Episode 2: Radical What?! And stop making excuses for rapists.

Enjoy the show!!!

Book recommendation: Sexual Politics by Kate Millett


Thank you to the Cyber Unions podcast for doing a shout out to me in their International Women’s Day episode!


Show’s Notes

Steubenville: this is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment by Laurie Penny (includes original CNN clip)

Jane Doe receiving death threats via #Twitter

Jane Doe asking people to donate to a women’s shelter or rape crisis hotline

We Support Jane Doe (FB group) and We are ALL Jane Doe (FB page)


FYI: overview of different types of feminism (via Reddit)


Despite differences in culture and across time periods, all women under patriarchy share a common social and political condition.

Despite differences in culture and across time periods, all women under patriarchy share a common social and political condition.


The myth of “bra burning” feminists


5 responses to “Episode 2: Radical What?! And stop making excuses for rapists.

  1. The GenderFocus ‘overview of different types of feminism’ is quite misleading about marxist feminism, and not very excusably so. [I am not suggesting that its descriptions of the other ‘feminisms’ are wonderful.]

    GenderFocus says – ‘Marxist feminism believes women are oppressed primarily due to capitalism, which divides genders in order to create a more dominable workforce. Socialist feminism has a similar foundation and sees class struggle as necessary for women’s liberation, but does not see class oppression as primary for every woman. One of Marxist and socialist feminism’s most important contributions to feminist theory is the notion of the “double shift”, which refers to women working in both the public sphere and the home, while not being paid for the latter.’

    This implies marxist feminism holds that capitalism invented female oppression. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of marxism knows that marxists (most notably, Engels*) have done important work on tracing the origins of female oppression to the beginnings of class society, *not* to capitalism, which obviously is very late class society. Marxism holds that capitalism has taken the sex hierarchy which it inherited from earlier class societies, and transformed it in its own interest. And that capitalism has itself been profoundly shaped by the sex hierarchy. The most key reason for capitalism’s support of female oppression is not, according to marxists, “to create a more dominable workforce”, but to privatise onto women, via the hetero family unit, the responsibilities of rearing the next generation of workers and basic welfare provision.

    [Obviously marxism also points to other ways in which the sex hierarchy works for capitalism, such as major profit generation, including via the ‘sex’ industries. And Alexandra Kollontai did make the point that “The class-conscious worker must understand that the value of male labor is dependent on the value of female labor and that, by threatening to replace male labor with cheaper female workers, the capitalist can put pressure on men’s wages. Only a lack of understanding could lead one to see this question as purely a “woman’s issue.”]

    Marxist feminism holds that capitalism is a major impediment to female liberation and that socialism is a prerequisite to enabling the women’s liberation movement to attain progress that is not constantly being pushed backwards. Marxists point to the ongoing feminist struggle that will be necessary after the overthrow of capitalism in order to restructure society around feminist ideas, and explain that eradicating ingrained misogyny from society will take generations.

    In terms of the fight under capitalism, it is a common misconception that Marxists want to reduce all radical struggle to being about narrow economic issues:

    ‘Working class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse, no matter what class is affected–unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other.’ ~ V.I.Lenin

    And Lenin said this in 1920, several years after the beginning of the Russian Revolution:

    ‘Could there be any more palpable proof [of the continued oppression of women] than the common sight of a man calmly watching a woman wear herself out with trivial, monotonous, strength- and time-consuming work, such as her housework, and watching her spirit shrinking, her mind growing dull, her heartbeat growing faint, and her will growing slack?…Very few husbands, not even the proletarians, think of how much they could lighten the burdens and worries of their wives, or relieve them entirely, if they lent a hand in this “women’s work.” But no, that would go against the “privilege and dignity of the husband.” He demands that he have rest and comfort…
    ‘We must root out the old slave owner’s point of view, both in the party and among the masses. That is one of our political tasks, a task just as urgently necessary as the formation of a staff composed of comrades, men and women, with thorough theoretical and practical training for Party work among working women.’

    It is a misconception that socialist feminism is the answer to the alleged ‘class reductionism’ of Marxism. In fact, it is based on a crude, reductionist version of Marxism, as explained in an article I wrote – http://liberationislife.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/against-patriarchy/ (the 2nd half of the article especially).

    It is certainly true that variants of socialism exist that are crudely class reductionist and effectively orient to the social privilege of males. The Cliffite tendency is one example of socialists calling themselves Marxists yet having abandoned many of the above-mentioned Marxist-feminist tenets. However, they are a small minority of socialists around the world.

    * Engels on the inherent oppressiveness of the family:
    “The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude; she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children…In order to make certain of the wife’s fidelity and therefore the paternity of his children, she is delivered over unconditionally into the power of the husband; if he kills her, he is only exercising his rights.”

  2. Thank you for this second episode.

    On the topic of punishment and vengeance, Simone de Beauvoir wrote a short essay, “Œil pour œil” (which was translated into English as “An Eye for an Eye”). It can be found in French in “L’Existentialisme et la sagesse des nations” and in English in “Simone de Beauvoir: Philosophical Writings”.

    About prisons, Angela Davis wrote “Are Prisons Obsolete?”. I haven’t read it yet but thought it was relevant. You can find a pdf version here: http://ressourcesfeministes.files.wordpress.com/2000/01/are_prisons_obsolete.pdf
    (on the very useful website “Ressources féministes” http://ressourcesfeministes.wordpress.com/ressources/ )

    You recommend “Sexual Politics” by Kate Millett, so here is a lecture by Sheila Jeffreys on Kate Millet:

    Part 1 : http://youtu.be/Gg0LrEcDC4w
    Part 2 : http://youtu.be/t9JaqtMH9fo

    I’m looking forward to listen to the next episode! 🙂

  3. Another great episode! I hadn’t thought about how 3rd wave is individually, not collectively focused, it ties in with the the move in western politics towards neoliberalism and away from welfare state economics. I also didn’t know about history of radfem so that was cool!

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