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Using shame to silence feminists

(13 Posts)
thedaytoday Fri 09-Oct-20 12:18:05

I'm a victim of familial abuse and was shamed and ostracised for speaking up about it.

I have also blown the whistle over workplace failures and experienced the same response; shaming, aspersions cast on my mental health etc.

I also work with people who have been abused and am all too aware of how the shame that should be felt by the perpetrator is transferred onto the victim.

It got me to realising that I had - unknowingly - been carrying a lot of guilty and shameful feelings about my radfem stance. That it is my dirty secret that nobody can know about.

I have spoken to a couple of people lately in real life about Keira Bell's case and I am clear on my views but then afterwards panic that I may be misinterpreted, or reported to my employer. Shunned for speaking up.

And it occurred to me that the fear comes from having been shamed and punished for speaking out about situations of abuse in my life.

I never see shame from the rad fem position, only from the TRA side and I have had a moment of clarity that what we are seeing now in the shaming of rad fems, of JKR and others is a reaction to abuse being made public.

OP’s posts: |
SweetGrapes Fri 09-Oct-20 14:52:27

That's how women are kept in line, innit.
Tell... and it'll backfire on you. So stfu and let the abuse continue.

Butterer Fri 09-Oct-20 14:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cocothefirst Fri 09-Oct-20 15:01:16

Absolutely. Thankfully I'm a pissed off middle aged woman so it doesn't work.

However I rarely speak out IRL because my niece is a transman and I care about her.

MichelleofzeResistance Fri 09-Oct-20 15:19:02

I hear you flowers

Rule one of my childhood (male) abuser was 'how dare you not be nice and co operative while I'm abusing you? Think of me: don't upset me with your distress or feelings about what I'm doing to you'.

Oh do I see that one dumped constantly on women everywhere.

And yes, yay for becoming a pissed off, middle aged woman who's seen enough and knows enough of the scripts and doesn't accept other people's crap any more when they try to hand it to me.

BrassicaRabbit Fri 09-Oct-20 15:45:59

Excellent post OP.

And agree that shame is a part of female socialisation. Even the less overtly abusive parts such as the pressure to shave pubic hair; the public scrutiny of famous women's appearance; the way women are slags but men are studs etc.

Thelnebriati Fri 09-Oct-20 16:01:56

Thats a very useful insight.

IDK if you are familiar with Out Of The FOG but it has some great resources;
outofthefog.website/what-to-do-1/

thinkingaboutLangCleg Fri 09-Oct-20 16:24:39

You've nothing to be ashamed about, Thedaytoday. Well done for seeing clearly and speaking up.

I'd only add, please protect yourself and speak out when it's safe to do so. Too many good women have lost their jobs for refusing to knuckle under. I hope we're starting to push back effectively, but meanwhile please stay safe xx

Haworthia Fri 09-Oct-20 17:38:23

It got me to realising that I had - unknowingly - been carrying a lot of guilty and shameful feelings about my radfem stance. That it is my dirty secret that nobody can know about.

This is me. I’ve already lost friends, and when other friends of mine share super woke “birthing people” memes, and graffiti saying “FUCK TERFS”, it makes me extremely wary of losing more friends.

nepeta Fri 09-Oct-20 17:58:04

Haworthia

*It got me to realising that I had - unknowingly - been carrying a lot of guilty and shameful feelings about my radfem stance. That it is my dirty secret that nobody can know about.*

This is me. I’ve already lost friends, and when other friends of mine share super woke “birthing people” memes, and graffiti saying “FUCK TERFS”, it makes me extremely wary of losing more friends.

When I see someone using TERFs it is always because they appear to be FETAs, i.e., Female Excluding Trans Activists. The people who push for the erasure of the female body and the life experiences of all who live in a female body. Remembering what the fight is all about can be helpful.

thedaytoday Fri 09-Oct-20 18:15:30

The last place I worked at I saw an email the CEO had sent to someone looking for support for a child who was questioning their gender identity.

The email referred to Mermaids as an 'AMAZING charity'.

Never in my life have I signposted to any other organisation in such a biased way, eg I'll say something like : you might want to try contacting X organisation as they support people experiencing these issues.

And I know there will never be any comeback for the CEOs baseless remark that mermaids is an amazing charity because anyone who disagrees is a terf bitch and should be bullied out of their job.

OP’s posts: |
thesameasiteverwas Fri 09-Oct-20 19:27:48

Totally unprofessional of the CEO.

Kaiserin Sat 10-Oct-20 10:04:38

OP, your post resonates strongly.

I was thinking this morning about my (still evolving) thoughts and feelings about sex and gender (and identity, and freedom).
Deep inside, I want to shout out loud "gender is violence, sex is real!", and write a "gender free" feminist (humanist, even!) manifesto fit for the 21st century.

What makes it hard is the fear. And beyond the fear, the shame.
Deep inside, I know my feelings are valid, and my lived experience is real. I know why I chose to fully embrace the (sometimes painful, sometimes joyful) reality of my sexed body, but also entirely reject all the gendered societal baggage that others tried to attach to my body and mind.
A free mind, at peace with and within its own body. The result of a slow healing process. I'm not ready to share that story yet. But the outcome is here.

When people start demanding I disclose my pronouns (so that they can pigeon-hole me in a neat little box? The very same box I chose to reject?), when people treat gender not as divisive shackles, but as something that must be celebrated and publicly shared (my most intimate thoughts about my sense of self? really? ever heard of privacy?)... This hard-won inner balance is under threat. And I fear for those like me who haven't found their balance yet.

And I wish I could speak eloquently about how I feel, and why it's perfectly fair and rational, and why it matters (and may well also make sense to others).
I wish I could say the Emperor is naked, and gender is a gilded cage, and embracing it as an identity means imprisoning your mind, and no sense of "fitting in" is ever worth the loss of your mental freedom (... and the alienation from your own body)

I wish I could say that. But the very thing that (probably) caused all these thoughts and feelings in the first place, is what holds me back.
I know abuse, and the shame attached to it. The very best examples I could give of why and how gender is a prison, are extremely painful to relive. They still leave me feeling extremely vulnerable. And I know, from first hand experience, that vulnerable people get kicked when they're down.
So I choose self-preservation, and I stay quiet... (... For how long?)

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