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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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friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

My only objection to the genetics argument is when it’s used specifically as a club against the legitimacy of transsexuality as a medical diagnosis, I’m not talking about discussions of either standard reproductive biology or Intersex conditions. Those are outside my bailiwick, and I probably couldn’t describe the difference between AIS and Klinefelter’s without looking it up.

Also, my objection was not prescriptive, just because I’m not interested in discussing it doesn’t mean that I object to others discussing it. But I do believe that the “trans women are really men because of XY chromosomes” argument is total shit, and about as scientifically relevant as Phlogiston.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

Also, I never said that biological sex “doesn’t exist.” I said that it’s socially constructed – like every other scientific concept ever created. Just because it’s used under scientific consensus doesn’t mean that it isn’t a product of patriarchal scientific history. Sex is a social construct just as race is. And the understanding sex as a social construct isn’t just beneficial to trans people. It’s also beneficial to cis women, because the deconstruction of sex destroys all possible arguments for the idea that gender is immutable and patriarchy is inevitable. It liberates all women from the burden of operating within a discursive framework in which they must accept that there are naturally “male” and naturally “female” bodies no matter what.

Not all cis and trans women accept these classifications as inherent to the human body, and their rejection of those classifications isn’t misguided or ignorant. Just because our current, dominant understanding of biology is based on the biological concepts of race, sex, etc. doesn’t mean that it is the only valid or possible understanding. Just because I’m not perfect at understanding biology doesn’t mean that, as a woman, I don’t have the right to critique a concept that is commonly accepted as the undeniable truth. Scientific discourses have undergone drastic changes ever since they became a thing, and they will continue to change as the world changes. If anyone would like some feminist reading material on this matter, I suggest Sexing the Body by Anne Fausto-Sterling and The Category of Sex by Monique Wittig.

katz
6 years ago

Coming here and saying the whole space is transphobic doesn’t help.

If that was aimed at me, I apologize; of course I didn’t mean that everyone here is transphobic or anything, and not being trans, I don’t think it’s my place to point out what specific things I think are the problem.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

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

Nope. Calling someone a “toxic person” is character assassination. And that’s my legal opinion!

Fibinachi
6 years ago

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

Neurobiology / economics major, technically. Although Google helps. Remembering exactly what constitutes pluripotential neureogenesis and inter-related currency import/exports can be a fucking hassle. Hey, how do I define a foreign reserve or a multiple layer fungible product? Biology belongs in the lab, but I can ask you social science questions on this social science blog all day long!

Unless you’d rather I didn’t, because trying to shut you up with little digs at your expertise or personal inclinations would be toxic and mean.

—-

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?

Who are you to dictate the experiences of multiple others? Stating a sequence of events and what that feels like isn’t character assassination, any more than saying everyone on this blog hates transpeople, banned the word TERF or are close to thinking next that trans-folk are rotten meat. Which, in case it’s not clear, you already did.

So if character assassination is toxic and shit, don’t do it. Kirbywarp is right, yet again. If you have a thing to say, say it. If your thing to say is idle nettles, avaunt and go elsewhere.

I mean, if calling someone a toxic person is character assassination, hypothethically asking if next you’re going to go out and buy a high powered sniper rifle to fire off depleted uranium shot at the moon is… either moon assassination, mockery or libel of the worst sort.

If it’s your actual legal opinion that slandering someone by stating their personality is toxic is actual character assassination, I’m not entirely sure your legal counsel is actually true. Also weren’t you leaving? If I say that you seem intent to remain solely to rile up a fraccas, is that character assassination? What if I ask – just hypothetically – if next you’ll roll out a drum section and kick up a fuss?

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

And if it was aimed at me, I never said the whole space is transphobic either. I said that judging from what was happening on this thread — and I was hardly the only person who used pejorative terms, long before my first comment, to refer to the way trans women’s concerns were addressed in this thread — this website “seems to be turning into” a place where transphobia is condoned. “Cesspool” was admittedly hyperbole, and I withdraw it. And obviously the situation has now been addressed by David, and one hopes that this kind of thread will never happen again. .

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

“saying everyone on this blog hates transpeople, banned the word TERF or are close to thinking next that trans-folk are rotten meat. Which, in case it’s not clear, you already did.”

Except that I didn’t say a single one of those things. Not one. Any more than Ally appears to have said the things she’s being accused of.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

@friday jones

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.,/blockquote>

QFT.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

So you can save your breath with everything else you might have to say to me about moon assassination, drums, or anything else. I’m obviously not smart enough to get your point, so it’s wasted on me.

And when I said “final comment,” I meant on this thread, about this subject. Because I was under the impression that the discussion was pretty much over. But as long as you or anyone else continues to address me in the way you have been, I’ll probably have some more to say.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

The Blockquote Monster messed with me again. I was the one quoting for truth, not friday jones.

