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Frequently Asked Questions: Politics

Below is the list of frequently asked questions about Emi's politics.

What is third wave feminism?

There is no definition for third wave feminisms that are officially agreed upon, but Emi made the following proposal at the 2001 conference of National Women's Studies Association:

In my "research cafe," I made the following proposal: re-define third wave feminism as the feminism "outside of" the second wave rather than "after," and as the feminism that starts from the realization that there are many power imbalances among women that are as serious and important as the power imbalance between women and men. Whether or not you agree with this proposition, I think it served the purpose of challenging the presumption that second and third waves of feminism are about generational divide and starting a more sophisticated discussion about what it means to be a third wave feminist. [from Third Wave Feminisms]

In forming the Third Wave Feminisms interest group within NWSA, Emi further stated:

The new Interest Area Group on Third Wave Feminisms aims to push forward the discussion about third wave feminisms by moving the focus away from generational politics or identity group and onto epistemological and ontological shifts made possible through adopting the label, "third wave." It is not about what third wave feminism is, but about how calling ourselves "third wave" enables us to do that we cannot do otherwise. [Ibid.]

What is whore revolution?

In an e-mail to an anti-prostitution feminist scholar, Emi explained:

The whore revolution is about creating more and better options for everyone, including women who entered the [sex] industry involuntarily. The whore revolution begins from the acknowledgement that not all sex work is voluntary or safe, and aspires to create a world in which they are. The whore revolution will fight violence and oppression at every level, including economic violence and the violence by the state or by international organizations, because violence and oppression diminish our options. [from A Conversation with Dr. A: A Sex Work Activist Takes On An Academic Feminist]

So, whore revolution is more than just sexual libertarianism; it would require a complete overhaul of our economic and political systems, thus truly deserving the title of "revolution." To read more about this, order Emi's 'zine, Instigations from the Whore Revolution: A Third Wave Feminist Response to the Sex Work "Controversy".

What is transfeminism?

Broadly, Emi defines transfeminism as a branch of feminism influenced or enhanced by integrating lived experiences of trans and genderqueer people, giving voice to feminists who are trans, genderqueer, or allies. Narrowly, Emi has used transfeminism as "primarily a movement by and for trans women who view their liberation to be intrinsically linked to the liberation of all women and beyond" [from The Transfeminist Manifesto].

In one of her articles, Emi hints at the possibility that transfeminism would pose serious challenges to the unspoken racist and classist assumptions of white middle-class radical feminism, and how that possibility might be co-opted by racism and classism of white middle-class trans activists:

In the "women's communities," transsexual existence is particularly threatening to white middle-class lesbian-feminists because it exposes not only the unrealiableness of the body as a source of their identities and politics, but also the fallacy of women's universal experiences and oppressions. These valid criticisms against feminist identity politics have been made by women of color and working class women all along, but white middle-class women have traditionally dismissed them by arguing that they are patriarchal attempts to trivialize women's oppression and bring down feminism as Dobkin did... It is my feeling that transsexual women know this intrinsically, and that is why they feel it is necessary to repeatedly stress how non-threatening they really are. By pretending that they are "just like" other women, however, they are leaving intact the flawed and unspoken racist lesbian-feminist assumption that the successfulness of the struggle against sexism relies on the silent compliance with all other oppressions. [from Whose Feminism is it Anyway?]

What does Emi think about the anti-trans policy at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival?

In response to the question about who should be allowed to enter the festival, Emi wrote,

My answer to this question is to leave it ambiguous because world is full of ambiguities. I think it would be enough to say "this festival is for women" and not go into any specifics publicly. Privately, of course, there can and will be mulitple interpretations... [from World is Full of Ambiguities]

She further argues,

I will continue to oppose the policy even if they changed it to [include] "everyone who identifies as a woman" - to me, the issue is not just *where* the line is drawn, but also the fact that they insist on drawing a clear and unambiguous boundary where there cannot possibly be one... If the society insists on creating services and spaces under the faulty binary view of genders, those who are marginalized and erased by the same faulty binary system have the *right* to be on whichever side of the line they want to be at any given time in order to maximize their safety and comfort. [from Crossing the Borders Freely]

What is Survivor Project?

Survivor Project is a Portland-based organization dedicated to addressing the needs of intersex and trans survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Emi has served as a board member for its Community (advisory) Board. See Survivor Project's web site for more information.

Why do you defend Eminem, Jerry Falwell, World Trade Organization, Oregon Citizens Alliance, or Dr. Laura in "Interchange"?

Hold on, now... I did criticize progressive activists' criticisms of Eminem, Jerry Falwell, World Trade Organization, Oregon Citizens Allliance, and Dr. Laura - but that's not the same as defending them. Read carefully and you'll see why I criticize other progressive activists' logics or tactics even as I agree with their ultimate goal.