Radfem 2012 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking conference for females organizing for female liberation. The first three speakers have been announced and are Gail Dines, Sheila Jeffreys, and Pragna Patel. From the RadFem 2012 website:
Gail Dines is a long time radical feminist activist, and a founding member of Stop Porn Culture. She is a Professor in Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College, Boston, and her publications include Gender, Race and Class in Media (ed.) and Pornography: The production and consumption of inequality. Her most recent book, Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality, was published in 2010 by Beacon Press. Gail lectures widely on the radical feminist critique of pornography, and organises regular conferences and trainings on radical feminist anti-pornography activism.
Sheila Jeffreys is a lesbian feminist who has been an activist against violence against women and the sex industry since the early 1970s. She is Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and her many books on the history and politics of sexuality include Anticlimax: A feminist perspective on the sexual revolution, Unpacking Queer Politics and The Industrial Vagina: The political economy of the global sex trade. Her most recent book is Man’s Dominion: The rise of religion and the eclipse of women’s rights, published in 2012 by Routledge. She is the founding member of the Australian branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
Pragna Patel is a founding member of Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism. Having left SBS in 1993 to train and practice as a solicitor, she returned in 2009 as Director. She has been centrally involved in some of SBS’ most important campaigns around domestic violence, immigration and religious fundamentalism. She has also written extensively on race, gender and religion. Her many publications include essays in Black British Feminism: A Reader (ed. Heidi Mirza) and From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers (ed. Rahila Gupta) and Feminist Judgements from Theory to Practice (ed. Hunter, McGlynn and Rackley).
More speakers will be announced soon.
Anti-female activists are already organizing against the rights of females to hold a conference for females. Besides the usual conservative MRA types, some of the anti-female forces against this conference include transgender activists and pro-prostitution pro-trafficking activists who claim that females must be prevented from organizing and meeting together in female-only spaces.
Controversial anti-lesbian University of New Hampshire representative Joelle Ruby Ryan, the male transgender who recently forwarded the theories that “lesbian erasure” is code for “trans bashing” and that males are justified in wanting lesbians dead, has dedicated his entire twitter to the idea that even allowing females to meet and organize together is a form of “hate” against males. (The anti-gay University of New Hampshire rep previously supported a series of seminars called “Breaking Through The Cotton Ceiling” which were male-only sessions devoted to organizing around the “problem” of lesbians not wanting sex with males, and formulating reparative/coercive strategies against lesbians, who the males claimed were “discriminating” against males by not wanting sexual relations with them). Ryan has called for flooding the RadFem2012 website with anti-female spam emails.
The once popular F-Word blog (the “word-too-shameful-to-be-named” is purportedly “Feminist”) has openly declared that female activism “oppresses us all” by excluding males, and suggests that its readers boycott the event.
Commenters on Democratic Underground offer that females organizing around female concerns are “sickening”, “disgusting”, to do so is anti-male “bigotry”.
The twitter hashtag #RadFem2012 is chock full of comments expressing alarm that female liberationists are meeting to discuss female concerns. “I’m kinda surprised #RadFem2012 allow *any* kids or mums, considering that’s all a tad difficult without a bloke being involved somewhere.” Says one. “Smash RadFem2012” says another. One suggests organizing a UK version of Camp Trans, which is a group of anti-lesbian and anti-female activists that conducts harassment, vandalism and terrorism against the lesbian and female-only US Michfest Women’s Music Festival.
And all this within hours of the first three speakers being announced. Clearly even one group of females organizing for female liberation is so threatening to males and handmaidens of the patriarchy that they would like to “smash” and otherwise prevent such a meeting by any means necessary. Anti-female activists have started letter-writing campaigns against the venue holding the event- again WITHIN HOURS of the first speaker announcements.
The rights of lesbians and females –even the basic human right to meet and congregate– are UNDER SEIGE by conservatives, religionists, genderists, anti-gay activists, pimps and pro-trafficking forces, and now even some of those that call themselves liberal or “fun feminists”. Make no mistake. The outlawing of female gatherings and political organizing is NOT a “third world” concern. The very right of females to meet and gather in lesbian or female spaces is under siege by anti-lesbian and anti-female forces.
I urge every female, every lesbian, and every male who supports the rights of females to lend this conference your attention, your attendance, or your financial contribution as appropriate.
From the RadFem2012 website “Why RadFem 2012”:
“RadFem 2012 has developed from the passionate conviction that a UK-based radical feminist conference is badly needed and long overdue.
‘Radical feminism creates an original political and social theory of women’s oppression, and strategies for ending that oppression which come from women’s lived experiences.’ (Rowland and Klein, 1996).
RadFem 2012 puts women, and women’s lived experiences, at its centre. The event takes place in the context of epidemic levels of male violence against women, the ongoing expansion of pornography and the sex industry, cultural misogyny as an everyday reality and the devastating effects of neoliberal economic policies and environmental destruction on women across the globe.
It takes place in a historical moment where structural analyses of oppression have been marginalised, and where those who are oppressed are blamed for their own oppression. At a time when a powerful sex industry lobby has adopted the language of feminism in order to try to persuade us that the sexual objectification of women is a route to ‘empowerment’ and that women’s involvement in pornography or prostitution is simply a matter of individual choice.
Radical feminism is a revolutionary politics for the liberation of all women from male domination. Radical feminists neither seek ‘equality’ with men within a fundamentally oppressive system, nor simply to extend women’s range of choices whilst leaving that oppressive system intact. Radical feminists are engaged in the struggle to end all forms of male violence, and for the liberation of all women from patriarchal oppression. In short, we are engaged in a struggle for total social transformation. In Catherine Mackinnon’s phrase, radical feminism is ‘feminism unmodified’.
RadFem 2012 aims to provide a space to discuss and develop radical feminist theory and action, rooted in the realities of women’s lives. We take the necessity of women’s autonomous organising as a given. In doing so, we recognise the additional oppressions faced by many women, and are committed to building an explicitly anti-racist and anti-oppressive movement that is inclusive and supportive of all women, across differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age and caring responsibilities. We celebrate the power of women uniting and organising collectively.
Many of us involved in radical feminist organising feel isolated, even within the wider feminist movement. In our experience, the need for an autonomous women’s movement and the value of women-only organising are seldom recognised. Women-only spaces are either rare, non-existent or under siege. Radical feminism is often misrepresented and maligned. The trend towards post-modernism and queer theory have marginalised feminist critiques of patriarchy, and rendered lesbian feminism all but invisible.
RadFem 2012 aims to provide a space where women can connect to reflect, learn, plan and take action.”