As is often the case with misogynists and anti-feminists, the trans horde that took advantage of the “inclusivity” (read: a transwoman helped organize the march, and woe be unto anyone who crosses men who demand access to woman-only space in general) of NYC Dyke March — and others who weren’t even there — don’t seem to have read a word of anything Sheila Jeffreys has actually written. If they had read her, how could it have rationally been said that Jeffreys — a pro-female, pro-lesbian writer — and her work had no place at a lesbian-centered event?
Or, perhaps they read a couple of words, saw something they didn’t like, and threw away the rest? “The rest” being Sheila Jeffreys’s entire life’s work of pro-female, pro-lesbian, PIV-critical radical feminist analysis which spans decades and examines women’s lives from pre-WWI — a body of work from which modern women can draw many parallels, recognize obvious patterns in how women are oppressed by men over time, and call age-old bullshit when we see it, because we are never, ever allowed to see it. Women’s history is routinely erased, and this is a deliberate political strategy to keep women as ignorant of patriarchal context and as oppressed — and as complicit in our own oppression — as possible.
For women around the world who are harmed and controlled via heteronormativity and subjected to female-specific reproductive harm via mandatory PIV — and that’s all of us — radical feminist PIV-critical analysis is crucial to our understanding of our oppression. Having unfettered access to the pro-female, pro-lesbian, and anti-heteronormative work of our foremothers is critical to our ability to take the work further. And the trans horde doesn’t want women to see it, or to read it, or to know about it. This is deliberate, and serves male interests well. It only serves men, to erase PIV-critical work. In fact, we might even ask ourselves, If supporting and educating women about Sheila Jeffreys’s work at a lesbian-centered event is inappropriate, where would it be appropriate? And the answer, of course, is that it’s not appropriate anywhere.
For those of us interested in honest, open discussion of women’s plight, and in analyses of our oppression and the sources of male power, this leaves us with no forum in which to do this. Again, this is deliberate. It looks as if women simply have to be willing to be inappropriate, but this is not as easy as it sounds, when patriarchal mores and informal social conventions that serve male interests are backed up with credible threats and acts of male violence.
For those who haven’t read her, or whose knowledge of Sheila Jeffreys’s work is only second, third (or more) hand, without further ado, below are excerpts from her book “The Spinster and her Enemies.” Commentary mine.
We see in “Spinster” that women who eschewed sexual relationships with men, even if they weren’t lesbians, were labelled as sexually frustrated man-haters, even though it was actually a hard-won option and was made possible by women’s increasing economic opportunities that made mandatory heterosexual partnerships increasingly unnecessary. Which was obviously a good thing for any woman who found PIV problematic:
And I bet they were all ugly and fat too! Because those characteristics also render anything a feminist has to say patently false. So we are now on the road to separating spinsters from “normal” women. We also saw a deliberate campaign at the time to encourage “good” women to be “enthusiastic” about their participation in PIV with men…gee, where have we heard that before? And not only were spinsters not having PIV, they were further marginalized from “real women” who not only put up with it, like they had in the past, but also began to “like it.” Or you know, to pretend they did:
Radfems is bitter and don’t like sex! Check. Real women let their men the world know how much they LOOOOVE PIV. And this “sex positive” business is about as fresh and new as…well, pre-World War 1.
So what is this all about, really? And why did “PIV-positivism” and its attendant celibate-bashing and lesbian-inferring pop up at the precise moment it did? Could it possibly be because…some women were about to legitimately cast off PIV (and therefore men) for good? Looks like it:
And from here of course, it was but a hop, skip and a jump to the creation of “lesbian” as a deviant sexual category. Yes, apparently, that was the beginning of the end of PIV-critical feminism, and it was instigated by male sexologists, and just at the right time, too. Issues of morality, sexual expression and orientation splintered feminists into basically 2 camps (care to name them?), and dealt the death blow to any real, earth-shattering feminist work, erasing anything PIV-critical, literally, from history (even the history of feminism):
New categories, based on sexual contact. At exactly the same time that feminists were dissecting PIV, finding it problematic, and becoming socially and financially able to do without it, for probably the first time in history. Now why would that be?
What a coincidence. And this sex-positive “sexology” was (and is) also lesbophobic and regressive — not at all the “progressive” discourse we have been, and are being, led to believe by those who subscribe to it.
And it’s exactly as fresh as…this lace tea gown, which I found here, circa 1890-1892. It could’ve been worn by the first sex-positive feminists! Now that’s good history.
A version of this post was previously published at femonade.