Generation : Feminist

I’m about to flood my feed with reblogs from teenage feminist presses, tonight I met with a group of people whose ages ranged from 13 to 40somethings, and one thing was abundantly clear, the younglings, despite all the internet had to offer didn’t seem to have the whole culture of Riot Grrrl that we had. So for those teen bloggers who Are DIY-ing it now, I want to give them some space to be heard. Pics for illustration purposes only.

Old feminists :
Image

Young feminists:

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We have a lot to learn from each other.

(I stole the bottom image from an MRA site but left the chimps in cos they are cute.)

TERFs attempt to sabotage the long standing Glasgow Feminist Network

You wanna hear some massive ‘feminist’ bullshit?

Feminists are people who stand in solidarity with other women, right? Who don’t shit all over other’s feminist work, no? And Radical Feminists, why they are so *fucking rad* that they gotta be the feministest, eh?

Ahahahahahahahahaha. Ahahahahaha. Let me tell you a fucking story.

A while ago a bunch of feminists put together the Glasgow Feminist Network. Some were younger feminists, some were older feminists, some were for sex workers rights, some were abolitionists, some trans allies and some transphobic but overall it was not an actual radfem hideout. There were some tendencies within the group, but it was not the intent of it as a collective.

There’s a website, a FB like page, and a closed Facebook Group.In the closed group, we recently had had a bunch of  butting heads on sex work issues. Meanwhile, some people tried to revive it GFN as a functioning offline group by hosting a meeting. Me and a friend were banned from the event’s FB page for being confrontational. In other words, we asked if it was a trans inclusive event.

There were 4 people at the meeting. One of them was Megan Brayton, a  proper hardcore sex work abolitionist and transphobe. Conflict really explodes this past week when Megan Brayton posts a link to Ann Tagonist’s article which says not only that pornography is inherently violence against women, but that the practice of transsexuality is just the same. A shitstorm ensues (with Ann Tagonist, real life name Nic Nesbitt, making an appearance). Many people (myself included) leave the group.

This woman who is a long time feminist but new to the GFN gets made admin for being someone who was disagreeing with Megan Brayton but in a calm and collected manner (which many of us didn’t manage, due to her being extremely aggressive to us in the first place).

In the interests of ‘fairness’, Megan Brayton was made admin too. The aforementioned trans ally feminist posted some basic rules (basically no hate speech, no transphobia/homophobia/racism etc etc) for this, Megan Brayton removed her from being an admin.
And then she removed ALL other admins from the group.
This included the founders of the group. Who had organised numerous events, paid the web hosting out of their own pocket. And whose only ‘crime’ was to try to foster an inclusive ethos in A FEMINIST GROUP.Here’s some proof. Megan Brayton goes back to Palpatine herself, Cathy Brennan, and iscongratulated on a job well done crushing those pesky rebels. She basically admits to the whole thing and is patted in the back for a job well done. FOR SUBVERTING A FEMINIST GROUP.

The Glasgow Feminist Network issued a statement (cameo appearance in the comments by one Cathy Brennan):

Regarding the recent posts on the Glasgow Feminist Network group i’d like to point out that those who originally created the group have all been removed as moderators and have no power to moderate any of the posts there. I’d sincerely apologise to all the women reading those recent posts, particularly trans women, who have been made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.

Myself and and few other women here who have also been removed as admins worked really hard in the first days of GFN organising a fundraising gig for the Women’s Support Network, several meetings at Glasgow Women’s Library, Film Nights, Book Groups and Feminist Socials. It’s really unfortunate and frankly upsetting to see that hard work go to waste and have GFN’s reputation as a trans safe space destroyed in this way and the wishes of the majority of its members disregarded.

This is what transphobic, whorephobic, radical ‘feminists’ do: they destroy women’s communities. Spread the word. This happened in Scotland. It can happen in your town.

