Today, it is with great joy that we announce our transformation, after 3 years of reflection and reorganization.
A bit of history: Our collective was born between 2011 and 2013 following the observation from several francophone abolitionist activists that we shared many resources on social networks without ever archiving or organizing the information. The need was felt stronger during the C-36 campaign in Canada and Abolition 2012 in France. Each of us, however, had previously undertaken extensive work, whether in translation or in the curation of web archives. This is how we came into being in 2014 by pooling this work and resources. 6 years later, with 350 translations, more than 5 000 links archived and sorted in 40 online press reviews, and especially after two great political victories in our respective countries (Canada C-36, 2014 and France law of April 13, 2016, loi du 13 avril 2016), we can say that we are proud of the accomplished task, especially since we are entirely voluntary: Nobody funds us and we don’t get anything for this work, on the contrary, it is us who collectively put from our pockets for the few internet maintenance fees.
Another reason for our collective was the anonymity it allowed us. Indeed, our abolitionist work had become a living hell under the daily harassment of sex industry henchmen and self-proclaimed « union » lobbies, practicing a virtual but also very real and violent harassment: disclosure of private home addresses, physical attacks during demonstrations, destruction of our professional websites. Complaints have been filed, one of us has even obtained police protection…
Grubby practices of miserable small-time bullies, but also from hordes of « woke » SJW whose main militant activity is the harassment and censorship of feminist activists previously designated as women to be slaughtered. By doing the same work but in a collective and anonymous form, as if by magic, we were left in peace, as personal attacks were no longer possible. Furthermore, these « activists » appear completely powerless in the face of arguments, facts, figures, investigations and expert reports. They know how to insult and attack, but when it comes to discussing the substance, they already have left the building…
Nevertheless, we were relieved to note that not only have these people historically lost their battle so badly fought, but above all, that civil society seems to have become aware of the unimaginable violence that reigns on social media, in the « call-outs » and the cancel culture wokeness, which do not aim at defending causes but at censoring and destroying people, mostly women, and especially feminists deemed non-compliant with their doxa. Some « feminists » are not left out when it comes to these despicable behaviours and we felt immense sorrow to see some of them participate in the packs that had decreed our killing.
Today, we see the same phenomenon happening to secular feminists, especially of the ex-Muslim movement, or to gender critical feminists. We must say that we are amazed by the cost we women have to pay, even in the 21st century, for our freedom of expression. To express an abolitionist view, whether about patriarchy, the sex industry, religion or gender ideology, has tragic consequences: torrents of sexist insults, sexual harassment, cyber-harassment, banishment from associations, social exclusion, censorship, deplatforming, job losses, loss of public funding, rape and death threats, sexual torture, public disclosure of business premises addresses, calls for boycott. With a tenfold increase in violence against sex industry’s survivors, who are the most vulnerable among us. This cruel relentless attack on women, overwhelmingly precarious, racialized, incest and rape survivors in a state of great trauma, whose lives have been ransacked, on the part of petty queer bourgeoisdaddy’s boys and girls in the warmth of their university setting who claim to be « feminists » and even « intersectional » while massacring women surviving at the hardest intersections in society (« sex, race, class, » isn’t it comrades?), revolts us to the utmost. The bottom of our hell being paved with the fact that there are among our persecutors women who call themselves feminists while their « activism » is devoted to the meticulous destruction of other women and other feminists.
From this point of view, the collective allowed us to work in calm and serenity and offered a respite to those of us who are survivors, at least that of anonymity. Our functioning is that each one does what she wants, as she can, participation being defined by the volunteers themselves. The only requirement we had was that a core group of 2 or 3 people be able to coordinate all the work, the publications and the rotating management of social media. The fact that it was not the same person managing Facebook and Twitter, for example, kept us from sterile quarrels between people. In 6 years, our group has made some very nice contributions and we thank all those who have participated in the adventure, whatever the time devoted. And obviously time has passed by and there have been departures, arrivals, babies, changes of jobs, new projects; what we are happy about, because this is simply life! Thus, over the years, we have found ourselves a smaller but also more homogeneous group, non-mixed, and above all, in phase on issues that go beyond sex industry’s abolition, such as secularism. This is how this feminist resource project was born at the end of 2017. It then took us three years to define its form and content, but especially the fundamental political orientations that we summarized in an acronym: « RASGALS » Radical, Abolitionist, Secular, Gender-critical of All LieS.
The idea is to continue what we had set up for PROSTITUTION RESOURCES: to collect, share, translate texts and articles, but to not limit ourselves to the sex industry:
1/ The resources: we have opted for a different presentation, instead of bibliographies and lists of resource sites, we present resources in two forms: our permanent « blog-roll » (on each page, to the right of the text) and individual presentations, in English here and in French here.
2/ Archives: for Prostitution Resources, we had curated more than 6 000 links classified in about forty thematic tables on Pinterest & Scoop-it.. For Feminist Resources we did the same: we also curated about 5 000 links (articles, studies, etc.) that we have been collecting since 2010 and we have archived them under 27 themes: women’s history, history of feminism, feminist texts and actions, rape (collective, war, on campus, by famous men, etc.), sexual assault, sexual violence/male violence (trauma, statistics, multidisciplinary research, theoretical corpus), rape culture and critique of the ‘consent’ paradigm, domestic violence (physical and moral), feminicides, post-separation violence (violence against mothers, parental alienation syndrome’s sham), men’s rights activism, feminist theories, neoliberal feminism critiques (« pro-sex », queer, intersectional, 3rd wave), gender critique, trans activism news, sexual harassment, sexist cyber harassment, incest /pedophilia, feminist linguistics, marriage/coupling/domesticity, motherhood/abortion/reproductive rights, women’s poverty (systemic and organized), professional discrimination, sexism/misogyny, criticism of patriarchal religions (not just Islam, we will ensure some balance…), bodies/norms/sexualities, migrant women.
We have also redistributed our sex industry archives into 3 categories: prostitution, pornography (filmed prostitution), surrogacy (uterine prostitution and baby trafficking). After a year of work, we found ourselves with a nice table of 30 thematic and bilingual (English/French) files and wondering in what form we were going to share them. We decided this: instead of putting everything online simultaneously as we did for our resources on prostitution (which we will continue to update!), we will share them on our social media (FB and Twitter) by dedicating one day per month to a theme, so as not to tire our subscribers. Every day, you will find the curation of an article on a specific theme in French and in English, in addition to news and images (we have also built up a 1 500-entries feminist icon library).
3/ Translations: the new chosen theme (« Secular feminists in the land of Islam ») was elaborated and worked on by those of us from Muslim culture and/or religion who wrote this introductory statement:
‘’As secular activists like our sisters born in Christianity, we are revolted by the following injustice: when they rightly criticize the Vatican or fundamentalists, they are applauded, but when we criticize our imams and Islamists, we become naughty « Islamophobes » (but we were already « whorephobes », « transphobes » and other « phobic » things, so well…). The irony is that we are being taught a lesson by leftists and feminists who know nothing about our religion, don’t speak a word of Arabic, haven’t read a line of the Koran, haven’t spent a second in a Muslim country, have never sweated under a hijab in 40°C… (Breaking news: it’s torture.) For some feminists in the West, feminism is good for them, western women, who have the right to live in a world free of patriarchal religions, the lucky ones! But we, third world women, should stay in our place subjected to our men and our sexist customs. Customs that because they are « Muslim » become strangely sacred to these relativist feminists, beautiful hypocrites who have precisely emancipated themselves by refusing the clerics the prerogative of imposing dogmas on them. We denounce this unbearable « double standards »: A Western woman criticizes her religion = it’s great and progressive, a Muslim woman does the same = it’s ugly and « Islamophobic ». We don’t accept this orientalist racism, particularly exasperating from North American feminists who project their bad conscience about their history onto issues that are totally foreign to them. The paradigm that seems relevant to us here is that of the post-colony (even if not without criticism, of course) and not that of slavery (Muslims practiced human trafficking as much) nor of segregation (which has never targeted Muslims in the West). In particular, we wanted to confront « intersectionals » who believe they invented gunpowder by recycling the old mantra of the 70s « where do you speak from comrade? » in order to silence secular activists and spread the lie that secularism would be « something white bourgeois feminists do » when millions of women from the South are fighting, or even dying, to free themselves from the filthy machismo of the religious laws imposed on them.’’
Well, we are talking about the lands of Islam, from where we have gathered a corpus of about forty secular feminist authors, from Bangladesh to Quebec, all Muslim, including about twenty French-speaking ones that we have translated into English. These women have played an essential role in our militant formation, just as much as French or North American radical feminists. They are our grandmothers, our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, our cousins, and for some of them, our friends. It is with pride and honor that we translated them, also with the recognition of a debt we owe to all the immense knowledge acquired from their battles that they have transmitted to us. And a necessity, because just as English-speaking feminists are translated into French, the opposite is much less true, especially when they are secularists of Muslim culture.
This approach does not in any way claim that only Muslim women have the right to criticize Islam. As women, we are all concerned by obscurantism and we must all do this work of emancipation from the patriarchal religious. This is an important precision in these times of intolerant ‘’woke’’ crowds, where democratic deliberation seems to have disappeared and only the « concerned » would have the right to express themselves, or even to legislate. This is an assertion we partly understand because our work on prostitution is based/elaborated by and for sex industry survivors. It is legitimate, up to a certain point, that of closing the debate, as the self-proclaimed « sex workers » try to do. But the business of renting human genitals is a question that concerns the whole society, not only its victims or those who claim to be volunteers (but for how long?). Who are the most « concerned » in the end? Those who have come out of a system and alert us, or those who still find it great? Without forgetting that it is always necessary to question the origin of these « words » presented as spontaneous: many survivors today testify to having been manipulated under the influence of their pimps (link) and realize, at the end of a painful awakening, that they were finally the ones who spoke through them, on behalf of the industry’s regulatory agenda.
We understand that people can be sincere in their actions, but we must not be naïve, we must also ask ourselves questions in terms of « who has an interest in saying what, what discourse serves what interest, who funds what and who » in the world war against women. The same is true of the pressure groups that work to advance the Islamist agenda (and are handsomely paid to do so). Between the criminal lobbies of the multi-billion-dollar sex industry (link) or the Islamist associations subsidized by the petro-monarchies and survivors of prostitution or the ex-Muslim groups, it’s the iron pot against the earthen pot. The « concerned » that are harped on us to close the discussion are also a political construct, and on this point, veiling and prostitution of women (which are patriarchy’s two extremes) have many parallels, such as the misappropriation of the freedom, choice or « consent » notions. Of course, the words of veiled women must be listened to and respected, but so must those who fight against their veiling and that of their daughters. It must be said and reiterated that we never fight against women (veiled, prostituted, excised, etc.) but against systems and practices harmful to women.
One last thing: it is not because the far right hijacks these issues that we should abandon these subjects to them, on the contrary. We do know that ill-intentioned racists instrumentalize our feminist critiques, so what? If we remain silent, will the world be less racist? Is it progress to remain silent in the face of the extreme right, be it Islamist or Westernist? Yes, we are victims of racism too, everywhere, all the time, but just as much of sexism, mostly from « our » men, who are nevertheless declared ontological victims by a left lacking proletariat. If they are, as a matter of principle, eternal « victims », then what do we become when they hit us, when they are violent, when they veil us?
Muslims are caught in an inextricable trap in the West: that of the Right for whom we are all guilty and that of the Left for whom we are all victims, placed in a state of exception, outside of historicity, outside of criticism, outside of evolution. Totem and taboo, double fetishism where we neither exist for those seeing us as bad objects nor for others seeing us as the new exotic « good savages, » pretexts for slumming and penance, but never their equals. We refuse this objectification and these identity assignments. We claim to be like everyone else, in a socio-historical complexity and, above all, we are political subjects, citizens who pose problems in terms of universal legislation: In which society do we want to live? In a society where others’ genitals are accessible for a few pennies? Where women and only women are buried under sheets? Or a society where sexual consent is not for sale and female hair is not synonymous with impurity or incitement to rape? What represents progress for all of us and especially all of us women?
So, we would like to say to those reading us: as women, we are concerned by everything that happens to other women, never let us separate from each other. We are concerned by the neoliberal backlash that sets back our social gains and the cruel mutations of an increasingly voracious capitalism. We are concerned about the regulation of our reproductive rights and male violence. But also: if other women are for sale, we are concerned, if the rape of women is an entertainment accessible from any cell phone, we are concerned, if women are considered as ovens to produce babies from which they are separated at birth, we are concerned, if women and only women are marked with a tarpaulin in the public space, we are concerned, if we change overnight the definition of who is a man and who is a woman, of who can have access to our women’s spaces, we are concerned. We declare that women are the exclusive object of feminism, regardless of those who would like to divert us from our historical struggles. Neoliberal activists whose political agenda does not prioritize women try to make us believe that some of us would be « privileged » to the point of having to remain silent in the face of what is at stake for all of us. The truth is that no social class, skin color or religion protects a woman from sexual assault, rape, incest, sexual harassment, beatings, sexist humiliation, sexual objectification and the thousand and one acts of violence that we have all endured since we had the misfortune of being born girls in a men’s world. This is why we are working to promote a universalist feminism (the only truly « inclusive » feminism) that cares about women all over the world, that refuses blackmail or injunctions to stand in solidarity with phallocrats who are firing on all cylinders to reverse the causes and responsibilities.