Not the fun kind

After revisiting the nonsense of “femmes” and how much better they are than those horrible people called “women,” we need Meghan Murphy on our need to be braver.

We live in a time wherein basic feminist ideas have become unspeakable, while anti-feminist slurs and smears are widely accepted and even celebrated by those who claim to be social justice activists and progressives.

Regardless of the risks, I cannot, in good faith, support the neoliberal, individualistic notion of “gender identity”  — not as a feminist who understands how patriarchy came to be and continues to prevail or as a leftist who understands how systems of power work. I do not wish to be silent in the face of regressive and anti-feminist discourse, because I know that my silence does not help empower other women to speak out. I do not wish to abandon my sisters who have already suffered immensely for speaking out.

And another thing: it’s only getting worse.

As feminists, what we really are doing is working towards an end to gender — a thing that was invented and imposed in order to naturalize the sex class hierarchy that positions men as dominant and women as subordinate. One has to ask how progressive it is, from a feminist perspective, to accept the notion that gender is both real and innate — a thing that one can be born with, as this is precisely the tactic used historically by men to defend the idea that women should not be permitted to vote, work outside the home, or hold positions of power in society. Women were constructed as naturally “feminine,” which meant we were too emotional, irrational, and weak to engage in the public sphere as men did. Men, by contrast, were said to be more suited for public office and to hold positions of power as they were innately assertive, rational, unemotional, and tough.

Are we, as feminists (and as a society) really comfortable moving backwards in this way, by accepting gender roles (which exist only to naturalize and enforce sexism) as innate rather than socially constructed?

And then dressing them up as “femme” and pouring scorn on actual women for not being hip enough to “identify” as “femme” instead of just being a tedious boring afab woman.

It’s time to put our fear aside. Here is what I have learned about feminism (the real kind of feminism — not liberalism, not queer politics, not pro-capitalist rhetoric centered around personal feelings of “empowerment”): Regardless of what we do or say, as radical feminists, we are persecuted, smeared, and silenced. This happens because we stand up for women, hold men accountable, and criticize patriarchy unapologetically. We are called “SWERF,” “TERF,” “whorephobic,” “femmephobic,” “transphobic,” “anti-sex,” “moralistic prudes,” and so on, not because we are terrified of trans people, prostituted women, and sexuality, or because our politics are centered around “excluding” particular individuals (unless, of course, those individuals are anti-feminist — then yes, you will likely feel “excluded” by feminism), but because these terms and slurs effectively silence and exclude us. We are no-platformed and blackballed, discredited at any opportunity, to the point that others cannot associate with us, support us, or share any of our work (regardless of the content of said work), lest they too be tarred with the same brush.

Been there. Got the Tshirt.

You can call us whatever you like, because we know what you really mean: Feminist. Not the fun kind.

Anti-feminists are winning and will continue to win so long as we stay silent. They will continue to claim the identity of “feminist” while smearing and vilifying movement women. Leftist men will continue to proudly call us anti-feminist names and censor our work, comforted by the support and silence of these “queer activists,” “sex worker rights activists,” and liberal feminists — people who have shown themselves as traitors to women and whose politics consist of inventing new words to disguise male supremacy and violence against women. It’s up to us to speak out and to stand by our sisters, despite the repercussions.

Because by god nobody else will.

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