-------- only spaces

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captainmission
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Aug 31 2004 21:15
-------- only spaces

so what you all think about women/queer/whatever only spaces?

just got me thinking cos some friends of mine went to this womens music festival a while ago, which included a girls only ceche. Also was palnning on doing a queer squat recently, which a individual wanted to be queer only and got pissed off cos a straight women was involved in it.

So important safe spaces or unnecessary exclusion? or something else?

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Ramona
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Aug 31 2004 21:45

Girl's only creche??!!! That's fucking outrageous!!! That's one of the most fucking stupid things I ever heard!

I dunno... having just had a "robust discussion" with a certain "feminist" about whether men should be able to come to feminist meetings (the answer's yes, btw roll eyes wink ) I feel totally put off going into something that advertises itself as "women-only", cos I would find it pretty intimidating. I just don't feel I have that much in common with women who aargue for "women-only" spaces.

I used to be all for it, and I still do think that women-only spaces do have there uses - up to a point - as I have found it very empowering and enlightening (for want of a better word) to get together with other women and talk about experiences that we all share. Cos it's quite rare that women actually get to do that, and it's good to realise that yr not on your own, that other women go through the same things, and give each other support etc.

BUT you can only go so far with that sort of thing, and I personally feel that unless you think all men are scum, it's pointless not working with them on the grounds that "men oppress". Cos if men are all oppressors by their very nature, then the only sensible option for women's liberation is to go Solanas style and get rid of all of them. Everything else would be a waste of time.

I think the only way to make progress with feminism now is by involving men (shock horror) and getting them to question their own actions and attitudes etc, else we're never going to get anywhere. And feminists are certainly not going to get men to address sexism by shutting them out and telling them they can't be feminists.

I agree wiv revol, that ultimately we should be aiming for fluid sexuality etc...

lucy82
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Sep 1 2004 07:41

how about a patriarchy free space which excludes nobody unless they act like a prat? its not just a boy thing y'know

random
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Sep 1 2004 09:00
Quote:
It is nothing extraordinary for a master to bar his slaves from the manor, but it is a revolutionary act for slaves to bar their master from their hut.

Marilyn Fry

Quote:
I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you, your whole fucking culture alienates me.

Kathleen Hanna

I support ...... only space. I think it is essential that discriminated against groups of people enable their own space for support, discussion and organisation. Many people are alienated in our society, by their gender, by their race, by their sexuality, by their economic status, by their physical ability, by their age. It is important for all of these people to have a space where they can be with others who have a personal understanding of the difficulties they face, without fear of mockery, without having to explain themselves, without feeling silenced by the inclusion of anyone from a group they are oppressed by.

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the button
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Sep 1 2004 11:49

Now this is no reflection on transgendered people as a whole, but my partner used to go to a 'women only' meeting at college, which was attended by a male-to-female transgendered person who (there's no other way of putting this) acted like a total fucking bloke -- monopolising the conversation with me, me, me & silencing & alienating all biological women present.

"....... only" spaces? Essential, I say. Obviously a danger of 'navel-gazing,' & ghettoisation -- but also a great place to find your voice.

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Jacques Roux
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Sep 1 2004 12:17

What about "non-wanker only spaces" where people have the right to meet whatever gender race etc. they are but without any wankers present?

wink

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the button
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Sep 1 2004 12:18

What? And close down enrager?

wink

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Jacques Roux
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Sep 1 2004 12:22

grin Mr. T

Sorry for derailing the thread everyone... onwards to the worthwhile debate it was..... smile

Yeah i think i agree pretty much with revol68 and zobag..

Wayne
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Sep 1 2004 14:18

Once upon a time there was an anarcho-feminist group and it was women only. A biologically male comrade who came to anarchism through feminism and sexuality politics wanted to play too. Per was told per couldn't because per was a man. Per objected that per did not consider perself to have male gender or female gender but wanted to live without being categorised as one gender and wanted a society without a gender dichotomy. But they told per no. However, transgender people were welcome, which meant that was the biologically male comrade prepared to adopt elements of female gender role (perhaps the sort of prescriptions on appearance and behaviour that many feminists oppose), then per could have joined in. Moral? Some feminism depends on gender division as much as patriarchy?

