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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Suppressive enterprise skulks for women’s bodies ─ who wants it

Better dispatched to dustbin of medieval history

Views of English feminist, lesbian, writer Julie Bindel  
Editing, re-reporting by
Carolyn Bennett

Marriage the controversy
Wasted energy on illiberal construct

“Many feminists argue, as I do,” Julie Bindel wrote in 2010, that marriage is an oppressive institution, and that we should be campaigning to replace it with civil partnerships for all.
Julie Bindel

“My civil partnership four years ago,” Julie Bindel wrote, “was nothing like a wedding. I had been with my partner for 19 years and we wanted to be recognized as each other’s next of kin; [yet] a small number of our friends disapproved, despite our low-key approach, [accusing] us of ‘selling out.’ While we understood and mainly agree with the feminist arguments against civil partnerships ─ what we now refer to as ‘Civilgate’ was deeply hurtful; some friendships never recovered. It’s an emotive issue.” she said.

Paula Louise Ettelbrick
Institutional, patriarchal, uncivil, suppressive, medieval ─ Marriage

In 2011, the American attorney and human rights leader and advocate, Paula Louise Ettelbrick died and Bindel wrote a remembrance in which she revealed a linkage between her views and those of Ettelbrick on marriage and greater acceptance and recognition of diverse families.

n ‘Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation,’ a 1993 “feminist critique of how the institution of marriage had historically constrained the freedom and rights of women,” Julie Bindel noted Ettelbrick’s argument “that the LGBT community should be pressing for social and legal changes to support alternative family structures” and said:

‘Marriage is a great institution – if you like living in institutions.’

“‘The best course for family advocates to pursue is that which recognizes the caring and committed relationships of all families – not just those who wish to marry and those that include lesbian and gay couples,’” Bindel quotes from Ettelbrick’s speech at a 2001 Albany Law Review symposium “‘Family and the Political Landscape for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.’”

Three years later in a paper ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Are We on the Path to Liberation, Now’, Bindel quotes Ettelbrick’s expression of her fear that

People [were proposing] that we should move away from the ‘gay pride image’ ─ meaning a display of the full diversity of our community ─ and just promote the ‘same-sex marriage image’ to advance the movement.

Form of “prostitution”

Bindel references British/Australian feminist Sheila Jeffreys’ The Industrial Vagina in which Jeffreys sees “marriage as a type of prostitution, a legal transaction that has traditionally guaranteed sexual access to women’s bodies in return for subsistence. ‘Prostitution and marriage have always been related,’ says Jeffreys.” And “‘what is shocking is that today marriage is becoming more fashionable amongst some young women.’”

In “Stop the whingeing about gay people demanding rights,” Bindel concludes:

I absolutely agree that fighting for the rights for same-sex marriage is going too far.

Julie Bindel
Pride has become both wildly hedonistic and a deeply conservative movement, with its message of ‘please tolerate us.’ I don’t want tolerance; I want liberation.

I would outlaw marriage for everyone, including for heterosexuals…

Sources and notes

My initial introduction to Julie Bindel’s thoughts was on last week’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s “Any Questions.”  First broadcast: Friday February 8, 2013: Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from St Chad’s Church, Gateshead. Guests: the former Health Secretary Alan Milburn, conservative MP David Davis, coalition Transport Minister Norman Baker MP and feminist Julie Bindel. Producer: Lisa Jenkinson. Duration: 48 minutes; Availability: over a year left to listen, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qflzy

“Something borrowed: Portia de Rossi wants to take her partner Ellen DeGeneres’s surname. But should gay marriages be established on new, more equal, terms?” (Julie Bindel, The Guardian), August 13, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/14/same-sex-marriage-ban-california?INTCMP=SRCH

“Is Pride today about gay rights or just partying? As Pride London celebrates its 40th year, is it still a gay rights march, or just a fabulous party? Former attendee Julie Bindel talks with loyal enthusiast Peter Tatchell (Interview by Oliver Laughland), “I think Pride has become both wildly hedonistic and a deeply conservative movement, with its message of ‘please tolerate us.’ I don’t want tolerance; I want liberation,” Bindel says, The Guardian, July 6, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/06/conversation-pride-gay-rights-party?INTCMP=SRCH

“U.S. campaigner for gay and lesbian rights” (Paula Ettelbrick obituary), Julie Bindel in The Guardian, November 3, 2011 (Paula Louise Ettelbrick, lawyer and human rights activist, born October 2, 1955; died October 7, 2011; survived by her partner, Marianne Haggerty, and her children, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/03/paula-ettelbrick-obituary?INTCMP=SRCH

“Stop the whingeing about gay people demanding rights ─ The likes of Christina Odone and Rick Santorum think gay rights would open the floodgates. Maybe we just shouldn’t mention sex” (Julie Bindel, guardian.co.uk), February 27, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/27/gay-people-demanding-rights


Julie Bindel (born 1962) is an English writer, activist and feminist and co-founder of Justice for Women, an organization that opposes violence against women.

