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to think Julie Burchill went too far in this article?

(1000 Posts)
kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:42:26

It all started with an article by Suzanne Moore in which she mentioned Brazillian transsexuals - as a throwaway comment.This got picked on by some vocal memebers of the trans community and led to a Twitter storm. Suzanne Moore then left Twitter.

So Julie Burchill then waded in to defend her friend and launch the kind of attack on transsexuals that you wouldn't even find in the Daily Mail.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/13/julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-transsexuals

There's no way the paper would publish such an attack on other minority groups but transsexuals are ok?

Lesbeadiva Sun 13-Jan-13 16:46:07

I think the whole thing has gone too far.

I agree she went too far, and she was simply being insulting for the sake of it. I really, really doubt she thought she was being helpful - if anything she's added fuel to the fire for Moore.

I don't think it's true papers never publish shite about minority groups - they do, all the time. It doesn't make this one any more ok, naturally.

I do not understand why JB is still writing.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 16:46:30

As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west,I will dislike and/disagree with Julie Burchill.

I think she went too far, however, I can't see what was that wrong with what Moore originally said.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 16:48:36

She was deliberately goading. It doesn't make her wrong.

I thought Moore's original article was fine too. And her explanation of it subsequently. Not so much her twitter response, but then, by then she was in the middle of a shitstorm.

So why did twitter go mad over moores article? I don't get it.

Spero Sun 13-Jan-13 16:52:59

Its such a pathetic and cynical attempt to whip people up into a frenzy and get lots of people clilcking on the web page and commenting etc, etc. I still fail to understand why a reference to 'Brazilian trannsexuals' is so appalling - apparently it is because lots of Brazillian transnsexuals are murdered but as SM said, she wasn't referring to that but the protype 'uber female' with long legs and nice bottom.

so all that is happening is that people are playing top trumps with their oppression while the Daily Mail readers laugh.

JB was deliberately offensive and moronic, but that has been her style for at least 20 years, so anyone who is 'outraged' by her is just falling right into the hole she is digging for you.

DoctorAnge Sun 13-Jan-13 16:53:22

I think it's spot on

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 16:53:35

Because sometimes empty vessels make the most noise. It wasn't a large number of people, it was a concerted effort to attack her from an organised few.

I don't either, but (thank god), I'm not on twitter.

I think Burchill is bullying, in that article, which is exactly what she is insisting other people mustn't do. It doesn't come across as if she particularly cares about SM's position on transsexuality - she's much more interested in showing off about her connections, using lots of rude words, and shoehorning everything into a great class war debate.

She is not a stupid woman and she must know that what she's doing is detrimental and is only going to result in yet more backlash against radical feminism, yet more people thinking that radical feminists must all be transphobic. And the net result will be an even worse situation for women who're already finding sources of support are being taken away from them.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 16:57:02

Oh,don't see the issue with what Moore said either. I was somewhat baffled when it was all kicking off on twitter a few days ago. Asked someone who was being very vocal about it what the issue was and was tweeted back "fuck off you spakka" because obviously using that word totally fine. angry

What does spakka mean? confused

I've never even heard that.

I do think some people get very vocal for reasons that don't quite hold up. I have people on my facebook at the moment who are talking out of their arses about this. It is a bit depressing. Someone has just held up Caitlin Moran as an example Suzanne Moore should follow. hmm

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 17:04:35
kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:07:40

I think SM made an innocent throwaway comment. The reaction to it was way OTT by a small but vocal minority. But Julie Burchills article is just awful.

confused

I can't even read the twitter one. Maybe this is why I don't get on with twitter.

I can see why people would be upset about her reference to Brazil given that bit of history. It does sound as if she was genuinely ignorant rather than malicious, though.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 17:10:41

LRD it's a disablist term,not sure where it comes from. Like when teenagers call each other retard,I've heard it in that context.

deleted203 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:12:49

LRD spakka is a short name for 'spastic'. I haven't heard it since kids called each other a 'spakka' in the playground in the 1970s!

Oh, right. That's depressing. Thanks for explaining, avis.

I dunno.

The one thing I do pick out of Burchill's article, which if I'm understanding that twitter link correctly (I'm really not sure I am, I find it really difficult to follow), is this issue about terminology. I think it's fair enough to say if you don't want to be called 'cis'. If that's the sort of thing that commentator meant when they talked about 'language policing' (or was it still the 'Brazil' bit?), then I think that was out of line really.

Thank you for the links.

Hmm, it's a shame all the many interesting points in moores article including the body pressure have been lost. I can see why she and burchill have been annoyed. It's a wilful misinterpretation of what she meant, with a whiff of 'our experience is more important than yours'

LizzieVereker Sun 13-Jan-13 17:16:43

LRD it's shorthand for the disabilist term "spastic".

I think JB is just striding about, showing off here (again). And I agree that Moore's comments seem to stem from ignorance rather than malice, but it was also a strange example to pluck out of thin air, wasn't it?

Could I ask you LRD what your criticism of Caitlin Moran is, please? Am not disagreeing with you, just genuinely curious and would value your opinion.

Spero Sun 13-Jan-13 17:18:40

I still don't get the outrage re ref to Brazillian trannsexuals. Someone on the comments section said it was akin to calling fashion models 'Auschwitz survivors' and that was equally disgraceful. I don't get that. It is making a point in florid language.

SM wasn't making any reference to people being murdered and to criticise her for ignorance over this issue seems counterproductive. I wasn't aware of rates of murder of Brazillian transsexuals - I am sure there are lots of awful tragic oppressions of which I am currently unaware, having only 24 hours in a day to read all about it. I would have thought it far more helpful to point something out in a non aggressive tone, particularly as SM is not exactly David Cameron and is much more likely to be advocating for the oppressed as against them.

So I think the response to SM was pathetic. But equally the JB article. How does anyone think this is helping raise awareness or compassion one jot for anyone?

lizzie - oh, sorry, yes, that wasn't clear.

Well, the issue was that someone claimed Suzanne Moore should really learn from Moran, because Moran has form for using offensive terminology and then apologizing nicely - because Moran used 'tranny' in her first edition of her book, then apologized.

However, more recently, Moran was really, really fucking rude when someone suggested she didn't pay much attention to feminism amongst women of colour. She basically said she didn't care therefore it didn't matter to her - and she wasn't very gracious about it.

So she's not, IMO, a brilliant example of how you should behave if someone calls you out for making a misguided comment about another group of people.

That's all it was.

I don't think it's a strange example. She might have said,body of a Israeli supermodel, legs of a lady boy, breasts of a... Run out of examples - it was a succinct way of saying fantastic looks unobtainable to most women...

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:21:23

The problem with Julie Burchill's article is the sheer hatred she comes out with, the language and the sheer vitriol in it - it's basically an attack on the transsexual community and not one you'd expect to see for another oppressed community.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:23:42

For those that can see beyond the end of their noses, a reference to Brazil might be due to the fact that it's one of the world leaders in terms of uptake of plastic surgery is synonymous with 'the body beautiful'.

Sadly, kim, having read shedloads of vitriol on both sides of this one, I think it is exactly what you'd expect. That's the problem. She knew she was just going to make things worse and she went ahead and did it anyway.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:28:16

From a NY Times article:

'Brazil has long had an international reputation as home of the body beautiful, a culture obsessed with beauty, vitality and health — and even if that standard is often more perception than reality, the country’s health and wellness industries are booming.'

LizzieVereker Sun 13-Jan-13 17:29:21

Thanks for explaining, LRD, I appreciate it.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 17:32:04

Francis Sedgemore has reported it as a hatecrime

I'm stunned the Guardian printed it.

No worries lizzie. smile

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:33:51

Beautifully selective quoting there.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:34:25

I think I know what Suzanne Moore intended in that article - and it was a good article about body image and feminism. The reaction by the trans lobby was way OTT - that's something that happens nowadays with Twitter.

And LRD - yes, Julie knew what she was doing. I'm pleased so many people have attacked the article in the comments and the Guardian editor seems to be trying to distance the Guardian from the Observer.

It's just surprising the Observer would publish such a hate filled article when they are quite keen to censor other comments full of hate.

FellatioNels0n Sun 13-Jan-13 17:35:51

I can't be bothered to read the link but Julie Birchill is an arse and always has been. She just shouts attention-seeking contentious twaddle as far as I'm concerned, and prides herself on being obtuse.

So whatever it was she said, by default YANBU.

Lilithmoon Sun 13-Jan-13 17:35:53

Wow what an appalling article by Julie Burchill. What on earth did she think she would achieve? I am really surprised it got published. sad

Are they? I just don't read Guardian comments any more - they are full of attacks on women. An awful lot of mainstream media is just so casually misognyistic it's almost difficult to register it.

Hassled Sun 13-Jan-13 17:39:07

THis is what Suzanne Moore said on the issue - "When I say "women", I don't much care if you were born or became one. I am with RuPaul: "Honey, we are born naked, the rest is drag." " It's a good piece.

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 17:41:38

I like the discussion on this thread. It seems constructive. It seems intersted in hearing a range of views, empathising, and working towards answers. Unlike (from what I can gather) the Twitter exchanges, and certainly unlike the Burchill article.

There is this awful dynamic in so many internet conversations that involves first of all a principle of uncharity, whereby you interprete your opponent's words in whatever way allows maximum imputation to them of wrongfulness (of whatever sort -- ignorance, prejudice, unchecked privilege, or a million other sins). That in turn is used as a way of asserting one's own superior concern for whatever isues are under discussion, and then the whole thing comes to be about which participant is most righteous. Instead of about the issues. It is paralysing.

And then editors come along to cash in on the tension, because they believe that the best way to "provoke discussion" (for which read "get plenty of hits/readers/etc) is to re-stage what has become a setpiece conflict. So all "discussions" come to be pre-framed as a clash between two sides (sometimes involving made-up categories like yummy mummies, Burchills's alleged community of academic middle-class transexuals) -- and once some copy-short journo has made up a dichotomy we all pile in and legitimise it by joining in the discussion on those flawed dichotomous terms online. Hopeless.sad

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 17:43:18

(I should have put an "and" after "yummy mummies" -- I didn't mean to suggest that yummy mummies are all academic middle-class transexuals.)

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:18

I wish I could say I was both a yummy mummy and an academic middle-class transexual grin.

Life would be much more fun if there were yummy mummy academic middle class transsexuals. Though tougher to type about.

I think people do throw around the word 'transphobia' to mean 'anyone who disagrees with me', though. I don't see how what Moore wrote was transphobic, especially after her clarification. Ignorant about people who died in Brazil, yes. Transphobic? Not so sure.

If Julie Burchill still counts as working class then I shall reinvent myself as working class too. hmm

I don't think sm should have apologised - she had nothing to apologise for.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:49:33

But she expressed an opinion that hadn't been vetted by them first shock

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:50:41

I think Suzanne Moore wrote a good response article. She didn't mean any offense but I did not see any of her comments on Twitter - nor the attacks on her.

Julie Burchill is Julie Burchill. Maybe she should write for the DM?

hackmum Sun 13-Jan-13 17:52:12

The thing is, Julie Burchill isn't really known for understating her case, is she? I've been reading articles by her for 30 years, and I've never once thought, "Well, that was a fair, reasonable, balanced summing up of the arguments on both sides."

She's successful precisely because she's a professional controversialist and, not only that (because any idiot can be controversial) she has a gift for the barbed phrase, the cruelly but wittily worded comment that stings. That's why she carries on getting commissioned and why people keep reading her.

I think I'd err on the side of saying she should have, if Brazil is especially associated with transsexuals being killed, then the reference is going to upset people, because some people will have lost loved ones. This sort of argument typically does get some people saying 'professionally offended', but I think you can't choose what offends or upsets you. It wasn't an integral part of her argument, so I think she was right to explain that.

I didn't read her second piece as an out-and-out breast-beating 'oh my god, I was so wrong' apology anyway: it was explaining where she was coming from and it was very well put.

After that people should have accepted her point.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:53:26

Maybe it takes someone like Julie Burchill to raise points, in her usual confrontational antagonistic manner, when other feminists are too wary of certain highly vocal groups to say what they really think.

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 17:53:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:55:15

Yes. Women are just a persecuted majority.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:55:25

" in her usual confrontational antagonistic manner"

That's one way of putting it - what do you think of the language she used?

smudging - yes, and I think she did the apology well. It made it clear what her point was without getting further into barneying.

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 17:56:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 17:56:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 17:57:25

Julie Burchill will always write over-the-top hysterical baiting shite. It's how she makes her money. If she started writing measured thoughtful pieces, she wouldn't have a job any more.

smudge - her second article. It's linked to upthread.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:58:58

I think she sat down and tried to come up with the most 'off-hand', provocative insults she could. I wouldn't be surprised to find her google search history included 'top 10 most offensive things to say to a transgender person.' Like a child who's discovered swearing and wants to try and fit all the bad words they know into one insult.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up, narked.

Darkesteyes Sun 13-Jan-13 17:59:36

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ThisisaeuphemismSun 13-Jan-13 17:20:25

I don't think it's a strange example. She might have said,body of a Israeli supermodel, legs of a lady boy, breasts of a... Run out of examples - it was a succinct way of saying fantastic looks unobtainable to most women...

euphemism i totally agree. I think this was what Suzanne was trying to say too. i did tweet her telling her about the time i worked in a sex chatline office and how much it changed me during my 20s into my 30s. And how it helped me understand diversity in sexuality and changed me for the better. If she saw my tweet i hope she realises it was meant in support. It was in response to the time she talked about hanging around with trans people when she was abroad. The article mentioned how some of them had had botched surgery in Morocco. sad Havent read the Burchill article. i will take a look.

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 18:03:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 18:05:47

Nobody does it like Burchill. I luff her. Seriously, to complain that Julie Burchill was offensive about a group of people is very very odd. Gloriously acidic offensive prose is what she does best. She is a bare knuckle fighter with a pen of steel. Love her.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 18:09:35

She actually had some valid points in there under the poking people with a pointy stick comments. I do think that it's gotten to the stage where a minority of transgender activists are responding to the any perceived slight with all out war. And the people they're attacking are often on the same side - feminists who welcome them as equals.

hackmum Sun 13-Jan-13 18:11:22

Julie Burchill isn't really known for understating her case, is she? I've been reading articles by her for over 30 years and I've never thought "Well, that was a reasonable, fair-minded summary of the arguments."

She gets work partly because she's a professional controversialist - but then so are lots of people. She also has a gift for the telling jibe, the cutting barb, that far fewer people possess.

I notice in this piece she uses one of her favourite attack methods - I'm working class, and you aren't, so there! Bless.

Lastofthepodpeople Sun 13-Jan-13 18:12:11

Suzanne Moore was thoughtless but it was blown out of proportion on Twitter. Burchill on the other hand seemed to be trying to be as nasty to the trans community as she could be. Her comments were incredibly offensive. I'm surprised it got past the editor.

That's true, narked.

I think some of it is to do with the chinese-whispers effect of the net. I know people who are passionate about LGBT issues (which I think is a good thing), but who tend to have heard paraphrases of arguments rather than the arguments themselves. So you get people who simply state that so-and-so is transphobic, as if this is the last word in a debate.

And very often it is not that simple.

musicmadness Sun 13-Jan-13 18:17:04

That article is an utter disgrace. I don't think the original comment was that bad (a bit ignorant maybe but nothing more than that) but I can see why that article by Julie Burchill could easily be considered a hate crime. The language used is beyond vile and it is encouraging people to openly hate and mock trans women.

More than 1 in 3 trans people in the UK has attempted suicide, can you imagine the absolutely catastrophic effect that article could have on a trans person who is already struggling?!

Would it be OK for a paper to be using openly racist terms? Of course not and it would quite rightly never be published, so I can't figure out who thought it was a good idea to publish that article. There is a difference between being controversial and being completely discriminatory.

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 18:19:19

She is a Facebook friend and there are times when I cringe, particularly at her constant jibes at Islam. This latest piece is not clever - and she is clever woman. They are deeply offensive and the Met Hate Crime Police are now involved. There was really no justification for the level of hatred in the article. You cannot pick a couple of people who you consider were goading your friend - then attack a huge section of society, who frankly have quite enough to deal with.

We have moved so far forward with tolerance - like Channel 4's wonderful docu - who needs this depressing attack that sets everyone backwards.

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 18:27:35

It seems likely now that moore will be tainted by association with the burchill piece. That's a shame because she was making good points in the course of her throwaway line about transexuals, and those all get lost in the crossfire.

I don't especially like SM because I think that she is better at well-placed sharp anger than at developed thought and her articles often seem to peter out. But even imperfect thought is better than thought that is hamstrung by the stifling culture of online discourse that seems to have developed. It's shocking how often I feel that before posting anywhere online I have to second-guess other people's overreadiness to put the worst possible construction on whatever words I might put out there. (I don't mean, of course, that I have a right to be offensive. A well-timed apology from SM for offence caused might have been very very appropriate.)

Darkesteyes Sun 13-Jan-13 18:28:40

Ive now read the Burchill piece and agree with musicmadness. its a disgraceful article.

Nancy66 Sun 13-Jan-13 18:32:52

Suzanne Moore had nothing to apologise for and I'm glad that she didn't.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 18:43:31

"That's a shame because she was making good points in the course of her throwaway line about transexuals, and those all get lost in the crossfire"

Exactly. It was a very good article with good points. And a good response article.

I wonder what she thinks of Julie Burchill jumping to her aid?

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 18:48:34

As far as the 'body of a Brazilian transexual' line goes I think I agree, Nancy, that she had nothing to apologise for. I'm just not sure what else she might have said in anger on twitter. And I suppose that given the amount of hate transexuals have to endure it can't do any harm to err on the side of apology -- though that would be hard if she was approached very harshly by those who had been offended by her. I don't follow her on twitter so was lucky enough to avoid the whole tempest

Difficult to know what to say about that one. She is coarse beyond belief and I'm not even sure I understand what point(s) she's trying to make. Clearly not so secretly in love with poor Suzanne (God help her!)

MarianneM Sun 13-Jan-13 18:51:11

I thought her piece was very funny! And she had a point too.

Lexagon Sun 13-Jan-13 18:54:46

I think it's somewhat ironic that a lot of the critics of this article (not on here, thinking twitter etc) seem unable to express their feelings without resorting to misogynistic attacks on Burchill.

MarianneM Sun 13-Jan-13 18:57:41

quite

NicholasTeakozy Sun 13-Jan-13 19:01:52

To take one line from an article decrying what this government is doing to women is at best shortsighted. OK, maybe she could've used a different analogy, but to rip into her about that and ignore everything else she rightly points out is ridiculous. I have two daughters and I am seriously scared for their future.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 19:03:43

I think Moore's original article was maybe a bit thoughtless, but the thing that was really bad, and she should be apologising for, were the comments she made on twitter. Her second article which explained the first one was ok, but that still doesn't excuse the twitter comments, which were plain nasty.

And if I was her, Burchill's defense would make me cringe and I'd publicly would seek to distance myself from this.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:04:23

I agree, nicholas But what about Julie's article?

My sister is transgender, I find the Burchill article vile. Re the original comment from Moore, I'm sure it was ignorance more than anything else. I know more about GD than a lot of people and I didn't know how bad things were in Brazil until reading the link on this thread.

The conflict between GD issues and feminism is something that interests me. I consider myself feminist (not sure if I'd call myself radfem) and yet obviously I accept my sister and other transgender people completely.

hackmum Sun 13-Jan-13 19:09:25

I thought Suzanne Moore's original article was fine, and the line about "Brazilian transexuals" was simply to make the point that we shouldn't encourage young women to have to conform to a particular body shape. I had a quick look at the tweets, and I think they were just written in anger in response to particularly vitriolic attacks. When someone says something nasty, people do tend to respond in kind, and Twitter is the perfect medium for encouraging that.

Julie Burchill's article - well, it was inflammatory, and I can't say I agree with it, but honestly the comments below the line are just over-reactions. The thing is, a lot of people hate Burchill anyway because she's a feminist, so this is just another chance to have a go at her. And also, some people just love being offended, and they absolutely relish telling people how offended they are. All this stuff about "hate crimes" is just nonsense. I mean, why do people want to advertise how hurt they are by what someone else has said? Couldn't they just try to be a little more robust?

Poor Moore. With friends like that....

Burchill's article is hate filled and hateful. Mocking people for what they are and not what they say is pathetic bullying. There are a million ways to defend and celebrate Moore's original article, without resorting to crude, vicious hate speech.

I didn't think 'body of a Brazilian transsexual' was offensive in any event and nor did my friend who had gender reassignment surgery at be age of 47 in Brazil. It was a throwaway line about hyper-artificial exagerated bounteous T&A long legged tumbling hair pouting mouthed Barbie beauty ideals which bear no relation to most human shapes.

NicholasTeakozy Sun 13-Jan-13 19:11:23

My opinion is that she was way over the top. She's upset that her friend has been attacked for a throwaway remark about body shape and overreacted. That's a pity, as I like some of her writing. To attack a section of society as she has serves no purpose other than to make her feel better for having 'defended' her friend.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:11:44

Sticks and stones eh?

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 19:12:16

"The thing is, a lot of people hate Burchill anyway because she's a feminist, so this is just another chance to have a go at her."

I don't think she's hated so much for being a feminist, as that people take a dislike to the hateful and inflammatory things she writes.

I don't think she speaks for all feminists, either and actually does feminism a disservice.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 19:13:29

I think the phrase "Brazilian transexual" is a brilliant way of describing a particular look/body shape.

lovelyladuree Sun 13-Jan-13 19:15:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 19:16:32

I don't dislike Burchill because she is a feminist,I dislike her inflammatory and crude style of writing.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:16:55

"She, the other JB and I are part of the minority of women of working-class origin to make it in what used to be called Fleet Street and I think this partly contributes to the stand-off with the trannies. (I know that's a wrong word, but having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as 'Cis' – sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff – they're lucky I'm not calling them shemales. Or shims.) "

" And we are damned if we are going to be accused of being privileged by a bunch of bed-wetters in bad wigs."

"Shims, shemales, whatever you're calling yourselves these days – don't threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you. We may not have as many lovely big swinging Phds as you, but we've experienced a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment and many of us are now staring HRT and the menopause straight in the face – and still not flinching. Trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet. You really won't like us when we're angry."

Replace those words with words used as hate words against other minority groups and there is no way this article would have been published.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 19:17:46

They would argue (I think) that surgery only made their outer match their inner.

Cisgendered is insulting though. Bloody cheek.

Plenty of things aren't "normal" lovelyladuree - doesn't mean we can't accept it. And not all transgender people are "chicks with dicks".

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 19:20:27

I haven't read the twitter stuff but assume that it's mean, rude, shitty, text-speak ridden drivel. Am I right? So Burchill is only trading insult for insult. I like the intemperate way she defended her friend. I like the way she never turns the other cheek. I like her vulgarity. Lobster and champgne in Fredericks indeed. It's so eighties.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:22:15

nkf "So Burchill is only trading insult for insult."

On a whole community in a National paper confused

Would you accept it if Clarkson had a go at women with equivalent language in a National paper?

TheOriginalLadyFT Sun 13-Jan-13 19:30:27

It reads like a piece written in anger, which is never a great idea, and I suspect it won't have done Moore any favours

I don't much like the way she says it, but the article does make some points I have sympathy with

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 19:33:04

I'm not entirely sure who Clarkson is. But I walked past a newspaper stand today and the front page had some hideous headline which used the word "bitches." You don't have to look very hard to find insults either aimed at women or using words associated with women as insults. Some newspapers do precious little else. MN is increasingly full of threads where the word, "cunt" is bandied about. If you want to pick a routinely insulted group of people, women would be top of the list. Sounds like the twitter posters piled on those kind of insults in their response to Suzanne Moore's piece.

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 19:34:21

I worked for Victim Support last year and trust me, hate crime against transgender people is very real, very violent. Who wants to give the haters more fuel? It was ridic - to use a JB term.

Scarlet - that's an interesting point and you sound lovely. Your sister is lucky to have so much support. So many transgender people do not have support from their families - so imagine being hated or jeered at by society.

As a journalist, I also ran a story about a Down's Syndrome little boy who was bullied so badly at college - threatened with a knife - that he gave up his ambitions for college, went to his room and stopped talking. Then one day he decided to do a fundraiser to people in a similar situation. He wanted to help thos who were bullied for being different. Now imagine that a couple of people who happen to have Down's Syndrome make some horrible remarks to a journalist. Then ANOTHER journalist makes vile comments about ALL Down's Syndrome people. Not acceptable, is it? So why should this be?