Alex
6 years ago

1

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

“Biology belongs in the lab, but I can ask you social science questions on this social science blog all day long!”

Well I suppose we could be all “freeze peach” and “everything goes,” but I feel like a few “scientific” topics are not suited for polite company. Eugenics would be one, and I’d like to put “trans women have XY chromosomes therefore male” on that pile.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Donna L:

“saying everyone on this blog hates transpeople, banned the word TERF or are close to thinking next that trans-folk are rotten meat. Which, in case it’s not clear, you already did.”

Except that I didn’t say a single one of those things. Not one. Any more than Ally appears to have said the things she’s being accused of.

Donna L:

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,

Donna L:

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.

Granted, banning the word TERF is Ally S’ statement. But I guess if we’re at the “I never said that” stage of discourse, then there’s little point in continuing to have a conversation about the topic at hand, chromosones, moon assassinations, drums, trans issues, legal stuff or anything.

I shall see myself out the door, presently. Have a lovely evening otherwise, and let’s indeed hope this kind of thread never happens again.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

“saying everyone on this blog hates transpeople, banned the word TERF or are close to thinking next that trans-folk are rotten meat. Which, in case it’s not clear, you already did.”

Except that I didn’t say a single one of those things. Not one. Any more than Ally appears to have said the things she’s being accused of.

You suggested that we were a clique of TERFS on our way to committing extreme forms of hateful transphobia with your specious guilt by false association argument. You’ve been intellectual dishonest quite a bit here.

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.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

Oh, and since people are referencing it and it’s directly addressed to me.

@Fibinachi

I’ll try to restate the most important point of that paragraph: basically, the immediate dismissal of what oppressed people say is a mark of privilege, unexamined or otherwise. And it’s wrong because oppressed people always deserve extra consideration for what they say on the issues that affect them, even if they’re wrong.

I didn’t say that, and people can verify my words by going back to that thread.

Thank you for the offer, but you did, literally, say that. Since, again, apparently sourcing our words and referencing the actual statements of people in this room (as multiple posters have politely asked people to do) is impossible, I am, indeed, bowing out with that last qoutation.

Have a fantastic day.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

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.

I’m going to back Ally on this, I’m not going to dig through the old thread but I distinctly remember her making this very point after things got heated. IIRC, she felt how trans women are perceived in terms of sexuality is a valid topic for discussion (and it is) but she could not have distanced herself further from what I consider the toxic elements of this debate without moving to the moon.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

If you read what I said carefully, I did not say or imply that “everyone” was making transphobic comments, by any means. I never thought that more than a handful of people — including a moderator — were making this thread, and this website, difficult for trans women. I said it “seemed to be turning into” a place “where transphobic comments go unaddressed by the moderators or the blog owner.” (Which is no longer true of the latter, and the particular moderator is not moderating any more for the time being.) I’ve already withdrawn the cesspool accusation!

In fact, since what I said at Feministe seems relevant to some people, I pointed out to Ally there that there were, in fact, people here standing up against transphobia and refuting the claim that TERF is a slur. My primary concern was that until David addressed the situation — and he explained the reason for the delay — nobody in a position of authority seemed to be doing so.

I understand that some people here are naturally defensive when they see themselves as unjustly accused by an outsider, but don’t try to pretend that the problem with this thread was what I said, as opposed to the atmosphere created by several people, including a moderator, before I ever said a word.

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

I was responding to Alex, who claimed that I thought that all oppressed people are right about “all issues”. I replied by saying that I only thought that oppressed people when talking about their experiences of oppression deserve to be given consideration due to their unique base of experiential knowledge. What I mean by basic consideration isn’t automatic agreement with even the oppressed person who is wrong but rather an approach that doesn’t involve talking over them. She made it sound like I think that every single thing an oppressed person says should be agreed with uncritically. If I have misinterpreted her, I apologize, but otherwise I don’t see anything wrong with what I said.

As for the original comment that you quoted, maybe my word choice wasn’t perfect but I thought I made my point clear enough for most people to understand. After all, this is what I had said in that thread prior to that quote:

Everyone calling me out in this thread is, as far as I can tell, white and cis. Despite claiming to be allies of trans people, it seems to me that the most important thing that informs your judgment is your own perspective. But being an ally requires you to stop privileging your own view of things. Am I right about literally everything about transmisogyny and white supremacy? Obviously not. But if you are privileged, my opinions on the oppression I face should be given more consideration than a terse, close-minded hypocrisy-fueled dismissal along the lines of “I don’t agree with you.” Not even a “I don’t understand how you think that’s transphobic; can you explain?” Just outright rejection of my objections. Like some feminists have said before, allyship is a process, not a status. Being an ally requires you to be self-critical and to reject the assumption that you will inevitably reach the point of being The Greatest Ally with little to no effort.

