Thursday, April 21, 2011

Support, don't Silence, the Work of Sheila Jeffreys

image is from here
Men, of all ages and varieties, have always worked quite hard to silence anything and everything radical feminists--and radical lesbian feminists in particular--have wanted to say.

And, as we all know, there are always far too many people who aren't men who are willing to do their dirty work for them. The silencing of radical feminists and promotion of the social-economic-political practices of CRAP is big business and men pay each other and women a lot to try and shut up radical feminist women.

At issue in this post: what Sheila Jeffreys says and writes. Some people call her work anti-man, anti-gay, transphobic, and wh*rephobic--each term of which is absurd, or terribly misused, or virulently misogynistic when examined in reality at all. Isn't the work of radical lesbian feminists to promote political viewpoints, analysis, and actions that put women (and not anyone else) at the center of concern, particularly the least privileged and most marginalised women? When men put the interests of men (and not anyone else) at the center of their work, I don't see people throwing around the term "transphobic" calling out THE MEN for doing so. I don't see people who use the term "transphobic" systematically taking on men and male supremacy at all, actually. Why is that? Is it because the people regularly hurling that term at women to silence and discredit women are anti-radical, antifeminist misogynists? I'd say, for the most part and usually, YES.

What the fuck does "wh*rephobic" mean, anyway? Has the person I found online--who I won't link to--who uses this term, actually decided this is pro-woman? How does it actually become revolutionary and feminist to use the terms men use against women and add the word "phobic"? Are there "b*tchphobic" and "sl*tphobic" people too?

This use of language reveals a politics of status quo-protection, and it's a pro-CRAP activity that will do nothing good for women as a class of people oppressed by men, globally. In the opinion of this activist, such liberal reclamation of woman-hating terms, that men actively continue to use to pretend there are such distinct kinds of lesser people ("wh*res", "b*tches, "sl*ts", and so on), is not only anti-woman but supports women being degraded and subordinated by men, in reality.

1. Anti-man, or misandrist: what the hell does that actually mean? What do people who are "anti-man" actually do in the real world of action and systematised oppression? The assumption is that such people are women-not-men. Not a wise conclusion to come to, given that the most man-hating people I've ever met are men-not-women. But given that the ridiculous assumption is that women are "anti-man", do such people rape men? Do they beat men so as to land the doods in the hospital? Do they terrorise men in the home, and travel the world to sexually assault boys and men who are trapped in systems of prostitution which are are, usually, slave trafficking-rings?

2. Anti-gay. There are lots and lots of people who are anti-gay who we need to worry about because of their structural power and privilege. They're called het men--you'll notice them by paying attention to who is economically, socially, religiously, and politically in charge of everything.

When lesbian feminists are called "anti-gay", what that generally means is that the lesbians don't prioritise the needs and lives of gay men over the needs and lives of lesbian women. And so they're called anti-gay. This means that most if not all gay men are anti-lesbian, because I've known few to none who put pro-woman and pro-lesbian political objectives and campaigns before pro-gay ones.

3. Transphobic. The more I examine the social online use of this term, the clearer it becomes it's just a term for "anti-feminist" and "pro-patriarchal" in queer sheep's clothing. This comes as no surprise given that dominant academic "Queer Theory" and dominant queer culture generally has been working hard to shut up and shut down radical lesbian feminists and the activist efforts to free women from heteropatriarchal atrocities and institutionalised insults.

4. "Wh*rephobic". Um. Please. Just stop. It's about as misogynist a term as I've ever seen. You know a term is politically ridiculous when you can replace the "phobia" suffix with "philia" and have the word mean the same thing. "Wh*re-philic". Yeah. I'd say any man who declared himself a lover of wh*res isn't pro-feminist or pro-woman.

People: cut the conservative and liberal (read: capitalism-conserving, racism-reinforcing, atrocity-accepting, patriarchy-preserving) CRAP. Really. It's actually oppressing, terrorising, and killing people: girls and women inside and outside systems of prostitution, for example. And girls and women inside nuclear families. And girls and women everywhere else.

Radical lesbian feminists have terrorised and killed no one at all. Get a fucking grip. If you don't like what a radical lesbian feminist of any color and region says, here's a thought: don't read their written work and don't listen to their speeches. Because those really are about the only places you'll ever hear from them, given how much media silences them. And every single radical lesbian feminist I know has gotten death threats and is punished socially for her views and activist efforts. 

Sheila Jeffreys is my sister. 

Here's some her VERY important work:
to look inside this book, please click here
to look inside this book, please click here
to look inside this book, please click here
to look inside this book, please click here

for more on this book, please see here
to look inside this book, please click here


Owl Eyes said...

Thank you, thank you!! There's so much hate for Sheila, it's obscene, since hardly anyone has read her work. It's hard to read her work, too, because (at least from my experience) her work is highly unavailable (very few even carry her work). Many people who criticize her have likely not read her work because of this and because many of them would rather misquote her.

I have a tendancy to comment as I read, i need to stop doing that!

...but, i was really awestruck at the term "wh*rephobic" - do people seriously say this? Is that not a degrading, dehumanizing term? I guess they just find it "ironic" and post-modern to try to use misogynistic language as a form of empowerment. Ugh, what the hell?

