Am I wrong to feel shouted down by this?

(151 Posts)
Puddingpop Thu 18-Jul-13 11:48:14

This is the first time I've ever ventured onto here,and I may regret doing so,but this is really annoying me and I'm curious to know the opinions of other women on the subject.

I use Tumblr,and I keep seeing messages like this on my dash,which have been reblog fed by friends,Cis women can have abortions. Men can have abortions. People who identify as both male and female can have abortions. People who don't identify as male or female can have abortions. Don't erase people.

Now I don't consider myself to be transphobic,but messages like that,and others referring to the 'privilege' of 'cis' women,are really starting to make me angry,perhaps unreasonably so. But I can't help feeling shouted down as a woman,when I see posts like that.Also being called a 'cis' woman really rankles,for some reason.

I don't deny that trans hatred exists,but when countless women are unable to get access to safe and accessible terminations when needed,and when so called developed nations are removing that right from women,doing all they can to make it harder for women to get a termination,is that really what we should be focusing on?

TeiTetua Sat 20-Jul-13 15:50:20

"Cis" goes back to the Latin, where "Cisalpine Gaul" was the part of Gaul that was on the Italian side of the Alps, and "Transalpine Gaul" was the French side. It means basically, to get to the cis-side you don't have to cross over, you're already on the side you want to be. To get to the trans side, you have to make a crossing.

But whether we ought to use neutral terminology to refer to transexuals, coming up with a name for people who are not transexual, I'm not so sure. People get emotional about this and the idea of being "shouted down" for being on what someone thinks of as the wrong side isn't too far-fetched. Look at that recent conference in London where the owners of the venue cancelled the booking because they were afraid there'd be trouble between factions disagreeing about transexuals!

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 14:30:47

I am using the terminology that I have been led to believe is the most appropriate by trans people. Two spirit includes elements of masculinity, hence the inclusive term for all those who have elements of masculinity is masculine spectrum, rather than it being used only to refer to men.

I am aware that some trans people consider themselves to have no elements of male or female, which I respect if somebody states it. There is not as far as I know an inclusive term for all those whose identity is not woman, which is why I haven't used it.

I haven't said that dissent is like being an MRA. I have said that making factually incorrect statements about women's work is like an MRA argument (in fact it is a well known one). I have referred specifically to what you have said to show how you are not addressing points, and I am not going to type it all out again. If you have a post that you have made where you discuss Canadian experiences (Spork's point), objections to the concept of women's reproductive rights on tumblr (the OP's point), the experiences of women generally (Flora's point) or the distressing conflation of personal experience with being blamed for an ideology (often Kim's point), I apologise.

I am going to bow out of this, because I am finding this personal, unpleasant and unproductive (for which I am not blaming you more than myself), and that it is generating more heat than light. I hope we are on another thread where we have a more positive discussion, even if one based on disagreement, in the future.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 12:49:52

Where on earth has LittleSpork said they were a masculine spectrum trans person? That's not what two-spirited means.

Also, your eagerness to dismiss what LittleSpork has said based on who you think they are, rather then what they've actually said is unsettling.

I don't know how you can say I haven't engaged with the points of the thread, is this just another way of telling me to go away because I don't agree with you? Oh well, at least it's better then being told that dissent is like being an MRA and is somehow "attacking women".

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 12:26:02

I am not saying that.

I have clearly said multiple times that my issue is with talking about masculine spectrum trans people rather than women including trans women. You have clearly said 'since when does somebody who is non- gender nonconforming have privilege over those who do?' That clearly means you don't believe people on the trans masculine spectrum have masculine privilege over people who are women.

Spork has claimed, despite their own link showing it to be untrue, that white women in the UK are paid more than men from other ethnic groups. That is a classic MRA argument that we recently discussed at length on another thread - the idea that it is actually various male groups who are the most poorly paid. You refuse to discuss that instead making out that Spork making these comments about women in the UK is somehow admirable and we should all listen to someone who is neither British nor a woman about the lives of British women despite them being ill informed on a subject that does not have an impact on their life. The further insinuation being that talking about such issues and wanting women in the UK is somehow racist.

