Talk

Advanced search

Think I am beginning to get it...

(60 Posts)
SlowlyWaking Sat 19-May-18 08:54:13

And largely due to reading here and the gender critical boards over on Reddit so thank you.

Just had a few things click into place for me and wanted to share and learn more.

Sex is biological and cannot be changed.

Gender is a spectrum constructed by society as feminine roles and identities all the way along to masculine ones. When somebody identifies as non-binary/gender neutral/pangender/genderqueer they are essentially saying 'I move along this spectrum day by day, moment by moment, Im neither always overtly masculine or feminine.' (Personally, I think I, and a lot of people do that, but I'm still a woman.)

Women are currently more fluid and flexible in sitting anywhere on this spectrum because of the earlier waves of feminism. Women are more comfortable with (and often embrace) the masculine elements of their identity whereas men are still stuck in what it means to be a man and wont be so open to their femine elements.

This has led to a rise in toxic masculinity/manosphere/ anti feminist culture because they are afraid to lose the privilege that has oppressed women for so long. This fear of 'losing' something stops men from feeling like they can move fluidly along the gender spectrum. It has led to feminine males transitioning to female because it makes the things they want to do/be more societally acceptable by presenting as a woman. Conversely, females transitioning to male are hoping to win some of the power - many have been victims of abuse at the hands of men and seek to protect themselves from the system by becoming part of it. As they are generally no threat to men or the male privilege, ftm trans people largely go unnoticed.

Feminism is the advocacy for women's rights based on equality of the sexes, so feminism is about protecting biological females. Whether or not they are masculine or feminine or anywhere on that spectrum doesnt matter but biological females face oppression in ways that are exclusive to being born female like FGM and rape. Therefore, transwomen are not female.

That doesnt deny that feminine males also face discrimination but it does deny that their struggle is based on their sex. Feminine males have their own struggles because they dont fit the box of what an 'ideal' masculine male is - a box that was constructed by the patriarchy (alongside one that says what an 'ideal' feminine female is) in the first place to keep women oppressed.

Self ID is a problem in that it removes the protection of biological females, thats why feminists are so against it. It cannot be allowed to happen. Females must be allowed to only compete aginst females, females must be allowed to change separately from males. Gender has no place in those arenas.

TRAs are often at odds with feminists because they dont understand that their fight should be about deconstructing gender roles which would benefit everybody. Transgender people should be feminist allies. MRAs who spout sarcastic statistics about their privilege dont seem to realise it is the patriarchy that is responsible for putting them on the front line, for putting them into hazardous employment, for making women the primary caregiver in the majority of cases and, predominantly, men that are raping other men. Men should be feminist allies. Even women need to wake up and realise this. The patriarchy has worked hard to desecrate the word feminism to the point where women won't even identify as feminists - thats crazy to me, women wont admit that they support the fight for, and desire, equal rights for women.

I'm still wading through what I think about post-op trans people in terms of their access to safe spaces and opportunities to compete in sport/hold job roles specifically relating to womens' rights. Im still unsure about pronouns. But its coming together in my head. Little by little.

I know I've missed a whole heap of apostrophes but meh. Lazy.

Potplant2 Sat 19-May-18 09:14:56

Gender is a spectrum constructed by society as feminine roles and identities all the way along to masculine ones. When somebody identifies as non-binary/gender neutral/pangender/genderqueer they are essentially saying 'I move along this spectrum day by day, moment by moment, Im neither always overtly masculine or feminine.' (Personally, I think I, and a lot of people do that, but I'm still a woman.)

I agree with most of what you say but not this bit. Gender is a hierarchy, not a spectrum. It’s the TRAs and libfems who argue it’s a spectrum. Radfems argue it’s a hierarchy intended to keep women at the bottom. This is the reason why it’s more socially acceptable for women to adopt ‘masculine’ behaviours like wearing trousers than it is for men to adopt ‘feminine’ behaviour like wearing skirts. Femininity is seen as weak and shameful, so men adopting it are shamed while women adopting masculinity less so.

Radfems argue for the dismantling of the whole concept of gender.

TERFragetteCity Sat 19-May-18 09:15:26

Nutshell.

MIdgebabe Sat 19-May-18 09:17:57

Nit picking here

My understanding is that Strictly self id does not remove protection from women directly. Under current equality laws, transwomen with a certificate can still be excluded from some things because of their sex.

The problem with self id ( apart from the removal of medical support from people who often have severe mental health problems ) is that the people who are mostly supporting self id also want to change either the equality act Itself or society so that it becomes normal to consider that equality act means that a person gender identified as a women is a sexual woman and so should never be excluded from any space that are meant to protect the female of our species .

The complication here is that it is probable that transwomen do experiance increased rates of violence and harm from other men which means that the needs to be some way to provide them also with similar protections to those that women face.

But I don't want that to mean the shared use of those spaces because firstly transwomen have no lower rate of violence against women than men in general ( especially when the majority have no surgical or hormaonal changes) and secondly because it would make it much easier for men to abuse the current honour system.

A particular concern of mine relates to rape victims and how being close to physically male bodies when in a vulnerable position can cause mental health problems ..trauma, flashbacks. Given that a lot of women have been raped, in a typical changing room the will be women who have been raped.

SlowlyWaking Sat 19-May-18 09:42:56

Radfems argue for the dismantling of the whole concept of gender.

100% agree with this, its what I've come to realise over the last year or so. Gender neutrality is getting a bashing lots of places, but its actually the only way forward. Also PotPlant heirarchy is such a better word - much more accurate and explains that ability to adopt masculine behaviours for women perfectly. Thank you, I will be adopting that phrase from now on!

MI thats something I completely hadn't considered, in terms of trauma. My boyfriend and I were just saying there's nothing inherently offensive about a penis but of course victims of rape would feel very differently if that penis was in their safe space. I think third spaces are the way forward too but there would still need to be more safeguards for trans people against others with violent/abusive intentions coming into that space. But then that should be the focus of TRAs.

LangCleg Sat 19-May-18 09:54:42

My boyfriend and I were just saying there's nothing inherently offensive about a penis but of course victims of rape would feel very differently if that penis was in their safe space.

Also remember that human beings naturally recognise sex in 99.9% of cases - superficial cosmetic changes don't change that. And trauma related to the male body isn't confined to the sight of a penis - the timbre of a voice, an Adam's apple, broad shoulders: all of these things can set off PTSD in a traumatised woman encountering a male person unexpectedly in a safe space.

I liked your post, OP. I always find it interesting, constructive and positive when women freely share thought processes with one another.

AsAProfessionalFekko Sat 19-May-18 10:00:25

Where I was a student there was quite a few feminist magazine (ie Spare Rib). What's the current offerings? Not online as I still think print journalism is better than online blog baby instant nonsense.

ReluctantCamper Sat 19-May-18 10:03:11

really enjoyed reading your post and agreed with most of it, but since we're talking:

That doesnt deny that feminine males also face discrimination but it does deny that their struggle is based on their sex

I would say that the discrimination they face is based on sex - the gender expectations surrounding male sex being different from the way they want to act and present themselves.

Debbie Heyton was very interesting on this at the Basingstoke Woman's PLace meeting this week. I have no experience of gender dysphoria, can't even imagine what it feels like, but I think this is at the root of it.

ReluctantCamper Sat 19-May-18 10:03:51

and Debbie Heyton said that in a world devoid of gender expectations, she would not have transitioned and would just have been a feminine man.

Ereshkigal Sat 19-May-18 10:07:27

The problem with self id ( apart from the removal of medical support from people who often have severe mental health problems ) is that the people who are mostly supporting self id also want to change either the equality act Itself or society so that it becomes normal to consider that equality act means that a person gender identified as a women is a sexual woman and so should never be excluded from any space that are meant to protect the female of our species .

Yes. They want to normalise the idea of males in women's spaces and undermine the idea of women as a biological sex class facing sex based oppression.

