Feminist Separatist Communities
Feminist Separatist Communities
From Girl, Woman, Other, Bernadete Evaristo
By Luciana Rosa, Sep. 2020
“Nzinga was a teetotal, vegan, non-smoking, radical feminist separatist lesbian housebuilder, living and working on wimmin’s land all over America before moving on, a gypsy housebuilder.”
This is the first time I've heard of Feminist Separatist Communities. In Wikipedia it is listed as "Womyn's Land", an "intentional community organised by lesbian separatists to establish counter-cultural, women-centred space, without the presence of men."
It started in the 70s after the radical feminist movement in the 60s and it still exists today, even though they are in decline since the new generations finds it too extreme. In these communities women live independent and separated from men - in fact, men are not allowed in these communities and in many cases they can't even visit. They were often just mentioned as "Lesbian Separatist Communities" because that was the most common configuration, but the early communities were in fact established by and for celibate women. Those communities were set up mainly in the United States and Canada, but they could also be found all over the world.
The idea is that they would be independent, farming their own land and producing what they needed inside the community, but some also worked in the "outside world".
Besides farming, they published newsletters and magazines, and organized events - the most famous of them was the Michigan Womyn's Festival, an women-only arts and music festival that lasted for 40 years, until 2015 when it ended with many artists withdrawing from the festival due to its policy of not allowing transgender women to attend.
It seems like an ideal community for these women who see it as a way to totally liberate themselves from societal patriarchy, but it also has many down sides.
To start, they are very intolerant towards bisexual and heterosexual women, and to the male kids of their own members.
Their financial model isn't sustainable. Many are based on personal savings and donations, with income from agriculture not being sufficient to cover the costs.
And there are the threats from fundamentalist religious people who live nearby these communities, placing signs outside their gates like "Jesus Saves" and even being violent towards them.
Even with these difficulties many residents still prefer to be in the communities and don't see other way of living since they don't feel safe anywhere else.
Ah, and if you are wondering about the spelling of "wimmin" or "womyn", that is to remove "man/men" out of "Woman/Women".
Another curiosity: "teetotal" refers to the preference of total abstinence from alcohol. The term is believed to come from the word "Temperance", as "Total temperance", or "T-Total".
“it was on wimmin’s land in Oregon where Nzinga met Roz who she thought was the love of her life, an older white woman who showed her that women were much happier without men
Roz was a builder of everything from garden sheds to tree houses to cabins to large houses and barns, Nzinga was apprenticed to her
for the first few years she felt cherished, blessed
it was a pretty idyllic existence working together during the day, loving together at night”
― Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadete Evaristo