On the subject of men and gender, it is usually discussed as making men see how they oppress womyn and altruistically supporting womyn's liberation. Perhaps an equally valid and more effective aproach is to focus on how masculinity oppresses men. Men die younger, are more likely to go to jail, more likely to suffer violence outside of the home, more likely to kill themselves and they suffer worse health while they are alive, they have only a couple of weeks to spend at home with new born children, they may have their access hampered if their relationship breaks up. Masculinity restricts how men express themselves to each other (and women) I mean for every happy marriage like me and Revol there are many men that find it difficult to talk to each other. And, how crap is it to always be on top? It's fucking knackering, not for me 'cos I don't get any, but especailly if you smoke... By the way, the solution to this does not involve us hugging each other, right? But why are anarhcists never involved in campaigns for paternity leave? It's social democrats who've fought for that but what can be more important, not just to individual's lives but the whole idea of gender based roles in society?

Another true and vaguely relevant story, I once co-presented a workshop on the abolition of gender with my partner. A year later she dumped me cry because she wanted 'a real man' grin. Which was well stupid 'cos I'm hard as fuck and could drink yous southern ponces under an IKEA coffee table...

Wayne
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Sep 1 2004 14:23
Quote:
What about "non-wanker only spaces" where people have the right to meet whatever gender race etc. they are but without any wankers present?

Fucking sex negative fascist

http://www.intercourse.org.uk/projects/masturbation.html

captainmission
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Sep 1 2004 15:37

just to eloborate on the girls only creche- i think the idea was to have girl only creche on site and a seperate boy creche elsewhere. My friends that did go were quite uneasy about it it, but did point out if you're going to exclude men, then at what age do you start? 14,15,16 year old boys could be found to be acting quite intimidating to some.

but on ----- only spaces. Well i've been involved queer spaces, like the one at the last EF! gathering that were really good (for example i found out a guy I'd known for a year and a bit and done loads of stuff with was queer which shows how much an issue like that can get sidelined). However i think queers a much more mutable identity than gay v's straight (or woman v's man, non-white v's white) and i'd argue alot of opposite sex eroticicism could be counted as queer. I've also been involved women only actions (which included those deviated from the masculine identity- queers, non-adult boys).

IMO this seems to be a better way of going about things- having spaces that highlight issues of gender/sexuality/ethinicity but then try and problamatize or deconstruct them rather than reinforce and essentialise such binaries (and the systems of domination that tehy maintain/maintain them).

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the button
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Sep 1 2004 15:40

Well said, captain. And I thought I was the only Foucauldian on here wink , embarrassed , and indeed red n black star

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the button
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Sep 1 2004 15:44

........ and who could forget the Public Enemy classic, 'Yo bum, rush Foucault'? 8)

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the button
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Sep 1 2004 15:47

revol, please don't make me piss myself laughing like that again. I'm (supposed to be) still at work. wink

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Sep 1 2004 17:09

ah bollocks me too grin grin

I'm gonna get in trouble cry

hmmm yeah well i think if some people feel they need a --- only space then of course they're a good thing. But if you don't then don't bother.

Simple

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Sep 1 2004 17:13
random wrote:
Quote:
It is nothing extraordinary for a master to bar his slaves from the manor, but it is a revolutionary act for slaves to bar their master from their hut.

Marilyn Fry

Quote:
I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you, your whole fucking culture alienates me.

Kathleen Hanna

I support ...... only space. I think it is essential that discriminated against groups of people enable their own space for support, discussion and organisation. Many people are alienated in our society, by their gender, by their race, by their sexuality, by their economic status, by their physical ability, by their age. It is important for all of these people to have a space where they can be with others who have a personal understanding of the difficulties they face, without fear of mockery, without having to explain themselves, without feeling silenced by the inclusion of anyone from a group they are oppressed by.

