Originally published by Glosswitch at the New Statesman
To be of woman born is a universal experience, yet women themselves remain a diffuse, fractured group. “What is a woman, anyway?” is still considered a deep, meaningful question to ask. The polite answer is, of course, “whatever anyone wants it to be”. More than that would close off the vessel, seal the hole, glue back together the broken shell. There’s a sense in which women are simply not meant to be whole. We need to be in pieces so that men can survive intact.
Originally published by The Morning Star
THE concept of gender identity is being enshrined into law in several countries now, giving new legal protections to transgender people on the basis of their identities.
In the United States, the Obama administration recently signed a declaration that all public schools in the country must recognise the gender identity of their students.
Canada has recently announced new legal protections for transgender people. In Britain, there is interest growing in allowing people to legally define their own gender.
As a person on the political left and as a member of the LGBT community, I am expected to applaud these changes to legislation, but instead I am critical.
This is because the concept of gender identity is poorly defined, and the politics of transgenderism is harmful to women and girls and rooted in individualism rather than collective action.
Originally posted at Glosswatch
Jaqueline Rose recently wrote 15,000 breathless, muddled words on transness for the LRB. “Transsexual people are brilliant at telling their stories,” she declared. They are interesting, you see, unlike cis women, those dullards, unquestioning conscripts to the gender regime who see themselves as “normal” because they lack the trans person’s unique ability to inhabit a liminal space:
The ‘cis’ – i.e. non-trans – woman or man is a decoy, the outcome of multiple repressions whose unlived stories surface nightly in our dreams. From the Latin root meaning ‘on this side of’ as opposed to ‘across from’, ‘cis’ is generally conflated with normativity, implying ‘comfortable in your skin’, as if that were the beginning and end of the matter.
Who, exactly, we may therefore ask – trans or non-trans – is fooling whom? Who do you think you are? – the question anyone hostile to transsexual people should surely be asking themselves. So-called normality can be the cover for a multitude of ‘sins’.
Cis woman, as far as Rose is concerned, restricts herself to a surface-only existence. She is Woolf’s looking glass, now providing an outline to be filled with someone else’s deep, meaningful knowledge of what it is to truly live as neither one thing nor another. The patriarchal insistence that women do not have souls gets an update; cis woman does not know her own soul, but that is her fault. She condemns herself to inauthenticity through her own lack of curiosity, content to remain tits and ass, “the cover for a multitude of ‘sins’.”
Originally posted at The Perfect Birth
If you think the fact that some women will never have children, have never menstruated, no longer menstruate, have had their uterus or breasts removed, etc., proves that males can also be women, you’re a sexist.
Please examine that misogyny as you don’t think much of women. Women are more than their biology, but not less.
Being a woman is not being a not-man. Womanhood is not defined as the absence of total masculinity. Woman is not something you can define only in relation to seemingly not amounting to man. Womanhood would never be revoked by an absence of those individual biological things, and absence of those things in others is not confirmation of who can or can not claim womanhood. “Woman” is not some dumping ground category to include men who don’t conform to rigid gender standards. If this were true, 90% of the world would be “woman”. Woman is not an afterthought. Woman is not second place.
Originally posted at The Idge of Reason
Appropriating the language of feminism for misogyny is a problem. That is not about denying trans women anything. Trans women need the discussion of structural inequality that they face part of. Feminism is not about controlling the worlds women so they have to concentrate on managing your identity instead of the lives they face because of structural inequality imposed on them for being women. Women did not choose the things attributed to our gender, even if you value them. They are not an innate part of womanhood. If your identity is so fragile you need women to manage it for you, that is about you, not them. There is no female brain that meant women wanted to be subservient for years. There is the responsibilities that still fall disproportionately to women, there is economic inequality rooted in this, there is the reason feminism existed in the first place. Which has not gone away.
Originally posted at Echidne of the Snakes
We are told that the category “non-male” is to be used for Green Party candidate selection. The quote does not tell us if candidate selection is related to the numbers of individuals in that group who are female, non-binary or gender-queer, or if all those sub-groups are deemed to be of equal size. Or if, perhaps, one half will be reserved for the category “male” and one half is to be split between everybody else in the category “non-male.”