ReluctantCamper Sat 19-May-18 10:07:46

actually I'm disagreeing with myself now.

I would say women's oppression is based on two things

1) our biology. this is essentially men's desire to control the means of production of more humans

2) the gendered expectations associated with our sex.

Feminine men suffer from number 2 only.

LangCleg Sat 19-May-18 10:14:46

and Debbie Heyton said that in a world devoid of gender expectations, she would not have transitioned and would just have been a feminine man

I think we are back to distinct populations within the trans umbrella again - transsexual males trying to escape the restrictions of manhood under patriarchy have quite a bit in common with female people rejecting femininity by concurrently rejecting their bodies and becoming trans. Neither have anything in common with the aggressively misogynistic and heterosexual Lady Penis group.

My own trans friend has a lot in common with people such as Debbie Hayton and Kristina Harrison - they will freely tell you that their aim was to not be a man rather than to be a woman.

Either way though - transsexuals may well experience discrimination on the grounds of being failed men as it were, but they do not experience the structural inequality that women face on the basis of their biology - largely reproductive capacity - in a patriarchally-structured world where the default human is male.

LangCleg Sat 19-May-18 10:15:28

(Sorry Reluctant - we cross posted. You got there before I did.)

Bloodmagic Sat 19-May-18 10:19:12

You're not wrong about any of that but just adding a few other things to think about:

Gender is a spectrum constructed by society as feminine roles and identities all the way along to masculine ones.

There are several different definitions of gender floating about. Gender identity is what is commonly talked about among young people and progressives these days and includes things like 'non-binary'. This is once use of the word, and in this usage gender is a spectrum.
The 2nd wave feminist use of the word gender refers to the roles, stereotypes and expectations which are forced on people because of their sex. In that usage, gender is binary. THIS is for boys and THAT is for girls. Certain things are not assigned for girls or boys (like, idk, eating bread) but when they are its not something you can mix and match individually, these ARE your expectations based on your sex and you can only obey or disobey them. Even when we disobey or say we are 'gender fluid' we still know which things are supposed to be 'for girls' and which are 'for boys'. And because men were the ones who set up these roles the good things are generally designated 'for boys' (e.g. strong, smart, brave) and the opposite of them are 'for girls' (e.g. weak, stupid, helpless). That's why you sometimes hear people say that gender is a hierarchy.

I don't think either definition is necessarily wrong but it's important to be conscious of the ways the word is used. 'Gender' can be used:
-as a euphemism for sex,
-to describe happiness/unhappiness with a persons sex (dysphoria)
-to describe happiness/unhappiness with the roles and expectations assigned to their sex (gender identity)
-to describe the system which issues those assignments (2nd wave usage)
-to personal expression within that system and degree of conformance to the roles (gender expression)

That's 5 different and contradictory uses for "gender", some of which are binary and some of which aren't. So it's a word I try to avoid using as much as possible. It's just way too confusing. The important point is that you couldn't have a spectrum of gender expression or gender expression, without acknowledging the reality that the binary gender system (2nd wave usage) exists in the first place.

Women are currently more fluid and flexible in sitting anywhere on this spectrum because of the earlier waves of feminism. Women are more comfortable with (and often embrace) the masculine elements of their identity whereas men are still stuck in what it means to be a man and wont be so open to their feminine elements.

That's partly because the stuff that was deemed 'feminine' was done so because it was seen as lesser. Intelligence and analytical thinking wasn't arbitrarily designated male, and emotionality wasn't arbitrarily designated female. It was done that way because the former was (and still is) seen as good and valuable while the latter was and is seen as shameful and worthless.
There's also an argument that's it's partly because men are the 'ruling class' and therefore care more about what men do than what women do. As an analogy, the royal family cares a lot more about how their family behaves than they care about what the common people are doing. They hold their own family to strict codes of behavior because it reflects on them and potentially influences their hold on power.
But yes, previous feminist waves also did major good work to allow women more freedom of expression.

