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"gender can be really important to people in a positive way"

(43 Posts)
BBCNewsRave Tue 27-Dec-16 19:27:49

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Sorry for another trans one, but a former feminist (well, I guess she still thinks she's feminist...) posted this on fb.
Seriously? FFS. Daren't reply...

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Tue 27-Dec-16 21:08:19

I think it's up to your friend if she's a feminist - not you.

HermioneWeasley Tue 27-Dec-16 21:15:14

I'd love to know how regressive stereotypes can have a positive impact on anyone

Leanback Tue 27-Dec-16 21:16:13

You can be a feminist and still supportive of the trans movement. Don't label others for them.

BBCNewsRave Tue 27-Dec-16 21:27:26

Can you be a feminist and think gender is a good thing? confused

BBCNewsRave Tue 27-Dec-16 21:38:34

... plus this is the tip of the iceberg. I don't think someone who agrees with women not even being able to define "woman" anymore can possibly be a feminist.
(Btw it was written is response to a pic of someone holding a placard saying "abolish gender" or similar... can't find post now)

I'm finding it really difficult even as I have become more feminist over the last few years to find those I thought were on the same page have dropped feminism for transactivism... I don't mean we just disagree on the trans thing, but that they exclusively seem to focus on trans...

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 27-Dec-16 22:06:19

If you visit the Everyday Feminism site you'll see loads of articles giving advice on how best to prioritize being a trans ally. It's very fashionable among some women, though I would question whether they are feminists. Feminism is a very broad church but I think allowing men to define women disqualifies you. Gender is a hierarchy that puts women underneath, and feminists reject this.

user1482899995 Wed 28-Dec-16 04:57:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Miffer Wed 28-Dec-16 12:31:21

Back up where you were little thread.

CancellyMcChequeface Thu 29-Dec-16 12:01:15

I agree with Prawn. If you see that gender is a hierarchy, then it's impossible to also consider it an empowerful, my-choice identity statement. I'd say that recognising the gender hierarchy (and that it's a social construct and not innate!) is an essential part of feminism.

You can be a feminist and do lots of 'unfeminist' things - wear lots of make-up, take your husband's name, go on a diet. They aren't feminist choices but they're choices everyone is free to make. Feminism doesn't demand ideological purity and nobody has to give up their feminist card for wearing lipstick. Feminists can be from all over the political spectrum and disagree with each other on very many issues.

However, I don't think you can be a feminist and say that 'woman' means whatever anyone wants it to mean. That's fundamentally at odds with what feminism stands for, on a much deeper level.

BeyondIBringYouGoodTidings Thu 29-Dec-16 12:15:34

Cancelly sums it up quite well IMO.

You can be a feminist and make unfeminist choices.
It is somewhat harder to be a feminist when you have unfeminist (and yes I would include belief in a ladybrain as this) beliefs.

QueenOfTheSardines Thu 29-Dec-16 13:06:06

I don't even understand what "gender can be really important to people in a positive way" means.

So say I say OK I want to feel really positive about gender. What does that mean. How does it manifest itself.

Does it mean "today I am feeling slightly masculine so I have put some trousers on and I feel pretty comfy in them"?

Or, what?

whoputthecatout Thu 29-Dec-16 13:10:41

Feminism is a very broad church but I think allowing men to define women disqualifies you

Yes.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 29-Dec-16 13:17:54

Well put, in terms of feminism not requiring "ideological purity", Cancelly. We are all trying to get by in life and not everything is worth a battle. But no feminist can be "cis." Feminist class analysis makes no sense if the class "woman" comes to mean anyone who identifies as a woman.

Pretending that human beings are not sexually dimorphic results in a situation where, for example, women are no longer allowed to object to street harassment because if they don't like it they are told they have the option to transition to escape it. This, among other things, ignores the fact that you can identify all you like but what matters is what sex other people think you are.

Recently a poor young transman who was raped, reported that however much the assailant was told that the transman was a man, he wouldn't stop. How naive is that? It suggests a very young adult with very little common sense. As we have seen in other threads, some of the Tumblr generation seem to believe that real sex changes are possible, a very dangerous basis for decisions.

BBCNewsRave Thu 29-Dec-16 15:15:39

Prawn ...reported that however much the assailant was told that the transman was a man, he wouldn't stop

Are there more FtT detransitioners than MtT? It seems that way... and this sort of thing is probably why. A terrifying dose of reality. And transmen who "pass" also become acutely aware of sexism. Whereas I suppose for transwomen it's much easier to view sexism and homophobia as "transphobia".

I've been thinking more about the original statement, and swopping it with other things. So eg. "Race can be really important to people in a positive way". Well for a start, if someone had a placard saying that we should abolish notions of race, I doubt a lefty into equality would say "Oh, but race can be important to people"... but they might and it would kind of make sense. So race is socially constructed, like gender. Obviously there are small biological differeces like skin pigmentation and build, but perceived "race" doesn't match up with genetic differences in a clear way. (Hope that makes sense... so someone white might be more genetically similar to someone black, than someone white from a diffferent country, for eg.) And perceived stereotypes about race are generally bollocks, as with gender, and play into a social hierarchy.

