Patricia McFadden on Feminist Autonomy

…many of the discourses which define and mark space as male and gendered, exclusionary of women as persons and as individuals who are entitled to mobility and to the occupancy of space in their own right, must be brought into focus in considering the pressure that men and certain groups of “good women” are putting on the rest of us within the Women’s Movement to allow men into our limited political spaces.

My retort is that those women who like men so much that they cannot spend any time during the day or night without male presence can set up what are called “mixed” organisations, which have a right to exist as all other civil society structures do which enhance human desires and interests in the common good; but not as part of the Women’s Movement. Therefore, to insist that our Movement, which we have struggled to establish, often giving our entire lives to its creation, should become a “gender-mixed space” is not acceptable at all and must be vigorously contested.

Patricia McFadden, “Why Women’s Spaces Are Critical To Feminist Autonomy,” in Female Erasure, edited by Ruth Barrett, © 2016, Tidal Time Publishing.

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