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:39:22

nkf But two wrongs don't make a right. I totally agree about mysogyny in the media. I can imagine some of the twitter comments.

But that's no excuse to keep perpetuating hate in such an article against another oppressed group, is it?

Thanks Punkatheart. We're a very close, supportive family. It's been so hard for her, I've seen first hand the struggle she goes through, dark depression and self harming, even WITH a supportive family. She was beaten up in a club recently. It's a subject I get quite emotional about.

I didn't even realise there was an "issue" with some feminists and the concept otftransgenderism until relatively recently.

Can I ask someone more knowledgeable - do (some) feminists only have an issue with MtoF transgender people? The idea they can never really understand the "struggle" of being a woman in today's society? Is that what it's about? I'm asking because I don't know. What is the consensus surrounding FtoM transgender people?

"of transgenderism" sorry

kim, I'm unsure if you understand the point she's making? I don't agree with what she's saying or the way she's saying it, but don't you see the irony in ticking her off for using these terms when she is making a point about the labelling of women as 'ciswomen'?

I have found it quite odd how often people simply don't seem to realize that some women find that term offensive. They are told, but they keep on using it regardless.

Now, I know lesbians who want to use terms like 'dyke' or 'queer' to reclaim what used to be insults about them, and I fully support that - and I also know lesbians who find those words hurtful and upsetting and just don't want to hear them. It doesn't seem strange to me that there should be conflicting views about terminology. But it does seem strange that a term like 'ciswoman' is, increasingly, one that doesn't even register with some people as an insult.

You know it's a term some women find insulting (I'm pretty sure), but you're only focussing on the insults to MtoF trans in Burchill's passage.

hackmum Sun 13-Jan-13 19:42:20

nfk: " If you want to pick a routinely insulted group of people, women would be top of the list. "

I so agree with you. If you read the comments on the Guardian site on any typical article about rape or violence against women, or any issue to do with women, the comments are full of hate-filled diatribes against women. If you read many of the male columnists in the nationals, whether tabloid or broadsheet, there are often really nasty generalisations about women. The Mail is filled with women-hating shit. Walk into a newsagents and see all the magazines where semi-naked women are displayed like pieces of meat for the titillation of the passing male - woman-hating is everywhere. Women are just supposed to shrug and put up with it. That's why I think all this "hate crime" response to Burchill is so ridiculous. It's not a nice piece, but it's nothing to the relentless shit women put up with all the time.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:45:36

lrd - some people use "cis" in the same way homosexuals use the word "straight". AFAIK it's not meant to be used as an insult - just a way of differentiating - cisgender / transgender, straight / homosexual.

I'm focussing on the words used by Julie Burchill because they are offensive to the trans community.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 19:50:34

Kim your analogy is interesting, not sure what I think about it

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 19:52:14

It's telling us we don't get the right to define ourselves. We're not allowed to be women. We're 'cis' women. It's incredibly arrogant.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 19:53:19

Kim147 - I am only imagining the Twitter comments but I think the Brazilian transexual comment was very clever. It encomapassed a sort of look that is only achieved by extreme surgery and whose dominance is very damaging. A friend of mine spends a lot of time in Argentina and says that women with regular ageing faces are unusual in some social circles.

Two wrongs not making a right? I don't know about that but from what I've read of Julie Burchill and my familiarity with her journalims, I doubt she gives a hoot. She's more a of a bring in on sort of woman. I like it. I like her rudeness and her in your faceness and her never backing down from a fight hard headedness.

The only thing that dismays me is that Moore's arguments about what privileged men are doing to many women has been lost in this argument about offence to a very small group of people.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:54:01

As far as I'm concerned Narked, you're a women.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 19:54:38

we can define ourselves, it does make sense in the same way "straight" does

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:55:03

"The only thing that dismays me is that Moore's arguments about what privileged men are doing to many women has been lost in this argument about offence to a very small group of people. "

Totally agree - it was a stupid bloody argument. And I got the image of a Brazillian transsexual straightaway when I read it.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 19:55:51

I thought what Moore said was true

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 19:58:07

Cisgendered is insulting though. Bloody cheek

It is when it is part of "cisgendered, privileded arseholes" grin

But cis is the geogaphical opposite of trans, so it is a fairly nutral "opposite". Better geography than the minefield of a biological term.

And we need something. Someway to distiguish between a woman who became a woman via the process of growing up as a girl in a man's world , and a woman who became a woman by a process of fighting for acceptance of her gender and possibly also having a pretty heavey duty pysical transformation via medical intervention plus a rejection of her gender as valid.

Because (IMO) the route to womanhood is going to colour what that womanhood is and means to the person ...being it. And things like natal-woman, born-woman, natural-woman, real woman (and the same with man in place of woman) are obviously going to be hugely loaded terms to the trans community.

I can't get excited about cis-. It's quite tidy actually.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 19:59:41

wink Why thank you.

I'd imagine if I insisted on refering to 'trans women' rather than 'women' it would piss people off.

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 19:59:47

Yep you are a woman, Narked. No one can take that away from you.

Julie B says that she doesn't care but if everyone in society didn't care about saying vile things all the time and encouraging abuse of minorities - the world would be horrible.

Empathy is a dying art in our society - being buried by self-interest, our obsession with celebrity and all things superficial...

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:01:26

narked It would probably piss some people off. Others couldn't give a shit.

But shemale or shimi?

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 20:01:30

Cis is a bloody cheek. There you are. Going about your life. Living as a woman. Being a woman. Engaging with the world as a woman. Trying to avoid all the pitfalls that go with being a woman. Rejecting terms like "slut" and "yummy mummy " because they are someone else's projection. And just because surgery has caught up with people's sense of identity, along comes another bloody label. And we're supposed to identify and align ourselves with the group who thought this one up? Not allowed to shout, "shut the fuck up," like we would to the one who called us, "sluts." I don't think so.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 20:03:35

She used the most provocative/offensive language she could come up with.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:05:10

narked But would that be acceptable if she'd have used the most offensive language she could about another minority group?

And I totally get your point about the regular articles in the media which are mysoginistic. Yes -DM

I think possibly her heart was in the right place, as she is clearly standing up for a close pal.
But, yes, it has clearly been written when she was angry (although I fail to see why Moore got such a battering), and perhaps she should have saved it as a draft, calmed down and considered not submitting it.
The link said that the Editor has responded to the angry comments and will be replying in due course.
I like JB though. Loved Sugar Rush.

kim - I know how some people use 'cis'. I'm just saying (like last time we discussed this), that it is also offensive to some.

That's the point JB was making.

I don't support the way she made it or, really, anything else about her article, but I think you're missing the point if you think an appropriate reply is simply to tell me some people are ignorant of the offense they cause. Of course some people are ignorant. Of course, people disagree over terminology.

But why is it ok to offend women, but not transwomen?

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:08:14

lrd It's not.

Thanks for clarifying, I do appreciate that.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 20:09:44

Having to fight against being judged purely on our bodies and 'femininity', fighting against the idea that girl/woman =passive, painted doll, and then being faced with people who seem to put so much emphasis on the physical and appearance is bloody infuriating.

Lexagon Sun 13-Jan-13 20:10:15

Burchill's article is mild compared to the language I've seen used by some of the more extreme elements of trans 'activists' (albeit largely on blogging sites, which don't seem to attract the more rational of any movement) - things along the lines of "no-one cares about your magical cis vagina", death threats towards radical feminists, cries of transphobia for statements like "men have penises", trigger warnings for menstruation - I'm not saying this is justification, but when I see articles like this being decried as shameful to feminism, I can't help but think people are missing the things which may be provoking attitudes like Burchill's.

deadlift Sun 13-Jan-13 20:10:40

I also find the word cis insulting. It's not really the same as the distinction between gay people using the word straight because I've never heard a straight person say they find that word offensive. Women have said that they find cis offensive so trans people should stop using it. You can't shoot down every person on the internet who uses a term or label you don't like and then decide that you can label other people in a way they don't like hmm.

For me, the issue with 'cis' is that it's othering.

Insofar as it's a geographical term, I'm not keen - women are not bodies of land that someone else gets to mark with terminology they choose.

But the main thing is, if people use 'cis', they are assuming that they have the right to set the terms of the discussion.

MixedClassBaby Sun 13-Jan-13 20:13:14

This is the most interesting thread I've read on here in ages. Some of JB's terminology in her article is unacceptable and can't be helpful to anyone let alone SM. floatYbeatie's summary of the wider picture on P2 is spot on, excellent. Think I should take a look at the feminist board if this is anything to go by...

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 20:13:36

Small group of people? Too small to worry about? Sticks and stones?

People need the facts:

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/20/transgender-remembrance-day

Redbindy Sun 13-Jan-13 20:13:46

Well done Julie. I don't usually agree with her, but this article is spot on.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 20:13:59

It's not pleasant. It is deliberately offensive. Hate speech? I don't know. Is it hate speech to focus crudely on physical attributes in a way intended to hurt? I suppose that depends on the legislation.

punk - who said those things? confused

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:15:49

LRD - what term would you find acceptable then to be used for women, which aren't trans? Just "women" obviously wouldn't work, because that would imply that trans women aren't women.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 20:18:56

Cis is a bloody cheek. There you are. Going about your life. Living as a woman. Being a woman. Engaging with the world as a woman. Trying to avoid all the pitfalls that go with being a woman. Rejecting terms like "slut" and "yummy mummy " because they are someone else's projection

But I think that is why I like cis. "woman" as a lable has evolved to refer to a far borader spectrum of gender than it was invented to describe.

I don't want real issues and realities that refer exclusively to women who arrived at womanhood by a process of growing from baby girl, to girl, to teenage girl, to young woman and so on and so on..hykacked and muddied by people who may think they know what that was like, but don't.

I may go toddlerstyle about the lable "woman" instinctivly, "s'mine! gerrof!" but share we must, cos things have changed. So as an act of protecting (by avoiding dilution) and defining that which is solely the reality of girl-to-woman women, a tidy non-bio lable that ring fences those areas suits me.

Not insisting anybody else has to be as happy with it. But from a pragmatic view I think it could be useful. Like in being able to rename prisons "ciswomen prisons" when a pre op transgendered person with a previous conviction for rape uses the lable "women" to gain access to place packed with potential new victims.

WW - I'm fine with 'woman'. I'm also fine with my name, or with someone qualifying in a more lengthy way.

Btw, not to nitpick, but 'women, which aren't trans' - did you mean 'who'?!

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 20:21:17

We didn't choose it. Generally speaking, people don't respond well to labels placed on them without their consent.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 20:22:56

The term "woman" is fine. It works. It worked for years. For centuries. It still works. It's just a certain group of people want to change it because it bothers them. I guess it makes them feel that they are not real women. So, let another term be found. I am perfectly wiling to call people what they prefer to be called. I understand that terminology changes and that one can get it wrong and in order to avoid offence, one should tread carefulyl. But I do not want to be called a ciswoman. I don't like it and I reject it. Along with many other labels that come my way. Of course people can say what they like among themselves and in their hearts but say it out loud and I will object. Strongly.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:23:44

Sorry, I meant 'who' - English is not my first language, and I keep mixing the two up.

No worries!

MixedClassBaby Sun 13-Jan-13 20:26:18

Cisgender is preferable to 'gender-normative', which has very obvious negative implications for trans women.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:26:27

what about just women for everyone that considers themselves s woman?

why have anything else?

if a "trans" woman feels so strongly that they are a woman, why need "cis" at all?

why have different types of woman?

this is so groundhog day

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:27:47

I still don't understand how such an article packed full of such language got published.

I always wonder that, hully.

mixed - 'gender-normative' would have me spitting feathers.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:29:51

I can't take anymore offense to being referred to as 'cis' than I would to being called 'straight', i.e. none at all. Certainly doesn't make me feel any less like a woman.

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 20:30:14

They have been comments made on this particular discussion. For example:

The only thing that dismays me is that Moore's arguments about what privileged men are doing to many women has been lost in this argument about offence to a very small group of people.

Lexagon Sun 13-Jan-13 20:30:29

'gender-normative' would have me spitting feathers.
Agreed. I think my problem with 'cis', although I can see why it is used, is that it implies non-trans women just lie back and accept the restrictions placed on us as women - that we conform to these gender norms without any resistance. Which is obviously utter bollocks.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 20:31:33

hullygully - I think it's a useful shorthand when talking or writing about the different experiences of women who have been born as girls and women who only transitioned later in life. Outside that context I haven't seen it used.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:31:56

I think we ( women) have spent so many centuries rejecting labelling and damaging language that ANY attempt to attach a new label to us, no matter the reason, will provoke anger and resentment

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 20:32:57

I'm sorry for anyone who has been upset by the language JB used in the article.

She has chosen the most offensive terms she could think of looking to provoke a reaction, but I realise that it's easy to be detached when it isn't targeting me.

She has set out to goad a group of people by using language that may cause considerable distress to a much wider group of people, who weren't even involved in the Twitter thing with SM.

No-one is asking you to take offense, WW.

lex - oh, that's a good point.

I don't like 'gender' in it.

I also think there are issues with relying on 'shorthand'. Why do we need 'shorthand'? Isn't there space to have a proper, lengthy debate? The idea that we need these words because we need to glide over boring issues like sex and gender seems really bizarre to me.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:34:39

I think those with the issue and the desire to differentiate, should be the ones to bear the label. how can it be right that they get to be called women and we get ciswoman??? nuts

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 20:36:57

Here is a gentle, wise and optimistic viewpoint from Juliet Jacques ‏(@julietjacques)

'This Burchill farrago will lead to measured, co-ordinated long-term action by people who carry a kinder, fairer world in their hearts.'

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 20:39:14

Cis just means the opposite of trans. It comes from Latin meaning on the same side as or on the same side of. Trans comes from Latin meaning across. I don't see what is insulting about these labels. I think the "transgender community" (I realise these terms are problematic) use these terms to help differentiate between transgender, intersex and cisgender people.

Crikey. That is an immensely optimistic view.

I am worried it will lead to more shite and silencing of radical feminism (which is especially shite as I don't think Burchill is - or claims to be? - a rad fem anyway).

SigmundFraude Sun 13-Jan-13 20:39:51

I didn't have a problem with cis, mainly due to the fact that I didn't know what it meant. Thanks to this rather interesting thread, now I do.

I'm finding it difficult to get wound up about it really, it's just a distinction surely?

Julie Burchill a feminist? I didn't know that either. I have her rather fab autobiography, but now I know she's big mates with that Bindel woman, I'm going to have to work on disliking her. Well, for that reason and also because she wrote that monumentally bigoted article. Cheers Julie.

blue - it's insulting because it is a label applied to 'other' a category of people formerly known as 'women'.

There is a long history of 'othering' women. Women through history have had language and culture put them second and see them as imperfect or monstrous in comparison to men.

The fact it's a (very obscure) Latin word doesn't make a blind bit of difference.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:41:33

if we have trans, why do we need cis?

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:42:11

I'm trans - as you might have guessed. This is just one of many articles attacking and ridiculing transsexuals. Just before Christmas, Richard Littlejohn wrote a hate filled article full of ignorance about transsexual teachers - which is what I am. The DM is full of articles about transsexuals - they seem to approve if you pass really well but ridicule you if you don't.

I totally understand about discrimination now and how the world sees people who are different to the "norm". My life has not been particularly easy and I still feel potential employees can't see past the trans part of me.

So reading this article in a paper that I usually like and believe in has really upset me. It's the kind of bile you would expect from the DM.

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 20:42:25

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/13/julie-birchill-bullying-trans-community Not sure if this has been linked to already but interesting...

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 20:43:06

if a "trans" woman feels so strongly that they are a woman, why need "cis" at all?

Because just like there are disinct and exclusive issues connected to being a transwoman there are distinct and exclusive issues connected to being a girl-to-woman woman (how untidy a lable is that!).

Womanhood has always meant different things to different women, but I can't relate at all with a womanhood that didn't include the whole plethora of conditining, exposure and processes (biological, social, anything else you like) that are inseperable from the process of being born a girl, growing up as a girl into a woman.

I'm not comfortable with "real" woman, for obvious reasons, so cis is an easy shorthand.

I am not wedded to it. I don't like how it has so very often tied to a string of insults during it's rise in popularity, I don't like that it was foistered by others rather than self chosen and am happy to switch if something better comes along that girl-to-women women (oh again! untidy!!) have picked for themselves.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:43:39

heterosexual and homosexual

trans woman and woman

why do we need cis?

It is a shitty article designed to upset, kim. It's crap you have to see it.

I can't pretend to know what it feels like - because I can't 'totally understand about discrimination', and neither (with all due respec) do I believe you can. But I can sympathize. Even if I disagree with some things you say, I totally agree that that article was completely out of line and hate-filled. And that it is not by any means the only one.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:48:32

yep there are loads of wankers in the world Kim, but luckily there ate lots of nice people too, the wankers will get theirs one day, ignore the fuckers

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 20:49:38

Cis is applied to males and females.... cismale and cisfemale, wherever applicable. My point about it being Latin was to demonstrate that it is a word in it's own right, not something made up to sound like cyst as implied by JB.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 20:50:00

I think we ( women) have spent so many centuries rejecting labelling and damaging language that ANY attempt to attach a new label to us, no matter the reason, will provoke anger and resentment

Agreed. The impostition of cis from another group, without so much as a by your leave, doesn't help the prefix being embraced as a suitable candidate.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Jan-13 20:51:11

I would not be and am not comfortable with being labelled a "ciswoman" that is not what I am. I am a woman.

The article was of course completely out of line, very deliberately so.

emskaboo Sun 13-Jan-13 20:51:32

I have picked something for myself, I am a woman, not cis, not girl to woman, not natural not real just woman.

I don't want or need another label to be applied to me by people who
are not me.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:51:47

we have "woman" to cover the girl to woman experience, loqace

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 20:53:21

I'll admit I've only seen cismale/female actually used in academic writing about transgender theory, just as a differentiator.

I would imagine there's something to the idea that a transwoman/transman is just as much woman as a cisfemale/male so either they both get to be labelled just woman/man or neither does. I'm not sure I agree with that line of thinking personally but it is out there.

PolterGoose Sun 13-Jan-13 20:54:02

Wouldn't it be a lovely world of we didn't have to label at all?

If we could just be people?

Where our biological sex would only be relevant for breeding?

If our physiological attributes, including sexual organs, skin colour and other differences didn't get categorised and labelled, where they just are what they are?

Where we could judge people on their contribution to society, not on how they look naked?

Without the divisions in society, in a world where we don't attribute the social constructs of race and gender, maybe people could just be.

I just wonder if a lot more people could be a lot more happy if we didn't have to categorise everything.

And, I think this is where the trans community make it really hard for many feminists, because focusing on sexual organs as being fundamental to our being, perpetuating the idea that our sex and gender are inextricably linked, is damaging to women.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 20:58:27

as far as I am concerned anyone that feels themselves to be a woman may self describe thus, bit they can fuck off with giving me a different descriptor!

Punkatheart Sun 13-Jan-13 20:58:34

I am sorry you have been hurt Kim147. Would it be appropriate to send you a hug?

Good post too Polter, Sad that things how to come down to sexual organs and sexuality. I look at people - I listen to people. I don't inspect their bits.

Surely doggies do that and even they don't judge and call one another names...

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 20:59:55

All ciswoman means is a woman who was born female, it's a word and that's what it means. It's like being born to French parents and being brought up and living in France and saying 'I'm not French'. You can chose not to use any label of course but it will still mean what it means and will still apply to those it applies too.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 21:01:16

what is a woman then?

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 21:01:23

Hullyully: And the world would be vastly improved if everyone thought the same way as you, but they do not. Hopefully in time trans and cis can both be dropped.

This has been a really interesting thread to read...

I think my earlier question may have been missed but I'd really appreciate it if someone could maybe take the time to answer.

My sister has GD and is undergoing hormone treatment (she has been "living as a woman" for around 5 years and is 25), and it was only relatively recently that I found out about the issue with transgenderism and feminism.

Is it just MtoF people who certain feminist take issue with? If someone could explain to me the theory behind any issues it would help me understand, even if I don't agree. Thanks.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 21:03:32

All woman means is a woman who was born female. Or at least that's what it means to many people, me included.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:04:04

scarlett There's been a few threads on FWR which have covered that area. Maybe a good place to post your question - you'll get a lot of different responses smile

Ok, thanks Kim x

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 21:09:07

I too find it hard to see why 'ciswoman' is offensive. It's just a convenient term that means 'woman who isn't trans'. It's logical too, because in latin 'cis' is the opposite of 'trans'.

Being a ciswoman doesn't make you not a woman! No more than being labelled heterosexual woman, or a white woman, would stop you being a woman.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 13-Jan-13 21:10:12

This is my problem with 'cis'. It is a Latin prefix that means 'on the same side'. The logic is that you are cis if your biological sex and gender identity match. As a feminist, I do not believe that you have an innate gender identity - a bit of your brain that tells you you are a woman and need to behave like one; I believe that gender is a social construction.

Cis does NOT just mean 'not trans'. It is more problematic than that. You are welcome to call me a non-trans woman, but I do not self-identify as cis and object to having it imposed upon me.

PolterGoose Sun 13-Jan-13 21:11:27

But why is it the biologically female that always have to be defined as 'other'? We are already defined as 'not men' and now it is suggested we are defined as 'not trans' confused

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 21:12:17

we have "woman" to cover the girl to woman experience, loqace

Yes. But it also includes the experience of being born a boy, growing up as a boy, being a young man, even a middle aged and then transitioning into a woman. That leaves some fundmental aspects of MY womanhood (like the whole journey getting there from girl babyhood, which is fundamental to my meaning of my womanhood) ...diluted for want of a better word. Or muddied, as if these two processes were to all intents andurposes interchangable and lead to a destination that was almost indistinquisable.

Why do the transgendered use trans- as a preffix ? Becuase they wish to define and discuss the distinct and specific apsects of their arrival to womanhood in neat shorthand cos the general umbralla of woman doesn't cut the mustard given that it includes a whole slew of experiences that are not part of the trans vision/experience of womanhood.

Well that's what I want to do to. "woman" has become so broad that it doesn't cut the mustard UNLESS trans-women are required to always use the prefix and women sans prefix is the sole property of girl-to-women women.

Which would go down like a lead balloon attached to a nuclear warhead.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 21:18:34

Ciswoman doesn't describe me. It doesn't gel with my sense of myself. I feel the addition of a new phrase involves a taking away, just like I'd rather be a mummy than a yummy mummy. And surely, if I an reject lables then so can I.

Personally, I don't see what's so bad about shemale. It seems quite logical to me because the word itself seems to carry within it the duality of the experience of being born into one sex and transitioning into another. I don't use the word (a bit pornish to my ears) and if someone told me it was widely regarded as deeply offensive I would believe them and take their objection seriously. For no other reason that it's good manners to refer to people in the way they choose to be referred to. And I find ciswoman offensive and would like to receive the same courtesy in return. If my gender is going to be referrred to, I am a woman.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 21:19:39

'The logic is that you are cis if your biological sex and gender identity match. As a feminist, I do not believe that you have an innate gender identity - a bit of your brain that tells you you are a woman and need to behave like one; I believe that gender is a social construction.'

^ This.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 21:20:12

what?? you want to use cis in case people think you are trans?????

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:22:30

nkf It's offensive.

And I understand your concerns about "cis" - it's not a word I use.

I hate labels. I just want to be me and to find my place in the world.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 21:23:53

and now it is suggested we are defined as 'not trans'

That's not what cis means is it?

"Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis-, meaning "to/this the near side," which is antonymous with the Latin-derived prefix trans-. "

To me that sounds like a distinct antonym to trans, as in transatlantic, cisatlantic (unless I just made up cisatlatic, does it actually exist?).

blue, forgive me, but it is not like 'Frenchwoman'.

'ciswoman' is a relatively newly created term, based on a pretty obscure Latin word. You can make up whatever terms you like, base them in Latin or Greek if you like, but you are describing something you're claiming to have some kind of meaning. It is not fair to insist that all women label themselves with a meaning you create.

To suggest that words have inherent and unproblematic meaning is extremely simplistic. Far more simplistic, in my humble view, than suggesting that sex have an inherent and unproblematic link with which kind of human genitals you're born with.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:25:15

" It is not fair to insist that all women label themselves with a meaning you create."

Who's insisting?

blue.

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 21:25:52

"Is it just MtoF people who certain feminist take issue with? If someone could explain to me the theory behind any issues it would help me understand, even if I don't agree. Thanks."

