Real Feminists exists to pull together two groups of feminists:
- radical feminists with a strong class analysis, and
- those liberal or reformist feminists who do not subscribe to third-wave postmodern views, and understand that they harm women
More and more women who would previously have described themselves as third wavers or liberal feminists are turning to radical feminism because it is the one branch of feminism which has consistently opposed transactivist demands and criticised them as misogynist. No radical feminist wishes harm upon trans people, and we would like to see them able to take their place in society, with adequate provision for services and facilities, and without discrimination. We distinguish transactivists from trans people as a group; many trans people are very vulnerable and simply want safety, acceptance and recognition from society. However, we do not subscribe to the notion that men can become women by merely identifying as such (the proposition made popular by such postmodern queer theorists as Judith Butler), and believe that the prioritisation of gender identity over reproductive sex represents serious misogyny, as it takes away all the protections previously granted to women by provisions against sex discrimination, while asserting that we collude with our gender by “identifying” with it.
Previously liberal women are being radicalised in large numbers by the aggression, harassment and misogyny directed at them by transactivists . These women have adopted a radical analysis of gender as an oppressive hierarchy, and now regard themselves as gender-critical radical feminists. Sisters, you are very, very welcome here; the revitalising of feminism as the movement to liberate women from male oppression is long overdue, and it’s hard to see the third wave as anything but a co-opted patriarchal backlash to real feminism, which always centres women. Feminism is finally getting back on track.
There is a great deal more to radical feminism than just combating transactivism, however, and we have a lot of lost ground to make up after the caving to patriarchy, and the dilution of principle peddled as inclusivity which has typified the third wave. While tackling the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act in the UK is the first order of business for this site, we have a few positions on other issues which we will flesh out over time:
We may ally with other movements on various issues, but our focus is on the liberation of women. We do not allow males, whether trans-identified or not, in our spaces.
Real feminism fights capitalism and racism as contributing to the extreme oppression of women of colour, many of whom live at the intersection of racism, sexism and poverty. A few women gaining institutional power within patriarchy is not a feminist victory if it leaves the material circumstances of poor women unchanged or worsened. In other words, we adopt the original definition of intersectionality, not the collection of identities it has degenerated into. We retain an analysis of class and structural oppression, and do not see calling out individual behaviour as in any way contributing to feminist activism.
Real feminism recognises porn and prostitution as the sexual abuse, torture and enslavement of women for male sexual entertainment. We support the Nordic model of prostitution abolition, which decriminalises the prostitute and puts the onus on the state to provide exit services for her, while criminalising the punter and pimp. We actively seek ways to combat the pornography industry and criminalise the makers and disseminators of porn. We also oppose the objectification of women in the media and the beauty industry as contributing to the sexualisation of women and worsening misogynist attitudes in men.
Real feminism seeks full reproductive sovereignty for women. This is much wider than just abortion and birth control rights; as crucial as those are, they are often the focus of a liberal feminist attitude which says that women should be working in the patriarchal capitalist economy rather than raising their children; this simply contributes to labour exploitation. Women should be as free to have children when they want them, with or without a man, as they are not to have them if they choose not to. This means recentering society around those of its members who reproduce it, and ensuring that their needs are met.
Real feminism opposes and combats all forms of male violence against women, including sexual assault and rape, domestic violence, religiously motivated violence such as honour killings.
We further believe that second-wave feminist critiques of religion, patriarchal capitalism and the patriarchal family were valid and need to be resuscitated.
Our approach to campaigns is data and resource driven; we believe that policy about women should be made on the basis of information about the material conditions of women’s lives, not on whatever cause du jour happens to be fashionable with politicians.
When in doubt, our principle is: feminism is for women.