ahunter3 (ahunter3) wrote,

Outsider Radical Feminist

I rewatched I Am Not an Easy Man just the other day. It's a gender-inversion movie that uses the "shoe on the other foot" to make salient points about gendered roles and expectations and assumptions, and does it very cleverly and with a lot of granular nuance.

It ends with main characters Damien and Alexandra trying to call out and reach out to each other from opposite sides of a passing parade of marching feminists.

Nothing in this movie was done by accident. There truly are complexities that get erased in order to put slogans on banners or shout them out as chants, and for this movie to end with that scene is to pin that fact as filmmaker Eléonore Pourriat's last word to us.

Patriarchy creates toxically masculinized boys out of males in the same coercive manner that it replicates the rest of its structures, and until a significant portion of male people and the primary core of radical feminists realize how destructive this is to the males, and quit treating patriarchy as male people expressing themselves freely to a self-satisfied and oppressive conclusion, nothing's going to change.

Feminism is of course concerned with women's status and the liberation of women, and should be. There are some who would say I, as a male person, should not identify as a radical feminist. There are some who would say that transgender women, having originallly been designated and treated as male, should be excluded at least in some circumstances from feminism, for similar reasons. I don't identify as a man, but I'm perhaps more willing to recognize the nuances and complexities than many of my transgender allies and colleagues. (Some of them fault me for that and consider me to be a poor ally for that very reason).

In my second book, That Guy in our Women's Studies Class, I refer to myself at one point as "a nomenclaturally problematic participant in the social struggle against patriarchy that is known as ‘feminism’ ". Whether you call me "radical feminist" or not, I'm engaged in the struggle as I see it, and I see it as clearly as I do in large part because of the illumination of radical feminist theory.

The most visionary and idealistic radical feminist theory says men are not radical feminists' enemy.

Blame has no part in the agenda of the women's movement...Though men regard and treat us as their deadliest enemy, men are not our enemy. Feminism, as the biophilic philosophy and world view that it is, has no place for the concept of "enemy"

-- Sonia Johnson

The same is of course true of transgender women (and transgender men). I don't identify as a man. I don't identify as a transgender person either, to be precise -- I prefer "genderqueer" -- but in any binary split of the world into transgender and cisgender where everyone is assigned to one or the other, I'm trans, not cis, by the definitions in current use.

Some of you may be thinking of me as male, others as a transgender person, but in neither case am I an enemy of radical feminism. But I'm an outsider, a marginally located person because my vantage point is different than that of typical radical feminist women. My feet are in a different place; my situation is different, my experience likewise, and I will see some things less clearly and others more clearly, as a consequence.

If men are not the enemy and transgender folks are not the enemy, how about ideologies and philosophies? I've encountered radical feminists who have said that "transgenderism" or "gender theory" -- if not the people who adhere to it, insofar as they're just misled and confused -- is the enemy. But ideologies and philosophies don't think. They don't behave. They're actually a compendium of the concepts and ideas of individual people, that's all. I won't deny that in a world where such a large percentage of people don't do their own theorizing and instead subscribe to an established theory and join with others who have done so, one established school of thought or theoretical viewpoint can be inimical to another. But let's try to avoid having abstractions dashing around doing things while stripping individuals of responsibility for our own thoughts, shall we? People think. And although we're collectively discouraged from taking ourselves seriously, people theorize.

So if we aren't enemies, all that remains is communication. Each of us gaining from considering the view from where another person stands.


Prior blog post reviewing I Am Not an Easy Man


You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.

Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page


This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.


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