The above quote made my position sufficiently clear.

Unimaginative
6 years ago

2

Alex
6 years ago

Thank you for that, David.

3

Ally S
Ally S
6 years ago

My previous comment was directed at Fibinachi, just so y’all know.

Anyway, I’m bowing out of this thread, too. I no longer see any purpose in me talking about the things that aren’t related to my past here, because other people like friday jones and Donna have addressed them nicely already, such as the points about biological sex and the “cotton ceiling”. And I don’t see the point in defending myself in this thread further – at this point I think it’s best that people carefully read the thread I linked to in my previous comment and make their own judgements. With a few exceptions, I made myself very clear in that thread. And if anyone wants to talk with me about any of those things, feel free to email me at aaliyahsyed94 at gmail. I will be happy to talk with you as much as you wish, since I’m pretty talkative.

This is my last comment here – I’m leaving for good this time. I apologize for being inadvertently inflammatory in this thread. To those who asked about my well-being, things have been rocky for me needless to say but overall I’m doing ok. I hope the management of this blog becomes easier and less stressful for you, David.

Goodbye, WHTM. Take care.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Wow. OK.
I always thought “cis” privilege was bullshit, an artificial class created to slander and control women by assigning them the violent tendencies that, historically, men share as a group.
If someone can make women feel responsible for crimes we don’t commit, they can waste our energy and time.
MRAs do it all the time. Need examples? Read this site. According to them, women rape men as much or more so than men — everyone here knows that’s crap and they’re just trying to use shaming tactics to shut down certain conversations.
Since when do women overwhelmingly, physically hurt trans people? Men who are homophobic hurt trans people. Analyzing something, isn’t abusive. Keeping people from doing so is the opposite of liberal.
Biology is an optional belief system? Great. Does that mean if I feel a certain way, I can forgo mammograms — even if breast cancer runs in my family — which it does, and pretend I won’t be a good candidate for getting it? Eh, better safe than sorry, I think.
It’s cool, I’ll show my way out.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Now referring to XY chromosomes as biologically male is comparable to eugenics?

This is fucking wacky.

gilshalos
6 years ago

4

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

“Does that mean if I feel a certain way, I can forgo mammograms — even if breast cancer runs in my family — which it does, and pretend I won’t be a good candidate for getting it? Eh, better safe than sorry, I think.”

Not really. It means that trans women with the same family history face the same risk that you do.

And if the existence of cis privilege vis a vis trans people in certain contexts is seriously up for debate here, I’m sure plenty of people here will be happy to explain to you how it exists. Even for things as apparently trivial to you as not risking arrest for using the correct public bathroom.

I also seem to recall quite a few feminist definitions of violence that go way beyond the physical. And include harassment. Not to mention supporting and helping create a culture that ridicules trans people and holds them in contempt. And being dismissive of their concerns, as you’ve just been.

Alex
6 years ago

5

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

That’s fine, can you include citations about feminist violence? You’re saying feminists regularly hurt people? Wow. I’m surprised you post here. If we’re so violent and ragey and all. We don’t hurt trans people — homophobic men do.
My brother doesn’t get mammograms, though he has a very minimal chance of getting breast cancer. His doctor doesn’t recommend he has them.
Please do not patronize me, it’s a very sexist thing to do .

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

If we’re so violent and ragey and all. We don’t hurt trans people — homophobic men do.

Okay. But if we’re going off this new definition of hatred and prejudice–where you actually have to commit violence in order for it to be real–can we let all of the Westboro Baptist Church off the hook because there’s no evidence that any of them have never physically harmed a gay or trans person in their lives? (Note: this is not comparing you to the Westboro Baptist Church. This is demonstrating the poor logic of the claim that feminists can’t be transphobic because they’re not violent against trans people like homophobic men are.)

My brother doesn’t get mammograms, though he has a very minimal chance of getting breast cancer. His doctor doesn’t recommend he has them.

Oh, Jesus tap-dancing Christ. If you’re doing hormone therapy (i.e. taking estrogen and anti-androgens), then you’re going to develop breasts and increase your risk for breast cancer.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

What? feminists are the same thing as the Westboro assholes? Since when?

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Repeat: (Note: this is not comparing you to the Westboro Baptist Church. This is demonstrating the poor logic of the claim that feminists can’t be transphobic because they’re not violent against trans people like homophobic men are.)

