Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Listen to the White Guy Complaining about a New Law Intending To Criminalise Men Pimping and Procuring Women in Prostitution

Picture of Thierry Schaffauser


Thierry Schaffauser is a sex worker and president of the GMB- IUSW, Adult Entertainment branch


This privileged white guy is pissing me off. All week I've been actively supporting someone who is NOT a man, who WAS a prostitute, who has MAJOR PTSD, and is revisited OFTEN by horrific memories of being tortured and abused in other ways, whose body sometimes bleeds when the PTSD is particularly intense. I am a white gay man, like Thierry, who was in motel rooms with a guy who bobbed my head up and down on his dick (holding my head in his hands), as if it were a thing, not connected to me, a whole person. HE treated me like a thing, not radical feminists who are critical of men who treat people like sexxx-things. And I didn't get paid. And getting paid wouldn't have made that experience of being used as a fuck-thing any "better".

Good for Thierry that HE feels fine about prostitution. HE isn't part of the population of people who most suffer from prostitution: poor women and children who are disproportionately Asian and otherwise of color, and who are not in view of or known by him. I'm so fucking sick of white class- and education-privileged folks speaking out FOR "sex work". First, y'all get to do it. No one is stopping you. Pimps are applauding you speaking out against radical feminists as if THEY, not PIMPS and PROCURERS are THE problem population for prostitutes; pimps beat up prostitutes, radical feminists don't; procurers rape and kill prostitutes; radical feminists don't. Second, please hold yourself to account to those who suffer most, to those with the least privileges, to those who are most silenced by prostitution before speaking out for something that is misogynistic and often racist to the core. Thierry has traveled Europe and met up with other relatively privileged folks to co-write a book about empowering sex work entitled, Fières d’être putes, or "Proud To Be Wh*res" (or "Sl*ts" or "B*tches" depending on the translation and context). While his perspective is, thankfully, against pimps controlling "sex workers" he fails to make himself accountable or to hear the concerns of those without his racist patriarchal privileges, with whom he hasn't made contact, such as the girls and women of Apne Aap.

I expect little to no compassionate or outrage about the horrendous and debilitating harm done to millions of people globally, who are largely out of view and out of earshot to those of us in the white West who want our "rights to sell our bodies to men".  I expect all mainstream media to take the point of view Thierry takes. And I'm pissed as hell that he gets to have a voice in The Guardian, when millions of children sold into slavery, and millions of women being trafficked globally, and millions of women in systems of prostitution who are trapped there, DO NOT GET TO SPEAK OUT in The Guardian, or practically anywhere else.The Guardian is pro-status quo. That means it will not promote actions which challenge foundational power relations in society. It will promote pimping more than it will promote radical feminism.

Before considering his perspective, let's have a look at the law he is so perturbed by, which may be found *here* or read below.

Part 2 Sexual offences and sex establishments


14 Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc: England and Wales Show EN

After section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) insert—
53A Paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc.
(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (B),
(b) a third person (C) has engaged in exploitative conduct of a kind likely to induce or encourage B to provide the sexual services for which A has made or promised payment, and
(c) C engaged in that conduct for or in the expectation of gain for C or another person (apart from A or B).
(2) The following are irrelevant—
(a) where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided,
(b) whether A is, or ought to be, aware that C has engaged in exploitative conduct.
(3) C engages in exploitative conduct if—
(a) C uses force, threats (whether or not relating to violence) or any other form of coercion, or
(b) C practises any form of deception.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

*          *          * 

 [image of Thierry Schaffauser is from here]

Note: The beginning of this next section was revised by me on 15 April 2010 ECD.

It is my contention that this is NOT REPRESENTATIVE for what a "sex worker" looks like because HE's privileged enough to be termed a "callboy" and not "a fucking wh*re b*tch who deserves whatever she gets including gang-raped" by "gentlemen" callers, generally. Disproportionately, what people in systems of prostitution look like is exactly  what most human beings look like: they are female, poor, and of color. Unlike the broader human population though, those inside those systems of exploitation are young as in "underage". Thierry is none of those: he's quite white, quite male, not poor, not living in the "Third World", and he's not quite underage. So who appointed him spokesperson?

What follows is from *here* at The [What is in brackets and bold was added and is written by me, Julian.]

Not all sex workers are victims [no shit, Thierry, but what the fuck do you know about those in Asia and elsewhere, who are not in your view or consciousness, who ARE victimised? And what does your public commentary do for them?! It's a stupid thing to say: like, "Not all men are rapists" or "Not all whites are neo-Nazis" or "Not all Black children are poor". These sorts of "framing" statements are designed to take the focus off this: White male supremacists exist, uses force to maintain institutions and practices which keep white male supremacy a dominant atrociously ENACTED ideology, and don't want anyone challenging white men's rights (wrongs) to exploit women of all colors and men of color.

Why isn't your title:

WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE TRAUMATISED, HARMED, AND VICTIMISED BY PIMPS AND PROCURERS in many egregious ways. What are we going to do about THAT human rights violation? 

 You get, I hope, how THAT title frames up the conversation on the social politics of reality, not on liberal-individualistic argumentation designed to deflect the reader from knowing much about that reality.]

New laws on prostitution are sexist – being paid for sex does not objectify me any more than working in a low wage job did [it's not about YOU, whitedood. It's about systems of harm and exploitation that require the rape and murder, battery and gross sexual assault, of millions of women and children in order to exist... for YOU to be able to write this CRAP. For those systems to exist, for pimps to pimp and for procurers to procure, rape and other means of subordinating women to men must happen systematically. Male supremacy, white heterosexual male supremacy, specifically, is strengthened, not weakened, by all prostitution and trafficking. The issue is global and political, not about YOU and how silenced YOU feel by ex-prostituted women fighting for women's human rights!]
On the 1 April 2010, the Policing and Crime Act became effective. We are facing not a feminist measure, but an ideology that sees women as unable to be sexually independent and free of their own actions. Anti-sex-worker laws are sexist. They are essentialist, paternalist and reinforce the division of women. [No, dickwad. Pimps and other racist patriarchs are sexist, essentialist, paternalistic, and reinforce the division of women!]

It is an essentialist conception to consider sex work as always a violence whatever the period, the place, or the conditions. [Way to be abstract, fool.] Sex workers are often seen only as women when many men and transsexual people are also working, and women are always seen as victims by essence. [That's a load of CRAP. Women are subordinated systematically, by systems of harm ruled by men who WANT women to be submissive to them and available to men 24/7.] All acts of violence against a sex worker are thus analysed as intrinsically the result of sex work itself and not the conditions in which sex work is exercised. [What the fuck do you know about what's happening to women around the world, whiteboy?]

It stops the real violence that exists in the sex industry being visible. [The real violence of gross sexxxual exploitation? The real violence of women being bought and sold by men for men's profit and pleasure? The real violence of women being raped because men assume women are FOR men, FOR subjugation, use, and assault?] We are told that we must stop sex work to avoid this violence. [Some feminists are suggesting that the systems are, by design, harmful, and the practices they mandate are part of that harm.] If we refuse, we become accomplices of the patriarchal system. We are accused of being responsible for maintaining an industry that harms women. [No. You, whiteboy, are speaking out about a system of exploitation in which your privileges protect you from a whole fucking hell of a lot of abuse and lack of liberty that you cannot imagine because YOU are white and a man!]

Yet bell hooks warned feminists of the dangers of a "shared victimisation" sisterhood. [Stop with the racist appropriation of bell hooks' writings!] A victim's status for women reduce them to beings who must be protected. [The problem, fuckhead, is that patriarchal violence EXISTS and harms WOMEN disproportionately and specifically. The problem is that pimps and other patriarchs victimise women and reduce them to being s who must be assaulted. In case you haven't noticed, nobody's protecting women!] It participates in the denial of their capacities. It denies sex workers the free disposal of our bodies, [free disposal of your body? Are you putting it in the trash without incurring cost for getting rid of it?] our self-determination, [YOUR self-determination; you have no fucking business speaking for women of color or white women, globally. Speak for yourself, whiteboy] our capacity to express our sexual consent like children under 16. [Do you realise that most people being sold into slavery, being trafficked within systems of gross sexxxual exploitation, and most of those human beings entering systems of prostitution are UNDER age 16??? And do you REALLY think prostitution is GOOD for Queer Youth?!] It reinforces the idea that sex workers are too stupid, lazy, without any skills, and without consciousness of their alienation. [I think you're too privileged to be accountable to those you harm by writing CRAP like this and getting it published by a racist coloniser country's mass media.]

Many anti-sex-workers' rights activists think that rape is the conditioning to becoming a sex worker. [No. First, they aren't "anti-sex workers' rights activists". They ARE human rights activists who value women as human beings who ought not be made or expected to exist to be sexual service stations for men--as London-based feminist Jennifer Drew says. They ARE people who realise that rape is part of what's in store for any woman and all women, as long as patriarchal systems of gross exploitation of women for men exist] These claims about rape in our childhood or Stockholm syndrome are used to de-legitimate political attempts to be recognised as experts on our lives and to confiscate our voice. [Again, speak for your own whiteboy self. How dare you pretend to speak for poor women of color globally who you don't give a shit about, or even know about?] How could we say that a victim of rape has lost her capacity to express her consent because she is traumatised for life? We never say that for other people. [Nor do "we" say that here, fool. Stop making shit up that sounds like feminists are ridiculous. Pimp-theory is ridiculous: why aren't you critiquing THAT and THEM?]