Reproduced fromhttp://rebelpachelbel.tumblr.com/post/54758657771/you-wanna-hear-some-massive-feminist-bulshit

Secondly the apt and positive response from the original founders of Glasgow Feminist Network:

“Regarding the recent posts on the Glasgow Feminist Network group i’d like to point out that those who originally created the group have all been removed as moderators and have no power to moderate any of the posts there. I’d sincerely apologise to all the women reading those recent posts, particularly trans women, who have been made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.

Myself and and few other women here who have also been removed as admins worked really hard in the first days of GFN organising a fundraising gig for the Women’s Support Network, several meetings at Glasgow Women’s Library, Film Nights, Book Groups and Feminist Socials. It’s really unfortunate and frankly upsetting to see that hard work go to waste and have GFN’s reputation as a trans safe space destroyed in this way and the wishes of the majority of its members disregarded.

The Glasgow Feminist Network group does not speak for GFN and isn’t representative of what those who engaged in GFN organised activism with us wanted it to be about.at one of the first meetings it was decided overwhelmingly that GFN should be a trans safe space and I believe that should include online spaces.

Again, if you’ve been made to feel unwelcome here or that GFN is a space where you will have your status as a ‘real’ woman called into status I am really truly sorry. A statement on the fan page, website and twitter will follow.”

My own view : Firstly I have to say that I wouldn’t call the women described in this article just as “radfems”, my own personal opinion is that they are essentially radfems who are TERFS & who don’t mind increasing harm to sex workers, and harrassing their allys online in their pursuit of their own brand of “true feminism”, whatever that is. I don’t find all radfems objectionable and have worked successfully with several – VE

If you are a feminist in Glasgow who has been affected or harassed by the women mentioned in this article, I’d like to hear from you, email thevenusenvy@live.com or feel free to join Glasgow Feminist Collective where a supportive & Inclusive environment awaits. https://www.facebook.com/groups/149706178521427/

Links :
Glasgow Feminist Network : https://www.facebook.com/glasgowfeministnetwork
Glasgow Feminist Collective : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Glasgow-Feminist-Collective/572422316102431
Ariel Silvera : https://www.facebook.com/ariel.silvera.1983

The camera, the woman and the sexist.

 

 
The camera, the woman and the sexist.
By Esther Frain, Glasgow based photographer.
 
I was going to write a really informed and articulate blog about female photographers. How women have become far more equal within the industry because the percentage of women working as pro photographers has risen ten fold in recent years. That there is far less gender stereotyping and how this change is visibly translated in the media and imagery we see in print and online.

Sadly, my browsing has been inundated with pictures of women mostly taken by male photographers. Pictures of women with big seductive eyes, pictures of women with their hands in their pretty hair, pictures of women lying on beaches, lying on floors, lying on beds. Pictures of women pictures of women pictures of women…..zzzzzzzzzz
And then, then there’s the ‘photography’ sites that lull you in with the promise of ‘BeautifulWomen’s Photography’ only for me to find more of the same and the added offer of ‘Single Czech Girls’ or ‘Hot Mexican Girls’. Sorry guys, ‘Girls’ are females under the age of 18. Doesn’t sound so hot now does it?!
Further browsing, ah that’s what the ‘Bikini Lists’ is. How is this title even allowed?!! I’m now far too angry to salvage this post in a positive way. I know the industry is changing and that there are positive female role models like Annie Leibovitz and Mary Ellen Mark. But this evening’s browsing has me caught me in a web of shallow misogyny. 
 
Look guys, the good guys, I know you are out there. Please, it isn’t 1980 anymore. Please, for god sake, stop it.
 

Reblogged with kind permission from http://estherrabbit.tumblr.com/

Your body is a market – By Ariel Silvera

It feels as if I’ve been writing about Pride for years. Its ups and downs, its many meanings and checkered history. To someone following these articles, I must seem akin to a lesbian Bill Clinton going ‘it’s the community, stupid!’

