW, Herodina my post x's with yours it was to our female MRA visitor ...

JustCallMeHerodina Thu 25-Apr-13 16:46:14

Yeah, I figured it was to her. smile

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 18:09:00

If you're so bovvered about women as well as men Elohim, how comes you've joined a men's rights group because women can be so "wicked, evil and vindictive" but you haven't joined a women's rights group because men can also be "wicked, evil and vindictive"?

Is it because you don't think men can be as wicked, evil and vindictive as women?

Or is it because you don't care enough about women to do something about it when men are "wicked, evil and vindictive", but you do care enough about men to do something about it when women are?

Either way, your claim that you care about women as much as you care about men, rings a teensy weensy bit hollow.

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 18:12:00

Also can I just say that I guffawed at the bit about not wanting to be a poster on here because she knows the difference between King Herod and other ancient baby-smiters.

It would be simply dreadful to know or care about anything regarding history or myth, wouldn't it? Unthinkably awful.

Mumordad Thu 25-Apr-13 19:58:16

So are posters ok with the hatred towards trans?

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 20:02:46

From what i see there is no hatred. Just non acceptance that you can change sex. I think to say that, means hatred has been directed back at the radfems, in the way of death threats etc.

This is generalised. Individuals say mean things the world over.

It's not a case of 'hatred towards trans'.

It's a case of wanting a space for women who were born female and expecting that space to to be accepted as valid and not taken over by women who weren't born female.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 20:23:53

Which kind of goes against the equality policy of the Irish Centre.

Yes, it does.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 20:31:13

How do they keep men out then if its illegal to say no to trans?

Doesn't 'no men' also mean it goes against equality, let alone stating 'no trans women'

confused as to how they would get away with the first one!

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 20:33:50

From what I read, transwomen were welcome this year - as long as they did not "cause disruption".

I think it was the nature of the speakers - and their views (even if they were not going to mention them) that caused cancellation as the speakers' views went against their equality policy.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 20:36:14

Oh i see. I was kind of trying to say, as there are more men than trans women, i would have thought they would be the first to say 'hang on!'.
I didnt think i put ot very well.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Apr-13 20:44:55

I'm not OK with hatred towards anyone.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Apr-13 20:46:17

Well isn't that a step in right direction that Trans-women were welcome.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 21:28:27

Is it just me who is feeling pretty keen on going to rad fem 2013 given the shit the organisers have been getting.

I went to radfem last year (the first day anyway) and it was really good and really, it was about women's issues around the world and teh feminist movement and where it's going and all sorts of interesting stuff. Hatred? No. vegetarian food? Yes. And that, for me, was as offensive as it got grin

I mean seriously, this is a bunch of women who feel that the current situation for women globally is atrocious and the only way around it (and which will help lots of other oppressed groups as a happy coincidence) is a total (radical) change in how everything gets thought about and organised and done. Who runs what and how and why and for the benefit of whom. That stuff. rip it all up and start again. <punches air> Are you with me???????????? grin

msrisotto Thu 25-Apr-13 21:42:40

Well yeah Nicetabard, but really? No meat options at all?

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 21:54:04

Not at the evening disco, no.

But there was a disco, so that kind of made up for the vegetarianism grin

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 21:55:40

Also it's in london so you can duck out to a bab shop and get some carniverous action going.

JustCallMeHerodina Thu 25-Apr-13 21:56:34

I'm certainly not ok with hatred towards trans.

I think, on balance, it is good that radfem 2013 invited transwomen.

But, I do have reservations with some aspects to do with transsexuality. I agree with beer that spaces for women who were born women are important (as are spaces for transwomen). I think we need both. But something that bothers me is the way that it seems to have become acceptable to re-label women as 'ciswomen' and it has become unacceptable to say you think gender is a social construct. And IMO it is damaging that there is that pattern to what we can and can't say. People are entitled to label women without their consent, but women are not allowed to to describe how they feel about sex and gender. It isn't right.

I really, really strongly believe that feminism is the way forward for women and transwomen and transmen and pretty much everyone who isn't a misogynist, and I think getting transpeople and transactivists and rad fems angry with one another is something the patriarchy thoroughly enjoys.

Oops, sorry, my joke namechange isn't terribly appropriate any more.

FWIW, no, kim, as I understand it it's because they had threats and some harrassment of the people working at the venue. sad It does seem like it's MRAs rather than transactivists, though I grant I'm not really well up on it.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 22:07:49

lrd I do know that some trans activists wrote to the organisers as soon as they found out about Rad Fem. Even though they did not know the agenda - but they were aware of the speakers some of whom have a reputation.

I also know that trans people do not want anything to do with MRAs.

I think lots has been going on - threats, letters, emails. I can't blame them for pulling out but it looks like deja vu.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 22:08:31

'ciswomen' ... Well I never! I looked it up and I thought female was the only label.

I actually had a conversation with an ex of mine who I believe is looking to transition, and she isn't interested in feminism at all! (She's a born women, a lesbian who identifies more as a man).

kim - I would be stunned if some transactivists hadn't written, I just mean, I've heard it was the threats not people complaining.

I am completely aware transpeople don't have to do with MRAs - sorry, that was my point, that I think this time they've had aggro from a totally different source.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 22:10:24

sorry if Idenifies more as a man sounds weird, we havent spoken in depth about it and I've said alot on here that could identify me and worry about what I am writing about something else.

I am not sure of the right words.
We went out over 12 years ago now so alots changed for her since then and I'm not sure what stage she is at with the process.

Basically, no matter how much rad fems do, there will always be someone to say 'shut up, women'. That's pretty much it. The comments about some of the organizers show it is pure misogyny. It's really upsetting to read and I have no clue how any of them keep doing what they do, when they hear that stuff. I think they're amazing.

I was perhaps being a bit simplistic upthread. I just don't get Gatecrashing by any political wing of any Movement into any arena where people know they are not welcome.

No one has the right to do that.

I disagree with that.

I think sometimes gatecrashing is ok. I just don't accept that radfem 2013 is asking for something unreasonable in inviting only women, and I don't think it is involved in hate speech. I just don't.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:19:14

I'm also not OK with hatred just on the basis of I don't go around doing hating people generally.

I do feel that as a feminist I am concerned against stuff that happens to people on account of their SEX which is generally pronounced at birth (or before). That pronouncement leads to death, starvation, abuse and god only knows what for many of the ones pronounced "female" when they emerge from their mother's body.

Gender is a concept that I loathe as it (by definition) encapsulates all of the stereotypes about what people should be based on what they were identified as when they were born.

I want a situation where sexism, homophobia, racism, and all the isms are just dead and gone. Get rid of those and stereotypes and roles and we'll be a long way towards everyone being more content.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 22:20:54

What about some of the speakers?

Cathy Brennan for example

bugbrennan.com/

I know they are probably not going to talk about some stuff on her site and you could say she is just speaking her mind but her website is ..interesting.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 25-Apr-13 22:23:00

I've been looking at her website for the last couple of days .. I am enthralled. I can't for pities sake work out why ... it's full of 'something'

I've come across Cathy Brennan and I liked what she said. I will read her website, but glancing down, I don't have an issue with what I'm seeing yet?

I don't go around saying 'men can't become women' or 'women can't become men' because I don't want to generalize what I think about me, to everyone, and because I know to do so would upset a lot of people who I believe are vulnerable.

But I am very far from judging someone for expressing that opinion, too.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:23:39

Is she speaking?

Sorry i haven't checked teh thing.
maybe I need to check the thing.

That's what I meant by 'gatecrashing'.

RadFem 2013 deserves its own space.

There is plenty of common ground to be had, but the outcry over RadFem is counterproductive and shortsighted in its victory.

Aren't there enough Men Only spaces to be challenged? Fuck knows we've been trying long enough. They all won, then hmm

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:25:59

Just had a look and can't see cathy as a speaker

YY, true beer. sad

FWIW, if that's the bit you're referring to, kim, where she says MRAs = transactivists, I think she is referring to the conversation she quotes where a couple of people are engaging in a bit of misogynistic bonding.

I wouldn't imagine those people are representative of transpeople any more than I'd assume the hypothetical rad fems who kill baby boys are representative of feminism.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 22:27:39

I thought she was - sorry.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:28:04

I do see there is a disco on the sat night though.

My recommendation is to get a kebab first wink

She's become very visibly associated with it, hasn't she? Like Julia Long was last year. I wonder if it's not just because she's a visible 'name', TBH.

FloraFox Thu 25-Apr-13 22:29:37

Why shouldn't Cathy Brennan be allowed to speak?

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:32:05

It's no worries kim.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 22:34:15

florafox I suppose it depends on what she wanted to speak about and if that went against the policies of the venue.

I doubt it.

Last year the fuss was over whether or not it was ok to have a couple of sessions that didn't include everyone who could go to the event.

It is a fig-leaf, to claim it's about the venue's equality policies, I think. I could be wrong, but I think so.

I have been to plenty enough meetings where it was made clear not everyone would be entitled to go to every session, and no-one has ever argued it was discriminatory for a marginalized group to meet without members not of that marginalized group.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 22:43:25

It's just , if I can talk sort of freely. For me, my feminism came as a natural thing just from, I don't know, like being left wing. It just is. And I kind of want to share that with everyone but also, and I know that this sounds bad, but some things like my experience growing up as a girl, teen in the UK, that made me a feminist, is just something not shared by people who grew up as a boy. thing is, I imagine my growing up was easier than people who are gay or trans or black or poor (I have privilege max which is again me being honest) BUT my growing up as a girl was something that I will share stuff with other people who were born and pronounced female elsewhere. That is the bit I want to get together and talk about and it doesn't mean I hate anyone or even that I think I have had it harder or whatever but still there is a situation globally with people who are pronounced female at birth and I want and kind of need to get together with other people in that situation to talk about it.
It upsets me TBH that people would think that because I have this affinity and shared stuff with people who were pronounced female at birth means I have hate or I don't care about anything else and so on. The radfems I have met do not bear this out either. They're all vegetarian for crying out loud and talking about shit that's going on in DRC and stuff.
I just, it baffles me why these meetings keep getting blocked.

FloraFox Thu 25-Apr-13 22:44:59

Kim the idea of a group of feminists being cencored on the basis of an equality policy is a bit hmm don't you think?

Agree LRD I think the equality policy thing is a fig leaf.

I feel like that, nice.

I don't want to be included in a session for lesbians if I'm not welcome. I respect they have experiences I may not share. Same with (say) women of ethnic minorities. Or women who have been raped. Or women who have children. Or whatever it might be.

I will point out that I would very much like to have children and if wishing made it so ... but I don't. Therefore, it would not be fair for me to say I need to be in that session. I'm bisexual and some of my experiences growing up might not be totally dissimilar to those of lesbian women - but it wouldn't be fair for me to claim I was the same.

There are loads of ways in which women can form smaller sub-groups if they want to talk about things that they usually feel they can't discuss.

So long as we all get together some of the time, too, I think that should be ok.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 22:59:16

florafox
I didn't say I agree with the cancellation. In fact - when I came across this one a trans forum, I was very much a lone voice.

But some of the things certain prominent Rad Fems have said and written (and I have read some things that I find truly horrible on those sites) would go against policies a venue like the Irish Centre would have.

But I do think Rad Fem 2013 should take place. And it's a shame it's attracted the MRAs.

I can believe some people say horrible things. And that is shit.

(Btw, I realized I should say, I do see that me not attending, say, mum-only events isn't an exact parallel ... it is hard to find parallels ... because perhaps it isn't in the same way central to my identity. I don't know.)

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 23:02:50

YY exactly LRD.

I have no problem with accepting that there are squillions of groups that it would be totally inappropriate for me to attend / try to attend.

I don't get why this is tricky, I guess. I know it is a very small minority of people who have these views but bugger me they're not half effective.

I think at the moment one of the big issues is MRAs, though - who I suspect couldn't give a toss about transactivism.

FloraFox Thu 25-Apr-13 23:06:22

I agree Nice re girlhood - it is important.

Kim if the Irish Centre has policies that stop women gathering to discuss feminism then those policies should be changed. I find the very idea of banning this conference on the grounds of equality absurd.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 23:07:58

Kim yes I get that's awful, really awful.
But again it's judging all people on the basis of what one person who self-identifies as a thing says...
Bottom line is, well, I don't know. I know me and I know I'm a decent kind sort of person.
Also there have been people on both "sides" who have done / said things. And so on.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 23:10:40

florafox

It's a bit like a venue banning someone who is homophobic or racist. That's what I'm talking about - even MN has a policy banning such stuff.

If the speaker had a reputation for that, then they would follow that policy.

<And I know you will probably say there is a difference between those and discussing trans issues - but that's the equality policies we have>

uranio Thu 25-Apr-13 23:12:44

Hi JuliaScurr,
interesting link, would you mind the definition of rape that classifies 1 in 12 men as rapist? Just curious.
BTW the findings of this article are enlightening, such the one that reveals that 80% of girls assume sexual assault as acceptable if the man and the woman were married. Might be the case that the definition of sexual assault collapse with normal intercourse?

Just wondering...

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 23:13:51

But that's not what the conference was going to be about - I know some people who are going to it (and have happily accepted me into their group).

So like I said - I think it's a shame but I can't blame the venue after they've had all this stuff thrown at them.

Personally I've got enough shit to worry about at the moment than this though.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 23:15:20

OK let's be frank <cider>

The meeting in the US (a few years back?) as part of a wider event that invited only MAAB trans people and talked about "breaking through the cotton ceiling".

that is so offensive I can't even think about it.

None of the feminist meetings I have been to have been so, just, grim in their aims. It's all earnest (and it is, not meant in a derogatory way) talk about sexual health and reproductive choice and DV and stuff. Getting into people's knickers? Seriously.

Now obviously that is a random example which I'm sure lots of trans people were not comfortable with but still my point is that happened. And yet rad fems talking about being female = wrong?

I don't understand it.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 23:18:21

"BTW the findings of this article are enlightening, such the one that reveals that 80% of girls assume sexual assault as acceptable if the man and the woman were married. Might be the case that the definition of sexual assault collapse with normal intercourse? "

Please can you clarify this question.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 23:23:00

nicetabard
I've only heard about that conference a bit and that's disgusting and would no way want to be associated with it. It's used often though in these debates.

As I have said, I have absolutely no problem with the conference and it's a shame it got cancelled. I do have a massive issue with some of the stuff some prominent Rad Fems have said (and of course some prominent trans activists are no better). I've read some prominent Rad Fem sites and they leave me shaking.

Freedom of speech can be very hard.

Banning someone transphobic would be like banning someone homophobic or racist.

Banning someone because they're a radical feminist and/or would like a woman-only space, is misogynistic.

That is totally different, and the law does not (yet) uphold the rights of misogynists to ban radical feminism.

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 23:25:32

I think uranio means that heterosexual sex as patriarchy defines it is can be the same as sexual assault, nicetabard?

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 23:26:09

Give it time LRD.

I have read comments from people who are against radfem 2013, who suggest radical feminists should be raped brutally. For being radical feminists. And that they should die.

I do not see how it is ok to pretend that radical feminists are being banned because they are the ones engaging in hate speech.

The law is no more accepting of death threads to rad fems than to anyone else.

I imagine (possibly naively) that the sort of people who convene conferences to talk about getting through the 'cotton ceiling' are about as representatives as the hypothetical rad fems who don't want to bring up male babies.

However, the fact remains that women have been campaigning for legal protections for generations, and we only got rape in marriage criminalized in 1991. Transactivists have been campaigning for a much shorter time, and already, legally, the definition of women is being changed without women getting a say. Obviously, I can understand why ordinary people who're trans are nothing but pleased, and I wouldn't expect any different - why shouldn't they be? But it is indicative of how society sees us all.

NiceTabard Thu 25-Apr-13 23:35:00

Yes Kim totally and that's the thing extremist views or even unusual views are often raised. So when people say well radfems want to murder babies the whole cotton ceiling thing needs to be raised IYSWIM.

I am not surprised you have issues with some stuff said - i do too - but like all political groupings there will always be an extreme wing / people you don't agree with etc.

On balance maybe better to let people join rather than make it so closed that potentially only the more extreme people are left? Stop the meetings, drive them underground, make them scary you cut the membership back...

Some things absolutely you can't say there are laws but IME at fem meetings it's what you would expect. sensible food and how are we going to make things better for women.

I find it a bit odd that MRA bandwagon // certain trans-activists genuinely believe that this is a major conversation at these meetings. Do the even believe that? There is so much to talk about globally, and of course the difficulties faced by various "minority" groups exist eg gay people trans people poor people etc, at these meetings the focus is female people through pre birth, birth, childhood etc etc. and there's enough to think about with all the "missing girls", reproductive health, abortion rights being eroded, porn culture, etc etc ad infinitum. What is being protested is just...

I don't know.

FloraFox Thu 25-Apr-13 23:46:15

While I don't believe the "cotton ceiling" people are representative of all trans people, they are real and do discuss this even on general feminist websites (like feministing). I actually don't believe that there are any rad fems who do advocate murdering babies.

That's true, flora, but I was using the 'murdering babies' not to be disingenuous but because I'm not terribly well up on what people do say or whether it's true.

uranio Fri 26-Apr-13 00:07:08

Hi girls!
Having fun? Good, good.
First of all congrats for the level of discussion; finally I found a place where MRA topics are addressed and debated, I feel at home here. Not the usual stuff...MRA do this and that, because they are losers, or they feel "men" are losing ground. No, finally a place where MRA are fought and debunked on the ground of merit. Great.
A question: the "M" of MRA stands for "Misogynistic"? This question popped up in my head because ti seems that the acronym does not suit our taste, sisters; it can't be the "R" of rights, nothing wrong with that, we use it all the time; and the "A" is quite an innocent letter recalling advocates, this word does not hurt me, does it hurt you? I guess no. So it must be the "M" that makes us uncomfortable, but I can't figure intolerance to "men" so the "M" should mean something more vicious...

A question for sister TunipTheVegedude;
"In China alone it is estimated that over a million girl babies are aborted every year"...
I never knew that, I was informed that was a fake news. I was informed that the controlled demographic did not deal with sex. I was lucky to come here. But anyhow what's the deal with the gender of not born babies? I mean, we fought hard to have the abortion to not give birth to babies, our body our choice, after all we all know abortion does not deal with interruption of life of human beings; so I can't find much sense in defining the gender of not living beings; can you spot me with part of you light, sister Tunip?

Sisters, i do not know if I can join you at the Radfem disccussion, so I'll kindly ask someone of you if she can raise, on my behalf, few points on which I would like to have feedbacks:
- we strive for equality, even if MRAs (and most men) do not get it; I think that we should acknowledge that we do not communicate properly, it can't be only their fault unless we are inferring men/MRA are stupid. So I propose that we put in our agenda a plan to create the social conditions for which the detainee population will be composed for the 50% of women; that will debunk all their misogynistic attitudes.
- and when it comes to those F4J, let's prove them our commitment to equality; starting 2014 half of exclusive child custodies will be awarded to fathers, by law. Will shut their fucking mouth!
- regarding the pensions system, I really cannot bear them anymore; i need a break! Please sisters let women retire 4 years later than men, so those losers will be happy and women will be more empowered.
-finally, the gender quotas; I can't stand these MRAs, fuck them. Let' do this way; starting 2014, 30%....no even better...50% of personnel in school and health system should be male. Ahhhh. Freedom! Come on sister simple steps to send back these MRA to the planet they belongs to, from the Patriarchy galaxy.

Love, love, love

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 00:18:04

These are brilliant ideas uranio.

Also what we could do:

Make men do half the housework and childcare, so that they actually know how to look after their own children on divorce.

Get women to commit as much serious crime as men, so that we're justified in locking them up in equal numbers.

Make women half of our elected representatives, half of judges, half of board directors, half of leaders in education, medicine, law and media.

Make men half of all rape and sexual assault victims in the world.

Pay men and women the same wage for equal work (this still doesn't happen).

Saturate public space with pictures of men wearing considerably less clothing while posing like this

Anything else?

NiceTabard Fri 26-Apr-13 00:20:52

"A question for sister TunipTheVegedude;
"In China alone it is estimated that over a million girl babies are aborted every year"...
I never knew that, I was informed that was a fake news. I was informed that the controlled demographic did not deal with sex. I was lucky to come here. But anyhow what's the deal with the gender of not born babies? I mean, we fought hard to have the abortion to not give birth to babies, our body our choice, after all we all know abortion does not deal with interruption of life of human beings; so I can't find much sense in defining the gender of not living beings; can you spot me with part of you light, sister Tunip?"

Um
What?

you only need to google, honey
this came up first for me take a look

And surely you heard about women having forced late stage abortions in China (feminist issue) when you were growing up? How old are you I'm surprised you haven't heard about that.

So look at that
Look at other parts of asia
Look at preference for male children resulting in a heavily skewed population
Look at places where women cannot vote
Look at places where women are not allowed rights to their children
Look at places where rape is legal
Look at places where women earn less than men for the same work
Look at places where women and girls are at extremely high risk of rape from organised groups
Look at places where girls are denied an education...

Look at the world and open your eyes. Watch the news and notice how many reports come from places where there are no women to be seen, anywhere.

Then make your sarcy comments about having fun. I don't find this subject a joke, you clearly do. Yes fucking hilarious.

basil - or, alternatively, we could sit back and wait until HQ ban Bob/Edd/Mike/their little friends.

Though, I will say, it is disgusting to compare forced abortion to a woman's 'choice' over how own body. sad

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 00:23:59

Oh d'you reckon it's one of those?

Nuff said.

Andrew Neil's saying good night to me, so I'm off to bed.

Good night.

smile

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 00:25:25

Are you sure that's what uranio was doing?

His postings are so incoherent that I'm not entirely sure.

Anyway really off to bed now. Damn you Question Time, Andrew Neill and Mumsnet.

I think it behoves uranio and anyone else to think for a millisecond before posting, is all.

Night, basil.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 07:54:09

(I've wanted to say this ever since I Saw it in Moesha when I was like, 13)

Sister? My parents didn't tell me anything about you! (Flicks hair)

grin

I have to admit, in a normal context, I quite like 'sisters' as a form of address. There aren't enough nice ways to address a group of women.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 10:21:01

I find it way over familiar, maybe that's just my British reserve shining through!

Mmm, I see what you mean. I am used to 'pet' and 'love' so I don't think the familiarity bothers me. I used to enjoy the very earnest communist bloke I knew, who liked to refer to his mates as 'comrades'. grin

TunipTheVegedude Fri 26-Apr-13 10:35:46

I like 'sisters', though Sister Tunip sounds a bit nun-like.
I don't understand 'spot me with part of your light' but I am holding Uranio in the light in a Quaker sort of way.
In fact, I think I will do that to the MRAs, too. And Elohim.

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 11:21:02

The London Irish Centre quite rightly cancelled the event because it was being discriminatory. It doesn't matter who brought that to the attention of the LIC, that is a separate discussion.

If you too are happy to discriminate against transgender women then you will celebrate this. I hate discrimination, it weakens the feminist cause to discriminate against a whole group of women.

Shame on anyone who does.

Erm ... how was inviting transwomen to attend discriminatory? Please do explain that one.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 11:26:26

In what way was it being discriminatory notfluffyatall?

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 11:26:56

Oops, sorry, cross posted with LRD

No worries! smile

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 11:33:29

Have you seen the filth some of the RadFem followers spew about trans women? I'd be distancing myself from that lot. Hateful doesn't quite cover it. I don't like it from men and I don't like it just because they have vaginas either.

If the EDL wanted to hold a conference there I'm pretty sure they'd get the bums rush too.

And which transwoman would subject herself to speakers like Cathy Brennan, google that little peach.

They are as hateful as any MRA group I have ever come across.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 11:35:47

Sorry, you still haven't said in what way the conference is discriminatory

notfluffy, I try to be as good a radfem as I can be, and I would love you to tell me where I'm spouting 'filth'. Or any of the other rad fems on this thread.

Or are we once again talking about those hypothetical rad fems who don't exist? Or people who aren't actually speaking at radfem 2013?

This conversation feels a bit as if you didn't read the thread, you just jumped in assuming things - unfair?

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 11:42:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 11:45:10

Ooh let's see now... Have you seen some of the filth some of the trans activists spew about rad fems? I'd be distancing myself from that lot... etc.

<shrug>

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 11:48:24

Eugh. Another RadFem here, never made any personal comments towards or regarding trans people. Please stop tarring us all with the same brush as you have applied to a sample of internet nutters. Thanks.

Chubfuddler Fri 26-Apr-13 11:49:05

It's a conference not the neuremberg rally. Funnily enough there are speakers and delegates with a range of views and interests. They haven't signed up to a 20 point pledge of "we are radfems. This is what we believe".

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 11:49:44

Have a look at Cathy Brennan's Twitter, she is/was a booked speaker. She is a bigot, surely anyone with an ounce of decency would distance themselves.

https://twitter.com/bugbrennan

Sunnywithshowers Fri 26-Apr-13 11:50:43

So radfems are all bigoted cunts? How lovely.

Isn't it more fair to say that some radfems are bigoted? And (as stated copiously upthread) don't all share the same views of trans people?

TunipTheVegedude Fri 26-Apr-13 12:02:37

Given NotFluffy's use of misogynistic language I assume she does not identify as a feminist anyway, so I am not specially interested in her opinion about feminism.

allectoTauniallectospoison Fri 26-Apr-13 12:35:50

Hey all,

This is my first time posting on mumsnet! Just thought I would pop in to clarify a few things. I quite enjoyed reading through the discussion here. And laughed out loud about the king Herod thing!!!

We have released a statement about our legal position... That it is completely within the law for female peoples to meet. You can read more here: sisterhoodispowerful.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/interim-legal-statement-by-radfem2013-organisers/

Also at this stage we are not giving up on holding the conference at the London Irish centre. We are asking for women to email the venue to support women's right to meet in peace and safety.

Contacts:
David Barlow
info@londonirishcentre.org
Philip Atkins
philip.atkins@offtowork.co.uk

Thanks sisters,

Looks like you have some pretty good discussions in here. Will have to come visit when I have more time.

StickEmUpPunk Fri 26-Apr-13 14:17:21

The only thing I see Cathy Brennan and other RadFems say (not all RadFems) is that a transwomen is not actually a female.
On a medical level, is that not correct?

I was talking to DH about this yesterday and he wondered what it said on the passports. Not that actually is a decision one way or another it got me thinking.

I am fully prepared to be wrong.

Sausageeggbacon Fri 26-Apr-13 14:26:25

Thanks for the details all. I am sure you realise that those of us who feel that having transphobic speakers is wrong and any attempt to exclude them is wrong will also be mailing the addresses given :D

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 14:27:31

Trans people can transition legally from male to female or vice versa, StickEmUp - so their passports would be changed at that point.

The only mention I can remember of the trans issue at last year's conference (though I wasn't at all of it) is Sheila Jeffreys saying that she was concerned that a lot of young butch lesbians now transition to being male, undergoing complex and painful medical procedures and not always ending up happy in their new identity, rather than accepting they are masculine-seeming women. I can't comment as to the veracity of this phenomenon or not but I don't see why Jeffreys can't report what she's observed in this case (assuming she's not making it up of course!).

I find Cathy Brennan's website rather unpleasant and aggressive, but hey, I find Iain Duncan Smith's views on poor people unpleasant and aggressive, I still think he has a right to air them in public.

SigmundFraude Fri 26-Apr-13 14:49:19

'Thanks for the details all. I am sure you realise that those of us who feel that having transphobic speakers is wrong and any attempt to exclude them is wrong will also be mailing the addresses given :D'

Absolutely, I'm on it right now. Also, I wonder if allecto is the allecto from radfem hub, seems likely.

Hi allecto. smile

Nice to 'see' you on here.

I agree with mrsr - the personal attacks on radical feminists are getting tedious and annoying. Would you really go around saying 'well, Malcolm X advocated violence therefore everyone involved in the civil rights movement must be violent! I bet that Martin Luther King is just the same!' No, you wouldn't. Because it would look ridiculous.

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 15:30:56

And those in defense of RadFem have no problem with the transphobic speakers who are/were welcomed at the conference? Ok, maybe not all RadFems support this, but I wouldn't be supporting or attending anything that promoted bigotry or supported bigots. End of. Silence in situations like this is compliance, those against transphobia should be boycotting RadFem and making a noise that in this instance they are not representing your view.

Unfortunately, out there in the ether it's just looking like if you support RadFem you support transphobia.

This has been discussed upthread - what did you reckon to that bit ofhte discussion?

Accusing people of being transphobic is just as much a personal attack as accusing them of being racist or sexist - it's not ok. And no, being a radical feminist does not mean you 'support transphobia'. It means you believe sex discrimination is the root problem in our society and you want women liberated from oppression.

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 15:35:15

"The only thing I see Cathy Brennan and other RadFems say (not all RadFems) is that a transwomen is not actually a female.
On a medical level, is that not correct?"

Well that's simply not true. I linked to her Twitter above, she's full of hate.

And transgender women are women, to deny that is bigoted. This is like listening to how gay people were treated 30 years ago, hopefully it won't take as long for things to change.

It depends how you define woman. That is the point.

If you define 'woman' as 'someone of the female gender', you're talking about a concept radical feminists reject as being socially constructed (that is, gender). If you define woman as 'someone of the female sex', you're talking about something biological. Transwoman were not born female in sex, and their chromosomal makeup is not XX, and they do not have vaginas and ovaries. How much that matters is usually up to transwomen to think about for themselves and there is obviously a lot of variation in how people feel and what they want to do.

But to say that you believe gender is a social construct is not bigotry; it is a point of view.

StickEmUpPunk Fri 26-Apr-13 15:44:55

And transgender women are women, to deny that is bigoted.

It depends in what sense you regard a women.

I am not sure what the trans process is, but I thought only chromosomes dictated what sex you were.

I'm not on either side, just interested in the medical facts.
Facts cannot be bigoted. Opinions can.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 15:51:52

They pre-fix woman with trans, maybe because we can't both take up the same space, why? because we are not the same. But why should I pre-fix woman with cis to appease their sense of fair play. It smacks of "I can't be just a woman, so neither can you. Thing is I never chose to be a woman, I just am, a stroke of luck or misfortune, take your pick.......but I am not asking other people to change their identity to make space for me.

Other than the fact that I refuse to be redefined by a system that has already defined me, whether I approve or not, I have no issue with trans.

stick - but this is the issue.

Legally, you can be recognised as male if you identified as female at birth, or female if you were identified as male at birth.

A very small number of people are born with intersex conditions, for what it's worth - I'll note that because people always do in these debates, though transsexuals are not people who were born intersex, or not typically (it's very, very rare).

The legal situation, then, doesn't relate to whether you have XX chromosomes or what genitalia you have. It is possible also to have surgery that could give someone who was born with a penis something that looks more like a vagina, or vice versa.

Obviously, chromosomes are hidden, so some people would say, look, it doesn't matter what the genetic coding is, what matters is how you feel inside. Some people have a strong internal sense of their 'gender identity' and reckon they know inside whether they're male or female. Others don't have this. Others again - including lots of radical feminists - think even this internal sense of 'gender identity' might be the result of social conditioning.

Most of the time, obviously, it is perfectly possible to be respectful of whatever other people think, because 90% of the time there is absolutely no reason why anyone needs to insist 'well I shall use gender identity to categorise everyone as male or female', or 'well I shall use chromosomes'.

