This writing comes from a speech given by a member of Radfem Kollektiv Berlin at the Radfem Berlin demo on March 25, 2023.
First off, let me say: the right wing is woman-hating. Historically and ideologically speaking, this is true. Right-wing policies and politics are known to harm women and children, lesbians, people of color, immigrants and indigenous people alike, disabled people, the planet itself – the list goes on. Right-wing politicians are sometimes called “conservatives,” and sometimes it is good to be conservative: to try to conserve or save resources. But this word “conservative” does not apply to the ways that men on the right – as well as men on the left – approach the topic of women’s rights.
It’s fair to say that women around the world still do not have human rights. We are not free to be independent people. Instead, women are forced to be dependent on men in the family, church, and state. Women’s dependence on men benefits men, because it allows men to access women emotionally, physically, sexually. In her 1983 book Right Wing Women, Andrea Dworkin illustrates how all women live in a context of forced sex. The right wing forces women into sex with men by law through marriage. The left wing forces women into sex with men by manipulation, usually by ideologies that promise liberation. One good example of this is the topic of abortion.
In the United States, before the year 1973, abortion was illegal. This was right-wing policy. Men viewed abortion as murder. Dworkin says, “To many men, each aborted pregnancy is the killing of a son – and he is the son killed.” Women often keep their abortions secret, because they are afraid of the hysteria of men who are confronted with the idea that men – and their sons – are not desired. Men are afraid of the fact that women do not need men.
At that time in the USA, the “conservative” law on marriage gave a man the sexual right to his wife, but a woman had no right to refuse her husband intercourse, and the woman must bear any child that might result. Because of right-wing policy, women were forced into motherhood. Pregnancy was a legitimate reason for women to say no to sex with men. Therefore, men saw pregnancy as an obstacle; it prevented them from sexually accessing women, so abortion then became a high priority political issue for men on the Left.
The right of men to sexually access women’s bodies, Dworkin says, “is the heart, soul, and balls” of male supremacy, regardless of whatever style of advocacy is used, Right or Left. The only time that men on the right or left take women’s rights seriously, is when our rights benefit them. Men will do anything, promote any idea, support any policy, that maintains their access to women.
- That means men in Germany re-brand prostitution as “sex work”.
- That means men in Uganda declare life in prison for lesbians who come out of the closet.
- That means men in Afghanistan forbid women and girls from going school, or even dancing in the street.
- That means men in New Zealand physically attack women for trying to speak in public.
In male politics, the topic of abortion is similar to the topic of gender. Right-wing men use “gender” as a tool to keep women trapped in the home, totally accessible to men in private. Left-wing men use “gender” as a tool to access women anywhere, anytime. The tactics of the Left and the tactics of the Right are used by men to achieve the same goal, total male control over women, by isolating us from each other, or by forcing us into competition against one another. Thus, women developed a feminist consciousness.
Feminism helps women wake up from the slumber of female socialization, the slumber of submission. This is one big reason why feminism, and especially lesbian feminism, is a direct threat to male power. As feminists, we must reject the obvious misogyny of the Left hiding under pink-and-blue banners of so-called progressive politics. We must also reject the misogyny of the Right, the traditional woman-hating which dehumanizes us while destroying the planet.
Men on the Left and men on the Right will try to do everything they can to shut us up. They will use slurs against us, they will attempt to defame or humiliate us into silence, they will threaten us, and sometimes they will follow through on those threats. We will not let them win.
Our solidarity is our strength. Our strength is our survival. Our movement is the fight is for female liberation. We are local, we are global. And we are just getting started.
WOMEN UNITED WILL NEVER BE DIVIDED!
Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to Andrea Dworkin herself: