Activism and Politics > Activism

The F in TERF

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KennedDoll:

--- Quote from: itsApril on April 13, 2019, 02:20:12 pm ---Could I suggest a good book to read about this?

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity is a 2007 book by gender theorist, biologist, and writer Julia Serano. The book is a transfeminist manifesto which makes the case that transphobia is rooted in sexism and that transgender activism is a feminist movement.[1][2] The second edition of the book was published in March 2016.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipping_Girl

--- End quote ---

Thank you! That looks very interesting. I will read it.

emma-f:
I'll add a bit in here being from the UK.

I think the problem is that one of the threads of their argument does come from a position of feminism (or at least feminists) even if its one which most feminists would disregard. It would be very difficult to argue that Germaine Greer, for example, is not a feminist. She fits very squarely within second wave feminism and pretty much (quite literally) wrote the book on it. Many of the TERFs follow Greer's theories on feminism and, generally, reject third and fourth wave feminists, who in turn, generally, reject them back.

Its important to note that transfeminism very much was part of, or at least parallel to, the third wave of feminism. My personal view is that the viewpoints of Greer et al regarding trans women are, in fact, entirely anti-feminist (I consider myself a fourth wave feminist), and the vast majority of modern feminists would back up that viewpoint. Feminism, and what it means to be feminist, is not one thing, and there are different schools of thought and movements within it (although not a perfect similarity, its a bit like Wahhabism in Islam, leading to ISIS etc, but disregarded by all other threads of Islam teaching as being improper).

I wouldn't worry though about the framing of the argument. Whilst as trans-people we see these arguments all the time on twitter in particular, but elsewhere on social media too, in the real world, people don't know what a TERF is, people don't see this argument between the trans-community and this particular group of people, people don't think there is an argument between us and feminists. In the real world, most feminists are on our side, and these pathetic groups live in echo chambers on twitter or on websites like Mumsnet where they think that they have the upper hand but thats only because they repeat what each other says constantly. And they start ridiculous "arguments" like how they now suggest that they're #genderfree. Its pathetic and its seen as pathetic. This very small group of people in their little echo chamber do shout very loud in certain directions, but in the UK, where most of these groups seem to be for whatever reason, the public as a whole are on our side.

When I write, which is not as often as I'd like these days, I do use TERF. Not because I like the word, and certainly I'm not saying "I'm trans, they're a feminist, here is my argument" (as I say above, I'm very much a fourth wave feminist, and I distance myself not only from second wave feminism but also radical feminism) but merely because, from a descriptive point of view, people instantly know exactly which group I am talking about. To call them a TERF is not suggesting any validity in their belief as to feminism, any more than it would be to suggest that ISIS has a warped reading as to Islam.

My thoughts anyway

Em x

F_P_M:

I wonder what happened to Greer to twist her into such an angry spiteful hate filled person.

I honestly view her brand of "feminism" as fake feminism. It's not feminist, it's "female superiority" and based solely in this very narrowly defined ideal of what "female" means. (Usually white, middle class, working, sees men as inferior beasts/sexual predators to be stomped under her heel, must dress in a particular way to show she's powerful but feminine etc etc)

If your brand of feminism excludes some women or has a freaking dress code it's not feminism.

And unfortunately these people have done far more damage to progress with their nonsense. They've made "feminist" a dirty word in so many circles. The amount of people i've seen say "i'm not a feminist because" and then use Greer's vitriol as an example of why feminism is bad...
that woman and her cult have poisioned things.

It's just a shame they're so LOUD about it.

Maybe we proper feminists need to start screaming from rooftops too, to drown them out.

<Edited by Moderator>

emma-f:

--- Quote from: F_P_M on April 14, 2019, 06:27:47 am ---I wonder what happened to Greer to twist her into such an angry spiteful hate filled person.

I honestly view her brand of "feminism" as fake feminism. It's not feminist, it's "female superiority" and based solely in this very narrowly defined ideal of what "female" means. (Usually white, middle class, working, sees men as inferior beasts/sexual predators to be stomped under her heel, must dress in a particular way to show she's powerful but feminine etc etc)

If your brand of feminism excludes some women or has a freaking dress code it's not feminism.

And unfortunately these people have done far more damage to progress with their nonsense. They've made "feminist" a dirty word in so many circles. The amount of people i've seen say "i'm not a feminist because" and then use Greer's vitriol as an example of why feminism is bad...
that woman and her cult have poisioned things.

It's just a shame they're so LOUD about it.

Maybe we proper feminists need to start screaming from rooftops too, to drown them out.

<Edited by Moderator>

--- End quote ---

I agree. The odd thing is in her own time she actually did really quote important things, but she's slipped into a slightly odd version of radical feminism (part of the reason by the way why the feminist in TERF cannot be read in isolation from the radical before it). I wonder if its the shift to being more right wing that many people have as she's got older. And I agree that the toxicity that some people see in feminism largely comes from her brand of feminism rather than mainstream feminism

Em

KennedDoll:
I see this as the problem with people supposedly being "a feminist". Unless someone is teaching about history of people who were popular and said things about feminism, actions and ideas are what can be feminist, not individual people.

When feminism is treated as a field of study by important peoples, it allows anti-feminist ideas and actions to accepted as feminist.

"Radical feminism" should be feminist or else it can't be radically feminist.

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