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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Break it down for me?

972 replies

TortiousTortoise · 20/01/2018 22:16

Hi all, I am fairly new to the discussion on the impact that transwomen are having on women generally and I want to more fully understand the issues (been trying to talk to my husband about it and am struggling to articulate it).

I feel so awkward writing about this as I definitely don't want to come across as sounding horrible about transpeople, I just want to understand.

Also there are a lot of acronyms being thrown about. Can anyone help me out?

OP posts:
directsunlight · 25/01/2018 08:46

I'm also concerned with what pp have termed newspeak - the obliteration of words and the requirement to use new definitions or made-up words which seem to deliberately obfuscate issues and prevent critical thought.

BahHumbygge · 25/01/2018 14:16

One thing that’s been lightly touched on here, but should be expanded is the impact that this ideology has on lesbians, who by definition are female homosexuals.

Planned Parenthood in Toronto ran a series of workshops called “how to overcome the cotton ceiling”. The phrase is taken from the analogy of the glass ceiling in the world of employment, where women can see the way to the top, but are blocked by invisible barriers relating to their biological sex. The cotton ceiling here refers to the cotton gusset of lesbians’ knickers and how female-attracted TIMs can best “break through” that and become intimate with lesbians.

Lesbians (the proper female type) on the other hand are not happy with this, as by definition, they are not attracted to dicks or their owners. Since year dot, it has been the ultimate male fantasy of many straight blokes to “bed” a lesbian and “turn them”. It smacks of corrective rape, used worldwide to punish lesbians for rejecting men as partners.

Magdalen Berns, the awesome youtuber, was ostracised from her university feminism group for refusing to accept such “transbians” there & in her dating pool. Her nemesis was a notoriously aggressive TRA who tried to get her thrown out of the student union.

Lesbians are being punished for having boundaries. Boundaries that are intrinsic to the meaning of their name. The clue’s in the name - homoSEXual, not homoGENDERal. The consequence is that it erases lesbian identity and existence. Women can no longer be exclusively attracted to other women, they must consider penis (if the owner identifies as a woman) or be considered hateful transphobic bigots.

Funnily the corollary of this… that gay men should consider transmen as potential partners, is totally ignored and overlooked. Men, unlike women, have always been allowed autonomy, boundaries and preference as part and parcel of their dominant position in the patriarchy.

This particular dynamic was vividly illustrated in a dramatic Twitter exchange between Owen Jones and Sarah Ditum. Owen was berating lesbians for not accepting dick, after all, the penis can of course be very much a female organ if the owner identifies as such Hmm. He was then asked whether he would perform cunnilingus on a transman, as obviously, by his logic, vulvas can be male if they belong to someone identifying as a man. He threw his toys out of the pram, denounced the question as disgusting and dreadfully homophobic! (My personal peak trans moment Halo )

The problem is trans ideology is that we’re starting from a very much asymmetric and loaded starting grid. We haven’t got sexism, sexual discrimination and violence sorted yet… by a long chalk. To then go and map gender identity discrimination on top of that will undermine the foundations of sex based legislation and policies that we do have. Gender is not a happy sparkly spectrum of identities across a level playing field. It is a violent hierarchy, used to oppress, subjugate and punish those considered inferior and to exploit their reproductive, sexual, caring and domestic labour and to constrain them to the “home sphere” rather than having “world building/human advancement” occupations like engineering, politics or medical research. Gender reifies such hierarchical distinctions between the sexes... we should rather be levelling them, which campaigns like "Let Toys Be Toys" seek to do. Radical feminists seek to decouple people's preference in toys, clothing, ornamentation, occupation, hobbies and various other aspects of their habitus from the anatomical configuration mother nature gifted them with within their pants. Any person, of either sex, should be free to like anything, and not be considered the opposite gender for liking the things traditionally associated with that cohort.

Sex and gender and completely different things but have been conflated as it’s beneficial to male institutions to keep people in their respective boxes. I saw this comment BTL in the Guardian (which was miraculously allowed to stand) the other day, which neatly sums it up:

By eliding the difference between gender and sex, you erase the reality of female oppression, which is based on patriarchal control of reproduction.

In short gender is how women are oppressed, and sex is why.

Gender identity can be considered valid as a protected characteristic in terms of employment, housing, education and freedom from harassment etc, but crucially it must be considered completely separate from sex for the purposes of law and policy.

thebewilderness · 26/01/2018 05:39

My friend Rachel explained to me why people profess beliefs they do not actually believe. This is something I have been going on about lately.
"In social psychology, pluralistic ignorance is a situation in which a majority of group members privately reject a norm, but incorrectly assume that most others accept it, and therefore go along with it."
I kinda sorta get it.

AngryAttackKittens · 26/01/2018 06:22

Cosigning BahHumbugge's entire comment!

TerfWarz · 26/01/2018 06:59

@BahHumbugge thanks for that great explanation. It's just mind blowing.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g · 26/01/2018 08:36

@thebewilderness, Emperor's New Clothes, in other words!

LangCleg · 26/01/2018 08:58

Can you mandate belief?

Yes, you can. And when you do, you move from being a democracy to being a theocracy.

sportinguista · 26/01/2018 09:31

Hi all! I've been lurking for a while, considering all the information and digesting it. Wanted to post for a while but also wanted to make it a really considered post.

I come from a scene where gender constructs were more commonly interchangeable (guys wearing girls clothes, girls wearing more masculine clothes and being gay, bi or lesbian was accepted). I've personally known a few of what you'd call the old style transsexual people, MTF and FTM.

What has struck me about the current debate is how far the current trans activists seem to be from the people I knew. The people I knew were quite shy, not at all aggressive and were well liked by both sexes. I wonder what they make of it all?

Reading through everything has clicked with me and although I've never considered my self as out and out feminist I consider women's rights as an inalienable HUMAN right.

I've been talking with my DH about this for a while and he is as shocked as I am as we both think that it's almost as if we are being asked to deny common sense.

Like most in RL I don't think I'd post on it in facebook as I'm 100% sure that there is at least 1 person on my FB that would be pro-trans in the confrontational sense! I think they are possibly even on here...

Like most I'm not anti-trans but don't believe that transwomen should be defined in the same way as those born women. I do believe in both having rights but those do need to be tailored to each need and one's needs do not override those of the other. Am I a bigot for believing that?

It took DH to point out to me that there is a worrying rise in violence towards women, my normally not particularly women's issue centred DH, who is increasingly worried at the level and ferocity of violence and misogyny towards women.

We have boys but we're just as worried as parents of girls because this affects us all. We homeschool so in a way we don't have to worry about any agendas being forced on us as we're not constrained in the same way. I have a photo of DS and a little friend (boy) who dressed up as fairies when they were 3 at nursery, it scares me that now I might have been taken aside and asked if my son wanted to be a girl, just for that.

I was lucky in that I had a mum who made it very clear that me and my sister could be anything we wanted. I spent most of my childhood in jeans and one of my most prized possessions was a snake belt! I rarely if ever wore pink, even now I'm not always girly, although I do love my make up. I wear big boots or trainers and I veer from skirts to jeans, but I know I am a woman! I do wonder what my mum would have made of all this as she's sadly no longer alive?

So putting my hat in the ring as they say and saying I'm Spartacus too!

Trailedanderror · 26/01/2018 09:34

@BahHumbygge
Fantastic. Every word.

BertrandRussell · 26/01/2018 09:36

The Guilty Feminist podcast had an edition about trans issues. I can’t link to it for some reason, but it’s called Minefields. I found it very enlightening, for all sorts of reasons. I won’t say any more so people can approach it with open minds.

AngryAttackKittens · 26/01/2018 09:38

I think that spending most of my post-puberty life involved in subcultures where old school gender bending and men wearing makeup/flamboyant clothes was commonplace worked like a sort of inoculation against all this crap for me. I've known lots of men who're far more "feminine" than most of the men now calling themselves trans women. They all know that they're men. Ex boyfriend who I met when he asked to borrow my eyeliner at a goth club? Man. Friend who used to walk around in leather hot pants with hair down to his bum? Man.

And then these regressive, angry, sexist people came along and started claiming that the slightest deviation from the men like flannel shirts and cars/women like baking and high heels model meant that people weren't really the sex they appeared to be and it was like, WTF kind of nonsense is this?

Still think it's nonsense. Gender is a social construct. Challenge it, thumb your nose at it, completely ignore it, even conform to it if you must, but you still can't change your sex.

sportinguista · 26/01/2018 13:26

I agree Kittens we all experimented and I guess people had the time and space to work out how they saw themselves. One of my most feminine looking male friends started off Bi and decided eventually that he was just gay and as he aged became comfortable in that identity and no doubt with his body. But he had the time to work that out.

I feel that todays children and young people might not be given that luxury. That's quite sad to think.

Payfrozen · 26/01/2018 18:11

Help me out here. I have been trying to listen to the Minefields video by the Guilty Feminist all day but keep getting interrupted. I spotted this comment under the video and I am struggling with it:

"Surely FGM and MGM are labels that can only be applied once the person mutilated is old enough to develop a gender identity? Chopping the foreskin off a female-identifying infant is FGM, I feel. I think I agree more with Reubs on this one, FWIW."

I've put the comment in full. My head is spinning. Confused

Surely chopping a foreskin off is mgm?

AreYouOrHaveYouEverBeenATERF · 26/01/2018 18:31

Of course it is mgm. That comment is barmy.

BertrandRussell · 26/01/2018 18:37

Reubs says on the podcast that it should not be called FGM. I think it was her that said that it should be called Misogynist Genital Mutilation.

thebewilderness · 26/01/2018 18:44

And then these regressive, angry, sexist people came along and started claiming that the slightest deviation from the men like flannel shirts and cars/women like baking and high heels model meant that people weren't really the sex they appeared to be and it was like, WTF kind of nonsense is this?

Still think it's nonsense. Gender is a social construct. Challenge it, thumb your nose at it, completely ignore it, even conform to it if you must, but you still can't change your sex.


The pressure from adults in authority on children to conform to rigid gender roles or transition is terrifying.

cansomeoneexplain · 16/02/2018 11:01

I'm so glad I found this thread

HipposGoBerserk · 15/03/2018 14:57

badger very kindly redirected me here when I suggested I might need educating in trans issues. I've brought Gin.

My education begins...

AntiGrinch · 15/03/2018 22:29

Am I wrong in thinking that things are changing a bit? I think we may be getting some light and air to this issue over the last few weeks. Am I a crazy optimist?

CertainHalfDesertedStreets · 15/03/2018 22:38

No it's happening. People like Hadley Freeman are starting to feel comfortable coming out as GC. It's starting to take hold. I really feel that.

Mainly because most people who aren't bleeding heart lefties like me go 'WTF?' the very second they first hear about self id.

CertainHalfDesertedStreets · 15/03/2018 22:38

No it's happening. People like Hadley Freeman are starting to feel comfortable coming out as GC. It's starting to take hold. I really feel that.

Mainly because most people who aren't bleeding heart lefties like me go 'WTF?' the very second they first hear about self id.

MipMipMip · 15/03/2018 22:57

Please be careful using your real name. I foolishly posted something without an alias and am now being targeted. I'm not saying don't share, just be careful how you do it. I think the questioning method is good.

I need to find that TERF list - guess I'm on it now. Sad

HipposGoBerserk · 16/03/2018 00:07

I've read the thread but haven't chased all the links yet.
Thank you.
Some of the issues raised are things I've had running around my head in an inarticulate fashion.

womanformallyknownaswoman · 16/03/2018 04:07

@thebewilderness
I think there is a third group of men joining the transgender movement. Abusive authoritarian misogynists.

Yep definitely India is a prime example - as men's behaviour gets more and more examined through the lens of abuse, abusers have to find new spaces - guess where….

ChattyLion · 16/03/2018 04:41

I don’t know Datun, ‘cross fetishists’ seems a bit understated to describe the entitled rage of TRAs whenever women dare voice an opinion about their rights being under threat from legal self- ID!

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