Discover more from Boids
feminism is a magic key
some trans IWD thoughts
Its International Womens Day and I feel grateful for feminism - particularly Bla(c)k and indigenous feminist thought and practice around the world - and conscious of the urgency of the broad struggle against patriarchal violence and domination in all the diverse contexts we find ourselves in. These lineages have helped me to see feminism less as a 'women's movement' (though it also can be that) and more as a horizon of relationality, interconnection; and an ethics rooted in (grassroots) lived experience. Likewise, patriarchy less as 'men being bad' (though it also can be that) and more as a social structure that reproduces itself through violence, domination and coercion - cycles of trauma and rupture repeating through history.
IWD came out of labour movements in Europe and the US, and I'm thinking about capitalism as an expression of patriarchal control over domestic and social life - as a new mother in an expensive world I'm really feeling the knife of capital against our throats in every rent payment, in the way wage labour structures our lives and the kind of parenting that feels possible, in the hundreds we spend each week on childcare for the privilege to go to work and live paycheck to paycheck.
I'm also thinking about the State as an expression of patriarchal control, whether it's in the removal of children from their parents just for struggling to pay rent, mums getting sent to prison for unpaid fines, or maybe it's the theft and destruction of indigenous land that's meant to be sustaining life and instead gets extracted for fuel. I'm also thinking of struggles against brutal oppression in Iran, and of comrades in places like Poland and the United States struggling against fascist legislation that criminalises abortion as well as transness and gender nonconformity.
On that last point, I think the patriarchy sees a very real threat in transness and gender-nonconformity just like it has in past expressions of feminist social life: direct resistance to its regime of gender discipline, by which it attempts to naturalise gendered violence, domination, economic and social hierarchy. These laws attack us for again exposing the lie that these patriarchal gender forms are natural, for daring to suggest that we can live free lives, untethered by the strict imperative to dominate and reproduce. Alongside all the campaign and survival strategies we need to make being in this word better, I think liberatory gender practices are important for all of us - they help us find the connectedness, joy and poetry of life we all deserve to access.
Patriarchy kills people every day. I know a lot of people feel cynical about feminism thanks to regressive anti trans, anti sex worker, liberal white perspectives that can dominate in mainstream feminist discourse, but to me the stakes are too high to abandon these insights to the co-opters. They are a gift from ancestors in struggle against the same systems, a key that unlocks the magic that is solidarity. Despite finding ourselves in different parts of the death tower, we can still share plans to get out together and bring the whole thing down.
Thanks for reading, love you xx