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a voice for men feminism gender policing misogyny MRA PUA

The New Statesman's Margaret Corvid on the ways misogyny restricts male sexuality

Policing male sexuxality: a meme from A Voice for Men's Facebook page.
Policing male sexuxality: a meme from A Voice for Men’s Facebook page.

Check out Margaret Corvid’s fascinating piece in the New Statesman on male sexuality and the appeal of misogynistic movements to sexually frustrated men. As a professional dominatrix who’s also a feminist, she’s acutely aware of the ways conventional masculinity restricts and impoverishes male sexuality.

When I became a professional dominatrix after years in the kink scene, I expected my kinky work to involve lots of spanking, whipping and bondage. And, to my delight, it has. But in the majority of my sessions, I am creating a space for men to explore areas of their sexual lives that society feels are unmanly; they come to me to be penetrated, to be used, to serve, to submit, to worship, to be taken. A client might have any or all of a bewildering array of fetishes, but they mostly come to me to experience something well outside the very narrow confines of what society says that it means to be a man.

Unfortunately, as she notes, Men’s Rightsers and Pickup Artists offer nothing to men who feel confined by these narrow notions of manhood; indeed, their definitions of manhood are both retrograde and restrictive.

One of the greatest tragedies of the men’s rights movement is that, in the end, its lessons serve only to drive men further away from what they yearn for. Pick up artist techniques and aggrieved entitlement are unlikely to help men achieve the goal of intimacy, but feminist values can teach them the skills to communicate with respect.

You’ll notice a few quotes in there from me, from an email interview she did with me as well as from my post Is the Men’s Rights Movement driven by the rage of the rejected? (I also discussed the issue in this post on the weird sexual undercurrents in A Voice for Men’s Facebook “memes.”)

 

 

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Nequam
Nequam
6 years ago

How about a Green Machine (if they still make ’em)? They’re recumbent and you can do a mean drift with them:

[Well, okay, maybe when they’re a bit older]

HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
6 years ago

Sorry to see you go Dvärghundspossen. I know you may just be doing that for your own sanity, but if it’s a protest, what are you hoping to achieve for trans people by leaving?

I’m open to discussion and I promise to listen. I just don’t know where. Not here. Any suggestions?

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

I’ve really liked this place before, but there’s more and more of a really uncomfortable group mentality going on… Like, we’re gonna shoot down in flames anyone who uses “crazy” in an ableist way, but we’re gonna be all tolerant to anti-trans sentiments as soon as someone doesn’t say explicitly “all trans people are bad”?

QFT. And what I wish I had said, had I felt brave. This place really doesn’t feel too friendly to anyone who isn’t a) a regular or b) comfortable with how the regulars comport themselves.

Sorry guys, but it’s just too problematic to gloss over with cute and furry animals, even considering how graciously people have agreed to disagree. I will never be able to stop giving side-eye to those who posted, doubled down on, or defended those less-than- subtle transphobic sentiments. Y’all have a problem here, even if you can change the subject and go back to being friends.

I’m still second-guessing whether it’s my place to say all that, but this thread has been an absolute travesty and I can’t sit by and be cool with it.

Sorry.

HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
6 years ago

Sorry, I did promise to talk about cats or nothing for the rest of the thread.

tcwill00
tcwill00
6 years ago

@proxieme: I think I saw your child in this past season of Doctor Who.
It is an awful cute picture.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
6 years ago

Humourless, I respect that. Perhaps our silences would be preferable, at this point. I’m certainly going to forsake this thread and read the latest update. Peace.

Noadi
6 years ago

Fuck it. I’ve been reading this blog for years and occasionally commenting though I mostly lurk. The transphobia is this thread has been really fucking unacceptable. I’ve had my own identity (genderfluid/genderqueer) called into question by one of the mods. I’m with katz, this place is not friendly to trans people. I was willing to let calling kink abuse go, it sucks to see that in a space I usually consider pretty awesome, but I’m used to it and it’s not nearly on the level of awful as transphobia and transmisogyny. I expected better on trans issues though. I’ll just stick to reading David’s posts and avoid the comments from now on since clearly it’s not a place that is as welcoming as I thought it was.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Can at least people who have expertize in law as it relates to threats please read the new post? I feel like these guys may be gearing themselves up to do something really bad.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

@Falconer

Tricycle, Big Wheel or “balance bike” for my two year olds?

