This is our truth, tell us yours
Content note for mention of rape. Link to comrade delta case contains rape apology and victim blaming.
Sex workers have known for some time that Anita Saarkesian (@femfreq) is whorephobic and used her platform to promote swerf (sex worker exclusionary radical feminist) ideas of sex workers as agencyless, dehumanised, objects for male consumption. In her series tropes v women she refers to us as prostituted women, that passive term which reeks of “the pimp lobby”. Her discussion of sex work in games such as GTA drips with the disgust all swerfs have for women who could lower themselves to do “that” for money. I intended to write about this last year, then gamer gate exploded, and bluntly I was forced to take sides. Saarkesian may have been a whorephobe, but no one deserves rape threats, doxxing and to be in fear for their lives. So I held my tongue, forced by a bullying mob to not give voice to the many valid criticisms sex workers have of her work.
I will be silent no more. Over the weekend Sarkesian promoted a whorephobic and transphobic piece arguing that for the collective liberation of women as a class then the individual can be sacrificed. I am not linking, but it is easy enough to find if you want your rage levels to increase on a Bank Holiday Monday. Apparently some women are making choices which harm the collective and so it is acceptable to criticise those choices, and to presumably use state force to prevent them being able to make those choices.
As someone who has been on the left since I could read I am all too familiar with the idea the individual is less important than the collective. For those who are less familiar let me recap the history of Comrade Delta. A member so the Socialist workers party brought rape allegations against a senior member of the party. W was basically tried by the disputes committee, on her behaviour, and unsurprisingly they found in favour of the (alleged) rapist. After all, if a woman has sex with people and drinks alcohol, she must be lying. Through out the comrade Delta period women were criticised if they spoke outside the party, going to the police was seen as betrayal of the party, and at all times the good of the party was seen as more important than the good of the individual members.
Individual versus collective anyone?
This is the old fashioned second wave understanding of class that people like Sarkesian have absorbed, sometimes unconsciously, from people who learnt their politics at the feet of Marxist Leninists. One of the features of second wave feminism is that it took its understanding and analysis of class straight from marxist Leninist ideologues. A class becomes something you liberate by your greater understanding of the pulleys and levers operated by the capitalist/patriarchal class. Feminists like Sarkesian adopt the belief of false consciousness because like the Marxist Leninist they believe they have a superior insight into a world denied other (lesser) women. They believe can see how choice X or choice Y harms the social class of women because they are liberated. Other (lesser) women do not know their own minds, and so just like the lumpen proletariat need the vanguard to decide for them what is or isn’t an act of liberation. Of course liberation always equated to those choices feminists like Sarkesian personally approve of. Only the enlightened are allowed personality, or opinion. Liberation comes in the form of pigs wearing clothes and sleeping on feather beds.
Paying with your card at the check out without having to return half the items
Eating with your children so you dont have to pretend you will eat later, when there isn’t enough food
Being able to have an abortion because you want one
Access to contraception that works for you
Its more than a word. Its a privilege. Sarkesian makes choices each day, to eat, to make videos, to wear nice clothes, make up, to walk the streets, denied millions of women. Only her privilege means she does not see these as choices, but as her natural right. As in the case of Comrade Delta those with privilege assume that their voice will be heard, that their actions will be deemed acceptable.Their choices are never to be criticised because they are so privileged they dont even see them as choices.
The borg are one of the great creations of the Star Trek universe. They are stronger, more efficient, less emotional than us. They are a collective where the queen directs the drones, for the betterment of the collective,
Borg Queen: Congratulations.
Seven of Nine: Regarding?
Borg Queen: Assimilation is complete.
Seven of Nine: 300,000 individuals have been transformed into drones. Should they be congratulated as well?
Borg Queen: They should be. They’ve left behind their trivial, selfish lives, and they’ve been reborn with a greater purpose. We’ve delivered them from chaos into order.
Seven of Nine: Comforting words. Use them next time instead of “Resistance is futile”. You may elicit a few volunteers.
The greater purpose of feminism is not absorbtion into the collective. Women are not the borg. Liberation without the individual is assimilation. It is an assimilation into the norms of white capitalist patriarchal culture, the culture Sarkesian upholds with every word. Resistance is never futile if it means we fight for the rights, and humanity, of the individual in the face of this.