Occasionally, it starts to matter to some people. For me personally, I don't like to be labelled a 'ciswoman' because that qualifies 'woman' in a way I find othering and offensive. And I think it matters to be able to discuss issues to do with having a female reproductive system with other people who've grown up with a female reproductive system (and to me, that includes women who've since had hysterectomies, say, because I think their formative experience is the same). But now we're getting into the personal side of things.

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 15:54:35

Is there any actual reason why anybody should be excluded from attending?

Seriously?

Is Radfem about equality or pushing a particular group to the fore?

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 15:57:42

I know maybe redefine the RadFem conference.

Rather than "it's about how we attain equality"......instead......"its an escape from the fact that we don't"

Yes, there are actual reasons, and they are compatible with equality.

In mixed-sex groups, women typically do not get so much time to speak or be heard. There are loads of studies to show that even when people - men and women - think they're being really careful to give women equal time and attention, they don't. They give more time and attention to men. This isn't always conscious, it's just how deep our conditioning is.

That's one reason.

Another reason is, as I understand it, that we will be able to discuss some ideas that lots of women wouldn't feel able to talk about if they were with men. So, it's about making a safe space for a vulnerable group, just as you would for any group you have a bit of human decency and compassion for.

This will help achieve equality, because it will help women to take themselves seriously and to think seriously about their wants and needs. I'm sure some women have no need of a woman-only space to do that, and they are very fortunate. But others aren't so lucky.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 16:00:45

Mini, what is wrong with the way it is defined already?

notfluffyatall Fri 26-Apr-13 16:14:01

Transgender women are women, they are not men. I'll repeat, it is bigoted to continue to refer to them as anything other than women. To allow transphobic speakers into a conference that should welcome ALL women is just wrong. It's like saying they can be discriminated against because they're the wrong type of woman.

Someone self identifies as a woman costs me nothing to accept them as a woman.

And I can pretty much guarantee that if you feel oppressed the transgender woman can tell you a few things about oppression. It appears this is the last bastion in societal bigotry, trans people are going through what gay people went through 30-40 years ago when people were discussing where they fitted in society.

Google the suicide and murder rates of trans people, shocking statistics.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 16:14:22

I am female assigned at birth which under our present social reality means I have been defined as a"woman" I am expected to "perform" femininity and behave and look as a woman. (I do this everyday)

Men can just roll up and say, well I don't want to be a man, therefore he won't act like one, look like one or identify as one. He can then "perform" femininity and call himself a woman.

Seems to me that both he and I are probably perpetuating genderisation by doing what we do.

Maybe we shouldn't have to be gendered at all? Maybe people could just be "who they are" rather than being "what they are" when what they are is a social construct anyway.

Having already been defined (I didn't ask to be) I have no wish to be further constrained by redefinition. ie if men wear floral and long locks, is that the new face of womanhood, I sincerely hope not.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 16:21:59

Hatred is a horrible thing. I doubt though, that those murdering trans people are doing it based on rad fem ideology, same with societal oppression contributing to elevated suicide rates. No one here is spouting hatred.

Are we not allowed to discuss biological, social and other perspectives of gender and sex?

You're not bothering to read anyone's posts, are you, fluffy? You're just pretending we've said things you like to pretend rad fems might say, because it's easier to do that.

I am not about to get into oppression olympics with you or anyone else, let alone 'the transgender woman' (what a patronizing phrase - do you also talk about 'the black man' in that universalizing way, or do you save your faux concern for people you believe it suits your dislike of radical feminism to pretend to support?).

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 16:36:58

I have always agreed with RadFems on the difference between Sex (biologically determined) and gender (socially constructed) To this end I am female first. I don't think it is possible yet to change your biological sex but it is possible to construct a new social identity, ie transition from man-woman or woman-man. At the moment it seems that no one is allowed to question whether gender ID promotes inequalities because trans-people feel under attack.

I am inclined to think people can be what/who they wish but not to impose a definition and even worse a redefinition on others. For too long we have been expected to exhibit gendered behaviours, personality traits and to achieve a gender specific look. Women are expected to be less aggressive, less outspoken, to act coy, to speak quietly etc. Men are expected to look, speak and behave in gender specific ways. When people don't ascribe to this narrow definition of what it is to be man/woman it's no wonder they are conflicted within themselves or/or seek transition. Its almost as though some very sensitive people have too options, conform or transition.

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 16:37:03

It wont help equality one jot.

a. it creates a partition, the Radfems are essentially creating a ghetto for themselves. People actually listen to people who are worthy of listening to, regardless of their person.

By secreting themselves away they actually compound their perceived problems in to real ones. Their views are likely to be dismissed due to the method of their formation, not necessarily for any other reason.

b. It wont help them take themselves seriously, because they are doing all of this thinking and talking in an artificial environment. If the group aren't comfortable discussing the ideas with others are the ideas worthy of discussion? Or do they think these ideas will never cross the 'Radfem'/Rest of world interface? In which case are they worhty of discussion?

By not having other parties involved, even in watered down and tethered form, their ideas will not be correctly formed and thus may attract derision. If the groups are 'vulnerable' how will them ever gain the confidence to shed this vulnerability? You don't just run 100m to get fit. The very fact discussions take place to teh exclusion of all other points of view means the discussion is essentially pointless.

c. Closed groups such as these are devisive by their very nature. If they are not open to the whole community they invite suspicion.

For example, a quick check of my google shows a radfem speech troting out nonsense about the burning of witches being evidence of men hating women...

The author appears to think 9,000,000 women were burned at the stake...

No mention that that figure would have left Europe with no women nor wood for fuel. There was no mention of the large amount of men that were killed for witchcraft.

Nor even the fact that the burning of witches had very little to do with their sex, but more their religion... hence the number of men also killed.

And if such conventions spark terms such as 'menhate' one should question their validity. I could question the term 'radical feminist' also, especially when connected with such terms as 'menhate'.

A force with no resistance is not a good thing, just as a force with too much resistance

If the audience of such conventions are truely vulnerable, how do we ensure they are not abused by those they perceive as their leaders?

Interesting you defend the equality compatibility angle almost immediately.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 16:38:43

have two* not too

Oh well, if they are making themselves powerless by insisting on defining their own groups why not just let them get on with it?

I'm laughing at the What About The Wizardz! angle.

FloraFox Fri 26-Apr-13 16:44:15

notflulffy women being silenced and told what to believe and care about and to always speak naicely and care for everyone except themselves is like the treatment of women for, oh, ever. Let's hope the situation for women changes in less time than 30 years.

It wont help equality one jot.

I respect your opinion, but you are stating opinion as fact here, and I disagree with your opinion.

a. it creates a partition, the Radfems are essentially creating a ghetto for themselves. People actually listen to people who are worthy of listening to, regardless of their person.

This is not true. As I have said, there is quite a lot of research to show that people do not just listen to people worthy of being listened to, they are conditioned to listen more to men, and to give men more space to speak.

Ask yourself honestly: if people 'actualy listen to people who are worthy of listening to', does that mean there were no eloquent voices for the entire history of slavery in North America, right up until it ended? No. Does it mean there were no eloquent voices speaking out against the murder of jews, gypsies, and disabled people during the Holocaust? No.

Think about what you are saying for a minute here.

By secreting themselves away they actually compound their perceived problems in to real ones.

Which problems are 'perceived'? You are dismissing an agenda without engaging with it - why?

Their views are likely to be dismissed due to the method of their formation, not necessarily for any other reason.

More fool the people dismissing their views. This conference is for the people attending. Maybe those people care about the views being expressed, huh?

b. It wont help them take themselves seriously, because they are doing all of this thinking and talking in an artificial environment. If the group aren't comfortable discussing the ideas with others are the ideas worthy of discussion? Or do they think these ideas will never cross the 'Radfem'/Rest of world interface? In which case are they worhty of discussion?

Incorrect. I participate in a couple of (very small, very un-activisty, very safe) woman-only groups and I gain hugely from it on a personal level. The opportunity to be in a woman-only group and talk helps me hugely to take myself and other women seriously. Therefore, all on my own, I disprove your statement. smile

By not having other parties involved, even in watered down and tethered form, their ideas will not be correctly formed and thus may attract derision.