I'll give it a go Scarlett, though others on here are more expert than me.

1. Some feminists would argue: Men have male privilege. It is vital to have woman only spaces where women can discuss sexism, female issues, and organise a political movement. Transwoman want access to these spaces, but some feminists see transwomen as people with a lot of male privilege (or in some cases, see transwomen as 'men in disguise') so these feminist want to stop transwoman accessing the spaces. The issue raises strong feelings on both sides, and becomes particularly problematic with things like rape and domestic violence support groups: ciswomen who are struggling with such trauma may feel less safe in a place with people who used to be male, or who are not fully transitioned yet; transwomen are sadly very frequently victims of rape and sexual assault, so need access to support facilities.

2. Some feminists think that there is no or very little biological difference in behavior, interests, and aptitudes between men and women, and that gender (girls like barbies, women are caring, men are stoic, boys like guns) is purely a result of social conditioning. In this worldview, it is very difficult to see how "gender identity" fits in: how can someone with a man's body know that they are a woman? Some transwomen say that they know they are a woman because they always liked barbies and other girls toys as a kid, or they feel more comfortable having a female role in the world: the feminists will say that liking barbies and wanting a female role doesn't make you a woman, just a man who likes barbies, and that in fact it is insulting to suggest that liking barbies and so on constitutes the definition of what women are.

The whole issue is really complex, but i think that covers the basic ideas.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 21:26:13

If you view gender as a social construct it makes no sense.

She's saying the word means what it means, whether people use it or not.

I do find that pretty offensive. I don't see how it's not saying, 'you don't like the meaning I made up? Tough, we're using it for you anyway'.

I don't find it coincidental, btw, that 'trans' is a prefix that most of us can work out the meaning of without much Latin, from common words like 'trans-pennine' or 'transport'. 'cis'? Not so much. It's othering.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 21:28:50

cis is used purely in relation to trans

it is not an ordinary old word commonly used to mean "born woman"

that is disingenuous

Exactly, hully, I agree.

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 21:30:48

"But why is it the biologically female that always have to be defined as 'other'? We are already defined as 'not men' and now it is suggested we are defined as 'not trans'."

What? I don't see how simply having a word for a group of people makes them 'other'. It's useful to have words for things, cis is a word that just makes conversations about trans issues a bit less confusing. Unless you think the word straight makes straight people 'other', why would cisgendered make cisgendered people 'other'?

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 21:32:48

Kim, I know the word shemale is offensive. I was responding to the argument that cis is logical because it's Latin or something. I was showing that I can make a case for the "logicality" of shemale. Logicality doesn't reduce the offence.

The offence lies in one group of people deciding what another group of people should be called. I get the impression that you and I would agree on that.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 21:33:00

What?? you want to use cis in case people think you are trans?????

No. As a descrition of womanhood that occurred via growing up as a girl into a woman which I believe is completely distinct from womanhood that occured growing up outwardly as a boy and via interventions of various sorts ..becoming a woman.

I think we need SOMETHING to distinguish, legally if needs be, between the two if "woman" has become a far broader term than it used to be and we are faced with situations such as a pre op rapist tran-woman demanding her human right to be serve her prison sentence in a correctional facility for women.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 21:33:46

but we dont need it when we have trans

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 21:35:46

"This is my problem with 'cis'. It is a Latin prefix that means 'on the same side'. The logic is that you are cis if your biological sex and gender identity match. As a feminist, I do not believe that you have an innate gender identity - a bit of your brain that tells you you are a woman and need to behave like one; I believe that gender is a social construction.

Cis does NOT just mean 'not trans'. It is more problematic than that. You are welcome to call me a non-trans woman, but I do not self-identify as cis and object to having it imposed upon me."

That's fair enough Turnip, I agree that using another group's word sometimes implicitly ties you into accepting their political view of the issue. I can agree with people who don't want to identify themselves that way. But I don't really see how people get from there, to saying it's a hurtful and offensive word.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 13-Jan-13 21:35:49

Transfolk are welcome to use a word that others me when talking about me amongst themselves. Why should they always be other? However, I think I have a right to 1. object if it is inaccurate and 2. not have to use it of myself.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:40:04

" not have to use it of myself. "

I'm sure you don't have to if you don't want to. smile

TBH, I don't really have time for trans activism - some of it is so intense and forgets the views of women - especially the rad fem conference which had to be rearranged.

I just want to be happy and to fit in to society. The path I've taken and the treatment I've received have helped me overcome something which has impacted on my life for more years than I can bear to think off. I only wish I'd done it 20 years ago. But times and my knowledge were different then.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 21:40:37

Trans is a well recognised prefix in the English language. Cis needs explaining. Look which group has the weird, needs explaining termoinology applied to them. Funny that. In my earlier much more feminist days, I'd have called it a conspiracy.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:43:23

nkf - You mean you didn't do A-level Chemistry smile

TunipTheVegedude Sun 13-Jan-13 21:46:47

Kim - I think you don't get much choice about using 'cis' in certain contexts if you don't want to be accused of transphobia. Plus if you're attempting to have a conversation with quite a lot of transactivists, if you described yourself as 'not trans' they would immediately notice and say 'Do you deny your cis-privilege?' It would be taken as a signal that you don't buy into their world view, which would immediately single you out.

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 21:48:14

"Trans is a well recognised prefix in the English language. Cis needs explaining. Look which group has the weird, needs explaining termoinology applied to them. Funny that. In my earlier much more feminist days, I'd have called it a conspiracy."

Interesting idea, I hadn't thought about that. In your view, are cismen being othered too by that term?

I think I have a high tolerance for weird, needs explaining terminology, being pansexual*.

*I also find casseroles attractive. wink

I find 'cis' hurtful and offensive because it is a term applied to me, without me wanting it applied, in a way that is othering and that talks about me in terms of an ideology I don't believe in.

'That's just what it means' is an argument that can only be advanced by groups of people who are very used to the idea that language - and the world it describes - is unproblematic. People who've never found that language doesn't describe them properly, or that language has historical and cultural baggage that makes them feel shit.

I find it really bizarre that some transactivists don't understand this. I find it hard to believe that anyone who had had the experience of feeling as transpeople must feel, could also have this attitude towards language.

Surely every time someone says 'she' when referring to a person who believes their gender identity is male, that person is finding out that language can encode an ideology that is hostile to them. How is this different?

MMM - it's possible cismen are being othered. Not really thought about it. But, men don't have a long history of being othered - that's the point.

I wouldn't give a fuck about othering terminology being applied to white people (I am white). It's often done in thought-experiments to highlight how prejudice works. I do care about othering terminology applied to women.

That's the difference.

Am a woman and was born one, my friend who had GRS in Brazil is now one as well.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 21:55:45

Turnip, you are engaged in some very - ahem - interesting discussions. A cis-privilege denier. I just googled it.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 21:57:59

aren't human beings astonishing? cis privilege denier

fabulous

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:58:54

Just got to say we've got to 200 posts and no deletes yet smile That's a first.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 21:59:39

I suppose you could say there are "male privilege deniers" out there. Who don't even know it

TunipTheVegedude Sun 13-Jan-13 22:00:14

smile Kim

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:00:21

One of the sites I looked at had 30 examples of cis privilege and the odd thing was that some of them were just not true for women. There was one that about having people doubting your ability to do your job because of your gender. And one about being able to use communal changing rooms without anxiety. It just seemed deluded about what it means to be a woman. I can't speak for men.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:01:16

Or straight privilege deniers.
White privilege deniers
Insert your own adjective privilege deniers.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 13-Jan-13 22:02:08

Nkf - exactly.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:03:50

nkf But you agree with lists of male privilege - all true are they?

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:04:55

Take this one.

9.You have the ability to flirt, engage in courtship, or form a relationship and not fear that your biological status may be cause for rejection or attack, nor will it cause your partner to question their sexual orientation.

Not bioloigcal status but but I do think that gay men can have real fears negotiating this territory. And gay men have been beaten up because someone thinks they are being approached.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:06:23

I'm not sure I would agree with a list of male privileges. I envy them thier ability to pee standing up.

nkf - yes, I've noticed that too. A mate of mine is very into discussing his 'cis privilege' and said that one of the ways cis privilege works is that you don't feel scared of being beaten up by people who think you're gay. He said this in front of a group including a lesbian couple. You could have heard a pin drop.

Mind you, all that proves is that some people are idiots.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:07:23

nkf You realise men discuss lists of male privilege in the same way you are. It's a bit ironic.

Women can't pee standing up?! shock

Now you tell me.

kim - I don't see the irony?

Do you think men and women are equally privileged?

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Sun 13-Jan-13 22:10:09

for those wanting the scientific reason for the terminology

I wouldn't think there would be any privilege to growing up in any gender with expectations that completely went against your natural instincts.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:10:55

I'm lost now. When people talk about cis privilege they are being ironic? Because they know there is no such thing?

bin:

1) How is that 'scientific', please?

2) How is it a 'reason' rather than an explanation?

3) How does it relate to the discussion we've already had?

Thanks. smile

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:11:21

lrd No the irony is someone is criticising a list of cis -privilege for not being accurate.

But I'm sure some men would challenge a list of male privilege for not being a true reflection of how men think and are perceived.

Lists of privilege are complicated.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:13:03

nkf I'm pointing out that you don't agree with the list of cis privileges. You may agree with some of the things, others you may not.

I'm sure some men would agree with some of the things on a list of male privilege, and some things they would not agree with.

That's the irony.

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 22:14:02

I've been feeling for a while that the whole concept of privilege, whilst really useful as a sort of rough outline, brings a lot of problems. If it's just meaning "you very likely have some advantages from ----ism, please put yourself in our shoes, listen to us and think about what it must be like to live our lives" then it's great. But when you start to see the world in great dividing lines of privilege (which I admit has happened to me when I've spent a lot of time reading social justice stuff), it sort of cuts down your empathy for anyone who falls into a privileged group. It tends to ruin discussion, because it's easier to accuse someone of privilege than to actually refute their point or explain your opinion, and then the privileged person gets annoyed. And it leads to a total breakdown of communication and a lot of anger when two groups, who both suffer a lot, end up not working to solve problems but just arguing over who is more privileged - transwomen vs non-trans women, or twenty years ago lesbians vs bisexual women.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:14:05

nkf Is there such a thing as "not being trans" privilege?

I do find the 'scientific' aspect interesting.

Back in the day, men (and it was pretty much all men) started a vogue for using Latin neologisms in order to describe important ideologies and, also, to name animals. This use of Latin is heavily involved in patriarchial (and white, and Western) ideas about how 'knowledge' and 'truth' are achieved. Basically, men who can name an animal with a fancy made-up Latin name, get to call themselves clever and scientific. And they get to use this code to show who else has had the same upbringing as them, because only those people will understand.

Slapping an obscure Latin neologism onto women does not automatically a scientific hypothesis make. Nor does it mean that word gets to carry more weight than any other word we might choose to use.

I'm really uncomfortable with people bringing 'science' into a discussion about naming women. It sounds far too much as if we're some kind of foreign animal to me, and I'm creeped out by that.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 13-Jan-13 22:15:25

There is no scientific reason for the terminology.

Trans and cis are terms used in Science, but that's not the same thing at all.

Darkesteyes Sun 13-Jan-13 22:15:42

NarkedSun 13-Jan-13 20:09:44

Having to fight against being judged purely on our bodies and 'femininity', fighting against the idea that girl/woman =passive, painted doll, and then being faced with people who seem to put so much emphasis on the physical and appearance is bloody infuriating.

There is some bloody good examples of this on the fat bashing threads that have sprung up on here in the last few days.
Ive seen comments saying how women get all the way up to "shock,horror" a size 12 despite struggling in the gym.
When i see comments like this on a site which is frequented predominantly by women it makes you realise how ingrained this culture is now.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:16:03

*MMMarmite" - I agree.

We're all complicated and have had a lot of stuff going on in our lives which have shaped us. I've had advantages in my life and some real issues in my life which have made me who I am.

kim - still don't follow how there is irony? confused

Some men deny that they have some aspects of male privilege. Sometimes they are correct, often not.

Some women deny they have cis privilege. It does not therefore follow that cis privilege is a real thing, or equivalent to male privilege. There is therefore no irony.

Note, I'm not throwing out the idea that cis privilege may exist, but you can't assume it does just because such a thing as male privilege exists.

MMM - I agree 'privilege' as a term can bring as many problems as it solves.

IMO it's best as used as a negative concept - as in, my privilege reminds me I do not know what this person is experiencing, so my conclusions are limited. Not, 'I am un-privileged therefore I know everything there is to know about prejudice' - because that leads into a sort of competitive-misery-olympics, doesn't it?

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:20:04

I wouldn't draw up a list of privileges though.

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 22:22:11

I'm not insisting anyone use it at all, I'm just saying it means a woman who was born female/is biologically. To me 'woman' does not and should not mean biologically female. To me transwomen are women (and transmen are men). Maybe that's the difference. I think cisfemale/male has a role to play as I don't believe only those born biologically female should be called women but there are those around who do.

I don't think cis is based on an innate sense of gender, it's to do with biology, not that that isn't complicated anyway!

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Sun 13-Jan-13 22:23:23

1) How is that 'scientific', please?
It is a terminology linked to the scientific description of Cis-trans isomerism. So the terminology was matched to a scientific process. Was everyone aware of the beginnings of the terminology.

2) How is it a 'reason' rather than an explanation?
I was linking the reason why the terminology is used at all. As no one in the debate, as far as I could see had actually explained why the terminology was used at all, and how it had evolved. Merely their own interpretation of what it meant, as they are entitled to do.

3) How does it relate to the discussion we've already had?
Some posters up thread had mentioned that they had never come across the terminology, and we're unsure of the meaning.

On an open thread, I am also entitled to take the direction of the discussion in any direction I would like, aren't I? smile
Thanks.
No, thank you.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:23:46

Funny story - I think so anyway. I once met an old Etonian who told me that it was difficult having beento that school. The reason being that when people heard where he'd been to school, they made all sorts of assumptions about him. In his opinion, he wasn't privileged; he was a victim of prejudice.

But blue, who gets to say it 'means' that? To you, maybe it means that. To me, it's a rude word.

To use the example from up thread - I wouldn't go around saying 'but, the word 'shemale' just means a tranny, innit', because that would be rude.

Darkesteyes Sun 13-Jan-13 22:25:26

Empathy is a dying art in our society - being buried by self-interest, our obsession with celebrity and all things superficial...

Spot on Punk. I totally agree. <wonders if that could fit on a coffee mug>

Kim im sorry to hear that youve been upset by JBs article. You sound kind compassionate and determined. Exactly the kind of person i would want teaching my DN (or my DC if i had any) .

Lexagon Sun 13-Jan-13 22:25:51

I find it a bit difficult to believe in the concept of cis-privilege when women are murdered daily for being women.

bin, using a term in a scientific context does not make the concept or the term 'scientific'.

Naturally you're entitled to take the direction in any discussion - but I did wonder why you were posting something that people had already discussed and wasn't sure if you'd not perhaps missed the explanations already offered?

I couldn't tell if you agreed or disagreed.

nfk - 'victim of prejudice'? confused

Crikey.

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:27:25

I googled where it came from. My reading of it would be that it's a scientific term that is used because of the idea of alignment. It's been taken from one discourse and applied to another. . It's a label. I thnk the point about Latin and the world of men and knowledge is interesting. I hadn't thought of that before.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:28:35

lexagon And so are transsexuals. sad

It's a crap world.

On that, we can all agree. sad

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:33:07

I'm sure I've heard that the group of people most likely to be killed are young men. Killed by other young men.

inde Sun 13-Jan-13 22:35:57

I see those on the far right are loving this blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100197903/feminists-versus-transexuals-julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-and-the-observer-spark-civil-war-on-the-left/

I hope that Birchill is proud of herself. Not that she will worry. Just like Richard Littlejohn she gets paid for writing her hateful nonsense so she will be laughing all the way to the bank.

I've heard that too. It's horrible.

I never know how to say this ... but there's also the question of who the violence is coming from, isn't there? Women do not, so far as I know, do a huge amount of violence against other women (I know it happens, I'm just talking amounts).

I think there is a form of privilege that comes of being male, and straight, and white, and thinking that anything that tries to usurp your space is a threat and you get to respond with violence. It's really, really twisted. But I would be it is the same root cause behind violence against women and against transsexuals and against all sorts of other groups.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Sun 13-Jan-13 22:36:58

As far as I could see, no one had posted the actual origins of the description. And several people earlier in the thread had no idea of the origins.

It was merely an explanation of the terminology derived by comparison of a scientific process.

I neither agree, nor disagree with the terminology. I would comfortably describe friends as gay or straight. I have very little exposure to the world of gender dysphoria, but I would assume that there must be terminology to decipher people in conversation.

I'm sure that the description cis men would apply equally too in comparative circles.

To me, I am comfortable in my gender and skin. I enjoy the way my body feels, I enjoy my "feminity, and I enjoy being a woman. It doesn't mean I am happy with some people's perception of me, however, or any constraints that people decide to apply for those reasons.

Fair enough. I was just asking questions as I didnt get where you were coming from.

I don't think the scientific analogy explains the terminology particularly well, personally, but I agree it's always useful to know another contributing factor.

Btw - people had posted the origins. It's a Latin word. As a word it predates the usage you're talking about by a couple of millenia.

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 22:39:14

What about cisfemale/male insults you, LRD? I'm not being deliberately dense, I promise. I just don't see what is insulting about being called a biological female who identifies as being female (or a biological male who identifies as male). That is a social norm. Some people use shemale as an insult as being a biological male who identifies as female (and vice versa) is seen (sadly) as being 'abnormal' or outside the expected and it is this deviation from the norm that is being highlighted an remarked upon.
I've never seen cismale/female even used outside academia (and the articles in the last few days) let alone used as an insult but I'm happy to look at any examples.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Sun 13-Jan-13 22:40:08

I am also using broadband that would be over taken by a snail this evening LRD!

So I am a good 10 posts back - just to confuse things!

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 22:40:55

I'm sure I've heard that the group of people most likely to be killed are young men. Killed by other young men.

That's what I read too.

blue - I'm sorry, I'm struggling how to explain it any better. What is it about the posts I've made that you don't get, or you disagree with?

If you were to quote me, I could see where it's coming from (I know sometimes it's seen as rude but please feel free, it's such a long thread, it would probably make life easier).

bin - ah, right! I'm so sorry. I think I'd misread you because it was out of sync. My fault for not realizing that was what was going on.

Btw - I'm not insulted by being called a biological female. I'm insulted by being called a ciswoman.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:43:24

Are they killed for being men though?

Some people are attacked because of "what" they are, not who they are.

Isn't that the point, kim?

Violence is destructive. It is gendered, but that doesn't mean men escape suffering the effects of it. So that shows how stupid and crap it is, in the end.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 22:49:24

let alone used as an insult but I'm happy to look at any examples

This a not so old (marhc 2012) post about "Die CisGendered Scum"

feministguy.tumblr.com/post/19595989809/for-some-reason

nkf Sun 13-Jan-13 22:49:35

Kim, I don't know why they are killed. But (very old school feminist alert) I think the way that masculinity is constructed within our patriarchal system has a part to play in the way violence becomes part of young men's behaviour.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:53:56

nkf I've only been involved in 1 fight - well not really a fight - for being different. I was involved in many years of bullying at boarding school for being different.

Some males can be really horrible. Well some people can really.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 22:58:43

Some people are attacked because of "what" they are, not who they are.

You mean like "one of the other gang"?

I think the rise (well it looks like a rise to me) in male on male violence is becuase of associations with a rival group (be it a gang or football team or whatever) which I think has to be connected to a certain degree of dehumanisation.

As in they are not killing "somebody" they are killing "Tottenham scum" .(a what, not a who).

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:01:22

Which sort of brings us back to the OP and dehumanisation of people through language and lumping individuals into a group to be ridiculed.

I think that is at the heart of it all.

TiggyD Sun 13-Jan-13 23:05:01

I think she well and truly went too far. I wonder if what she said was legal?

If we ever met at a party and for some reason she tried to snog me I would push her away and say "No Burchill! A mouth that can say such things as it did in that article the other day (with help from it's evil hench-fingers) will never rub up against mine."

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 23:09:38

Loquace: This article linked to in your link is interesting. I don't think he is actually using 'cis' as an insult but a descriptor. He wants cisgendered people who treat transgendered people badly to die. I don't agree with him, of course, anarchists are usually over the top.

^it's insulting because it is a label applied to 'other' a category of people formerly known as 'women'.

There is a long history of 'othering' women. Women through history have had language and culture put them second and see them as imperfect or monstrous in comparison to men.

I find 'cis' hurtful and offensive because it is a term applied to me, without me wanting it applied, in a way that is othering and that talks about me in terms of an ideology I don't believe in.

I do care about othering terminology applied to women.^

I don't believe cisfemale is a term used to other women, or if it is then it is used just as much to other men (cismale) and ipso facto cannot be othering women if men are also othered. There are many ways in which women are 'othered' I'm not denying that, I just don't think this is one. You could argued that cis is used to other people 'who do not identify with a gender diverse experience' from those who do.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 23:12:50

Don't get me started on 'cis privilege.' Women have the 'privilege' of being less likely to be born because of their sex. Baby girls are aborted. There are 1000s of 'missing' girls all over the world, including the UK.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:16:45

narked As awful as that is - that's got nothing to do with "cis privilege".

That's discrimination and male privilege - the privilege not to be aborted because of your sex.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 23:17:38
kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:18:50

narked Yes - I know the statistics. I've started threads on FWR about them.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 23:20:42

It has everything to do with 'cis privilege.' Is is about ignoring anything that is inconvenient to the argument that being born a woman is so much easier than what trans women have to go through. Even when being a female foetus actually makes it less likely that you will be born.

blue - ok, but I do believe 'cis' is a term used to other women. I accept you don't. But here's what I'm getting at:

Men are typically seen as default in our world. You can see this in our language - 'he' is the default pronoun. 'mankind' is the term used to refer to 'all humans'. People used to think that women were, biologically, defective men - men with wombs that caused them to be irrational. In Judeo-Christian culture, it goes right back to the story of Eve.

This history of seeing men as 'normal' and women as defective versions, is what people mean when they talk about 'othering'. So, 'cisman' doesn't have the same valency as 'ciswoman', and I will leave it to others to discuss what they think of 'cisman' as a term.

'Ciswoman', however, does other women. It adds a word, which is not easy to understand, and which has connotations many women don't agree with, and it makes that label part of what it is to be a 'woman'.

The word 'women' as been qualified: it's no longer a term that I can use without anyone objecting. I'm being expected to qualify how I used it to describe myself, rather the way that a woman who wanted to work at man's profession in the past would be expected to adopt a qualified version of her job title. She'd be an 'actress' or a 'lady doctor' - the implication being that the male version was default. In the same way, 'ciswoman' implies that I am some kind of qualified version of 'woman', something other than a 'woman' that needs this extra prefix.

And the prefix carries some pretty horrible connotations. It's not even a neutral term.

Btw - it's not that don't 'identify with a gender diverse experience', precisely: that still assumes (if I understand you rightly), that I might identify with a non 'diverse' gender experience. But I don't. I am just a woman.

kim - forgive me if this comparison is badly thought-out, or you don't like it (I'm trying to sort out my thoughts): would a woman who has surgery after surgery on her face and body in order to try to feel ok about herself, have 'cis privilege'? What I'm wanting to work out is, is cis privilege something I can imagine what it's like to have? I can't imagine it by analogy to male privilege because I've never had that.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 23:28:40

He wants cisgendered people who treat transgendered people badly to die

It might help if he said that, rather than "dis cisgendered scum" which comes off a little more....generally homocidal. I mean "kill transexual scum who murder people" is a lot different tfrom "kill transexual scum"....isn't it ?

I've more often seen cisgendered used with a somewhat sneery tone than a direct insult. And even more often than that used as a tidy shorthand when there is a comparison going on.

Although I recently read something that said the cisgendered are the opressors and the oppressors don't like the oppressed creating lables for them cos they see it as their cis priviledge to lable and "other" the opressed....and more stuff that sounded like I was being called an opressor..........but not sure cos my brain exploded part way through the post due to relentless repetition and I retreated to the relative saftey of chocolate, trashy TV and a conversation with my dog.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 23:32:17

It has everything to do with 'cis privilege.' Is is about ignoring anything that is inconvenient to the argument that being born a woman is so much easier than what trans women have to go through. Even when being a female foetus actually makes it less likely that you will be born.