As most of you know, Dublin Pride messed up. But after basically every LGBTQ organisation in the country asking them to stop being so goddamn ridiculous, it got better. I expected as much, to be honest. Those of us who’ve delved in and out of Ireland’s LGBTQ activism know it is all held together by professional working relationships, long-term friendships, grudging alliances, mutual goodwill and the kind of empathy you get with a friend who is your ex-lover. Dublin Pride pissed off a lot of people by doing the unthinkable: telling campaigning LGBTQ organisations, for whom rallies are their bread and butter, that the dairy was closed, and the baker wasn’t delivering.

So, everyone’s made nice now, and we can all go home. Let’s get the rainbow flags everyone, and don’t forget to purchase a bottle of Absolut, without whom your entire movement wouldn’t exist?

Oh sorry. Was I being sarcastic and cynical again? My bad.

 

The mighty euro

 

Absolut party

This is the part where I remind you that the LGBTQ community matters more as a community than as a market for Absolut, Google, Microsoft, and whichever other companies deign to put cash down for the parade; that the interests of a community will not be served by business, which only has profit as its central interest; and that when Pride began, it was not as a fun parade, but as a march to reclaim public space, a march for survival.

This goes beyond. By denying a stage for community groups, Dublin Pride shot itself in the foot, showing its true colours, its focus on being a harmless party with no teeth. Its political content, diluted as it was, is shown as barely even mattering to the organisation anymore. And it’s only the aforementioned links and alliances that made them reconsider.

Last year, me and others organised Pride in Community (PinC), an anticapitalist queer block. We signed up for the parade, and printed out leaflets that talked about the concept of Pride. The leaflet spoke about how proud we were of those in our community working hard for the rest of us through support groups, reaching out to queer youth, working on the helplines, and doing all they could for LGBTQ people to survive. On a separate column, we explained why we were not proud of Pride’s 2012 sponsors, exposing many of their horrible deeds.

 

In the name of love

 

Bad form

For this, the organisers of the Parade decided to inform us, with as much contempt as they could, that we were not allowed to distribute leaflets, despite the fact that the forms we signed said we could, as long as we gave them to people by hand. As the people in question seemed quite eager to tell me it was up to the Gardai, I didn’t trust that they wouldn’t give them my name if they saw us distributing the leaflets. These warnings, of course, didn’t reach the ears of bigger, established organisations, whose leaflets and stickers littered the floor by the thousands before the parade had even started.

I feel this small anecdote reflects on the larger problem with Dublin Pride. It has a greater interest in appealing to a politically timid rather than helping LGBTQ people. While I greatly admire the organisations which protested that they were not to be given a platform to speak, they seemed to be fine by the fact that Pride has become less politicised and more corporate. I can’t imagine there will be many of these organisations marching with signs that indicate how Ireland’s unlimited-dip recession disproportionately affects LGBTQ individuals, or addressing the institutional violence that is still enacted, by the Irish state, on LGBTQ asylum seekers. Some might, and more power to them for that. But, as Izzy Kamikaze, one of the founders of Dublin Pride and Northwest Pride indicated, Pride in Ireland began as a reaction to a murderously homophobic society. It will be a disservice to the memory of many, if we act as if Ireland of today is a paradise for LGBTQ people.

 

What it all should be about

 

Dublin Pride doesn’t have to be like this. It is a unique opportunity for our community to meet, celebrate, and energise ourselves in our daily struggles. I’m not angry at Dublin Pride out of some sort of irrational hatred, but rather because I’m greatly disappointed in it. Personally, I’m extremely grateful we have such a massive Pride festival where I have felt safe and wanted. A festival that twice invited me, a rather obscure feminist activist to DJ at Dyke Night two years in a row. I want us to be better. I know we can be better. But we have to face our demons first. Happy Pride.

