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What do people think of the retrospective "transing" of women in history?

(63 Posts)
BertrandRussell Tue 22-Aug-17 18:41:03

There have always been women who pretended to be men to take jobs nor available to women, and it seems that they are being trofitted as transmen It seems extraordinarily presumption to do this to a person unable to tell her story.

Here is one story.

VestalVirgin Tue 22-Aug-17 19:06:11

I find it abhorrent and misogynist.

I also abhor the transing of female fictional characters, be it claiming that they are secretly transmen, i.e. wish to be male (have seen that done to Éowyn, of all women) or claiming that they are secretly transwomen, i.e. have or had a penis.

In both cases it is an attempt to pretend that women cannot be great, unless they a) aren't really women at all or b) have some mysterious male essence that makes them superior to other women and more like males.

The misogynist agenda behind this is obvious.

Xenophile Tue 22-Aug-17 19:11:12

It completely white washes the reasons why they felt they had to dress in men's clothing in order to be taken seriously.

They weren't butch, I doubt any of them were even lesbians, they were intelligent or daring or otherwise wonderful women who knew the world wouldn't take them seriously as women, and so reinvented themselves, not as trans anything.

At a time when women couldn't practice as doctors, despite being allowed to study medicine, they weren't able to matriculate, the only possible option for them was to dress as men.

It is distinctly anti-feminist to retrospectively trans them to fit and faulty present day cult-like ideology.

AdalindSchade Tue 22-Aug-17 19:12:05

It's fucking bullshit misogynistic trash. Women who had to take on men's clothes and identities in order to be treated like full human beings were not 'truly' men. What a disgusting perspective.

Elendon Tue 22-Aug-17 19:14:29

From the article:

Albert Cashier was assigned female at birth.

So female on biological sex at birth. Given this was two centuries ago that she was born no one would have said assigned female at birth, though I've no doubt this will happen now sooner or later. I hate war and hate everything associated with it, but this was a woman who signed up and was born female at birth. She took a male name.

To deny her history is abhorrent.

There are stories of men who dressed in women's clothes to get on board the scant boats available when the Titanic sunk.

PricklyBall Tue 22-Aug-17 19:17:59

Pisses me off massively too, for all the reasons everyone's just said. Galloping misogyny, a massive denial of the obstacles that stood in the way of women doing anything society deemed to be masculine, bad re-writing of history, blatant appropriation masquerading as history.

LineysRun Tue 22-Aug-17 19:19:02

It's bloody appalling.

enoughisenough12 Tue 22-Aug-17 19:26:14

Disrespectful, misogynistic and obliterating women's history. And regrettably, totally in keeping with current attitudes towards women.

SamPotatoes Tue 22-Aug-17 19:27:28

Really pissed me off. Completely ignores the world these women were living in.

Is it just me that feels there's an undercurrent of "See ladies, there's no discrimination to see here or in the modern world. You just need to identify differently"

Elendon Tue 22-Aug-17 19:31:16

It's a given this is anti Trump.

But wearing a pussy hat as a protest was being a TERF.

The mind boggles when it comes to the logic.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 22-Aug-17 19:33:04

Pisses me off.

I find this need that TRAs seem to have to invent a past history of transgenderism / prove that people may be trans form birth very interesting...

Ktown Tue 22-Aug-17 19:34:06

I suppose George Elliot and Currer bell will be considered trans next.
It is misogyny and doesn't help trans people who are basically being made fun of by not taking it seriously. Most people will read the guardian article as ridiculous and it will contribute to transphobia.

Elendon Tue 22-Aug-17 19:36:57

So let's assign the males who put on a dress, clean shaven, and jumped into the sinking Titanic as females.

Plus there was always a doubt about Herodotus' sex. It's always been thought of as he was a she.

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Aug-17 19:40:07

Stephen from The Well of Lonliness?

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 22-Aug-17 19:43:33

Not surprised. A group of people who are capable if ignoring basic biology are unlikely to have any grasp of history.

VestalVirgin Tue 22-Aug-17 19:48:34

Really pissed me off. Completely ignores the world these women were living in.

Ex-fucking-actly.

