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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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mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

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.

Where on here have you read anyone blathering anything remotely like that? People cite some of that stuff sometimes as examples of other people’s nastiness or nonsense but no one here gets a free pass on spouting anything like that themselves. Even if it’s by accident. Certainly not on telling trans women that they’re not women or insisting on using the wrong pronouns. I can’t remember anyone saying anything like that at all. Apart from trolls randomly misgendering anyone and everyone at will, of course.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

… But no one’s said anything about second assholes or rotten meat or what have we. And I don’t see anyone flaunt themselves as a brutally honest awesome truth telller just being honest.

Come in, share your opinion, be welcome, but maybe don’t do the exact arguing against wild extremes you don’t want other people to do? That seems a little off.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

@Fibinachi, mildlymaleficent,

As Friday Jones and Donna L. have just explained, the issue to which they were referring was the Gender Minefield blog, which didn’t deny that trans women were women but did insist that they were still male rather than female.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

(1) Re Jeffries and Raymond: that was a rhetorical question of the “what’s next” variety, given that someone here has already linked to a hate site, as Friday Jones characterized it..

(2) People here have absolutely suggested that trans women are “male,” and linked to sites claiming that that’s the case.

I’m trying not to get too specific about who said what, because I don’t want to be personally insulting. That isn’t the point.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Like Katz said, if a bunch of trans women are commenting here to say that we’re doing something wrong…we might want to consider that we’re doing something wrong.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

“Where on here have you read anyone blathering anything remotely like that?”

@mildlymagnificent A mod here linked (without irony) to a site that does that:
http://secretlyradical.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/females-matter-therefore-femaleness.html
And here is where that blogger compares social transitioning to Blackface:
http://secretlyradical.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/purple-people.html

How was I supposed to view this as anything other than as an endorsement of one of the most pernicious forms of transphobia?

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

In addition, people here have absolutely claimed that TERF is a slur — an argument which deserves about as much credit as claiming that calling someone an MRA is a slur, or calling someone a racist is a slur. And if someone’s a trans-exclusionary feminist who doesn’t identify as a radical feminist, it might not be accurate to call them a TERF — they can be TEFs, for all I care — but it doesn’t make it a slur either.

As for “gender critical,” that’s just another word for the same thing, because it’s a term used only to attack so-called “transgenderism.” (As if being trans were a religion or ideology like Lutheranism or Marxism-Leninism and subject to “criticism” in the same way.) See the analysis at transadvocate.com I linked to above.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Both sides of this debate are in the wrong in some respects. The notion either side doesn’t have dirt under their fingernails is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes, the argument transwomen are men and should be referred to with female pronouns but otherwise treated as men seems prevalent here. I don’t agree with that, especially when we’re talking about women who transitioned as children, never went through male puberty and were socialised as female. There is no way of knowing these women have male chromosomes (that will be my next point) unless you’re a busybody, sticking your head in their underwear or medical records so arguments for “Women might feel threatened by transwoman who have male strength and size/Schrödinger’s rapist so they should be barred from female spaces” doesn’t fly when applied to these individuals. The threat transwomen pose to cis women does get emphasised here and it does all appear to wrap back around to the presupposition transwomen are men.

That may be the predominant, acceptable belief here. It’s a pretty divisive one though and I think people would like to know whether this site is down with that sentiment or not.

Another thing the commentariat here is doing wrong: silencing people who wish to discuss biological sex from a scientific perspective because it might make someone uncomfortable. It’s also super divisive to tell people who are scientists and biologists and geneticists that, no, no, no, you’re wrong about chromosomes and biological sex and you’re certainly not allowed to talk about that because someone here might respond badly. Fuck it. It is not an attack on trans people to refer to their biological sex as something different than their identity. It just is and it’s good and OK and fine. It’s absurd that there have been times on this blog I’ve felt unable to discuss my field of study accurately because someone might start screaming “YOU’RE TRIGGERING ME” when I refer to lab mice who are XY as male.

So there’s another thing that would be cool if we could get a final answer to: am I going to catch shit if I refer to chromosomes as male and female because it might hurt someone’s feels?

