Why the Concern about Transgenderism, Radfems?

19 Jan

Radical feminists are often asked by various and sundry: “Why are radical feminists so obsessed with transgenders?”

A little history.  Transgenderism was originally an offshoot of the GLB rights movement. These were homosexual people who felt so misaligned with social expectations based on sex stereotypes, who felt so uncomfortable in their own skins that they chose to have their bodies medically modified, to various extents, into facsimiles of the opposite sex, in hopes that this would alleviate their distress and simplify their social lives. This dates back into the 1950’s.

But in this century, transgenderism has morphed into something entirely different. It no longer is strictly the purview of homosexuals, nor is it reliably about any kind of permanent body modifications, especially for men.

Instead, it is presented as a kind of invisible disability, that can only be understood by its often transitory external manifestations, which align quite neatly with the aforementioned sex stereotypes. “Trans” people are framed as discriminated against by anyone who will not pretend they are the opposite sex, especially when the opposite sex is female.

One of the ways this plays out is that women are told not to express any thinking or activism that highlights our actual sex class, as this reminds “transwomen” that they are physically different from us, and this hurts their feelings. But since women are oppressed along an axis of sex (seen what’s happening with abortion rights legislation in the USA of late?) we must be able to speak of our bodies, our selves, and how we are treated and controlled via our sex. So these kinds of sentiments effectively muzzle women’s organizing, unless we resist and say we will speak of what we must, in which case we’re accused of “transphobia.”

Further, the legal ramifications are significant. If there is no legal word for “woman” any more, only terms that have no legal definition beyond “labels humans may attach to themselves,” if the class of humans that includes everyone who has ever created another person inside herself, along with all of us who have not, but still have female bodies; if this class of humans has no name that is specific unto us, if there is no term for this class of people that has an agreed upon legal meaning; then it becomes impossible to fight for legal protections. You cannot fight for legal protections for a class that has no name. The law depends on language.

Women are oppressed because of our material physical differences from men. Oppression and discrimination work along observable material axes. Sex, skin color, and material markers of social class, even sexual arousal is observable.

But “gender identity” is not. You cannot be oppressed or discriminated against along the axis of something that is neither observable nor fixed. The trans lobby engages in many failures of logic, but this one is central. Body modifications are material and observable, and thus persons with these medical modifications may well be discriminated against. But they are only peripherally related to “gender identities” of late. So I think it important to make this distinction.

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8 Responses to “Why the Concern about Transgenderism, Radfems?”

  1. Redpeachmoon 2018/01/19 at 4:05 pm #

    Thank you thank you thank you!
    Helping me to clarify and refine my thinking, and hence my ability to speak up about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sundazed 2018/01/20 at 2:01 am #

    Even though I am no radfem person, this post speaks volumes to many of us that finds issues with the modern transgenderist movement and theology.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sophieijameson 2018/01/22 at 4:47 am #

    A great piece of writing, though I can’t agree with your last few paragraphs. People are frequently oppressed on the basis of something that is neither observable or fixed. Religion is an obvious one. The history of Europe is rife with religious persecution, and thousands die every year in Pakistan alone for the same reason.

    Gender identity is like religion in other ways too. It’s a belief system that ignores facts and fanatical proponents are PITA.

    The difference between individuals who feel persecuted because of their gender identity and women is that women can’t identify themselves out of sex-based oppression. I will always remember the young woman raped by a taxi driver who said that she kept telling him she was a transman but he took no notice. No shit, Sherlock.

    But, yes, you can be persecuted for a belief system. The difference between women and transwomen isn’t a belief. It is physical and we must hold fast to the fact that transwomen are men. All the legal language that protects female privacy and safety must acknowledge that truth.

    Like

    • Miep 2018/01/22 at 6:44 am #

      Thanks. I should perhaps have been clearer there. Actual oppression, extraction/enslavement does tend to involve physical markers because it’s always easier to oppress people when you can tell the slaves apart from the owners by looking at them. Discrimination is more complex as there are situations where it is perfectly appropriate to be discriminating (such as dating). In legal terms, you’re not supposed to discriminate against people over their belief systems in the public domain, but that doesn’t mean you are obliged to share these beliefs. So when men say they are women trapped in men’s bodies and thus suffer more badly than actual women, they are arguing that they fall into an oppressed class thusly, which they do not. Nobody is extracting anything from them or enslaving them. Any discrimination they suffer over body modifications or presentation does not put them in the class “woman.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • sophieijameson 2018/01/30 at 9:00 am #

        Inasmuch that transwomen are discriminated against, it is not because they are women, but that they are not performing their social role as men. And, of course, it is men who enforce this and are responsible for any violence transwomen experience.

        However it is not men TIMs attack, but women. Lesbians are viciously targeted for stubbornly insisting that they’re homosexual. All women are attacked for resisting men in their women-only spaces. Because it seems the most important factor in transgenderism is to be totally accepted by the sex they want to mimic. Their rage when they don’t get this is something to see.

        And yet if they do pass – and are treated as women – I’ve seen transwomen experience what they describe as transphobia, some form of oppression, but what is actually loss of male privilege.

        Transwomen are hard to discuss because they’re not all motivated in the same way. However the most prominent transwomen are largely of a type, a type characterized by cluster B personality disorders. These are not healthy men. Their narcissism makes them perceive anything that doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse them as oppression. They’re perpetual victims and nothing anyone does will ever fill the gaping hole within. So I’ve given up even trying. I used to use preferred pronouns but no more. It’s not true, it’s a flagrant lie and it does no one any good to pretend men are women.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Omniscient1 2018/01/30 at 11:42 am #

          **Incoherent thought alert**
          Isn’t the root cause that having decided on a particular set of behaviours Transwomen think they will get an easier ride from women, and so invade female space. If Transwomen are truly ‘trans’ then it shouldn’t matter (to them) who’s space they invade.
          What should happen, and might in the long future, is that the generality of men accept the presence of transwomen amongst them. As this is a tough gig today (your first paragraph) Transwomen take the female route. Writing as a man, seeing a man coming into a male changing room dressed as a woman would be a shock, but only because it is the shock of the new. There is nothing inherently wrong about the concept, and it is less wrong than the same person going into a female changing room.
          Then the issue becomes what happens NOW as society builds norms today that it may not want, or may want to adapt tomorrow, in a more integrated, less paranoid future?
          **incoherent thought over**

          Like

  4. Omniscient1 2018/01/22 at 2:35 pm #

    I read your post and I agree. And I’m a man. (And to be clear I ‘present’ as one and have no desire to do otherwise). I understand the concepts of transsexuality and body dysmorphia (??), but believe, and more and more so, as time goes by that the genders we are in have a wide spectrum of behaviours and appearances. I think when men say they are women trapped in mens bodies I think how can they know? I have no clue of what its like to be a woman on any level, how can I? I may as well imagine I’m a dolphin. I do believe that if a man wants to present as a woman then that’s totally fine and he should be allowed to do so, and its up to the rest of us (men and women) to respect that just as if we were discussing his (yes ‘his’) religion etc. But ‘he’ is still a man. The deductive leap is to realise that there is a large spectrum of ‘man-ness’ and a man-who-wants-to-present-as-a-woman is … a man.
    … and of course, vice-versa

    Liked by 1 person

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