THE LGBTQ SHAME LIST – SOME OF PRIDE 2013′s SPONSORS AND THEIR DEEDS:

Google: With a list of controversies longer than an outstretched limb, Google avoids taxes in the UK, which is bad, but I’d argue not as bad as collaborating with the USA’s National Security Agency in its electronic surveillance of innocent citizens.
-Facebook: Does the exact same thing. They also consider breastfeeding obscene.
Absolut Vodka: Owned by drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard. They are the major funders of bullfighting in France, which is considered by nations to be a cruel blood sport that involves the violation and torture of animals. More information
-Microsoft: With a checkered history of horrid labour practices and collaborating with censorship and surveillance, not to mention unsavoury ways of doing business, Microsoft wears its ‘shame’ badge with Pride.
Diageo: I hope you hate small businesses, hate a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, and love poisoning pregnant women with Thalomide. If you do, you’ll love Diageo.

This article original appeared on http://www.gaelick.com on June 29th, 2013

Gaelick began in 2008, the brainchild of award-winning web developer, Michelle Farrell, who asked a plethora of people (cool word and alliteration!) to join as writers. Since then, the blog has grown.

They’ve been nominated for a number of awards – the Irish Blog Awards, the Irish Net Visionary Awards, and won Best Blogger in the GALAS

Ariel Silvera is an activist, writer, artist and troublemaker based in Glasgow, Scotland.
You can follow her and direct fan mail to: 
@ariel_silvera
https://www.facebook.com/ariel.silvera.1983

“SECOND CLASS CITIZENS (PLEASE DON’T HURT ME INTERNET” – Guest post from Lady Ra Ra, a new voice in Scottish feminism.

Second class citizens (please don’t hurt me internet)

 

 

I tend not to divulge my opinions on feminism. When I broach the subject in the vicinity of other online feminists, I feel like I’m tiptoeing through razor wire, scared to make a false move lest I nick some vein of vitriol pulsing through the internet. People are quick to attack others with conflicting opinions to theirs, and for the record I think this is seriously counter-productive for the cause. You’ll read all about that shortly, but I ask you approach the following with an open mind, rather than with hackles up should I state opinions contradictory to your own, or should my opinions be misinterpreted.

Recently a Scottish journalist wrote an article entitled ‘Scotland’s an enlightened country – unless you’re female.’ The article was well-intentioned, as I know many that stride bravely into the feminism fray often are, but was also flawed. It said that Scotland ‘view(s) women as second-class citizens and as the object merely of men’s sexual gratification’ and described a ‘medieval approach to how we view women.’ It insinuated that our government at local and national levels was apathetic to women’s rights, and also that Scottish women ourselves were indifferent to campaign for our own rights – having not shown up to protest outside The Shimmy Club over the two-way toilet mirror debacle.

I won’t argue that Scotland is free from the shackles of patriarchy, or that misogyny is dead, or that we are pioneers in women’s liberation – mainly because I can’t without it being a lie. However, this isn’t India. Women aren’t forced to marry their rapists. It’s not the Maldives, where a 15-year-old girl can face punishment by flogging for the abuse inflicted upon her by her stepfather. In China, Pakistan and across South Asia baby girls are aborted as foetuses or suffocated, strangled and abandoned after birth in a mass gendercide that leaves 200 million girls unaccounted for worldwide. If Scotland is medieval, there are no words for what depraved period of humanity the gender politics in other countries belong to. The devastating fact is, it’s not medieval – these atrocities are happening all over the world as.you.read.this.text.

Of course, comparing a developed and civilised society like our own to that of other cultures with more deeply ingrained anti-women attitudes does little but provide us with perspective, and hopefully with aspirations to help our fellow females in different countries. We should and could be better, and it is always good that people highlight our failings so that we may persevere towards achieving equal rights. It is my opinion that many people in Scotland work tirelessly to achieve those rights, but we’ll come to that shortly.

The article quotes Scotland’s rape statistics, which are inarguably and inescapably revolting. 