Balance bike!!!onehundredeleven. My twins absolutely love theirs with fiery passion. If they could, they’d sleep with them under their pillows. The advantages:

1. They can start out walking on them, then progress gradually to running and then gliding with their feet up for longer and longer distances. The learning curve is very gentle and they’ll be able to feel successful right away.
2. They’re much lighter and easier for little ones to maneuver than bikes with training wheels
3. Tricycles are slow, tippy, and don’t corner well (we’ve had a couple of epic wipeouts)
4. It’s much easier to learn how to balance first, then pedal, rather than the other way around.
5. Your kids will be able to go right to “big boy bikes” by age 4 or 5. You won’t have to shell out for an extra set of bikes with training wheels.
6. You can go out riding as a family sooner, and go farther and faster.
7. They’re super cool. I wish they made them in grownup sizes!
8. Some of them have hand brakes designed for toddlers, so they can start learning how to use them early on.

There’s a balance bike site, twowheelingtots.com, that has reviews and videos. Worth checking out if you’re interested.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Puddleglum, I am hugely offended that you think that this topic should just be avoided as if it was religion or an academic argument. Like Friday Jones said, this is people’s lives. Apparently the transmisogny (not sure why I can’t spell that) that effects peoples lives just as much as plain sexism. is off limits because it might offend someone

I did not mean to imply it was like talking about religion in the workplace, but I can see how I gave that impression.

Clearly you missed the huge blow up ages ago about religion, which was also about people’s lives, commenter’s lives. That blow up and tremendous thread meltdown was what I had in mind, because real people were being hurt, triggered, and traumatized by comments, and the only way to salvage anything was to agree not to argue religion, especially Catholicism, ever again.

I just made the suggestion because it seemed to work that time; I guess this time it isn’t.

grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

In my more cynical moments, I sometimes suspect that trolls come here to sow the seeds of dissension by brining up TERF’s and transperson (especially transwoman) issues in OT threads, just to watch the inevitable fight we’ll have, and see how many regulars they can get to leave the blog. I don’t remember who brought this up, this time (and I’m not wading through all this again to look it up) but every time this comes up, there’s a fight and some people leave.

If I were a sneaky sort of forward thinking troll, who wanted to cut down the Mammotheer population a bit, I might do something like that, knowing that it’s a ‘soft target’ given the history of the topic around here. Or, maybe I should stop reading so much Chomsky and Bernays. Or loosen my tinfoil hat a wee bit.

I also agree with kirbywarp, about both sides arguing against people who aren’t in the room.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

But I’m not for excluding women of any sort from feminism, radical or otherwise. There may be some issues they are less well equipped to understand and deal with, just as there are some aspects of the trans movement that we are ill-equipped to deal with. But they are still women, and they still belong.

Dittoing this. Women are women, bigotry is bigotry and we’re all in this together.

(I’m mostly staying quiet because I don’t particularly want to be too much of a part of a 700-comment scream-fest, but eh. HumourlessRadicalFeminazi, not cool.)

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

Hi Mammoth, I’m Ally, the former butch trans lesbian of color commenter that folks here keep alluding to. I firmly believe that most of what’s been said about me in this thread so far has been false. But although I’m willing to address specific accusations against me or possibly talk about transmisogyny in depth, I’m not going to focus on that or initiate that kind of discussion. Nor do I plan on staying here for very long, for I no longer have any interest in being a member of this community due to my experience with it. Instead, my focus will be on two separate but related claims: that TERF is a misogynist slur and that trans women are only oppressed by cis men.

Some history about the term TERF: it originated as a response to radical feminists who wanted to expel trans women from radical feminist spaces and discourses and, in many cases, advocate for their complete annihilation. That’s no exaggeration. The infamous TERF known as Janice Raymond once said that trans women should be “morally mandated out of existence”, and her contributions also directly contributed to institutionalized discrimination against trans people.

