An Open Letter to “Truly” Radical Feminists

In the interest of Resolution, I’d like to hear from those of you who consider yourselves to be True Radical Feminists on just what exactly constitutes a True Radical Feminist.

Thank you!


30 thoughts on “An Open Letter to “Truly” Radical Feminists

  1. I’ll start the ball rolling, although I personally wouldn‘t consider myself to be “truly“ anything but me, por que es cierto que yo estoy un *trabajo en progreso* como las todos mujeres, verdad?

    True Radical Feminists understand, in a morally intelligent way, that all girls and women worldwide have been subject to male rule in every way, shape, and form for long enough that our female re-membering is in danger of being subsumed entirely.

  2. S4, you put it so beautifully and succinctly.

    Works for me. That was the lightning-strike that hit me in 1971.

  3. My 2 centavos,

    To truly understanding the challenges ALL women endure. Matters not if you are a lesbian, an unleaded lesbian, or straight.

    Guiding our younger and late-bloomin’ sisters without judgement through their lifes journey sharing our experiences, opening our hearts, our homes.

  4. I don’t like the open format!
    So what you said Sar was close enough for me.

    Although will mention that a big part of being a radfem is analysing the systems of oppressions, not taking anything as ‘natural’ without questioning it. An all encompassing way of thinking I guess.

  5. what does “morally intelligent” mean in this context?

    i like what you have so far. it gives the whole thing a sense of urgency doesnt it?

  6. It’s early. I’m still tryna cogitate. I like what you’ve said, and I would include the notion that there’s nothing “natural” about the patriarchal world order, and that there’s hope for a different state of affairs.

  7. Hi FCM 🙂

    Of course I borrow from Dworkin with “moral intelligence” and I guess to me it means *the ability to consciously empathize*; it’s like a muscle that can be toned or strengthened or it can be left to atrophy. In the case of males I firmly believe that their MI has become vestigial if they ever had the capacity for it in the first place.

    Females, on the other hand, seem to retain the general capability and our MI is toned/strengthened on a daily basis and to varying degrees due to our imprisonment in the Caring Sector. Unfortunately we have been blinkered into focusing our *workout* on males for so long that we’ve forgotten how to exchange that energy with other women.

    And that is why males are such a lethal drain on our… souls, really: they take our caring, chew it up, swallow it and shit it out as waste. With females it can create a free-flowing circuit wherein positive, life-giving energy is the result. Spinning.

    Yikes! I could go on and on and maybe I should?

    And to my other loyal commenters (all three of you, bless your hearts!), I thank you for your input as always!

  8. S4, I wish every woman on the planet could read what you have written above.

    Keep knitting! 😛

  9. I’m with you.

    True Radical Feminists understand, in a morally intelligent way, that all girls and women worldwide have been subject to male rule in every way, shape, and form for long enough that our female re-membering is in danger of being subsumed entirely.

    It’s well phrased for understanding the “broad feminist tradition” (I stole this from a book that uses the phrase “broad anarchist tradition”) which is about having the instincts and the MI (maybe this is also a bit of a synonym for “consciousness”?) and less so about getting caught up in the labels (sure, Katie Roiphe and Camille Paglia can call themselves whatever they want but do they fit into the BFT in any meaningful way? No? Then there’s your answer).

    So I guess I would add asking myself, “Does this person and/or their analysis fit into the BFT?” to what you’ve stated so well.

    OR! There’s also going real pared down and asking Dworkin’s, “Is this good for women?” to distinguish whose work is feminist from whose isn’t. When you can answer affirmatively, there you go! But then you’d need the feminist consciousness and MI to know how to answer that, wouldn’t you? Politics is hard.

    In any case, you said a good thing and I like it. 🙂

  10. Speaking of Camille Paglia….

    Think she’s on crack?
    She is such a friend to feminists, let’s not forget this brilliant quote.

    “There are no female Mozarts.”

    Sea or other rad-fem blogger would have clown-pants of material to do posts on this lady.

  11. yes but in *this* context, what do you mean when you use “moral intelligence”? like not blaming women for our own erasure?

