Bordering on Misogyny

Posted by – August 26, 2006

More thoughts on the MWMF controversy: I find sometimes the anger expressed toward the exclusionary policy-makers at the MWMF bordering on misogyny. Because relatively speaking, lesbians want to keep trans women out of a camp. But when I look around at the world, and what goes on with trans women, I see really horrible things, like rape and horribly brutal murders and cops and media using phrases like “he” or even “it.” & I wonder if sometimes the level of outrage against MWMF isn’t kind of – overamped. I mean they’re just keeping trans women out of a private music festival, not firing them or denying them housing or health treatment or hormones or life.

You know? I don’t think their policy is right, but I also think there are bigger eggs to fry, and using all this energy and rage over MWMF might find people exhausted when something else comes up.

I understand that it’s much easier to be very angry and disappointed with people who should know better, and yes, I think the organizers of the MWMF should know better. But their actions, in terms of comparison, are not as hateful as some of the anger describes it as being. Discriminaton and exclusion is horrible, yes, but it’s a music festival, not the right to live and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I’m just not sure the level of anger is – well, appropriate.

But then I don’t think the level of hate and suspicion being tossed around by MWMFers toward trans women is anything like appropriate, either.

Neither of these reflections, by the way, has anything to do with what people have been saying on our message boards – they’re observations taken from other things I’ve been reading.

5 Comments on Bordering on Misogyny

  1. kiss of athena says:

    Why should it be an either this /or that response? Those who are active in this do other things in regards to improving the lives of transpeople.

    My major activities include improving the health and well-being of trans people. this michigan thing is just a small piece of my activism.

    WHy do you feel that the people involved in this, only focus on this as an issue?

    The activity isn’t just against MWMF specifically, I would also like to think that the activity targets transphobia in a general sense as well by presenting the issue of what place transwomen have in communities.

    Emilia

  2. kiss of athena says:

    Do you truly think I’m being misogynistic?

  3. helenboyd says:

    no, you’re not a misogynist, or misogynistic, emilia. please stop thinking about that.

    but you made a point that you’re entirely right aobut – in how the work on this does point up transphobia. i’m not sure about a general sense, though – i mean, not to be mean, but most people couldn’t give a rat’s ass what a bunch of womyn in michigan think about anything. not transwomen, not violence against women, not music or “safe spaces” or really – anything. i mean they’re already a disempowered group.

    & it’s not that i think people who do the MWMF work only do that, but more that i don’t know why you’d want to waste your energy/breath on it. having seen the horrible crap that some lesbian feminists say about trans women, i don’t think i could sustain that kind of regular beating to my soul. & for what? for the right to hang out with another disempowered nobody-gives-a-shit-what-they-think group? i’m just not sure what there is to win here, because i think their minds are made up, & accessing women’s groups that are more trans friendly might go a much further way in terms of winning “hearts & minds.” from what lisa vogel’s press release suggests, trans women will now be viewed by her & others simply as disrespectful interlopers.

    anyway i dont’ get it. maybe it’s just me. i have no time to ‘fight the power.’ there are a bunch of ambiguous or plain out ignorant people i have a chance to educate, so i’ll go where there’s soil, and not rock, to plant seeds.

  4. jadecath says:

    Here’s a guess – maybe it’s partially the feeling that, because the MWMF ought to know better, there might be some point to hollering about injustice. Going up against the cold, cruel world means facing people we* have no idea how to talk to. We’ve got some shared vocabulary and concepts with MWMF – “inclusion”, “liberation”, “self-actualization” – which makes it feel like resolution ought to be possible, holding us back from walking away to a more worthwhile fight.

    It’s not a practical viewpoint, I agree. It’s like the old joke about looking for your car keys under the streetlamp, instead of where you dropped them – doing what seems doable, even though it’s not what you actually need. It seems to bespeak exhaustion and despair, or at least confusion.

    (* – Caveat – since I can’t imagine myself being “qualified” for MWMF under any policy, I shouldn’t really use “we” here, and arguably shouldn’t even voice an opinion on it.)

  5. Red says:

    we really are similar. i have been thinking about this all weekend, but wasn’t sure how to articulate it yet. but yes, i absolutely see what you mean.

    i was also thinking how this applied to anger towards trans men in some dyke communities, how the level of outrage directed at trans men who say misogynist shit seems to be louder than that directed at bio-men or at other women.

    i’m freakin’ exhausted, so i can’t elaborate more, but i will at some point.

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