Incorrect. You provide no evidence.

If the groups are 'vulnerable' how will them ever gain the confidence to shed this vulnerability? You don't just run 100m to get fit. The very fact discussions take place to teh exclusion of all other points of view means the discussion is essentially pointless.

They will gain the confidence through these groups. See above. smile

c. Closed groups such as these are devisive by their very nature. If they are not open to the whole community they invite suspicion.

Incorrect. Why do you belive so?

For example, a quick check of my google shows a radfem speech troting out nonsense about the burning of witches being evidence of men hating women...

And it's so convincing you provided a link. I see. hmm

You cannot expect anyone to take that seriously, can you?

*The author appears to think 9,000,000 women were burned at the stake...

No mention that that figure would have left Europe with no women nor wood for fuel. There was no mention of the large amount of men that were killed for witchcraft.*

Maybe you should check out this discussion on FWR, right here. You will find several people, all feminists, arguing both sides of this one. Once again, your argument fails because you assume all rad fems are the same.

Nor even the fact that the burning of witches had very little to do with their sex, but more their religion... hence the number of men also killed.

This is incorrect.

And if such conventions spark terms such as 'menhate' one should question their validity. I could question the term 'radical feminist' also, especially when connected with such terms as 'menhate'.

I've not seen anyone use the term 'menhate' except you. Your argument is therefore groundless.

A force with no resistance is not a good thing, just as a force with too much resistance

... is what? Is this a joke without a punchline?

If the audience of such conventions are truely vulnerable, how do we ensure they are not abused by those they perceive as their leaders?

'We' don't. And the leaders ensure it by, erm, not being oppressive. It's very simple. smile

Interesting you defend the equality compatibility angle almost immediately.

I'm so pleased you think so.

Now ... any points that

1) Make sense
2) Are relevant
3) Don't make me wonder if you're simply incapable of engaging with an argument.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 16:47:40

"By secreting themselves away they actually compound their perceived problems in to real ones. "

Er "secreting themselves" away in that safe house, the Camden Centre?

And last year, secreting themselves away in that unknown underground venue, Conway Hall?

Isn't rad fems "secreting themselves away" what trans-activists and MRA's want?

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 16:52:27

Mini,

A man can change in to a woman, but a woman can also change into a man if they so wish.

There is nothing that says you can't act as you wish to act. If you want to act (for want of a better term) 'manly' there is nothing stopping you.

basil - I think there's a confusion between nuns and radical feminists, perhaps? It often happens.

For a 'secret' meeting it's amazing how many people know about it, innit.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 16:57:06

It's because of the wimple thing.

I can see why the confusion arises.

Truefacts.

And on that note, I'm off to starch my long black robes and get in a quick few Hail Maries before DH gets home.

(I'm actually going to write about the Pater Noster, but close, I feel.)

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 16:59:27

When under attack people exhibit a bunker mentality.

There are two options, open up the conference, men need to hear the truth however uncomfortable. Trans women could also be made welcome and perhaps even invited to field speakers on gender as well. Or don't. In which case expect more MRA and Trans activity because their perception of RadFem is based on a few (not representative) rabid blogs.

Only dialogue with the opposition has the capacity to create change.

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 17:08:18

Basil, I will change it then...

del 'secreting' ins 'having meetings, that exclude all but a select group'.

Re the slavery and holocaust arguments, LRD, that is a strawman argument. Worthy doesn't mean eloquent, I would say that everyone's opinion of 'worthy' would differ.

I don't doubt you have studies, chuck a few links up if you wish, all I would ask is that the studies offer a proven link and are unbiased.

Ref your groups, all on your own you also prove mine... if they are friendly and you derive confidence from it, great... are you willing to engage in your group to the same degree if I was in the circle? How else will equality be found? I promise I wont bite!

If you want to find 'manhate' google 'radfem'. That's all I did, and the term was on the first page of hits.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 17:17:53

LazarussLozenge, I'm mini because I am well......not very tall, I look like a woman, jeez I even act like one (most of the time). I am perfectly happy as I am thank you.

Have you not noticed that girls wear pink and that socialisation creates "gender" well I like pink but would I have grown up to like pink if it were not for the fact that everything in my life supports and perpetuates my gender. What happens when the messages are mixed or the process only partially complete? Confusion reigns I guess. Maybe it would be better to just do away with gender stereotyping full stop? Which is what feminists would very much like to see happen.

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 17:32:04

Not saying you are not happy. Just that as a man can change in to a woman, a woman may change in to a man.

I know girls are stereotyped pink and boys blue.

I have no problem with stereotyping stopping, I'm quite chuffed my own daughter is growing in to her own person rather than any stereotype one could imagine.

Not sure where you are going with the rest.

I've known one or two trans-genders, I wouldn't say that any 'process' was incomplete in their cases. We're quite complex things, both biologically and psychologically.

FloraFox Fri 26-Apr-13 17:50:13

I don't believe a woman can change into a man or a man can change into a woman. It is possible to assume a male or a female identity based on our social constructs of gender but that's not the same thing.

notfluffy name calling and simple repetition of your opinion is not very persuasive.

kim147 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:04:28

I've read some of the Rad Fem blogs out there and some of them are pretty horrible to read. I understand that their views do not represent the views of some other Rad Fems.

But there is a perception - and echoed on here by some people of views about trans people. That is your view and you are entitled to it.

MRAs also have their views on issues as well, as does the Westboro Church - which you may not believe, like and may find distasteful.

People have a right to express such views - yes, including MRAs.

But if a venue has a policy that is supportive of trans people, then it would be very difficult for them to admit a group which has a reputation for being anti- trans (even if they weren't going to talk about it).

That is not denying the right of women to meet and discuss really important issues - but it does present a dilemma for a venue which as a policy about supporting trans people.

I can imagine the same venue would have an issue with MRAs wanting to meet up because of the more extreme views of some of their members.

I've read some of the transactivist blogs - I try not to, TBH - and some of them are pretty horrible to read. I know perfectly well that their views don't represent yours or many other people.

But there is a perception, which I've seen echoed in the death threats to radical feminists, the people saying they should be raped, the MRAs who harasssed the ordinary people working at the Irish centre, that some transactivists use that name in order to act as misogynists. It doesn't taint anyone else's views - but it's there.

I'm not going to compare MRAs to the Westboro Church as I'm not sure of the comparison, but I will say - no, not everyone has the right to express their views. Hate speech and death threads are not part of 'free speech'.

Allowing women the right to meet and discuss 'really important issues' has to include allowing women the right to meet and discuss what a woman is. It is a mockery to pretend otherwise. It is also, btw, quite possible to have that discussion without either side getting into petty name-calling.

infamouspoo Fri 26-Apr-13 18:13:50

I'm puzzled why it bothers some people that a group of women want a conference all of their own. Do those same people insist on being at any other exclusive event? Wicans only? Star trek nerds only? Viking appreciation society? Or is it just women who cant have a women only event?

I did know some late-medievalists who got extremely fed up that they weren't really able to participate in the Norse reading group meetings, but I believe this was largely because the Norse group had managed to convince everyone that the theory and practice of mead-drinking was integral to academic study.

But I digress.

When you put it like that, you're right, it does seem ridiculous.

infamouspoo Fri 26-Apr-13 18:24:18

Thats because it is LRD. A group of people wish to meet. There's a criteria. If you dont fit it, dont go. Why would you want too?
Last week I went to a meeting just for disabled people. We didnt have non disabled people campaigning outside miffed they couldnt come and talk about the issues surrounding disability. Cos d'uh.
It seems to me like common sense not just flew out the window but got shot and et.

FloraFox Fri 26-Apr-13 18:25:58

kim the venue dictates the policy, not the other way around. Using the equality policy as the reason suggests that the rights of transgendered people not to be offended by people who question gender identity should be given greater standing that the rights of women to meet to discuss feminism.

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 18:27:09

LRD,

I said 'secreted' not secret.