I'm with Narked on this. You can't cherry pick depending on what suits an argument and dump the rest (espeically given that we are talking about actually making it out the womb) as irrelvant.

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 23:32:22

LRD: I accept your overall point about (wo)man and (fe)male etc. If the only terms used were 'cisperson' or just 'cisgendered' would you feel the same way? Similar to transgender rather than transwoman.

I'm only arguing hypothetically here, although I do believe what I'm saying is true, as I am a biological female who identifies as being female but transgendered people clearly feel othered by society in general (you have to be a transwoman/man you can't be a woman/man) so perhaps this labelling backlash is understandable and as transgendered people become accepted (I fear this will take a long time) then we will all be happy to call people whatever gender they call themselves. As if it's any of our business anyway.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:33:27

As far as I'm concerned, it's about how people treat you based on "what you are" compared to who you are.

I've had male privilege (but looking at some of the lists I've seen, I would totally dispute a lot of that as it does not apply to how I see myself) and I've had the disadvantage of being trans. Because people see me as trans and I have barriers to get through that non trans people don't have.

Of course non- trans people have barriers as well - gender discrimination is alive and well even before birth. If someone passes really well, then I would imagine they do not have as many disadvantages as someone who does not pass.

FWIW - life is ok at the moment for me. My only worries are finding a job and finding someone to be in a relationship with. Society mostly treats me ok.

But those are big worries. I'm sure other people have similar worries.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:35:50

Cis does not mean women. In this context it means someone who's not trans.

Maybe non -trans privilege - it applies to men and women.

It's just saying that there are things people who are trans face that non-trans people don't.

It does not mean that they are more hard done to

blue - I would be less upset by 'cisperson'. I could still then use 'woman' and clarify with 'cisperson' in some contexts, and that might be helpful.

But 'cis' and 'gender' are terms that come to me loaded with an ideology I don't agree with. I do have a problem with the idea that gender is anything but a social construct, and a social construct we should get rid of. tunip put it better upthread - but I would not like the implication that I was 'on the same side' as my apparent 'gender'. I'm not: I really don't like playing up to what the patriarchy expects my 'gender' to do. I don't like performing femininity. So, I would still object to that aspect.

I do think this is my business. As I've said and others have said: if someone wants to call themselves something, they should go ahead. But calling me something does make it my business. I'm not a ciswoman, and I'm not cisgendered either.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:38:04

And one other thing - in a similar thing to male privilege, my actions and words are not to be taken as what other trans people think.

I speak for me - in the same way women do not expect their actions and words to be judgemental of all women.

I'm just an individual trying to find their way.

So does 'privilege' just mean 'stuff I'm not happy about'? Or does it relate in any way to 'discrimination'?

Surely if you're reducing the term to 'stuff I'm not happy about', it simply becomes meaningless?

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 23:40:45

You do end up being the spokeswoman on here. You should get a badge grin. All of us can only speak to our personal views.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:43:08

You know what privilege is - it's barriers people have to face that others don't.

But we all face barriers differently and have different experiences in life. Some face more than others, some people can handle barriers effectively.

And some face life with few barriers.

<And to think I almost put this on FWR> smile

TiggyD Sun 13-Jan-13 23:43:42

There are certain differences between women and women. Doctors would need to know which women are women and which women are women to be able to treat them properly.

It gets very hard to talk about trans related subjects if you can't use anything to differentiate between transwomen and ciswomen. A trans woman would much rather be called a woman. A ciswoman would also much rather be called a woman. Either we should not prefix either group or we should prefix both.

MMMarmite Sun 13-Jan-13 23:44:30

kim Just to say, as I haven't yet, that I think Julie Burchill's article was really out of order and I'm sorry it hurt you. It wasn't a nuanced feminist argument, it was a vile series of insults that shouldn't have been printed in a national newspaper.

I do know what privilege is, kim, but I don't know what the privilege is that 'cis' women have. And that's what I'm trying to find out. So far, I can't see how the cisprivilege you describe is anything other than plain old male privilege under a new name. There is nothing there that women seem to be able to exert.

tiggy - mmm. Although, I suppose you could also say we need words for women-with-sickle-cell, and women-without-sickle-cell, or women-with-wombs and women-with-hysterectomies. Medical histories usually serve the purpose.

I think make this claim that it's 'hard to talk' is the point. Shouldn't it sometimes be hard to talk? Making something easier is sometimes just whitewashing the difficulties. As I think it is here.

Loquace Sun 13-Jan-13 23:49:33

It gets very hard to talk about trans related subjects if you can't use anything to differentiate between transwomen and ciswomen. A trans woman would much rather be called a woman. A ciswoman would also much rather be called a woman. Either we should not prefix either group or we should prefix both

That! ^^

But I think by the sounds of things cis is buggered in terms of being anything other than a sticking point. If the people obliged to use it on themselves, or have it used about them, dislike it then it has to go for the same reasons any other disliked word would be dropped if it caused offence to the people it was used to refer to.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 23:49:41

I understand the use of privilege in that there are situations and issues I've never had to think about. I'd imagine eg that when people are in the early stages of transitioning showing ID to collect a parcel or going to the loos in a pub could be rather fraught. I'm not suggesting those are the sum of transgender experience, just that they're two everyday things that most people don't have to think twice about.

I'm prepared to accept that there is a non-trans privilege. Even though I view gender as a social construct, it doesn't mean I'm unaware that society as a whole tends to be very intolerant of people who don't fit into its defined roles.

TiggyD Sun 13-Jan-13 23:50:56

I feel really sorry for "F2M" transsexuals. They usually have a disturbed childhood, many years of trouble, long complicated treatment, then when all that's well and truly over with they think "Well, at least car insurance is cheaper now. DOH!"

blueemerald Sun 13-Jan-13 23:51:43

Sorry, LRD. I didn't mean it wasn't your business what you call yourself at all. I meant that this entire discussion could be solved if we all minded our own and called each person whatever they wanted to be called/called themselves and stopped trying to pretend anyone else knows better.

I've always understood 'cis' to only be used in terms of biological sex. In terms of how a doctor decides sex at birth (internal and external sex organs, chromosomes and hormones etc) not gender. It's more like your gender matching up to your sex, although I agree gender is an incredibly complicated/loaded concept.

I suppose what I'm trying to work out is, is it a spectrum situation, or a binary?

If there's such a thing as 'female cis privilege' (the cis privilege of a woman), that implies that it's binary. Because 'cis' and 'trans' are atonyms of one another. Obviously, different 'cis' women could have different degrees of 'cisprivilege', but 'cisprivilege' would describe only the privilege 'cis' women had, and a 'ciswoman' would not also be a victim of 'cis privilege'.

But in narked's example .... what about a woman who dresses in stereotypically masculine clothes, and (like that student who was in the papers for her very dignified response to bullying a few months ago) had a full beard? That woman might also have to think quite hard if she was producing ID for a parcel, or going to the loo in the pub - because people might well challenge her.

I accept, as well, that obviously this is just an example and not a sum of anyone's experience - but (being the sort of feminist I am), I do end up wondering if what some people see as 'cis privilege' is in fact just the normal fucked up way the patriarchy treats anyone who doesn't play up to the gender binary? And if that is so, how does it help to construct and enforce another binary, between 'cis' and 'trans'?

blue - not at all! I was just trying to clarify why I feel strongly about it. I agree with you that much of this discussion could be solved, as you say.

I think gender is an incredibly loaded concept. That is the root of my issue here (I think).

GothAnneGeddes Mon 14-Jan-13 01:19:26

YANBU, JB's article was absolutely vile and should not have been published.

I thought SM's "brazillian transexual" metaphor was ill-judged. But she could have quite easily said that on twitter/said she didn't realise there would be a problem with it and moved on. That she went on to write the disgusting tweets she did only proved her detractors right.

I personally have no problem with cis woman, it's arisen in the same way as the term "straight" or "heterosexual" has.

Now the important bit
A common critique of trans people, particularly trans women is that they push gender conformity and the gender binary.
However, the simple fact is, if you are trans but don't look to doctors/authorities like you are "trying hard enough to look like a woman", they won't believe you are trans and they won't let you transition.

A hashtag was started this week #TransDocFail, where people could share their experiences about poor treatment from medics. It is saddening reading: https://twitter.com/TransDocFailAno

Kim waves hope you're doing well smile

Sorry, very late so hope I still make sense. I don't know if my comments about binaries are the sort of thing you mean about trans women and gender conformity - if so, yes, I do think the medical establishment insisting people should perform a caricature of 'femininity' or 'masculinity' is the thing to blame, not the individuals who're doing it. (Is it still done, btw? I thought it had been said before that you don't have to do this any more, in order to qualify for surgery?).

GothAnneGeddes Mon 14-Jan-13 01:43:07

LRD - It shouldn't still be required, but it sadly is.

I think also, that the very real fear of consequences (from unemployment to murder) if you don't "pass" are an issue too.

JusticeCrab Mon 14-Jan-13 02:15:40

Burchill was way OTT, but something does need to be done about people - NOT specifically members of the trans community - who act as if every single incident in their and others' lives needs to be turned into a semantic battleground. Witness:

offbeatempire.com/2012/10/liberal-bullying

thatisall Mon 14-Jan-13 03:15:34

She made some valid points.....sadly they are all drowns by her use of darogatory words and vile language. Argh!

nkf Mon 14-Jan-13 07:13:01

Since when did the word privilege come to mean barriers? I must have missed that class. People who are privileged have benefits. It's a positive word. At least that's how I've always used it. It's a privilege to be here...

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 07:28:49

I think "Even when being a female foetus actually makes it less likely that you will be born." is not universally true - I'm the white daughter to Christian parents, born in Western Germany, even before the days of finding out sex by ultrasound. I was never at danger of not being born due to my sex, and to claim otherwise would be dishonest.

Now that is not to deny that there are cultures in which being female makes it less likely to be born, or survive beyond birth, and it's important to highlight this and fight against it.

Claiming that I was in the same risk, would be dishonest. And claiming from that I'd been less privileged than a white woman born as a boy to Christian parents in Western Europe is laughable.

Smudging Mon 14-Jan-13 07:55:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

This has been really interesting for me. Thank-you to the people who took the time to answer (and the rest for debating so eloquently).

My sister spent most of her teen years dressed as a long-haired Goth. Before she came out people used to shout "Oi mate you look like a bird!". After she came out she carried on dressing pretty much the same and yet people still gave her shit for it....go figure. Somehow saying "I am a fucking bird, moron" didn't help matters.

goth - sorry to hear that. sad I had been really hoping it wasn't true.

smudging - when you say 'waste energy', what do you mean? Because the reason I end up discussing what 'woman' means isn't for the fun of it - it's because I truly believe that gender is a damaging concept that is responsible for humans allowing the killing of millions of women worldwide, and the rape and abuse of millions more.

I don't understand how you can be so callous as to call that 'waste'. Or how you can talk about 'victimization' without talking about women, the most persistently and harshly victimized group there is.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 08:35:08

Being born male and feeling female and wanting to trans, DOES NOT translate into "born" women being "privileged"

That is false logic and nonsense.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:38:00

hully Just a little thing - but an example. I used to belong to a gym. I don't go anymore. I can't go in the male room and I do not want to make women feel uncomfortable if I went to the female one.

I know it's a little thing. But just an example of something you take for granted that I can't.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:40:46

You can also expect to get a job and not to have pictures of you before and after being published in the media. Some trans people don't have that privilege.

Or to be a source of reports in the media just for being trans.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 08:41:51

kim, I understand and I'm on your side.

But it doesn't make me "privileged"

It makes you discriminated against and badly treated, unhappy and marginalised, it makes the world unfair and means we need solutions and different ways of doing things

But it still doesn't therefore translate into me being "privileged"

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:42:50

You can probably also expect not to have parents complain about you teaching their children because you're a women.

Whereas I can expect some parents to complain about me teaching because I'm trans. It's happened.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:43:37

hully Couldn't a man say the same thing about male privilege?

"t makes you discriminated against and badly treated, unhappy and marginalised, it makes the world unfair and means we need solutions and different ways of doing things"

That is shit, kim (and makes me more sure than ever that gyms and pools really need to get off their arses and sort out proper, cubicle/communal changing for everyone instead of messing about labelling 'women' and 'men').

I accept I am very fortunate that I do get to use the women's changing room and I don't typically have to worry about other people's reactions.

Do we 'take for granted' this sort of thing, though? I know I don't. It gets discussed quite a lot on the FWR board, how rooms are labelled by gender and whether we're meant to be comfortable with that. I hope I don't take it for granted - I hope I still get fed up about it. I would be a kinda shit feminist if I didn't.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 08:44:56

I can't agree with the idea that because I was born a female and you (for example) weren't, but feel you should have been, it makes me privileged.

I feel I should have been born Gore Vidal, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy Whipple etc, but just because I wasn't, doesn't make them "privileged" over me.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 08:47:02

So Kim, what's the solution then because that must crop up in so many areas ? What would make you feel comfortable in that situation ?

I don't understand why it has to be about one group being more oppressed than another. That's not what we're fighting for. As a transwoman, you have a unique set of difficulties to overcome, that doesn't lessen the crap that women have to face nor does it mean that I need to define myself as a woman simply because you wish to join that group. (and I know you're not arguing personally that it does )

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 08:48:18

No re male privilege

let me think of a better way to explain it

ComposHat Mon 14-Jan-13 08:48:52

Julie Burchill hasn't written anything interesting in 30 odd years.

She has basically screwed a very good living out of various newspapers by being a professional troll (from way before the term was invented) write something outrageous and watch the furious letter bag/comments roll in. She thrives off the attention and notoriety.

Just like the internet variety, the best way of dealing with professional trolls is to give their comments the attention they deserve (none) and not dignify them with a comment.

Cross posted - hollow laugh to 'You can probably also expect not to have parents complain about you teaching their children because you're a women.'

Here, respectfully, I will point out that you have no idea.

I don't have a lot of contact with parents, but I have had a student tell me to my face that 'women teachers don't do so well for me', that 'you think my essay is wrong because you're a woman, but I'll explain it to you' (and this wasn't even said arrogantly, btw, he just genuinely thought he could help me out by explaining what he meant about gender relations in Chaucer).

A friend of mine has had students spend the whole lesson sniggering about her boobs and challenging her authority. These are 19 and 20 year olds we're talking about, not 5 year olds.

And I have been with academics who have referred to women students as 'pretty things' - not even 'students', just 'things'. I've been with academics who've claimed the purpose of women academics going to conferences is to 'bag the best man' - even when they've been talking to me and another woman who's married.

You seriously think people don't complain about women in teaching positions?!

Trust me: here, we are in the shit together.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 08:50:18

blistory It doesn't have to be about oppression and saying "I'm more oppressed than you" - it's a bit like divide and rule.

" As a transwoman, you have a unique set of difficulties to overcome, that doesn't lessen the crap that women have to face nor does it mean that I need to define myself as a woman simply because you wish to join that group. (and I know you're not arguing personally that it does ) "

Of course it doesn't lesson the crap women have to face.

We all face crap. Some of us face the same crap. Some face different crap.

And I don't know what the solution is.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 08:57:43

I don't know what the solution is either but I really don't see how aligning all of the difficulties that MtoF transwomen face with feminism helps and seems to be damaging.

I get that there are areas of overlap but surely the unique difficulties that transwomen face are just that, they are unique to you not because you are a woman but because you are trans. So why expect feminism to include you in all areas ? By all means it should be inclusive where there is an overlap but in other areas, I think feminism should support transwomen as a minority that faces difficulties but not by categorising themselves as women differently.

I don't think I can explain myself very well.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 08:59:50

I have just read the JB piece (finally)

Stripped down to its essential core and ignoring all the vitriol: don't tell us we're privileged because you suffer, I agree with and have said up there ^^

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 09:02:58

I am going to think about it all tho, being as honest as I can be, I can't be sure how much of my feeling comes from the fact of knowing that it is "men" calling me "privileged"

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 09:03:53

Actually, I don't think that.

I think a woman born with a missing limb or debilitating disease suffers greatly, but her suffering doesn't make me privileged either.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:05:06

blistory Agree with that.

hullygully - isn't that the thing about the concept of privilege - you can benefit compared to others and suffer because of lack of it?

It's all relative - depends on the situation and your background. Compared to many people in this world, you and me are very privileged. Compared to others, we're not.

Being born in the West gave me a massive advantage over most of the world's population.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:07:11

"I think a woman born with a missing limb or debilitating disease suffers greatly, but her suffering doesn't make me privileged either."

Doesn't it?

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 09:07:14

Me too Hully and it's something I'm uncomfortable with my own views on.

Being a man biologically and telling me that I'm now known as a ciswoman rankles. Especially when I'm not entirely clear where I am on gender being a social construct because that doesn't really leave a lot of room for anything other than sympathy for the trans situtation whilst not accepting that that they are women.

I can honestly see why feminism isn't an automatic fit.

None of which excuses the crap way the article was worded and I can see that it's offensive but I don't think I disagree with the underlying premise.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 09:07:55

Hullygully - meet me at the bottom of a steep hill or ask me to run away from a big wolf with you and check your privilege then. I've got an artificial leg.

Of course you are 'privileged' as an abled bodied person compared to someone with a missing limb. How on earth can you think otherwise?

that doesn't mean I get to find you offensive for your undoubted 'privilege' but a little self awareness and acknowledgment would be nice.

hackmum Mon 14-Jan-13 09:14:37

Hully: "Being born male and feeling female and wanting to trans, DOES NOT translate into "born" women being "privileged"

That is false logic and nonsense."

Exactly. The problem here is that society has for thousands of years been organised and built upon the systematic oppression of women, where women are denied basic human rights accorded to men. In that sense, men are clearly privileged and women not. But you can't say that about women and transsexuals. There is no sense in which women as a group have benefited from the oppression of transsexuals. If anything, transsexuals are simply victims of the wider problem, in which certain characteristics and roles are assigned to you according to whether you're male or female.

I think that's a really charitable interpretation of JB. I think the essential core of her article was 'get me, I'm well cool'. Everything else was add-on.

I don't know what the solution is, but I believe it is to do with getting rid of gender as a binary construct. I think that construct damages all of us really, whether we're women or men or transwomen or whoever - you can't get away from it. So I think, equally, that feminism ought to be big enough to help all of us.

I am wondering so much about the way misogyny seems to be almost invisible sometimes - as if it has so little shock value it's almost not registering with people? Because it seems as if statistics about female foetuses being aborted, female babies being given away, girl children being kept out of education or trafficked, women being raped and abused and murdered - they seem almost as if they don't come across as shocking any more?

Even if we are 'just' looking at someone like me (I'm white, middle-class, educationally privileged, able bodied, married to a bloke, living in the UK, etc. etc.), there is still a constant barrage of misognyny. If I glance at the paper or at MN Chat, apparently I am disgusting to look at - fat, not wearing makeup, not shaving myself, not 'taking care of' my looks. And I'm disgusting on the inside - I'm 'wasting my energy' on issues that only affect half the world's population. I'm incapable of doing the job I do, according to celeb practitioners of that discipline (thank you, David Starkey). I'm probably risking rape by walking home alone, so it's really important that I keep a tight hold on my man or I really would be in the shit if I needed to get from A to B. If I look at my career path compared to a man in the same situation - I am highly unlikely to get as far or get paid as much, unless things have got better for my generation (I hope they have).

Words like bitch, slag, slut, slapper, cunt, pricktease, frigid come up all the time to describe women. If I look on facebook I will find those words straightaway. They show me I can't do anything right and nothing about me is properly private - especially my sex life. Which is there for anyone catcalling to chat about. And it is scary to respond, because do you really want to call back at a man, in the street, unless there's someone else around? No, you don't.

I also think I escape a shitstorm of flack because I don't have children, btw.

Sorry, this is a really long post and I'm not trying to say 'poor me'. I'm trying to say, look, I am one of the really, really luck women, and there is still all of this crap about, all the time. Do people actually not see it when they're talking about the shock value of insults to marginalized groups?

(Also, I overuse italics. blush)

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:20:41

"I am wondering so much about the way misogyny seems to be almost invisible sometimes - as if it has so little shock value it's almost not registering with people? Because it seems as if statistics about female foetuses being aborted, female babies being given away, girl children being kept out of education or trafficked, women being raped and abused and murdered - they seem almost as if they don't come across as shocking any more? "

I know - as someone who is trans, the article really upset me. But compared to all the day to day stuff that is out there about women, it's not big in the scheme of things.

But people seem to have given up and can't be bothered to fight it. You've only got to read all the stuff on here - all the infighting, the attack on feminists, the way women react to other women and then all the stuff that is so accepted as normal in life.

Why aren't people fighting about the abortion of female foetuses? Fighting about the lack of education? Domestic violence? The portrayal and expectations for women?

I know some do - but many people just don't seem to get upset anymore.

I hope people haven't given up. I don't believe they have. I think people are fighting.

If some people have given up, maybe they weren't really that convinced in the first place, frankly. I suspect there are lots of people who are shocked in passing but then move on to the next news item.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 09:24:34

Exactly. The problem here is that society has for thousands of years been organised and built upon the systematic oppression of women, where women are denied basic human rights accorded to men. In that sense, men are clearly privileged and women not. But you can't say that about women and transsexuals. There is no sense in which women as a group have benefited from the oppression of transsexuals. If anything, transsexuals are simply victims of the wider problem, in which certain characteristics and roles are assigned to you according to whether you're male or female.

yes yes yes yes yes

that ^^ says it

Ta, hackmum

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 09:27:01

Spero, please don't misunderstand (or I am not being clear etc)

Of course it is easier to have two legs than one, of course it is easier not to be in a wheelchair, etc etc

But not being those things doesn't make one "privileged" just because the other person is horribly unfortunate.

I'm not sure. I think (to use hackmum's logic, which I agree with), that able-bodied people have benefitted from demonising disability, in the past, haven't they? It's still pretty recent that it's been considered bad to keep disabled people out of regular schooling and out of the skilled workforce. So I think there is privilege there.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:31:01

hully - the way I see privilege is having advantages that you take for granted that people who are not privileged in that "area" can't take for granted.

Straight privilege, white privilege, able bodied privilege, male privilege, Western privilege, Class privilege etc.

Maybe you see it differently and see privilege as benefitting from oppression of others who are not like you.

Personally I think having working limbs, being middle class and well educated in the West is a great privilege.

How does that work, though? You can't know what someone else does or doesn't take for granted.

I don't see male privilege as being primarily to do with what men take for granted that I don't, because I don't think it is about what each individual is consciously aware of. Privilege works just fine even if you don't take it for granted. Even if someone thinks they're bloody lucky to be born a man (isn't there a traditional prayer 'thank you, God, that you did not make me a woman'), they're still benefitting from privilege.

But, but, thats what makes the furore over Moore's articles all the more annoying - There she was, making very valid points that women should be angry, and the whole thing has been hi-jacked by a different issue - that others suffer too. (This is an important issue, yes, however it was not relevant)
Really, you could say it was like being told woman's issues aren't important all over again.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 09:38:17

hully sorry we will have to agree to disagree, and I agree with the way the op has put it.

Of course, I thank whatever god that exists I was born a white middle class woman in Europe in 1970 - another country, another time, I would have been left to die at birth.

My disability and suffering are nothing compared to women genetically mutilated at birth or raped to death as part of a culture of patriarchal contempt for women.

But I am afraid to I just can't buy an argument that the able bodied are not 'privileged' and should not at least try to be aware of and grateful for that privilege and factor it in to how they live their lives -the argument over the toddler and child parking spaces for example! When I have to walk a mile with a heavy bag to the nearest bus stop or find the lifts aren't working at the station or... countless other examples where the disabled suffer because of lack of proper planning or even basic consideration.

This isn't suffering top trumps. I hate the fact that different groups of people who suffer in different ways appear to be being baited to attack each other rather than examine wider more insidious and life threatening forms of oppression.

But I can't just sit by and listen to an able bodied person deny their obvious fortune and privilege in not having to battle daily with the painful frustrations that afflict the disabled.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 09:41:34

I haven't kept up with the whole thread, but as far as I can gather it still seems to be a constructive and empathetic discussion compared with a lot of what is out there (and certainly compared with the appalling Burchill article!)

I just wanted to make a point about the "cis" prefix.

Historically, one of the most confining and infuriating features of sexism has been the unique confinement of women to their gender: an aspect of their identity (their gender) has been made into the whole of their identity -- so that, whereas a man can be (fluidly) a baker or a doctor or an opera lover or whatever, and be seen primarily as such, women are very often seen first or only as women (as when you have three men and only one woman on a comedy panel show: each of the men might be a different "type" -- "working-class" or "clever" or whatever -- but the woman always has to represent the category "woman."

