Watch Out For Radfem Scorpions

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One morning last week, I logged into my tumblr account to discover that a number of self-proclaimed “radical feminisits” (radfems) had been reblogging and commenting on a photo of my girlfriend and me at a derby party last June. I don’t personally know any radfems, so I hadn’t had much exposure to their particular brand of feminism, but I was fairly certain that they weren’t the biggest fans of trans* people like me. And sure enough, their comments on the photo were littered with transphobia and misogyny:

“That is a lovely photograph of a heterosexual couple.  How long have they been boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“And they think we don’t know which one is which.”

“Don’t y’all know make up and a dress make a woman?”

“See, you know which one the dude is too.”

 “You assume I mean the one on the left because s/he is taller. It’s not their height that makes them identifiable as a male, it’s their maleness and their pretentious femininity. I know height means nothing. I am a 6 foot tall female.”

“…Except the one on the right has a vagina and the one on the left either has or has had a penis. Which one is the most masculine of those two sex organs?”

Nothing scares radfems and Republicans more than the thought of me doing this in a public restroom

So basically because I am femme, the radfems felt it was their place to invalidate my gender and dismiss me as a “man performing a patriarchal version of femininity.” I dug a little deeper and discovered that they not only reject the notion of gender identity as a “tool of oppression,” but they’re also super concerned about keeping trans women out of female-only spaces like public restrooms. Who knew they had so much in common with Republican politicians?

Thankfully this bigotry did not go unanswered, and by the time I discovered the comments many other tumblr users had called them out on their transphobia. I’m glad that people had my back, but it still made me a little sad to know that the radfems viewed my very existence as such a threat.

 I was feeling better by that afternoon for two reasons. The first is that I made my own response to the people who insisted on calling me a “dude”:

The second is that I discovered one of my new favorite tumblrs: Radfem Scorpion! The blog was started by two trans girls in response to the increasingly vocal and transphobic radfem presence on tumblr. It’s a way for trans* people, femmes, sex workers, people of color, bi and straight women, and their allies to laugh off the hatred directed at them from this group.

I’m moderating the gender panel at A-Camp, in which we’re sure to touch on many of the issues that radfems and I disagree on, like gender identity, socialization, and presentation.

This post goes hand-in-hand with A-Camp’s Gender Panel with Whitney, Marni, Annika, Sara Medd, Laura, Alex, Jess, Gabby and Katrina.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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I'm a 23 year old femme lesbian living in SF. Once upon a time, I was a USC frat boy ;) I ♥ music so please recommend your favorite artists to me!

annika has written 21 articles for us.


  1. thank you so much for writing this. i had to block gaynotqueer on my browser, because looking at the page was upsetting me to the point of tears so much, but really nice to see that other people care.

  2. Not all radfems are transphobic, many are very much fem (if such a label were to be applied) and find a lot of that blog very offensive. What was said to you was completely out of order and I do not condone that branch of rad feminism at all. But to damn them all as ignorant and oppressive is just as bad.

    Radical feminism does have a lot to offer in terms of unpicking the dichotomy of everyday life, to use just one of your examples the idea of “lesbians who use dildos are doing it wrong”, if deconstructed then you have to call into question the idea that is perpetuated by our society of all sex having to involve a penis/ or a plastic substitute. That is not to say a) sex involving a penis is wrong, b) sex with a dildo is wrong. But rather lets question why we consider this the only form, or the most prominent form, of sex.

    I hope that the breed of transphobic, judgemental radical feminist are dying out and/or seeing the error of their ways, but to tar us all with the same brush, well then you’re just as bad as them.

    • actually, the kind of transphobia that these radfems exhibit is extremely oppressive and leads to violence that so many trans* people are subjected to. it is violent, it is terrible, it kills people. calling radical feminists ignorant hurts feelings of radical feminists. if you don’t want to be seen as horrible, prove to trans* people that you are not a horrible person. please don’t equate those two things.

    • “to tar us all with the same brush, well then you’re just as bad as them”

      Wow, are you for real? A bunch of people post vile, hateful remarks about Annika and her girlfriend and somehow she’s ‘just as bad as them’ because she critiques their underlying philosophy as a result? Do you want to explain how that places her on the level of the people who made those comments?

      If anything, I think it would have been entirely understandable for Annika to respond in kind. Instead all she does in response is to flip them off and then call them out on their piggish behaviour – in a manner that doesn’t attack who they are as women and as people. If anything, that makes her approximately one squillion times better than the people who said those things.

      It’s quite plain she’s not talking about all forms of radical feminism from her article. She’s using ‘radfems’ as a way to describe the kind of radical feminist who thinks it’s ok to say that sort of thing about trans people. Yeah, I guess her post might have been made criticism-proof if only she’d specified that. But have some compassion for a woman who has been the subject of the most disgraceful attacks.

      • Yes, I should have clarified that I am referring to self-proclaimed “radfems” who intentionally misgender trans* people and promote transphobia. I’m not trying to paint all radical feminists with the same brush, but transphobic sites like radfemhub certainly claim to speak for all of them.

        Also, hi from A-Camp! <33

        • Annika, I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to align myself with people who are clearly ignorant, I shall in future think and rethink before commenting on something. I just had a gut reaction, it’s not been a great week for feminism. But when is it ever…

          • Apology accepted <3

            Seriously, how could I (or anyone, for that matter) be upset when I'm having such an amazing time at A-Camp?

    • Really? To call people “ignorant and oppressive” is just as bad as being ACTUALLY oppressive? Sorry, your privilege is showing. This is exactly why people don’t like radfems.

    • How does judging and insulting women who like penetration do anything to deconstruct the idea that all sex must involve penetration? As a queer woman with zero interest in penetration I take issue with the idea that radical feminists are speaking for me by insulting other people’s sexuality. I guess that’s my false consciousness talking again…

  3. Am I the only one that hasn’t previously heard “radical feminists” used to describe this type of cissexist hateful people? That kind of bums me out, because I had thought of radical feminists as being like, feminists. But extra radical/activisty/social justicey.

    That being said, as a *queer* femme with some lovely cis men friends and trans* friends, I can get behind a good send-up of this group of haters.

    • As others said above, I think she’s using the abbreviation “radfems” to talk about the subset of them who are transphobic, not radical feminism as a whole.

        • y’all, you are missing the point so much. if you don’t want an unfair generalization made about your movement, don’t be shitty. and stop other people when they are being shitty.

          • But that’s not even the movement. They’ve just taken the name. Radical feminism is an identifiable political theory, they can’t just be called “Radical feminists” because that’s what they’re asking to be called.

          • Radical feminism is founded on the idea that gender is a social construct. Given that the whole basis for trans* identities is the idea that we have an intrinsic gender identity, I’m really not sure how it can’t be fundamentally transphobic even on a theoretical level.

            And that’s before touching on the works of people like Janice Raymond or Julie Bindel or Germaine Greer who have spewed rather impressive quantities of transphobic crap in the name of radical feminism.

            Have you actually seen a text written by a radical feminist which was supportive… or at least not entirely dismissive of trans* people? I can think of… one? Maybe.

          • I don’t think the idea that gender is more or less a social construct is mutually exclusive with trans* identities. If you take social constructionism to it’s logical conclusion, our understanding of just about everything is informed by the constructions of our social contexts. So just because gender may be something that is determined by the way our culture views it does not make it any less of a powerful force, and does not invalidate the way that anyone feels about their gender identity in that social context. Just because something is a social construct doesn’t make it not real or important.

          • The problem, Bhan, is that radfems are unwilling to draw that distinction between an intrinsic gender identity, and constructed gender norms. For them it’s all constructed. Which leads to… disagreements.

            And, Emma, if being a woman, for example, is exclusively the result of being raised and socialized as a woman. How can a trans woman be a woman when they were raised and socialized as a man? Or a trans man be a man?

            It’s not really a question of real or not real. It’s that at a fundamental level, trans folks existence is predicated on there being something intrinsic to our brains that makes us identify as we do… without that we would simply reflect the manner in which we were socialized.

          • “Radical feminism is founded on the idea that gender is a social construct. Given that the whole basis for trans* identities is the idea that we have an intrinsic gender identity, I’m really not sure how it can’t be fundamentally transphobic even on a theoretical level. ”

            Gender is socially constructed. What do you mean “intrinsic”? Neurological? Not all trans* people take such a deterministic view.

          • oh? many cis gay men and drag queens believe they are entitled to use the word “tranny” in abundance. tbh it shits me that terms like “trans*” even exist… they sound so clinical and dehumanising. i vote on makin a new word for that and a new word for the described “radfem” – perhaps for the latter we can simply use “douchecannon”.

            *insert yer preferred sex and/or gender approximating noun.

        • I think that the transmisogyny of a significant chunk of radfems is probs a tad bit more unfair than that generalization.

        • Well, it’s not a generalisation if she’s only talking about a minority who actually ARE quite bigoted towards trans people.

        • I don’t think it is. In my encounters with so-called radical feminists over the past 10 years, they nearly always have been transphobic and gender essentialist, and they defend their ideas. And I am not trans and haven’t been looking for transphobia. It just has happened, over and over, so often that I determined years ago that I didn’t want to have anything to do with the “radical feminism” concept. (Even without the transphobia, I don’t think the anti-sex, pro-censorship, femininity-negative, and theoretical flimsiness among the leading lights of radical feminism failed to empower women in any way.) Some examples: a panel with a lesbian artist who I previously respected suddenly going into a rant about FTMs and well-known FTM individuals while specifically placing her prejudices in the context of radical feminism and the glory days of the 80s. In the creation of women-only spaces and services, over and over again, that specifically exclude trans women. In angry responses to people who analyze gender and privilege without placing the main emphasis on how the patriarchy undermines women. In the frequent implication that sex with or relationships with men devalues women. And, this one was my favourite, I had this one woman tentatively approving of me for being same-sex oriented (assuming this was political lesbianism, I think) until she found out I’m bi, flipped, and went fully biphobic (cast her out, she embraced the patriarchy with her legs! Politically suspect!)

          Radical feminism was dated even when I was still a toddler. I think most feminists have moved on. The result is that if someone is identifying themselves as a radical feminist in this day and age, they either a) are completely unaware of the political, social and intellectual history of radical feminism, and are thus plain ignorant, or b) you can make generally accurate assumptions about their views on queerness and queering gender. When it comes down to it, I want to tear down gender oppression, and part of that is fighting trans-misogyny where I see it. If radical feminists contribute to gender oppression I don’t care if they call themselves “feminists”. They’re not my allies in any way.

          • That sounds more like liberal feminist theory, which is admittedly shitty and dated. I think you’re just attributing “radical feminism” to people who seem to be, like, “crazy” feminists or whatever. Not the correct term.

          • Academically speaking, radical and liberal feminisms are two entirely different creatures.

          • I do think Li has a point though about terminology/identity, which is that it seems like most people who identify as RadFems in this day and age tend to have similar (dated) viewpoints, which are transphobic mostly because they focus on the creation of ‘women-only’ spaces and tend to see trans women as ‘actually men’ who are encroaching on these spaces. And this tendency is totally exemplified in this example, by the commenters who tried to ‘call out’ someone who they saw as a ‘man trying to pass’ or whatever (idk, these are just guesses of the kind of terms they would use, obvs nothing near my own view on the matter).
            Honestly, I don’t think the wording/identifying of groups matters so much in this case as much as the fact that a lot of people who happened to call themselves RadFems were really cruel to Annika, and it’s totally her right to extrapolate based on that and make assumptions about the movement as a whole.

    • You aren’t the only person – and I was dismayed to discover this ugly trans hate being spewed by self-proclaimed lesbian feminists. This shouldn’t be what feminism is about! Trans folks are targets of sexism and homophobia as much as cis women are – trans women are not the problem here – the patriarchal culture is.

      I’ve always loved the term “radical feminist” but now I feel like I can’t call myself that because I don’t want anyone to think that I feel trans women aren’t women and aren’t welcome to be part of my circle.

    • I used to use think of the term ‘radical feminist’ positively because I just assumed it meant a feminist who had radical politics in an anti-capitalist sense. I think a lot of people have that initial conception before they learn about the Janice Raymond/Andrea Dworkin branch of feminism that calls itself radical feminism. Even the way people call themselves ‘lesbian feminists’ can be confusing because people don’t necessarily know the context of the label/ the difference between ‘lesbian feminist’ and ‘feminist lesbian’.

      • “I used to use think of the term ‘radical feminist’ positively because I just assumed it meant a feminist who had radical politics in an anti-capitalist sense.”

        Yeah, same here. I didn’t always know that radical feminism was such a specific label; I thought it was more all-encompassing for any feminists who thought mainstream liberal feminism was a bit limited in its outlook. As I’ve become more acquainted with “radfems” though and what they actually stand for, though, I don’t like the label quite so much!

      • I had the same reaction on realizing that radfems are… well, radfems.

        Somehow, bowing to the kyriarchy doesn’t strike me as particularly radical. =/

  4. Oh “radfems”, what a lovely crowd.

    Speaking of “radfems” and transwomen, a new term they have been discussing about lately is the “cotton ceiling”.

    It’s basically a term made by trans porn actress(Drew DeVaux) to discribe cis lesbians’ tendency to support trans issues, but have a strict stance of not sleeping with trans women or including trans lesbians in their sexual communities but still saying they consider them women.

    You can imagine what a field day some radfems are having over this, to them cotton ceiling is just a misogynist term that transwomen are using to get into lesbian pants and justify it. Of course, they do not necessarily see how they are invalidating the experience of the transwoman but hey, that’s how they always roll about these issues! *sigh*

    • I hope this site doesn’t cover the “cotton ceiling” debacle because that would turn into a terrible mess.

    • I think it’s funny how they assume that being critical of certain cis lesbians’ refusal to sleep with trans women means the trans women want to get into their pants. It’s so incredibly, unbelievably vain, you know? I’m bisexual and I’m critical often of certain lesbians’ refusal to date bisexual girls but that doesn’t mean *I* specifically want to date *those women* specifically. Really now!

    • Okay, I *do not* want to sound like a jackass about this, because this point is tangential at best, and these radfems are clearly part of the kookbox crowd with their Neanderthal-level transphobia and unforgivable stupidity, but I cannot get past that “cotton ceiling” business.

      It just sounds too much like two groups trying to invalidate each other, and just wasting a lot of big fucking time over it.

      Honestly, I don’t like it when anyone criticizes another person’s sexual agency and preferences. Nobody is entitled to anyone else’s personal business. If a cis lesbian doesn’t want to date a trans* person, regardless of whether she considers herself an ally, that’s her choice. She doesn’t deserve to get criticized for it. The same goes for a trans* person. They shouldn’t have to date a lesbian or a straight person or what have you to “prove” something. That’s just despicable.

      It’s one thing to give weird, phobic excuses for not wanting to date somebody (like these radfems are doing, clearly), and it’s another thing to politely decline. People should be allowed to politely decline without being criticized for it.

      P.S. Also, back on topic, Annika, this post and your response to the radfems is fantastic.

      • No one was criticizing individual’s sex practices or preferences, just the obviously kyrarchical basis for a general trend. Like how pointing out that there tends to be racist biases in dating scenes is different from telling people that if they prefer blondes they are evil.

      • Horse,
        I think the term “cotton ceiling” refers more to the experience of being a woman of transgendered experience in a mostly cissexual and cissexist community; that there is a dearth of other women (trans or cis) who would choose to partner with another woman who is transgendered or transsexual, is inherently “othering”, and feels like an impassable boundry. I don’t think anyone means to insinuate that policy should dictate whom one is attracted to.