As in concealing the proceedings within the meeting, rather than the meeting itself. And certainly nothing to do with discharge!

On the subject of what various parties would 'like to see'. We assume that various feminist groups want sexual equality, we assume other groups want equality on grounds of race, etc.

Do they though?

Call me a cynic, but wouldn't sexual equality (for example) mean the professional equalisers are out of job? Is it in their best interest to reach their goal early, or drag it out for as long as possible?

No one wants to end up like Arthur Scargill.

Exactly, infamous.

Can I say? I don't really follow why we are discussing the venue's policy and transphobia again.

The venue's staff got harrassed, they're worried about the safety of their staff. The conference is inviting transwomen to attend.

It seems pretty reasonable to conclude that the reason the conference might not go ahead is because some people decided to try to intimidate the venue into backing down by threatening the people who work there. I think we can probably draw our own conclusions about what that says about the people involved in said harrassment.

infamouspoo Fri 26-Apr-13 18:35:03

pretty low harassing the venues staff angry

LazarussLozenge Fri 26-Apr-13 18:42:14

Only if by 'pretty reasonable' you mean 'we'll just jump to a conclusion that fits our outlook'.

FloraFox Fri 26-Apr-13 18:45:13

Yes LRD we've probably beat that one to death blush

vesuvia Fri 26-Apr-13 18:45:43

LazarussLozenge wrote - "The author appears to think 9,000,000 women were burned at the stake... No mention that that figure would have left Europe with no women nor wood for fuel."

9 million women burned at the stake may not be accurate, but your claim that it is an overestimate because it would have left Europe with no women is incorrect.

There were about 9 million women and girls living in France alone at any given time during the witch hunt period (1480 to 1750). Historians have calculated that this population implies that more than 50 million French women lived during the witch hunts. Obviously when the other countries in Europe are also included, the total number of women is even larger.

Mumordad Fri 26-Apr-13 18:50:46

Is there evidence that MRAs stopped the conference through intimidation?

Or is it paranoia?

A good article here.

www.lesbilicious.co.uk/radfem-2013-cancelled-should-we-care/

Oh, no, sorry, flora, that wasn't in the least me getting at you!

mumordad - the conference organizers said it was intimidation of the venue staff, yes.

Mumordad Fri 26-Apr-13 20:02:20

I've read it again it doesn't say 'intimidation' it says 'safety'

'Our cancellation of the booking was a very difficult decision, but one that we have made to protect the safety of our venue staff. It is also due to the increased operational demands of the conference, which we are not now equipped to deal with as a very small organisation and venue, used mainly for weddings, community events and training.

We have made this difficult decision based entirely on our available infrastructure and the wellbeing of our staff, without pressure from any group concerned with the subject matter of the conference and we are making recommendations to the organisers about other possible venues with the operational capacity to accommodate the event. We wish Radfem a successful conference.'

I think people are putting 2+2 together and getting 5.

I suppose they're lying when they say this.

'without pressure from any group concerned with the subject matter of the conference'

GrtGmawasasuffragiat Fri 26-Apr-13 20:11:41

Ok, lets talk Equality Act 2010 here:
There are 7 protected characteristics, gender is one of them. There is another bit of legislation that permits people living as their gender of choice for 2 years (no need for medical or surgical intervention) they can apply to be legally recognised as being of that gender. This includes a change of birth certificate.
It doesn't matter what your opinions are, the law allows change of gender identity.
Second, the Equality Act states explicitly that unless there is a specific reason to exclude which already exists in an organisations policy and is covered by another protected characteristic, an organisation must comply with equality legislation - hence the RNIB can say their director MUST be blind or partially sighted in a job advert, and they do not run contrary to the Equality Act because their charter is about promoting the welfare if people with sight-loss, so asking for actual experience of blindness as an essential criteria is no more discriminator than asking a doctor to have a recognised medical qualification.
To hazard a guess the London Irish Centre realised that they risked their charity status if there was even a hint of a risk of breaking Equality Legislation. I suspect the MRA protest was only part of it (and have there been any arrests because of that protest? - none I have seen, so I doubt it was viewed as harasment). From what I read in the centre's own press statement they received complaints from trans-activists. So it was not just because of the MRA protest.

I know a few MRAs - you can't spend time dealing with family court issues without coming across them. The mainstream are very clear on their anti-violence stance. Most I've met are egalitarian and seek equal treatment under the law - so changes such as presumed shared parenting after divorce. Most are worried about issues such as male suicide, male rape in prisons, male genital mutilation, effective male contraception to ensure both men and women have reproductive choices. Many are fathers of daughters and want society to be safe and equal for their girls, and they don't see that advocating for men's issues diminishes their concern and care for their daughters.
I don't get this zero-sum approach to men's rights here - identifying and acting to address men's issues does not detract from women's rights or the efforts to get gender equality. Conflating the MRA with white supremacist movements gave me a bemused moment considering the black and Asian and female MRAs I've met.
There are haters in all movements - both in the feminist extreme and the men's rights extreme, but the moderates of both sides have their place in society and in gender narrative.

grt - thanks for agreeing with my earlier post. smile

It's nice of you to repeat it, and I appreciate it - I'd be almost more appreciative if you'd, you know, acknowledged I had already explained that, under law, you can change gender, but, you know ...

What did you think about the fact that the London Irish Centre isn't risking breaking this legislation for the reasons already suggested? Did you have a view on that?

MRAs are conflated with white supremacists because they are very similar. It is very simple, unfortunately. Comparing feminists and men's rights 'extremes' is rather odd, isn't it, given that we live in a world where women are oppressed as a result of their sex and men are not?

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 20:40:40

Some men are oppressed irrespective of their sex though, somehow we need to be talking to these men because these are the men that pose the greatest threat to equality.

Absolutely, mini. I couldn't agree more.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 26-Apr-13 20:44:28

Surely MRAs are being compared to white supremacists rather than conflated? 'Conflated' suggests people believe they are actually the same thing, which I don't think anyone thinks.

True, you're right, I should clarify, I don't think they're the same thing.

My comparison is the basic one we're all aware of: it is possible to be racist to anyone, of any race. But it is not currently possible to be a 'black supremacist' in the way someone can be a 'white supremacist', because the structure of society gives white people so much racial privilege. In the same way, it is possible to be sexist towards men or women or both, but it is not possible to be a misandrist in the way someone can be a misogynistic, because the structure of society gives men so much sex privilege.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 20:57:12

I'm just thinking that the "common man" on the street, the husbands, partners, ex-husbands the men that perhaps are socialised by the media, by porn, by the process of just being disadvantaged, read the sun newspaper or whatever or feel marginalised because of the tough economic situation and the fact that low skilled male workers are surplus in the modern world. These are the men that we should worry about. Both because (we) women live with these men & because these men are the ones most likely to display casual sexism and even hostility towards women. The men that benefit most by upholding patriarchal/class relations within society encourage this because it benefits them in terms of profit but also it obscures the real social relations under this oppressive socio/economic system.

Nothing would signal an end to patriarchal/class relations better than men coming on board and fighting it too smile

I do worry about those men.

So do loads of radical feminists.

I cannot glance through the FWR section without falling over threads about our husbands or sons or brothers. We do worry.

I don't understand what more we're meant to do? We have to not just 'worry', but actually put these men's needs so far ahead of our own, we can't even have a one-day conference to get together, to provide a space for those women who are too scared to talk elswhere, to talk?

I can see where you are coming from - you are just like everyone else, you know men who're decent men. This is not a singular position.

What is your solution for the women who would like to be able to talk about issues like, say, rape or prostitution or DV? Are you just saying 'well, they should really get over themselves and stop needing a safe space, because what matters most is men?'. Because I'm sure you don't mean to say that, but what else does what you're saying mean?

I do not belive that, in order to make common ground across different groups, we need never to meet up separately. Why?

And, you know, I am so tired of being told we 'should' worry about the men.

