Radical feminism is beginning to flourish again…and whether you haven’t joined us yet, or you’re already fully paid up radfem, here’s a few suggestions as to how you can contribute and help our movement grow…(as well as some pitfalls to watch out for)
Something rather interesting is happening in radfem land, with the movement currently enjoying an influx of new enthusiasts, many of these women who have become disillusioned with the misogyny that has infected liberal feminism. There is a renewed flourishing of radical feminist activity, activism, strategizing, community organizing, and theory. Groups like A Woman’s Place, and #ManFriday are emerging, who run campaigns, stage protests, and host speaking events to raise awareness about the thorny issue of Self ID and expose the regressive gender stereotypes that bolster trans ideology.
Excitingly, several local grassroots radical feminist chapters like Cheltenham RadFems are also now popping up throughout the UK, as well as further afield.
One major reason for this is that the liberal feminist position has failed women, having been thoroughly co-opted by misogynistic males. Women who believe in their right to personhood, in fighting for what is right, must fight from a radical feminist perspective or see our cause flounder, see our rights and the rights of other women infringed.
With the spread of trans rights activism, women’s rights are getting quashed rapidly, including the right to define our own bodies and name the root cause of our oppression – biology.
Trans rights activism replete with misogyny, could not have been so embraced with so much enthusiasm had there not been a growing undercurrent of misogyny present in society, a simmering resentment at the progress women have made so far.
The lie of equality has been fully exposed. Women under patriarchy have never had equality, equal respect, nor equal personhood.
By trying to achieve equality by male defined standards, in a world created by men, we sell ourselves short. We need to demand nothing short of liberation.
The upside is that for the first time in my lifetime I see a renaissance and renewed enthusiam for radical feminist activism. New groups and organisations are springing up every month, as women everywhere begin to rediscover their revolutionary power.
Together we must unite, raising consciousness in our sisters wherever we can. We must work together to form a resistance movement that is so cohesively united in one aim, the cause of justice for all women, everywhere.
Too long we have been co-opted into compromise. Misguidedly, albeit with the best of intentions, some of us have taken the middle road, diluted our revolutionary power and adopted the liberal position.
As Queer politics have begun to dominate cultural discourse, the radical feminist gains our Second Wave sisters made for women have been halted in their tracks.
The backlash, a result of stinging resentment and fury at women’s progress, is nothing new.
Hatred for women has never gone away, not since patriarchy begun.
We are the ones who are schooled to be nice, accepting, we are the ones who are always expected to give up our space, our identities, our bodies. We are punished when we demand things for our own, when we demand the right to say no.
But we must say no to gender ideology, if we want to dismantle patriarchy and achieve true, full liberation, in a world free of regressive stereotypes.
We can’t play nice anymore.
We have tried to convince those with hate in their hearts to join us in the call for justice.
We have tried to reason with them, appease them, in some cases we have ceded ground, allowing natal males into women’s spaces, women’s places, we have called them by “preferred pronouns”, we have even called them women.
We did this never expecting they would not stop until we were completely colonised and under their control.
Quite clearly, all this compromise does not work.
Now we are being told men define what a woman is, men define what a lesbian is, and if we don’t cooperate we deserve to be beaten.
These threats of violence frequently lead to real life incidents of brutality, lesbians being beaten by those radicalised by queer theory in gay bars, women silenced online and in Universities, women attacked at meetings and demonstrations, for the simple act of organising to combat sex based oppression.
Persuasive argument may work to raise consciousness in some people, but for others, it will never work, ever.
Those people do not feel our injustice, many times, they do not even care it exists.
They are misogynists, with a deep hatred of women that need cling to an unjust gender caste system that labels them superior.
The road forward is clear. Global organised, strategized, radical feminist resistance to oppression and intolerance of misogyny, all the time, everywhere.
All who care deeply for women and humanity, as well as all women who whose hearts are heavy with sickness at the brutality and injustice of this patriarchal world should stand with us, in support of born women and girls.
If you are a woman, you do not benefit from the current status quo, which far too often let’s misogyny both covert and overt go unchecked.
If you are a woman, and you are not yet standing with radical feminists who fight for you, for all women, then unless you agree in sanctioning your own suppression, along with that of other born women, you must wake up.