This is a tyranny of an aspect of a person over the whole of the person, socially imposed.

"Cis", in turn, is an aspect, of womanhood, a fragment of their whole womanhood.

In some contexts, but not others, it is relevant to state this aspect and categorise people in terms of this aspect. That is fine and useful.

But what seems to be disturbing for the people who resist the label is the fear that this aspect of womanhood might be treated as a defining feature across the board, not just in the contexts where it is a relevant and helpful categorisation, but as an essential feature of their womanhood -- so that they are no longer simply "women" but "ciswomen." Such a prospect is indeed disturbing: if that is our essence, then we are a fragment of a fragment -- first confined, as people, to the social role of "woman", then confined, as women, to the social role of "ciswoman."

Perhaps there are some transactivists who would like to restructure our essential idenities in that way, I don't know. But I imagine that these people are very few (I barely ever hear the prefix "cis" at all!) I'm guessing that, for the most part, "cis-" is used fairly fluidly, just in the contexts where for whatever reason it is useful to distinguish between different categories of woman. A fluid use of a categorisation isn't socially confining, or identity-configuring: the fluid categorisation of me as a woman, for some relevant purposes, doesn't restrain me. It is only when an aspect defines the whole that we get oppression.

So "cis" in itself doesn't bother me (except that it is jargony and does seem to be associated, like most jargon, with second-rate academic thinking -- but that is another thread!) But I can see why women are sensitive about the possibility that the term confines them -- we are sensitive because of the huge historical context in which we have already been once-confined to an aspect of ourselves, and we don't want to be further sliced into an aspect of an aspect.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 09:42:40

Where does it get us arguing about which group is the most oppressed ? That's really what this all boils down to. I might be in one of the most oppressed groups but not suffer any real disadvantage and equally vice versa.

There is no logical end point because someone somewhere will always have it worse.

Surely the aim is to be more accepting of all but for me, as a woman, I choose to prioritise the rights of women. If I come across other prejudice, I would hope I could recognise it and support those suffering but my main aim is always to promote issues that affect women.

picketywick Mon 14-Jan-13 09:45:29

JJULIE BURCHILL always goes too far, that is her style. Shes a great controversalist. Dont let her upset you. She coins great phrases at times.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 09:52:36

thisiseuphemism But, but, thats what makes the furore over Moore's articles all the more annoying - There she was, making very valid points that women should be angry, and the whole thing has been hi-jacked by a different issue - that others suffer too. (This is an important issue, yes, however it was not relevant)
Really, you could say it was like being told woman's issues aren't important all over again.

Totally agree - the hijacking was ridiculous. It was an innocent comment. The article was really good but got lost in the backlash. Unfortunately some transactivists are like that and can't see the bigger issue.

Then Julie Burchill wades in in her own way sad

blistory I don't think people are arguing about which group is the most oppressed. It does not get people anyhere.

Still - I'm far happier now than I have been for many years. I'm happy with my decision but I do fear it may have cost me a lot in other ways. Luckily society seems to becoming more tolerant.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 09:53:56

Blistory - I have already made the point that playing suffering top trumps benefits no one. I am not trying to argue for which group is the most oppressed - which to me is what has sparked this whole row and I agree with SM's frustration that some of those attacking her seemed to want to put their oppression on a higher plane than the oppression of women in general.

But equally I don't see it as constructive, or even very compassionate to say that an able bodied woman can deny she has any privilege over a disabled woman because we are lumped together in one big amorphous mass of oppression.

Sorry, I don't want to hijack a debate. But I couldn't let that lie.

I want to know who in their wisdom approved such a nasty personal hate spewing article from her in the first place - which does nothing to address anything except put fuel on the fire. Which must have been the exact intention she wanted anyway.

Beachcomber Mon 14-Jan-13 10:06:49

I think this whole cis label thing is a (wilful?) misunderstanding of what privilege is generally taken to mean in gender politics.

It is a failure to examine the difference between a privilege and a right. A failure to examine the difference between being systematically and historically oppressed and being discriminated against.

A privileged group is a group (of self-identitified people) which benefits from oppressing another group; the privilege comes about as a direct result of the (active and systematic) oppressing and othering of a clearly identified group. The privilege achieved is the motivating factor behind the oppression.

For woman to have 'cisprivilege' we would need to be systematically oppressing transpeople and consequently benefiting from that oppression. We would need to be acting as a group in an organised, political and structural manner to oppress transpeople.

But we don't.

Transpeople are discriminated against in many ways. They may well be systematically oppressed (I have issues with this notion as it appears to me that 'the system' has been extraordinarily accommodating of trans political and medical demands). However it is not woman doing the oppressing - it is patriarchy.

And I'm another woman who refuses the label 'cis'. It is utterly ridiculous to expect a woman who is engaged with the politics of women's rights to accept this term (for reasons explained by various posters upthread). The attempt by some MTF transpeople to stick this label onto woman as a group strikes me as a massive irony in fact.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 10:08:30

Spero maybe it's just semantics

I would say "advantages" but not "privileges"

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 10:09:44

yy beach

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 10:13:49

Waves to Beach.

Haven't heard from you for a long time smile

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 10:20:53

Where does it get us arguing about which group is the most oppressed ?

It's a pity that's what it has become. I think the term priveledge is useful, in the sense that it can cause you to think where you have an inherant advantage you may not have recognised (see Spero's post).

Where it is divisive is where it is provocatively or deliberatly used to derail a debate or to try and shut the opposing views down.

Like where "you have body priviledge!" has been used to try and shut up a blogger talking about fatphobia. Not saying "body priviledge" or "fatphobia" are non issues, but when they get reduced to sticks to beat somebody over the head or try and gag them as an alternative to engaging in debate, hearing what other people have to say, making your own points.......they lose their value becuase they just look like ...weapons basically.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 10:28:05

yes beach. I mentioned the difference between an incidental, fluid, categorisation of women as ciswomen and an essentialist, all-pervasive categorization of women as ciswomen. And I suppose a grounds for making the categorisation pervasive and essentialist rather than fluid and incidental would be the claim that the category of ciswomen is a socially explanatory one, namely, one that society is systematically structured to benefit, which I think is fairly clearly a false claim.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 10:40:29

Ok, I will go with 'advantages' but I am still a little uneasy...

I think words are important. Not to the extent that they become the whole battle or people thinking because they frown on the word 'retard' everything is suddenly rosy for people who are not NT. Words can help change attitudes but not if people adopt intensely prissy attitudes to only certain words being acceptable, and anyone who falls short, for any reason gets shot down by others verbal outrage - again, I think that is exactly what happened in this debate and use of phrase 'Brazilian transsexual'.

But the able bodied have for centuries discriminated against and oppressed disabled people - because we are a nusiance to look after, we cost money, we pollute the gene pool. Thus, if you aren't in that pool of people, you are 'privileged'. Not merely 'advantaged'.

so I still feel a bit uneasy.

I'm with you there, spero.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 10:49:07

Ok, I will go with 'advantages'

I don't think advantages cuts it in the face of determined, ingrained descrimination and setting aside a group of people based on one aspect and deeming them "lesser".

Yes people had practical and emotional advantages over my mother in law, like not seeing people who weren't there or hearing voices. But that isn't the sum total. They don't live with the concept of "crazy" and the fears, hate, violence and "sub human status" it creates. That is more than an advantage, it is a whole 'nother world.

Agree with the rest of your post too.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:01:50

I agreew ith everythign you have said Spero, but still not "privileged"

maybe I need to think about it some more

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:06:56

I lloked it up: "a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: eg the privileges of the very rich."

I think this is why I don't like the word, I don't enjoy any advantages beyond the advantage OF MOST, in the society in which I live.

I have access only to ordinary things that the majority have access to.

So although disabled/differently abled/trans etc etc are discriminated against and do not enjoy access to ordinary things that the majority take for granted, it does not make the majority "privileged" because technically only a minority can be "privileged"

Perhaps I am just a raving pedant

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 11:13:29

I think it is an interesting point because when people talk about 'male privilege', certainly the men I work with are pretty much near the bottom of every scale you can think of - no money, no job, no home, no hope. The only 'power' they have is to impregnate a variety of women and beat them up. I do wonder what power or advantage their maleness gives them in this society.

I agree that a wander down a semantic cul de sac is not much fun or use, but it is good if it gets people thinking. I only came across the phrase 'check your privilege' relatively recently and I have found it illuminating.

Smithson6 Mon 14-Jan-13 11:15:15

Coming to this late sorry, terribly rude of me.
Tis a very interesting discussion that y'all are having and I don't really have much to so briefly:
I'm not massively surprised that JB has written another provocation, I'm mildly surprised that it was printed in the Observer rather than a blog or whatever which would seem a much more fitting platform considering the offensive language etc. I am however, hugely surprised that some of our old guard feminists and writers (Susanne Moore, Julie Bindel and so on) can react with such vitriol to and about transsexuals. HUGELY surprised. P'raps its because many of my feminist circle identify as queer in one way or another but I have never come across this anger before.
Am quite taken aback.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:15:49

I love semantic cul de sacs, and dissecting and analysing words does help sort thoughts too, I agree

I agree too. It's useful to discuss.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 11:26:11

I have access only to ordinary things that the majority have access to

But I think that's it though. I access the ordinary things that the majority (when set against one specific minority) enjoy. Like the freedom to munch a sandwitch unmolested in public I am charging between appointments. It came as a shock that my flatmate couldn't do the same without some very obvious evil eye looks, vile comments and actual physical slapping her sarnie put of her hand as we were walking down the road.

Is it an advantage to be able to eat in public unmolested, obviously, but then word doesn't cover the mass of risk and harm (eomtional, physical etc.) emcompassed by that lack of "advantage".

Perhaps "advantages" are obvious, but "priveledge" refers to that which is serious, but not obvious, becuase unless you experience it you may not be aware it is even there and without that comprehension you can't take a peek at what it is like to walk in another's shoes or comprehend how the majority of which you (gen you) are part diminishes the ...persecuted?

I know persecuted is a strong word, but in my example that is what I felt was happening to my flatmate. Cos there was just so fucking much of it and it could really be up there on the intimidating and aggressive scale.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 11:28:07

yes, it is very helpful in organising my thoughts.

maybe the only way forward is for every individual to have a duty to think hard about their own particular circumstances - in what way has he/she benefitted from being part of a particular group? In what way is he/she unwittingly contributing to discrimination against others who don't belong to that group?

I will always remember a thread here about class when someone pointed out to a bunch of braying Oxonians, mocking her mother's covered toilet seats, that the working classess covered their toilet seats not because they were naff and souless but because their bathrooms were too small to fit a chair in. The braying stopped because the others genuinely hadn't stopped to think that some people live in very small houses. Maybe a trivial example when compared with murder of transexuals but it did make me stop and think because I know I have been guilty of such unwitting bigotry myself.

So I totally understand and sympathise with SM's anger and the way she responded. It was massively unhelpful to hi jack the debate in the way her attackers did. and so sad that JB thinks her response is a way to use her obvious talent. She has gone beyond parody now and I think it is a shame because it is a voice lost.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 11:30:52

This is a very humane blog on the Burchill controversy, which I enjoyed reading. It does use the word privilege in the way that has been contested in this thread, but I think nothing of force in the blog is lost if you prefer to substitute a different word.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:34:51

loquace <bangs drum>

privilege is something enjoyed by a minority hence is NOT the right word

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:35:51

Spero - yy, hardly anyone thinks.

People shoudl change their moccasins on a regular basis.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 11:36:54

hullygully - So is there such a thing as male privilege?

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 11:38:22

that's a brilliant blog! Sums it up completely - JB just can't be bothered with empathy any more.

And totally agree with all the smug activism comments - I am still smarting from being directed to the website 'derailing for dummies' when I asked what I thought was a legitimate question about feminism/wearing the veil. If you can't be bothered to engage with people who genuinely want to learn, then you are part of the problem. And if you descend into frothy vitriol over semantics, you need to have a long hard look about what you are really hoping to achieve.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:40:15

I have been thinking about that kim.

Technically no, there isn't according to the correct definition, but i think it is one of those cases where as a phrase, "male privilege" has come to have a distinct meaning of its own and a meaning that is generally understood.

Having said that, it isn't one I use

Smithson6 Mon 14-Jan-13 11:45:10

excellent blog piece thanks for that.

I have to say, I think that's a rotten definition of privilege. I don't understand where the majority/minority thing comes from?

floaty - that is a nice blog piece. Have you seen this one?

glosswatch.com/2013/01/13/not-enough-words-for-woman-locating-my-own-cissexism/

I thought it was interesting what she was saying, but also really hard to read, the way she is so apologetic about struggling for words. It's uncomfortable to read.

It does irritate me that the blog piece you link to mentions people learning was 'cis' means, but never acknowledges that there might be a position other than ignorance from which people criticizing it come from. Or maybe I am just reading into it, I don't know.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:56:35

lrd, that's the oxford dictionary for you.

I think it makes sense, how can a privilege be a privilege if it is enjoyed by a majority? Need a different word for that.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 11:59:25

I would think it was wrong to specify, in the definition of the word, that the beneficiaries of a privilege need to be a minority. I don't think that is how the word is used.

I think of a privilege as having two key features:

(1) it is a socially conferred benefit, i.e. not a simple natural advantage like being stronger or faster

(2) it is conferred by the specific, morally arbitrary rules of a particular social set-up, i.e., unlike a right, it is not a benefit to which we are entitled as a matter of simple justice -- it doesn't exist prior to whatever social rules confer it, so it can't be used as a basis for criticising existing social rules, like a right can.

Because of (2), a privilege can often be, though it isn't necessarily, an unjust benefit -- if the social rules which confer it are themselves unjust. That's why we need to be conscious of the privileges we happen to enjoy, and of their possible departure from fairness.

One of the ways in which a particular social set-up can be unjust is if its rules tend to entrench the purely natural benefits (like being stronger or faster) that some people enjoy: an example of this is when workplaces are inaccessible to disabled people and employers are legally permitted to use that as grounds for not employing disabled people -- the natural advantage of the able-bodied then gets reinforced by the privilege of preferential legal status in relation to employment.

Is there any way in which the natural advantage of having an experienced gender that is in alignment with your bodily gender is entrenched by social rules that have the effect of entrenching/exacerbating the natural difficulties of being transgender? If there is, then there is such a thing as cisgender privilege.

I suspect there are a few social rules that entrench /exacerbate the difficulties of transgender people. But I also suspect that whatever cisgender privilege exists is part of a wider social picture in which gender normativity massively favours men rather than women (and exists at least partly because it favours men rather than women) , so that to focus too much on ciswomen's privilege is to overlook a dynamic which makes women (all women) and transpeople natural political allies.

I know - I didn't think you made it up or something, I just don't think it's a very good definition.

I don't see why a privilege can't be enjoyed by a majority? What is there in the term that implies it's about minorities?

It just means raised above others, given a distinction. You can distinguish a majority from a minority or vice versa - it just depends on what perspective you choose to use.

Cross posted - floaty put it better.

Beachcomber Mon 14-Jan-13 12:07:56

And yes, I do think JB has been rude in her article.

And that may be because she is JB. But I reckon it is also because she is incandescent with rage that yet again women have been told to STFU about women's issues and the systematic oppression of women as a global group.

Plus being told to STFU about women's issues by people who claim that they are women but who don't show much understanding of women's issues and who demand that their version and perception of what it is to be a woman should override that of the historical lived experience of biological females, is infuriating.

Women are already 'other' in our society. Men are the default. Now we aren't even allowed to be women - our (already lowly) position is being denied us with the 'cis' concept.

I think JB was out of order and I'm amazed it got published considering the current yelling of 'transphobia' that goes on so mindlessly. I think however that she and many other women are seriously running out of patience with transactivists - the aggression, bullying, death threats, constant cries of 'transphobia' and the denying of women's identity, and right to our grass roots identity politics, is ticking us off rather.

JB's article hasn't been generated only as a reaction to what was done to SM - this has been building for decades.

(Hello Kim)

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:10:39

Still don't like the word <stubborn>

I agree there could be better words used.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 12:13:58

I don't understand where the majority/minority thing comes from?

Possibly because at the time of creation the hierarchy was more pointy triangle ? So you had whatever the equivalent of feudal lord/king was at the time, a few layers of the chosen few, a larger lump of limited privilege and then every other fucker sans (what was considered privilege at the time) privilege underneath.

I don't see why prerogative of status, rank or groups has to apply strictly to a minority in the modern world though. I agree that words can't be allowed to get so fluid in application that we might as well say argle bargle to each other because words become meaningless and incapable of clear description. But I don't see how recognition that prerogative of status can occur in a majority group in today's world takes anything away from the sense encompassed by "privilege".

I don't think it ever can have been a pointy triangle, though. I think men (as a group) oppressing women (as a group) is the basic root problem. And given the numbers of men and women, that can't be a triangle.

I do think that the idea that there's a hierarchy narrowing up to an elite of bastards is a very attractive idea that gets put around quite a lot. It is much harder to identify and blame someone if you're trying to place each real person into a position in a triangular hierarchy because most people can deflect attention to someone above them.

But, I don't think that triangle has ever really been a valid description of how oppression works. And, as you say, it certainly doesn't apply in the modern world.

ethelb Mon 14-Jan-13 12:17:32

I haven't read the full thread but in response to OP, I dond't think Susanne Moore's original article was offensive. However, while I agree with Julie Birchill about transgender politics place in feminism, I don't agree with being willfully offensive. The article boardered on transphobic due to the strength of the language imo.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 12:18:28

That's a good point, loquace. Historically, privilege has been associated with the "pointy" (grin) world of aristocracy and such like, like you say. But that shouldn't blind us to its existence in the blunt-ended shapes of democratic societies, where majorities can wield privilege.

ethelb Mon 14-Jan-13 12:22:44

I do HATE being called a cis-female though

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 12:24:40

I don't think it ever can have been a pointy triangle, though. I think men (as a group) oppressing women (as a group) is the basic root problem. And given the numbers of men and women, that can't be a triangle.

But you have to put it in the context of what was considered as priviledge at the time of creation and early use. Not mnay were all that bothered about squashingmwomen back then. Not even women. Femisits were probably a bit thin on the ground and it was "allmpart of god's great plan, look at this bit of bollocks in the bible/other holy book, see! S'just nature innit".

So in terms of what was considered priviledge at the time. Ie the right to raise taxes and chop peoples heads off, it probably was pointy triangle. In times when just staying alive for the next five minutes was considered a boon, perhaps they didn't have to energy for more "subtle" expressions of priviledge ?

Whereas now we are more onion layers-meets spectrum- meets far larger array of noted social priiledge confered by ones rank/group in society.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:26:33

Of course there was oppression etc within the pointy triangle, but feudalism did operate very much as a pointy triangle, Will the Conq found it a most useful method of social control, getting each layer to control the one below. Except for the muddy ones at the bottom who just got the sheep and turnips to boss about.

What's the 'time of creation', though? I may be missing something here. I don't know when oppression 'started', but I don't see why the origins of it would have to be triangular.

Even back when we're looking at an autocratic ruler and a slave class, that autocratic ruler still had a wife. And so did those slaves. And I think on balance, women were still (as a class) oppressed by men (as a class). So even if you want to look at one set of oppressive practices as triangular, there is also going to be the binary male/female oppression going on.

I would like to imagine there was once a society in which this wasn't true, and men and women were treated equally and fairly, but I honestly don't know of one.

Ok, I'm going to sit on my hands if we get into medieval feudalism because I will become very much more boring very fast. I'd better go do some work! grin

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:32:14

Is it wrong then? Didn't it go:

Kingy
Nobles
Barons
Serfs

?

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:32:48

Have my children been taught WRONG history?

grin I like WRONG history.

There is a pedantic point, which is that what we had over here is bastard feudalism - proper feudalism is what the French do. We are most improper.

But more to the point - where are the women in your list? Yep, that's right ... they're not really there (and you've missed out the religious orders, which is pretty much the only place where women get any kind of autonomy at all).

This isn't a triangle - it only looks like that if you are interested in a male-dominated socio-political analysis of privilege. Which is fine. But it's not really describing what happens with women.

Does the wife of the king fit in neatly next to him in the scale? Probably not, really. She's certainly not more powerful than a male nobleman (in fact, she's quite probably his daughter and was sold from him to the king). She may have less autonomy than a member of the minor gentry. Some male serfs have rights in canon law that she doesn't have (typically over her own body). So the triangle doesn't really describe female experience at all.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:41:54

But it did exist as a male triangle thing?

Btw, I don't know if it's clear: I'm not just trying to say 'women are well powerless and oppressed'. The triangle wouldn't become more accurate if you added another bottom layer and labelled it 'women', or if you put a pyramid of women under the men's pyramid.

It's that I think that structure we use to think about privilege here is just not really saying anything about male/female relations. It's a bad tool to think with because it doesn't recognize women at all.

Does that make sense? Or not? confused

hully - well, I dunno, can men exist in a society without women? When they're married and have daughters and mothers and female servants and so on?

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:46:18

yes, I know what you are saying, of course, but I am concerned about whether or not it did indeed exist as a general structure?

Beachcomber Mon 14-Jan-13 12:49:04

With the pyramid we are talking about class privilege - the graphic works pretty well in the context of status as conferred by social class.

The privilege/oppression that comes from sex, is binary however, it isn't pyramidal. It is binary because there are only two groups (men and women) and it is a binary hierarchy because the population is split fairly evenly into two groups of equal size.

Class oppression is a pyramid, sex oppression is a circle cut (on the horizontal) into two halves with men as a group occupying the top half, and women as a group, the bottom.

Yep, basically. It's sort of a two-branch thing, though. There's also the Church side of it, because the Church has legal and political power. I learned it as splitting into two sides underneath 'king'.

I should do this with my lot, and see where they think women go in that pyramid, though.

My 'yep' was to *hully but I agree, sex oppression would be much better seen as a circle in halves.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 12:50:37

beachcomber Plus being told to STFU about women's issues by people who claim that they are women but who don't show much understanding of women's issues and who demand that their version and perception of what it is to be a woman should override that of the historical lived experience of biological females, is infuriating.

Of course that's an issue - and transactivists who do this annoy me as well. I can see how it would annoy you. Many transactivists do think their experiences are more valid and then come in with "what about us" when feminist issues are discussed.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 12:51:18

We just need to keep in mind that societies don't just operate with one privilege-conferring hierarchy at a time; they overlay pointy shapes with other shapes, and the interesting questions are to do with which hierarchies have explanatory primacy, and the extent of their primacy, and the niches of explanatory autonomy for some features of some hierarchies that are dotted about the place.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 12:51:48

It existed and the reason women aren't on it is because they ,by and large, didn't exist other than for the purpose of man. Being the king's wife may have conferred advantages but only as the king's wife. It didn't confer any privilege on her as a women in her own right.

FairPhyllis Mon 14-Jan-13 12:57:05

I'm coming to this rather late, but I agree with all the posts about rejecting the term 'cis': it's breathtakingly arrogant to impose on someone a label loaded with a view of gender they don't agree with, let alone to expect them to use it, which does happen in many contexts.

Julie Burchill was looking for a fight and punched where it hurt - is anyone really surprised? But a lot of the criticism of her I've seen seems to me to be inherently misogynistic in that to a greater extent it's about her rudeness and her not having been a good passive little woman. Not that I think people should go around being wilfully rude, as JB was - I think it would be nice if everyone could be nice - but it seems to me that people react extra strongly to women being openly angry and reckless with language. I don't know - would this kind of shitstorm have happened if an article making the same points but with less barbed language had been published? Or if a man had written JB's article?

Oh and by the way - Kim's comment about not having to worry about people's reaction to you teaching if you are a woman? Ha! I teach in a university, so I don't deal with parents, but I have had male undergraduate students fully a decade younger than me be aggressive to me, challenge my authority in the classroom, and sexually harass me outside it. And I don't have the luxury of a SMT who will support me with this.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:57:10

yy floaty

I was just worried that it didn't exist at all in any way!

Beachcomber Mon 14-Jan-13 13:08:13

Agree with the teaching thing.

I used to teach English in a French engineering school. I was challenged and harassed (sexually and generally) constantly by both students and other teachers (it was a predominantly male environment, surprise, surprise).

A group of final year students posted a photo of me on a blog with the title 'teacher you'd most like to shag' next to it. There were lots of anonymous comments about my physique and age and a general agreement that they would shag me as there was little other choice available to them what with nearly every other teacher being male.