Am I saying that all cis TERFs are as powerful and influential (relative to trans women) as Raymond? Of course not. Nevertheless, all TERFs benefit from enacting transmisogyny, even the ones who are trans women themselves. Are many TERFs lesbians, and do lesbians constitute a vilified sexuality? Yes to both. But there are now just as many non-lesbian women who adhere to TERF ideologies, which are increasing in popularity in many corners of the internet, as well as offline social justice spaces. It’s true that some cis lesbian TERFs have faced some very shitty treatment from trans women, yet it is not trans women who are responsible, but rather trans women who are in a position of enacting lesbophobia. Their attacks on some TERFs is evidence of hatred of lesbians, not male entitlement. Please do not hold all trans women responsible for the actions of a handful of trans women who are engaging in lesbophobia, lesbophobia that also harms us trans lesbians.

And so with all of that said, it should be clear as to why we are so averse to TERFs and those who sympathize with them, and therefore why we find the term so important. Although I do think the term is inaccurate in that many non-radical feminists are trans-exclusionary as well (which is I prefer TWEF i.e. “Trans Woman Exclusionary Feminist”), the term at least gives us an opportunity to name the form of transmisogyny that we face at the hands of cis and trans women who should be our allies instead of enemies. Therefore, saying that TERF is a slur is very obviously a silencing attempt against trans women.

Before some people jump at me and think I’m demonizing radical feminists only, please consider the fact that I am both a sex/gender abolitonist and a womanist, who draws great inspiration from most second-wave radical feminists. Radical feminist lesbian writing has been immensely important to my soul, and I admire Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rich, and Monique Wittig as much as so many other people here, even the ones who hate me. I am not okay with people assuming that all of radical feminism is necessarily transmisogynistic, because I believe that the structural analyses provided by all of these great writers are valuable and essential. People who have seen me comment here in the past have surely seen proof that I adhere to this position in regards to radical feminism.

Now, onto the second claim: trans women only face institutionalized violence from cis men. This claim is not only wrong, but also actively harmful to us trans women (as can already be seen in the example of TERF politics directly affecting us). Cis women, although oppressed by cis men (and also trans men, on the basis that trans men have male privilege over cis women), nevertheless benefit from transmisogyny on a structural level. They have privilege over us, just as white women have privilege over women of color, just as non-marginalized women have privilege over marginalized women. Many cis women I know, though not all of them, either fetishize us trans women or consider us abject monsters (neither of which reflects a status of privilege over cis women). Granted, I have many cis women in my life whom I deeply love and care about, and surely not all cis women are transmisogynistic, but I just can’t afford to deny the violence that so many of them have enacted against trans women. I know countless trans lesbians who have been abused by cis lesbian partners and treated as fetish objects rather than human beings. And for their sake, I want to speak out and help them find a way to reflect on trauma they may have sustained as a result of relations with transmisogynistic cis women. In closing, I want to say this: if the MRM is one piece of evidence of male supremacy in society, then how isn’t TERF ideology reflective of a transmisogynistic tendency among some cis women in society?

Now, if anyone would like to discuss anything else, I would be happy to do so as long as it is in good faith. I am also willing to discuss any other issues related to my previous presence here, my specific analyses of transmisogyny (shared with many friends, although not originating from me), and so on. And if it would be preferable that I leave, I will do so. I just want at least this comment to be posted and seen by the trans women lurkers here. I hope all of you are doing well, and I am sending well wishes and hugs to anyone who needs them. <333

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I hope things are going well for you Ally.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

Also, I would like to point out that I have never called anyone here (save a few obvious trolls) a TERF. Ever. The closest I have ever come to doing that has been me merely saying that certain arguments being passed around here sound TERF-sympathetic. It’s kind of like how even though a lot of dudes who whine about oppressive misandry don’t identify as MRAs, they are still MRA-sympathetic with respect to their personal views of women and society and whatnot.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

It is good to see you, Ally. I hope things are going week for you, too.

This thread… cripes.

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Thanks, Ally.

