‘You Are Killing Me': On Hate Speech and Feminist Silencing

91 posts / 0 new
Last post
Sineed
‘You Are Killing Me': On Hate Speech and Feminist Silencing

This article is kind of long, but presents a comprehensive review of the ongoing conflicts between radical feminists and trans people, and is pertinent to recent events here on rabble/babble. A new thread really needed to be started as those Meghan Murphy threads are stale-dated by virtue of rabble's response to the two conflicting petitions.

In the Meghan Murphy threads, two discussions took root: the conflict between some trans people and some radical feminists, and disputes regarding sex work abolition. It looks like there may be appetite to carry on with these discussions, and I believe they warrant different threads. This one addresses trans issues and radical feminism.

Quote:

Radical feminists are regularly accused of denying trans people’s right to exist, or even of wanting them dead. Here Jane Clare Jones takes a closer look at these charges. Where do they come from and what do they mean? Is there a way to move towards a more constructive discussion?

The claim that certain forms of feminist speech should be silenced has recently become common currency. Notable instances include the ongoing NUS no-platforming of Julie Bindel, the cancellation of a performance by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite (which prompted a letter to the Observer), and, in the last month, the demand that a progressive Canadian website end its association with the feminist writer Meghan Murphy.

The basis of this claim is the assertion that a certain strand of feminist thought is hate speech....

http://www.troubleandstrife.org/new-articles/you-are-killing-me/

 

quizzical

wow what an article. said all i wish i could say on this only in much bigger words and the comments after were stellar too! And this blew my mind:

 

"As a result, many feminists have genuine questions about trans ideology’s assertion that ‘gender identity’ is both natural and universal. It comes perilously close to naturalizing the oppression of women."

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Very interesting - lots of food for thought. For me, essentialism is something I've kicked at my whole life. I hadn't thought of it in relation to trans issues at this point, but it does raise some interesting questions.

Sineed

I especially like her deconstruction of "cis privilege." I knew the term "cis privilege" was problematic the first time I heard it, but I couldn't articulate what my problem was, other than to tell the person who kept using this term that I did not like to be labelled presumptively. (NB: that person, who claimed to be a trans woman, is notorious for hounding and abusing feminists all over the internet, and is believed by at least one lesbian blogger to not be trans at all, but a dude who likes to pretend to be a lesbian on line. But I digress.)

Quote:
The oppression of women-as-women is established by understanding the function of that oppression: women-as-a-class are oppressed by men-as-a-class for the purpose of, Frye continues, “the service of men and men’s interest, which includes the bearing and raising of children” as well as a variety of other “service work” including domestic and personal service, sexual service and ego or emotional service (p.9). Women are oppressed as women because that oppression enables men to extract resources — in the form of reproductive, domestic, sexual and emotional labour — from women. Similarly, class- and race-based oppression is structured around the extraction of labour-resources from the oppressed group. And the question we must then ask is, in what sense are the real limitations experienced by trans people to be understood as part of a specific structure of oppression aimed at extracting resources from trans people as a class?

...

And so the possibility of solidarity between non-trans and trans women, based on the recognition that we are equally—though differently—constrained by heteronormative ideologies of gender, is thoroughly blocked. There is no acknowledgement that we are both suffering under the same system, and there can be no negotiation of how to accommodate our varying needs within feminism as a political movement. There can be no conversation.

(Bolding mine.)

If you look at the twitter wars between some radical feminists and some trans activists, the discourse is completely dysfunctional, each side calling the other bigots. Like I mentioned in the other threads, the real problem is male violence. Women and trans people both suffer at the hands of violent men. To continually deride each other is missing the point, as is blaming feminists for violence against trans people.

 

quizzical

Timebandit wrote:
Very interesting - lots of food for thought. For me, essentialism is something I've kicked at my whole life. I hadn't thought of it in relation to trans issues at this point, but it does raise some interesting questions.

 

what do you mean by "essentialism" timebandit? or what does it mean in this context?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Essentialism is the idea that there are inherent traits in being male or female. For example, the notion that women nurture because it's in their biological makeup or that little boys play rough (and girls don't) just because they are boys. It removes or at least softens the impact of social conditioning on behaviour and expression of personality. Not that I accept the blank slate theory of child development - I think we are all born with certain inherited predispositions, but the evidence that these are sexually determined is weak, but it's also really difficult to study because social conditioning is so pervasive.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I've found a link that does a decent job of explaining the feminist take on essentialism: https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/faq-but-men-and-wome...

Quote:
That idea is known as “essentialism”: the belief that there are uniquely feminine and uniquely masculine essences which exist independently of cultural conditioning. Both actual (minor) and alleged (major) differences between the sexes have been used to justify inequities and constraints which harm women emotionally, financially and physically.

lagatta

That's a great resource, Timebandit. There is a post on patriarchy that would be a good rebuttal to someone who said "matriarchy would be no better" in another thread. That person is or claims to be transexual. Oppression and violence against men - or those born male - who don't conform to heterosexuality and/or "maleness" is a cruel expression of patriarchy.