It was sniggered about in class and when I found out and complained about it the students responsible got a wrist slap and I was advised to improve my sense of humour if I wanted to make it in a male environment.

I had a sense of humour failure at that point and left.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 13:09:07

"But what seems to be disturbing for the people who resist the label is the fear that this aspect of womanhood might be treated as a defining feature across the board, not just in the contexts where it is a relevant and helpful categorisation, but as an essential feature of their womanhood -- so that they are no longer simply "women" but "ciswomen." Such a prospect is indeed disturbing: if that is our essence, then we are a fragment of a fragment -- first confined, as people, to the social role of "woman", then confined, as women, to the social role of "ciswoman."

Perhaps there are some transactivists who would like to restructure our essential idenities in that way, I don't know. But I imagine that these people are very few (I barely ever hear the prefix "cis" at all!) I'm guessing that, for the most part, "cis-" is used fairly fluidly, just in the contexts where for whatever reason it is useful to distinguish between different categories of woman. A fluid use of a categorisation isn't socially confining, or identity-configuring: the fluid categorisation of me as a woman, for some relevant purposes, doesn't restrain me. It is only when an aspect defines the whole that we get oppression."

That's a beautiful post floaty, and I think gets to the heart of why some women feel personally hurt by the word ciswoman, whilst others, who still don't necessarily agree with that conception of gender, don't feel offended by it.

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 14:33:40

Just noodling on Twitter. There is a link to an article about how Lynne F is calling for everyone to be sacked for the JB article. Below is a suggestion for another article the Guardian would like me to read

'Is Daisy 'thunderthighs' Lowe the epitome of curvy womanhood?'

We are all truly doomed.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:00:53

What's the 'time of creation', though?

When the word was invented. When it was invented it was probably invesnted by men, looking at their pointy triangle (cos that is what mattered to them, I don't expect they expended much energy thinking "but where exactly do the women fit in here?" cos I doubt we crossed their minds much.

Ergo, TODAY do we need to be limited to the concept of "priviledge" as defined by pointy, triangle obsessed people who forgot there was another sex, who said it was the sole possesstion of a minority OR given that a whole lot more of us, some even with vaginas, now get a say in what a word means AND we are pretty much agreed that a simply pointy triangle is far too simplistic to describe heirachy and we prefer onions, lots of different onions, and spectrums and things that look like this (feel free to remove pretty bits from ends if not to ones taste) all floating about and bashing into each other or merging and then unmerging...can we extend the concept of "priviledge" to include a majority with a social status that conferred benefits/rank/proper humaness ?

I vote yes. If there is a vote. Which there probably won't be.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:08:37

No <sulky pedant>

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:11:29

But Hully, think about it as taking back the power of tightly defining meaning from the men of yesteryear who didn't even bother to include us in their pointy triangle ? The bastards!!

Do it for the abused turnips !!

<pleading eyes>

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:14:36

Persuasive though the poor abused turnips are...

no

I want a different word.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:17:59

Suggestions on a postcard ?

Prodilige ?

Cos there is a lot of deliberate and accidentlal prodding involved, in painful places usually.

Swedes? Butternut squash? Mangel-wurzel?

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Mon 14-Jan-13 15:22:02

YABU to waste your time reading any of the bilge this woman writes. Let alone to get het up about it.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:24:59

Swedes? Butternut squash? Mangel-wurzel?

The vegetables will rise up from their opression and complain if we make it veg-related.

This discussion pre and post 60 screaming pre schoolers who appear to have been fed pure caffine all weekend and a devolped a profound need to each yell thier heads off directly in my ear is going to require a Long Nap.

My head hurts.

I hate words. From now on I am just going to grunt at people. And it will mean what I wanted it to mean cos it's MY grunt.

<sulks>

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 15:25:19

I'm really struggling to get my head around privilege now.

I saw it as something that men had taken for themselves and conferred on themselves, less so for some men and more so for others.

Now, it appears that they have also conferred some privileges on me by virtue of me being say, a white, middle class woman living in the UK in 21st century. I disagree somewhat and think that that's more a class advantage from the current set up of our society. I didn't get to decide about those privileges so are they privileges or just advantages ? It isn't being white that has given me privileges, it's more that the patriachy has decided that white women were historically of more value (however you define that) than black women. Does that give me a privilege or an advantage or neither ?

Or do we need to define 'male privilige' differently ? Has it become too broad a term that has then filtered down to mean something different when applied to a group other than men ?

<confused>

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:31:02

I have just read a whole lot of stuff about an invisible knapsack and the lens of privilege (and completely ignored my work).

It was all about seeing how we are (the we depending of course) in relation to others and what privileges we have in relation to them eg able bodied can go in buildings without lifts type thing.

While I very much agree with the idea and the sentiment and do look at things that way as far as I am able, I STILL think it's the wrong word.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 15:31:03

'Kinnell! This is the best discussion I have ever seen on AIBU. [round of applause to all]

for me FloatyBeatie nails it at 11.59.

I didn't find the Burchill article that bad, I'm afraid. I know that makes me a bad person and hateful things like that should not be in print. But I see where she is coming from.

I am biased tho because there is a transwoman in my family and I find her attitude really annoying. She only recently came out as a woman, milked male priv to the max through a very good university, married young, had 5 children, has been supported by her wife domestically and in childcare all her life and has now come out as a woman.

There is a lot about her story I could take issue with, but what I really really take issue with is that in the way she tells it, she basically admits but does not acknowledge that her marriage was an attempt to supress the uncomfortable feelings that had bothered her since childhood. So in other words, as men traditionally and historically do, she defined and asserted a threatened masculinity on the body of a woman. In this case through marriage whcih is the way my culture provides women's bodies to men to do what they like with. Her story and how she tells it admits of no consciousness of this at all. There is other stuff too but this creeps me the hell out. She tells the story as if she thought "AGH it feels like I want to be a woman, which is a social disaster, and how can I be, and everyone will hate me and maybe try to kill me. So what I will do is find an innocent woman who has no idea there is anything odd about me, and marry her! Then I can have children too, which will be lovely" - AND AS IF THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS, OR IT DOES NOT GO TO THE HEART OF WHAT IS FUCKED UP ABOUT WHAT MEN DO TO WOMEN ALL THE TIME

(That it happened, I can almost forgive - people do what they gotta do)

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 15:31:34

fairphylls and beachcomber

I understand about the sexism in teaching and some of the things male (and maybe some female students) get up to with comments and attitudes towards teachers. It's crap.

I was referring to a school gates campaign not to have me work in a school - not because of my skills as a teacher but because of me being transsexual. It was a very strong campaign but luckily the Head was very supportive. You should have seen the looks I got from some parents when I walked into an assembly.

The children on the other hand were fine. smile

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:34:46

Or do we need to define 'male privilige' differently ?

Yes!

Like this

Cos within the greater heading there are sub groups where priviledge (of whatever "overarching" flavour) will be accentuated or diminshed depending on all the other group memberships an indivudal possesses in addition to the X privildege being examined.

So...no...I have forgotten what I meant now.

I think I mean that when talking about privildege one has to consider that in generalities it might work yet fail utterly to describe individuals, and anyway it is not supposed to be a club to bash people over the head with to stop them engaging in debate or exchange of views. It is supposed to decribe, highlight, bring something into the areana for consideration, not squash and silence.

Privilege as fluffy explantion focused dandilion with individualised pointy things, not nasty spiky bat to bash people with so they end up voiceless.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:35:43

oh it is all so fascinating.

I missed that post of floaty's, probs too busy going on and on pedantically about vegetables, but it is really fascinating.

I wonder if growing up as a "male" while feeling "female" made him/her see things in what is traditionally seen as a "male" way? Or whether s/he was doing what a lot of us do and putting ourselves so far forward in a starring role in our own narrative that we do wrong without realising?

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:36:34

god that bloody pendant is the new bat.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 15:40:16

Hullygully, there are a thousand examples of ingrained, unconscious male privilege in the way she does absolutely everything. I went to the same sort of university as she did and if I had not been treated with such brutal sexism there I might be a different person today. There are women who go to that sort of university and are strong enough to take it and come out tough and successful, but it broke me - hearing things like "undergraduates like you are just eye candy for frustrated post grads like me" from your supervisor, every fucking day, really put me in my crappy little place. Had my relation gone to his university as a transwoman she would have had a very rough ride, had it even been possible back then. But she didn't, she went as a man, and had the world, and a wife, handed to him on a plate.

That is disgusting, kim (the campaign). That is really, really, shit and bigoted.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 15:43:30

People might be interested to know there's been a 4 fold increase in referrals to gender identity clinics recently. Certainly it's been much more talked about and there's been much more awareness - especially with Luke winning Big Brother and My transsexual summer - as well as the DM obsessing about the issue.

I wish I had been born in this era - I had no idea about this when I was young - I just knew something was very wrong. I laugh at growing up male - I grew up but something inside me was trying to get out and societal expectations made it very difficult to express myself.

I finally cracked and it all came out. Just 20 years too late or else life would be so much easier and there's be less hurt and anguish.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:45:32

was doing what a lot of us do and putting ourselves so far forward in a starring role in our own narrative that we do wrong without realising?

Ahh... but, is there the early conditioning in males that encourages a good number of them to dimishes their own importance to themselves to the extent that they tend to see themselves as "supoorting actor" rather than "star of the show" ?

I've met women whose lives look like being a host of extras, rushing around making sure the set looks right and providing sound effects, lighting and filters in order to better serve the ego of a man who sees himself as the protangoinst in several lives.

I suppose that could happen to men too, but perhaps not nearly as often.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:49:33

curry, has she had GRS? And does she, as a woman, still act from a position of those unconscious male advantages? How does the world treat her and what does she think about the world and her place in it?

I hope you don't mind all the questions, I am very interested.

Kim, I send you love and flowers and wish you peace after all the crap.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 15:52:44

Loq - I have seen roughly equal numbers of males and females stamping all over people when their narrative required it, although it took different forms depending on role possibilities.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 15:55:16

Loquace - exactly.
As a man, my relative knew that all he had to do was to get a good job and he could marry and have a comfortable office and a secretary and have children and a family and and and and and and.... even as a relatively privileged woman I have never taken it for granted that I could have any of that stuff. And have never been freed for a second from manual labour (admittedly I mean manual labour heavily assisted by washine machines and hoovers). My life in a million years would never look like his (now hers). And the whole issue of wanting a family.... throughout history countless women's lives have been blighted because some trivial thing (over which they have no control, cannot work to overcome) has made them unmarriageable (gobby, ugly, not coming with a dowry) and they have to live insecure and childless lives because they have never had the privilege of waking up one morning, doing a comedy Bertie Wooster yawn and stretch, and saying "Jeeves! I think I shall take a wife!" So my relative had her man years, piled all this stuff up (admittedly against a backdrop of extreme psychological pain, a bit like gobby ugly women then) and then when the revolution kim refers to happened, freed herself to be a woman. While keeping the lot.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 15:58:17

Hully That's interesting, I think probably the fact that I have spent the bulk of my adult life in two quite "male dominated" cultures (Thailand, Italy) will have impacted the split.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 16:08:38

Loq - it could of course just be that in the layers of onion in which I have moved there was less disparity between males and females and their options and possibilities

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 16:13:37

curryeater

I think we may be on the same page as an immediate "entry point" emotional response to that issue in particular. I hadn't even heard of transgendered issues until a friend of mine had her husband admit that he always knew what he was, but didn't want to give up on the idea of a family and thought if he married her (and had nine kids) it would give him "normal". Until he coildn't do it anymore.

And then she was relentlessly bullied by his new (built up behind her back) circle into accepting his transition in the name of not being bigolted. More relentless bullying and not exactly unsneering use of the term "GenderGirls" to keep her immune from people saying " but what about you? what do YOU want ? How do YOU feel about this" and then it all turned into a big fat mess where she blamed herself and her now ex, the new mates, their kids all turned on her and called her bigot and other horrible things becuase she just couldn't keep going denying how terribly unhappy and betrayed she felt.

It felt like not one person within her new immediate circle (and the circle was very focsed on trans issues not her) gave any consideration to her wants, desires and expectations at all, unless they risked rocking the boat and then she got yet another kicking. I honestly felt like there was a concerted effort to brainwash her into believing that the only natrual, acceptable response was acceptance and carrying on regardless of the impact on her sexual experiences, the nature of her realtionships and the little issue of having been lied to by omission, if not outright used to create an image of desired "normality".

I spent a lot of time spitting feathers.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 16:20:37

Loq - it could of course just be that in the layers of onion in which I have moved there was less disparity between males and females and their options and possibilities

There is that. I suppose even in these two countries there will be layers where i'd see something different.

Or I have seen it, but seeing a woman suffer resonates with me more so I see it more easily/clearly and I have blinded myself to some extent to noticing the men in the same postion.

Am I walking around in blinkers? hmm It could well be that.

Bit...I hang around with women more than men, so maybe I just don't get to hear men's stories becuase I don't have that easy realtionship with them that invites confidences shared.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 16:20:54

SperoMon 14-Jan-13 14:33:40

Just noodling on Twitter. There is a link to an article about how Lynne F is calling for everyone to be sacked for the JB article. Below is a suggestion for another article the Guardian would like me to read

'Is Daisy 'thunderthighs' Lowe the epitome of curvy womanhood?'

We are all truly doomed.

Spero i commented on that article. I post on the Guardian website as newb. It is an article about Grazia rather than specifically about Daisy Lowe.
Which has reminded me of something. I posted on their Life and Style section last year under an article about sexless marriages. (husbands choice not mine) I got a lot of support but i also got badly trolled by another commenter who i suspect was male. I dont think this would have happened had i been posting as a man about his wife.
A lot of society dont like certain myths challenged. The myth that men are always up for it was being challenged and some people are threatened by that.
It makes it very hard for women in my situation to speak out. Its just a way of silencing us. But i wont be silenced any more.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 16:23:41

Sorry didnt mean to derail thread.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 16:30:24

That's not derailing, we've had turnips, pointy triangles, pendant lampshades...I'd say you were more on topic than most of it.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 16:33:11

That is NOT pendant lampshade. It is a graphic illustration of "group" showing different start point, journey and end point (with flower), whereby if hung like a moon you can demonstrate where and where not the light of the sun (priviledge) shines (or not)

<has pendant moment of own flavour>

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 16:37:35

oh yes, I'm so sorry

Beachcomber Mon 14-Jan-13 16:39:58

Kim, no doubt a school gate campaign was very unpleasant for you and potentially extremely distressing.

Just as me having my male students discuss fucking me/my fuckability on the internet (and then sniggering about it in class whilst bringing up the blog on their phones), and the male director of the school not taking it very seriously, was very unpleasant for me.

I don't think any of the teachers here are claiming that trans people who work as teachers don't face all manner of problems - I think we just took issue at the notion that women aren't challenged in teaching situations due to their being women. I accept that the challenge is less likely to come from parents and more likely to come from students (and not just adult ones, try teaching a class of teenage boys) and fellow workers.

(I have no interest in comparing which is harder; being a trans person and a teacher or being a woman and a teacher. I just want to be able to speak out about my experience of sexism when appropriate.)

CrunchyFrog Mon 14-Jan-13 16:58:22

Coming to this late, but I am another feminist who finds "cis" offensive.

I watched some awful telly programme recently in which a young man described living "as a woman." He was dressed in killer heels, thick makeup, glossy extensions, talons for nails. I thought, you aren't dressing "as a woman." Any more than today's combo of jeans, t-shirt, hoodie and bare-faced is me dressing "as a man." He likes flamboyant, colourful clothes. society says you can't do that and be a man, so you must be "other," ie, a woman.
I don't know how men in general feel about f2m trans people, but from discussion with my (unreconstructed chauvinist) mates, there's not much danger of them being accepted as men. But I haven't heard anything like the levels of outrage from that side of the community.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 17:21:58

blistory I think if you claim that men have male privilege, then it would inconsistent not to accept that white people have white privilege. You say "the patriachy has decided that white women were historically of more value (however you define that) than black women", but historically those with the most power were not men in general, but white men. I don't see how you could argue that there is only one kind of privilege, male privilege, and that every other advantage stemming from societal discrimination doesn't count as privilege.

" I didn't get to decide about those privileges so are they privileges or just advantages ?" A boy born today hasn't had the chance to decide about his privileges, so are they not privileges either?

Personally I see it as a big overlapping system of privileges, of which male privilege is only one. Though, as I said in my post way upthread, I think seeing the world primarily in terms of privilege is quite damaging, so I also keep in mind that the world is far to complex to be neatly described by this system, and that having privilege is not a choice and doesn't make you a bad person.

"Or do we need to define 'male privilige' differently ? Has it become too broad a term that has then filtered down to mean something different when applied to a group other than men ?" Perhaps. What sort of thing do you suggest?

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 17:31:22

Crunchyfrog Yes I find those kinds of programs awful too. But having done a lot more reading and talking to people online, I've found that these programs are very unrepresentative of transpeople - like most reality tv, the program makers look for individuals who fit into society's stereotypes, and then heavily edit to focus it into a narrative of 'man becomes girly girl'. The nuanced discussion about within much of the trans community about sexism and gender norms never makes it onto tv.

Secondly, there are strong outside pressures for transwomen to conform to patriarchal gender norms for women: in some places, they will be denied medical transition if they don't act 'feminine enough' in the eyes of the gatekeepers of medical services; also there is in many places a risk of violence if people realise they are trans, so being able to 'pass' (ie. the casual observer not realising they're trans) is a way to stay safe.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 17:33:57

In the context of wondering about privilege and my exchange with Loquace, I would be interested to know what proportion of transmen were married to men when they were living as women, and whether their husbands are generally expected to accept the new status quo during and after transition, and how many of them do.

I would take a wild wild guess that many more transwomen than transmen were married in their pre-transition genders. If anyone knows the answer I would be interested to hear it

Spero Mon 14-Jan-13 17:37:59

I commented on the Daisy Lowe article link because I just could not quite believe my eyes. all that is going on - in India and around the world - and a young woman of perfectly lovely proportions as far as I can see, is held up to ridicule and contempt as 'thunderthighs'. It just beggars belief. Is there any type of woman who won't meet with ridicule, contempt or worse?

giveitago Mon 14-Jan-13 17:43:58

Oh gave up on it - she goes on and bloody on. I grew up with her writing and I just thought that she made her name from writing headlines that she'd agonised days over thinking up ('more room at the top shop') didn't seem to me that anything she said took her less than week to thing about.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 17:44:02

An example of what I said about the tv programs: My Transsexual Summer was actually one of the better programs about the trans community. It was a show following the lives of a group of transsexual people over a summer and spending time together. One of the participants, Max Zachs, wrote a blog post Why 'My Transsexual Summer' isn't as good as it should be:

"...What I see is the inevitable privileging of narratives that do not challenge dominant paradigms of normative gender. What I see is programming that will make you think “oh I feel so sorry for them, maybe I might think about how those people get a tough ride”. What I don’t see is anything that is going to make people think or feel any differently about what gender is or how it limits us all in one way or another.

What we see are lovely endearing transsexuals (who I still consider to be my good friends) struggling though ‘typical’ transitions and don’t get me wrong these stories are hugely important, I do not underestimate how important these stories are but where are all the queers!?

These narratives are totally valid but I believe they need to be seen in context and juxtaposed with a more diverse representation. A representation that was there in the house but somehow didn’t make it to our television screens.

Where is Fox talking about being mixed race, about his art and about how he sees himself as two spirit?

Where is the exploration of Donna’s male and female identities as she navigates the personal relationships that mean so much to her?

Where is the discussion about how I reject gender binary and sexuality and still live an observant Jewish life at the same time?

I think what we have is a hard hitting critique of the injustices trans people are forced to face, I wanted it to be that and more. I wanted it to show the complexity of our gender identities so that people could start to see that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, that it isn’t one or the other."

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 17:51:52

that's good marmite

quite

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 17:52:18

not quite good, quite as in yes I agree with the complexity of it all

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 17:52:24

MMMarmite

I can accept that most groups experience some form of privilege. I just have problems formulating how that translates to people who have transitioned or who wish to.

I struggle with the idea that a transwoman who has experienced life as a man and then transitions can disregard the privileges previously experienced and then argue that they are experiencing the oppression reserved for women in the same manner as women or worse. Maybe I'm trying to fit trans into a definition of privilege that has to be rethought for that situation. Or maybe my understanding of privilege wasn't sufficiently clear for me to be able to understand it in different contexts.

I don't think I'm clear enough on this myself to express it without being inadvertantly offensive to transpeople and I'd rather not do that.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 17:58:49

Actually forget that, it's not privilege that I struggle with at all.

I cannot get my head around the notion that WOMAN does not equal BIOLOGICAL WOMAN. It's gender that I have issues with, not privilege.

emskaboo Mon 14-Jan-13 18:13:30

I am so grateful to Hully, Locq, beachcomber and curry for giving voice to the way I feel about this issue so eloquently.

FloatyBeatie Mon 14-Jan-13 18:14:03

The Observer has withdrawn the Burchill article and apologised for running it. I do think that is an appropriate decision, given how extreme and hurtful it was. But I also feel deeply anxious about hounding even wrongful words to the point where they are expunged. There is such a culture of enforced orthodoxy developing, even with criminal sanctions sometimes. That man who was sentenced to hours of community service for posting an image of a burning poppy for example. On the whole I want to see hurtful and offensive views. But that depends on a strong enough, compassionate enough community of discourse for such hurt to be absorbed and reflected on and dispersed without too much damage, and we seem to lack that.

So, right result I think, but not one to be crowed over or feel happy about.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 18:15:01

Yeah blistory, I agree with you that it gets confusing when applied to transwomen.

In a lot of cases, privilege isn't as clear cut as it seems. For example, in the gay community, there are some people who are 'straight acting', and some people who are, from their mannerisms, voice and clothing, identifiably gay. The straight acting people probably experience less harassment and discrimination in day to day life - does this mean they have a little bit of straight privilege? What about people who have spend many years in the closet, and avoided job discrimination because of that - have they benefitted from straight privilege? Or is that negated by the fact that being closeted brings huge risks of mental health problems? And then there's the argument that bi people have access to straight privilege - in the 80s this led to bisexual people being kicked out of gay and lesbian groups, and is still a source of friction sometimes today. As a bi woman, I find it very complicated: I feel discriminated in some ways because of my sexuality, and there are some specific problems that bisexuals face where lesbians have it easier (stereotypes of promiscuity, unfaithfulness and untrustworthiness; bisexual invisibility; the risk of rejection from both the straight world and the lesbian community; higher levels of mental health problems and alcohol abuse) but because I'm attracted to men and have dated men I have in some ways had things easier than many lesbians and I try to bear that in mind too.

That's another reason I don't like the concept of privilege much: there are too many 'edge cases' and when you try to apply the concept to them it tends to be totally unconstructive and just cause a lot of pain and bad feeling.

RedToothbrush Mon 14-Jan-13 18:23:11

I've been reading this thread and a pinch of salt. The journalist in question is what I would call a 'professional troll', not a journalist. Its not provoking debate, its set out to actively hurt people.

Don't feed her.

As for the Observer withdrawing the article, the cynic in me simply says they knew exactly what they were doing when they published. Its the old adage of 'There's no such thing as bad publicity'.

You can make points on this debate much, much better without all this crap.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 18:24:32

"I cannot get my head around the notion that WOMAN does not equal BIOLOGICAL WOMAN. It's gender that I have issues with, not privilege."

Yeah, this is exactly what I've been struggling with for a while. Intellectually, I find the rad fem idea of gender makes a lot more sense to me, and I can't get my head around gender identity at all. But when I go on rad fem sites, the portrayal of trans people is often vitriolic and stereotyping, at odds with the often modest and thoughtful trans people who I've talked to online (not referring to the rad fems on this site, I mean elsewhere, and in fact Birchill's article is a good example of the trend.)

If gender identity doesn't exist, it's very hard to understand why someone would put themselves through the expense, risk and social stigma of being trans. Rad fems would seem to believe (correct me if I'm wrong), that transwomen are just feminine men who have bought into the ignorant sexist beliefs about what men and women can do. But many transpeople don't seem sexist to me, and seem to have read and thought a lot more about gender than the majority of people.

Ahh, I don't understand.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 18:27:18

I don't think we're feeding her are we, RedToothBrush? Perhaps we're giving her a few page hits. But I feel like this thread has actually turned into a really thoughtful, interesting and respectful discussion of gender, privilege and trans issues.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 18:30:44

Neither do I which is why I don't get the vitriol on both sides. Theory is all well and good but when people are struggling why crap in their daily lives, I'd rather help them than use the opportunity to win gender points or the equivalent.