Another paternalistic way to deny our voice is to claim that we are manipulated by pimps. [Anyone who is manipulated by a pimp IS manipulated by a pimp, right? And what percent of girls and women in prostitution don't have pimps?] It is a common accusation since the beginning of our movement in 1975. [That pimps manipulate women? Yes, that's a true statement: pimps manipulate those they control. Yes, they do. Accept it.] This strategy has been used against many groups. For instance women were accused of being manipulated by the church to be deprived their right to vote. [Huh? Pimps AND the Church are trying and are often succeeding at depriving women of the basic human rights.]

Instead of fighting the "whore stigma", middle-class feminists prefer to distance themselves from it, and by doing so reinforce it and exclude those who incarnate this identity. [And your class and education background is what, Thierry? And most girls and women in prostitution enter it from a place of poverty, yes? And most of the pro-sex work people are white and education privileged, yes?] This participates in the segregation between women. [MEN's institutionalised racism, classism, misogyny, and heterosexism participates in the separation of women, fool.] This may be a form of internalised sexism by other women who think female sex workers give them a bad name. [The women I know who are fighting against pimps and procurers WERE prostitutes, you callous, ignorant fuck.] According to some anti-sex-workers' rights activists, sex workers maintain the idea that men can own women's bodies. [No. Some feminists make the shocking but true point that far too many men believe they have a whitemale GOD-given right to possess women's bodies, and every other aspect of women's existence and being. Those feminists are right about that, not that you'd know] Sex workers are told that they create a sexual pressure on the whole women class. ["Sex workers" are told to suck dick and be fucked vaginally and anally without a condom, not by feminists, but by pimps and procuring MEN. We live in a het male supremacist society, Thierry, not a radical feminist supremacist society. But you'd never know that from your manipulative, deceitful, and antifeminist writing style.]

On the contrary, I think that it is by using expressions such as "selling your body" that we reinforce the idea of sex workers being owned and women as objects, while sex workers try to impose the term the "sale of sexual services" between two adult subjects. How can we talk about the ownership of our bodies when we are on the contrary those who impose their conditions? Isn't it an excuse not to question their own sexuality? [Your focus on the problem of "ideas" is stagnantly liberal and utterly without heart or recognition for what MOST women endure who are in systems of prostitution, trafficking, and sexual slavery, which overlap more than you'd be willing to state in the Guardian.]

Being penetrated doesn't mean that I give my body. Being paid for sex doesn't make me more of an object than when I was working for the minimum wage. [It does mean you have to wipe semen off your face, be called degrading terms, and get STDs against your will. It does mean being at risk for getting raped and sexually harassed every day you work, without legal recourse, unlike at that minimum wage job.] What makes me an object is political discourses that silence me, criminalise my sexual partners against my will, refuse me equal rights as a worker and citizen, and refuse to acknowledge my self-determination and the words I use to describe myself. [Classic liberalism: you, whiteboy, are more silenced by "discourse" than women are by pimps and other patriarchs who beat, rape, and kill women. Killing women silences them, in case you didn't know. And that's far more silent than feminist discourse will EVER make YOU! Your understanding of self-determination is selfish, self-centered, individualistic, and woefully callous to the conditions and injuries most women in systems of prostitution and trafficking and slavery endure or don't live to speak about.]

*          *          *

Here are a couple of the comments from that website that speak to what's fucked up about what Thierry is saying above. Mostly it's just a silly conversation about how individuals should get to do whatever they want with their bodies. As if women can not shave at all, be any size and any color, have any shaped nose (and every other "part") and be totally socially acceptable to the ruling classes.


14 Apr 2010, 11:31AM

And a black guy being paid to star in a racially degrading movie isn't objectified at all and does nothing wrong. No other black people should mind at all.
See how that works?
Get it into your head: it's not all about you.


14 Apr 2010, 11:46AM
Contributor Contributor
This is one of the worst-constructed pieces of writing I've seen on thHeris site lately. Not to mention the disgusting co-option of bell hooks, who, by the way, insisted that her taken authorial name not be capitalised - it should be written 'bell hooks'. (Cif eds, can you please change this?)

[Julian's Pro-Patriarchal Atrocity Award goes to this one, for most ignorant comment about how patriarchal systems of oppression operate:]


14 Apr 2010, 11:59AM

A very good article. People are very odd about sex.
It is understandable that sex has become such a political issue, considering the hardwired/historical/social significance of sex. All societies try to police and control sexual activities and expression, usually with relatively little success. Very often, the reasons for doing so are also incoherent.
However, the bottom line is that your body is your body. Do what you want with it.

*          *          *
Here is my posted reply to him, on The Guardian website:


15 Apr 2010, 1:23AM

How accountable is Thierry to the millions of girls and women in Asia who are in systems of prostitution? Does he communicate with the girls and women in Apne Aap? How many of those prostitutes did he speak to before spouting off about how it is feminists who silence him, not pimps who silence women in systems of prostitution? He has some nerve pretending he speaks for all people in systems of sexual exploitation and harm. Some damn nerve.

Read this for more critique of his irresponsible commentary:

Calling all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Gender Non-Conforming people of color and low-income people in New York City! People's Movement Assembly April 21, 6 - 9pm!

[image is from here]

Caption to the photograph above:
The Astraea Foundation funds LGBTI social justice activism both in the US and globally. (photo courtesy of Astraea) 

I LOVE that the "I" is in there! And Two-Spirit is in the heading!! And that the "L" comes first!!! YAY! -- Julian

What follows may be found at its home site by clicking on the title just below, which was found on the Audre Lorde Project website. At the end of this post is some more information about ALP.

People's Movement Assembly

When: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Where: Brecht Forum 451 West Street, New York, NY (Between Bank and Bethune St.)

What major problems are you facing?

What can we do about it as a community?

What actions can we take locally and nationally?

Calling all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Gender Non-Conforming people of color and low-income people in New York City!

Join the Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project for the...PEOPLE’s MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY!

Food & Metrocards will be provided.

For more info go to these sites          | | |
PMA Flyer.jpeg922.72 KB
PMA Flyer.pdf1.28 MB

The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.

Jewelle Gomez Reflects on Audre Lorde's Life and Work

[above is the cover of the book that began with stories Jewelle Gomez sent to Audre Lorde for critique and feedback. It is from here]

[this delightful photograph of Jewelle Gomez is from here]

What follows may be found at its original site by clicking on the title just below.

My Memories of Audre Lorde: “Pretend We’re on Our Second Date”

Posted by: WRB Blog in Women's Review of Books on Print PDF
WRB Blog
By Jewelle Gomez for WOMEN = BOOKS

Audre Lorde was an iconic literary and political figure in New York City's feminist community of the 1970s and 1980s. Her stature rested on not just her writing and organizing but also on her persona, which was both imperious and accessible. She was also flirtatious. So I took her at her word: "silence has never brought us anything of worth.”

Despite being shy in 1980, I took a leap and mailed her a copy of my self-published first collection of poems. Why not?

She left me a message on my phone machine in her mellifluous Caribbean voice. I listened to it in shock about ten times before I actually heard her words of congratulations—along with editing comments.

Thus began one of the most important professional and personal relationships of my life. Not like best friends or anything, but it did grow into a sense of collegiality that I treasured. Every writer needs the tough love and cheerleading that Audre was willing to provide for lesbian feminist writers. Her legacy is her own large body of work—a major accomplishment in its own right—and the work of the many writers and activists she nurtured, cajoled, and seduced into fulfilling their writing and political promise.

In 1984, I interviewed her for the documentary Before Stonewall. I was extremely nervous as we sat outside of the Cornelia Street Café in the West Village, waiting for the camera set-up. She immediately saw that and ordered wine—it was 10 in the morning!—and then said, “Pretend we’re on our second date.”

When she and the other interview subject, Maua Flowers, finished laughing at my blushing, my anxiety had evaporated and we were friends, talking about our lives, just in front of a camera.

Some years later, as she was giving me a ride home, I again dug up my courage and asked Audre if she'd read my collection of lesbian vampire stories. She was definitive in her response: She didn't like vampires, she wasn't that fond of short stories, and, yes, she'd read them.

Waiting for her response was not the most relaxing period in my life, believe me. When it finally came, I was unprepared for the complete fulfillment of her reputation: Imperious—she was still not fond of short stories. Accessible—she thought my book was really a novel, and she knew I would do the editing to reshape it. Her assurance, even as she contradicted what I thought I was doing, turned my first novel, The Gilda Stories, into a reality.

The last time I saw her—in her NYC hospital room, where she and I finished judging a poetry contest together—she was still as tough and incisive in her opinions as ever. And as playful. When I leaned down to hug her good-bye, she sniffed at my neck, admiring the scent I was wearing, gardenia body oil. So I left the little vial for her bedside stand, as if I could remain there and keep her from leaving us.

Jewelle Gomez is the author of seven books including The Gilda Stories, winner of two Lambda Literary awards. It’s been in print for nineteen years. You can find her online at her website or Redroom.

Read Jewelle Gomez's review of I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall,  in the March/April 2010 issue of WRB.

