Women and their role in trans right activism

(68 Posts)
DJLippy Tue 30-Jun-20 20:53:02

Trans right activism is often framed as a men's right movement. For the following reasons:

- Removing women's sexed based rights

- Erasing the language needed for women to talk about their biology

- Attacking women who disagree with it's aims with violent and sexualised language

All this is true but in framing this as a 'penis cult' and laying the blame with men (as a class) do we erase the significant contribution that females (no matter how they identify) have made to this movement? These individuals hold significant roles in organisations front and center of the movement.

- Susie Green (Mermaids)
- Ruth Hunt and Nancy Kelley (Stonewall)
- James Morton (Scottish Transgender Alliance)
- Stephen Whittle (Press for Change)

There are a number of other women who support the movement who I will not name for fear that this thread will be deleted.

On a personal level, for every bearded 'woke bloke' I have argued with online, I have had 'run ins' with just as many women. Often the mobbing I receive is more extreme in 'women only' spaces like the Atheist feminists. They even use violent and sexualised threats similar to those from their male counterparts. I am sure that women on this board have faced similar interactions.

I know the traditional explanation is that these women are 'handmaids of the patriarchy.' They throw women under the bus to preserve their own position within the system of male dominance and protect themselves from abuse. For example, FGM is carried out and supported in many cases by women.

However, in men's right activist circles these women, more often than not act as 'tokens' and are not given positions of structural power. I don't think the same can be said of this particular movement.

Do we need a more nuanced analysis of how women work to support the patriarchy or is this movement different from other forms of male dominance? I see many women who seem to work with equal determination to erode their sexes legal rights. Does framing this battle as as 'men vs women' undermine our efforts to truly understand what is happening?

I am not being goady. I genuinely want a discussion about the role of women in the trans right activist movement. I also want to reflect more broadly on how women work to maintain systems of power which benefit men. I think that this is important if we want to move forward and understand what is going on.


OP’s posts: |
KylieKoKo Tue 30-Jun-20 21:08:34

It is possible for women to disagree with each other and still be feminists. I think labelling women who disagree with you as handmaids of the patriarchy isn't particularly feminist. If you want to understand these women then talk to them as equals about how they came to their viewpoint. If you come at them with the attitude that they are somehow inferior to you because they have drawn a different conclusion to you then no wonder you are having run-ins with them.

Winesalot Tue 30-Jun-20 21:13:20

I agree that there seems a lot of women who are very determined to believe that this group is truly more vulnerable, more discriminated against than, well, women. And they don’t seem to be able to understand the ramifications to say the legal side of women’s rights if the word women lacks precise definition.

I am too new too this to know where this has come from. I have been discriminated against in most workplaces or when going for jobs. But it has been a decade since I have been employed in a corporate job. Maybe it got better. I cannot imagine it has and women were just as biased towards men then too.

I do think though there is also the effect that ‘be kind’ has pushed.

HH160bpm Tue 30-Jun-20 21:13:27

I think if they have skin in the game like Susie Green nothing is ever going to alter their thinking. How could it? Who could take on the idea that what you did for your child was harmful?

James Morton and Stephen Whittle are put front and centre as unthreatening media appealing non-volatile figureheads. More acceptable than transwomen to the public. It’s their whole life, income, identity, status.

Stonewall women, no idea, collaborators for money and status perhaps.

As far as the handmaidens go, I would think that a young woman who is supposed to be nice and inclusive might rather enjoy dishing out righteous vengeance while being lauded for it and shielded by men. They just haven’t been used up and made aware of their disposability yet.

SarahTancredi Tue 30-Jun-20 21:17:57

As far as the handmaidens go, I would think that a young woman who is supposed to be nice and inclusive might rather enjoy dishing out righteous vengeance while being lauded for it and shielded by men. They just haven’t been used up and made aware of their disposability yet

I think this is pretty accurate. And of course we will be here to support them and pick up the pieces when the reality of the fact that being nice enough does not protect you , hits.

QuarantineDream Tue 30-Jun-20 21:28:20

I think this is an excellent question. Here are a few thoughts in no particular order:

1) They are young and don't realise what they're actually campaigning for or why it matters. I didn't become a feminist until I had kids. It was only then that I began to realise how disadvantaged I was by both my biology and "gender" (i.e. all the bs sexism that comes with being a mum and being out of the work force even for a short amount of time due to physical necessity)

2) They are women with mental health conditions e.g. Munchausens by Proxy etc

3) They are incredibly self-entered and think just because they don't mind seeing a penis in women's changing rooms, for example, no one else should (although logically shouldn't that apply to everything else? If Emma Watson is also OK with hardcore BDSM shouldn't all women be OK with it? Funny how that doesn't work does it.)

4) They are socialized to "be nice". I fucking HATE the phrase be nice. DONT BE NICE. Being nice is how women end up raped, end up brutalised, end up dead. Sometimes it's much more important to be disagreeable.

HH160bpm Tue 30-Jun-20 21:31:30

And of course we will be here to support them and pick up the pieces when the reality of the fact that being nice enough does not protect you , hits.



DJLippy Tue 30-Jun-20 21:34:42

I think that socialisation of young women to be kind is relevant but what explains the role of older women who hold structural power?

Is it all about money and power?

OP’s posts: |
CuntAmongstThePigeons Tue 30-Jun-20 21:39:27

I think the point made by previous posters about younger women being less aware of the structural sexism of society and buying into the "be kind" narrative because they simply don't see the myriad of ways that women are at a disadvantage in society rings true. I'm 30 and I would say other than a handful of people, most people my age are firmly of the TWAW camp, I feel really isolated as to who I can discuss this with, and I've lost a lot of friends over this issue, which obviously is upsetting.

But also I'm not sure if there's anything in the idea of there perhaps being an (unconscious) readiness to believe other people have it worse? I'm not sure, I just find it odd that so many women of my generation can't seem to see how much work feminism still has to do and alongside the porn epidemic/trans stuff how low women's place in society is? Is there a self protection mechanism to not accept how much society hates women which along with the female socialization of always looking out for everyone else first means young women struggle to see/accept the ways in which trans activists demands will disadvantage women's rights?

HH160bpm Tue 30-Jun-20 21:40:28

How old? It’s relevant. If they had to fight their way up into power starting up to mid to late 80s they probably didn’t get there by acknowledging they were women. The opposite is more likely.

CuntAmongstThePigeons Tue 30-Jun-20 21:42:13

Eugh sorry, that did have paragraphs I don't know where they went.

Older women who support it is definitely more difficult. It has to be money/power being on the "right" side of the current climate. I'm not sure but it's depressing.

TirisfalPumpkin Tue 30-Jun-20 21:43:21

I think it’s a bit of ‘better at the devil’s right hand than in his path’, at least with the handmaidens. They think their allyship will give them special status once the MRA goals are achieved. I personally wouldn’t count on that.

I’ve also experienced worse mobbing from the women than the men, and we do need to talk about it. Sometimes by using unpleasant, but accurate, terminology about them. Feminism isn’t about raising women above criticism. You can criticise someone without denying their humanity - another thing the MRA lot don’t seem to comprehend.

DJLippy Tue 30-Jun-20 21:44:54

Also, more broadly. If a significant amount of women support patriarchy, at what point does this undermine our conception of male dominance? White supremacists power doesnt seem to need black people 'buying' into this system of control in the same way that male supremacy relies on women doing so

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Jun-20 21:49:41

These women who claim to be Trans advocates don’t usually threaten to kill or rape the women who don’t agree with them
They also don’t suggest that any dissenters “suck their lady dick”
Feminists trying to protect women’s rights and safe spaces usually understand that other people may have a different view and that’s ok but when we are told we can’t even have a discussion on the subject that’s when it becomes a real problem

Nuffaluff Tue 30-Jun-20 21:53:59

Thinking about young women- I remember very well being one. And this probably applies to some older women also.
I think that they see the TWAW mantra as progressive. They want to be on ‘the right side of history’ as they see it.
I really think it’s as simple as that.
They haven’t fully thought about it. It just seems like the woke thing to believe and they want to fit in. No need to engage brain beyond ‘oh look, a fish that changed sex’.
They are also innocent of the realities of this world as it affects us females. They don’t have enough experience of life. They don’t identify with older women, like us. They don’t think they’ll ever be like us, you know, with wrinkles, a saggy belly, etc.
They want to distance themselves from feminists like us and show men that they are the good sort of feminists (that include men).

HH160bpm Tue 30-Jun-20 21:56:01

I think you are underestimating women’s capability for venom when it’s deemed acceptable let alone when it is approved and praised. It’s not new. It’s just not common or publicly visible. Online mobs for young women are the perfect arena to let loose some of the rage they suck up from birth. On the right side, standing up for the vulnerable, has male support and protection, gets praise. Crowd mentality.

HH160bpm Tue 30-Jun-20 22:02:38

White supremacists power doesnt seem to need black people 'buying' into this system of control in the same way that male supremacy relies on women doing so

Maybe not as much now. But it did. Collaborate with your oppressors until you reach a position high enough to say no. And it’s not directly comparable to patriarchal societies that have existed for millennia.

Kit19 Tue 30-Jun-20 22:10:29

I’m more interested in the woke middle aged women happily throwing other women under the bus see new ceo of stonewall & the likes of baronesses hunt and barker

I think they are very far removed from the tumblr world of teenagers & twenty something’s and spend too much time in the rarefied theoretical world of woke politics & the voluntary sector

Although they’re all lesbians they’re all in long term relationships & so don’t be expected to walk the walk of TWAW

Kit19 Tue 30-Jun-20 22:13:06

I think there’s also a lot of “but my lovely TW friend” going on as well

Melroses Tue 30-Jun-20 22:22:37

I don't know. It is like when women enable abuse. For some reason they do not understand or see the consequences of what they are doing.

Some people do not understand unless they have direct experience.

I think this is being manipulated in the 'it is just like' arguments where it is related to something easier to understand where that person may have direct experience.

dayoftheclownfish Tue 30-Jun-20 22:28:47

First of all, thank you for this eloquent post, I have been wondering about this myself. Some TWAW women of my acquaintance have been truly awful to other women over this issue. I think it’s actually quite complicated.
A lot of it could be projection. Women who are actually disturbed/disgusted by male femininity but cannot admit to it and feel they have to force themselves to get over it.

Second, socialisation and lifelong political commitments. Imagine you have always fought for the underdog, stood up for ‘what’s right’, built your identity around leftist politics - it takes guts to say ‘hang on a second, this may be an oppressed minority but what they are demanding is simply unreasonable’.

Third, you have spent all your life conditioning yourself to think that ‘women can do anything’. This is communicated in pop culture (female action heroes who somehow manage to beat up men twice their size, for example) and feminist activism. Any failures you have internalised as your own fault, not structural disadvantage. Questioning transgenderism means you have to recognise and accept the limits of our sexed bodies. This is hard, especially given the constant libfem propaganda that denies difference and fails to acknowledge that women ARE different but just as human as men.

That would be my take on it. And for some women it’s a convenient way to get rid of rivals or other women they envy. None of us are saints,

Broomfondle Tue 30-Jun-20 22:30:00

I'm 30 and it's really jarring to disagree on this one point when you see yourself as liberal and caring and 'better' than right wingers, conservatives and patriarchal religions. I sort of bought into pretty much everything guardian but have never agreed that TWAW in the legal/definitive sense and it feels so strange. I think women can take that position as it's aligned with other positions such as not being homophobic, racist, sexist and xenophobic etc.
I volunteered, campaigned and fundraised for Amnesty for years when I was younger and it was a huge shock when they basically turned round and shrugged 'men gonna rape' as their position on women's concerns about their rights. That gave me even more courage in my conviction.

Melroses Tue 30-Jun-20 22:30:55

Also, after reading Jessica Taylor's article on why grooming is hard to spothttps://victimfocusblog.com/2020/06/30/dr-jessica-taylor-explains-the-real-reasons-why-you-cant-spot-grooming-behaviour/

I would call this social manipulation. I was reminded of someone who went on a management course and came back with the realisation that people like to be manipulated, they do not like to be told straight. They will do things for your that they would not do if you were more straightforward in your approach.

It makes them feel good. Maybe they are being given a sense of purpose?

Maybe men and women fall for different sorts of manipulation?

Broomfondle Tue 30-Jun-20 22:39:19


You have articulated a lot of what I feel! Great points, especially the third, I've found it hard to get that straight in my head. It feels strange to fight from a point that women are just as good as men and can be/do anything they can (within reason) but then turn around and find yourself having to define and defend the dividing line. Strange times! I feel it would all be ok women and their rights weren't being redefined. There is a way for everyone to be equal but not the same.

OvaHere Tue 30-Jun-20 22:45:12

This is the post I just finished writing when your other thread was banished. It won't quite have context as I was replying to someone but it still fits with the thread.

Many/most? of the women/female people who are very vocally invested appear to me to gain some kind of reward from it whether that be personal gratification or career orientated - sometimes both.

Arguably the same could be said about the high number of vocal 'beardy bro's' we all know so well. However the main difference I see between the women and the men is that most of the time it's low effort, low cost noise for the men. A lot of them have just found a way to acceptably shit on demographics of women they don't like. The women often seem to have more at stake.

Using the trans kids phenomenon as an example.

If the bubble completely burst tomorrow I can guarantee the women who have been vocally and professionally invested in gender ideology will end up losing a lot more than many male counterparts who will likely just reverse ferret and slink off.

I'm thinking of Polly Carmichael, Susie Green, the former and current heads of Stonewall, various academics, dozens of trans kids 'stage mothers', celebrity women like Jameela Jamil.

I do think a lot of women, who whilst complicit, but by no means totally responsible will be left holding the can and shouldering the blame whilst men like Jolyon Maugham, Owen Jones, Hbomberguy, the Penis News crew will probably slink off to start afresh relatively unscathed.

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