Violence Against Women(515 Posts)
Just been reading this blog post which talks about women who Transition as violence against women. I agree with her.
[Warning from MNHQ - this contains graphic images]
"None of my points are particularly directed at you, FoodUnit - they are about the rad fem approach to the trans issue more generally. I have lots of sympathy with the rad fem cause but I do see them shooting themselves in the foot on this issue when a more tactical approach (while still focusing on crucial issues like women-only space) might be more successful."
I can't really comment on this because I haven't witnessed any of these bunfights, though I have seen very tactical and actually gentle approaches to crucial issues like women-only spaces being mobbed and demonised by the said alliance which can kind of put people on the defensive.
But I am with you that there is nothing flattering or likeable about someone on the defensive - in fact they are easy to stereotype, caricature, ridicule and dismiss... However the more oppressed you are, or the more attacked you are, the more the strain of 'not coming across as defensive' becomes difficult to maintain. Composure is easy when you are backed up by the might of the status quo!
You're right about the complicated connotations of civilised, of course! And I certainly am not in favour of inoffensively upholding the status quo - but my experience is that some ways of challenging it are more successful than others.
None of my points are particularly directed at you, FoodUnit - they are about the rad fem approach to the trans issue more generally. I have lots of sympathy with the rad fem cause but I do see them shooting themselves in the foot on this issue when a more tactical approach (while still focusing on crucial issues like women-only space) might be more successful.
"I do feel that engaging with the more civilised elements of the rest of society is crucial in terms of getting feminist ideas more widely accepted, and that it is worth thinking about how to put one's ideas across convincingly and persuasively."
I agree, but blanket 'choicey, choicey, choice choice, choice,' or 'nicey, nicey, nice, nice, nice' mantras are being prescribed and faithfully recanted by the masses in such a way that any critique is mischaracterised as attack, to the point that women are so wilfully oblivious they are being blatantly pick-pocketed of their rights while they focus on giving directions to the decoy.
So sometimes being a bit more direct is appropriate.
This doesn't mean I can't put ideas across persuasively or convincingly (in fact I have had a lot of feedback that I can). But on an anonymous internet forum, we are free to speak without damage to any particular cause by association.
Also I am rather about "engaging with the more civilised elements of the rest of society" I do hope that doesn't mean "inoffensively upholding the status quo and smiling nicely". 'Civilised' has lots of problematic connotations as a choice of word.
Well, it's true that avoiding the face shouldn't be the chief aim of a committed feminist! I am talking about liberal-left society, where most people are fairly receptive to feminist ideas (they may disagree, but they usually engage with the argument). I do feel that engaging with the more civilised elements of the rest of society is crucial in terms of getting feminist ideas more widely accepted, and that it is worth thinking about how to put one's ideas across convincingly and persuasively.
However - I am a wet liberal and know lots of rad fems who favour a more robust approach to engaging. There is room for both sorts.
"the fact remains that very, very few women have suffered in any way as a result of the granting of trans rights. Compared to the daily horrors inflicted on women across the world by male violence and oppression, trans issues are a drop of water in the ocean."
But trans issues are what MRAs have deliberately joined with transactivists to split feminism and reverse womens rights and hamper their progress. I don't see transsexuality as central to my feminism, its just that this alliance (with handmaidens and sex-industry profiteers thrown in) is currently attacking radfems and making it disproportionately topical to a point I actually resent. Hence my avoidance of trans* threads.
"claims about how trans people threaten the very definition of woman make most normal people go "
Lots of things make people go even calling yourself a feminist will make people go . Does this response mean I should keep quiet? I don't believe so. I am interested in getting to the truth of the matter and I've faced worse than a few raised eyebrows in my time.
Equally, FoodUnit, I think that rad fems need to give some thought to how they express their critique of transsexuality - because to most non-initiated people they do just come across as defensive meanies. Having seen some of the problems caused by trans activists I have a bit more understanding of their point of view now, but claims about how trans people threaten the very definition of woman make most normal people go
Because, although I understand the potential problems involved in allowing legal sex changes (which incidentally is a long and difficult process to go through, something many rad fems seem unwilling to accept), the fact remains that very, very few women have suffered in any way as a result of the granting of trans rights. Compared to the daily horrors inflicted on women across the world by male violence and oppression, trans issues are a drop of water in the ocean.
kim "Please remember that transactivists are not always representative of most transpeople. I'm sure you appreciate that. It's good that trans rights have been gained but there are times when people go too far. And they are also absolutely convinced they are right."
