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Ideological Purity and Siege Mentality Among Radical Feminists

automatic suspicion of those deemed "outsiders" is counter-productive

The following exchange took place in Portland Feminist Meetup group on facebook after I shared an announcement for May 2012 meeting of Queer/Feminist Theory Reading Group which I co-host. The group is considered public, but since it is invisible to anyone not using facebook, I have removed the name of the person I am responding to.

Forum: Pacific Northwest/Western USA Radical Sex-Positive Feminists (facebook group)
Date: 05/16/2012

Many people who identify as "sex positive" view Catharine MacKinnon (along with Andrea Dworkin) as an epitome of sex-negative feminism because of her anti-porn, anti-prostitution stances. But I think there are many important contributions she has made to feminist theory and activism that we could appreciate even if we don't agree with some of her positions. I invite sex-positive folks to join the Queer/Feminist theory reading group (Portland) to read her writings with an open heart.
May 16th at 9:32am

Reading Catharine MacKinnon - Queer/Feminist Theory Group
Sunday, May 27th at 4:00pm at Q Center

Forum: Portland Feminist Meetup (facebook group)
Date: 05/14/2012

Reading Catharine MacKinnon - Queer/Feminist Theory Group
Sunday, May 27th at 4:00pm at Q Center

[name withheld] wrote:

So it's a group set up to trash Catherine MacKinnon? I'm pretty sure she doesn't care what daddy's little puppets think of her. **chuckle**
May 20 at 2:52pm

What made you think that? I highly respect her work and wanted more people to read what she actually wrote instead of accepting a caricature of her and her politics.
May 20 at 5:40pm

on a second thought, perhaps [name withheld] didn't realize that the queer/feminist theory reading group has been going on for a year. past themes include: halberstam's "pixarvolt," 70s radical feminist manifestos, riot grrrl, occupy/slutwalk/etc., rural queer lives, negativity, queer anti-assimilationism, reproductive ethics, feminist science studies, etc. this month is the first time we will feature one specific theorist, but it's worth it.
May 20 at 11:48pm

Forum: EmiKo Yama's personal wall
Date: 05/20/2012

It's unfortunate and symptomatic of the exclusionary tendencies of some of the new generation of vocal radical feminists online that a genuine attempt to encourage people to read and understand writings of one of the most prominent radical feminist theorists rather than accepting the caricature of her and her work is automatically met with the suspicion that someone is out to attack radical feminism and radical feminists. I've also been turned down participation in the local chapter of Stop Porn Culture under a similar suspicion despite the fact I support the group's mission (and I told them so). This obsession with ideological purity and excessive siege mentality is harmful.
May 20