If women aren’t a class, there’s no such thing as radical feminism

One of the key problems with the trans rights movement is that it erases women as a class. If anyone can be a woman then how do you make a distinction between the oppressors and the oppressed? Men in dresses are already being counted as women in crime statistics. If females have nothing in common, then there’s no class oppression, no need for feminism and we can all pack up our bags and go home.

Just in case anyone’s still in any doubt about the trans movement being anything other than a men’s rights movement.

The oppressed group needs to identify with each other, as a class in order to articulate their commonalities, so they can mobilize against the oppressors. This is why  the statement “the personal is political” became so important. And for all Betty Friedan’s faults, she managed to get some groups of women to understand that their unhappiness existed, not because they were chemically imbalanced–but because housewifery and domesticity were not conducive to mental health, and that all  women in fact hated what they believed was their normal role in life. This is the coming of consciousness we understand as feminism. Commonality of experience as women.

In the second chapter of Sexual Politics, Kate Millett outlined in painstaking detail precisely how and why women constitute a political and economic class. Mary Daly said it would be more appropriate to call women a “caste” rather than a class. Either definition is perfectly fine. Dworkin used poetic language to help us understand: every woman is one man away from welfare. She means that women who escape heterosexuality don’t escape their male bosses or work colleagues, so there is very little room for maneuver.

And what I want to do with this post is address the purpose of excluding mothers of sons from radical feminism. I want to understand whether or not this is helpful to women.

And what I have concluded is that when you make statements such as “you can’t be a real radfem if you have a boy” right through to saying mother should hurt their boys, then you have to understand that you will automatically exclude mothers of boys from the conversation.

If a large group of women, who understand what patriarchy is, and who want it gone– are excluded from the conversation, then radical feminism is no longer talking about women as a class.  It’s talking about something else. It’s talking about small select groups of women who might one day make it to freedom, leaving the rest behind.

“No woman left behind” was what was said during the second wave.

This might be a  frustrating sentiment because it’s unrealistic– but it’s the only analysis that regards women as a class, and therefore the only analysis that is cogent in radical feminism. If you are a feminist and want to do something else, for example, if you want to organize in smaller groups and strategize for your own freedom in any way you can– fine. But know that if it’s not a class analysis, then it’s simply not radical feminism.

I am all for separatism. I  believe the only way women will ever be free from men is by practicing separatism and teaching this possibility to their daughters. Starving patriarchy of our energy.

There is an argument to be had, of course, about the merits and demerits of raising male children. A Radical feminist consciousness might encourage a woman to stop having the children she had planned to have. I myself planned to have 4 and started young so I could achieve this. Once I understood the jist of radical feminism, I concluded I shouldn’t have any more.

There’s also an argument to be had about whether or not women are able to understand their oppression, if they have boy children. I would argue that the very act of becoming a mother brings you smack bang up against patriarchy and radicalizes many women– no matter the sex of their child. It all begins with seeing that first of all you might actually die before, during or after childbirth… right through to the drastically different ways you are treated by society compared to the baby’s father. How little he has to compromise, compared to how much you have to give up, and so on. A woman is not defined by her child, nor is she an extension of it. Her thoughts are her own.

And female only spaces, of course must be protected. I don’t at all advocate that mothers insist they bring their young sons to female-only meetings and so on.

But if we believe in radical feminist analysis then we have to admit that mothers of sons are members of the class we want to see freed.

Men are under no illusions about who is a member of their class– and who isn’t.

And on a final note, will you actually feel  free, knowing that somewhere down the mountain there are other women still being raped into motherhood, because they’ve got nowhere else to go, and nowhere to live? I suspect not.


10 thoughts on “If women aren’t a class, there’s no such thing as radical feminism

  1. The “I am Spartacus” thread on mumsnet was the result of women, who frequented mumsnet wanting advice on stuff like “how to recover from childbirth” found they were randomly being told they had to call trannys “she”. They were incredulous. It’s a fun read.


    OscarDeLaYenta Thu 25-Aug-16 19:17:39
    I am Oscar,
    Men cannot become women, ever. Women cannot become men, ever.

