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.”