Dear Julie, can you love me?

Or why I support radical feminism.

Julie Bindel is saying many things publicly about many people, including trans’ people, sex workers, vegans and more recently about bisexual women.

I know she receives a lot of hate mail from readers, but she challenges so many people, especially about their sexuality, that I wonder sometimes if she actually likes being seen as this character who hates and who’s hated. It makes her appear as brave and without fear of what people think of her.

She concludes her recent article Where’s the politics in sex? in the Huffington post by: “ if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.

My first reaction was to think “wow she’s so radical. It sounds like the 1970s again”.

But then I have to think to myself: “As a faggot and a whore, does this mean that I am not only sleeping with the enemy? But even worse, it makes me the enemy, just for being a male?”

And what could I do about that?

Bindel is against transgenderism so even if I became a woman she would be against.

And what about sleeping with men? The thing is I tried once or twice to have sex with a woman but I couldn’t. I felt almost forced by the woman and forcing myself at the same time. I couldn’t do anything but let her fingering me. I have this kind of blockage in me. I feel even a bit guilty not being able to be more open minded sexually but I don’t know why, it’s like if I had a political thing that blocks me. I struggled so hard to be a faggot and to be proud and to fight all my life against heterosexuality as a system that it would make me feel weird to have sex with a woman.

And the other thing is that I really love men. I am mad with them and I could do the craziest things for a man. I really can’t imagine stop sleeping with men. I am so attracted to men all the time. Every 2 minutes I see a man in the street and I think to myself “HIM! I would s@#&!k his c=$%k anytime…”. I am just too comfortable having sex with men all the time, I know the male body, how to pleasure a man sexually, etc. I just can’t imagine censoring myself sexually and emotionally just to make a political statement. So why could we expect the same from straight or bisexual women?

My best friend thinks she’s just an idiot, and that she’s guilty of spreading transphobia, hurting many women like sex workers by imposing her old fashioned views on sex, and that she naturalises men as violent when many men can actually be the victims of violence like he was as a child.

Of course I disagree with most of her views regarding sex but I also can’t help but feel impressed.

If I had to define myself as a feminist I would say that I am more a radical feminist than a socialist feminist. I know it sounds completely paradoxical since most radical feminists are anti-sex work, and that as a male I am not supposed to (I can’t) be a feminist.

But I share their analysis about patriarchy being the base and origins of oppression between humans. I believe that the first political difference made between humans is gender, even before birth, we are expected to be boys or girls and with a whole system of roles and behaviours that we will have to perform all our life whether we like it or not.

I think capitalism is quite recent in history in comparison and has been very efficient at using gender divisions between humans to function, but the model of class division is the sexual division of labour. With patriarchy there is even the idea that the bi-categorisation of humanity in two classes (men/women) is natural. People genuinely think that having male or female sexual organs make them completely different people.

Of course as a male I can’t biologically be pregnant. But apart from that, I am not sure what “naturally” makes me different from a woman. And given that women on average are pregnant only twice 9 months in their life, I really don’t see why this difference by nature becomes so important, especially when many women will never have children.

Most of differences between men and women are in fact made up culturally. This is the basics of feminism. I don’t invent anything. “On ne nait pas femme on le devient. Le genre est une construction sociale.” Simone de Beauvoir.

I like that Julie Bindel is one of the rare voices which is critical of same sex marriage and would rather abolish marriage as a whole. I like the fact that radical feminists are very critical of any form of relationship between men and women. I find lesbian separatism a very radical and very brave ideal. It destroys completely the idea that women need men, or that men and women are complementary.

I loved reading Valerie Solanas’ Scum manifesto despite the tragic shooting of Andy Wharol. I loved Sheila Jeffreys’ critique of the sexologist movement and how lesbophobia was used in the twentieth century to divide women and discredit feminists as lesbians and dangerous sexual perverts. I loved Christine Delphy‘s L’enemi principal on the sexual division of labour. I loved reading Adrienne Rich text on compulsory heterosexuality. I loved reading Monique Wittig’s Straight mind, her analysis of heterosexuality as a political system and how lesbians could escape this system by refusing to have any sexual contract with men, and by inventing new identities, new lifestyles without having to interact with men, to the point that they are no longer women, since they no longer need to define themselves politically by a gender identity defined by and for men.

When Sheila Jeffreys and Bindel after her say that all women should be lesbians, I find it very radical.

I know it sounds very simple because most people actually don’t choose their sexual orientation. As I said earlier, I don’t think I would feel able to be straight and I suffered a lot as a child for wanting to be straight and having to realise that it was not going to happen.

But I also tend to think that human beings are not genetically gay, bi or straight, and I see no reason why the majority of humanity would be straight. I tend to think that there are political reasons why we become (for most of us unconsciously) what we are sexually.

It always makes me laugh when people are scared of the homosexual propaganda, because you can’t reasonably turn someone gay (although you can suck a str8 man’s dick fairly easily even without a wig on). However, I also think that there is an incredible propaganda that exists for people to be straight. It’s just that it’s so normal that most people don’t even see it but everything around us is promoting heterosexuality all the time.

Most people could probably be able physically to have sex with all genders. It’s just that we are often blocked in one sexuality whatever the reason is. And in a non-hetero-normative society where there is no model of sexuality promoted against another, maybe there would not be a majority of heterosexuals. Actually, when I think about the men I have sex with, there are many of them who would define themselves socially as straight, especially among my clients. So we’re talking about social identities here, not what people actually do sexually. In fact the concept of homosexuality versus heterosexuality is very recent.

Maybe I am guilty of being attracted to the enemy. Why do I love men? Isn’t it also for their appearance of strength and power? But I also think that men are much more complex and can be very weak as well, especially when it comes to love and emotion. Or is it another cliché about men?

Of course as a male I have many privileges in patriarchy, most of them I am not even conscious of. Does that make me an enemy who deserves no sexual or emotional contact? Am I still a man even if I want to define myself as queer and try to deconstruct gender? I don’t have the answers.

The point where I would disagree with other radical feminists is when they start blaming other women of being accomplices of patriarchy.

I don’t think straight and bisexual women are less feminist because they sleep with men. To love men and being a feminist can be very challenging because of course you tend to give excuses to the people you love, and accept sometimes things which are unacceptable. But they also confront men on a daily basis and sometimes with great success.

I don’t think that trans-women are stealing or caricaturing a feminine identity. I don’t think Trans people even choose their gender identity, it’s just who they are. Femininity is just a concept which doesn’t mean anything if you’re a feminist. We are all a caricature of gender stereotypes that we have internalised. We are all copies because there is no original. There is not one true woman and false women. I think feminism is the contrary of essentialism. Trans-women can be great feminists who teach us a lot about gender and their experience of oppression within patriarchy is crucial to understand and change the system.

I don’t think sex workers are essentially victims or accomplices of pimps if they refuse rehabilitation and campaign for decriminalisation or labour rights. I think sex work as it exists is part of a sexist system that expect women (majority of sex workers) to provide men sexual and emotional pleasure and attention. But asking for money is making visible that this is work, which they have to pay for it, and not expect it for free in the “private sphere” of the family or within heterosexual relationships. I don’t think prohibition is going to abolish sex work. It just makes it invisible and more dangerous for us, and it’s contrary to what abolitionist Josephine Butler would have campaigned for.

I think nothing should be banned for women, and they should be free to do whatever they want with their body, whether they want to abort, wear the veil or make up, selling sex, changing sex, etc.

I also think that patriarchy doesn’t produce only sexism but all forms of discriminations and that we can’t make hierarchies between oppressions since they are one. We can’t fight sexism properly if we think it only from the angle of white middle class western women.

We have a lot to learn from minority women and understand their forms of resistance and why things which can appear as treason for some is for them a way to gain economic independence, migrate, study, improve their life how they can.

Dear Julie, I wish you could see that feminism is a hope and a source of power for many many people, including some men who within patriarchy can be in a position of being dominated too, and that we should try to make this movement open to everyone. I know you condemn “fun feminism”, but I believe feminism can be fun, include men, and not just be about blaming other people. Feminism is one of the greatest things that happen in history and in so little time has dramatically changed the world. Feminism has been and is one of the most successful revolutions.

About Thierry Schaffauser

Queer, sex worker, drugs user, student in Gender History, GMB trade unionist, migrant, wants to change the world, etc
This entry was posted in Queer, Sex work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dear Julie, can you love me?

  1. Love it! Unfortunately Thierry, their idea is that if women stop having sex with men, the patriarchy will fall or some how stop being exploitative and that of course that is delusional thinking. There isn’t any evidence that withdrawing sexually from men will result in reversing their domination over the economy or politically nor is it conceivable that women will perform any differently. The only people who are doing something different are prostitutes. We have to live our way into a different life, not think it.

  2. I don’t know. I guess the idea is to have a separate society from men.
    But maybe changing men (and women) will be more efficient…

  3. Luca says:

    “ if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.” and you think that is radical? Shaming and blaming bisexual women or lesbians who occasionaly sleep with me is small minded and dangerous. You are not a traitor to feminism if you sleep with men. Only being true to yourself, your desires and your history is radical. The rest is fundamentalism.

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