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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.

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 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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 17:45:29

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.


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?

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

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 18:07:32

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}

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 18:11:25


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

grin v.good! when do we get started

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 18:12:43

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.)

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