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Then I guess you need to define transphobic. I don’t want anyone to be hurt, for god’s sake.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Examples that have been brought up by other commenters: misgendering (triggering for those with dysphoria), non-violent harassment, doxxing. No one here seems to have done any of those things, except for your last few comments, which have definitely contained implications of misgendering in addition to outrage at the idea that women could be transphobic. No one here is saying that women, let alone feminist women, are anywhere near as much of a threat to trans people as homophobic men are. The idea that people are taking exception to is the idea that cis women can’t possibly ever do anything bad to trans women.

katz
6 years ago

I always thought “cis” privilege was bullshit, an artificial class created to slander and control women by assigning them the violent tendencies that, historically, men share as a group.

Shiraz, I can’t believe I have to say this, but it is not okay for a socially dominant group to declare that they’re not privileged and that the minority group does not actually suffer oppression.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Thank you, Katz!

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

You’ve been speaking the truth a lot on this thread, and it’s emboldened me to express some of my opinions.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Look, I didn’t doxx or harass anyone. Those actions are vile.
I love the idea of gender non-conformity. It’s awesome. Biology is real, however. That is not hate. Women did not create patriarchy, men did, long… ago. Now we’re all stuck with the baggage. I do hope you live long and prosper. It’s my wish for everyone. Please have a good night.

Donna L (@bodysnatcher226)

“My brother doesn’t get mammograms, though he has a very minimal chance of getting breast cancer. His doctor doesn’t recommend he has them.
Please do not patronize me, it’s a very sexist thing to do .”

What does your brother have to do with anything?

I am a woman. I am not being “sexist” towards you. I am not patronizing you. I have been having mammograms for years, at my doctor’s recommendation, because my breasts are exactly like those of any other woman.

If you can’t even bring yourself to classify trans women as women, then you definitely didn’t read what David had to say, and I am not going to bother debating you.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Shiraz, I’m sorry that I have to say this, but if you don’t buy that trans women are women, then you’re contributing to the culture that causes homophobic men to attack them on the grounds that they’re gay men pretending to be women in order to trick straight men into sleeping with them.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Second what Katz said. I’m not sure how anyone could think we don’t have privilege as cis people. I mean, nobody will give me a hard time for using the women’s bathroom. If I die, I don’t have to worry about the obituary misgendering me. I don’t have strangers speculating about my genitals all the time. Does something this basic really need to be gone over? This is social justice 101 stuff.

katz
6 years ago

You’ve been speaking the truth a lot on this thread, and it’s emboldened me to express some of my opinions.

http://i.imgur.com/1DbpRVE.gif

Alex
6 years ago

6

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

Shiraz, if you do consider trans women to be women but don’t consider them to be biologically female because of their chromosomes but aren’t (as marinerachel phrased it when talking about her own non-female karyotype) inclined to kick them out of the woman club, then I’m sorry.

alaisvex
alaisvex
6 years ago

About my last comment accusing you of intentional misgendering that is. Your denial of cis privilege, the damage that cis women can do to trans women, and the biological effects of HRT, however, are problematic.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Hi all

I used that troublesome word in an earlier post and referred to a particular scenario. I didn’t realise the word was so loaded and could be so hurtful so please accept my apologies for contributing to this whole can of worms.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

I’m not sure what you’re referring to Alan but if TERF issues were brewing then they had to be addressed.

Also I associate number ninja with mocking dreary trolls, so I don’t think this is the thread for it.

gilshalos
6 years ago

I think the number ninja is…well, I know this is why I took part…we like everyone here, and we just hate everyone arguing.

daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

Huh,

So Ally can return with a hit squad and start getting people banned and taken off mod duties? Interesting development. Also I read their little convo over on feministe where they’re denigrating kittehserf:

It’s all rather ironic, given how everyone here bent over backwards to be nice to her about her extreme eccentricities. Bah.
“extreme eccentricity” is a very diplomatic way for you to put it. Husbands from the past = totally possible, trans people = biological sex is immutable!

So mocking people over there is fine and dandy but accepting biological reality is the greatest sin of all?

Welp, guess I’d better be banned as well then. I am deeply unimpressed with the way this has gone down. I was one of the people who originally felt shut down (and god forbid) silenced by Ally when she used to post. That doesn’t mean I wanted her to leave. I also don’t think humourlessradfem should have to leave when she has never been anything but courteous while this Donna is swaggering about slandering everyone (yes actually slandering ms lawyerpants) left right and centre.

I don’t see why trans issues are more sacred than religious issues. Everything seems to stem from whether one believes that gender if fluid and sex is binary or vice versa, which in practice is no different in believing in a god or not. People aren’t going to suddenly start agreeing.

daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

I was actually going to stay out of this one seeing as I was unwittingly instrumental in the last thread of doom, but as Argenti used to say – don’t go after my friends.