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Is it possible to be a feminist but...

(48 Posts)
emmber Mon 25-Sep-17 14:04:50

Believe that transgender is an actual thing and that it's not a bad thing?

Not wanting to start a debate over this (although it could), I'm asking a genuine question.

Whambarsarentasfizzyastheywere Mon 25-Sep-17 14:12:58

I am a feminist.

I believe some people have gender dysphoria.

I believe that those people can alter their bodies to fit in with how they believe they should look.

I believe that if people respect others it shouldn't be an issue.

I don't believe that the majority of the new wave of transgender people are actually transgender. I don't believe their motives are pure and I won't respect them because they dont respect me.

It wasn't an issue for feminists before transactivists got involved. It's a huge issue now and it is turning into something bad.

Overall you can be a feminist and believe that being transgender is real. That doesn't mean that we have to believe everyone who claims to be transgender is genuine though.

MoaningYoniAgain Mon 25-Sep-17 14:14:10

Many/most feminists don't think it's a 'bad thing'. Gender dysphoria is a real, diagnosed condition.

However some don't agree with the belief that you can change a body from one sex to another. Though you can certainly change the appearance of that body if you wish.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 25-Sep-17 14:18:58

Yes, absolutely.

As far as I can see the science is still out on whether there is a biological cause for dysphoria. No-one has found anything in the brain yet but that doesn't mean there isn't something physical going on. I can well believe there is some kind of 'mapping' problem which makes one's body feel alien. The problem is how it is theorised, which impacts on how 'woman' is defined. You can say 'it's a real thing' without calling it a female brain.

Aside from that, there are plenty of transexual or alternatively cross dressing men who still see a difference between them and actual women. There is plenty of potential there for transgenderism to break down gender stereotypes ('I'm a man and I wear make up' rather than 'I wear make up therefore I'm a woman'.)

DJBaggySmalls Mon 25-Sep-17 14:20:31

What Whambarsarentasfizzyastheywere said, except I dont think its ever a good thing to have severe dysphoria. Its not a good thing to be so unhappy you want to starve yourself to a skeleton, or amputate your breasts or genitals, is it?

HeyRoly Mon 25-Sep-17 14:21:41

Sure. Take a look at Everyday Feminism.

Fauchelevent Mon 25-Sep-17 14:22:25

Similar to wham. I'm a feminist. I believe gender dysphoria is real (but even the TRAs will tell you not all people who say they are trans have dysphoria) and I believe trans people should not live miserable lives where they are subjected to violence, displacement, loss of jobs or fear. I don't believe that being male and wanting to wear dresses or make up is in essence a bad thing, in fact i support any and all flouting of what gender ascribes.

However I do NOT agree with the party line that this therefore makes you female, that you have always been female, that you have the same upbringing as females and all the bolleaux that comes with it. I think the behaviour surrounding it is dangerous and cultish, there are dangerous and toxic people spreading dangerous and toxic things. I don't believe in "non binary" in the way it's currently viewed because we none of us (those of us who don't have years on our hands to spend navel gazing) walk around "feeling like a woman/man" we just are. And enjoying wearing shirts or short hair cuts and sitting wide legged doesn't require opting out of the sex you are. You are allowed to have whatever personality you fucking want without coming up with a whole new label for it. I also think non binary is resulting in many young women who are very deep in trans rhetoric identifying out of womanhood because they think they should have a certain "feeling" and perform womanhood in a certain way.

That's my thinking on the matter.

Datun Mon 25-Sep-17 14:52:16

Transgenderism is too difficult to define. Because you can understand some parts of it and think other parts are patently nonsense.

Plus too many things come under the label.

Gender dysphoria is real, and crippling. It does not mean you are the opposite sex.

If presenting as the opposite sex helps, then knock yourself out. (Although I think that is treating the symptoms, and not the illness). It doesn't mean you are actually female and all women's rights, such as they are, should suddenly be ceded. It means you are a man who wants to be treated as a female. But that can only ever be on a superficial level.

If you are a man with a crossdressing fetish and insist you are a woman, as it's a big turn on, you are clearly a chancer who should stay away from women.

Claiming that pink brains and blue brains are the cause of this are also very detrimental. And unsupported by science.

And anyway, doesn't make any difference, because almost every transactivist is a bullying, misogynistic man.

So I can obviously acknowledge that gender dysphoria exists. But as a feminist (and someone who can think) I can't see the way it plays out, or is handled, as anything other than antiwomen.

BigDeskBob Mon 25-Sep-17 17:59:56

Isn't that like asking if you can be a feminist and believe that cats exist? Sure spend time with cats, look after cats, raise money for stray cats, but its nothing to do with feminism. Feminism is about women and girls, not men, even if those men think that they are women and girls.

Unless you are concerned with the troubling number of teenage girls identifying as trans and the medication and surgery that they are pressured into? That's part of feminism.

KnitFastDieWarm Mon 25-Sep-17 18:16:12

I'm a feminist. I fully support the rights of individuals to present however they want, free from harassment and fear. My cousin transitioned a few years ago and is so much happier and more confident now.

I do not support the idea that changing presentation changes biological facts. I do not believe that self identification should equal an entitlement to the protections and spaces of biological women. I am a woman, not a 'Cis woman'. There is no such thing as make and female brains. There is no such thing as a 'female penis.' There is no excuse for throwing women under the bus. We have fought bloody hard for what we have and I will not stand by and watch it being taken away via doublethink, sophistry and lazy virtue signalling.

The very idea of 'identifying as' is born of a position of privilege. Doesn't matter how much a woman or a black persons 'identifies' as male or white, it won't mean equal pay or not being targeted by the cops or whatever.

As an academic, i find the idea that voicing any of the above is a transgressive act to be utterly terrifying and dystopian.

badabing36 Mon 25-Sep-17 18:25:13

Yes, I am and I do.

I just want all of us to get in one biiiiiiiig room and hash it out. I think we'd find we had more similarities than differences.

DeleteOrDecay Mon 25-Sep-17 20:44:32

I believe body dysphoria is a real condition but I don't believe sex change surgery should be the first port of call when it comes to 'treating' it and I'm absolutely against transing children.

I also don't believe you can change your biological sex, regardless of how much surgery you have. I'm very hmm at all these transwomen who think that just because they like make up and wear dresses and other stereotypically female things that it somehow makes them a woman. I rarely wear dresses or make up, doesn't make me a man though does it?

Datun Mon 25-Sep-17 20:48:54

Today 18:25 badabing36

Yes, I am and I do.

I just want all of us to get in one biiiiiiiig room and hash it out. I think we'd find we had more similarities than differences.

I'd LOVE that! But, to date, I haven't found a way of making that work.

Do you have any suggestions?

badabing36 Tue 26-Sep-17 00:13:44

Honestly I've no idea! It just seems like especially with social media any nuance in a debate is lost. When there is a difference of opinion suddenly everyone is yelling nazi.

I do think concerns for safety in women only spaces is a legitimate concern. But safety concerns of women are being yelled down by trans activists.

On the other hand I have seen genuine intolerance dressed up as feminism on mn a post op trans woman being referred to as having a "fuck hole". Really horrible.

I have a suspicion that these are the extremes on both sides of the debate, but after all we should be targeting the people who rape, abuse and kill cis women (sorry) and trans women alike.

Datun Tue 26-Sep-17 08:54:17

On the other hand I have seen genuine intolerance dressed up as feminism on mn a post op trans woman being referred to as having a "fuck hole". Really horrible.

I completely agree that name-calling isn't necessary. But it is separate to the issue.

The problem is the demands of transwomen and women directly conflict.

And it's come about because of the insistence that they are women.

It's certainly not feminists' natural inclination to expose people's underbellies. Unfortunately, they are being driven to it. To reveal motive and to counter accusations.

I would love to sit down and talk civilly about this. But it simply not possible. Transactivists have refused all and any discussion. And have used almost military means in order to prevent other people discussing it.

MNHQ are constantly pressured to stop people talking about it on here, for instance.

It's far easier to talk about the ideology in the abstract and whether one can accept it whilst still remaining a feminist.

It's almost impossible to actually engage and not have all your 'feminist feelings' reject it out of hand.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 26-Sep-17 09:11:38

Sure. Along the lines PP have said - there are people with dysphoria, who should have appropriate treatment. The people who we used to call transsexuals.

And sure, there are 'transgender' people... which would be fine if we could just get rid of bloody gender altogether. 'Present' however you want. Have whatever interests and aptitudes without labelling or claiming that makes you a 'real woman'.

One of the big problems arising from the current wave of transactivism is young people in the second category being encouraged to think they're in the first category, and therefore embark on treatment which can leave them infertile. Thats a very bad thing.

And then there are some 'transgender' for whom its a sexual fetish and that can be a bad thing (for women, anyway)

HemlockIsSpartacus Tue 26-Sep-17 09:30:33

I think BigDeskBob explained it best

Isn't that like asking if you can be a feminist and believe that cats exist? Sure spend time with cats, look after cats, raise money for stray cats, but its nothing to do with feminism. Feminism is about women and girls, not men, even if those men think that they are women and girls.

Despite what the TA's say, no feminists believe that transgender people don't exist, or should be eradicated. All we are saying is that they are transgender and not actually the opposite sex to the one they were born as. Eg. transwomen are not actually women, no matter how much they want to be. And as such their rights are not part of the feminist fight - which isn't to say that they should not have rights.

And, as feminists, we want to ensure that women's rights are protected. So are obviously not going to stand by quietly if another group, in this case trans, are asking for something that tramples on women's rights.

Also, as part of feminism of course we have to question gender as it is the system that is used to keep us in place. Just because trans activists have an emotional connection to this system doesn't mean we should avoid talking about it. It hurts us, and I think it hurts trans activists too, even if it is dressed up as liberation.

NameChangr678 Tue 26-Sep-17 10:23:30

Can I just ask - completely new to this - how does transwomen claiming they're real women, endanger real women or the fight for feminism?

Blanchefleur Tue 26-Sep-17 11:00:21

OP, if you are meaning do I think that someone who was born male, with an unambiguously male body at the time of birth (ie not intersex) can really be a woman, then no, I don't. The reason why is because biological sex is a thing - we are either of the class which produces eggs or the class which produces sperm.

No amount of surgery or medical treatment can transform a sperm-producing body into an egg-producing body. No amount of 'identifying as' the opposite sex will transform a sperm-producer into an egg-producer.

I do believe that body dysmorphia exists though. We see this not just in transgenderism, but in transableism, anorexia etc. Body dysmorphia is a crippling condition, requiring medical treatment, which may involve body-modifying surgery. However, what the mind perceives does not negate the actual, physical reality. The transwoman is not female, just as the anorexic is not fat.

Gender dysphoria is also a thing. It appears to revolve around stereotypes. This is what I find the most difficult to understand, both as a feminist and a woman who grew up in the largely non-pinkified 70s & 80s, when male popstars wore makeup and frilly blouses and all the kids on the street played tree climbing/bike riding/den building together.

I find it baffling that clothes/behaviour/interests that were normal for people of my age growing up now often seem to be taken as evidence of being transgender. I find it horrifying that gender stereotypes, instead of fading away, are being reinforced to a point where children are led to believe that their interests or their favourite clothes mean that they are actually the opposite sex. That there is something wrong with their perfectly healthy body, and that surgery and medication which will render them infertile is the answer.

MightyMikey Tue 26-Sep-17 11:10:32

Men claiming to be real women - let's count some of the problems with this:
1 - Trans women can take scholarships off women, ie tech industry trying to encourage women to make a valid career choice in STEM, but goes to a man already in the industry because, well he feels like a woman.
2. Competitive sports are no longer for women as middle age men can now compete as a woman. Soo much to say on this re skeletal and hormonal differences between the sexes that women's competitive sport will be obliterated by Trans women.
3. Trans woman have the same violent and sexual compulsions as any other man. Trans women rapist in a womens prison. Trans women working in the local Rape/Women's Shelter Centre.
4. Self Identification - any man, no matter what he looks like or what surgery he may have can call themselves female. There is no way to tell a man from a Trans woman. Any man can access women's toilets, changing rooms, etc just by saying "I'm female today". Creepy men have taken advantage of this by doing very creepy stuff in women only spaces.
5. Lesbian homophobia and erasure - just do a search on the Cotton Ceiling, for an explanation of this.
This is just a small sample off the top of my head while I'm having a bit of lunch and not even thinking too hard about it. Reading posts on here will give you a much more detailed and intelligent answer to your question.

HemlockIsSpartacus Tue 26-Sep-17 11:18:32

NameChange They can claim they are real women all they like, aside from it being factually incorrect, the problem is if laws etc reflect their belief.

Here are just a few examples, there are no doubt more.

We are still a long way off equality, women are still denied job roles due to bigotry. So in some areas we have women's only positions, if a transwoman is treated as a woman and takes one of those roles, that's one less place for a biological woman.

This isn't to say transwomen don't suffer from workplace discrimination, but given that mostly it is men creating that imbalance, it is men who should be giving up more of their spaces for transwomen - not women who have a lot less spaces to give up.

It also plays a part if we are talking medical care, right now women are allowed to request a female doctor for procedures that may make them uncomfortable if performed by a man. Eg. sexual assault victims may be uncomfortable with a man providing gynae care. Transwomen are biologically male, but if they can self declare as female and then have to be treated as such, women will run into accusations of discrimination just for asking for a bio woman to provide gynae care.

There's also the matter of domestic violence refuges, many of the women in there will be suffering trauma. Right now they have the right to not allow anyone biologically male in due to wanting to provide the best possible care for traumatised vulnerable women. Do we really want to strip this away in order?

Of course this doesn't mean transwomen shouldn't have access to refuges too, that's where campaigning for specialist refuges should come in. Especially as transwomen will have different needs, and would most likely benefit from help more aimed at them.

Then there's statistics, which seem more trivial in comparison, but get used to decide where funding/support/research is needed. So can also be skewed by including transwomen as women, better to acknowledge them seperately in order to improve the lot of both groups.

Treating them as a group with their own specific needs is not taking anything away from them. It is not erasing them. It might be hurting some of their feelings, but even if we call them women without question, the reality is they still are not biologically female. This isn't women's fault.

Xenophile Tue 26-Sep-17 11:34:49

Well, we've tried to get together many many times, but sadly, the transactivist side keeps pulling out and then threatening the owners of spaces we're using to discuss things so they cancel. The last time that happened a woman was assaulted in Hyde Park and a bunch of transactivists and others used this as a vehicle to state clearly that they'd happily punch/knife/kill any women who doesn't say what they want them to say, so you'll have to excuse me if the idea of being in a room full of people who have made endless violent threats against women isn't something I'm up for any more.

Blanchefleur Tue 26-Sep-17 11:43:35

Can I just ask - completely new to this - how does transwomen claiming they're real women, endanger real women or the fight for feminism?

The problem is not so much that transwomen are claiming that they are actually women, it's when demands are made to access areas that are sex-segregated for biological reasons and matters of privacy and safety. This covers a whole host of areas, from changing rooms, toilets and hospital wards, where women are in a state of undress, prisons and shelters ('female' rapist in a women's prison) to women's sport (segregated due to men's greater strength, resulting in transwomen both taking titles/prize money from female athletes and physically injuring them).

Transwomen who present as women, but respect these boundaries are not the problem. Violent misogynists and sexual fetishists who don't respect these boundaries are.

overnightangel Tue 26-Sep-17 11:47:57

I cringe when anyone says "I'm a feminist"
If a man said "I'm a masculinist" he he derided as a chauvinist.
Everyone should be equal, and by declaring yourself as a "feminist" you're a hypocrite

BananasAreGood Tue 26-Sep-17 11:55:40

I'm a radical feminist and studied gender studies and I support trans people and accept transwomen as women (which is different from biologically female).

I agree the TRA movement is often very misogynistic and homophobic but I don't believe those individuals represents the majority of trans people and most of them probably aren't even trans but MRAs pretending to care about trans issues.

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