Lastly, why the hell is it so easy for a few people who comment on this blog to silence discussion that doesn’t suit them by threatening to respond emotionally? Historically the commentariat has coddled members who held discussions hostage with threats of being triggered or leaving. Empathy is a two-way street and we’re all responsible for self-care. As much as we need to try to understand how words and ideas impact others and modify our behaviour when appropriate, it’s also our responsibility to avoid discussions, which are important to some, but we know will be triggering to us and sometimes walk away instead of insisting everyone stop expressing an idea we dislike. When all we see happening here is catering to the demands of people constantly using their emotional state to control discussion some of us feel VERY disrespected because we have feelings and needs and ideas too. No one person’s feelings are more important than anyone else’s and when we only cater to the feelings of the person threatening to leave or crying about being triggered, which may be entirely unreasonable on their part, we’re not being very courteous to the people trying to have a discussion. It may well be the case that those people are the ones who deserve to be defended and the person crying that they’re being triggered should excuse themself.

There’s also some really snotty attitudes and constant assumptions of bad faith and premature hostility on this board that don’t at all help.

I appreciate everything the commentariat has done for me. I do. The culture of this place has been bipolar in the last several months though, swinging from “You’re not allowed to discuss or say anything that might be irksome to someone who happens to be trans” (and a couple of those individuals taking full advantage of their new-found ability to control the commentariat) to “Trans women are as threatening to cis women as cis men are to cis women and should be treated as men”. What is this shit?

And, David, I really respect that you don’t get yourself involved in these shit shows and don’t become entrenched in them or moderate heavy-handedly.

I’m going to work on a fucking research proposal.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Ah, so it’s okay to mention wild hypotheticals when you do it, but when other people claim that, say, TERF is sometimes not so much a descriptor as it is a statement used solely to shut up people with a different opinion that’s suddenly the majority group trying to drown out the voices of the subjugated minority?

No, you didn’t write that, but someone else did on Feministe, so it’s totes okay for me to reference it as if that’s the opinion you actually hold because your words are tangentially related.

Come on, that’s fucking ridicolous.

And you absolutely fucking have to point out where people say the things you claim they’re saying. Thank you friday jones. Being all coy with “But I don’t want to mention no names” just means you tar people with a large brush and make either learning from your words (as I assume the intention is?) or responding to them nearly impossible. You’ve already decided to drop by and participate based on the words of someone else, so why not go the extra length and actually make your participation reasonable and useful?

And if TERF isn’t a slur then obviously merely linking to people who hold that view cannot be personally insulting, because TERF isn’t a slur, it’s a descriptor. Right? Unless it is a dire, offensive personal label used to shut people up (which is, again, the only thing I recall anyone here fucking claiming, but I can’t back that up because you’ve refused to link to where people say the things you state they say, aaargh).

Hostile attribution error, people. Maybe thinking everyone is out to get you is just a fucking artefact of human neurology that you don’t need to be perpetuating in a thread that’s already pretty full of people misunderstanding, mis-communicating or getting all up in arms with each other?

Finally, seriously, Donna L – you, specifically, and this is a personal statement about you – Ally already decided that instead of making things about trans issues, things were supposed to be about her and her personal situation by way of trans issues, going so far as to crosspost on a blog where you participate and rather wildly twisting the claims and statements of people here. Thanks. Deciding to drop by, based on that, and comment and blowing things so far up that you’ve literally claimed this website is now a cesspool of people who, might, at some point, start thinking trans people are just some sort of broken sick robots is so fucking wrong that I don’t really have the capacity to express just how utterly confused it makes me.

I mean, what’s next? Are you going to start advocating for the mass expansion of lunar infrastructure? I just don’t know! I’m speaking in hyperbolic examples to infuriate the crowd and maybe you are going to invest in bitcoin and buy a tropical island at some point. WHO CAN SAY?

…. how is that helpful to anyone, or anything? My god. Jesus.

No one here – except maybe HumorlessRadicalFeminazi who went right out and stated so – actually hold the views you’re so willing to ascribe them to holding. That’s not good debate form. That’s slamming people over the head and screaming they’re evil, the exact same thing people got annoyed with AllyS for doing in the first place.

If you’re all so fucking interested in debating the actual issues of trans lives, maybe make your issues about the issues they relate to? It’s not hard. It can’t be hard.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

That’s a good point: let’s either bring forth the examples or agree this discussion can go nowhere because being vague about it does come across more snide than thoughtful.

Yes, TERF is a label that is sometimes used pejoratively to silence and there have been times those of us who would like to discuss “controversial” (in bizarroland) matters like biological sex (which apparently doesn’t exist because some people don’t want it to and threaten to cry if we discuss it) or the role of socialisation in trans people who transition as adults get shit like that thrown at us. YOU JUST HATE TRANS INDIVIDUALS. Poppycock. Enough already. Stop using that ugly label inaccurately.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

But in the context of discussing not mice but trans women (considering that neither most trans people nor most cis people have had their karotypes determined, or have any real idea what their chromosomal configuration is, as you said yourself), there is no reason to insist that “trans women are male” other than to be rude and insult them. Chromosomes are not the sum total of everything. You don’t think that’s how people’s sex is assigned at birth, do you? In fact, at least traditionally, their sex is generally assigned, in “ambiguous” cases, by whether the clitoris is too large or the penis too small, by entirely arbitrary measurement standards.

We aren’t in a laboratory. Sex means different things in different contexts. Legally, my sex is female. Socially, I am considered female. Hormonally, by bodily configuration, etc. — female. Read what I wrote. It’s aggressive and antagonistic for people to make an issue of it in that way, and insist that trans women are male, whatever they may believe is the truth.

And I don’t see anyone engaging in emotional blackmail here.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I’m not fucking defending calling trans women men. Christ on a cracker. I’m defending allowing people to discuss matters of biological sex as being male or female without being labelled a fucking TERF, not with reference to specific individuals.

Biological sex doesn’t mean different things in different contexts. It means biological sex. It means chromosomes. There is no such thing as hormonal sex, only hormone level associations. Social sex doesn’t exist. We call that gender. The sex associated with one’s biological configuration can differ from their chromosomal configuration so that too is sometimes different from biological sex though it usually reflects biological sex so, yes, people usually have a pretty darn good clue what of what their karyotype probably looks like. Socially, it does not matter.

People aren’t lab mice but we’re all animals and we have biological sex in common with them.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Oh, and seeing as I don’t like engaging in the behaviour I am chastising others for. Anyone interested can find the link to Feministe here, viz a viz misrepresentations and some snark about “a certain moderator” and other (fun) random hypothethicals.

here.

It’s so much fun when people come by and say:

…. 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

or

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.

when what they really mean is:

I’ve got to give them credit for being so good at making that blog seem respectable. And of course the man who runs that site hasn’t done shit to address the TERFiness going on there.

or

That aspect infuriates me. Not only hasn’t he done anything to address it, but he’s made the person in question a moderator. Probably because she’s so “brutally honest” about trans women and their unchangeable maleness. Disregarding the fact that people like that are usually far more interested in brutality than they are in honesty. Even assuming for the sake of argument that she knew what she was talking about.

It’s so nice to know that people’s invitations to honest debate in good faith are actually attempts at getting others to make statements that they can run back with and point and decry as wrong or TERF-y or “misrepresentations” or what have you. That sure is great debating technique, real honest there.

Ah, but what’s NEXT? Maybe Donna L will roll out a massive programme to help at risk school kids manage their lives better? Who can say? Anything that can happen in slippery slope arguments!

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

This may be stirring a hornet’s nest here, and I apologize profusely if it is an will shut up completely but…

Why are we discussing biology here? I’m very confused, this threa is a mess and things just seem to be spiraling out of control here with everyone getting pissed off and, well, what are the issues here? This is what I’ve come up with:

1. The use of the term TERF: It seems like, to my reading, that what’s being objected to is that to identify it as simply a silencing technique is inaccurate; and while there have been cases where the term has been misapplied that does not mean that the term is a slur. That, indeed, there are trans-exclusionary radical feminists that are, for lack of better word, complete assholes to trans women.

2. Blogs and tumblrs that have been linked to or recommended are by people who are transphobic.

Is this correct?

Again, this thread, just, shit.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

I agree with marinerachel quite a bit. I don’t think sex itself is a total social construct, it exists in the animal kingdom, but I also think chromosomes should only come up in conversations with people’s medical professionals. How we see and experience human sex is cultural and people who want to endlessly discuss how “male” the think certain women are can pretend they’re being all science-like when they’re often just being assholes.

I didn’t see the Tumblr link until now and it’s a shit show, as is any copy pasta list of the supposed crimes of some minority that’s used to paint the entire group as bad.

That said, I’m all for criticism but I’m taking aback by the cesspool stuff. I can be wrong, I can be idiotic and I can be insensitive, but I don’t have some grand secret anti-trans agenda.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

You want me to name names? You. Cassandrakitty. From her comments today, Marinerachel. Most of all — because of her status as a moderator — kittehserf. Who never once expressed this kind of opinion during all the years when she was at Feministe,. Only here, where she apparently found some like-minded individuals, and/or changed her opinions.. And now links to hate sites. I read that thread that began on August 21 about “War Machine,” and several other threads (including this one), and those threads are the source of my characterizations. Not anything Ally may have said on the current open thread at Feministe.

Socialization? Again, what’s the point of bringing it up except as another reason to separate trans women from other women, and engage in the catch-22 reasoning that judges all behavior in a trans women by an entirely different standard (either pushy! aggressive! male! or “aping femininity”) from the way other women are judged.. First of all, I obviously got where I am now by a different path from most other women. But I’m here now, and have been since I transitioned ten years ago. I completely reject the notion that (a) a child who’s trans — especially, but not necessarily, if they’re aware of it from an early age — reacts to and/or is able to (or wants to) take advantage of socialization the same way as a child who’s cis, so that transition for trans women is literally “man to woman”; and (b) socialization is immutable, and living in the world post-transition has no effect on it.

And just to make clear, I don’t think anybody should feel guilty about not being attracted to anyone else, whether because they have a penis or belong to a particular race or for any other reason, which seemed to be the primary subject of discussion in that August thread. Regardless of whether those reasons are because of socialization or innate orientation or any other reason. But for actual TERFs, the whole penis thing is largely a red herring, because it’s more a “do you have or have you ever had” question. They say equally despicable things about trans women who’ve had genital surgery. All that innate, ineradicable maleness, you know. So: rejecting someone because they have a penis and you don’t find penises attractive? AOK. BUT: let’s say a cis lesbian meets another woman, finds her attractive, has sex with her, enjoys it, and so on. (And somehow doesn’t manage to detect her history by the scarlet T we all bear on our foreheads, or her special smell.) But then finds out later that she had a trans history, and reacts like that cartoon character (either Family Guy or South Park, I don’t remember) who’s shown vomiting profusely after finding out he’d been to bed with a trans woman. Exactly that kind of thing has happened to people, and nobody can tell me that it isn’t due to transphobia, in the same way that reacting that way to finding out after the fact that someone is black or Jewish could only be due to racism or anti-Semitism.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

sorry, I posted that before seeing David’s comment.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

And just to make clear, I don’t think anybody should feel guilty about not being attracted to anyone else, whether because they have a penis or belong to a particular race or for any other reason, which seemed to be the primary subject of discussion in that August thread. Regardless of whether those reasons are because of socialization or innate orientation or any other reason. But for actual TERFs, the whole penis thing is largely a red herring, because it’s more a “do you have or have you ever had” question.

I’d rather bath in glass that rehash this argument but this is a total misrepresentation of that debate. My issue was with people policing women’s, especially young women’s, sexuality and the anti-lesbian rhetoric being slung around tumblr (often from cis teens btw). Ally recognized this happened and made a point of rejecting it, just as I recognized there are garbage arguments against trans women identifying as lesbians and said that was horseshit. There are some real assholes on every side and every version of this debate. If you’re intellectually honest you’d admit that.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

I shouldn’t have come out swinging like that and apologize. It’s may be sore subject but I’m an adult so that’s no excuse.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

I apologize. (Forgot to include that key element.)

Alex
6 years ago

Backing up Fibi and MarineRachel. I honestly don’t know what the solution is to some of these issues. I’ve definitely dealt with people worthy of the term “TERF” and they’re as awful as everyone says. I do not like how often it’s misapplied, though!

And this all started because of one toxic person who used her status to make herself the centre of attention on everything. Ally came here, played on people’s sympathy to make everything about her, was asked to stop, did so for a while, then took over the personal threads, slowly made every thread about her again, started pushing the idea that bio sex doesn’t exist, started heavily policing language to the point that the term “scrotosphere” was transmisogynistic, oh, and defended the notion of the cotton ceiling.

In response to pushback, she actually said at one point that her status as a trans butch lesbian teenage woman of colour meant she should get special consideration on all issues even if she was wrong. That kind of shit should not be tolerated by anyone.

I firmly believe that this type of behaviour would have been the case whether or not she was trans. And because trans people are people, there are assholes amongst them just like in every other group. But so many spaces sweep it under the rug as if it never happens! That’s naturally going to piss off some people, but anyone who brings it up just gets called a TERF, even if they’re trans themselves!

Yes, sometimes the language of people’s frustration towards this does lean close to “TERF” ideology, and no that’s not okay, but fuck you’re not helping by continuing to accuse people of ridiculous things and pretending a toxic person is totally innocent just because of her status. And her rallying people at Feministe before coming here as though she truly wanted to discuss things? Totally disingenuous. Yet a bunch of people welcomed her anyway. She’ll still misrepresent it as whatever gives her the highest victim status, though.

What the hell has happened to this place?

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

Rad fems have no place anywhere.

According to David and non-trolls they do.

Alex
6 years ago

I didn’t refresh before posting that and didn’t see your comment, David, so I apologize. I’ve said my piece for this thread.

katz
6 years ago

Thanks, David! I really appreciate your ongoing efforts to try to make this space as friendly as possible.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

You want me to name names? You. Cassandrakitty. From her comments today, Marinerachel. Most of all — because of her status as a moderator — kittehserf. Who never once expressed this kind of opinion during all the years when she was at Feministe,. Only here, where she apparently found some like-minded individuals, and/or changed her opinions.. And now links to hate sites. I read that thread that began on August 21 about “War Machine,” and several other threads (including this one), and those threads are the source of my characterizations. Not anything Ally may have said on the current open thread at Feministe.

Apologies, I might not have been clear. I don’t want you to just name names. I want you to name names and actually respond to the things actual people here are actually saying. Argue with the actual contents of the room.

I want you to not use those responses as a way to insinuate that anyone would think trans people are rotten meat or malfunctioning or hidden-rapists waiting to spring.

I want you to, if a discussion is your aim, discuss. Not by mentioning conversations you had with other people over e-mail, but by pointing out the actual statements people here have actually made, why they’re wrong, how they’re wrong, and why making them are bad things.

I do *not* want you to sweep in, proclaim that people think trans women are all men or that anyone here would somehow insinuate that you love your children less than other people.

What kind of argument is that, even? Certainly not one anyone here has actually made. Or would ever actually make.

I want this space to open and welcoming to all who aren’t trolls. I have trans friends, for god fucking sake. I certainly don’t think they’re rotten meat nor that they don’t love their children.

So yeah, thanks David. You do a lot to make this place open and welcome, and that’s the way it should definitively be.

Since this conversations, however, somewhat unproductive right now, I guess it is best to just let it die off.

How about that [Weather] or [Sport’s Team], everybody?

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

Ally is young and figuring things out, plus I found her usually to be open to debate and very thoughtful. Yes, her going to Feministe to complain about how horrible we are is very petty and Fibi was right to call her on it, but she didn’t do terrible things we need to harp on.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Thanks, Alex and brooked.

And, as we can see, I’m labelled a TERF because I refer to the XY as biologically male.

Give me rest.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

When people start telling me all about X and Y chromosomes, I usually glaze over, nod my head, and try to get out of the conversation. Why is that? Well, generally speaking, most of the people who utilize that argument as if it was a biology 101 trump card do not actually understand much of anything about the science of genetics. Ask them what a Mendelian Square is, or what are introns, or to name at least two of the four basic components of DNA, or what a genetic chimera is, and they get a confused look as if to say “Buh?”

Everyone on this room who has had their DNA sequenced and received a report on what shape their SRY gene is in? Nobody? Me neither. But arguing with a transsexual woman about sex chromosomes is like arguing with a nuclear power plant worker about fission, you’re carrying rocks to Newcastle and only some of them are even coal. Wow that was one mixed metaphor.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Thanks, David. Also, apologies for what I said before Fibi revealed that Donna L was coming from Feministe because Ally had complained about us. I assumed that she was here in good faith.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Honestly, brooked, I disagree. I thought Ally abused the good faith of the commentariat here horribly (it did not help that many people coddled her and policed the comment section in accordance with her wishes, giving the impression the way she conducted herself was OK and preventing her from learning a damn thing) and it made a lot of people who she effectively silenced feel devalued and angry. That was not OK or fair.

To be honest, aside from being creeped out by it’s implications, the remark about lesbians who don’t want to have sex with trans lesbians possibly being transphobes and able to get over that aversion, didn’t set me off. It’s just something with some really terrible implications Ally needed to be informed about so she could know how she might come across when she expresses it. I don’t for a second think she was demanding cis lesbians start putting out for trans lesbians in spite of that aversion.

My problem has always been the pattern of behaviour, which is using emotions to hold discussions hostage and some people’s unfortunate habit of catering to that shtick. I have very low tolerance for that.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

@marinerachel,

Did Ally ever acknowledge that her statement about lesbians who didn’t want trans women potentially being transphobic had problematic implications that she didn’t intend? I know that she wasn’t encouraging any one to put out for someone to whom they weren’t attracted, for the record.

katz
6 years ago

friday jones: Just a heads up that, while it might be true that in general you know way more about chromosomes than other people, that may not be the tack you want to take with marinerachel.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

And my eyes glaze over when I’m told I’m a transphobe for referring to particular karyotypes as male or female in any organism.

I don’t think it has any relevance to the gender someone identifies as and I would NEVER bring it up with someone because it’s none of my goddamn business, but when others brings it up and try to police how scientists refer to combinations of chromosomes boundaries are being overstepped.

I’ve examined my own chromosomes extensively because I’m not XX – something accidentally stumbled upon during testing for something completely irrelevant – it’s my field of study and I’m a great case study and because it’s mine and my doctors’ responsibility to look for the potential genetic causes of any disorder or disease I may suffer from or pass on. The thing is I don’t throw a fit when my chromosome combination isn’t referred to as female because it isn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m not female. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a female body. It doesn’t mean I’m not perceived as and referred to as female. It doesn’t mean I’m excluded from the female club.. It just means I don’t have a female chromosome combination and that’s OK. The world doesn’t have to cater to my precious feels because I can handle the reality that, though I’m a woman, my karyotype is not that which is generally associated with my gender and body and hormones.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I have no idea, alaisvex. As previously said, the remark wasn’t even THAT problematic to me, no more so than a lot of the anti-trans stuff I’ve read here. It was the pattern of behaviour and how it was affecting a lot of us that I was appalled by.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

I believe that IN GENERAL the conversations about sexual genetics belongs in clinics and labs and schools, not on web sites designed for discussing social issues. Otherwise it’s probably the equivalent of the Phrenology lesson in “Django Unchained,” a bit of cargo-science hand-waving designed to persuade people who aren’t up on the subject.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

Thank you, David. I’m seconding katz.

As for what people are saying about me commenting on Feministe: it wasn’t two-faced of me to vent my frustrations about WHTM elsewhere. It’s no secret among the observers of the previous thread of doom that I’m no longer a fan of this place, and it’s entirely non-contradictory for me to both complain elsewhere about certain aspects of this place and also express a wish for good-faith discussions here. Like many others here, I want to see this place improve and become the safe and friendly space it once was, not be destroyed.

And the people I was venting about were the transmisogynists, not every single person here. Obviously most people here aren’t transmisogynistic and I don’t want to unfairly label them. The only people to whom my specific complaints applied are the people who have actually been engaging in the behavior I was complaining about, which clearly doesn’t include everyone. People who read that thread (linked in the previous page) will see proof of that.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

For example: The SRY does not directly control the development of the natal endocrine system, and a lot of the way our bodies develop is due to endocrine secretion. As we grow up from infants to adults, our bodies and brains are shaped by glandular secretions that are only indirectly affected by the glands that ARE directly affected by the SRY. The indirect effects on secondary sexual characteristics are evidenced by, for a single example, the varying growth rates between boys and girls when the pituitary gland responds to sex hormones. Yet the pituitary itself is not directly affected by the SRY, only indirectly.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Ask them what a Mendelian Square is, or what are introns, or to name at least two of the four basic components of DNA, or what a genetic chimera is, and they get a confused look as if to say “Buh?”

Sorry, did you mean a Punnet square? They map Mendelian genetic outcomes. Non coding RNA segments. Did you mean the three basic components ( deoxyribose sugar, phospheric acid and nitrogenic base) or did you mean the 4 basis segments (thymine, guanine, cytosine and adenine)? Single organism, genetically distinct cells.

Hey, 2 out of 4 terms ain’t bad for a layman. What? Clearly, if you don’t know the terminology, I’m right to assume you know nothing about the subject and ignore your statements. Right?

… again, all I’m asking is that maybe everyone tries to be a little less snarky.

(I’m aware you’re probably more educated than me re: biology. My point rather still stands)

When people mention that sometimes TERF seems to be a slur intended to silence, they’re referencing (for example) someone being lumped in with others for going on about karotypic genetic differences in the composite chromosones of individuals. Or, I guess, me being a TERF for… honestly I’m not sure? Wanting nicer debate tones? Hyperbolic expressions of lunar infrastructure expansion? I get that I can be fucking annoying, but I try not to be exclusionary to anyone in that annoyance.

@AllyS:

Okay, that’s awesome and I apologize if I was inadvertedly ascribing you some pretty dark motivations there. It was just that the combination of that plus the little asides about the people who hate you or the ones you don’t appreciate etc. got me. That really did seem less like a “I want to talk about this” than a “I want to catch out the meanies who betrayed me”. I’m glad that’s not the case.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

Final comment: I didn’t claim that anyone here has said that trans women are men, except indirectly by linking to places that do so. (Places which in my mind, aren’t far making Raymond/Brennan/Jeffries claims, which was exactly why I asked “what’s next,” to find out what’s considered acceptable here. Now I know.) I was addressing the sex vs. gender issue, and I don’t think there’s any question that there are people here who make the distinction between “women” and “female,” necessarily implying that trans women are “male women” of some kind. Marinerachel, I never said that you claimed that trans women are men either. You’re missing the point: even accepting arguendo that “biological sex” = chromosomes, I never limited my point to “biological sex.” I think you said you’re a scientist, but I’m a lawyer. Legally, sex is not, and never has been, assigned or determined by chromosomes. My driver’s license? Sex designation, not gender. Passport? Sex, not gender. Birth certificate, when I get around to changing it? Sex, not gender. I couldn’t care less what my chromosomes are.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

I am impressed that you can use a search engine so well, Fibinachi. :p

I’m no mathematician, but I bet if I ran “Fibonacci spiral” into a search engine I could sound like one!

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

And I’m a scientist and in order to do my job I have to know sex and I have to know the difference between sex and gender. The only reason things like our passports and driver’s licenses and birth certificates say “sex” is because of the outdated presupposition that our gender and sex are the same thing as sex determines gender (not but whatev.) Within biology, sex has always, ultimately, come down to chromosomes which may or may not determine hormones and body conformation and gender.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I don’t want to speak for marinerachel, but I believe she was not saying that she wishes to impose on trans women by bringing up Y chromosomes. I think she was saying that she doesn’t want to be given a hard time by anyone for talking about biological sex in a context that has nothing to do with trans people or issues. That language here shouldn’t be policed in a stereotypical tumblr way.
Which I would agree with. I don’t want an environment where everyone is walking on eggshells.

With that said, I do want an environment that is more friendly to trans women. I know that I don’t know everything when it comes to trans issues and if I say something wrong, I do want to be told so I can correct it. It would be more productive, if someone says something problematic , to have that quoted and pointed out. Coming here and saying the whole space is transphobic doesn’t help. Not that anyone is required to educate others at all times, but putting everyone on the defensive will only lead to fighting.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

There is no good reason to have either sex or gender as a designation on a passport. Not in a civilized world at least. There are biometric identifiers that you can’t hide easily with a push-up bra or a gaff or some ace bandage, such as a picture of the face, that should be more than descriptive enough to connect the person with the document.

Official sex markers are a distinct feature of the Patriarchy.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

David, thanks for setting some ground rules. When I tried to say that no trans-exclusionary folks were welcome here, thinking it was true based on what peope on either “side” were saying, I was seriously put off when practically the first thing that happened was that a literal trans-exclusionary person was suddenly welcomed with no questions asked.

May I ask for one thing from folks here? Obviously the argument is going to continue forever, but can we press the reset switch? Drop our current lines of argument and only bring them up again if someone actually tries to make the argument we’re fighting against? From now on only criticising what people do directly without making assumptions of what they must think?

I’m not asking for people to silence themselves, I’m just requesting that everyone drop some of the baggage they’ve been carrying around, since baggage tends to grow heavier with time and distance from the original trigger…

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

I’m not in favour of sex or gender on documentation either. It’s dumb. It’s one of the more unhelpful identifying markers we use.

But thank you, WWTH.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

Based on more recent comments: when David approved my initial comment, he knew that I had come here from Feministe, because I sent him an email with a copy of what I had posted, plus an explanation of why I had done so. And it’s not like I never heard of this place before: I’ve read here a lot, for several years, since before this place changed its name. As well as a number of the threads in 2014 that led to Ally’s departure. So it’s hardly fair to accuse me of not being here in good faith because the immediate impetus for my finally commenting was reading this thread after Ally mentioned it on Feministe. Everyone has a reason to comment for the first time.

And the outcome of this thread was exactly what I hoped for — a clarification of policy from the blog owner that took into account input from trans women, here and by email.

I also think it’s atrociously inappropriate for anyone to engage in character assassination with respect to Ally. And that’s what I think Alex’s comment amounts to. Toxic? Really?

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Yeah, because stating a sequence of events and how someone conducted themself during that time is character assassination.

It’s a description of someone behaving badly, actually. Your legal expertise are not required on this matter.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

And this all started because of one toxic person who used her status to make herself the centre of attention on everything. Ally came here, played on people’s sympathy to make everything about her, was asked to stop, did so for a while, then took over the personal threads, slowly made every thread about her again, started pushing the idea that bio sex doesn’t exist, started heavily policing language to the point that the term “scrotosphere” was transmisogynistic, oh, and defended the notion of the cotton ceiling.

I came here because I found the community here to be nice and supportive. I didn’t want to manipulate anyone here. Was I occasionally bothered by the transmisogyny I saw? Of course. But I fail to see how being upset at some people for using transmisogynistic language is any different from being upset at some people for using ableist language (which happens regularly here and is rightfully accepted by almost everyone to this day).

As for why it was me in particular who did most of those call-outs of transmisogyny: that’s because for the longest time, I was one of the only trans women there, and there were things that most of the cis people weren’t noticing that I wanted to point out. Privilege causes many people to overlook the ways in which their language/beliefs may contribute to the oppression they benefit from, even when they don’t mean to be bigoted. I know that at times I was pretty annoyed at certain people, and I’m very sorry for the times I went too far, but most of the time I didn’t react unreasonably. I don’t have the luxury of avoiding transmisogyny, and sometimes even when people don’t intend to be hurtful, instances of transmisogyny from those people get to me. Just as sexist microaggressions can cause women to get upset at the people perpetuating them, even when those people don’t intend to be misogynistic. Intent isn’t magic, as people say.

In response to pushback, she actually said at one point that her status as a trans butch lesbian teenage woman of colour meant she should get special consideration on all issues even if she was wrong. That kind of shit should not be tolerated by anyone.

I didn’t say that, and people can verify my words by going back to that thread. I said that the perspectives of the oppressed deserve consideration by default. It doesn’t mean that all oppressed individuals are right about every single thing, or that people who benefit from the oppression can’t ever be right about anything no matter what. It just means that oppressed people have voices that are often not listened to, and therefore should be given consideration when it comes to their discourses about the oppression they face. It’s a lot like how men should listen to what women say about their experiences under patriarchy not because all women understand patriarchy correctly and are inherently feminist, but because they have knowledge gained from experiences of sexist oppression that men will never have. The perspective of the oppressed, while imperfect, matters and doesn’t deserve to be dismissed automatically, as I have seen here many times in the past. And I’m not just referring to how people treated me – I’m also referring to all of the other underprivileged people who had their opinions ignored and talked over without any consideration.

Lastly, I have already clarified more than several times what my position on the “cotton ceiling” argument was, and that position was that I did not believe that anyone should be pressured in any way to have sex with someone they don’t want to have sex with, no matter what the reason is. I wish the people who are upset at me for saying that would take at least a few moments to let that sink in and not continuously accuse me of supporting a position that I never held.