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Apr 23 2013

Maybe the right phrase is “revolutionary feminist”

The most “radical feminist” feminist I read religiously has got to be Twisty Faster, at I Blame the Patriarchy. She’s a ferociously passionate writer, and simply brilliant in her insights. So when we had the recent hatin’ and shriekin’ from #radfem2013, I had to wonder (maybe that’s the wrong word; I had high expectations) what Twisty would be saying on the issue. And have no fear, she’s all over it.

So, on a transwoman who was denied admission to Smith College, she writes:

So Wong can’t just declare herself to be whatever it is she is. Woman, they say, is denoted completely arbitrarily by lacking a dick. Not by any of the other factors that might just as easily be employed to differentiate members of the sex class from members of the regular class. Factors such as hormones or chromosomes or giggly head-tilts or — heaven forfend! — personal preference. The genitalia are the only thing anyone gives a fig about.

The carpet must match the drapes. One must be consistent, down below, with what one advertises up top. A girl can’t have a dick. The entire fabric of the universe, in fact, depends entirely on girls entirely not having dicks. No dicks, not of any kind.

That’s right; as is usual in all matters pertaining to everything, nothing matters but pure, unadulterated pussy. So Wong needs a doctor’s note stating that she’s had vaginoplasty. She must become legally penetrable. She has to get a fuckhole installed. That’s because the Global Accords define “woman” as “that which can be fucked.”

On the subject of radfems declaring transwomen as not fit for their movement, she’s got lots to say. Here’s the overview.

There are three aspects of this trans “debate” that particularly chap the spinster hide. One is that it is even considered a debate. Is there anything more demeaning than a bunch of people with higher status than you sitting around debating the degree to which they find you human? I don’t think so.

Go read the rest for her three aspects, but I have to mention her Four Ds:

Oppression is oppression. Race, ethnicity, religion, pigmentation, sex, gender, health, education, class, caste, age, weight, ableness, mental health, physical health, marital status, employment status, diet, IQ, internet access — any combination of these or a thousand other arbitrary markers may be used by the powerful to justify oppression, but the net result is always the same: discrimination, disenfranchisement, degradation, dehumanization. It’s the Four Ds! The Four Ds make all oppressed persons identical enough.

On almost every marker she lists, I’m one of the powerful…which means I have to be particularly careful not to turn my privileges into oppression.

129 comments

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  1. 1
    Pierce R. Butler

    How odd: her list does not include wealth.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    “Class”.

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    Oops, disregard my # 1: I missed “class”.

    * retreats to corner, dons, conical hat *

  4. 4
    Endorkened

    IQ? Lack of intelligence is an axis of oppression now? And not, you know, the source of all oppression?

  5. 5
    wcorvi

    So, PZ, I’m an idiot creationist biologist – why is it NOT discrimination that I don’t have your job??!?

    I mean, if we can’t ‘discriminate’ over intelligence, then how do we choose our college professors?

  6. 6
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Jonathan, take a peek at how people with IQs below 70 (whether from birth or due to later trauma) are treated – especially with regards to how in many cases they are physically (or sexually) abused – and tell me that they aren’t oppressed.

  7. 7
    Eristae

    Jonathan, take a peek at how people with IQs below 70 (whether from birth or due to later trauma) are treated – especially with regards to how in many cases they are physically (or sexually) abused – and tell me that they aren’t oppressed.

    ^This.

    It drives me absolutely up the wall that people seem to believe that those with lower intelligence (side note: fuck “IQ”) somehow deserve to be treated less well than those with higher intelligence, as if lower intelligence is somehow a character flaw that people can and needs to be encouraged to correct through negative reinforcement. People with higher intelligence aren’t somehow better than people with low intelligence. So when we deny healthcare opportunities, housing opportunities, equal legal protection, and more to people with lower intelligence, we are oppressing them. We’re saying that a trait beyond their control should determine whether or not a person has their basic needs met. It’s absurd and immoral.

  8. 8
    Loud - warm smiles do not make you welcome here

    Wow, Twisty Faster’s posts were spot on. I have a colleague who describes herself as radfem and absolutely rails against including transgender women in the feminist movement. I’m going to direct her to those blog posts.

  9. 9
    leftwingfox

    Esteleth got it.

    When applying for work, IQ may influence the ability to learn and retain certain job skills, but it’s not the only factor. Using IQ tests to restrict opportunities, rather than tailor education to offer everyone the best opportunities is ultimately discriminatory.

  10. 10
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Also, equating intellectual laziness, which is a more precise way of describing most cases where the word “stupid” is legitimate, with low cognitive capacity is itself intellectually lazy.

  11. 11
    Sassafras

    Twisty writes well, but she doesn’t keep a very clean house. Every time she brings up trans subjects she ends with a little disclaimer about how “anti-trans comments will be shown the door”, but the threads are always full of TERFs shitting politely on trans women.

  12. 12
    susan

    The most “radical feminist” feminist I read religiously has got to be Twisty Faster, at I Blame the Patriarchy.

    I love you, PZ! Twisty is wonderful and brilliant. Her Wacky Consent Scheme on rape is a classic.

  13. 13
    frog

    I wonder if Smith college would revoke a degree granted to someone who was biologically female when they graduated, but who later transitioned (via surgery and everything!) to male?

    I’m with Twisty. This whole business is stupid. Why is this even a question? People are the gender they feel themselves to be.

    The notion that a cis-gendered, hetero male might pretend to be a transsexual just so he can get access to women is ridiculous on the face of it. There are women all over the place! Walking around in public and everything.

    Women’s colleges aren’t some sacred nunnery to protect women from ebil menz. That’s not why they exist.

  14. 14
    Endorkened

    Last I checked, a good hunk of ‘em ran for Congress in 2012.

    Cheap shots aside, okay, I get what you’re saying–the mental health industry is reamed.* Actually, I’ve been wondering for a long time about where regular old stupidity ends and actual cognitive issues begin. At what point does “you’re wrong” become “you’re actually, clinically unable to grasp why I’m right?” I know most of our favorite insults started out as clinical terms–I think ‘retarded’ might already be a lost cause, but ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ would have been just as offensive if we’d had the same degree of sensitivity a hundred odd years ago, right? Where’s the line between “votes against own class interest” and “needs help to cope with life?” Should someone who can’t understand evolution be allowed to vote?

    I’m not sure if I’m communicating effectively, it’s early morning and I doubt my anti-asshole meds have kicked in yet. I’m talking about silencing, denial of agency–we as a culture discount the opinions of the stupid, and use accusations of stupidity to silence people we disagree profoundly with, so is it worth worrying about the consequences of pathologizing low intelligence?

    *Like my new rape-culture-free substitute for screwed? Ream: to damage grievously, especially by hollowing out and/or destroying the inner part. “Wayne LaPierre reamed the gun bills we need to feel safe in our own homes.”

  15. 15
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    wcorvi,
    It is not discrimination to deny a “biologist” who professes to be a creationist a job because said biologist is not merely unintelligent, but rather, stupid–that is, actively using his intelligence to suppress comprehension of the evidence.

  16. 16
    Endorkened

    Ahh, and while I was rambling and trying not to put my foot in my mouth, Azkyroth went and answered the questions I was trying to ask before I asked them. I think. Gimme a minute…

  17. 17
    roro80

    if we can’t ‘discriminate’ over intelligence

    Intelligence isn’t on the list.

    And lordy me there’s a lot of missing-the-point going on in the first few comments.

    Anyway, the expression “radical feminist” has a pretty specific meaning, and it’s different from “very feminist” or “extreme feminist” or “devoted feminist”. It sounds like the radfem2013 got the definition spot-on — ugh. Anti-porn, anti-trans, all-sex-is-rape sort of stuff. In my opinion, radfem is really in need of the “Underpants Rule” — everyone is the boss of their own underpants.

  18. 18
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Jonathan,

    Try harder not to insert your foot into your mouth next time:

    Last I checked, a good hunk of ‘em ran for Congress in 2012.

  19. 19
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    On the use of intellect as a marker of personal worth – this conflation does a lot of damage both up and down the scale. Down the scale, those with developmental delays, retardation, learning disabilities, etc., suffer from all the standard forms of discrimination, plus a particularly pernicious version of language discrimination – nobody wants to give up calling their opponents idiots, morons, or retarded, as if actually being these things were a requirement for willful ignorance.

    Up the scale is less recognized (and usually less damaging), but the conflation of worth and intellect makes it nearly impossible to discuss children of high intellect in practical terms. I have two highly gifted boys. I learned very early that I must never, acknowledge that I knew this when talking to the schools. Any comment, no matter how obvious, was taken as saying that my children were better human beings than their classmates, rather than simply faster/clearer/more insightful thinkers, and consequently met with an immediate smack-down. In almost every other area where one might have an advantage, there are places where frank discussion of reality is allowed. If I’m talking to my financial advisor, they’re going to look at me funny if I act like I’m poor when I’ve got millions in the bank. But I’d better act shocked and gratified when my son’s kindergarten teacher tells me he can read at a third grade level, and he might be a genius, because any indication that I actually believe he’s smart, or that it’s not surprising that he’s smart, because both my husband and I are high IQ, is taken as a statement of smug superiority, rather than an acknowledgement of something that is both obvious and relevant for the school to know.

    It’s usually minor (though not always), but very frustrating.

  20. 20
    Endorkened

    And yeah, there’s that. IQ != intellect. We just talk about it like it does.

  21. 21
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    The best definition for human life I have come up with in my 53 years thereof is that human life is the process of discovering who we are.

    What are our abilities? What are our weaknesses? How are we strong? How are we foolish? And perhaps most important:

    What is our identity?

    This last is easier for some of us–those who, like me, have an identity that matches our body, who are born with sufficient privilege that we can realize our abilities, but not so much that it becomes like the water in which a fish swims… Yet, even for us, it’s a fraught challenge. No one can tell us who we are…and by the same token, we cannot–nor should we presume to–tell others who they should be.

  22. 22
    roro80

    Tapetum,

    nobody wants to give up calling their opponents idiots, morons, or retarded

    A lot of people give up calling their opponents these things when they find out that their history. Just like any slur.

  23. 23
    michaeld

    “So, PZ, I’m an idiot creationist biologist – why is it NOT discrimination that I don’t have your job??!?

    I mean, if we can’t ‘discriminate’ over intelligence, then how do we choose our college professors?”

    Being a creationist has nothing to do with your level of intelligence (although one could say its about the application there of). There are lots of very intelligent people who believe very dumb things. Its a matter of proffesional ethics. If you go to your dr who has all their degree’s diplomas etc on the wall and understands modern medicine, do you have a problem with them only preforming psychic surgery, blood letting and pills made of heavy metals?

  24. 24
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I wonder if Smith college would revoke a degree granted to someone who was biologically female when they graduated, but who later transitioned (via surgery and everything!) to male?

    There is precedent. Rather a siginficant amount, actually. There is a visible trans male population amongst the student body.

    The college’s response, collectively, is to shrug. They get degrees, and I have yet to hear of a single case of degrees getting revoked due to gender identity.

    That said, the college is prone to do things like “forget” that so-and-so filed the “Please write my name on my diploma as ___” form and simply use what is listed in the file (i.e. their legal name). And other assorted crap.

  25. 25
    Nepenthe

    In my opinion, radfem is really in need of the “Underpants Rule” — everyone is the boss of their own underpants.

    There’s a difference between everyone is the boss of their own underpants and underpants are off limits for discussion. Wear whatever underpants you like–I neither have nor want the power to stop you–but don’t get pissy with me if I suggest that your jock itch problems might be resolved with looser unmentionables that breathe more.

  26. 26
    roro80

    Actually Nepenthe, my jock itch is none of your fucking business. And if you’re coming at your “suggestion” about my jock itch from a nosy panty-sniffing judging place, I’m going to get pissy with you about it. Because these are not your underpants. There are asshole ways to make suggestions, and there are helpful, educational ways to make suggestions. If you’re gonna be an asshole, I’m going to get “pissy”.

  27. 27
    hillaryrettig

    >On almost every marker she lists, I’m one of the powerful…which means I have to be particularly careful not to turn my privileges into oppression.

    you’re the best, PZ

  28. 28
    David Marjanović

    Also, equating intellectual laziness, which is a more precise way of describing most cases where the word “stupid” is legitimate, with low cognitive capacity is itself intellectually lazy.

    QFT.