‘1,372 rapes were committed in Scotland in the last 12 months, a figure that equates to almost four each day. Overall, there were almost 8,000 sex offences in the same period, a rise of 5% on the previous year.’

Disgustingly high. No one would claim they were happy with those statistics – it’s certainly not a tagline you’d see written in a VisitScotland brochure or in an ad grinning from airport arrivals. However, these are reported rapes, the increase in numbers is an increase in reports. There is no doubt in my mind there will be hundreds more annually, including hundreds of grey area ‘I probably drank too much and lead him on…if I don’t do it he might break up with me’ events that punctuate the teenage and adult lives of many women. 

The figure in the police reports are likely nowhere near the real amount. The rise in reports – to me – does not necessarily signal a spike in sexual crimes (I believe these are of extremely high frequency, having been victim of several minor offences myself) but perhaps evidence of greater awareness raised and better provisions to deal with these occurrences. Are women reporting more often because they feel able to, because attitudes are changing, or because rape really is on the rise? Turns out, Rape Crisis also hover the same question mark over these shocking, recently released stats.

The article also refers to the government’s attitude towards these issues as ‘lamentable’, but at a local government level, Glasgow City Council and its various alliances have been perpetually waging war against gender violence, prostitution and pornography for years. To suggest they are indifferent to the rape statistics presented would be to undermine their efforts considerably. They have been active in rolling out anti-prostitution campaigns (which GCC view as violence) across Scotland and have recently pledged to become a White Ribbon City to help re-educate men, break stereotypes and raise awareness about gender violence. They mark the 16 Days annually with a series of events. They haven’t eradicated the problem, for sure, but I believe any endeavour to champion women’s rights and wipe out gender violence should be acknowledged rather than dismissed. Again, a great chasm exist between where we are and where we should be, as with many nations, but the work of initiatives such as the Women’s Support Group and Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership should not be disregarded.

The next thing to be scrutinised and underplayed is our own (Scottish, female) activism. Discussing The Shimmy Club, the writer says ‘Yet there were no demonstrations by women’s groups outside’ and later refers to ‘our complacency’ (Scottish? Female?) 

If Scottish females are anything, it’s not complacent. Although I myself don’t protest, I have attended protests in a journalistic capacity. Those are not complacent women.I’ve watched a 200-strong march around Glasgow University Union demonstrating against its apparent culture of misogyny, young students making impassioned speeches through megaphones about times they’ve been sexually assaulted or degraded because of their gender, crowds chanting anti-rape messages and raising their fists in solidarity. Every November, Glaswegians Reclaim The Night and march through the city demanding rights for women and the safety of the streets. Even the city’s sex workers – who are dismissed by many feminists as being oppositional to the cause (razor wire) – are not complacent and active in their protests, having held the first Sex Workers Open University in Glasgow in 2013. Hell – some keen wee journalism students even made a film for International Women’s Day about women’s rights in Scotland that’s now used as a classroom resource across the UK….

There are other kinds of activism also. There may not have been placards and megaphones outside the licensing board meeting, or indeed The Shimmy club as its future was debated, but online the eagle-eyed feminists were poised to swoop. They keep on top of feminist issues in the city and beyond it. They lobby. They discuss the best methods of approach. They for the most part – give or take some razor wire moments – agree on how to tackle situations such as The Shimmy, what course of action should be taken etc. Sometimes the keyboard is mightier than the megaphone, especially in the digital age. The storm caused by ‘Everyday Sexism at the GUU’, started after the Ancients Debate scandal, was arguably more effective than the rally.

So much is still to be done. It remains an endless fight to achieve equal rights, to eradicate gender violence, to keep our country’s women safe from rape. However, to suggest that we are viewed ‘second class citizens’ and insinuate we have accepted this reality without argument is upsetting. As said previously, I try not to become offended or angered by articles which I genuinely believe came from a good place in someone’s heart. Writing about feminism is difficult to do without running into bother, which is why I shy away from it, and I know that even the best intentions can become destructive given the wrong readings or audience. With the article I believe we, as women, feminists and Scots were accidentally undermined in the pursuit of making a statement that things should be better. As we are all in agreement on that, we can work towards it positively without being vicious about the work.