I have never suggested that I was not interested in learning about colonial feminism. As my main online space is my tumblr blog and my RP partner is an indigenous American as is my primary work colleague and my work specifically deals with colonial issues, I am actively engaged in listening to people talking about them and have given joint talks with my colleague on the impact of colonialism. I do resent that you are essentially pushing me into giving the equivalent of a 'some of my best friends are gay' justification by your constant assumption that I do not listen or have no interest in women's rights more widely than white women (despite me discussing experiences of other women at length on recent threads) purely because I do not know a lot about Candian WOC and have expressed a preference to learn about it from the experiences of a Canadian WOC, something entirely absent from this thread.

While I appreciate people making dissenting responses that actually address the points other than making, you are not actually addressing what people are saying. You have said nothing whatsoever about Canadian women other than to tell everyone else they should be learning and/or talk about it. You are consistently making out that people have said things they never said or even alluded to.

What is happening here is the equivalent of me going on to any thread being discussed by a disadvantaged group anywhere in the world, making some remark about the experiences of UK male prison rape, despite not being male, a victim of rape or ever having been in prison and then telling everyone else they are oppressive for not stopping their discussion and going away to read up on male UK victims of rape in prison.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 11:40:45

Suggesting you read about Womanism and Colonial Feminism is not attacking woman. It is bizarre for you to suggest this.

I do comment elsewhere on this board elsewhere on feminist issues, so again, the implication that I have come on here specifically to silence you is unwarranted.

Also, there is a difference between reading/learning about particular people and issues and then presuming to speak for those people.

So saying "I don't have to learn\listen to x, because they speak for themselves" - can you see the problem with that?

Finally, I think it's very telling that you are comparing someone talking about the issues of women elsewhere in the world to an MRA.

And you accuse me of attacking women?

You completely misinterpreted LittleSporks

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 10:13:27

GAG, I have never suggested that you leave this thread.

I have not said that trans women are not women, so you are not dissenting from what I'm saying.

I do not consider your disagreement with me to be an attack on me as an individual. I do think your desire to not talk about situations in Canada yourself but to insist everyone else goes away and starts researching it online, so that we effectively stop talking about women and start talking about people further on to the trans masculine spectrum is you attacking feminism.

Trans women activists have repeatedly pointed out the misogyny involved in gender queer people, trans men and those like you who make the conversation about these groups going on to discussions about people who identify as women (including trans women) and making the conversation no longer about women.

I have no issue with people discussing colonial feminism and have been on various threads recently with posters contributing on this thread (particularly Garlic) to discuss women's rights in various parts of Africa and Asia. On that thread various MRA and similar posters were constantly trying to make the topic about Western men, and yet I do not see you coming on to such threads and defending the right to talk about women's rights in other parts of the world. I can only assume your purpose on here is to stop women talking about women.

While I am prepared to discuss the situations of women in Asia and Africa including trans women, I do not feel it would be ethical for me to talk about indigenous women in North America because they have repeatedly asked for non-indigenous women to reblog indigenous women's perspectives rather than try to speak for them as they have been silenced so many times before. So while If you or anyone else would like to discuss the situation of women in Canada, that would be your choice and I don't have an objection to it. If you are however determined not to speak about it and instead make out other people are racist oppressors for not discussing and researching the rights of people on the trans masculine spectrum when they are discussing women (including trans women) on a thread about women's rights, I do see that as an attack on women.

Trills Sat 20-Jul-13 10:09:22

My "theory" is that trans women are women so feminism is for them too.

I think feminism is for everyone because men (cis men and trans men, if you're wondering, all men) are also harmed by the patriarchy.

(slightly off topic)

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:11:32

But going back to the OP, there should be no problem with women discussing reproductive rights without being accused of transphobia. I can't believe that women have been shouted down at conferences for wanting to discuss such issues.

I think issues such as abortion should be discussed by everyone.

