I grew up Mormon and only stopped attending Christmas services at the church in 2009. The Mormon nativity story is much the same as the regular Christian nativity story except for one crucial difference. Unlike most mainstream Christian religions, Mormons believe that God has a body of flesh and blood. They also believe that he resides in his body of flesh and blood on a planet called Kolob which is just outside of our solar system but I’m not getting into that right now. It’s true though. Google it. Anyway, I want to take a little look at how the little Baby Jesus came into being and think about what Mormons are actually commemorating when they celebrate Christmas.
Mormon Jesus is “the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh.” This is a pretty striking statement. Mormon Jesus isn’t just the son of God he’s the only begotten son of God in the flesh. When Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Jacob and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren, they weren’t magically zapping babies into their wives’ uteruses, they were fucking them. Sarah was fucked by Abraham many times in her quest to bear his child. After many years of trying unsuccessfully, Sarah went so far as to offer her servant girl to Abraham so he could have an heir. Abraham agreed to this, fucked the servant girl, Hagar, and begat Ishmael. Finally, Sarah, too, became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. Isaac grew up and married Rebekah. Like his father before him, Isaac fucked his wife many times in an effort to get her pregnant and eventually it worked. It resulted in twins, Jacob and Esau, who were begat by Isaac. Jacob grew up and seemed to make a career out of fucking women and begetting children. The point is, the only time the word “begat” is used in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, it’s taken to mean “fucked and impregnated.” There’s no magic, just men fucking women.
Mormons believe that any good white Mormon man can become a God after he dies. Indeed our Heavenly Father had a Heavenly Father of his own and on and on ad infinitum. One of God’s main responsibilities is having endless celestial sex with his hundreds of spirit wives in order to produce new souls to send to Earth. Celestial sex isn’t like real sex. Around 360,000 people get born every day so that’s a lot of spirit babies. Even if God has 360,000 spirit wives, I don’t think he has time to ejaculate into them 360,000 times a day so I think what probably happens is God thinks about fucking the wives and getting them pregnant and it magically transpires* and they give birth to spirit children who will presumably be ripped from their mother’s womb and zapped into the body of a newborn child on earth.
Jesus Christ is the only begotten son in the flesh. He wasn’t magically zapped into Mary’s uterus by a mysterious white sky figure. God assumed his physical form, descended to Earth from Kolob and fucked Mary and made her pregnant with a son. We can reasonably assume that Mary was unconscious when this happened because when the angel Gabriel arrived to tell her she was pregnant, she was confused, scared, and stunned. “How can this be? A man has never fucked me!” she protested. But it was true and now she had to convince Joseph, her betrothed, that she really was still a virgin, honest, because it doesn’t count if it’s God fucking you while you’re asleep.
Luckily for Mary, Joseph was cool with her being pregnant with God’s baby but only after an angel appeared to convince him it was legit. Not much is said in the Bible about Mary’s pregnancy but we can be reasonably sure it wasn’t easy for her. Jewish custom at that time dictated Mary would be betrothed to Joseph at twelve years old. Jesus was born about a year later so Mary would not yet have finished puberty. Girls who get pregnant at a young age and who have to birth without clean surroundings are at particular risk of obstetric fistula and other complications. Mary went through a lot to give us the Messiah not least of which was traveling on the back of a donkey for eighty miles while she was almost nine months pregnant.
After the baby was born, Mary didn’t get a minute to herself before shepherds and wise men and all sorts started dropping in on her. She was isolated, miles from home, with a newborn baby and the only people around her were men. Stupid men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh rather than cabbage leaves, nice food and comfort like women would have.
And what does she get for it? Basically nothing. She gets to watch her son be tortured and crucified to death at the age of 33 and she gets to have ugly glow-in-the-dark figurines made of her to be sold in Catholic bookstores. It doesn’t matter though, because according to Alma in the Book of Mormon, Mary is simply a vessel. A ‘pure and chosen vessel’ but a vessel nonetheless.
We are not all Children of our Heavenly Father. Men are Children of our Heavenly Father and women are the vessels that bring those children into being. The Christmas story is about a frightened young girl who is forcibly impregnated with the Son of God. She is forced to give birth to the Son of God in a stable where horses and donkeys piss and shit all over the floor. She is then forced to lay him to sleep in a feeding trough while strange men come traipsing in to give her stupid presents and gawk at her baby and then 33 years later, she has to watch her son die. And we’re supposed to Rejoice! Rejoice! The Lord Has Come.
I don’t think so.
*not actual doctrine.
I have said this before and I will say it again: Lesbian is an Identity. You cannot prove whether or not a woman is a Lesbian. All you can do is observe her behaviour, take her at her word, and use your own judgement.
I don’t find it particularly useful to focus my energy on specifically Lesbian issues. Lesbian issues tend to overlap with all women’s issues because, y’know, Lesbians are women. I think it’s awesome if women do choose to focus on Lesbians exclusively because it’s a very rare and special thing to do. No one gives a shit about Lesbians so I love it when women make them the focus of their politics and activism.
The thing is though, you are not oppressed as a Lesbian because of how you feel. No one is oppressed on the basis of how they feel. We are oppressed on the basis of how we are perceived by others. For example: trans women are not oppressed as women. They like to say they are because they feel like women and there is some overlap in the types of violence and discrimination used against us but it’s not the same thing. They’re not women. They’re oppressed, if you believe they are oppressed at all, as gender-non-conforming men.
So with Lesbians, we are not oppressed because we feel a stirring in our loins when we see a good-looking lady walking down the street. No one knows what our personal feelings are. We’re oppressed because we are women and further to that, gender-non-conforming women.
Case Study: A fictional straight woman shaves her head and takes to only wearing dungarees and Dixie Chicks t shirts. She stops dating men and moves in with her best friend. They sleep in the same bed, never touching each other, and when she’s alone, fictional straight woman masturbates to pictures of Tom Cruise from the 90′s. Does this woman exist? Probably not. If she did, would she experience discrimination based on people’s perception of her? I’d wager so. If this fictional straight woman started calling herself a Lesbian, would any other Lesbians be harmed as a result of this? I’m really struggling to see how the answer is yes here.
I like to be around other Lesbians. I like Lesbian-Only-Spaces. My vagina is, in fact, a Lesbian-Only-Space and I enjoy that very much. But when I’m with those other Lesbians in the Lesbian-Only-Spaces, all I can do is trust that they’re telling me the truth and that they are, in fact, other Lesbians. I don’t follow them home and peek through their bedroom windows to see if they’ve got a secret man hidden in their closet. I don’t rifle through their wallets to check if they’re secreting Tom-Cruise-in-the-90′s pictures. I don’t quiz them on their levels of erotic desire for other women. I trust them to be honest with me. If I meet a woman claiming to be a Lesbian and I suspect she’s actually heterosexual and is claiming the word Lesbian to score political points, then I won’t ask her out on a date. I probably won’t be her friend either because pretending to be someone you’re not is kind of a dick move.
A Political Lesbian is not a heterosexual woman. A Political Lesbian is a woman who is a Lesbian and who came to understand her Lesbianism through a political framework. Political Lesbians don’t fuck men and, as with every other kind of Lesbian, you’d have to ask each one individually whether or not she has in the past, currently is, or plans to be sexually intimate with a woman and whether she tells you or not is entirely her business. Sometimes the personal is political and sometimes the personal is just personal. If you think a woman is pretending to be a Lesbian, don’t date her. Warn your friends not to date her, even. Why waste your energy any further than that?
Political Lesbianism offers women a framework from which to view the institution of heterosexuality. It offers women choices. It tells them it doesn’t have to be that way. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained from telling women, “You were born hetero,” and there is so much to be lost. Why do it?
The hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen has been trending lately on Twitter. It was launched by a woman named Mikki Kendall, a writer and pop culture analyst. Writing for the Guardian, Kendall explains her frustration with the white liberal feminists who gave platform to the woman-hating “male feminist” Hugo Schwyzer despite repeated protests from women of colour about the way he treated them. By his own admission, Schwyzer built a career on the back of debasing women of colour. He was enabled in this by white, middle-class, liberal feminists like Jill Filipovic and Jessica Valenti who bent over backwards to give him column space in Feministe and Jezebel respectively. The hashtag was, in part, designed to call attention to the fact that nice, white, middle-class feminists often side with men over their sisters of colour and have, what I agree, is a much-needed conversation about racism within mainstream feminism.