Sineed

There have always been feminists eg Deep Green Resistance who insist that the world would be a better place under matriarchy and I'm not sure. Women leaders such as we have seen thus far have not turned out to be inherently less violent, though it can be argued that they are working within patriarchy and a true matriarchy would necessarily be different.

Re: essentialism - the current idea that there is a "male brain" and a "female brain" is deeply problematic from a feminist perspective. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some physiological differences between male and female brains, but given the variations between individuals and the phenomenon of neuroplasticity, to extrapolate the concept of gender identity from a brain structure is an enormous leap into the unknown.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I've always thought the idea of matriarchy was just a substitution of one senseless hierarchy over another. The expression of cruelty under a patriarchal system may differ from male to female, but the propensity for it seems pretty even. And studies of brain function in men and women show some differences in process but little practical difference in the speed and pattern of actual behaviour if I recall correctly. Now that we know more about neuroplasticity, I'm interested in how that plays into behaviour, too.

jas

I'm not sure where I stand on essentialism. I think it is undeniable that hormones affect behaviour, and possibly cognition as well. (and not "negatively" or "positively", just differently).

I think the point that the article makes several times (and that has been made here) that trans women seem to disproportionately target feminists ("radical feminists") over, for example, those who statistically are responsible for the violence against trans people is really pertinent to this issue, and I would like to see some acknowledgement from the trans community about this.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

I've always thought the idea of matriarchy was just a substitution of one senseless hierarchy over another

Except that it isn't. What it is is a fiction slung by men's rights activists and speculative fiction writers. Even the most hard line organization in that department has nowhere near the power or the destructive legacy of patriarchial structures which are everywhere, all the time.

 

quizzical

reading, thinking and reflecting.

wise words. honesty. mentorship.

6079_Smith_W

As for the main question of gender as invention, I agree to a point, and I think it is important to recognize that in deconstructing socialization, and its role in why we are the way we are. On the other hand, it is also pure theory that only exists in a lab, not the real world. It's not like you can dissect it out of a person any more than you can other influences and say this is what made me the way I am.

And it is one thing to support the hard binary idea of gender - something that is also theory, and pretty much discredited. Quite another to claim that gender archetypes are not real, or are a bad thing because they are largely invented. Some people gravitate strongly to one or the other, or a blend of both; is that a bad thing so long as it is not a forced choice, or one which causes damage?

(edit)

Not quite the same, but culture is also an invention that has caused a lot of division and misery. It is important to see that, but the solution isn't to erase cultural identity.

And yes, that it has turned into different camps accusing the other of hatred rather than focusing on the main problem is really unfortunate.

 

 

Pondering

Great links, thanks so much.

Timebandit wrote:
I've always thought the idea of matriarchy was just a substitution of one senseless hierarchy over another. The expression of cruelty under a patriarchal system may differ from male to female, but the propensity for it seems pretty even. And studies of brain function in men and women show some differences in process but little practical difference in the speed and pattern of actual behaviour if I recall correctly. Now that we know more about neuroplasticity, I'm interested in how that plays into behaviour, too.

The idea of matriarchy only exists in relation to patriarchy.

There is evidence that companies with a more gender balanced boardroom are more successful. It makes sense because because men and women are socialized so differently that it takes both to create a balance.

So, within that context, although individual women maybe like Margaret Thatcher, most of us are not. I haven't looked at the numbers but I suspect if only women had voted in 2011 the NDP would have won.

So, because the patriarchy conditions men and women to exhibit different strengths a matriarchy would be different because the dominiant ethos would value "feminine" traits.

Nevertheless a matriarchy isn't the solution either except perhaps as a transitionary model. The goal is a society in which no one is cast into a gender role. It's very difficult to imagine what such a world would look like. It makes me think about ecofeminism and capitalism. Capitalism is built on consumerism which relies heavily on manipulating our desires.

takeitslowly

Here's an article about trans feminism  and it discusses why I think its important to acknowledge cissexism:

 

A woman of color doesn’t face racism and sexism separately; the sexism she faces is often racialized, and the racism she faces is often sexualized. This concept of intersectionality is now very well accepted among many contemporary feminists (albeit not by those who continue to adhere to a unilateral men-oppress-women-end-of-story approach to feminism).

Trans feminism is rooted in this idea that there are multiple forms of sexism that often intersect with each other and other forms of oppression.

Trans feminists have also focused on how trans people are impacted by institutionalized cissexism—forms of sexism that construe trans people’s gender identities and expressions as less legitimate than those of cis people (those who are not trans). Cissexism—or as some describe it, transphobia—can be seen in how individuals, organizations and governments often refuse to respect trans people’s lived experiences in our identified genders/sexes; in the discrimination we may face in employment or medical settings; and in how trans people are often targeted for harassment and violence.

Of course, cissexism does not occur in a bubble. It occurs in a world where other forms of sexism and oppression exist. For instance, trans feminists such as myself have articulated the concept of trans-misogyny—that is, the way cissexism and misogyny intersect in the lives of trans women and others on the trans female/feminine spectrum. Trans-misogyny explains why the lion’s share of societal consternation, demonization and sexualization of transgender people is concentrated on trans female/feminine individuals. Cissexism also intersects with other forms of marginalization—for instance, victims of transphobic violence are overwhelmingly trans people who are poor, who are of color and/or on the trans female/feminine spectrum.

So basically, that’s it: Trans feminism is not a conundrum. Rather, it is simply one of numerous third-wave feminisms that take an intersectional approach to challenging sexism and oppression. The only thing different about trans feminism is that it extends this feminist analysis to transgender issues, which have been largely overlooked or misinterpreted by feminists in the past.


http://msmagazine.com/blog/2012/04/18/trans-feminism-theres-no-conundrum...

Brachina

 If so many feminists continue to be trans and sexworkerphobic, the MRAs will continue to benifit as unlike feminist which is increasingly quick to attack and shame and control with crazy tin hat theories, the MRAs are building bridges with the LGBT community, Sex Workers, reasonable and intelligent feminists, nerds, ect... who are sick and tired of being villified. 

 I mean when Joss Whedon gets driven off twitter in part because of the insane spiteful feminist posts, there is severe problem. I mean its Joss for fuck sakes.

 The burning of bridges has got to stop.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And it is one thing to support the hard binary idea of gender - something that is also theory, and pretty much discredited. Quite another to claim that gender archetypes are not real, or are a bad thing because they are largely invented. Some people gravitate strongly to one or the other, or a blend of both; is that a bad thing so long as it is not a forced choice, or one which causes damage?

(edit)

Not quite the same, but culture is also an invention that has caused a lot of division and misery. It is important to see that, but the solution isn't to erase cultural identity.

And yes, that it has turned into different camps accusing the other of hatred rather than focusing on the main problem is really unfortunate.

Cultural identity, you mean like blacks dance well because they are born with better rhythm and the Chinese are good at math? (no people, that isn't what I believe to be true)

Even as trans people embrace a broad range of gender queerness they still reinforce gender prejudice by placing men and women at opposite ends of the spectrum and insisting that male and female traits are innate; that girls just naturally prefer playing with dolls rather than trucks because we are female. If we don't fit the stereotypes it isn't the stereotypes that are wrong, it's our body parts.

Feminism, at least the kind I learned, takes the opposite approach. It isn't our body parts that are wrong, it's the stereotypes assigned based on our body parts that are wrong. The "main problem" is the stereotypes. The solution is to erase the stereotypes, not achieve equality for the stereotypes, and not just give people permission not to meet the stereotypes.

Gender archtypes is just another way to say stereotypes.

6079_Smith_W

Pondering wrote:

Cultural identity, you mean like blacks dance well because they are born with better rhythm and the Chinese are good at math? (no people, that isn't what I believe to be true)

Gender archtypes is just another way to say stereotypes.

No Pondering, I was not talking about racist sterotypes, I was talking about cultural identity. I think most of us can agree that is a real thing, even if it is a construct, and even if some people have tried to erase it.

A stereotype is someone's misconception about another person. An archetype is a model to which someone self-identifies. They aren't the same at all.

And yeah, I know that some of it is what we are taught and pushed into. But if the assumption is that ALL of it is something fake that is forced on us, then it begs the question of how things like our cultural identity is any different.

That is why I made the comparison - again, understanding that gender and culture are not exactly the same.

And having seen kids make decisions and express preferences that come from no influence I can see, and looking at some of my own choices, I question whether all of it can be put down to what is poured into our heads.

 

6079_Smith_W

And do all trans people promote a strict gender binary argument? I wouldn't say so. To say that one identifies as innately male or female doesn't mean that they don't see it as a spectrum. If anything, I'd say they are in a position to have a better appreciation for that than us cis people.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Cultural identity, you mean like blacks dance well because they are born with better rhythm and the Chinese are good at math? (no people, that isn't what I believe to be true)

Gender archtypes is just another way to say stereotypes.

No Pondering, I was not talking about racist sterotypes, I was talking about cultural identity. I think most of us can agree that is a real thing, even if it is a construct, and even if some people have tried to erase it.

A stereotype is someone's misconception about another person. An archetype is a model to which someone self-identifies.

And yeah, I know that some of it is what we are taught and pushed into. But if the assumption is that ALL of it is something fake that is forced on us, then it begs the question of how things like our cultural identity is any different.

That is why I made the comparison - again, understanding that gender and culture are not exactly the same.

And having seen kids make decisions and express preferences that come from no influence I can see, and looking at some of my own choices, I question whether all of it can be put down to what is poured into our heads.

