Thank you, yes. As always, it helps to go back to basics: the personal is political. And that is why it is so hard to navigate. As problematic as radical separatist lesbian feminism was, in so very many ways, I miss it, precisely for its evisceration of male privilege in day to day interactions, through simply removing males from the picture.
So how can straight and bisexual women work within and around and through this? We need to not beat ourselves up, and to remind ourselves and one another over and over that the choice of whether or not to benefit from male privilege for straight and bisexual women is not a simple one, that it’s rigged from the start, and we cannot overcome it except together.
It comes down to a basic political principle: solidarity and collectivity. Where did the consciousness-raising groups go? “We are all sisters under the skin” is an intensely problematic idea, which erases the experiences of so many women, genderqueer and non-binary folks, but the kind of solidarity, collectivity and organising that came along with it were and remain vital.
The challenge is to retain the latter while constantly challenging the former.