Conflict on campus: UVic Women’s Centre becomes ‘Third Space’

Tweeted by Alison Chapman: "Seen outside the uvic women's centre. And another reason why feminists need to be radical #uvic" https://twitter.com/alisonfchapman/status/609092471482556416
Tweeted by Alison Chapman: “Seen outside the uvic women’s centre. And another reason why feminists need to be radical #uvic” https://twitter.com/alisonfchapman/status/609092471482556416

After 35 years, the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) Women’s Centre is moving to adopt a new name and a new mission, but not everyone is on side. The small office and lounge in the Student Union Building re-opened in June 2016 after a two-week closure; however, the Centre remains unstaffed amid controversy and alleged misconduct involving staff, members, and an ex-coordinator who is transgender.

In November 2015, the UVSS Women’s Centre announced it would be changing its collective name to “Third Space” and expanding to serve not only “self-identified women,” but any “gender variant and gender non-conforming person.” This change appears to be in line with UVic’s updated human rights policy prohibiting discrimination on grounds of “sex (including gender identity).” But the change conflicts with the wishes of some students and with UVSS bylaws that specify the space is for UVic women.

Women’s history

From 1973 to 1981, the University of Victoria Women’s Action Group (one of B.C.’s first organizations for women’s liberation) pressured the UVSS to establish a women-only drop-in, library, and referral service. In the years since, the Women’s Centre collective lobbied for women’s history courses, expanded daycare facilities and campus safety, and held workshops on topics from feminist theory to self-defense.

Back then, women’s studies departments, rape crisis centres, and equal rights in higher education did not exist. There were few tenured women and even fewer supports for female students.

The battles took years, but activists succeeded in establishing the centres and a measure of equal rights on campus, as well as bases of operation to organize more widely against rape, harassment, and discrimination. The UVic collective, described as a “strong, radical, feminist voice on campus,” led and participated in women-only events from Take Back the Night to pro-choice initiatives, and provided a place for women to discuss feminist theory and plan for action without fear of male censorship.

Shelagh Day was on the frontlines with WAG during those years of struggle for crucial rights and resources. She is now president and senior editor of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter and a member of the Order of Canada. “I do think women’s space is extremely important,” Day says by phone from Vancouver. “It certainly was when women began to be active at UBC and UVic.”

“It remains important to have spaces where women can talk about their lives and their experiences as women and how they analyze that,” Day says.

“I’m always disturbed when women’s spaces are taken away or money is taken away from women’s activities and women’s networking. Of course, other groups also need spaces that are comfortable and appropriate for them. And I think it’s really important that that happens. What I worry about is particularly women’s space being taken away or defunded or turned into something else.”

“Divided and toxic”

Today the Centre is undergoing “turbulence and discomfort,” according to a July 12, 2016 letter to members from Erin Ewart, UVSS executive director,

“[I]ndividuals have not felt safe, have been oppressed, and have been bullied in the space,” Ewart wrote. “All these experiences have culminated in a collective that is divided, a center that is toxic, harassment, and a sense of hopelessness moving forward.”

According to The Martlet, UVic’s student newspaper, the website was closed temporarily and social media accounts were “deactivated” earlier this year. Reached by phone at the UVSS office, Ewart says, “There were concerns about privacy, so the website was temporarily taken down to update the passwords.”

The website was restored in June 2016. Shortly thereafter, a message appeared on the page that Ewart says was “not put up by either of the coordinators.” The post castigated the university for not doing enough to prevent sexual assaults and concluded “UVic is the enemy.”

In June 2016, the collective held a Community Debrief in an attempt to address conflicts at the Centre. A collective member who goes by the name Lexa MacKay* recounts a chaotic scene:

“There was a lot of disruption. [Former coordinator] Daphne Shaed demanded that the hiring committee bypass union rules and hiring rules and get [Shaed] back as a hire. But that wasn’t going to happen. Nadia [Hamdon], the new coordinator, was already hired, and the hiring committee was happy with her. They said she is extremely qualified.”

During the meeting, Shaed, who self-identifies as a “tranny cyborg Hindu daphne shaedwoman,” and a “heterosexual lesbian,” accused Centre coordinator Kay Gallivan of “transmisogyny.” A supporter of Shaed asked Gallivan if she was “afraid of transwomen.”

A second meeting was scheduled for July 14, 2016. According to MacKay, a long-time collective member, Hamdon and Gallivan spoke of “continued incidents of harassment since the previous meeting and they said they were afraid to go in [to the Centre] because they felt unsafe.” The Centre is not currently operating, they said.

Jim Dunsdon, Associate VP for Student Affairs, was present to warn the group that the Third Space website may have been hacked and that the Centre could face sanctions for its message.

Discussion focused on moving forward from this turbulent period and completing the transition to Third Space, including changing the Centre’s signage.

“In moving forward, it is also important to recognize the difference between having a voice, advocating for change and calling bodies in when oppression has occurred and engaging in bullying and harassment type behaviors,” Ewart wrote in the July 12 letter. “The focus needs to begin to shift to the bigger picture and away from two individuals. Harassment can take many forms and can be anything from subtle, passive comments, to acts of violence.”