Yes, sure. We should and I think we mostly do. Is it not ok to maybe worry about the women something like, hmm, 1% of the time? And have shared meetings the other 99%, which will tend to be dominated by men?

kim147 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:17:17

I agree LRD and Rad Fem had made some concessions towards the trans community. I was annoyed that people jumped on the criticism just because it was a Rad Fem conference without actually reading what the conference was about.

But say Rad Fem to people and anti- trans is something that people associate with the movement. There's also lots of other things that Rad Fem stands for and needs debating in a safe space.

I don't know why the MRA did what they did - I can't see what is has to do with them TBH. Unless they have their impression of Rad Fems which is far from the reality.

FairPhyllis Fri 26-Apr-13 21:17:36

I can't help thinking that if MRAs are so angry about RadFem 2013 and so invested in shutting it down, it's a pretty good sign that the organisers must be doing something right. I'm sorry I won't be able to go.

I'd like to draw everybody's attention to the fact that you can donate on the RadFem 2013 website to enable sisters (I like that too!) who wouldn't be able to afford it to be able to attend. I will be donating in lieu of attending.

kim147 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:19:46

And I'll just like to put on record that some people on FWR have been supportive of me and I hope they've gained a better understanding. I've also learnt a lot about other people's perspective which can only be a good thing.

Oh, I do see that people associate rad fem with being anti-trans, kim. I am trying to say, I'm standing up against that. I do not believe transphobia is acceptable, and I do not belive that the sort of abuse and threats and disgusting language that gets thrown at transpeople is in any way acceptable. It isn't.

I think debating the issues around gender and sex probably do need a safe space, TBH. I think they're really hard to debate.

I do want to be able to debate these points without being told I must be being transphobic for (for example), saying I do not personally have such a thing as 'gender identity', or for saying I do think that there are issues to do with pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, that are important to be discussed. I am aware that many transpeople would not object to me discussing those things, too - or so I understand from you, because you have been generous with your time and explained to me. I think we should be able to talk without getting into insults and abuse.

Anyway ...

God knows why the MRAs did what they did. No sense (IMO) trying to work it out.

fair - yep, true enough, must be doing something right.

Huh. And that was a genuine cross-post.

Yes, I agree, and I also feel I've gained a better understanding (though still very limited I know).

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:25:53

The whole 'what about the menz' thing is SO annoying. Do disabled groups get told they should be thinking about able-bodied people's problems more? FFS.

I agree that there is a level of nastiness at the more extreme ends of both the radfem and trans communities that is horrid and counter-productive... but lots of the things radfems talk about are so important and valuable that I hate seeing them shut down.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 26-Apr-13 21:29:13

Kim we know exactly why the MRAs did what they did, because they talk about it openly on their websites. They hate feminists (all feminists, not just radfems) for reasons that are nothing to do with trans and everything to do with the MRA agenda, and they are completely open about how they are using trans this time simply because it is the best card for them to play. There's stuff on their sites that is far more transphobic than anything I've ever heard a radfem I know in RL say.

I'm glad GTM has only met nice MRAs but some of the less nice once are listed at the Southern Poverty Law Center's listing of misogynist hate sites here.

Oh, I think they do, FWIW, mooncup. sad

My mum used to get people ringing her up when she worked on a disability helpline with people being furious that the 'stupid' child in the class got special help. hmm

Likewise - not disbility but indicative of how people think about privilege - my mate works in a university admissions office and told me she has more than once had a call from a parent whose child goes to Eton asking why there aren't any summer schools set up to help children from Eton approach the shocking idea of going to Oxbridge, and why they always focus on the kids from disadvantaged schools.

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:40:42

LRD shock

Clearly I had underestimated people's selfishness and stupidity. Can't help laughing at the demand for summer schools for Etonians, though. A quick google suggests that only about a third of Etonians get into Oxbridge each year sad

I know! It is fairly hiliarious if you don't think of it too hard.

Basically, I think the more privileged people are, the harder it is for them to see that privilege and the more they think they're being done down. It is kinda relevant here, somehow ...

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:43:15

Imagine the misery of having to go to Durham or Exeter when if you'd only been able to attend a three-week summer school funded entirely by the state you might have got into New College.

<derails thread>

Indeed. Don't lets imagine the horror.

It'd be almost like, imagine if you'd grown up in a world where political leaders were groomed in all-male clubs that'd existed for centuries, and then some pesky women decided to get together to have a chat. You'd be horrified and justifiably upset. sad

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:47:16

But yes absolutely re privilege and entitlement. The terrifying thing about the MRAs is that they so fundamentally believe that they have a right to get the proper jobs and have a woman to make their home lives pleasant and provide sexual satisfaction.

GrtGmawasasuffragiat Fri 26-Apr-13 22:07:43

Are you aware that the Southern Poverty Law Centre has been discredited itself on a number of occasions?

GrtGmawasasuffragiat Fri 26-Apr-13 22:10:00

Are you talking about all MRAs? Again, are we saying extremists represent the majority view?

Non-sequitur?

What are you trying to ask?

GrtGmawasasuffragiat Fri 26-Apr-13 22:15:14

Out of curiosity, would you have a problem with a men's room at a university or male only sessions at a gym?
It seems to me that there has been a major historic effort to shut down male spaces, yet we still promote female only space and events.
I'm curious how this is equality?

GrtGmawasasuffragiat Fri 26-Apr-13 22:19:20

Any of you (I'm struggling to learn different forum layout! Used to threading replies from a number of forums I was part of a few years back)
This was in response to the assertion that MRAs sought to uphold traditional gender roles of the woman in the home and the man in the job

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 22:27:21

I'm just talking about the MRAs I've read, who may not be representative. They don't always say that but it often seems to be the subtext.

I'm sure there are lots of decent men who campaign for (say) more funds for prostate cancer research, or shared residence of children. However, for me anyone describing themselves as an Mens' Right Activist raises red flags... because men are not lacking in rights, and never have been. Just as someone campaigning for white/heterosexual/able-bodied rights would make me go hmm

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 22:30:12

Do people with disabilities get told to worry about able bodied people.

Good point but IMO doesn't prove the efficacy of only discussing something with like minded people when trying to reach a solution. People with disabilities need to have a dialogue with others in order that everyone can understand the issues they face. And other people do have some responsibility for listening.

The problem with single issue activism of all sorts is that it can become very insulated. What is the point in talking to people who agree with you unless you only want to have your opinion validated. If we all hive off into groups and never test our theories, ideologies, ideas, bias and prejudice against others, you can end up with a sort of specialised group think that is hostile to anything outside of that hegemony. At that point no two groups can overcome the differences. esp if making progress relies upon others outside the group not opposing and challenging the changes.

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 22:34:35

Well - those of us on MN very much are having a dialogue with people who don't agree, Mini!

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 22:39:17

Mini - a couple of times a year people meet up with people who agree with them.

The rest of the time, it simply isn't possible to be insulated from the shit the rest of the world is throwing around.

I really don't think there's a huge danger that radical feminists will forget that the rest of the world doesn't agree with them...

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 22:43:56

"It seems to me that there has been a major historic effort to shut down male spaces, yet we still promote female only space and events.
I'm curious how this is equality?"

Male-only spaces have traditionally been used to shut out women, to keep power and privileges for themselves.

Women-only spaces were traditionally man-made areas to keep women under male control.

Public space is not a neutral space, it is overwhelmingly a male space. It was designed in the main by male town planners with male priorities and women are there on tolerance only. That's why men shout obscenities and abuse in the street - to remind us that we have no right to be there without a male owner companion.

We could have a whole other thread about male versus female space, it's an interesting topic.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Apr-13 22:59:10

Maybe its just me, I don't particularly get off on being agreed with, I'd rather test my ideas against other people's. I can't see how you can develop as a thinking person without testing your theory, how can you know you are even on the right track.

I guess the church had missionaries because it realised that it couldn't convert anyone otherwise. People wouldn't just roll up and sign up. Which is why open dialogue is important.

Are the MRAs a recent phenomena in response to the proliferation of "radfem" blogs? although I suspect that the economic situation is key to understanding this. Many men who are signing up to MRA are probably locating the cause of their disenfranchisement to women when the real culprit is material. But then lots of women think equali