Where are these children that have lived without any exposure to gender roles, have never been to a toy store? Gender archetypes are stereotypes based on culturally assigned male and female traits. Greek and Roman gods and goddesses are gendered archetypes that refect stereotypical traits which encourage men and women to behave in specific ways based on their gender. So yes, assigning a basket of traits to men and another basket of traits to women, but then saying you don't actually have to be that way, is still harmful.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Brachina wrote:

 If so many feminists continue to be trans and sexworkerphobic, the MRAs will continue to benifit as unlike feminist which is increasingly quick to attack and shame and control with crazy tin hat theories, the MRAs are building bridges with the LGBT community, Sex Workers, reasonable and intelligent feminists, nerds, ect... who are sick and tired of being villified. 

 I mean when Joss Whedon gets driven off twitter in part because of the insane spiteful feminist posts, there is severe problem. I mean its Joss for fuck sakes.

 The burning of bridges has got to stop.

Okay, even those feminists who would like to see the end of the sex trade are not "phobic" about sex workers.  We just disagree on the long game.  This has been explained repeatedly.  Please stop making the claim that they are, especially in the feminist forum. 

Questioning essentialism in some thought around trans people and gender identity does not make feminists "phobic" about trans people.  Most feminists, even when questioning gender as an inherent quality support the rights of trans women to be considered women and to have the same supports as other women.  We just don't buy that having a discussion is violent.  Please go do some more reading before spouting off in the feminist forum.

Feminists did not drive Joss Whedon off twitter. 

Quote:

“I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen,” he continued. “I saw someone tweet it’s because Feminist Frequency pissed on Avengers 2, which for all I know they may have. But literally the second person to write me to ask if I was OK when I dropped out was [Feminist Frequency founder] Anita [Sarkeesian].”

What did happen, Whedon said, is that he chose to embrace his long-standing desire post–Age of Ultron to reclaim his personal life and creative spark — and that meant saying good-bye to Twitter. “I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place,” he said. “And this is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. … It’s like taking the bar exam at Coachella. It’s like, Um, I really need to concentrate on this! Guys! Can you all just… I have to… It’s super important for my law!”

http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/joss-whedon-on-leaving-twitter#.nkBn5DG2Z

And even if it was the case, since when is Joss Whedon exempt from criticism for any reason?  And just who are you to decide that?

I'm also curious about these bridges being built with the LGBT community by MRAs...  Probably a claim with as much substance as those addressed above. 

 

 

MegB

Brachina, your negative generalizations about what you think feminists are is, again, in violation of this forum's mandate. If youot understand what a pro-feminist point of view, I would suggest that you stop posting in the Feminist Forum until you do.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

NOT JOSS WHEDON! CURSE YOU FEMINISTS!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Watch out, Catchfire, *you* could be next!!!

(The Bandit flexes her keyboard bullying muscles...)

Unionist

I'm selling Season 2 of Firefly at bargain basement rates... just PM me.

 

6079_Smith_W

Pondering wrote:

So yes, assigning a basket of traits to men and another basket of traits to women, but then saying you don't actually have to be that way, is still harmful.

But again, who is doing that? I know that is what popular culture tries to do to all of us to some degree, and it has been pretty much blown out of the water. But are trans people doing that? How?  By their very existence  because they make us think about gender? I know it is absurd to think they all hold the same values any more than any of the rest of us do.

And never mind that not all trans people reflect strict masculine or feminine models, a reading of Kate Bornstein or Patrick Califia (for starters) would suggest that they don't all think that way either.

Might be a stereotype.

takeitslowly

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And do all trans people promote a strict gender binary argument? I wouldn't say so. To say that one identifies as innately male or female doesn't mean that they don't see it as a spectrum. If anything, I'd say they are in a position to have a better appreciation for that than us cis people.

 

Thank you for acknowledging that you are cis.   I do know many trans people are against the gender binary system even if they subscribe to a male or female gender identity on a personal basis.

 

A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Pondering wrote:

So yes, assigning a basket of traits to men and another basket of traits to women, but then saying you don't actually have to be that way, is still harmful.

But again, who is doing that? I know that is what popular culture tries to do to all of us to some degree, and it has been pretty much blown out of the water. But are trans people doing that? How?  By their very existence  because they make us think about gender? I know it is absurd to think they all hold the same values any more than any of the rest of us do.

And never mind that not all trans people reflect strict masculine or feminine models, a reading of Kate Bornstein or Patrick Califia (for starters) would suggest that they don't all think that way either.

Might be a stereotype.

I was responding to your claim that gendered archetypes are non-damaging not accusing all trans people of anything.

I am referring specifically to claims that liking dresses, pink, or playing with dolls are traits that indicate femaleness.

If trans people believe they were born with a gender that doesn't match their external sex characteristics they are free to promote that theory.

Some trans people don't just want to be able to live as their gender identity dictates, they insist that everyone must agree that we are born gendered or we are attacking them and killing them which is utter bullshit.

I reject the notion that I was born with a gender, an awareness of being female, separate from my external sex characteristics. I believe that I was taught that I was a girl and how to be one.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I'm selling Season 2 of Firefly at bargain basement rates... just PM me.