The first quote kinda concerns me a little - are you actually equating masters and slaves to (say) men and women? etc... Do you think that women are "slaves" to men? Or that all men oppress? Not rhetorical questions btw, I'm genuinely interested...

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Sep 1 2004 17:18

Lol grin

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Steven.
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Sep 1 2004 18:23
revol68 wrote:
fuck and i just thought i had woman falling at my feet cos im a charming good looking libertarian communist (with a rich daddy!)

What even before they smell your breath?

thanks to Monkey Island (TM)

captainmission
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Sep 1 2004 22:29

sir, you fight like a cow

pure genius.

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Steven.
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Sep 1 2004 22:40

I see you attended your family reunion after all

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Steven.
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Sep 1 2004 22:40

booya monkey muthafuckas.

Booya

lucy82
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Sep 2 2004 00:02

ok. i tried not to say anything but arrrrrrrrrrrrgh

the meaning of randoms quotes: women are slaves. men are slave masters.

so, your fuckin culture alienates me an my sisters cause its nothing to do with us. we have our own culture that we keep safe indoors by the fire its precious so only girl children are allowed to join in. we tell our male kids, you can't play, cause you're penis defines your thinking.

anybody or anything that threatens us we shut out so we can be safe.

and then we lose men who understand that women struggle and we lose women knowing that actually its shit for men too.

and we teach kids that gender is more important than what you think and how you choose to behave.

Quote:
It is important for all of these people to have a space where they can be with others who have a personal understanding of the difficulties they face, without fear of mockery, without having to explain themselves, without feeling silenced by the inclusion of anyone from a group they are oppressed by.

then we need to create spaces where men, women and kids can talk together about the difficulties, the differences, without being mocked. not silence people by exclusion.

and if people are excluded, who benefits? the excluded people's experience is lost to the included group. Why is the experience of the excluded people deemed not valuable?

ok, maybe people in the included group would feel safer in the short term but safe from who exactly? I challenge the assumption that all women who are raped feel unable or want to discuss this in a mixed group and also the underlying assumption that all women who have to cope with this kind of shit are victims who need a big women only hug to make them feel better. In my experience, its men and women who care for and support women through experiences like rape etc.

these assumptions make me feel sick.

Its spot the victim bullshit..

if people choose to make their own space women/men/queer/black/white what the fuck, whatever. its their choice but say in a mixed gathering, ****spaces might want to, and should be encouraged to feed back to other people involved whats been goin on.

because, ***spaces aren't a space apart (even if it is physically). If we accept that it is, then, whatever the benefits people might attribute, we have to accept that the likelihood is it guards its own experience, refuses to hear others on the basis that they don't fit for reasons they cannot change, accepts the premise that gender defines behaviour and in the case of women only spaces, implicity accepts the definition of women as victims of males.

slaves, masters...........

oh for fucks sake.

Wayne
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Sep 2 2004 00:27

roll eyes Respect to that!

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Ramona
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Sep 2 2004 00:29

Yeah.. what she said grin circle A

random
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Sep 2 2004 09:38

zobag..

Quote:
are you actually equating masters and slaves to (say) men and women?

no, its an analogy. i didnt connect it specifically to men and women, in fact nothing in my post was connected specifically to men and women. ...... only space has been vital to the civil rights movement and vital to the women's movement and also vital to the queer movement. all of these people have been (are living) in a society ruled by people of opposite attributes, white, men, straight. Land, politics, police, military, trade, arts, education, etc, have all been, historically, controlled by the second group, so for the first (oppressed) peoples to claim space for themselves and only themselves, is an important and revolutionary act.

