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Mar 22 2013

A girl can’t have a dick.

Gender is the most important fucking concept in the world. It’s the ur-fucking-concept.

Smith College won’t admit trans woman Calliope Wong, no way no how, because her birth certificate categorizes her as a dude. Apparently the only way Wong can change the check-box from “dude” to “dudess,” in the eyes of Smith, is to undergo sex reassignment surgery, which she hasn’t done. Says Wong:

“Transwomen are most likely not ready for surgery at 17 or 18, the typical age of a college applicant. It’s a monumental personal decision that usually arises from years of introspection and deliberation.”

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

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

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

Someday, when future humans are lounging around the pool, strumming lutes and basking in the sunny uncomplicatedness of gender-neutrality, they’ll look back on this and laugh.

Tangentially: I get that lots of people are sure as shit, such that they actually want or need sex reassignment surgery. But is that really true of everybody? Setting aside for the moment my firm conviction that gender can and should be made irrelevant by feminist revolt, I have always thought it was super discriminatory that, in the cut-throat world of sex and identity, one is generally expected to buy the whole farm in a one-time-only sort of a deal. What if I wanted to be a dude, but maybe not forever, and without having to lop off any of my shit or going through monumental introspections and deliberations? As in, I’d merely announce “Yo, I’m a dude! Lead me to the drugs and bitches and higher paychecks!”

Forget it! Gender is not to be trifled with. It is the most deadly serious social construct ever invented. The gender-binary police state doesn’t accept, no way no how, that gender can be fluid. Before granting a sexception, they require that a person literally be in emotional crisis, and demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to the Establishment by subjecting herself to the medical industry for barbaric surgical procedures. And when I say barbaric I’m not jokin’ around. Do you realize that vaginoplasty essentially takes a peen and turns it inside-out? I mean, I’m hardly one to cry out “oh dear what about the peen?!” at every turn, but Jesus in a jetpack, that’s gotta smart.

So don’t give me any of that womyn-born-womyn crap. Wanna be a girl? Be a girl. A person shouldn’t have to implode her body parts just to go to fucking Smith. I seriously doubt that by letting Calliope Wong in, the joint’ll soon be overrun with entitled dudebros in drag.

NOTE TO COMMENTERS: The entitlement of trans women to basic courtesy and compassion is not up for debate. If you’re an anti-transite, I will ban you.

200 comments

1 ping

  1. goblinbe

    As usual, absolutely fabulous post. Thank you!

  2. Cade

    As an androgen insensitive woman (XY chromosomes, female body [born that way]) this post resonates. My tribe has all sorts of horror stories from the medical establishment, both past and present. Male doctors have a really hard time looking at a clearly female baby (or teenager) with XY chromosomes. God forbid one has genital ambiguity – that sends them into a tailspin. This should not come as a surprise.

  3. TA

    I just doubt that Smith is requiring cooter for admission these days. That would be new. In the past they just required self-identification as female. But I’ll get on the Smithie grapevine and get back with some insider details, if I can get them.

  4. JRoth

    I’m just chuckling like hell at the idea of the admissions committee of Smith College getting together to review the giggly head-tilt of every applicant.

  5. Smits

    Personally I feel like the issue is not what’s in someone’s underwear, but in their head- the majority of transwomen, even as teenagers, have spent a significant portion of their lives being seen as male by everyone around them and thus being socialised as male, with all the violence and entitlement that entails. People who are female and have been being degraded by society from the moment their sex was detectable in the womb deserve the right to spaces away from people who were male-socialised, including womens’ colleges which were founded specifically to enrich and elevate females without the bullshit of male privilege.

    This is not to say that trans women do not face their own specific difficulties and violence from which they should rightly be protected, but their life experiences are not the same as those of born women and this also needs to be respected. There is nothing wrong with Smith maintaining itself as a safe space for females.

  6. Stella

    I am mightily dismayed to see the venerable Aunt Twisty conflating gender and sex.

  7. eb

    This isn’t about the carpet matching the drapes. It’s about rape. Rape is the grease that turns the giant cogs of gender, and a penis = rape. This is why transwomen have such a difficult time fitting into female spaces. If there was no rape, there would be no problem with a transwoman having a penis. This is also why transmen don’t have the same problems fitting into male spaces – men do not fear rape.

    Wong needs a vagina not because “a girl can’t have a dick” so much as a dick can rape. Yes, I realize taking estrogen effectively renders the sexual use of a penis moot, but that doesn’t matter. Perception matters. It’s akin to walking around with a pistol that has no bullets. It’s still going to scare the shit out of a lot of people.

  8. Maria

    @Stella -I know! It’s like Aunt Twisty left her laptop open and someone else came along to write this.

  9. pheenobarbidoll

    In my Tribe (which is an an actual Tribe, of which I hold a membership card thanks to the colonizing US government) sex and gender were both fluid, and meant jack fucking shit. No one cared if someone born with a penis was actually a woman in identity. She was free to be what she wanted, and no one informed her she was a liar or went off on colonizing shit like gender vs sex. Homosexuals weren’t viewed as abnormal either, and we did even have a place for 3rd genders. It wasn’t the package you came in that mattered most. It was your Spirit.

    So thanks so very much white European colonizers, for fucking that up then and still fucking it up by assuming your white European colonizing ways are the right ones that everyone should go by.

    Your Spirit is your identity, and it doesn’t care what chromosomes you have or what internal plumbing is there. If you want to alter your physical package to reflect your Spirit, then go for it. If you don’t then you’re still entitled to have your Spirit fucking recognized. Just like anyone else.

  10. Tigs

    Excellent.

    Smith seems to be stuck in the middle of an identity crisis that has been going on for generations now. There’s an alumnae/admin vision of the sweater set & pearls sweetheart that has long contrasted with the student/recent alumnae articulation of themselves as granola grrls whose softball uniforms are always a little edgier than yours.
    The Smith dean seems to be trying to pass this one off on the federal gov’t. I wonder what will come of it.

  11. Niki

    I’ve been confused about what’s going on at IBTP since the presence of blog entries about BMI and obesity fear and wearing step counters. I would have thought Twisty to use such devices to club the patriarchy.

  12. That Girl

    She should just tell them it is her girl-penis.

  13. Twisty

    “I am mightily dismayed to see the venerable Aunt Twisty conflating gender and sex.”

    “I would have thought Twisty to use such devices to club the patriarchy.”

    I’m right here, you know. I can hear you. You don’t have to talk about me in the 3rd person. Jeez.

  14. Falkland

    Meanwhile in Canada…

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/03/20/pol-transgender-rights-bill-approved.html

  15. elf

    “The genitalia are the only thing anyone gives a fig about.”

    Not really. If a person born male got a vaginoplasty but still had an Adam’s apple, hairy arms, no boobs and a Ben Franklin bald spot, I’d say people would give a fig about that.

    The ultimate point is not should Ms. Wong be accepted to Smith, but should we have single gendered spaces at all?

  16. Falkland

    Oh, and I should say right now that the above is a very, very good thing. Being butch, but not trans-identified, I can still relate to many of the battles trans folks have been fighting. I know how it feels to have some butthead try to hound me out of a public washroom.

    Trans people – esp. trans women in particular – deserve support and total inclusion from radfems due to the sexualized violence trans folks face from the patriarchy.

  17. ptittle

    “Yo, I’m a dude! Lead me to the drugs and bitches and higher paychecks!” Priceless.

    The internet enables a lot of messing with gender identity. I say we should take advantage of that. Mess with it enough, people might just give up trying to label everyone M or F.

  18. Friend of Snakes

    I know how it feels to have some butthead try to hound me out of a public washroom.

    Same here. And as a female, I understand precisely where those other women are coming from – they’re afraid of potential male violence. Duh. So you learn early on how to defuse the situation and go on about your business, while the person who, after all, simply made a mistake, is left feeling embarrassed.

    Now, do you know what it might feel like for you or your minor child or niece to use a formerly female-only change area, or to shower with someone who not only looks butch but actually has a penis and testicles? That’s one place where the false conflation of gender and sex has already led us in those areas with laws specifically geared toward “gender” equality.

    Oh yeah, and Twisty, lard forbid that we have a tiny number of female-only institutions of higher learning left. We sure wouldn’t want that, would we?

    What if I wanted to be a dude, but maybe not forever, and without having to lop off any of my shit or going through monumental introspections and deliberations?

    Knock yourself out, yo. But you know what the real dudes in dudeland are going to do to you the first time you hit the showers with them. Yep, it’s always the dudes we’ve got to be afraid of. Funny how that works.

  19. [no anonymous posts, please]

    “Your Spirit is your identity, and it doesn’t care what chromosomes you have or what internal plumbing is there. If you want to alter your physical package to reflect your Spirit, then go for it. If you don’t then you’re still entitled to have your Spirit fucking recognized. Just like anyone else.”

    Thank you pheeno, that makes perfect sense.

  20. Twisty

    “If a person born male got a vaginoplasty but still had an Adam’s apple, hairy arms, no boobs and a Ben Franklin bald spot, I’d say people would give a fig about that. The ultimate point is not should Ms. Wong be accepted to Smith, but should we have single gendered spaces at all?”

    People no doubt would give a fig about all that stuff. However, the vadge appears to be the only physical requirement with which Smith is concerning itself. For purposes of college admission, Wong’s objective, biological, assigned-at-birth sex trumps her personal sense of her own gender identity. There are other trans students at Smith; presumably they’ve all passed the all-important pussy test.

    Anyway, I would counter that the “ultimate point” lies with Smith’s blatant disrespect for Wong’s gender identity. They’re essentially assigning her a gender (the wrong gender instead of the Wong gender). What the hell? I’m no transpert, but there do exist trans women who never do the surgeries at all. Gender, after all, is a spectrum; it isn’t determined by sexual morphology (whether cis or the result of hormonal or surgical intervention), or by sexual identity (gay, straight, pan, whathaveyou). Anyone should be able to express whatever gender they are, in whatever manner they want, with whatever junk they have (or get), without incurring a penalty. The gender binary is one of the cornerstones of patriarchal oppression.

    By “single gendered” spaces I assume you mean, for the purposes of this argument, “women-only.” Women-only zones are vital to feminist revolution. This may seem to contradict what I just wrote about free-wheelin’ genderosity, but in the context of feminist discourse the definition of “woman” I like to use is “person whose female-identification results in measurably curtailed personal sovereignty.” Male-identified persons, on the other hand, accrue privilege that impedes women’s liberation such that their “unique male perspective” is a detriment to feminist discourse. I would argue that Smith, a woman’s college, should consider woman-identified applicants.

  21. Twisty

    “This is not to say that trans women do not face their own specific difficulties and violence from which they should rightly be protected, but their life experiences are not the same as those of born women and this also needs to be respected. There is nothing wrong with Smith maintaining itself as a safe space for females.”

    Back in the day, the “specific difficulties and violence” addressed by feminism were those experienced only by middle class white women. Of course, time has demonstrated the wrongheadedness of that exclusionism. White women’s “life experiences” are nothing like WOC’s life experiences, but this is no longer a criterion by which worthiness for club membership is determined. So how do you determine the cut-off point when it comes to the similarity or dissimilarity between these vaunted “life experiences”? I mean, at what point does a life experience of violence and oppression become unworthy of inclusion in the feminist purview?

  22. elf

    The vadge is the only physical requirement because, from what I have seen, Ms. Wong currently sports the patriarchal approved long, wispy hair and feminine clothing. I’m assuming the other transwomen at Smith do the same.But what if she didn’t do that? What if she didn’t do ANY of it? Let’s just say she decided not to take estrogen, didn’t try to pass as a “woman”?

    If “wanna be a girl, be a girl” applies, would it apply to someone who does absolutely nothing to her appearance? Basically, can a transwoman be butch and still be considered a “woman”? Would a butch transwoman (complete with hairy arms and Adam’s apple) have “measurably curtailed personal sovereignty?” If the answer is no, then you would deny her entrance into Smith? Does someone actually have to dress like a girl to be a “woman”? If the answer is “yes”, then isn’t that being a tool of the patriarchy?

    “Anyone should be able to express whatever gender they are, in whatever manner they want, with whatever junk they have (or get), without incurring a penalty.”

    Absolutely, but they can’t do that if we have female only and male only spaces. If we want to get past gender, we need a different solution than single-gender only spaces.

    There is a small concert venue in Austin called “One World Theater”. Have you been? It’s a lovely place to see a concert. I saw Shawn Colvin there last year. The bathroom is a series of stalls in an open space. It’s all unisex. Men and women peeing side by side. There are a row of sinks where men and women wash their hands, side by side. One woman commented to me how odd it was, but really, it’s perfect.

  23. Amber

    Former (reformed?) womyn-born-womyn proponent here.

    Where I see the crux of the problem between radical feminism and transpolitics being is whether female-identification is innate or not. And I think both pro-wbw radical feminists and trans-activists (not allon either side, mind you, but a good many) make a false argument – for different reasons – that “gender identity” is something foisted upon you (rad fems) or something innate (trans activists).

    I assert that it is neither. Gender identity, as far as it actually exists, is a coping mechanism.

    As a formerly trans-denying radical feminist, I could not reconcile the entirely social construct of gender with the existence of an innate gender identity. I was pretty dismissive of transgender folks. (For what it’s worth, I was also pretty dismissive of overly gender-conforming non-trans folks too.)

    But (for me) that whole approach was missing the forest for the trees. Once I realized that if 1) I acknowledge that the patriarchy gives us two different options for shackles to wear through this world and 2) I acknowledge that from the time the hospital wraps us in a pink or blue blankie we’re pretty much screwed and 3) that gender is NOT innate and 4) *and #4 is KEY* that some stuff IS innate – kids kinda do come out with predetermined preferences things – not identities, per se, but preferences surely.

    Well, if I acknowledge all that, it’s not difficult to see how a kid who is really drawn to stuff normally reserved for a gender they’re not sanctioned for could find some way to still feel normal in this world. And that “way” could be a gender identity. And we all do it to some degree because we’d die of misery if we didn’t.

    So that’s my verbose and less-than-articulate way of re-articulating what Twisty always says: It’s the gender binary that’s fucked up, not an individual’s method of trying to function within that binary.

  24. Falkland

    …”in the context of feminist discourse the definition of “woman” I like to use is “person whose female-identification results in measurably curtailed personal sovereignty.”

    Exactly. Ask any trans woman who’s been prostituted – and there’s legions of them, many of whom do not have access to physical sex reassignment or even hormones. Also see the work of Gwendolyn Smith, who spent several years cataloguing the murders of trans-identified and genderqueer people at http://rememberingourdead.org

    When you undertake social transition to womanhood, you automatically get a 2-for-1 deal and become a member of the sex class, whether you get surgery or not. It is fucking ridiculous that we still have to explain this to other radical feminists.

    I will never forget the name Faye Urry. She was a trans woman in my hometown whose head was bashed in when her despicable fuckface of a john discovered she was non-op. The vicious prick pled an oh-so-predictable “homo panic” defence and got his charges down to manslaughter.

    This scenario might be light years away from what Ms. Wong is experiencing, but it is still unjustifiable discrimination, full stop.

  25. pheenobarbidoll

    “Now, do you know what it might feel like for you or your minor child or niece to use a formerly female-only change area, or to shower with someone who not only looks butch but actually has a penis and testicles?”

    And just think of all those poor little boys and girls who are exposed to a womans breast as she breast feeds!!!

    Seriously. Seeing naked body parts in a shower is not a horrible thing. Naked body parts do not = dirty. That’s the P speaking, right there.

    ” lard forbid that we have a tiny number of female-only institutions of higher learning ”

    Wong is a female. She has a female Spirit. It’s hardly her fault biology or God screwed up the shell.

  26. Friend of Snakes

    …It is fucking ridiculous that we still have to explain this to other radical feminists.

    I will never forget the name Faye Urry. She was a trans woman in my hometown whose head was bashed in when her despicable fuckface of a john discovered she was non-op. The vicious prick pled an oh-so-predictable “homo panic” defence and got his charges down to manslaughter.

    Radical feminists, huh? Hells bells, Falkland, you don’t have to explain that to any female over the age of, what, about five years old. We get it. Always have. Goes with the territory in the patriarchy. Go educate men, please. They are the ones perpetrating the violence on transwomen, not us.

  27. wandering through

    I am mightily dismayed to see the venerable Aunt Twisty conflating gender and sex.

    Isn’t that the exact opposite of what she’s doing?

    That is, asserting the right of a person to define their gender regardless of sex?

  28. Anonymous

    [Anonymous comments get deleted. Read the Guidelines for Commenters]

  29. Twisty

    Friend of Snakes, perhaps you are unfamiliar with that branch of radical feminism that subscribes to the thesis that dudes who transition are still dudes, dudes who transition are pornsick misogynists who wish only to gratify some pervy submissive kink (see Sheila Jeffries), dudes who transition just want access to women’s spaces so they can rape women, dudes who transition must be excluded because their “life experience” renders them ineligible.

    This sort of rhetoric is experienced by trans women as, you know, oppression.

  30. Reader Who Ignores Comments Guidelines

    Would a butch transwoman (complete with hairy arms and Adam’s apple) have “measurably curtailed personal sovereignty?”

    Would a butch woman with hairy arms have measurably curtailed personal sovereignty?

    I’m going to say yes, yes she would.

  31. Twisty

    Am I misreading these comments, or is there an effort afoot to argue that there actually exist women whose personal sovereignty is NOT curtailed?

  32. Hippolyta

    As someone raised in the patriarchy I can not even create in my imagination a woman who doesn’t experience oppression of her personal sovereignty.

    The studies I am familiar with show the positive effects of women-only spaces, I recognize that many believe those spaces can only be achieved by bureaucratically drawing and enforcing a line on the biologically assigned gender continuum. Instead I think they would find that men are generally not willing to even temporarily assume a female identity for spurious reasons. We call it identity for a reason. It is central to who we are. There are reasons women wish to infiltrate male-only clubs, and it is about power, not gender identity. Check the power dynamics and we may find that the line creating female-only spaces occurs organically and doesn’t need to be policed.

  33. TwissB

    There seems to be a misimpression, fostered by PR for sex-segregated schools, that these schools were founded to provide a “safe place” for women and girls to develop their leadership skills apart from crushing competition from men and boys. In fact, founders were motivated by their conviction that women and girls were denied advanced education because men’s schools refused to admit them. The women’s colleges were founded as compensatory institutions to deal with existing social barriers, not as a superior educational model for all time. An additional benefit was faculty and staff employment opportunities for women. Over time, the upper income background of most students and the ability, as with the best men’s schools, to select students did much to create the impression that the single sex formula produced results superior to those of co-ed institutions with their more heterogeneous populations. Given also the additional head start of students’ being “better connected” than students from less affluent schools, it is little wonder that sex-segregated schools seemed to produce more alumnae of distinction.

    The best clue to the continued existence of sex-segregated schools and their affluent funding bases is the plea of a wealthy, liberal male funder responding to a negative critique of such schools: “BUT DON’T YOU THINK WE NEED TO CHERISH THE DIFFERENCES?” The answer is, of course, if “the differences” are natural, there is no need to establish schools to inculcate them. And if they are not natural, shouldn’t education be used to mitigate them.?

    Having rejoiced when my own women’s college became coeducational, I confess to thoroughly enjoying Smith College’s* predicament in dealing with the transgender challenge. Does anyone doubt that, as with any occasion perceived as a man demanding his rights over those of women, the “man” will prevail? Remember MUW v. Hogan (1982) which said rejecting a man’s application to the women’s university’s nursing school violated his 14th Amendment rights. Women have no 14th Amendment rights, so there,

    *(My sister is a Smith alum.)

  34. sjaustin

    If “wanna be a girl, be a girl” applies, would it apply to someone who does absolutely nothing to her appearance? Basically, can a transwoman be butch and still be considered a “woman”? Would a butch transwoman (complete with hairy arms and Adam’s apple) have “measurably curtailed personal sovereignty?”

    elf, it sounds as though you’re asking whether trans women should be held to a different standard of femininity than cis women, and the answer is “no.” The performance of femininity is not a requirement for womanhood, for any woman. Therefore a “butch” trans woman is just as much a woman as any other woman, and is therefore a member of an oppressed class (or two) and as such has “measurably curtailed personal sovereignty.”

  35. stacey

    I find it very difficult to imagine anyone in transition to be traipsing happily through single-sex toilets or showers, floppy-bits abounce. I would expect everyone to be like me, eyes to myself, enduring my nakedness with grim determination and NOT policing everyone’s genitals.

  36. Smits

    So how do you determine the cut-off point when it comes to the similarity or dissimilarity between these vaunted “life experiences”? I mean, at what point does a life experience of violence and oppression become unworthy of inclusion in the feminist purview?

    Simple. Being born female. White women and women of colour, upper and middle class women and poor women, straight women and bi/gay women all have the experience of a lifetime of oppression- literally, from the moment our sex was detected, whether in the womb or at the point of birth- for being female. Until we can somehow teach babies to signal that they’ve got the wrong junk as soon as they emerge, all transwomen will experience male socialisation and male privilege for a portion of their lives, and this matters.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth- I never said that transwomen were “unworthy of inclusion in the feminist purview”. Transwomen who pass as female are subjected to the same misogyny as those of us born female (minus reproductive coercion, obviously), plus the threat of transphobic violence and the usual medical bollocks that any of us with a long-term health condition have to deal with, and so clearly fall under the feminist purview for a number of reasons. Acknowledging that being born female is a state distinct from and not socially privileged over being trans is not saying that transwomen should be totally kicked to the curb.

  37. shopstewardess

    Logging in to say that the post from “[no anonymous posts, please]” on March 23, 2013 at 1:46 am (UTC -6) was me, failing to log in.

    Sorry.

  38. Twisty

    “Acknowledging that being born female is a state distinct from and not socially privileged over being trans is not saying that transwomen should be totally kicked to the curb.”

    Kind of like “separate but equal.”

    You can go around “acknowledging” the differences between people’s backgrounds all day long, but I have yet to be persuaded that it is at all a useful or relevant undertaking, particularly within the context of the struggle for liberation from oppression.

  39. Smits

    And you have yet to even acknowledge the argument that the experience of male socialisation and male privilege makes transwomens’ lives fundamentally different to those of females. This clearly isn’t going anywhere.

  40. Maria

    “Kind of like ‘separate but equal’”. Puh-lease. The only way trans people can be treated with dignity is to completely erase the basic truth that females share the same reproductive systems? I won’t lobotomize myself just to fit some narrative. Comparing women who disagree with your views to that of a Jim Crow law racist is a dirty silencing tactic.

  41. Shelby

    Brava Twisty Faster! Brava!

  42. Triste

    “I seriously doubt that by letting Calliope Wong in, the joint’ll soon be overrun with entitled dudebros in drag.”

    Of course not. I read about a study somewhere back wherein a researcher asked people what they would do if they woke up one day and were suddenly the ‘opposite’ gender. After getting the “wow, weird” thoughts out of the way, women said that they would go and become baseball players, politicians, or even just go on with their lives. Men, though, more often said they would commit suicide.

    The idea that transwomen are secret men pretending to be women is a joke. As if any man could stand for one week to live the life of a woman, much less the life of a transwoman, which is much like the life of a ciswoman except with more rape and less money. Men would sooner pretend to be a dog than a woman – they actually like dogs.

  43. Triste

    “Acknowledging that being born female is a state distinct from and not socially privileged over being trans is not saying that transwomen should be totally kicked to the curb.”

    I have to disagree with you there. Transwomen, as a class, experience rates of rape which are higher than that of ciswomen, and are paid less as well. Same thing with transmen vs. cismen. Identifying as the gender you were assigned at birth does confer a certain amount of privilege upon you.

    As for the argument that transwomen don’t experience this discrimination before they are “out” as trans, well, the same argument can be made for gays. Nobody would hate me for being a lesbian as long as I was still pretending to be straight. I don’t think that means that I wasn’t being discriminated against before I “came out.” I might not have been the subject of direct discrimination, I guess, but societal messages against gays and legal discrimination against them still affected me even while I was “passing” as straight. And yeah, I had some privilege as “passing” I guess, and you could said that transwomen who aren’t out yet have “passing” privilege as well, since they pass as cisgendered. But just as the gay movement doesn’t exclude people who come out as gay late in their lives, I don’t think we as women should exclude women who come out late in their lives.

  44. hayduke

    “The gender binary is one of the cornerstones of patriarchal oppression.”

    Oh, this! I’m seeing a disturbing trend here lately, which is otherwise spectacular radical feminists being willing to side with the USian right-wing in order to go after The Great Trans Threat. I understand your concerns about potentially conflating sex and gender, I do! In fact, I believe that in a post-patriarchy the way we treat individuals currently described as trans will look very, very different, for a zillion reasons! I even understand the objections of cis lesbians to the “Cotton Ceiling” phrasing since, again for a zillion reasons, telling women what they “should” want sexually is not ok! I understand all of these things, truly, I do. But Jebus Eff! The USian right-wingers do not share your concerns, folks. They don’t.

    And the fact that so many are willing to align themselves with shit rhetoric, to score points against trans people, breaks what little heart I have. The rich white Christian able-bodied neuro-typical cis dudes are a way bigger threat to the revolution than any transwoman ever will be, no matter how sincere your objections are. Let’s fucking focus, at least, even if we can’t agree. I mean, bare fucking minimum here!

  45. hayduke

    And:

    Twisty, I am so glad you are back and in such fine form!

    Pheeno, I’m an atheist myself, but very much enjoyed reading your comment. Enlightening and embiggening, thank you!

  46. Cyberwulf

    born female is a state [...] not socially privileged over being trans

    Except for the part where, as ciswomen, we are unlikely to be brutally murdered because someone pulls down our pants and finds something he didn’t expect, and oh we’ve made him gay so now we must die.

  47. Twisty

    Maria: “Puh-lease.”

    Oh snap! Two days ago, my 7-year-old niece wrote this in the dust on my car, next to the words “WASH ME.”

  48. Thriller dance

    A University education is an expensive class privilege already and they want to worsen that problem by requiring that trans women jump through the expensive hoops to even get approved for srs and then have the money left over to pay for the operation ? On an intersectional note this completely excludes most trans women of colour who have less access to healthcare and who generally lack class privilege, especially black and Latina women.

  49. qvaken

    Twisty, this blog post is depressingly erasing of women. You seem to be criticising the idea that girls are just boys without penises when you say, “Woman, they say, is denoted completely arbitrarily by lacking a dick.” But then you say, “The entire fabric of the universe, in fact, depends entirely on girls entirely not having dicks. No dicks, not of any kind.” What do you mean here? This time, you instead seem to be criticising women who love women, who are proud of women, and who reject phallocentrism and male-centrism, and you seem to be promoting the idea of women enjoying the benefits and the increased power of having a phallus in their lives, promoting men, or having something “male” about them. This would include heterosexuality, marriage, kowtowing to men’s demands and preferences, and acting out masculinity – all institutions and choices of which I thought you were critical.

    The part that you have left out of your analysis is that girls aren’t just boys without penises, girls are people who have their own bodies. This is related to pride for women in a woman-hating society, as well as to criticism of compulsory heterosexuality and of the normalisation of men raping women. Again, you ordinarily promote women’s right to feel proud of being women, and you criticise compulsory heterosexuality and rape culture, so it’s startling to see you ignore this in your analysis.

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

    Point taken, however the idea of women-as-fuckholes has serious implications for those people who were born female. You’re suggesting that the school requires its students to be fuckable, simply because they’re female. That is at the basis of what is problematic with this male-identified assumption about women, and the fact that men must then also be fuckable as per men’s preferences to meet male requirements for what a woman is, is certainly a terrible and horrifying truth, but it comes secondary to the woman-hatred and woman-subordination underlying these disgusting and dangerous attitudes. When I say secondary, I don’t mean any less horrifying, or less dangerous. I mean that it all comes from male supremacy and hating women so as to subordinate us, which necessarily has consequences for women just for being women, and then also has consequences for men who fail to fit the Patriarchal narrative, including gay men and men who identify more strongly with women, or with femininity.

    Finally, in this piece you champion personal preference. Again, in previous posts I’ve seen you criticise personal preference as a means for women to fight for our rights. Personal preference is highly problematic and potentially destructive and hierarchical: How can we engage in personal preference without the preferences of some winning out over the preferences of others? How can we have a unified and powerful movement with thousands or millions of people who isolate themselves into having their own individual personal preferences? How can anyone claim that they create and choose personal preferences separately from societal influence? You know all of these problems with promoting personal choice as the way to improve women’s rights or to achieve women’s liberation, and yet, here you’ve backflipped on your previous analyses and chosen to champion it. Why? To what end?

  50. anyc

    Not allowing a person who sports a tool of rape in a women’s space should NOT be considered a crime, nor should supporting such be something of which to be ashamed. I am sorry to say it’s this post and earlier ones like it will cost you this longtime reader. It’s disappointing, mostly because I think you really don’t believe what you’re saying, but you’re saying it anyway (to appease? to appear gracious? what?) I feel like radfems who drink the trans Kool-Aid are abandoning their sisters and it’s painful to witness. Too painful, and pointless to continue to witness. So long.

  51. Cyberwulf

    “sporting a tool of rape”

    By that logic, no-one should be allowed in women’s spaces since we all have fingers.

  52. Mar Iguana

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

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

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

  53. Gayle

    “Except for the part where, as ciswomen, we are unlikely to be brutally murdered because someone pulls down our pants and finds something he didn’t expect, and oh we’ve made him gay so now we must die.”

    No, we’re likely to be brutally murdered because we have exactly what men do expect.

  54. Twisty

    Quoth Mar Iguana (who is banned but sometimes her comments are just so priceless I can’t resist lettin’em out of moderation): “Fingers [...] can only sexually violate. A penis is the only thing that is a tool of rape since it is the only thing that can impregnate a female. By this logic, rape can only be defined as that which can, or potentially can, cause pregnancy. A man, or a planet or a business deal, or (name it), can’t be raped, only violated.”

    Your “logic” would come as a surprise to the Steubenville rape victim. You should try to get in touch with her and let her know that she was “only” violated by those assholes; I’m sure it would be a great comfort.

    We do agree, though, my dear old Mar Iguana, that the word “rape” gets bandied about a little too freely, like when the word “porn” gets appended to photos of food or shoes, or when white Republican dudes compare themselves to Rosa Parks.

  55. J

    Wow, you exclude postmenopausal and infertile cis women as women too, and discount the rapes committed upon them as rape. And suppose the rapist uses a penis, but is infertile or uses a condom? God, you’re gross.

  56. Veronica Dire

    Ha! OMFG!

    This is the best thing I’ve read all week.

  57. Bushfire

    “Not allowing a person who sports a tool of rape in a women’s space should NOT be considered a crime, nor should supporting such be something of which to be ashamed.”

    Anyc, you seem to be under the impression that trans women are men who enter women’s spaces to rape them. Not so. Trans women are just people like you and me who are trying to survive in an oppressive system.

  58. Shabnam

    Self-identification makes for terrible laws. To demarcate women’s space you need to draw a line somewhere, otherwise it can and will be abused by men, as this example below demonstrates:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/06/kirk-sneade-ucl-student_n_2817370.html

    So if being a woman is now a mere feeling a person can have, someone needs to police these feelings as `genuine’. Someone has to decide that Wong is a genuine sociological woman but Kirk Sneade is a pretender. Who gets to decide?

    In any politically defined space, it makes sense for the people in that space to decide – why is this somehow different for certain radical feminists who don’t fully agree with you concerning gender? If some radical feminists believe that girlhood under a patriarchy is a significant oppression faced only by those who were female assigned at birth, they should be able to organise events for people who were female assigned at birth.

  59. Edith

    … in this piece you champion personal preference. Again, in previous posts I’ve seen you criticise personal preference as a means for women to fight for our rights. Personal preference is highly problematic and potentially destructive and hierarchical….

    So the thing to do, then, is to criticize folks for what they do, the “problematic” choices they make (as much as they can “freely” make, indefatigable personal agency myths aside), as opposed to criticizing the P for not really allowing anyone to MAKE a useful choice?

    Trans women don’t really get a lot of kickass choices to make. What would be most pleasing to the transphobic, here? For trans women to not ever identify as a “women”? To identify only as a third gender, or off the binary, that very binary that is enforced, rigidly, by 99% of the populace and so then WILL be enforced on you, regardless of your personal identification? To never inhabit “women’s spaces”? Or to realize that, deep down, they are just men, and no one can ever transgress the sacred gender labels we’ve been assigned?

    Sounds like a great version of feminism to me, to reverently uphold gender. OK.

    One last tidbit: you know, lots of fixation on bathrooms. I see people existing with “tools of rape” all the time outside of bathrooms. Do you? Am I more likely to be raped in the bathroom than all those other places because we are momentarily exposing our genitals? Strangely, in all the times I’ve been in women’s restrooms, I’ve rarely seen another woman’s vulva. What about you?

  60. Basil

    There appears to be some confusion about gender here: gender is not a spectrum, gender is a hierarchy of sex that places men (people with male bodies) above women (people with female bodies). The feminine and masculine stereotyping comes afterwards, after the rapes that is, so men can easily spot who is in the fellow oppressors’ club and who they need to continually subjugate aka rape. It is not possible for women to step out of our feminine gender role because it is forcibly assigned by men based on our female bodies. If it were, women could overnight claim we were all men, and voila! no more oppression of us, because now we’re men together with men.

    Our sex exists in our bodies, it’s what we are, not a feeling a person has in their head. Postmodernists like to pander to male delusions, to erase the material reality of male power and its physical enactment on women’s bodies, but radical feminists certainly don’t. You’re being misleading about the politics here.

  61. Cyberwulf

    Someone has to decide that Wong is a genuine sociological woman but Kirk Sneade is a pretender. Who gets to decide?

    In that case it is self-evident, from Sneade’s own manifesto, that Sneade is a shitstirrer.

    If some radical feminists believe that girlhood under a patriarchy is a significant oppression faced only by those who were female assigned at birth

    Define “girlhood”. Anyone who presents as female is treated as such and is subject to the same oppression whether they were assigned female at birth or not. Transwomen also get a nice extra heaping of shit that can range from people giving them the stinkeye when they use the ladies’ room to being murdered by scumbags who then wail about “gay/trans panic”.

    they should be able to organise events for people who were female assigned at birth.

    Nobody’s stopping them. They should also realise that they will come under fire for not only excluding transwomen, but disregarding their experiences and essentially branding them liars by implying that they couldn’t possibly experience the same kind of oppression as all of us “biological” women. The only exception is that transwomen don’t have to deal with the politics of being pregnant – but transmen, depending on their circumstances, do.

    Honestly, one would imagine that radical feminists would work to break out of the gender binary as much as possible, rather than reinforce it.

  62. goblinbee

    pheenobarbidoll: “Wong is a female. She has a female Spirit. It’s hardly her fault biology or God screwed up the shell.”

    No one or no thing necessarily “screwed up” at all. Plenty of folks feel fine about their so-called ambiguities, or at least feel that they WOULD feel fine if others would let them. I guess therein lies the rub.

  63. pheenobarbidoll

    “And you have yet to even acknowledge the argument that the experience of male socialisation and male privilege makes transwomens’ lives fundamentally different to those of females. This clearly isn’t going anywhere.”

    And when little children KNOW they are girls on the inside, and should be girls but something has gone wrong, do you not realize they internalize all the ways females are oppressed? They’re being given male privilege, all the while terrified that someone will discover they’re not boys and knowing that because of that they’re worthless. Knowing secretly they’re bad and at any point someone could find out just how bad they are.

    Imagine growing up with that feeling as a child. How does that not compare with male and female socialization differences? How does that confer privilege?

    Hey you! A body part that doesn’t truly belong to you and shouldn’t even be there is the only reason you’re valuable! Yeah, that’s some privilege right there. That’s not damaging at all.

    Think about growing up bi-racial and presenting white. You think that person is really benefiting from WP or are they just internalizing some nasty racism and worrying about what’s going to happen when people discover their true identity?

  64. pheenobarbidoll

    “No one or no thing necessarily “screwed up” at all. Plenty of folks feel fine about their so-called ambiguities, or at least feel that they WOULD feel fine if others would let them. I guess therein lies the rub.”

    Indeed, but that’s more complicated than some of these folks seem capable of handling so I’ll start with baby steps.

  65. pheenobarbidoll

    @hayduke

    “Pheeno, I’m an atheist myself, but very much enjoyed reading your comment. Enlightening and embiggening, thank you!”

    Me too. Spirit is not the same as Soul. Your Spirit is the one you think of when you think of yourself. Who you are. Your body is the shell your Spirit uses to get around in. Unlike a soul it wasn’t given by God, it was cultivated and created by you and your experiences. Some believe God did it, others believe a Creator did it but I believe all animals have it, not just humans. If that makes sense.

  66. Fluff

    I only got introduced to the trans debate a few weeks back and I have been trying to work out my opinions on it so sorry if this doesn’t make sense or misses the point.
    I believe that anyone suffering under the patriarchy needs the support of feminism and I wholeheartedly agree that trans-people belong in that category. I have been reading a few accounts similar to the one Shabnam linked to though and am finding it hard to accept that any man who claims to identify as female should be entitled to full and unquestioned access to women’s spaces and facilities. If any man is allowed to access any woman’s space just by claiming to be female then the idea of safe-spaces seems compromised to me. I’m not saying that trans-women will necessarily be the problem here but it leaves a big gap open for any dude to come in under that pretense.

  67. Christina

    I don’t want to tell you how to run your space, Twisty, because I do respect you as a writer and one of the best blamers on the web.
    But with all of the comments on this thread ranging from “be nice and shut up ladies, transwomen have to be apart of every discussion,” to “not all women have the same experiences, *you’re* the one erasing infertile women, evil radical feminist” to “transwomen have a female spirit” (seriously? do you know how many decades feminists have spent dispelling the myth of a female essence, this idea that all women are designed to love domesticity, etc?) and so on, perhaps it’s time to change the name of the blog to I Blame the Kyrkiarchy?

  68. random_anomaly

    eb: “This is also why transmen don’t have the same problems fitting into male spaces – men do not fear rape.”

    There are many people who would disagree with both of those statements.

    Transmen have been killed for attempting to exist in “male” spaces.
    Also, men often mention fear of rape as a reason for their homophobia.

  69. hayduke

    Cooler and cooler pheeno – and now I’m gonna hit up Google before I pester you with endless questions!

    Twisty, I’ve seen a fair amount of the “if it ain’t PIV, it ain’t rape” argument. And I’ve seen some of it seem to proceed from a starting point with good intentions – PIV rape has long been a deliberate tool of oppression for very deliberate reasons, specifically, imposing on the victim unintended pregnancy. But come on. Discussing that reality hardly requires declaring that to be the only form of rape. Especially since feeds dominant narratives about “real” rape.

  70. tinfoil hattie

    “Nobody’s stopping them.”

    Except in the UK, where such gatherings are illegal.

    I find qvaken’s comment to be very in line with some of my problems with the post. If there is really no such thing as “woman” or “girl,” then we don’t live in a patriarchy, right? So why all the fuss? And why do (allegedly non-existent) women, once again, bear the brunt of accommodating, changing, shifting, etc?. Men (who also don’t exist, I guess) are responsible for most rape, most murder, most assault, most all violent crime. But it’s women, specifically radical feminists, who are blamed for a lot of trans- discrimination in feminists arenas.

    I get that in a post-patriarchal utopia, there will be no gender. There will be no sex, possibly no biology of any sort. There will be no such thing as rape. We will all dress and act like Katmiss’s team of assistants in The Hunger Games.

    But we are not in that utopia, and: surprise! in our attempts to achieve that utopia, there are serious implications for girls and women right now. We don’t exist! Talk about erasure.

    So now, I’m back to: If all this is accurate, then – what patriarchy? “Woman,” Girl,” “Female,” – none of it exists anyway, so why the fuss?

    And if penises are female, and not-male, depending on who sports them, then do you, Twisty, now recant your beliefs and prior comments about fellatio, peens, funk-filled bratwursts, and the like?

    As for “female spirit,” pheeno, why do “male” and “female” exist for spiritual classifications, but not for bodies? It makes no sense. How does one define a male spirit vs. a female spirit, or for that matter, a “third” spirit? Why do we even need such designations? None of it is real. We are all the same.

  71. tinfoil hattie

    “What would be most pleasing to the transphobic, here?”

    So, anyone who wants to discuss sex v. gender and the associated implications, is “transphobic”? Anyone who believes ALL women are oppressed is “transphobic” if one doesn’t believe the oppression of transsexuals and transgendered people always trumps all other forms of oppression, specifically “female” or “woman” or “girl” oppression? Got it.

    What would be most pleasing to me would be for all of us to fight together to defeat patriarchy.

  72. TwissB

    Binarically speaking, I would say that the MtF transgender concept in action chiefly manifests itself as lusting after the superficial aspects of being female, i.e. femininity, and to reinforce a binary perspective with all its stereotypes. That seems possible as declaring, “I feel Black, therefore I am Black.” No need to explain to IBTF’s astute participants that the result would fall short of reality. Although it may sound at times as if WbW are asserting an exclusive sisterhood of sufferers of sexism, a girls’ club that will not admit boys however self-defined, I think that wariness arises from the oft-cited life experience of being ruthlessly overrun by self-centered, self-righteous, contemptuous, hostile, aggressive, bossy men. Given that common experience, the out of control flaming, witchification and silencing of women lesbian or straight (e.g.Janice Raymond and Christine Benvenuto) who dare to question the validity of the MtF rationale and its impact on wbw looks like more of the same. What interests me is the phenomenon of women such as those who flocked to befriend Benvenuto’s husband and revile her, just as Camille Paglia and Phyllis Schlafly did on past occasions. Is this a fiercer form of Stockholm Syndrome or what? Also, does anyone know whether there is a parallel debate among men about wtm? How are transmen faring?

  73. Cyberwulf

    I would say that the MtF transgender concept in action chiefly manifests itself as lusting after the superficial aspects of being female

    Yes! Good for you for bringing up how shallow MtFers are, chopping off their dicks for all the sweet sweet advantages of being female. As a cisgendered women, you are of course well aware of what those advantages are.

    and to reinforce a binary perspective with all its stereotypes.