I suspect that when it comes down to it, most of us would whilst understanding that a debate can still be had.

Thanks all for an interesting debate - it's made me think.

Blistory Mon 14-Jan-13 18:31:19

with, not why

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 18:42:35

Am I the only person to have seen at least two articles in the last 6 months going on about how lots of the new top models are Brazilian transexuals? I don't think it's at all fair to link SM's comments to transexuals being murdered in Brazil. as if she were approving or supporting such horrors. She's far more likely to have seen the articles I did.

I had no idea that transexuals were being murdered in Brazil. But I was aware that a number of top Brazilian models were originally boys (some still are, they just wear the clothes) and I'd think it was more likely that she was referring to this little group, who -- as the piece says --

In some ways, the trans-models have a proverbial leg up on their female colleagues, Unlike even the thinnest of women, who often fight cellulite and stretch marks, the trans-models have long, sinewy limbs unscarred by such typically female afflictions. Once they've lasered away facial or body hair, they can sometimes look more feminine even than models who were born female.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2012/12/06/brazil-transgenders-making-splash-in-modeling-world/#ixzz2HyXKXvqK

There's a link to one piece, and I've seen others in print. One of the Sunday supplements ran a piece I think.

I find the whole issue a bit complex. Sure, transexuals can be a bullied minority. OTOH, I've been offended by articles written by post-operative transexuals who seem genuinely to believe that surgery makes them into women who then are no different from any other woman, which in some circs can be pretty insensitive and not entirely truthful. There was some fuss awhile back about a transexual rape counsellor. Some women didn't want to share their extremely private feelings with someone who was, in their eyes at least, still a man. I recall a lot of very self-righteous transexuals getting cross.

It's not something I find entirely comfortable about. A man who's had surgery may resemble a woman, may pass as a woman, but he's still essentially male, down to his last cell. It's DNA and the poor guy is suffering from a psychosexual problem. He ain't gonna lubricate or ovulate any time soon... And he's likely to be considerably stronger physically than me too.

Whispers very quietly.. There is some research that suggests gender dysphoria is very much more complex than just needing surgery, but this is hugely offensive to those who'd like it to be a simple matter of swapping. Some of the ideas held about femininity by would-be women are very "directional"

I'm generally supportive of transexuals, indeed most sexual minorities, but women who are born women still do get a raw deal compared with men and it can be tricky when a very entitled transexual holds forth about her womanhood. I kinda feel there's a connection between how I might feel if I were black and someone who'd used medical means to change their race started telling me how tough it was having their ethnicity (adopted) and how much they suffered being black.

Does that make sense?

TiggyD Mon 14-Jan-13 19:20:41

Apart from the bit where you referred to the woman who has had surgery as he.

write - I find the issue of what is happening with performing femininity, and having surgery, and what people say is 'essential' to being a woman quite hard to get my mind around (as in, I know what I think, but that's about it).

So I hope you don't mind me focussing on one small bit of your post rather than all of it. That one bit is the people you mentioned 'who'd like it to be a simple matter of swapping'.

I don't know how typical this is, but in my experience, there are a lot of people who are not even really what I would call 'transactivists', they're more of a sort of generally well-disposed group with an armchair interest in supporting good causes (I'm not running down that tendency; it's good one).

But, they're often blithely unaware that it might not be anything other than a simple matter of swapping. I know people who assume that medical science, miraculous as it is, has simply cracked the technology of making penises and vaginas and getting them up and running. This is a much easier assumption to make if you think the vagina is basically just a hole for penetration and the penis is basically just a hard jabby thing.

I think those sorts of assumptions are a fairly big issue. They're well meaning but they obviously don't help people who are concerned about feminist issues and I sincerely doubt they can be helpful to anyone trying to transition, either (though, obviously, I can't really comment here!).

Writehand Mon 14-Jan-13 19:39:44

Yes, I agree. Got seriously bollocked on another forum for pointing out that a particularly grumpy transexual poster (male to female) was writing as if all he needed was a vagina formed surgically and he'd become a woman. It's not all about plumbing, I told him, and the idea that - as you say "you think the vagina is basically just a hole for penetration and the penis is basically just a hard jabby thing" is a very male way of looking at it.

He didn't like that. Oooh we can be bitchy, us women. smile

I can imagine it is really horrible, if you've been given the idea (which is circulating quite a lot in the media) that it's easy just to have a quick op and you're done, you would feel pretty fucking fed up and you wouldn't want to hear different from someone on the net.

But still, it's not an excuse - it is a really offensive way to look at it, to assume a vagina is just a hole, or the absence of a penis. Obviously plenty of people don't do that and know the issues, but it strikes me how many are pretty away with the fairies about the reality of it all.

I read all this and still feel annoyed about being called a ciswoman.

Yep. Still with you.

However that does not excuse JB form being so rude.
I wasn't born a woman in order to oppress transsexual men and women.

What cisprivileges do ciswomen have anyway? Access to a wider range of heels in the sales? FFS.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:07:41

"If gender identity doesn't exist, it's very hard to understand why someone would put themselves through the expense, risk and social stigma of being trans. Rad fems would seem to believe (correct me if I'm wrong), that transwomen are just feminine men who have bought into the ignorant sexist beliefs about what men and women can do. But many transpeople don't seem sexist to me, and seem to have read and thought a lot more about gender than the majority of people."

Something's going on - why would I have gone through all the stuff, bought hormones off the internet, want to go extensive surgery, change my appearance, bring out my real personality, be far more happier and content now I'm in oestrogen, wiped out my testosterone, removed all my facial hair, opened up my life to a whole new load of discrimination - but be far happier for it if something wasn't going on.

I don't know the cause. I understand that it's far more complicated than simple DNA - the body, brains, hormone receptors, gene expression, epigenetics etc all make the whole body very complicated. Who knows?

The point is - I'm much more settled now and happier. Hormone treatment is going well and I reject the idea of "performing feminity" as some trans people do.

But the media seem to think you just turn up and get the op. It is a far more complex process than that - it's taken me 3 - 4 years to get where I am now on the programme. I've seen several psychologists and have had to discuss my life in great detail.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:09:22

truck

You can go to a changing room without people not wanting you there. I can't at the moment.

I know it's a little thing but it's something you take for granted. I can't.

emskaboo Mon 14-Jan-13 20:10:18

Blistory; no nor me. It strikes me that the idea that one can annexe another's gender is reductive and offensive.

I am with Bindel on this and see clear links with aversion therapy for gay men in the 50's and 60's. Surgery to 'make' someone a woman is an effort to push them into a binary socially constructed view of gender, just as trying to turn gay men straight was based on wrong headed views of sexuality.

Surely a wider more inclusive view of gender would allow for everyone to exist without anyone feeling they need to annexe another group's identity?

kim - I don't want to ask too many questions as I can see it may be intrusive. But when you say, 'I reject the idea of "performing feminity" as some trans people do', do you mean, no trans people do this, or do you mean, you reject it personally (by choosing not to do it)?

Like I say - don't answer if you don't want to.

ems - how would 'a more inclusive view of gender' work for those of us who feel that gender itself is the concept we want to get rid of, though?

emskaboo Mon 14-Jan-13 20:17:55

Bad use of words maybe, gender is a social construct and I suppose what I am saying is ultimately I would like it to disappear (ah a Marge Piercy future...) but a bit like communists don't think you can get straight from capitalism to a pure communist state I figure they'll have to be a staging post on the way.

Kim, that's not a privilege though, it's you being at a disadvantage?
If I had a bad back and couldn't sit comfortably in airline seats and so couldn't do long flights but you could, I wouldn't call you and all the other passengers privileged. I'd say I was at a disadvantage.

Privilege is when a small number of people have advantages and benefits at the expense of others, unfairly. There is nothing unfair about me using a woman's changing room. It is however disadvantaging to you that you don't feel comfortable doing so. I feel sympathetic about that but not privileged at your expense.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:21:51

lrd - I can think of some who I know who perform feminity - some who seem to want to be "the perfect little girl" which they missed out on when growing up.

They seem to think this is what they have to do - but that brings up the whole question of feminity.

I just act and behave as I want to do - but I do do things like make up and eyebrows as it helps me blend in more. My face without a little make up does look a bit too male for my liking.

Saying that - it was nice to get all glammed up for a work's night out. smile

confused

I don't quite follow that - if I understand rightly, you do perform femininity, but it doesn't bother you to do so?

I can understand that.

But - well, it bothers me that you're repeating this idea that other people 'take for granted' certain things you say you can't. You don't actually know what other people 'take for granted' (as I said upthread). But you're obviously pretty sure of yourself, since you repeat it.

But, how does this work? You get to 'take for granted' that getting 'glammed up' or putting on 'a little make up' is something you can choose to do when you 'behave as I want to'. I was born a woman and I have never had that freedom, to 'take for granted' that I can perform femininity, or not, just as I choose. Society has always been there pushing.

I'm trying to say - there are always things that some people get to take for granted and others don't. But for me, and for lots of women, the issues around performing femininity are hugely important and problematic, and it's not possible just to dismiss them.

I think in fact, assuming we know what other people 'take for granted' may be part of the issue with this terminology of 'privilege', and whether it's a conscious or unconscious thing. I feel really uncomfortable saying what you might 'take for granted'. I don't feel that's appropriate. I would like it if we could all do that more. Then maybe we could actually talk about what's really happening, instead of putting labels onto each other and defining each other's feelings.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:38:52

I'm not going to get into a debate about all this - I know what happens as I've been there before and I don't want to make it a debate about me.

The article by JB was my concern - which is why I posted it. I appreciate the far bigger picture about how women are treated in the media but the language JB used was why I posted.

There is no way such an article would be posted about other groups with such language.

Hope you understand.

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 20:39:58

trucks - just look at privilege as the difficulty setting you have in the game of life, with straight white male being the lowest there is rather than going by the assumption that only a minority can have privilege.

Also, you may want to take into account that trans women don't only face trans related discrimination, but all the exual discrimination stuff other women face, too.

Your claim that Kim being at a disadvantage doesn't mean that you're privileged is just ignorant. You can take things in life for granted, which she just can't.

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 20:40:16

However that does not excuse JB form being so rude

No, but reading the post retraction mass of articles, posts and comments, what seems to be lacking is an acknowledgement that this is a "seen by the gen pub" tip of the iceburg. This war of words between trans and rad fems has been going on since the 70s and there has been no lack of really shitty things said on both sides.

I don't think this article can be wholly judged, and the author hung drawn and quartered, possibly convicted of a hate crime without the peice being put into its fuller context.

I do think there has been an awful lot of provocative and deliberate goading going on (both sides) for a very long time, that needs to be recognised as part of the "package", rather than just looking at a single article in isolation in order to make a judgement of how criminal it is.

I don't see how it can be considered right and proper that a person faces a possible conviction (in crown court or the court of public opinion) without the rest of the iceburb being lifted up and put under an equally public lens. It is relevant context and speaks of the high emotions that have often flavoured the discourse.

She might be charged and found guilty anyway (crown court and /or cpurtofmpublic opinion). But to me it feels fairer if it has been done with the long and often volotile background in full view and not as some sort of glossed over /ignored irrelvance.

I obviously can't be sure, I could be well wide of the mark (I've heard the name but I'm not all that familiar with the writer) but I wouldn't be surprised if she has been as deliberatly offensive as she possibly could on the basis of "if you are going to scream bigot over that single comment, then I'll really give you something to complain about in order to recalibrate your "transphobic" radar and/or draw your fire away from my mate with an unmissable splash.

Before anybody jumps all over me, I am not saying it was right, a good idea or justifed, just that I think that might be the motivation behind it rather than one of the millions of other reasons people have put forward as her motivation.

I understand you wanting to stop debating, and I'm grateful for you starting the thread.

This article is similar to many articles with misogynistic language, but I can understand why it cuts deep with you. It is fortunate that it has now been removed by the Observer and there's been such an outcry.

I look forward to the day when women-hating becomes equally vilified.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:43:20

lrdI look forward to the day when women-hating becomes equally vilified.

A great day - if it happens.

Indeed. It seems less and less likely when people seem to think that this sort of language by Burchill is worse than the piles of shite women put up with every day.

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 20:46:45

LRD "But, how does this work? You get to 'take for granted' that getting 'glammed up' or putting on 'a little make up' is something you can choose to do when you 'behave as I want to'. I was born a woman and I have never had that freedom, to 'take for granted' that I can perform femininity, or not, just as I choose. Society has always been there pushing.

I'm trying to say - there are always things that some people get to take for granted and others don't. But for me, and for lots of women, the issues around performing femininity are hugely important and problematic, and it's not possible just to dismiss them. "

If you read just a bit of the #transdocfail hashtag, you'd see that trans women are actually pushed much more into applying make up and other femininity stuff if they want to have a chance to receive treatment than a woman who has been born with a female body.

As a woman born with a female body you're perfectly free to only ever wear trousers and forego make up without having your femaleness doubted. This is not to deny the incredible pressure put onto women and girls to conform to some kind of beauty ideal and pay lots of money for all the make up and girly stuff. That's there, and that's worth kicking up against. However, being born with a female body, it's easier to kick up against it, and reject make up high heels and skirts, without risking that people doubt your identity.

I'm sorry, I can't read twitter (I said upthread, but the thread is long).

I was aware that gothann had said the same, which is why I was curious about kim's comment. Sorry that wasn't obvious.

I don't think you are correct in your assumptions, btw. There are plenty of women, born women, who if they wear trousers and don't wear makeup, do have their femaleness questioned.

I posted upthread about the young woman who was in the news a while back, who is Sikh and for religious reasons doesn't shave her facial hair. It's not uncommon at all for women to have facial hair, and it is one of the reasons why some do have this pressure to perform femininity.

Nope, privilege is someone over and above normal and reasonable expectation. It is NOT a 'privilege' as a woman to be able to a woman's changing room. It is a reasonable expectation. I do not buy 'privilege is the difficulty setting in the game of life' concept.

I am aware of the difficulties transpeople face before,during and after transitioning BUT that still does not imply that I live a privileged life because I didn't have to deal with the same difficulties as a transwoman or man.

I resent being labelled ciswoman and I resent being told I am privileged because of my born gender, it is assumptive, it is deciding upon and appropriating my experiences in order to define someone else's feelings.

(In case you're interested, there's a summary of this woman's viewpoint in this article: www.nydailynews.com/news/world/sikh-woman-defends-facial-hair-graceful-response-religion-mocked-reddit-article-1.1168486)

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 20:53:23

* It seems less and less likely when people seem to think that this sort of language by Burchill is worse than the piles of shite women put up with every day.*

That is something I hadn't even thought about actually. There is no lack of mysoginist bile sprayed all the interwebs, has any author of that ever been threatened with being charged with a hate crime ?

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 20:53:47

still don't make us "privileged"

see hackmum way ^^ for succinctness

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 20:54:20

sorry, was reading and thread moved on, mine was to widow

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 20:54:23

trucks - by your definition male privilege doesn't exist either.

I can't recall seeing the Guardian/Observer pull a piece for being anti-women. I wouldn't know otherwise. Good question, though.

You could delete half the Mail, for starters. And the comments in CiF would have no chance.

It depresses me a bit that right here on MN, 'bitch' and 'slag', though not 'nice' words, don't get the outraged horror that Burchill's language seems to get.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 20:55:36

we've done all this widow, pages ago! that isn't intended to be rude or dismissive, just that we have

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:55:51

loqace There is no lack of mysoginist bile sprayed all the interwebs, has any author of that ever been threatened with being charged with a hate crime ?

Now that is a good question - should women be a protected characteristic?
So much sexism and mysogyny about but it's almost accepted sad

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 20:57:11

oh well, I have to go and watch Revenge now.

Quitre where that fits in I'm not sure but it's damn good, the Dallas/Dynasty de nos jours

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 20:57:44

"It depresses me a bit that right here on MN, 'bitch' and 'slag', though not 'nice' words, don't get the outraged horror that Burchill's language seems to get. "

And look who uses such words.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Jan-13 20:58:06

I disagree widow women do suffer for not conforming to gender stereotypes and huge expectations are placed on women to be feminine. Women who do this do face having their identity questioned. Expectations of gender are so deeply embedded that women who don't confirm can face ridicule and discrimination. As do men who don't conform, the tyranny of gender affects us all.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:00:33

Pleased I posted this on AIBU - a much wider debate than on FWR.
And no deletes after 500 posts smile

PolterGoose Mon 14-Jan-13 21:02:34

Yes, impressive to get this far with no deletes, well done Kim grin

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 21:02:48

LRD - I don't doubt, that there are also cases like for example the one you link to, or where a woman has other quite masculine physical traits who have their femaleness doubted. Which is wrong and worthy of condemnation, but I don't think that that is the standard response to every woman preferring trousers and no make up.

It's also not quite the same as trans women being denied treatment if they don't wear skirts and make up.

It's shit if anyone is forced to dress in a way which they don't want to, or be forced to wear make up if they don't want to, there's no argument about that.

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 21:07:43

Poltergoose I only wear make up once in a blue moon, and prefer kicking around in flat shoes and jeans. So far I've never experienced doubt whether I was a woman.

As I said before, yes, there's a lot of pressure towards a fashion ideal involving makeup, heels, etc, but being born with a female body, it's easier to not conform and still be accepted as a woman than it is for someone who has not been born with a female body but identifies as a woman none-the-less.

(Btw - I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to wear make up and heels etc, personally most of the time I just can't be arsed)

Loquace Mon 14-Jan-13 21:08:06

should women be a protected characteristic?

Would it come under "you are not allowed to do or try to generate gender discrimination" ?

Mind you, the courts would be heaving to the point of exploding defendants all over the pavement if there was an attempt to prosecute for word based hate crimes against women. So probably a non starter.

I am sorry, genuinely, that the list of seemingly incosequencial things that do no more than cause me irritation (like changing rooms) have such scary and massive implications for you. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Jan-13 21:08:43

It's also not quite the same as trans women being denied treatment if they don't wear skirts and make up

So maybe trans-activists and feminists need to actually work on the problem of gender together, maybe the trans community needs to stop complying with these ridiculous and damaging expectations, because no-one should be judged or discriminated against because of either their genitals or their chosen form of dress and adornment.

kim - who uses such words? Who do you mean? I hadn't noticed any pattern to it except it's nasty people, or people who use those words casually without connecting them to what they mean.

WW - no, but I never said it was 'the standard response'. There isn't a 'standard response'. The point is that that response exists, and it not especially unusual. Women cannot 'take for granted' that they won't be challenged, and certainly, no-one on the net can assume the person they're talking to is an especially feminine-looking woman.

So, we get back to the same old point, which is: why is it ok to assume things about other people's feelings and experiences, and to put labels on them?

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:13:08

poltergoose - that's happening - but many trans people fear being refused treatment by the all powerful system. It's a powerful system with many hoops and people do not want to challenge the system because they fear not being taken seriously.

Saying that, I normally wear my casual everyday clothes - jeans and some kind of top for my appointments. No make up or maybe some make up - but if you saw me, you would not think obvious male. Unless you took a longer glance and heard me speak sad

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:16:16

lrd - you're right.Such words are in casual use on here without people thinking about them - or people who intend to cause upset. Both men and women use the word bitch and slut.

Yes, that's right. Sorry, when I asked 'who', I thought you were making another point, not just agreeing.

I do think it is disturbing that these words are used so casually, when terminology that offends other groups is, increasingly, not tolerated.

Speaking of teaching (which we were waaaay upthread) - I've had to say, in class, that 'bitching' isn't actually an acceptable word to describe a characteristically feminine way of speaking. hmm

WidowWadman Mon 14-Jan-13 21:22:04

"So maybe trans-activists and feminists need to actually work on the problem of gender together "

I agree with that, which is why I find it so sad that some feminists think it's ok to attack or exclude trans women.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Jan-13 21:22:04

I understand that Kim, it is sad and divisive sad

CrunchyFrog Mon 14-Jan-13 21:23:36

Agree with lrd and Poltergoose, as a non-feminine person, I have had my sexual orientation questioned very often, and occasionally been asked if I'm genderqueer in some way.

Also, I have utterly mad exchanges wrt makeup - along the "Oh, you're so lucky, you don't need to wear it." This makes me go confused and WTF? Nobody needs makeup - but look on S&B threads for women claiming to actually not look human without it! I have a couple of women friends who genuinely feel sorry for me, as they genuinely think I have low self-esteem wrt my looks, simply because I won't wear fitted clothing.

And yet if you look on trans forums etc, the vast majority of men who are transitioning seem to view makeup and clothes as massively important. You can't be a woman unless you look like one? Swishy hair, obvious makeup and tits are what make a woman? I was just reading a post from a not-yet-completely-out man who was talking about not feeling up to make-up and hair every day. Responses included those telling him he was not fully committed to his new gender?

I do not like the fact that the gender binary, in this very restrictive form, is leading people to go through painful, mutilating procedures on their beautiful bodies, because something has taught them that they are wrong or ugly. I don't view it as hugely different than the culture of boob jobs for perfectly normal, beautiful women who "don't feel like women" because they have an A cup, or a J cup. Or vaginoplasty for women with normal, beautiful cunts because they don't fit some perceived ideal. It's a horror story, and I really hope that in the future we stop hating ourselves so very much.

(Mind you, I end up catching myself back from using it and not always managing, which is even more depressing.)

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:26:16

crunchyfrog - I think you meant swishy blonde hair smile

crunchy - I feel the same, it is awful that we hate our bodies so much.

I can understand why people respond, but I wouldn't have this surgery if I wasn't feeling awful and wrong, and if it makes me feel better, that's a good thing.

But I understand that when it's a woman saying she's had yet more plastic surgery, too.

I have to conclude there is something I just can't understand - and must therefore not try to rationalize - in both the person who has masses of plastic surgery and the person who has gender reassignment surgery.

But, like you, it makes me sad because it reflects onto our own bodies, doesn't it?

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 22:28:23

Those talking about women who have their femaleness questioned - I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say here, but it strikes me as odd that that is viewed with unquestioning condemnation. Why is it that mistaking a woman for a man, or vice versa, is one of the most insulting things you can do? Obviously if the person saying it intends it as an insult, then that's bad simply because it's bad to insult people. But if we think that gender norms should be abolished, then women are gonna be mistaken for men and vice versa a lot more, and it won't be a bad thing. Right? Wrong? confused

Is it being viewed with condemnation? confused

I didn't think so.

It's society that views women who don't perform femininity with condemnation, not me and not (I don't think?) anyone else on this thread.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 22:37:31

I don't like the term ciswoman to replace woman (tho if it gets used in specific circs about trans issues what can you do), but there is definitely cis-privilege. the world is (crudely, wrongly) divided into social and physical facilities for men and women and to effortlessly be able to avail yourself of them is very convenient and frees a lot of energy you would otherwise be using to worry about and attempt to manage the whole situation.
To say that it is just "standard" to be able to do this is to miss the whole point of what privilege is, andthereby display crashing privilege. It is like saying that there is no such thing as male privilege because everyone ought be to be able to speak without being discounted for not being good looking enough.

yes privilege is weird and complicated and "who is more privileged than whom?" is not always a useful way of looking at things. What is more legitimate is to think about what people use their privilege for, and whether they know they are doing it. This is why I am very angry about transwomen, pre-trans, using women's bodies to attempt to shore up rocky masculinity. It is a privilege given to men that they can use women's bodies for anything they want. they don't have to avail themselves of it. And if they do, because they are young, confused, whatever, they should be bloody sorry and know what they have done.

Still don't know how many pre-transition transmen have decided to use men's bodies in marriage to shore up their flaky sense of self, or how it compares

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 22:38:35

LRD, I meant posts like widow's: "I don't doubt, that there are also cases like for example the one you link to, or where a woman has other quite masculine physical traits who have their femaleness doubted. Which is wrong and worthy of condemnation...." I assumed you'd said around the same thing, although reading your posts more closely you actually didn't.

Ohhh, sorry, I skipped over that one somehow. Yes ... well, she can explain that I think.

I am fairly sure she and I are in positions of disagreement here, btw.

What I'm trying to understand is, what is this 'cis privilege' that some think women have? If it's the privilege to 'take for granted' you won't be challenged for not looking feminine in a changing room, then it obviously doesn't apply to all 'cis' women, just those who perform femininity successfully and happen to have bodies that look quite feminine in the first place.

