Michigan women's festival

January 8th, 2014, 7pm

I read an article recently about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and their policy of not letting transgendered (male to female) attendees join. You can find it online via The Believer.

The festival seems to be about creating a safe place for women apart from the patriarchy. No men are allowed to join. In fact, whenever men do come on the land (as cleaners, for instance) the land is cleared with screams of “man on the land” so that no woman has to see a man during her time there.

Since I’ve lately come to think of women’s rights issues and feminism in terms of gender rights and equality I felt slightly divided about the idea of such a fiercely policed woman only festival. On the one hand, I get it, on the other I feel like it just fosters unnecessary divisiveness. Women’s rights don’t happen without men, not because men control the system but because by labeling them consistently as the antagonists you limit the expression of their own identities and refuse to acknowledge what is often their unwitting role in a system that disenfranchises everyone involved of the kind of unfettered expression and opportunity we all want. I don’t mean to imply that all feminists think of men as antagonists, but some do, and to some extent if you really think about it the term feminist is outdated: we’re not only talking about women’s rights and freedoms anymore. There’s plenty of work to be done for both genders and I think open minded collaboration between both women and men is what will lead to change - the kind that could be defined as feminist, or what have you.


The article made some great points about why trans women should be allowed into the women’s festival but it also got me thinking about what the heck gender even is.

For instance: there appears to be a trend in the lesbian community toward dating female to male transexuals. That’s right, women who say they prefer women will date a woman who identifies (who feels as though his real identity is masculine) as male and then justify it by saying something like: but he’s not a “real” boy. There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian and dating a transexual (though it might be unkind to deny your boyfriend the identity he feel suits him best), but it does raise some very interesting questions about what it means to be a woman, man, lesbian, gay, straight or bisexual.

Craig said thanks.

Share this moment

Dani Z

The hardest thing about getting older is realizing that I might, in fact, be a minor character in someone else's story. (I keep changing this bio. I'm not sure I'll ever nail it)

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook