Here I was believing I’m a radfem, because I’ve certainly been called a radical feminist, usually whenever I’m
truthful a total meanie about how men actively look for excuses to continue patriarchal oppression, and also when I then proceed to remain unmoved when a man protests, “But not all men,” because I should not have to add that disclaimer after every sentence when (1) you’re the one with male privilege and (2) if you said something about women no one would whine, “But not all women,” especially if what you’ve just said reinforces a stereotype and (3) you are trying to slow me down and silence me.
I’ve also been called a radical feminist not only whenever I defend a woman’s right to have a child, but also whenever I defend her right to have an abortion (because a woman with an opinion is radical, no matter what it may be), her right to maternity leave (which should be at least a year and a half) and equal wages for equal work, and whenever I emphasize that gender is a spectrum, and whenever I’ve dared to suggest that motherhood and “feminine work” should not be viewed as a gaping hole in a resume but a career as prestigious as what that woman would have made in wages had she been paid for her work. (about $500,000 a year) Basically, whenever I’m being fair.
The ideas of Elizabeth Cady Stanton are still, today, considered radical. I’ve also been accused of radicalism for posting work by Gloria Steinem. Feministe and Feministing–sites that make all the sense in the world to me–have both been called radical. And when I write here, I’ve been indirectly called a radical, because I am “full of myself” and women are not allowed the degree of pushiness to which men are socially entitled.
So I called myself a radfem, and was pretty content with calling myself a radfem, until I stumbled across implications that radfems are of the opinion that a woman having sex with a man is always being raped and that the man is always raping her.
Sources were trustworthy, but I haven’t actually spoken to a woman who believes this, so I have no idea what her logic is. Though I’m pretty sure that if she explained, I wouldn’t buy it. I’d accuse her of being both a misogynist and a misandrist, or else of seriously exploiting evo psych (have I documented my extreme distaste for evo psych? let it be known).
So I went around reading, and found they were pretty messed up when it comes to the rights of transgendered men and women, because according to them trans women are not “complete women” who have suffered oppression for their entire lives, and therefore… I don’t know. It makes no sense to me, because women are not a monolith. Do radfems believe that white women and women of color have endured equal degrees of oppression, thereby concluding that trans women are in their own category because everyone else’s oppression is even? And if not, then by that logic, aren’t white women also “not complete women” because they have not suffered the same degree of oppression? Am I missing something here?
Also, I’m pretty sure that being cis means you’re privileged, last I checked, so the whole balance of oppression thing doesn’t even result in those measurements. And then there’s that annoying implication that trans women have not been women all their lives, and that suddenly one day they wake up and choose to be women.
I want to headdesk again.
Trans women are women, who have always been women. (If any non-Muslims are wondering, being transgendered is not against Islam, and neither is undergoing necessary sex changes. [Just a warning for the link, the pronouns are all masculine even when it is being said that these are women, probably because this was like trillion years ago.]) I understand that the argument here is that if they have not been considered women, known as women to the rest of society, they have not been treated as women and oppressed as women, but that brings me back to my first point. Also, cissupremacy. More than makes up for it.
Of course, I know that no two radfems will agree on every point–that no two feminists will agree on every point–which is why I’m still content calling myself a radical feminist. But it seems that everyone has different definitions.
I think I’ll go with Wiki’s?