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:07:31

I go to the female toilet by myself. Like most people do. I'll admit to sometimes holding off for a bit if I there's a bit of a queue as sometimes I feel self conscious even though I generally pass ok.

OTOH, I can see people feeling uncomfortable if a very male looking "bloke in a dress" transwoman (and yes, I've see them) joins a queue in what is supposed to be a female safe space.

But unfortunately no law is going to stop someone entering a toilet / female space if they are intent on committing sexual assault.

garlicagain Sat 20-Jul-13 05:00:26

"The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Research Report Series publishes research carried out for the EHRC by commissioned researchers. The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission. The Commission is publishing the report as a contribution to discussion and debate."

- Oh, OK, not an 'excellent' source perhaps. It's dated 2008 so, if the team's conclusions were strong enough, that dynamite would have blown by now, wouldn't it?

Why have I been up all night reading about genderqueer & transgender issues??! (& why is genderqueer such an ugly word? Can't we say othersex or something less freaky-sounding?)

garlicagain Sat 20-Jul-13 04:49:40

... I know it's not core topic, but how amazing is it that Chinese and Black Caribbean women earn more than white women?!

I was also surprised to learn that pay gaps between men and women of the same ethnic group were not observed for most groups. Women in same sex couples did not experience a pay gap relative to married men. Married women experienced a pay gap of 18% and single women a 36% pay gap relative to married men.

That study blows huge craters in my current understanding of economic & social inequalities, and intersectionality, in the UK. I had thought I was fairly well informed. I'll have to go back to it and check the data & methodology - but it comes from an excellent source and, if accurate, is potential dynamite.

garlicagain Sat 20-Jul-13 04:27:36

Reading this with interest, and a certain amount of foot-stamping. Thanks, everyone, for the continuing debate(s). Flora didn't call Spork a man. I noticed this because I hadn't picked up that Spork is ... er, notaciswoman, and deduced from Flora's words that s/he must be.

Wrt Puddingpop's original complaint, I'd propose that anyone who deems pregnancy an issue of vaginal health is disqualified from commenting on either!

FloraFox Sat 20-Jul-13 03:18:55

I did not call spork a man. I use female pronouns for everyone on MN unless it is obvious they are male or want male pronouns.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 02:57:13

My "theory" is that trans women are women so feminism is for them too. But women are not all the same (race,class,disability,etc) this means there are many different struggles under the banner if feminism.

I have said all this upthread already.

I believe Flora called LittleSpork a man.

Disagreeing with you is not attacking women. I think I have every right to be on this thread and am baffled at the desire to kick off dissenting voices.

There is always, always disagreement on trans threads on here. I am unsure as to why that shouldn't be the case.

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 02:46:43

I don't really know why you are resorting to insults. Spork is genderqueer. They are not a woman. I said that. Despite having supposedly read Spork's posts, you responded that Spork was called a man. That did not happen.

This thread was, in terms of the question the OP asked, about the issue of gender theory on women's reproductive rights. You are defending that theory, which claims that rather than biological females being a disadvantaged group, people who identify as women are disadvantaged by femmephobia and that should be the focus if feminism.

If you are not in fact defending queer theory and in fact don't believe that women are disadvantaged by either gender or sex, then it seems your purpose on this thread is solely to attack women, and it seems hard to understand why you want us to read up on feminism or why you have come on a thread about that theory and it's potentially damaging impact on people's lives and human rights.

FloraFox Sat 20-Jul-13 02:36:05

gosh but if I do, I am accused of being a white colonialist in league with people who want to kill people like spork?

I refuse the be told I must read up (on fucking google?) on the history of everything everywhere before I can engage in a discussion that had nothing to do with colonialism or womanism. This thread is about shouting down women and gender identity.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 02:33:09

Freya - are the straws in your hands itchy?

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 02:19:49

I find it incredible that both GAG and Kritiq are claiming to defend trans rights but the former assumes not a woman means man and the other mis genders a trans person.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 02:17:54

Flora - no one, no one has said you cannot talk about your own oppressions.