All of us who are born women, are not currently being treated with equal fairness, all of us who are not receiving equal respect; Black, Hispanic, White, Native American, Asian, lesbian, disabled, and more, all of us born female must get over our petty differences and unify.
We need to unite as one solid movement with a lioness roar so loud it can never be silenced.
We must intervene to stop harmful gender ideology taking root and becoming the new norm, before irreparable damage is done, to society, to humanity, to women’s rights, to children.
Unify against the root problem – misogyny
We must now abandon the current Left, it has now been destroyed by the misogyny our leaders choose to ignore, and worse, often enable themselves. The right has never been the answer, it is no friend to women and never has been.
We are on our own. But sisterhood is powerful.
We need to reclaim the Left. We will reclaim it. But first, we need to reclaim feminism itself.
The most effective weapon of suppression is to divide and conquer. It’s happened to feminism, with the libfem/ radfem divide, which has worked to split women in the Left.
Within the Left, for years, as women we have been relatively ignored. Now we find the situation worsening, with leaders such as Corbyn turning a blind eye, while we go round in circles, chasing compromise while getting caught up in petty identity politics, and inter-movement strife.
Meanwhile, the other side, the status quo the Left should be fighting against, sits enshrined on a centuries old throne of assumed superiority.
This stolen throne has used the suppression and silencing of many, many millions of women to ensure its survival.
We need to topple that throne once and for all, we need to pull it down and burn it to the ground. Then we need to send a clear message to all those who worship the privilege it represents that we will never allow it to exist again.
A simple plan for a better world – for women, for girls – everywhere
Until now, we who came after the Second Wave, though many of us have always desperately wanted justice and equality for all women, we have not always had a clear enough vision of how we can continue the fight our Second Wave foremothers and their Suffragette grandmothers began.
Many of us were confused, unsure whether women, at least in the West, were making progress or not.
It is now clear we are not. If anything, rigid gender stereotypes that ensure males remain the superior caste, are becoming ever more firmly enshrined, with the rise of trans activism.
But now we are getting organised again. This is good, as our previous lack of focus weakened our effectiveness to dismantle patriarchy.
The misogynists are laughing at us today, but they will not be laughing forever. We will not let the work our Second Wave sisters did for us, for justice, for fairness for women be squandered, we cannot let the massive sacrifice the suffragettes made to raise the status of women be for nothing.
We need to come together, as women, and universally agree on direct action to dismantle the patriarchal systems of control.
Then, building on radical feminist theory our foremothers bequeathed us, we need to collectively agree on what comes after.
Any truly effective plan for change should consider the following
We need to put our combined resources; financial, creative, medical, legal, creative technological, all our skills, into fighting for the cause of justice for women. Whatever we can contribute, our words, our financial help, our ability to build, craft, create, and of course the most important resource of all, our physical presence, must be lent to the radical feminist resistance movement whenever we can.
This is necessary to truly effect change for women, as every movement requires resources, smart strategy, and of course, direct action.
A totally not comprehensive list of resources we might consider gathering and actions we might consider taking:
Spaces for women
– In an age where born women’s space is increasingly being impinged on, we need to start fighting back and reclaiming our right to organise, in spaces free from male bodies.
We need to source suitable, safe locations to meet in, including spaces for shelters and women only refuges. We should start fundraisers to collectively contribute towards the rental or leasing fees for these spaces, as well as collectively raise finances to buy land and property, so as to allocate space for women and girls. The excellent We Want The Land Coalition did exactly this, purchasing land for women and girls, to use, to host radical feminist, and born women only events.
We could look to finding other, more inventive ways to build or create new spaces for women, this could include purchasing houseboats to gather, or constructing eco or temporary housing on land we have purchased or lease from scratch.
And of course, we should support existing spaces that provide safe harbour for born women, with our donations, by volunteering our time, and also by our physical presence, attending the events and gatherings they host.
When these places are protested by trans activists, we need to show our support, in whatever way is most needed, so that they can continue to remain free of biological males.
Medical support network –
We should begin to establish a network of radical feminist doctors, medics, gynaecologists who we can turn to when we need medical advice and the medical establishment has failed us.
Perhaps we could establish a pro bono type service where radical feminists who are also qualified medics, gyno’s etc.. could donate some of their expertise to women in need? This would be particularly useful in case of any law change, as although, at the moment sex remains a protected characteristic in the UK at least, it may not always be the case.
Certainly, this type of resource bank of radical feminist medical experts would benefit radical feminists living in countries such as Canada right now.
This would be particularly useful resource for occasions like when born women are denied a smear test or other intimate exam, because they refused to accept an examination by a Self ID’ing trans “woman” for example.
Legal support network –
Equally, we could begin to build a network of radical feminist lawyers, legal advisors, consultants etc…that we can turn to look over legal documents to check for loopholes that may negatively impact women, as well as laws we can use to our advantage, to advance the cause of women. We can also draw on these experts to help us challenge misogynistic laws and policy proposals that will negatively impact on women.
As well, these legal brains could help us build cases that would help challenge long-held patriarchal institutions, such as pornographers and the sex trade in general, perhaps something along the lines of constructing a class action suit claiming a human rights violation of the dignity of women and girls.
We should also all try to become more familiar with the laws of our country and others, particularly all those that effect girls and women, and learn how to use the legal system to our advantage.
Obviously, those radfems among us who already understand the legal system can help us massively on this, if they have the time to donate to our cause, and I know many are doing exactly this, as I write this.
Political support network-
As well as building a medical and legal network, we should also start compiling a list or database of MP’s who are sympathetic to radical feminist positions. Everything from Self ID to abortion, and pornography, as this will be an excellent resource from which to draw from, when we want to challenge laws, and raise awareness in Parliament.
It also goes without saying that by now all of us should have written into our local MP to voice our objections to the Government’s Self ID proposals, and also, to ask her/ him to raise the matter in Parliament and call for an impact assessment on women and girls.
But we can also contact our local MPs on other matters, asking them to raise parliamentary questions regarding strip clubs, the sex trade, pornography, domestic violence, rape, workplace harassment, equal pay, and maternity provision.
And of course, we can contact our local councils, to ensure rape shelters, women’s only swimming clubs, and other women’s spaces in our community, stay free of biological male people.
We should also attend local political party meetings and challenge the leaders and speakers there, raising questions and issues that pertain to women’s rights, freedoms, or protections.
Some of us, who are more politically inclined could also consider running for a candidacy in one of the political parties you feel most strongly affiliated with, or as an independent candidate in your local area, as it would be great to have more radical feminist orientated political figures, who can advocate on behalf of women.
Physical self-defence –
If possible, we should all learn the basic skills necessary to defend ourselves if, and only if, a violent situation occurs that would threaten us or any other women. We cannot allow ourselves to stand by passively for instance where women are being threatened with violence, and women are being beaten, this is not the same as sanctioning indiscriminate acts of unjustified violence.
Those already in possession of self-defence skills could perhaps volunteer a few hours of time in their locality to teach other radfems, and perhaps also women from the community, these essential skills.
This is vital, especially considering trans activist’s violence is spiralling, coupled with the fact that nearly every event we organise is protested and picketed by TRAs, with threats of violence frequently being issued to us.
Organizing and carrying out Direct Action –
We cannot be idle in this fight, and we cannot let our fears of violence and retribution get the better of us (I myself am so terribly guilty of this but have decided to make the effort to overcome this particular trepidation of mine recently after being convinced of the need to act as harmful trans ideology begins to spiral out of control).
We must be prepared to put our lives on the line to stand up for what’s right if need be (unlikely in a Western country these days but hey, you never know). It is not about openly defying the police for the sake of it, the law should be respected providing it upholds justice and equality. However, when it does not, it is our most basic duty as human beings to oppose it.
For those who might disagree with this idea, imagine this hypothetical scenario. A head of state passes a racist law that gives the police powers to arrest people of colour indiscriminately and detain them, all under the guise they might be suspected terrorists or enemies of the state.
In this situation, as believers in justice, should we stand by and passively allow law enforcement to carry out the orders of this head of state? Should we also stand by and watch if the police brutalize innocents on the orders of a fascist? History has shown us all too terrifyingly what can happen if we take that road.
The only sane and logical answer is no, of course we should not. That is why we cannot be afraid to resist oppression with every means we have, while also taking care not to incite violence against those who are doing no harm to us.
Direct action can come in many forms, including sticker campaigns to raise awareness of feminist issues, like the ones the brilliant Untameable Shrews carry out in their local communities, to protesting strip clubs, to buying hard copy radical feminist books and donating them to our local library, or contacting schools and asking them to distribute educational materials that challenge harmful gender ideology, as the excellent Transgender Trend are doing.
We can print out flyers, such as the informative SAGES factsheets on gender ideology and distribute them in our local communities.
We can start local radfem chapters in our communities, leasing space to meet weekly or monthly, in order to organise, strategize, and plan direct action that we can then take in our localities to raise radical feminist consciousness in women who have not yet joined us.
To further our outreach, and encourage other women to come to consciousness, we can organise radical feminist festivals, and other events, such as jumble sales, craft fairs, Q+ A’s on gender, self-defence workshops, swap shops, and feminist social outings like group swimming sessions, and advertise these in our local communities (like on supermarket message boards and in community centres and libraries, as well as online.
At these events we can gently raise awareness by handing out literature, giving talks, having conversations, or by having our posters and other political artwork prominently on display.
We can also volunteer some of our time where possible, to help radical feminist organisations and causes, like Justice For Women, the feminist campaigning organisation co-founded by Julie Bindel, that helps advocate for incarcerated women who have killed their violent abusive partners.
And we can volunteer our time to local women’s refuges, as well as starting crowdfunders on sites like www.crowfunder.co.uk and offline fundraising events to raise money for causes that directly benefit women and girls.
Technology, media, and communication –
We are the Facebook generation. Nearly all of us are connected to the web in some way, using Twitter, Facebook, and various other platforms to exchange messages, news, and ideas. We can harness this global connectivity to our advantage to mobilize and evoke positive change, as has been demonstrated effectively before in the “Facebook Uprising” that occurred in 2011 in Tunisia.
A few examples; we can use our connectivity to post details of organised meetings and protests, to talk and share ideas, hash out feminist theory, and to provide support to each other.
We can use it to start radical feminist online magazines, shops that sell radfem inspired crafts and jewellery, radfem owned businesses, and radical feminist online resource centres like RadFem Central.
We can also use it to present a loud, public resistance that actively and consistently promotes our opposition to oppression, and we can and should attempt to connect with the wider caucus of women who have not yet awakened to radical feminism.
We can use our technology to make our voices heard to the people that matter. We can contact our MP’s, complain to schools, Universities, shops that stock pornography, allow misogynistic merchandise such as the infamous “Fuck TERFS” t-shirts to be sold on their platform, or have implemented dangerous Self ID policies in changing rooms, putting women and girls at risk from male violence and male predatory behaviour.
We can contact businesses that implement unfair or harmful policy to women, and to places of learning that employ misogynistic professors and lecturers, as well as to workplaces that foster misogynistic staff, or condone a sexually intimidating environment that is hostile to women.
We can write or call in to support our sisters who have been banned or no-platformed from feminist events, left wing spaces, Universities, or political parties.
We can support and start campaigns and petitions to raise awareness of radical feminist causes, we can blog and spread the word, we can write our own books on radical feminism, and when misogynistic abuses occur, if they are newsworthy, we can also contact journalists who might be sympathetic to our cause.
We can start radical feminist e-newsletters and e-zines, and maybe even some old school style print ‘zines and newsletters too, because, well, they’re totally rad .
We can start feminist websites, and also Radfem news sites like the awesome Feminist Current.
Of course, as misogyny rises, due to vocally aggressive trans activism, radical feminist voices are being censored more and more on platforms such as FB and Twitter.
As well as maintaining our social media platforms on these spaces for as long as we can, we should also begin to organize on alternative platforms, such as Me We, where radical feminists are still free to collectively organize.
Some possible problems and pitfalls within our movement that we need to watch out for
This is dangerous because not only does back-biting and sniping give outsiders the chance to criticize our movement but it is ultimately unproductive to entertain such horizontal hostility when we would be much better served unifying to combat the harms of patriarchy.
We are never, ever going to agree on everything, but all of us should be able to collectively organize around the most basic radical feminist principles.
