Julie Burchill looks at intentionality and its unfortunate intentional consequences.
Though it reminds us ceaselessly to ‘check our privilege’, intersectionality is the silliest privilege of them all, a gang of tools and twats tiptoeing around others’ finer feelings rather than getting stuck in, mucking in, like proper mates — the ultimate privilege, which is to serve each other with collective love and action. The most recently inter-species ruckus happened when the Deirdre Spart impersonator Laurie Penny wrote a passionate defence of the pixie cut in the New Statesman, only to get it in the sleekly shaved neck from women who accused her of not taking the different behaviour of African hair into consideration. When I asked a supporter of this lunacy whether she thought that every subject of interest to women should have every type of woman weighing in with her written opinion, she answered that yes, she did. Seriously?
Laura McNally talks about her trip to Vietnam and how body image issues exist everywhere.
During my life in Vietnam, I returned to visit Australia a few times. On my visits to Australia, women in Vietnam would ask me to purchase beauty products for them. They wanted Australian (or preferably American) cellulite removing creams, wrinkle reduction creams and so on. They knew the famous brands, and specifically they often picked products with ‘sexy’ or ‘beauty’ in the name. These creams were in the price-range of $50 – $100, normal prices for Australian products. The women who wanted these creams earned typical Vietnamese salaries of around $120 per month, thats $30 per week. This is a pretty average salary. These women were not wealthy heiresses; they were average income earners with meagre living standards. To give an indication of living costs, petrol is a similar price in Vietnam and Australia, rent is not as cheap as you’d think, $30 does not go far. But, these women were willing to give up nearly a month of income just to experience the luxury of a Western beauty product. These women are literally forgoing necessities like decent food, just to have a taste of Western ‘beauty’. When women overseas are living in poverty and now have the added pressure of being ‘sexy’ while they survive – this is a serious justice issue. And before you jump to any conclusions, these women were not divas, they were average mums and women.
Culturallyboundgender gives her opinion on the issue of autogynephilia and how they hijack transgenderism for their own fetishes.
Today, many women in liberal feminist spheres will give that to men wanting to get off on their ability to become the gazed-upon at will, completely free of charge. One of the biggest reasons I am skeptical of the “born this way” school of transgenderism is that I have personally had to listen to hundreds of men who paid me to cater to their extremely sexualized, misogynistic fantasies of what it means to be transformed into a woman. Don’t tell me autogynephilia doesn’t exist, when I made many thousands of dollars by learning enough about it to be able to cater to it in a way that played on the psychology behind it. Don’t tell me it doesn’t exist to make your political point, when I have the reviews from many, many “girls” who were satisfied customers.
The sooner trans* people acknowledge that yes, creepy autogynephiles and people who idealize femininity in ultimately patriarchal ways are in their movement, the sooner it will be easier for radical feminists and trans activists to have a reasonable conversation about the complex conflicts involved in letting trans* women into women’s spaces. Pretending that these people do not exist does a disservice to the women who know that they have been economically, emotionally, socially or physically coerced into helping men live out their fantasy lives as women.
Deep Green Resistance is a great radical feminist and radical environmentalist group which does a lot of good work around the United States. I think their guidelines for male allies are worth reading.
It is not enough for us to be “good guys.” It is not enough to personally refrain from exploiting women. It is not enough for us to be personally conscientious and respectful to women. It is not enough to maintain equality in our own relationships with women. While all of those things are important, abstaining personally from outright oppressive behavior doesn’t challenge patriarchy as a system of power. Basic decency commands that we work alongside women to uproot and dismantle this entire patriarchal system– within ourselves, within our groups and communities, and within institutions and the culture at large.
Check out this list of Clarence Darrow quotes from Uriupina.
The fact that life is here, to my mind, proves nothing, excepting that if you got a certain amount of earth and heat and water— if they were resolved into the simple elements—given these elements in certain proportions under certain conditions, life will develop, just as maggots will in a cheese. Does that prove it is worth while? I cannot see it. It does not prove it in any meaning of the words worth while. If it does prove it, then everything is equally worth while, and the living man is no more a part of nature than the corpse. And the well man is no more a part of nature than the sick man. The pleasurable emotion is no more a part of nature than the painful emotion. The fact that it is here simply proves it is here, that is all.
Feminists Unknown’s blog gives trans advocates and other assholes a guide on how not to treat people like gender stereotypes.
3. So if everyone is non-binary, how should I respond to them?
As though they are real flesh-and-blood humans with real fears and real needs. This can be hard if you’re not used to it. If you’ve been very immersed in reinforcing the binary-ness of others, you need to take your time and set yourself easy targets, Why not, say, go at least one hour without stalking women you don’t like on twitter, searching for an opportunity to call them vile, bigot, scum, TERF etc. on the discredited basis that you’re magically non-binary and they’re not? Once that works, set yourself a slightly longer target. You can do it!
Before I stopped reading the Jacobin for being anti-women, I took note of a few of their articles. This one on genetic determinism (like evolutionary psychology, although it’s not specifically addressed) is pretty interesting.
Biological determinism seems plausible precisely because it gives the illusion that it is grounded in scientific observation. No scientist disagrees that the basic building blocks of an organism are encoded in its genetic material, and that evolution, through some combination of genetic drift and selection, has shaped those genes. But trying to ascribe human behavior, whether eating a whole bag of potato chips or waging war, to a set of genes is clearly a quixotic exercise…
The appeal of biological determinism is that it offers plausible, scientific explanations for societal contradictions engendered by capitalism. If Type II diabetes is reduced to the problem of genetics (which it surely is to some degree), then we don’t have to think about the rise of obesity and its underlying causes: the agro-business monopoly, income inequality, and class-based disparities in food quality. Combine this with the prevalence of drug-based solutions to disease pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and it is no surprise that we are left with the impression that complex social phenomena are reducible to simple scientific fact.