    • if there is a cotton ceiling then i guess i live above it in the attic. pyjama party up in my attic, anybody?

  5. Oh Annika, I’m so sorry that people think it’s ok to say those things about you. I know fist-violence is not the answer to word-violence but I wish I could smack them round until they said sorry. I’d probably use dildos, since apparently they don’t like those. Purple, sparkly dildos. Until they apologised.

  6. Honestly wasn’t saying that the things they said were acceptable or could be taken as anything other than completely vile and offensive. I am just fearful of the word radical being equated with transphobic. Feminism gets enough shit as it is and the people who commented on her photo were clearly bastards but I’m just not sure if this is the best way to combat the issue.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have commented or reworded my comments better, I just struggle with the fact that I must be considered oafish and ignorant when I describe myself as a radical feminist.

    I’m sorry if I caused offense and I am completely appalled by those who were offensive.

    • um…you’re worried about feminism getting shit, but you don’t care about trans* folks? cuz pretty sure that if you want to talk about receiving negative opinions/assumptions based on an identity you have, trans* women would win that one.

      call out your ignorant radfems when they are being shitty if you don’t want to be seen as ignorant. otherwise, you are implicated in their violence and bigotry.

      • I do try to whenever I hear it, though in truth I don’t interact much with rad fems. And in saying I didn’t want feminism to get shit does not equate to wishing ill upon Trans* people.

        • As I have already said I am sorry if my comments were offensive. They were not intended to be.

          • It doesn’t matter how you intended your busted comments to be taken. They were oppressive and fucked up. And an “I’m sorry if….” is not an apology. An “I’m sorry that I did a fucked up thing” is an apology.

          • How is this a productive conversation? I’m all for shutting someone down who’s ignorant and unwilling to open their mind. But she’s clearly trying to work with you here, understand, and own up to things, and you’re only interested in repeatedly shutting her down.

          • She’s the one not being productive by focusing on the reputation of a movement instead of how the movement is hurting oppressed people. Intent does not matter. Her apology is pretty much, “Sorry you got offended,” instead of, “Sorry I missed the point & complained about the rep of a movement and how I will be perceived by associating with it instead of focusing on the pain that movement is causing.”

          • This is nit-picky/semantics, but I think Nelephant really meant “I’m sorry if my comments WERE OFFENSIVE,” not “I’m sorry if you were so dumb/sensitive that you found them offensive,” which seems to be the way you, Rene, took it.
            Honestly, I think we’re all trying to be educated on these issues so as to be able to step in and stop hate like that which Annika had to face (at least, that’s why I’m reading this whole thread). I don’t think there’s much point in telling someone who really is trying to learn (or so it seems to me) that their intent doesn’t matter; more helpful would be to tell Nelephant EXACTLY what she said that was offensive to you/to people in general and why lots of other people in the future might/will take it that way, so she can do better in the future, otherwise you’re not doing much to help make transphobia go away.

        • i don’t understand why you’re so worried about feminism getting shit, though. when the reason for it getting shit is because a lot of radical feminists are transphobic scum, THAT IS NOT A BAD THING. I would be concerned if it wasn’t getting shit for that.

      • Exactly. Why are you Nelephant so concerned with policing the reactions of oppressed people to their own oppression rather than, I don’t know, being upset that the oppression is occurring in the first place? Being upset at being oppressed is the same as oppressing?

        You haven’t really proven how you’re that dramatically different than the radfems being criticized…

        • this so much

          also i am offering you a lot of internet cuddles at your consent. gahhhh thank you

    • If there is a social movement that persistently expresses misogyny towards some types of women, I don’t believe it should be considered to be feminist. It is itself participating in a project of oppression.

      By that standard, “radical feminism” is not feminist and should not be defended simply because it has “feminism” in the name.

      There you go. You can step away from defending the indefensible now.

      • Even the radfems I’ve noticed on the Internet who were not transphobic still have some pretty awful opinions about other things. There was one on Jezebel several months ago who specifically said she didn’t like the transphobic sections of radical feminism but agreed with it in other areas, and she was basically slut-shaming women who liked penetrative sex. And the comment that got her banned was one on an article about the Penn State rape scandal that said that that best way to reduce “situations like this” is to kill off half the men/boys in the world – I shit you not. (And particularly weird on an article that was about male-on-male rape, but I digress…)

    • I think everyone is misunderstanding you here… you were trying to point out that these transphobic people had actually misused the term ‘radical feminism’, which has it’s own legitimate definition outside of these dumbass “radfems”. I’m sorry that everyone is shitting all over you, even after you apologized, jesus.

    • I think it’s tough in situations like this, when someone comes from a movement that gets shit (for example, feminism) and they see something like this happen because the initial knee jerk reaction is to protect their group. I’ve seen it time and time again in so many communities, where those communities are super unwilling to criticize even their worst, most bigoted, violent etc members because they’re afraid of the backlash from the mainstream. At the same time, though, I find this kind of thinking to be more pervasive than not in the feminist circles I’ve encountered. I don’t know that it really is a fringe thought process, though I hope to god it is. But through my time on this site, for example, I’ve seen more radical feminists come in and hurt everyone’s feelings than almost anyone else, and usually they come wielding gender and sexuality essentialism without thought for who it damages. Instead of saying but what about feminism and all the shit it gets, try saying if feminism as it stands has so much inherent transphobia, maybe the whole concept needs a rework.

      Just my thoughts! I have a tendency to leave these feeling-y rambles.

  7. I remember being introducing to the transphobic side of radical feminism when I ran across the blog of _allecto, the livejournal radfem who is infamous for writing that viral anti-Firefly rant that calls Joss Whedon a rapist and says Wash must be abusing Zoe because all white men/WOC relationships the writer has known were abusive. (You can read it in all its craziness here: ) That article isn’t transphobic, but her personal blog is, and it made me extremely stabby.

    I’m really sorry that those people were so mean to you, Annika. In my opinion, they shouldn’t count as “feminists.”

    • ‘In my opinion, they shouldn’t count as “feminists.”’

      Word. Anti-transwomen = anti-women = anti-feminist.

      • There are a lot of people out there who think it is a good? Most of the times when I’ve posted that link on feminist sites people have been like WTF IS THAT???

    • This rant is funny, oh my god! someone respected the chain of command! everything feminism has ever done is broken!

      It’s got so terrible i can’t read far past that, also i’m worried about spoilers due to not having got round to watching firefly yet.

      • Well when you do watch more of it, she also has another ridiculous rant about “Our Mrs. Reynolds” where she completely misinterprets the Saffron character.

    • Yeah, I’m not in any terms saying that Joss Whedon is a perfect feminist or whatever. Just from Firefly alone, River and Inara are both very troublesome characters in feminist terms. There’s a good feminist analysis to be had about Firefly. But that rant is not it. It’s SO not it.

  8. I do know a lot of radical feminists who aren’t in the least transphobic (and I understand that this isn’t about them–I just really don’t want people to get a bad impression of them because of shitty, awful, horrible things done by shitty, awful horrible people), and I think that radical feminism has a lot to offer by way of ideas–though I’m not always sure how or if those ideas should be put into practice. It’s an interesting ideology. And, like all ideologies, it gets things wrong and is in constant evolution.

    I’m not aware of the difference between radfems and radical feminists. Some commenters above have stated that there is a difference, though. Would anyone care to enlighten me? I apologize for my ignorance.

    And I am so, so, so sorry that these women chose to be vile and hateful. I know that my sympathy can’t do much, but I offer it.

    • radfems is usually just a shortened way of saying “radical feminist”, but some people do use it to mean “a shitty radical feminist”, or if they don’t want to say radscum or one of those alternatives.

      and…i just feel pretty icky about people being worried about feminism’s reputation. if a lot of members of that group are being shitty and transphobic, then…yeah, it’s not a bad or wrong thing to have a negative impression of them. cis people have to prove that they are allies, being a feminist and/or a woman doesn’t change that.

