and my “no” is enough.

Here’s a sample of a particular kind of comment I received in response to yesterday’s post:

I don’t really understand how it’s constructive or necessary to make an exclusive space for women, especially not if that exclusive space won’t even accept women from different backgrounds. Will you also be filtering out comments from trans women? What about female-bodied gender queers? Will you be researching commenters’ identities to confirm that they fit your standards of what a feminist should look and feel like? Why can’t male feminists be a part of these dialogues?

First of all: There are two reasons why someone would claim not to understand why it’s constructive or necessary to make an exclusive space for women, and they go something like this:

1. “Women — and their needs and wants — aren’t really important. Even if women SAY they need and want an exclusive space, who the fuck cares? Men, transpeople, and genderqueers know better what women need and want, and if they don’t see a reason for a women-only space, then said space is neither constructive or necessary.”

2. “Well, I’m a woman, and I’ve never needed or wanted a women’only space, so I don’t understand why other women would. Therefore, those women’s needs and wants are invalid.”

Second and third sentences: Will you also be filtering out comments from trans women? What about female-bodied gender queers? 

Am I not allowed to do that in my own space? My tiny, obscure space, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of trans and genderqueer blogs? My space, from which I would NEVER venture forth and demand that trans and genderqueer writers accept my comments or address my needs, or cast accusatory aspersions on them for failing to do so?

Fourth sentence: Will you be researching commenters’ identities to confirm that they fit your standards of what a feminist should look and feel like? 

Like the Michfest straw-panty-checks, this is too disingenuous to warrant a response.

Fifth sentence: Why can’t male feminists be a part of these dialogues?

They can, and they are. At other blogs. This blog is for women who were assigned female at birth, were raised as girls, and identify as women — because I like what happens when we write and exchange ideas without the presence and energy of men and the endless, fruitless, hurtful debates surrounding trans issues. You can find both at other blogs. This blog is mine. Ours.

My bottom line: Women, when they create spaces for themselves and other women, get to choose who comes in. I know it drives men crazy to be told “no,” because they expect and demand access to women’s spaces, but I am saying “no.”

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30 thoughts on “and my “no” is enough.

  1. That did not take long did it?

    It makes them so furious there may actually be a space where they can not enter!
    If HE has to ask those questions, HE does not need to be here.

    Thank you for not choosing the loudest mouth, the biggest handwave in your classroom phonaesthetica.

  2. Thank you so much for your support! This one is hard for me because I’m such a “nice” girl, i.e., I can be emotionally bullied and made to feel guilty about not giving people what they want. But this is important, and I refuse to be ground down.

  3. So happy to be here. 🙂 Tangent: isn’t a ‘male feminist’ a bit like a ‘white Black activist’? Your space, so you can define however fits for you; jus’ sayin’ you’re kinder than I — I don’t allow for ‘male feminists.’ Sometimes we get space all to ourselves, without having to include men … even in our definitions of our movement. My take. Feminism is grand, and has space for more than mine, and clearly am loving this space!

  4. You have every right to stand your ground. Women are conditioned to be “nice”, too apprehensive, cautious or afraid to speak to wrongs.

    We have your back.

  5. Phonaesthetica, you need never apologize for taking up your share of space, and clearing a way for others. We are, after all standing on ground cleared for us by feminists before–and that space constantly faces encroachment from those who would protect the interests of the powerful. we need each other, and Chonky’s right–you can be nice and fierce and stand your ground–you are not alone. Thank you.

  6. And here I thought you were just another one of those who would be rolled-over by the testerical hoardes! 😛

    This post, and the one previous, are what I call *Advanced* Placement.

  7. they act like its so hard to weed them out. its not: all you need is a policy that all comments must evince 1) reading comprehension and 2) add something to the discussion. most if not all men (including transwomen and male feminists) are literally incapable of fulfilling these requirements. they just are. you can add a third if you want: 3) the comment doesnt tell your primitive lizard brain to run away (as i believe you said on another post). thats all it takes and you are MAAB-free, no panty checks required. you dont even have to make it a formal policy if you dont want to. although formalizing it has its benefits too. im just saying. 🙂

  8. They may need us, but we do not need them.

    We need each other, one woman complements another whether she realizes this or not.

  9. That’s a very, very good point: reading comprehension + add something to the discussion = MAAB-free space!

    I’m so happy you’re here, FCM. I’ve loved your writing for a long time.

  10. Your blog, your rules, your right. BTW, just so you don’t make the mistake several others have…because of my name, avatar, and strong opinions…some have assumed I am a male. My daily check assures me I have no y chromosome…my two x’s are firmly intact.

  11. You consider holding strong opinions to be a male trait?

    I consider strong opinions to be a FAB radical feminist trait. Dudes have asshole, arrogant, look-at-me-I’m-a-fuckhead traits. Unfortunately they rule just about everything ho-hum.

  12. You consider holding strong opinions to be a male trait?

    Absolutely not! I was merely listing the reasons, after correcting those mistaking me for male, have cited for doing so.

  13. They are damn lucky they get the privilege of even reading your blog! They are pushing it to think that they should get to post here, too.

  14. Only people who moderate radfem blogs would know this, but isn’t it amazing how on a completely annonymous space, with no pictures, voices… just the written word, you can still tell the arrogant men, the trans etc. I’m sure men could sneak on the land as they do at Michigan, but it’s so easy to tell. Female impersonators always reveal themselves.

    Love the stories here, and I must say, the writing quality is pretty amazing.

  15. “My bottom line: Women, when they create spaces for themselves and other women, get to choose who comes in. I know it drives men crazy to be told “no,” because they expect and demand access to women’s spaces, but I am saying “no.””

    This is fresh air and I’m breathing deep.

  16. Just came across this space and am deliriously happy to find it testosterone-free! Reading each blog and taking notes- thank you for enlightening me to Dworkin and other musings. Incredible prose.

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