Feminists using misogynist insults toward other women

I have a problem with leveraging misogynist insults at other women. Yeah, I do. And I am especially disturbed when these insults come from the mouths (or fingers) of women who actually consider themselves feminists or who believe that they are engaged in feminist discourse, analysis, and/or commentary while doing so. That’s funny, amIright? Tragically ironic is more like it. So I want to quickly address:

…the rising problem of ‘radical feminists’ using misogynist methods to refer to feminists with whom they disagree. Especially that they think it’s ok to publicly declare that some women are ‘male-identified’ (because *they* identify them with males) and then, basically, punish them on the grounds of that characterisation, by calling them ‘dick-pleasers’ or something similar. ~liberationislife

Sexualized insults are expressions of misogyny. Referring to a woman’s sexual behavior, her sexuality, or her appearance as a way to discredit her political efforts or speech is the lowest kind of insult I can imagine. It has no place in the mind of any self-I-dentified feminist. First, it blames women for their relations to males as if there were no such thing as structural and compulsory heteronormativity. It also seems to ignore the unfortunate reality that power and material resources are concentrated in the hands of males who must be appealed to under certain circumstances (remember, isolationism justified by delusions of revolutionary combustion is not an effective political strategy for improving the lives of women as a class here and now). Next, these insults characterize relations to males as an unconditional source of personal corruption (as if women are not capable of maintaining their integrity in the presence of males). Finally, this trend frames women’s value and feminist credibility as dependent on our relations to males (or lack thereof).

What kind of lazy hypocrisy is this? I know we’re living under The Patriarchy where cognitive dissonance and reversals are a way of life, but come on already, this is a no-brainer! A woman’s political value is in her ideas, not in her personal relations to males or male-controlled institutions. These kinds of insults are obviously unacceptable in ‘feminist’ discourse.

I wish to specifically include use of the malicious term handmaiden in my complaint. A handmaiden is a female servant. She is specifically female. And she is in service to male authority. Even dikipedia knows that ‘handmaiden’ is a sexualized insult:

A man might use a handmaiden as a concubine to bear his child if his wife was infertile. For example, the biblical Rachel, the childless wife of Jacob, gave her handmaid Bilhah to her husband to produce children. Jacob’s first wife Leah later did the same.[2] The Virgin Mary referred to herself as “the handmaid of the Lord” in acceptance of becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit.[3]

Unless y’all think you’re reclaiming ‘handmaiden’ like some ‘feminists’ want to reclaim ‘slut,’ it is completely inappropriate in feminist discourse. Please stop.

I will be moderating comments like the tyrant that I am. My blog, my speech.


For further discussion of female-female dynamics, see Rainsinger’s recent review of Phyllis Chesler’s book, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, here.