Sorry I stink at keeping up with email, but thanks for dropping in. Thanks so, so much. I got halfway through the first book before Fire 1 started eating my life, so it’s on hiatus for now until I finish getting my cert. Feel free to lurk or run away again for your own health, but I’m glad to see your name again.

Hugs if you want them.

Also, Sparky, my impression of this thread is a fierce second for yours.

Cripes, gadzooks, S’blood, and purgatory’s dirty lavatory.

Can we do better next time?

gilshalos
6 years ago

I’m just…noping the thread. But AllyS! Good to see you 🙂

gillyrosebee
6 years ago

I’m happy to see you, Ally, and I hope things are going well for you. I do hope you stick around and comment again. Honestly, if I had my wish, I’d like everyone to come back, whether I agree with them or not. Heck, I’d probably even unban Petrel to let him give it another try.

Except for Woody. Shut up, Woody.

That said, I personally would love it if we could agree to some kind of temporary moratorium on this discussion to allow everyone to de-escalate tensions and detrigger, and I am very much against going back and rehashing any of these arguments to renegotiate their terms. There is nothing to gain and only more to lose in hard feelings and misunderstanding.

Just my $0.02

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

@gillyrosebee

If it’s best for everyone that this discussion stops (and is replaced by a kitty discussion), then I have no problem leaving again. I’ve said what I wanted to say already. No hard feelings.

To the folks who have greeted me: I appreciate the kind thoughts. Much love to you.

gillyrosebee
6 years ago

I didn’t say that you should leave, Ally, and I don’t think it’s correct or fair to suggest that is what I did write.

Stay, and let’s talk about kitties, or Margaret Corvid, or Paul Elam, or even (I cringe even as I write it) GamerGate.

I’m saying that people are feeling too triggered right now for the “TERF” discussion to be productive, and I can’t see what will be gained by continuing to have it right now.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

@gillyrosebee

Oh, no I didn’t interpret your comment that way at all. I’m sorry for the bad phrasing. I’m just saying that I don’t want to start/restart a discussion if it will end up being unproductive and unhelpful, and that I don’t really have any desire to stick around here if a productive discussion isn’t possible. It’s not out of dislike for you or any of the other people I appreciate here. I just can’t really feel comfortable being a member of this community again, due to past experiences.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Good thing you’ve stated you no longer have any interest in being part of this community, then. Sucks that you’re uncomfortable, it really does, but if discussion is out because it might be unproductive and thus vetoed I don’t even see the point of *being here* and alluding consistently to the people you don’t appreciate or who hates you.

No. Do not want. Do not play. Do not pass fo. Do not collect 200 Fib bucks. If you have no interest in discussing the past, do not constantly bring it up or slyly snipe at those who wronged you or disagreed with you, ’cause that’s some major league poppycock.

Other than that, lots of love and glad to see you’re alive and well!

gillyrosebee
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s possible *right now* is what I am saying, and as much as I think that it’s a necessary discussion to be had, I don’t see what will happen *right now* other than more misunderstanding and hurt feelings. Right now everyone is triggered and nothing is gained by having discussions when we’re all feeling defensive and upset.

I’m sorry to hear, but I understand that you don’t feel comfortable engaging in conversations on other issues in the meantime. I feel the loss of every voice that has left and I’d personally much rather have everyone stay or come back, as I said.

Again, except for Woody.

Shut up, Woody.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

Fibi, all I’m saying is that I don’t want to force an argument of any kind onto people. If people want to talk about the past, that’s fine with me too, but if people feel that a discussion in which I participate would be a bad idea, then I don’t want to push anything. Maybe it would be best if David created a thread here for people to discuss these issues further.

Anyway, the original reason I came here was to say those things I said in my initial comment – I’m down for further discussion of anything related, but only if other people are. I minimally wanted to say those things for the trans women who are here reading these threads. As for why I’ve been talking a little about myself, that’s only because these arguments that have been happening in this thread have been very closely tied to this community’s interactions with me.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Nice try, hotshot. I have a doctorate in conniving self justification. If you are just talking about yourself as a way of establishing context, why the: “the people I appreciate” or “those who hate me” or the “all the examples of me in this thread are misrepresentations but I won’t talk about them” or the “we should only discuss this if it’s a happy happy discussion but here’s my opinion but let’s only talk about it if we can be positive”?

