Thursday, 31 May 2007

Have I mentioned lately...

that I loathe Sheila Jeffreys?

no, really

"We do think...that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women."

quack quack quack

The pursuit of the orgasm of oppression serves as a new "opium of the masses." It diverts our energies from the struggles that are needed now against sexual violence and the global sex industry. Questioning how those orgasms feel, what they mean politically, whether they are achieved through the prostitution of women in pornography, is not easy, but it is also not impossible. A sexuality of equality suited to our pursuit of freedom has still to be forged and fought for if we are to release women from sexual subjection.

you charmer,

The reasons why adult women seek [gender] reassignment surgery stem from the inequality of women, from male violence and from lesbian oppression. Women who have been abused in childhood seek reassignment so that they can escape the bodies in which they were abused and gain the status of the perpetrator in order to feel safe. Some want to gain privileges they perceive to be open to men. And many feel unable to love women in the bodies of women because of societal repression and hatred of lesbians.


I call the practices in which women, and some men, request others to cut up their bodies - as in cosmetic surgery, transsexual surgery, amputee identity disorder (pursuit of limb amputation) and other forms of sadomasochism - self-mutilation by proxy.

yes, we are very, very special

It is hard to imagine lesbians, or
any women, finding utopia in a public toilet...The gulf separating women from this variety of queer politics is extremely wide.’

o yes indeed

(another author talking about Jeffreys):

I was not present, by a margin of about twenty minutes, when a group of women, disguised with ski masks, smashed up Chain Reaction, the lesbian SM London night club with crowbars and injured the women who got in their way - in the name of opposing violence against women; I was present a few weeks later at the Hackney Empire for an International Women's Day cabaret when a group of lesbian feminists were jeered by the queue, among whom were almost no SM women, with a cry of 'Where's your crowbars?' I saw women from Sheila Jeffreys' circle at the picket outside Chain Reaction a few weeks earlier and, if she did not know the women who attacked the club with physical violence, one may assume that she knows a woman who does.

...Jeffreys gets very upset in this book at being called an essentialist, claiming that she regards sexual behaviour as socially constructed. Were this the case, her line on transsexuals would seem a little odd, unless she really does believe that we are Trojan horses of the patriarchy, CIA agents prepared to go that little bit further into deep cover; when she really gets down to it, she does not like the idea of sharing toilet facilities with me, let alone friends. If a belief that I necessarily pass water or give good advice in a sinister and unsisterly manner is not essentialism, I do not know what is.

...unless I'm missing the funny part, and the self-parody is deliberate

In your chapter you say admiring things about Andrea Dworkin and me and that we are bad-asses.(I like donkeys too but I do not think this is what is meant).I do not consider myself a bad-ass at all in fact. I don't see it as a womancentred term.

and, Pauline Bart, could you BE any more of a drama queen?

Women who "came out" in large part for political reasons during the seventies as part of feminism, to make themselves whole, their lives consistent, their political personal, are taken aback when they are considered the enemy, the mothers to rebel against, the anti-sex, vanilla, lesbian feminists who are yoked to the Right Wing. To be a lesbian for political reasons now is like being a Stalinist after the Purge Trials in the Soviet Union (when it was clear that the Soviet Union was not the workers' paradise).

Meeting a lesbian who was not a feminist in the seventies was as rare as meeting a Jew who was not a Democrat in the thirties. Alix Dobkin sang "Any woman can/Be a lesbian." Our movement was revolutionary: aiming at overthrowing the patriarchy and creating an "alternative universe in which we would construct a new sexuality, a new ethics, a new culture in opposition to mainstream culture (ix)." Our method was consciousness raising. Our practice was loving women. Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Studies, marches and journals were unimaginable.

Lesbian feminists produced "women's culture": women's theaters, poetry, music, art, and newspapers, which were crucial in western countries to the creation of a lesbian community. Yet lesbian feminists and their work are currently marginalized by a new generation of women. No good deed goes unpunished!

...Jeffreys's most frightening chapter is the second, "The Lesbian Sexual Revolution," in which paradigmatically brutal or, at best, insensitive practices are extolled and dominance is made sexy and consensual. These s/m lesbians use dildoes, restraints and torture (e.g. dripping hot wax on one's partner)...

"We walked uphill in the snow both ways in manky Birkenstocks, and what thanks do we get? No, don't mind me, I'll just sit here in the dark...alone...get that candle away from me!"


x-posted at fetch me my axe


Trinity said...

i fucking love you belledame


messy, sweaty, undignified, dildo-using FUCKING at that


Trinity said...


wax play is torture?



"you keep using that word

i do not think it means what you think it means"

Renegade Evolution said...

Heheheheh...she is just getting ALL the love here today, isn't she? I did have fun fisking her anti porn article...

But I usually do love that.

Anonymous said...

Blimey, it's worse than reading about fundamentalist Christians trying to justify creationism!

Transsexualism is an issue close to my heart, because of my own gender identity issues, and the fundamental ignorance behind some of those remarks was just... *shudder*

Jen in Ohio said...

"Blimey, it's worse than reading about fundamentalist Christians trying to justify creationism!"

It reads like a religion to me, too -- like accountability went on vacation and forgot to close the presuppositions box so the damn things bred like rabbits.

ellefromtheeast said...

This is the line that really got me:

"If we are to have any chance of liberating women from the fear and reality of sexual abuse, feminist discussion of sexuality must integrate all that we can understand about sexual violence into the way we think about sex."

No, no, no! Sex is sex! Sex is fun and hot and consensual. Violence is harmful and coercive. (which is why BDSM is sex, not violence)

It's the misogynists who lump these together, who think rape is just another kind of sex. Feminists should be the ones saying that rape is violence, to be condemned and prosecuted just like battery and murder.

And that was in like the first paragraph of the first thing actually written by Sheila Jeffries that you linked to. Ugh.

Trinity said...

"It's the misogynists who lump these together, who think rape is just another kind of sex."

Right on. It smelled fishy from the get-go.

I mean, yes, there is sexual arousal involved in rape, and perhaps there are useful things to be deduced from that

but MacKinnon and Dworkin and Jeffreys and those folks didn't deduce those useful things, IMO.

belledame222 said...

Especially nice: that little excerpt about what -really- motivates transsexuals is

1) in service of protesting a thirteen year old who wanted gender reassignment surgery; granted, controversial, but using the kid to make a point about yer sociopolitical hooha is despicable

2) it's at the site for Vancouver Rape Relief Center; some of y'all may find the name rings a bell; it's the place that the Canadian Supreme Court just decided could go ahead and keep excluding transwomen from volunteering there, on account of something it's not a protected identity. hailed as a great victory for wimmin by lovely folk such as Heart. you may recall.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, I love wossname having palpitations over freaking wax play (and dildos!! zomg DILDOS!!!). fetch the smelling salts. christ.

verte said...

Oooh, that's upped my anger percentile for the morning! Thank you. God, I hate Jeffreys

Interesting, the stuff about women picketing the London SM scene. Was this in the 80s? I'll be asking Marquise about this..

belledame222 said...

yeah, in the 80's, apparently. I was trying to find other references to the incident online, but so far no soap; well "chain reaction" wasn't a terribly successful google search term, I can try different combinations when I'm less brain fried, if ever.

totally off topic and possible TMI: "dyspepsia" sounds so much better than "acid reflux," somehow. just as "neurasthenic" (sp?) sounds better than "depressed and anxious." i want a fainting couch, and someone to unlace my nonexistent corset.

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