Quote:
Do you think that women are "slaves" to men?

thats an odd question to ask, but i'll answer. not always. but... i can think of a few examples in our country and elsewhere where slavery is happening, it is happening to women, and mainly at the hands of men. there are estimated to be over ten thousand women illegally in the UK being used as prostitutes. many have been taken or tricked from their homes, usually by men, sold, usually to other men, trained, usually by men, smuggled into the UK and then sold again, usually to men, and they are then put to work where their punters, usually men, use them sexually, but they are paid little or nothing, their pimps are violent with them, and they are too frightened to leave. i would consider these women to be living in slavery.

marriage is historically a union based on slavery, one man makes a gift of his property to another man. a daughter will work domestically without pay for one man, and when she is old enough she will be 'given away' to another for domestic use and child bearing, again without pay. although things have changed a lot, there are still hundreds of arranged and enforced marriages in this country, and as the women involved are treated as property i would also consider this to be a form of slavery.

there are hundreds of households where one partner is terrorized by another, and i think some similarities exist between slavery and domestic violence that keeps a person (usually a woman) working domestically (unpaid), doing what they are told to some extent, and too frightened to leave. when i was a child this was my 'family' - my mum wasnt allowed to work or have friends, she worked domestically, she was never given money except for household shopping, she wore what she was told to wear, she never even spoke without being spoken to, she was beaten regularly, and she was too scared to leave. there are most definitely comparisons i could draw between my mums marriage and slavery.

So, i dont think all women are slaves, but thousands are, and usually (but not always) their 'masters' are men.

Quote:
do you think that... all men oppress?

no, but.. the way i see it, we all have privilige of one sort or another, in different groups. for example, i'm white. i dont consider myself racist, but at the same time i do or say things sometimes that are racist, without knowing, because i have been conditioned to be like that. for example, i didnt know that 'half caste' was offensive til a mate pointed it out a couple of years ago - i had never thought about the term. i have the luxury of not thinking about it because of my white privilige. i think that many (not all) men do not recognise their male privilige and do not recognise their own sexism in the same way. when we dont recognise and challenge our privilige we are added to the problem of oppression. For example, if i witness racism, and i do nothing, i become complicit in the racism, i become a part of the oppression. so, although i dont think all men oppress, i think many do not recognise their own male privilige, and therefore are not challenging it, so they are part of the oppression of women.

(edited to correct a couple of words)

random
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Sep 2 2004 09:43

lucy, as to the 'meanings of my quotes' - thats your translation, not what i said.

Quote:
you can't play, cause you're penis defines your thinking.

thats a strange thing to say, because in our culture men are told they CAN play, 'because their penis defines their thinking', and women are deliberately excluded from many parts of our society, especially the decision making parts, for no reason other than their lack of penis. the penis is portrayed as giving men strength and logic, and women are therefore portrayed as having none of these, being weak and emotional.

i dont know anything about the girl only creche, the ages or the reasons, so i cant comment on it. could a boys only creche be supplied by men at the event? i think it would be great if more men became involved in childcare, education, and definitely with supporting older boys.

Quote:
we need to create spaces where men, women and kids can talk together about the difficulties, the differences, without being mocked.

i agree, but i also think ...only spaces are a necessary element.

Quote:
and if people are excluded, who benefits? the excluded people's experience is lost to the included group. Why is the experience of the excluded people deemed not valuable?

i think there is a misunderstanding here. ...only space is not about exclusion, it is about inclusion. it is about people who are excluded from our culture in various ways, enabling their own space, where they are able to speak, where their speech is even listened to and respected. it is about creating a space where the excluded become included.

Quote:
maybe people in the included group would feel safer in the short term

the short term is an important one, many people learn to find their voices and value their own experiences in .... only space. this empowers them to be able to take more of a role in mixed groups.

Quote:
I challenge the assumption that all women who are raped feel unable or want to discuss this in a mixed group and also the underlying assumption that all women who have to cope with this kind of shit are victims who need a big women only hug to make them feel better.

noone here made that assumption. and women only groups talk about a lot more than rape experiences, they are not support groups, they are supportIVE space where all sorts of topics are covered.

