the biological feminist position is repulsive for its exclusionary violence. we have already told you: we refuse to know what woman is. yet on the occasion of the women’s march, we stood behind this position. this is not because we accept the idea that a woman is to be defined on the reproductive terms that appear under attack. we realize these terms have been weaponized in the protection of their own territory. we reject this violence. we stood behind this position because it united one million in DC and nearly 750,000 people in los angeles against a regime that is at war with women as such. at this point we must look at what it means to get together. from the need to stand together, we begin to discuss how and why and to what extent we stand with a biological feminist movement.
a biological feminist politics is a pragmatic position and a source of symbolic meaning. in the symbolic order of biological feminist politics, we accept the biological truth of the woman in order to generate a globally inclusive vision of womanhood. womanhood is opposed to manhood which reaps the benefits of labor that is primarily biological. it is on this axis that biological feminism transcends cultural difference. experiences of womanhood are imagined to have certain qualities that are so constant as to be definitional. ironically, what appears most definitional about womanhood is its biological definition that is also the aspect that enables exploitation. overlooking that internal contradiction, this conceptual lapse provides inclusion in the movement as global birthright. experiences of biological womanhood become irrevocable as proof of the biological feminist reality, while a border is erected around biological inclusion.
for many of us this vision has always appeared as a contradiction of itself for the same reasons it has come to appear violently exclusionary. it postpones the problem of gender’s cultural construction, taking biological constancy for granted in order to sustain feminism as a liberal project of rights. yet like other liberal projects, it offers access to certain truths that appear to prove themselves in everyday life. while we must reject this formulation outrightly, we must also come close to what has made it true in the experience of people who call themselves women.
people who have accepted the biological feminist position have had access to reality by way of this particular symbolic configuration in which their biological assignment has emerged as the envoy of both subjugation and radical potential. women have had their view of the world framed by the belief that their experience has an unavoidably biological constancy with that of other women. it is then unavoidable that the reality of oppression has been proven to women through an acceptance of this symbolic system. the experience of being in a body that is what we call biologically female cannot be argued away – despite the gaps in the symbolic system that enabled it, the language-mediated experience of this body is beyond language. that is why it is unsurprising that multiple generations of feminist theory and practice dedicated to articulating arguments about gender-based exploitation explicitly rejecting the biological construction of sexual difference have failed to deter the prominence of a biological feminism.
when i turned on the radio to hear a woman describing the “nastiness” of her own menstrual bleeding in conjunction with a call for action, i felt a stark reminder of the persistence of this phenomenon in a popular political movement. this account was followed by a performance by a white singer of a song that was apparently written in four different languages. having to give in to this colonial construction feels intolerable. for those of us who reject the notion that we can “know women,” other experiences have appeared to us as containing irrefutable reality. it is also impossible to deny this experience as a source of truth. for my generation of comrades who are becoming radicalized through contemporary identity politics, this older generation appears grotesquely colonial in its appeal to the truth of its experience. yet we must also be wary of the own borders we erect at the margins of our own symbolic configuration.
biological feminists employ a meaning system that leaves out the bit about its privilege in order to demand rights on the singular axis of the gender binary. what is left out of configurations adopted by contemporary movements that have not yet fallen prey to intensive critical scrutiny remains theoretically unavailable. that is, we are yet to learn our fate. even if the flaws have appeared in plain view, the political pragmatism of a unified contemporary stance makes discourageable, or at least risky, any grandiose critique. people who have sought to point to these faults during the tenure of these resistant movements often appeared to be prioritizing theory over action. or worse in the case of z*zek et al, as proponents of outright bigotry and privilege.
what becomes diagnostically available relates to the general structure of liberal claims to rights. any stance that claims to deserve access to rights while undermining the fact that these rights come at the exclusion of others will reproduce violence. we must accept that what is politically available will not reflect any individual first-world identity. remember that identitarian politics is a conceptual entity of the far right! we must instead consider what it means to configure out of necessity around the global target of the administration that inaugurated a march of one million americans.
this does not involve constructing an identity group in which we seek to find ourselves. the political field must not be relegated to what has been referred to in mainstream press as “cathartic expression” or “personal grievance.” if we feel we have found ourselves among people like us, then we have accepted the terms of the contract. the march of millions of americans is better conceived as a radically fractured convergence on the unfortunate terms of a diminishing horizon. the prospect is, then, of losing ones self in the image of the rapists prey – a scenario in which everyone appears in drag, masquerading against the looming prospect of the rapist president. NOW how might we hope to kill the rapist?