      ((and dayumm, i am all over this thread today. sorry about that, just having a lot of angry feelings and free time right now.))

      • Thanks for your explanation.

        And I want to clarify that I think what happened to Annika is horrible in every way, and the people who did it were horrible. It makes me angry just thinking about it. But I want to hold THEM responsible, and I don’t think that everyone who subscribes to the tenets of radical feminism or calls themselves a radical feminist should be held responsible for what a few horrible, shitty women chose to do. And I don’t think these women or these types of women make up the majority of radical feminists.

        I don’t really want to get into a discussion about the pluses and minuses of radical feminist theory (and it has both), but I am grateful for the replies to my comment. Please accept that I am still learning. I am happy to receive whatever correction or advice you have.

    • hey Hilary, at risk of speaking for others, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that there is some kind of inherent difference between radical feminists and radfems. It’s not like they’re from two separate camps or the same camp but two different tents, if that makes sense. ‘Radfem’ is just a short way to say radical feminist. So really it can be applied to any radical feminist out there.

      However in this thread the term seems to be being used in the way the author Annika has been using it ‘self-proclaimed “radfems” who intentionally misgender trans* people and promote transphobia’. It makes sense for her and us to use it in this context because she is specifically talking about a website called radfemhub, which describes itself as for ‘radfems’. So it makes sense to call the radical feminists who attacked her ‘radfems’, as that is how they describe themselves. However, outside this context, a radfem might be any kind of radical feminist – transphobic or not.

      I hope this explanation is useful to you in some way.

      On that note, it is getting mighty late here in the land down under, so I think I will go to bed. I will probably dream of attacking transphobic radical feminists with dildos. Purple, sparkly dildos.

    • You are talking about a movement that gave us The Transsexual Empire by Janice Raymond, that sent Cathy Brennan to the UN to argue against providing basic human rights protection for trans people, that has been the driving force behind the continued exclusion of trans women from MWMF. Radical feminism is not an “interesting ideology,” it is a current social movement that is actively and aggressively working to oppressive trans people and attack our very right to exist.

      I’m so very glad that you are not a transphobe. That’s awesome. But your movement? It’s transphobic. Rampantly transphobic. We are not talking about some tiny minority of radical feminists here.

      You are basically saying “I’m a social conservative, but I’m not homophobic.” Cool. Social conservatives and radical feminists still suck.

      I don’t need to justify my rage against the people who want to hurt me. I think maybe you need to justify how you can be a part of a movement that wants to hurt me and still claim not to be a transphobe though.

      • I’ve always thought of myself as a radical feminist, but I clearly don’t know enough about that movement, because it wasn’t until a recent online discussion of the cotton ceiling that I understood who Cathy Brennan even was, or the depth of their transphobia.

        Now that I know – I want to no part of that movement. I do want to be a feminist, and I want to be a radical about it in the face of our partriarchal conservative culture, but I sure as hell don’t want to participate in or contribute to the oppression of trans folks. I don’t know what to call that, but now that I’m aware of anti-trans feelings in the feminist movement, I won’t be silent about my opposition to it.

      • I don’t subscribe to radical feminism. I’m sorry if I didn’t make that clear in my comment. I have done quite a bit of reading on radical feminism (and on other schools of feminist thought), though. I’ve found that a lot of transphobic writings in radical feminism were written in the seventies and most modern women who subscribe to the ideology have moved past that. Obviously some haven’t. And that is a shame.

        I do not want you to justify your rage. Please, please, please do not feel that you need to justify your rage. And please know that I am angry, too.

        I do not know what it is to be trans, but I do know what it is to be consistently mistaken for a gender I am not. For a few years I was consistently mistaken for a boy. I was either laughed at, mocked, or yelled at when I went into the girl’s room. It was a terrible, terrible time. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if my body were also telling me that my sex was wrong. It makes me very sad to think that there are people who are hateful enough that they would try to deny someone their identity.

      • “The Transsexual Empire by Janice Raymond”

        God that book is repulsive. I can’t even look at it.

      • I guess I should also make clear that most of what I’ve focused on when studying radical feminism isn’t their deconstruction of gender, but their deconstruction of consent. Because I’m bi and sometimes do have sex with men, and because I was sexually abused as a child and raped as an adult, I’ve found that the radical feminist view on consent has helped me ask some questions before I have sex that are essential to me (your experience, of course, may vary). It helps me ask whether the power balance between myself and my partner is great enough that a sexual encounter will wander into coercive territory. It helps me ask if I’ll regret the experience later. It helps me ask if the sexual experience will leaver me feeling used and/or abused.

        I admit that I probably haven’t read as much about radical feminism’s views on trans issues as I should have. I can only take so much rage and unhappiness. When it comes to radical feminism and trans issues I have for the most part limited myself to the I Blame the Patriarchy blog and a few others just because she’s a staunch defender of trans rights (she doesn’t always get things right, but she is an ally). I do apologize if my ignorance has been offensive.

        • Also, oops on my spelling/grammar. I was up last night coughing, and my cat woke me up early because she wanted to play fetch. Cats!

    • “I do know a lot of radical feminists who aren’t in the least transphobic (and I understand that this isn’t about them–I just really don’t want people to get a bad impression of them because of shitty, awful, horrible things done by shitty, awful horrible people), and I think that radical feminism has a lot to offer by way of ideas–though I’m not always sure how or if those ideas should be put into practice. It’s an interesting ideology. And, like all ideologies, it gets things wrong and is in constant evolution.”

      Name one who’s been published.

      Hell, name a cis feminist in general who published anything that was actually anti-cissexist between the years 1950-2000 while you’re at it.

  9. I won’t recap all the horror and outrage that this post clearly deserves but 1. good on you for bringing this up and putting it out there and 2. (unrelated) your haircut is ridiculously cute!!

  10. I’ve been seeing this on tumblr, the idea that you can be both transmisogynistic and feminist baffles me. Thanks for writing about it, eloquently as always :) I love your articles, even when they are upsetting.

  11. I’d like to yell ALL THE THINGS and also call ‘gaynotqueer’&friends a lot of ‘not-so-nice-words’.
    but I’m not gonna do that. instead I’d like to say that I love your ‘the velvet underground’shirt, you and your girlfriend are a very cute couple and also, the candle in the second picture is crooked(had to get it out, it was driving me insane) :)

  12. Thank you for this post and for sharing this.

    This shit makes me VERY angry as a cis women, queer person, feminist and human being. It is so vile and heart breaking that women would do this to other women, that queer people would do this to other queer people that human beings would do this to eatch other.

    I discovered this radfem hate on the I Blame the Patriarchy blog last year and have been continually appauled ever since. Julia Serano recently wrote a blog response to an article in Ms. magazine about the “transwoman/feminism conundrum” and there were some really extreme transphobic comments posted to her as well. It is so terrible.

    We gotta speak up and make it stop.

    • Thank you for this, it’s scary but sometimes I feel like I’m alone as an ally but fuck it now, I’m over it. People seriously need to educate themselves.

      • As a trans person can I just say I love people like you. Every single person I run in to who gets it makes the pressure on my chest a little lighter and I can get a breath for once. (and that’s what I want to do for others in the times when I am called on to be an ally) I just wanted to throw a little validation your way because to me I want nothing more than for us all to blend and band together and when you stick up for us you’re helping that happen. We can’t get over discrimination of any kind if we don’t discuss it, tear it down, build something better, all together.

        (sorry sorry. we all know I am a unique trans flower singing kumbaya and shit <3)

  13. I am so annoyed. Really. Fucking. Annoyed.

    Goddammit can people who speak of equality actually mean it? Is it possible for people to not be so myopic about their rights? Can people see that all oppression is linked together?

    Rage, rage, rage.

    I’m cis queer/gay woman of color and something about this just made me so pissed. I know what it is and here it goes:

    You see ideas people who are passionate and for the most part the ideologies are attractive to you and you are like “fuck yeah! I can be down with this!”