Them’s not the actions of an open hand.

I agree with Katz and Kirbywarp earlier here, by the by. Three times is a pattern, and all that, and I’m also very well aware that it’s true that some versions of in-group regular bias is slowly showing. All thar is true. And sad and sucks. Noadi and AltoFronto are right there.

But dear gott im himmel, you don’t get to walk in here and make this all about you just having and opinion despite all the badwrong people who hate you or misrepresent you that you don’t appreciate and send no love. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
O
O
O
O
Ooooooooooooo. No.

A simple fucking: “we all disagreed last time, ad I hope you are all well. Here’s what TERF and stuff actually is” would have done fine.

My hackles are so far up that I think they’ve torn free from my frame and are orbiting the planet.

Fibi fucking finished.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

A simple fucking: “we all disagreed last time, ad I hope you are all well. Here’s what TERF and stuff actually is” would have done fine.

Ok, I realize that those remarks were unnecessary and inflammatory. I’m sorry.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective and I’m going to mentally filter out the accidental jabs that I choose to believe are an expression of exasperated frustration from now on.

Anyhow, I think the topic is mostly done, anyway.

Give it a week or two to cool.

Myriad
Myriad
6 years ago

@Ally S

It is really good to see you here again! I just wish it was under better circumstance. Your voice has been missed though.

I don’t really know what to say about this thread-I’m speechless.

HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
HumourlessRadicalFeminazi
6 years ago

Hi Ally,

I hadn’t delurked when you left, so I just wanted an opportunity to say thanks “in person” for the insight you brought to the thread. Your deep reading helped me find holes in my own analysis and your approach had a big influence on me.

I wish you all the best and hope you stay well, happy and lucky.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

This thread was so fucking confusing on so many levels. Christ.

katz
6 years ago

If anyone who’s leaving, or for that matter who isn’t, wants to shoot the proverbial shit offsite, I’ve set up another forwarding email address: katz@forward.cat. (I always let these expire before anyone uses them but maybe this time will be different.) Or you can bug me on Twitter @gwenckatz.

And Fibinachi, definitely email me because we still have a game to write!

Diogenes
Diogenes
6 years ago

Cassandrakitty:
Lawyer checking in. I’ll take a look at the new update and post in this thread again if I find any cause for concern.

marinerachel
6 years ago

Take care, David.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Hi Diogenes

Not sure if you’re based in the US but I’m a barrister here in England. Interesting comments on the most recent article about the limits of free speech versus harassment.. If you fancy getting together to bash out an article comparing the jurisdictions let me know. Folks might find it interesting (well, if you edit my ramblings :-))

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Dvärghundspossen,
Goodbye. I’m very sorry to see you go.

The transphobia is this thread has been really fucking unacceptable.

Agreed. I’m not comfortable with TERFs being welcome here.

Hi, Ally! Miss seeing you around.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Trying again

Dvärghundspossen,
Goodbye. I’m very sorry to see you go.

The transphobia is this thread has been really fucking unacceptable.

Agreed. I’m not comfortable with TERFs being welcome here.

Hi, Ally! Miss seeing you around.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Lea

I’m not comfortable with TERFs being welcome here.

I just went a loooooong way back into the depths of the thread, got to read all the way through my depressingly optimistic schooling of someone who was always going to end up being banned. Along with all the “What the …!” comments about this issue that were going on at the same time. And I still find myself all at sea. I was mystified then and I still am now. (Though I admit I haven’t clicked on links so perhaps what I’m looking for isn’t even on the pages I’m reading.)

A couple of people got really steamed up over a couple of missteps by others. I understood most of it and how people got some things wrong, but at times the people who were offended seemed to be seeing code-talk or hearing dog whistles that I wasn’t getting … and then presuming that everyone else supported or agreed with both the bad notions (most of which I thought were apologised for) and also agreeing with their personal interpretations of ambiguous or wrongly addressed stuff which neither they nor anyone else had explicated. Maybe something/ someone tripped a switch and they were reading everything through a swirling red haze of anger and fear.