Feminism is the advocacy for women's rights based on equality of the sexes, so feminism is about protecting biological females.

Just because I know other feminists will nitpick over this, but technically feminism is for liberation of women rather than for equality. For example, lets say we get rid of all the barriers keeping women out of STEM and find out that women are just naturally shitloads better at it than men, should we arbitrarily limit them so that it's equal? If it's not possible to eliminate rape and sexual assault by men, should we encourage women to rape more so it's equal?
As sojourner truth said "As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can't she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can't take more than our pint'll hold."
Meaning that whether women are smarter or dumber or weaker or stronger than men, we should still be allowed to achieve our full capacity without limitations.
Most feminists also believe that men and women are roughly equal in their capacities and personalities. But even if we weren't we should still be free.

I am pretty much on the same page with you about everything else.

The problem with transgenderism as a concept is that it can't help but reinforce the idea and structure of sex based stereotypes, roles, and expectations. You cannot claim to 'feel like a woman' without reinforcing the idea there is one set of feelings which are assigned to women and that men who experience them are wrong.

My position is that post op transwomen deserve protections at transwomen. As men. Specifically, as eunuchs.
Just like sojourner truth asked for women, eunuchs should not be denied anything which is allowed to men. They should be allowed to fulfill their own capacity. To participate in mens sports, and co-ed sports, without limit. To create their own teams and spaces. To be represented proportionally in politics. But they are not women, and allowing them into women's spaces and sports would mean limiting our ability to achieve our capacity.
It's not a zero sum game. When women wanted to play sports they didn't get rid of the mens teams or give some of the places on them to women, they just ADDED a womens team. When women demanded the right to bathrooms they didn't do a time share thing where even hours are womens and odd ones are mens, they ADDED womens bathrooms. We can ADD spaces for trans, intersex, and non conforming people too.
The problem is that that would be completely unacceptable to trans advocates, because it's not about inclusion it's about colonization.

Magpiesarehuge Sat 19-May-18 10:29:46

A particular concern of mine relates to rape victims and how being close to physically male bodies when in a vulnerable position can cause mental health problems ..trauma, flashbacks. Given that a lot of women have been raped, in a typical changing room the will be women who have been raped.

Yes, it’s not necessarily about being attacked by predator, a rapist or whatever. It’s about privacy, comfort and peace of mind. Many TAs and their allies seem to miss that posdibly most women and girls just feel at best - uncomfortable ehen someone male is present where they feel vulnerable, a bit exposed, nervous and even embarrassed in places like loos and gym changing/showet rooms. This is always glossed over and dismissed. I’d like to ask my nice gym with it’s communal changing rooms what their policy is on this - considering a female staff member came in 3 times the other dsy to warn everyone a male worker was coming in.

Ereshkigal Sat 19-May-18 10:32:28

Yes, it’s not necessarily about being attacked by predator, a rapist or whatever. It’s about privacy, comfort and peace of mind. Many TAs and their allies seem to miss that posdibly most women and girls just feel at best - uncomfortable ehen someone male is present where they feel vulnerable, a bit exposed, nervous and even embarrassed in places like loos and gym changing/showet rooms. This is always glossed over and dismissed.

This. They dismiss it because they don't care. Because only male feelings are important.

SlowlyWaking Sat 19-May-18 10:35:21

Thanks everyone. This is all so valuable and is really thought provoking.

Bloodmagic definitional differences is certainly stopping a lot of productive discussion from happening. My boyfriend (bless him) thought the patriarchy was some feminist constructed illuminati - dont worry, I've set him straight, he now sees that even he is being oppressed within that structure - but language and semantics are so often responsible for miscommunication in discussions about sex and gender that anything productive thst could come out of it is completely lost.

Case in point for definitional differences, my equality/liberation confusion; I always see those two words as synonymous in terms of end goals but I appreciate the latter has very different connotations for the journey it will take to get there.