But the notion of race could be important, especially to the disadvanatged group(s). It would be a shared identity and experiences amongst people in that group, and as a sort of reclaiming-the-identity thing, I suppose. Saying "Yes, I am a black person but I am not XYZ stereotype". I guess that's where it differs from gender though. Because if you say "Yes I am female gendered" you are literally saying "I am society's stereotype of XX people".

Argh <brain melts>

girlwiththeflaxenhair Thu 29-Dec-16 15:38:38

Is an admission that some "gendered" behaviour is heavily influenced by hormones non-feminist ?

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 29-Dec-16 15:44:35

Transwomen who pass appear to perceive sexism as transphobia. There was a ridiculous article on HuffPo by a transwoman whose arm was touched by a stranger. This, the author claimed, was sheer bigotry. No one would dream of touching a woman uninvited...

The fact that this person had no realistic grasp of how women are treated in every day life proved that their claim to have always been a woman was plain bogus.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 29-Dec-16 15:48:44

I'm not sure what's been proved, Lass. Transwomen commit sex and violent crime at the same rate as other men, which suggests that hormones don't necessarily make a difference. The whole nature nurture business, plus our neuroplasticity, makes it hard to draw much in the way of conclusions.

QueenOfTheSardines Thu 29-Dec-16 15:57:35

girlwiththeflaxenhair yes that was interesting.

I didn't find the story about being indecisive very resonant - I am extremely decisive and my husband is the biggest ditherer. Is it one of these things that there is more difference within the sexes that between them?

But then there is no question about testosterone and violence. Or is there? How much is socialised. The thing I found weird in another article was that a woman said that testosterone completely damped her empathy, that she could watch really terrible things and have no emotional reaction at all. Then, placebo.

Don't know. The idea that men are "naturally" violent is one that makes me very uncomfortable, feels very defeatist and unfair on men, and does not tie in with my experience of men at all. Loads of them are super gentle. I also know many women who have tempers... Is it that when men are violent they do more damage so we hear about it more? No idea just thinking out loud here.

I don't think it's non feminist - there may well be differences on average - but they are just that - on average. The idea that "men are like this" and "women are like that" and never the twain shall meet is what has kept so many people in misery for so many years.

TheMortificadosDragon Thu 29-Dec-16 16:05:32

Is an admission that some "gendered" behaviour is heavily influenced by hormones non-feminist ?

Observing a hormonal correlation with certain behaviours and extrapolating that to form a gender stereotype is what is problematic, I think.

QueenOfTheSardines Thu 29-Dec-16 16:20:44

YY

Maybe there is a difference on average.
But it won't apply to everyone.
And the problem is that even the slightest evidence of any kind of difference is immediately used to explain why women are stupid and ought to stay indoors with their mouths shut and make sandwiches or whatever.
Why is all this research done? There used to be research to try and prove that people of different "races" were fundamentally different and therefore it was OK to treat person X in this way and actually they probably liked it.
There is very little research into the relative intelligence of people with different ear shapes, for example. Hmmm now why could it be that sex organs and skin colour are the ones that people have got excited about investigating in the past and now? - You know, just to look, to see, to understand some of these important questions about how different sorts of people are inferior, or in modern parlance, different but equal uh-huh rightho.

QueenOfTheSardines Thu 29-Dec-16 16:21:39

It also means of course that people who don't behave according to type must have something wrong with them and be violently suppressed / medicalised / locked up / shunned etc etc etc

ChocChocPorridge Thu 29-Dec-16 17:15:16

It's the overlapping humps isn't it. For most things (she waves hands.. like.. ear size) if you graph them you get a bell curve. If you graph men and women separately, you get two, overlapping bell curves.

The vast majority of people fall in the overlap, then there's a sliver poking out along each side end where the extremes are

You couldn't tell from an ear measurement if a person were a man or a woman with any certainty until you get to the extreme ends.

girlwiththeflaxenhair Thu 29-Dec-16 17:55:37

Agree that stereotypes are mostly unhelpful. However was fascinated by a program on R4 about testosterone, the guy who discovered it originally did an experiment where they removed the testes of different animals and observed massive differences in their behaviour compared to those who still had it. It was done on roosters so the behaviour was strutting about, having a deep call and a bright red wattle bit. None the less important behaviours in that species that totally refused to develop in the absence of testosterone.

CancellyMcChequeface Thu 29-Dec-16 17:56:58

But the notion of race could be important, especially to the disadvanatged group(s). It would be a shared identity and experiences amongst people in that group, and as a sort of reclaiming-the-identity thing, I suppose. Saying "Yes, I am a black person but I am not XYZ stereotype". I guess that's where it differs from gender though. Because if you say "Yes I am female gendered" you are literally saying "I am society's stereotype of XX people".

I see what you're saying here. I think it helps to clarify by distinguishing between sex and gender. So, using your example, biological sex can be compared to race, while gender equates to racial stereotypes. Being able to talk about sex and race is important for those who care about equality, but saying 'but stereotypes can be important to people' isn't a valid argument to make, even if there are individuals who do identify with gender or racial stereotypes.

I realise it's more complex than that as notions of 'race' are socially constructed, so the parallel isn't exact, but in context I think it works. (The reactions to Rachel Dolezal show that many people believe race is objective and unchanging, while maintaining that a man can become a woman or vice versa, which is bafflingly inconsistent.)

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