> > > A Note From The Turf War Zone


TURF: Transinclusively Undermining Radical Feminism.[1]

January 2016

Dear John,

Your recent enthusiastic Happy New Year's announcement of “The Conversations Project: The Radical [sic] Inclusivity [sic] of Radical [sic] Feminism [sic]" came as quite a surprise. It was naive, ill-conceived, and irresponsibly executed.

So-called Second Wave feminists, most notably among them Andrea Dworkin, had very urgent and important priorities, as you know, such as ending battery, rape, pornography, prostitution, incest, racism, left-wing and right-wing misogyny, and radically interrogating sexuality, Zionism, and white male control of language and writing and imperialism.

In "The Conversations Project" glossary, every one of those revolutionary priorities is crushed into two words, the mainstream media-imposed backlash term: "Women’s Lib." What's so radical about that, John? That is surely not what I would call, as you said, "preserving the nuance of history and discursive context.” [2]

In fact, the glossary is sadly unnuanced. Why not take the trouble to spell out the word 'Liberation' in what is mistakenly claimed to be a glossary inclusive of radical feminism? 'Women's Liberation' references the emergence of women's radical agendas beyond liberal campaigns. How is it responsibly pro-feminist to disappear that history by reducing the terminology to its most dismissive and belittling abbreviation? Blatantly deleting issues that thousands of feminists, including Andrea, have spent our lives fighting for is not only ironically exclusionary but an epic fail. [3]

Beyond all that, you are remodeling Andrea’s life. You've transfigured a few forty-year-old passages from Woman Hating while invisibilizing all the major themes of her work, subordinating them in deference to your own. Your private conversations at home are one thing, but neither you, nor anyone else, can second guess or project Andrea’s reasoning or strategies into 2016, from work published in 1974. Especially in a chapter that she literally denounced major aspects of many years later. So, this becomes the newest phase of you endorsing a revision of Andrea’s public political perspective while also compromising her personhood. 

A past example was your successful advocacy of Ariel Levy as the author of the foreword to the twentieth anniversary edition of Intercourse, as detailed in Over Her Dead Body: How Ariel Levy Smears the Ashes of Andrea Dworkin. [4]

John, I know your sincere desire is to bring Andrea’s ideas to a broader audience. But you have not done justice to Andrea by inserting her name into this frenzied quagmire of controversy, effectively pitting her against radical activists who were her allies in life, on the front lines of the war against women. These, her passionate friends and colleagues, the ones who stood by her when no one else would, are betrayed and justifiably outraged by actions you've taken in Andrea Dworkin’s name. 

Any of us who really knew Andrea knew her to be such a unique voice, never, ever jumping on board to promote herself as siding with a liberal cause. Integrity was everything and the meaning and memory of her words mattered more to her than her own well-being. She is now discredited with yet another lie—not just “a man-hater,” not just someone who thought “all sex is rape,” but as someone who you are strategically positioning to be a key reference point in a battle raging on over ten years after she died, that she quite intentionally never chose to be part of.

If you, as a self-IDed “penised person,” [5] choose to erect your intellectual property on faux radical turf, then so be it. My objection is that you are publicly and problematically using Andrea’s name, reputation, and integrity as a bridge to get yourself there. [6]

Nikki Craft


[1] I am introducing this acronym, TURF, as a counterpoint to one spread around online for years. "TERF" stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. See Terf Is A Slur. Radical feminists deeply interrogate concepts of gender, including queer and tran$ 'gender' theory. Yes we want men out of everywhere they don't belong. But, the respectful phrase to use is Gender Critical Radical Feminist. [Since the writing of this letter the term terf has lost much of it's power to attack women with and Radical Feminists are now laughing about it and embracing the term and bragging about finding their fames on lists compiled by the tran$agenda activists.]

As an antifeminist aim-and-shame phrase, "TERF" has become a speech-weapon of choice, a wedge noun used to splinter and insult gender critical feminists. It is dehumanizing, divisive, and bullying. It is directed, especially, at white radical lesbian feminists, further marginalising and stigmatizing them in their own LGBT+ communities. Not only that, but It systematically misrepresents radical feminist agendas and allegiances. Plus to call everyone a terf who objects to the tran$agenda it defines a large portion of the population inaccurately. Again they are ruining language and words.

TURFing is accomplished in the following ways.

A small group of trans activists and their allies attract liberal to progressive media interest. They run statement after statement targeting a few radical feminists as a key obstacle to their liberty. Appeals are made to white liberals who are generally unaware of or are preconditioned to trivialise radical feminist analysis and accomplishments. This is easily done because, from the mid-1970s forward, the reality is that those in power never embraced what radical feminists were achieving. They fought us at every turn in the most callous, vicious ways imaginable. In too many ways, they won.

TURFing employs the decades-old political tactic--an approach that has historically and presently been directed and orchestrated by men's rights activists, pornographers, reactionary academia, neocons, and media, and their public relations lawfirms, all of whom hope radical feminism dies once and for all.

It is gaslighting and triggering to create websites that are simultaneously radical feminist-identified and unduly critical of key figures in any wave of feminism. It is one thing to vehemently disagree about a very problematic passage, speech, or book. Or to have a history of nasty exchanges online. Or to come down on another side of a particular campaign. But for those radical feminists who have been down in the trenches for decades, verbally if not otherwise assaulted from many sides, it is only anti-feminist to reduce such women, essentially, to "TERFs."

Those of us oppressed by sex, race, sexuality, or class are threatened and imperiled--but not by radical feminists. It is misogynistic to claim otherwise. Portraying an increasingly marginalized and maligned group of women as having more power than those who oppress all of us, is wrong. It it time you stopped. And it is time your colleagues called you out on it.BACK


[3]From that glossary: "2nd Wave [sic]: Feminism from around 1960 – 1980. This wave of feminism was focused on Women’s Lib. To the dismay of intersectional 2nd [sic] Wave feminists, privilege-blind optics became a problem within 2nd [sic] wave feminist discourse. At this time, Janice Raymond’s Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male gained favor."BACK



[6]http://www.amazon.com/The-end-Manhood-John-Stoltenberg/dp/0452273048 especially: "GONERZ is John Stoltenberg's first novel. He first conceived it in conversations with Andrea Dworkin, his life partner of 31 years, and he drew on his earlier years as a playwright when the characters began to come alive.BACK"

A link to this page will reside as a listing on her primary domain..