Radical feminists have long been critical of Schwyzer. We have been saying, since the very beginning, that this man is a dangerous, woman-hating abuser who has no place in feminism or at any college campus in the world. We have a long, long list of issues with him. Let’s break it down here.
Hugo Schwyzer tried to kill his ex girlfriend. He has confessed to this several times but has never been arrested or charged with this crime. He is a self confessed rapist. He publishes personal details of his intimate relationships with little regard to the privacy or dignity of the women he was involved with. Hugo Schwyzer encourages young women to allow men to “jizz on [their] face[s]“ by telling them it will make boys happy and not ashamed of their penises. He has used his Twitter account to attack women of colour and lesbians on more than a handful of occasions.
I stand with all the women who were both directly and indirectly affected by Hugo Schwyzer and his toxic, manipulative bullshit. I stand with the women who were victims of his abuse. I stand with the women who were taken in by him and now feel regret. I stand with all of you because we are women and we have been raised as women in a society which hates and devalues women. Do I think Valenti and Filipovic are arseholes for throwing their sisters under the bus? Yes, I do. Do I blame them for it? Not entirely. Because I get how this shit works. We live in a patriarchy and the more a woman sucks up to dudes, especially white dudes, the better she is treated. Most women do this on an unconscious level. We wear the ridiculous shoes which hurt our feet but make our calf muscles look nice. We wear the make up which itches and makes us break out because we think it makes us look prettier. We force our breasts into uncomfortable, gravity-defying booster bras because natural breasts are considered unsightly. We tell men they’re clever and we laugh at their stupid jokes because when we do all these things, we get cookies. It takes women time to learn to put other women before men. Most women never learn it because that’s the way the system is designed. It’s much easier to oppress a group that doesn’t even realise it’s being oppressed.
When radical feminists tried to give support to the women of colour who were wronged by Hugo, we were told in no uncertain terms, to fuck off.
Here, Angry Black Women is referring to the stance that @bugbrennan, and indeed all radical feminists and almost every rational person in the world takes, and that is that a penis is a male organ. Never mind shared interests: if you think a penis is a male organ, you are a nasty, TERFy, transphobic bigot and you must be ostracized and shunned.
Intersectionality doesn’t seem to make space for lesbians and their concerns. Like these feminists of colour, who have a legitimate grievance against the nice, white liberal ladies who gave Schwyzer a pass to run amok through the spaces they’d created, Lesbian feminists have an issue with the mainstream heterofeminist and GLBT communities. We are told that to be good allies, we need to accept any man who says he’s a woman and allow him into our hard-fought-for spaces. To be even better allies, we need to consider these men as potential romantic partners. To be the best of the best, we have to suck their dicks, When men like Tobi Hill Meyer are on the advisory board for the annual Butch Voices conference in Oakland, CA, real lesbians are supposed to shut the fuck up and defer to his ‘marginalized’ voice.
Siding with men over women is perfectly acceptable if the man in question identifies as a woman. If Hugo Schwyzer returned to the internet after his extended medical absence and declared himself transgender, would he suddenly be absolved of all his sins and welcomed into the community with open arms? Would the women of colour, who are (rightfully) angry with the white women who ignored their concerns and sided with a white man, suddenly switch base? Would the fact that Hugo is a man no longer be relevant?
There can be no solidarity among any women when women side with men over their sisters. Hugo Schwyzer is a man. Trans women are men. Lesbians are not bigots for knowing a penis is male. And even though you throw abuse at us for knowing penis is male, we will stand with you against any form of male violence. Because vagina matters.
Recently, a woman at the art college associated with my university graduated with a first class honours degree. The piece she presented at the end of year degree show included a video she made of herself masturbating and various blown up photographs of herself dressed in bondage gear doing everyday “womanly” activities such as reading a magazine on the couch or loading the washing machine. I could post one of the photos here but I don’t see anything else but pornography when I look at them so I won’t. Two brothers also earned themselves first class degrees with their own pornographic presentation. Their exhibit included sex toys which had been turned into instruments of torture (think replacing knife handles with butt plugs and turning dildos into nunchucks) and one piece was allegedly withdrawn by the show’s organizers because it violated health & safety codes.