    And then you realize they are not talking about you, you were not even in their thought process, at beast you might be an afterthought. Most times though, you find yourself excluded because your background “does not fit” with their paradigm.

    It’s always something, it’s always fucking something with these groups.


    I’m sorry Annika that this happened to you, so sorry. I’m sorry for all the times that trans* women had their lives questioned and harshly judge by people you thought should be on your side. Well I’m on your side dammit. I am on your side.

  14. Hey Annika! I’m one of the girls who runs the radfem scorpion blog, and I just wanted to thank you for mentioning us! :D

    I’ve actually been a fan of your writing for a while, so it’s really cool to see something I made be featured on here. :D

  15. Ha! I love Radfem Scorpion. Thankfully I haven’t personally run into bullshit like that yet, but it’s really asinine that they’d actually make comments like that and still consider themselves as benefiting anyone’s cause. It’s ridiculous that they can actually consider themselves ‘radical’ with such an essentialist worldview.

  16. So I assume that radfems don’t like trans men either. What is their attitude toward them?

  17. I’m not an expert on radfems by any measure, but as far as I can remember every time I’ve come across them on the internet they’ve been transphobic. Sadly, I’m not surprised they said that horrible stuff to Annika, but I love the radfem scorpion tumblr response (and sheesh, that is one creepy looking scorpion).

  18. So your hair is super-adorable.

    And thank you for writing about this! There’s seems to be an explosion of radfems on Tumblr (I suspect they may have realized it’s an excellent platform for finding lots of trans people, especially trans women, to harass in one place), and the Radfem Scorpion meme is such a smart response to that explosion.

    • There’s been an explosion of every kind of “social justice” person on tumblr, which means some of them are going to be extremists and assholes.

      • I meant to say *some* extremists and assholes. Basically when any kind of movement has a huge presence somewhere, that does mean you’ll see the extremists and assholes more than you would normally and they’ll probably congregate together. Radfems are hardly the only ones to come out of the tumblr “social justice” community.

      • Def. Also, unfortunately tumblr is a great place to semi-anonymously judge/harass people for their physical appearance, and that group of radfems seem to be taking advantage of that in a horrible way.

  19. As a transgirl and lady-loving femme, reading comments like the examples you’ve given make my soul hurt. I wish I had something more poignant, forceful, or defiant to say, but it just makes me want to cry alone. What happened to them personally that they feel okay about saying things like that?

  20. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been watching this unfold on tumblr over the past few weeks, and it truly breaks my heart. I’ve even dipped my hand in the scorpion tank a few times, and hand the scorpions trying to sting me through my door, but thankfully I have plenty of anti-venom in my life.

    I’ve been personally invested in challenging the ideas of some of these people like gaynotqueer and bugbrennan. I know it probably won’t do much, but it never hurts to try.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, because you and your girlfriend are phenomenal, and absolutely adorable.

  21. The radfem scorpion reminds me of the “Giant Enemy Crab!” meme from some something or some other something long ago in the internet’s distant past.

    I think it’s terrible that you’ve had to endure this, Annika. Sadly, it’s not really revelatory that a group of ideological chauvinists calling themselves “radfems” are transphobic — as someone pointed out, plenty of old guard feminist writers like Germaine Greer, Janice G. Raymond, and Julie Bindel pioneered in contempt for the trans* community. Greer, most loathably, held an even more childish attitude towards intersex people.

    I hope that you let this roll off your back, though, and not let it get to you. As you said, it’s sad that people who should be your allies “view (your) very existence as a threat”, but hey, at least you’re in the position for them to recognise that you’re a threat to their paleolithic politics, rather than being able to dismiss you completely, as they can for a lot of trans women. Think of all of the privileges you have that most trans women will never have. You come from a prosperous, white, two-parent, educated background; you were born beautiful and able-bodied (something that your first puberty apparently didn’t feel like sabotaging); you were able to achieve an education and a career; you’ve used all of that and made yourself a visible intellectual presence on the internet (a place that rewards cruelty and anonymity), and the worst you get, in fourteen months, is a few nasty comments from a tumblr coterie about an early transition photo. The abuse you’ve had to read through is pretty mild compared to the sniggers and stares most trans women have to tolerate daily, just as a matter of course. Think about the hundreds of supportive, inspiring comments you’ve received because of the advantages you have that most trans women will never get to experience. Concentrate on that. The overwhelming majority of trans women, in your position, probably wouldn’t even be given the cursory, back-handed defence that one or two commentators at the link felt was necessary to make. Think about every girl and woman transitioning right now who have seen your photos and read your blogs, wishing that they could to curl up and die because they know that they’ll never be able to attain what you’ve been able to so easily: something that one day you’ll be taking for granted. Remember how amazingly, preternaturally fortunate you are before you really let a feed of nasty, attention-seeking exclusionaries get to you too much. Although fighting back with the memiest of memes is a great idea, too. You should laugh it off and live harder than ever!

    • Not sure pointing all that out is strictly necessary, i’m pretty sure there’s been other posts where Annika has had to defend her good looks etc. and it’s getting a bit tired that we’re essentially punishing someone for being themselves. No, not all trans girls pass as easily, i am one of those, i can’t say i have the other disadvantages but still, we can all appreciate that we’re pretty fucking fortunate.

      Also adding compliments in just makes them look backhanded and shitty, IIRC she’s also had to deal with quite a bit of shit from that background now too.

    • I’m not sure that’s the worst Annika has gotten, I would just like to point out…if I recall correctly, her family hasn’t been dealing with her gender ID very well. (Am I correct? It’s been a while since an update and I am too lazy to look back at things).

      • Yeah, my parents and I haven’t spoken since February of last year, and as far as I know they’re still pretending that I don’t exist. It’s unfortunate, but not something that I lose any sleep over :). If anything, their reaction to my coming out validated my decision to wait until I had graduated college before transitioning.

        And to respond to the earlier poster- it’s true that I have an incredible amount of privilege. I have always tried to acknowledge this when writing about my experiences. But I don’t think that being privileged should necessarily disqualify me from sharing my voice or calling out transmisogony and cissexism, especially when it’s directed at me.

        • Having privilege is not supposed to be a thing we use to hurt other people with, or to shut them down, or to invalidate their pain. It’s supposed to be a call to action, a reminder to look at the intersectionality in one’s own life and the lives of people around us, and to act to minimize pain and discrimination and inequality, especially when it is based on arbitrary characteristics that should not be conflated with worth as a human. It is NOT supposed to be a weapon, whether blatantly wielded or wrapped in compliments, intended to strip away legitimacy from the kind of experience you have had with these radfems. While it is true you receive benefits from society for various reasons that others may not, that doesn’t mean you should just buck up and take the transphobia because it might be worse for someone with fewer advantages. That’s not how the concept of privilege is supposed to work. Ugh.

          • Lookism, grading “passibility” and bestowing honorary “one of us” awards onto trans people influenced by visuals is ALWAYS important to examine, reexamine and ultimately, question and challenge. It’s one of the very core aspects of cis privilege, transphobia (and transmisogyny). I’ve never actually seen anyone on Autostraddle put Annika down for who she is or what she looks like. But it’s always important to ask why certain trans people get access and space within primarily cis communities and media and why others don’t. And I don’t feel anyone need apologize for questioning that.

            Much as I dislike the behavior and out-and-out bigotry of certain radical feminists (Greer, Daly, Jeffreys, Bindel, etc.), I don’t much like the term “radfem.” Somehow it reminds me of Rush Limbaugh’s “femnazi’s.” And I also think it creates an artificial differentiation of them from other feminists of previous generations (like Gloria Steinem, who’s also made very transmisogynist remarks). For myself, I’ve learned the importance of evaluating people’s transphobia on a one-by-one basis, not as a group because empathy, understanding and even camaraderie show up in the least likely places.

          • I dunno, i see people seem to put Annika down a lot for passing, as it definitely came across in the OP for this bit. Also maybe Annika’s writing was better than others. Sometimes you get picked for a job because you’re good at it. Whilst also being relevant.

