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Dec 15 2006

Any excuse to denigrate lipstick

Some hospital psychologists understand the maintenance of feminine beauty practices to signify “mental health” and enforce makeovers for women they consider recalcitrant. Resistance by women to these practices is seen as a symptom of ill health. Thus Michael Pertschuk says that the first thing medical students are taught is to observe the patient: “How is he dressed? Hair neat? Hands clean? If the patient is a woman, is she wearing makeup? How well is it applied? Has she attended to her hair and nails?”

How come I quote from Sheila Jeffreys Beauty and Misogyny?

Well, it’s like this.

Normally, unless the blogger is 14, I just can’t get behind these chain-letter blog “meme” things where you have to list 1000 things about yourself as though it were some meaningful excercise in self-discovery and then “tag” 47 other people to do the same; blogs are dorky and self-indulgent enough as it is.

But, I just saw one (at SecondWaver, who has the good taste to link to I Blame The Patriarchy in her sidebar) which enjoins the would-be memist to pick up the nearest book, train the eye on page 123, and reproduce without permission the sixth through eighth sentences.

This exercise was irresistible to me, once a survey of my desk revealed that I would be quoting not from the Logic Pro 7 reference manual (it was 2 centimeters further away) but an author who wants the UN to recognize feminine beauty practices — yup, including lipstick — alongside FGM and honor killing as harmful cultural practices that stand in violation of human rights.

267 comments

16 pings

  1. Sylvanite

    I’d be doomed. Clearly I’m terribly mentally unhealthy, for I do not generally wear makeup, and would also put up a fight if someone tried to make me wear it against my will. While hospitalized, no less.

    I guess we simply can’t ever be allowed to look unglamorous, not even while we’re receiving shock treatments at psychiatric facilities.

  2. Pony

    Yup. And if you’re an *older* woman, you dam well better tow it: lipstick, hair styled, smiling, perky, and wearing your good coat, not the everyday one, or you’ll find yourself being signed up for Meals on Wheels, and an occupational therapist calling to make an appt to access you for the nursing home. They won’t mention that to you, though. But your niece will think to ask why they want to know {that} when they call your next of kin. She will say fuck you and stuff like that.

  3. amananta

    I really have to get some of her books.

    Yes, Sylvanite, if, as a woman, you don’t wear makeup and style your hair every day, it is a sign of poor mental health because you are Not Taking Care of Yourself. All mentally healthy women want to look like Barbie dolls. Men? All they have to do is shower occasionally.

  4. Pony

    Somewhat off topic: She (and I) didn’t win the next battle either. Before I knew about it, they had told her that her companion was to move out. He hadn’t been there more than the winter, and it really was probably just Christian charity (because I couldn’t do anything about that, either) but the town house complex (a family foundation run effort) didn’t want “any of that.” She was 79. So my aunt lived alone until she died some years later.

  5. Sandinista

    While that is great and all, I just can’t get past Jeffreys’ misguided and backwards view of transpeople.

  6. Pony

    While I’m on a roll here (and have finally finished the liquor filled chocolates) I’ll tell you another Aunty story. I found out she was becoming so incontinent she couldn’t walk down the hall without losing it. So I encouraged herto see her doctor, who was about 96 but she wouldn’t change. He told her (a single woman all her life) her vagina hadn’t had enough exercise. This was not in 1940. It was 2000.

  7. Pony

    I had to return that particular book to the library before I finished it. I love librarians. They got it all the way from a Montreal library for me.

  8. octogalore

    Linking beauty practices to mental health, and enforcing makeovers, is ridiculous. But enforcing against beauty practices such as lipstick, and putting it in the same category as FGM, seems ridiculous too. It’s temporary and almost always self-applied. Jeffreys is severely minimizing the critical nature of FGM and honor killing by lumping in lipstick here. What’s next, shampoo? Barrettes? I think I’m missing the charm here.

  9. amananta

    Pony – how droll of him! Any doctor who actually knows anything about women’s naughty bits knows childbirth – a result of sex had by married women (since he seems to believe single women OOPS I mean ladies don’t have sex) is a major factor in women becoming incontinent later in life, since pregnancy and childbirth stretch out all those muscles.
    Oh, but I forgot – having babies is good for women. Silly me.

  10. Pony

    I know this was all somehow connected to her being an evangelical Christian. You see, she really *knew* she and other women had sinned by being women, and she spent her whole life praying and tithing and genuflecting for that. She was easy prey for assholes like that, and her minister. I better go get more liquor filled chocolates.

  11. scratchy888

    Well I cut my own hair recently, so I’m sure I look a little less like the patriarchal ideal than usual. Indeed, I am certain that this was behind a recent rejection of partnership in a martial arts class recently, wherein some boy cried shrilly, “Get away from me, you are a psycho.” Either that, or he was afraid I might beat him up. Actually, the third possiblity is that he was mildly concerned that practicing take-downs would damage my knees, thus calling forth my powers of Blame. On a more positive note, I do believe that my hairstyle now looks much, much more like this: http://home.iprimus.com.au/scratchy888/hat.jpg than like the hairstyle of the strange woman on this site, whom I thought I might have coem to ressemble earlier.

  12. Jodie

    No one in our psych unit gets makeovers. No one would have TIME to give them makeovers. Not only that, but the hospital probably couldn’t bill insurance for it.

  13. al

    While that is great and all, I just can’t get past Jeffreys’ misguided and backwards view of transpeople.

    Well, there are some transwomen activists who have pretty “backwards” views on radical feminists, too. Cuts both ways.

    Jeffreys has done (or tried to do) a whole shitload for women’s human rights, and while I certainly don’t agree with some of her more, ah, interesting positions (tattoos and piercings = misogyny?? Yikes), I totally respect how committed she is to fighting sexual exploitation and all the work she’s done.

    She hardly gets any good reviews in the Lefty press, either. People say it’s cuz of the extremity of her positions. I think it’s cuz of her rejection of all beauty rituals and the fact that she refuses to indulge left-wing men in their “good liberal” delusions. It’s what I like most about her.

  14. JR

    octo -

    I don’t think anyone’s idea is that lipstick is as bad as FGM or honor killing. That would be morally obtuse; _equating_ these things is not the point. The point, as I understand it, is to recognize: (a) that lipstick and beauty rituals (and to put a fine point on it, the idea that women are ugly without adornment!) is part of patriarchy, and (b) that this patriarchy violates our human rights. Thus, the enforcement of all these beauty rituals violates our human rights.

    It would be nice to have a world someday where makeup wasn’t a demand enforced on women [legally or socially] — indeed, where makeup wasn’t identified with femininity at all. Then people with whatever genitalia could wear it or (probably more often) not wear it, as we freely wished.

    But in the mean time, in our world, you have women like Darlene Jesperson, who are punished (in her case, by being fired from her job) for refusing to doll herself up in conformance with patriarchal rules about makeup.
    http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/cases/record?record=191

  15. Crisoi

    My husband is a practicing psychiatrist and among the bits he tells me about his practice is that he NEVER judges how people dress–they can wear a court jester costume with a crinoline on top, a top hat, and clown shoes, for all he cares. It’s not his job to evaluate how people dress. People’s clothes enter the realm of psychiatry when there is something obviously bizarre or foul about them–e.g., entirely covered in feces, or something of that magnitude. Then, he can pronounce that they MAY be indicative of something else–and only then.

    Of course, he’s also an entitled member of the patriarchy and has a long way to go in that regard, but otherwise I’m pleased that his psychiatric practices seem to be much less ensconced in patriarchy than psychiatry as a whole, indeed, is.

  16. octogalore

    JR, I think we agree on much of this. However, I don’t think it’s helpful, whether or not one’s equating them, to categorize lipstick with FGM or honor killing, at all, end of story. Certainly, *enforcing* beauty rituals is patriarchal, and violates human rights. However, *existence* of lipstick and other beauty aids does not violate human rights. That kind of extension leads to a slippery slope that can undermine the important issues here.

    The Jesperson decision came out the wrong way, and I hope the next plaintiff will learn from what went wrong in that one. The court in Jesperson did make clear than an employer “may not adopt standards that impose a greater burden on one sex than the other.” But while Jesperson’s attorneys contended that the makeup requirement imposed various burdens in money and time, they didn’t put any evidence in the record in support of this contention aside from academic literature. The court made clear that if Jespersen had shown that for female bartenders, it would be much more time-intensive and costly to meet the makeup, pantyhose, etc. requirements than the requirements for men, which were basically to keep their nails and hair short, the decision would have been different. I would think it would have been fairly straightforward to estimate the cost of makeup, hose, and haircare products a typical female bartender would use in a year, compare that to the haircare and nailcare for a typical male bartender, and bingo. I’m not sure why her attorneys didn’t do this, but I would hope it will happen the next time this issue comes up.

  17. Pony

    I’m sure your husband the psychiatrist makes no note of this on the patient’s evaluation chart, or regarding the diagnosis (Mr. Napolean extended his hand to me today, the one he usually keeps tucked in his naval uniform). Etc. But what would I know, I’ve never been a psychiatrist, a patient of one, nor can I claim credence for my comment by saying a member of the patriarchy said it.

  18. JR

    octo -

    The question is where ‘enforcement’ happens. You and I agree that it’s wrong when an employer enforces a lipstick-and-face-paint regime on its female employees. But what about when it’s not an employer laying down the law, so to speak? I said ‘legally or socially’ enforced, and I think that might be where we disagree. If nobody gets fired, but women who don’t conform to beauty rituals are insulted, dismissed, ignored, or otherwise treated differently by other private citizens, co-workers, or [non-firing] employers for that matter, on account of not wearing the requisite femme drag, then would you agree that that’s ‘enforcement’ too? (And frankly, a more pervasive form of enforcement than the job-losing kind?) I’m not objecting to the “*existence*” of lipstick here — the objection is to patriarchy that makes lipstick an aspect of femininity.

    As to Jesperson v. Harrah’s, you’re right that that’s what the court _said_ (i.e. that they would strike down grooming requirements that really had a disparate impact on one gender, but that the makeup rules here didn’t qualify without more evidence). But it’s not what the court _did_. Conservative/Libertarian Judge Alex Kozinski’s dissent in this case says all you we to know about the disparate impact of grooming policies, frankly:

    I find it perfectly clear that Harrah’s overall grooming policy is substantially more burdensome for women than for men. Every requirement that forces men to spend time or money on their appearance has a corresponding requirement that is as, or more, burdensome for women: short hair v. “teased, curled, or styled” hair; clean trimmed nails v. nail length and color requirements; black leather shoes v. black leather shoes. The requirement that women spend time and money applying full facial makeup has no corresponding requirement for men, making the “overall policy” more burdensome for the former than for the latter. The only question is how much.

    It is true that Jespersen failed to present evidence about what it costs to buy makeup and how long it takes to apply it. But is there any doubt that putting on makeup costs money
    and takes time? Harrah’s policy requires women to apply face powder, blush, mascara and lipstick. You don’t need an expert witness to figure out that such items don’t grow on trees.

    . . . .

    Alternatively, Jespersen did introduce evidence that she finds it burdensome to wear makeup because doing so is inconsistent with her self-image and interferes with her job performance. My colleagues dismiss this evidence, apparently on the ground that wearing makeup does not, as a matter of law, constitute a substantial burden. This presupposes that Jespersen is unreasonable or idiosyncratic in her discomfort. Why so? Whether to wear cosmetics—literally, the face one presents to the world—is an intensely personal choice. Makeup, moreover, touches delicate parts of the anatomy—the lips, the eyes, the cheeks—and can cause serious discomfort, sometimes even allergic reactions, for someone unaccustomed to wearing it. If you are used to wearing makeup—as most American women are—this may seem like no big deal. But those of us not used to wearing makeup would find a requirement that we do so highly intrusive. Imagine, for example, a rule that all judges wear face powder, blush, mascara and lipstick while on the bench. Like Jespersen, I would find such a regime burdensome and demeaning; it would interfere with my job performance. I suspect many of my colleagues would feel the same way.

    Everyone accepts this as a reasonable reaction from a man, but why should it be different for a woman? It is not because of anatomical differences, such as a requirement that women wear bathing suits that cover their breasts. Women’s faces, just like those of men, can be perfectly presentable without makeup; it is a cultural artifact that most women raised in the United States learn to put on—and presumably enjoy wearing—cosmetics. But cultural norms change; not so long ago a man wearing an earring was a gypsy, a pirate or an oddity. Today, a man wearing body piercing jewelry is hardly noticed. So, too, a large (and perhaps growing) number of women choose to present themselves to the world without makeup. I see no justification for forcing them to conform to Harrah’s quaint notion of what a “real woman” looks like.

    Nor do I think it appropriate for a court to dismiss a woman’s testimony that she finds wearing makeup degrading and intrusive, as Jespersen clearly does. Not only do we have her sworn statement to that effect, but there can be no doubt about her sincerity or the intensity of her feelings: She quit her job—a job she performed well for two decades—rather than put on the makeup. That is a choice her male colleagues were not forced to make. To me, this states a case of disparate burden, and I would let a jury decide whether an employer can force a woman to make this choice.

    – from Kozinski’s dissent in Jesperson v. Harrah’s.
    See PDF here:
    http://tinyurl.com/l88tq

  19. Jezebella

    personal anecdote: at 22, I moved to Austin, Texas and quickly realized that no one would bat a lash if I quit wearing makeup and shaving my legs, it being all hippie-like there. I went home to visit shortly thereafter and after a few days, my mother sat me down for a very concerned “intervention”: she was convinced I was deeply depressed, perhaps even suicidal, and her only evidence for this was my “lack of attention to grooming.” Because my legs were hairy and my face unpainted. Seriously. She thought I was ready to jump off a bridge.

    At the time it just annoyed me. Today it makes me sad that my mother was so distressed. She’d seen me through my punkrock-new wave-goth girl 80s transformations and none of those disturbed her nearly as much as that one.

  20. Jezebella

    and PS: my nearest book is Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which has no sentences in it. hm.

  21. Hawise

    I only cut my hair when I am depressed and I only wear makeup for weddings and funerals. I wonder what that psych would think of me.

    My closest book is a ancient Modern Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms- entries 7 and 8 on page 123 are:

    ferment- syn. seethe, concoct, brew, warm, chafe effervesce, rankle, fester. Ant. damp, cool, dissipate, subside, disperse, evaporate, heal.
    ferocity- (see fierceness).

  22. Panzer

    Interesting. I was wondering why my last psych report from NIMH mentioned I appeared “well-groomed”.

  23. Twisty

    Octogalore, I disagree a bunch that counting cultural pressure to wear lipstick among human rights violations in any way diminishes the amount of blame to be hurled at FGM et al. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  24. Sandinista

    A mon avis, Jeffreys is off on certain issues. These include body modification, the imperative for “political lesbianism” and trans rights. While I don’t agree with her on any of those, I would be more than willing to look past the first two. (It so happens that I don’t agree with everything Twisty says, either. Nonetheless, I all but live for this blog.) However, her attitude toward trans issues is deeply disturbing and unacceptable. I could not possibly embrace or endorse any movement hostile to transpeople. I’m tempted to say that one can’t do a whit for women’s rights if one insists on being arbitrarily exclusionary. That may be hasty. At the very least, anything she has accomplished or will accomplish is tainted and reduced by her prejudice.

    Refusing to indulge men’s delusions is absolutely righteous, I’ll grant you. However, following such an act by indulging one’s own is quite disappointing.

    Well, there are some transwomen activists who have pretty “backwards” views on radical feminists, too. Cuts both ways.

    That’s irrelevant and offensive in its implications. Just as Jeffreys’ views don’t discredit women or radical feminists simply by virtue of her inclusion in either category, the views of individual transwomen do not justify prejudice against transpeople. With all due respect, I find that concept pretty basic.

  25. scratchy888

    He only drank on Fridays and Saturdays. He got married the day he killed himself.

    I see myself siting on his bed, this creaking fourposter. on the wall facing me is a poster.

    Only the 6th to 8th sentences?!

  26. gennimcmahon

    There is also the point to be made that the medical profession as a whole tends to dispense care of a lower quality to those women who do not adhere to the culturally required beauty regimine(s). At the point where this intersects with mental illness, the result is such that medical “care” is largely non-existent. I have an Aunt who is entirely nuts, and whose appearance reflects the condition of her mind. Yet, she is a human being and deserving of a level of care marked by compassion and excellence. We have, as she has aged, witnessed numerous health care professionals refuse to to follow up on her care, try to dissuade her from pursuing certain treatment options, and even flat out lying to her. While anecdotal, we draw the conclusion that in the eyes of the medical professions, she isn’t feminine enough to warrant compassionate or competent treatment. In that sense, then, lipstick (as a symbol of what is deemed feminine) is a rather powerful item.

  27. octogalore

    JR – I too believe lipstick or other make-up wearing should not be either legally nor socially enforced. However, that’s not what the post stated that Jeffreys was advocating. It said: “an author who wants the UN to recognize feminine beauty practices — yup, including lipstick — alongside FGM and honor killing as harmful cultural practices”. This struck me as placing the *wearing* or *existence* of lipstick, rather than the *mandated wearing* of lipstick, in a category alongside FGM. That’s rather broad. Sure, some wearing of lipstick reflects unhappy acquiescence to an unfair standard. Others may enjoy this fairly quick act as a fun way to match a new sweater. Trying to convince the latter group that they are unknowingly in the sway of an overarching patriarcy, while surely true in some instances, strikes me as wasteful of time and energy better spent elsewhere.

    On the Harrah’s case, obviously the court wasn’t trying as hard as it could have to do the fairly easy math involved, but my point was simply that they opened the door to be hand fed this information the next time around and reach a different and better conclusion.

    Twisty – I agree in theory, there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and cultural appearance mandates deserve their share — of blame. Not placement in a legal document alongside FGM. In an official document, once a list of offenses starts looking like a laundry list, it inevitably gets taken a lot less seriously. Something as loosely worded and impossibly enforced as “cultural pressure to wear lipstick” shouldn’t be in the same category as FGM. In the real world, how would the UN do anything sensible to prevent such cultural pressure?

  28. scratchy888

    There is also the point to be made that the medical profession as a whole tends to dispense care of a lower quality to those women who do not adhere to the culturally required beauty regimine(s).

    That is very …stingjay (as my Korean ESL students have been known to say). After I cut my hair into a Spartan helmet shape, I was a little concerned about how the opthamologist would receive me, but he was really positive and even compelled me to have an additional eye-exray for his own academic analyses, and to test out a new camera. Afterwards, he applauded my eyeballs as “Very good, normal and healthy.”

  29. JR

    Can you have a “cultural practice” that is in no way “socially enforced”? (If it wasn’t in some way socially enforced, would it be a cultural practice at all? How would anyone know about it?) If a tree falls in the forest…

    I don’t want go on endlessly, but it seems to me that it’s pretty serious and nonwasteful of time and energy, in general, to convince people that actions that seem harmless and “quick” and that make them “happy” and so on can actually be part of a larger “cultural practice” that is “harmful.” I think a lot of feminism involves learning to see things like that as they are: NOT just individual happy choices based on our natural preferences that fell from the sky, but also as “cultural practices” of gender, which almost inherently involve things like norms and pressure to conform and so on, even if we don’t see these pressures at first. That frame shift is a big one. It’s takes a lot of energy because it causes lots of cognitive dissonance to see things that once felt natural and good and not-a-big-deal as tiny facets of huge international human rights problem! But once you break through that, a lot of things become a lot clearer…

    So anyway, I’m not going to stake anything on whether or not this particular UN list is actually achieving this goal of convincing people “that they are unknowingly in the sway of an overarching patriarcy.” Maybe you’re right that the UN isn’t doing the job.

    But I know this blog is doing the job! That’s why I love it.

  30. thelmyc

    Can you have a “cultural practice” that is in no way “socially enforced”?

    I think it matters how many other socially acceptable alternatives there are to it. For example, lipstick is socially enforced by peach vs. pink is not so much.

    Lipstick is socially enforced, but wearing bracelets specifically (as opposed to earrings or rings) is not.

    It depends on what other alternatives there are, and whether or not negative stereotypes exist of people who don’t do it. Otherwise, it’s just like drinking Coke vs. Pepsi.

  31. Spinning Liz

    When I was small in the early 1960s, my mother did volunteer work for an organization called “Vanity Is Sanity” that went into psych wards to do makeovers on female patients. Participation wasn’t mandatory, but women who did participate got some kind of tokens they could use to buy cigarettes and toiletries. Nobody seemed to care what the male patients looked like.

    I obtain complete copies of my medical records on a regular basis, and I’ve noticed that at every clinic visit and chemo session, a notation is made about my appearance. They seem particularly obsessed with my head gear, or lack thereof. “Pt does NOT wear wig,” “Pt wore hat today” etc. I guess it’s more cost effective to keep track of my cranial coverings than to do something hi-fallutin like, oh, maybe a PET scan.

  32. al

    With all due respect, I find that concept pretty basic.

    With all due respect, I think you’ve misread me and don’t appreciate being patronised.

    That’s irrelevant and offensive in its implications.

    It would be, if I’d ever said that the views of individuals should be taken to represent the views of a group, which I didn’t. My point was that in radfem vs. trans activist squabbles over women-only space and other such issues, radical feminists aren’t entirely to blame, and that if rad fems are capable of regressive ideas, so are some trans activists. I don’t see what’s so offensive about that.

  33. CafeSiren

    I know that the following post is missing Twisty’s point, but: the nearest book on my desk is a copy of “Scrambled Eggs Super” by Dr. Suess. No page 123 there. How sad.

  34. Kim

    If my shrink suggests in-patient therapy due to my cut to the quick fingernails perpetually sans polish, I’ll take her to the barn and see how she manages to saddle & groom a horse with long, manicured fingernails. I’ll stick around for her own grooming later to see how she gets all that dirt and possibly horse poo out from under her long fingernails.

    My only gripe with lipstick, however, is the way it sucks moisture out my lips faster than I sucked down that large pizza almost entirely by myself last night. Which would explain why I slept for shit and am up leaving comments at 4:16 AM.

  35. Edith

    scratchy888, I just cut my own hair too. Rock on.

    Also, I agree with everything Jeffreys says. My only complaint is that she doesn’t take it far enough. I’m serious.

  36. CannibalFemme

    My apologies if this is OT, but it’s related to the trans-activist angle that some folks are discussing, and I’m asking because I’m not an academic, and therefore largely ignorant of the latest developments in theory, as well as a bunch of other stuff.

    Where I live, it seems like there’s been a major shift over the past three years or so, a mainstreaming trend within the trans community which has surprised and saddened me. Of all the transfolk of my personal acquaintance, there’s now only one FTM and one MTF who continue to identify as ‘queer’; everyone else is overtly pursuing assimilation and passing within the het community. My genderqueer acquaintances don’t appear to be trending that way, but my trans friends sure are.

    So my question–yes, finally, there’s a question–is: does anyone know if this is a widespread trend within the trans community overall? Because one of the side effects I’m dealing with here is a pretty intense wave of post-transition misogyny, and really, none of my ‘normal’ responses are appropriate for this situation.

  37. Violet

    Contrary to the myopic beliefs of the male dominated psychiatric establishment, women who strictly adhere to society’s increasingly demanding standards of beauty are signalling their emotional distress, rather than providing evidence of their mental well-being. Scratch the surface of any bleached, botoxed, nipped, tucked, perfumed, shaved, waxed, exfoliated, tanned, toned, pedicured woman and you’ll likely find a terrorized, insecure, self-loathing, nervous wreck who fears the loss of patriarchal approval will render her identity null and void. Meg Ryan, Courtney Love, Teri Hatcher et al are terrifying reminders that women who seek out cosmetic solutions as a balm for their depression usually end up wearing their inner demons on their faces.