Go look at the AO3 fanfics for "The Goblin Emperor", I dare you.

That's a fantasy book that has as its premise a very patriarchal world. There's a female character introduced who wants to get into a job that has previously only been open to males, and the guy who supports her (because he needs to present a suitable candidate for the job and she's the only he can get) tries to pass her off as male. Which his boss immediately sees through (because she's small and thin and doesn't look like a male at all) but still accepts her because he, too, urgently needs someone to do the job.

So, this all established, people still, without reflecting on it, write fics in which a canon male character is secretly trans and got that very same job with no problem whatsoever. Because in a world where women clearly, explicitly have to pretend to be male to get the top jobs, genderfeelz will be totes separate from that and only be had for noble and pure reasons of gender identity, nothing to do with material gain. And only those noble TrueTransmen(TM) will be able to pass undetected.Because they are morally superior to those lowly ciswomen who schemingly, evilly pretend to be a valuable male, and their true male self shines through their lowly female bodies. Or something. (No, admittedly, I haven't read the fic, I didn't feel able to deal with the stupid, but it is fucking insulting, even if it is admitted that the transman looking butchier than the woman-with-ambition is mere coincidence.)

They are shown the world those women live in, and still decide that what this world needs is a woman who has male genderfeelz, and just happens to look butchy enough to have no one contradict her genderfeelz.
( It is telling they didn't take the female character that couldn't pass as male and give her male genderfeelz. Then at least they'd be forced to acknowledge that her worst enemy aren't those evil radfems who don't believe in her gender identity, but the men who don't want to give her jobs)

60sname Tue 22-Aug-17 19:51:19

Did you actually read the whole article? There is a clear distinction made between women who pretended to be men in the short term, for example during war, and those who lived as men long term.

The assigned thing annoyed me too though.

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Aug-17 19:56:21

There is a clear distinction made between women who pretended to be men in the short term, for example during war, and those who lived as men long term."

But we can't possibly know whether they stayed living as men because they were transmen, or because they didn't want to give up the freedom and opportunity living as a man gave them. It is hugely presumptions to decide which it is when the people concerned are unable to tell their story.

RaininSummer Tue 22-Aug-17 19:59:34

I hate it.

haba Tue 22-Aug-17 20:00:07

Of course they continued to live as men- they'd been listened to, respected, had liberties they could never have otherwise enjoyed-- who the hell would give those up?

SummerflowerXx Tue 22-Aug-17 20:03:03

This is really interesting - if the only opportunity women had to live freely was to pass as a man, what does it say about women's rights today that there are an increasing number of FtT people. Surely that indicates that women cannot live freely without conforming to stereotyped femininity?

In other words, instead of retrospectively transing people, the question should be why could they not live as their birth sex and have the same lives as the opposite sex? And then, what are the parallels with today?

VestalVirgin Tue 22-Aug-17 20:04:02

But we can't possibly know whether they stayed living as men because they were transmen, or because they didn't want to give up the freedom and opportunity living as a man gave them.

This.If you pretend to be male to get a degree in medicine, well, you aren't going to reveal yourself to be a woman immediately after, before you even get to work as doctor.

SummerflowerXx Tue 22-Aug-17 20:04:26

Of course living freely and conforming to stereotypical femininity is a contradiction in terms...

VestalVirgin Tue 22-Aug-17 20:17:37

In other words, instead of retrospectively transing people, the question should be why could they not live as their birth sex and have the same lives as the opposite sex? And then, what are the parallels with today?

We aren't allowed to talk about that, because implying that they might just be ordinary women who don't want to be treated as subhuman invalidates transmen's genderfeelz. (And also, more importantly, makes men and the way they treat all women look bad. We cannot have that, can we?)

Transmen want to get exemption from female slave status for themselves, without actually having to fight the patriarchy. In order to achieve this, they have to maintain that they are completely different from women whose only wish it is to not be treated as subhuman (radical feminists). If they can convince patriarchy that only about 1% of women "identify as male" and will want the same rights as males, patriarchy won't consider them a threat to the status quo.

AdalindSchade Tue 22-Aug-17 20:21:49

Radcliffe Hall has been claimed as part of transgender history by radio 4. Not a joke.

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