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Some “Gender Critical” feminists want to remove more than the “T” from LGBT

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By David Futrelle

So-called “Gender Critical” feminists — that is, the artists transphobes formerly known as TERFs — like to fantasize about removing the “T” from LGBT, severing trans people from the solidarity and support of the broader community of which they now are a central part.

But some in the GC crowd want to go much further, effectively removing all the letters except for the L for Lesbian. Consider this highly upvoted comment from the Gender Critical subreddit painting gay men as slavering predators who’ve supposedly ruined the movement with their sexual obsession.

“The worst mistake lesbian women made was allying themselves with the gay male movement,” GCMAdamXX begins.

“Gay liberation” was only ever about unfettered male sexual desire. The first riots were about the police raiding sex clubs (where prostitution was common). Stonewall itself was a known hangout for underage boys to sell sex to closeted businessmen. Sylvia Rivera himself was only 17. His lover Marsha Johnson was 26.

FWIW, every source I found online that refers to the two trans activists describes them as “friends,” not lovers, but why let the mere facts dissuade you when you’re trying to portray female trans activists as gay male pedophiles?

Within a year of the first AIDS cases the cause and the vectors were understood, and yet gay men fought to keep the sex clubs open and resisted using condoms. So AIDS kept spreading. Because men refused to give up their sexual “liberation”.

It took a lot longer than a year for people to understand what was going on with AIDS.

Now we have drag queen story time peddling this shit to children.

Apparently reading stories to kids while dressed in drag is equivalent in GCMadamXX’s mind with pedophilia and knowingly spreading AIDS.

Gay liberation has always been about male lust. Trans is just an extension of that into ever creepier realms. Including pedophilic realms.

Bullshit.

Lesbianism is about liberation FROM male lust. It’s time the L split from the G as well.

Presumably bi men — and possibly bi women? — would be excluded as well due to all the “male lust” involved in bisexuality.

A quick tour of GCMadamXX recent comment history on Reddit reveals that she has similarly strong feelings on a number of topics.

She’s really, really into women making babies.

The acme of HUMAN experience is the creation of another human. That is correct. Every other thing humans have ever achieved has been driven by the desire to reproduce or improve the odds of survival for offspring or relatives. …

Until we recognize our power and learn to wield it we will never be free.

In another thread she waxes poetic about women and their wombs:

Literally what matters in this world more than the creation of life? Everything you believe about being a woman is a lie told to try to control us. We are the goddesses of this world. Not only can we create life we can create more goddesses. We are eternal and powerful.

As much as she loves the baby making thing she’s not so thrilled that men are a part of it, and would seemingly prefer it if the world were free of most men beyond a few sperm donors. She sounds more than a little like a MGTOW dreaming of a world in which flesh-and-blood women are replaced by compliant lady sexbots.

Males are dispensable and most are superfluous to the continuation of the species. Females are not.

She doesn’t think men should be watching porn:

Combine a dating app with a porn blocker. For every month a guy doesn’t watch porn he gets to contact one woman. If he stays off porn for a year he unlocks the whole site. Women would pay for this.

But she herself sometimes indulges in a little porn-watching — and her favored genre of the stuff is a little surprising:

I try not to watch porn at all but when I occasionally slip, I watch gay porn. You’re so much less likely to find someone being horribly abused in the m/m scene.

edit: I’m not a gay male LOL

No, we didn’t think you were. And she’s not a lesbian either. Despite her strong opinions on LGBTQ politics, and her general low opinion of men, she’s evidently a straight (or possibly bi?) woman with a husband and kids 

Regardless of her furtive interest in m/m porn (which she nonetheless thinks should be eliminated from the face of the earth) , it’s doubtful she’s be a good fanfic author as she is probably the least erotic sex-describer I’ve ever run across, at one point describing the penis as “something through which small gametes are excreted.”

HAWT (NAWT).

Oh, and she’s a fan of JK Rowling with has very definite opinions about the proper management of wizard schools:

Trans kids WOULDN’T be allowed at Hogwarts. The stairs to the girls’ dorms turn into slides if boys try to use them.

Wait, what? So she’s assuming that the stairs are making their decisions after scanning the students’ genitalia and not, say, by looking at how they present themselves to the world? That’s more than a little creey.

The inside of the Gender Critical mind is a deeply weird place and I’ve had enough of it for the day.

H/T — Thanks to Zinnia Jones, who reposted the “drop the t” comment to Twitter.

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Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
10 months ago

Dallillama and mcbender – Thanks, very interesting! As Rhuu notes, there doesn’t seem to be much reason for this distinction in HP. IIRC, The Finnish HP translation implies that “witch” would be the primary/umbrella term for all Hogwarts students. It’s like Rowling maybe wanted to combine wizardry and witchcraft?

In Finnish HP (and Discworld and generally any fantasy literature translated from English), “witch” is rendered as noita and “wizard” as velho. AFAIK, these were historically masculine and probably more or less synonymous, but have evolved largely different (and mostly opposite-gendered) connotations in modern pop culture.

(In old Finnish culture, professional magic was generally reserved for men. Different terms would have more positive or negative connotations, for example tietäjä would be more benevolent than noita or velho or kade.)

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
10 months ago

On the main topic : what a surprise that a racist piece of shit say she dislike men but prefer to abuse transgenders.

On Rowling : in addition to be hateful, I just can’t make heads or tails of how her wizardry world is supposed to work. (and it’s not the first time she add random assertion about how her world work that I find nonsensical).

Note that while I think that Hogwart have been logically constructed by some very, very bigoted people back in the past, and I wouldn’t be surprised if random enchantments were *super* bigoted, there is litteraly no reasons that current deans could not either re-enchant differently the stairs, create a new dorm, or find another creative solution if the problem happen. (problem = stairs acting up, not a transgender wizard). I know we are supposed to believe each and every deans would share her belief, but even within the romans it’s not quite true, and regardless of if she would find that abominable, the dean could not.

Compare and contrast to something like Sleepless Domain, where only girls can have magical power, but that don’t stop transgender from the action. (also, it’s treated like not being a big deal)

On wizard vs witches : I don’t know for every language, but it’s amusing how subtly different the words are in french and english. In french, witch would be translated by “sorcier / sorciére”, as would, rather logically, sorcerer. “wizard” would be “mage” who is neutral, or “enchanteur / enchanteresse” (which, rather logically, is also synonym with enchantress, but existing in both male and female version, while I don’t think I ever head the male version of an enchantress in english).

Which mean a male witch or a female wizard alway felt very natural for me : there are words for that. Compare and contrast with doctors or engineers, who in french *don’t* have “natural” feminine. Up until ten years or so, I even thought a doctor women was a nurse.

Note that it don’t change that generally speaking, witches still tend to be represented as less academic, less potent, and less serious than wizard, just like in english. It’s just easier to see a men using a cauldron to do evil potions (and, in fact, the big bad evil of a very popular french comic is exactly that).

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

@Malitia:
It seems like you misunderstand me. I’m not saying we shouldn’t critique the magical community. I’m saying that the particular way in which the magical community is fucked up is not the same as the particular way that Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” is fucked up.

Different problems, different critiques.

@BekaBot:

Does Nymphadora Tonks have a gender? Did she sleep in the Hufflepuff common room while at Hogwarts? Discuss.

I think Tonks does have a gender, as portrayed by Rowling. Whether it makes sense to think of Tonks as “having” a sex is a more interesting question to me. If Tonks can changer her anatomy faster than she can change her clothes, then what does it mean when one says that Tonks “has a sex”.

Now, Tonks can be female (or male, or have some other sexed body type) in the sense of right this moment she’s female, but wait 5 seconds and that could change. But with her body so malleable, that statement is very different from what we think of when we think of “having” anatomy (including “having” a sex).

On the other hand, while we as readers don’t know anything about how frequently Tonks, for instance, shapes her body with a vagina, we do know that she encourages the use of feminine pronouns and that people around her never use masculine pronouns for her.

Tonks gender, in short, appears to be much more enduring and consistent than her anatomy.

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

@Ohlmann:

“enchanteur / enchanteresse” (which, rather logically, is also synonym with enchantress, but existing in both male and female version, while I don’t think I ever head the male version of an enchantress in english)

As an aside, I think you probably mean “masculine” and “feminine” versions – neither of those words have reproductive systems of any type.

But about not hearing the word “enchanter”, while I’m sure that’s true, there is actually a very pop culture-famous enchanter: Tim.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
10 months ago

@Cryp Dyke : said like that, I can’t help but think that it’s the same for regular humans, including transgender people.

mcbender
10 months ago

@Crip Dyke:
I was going to say something very similar about Tonks. As written, her gender is one of the few things that stays consistent about her. Whether that would be the case for someone else with her abilities is an open question, and something that would probably be pretty interesting to explore in fanfiction and I don’t think I’ve seen much of it. I might have to look around for Tonks stories and see what there is sometime soon.

For instance, I do wonder how parents would approach raising such a child (for that matter, how did Tonks herself end up being assigned female? IIRC we know the shapeshifting abilities are present even in childhood). How would their gender identity develop if they can change their body however and whenever they wish?

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
10 months ago

I don’t know if “witch” was always gendered, but the modern notion of a witch largely comes from 15th-16th century (and earlier) brewers, when brewing beer was a woman’s job.

This is where most of the stereotypes come from: a broom symbol over the door of a brewer’s house indicated beer was available; brewers kept cats to keep mice from getting into the grain; wide-brimmed hats were worn to market as a way to make beer-sellers instantly recognizable; and a boiling cauldron, well… what else do you suppose the “witch” would be brewing?

I have read historians arguing that the Church wanted to promote the takeover of brewing businesses by men at some point in the 16th century, so they cruelly invented an excuse to persecute any woman who exhibited the classic symbols of the trade. Men couldn’t compete in a fair and open market, so why not just outlaw the competition?

Sadly, a whole lot of brewing traditions and recipes were almost certainly lost because of the witch trials.

So, yes, witches (as they are known in the West) are coded as women, and they are supposed to be evil and weak, because they were defined as anti-Christian.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Lumipuna
Does Finnish have grammatical gender? I recall hearing somewhere that the language doesn’t, but I don’t know because I don’t speak Finnish.

@mcbender
I’m guessing Rowling didn’t think of the shapeshifting possibilities of Tonks, seeing how much J.K. dislikes anyone whose gender is different from what they were assigned at birth.
Your post on Rowling is good.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
10 months ago

@Definitely not Steve : once again, language muddy that up, and I would argue that witches are coded as women in english-speaking countries, which isn’t the same as “in the West”.

I mean, in french, if you ride a broom, you’re a women. But every other part of the stereotype *also* work for men. And the stereotype for the infernalist burned by the inquisition is actually a man, not a woman.

(I know, it’s an easy bias to have, doubly so because it don’t change the end result of women being disparaged)

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
10 months ago

Does Finnish have grammatical gender?

No, but job titles might include “-man” or a feminine suffix, like in literal equivalents of “waiter” and “waitress” (the latter now nearly obsolete).

When I said noita/velho used to be masculine, I meant simply practical connotations in old Finnish tradition.

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
10 months ago

@Ohlmann,

That’s an important distinction, and thank you for pointing it out! However, my understanding (which is certainly subject to flaws, and based on limited available historical information) is that the association of women brewers with witchcraft was common across mainland Europe as well as the British Isles, so it is not a strictly English-speaking phenomenon.

And I think there are corresponding female-coded words for the practitioners of witchcraft in most European languages, which also had (or still have) associations with similar or analogous symbols.

TacticalProgressive
TacticalProgressive
10 months ago

@Crip Dyke

Hmm, I wounder if, that in regards to Tonks, that she may be arguably gender fluid but with perhaps a stronger lean towards feminine presenting under that itinerary?

It’s kind of interesting to think about.

rv97
rv97
10 months ago

To slightly deviate from the topic of HP, I do feel incredibly vulnerable to this sort of ideology, because I never saw what was so great about being a guy. Well, there was one time I did use the word “feminist” in a disparaging way when I was a child, but I didn’t really see what was so great about being a guy. At the same time, this sort of ideology would prevent me from being able to realize the solutions to my issues around gender, since transitioning (should it be fit for me) would be totally out of the question for these people, and they’d uphold the gender binary; I’m not sure if they want to get rid of it.

To this day, I still feel towards women, mainly those who are cisgender and attractive in my eyes.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
10 months ago

Historically in Finland, women would routinely cast spells especially to protect the cattle but it wasn’t deemed worthy of a title. Only in early modern era this became gradually associated with Germanic and Christian ideas of female witchcraft. Men would do, for example, healing and necromancy and projectile curses and weather spells.

(17th century witch hunts were very small scale phenomenon in Finland, targeting more often men than women)

Vaiyt
Vaiyt
10 months ago

TERFs are reactionaries first and feminists a distant second. Nothing about this surprises me in the slightest.

KindaSortaHarmless
KindaSortaHarmless
10 months ago

In Japanese, Wizards are called Maho Tsukai (literally “magic user”) while Witches are called Majo (witch, literally “magic woman”). Wizardkind as a whole is called Maho Zoku (literally “magic tribe”).

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
10 months ago

In an unfinished novel of mine, made long ago, there were that concept that most people had a soul, but about one third didn’t, and the only way to found out was either incredibly long and difficult tests, or discovering that demons weren’t interested in buying your soul.

There were a lot of people who attached importance to having a soul (like, for example, the clergy), and a lot of stupid, non-working tests. In the end, what people called a soul was just a particulary esoteric and useless part of most individual, but mostly nobody admitted it and a lot of people made their own lifes miserables in creative way because of that.

Thinking back about it, I suspect there was some unconscious analogy made with gender.

kupo
kupo
10 months ago

To this day, I still feel towards women, mainly those who are cisgender and attractive in my eyes.

What does this mean?

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@rv97

At the same time, this sort of ideology would prevent me from being able to realize the solutions to my issues around gender, since transitioning (should it be fit for me) would be totally out of the question for these people, and they’d uphold the gender binary; I’m not sure if they want to get rid of it.

I’m a bit unsure of what this means, but TERFs definitely want to uphold the binary and do not want to get rid of it. As a result, they enforce very strict gender roles for men and women and get very upset whenever anyone deviates (i.e. I read an anecdote from a man about how a TERF told him he needed mental help because he was wearing nail polish.

To this day, I still feel towards women, mainly those who are cisgender and attractive in my eyes.

Do you mean you are attracted to women, identify as a woman, or what? I’m a bit confused, much like kupo.

rv97
rv97
10 months ago

@kupo

I envy a very narrow set of women; admittedly those often featured either in porn or in media, but I have envied women in non-sexual ways too. I envy the more varied ways they can express themselves and I don’t seem to enjoy being a guy a lot of the time, often feeling pathetic for being one.

The women I envy do tend to be attractive in my eyes or in my assumptions – they’re almost always skinny and don’t present in a butch manner. The latter means that I envy women for how they can express themselves easily in a traditionally feminine and traditionally masculine manner, while men have to make do with one in nearly every case. It gets worse in more socially conservative backgrounds, especially those heavily influenced by colonialism or generally social conservatism.

Hating men just seemed a very persuasive thing for me because I didn’t see what was so great about being a guy, and, well, owing to men committing the majority of crimes and general abuse, I thought it seemed justified to give men hell in many cases.

TERF ideology hence sounds very persuasive to me, but as I’ve mentioned before, what they suggest may not help resolve my issues around gender; some may just want to enforce the binary even further, whereas I find the gender binary a prison that perpetuates toxic relationships in many cases. I’m not sure if they advocate anything like what separatist feminists do, but I doubt they do and they seem more willing to side with conservatives, at least from what I’ve seen here.

rv97
rv97
10 months ago

BTW, I’m sorry if my messages aren’t coming through instantly, this is outside my control.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

Speaking of TERFs, this happened. TL;DR is that BBC made a documentary about detransitioners that interviews TERF groups and people who’ve detransitioned, but does not interview any trans* people who are glad they transitioned and presents detransitioners as being many in number.

Onager
Onager
10 months ago

Terf Wars?

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/jk-rowling-transphobic-tweet-mark-hamill-maya-fortstater-terf-a9254446.html

Looking through the Google News feed for JK Rowling shows generally awful people on her side and, under normal circumstances, I’d imagine she’d largely oppose most of the output of outlets like the Daily Mail and Catholic Herald.

Best summary – love the end:

So, J.K. Rowling: Write whatever you please. Call yourself “gender critical,” if you like. Support any transphobic adult who’ll discriminate with you. Live your best life with your piles of Muggle money. But force cis, trans or intersex women to live with hostile work environments because of the fairytales that transphobes tell themselves? No. #TransRightsAreHumanRights #WhatDrillAreYouTalkingAbout

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/j-k-rowling-s-maya-forstater-tweets-support-hostile-work-ncna1105201

Dalillama
Dalillama
10 months ago

@Lumipuna
Velho is apparently Russian in origin, while nõita is Finnish, but I don’t know mote than that because I can’t read Russian or Finnish

@Ohlmann
Sorcier[e], in English Sorcerer/ess, is from Latin sortiarius, one who tells(and/or influences) fortunes by casting lots/dice (you may recall an appearance by such a person in Le Devin if you read Asterix as a child), and enchanteur/enchanter literally mean ‘one who sings or speaks incantations’.

For the sake of completeness, magician is from a Greek root meaning ‘one who is like the Magi’, and magic is derived from magician. The Magi, in turn, were the Zoroastrian* priests of Persia, believed by Classical Greeks to have supernatural powers. Conjurer is a person who binds [supernatural beings] by oaths or sacred names, from Latin ‘bring together by oaths’, while warlock is from Old English waerloga, ‘oath-denier’. In a magical context the oath in question is to God, and hence a warlock is someone who has entered a pact with rhe Devil (indeed, the word was sometimes used as a euphemism for the Devil to avoid attracting his attention).

*and possibly also pre-Zoroastrian

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
10 months ago

Velho is apparently Russian in origin, while nõita is Finnish, but I don’t know mote than that because I can’t read Russian or Finnish

I don’t know the etymologies either, though noita does seem to have a cognate in Sami languages, either by loan or by common origin.

Tietäjä seems to have an etymology similar to English “wizard”. In modern Finnish, this word is generally used in historical/anthropological context, as opposed to fantasy literature. English equivalents would be variable, such as shaman, druid or medicine man. In English translations of Finnish folklore, “wizard” is also used.

Kade has evolved into an adjective meaning “jealous person” and derived into the noun kateus “jealousy”, apparently from the connection between aggrievement and malevolent magic.

kupo
kupo
10 months ago

@rv97
You’re not wrong that TERFs are toxic, but that whole thing you just said there was super toxic, too. You seem to have a lot of hatred for women, even if you only think your hatred is towards men. Not really unlike TERFs in that respect.

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

You seem to have a lot of hatred for women

I mean I thought that was covered after the whole lesbians are better then straight women, but also lesbians need to be quite about their spousal abuse because that makes other lesbians look bad, thing that they had going on a while back.

MoonHuntress
MoonHuntress
10 months ago

@kupo

I relate a little bit to where @tv97 is coming from, because I am a trans woman…

Before I accepted my transhood, I went through a long phase of feeling jealous of women for “getting” to have certain modes of self expression.

I would feel like women got all the fun clothing patterns and prints, feel jealous that women are “allowed” to wear makeup without coding themselves as queer, and even feel that as a “straight male” I had to engage in constant self-monitoring and censorship of my voice and body language.

It felt like manhood was this constant act I had to keep up whereas women were “allowed to be themselves.”

When I broke through my denial and started to accept that I was trans, all of these feelings were thrown into clear relief: what I really wanted was just to drop the act and fully express my own femininity.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
10 months ago

@rv97

Not sure how to put this politely, but:

A) it sounds like you are probably trans, genderfluid, and/or non-binary

B) it also sounds like you have a LOT of deeply internalized sexism to work through

These things are not mutually exclusive, in fact IME it’s common for newbie trans folks to have really fucked up ideas about sex and gender. But, like, you have to actually work on that, and learn to listen to people outside your own experience.

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@rv97

I envy the more varied ways they can express themselves and I don’t seem to enjoy being a guy a lot of the time, often feeling pathetic for being one.

This seems like a kind of self-hatred. I’m sorry if it is harder to express yourself, and I think most of us would agree that in an ideal world people of all genders could express themselves however they pleased.
However, I also think there’s a bit of misogyny here. Envy or resentment of women is a key part of manosphere misogyny, and you seem to have an idea that women are more privileged than men, which is false.

Hating men just seemed a very persuasive thing for me because I didn’t see what was so great about being a guy, and, well, owing to men committing the majority of crimes and general abuse, I thought it seemed justified to give men hell in many cases.

This again seems like a sort of self-hatred. You also seem to make a lot of generalizations about groups, both men and women.

I’m not sure if they advocate anything like what separatist feminists do, but I doubt they do and they seem more willing to side with conservatives, at least from what I’ve seen here.

TERFs evolved from lesbian separatists of the 1970s, and some do seem to advocate separation, but it seems now they care more about befriending conservatives to get their hateful goals through.

If you are agreeing with TERFs, that’s a bit of a problem. As well, you seem to have some internalized misogyny issues, as other commenters pointed out. I’m not 100% sure of how to work through that, so maybe someone else can explain.
As well, as Cyborgette mentioned, you could be trans*. Some trans* people who have internalized transphobia (which is not uncommon seeing the world we live in), and some even manifest this by digging into TERF ideology. As described in this Medium piece by Hailey Heartless (a trans* woman who once was a TERF):

When you realize you’re transgender, you often try to fight it in strange ways. Some trans women convince themselves it’s a fetish, some become obsessed with fitness, I developed an eating disorder and consumed as much anti-transgender ideology as I could in order to swallow my thoughts of transitioning.

Does this sound like your situation?

rv97
rv97
9 months ago

@kupo

How do you think it’s manifesting, just to be clear? I am aware though that I think of men and women differently, and I might have a vague idea of what you’re getting at, but I want to be sure.

@Cyborgette

I’m worried I’ll come across someone like an alt-right lesbian. I have come across someone like one, but they didn’t seem to defend men, hated gender non-conformity beyond entertainment and Islam too.

Also, it was through the same medium of Reddit (on r/inceltears) that someone hinted to me that I could be not cis – it then made more sense to me.

Thankfully my therapist has offered to help me with issues surrounding my envy towards women via a counsellor, in addition to why I’m even seeing them – regarding disturbing thoughts. Unfortunately, IRL bullshit means I’ll have to take a hiatus from such sessions briefly.

@Lainy

I still feel like lesbians are better than straight women, but beyond that, I’m less certain. Sadly, I still think many homophobes are straight and are trying to justify their disgust into something much worse, since they’ll simply not understand. Their first port of call would often be religious fundamentalists or evo psych.

rv97
rv97
9 months ago

@Naglfar

Very slightly, to answer the last question. Probably because I also do still consider cis and trans women different.

I don’t think women are privileged, but yes, I could have been dangerously close to manosphere territory (I still fear I could have some of their ideas especially not related to gender, as a result of a few certain bored years online). What stopped me was their gender policing of men (didn’t think I could be trans then) and their attitudes to religion.

I do hate myself too and I feel like I deserve shit. Some of this is for reasons unrelated to gender, like recently some disturbing thoughts and urges, which I’m seeing a therapist for. As for self-hate, it may be unaddressed for now. I’ve been offered by my therapist to discuss gender issues with a counsellor.

Shadowplay
9 months ago

@rv97

Alternatively (and not to deny the experience of other commenters who’ve responded) you could just have been raised in a very rigid, toxic environment and are kicking out hard at the limits it has placed on you.

That is rather common.

There’s certainly a large amount of envy there (the misogyny has been covered far more adequately than I could ever attempt).
Its understandable in those circumstances.

It’s also both wrong and completely un-needed. You’re grown. An adult. You get to decide who and what you are and if anyone – including the conformist critic hiding in your own head – complains or criticises, you show them the hand. Takes practice and is scary as hell for a bit, but it is worth it.

There are a lot of ways to “be a man.” If you choose to do so, and it is solely your choice – find your way. Not someone else’s. That is always a bad fit.

Hope that helps some.

rv97
rv97
9 months ago

@Shadowplay

That is right, and thank you. I still need to determine my gender but I generally feel like I may not likely be cis. I could be wrong, I’m not sure.

I am worried that if I assert myself (including non-gender issues bothering me right now with family), I won’t be able to convince them. They’ve dismissed me as selfish when I said I didn’t want to be part of the multi-level marketing schemes they’re in, as someone who was then 21.

I plan to try and leave my parents without an argument, but a letter.

LindsayIrene
LindsayIrene
9 months ago

I see that the recent JK Rowling ass-showing brought Ricky Gervais out of the woodwork so he can scold us again about how we have no right no be offended by the dumb shit he says.

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@rv97

(I still fear I could have some of their ideas especially not related to gender, as a result of a few certain bored years online). What stopped me was their gender policing of men (didn’t think I could be trans then) and their attitudes to religion.

That seems like another sign of internalized misogyny and/or transphobia (transmisogyny). It seems that you are struggling with these internalized ideas, and that can be difficult. I’m not 100% sure how to deal with this, so maybe someone else has better solutions. Something that I know helps some people is learning more about the history of feminism and trans* people.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
9 months ago

Okay, CN: this post gets pretty involved and personal, and deals with internalized patriarchy, mental health, abuse, stuff like that.

Cis folks, if you keep reading, you may learn some scary things. I trust you not to weaponize those things against trans people.

And trans comrades, I know some of the stuff below is not normally what you’d see in public, but I think it’s sometimes helpful to bring it up for access reasons – the silence has its reasons but new folks don’t always know where to look, and that also gets dangerous IMO.

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@rv97

So, there is a lot to cover here.

First. Some level of envy towards cis women is

a) normal if you’re trans fem

b) also normal if you’re a cis woman, because patriarchal beauty standards get to all of us

c) even normal if you’re a dude, despite what patriarchy tells you about women being different and inferior and therefore not appropriate to envy

d) not shameful as long as you recognize it for what it is, and don’t assign blame to others or do harm based on it

(That last obviously being the most important!)

Unlearning patriarchal crap is part of the remedy, and a lot of times so is getting more comfortable with your own gender and presentation. But yeah, this is one of the things that trans fems tend not to talk about much outside of trans settings, because it can very easily come across as creepy and parasitic and stuff, and then cue the usual shock and horror about “OMG you’re really a bunch of predators and serial killers!” Which no we’re not, but good luck convincing cis people after decades of The Silence of the Lambs and Sleepaway Camp and Janice Raymond calling our existence a form of rape.

But. That envy is still deeply entwined with patriarchy. e.g. Those women in porn and media you’re envious of? Are usually wearing makeup and shaping clothing, and have skilled camera crew making sure to get their best angles. Entertainment media is a bucket of lies, mass market porn even more so.

Anyway, more generally…

You’re reminding me right now a lot of myself ~6 years ago, bitter and dysphoric and desperately wanting an in-group. That’s a dangerous combination, both for one’s self and for others. For me it resulted in a years-long friendship with a sociopath, which traumatized me heavily and made me complicit in their abusive behavior.

What eventually got me started on a better path was reading Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things, because it gave me an intro to forms of feminism that actually had a place for me, and ways of acting against injustice that weren’t openly cruel. YMMV with the reading (I’m still a newbie!), that might not be what you need. But, my take is

a) Learn more from feminists.

b) Learn from intersectionally minded AFAB feminists first. Transfeminism is broken without feminism-entire as a substrate.

c) Start learning skills for trauma management.

d) Internalize that things can happen or be the case without any person being to blame, yourself included.

Re unwanted thoughts/urges? Check this out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primarily_obsessional_obsessive_compulsive_disorder

Likewise CPTSD:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_post-traumatic_stress_disorder

I have both from growing up in a highly abusive environment, and they’re mostly under control these days but it took some doing. Finding a therapist who is trauma competent is vital, so is finding friends who understand this stuff. Cutting off or reducing connections to abusers helps. If you’re a sexual assault or child sex abuse survivor (including of grooming without physical rape), lots of resources exist – I had a counselor at BARCC in Boston for a while who was super helpful, there are probably similar organizations in your area.

Oh, and specific trauma management skills: learning this stuff is a long hard trip, but here is something that might be helpful to start with.

https://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/flashback-management-c1jmh

(Apologies for the low-contrast color scheme.)

Hope this helps, and sorry if I’ve been presumptuous anywhere about your life experiences etc. Good luck.

Shadowplay
9 months ago

@rv97

I am worried that if I assert myself (including non-gender issues bothering me right now with family), I won’t be able to convince them.

Can’t (and have absolutely zero right to) comment on the gender stuff, but for the other stuff you may never convince them. You’re more likely to convince them so far and no further – people being stubborn like that. Won’t lie to you – its a hard slog either way. Worth it, mind.

However, and take this as an encouraging sign – they did back off when you said no in the MLM thing, right? Complained, growled, made a fuss – but they backed off.

So you do go in knowing they are capable of not only being made to back down, but backed down by you.

Luck to you (and there’s some spare stubbornness around here somewhere – we’ve got it by the tanker load)!

rv97
rv97
9 months ago

@Cyborgette

Thank you. I do admit that maybe as a result of porn, I envy women for how they can and do choose to dress to the point I feel like it’s giving me inappropriate urges (which I’m trying to address with a therapist).

However, even in entirely non-sexual situations, I envy the greater ways in which women can express themselves, even if everyone has to cover up neck down (it can generally come down to the hair they can wear), and I just felt pathetic I could be seen easily as one of the guys (owing to my biology being outwardly male) – one of the best examples for this was my computing classes in school, but some more examples I know of stretch far beyond school, like one occasion at a party for the ethnic community I’m part of, a few occasions at one or two IRC channels and at 2017 when I was at a beach near Irvine, California when meeting a distant relative’s colleagues. In the offline occasions, the women I envied didn’t wear anything that was very revealing, even at the beach when I saw them wear I think long sleeved tops and knee-high shorts.

This is the only way I see women as privileged too, at least in the West; I am aware there’s repressive societal norms held worldwide around women, how they shouldn’t do certain things. I am aware that women are shamed for sleeping around but men are celebrated for doing the same (although I think it’s the case in cultures where sexuality is more openly discussed and/or practiced).

I’m slightly unclear about the patriarchy now at the moment, although I might have to look at it to be clear; this was probably because I’ve seen it being derided as a buzzword while I was bored online for a few years and went to spaces with people whose views ranged from me not really being convinced by them (but still curious out of sheer boredom) to outright hating them – basically, more right wing spaces than Tumblr and when I ventured into Reddit, when I had some time off from Tumblr in the early to mid-2010s, which I deleted for personal reasons. I do think though that the patriarchy manifests itself at the very least in religious fundamentalist teachings, but there’s also this evo psych stuff too. I’ll still try and look this stuff up.

I probably have some more problematic views too which I don’t think I should bring up – I’ve decided to cut myself off from a lot of people for this reason too, at least until I get out of the habit of ranting and if I can sort out my problematic views; I’m just worried if my online therapist can’t fix them because they’d have to be rather neutral about it or something. More on the therapist in a bit.

As a result I feel like I’m a badly imperfect, defective or even a fake leftist in what seems to me over here is like a forum of perfect leftists (or two, if you count Tumblr). I feel like I don’t deserve to be in these spaces, but I’ve already been in one rather predominantly right-wing space and I just spent a lot of time arguing with people about gender in a Discord server that tried to capture people from all over the political spectrum to fight for a certain cause (challenging the EU’s copyright directive), and I don’t think I’d be welcome there too if I were in a similar or more exclusionary online space – I’ve simply avoided the Discord server and the platform itself entirely, since I just tend to rant there regardless of the server.

This therapist is understanding of my inappropriate thoughts, gender issues and relationship issues with family (they’ve signposted me to a counsellor to help with envying women), but I’m worried they might not go beyond that owing to how much they can deal with at a time – I found them already rather generous though in that they were able to offer help on one other topic aside from inappropriate thoughts and urges I might or do have. I still aim to get help if I don’t feel better or become worse after those sessions, hopefully something far more serious – it may make me feel a little better at least if it means I don’t have to be stuck with my parents (i.e. possibly sectioned here in the UK), although it does leave me slightly worried based on some preconceptions I have around being sectioned, which I don’t think I still know about.

rv97
rv97
9 months ago

@Shadowplay

However, and take this as an encouraging sign – they did back off when you said no in the MLM thing, right? Complained, growled, made a fuss – but they backed off.

They’re backing off but this is because I’m studying. I think what will make them back off totally is if I gain financial independence (since I think they talked about trying to get me into it as soon as I finish studyes), because then I can move away from them and not be bound as much by what they insist. Easier said than done, where I am unqualified for a lot of jobs and I live somewhere expensive (which I moved to with my parents when I was 6 years old – my parents were assigned to work in this expensive city as part of a work program the NHS here in the UK were doing).

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
9 months ago

I quit reading HP at book 6 as well… but in my case it was more because Rowling had said before book 6 came out ‘someone will die’, and after having read the end of book 5, I knew exactly who it would be (correctly). Very standard storytelling patterns. She blatantly gave herself an excuse at the end of book 5 to kill off this person in book 6.

That was the point at which I realized ‘there’s an interesting world here, but it really requires an author who isn’t in love with her own cleverness to write it’.

And, as others have pointed out, her world is far from unproblematic.

Snowberry
Snowberry
9 months ago

So, I’ll throw a bit more fuel on the language pile:

“Wizardess” is an actual word, albeit one now obscure. So people did used to have a separation of “magic traditions” which weren’t completely gender-specific, if still highly gender-segregated.

Male witches existed conceptually (if less common) and were either “witches” or “warlocks”. Of course, “warlock” originally meant “renegade/heretical druid”.

My experience with mythology and older fantasy literature seems to indicate that “sorcerer/sorceress” has connotations of usually uncaring and petty, sometimes spiteful or vengeful, but generally not outright evil unless it’s a “magic corrupts” setting. Basically neutral and non-heroic. YMMV, as I’ve hardly read everything out there.

“Thaumaturge” basically means “miracle worker” and usually has positive connotations, if any. It’s occasionally used as a generic word for spell-user. I’m not sure if it’s gendered in the original greek. A quick check of online images seems to indicate around 2/3 male and 1/3 female.

Fantasy gaming communities seem to be pushing for terms like Wizard, Witch, Warlock, Sorceror, ect. to be considered neuter terms. This doesn’t seem to have filtered much into the general public yet, and definitely doesn’t show up in products and images aimed at mainstream culture.

footprints in wet clay
footprints in wet clay
9 months ago

@MoonHuntress
My experience has been similar (though reversed)…. femininity has been something I’ve been “required” to wear and a role I was forced to play. I hated dresses, hated heels, hated always feeling restricted into the “lady” role that I was told I had to fill. I only wore lipstick and dresses and such when obligated and never thought I looked right but just sort of copied whatever other people told me looked good. Nothing about it felt liberating*. Giving birth to my daughter had been my last hope of finally feeling “at home” in a feminine role and the fact it didn’t help was the last straw that told me I just don’t belong in that box. But even then, I didn’t know what trans was, I just sort of floated along wishing I could just gather the courage to kill myself and be done with it because after close to 40 years I was fucking done.

