So I'd love to get your take on the trans argument that claiming a "universal/monolithic" patriarchy based on biology is "colonialist." It's true that white male/female gender relations have a specific kind of hierarchy that is usually trumpeted as the norm by some radfems and that's inaccurate, but I am just baffled at how to respond to people that think white people are just sitting here *projecting* patriarchy onto other cultures to (somehow??) exclude trans folk.
My take is that this argument is fucking bullshit. It is infuriating to me how transactivists appropriate the oppression of people of color to use as fucking stamps in their oppression passports without any acknowledgement or awareness of the material conditions of race. It is reductionist, and fucked up and ya know what?
The definition of colonialism is simple: the practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. Patriarchy is males practicing colonialism over females. It is that simple. That domination is enforced through the subjugation of female biology. I don’t even understand how that can be rationally contested.
If someone truly believes that females are not subjugated to males—on the BASIS OF THEIR BIOLOGY—in every country around the globe then they are living with their heads tucked firmly into their assholes. They are denying the oppression of millions of people; that erases that suffering. It says that the specificity of oppression that females due to actions, laws, and rules put in place specifically by males to dominate over female biology (FGM, female infanticide, forced feedings, bride burning, honor killing, breast ironing, menstrual shaming, and selective abortion) is irrelevant. That it does not exist. It insinuates that the levels of oppression carried out through these means can be accepted as “normal” for those cultures, which is deeply insulting. It basically sanctions the domination and oppression those females face. To assert that patriarchy only affects white, Western people is LITERALLY enacting a colonialist belief.
Ironically, these are the same people who will argue with a straight face that we cannot talk about these things because “they don’t affect people in the West.” They’ll say that bringing it up to show how patriarchy solely affects females is appropriation of experiences that we don’t have.
Got that? If you talk about the global domination by males of female biology at all, you are a racist. If you name the global domination by males of female biology patriarchy, you are a colonialist.
Do you see how this has NOTHING to do with an actual political struggle to liberate a group of people? Do you see how this is all about preventing females from seeing each other as a class and preventing them literally from having the language to consciousness raise across borders and speak their own oppression?
And what it actually shows is that these jackalopes know NOTHING about brown feminisms in the US or globally, which is deeply insulting to reality and to the work of the many feminists of color who have devoted their academic lives to dismantling this bullshit. I also wonder if anyone claiming this has spent ANY time around brown cultures? I doubt it seriously. Have they spent ANY time reading the work of feminists of color?! Non-western feminist writings?
One evening my brother was given permission by Dad to bring out the tin of marbles. Iannounced my desire to play and was told bymy brother that “girls did not play with marbles,”that it was a boy’s game. This made no sense to my four- or five-year-old mind, and I insisted on my right to play by picking up marbles and shooting them. Dad intervened to tell me to stop. I did not listen. His voice grew louder and louder. Then suddenly he snatched me up, broke a board from our screen door, and began to beat me with it, telling me, “You’re just a little girl. When I tell you to do something, I mean for you to do it.” He beat me and he beat me, wanting me to acknowledge that I understood what I had done. His rage, his violence captured everyone’s attention. Our family sat spellbound, rapt before the pornography of patriarchal violence. After this beating I was banished—forced to stay alone in the dark. Mama came into the bedroom to soothe the pain, telling me in her soft southern voice, “I tried to warn you. You need to accept that you are just a little girl and girls can’t do what boys do.” In service to patriarchy her task was to reinforce that Dad had done the right thing by, putting me in my place, by restoring the natural social order. I remember this traumatic event so well because it was a story told again and again within our family. No one cared that the constant retelling might trigger post-traumatic stress; the retelling was necessary to reinforce both the message and the remembered state of absolute powerlessness. The recollection of this brutal whipping of a little-girl daughter by a big strong man, served as more than just a reminder to me of my gendered place, it was a reminder to everyone watching/remembering, to all my siblings, male and female, and to our grownwoman mother that our patriarchal father was the ruler in our household. We were to remember that if we did not obey his rules, we would be punished, punished even unto death. This is the way we were experientially schooled in the art of patriarchy.
Kimberle Crenshaw (yanno, the one who created modern understandings of INTERSECTIONALITY, which these transactivists fully fail to understand doesn’t mean trans women are more oppressed than anyone else alive on the planet):
My objective here is to advance the telling of that location by exploring the race and gender dimensions of violence against women of color. Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourses have failed to consider the intersections of racism and patriarchy. Focusing on two dimensions of male violence against women-battering and rape-I consider how the experiences of women of color are frequently the product of intersecting patterns of racism and sexism, and how these experiences tend not to be represented within the discourse of either feminism or antiracism. Because of their intersectional identity as both women and people of color within discourses that are shaped to respond to one or the other, the interests and experiences of women of color are frequently marginalized within both.
Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, a Malawian feminist, has addressed this issue within a pan-African context.
Listening to voices of the actual women themselves, could be of great helpful. Fortunately, African literature provides a channel that directly links one with African women writers. Their work is credible because they are increasingly using the self referentiality technique in their narratives. It is for that reason that this paper engages the narratives of Adichie and Dangarembga. This talk will focus on Purple Hibiscus and Nervous Conditions. I argue that Adichie and Dangarembga portrayal of African female oppression calls for a classed, anti and decolinised reading of the African woman question. Their portrayal of the oppression of the African woman centers on patriarchy, globalizing and glocalising it as a complex and fluid concept, one that mutates and reinvents itself when need be.
I am not even close to being done but I can’t be here all night on this tip. But please see the work of Latinas from South and Central America (specifically work about the Juarez femicide).
The fact is, white people clearly have projected their very particular brand of patriarchy on other cultures through imperialism. That is very true. What all of these societies were doing BEFORE the arrival of people may have looked very, different. I am sure some were matriarchal. I am sure some were without gender. But we are now living in a world where patriarchy based on a European model has been exported throughout the world. Where almost every culture has been touched by these plumes of domination.
To deny this basic fact is insulting. It is just insulting. It doesn’t make sense and it isn’t supported if one takes even minimal effort to interrogate the world and people around them.