Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Definition of RADICAL FEMINIST that I LOVE: WOMEN who feel ENTITLED to be ANGRY; WOMEN who want to be HEARD more than they want to be LIKED

In this blogpost is a bit of a piece of writing by an antifeminist man, Rudra Bhaumik from Kolkata, India. He is a system engineer (working in a private company) and states that he is "popular for my peculiar but effective thinking".

Peculiar thinking? Not really--it's rather normal (and annoying). Effective thinking? I hope not. Patriarchal thinking? Definitely. And if only it was just "thinking"... but no, he has to speak his patriarchal mind out loud.

The issue for the women in the image, assuming he posted an image that goes with his rant, is WOMEN SPEAKING OUT LOUDLY about a matter called "men's violence against women" which he sees as myopic and anti-male, because, well, you know, "What about all the violence against men?" (That men do.) When women speak out, there will always be at least one man to demonstrate public derision for such speech. (If it were just one man, that would help.) At least one man has to speak up, because, well, men are supposed to have the microphone and the bullhorn 24/7. Message to Rudra: SHUT UP!!

India :
Pointless activities of indian women organisation
 [image of feminist protesters is from here]
"Unnecessary agitation is going to be created on 8th march on eve of women’s day by some women organization in India. The radical feminists planned to block the roads and give some serious exercise of loudspeakers around India. We are already get so much irritation from rallies and ‘lectures’ of our politicians…now women organization are ready to flex their muscles. They will present some information based on their assumption and try to fool women." -- Rudra Bhaumik

Rudra goes on with his misogynist blather, but you get the idea. The title of his post is "Pointless activities of indian women organisation" and it was posted on 5 March 2009 ECD. He's so obnoxious I don't want to link to the rest of what he says. But if you must read it, the page is linked to below the image above of OUTSPOKEN, ANGRY feminist protesters.

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It is a policy here at A.R.P. that I won't print misogynist terms without altering them in some way. Many radical feminist women I know find them personally triggering, and also not worth appropriating. Every woman (I hope) gets to decide how and when to use the terms that are used against women by men. These are also used by women against women for the benefit of patriarchy. And sometimes they are used by womanist and feminist women to reclaim power and diffuse the harm of some woman-hating terms.

I won't use 'em, and I won't let them appear here in ways that are visually intact. I've decided, due to one white lesbian separatist's input, to also do the same with the word "f*ck" from now on here. All of which explains the asterisks to follow.

For me the discussion below is also about men's systemic violence against women and centers around who ought to control law and bodies: U.S. women's bodies, in this case, in a context of white men's laws. I say, unequivocally, WOMEN. I believe WOMEN ought to control not only their bodies, but that radical feminist women ought to be in charge of societies where women life. And should there be societies where women don't live, I support women running those too. F*ck male supremacy, f*ck men's domination of women, in law and in life.

The political topic of focus in the blogpost below by B*tch Phd is abortion. And the issue here is men controlling women. And the issue here is RADICAL feminism, feminists who refuses to cater to men's needs, men's wishes, men's wills, men's power, and men's pre- and post-modern definitions of WOMEN. What follows are excerpts from a wonderful piece of writing by B*tch PhD. (Rather significant snippets, actually.) Her full post can be found here, and, imo, ought to be read by every man who reads English, including you up there, Rudra.

Do You Trust Women?

By B*tch Phd
This article was written in 2005 after the death of radical feminist, anarchist and spokesperson for the anti-pornography movement, Andrea Dworkin.

"Recently, elsewhere, there was a very long discussion in which someone argued that I had said men had no right to an opinion about abortion, and that men who object to abortion do so only out of a desire to control women. Now, I never said either of those things, but the beliefs I dohave could be interpreted that way, by an unsubtle or defensive auditor."

"The bottom line about abortion is this. Do you trust women to make their own moral judgments? If you are anti-abortion, then no. You do not. You have an absolute moral position that you don't trust anyone to question, and therefore you think that abortion should be illegal. But the second you start making exceptions for rape or incest, you are indicating that your moral position is not absolute. That moral judgment is involved. And that right there is where I start to get angry and frustrated, because unless you have an absolute position that all human life (arguably, all life period, but that isn't the argument I'm engaging with right now) are equally valuable (in which case, no exceptions for the death penalty, and I expect you to agonize over women who die trying to abort, and I also expect you to work your ass off making this a more just world in which women don't have to choose abortions, but this is also not the argument I'm engaging right now), then there is no ground whatsoever for saying that there should be laws or limitations on abortion other than that you do not trust women. I am completely serious about this."

(Julian's note: the first bracketed bit in this sentence is mine. The second more extensive one is the author's:)

"When [people] say things like, "I'm pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with... [third-trimester abortion / sex-selection / women who have multiple abortions / women who have abortions for "convenience" / etc.]" then what you are saying is that your discomfort matters more than an individual woman's ability to assess her own circumstances. That you don't think that women who have abortions think through the very questions that you, sitting there in your easy chair, can come up with. That a woman who is contemplating an invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable medical procedure doesn't think it through first. In short, that your judgment is better than hers.

"Think about the hubris of that. Your judgment of some hypothetical scenario is more reliable than some woman's judgment about her own, very real, life situation?

"And you think that's not sexist? That that doesn't demonstrate, at bottom, a distrust of women? A blindness to their equality? A reluctance to give up control over someone else's decision?"

"I've found that Dworkin's death has crystallized a lot of things. As B*tch has gotten bigger--and particularly because a lot of its recent growth has come about because of some pretty pissed-off ranting directed at supposedly well-meaning men--I've started getting more troll behavior, more nasty emails, and I've seen some fair to serious b*tch-bashing. This, of course, is the price of fame, even ridiculous bloggy fame. It's not like I didn't know that there were people out there who hate feminism, feminists, children, and so on. And it's not like I didn't know--and this is more important--that there are people out there who don't hate women, but who do feel acutely uncomfortable around "b*tchy" women. That is, women who don't ask for permission before speaking; women who don't just state their opinion and then back off to let you decide if you want to hear it or not, but who insist on having their arguments acknowledged; women who feel entitled to be angry; women who want to be heard more than they want to be liked. Hell, one reason this blog is anonymous is because I have a hard time with that myself, sometimes: I can be just as ranty in person, but no, I don't generally take people on to their face. Here, though, I can and do.
[That portion in bold was emboldened by me, JR]

"In some ways, this Dworkin/anger/b*tch thing is, like abortion, a bottom-line issue. How do you react to women's political anger? Is it okay for a woman to have strong opinions as long as she doesn't make anyone uncomfortable? If she sounds angry, does that automatically invalidate what she's saying? Do you think that feminists would be more effective if they were nicer? If there's a disagreement between a woman and a man, do you instinctiively see "his side"? Do you mistake strong convinctions for personal attacks? Do you value civility over fairness? Because if so, then that, too, is a kind of distrust, hubris, a reluctance to cede control.
[Again, what's in bold was put in bold by me, JR.]

"I am not advocating a free-for-all; and I think that considering the rhetorical effect of one's words matters; and I value good manners as much as anyone. There is an important difference between private anger and public anger, and it is the latter I am talking about. It is important to recognize that the ability to remain "civil" about injustice is a demonstration of power, and, arguably, is itself a kind of violence--more subtle than yelling, and for that reason, far more damaging. Because it is easy to isolate the angry woman, to shun her because of her anger. Many people will not see past the anger, and therefore many people will find it justified; she is, after all, being "unreasonable." After all, just as with abortion, women are not supposed to make people "uncomfortable." But when that happens, that amounts to denying women the right to public speech: the angry woman's anger is taken personally, as an indictment of her character, rather than as a legitimate political expression. (And then, of course, men say things like "women don't feel comfortable arguing.")"

"If you're pro-choice, you have to give up the right to have a "say" in someone else's choice. If you're pro-feminist, you have to give up the right to expect your personal feelings to be more important than women's public rights--including the right to be unpleasant, if, in her judgement, unpleasantness is called for."

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