SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Posts Tagged ‘sexism in the movement

posted by Christa (Philly)

Robin Markle helped me immensely with this piece.  It wouldn’t be possible without her. This paper was a companion piece to my internship with SDS that I completed January 2009. Most of this research is qualitative, although there is some quantitative data. I’m not speaking in absolutes, but researched behavior and trends.

Note: Parts of this article are framed it as male/female. I am not promoting the gender binary by any means. The most common binary term I used was “women-centered organizing”…I used this rather than feminist or trans/women/genderqueer-centered organizing because

1) A lot of the groups the articles studied about aren’t feminist. A lot of the groups are moderate/conservative/non-partisan women’s groups but have similar aspects of organizing.

2) In that same vein, I didn’t use trans/women/genderqueer-centered organizing because a lot of these groups ARE Cis-normative and binary. A lot of these groups aren’t radical, they have problematic aspects to them, but they also organize in some really effective ways, which means we should study and learn from the things they do right and grow away from the things they do wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »

Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro

i.e., I Can’t Believe You Guys Are Being for Real

by Adrian & Emilyn with special thanks to Christa.

an entirely accurate depiction of Emilyn (in the middle) and Adrian (on the right) defeating the metaphorical "monster" that is patriarchy.

DISCLAIMER: We recognize that the tone of this piece is probably a little aggressive or angry. That’s because we were really angry and upset and in a bad place when we wrote it. We’ve come back a few months later, removed some of the profanity, and tried to be not so confrontational. But it was also important for us to be able to express these things that we’ve felt for so long, and haven’t been empowered to say. So please, when you’re reading this, try not to get defensive, and try to acknowledge where we were when we wrote this.


dude bro: (noun) \ˈdüd \ˈbrō
1. a gender-normative male-bodied person who acts in a patriarchal way
2. one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible

dudely: (adj.)
1. something/someone with the qualities of a dude bro
2. dominated by men

cisgender: (noun.) (in this piece we use cismale/cismen/cisdude)
1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth

  1. Stop prowling (also, stop denying it when you are).
  2. Stop lying to yourself — you’re not a good feminist.
  3. STFU&L (shut the fuck up and listen). Read the rest of this entry »

by Robin, Philly

men reading

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have had a hard time drawing decisive conclusions about. At this point I’ve been noticing it consistently for about 2 and a half years, though, and I think it’s time to throw my thoughts out there to hear what other people think. (And when I say people, I mean, women, trans and gender variant people, and MAYBE some dudes if you’re gonna do something other than get defensive.)

What is up with men and books? So many activist men I know have read about a billion books. All about leftist history and anarchism/communism and racism and sexism, apparently. I’m not trying to say women don’t read books, but to be honest, most of my female friends read much fewer books than the males I know, and they are more likely to read fiction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Carly, Providence SDS

For a year now, I’ve been struggling with the question of how to share my experiences, and my chapter’s experiences, of a member’s abusive behavior in a productive, conscionable way.

Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Robin, Philly SDS

Last weekend at the Anarchist Movement Conference in the UK, a group of women interrupted the conference with a direct action – they played a video they created called “No Pretence” about sexism in the anarchist movement.

On their website, nopretence.wordpress.com, the anonymous group says,

This is what was said.

“We make no pretence. This is a conference by and for anarchists. And by anarchists, we mean those opposed to the state, all forms of nationalism, capitalism, sexual/race/gender oppression and all forms of exploitation and domination,” Anarchist Movement Conference 09 Call Out

This is our response.

Pretty effing cool.

They also have a list of links about sexism in Leftist movements, many of which we had on out womyns caucus wiki pg.  Check it out!

This list is based on my own experiences with men in SDS. If you’re a man that I know, and you’re reading this and wondering if any of it is about you… then it could be.

Please don’t send me a(nother) long e-mail about how you’re angry about the way I “called you out” (notice that there are no names) or how you think this list is “counter-productive” or “self-righteous.” Instead, I encourage you to take that anger or defensiveness or whatever emotion you have after reading this, and think about why these behaviors might be upsetting and how you could change these behaviors to make SDS a more welcoming place to women/queer/transfolk.

Fellow women/queer/transfolk: feel free to add your own lessons in the comments! (I’m sure I’ve left out a lot – after all, men have so much to teach us!)

Lessons That Men in SDS Have Taught Me:

  1. It is wrong to call women “bitches.” It is, however, perfectly acceptable to call them “aggressive,” “intimidating,” and “hostile.”
  2. It is “self-righteous” and counter-productive to call people out, to ask people to respect you, or to tell people why/that their words and actions are hurtful and oppressive.
  3. The appropriate way to deal with a conflict is to send out long e-mails about it, preferably to every listserv you’re on.
  4. When problems arise, long e-mails may also be combined or substituted with passive-aggressive statuses on Facebook and/or gchat.
  5. The most effective and liberatory way to share your knowledge with people is in monologue form.
  6. Questions on feminist politics should be taken to the token woman.
  7. The best way(s) to deal with your emotions are (a.) refuse to acknowledge that they exist, and/or (b.) dump them on your (least?) favorite female/queer/trans friend.
  8. Women are only worth your time if they’ll “hook up” with you. (Or if there’s a chance that they will sometime in the future.)
  9. “Feminism” and “sexual liberation” mean “fucking lots of women.”
  10. Men in SDS never commit sexual assault. Only “normal” men (such as liberal environmentalists) do that!
  11. It is wrong for women and queer/transfolks to use violence to defend themselves against rape and queer bashings.
  12. If you’ve read The Will to Change, it means that you’re no longer a patriarch. It also means that you can be self-righteous about how you’re in touch with your emotions, and how you’re no longer a part of patriarchy.
  13. Having a penis and being male are the only qualifications you need to do a job. Take charge — no one will mind!
  14. The fact that someone “has come a long way” means you should be totally understanding of, and patient with, their current fucked up behaviors.
  15. Abuse, patriarchy, and sexism are totally compatible with radical/anarchist and feminist politics.

❤ sarah b. (dc-sds)