  12. Oh! Right, FCM. That and more.

    But you’re going to have to give me a day or two to elaborate as I’ve *business logistics* on my plate at the moment and I want to be as clear (resolution!) as I possibly can be.

    Actually, I’ll make it a post and it will be Resolutionary in its Brilliance!

    Or something…

  13. And, dammit, I meant to reply to you Crafty to say I’m digging the *BFT* thing in the sense that our future kind of depends on a broad base.

    So thank you for adding that 🙂

  14. Well I don’t know if I’m a True Radical Feminist ™ or not, but I am happy that you have a blog and that you are talking smart on it.

  15. Great question, lovely answers.

    Seconding (or third-ing or fourth-ing) this: True Radical Feminists understand, in a morally intelligent way, that all girls and women worldwide have been subject to male rule in every way, shape, and form for long enough that our female re-membering is in danger of being subsumed entirely. Beautifully said.

    And yes to BFT and is this good for women?

    And adding that radical feminism (as opposed to run-of-the-mill feminism, which merely recognizes the patriarchy), is very clear that every system and institution we know of is intertwined/enmeshed/tangled up in patriarchal norms and controls and there is no way we’re going to get rid of the patriarchy by spending more of our time (or finding a better method of) untangling a few of those knots.

  16. Well, I’m still cracking the radical feminist books, but I’ve thought a lot about this post. I’d have to say – putting women first.

    The mainstream feminists aren’t radical because they’re still putting men first. They’re putting the feelings, ambitions, and sexual proclivities of men ahead of analyzing the oppression we experience because we are born female.

  17. I think that radical feminism is very complex. This is a framework for radical feminism that put in a paper I presented some time back:

    Three principles of radical feminism:

    1. The institution of patriarchy, both historically and its contemporary manifestations, systematically employs violence and discrimination as an aggressive tool of oppression;
    2. Rape, battering, incest, prostitution, pornography, and forced heterosexuality are forms of sexual violence against women, children, and GLBTQA persons; the characteristic of a patriarchal society is that these forms of violence are widely practiced and not vigorously challenged by institutions.
    3. All forms of supremacy, including misogyny, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism and homophobia, and every other interconnected oppression, must be opposed.

    This is not at all perfect. For example, radical feminists differ on what would be an “interconnected oppression.” Vegan radical feminists like me would include animal rights in our politics. Other radical feminists may see that is external to radical feminism.

    I think now I may even take “vigorously” out of number 2….

    I agree with Sargasso Sea that we are a “work in progress.” Radical feminism needs some specific politics to define itself, but it also needs to be fluid.

  18. Hi wohom, thanks for stopping by.

    You know, I’ve been around the old “intersections” block a couple of times and I’ve not yet run into the A in the alphabet soup. I am assuming that it has something to do with Animal rights since you say you are a vegan?

  19. Yes, A = asexual.

    I don’t think that asexuals were conscripted. At least a few have spoken out about their absence in the dialogue and the problem of assuming that everyone experiences sexual desire (and if they don’t, that they are considered not “normal.”)

  20. “Conscripted”? What an interesting choice of words. It’s like having a flashback to the days when people used to say that “gays” were “recruiting” young people. There were even jokes (told by “gays” of course) about handing out toasters as incentives!

    Seriously though, I should hope that the A-sexual people spoke up for themselves and weren’t just spirited away like the tiny minority of truly inter-sexed people were by the trans*. Although I think that would actually fall under the umbrella of “colonization” and not “conscription”.

    (wohom: I’ve been having some suspicious folks hanging around here lately so I am in a particularly bad mood. Also, just FYI, your blog does funny things when I try to look at it.)

  21. Truly, the “days when people use to say” that gays are recruiting people is today. For example, it’s a big part dialogue of the abstinence-only leadership, which is also frightening anti-gay.

  22. Well, yes, the conservative crowd have always been the big Recruitment! shouters.

    And I’ve always thought it too bad that their abstinence riff is based in *purity* as a commodity because frankly it’s not all that bad a bit of advice for FEMALES anyway…

    (ps – sorry about your being stuck in my spam)

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