    Naturally this is quite different from defining women in terms of their reproductive systems and appealing to biology.

    That seems possible as declaring, “I feel Black, therefore I am Black.” No need to explain to IBTF’s astute participants that the result would fall short of reality

    Aah. It’s good to see we’re also disappearing people who are mixed race and all their experiences simply because they don’t conform to a particular skin tone.

  74. TwissB

    @Cyberwulf “It’s good to see we’re also disappearing people who are mixed race and all their experiences simply because they don’t conform to a particular skin tone.”

    While it may invite further misunderstanding, I was referring to the idea of someone white, with no personal Black life experience.

    “That seems possible ,,,” should have been “That seems as possible…”

  75. tinfoil hattie

    I don’t think transmen or transwomen are “shallow.” I think transmen and transwomen are hideously abused, marginalized, and discrimintated against by a society that cannot stand to acknowledge as human anyone who does not fit a narrowly defined standard of “male.”

    AND, I think the same thing happens to ALL women. And I believe there is a different life experince (not “worse,” not “better-off,” just DIFFERENT) if one is born with female sex characteristics. Being a girl is not hte same as being a homosexual boy or a transgendered/transsexua/intersexed child. But all of these children suffer from abuse and oppression. Is there not “room” in feminism for acknowledgement of this fact?

  76. Maria

    Most people are scared of the “do as I say or suffer my wrath” mentality of trans activists who refuse to concede any gray area. It is not the same as hating trans. I certainly want to aid my sisters, but there’s no reason to concede reality.

    We can all use the web to find some man using the trans narrative to support his autogynophilia. Let’s not pretend like the perverts who put cameras in women’s locker rooms have too much integrity to put on a wig and pretend to be trans. That a 40 year old ex marine sitting balls out in a college women’s sauna is totally legit. Fear of trans activists got the college to consider it more important than the highschool girls’ swim team having access to said facilities. Say what you will, but I have never seen a woman spread eagle in a public sauna and I don’t know a trans alive that would submit themselves to that kind of attention.

    There’s not allowed to be gray areas like when a person with male bone and muscle development for 35 years is allowed to break female records and jaws in what is supposedly sex segregated contact sports. Who cares about the born women with significant and clear as day disadvantages. Knock outs are incredibly rare in the women’s division, but we’re not allowed to point out the unfairness to women bc it might make it unfair to a trans woman.

    Part of the reason there has been such headway in trans rights at the expense of women might just be because society sees trans women as men. Can’t point out the what about the men aspect of it all though because we’re supposed to pretend the patriarchy suddenly doesn’t exist in this very special realm.

  77. Cyberwulf

    Most people are scared of the “do as I say or suffer my wrath” mentality of trans activists

    Good point. Perhaps we should pay attention when Liberal Dudes accuse us of being too angry and scaring away men who are sympathetic to the feminist cause.

    Part of the reason there has been such headway in trans rights at the expense of women

    Yeah, it’s transpeople who made it impossible for me to have an abortion without leaving the country. And all those trans judges are the ones who keep handing down paltry four year sentences for rape.

  78. Claire

    Maria, read what Twisty is actually saying. We *can* acknowledge that females share certain body parts. We can do that all damn day long. But that acknowledgement in and of itself is not grounds for discriminating against trans people.

    Another good comparison is how straight folks insist that there is something so special about heterosexual unions that only they deserve to be called ‘marriages’. Lengthy feminist critique of the institution of marriage aside, the comparison to gay marriage or Jim Crow is relevant because it’s a lesson from history – the existence of differences is not automatic justification for exclusion from a category, class, or part of society.

  79. TwissB

    “Part of the reason there has been such headway in trans rights at the expense of women might just be because society sees trans women as men. Can’t point out the what about the men aspect of it all though because we’re supposed to pretend the patriarchy suddenly doesn’t exist in this very special realm.”

    Maria gets to the point. To repeat, the only class that does not include men is the class women. wbm that is. Contrast the different Constitutional (US) status of men and women, the escalating advance of aptly titled Gay marriage that relies on that difference (lesbians, like minority women, can’t easily be openly excluded), the jolly play with anti-abortion legislation, etc. If it’s about men in any guise, respectful attention must be paid. Patriarchy, systems of male dominance, is pervasive..

  80. Edith

    So, anyone who wants to discuss sex v. gender and the associated implications, is “transphobic”? Anyone who believes ALL women are oppressed is “transphobic” if one doesn’t believe the oppression of transsexuals and transgendered people always trumps all other forms of oppression, specifically “female” or “woman” or “girl” oppression? Got it.

    What, tinfoil? Who said anything about anyone’s oppression “trumping” another’s?

  81. Saurs

    We can all use the web to find some man using the trans narrative to support his autogynophilia.

    And we can all use the interwebz to find some woman using hijacking the radfem narrative to support her transphobia. Right here, in fact! That must mean something important about the narrative, rather than bigots hiding beyond it. QED, or something.

    Trans folk are not responsible for the abuses, lies, and straw-laden anecdotes about sniveling perverts wearing frilly underpants over their massive hard-ons perpetuated by other people. We’re asked to deal with reality and accept “gray areas,” and yet these fucking imaginary what-if scenarios of doom and cliched stereotypes are supposed to be taken seriously. Meanwhile real people are being hurt, badly.

  82. tinfoil hattie

    Edith, see “every internet discussion about oppression and discrimination,” ever. There’s always an Oppression Olympics game going on, and women are considered “privileged” over transsexuals, transgendered, and intersexed people.

  83. Saurs

    Isn’t the problem with treating oppression like it’s a competition between classes of oppressed people (who’s going to get gold this year?) is that we begin to over-generalize while we ignore intersections of oppression (where, yes, cis people are privileged over trans people) and, therefore, erase a lot of lived experiences? Patriarchy is certainly healthier and more robust when people want to be convinced that there’s One True Oppression and I Gots It; that is, when they are not aiming at many loci (at which there are intersections) or thinking radically, but rather thinking about oppression exclusively in terms of their own experience.

    I mean, even here, many commenters are implicitly erasing trans men by discretely categorizing the experiences of “trans people” from women and girls.

  84. gingerest

    (trigger warning: discussion of sexual assault)(although if you’ve gotten this far into the comments without being triggered you’ll probably be fine)

    Wow, you exclude postmenopausal and infertile cis women as women too, and discount the rapes committed upon them as rape. And suppose the rapist uses a penis, but is infertile or uses a condom? God, you’re gross.

    Don’t forget the part where if what really counts is the capacity to get knocked up, then having a penis inserted into one of your non-reproductive orifices against your will is “violation”, not rape. And an impotent guy who uses an object is just a violator, too, not a real rapist, even if you are permanently damaged or killed by that object.

    Jesus.

    The genitalia are the only thing anyone gives a fig about.

    I see what you did there. This post is the greatest and I love you, Auntie T.

  85. Beth

    A few commentators seem to think they are the only ones to realise that the experience of transwomen is different to the experience of ciswomen and that on that basis each should organise alone. It seems to me that what justifies exclusionary spaces is that they are a place for plotting and supporting each other in safety and peace from those higher up the particular axis of oppression that is being challenged. If a privileged group has its own special conference, you can usually bet they’re up to no good. Maybe there’s a great deal of benefit in men having discussions by themselves about gender and how it affects them, but the burden of proof is definitely on them excluding women from any such conference. An organisation for workers seems to have legitimate grounds for excluding bosses, but it’s hard to see how they could justify excluding unemployed people. So it seems to me that it’s all well and good to exclude upwards, but when you try and draw the line below you then you run the risk of making mistakes that you can’t see because of relative privilege.

    Including people who suffer from X oppression in a different, but even more extreme way, enriches and strengthens you in the fight against those who benefit from it. As the most murdered, raped and gender policed group in existence, transwomen can certainly teach us all about resistance and survival in a patriarchy. The only people who benefit from us excluding them are the people that are very sure indeed there should be no common interest, and that’s misogynistic transphobic men.

    We’ve just heard an awful story in the UK of a transwoman teacher committing suicide after being bullied in the press. Of course we only heard about it because the man doing the bullying was so high profile. Doesn’t mean that those of us who aren’t rich and famous don’t have significant power to make things a lot more or a lot less livable for people facing a world that tells them many times a day that they shouldn’t exist.

  86. XtinaS

    A request: Please consider saying “trans men” and “trans women” rather than “transmen” and “transwomen”. The former is an adjective, the latter is a subtle form of othering.

    (I can flesh this out later, post-coffee, if need be.)

  87. XtinaS

    (A request to commenters, not to Twisty. Gah, wakefulness.)

  88. Twisty

    Oh man. It’s really simple. Live and let live, yo.

    These anti-trans arguments suggesting that MTFs endanger women (both physically and ideologically) are a bit similar to those made by panicky fundamentalists who claim that same-sex marriage somehow “weakens” het-sex marriage. Not that I endorse marriage of any kind, of course; I use the example merely to illustrate that the great Trans Threat is actually a non-issue. It is hardly a universal characteristic inherent in trans women that they must all maraud through the Ladies Rooms of America, raping and pillaging and degrading “true” women.

    There is no one “authentic” women’s experience of oppression. Not only that, but a primary experience of womanhood is in fact inessential to the understanding of oppression. It is not necessary, in order for the oppressed to unite behind the common cause of liberation, that every oppressed person should share the background experiences of every other oppressed person. It is not only not necessary; it is not possible. The imposition of such jingoistic strictures precludes all possibility of revolution.

    Even Radfem Grand Poobah Andrea Dworkin, writing on this very subject, asserts that all human beings have a right to exist on their own terms. You hatas are gonna end up — as cable news pundits say — on the wrong side of history.

  89. Edith

    “The carpet must match the drapes.”

    “Before granting a sexception, they require that a person literally be in emotional crisis, and demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to the Establishment by subjecting herself to the medical industry for barbaric surgical procedures. And when I say barbaric I’m not jokin’ around. Do you realize that vaginoplasty essentially takes a peen and turns it inside-out?”

    I sympathize with Wong in her dilemma. That said, I think it is very unfortunate that those trying to make a case as to why she should be accepted go too far. The “The carpet must match the drapes.” remark is glib at best. but, actually, I think it is deeply insulting to portray the motivations of those who find the need for sex altering surgeries as being about hardly much more than redecorating a room.

    The second quote I pasted up is typical of a lot of the denigrating language that comes out of the trans activist community. SRS is not “barbaric”. When you characterize my vagina as a “fuckhole”, what are you doing? Is yours that much better than mine? What am I? Nothing more than a stoopid “fuckhole”.

    Y’know, I don’t know why people feel it so necessary to bring others down when attempting to lift others up. The language you used, contained in the quotes above, is the language of denigration. I hope you are able to understand that. I hope their are no hard feelings about what I said but I think it has to be said.

  90. Mar Iguana

    Too Too Dear Twisty,

    Bummer. Just one “God, you’re gross,” and a “Ha! OMFG!” response to your attempt to use dear, little ol’ me to rile up the pseudo-rads. You just kind find good sycophants these days. Priceless.

    And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the Steubenville victim was not “only” violated, she was sexually violated. Bit of a dif.

    Well, I’ll let you get back to your blogging. You’re going to be pretty busy banning a new batch of SCAM “haters.” Looks like many of the commenters are veering off the Twisty SCAM Promotion Path. May I suggest a tune for you while you’re herding them back into line:

    Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
    Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
    Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
    Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
    Rawhide!

    Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
    Though they’re disapprovin’,
    Keep them doggies movin’ Rawhide!
    Don’t try to understand ‘em,
    Just rope and throw and grab ‘em,
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide.

    Adios,

    Old Mar Iguana

  91. Basil

    Women’s experience of male oppression is male violence towards and destruction of our female bodies in the form of rapes, sexual torture, battering by men, forced impregnation, destruction of female foetuses, female infanticide, female genital dismemberment, gynocide and more recently, female erasure.

    Claiming the female body is immaterial in women’s oppression, when it is in fact the site of men’s oppression of us, means that women will never be able to construct a politics of liberation, because we will remain in denial about what it is that men are doing to us and in denial about our own selves.

    Dworkin also said that children should be free to act on erotic impulses, at the same time as she pronounced on trans (which she also said was most likely the product of a faulty society). She probably changed her mind on a few things, given that you’re quoting from her first book, Woman Hating. She remained neutral on trans from then on and only made mention of trans in the Anti-porn Ordinance. It’s pretty unfair to bring her earliest writing into this debate, either for or against.

    Women who stand up for women have always been on the wrong side of history. That much won’t change.

  92. quixote

    It seems like the argument for or against specific-kind-of-women-only spaces runs into the conflict between freedom of association and the right to equality. On one hand, you shouldn’t be told who you may include in your group, at least if it’s a private one, and on the other exclusion can be a form of bigotry.

    My problem is that when it’s the Augusta Golf Club (or whoever they were) excluding women, I see blatant discrimination. When it’s a rape crisis center excluding counselors who aren’t born-women, that feels justified because the feelings of the counselees (who might understandably be allergic to anything male-shaped right then) are the most important thing. (That situation happened in Seattle, I think it was.)

    I’d like to think the distinction is powerful excluding powerless at the Golf Club versus protecting the powerless at the crisis center. But it could easily be that I’m way more sympathetic to “my” people than “those” people at the Golf Club.

  93. Falkland

    All of youse have probably taken a dump right next to a trans woman at one time or another and didn’t even know it. Get over it. And please pass me a roll o’ TP.

  94. nails

    How nasty to read that fingers can’t be scary after what happened to me, in a woman only space of all places.

    You know what I’ve learned? Making a club where members are presumed to be more moral than others is a recipe to fill your club with sociopaths who can deny wrongdoing on the basis of membership. I’m not convinced that woman only spaces mean fucking anything.

  95. Nimravid

    If a person could just announce they were a dude and they could fit into the social role of a dude without any hoops to jump through then society would collapse. Because people wouldn’t be assigned to a subhuman status because of their bodies. It’s easy to see why people can’t be allowed to choose their role in society regardless of their body. It would make a patriarchy nearly impossible.

  96. Twisty

    “SRS is not “barbaric”. When you characterize my vagina as a “fuckhole”, what are you doing? Is yours that much better than mine?”

    All surgery is barbaric. Ask me how I know.

    The characterization of vaginas as “fuckholes” isn’t mine. It’s the dominant culture’s. If I ran the world, nobody would define women in terms of aggressive dude behavior. Until then, welcome to the sex class, chica.

  97. Twisty

    Yo, Basil: nice try, but the publish date of Dworkin’s remarks, as well as any revisionist speculations regarding her personal views, are entirely irrelevant. A good idea doesn’t turn into a bad idea just because its originator declines to make it the focus of her life’s work. Or even if she entirely rescinds her support of it.

  98. tinfoil hattie

    What chaps MY hide is the idea that being birn into the sex-class “woman” doesn’t sem to matter. Nope, there is no auch thing as commin experience when it comes to girls beeing raised in patriarchy.

    But how many of you had your budding breasts poked, stared at, and remarked upon – in school, at home, in public? How many started your period unexpectedly and bled all over your clothes, and were shamed for it? How many were told you could couldn’t play, couldn’t join, didn’t belong, because you were a girl? How many were told, “Girls don’t need college”? How many of you were groped, fondled, forced to touch boys, or raped?

    There are countless experiences that we have because we are girls. There must be countless experiences that trans men and trans women (sorry, XtinaS, & thanks for the explanation) have faced that other women and men cannot relate to. And if we all want to share and witness those experiences, maybe there’s value in that. And maybe there’s also value in talking about such things with people who instantly know what we’re talking about. Like NA, AA, etc. (sort of).

    I’m really bewildered. When did it become either/or? Isn’t it, shoudn’t it be, “both/and”?

  99. basil

    Nice try – well not really.

    When trans politics became an issue in feminism, Dworkin kept out of it. She was around when Kimberley Nixon was persecuting Vancouver Rape Relief because they wouldn’t accept Kimberley’s womanhood and she didn’t comment. She didn’t comment when trans attacked Michigan Womyn’s Festival. She didn’t comment when trans invaded lesbian spaces and made sure there was nowhere the female bodied could meet without supervision by males. It doesn’t have to be someone’s life’s work for them to take a stand one way or another. She didn’t, and my impression is that that’s because she had enough on her plate dealing with the massive backlash from men against her and her work, to enter the trans fray. Maybe she did support trans against radical feminists, but you just don’t know. Describing trans as a primary emergency in a faulty society doesn’t actually reflect most trans narratives of “born a girl” though. If fact I think that description might be transphobic. So boo Andrea.

    Also like I said if you’re going to quote Dworkin at that time and claim it as her ongoing position and the final authority on radical feminism, then you’ve got quite a lot more to swallow too. Like this in the same chapter in Woman Hating three pages on:

    “The parent-child relationship is primarily erotic because all human relationships are primarily erotic. The incest taboo is a particularized form of repression, one which functions as the bulwark of all the other repressions. The incest taboo ensures that however free we become we never become genuinely free. The incest taboo, because it denies us essential fulfillment with the parents whom we love with our primary energy, forces us to internalize those parents and constantly seek them, or seek to negate them, in the minds, bodies, and hearts of other humans who are not our parents and never will be.
    …..The destruction of the incest taboo is essential to the development of cooperative human community based on the free-flow of natural androgynous eroticism.”

    That work was a product of its time. Times changed and so did Dworkin.

  100. Cyberwulf

    What chaps MY hide is the idea that being birn into the sex-class “woman” doesn’t sem to matter.

    It’s a good thing nobody said that, isn’t it?

    how many of you had your budding breasts poked, stared at, and remarked upon – in school, at home, in public? How many started your period unexpectedly and bled all over your clothes, and were shamed for it? How many were told you could couldn’t play, couldn’t join, didn’t belong, because you were a girl? How many were told, “Girls don’t need college”? How many of you were groped, fondled, forced to touch boys, or raped?

    None of those things have ever happened to me.

    I’ve experienced street harassment and I’ve been “Girl that boys can’t hear”, but none of the things you’ve listed have happened to me. Am I less of a woman? Are trans women not women unless they’ve been sexually assaulted, or pilloried for their femininity in public?

  101. Edith

    “All surgery is barbaric. Ask me how I know.”

    O K, how do you know? It sounds like a very personal question but since you requested I ask, I will do so. I’ll try to keep my response short but I am aware that surgery can be barbaric and I believe that to be an understatement.

  102. ChariD

    Just like @pheenobarbidoll, My tribe celebrates the Spirit as well. And for the record, as a white, cis, lesbian, androgynous, non-uterus-having female person, I say let Ms. Wong in. I’ve had my share of old biddies and nosy gender-policing assbites inform me “this is the WOMEN’s bathroom” as I’ve sauntered in to take a pee. Fuck right the hell off.

    Seriously — what the hell is Ms. Wong’s admission to Smith going to do to any of us? In what way would it horribly change anyone’s life? The only life it truly would change would be Ms. Wong’s — hopefully in a positive manner. This is essentially the same argument we keep having with bigots on a constant basis. Whether it’s support for same-sex marriage or allowing trans* folk access to places other human beings of a certain gender congregate, it’s the same old bullshit. It would not affect your life at all for this to happen.

    Also: you can’t say it’s “not rape” if the “tool” doing the raping doesn’t have the potential to make you pregnant. At this point in my life after a hysterectomy, NOTHING can get me pregnant — but I damn sure could be raped. Whether it be a finger, a peen, a banana or the lens of a fucking camera, the “tool” of rape is The Patriarchy.

  103. tinfoil hattie

    “Am I less of a woman? Are trans women not women unless they’ve been sexually assaulted, or pilloried for their femininity in public?”

    Good thing I never said any of that. What I believe is: There is cathartic value in gathering woth people of similar experience, and I am not “transphobic” for saying so.

    As for whether you are a woman, I have no idea. You tell me. What is the definition?

    And don’t tell me that “nobody” has ever said being born into the sex class of women is irrelevant. This isn’t the only blog on the internet. And I do have real-life conversations with many, many people.

  104. XtinaS

    Ellen:

    Twisty has had surgery due to breast cancer.

  105. XtinaS

    tinfoil hattie:

    (sorry, XtinaS, & thanks for the explanation)

    No worries, and thank you very much for the swift change!

  106. Twisty

    @Edith “Ask me how I know” was meant as a joke, but I reveal no secrets when I say that, in order to not die from cancer, my sex was reassigned from “female” to “neuter” six years ago. It required five gruesome surgeries and several years of estrogen-repressing drugs. It left me disfigured, stupid, in chronic pain, with canceled health insurance, and suffering extreme menopause symptoms from which there is no relief. I’m just one measly peen-construction surgery and a couple of hormone shots away from being a dude. I have no wish to be a dude. I mention it only because, as a result of my experiences, I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the physical aspects of the sex reassignment process.

    I can’t say all surgeons are sadists, but I won’t say none of’em are.

  107. tinfoil hattie

    Just to be really, REALLY clear: I want us all to be in the world where gender and sex don’t matter. I want trans women to sit in the stall next to me and ask for TP. I want all people in locker rooms to keep their eyes to themselves. I want asshats like Colleen Francis NOT to hijack the trans* experience so he can sit spread-eagled in a sauna in the women’s sauna, clearly on a narcisstic power trip that has nothing to do with trans* rights. I want certain “radical feminists” to stop calling trans women “men who cut off their dicks,” and worse.

    Mostly, what I want is for patriarchy to END. To stop torturing, raping, assaulting, murdering, and otherwise subjugating we whose being is deemed “less-than.” And I want us all to acknowledge that there are many, many roads that lead to subjugation under patriarchy. And that all of them are horrible, and that right NOW, in the world we inhabit, there ARE differences between and among us, and it’s no use fighting over the differences, but rather that we must respect and celebrate them.

    And, Fuck Smith College. Let Wong in, and MYOB after that.

  108. Twisty

    “Mostly, what I want is for patriarchy to END.”

    I’m planting a tinfoil hattie tree at Savage Death Island today. Amen.

  109. Edith

    Aunt Twisty,

    In comparison my concerns are trivial. I did not know all that about you. I only drop in on occasion. It makes me sad to know you have had to deal with all this. I am sorry if I come across as trite.

  110. ptittle

    I’m with Fluff – there is a problem with accepting all and any claims of self-identity. People do lie from time to time, to themselves and to others. I could say I want to be considered henceforth Native b/c I feel such a kinship with the Earth. And so, consequently, I should be entitled to tax exemptions? Is that fair? Yes, perhaps the tax exemptions aren’t fair in the first place. But maybe they are.

    We generalize all the time. We base our policies on generalization. And yes, they are always unfair to the exceptions to those generalizations. But we have to figure out which is more unfair.

    The ‘sensitive patriarchy-conscious’ man who crosses the street and slows down when walking at night ‘behind’ a woman — it’s unfair that he should ‘have to’ do that, but isn’t the injustice to him far less than the fear he would otherwise cause the woman? And so isn’t it ‘right’ that he should do so? Until…until…

    Or should he keep walking at the pace he’d like to, on the side of the street he wants to, and by even so not attacking the woman, prove to her and the world that it IS a generalization, that NOT ALL men are rapists, be a public exception to the rule, to show us…

    Not hiring men at women’s shelters. Discrimination for sure. But unjustified discrimination? Unfair for sure to the sensitive patriarchy-conscious man who wants to work there. But…but…

    I dunno. It’s complicated. (It’s NOT simple.)

  111. smash

    I like the below blog entry on the topic. He asks, “Is it enough, in order to BE a woman, to psychically identify as one?”

    http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=6662

    Also, this is good:

    “When I criticize trans politics and ideologies, it’s not motivated by hate. It’s motivated by rational disagreement with the ideas, in no particular order:

    1.that there is NO difference between bio males and trans men or between bio females and trans women
    2. that anyone can transcend their gendered social conditioning, or ERASE internalization of their past conditioning
    4. that it is politically and socially unproblematic for individual people to voluntarily pass as members of lower social class (male to female, white to black, able-bodied as physically disabled)
    5. that individual solutions (sex reassignment surgery) can materially impact structural inequalities (coercive forces of gender normalization)

    Thinking trans people are freaks or immoral or don’t deserve human rights etc. is NOT the same as believing that trans survival techniques (and the I-dentity movement) fall short of political and/or social progress.”

    http://revolutionarycombustion.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/not-hate-rational-disagreement/

  112. Twisty

    So many ellipses, so little time, eh ptittle?

    If “people lie from time to time” is your argument for perpetuating systemic discrimination against an entire class of people, I’m afraid I don’t find it very persuasive.

  113. ew_nc

    “Mostly, what I want is for patriarchy to END.”

    Beloved hattie, I wish you had a blog of your own. I would so read you.

  114. Twisty

    @Smash: “Social progress” would obtain if everyone would just get the hell out of the way and let the trans community sort out its own “survival techniques.”

    Meanwhile, as I have written before, it’s pretty fucking insulting for privileged mansplainers to sit around the internet trying to pass off their transphobic whining as “rational disagreements.” I’m no stranger to their crapulent gambit; dudes have been voicing these same so-called “rational disagreements” with feminism since the dawn of time.

  115. smash

    The first author was a man; the second was not.

  116. XtinaS

    But they’re both cisgendered, which does matter. When someone from the oppressor class starts saying that members of the oppressed class are existing wrong or doing activism wrong, that’s fucking insulting. They’re saying they know better about how to deal with that life than people who are living it right now, which is bullshit.

    Not to mention the conflation of “rational” with “outside” — like the only way to be “objective”, insofar as that’s a desired state, is to literally not be a member of that oppressed class. I’m sure trans folk will just get right on that then. I sure know my mind a lot better when some slack-jawed dude prattles on at me about how I’m doing feminism wrong! Or when some random asshole on the internet says I shouldn’t be angry all the time!

    Next up: links to blogs posted by MRAs about how they don’t hate feminism, they just think we’re doing it wrong. I am excite.

  117. Twisty

    “The first author was a man; the second was not.”

    Then again, you never know, do you? After all, we only have their word for it.

  118. smash

    “Cis privilege does not exist, man-privilege does.

    Feminine gender conformity ala “cis” does not protect women (trans or not) from gendered oppression. While a man’s gender conformity with masculinity—both aesthetic and behavioral— will substantially insulate him from sex and gender motivated oppression and violence, a woman’s appropriate conformity to stereotypical femininity does not.”

    http://liberationcollective.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/a-feminist-critique-of-cisgender/

  119. XtinaS

    If your arguments against cis privilege come from the blog of a cisgendered person, then (a) try arguing on your own and (b) I’m not really going to be convinced. To compare/contrast, if someone said that a popular MRA activist had a really good post against man-based privilege, I’m not going to take it seriously. Continuing to quote from it will just waste time.

  120. hayduke

    I hear you loud and clear, tinfoil. Amen to that.

  121. smash

    XtinaS, that is identity politics.

    By that same line of thinking, women who have not been exploited by the sex industry would be unable to object to it– yet Twisty and the rest of us blame on.

    Women have a right to object to being called ‘cis’, and being told they have ‘cis’ privilege.

    Please evaluate positions based on what is said, rather than who is speaking. The linked article is illuminative.

    Besides,

    “External observers cannot reliably determine whether someone considers herself “cis” or “trans;” they simply pass judgment by categorizing superficial expressions of masculinity or femininity as appropriate or inappropriate. In reality, any person who significantly defies the gender norms for their apparent sex will be subject to negative social treatment because of their non-compliance. This will occur regardless of whether the individual applies the label “trans” to herself or not. Under nearly all circumstances, stealth trans* people will be treated by society as if they were cis; and gender non-conforming cis people who do not disclaim their reproductive sex–including butch lesbians and feminine males–will be treated by society as if they were “trans.*” Framing the politics of gender as a matter of self-perception rather than social perception evades the feminist political inquiry regarding why gender exists in the first place and how these gender dynamics operate, and have operated, for hundreds of years.”

  122. Lesley Smith

    So you think anyone who identifies in any way they want, should just be accepted in that way? No questions asked, not even any criteria?

  123. Cyberwulf

    Women have a right to object to being called ‘cis’, and being told they have ‘cis’ privilege.

    Once more – not living in fear of being ostracised, assaulted or murdered because one’s biological sex does not match one’s presented gender is a privilege.

  124. nails

    I see that the same people that always try to make not-really-rule-breaking-but-still-anti-trans-comments are up to the same old shit. I don’t understand because there are so many other websites for anti trans feminists. Why can’t IBTP be the space the owner wants it to be?

  125. smash

    Cyberwulf, women are ostracized, assaulted, and murdered on the basis of their sex. That is not a privilege– it’s femicide.

  126. tinfoil hattie

    @Cyberwulf: both/and, again. In the shitstain of patriarchy, all women are ostracized, assaulted, raped, and murdered because we are women. In the shitstain of patriarchy, MEN are privileged. The most privileged of all, of course, are those men whom society deems “real” enough men to qualify for decent treatment. Gay men and trans men fall outside of the veil of privilege, unless they look and act “right.” Women? Bah. Fuhgeddabouit.

    As someone who was born a girl and always thought of myself as a woman and still thinks she is female/woman, let me I assure you I have feared, nearly every day of my life, that I would be attacked, assaulted, ostracized, raped, or killed for being a girl/woman. Privileged? I’m not sure that fits. We’re all hated, despised, held in contempt, and harmed in various ways because we are not MEN.

    Your oppression as a trans woman is horrible. It’s unspeakably cruel and hateful. It’s ghastly and unfair. It’s simply awful. I am so sorry. You are my sister, and I support you. The (horribly patriarchally conditioned) mother in me wants to gather you close and protect you.

    Thanks to twisty, eq_nc, and hayduke for your kind words; I am deeply touched, and humbled.

  127. XtinaS

    smash:

    “Women have a right to object to being called ‘cis’, and being told they have ‘cis’ privilege.”

    Sweet. Can I object to having white privilege, while we’re here? How about able-bodied? Can my male friend object to having dude-based privilege?

    If not, what’s the difference?

    (Unless you literally mean “can physically object to this in the sense that I could go outside naked”, in which case I’ve abruptly lost interest. I stopped engaging in that sort of thing right around when I stopped hanging around Objectivists.)

    “Please evaluate positions based on what is said, rather than who is speaking.”

    And yet, I already did. I determined, through using my woefully unlogical ladybrains stuck in oppressed hell, that both you and your article-writer folk are being cissexist. It was pretty quick.

  128. XtinaS

    “I see that the same people that always try to make not-really-rule-breaking-but-still-anti-trans-comments are up to the same old shit.”

    They’re just being LOGICAL excuse you. If we banned all the logical people, who would we have left?!

    (My sarcasm-production engine just shut down for the night, alas.)

  129. Cyberwulf

    @smash:

    women are ostracized, assaulted, and murdered on the basis of their sex.

    A) Are you saying trans folk aren’t?

    B) This is not the same as

    not living in fear of being ostracised, assaulted or murdered because one’s biological sex does not match one’s presented gender

    If a cis woman is with a man, she doesn’t have to worry that he’s going to flip out and kill her because OOPS SHE HAS A PENIS SHE MADE HIM GAY. She doesn’t have to deal with feeling like her body is somehow wrong/alien because she’s got a penis instead of a vulva. Other women don’t give her dirty looks when she goes to the ladies’ room. She doesn’t have to worry about other women accusing her of being a pervert and a liar, dressing in drag to spy on secret woman things and get sexual kicks by invading women-only spaces. As privilege goes it’s not much, but don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t pretend there’s a bag of shit that we as cis women don’t have to deal with or even think about.

    You sound like a poor unemployed white guy, looking at his broken down trailer and the unpaid bills piling up, snorting “Privilege? PRIVILEGE?! Fuck you, I don’t have privilege!”

    @tinfoil hattie – I’m a cis woman. I don’t live in constant fear.

  130. ptittle

    Oops, forgot about the no ellipses rule.

    No, I’m not arguing for “perpetuating systemic discrimination against an entire class of people”; I’m just saying it’s not as simple as saying ‘You can be whatever you say you are.’ That’s okay in a personal context, but on a systems level, there are problems of justice involved.

    And problems of a philosophical nature: saying ‘I’m X’ is problematic when we can’t agree on a definition of ‘X’. Which is very much the case with gender/sex.

  131. ptittle

    Then again, if we accept the subjective standard for identity claims, maybe that would (help) eradicate all the labels. If ‘identified-by-others-as-women’ had said fifty years ago that they weren’t, they didn’t feel like women, so they should be allowed to run in the marathon, then would could have/would have. If whoever says they are Native is accepted as such without a potentially demeaning investigation of various physiological bits of their being, that would quickly knock the legs out from under the Native/non-Native double standard; and so on.

  132. M

    Twisty: “Smith College won’t admit trans woman Calliope Wong, no way no how, because her birth certificate categorizes her as a dude.”

    Smash Thep: “Please evaluate positions based on what is said, rather than who is speaking.”

    OK, so you *agree* Smith should accept Ms Wong, then?

    Or is it not “identity politics” for you to believe and state that her genital arrangement trumps both her words and academic performance?

  133. XtinaS

    It occurs to me that I’m really looking forward to seeing Smits banned, as per the note in this post.

  134. Twisty

    Nails: ‘Why can’t IBTP be the space the owner wants it to be?”

    Ha! If that were the case, the only comments anyone would ever get to read around here would consist of recipes for soup and complaints about TV shows.

    I feel ya, Nails. There are three reasons that the “debate” rages on. One, rightly or wrongly, I do allow select anti- comments through in order to give pro-trans blamers a chance to flex their lobes while leaving an internetian record that might be of use to folks who are new to these arguments. At least it was helpful to me, when I was “evolving,” to read rational responses to phobic arguments.

    Two, the anti-trans radfem contingent of the regular readership is alarmed that I fail to conform on this point, and they want to smack me back into the fold. They do this by stating that I’ve “drunk the Kool-Aid,” or that my posts are so out of line that they must have been written by someone else. This feministier-than-thou approach is pretty rude, but it is understandable; not only does the internet breed incivility, but nowadays people are less equipped to cope with exposure to views that are not identical to their own.

    Three, as you know, feminist blogs just naturally attract disrespectful commentary, and those written by spinster aunts particularly appear to have a “kick me” sign taped to their backs. I get it. I’m pretty supercilious. Whatev.

  135. Twisty

    “So you think anyone who identifies in any way they want, should just be accepted in that way? No questions asked, not even any criteria?”

    Why not? In fact, you describe precisely the Utopian post-feminist social landscape. Imagine it! No more Global Accords oppressing anybody. Pretty radical, right? Giddyup!

  136. ptittle

    Why not? Because SOME identities are justifiable entitlements. You spend your whole life paying taxes to the American government, then are entitled to a pension when you hit a certain age. I should be able to waltz in at 60 and say, Hey, I feel like an American. I identify as an American. Money, please.

    I’m NOT NOT NOT saying this applies to transpeople. I’m just answering the one-size-fits-all question.

    (And yes, I appreciate the irony of my response, since one of my papers WAAAAY back was titled “Rational Bases of Identity: Towards Cultural Anarchy”.)

  137. ptittle

    In the case under discussion (yes, I realize I’m over my 2 post max – you have the option of not letting this through), one might presume that the Smith people are claiming that women are entitled to learn in an atmosphere free of harassment, intimidation, inhibition, distraction—whatever. And in our patriarchy, men, generally speaking, harass, intimidate, inhibit, and otherwise distract women. See Still Failing at Fairness for research that backs this up specifically as it concerns the classroom. Hence the exclusion of Wong.

    One might counter that Wong isn’t a man, physiologically, hence Wong’s right to inclusion.

    One might counter that it’s not the physiological bits of being male that make men harass etc, but the sense of entitlement that comes from a lifetime of being raised male. Hence Wong’s exclusion.

    One might counter that with the claim that in the case of some people, transpeople in particular, that conditioning didn’t ‘take’ and so doesn’t apply. Hence Wong’s inclusion —and that of any other male for whom the conditioning didn’t ‘take’ and the exclusion of females for whom the male conditioning did ‘take’ (for whatever reason). Which is to argue for a behavioral standard rather than an identity standard. Which must be applied on a one-to-one basis rather than a blanket basis. Tuition soars. Alternatively, one could assume civility on everyone’s part and then exclude after the fact on a case-by-case basis. Problem is many women are intimidated etc by men regardless of their actual behavior; it is their identity (appearance?) as male that results in their (the women’s) shutting down.

    Most, if not all, rights are competing. Do we grant Wong’s right to be included at the expense of all the other Smith students’ right to a certain classroom atmosphere? The utilitarian part of me wants to say no. The part of me that knows women’s history wants to say yes.

  138. pheenobarbidoll

    Racial identity is not comparable to gender/sex identity, and POC have said this long enough for there to be no excuse to continually use it.

    Stop it.

  139. Lidon

    “Mostly, what I want is for patriarchy to END. To stop torturing, raping, assaulting, murdering, and otherwise subjugating we whose being is deemed “less-than.” And I want us all to acknowledge that there are many, many roads that lead to subjugation under patriarchy. And that all of them are horrible, and that right NOW, in the world we inhabit, there ARE differences between and among us, and it’s no use fighting over the differences, but rather that we must respect and celebrate them.”

    Well said, tinfoil. We should acknowledge the differences so we can learn from them and then move on, and remind each other of what we have in common. And united, we can accomplish a lot more.

  140. Katherine

    Which must be applied on a one-to-one basis rather than a blanket basis. Tuition soars.

    What, because of the zillions of trans women clamouring to get into women only colleges? Your assessment of the numbers seems a bit off.

  141. XtinaS

    ptittle: No seriously, it would be a great and wonderful thing if you would refer to trans folk as “trans folk”, with the space, and not without.

  142. tinfoil hattie

    Cyberwulf, hooray for you that you don’t live in constant fear.

    And I laugh a bitter, mirthless laugh at your comparison of women’s “privilege.” Many, many women DO live in fear that the man they’re with will suddenly flip out and kill them because they DO have a vagina. You keep,trying to have an Oppression Olympics, which is stupid. ALL of it sucks. There’s no privilege in being born a woman.

  143. nails

    tinfoil hattie- do you think intersex people are less privileged than those who aren’t?

  144. Cyberwulf

    hooray for you that you don’t live in constant fear.

    Am I less of a woman now because I don’t?

    I laugh a bitter, mirthless laugh at your comparison of women’s “privilege.”

    It’s cis privilege, and it exists, just like white privilege. So much for all your platitudes about how trans women are your sisters and what happens to them is terrible.

    Many, many women DO live in fear that the man they’re with will suddenly flip out and kill them because they DO have a vagina.

    Are you illiterate or are you just dense? Cis women aren’t murdered because their biological sex doesn’t match their presented gender. Trans women are. Put on your reading glasses. Go read everything else that cis women never have to even think about because it doesn’t affect them.

    You keep,trying to have an Oppression Olympics

    No, that’s you. You’re so focussed on how women have the worst lives ever that you keep denying that trans folk have to deal with things every single day that cis folk never even have to think about. This isn’t about who has it worse, it’s about acknowledging that there are things white women, straight women, cis women, ablebodied women don’t have to worry about because they aren’t black, gay, trans or disabled. You’re also starting to remind me of Unemployed White Guy who thinks male privilege isn’t real because he lives in a broken down trailer and can’t pay his bills.

  145. tinfoil hattie

    Since coming to this and other feminist blogs, I have been told: that I am a prude and I hate women (and sex, don’t forget sex) because I am anti-porn and anti-prostitution. That I hate trans women because I disagree that my being hated and endangered for my genitalia, appearance, and sexuality is a “privilege” of any kind.

    I have been told that changing my name when I married, twenty years ago, was stupid and lazy and there was no good reason for doing so. I’ve been told that raising my children is not work and is a betrayal of feminism, and that talking about raising my own children is a slap in the face to all women who “work.” I been told that eventually hiring daycare for my children was exploitive of WOC, because the daycare was staffed entirely by WOC.

    I’ve been told that I should kill my children, because they are boys and therefore will eventually be rapists. I’ve been told that I should ignore my heterosexuality and not have sex with my husband – I mean my “Nigel” – and that I should “become” a political lesbian in support of women, even though heterosexual sex gives me a great deal of pleasure – because it’s not about my pleasure, it’s about the Greater Good.

    I’ve been told that there is no such thing as sex or gender, but also that I am privileged because my non-existent sex and gender match the sex and gender of my brain, even though I’ve also been chided that there are no characteristics that are inherently sexed or gendered.

    I’ve even been told that I’m a disgusting, sick pervert who things there’s something wrong with nudity, because I don’t think people shoild take nude photos of their non-consenting, minor, pre-verbal children.

    So, in other words, I don’t get insulted anymore, because nobody is right about me. I have learned much. I have changed my position on many subjects. It’s been really interesting and helpful. But, I’m tired. And I find I just don’t care all that much anymore about internet “activism.” I’ve loved this blog and I’ve loved the friends I’ve made here. But I am who I am, and no amount of invective from strangers on the internet insisting that they know better than I do what I “really” believe, that what I said is not what I meant, will change me. I know what I believe. I know what is true about me. I know what kind of person I am. And I’m completely, perfectly happy with myself. I’ve lost a lot, to arrive at this place of of integrity, but it was all worth it.

    Thanks to everyone from whom I’ve learned, especially twisty faster, who ruined my life for the better. See y’all around the internet, I suppose. Or not.

  146. ptittle

    Xtina, sorry about the etiquette, I didn’t realize (and don’t understand why) transpeople is insulting. trans folk it is here, then.

    Katherine, no I meant that if we didn’t generalize, we’d have to decide on a case-by-case basis for ALL applicants, not just trans folk (to see if they met the behavioral standard).

  147. Saurs

    If refusing to accept your privilege over a harried and oppressed minority* is a hill one wants to die on: congratulations, they’ve joined the internets. It’s not a permanent affliction, but it’ll take some work getting round it, as many a feminist-allied anti-racist white dude has learned the hard way.