I’d also be very unhappy with TERFs being welcome here, and any other transphobic person for that matter. I don’t envy David trying to read through the whole thread and work out if there’s anything he can do to deal with it or to prevent future break outs.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

In case anyone is confused about why I got angry, it was when a mod here linked to a transphobic hate site that bills itself as:

An introduction to “transgender” identity politics for rational leftists

Fear quotes included in original. A site where trans activism is depicted as a threat to women, and where trans activist jargon is rebranded as alleged hate speech.

https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2015/01/16/the-new-statesmans-margaret-corvid-on-the-ways-misogyny-restricts-male-sexuality/comment-page-2/#comment-689775

That was where my skin crawled and I felt surrounded by enemies for a few minutes.

Falconer
6 years ago

Ally, if you’re still around, it’s good to see you again! I hope you are doing well.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

I’d also be very unhappy with TERFs being welcome here, and any other transphobic person for that matter.

Out of curiosity, do you consider a gender-critical feminist to be transphobic by default?

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

damn you blockquote monster!

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

To Friday Jones: Not to mention the very same moderator (who used to be a regular commenter at Feministe) linking to the Gender Minefield blog — which belongs to one of the tiny handful of trans women (and I mean tiny) who are TERF apologists, purporting to agree with them in insisting that all trans women are really “male” — because it’s so validating to be a TERF pet and have them pat you on the head and say “good boy”! — and giving that blog as an example of a trans woman she approves of. Which is pretty much like pointing to Clarence Thomas as an example of a black man who really gets it.

And no, “TERF” isn’t a slur invented by trans women; just ask tigtog of Feministe and hoydenabouttown, who invented the term

And no, you can’t pretend that TERFism is any better by calling it “gender-critical feminism”; see this analysis:

http://www.transadvocate.com/gender-critical-feminism-the-roots-of-radical-feminism-and-trans-oppression_n_14766.htm

And no; people here shouldn’t be getting away with blathering essentialist nonsense about “biological” sex being a fixed and immutable binary, or trans women being women but not entitled to be considered female. Even if that’s what anyone believes, and they think they’re being a brutally honest, brave truth-teller, they should remember that people who feel self-satisfied about their brutal honesty are usually far more interested in brutality than in honesty.

Don’t these people realize that by engaging in this kind of rhetoric, you’re doing EXACTLY what MRAs do? That MRAs (trumpeting their proud “realism” and “skepticism”) are one of the three members of their own little transphobic Axis of Evil, along with TERFs and the religious right? A fine group of allies they’ve chosen.

But in any event, that sort of essentialist argument is grossly simplistic. See this post at Feministe, from back in 2011 when I first started commenting there, quoting Dean Spade at length: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/10/10/red-flags/#comment-397888

And this is what I wrote in a recent email to a friend, addressing the supposed dichotomy between sex and gender as it applies to trans women — i.e.,:

the dichotomy some TERFs or quasi-TERFs set up to appear to be reasonable: that there’s a strict distinction between “sex” (supposedly biological, based on chromosomes, “real,” immutable) and “gender” [usually without any distinction drawn between gender identity, gender role, gender expression, etc.] (supposedly entirely a social construct, and implicitly less “real”). Accordingly, while these people may grudgingly concede that trans women may be “women” as a social identity, and may even have a female “gender” or gender identity, their “sex” is, and always will be, male. In fact, I think one of my very first comments on Feministe was about that issue. I think I quoted something Dean Spade wrote. [see above]

But the issue still comes up, obviously. [On another forum, someone recently wrote] that “sex,” to her, was what you’re assigned at birth based on your genitals. This is what I wrote in response:

‘My gender is female, and so is my sex, regardless of the fact that I was assigned male at birth. Sex does not equal only what’s assigned at birth or how one was raised; sex does not equal only chromosomes — and how many people even know what their chromosomes are? [I don’t!] How many people even know what a chromosome looks like? Does that mean that before chromosomes were discovered, there was no such thing as sex? — sex does not equal only a particular kind of reproductive capacity or its absence; sex does not equal only hormonal levels; sex does not equal only the presence of primary or only the presence of secondary sex characteristics; sex does not equal only genotype or only phenotype; sex does not equal only “brain sex” or only “body sex” (even if one believes that such a distinction exists); sex does not equal only body or only soul; sex does not equal only the common definition now, as opposed to what the definition was 200 years ago (when nobody had heard of chromosomes), or what it will be 200 years from now (when the common definition may be entirely dependent on some other, presently unknown factors). It’s a combination of some or all of those things in varying proportions, depending on the context of the discussion.