Originally posted at Glosswatch
The problem for the feminist – and for women in general – is not with femininity per se. It is not that taken individually, so-called “masculine” characteristics are in any way better or more useful than “feminine” ones. It is that femininity functions within a system that places women and men under very different social pressures, the primary aim of which is “to ensure that women should be in the power and service of men”.
This is basic feminism. It makes no judgment on what individual men and women are “really” like, rather it points out that the idea of inherent differences between men and women has been used to facilitate male people’s oppression of female people. As Richards puts it, “much of what is believed about women stems from what is wanted of women” (submission, chastity, unpaid reproductive, emotional and domestic work).
Fast-forward 36 years and it seems we’ve forgotten the basics. It’s not that we no longer use gender to extract resources and labour from one class of people for the benefit of another. Men still own the vast majority of the world’s material resources. Women still struggle for safety, visibility, education, reproductive autonomy, freedom from abuse. But for some reason we’ve stopped bothering to analyse gender as a social hierarchy. Perhaps it got too hard, or maybe it just got boring. Either way, these days it’s every woman – or non-man – for her/theirself.
Originally posted at Glosswatch
For a long time I have felt a parallel can be made between eating disorders and gender confirmation surgery as forms of self-harming body modification. It’s not a comparison I make lightly, just for the hell of it. Indeed, every time I’ve made it, I’ve had to put up with the ritual public Shaming of the TERF, alongside the trivialisation of a condition which led to several long-term hospitalisations against the “realness” of true gender dysphoria. It’s been suggested to me that anorexia is an attempt to “express your feels” as opposed to the real suffering of “having a skin that metaphorically itches all the time” (as if anyone who’s ever had anorexia would not understand that!). A piece I wrote about the inappropriateness of positioning female body hatred within the context of “cis-ness” got me to Level 2 on the Blockbot. According to the official narrative, anorexia is at best mental illness, at worst vanity; transness, on the other hand, is politically radical, unquestionably authentic and quite incomprehensible to “the cis”.
A woman who starves puberty into remission is sick, so sick you can section her, decree her officially incapable of knowing what her own body needs. One who drugs puberty into remission is not sick; she is, on the contrary, a mystic emissary from Planet Gender. Her – his, their – word is law. A woman who, like me, tries to kill herself because no amount of starvation will make her breasts fully disappear is considered mad. One who merely threatens to kill herself should no surgeon be willing to slice off her breasts for her – well, that person is merely a victim of medical gatekeeping.
Why is this?
Originally posted on YouTube
Originally posted at sian and crooked rib
So someone tweeted this blogpost from The F Word yesterday about the need for gender-neutral toilets. The article made some good points about the need for more gender-neutral toilet provision – for example to help out parents with opposite sex children, people caring for a member of the opposite sex, and also for trans or non-binary people who are concerned about being misgendered and the violence that can follow this. To me, this is where the debate about gender-neutral loos is surely meant to be sitting – there simply isn’t enough public toilet provision anyway, and we need to increase that provision to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
And then I read this paragraph:
The shelter, relative privacy and access to running water that public toilets provide have made them useful places to have sex when folks have nowhere else to do it, but they don’t particularly lend themselves to sexual assault. In the Ladies, women remain fully-dressed outside locked cubicles. These are rooms where people may walk in at any time. Currently, there’s nothing stopping men entering the Ladies (and indeed, the laws proposed in the US would force trans men to do so) but these aren’t common locations for sexual violence; outside of horror movies, ongoing drug deals and norovirus epidemics, public toilets are pretty safe.
The paragraph has now been removed from the article, after an exchange on Twitter where the editor apologised to me. I really appreciate the apology and the acknowledgement that this paragraph could result in upset and hurt. However, I started this post so I’ll finish, as the article isn’t the only place I’ve seen this dismissal…
What I want to address is the sweeping statement that women’s loos ‘don’t lend themselves to sexual assault.’
Because that, quite frankly, is bullshit.