“Radical/lesbian feminist approaches to gender could not be more different [than queer theorists]. Rather than seeing the political task as the creation of more and equal opportunities to act out masculinity and femininity in various varieties, radical/lesbian feminists seek to abolish what has been called ‘gender’, altogether. I am no fan of the word ‘gender’, and would prefer to abolish it in favour of expressions which refer directly to the political foundation of male domination. Thus I prefer to describe masculinity as ‘male-dominant behaviour’ and femininity as ‘female-subordinate behaviour’. No multiplicity of genders can emerge from this perspective.”
— Sheila Jeffreys “Queer Theory and Lesbian Feminist Critique” from Unpacking Queer Politics 2003
The IWW just had their 2011 elections and following the trend outlined in my earlier criticisms of that organization, it was no surprise that this year’s ballot included a resolution regarding the trendy (and reactionary) cause célèbre: ”gender identity”.
“Whereas biology is not destiny and gender is culturally constructed and complex, All bodies of the IWW should ensure the safety and inclusion of their members regardless of their gender identity or status or sexual orientation.
Therefore be it resolved that any and all spaces within the IWW (including, but not limited to, gender-based committees, caucuses and events) should respect the right of individual members to self-identify and participate in all union activities according to that self identification.”
We’ve already established that IWW members have absolutely no clue what this language actually means, let alone its implications for women, so let me spell it out for my ‘fellow workers’. Men (in a male supremacist society) are voting to forbid women from excluding those men from any space that those women might create or expect in order to avoid those men for any purpose. By majority rule, men will decide that spaces including those dedicated to eradicating the oppression of women by men and even personal, private spaces, like bathrooms, locker rooms, etc. cannot exclude men regardless of “status” e.g. what these men look like, how they dress, how they behave, whether they are capable of raping and impregnating them, the fact that they are men, etc. etc.
A practical, real world, result of these types of identity rules is that women are consequently not even allowed to question if a man in their space (e.g. bathroom) “identifies as a woman” because “that’s none of their fucking business”. Not only are women not allowed to create a space, any space, that is free from their oppressors, they are required to consider the feelings of members of the class that oppresses them BEFORE THEY CAN CONSIDER THEIR OWN SAFETY. The colonizing of women’s spaces, and psyches, by men continues…
And make no mistake, the purpose of these rules is the destruction of any women’s activism that centers around women to be replaced with women’s activism that centers around men. This is why “women’s issues” turns into “gender issues” which turns into “trans issues” which turns into a toxic intersectional alphabet soup. Anything is worth doing, but only if it includes men.
The results on this resolution were:
A1 – Biology and Gender
Yes – 207
No – 24
I applaud the 24 people who voted against this. I wonder how many of those 24 were born females.
I look forward to next year when the IWW lets scabs, labor informants, police, bosses and factory owners into the IWW (and all IWW spaces, including those in opposition to scabs, labor informants, police and bosses) as long as they “identifiy with the working class”. Oh wait, you can’t ask that, it’s classphobic. Best to just let those folks in, no questions asked.