Voting or consultation?

Regarding the change from “Women’s Centre” to “Third Space,” Ewart says no further consultation with students is planned.

“We did a large consultation with surveys and polls that went out,” she says. When asked for details, Ewart referenced a poll that was posted on the Centre’s website. The web poll introduced the subject of a more “inclusive” name and asked respondents what name they would prefer and why. The survey has since been closed and the results have not been made public.

MacKay says a group of feminists on campus provided extensive feedback via the poll. “We felt it was erasing women,” she says. “They just went ahead and [made the changes] anyway without even talking about the criticism.”

Third Space is currently the unofficial name of the Centre, according to policies adopted at its annual meeting in November, and Ewart says the Third Space name will be official once it’s approved by the collective.

The Third Space website suggests the change might still be subject to “a referendum for all undergraduate students to vote on this matter.”

In any case, according to UVSS bylaws, the space is the Women’s Centre, and membership is limited to “all registered undergraduate women students.” Changing UVSS bylaws requires either a two-thirds vote by the directors, a two-thirds vote of members at a general meeting, or a majority vote in a student referendum.

The new Third Space constitution distances feminism from its history as a political movement for women’s liberation and the end of patriarchal oppression, defining it instead as “a mode of analysis that recognizes the right of every self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid to develop to their potential free from oppression” [sic].

The Centre and its staff are funded entirely by student fees, and female students make up 60 per cent of the student body.

The discourse

Controversy has dogged the Centre in the past year. While serving as Finance Coordinator, Shaed attracted negative attention for publishing a full-page, full-frontal nude photo in the June 2015 edition of the Third Space zine produced by the UVSS Women’s Centre. The image was titled “My body is not my shame — Daphne Shaed, Tranny Cyborg.”

Shaed, a political science, linguistics, and computer science student, drew criticism again in February 2016 after tweeting a photo of a student pouring red paint across UVic Pride’s new rainbow crosswalk along with the hashtag, #feelingsilenced. Shaed brushed off accusations of vandalism, tweeting, “the paint washes off, just like your inclusivity.”

“They don’t speak for us,” a Martlet commenter responded at the time. “[Shaed’s] attitude is exclusionary and they are frankly bullies. But any critique of action is shot down – even anonymous concerns are dismissed as ‘cis/straight’ trolls.’”

As of mid-July 2016, Shaed is still listed on the Centre’s website as a coordinator.

Meanwhile, MacKay says feminist literature and discussions that are critical of gender theory, pornography, and prostitution are not permitted at the Centre. After leaving feminist pamphlets at the Centre in January, she received an email from Shaed, explaining that members of the Centre may not challenge certain ideology, including the notion that “sex work is work” and the idea that “woman” is defined based on “a system of self-identification.”

MacKay asked:

”Is there room for ideological diversity in the Women’s Centre? I would like to run a radical feminist group. Would you find that acceptable?”

Shaed replied:

“[W]e can not support discourses that inherently erase others. There is room for discussions in the Women’s Centre, but not when it comes at the expense of undermining the legitimacy of other members and their identities.”

Student frustration with the change is evident on a Twitter page called @UVicWomyn, which was started by MacKay and some other anonymous women in an effort to respond to the proposed repurposing of the Centre.

An email to Centre members from Gallivan and Hamdon said the @UVicWomyn account constitutes “a form of bullying and harassment,” adding, “The UVSS and the Third Space coordinators have taken steps to get the page removed.”

Earlier this year, the Centre’s collective apologized for its “deep history of ‘radical feminism’” which they characterized as “exclusionary, racist, and trans exclusive.” The group committed to “unlearning elitist social justice mentalities.”

Safety and equality

The issues confronted by UVic women three decades ago are still on the front pages today. University parents still struggle for adequate childcare services and sexual assault survivors on campus still find their safety is not a priority with administrators (although their silence is).

Meanwhile, the rate of male violence against women is rising in B.C. and across the country. In 2015, 19 B.C. women were murdered by men, two of them in Victoria, and a spate of sexual assaults against women in communities near the University in July 2016 has women on edge.

“A number of women [have been] assaulted on campus,” MacKay says.

“Men target women for assault and it’s not based on how we identify, it’s based on our biology. Women are attacked because we’re female. Being born with a vulva is an automatic target on your back for sexual violence.”

She says women-only spaces protect women by removing the threat of male violence.

@UvicWomyn points out that trans students will benefit from a million-dollar endowment for a Chair of Transgender Studies announced early in 2016.

While the group is in favour of safe space for transgender or “gender fluid” students, they also want space available specifically for women.

@UvicWomyn’s online petition states that “people born male who identify as women have the right to their own space, but not at the expense of women’s space.”

The petition, which gathered over 250 signatures in its first three days, continues:

“Women-born women also have the right to organize on their own terms with others who share the female designation at birth and who were socialized as women, in order to heal from and organize against male exploitation and oppression of women that’s based on our biology and socialization.”

Lee Lakeman, a feminist pioneer and the founder of one of the country’s first safe houses for women, agrees. “My experience is that women-only space is vital to anti-violence work. We seem to think differently, more strategically in that space. It’s easier for women to be bold where we don’t feel censored,” she told me over phone.

“Once you accept that women don’t have equality in society, then it’s fairly obvious that women need to be able to distance themselves from men in order to collectivise.”

“In order for women to have enough room to think, they need some time away from the overpowering presence of men,” she says.

Tara Prema is a former student of journalism and women’s history.

*Lexa MacKay is a pseudonym used at the request of the student, who fears reprisals, including harassment and removal from the collective and the Centre

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  • Beard Trice

    Thank you for standing up for Women’s spaces.

  • Laura

    Does anyone else find Ewart’s use of the word “oppressed” here to be strange?
    “[I]ndividuals have not felt safe, have been oppressed, and have been bullied in the space,”
    Like possibly i’m splitting hairs here but if you can like localize your experience of oppression to a single time and place, it’s not opression. I think oppression is more wide ranging, systematic, lasting, taking varied forms, etc. Being disagreed with isn’t oppression. bullying, while shitty, isn’t necessarily oppression.

  • lesbear

    After reading this Shaed person’s article in the zine (and deeply regretting scrolling down to the incredibly creepy and awkward photo) I came up with a new method of determining who’s allowed in women’s spaces: Can you go five minutes without showing or telling everyone about your penis like it’s the most interesting and important thing in the world? If not, you’re not a woman and you’re not allowed in our spaces.

  • What is God’s name is a “heterosexual lesbian”?

    • calabasa

      Seriously.

    • Pod0riji7

      Why is a white guy’s declaration he’s a female Hindu tranny cyborg given the same or more credibility than a woman saying “I’m biologically female, we exist”?

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Oh no, saying you’re biologically female is SWERFery!

  • Mar Iguana

    Shaed’s got the classic duper’s delight smirk.

    • Morag999

      He really does.

  • Wire Bead

    Godspeed, UVic Women, fight for your space. You have a right to a room of your own.

  • k.f. morton

    This is so sad 🙁

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      It really is. I don’t even know what else to say about it.

  • Morag999

    “Meanwhile, MacKay says feminist literature and discussions that are critical of gender theory, pornography, and prostitution are not permitted at the Centre.”

    There it is, the holy trinity of post-modern (Playboy, liberal-patriarchy and capitalist-approved) “feminism”: essential gender, porn and prostitution.

  • This is the same dude, who’s running the women’s center to the ground who thinks showing off his frankinstien porny male nude body is empowering women. He’s obviously one delusional dude.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      This individual seems like a complete narcissist to me.

    • Mellie

      More than delusional. He has a fetish and wants to flash women without their consent.

  • Morag999

    I’m as breathless and gobsmacked as you are, JingFei. But you got it all out perfectly and accurately, and I was cheering while reading your comment!

    We should take a moment like this, now and again, to name and shame the women who go along with this senselessness and intellectual chaos, not only defending perverse and narcissistic men who have flipped their lids and taken off all their clothes as lunatics will do, but allowing these men, who make an utter JOKE of women and violence against women, to be LEADERS of women and to destroy feminism from the inside.

    Yes, these women are hypocritical, “vapid” and “cray-cray” navel-gazers. They will never cease in their foolishness until they can wake up and see what absolute fools they are being. Hey, liberal feminists, or whatever “inclusive” thing you call yourselves: please, oh please, stop being so stupid! You CAN stop. It’s not who you are; it’s not an identity.

    • Alienigena

      Inclusive to me connotes inclusive design (IT, architecture, etc.) practices. For example, designing educational environments and activities that do not exclude students with disabilities. Learning management systems (like Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard) all have some amount of accessibility (making content accessible to people who might be using alternative devices (to computer mouse)) built-in, but educational institutions customize these platforms to suit their own needs (e.g. for registration systems, etc.), a practice that can introduce barriers to use. Users with disabilities may not be able to use a traditional mouse or keyboard, or they may rely on a software (with keyboard shortcuts) to access content, such as screen reading software (e.g. Jaws) and other software like Read and Write Gold (highlights text, deals with web content, converts text-to-speech for users with visual impairments, ESL learners, students with learning disabilities). YouTube is keyboard accessible, just try tabbing through various settings and using up/down arrows to adjust, next time you view a video there. Inclusive design helps people who have age-related disabilities, people who are temporarily disabled due to injury (broken arm or wrist), people for whom English is a Second Language (e.g. captioning of video or tv), people who have age-related issues, etc. To me inclusiveness is both a philosophical and a technical issue.

      For information on web accessibility guidelines refer to W3C WCAG.
      https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

      For information on universal design refer to this website.
      http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/The-7-Principles/

      For information on universal design for learning (UDL) refer to
      http://udloncampus.cast.org/

      For information on how inclusive design is being to help all people use technology to learn, to live (e.g. pay bills, view online content, purchase goods online, etc.), get Internet access (regardless of economic circumstances) and connect to others (some approaches (chat rooms in learning management systems) do not work for people with visual impairments, or learning disabilities) look at the Raising the Floor website. If you think of IT infrastructure the way you do roads or sewer systems or built environments I think you understand the importance of the inclusiveness or accessibility of IT platforms and resources.
      http://raisingthefloor.org/

  • Morag999

    “never stop trying to get women to realize the truth even when they seem to be against you. some of us used to be on the other side and had our eyes and minds opened by radical feminism.”

