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When your friends drank the Kool-Aid

(54 Posts)
VestalVirgin Fri 31-Mar-17 11:55:03

There's many threads by parents whose children have drunken the Kool-Aid ... but what do you do when a (female, somewhat feminist) friend is a genderist?

I have met so many young women who try, at the same time, to maintain feminist ideals and justify forcing women to share showers, prison cells and toilets with male-bodied persons. Loads of cognitive dissonance there.

So far, I have been following the advice for being friends with people in abusive relationships - i.e. I have not tried to make them justify their ridiculous beliefs, as I fear they would then cling to them all the more. Especially as most of those women move in social circles that only consist of rabid trans-allies who they know would punish them for questioning the dogma.
But in the end, they are adults, and they know, deep down, that the genderist nonsense is nonsense. So, if they are ready to leave, I told myself, they will do so.

But perhaps that's not the best way?

Has anyone been in this situation? What did you do?

Datun Fri 31-Mar-17 12:05:27

Good question vestal. Not been in that situation, so nothing to offer. But watching with interest.

IAmAmy Fri 31-Mar-17 12:12:35

I have met so many young women who try, at the same time, to maintain feminist ideals and justify forcing women to share showers, prison cells and toilets with male-bodied persons. Loads of cognitive dissonance there.

As I've said on here before, this accounts for the majority of my school's Feminist Society, unfortunately. Some time ago I challenged it in quite a minor way, but I've since realised this is unacceptable so I only discuss the issue with a couple of friends who agree, to my considerable chagrin.

GuardianLions Fri 31-Mar-17 12:25:59

Hi Vestal I am not in quite the same situation, but I do find my mouth just runs away with me and I can't help it, so I do tend to confront. I get the feeling some people are probably a bit wary of me and avoid topics that might set me off - but I could be imagining it.
But for me it is more other well-meaning mums, rather than active feminists that this happens with.
I've been inspired by seeing how older feminists handle it myself though - just politely and warmly refuting whatever statement and moving on to what they are here to do.
So that would be my suggestion - don't seek out conversations about trans, but if anything comes up that you disagree with, just politely refute. Eg-
"Did you know that Kate's son is trans?"
"I personally disagree with the whole notion of transgender - i think it re-inforces stereotypes and transgendering children is a form of child abuse in my opinion. Anyway, are you doing anything over the Easter holidays?"
If they want to discuss it further fine, but stating my case and moving on is enough for me.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Fri 31-Mar-17 12:26:52

I've had this and have been exceedingly cautious in how I approach it. I've had most success with:
a) discussions about toilets - basically conceding the point and moving it to prisons and how many women in prison are abuse victims and would be genuinely traumatised to have to shower with someone with a penis.
b) pointing out that in our LA we've implemented women only sessions at the swimming pools and gyms so that Muslim women are able to access the facilities and how this would be ruined if a transwoman was allowed to go at those times
c) pointing out how a lot of children who are declaring themselves trans seem to be children that would usually be gay and how it's worrying that "fixing" gender non conformity looks a lot like turning gay children straight AND sterilising them into the bargain. Also good at this point to be able to mention the dreadful side effects of Lupron (puberty blockers).

It's tricky though because even if when I voice a concern, I have to try to do it in a way that suggests I haven't been thinking about it too much otherwise the anti-TERF barriers go down.

VestalVirgin Fri 31-Mar-17 12:35:47

Thank you, that's good to know. Will try the sounding as if I didn't think about it much in the future.
I wouldn't have thought of that, as normally, you sound more competent when you have thought about something, but you are right about the anti-TERF barriers ... better sound like you only need "educating".

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Fri 31-Mar-17 12:44:48

Yeah, I've tried making actual points previously and got NOWHERE so now I try the "But what about this?" somewhat naïve questioning which tends to be better received.

Interestingly I've found sports a really tricky one to crack with women. Even mentioning Fallon Fox I've had responses of well hormones or other dross that basically tries to ignore the issue. However with men one hint of a man competing as a woman gets them really riled even if they don't give a rats ass about the other issues.

FlaviaAlbia Fri 31-Mar-17 12:50:25

I've found chipping away from a couple of angles works sometimes to open conversations.

They make assumptions that they're surprised to find aren't the case - like assuming that if someone if trans then they've had all the surgery.

Pointing out the transwoman Tara Hudson who had such a media supported campaign to get into a women's prison - people are suprised to learn that they were making their living with their penis. Add that to the violence that got them into prison in the first place and Tara no longer looks like a delicate snowflake who must be protected from nasty men...

Asking how their elderly female relatives would feel to share a ward or receive intimate care from a transwoman and pointing out that if trans activists and Maria Miller has their way it would be illegal or object to this.

Telling them that in Canada women have been evicted from a refuge for objecting to sharing with a transwomen. Then showing them a picture of that transwomen.

I don't use all at once, but it's hard to seem right on and reasonable and agree that those are right so it opens up the chances of talking about more..

Hulder Fri 31-Mar-17 12:58:30

I find FlaviaAlba's way works well. Lots of people assume trans people have had all the surgery, that a neo vagina works like a real vagina, that puberty blockers don't have side effects, puberty blockers just give you space to make your mind up rather than actually having an effect on brain development and so on.

Once you've got someone to realise that one of their assumptions was wrong, then they slowly start seeing the whole can of worms.

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 12:59:55

However with men one hint of a man competing as a woman gets them really riled even if they don't give a rats ass about the other issues.

Because they recognise it for the golden opportunity for mediocre men to cheat that it is. They don't buy into it because it's not something they have to think about much. They will be tolerant up to a point.

Which goes to show if this affected men more, it wouldn't be happening.

ATailofTwoKitties Fri 31-Mar-17 13:07:10

Interestingly I've found sports a really tricky one to crack with women.

