flexibeast.space - gemlog - 2022-05-25

Why i don't use the terms ‘TERF’ or ‘SWERF’

i don't use the acronyms ‘TERF’ and ‘SWERF’[a], acronyms for “Trans-Erasing Radical Feminist" and “Sex-Worker-Erasing Radical Feminist”, respectively. Instead, i use ‘radfem’[b].

i agree it's useful and important to highlight how radfems and radfem politics are hostile to the voices of trans women[c] and sex workers. However, the widespread use of ‘TERF’ and ‘SWERF’, usually (in my experience) to the exclusion of a more generic term like ‘radfem’, ends up erasing a number of other problematic aspects of radfem politics, such as:

i use the term ‘radfem’ rather than the full phrase ‘radical feminist’ because there can be, and often is, a (possibly significant) difference between a feminist whose politics are radical in some sense(s), and the ‘radical feminist’ strand of feminist thought. That is, one can be a ‘radical’ feminist without necessarily having radfem politics.

i'm a trans woman, and i have friends who are (or have been) sex workers, so critiquing radfem politics and behaviours is important to me. But it's also important to me, as a kinky white woman, to bring attention to the voices of other people negatively affected by those politics and behaviours.

🏷 feminism,kink,politics,queer,sex work,tgd


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[a] Which i presume is something of a play on the phrase “Surf and Turf”:

Surf and turf or surf 'n' turf is a main course combining seafood and red meat.

Wikipedia: ‘Surf and turf’

[b] For context, i have a degree in Women's Studies, from the Australian National University - not as prestigous as it sounds :-) - with course content that might nowadays often be called ‘gender studies’: lots of feminist perspectives.

[c] [edited to add] A couple of the trans-hostile radfem claims:

[d] A term coined by Alice Walker (who unfortunately has antisemitic politics):

Womanism is a social theory based on the history and everyday experiences of black women.

Wikipedia: ‘Womanism’

“What The New Yorker Didn’t Say About a Famous Writer’s Anti-Semitism”

[e] "[A] condition in which hostages develop a psychological bond with their captors during captivity."

Wikipedia: ‘Stockholm Syndrome’