For more on that issue, see below. Source: *here*.

Women's Review of Books 

Since 1983 the Women's Review of Books has provided a forum for serious, informed discussion of new writing by and about women. Women’s Review of Books provides a unique perspective on today’s literary landscape and features essays and in-depth reviews of new books by and about women. Women's Review of Books is published by the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, in collaboration with Old City Publishing in Philadelphia, PA.

  • Amy Hoffman, editor
  • Martha Nichols, Contributing Editor/Blog ManagerThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Subscriptions - handled by Old City Publishing
  • Publisher - for questions regarding subscriptions, advertising, and distribution

 March/April 2010

Women's Review 
of Books
  • "Tell Our Own Stories" 
    The Thing Around Your Neck
    By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
  • I Do Not Come to You By Chance By Adaobi Tricia Nqaubani An Elegy for Easterly By Petina Gappah Women Writing Zimbabwe By Irene Staunton Reviewed by Heather Hewett
  • In Perpetual Revolt
    Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Trilogy
    By Marie Vieux-Chauvet
    Reviewed by Patti M. Marxsen
  • Adam and Steve and Leslie and Eve
    When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
    By M. V. Lee Badgett
    Reviewed by Emily Douglas
  • Back in Print After 500 Years
    Incantations: Songs, Spells, and Images by Mayan Women
    By Ambar Past
    Reviewed by Martha Gies
  • Living Large
    The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High
    By Arianne Cohen
    Reviewed by Renee Loth
  • The Storyteller and the Listener
    The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood
    By Ursula Mahlendorf
    Reviewed by Marcie Hershman
  • The Help
    The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930
    By Margaret Lynch-Brennan
    Reviewed by Lauren Byrne
  • It's the End of the World As We Know It
    The Year of the Flood
    By Margaret Atwood
    Reviewed by Katherine V. Snyder
  • Call it Work, Call it God
    The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation
    By Fanny Howe
    Reviewed by Kelly Davio
  • Poetry
    By Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor
  • Cartoon
    by Roberta Gregory
  • Field Notes
    A Poetic Reckoning
    By Robin Becker
  • Cinderella's Stepmother Speaks Out
    Stepmonsters: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do
    By Wednesday Martin
    Reviewed by Audrey Elisa Kerr
  • The People and the Land
  • National Monuments By Heidi E. Erdrich Reviewed by Cheryl Savageau
  • She Who Makes Her Meaning Clear
    I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde
    Edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnetta Betsch Cole, and Beverly Guy Sheftall
    Reviewed by Jewelle Gomex
  • The "Ocular Ethic"
    Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility
    By Monica Casper and Lisa Jean Moore
    Reviewed by Beth Schwartzapfel
  • The Evolution of a Movement
    The Politics of Sexual Abuse: Emotion, Social Movements, and the State
  • By Nancy Whittier Reviewed by Arlene Stein

THIS SUNDAY, April 18 @ 2pm: Come Celebrate and Honor the Life of Essex Hemphill

I met Essex a long time ago. He was one of the dearest profeminist men I'd ever met, including all I have met since then. His struggle with HIV was known to many. I wish he had lived long enough to benefit from some of the medications that were helpful to those who could afford them. Maybe he would still be alive today. One of my ex-boyfriends contracted HIV after we were together, in the 1980s, and is healthy to this day. So I wish Essex had also survived to write so much more, and to life so much more.

Here's some information about how and where you can show your respect for the work he did. I SOOO wish I could be there!!! Of course, I wish I could go to ALL of the events created by Alexis, aka Lex.

The image and text is from here at Eternal Summer of the Black feminist Mind.

2pm 4/18 Sunday School in Honor of Essex Hemphill

alexis | April 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
Beloved Community! This week marks what would have been the 53rd birthday of Black Gay Poet, Activist, Publisher, Lover, Friend, Comrade, Prophet Essex Hemphill.  Please join us to remember Essex Hemphill, reflect on his poetry, watch a video of him speaking about the role of the writer in the age of AIDS and center our spirits on what the legacy of Essex Hemphill means for our lives today.

Meet us at the Inspiration Station at 2pm on Sunday April 18th (two days after Hemphill's actual birthday).

Children are welcome.

lex and justin

"The Second Wave" and WHM Supremacist Revisionism

 [image from the 1970s is from here]

For an idea of what this post is in response to, partly, see, for example, the following site:

I've been critical here of the Waves Theory of Feminism. This is largely because of what non-womanists and non-feminists try and turn Women's Liberation Movements into--an Objectified Thing, One Thing, usually a white-dominant or whites-only Thing, usually an "essentialist" Thing, usually a Thing that has clear boundaries with start dates and maybe also end dates, with start BOOKS--or "foundational books", so that it can be referred to, discussed, and have academic curricula organised to tell the next academic generations about "The Second Wave".

It won't shock any regular readers here when I state as a fact that the White West is racist: anti-Asian, anti-Black, anti-Brown, and anti-Indigenist, among other ways of being WHM supremacist. In my experience, the social/structural dominants in this Western World--defined here as dominant North America, dominant UK, dominant Australia, and dominant Europe (especially Western and Northern), tends to tell history as grossly distorted single-stories, as linear and simple stories. If non-womanists and non-feminists try and tell the story of Women's Liberation Movements, it usually does so with blatant lies, such as "the bra burning phenomenon".

As a kid, all I heard about in the mass media was "bra burners" which let me know "Women's Libbers" were intent on letting their breasts be free of restriction even if the rest of them couldn't be, inside patriarchy. The fact is that women's breasts can't be free either, being, you know, WOMANLY and all, whether or not the breast tissue is part of a woman's body. Shirt-free Rights activists gave it a good try a long time ago, but gave up, realising that until women are free, women's breasts, as well, cannot be free. Bra-burning and "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" cigarette commercials were presented to me by television as "Women's Lib". I may have seen some women marching in the streets too, on network news, but never do I remember hearing from these women until a show called "Donahue" gave some voice to a few Women's Libbers. His partner for some time has been Marlo Thomas, who was part of an important and ambitious campaign to raise children in a non-sexist way. On Donahue's show I saw some Radical Feminists. But not many, and those who tended to be in the media were white, which was designed to leave me with the impression that "feminism was white". Yes, there was Flo. I adore Florynce Kennedy. I remember Flo from the 1970s. But Flo was not so prominent as Gloria Steinem. And Gloria Steinem wasn't nearly as prominent in mass media as Richard Nixon or Chevy Chase's impression of Gerald Ford. Yes, there was Ms. But, then again, there was also Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler. And the racist pimps who produced them--Hugh, Bob, and Larry--made way more money.

In the 1980s, Women's Studies took off as an academic discipline. Since then, Women's Studies programs have been VERY compromised and forced to be "accommodating" of Gender Studies and Men's Studies. Academic dollars only support so much, and as soon as you're studying gender as an apolitical phenomenon, and as soon as you're studying "men" as a sociological phenomenon--so a few men can make nice careers for themselves and sell some books, it's kind of over for Women's Studies... almost. There are still a few good programs out there, but most have had the radicalism radically removed.

The Academy, after all, what with its Liberal Arts degrees, isn't in the business of telling people HOW TO RADICALLY RESIST AND FIGHT WHM SUPREMACY AND DOMINATION. It teaches many people how to be part of the status quo, and maybe, on occasion, how to conceptualise one's thinking about those who have fought systems of oppression, in the past. I despise the academy for this. It also tries to tell students how some mostly white women did this Thing called Second Wave Women's Liberation in the 1970s, that was book-ended by a couple of other waves. I know women who were activists then, who are still activists now--not writers, really. Not professors. Engaged-in-struggles-in-the-world Activists. (The world beyond the Academy. I understand there are battles to fought inside the Academy too. There are battles to be fought everywhere.) To all the radical feminist and womanist women in the Academy: thank you for figuring out how to teach radically about women's liberation, and for doing so.

Historically and currently, most feminists were and are not Academics. Women weren't allowed in the Academy until relatively recently. And at first only white women were allowed in. And some demographics of women are effectively kept out. Poor women are often kept out. This means that if your understanding of feminism comes from the Academy, it is likely to leave out the historical and contemporary efforts of poor women who have resisted and fought against racist patriarchy. As ought to be clear, in the white West, the poor are disproportionately women of color. (This is also true outside of the West, and these women's struggles are virtually unknown to most Western scholars, in part because many women are not literate, and many poor literate women don't have time to write books.)

From all I've learned to date, mostly outside of Academic settings, it seems quite clear to me that Indigenous and Black women are the foundational figures in Women's Liberation in the U.S.--in Indigenous feminism, in African American womanism and feminism, in white feminism, and in the other feminisms that exist in the Western world. And that's very verifiable. But you won't hear about it much in white-dominant spaces like the Academy. As I see it, Asian women are THE Revolutionary Feminists in the world right now: the leaders for the world's women on how to resist patriarchal atrocity, how to fight back, how to organise and stay alive doing so. But "Asian feminism" is barely a footnote, or at best a couple of chapters in any multi-ethnic Western feminist anthology. There aren't many feminist or womanist presses any more. So "The Man" who is white and usually heterosexual, is deciding what gets published. And that means that a lot of virulently misogynist-racist pornography is being published, and heteropatriarchal romance novels, and books glorifying white men's wars.

Asia, as you may know, is a big chunk of the globe, spanning from Japan to Turkey, Russia to Indonesia and beyond. (Israel is part of Asia. Moses and Jesus was "Middle Eastern" which is to say, West Asian, not white or European.) Approximately SIX of every TEN people on Earth are Asian. That means that most women fighting sexism (and racism) are Asian. That means, especially if we include Indigenous women, Black women, and Brown women, MOST women conceive of feminism as a movement to end white male supremacy, because there is no longer identity and indignity globally that isn't impacted by "The Man" who is, after all, white.

When I learned about "feminism" I also learned about "womanism". African American women were central to my understanding of what Women's Liberation was fighting against and for. Racism and sexism, white male supremacy. It has never been any other way, in reality, even if it has been in academic textbooks and the minds of white dominants.

So when "The Second Wave" is mentioned, I often wonder WHICH "Second Wave" and what do you think that second wave was?

I've always preferred to speak about Women's Liberation Movements in terms of issues, campaigns, and organisations. Right now, fighting trafficking is a central issue and Apne Aap as one of several critical organisations. I see women fighting very dangerous battles against men's misogynistic warfare--against women and men, intra and international warfare. And that warfare, to many extents, fuses racism to sexism. I see women fighting to survive and eliminate capitalism's poverty; I see women working to obtain water and land rights, and to make sure the Earth under and around them is not so poisoned as to kill everyone on it. I see self-determination issues being fought for among Indigenous women. I don't have much of a sense of what white feminism is right now. Mostly I see white feminists debating things, while I see women of color fighting for survival. Where is white feminism outside of blogs, books, and the academy? Almost every feminist effort has to contend with so much male supremacist aggression and aversion that it's almost a miracle that any feminism exists at all.

There's a form of not-so-funny irony in the reality that for feminism to exist, male dominance must be systemic and institutionalised, as well as interpersonal and intimate. And for it to be radical, it has to figure out how to live in places that do everything imaginable to discredit and kill it, often by silencing the women who speak out, one way or another, including through murder. Putting womanist and feminist books out of print also helps male supremacy. Traumatising girls helps destroy the possibility of feminism being radical, because trauma does more to silence its survivors than to empower them to speak. That most feminists I know are trauma survivors means that these are VERY strong and VERY brave women. That most feminists globally are threatened with death every day--from the man they may be nervously very near at night or the men they encounter or try and avoid during the day--means they have a kind of strength I'm not sure I can comprehend. I understand the determination, the will to create justice out of raw hatred of women. I understand not giving up. But there are social conditions I simply haven't experienced, and so there are questions for me about how one does it--how does one live with the constant threat or presence of death. I live in the West as a white and male-identified person. I don't have to know this.

For a white male-identified person, I'm unfortunately considered "well-read" in feminist and womanist literature. I'm familiar with many womanist and feminist theories. And, also, I always feel as though there's so much more that is critical to read that I haven't read. And, more, to experience that I haven't experienced. I'll tell you who I haven't read: I've read very little Susan Brownmiller and Mary Daly--but I've read some, and in many ways Mary Daly's work influences me. I'm not sure how to explain that. I guess that is because so many white women I've met have been so dramatically impacted by her work.

I've read almost nothing by Robin Morgan and Janice Raymond. I have always been drawn to the writers who are speaking to me about communities and landscapes where struggle is old and rooted. I am drawn to the writings of displaced women. I love Chrystos. I've met her and I love her. No, not in "that" way. But there is a special place in my heart for her. I will tell you this: I have learned a great deal about feminism and womanism by seeing activists and writers do what they do. I see their spirits shine and their values expressed in action. I have met Yanar Mohammed, and I adore her.

I get how much Men's Wrongs Activists don't understand about any of it. They don't get it AT ALL. They think that a dozen misquotes or quotes IS "feminism", as if most feminism is "written" and "quotable". Most men I know don't get womanism or feminism AT ALL. They can't be bothered to understand what the hell women are fighting for all over the world, which really pisses me off a lot.

As for profeminism... I think there are a few men who "get it". A handful, maybe. Derrick Jensen is one of them. Mark Anthony Neal is another. And Robert Jensen. As profeminism is known to me primarily through a few white led groups and books, it is necessarily the case that most people identified and classified as profeminist will be white men. U.S. prowomanism, for example, doesn't really have a "voice" in white mass media, let alone voices. What is rare among men is the willingness and commitment to be accountable to women. I really don't care to hear much from men unless I know they are fully accountable to the women in their life, and in the areas of activism they are part of, if any. Men talk a good line--well, a few do--and our lines are relatively meaningless to me because of what I've seen feminist men do.

