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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

I’ve been away on holidays…oh the bliss. I stopped thinking through work issues, I stopped debating with myself about whether or not I have a problem with the idea that “men hate you is the name of the problem”, stopped thinking through what I needed to do around the house, or dwelling on the excitement and anxiety about going back to uni…I went to the beach, I ate of the bbq, I laughed and swam and read and hung with the kids and with my lover. It was a phenomenal break.

I got back and looked at my blog and realised I’d left right in the middle of my thinking through whether or not I felt saying “men hate you is the name of the problem” is helpful or sufficient as a means to grappling with issues of gender and gender violence. Again, I really wanna be careful to be clear that in lots of ways I get that stance, and I think it’s kinda valid – when you look at the violence stats, when you read the way that self-identifying feminist men talk to feminist women whenever the woman says something they *disagree* with, when guys you work with make another *funny* joke about women being gold-diggers, or marriage being a life sentence…it’s pretty fucking hard some days to say “Well, perhaps “men hate you” is not accurate, helpful or sufficient”…but…it’s less about how Teh Menz might feel…in my experience, lotsa Menz will get it, or will listen, go away, think and respond respectfully even when you’re saying men hate women and give them your evidence…but mens reaction has nothing to do with why I object to it.

It’s about the fact that it seems insufficient…men hate women? Some do…they also hate people from other racial backgrounds, or people from a class background different from their own, or same sex couples, or cross-dressers, or transgendered persons. Lots of women carry this hate…this is *not* to diminish the issue of violence and masculinity…but…when Leigh Leigh was raped and killed, girls covered for the guys involved. Whenever there is a debate on rape, there is inevitably a woman or ten defending these *boys*, decrying the girls who somehow *invite* this violence…these women hate women as well…and before you rush to differentiate, I get it…they hate women because they’ve been raised in a culture, in a society that devalues women…just like the men who hate women…so, then, this would imply to me that the problem goes far deeper than “men hate women”, and, unless someone can point me in the direction of some writing that convincingly shows me otherwise, I would suggest that naming the problem as “men hate women” rather than that looking further, obscures the fact that the production and maintenance of a binary system of gender which produces horrendous violence against a diverse range of bodies and beings, and in differing ways.

“Men hate women” does not cover racialised experiences of gender violence, class experiences of gender violence, it doesn’t cover violence against any body that doesn’t “perform” gender to the approval of the observer…perhaps the person asserting was saying “men hate women is the name of the problem…and of course the problem when we look at it long enough is the construction and maintenance of a system of gender which has untold violent ramifications on a range of bodies, particularly transgendered bodies”…but then, to me…gender construction is the problem behind misogyny and violence against same sex couples or those who transcend or transgress a strictly ordered performance of one of two acceptable genders.

Furthermore, I don’t think that we can seperate the violence perpetrated in the name of gender from the violence perpetrated because of “race” – the same system of science which has hunted down, studied, revealed the “truths” of gender, even if it must surgically produce the very *truths* it seeks to portray as naturally occuring, has also hunted down, studied and revealed the “truths” of *race* – I am in no hurry to undermine the horror of gender violence, but I don’t think as a white woman I can sit here and say that “men hate women” adequately covers gender violence as experienced by women of colour.

So I guess a number of things have come out of this for me:

One, I am a woman with a great many privileges – while I’m a single mum with a special needs child from a working class background my privilege astounds me on a regular basis…I want to write on this topic in a way which flags and recognises my own privilege, which doesn’t claim to be “neutral” or “objective”, but which acknowledges the specificity of my experience and views.

I want to write a bit about exactly how *objectivity* and *neutrality* are claimed and utilised in order to assert and reinforce privilege, *superiority*, to shut down debate and to silence opposing views.

I want to read more from women of colour, particularly, as an Australian woman, from Indigenous authours, female and male. Whenever I do, I am shaken a little more, more alert to my privilege, thinking more about my obligations, my privilege, my responsibility and assumptions, more connected to the violence in my history as a white Australian and aware of my complicity in its effects and continuation.

I want to engage more in the work of transgendered theorists and authors. I’ve just finished a book which is a collection of transgendered voices and experiences, and it’s been a profound and profoundly moving experience which has confirmed and clarified for me why I see “men hate women is the name of the problem” as inadequate. I also think I am in love with Riki Wilchins.

I wanna stop typing right this second and go spend the rest of the night with my son and my boyfriend.

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