            Admittedly i’d like to see a couple more trans girls posting but that’s personal bias and there are easily enough trans articles that i don’t care and lots of the others are awesome anyways.

            That’s a point, this is primarily a site for ‘girl on girl culture’ not ‘trans* issues’ Obviously it is related, but is a subsection for the site that i’m glad to have at all.

          • Some suffragists called themselves “suffragettes”… some trans persons refer to themselves as “trannies” but that doesn’t mean those terms weren’t also used as putdowns. And just because a few websites refer to themselves as ‘radfems’ doesn’t mean that all radical feminists refer to themselves that way nor that it’s automatically okay to call all of them that. Again, I hugely disagree with the transmisogyny (and hatred of trans men too) I’ve seen come out of that movement, but I’m really not cool with a “transwomen vs. the radfems” storyline.

          • You should tell the radfems who spewed hatred at Annika that you’re not cool with the narrative. Guess what? You don’t get veto power over every other trans woman’s experiences and writing about those experiences. Everyone gets it: You disapprove of everything and will find any excuse to troll, troll, troll.

          • Woah–since when is someone participating in the conversation “trolling”? She’s making a point about language and labels here, and she’s respectfully noted that she personally is uncomfortable with oversimplifying the issue into “transwomen vs radfems”. I’d like it if ginasf elaborated a little more on that point, because I’m not sure I agree, but I don’t think that making such a point constitutes hate speech or trolling. I don’t know about earlier contributions that people are bringing up, but, out of context, this seems fine.

            We have to give each other the benefit of the doubt as a community in the comments, or we won’t have real conversations. Only people with the same perspective validating each other or fighting paper tigers. Otherwise the scorpions win.

          • I’ve seen you back her in to a corner over her looks in a thread before, in a way that I didn’t feel was super appropriate given the context. (I believe it was about her writing for autostraddle) While the things you point out are indeed important to examine there’s a time and a place and a way, and the way I often see it done for Annika frequently turns in to an attack. Shaming her for being pretty can turn in to shaming her for her femininity and that point it turns right around and becomes potentially anti-woman in and of itself. When someone starts an argument like do you feel your looks made you more likely to be hired by Autostraddle, for example, there is no way she can respond that won’t get her attacked. Not to mention it’s kind of shitty to imply that she can’t get hired on her merit. It’s the Internet. Who can even be sure they saw her picture before hiring her?

            Should she acknowledge that being conventionally attractive may help her along some in a cis dominated society? Sure. Does that mean she doesn’t get to feel pain over transphobia? No. And the original comment directed at her is just straight up inappropriate and backhanded. She didn’t ask to look how she does and there’s nothing in this or any of her writing that suggests to me she is unaware of the privilege she does have. Having privilege does NOT equal that one must feel shame for being privileged. It does not equal a good reason to dismiss someone’s upset or bad experiences. None of us asked for our privileges or our disadvantages and dismissing her and her work as, well you pass so whatever is super uncool.

          • Not to mention looking super feminine is a pretty double edged goddamn sword when it comes to privilege.

          • Exactly. GinaSF, maybe you don’t see people putting her down for her looks, because 99.9% of the time YOU are the one doing it. We all get it, you have a problem with Annika’s attractiveness and seem to feel the need to comment on it on every one of her articles. Why are you so obsessed with talking about her passability? It’s creepy.

          • “Why are you so obsessed with talking about her passability? It’s creepy.”

            Forgive me (seriously) but I cannot help myself when I say maybe GinaSF has a big/huge LESBIAN crush on Annika (I know I do!!!), suck on that, eeiiiiheyeyeyeyeyeyeye!!!!***

            Seriously, like Tiger Gray says, the criticisms are legit but is it really *this* conversation we must hash that shit out? Really?

            ***I love Mean Girls.

          • Tiger, I’ve never, ever put her down for her looks or ‘passibility’… what I have done is questioned why it is AS has welcomed trans women who are cute and passible and posed the question to AS readers that they ask themselves “does the gender normative way these trans women look have something to do with my acceptance of them?” Nor does this question have anything to do with questioning Annika’s writing… but yes, I have mentioned there are many very good young queer trans women writers who’ve had a lot more experience and visibility than her. And these are questions the trans community needs to ask of itself as well. Are we perpetuating passibility and attractiveness in focusing on certain people as ‘representatives’ (especially as chosen by out cis allies in the media) and how does that feed into transphobia and transmisogyny?

          • Again Gina, your obsession with Annika’s appearance is creepy and misogynistic.

            “there are many very good young queer trans women writers who’ve had a lot more experience and visibility than her.”

            What the fuck is your problem? It’s pretty damn misogynistic to say that Annika only (or even mostly) has her writing read because she’s pretty. YOU are the only one always reducing her to her appearance instead of the substance of what she’s actually saying.

            I don’t get why you have decreed yourself guardian of which trans people are allowed to speak in the media. Annika’s never said she’s representative of all trans women. She is allowed to write about her personal experiences without crazy people like you saying “She doesn’t represent me!!!” She’s not trying to represent you any more than any of the other writers on this website try to represent “all queer women of color” or “all bisexuals.”

            No one else wants to hear about your inappropriate obsession with her looks.

          • @Exactly and @gross

            While I’m a fan of the line Tiger Gray is walking these comments wander and then veer way off it, respectively.

            1) Baseless, speculation about a person’s character intended to undermine and shame them instead of engage with and argue their points.

            2) Othering along the lines of “creepy obsessed transgender person”…I have seen this movie before.

            3) Second comment goes further to question her sanity (I have seen this one too) in ableist terms “crazy people like you”. Repeats speculation as fact.

            Not cool: whatever your opinion. This sort of stuff is, whether you completely agree with her or not, why ginasf is making a point.

          • That’s not what that comment is doing however.

            It’s a snide, ugly and extraordinarily patronising screed that makes gross assumptions about and marginalises her own experiences. Moreover none of it is genuinely relevant to the content of the article and it’s striking that these comments are aimed at a conventionally attractive, femme, young trans* girl instead of the community which your comment implicates. Instead it’s a long series of backhanded compliments aimed exclusively at her.

            Yeah passing privilege is important to examine, especially when you are writing about the experiences of trans* women in society, but she clearly didn’t pass in this article, not to the disgusting people who attacked her gender identity, nor to the people who supported it while dancing around her personal history; when she’s clearly “out” on her blog.

            I’m going to infer that you want to see Autostraddle, and other communities, have a wider discussion about cis-privilege, transphobia and transmisogyny; and by all means take your aim at them. But the comment about that article, which started this thread, is not about that. It’s a textbook exercise in demeaning and shaming that disgusts me as much as the transphobic comments on her tumblr.

            If the commenter felt there was more to be said, based on the platform of this issue, there were a myriad of other options available to them on their keyboard.

          • “I’m going to infer that you want to see Autostraddle, and other communities, have a wider discussion about cis-privilege, transphobia and transmisogyny; and by all means take your aim at them.”

            And you’d be so totally right inferring that! I agree Madison’s comment had a lot of mean in it (although whether that was intentional or not I’m not sure… maybe it does’t matter since it was unfairly dismissive of Annika’s right to speak out about her experiences). Still, I do feel it had some, maybe not sensitively said, points about how cis people (and sadly many trans people too) tend to make a big stink when passable, gender-normative-looking trans people are attacked, while it’s largely ignored when non-passible, clearly gender variant trans women get the same treatment. (compare the gigantic coverage of Chrissy Polis, a cute, white girl getting the crap beaten out of her at a Baltimore McDonald’s versus the much more subdued coverage of tall, ‘not-passible’, black Duanna Johnson getting punched out while in custody by Memphis police. Both were on video tape… but the reactions by non-trans people were exponentially different and I don’t think it was only a matter of the race of the victim.

