This headline from the CBC — Canada’s publicly funded national broadcaster — was designed for maximum screencappability and high velocity ragebait:
“Catholic Trustees Wage War . . .”
Apocalypse of brimstone, hailstorms of Hail Marys, and an arsenal of papist footsoldiers …
Waging war on who? Who is it this time?
“. . . transgender seven-year-old“
A seven year old? A transgender?
Those Catholic monsters!
I am a signee to this important statement in solidarity with Meghan Murphy, a friend and colleague, a sister.
aoifeschatology is in complete support for Murphy, her research, her work, her voice. She is a dedicated feminist who champions a strategy of liberation for women, not a shuffled stack of post-it notes advertising bad faith rhetoric disguised as ’empowering options’.
Murphy speaks out against the dominant narration of men and masculinity.
We need Meghan Murphy and her analysis.
Meghan, we love you xx.
Originally posted on Last Wave Feminist:
To: The Editors, Publishers, Founders and Editorial Board – rabble.ca
We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep dissatisfaction with rabble’s response to the recent attacks on Meghan Murphy.
In past weeks, Meghan Murphy has become the target of a vicious and focused attack that we believe is aimed not only at her—as the most visible voice of a set of feminist principles with which we broadly agree—but at women in general and feminists specifically.
This attack—sparked by an article at Playboy magazine and a petition inspired by the Men’s Rights Movement and women who are known for their promotion of the sex industry—focuses nominally on a brief piece written by Murphy in response to nude photos published by a trans woman named Laverne Cox. Her piece criticized the notion that the publication of highly sexualized, pornographic photographs of a woman or trans woman is “empowering.” We see no fair…
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I posted the comment below to rabble.ca yesterday, in regards to their neutral position about whether or not interference from internet militias should dictate a female journalist’s right to analyze the conditions of female oppression, possibly in ways that upset the porn and prostitution lobbies.
These attempts are, I say plainly, deliberately disingenuous efforts to misrepresent and euphemize Murphy’s actual position. In short, a smear campaign, not unlike the ones visited upon sex critical feminists in the past, who recognize the libidinal economics of consuming women’s bodies:
(Dworkin, Our Blood 16)
aoifeschatology stands in solidarity with Meghan Murphy: please sign this petition. Do not capitulate to the bald contradictions and dynamic bondage of the neoliberalist choice rhetoric. Its collaborators are they who commodify the existence of women for tokens of exchange. Moreover, Murphy’s materialist approach to feminist analysis is neither immanently transphobic nor an “existential threat” to transwomen. To wrongly allege this against Murphy — whilst heaps of male transphobes publish daily, unchecked, and with no petitions against them — foregrounds the misogyny behind the intent.
To say otherwise is a ruse and detour from proper engagement with Murphy’s arguments and the broader contexts she critically addresses.
Editorial note: I submitted this letter to Dean Averill after receiving Faculty notification of my teaching accomplishments. Unfortunately, he did not respond or reply. So I post the letter here on aoifeschatology to document my incredible disappointment with neoliberal academia and its vicious inequities, bigotries, and solipsistic meritocracies.
I’ll be writing more fully on the subject of la mort des sciences humaines and the erosion of feminism soon; moreover, I will be posting weekly essays starting Friday! Now that I am unemployed, I will be devoting myself more thoroughly to writing and activism. I’m admittedly still exhausted from my operation — even several months on — but I slowly feel myself return to myself, and the energies and passions therein.
Again, thank you for supporting aoifeschatology; and I am pleading with you, as an award winning teacher with a forthcoming book, to know: DON’T PARTICIPATE IN THE HEARTBREAKING POST-GRADUATE HAYSTACK OF HUMANITIES, INCORPORATED. (Unless you are well connected, rich, and/or have a spouse already on faculty who can swing the hiring in your favor.)
I’m a great admirer of MacKinnon, particularly her unwavering commitment to fighting the masculinity-made apocalypse of bodies that are pornography and prostitution.
Thus, I was curious to peruse her conversation with The TransAdvocate, a trans-militant website that is hostile to corporeal feminism. While the interview never once addresses MacKinnon’s scholarship on prostitution and porn — a shocking omission, given these are the very subjects upon which her research and writing achieved global recognition — TA preferred to proffer a sequence of leading fuzzywuzzy questions about “gender identity”.
This commentary on Beauvoir, from MacKinnon in that interview, felt particularly abstruse to me:
“I always thought I don’t care how someone becomes a woman or a man; it does not matter to me. It is just part of their specificity, their uniqueness, like everyone else’s. Anybody who identifies as a woman, wants to be a woman, is going around being a woman, as far as I’m concerned, is a woman.”
While I suspect MacKinnon didn’t intend for her comments to be a definitive presentation of her philosophical and activist views, her responses nonetheless suggest an endorsement for anti-materialism and libertarian analysis (at least as far as her views on gender are specifically concerned).
MacKinnon’s interview left many of us with with more questions than answers, and here are some of mine. I was strongly influenced by reading Ms Hell Bedlam’s commentary, and I put forth some of my own inquiries . . . as a transwoman with a keen interest in Beauvoir who is questioning transgenderism.
I am extremely pleased to report that my first monograph — entitled Ancestral Recall: The Celtic Revival and Japanese Modernism — was today granted full funding by the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program.