If this were true (or even possible) I'd offer "fresh-strawberries-in-Nunavut-in-February" rates, and I'd still be outbid.

Sigh.  Best show ever.

Pondering

takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

But you do think it is fine to accuse anyone who doesn't agree that they were born gendered of being transphobic. 

You don't just want to be heard. You want to impose your belief system on everyone else. The unforgiveable crime of radical feminists is believing that gender is a social construct.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I agree with the idea that gender is a social construct. At the same time, masculine and feminine gender identities do exist in society, constructed by society.

Most people would, absent the masculine and feminie gender binary that our society places people into, naturally exhibit a mix of masculine and feminine gender traits. Because of the gender binary, most of us learn to either 'perform female' or 'perform male', based on the accepted gender binary for our biological sex. As humans we have a desire to fit in, and most of us learn to adopt enough of the masculine or feminine traits that we would not naturally gravitate towards, in order to fit in and not be labelled as 'weird'.

Some people, for whatever reason, find it too uncomfortable to perform the gender identity that society has assigned to their biological sex, and can only be comfortable performing the opposite gender identity. I consider these people are 'trans-gendered'.

I also make a distinction between trans-gendered people and 'trans-sexual' people. The latter are people who feel uncomfortable with the body parts assigned to them by nature, and desire the body parts of the opposite sex.

So not all transgendered people are transsexual, and not all transexual people are transgendred. Which is where we get people who take the sex hormones of the opposite sex, but who don't want to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

In terms of discrimination, people who 'transition from one gender/sex to the other face discrimination right off the bat from people who don't acknowledge gender dysphoria as a legit condition. Further complicating matters, people who are known to have transitioned have a much narrower range of gender expression that they can exhibit before they face further discrimination.

takeitslowly

What is transphobia?

Although many are willing to call trans women women (or specifically “trans women” or “transwomen” or even “male women”), they say that that is just their gender. They argue that gender is cultural and that sex is an unchanging biological fact, and that therefore their sex is still male. This is used to support “Womyn born Womyn” spaces, create fear around so-called “bathroom bills,” disallow trans women from competing in women’s sports and even defend violence against trans women

http://www.autostraddle.com/its-time-for-people-to-stop-using-the-social-construct-of-biological-sex-to-defend-their-transmisogyny-240284/

takeitslowly

And no, i don't think saying gender is a social construct is necessarily transphobic.  This is the context to keep in mind when some say gender is a socaial construct when we talk about trans people:

 Cis people's ideas around their genders / sexes are taken as natural, trans people's as artifice or mental illness.

There is a similar discussion on reddit.

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskFeminists/comments/2fwtaj/how_can_i_reconcile_the_belief_that_gender_is_a/

I think when trans people are talking about gender, they are referring to an internal disconnect to their sex(dysphoria), rather than socially constructed gender roles. There are trans women who have more "masculine" traits, and trans men who have more "feminine" traits. Also, a trans person may not actually want to perform some aspects of the masculine/feminine gender role they are transitioning to, but might have to in order to be recognized as their correct gender. So, deconstructing gender roles further is actually beneficial, b/c they wouldn't be forced into certain behaviors just in order to pass

 ...one of the most important things to keep in mind is that saying something is socially constructed does not necessarily imply that said thing is learned or "psychologically imposed." For example, /u/FinickyPenance cites John Money's ideas about the "gender role" and its relation to gender identity as the definitive case of social construction of gender. However, this is simply not the case. There are lots of conceptions of gender (and sex) as socially constructed that do not depend on these kinds of psychological account of gender.

6079_Smith_W

@ Pondering

You just said something about trans people forcing beliefs on others. Not to make a big deal, but it's pretty obvious that there is some hard feeling on both sides of this, but obviously no one can make you accept an idea about gender you don't believe any more than some others are going to accept your version.

I get that in the strictest sense these two approaches to gender might seem to be at complete loggerheads with each other. My point is that it really is a contradiction on the theoretical level. On a practical level it really seems moot to me. Worse, as Sineed points out upthread, it is divisive, and a distraction from what is actually causing the greatest damage to women.

I did not say that gender stereotypes cannot be damaging - of course our society causes a great deal of damage when it tries to straightjacket people into those strict gender models. You quoted my question at #17 - how is it damaging if people DO feel drawn to aspects of one or the other or both? And how does it matter at all that it is in part a construct? Many other things that we consider parts of our identity are similar inventions.

quizzical

takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

a trans person should never assume to know what an oppressed woman is thinking, especially if you simply cannot understand the concept of radical feminists, perceiving a imposed gender reality in order to continually oppress and exploit "women", and indeed "trans women" too.

~

i'm actually really appreciative of this whole, whatever it was, i've learned so much i wouldn't have otherwise. sorry Meghan not wishing you any, or more, drama, but i really don't know how i would've learned all this!

some realizations have struck deeply and i have translated it into understanding some of my feelings of oppression which have been structured from, and into, my FN heritage.

quizzical

Pondering wrote:
 The unforgiveable crime of radical feminists is believing that gender is a social construct.