IdentifiesAsMiddleAged Sat 19-May-18 11:19:04

Thanks for posting this OP

It is really useful to unpick it again in one place

IdentifiesAsMiddleAged Sat 19-May-18 11:26:49

The problem with transgenderism as a concept is that it can't help but reinforce the idea and structure of sex based stereotypes, roles, and expectations. You cannot claim to 'feel like a woman' without reinforcing the idea there is one set of feelings which are assigned to women and that men who experience them are wrong

Yes Bloodmagic.

It's this that brought me here in part. First of all it wasn't even about women for me. It was actually me noticing the pressures on boys to conform to gender stereotypes (I have sons)

Then I started to think (terribly belatedly!! about myself, and about women in general

Like lots of people I sympathised with the turmoil of gender dysphoria and the real risks from other people. But the risks are from MEN. And we are being asked to sort it out. To be nice and sort it out

IdentifiesAsMiddleAged Sat 19-May-18 11:34:32

Also, for me, there's the fact that I knew someone who transitioned and their story and the way they treated and used their loved ones and friends chimes exactly with the testimonies from the trans widows, and with AGP.

I realised I'd been utterly unquestioning of the 'born in the wrong body' narrative, as I think a lot of people are. I had no idea about the trans umbrella.

And then the final straw is the MRA slant. I absolutely did not want to believe that there are still men who hate us so much, but I do

MoodyDench Sat 19-May-18 14:28:19

Picking up one one specific point of your message (which resounds with me). The patriarchy may steer men into dangerous roles but for this to change women need to be prepared to do them too. IME many women don't want to do these jobs unless they're well paid. For example, I hold a Class 1 (arctic) HGV license and drove for several years before accepting a management role. Even now only 0.5% of drivers are female and I can tell you from my years of experience that most women don't seem interested in this job - same with warehousing, construction, etc, and many of the other jobs I've gained good knowledge of through delivering to worksites.

Kyanite Sat 19-May-18 14:54:21

There are TRAs claiming that biology is the social construct and that gender is innate. That even natal women can't call themselves women unless they identify as women and act like women. Some claim they always were female and that their male bodies are in act female. Not all suffer from gender dysphoria, not all intend to alter their body, not all have the same sexual orientation.

TransExclusionaryMRA Sat 19-May-18 15:04:44

I really don’t buy most of this masculine/feminine bull crap these are human traits we are talking about and not the preserve of this or or that gender. Mastery of one’s own life requires embracing of all these concepts. A woman who isn’t assertive or a man who is not empathic is only realising half of their own human capital.

MoodyDench Sat 19-May-18 15:27:02

But I think hormones play a significant part too and it's been proven that men with high testosterone levels act differently on the whole.

TransExclusionaryMRA Sat 19-May-18 17:10:38

I think testosterone is bandied about as an excuse for a lot of things, personally although I’ve never been tested I wouldn’t be surprised if mine was on the higher side. I’m competitive with a high libido, and whilst I wouldn’t describe myself as an alpha male exactly I am capable of marshalling leadership qualities when a crisis arises.

I read a lot about toxic masculinity these days and I think there is a lot of truth to the concept. How I perceive it manifests is a peculiar kind of entitled masculinity. It is usually all those ideas that surround this social construct of what a “man” is supposed to be only devoid of any actual effort to earn any of the benefits that a competent, virtuous man would as a natural consequence of embodying those qualities.

I think that’s why you guys have such a problem with leftist men as the belief seems to be as long as they signal the right virtues (without actually putting in the effort to embody them) they are due the respect (and let’s face it the sex sometimes), of those around them.

The thing is when you break it down these masculine virtues aren’t really masculine at all they are human, same with the so called feminine virtues. It’s healthiest on both a societal level and for the individual to strive to embody as much of them as you can.

In my more generous moments I often wonder if some this trans stuff comes from a place of men identifying those so-called feminine aspects in themselves and feeling perhaps a deficit of the so-called masculine ones and conclude “Well I must really be a woman then!”

Maybe there is a variance in how men and women approach the question of how to be human, but ultimately aren’t we all striving to end up in the same place?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: