No, Mary Daly was not awesome, you guys

You know who she kind of reminded me of, half the time?

You might not think I get it, but I do. Tearing down the icons of the past is the easiest thing in the world, especially when they’re no longer here to defend themselves. But it’s like what Monica Roberts said over at where I work, “Mary Daly was a complex individual who unfortunately took some problematic positions, and, as far as we know, refused to change her mind about them.”

“Problematic” mostly means “way more transphobic than a dumbass David Letterman joke,” by the way.

I don’t like to “call people out” on their “privilege.” I’m tired of the word “privilege” to tell you the truth; it’s already becoming a gimmick, as far as I’m concerned. “Examining” it just leads to more stupid navel-gazing.

But I think things were pretty clear-cut wherein Daly was concerned. If she was in this room here with me, right now, I wouldn’t talk to her about “privilege.” I’d just tell her she’s a hater. Hate costs lives. I’m just saying. It does. Look up the statistics, sometime.

Does the hate invalidate her body of work? Well, I would be a crappy judge of that to begin with, since my feminist crisis of faith did not involve her. But the answer to these questions, usually, is “no.” I mean, don’t get me started on people who self-righteously whine about how “OMG you like the Beatles? They were sexist!” ‘Cause I can’t engage their music on my own terms, right? Whatever. Fuck you (“That’s sexist and patriarchal too!” – Fuck you with a submachine gun). The stupid sanitization of liberal politics, the insistence that everything we enjoy or benefit from must be safe and cuddly, is getting people nowhere. Of course, we hold Mary Daly to a slightly different standard, with her being a major feminist, and all. Still, I think the same logic applies. I respect the fact that to many people, certain aspects of Mary Daly’s work meant a lot. I just hope, like Monica does, that the transphobic aspects and other bullshit won’t mean nearly as much in the years to come.

“Fully sexually available to men”? Haven’t we been through this?

Yes, Virginia, we have.

Still, this is kind of a special moment in the history of the feminist blogosphere: transphobia AND rape apologia, in one nifty little stocking stuffer of a post:

sex-pos transwomen–if i were born male, like you were, i might be “sex-positive,” too.  you know:  exhibitionist, pro-porn, and squeeee!-fully sexually available to men.  if only…. — from someone called factcheckme

This darling individual also goes on to make the following precious statement:

while the T’s in GLBT have all the political power and protection that comes from co-opting the GLB movement…

“Political power and protection,” eh? “Protection” that results in hate crimes against trans women all over the world? “Protection” that ensures that major media outlets can’t even be bothered with using the right pronouns when it comes to talking about a murdered trans woman? THAT kind of protection?

crazy + powerful = “eccentric,” doncha know!  and “eccentric” is f-u-n, which is about all it takes to be wrapped in the teeny-tiny bosom of the twenty-something fun-fems.

Just to give you one example: It sure is “fun” when you’re going out with a friend in the cosmopolitan urban center known as London and the two of you have to be extra-careful when it comes to choosing a pub or restaurant, because both of you know without a doubt that if you choose the wrong one, something ugly will happen to your friend. While I’m fully aware that bad things can and do happen to all of us, I know that statistically speaking, violence against trans women is nothing to joke about. And it makes me bitter. And it makes me angry. Because all I want to do is have a couple of drinks, talk about pop music, and eat some goddamn oysters. And it’s assholes like you who think that my friend doesn’t deserve the basic human dignity of a normal evening out, let alone the basic human dignity of going through life without being discriminated against and scorned.

I’ll press my teeny-tiny bosom against anyone I damn please, in the meantime. So sorry that I didn’t ask for your approval first. Funny how it works out, doesn’t it? First it’s men telling you all about whom “nice girls” should and shouldn’t associate with, then it’s fellow feminists. Same shit, different demographic.

To go back to the comment about us being “fully sexually available to men,” Ren is right, Caroline is right, this is offhand rape apologia. It’s as if the people who spout it honestly believe that there is a certain class of willing “comfort women” out there. I don’t even know what kind of twisted logic… Actually, wait, I do know exactly the kind of twisted logic we’re talking about here. It’s the same twisted logic that leads certain men to utter phrases such as “you can’t rape a slut” in all seriousness. So revolutionary, that.

Germaine Greer: still glowin’, still crowin’, still transphobic as hell

Exclusive picture! Bending space-time, Germaine emerges from my couch and tries to devour me. Run away! Away!

Exclusive picture! Bending space-time, Germaine emerges from my couch and tries to devour me for all those times I've made fun of her.

We all know that the natural world is subject to certain rules. Seasons change, for example. Stars die. Eclipses occur. And Germaine Greer spews transphobic bile.

In writing about runner Caster Semenya for her latest column, Greer slipped in this little gem:

Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.

I don’t know about you, but when I read this paragraph, I was overcome with a serious case of the sniffles. Poor Germaine is being prevented from harassing trans women! Good God, what is this world coming to?!?!? I, for one, won’t stand for such blatant oppression! I’ll… I’ll… I’ll shake my fist in righteous indignation, that’s what I’ll do!

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that evil trans people have made Germaine’s cozy life at the top of the cultural critic foodchain a veritable nightmare. Rachel Padman, for example, insulted Germaine horribly by merely existing. She really shouldn’t have been a little more thoughtful than that, this Rachel Padman. Tsk.

Neither would this be the first time that other people’s bodies have irritated poor Germaine. Just look at what she has to put up with from Cheryl Cole, who walks around being all skinny n’ stuff.

Honestly, I think it’s time we liberate Germaine from the terrible bondage she has found herself in. Civilization is simply too oppressive a system for her to participate in. Her talents are wasted on us, for truly. Plenty of attractive desert islands still left in the world, on the other hand…

A Candle for Angie Zapata

A quick heads up, if you haven’t heard – jury selection in the murder trial of Angie Zapata, who is believed to have been murdered simply for being trans, started yesterday. Please see more details at Questioning Transphobia.

If you have a Facebook account, you can become a fan of her Facebook page.

Angie Zapata is just one of the many victims of this particularly insiduous brand of hate – hate that’s usually covered with snickering and disgust in various media outlets that continue to strip trans folk of their dignity even in death. It needs to be noted that many people like Angie live with the fear of being murdered, and that this fear is reflective of today’s reality. So light a candle for Angie, however big or small.

P.S. Lo and behold, another murder – this one back home in North Carolina. The victim’s name was Imaje Devera and the killing is being investigated as a hate-crime.

Shorter Julie Bindel – “Lie back and think of England”

Once upon a time, Julie Bindel wrote something that really resonated with me: she spoke of being out with a group of women and getting harassed by some tool who just couldn’t abide by the little ladies going out unsupervised. I recall he called them “carpet-munchers,” among other things.

I’m not a lesbian, but I know what it’s like to be harassed for showing my face outside (hey, guy who started cussing me out on my way to the gym today? I understood every word, you miserable swine), and I had to shake my head at just how much our world sucks, and perhaps will always suck, when things like that still happen to people.

And yet, this is the same Julie Bindel who, in her latest expression of transphobia and general disdain for anyone who doesn’t quite live up to her standards, stated the following:

…But I for one do not wish to be lumped in with an ever-increasing list of folk defined by “odd” sexual habits or characteristics. Shall we just start with A and work our way through the alphabet? A, androgynous, b, bisexual, c, cat-fancying d, devil worshipping. Where will it ever end? – Comment Is Free.

Irony much, Julie? Continue reading