So, men, don't make YouTube videos telling me about what you understand about feminism. Make a video showing me you being fully accountable to women in your life. Document that. Every day. Care more about women than you do about using pornography. Value being responsible and useful more than doing things that get your name out there as "one of the good men".

Feminism is on-going resistance work. Profeminism must also be on-going.

Currently, in the society I live in and subcultures I am immersed in, "second wave feminism" is being distinguished between a few counter-revolutionary activities. Here's a short list: sexual liberalism, the sexual practices and aesthetics of racist-misogynist pimps and procurers, white conservatism, patriarchal brutality, and Academic misrepresentation.

As noted elsewhere on this blog, "my" queer community has been overtaken by a kind of individualism and provincial political activism. White middle class values, always status quo, are being presented to young people as "what feminism is". And it's a tragic thing to watch happen. To watch people value Patrick Califia, Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Summers, and Katie Roiphe as being "important feminist thinkers" is beyond sad. Especially, men who hate women love these writers. That's a clue.

And men who only read men's versions of feminism, well, that ought to be illegal. Like if this post is your "feminist" education, you need to stop reading this right now and go read Sister Outsider, Yurugu, and Are Women Human?. Seriously.

Reportedly, there was phenomenon in the U.S. called "The Third Wave". I seemed to me to be a willful misrepresentation of and unnecessarily individualistic response to the writers and activists who comprised the so-called second wave in the 1970s and 1980s. I never saw it taking on WHM supremacy. I saw it and other efforts make peace with pimps and pornographers. And figure out ways to reconceptualise "woman" such that fighting patriarchal harm was no longer in vogue or politically correct. Discussions about abstract ideas and re-appropriating things like the term "b*tch" and "wh*re" became cool. Lesbianism was either made to be for men, phallocentric, or not legitimate unless it embraced butch and femme role play. Lesbianism was no longer a resistance to heteropatriarchy, it was one expression of it. Gay men, well, never really left heteropatriarchy.

I've never seen any radical potential in gay men's movements. And I remain unconvinced that trans politics is determined to end WHM supremacy. I understand and support any marginalised group's battle to be seen and treated as human, and I also understand that mass media and other forces won't allow radical feminist trans (or non-trans) activists to be seen or heard. I want to be clear: trans activists aren't and ought not be accountable to me. I'm their oppressor structurally, not their ally necessarily. My movement, my passion, is ending WHM supremacy, so if your work isn't that work, I'm not likely to be enthusiastic about supporting what you do. So men's work, white's work, and other work that seeks to make race and gender seem like primarily biological phenomena... not my gig.

What I've found in the last five years or more, is that radical feminism is making a resurgence in communities where it was on life support. I'm thrilled by this. I'm meeting so many women of many colors who are age 18 to 28 who found nothing particularly useful in that "Third Wave" and realise that "Second Wave" radical writing and resistance is very important. (The Academic Story is that the Second Wave was White, whereas the Third Wave was woman of color-centered. That means that all the women of color who were central to the Second Wave didn't exist, I guess.)

Another problem is man-centered radical movements. (Why do those still exist? They barely do in the U.S., but why do they?)

And of course the white conservative men's institutionalised force and coercion has always been and remains the calculating and cruel core of gynocidal and genocidal societies. I can rail against liberalism all day long, for years, but white capitalist patriarchal conservatism is the man-made breeding machine for virulent racism and misogyny. And those men are the majority consumers from the West of globally trafficked women. When people want to blame a feminist for the supposed demise of feminism, I always want to remind them: don't you think white supremacist and capitalist patriarchal force, corruption, propaganda (mass media), and abilities to appropriate almost everything has something to do with what happens to feminist movements organised to radically challenge racist patriarchies? I want to tell them to read Backlash. Because the forces that keep the status quo in place are the forces that make the ground inhospitable to radical feminist and womanist actions taking root and thriving. And yet, Women's Liberation lives on.

What I understand from women of color radical feminists is this: racism and sexism are inseparable for most women on Earth, experientially, politically. And while white people are detrimentally and determinedly raced, fighting sexist racism isn't a central focus of most white people's activism. So I don't and won't make what white people think is most important to do central to my own activism.

Among the many things I am learning from Indigenous feminists is this: civilisation is killing us, and in the mean time it is doing horrendous things to women that it isn't doing to men. It must die before all women do. Racism, sexism, and ecocide are all bound up together into a knotted snarly braid of terror and horror. For whites and men to pretend they aren't, to pretend we can save civilisation while supporting the existence and activism of Indigenous women, is not just foolish, but is gynocidal, genocidal, and ecocidal. Unless we centralise the concerns, perspectives, and actions of Indigenous feminists, we will not live to tell the story of why we didn't.