    This is wonderful. Very encouraging.

  • Reality is sweet
  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    The most bizarre part of the article for me was the attempt to frame use of preferred pronouns as being an issue of consent. Ok then, I do not consent to being referred to as cis.

    • Alienigena

      The tactic of naming places and people without their
      permission is a practice common to colonial powers and imperialists. The novel
      entitled “Explosion in a Cathedral” (by Carpentier, a Cuban writer) explores
      this process of claiming through re-naming by explorers of the New World. Who are busily renaming islands in the Caribbean for the Spanish crown. That
      trans women have the gall to rename born women cis-women speaks to their lack of
      historical knowledge, their boneheadedness and their own imperial tendencies.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Well, if you isolate the younger women from the older ones with ageism (the latest tactic of which I believe to be the bashing of the second wave, all this “prude” and “SWERF” and “TERF” stuff), you have a bunch of inexperienced young women, many of them still insecure, trying to figure it out on their own. Who is going to recognize this stuff for exactly what it is because they’ve seen it all before? Now “radical feminism” itself is a dirty thing that needs to be apologized for? And who is tellingtelling young feminists what radical feminism is all about? It’s not radical feminists, it’s people like Shaed.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes yes yes!

      This is exactly it! It’s a divide and conquer strategy. And particularly with, as you say, the ageism and the separating of older women from younger women so there’s no solidarity there and no herstory being passed along.

      It’s just awful. Thank you for pointing this out!

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        And I hate to imply that young women are insecure but…when I was 21 I was not very good at speaking up for myself. I was afraid of my feelings hurting other people, even when I knew they were justified. Women are raised to place the feeligs of others above their own. I cared a lot about whether other people thought I was a “nice person”. I was not fully able to recognize things like this for what they are, because I would have cared a lot what someone like Shaed thought of me. I’m sure a lot of young women are the same.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yeah. I was incredibly insecure when I was young. I *thought* I was confident because I thought I was attractive. Like, in other words, I thought “confidence” was about male attention and approval and being desired, so I was “confident” in a kind of cocky, obnoxious way that wasn’t really confidence at all.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I’m disgusted. What a display of someone who’s lived their entire life with male privilege! Shove aside, ladies! Someone with a PENIS is here!

  • Mellie

    Why can’t gender non-variant people create their own space??

    • Melanie

      Yes, this movement seems to coattail on the hard work of others, whether it be women or the lesbian and gay community. I can’t imagine being that disrespectful to take over a women’s space like that after the years of work that women put in to creating it for themselves. And yet they still want their own spaces specifically for transgender people. And to dictate to women what opinions they’re allowed to express in that space is pure arrogance. What about women who have been in the sex industry who have been harmed, traumatized or are sick because of it? They’re not allowed to talk about their lives and experiences in a women’s space, of all places?

      • Mellie

        They know two things: males are lazy and don’t want to put the work in. And second they know that the mainstream would not take them seriously unless they can pretend their fight is similar to the fight against homophobia and sexism.

  • Bob Ibbitson

    Props to 3rd space doing good work. There’s more a need to have intersectional spaces than redundant ones from 2nd wave that just seems to be the poor and shitty bastion of white boomer feminists.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Why are you erasing women of colour from the feminist movement?

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Yes, because it’s not as if intersectional feminism was discovered with the 2nd wave or anything.

  • Emily Walton

    This shit makes me so glad I’m not in college any more. I graduated in 2006 and already my university had changed “women’s studies” to “gender studies” and introduced an “lgbt studies” minor with a heavy trans focus. The LGBT spaces I was in were all about trans and there were two “living and learning” programs just for them (well, one just for them and one that was supposed to be pan-LGBT but guess whose issues dominated). Somehow I made it to radical feminism, but back then you were still allowed to call trans women “male” and say that abortion was a women’s issue. I shudder to think what I’d have become if I were a college student now.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Your comments weren’t ‘pulled’ Bob. They were in moderation. All comments on the site are moderated, so don’t go up until a moderator can manually approve them.

  • Alienigena

    I have always referred to men as penis possessors. I can just extend that term to pre-op trans M-to-F activists who think it is appropriate to call themselves heterosexual lesbians. A contradiction in terms. I have heard Eddie Izzard use this kind of language to describe his sexual preference (he uses the term male lesbian) which is that of a straight male really. To think that lesbians should ‘get’ with trans women is absurd, pre and post operative. What trans activists seem to be proposing is a mass campaign of coercing and compelling lesbians to have sex with them. If this strategy is not OK when used against straight women (by straight men who use coercion, threats (of violence), gaslighting, negging, etc.) why is it OK when it comes from trans women toward lesbians.

