On the Sovereign Violence of Women

We are fighting against a feminist discourse which positions women as the oppressor, and repeats the foundational patriarchal gesture of denying us the affirmation of our needs, and an explanation of why we are wounded by this world. Feminism – the practice of love and understanding, passed between women – has saved many of us from lives blighted by the violence drilled into our bodies and souls by the needs of men. And so, above all, we are fighting to ensure that this healing is not denied to the women that come after us. That when their youthful confidence in (neo)liberal empowerfulment and the shock of the new – their absurdly Platonic belief in the possibility of neatly dismantling an age-old structure of material appropriation with pronouns – runs headlong into the implacable violence of domination, we, the dried-up hate-spewing bigots they have been schooled to despise, will still be there for them. And for them, we will not give up.”

This is quite beautiful.

Jane Clare Jones

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Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion

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Judith Butler, The Future of Sexual Difference

I am trying to understand – I have been trying to understand – how, having steeped ourselves in a similar tradition, we could come to such different conclusions.

It is claimed that certain women should not say certain things. That a woman who finds healing from male violence in the company of other women should be silent about the power of that healing. That she should not try to protect that space (or even raise questions about protecting that space). That she is wrong to be concerned that it will no longer be there for the women who come after her. Because that healing comes at the expense of others. Because that healing, therefore, is violence.

I understand something of the logic. I have spent my life thinking the resistance to sovereign violence, unpicking the way…

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When feeling better leads to an identity crisis

This is an important new blog documenting the insidious nature of Trans “support” groups.
I can testify that this absolutely is the nature of the circular reasoning and pressure to conform to the narrative that is the core of this “transition or die!” cult.
My torturer joined one of these groups “in real life”. He went from “maybe I want to” to “I have to!” in the space of three meetings. He went from “maybe I would be OK with no surgery and this is something I can just accommodate into my life” to “I must have srs”. His online activity (porn, presenting himself as a “fully transitioned” “trans lesbian”, dating and hook up sites) escalated ten fold. His secretiveness drove me mad with paranoia. His utter dismissal of my worries, needs and emotional meltdown left me broken, isolated, bereft. Everything (for me) got much, much worse. I became so ill I could not work. My pain was immeasurable, but invisible to him. The trans world became his entire universe. When I looked for help, I was told that it was “selfish”, “transphobic”, “bigoted” for not jumping for joy for him. For refusing to see him as anything else than a sick, entitled, manipulative bastard.

So anyway. Read this blog. See the harm done to those who come in contact with the Church of Trans. If you are not already familiar with that world, it is illuminating. If you are, follow this blog and send a big thanks to those who are finally documenting this.

Transgender Reality

A female (AFAB, assigned female at birth) who calls herself “genderqueer” and wishes to take testosterone to become more androgynous has started taking wellbutrin (an antidepressant), and her feelings of gender dysphoria have significantly lessened. She posts to r/asktransgender:

Ok, so I’m AFAB genderqueer/genderfluid and I’ve been experiencing an insane amount of dysphoria on and off (corresponding with fluctuations in masculinity/femininity) since about June. I realized I was genderqueer about 3 years ago, but decided not to anything about it until this summer because, as I said, my dysphoria got intense. I came to the conclusion that I needed a low dose of T to be more androgynous and more able to pass in boymode… and after much angst came out to my mother and brother and asked my PCP for T. She said she’ll look into it (she’s never had a trans patient before) and possibly start…

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More Nightmares Dressed As Fantasy

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So I went with a bunch of friends to protest at the UK premier of 50 Shades of Grey. This book/film glamorises the abuse, rape and torture of women, dressing it up as “kink” and calling itself a “love story”. Those of you reading this who have intimate experience of men who fantasise themselves to be women may be well aware of the practice of BDSM within these relationships*. The female “heroine” of 50 Shades is portrayed as naive and “submissive”, her sexuality being “awakened” by a powerful, rich, sadistic man who stalks, isolates, tortures and ignores her personal and sexual boundaries to the point of rape. The author of the book and director of the film claim that the heroine’s journey is one of “empowerment”, as she submits to Mr Grey’s sadism and finally “heals” him from his inner “torture” that drives his sadistic impulses. It is said that since she “consents” to such abuse, then there is no harm being done. Except that the glamorisation and eroticising of dominance and submission normalises the power imbalance of male/female relationships (and all inequalities). It portrays women as “naturally” submissive or “secretly” wishing to be dominated – even when they don’t realise it (!) – and contributes to rape culture and the gender-role stereotyping at the heart of female oppression.

So what do men who fantasise themselves to be women make of these pervasive tropes about female submissiveness and otherness? In my experience, and that of many of the women I speak to, the sexual fantasies of such men revolve around them not just “playing the part” of a woman, but specifically a woman who is “submissive”, “eager to please”, willing to be dominated, moulded, created for pleasure. A fuck toy. A thing. An object. The sexual preferences and comfort of their female partners are by-the-by – irrelevant to the workings of their inner fantasy. Intimate connection on an emotional level with these men is impossible. How can anyone emotionally connect with someone who is merely playing a role? Someone so dissociated from reality, from authentic intimacy.
These men talk about finding “a dominant woman” to play the domme to their sub. Their personal ads are full of “seeks woman to sissify and control me”, and other such lurid fantasies. Fantasies that include being bound, gagged, made to perform sex acts, forcibly injected with hormones, humiliated, kidnapped and even raped. All things that I presume they think are “natural” for a woman to endure.

The fact is, that an actual “dominant” woman is the last thing they actually want outside of their all-encompassing paraphilia. A woman who would actually say NO to them is not an attractive proposition to these vampiric men, with their offensive and misogynistic ideas of what a woman *is*. Their ideas about women are shaped by their reading of pornography, their observation of sexist and woman-hating media portrayals of women, and the stench of their own male privilege. Women, initially lured in by these men’s pledges to cater to their every whim as their “sub”, quickly find out the nature and reality of being “topped from the bottom” (to borrow some BDSM speak). Their ideas about what a woman “is” would be ludicrous if they weren’t actually horrific.
So standing waiting for an opportunity to raise our banner and make some noise at the 50 Shades premier, we were subjected to scenes from the film being shown on a large outdoor screen. As I watched scenes of “Mr Grey” preparing his torture equipment, or “Anastasia” simpering or crying, doe-eyed and vulnerable, I began to shake and fat tears rolled down my cheeks at the memories I hold inside, at the cheering crowds of women believing the lie that this represents “love”.

*Please don’t bother trying to defend BDSM, or accuse me of “shaming” or “phobia” of one sort or another. I won’t publish such comments so you will be wasting your time.

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