Friday, June 22, 2012

Engaging with Radical Feminism, Part 3: Trans Politics

Recently, Conway Hall in London decided not to allow RadFem 2012 to take place on their premises, because "it [did] not conform to [their] Terms and Conditions for hiring rooms at Conway Hall. In addition, [they were] not satisfied it [conformed] with the Equality Act (2010), or [reflected their] ethos regarding issues of discrimination." I don't think this is a black and white issue: on the one hand, the radfem position on transgender issues is downright hateful; on the other hand, the thought of preventing a group of women from gathering in response to their oppression - and obviously I don't mean their oppression by trans women1 - is extremely problematic. This would be less of an issue if we were talking about a group of white, predominantly male individuals gathering to spill xenophobic drivel, for no reason other than their hate of difference. But here we have a group of women who have obviously been wounded by the status quo, and whose efforts represent not only a political platform, but also an attempt to build a space where they can feel safe. The keyword here is "feel", not "be" safe, at least when it comes to transgender people, since they are no real threat.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Engaging with Radical Feminism, Part 2: Sex-Positivity

As mentioned in the first part of this series, here I will examine the radfem views on sex-positivity. More specifically, I will look into PIV, porn and prostitution and the way radfems misinterpret the support those practices garner in feminist circles. As I have said before, this is the main point of contention between radfems and so-called funfems. I have tried my best to represent their arguments fairly; and I have only attributed them to radfems as a group when the idea seemed to be relatively uncontroversial among them. Still, keep it in mind that I am prone to error and open to corrections.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Engaging with Radical Feminism, Part 1: Introduction

For the past few months, I have been following an online community of radical feminists who gather at the Radfem Hub. They refer to themselves as radfems, and they are known to be anti-prostitution, anti-porn, anti-PIV (Penis in Vagina in radfem lingo) and anti-trans. They have also coined the term funfem as a counterpart to radfem. The objective referent to funfem is a liberal feminist who emphasizes choice and advocates sex-positivity; but the term implies a vacuous, compliant lackey to patriarchal interests. The Radfem Hub doesn't allow comments by "male-born or male-identified" people, so I have respected their wishes and refrained from interacting with them. No matter what I think of this kind of policy, it's their choice. I won't interfere. Instead, I began to take notes whenever I had the urge to hit the reply button. This series of three posts is the result of that. Here I will introduce my own allegiances and describe how I became a feminist; and in doing so, I will try to explain why I still feel compelled to come back to read their thoughts. The second part will cover sex-positivity and how radfems misrepresent it. The third will focus on trans-politics.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Age of Adz: 2011 European Tour

About two months ago, I saw Sufjan Stevens for the first time. This is going to be a difficult post to write, because it won't be about just one thing. I don't think I can fit everything I want to say in a neat narrative or argument that has a beginning, progresses to a middle and finally reaches an ending. I want to talk about my relationship with Sufjan's music, more specifically the songs in The Age of Adz, as well as the live rendition of those songs; and I want to do that in a way that chronicles the experience of attending four shows on his 2011 European tour: first in Gateshead and Manchester, UK, then in Porto and Lisbon, Portugal. So this is going to be a look into Sufjan's music, but also an exercise in personal memory keeping.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Video Games: 1988 to 2001

I'm not much of a gamer anymore. The last console I owned was a Nintendo 64, and it's been nine years since I last bought a high-end PC. But video games were the one piece of pop culture that really marked my childhood--more than books, more than movies and television, more than anything. They remained a central part of my life all the way up to my late teens. So it seems fitting to write a tribute to all those games that made an impact on me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Music: Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens

Last night I was listening to Sufjan Steven's Seven Swans for the first time in quite a long time, and I felt like expressing why I love it so much. Of course, to explain what this album means to me, I have to talk a little about my own life. So the enormous text I'm about to write isn't meant to be read as a review. It's more of a personal account of my relationship with the music; that is, i'm just going to ramble away.