            It’s fact that such “radfem” (and not so radfem… like Gloria Steinem) attacks have gone on against trans women for 35+ years and that umpteen hundreds of trans women have been publicly dismissed and misgendered in this very same way… and that only very, very recently, have cis people, cis feminists and non-trans queer women even bothered to pay attention. To me, that’s the real issue. And why, when Jenna Talackova was discriminated against it was a huge story, while hundreds of other (yes, maybe worse) cases against trans people are largely ignored and not worth mentioning? DO we care more when attractive/gender-normative trans people are involved? I felt Madison’s post, whatever else wrong or unfair it said, was exploring that crucial question.

          • I would actually really like to apologise, if anyone will even want to continue reading, for that poisonous little diatribe in my original comment box. Ellie, Tiger Gray, Bhan, Julia, and everyone else were absolutely in the right to be disgusted.

            If I could rewind the clock and excise that last paragraph, I would, but I can’t, so I’m going to try to make a sincere apology for venting what should have stayed internal. I especially want to say sorry for implying that having a privilege, any kind of privilege, requires that you tolerate abuse or that it negates your right to respond to said abuse. I almost immediately regretted it and I’m ashamed of myself for thinking that it was the time or place to trot out unsolicited, counterproductive criticism like that. It was fueled by stress and exhaustion and personal frustrations, but, um, that doesn’t excuse it in the slightest. To the community, and to Annika herself: I’m sorry for every spiteful word of it, and my entire attitude. *skulks under a rock*

            I also went looking back over some previous articles; Sebastian and Annika concede the privilege differences a lot more often than I’d remembered. So: I got that assumption wrong, too. *reskulks*

          • Exactly! I think this article is pretty clearly a) an upsetting story told based on Annika’s own personal experience and then b) a comment about how widespread this kind of thing seems to be, based on what she’s seen on the internet, and c) sharing a funny/educational/awesome blog. That’s all. Considering the original commenters totally insulted her physical appearance in a way that’s pretty ridiculous when, as we’ve all pointed out, she’s super cute, I think Annika did a pretty good job of not really referring to her own physical appearance besides the obligatory for the situation. The only sense in that she’s saying her own experience applies to women/lesbians/transwomen in general is that she has noticed that this is a widespread phenomenon.
            Pointing out privilege is a REALLY tricky thing, and even though I think it’s important, it’s hard not to sound like an asshole when you do it. I’d like to think Gina is coming from a good place and trying to start an interesting discussion, but, like I said, that’s really hard to do without sounding mean and passive aggressive.

        • I was going to write a long response in support of you but instead I just hugs you, and if I were at A-camp, we could hugs for real.


  22. Hey, I too had never heard the term “radfem” before and maybe thats ignorant of me as i confess i don’t stay very much up to date with movements or predjudiced groups etc. that do not affect me personally but i was initially confused as to what this article was about.

    I’m aware that more “radical feminism” has some bizarre and destructive beliefs, but whilst I’m familliar and pretty irritated by the “men are evil and unnessesary and heterosexuals are doing it wrong” concepts this article was eye opening with regards to the fact radical feminism is used as an excuse or a euphemism for transphobia, I had never realised that there was any connection. The comments on your tumbler are ofcourse completely unnacceptable and cannot be excused by any sort of political argument.

    That said, whilst i don’t consider myself to be particularly feminist I know other people would consider me to be and I feel that the term “radfem” might need to be explained more clearly. I have always seen my own gender as irrelevant to my identity as a person, but that doesn’t mean that I believe that i know more about who you are than you yourself do. I dislike the concept that makeup and dresses are “girl’s things” or that if I cut off my hair people assume that i “want to be/look like a boy”. My problem with these supposed radical feminists is not their ideas but the fact that they are manipulating them to aggressively limit the way that you and other women can live. I think you are quite justified by your reactions to the coments on your blog, but i feel that some clarification over who you are angry with wouldn’t go amiss i’m sure you don’t intend to generalise people who would support you as being transphobic.

    I haven’t been on it yet, but the same may be said for the meme, after all in the case of the one about dildos: not feeling the need to mimic the way heterosexual couples have sex shouldn’t be ridiculed although forcing your personal choices on other people’s sex lives is creepy.

    thankyou for the article, and i really hope the unpleasent tumbler commentors somehow see how uncalled for that sort of judgement is and magically reform…

  23. I also wonder, what do they think of not-hugely-femme transgirls (think like a cross between hannah hart and tucky williams, or so my gf says), because that’s hardly a ‘parody of femininity’ as it’s often put.

    Also that pic of flipping the bird is SO FUCKING CUTE. I want it with a leather jacket in a cyberpunk movie. (May have been around ttrpgs too long)

    • If we are femme we are playing at being girls, if we are not-femme our masculinity is just showing through. There is no winning scenario here.

      Besides, didn’t you get the memo? Non-femme trans girls don’t exist.

      • Don’t think i did get that memo actually.

        BRB gonna go replace all my comfy practical cargos with miniskirts (no offence to those who wear miniskirts, i just don’t like them on me).

        • Cos that makes me a real trans girl.

          Scarily i’ve actually had that argument from a trans woman before…

          • Ya, me too. There’s a weird kind of gender essentialism that some trans folks latch onto that eerily echoes a few of the nasty things radfems like to say about us.

            I try to remember that they are just working through their own issues and let it be.

          • Unfortunately mine was in a fairly public space and i wasn’t about to let 1 person throw any sense that we can be normal people too down the drain.

    • It’s to signal the trans* spectrum of TS/TV/CD/GQ or something. this is something i should really know.

    • My understanding is that it is what is known as a wild card character, and some folk use it to represent the entire trans rainbow, if you will.

  24. Radfems… Well the thing is from my perspective is they are bigots and haters but besides that to me they are not true feminists.

    They are in fact the infection that has come from man’s bullshit. They are so used to attacking and devaluing anything and anyone male that they are causing even more damage.
    I’m not trying to take this away from the way that they have hurt and attacked transgender women/people by talking about some of the male side of things.
    I have a lot of male friends and I’m also in a loving relationship with a great Transwoman for the last two years.
    I know there are a whole generation of guys out there that have been feminists themselves, want to see women flourish and succeed and be equals.
    These guys are so tired of getting hit first that we are seeing a huge resurgence of anti-woman hate and disrepect.
    I’m not saying women should automatically respect men or anything like that but there’s a lot of damage being done by them attacking first.
    I have a very close friend who is a nice straight male, he was raise in a single parent family until his mother found a very great woman. He’s a feminist, he loves women and wants to see things as equal as possible but we had go to a women’s rights seminar and there was a strong response by the radfems there that he had no place and no right to be there.
    He like you was very hurt by this.
    I was very hurt by this.
    I know that most transfolk would never consider attacking someone that would come to an event that was to promote understanding.
    These radfems are really just concerned with hurting people.
    A lot of people.

    Me…radical feminism means really bad things when it should mean that women should use their innate gifts of the feelings and instincts of community and kindness to make all of us equal.

    Women trans or not are from their soul, mothers, wives, sisters, lovers, teachers, providers and the menders of hurts…we’re all human…we should be all family no matter what…

    To me that’s radical.

    Okay, enough soapboxing.
    *Great Big Hugs Everyone.*

    • “These guys are so tired of getting hit first that we are seeing a huge resurgence of anti-woman hate and disrepect.”

      I think it’s a bit overblown to suggest that if radical feminists behave badly toward men it can be said to cause misogyny. I’ve met some horribly behaved radical feminists in my time and I don’t think my cisgendered male friends who encountered them would 1. compare radfem misandry to radfem transphobia 2. suggest that this would spur them to hate women. 3. Compare the isolated experience of being ‘hit first’ by radfems to other forms of systemic oppression. Radical feminists are not as marginal as we’d like them to be in feminist circles but they are marginal in greater society with few exceptions. They don’t control schools and public institutions. Most men can avoid encountering them unless they have radical feminist relatives. The only place I can think of where radical feminists would be able to wield serious power over cisgendered men would be in their problematic rape crisis centers.
      Their bigotry towards men can’t be blamed for misogyny any more than someone could blame Dan Savage’s shitty politics for their homophobia.

