Radical Feminism Is Real Feminism, Part 1

Radical Feminism
Is Real Feminism

Bev Jo

Part 1

We shouldn’t even have to call our culture and politics “Radical Feminism” when it once was simply feminism.  Real Feminism.

There is so much misinformation designed to deliberately confuse women and girls about what feminism is, that we have to keep re-explaining, to tell the truth. Diluting feminism to make it more palatable is a mistake. Feminism is not a cult that needs fantasies and lies to protect it. Girls and women are hungry for the truth. And the earth is literally running out of time.

Another reason to clearly describe Radical Feminism is to support the women who are heartbroken by the harm that women do to other women in the name of Radical Feminism. (And do not forget that sometimes the worst is by men posing as women).   When we know exactly what Radical Feminism is, then we know that women who are trolling and giving feminism a bad name are not real Radical Feminists.

So what is Radical Feminism? Radical Feminism, and particularly Radical Lesbian Feminism, takes feminism to its logical conclusion. While reformist/liberal/ mainstream feminism is about pleading for equal rights so a few privileged women can get a piece of the rotten patriarchal pie at the expense of most women, Radical Feminism frees us from that mess, which is why it’s so threatening to women benefiting personally from patriarchy.

Radical Feminism is what we know when all the patriarchal censors on our minds are gone and the fear of retribution is ignored. Radical means more than the root — it means going beyond all the lies we were taught, recognizing that patriarchy is built on deception. When the lies are exposed, then patriarchal control of girls’ and women’s minds dissolves.

Radical Feminism means recognizing that patriarchy, and males as a group, being at war with the earth and all females. The propaganda/lie is that it has always been this way and always will be, and that females inevitably belong to males. But, though male supremacy has destroyed many species and the environment in a relatively short time, it has not always existed.

Yes, the logical extreme of Radical Feminism is Lesbian Separatism, which means choosing to have no contact with males whenever possible. (No, this is not a privileged choice. Some of the most oppressed women are Dyke Separatists. After all, the inspiration for Lesbian Separatism was the Separatism of other oppressed political movements.)  But this does not mean that there are no het Radical Feminists. There is a continuum of Radical Feminism, with some basic politics we share.

In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Radical Feminism was an international movement of females of all ages who were fighting patriarchy. This was before we had our own books, so our movement relied on articles passed around and on newspapers. Some women now are discovering Radical Feminism the same way, inspired by their own and friends’ minds and experiences. Blogs and facebook groups help (although there are also many confusing troll groups to avoid).

When I object to Radical Feminism being appropriated, I’m asked, “Who are you to define Radical Feminism?” (This reminds me of when I’ve been asked who am I say a man is not a Lesbian.) Well, I’ve been a Radical Feminist with no selling out and no diluting or flipping my politics for longer than anyone else I know. That doesn’t mean I’m the only one, but considering that I helped create Radical Lesbian Feminism and am still here, I have the right to defend my life and our community from the constant attacks on us.

I saw it. I was there. I remember it.

I became a Radical Lesbian Feminist in 1970 when I was 19, and have since witnessed the dilution and destruction of much of our powerful Women’s Liberation Movement and Radical Feminism.

We know what went wrong and we know how to fix it. But we need absolutely safe, female-only space, which we no longer have. In the past, feminists protected each other from male intrusion. Now, when we try to meet, whether in person or online, we are diverted by men perving on us, and by the women who help shove them down our throats. Even worse, feminism and women ourselves are being defined out of existence.

I object. I object to our Radical Feminist movement and culture being appropriated, parasitized, and gutted. I object when men do it, claiming to be Radical Feminists and demanding we accept them as women. And I object when women who are not Radical Feminists do it, setting themselves up as the leaders of our movement, misrepresenting our politics, policing women to accept their distorted version of Radical Feminism, and harassing actual Radical Feminists who object. Our movement and community is not theirs to steal.

If you’ve been drawn to feminism but still feel like an outsider because you are seeing some of the same heterosexist, racist, classist, and other oppressive crap that is in the rest of patriarchy, know that that is not true Radical Feminism but a posturing imitation.

We have lost too many good-hearted women who are longtime Radical Feminists or who are new and trying to find Radical Feminism. We can disagree and still learn from each other and make new friendships, as long as we argue respectfully and with care.

