I don’t know who came up with the acronym ‘TERF’. I’m not really inclined to trawl the internet in an attempt to find out but if anyone knows, please drop it in the comments (with yr citation) and I’ll edit the post accordingly.
TERF, for those of you who are not as hip and with it and down with the kids as I clearly am, means Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. This is obviously a redundant term because firstly there is no such thing as a Trans Inclusive Radical Feminist and secondly tacking ‘Trans Exclusionary’ onto the front of ‘Radical Feminism’ is really just a clear-cut case of men trying to make everything in the world about them and their dicks.
Radical Feminism is one of the only things in the world that isn’t centred around men and what men want. Men can’t bear this to be the case but since they can’t physically police our thoughts, they decide they won’t let us call it Radical Feminism. They have to make it clear that ‘this is a feminism that does not believe me when I say my penis is female and I am the most oppressedest of all womankind.’ This makes it hard for Radical Feminists to physically meet together because every time we try, the men who say they’re women and the women who pretend to believe them, aggressively lobby to have us no-platformed. They rarely triumph in their efforts to keep us from meeting but they do manage to turn the conversation back around to them and their dicks very successfully.
Radical feminists view women’s oppression as rooted in sex, not performance of a gender. That is: women are oppressed because men exploit our means of reproduction and not because we look like women or act like women.Radical feminists reject the idea that gender is a feeling inside you that tells you if you’re a man or a woman. Instead, we view gender as a tool the patriarchy uses to keep women subjugated. Women are kept inhibited and debilitated due to the trappings of femininity and if they decide to forego this in any way, they are accused of attempting to emulate men and harshly condemned and various attempts will be made to bring her back into line.
Radical feminists uphold women-only space to be vital for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is to give women a chance to heal from the violence that is done to them by men. It was radical feminists who set up women-only rape crisis centres in the 1970s and helped to introduce laws which outlawed raping your wife.
But forty plus years of tireless writing, campaigning, talking, legislating, educating, fighting and winning, all while under relentless attack from men who can’t bear it when women tell the truth, all that can be erased and reduced down to a single four letter acronym which is synonymous with “bigot” and spat with venom.
TERF is a word that is predominantly used against women. I have seen one or two men be called TERFs but men are more likely to be called TERF tokens or something similar. Of the women TERF is used against, many are lesbians. Recently on Twitter, I was informed by a young, white, heterosexual, clean-livin’, Christian, LGBT ally lady, that TERF is not a slur. I can’t remember if the word she used was ‘descriptor’ or ‘definition’ but it was one of those. Definitely not a slur, she says. This girl didn’t even know what a woman was so I’m pretty confident that she also has no idea what a radical feminist is. She’s just heard somewhere, probably from a guy in a dress, that there are feminists who think trans women are men oh my god what even and she can’t wrap her head around that because, like I talked about in my post yesterday, and as witchwind carefully describes here, she’s been so perfectly colonized, she doesn’t even know she’s colonized. She is so used to women having the power of naming ourselves taken from us that she doesn’t recognize it when it’s happening right in front of her. And she’s not unique.
Professional feminist Laurie Penny is liberal with her use of the term and like a good little trans ally, she knows all she has to to is link a Twitter user with the word TERF and her followers will SIGNAL BOOST THIS SHIT! and make sure that bigot gets collected.
TERF is a shorthand way of saying “this woman has feminisms that are not about my dick. Shun her and let’s keep focused on the real issue here: my dick.”
This speaks to the nurturing “instinct” that is ingrained in girls from the minute they open their eyes in the world. We are trained to love Dick, serve Dick, and consider Dick our Lord and Master. So when the men in the dresses turn it on with most women, it’s a sympathy response they elicit.
Those mean transphobic powerful feminists want to restrict my access to rape shelters because they think I’m a man!
I just want to pee and those TERF bigots say I have to use the men’s room where I might get attacked!
Those bigoted cis lesbians say they don’t want to have sex with me because they don’t like penis. How do they even know that if they haven’t seen my penis? My penis is a girl’s penis.