Quote:
In my experience, its men and women who care for and support women through experiences like rape etc

and in my experience thats not true. rape and dv support is provided overwhelmingly by women. it would be great if men took more of a role in both stopping these crimes and in supporting victims afterwards. and, in my experience, women only space is instrumental in helping victims become survivors.

sabotabby
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Sep 2 2004 10:57
Quote:
. ...only space is not about exclusion, it is about inclusion. it is about people who are excluded from our culture in various ways, enabling their own space, where they are able to speak, where their speech is even listened to and respected. it is about creating a space where the excluded become included.

Random, I'm curious how you would respond to the example that Wayne gave?

Quote:
the penis is portrayed as giving men strength and logic

Ahhh, that's why they asked me to whap it out at my last job interview.

Quote:
could a boys only creche be supplied by men at the event?

What an abhorrent idea. Back to single sex schooling next? A space where we can be supported to become convinced that gender division's natural?

Quote:
i think it would be great if more men became involved in childcare, education, and definitely with supporting older boys.

Why should men support boys specifically? And why do you specify 'older boys'? Do men have no role to play caring for young children?

3rdseason
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Sep 2 2004 11:11

I think men and women should meet together to discuss gender issues and how they affect us all.

For example I remember discussing this sorta thing at the AYN gathering and sabotabby mentioned about how men are much more likely to go to prison and how the young male suicide rate is higher and suchlike. I thought it was a good point. NOT to say men are as opressed as women but that societys tendancy to try and enforce stereotypical gender roles can negatively affect men and owmen in different ways.

Also agreed with what zobag said about the way forward for feminism being to communicate with men and help them understand how they can improve their own attitudes to women etc.

random
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Sep 2 2004 11:24

which example? the anarchist feminist group that excluded men? i cant respond to it without knowing the reasons for the decision. i dont see why an anarchist-feminist group would exclude men and on the surface of it i do think it was a bad and divisive decision. but i do understand why the group would set aside some time for women-only space, just as i can understand why men in the group would like some men-only space. whether to allow transgender people into the ...only space is one that each group makes itself, its a difficult question that i dont understand enough about to comment on.

Quote:
Back to single sex schooling next? A space where we can be supported to become convinced that gender division's natural?

im just trying to understand what the 'girl only' creche was for, looking back i see that captainmission does say that a boys only creche was also put on. so the first post could just as easily have said 'i attended an event recently where there was a boy only creche'. i still dont understand the reasons for such a thing.

Quote:
Why should men support boys specifically? And why do you specify 'older boys'? Do men have no role to play caring for young children?

i didnt specify boys specifically, i think it would be great if men took more of a role in childcare and education for both boys and girls. i then specified older boys because we have serious problems with violence and drinking amongst older boys, and i think it would be great if older men took more of a role in listening to and supporting these boys. i think that older men probably understand the pressures on boys to conform to a particular image of 'man' from their own experiences, and could possibly be incredibly helpful in taking some of the pressure off by just being there to talk to. i think that older women also need to make themselves more accessible to younger women for the same reasons.

in short i think mixed groups at all ages are essential, but i also think that ...only space is essential too.

3rdseason
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Sep 2 2004 11:33
random wrote:
i then specified older boys because we have serious problems with violence and drinking amongst older boys, and i think it would be great if older men took more of a role in listening to and supporting these boys. i think that older men probably understand the pressures on boys to conform to a particular image of 'man' from their own experiences, and could possibly be incredibly helpful in taking some of the pressure off by just being there to talk to. i think that older women also need to make themselves more accessible to younger women for the same reasons.

Yeah I agree with that. That makes sense. Older men can understand the pressures on younger men to conform to stereotypes in the same way as older women can understand the pressures on younger women.

sabotabby
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Sep 2 2004 11:43

Okay random, cheers for clarification.