 

i'm sharing this with my mom. wow. i get it.

takeitslowly

quizzical wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

a trans person should never assume to know what an oppressed woman is thinking, especially if you simply cannot understand the concept of radical feminists, perceiving a imposed gender reality in order to continually oppress and exploit "women", and indeed "trans women" too.

~

You are creating a  false dichotomy betwen trans people and oppressed women.

 Some of the trans people I mentioned are trans women and Trans women are women and we are  oppressed. Trans women face sexism that intersects with other forms of oppression, such as transphobia, racism, and/or classicism.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:
You just said something about trans people forcing beliefs on others. Not to make a big deal, but it's pretty obvious that there is some hard feeling on both sides of this, but obviously no one can make you accept an idea about gender you don't believe any more than some others are going to accept your version.

Exactly, but that is at the root of trans women fury at MM. It is behind MM's comment about surgery and hormones not being representative of radical self-acceptance.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I get that in the strictest sense these two approaches to gender might seem to be at complete loggerheads with each other. My point is that it really is a contradiction on the theoretical level. On a practical level it really seems moot to me. Worse, as Sineed points out upthread, it is divisive, and a distraction from what is actually causing the greatest damage to women.

This is true but the conflict won't go away while trans women are insisting that radical feminists are transphobic and want them dead based on comments such as MM's.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I did not say that gender stereotypes cannot be damaging - of course our society causes a great deal of damage when it tries to straightjacket people into those strict gender models. You quoted my question at #17 - how is it damaging if people DO feel drawn to aspects of one or the other or both? And how does it matter at all that it is in part a construct? Many other things that we consider parts of our identity are similar inventions.

It's not damaging if people do feel drawn to aspects of one or both. It is damaging to assign those traits to either men or women. I agree that trans surgery should be covered by medicare. I agree that trans people should be accepted as whatever gender they are presenting themselves as in most situations.

If trans people want to use the term "cis" to refer to non trans people I have no problem with it.

I draw the line at being told I must accept the designation "cis" woman which means being born with the gender that matches your external genitalia.

 

 

quizzical

takeitslowly wrote:
quizzical wrote:
takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

a trans person should never assume to know what an oppressed woman is thinking, especially if you simply cannot understand the concept of radical feminists, perceiving a imposed gender reality in order to continually oppress and exploit "women", and indeed "trans women" too.

~

You are creating a  false dichotomy betwen trans people and oppressed women.

 Some of the trans people I mentioned are trans women and Trans women are women and we are  oppressed. Trans women face sexism that intersects with other forms of oppression, such as transphobia, racism, and/or classicism.

nope,...nary a false dichotomy in sight, on my side anyway.

 

takeitslowly

I like to say on a personal note that I never said MM want me dead and I never said anyone who say gender is a social construct is transphobic.

 

If there are other trans women of color on babble , maybe we can invite them to the conversation. Its too bad for whatever reasons they are no where to be found on babble. I believe one gets better result when we talk to people rather than talk about them.

 http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/02/18/trans-women-agents-patriarchy/

As awful as the legacy of misogyny in public male-dominated institutions is, trans women often deal with hate and violence everywhere, including, again, women’s spaces. Our reproductive capacity and health is also denied and exploited. We have no representation in Congress, are four times more likely than other households to live in extreme poverty, and are in disproportionate danger of being abused or murdered—especially trans women of color.

Many trans women suffered from some form of trauma, instead of critiquing (some) of us (somewhere online) for overreactions , maybe its better to connect with us and try to invite us to be part of the conversation.

takeitslowly

Pondering wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

But you do think it is fine to accuse anyone who doesn't agree that they were born gendered of being transphobic. 

You don't just want to be heard. You want to impose your belief system on everyone else. The unforgiveable crime of radical feminists is believing that gender is a social construct.

Thats an unfair accusation. You are allowed to believe whatever you want , and i am entitled to my opinion just like you are.

quizzical

takeitslowly wrote:
If there are other trans women of color on babble , maybe we can invite them to the conversation. Its too bad for whatever reasons they are no where to be found on babble. I believe one gets better result when we talk to people rather than talk about them. 

go back to the last post in the "we demand thread" a thread which some have been trying to bury seems like.

 

there is a voice there maybe you need to hear. diaochan's post are informative, insightful, and more importanty non-bullying.

those massive "comics" you posted are a bit beyond acceptable.... at least to me. i don't mean the content. i mean the size and what bullying the size indicates.

 

takeitslowly

I read and responded to diaochan's post. Please do not assume to know what I read and did not read. I think its interesting that you think that the comics i posted from Everyday Feminism ( http://everydayfeminism.com/jobs/) is "bullying" to you.  I thought it was interesting to see pondering posted a giant picture of laverne cox's nude photo, and then several pictures of women such as jennifer lopez and kim kasdashian. I dont think she was being bullying. I am a survivor from bullying, i know how damaging bullying can be. 