  38. Sandinista

    al:

    My apologies, no condescension intended.

    if I’d ever said that the views of individuals should be taken to represent the views of a group, which I didn’t. My point was that in radfem vs. trans activist squabbles over women-only space and other such issues, radical feminists aren’t entirely to blame, and that if rad fems are capable of regressive ideas, so are some trans activists. I don’t see what’s so offensive about that.

    Well, what’s offensive about that is that neither I nor anyone else had brought up radfem vs. trans activist squabbles. I’d made a specific criticism of Jeffreys’ anti-trans views. By way of response, you cited 1) the shortcomings of transfolk, 2) Jeffreys’ contributions to radfem and 3) the stupidity of her mainstream detractors. None of that is the least bit relevant to Jeffreys’ anti-trans prejudice. Instead of acknowledging the problem, your reaction was to apologize for her. Pointing out the faults of the marginalized group in the course of trying to rhetorically neutralize prejudice amounts to a justification. The implication is that, because transpeople are not uniformly model radfems, prejudice against them becomes more acceptable.

    Jeffreys’ views, by the by, are not the stuff of an activist squabble. She is anti-trans not anti-transactivist. This is not a disagreement. This is a prejudice.

    CannibalFemme:

    Generally, I would assume that people are driven to blend in by survival instinct, as Twisty has said. I think, though, that it’s hard to get a sense of transpeople “as a whole,” what with society not even aware enough of them to stabilize a healthy knee-jerk loathing. I’m not the best person to ask, though, because I’m not as enlightened about trans issues as I ought to be.

  39. CannibalFemme

    Violet: “terrifying reminders that women who seek out cosmetic solutions as a balm for their depression usually end up wearing their inner demons on their faces.”

    Excellent. Beautifully said. This calls for my ‘I Was A Mary Kay Tester Bunny In My Last Life’ t-shirt.

    Sandinista: thanks for your input. I do get the survival instinct thing, although this particular manifestation of it does depress me all to hell. When I’ve asked my trans friends about it, almost every one of them has responded along the lines of “this feels like the logical conclusion to my transition”, and I wondered if that dynamic was geo-specific, or not.

    On the meme: Cool. I’ll play. “To the victor went the spoils–that was the way of the world. But Black Americans are a *whole new animal*–we are unique in the history of the world. Our situation is not comparable to what happened in the West Indies, in Africa or in South Africa.” [--Interview with Wanda Coleman in Angry Women]

    I’m so lucky I was reference-hunting this morning. That was very nearly three sentences’ worth of extremely silly fanfic.

  40. Cass

    During my own stay in a psych ward as a teenager, no one ever pressured me to don make-up; on the other hand I didn’t get to wear pajamas all day, as I’d kind of hoped.

    And I’m very much of the school of thought that that U.N. should be tackling the issues of wartime rape and acid-blinding before moving on to lipstick and high heels. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be totally averse to a law forcing grotesquely painted-up ladies of the former Confederacy into deprogramming sessions.

  41. octogalore

    JR – I’m not disagreeing with you on the theory, but on the practice. Whether or not beauty practices are socially enforced, because the individual instance cannot be proven to be harmful, it shouldn’t be classed with FGM as a practical matter if one wants the appropriate attention to be taken to combat FGM. Whether it appears in some non-official document outlining a vision statement or not, any attempted enforcement against beauty practices isn’t going to fly. Combating the underlying reasons they exist is more realistic, though as you say, quite time consuming.

    One of the challenges is not sounding patriarchal when doing this. You say “[beauty practices] can actually be part of a larger ‘cultural practice’ that is ‘harmful.’” “Can be” is the right way to put it, because insisting that every lipstick-wearing woman undergo a “frame shift” to convince them this is harmful is patronizing. While surely in some cases such a “frame shift” would result in a realization that would ultimately better an individual’s life, it wouldn’t be universal. Do drag queens have fun with lipstick because it’s dictated by the patriarchy? Even if they are mimicking the patriarchy, they’re enjoying the adornment. Something tells me many women would find lipstick whether or not the men in our world cared about it, and would resent the somewhat patriarchal implication that we’re simply resisting the “energy” it would take to “break through” our harmful ways.

  42. vera

    Page 123, sentences 6-8: “Add Spanish Mediterranean architecture and rose gardens to these lawns, and it is easy to understand why the Scripps campus is a National Historic Landmark. Students feel extremely safe on the Scripps campus. It is a quiet and closed community in which students ‘never feel endangered.’” The 2006 Insider’s Guide to Colleges is the only book on my tiny desk right now. What’s remarkable is that page 123 (of a 1000 page book) is all about the college that one of my daughters attends. I expected three sentences about some random state university or a UC. Time for the Twilight Zone music.

    I hate lipstick. Does everyone know how it works? Typical lipstick is acidic because in order to get the color to stay on the lips, the lip skin must be burned a little. That’s why frequently belipsticked lips feel dry. They may even peel. Lovely dry, peeling lips.

  43. Kim

    “Something tells me many women would find lipstick whether or not the men in our world cared about it, and would resent the somewhat patriarchal implication that we’re simply resisting the “energy” it would take to “break through” our harmful ways.”

    Well said, Octo.

    Here we go again.

    Violet, I resent the hell out of your comment.
    I resent that armchair psych stuff and I resent you equating “toned and perfumed” with “nipped and botoxed.” I understand you’re laundry listing, but let’s not equate some DIVINE Jean Nate with botulism, ey?

    What if I were to say: “Women who are morbidly/obese are signaling their emotional distress. Scratch the surface of any very large woman and you’ll likely find a terrorized, insecure, self-loathing, nervous wreck who fears the loss of patriarchal approval will render her identity null and void and thus has learned to turned to food for comfort. And of course, her inner demons shows on her body.”

    I don’t believe all of that, please note.
    I dislike me some FGM as well as the next gal.
    I don’t think plastic surgery is a great idea for myself.
    I hate the media’s refusal to portray healthy-sized women — or even average looking folks in general.

    But making generalizations about a woman’s psychiatric makeup due her appearance are unpolite, often incorrect, offensive and frankly no one’s business but hers.

  44. Edith

    Kim, I kinda thought Violet wasn’t blaming women for their psychiatric makeup (pun unintended) that might be implied by the whole adhering to the rules of patriarchal lookism, but rather, the state of their compliance with the patriarchy. I think what was meant was more, if you take that state away, or rather, if a woman who is invested in looking the way the patriarchy wants you to look suddenly finds that she DOES NOT MEASURE UP to the standard that she has become accustomed, then maybe that will make her a nervous, insecure wreck.

    In other words, blame the p.

  45. octogalore

    Thanks much, Kim.

    Edith – the point I am making and that I think Kim is making is that generalizations about why lipstick is worn, or why a woman’s appearance conforms with a standard endorsed by the patriarchy, are not useful and actually insulting on an individual basis. Maybe “adhering to the rules of patriarchal lookism” *sometimes* “implies” something about someone’s psychiatric makeup, but it’s really impossible to know in each instance and it’s insulting to pretend to do so.

    Let’s say, as you suggest, Violet had meant “if a woman who is invested in looking the way the patriarchy wants you to look suddenly finds that she DOES NOT MEASURE UP to the standard that she has become accustomed, then maybe that will make her a nervous, insecure wreck.” Not necessarily. Why assume that she’s invested in looking this way because because the patriarchy wants it? If indeed she has personal goals for fitness or even purely about appearance, that for all we know are completely compatible with health, why would any lapse in this make her a wreck any more than if, say, her professional status slipped, or her bank account took a hit? Assuming that a woman who wishes to look a certain way is a potential nervous wreck waiting to happen is condescending and, yes, patronizing – note the root of that word.

  46. Kim

    Yes, that is the point I’m making Octo (I’m liking’ you — where’s YOUR blog?), and Edith, I understand your point but my very basic point — and has been for months, I’m dead horsing myself into a frenzy here perhaps — is that sometimes women wear makeup, work out, etc. for reasons that are not due to a sense of duty to/desire to please The Patriarchy.

    “If a woman who is invested in looking the way the patriarchy wants you to look suddenly finds that she DOES NOT MEASURE UP to the standard that she has become accustomed, then maybe that will make her a nervous, insecure wreck.”

    While this MAY be true for some women, Edith, can you also see how at the same time it writes us off as weak, hysterical, hang-wringin’ little fluffs who become absolutely UNDONE when we find we aren’t “pretty?”

    Shit — even Twisty had her punk rock tutu phase.
    We could have looked at her, tsk tsked sadly and feared for the day she no longer had the youth/boobs/whatever to pull this off.
    Forgive ME for armchair psychin’ on YOU Twisty, but methinks Twisty did and would tutu it without givin’ a flip for what anyone thought.

    Look, I’m not saying a facefull of makeup and 4-inch stillettos are empowering and you’ll never get a set of — what are they called? Acrylic nails? on me. Women have done horrible things to themselves in the name of beauty, I grant this, no question.

    But until you’ve conducted a personal interview with every woman who brandishes an eyeliner, please don’t assume the reason every woman girls it up in whatever way is rooted in a desire to win male approval.

  47. Kim

    FYI: I get the bigger pic by the way. A friend recently stated that boob jobs are America’s FGM. I don’t necessarily disagree. I get that if we all took a collective stand to gain 30 pounds, eschew makeup and get as hairy as we wanna be, the beauty standard for women would change, quite possibly making us all happier and healthier.

    I get that right now, some of you might be thinking “Then do it! Do it and help us out and stop contributing to Teh Problem!”

    Nah.
    Because I’m one of those who like drama, glitz, an’ shit. I’d CleopatraKohl my eyes out to my temples and go back to black and green hair if I weren’t so gosh darned Professional. Somedays I want to be six feet tall and if heels give me that, so be it. I believe many straight men might slap on some makeup if it were accepted by society.

    Some of us just like to play with decor, be this on our walls or on our faces. If I were to change who I am for any of you or for “feminism” I’d be miserable.

  48. slashy

    Back in my gothier days, I used to get in big trouble for not taking eyeliner and mascara out with me, because my drag-king friends never carried their own and would want to fix their facial hair halfway through the night. I think I bought them all portable make-up kits of their very own for Christmas that year.

    For a small quantity of pigment-and-wax, make-up is remarkably powerful stuff. I adore it for its theatrical uses- transforming a human face into an alien one, sketching circuit-boards onto cheekbones, turning a bio femme into a queen, a skinny baby dyke into a king of bois. I’m personally looking forward to the day when people of many genders get to be as transformed or untransformed as they please, day-to-day, without patriarchal reprisal, without assumptions being made of level of compliance with patriarchal directives.

    But make-up in it’s current incarnation is clearly not a power-neutral phenomenon. There are people (as in the Jespersen case, and probably many others) who are suffering as a result of a refusal to comply with the Patrarchy’s Make-Up Rules (full face on women, not a smidge on men). I blame the patriarchy for forcing people to do things that are uncomfortable and limiting.

    On the trans-topic, I’m not sure that it is a universal thing. I know some of my trans friends get to a point where the most comfortable thing for them is integration directly into hetero society, and others who are determined to spend their lives disrupting gender norms. And some, of course, who are queer in that they are trans homos & dykes, and will remain in the queer community because of that rather than their trans experiences.

    Also: Raging misogyny from people newly experiencing life as men should be shot down as promptly as it is from people who were raised male, in my opinion. I’m really, really not into the idea that ‘successful’ FtM transition means turning into a grade-A patriarchal meathead.

  49. Violet

    Kim:

    The laundry list of “beauty” treatments I mentioned in my “offending” post are meant to be taken together as a whole, and should not be construed as an indictment of fitness, perfume or even basic grooming habits – all of which I wholeheartedly endorse (as long as the perfume isn’t some cloying, vanilla-based bug spray named after a celebrity and sold by the gallon in K-Mart). Fellow blamers, please note: this is merely a personal opinion of little relevance to the topic at hand and not an invitation to “debate” the “evils” or “virtues” of wearing perfume.

    Your point about morbidly obese women does not apply here since obesity is neither a sought out “beauty treatment” or approved by the patriarchy.

    Contrary to the persistent and willfully erroneous beliefs of some commentators here, critiquing the standards society imposes upon women is not a clarion call to pack on the pounds and staple one’s thong collection into one massive pair of boxer shorts to be worn over grease stained coveralls. Your mascara is safe. No one here is trying to pry it from your cold, dead (and well-manicured) fingers.

  50. Mandos

    Your mascara is safe. No one here is trying to pry it from your cold, dead (and well-manicured) fingers.

    I hear this a lot around here, but that isn’t the point, is it?

  51. Kim

    Righty, then.
    You win, Vi.

    For with a snarky comment like this

    “is not a clarion call to pack on the pounds and staple one’s thong collection into one massive pair of boxer shorts to be worn over grease stained coveralls. Your mascara is safe. No one here is trying to pry it from your cold, dead (and well-manicured) fingers”

    not only do I question if you really read or thought about what I wrote (Who was it that said “You’ll never get a set of — what are they called? Acrylic nails? on me?”) but here you go, gettin’ all pissy and snide on my ass, throwin’ around the “quotes,” and accusing me of fat phobia, thong-lovin’ and coverall fear. Natch, this MUST be my demographic.

    Thanks for making it clear that apparently it’s much more fun to be shitty and self-righteous than to attempt to have an intelligent conversation.
    I nearly forgot but thanks for the blog fodder.

  52. al

    the stupidity of her mainstream detractors.

    *blink* Where did I say this?

    This post, by a blogger I respect, probably best sums up how I feel on the issue.

  53. Violet

    Kim, I’d love to stay and chat, but ‘Lou’ my regular foxy boxing sparring partner doesn’t like to be kept waiting. She’s gnawing on the ropes as we speak.

  54. zz

    From page 123 sentences 6-8 of “The Breast Cancer Survivor’s Fitness Plan”:

    “After TRAM surgery, for example, it’s natural to bend forward at the waist and hip to avoid pain and tension at the broad abdominal incision where skin and muscle were taken from the belly and moved up to the chest. Over time, this can shorten the hip flexors that link legs to trunk, making it hard to straighten the legs and causing lower back pain. What’s more, such decreased flexibility prompts lasting problems with posture and balance and may interfere with daily tasks.”

    This is describing a few of the drawbacks of a certain type of breast reconstruction called a TRAM flap. I agree with whoever said that breast surgery was our form of FGM. I, most assuredly, blame the patriarchy.

  55. Mar Iguana

    From page 123 sentences 6-8 of “Misogyny, The World’s Oldest Prejudice”:

    “Or a judge may ‘come in and promise that he will be merciful, with the mental reservation that he means that he will be merciful to himself or the State; for whatever is done for the safety of the State is merciful.’ As in twentieth-century totalitarianism, things become their opposite according to the dictates of the regime. It reminds us of the nightmare world of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eight-four,’ with its dominant slogans, ‘WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH’; the authors of ‘Malleus’ might add, ‘CRUELTY IS MERCY’.”

  56. Violet

    “She’d tell him she was thinking of trying her hand at a novel, now that Kenneth was away and time hung so heavily on her hands.

    She gave her party on the last day of June. She arranged that Rhoda stay with Mrs. Forsythe across the hall; but Rhoda wanted to come in for a little while to meet her mother’s guests”.

    Pg 123, sentences 6-8 of “The Bad Seed” by William March

  57. Sandinista

    Raging misogyny from people newly experiencing life as men should be shot down as promptly as it is from people who were raised male, in my opinion. I’m really, really not into the idea that ’successful’ FtM transition means turning into a grade-A patriarchal meathead.

    Wow. Well, if transpeople are capable of misogyny, I guess Jeffreys isn’t prejudiced after all. It only follows.

    al:
    the stupidity of her mainstream detractors.

    *blink* Where did I say this?”

    “She hardly gets any good reviews in the Lefty press, either. People say it’s cuz of the extremity of her positions. I think it’s cuz of her rejection of all beauty rituals and the fact that she refuses to indulge left-wing men in their “good liberal” delusions. It’s what I like most about her.”

    the Lefty press = her mainstream detractors
    the reasons you propose for their disapproval = their stupidity

    This post, by a blogger I respect, probably best sums up how I feel on the issue.

    From said post: I don’t even think they are topics worthy enough of serious discussion to have people spend the amount of time and energy on them that they do

    I agree! What would possess someone to consider oppression and exclusions based on gender identity a topic relevant to feminism? How irrelevant.

    There is no parity between identifying with a gender and identifying with a political movement. Granted, a movement is a nebulous thing and making extensive assumptions based solely on political identification is unwise. But political identification is a moral and intellectual choice, and every movement carries with it a set of issues that an individual who elects to be a part of it must take on.
    Gender dysphoria does not should not carry such a stigma. It has no implications beyond the individual. Using the misguided convictions of individual transpeople to rationalize transphobia implies otherwise.

    More from said post: Dear transpeople – radical feminist groups that do not let MTFs into women only meetings or gatherings are not the defining issue of your oppression. I have yet to see any radical feminist say it is okay for you to be discriminated against in jobs and housing and beaten to death by roving packs of homophobic/transphobic men.

    Oh those magnanimous radfems! They don’t advocate legalized bigotry or homicidal violence or anything! “Not the defining issue of oppression”? Do you want a cookie or something? So it isn’t necessary to be accepting or, heavens forfend, supportive, so long as someone else is screwing them worse? Yea, this is exactly the movement I always pictured myself in.

    I won’t lie, I didn’t read far past that. If even those radfems who can recognize transphobia (save for their own, of course) offer transpeople this kind of welcome into the movement, is it really a wonder that they aren’t queuing to join? It’s clearly and explicitly not for them.

  58. al

    If this was the offending sentence:

    People say it’s cuz of the extremity of her positions. I think it’s cuz…

    then I wasn’t calling them stupid; merely expressing disagreement.

    But I do think it’s disingenuous that some people on the Left use her views on trans to denigrate all her work and invalidate her critiques of the sex industry. Not that her treating transpeople as abstractions rather than people isn’t a problem, but this isn’t the reason she’s attacked so viciously by most factions of the Left–it just provides a handy beating stick for ‘em. These guys are only really concerned with protecting their ‘right’ to prostitution. They could give two shits transpeople.

    Speaking of which, mtfs get prostituted in no small numbers, and I think fighting this exploitation is something that radfems/anti-prostitution feminists and trans-actvists could work together on. If they’re able to put aside their differences for long enough, that is.

  59. al

    Oh, crap. Forgot to close italics.

  60. Mar Iguana

    I’d like to take a piss in a public can knowing for a fact there are no boys in there whining “I was born in the wrong body” for fucksake, insisting I refer to him as “she.” Phobic? Hardly. Resentful that women lose yet another space of their own? You betcha big time.

  61. al

    “They could give two shits transpeople.”

    …and that should read, “They could give two shits about transpeople.”

    Fuck this, it’s way too early here.

  62. anacas

    I’d like to take a piss in a public can knowing for a fact there are no boys in there whining “I was born in the wrong body” for fucksake, insisting I refer to him as “she.” Phobic? Hardly. Resentful that women lose yet another space of their own? You betcha big time.

    Mar Iguana, that’s pretty much the DEFINITION of transphobia. I don’t even know where to begin. Refusing to be respectful of a transwoman’s gender identity by saying she’s really a “boy” and using the wrong pronouns, calling trans dysphoria “whining”… dear god. How the hell does a transwoman using the women’s bathroom hurt you? What bathroom is she supposed to use instead, since if she uses the men’s bathroom she very well could get attacked.

  63. Luckynkl

    Personally, I prefer the good old days when feminists were just called “manhaters.”

    Why is it every time women tell men to get their foot off our necks, men cry we’re manhaters and claim they’re being oppressed? “Transphobia” is the new version of this very old game. Same shit, different label.

  64. slashy

    My quote: “Raging misogyny from people newly experiencing life as men should be shot down as promptly as it is from people who were raised male, in my opinion. I’m really, really not into the idea that ’successful’ FtM transition means turning into a grade-A patriarchal meathead.”

    Sandinista’s quote: Wow. Well, if transpeople are capable of misogyny, I guess Jeffreys isn’t prejudiced after all. It only follows.

    I’m not sure if you’re implying that I agree with Jeffreys on the issue of transpeople and transphobia, because nothing could be further from the truth. I was actually responding to this statement from CanibalFemme-

    Because one of the side effects I’m dealing with here is a pretty intense wave of post-transition misogyny, and really, none of my ‘normal’ responses are appropriate for this situation.

    I’m not mentioning misogyny among transpeople as a way of invalidating their (very welcome) participation in feminist, patriarchy-blaming communities. I don’t think that transition in any way implies misogyny, I don’t think that trans women transition to ‘invade’ ‘our’ space, I think that trans people have every right to enter the spaces of their post-transition gender, and I think it is the height of rudeness to knowingly refer to someone as other than their chosen pronoun.

    What I am referring to in the paragraph at the top is a phenomenon that I have encountered in my immediate community, and it appears that CannibalFemme has also encountered, of surprising incidents of misogyny among previously gold-star patriarchy-blaming individuals, post-transition. My experience with this has occurred mostly with trans men, some of whom, in seeking out the way that they live as men, begin to act like the most sexist of the oppressors. I don’t believe that testosterone is a brain-killing bullet, I believe that these men see “manly macho-ness” as the most valid way of being male, the way that will give them the most external validation of their gender- after all, this is the kind of man that patriarchy promotes as top dog, right? Among transgendered men I know, the topic of ‘how to avoid becoming a patriarchal meathead in the process of becoming a man’ is a lively, ongoing discussion, and I really don’t think it’s transphobic, or supporting transphobia, to be able to critique oppressive presentations of masculinity & maleness. Do you?

    It sucks watching someone you love turn into someone you don’t like, and it sucks losing valuable allies in patriarchy-blaming, which is why I think it’s worthwhile combatting the myth that manly-macho-misogyny is the one true path to manhood.

  65. Pony

    Lucky, that was Friday.

  66. Luckynkl

    Fuck this, it’s way too early here.

    That’s right. It’s way too early for men to think that women have been completely conquered, assimilated and eliminated.

    How the hell does a transwoman using the women’s bathroom hurt you?

    You want to know how men can hurt women? **chuckle** You’re joking, right? Oh wait. I’m supposed to believe men in drag are women. And if you put on a werewolf mask, will you also expect me to believe you’re a werewolf?

    Well shoot, if that’s the case, if I go in drag as Napoleon, do you think France will hand their country over to me and hail me as their new leader? Can I cry I’m being discriminated against and I’m oppressed if they don’t?

    What bathroom is she supposed to use instead, since if she uses the men’s bathroom she very well could get attacked.

    OIC. And trans boys would like to maintain the position they’re use to — being the fuckers instead of the fuckees? Can’t say as I blame them. But I’m afraid their issue is with men, not with women. So take it up with men instead of demanding that women be your mommy and take care of you. I owe you nothing, boy. You’re not entitled to a damn thing from me. Get that through your thick, dense head.

  67. saltyC

    There is no way to eliminate conflict during a play date, nor should you wish to, because conflict is one of your child’s greatest teachers. When playmates under the age of two covet the same toy, most of the time all you really need to do is “sportscast”. “You both want tthe wheelbarrow. Miriam is pulling on one side and you’re pulling the other. I’m going to get a little closer to make sure you’re both safe.”

    From Trees make the Best Mobiles, by Jessica Teich and Brandel France de Bravo.

  68. Luckynkl

    How the hell does a transwoman using the women’s bathroom hurt you?

    Because any piece of shit pervert can now claim he’s a woman and enter a woman’s bathroom. What’s the harm in that? Let me count the ways.

  69. Luckynkl

    What bathroom is she supposed to use instead, since if she uses the men’s bathroom she very well could get attacked.

    Well if men can now use the women’s bathroom, wouldn’t that make the women’s bathroom just as dangerous as the men’s? Or do trans boys imagine they’d be the only man allowed in there?

    Ooops, sorry. Didn’t mean to use logic. And ruin that trans boy harem fantasy they have going on in their heads.

    Just goes to show you, you can take the male out of the man, but you can’t take the man out of the male.

  70. anacas

    CannibalFemme: That’s a really interesting question. The only study I’ve seen on how trans identities pattern in different age groups showed pretty distinctly that the number of trans folks identifying as queer is larger the younger the sample; an interesting question that I think that researcher (Brett Genny Beemyn, who is awesome) is also looking at is whether that’s a permanent change or whether those people will begin identifying as queer less as they age and go further in transition.

    I think in some ways a trend toward identifying less as trans and more as post-transition gender is inevitable for trans people who identify firmly as male or female, as people pass more and move around in the world more like cisgendered individuals. Misogyny, however, is in no way inevitable and definitely needs to get nipped in the butt in all cases… I think in many situations transguys are just so desperate to pass that they seize on anything that helps them read more as male and less as butch dyke–basically, I think a lot of guys go through a stage where they’ll do ANYTHING to keep from getting “she”ed. IMO it’s a more sympathetic but no less problematic version of patriarchal bullshit.

    I’m thinking degree of welcomeness in the queer community can also play a role; someone who’s hetero and trans might not feel so comfy in queer space once they’re more secure in a post-transition identity. I don’t think they *should* feel unwelcome, but I can see why they would (*cough*not to mention pervasive transphobia in many queer spaces*cough*).

  71. slashy

    Luckynkl, nothing you’ve said goes to show anything at all except that you are a seething mass of hatred towards trans women, requiring only a few paragraphs of disucssion to send you into a frenzy of incoherant refutation. For example, this paragraph makes no sense whatsoever, unless one assumes you are randomly spouting responses to things you imagine we might have said at some point in this discussion. It certainly bears no connection to the quote before it:

    What bathroom is she supposed to use instead, since if she uses the men’s bathroom she very well could get attacked.

    OIC. And trans boys would like to maintain the position they’re use to — being the fuckers instead of the fuckees? Can’t say as I blame them. But I’m afraid their issue is with men, not with women. So take it up with men instead of demanding that women be your mommy and take care of you. I owe you nothing, boy. You’re not entitled to a damn thing from me. Get that through your thick, dense head.

    The discussion between feminists and patriarchy-blamers about trans issues is an important one, and just because I may disagree with a position does not mean that I will dismiss the arguments. In this instance I am dismissing your arguments because they make no sense.

  72. anacas

    Luckynkl: Thankfully, your “feminism” isn’t everyone’s feminism. I’m a feminist. I dated an amazing trans lesbian for 2 years. I’m an activist for trans rights. My feminism isn’t in the business of stomping all over people who aren’t hurting anyone.

    Hint #1: The little skirted stick figure on the bathroom door doesn’t have magical powers. If a pervert wanted to go into the women’s bathroom to ogle or harass, he can still do it even if you relentlessly beat out all the transwomen who just want to pee in peace.

    Go ahead, come up with a single instance of a transwoman attacking someone in the bathroom. Hint #2: You can’t.

    Gender neutral bathrooms are the best answer for everyone; I for one am a female-bodied person who uses women’s bathrooms who doesn’t give a shit (no pun intended, oy) who’s in the stall next to me or who I run into at the sink. Segregation isn’t making anyone safer, and it’s sure as hell causing problems for a lot of people.

    I don’t think there’s any way for me to change your bullshit, simplistic binary view of things in this medium. If you’re stuck on thinking penis always = man, very little I can type will make a difference. But there’s no way you can claim any actual, concrete harm from letting transwomen use the right bathroom.

  73. Luckynkl

    Luckynkl, nothing you’ve said goes to show anything at all except that you are a seething mass of hatred towards trans women, requiring only a few paragraphs of disucssion to send you into a frenzy of incoherant refutation.

    ROFL. Reverse things much? So let me get this straight. If women say “No” to men, we’re seething masses of hatred and oppressing men? LOL. You sound like a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum.

    I’m not impressed with bullies. Run that boy shit by someone else. Nice try tho. Just no cigar.

    Luckynkl: Thankfully, your “feminism” isn’t everyone’s feminism. I’m a feminist.

    You could sit in a garage and call yourself a car. That wouldn’t make you one.

    I suggest you learn the difference between feminism, liberalism, and libertarianism. Liberalism and libertarianism applied to women aren’t different kinds of feminism.

    I dated an amazing trans lesbian for 2 years.

    And you think I need to know this because? I could care less if you dated a purple spotted cow with 3 legs for 2 years.

    Sex is static. It cannot be changed. Men cannot be frogs, they cannot be giraffes, they cannot be trees, they cannot be rocks, and they cannot be women. Get over it.

    Hint #1: The little skirted stick figure on the bathroom door doesn’t have magical powers. If a pervert wanted to go into the women’s bathroom to ogle or harass, he can still do it even if you relentlessly beat out all the transwomen who just want to pee in peace.

    Alas, in the year 2006, men still view women as their property. And men just don’t take kindly to other men infringing on their property rights. They don’t view it as being disrespectful to women. They view it as being disrespectful to them and take it personally. And that’s a real no no. If these boys catch a pervert in the bathroom with their wives, gfs, mothers, sisters, or daughters, well, it isn’t going to be pretty. And guess what they view trans as? Men as a class don’t buy into trans bullshit. Now let’s cut the crap. Trans are more likely to be killed for being in a woman’s bathroom than for being in a men’s bathroom.

    Go ahead, come up with a single instance of a transwoman attacking someone in the bathroom. Hint #2: You can’t.

    Who told you these big fibs? Actually, there are many cases of men dressing up like women and not only just attacking women, but killing them. Trans assault women regularly. Both verbally and physically. Boys will be boys, ya know. They don’t get brain transplants with SRS.

    Gender neutral bathrooms are the best answer for everyone; I for one am a female-bodied person who uses women’s bathrooms who doesn’t give a shit (no pun intended, oy) who’s in the stall next to me or who I run into at the sink.

    Well there’s certainly no law against stupidity. But that’s your problem. Don’t make it mine.

  74. justtesting

    Amanatas post (linked above) is well worth reading. Lots worth quoting, here’s a sample:

    “Transwomen – if you are serious about transitioning and serious about feeling like a woman, you have to stop insisting that female fear of men is sexist or unreasonable. Every time you do this it just proves the point of why women do need some women born women only space – so they don’t have to deal with you, as a newcomer to living as a woman, to tell us how we are doing it all wrong…You can be as unhappy about that as you like – trust me, I am unhappy about it too – but until the epidemic of male violence against women ends, this is how it is going to be. You cannot blame feminists for this – they did not invent an irrational prejudice against men as violent rapists – the high number of men who are violent rapists is what is responsible for this very realistic fear.”

    Read the whole thing.

  75. Luckynkl

    I don’t think there’s any way for me to change your bullshit, simplistic binary view of things in this medium. If you’re stuck on thinking penis always = man, very little I can type will make a difference. But there’s no way you can claim any actual, concrete harm from letting transwomen use the right bathroom.

    Oh, I have no problem with trans using the right bathroom. The one with the sign that says “men” on it.

    And yes, I can claim actual, concrete harm that’s been done personally to me in a bathroom by a trans. Oh well, you rolled the dice and gambled and lost. What’s next? Telling me not all men/trans are like that?

    Now let’s cut through your load of bull. Ask yourself one question. Who benefits? Women? Do women benefit when men use their bathroom? Do women benefit when men pass themselves off as women? Do women benefit when femininity is conflated with the female sex? Is it to women’s benefit to reinforce gender roles? Is it to women’s benefit for males to define what a woman is? Who are you defending here? Men or women?

    Since when is defending men for men’s benefit at women’s expense called feminism? I think you have it half assed backwards. That’s called patriarchy.

  76. Mar Iguana

    “I don’t believe that testosterone is a brain-killing bullet…” slashy

    No, however that big rush of testesterone he gets at a certain point of development in the womb and the effect it has on his brain sure doesn’t do it any favors. Don’t have time to look it up right now, but it causes the divide between the lobes that makes it damn nigh impossible for the boys to shift from left to right when appropriate whereas women can jump back and forth in the wink of an eye.

    Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. These boys are not women. They are SCAMs. Surgically/Chemically Altered Males.

  77. hedonistic

    Geez. At my house the bathrooms were always co-ed. So far as I could tell it never caused any problems.

  78. Luckynkl

    Well, by all means, Hedonistic, if it’s not a problem at your house, it can’t possibly be problem for the rest universe as well! And if you haven’t been raped or subject to incest, then by all means, rape and incest shouldn’t be a problem for women, either. After all, you are the standard!

    Run that nonsense by the millions of women who have been subjected to rape and incest. Because it sure was a problem at my house. And when I went to college, it continued to be a problem. Men wandered into the bathrooms in women’s dormitories and freely helped themselves to women in the shower. There I am, taking a shower, and these goons would be chinning up over the shower curtains to help themselves to a free show.

  79. hedonistic

    But Luckynl, much in the way there is nothing objectively oppressive about lipstick, the bathrooms at your dormitory weren’t the problem.

  80. amananta

    Wow… I’m getting all quoted and stuff.
    Well Sandinista – you said above you weren’t going to bother to read the whole thing. Guess you’ll never know what I was trying to get at, then. It seems pretty obvious to me upon reading it that it’s an attempt to build bridges, but you seem more interested in burning them down. Twisting something I said completely out of context and adding your own meaning to it and then attributing it to me is something I find disappointing, to say the least.
    My wife (we were not yet married at the time I wrote that) is a transwoman. I love and respect her very much. She is also a feminist, a radical feminist even. I (and she) feel very much in the middle between these two movements sometimes. My post (referred to above) was a way to try to find some common ground and create some dialog where dialog seems to be absent, but it seems people are more interested in ripping it apart and declaring me a traitor to one side or the other. Oh well.

    In the meantime, I shall go on with my happy marriage.

  81. hedonistic

    Oh and BTW – - just for the record. I WAS sexually abused, in a BATHROOM no less, by a pedophile uncle. I lay the blame where it belongs.

  82. Buttercup

    When I did that, it just said fifth sentence.
    “At school, I hadn’t liked not being chosen for teams.”
    From “Fat Girl, a True Story”. Which is a whole ‘nother spiel on the cultural dysfunction inflicted on women who don’t conform to body type.

  83. Mary Sunshine

    So, do I get to be whatever race I choose?

    Do I get to be an woman of colour or a black woman because I *really* feel like one (even though I’m white as the freshly driven snow)?

    Do I get to play around with the legal definition of the First Nations people here in North America because I suffer from “racial dysphoria”?

    Do I get to insult all the people of colour who don’t accept me as such, as being bigots?

    Aw, gee, why not?

    IBTP.

    (Actually, I blame men, but whatever.)

  84. emma goldman

    “2. To create pleasant and fulfilling work for those of us who bake Flatbread; 3. To produce, package, and distribute our product in as environmentally conscientious a way as our resources and imagination allow us. To be proactive in this: to discover new ways of doing these things better;” From “The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens” by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott.

    It’s arguable whether those are complete sentences, but no way am I typing the whole list.

  85. Sandinista

    Slashy:

    My mistake. I didn’t note what you were replying to and therefore misread what you said. Apologies.

    al:

    It wasn’t an “offending sentence,” just an irrelevant one.

    But I do think it’s disingenuous that some people on the Left use her views on trans to denigrate all her work and invalidate her critiques of the sex industry.

    And I think its disingenuous to fight for women, but only some women.

    Not that her treating transpeople as abstractions rather than people isn’t a problem

    She treats them like dirt, not abstractions.

    but this isn’t the … could give two shits transpeople.

    Once again: not relevant.

    Speaking of which, mtfs get prostituted in no small numbers, and I think fighting this exploitation is something that radfems/anti-prostitution feminists and trans-actvists could work together on. If they’re able to put aside their differences for long enough, that is.

    Maybe if radfems didn’t insist on denying transpeople recognition, they could work together. I imagine it’s pretty hard, however, to work with someone while pretending they’re not real.

    The rest of you are too sickening to talk to.

  86. Sandinista

    Oh, sorry. One more.

    amananta:

    It seems pretty obvious to me upon reading it that it’s an attempt to build bridges, but you seem more interested in burning them down.

    Well, you’ve got me. I tried to mask my secret as a critique of your approach. The truth is, I just want discord.

    Twisting something I said completely out of context and adding your own meaning to it and then attributing it to me is something I find disappointing, to say the least.

    I went out of my way to link back to your post and delineate your statements from my responses to them. I don’t see what else I could have done. I assure you, I have no interest in conflating my thoughts with yours.

    My post (referred to above) was a way to try to find some common ground and create some dialog where dialog seems to be absent, but it seems people are more interested in ripping it apart and declaring me a traitor to one side or the other. Oh well.

    I grasped the intention of your post; it was grand. It does not make you immune to criticism. Not everyone who does not agree with everything you had to say is opposed to common ground and dialog.

    If you’re so interested in dialog, you might consider actually engaging with my criticisms of your post.

  87. CannibalFemme

    Wow, that’s quite an outpouring all ’round. And thank you, anacas, for the steer towards Beemyn, which I’ll see if I can find. I do definitely see a generational difference in the transfolk I know as far as mainstreaming issues go, and would like to read more about it.

    While I agree wholeheartedly that taking action against misogyny is necessary no matter the gender of the misogynist, I have found for my own part that I haven’t yet sourced a path of action that works for me in this particular instance: I know how to deal with misogynist men (i.e., boot to the head), and I deal differently with misogynist women, but I don’t really know yet, even on a case-by-case basis, how to deal with FTM misogyny. Even the weed-common practice of requiring/expecting a femme’s femininity to reinforce or validate FTM masculinity is seriously stomach-turning for me. Communicating that, however, hasn’t worked out so well.

    And on a final personal note: I love my trans friends and family. Sometimes I’m angered by their behavior or saddened by their choices–and goodness knows that’s not limited to my trans friends, by any means–but yes, loving them muchly.

  88. sam b

    “Speaking of which, mtfs get prostituted in no small numbers, and I think fighting this exploitation is something that radfems/anti-prostitution feminists and trans-actvists could work together on.”

    The problem with both is the same: tricking men who think they have a right to sex. Trans activists on board with going to the source of prostitution’s many harms are my allies, as is anyone willing to challenge men’s sense of entitlement to sex and the sexual slavery of roughly 90% of prostituted people needed to meet men’s voracious demands for bodies to sexually (ab)use. I do not care what gender, race, sexual orientation or species someone is so long as they’re willing to focus attention on the problem’s source, tricking men. I’ve found most all trans activists are big on patria-capitalism’s edict of making human sexual interactions money-exchanging transactions. Sandinista, do you see that tricking men are the source of prostitution’s problems or are you stuck where most people are in trying to build better prostitutes as if there’s something wrong with prostitutes that needs fixing while tricks’ demands are unchangeable?

    “Maybe if radfems didn’t insist on denying transpeople recognition, they could work together.”

    Oh please; and everything amananta posted on the subject.

    I’m in Oregon’s medical marijuana program and have been for several years. I’m under no obligation to pay my “caregiver” for growing medicine but I help out because it’s time and money consuming.

    I had five male caregivers over 3 years and each of them was unreliable. One man up and stole growing equipment from me and then disappeared, another got into the Mayo clinic and so left abruptly, another was always late and flakey about appointments, etc. Believing in ‘try women for a change’, I decided to ask the Oregon medical marijuana community if there was a woman who would like to be my caregiver.

    After a few dolts saying I was sexist for asking for a woman caregiver, I got an email from “Gabby”. Gabby told me she has lived most of her 20-something life as a man but in the past few months was taking over-the-counter hormones and dressing everyday as a woman. She had a wife and had no plans for surgery as of yet. Gabby asked if I would accept her invitation to be my caregiver despite not being a woman-born-woman. I did.

    I did because I was open to seeing if she would meet my needs and how the experience would differ from the five male caregivers. Gabby has been the best caregiver the past two years, reliable despite only growing for her wife and me in their apartment. She is a great cook who has made me marijuana ice cream, cookies, vodka infusions, sweet cream and other goodies. I asked for a woman and I accepted Gabby for the woman she says she is, but I do not forget that she lived as a man lives in this patriarchal world of ours for the majority of her life and that education cannot be undone.

    I doubt you could find another instance of an anti-pornstitution radical feminist specifically accepting a transwoman as a woman than this example.

  89. Sandinista

    I doubt you could find another instance of an anti-pornstitution radical feminist specifically accepting a transwoman as a woman than this example.

    First of all, you didn’t accept her as a woman. You just made a point of saying that her prior socialization as a man “cannot be done.” (If education cannot be undone then I can’t help but wonder why the hell you’d bother with radfem at all.)

    Second of all, if you “doubt I could find another instance” of radfem acceptance of a transwoman, then why are you “oh please”-ing me several paragraphs up?

  90. Sandinista

    Shoot, I meant “cannot be undone.”

  91. Arora

    Luckynkl: Sex is static. It cannot be changed. Men cannot be frogs, they cannot be giraffes, they cannot be trees, they cannot be rocks, and they cannot be women. Get over it.

    Ummm, sex is static? Have you taken high school biology?

    Pseudohermaphroditism: Usually the result of endocrine or enzymatic defect in persons with normal chromosomes; female pseudohermaphrodites have masculine-looking genitals but are XX; male pseudohermaphrodites have rudimentary testes and external genitals and are XY; assigned as males or females, depending on morphology of genitals.

    There are also cases of Turner’s syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome (genotype XXY), Androgen insensitivity syndrome, hermaphroditism etc.

    Regarding transsexuals:
    From my Kaplan and Sadock’s textbook “Synopsis of Psychiatry”(2003):
    “Recent findings point to a difference in the brain of male to female transsexuals. In a postmortem sample of 6, the red nucleus corresponded in size to that of typical females rather than of typical males; independent of whether the male transsexual was heterosexual or homosexual.

    There are numerous other biological factors being studied with regard to etiology and gender identity issues.

  92. sam b

    How should I take your avoidance of my question regarding prostitution? My instincts and experience say you’re of the “build more rape-resistant hookers” mindset instead of the “build less rapist men” one, but if you could confirm one way or the other it would be swell.

    “First of all, you didn’t accept her as a woman. You just made a point of saying that her prior socialization as a man “cannot be done.”

    The two are not mutually exclusive. I also accepted a formerly prostituted woman into my intimate life without forgetting the lifetime of abuse at the hands and other appendages of men that went into making her who she was, and I’m guessing she didn’t forget my life experiences and how they affected my behavior in the relationship either.

    “If education cannot be undone then I can’t help but wonder why the hell you’d bother with radfem at all.”

    Because education doesn’t stop, it continues every day. There are sexisms inculcated in woman-born-woman me I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to expunge with varying degrees of success that will never add up to 100 percent.

    I doubt a more precise example of a radical feminist specifically asking for a woman and accepting a transwoman as the woman asked for can be found. Gabby was not a lover of mine who decided to transition or a friend, coworker, or relative I would otherwise accept for the sake of the existing relationship. She was a person who responded to my request for a woman marijuana caregiver and who I accepted on the conditions I had set in my search for a woman marijuana caregiver.

    I call her the name she wants me to use instead of what’s on our shared documentation and I use the pronoun she prefers. I stand up for her equal rights as I would for anyone and get pissed off about men’s violence and exploitation of transgendered women in prostitution; I’ve never known a transgendered man prostituting. What more do you expect of me before rethinking the transhater label you slap indiscriminantly on radical feminists?

  93. Pony

    Mar? Is there any more of that chex stuff? Shoot some over here will ya. Darling?

  94. Mar Iguana

    Here you are: #######################################################

    I’m enjoying mine while wearing the cutest, little waders with black boa braces, thanking god every day for my ability to accessorize. Plus, they make great chex catchers.

  95. Pony

    Ahhh yes well. Since I went thru the pause I’ve noticed I don’t seem to be able to accessorize anymore. They don’t tell you about that, do they?

  96. anacas

    sam b: an example of radfem trans acceptance that comes to mind first to me would be a lesbian radical feminist getting into a relationship with a transwoman, knowing that she’s trans before the relationship begins. That seems like a pretty explicit instance of accepting a transwoman as “the woman asked for” :)

    I don’t think radical feminism is inherently attached to transphobia… it’s just a disturbingly common misstep.

  97. Mar Iguana

    Slashy, your name reminded me of something that was going on in the Financial District of San Francisco in the mid-70s. Women stopped going to the restrooms alone because there was a slasher who would wait in a stall, reach under the partition and slice and dice women’s legs with a big knife. I don’t think they ever caught him and there was theory that he might have been dressing as a woman.

    Just for the record, I do not fear or hate these psychologically damaged boys. I pity them. I do hate that “professionals” can say they are able to magically turn these pitiful guys in a woman. As I said before, they should lose their license to practice medicine by praying on and profiting off the mental problems of these unfortunates.

    Unfortunate as concerns their mental state that is. But, I note they took advantage of being able to make manmoney in order to be able to afford these pricey procedures that are not covered by insurance.

  98. slashy

    Mar Iguana, my name on this blog is derived from the term ‘slash’ used in fanfiction to refer to same-sex sex contained within (as in m/m, f/f). My life contains a great deal of same-sex sex, so it seemed appropriate.

    I will continue to be involved in vibrant queer & feminist communities that fight patriarchal oppression side by side with heteronormativity and gender oppression. I will continue to welcome my trans sisters into my communities of women, and I will continue to remain supportive and welcoming of my trans brothers in the queer community. Your hateful language (yes, hateful- “pity”? “Damaged”?) will not impact me at all, except to make me sad that there are people so utterly committed to policing the boundaries of gender normativity, even in a community committed to fighting for more options than the limitations patriarchy imposes. I will continue to be thrilled that there are people like Sandinista, anacas, CannibalFemme & company who will continue to broaden what it means to be a feminist beyond the confines of transphobia.

    I needed to say those things because for a second, reading such utter hatefulness from fellow feminists was kind of getting me down.

  99. CannibalFemme

    Slashy: dunno what you go by in the fanfic world, but I’ll go ahead and out myself as Aristide. Howdy!

    On the trans issue: this has been one hell of an eye-opening conversation. In the communities I inhabit (San Francisco/Los Angeles and in between), there are close ties between queer activism, feminist activism, and trans activism–at least, the activism I’ve been a part of. There has only just recently been any sort of question or focus regarding whether some trans dynamics interfere with a queer or feminist identity, and there has been a significant backlash against even asking these questions.

    My gut feelings on this are intersectional: oppression is oppression for me, whether it’s sexism or racism or classism or homophobia or fatphobia or ageism, or transphobia. But of all of those I just mentioned, the only one that I am conscious–and I would stress ‘conscious’ here–of carrying, internally or externally, is trans resentment, which would have to qualify as transphobia. And it doesn’t matter to me that my resentment is limited to specific individuals and/or dynamics, because the bottom line is that I’m sick of carrying this resentment around. It feels wrong–especially in comparison to the rest of my rage, which feels oh-so-right.

    I think I just clued in to what several people here have already said–yes, I’m slow, it’s a side effect of my complete lack of formal education–and figured out that it’s entirely possible to divorce my resentment from transfolk, because what I truly resent is patriarchal behavior, and that’s always going to be true.

    Duh. Sorry for the ramble, all.

  100. saltyC

    IS it bigotry to say that being born with a uterus is special? That being targetted by anti-choice legislation is special? That dealing with a late period, a missed period, a good period, a bad period, is special? And deciding whether to keep it or not is special? And that never having one in the first place can not be replaced with pretending to know what it’s like to be marked by having had one?