  29. 29
    marcoli

    Wow… reading that is like standing in a blast furnace! And yet I cannot find a single word that is not totally right and wonderful. I am bookmarking her. Wow. In a very very good way.

  30. 30
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Some types of stupidity are very active–they take a lot of work. Believing in a religion that is self-evidently absurd is an example. Also, climate denial, creationism and being Donald Trump are others. In these cases, the sufferer exerts so much effort believing their absurd beliefs, that they have no mental capacity left over for intelligent analysis of anything else.

  31. 31
    spandrel

    Like my new rape-culture-free substitute for screwed? Ream: to damage grievously, especially by hollowing out and/or destroying the inner part.

    I appreciate the effort but I don’t think that’s an improvement. I suspect most people will interpret “ream” as a rather nasty metaphor for rape. With consent it would not be a bad thing, thus it’s not usable as a metaphor for bad things except as a rape metaphor.

    …and I think that’s all I want to talk about that today.

  32. 32
    aaronbaker

    Ditto to many of the comments above: of course there’s a world of difference, moral and otherwise, between developmental delays and willful folly.

    Speaking as the father of a child who was born very premature: the casual cruelty of other children (and sometimes, sadly, adults) is heart-breakingly real, and, I suppose, a kind a of oppression. When your child comes home and says: “Such and Such told me I can’t go to Brown; only smart people go there,” just what the hell does one say?

  33. 33
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    roro80 @ #17: Huh, thanks for telling me. Anything else you’d like to explain to an actualfax radical feminist who is on the trans* spectrum (genderqueer), sex-neutral* but for sex worker rights (because labour rights are necessary) and pretty into having sex personally?

    *sex-neutral as opposed to sex-positive, which is really flawed on a number of levels.

    I’m not personally a fan of Twisty. I think she’s got a lot of internalized misogyny with regards to femmes and feminine-resenting women, I think she hosts a damn lot of TERFs. She does have a hell of a way with words, and when she’s right, she’s absolutely spot-on.

  34. 34
    roro80

    Happiestsadist, if the overwhelming transphobia and anti-porn and anti-sex portions of the movement you identify with you are not representative of all people who identify as radical feminists, and if you dislike being painted with the brush of the extremely vocal and significant portion of radfem that does espouse such things, by all means work to take the movement to a better place. It’s not my movement — I have been disgusted by those very elements for many years now — so it’s not my place to fix its problems. But don’t try to pretend that those elements are not present and quite prevalent. That’s just dishonest, and helpful to exactly nobody, yourself and your movement included.

  35. 35
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    roro80, quite aware that that small minority these days is exceptionally loud. But I would love for you to explain my ideology more to me, especially since you know so very much about the actually radical branches thereof which are springing up. I’m a radical feminist because I don’t think a few cosmetic changes to a fundamentally broken culture are going to do much. I’m a radical feminist because attacking kyriarchy at its root is the only way to actually bring about intersectional change. I’m a radical feminist because sex-positive culture has been hijacked by the likes of Hugo Schwyzer. Apparently that makes me a radical feminist.

    I’d be just as okay with “revolutionary feminist”. IDGAF about the label, I want change.

  36. 36
    roro80

    Happiestsadist — I’m not sure why you keep on accusing me of explaining your ideology to you. I have no way to know what is the exact percentage of anti-trans people within radical feminism, but I do know that it’s extremely well advertised (and one of the primary ways in which radfem publically differs from mainstream feminist activism), and seems to be quite well tolerated. I am vehemently against that attitude, and the fact that radfems do tolerate it to a large degree within their ranks means it’s not a good place for me. If it’s a good place for you, super.

    I do have problems with the way mainstream feminism sex-positivity activism is often carried out, but in theory I agree with a sex-positive movement, as long as it’s with a huge dose of everyone being charge of hir own underpants, so to speak. Meaning: no shame or pressure for those who aren’t that into sex, or who think that modesty or manogamy are not personally repressive, etc. I can be a sex-positive feminist while thinking that Hugo Schwyzer is a douchebag, which he is, and I do. As I do, in fact, identify and do work with mainstream feminist organizations, I work really hard to drive those elements toward better framings and more effective activism. I identify with feminism, I can own feminist movement problems and work toward solving them. Much better than denying they exist while driving away natural allies.

    I certainly don’t think that one must be a radical feminist to think that major cultural changes are necessary, and I strongly disagree with the way that the radical feminist movement goes about trying to enact those changes in many cases. If you don’t — fine, good for you. You and I can disagree on this. But don’t No True Scottsman me on what radfem is. If you don’t like how it’s perceived, or the fact that the vocalized opinions of many many radical feminists turn off those who are otherwise allies, maybe instead of accusing me of calling it out, join with others you do agree with in your own movement and let the transphobic assholes within your movement know that they are no longer welcome. Again: not my movement to change.

  37. 37
    David Marjanović

    Happiestsadist, I’m not qualified to comment on this post beyond the comments I made on it (the last one, as it happens, exactly a year ago), but I think you’ll find it interesting in any case.

  38. 38
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I don’t think I actually am No True Scotsman-ing you, but I can understand how you’d feel that way. I mostly associates with less radical people, so I’m not exactly “movement”-y. Something about disability issues, and thus not getting out nearly as much as the working parts of me would like to.

    And actually, I do point out that TERFs are shitty, you can see that I did it in my first comment here. I engage with them when I can, but then again, I do risk a lot not being cis myself. You’re assuming I *don’t* speak up against TERFs and transphobes, which is kind of patently full of shit when based on the like three comments where we’ve interacted with each other.

  39. 39
    roro80

    Not assuming anything, merely reacting to your accusations of me. I am not a radical feminist, and that’s not due to a misunderstanding of radical feminism. Again: it’s fine with me that you are. I don’t give a shit. But the movement does have certain principles, and some of them are principles I disagree with so strongly that I really don’t want to be a part of the movement. If you like them, great! Go for it. That doesn’t mean I’m misrepresenting anything.

  40. 40
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    David Marjanović: I think that’s a very good an understandable post, I just personally think that as radical, intersectional feminism (and radical transfeminism) is a thing, it’s the label that fits the closest. If we’re going by strict dictionary stuff. Which is seldom helpful. If asked, my usual answer is “intersectional feminist”, with a lot of other words attached on. I think the current resurgence of the useful ideas of radical feminism as applied by intersection-focused gender-variant people is pretty keen myself.

    Also, Womanist Musings is a pretty terrible place, with plenty of ableism, homophobia and transphobia, as well as having an admitted attempted rapist/murderer writing for them, and also a guy who liked giving out lovingly detailed descriptions of how to kill women.

  41. 41
    nullifidian

    [TRIGGER WARNING for trans-hate and rape denialism]

    That post was excellent, but some of the comments….

    Although it did clarify my thinking about these transphobic self-described “feminists”. And the conclusion I came to is that they aren’t feminists; they’re women who hate women. This is the comment the got me thinking:

    Fingers (or bananas or metal rods or bottles, etc.) can only sexually violate. A penis is the only thing that is a tool of rape since it is the only thing that can impregnate a female. By this logic, rape can only be defined as that which can, or potentially can, cause pregnancy. A man, or a planet or a business deal, or (name it), can’t be raped, only violated.

    Oops. I forgot. Bringing up the potential to be impregnated is rude and insulting to SCAMs. I’ll try to forget that little part about the female ability to create human life with her own blood and tissue, with the male contribution to that process being literally microscopic. And, I’ll try to forget that this ability is the foundation of patriarchal control over the human female.

    I’m also working on believing up is down, black is white and biology is identity.

    How is this different from Todd Akin babbling about “legitimate rape”? How is this different from the rhetoric of Phyllis Schafly, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Duggar?

    So (as Twisty pointed out), the Steubenville sexual assault case: not rape. Also, forcible oral sex: not rape. Penetrative sex where the rapist is impotent, has had a vasectomy, or uses a condom: not rape. Penetrative sex where the woman is infertile or post-menopausal: not rape. The Abner Louima case: not rape, nor has any man ever been raped.

    Then she goes on to use an acronym only ever used by anti-trans bigots (for those who don’t know, SCAM stands for “surgically or chemically altered male”. The other one is SHAM: “surgically or hormonally altered male”—charming, isn’t it?) and defines women in terms of their reproductive organs. So not only do we have the Cult of True Womanhood putting in an appearance, but the definition of True Womanhood rests on being able to bear children. This is a definition of “woman” that is fully approved by the Quiverfull movement. By operation of the same principle, one could justify the claim that cis-gendered lesbians aren’t “real women” either. They may have the parts, but they don’t use them for their “proper” reproductive purpose, and isn’t that the most defining aspect of what it means to be a woman?

    This is nothing but internalized misogyny. There isn’t a thing to distinguish this transphobic ‘feminism’ from mainstream 19th century attitudes towards gender, except for the fact that the misogyny is obscured by wrapping it in jargon and pseudo-academic bullshit.

  42. 42
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    About the IQ thing:

    Read ‘The Mismeasure of Man.’ IQ was not meant to establish intelligence as a discrete entity. Intelligence is much too complex to stick a number on it. The systemic attempt to do so, and to then marginalize, incarcerate, sterilize and stigmatize certain groups as genetically inferior is one of the biggest blots on modern science and modern history. Biological determinism has little basis in science, and yet it fits our biases *so well* because it tells us that they inequities of the world are the way things ought to be.

    And it still continues! As a teacher, I get this attitude even from colleagues–that some people are just unteachable, that intelligence is an innate characteristic that some people simply do not possess, and that unintelligent people will inevitably breed unintelligent people. THIS IS HOGWASH.

  43. 43
    aleph squared

    Twisty writes well, but she doesn’t keep a very clean house. Every time she brings up trans subjects she ends with a little disclaimer about how “anti-trans comments will be shown the door”, but the threads are always full of TERFs shitting politely on trans women.

    Yeah….this seriously annoys me. She was called on it in one of the recent threads, and basically responded by saying “it’s good to let the comments stand so people see how wrong the transphobes are.” Which is all well and good, if you haven’t already put a sign above the comments section that basically says, “it’s safe to read these comments, because the anti-trans ones will be moderated.” It’s like the inverse of a trigger warning.

  44. 44
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    nullifidian,

    Yeah, the comments section over there is something else!

  45. 45
    yazikus

    Also, Womanist Musings is a pretty terrible place, with plenty of ableism, homophobia and transphobia, as well as having an admitted attempted rapist/murderer writing for them, and also a guy who liked giving out lovingly detailed descriptions of how to kill women.

    Have I been reading a different Womanist Musings than you? This is definitely not what I’ve seen over there…

  46. 46
    Eristae

    I haven’t been able to read Womanist Musings since one of the bloggers (whose name I have forgotten) freaked out at rape victims who had rape fantasies, thereby causing me to blow a fuse. But I don’t really have a good handle on Womanist Musings in general, so maybe it’s not all like that. I dunno.

    I’m going to go see if I can find that blog post.

  47. 47
    Eristae

    Found it. And that reminds me why the whole thing made an impact on my view as to the website as a whole: the owner of the website was the one who did the freaking out (in the comments).

  48. 48
    Eristae

    Bah, I’ve been having issues with getting hyperlinks to work.
    Try again!

    There we go.

  49. 49
    yazikus

    @Eristae
    I think I must have missed that one, and it isn’t a blog I read regularly. I just hadn’t gotten the picture described above and was confused. Perhaps I’ll have to pay closer attention.

  50. 50
    yazikus

    @Eristae
    I think some of the comments have been deleted, after quickly looking through. Thanks for the link though.

  51. 51
    Owlglass

    It is patently nonsense to assume (or not criticize the notion of) separate colleges for woman and men, but then complain that a person who doesn’t fit neatly into these construction is rejected. The issue there is that the Smith College apparently assumes old fashioned definitions of two sexes, whereas Twisty works with a concept of gender identity and favors that instead. But both views assume a binary division of humans, where by extension each is given separate roles, assumptions, expectations. Which is at the heart of the patriarchy issue.

    Also note Judith Butler (summarized): “To treat queer gender practices as simply repeating or miming non-queer practices without any significant change in meaning is to understand all gender practices in a way that assigns dominant heterosexual meanings to it.”

  52. 52
    Eristae

    I think some of the comments have been deleted, after quickly looking through.

    Well shoot.

  53. 53
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I read Jadehawk’s blog and I must agree. I am a little sad in a tangential way: all of a sudden I am briefly sympathising with the few remaining left-libertarian-anarchist types. My word, it has been stolen!

    See, I used to have this kind of classic view where “radical” meant “root” (from Latin, radix). As in, radical feminism proposes that gender is the Ur-oppression, the first hierarchical division of humans into master & slave classes and the template for other forms of oppression. Patriarchy must be demolished! This has nothing whatsoever to do with gender essentialism: all it takes is a *perception* of gender as a binary. Whether that perception is true or false is irrelevant – it’s the sociological definition that matters, not the biology.

    So technically a trans-inclusive radical feminism is perfectly feasible. But it seems that this is no longer the case. I should probably give up on the olde definition; language changes. Should I? I am really not sure to what extent the TERF aspect dominates radical feminism. I’ve mostly identified more as a socialist-feminist, and haven’t followed the detail. Do people agree that it’s a lost cause?

  54. 54
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    See, I used to have this kind of classic view where “radical” meant “root” (from Latin, radix). As in, radical feminism proposes that gender is the Ur-oppression, the first hierarchical division of humans into master & slave classes and the template for other forms of oppression. Patriarchy must be demolished! This has nothing whatsoever to do with gender essentialism: all it takes is a *perception* of gender as a binary. Whether that perception is true or false is irrelevant – it’s the sociological definition that matters, not the biology.
    –Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Kuiper-Belt@53

    Y’see, this is really a movement I can get behind. Death to the binary.

  55. 55
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Aleathea @ #53: Well, you’d be in it with me, at least, and a few radical trans*feminists, and some pretty nifty young queer femme women, and a surprising amount of others who are intersectionally minded. As to how many of the rest of radical feminists are TERFs, I can usually recognize the same less than 10 names coming up in every discussion of them. There are a lot of transphobes in feminism, because our society is really, really transphobic. I’d like to see everyone cleaning up their houses a little better on that subject, radical feminists included. Liberal sex-positive feminists just tend to be transphobic in less overt, open ways.

    But, as I said, I tend to only mention the details of my feminism’s label, such as it may be, when people ask “hey, what kind are you in terms of label?”, I prefer to let my actions and more verbose explanations speak for me. And I hang out with feminists of all sorts. Including sex-positive liberal ones. And yes, i let them use my bathroom. And my makeup.

  56. 56
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Hmmm… I’ve got a low opinion of Twisty Faster. It is also an old opinion. I should probably take a second look.

  57. 57
    Jadehawk

    And the conclusion I came to is that they aren’t feminists; they’re women who hate women.

    it’s not fucking helpful to No True Scotsman these folks. When libertarians, Christians, etc. declare their extreme fringes as No True Scotsmen, we call them out on that bullshit. TERF is feminist, it’s just extreme, extremely wrong, and needs to be fought into extinction as a branch of feminism.

    You know, kinda the way we’re trying with the scummy and sexist atheist/skeptic contingent?

  58. 58
    Jake Hamby

    As to how many of the rest of radical feminists are TERFs, I can usually recognize the same less than 10 names coming up in every discussion of them. There are a lot of transphobes in feminism, because our society is really, really transphobic. I’d like to see everyone cleaning up their houses a little better on that subject, radical feminists included. Liberal sex-positive feminists just tend to be transphobic in less overt, open ways.

    Happiestsadist, I think you and your friends have a lot more right to claim the label of radical feminism than the TERFs, since to be openly and proudly transphobic and female supremacist ought to disqualify someone from claiming even to be a “regular” feminist. It’s buying into exactly the same rigid gender essentialism and role restrictions as what feminism is fighting, only with the roles reversed.

    Instead of helping to tear down the patriarchy, they’ve decided to create a fantasy matriarchy that exists only in their heads and their Internet comments, where women deserve to be on top and men deserve to be degraded and dehumanized for the same sorts of bullshit reasons that misogynists up until the present decreed that it should be the other way around. We know that humans are not strictly binary gendered, and we aren’t strictly good/deserving or evil/undeserving, so it’s a simplistic and childish ideology.

    Crommunist had a good post recently about hubristic pride vs. genuine pride. I sense a lot of hubris among the TERF contingent, and a lot of smug self-congratulation that they are the true oppressed people, purified by virtue of being born with the “correct” set of chromosomes / hormones to be oppressed by the system along the only axis that matters.

    Much like the racist anti-immigrant conservatives who don’t want any of “the wrong people” coming into the country, or the homophobes who don’t want gay people to get married, the TERFs are threatened by the idea that some women who weren’t originally assigned to that category (AFAB) would choose to transition to female for reasons entirely of their own pursuit of happiness and not in order to intentionally mess with the TERFs to somehow dilute the “sanctity” of their claim to the oppression pie even though it makes no sense because the “pie” (whatever it is they’re threatened of losing) isn’t a fixed size and their obsession is doing absolutely nothing to help fix the problem of underlying inequalities.

    It’s truly disgusting that some of these #radfem2013′ers would choose to “punch down” and make the lives of trans* people miserable (like C.B. outing them to their neighbors, employers, etc., WTF?) rather than make the effort to dig into the real systemic problems and try to fix them… for everyone, not just for themselves and their like-minded AFAB travelers.

  59. 59
    Jadehawk

    Also, Womanist Musings is a pretty terrible place, with plenty of ableism, homophobia and transphobia, as well as having an admitted attempted rapist/murderer writing for them, and also a guy who liked giving out lovingly detailed descriptions of how to kill women.

    I do remember the massive clusterfuck about the admitted attempted rapist/murderer, but don’t remember seeing much ableism , homophobia, or transphobia.
    This is of course privilege speaking; I am just very disappointed to hear that WM is failing like this, because I find it a useful place to read perspectives about intersections of various oppressions and race. It’s where I found the “A ruin in progress” blog archives, which are the best source on Indian feminism (rather than white wealthy woman feminism, India division) I’ve so far come across, to be honest; it’s where I found Broadsnark; it’s where I first read about sex work related issues from an actual sex worker perspective; it’s where I first encountered a transnational perspective that wasn’t a Western Expat perspective; and it’s where I’ve first encountered trans narratives that aren’t “western”; etc.

    (tl;dr = it was my intro to non-academic intersectionality)

    *sigh*

  60. 60
    Amy Cocks

    Dunno…a lot of the “exclusion” looks like they’re only saying “regardless of any inner mental turmoil, society will still have treated you differently based on the gender that was perceived”.
    Which is correct and it does.

    Only, they’ve not said in the accepted language of the group. Like when everyone “thinks”, but not everyone’s studied (white, western) philosophy and a lot of big thinkers don’t get a word in.

    The UK’s really just being introduced to “Cis” as a concept. It’s a Chemistry term, right?
    Only we aren’t all Chemists.
    A feminist movement that spends that long decrying women’s exclusion from science but can then turn round and say, the only reason a woman has to be taken a back hearing a scientific term for the first time…is underlying bigotry and transphobia…err. Yeah.
    That’s either really fucking stupid or some kind of psychological torture. Does Feminism do hazing now?

    People seem so ready to believe “the Radicals all hate transwomen”, they’re only ever reading what Radicals have written in a negative light.
    Like the bit nullifidian highlighted, where we could round up all the men, infertile ciswomen and transwomen who’ve been raped in the world, go glare at…err…whoever wrote that, but we’d all start feeling a bit sheepish round the woman who’s been forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

    Radicals could alleviate it by learning the jargon, but for them, it’s another round of “women should be kind and nurturing, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Now smile, we’re in Stepford”.

    A Feminist movement that fights for a woman’s rights to be sexually available and nice to everybody in the face of all that history? Forget that.
    Womanists do you want me?

    You’re having a go a Hugo Shwyzer again , aren’t you?
    If you think Drug policies are best discussed amongst people who’ve never abused Drugs before…

  61. 61
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Amy,

    The UK’s really just being introduced to “Cis” as a concept. It’s a Chemistry term, right?

    It’s a Latin prefix, not a scientific term.

  62. 62
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    @John #61
    It can be both. It is a latin prefix, and it is used in chemistry and biology. In chemistry for isomerism, in biology I believe something to do with RNA or DNA and what side an element is on.

  63. 63
    Jadehawk

    the only reason a woman has to be taken a back hearing a scientific term for the first time

    who the fuck is “taken aback” at hearing a scientific term, science background or no?

    Like the bit nullifidian highlighted, where we could round up all the men, infertile ciswomen and transwomen who’ve been raped in the world, go glare at…err…whoever wrote that, but we’d all start feeling a bit sheepish round the woman who’s been forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

    non-sequitur. the violation of bodily autonomy that is denial of abortion is an additional violation, it is not necessary for the definition of rape; and it doesn’t make the rape of those who didn’t or can’t be pregnant, or those who haven’t been forced to forgo an abortion, any less horrible.

    A Feminist movement that fights for a woman’s rights to be sexually available and nice to everybody in the face of all that history?

    are you confused or something?

  64. 64
    Eristae

    @Amy Cocks

    I’m having a hard time understanding what you are trying to say.

    Dunno…a lot of the “exclusion” looks like they’re only saying “regardless of any inner mental turmoil, society will still have treated you differently based on the gender that was perceived”.
    Which is correct and it does.

    I haven’t seen anyone dispute this. The problem that people have is when people tack on “regardless of any inner mental turmoil, society will still have treated you differently based on the gender that was perceived and therefore you aren’t a real woman and shouldn’t be allowed to living as a woman. Instead, you are a man and should be treated accordingly, even after you’ve lost your male privilege by being perceived as female.”

    Only, they’ve not said in the accepted language of the group. Like when everyone “thinks”, but not everyone’s studied (white, western) philosophy and a lot of big thinkers don’t get a word in.

    What?

    The UK’s really just being introduced to “Cis” as a concept. It’s a Chemistry term, right?
    Only we aren’t all Chemists.
    A feminist movement that spends that long decrying women’s exclusion from science but can then turn round and say, the only reason a woman has to be taken a back hearing a scientific term for the first time…is underlying bigotry and transphobia…err. Yeah.

    No one is saying that a person is bigoted if they don’t immediately know what “cis” means the first time they ever encounter the word, and I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that people are asserting this.

    People seem so ready to believe “the Radicals all hate transwomen”, they’re only ever reading what Radicals have written in a negative light.

    No. However, I personally do believe that the label “radical feminist” has been co-opted by people who are anti-trans, and that most of the people who identify as radical feminists and are highly visible are anti-trans.

    Like the bit nullifidian highlighted, where we could round up all the men, infertile ciswomen and transwomen who’ve been raped in the world, go glare at…err…whoever wrote that, but we’d all start feeling a bit sheepish round the woman who’s been forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

    . . . what? Are you saying that people who are raped and become pregnant are racing an issue (becoming pregnant by rape) that people who are raped and don’t become pregnant don’t face? I don’t think anyone would dispute that.

    Radicals could alleviate it by learning the jargon, but for them, it’s another round of “women should be kind and nurturing, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Now smile, we’re in Stepford”.

    Eliminate what by jargon? Eliminate being called bigots? Because yes, they could eliminate being called bigots by insisting that trans-women aren’t real women and then treating trans-women as if they aren’t women.

    A Feminist movement that fights for a woman’s rights to be sexually available and nice to everybody in the face of all that history? Forget that.

    Are you saying that women shouldn’t have the right to have sex as they please and shouldn’t have the right to be nice if they want to be? Because forcing women to not have sex and to be mean seems like an extraordinary oppressive and harmful thing to do.

    You’re having a go a Hugo Shwyzer again , aren’t you?
    If you think Drug policies are best discussed amongst people who’ve never abused Drugs before…

    Er, I do have to admit that it seems problematic for a man who had sex with his students and tried to murder his girlfriend to be presenting himself as an authority on women’s issues. At the very least, he needs to work absurdly hard to make amends, express true remorse, show humility and respect for his victims, and regain credibility, and if people see his efforts as disingenuous, I think that’s entirely fair. You don’t get to attempt murder and then demand that people automatically forgive and forget simply because you want them to. To use your analogy, I do think that it’s a hard sell to say that drugs is best discussed among those who have never abused drugs before but have tried to force drugs on others.

  65. 65
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    Like the bit nullifidian highlighted, where we could round up all the men, infertile ciswomen and transwomen who’ve been raped in the world, go glare at…err…whoever wrote that, but we’d all start feeling a bit sheepish round the woman who’s been forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

    Are you suggesting we should play the oppression olympics on “who really gets to be counted as a rape victim”? Because that’s what that means.

    Identifying the violation of bodily autonomy a boy, cis man, pre-pubescent girl, infertile woman whether cis or trans, etc., as rape is a reasonable thing to do. The violation is the same. The possibility of pregnancy and the issues of forced birth may be intertwined with that violation in many cases, but there’s absolutely no reason why they supercede the original violation unless your concern is women as breeding vessels instead of as human beings subject to abuse.

    Trigger Warning for Rape

    Tissue damage–and death–are more likely with the object rape and these aren’t risks that should be lightly shrugged off. There are similar physical damage risks with anal rape. Oral rape is rather mentally traumatic, having one’s head–the housing of your brain and major sensory organs–turned into something to physically violate. Pregnancy is more common with the PIV rape, assuming the conditions and parties could possibly lead to pregnancy. Treating one as rape and the others as not is to simply mindlessly repeat the mantra that as a Uterus Having Person, my only purpose is baby-making. If someone is raped gently so that no physical damage is done, does it not count? The violation is the same. Why would the risk of pregnancy make a difference, then?

    Forced pregnancy and birth are serious issues that should be addressed, but it’s not helpful to use this as a distinction between “rape” and “sexual assault.” Especially not when it seems the whole world is trying to find excuses to dismiss some rapes as less legitimate/real/concerning than others. It makes far more sense to have the distinction between “forced pregnancy” and “no worry of pregnancy”, which is its own issue. The existence of and struggle for reproductive rights doesn’t erase all of the other horrors associated with rape.

    There are many specific struggles WoC face when they’ve been raped, but that doesn’t mean it’s not rape when it happens to a white woman. If a trans woman is raped, she faces outing, humiliation, and physical danger from the people who are supposed to help her. Does that mean her rape is “more rape-y” than that of the cis woman? No. It’s all rape. The specific circumstances of the survivor–and that of the assault–will have an impact on many different things, but they don’t erase that what happened was rape.

  66. 66
    Sassafras

    Amy @60

    Maybe you should read a bit of this page and tell us again if the problem is just them not using the right “jargon”.

  67. 67
    roro80

    Amy Cocks — Whether your newness to trans issues is due to your location or not, I and others here are not obligated to pretend we haven’t been dealing with those issues in real-life, academic, and activist ways for many years, just to make you feel all comfy and smart. Again, as I said in my very first comment, “Radical Feminism” is different from just “hard-core feminism”, and it’s different than just taking the standard definition of “radical” and adding it to “feminism”. It’s its own sub-branch of larger movement feminism, and it’s a branch whose most vocal members — in meat space and in academia and online — are very transphobic.

  68. 68
    Kai

    Twisty Faster?

    Wait, this Twisty Faster? http://pervocracy.blogspot.co.at/search/label/twisty%20faster%20is%20fucking%20insane

    Either she’s changed A LOT since 2010 or so, or PZ is wrong about her brilliance….

  69. 69
    nullifidian

    Jadehawk @ #57:

    it’s not fucking helpful to No True Scotsman these folks.

    That’s not what’s happening here. A “no true Scotsman” fallacy requires that the reasons for excluding someone from a category be arbitrary. There’s nothing arbitrary about saying that being a misogynist precludes you from being a feminist. I laid out the reasons why this bullshit is misogynist: the author was defining categories of “legitimate rape”; she was defining and policing categories of “True Womanhood”; and she was linking the definition of “True Womanhood” to the reproductive organs, which is just an ace from thinking of women as brood mares.

    Is there any way this shit can possibly be considered feminist? It would be like claiming that Arthur Schopenhauer is a humanist luminary, nor would I buy Schopenhauer as a humanist even if he said he was.

    TERF is feminist, it’s just extreme, extremely wrong, and needs to be fought into extinction as a branch of feminism.

    What better way to do that than point out that their ideas are fundamentally misogynist, hurt the very women they claim to help, to say nothing of other women whom they scorn out of sheer bigotry, and therefore are an impediment to feminism and not a realization of it?

    There’s no bar to realizing this shit isn’t feminist and opposing it anyway. I’m neither conservative nor Christian but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing everything I can to oppose the Religious Right’s agenda. I just think some clarity about what feminism actually is and why this isn’t it would help rip away the bullshit justifications they use to excuse and rationalize their bigotry.

  70. 70
    roro80

    nullifidian — I see what you’re saying, but I disagree. If we can’t acknowledge the problems in feminism, it’s a lot harder to fight them. Movement feminism has a lot of ugly to contend with, as I’m sure you know. If we just say “well that’s not real feminism” then we’re never going to be able to change the movement into something better than what it is. I know it drives me up a wall when Christians are confronted with all the bullshit going on in the name of Christianity and say “well they’re not real Christians, real Christians wouldn’t do that”. Real Christians do. And lots of 2nd wave feminists were virulently anti-trans (and racist, and anti-a lot of other stuff), and that history hasn’t disappeared. So many 3rd wave feminists and organizations have made an amazing amount of progress toward changing the movement to truly be inclusive of trans people and women of color, etc, but that doesn’t mean we can tautologically redefine feminism to mean whatever we want it to mean while excluding what we personally don’t like. We can leave movement or we can change it, we can even form our own sub-feminisms that are truer to what we want to be about, but we can’t make the term magically exclude those elements we disagree with.

  71. 71
    nullifidian

    Amy Cocks @ #60:
    Dunno…a lot of the “exclusion” looks like they’re only saying “regardless of any inner mental turmoil, society will still have treated you differently based on the gender that was perceived”.
    Which is correct and it does.

    And that excuse was shot down in the comments by pointing out that, by that standard, homophobia has never existed because homosexuals can pass for straight.

    This is no justification for excluding transwomen from women’s spaces unless you believe the bullshit (floated in the comments by the TERFs there as well as elsewhere) that transwomen are just men who fake a female identity to ogle and rape the “real women”. This is not reality-based thinking. As was pointed out in the thread at Twisty’s, it’s not like bathrooms and changing areas are the only places women can ever be assaulted. TERFs are obsessed with public bathrooms but they don’t realize that sexuality and gender identity are two orthogonal issues. You can have transwomen who are heterosexual as well as cisgendered lesbians. And I don’t see any movement afoot to bar lesbians from women’s bathrooms—just the opposite since many of the transphobes are lesbians (like Shiela Jeffries or the late Mary Daly).

    That’s either really fucking stupid or some kind of psychological torture.

    That is really fucking stupid: a really fucking stupid misrepresentation.

    People seem so ready to believe “the Radicals all hate transwomen”, they’re only ever reading what Radicals have written in a negative light.

    Would you care to explain to me how calling being transgender a human rights violation and advocating for the banning of sexual reassignment surgery by international law can be read in a positive light?

    Like the bit nullifidian highlighted, where we could round up all the men, infertile ciswomen and transwomen who’ve been raped in the world, go glare at…err…whoever wrote that, but we’d all start feeling a bit sheepish round the woman who’s been forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

    Who’s “we”? I don’t know about you, but I think that it’s part of the feminist project to oppose rape culture tout court, not to invent ridiculous rationalizations why the only people who can be raped are those capable of bearing a fetus. Nor does accepting that non-procreative rape is still rape require us to be opposed to abortion (and any exceptions in case of rape) and emergency contraception. Where are you getting this stuff?

    Radicals could alleviate it by learning the jargon, but for them, it’s another round of “women should be kind and nurturing, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Now smile, we’re in Stepford”.

    It’s not an issue of jargon; it’s the fact that their ideological program hurts people. A lot of people. Even the people they claim to be ‘helping’ by perpetuating gender essentialist notions that are fundamentally misogynist.

    A Feminist movement that fights for a woman’s rights to be sexually available and nice to everybody in the face of all that history? Forget that.

    So women should be forced to remain celibate and do whatever they can to increase the sum total of human misery? What a blow struck for freedom!

    You’re having a go a Hugo Shwyzer again , aren’t you?
    If you think Drug policies are best discussed amongst people who’ve never abused Drugs before…

    Then we should hire MRAs to be womens’ studies instructors. Why have discussions of misogyny led by people who haven’t been misogynist before?

  72. 72
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Amy Cocks

    Dunno…a lot of the “exclusion” looks like they’re only saying “regardless of any inner mental turmoil, society will still have treated you differently based on the gender that was perceived”.
    Which is correct and it does.

    No. The exclusion is based on the idea that Trans women aren’t real women. It’s schoolchildren screaming “Differeeeeeeent!” before beating someone up.

  73. 73
    nullifidian

    roro80 @ #70:

    We can leave movement or we can change it, we can even form our own sub-feminisms that are truer to what we want to be about, but we can’t make the term magically exclude those elements we disagree with.

    That is the same thing Jadehawk was saying, and I addressed it. I am arguing that these gender essentialist notions are misogynist and misogyny cannot be incorporated into feminism by definition. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if I’m wrong then it can only be in arguing that the quoted material and stuff like it in other radfem discourse is misogynist, or in arguing that misogyny cannot be feminist.

    Why bother developing concepts like internalized misogyny if you’re not going to draw the inevitable conclusions?

  74. 74
    roro80

    #73 I think the distinction I’m making is that there is not a perfected feminism that exists, there are only feminists and the movement they/we have created. As feminists are people, we are of course going to be wrong sometimes, and often horribly wrong, and often trenchently horribly wrong, and sometimes en masse. In a perfected version of hypothetical feminism, of course misogyny is not feminist. In a feminist movement consisting of all of us imperfect feminists, we are going to have a trans problem, and we are going to have a race problem, and we are going to have elements who hate fat people, and we are going to have elements who want to exclude straight married women or women with children or lesbians or women who shave their legs or whomever as betrayers of the cause. I totally agree with you that radfem’s transphobia is abhorent and misogynist, but I’m sure there are some areas of feminism where you and I disagree, perhaps so strongly that we wouldn’t want to be part of each other’s feminist circles. Maybe you think a person cannot be a good feminist without also being an environmentalist, and maybe I disagree. You and I are here, so we both are likely godless, but there are and always have been feminists who are not godless. So: who gets to claim feminism? You or me? Fully rhetorical, of course.

    Anyway, as I’ve said, I really strongly dislike radfem, and I think it’s so good that such progress has been made in movement feminism to distance ourselves from so much of that. I just don’t think it’s helpful to say that they’re not real feminists.

  75. 75
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Twisty Faster?

    Wait, this Twisty Faster? http://pervocracy.blogspot.co.at/search/label/twisty%20faster%20is%20fucking%20insane

    Either she’s changed A LOT since 2010 or so, or PZ is wrong about her brilliance….

    I was wondering too….

  76. 76
    nullifidian

    roro80 @ #74:

    I think we agree on more than we disagree, but I think the problem is one of emphasis. You’re laying your emphasis on history and I’m laying the emphasis on philosophy. To my mind, although the members of the feminist movement have historically been varied in their outlooks, there has to be a certain core of ideals that make the idea itself cohere. One of these, I submit, is an opposition to misogyny in thought and practice. This doesn’t mean that a feminist movement cannot promote thinking that is fundamentally misogynist in just the same way that being a woman doesn’t guarantee against internalizing misogynist discourse.

    What I’m saying is that rather than retreating from this and writing it off as not really feminism, we make these ostensible feminists justify their gender essentialist notions as feminism and point out how they’re upholding misogynist views. Perhaps it might be strategically naive, but it’s no No True Scotsman. ;-) And of course, my own views don’t imply any obligation on anybody else to follow them. I’d feel like a complete fool trying to dictate strategy to people.

    And in point of fact, I really don’t believe that transphobia is going to disappear from the feminist movement until the transphobes die. I think demographics is going to change feminism to be more accepting of transwomen (and transmen) rather than argument, because as the old saying goes, you cannot reason a person out of a position they weren’t reasoned into. This radfem transphobia is just a gloss of theory on “Ew! Ick! Different!” and third-wave feminists have just had fifty or sixty years to come to accept transgender people, rather than a mere ten or twenty (dating from when Christine Jorgensen’s story hit the headlines).

  77. 77
    ChasCPeterson

    So Wong can’t just declare herself to be whatever it is she is.

    well, yeah. That about sums it up. Not in the view of Smith College, anyway.
    They’re a private institution and can admit (or not) whomever they want, no?
    They want to remain a college for women only.
    To stick to that, they have to have some operational definition of what a ‘woman’ is, or what they want it to be for their purposes.
    One has to admit that “I declare myself to be X” is a mighty low bar for anybody, about anything.
    Doesn’t the very existence of a women’s college kind of intrinsically presuppose da gender binary?

  78. 78
    Rutee Katreya

    Holly was quite frankly, wrong in a lot of her Twisty Faster is Wrong posts, so I don’t see why you’re citing her now. Bit busy to go into detail, but Holly’s focus on sex positivity leads her to ignore the ways in which liberal patriarchy hijacks, well, ‘sex positive feminism’. So no, there’s really nothing wrong with her in most of those posts, that I recall.

  79. 79
    roro80

    @nullifidian #76

    You know, I think we’re even coming to the same conclusions on strategy, just getting there from different places. This here is just another way of wording exactly what I was trying to communicate:

    What I’m saying is that rather than retreating from this and writing it off as not really feminism, we make these ostensible feminists justify their gender essentialist notions as feminism and point out how they’re upholding misogynist views.

    I totally agree.

  80. 80
    Kai

    @Rutee Katreya: I considered that possibility too, so I even looked over some of the old posts on Pervocracy again. But some of the Twisty quotes there were simply stupid in every context, and definitely not something I could ever imagine PZ endorsing: “Alas, this is why I prefer to hold up women’s intuition, which is actually a rational scientific tool of reasoning, over dude science any day. That doesn’t mean science is bad, it means that woman’s intuition is often far superior.”

    (I mean, really? “Brilliant”?)

  81. 81
    Rutee Katreya

    Is Science not predominantly male, and does SCience not often desperately seek to assert dudely dominance? Did you not ever notice the bullshit narratives of man-the-hunter, or evopsych?

    ffs, one of those posts is on Boobquake, and Jen basically said the same things herself a year after the fact, because it became about how liberal dudes wanted to see her boobs (Along with a side order of ‘how dare you speak out in favor hijab?’

  82. 82
    Rutee Katreya

    Rather, scientists are still predominantly male. I’m a fan of science, but I’m aware it’s misused, and I’m pretty sure you are too.

    Seriously, most of Holly’s posts are ‘zomg this person isn’t a fan of sex positive, get her’, with a couple lines that actually are bad and mostly solid posts from a different perspective. Pretending Twisty isn’t generally on the mark because of a couple of occasional stupid statements isn’t accurate.

  83. 83
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Pretending [someone] isn’t generally on the mark because of a couple of occasional stupid statements isn’t accurate.

    This is new.

  84. 84
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Some of Cliff Pervocracy’s stuff about Twisty is pretty spot-on, some less so (in my opinion, seeing as I’m not sex-positive). Though I don’t exactly agree with Twisty’s precise flavour sex-neutrality myself.

    But I’m really not a fan of the idea that TERFs aren’t actually feminists. They are, they’re just really bad at it. Like how the douchebro atheists are really bad at critical thought, but still atheists. Also, that tactic in particular wrt feminism has been historically used to brush off TERFs, racists, classists (Twisty has a problem with class) and other branches of privileged shit among the leading voices of feminism. It is our* problem to address.

    Chas: No, I’d say self-definition is the only definition of gender that matters.

    *”our”=feminists’

  85. 85
    Jupiter9

    nullifidian, 24 April 2013 at 11:04 am (UTC -5)
    A “no true Scotsman” fallacy requires that the reasons for excluding someone from a category be arbitrary.

    As I understand it, a “no true Scotsman” fallacy is something like this:

    “Scotsmen can be cruel. I just saw a Scotsman kick a puppy.”
    “That wasn’t a Scotsman. No true Scotsman would be so cruel.”

    In other words, the reasons for excluding someone from the category are not arbitrary, they are immediately relevant to the discussion (though normally they are irrelevant to the category).

    It’s “disproving” an accusation by making up a positive characterization of a protected group that is simply not true. No Liberal could be sexist, no Radical Feminist could be anti-trans, no Christian would turn away a hungry poor person.

    Basically at it’s heart it’s simple denial.

  86. 86
    Lee1

    My interpretation of nullifidian’s argument is that it’s not equivalent to saying someone isn’t a Christian because they turn a way a hungry person – it’s more like saying someone isn’t a Christian because they don’t believe in a Christian God. While Christians may come in a lot of shapes and sizes (and behaviors, and values…), they must share some central set of beliefs in order for the word Christian to mean anything (what nullifidian called “a certain core of ideals that make the idea itself cohere” in post 76). So using belief in a particular incarnation of God as a criterion for whether someone is a Christian isn’t using something that’s irrelevant to the category – it’s using something that’s fundamental to the core meaning of the word Christian.

  87. 87
    roro80

    Lee @86 — Yes I understand the argument. The problem is that what counts as “misogyny” keeps on changing, not feminists’ views that misogyny is bad. Susan B Anthony was fundamental in the suffragette movement, but was vehemently against abortion. Andrea Dworkin was a transformative feminist a few decades ago, but many of her views were extremely transphobic, etc, and are pretty antithetical to what most feminists think is correct now. There are many open questions about what is considered misogyny today. I presume the 3rd wave and those of us coming to feminism in the last decade will not be the last generation of feminists to grow and refine feminism, and I’m sure many of our accepted ideas will come to look bigoted or wrong to future feminists.

  88. 88
    Natalie Reed

    I’m all about reclaiming the term radical feminist.

    There’s some things that definitely bug me about it being used as shorthand for “transphobic / cissexist feminist” and/or “feminist with a harsh view towards sex workers, lacking empathy, and favouring strict prohibition”.

    The first thing is that I rather fancy myself a bit of a radical feminist. At least in so far as my feminism is radical, and I believe that radical changes in our society and view of gender are necessary for our treatment of gender, and related social dynamics, to be truly just, compassionate and equitable.

    The second thing is that even where we’re viewing “radical feminist” to mean only the SPECIFIC SCHOOL OF THOUGHT commonly CALLED radical feminism, that *still* doesn’t *necessarily* denote transphobic, cissexist or anti-sex-work attitudes. It doesn’t even necessarily denote the sort of Utopian scope of most radical feminist thought. Radical feminism, as a school, is based upon *different* specific principles… principles which, yes, can easily LEAD to the kinds of problems and bigotries we observe in a lot of radical feminism, but aren’t synonymous with them. The primary principles of what defines radical feminism as a school are things like how gender is viewed (usually in a dialectic sense, in the marxist tradition of social dialectics; with men as the oppressor/master class and women as the oppressed/slave class), or the importance that is placed on gender relative to other social issues (like viewing patriarchy as a necessary and intrinsic and very closely related element of capitalism and post-agrarian land-ownership / surplus societies, and consequently directly related, or causal, of things like colonialism, imperialism, slavery, racial constructs, etc).

    I’m not a radical feminist in this sense, but I can at least view radical feminism as separate from many of the problematic *conclusions* many *draw* from the basic principles. Like if gender is a dialectic process, then everyone needs to be either in the ‘male’ oppressor class or the ‘female’ oppressed class, with little fluidity being admissable… transgenderism CAN however be compatible with this; if we were for instance to expand our conception of “man” to the entire umbrella of gender-related privilege (similar to how the racial construct of “white” is an entirely fluid grouping of ethnicities that’s boundaries are defined SOLELY by privilege, having little to nothing to do with precise or “objective” details of ethnicity, genetics or phenotype), and if we expand the concept of “woman” as oppressed class to everyone who isn’t afforded that privilege of “man” (this would end up being tricky in that we’d have to include trans men in “woman”, since trans men’s access male privilege on a SYSTEMIC level is primarily housed within access to conditional cis privilege- individuals may certainly regard a trans man, even an out trans man, as male and treat him accordingly, even granting him male privilege, but PATRIARCHY won’t even allow him a truly privileged position within its wider dynamic. This is the sort of tricky thing associated with the fact that making radical feminism, an inherently NOT-very-intersectional school of thought, compatible with trans-feminism requires sort of clustering all gender-related oppression together, so you end up not afforded the nuances of distinguishing between cis privilege and male privilege, oppression of trans or gender variant people and oppression of women, or cissexism and patriarchy).

    I’m also becoming very, very, VERY worried lately, and often pretty angry, about the degree of obsession that’s been developing amongst the trans community with “the rad-fems” and “the TERFs”. It’s a HUGE energy drain and drain on resources, it’s distracting us from numerous other issues, it’s often creating total distortions of reality (like people believing that “rad-fems” are “getting trans women killed”, and blaming “rad-fems” for trans-misogynistic violence, when in fact such violence is virtually entirely perpetrated by men, directly connected to patriarchy and GENERAL misogyny, and typically very racialized and tied to class), and ultimately WE’RE giving a lot of these transphobic wing-nuts more attention than they’d EVER receive otherwise. I’m CERTAIN that FAR more trans women know (and care!) who Cathy Brennan is than cis feminists in general do. She doesn’t HAVE much, if any, influence, but WE obsess over her and those like her and consequently GIVE her steam and attention she’d never otherwise have. If we didn’t obsess so much, and get so embroiled in these petty fights, nobody would give a fuck about these fringe weirdos.

    (I think a lot of trans women are drawn to because it has a lot more immediate feedback and a more instant-gratification sense of “doing something” than more genuine forms of activism, which goes very very slowly, is filled with “and two steps back” feelings of sliding downhill, andoften feels hopeless or Sisyphian).

    I’ve also found a lot of trans women obsessed with “the rad-fems” / “the TERFs” are also very very cruel to other trans women who don’t share their priorities or willingly join their “war”. And this is getting WORSE. I’ve been seeing more and more, over time, trans women obsessed with “rad-fems” who just freak out and lay into and say all kinds of nasty, or paranoid, nonsense to other trans women. It’s damaging our community and leading to infighting as WELL as draining our energy and attention away from so many other issues we could be looking at: trans youth, trans ppl in prison, HIV, medical access, medical abuse, violence, issues with black market medication / surgery, resource and information access and distribution, sex work, police relations, police profiling, homelessness, shelter access, rape laws, rape resources and supports, addiction resources and supports, etc. etc. etc.

    SO THAT’S MY THOUGHTS ABOUT STUFF LIKE RADFEM2013 THESE DAYS, I GUESS. :P

  89. 89
    Jadehawk

    hat’s not what’s happening here. A “no true Scotsman” fallacy requires that the reasons for excluding someone from a category be arbitrary. There’s nothing arbitrary about saying that being a misogynist precludes you from being a feminist.

    a “no True Scotsman” is to exclude based on a category that’s not actually part of the definition. And let me tell you, if you exclude all people who are prejudiced against some group of women, or who hold some anti-women prejudices, from feminism, then there will be virtually no feminists left at all. Holding toxic, counterproductive beliefs doesn’t exclude one automatically from feminism (unfortunately), because feminism is, at its core, the position that there’s such a thing as discrimination based on sex and gender, and that it needs to be eliminated (or more flippantly: “the belief that women are people”). It’s entirely possible to hold toxic, even counterproductive beliefs and still hold the position that women are discriminated against and that this needs to end.

    Is there any way this shit can possibly be considered feminist?

    that’s not relevant. A feminist doesn’t stop being a feminist for holding non-feminist ideas; a feminist stops being a feminist for no longer holding feminist ideas. Plus, again if you excluded everyone who held some non-feminist, or even anti-feminist ideas from feminism, there wouldn’t be many feminists left.

    What better way to do that than point out that their ideas are fundamentally misogynist, hurt the very women they claim to help, to say nothing of other women whom they scorn out of sheer bigotry, and therefore are an impediment to feminism and not a realization of it?

    except that’s not what you did. you didn’t say they were an impediment to the goals of feminism and therefore shouldn’t be feminists; you said they weren’t feminists. You just blithely defined them out of the category; work done.

    Basically, you’ve just done the same crap Christians pull when someone points out Christian terrorism: “no Christian can have done a terrorist act, because terrorism is unchristian”.

    There’s no bar to realizing this shit isn’t feminist and opposing it anyway.

    defining extreme and harmful feminism out of existence is a very big bar to cleaning up our movement; how can you not realize this?

    I’m neither conservative nor Christian but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing everything I can to oppose the Religious Right’s agenda.

    you’re fucking confused. When Christians refuse to accept that there’s such a thing as Christian terrorism, they’re impeding the attempt to fight against such terrorism. How the fuck is that hard to understand?

    I just think some clarity about what feminism actually is

    feminism is the position that women are discriminated against, and that this needs to end. You don’t think that’s what TERFS believe?

    why this isn’t it would help rip away the bullshit justifications they use to excuse and rationalize their bigotry.

    not any more so than saying that terrorism is unchristian strips away the bullshit justifications for christian terrorism. You want to fight it, you have to own the fact that these false ideas have developed from core feminist ideas and are held by people who believe themselves to be accomplishing the goals of feminism; because it would be really fucking difficult to deconstruct their ideas effectively without acknowledging that core, and then showing how it all went really fucking wrong.

    You don’t fight problems in your movement or worldview by defining problematic lines of thought within it out of existence.

  90. 90
    Natalie Reed

    P.S. I also worry that trans obsession with “the rad fems” / “the TERFs” carries, in addition to the other motivations I mentioned, an anti-feminist and/or misogynistic element. We, like everyone in western patriarchal society, were taught by our society to hate and distrust feminist and “uppity” women. “TERFs” give us an excuse to exercise that feel that conditioned fear validated. “See, I knew it! Feminism really IS dangerous and women really SHOULD be ‘reasonable’ and ‘civil’!”.

    This isn’t to say that trans women are all sexist, women-fearing guys, or that we’re exceptionally anti-feminist or misogynistic* (though I’ve noticed some of us seem to have lingering resentment or jealousy towards cis women, which sometimes even manifests as sympathy for MRA philosophy; and many of us *were* raised to believe some pretty sexist, misogynistic things, and it’s hard to “deprogram” oneself of that), nor am I saying anti-feminist or misogynistic sentiment is the main motive here. But I DO worry it’s a contributing factor for SOME trans people in how MUCH they invest into this particular issue.

    * – I think almost EVERYONE in a patriarchy, regardless of sex or gender or assigned gender or sexual orientation, is conditioned with some of the misogynistic, anti-feminist values of patriarchy, and those are going to linger with most of us (perhaps subconsciously), even amongst those of us who ARE feminists. It takes work to get past that. It’s comparable to racism and transphobia: if you’re raised in a racist, white-supremacist society, you’re probably going to internalize at least some of that (even if you’re the target of the racism), and it takes WORK and ATTENTION and SELF-AWARNESS and HUMILITY to move past it (especially if you’re the privileged beneficiary of the racism). And if you’re raised in a cissexist, transphobic society, you’re going to internalize some of that too (a big part of why so many trans people have serious problems with shame and self-hate and body image and skewed self-perception, even if intellectually we know there’s nothing to be ashamed of), and again, it takes a lot to move past it. Trans women aren’t exceptional in internalizing some of the anti-feminist sentiment of the patriarchy we’ve lived in. But we’ve got ourselves a pretty good excuse to allow that sentiment to influence us.

  91. 91
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Just feel the need to say that Natalie Reed is better at saying things I think on this subject than I am, apparently. Because yeah. What she said.

  92. 92
    Jadehawk

    What I’m saying is that rather than retreating from this and writing it off as not really feminism, we make these ostensible feminists justify their gender essentialist notions as feminism and point out how they’re upholding misogynist views.

    well, no. you have to do the work explaining how what they do is in active opposition to the goal of ending oppression of women. because their notions have been defended as feminism for a very long time, and unless you take the time to refute that, they’ll continue to be seen as valid conclusions from the core idea of feminism.

    aside from that, you may have meant to say that you want feminists with misogynist beliefs realize and abandon their misogynist beliefs, but what you actually said is that they’re not feminists. two different things.

    - – - – - – -

    it’s more like saying someone isn’t a Christian because they don’t believe in a Christian God.

    have you ever heard the name John Shelby Spong…

    So using belief in a particular incarnation of God as a criterion for whether someone is a Christian isn’t using something that’s irrelevant to the category – it’s using something that’s fundamental to the core meaning of the word Christian.

    not really; the sole “fundamental” bit to the meaning of the word Christian is that someone is a follower of Christ. That includes gnostics as well as people like Spong.

    - – - – -

    I’m CERTAIN that FAR more trans women know (and care!) who Cathy Brennan is than cis feminists in general do.

    true; didn’t know who she was until she showed up on my blogpost about radical feminism.

  93. 93
    roro80

    So, Natalie, the real problem here is that trans women just care too much and “obsess” over people who want to deny their basic humanity? Who call them monsters and freaks and disgusting mutilations? Who try to legislate away their existence? And that that’s going to take away from all the important stuff? I mean not ALL trans women, just lots of them.

    Er. Um. Holy shit. That’s pretty fucked up.

  94. 94
    Jadehawk

    Also, I really miss reading your stuff, Natalie. Are you writing anywhere at all at the moment, or is all your writing energy going into putting together the book you’ve been talking about on twitter?

  95. 95
    roro80

    The second thing is that even where we’re viewing “radical feminist” to mean only the SPECIFIC SCHOOL OF THOUGHT commonly CALLED radical feminism, that *still* doesn’t *necessarily* denote transphobic, cissexist or anti-sex-work attitudes. It doesn’t even necessarily denote the sort of Utopian scope of most radical feminist thought. Radical feminism, as a school, is based upon *different* specific principles… principles which, yes, can easily LEAD to the kinds of problems and bigotries we observe in a lot of radical feminism, but aren’t synonymous with them. The primary principles of what defines radical feminism as a school are things like how gender is viewed…

    And libertarians are also freedom defenders and it’s just that those of us who think they’re assholes fighting for really terrible shit just don’t understand their philosophy well enough or how perfect it is.

    In other words, I don’t really care what the perfect wonderland version of radical feminist philosophy is. In practice, every time radical feminism comes up, I see a shitton of radfems telling people I love that they are disgusting mutations who shouldn’t exist and are just pretending to be women to rape all the real women and CHICKS WITH DICKS ARE MEN SO GET OUTTA MY BATHROOM YOU FREAK OF NATURE. To which I say: fuck you you fucking fuck. We can talk philosophy all day, but there is a reason that radfems are associated with transphobia.

  96. 96
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    I also worry that trans obsession with “the rad fems” / “the TERFs” carries, in addition to the other motivations I mentioned, an anti-feminist and/or misogynistic element. We, like everyone in western patriarchal society, were taught by our society to hate and distrust feminist and “uppity” women. “TERFs” give us an excuse to exercise that feel that conditioned fear validated. “See, I knew it! Feminism really IS dangerous and women really SHOULD be ‘reasonable’ and ‘civil’!”.

    God damn, Natalie, yes. This really is something we all have to watch for. It is insidious and sneaks up in places where you’d never expect. We have all been raised in misogyny (and classism and racism and cis-sexism, etc., etc.) and are all at risk of it coloring our perceptions. It is constant work, both internal and external, to combat this.

  97. 97
    Tethys

    roro80

    I am making an assumption that you are unfamiliar with Natalie, ( if not just ignore me), but if you click her name you can read exactly what Natalie thinks rather than accusing her of being fucked up.

  98. 98
    Natalie Reed

    Thanks, ror80, for perfectly demonstrating my point about the nastiness and internal conflict being brought about by TERF-obsession.

    This “with us or against us” bullshit is completely toxic to our community. My saying “Transphobic feminism is not as big a danger to us as other issues like patriarchy, misogyny, lack of education (or open hostility) in medicine and social resources, etc.” is damn well not the same thing as DEFENDING transphobic feminists.

    Yes, they say awful things. But frankly, I think what’s really fucked up is how we’re paying more attention to those things being SAID to us by one particular largely irrelevant/powerless fringe group vs. all the awful things being DONE to us by the cissexism of an openly hostile patriarchy.

    And seriously? If you’re planning to come at me with some “not doing enough” / “letting our sisters down” nonsense just because I don’t prioritize this specific internet-driven non-issue above other trans issues, you’d better sit ALL the way back down unless you feel confident comparing your history of activism to my own, and making a real case for why Cathy Brennan’s latest tumblr is more important than things like runaway trans youth, trans self-selection out of psychiatric care due to poor treatment leading to suicides, the fact that trans women are the fastest growing demographic in the US for HIV diagnosis, or establishing trans-friendly/trans-educated rape and addiction resources and supports.

    So yeah, seriously, take a seat, and get comfy there.

  99. 99
    Natalie Reed

    And ror80, I really, really, really hope you’re not some “cis ally” talking down to me about not fighting my own oppression the way you think I ought to.

    If so… well…. I’ll have some choice words for you.

  100. 100
    yazikus

    And ror80, I really, really, really hope you’re not some “cis ally” talking down to me about not fighting my own oppression the way you think I ought to.

    Yeah, I started to cringe when I realized where her post was going. I appreciate alot of what roro posts, but this one was way off base. I know I appreciated reading your perspective, so thanks for weighing in.

  101. 101
    Natalie Reed

    Jadehawk:

    Yeah, most of my writing time/energy right now is going into my book, my novel and my comic(s). But I HOPE to have some new essays up on some sites soon. If I’m lucky, Pretty Queer, Autostraddle and We Happy Trans may host some of that new writing.

    Ro80:

    Looking again at your comments, and the context, yeah, it certainly seems like you’re a cis “ally”.

    So… if that’s the case, and if you want to maintain even a shred of “ally” credibility, the next thing you say here should REALLY damn well be an apology for not paying any attention to my comments before jumping down my throat, seriously cissplaining, talking down to me about how I should manage and prioritize my own activism regarding my own oppression and my own community, and for ALL-CAPSING a transphobic slur at me in the process of making your point.

    I’m not keen on call-outs and big debates, so please, don’t double down here. Just admit that “fucking fucked up” is a pretty mild way to describe how you just reacted to me, supposedly “on behalf” of my own community.

  102. 102
    lymie

    I love Twisty, she is so thorough, consistent, logical, and funny. She notices and explains the Patriarchy particularly well. Jen and Greta don’t like her much, however, because she thought Boob-quake was stupid. Twisty has had a double mastectomy and bravely chronicled it. So, high emotions on both sides.

    She loves tacos and horses, what could be better.

  103. 103
    roro80

    Natalie, up until the point you entered the thread, the conversation had focused on radfem’s place within feminism vs trans* people’s place within feminism. You switched gears to discussing the focus on online TERF flame wars within the context of transfeminist activism. Not knowing anything about you, I did not know that you’d made that shift. Others here obviously got that immediately because they do know you. There really werent other cues that that shift had happened. Of course on the ground activism is more important than online flame wars. Of course. So I do truly apologize for my mistake. Of course your not obliged to do so, but in the interest of good faith, it would be super solid of you to retread what I wrote in the context of the conversation I thought was going on. I hope you will find I’m not nearly the gigantic asshole it must have seemed.

  104. 104
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Of course your not obliged to do so, but in the interest of good faith, it would be super solid of you to retread what I wrote in the context of the conversation I thought was going on.

    *makes a note of exactly this phrasing*

  105. 105
    Natalie Reed

    Roro, I appreciate the effort at an apology, but I would substantially more appreciate an unqualified and non-conditional one.

    I don’t think you’re in a great spot to talk about good faith and paying attention to context and what people were really saying.

  106. 106
    roro80

    I truly was not saying what you think I was saying. I don’t agree in any way with what you think I was saying. I would not and do not have any reason to question how you do trans activism. I have a lot of reason to question how vocally transphobic feminists perform feminist activism. That was the context of the conversation that was going on before you began commenting. I do apologize for misreading your statement, but I don’t think I can apologize for not knowing who you are, and for not knowing that you had changed the subject of the conversation. I am definitely sorry for causing pain to you. I am not demanding good faith from you, merely asking for it. If you’re not in the mood to grant it, I will not hold that against you one bit.

  107. 107
    Natalie Reed

    I made it very clear in my comments that I was speaking about the trans-community as a member of the trans-community. Yes, I can blame you for ignoring or skimming over that.

    You called me a “fucking fuck”, you invoked a transphobic slur (c-s w/ d-s) that you have no right to use in ANY context, and were all kinds of condescending.

    You also shouldn’t just be haphazardly *assuming* everyone ever is cis unless they announce through a megaphone that they’re trans AND you actually pay attention to it.

    So basically, there’s one of two things that happened:

    One, you skimmed over my posts, made some gigantic assumptions about what I was saying, and then cussed me out and used a transphobic slur for emphasis and impact.

    OR

    Two, you read my posts, and then decided to condescend to me about what my own priorities should be regarding my own community’s oppression. AND cussed me out and used a transphobic slur for emphasis and impact.

    EITHER WAY, you were clearly in the wrong. And you saying that I should re-read closely and pay attention to the context that you didn’t read closely or pay attention to context, and thereby take in good faith how you didn’t take me in good faith, is enormously hypocritical.

    Consider your “ally” card revoked, you “fucking fuck”.

  108. 108
    Natalie Reed

    P.S. For roro AND any other cis allies reading this:

    Please don’t aggressively cuss people out on the internet “on our behalf”. In OUR case, anger is a wholly justified response to transphobia and cissexism (provided we’re, you know, paying enough attention to know what someone else is actually saying). But in the case of those with privilege? You don’t get the excuse of “how we respond to bigotry is our own choice”. You DO have the responsibility to exercise control, and strategic thinking. Random, undirected and careless hostility, ESPECIALLY as reckless online “call-out culture”, is NOT helping, and if you’re honest with yourselves, I’m sure you’ll admit it’s more about you and your own ego and aggression than it is genuinely on our behalf.

    The role of the oppressed, in facing their oppression, is whatever they choose it to be. Maybe anger for the sake of empowerment, maybe debate for the benefit of “fencers” listening in, maybe measured discourse at their own discretion to help disseminate ideas… it’s their call. But the role of the privileged is to take their cues from the marginalized whom it’s their responsibility to assist, and to use their privileged position to enact the changes the marginalized want to see.

    Their role is not, to put it bluntly, going off half-cocked on internet comment threads for the fun and jollies of yelling at people under a “justified” pretense.

    In case this sounds condescending, I’d like to add that I’m someone who, depending on context, occupies BOTH roles. I can yell at a cissexist jerk (or an awful cis “ally”) whenever I feel it’s the best way to approach that problem… even if my only reason is to vent some of my anger and frustration with having to live with this oppression, or find some small empowerment through owning that anger. But when the issue is something related to my own privileges? Like race, ability, or education? Well, yeah, in those cases it’s not just better, but my RESPONSIBILITY, to act intelligently, strategically, responsibly, and with absolute priority given to the goals and wishes of those individuals at whose expense I benefit.

    Point being? Aggressive / hostile call outs = If you’re not the target, IT’S NOT YOUR CALL.

    And though I can’t speak for all trans women, much less all trans people, I DO NOT want cis “allies” behaving like roro “on my behalf”. Even IF they’re actually paying attention.

  109. 109
    roro80

    It was not very clear to me. I apologize again for missing it, and I apologize for assuming you were cis.

    I have been with my sister and that slur was used against her, while she was transitioning, before she passed to most people. To which I literally said “fuck you you fucking fuck” at the time. I see why you interpreted that as saying that to you, but I was not. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

    Yes, I was in the wrong.

    It makes me sad that I hurt you, but I never had a card, so I suppose I can’t really comment on its revocation. I do work within the trans community, have for years, and will continue to do so, card or not. As you said, there are many more important things to work on besides online fights. I really am sorry.

  110. 110
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Point being? Aggressive / hostile call outs = If you’re not the target, IT’S NOT YOUR CALL.

    Meanwhile, I DO (I’m actually thinking “would” but I might be selling someone, somewhere short and I don’t want to do that because I don’t consider good-faith allies disposable) appreciate people who’ll wholeheartedly, untepidly back me up with regards to the ways I’m marginalized and unprivileged (mainly being ASD, though a definition of “privilege” or “oppression” that doesn’t include the bullying trauma *I* get to live with because I’m otherwise in “on-paper” better-off demographics seems badly half-formed to me – and no, I’m not going to defend the fact that non-autistics are privilege and, frankly, often privilege-drunk, again).

    So, there’s some debate on this as a general point.

  111. 111
    martiabernathey

    I’m CERTAIN that FAR more trans women know (and care!) who Cathy Brennan is than cis feminists in general do. She doesn’t HAVE much, if any, influence, but WE obsess over her and those like her and consequently GIVE her steam and attention she’d never otherwise have. If we didn’t obsess so much, and get so embroiled in these petty fights, nobody would give a fuck about these fringe weirdos.

    Tell that to the trans folks that don’t have basic civil rights protections in MD. because of a state senator she’s given money to. A senator that’s had over 1k calls from constituents supporting said civil rights bill. She plays in political circles, especially in MD (please note geography in reference to DC). A House Delegate in MD stood up in public and introduced Cathy Brennan as “my good friend”. You ignore her at trans women in the States’ peril.

  112. 112
    martiabernathey

    IMO, saying people like CB have no influence is like saying the bathroom meme has no influence. Neither have a rational argument, when you dig deep. But they do have power and influence, and they do need to be addressed and refuted.

  113. 113
    Sassafras

    In case this sounds condescending, I’d like to add that I’m someone who, depending on context, occupies BOTH roles. I can yell at a cissexist jerk (or an awful cis “ally”) whenever I feel it’s the best way to approach that problem… even if my only reason is to vent some of my anger and frustration with having to live with this oppression, or find some small empowerment through owning that anger.

    It doesn’t make you sound condescending, it makes you sound hypocritical, as your first input on the discussion was to tell other trans women that if we do the exact same thing to the TERFs then we’re obsessed, ignoring bigger priorities, and pooooossssibly misogynist.

  114. 114
    roro80

    Damn it, I knew I shouldn’t have come back here. Natalie, I have apologized multiple times now for misunderstanding your point of view and jumping down your throat because I thought you were justifying common radfem behavior with philosophy. It’s not at all clear that that’s not what you were doing until the very last sentence of your last paragraph, in which it can be inferred — some people do carry their own context, and I suppose you’re one of those people here in this space. I don’t do really any online activism, so I don’t know you or about whatever “obsessive” flame wars are going on with the TERFs. I was missing that context, hence my apology.

    But you don’t actually get to tell me that I’m doing something for my “jollies” or on your behalf. If you think I got into transfeminist activism for the fun of it, if you think my last decade plus of involvement has been just a load of laughs, starting with searching for my runaway sister, you have a very bizarre idea of “jollies”. And no, my anger at your statements were not on “your” behalf, but on the behalf of the kids I work with, and on the behalf of someone I love so much I don’t know what I’d do without her.

  115. 115
    Natalie Reed

    My second remark there, the one you’re presently responding to, was a) posted *before* your last more-genuine apology, which I appreciated but didn’t get a chance to respond to and b) was NOT directed at you, but directed towards a more general tendency. AGAIN you’re asking for good faith and close-reading while not offering me the same.

    And the card remark wasn’t serious. Of course there’s no such thing as an ally card.

    Now seriously, back off unless you’re willing to practice the kind of attention and good faith you’re advocating. Bye.

  116. 116
    Natalie Reed

    @Sassafrass:

    There’s no hypocrisy or conflict. Trans women, yes, can choose for themselves to be angry towards TERFs and call them out. But I ALSO have an equal and comparable right to view that as unstrategic, self-destructive, an energy drain, and a misallocation of priorities and resources, ESPECIALLY where it’s proactive prioritzation of the “TERF” issue rather than simply reactive to a random troll getting in your face. The point is that it wouldn’t be a cis person’s place to tell us what we should or shouldn’t be focusing on in our activism and priorities, like the Anti-TERF thing, but we ABSOLUTELY have the right to have a conversation amongst ourselves, as a community. And, in fact, we NEED to have such conversations, and encourage discourse, if we’re going to operate as any kind of community or grassroots or actual effective activism. There’s absolutely no conflict or hypocrisy in anything I’ve said here unless you view it in really superficial terms.

  117. 117
    Natalie Reed

    @Marti:

    You’re right. It’s not the case that ALL transphobic feminism carries NO influence. In Maryland, Brennan does have some influence (she also, as a lawyer, defends usury payday loan type corporations that pray on PoC communities). And transphobic feminism has some affect on the discourse currently going on in the UK, regarding Fleet Street’s mistreatment (and monstering) of trans women- various figures like Burchill and Moore provided both a defense and a smokescreen. HOWEVER- in the larger picture, their influence, especially in regards to their online presence like tumblr, is GREATLY exaggerated by the anti-TERF crowd. They aren’t, of course, “getting trans women killed” (and the exploitation of that violence, especially when it’s so racialized, classed and tied to patriarchy, is, in my opinion, unforgiveably cynical or ignorant). And their influence and importance is minimal RELATIVE TO the amount of attention and energy being poured into it in certain corners of our community (noticeably online trans-advocacy, on twitter and tumblr especially).

    If you want to sway me in my position, make a case not only that TERFs are harmful, but that they’re a LARGER issue than the others I mentioned in this thread, and LARGER ENOUGH as to warrant the disproportionate time we’ve given them, and the exaggerating, hyperbolic rhetoric with which they’re discussed.

  118. 118
    roro80

    was NOT directed at you

    Natalie, I’ve tried hard to make amends here. There’s no need to be dishonest at this point. The comment in question starts with “PS for roro”.

    Bye.

  119. 119
    Natalie Reed

    @roro80

    Btw, I also want to say I DID appreciate the apology you posted, following my comments about how you seemed to have skimmed over my initial comments & made assumptions, and the one about ally “call-outs” in general. I’m annoyed by how you then, later, AGAIN lashed out and seemed to misread me, in regards to a comment I’d made BEFORE your apology, and it sort of detracts from things a bit, but I nonetheless wanted to express appreciation / thanks for that apology itself.

    @Azikyoth

    Yeah, I agree that I do want cis allies to stick up for us, and say things in response to transphobic or cissexist or trans-misogynistic remarks when we’re not around to do so ourselves (and, as most trans people remember very well from our “pre-transition” lives, many cis people do say TONS of really nasty stuff about us behind our backs or when they think we’re not listening. Even nastier than what they say to our faces). If someone says something transphobic or otherwise messed up and no one, *especially* other cis people, object, then they’re very, very likely take that as tacit approval or a sharing of the sentiment.

    This is common with all bigotries: many white racists, for instance, think they’re just “saying what everyone is thinking” and part of that is because other white people so rarely openly disagree. And this kind of social affirmation can even be particularly dangerous in the case of transphobia / trans-misogyny, due to the stigma (or fear thereof) of cis men being perceived as “gay” or a “pussy” or a “pervert” or even secretly trans themselves for expressing sympathy to trans people, or attraction to trans women. This creates a huge social pressure to CLAIM they’re disgusted by trans women. And it can even become a reinforcing feedback loop. For example: Tim has a crush on a trans girl at his job, and wants to ask her out, but is scared of what his friends will think, so he asks Steve and Joey if they’d ever “do” a trans girl, “you know, if he had the operation and looked enough like a real girl or whatevs”. Steve doesn’t KNOW Tim has the crush, is anxious, and is playing up cissexism just to disguise it, and Steve DOES think trans women can be attractive, and has even looked at trans porn sometimes, so he thinks Tim might suspect and is “testing” him, and because of Tim’s feigned trans-misogyny he’s even more scared what Tim would think, so Steve says “Fuck no, dude! I don’t care how big a guy’s tits are, he’s still a guy and that’s nasty!”. And then Joey, listening to this, really IS a transphobic jerk, and because his friends felt obliged, by social pressure, to feign transphobia even though neither of them actually feel that way, Joey now feels validated and bolstered in his trans-misogyny, thinking “every guy feels that way”, even though he’s the only one in his circle of friends who genuinely hates / is disgusted by trans women. And his hatred and disgust is only really because of his own anxieties about what it might mean for his sexuality if he were to be attracted to a trans woman, or if he didn’t HAVE to behave as macho as he feels pressured to.

    See what I mean? There are also lots of situations where cis men who are dating trans women very SUDDENLY become hostile towards these women, and feign having been “tricked”, only when their friends find out. Which is to say, they were comfortable dating a trans woman, and did know, but were terrified of their friends’ perceptions enough to CLAIM “deception” and “trans panic”, and this reinforces the loop again. There have in fact been murders which were motivated not by a cis man feeling “deceived”, but rather by his friends discovery of his partner’s gender status and history. Gwen Araujo’s murder was much more likely a situation like this than what her attackers claimed (their “trans panic” defense made no sense; it’s virtually impossible that they all had sex with her multiple times, a woman with a penis, w/o ever “realizing” she was trans until they decided to attack her).

    Anyway… so, yes, it’s important that cis allies speak up. But I want their responses to be responsible and careful and thought-through, especially regarding goals and potential consequences, not simply reckless or angry. A cis person, after all, is in a particularly good position to be seen as “reasonable” and “objective” on the issue, and thereby convince other cis people that negative reactions to transphobia and trans-misogyny and cissexism aren’t merely “over-sensitive”.

    I’d also like cis allies speaking up for us to try to be proactive, too, not simply *reactive* to cissexism. A passive, reactive approach allows the terms and course of the overall discourse to be defined by the bigots. This is, in fact, part of the problem with anti-TERF focus. It lets transphobes define WHAT we’re talking about (bathroom access, MichFest (which few of us could afford attending anyway), women-only space, proving we’re not rapists, talking about how penises and/or socialization don’t automatically make someone a man, the “Cotton Ceiling”, defining and redefining “woman” along w/ their moving goalposts, defending against accusations of our “cabal” and “mobs”, describing how “cis” isn’t a slur, etc.) and HOW we talk about and even puts them in the position to define the overall emotional tenor of the discourse. It puts us in a position where our discourse is not only limited, but limited to what THEY, a fringe group of people who hate us, think is important to talk about.

    If we adopt a proactive approach, however, where we and our allies initiate conversation about trans issues in the wider discourse, then we get to pick the topic. We can talk about all those things I feel are neglected in these branches of the trans community: medicine/healthcare, police, rape, addiction, youth, homelessness, shelters, HIV, sex work, etc. Things I, and many others, feel are more important than how many cis people are offended by being called “cis”.

    Anyway, for a more nuanced and thorough look at my views on some of these issues, here’s a couple essays I did:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/11/16/five-ways-cis-feminists-can-help-build-trans-inclusivity-and-intersectionality/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/12/13/complicity-vs-cause-in-trans-misogyny-and-violence/

  120. 120
    Natalie Reed

    @roro, again:

    Yes, you’re right, “wasn’t directed at you” was an inaccurate way to phrase that. But it wasn’t “dishonest” (again, you’re not offering my ANY of the trust and good faith you keep demanding from me). It was a bad choice of words. What I’d meant was that although it was addressed to you and cis allies in general, it wasn’t specifically *about* you, nor were my exaggerated descriptions of possible motives like “getting your jollies” meant to characterize you. Also, again, that comment was written BEFORE you’d offered a genuine apology. I was, at that point, very frustrated by how all I’d gotten from you were qualified notpologies criticizing me for not being understanding enough of your misunderstanding, and not taking in good faith your reasons for making so many rash assumptions about me. Yes, I was frustrated and angry, but I’m not LYING in saying that that comment wasn’t about you individually. It was about frustration with “call out culture” and cis people engaging in reckless call-outs in general, many of which definitely do come across as being far more about their own satisfaction or catharsis than actually helping trans people. I wasn’t characterizing YOUR motives, and if the remarks I made about motives weren’t true of you, then you have nothing to feel defensive about. But your reaction to me in this comment thread is certainly an example of a reckless ally call-out, regardless of the details, and that’s the subject I was expressing frustration with, and what I was asking ALL cis readers in this thread to try to be careful about avoiding.

    I appreciate your efforts to make amends, and a lot of it (especially more recently) has seemed genuine, but you also continue coupling it with criticism, qualifications and attacks towards me, and I hope you can understand why that’s been frustrating for me.

  121. 121
    Sassafras

    obvs @ Natalie:

    If you want to sway me in my position, make a case not only that TERFs are harmful, but that they’re a LARGER issue than the others I mentioned in this thread, and LARGER ENOUGH as to warrant the disproportionate time we’ve given them, and the exaggerating, hyperbolic rhetoric with which they’re discussed.

    What the fuck is this Dawkinsian bullshit? Why on earth should we have to prove that they’re a larger issue than anything else before we can talk about them? We don’t have to focus 24/7 on the most important issues facing us and never talk about anything else, and just because someone gets in a twitter argument with some TERFs or writes or comments on a blog post about them doesn’t mean they’re never spending time on more important things. Maybe they’re just trying to vent some “anger and frustration with having to live with this oppression, or find some small empowerment through owning that anger”.

    There’s absolutely no conflict or hypocrisy in anything I’ve said here unless you view it in really superficial terms.

    I’m sure you have tons of deep and verbose thoughts about why it’s OK for you to get angry at cissexists but if other trans women get angry at TERFs they’re obsessed and maybe-misogynists. If you give a shit about people spending time on more important things than TERFs, then maybe you should prioritize positively advocating for those issues rather than the much less important task of scolding people for addressing things you deem unimportant.

  122. 122
    roro80

    Natalie, I’m a bit baffled. Where in my apologies did I criticize you at all? I explained why I thought what I thought, to illustrate what happened. I did not place conditions. I specifically told you I did not feel owed a retreading of my previous comments. I specifically said I would not hold it against you. I conceded every major point. I did not blame you for the misunderstanding. I took responsibility for and apologized. I am genuinely interested in what I said that leads you to the conclusions you came to. Intensional isn’t magic, but my very specific intention was a real apology. I could have pretended that I actually was telling you how to fight your own oppression, or accusing you of not doing enough, and apologized for that, but it was important to me that you understand that that wasn’t what happened. It was and is important to me because you are a leader in a community that is very important to me.

    About “dishonest”. I suppose it’s safe to say you and I don’t trust each other. I am truly remorseful about what happened, and I am glad that you think at least one of my apologies was genuine. I do appreciate that. But we got off on the wrong foot, to put it mildly. If it’s worth anything, I’m willing to try again if you are.

  123. 123
    martiabernathey

    @Marti:
    You’re right. It’s not the case that ALL transphobic feminism carries NO influence. In Maryland, Brennan does have some influence (she also, as a lawyer, defends usury payday loan type corporations that pray on PoC communities).

    I’m not talking about her position as a lawyer, but her position as a political player in Maryland and in Washington DC.  We ignore her at our own peril. 

    And transphobic feminism has some affect on the discourse currently going on in the UK, regarding Fleet Street’s mistreatment (and monstering) of trans women- various figures like Burchill and Moore provided both a defense and a smokescreen. HOWEVER- in the larger picture, their influence, especially in regards to their online presence like tumblr, is GREATLY exaggerated by the anti-TERF crowd.”

    I’m of two thoughts on this. I understand the the anger of the anti-TERF crowd, but I don’t think it’s particualarly helpful. CB actually feeds on this kind of anger, and uses it as “proof” she’s being victimized by them. Many TERF’s fan the flames of the bathroom meme without ANY PROOF of it actually happening in reality. Of course, when it comes to cis-women sexually assaulting children, actual proof of sexual assault in bathrooms won’t keep cis-women from being around children in bathrooms. But just projecting the idea out there is enough to get many people against the idea of trans women using gender appropriate bathrooms. No proof needed. No data. Just penis=rape. I’m pissed that that actually has had traction in places like Massachusetts. The reason public accommodations are being pulled out of legislation is because of this meme. 

    “They aren’t, of course, “getting trans women killed” (and the exploitation of that violence, especially when it’s so racialized, classed and tied to patriarchy, is, in my opinion, unforgiveably cynical or ignorant). And their influence and importance is minimal RELATIVE TO the amount of attention and energy being poured into it in certain corners of our community (noticeably online trans-advocacy, on twitter and tumblr especially).”

    That depends on who you’re talking about. The world will never know how many trans women have killed themselves because of the effect of “Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery” by Janice Raymond. I think it’s probably more than one and less than a million, but I don’t think it’s zero. I know the effect that CB is having has caused trans women in Maryland to have less civil rights protections than they might otherwise have. 

    If you want to sway me in my position, make a case not only that TERFs are harmful, but that they’re a LARGER issue than the others I mentioned in this thread, and LARGER ENOUGH as to warrant the disproportionate time we’ve given them, and the exaggerating, hyperbolic rhetoric with which they’re discussed.

    Again, it depends on what arena. Some people care about Michfest, some don’t. I care more about trans women of colour not having a job or a place to sleep, more than Michfest.  But I’m not going to begrudge people that are working towards changing Michfest (even though I think that’s a lost cause, given that Lisa Vogel was one of the signers of the letter to Olivia Records trying to get Sandy Stone kicked out  of OR in the 1970s).  

  124. 124
    Alex Kohler

    “The most “radical feminist” feminist I read religiously” is there an alternate way to read feminist rhetoric?
    She failed to mention that Smith is a Women’s College.
    While I agree that a trans man probably has a brain organized in a way that could be classed as female that is not what the issue is.

    When they seem to be fine accepting this student so long as she meets their entrance requirements being either born or anatomically declared a woman. I doubt they want to go to the trouble of looking at brain organization of every student.

  125. 125
    roro80

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Smith doesn’t check their incoming students’ anatomy, Alex.

  126. 126
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Smith does not check anatomy, nor ask for a letter from a shrink testifying to female identification or brain structure. Their standard is simple: does the applicant have ID dox with an “F” or not? I can say this as someone who is a graduate of that college.

    FWIW, there is a rumor (I have no idea of its truth) that there has been at least one trans woman who matriculated and graduated, but did so “stealth” – i.e. she had dox that said “F” and didn’t out herself to the admin. In all honestly, I would not be the least surprised if this rumor was true. Wong’s “crime” seems to be the fact that she outed herself to the admin as anything.

    Also, what the fuck is is this shit:

    While I agree that a trans man probably has a brain organized in a way that could be classed as female that is not what the issue is.

    Smith is very much one of those places where TPTB (i.e. the administration) is over here <—- while the student body and recent alumnae are over there —->. The former’s opinion seems to be “we are a school for people with “F” dox” and the latter’s seems to be “we are a school for people who are not cis men.” While this position does pander to the “trans men are not really men” crap, the student body also seems largely united on the topic of trans men being welcome on the dual grounds that (1) few were male-identified when they applied and matriculated (if you kick out trans men when they transition, you have to come up with guidelines for when they are transitioned “enough” to qualify, and also have to address hypotheticals like “what if he hits this point 2 weeks before graduation his senior year?”), and (2) society-at-large is an unfriendly place for trans men (not to ignore how society-at-large is also unfriendly towards trans women, of course!), and there is value in including trans men in the bubble of “here people are at least somewhat protected from cis-male supremacist culture.”

  127. 127
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Thanks Esteleth, I’m glad to see you can speak with some authority!

    As for this shit, which you also highlighted (as being shit; or at least having a fundamentally problematic mistake in it).

    While I agree that a trans man probably has a brain organized in a way that could be classed as female that is not what the issue is.

    Assuming that it’s not an innocent mistake of garbled communication and the commenter actually meant that, then it would seem to be the usual example of someone opening their mouth to put their foot in it. The assertion being made has been contradicted by some scientific studies, so it’s nothing less than a massively irrelevant red herring, and weaselly worded at that. (It seems to happens a lot on threads where trans* people get lectured to about their problems, as well as occasionally being insulted by, cis-splainers.)

  128. 128
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    FWIW, some informal polling of current Smithies and recent (i.e. < 10 years out) alumnae reveals that the general attitude is "the admin needs to grow up." There's also a bit of nuance insofar that the admin's stance is almost certainly heavily colored by how the college is very financially dependent on the largesse of alumnae, and the alumnae that have money to toss around tend to have graduated more than 20 years ago. People looking historically reported that the college’s attitude towards lesbian students suddenly “evolved” in the 1980s – right around the time the 1960s cohort started donating in large numbers and amounts.

    Also, the general consensus seems to be “trans men being at Smith is tolerable, but is much more problematic than trans women being at Smith. The latter is a non-issue, providing that Health Services is proactive about providing said women with the specific health care they need.” As regards that last cause about health care, HS already provides transition-related care to the trans men on campus, with the reason being simply “there was demand, so we met it.” So expanding to providing care to trans women shouldn’t (in theory) be that much of a hurdle.

    Caveats regarding how this was my peer group and is thus selected for “people who are friendly with and have similar views as Esteleth” duly disclosed.

  129. 129
    applebeverage

    Am I the only one who was a bit ticked off by Twisty’s third point, “A person can only be “trans” if there are rigidly enforced gender roles from which and to which one might transition. Obviously, post-revolutionary society will not be burdened by tiresome gender constructs at all; nobody will have to become anything because everyone will just be whatever they are.”? I know from one of Zinna Jones’ recent posts* (and more directly, from my own experiences) that for trans people(and also for cis people for that matter), having the wrong set of hormones or improper levels of those hormones can cause a lot of health issues, such as “feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and general discomfort”. That doesn’t have anything to do with how society feels about trans people, it’s just biology. To assume that a post-gender society will remove the need for transitioning ignores the needs of trans people, and makes transgenderism about everyone except trans people.

    *http://freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones/2013/02/do-you-have-a-gender-identity-want-to-find-out/

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