“We Don’t Need Another Wave”

To borrow my title from Melody Berger.  She’s right, the focus on waves only highlights differences among feminists when the core concerns have always been the same.  Trends and tendencies come in and out of the forefront, internal hypocracies keep coming up to be addressed and re-addressed.  The mistrust between radical and liberal feminists is a constant. What has really changed?  Femininity, sex and porn, racism, classism, the disagreements and alienations are all still there, our revolution’s camps can’t be neatly described with waves

As the revolution pushes forward, new contradictions will come to light and we’ll have to address those, too.  However, the core mission remains and as much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we still hold the bigotry and chauvinism of previous feminist generations.  This has been painfully highlighted for me recently, when I discovered the wonderful world of transphobic radfem blogs, while my group of blogger comrades had a falling out over trans-exclusion.

I’ve been defensive as a radfem, I’ve defended our transphobia as a relic of the past, or at least a waning legacy of the second wave.  You can imagine my shock to see that it’s a trend that is alive and well, and not just at Michigyn.  I hope it’s a waning trend, certainly there are no prominent authors publishing books like, The Transsexual Empire.

These overtly tranphobic blogs might be dismissed as a fringe current that long ago lost the attention of the movement.  I could buy that without deluding myself, more troubling however, is the popular blogs that have a cissexist undercurrent to them that goes chronically unchecked.  Take, for example, Twisty’s so called “Laurence Fishburne” test on the subject of feminity.  Imagine a man, like Laurence Fishburne, or one with a similar gravitas, doing something, if he’d look ridiculous doing it then it’s a feminine practice.

I happen to think Laurence Fishburne would look great doing all sorts of feminine things.  The transphobes following her blog would think it ridiculous, but they’d think I look ridiculous every time I walk down the street.  Here’s a picture of a big macho muscle man, one with a Fishburnesque gravitas:

I think he looks great, transphobes may disagree, cissexist might lecture him that his bucking of the gender binary degrades women.  Yes his chest and feet are bound, that’s problematic, but does he look ridiculous?  I don’t think so.

So, let’s remember, the legacy of Daly and Ramond are with us, it can’t be put into waves.  Even at the time there were people questioning it, and today it persists.

So, to borrow from Berger once again: “We don’t need another wave.  We need a movement.”


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