Mirror: A few Thoughts on Xenofeminism

Since this article was linked at the top of my Twitter profile and then went missing on the web, I decided to host it here again. The original, now defunct source could be found here.

I retrieved the original blog post by postfuturum from archive.org.


“Time and Space died yesterday. We live already in the absolute, since we have already created the eternal omnipresent speed.” – FUTURISTIC MANIFESTO

“Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our tools to ourselves. … It means both building and destroying machines, identities, categories, relationships, spaces, stories. I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.” — Donna Haraway

“I basically consider myself a cyborg.” – Grimes (Claire Boucher)

A new feminist manifesto has been making the rounds on twitter recently (it was just released this month) The title of this new manifesto is: “Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation.” One can’t help but notice that from the very beginning of the manifesto that its name alludes to a certain type of feminism for the Other (alien). This Other being the subject which contains a multiplicity of identities. The name simultaneously gives a nod to the concept of other desires, new forms of desiring, and techno-alienation. In other words, the experiencing of something other. One could even make the case the Xenofeminism is a feminism for the alien, the fluid, the non-human. There is one thing that I can say for sure about Xenofeminism. It is a feminism of the network.

Indeed, if XFM is anything at all, it is at least something which recognizes the violence inherent within technology, the good, the bad, the liberatory and the oppressive. It recognizes that this violence is something which can be harnessed. The violence of the machine. It is the recognition of alienation as a creative force. While recognizing the truth that liberation stems from alienation, XF does not fall into the trap of an essentialist freedom[1] (i.e: “freedom is something which the “human” subject is innately ordered towards”, etc) but successfully escapes the bonds of a secular-universalist totalizing conception of freedom.

The conception of alienation-as-liberation is reminiscent of Marx’s idea of alienation[2] as something which produces a negation of the negation. Marx’s theory of alienation[3] can be compared to the hyperlogic[4] one finds in the work of Baudrillard. These two theories both seem to be focused on the production of change from the excess of a thing, that is to say, the notion of an alienated desire used to push the very system which creates such a desire to implode. According to Marx, desire (being an inherentlyalienating sensation as far as the “human” person desires what is outside itself) has in it the very seed of liberation insofar as all subjective desire is an experience of the alien itself.[5]

“You’re not exploited or oppressed because you are a wage labourer or poor; you are a labourer or poor because you are exploited…”

What this manifesto manages to do so beautifully, is that it destroys the ongoing “project” within mainstream left-politics and liberal feminism to ontologize oppression, that is to say, to recreate a secular version of original sin. XFM seems to be able to combat this by creating (what I refer to in a previous post), a weaponized theory, a technomagick, something which allows us to navigate the webs and networks which techno-capitalism produces. One can see how the “network” is a useful replacement to the outdated concept of the physical commune. By recognizing the potential of networking, in the form of small IRC chatrooms, informal twitter posse’s, Tumblr, Ello, etc, XFM manages to incorporate these attributes and gives them an important place in its feminist networkology. Understanding these realities, one could even go as far as to say that the internet has the potential to abolish the mandatory gendered subject altogether, Or in better terms: the internet can allow for an opening up of a multiplicity. The transforming of the subject to something which is pure networked thought.

What makes XFM particularly important is that it takes advantage of the terminology of open source software. By allowing for the formulation of an “open-ended feminism,” XFM enables the creation of a feminism with multiple forks, clones, prostheses and I/O ports. A feminism of “universal ports, interfaces and orifices.”[6] It is in this sense that XFM is fundamentally an inhuman (or posthuman) philosophy. In that its account for the subject (the “person”, the “individual”, the human) it recognizes the fluidity/liquidity of the subject as something akin to hot liquid, something which can be molded into a non-human thing. It is this dark excess which gives XFM its essential aesthetic.

My only critique of the Manifesto is its rash judgement of theology as a whole. While it is correct in its critique of essentialist feminist theology, it severely underestimates the liberatory (and useful) potential that the project of theology has. Altogether though, Xenofeminism, for me at least, seems to represent the NRx/Dark Enlightenment of feminism (I mean this in the best possible way!) XFM is the opening up of the black pit of dark feminism. It represents a recognition of the limits, boundaries and potentials that feminism holds while simultaneously, not falling into the pitfalls of techno-secessionism that one sees in the like of NRx. Lastly, XFM’s refreshingly cautious optimism in regards to technology is something sorely needed in the world of theory and cyber-politics.

[1] “alienation is the labour of freedom’s construction.” (ZERO, 0x01)

[2] Marx, Karl. “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General’.” Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1844).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Baudrillard, J., Lotringer, S., El Kholti, H., & Kraus, C. (2007). In the shadow of the silent majorities. “They know that there is no liberation, and that a system is abolished only by pushing it mto hyperlogic, by forcing it into an excessive practice which is equivalent to a brutal amortization. “You want us to consume – O.K., let’s consume always more, and anything whatsoever; for any useless and absurd purpose.”

[5] Marx, Karl. “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General’.” Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1844). “it therefore needs a nature outside itself, an object outside itself, in order to satisfy itself, to be stilled. Hunger is an acknowledged need of my body for an object existing outside it, indispensable to its integration and to the expression of its essential being. The sun is the object of the plant – an indispensable object to it, confirming its life – just as the plant is an object of the sun, being an expression of the life-awakening power of the sun, of the sun’s objective essential power.”

[6] ‘The 3D Additivist Manifesto’. N. p., 2015. Web. 14 June 2015.