They also tend to make up lies and since the internet – and social media in particular – is like a giant game of Chinese Whispers and since no one bothers to ask for ‘receipts’ when it comes to TERF transgressions, these lies are widely propagated and accepted as fact. A common lie about TERFs is that they spend all their time harassing trans women on the internet and plotting their deaths. I think it’s likely that if trans women didn’t spend all their time parading their dicks around women’s private spaces, demanding we accept them as female, we wouldn’t pay them much attention at all.
TERF is just another example of women having the power of naming taken from them. If you move within progressive social justice circles, seeing the word TERF on a screen is supposed to instill you with righteous anger. You know exactly what you’re supposed to do. You either pile on the TERF (woman) in question, tell her she’s depraved, close-minded, bigoted, contributing to the deaths of millions of trans women everywhere, racist, ugly, conservative, hateful, a piece of shit, wrong, uneducated, a trans man in denial, fascist, or whatever else you feel like giving her or you direct yourself and your friends towards the Spam Block function because this insubordinate wench has no business thinking trans women are men on the internet. That is not ok. That literally kills people which is really really problematic.
You don’t have to be a Radical Feminist to be labelled a TERF either. Association with ‘known TERFs’ can be enough to land you this moniker. In fact Roseanne Barr is often cited as a famous TERF but Roseanne herself would admit she is not a Radical Feminist. The reality is that Roseanne is a Grandmother who shares the Radical Feminist belief that men shouldn’t be waving their dicks around women’s private spaces when they’re not wanted. Incidentally my own Grandmother shares this belief and so does every other Grandmother I know. Grandmothers are TERFs.
And there’s new ones now too. SWERF has been doing the rounds for a little while – that one means Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminists. This one is designed to make it look like Radical Feminists take some kind of puritanical approach to sex and think women who sell sexual services are not worthy of feminist attention. This is a complete reversal because Radical Feminists are primarily concerned with naming the perpetrator of violence within the sex industry and those are the pimps and the punters: the men who buy and sell women’s bodies.
BERF is another new one. This one is Bisexual Exclusionary Radical Feminist. This one seems designed to target lesbians specifically. A common thing that happens to lesbians online is that a woman in a relationship with a man will tell her that she’s a bigot for not accepting trans women as women. The lesbian will usually say something like, “Go away heterosexual lady, you have no business policing lesbian’s boundaries,” or maybe she’ll say something more angry or more eloquent depending on her mood, but the ‘heterosexual’ comment is often met with “OMG you are erasing my identity I am actually bisexual because of my feelings and I actually had a threesome one time with my boyfriend and my best friend and I actually licked her pussy and I didn’t puke and sometimes my boyfriend has a female shift and becomes my girlfriend so I am actually part of the LGBTQIA umbrella so fuck you and your cisnormativity and your monosexual privilege.” Or, you know, words to that effect.
There’s a few more but I’ve written a lot and I won’t get into them. They all have the same intent: to silence and incite hatred upon a group of women, mostly lesbians, who say no to Dick. We already have names for what we are. We’re lesbians. We’re radical feminists. We’re women. You can call us SWERFs and TERFs and BERFs and QuERFS and cis and monosexual and prudes and whatever new thing you come up with in a couple of months time, you can call us that too. Women are used to being called names by men. Women are used to other women calling them names on behalf of and at the behest of men. Billions of women all over the world know that trans women are actually men. Literally billions. Most of them do not live on the internet and don’t post endless selfies in between SIGNAL BOOSTING THIS SHIT and signing petitions to make lesbians stop saying words on the internet. Almost all of them have way bigger problems than words lesbians are saying on the internet. All of those women are TERFs.
All women are TERFs deep inside just like all women are sluts and all women are bitches. All women know that trans women are men, it’s just that some women are willing to pretend and some are so disconnected from themselves they don’t even know they’re pretending but we all know. And they know that we know and they can’t fucking stand it.