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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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 23:01:02

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>

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 23:04:43


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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 23:09:37

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 23-Apr-13 23:37:12

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

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:
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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 24-Apr-13 11:37:44

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>

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 24-Apr-13 12:04:04

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

Cathy Brennan, humanitarian

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 :-)

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 24-Apr-13 13:11:12


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.

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