And then I discovered drag kings, and then I realized THAT reflection, when I was dressed and made up for that role, fit me much better. *Sometimes complete with guyliner and flashy jewelry or a sequined suit, because I’m a flamboyant guy, and then it DOES feel liberating in that context.

Bottom line is, I guess, that if the gender role is wrong for you, it will ALWAYS feel too restrictive. So be yourself. <3

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@rv97

it can generally come down to the hair they can wear

For me, when I was a child I always wanted to grow my hair long, but my mother never allowed it. It’s possible that that contributed to dysphoria. When I was 17, I convinced her to let me grow it out (she thought this was a phase despite the fact that I’d been asking to do this since I was 4), and I haven’t cut it since. Even though I didn’t realize that I was trans* at the time, in some ways growing my hair out was the first part of my transition.

I’m slightly unclear about the patriarchy now at the moment, although I might have to look at it to be clear; this was probably because I’ve seen it being derided as a buzzword while I was bored online

The patriarchy is definitely real, and learning about it is definitely a good idea because it’s important to know the enemy. I’m not an expert on online feminist resources, so does anyone have any starter-level ones?

As a result I feel like I’m a badly imperfect, defective or even a fake leftist in what seems to me over here is like a forum of perfect leftists

None of us are perfect, but the best way to become better at political thought is to study and learn. Does anyone have good resources?

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
9 months ago

Patriarchy is a concept explaining a load of things. It’s “real” insofar as the theory of evolution is real. AKA it’s not that there is an actual secret society of men who enforce misogyny, but more that it’s a cloud of various biases, cliches and shortcut that have a lot of bad effect, including, but not limited to, institutional misogyny.

Or, said otherwise : the patriarchy is the umbrella term for the result of the sum of a lot of small, self-reinforcing behaviors, and working against the patriarchy is working against thoses individual behaviors.

kupo
kupo
9 months ago

This is the only way I see women as privileged too, at least in the West

This is not a privilege that women have. We are expected to have very specific hair styles that take a lot of time and/or expensive product to maintain. We can’t get a male-coded haircut or even a gender-neutral cut without hurting our employment prospects. We’re given what appears to be a wide range of clothing choices, but given vague language to describe what we are and aren’t allowed to wear, and if we’re larger will get told we’re “unprofessional” for wearing the exact same clothes as someone thinner. When inquiring about dress codes, we’re often told something vague like “business casual” (which is a range where a company on one end could have absolutely no overlap with a company on the other end for what is acceptable), and if we ask for more details we’ll be told something like “polo shirts and khakis, or the female equivalent.” No, I still haven’t figured out the female equivalent of polos and khakis. And before you say we can dress to the higher end, that can hurt us, too, if we dress too fancy for the position we’re interviewing for. Our shoe choices are generally restricted to styles that cause pain and/or damage to our feet, and if we’re physically incapable of wearing those kinds of shoes, we’re considered unprofessional for it.

And that’s without even getting into the ways in which women are supposedly flirting and/or “asking for it” by what we wear or how we wear our hair and/or makeup. Women are not privileged. Gtfoh with that bullshit.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Patriarchy is a concept explaining a load of things. It’s “real” insofar as the theory of evolution is real. AKA it’s not that there is an actual secret society of men who enforce misogyny, but more that it’s a cloud of various biases, cliches and shortcut that have a lot of bad effect, including, but not limited to, institutional misogyny.

Or, said otherwise : the patriarchy is the umbrella term for the result of the sum of a lot of small, self-reinforcing behaviors, and working against the patriarchy is working against thoses individual behaviors.

Patriarchy isn’t a conspiracy that every man is in on. However, it’s not sum accident of biases either. There are plenty of men who very, very deliberately act in ways that reinforce their privilege. No system of injustice is maintained on accident. It’s always their by the choices of the people with the power.

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@WWTH

There are plenty of men who very, very deliberately act in ways that reinforce their privilege. No system of injustice is maintained on accident. It’s always their by the choices of the people with the power.

There are also many people who reinforce it unconsciously through their actions by what they have been socialized to do. Even if they don’t realize it, they are playing right into the hands of the patriarchy. Mostly men, but even some women inadvertently support it.

Dalillama
Dalillama
9 months ago

There are also many people who reinforce it unconsciously through their actions by what they have been socialized to do

Indeed, that’s a big part of how patriarchy (and other systems of oppression) perpetuates itself: acting in a socially normative fashion means acting in ways that reinforce it.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I’m not stupid. I’m well aware that people reinforce bias unconsciously. But I’m not going to pretend like men don’t consciously do things to keep it in place. For example, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. There were plenty of right wing judges that could’ve replaced him. But Trump doubled down on him when it was made public that he was a sexual predator. And millions of men gleefully followed his lead. It was all about proclaiming dominance over women. All about showing us we have to stay in our place, that we don’t matter. This was not unconscious bias. This was vicious, deliberate misogyny.

And yes, women uphold patriarchy. Going along with patriarchy is a time honored survival strategy women. It pisses me off that they do it and I call out misogyny from women when I see and hear it. But I’m not going to both sides patriarchy. It men who mainly are responsible for it.