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On the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, let’s remember what feminism is actually about

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is also the anniversary of the day when 14 women were shot and killed at École Polytechnique by a gunman who shouted: “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” Clearly December 6 is a day of feminist action. It is a day to challenge male violence against women. It therefore feels appropriate to talk about what feminism actually is and means — what is it we are fighting, precisely, as feminists? I define feminism as a movement to end patriarchy and male violence against women. This definition makes sense and feels obvious to me because without patriarchy there would be no need for feminism and because male violence against women is...
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The divide isn’t between ‘sex negative’ and ‘sex positive’ feminists — it’s between liberal and radical feminism

I’d prefer not to draw hard and fast lines between feminists and have tried, lately, to avoid painting what feels like an overly simplistic “liberal feminist” vs. “radical feminist” wall that divides us. It isn’t always that simple. Some feminists I know disagree with me on the best way forward with regard to prostitution law, for example, yet don’t fall squarely into the category of “liberal feminist” and I myself don’t actually identify as any particular brand of feminist either — I simply call myself a feminist and a socialist. I also am trying to avoid vilifying all of those who might be described as “liberal feminists.” Some feminists do and say good things, despite the fact that I may disagree with them on, say, selfies (I know, I...
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John Stoltenberg on manhood, male supremacy, and men as feminist allies

This interview was originally published in french on Isabelle Allonso’s website and was translated by Sporenda. Q: “Refusing to Be a Man” was first published 23 years ago (1990). Do you consider that since its publication, the message of the book has inched its way somewhat in the mainstream, or is it still marginal? I’ve been very heartened by the renewed interest in radical feminism, which—as I can see now on social media—is international. I always intended the ethical framework of “Refusing to Be a Man” to be congruent with radical feminism’s critique of gender as a hierarchy—and that critique definitely seems to be catching on, especially among young activists. Q: In  1994 you published a book entitled “The End of Manhood.” Do you consider that we are indeed...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Deep Green Resistance under attack

Deep Green Resistance (DGR) can loosely be described as a radical environmental movement that believes civilization, particularly industrial civilization, is unsustainable and must be dismantled in order to secure a livable future for the planet. But DGR is also a movement that is firmly rooted in radical feminism. The group, and particular members of DGR, have recently come under attack because of their feminist critique of gender. A campaign was mounted by a few individuals to cancel the speaking engagements of Rachel Ivey as a result of a  presentation on gender and patriarchy, which you can watch here: Members have been labelled as bigots and subjected to death and rape threats. At a conference last month in Portland, DGR members were confronted aggressively by a number of other conference...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: The MRAs vs. Rad Fem 2013

Rad Fem 2013 is a radical feminist conference set to happen in London, on June 8th and 9th of this year at the London Irish Centre. When Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) caught wind of the conference, they staged a demonstration, pressing the London Irish Centre to cancel the booking. I spoke with Nic Nesbitt, one of the organizers of Rad Fem 2013, about the importance of radical feminism, the conference, and the behaviour and efforts of the MRAs to shut down their event. Listen to that interview below.*   *Update – April 30 2013 – I’ve removed this interview as I’m no longer comfortable associating myself with Rad Fem 2013 in a journalistic capacity. I’m closing comments here as well. Apologies for the inconvenience....
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Rape Relief v. Nixon, transphobia, and the value of women-only space: An interview with Lee Lakeman

Although the Nixon v. Rape Relief case was settled back in 2007, with a dismissal of Kimberly Nixon’s request to appeal the B.C. Court of Appeals decision (that decision being that “Vancouver Rape Relief has the right to prefer to train women who have never been treated as anything but female”), the case continues to be a source of controversy. In an effort to address misinformation, accusations of “transphobia”, and to give Lee Lakeman the opportunity to respond to some points that came up in an interview The F Word’s Nicole Deagan did with Susan Stryker, I spoke with her over the phone last week. I’ve posted the audio and the transcript of that interview below.   Meghan Murphy: Can you give me some background on this case? Lee...
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Who is the real enemy in the prostitution debate? A response to one argument against abolition

Earlier this month, rabble.ca published a response from a sex worker named Sarah M. to, not only the abolitionist argument as a whole, but to me in particular. Having written several blog posts, cross-posted to rabble.ca (as F Word blog posts are) on the topic of prostitution which address and challenge arguments for decriminalization and/or legalization, building on or using abolitionist and radical feminist arguments as foundation, the site, with good reason, felt it fair to solicit a response from a sex worker, as many of their regular readers suggested they do. I do question the recent efforts by some to focus this debate on individuals and on personal attacks. In essence, I am not convinced that this conversation should be specific to me / my work… While I...
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On 'sex-positivity' and misunderstandings

The Pervocracy published a post on Friday, intended to set all us feminist critics of ‘sex-positive’ discourse, language, and arguments straight. According to the author, who, strangely, avoids referencing anyone or using any specific quotes to back up many of her claims, argues that feminists who critique ‘sex-positivity’ A) don’t understand what the term ‘sex-positive’ means, and B) generally are just hating on women “who wear high heels and shave their legs and…giggle and… act all flirty and give blowjobs…” We are, apparently, “disgusted” by these women and therefore we are not only “obnoxious, elitist, sexist, and counterproductive,” but our criticisms are straight up wrong. This is a common rebuttal made by those who identify as ‘sex-positive.’ Charlie Glickman, in response to Robert Jensen’s critiques of the language and discourse of ‘sex-positivity’...
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Radical feminism: Just making it up as we go along.

Today I plan to go where many have gone before. Answering the question: ‘What is radical feminism?’ is as easy as reading an enormous amount of radical feminist theory or as challenging as googling ‘radical feminism’. Regardless of the magnitude of work other radical feminists have done defining and writing and talking and acting and building radical feminism, as well as the convenience of Wikipedia, there continues to be a rather consistent confusion around the fact that a) radical feminism is a real thing and b) it actually means something. Radical feminism is a thing. It’s true. We didn’t just make it up. Or did we? Radical feminism is not extremism, as many believe, nor is it simply ‘employing radical methods of everyday resistance‘, though I certainly support that...
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Where have all the radicals gone? When feminism gets moderate.

I’ve decided to post this podcast as part of a blog in order to encourage discussion and dialogue around the topic. I wonder what others think about the state of feminism, or 3rd wave feminism today? Are we in need of a re-radicalization? Are we too focused on making feminism palatable? On making sure we don’t scare anyone off? We sure do seem to spend a lot of time trying to make feminism seem ‘fun’….And, of course, feminism is fun. To me. But it is also difficult. Everyone is not going to like it. Are we ok with that? Or are we trying so hard to make feminism ‘fun’ that we are re-framing sexism as empowerment, instead of actually challenging that which is oppressive? This podcast was created, not...
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