    *I’m still not seeing how transphobia, transmisogyny, the underlying and sometimes misplaced homophobia, and the endless records of cis physical and emotional assaults on trans folk (and particularly trans folk of color) is NOT an oppression unique to the trans experience. Cis folk don’t experience this; they have the privilege of ignorance of and freedom from it. It is a privilege. That privilege doesn’t erase misogyny. Whinging that your misogyny is special to you is not a valid argument, it’s a tantrum.

  148. tinfoil hattie

    “Whinging that your misogyny is special to you is not a valid argument, it’s a tantrum.”

    Unless you are a trans man or a trans woman, of course.

  149. Hermionemone

    In the same vein as “If a woman says she’s been raped, she has”, how about “if a person says she’s a woman, she is”? Sure, people lie, but more harm comes from not being taken seriously, than from deliberate false reporting, One can expect such a lie to become apparent eventually.

    These trans discussions always seem to end in tears no matter how earnest, thoughtful and tolerant a position one may start out with. I would be sorry to see you leave, Tinfoil Hattie.

  150. Saurs

    Citation needed for the straw-trans person who is claiming that women aren’t afflicted, affected, and oppressed by misogyny. I won’t hold my breath.

  151. Cyberwulf

    Goodness, tinfoil hattie, don’t address anything I said. You’ve got to paint trans folk as whingers who want “special rights”, after all.

  152. ew_nc

    Tinfoil hattie – Please don’t let the troll-like behavior of others get you down. If you said a ripe strawberry was red, they’d argue endlessly that it wasn’t.

    I’m a heterosexual, married, radical feminist mother of two sons, just like you. I am not, however, even a tenth as eloquent as you are. You articulate for our demographic so beautifully. I’m making a very selfish plea for you to continue.

  153. nails

    Jeez tinfoil hattie, you won’t even answer simple questions about your position.

  154. Ginjoint

    Tinfoil hattie, I have a comment caught in mod (I think I used a different email), but I really want to give a shout-out to you, so lemme try again:

    Goddammit, I SWORE I’d never post at this (or any other feminist) site again. But tinfoil hattie, I’m sorry you’re being treated this way. I hope you stay, as I’ve learned a lot from you. But yes, if you need to, step AWAY from the internet. I do it all the time now, and life’s awesome! And so are you.

  155. TwissB

    nails asks:
    tinfoil hattie- do you think intersex people are less privileged than those who aren’t?

    As often reiterated, no comparison provides anything but information. A fact to bear in mind, however. Because some men have a personal stake in the matter, intersex legal validation has reached the level of serious equal protection consideration (US) while women’s legal status is barely above the so-called “rational basis” standard as evidenced by passage the other day of a state law giving men veto rights over an abortion if they can detect a fetal heartbeat. I don’t know of any laws prohibiting medical or surgery choices made by intersex people,* if that is the term, so it seems that the bodily integrity of intersex folk is legally respected where that of female people is not. *information on exceptions welcomed.

  156. qvaken

    tinfoil, don’t go. Cyberwulf, your comments were outrageous. Go and take a sympathy pill, for eff’s sake. It’s wonderful that you care about trans people who face fear and oppression, but disgusting that you’re willing to throw women’s experiences of oppression out the window in order to express that caring.

  157. nails

    What do you mean a comparison only provides information? The supreme court argued yesterday that it is difficult to deny gay marriage on the basis of procreation when it isn’t denied to couples over 55 for the same reason. If a comparison is apt enough then it can be used to demonstrate hypocrisy on the part of bigots.

    You seem to have found your conclusion (women are the worst off in every situation) and worked backwards. Ask yourself what it is like to go to the DMV or the doctor when you aren’t in the sex binary. Or hey, imagine what its like to go to prison or school that way.

    I am feeling the same split here as in palin gate. Its gross. No one is picking on tinfoil hattie by asking her questions about her position, a position that really contributes to the real oppression of trans people.

  158. pheenobarbidoll

    Women can have cis privilege because het is seen as default and normal. Anything not het is seen as Other, and being seen as the default and normal is a form of privilege.

  159. gayle

    No, pheeno, women don’t have privilege in het relationships because het relationships were specifically constructed by men to benefit men, not women. Women are the dominated, subservient “partner” in the pair. In too many places in the world, a married woman is a virtual slave.

    Tinfoil H:

    “I’ve been told that there is no such thing as sex or gender, but also that I am privileged because my non-existent sex and gender match the sex and gender of my brain, even though I’ve also been chided that there are no characteristics that are inherently sexed or gendered.”

    That is a kick, isn’t it TF? Trust me, you are not the only one who noticed.

  160. gayle

    “Citation needed for the straw-trans person who is claiming that women aren’t afflicted, affected, and oppressed by misogyny. I won’t hold my breath.”

    Oh, there are plenty all over the internet, and you are welcome do your own research, but feel free to start right here by reading Cyberwulf’s comments.

  161. Cyberwulf

    qvaken: Cyberwulf, your comments were outrageous. Go and take a sympathy pill, for eff’s sake.

    Sympathy for who?

    qvaken: It’s wonderful that you care about trans people who face fear and oppression, but disgusting that you’re willing to throw women’s experiences of oppression out the window in order to express that caring.

    Please, point out where I did that. I’ll wait.

    gayle: women don’t have privilege in het relationships

    THIS. IS NOT. THE SAME. AS. CIS. WOMEN. HAVING. CIS. PRIVILEGE.

    How dense are you people? Do you think straight women don’t have straight privilege? Why does the womanist movement exist, if not for white women’s blindness to their own white privilege? Being a woman doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t benefit from being white in a predominantly white society, or being straight in a predominantly straight society. The same applies for people who are cis gendered. Tinfoil hattie mentioned a husband. I’ll lay money that when she was dating her husband, there never arose a point where she had to seriously consider whether or not to tell him that she’d been born a man, and the ramifications of doing so versus the ramifications of staying silent. That’s a privilege. And no, it’s not the same as how she had to weigh up whether or not he was a rapist or an abuser when they first began a relationship.

    gayle: “Citation needed for the straw-trans person who is claiming that women aren’t afflicted, affected, and oppressed by misogyny. I won’t hold my breath.”

    Oh, there are plenty all over the internet, and you are welcome do your own research, but feel free to start right here by reading Cyberwulf’s comments.

    Come on, show me where I said women weren’t affected by misogyny. Show me where I said I was trans. Maybe you should bother to actually read my words instead of making up in your own imagination what I’m actually saying. In fact, if you do, you’ll see where I mentioned that I’ve experienced street harassment and been “Girl that boys can’t hear”.

    For all the braying about Oppression Olympics, you, qvaken and tinfoil hattie sure seem invested in winning the gold.

  162. pheenobarbidoll

    “gayle: women don’t have privilege in het relationships

    THIS. IS NOT. THE SAME. AS. CIS. WOMEN. HAVING. CIS. PRIVILEGE.”

    Repeating this.

    Straight women have straight privilege. They can also have WHITE privilege. Because straight and white are held as superior. Male is the topper on that shit cake, but straight and white grant privileges that do not come with queer/trans(and all others not het) or not white.

    It’s given to you whether you want it or not, or see it or not. I have straight cis privilege, because people see me and assume straight. Society accommodates my straightness. I am not told that holding my husbands hand in public is FLAUNTING my sexuality. I am not scolded for stealing a kiss from my husband in public because CHILDREN MIGHT SEE!!! I am not damned to hell as a deviant because I have a child with my husband. I am privileged enough to have a special title for my spouse. Husband. My marriage is not in question. I do not have to produce a marriage license to visit him if he is in the hospital and the Doctors will automatically ask me about important decisions. No one questions my being on his insurance.Which is the only way I can HAVE insurance, because I have a chronic illness that prevents me from working.

    And supporting the sex/gender bullshit some of you people are supporting is again not only trans phobic, it’s also racist as all hell. Believe it or not, but your European beliefs surrounding sex and gender are not held as gospel by every single other culture out there and your continuing support contributes to the ongoing genocide of the people who hold different beliefs.

    Your having a uterus, ovaries and XX chromosomes have fuck all to do with your identity. Your SPIRIT determines that, and I’d appreciate it if you all would cut it the fuck out with insisting that those of us who understand and believe this are or blinded by the P. We had that belief *before* the P arrived in all it’s violent glory, thanks.

  163. pheenobarbidoll

    And, because my Spirit matches the outer shell, my sanity isn’t questioned and I’m not viewed as a predatory pervert out to ruin children in public bathrooms.

    Something as simple as going to the bathroom doesn’t cause me stress, fear and overwhelming trepidation. Going to pee isn’t going to get my ass kicked. I can just get up and stroll to the bathroom. I’m included on at least 1 of the pictures on the door. I was considered. Thought about. Deemed important. Exist.

    Going to pee isn’t considered a political statement. Or a human rights statement. I get to just go pee.

  164. Ayla

    qvaken is 100% correct. The treatment of tinfoil hattie, and indeed WBW in general here, has been atrocious. What a sad ending to what was so many women’s radical feminist education.

  165. Cyberwulf

    The treatment of tinfoil hattie, and indeed WBW in general here, has been atrocious.

    Give an example of this atrocious treatment, please. All I’ve done is attempt to point out to her that cis privilege is a thing and it exists. If she keeps conflating cis privilege with the non-existent “women’s privilege” that’s her problem.

  166. Ayla

    I feel no need to play games with you. You, and the rest of the anti-feminists who constantly insult and erase WBW, know exactly what you’re doing.

  167. Cyberwulf

    I feel no need to play games with you.

    Translation: “I can’t find a single thing to back up my accusations.”

    You, and the rest of the anti-feminists who constantly insult and erase WBW, know exactly what you’re doing.

    That’s right, mentioning cis privilege (which I benefit from, by the way) is anti-feminist, and insults and erases “real women”. I hope to see the same line from you whenever anyone brings up straight privilege or white privilege.

    It’s interesting that you label me, a cis woman, an anti-feminist with absolutely no proof, yet wring your hands and cry about the “atrocious” treatment “WBW” were subjected to here.

  168. XtinaS

    “Three, as you know, feminist blogs just naturally attract disrespectful commentary, and those written by spinster aunts particularly appear to have a “kick me” sign taped to their backs.”

    Well, right, but you have that note like right there in your post. And yet there’s talk of erasing WBW, references to “females” as though trans women aren’t women, and so forth. Granted, I shouldn’t have assumed that the non-101 nature of your blog vis-a-vis feminism doesn’t transmit its properties to trans*-related issues. However, the internet was not somehow deficient in spaces where transphobia runs rampant.

  169. Ayla

    You should certainly feel free to believe whatever the patriarchy requires of you. I’m not here for you, I’m here to stand in solidarity with tinfoil hattie.

  170. magriff

    Just curious: Is there any evidence that transwomen rape other women any more often than non-transwomen rape other women?

  171. Saurs

    Still waiting on citations from the self-described “WBW” contingent. (Wounded feelings aren’t cutting it.)

    So far, we’ve got: (1) trans people deny the existence of misogyny; (2) cis men are secretly conspiring to provide inter-sex folk with basic human rights, the audacity!; (3) a heaping helping of disingenuous hypotheticals from ptittle; (4) JAQing off about trans women raping cis women.

    In a post that advocates alliance with trans folk, that discourages transphobia, and that accepts as automatically valid the reported experiences of trans people, it is, yes, entirely up to you to prove what you’re saying and to further educate yourself on 101 issues before launching these steaming turds of hatred veiled (ineptly) in innocent questions, confusion, misunderstandings, desires for clarification–straight outta the MRA / anti-feminist playbook, by the way.

    I am worn out trying to speak with adults who believe this kind of dehumanizing cruelty is acceptable, or constitutes a valid perspective on the world outside their own heads. No one is “erasing” Real Women when they talk about trans people*; as the adage goes: stop making it all about you.

    *again with the conflating of trans people and trans women.

  172. qvaken

    Cyberwulf, if your response to being told to stop treating tinfoil and other women the way you’re treating them is that you demand evidence and are quick to accuse us of not being able to produce any, then you don’t care to hear what we’re saying or to stop the treatment. The examples of your treatment of tinfoil hattie and your erasure of women’s experiences of oppression – and, actually, your erasure of class-oppressed males’ experiences of oppression (and no, I don’t care about his plight as a male, but I do care about and empathise with his plight as a poor person who is hopelessly struggling to make ends meet) – are all throughout your comments in this thread.

  173. pheenobarbidoll

    “You, and the rest of the anti-feminists who constantly insult and erase WBW, know exactly what you’re doing.”

    And you and the rest of the anti- POC people who are constantly ACTUALLY erasing us, well we know what you’re doing to. And it’s racist. So fuck off.

  174. Ayla

    I’ve not made one statement about race, so you can keep your baseless accusations.

  175. pheenobarbidoll

    Let me explain it slowly so you will understand-

    Supporting the belief that there is no cis privilege (which is what you are doing in standing in solidarity with tinfoil, who, incidentally is someone I like) ignores other cultural beliefs surrounding sex, gender and identity. Namely, Native American cultural beliefs.

    So you don’t have to make a fucking statement about race to be a dismissive, racist ass. And every single one of you refusing to fucking acknowledge that your ideas surrounding sex and gender and identity have COLONIZING CONSEQUENCES are contributing to the further eradication of the Indigenous beliefs in this country.

  176. nails

    ” The treatment of tinfoil hattie, and indeed WBW in general here, has been atrocious.”

    How? FAAB women “in general”? Do you think everyone disagreeing with tinfoil hattie is trans or something? The majority aren’t, I am not.

    heres a clue: cis men have cis privilege too! Its not about women specifically, its about being cis or not. Yeesh.

  177. Cyberwulf

    Ayla: You should certainly feel free to believe whatever the patriarchy requires of you

    Yes, the patriarchy requires me to believe that cis privilege exists. It makes perfect sense that the very thing which can only thrive with a rigid gender binary would require me to acknowlege the existence of trans folk and the ways in which patriarchy harms them which are peculiar and unique to their status as trans folk.

    I’m here to stand in solidarity with tinfoil hattie.

    So this is all about who’s your friend.

    qvaken: if your response to being told to stop treating tinfoil and other women the way you’re treating them

    How am I treating them? I tried several times to explain to her what cis privilege actually was and she threw herself a pity party about how feminists are mean to her because she’s married to a man and has sons (het and cis privilege right there btw), then flounced. You mean stop calling other women on their bullshit? Sorry, that’s never happening.

    is that you demand evidence and are quick to accuse us of not being able to produce any, then you don’t care to hear what we’re saying

    Actually, I’m saying you’re full of shit when you and others accuse me of erasing misogyny, denying that it affects and afflicts women, and claiming to be trans BECAUSE I SAID NO SUCH THING. You’re either uncomfortable with the idea that cis folk are privileged over trans folk, or you hate trans folk, so you’re reaching for anything to discredit my argument.

    I do care about and empathise with his plight as a poor person who is hopelessly struggling to make ends meet

    Are you seriously teling me that you’ve never ever come across a guy who denied that male privilege exists because he suffers from [litany of woes here]? BECAUSE THAT WAS THE FUCKING POINT I WAS MAKING WITH THAT ANALOGY. A man being poor and struggling to make ends meet DOES NOT MEAN HIS MALE PRIVILEGE MAGICALLY DISAPPEARS. Similarly, simply because someone is a cis woman does not mean she doesn’t have cis privilege.

    You’re either stupid or you’re being intellectually dishonest. Pick one.

  178. Bushfire

    Pheenobarbidoll, you should have your own blog. I want to read you all day.

  179. tinfoil hattie

    I’ve received a couple of emails asking me not to “leave,” and I appreciate that my fellow blamers think so well of me.

    And this thread has gotten nastier and nastier. For refusing to play “Oppression Olympics,” I am either stupid or I hate trans men and trans women. For not buying into the idea that there is such a thing as a “male” and “female” spirit that may or may not match one’s body, I am a racist who etases Native Americans. For describing my experiences with online feminism, and wanting to disengage, I am a privilege-denying whiner who “flounced.”

    Talk about intellectual dishonesty. I hate no particular group of people; Inreject the gender binary; I reject the myth of gendered or sexed “brains,” and I stand insolidarity with all people oppressed in this patriarchy of ours.

    I even manage to do so and remain civil. Fancy that.

    Thanks for the kind words, friends. I do appreciate you. As for the rest of you, I wish you’d stop attributing to me the qualities that make it easier for you to blame me personally for all prejudice, misogyny, and trans* hatred, but I certainly can’t make you.

  180. pheenobarbidoll

    ” For not buying into the idea that there is such a thing as a “male” and “female” spirit that may or may not match one’s body, I am a racist who etases Native Americans.”

    Tinfoil that’s white privilege and colonization at work. That statement? I experience that as racist. But it’s YOUR feelings I have to take into account when you kick me in the teeth with racism. What, are NA’s too fucking stupid to figure out what you know? Are our beliefs too fucking stupid to buy into?

    I’m so sorry you feel bad for being called a racist. That’s totes worse than the racism I just experienced. Oh sorry, civil racism I just experienced.

  181. tinfoil hattie

    pheeno, after eight years I’d think you would know me better than that. YOU said that I was being racist because I don’t believe in the traditions/beliefs that you do around gender, sex, amd spirit. I am very sorry that I hurt your feelings by saying that. I am sorry you experienced it as racism.

    I believe what I believe about gender, sex, and spirit because it’s what I believe, not because I hate Native Americans. Or anyone. I don’t believe in God, either, and that’s not because Imhate religious people.

  182. Tigs

    hattie, after 8 years, you should know that we white people f*ck up and pheeno will do the labor of calling us out, despite the exhaustion that I’m sure she faces. Doing/saying racist shit is something that white people do; we should try hard not to, but when a POC calls us out, we shouldn’t appeal to our ‘records’ as decent people. Instead we should spend some serious time trying to figure out what our investments in certain forms are actually about.

  183. shopstewardess

    cyberwolf at March 24, 2013 at 11:20 am (UTC -6) quoted “they should be able to organise events for people who were female assigned at birth” and replied “Nobody’s stopping them”. tinfoil hattie at March 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm (UTC -6) quoted “Nobody’s stopping them.” and said “Except in the UK, where such gatherings are illegal”.

    tinfoil hattie, can you quote me the UK law which says this? I’d be interested, because I haven’t come across it as an issue at any of the women-only events I’ve been to. Mind you, we’ve usually had better things to do than police each other’s genitals.

    Also, tinfoil hattie, that same post of yours, asking pheeno a number of questions about native american beliefs and saying “It makes no sense” immediately follows a post from hayduke which says “Cooler and cooler pheeno – and now I’m gonna hit up Google before I pester you with endless questions!”. It’s a difference in attitude which you might find it worth thinking about.

  184. Gayle

    “THIS. IS NOT. THE SAME. AS. CIS. WOMEN. HAVING. CIS. PRIVILEGE.

    How dense are you people?”

    Please keep shouting and insulting your way through this thread. It’s a great way to make friends and influence people!

  185. Gayle

    “they should be able to organise events for people who were female assigned at birth” and replied “Nobody’s stopping them”. tinfoil hattie at March 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm (UTC -6) quoted “Nobody’s stopping them.” and said “Except in the UK, where such gatherings are illegal”.

    tinfoil hattie, can you quote me the UK law which says this?”

    She’s probably referencing the RadFem 2012 conference which was scheduled to take place at Conrad Hall last summer. Trans-folk teamed up with MRAs and had the conference booted from the hall before it could take place. I believe some version the conference did take place but they had to go underground to do it.

    So is there a UK law???? I don’t know but If you can silence a group by pushing them out of public spaces, off their own blogs, etc., does it matter if it’s technically illegal or not?

  186. Cyberwulf

    Please keep shouting and insulting your way through this thread. It’s a great way to make friends and influence people!

    You wouldn’t be admonishing a woman to be polite and demure, lest people ignore her statements based on her tone, would you gayle?

    For refusing to play “Oppression Olympics,”

    tinfoil hattie, I hate to be the one to tell you but you’re the one playing Oppression Olympics. You denied that cis privilege existed when you recast it as the fictional “women’s privilege”. The only reasons I can think for someone to do that is that they literally don’t know what cis privilege is, or because they’re desperate to prove that their life sucks way, way more than anyone else’s.

    Pointing out that trans folk experience oppression in ways that are unique to their status as trans folk and in ways that cis folk do not experience oppression is not “playing Oppression Olympics”. It is not denying that misogyny exists. It is not saying “SHUT UP WOMEN YOUR LIVES AREN’T THAT BAD”. I’ve attempted to explain to you several times what cis privilege is. If you still don’t get it at this stage, and understand that you benefit from it despite being a woman, you’re either stupid or in denial, or possibly transphobic.

    For describing my experiences with online feminism, and wanting to disengage, I am a privilege-denying whiner who “flounced.”

    I’ve already covered your privilege denial. Making a post about how mean people are and announcing one’s decision to leave is known in internet parlance as “flouncing”.

  187. pheenobarbidoll

    “pheeno, after eight years I’d think you would know me better than that.”

    But after 8 years, you brush off what I’m telling you about racism.

    ” not because I hate Native Americans.”

    Colonization and racism don’t require hate.

    ” I don’t believe in the traditions/beliefs that you do around gender, sex, and spirit. ”

    It’s not about you believing them, it’s about recognizing them as valid views on sex/gender and recognizing that those beliefs allowed a NON P based sex/gender existence that actually worked better than what we have now and even what gets suggested many times. Our beliefs not only did not oppress women based on sexuality/gender presentation, our beliefs did not oppress ANYONE based on sexuality/gender presentation.

    You don’t know enough about it to dismiss it. But you DO know this country and it’s residents dismiss our belief systems on a regular basis, in an effort to further colonize and eventually eradicate us.

    You’re here at our expense. The least you could do is show some respect.

  188. quixote

    A soup that may be good enough for Savage Death Island:

    Potato, leek, and celeriac soup. Peel celeriac root and make approx centimeter-thick slices. Roast these. Cut into smaller pieces. Dice three or four baking-type potatoes. Slice five or six leeks. If you want to get fancy, caramelize some scallions. Salt to taste. Also pepper, if you like it. Put the lot into a pot with a bit more than enough water to cover. Cook on low heat till it’s soup. Blend. Pour into soup bowls, possibly garnish with a sprinkling of sliced green onions or, for traditionalists, parsley. Another wrinkle: there’s a fancy gourmet smoked salt and you can add a pinch of that besides the regular salt. Adds a certain je ne sais quoi. This stuff is so good we’ll be eating it even after we all leave SDI because the rest of the world has become livable too.

    And TV shows? I hate them all.

  189. Redpeachmoon

    This is awful. I keep re-reading and looking for the ‘anti trans or transphobic writers, and I’m not finding them. There are a lot of questions and queries that have been dismissed as ” these steaming turds of hatred veiled (ineptly) in innocent questions, confusion, misunderstandings, desires for clarification–straight outta the MRA / anti-feminist playbook”
    Huh?
    How about some civility?
    And quit with the name calling!

  190. allhellsloose

    “Girl” “Dick”. Did I stumble upon some MRA site? Oh noes, it’s the trans issue again.

    “Cis”. Hate it because it adds some ‘scientific’ justification for changing gender and gives those who believe that bee stings can change biological sex, extra justification for this latent nonsense. “Cissexual” is worse, because it’s patently obvious to anyone with lobes that throb daily at the misogynistic patriarchal nonsense that permeates the globe daily, that this has no status within philosophical and scientific discourse.

    Look can we not agree that transgender is fine. To change one’s gender is a choice lifestyle now, everyone is into lifestyle choices. There’s so much choice in the world, the western world that is, that it’s coming out of our ears. Austerity measures may well put a hold on these choices for a while but it’ll return with a bang. I don’t care if someone wants to cut off their body parts. Big melon size boobs, who cares – it’s their money and their choice. Bigger testicles, who cares – so ok in cosmetic surgery terms, this doesn’t happen and we don’t objectify testicles. They never go on page 3 of a national daily newspaper. But who gets to say what a vulva does and doesn’t look like? I can’t abide those post surgery trans who blog about having the perfect vulva, no more than I can abide it anywhere else.

    A ‘girl’ cant have a dick. Ask your nieces about this.

  191. Cyberwulf

    allhellsloose: ““Cis”. Hate it because it adds some ‘scientific’ justification for changing gender and gives those who believe that bee stings can change biological sex, extra justification for this latent nonsense.”

    Being transgendered is latent nonsense?

    “To change one’s gender is a choice lifestyle now”

    BAH HA HA. Nice trivialisation of trans folk’s life experiences. Is it a lifestyle choice to fuck members of one’s own gender too?

  192. pheenobarbidoll

    Bigotry. Just ask your nieces!

    Honestly, people.

  193. Saurs

    “Lifestyle choice” “now” “western world”

    Sounds like it’s another job for the Savvy Nieces Squadron, who no doubt learned in their history courses the concept of other people, other times, continuums of common experiences. Like, I know it blows Limbaugh Lite minds to learn that lesbians have always been, even in far out places like, I don’t know? The so-called subcontinent? The Song Dynasty? Right fucking here, in north America, as pheeno has been saying over and over? That fucking and loving other women is not a hobby (it’s a full-time job), but something some folk were just born to do? Likewise, trans people. Being trans is not like collecting pogs. Ask your nieces. They’ll fill you in about the pogs – trans difference. It’s a biggun.

  194. allhellsloose

    Tinfoil Hattie I love your posts, don’t always agree with them but I love your viewpoints, they give me food for thought. Like this blog.

    Who do I blame when I press the button?

  195. awhirlinlondon

    Dearest Twisty – how bored were you when you decided to wave the red Trans-flag? The result, insofar as I’ve seen – everywhere and always – is DefCon whosit. Every, every time.

    A new post, please? Ain’t no-one learning nothing at this point, as far as I can see from the comments, at least.

  196. nails

    awhirlinlondon- its kind of rude to tell twisty what to write about.

  197. quixote

    Damn. About that soup receipe. I can’t believe I forgot to mention you put in as much cream and butter as suits you. If you’re vegan, use Earth Balance or the like.

  198. Maria

    Fallon Fox just got cleared to pulverize more women in the ring. This is what happens when no one is allowed to use reason when accommodating trans people. Blind acceptance in the name of trans “rights”. I don’t believe unfair advantage in combat sports is a right, but then, no one cares about the women getting destroyed in what is supposed to be a competitive fight. Fox has 31 years of male bone and muscle development -thicker bones, longer reach, etc. She’s 2-0 both ending in first round knock outs (36 seconds!). All of her amateur fights have been first round KOs. I hope everyone here will watch Fox’s professional fighting career (began at 35 y/o !) as it progresses to the detriment of other women. A WMMA fighter will either be shamed or have her career compromised if she refuses to fight.

    MMA fighter, Peggy Morgan, said, “As an athlete and a woman, I am frustrated by the way the situation has played out and by the fact that many people seem more concerned with preserving Fallon’s feelings than with protecting the physical safety of me and the other female competitors in the tournament.”

    If Fox continues this undefeated, record breaking streak I hope that we can come together and address some of the gray areas in a reasonable manner. Otherwise, I suggest that women of all backgrounds recognize that some of these trans activists are mindless bullies that don’t care about women at all.

  199. Jessica

    In a patriarchal world where men dominate everything, females are entitled to have some spaces we can call our own. i don’t hate transgenderists, and I’m fine with them wearing whatever clothes they like and doing whatever they want to their own bodies. But that doesn’t mean that they have a right to do these things in the few spaces that we females have been able to set up for ourselves. I certainly think Calliope Wong should have the right to go to college (as all people should) and receive a top-notch education. And Wong has hundreds of schools to pick from. But I simply don’t understand why this person, who was born male, needs to be at one of the few colleges that is reserved for women. In my opinion, this is not a reasonable expectation on Wong’s part. I’m a white woman. Would it be OK for me to demand acceptance into one of the few spaces that was reserved for women of color because I “felt black inside?” Of course not. I don’t see how this instance is any different.

  200. Lidon

    And once again, women are fucked.

  1. Twisty blogs about Smith College’s discrimination against Calliope Wong | bodyhorror

    [...] warning for transmisogyny] My feelings about Twisty are terribly conflicted. As always, her take on Smith College rejecting a qualified woman because she is trans* is fascinating, but I [...]

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