 

You are entitled to your view though and I respect your right to your own feelings.

Pondering

takeitslowly wrote:

Pondering wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
A cis person should never assume to know what trans people are thinking or speaking on behalf of trans people, its not progressive and marginalizing.

But you do think it is fine to accuse anyone who doesn't agree that they were born gendered of being transphobic. 

You don't just want to be heard. You want to impose your belief system on everyone else. The unforgiveable crime of radical feminists is believing that gender is a social construct.

Thats an unfair accusation. You are allowed to believe whatever you want , and i am entitled to my opinion just like you are.

This thread is about the accusations leveled at Megan Murphy and other feminists for not agreeing with trans women.

You accuse her of expressing the feelings of trans women when she never did any such thing. When she stated the picture was not empowering she didn't mean individual women don't feel empowered. A beauty queen might feel empowered by winning but from the perspective of feminism it is not empowering to win a beauty contest. When feminists speak of concepts like "empowering" they don't mean empowering through meeting patriarchal norms.

takeitslowly wrote:
  I thought it was interesting to see pondering posted a giant picture of laverne cox's nude photo, and then several pictures of women such as jennifer lopez and kim kasdashian.

I downsized all the pictures, Cox's the most, so they would fit properly. I should have downsized them even more. I'm glad you didn't find it bullying but you do seem to have some objection to the pictures being posted, especially that of Cox. Why?

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Actually, Pondering, if you read the OP, this is not a thread about Murphy or either petition.  It's more about the larger issue of feminism and trans acceptance and how feminist thought sometimes diverges and intersects with thought about trans people and gender identity.

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:

Actually, Pondering, if you read the OP, this is not a thread about Murphy or either petition.  It's more about the larger issue of feminism and trans acceptance and how feminist thought sometimes diverges and intersects with thought about trans people and gender identity.

It is about feminist silencing through accusations of transphobia.

‘You Are Killing Me': On Hate Speech and Feminist Silencing

takeitslowly wrote:

What is transphobia?

Although many are willing to call trans women women (or specifically “trans women” or “transwomen” or even “male women”), they say that that is just their gender. They argue that gender is cultural and that sex is an unchanging biological fact, and that therefore their sex is still male.

http://www.autostraddle.com/its-time-for-people-to-stop-using-the-social-construct-of-biological-sex-to-defend-their-transmisogyny-240284/

Biological sex is not a social construct. It is not transphobic to believe that as mammals human-beings come in two sexes, male and female, although some are born intersexed. Reproduction for mammals requires eggs and sperm each of which is provided by one of the sexes. This is a necessary function for the survival of the species not a figment of imagination.

While it is true that gender and sex are different things, and that gender is indeed a social construct, sex isn’t the Ultimate Biological Reality that transphobes make it out to be. There’s nothing intrinsically male about XY chromosomes, testosterone, body hair, muscle mass or penises. If an alien civilization found earth, they wouldn’t look at a person with a penis and say “Oh, that must be a male, sex based on genitalia is the One Universal Constant.” Sex, like gender, is indeed socially constructed and can be changed.

I don't know what aliens would think about penises but I do know that humans require a male and a female to reproduce. That some people are born intersexed doesn't disprove the norm in human biology. It's not transphobic to believe this.

This...

They say that no matter what a trans woman does, no matter what she believes, she’s still actually a man. Others cede the fact that trans women are women, but stop there and say “gender is what’s between your ears, sex is what’s between your legs” and therefore trans women are still males. Although this is a popular idea, it is based on a misunderstanding of biology, social constructs and anatomy, and it needs to stop.

...is not just believed by radical feminists or because of radical feminists nor is it based on misunderstanding of biology. Radical feminists could vanish from the face of the earth and people would still say it takes a male and a female to make a baby. The man who had a baby used female genitalia he was born with to do it. When people read the story I am willing to bet almost all of them thought "he is a biological woman so it is no big miracle that she had a baby"  and that had nothing to do with radical feminists.

Radical trans women refuse to acknowledge the existence of biological sex as a determinent in seuxal attraction and in so doing are denying the reality of other people.

http://www.sophiagubb.com/im-a-man-and-im-with-a-trans-woman-does-that-m...

When a straight man or a lesbian loses interest after discovering a woman is trans it is not proof of transphobia. That they are attracted before finding out does not mean that sexual attraction is rooted in gender. It means that gender informs people of biological sex and when they discover the biological sex doesn't match the gender presentation they no longer feel sexual attraction. At least that is their belief and it deserves just as much respect as trans people demand for their beliefs about gender and sex.

This is a very personal issue to me. I have to admit I feel victimised. In the year and a half since I’ve started transitioning I’ve only been with bisexual people (of all sexes). This doesn’t mean I haven’t attracted straight men or lesbian women; I have. I’ve felt the attraction happening, either in obviously flirty interactions or just in an underlying, palpable sexual tension. And at times these people have even admitted their attraction to me. But even then, they didn’t want to be with me.