In the context of discussions of transness, I don’t think there’s any way you can try to distinguish between sex and gender that’s the least bit productive or helpful. The end result of such attempts, somehow, is almost always a conclusion that no matter what, no matter who we are or how we look or how we feel about ourselves or what we do or how we live in the world or how others perceive us, it’s only the “appearance” of sex that can be altered, and, therefore, that trans women will always remain “male” in some way (assuming we ever were in the first place).

Why is it so important to people? Why do they care? What’s the point? It has nothing to do with my life, or how I live it, or how people see me, or how I see myself.’

At least, that’s how I feel. I’m not some sort of “male woman,” whatever my chromosomal configuration may be. And regardless of the fact that I could never become pregnant or give birth. I love my son, and always have, as much as any other woman ever loved her child. Oxycontin or not! And anyone on that webiste can just go to hell if they believe differently. Even if they can find a few self-hating trans women who agree with them.”

And the reputation of this website, which seems to be turning into pretty much a cesspool in which transphobic sentiments go unaddressed either by moderators or the blog owner — so long as they’re careful not to say they hate trans women, and don’t use the wrong pronouns — will continue to decline among trans people if all of this continues, and if a small clique of cis feminists is allowed to continue to aggressively “debate” trans women on issues about which they have zero personal knowledge — including by linking to fringe transphobic websites. What’s next, links to gendertrender? To Janice Raymond, who wrote that all transsexuals rape women, including by “appropriating” female bodies? To Sheila Jeffries. whose latest book — the most recent Bible of respectable “gender-critical feminism” repeats the disgusting canard that all trans women’s vaginas (a/k/a “second assholes” or “fuckholes” or “surgical wounds” to TERFs when they talk at their own websites) can be distinguished from “real” vaginas by their distinctive odor, which another TERF has compared to rotten meat? In other words, an argument that’s the exact modern equivalent of the “foetor judaicus” of medieval Christian rhetoric.

Castle
Castle
6 years ago

Wow! Brilliant!

katz
6 years ago

Out of curiosity, do you consider a gender-critical feminist to be transphobic by default?

If “gender-critical” means “refuses to accept someone else’s gender identity,” then that’s true by definition.

If we’re merely talking about excluding trans women from female spaces and/or rejecting out of hand everything they say…well, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

I personally do not care about terminology; I care that there are people here who make all trans people feel like they’re surrounded by enemies, and other people who find that acceptable, or who are more concerned about whether the word “transphobic” gets used than whether the space is actually transphobic.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Also, fwiw, there have been a large number of scientific studies on the causes of transness. They’ve found that trans women to have hormonal and neurological similarities with cis women that cis men don’t have. Similarly, trans men have been found to have hormonal and neurological similarities with cis men that they don’t have with cis women. So, biologically and neurologically speaking, it is actually quite fair to recognize trans women as female and trans men as male.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

PS: I meant oxytocin! I’m always getting those two mixed up.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

And just to make clear, some of the studies alaisvex mentions have been careful to control for the effect of exogenous hormones. None of these studies is conclusive — and I think any effort to find a “trans gene(s)” is no more likely to succeed than the search for a “gay gene(s) — but they’re certainly becoming increasingly suggestive. But I don’t generally focus on such things, because I don’t need scientific studies to prove the reality of who I am. Any more than I need one to prove the reality of having been “born this way” as a left-handed person despite there being no history of left-handedness in my family, even though the genetic and/or hormonal causes of left-handedness have not yet been established., The same with sexual orientation.