    • Alienigena

      I will pre-emptively defend myself for the penis possessors comment given that all popular media seems to emphasize is male prowess, and men themselves seem to view their groin as their most valued and most in need of protection body part … sadly not their brains, which contact sports like football put in jeopardy. I remember seeing a series of movies in the mid 1980s which featured a lot of penis references, including describing the penis as literally hammer-like. I also remember my sister’s friend showing off her penis lighter, the advent of male strippers (who cares, I have seen male penises in life drawing classes at university and elsewhere), and more recently penis-themed cakes (for bridal showers). Men are obsessed with penises (get out your calipers, Dutch movie, again from the 1980s had four guys measuring their penises with calipers), so are a good number of women. Calling men penis-possessors seems apt to me.

  • Alienigena

    Grow up. Seriously you sound exactly like other abusive males I have known, claiming they are the real victims. Seriously go back to MRA-land and complain to the like-minded about how all born women are out to get you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Your implication was that, somehow, third wave feminists/those who do not support women-only spaces are more ‘intersectional’ than radical feminists/second wave feminists/women who support women-only space, which is simply not true. Don’t gaslight me please.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please don’t simply change the goalposts because you can’t defend your original comment. ‘Intersectional’ means that we understand and address the fact that women suffer from various forms of oppression — so women of colour and poor women and working class women not only suffer from sex-based oppression, but also class and/or race-based oppression. These are systemic forms of oppression that exist due to/under capitalism, white supremacy/colonialism.

  • Mar Iguana

    Practice this: Males are not women. Period. 2nd wave does not exclude any one by siding with science and fact as opposed to the delusional feelings of men.

    How dare you think you have the right to inform actual women that these men share their same oppression. As an obviously clueless man, you could not have any idea of what women have to endure daily to survive on this male-dominated planet.

    Stand down, shut up and go make a sandwich.

  • Morag999

    We get it, Bob. You’re not the least bit interested in the content of women’s speech. Our words, reactions, reasons, rationale and arguments which are produced in specific contexts, mean nothing to you. What interests you and your kind, what gets you going and causes you grave concern, is whether or not women are playing NICE.

    If women aren’t playing mommy, talking mild and sweet, and offering comfort and accommodation to everyone, especially men — even, or especially, when it’s against our own interests to play that role — then we are being “disrespectful.”

    We get it: ordinary, everyday submissiveness in women is naturalized to the point where it’s perceived as simple “respect” for others. So when women draw a line, when we say “no” it’s about the worst behaviour ever — practically violence, or “literally” violence.

    Women who say: “No way, women’s spaces, feminist spaces are not for men to take over so they can talk about their dicks, write overwrought poetry about their dicks, take pictures of their dicks, and celebrate pornography and prostitution and call all of this ‘feminism'” are women who are about as “disrespectful” as anyone could possibly be. That’s just how male supremacy works.

    You come here in utter contempt for women’s direct, honest, thoughtful speech, you disrespect our intelligence and our ability to make necessary judgements, and — of course– at the same time spout the most intellectually shallow and platitudinous bullshit at us like a superior talking to his inferiors.

    That makes you ridiculous, but you’re also the very institution liberal feminists are tying themselves in knots to keep pleased, happy and mollified. Congratulations. But we aren’t buying it. I mean, we can’t buy it, because it’s too STUPID. Which is why you came here to scold us for being naughty instead of nice. Snort!

  • Meghan Murphy

    There was no second wave in the 50s…

    Also, what is “unsafe” about women-only space?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Bob doesn’t actually know what “second wave” means. Bob is just repeating the anti-feminist mantras he or she learned on Twitter.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Is there any reason that there can’t be safe space for trans and ‘gender fluid’ people AND safe space for females?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed.

  • will

    “I’m rather more disturbed by the narrative as a whole then [sic] the words used. […] If anything I’m scolding you for it’s that you haven’t taken a really critical eye towards 50’s and 60’s based 2nd wave doctrines.”

    That’s hilarious! I’m working on a script with a smug narcissistic boy character who fancies himself an intellectual and I am totally stealing these lines. Thanks Bob!

    N.B. – I’m sure that women wanting women’s spaces is a disturbing narrative for you and women fighting to maintain the tiny gains obtained by our foremothers would shake your simple little supremacist soul, but hold fast, my young friend, just plug your ears, keep chanting those platitudes, keep on showing your “feminism” by hectoring women who have far more knowledge and experience than you do. We’re in a dark-age of anti-female backlash, my friend, so it’s YOUR time, man! Get while the getting’s good!

  • JingFei

    Bob is all over hating on and throwing out unsubstantiated accusations regarding “2nd Wave Feminism”, very good at despising older women, but very weak on explaining himself or answering questions honestly and intelligently.
    What a surprise.

  • JingFei

    Yeah if you believe a white western male appropriating the suffering of east Indian, Hindu females counts as “fitting into an axis of oppression”.

  • Wire Bead

    So you are saying if a woman calls a male “he”, the men get to take over the Women’s Center and fill it full of men?

    Interesting tactic. Do the UVic bylaws allow such a drastic change be made, without Board approval or referendum, to the mandate of a space funded by student activity fees?

    Most people would recognize that if the membership of a space originally approved and funded as a woman only space, is changed to one that is for males and those women who don’t offend the males, that’s a major change.

    Maybe a referendum is in order.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The second wave is responsible for women’s reproductive rights, which, in case you haven’t noticed, are still under attack. The second wave also fought pornography which, in case you haven’t noticed, has become a multi-billion dollar industry, is now commonly consumed by boys as young as 11, and is as violent, racist, and misogynistic as ever. You’ll notice the problem of rape and domestic abuse — two issues the second wave took on and managed to legislate against (they ensured marital rape was criminalized, for example) — is still a problem. The idea that the second wave is somehow ‘passe’ or ‘behind the times’ is a fucking joke only the most ignorant, privileged person could take seriously. You need to close Tumblr and open a book.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If you bothered to actually get involved in the actual feminist movement, you’d see an enormous diversity in the women involved. “Popular speaker” does not = the movement, though I do think class/race privilege plays a role in terms of who is chosen as a representative by the media, for example. In general, the second wave and radical feminism don’t value ‘leaders’ so much as they value collective action, though. Vancouver Rape Relief, for example, chooses and encourages all sorts of women to speak at their rallies, which means young working class women of colour, Indigenous women, exited women, etc., are all leading this movement, whether or not mainstream media chooses to glom onto them. I mean, really, I doubt you’ve ever been to any of these rallies or events, so why pretend to know?

    (I largely agree with JingFei’s commentary here — I’m not sure what you’re taking issue with, exactly? She’s speaking in a general sense about the way the third wave behaves towards feminists/feminism…)

  • Meghan Murphy

    In that case, I wonder where you are getting your information about the second wave?

    • Bob Ibbitson

      Life exposure, online, books some I’m working my way through Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin currently.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m very glad to hear you are reading Dworkin! I’d also recommend The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism and Sisterhood is Powerful.

  • Lavender

    A space that forces females to organize for their own liberation next to males who feel harmed by gender is a safe space for males, not females. What’s happened at UVic represents a trend taking root in the West. It’s particularly strong in the UK and now spreading to the U.S. and Canada. There have been numerous incidents in Canada whereby trans males have been allowed into female spaces, including a domestic violence shelter and a public change room, that resulted in women being harmed and subsequently silenced through gender identity laws. Anyone claiming an interest in social justice should think carefully about the impacts that these politics are having on women.

    Any time a group of people get together to talk about oppression, unless it’s reserved exclusively for females, women become sidelined and are expected to perform the role of labourer and nurturer. This has happened again and again on the left and can be seen in every revolution, including the French and Russian revolutions leftists so admire, as well as the current Black Lives Matter, where women play fundamental roles but are not only de-centred but told to shut up and play along. Now it’s common for males claiming a gender identity to shut women down, just as they’re doing through The Third Space. It’s critical for the common denominator of femaleness to be present because women from different backgrounds can’t educate each other on these nuances and connect via common cause when they’re prevented from organizing. Female genital mutilation, femicide, lack of reproductive control and autonomy – these problems are experienced by female-bodied people ONLY. Who benefits when women are told that talking about these things is *itself* a form of oppression? It’s not hard to figure out unless you believe that individual perception is a legitimate basis for establishing everyone else’s reality in law. Now men get to decide what they are, and on their say so, they no longer belong to the oppressor class. Imagine women having that kind of freedom, thinking ‘I’m a man’ and magically never having to worry about getting raped or getting pregnant as a result of that simple utterance. This is the purest form of misogyny and if we let them take our language and our spaces from us, what they do to us won’t matter because there won’t be an ‘us’ to point to anymore.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Great! The problem here is, of course, that this has not been what’s happened… Rather “ThirdSpace” simply took over the already established women’s space, rather than simply creating a new space… Surely a new space would have been supported at the University.

    • Bob Ibbitson

      How did they take over the space, why do they have the support they do and radical feminists lack the support for their space? What actually occurred on campus?

      I can only really draw conclusions through what most universities would do and follow the law and the will of the student body.

      I’m actually looking for the like actual play by play of what happened if anyone knows.

      • Sally Hansen

        are… are you seriously asking these questions? what do you think the ENTIRE article you are commenting on was about? holy fuck you are thick…

  • Meghan Murphy

    “There’s more a need to have intersectional spaces than redundant ones from 2nd wave that just seems to be the poor and shitty bastion of white boomer feminists.”

  • Meghan Murphy

    VRR does not use the term “sex worker.” Also, when I speak about “the feminist movement,” I mean the actual feminist movement — the one that is a continuation of the second wave, not the one that has been invented on college campuses and online, that rejects the idea of solidarity with women, is pro-sex industry, and that doesn’t understand or acknowledge the roots of women’s oppression.

    • Bob Ibbitson

      “Actual feminist movement.” That’s really bad, really classist and disrespectful of other women isn’t it? It also kind of says you don’t think other feminist veiws are worth anything or hold no value or have no analysis.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I don’t think you know what the word “classist” means. I mean, who is it that you believe is part of the grassroots feminist movement? A bunch of rich ladies? We’re socialists, brah.

      • Melanie

        Do you mean like when third wavers dictate to women what opinions they’re allowed to hold and express in a women’s space?

  • Meghan Murphy

    To call feminism “outdated” considering what is going on daily, in this world, is both sad and hilarious.

    • Bob Ibbitson

      No…don’t do that I never said feminism, I was very specific all through this whole thing about second wave. Please don’t say that I’m saying things I’m not there’s already one here doing this despite me asking for mod intervention.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Duuuuude. Second wave feminism *is* feminism. I am the moderator. You will live through this – it will be ok.

        • Bob Ibbitson

          Duuuuudette There’s many forms of feminism, this is where I see problems in 2nd wave with the dismissal of others.

          Oh I’ll live through it but I’m not that partial to being told I’ve said things I haven’t.

          And if this is just a bump in terms between us that’s okay terms and acceptance of terms vary between folks. It’s not so with the things I’ve been accused of in these comments here. Those aren’t appreciated as they’re…well lies.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Not really. Feminism isn’t just anything anyone decides it is. Feminism is a movement towards the liberation of women and the end of patriarchy and male violence against women. If you are doing something else, you should call it something else, instead of coopting or redefining “feminism” to suit your desires and efforts.

  • Bob Ibbitson

    I think I’m debated out, honestly I’ve not seen anything that will change my expectations or perceptions of radical feminism. And their steadily dwindling spaces seem to be a reflection of the attitudes and voices I’ve encountered here. Besides it’s all done anyways with BC’s new trans positive laws passed this week. The space will remain. Rad spaces and voices will be less accepted as the world passes you by.

    Have a good night, and I hope things change in the future.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes, because silencing, dismissing, and erasing the women’s movement and women’s spaces is a totally new new and signals that these things are Right! As evidenced by history, radical movements towards social change have always been exceedingly popular and embraced by the mainstream.

    • Alienigena

      You really are an exemplar of the concept of the banality of evil. What kind of jerk comes into spaces for women as a biological male and starts lecturing them about how they deserve to lose safe spaces for themselves. I assume that means women’s shelters as well. You really are a creep.

  • JingFei

    Unlike 99% of articles on Trans issues, this site doesn’t censor comments you don’t like unless they are offensive.
    And you have a long history of hating on radical feminism, Bob. That’s what I’m referring to. You’re the one that came here to stir things up.
    For a person who (wrongly) claims that WoC don’t agree with any radical feminist analysis, the black women you were mansplaining at in this article seem to line up with what we think pretty clearly:
    http://www.forharriet.com/2015/10/blacktranslivesmatter-how-black-cis.html#axzz4FY3w6Y00
    Here we have the Third Wave/Identifarian crowd blaming black females for the oppression of trans women of colour. And no one is having it. Oh, and there you are- arguing with them and claiming that radical feminism somehow causes violence:
    “Oh there’s all kinds of violence and radical feminism does perpetuate a
    large amount of lateral violence akin to patriarchical rape culture. You
    yourself in this comment section are one of this discussions biggest
    perpetrators of this.”
    For someone constantly using the “white feminism” card ( even when you’re talking to WoC) )- and as a white male, you sure do love inserting yourself and explaining to women how to think and feel, chanting about “white feminism” and all.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um… I’m “looking down on” (i.e. being critical of) liberals and the privileged, ahistorical middle class kids who think women’s rights are old news because it’s not trendy. Meanwhile, ACTUAL poor and working class women continue to suffer under patriarchy because they are both poor and female.

  • Meghan Murphy

    1) Feminism *is* not (or it should not, in any case) be distinct from what you call “intersectional feminism.” We are talking about analyzing systems of power, here. Again, working class women and women of colour are very much a part of this movement — stop trying to create divisions between women.

    2) Again, there is feminism and not feminism. “Feminism” and “feminist” is not simply a label or a meaningless word. If you are doing feminism, you are a feminist. That’s how it works.

  • Wire Bead

    The demographic male include men who call themselves transwomen, for sure.

  • Melanie

    Being female is an ‘axi’ that should be acknowledged and respected by those who are not female.

  • Cadoogan

    As a heterosexual man, I’m sure there’s plenty going on here that I’m not getting. But how does one tell the difference between a transwoman and a man who wants to invade women’s space?

    Shaed has behaved in a manner that I would expect from a man who wishes to have access to and power over women without their consent. Barring criticism of gender theory protects men’s access to women’s spaces. Barring critics of pornography and prostitution improves men’s access to women’s bodies. Exposing your penis to a bunch of women who have no interest in seeing it is classic predator behavior. But Shaed claims to be a woman, so somehow this is okay?

    • Alexandra H-H

      yup

    • JingFei

      If we ask that, we’re banned from speaking now. It would be nice if more men would look at what’s happening and speak up sometimes.

    • Kellyann Conway

      Thanks for your excellent input.

  • Morag999

    Yes, she got it, a perfect distillation of Bob’s (I love the generic, common name) comments!

    Fatuous Bob. Happy and secure in his own incoherence. Impervious to recent history, basic science, reasoning and common sense, which he dismisses as “classist” and “unpopular.”

    La la la … women-only space bad, sex work porn good; old books bad, new naked lady-penis good; lesbian is dinosaur, but LGBT*BDSM~X¥Z-LAPD is pretty unicorn … what harm? I didn’t see any harm? Gotta run, God bless!

    Yeah, evil can look like THAT. Dumb and determined to stay that way. To make it the LAW, in fact.

    • will

      Yup. Like the mythology about words for snow, we need an array of new words to describe the noisy purveyors of willful, dogged, stupidity who insist, ad nauseam, that they are misunderstood. It’s a particular kind of pain, witnessing this idiocy. Words fail…

    • Alienigena

      Creepy because it is almost as if he was using this trolling opportunity to ‘get off’ (yes, I do mean in a sexual way). I am referring to this statement: “I’m debated out”. His last posting could almost be read as “Now that I have relieved myself (masturbated (he is excited by the prospect of interacting with peeved or angry women) or the other kind of relieved, defecated) all over your blog posting I can go and get a good night’s sleep.”

  • oh the hue manatee

    The sweeping accusations of racism and classism below not only erase women of color, working class women, and working class women of color who fought in the trenches of the second wave and who continue to fight for radical feminist analyses and actions worldwide – those accusations become face-numbingly ironic when you consider that the modern transgender movement is completely centered on [middle class white male transvestites] co-opting the violence (committed by other males) against [poor transsexual males of color] – and weaponizing that male-on-male violence against females *of all colors and classes.*

  • Sally Hansen

    oh it is definitely intentional. you are right on the money there. incidentally, follow the money and you’ll get your answer as to who is behind all of it.

  • Kris

    Has anyone here ever taken one of these modern-day “gender studies” or “trans studies” courses? I’m very curious as to what is actually discussed. It’s supposedly academic in nature, so does that mean the discussion moves beyond the circular logic and tautological definitions that are the norm everywhere else?

    For example, are the terms “woman” and “gender” defined without using the same word in the definition? Is gender defined in a way that distinguishes it from the term “personality”? Do they discuss what sort of “rights” trans women and non-binary humans collectively want for themselves beyond personal pronouns, fashion choices, or elective surgery? (these “wants” don’t make sense if you can’t define what they ultimately lead to in terms of rights. And its not as if there is such a law currently preventing any of those wants.)

    I continuously read quotes by trans women that say they want: “the right to live as a woman, be treated as a woman”. What does that even mean? It’s hard to grasp when I define being treated “like a woman” as being inferior and limited by a strict set of stereotypes. In others words, treated like shit.

  • Cadoogan

    Thank you. I think. There are some horrifying stories there that are making me question so many things right now.

  • Resse

    I am at a lost on how you can not see the connection between transphobia towards transwomen as intrinsically linked to misogyny. I don’t see what’s stopping you from having a conversation about what is lost when women studies and focus on women is submerged for gender studies, there has always been division and differing points of view in any social movement but this transphobia is so misguided.

    Trans people have always existed and continue to exist in every place on earth, so how can you talk a big game about intersectionality and the overthrow the patriarchy and then turn around use the white christian male parlance “a man in a dress?” transphobia is the same as homophobia and is inseparable from misogyny, the existence of sexist gay men does not change that, we all live in the same culture, women slutshaming and calling women bitches are a dime a dozen.

    Discuss the concerns that are being usurped by other activists there is no need to go straight to transphobia.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I have a couple of questions for you:

      1) How can you possibly know that ‘trans people have always existed and continue to exist every place on earth?’

      2) What is ‘trans’? Can you define it?

      3) How is transphobia the same as homophobia?

      I agree with you that men’s transphobia is rooted in misogyny,as, in many cases men’s violence against transwomen is rooted in homophobia and men’s violence against transmen happens, of course, because they are female. Gender roles exist because of patriarchy, so people (namely, men) do get angry when folks step outside those roles. I wonder, then, if we aren’t properly naming the problem when we say ‘transphobia’ instead of, simply, ‘misogyny’ or ‘male violence’? “What *is* transphobia?” is another good question…

      Interested to hear your responses.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Transgender is simply the term the west uses to desribe people, male or female, who socially and/or physically change the gender identity they were assigned at birth in place for another.”

    This doesn’t quite work, though, because gender is not a personal identity, but rather a set of characteristics ascribed to male and females, which, under patriarchy, serve to reinforce the hierarchy that places men at the top and women at the bottom. If ‘trans’ just means, ‘people who don’t conform to gender stereotypes,’ then theoretically everyone is trans… If it’s about literal surgical transition, that makes more sense, but the problem is that the way legislation is going, sex is defined only based on personal identity — not surgery, not bodies, not even physical appearance.

    I agree with you that transphobia is connected to homophobia, which is rooted in patriarchy. Violence against trans people comes from men, who,presumably, hate transwomen because they don’t conform to masculinity (or possibly because they have bought or had sex with a transwoman without knowing they are male and are mad?)

    “There use to be a sharp divide between the gay male and lesbian community, they did not think of themselves as one community, gay women were women first, the LGBT coalition was only formed quite recently, another instance of identity construction. Lesbian women were prominent in the formation of the feminist movement and quite ironically with the denial of intersectionality of these issues, the feminist movement has historically been and still quite often is attacked through homophobic rhetoric.”

    Yes, unfortunately the queer movement has pretty much erased lesbians — everyone is now just ‘queer,’ which apparently can mean anything from being gay to polyamorous to having a cool haircut.