    Anna Lee is a man. And I shall refer to him as he.
    Ada Wells is a man. And I shall refer to him as he.
    Paris Lees is a man. And I shall refer to him as he.
    Alex Drummond is a man. And I shall refer to him as he.
    Danielle Muscato is a man. And I shall refer to him as he.
    Buck Angel is a woman. And I shall refer to her as she.

  2. “And what I have concluded is that when you make statements such as “you can’t be a real radfem if you have a boy” right through to saying mother should hurt their boys, then you have to understand that you will automatically exclude mothers of boys from the conversation.”

    With all due respect, CBL, you are not answering the very real arguments some radical feminists have about making males.

    I respect you, and I respect your work, and I especially find you coming “out” on video her-oic, bravo!, but the biological problem of males is a legitimate question. Saying this question automatically excludes mothers of sons sounds like mothers of sons automatically throw their loyalty to their sons. You probably don’t mean that. Maybe you can find a moment to explain?

    • Is it better to be ideologically pure and have no mothers of boys in radical feminism– or is it better to really begin decreasing the number of boys born? Because the only way that’s going to happen realistically is by educating would-be mothers so that they stop having more children. That’s what I did. Just stopped after I understood the implications. And other women can stop too. But not if they’re being turned away at the door because ideologically speaking they’re tainted and are raising the oppressor and some vocal women are using this as an excuse for horizontal hostility, to vent their mommy-hate and internalized misogyny.

      Just like you argued that women being chemically altered by sperm is no excuse to stay in heterosexual relationships, understanding patriarchy doesn’t give anyone a free pass to just be mean to mothers. But some think it does.

      Most women already have a son by the time they get to radical feminism. But sometimes the door is shut in their face with this horizontal hostility. The most annoying hurdle I faced was the idea that I was stupid, because I was a mother. Nobody knew I was blonde and was totally used to being treated like that in real life anyway, so it didn’t bother me much. But it bothers other women and they’re leaving feminism because of it.

      How do you propose to do anything without getting mothers and would-be mothers on board in radical feminism? It takes education.

      Just having separatist women talk to each other about this issue isn’t going to decrease the male population. Separatism works until a point– the point where men decide they’re going to steal the land women have managed to accumulate. A second witch craze can happen.

      Telling mothers to hurt their boys = unreliable strategy. They’ll never do it. Although they’ve done it in certain cultures they’re not going to do it in western patriarchy. Not going to happen.
      What will happen is these women will leave feminism.
      So the idea of mothers hurting boys excludes mothers from the conversation because they’re simply going to put their fingers in their ears.

      And we can get mothers to teach their daughters as well. Just the other day I had a conversation in a mothers group about how to teach our girls about radical feminism without having them grow up to hate us. It’s a real fear— that our girls will hate us for showing them how it works. They’re going to be oddballs. They will of course reject marriage. But will they thank us for it? I don’t know.
      Like the Chinese women who bound their daughters’ feet. They said they did it because they didn’t want their daughters to despise them because they were weak, and for destroying their chances of marriage. Teaching daughters about patriarchy is hell on earth. It’s so much easier not to bother.
      One of the mothers said her daughter has already decided not to ever have children. This is the real and practical work mothers are doing on the ground. Not in any ideological or theoretical sense– but at the grassroots.

      I agree that the mother-malechild bond is the first heterosexual relationship. But although the bond is very intense when the child is a baby, it does loosen with time. The bond is there to make sure the kid survives childhood and is, of course, very primal. But it dissipates. So when it comes to teenage children lots of mothers want them out of the house and gone. Nobody talks about this in radical feminism. Everyone acts as though the mother-baby bond is static. It’s not. First what happens is you know the time has come to stop breastfeeding because it’s no longer pleasant, then you kick them out of the family bed (in Japan kids sleep with their parents until about age 11) and then finally you kick them out of the house.It’s interesting to speak to Asian women about this. They’re very vocal about not wanting big teenage boy bodies in their kitchen. Let’s talk more about this– about mothers moving on once the child is able to fend for itself. (True, the adult male might not move on, but that’s a separate issue)

      Many mothers are able to side with women over their own adult male children. This is why radical feminists must be welcoming to mothers of sons.