Mmm, yes. I think some (young, active) women are reluctant to concede that men are on average better at spots than women. They think it's actually anti-women to say that men tend to be stronger and faster -- an admission that women are biologically the weaker sex.

I have some sympathy with this -- got very riled at DH for asking if I meant that 'we might as well just have men's sports and disabled sports, and count being female as a disability'.

ATailofTwoKitties Fri 31-Mar-17 13:07:55

Urgh. 'sports', not spots. Though the men in this household are spottier if not sportier than the females.

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 13:21:32

Mmm, yes. I think some (young, active) women are reluctant to concede that men are on average better at spots than women. They think it's actually anti-women to say that men tend to be stronger

YY.

IAmAmy Fri 31-Mar-17 13:29:27

I don't think men tend to be "better at sports" than women. They are biologically, in the main, physically stronger and faster, but that doesn't mean they're "better" at sports in general (though I appreciate this is going slightly off topic).

FlaviaAlbia Fri 31-Mar-17 13:32:57

This is good for sports, especially the downhill mountain biking one as it gives a comparison against the professional race times.

GuardianLions Fri 31-Mar-17 13:34:07

Agreed IAmAmy. People often prefer to watch female tennis for the longer rallies and female football because of more passing ie- demonstrating more skill than brute strength

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 13:35:30

They're not "better" at most sports if we accept the need for different categories to make sport fairer (women's and men's, able bodied and paralympics). If we don't accept that need, they are. Because it will all come down to physical issues.

IAmAmy Fri 31-Mar-17 13:39:50

GuardianLions quite. That's what I'm like - very much enjoy watching women's tennis (and playing), but haven't watched a men's tennis match in years. In general I much prefer watching women's sport than men's.

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 13:40:24

Yes, I'd also rather watch women's tennis.

IAmAmy Fri 31-Mar-17 13:41:14

We have to accept the need for different categories due to physical strength though, not standard. Of course, going back to the topic of this thread, that's another way in which the "identifying as a woman" thing disadvantages women.

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 13:47:36

Yes, totally.

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Fri 31-Mar-17 14:25:54

Most of my real life friends are quietly gender critical. I have one very dear friend in America who has totally drunk the cool aid (facebook posts in support of the transboy wrestler, not a word about the poor girls not taking testosterone who were beaten or withdrew, forfeiting their rounds, on safety grounds). I tend to steer well clear of that with her (we have had a huge bust-up over politics which almost ended the friendship, now I think both of us tread more carefully), though I have cautiously suggested that there are circumstances in which I think biology can't be got round, and she did say she could see that.

Re. sport - I see two groups of lib fems who aren't worried. One group (the majority) hate all sport anyway, therefore can't see why it matters, the other are in the "it's all socialisation, women could be just as strong if it weren't for that." I find the second attitude the most incomprehensible of the lot, to be honest - effectively saying "if I accept that men run faster, lift heavier weights, kick balls further, the whole edifice of feminism will come tumbling down, but male and female brains? Yup, totally signed up to that, no problem at all!" (I did come across one poster in AIBU who actually entertained that level of cognitive dissonance).

WobblyLegs5 Fri 31-Mar-17 14:42:00

I thought sports was the easy one. Just look at the boxer who had her face mushed by the male competitor. Not normal boxing injuries. Very normal domestic abuse injuries. Sports women shouldn't face broken eye sockets just for wanting to compete.

venusinscorpio Fri 31-Mar-17 14:43:00

Re. sport - I see two groups of lib fems who aren't worried. One group (the majority) hate all sport anyway, therefore can't see why it matters, the other are in the "it's all socialisation, women could be just as strong if it weren't for that."

Yes. Exactly. Also "there are really small and weak men you know"

Dervel Fri 31-Mar-17 14:47:38

It's not in my nature to sidestep around an issue, and I actually have a trans friend (M to F) whom I have confronted with basic problems. Where I get the most mileage is that I utterly and totally disagree with the current definition of transsexual.

In a modern context trans means someone who has gender dysmorphia and NOTHING else. Now I don't have any difficulty accepting gender dysmorphia exists, but there is more than one set of circumstances that can cause someone to present as a different gender. Just off the top of my head there is:

- Autogynophillia
- A psychological response from sexual abuse (to clarify an unconscious desire to separate the self from the gender that was abused i.e. If I'm not a boy/girl anymore I won't be abused)

My contention is that ok you care about Trans people? Great so do I, but the reality of the situation is a lot more nuanced and complicated than the quite frankly dangerously superficial airing the topic is getting across the media, both mainstream and social.

An approach that might be a support and help a person with gender dysmorphia might serve to push a sufferer of abuse further away from being able to come to terms with what happened to them and begin to heal.

This is magnitudes worse for children who in an attempt to escape the gender from which they associate the abuse that took place are now going to be subjected to more trauma is frankly obscene.

When we get to the topic of bathrooms and changing rooms why do we render male violence totally and utterly absent from the conversation? Trans ARE at significant risk from male violence. I imagine if I were trans (I am a man btw), I would feel safer there but the reason would be fear of male violence so the issue I would want want to campaign on would be all the Trans people murdered and assaulted by men. I'd want the fuckers who did it locked up and ostracised from decent society maybe ban THEM from public facilities ie if you have been violent or an abuser you go on a register and get an ankle tag, and if you go into public facility like a bathroom an alarm goes off and your picked up by the plod and thrown in the clink.

I do not for a minute believe that women would have a problem sharing facilities if male violence stopped, and that reservation has knack all to do with transphobia and everything to do with mansphobia.

We must avoid the temptation that in the rush to be seen to be doing the right thing we make it worse. Any discussion of trans issues has to be centred on male violence as THAT is what they are most at risk from.

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