Just as there is a clear definition of “female,” there is a clear definition of true Radical Feminist politics as developed for almost fifty years. We will all have differing ideas of what Radical Feminism is, but this is what some of us believe:

                      Definition of Radical Feminism

1. We know our history. Radical Feminism means recognizing that patriarchy is built on female-hating, rape, and gynocide and that there is on ongoing war against all girls, women and the earth herself. Male supremacist rule has not always existed, but, in a relatively short time, has destroyed many species and the environment. We are running out of time. The propaganda is that it has always been this way and that females simply belong to males. (Try to find anywhere in the media, schools, etc. that this lie is not promoted.) Radical Feminism is about eliminating patriarchy. Wanting only to get a better deal from patriarchy is not Radical Feminism.

2. Radical Feminism is connected to Radical Lesbian Feminism and is an inclusive, diverse movement that welcomes all females without hierarchies. We say no to everything which hurts females and is unjust. Of course males are our oppressors, but they have also set up hierarchies giving privilege to some women to encourage them to collaborate against more oppressed women. We do not participate in continuing the divisions that men have created and which keep women apart. We recognize and fight those divisions.

Acknowledging and fighting all oppression among us has been an integral part of Lesbian Feminism from the beginning.  (We did not call it “Intersectionality,” which was a later academic dilution of Feminism, but described the hierarchies we are fighting.)

Radical Feminists never deny the reality and harm of classism, racism, ethnicism, heterosexism/Lesbian-hating, ableism, ageism, fat oppression, looksism, imperialism, nationalism, capitalism, etc. in patriarchy and among ourselves. Women who say that women cannot oppress each other are not Radical Feminists. If differences in power aren’t fought, then the status quo power structure that men set up continues among us. Defending privileged women’s power to oppress other women keeps the more privileged cultures dominant among us and leads to a segregated movement.

3. Radical Feminists are not reformist, liberal, mainstream, or right wing “feminists.” We oppose any dilutions of feminism, including re-writing our history.

Part of what has damaged our movement is women (usually privileged) who are not feminists trying to take over our culture, and then arrogantly lecturing us about what Radical Feminism is. Either they are deliberately undermining the Women’s Liberation Movement on behalf of men, or they have no idea what it is. Some of these women may appear to be Radical Feminists, but reveal themselves when they go against basic feminist tenets.

4. Radical Feminists are unafraid to see males for who they are, including all the ways they mark territory, from man-splaining to rape to war to using pesticides on our water, food, earth…. Language is one example. Men and even women emulating men will triumphantly shout “I nailed it!” But that term is not just used for winning, but also for fucking and killing. Radical Feminists notice language and try to not participate in any language that harms us.

Even just watching how men touch girls and women is marking. Some famous men have written that they won’t wash their hands after using the toilet because it gives them an edge with marking people when shaking hands. Women need to have no illusions about what males do that is unthinkable to women. (See Endnote.)

5. Radical Feminists do not proselytize for men (especially not men claiming to be women or Lesbians), religions, heterosexuality, bisexuality, sado-masochism, porn, etc. Radical Feminists do not make excuses for males in their oppression of females, or believe that males can be feminists or allow them into feminist spaces. (Men who want to support us can organize elsewhere, but their history is not good in terms of being sincere.)

Radical Feminists don’t pretend to believe that females and males are basically the same, while liberal/mainstream feminists repeat the dangerous myth that raping, torturing, and killing are somehow caused by “socialization” rather than innate biological difference — even though male violence can easily be seen in many other animal species. The truth is all around us, and our other animal sisters know better than most women that that is the norm for males. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/animals-can-be-giant-jerks  (Typical male writer misses the point that rape is about maleness but the information is revealing.)

The mistaken belief in “socialization” leads once again to women devoting even more time to change males. It has never worked and never will. It also adds to the dangerous myth that men are oppressed by patriarchy too.

http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/its-just-socialization/

http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/its-just-socialization-revisited/

Of course there are differences in brains, and the biological, physical, mental, and emotional differences between females and males are obvious. Some “feminists” react to our saying this to mean that somehow males should not be held accountable for the crimes they commit, when we are saying the opposite. Also, believing that there are no intrinsic differences leads to believing men could be women.

