Germaine Greer tastes the rainbow

Germaine Greer is one of the stalwarts of feminism in the later 20th century, and contributed greatly to the freedoms that women enjoy today. She is also, however, a transphobic idiot:

“Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.”

So, Queer Avengers in Wellington turned up at her book signing the other day, and glitter-bombed her.

Yes, she said offensive things, but to ruin a perfectly good glass of wine with glitter? Unconscionable.

Her statements on transwomen are so ridiculous they would be laughable if they weren’t so damaging. She thinks that they are just men who’ve put on a dress and castrated themselves—she seems to be unaware of what being trans actually entails. That she’s been saying this stuff since the 70’s, and has been called out on it time and time again, shows that she’s wilfully ignorant, and that she’s refusing to even listen to criticism. I get that she’s trying to defend womanhood, but if you’re defending womanhood from people who actually are women, then you either need to refocus your sights, or shut the hell up.

“The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males.”

She denies the rights of transwomen to exist, as well as the rights of women with AIS, which prompted Prof. Milton Diamond to respond,

“While you might readily admit that feminists can differ in their views toward their own femininity or identification with their woman-ness (whatever that might mean) you deny that right to others and see it as some sort of charade. You see it as a weakness that other women accept AIS individuals (and male to female transsexuals) as bone fide women.”

Transphobic feminism should be a thing of the past, and people like Germaine Greer do all of feminism a disservice by spouting such nonsense. And she did more of a disservice in the 1980s and ’90s when she effectively went on a witch-hunt for transwomen:

In 1996, Greer outed Rachel Padman, a physicist at an all-women college at Cambridge University. She stated that the “dignity of this college is marred by this unfortunate event.” Greer apparently had no interest in the dignity of Rachel Padman, who survived Greer’s repeated tabloid attacks and retained her position at Cambridge.

There’s a lot more to being a woman than having two X chromosomes and the matching set of gonads. You’d think that a feminist would agree, but for those like Germaine Greer, you need a full set to enter her house.

Glitter away, good heroes. Glitter away.

Suffrage Day

On this day (curse my real life busyness) Yesterday, 118 years ago, women in New Zealand got the vote. It was a momentous step towards equality — a road down which we are still plodding.

It is at this point that I have to give credit for the enormous amount of work that women did for queer rights — and not just queer women. The gay liberation movement came on the coattails of the feminist movements of the 60s and 70s. And in spite of gay men’s insistence to make it all about us, feminists and lesbians (not being mutually exclusive, of course) did an enormous amount of the work towards the equality that is still framed almost entirely in terms of gay men.

We would be nowhere without feminism. The various women’s rights and queer rights movements are natural allies — all civil rights movements are. None of us are truly free until all of us are free.

So, thank you, to all the women throughout history who fought (and continue to fight) so hard so people like me could grow up in a world where I’m not illegal, women who in many cases received (and still receive) just as much opposition from gay men* as they did from the straights.

Thank you.

(19th September is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I’m not sure if the two are related…)

* I have a story to regale you with, that may make you want to punch the nearest gay man in the dick, but I can’t reveal anything yet until I know how much of certain conversations can be repeated publicly.

NZFF: Miss Representation

by Mr Wainscotting

See this film.

Seriously.

I’ve never watched a documentary that drew so many gasps from the audience. Nor have I watched a documentary that made me cry — this one did. (Yes, I cried. You can list all your favourite over-emotional, “PMSing” gay guy jokes on a piece of paper and place it neatly in the toilet).

Normally, I’d mark a film down if it wasn’t technically up to scratch, but I quickly forgot about the editing and presentation, because the content was just so powerful. Mr Wainscotting’s rating: 6/5 (as in, should be compulsory viewing).

Continue reading

Is radical feminism part of our feminist future?

Next week the Melbourne Feminist Collective is hosting a conference called Feminist Futures that includes in the line up Shelia Jefferys, a radical feminist. There are various debates circulating on blogs and the MFC Facebook page about her inclusion at a ‘feminist futures conference’ with accusations that Jeffreys is trans-phobic and whore-phobic. Continue reading