      • I’m not trying to say really that they are causing it but the are vastly helping to add to the new waves of it. There are guys who have been raised to be good to women and to try to be part of the solutions to gender equality and they get made to feel like they’ve done something wrong when they haven’t.

        I just wanted to try to get that across. Radfems have a long list of targets outside of their rigid interpretation of feminism they’re not really about being honest and fair at all.

        • I’m not going to defend radfem misandry, because it’s ridiculous, but I really don’t have a lot of sympathy for guys who are “raised to be good to women” and then turn antifeminist because of an encounter with a few radfems, because if a guy was truly raised in a feminist environment like that, or has been spending a lot of time in the feminist blogosphere, in women’s studies classes, etc. he would know better than to think that the majority of feminists out there hate men or don’t appreciate how male allies contribute to our cause. If you look at the guys on feminist blogs who use misandrist radfems to defend their dislike of feminism as a whole, most of the time they are MRAs whose idea of “radical feminist” is “woman who doesn’t put up with bullshit from sexist men” or “woman who gets impatient when dudes are always playing the ‘what about the menz?’ game when a site is specifically discussing women’s issues.”

  25. Does anyone know a name for a movement that is anti all the oppressions? Anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-ableist, anti-classist, and everything else? Can we say that that’s what feminism in general is supposed to represent? I feel like that’s a pretty big assumption to make, given a lot of the unsavory history of earlier feminist movements. I’m just getting frustrated, trying to find a way to identify myself politically that doesn’t come with a twinge of shittiness from one direction or another.

  26. “Who knew they had so much in common with Republican politicians?”

    I think it’s a bit like how, in practice, authoritarian communism and fascism resemble each other more than they do the more moderate ideologies within their same political wings. When you get far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, it starts to circle back around.

  27. OH! I got into a fight on Facebook with one of these people! I was SO CONFUSED. The first few things I read on her page were these awesome pro-woman, anti-patriarchy links and discussions, so when I scrolled down a bit and came across this horrible transphobic rant about transwomen trying to “invade female space” in public washrooms, I was really thrown.

    Now it all makes sense. It’s upsetting though, because I had come to the conclusion that this woman was just a random nutcase, so I’m dismayed to learn that this vile ideology is in fact a whole movement.

    • IT IS SO CONFUSING. I totally agree. How can they be so “pro-women” and going against the patriarchy, and then be so hateful towards trans people? Sigh. Why am I so naive?

  28. Hey, I’m Karla’s second-in-command on RadFem Scorpion. It’s really cool that we got mentioned here! I love you all.

  29. Annika, I am so sorry these people are evil and targeted you with their hateful bile. I’ve learned so much from your (and Sebastian’s) writing here, and other people’s capacity for hate and anger never cease to amaze me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences and helping me become a better ally.

    Your ‘fuck you’ picture is really out-of-this-world phenomenal. Well done :-)

  30. Annika, I know you already have hundreds of messages of support both here and on Tumblr but I just want to give you a hug, you’re far calmer and a million times more sensible in this situation than I would be. Transphobes make me so damn angry! My fiancee is waiting for a date for her final surgery and I’ve seen first-hand the kind of shit trans people have to put up with.

  31. Rose I like your comment, I have always said, like the travelng around the equator, that any movement that slides too far right or left will meet at the same insane place agreeing with each other.

    I think more than anything ciswomen in general take issue with any transwoman who reeks of male privildge and, well maleness. But then again what is the difference between say KD Lang keeping her male leaning, androgynous look and personna compared to a transwoman tryimg to unlearn her male acquired habits and adopting a female character?

    • excuse me, “transwoman who reeks of maleness”?

      please. noooooo. women do not reek of being men, because they are not men. trans women do not have male habits, because they are not male. nor do they have female “characters”, they are people, not cahracters. please think about your privilege a little bit and work on being a more decent person.

    • I think you may be missing an understanding of what trans women are like. Which is okay. I mean not all that many people have actually met a trans woman, being kinda rare and all.

      But I didn’t adopt a female character. I am female and always was. For a while I adopted a male character, or at least I tried to – I was never all that good at it.

      Also we kinda give up our male privilege when we transition. And a lot of us lose our cis privilege and/or hetero privilege too. It’s like one big orgy of privilege giving-up-ed-ness.

      I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “reeking of maleness.” Pretty sure I smell like any other estrogen-based human these days.

  32. Ugh. I really hate that there are people out there calling themselves “feminists” and then dumping on women who don’t meet their exacting criteria. THAT IS NOT FEMINISM.

    I’m really sorry these people stuck their ignorant comments on what was, I’m sure, a really cute picture, Annika. But I loved your response. :)

    • Totally agree! From what I’ve read, this is basically radical feminists’ favorite thing to do. They (I’m generalizing here, but this is how I’ve seen the movement defined, in the majority of scholarship) see lesbianism as a political identity, not a sexual one, and it’s mostly a way of rejecting the patriarchy, so according to them a) you can’t be a feminist if you’re straight or bi, even if you say you are, and b) even if you are a lesbian, if you do anything suspiciously patriarchal, like engage is s&m, you’re not only not really a feminist, but not really a lesbian. So, even if you’re sleeping with a woman and self-identify as a lesbian and a feminist, unbeknownst to you, the character of your relationship could be too heterosexual to qualify you as a either. I can’t fully express how annoying I find this.
      For anyone who’s interested, I’m reading a pretty relevant (but oldish, from around 2000) book called Urban Amazons, about lesbian feminism in London in the 80s, by Sarah Green. I haven’t read that much of it but recommend it so far.

  33. i didn’t even know that this was a way people discriminated against others.

    like to take the time out and put someone’s personal photo on a website and blast them for being themselves/inlove/trans/happy/notgivingafuckaboutyou…is so gross and malicious.

    what is rad about that?

    motherfucking nothing.

    like i said to you via email, Annika, let me know if you need me to CUT a bitch.

  34. General feelings about this article, and Autostraddle, post-A-Camp:

    I love that in the face of oppression, adversity, and general shittiness, Annika (and all the Autostraddle writers) find a voice that’s authentic, funny, critical, and optimistic. There are plenty of other queer spaces on the internet that are nothing but critical in a relentlessly negative and defeatist way.

    Love you all. It’s inspiring.

  35. A brilliant quote I came across on another blog:
    “If feminism is the radical idea that women are people, then transfeminism is the radical idea that women come in different containers”.
    -Natalie Reed

  36. Thats horrible, I don’t know what I’d do if I was in that situation but I love your responce to their comments.

  37. RadFems are fucking amazing! By fucking, I mean… not fucking? because that’s a misogynistic slur. By amazing, I mean “HOLY MOTHER OF SATAN I WANT TO BURN MY EYES OUT JUST FOR KNOWING THEY EXIST!!!”

  38. i am a trans ally, gender non conformist AND a radical feminist. i have no tolerance for transphobia in the queer/lesbian/feminist community. i am sorry for the hate speech directed at you-
    listen up everyone, homopbobes make no distinction between a dyke and at trans individual, were all just a bunch of fucking freaks to them. where is the solidarity? it’s about time we start working TOGETHER to dismantle patriarchy and male supremacy.

  39. Pingback: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My Transition | One Dollar News

  40. I’m a feminist but honestly? I don’t agree with anything those radical insanity spewing women say. You are gorgeous darlin, and if you decide you’re a woman, that’s your choice. Ignore the haters because they are just unhappy with themselves. Honestly, I’m pansexual and if you weren’t taken, I’d probably go for you. As it is, if anyone bothers you, or you need a chat, e-mail me or add me on Facebook.

    [email protected]

  41. Pingback: Don’t Call Them Baby, Sweetheart, Honey… or Feminist | Painting the Grey Area

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