At the same time, gay men and straight women have completely lost interest in me. In fact, I remember I had two gay male admirers when I was in my pre-transition stage, wearing a few feminine things in order to get comfortable with them, and thusly appearing (to some) to be a gay man.

Well, the moment I started living fully as a woman, they dropped their attempted courtship. But I mean that very moment; you could see in their eyes when they saw me that they were getting instantly turned off. I imagine them saying in their heads, “Oh.”

So if gay men and straight women respond sexually to me as they would with any other woman, why don’t straight men and lesbians do the same?

Because gay men and straight women are not responding sexually as they would with any other woman. They are not responding sexually at all because she no longer matches their sexual orientation which is to men/males. That has nothing to do with the reactions of straight men and lesbian women. It is trying to create a dichotomy that doesn't exist.  

This is crossing over the line into defining other people's sexuality. It is absolutely valid for lesbians to be sexually attracted to trans men and not to trans women and still define themselves as lesbian. It does not mean that they or that straight men are transphobic for not wanting to be with trans women. It is their right to believe their sexuality is linked to biological sex which does exist despite all arguments otherwise. It is why lesbians are still attracted to trans men despite their gender presentation.

It's fine to demand to be treated according to gender presentation from a social and professional perspective but radical trans women are going too far when they demand that everyone agree that sexual orientation is based on gender presentation and that biological sex is a social construct or be labeled a transphobe.

 

takeitslowly

Interesting, pondering.

 

Anyways, speaking of men loving women, I have to say my man is the bravest man I ever known in my life. He loves me as a woman and he identifies as a straight man.

 

I met many men who can't handle the stigma of loving and being attracted to a trans woman; in my opinon, they are just not man enough to handle  loving a real woman with a story. But my current boyfriend loves me openly and introduced me to his parents and frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. Hes revolutionary and hes mine, woo hoo.

Too often, society shames men for dating trans women and we need to change that. http://janetmock.com/2013/09/12/men-who-date-attracted-to-trans-women-st...

We tell men to keep their attraction to trans women secret, to limit it to the internet, frame it as a passing fetish or transaction. In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.

Laverne Cox once said : ‘Loving Trans People Is A Revolutionary Act’

 

Invoking Cornell West, Cox told the audience that, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” “”When a trans woman is called a man,” she said, “that is an act of violence.” But “loving trans people,” she believes, “is a revolutionary act.”

 

But lets gett back to topic :)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Takeitslowly, I would like to suggest that you think a little about how you're putting things. I know that on one level the words we choose are very minor, but I've always felt that the choice of them helps shape our thoughts in important ways. Consider the phrases "not man enough" and "real woman". Now, on one level I get your meaning and you've made an evocative statement. But on another level, it cuts to the conundrum of trans acceptance and the prevalence of patriarchy at the same time. Patriarchy and all of the odious bro behaviour that is part and parcel with it is bolstered by male fear of not measuring up. That insecurity keeps men in line, supporting a system that oppresses and sometimes kills women - trans and cis alike. Every time we use "man enough", we are participating in the kind of shaming that drives the system. On to the next phrase, "real woman". Do we really need to go there? Between "women born women" as the definition to "real women have curves" (because thin women are somehow fake), it's a phrase that implies if some of us are real, then some of us aren't. It's almost always a divisive statement that tears us down instead of building solidarity. I know it seems like word games and that I'm being picky, but just try to think about it non-defensively - I think we can make better progress thinking about things in a different frame. "Secure in his masculinity" is a good one for a start. Frankly, though, I don't know what to do with "real women".

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Also, sorry for wall of text - babble hates mobile devices.

Pondering

takeitslowly wrote:
Anyways, speaking of men loving women, I have to say my man is the bravest man I ever known in my life. He loves me as a woman and he identifies as a straight man.

I met many men who can't handle the stigma of loving and being attracted to a trans woman; in my opinon, they are just not man enough to handle  loving a real woman with a story. But my current boyfriend loves me openly and introduced me to his parents and frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. Hes revolutionary and hes mine, woo hoo.

I think that is wonderful just as it is for any couple that finds each other.  If men denied themselves a relationship with you based on stigma then I am sad for them but I don't think it makes them less of a man. Gay people shouldn't be shamed for not coming out either.

takeitslowly wrote:
Too often, society shames men for dating trans women and we need to change that. http://janetmock.com/2013/09/12/men-who-date-attracted-to-trans-women-st...

We tell men to keep their attraction to trans women secret, to limit it to the internet, frame it as a passing fetish or transaction. In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.

I don't know who is shaming men for having relationships with trans women. Probably the same people who are anti-gay. I have read that some men are specifically attracted to trans women. I don't think anyone should be judged for what turns them on or off sexually or which of their desires they decide to act on (assuming it isn't abusive).

Pages