Women bagging women is nothing new, but last week there was something of a spike in the pastime that left me wondering why we need patriarchy to do it for us.
I’m not referring to disagreement or critique, I’m talking about spite, judgement, contempt, and downright bitchiness that does nothing to progress civilisation, of the kind that feeds an exclusionary dynamic and precious little else.
First I came across this piece of anti bisexual woman contempt in the HuffPost Gay Voices blog, from radical feminist lesbian writer Julie Bindel. Ms Bindel is railing against allegedly hedonistic bisexual women “tourists” who “sleep with women on the weekends and go back to hubby on Monday mornings.” They have no sexual politics, she claims, and are exploiting full-time lesbians who have a political as well as sexual commitment to same-sex relationships.
I guess dedicated lesbians are capable of refusing to sex to touristing bisexual air heads lacking a sexual politics. I mean, nobody’s forcing them to put out for a woman who also engages with a penis are they?
Ms Bindel concludes: “If bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics they would stop sleeping with men.” One could equally argue that perhaps if lesbians had an ounce of sexual politics they’d stop sleeping with bisexual women?
Then I read Elizabeth Farrelly’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald titled “The New Feminism: if it’s girly it’s good.” “Here’s the truth. I’m not a misogynist” Farrelly begins, perhaps not the best first line I’ve ever read. She then gets stuck into women who refuse to leave what she calls “the sewing circle” to take on the wider world of real things. “Most of what passes for feminism these days… just legitimises girliness” she writes. I can see where Farrelly is coming from on this: I’ve moaned more than once about how feminism seems to be about body hair and lipstick these days. At the same time, I see nothing at all wrong with a bit of girliness: it is possible to have a reputable sexual politics and talk to other women about clothes and lipstick and occasionally have a good giggle over cocktails as well. This insistence on categorising is so, well, patriarchal. Real women break out of boxes, in my opinion.
However Farrelly goes further. She dislikes, she says, “boring” women authors like Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson, preferring instead “writing with a higher IQ and lower pH than most women can manage…”
Ouch. That’s misogynist.
“It is clear,” Farrelly claims, “that to criticise women, or worse, poke fun is considered misogynist.”
Well, sometimes it is misogynist and sometimes it isn’t. Every time someone criticises Julia Gillard somebody else claims it’s misogyny,and while there’s certainly plenty of examples of that, there’s also legitimate criticism that has nothing to do with gender.
Then there’s Lara Bingle. About whom I know practically nothing more than the vitriol I’ve seen directed at her because of her TV reality show, “Being Lara Bingle.” I was initially confused by this title, wondering if it referenced the movie, “Being John Malkovich,” in which a miserable puppeteer stumbles across a portal into the star’s mind and charges people $200 a pop to spend fifteen minutes seeing the world as he does. Great and absorbing complications ensue, of the kind I simply could not imagine in a TV reality show about a young woman who seems to have done little other than perform in a failed tourism promotion and have a public fight with a famous cricketer who then dumped her.
For reasons I cannot fathom, Ms Bingle’s foray into reality TV has provoked quite vile criticism from many quarters, overwhelmingly from women. This caused me to ponder on the way women treat women, especially when the woman in question is young, and has the kind of beauty that is currently favoured in the mainstream. I mean, don’t watch it girls, if it hits your spite buttons. Ms Bingle is merely trying to make a life for herself, and accepted an opportunity practically every girl would if it came along.
“She decided to do it, now she’ll have to pay the price” was one piece of self-satisfied Schadenfreude from an older woman who sounded as if she’d been waiting her whole life for Ms Bingle to fall flat on her face.
Ease up, girls. We have men to put shit on us.
Finally, this isn’t overtly about women bagging women but behind the scenes you’ll find much anti woman sentiment masked as concern and feminist politics. Many of you will have heard of Valerie Solanas and her Society for Cutting Up Men, otherwise known as SCUM. Solanas authored the SCUM Manifesto, a rabidly intense and sustained attack on men that states, among other things: In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples, and SCUM will kill all men who are not in the Men’s Auxiliary of SCUM.
Ms Solanas went on to attempt the assassination of artist Andy Warhol after a dispute with him about a film script.
And so to the current Australian connection with SCUM. In July 2011 the SCUM Radical Feminist Conference was held in Perth. It was advertised as being of interest to females who want to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex. Workshops, guest presenters and social activities, plus a space to celebrate and re-member the life and work of Valerie Solanas and other radical feminists.
At the top of the updated SCUM Conference program there’s an announcement of the launch of Melinda Tankard Reist’s book, Big Porn Inc.
I was utterly shocked to discover Ms Reist’s apparent affiliation with the SCUM Radical Feminist Conference. I had no idea Ms Reist was so radical in her feminism, indeed there are some leading feminists who have publicly argued that Reist is not a feminist at all. (Another example of women bagging women, I suggest and a serious one. BTW I am the blogger mentioned in this article whom Reist is still threatening to sue. See Defamation category on this blog).
Reading through the program I discovered that Ms Reist’s publisher, Spinifex Press director Susan Hawthorne, gave a paper at the conference on feminist manifestos and SCUM.
I have yet to understand how exploitation of women and girls can be prevented through violence against males. All males, that is, indiscriminately, because they are male, and as advocated by SCUM. I fail to see the logic.
I could just be thick but to my mind, having my name and my book heading the program for a Society for Cutting Up Men conference would imply I was sympathetic to their cause.
And what would Jesus say?
So in conclusion, I’ve had belly full this last week of women bagging women. Is that all we can do with our liberation, such as it is?
PS This Kravitz song will aggravate many people and is begging for a feminist deconstruction.