Here we go again. The trans- ‘debate’ has been tripping across several blogs in recent times. IBTP banning dude comments was announced, but was subsequently explained as still including trans-males. Last I saw, bloggers were free enough, for the most part, to define their comment inclusion/exclusion criteria any way they – personally – see fit. It’s a personal thing after all. I have no problem with others setting personal boundaries with exclusion/inclusion rules – what gets up my nose, is when they try to claim it as some sort of political policy statement. Get your words right, if you are including trans-males in your personal inclusions definitions in your personal space, then say so up front, and stop trying to pretend its radical feminist. It is not, never has been.
Man (sic) was once called the “Tool-Maker” species, (until they found other species make tools too) but is more like the “Tale-Teller”. We tell stories. But throughout known history, females have not been considered human, not part of the ‘Human Condition’, and our stories are rarely told without male censorship or manipulation. In this section, I use ‘rape-culture’ very loosely, to cover all normalised male-dominance culture, of both social cultural violence as well as physical violence varieties of Man’s Inhumanity to Woman.
One of my favourite genres of all, films where women “return fire”, usually for rape/assault, but also for other forms of male violence-against-women, occasionally revenge for men’s betrayals in other forms, eg setting up women to take the fall for crimes. These films may, or may not, include female kick-butt action – but my group of favourite revenge-flicks refers mainly to those films where the main themes and storylines, revolve around women taking action against male abuse, (and ‘win’) regardless of any action/violence content.
I have several favourites in no particular order, but with a preference for the rarest of all – women’s ‘collective’ revenge films, in which several women band together and work-as-a-team or form vigilante groups. In these films, I am struck by the film’s representation of female solidarity and teamwork beyond friendship. Indeed, often the women do not like each other.
I am having a ranting, stream-of-consciousness moment on a late night. I’ve also been reading on the internet too much lately, looking for distraction, maybe even some fun, but unfortunately I have become bored with incessant feminist sniping.
First up, there is the sniping about lesbian feminists being too bossy or het-bashing, or trying to convert other women. Seems many straight women have a personal horror story or two, about a lesbian friend, making sexual advances towards them. A woman friend who they had known for some time, and even loved as a friend, in a non-sexual way. To me, this scenario, or context – begs an interesting question – if a close male friend, who you loved in a non-sexual way –had made sexual advances from say, misreading your signals, would you be so repulsed, disgusted, ready to puke or be so angry and offended? I suspect not. I suspect such men would be given the benefit of the doubt, for friendship’s sake, of having made an honest but embarrassing mistake, just “got the wrong idea”, and would be let down gently, with a sincere no, but thanks anyway.
The moral of this tale is lesbian sexuality is disgusting. Speaking of vulva-phobia, as being talked about over at UndercoverPunk’s blog.
Then there is the common defence when the stereotype cartooned “hairy ugly lesbian” is raised. Het feminists are quick to take on board the hairy-legged, daggy, dykey stereotype image – but always qualify it with ” Apart from being a lesbian…”, or “I’m not a lesbian, but all the rest is true ….” Careful sisteren, your Pavlov’s Dog style conditioned gag reflex is showing.
This book is one woman’s story and thoughts on how her life and her ideas on the Female Human Condition, has been shaped by her experiences of sex, rape, prostitution and working in the porn industry. As such, it is a personal story, not an academic treatise for feminist political debate. Although much may be lost in translation from French, reading it to me, felt like sitting down with a woman friend to just simply listen to her talk about her life, the universe and everything, including various side-tracks and tangents. Sometimes nodding along, sometimes frowning, but fully engaged from start to finish.
Virginia Despentes became moderately famous in Europe around 2000, with the release of her rape-revenge fantasy ‘girl-buddy’ film Baise-Moi based on her book of the same name. It is classic French film noir in its dark-side themes around sexual violence, but also weaves in threads of the heart of female friendship, in its portrayal of the bonding between the two women.
Her book starts with a chapter titled A Gun For Every Girl, and speaking as a girl who grew up in the 70s and came-of-age in the late 80s, from a working-class French background. Virginia as a young woman took many things about women’s lives for granted as she says she grew up with the idea that girls were as clever as boys, and:
As a natural scientist, this Nature vs Nurture, or the ‘Biology-is-Destiny’ debate has always annoyed me, simply because it is assumed that for a characteristic to be biological, or ‘natural’, it therefore must be ‘fixed’ or immutable, unchangeable.
Biology is NOT Destiny, for any species. This is fact, not speculation.
Nature is dependent on change and adaptation, not fixed in concrete, stone or genetic hard-wiring. That is species-suicide, or at least species-stagnation, even for plants. Adapt or die. Its an even more ridiculous concept when relating to homo sapiens sapiens – our species has not lived as a purely biological organism for uncounted millennia. Layers upon layers upon layers of civilisation, religion, tradition, education, culture, language, abstract thought etc have almost wiped off the physical biological map most of ‘fixed’ biological instincts and drives belonging to our evolutionary ancestors. Our species has made both conscious and unconscious decisions regarding biological processes ever since it crawled out of the primeval slime. Along with many other so-called ‘higher’ species, particularly of the mammalian kingdom.