Its true. And I really don't see that they represent all transpeople. Also, I know that my view is far from the popular one here <understatement of the century> , but I want to be clear that this doesn't mean I deny the very real internal and external pressures upon a transperson that makes transitioning seem to be the resolution. But I hold that where this encroaches upon women's rights, critique is necessary and should not be taboo, or dismissed as 'just another pressure/barrier transpeople have to face'. Though I see that you haven't been arguing this, others kind of have on this thread.
"The only explanation I can find is that you assume that trans are intentionally trying to erode women's rights, which I cannot find any evidence of at all."
I don't believe that transpeople are trying to erode women's rights, but the deliberate legal targeting of the feminist gains protecting women from male violence by transactivists and their general whipping up of hysteria around those 'meany radfems' - to the point where anyone would think that radfems are the powerful oppressor, rather than patriarchy- I find the evidence is pretty extensive. You only have to look for it. I won't link to any particular bloggers or blogs since I know MRAs and Transactivists troll on MN and don't want to send them in that direction.
"Btw I have realised you are the only person taking the opposite stance on this thread now FU so I applaud your tenacity if not your views."
I haven't been on MN 'trans* threads' before, but this one caught me by stealth - it was in the title.
HoopDePoop "You seem determined to maintain the male/female divide as somehow sacred, whilst also simplifying it down to anatomy, something easily altered."
I think 'sacred' has very different connotations to the way I am arguing. I rationally see that humans are reproductively dimorphic species where a structural oppression of one sex by the other has become established.
Also anatomy is not something easily altered! It is through brutal and invasive surgery that you can at best mimic the appearance of the opposite sex, but it has the consequence of leaving you unable to reproduce - infertility.
Btw I have realised you are the only person taking the opposite stance on this thread now FU so I applaud your tenacity if not your views.
It seems to me that FoodUnit you don't believe that transpeople exist, and refuse to look at any evidence that they do.
You seem determined to maintain the male/female divide as somehow sacred, whilst also simplifying it down to anatomy, something easily altered.
Consider why the male/female dichotomy is so important to you? You seem reluctant to recognise the idea of a 'typical' man or woman, yet insist that the two are totally different.
If feminism's aim is for society to recognise that men and women are different, and to ensure that things are set up to cater for both sexes' needs, then how do transpeople threaten this?
The only explanation I can find is that you assume that trans are intentionally trying to erode women's rights, which I cannot find any evidence of at all. I see no reason at all to exclude mtf trans from any women-only space, it's not something you can have grey areas for IMO. To transition sex is legal, to insult a transperson is hate speech, so how can you decide that you will ignore all of this? It is so, so few people and itis heartbreaking to think that you will not allow them to be fully recognised as women despite their being legally so, when your reasons include that they might sexually assault another woman. How insulting. You have no evidence to show that it is even a remote possibility.
"Do you know anyone who is transitioning?"
My familiarity with transpeople is only through the workplace and online, I don't know any transpeople intimately. The people I do know intimately tend to be not 'gender-typical' so I find it hard to ascertain what the 'average woman' or 'average man' is like. Though I see behaviours of male entitlement in all the men I know, no matter how fluffy and sweet they are, and I see flashes of conditioned self-negation in women, no matter how strident or bold they are. But I don't believe these traits are innate, they strike me as obviously conditioned rather than integral to their personalities.
"Well you seemed very confident in your statement. Are you going to withdraw it or stand by it?"
Which statement are you referring to?
EldritchCleavage "I think the argument is that just because a group as a whole is 5% anything does not mean that each and every of its sub-groups is also 5% anything."
Yes, I get that, but if the percentage changes according to sub-group there will be concrete reason for this uneven distribution. It is an assumption to pre-empt the pattern of unevenness without evidence or a hypothesis. But kim147 gives a hypothesis here:
"I think you are ignoring the actual personality of MTFs compared to an "average" man. Especially the personality of someone who is transitioning."
I suppose I don't actually see much difference in the personalities myself -I'm not saying that to be cruel- I've not really seen it, but maybe I can't spot something subtly different from the 'average man' that might be more obvious to other people.
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