Principles like the fact that gender is a harmful social construct and a caste system that puts women in an servant class, the fact that the sex trade is an abusive industry that harms vulnerable women and children, and objectifies and degrades all women, and the fact pornography is exploitative, harms intimacy, and also has a negative social impact on the way all women are viewed.
Fighting among ourselves, or micro-managing other women’s language who basically agree with radical feminist principles anyway, and critiquing their social media posts etc.., is not helpful to us, and is in fact outright damaging.
And of course, as a movement that believes fundamentally in the importance of taking action, rather than arguing among ourselves, we should be looking for practical actionable steps and action we can take that will help to dismantle patriarchy.
Within protest groups such as Occupy there have been those that have attached themselves to the cause with one eye on causing trouble for troubles sake or with other negative intentions. We cannot let this happen and must constantly be alert for narcissists looking to grab the mike, and also those looking to smear our movement for their own personal gain or vested interests.
Allowing the politics of the current system to replay over again within our movement
We’ve seen this happen within the feminist cause in the past, where, as white women, we have sometimes failed to give Black, Asian, or Indigenous women an equal voice, upholding the values of white supremacy.
We cannot do this going forward, and I am heartened to say, in most radical feminist circles I mix in, I genuinely do not feel this is case. Then again, as a white woman, I would welcome feedback from women of colour as to whether they feel we are giving them enough space, enough voice.
It also goes without saying, and I am sure most radical feminists already practise this, but there should be no leaders/ dictators within our movement.
Allowing men (of any kind) to co-opt feminism
I do believe men can be our allies in some cases, like the wonderful Derrick Jensen of Deep Green Resistance, who is doing some fantastic work to raise radical feminist consciousness in men as to the harms and brutality of patriarchy.
I believe that men can be allies (sometimes) because as a socialist I know a sense of justice is something every right thinking human being can possess, regardless what sex they are.
However, even the most well-meaning man will have been unconsciously conditioned from the cradle to believe he is superior to those of the female sex. He will have been conditioned to feel entitled to women’s bodies, to view himself as more logical, cleverer, better etc…
It’s not that men can’t undo this conditioning, they can, of course, but most don’t, even when they say they empathise. We should be on guard for this.
And of course, in case anyone is in any doubt, no, men cannot actually be a part of our movement, since radical feminism is for born women, and for born women only.
We must organise for ourselves if we are to combat our sex based oppression effectively.
Lack of direction
We need a clear end goal.
We need to a general consensus to decide what kind of system we want to replace the old patriarchal one with.
Do we want one that looks like our current system that runs along the same lines economically, albeit with improved regulations, checks and balances to ensure big business cannot hold sway over the interests of the average citizen?
Or do we feel that there is a need for greater change, where perhaps we need to completely overhaul the current system entirely, where we need to take down the financial institutions and start over again.
In this case we might envision a world like the one Deep Green Resistance envision, a closer to the indigenous matrilineal cultures that still remain in pockets of the globe, free of industrial civilization, where capitalism and aggressive eco-destruction cannot thrive?
One thing is for sure, we need to build a world where women of colour are more equally represented.
In this brave new world, we need to do make sure that women of colour and disabled women are as much the primary decision makers as white women, so that the same old privileges and entitlements do not start to re-enact themselves over again.
One thing is for sure, once we have overthrown the old, whatever we decide to replace the new must be truly democratic. We must fix a broken electoral system, such as the one in the US that allowed a candidate with the most votes to be denied the top job.
We are all armchair critics now, re-tweeting the latest outrage but far too often failing to actively try and cause positive change.
We must change that now, because the alternative, passivity and inaction will cause consequences far too severe to womankind.
We must let no act of misogyny go unchallenged, no act of woman hatred go by without being called to account and brought to justice, whether it’s something that’s occurring on a personal level in our daily social interactions with our peers, or something that our politicians and lawmakers are doing.
We born women must come together to make the change we want to see in the world happen. No one else is going to do it for us. The time to form an effective resistance movement and demand a fairer world for women is now and it’s really exciting that radical feminism is beginning to flourish again.
If you are a woman and you haven’t yet joined us, will you stand with radical feminists to fight the forces of patriarchal control?