*keeps reading*

Mitchell said...

Really appreciate this post, as a student of Sheila it's very disheartening to see her tireless output of high quality work against patriarchy and misogyny be slandered and dismissed under these ridiculously dismissive labels which paint her as ignorant and hate-filled. While critical discussion of any work is important, and problems must be brought up and discussed, Sheila is too often the target of all too convenient slander that refuses to engage whatsoever with her work, brushing her off as a relic, crazy, anti this or something phobic, happily ignoring the academic rigor of the work she and many of her students have put out, all of which is grounded in a truly feminist love of all women and courageously seeks out male supremacy and privilege in issues such as queer politics and transsexualism which are often viciously defended. While remaining critical of some limitations, I consider this work indispensable in benefiting all women and avoiding the co-opting of these issues by male-supremacist politics that seek to conceal or bolster patriarchy instead of subverting it. Like you said, incessant denigration through these labels simply seeks to silence, discredit and further marginalize the radical feminist voices which refuse to capitulate to the dominant trends in culture and theory that would sanitize, dilute, or ridicule radical sexual politics toward patriarchal ends, something which creates unnecessary barriers and divisions between groups and theoretical perspectives that share many common ends once drained of misogyny.

Julian Real said...

Hi Owl Eyes,

No worries about commenting while reading. Thanks for reading, and commenting!

Hexy among others is using that term. Ditto on "Ugh, what the hell?"

Julian Real said...

Hi Mitchell,

I'm in complete agreement with you.

What most critics of Jeffreys refuse to do is to actually engage responsibly and in a pro-feminist way with her work. Instead, all kinds of misogynist lies (systematically slanderous, as you note) are spread around about her on the web and offline, primarily and predominantly by non-activist pro-patriarchal people who aren't doing a goddamned thing to confront CRAP.

I say this: when they've done as much as she has to challenge men's systematic globalised atrocities against girls and women, then they can speak out against her.

Until then, I wish they'd find a few dozen or hundred or thousand or million misogynist, transphobic, anti-queer men to aim their criticism and outrage against.

Thank you so much for your comment.


Thank you Julian for calling out those misogynists who are determined to silence activist and radical lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys.

The women-hating term wh*rephobic reinforces male supremacist lies that all women and girls are not human and sexually insulting women and girls is male supremacy at its worst.

News flash no woman or girl is or ever was a w...e, s..t but certainly men and their apologists need to take a close look at how male sexuality continues to be constructed and defined. I find it ludricrous that men who engage in what male supremacy (not I) defines as promiscuity are lauded whereas women and girls continue to be defined as 'dirty sexual objects.'

Time and again the misogynists who attempt to demonise Sheila Jeffreys for her truth telling prove they have never, ever read a single word of her work.

I have and what Sheila Jeffreys says is true which is why so much male supremacist effort is being made to silence yet another brave radical feminist.

Sheila Jeffreys does not engage in petty-minded vilification of those who hold opposing views because engages in going to the roots of the issues as well as providing analysis and evidence as to why, in her view the upholding and maintenance of male supremacy and male domination over women must be eliminated. For that Sheila Jeffreys is demonised.

But it is sign the work of Sheila Jeffreys is very, very important which is why attempts are being made to silence her. Male supremacists are very, very worried.

lauren said...

I'm a new fan of Sheila Jeffreys and have only read two articles she wrote, but they are fabulous. She goes to the core of woman hating and then goes deeper.

I'm never surprised at the names brave radical feminist women are called, usually by cowardly Death-loving men. I wish I could say 'het men' but we all know that there are gay men who are as misogynist as straight men.

Long live Radical Feminism, the Cause of causes!

Julian Real said...

Thanks Jennifer, for your comment. Yes, of course the male supremacists don't want to hear what Sheila Jeffreys has to say: she tells the truth about what men do to reinforce their own sense and power of being woman-hating, inhumane men.

Julian Real said...

Hi Lauren,

Regarding this:

I'm never surprised at the names brave radical feminist women are called, usually by cowardly Death-loving men. I wish I could say 'het men' but we all know that there are gay men who are as misogynist as straight men.

Yes, of course. Plenty. Too many. But given that het men vastly outnumber gay men, and het men control most institutions in society--wealthy white het men, specifically, I put more responsibility on the leaders of the P.R.I.C.K. pack, so to speak.

But of course any man can be and too often is misogynistic, with no other males holding him accountable.

The problem isn't just interpersonal and I seek to expose who really controls our institutions. Because that's how we all get taught what we are taught--by the men who control media, for example; by the men who control the military, governments, the educational system, religions, medicine, psychiatry, etc.

Overwhelmingly, in the West, that population is white het men.

But, I've given up on gay men not being misogynistic. I'd probably call them out more if they had more social-institutional power.

Meghan Emily Murphy said...

Great post, Julian! How have I been missing this blog for so long? Trying to catch up...Nice work!

Julian Real said...

Welcome, Meghan!

I hope you find plenty here to support your views and actions. :)

Please comment any time.