      So what I’m saying is, for anyone who is actually interested in reducing the male population, hating on mothers or telling them to hurt their boys, or that they can’t be a twue radfem and blah blah are crap strategies.

    • I’m mainly looking at general population reduction, of course, not the male:female ratio. A general reduction of males on the planet. But this doesn’t really work, I know because Japan, which has the lowest fertility rate in the world, with a lot of spinsters, is still very patriarchal. Russia is a country where men die young (average life expectancy is below 60) so there are a lot of independent older women. Russians usually only have just 1 child, but again it hasn’t really touched patriarchal power within the country, as far as I can see.
      But it definitely gives women more spaces and freedom to live a more pleasant life.

      So unless you can convince women to have sex selective abortions (unlikely) then other strategies are going to have to be looked at. And as far as I can see, mothers’ responsibility ends there. Otherwise it’s the same as women telling separatists it’s THEIR responsibility to lower male population, because they have more energy and freedom. As in why is the onus on us?

  3. Agree that women must be educated to stop making males. You make some excellent points. Ultimately, this is what all women must face: Males are a biological problem. – A biological problem which manifests as a social problem, a social problem we call patriarchy. As long as females allow their Power of Generation to be used against them to make males, we will have patriarchy. As long as females continue to make males in their current biological form, we will have patriarchy. Endless socio-analysis of patriarchy will not affect patriarchy – not in any way that counts. Until females recognize that they are the rightful Administrators of their Species, and either select to make males much smaller, less aggressive, with low testosterone, make far fewer, or best of all, and even do-able, make no males at all – developing the reproductive knowledge and technologies available to us today, we will always have patriarchy. As long as females continue to make males in their current biological form, we will always have patriarchy. It’s that simple. We have not even begun to understand our power.

    Yes, mothers are chemically-bonded to their sons (oxytocin some serious shit), and this explains in part why mothers seem closed-door on this topic. The segment of radical feminists who attack mothers surely put mothers on the defense, and do not help foster discussion. In the second wave, many mothers of sons did give up their sons. (I went on a date once with Sonia Johnson’s daughter, who told me how her mother told all the kids one day they were on their own). This segment of radical feminists would like to see the same thing happen today — they would like to see mothers refuse to put any more energy into males. But this is not even open for discussion. Surely you can see why the accusatory branch of radical feminism is irritated? I also understand that a lot of radfem mothers of sons have young sons; that they have not yet experienced the horrifying transformation into what men are, aka teenage boys. But they will…

    Despite being attacked by both the mother and the anti-mother contingents, because I look at biology, preferring this reality to being an ideolouge, I believe in solidarity among women. Our failure to bond with each other is the other reason we have lost this war for control of our own genome.

    We can actually only get out of this system we are stuck in through motherhood, — but nothing like motherhood as we currently understand it. — Unfortunately, separatism is biologically meaningless. Unfortunately, separatism is only an ass-saving strategy good for one life-span. And this saddens me deeply, because I am a separatist. The main reason separatism is biologically meaningless, of course, is because so many women continue to make males. Quite honestly, CBL, I think that because of this, we will always have patriarchy. And so separatism, under these power-failure conditions, ends up being quite rational. Separatism would only be biologically meaningful if we reinstituted parthenogenesis. And if parthenogenesis turned out to be the better survival strategy. Women are too afraid to go there, though, CBL, even though the knowledge is now available to anyone with Google Scholar access. We do not have the courage we need to get rid of the biological problem of males.

    PS, Women are chemically-altered by semen (you said sperm). Semen is the 100+ chemicals in male ejaculate, 95% -99% of dudegoo. Sperm is the chromosome packet — the X or y chromosome — and constitutes only 1%-5% of that gross shit they shoot women with.

    • Hi Trust,

      You talk about courage. If you look at my latest post, you can see that in western Europe and around the world it has always been the MIDWIVES who have had the courage to try to change the male:female ratio. They’ve been the ones across time and place who have actually took patriarchy on. Papua New Guinea is a more recent example of what midwives have done, and what those in western europe were doing before they were all killed in a frenzy because men realized what they were up to. And THAT’s why we should respect, if not mothers (although all midwives are mothers; women don’t trust women who haven’t given birth to help them) then midwives– who absolutely deserve our respect for trying historically.

      Just like we should respect separatists for not complying, before it was too late– although remember if separatists reach critical mass, men will just come after them, looking for more women. What the midwives were doing was actually making a dent on patriarchy. But the retaliation from men was so heinous, that maybe they shouldn’t have bothered. But for me, I’m glad we have a herstory proving that women didn’t just take it or hide.

      Separatism makes perfect sense to me in that it starves patriarchy of women’s energy and bodies. But if the seps are serious about patriarchy, they need to see that, yes, their actions are a 1 generation solution. There’s nothing wrong with saving yourself, not at all. I just sit writing behind my PC so I ain’t judging. But it’s not feminist, in the sense that it has anything to do with ending patriarchy. And if it’s impossible anyway for patriarchy to end, then separatists are absolutely doing the right thing.

      Sheila Jeffreys wrote Spinsters, to show there was once a time when there were lots of single women in society, and in the past far more women were independent than we see today. There still are lots of spinsters in many parts of the world, including Japan and Italy. Both Italian and Japanese women eschew motherhood to concentrate on their work and these countries have the lowest fertility rates in the world. However, as you say yourself, having fewer women reproduce doesn’t put a single dent on patriarchy. It helps those individual women live freer lives, yes, but it doesn’t stop the U.S bombing Yemen.
      That’s because it’s the RATIO of males:females that needs to change. Not the absolute amount of humans. A general reduction in population is useless ,because as we see with white males in the west, they just widen their net, consume more and rape more.

      I do think my point about the oxytocin bond between mother and child not being permanent should be acknowledged by the separatists who claim that women are forever bound to their sons. It is a transient bond. A continuum. You are deeply bound at the child’s birth then as it nurses, but with time the bond fades. You need the oxytocin so you don’t kill the child. The feel good hormones are necessary for the child’s survival. They are released during natural childbirth (not medicalized childbirth) and breastfeeding. But physiologically you grow apart as the child ages, making it easy for mothers to choose women over their teenage and adult sons.

    • the assumption by some separatists that women who are mothers aren’t open to discuss this issue simply wrong.

      Mothers are not open to discussing harming their own child boys.

      Many mothers kill their daughters’ rapists, and are therefore arguably doing more for women than your average separatist.

      Also, you met Sonia Johnson’s daughter 🙂 wow

    • If women choose smaller men, then the women will be smaller too.

      Better to choose men who come from groups with less violent historical backgrounds. Some groups of people are more peaceful than others. Unfortunately, those groups have mostly been killed in genocide. White men need to go. Interestingly, white women of low socio economic status in England tend to have babies with non-white men, because they think the babies are cute. Without the status and trappings attached to white men, they would not be women’s first choice at all.

      Women take a huge risk in terms of evolution if they mate with men from gentler groups. Their children are the ones most likely to be killed in genocide.
      Well that would have been the case traditionally. Nowadays patriarchy has turned in on itself and men are so fucked in the head they’re more likely to kill their own children than anyone else’s. In fact the biggest danger to children is their father. So going for men whose ancestors haven’t carried out any obvious genocides is a step in the right direction.
      But the radfem analysis posits that we are all here today because women have been conquered. Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is worse for some women than others, and certain groups of women suffered more gynocide . I agree with Federici that the witch-craze in Europe displayed a misogyny unparalleled in history.

    • I also know how it feels to be completely rejected from all angles. I broke from the feminist mothers I knew on mumsnet and got more and more radical until I bumped into the separatists and radical lesbians, wherein I hit a brick wall and my opinions were unceremoniously dumped. There was, of course, no going back. But the mums I met in the Feminism in London conference are kind of waiting in the wings for me to see sense and go back to a more moderate feminism that doesn’t involve discussing what the midwives did during the witch-craze. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. What a disappointment.

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