6. Radical Feminists never genuflect to the trans cult line that men can be women or Lesbians. This con has been one of the most destructive things done to females and our movement. (After some of these men didn’t get the attention they expected for pretending to be women, they appropriated yet another oppressed identity. So we also do not accept “trans-paraplegic” able-bodied men who demand to be accepted as paraplegic, or “trans-racial” white men who use surgery and drugs to look African, or any other narcissistic appropriation of oppressed people. Note how ridiculous this becomes: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/topic/tiamat/ ,

http://www.mrctv.org/blog/man-spends-over-30k-transform-elf ,

http://www.americanews.com/story/society/2016/10/03/man-spends-7-years-becoming-platypus-what-he-finally-looks-now-photos?fb=bt

Saying no to the trans cult includes refusing to affectionately call them “transfolk” or any other terms that give credence to the idea that they are somehow more special than other misogynist female impersonators. Radical Feminists never call men “women” of any kind or “she” or “her,” or call women “men.” This is a crucial dividing line.

Radical Feminists also do not feel sorry for these men, which is the biggest hook the trans cult uses.  We are not confused about who and what these men are. If they truly cared about women, they would not have gotten into power positions in our last organizations and have destroyed our last women only space. They would also not be preying on young Lesbians in “LGBTQ” groups.

We do not believe they are more in danger than women are, as they claim to be, especially considering how much they themselves target us in very male ways with threats of rape, mutilation and death. (And why is it women’s work to protect men from being attacked by other men?) We do not support anything they demand. We are aware that men claiming to be women are included in statistics on “female” violence, making it appear that women are as violent as men. We don’t know how many assaults and murders they have committed, but it looks like it’s more even than what regular het male violence. (GenderTrender is a great resource for this information.) https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/?s=violence+statistics

7. Radical Feminist never believe that women can be men. And we also do not continue the myth that the women who most likely to want to be men are Butches. Most F2Ts are Fem and many are het women who want sexual access to gay men.

8. Radical Feminists have no leaders, no stars, no hierarchies. When I first came online, I was shocked by how many women seemed afraid to give their opinions without quoting some famous feminist writer. In the Seventies, Lesbian Feminists were so opposed to stars that many writers refused to sign what they wrote or signed only with their collective name, as I did with Dykes and Gorgons. (However, that ended up working against the class-oppressed writers, who have been more erased from our history.) Women need to trust the value of their own ideas.

9. Radical Feminists discuss with respect and kindness and caring, and do not try to injure who they disagree with. Real Radical Feminists do not lie, slander, manipulate, play games, name-call, ridicule, taunt, insult, threaten, bully, abuse, or use oppression against other women (such as using classist or racist terms aimed to humiliate women oppressed by classism or racism.)

How pretender “feminists” deal with disagreements and conflict reveal who they really are. They do not argue with mutual respect. They can’t, since their arguments aren’t valid. They don’t know how to deal with women who talk back, so they just keep trying to dominate and eliminate us. They show how comfortable they are in feeling superior, and the glee with which they harm other women reveals how much their politics are not valid. Unfortunately, they do drive many women away.

10. Radical Feminists do not lie. Pretenders make up the most bizarre lies to erase us. One lie that has gone on for decades is that Dyke Separatists live in the country and so are privileged. Please just read our chapter in our book. https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/chapterfivelesbians-for-lesbians-dyke-separatism/ I’ve been a Separatist longer than anyone else I know and have never lived in the country and have lived my entire adult life below the poverty line in cities. We know that lying is often projection as well as an attempt to erase us. If someone says that only the most privileged women can be Separatists, then that’s a way to convince women to not even have to think about what Lesbian Separatism really is. And that is typical troll gaslighting/mindfuck.

11. Radical Feminism both gives women credit and holds women accountable for the choices we make. Denial of our power in making choices is a serious dilution of feminism. Being oppressed does not mean having no choices. Women feel powerless and victimized as it is. Saying no to males is one of the most important and powerful choices we can make.

Who does it serve for women to push the patriarchal and gay male agenda that Lesbians were “born this way,” ignoring the Lesbian Feminists of the past who proudly said we choose to love women? The offensive, trivializing term “sexual orientation,” which is applied to Lesbians, but never to het women, makes Lesbians once again be just about “sex,” ignoring the enormous price Lesbians pay for choosing to love women and saying no to men. That is exactly the heart/mind/body/spirit disconnect that women who choose men have learned from their men, while choosing to love our own kind threatens patriarchy at its core.

12. Radical Feminist do not agree with defining collaborators as “victims.”

13. Radical Feminists welcome discussion about past betrayals of our community and do not censor Radical Feminists who are more radical or ban women from groups without good reason. Radical Feminists explain those reasons and do not lie about them. Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it and, even worse, condemn us to repeat it. Those who try to prevent discussion about the past that is relevant to us now are harming our community.

