I have been trying to defend radical feminism, and its continuing relevance, especially to other trans womyn. I still consider myself a radical feminist. I can point to radical feminists who supported trans rights [early Andrea Dworkin], who support sex workers' rights [Avaren Ipsen], who don't adhere to a single-axis theory of men as the only oppressors and womyn as the only victims [Shulamith Firestone, although she identified as a socialist feminist, proposes what amounts to a one-and-a-half axis theory, where the other oppressions are secondary to sex-class oppression, but men are also victims; intersectionality theorists propose multiple-axis theories]. I can point out how many ideas within third-wave and fourth-wave feminism are either derived from second-wave radical feminism, or are reactions to second-wave radical feminism, or are reinventing the wheel from second-wave radical feminism.
One thing I like about the radical feminist milieu is that it tends to question so many things that other places take for granted. And in its way, trans feminists asking "why are you only attracted to [skinny] [white] non-trans womyn's bodies?" is in the same tradition as "why are you only attracted to dominant partners?" As long as it's raising the question that sort of thing is good, though when it gets to demanding conformity, it gets very bad.
But I feel increasingly alienated from other radical feminists, and not just from the anti-trans attitudes. I look at a lot of what they write, and sometimes I'm triggered, and sometimes I'm just thinking they're not being radical enough. I've found that my values, my goals, and my methods often put me at odds with other radical feminists, so it's important to say what my values are, what my goals are, and what my methods are. I am an anarchafeminist, and that says a lot about these things, while radical feminist says very little. [I hope to cover more of the specifics in upcoming posts.]
I should note that I do not believe that sex-and-gender based oppressions, such as hatred of Müllerian biology, hatred of femininity, hatred of androgyny, and hatred of atypical biology, are the only important oppressions. I believe that they are important, that they cannot be treated as the consequences of some other oppressions, and that they must not be allowed to persist until we have dealt with other 'more important' oppressions.
I keep looking at the same data with the same concerns [I've been sexually assaulted, too many of my friends have been sexually assaulted, and I'm not going to go into everything here] and mostly agree on the problems but still mostly disagree on the solutions. Structural/institutional analysis is supposed to be pretty important to any kind of radical feminism. It may be my anarchist background but I tend to approach this by asking who we are trying to empower, and who or what [usually institutions] we need to disarm [or keep from disempowering the group in question]. When it comes to gatekeepers' abuse of transitioners, to me, the obvious answer is to empower transitioners, and people considering transition, and detransitioners, and disempower gatekeepers. But the ortho-Radfem answer is to require "tighter screening" and "restricting the number of hospitals and centers where transsexual surgery could be performed," which would seem to empower gatekeepers.
- I am an anarchafeminist