Nearly all groups in the UK dedicated to raising awareness of and bringing an end to violence against women are in agreement about the harms of pornography. The Women’s Support Project describes pornography as, “a form of commercial sexual exploitation and part of the spectrum of gender based violence.” The Crown Prosecution Service includes pornography on a list of recognized forms of violence against women and girls. I don’t need to argue why pornography is violence against women on this blog. Any dissenters can easily Google that information and to make it easy for you, I can point you in the direction of Gail Dines and Julia Long. I found it pretty disturbing that my university was not only giving a platform to pornographers but rewarding them with the highest of academic distinctions. Does pornography become art just because the pornographer says it’s art?
The whole situation made me want to look over the Dworkin & MacKinnon Civil Rights Ordinance again because it’s so beautifully succinct. The mainstream definition of pornography is usually simplified and sanitized as, “pictures or videos of people having sex.” Dworkin and MacKinnon define it as, “the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures or words, including by electronic or other data retrieval system.” They go on to specify the acts of subordination which include, “the presentation of women’s body parts, including but not limited to, breasts, vaginas or buttocks, such that women are reduced to such parts[.]” Material in which women are presented as, “dehumanized objects, things, or commodities,” or as, “sexual objects who enjoy humiliation or pain,” are also classified as pornography in the Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance.
This got me thinking about some of the things which fit in the category of pornography if we disregard the “through pictures or words” part of Dworkin and MacKinnon’s piece. The thing that kept coming back to me was the concept of transsexualism. More specifically, males who profess to be trapped in the wrong body and say they need surgery to feel happy with themselves.
The idea that men become women simply by donning the costume and acting the part is offensive and damaging to women in the same way pornography is. Male to female transsexuals become women first by starting to dress in a more feminine manner and asking people to refer to them with she and her pronouns. Where they have access, they seek hormone treatment which have the effect of feminizing their secondary sex characteristics. They will begin to grow breast tissue; their body fat will start to be redistributed so their body appears curvier like a woman’s; and their skin will thin and become softer.
This in itself is pornographic. Women are human beings. The biological function of our breasts is to feed our young. Women did not evolve to have breasts in order to make us distinguishable from (or attractive to) male humans. Simply taking a man and putting a pair of breasts on him doesn’t turn him into a woman and transsexuals know this so this is not the only step they take. Some of them have what is known as facial feminization surgery (FFS) which can include some or all of the following procedures: rhinoplasty, cheek implants, brow lift, lip augmentation, and chin reduction.
The final stage in the transition process for a male to female transsexual is what is euphemistically known as “bottom surgery.” This is the goal and when he becomes “truly” a woman. The commonly accepted terms vary these days but the surgery is also referred to as sex reassignment surgery (SRS), gender reassignment surgery (GRS), gender confirmation surgery (GCS), and with male to females specifically, vaginoplasty. The surgery involves removing the erectile tissue in the penis and then using the skin to form a “vestibule area” and the semblance of labia minora. The penile skin is inverted and inserted into a surgically created cavity in the pelvic area. Part of the glans of the penis, with nerves still attached, is retained and used to form what we are supposed to refer to as the clitoris, and the urethra is shortened to end more like where a female person’s would. According to Dickipedia, the purpose of SRS is, “reshaping the male genitals into a form with the appearance of and, as far as possible, the function of female genitalia.“
You click on the link to “female genitalia” and it takes you to, guess what. The human female reproductive system.Y’see the vagina is just one part of a whole set of organs which make up the female reproductive system. All the parts rely on each other to function to their best ability. The ovaries are organs which produce eggs. That is their function. They are connected to the uterus, which is the major female reproductive sex organ, by oviducts known as the fallopian tubes. The function of the uterus is to accept a fertilized egg. It is connected to the vagina, which Dickipedia says has two main functions: sexual intercourse and childbirth.
Sex reassignment surgery cannot create a uterus and ovaries transplant. In The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer suggests that,
Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognize as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non sex. No so-called sex change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man made women be accepted as women is the institutional acceptance of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males.
Sex reassignment surgery can only attempt to replicate the form of one of the female sex organs: the vagina. And since there are no uterus-and-ovaries transplants, it can only replicate one of the vagina’s functions: sexual intercourse. The neovagina is nothing more than a fuckhole. It exists solely to be penetrated. In fact the new “woman” must penetrate his surgical cavity every day if he doesn’t want it to close up. The creation of the fuckhole requires a lot of post operative care. Around day 3 post-surgery, the dilation process begins. It will continue for the rest of the patient’s life. If a dilation routine is not adhered to, there is a risk that the neovag will close up due to the pelvic muscles trying to restore themselves. Also, disgustingly, the inside of the neovag gathers wrinkles when it’s not being dilated. If too long is left between sessions, the wrinkles start to heal together and narrow the width and depth of the neovag canal. For around four weeks post surgery, the new woman is advised to douche with hibiscus scrub after each dilation session and every time they sit on the toilet.
All this so they can have something that looks like a little bit like a vulva and serves the function of sexual intercourse. A real woman generally does very little to care for her vagina. Of course, she will wash her labia with soap and water, but the vaginal canal is self cleaning. A real vagina does not come to an abrupt finish where the surgical excavation was deemed complete; a real vagina is connected to the uterus via the cervix. which is capable of dilating itself to allow a baby’s head to pass through.
If the act of digging out a cavity in the pelvic floor, turning the penis inside out, calling it a vagina and the bearer of it female isn’t presenting women as dehumanized things, objects or commodities, then I don’t know what is. This posits womanhood as something you can buy. Something that, with an approximation of the right parts, any man can be.
John Stoltenberg is credited with the famous quote, “Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.” Pornography tells us that women are, as Robert Jensen has told us, “three holes and two hands.” It tells us that women are receptive to pain and degradation and even enjoy it. It also tells us that men hate us. It tells us they want to fuck us in every orifice of our bodies. They want to humiliate and torture us. They want to own us, sell us, trade us, and share us with their friends.
Transsexualism isn’t too much different. Transsexualism reinforces the notion that women exist to be penetrated and that the ability to be penetrated is an integral and defining part of womanhood. It is literal four-dimensional pornography.
Transsexualism tells lies about women. But transsexualism tells the truth about men. Transsexualism tells us that women are nothing more than neutered males. It tells us that “women” undergo painful and humiliating scenarios in order to keep themselves penetrable. About men, it tells us that they cannot be satisfied simply with fucking us. To fully consume us, they have to be us and then to tell us what we are.
*I am using the term transsexual/ism here to refer not to the gender-bending woo-look-at-my-womanly-penis crew but to the men who profess to being born in the wrong physical body and take steps to change that through surgery and hormone replacement therapy. Transgenderism is a concept which affects women in different ways – something that I plan to discuss in this context at a later date.
All these people have something in common. They are all people who were born with a penis but wish they were born with a vagina instead. Because they don’t have a vagina and they really really really really want one, these people believe that they are oppressed by the people who do have vaginas and accept that there’s nothing they can do about having vaginas. Having a vagina and knowing there’s nothing you can do about it is called “cis privilege”.
Trans “women”? I don’t care if someone calls you a man. You’re a man. Women knowing you’re a man does not make you oppressed; it makes you bad at being a woman. Trans “women” like DeVeaux and Ryan feel entitled to any space female women occupy plus some of their own because they’re extra specially oppressed because we have a vagina and they wish they did
This is actually the world we are living in right now.
I hit Peak Trans on the regular.
Dear Festival Family,
We are embroiled in a very public struggle about the Festival’s intention to create self-defined space for WBW. Many of you have asked how you can help. Here is what you can do:
Take care in your conversation on the internet, on Facebook pages, in emails and meetings. I believe we must try our best, as a community, to participate in the energetic antidote to the aggressive rhetoric.
This petition has been doing the rounds on Facebook and probably other social networking sites that I don’t pay attention to.
The aim, as is clear from the title, is to shut down the website Punternet.com. I won’t sign this petition.
What can possibly be gained from shutting down Punternet? Will that stop men raping? Will it make them think twice about seeking out women who’s silence they can buy?
Men tell us who they are all the time and most of us don’t listen. When men tell us who they are as voraciously as they do on Punternet, women hear them.
Shutting down Punternet is sweeping it under the carpet. In most parts of the world, it’s not illegal to pay a woman in order to masturbate into her. Saying, “Ew! Censor these terrible men!” ignores that these terrible men are the regular johns. Shutting down Punternet is not going to interfere with these rapists’ punterly activities one bit.
No one listens to prostituted women when they speak of the torture they endure at the hands of men. Maybe they will listen when the men tell it?
Punternet is not the root.