the abolition of gender
man, how are we supposed to feel? the world is shredding, burning—but no one wants to name what is really happening—that women, our bodies, our lives are deemed non-Human, are deemed something so outside the realm of the living—someOne who can feel, joy, thrive, transform—that our lives can be violenced, taken, controlled, invaded.
i am tired, always but especially now, when the fatigue has begun to define me. i hesitate to call myself feminist because that means i am “choosing” the violence of gender over the Others. i don’t mean to presume that other means of terrorizing—as bell hooks speaks about in terms of whiteness—do not exist, but that this peculiar form of terror that is the absolute and devastating creation of Woman (all that a Man is not) has made us fear even articulating this subjugation in decolonial terms. the reality of misogyny, which is in of itself racialized—who is more woman, who is less womanly, who performs, who earns their “femininity”—is so desperately felt yet so culturally accepted, that to radically demand its abolishment is seen as impossible.
i am an abolitionist. a slow abolitionist. why should that not include the abolition of gender?*
i am chilled down to my bone—there is something so insidious about my hesitancy around feminist as a means of situating and a means of action. i am saddened by my own despair.
it is not that i am oblivious to right wing feminisms cloaked under the guises of radicality because there is nothing radical about a politic that is purposefully dismissive of an inherently fluid misogyny and racialized sexual violence that demands a constant attack of the Other. i will not abide by that thinking and i am so fatigued by it.
to be radical means grasping things by their roots, unsettling them, calling them out, in, here, to be dealt with, to be ridded. i am a radical feminist and i will grasp things by their roots, by the roots of terror that animate my body and life, Ours and me. why is it that radical for any other “movement” is heralded as the most critical, the most revolutionary and necessary for liberation. yet radical, here, is intensely pushed away, we anxiously work to rid that affixture from our names.
i am aware of the whiteness that make up our knowings of radical feminisms, and don’t want to dismiss them as much as i am so longing for a radical that goes up up beyond and beyond them. my radical older loves: bell hooks, andrea dworkin, gloria anzaldua and some of my newer ones: robyn bourgeois who i haven’t been able to forget these past few months. am i sure they identify themselves as such? no. but i locate the crevasses of their work in these terrains and have entirely lost and found myself in their radicality.
they urge me that there is no actual “thing” that is sex and gender, only attempts to map and regulate and push and order these “things” through language and culture and knowledge systems. there is no actual polar binary that is the “man” and “woman” other than the way that constructed binary has affected and been felt by us.
i want to feel something different—i don’t want this binary no more.
*i am experimenting with using language that goes beyond gender. one attempt is using “they”—let us see how this goes.