Some thoughts on MichFest

Yes. We see each other. And I too will be damned if I will acknowledge men as women.
And I too will be there in August, with a heart full of love for you, my sisters.

Hypotaxis

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Owing to the extreme generosity of a dear friend, my wife and I will be able to attend MichFest this year. My wife has attended before, but for me, it will be the first, and – as it turns out – last time to visit the land.

All I know about MichFest is what I’ve heard from others who’ve attended before. Most are rendered unable to articulate the experience adequately. “It’s just . . .” women often say. “It’s hard to describe . . . you have to be there.”

Because there are no words, there is no language, I suppose, for what it feels like as a female human being to exist for six days among other female human beings, to celebrate our existence, to talk to one another without protecting the delicate male ego, to exist outside of the male gaze, to walk in the dark without fear…

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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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Everydaymisogyny.com

Read this. It’s excellent.

Hypotaxis

I got really pissed off last week – so pissed off I couldn’t write about it – when I read about how Mt. Holyoke, a formerly female-only college, cancelled their production of The Vagina Monologues for fear it would alienate women-indentifying males who have penises. It’s not that The Vagina Monologues is all that amazing – I mean, in 2015 it’s a bit outmoded for a whole host of reasons, the least of which being “doesn’t talk enough about dicks” – but it’s the principle of the thing, it’s the terrifying realization that women cannot talk about their truths if their truths inconvenience/upset/upend males’ delusions about their lady-ness.

In a world that reviles women, art – writing, painting, sculpture, all that shit – has been one of the few conduits available to female persons in which they may – subversively and not so subversively — express their realities. Interestingly enough…

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Man celebrates death of Women’s Studies Programs

I cannot express how much I like this blogger.
” In what way does “Gender Studies”/”Queer Theory” improve the lives of women? This is, after all, the discipline that has come to replace Women’s Studies, but how does it attempt to improve the lives of women? How is it anything more than a useless intellectual endeavor that makes delusional males feel better about themselves, and convinces females that their lived reality is utterly theoretical, that their lives, their bodies, their experience is just another text to be annotated, dissected, and redefined by males?”

Hypotaxis

TW: I was totes misgendered at a restaurant the other day, so this post is really long because I’m still not myself.

When I was a baby English Lit major in college, I really, really, really enjoyed engaging in Deconstructionist Theory. I used this genus of literary criticism on everyone from Bronte to Oates. I couldn’t get enough of the idea that “the word may mean one thing, but it could also mean another and another and another . . .” I was also stoned a lot in undergrad, and had far too many people telling me how smart I was.

So, basically, for my non-English major peeps, Deconstructionism is a way of creating or positing or illuminating a conflict between what a text “says” (literally) and what it “does” (based on pretty much any fucking thing you think it’s doing).  And then you take all those words and phrases…

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Transgender activists unable to refute right-wing Minnesota Ads

In case anyone thinks that this blog is just about me whining about one abusive individual, please take note of this.
It very clearly illustrates why the personal is political. The Transgenderist (political) agenda seeks to erase the rights of females, and sweep away what small gains made on the part of women and girls over the last 40 years. Here is just one example of how that works. Women are entitled to feel angry about that. Women have every right to be angry about what is happening to them in the personal and political sphere – in fact, these are indivisible. From the abandonment by “Womens services” and the therapeutic communitt of women being abused by men in dresses, to the dismantling of women’s sports, to the inclusion of males in locker rooms and other, necessary spaces where women are safe from men and accorded some dignity. This is the result of catering to male delusions, wants and fantasies. Speak out, women. Speak out for women.

A Letter To The New Girlfriend

Hello,

 

You don’t know me – at least not in person – but I am sure your new boyfriend (or perhaps he has already persuaded you to call him “girlfriend”?)has told you about me. Priming you for the possible eventuality that our paths might cross. I’m sure he has you well prepared, just as he did with all the others that came before you. All those well meaning young women.
You look young. Maybe fifteen, perhaps twenty years younger than him? He likes young women. In his head his “female self” is a young woman, crazy about clothes, make-up, partying and music. Thats probably why you have a great time with him – he has all the interests of some young women, women un-burdened by the life experiences accrued over 5 decades of a female existence in a world that hates women. He won’t ever be bored with “girlie talk”. He’s like no other guy you have ever met. Isn’t he?
I wonder, who’s idea was it to both dress up a-la Moulin Rouge for Halloween? To have matching dresses (of course his was slightly better made, his corset expensive and boned with strong steel rather than your cheaper version). Did you giggle when he asked you to apply his make up? Did it make you feel special? Did you feel you were in your own little bubble with him? The ritual of his preparation eating into your own time for preparation. But you didn’t mind – it was a special time, wasn’t it? How exciting and edgy it must have felt.
Do you know about the profiles he still has on “adult” sites? Sites for men seeking domination? For men seeking women to “transform” them into “sissy sluts”, or “male maids” or “shemales”? Have you discovered his obsession with “shemale” porn? His longing for and to be one? Do you ever wonder what he is thinking of when he lies there, eyes closed, passive (of course he is – he’s playing the part if “woman”!) as you masturbate him in his version of “sex”. Do you know he was on those sites just last week? Telling others that he needs a woman who will make him her living doll, a plaything to do with as she wishes? Willing to relocate *anywhere* for the right woman “of any gender”. Did he tell you that “it’s not about sex”? Has he tell you that he believes he is a transsexual? Did he tell you the touching story about wanting to wear a dress on his first day at school? Do you feel you want to help him? To be his “special” confidante? Do you want to alleviate his “pain”? To protect and nurture his “feminine” self? It seems like such a project, doesn’t it?

I wonder if after the special Halloween outing, he has said that he would love to go out as his “true self” *every* weekend. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Particularly since it limits where you can go to places where “she” feels comfortable, and where “she” can be sure to be seen and admired. Say goodbye to going to the cinema – too dark to be seen and flirted with by creepy men, or middle aged men dressed as 18yo party girls, so whats the point? Do you ever go places where *you* want to go? And if you do, does he go with you happily, willingly? Or is it more like being with a sulky 3 year old? Easier just to let him have his way, isn’t it?

I wonder if, when you are at home with him, he casually slips into something “femme”. Do you feel awkward, particularly with your young child there, but don’t want to say anything in case he cries? After all, he is just being his “true self” – how monstrous you would be to deny him (or is it “her” in your head yet?) this right to self expression. Or perhaps you notice that he comes home and puts a bra on. Not a simple, un-wired, barely noticeable bra, but a padded, underwired, lacy construction. Perhaps enhanced by cleavage boosting inserts that push his hormone-induced “breasts” up and out. These “breasts” that will never droop or sag, unlike your own, natural breasts. He’s very proud of them, isn’t he? He likes to show them off, doesn’t he? Have you caught him hanging out the window yet, dressed in just a bra and panties (or maybe with the addition of a suspender belt
and stockings) having a smoke? He likes to do that. I found hundreds of cigarette butts under my window. Hundreds.
So it’s easier just to manage the situation by not having friends around, or people you might have to “explain” it all to. It becomes just the two of you, in your bubble.
He’s blissfully happy, isn’t he. Are you? How do you see your life a year from now, five years. ten? Still so excited about your special bubble?

I hope you have good, close friends. I hope you keep those friends. I hope you don’t, bit by bit, be consumed by his obsession. His obsession with “Zoe”.

I hope you escape before it is too late. Before you are obliterated.

But of course that wont happen, will it? No. You are special. You are amazing. You are the woman of his dreams. His soul mate. He’s never known a woman like you. He loves you. It must be true. He says so.