Her activism is reflected in her contribution to research and writing on feminist issues, violence against women, and prostitution; she was a researcher at both Leeds Metropolitan and London Metropolitan Universities, being the assistant director of the research unit on violence and abuse at Leeds Metropolitan. Her writing features in books and reports she has authored, edited, contributed to or been quoted in. Bindel’s journalistic writing began while she was Assistant Director of the Research Centre on Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Bindel has written for the Telegraph, Independent and Guardian newspapers, also online. A few of her full-length works in the 2000s:

■Bindel, J. Profitable Exploits: Lap Dancing in the UK, London, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit of London Metropolitan University, 2004

 ■Bindel, J & Kelly, L. A Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries: Victoria, Australia; Ireland; the Netherlands; and Sweden, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit of London Metropolitan University, 2003

■Bindel, J. ‘Press for Change’; A guide for journalists reporting on the prostitution and trafficking of women, CATW, 2006

 ■Bindel, J; Atkins, H. Big Brothel - a survey of the off-street sex industry in London, POPPY Project, 2008



Sheila Jeffreys (born 1948) is a lesbian feminist scholar and political activist, known for her analysis of the history and politics of sexuality in Britain. She is a professor in Political Science at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Some of her works in the 2000s

■Jeffreys, Sheila. Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective. Cambridge : Polity ; Oxford : Blackwell, 2003. ISBN 0-7456-2837-0 (hbk.), ISBN 0-7456-2838-9 (pbk.)

 ■Jeffreys, Sheila. Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West. London : Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-35183-9 (hbk.). ISBN 0-415-35182-0 (pbk.)

 ■Jeffreys, Sheila. The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Sex Trade. London : Routledge, 2009. ISBN 0-415-41232-3 (hbk.). ISBN 0-415-41233-1 (pbk.)

 ■Jeffreys, Sheila. Man's Dominion: The Rise of Religion and the Eclipse of Women's Rights (Routledge Studies in Religion and Politics). London : Routledge, 2010. ISBN 0-415-59674-2

 ■Jeffreys, Sheila. Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. London : Routledge, 2013. ISBN 0-415-53940-4

Essays and pamphlets

■"Prostitution as a Harmful Cultural Practice", in Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography, eds Rebecca Whisnant and Christine Stark (North Melbourne, Vic. : Spinifex Press, 2004.). ISBN 1-876-75649-7. OCLC 57139681 (//www.worldcat.org/oclc/57139681) .


Paula Louise Ettelbrick (born October 2, 1955, on a U.S. Army base in Stuttgart, Germany) is an educator, litigator (lawyer and activist for lesbian and gay rights, lifelong advocate of public service); an advocate particularly “for a segment of the population that has been historically marginalized and denied rights taken for granted by the rest of society.”

1986: an attorney ─ the first staff attorney for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund ─ serving as its legal director from 1988 to 1993. Founded in New York City in 1973, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is an organization that advocates gay and lesbian civil rights. (two years earlier, she was an associate in a large law firm in Detroit, Michigan, law firm: Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone)

In addition to her work on high profile cases with Lambda, beginning in 1990, Ettelbrick taught a course at New York University Law School on sexuality and the law; in 1994, she taught at the University of Michigan Law School.

From 1999 to 2001, Ettelbrick was the family policy director of the Policy Institute of the national gay and lesbian task force. In March 2003, she became the executive director of the nonprofit International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), an organization was founded in 1990 to address, on an international level, issues involving discrimination and persecution of gays, lesbians, and persons living with HIV and AIDS.

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law | 2005 | 700+ words | COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc. (Hide copyright information) Copyright, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437701667.html


whinge \'hwinj, 'winj\  vi, whinged whing·ingor whinge·ing [ME *whingen, fr. OE hwinsian; akin to OHG winsōn to moan] (12c) Brit: to complain fretfully : whine
— whinge nBrit


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