    Is it bigotry now? And I ask Luckynkl’s question: does calling it bigotry to say that women have unique and common experiences, does calling it bigotry benefit men or women? HM?

  101. antiprincess

    well, yeah, but where would you classify women who were born with uterine issues? or (god forbid) get injured before menarche, or who, for any other reason, never menstruated, or who, for any other reason, never ran the risk of getting pregnant? are they men?

    on one hand, I see what you’re saying about common experience among women as unifying force.

    But what about that runner in India who was stripped of her medal after a genetic test revealed she had “more Y chromosomes than were allowed”? she’s assumedly lived her whole life as a woman-born-woman…except not, apparently. where would you classify her?

  102. Mary Sunshine

    Hi Salty,

    To trans-activists, trannies are everything and women are nothing.

    Feels good to the female-born trans-groupies because it gives them a chance to focus intense rage on other women while claiming to be feminist.

    Same as the Ess and Emm freaks who do this from “within” feminism.

    Of course, they get all the cred from male liberals and further distort the public image of feminism to female-born women.

    Twisty’s gonna have to create another filter.

  103. saltyC

    A woman who never risked getting pregnant because she never had sex, still has her life measured by the fact that she had a uterus, and possibly could. No woman is born knowing she is fertile, but that she has a uterus and that is enough to shape her life.

    As for the rest, you’re quibbling over the edges of the bell curve, which though interesting do not mean that a woman with a weird uterus is a man, any more than a man whose penis is chopped off is a woman. If I’m not mistaken, the issue is NOT of “classification” of intersexed people, it is a question of men who live as women and whether they are the same as women.

  104. saltyC

    PS when I said deciding whether to keep it I meant a uterus, not a baby. But neither one is something a MTF would ever ever have to face.

  105. antiprincess

    As for the rest, you’re quibbling over the edges of the bell curve,

    I suppose that is certainly possible.

    however, I’m not sure I’d surrender so easily if I was one of those women with non-functioning, damaged or absent reproductive organs.

  106. saltyC

    And if you were such a woman, would you say you’re the same as a MTF Trans?

  107. antiprincess

    I don’t expect so.

    but the way you phrased this part of your comment:

    IS it bigotry to say that being born with a uterus is special? That being targetted by anti-choice legislation is special? That dealing with a late period, a missed period, a good period, a bad period, is special? And deciding whether to keep it or not is special? And that never having one in the first place can not be replaced with pretending to know what it’s like to be marked by having had one?

    seemed to indicate that you thought that the shared experience of dealing with the female reproductive system was the defining factor in whether one could be considered female.

    but I was confused, apparently. thanks for the clarification.

  108. magickitty

    hedonistic Dec 18th, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Oh and BTW – - just for the record. I WAS sexually abused, in a BATHROOM no less, by a pedophile uncle. I lay the blame where it belongs.

    This, when said to someone who has been assaulted in a bathroom, smacks strongly of “get over it.” Fuck, that makes me mad.

    I like to be an inclusive feminist. However, when it comes to the personal safety of women, I’m ready to exclude anybody and everybody. If a woman was assaulted by a man in the past and never recovered as fully as hedonistic, perhaps, Then I have no problem with her wanting to pee in a place where there are no men, past or otherwise. Call it phobic or call it women-born-only, I don’t fucking care. I’d just call it safe.

  109. saltyC

    [quote]seemed to indicate that you thought that the shared experience of dealing with the female reproductive system was the defining factor in whether one could be considered female.[/quote]

    You are annoying me.
    Yes, all women have dealt with the female reproductive system, whether they ever have sex or not, whether they eventually discover they are fertile or not.
    Being born as a human with a uterus shapes a human’s life in a way that all the high heels and make up in the world do not.

    You are quibbling with exceptions in order to accept that a man born with a fully functioning, ejaculating penis can be a woman because he says so.

  110. saltyC

    look like I don’t have the quotes thing down.

    How’s this?

  111. antiprincess

    You are quibbling with exceptions in order to accept that a man born with a fully functioning, ejaculating penis can be a woman because he says so.

    I am doing no such thing.

    I wasn’t talking about men. I was talking about the presence or absence of working female reproductive organs.

    as I said, I originally read your comment and, apparently, was confused. But I thought I had it all straightened out now.

  112. Leigh

    It seems to me that a large part of this argument is based on the assumption that transpeople are ‘really’ men or ‘really’ women underneath. Justifying transphobia with a ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘you can’t take the man out of the male’ lines of thinking seems to me like a really limited and damaging viewpoint. After all, one of the patriarchy’s fundamental myths that allows for all the other bullshit is that men are men and women are women and never the two shall meet; that there is something fundamentally and irreconcilably different about men and women biologically; that genitals = destiny, and so forth. It is only once the ‘fact’ of sex difference has been assumed that one sex can be constructed as inferior.

    Elizabeth Fee put it quite nicely almost three decades ago when she wrote, “As long as there are entrenched social and political distinctions between sexes, races or classes, there will be forms of science whose main function is to rationalize and legitimize these distinctions.” I don’t know why it’s taking so long for everyone to catch onto that.

    This is certainly not to say that men and women are completely the same. The body can not be discounted. But to assume in anyway that genitally based sex differences relate to sex differences in the brain or in behavior seems to re-iterate the myth of the ‘nature of womanhood’, etc. Boiling everything down to essential biological difference ignores the fact that the real issue is how the patriarchy constructs men as men and women as women in such a way as to entail female subordination.

    The debates between the radfem and trans camps are complicated and dense, but regurgitating these sort of essentialist arguments as an excuse for transphobia is not only hurtful for transpeople, it’s bad for feminism.

  113. anacas

    The idea that gender policing is a feminist obligation is completely repulsive and ridiculous.

    Acceptance of transpeople is a good thing for anyone who’s oppressed by the patriarchy. Gender neutral bathrooms, for example, are a boon for anyone who is gender variant or doesn’t believe in rigidly prescribed gender roles, whether they identify as trans or not. A non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity and expression helps protect women from being fired for not being “feminine” enough, or a man from being passed over for a promotion because he’s not “masculine” or “manly” enough, neither of which is really covered under prohibitions on discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation. Transphobia is ultimately tied to the idea that reproductive organs tell us who a person is and decide what their life should look like. Sounds awfully unfeminist to me.

    My uterus doesn’t determine who I am, no matter how many times society tries to tell me it does.

    CannibalFemme: Alas, I don’t think the research I was talking about is published yet. I saw Brett Genny speak at a conference and zie presented some preliminary findings, but I don’t think it’s in print. The coresearcher is Sue Rankin, btw, the better to find the article when it finally does appear (and Beemyn’s done a bunch of other research on trans identities that’s worth reading, too).

    Mar Iguana: Taking advantage of manmoney? That would make me laugh if the reality weren’t so sad. Transwomen have an incredibly difficult time finding employment, and in most places it’s not even illegal to fire or not hire someone because they’re trans. If she can pass, she’s in the same boat as any other woman. If she can’t, it’s much, much harder than that.

  114. slashy

    In addition to anacas and Leigh’s great points, I need to say this: Trans women- all trans women who are even slightly parsed as female- suffer the same current, present sexisms* as other women. I’m not discussing their pasts right now, I’m talking about their present, and in the present, they suffer sexism just like all the other women in the world. On top of that, any trans woman who does not completely ‘pass’, or who is maliciously outed, suffers an additional buttload of transphobia, which is closely tied to both homophobia and misogyny.

    My point is, why on earth would we try to keep women who suffer sexism out of a movement that acts to protect women against and change the social structures that cause sexism? It is utterly counter-intuitive. We don’t ask other women what their biological, class or financial pasts are before we welcome them- why the panic about the pasts of trans women?

    *:What, you don’t believe me? You think that trans women get to walk around the world completely unharassed by men because they were born possessing a penis? Dream the fuck on.

  115. saltyC

    Leigh :”But to assume in anyway that genitally based sex differences relate to sex differences in the brain or in behavior”

    I absolutely do not assume this. I do not know of and suspect there are no significant differences btw male and female brains.

    Nor do I see why believing that the real-life cosequences of being born with a uterus unite women in an important way is transphobia. I reject that label.

    Anacas: “Transphobia is ultimately tied to the idea that reproductive organs tell us who a person is and decide what their life should look like. Sounds awfully unfeminist to me.”

    Well that clears it up then: I am not transphobic because I do not believe genitals are destiny. Knowing that someone is a woman does not tell me anything about her fate, but it does tell me she knows what I know about what it’s like to bleed.

    Slashy: ” Trans women- all trans women who are even slightly parsed as female- suffer the same current, present sexisms* as other women.”

    That’s funny. I’d like to see how a trans woman deals with the question of would she abort. Every woman has agonized over this question, on some level. The guilt put on women for having wombs is sexism, and it is not suffered by trans women.

  116. slashy

    Also, to CannibalFemme: Aristide as in the Aristide who co-wrote A Choriambic Progression? I am in the presence of greatness! I have no fan fic author profile to speak of, although if you search “Glittertrash” at skyehawke you’ll find my meagre offerings (read by a combined total of 12 people, I believe). I am a far more obsessive reader than writer.

  117. anacas

    SaltyC: You’re convinced that having a uterus makes someone a woman. That’s a fairly complicated fact about someone’s life that you think is automatically tied to whether someone has a uterus.

    There are men and genderqueer people who know what you about what it’s like to bleed and women who don’t, and equating uterus-posession with womanhood makes them invisible.

    The bottom line is that transwomen don’t know what it’s like to be raised as women or what it’s like to have a uterus, and you don’t know what it’s like to make a conscious choice to claim womanhood when you haven’t been raised to it. Both experiences have something to teach us about what being a woman means, and feminism is poorer as a movement and a philosophy if it ignores or rejects transwomen’s experiences.

  118. anacas

    Make that “There are men and genderqueer people who know what you know about…”

  119. saltyC

    I didn’t say that all women have uteruses, or that I’m not interested in transwomen’s experiences.

    All I’m saying is I have certain things in common with all women, and that doesn’t make me a bigot.

    No, I don’t know what it’s like to claim womanhood. Claiming people, especially women, is something for patriarchs.

    *Tired of re-splaining myself, and bored.*

  120. anacas

    “Knowing that someone is a woman does not tell me anything about her fate, but it does tell me she knows what I know about what it’s like to bleed.

    You didn’t just say there are “certain things” you have in common with all women. Your reference to “what [you] know about what it’s like to bleed” seemed to be talking about menstruation. I’m saying menstruation (and hence the experience of ever having had a uterus) isn’t something you have in common with all women. It’s something you have in common with some women.

    Claiming womanhood as a gender identity isn’t claiming people. It’s making a personal statement about who you are.

  121. saltyC

    Yeah, so now keeping abortion safe and legal is an issue for certain women, those old-fashioned women born with uteruses. And now testicular cancer is also an issue affecting women.

    And Christopher Columbus was also making a personal statement about who he was: King of India.

  122. Sandinista

    sam b:

    Sorry, your question somehow escaped my notice the first time around. I’m afraid that now that I’ve read it, though, I don’t quite understand what you’re asking. I’m not clear on what you mean by “tricking men.” Rephrase, perhaps?

    Yes, I am in favor of building less rapist men. How is that even a question? (Though, I guess when the validity of trans identities is a question, anything can be.) I don’t know what a “rape-resistant” person is; it sounds like an impossibility.

    “If education cannot be undone then I can’t help but wonder why the hell you’d bother with radfem at all.”

    Because education doesn’t stop, it continues every day. There are sexisms inculcated in woman-born-woman me I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to expunge with varying degrees of success that will never add up to 100 percent.

    That sounds like undoing education to me. Undoing it “with varying degrees of success,” but nonetheless.

    I doubt a more precise example of … man prostituting.

    Aside from being awed by your stunning displays of non-bigotry, I’m not sure what you would have me do with all this information.

    What more do you expect of me before rethinking the transhater label you slap indiscriminantly on radical feminists?

    First of all, I am radfem and certainly not a “transhater.” My label-slapping, therefore, is hardly indiscriminate.

    I continue to take issue with this:

    I accepted Gabby for the woman she says she is, but I do not forget that she lived as a man lives in this patriarchal world of ours for the majority of her life and that education cannot be undone.

    Acceptance, to my mind, is only acceptance when it isn’t accompanied by caveats. Since accepting her as a woman does not actually entail forgetting anything, the period should be after the word “is.” You, however, claim to have some kind of obsession with keeping people’s pasts in mind. I’m skeptical but it’s your fixation, so what can I do?

    Beyond that, I don’t “expect” anything of you. If you’re an ally to trans people, bully for you. Being one, though, is only a matter of basis decency and not some Herculean feat, so if you expect any particular accolades from me, I’m afraid you’re likely to be disappointed.

    If you’ll recall how our exchange began, I was bemoaning the anti-trans prejudice all too often found among radfems. To this you responded “Oh please,” and expounded at length about your staggering level of acceptance which you have now twice claimed to be exceptional. I ask you: If the degree to which you have been accepting is, by your own insistence, unusual, what is it that you’re disagreeing with me about?

    anacas:

    I think sam b had a point about acceptance that wasn’t predicated on personal attachments or pre-existing feelings, but was simply acceptance on its own terms for its own sake. As principle goes, I think that makes a stronger case than romantic relationships or any kind of love.

    To trans-activists, trannies are everything and women are nothing.

    Twisty’s gonna have to create another filter.

    That’s just lovely. So much for discourse.

    saltyC:

    Knowing that someone is a woman does not tell me anything about her fate, but it does tell me she knows what I know about what it’s like to bleed.

    The existence of women who don’t “bleed” (Amenorrhea, this is called) is well-documented in this thread. So, no: a ciswoman does not necessarily “know about what it’s like to bleed.” Are the “edges of the bell curve” just too abstract and inconvenient for you to acknowledge? Or would admitting that a woman is not such a clearly defined entity not be conducive to your argument?

    Being born as a human with a uterus shapes a human’s life in a way that all the high heels and make up in the world do not.

    What about being born as a human with Mullerian agenesis? How does that shape a human’s life, aside from excluding her from your “real woman” club?

  123. slashy

    Slashy: ” Trans women- all trans women who are even slightly parsed as female- suffer the same current, present sexisms* as other women.”

    That’s funny. I’d like to see how a trans woman deals with the question of would she abort. Every woman has agonized over this question, on some level. The guilt put on women for having wombs is sexism, and it is not suffered by trans women.

    Because all those other forms of sexism (you know, being seen as less-than-human, having her opinions discounted based on her gender, having her existence recognised solely on the basis of her appearance, being passed over for workplace opportunities, having rape used as a threat to control her behaviour, having a legal system not interested in prosecuting the crime when it occurs): They’re not ACTUALLY sexism in her case, because she’s never had to personally* face the issue of abortion?

    Look, I’ve never had to personally* face it either, but I was born with what I assume are functioning female reproductive organs. I can, and do, continue to fight hard for abortion rights, as do many of my trans women activist friends. I also figure that the oppression of women includes things other than abortion (although I recognise the importance of it), and I fight to end those injustices, too.

    None of the criteria you’re coming up with as exclusively necessary to membership of the Woman Club is actually possessed by all women, or solely possessed by human beings who are women. When you’re looking at the construction of gender and the arguments about what constitutes a man and what constitutes a woman, those bits on the edge of the bell-curve are humans, and they matter.

    *: I assume when you said “Every woman has agonized over this question, on some level” you meant in regards to her own personal uterus. If you didn’t- if you meant, perhaps, the uteruses of her friends, sisters, mother, teachers, aunts, daughters, partner, and so on and so forth- there is no reason at all to assume that trans women would not have faced the issue. In as much as they have mothers, sisters, partners, friends etc who have faced the issue, they’re just as likely as I am to have been part of someone’s personal experience with abortion.

  124. anacas

    SaltyC: Keeping abortion safe, legal, and available is an issue for all women (should be for all people, regardless of gender identity, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms). Considering transwomen women doesn’t make abortion any less of a women’s issue than considering infertile or post-menopausal women women does.

    And yes, testicular cancer is an issue affecting women, though I don’t think it’s one that requires much in the way of feminist attention; issues that also affect cisgendered men tend to be pretty well taken care of already. Transwomen dying of testicular cancer that wasn’t caught because they didn’t trust the medical community enough to get things checked out would be a women’s issue that required feminist attention if it were occurring. I haven’t heard of it happening, although gynecological problems are a big issue for transmen; that’s probably because of a combination of more MTFs than FTMs opting for genital surgery (and orchiectomies are a comparatively inexpensive option with a lot of long term health benefits), the dirt-common problem of transmen’s discomfort with prodding of the nether regions, and the fact that while MTF hormone regimens decrease the risk of testicular and prostate cancer, FTM hormone regimens may increase the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Not that you probably cared about any of that, since it seems like you just threw the testicular cancer bit out there because you think it’s funny.

  125. Lya Kahlo

    Salty, Mar, etc – I think we just better get used to the idea that there’s no place for just us. Because wanting that apparently makes us all mean nasty bigots.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree with this:
    “I like to be an inclusive feminist. However, when it comes to the personal safety of women, I’m ready to exclude anybody and everybody. If a woman was assaulted by a man in the past and never recovered as fully as hedonistic, perhaps, Then I have no problem with her wanting to pee in a place where there are no men, past or otherwise. Call it phobic or call it women-born-only, I don’t fucking care. I’d just call it safe.”

    I have an idea. How about we force everyone to have three bathrooms. A male one, a female one and a unisex one. Now everyone is taken care of and all us horrible, selfish feminists only interested in our own safety can pee in peace. How’s that sound?

  126. Mar Iguana

    Ya say there’s a boy who can’t relate to masculinity (good for them!), a human without a clearly XY chromosomal make-up, a newborn without genetalia obviously male, whyyyy just dump ‘em in the “other” catch-all category, the receptacle AKA “woman.” Hey, they won’t mind, passive, open trenches that they are, huh? They should be flattered by boys wanting to prance around aping their fluffy, femmy ways, even willing to whack of their whackers, stuff their chests with silicone and live the rest of their lives giving big bucks to doctors and druggists for their hormone fixes. Such a deal.

    Radfems supporting this lunacy? Please. Read up on what, oh, say Germaine Greer or Mary Daly has to say about it.

    “A thousand years from now… the archaeologists who dig up their bones will know that they were women.” The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer

  127. Luckynkl

    Ah, it’s the invasion of the body snatchers.

    As I said before, every time women tell men to get their foot off our necks, they scream “foul,” call us manhaters and claim we are oppressing them. Oh, and I forgot one. We’re “biggots.”

    Trans are no different than their knuckle dragging brothers. Men are raised and conditioned in this society with an enormous sense of entitlement towards women. Women’s purpose on earth is to serve men and take care of them. No matter how bizarre their wishes and desires may be. Basically what all men want are mommies without any authority.

    Trans objectify women even more so than their knuckle dragging brothers do. Trans look at women as “things.” Nothing more than a suit of clothes for men to try on.

    Ever see “Silence of the Lambs?”

  128. antiprincess

    Ever see “Silence of the Lambs?”

    wow. seriously? that’s the way it is for most (or even all) transgendered people?

    I have only known a handful of MTF people (as far as I’m aware). I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but I’m pretty sure none of them were deranged psychokillers.

    Trans objectify women even more so than their knuckle dragging brothers do. Trans look at women as “things.” Nothing more than a suit of clothes for men to try on.

    Look – I’m willing to be convinced, and willing to admit when I’ve made an ideological mistake. if you can prove that it’s all about “woman suits” for the transgendered world, I’ll happily stand corrected.

    But I don’t think it is.

  129. Sandinista

    I mean, you all are aware that there are transmen, as well, right? Portraying the trans phenomenon as nothing more than men wanting to infiltrate female spaces is, aside from being backwards and absurd, means ignoring about half of all transpeople.

  130. meret

    Interesting post about the lipstick. I hate it when people assume that one’s mental health is tied to following stupid ideas.

    What I posted:

    “As for middle-class women, some ardently took up the cause of liberty, such as Mme Roland and Lucile Desmoulins. One of them who had a profound influence on the course of events was Charlotte Corday when she assassinated Marat. There was some feminist agitation. Olympe de Gouges proposed in 1789 a “Declaration of the Rights of Woman,” equivalent to the “Declaration of the Rights of Man,” in which she asked that all masculine privilege be abolished; but she perishes before long on the scaffold.”

    The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir

  131. Mary Sunshine

    I’m glad somebody brought up the subject of FTM’s.

    It demonstrates very dramatically the difference between male invasion of female space by “MTF” trannies, and the pathetic situation of the FTM women.

    The FTM women are simply ignored or condescended to by males. They are treated as a joke by most males, and indulged sympathetically by a few.

    They aren’t wolves in sheep’s clothing: they are sheep in wolves’ clothing.

    For all the trolls who are going to jump all over me for “depicting” women as sheep: I’m referring to the relative threats to each other of the two species named.

  132. antiprincess

    Here’s a question.

    what should the mental health industry do with people who present with gender issues? how should one proceed when someone sits down in the office saying “I’m not what my body says I am”?

  133. Sandinista

    It demonstrates very dramatically the difference between male invasion of female space by “MTF” trannies, and the pathetic situation of the FTM women.

    The FTM women are simply ignored or condescended to by males. They are treated as a joke by most males, and indulged sympathetically by a few.

    I see literally no difference between your description of how transmen are treated and the attitude toward transwomen on this board.

    Also, “trannies”? Are you really going to resort to slurs?

  134. saltyC

    Men in general don’t regard FTM as men, though they do largely regard MTF as women.

    slashy: “Look, I’ve never had to personally* face it either, but I was born with what I assume are functioning female reproductive organs.”

    Really? You’ve never pondered what you would do? I find that hard to believe.

    Also, about amennhorea, women who never bleed still deal with it because they wonder when it will come, and anyway amennhorea doesn’t mean someone never, ever bled.

    But such women are still women, and are in my tribe. The tribe which bleeds. No trans woman ever bled.

    Not saying that therefore trans women are not human, just not women.

  135. amananta

    Sandinista – don’t lecture me about “dialog”. After a snide and sarcastic mischaracterization of what I said, asking if I “wanted a cookie” and implying strongly I am not for acceptance, you said, and I quote: “I won’t lie, I didn’t read far past that.” Now you try to say you read the whole thing and understand exactly what I mean but blame me for not fostering dialog. This is hypocritical, at the very least. If you are going to publicly admit you didn’t read the whole thing, you don’t have any business trying to characterize my opinion to others as that of a transphobe. Just because someone might not agree with every single transactivist’s political goals does not automatically make them transphobic. I’m tired of the all or nothing demand from BOTH sides of this.

  136. Sandinista

    amananta:

    Dialog was your term, not mine. I was simply responding that for someone who is so hell-bent on dialog, you don’t seem to be too interested in having one on matters of actual substance. (My position holds.)

    I didn’t read the entirety of your post, nor did I ever claim to. Unless you had an epiphany and immediate change of heart halfway through it, I don’t think my reading all of it will make much of a difference.

    I credited and linked to your post, set off what I quoted from it and copped to not having read the entire thing. In no way does that amount to a misrepresentation of you or anything you said. I realize you don’t like the conclusions I drew about you; that doesn’t mean I’m being unfair.

    Just because someone might not agree with every single transactivist’s political goals does not automatically make them transphobic. I’m tired of the all or nothing demand from BOTH sides of this.

    Was I not specific enough about why I think your position is transphobic? I think your position is transphobic because you don’t fully support trans rights and because you then expect transpeople to put up with crappy treatment from you and your ilk because they’re getting even crappier treatment elsewhere.