I think this issue is related to the questions I have about the different surgeries people have to make themselves feel better about their bodies, when their bodies seem not to reflect their inner identity. I can't tell if gender reassignment surgery is something on a continuum with the kind of surgery a woman might have on her breasts or her vulva to make them look and feel more the way she feels, inside, that they should. Or if it is something entirely distinct from this.

If the two things have some common ground, I think that might also go to how we understand whether there's 'cis' privilege or not?

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 22:53:06

Curryeater: Totally agree that privilege includes things that are "standard" - I don't get stopped and searched by police purely because of my skin colour, that is a standard thing that everyone should be able to expect, and it is also an example of white privilege. Most aspects of privilege are standard, that's why it's useful to learn about: if I want to understand black peoples' concerns and help them fight racism, I need to realise that things I don't even have to think about, like walking past a police officer without worrying, are luxuries that they don't have.

I'm feeling very wary about this anger against pretransition transwomen for marrying women. It reminds me too much of the antigay lobby telling gay people they are ruining their spouse's life when they come out: I feel like in most cases, it wasn't a malicious gay person hurting their spouse, but society's homophobia that hurt both partners. The fact that closeted gay people hurt their partners is an argument for gay rights, not against gay rights. Similarly with transwomen, perhaps a few were knowingly 'using' a woman, but I think the motivations involved are probably a lot more complicated: most were probably in love, and deeply in denial, or not even really understanding what trans was at that point in their life. I feel very sorry for women who's husband transitions and then the marriage ends, but I also feel sorry for the trans people too.

I have no idea on that statistic you're looking for - had a quick unsuccessful google, but I'm not sure it even exists.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 22:56:45

LRD, I think there is a difference between not feeling good enough as a woman (very common or universal) and not feeling that one is considered to be a woman at all.

The insults dished out to assertive women, large women, women who don't have conventionally femininely pretty faces, often imply that she is not really a woman - but they reinforce her womanhood, in the eyes of the person saying it and those of whom he is saying it to. because she is only being considered disgusting or inferior for these things, because she is these things AND A WOMAN

this is not the same as not being considered a woman at all. The transwoman is suffering disapproval because she is daring to behave like a woman at all, not because she is not enough like one (unless she passes - which just forestalls the issue)

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 22:59:37

mmarmite, yes I am wary of the anger too because I know it is related to this happening to someone important to me. But it is part of a pattern. It is not a random thing that happens sometimes, that toes get trodden on and some of them are women's toes. It is a thing. Masculinity proves itself on women's bodies: through sex, through violence, through sexual violence

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 22:59:59

Here is a good example of what i mentioned upthread.
Cathy Meyer wrote on Huffington Post about when she was in a sexless marriage (also of the husbands choosing) and a lot of the comments underneath try shift the blame onto her.
Its a good example of the kind of attitude women have to put up with. There is an assumption in society that its mainly women who go off sex. This is rubbish. The only reason for that is that when women like Cathy or me speak out about it we are vilified for it or the blame is shifted back to us.
Therefore less of us speak out which skews the figures.

www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-meyer/sexless-marriage-when-sex_b_2280062.html

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:00:07

lrd - You'll probably get challenged by some people if you suddenly reveal something that "gives it away" when you get changed.

If you are involved in a news story, newspapers revel in the fact the person is trans - even if that's irrelevant to the story. Someone who is not trans would just get called male or female. But if you're trans - it has to be mentioned, even if it is totally irrelevant. Again - just a privilege - or an expectation that trans people can't expect?

curry - I accept there's a differene between not feeling good enough as a woman, and not feeling one is one at all.

I'm just not sure where this fits into the debate.

Are you saying, transwomen don't feel they're good enough women, or don't feel they're women at all? Because, I thought the point was, they do feel they're women?

With so much of this, I can see people like you and MMM drawing distinctions and saying 'a and b are different'. And I can accept a and b are different. But it always seems to me that either both, or neither, of a and b apply equally to what I understand about women and transwomen.

If that is so, then what is cis privilege?

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 23:04:27

"I think this issue is related to the questions I have about the different surgeries people have to make themselves feel better about their bodies, when their bodies seem not to reflect their inner identity. I can't tell if gender reassignment surgery is something on a continuum with the kind of surgery a woman might have on her breasts or her vulva to make them look and feel more the way she feels, inside, that they should. Or if it is something entirely distinct from this.

If the two things have some common ground, I think that might also go to how we understand whether there's 'cis' privilege or not?"

I don't know about this, it's a very interesting question. Probably need to ask a trans person.

kim - sorry, cross posted. Yes, that sounds horrible. But, do you see, I'm not understanding how that is different from any other kind of horrible attitude towards the body/femininity side of things.

Is the argument you're making, that transwomen suffer the same sort of horrible social policing of what their bodies 'should' be and how they 'should' perform femininity, as other women? Or is it that transwomen suffer a different sort of social policing, which is the same in that it focusses on the body and on 'femininity' (or 'masculinity' if we were discussing that), but is different in another respect?

If the latter, what is this other respect?

(I do appreciate you talking about this, btw.)

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:08:48

Personally I can't wait till I have surgery. My penis does not belong there and I am so looking forward to it going. Some people don't want surgery - hormones are enough but personally I want surgery. It will make me feel normal.

It's a long drawn out process with lots of hoops to go through. Lots of wait time. 2nd opinions. Psychiatrists - and some genital hair removal that makes me wince to think about it. Christmas is the target date.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 23:10:23

"With so much of this, I can see people like you and MMM drawing distinctions and saying 'a and b are different'. And I can accept a and b are different. But it always seems to me that either both, or neither, of a and b apply equally to what I understand about women and transwomen."

I'm sorry, I have no idea what this means. blushgrin What are a and b?

You might be finding my points confusing because I'm not exactly arguing for either side of the debate. I'm not really sure what my overall opinion is on gender identity, and I'm trying to use this discussion to figure that out a bit.

curryeater Mon 14-Jan-13 23:11:42

LRD, I am saying that the abuse of transwomen is not based on them being inadequate women (a female who does not bother to please men in looks or manner, while being female ) but on them not being considered to be female at all, that is doing one of the most shameful things possible for man, displaying feminine characteristics while being male
So not about what they feel like at all, but about the nature of the discomfort brought upon them by society

Best of luck with it, kim.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:13:16

I think a transwoman probably does more feminity and wants more surgery to "pass" - yes, I know what that means to feminists but it's sometimes just easier to go with the flow and try not to stick out so they try and look like many women they see so they are just one of the crowd?

A bad thing or a survival techique? People have commented that women who don't conform to the stereotype stick out and can be criticised for their choices - a transwoman probably is more likely to stick out so to blend in is more likely to be a survival technique.

And I'm guessing some just like "feminity" and are making up for lost time.

If its about beauty and looking fabulous then you could argue that the [inferred:beautiful]Brazilian transsexual of SMs piece has more cisprivileges wandering into a La Senza changing room than a hirsute, larger, older woman!

MMM - I'm not understand your post, and was trying to ask you to clarify - obviously not very well! Can I instead just ask you what your point was? blush

I'm trying to figure things out too.

curry - oh, I see, that's obvious when you put it like that. It's the same with homosexuality, too - a lot of insults are based in seeing gay men or lesbians as doing something shameful because they are supposedly acting like the other sex. hmm

And if that's the case then cisprivilege is an even more toxic term than I originally thought.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:15:17

smile Trucks

kim - that makes sense (about survival strategies). I've often seen people describe things like wearing makeup as a survival strategy, so I can see that.

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 23:22:33

Something that might arguably be cis privilege is media representation. Cis people - especially men, but to a lesser extent women - can expect to see positive role models when they turn on the tv, they can expect not to hear their very existence made the punchline of a joke (this happens depressingly often when you start noticing it: in a sitcom "Oh I've just been on the worst first date." "Can't be as bad as mine: turned out to be a pre-op transsexual" Cue laugh track sad)

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:25:29

That's a good point - trans people are usually seen as victims in film and TV. Though Hayley was good in Corrie - but in fiction, trans is usually seen as an issue and that is the only thing that identifies them. Anything to do with trans is usually seen is a source of humour and ridicule.

Not that women aren't also portrayed as victims in the media.

I don't expect to see positive female role models on TV, but maybe that is because I am a cynic.

I take your point about (crap) jokes and that is shit.

It's actually a double-whammy, because the jokes rely on a horrible stereotype (bad), but they also only work because transsexuals aren't seen as fully-realized characters - they don't have much visibility (double bad). Or at least, that's on the shows I watch, which might not be a good cross-section.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 23:27:51

As an overweight woman im still waiting to see one playing a romantic lead. Ive got a feeling im in for a long wait!

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 23:30:27

" MMM - I'm not understand your post, and was trying to ask you to clarify - obviously not very well! Can I instead just ask you what your point was? "

LRD, if you mean clarify my 22.53 post, where I said that privilege can include things that are "standard", I wasn't really making a claim either way on whether cisprivilege exists; I was just challenging the claim that trucks made way upthread, when she said " Nope, privilege is someone over and above normal and reasonable expectation. It is NOT a 'privilege' as a woman to be able to a woman's changing room. It is a reasonable expectation. I do not buy 'privilege is the difficulty setting in the game of life' concept. "

Text-based communication is so confusing!

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:30:57

darkesteyes - A good point. The media has a lot to answer for.

<Thinks of most films when a women joins the team with her skills. The males on the team can range in appearance from handsome to ugly but the woman always has to be good looking, well manicured, slim etc. She then has to put up with sexist bullshit from the rest of the team >

MMMarmite Mon 14-Jan-13 23:35:26

" As an overweight woman im still waiting to see one playing a romantic lead. Ive got a feeling im in for a long wait! "

Yeah, it's rubbish isn't it. In my big overlapping privilege chart, that one comes under "thin privilege". But maybe I (and some of the blogs I follow) are taking this privilege concept and extrapolating it into absurdity. I dunno... It seems to me that the arguments used to show that male privilege exists logically lead to the existance of tonnes of other types of privilege too.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 23:38:43

From what ive seen they uusually get an actress who is slightly bigger playing the supportive friend.
ITV drama Leaving which was on back in the autumn is a good example of this.

kim147 Mon 14-Jan-13 23:39:08

Exactly - as someone who is slim, society is well geared up for me. Seats fit me, I can get through doors and I can find clothes on the high street in my size.

Shoes are another issue - but that's getting easier.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 23:42:35

I actually used to be 21 stone. Im now about 15 stone. I lost ten stone ten years ago but comfort ate after my affair ended and gained some of it back. Im tackling it now but its hard. Im ten years older which doesnt help.

Darkesteyes Mon 14-Jan-13 23:45:43

Kim i just want to say id have no problem sharing a changing room with you at all. I hope that doesnt sound patronizing. its not meant to be.

MarkGruffalohohoho Tue 15-Jan-13 00:57:35
hackmum Tue 15-Jan-13 07:51:42

It's been good to read such an interesting and reasoned discussion on here about this (especially compared to the hysteria over at the Guardian site).

Kim - I wish you the best of luck with the surgery.

I'm still disappointed the Guardian has taken the Burchill article down, though. I think it sets an unfortunate precedent.

mark - unfortunately, that is a list about male privilege. Most of those don't apply to women, 'cis' or not. The one about 'gender exclusive spaces' is a rather bitter joke, don't you think?

I accept not everything on that list is male privilege - but so much of it just doesn't apply to women. So, clearly, the person who wrote that list is thinking: 'hmm, I know what a cisgendered person is! It's a man! The default kind of human being!'

To use that to bash women over the head strikes me as really, really shite.

Damn. I really wanted to come and say something positive but that caught me right out again. And pissed me off.

But: I do wish you the very best of luck, kim, and I am so glad you started (and mediated a lot of) this thread, where we've actually got to discuss things.

I'm disappointed the article was taken down, too ... but more disappointed she wrote it, really. It was fucking stupid.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 08:36:13

Me too, Kim.

Perhaps part of all this is that NONE of us can know what it is to be the "other", however we might try and empathise. Whatever position you occupy, unless you are white, male and CEO of a large secure multinational, you may perceive others to be "privileged" or suffering less whereas of course they themselves don't.

That's where it all becomes a bit pointless (as has been said)

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 08:39:02

BUT (contoversy alert) extreme and ragefilled tho the language was, and with a whole bag of motives behind it, it still said, stripped down, what some of us are questioning: we take umbrage at criticism from men, even tho they are becomig women. Don't we feel, deep down, that they just don't have the right?

See, I just don't feel that's what it said.

I would like to attribute such noble motives to JB, but she turned me right off with the first paragraph of 'I'm well working class with my champagne, me' crap.

It's possible I'm not wild about the academia-bashing, either. Being a nasty entitled middle-class type.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 08:50:48

That's interesting, I was left with a distillation of "We've really struggled to get where we are so fuck off"

Maybe I should read it again...

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 08:51:43

Ah, it's bloody gone! Of course.

Well, it certainly shouldn't have been taken down. That is ridic.

It might well be me. I'm easily put off by superficial stuff (for which, read, entitled middle class type).

I'm sure someone's saved a copy somewhere in the internets.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 08:55:33

As someone prone to furious intemperate insult-filled rage meself, I have a little empathy. Sometimes it's hard not to press "send"

That's not a quality I've noticed about you! grin

I see where you're coming from. But it doesn't read like rage to me. I don't think you can write that sort of smug, 'let me tell a little story' first paragraph about her and SM and the champagne, and then get down to fury.

You can tell when SM (or any other writer) is properly angry, IMO. I think that wasn't it.

teedeeuk Tue 15-Jan-13 08:59:19

It's been reprinted in all its disgusting transphobic glory by the Torygraph actually..

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 09:04:05

I'm older now, lrd, I manage not to press "send" more...grin

I'll try and find it.

hackmum Tue 15-Jan-13 09:06:55

The Julie Burchill article is now on Toby Young's blog on the Telegraph:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100198116/here-is-julie-burchills-censored-observer-article/

Hully - "We've really struggled to get where we are so fuck off". That was my reading too. The gist was women have fought long and hard to get basic human rights, and we're not going to take being told by men that we've got it wrong, even if those men identify as women. But obviously expressed in rather more robust language.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 09:15:45

Ok, read it again.

The rage is a little colder than I remember, but I still think the sentiment is "How fucking dare you?"

And I agree. The problem is the tarring of all with the same brush as used to swipe the vocal minority. It was ever thus.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 09:16:50

I can't see why on earth SM should have apologised either.

curryeater Tue 15-Jan-13 09:23:13

Hully - "We've really struggled to get where we are so fuck off".

- yep that's what I read too.

Thank you everyone, especially Kim, for a brilliant discussion. I haven't talked about any of this irl. I have really loved reading such thoughtful posts.

I feel as if I have much more to say (although I probably haven't, probably just a tedious reworking of what I have already said) but I won't, because I really must get some work done today. but thanks again, everyone.

Beachcomber Tue 15-Jan-13 09:25:11

I read it like that too. Women like Burchill, Moore, Bindel, etc have been battling against aggressive sexism, 'women back of the queueism', women STFUism and stop talking about what you think is important and talk about what men think is importantism for fucking decades. And it mostly comes from men.

And they are sick of it.

It coming from a bunch of MTF transactivists is not only frustrating, but also highlights the disparities and difference of interest between biological women and transwomen.

All of which makes some of us kinda hmm with the insistence on all that is 'cis' and the insistence that transwomen and biological women have a common sex identity.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 09:30:04

Just had a thought (not thought out alert)

If there is rage about transphobia, when a man has fully transitioned and is a "woman" (is GRS essential for this?), is she then on the side of Moore, Burchill, Bindel et al...?

Where do the loyalties lie? And how and why?

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 09:30:54

Because if your loyalty remains essentially with trans people, how does that fit with the insistence on being fully accepted as a woman?

Beachcomber Tue 15-Jan-13 09:41:32

And the whole concept of 'cis' is so tediously essentialist and ignores the glaring issue of gender and gender roles as social constructs and tools in an oppressive hierarchy in which huge numbers of women still haven't achieved full human status.

And we women would like to talk about that without having transitioning men harass us.

That's why Burchill is so angry. I think it is pathetic that the article has been taken down. She was commissioned to write it, they must have known that she wouldn't pull any punches, they know this is a hugely controversial issue with bad history and a lot of anger. I think some of her language was out of order but then when your mate has been receiving death threats (again) I guess you lose the will to censor your words.

I haven't looked around yet but I really hope that there is something in the press about how sick and fucking tired women are of being threatened and harrassed by tranactivists. Somebody needs to shine a light on their activities in the mass media. (Although whoever does can expect death threats and stalking so good luck to 'em. Which is perhaps why Burchill wrote the angry article she did.)

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:03:25

HullyGully said: "As someone prone to furious intemperate insult-filled rage meself, I have a little empathy. Sometimes it's hard not to press "send" "

But if you ever got annoyed during a debate on race, would you say "Shut the fuck up you non human nigger!"? I think not. But that's the equivalent of what Burchill said.

Burchill:
"bunch of dicks in chick’s clothing."
" a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I’d imagine the Black & White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look." - (In other words men pretending to be black is the same as men pretending to be women which is what she thinks transsexuals are.)
"...most pressing problem that women – real and imagined..."
" ...to the stand-off with the trannies."
"... they’re lucky I’m not calling them shemales."

What she said wasn't 'fruity' or 'near the knuckle'. It was grossly offensive hate filled speach about a minority group.

FloatyBeatie Tue 15-Jan-13 10:09:27

I'm interested to know how common this harassment is. I do think that in the SM case, a perhaps not ideal but very certainly not wrongful one-liner was unnecessarily challenged in a way that hugely sidelined the very important issues SM was writing about. So that does seem like harassment of women's discussion about womenhood for sure. But equally, it seems like a very standard sort of Twiiterstorm that says at least as much about the poisonous dynamic of internet conversation as it does about transactivism. There seem to be few conversational areas which can't be undermined by one sort or another of creeping righteous orthodoxy that demands to silence certain words, people, views, images in the name of a conception of what is acceptable. We seem to be sleepwalking into a horrible narrowness of permitted expression -- and on reflection the withdrawal of the Burchill article is an example of that. We've even had to have the DPP isue a report to discourage the routine use of legal sanctions against people who say deeply offensive things online.

Because I don't go to feminist events, I genuinely don't know how common it is for transactivists to impede them. Is it really a major problem? Or is it a drop in the ocean compared with the numbers of ordinary, unoffensive transpeople to whom many feminists might surely want to reach out?

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:13:20

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

FloatyBeatie Tue 15-Jan-13 10:14:54

(Actually, contra my last post, I do think the Burchill article should have been withdrawn. It went much too far -- especially since it was a piece commissioned and approved by a newspaper, not a middle-of-the-evening rant by a keyboard warrior who'd drunk too much wine. And I don't believe she wrote in anger defending a friend. She is a professional; she was writing for money; this was a piece of work that should have been executed in accordance with professional standards of reflection and concern, not just with loyalty to a mate.)

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:21:06

Ok, then let's also ban Richard Littlejohn etc etc etc

Beachcomber Tue 15-Jan-13 10:22:19

Yes her language was rude and many will no doubt dismiss her article purely on that basis.

As I say though, it would be good to examine the actual content, the context and what drove her to use such language (language which is actually pretty mild considering they way it is acceptable to talk about women in the media).

The topic of this thread is has Burchill gone too far, but I think a question that needs to be asked is when are the transctivists going to stop threatening and harassing women?

And why should they expect to threaten and harass us without us reacting strongly. Are we supposed to accept the harassing, the bullying, the stalking, the death threats, the infiltrating of safe spaces, the hijacking of our identity and our voice with a feminine meekness and a submissive grovelling acknowledgement of our 'cis privilege' (whilst we get stopped yet again from talking about female oppression)?

Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Like I say, I think an honest reaction to all this would be to shine a light on the actions of those who have harassed Moore (again). But no, lets focus on the women who dared to get angry.

Loquace Tue 15-Jan-13 10:23:07

Ok, then let's also ban Richard Littlejohn etc etc etc

Fat chance.

FloatyBeatie Tue 15-Jan-13 10:23:10

But no one has been banned -- just withdrawn from publication in the Graun, where Richard Littlejohn also wouldn't get a look in thank god.

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:25:23

As in all groups Floaty there are people on the extreme side of things. I've met radical cyclists who hate all car drivers, radical walkers who want to ban cyclists from the countryside, and radical trans people who will attack every unkind comment with the maximum response they can muster. Basically, every group has it's arseholes.
The problem with some feminist events is that they label women with a transsexual past as not women. It's seen as an attack on the trans person's gender identity. Their identity is very important to them. Often their whole life revolves around it. Imagine what would happen if the situations were reversed and feminists were not allowed to call themselves women were not allowed to go to events organised by non-feminist women.

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:26:51

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:29:44

Yeah right course I am.

You are a man. You don't know and can't know how it feels to be a woman on the constant receiving end of shit and get really angry. See "otherness" up there^^

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:30:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:31:26

That give you an excuse to be transphobic?

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:31:56

Btw, to avoid deletion you should say "your post makes you sound transphobic" <helpful>

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:32:30

Yes I am. I am ravingly transphobic.

Can we get back to the more interesting discussion now?

Loquace Tue 15-Jan-13 10:33:34

I feel the need to adjust the graphic on that "cisgendered priviledge" post.

Little blue man-"I think we sometimes forget how good we have it. Let's try and do that less"

Little pink woman- "We? WE!!, have you spent the last 30 years with your fingers in your ears and a blindfold on? Good? GOOD!! Oh for fuck sake....<mutters darkly>

There. That's better.

curryeater Tue 15-Jan-13 10:47:57

I am FOAMING at the mouth having read that stupid, STUPID thing about cis-privilege.

"Strangers don’t assume they can ask you what your genitals look like and how you have sex." Are for fucking REAL? Ginger women get asked once a day "if their collars and cuffs match"

"Strangers call you by the name you provide, and don’t ask what your “real name” [birth name] is and then assume that they have a right to call you by that name."

ha ha ha ha ha. Every time I tell men my name, they squint and say "and what do your friends call you?" (in other words: your name is too long and unfamiliar for me to bother to say it)

"You can reasonably assume that your ability to acquire a job, rent an apartment, or secure a loan will not be denied on the basis of your gender identity/expression."

HA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHA. Please see ten billion threads on "they would not put the life assurance in my name" "they refused to talk to me about the tenancy" "they asked my husband's permission for the expenditure on the repairs" etc etc etc etc

"You have the ability to flirt, engage in courtship, or form a relationship and not fear that your biological status may be cause for rejection or attack, nor will it cause your partner to question their sexual orientation."

HA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHAHA HA HA HA HHA HA HA HAH HAHA

"I don't like women who make the first move". "She's a bit desperate isn't she?" "you would be more attractive if you played hard to get. Keep him wondering."

I can't even be bothered to read the rest.

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:49:11

Could we all just be clear:

Calling trans women men or 'he' is transphobic.
Calling trans women "Women" is transphobic.
The reverse is the same for trans men.

Transphobia and racism and disabledism etc is not allowed on Mumsnet.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:49:25

<mops curry's brow and blots foam>

tiggy, it's a personal attack to call someone transphobic without provocation.

Talking about men judging what women say is valid. It isn't the same as calling someone who identifies as a woman 'he'.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:54:06

disabledism <snigger>

Tiggy, this is my last post on this subject because you are doing the man thing of going on and on and becoming very dull. You are veering very close to mansplaining.

So, dear, you know those little lines in the air carefully placed around a word? They are called "inverted commas." They are intended to indicate that the word is not being used in its literal form, but as an appellation in relation to a particular case. In this case, discussed many pages ago but you obviously can't be bothered to rtft, that one of the issues women have with trans people having a pop, is that a part of each woman feels, Here we go again, someone that is technically/biologically/used to be/was once upon a time a man, is telling us what to do. And we don't like it.

It was discussed ages ago as something to be aware of and think about.

TiggyD Tue 15-Jan-13 10:55:09

She wasn't talking about men saying things. She was talking about Trans women that she had called "men" saying things.

FloatyBeatie Tue 15-Jan-13 10:57:42

There hasn't been transphobia on this thread. It's been a really excellent discussion.

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 10:58:40

dog bone

rtft

seriously this has been a great civilised and interesting discussion and you want a fight.

could you have one elsewhere?

Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 11:02:06

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Hullygully Tue 15-Jan-13 11:03:36

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Jins Tue 15-Jan-13 11:15:26

I read the article when it first came out. It felt like it had crossed the line. However it's led into debate all over the net which has made me think about my views a bit more.

Is the 'cis' definition getting more mainstream then? I only really hear it about women although I've only done a limited amount of reading.