As for the rest, just Google Womanism. It will answer a lot of your questions. For those already familiar with the concepts of Womanism and colonial feminism, what LittleSpork said was very familiar territory, not just one person's words on Mumsnet.

WhentheRed - how will having a female friend with them make it safer for a pre-op trans women to use a male public toilet?

FloraFox Sat 20-Jul-13 02:10:53

kritiq spork said in an earlier thread she didn't want to fight under a feminist banner, but don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudices, eh?

As for the rest of your mischaracterisations of what I've said, whatever. It's quite clear why you, gosh and spork have to resort to insults rather than engage in discussion. Like all believers in faith-based theories, you can only conduct a discussion for so long before you have to start stamping your foot.

Gosh if that was your point, I am at a loss as to why you thought it was worth making. Indigenous people were/are treated horrifically therefore we must say nothing about our own or any other oppression and accept without question the characterisation of feminism set out by a self-professed indigenous person on the internet?

KRITIQ Sat 20-Jul-13 02:09:40

Shovel. Hole. Deeper.

(must go to bed before head explodes.)

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 02:03:22

GAG, Spork is not a woman. Did you read the post?

FreyaSnow Sat 20-Jul-13 02:02:17

I'll repeat my point then Kritiq. How is it a valid intersectional parallel to link to a UK source that clearly states that there isn't statistical evidence that white women make more than ethnic minorities, and claim in a post that white women make more than everyone except white men. It is simply factually incorrect according to Spork's own post.

And Spork is not a woman, so to refer to the situation of women of color as Spork's issue to misgender them. Spork, I do not know your preferred pronouns so am using they and them.

WhentheRed Sat 20-Jul-13 02:02:03

First, apologies to LittleSporksBigSpork for assuming that the genderbread man was actually going into schools and colleges to impart his theories on his "target audience". That merely shows my age. I am happier that he does not get into schools to peddle his harmful stereotypes.

Second, my particular goals in this discussion were to:

- see if there was another term that I could accept which could also be acceptable to the trans*community rather than "cisgender" or "ciswoman" (or to see if there was an alternate explanation for "cis" that I could buy into).
- see if I could accomplish this without being shouted down or insulted.

I don't think either succeeded. Not only that but despite setting out at length the challenges I have with being called "cisgendered" and "ciswoman" and my own view that I am not cigendered on the definition provided to me, I am still called "cis". I call people by the names, descriptions and pronouns they tell me. I am asking nicely, please do not call me "cisgendered" or "ciswoman".

Third,*GoshAnneGorilla*, I don't describe myself as transcritical but I will take a crack at your questions:

Do you want the Gender Recognition Act overturned? No. I don't agree with the concept of a gender identity but I would not campaign to get rid of it.

Trans women to be forever barred from using any women only facilities? That's too broad a question. "Trans*women" covers a wide range of self-identifications and "any women's facilities" covers a broad range of facilities and activities. My answer will depend on the circumstances and likely needs to be done on a case by case basis. In general terms, I would say that where sex and privacy matter, then male-bodied persons should not have access.

Is it the right to misgender trans people to their faces and say "No, what's your real name" when they give you a female one! No. I will call people whatever they want to be called. I am misnamed on a daily basis and it's a pain in the neck.

Is it because you are embarrassed to say in front of a trans person exactly how you want to remove their rights and condemn them to a life of misery for the supposed betterment of womankind? Eh? What's that supposed to mean?

Fourth, Kim147, what's the point of posting the link to the pretendbians website? In answer to your statement about needing to go to the loo when not at home, I would say go wherever you feel comfortable and if you feel uncomfortable, take a friend. I wouldn't use a loo in a park unless there were loads of women/girls in there already.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Sat 20-Jul-13 02:00:21

Flora - you miss my point. It is that the treatment of indigenous people in Canada is so horrific and (now) widely documented that a very short time on the internet would be needed to verify LittleSpork's words.

But don't let that get in the way of you being rude and dismissive.

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