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Imagine being told you are not old enough or have reproduced enough yet to have a life saving procedure. Aaaaand then watching your husband ask for the very same thing and boom *it just gets done*. 2019 folks and this shit is still the standard.

Wow.  Patriarchal reversals brought to you by the WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre.

As a trans-inclusive anti-violence organization, we feel a sense of responsibility to provide a counter-narrative to this trans-exclusionary radical feminism. It’s no secret that there is a long, difficult history between feminism and trans people.”

Local Transactivists lobbied Vancouver city council to defund the Vancouver Rape Crisis and Woman’s Shelter because they had a female only policy.  Sex is a protected characteristic under the Canadian Charter.  Dr. Jones clearly illustrates the problem:

Let’s go through and do a rough line by line response to the highly inclusive blog post put put by the WAVAW.

“This history is rooted in the right wing ideology that queer and trans people and their issues are somehow oppositional to the issues of cisgender women and feminism as a whole.”

There would be less strife and problematic history between transactivism and radical feminism if we could all agree on material, biological reality.  Human beings cannot change sex.  A woman is correctly defined as an adult human female.

 

Bullshit. – What Radical Feminist Analysis of Gender looks like…

 “[…]  Disagreeing with someone, however, is not a form of violence. And we have a big disagreement.

Radical feminists are critical of gender itself. We are not gender reformists–we are gender abolitionists. Without the socially constructed gender roles that form the basis of patriarchy, all people would be free to dress, behave, and love others in whatever way they wished, no matter what kind of body they had.

Patriarchy is a caste system which takes humans who are born biologically male or female and turns them into the social classes called men and women. Male people are made into men by socialization into masculinity, which is defined by a psychology based on emotional numbness and a dichotomy of self and other. This is also the psychology required by soldiers, which is why we don’t think you can be a peace activist without being a feminist.

Female socialization in patriarchy is a process of psychologically constraining and breaking girls—otherwise known as “grooming”—to create a class of compliant victims. Femininity is a set of behaviors that are, in essence, ritualized submission.

We see nothing in the creation of gender to celebrate or embrace. Patriarchy is a corrupt and brutal arrangement of power, and we want to see it dismantled so that the category of gender no longer exists. This is also our position on race and class. The categories are not natural: they only exist because hierarchical systems of power create them (see, for instance, Audrey Smedley’s book Race in North America). We want a world of justice and equality, where the material conditions that currently create race, class, and gender have been forever overcome.

Patriarchy facilitates the mining of female bodies for the benefit of men – for male sexual gratification, for cheap labor, and for reproduction. To take but one example, there are entire villages in India where all the women only have one kidney. Why? Because their husbands have sold the other one. Gender is not a feeling—it’s a human rights abuse against an entire class of people, “people called women.”

We are not “transphobic.” We do, however, have a disagreement about what gender is. Genderists think that gender is natural, a product of biology. Radical feminists think gender is social, a product of male supremacy. Genderists think gender is an identity, an internal set of feelings people might have. Radical feminists think gender is a caste system, a set of material conditions into which one is born. Genderists think gender is a binary. Radical feminists think gender is a hierarchy, with men on top. Some genderists claim that gender is “fluid.” Radical feminists point out that there is nothing fluid about having your husband sell your kidney. So, yes, we have some big disagreements.

Radical feminists also believe that women have the right to define their boundaries and decide who is allowed in their space. We believe all oppressed groups have that right.”

-Deep Green Resistance – Radical Feminism FAQ

So try a little harder to argue honestly and charitably against your opponents.

“This conflict often shows up in the realm of gender-specific spaces, in shelters and anti-violence organizations. Feminism has been used as a means of spreading hatred against trans people, particularly trans women, and has co-opted the anti-violence movement to implicitly and explicitly exclude trans women.

No kidding.  Male violence is endemic in society.  Keeping men away from women and protecting hard fought for female only spaces is a priority in effective feminism.  You should try it some time.

It’s difficult for WAVAW to grapple with this history, especially as feminists doing anti-violence work.

What part of male violence don’t you get?  That is the root of the problem and thus what much of radical feminism works to change in society.  That is the material reality of the situation, class based male violence against female people.  Idealistic, individual solutions – see pretty much all of gender identity – do not address these systemic issues.  They may be important, but do they are not inherently feminist, and thus do not merit centring in female spaces and effective feminist activism.

This is especially true as trans-exclusionary radical feminism is alive and well in Vancouver; it’s no secret that we’re working amongst a hotbed of transmisogyny that has a global reach.

Feminists are rightly calling you on your male-centric, misogynistic approach.  Get used to it.