The personal is political. We need to know which women supported men and the trans cult against Radical Feminists. We need to know who has a history of oppressing women in order to bully and intimidate. We need to know who lies and edits and erases threads against group rules and uses online bans to eliminate evidence in an attempt to rewrite history. Who wants the truth and our history hidden?

14. Radical Feminist are not afraid to learn how we’ve been conned into participating in our own and other females’ betrayal. This means scrutiny of the media and patriarchal rules that women use to obey males and police other women. Some of the cons, like male-identified femininity, run so deep that women have assumed it is a natural part of themselves. Some believe this is trivial, but it actually is a major reason into why most women keep obeying male rules. (And also why they accept the trans propaganda. Looking “like a woman” superficially, by glorifying what demeans us, is “proof” of real womanhood.)

Once, feminists were dedicated to unlearning all male lies, but that’s part of what we lost. Unlearning femininity, like unlearning classism and racism, is integral to being Radical Feminist. Being afraid to give up the privilege of femininity is extremely revealing because it goes much deeper than fear of losing status.

15. Radical Feminists take language and meaning seriously. I don’t mean we make trivial changes like changing the spelling of women and history, but make deeper changes. We do not substitute one kind of male language or attitudes for another in an effort to appear radical. Men refer to their vile testicles to denote courage, but mainstream “feminists” play their game by referring to ovaries instead. Do they really think women who’vehad their ovaries removed aren’t as courageous as women who haven’t? Why not go further and say no to all of it?

16. Radical Feminists don’t have double standards where they reprimand other women for doing what they allow for themselves or their lover or friends.

17. Radical Feminism is about community and commitment, not dabbling or playing in radical politics as rebellion or for self-centered, selfish gain. When someone says something that is being done to another woman doesn’t concern them, they are not a Radical Feminist. Caring for each other is Radical Feminism, and that means fighting what is harming us.

                                                              Endnote

Men are so charming. In Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” he said he would go to the restroom and not wash his hands because then when he shakes hands with someone they have touched his prick.

Tell us again, why women should welcome men into our restrooms….
I’m changing this warning — do not read below unless you want to risk being very upset. It’s one of the most horrible things I’ve read that a boy/man has done. But women who support them need to know the truth:

About Bev Jo

I’ve been a Lesbian from my earliest memories and am proud to be a Lesbian. Lesbians are my people and my blood. My life’s work has defending Lesbians and our culture and existence against those who oppress us. Working-class, ex-catholic, mostly European-descent (with some First Nations, probably Shawnee, ancestry), from poverty class culture. I’m a Lifelong Lesbian, born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950. I became lovers with my first lover in 1968, became part of a Lesbian community in 1970, and became a Dyke Separatist in 1972. I helped create Radical Lesbian Feminist and Separatist community and worked on some of the earliest Lesbian Feminist projects, such as the Lesbian Feminist Conference in Berkeley in 1972, the newspaper “Dykes and Gorgons” in 1973, the women’s bookstore, Lesbian coffeehouse, and taught self defense to women and girls for ten years. I’ve been published in journals and anthologies, including “For Lesbians Only,” “Finding the Lesbians,” “Lesbian Friendships,” “Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes Aujourd’hui,” “Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen,” the Journal for Lesbian Studies, Lesbian Ethics, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia, and Rain and Thunder. With Linda Strega and Ruston, I co-wrote our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only” in 1990. Our book and my more recent articles have been updated at my blog https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/ I’ve been disabled since 1981 with ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) I love nature and plants and animals — and especially the animals who are feared and hated and killed by people who don’t even know them, just as Lesbians are. I’ve learned to love rats especially, who I do not consider inferior to humans. I’m a spiritual atheist, but I’ve found out that there is definitely life after death because a little rat returned from the dead for three days to comfort us. These hated little animals are so kind and loving, and willing to die for someone they love. I say, in our fight to protect the earth — distrust all “truths” we are taught by patriarchy. The true truth is often the opposite.
This entry was posted in classism, Dyke, Dyke Separatism, Feminism, Lesbian, Lesbian culture, Lesbian Feminism, Lesbian history, Lesbian politics, patriarchy, Radical Feminism, Trans, Trans cult, Uncategorized, women and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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