    You’re right: I demand full support for trans rights. I don’t accept prejudice.

    saltyC:

    anyway amennhorea doesn’t mean someone never, ever bled.

    Amenhorrea doesn’t mean necessarily mean one has never menstruated, but it can.

    The tribe which bleeds.

    As long as you insist on referring to women as “the tribe which bleeds,” you are continuing to arbitrarily exclude women based on the conditions of their birth.

    But who needs to bother with the hurt feelings of those damned outlying-on-the-bell-curve minorities, anyway? Hey, at least you’re consistent.

  137. slashy

    Well, SaltyC, your tribe can be the women who identify around bleeding/breeding/uteruses, and my tribe can be the women who identify around gender identity, and if ever the two tribes need to communicate, shall we use smoke stacks? Semaphore? Morse code? Or shall we simply assume we’ll never have anything to say to each other, and leave it at that?

  138. antiprincess

    SaltyC, I further wonder how one expects to come to terms with those tribe members who bleed according to your requirements but seem to annoy you anyway.

  139. JackGoff

    Ever see “Silence of the Lambs?”

    Whoa. I hope you never meet some of the FTM people I have met, as they’re beautiful, heartfelt people, and I would never want them to be on the receiving end of such misinformed hatred.

  140. JackGoff

    Crap, forgot to switch my profile to my new blog.

  141. JackGoff

    Arggh! I meant “MTF”. Sorry for the multiple posts.

  142. Sam

    Sorry Sandinista, but I’m not going to let you waste my time by debating you on this here for reasons amananta points out in her usual perspicuous way and because of what I believe to be your intentionally garbled answer to my question about prostitution.

    I find it hard to believe you’re a radical feminist with difficulty understanding what’s meant by “The problem with both is the same: tricking men who think they have a right to sex. Trans activists on board with going to the source of prostitution’s many harms are my allies, as is anyone willing to challenge men’s sense of entitlement to sex and the sexual slavery of roughly 90% of prostituted people needed to meet men’s voracious demands for bodies to sexually (ab)use. I do not care what gender, race, sexual orientation or species someone is so long as they’re willing to focus attention on the problem’s source, tricking men.”

  143. Sandinista

    Sam:

    Although I genuinely don’t understand what “tricking men” means, I think I’ll be be able to sleep at night even if you insist on leaving me in the dark. I have a feeling that whatever you’re saying about prostitution hasn’t got very much to do with transpeople, in any case.

  144. antiprincess

    I think she’s referring to men who use prostitutes (“tricks”), not men who are tricked (or fooled, or deceived).

  145. la Beylita

    I have an idea. How about we force everyone to have three bathrooms. A male one, a female one and a unisex one. Now everyone is taken care of and all us horrible, selfish feminists only interested in our own safety can pee in peace. How’s that sound?

    Lya, I think you are a little bit unaware about the actual result of what you propose. In the three bathroom situation you suggest the unisex bathroom inevitably becomes repurposed as being for parents with children not of their sex. And again transfolk are not allowed to use public restrooms once again except this time it’s because of “the children” and the system comes down on them harder than before since Patriarchy regards potential threats to wee urchins as worse than potential threats to adult females.

    If you have an idea which would actually help I’d like to hear it.

  146. maribelle

    Comments to several posters in one:

    Sandanista [i] And I think its disingenuous to fight for women, but only some women. [/i]

    Even in your world view, what percentage of women are trans? On behalf of this tiny percentage, you would invalidate all of a woman’s life work on behalf of other women?

    And considering that only a tiny minority of transwomen were born male, does it surprise you that some women would be bitter about women born women’s needs being displaced, yet again, for the male born?

    anasca: [I] Gender neutral bathrooms, for example, are a boon for anyone who is gender variant or doesn’t believe in rigidly prescribed gender roles, whether they identify as trans or not.[/I]

    No, it’s not a boon for me to have no choice but to share a bathroom with men. Look at Lucky’s question; does it benefit women? It does not benefit women to share a public bathroom with men (and home bathrooms are different, hedonist–you choose your roommates.) Public restrooms should be gender separate forever and always for the safety of women and girls.

    PS– isn’t this the argument conservatives used to sink the ERA? “You’ll have to share a bathroom with MEN!” We didn’t get the ERA but we have to share bathrooms with men anyhow. Sucks to be us.

    Slashy: [I] My point is, why on earth would we try to keep women who suffer sexism out of a movement that acts to protect women against and change the social structures that cause sexism? [/I]

    In part because there are many that fear the word “women” as you use it means something different than what it always meant when you apply it to the male-born (even the “male-born but no longer male”.) What’s at stake is the very definition of being a woman.

    [I]You think that trans women get to walk around the world completely unharassed [b] by men [/b] because they were born possessing a penis? [/I]

    Exactly–their beef is with men, not women born women. Go demand respect and standing among the men, not among the women. The truth, of course, is that the men would “kill them” as said upthread, so they make their demands of women. So instead of fighting with the ones who oppress them, they do what they were raised to do in patriarchy—dominate women.

    But in this case, they dominate women be co-opting our identity and insisting we recognize that they are what we are, effectively erasing our very identity and existence as women. The stakes are too high.

    Slashy: [I] In as much as they have mothers, sisters, partners, friends etc who have faced the issue, they’re just as likely as I am to have been part of someone’s personal experience with abortion.[/I]

    This is a perfect example of the kind of erasure I am talking about. No, deciding what to do with a fetus growing in your own body is NOT the same as holding someone’s hand in support—to even suggest it is to minimize who women are to the point of mockery.

    There is no explaining certain parts of being a woman. Case in point: my friend’s two year old daughter was so cute the other day my ovaries started to throb. (Some of the women reading this just went “yup”. No, not all—and some don’t even have ovaries and are still women—that’s not what this is about.) That is one small, tiny, aspect of being a woman, seeing a darling child and having your reproductive organs stand up and take a bow. There are an infinite number of other experiences that women share in our bones, in our cells, in our subconsciousness—that is our common link, our shared womanhood. BTW–All of those together experiences added together STILL don’t add up to a woman. That’s just the sign to know that women have passed here. Those experiences are really just the tip of the iceberg.

    Face it—women are inexplicable. We are born, not made. We are created. We cannot be made by human hands, sculpted from the rib of Adam. We are something else again.

  147. hedonistic

    Hmmmmm. Whenever I see a child, cute or not, I need to suppress the urge to pull out my mace, despite the fact that the last time I had them checked the ovaries were still functional.

    I think the rigid binary gender system sucks rotten eggs and must die. But hey, that’s just me (plus a few others here, I suspect). Thank you Leigh for your upthread comment, because it eloquently and clearly stated exactly how I feel about gender.

    So much dwelling on the potty room, as though it were some kind of last safe refuge for “real” women. Well, it’s NOT. Women are not safe anywhere where rapists can JUST WALK IN, hel-LO, do you think a man hell bent on sexually assaulting a woman is going to care whether the bathroom has a picture of a lay-dee on the door? Frankly, when it comes to feeling safe, I figure the transvestite taking a whiz in the stall next to me is probably the least of my worries.

  148. Luckynkl

    Ever see “Silence of the Lambs?”
    wow. seriously? that’s the way it is for most (or even all) transgendered people?

    Not if what you get out of the movie is that trans are psychopathic killers. That’s not what I’m talking. Trans aren’t any more likely to be psychopathic killers than their knuckle dragging brothers. What I’m talking about is the way men, whether they be trans or not, objectify women, fetishize female body parts, and reduce women and their body parts into things. Both hold anything that is authentically female in contempt.

  149. Mandos

    Public restrooms should be gender separate forever and always for the safety of women and girls.

    “Forever and always” for “safety”? This therefore assumes that it is the Natural State for women to be in danger.

  150. Mandos

    Face it—women are inexplicable. We are born, not made. We are created. We cannot be made by human hands, sculpted from the rib of Adam. We are something else again.

    This implies to me that men will always be in conflict with women, and thus your previous comment (about women and girls forever needing a separate space for safety) makes a certain amount more sense. Because if women are born, not made, then men are—at minimum, not to be women. Therefore, how do we separate what is socially constructed and what is the Inherent Experience of being a woman or man? Lots of arguments that excuse male bad behaviour follow the same logical structure that your argument uses to define the female experience. That making women unsafe is simply a part of the experience of having testes…

  151. Luckynkl

    Maybe if radfems didn’t insist on denying transpeople recognition, they could work together.

    Radical feminists do recognize trans. They just don’t recognize trans boys as women. Radical feminists oppose gender roles, mutilation and human rights violations, silly. Now how do you propose that RFs and trans work together when we have opposite and conflicting goals? That’s like asking the KKK and NAACP to work together to end racism. Now stop being willfully ignorant.

    Ummm, sex is static? Have you taken high school biology?

    Sure I did. It just wasn’t pie-in-the-sky, la-la land, postmodern male fantasy biology, The biology I’m well versed in is based on reality.

    Biology isn’t whatever you want it to be in your fucked up head. That’s psychology. A whole different field which involves mind control and religious/cult-like beliefs that the patriarchs bend to their will. Don’t confuse the two.

    That said, sex is static. It is unchangeable. X’s do not grow up to be Y’s and Y’s do not grow up to be X’s and no amount of hormones, surgery or wishing and wanting it to be so will make it so. DNA resides in every cell of the body. Sex can be determined by a hair follicle or by one’s spit on a soda can. Skeletal structure will also be tell-tale. Hormones and surgery won’t alter that. X’s have 1500 characteristics. Y’s have 20. No amount of creative math will make 1500 equal 20 and make X’s and Y’s interchangeable. Men are not god and do not possess Zeus-like powers to transform themselves into whatever they want to. Get over it.

    Now, let’s get down to basics.

    Sex has to do with reproduction. One half of the population can reproduce, the other half can’t. This is the basis on which sex is determined by. It is the very definition of sex. It’s really that simple. So simple that even 2nd graders and flies get it.

    Females, of course, are the sex that can reproduce. Young human females are called girls. Adult human females are called women. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. That is the definition of a woman. An adult human female. All else is a social, patriarchal construct and utter horseshit.

    Not all women can or want to reproduce. But she still belongs to the only sex that can. Because it will be assumed from her birth that she can and she will be raised and conditioned with that assumption. And when she can’t, she will be subjected to a battery of tests to find out why not. The odds, however, are astonomical that anyone pronounced girl at birth will have the capability to reproduce. And that’s what the patriarchs bet the farm on.

    That assumption is never placed on any of those pronounced boy at birth. No one ever wonders why boys aren’t able to reproduce. Because they belong to the sex that can’t. And they will be raised and conditioned accordingly.

    So what are the trans boys trying to say? That they wake up one morning and imagine they can reproduce?

    Nah, what trans boys are in love with are the patriarchal constructs of masculinity and femininity. Which are 2 faces of the same male god. The one face is the masculine Apollo-like model. The other face is the feminine Dionysus-like model. What should be noted is that both Apollo and Dionysus are male. Both masculinity and femininity are modeled after male deities. Both are inherently male. Neither one has anything to do with being female.

    The patriarchal constructs of masculinity and femininity, fashioned after male deities, have other labels slapped on them these days. Terms like butch, femme, domme, sub, to name a few. Any way you color it or slice it, it’s still the same patriarchal constructs modeled after the same male deities.

    It should start to become clear that the patriarchs have a goal in mind. To eliminate all that is authentically female. The patriarchs are not joking when they refer to humans as mankind. They mean it. All I can say is, goddess help women when men finally figure out how to reproduce.

    Now let me get this straight. You want me to let the foxes into the henhouse of my own free will and choice? You want me to aid and abet the boys in eliminating myself, my mother, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters? You’re joking, right? Except you’re not. And Christmas serves me with a reminder of that. Christmas celebrates the killing of the goddess, the defeat of women, and the establishment of patriarchy, complete with the message of Apollo to “keep women under the thumb” (as can be read at the temple of Apollo). God is the Apollo-like model. Jesus Christ is the Dionysus-like model. The father, the son, and the holy spirit of patriarchy. There are no females in that trinity in case you haven’t noticed.

    You trans boys can throw temper tantrums, call names and try to manipulate, coerce and bully my sisters and I all you want. I’m use to it. What else is new with men? The answer is still, no. No foxes in the henhouse. I will not call a trans a woman any more than I’d call a fox, a hen. All I can say is, my, what big teeth you have, grandma. Now shoo. I’m shutting the door. Go run your scam on someone else. Buh-bye.

  152. Luckynkl

    Oops, forgot to close the tag on the italics above. Just the first sentence of “Ummm, sex is static? Have you taken high school biology?” should be in italics.

  153. Luckynkl

    P.S. Re: All I can say is, my, what big teeth you have, grandma. Now shoo. I’m shutting the door. Go run your scam on someone else. Buh-bye.

    *I* shut the door and wave bye-bye to trans arguments. That is all that is being implied here. This is not my blog and I do not speak for Twisty.

  154. hedonistic

    Luckynkl, if your personal experience with transpeople involved men putting on silly feminine drag, flaming out a la Dionysus and calling themselves “women” I can understand your position. However, this is not my personal experience with transgendered people.

    I knew a person who had to stop in the middle of his/her sex change operation because s/he had a bad reaction to the hormones (I honestly cannot recall which gender s/he was born as because it really wasn’t important to me at the time, but s/he may have been a hermaphrodite). All I could tell was that being treated as the wrong gender during his/her childhood was the great source of his/her loneliness as an adult.

    S/he was an extraordinarily beautiful and gentle human being with waist-long brown hair, a naturally ethereal ballerina body type, an “adam’s apple” and a very deep voice. S/he did not dress in drag or have implants, and s/he was committed to going through the rest of his/her life as Gender Indeterminate, which of course resulted in the daily dilemma of “which bathroom do I use?” Of all the stupid daily shit s/he had to deal with for not fitting in I concluded the bathroom matter was probably the most irritating. All that angst, just to take a dump, sweet Jeebus on a cracker!

  155. Lya Kahlo

    la Beylita

    I have an idea – look up the word “sarcasm” in the dictionary.

    ~~~~~

    and maribelle -

    “their beef is with men, not women born women. Go demand respect and standing among the men, not among the women. The truth, of course, is that the men would “kill them” as said upthread, so they make their demands of women. So instead of fighting with the ones who oppress them, they do what they were raised to do in patriarchy—dominate women.

    But in this case, they dominate women be co-opting our identity and insisting we recognize that they are what we are, effectively erasing our very identity and existence as women. The stakes are too high.”

    Excellent.

    I suspect though that this logical point will go unnoticed – as the main theme going on here seems to be that women (born women) need to fix everything.

  156. Mar Iguana

    It’s a muracull!! Another immaculate conception scheduled for xmas day:

    http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=143&art_id=qw1166686921499B216

    Apparently, the patriarchal potty ploy to defeat the ERA (twenty-three little words that cause boys to shit and/or go blind) is still working swell in some women’s mind, never mind it was complete crapper crap at the time but hey, work it like a too too tool. Of course, rape and/or murder is the worst case scenario of boys being allowed in the woman’s loo. But, hel-LO I don’t even want to have to think about the possibility of some boy in there getting off in the stall next to me, satisfying his rich fantasy life by gaining access to practically the only public place women can get away from his kind for at least a few minutes. Myself, I’d like to have a wee wee bit of a refuge from the war zone and not have to even think about helping some guy out with his rich fantasy life in there, thank you much.

  157. antiprincess

    Lya – thank you for restating this, because I missed it the first time (sorry).

    But in this case, they dominate women by co-opting our identity and insisting we recognize that they are what we are, effectively erasing our very identity and existence as women. The stakes are too high.

    I understand the issue much better now. Nobody wants to be erased. The fear of that erasure, I guess, is what’s really motivating anti-trans sentiment. And although I don’t feel it myself, it makes a whole lot more sense to me now.

    Thanks again.

  158. antiprincess

    But, hel-LO I don’t even want to have to think about the possibility of some boy in there getting off in the stall next to me, satisfying his rich fantasy life by gaining access to practically the only public place women can get away from his kind for at least a few minutes. Myself, I’d like to have a wee wee bit of a refuge from the war zone and not have to even think about helping some guy out with his rich fantasy life in there, thank you much.

    I’m no expert, and maybe I’m not reading you correctly, but I’m not sure you understand the difference between being a cross-dresser and being transgendered.

    cross-dresser = rich fantasy life. put it on when you want to, take it off when you’re done.

    transgendered = the feeling like the body you were born in does not accurately represent who you are, gendered-ly speaking. always and forever, even when you have to use the bathroom.

    I’m not sure that feeling can accurately be termed “fantasy”.

  159. Luckynkl

    transgendered = the feeling like the body you were born in does not accurately represent who you are, gendered-ly speaking. always and forever, even when you have to use the bathroom.

    Feeling like the body I was born in does not represent me? ROFL. Oh, so men think bodies that reproduce should represent them? And they imagine they should be able to pull a baby out of their ass?

    Ok. I’ll play. I really, really feel like an eagle. I put on some eagle’s feathers and even got myself a pair of wings, but alas, the eagles would not accept me. They kept kicking me out of the nest. Eagles are biggots! They are hateful towards trans and discriminate against us!

    This is about what all this nonsense amounts to. In short, trans are nutjobs. The bathroom is about the last place I want to be alone with a male nutjob. These unfortunate, but seriously disturbed individuals belong on the 5th floor in a straight jacket. Not in a women’s bathroom.

  160. antiprincess

    This is about what all this nonsense amounts to. In short, trans are nutjobs. The bathroom is about the last place I want to be alone with a male nutjob. These unfortunate, but seriously disturbed individuals belong on the 5th floor in a straight jacket. Not in a women’s bathroom.

    ok – so a man walks into a psychiatrist’s office.
    he says “I don’t think I’m a man. I’ve thought really long and hard about it and I think I’m a woman. this body does not represent me.”

    what should the psychiatrist say?

    I mean, maybe you’re not a mental health professional (or maybe you are?) – but how do you suggest treating this disorder, instead of what’s done today? how would you suggest this man adjust?

    what is done today?

  161. antiprincess

    I mean, I know nobody really wants to care about Teh Menz. And I get what’s at the base of that – why expend energy worrying about male problems? women are not the Universal Mommy, etc.

    but if there is a real concern about the trangender menace creeping up and erasing womankind, maybe it would be a good idea to come up with some alternatives. maybe.

  162. CannibalFemme

    Hedonistic: “Whenever I see a child, cute or not, I need to suppress the urge to pull out my mace, despite the fact that the last time I had them checked the ovaries were still functional.”

    May buckets of chocolate chex-mix or whatever your preferred indulgence happens to be shower upon you, Hedonistic! I needed a chuckle this morning, after all this. Me and my crippling pedophobia are grateful.

    On the trans thing, except to say a collective thank-you for your comments, which provided me an opportunity to clarify exactly where I’m at vis-a-vis transphobia, I’m not saying another damn word. Y’all can consider this my thoughtful holiday gift to you.

  163. magickitty

    Thanks maribelle. Your post really clarifies for me my problem with including “other” groups in some aspects of feminism – the definition of “woman” gets diluted to the point where I don’t matter anymore, where women don’t matter anymore. And where the hell does that leave us?

  164. B. Dagger Lee

    Put me in the snuggly jacket on the fifth floor with the rest of the loonies, or out peeing in the alley, then, because I don’t want to be or pee anywhere where Kate Bornstein or Leslie Feinberg can’t be and pee, quite happily.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  165. hedonistic

    chocolate chex for everyone!!!

  166. maribelle

    Mandos: This implies to me that men will always be in conflict with women,

    Not at all. Beings that are different don’t have to be in conflict with one another as long as they are not trying to dominate one another.

    …and thus your previous comment (about women and girls forever needing a separate space for safety)

    A safe, private place to pee in public was actually what I said. Seems like a pretty basic point.

    Lya-thank you for salvaging my point from the flotsam and jetsam.

    Magickitty: And where the hell does that leave us?

    Out in the cold, apparently, looking for a private place to pee.

    anti-princess: For me, it’s not about the “trangender menace” which I don’t find particularly menacing. It’s about the women. The women. The women and girls. That’s where I keep my focus.

    I do what I can for others but frankly, it’s deep in the fourth quarter and things don’t look so good for the home team. But I’ve got all my money on Team Gaia and I’m letting it ride.

  167. anacas

    maribelle: People who decide that they’re the divinely appointed Gender Police aren’t checking genes or internal organs at the bathroom door. They yell at people who don’t look like what the patriarchy decided a woman should look like. Hence plenty of people who are women by even your narrow definition who simply can’t just take a leak in peace when they need to.

    For example, me. Nice to meet you. I have two X chromosomes, a uterus, ovaries, breasts, a cunt, and oodles of estrogen. I’m also tall, short-haired, deep-voiced and generally don’t prefer “feminine” clothes. Many of you would probably throw a fit if you saw me in the bathroom. You define me as a woman. Gender neutral bathrooms are a good thing for me and many other people you consider women, many of whom also consider themselves women, because they allow us to step outside the way the patriarchy wants us to look without having to worry every time we need to pee.

    Gendered bathrooms don’t make anyone any safer, since as I’ve said before, the sign on the bathroom door doesn’t have magical rapist-repellent properties. Gender-neutral bathrooms don’t increase rates of assault.

    I consider gendered bathrooms a necessary option alongside gender-neutral ones, if only so that a religious Jewish or Muslim woman who adheres to religiously prescribed modesty rules can adjust her sheitl or hijab/niqab/burqa. That’s the scenario that affords the greatest amount of flexibility for everyone.

  168. anacas

    B. Dagger Lee: Rock the fuck on! See you in the alley.

  169. Lya Kahlo

    Twisty – you were right – words are officially meaningless.

    “Hence plenty of people who are women by even your narrow definition”

    A narrow definition is, of course, that which narrows the word “woman” to include those of us who actually are women. I suppose “chair” is to narrowly defined as well. Clearly, it should include all furniture, unless chairs are just a big bunch of bigots.

    “Gender-neutral bathrooms don’t increase rates of assault.”

    Is there any proof of this, or are we just tossing hypothetical noodles at the wall hoping something sticks?

  170. saltyC

    “Many of you would probably throw a fit if you saw me in the bathroom. ”

    Not.

  171. anacas

    Institutions and establishments that have gender-neutral bathrooms don’t report any increase in assaults. The old PISSR (People in Search of Safe Restrooms) website linked to a study to that effect, but that site seems to be down. However, if you look at the crime statistics at colleges that have added gender-neutral bathrooms, there is no statistically significant increase after they’re added. Even schools that have gender neutral dorm bathrooms (i.e. bathrooms with showers, not just toilets) don’t report an increase in assaults.

  172. antiprincess

    re the restroom quandary – this post at ExGay Watch may intrigue some of y’all:

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/blog/archives/2006/12/peeing_in_peace.html

  173. anacas

    saltyC, I’d be all too thrilled to hear that you’re not inclined toward throwing a fit when you see someone in the women’s bathroom you don’t think is a woman. A step in the right direction, at least.

    But I don’t think that’s what you meant. If you mean that you think you can tell at a glance who’s a “woman-born-woman” and who’s not, you’re wrong. My experiences and those of MANY other people I know getting yelled at in bathrooms say otherwise. Sigh. Newsflash: you can’t see my uterus, you can’t smell my chromosomes, and my ovaries don’t announce themselves in public.

  174. CannibalFemme

    Yes, I admit it, I LIED when I said I’d shut up now. Now I suppose I need to go with the chocolate-dipped pretzels option as a gift. So be it.

    Anacas: I of course cannot speak for SaltyC, but on my own part, I also went with ‘not’, and also with ‘rowr’. And I am sorry that you’ve had to run the ‘I-know-which-door-it-is’ gauntlet.

    Antiprincess: excellent article, thank you!

    B. Dagger Lee: yes indeedy.

    Pointless rambling: my performance troupe includes both MTF and FTM performers, as well as genderqueer folks, butches and femmes. To date, we have been kicked out of four different rehearsal spaces, including two different community centers, the city college, and a private dance studio. In each of these instances, the given reason was ‘family values’. I originally took that to mean ‘because you’re all queer as fuck’, but upon further investigation it turns out to be because of bathroom use. Go figger.

  175. Pony

    It would be more believable if, when agreeing with a point of view, the poster said just that, instead of glossing mindless directionless blathering as “excellent article.”

  176. zawadi

    It’s unnerving to see feminists repeat exactly the same kinds of anti-trans rhetoric that conservatives and mean religious folk use.

    I’d like to point out that non-trans people (i.e., cisgender people) have a great deal of gender privilege. Yes, most of you do, and I do. There are many social rewards for being cisgender, and even if you refuse to look “feminine”, even if you’re a butch dyke, you still have it. Privilege can blind us to the reality of those without that same privilege.

    Anyone who thinks that trans people (or at least MTF people, since that’s the group that seems to be bothering many commenters here) have that much male privilege, then they really need to do some reading or expand their circles. Read ‘Stone Butch Blues’, at least, and have some empathy. Patriarchy underlies all kinds of oppressions, and transphobia is one of them.

    To those who think that the medical establishment is duping “men” into thinking they can become “women” through surgery, please keep in mind that there have always been groups of people (such as the hijra in India) and isolated individuals with no community, who despite massive social censure, have decided to live as the opposite of their biological sex, to the greatest extent they were able. Many transpeople become aware of their gender identity when they are still young children; as someone mentioned earlier, it is not a fetish and it is not transvestism.

  177. Burrow Klown

    thank you zawadi

  178. saltyC

    A woman is not the opposite of a man. A woman is not a castrated man.

    Don’t call me cisgendered, I reject that label, I’m not a sub-category of woman.

    Shouting women down and calling them transphobic and in line with conservatives, won’t give trans folk any more privilege or protect them from male violence.

    What does bringing up Hijra prove? No woman in India believes the Hijra are women, and the Hijra never insisted that they consider them such.

  179. saltyC

    Is it conservative to insist that gender is a fable? Do conservatives insist that femininity is a consrtuct?

    But it is conservative to say that make up and lack of body hair and a demure, affectedly delicate poise is female.

    The MTF’s I have known spend at least 70% of their energy, time and money trying to prove they are conventionally feminine.

    I’ll go along with all of the struggles for access to jobs, housing, respect, etc. But don’t ask me to accept that womanhood is not real, and not a matter of gender or femininity.

  180. Pony

    What does cisgendered mean?

  181. zawadi

    Of course women aren’t the opposite of a man or castrated men. Transwomen, however, *are* transwomen (not simply either “men” or “women”).

    I take your point about “cisgender”. I’m not trying to dilute women or call you a sub-category of woman. But inasmuch as I agree that I’m cisgender, I agree that am a sub-category of human. It’s not a value judgement. Inasmuch as much as I am brown and middle-class and queer, I am fine with realising that I belong to (politically significant) sub-categories of woman. I don’t see anything wrong with recognising that there are many differences among women.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was shouting. I waited until I was calm to post.

    My point about Hijra may have not been stated clearly (and they’re not the best example). I wasn’t trying to say that they’re women or that they are accepted as (or think of themselves as) women. What I was referring to is that many of them can be considered to fall under the (Western) definitions of “transgender”. My point was that the modern medical establishment hasn’t created the issue (as another poster has said), and that for many centuries, transgendered people, as we conceptualise them now, have existed and actively worked to self-actualise.

  182. saltyC

    oops too many double nagatives.I meant “But don’t ask me to accept that womanhood is not real, and merely a matter of gender or femininity.”

  183. Mar Iguana

    MTF? Male to female?! I don’t THINK so. Male to something or another but male to female, uh uh, no. If that’s not fantasyland, I don’t know what.

    I truly wish we lived in a world where that something or another had a name, a concept and boys with this “feeling” had some definition of themselves that was accepted and respected. That we don’t certainly isn’t the doing of women. Take it up with the MDs and the shrinks, not us. Fucking patriarchy.

  184. Luckynkl

    Of course women aren’t the opposite of a man or castrated men. Transwomen, however, *are* transwomen (not simply either “men” or “women”).

    MTF trans are SCAMS. Surgically/Chemically Altered Males. But no matter how you slice and dice them, they’re still male.

    What is a man?
    Answer: an adult human male.

    What is a woman?
    Answer: an adult human female

    What are male transsexuals?
    Answer: Men. They are adult human males.

    Male transsexuals are not female, never have been female, and never will be female. So using the term “transwoman” is erroneous terminology. Trans are not women (adult human females) in any sense of the word. Many prefer to use the terminology “She-Male.” Which, altho closer on target, still co-opts that which is not his to own or have and which will forever elude him. He can never be female. He therefore can never be a woman, a transwoman, a mtf, a she, or any other word which covets, co-opts and objectifies those that are of the female sex.

    What hasn’t been brought up yet is that transgenderism is based on 19th century thinking. That’s right. While the bible thumpers would like to turn the clocks back 2,000 years, the trans boys would like to transport us all back to the 1800′s. In the 1800′s, if a woman showed assertion, took charge, had a head for business or figures, or showed any sign of being anything other than a doormat, she was thought to be a transgendered male. Wanna go back to those good old days? Well the trans boys sure do.

    This same 19th century fucked up thinking brought us hysterectomies and the ban on abortion. Surprise, surprise. It was not the godbags that banned abortion. It was the doctor boys. Abortion was not an issue with the godbags. Abortion was acceptable up until “the quickening.” Even in Christianity. “The Quickening” refers to the period when women feel fetal movement. Which occurs about the 5th month.

    It is the 19th century doctor boys that wanted to meddle with sex, conflate gender roles, and take control over female anatomy and reproduction. The patriarchs wrestled control away from mid-wives and replaced women’s natural remedies for healing with the boys’ beloved scapel knives. Got an affliction? Hey, just step right on up here to the veg-e-matic. It slices, it dices, it chops! It continues on with trans.

    These same gender fucktarded doctors, brought us today’s fucked up ideas about lesbians. Which the doctor boys conflated with deviant male sexual behavior and applied to females without any grounds or basis for it.

    No thank you, trans boys. I have no desire to return to 19th century thinking.

  185. Mandos

    Maribelle:

    Not at all. Beings that are different don’t have to be in conflict with one another as long as they are not trying to dominate one another.

    But when one kind has an interest in the activity of another kind, then you have at least the potential for a conflict. And if women are defined, socially and psychologically, as forever and always apart from men, then how do avoid realizing that potential?

    There’s a subtext here that maybe I’m not realing correctly: in this discussion, the difference between maleness and femaleness is defined in terms of what males lack, at least by implication. To me, there’s an implied conflict right there.

    A safe, private place to pee in public was actually what I said. Seems like a pretty basic point.

    You said more than this. You said that gender separate bathrooms would be needed “forever”, for safety. That isn’t basic at all. That suggests that women will forever be unsafe in gender neutral bathrooms. Which suggests that men as a class will always be a danger to women in one context or aonther.

    Here’s the quote:

    Public restrooms should be gender separate forever and always for the safety of women and girls.

    It’s hard for me to interpret this without reading a pessimistic implication into that “forever”.

  186. Mandos

    So: it seems that there are a lot of women who

    1. feel that they have a shared experience of being women.

    2. consider that shared experience of being women is what has targeted them for oppression.

    3. desire a space in which to define that experience in their own terms.

    That seems fair enough to me, as a desire. What it might accomplish is a matter for much debate.

    If MTFs can only validate their existances in our culture by breaking into this particular dynamic, well, that’s a problem. And of course radical feminists who hold to the 1-3 necessarily *have* to oppose them. Now the only question is whether MTFs really necessarily require disrupting the radical feminist conversation in order to gain acceptance and safetly in present-day culture. If they do, it’s not just a problem, it’s an impasse.

    Thing is, it’s not clear to me that MTFs themselves, as people, exist to violate 1-3. They are often people in great pain, or at least mental and/or physical discomfort who are struggling to escape what an unwanted body has imposed on them in a very fundamental way. It must be a truly terrible thing to be put into this situation.

    While according to some of you they are but men, I fail to see how it advances *anyone’s* cause to pour salt into the wound. Does feminism necessarily require shoving men-or-MTFs-or-whatever back into the “man” box, at least in argument? Shoving people back into their “proper” boxes seems a rather paradoxical thing to do around here.

  187. Luckynkl

    But when one kind has an interest in the activity of another kind, then you have at least the potential for a conflict. And if women are defined, socially and psychologically, as forever and always apart from men, then how do avoid realizing that potential?

    There’s a subtext here that maybe I’m not realing correctly: in this discussion, the difference between maleness and femaleness is defined in terms of what males lack, at least by implication. To me, there’s an implied conflict right there.

    For all your rich fantasy lives, it never ceases to amaze me how you boys cannot imagine an egalitarian world. (Go look the word up, Mandos. It’s your new word for today that you can pretend to know all about). Identities for those born male under the patriarchy are so wrapped up in the patriarchal construct of dominance and submission that they apparently cannot imagine a world without it.

    Difference does not = conflict. Difference does not = better than or less than. Difference does not = dominance or submissiveness. Difference means simply that. Different. And I for one love the different varieties of human beings that can come in every size, shape, color and flavor. How boring would it be for us to all look alike and be alike?

    The problem is not in our differences. But the way the patriarchs put value and worth on those differences. Males are given more value and worth than females. Masculinity is given more worth and value than femininity. Anglos are given more value and worth than people of color. Hetero people are given more value and worth than homosexual people. Christians are given more value and worth than athiests. Blondes are given more worth and value than brunettes. Slender people are given more worth and value than fat people. A doctor is given more worth and value than a store clerk. And so on and so forth.

    The problem is not in our differences but in our value system. A value system that is based on patriarchal constructs. IOWs, a few select men basically pull this shit out of their ass and make up it up and according to their whims decide who and what has value and worth so they can grant themselves power and privilege they are not entitled to and take what don’t belong to them.

    I know, I know. You are so desperate to prove that dominance in men is somehow stamped on the Y chromosome and that it is inheritant and inevitable for Y’s to rule and dominate over X’s. Get over it, Mandos. It’s complete and utter patriarchal hogwash.

    If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty, X’s could take the Y’s and their patriarchal horseshit out any time we please. Always could. We can do it without firing a single shot, without spilling one drop of blood, without having one cross word or having a single confrontation. There is some truth in the saying that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand the rules the world. But back up a few steps. 9 months worth of steps.

    You see, Mandos, women can live fine without you boys. It’s you boys that cannot live without women. Your very existence is dependent on women. For without us X’s, you boys cannot exist. Keep your shit up and who knows? Maybe women will just decide to stop producing you boys altogether?

    And that m’dear, is what really separates the boys from the girls. And why men cannot ultimately be dominant. And precisely why this transgender horseshit has no substance and can hold no water. Can a trans pull a baby out of his ass? Name me one that has.

    I’m waiting.

    Still waiting.

    La-la-la, I’m still w-a-i-t-i-n-g.

    I will forever wait. Because, silly boys, trix are for kids.

  188. Mary Sunshine

    It’s the same-old same-old.

    Females are required to answer to males, and never the reverse.

    Females are required to cherish and nurture males, and never the reverse.

    Females are punished by other females for transgressing either of the above imperatives.

    Trannies can sit back and let their female cops do the work for them – witness this hijacked thread.

  189. Mar Iguana

    The Mandos manometer is registering the usual high reading at around 900 mm here, give or take a brain fart or two.

  190. Sandinista

    First of all: Thank you, Zawadi.

    antiprincess:

    Even if “tricking” is being used in that sense, I still don’t understand what Sam is getting at. In any case, Sam has decided that I don’t deserve to have it explained. I’ll live, somehow.

    maribelle:

    [i] And I think its disingenuous to fight for women, but only some women. [/i]

    Even in your world view, what percentage of women are trans? On behalf of this tiny percentage, you would invalidate all of a woman’s life work on behalf of other women?

    I don’t know that it invalidates her life’s work; perhaps not. But it’s high time for her and everyone here to know better. I don’t care how tiny a minority is: feminism can’t be about being exclusionary. Never again.

    And considering that only a tiny minority of transwomen were born male, does it surprise you that some women would be bitter about women born women’s needs being displaced, yet again, for the male born?

    Yes, it does. Particularly since I would never dream of asking that women’s needs be displaced. Also because what feminism requires, what it needs is an end to all oppressions, not just ours.

    There is no explaining certain parts of being a woman. Case in point: my friend’s two year old daughter was so cute the other day my ovaries started to throb… Face it—women are inexplicable. We are born, not made. We are created. We cannot be made by human hands, sculpted from the rib of Adam. We are something else again.

    Right. So this is the cutting edge of radfem, now? Throbbing ovaries and the double-x-chromosome mystique? Don’t get me wrong, throb those ovaries all you want. But don’t frikkin’ implicate me in it.
    And I’m neither inexplicable, nor interested in being “something else again.” Jeez, when did the “oooh, aaah, mysterious creature!” pedestal become an element of radfem?! See, this is the kind of crap that comes of trying to essentialize biology and exclude transpeople.

    Luckynkl

    Radical feminists do recognize trans. They just don’t recognize trans boys as women.

    That sounds so familiar, somehow. Oh, right. “Gay people do have the right to get married. They can marry someone of the opposite sex.”

    Radical feminists oppose gender roles, mutilation and human rights violations, silly.

    Well, hang on while I dig up a medal.

    Now how do you propose that RFs and trans work together when we have opposite and conflicting goals?

    I propose that radfems make the mental effort to recollect what the effing point of this movement was supposed to BE. It’s the SAME goal.

    That’s like asking the KKK and NAACP to work together to end racism. Now stop being willfully ignorant.

    Did you really just compare transpeople to the FREAKING KKK and then call me willfully ignorant. God, what the hell is WRONG with you?

    Pony:

    Cisgendered essentially means that one’s sex and gender match up in traditional ways. (It does not involve manifesting traditional gender attributes, such as femininity.)

    saltyC & Mary Sunshine:

    Shouting women down and calling them transphobic

    Trannies can sit back and let their female cops do the work for them – witness this hijacked thread.

    Um, shouting you down? Hijacked thread? Is my posting access here shinier than yours or something? I believe this is what we call a “conversation.” There are at least as many transphobic people here as there are of us. We don’t have the upper hand in any way, except for being right.

  191. Pony

    anacas I don’t understand what you are saying here:

    “{…} and orchiectomies are a comparatively inexpensive option with a lot of long term health benefits),{…}.

  192. Pony

    Sandanista thank you, but I’m not much the wiser. I’ll have to google it to see if I can find some context to understanding this term.

  193. Lya Kahlo

    Isn’t it just a little bit hypocritical to be insulting radfems while complaining about being insulted? Isn’t it just a little bit arrogant to be telling women what the goals of feminism are?

    If your goal is to convince us that everything Luckynkl, mar, Mary, Maribelle etc said is right, you’re doing a bang up job.

  194. Mary Sunshine

    Yup, yup.

    It’s all about the neccessity of prioritizing the needs of trannies above those of women who are unwilling to cede the term “female” to males.

    The minority always trumps the majority, if the minority is male, and the majority female.

    Trannies are a male minority who insist upon being “recognized” as females. To do this, they use their misogynist female police force to direct intense hatred against those of us who refuse to accede to their demands that we be silent about our knowledge of the essential difference between males and females.

    Oh, yes, there’s definitely something WRONG with us. And as we all know, females who behave WRONGLY need to be severely punished by other women.

    Thread hijacking is done by trolls. It is invasive and malicious. It is done to establish the dominance of one population of posters (trolls) over that of another. It diverts the original thread topic which was (presumably) set as a topic of common interest, to a position of advocacy for a POV that is not on topic to the original post.

    Thread drift is an entirely different phenomenon. It is a friendly, whimsical drifting around that does not intentionally divert from the original topic to take up an adversarial, invasive “position”.

    Hijacking the definition of feminism has been a very successful invasive strategy of trannies for decades now. They have succeeded in placing transactivism ahead of traditional feminism in every public feminist environment to which they have had access, namely all of them. Women cave in, not out of any basic belief in transactivism, but because they don’t know how to do any kind of battle with males on this front. And again, as usual, females are loathe to try to do battle with female defenders of males.

    Trannies have also, (in my observation and experience), 99% succeeded in hijacking Lesbian-only space. The 1% is Lesbian Separatist (i.e. for separatists only) space in which trannies may be actually be present (as poseurs) but are restricted from advocating for themselves.

    For that matter, there is little or no attempt any more (that I can see) to create “generic” (not limited to separatists) Lesbian space, now that lesbians having been 99% subsumed by the queer movement. The queer movement, in turn, is all about denying the intrinsic differences between males and females, or objectifying those differences. To whose benefit? Full marks if you guessed males.

  195. maribelle

    Mandos: the difference between maleness and femaleness is defined in terms of what males lack, at least by implication. To me, there’s an implied conflict right there.

    Sigh. Who on earth is comparing, Mandos? Can you only read my words and try to find out who has “more” or “less”, who is “winning”? Don’t you see that that is the basic problem in a nutshell?

    Mandos waxes eloquent on women space: That seems fair enough to me, as a desire. What it might accomplish is a matter for much debate.

    Dude, I count many male allies in the ongoing fight against patriarchy. But your arch tone is really starting to make my teeth ache. To be clear:

    1. I don’t care how fair it sounds to you. No woman has asked for your permission to gather together by themselves. We have gathered alone as women since the dawn of time and we will do so until the end of it. Not only do we not need your permission, you couldn’t stop us if you tried.
    2. Women who spend considerable time in all-women environments know *exactly* what they accomplish. (hint: it’s different for every woman.)
    3. Any “debate” on what women space might accomplish would only be among women. You have no part in that debate and it really isn’t your business.

    Mandos: “Forever and always” for “safety”? This therefore assumes that it is the Natural State for women to be in danger.

    I won’t go down that slippery slope with you. There is nothing natural (interesting use of caps, there) in the female of the species being regularly terrorized, exploited and murdered by the male of the species. That is clearly an evolutionary dead end, brought to you in part by patriarchy.

    We’ll get round patriarchy one way or another; it is self destroying system.

  196. Pony

    Nora Ephron had it long ago with teh final sentence in her essay on Christine Jorgensen, posed as a response to her rhetorical question “who would think this is female?”

    Who but a man.

  197. Pony

    Oops wrong man. It was Jan Morris.

  198. magickitty

    Sandinista, you can’t claim that we as feminists must never be exclusionary again, and then divide us into “transphobics” and “us.” It’s a polarising issue to be sure, but please have some perspective on the overall goals of feminism.

    My personal story, and the reason why I can spare little energy for the rights of transfolk:

    I’m 37 years old. I realised I was a feminist in my teens, and when I got to university, joined the Women’s Centre to participate in on-campus activism. Being the only woman of colour, I was aware that my issues were rather enhanced, but that my core goals were the same as the Centre: to stop violence against women, and to fight for women’s equal status.

    It was an easy choice to subjugate my own personal issues to the work of the Centre, because once the patriarchy fell, everything else would improve for EVERYONE.

    But then we made the mistake of getting too inclusionary. (There was a lot of upper middle-class white woman guilt in effect.) We allied with other on-campus women’s groups (mostly ethnic or religious in origin) and we allied with the LGBT group, we allied with every group going in order to be inclusionary. We hogtied ourselves. We could never make decisions, because we had to include everyone’s opinion. We lost our focus in the effort to take care of everyone’s needs. We became ineffective, and we were no longer a positive force – we were neutralised.

    And I, for one, burned right the fuck out. I had to take a break from active feminism – a break that lasted the next dozen years, it turned out, until (oddly enough) I had a kid of my own – and I realised that nothing’s fucking changed. Women as a group are still fucked over. So I had to jump back in, but with a significant difference.

    It is overwhelming and tiring to take care of everyone – to be the Universal Mommy. But I feel that as a mother, I can only love and nurture – my kid has to go through his own process, discover his own needs, and determine his own outcome. I can’t do it for him.

    And so follows my own growth as a feminist. As it turns out, it comes full circle. I cannot take care of everyone. I cannot take care of transfolk, of pro-feminist men, of women who don’t even know they need help, of every tiny minority. I can only take care of women – to make them safe, to make them equal. And I truly believe that once that happens, then everyone will benefit.

    That said, I have no wish to exclude those who want to help. However, they must respect the core tenets of feminism, and not detract or distract from those tenets. They must also agitate for their own particular issues, but they must agitate against the patriarchy – not against feminists. As amananta so rightly said, useless in-fighting won’t get us anywhere – we have to take the fight to the top.

  199. Pony

    Crazy Salad
    Nora Ephron

    http://tinyurl.com/wjrca

    “Which is to say that Ephron had then and presumably has to this day no patience with ideologues, fools, poseurs and the self-deluded. The classic piece with which “Crazy Salad” ends, her evisceration of the post-sex-change Jan Morris (“James Morris has become Jan Morris, an Englishwoman who wears sweater sets and pearls, blushes frequently, bursts into tears at the littlest things, and loves having a gossip with someone named Mrs. Weatherby”)”

  200. Erin

    I looked out of curiosity. I copy here because it seems somewhat appropriate:

    “He hoped that she might make amends for the many very plain faces he was continually passing in the streets. The worst of Bath was, the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion.”

    - Jane Austen, ≤i≥Persuasion

  201. maribelle

    To clarify my view:

    ~Woman and man are both unique and glorious beings, and contemplation of their individual wonders could last a thousand years.
    ~Men and women both possess male and female energies, and contemplation of how this unique blending makes up fully realized humans could last a thousand years, (or the length of one thread here.) (I tease! don’t sue!)

    It’s all about the balance; right now the male energies, priorities and values have dominated our planet for so long that we are in danger of tipping the whole thing over–politically, militarily and environmentally.

    That’s why I post and read here–this isn’t some intellectual exercise, some “boys against girls” cosmic soccer match–this shit’s important.

    RE: transfolk and gatherings: I will talk, negotiate and break bread with just about anyone who is reasonable and listen to their view. I have great sympathy for anyone who feels that anything about their birth or biology is “wrong”, and I welcome transwomen and transmen into my life listen deeply to their stories.

    My issue comes when I am told who I can and cannot gather with. When I am told that I am a bigot if I wish to join in the woods with my sisters once a year.

    I think that every person on this planet has the right to gather with any particular grouping they wish. Women whose Quivers are full of babies have the right to get together and share fertility tips. Mothers with blonde hair, Latino hairdressers and men who drink to excess but want to stop and on and on. Yes, that also means the white men who run the world; they have a right to gather and plot the overthrow of the rest of us. But when it comes to women, born women, no, that is unacceptable.

    To even have a category called “women born women” is, according to one website, “bullshit.” Women can’t even claim their own identity, say the trans folk. And that’s when they started to piss me off.

  202. Mar Iguana

    “…I would never dream of asking that women’s needs be displaced. Also because what feminism requires, what it needs is an end to all oppressions, not just ours.” Sandinista

    Impressive. You manage to do exactly that in just one, short sentence. Late breakin’ nooz: I ain’t the patriarchy’s cleaning woman.

  203. Mar Iguana

    “But Luckynl, much in the way there is nothing objectively oppressive about lipstick, the bathrooms at your dormitory weren’t the problem.” hedonistic

    I Blame The Porcelain.

    Sorry. I just smoked me meds and am feelin’ fine. Where’s my choco-Chex?

  204. Pony

    I et it.

    That’s right HPS; it’s not the bathrooms or the lipstick. It’s the men who think using either will make them women.

  205. saltyC

    Mar, here’s some choco-chex, now pass the meds.

  206. Mar Iguana

    Thanks. (sssth)Here ya go. No Bogie I.

  207. Adrienne

    This has been an interesting thread to read through. In the end, it just seems like this is yet another point in which women are expected to compromise on.

  208. Luckynkl

    Andrienne:
    In the end, it just seems like this is yet another point in which women are expected to compromise on.

    Compromise? Nah. Women are expected to surrender.

    Sandinista:
    That sounds so familiar, somehow. Oh, right. “Gay people do have the right to get married. They can marry someone of the opposite sex.”

    Gay people? Oh, you mean really, really happy people?

    Besides the fact that your ANALogy is at best, bizarre, I oppose ALL marriage, happy or not. Marriage is a barbaric institution, sanctioned by the church and state (which contrary to the lip service we’re given, is one and the same), which grants men legal ownership of women, their assets, their services, their labor, their bodies, as well as anything that might pop out of those bodies. You know, sorta like the way men own dogs and their pups?

    One doesn’t dismantle the house by adding another room onto the house, silly.

  209. Luckynkl

    magickitty”
    ..we allied with every group going in order to be inclusionary. We hogtied ourselves. We could never make decisions, because we had to include everyone’s opinion. We lost our focus in the effort to take care of everyone’s needs. We became ineffective, and we were no longer a positive force – we were neutralised.

    And I, for one, burned right the fuck out.

    …and I realised that nothing’s fucking changed. Women as a group are still fucked over.

    It is overwhelming and tiring to take care of everyone – to be the Universal Mommy.

    Which would be the whole point of it, no? To keep feminism neutralized and patriarchy firmly in place? Men didn’t get to rule by being stupid.

    I cannot take care of everyone. I cannot take care of transfolk, of pro-feminist men, of women who don’t even know they need help, of every tiny minority. I can only take care of women – to make them safe, to make them equal. And I truly believe that once that happens, then everyone will benefit.

    You’re a very wise woman.

  210. Pony

    That fire cut a swath through the women’s movement here too.

  211. Mar Iguana

    “…they use their misogynist female police force…” (Sorry. Can’t find who wrote this above)

    Oh, I like that. How about MFPD, Misogynist Female Police Department, the MFers for short? Their pappys would never allow them to be an actual force.

    Mary Sunshine, magickitty, maribelle, Luckynkl: Thank you for your ability to put it down, clear and consise. A special thank you, magickitty, for your work with women and for the history of why the second wave “failed.” which, of course, it didn’t. It sure got bogged down though.

    I too believe when women are safe and equal, everybody else is going to be just fine.

    Today’s nearest book, page 123, sentences 7 and; 8:

    “But if there are no processes or programs through which people inside can take responsibility for their crimes, admit their guilt, look at what led them to commit those crimes, and release their sorrow and suffering, there is no possibility of change. Not for the prisoners or their victims.” From Eve Ensler’s “Insecure At Last, Losing It In Our Security Obsessed World”

  212. Mary Sunshine

    Here’s a handy link:

    http://www.questioningtransgender.org/Stealth.htm

    The rest of the website is likewise excellent.

    :-)

  213. darkymac

    Ah, meret The Terror had it all and you get the prize for the most spot-on dip.

    Not only was de Gouges about 4 generations ahead of her time – especially in that most mysogynist of uprisings – she was dismissed by everyone as insane. And it couldn’t be otherwise really, considering that the prime mover Rousseau planted women as only privately powerful and only through mother/child connections at that.
    The big joke on women during the Revolution was the personification of Liberty. Bare-titted and flag wielding. The Terror did replace her with conventional boy hunkery, but in its time Liberty was as constricting a paradigm as lipstick and high heels.
    And of course there was the Robespierre factor. The odds against égalité with his mistrust of women, bolstered by the home and hearth underpinnings of Rousseau, are about the same as you find in the haute couture salons now.
    Furthermore, female equality was given a full-blown trial run during the absence from home of rural citoyens – - and just the same as it was in the immediate years after 20th century conflicts that threw equality back in women’s faces once women’d proven themselves in all the industrial and managerial places vacated by cannon fodder, once recognised fully, was supressed.

    There are a few more well-documented brilliant revolutionary women’s careers. Try de Staël for how the patriarchy has to deal with strong women – or Fontenay and Récamier for how slightly less strong women come around to getting incorporated in the patriarchy.

    There isn’t a pleasant ending to any of their biographies.

    Oh Pony, James Morris. Great career move to get castrated and put on a bit of lippy. It transformed him from a third rate memoirist (putting it kindly) into a long-lived third rate traveloguer. Mincing queer aesthete travellers were becoming so last-epoch when he made the dress change. What a joke the man is.

    And last is Greer’s refusal to accept the fellowship of one Rachael Padman in Newnham College (a women’s college) for the so-called attention-seeking reason that Padman wasn’t a woman.
    Greer resigned her own fellowship but remains condemned for “attention-seeking”. It really did her career a power of good, yep.
    Meanwhile another man has entrenched himself in a powerful position within a women’s community — and got there by stealth, not by virtue of having grown up as a woman and succeeded academically in spite of it. Can you imagine being a Cambridge fresher needing to sound the problems of periods and pregnancy against this wise older castrato? And not being made explicitly aware that this is whom you’re dealing with?

    I think it’s too late to argue. The men are not pleased with the power that women have gained for themselves – however small and institutionally derived – and there is only one way to deal with that lads: get in there and either infest it or exploit it for patriarchal rewards.
    Women who think they have any say about whether men are allowed to belong to women’s institutions need to have another look; we’ve already lost that fight too.

    The single most abrasive thing about these successful men who dress up, used as avatars by the political push to have men accepted as women, who insist that their drug and surgery makeup has nothing to do with how they see themselves as confident agents in the world, is that their confidence is largely because they got their education and recognition in their field of work as men, well before they started putting on a bit of slap. In essence, the makeup is just like buying yourself that good car you’ve promised yourself while working towards a degree.
    I fancy that a bloke who’d started dressing and acting like a female during his foundation education wouldn’t be either in a powerful position within a woman’s institution – because he’d have had the stuffing knocked out of him along with the real women in school and would have most likely taken on the self-limiting attitude that all good slaves must have to survive – or in any way likely to report being so effing self-satisfied as the John Morrises and Rachael Padmans of this world.

    I have no comment to offer on feeling safer in women’s dunnies; I’ve been bashed by women in one. But this is in Australia and it’s a very different kind of post-colonial society here.

    Season’s greetings anyway, and I get such relief from being able to press that blame button.

  214. Luckynkl

    Recommended reading: “The Transsexual Empire” by Janice Raymond. It’s one of the best books out there on the subject from a radical feminist point of view. “Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist perspective” by Sheila Jeffreys is another excellent book. Sheila Jeffreys is a personal favorite of mine. As is Mary Daly, who also gives some analysis on transsexualism in “GYN/Ecology.” Daly, as usual, is way ahead of time.

    Speaking of being way ahead of her time, Mary Shelley’s classic, “Frankenstein,” about says it all.

  215. Sandinista

    magickitty:

    Sandinista, you can’t claim that we as feminists must never be exclusionary again, and then divide us into “transphobics” and “us.” It’s a polarising issue to be sure, but please have some perspective on the overall goals of feminism.

    I’m not the one doing the dividing. And I’m certainly not the one without persepctive on the overall goals of feminism. The overall goals of feminism involve fighting oppression. All oppression, not just the one that’s currently kicking your ass. I swear, we went through two waves of this crap. I’d really thought we’d at least learned to pay lip service to inclusion.

    That said, I have no wish to exclude those who want to help. However, they must respect the core tenets of feminism, and not detract or distract from those tenets. They must also agitate for their own particular issues, but they must agitate against the patriarchy – not against feminists.

    Trans activists do not agitate against feminism. But the movement does not revolve, cannot revolve around one group. Our oppression is no more significant, no more pressing and no more horrific than anyone else’s. Yes, everyone should agitate against the patriarchy. But everyone should also agitate against transphobia. And neither of those should be conditional. Just as transpeople should oppose the patriarchy in spite of the radfem jackasses who won’t recognize or support them, women should oppose the gender binary, regardless of whether every single transperson is a good feminist. You want their unqualified support and that’s fair, but only if you’re willing to turn around and give the same thing back. Hint: not what you’re currently doing.

    mirabelle:

    My issue comes when I am told who I can and cannot gather with. When I am told that I am a bigot if I wish to join in the woods with my sisters once a year.

    You’re only a bigot when you wish to arbitrarily excludge some of your sisters from that joining.

    Mar Iguana:

    I ain’t the patriarchy’s cleaning woman.

    Neither is anyone else.

    adrienne:

    In the end, it just seems like this is yet another point in which women are expected to compromise on.

    There is no compromise involved in universally promoting one’s own principles.

    Luckynkl:

    Could you please stop calling me “silly.” That’s what men do to me when I try to voice opinions. I’m not “silly,” I just disagree with you. In radfem circles, can we up the level of discourse a bit? I’d be much obliged.

    Besides the fact that your ANALogy is at best, bizarre, I oppose ALL marriage, happy or not.

    Way to spectacularly miss my point. I wasn’t advocating any sort of marriage. I was replicating the disingenuous godbag response to those who advocate gay marriage. This response hinges on refusing to recognize the agency of others and pretending that proferring an identical paradigm amounts to granting equal rights. Which is exactly what you are doing.

  216. Luckynkl

    Could you please stop calling me “silly.” That’s what men do to me when I try to voice opinions. I’m not “silly,” I just disagree with you. In radfem circles, can we up the level of discourse a bit? I’d be much obliged.

    I’ve never heard a man use the word “silly” in my life. It’s much too feminine a word for he-men to be caught dead using. Egads, someone might mistake them for being gay! Nice try tho.

    And what’s this “we” shit? There is no “we” in radical feminist circles between radical feminists and trans. Rfs do not recognize men as women. End of story. Now save your breath get your foot out of the door and stop trying to manipulate, bully and con your way in to infiltrate and co-opt radical feminism with your patriarchy. Cuz it just ain’t going to happen.

    As for the rest of the crap you’re trying to feed me, I personally don’t give a flying fuck at the moon about men and their problems. As far as I’m concerned, men are walking problems. They’ve created a mess out of the world and now they’d like to have women clean it up for them? Same old gender roles being forced down women’s throats. The role of nurturer and caretaker. Well get over it. I’m not any boy’s mommy, I’m not the maid, and I’m not the cleaning lady. The boys made these messes all by themselves and they can clean it up all by themselves too.

    Radical feminists should also not be mistaken for that green-tinted lady holding a torch in NY harbor. That would be the Statue of Liberty. Don’t confuse the two. It’s the Statue of Liberty that wants your tired boys, your poor boys. your insane boys, and your rejects. Not radical feminists.

  217. Luckynkl

    Oops. Forgot the extra “t” in statute. My bad.

  218. Pony

    A rad fem analysis of Frankenstein from Luckynkl. Dare I hope?

  219. Pony

    Darkymac all the best in 2007. Couldn’t you drop in more often? I blame you know who for the rarity of your gems.

  220. JackGoff

    I’ve never heard a man use the word “silly” in my life. It’s much too feminine a word for he-men to be caught dead using. Egads, someone might mistake them for being gay! Nice try tho.

    And Luckynkl’s experiences are Sandinista’s experiences are all women’s experiences.

    Please. The objection is to your bullshit condescension to sandinista’s point. Read a bit, please. It might make you seem less hateful, thought that may be a stre3tch, since your view of same-sex marriage is that is the same as traditional marriage (which I personally am against as well, though that’s my own opinion). You object to marriage as being a barbaric institution where a man is given dictatorial rights over a woman. Does this occur in a marriage between two men or two women? I eagerly await your (bigoted) answer, luckynkl.

  221. JackGoff

    I apologize for typos, by the way. I’m a terrible typist and an even worse proofreader.

  222. darkymac

    Here you go Pony, although I don’t agree that I contribute much of anything, I found this article from ampersand that urges sisters to petition the execrable Knopf/Random House to get off their bums and commission an english translation of the Second Sex that isn’t a joke.
    I’ll repeat the link to the petition here for those who know the background and just want to do it.
    Online petition to have The Second Sex given a respectable translation

    For those who are reading the Knopf Parshley translation, you can be pretty sure that if something in de Beauvoir’s logic doesn’t chime, it’s most likely the translator’s inattentive work.

  223. Luckynkl

    You object to marriage as being a barbaric institution where a man is given dictatorial rights over a woman. Does this occur in a marriage between two men or two women? I eagerly await your (bigoted) answer, luckynkl.

    The answer is yes, JackOff.

    Point 1: Staking out claims for ownership of another and thinking of him or her as property is at best, unethical. Viewing people as property that one can own is downright slave/master mentality. So what are gay boys and lesbians trying to say? That they want to get in on the action and have the opportunity to own people too? But instead of the opposite sex, they’d like to own members of the same sex?

    Just why does one need to ask Pappa and get his permission to be with someone one wants to spend their life with? Why is a license required? Are people dogs? Because that’s what it means to license a dog. It’s declaring ownership.

    Point 2: Marriage is a religious ceremony. Being there is a separation of church and state (ha, ha), religious ceremonies had no business being sanctioned by the state in the first place.

    P.S. Now there’s a real big clue. Marriage is a religious ceremony brought to us courtesy of the godbags. Since only the wealthy guys could afford to be married by the church, the poor guys invented common-law marriage so they could own women just like the wealthy guys!

    Point 3: The whole idea is to get rid of the house of patriarchy, not build another room onto it. By supporting gay and lesbian marriage, who are by and far the minority, it supports the majority, who are by and far, hetero, and reinforces an institutional which gives men ownership and dictorial rights over women.

    I know, I know. It’s difficult to think of anyone outside your own selfish, self-centered ass. But try. Start looking at the big picture. Think about the many women across the globe that have no choice in who they marry. Think of the 8 year old girls that are bethrothed in marriage to 50 year old men and what that does to a child’s body. Her flesh torn apart, her bones mangled, and left to rot in putrid infection. And goddess forbid if her husband dies first. Which is of course inevitable if she’s 8 and he’s 50. She is blamed for his death, she is ostracized, and thrown out onto the streets. She has to chant hare kristna for 4 hours to get a bowl of rice and another 4 hours to get a stinking drink of water. Little wonder women chose suttee.

    Have you given one ounce of thought to any of this, JackOff? Of course not. Otherwise you wouldn’t have stuck your foot in your mouth with your ignorant comments. Now kindly chew vigorously on that foot and swallow. I’ll support this barbaric institution when pigs fly.

  224. JackGoff

    Thanks, luckynkl. Reading through your screed has been illuminating.

  225. Pinko Punko

    Fun thread, I’m just here for the chex mix and I’m out. I’d love to see lucknkl in a room full of trans, since it is clear she denies any and all legitimacy for all trans. Just tell them exactly what they are and how they feel and how they are merely manifestations of patriarchy. And just start with female-to-male ones, because, even more than your extra special interps for mtf, I’d expect your interps for ftm to be profoundly and deeply offensive to them. Doesn’t even mean you’d be wrong, but we’ll never know will we? We’re all just defining our own world views based on our own bullshit. I’ve got more than enough of my own, as I’d expect you’ve got plenty of your own. Just keep dealing it.

  226. Sandinista

    And Luckynkl’s experiences are Sandinista’s experiences are all women’s experiences.

    Oh, but of course. And what’s really at the core of radfem is telling me that what I’ve experienced just isn’t possible. Now that’s the way to validate women’s experiences!

    There is no “we” in radical feminist circles between radical feminists and trans.

    I know you insist on being a bigot, but could you at least not generalize this and speak for the rest of us? I think it’s fairly clear that a sizeable portion of the radfem represented on this board, myself included, place themselves in just such a “we.”

    So, are transwomen (who aren’t men, no matter how thoroughly you cling to your denial) the only group you want to arbitrarily exclude from your club? Or should others of us watch out as well? And, just out of curiosity, why do you think we’re on a third wave, if not because of bullshit like this?

  227. Pony

    At least Lucky gives her opinion about SCAMs freely, which is more than the psychiatrists and surgeons who make their living off these men. What could be better, not only do they not have to pay for research subjects, the research subject pays them.

    “I’d love to see lucknkl in a room full of trans,”

    Take your porny violence fantasies somewhere else sicko punko.

  228. JackGoff

    Oh yeah, Pony, because there’s no actual scientific research about transgender. Only Freudian psychoanalysts writing pseudoscience. Clinical studies?! Puh’shah! Pony knows.

  229. Luckynkl

    Ooooo. Not a room full of trans!

    Am I supposed to be intimidated by ftm trans? Why? Are they like really, really scary? I sure haven’t met any that were.

    Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think I didn’t know any ftm or mtf trans? If that’s what you thought, you’d be wrong. Just because I don’t recognize or call mtf trans, women, or ftm trans, men, doesn’t mean I don’t recognize trans as human. I judge people by their character. Is that too deep for you? Perhaps it’s you that can’t get past shallow, superficial labels?

    Trans can find it offensive all they want that I call a duck a duck, a goose a goose, a man a man, and a woman a woman. But that’s the way it is. Fantasy and fairy tales are fun and all, but let’s not get carried away.

  230. darkymac

    What luckynkl and Pony said, only I’m laughing at all these lads who are calling themselves bickies (cookies) because they’ve jumped into the oven.
    Gee it is galling lads when the chess pieces talk back and tell you where to move, ay? (Jefferson Airplane’s line, not mine).

    Chris Clarke wrote a good oblique side-swipe essay at pushy lads who have no idea about growing up without privilege.
    Why I am not a feminist”.

    But I cannot call myself a feminist: the label is not mine to claim.

  231. Luckynkl

    Oh, but of course. And what’s really at the core of radfem is telling me that what I’ve experienced just isn’t possible. Now that’s the way to validate women’s experiences!

    Because you haven’t had the experience. Now tell the truth and shame the devil and stop trying to divert.

    I know you insist on being a bigot, but could you at least not generalize this and speak for the rest of us? I think it’s fairly clear that a sizeable portion of the radfem represented on this board, myself included, place themselves in just such a “we.”

    Like I said, you could sit in a garage and call yourself a car. That wouldn’t make you one. Now aren’t there any more small countries left for you poseurs to invade and colonize?

  232. Edith

    All right, I just thought I’d pop in and give my two cents.

    For disclosure: I am a young woman-born woman who has cut her teeth in queer-feminist-punk scenes in California and I feel like I get this side quite a bit. That said, I am a now a radical feminist and I definitely see the radical feminist side of things in regards to transgender politics as currently closer to my own.

    What a lot of the (usually) younger “oppression is oppression” hipster/boho feminists who consider themselves pro-trans don’t seem to understand is that, for the most part, radical feminists fully comprehend this argument. Radical feminists are also against oppression and against gender roles, but they simply do not see being transgender as a good way to fight gender roles — rather, they see transgender as a way of ENFORCING gender roles.

    Another thing that the younger, third wave side tends to agree upon that radfems do not is the whole nature being more notable than nurture. If gender is inborn, something neurologically wired, then being “born” in the wrong body makes sense. But actually, radfems tend to believe that gender is socialized and therefore, no one is “born” in the wrong body. In this way, being socialized is actually “stronger” than biology. Most younger pro-trans people think they believe in gender socialization too, actually, and therefore think transgendered folk are a good, feminist response to the whole gender vs. sex debate. However, radfems see gender (or “sex roles”) as something SPECIFICALLY taught through the process of socialization and that your socialization CANNOT be undone, only continued. Most pro-trans feminists see gender as something partially socialized and partially internal, psychologically, and would not use it as synonymous with “sex roles.”

    In this way, I personally think that the more modern, “biological” view of transgender is the more essentialist, but I digress. Also, it’s a pretty bad idea to shoot down psychoanalysis if you’re on that side, because where would this kind of thinking be without Lacan? I know I might lose some radfem cred for admitting this, but I actually rather like the Lacanian notion of gender that certainly influenced the whole pomosexual thing radfems roll their eyes at now. I just think it’s all been kind of misdirected at best. There’s got to be a middle ground for all of this, because there really are so many similarities between the sides, but I don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it out, and this rambling comment has gone on long enough.

  233. JackGoff

    I judge people by their character. Is that too deep for you? Perhaps it’s you that can’t get past shallow, superficial labels?

    Really? I haven’t seen any evidence validating this statement.

  234. JackGoff

    If you need a refresher:

    In short, trans are nutjobs.

  235. Luckynkl

    If you need a refresher:
    In short, trans are nutjobs.

    Yes, I know, JackOff. I’m speaking clear over your head. Stand up. Maybe you’ll start to get it.

    But then again, maybe not. So consider this. I’ve dealt with schizophrenics. They can appear to be quite normal and you’d never know anything’s askew until one day, out of the clear blue sky, they start having conversations and getting into arguments with people that aren’t there.

    But other than that, most schizophrenics I know are really cool people. Even tho they’re not all there and are prone to hallucinations and delusions. Or nutjobs, if you will.

    You see, it’s not all or none. Get it? Good. Now let’s move on.

  236. magickitty

    Sandinista said, “Trans activists do not agitate against feminism.”

    We wouldn’t be having this debate if this was true. From way upthread, just to pick two examples, there’s mention of transwomen trying to gain access to traditionally women-only spaces, and transwomen trying to re-define the definition of ‘woman.’ I would call this agitating against women, and as usual, these women are feminists.

    Women-only Spaces

    (A small group of transwomen) are not respecting personal boundaries. In insisting on being included in events like women’s festivals, transwomen are being just plain RUDE, given that one of the reasons for exclusion concerns the safety of traumatised women. I mean, get a grip – if I really really wanted to go to the Seattle Women’s Knitting Festival, but they decided (and by “they,” I mean the intelligent, committed women who have run the event for years and years), anyway, they decided that they couldn’t accept Canadians at the Festival because some of their attendees had had unpleasant experiences with Canadians… well, the decent thing to do is suck it up and not attend. Maybe I’d go to another festival, or start one of my own. YES I would be angry. YES I would try my best to convince them that I should be allowed to attend. YES I would rage to my friends about how it was so unfair, and that the organisers just didn’t understand that not all Canadians are bad. But I would also RESPECT that their decision was made in a rational way, and that if I really cared about Seattle womens’ safety, I would see that I shouldn’t go to the Knitting Festival.

    Now, before y’all start saying crap like, “Let’s just tell gays that we thought about RATIONALLY and we decided not to let you marry,” let me point out that I’m talking about a festival. I’m talking about an event which is probably fun to go to, but if you missed it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Hell, I get excluded from all sorts of every-day things for all sorts of arbitrary reasons, but I don’t rally the media around me or try to sneak into these things because they don’t matter, in the end. Trying to force one’s way into events that ultimately have no significance is rude, pushy, and irritating. Maybe that’s why transwomen aren’t welcome at some of these events. Indeed, labelling mirabelle a bigot for wanting to have a party comprising just her own previously-defined group is enough to get you excluded from my knitting circle.

    But you are not being excluded by the feminist movement. You are not being told that feminists aren’t willing to fight tooth and nail for your equality and safety. This is not at issue. So maybe, just maybe, the aforementioned small group of rude transwomen should shut the fuck up and learn some damned manners.

    The Definition of “Woman”
    (A small group of transwomen) are trying to stretch the definition of a word that incorporates thousands of years of shared cultural, social, and biological experience. I refuse to believe that there is not a (so-called) “bond of womanhood.” That bond may be just what you experience in your own family, between mother and daughter, or it may be what you have experienced and learned, through personal and intellectual growth. This bond exists as a given thing, and there are countless bonds – the bond of nationality, of race, of religion, of knitting, etc. I cannot imagine that any of you would deny the existence of bonds – of a shared experience and history, and a feeling of affinity for anyone who participates in it.

    A man or boy who decides at some point in their lives that they will change their sex and become a woman, cannot possibly expect to instantly understand the cultural, social, and biological implications of being female. For instance, he might have experienced some discrimination in his male life, but he has come, ultimately, from a group of privilege. Can he fully comprehend the thousands of years of oppression and the million ways of discrimination that women live under, and (many, unfortunately) accept as their fate?

    And here’s where I sense a little bit of that trans rudeness coming on. Why should a newcomer to my knitting group insist that I re-define the meaning of my group? This person has never been to my knitting group before, which I’ve had for thousands of years. This person shares no history with the other members of my group, and yet demands full status in the circle. I am sympathetic; this person had always wanted to knit (since birth, even) but only recently learned, this person is oppressed within their own world because they are a knitter, and this person strongly identifies with my group. But why would this newcomer want to claim equal status when they’ve only been knitting for a short time, and why would they want to insist that knitting includes crochet, when in all the thousands of years of the circle, we’ve only ever knitted?

    And to be really crude… the newcomer knits English. My group knits Continental. The finished product may look exactly identical, but… well, you know.

    (Okay, I fully admit that I so totally lost myself in knitting analogy that I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.)

    In a desperate attempt to salvage this post, I’ll make one final observation and comment, and then I will stop boozing and go to bed.

    Sandinista says “But the movement does not revolve, cannot revolve around one group.”

    You’re right, it cannot revolve around one group. However, it can revolve around one agenda. And WHY would anyone want to detract from that?

  237. Pinko Punko

    Pony-

    What porno? I’d just like lucky to say to those people’s faces that she denies everything they believe about themselves and not that I’d want anything to happen to her- she responds that she does view them as human beings, and I would suggest that she doesn’t. I would want to see that they are actual humans and not just constructs in her particular world view. And she is not treating them as humans. She is saying that no matter how much they identify with the opposite sex, they can never ever be that way, or she explains it away as some form of psychological disorder or sickness. Since we all know so much about transgendered individuals and we all have divine truth at our fingertips, it seems pretty impossible for any of us to agree on anything. If I wasn’t clear enough for you, you could ask me to be clearer, or you can tell me to fuck off. Either way my point has nothing to do with however you’d characterize it, but that doesn’t matter much, we can all just play the flame game if you’d prefer. I’m playing the BLAMEâ„¢ game, myself. You can pull my comment card if you want.

  238. darkymac

    Why Pinko Punko,

    I’m playing the BLAME™ game, myself.
    Call me a fool, but you’ve always appeared to be more interested in playing the Fame® game.

    I wouldn’t get hurt at silly old internetty words. It’s all over in a spin of a hard drive on some patriarchal server array.
    Stay, make your misunderstood points clearer, and have fun.

  239. Pony

    Oh I don’t think I misunderstood. Pinko was enjoying this image he had of Lucky being threatened by a group of MEN. He was sitting back with the choco chex, and being a pervy spectator to woman in a difficult situation with a group of potentially angry MEN.

    I think I got it very clearly.

    Fuck off.

  240. Pony

    “A man or boy who decides at some point in their lives that they will change their sex and become a woman, cannot possibly expect to instantly understand the cultural, social, and biological implications of being female.”

    Tautology. That’s exactly why he is in the position he’s in.

  241. darkymac

    Fuck off
    Oh, but, Pony – he’s upset that his admission of being a bullshit artist
    We’re all just defining our own world views based on our own bullshit. I’ve got more than enough of my own[…]
    has been turned back on himself.
    His ma didn’t teach him the golden rule about stopping digging when you’re already in the hole.
    I should enjoy snacking on some local cheddar and plonk (those chex sound nauseating, forgive me) while he continues to not understand boundaries.
    Let him stay, hey?

  242. Luckynkl

    She is saying that no matter how much they identify with the opposite sex, they can never ever be that way or she explains it away as some form of psychological disorder or sickness.

    That’s what I’m saying all right, Punko. When a mtf trans can pull a baby out of his ass, come back and talk to me.

    Sex has to do with reproduction, Einstein. I’d call men that imagine they are part of the sex that produces eggs and young about as delusional as it gets.

    Trans boys identify with a patriarchal construct, which is in and of itself, sick and delusional. Not the female sex. Gosh, what a big surprise for males to be in love with their own constructs! Not!

  243. Lya Kahlo

    “I’d love to see lucknkl in a room full of trans, since it is clear she denies any and all legitimacy for all trans.”

    How tediously typical! A boy wishing a threatening, potentially violent situation on a woman because she has the utter gall to not agree with boys (trans or just desperately “progessive”). My character estimator must be needing calibration – I thought Pinko was better than that. My mistake.

  244. Mar Iguana

    “If I wasn’t clear enough for you, you could ask me to be clearer, or you can tell me to fuck off.” Pinko Punko

    You’re clear as a shiny pane of glass; transparant. So, I choose your second option.

  245. Sandinista

    Because you haven’t had the experience. Now tell the truth

    I am telling the truth. Who in the hell told you you were the arbiter of reality?!

    Excluding people from radfem as per your arbitrary prejudices isn’t enough, apparently. Apparently you also refuse to believe any women’s experiences that don’t mirror your own.

    Men do call women silly.

  246. Shannon

    There’s enough being a woman for everyone. No need to be angry if some of the women are a bit variant in terms of chromosomes and body parts. Young girls with masculinized genitals are still girls for example(this happens as a result of a condition) My body may make a bit too much of the big T for me to be comfortable(I’m cisgendered female) but I’m still a woman, etc. Anyway, women’s bodies vary in many different ways naturally, so there’s no need to be the gender police just because of transpeople. I have not completed my training as a mental health professional, but as far as I know, most reccomend not trying to make them be a gender they don’t want to be.

  247. Lya Kahlo

    Shannon – Since being included in the “Women’s club” seems of monumental importance to transpeople – does mocking the women here and their concerns re: this discussion conducive to cooperation?

    I’ve haven’t seen someone here say that transpeople deserve no consideration, but transposters here have made it abundantly clear that their concerns – and only their concerns – deserve consideration. The rest of us are bigots for not immediately agreeing.

    Is this a two-way street, or just yet another way to tell women to shut up and like it?

  248. Heart

    Well, I read the whole thing. Yep, can’t read Twisty commenters in IE, gotta read in Firefox, thanks to whomever said that in the other thread, Mary Sunshine, I think.

    You know, I (and others in this thread) have been having these discussions ad-fucking-nauseum now on the internet since 2000 or so, or before that, some of us. I can barely bring myself to go there these days. Nevertheless, a couple of things.

    * It is my observation and experience that way, way, WAY too often, feminist women who make it sort of an A-Number-1 priority to defend transwomen (and transmen) against the ZOMG (sorry, Amananta, I love that, wherever it comes from) horrible, bigoted, “transphobic” radfems are not exercised in or aware of the actual, real life arguments and issues radfems raise, and the political/philosophical underpinnings of those arguments and issues. I have just goddamn fucking had it with this type of feminist, pardon my french, the kind that daily or weekly or every chance s/he gets, mounts some soapbox to defend the imaginary legions of oppressed-by-the-ZOMG-radfems (sorry Amananta, I love that ZOMG thing, wherever it comes from). The ignorance of the ACTUAL radfem position (not the imaginary shit some of y’all have made up) STUNS. The mischaracterizations abound, and blow. The demonizing is inexcusable and wrong.

    * Here is a huge problem: those of us born female and sorted as girls/women from birth by a woman-hating patriarchal culture/society/world, who are now radical feminists, want OUT of what transwomen and transmen (usually, often) want IN to, i.e., being “included” as “men” or “women.” Issues around this kind of “inclusion” are absurd and nonsensical for those of us who want nothing so much as to be EXcluded from what patriarchy has forced us to be included in, namely “womanhood,” and “manhood” and all associated impositions of gender bullshit and nonsense. We want OUT. Ya’all want (in certain ways) IN. This is, again, a *problem*.

    Mary Sunshine is right on where she says:

    Mary Sunshine: Females are required to answer to males, and never the reverse.

    Females are required to cherish and nurture males, and never the reverse.

    Females are punished by other females for transgressing either of the above imperatives.

    [snip]

    there is little or no attempt any more (that I can see) to create “generic” (not limited to separatists) Lesbian space, now that lesbians having been 99% subsumed by the queer movement. The queer movement, in turn, is all about denying the intrinsic differences between males and females, or objectifying those differences. To whose benefit? Full marks if you guessed males.

    YES. It chaps my hide to the seventh level of heaven the way so many of the soapbox-mounters, the raging defenders of the ZOMG-oppressed-by-radfems, have (1) no fricking dog in the fight, (2) don’t know what they’re talking about half the time, but no worries, they will fight us to the end, anyway, and if we so much as begin to challenge all of the error and mischaracterizing, the thought-stopping-cliches and insults bring any hope for real connection to an abrupt halt.

    Sandanista: Trans activists do not agitate against feminism.

    When trans activists don’t understand the feminisms they are arguing with and against, yes, they do agitate, not only against feminism, but against real, living, feminist women themselves, and particularly when they reduce complicated, nuanced radical feminist ideas and arguments to sound bites which bear no resemblance to the actual arguments, and especially with this really irritating subtext, something like, “Let me edumacate the bigots.” As though radfems hadn’t been dealing with these issues in real time, real life, in depth, for decades. Really, the arrogance and ignorance, boggle.

    This is a tangent, but nobody else responded, so I would like to:

    Amananta: Any doctor who actually knows anything about women’s naughty bits knows childbirth – a result of sex had by married women (since he seems to believe single women OOPS I mean ladies don’t have sex) is a major factor in women becoming incontinent later in life, since pregnancy and childbirth stretch out all those muscles.

    Actualy, childbirth is not a factor in women becoming incontinent later in life. It isn’t pregnancy and birth which stretch out the muscles.

    Childbirth which is mismanaged by patriarchal medicine, male doctors, obstetrics/gynecology, where women are drugged, have their labors “induced,” where births are mismanaged, women are rushed, subjected to arbitrary and useless (and harmful) hospital regulations and procedures, where forceps are used, women are cut open and stitched up, all for the convenience of doctors and their schedules — these are the cause of women becoming incontinent later in life and having muscle tears and other issues. Women’s muscles are meant to stretch in pregnancy and childbirth. The uterus and birth canal are muscles. When childbirth is over, those muscles go back to their regular size IF they have not been cut or otherwise damaged by invasive medical procedures. Sort of like going to the bathroom; the muscles expand to accommodate whatever and then when whatever is eliminated they go back to their regular size. They don’t stay “stretched out.” It’s doctors who cause problems for birthing women (and yes, once in a while doctors are needed, but far more often, doctors have injured birthing women; pregnancy is not a disease and neither is childbirth.)

    Heart

  249. Ledasmom

    Pregnancy and childbirth are not diseases, granted. Pregnancy and childbirth, however, frequently act upon the body in a way that would, under other circumstances, be called pathological. It’s all very well to say that most childbirth-related traumas are caused by labor mismanagement, but when you refer to women being drugged and rushed in childbirth you ignore the fact that many of us would like to get it over with as quickly as possible and with pain relief because labor fucking hurts, thank you very much, and isn’t something we’d like to prolong just for the sake of improved continence a couple decades down the line.
    Why do so many women have epidurals? Because it works for the purpose of pain control. Alternate methods can work, granted, but it’s awfully goddamn hard to relax when what you really want to do is scream until your lungs fall out.

  250. Pinko Punko

    First off, Heart, thank you for that comment. I am starting to understand a lot more what the issues are.

    To Pony and darkymac:

    In my comment, I said this:

    “And just start with female-to-male ones,” for lucky to be in the room with, so it was not for her to be in the room with a bunch of dudes, just to be in a situation where the people she decides to define are PHYSICALLY REAL and not her own constructs. If you would like to deliberately misconstrue what I said upon clarification, that is great. If you want to say that I am lying, go for it.

    To continue:

    If as lucky asserts, all mtf trans a merely a manifestation of patriarchically defined psychological disorder, what are ftm? Are these the same? What about gays? Are there differences between identification with sexuality and gender? And if there can be one, can’t there be the other? Do these exist for any physiological/genetic reasons, or are they all entirely an aberrant response to environment (patriarchy)? Where does one draw the line? When does it stop being simple and become complicated?

    Let’s accept lucky’s argument that it is a psychological disorder, let’s even accept lucky’s argument that it is different for ftm and mtf trans (or how I read your argument it seems like this is the case- because the reasons must be different if for mtf they are males fetishizing a male construct). So mtfs should not use women’s bathrooms (which is how this started). Are ftm supposed to use women’s bathrooms? They would appear as “males” to women using the facilities- is there supposed to be a genetic test?

    Since, I’m “Einstein,” I’d assert that lucky’s flip comment about pulling a baby out as defining for a female is in quite bad taste, but I think I know what she means, she means XX. So I’m not gonna construe it otherwise.

  251. Twisty

    I stopped reading this thread when it turned, for no apparent reason, into a referendum on Sheila Jeffreys’ views on transgenderism, which do not interest me. Since then, it has been suggested that my failure to have commented on this “trannies: good or bad?” issue implies my tacit agreement with one faction over another.

    Incorrect. It merely implies my lack of interest in a clump of commenters telling each other to fuck off. Not that you should stop or anything. But I personally gotta be in the mood.

    My views on gender, inclusive of the trans-, cis-, or whathaveyou- varieties, are as follows.

    Gender will not survive the destruction of patriarchy.

    OK, carry on.

  252. Pinko Punko

    Also, sorry I missed this comment

  253. Pinko Punko

    Last post from me should have read “Thank you, Edith, for your comment (illuminating and forthright)”

  254. hedonistic

    I understand how the chasing of an artificial construct (such as feminine drag, as femininity is artificial) would be irritating as fuck to a radfem who wants OUT of the feminine construct, so yes, I get that part.

    I’m still bothered, though. GENDER is either an artificial construct or it isn’t. I am still reading this thread, trying to understand where y’all are coming from, and I’m just amazed at how so many feminists seem able to move back and forth between opposing theories (biological essentialism vs. social constructionism) as suits their convenience.

    Seriously: My mind is boggling here. Am I the only one?

  255. Twisty

    Wait. This just in. My spies inform me that there has been actual hate speech in this thread. Knock this shit off pronto or I’ll have to close the comments.

  256. Pony

    I don’t read that’s what’s being done, and I recall someone up thread explains very clearly what you’re, yes, missing.

    Pinko there are worse things than ‘bad taaste’. One is making an oblique violent threat to a woman. You’re demo was superb. Now you’re trying to play divide and conquer? Sorry, but several more of us called it than the two you named.

  257. Pinko Punko

    I massively apologize for that reading, Pony, it was not my intent at all. My comment was less thoughtful that I would have wanted it to be, because I was caught up in the emotion of the debate. Given the evidence, I did not express myself well at all. I can only ask that you understand that was not my intent.

    I am not playing “divide and conquer.” In the thread environment, there are many conversations going on at once. I think I understand lucky’s argument much better based on Heart and Edith’s comments, and since their comments were essential for that, I pointed them out. I think Edith’s comment goes a long way to summarising the thread, and I think she goes some way towards representing lucky’s position without the insults flying back and forth. I was blinded to lucky’s position because of the way she was expressing herself.

    As I said before, it goes without saying, you can tell me to eff off if you don’t believe a word I say.

  258. Pony

    I don’t know what ‘hate speech’ was the occasion for our hosts’s post. But painting a scenario where you sit back munching on the goodies (does that murdering sherrif in the deep south come to mind?) and enjoy being a spectator at a situation where Lucky would be in implied danger, well I call that hate speech. And now you use Lucky as the excuse for you losing it and letting us know what you really are. Very good. Excellent.

  259. Pinko Punko

    So, I think I will withdraw.

    I cannot apologize, apparently, for readings that were not my intent. I cannot explain myself for anything. I am just a construct now for Pony. If only certain things out of my mouth can have meaning, but others certainly cannot, and you choose to interpret everything I say according to a thesis I beg you to consider as inaccurate, then I don’t actually exist.

    I will apologize to lucky again if she believes that to be my intent. It was not.

    Goodbye.

  260. JackGoff

    I don’t know what ‘hate speech’ was the occasion for our hosts’s post.

    Well, that isn’t altogether absurd, since she hasn’t elucidated what she was specifically referring to, but I’ll suggest that the implication that all transgender people are on the level with Buffalo Bill, that they are all nutjobs, and that being transgender is in any way equivalent to being schizophrenic (a disorder which I am well-acquainted with), might (just might) have been the source of said hate-speech. Though it may be hard to see that, since you agree with Luckynkl, Pony. You, at least, haven’t surprised me one bit on this thread.

  261. Pony

    I have no idea what a fucking construct is. But since you’ve used the word, you also tell me all I want to know about where you’re coming from. Get your head out of the post fucking post bullshit, and read some feminist theory.

    As for Sheila Jeffrey’s. Believe it or not, some of us here had our rad fem theory down pat before the Jeffreys came along. She agrees with us? Good on ‘er.

  262. Heart

    Hedonistic: I’m still bothered, though. GENDER is either an artificial construct or it isn’t. I am still reading this thread, trying to understand where y’all are coming from, and I’m just amazed at how so many feminists seem able to move back and forth between opposing theories (biological essentialism vs. social constructionism) as suits their convenience.

    Hey Hedonistic, I think gender is, as you say, an artificial construct imposed on all people from the time of our births in coercive, really heavy-handed ways. The mechanics of that coercion have all sorts of consequences for all of us. When radfems make references to women’s bodies and biology, they are usually actually making reference to the way women’s bodies and biological functions have always already *been* gendered by, again, a misogynist culture or world and the effects that gendering has had on women (and on men). They aren’t saying anything about biology equalling destiny, they are actually saying it is *wrong* the way biology has been *made* to equal destiny and a bunch of other things. But where you have people chomping at the bit to call a radfem an “essentialist” or a “bigot,” what the radfems actually may be saying is just obfuscated and lost because once again, they get into defending against all of these really wrong-headed accusations and mischaracterizations.

    That’s kind of what I mean about these difficulties we have in the world of transgendered v. radfem politics. The anti-radfems invariably seem to want to zero in on the fact that biology doesn’t “make” someone a woman, and on the importance of how someone “identifies” and on the way gender is in the head, and all of that, iow, they want to argue with something radfems are not saying and/or don’t believe or find completely irrelevant to the issues at hand. What radfems are saying is, “Eliminate gender. Gendering is the problem in the first place and it always was.” Or as Twisty says, “Gender won’t survive the destruction of patriarchy.” It’s true that there are some radfems who (1)actually *are* biological essentialists, to some degree; or (2) who argue from essentialist positions without realizing that’s what they’re doing. The latter group, too, needs more time to work on their positions, something that never gets to happen because they end up clobbered as “bigots” and get defensive, so any chance for productive discussion gets derailed.

    Re, hate speech. I don’t use the words “tranny” or “trannies” or similar words, and I think it’s wrong to lump marginalized people together and stereotype them any time, call them names, and so on. I think it’s also wrong-headed for marginalized people to stereotype, lump and call other marginalized people names, no matter who is doing it, whether it’s radfems calling transwomen names or transwomen calling radfems names. I would not allow this on my own blog, which this isn’t, and radfems are not some kind of borg, we do things differently. Having said that, I can only wish that the soapbox-mounters who are so very, very righteously indignant about the hate speech here, so-called, and their supporters, would evidence half as much interest in a defense of girls and women who are targeted for hate speech, brutality, murder, rape, incest, who are prostituted, trafficked for sex, beaten by men if they don’t go to the back of the bus, cut up by their “boyfriends” and stewed on the stove, raped, brutalized and burned up by soldiers, dragged a mile to their death by their “boyfriend,” and so on, as there is in calling radical feminists “bigots.” I wish I could see some attention drawn to *these particular events and issues* on far, far more of the soapbox-mounters blogs. Really, I’ve just had it with that shit (not addressing anybody right now, talking generically, there’s just too much of that going on.)

    Heart

  263. B. Dagger Lee

    I smell bullshit, backpedaling, poison and a disingenuous argument.

    yrs,

    B. Dagger Lee

  264. Twisty

    We’ll revisit this issue at a different point in the space-time continuum. That is all.

  265. Ally

    Unusually for me I am somewhat on the fence on this debate.

    On the one hand, I accept that transwomen are women, and in an ideal world, we would be able to have gender neutral bathrooms, but there are reasons why I’d find this objectionable:

    1. Menstruation. I think women should have a private space to deal with this from which men are excluded.

    2. Bathrooms are a place in which people are in a vulnerable, degraded position, and anyone with a penis is effectively someone armed with a loaded gun. The only thing standing in the way of a fate worse than death is that person’s choice not to pull the trigger. Cis women and many trans women do not possess that weapon, and this means that bathrooms need to be a place in which such weapons can be intercepted and entry barred to anyone in possession of one. The only way it is possible to do this is by guessing whether the person entering the bathroom is physically armed on the basis of their other features and gender presentation. It isn’t the sign on the door that stops people from abusing this situation but rather the hostile reaction from everyone concerned and calls for help before the person gets to the point where someone is actually sat on the potty.

    3. Some people will change their clothing to the opposite gender for sexual gratification, and it may sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between these people, and people who are presenting their genuine gender, so that allowing access to the women’s bathroom becomes a convenient place for sexual fetishists to get off of being in a women-only environment.

    I don’t think forcing everyone to use unisex bathrooms is viable for all of the above reasons. Similarly there is a problem with being more flexible about gender-policing the toilets, because the point of labelling the door women is really trying to say “Toilets with menstruation facilities for people without a phallus”, or more subliminally “toilets for the unarmed”. It is difficult to see how anything could replace that social system of protection so that anyone who is in the position of being sexually unarmed can be protected from those who are sexually armed. And I don’t just mean protected from actual assault, but allowed to use the facilities without fear.

    In addition to this is the problem of how to provide a space for people who do not have conventional gender presentations/identities to feel comfortable using them. The only way of dealing with this seems to be to have male, female, and gender neutral options.

  266. Katie

    Of course, one could argue that the need to “deal with” menstruation in a space away from men is blameworthy in and of itself.

  267. Robin

    Dear Ally,

    Sorry I don’t know how to cite. About your objections:

    “1. Menstruation. I think women should have a private space to deal with this from which men are excluded.”

    I don’t know about the situation in the USA, but in Germany, public toilets must have separate, closed stalls which you can close from the inside so that nobody can see you or enter them. Such a law would be beneficial in the USA as well: more privacy, protection from voyeurs and ambushes at least as long as you’re in the stalls etc. Problem solved.

    “2. Bathrooms are a place in which people are in a vulnerable, degraded position, and anyone with a penis is effectively someone armed with a loaded gun.”

    You needn’t even have a penis as a weapon, a knife or baseball bat etc. works well too (but that’s not the point here). If a rapist or killer wants to enter a women’s bathroom, they’ll sneak in anyway.

    Another problem I see here, lots of trans people both ways sometimes “pass” and sometimes not, so it’s not easy for them to find a solution.

    “3. Some people will change their clothing to the opposite gender for sexual gratification, and it may sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between these people, and people who are presenting their genuine gender, so that allowing access to the women’s bathroom becomes a convenient place for sexual fetishists to get off of being in a women-only environment.”

    I guess you can usually tell from the clothes and behavior what’s happening there. But of course, not everybody knows how to tell the difference.

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