 

One of the things we hear most often is that by making space for trans women in our feminism we will dilute our politics. We hear rumours of trans women taking over and forcing an anti-feminist agenda on us. “

No, this is about Transactivists successfuly lobbying Vancouver City council to remove funding for the ONLY rape crisis centre that is Female only.  Because a refuge from male violence is somehow unacceptable to your ‘woke-ness’ on high.   Every other shelter allows men in, but apparently having a female only option is unacceptable, and your particular brand of handmaiden feminism is the only one that should be funded.

This is factually incorrect. We know this is incorrect because trans women have never accessed WAVAW in large numbers, despite the fact that we have been expressly open to trans women since 2000.”

Fine and dandy.  How about respecting woman’s boundaries when they prefer not to be around those members of the class of people that rape them?  You prioritize male feelings over female safety and it is a travesty.

“As a rape crisis center committed to supporting survivors,  we want them to access our services […]”

No one is stopping you.  This is about your support of taking away female only safe spaces for rape survivors.  This is you promoting ideology that actively hurts vulnerable women in the name of inclusion.

 

“Perhaps the most dangerous thing trans-exclusionary rhetoric does is to erase difference by insisting on some shared experience of womanhood.Kimberlé Crenshaw’s hugely influential theory on intersectionality informs our understanding that people embody different intersecting identities that get compounded under systems of oppression.  For example,  a queer, working class,  woman of colour experiences the world in a much different way than an upper middle class, straight, white woman would. Intersectionality shows us that women across race, class, gender, ability, etc., are more different than alike. To say that all women have a shared lived experience based on biological sex erases these differences and upholds white supremacy, patriarchy, and the status quo.”

What is it with redefinition of feminist terminology?  Can we get back to what Kimberlé Crenshaw theory addresses in context?  Please, and not the queer bastardization that supports your post modern neo-liberal hogwash?

“The term intersectionality theory was first coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.[3] In her work, Crenshaw discussed Black feminism, which argues that the experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black and of being a woman considered independently, but must include the interactions, which frequently reinforce each other.[19] Crenshaw mentioned that the intersectionality experience within black women is more powerful than the sum of their race and sex, and that any observations that do not take intersectionality into consideration cannot accurately address the manner in which black women are subordinated.”


On to what Carly Thomsen says:

“I recently asked my students in an upper division Gender and Women’s Studies Feminist Engaged Research course—in which all students are Gender and Women’s Studies majors or minors—a question about that day’s reading we were discussing in class. A student responded with: “It’s all about intersectionality.” My initial question is not particularly relevant, as I have found that students will attempt to answer nearly any question by referencing (the need for and value of) “intersectionality.” I followed up to ask: “What is intersectionality?” My students looked at me blankly. All of my students had been exposed to what they would describe as “intersectionality.” Yet, not one had read the original theory of intersectionality. Not one could accurately describe the theory. Not one had a sense of the genealogy of the term. Not one could think of limits to intersectionality. Some thought that the term refers to moments in which activism and scholarship “intersect,” while others insisted that it refers to the moment when any two or more marginalized identities meet within one person’s life. Not one knew its roots in black feminist theory or critical race theory. I raise this point not because these moments gesture toward some type of feminist pedagogical failure—if only the students learned the material properly!—but because these moments point to the hegemony of discourses of “intersectionality” within Gender and Women’s Studies. In these moments, we can see that, as Ahmed (2012a) suggests, “intersectionality can be used as a method of deflection,” as a way of re-directing attention away from race and racism (195)—and, by extension, from whichever form of marginalization one is working to address—by bringing up other forms of social exclusion. The failure here lies with neither an individual instructor nor student but with a field that has produced so little critical reflection on the limits of “intersectionality” that it figures as that which is largely beyond contest.”

 “Becoming Radically Undone: Discourses of Identity and Diversity in the Introductory Gender and Women’s Studies Classroom” – -Carly Thomsen

The too tl;dr is this.  The primary axis on which females are oppressed is SEX.  Intersectionality describes the interlocking challenges facing women and particularly women of colour, but in no possible reality-based world does it append the category of sex.

Therefore, as feminists, we cannot speak to a universal experience of womanhood, and we will not exclude trans women by claiming that there is one.

That is problematic because sex based oppression – female human trafficking, female sex selected abortions, prositution, domestic violence, FGM, objectification, et cetera – all revolve around the sex based axis of female subjugation in the world. Plugging your ears and not seeing this fact especially in service male gender feels is particular abhorrent.

 

For those of us who aren’t trans women, we have work to do. Our responsibility as a feminist organization is to push back against transmisogyny in meeting rooms, and in the movement, and right now, we’re re-committing to doing just that.”

Your responsibility as an ostensibly feminist organization is to centre the needs of females in your organization.

Period.

Shame on you for throwing women (adult human females) under the bus in your nebulous quest for ‘inclusivity’.

“The days of complicity with transmisogyny and trans-exclusionary feminism need to come to an end, as more trans women are speaking up and more organizations are willing to listen.”

Transmisogyny doesn’t exist.  Queer theoretical terms often don’t apply in reality, go figure.  The actual problem, male violence and the misogyny that goes along with it needs to be addressed.  Try starting there.

“We need to be vocal and to encourage our friends, family, and colleagues to examine their transmisogyny. We need to stop excusing it under the guise of feminism.”

Falling over yourself to meet male needs is nothing new in society. It isn’t part of meaningful feminist action.  When you’ve worked through your reality problems, please come back and give effective feminism a go.

Right now, we need to push back against trans exclusionary rhetoric, stop calling it feminism, and remember what revolution we’re working towards.

Do you even realize the level of newspeak going on here?  You issued this response in terms of the only rape crisis centre in Vancouver that explicitly catered to females and a female only space – losing their funding – and the furor it justifiably caused.  From your high-horse of ‘inclusion’ you are speaking against the choice of women, who chose not to associate with men in a RAPE CRISIS CENTRE.

Read that again.

Take your proclamations drenched in bullcookery elsewhere.  There is feminist work to be done and until you can realign your priorities with material reality, please sod off at your earliest convenience.

 

Support women in Vancouver go and donate to the Vancouver Rape Relief and Woman’s Shelter here.

Inspired by a recent conversation with a antediluvian blogger.

 

Ouch. :>

I do like reading Aeon magazine.  In his essay Jeremy Adelman describes some of the competing historical narratives.  I like that his arguments intersect with another venerated historian, Ronald Wright conclusions’ about civilizations and their paths toward modernity.  Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress dovetails nicely with the thesis of Adelman’s essay.

“The real failure then of that financial mayhem was that its makers couldn’t see how their heroic story of decontrolled Homo pecuniaria was responsible for the crisis – and instead compelled bystanders and taxpayers to pay the price.

The beneficiaries of the doomsday narratives have been snarling nativists and populists, propped up by Fox News sages such as Jonah Goldberg and Yuval Levin who champion the old decline story: a dirge for ‘Western’ civilisation. The New YorkTimes’ David Brooks weeps about America’s inescapable demise. For Donald Trump in the US, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, there is only one, stark, self-serving choice: cosmopolitan catastrophe or rescue, with themselves as uniquely mandated to liberate us from an apocalypse designed by global plutocrats. Meanwhile, liberals and cosmopolitans feud over whom to blame – thereby further fuelling the crisis consensus.

It’s important to recognise one of the catastrophist’s rhetorical moves. Stories of doom thrive on turning a tension into an incompatibility. A tension implies two forces at odds – like hot and cold, like price stability and jobs, like helping strangers and assisting neighbours; while they pull in different directions, they can be mixed. Earlier big narratives used to explain choices in terms of tension and unstable compromise. In the 1950s and ’60s, debates focused on how much the developing world could advance while being part of a wider global economy. A decade later, the tension was how to co-manage a troubled global commons.

Nowadays, the chorus of catastrophe presents differences as intractable and incompatible, the choice between them zero-sum. It’s globalism or ‘nation first’, jobs or climate, friend or foe. The model is simple: earlier leaders muddled, dithered, compromised and mixed. In their efforts to avoid hard decisions, they led the nation to the edge of disaster.

Pessimism helped exorcise post-1989 triumphalism; Piketty and Tooze are right about structural features of inequality and how the makers of catastrophe became its beneficiaries. But we also need to see how the consensus of catastrophe that straddles the ideological spectrum – but grows more dire and menacing as one approaches the extremes – favours the politics of the strong man glaring down the nation-doubters.

The alternative is not to be wistful about flat-world narratives that find solace in technical panaceas and market fundamentalisms; the last thing we need is a return to the comforts of lean-in fairy tales that rely on facile responses to a complicated world. To learn from collapses and extinctions, and prevent more of them, we need to recover our command over complex storytelling, to think of tensions instead of incompatibilities, to allow choices and alternatives, mixtures and ambiguities, instability and learning, to counter the false certainties of the abyss. If we don’t, it really will be too late for many people and species.”

Both Wright and Adelman champion a rational and reasoned approach to altering the self-destructive paths we’ve chosen collectively as civilizations on earth.  It is unfortunate, as Adelman notes, that the current political climate seems very well defended against the nuanced and complex solutions necessary to alter the calamitous course of our civilization.

 

Yelling at each other online is cool and what not (see the RPOJ) but past cartharisis for the writer, I’m thinking, not much is really accomplished.  Understanding the context and where people are coming from is an important skill to foster, and as Alexander Bevilacqua (from his essay on the Aeon Website) says, we should not entirely replace the adversarial aspects of our intellectual culture, but perhaps temper our expectations with a bit of empathy and appreciation for where the arguments are coming from.