I am of the opinion that education is our greatest tool (not weapon) for change. I know that’s hardly a ground-breaking statement, but I mean in lieu of anger and attack. Obviously, great work and campaigning has been borne from anger throughout the ages, but I think in this society there’s a better approach for future generations. I think we can educate them to work towards collective goals without tearing each other down to get there. We need to learn to read from a similar script – or appreciate that the scripts of others may go off on tangents different to our own, but that (hopefully) the ending is one we share.

I feel some feminists spend such a great amount of time bickering and degrading other feminists, that the point of the cause is lost. I read hate-fuelled rants on the internet and think ‘This woman claims to love women? To care for their rights?‘ It’s sometimes difficult to decipher that from the plethora of blog posts, forum comments and Facebook threads that see them denigrate other women – often for extremely minor offences against their preferred version of feminism. 

To me, feminism is not about Who Can Be The Purest Feminist or who is the better foot soldier in the anti-patriarchy army, or who burned their Beyonce records because she named her world tour after her husband, or who thinks traffic light parties and pencil skirts are signs of oppression. It’s not about who has studied the most gender theory texts or who has shouted loudest through a megaphone. To me it doesn’t matter whether you were born with a vagina, have heterosexual appreciation for them, have had no connection with one since you popped out of one into the world or have had gender-reassigment surgery to get you in the vagina club. Feminism should be about caring for women and fighting for their opportunities to be equal – listening to each other’s opinions, however different to our own, considering them and providing a balanced response. We should not be adversarial, we should be allies. To me that’s the whole point. It confuses me when I see people fighting with one another over ‘problems’ when we could be supporting each other towards solutions. Even as I write this I’m afraid at what, if any, reaction there might be. What does that say? Why am I afraid of other women when I know that my intentions are good and that I want the same thing as them – to be happy and to be equal?

I’m not a great philosopher or gender theorist, but feminist ethics does appeal to me for its focus on care, interdependence and community. These are things I believe we must foster. Networks. Webs. Families if you will. I’m not going to bash on about sisterhoods and things like that – you don’t have to think of me as a sister. Think about your own sisters and think about the world you want your daughters to live in and their daughters after that. Then ask if it’s worth slating someone on the internet for not being a strict enough feminist, for bowing to the wills of patriarchy etc etc. I don’t want to yell at them, OR WRITE IN CAPS LOCK or reference the pure hunners of books I’ve read on the subject. I want to briefly outline my views, appreciate that they have a right to theirs (because that’s what this is all about, isn’t it – rights?) rather than attack them. Focus on what it is you agree on – the things that unite you, rather than divide you. 

For example, some people think transgendered people don’t have a right to be feminists – I disagree. I think anyone who has fought their whole lives to be female deserves to fight for women’s rights. I know lots of people don’t share that opinion – but I’m willing to bet they share my approach to domestic violence, rape, the glass ceiling and many other feminist view points. Arguing brutally in online tirades about Taylor Swift disassociating with the word feminist I would imagine does as much to make young girls disassociate from the word feminist as Taylor’s PR team puppetry whispering in her ear. I know if I was a young, impressionable Taylor Swift fan (and let’s face it, she seems like an impressionable kitten herself) I would wonder ‘Who are all these yelly people on the internet? Why are they Taylor haters? Feminists must be Taylor haters, no wonder she doesn’t want to be one.’

Again, these are my humble and hesitantly delivered opinions. I would now loved to have posted the final scene of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which she tells us we’re all slayers, but there are so many shitty poorly edited fandom videos I couldn’t be bothered raking through it. It has consoled me that there actually are people geekier than me out there though, with more time on their hands. yussssss.