With this fortunate news — along with the endorsement of my peer reviewers (whom I thank most earnestly), as well as recommendation by the executive committee of McGill Queen’s University Press — I anticipate publication in early 2016. Look for me in their Spring Catalog.
My heartfelt thanks to those who have believed in me and my research. In particular, I offer a massive bit of gratitude to Mark Abley, my editor at MQUP, who has shown me far more patience than any one of my many eccentricities deserves.
I’m honoured to announce that I placed within the very top tenth percentile of teaching excellence, as evaluated across the entirety of the Faculty of Arts, at the University of British Columbia. These evaluations and rankings included assessments of my well-received course on gender critical feminism, which earned exceedingly high reviews from my students.
Despite such praise, including a major teaching prize in 2010, I’ve encountered little but indifference and hostility from management in my department; and I’m currently unemployed and have not been offered anything close to equitable or gainful work.
Academia is a profession in which doing your job well and excelling at it means nothing
. . . means losing your position, in my case.
UBC: do you care about keeping your best teachers, or are you content to toss us away as the academic equivalent of disposable Keurig pods? That’s how you’ve made me feel.
This is the state of education: I have a letter like this in my hand, but I cannot find any employment at all. None. Nil. I don’t think I’m special: I’m just asking, along with thousands of other sessionals, for something equitable.
UBC Arts, your sessionals sacrifice our souls to be educators. We’re assigned courses students don’t want; we work with your first years, many of whom are in very intense personal life crises and transitions; we share musty offices, double down on the hours spent in them; and all that same time are publishing, giving talks, reviewing articles, serving on committees, taking our research into the public … and all the other things that we’re told will improve our lot but do not. And I shall not perpetuate the farce. The truth is too awful to shroud. Teaching as a career is now regarded to be an embarrassment, despite whatever dress and garb the tenure track elite are peddling in their acceptance letters.
Their system is a broken locomotive; in the blur they can’t define their future vision anymore. The external review of my department even as conceded as much, but no substantive changes have resulted, at least from where I’m scrounging. But down here all vocations turn to dust.
I reckon it’s a despairing climate that is readily recognized. There is a catastrophic grade of unethical treatment shown to the lower caste instructors. I must beg my students to consider other options than grad school, because it’s immoral to tell them it’s a worthy course of action. And so I resigned from what I once considered my life’s passion. UBC: Do you care? Do you care about teaching and teachers at all? Otherwise, this letter is an insult. To me and to students.
signed, an open letter to a disconcerting disaster,
aoife assumpta hart
who once loved being an educator
“We must honorably adhere to the rules that we are making up on the spot.”
–Andy Bernard, The Office (7.19, “Garage Sale”)
For Part Two, I’d like to step back for a second and take up a case study for examination, one that should prove useful as I continue forward in later additions to this series on silencing.
But let me start here, please: and tell me if you’ve heard this fantasist claim before . . . (Oh, yes, for full effect, do cut and paste the sentence below into your favourite word processor, and convert the font to comic sans):
Was it an “incident” when a 6′ 3″, 280 lb transwoman punched a woman because she questioned his presence in the women’s bathroom . . . when years of martial arts training culminate in a straight-right blow to her face . . . when she endures $60,0000 in medical costs, incalculable personal trauma, and a lifelong chronic pain condition? “Assaulting cis people . . .” I believe you mean women. And did this woman imagine her assault? of finding her teeth scattered across the toilet floor? Was it an incident? Did it not happen? No, it never happens, they say!
Because she felt unsafe and made enquiries?
Woman offers opinion; transwoman doesn’t like said opinion, so he punches her full force in the jaw. (Oh, no male socialization about that.) HE shatters this lady’s lower mandible with a slam of his knuckles, inertia first, into the soft angle of her chin. One punch — one manly, mighty strike of his imperious fist — because she asked if he was male — and what’s left her for one question? An aftermath of reconstructive wires and deadbolt sized surgical screws to weld her broken mouth back together.
But trans activists say that this never happens, has never happened. It’s all lies invented by radical feminists, those rancid with anti-unicorn bigotry and disdain for tasting the rainbow, who’ve organized into coven-hovel crews of their agitprop conniving. Innocent until proven “cis”! It was all in her head! Because women must be liars, daydreamers, attention seekers, drama queens, fit-throwers, hysterics, bigots, witches, communists, and TERFs. “Now shut up and DIAF, you bigot!”
There is something faintly ridiculous about this wet-behind-the-ears lad shutting up the savvy, middle-aged Penelope. But it’s a nice demonstration that right where written evidence for Western culture starts, women’s voices are not being heard in the public sphere; more than that, as Homer has it, an integral part of growing up, as a man, is learning to take control of public utterance and to silence the female of the species. — Prof Mary Beard, “The Public Voice of Women”
Social Justice sanctimony has been rehearsed into a performative public ceremony: call out, penitence, re-education. In short: Do what uncle sez.
I’ve witnessed these rotational recriminations — launched by males and their third wave neoliberal allies, almost inevitably against feminist women — online, on campuses, and increasingly in public conversations.
I know what bullying is: my horror-show adolescence could amount to a trial under the Geneva Conventions.
I’m also a transwoman; I know what transphobia is.
I’m telling you transgenderists have increasingly mobilized as a lobby of bullies.