“The call for empathy might seem theoretically naive. Yet we judge people’s intentions all the time in our daily lives; we can’t function socially without making inferences about others’ motivations. Historians merely apply this approach to people who are dead. They invoke intentions not from a desire to attack, nor because they seek reasons to restrain a text’s range of meanings. Their questions about intentions stem, instead, from respect for the people whose actions and thoughts they’re trying to understand.

Reading like a historian, then, involves not just a theory of interpretation, but also a moral stance. It is an attempt to treat others generously, and to extend that generosity even to those who can’t be hic et nunc – here and now.

For many historians (as well as others in what we might call the ‘empathetic’ humanities, such as art history and literary history), empathy is a life practice. Living with the people of the past changes one’s relationship to the present. At our best, we begin to offer empathy not just to those who are distant, but to those who surround us, aiming in our daily life for ‘understanding, not judging’.

To be sure, it’s challenging to impart these lessons to students in their teens or early 20s, to whom the problems of the present seem especially urgent and compelling. The injunction to read more generously is pretty unfashionable. It can even be perceived as conservative: isn’t the past what’s holding us back, and shouldn’t we reject it? Isn’t it more useful to learn how to deconstruct a text, and to be on the lookout for latent, pernicious meanings?

Certainly, reading isn’t a zero-sum game. One can and should cultivate multiple modes of interpretation. Yet the nostrum that the humanities teach ‘critical thinking and reading skills’ obscures the profound differences in how adversarial and empathetic disciplines engage with written works – and how they teach us to respond to other human beings. If the empathetic humanities can make us more compassionate and more charitable – if they can encourage us to ‘always remember context, and never disregard intent’ – they afford something uniquely useful today.”

There isn’t much to lose in trying a slightly different approach to arguing with other people, I think it is worth a shot.

Laurie Penny has a great review of some of Jordan Peterson’s work, this quote illustrates the continued reliance of sociobiological principles by JP.

“Peterson insists in the very first chapter of 12 Rules for Life that if you’re an adult human man worried about your place in the world, you’ve a surprising amount in common with lobsters, “especially when you are feeling crabby, ha ha.” He then draws a thick, wonky line through several hundred million years of natural selection to advise human primates on their posture. If you stand up straight, like the biggest, toughest lobsters do, “you are a successful lobster, and the most desirable females line up and vie for your attention.”

Idiots will believe anything; fools will believe anything that makes them feel better. Peterson’s followers are not idiots. In November 1975, the New York Review of Books published an open letter from a group of Boston scientists, educators, and students entitled “Against Sociobiology,” in which they warned about the enduring popularity of biological justifications of inequality, ideas for which there is scant evidence but huge public appetite: “The reason for the survival of these recurrent determinist theories is that they consistently tend to provide a genetic justification of the status quo and of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race or sex.”

Peterson is extravagantly dedicated to this justification, festooning his unscholarly interpretations of nature documentaries with ethical significance. His vision is of a world of crustacean anhedonia, an ordered utopia of jostling invertebrates endlessly battling to be top lobster, all tough carapace and no backbone.

This is Social Darwinism, not science. Peterson is working in a long, long tradition of conservatives, from Galton to Rockefeller to Reagan, using weak scientific data to give their dogma the mouthfeel of objectivity. Actual science journalists like Cordelia Fine and Angela Saini have done the hard work of going through every lazy assumption exhaustively, making it clear that using evolutionary theory alone to make sweeping pronouncements about human behavior is about as useful as scrying from the migratory patterns of birds or the entrails of whatever we’ve sacrificed to the god of late-capitalist male fragility on this day. Possibly our principles.

Social Darwinism, by itself, is a feeble philosophy. Combined with an investment in mythology and spiritualism, however, it becomes more dangerous. And this, brazenly, is what Peterson does. Standing up straight, for example, is important because of the lobsters, but also:

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back means building the ark that protects the world from the flood, guiding your people through the desert after they have escaped tyranny, [and] making your way away from a comfortable home and country… It means shouldering the cross.”

The simultaneous appeal to both science and religious mysticism, to God-and-or-genetics, is an ingenious arse-covering mechanism: if God didn’t strictly say he created man to compete in a series of vicious status battles and fuck the other guy, then genetics probably did, and any blue-haired social justice neuroscientists popping up to explain that that’s really not how gene expression works simply haven’t grasped the larger cosmic context. If there’s no actual scientific evidence for it, then it’s all a metaphor. It’s a prosperity gospel for toxic masculinity, The Art of the Deal via the Book of Leviticus.”

A review of The 12 Rules of life.

I need to find a pdf or two of JP’s works, there looks like there is a lot of comedy gold to mined.

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