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empathy deficit entitled babies gender policing lgbt not a cult penises reddit TERFs transmisogyny transphobia

Some trans women literally “get a boner from having their pronouns respected,” Reddit TERF asserts

By David Futrelle

Most people recognize it’s wrong for someone to impose their sexual fetishes on people without their consent — whether the fetishist in question is a boorish dom who demands that women to treat him with the sort of exaggerated deference that no one is obligated to provide anybody unless they’ve agreed to do so as their sub, or if he’s an outright sexual predator like Louis CK coercing younger female comedians into watching him masturbate.

Recently, though, some TERFs have taken this relatively uncontroversial proposition and turned it into something altogether different and deeply wrong. Claiming that the vast majority of trans women are really men pretending to be women just to fulfill some sexual fetish of theirs, they are now suggesting that by merely appearing in public, trans women are forcing their festish on the world much like a flasher exposing himself to children.

In a post on the GenderCritical subreddit — “gender critical feminist” being a favorite new euphemism for TERF — a Redditor called arnaq declares that “I object to being forced to participate in other people’s fetishes and delusions,” a completely reasonable objection, or so it seems, until one sees what she really means.

She starts out as reasonably as her headline at first appears, recounting her experience with a predatory sexual harasser who tried to impose his fetish on her with a series of obscene phone calls.

“Years ago,” she writes,

I had a retail management job and one day I started getting very creepy calls. It was a man who would breathe heavily and say things like “Will you be my mistress?” “Will you fucking punish me?” and all this other disturbing shit. I told him to fuck off and eventually one day he stopped calling. It was so uncomfortable that this man was using my position as a retail employee who was supposed to cater to my customers and forcing me to give him attention.

Every feminist recognizes (and, I imagine, even many non-feminists recognize) that obscene phone calls are no joke.

At this point, though, arnaq’s post takes a rather dramatic turn:

I feel the same level of creeped out being forced to acknowledge these men who fetishize womens’ bodies and their bodily functions as women themselves.

She is, of course, talking about trans women, not crossdressers.

While it is possible some of them aren’t doing this for fetish reasons, it is obvious that many, MANY of them transitioned because they got off on crossdressing or can’t wait to “touch my girltits~!” or some other extremely offensive “reason” for feeling they are a woman.

This is, of course, utter bullshit. There are of course “chasers” who fetishize trans bodies but assuming that those inhabiting trans bodies share these fetishes is absurd. This whole notion is built on the assumption, as Natalie Reed has noted,

that the “shemale” is doing it to get laid, to attract men to him with his new hot, curvy, sexual-object of a body. Either that or, as in “autogynophilia”, doing it to have himself as his very own personal sex object.

In fact, Reed explains,

It is not an act of attempting to emulate or express ourselves as The Other, we are attempting to more accurately and honestly express The Self. We don’t transition into being a new or different person. We become more ourselves.

Back to arnaq’s post:

As much as TRAs [Trans Rights Activists] like to claim that all of them are genuinely women and have known since they were in the womb, spend five minutes in a TRA reddit community and you will see post after post of how sexy they think being a woman is. Things that genuine women never even think about.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure plenty of “genuine women” admire and enjoy their “genuine female” bodies and, yes, even think of them as sexy.

I am all about gender nonconforming people and if they or anyone else wants to dress or participate in activities related to the opposite “gender” I could not care less.

The fact that you’re posting this screed kind of suggests that you do care, a lot.

But it’s the fact that I am supposed to “accept them as one of my own” and pretend that they didn’t grow up in a world that catered to people born the same sex as them while likely many of them (and men in general) preyed on women sexually that pisses me off so much.

This is an attempt to use the language of feminism to support outright bigotry — bigotry as brazen as Trump’s insistence that Mexican immigrants are a bunch of rapists. There’s absolutely no reason to assume that large numbers of trans women behave in a predatory manner towards cis women, either before their transitions or afterwards.

Why do I have to compromise my safety to satisfy someone else’s delusions?

You don’t. But TERFs trying to ban trans women from women’s bathrooms are essentially demanding that they compromise their own safety by forcing them to use men’s bathrooms, which puts them at risk of assault by transphobic men who don’t like the idea of “men wearing dresses.” This sort of violence isn’t imaginary. These assaults really do happen. (And it’s not just cis men who are the attackers; several days ago two cis women were charged with sexually assaulting a trans woman in the bathroom of a /North Carolina bar.)

Why do I have to pretend how I think and feel to appease someone who has enjoyed privilege myself and other women never have?

Trans folks face bigotry and harassment on a level that few cis people can even comprehend, both before and after transition. A staggering one third of trans teens who identify as female despite being assigned male at birth try to commit suicide. (The percentage for trans male teens is an even more staggering 50%.) Yes, as every feminist knows, cis men enjoy privilege over cis women. But the idea that trans women are somehow privileged over cis women because they once presented as boys and men is absurd.

Why do I have to stand for them weaponizing their position as a TIM to attack women and coerce lesbians into sex?

A TIM, by the way, is a “Trans-Identified Male,” TERFspeak for, yes, a trans woman. In any case, I’ve seen zero evidence that “weaponizing” transness to coerce cis lesbians into sex is an actual thing in the world, rather than simply a moral panic, outside of a tiny handful of individual cases. (TERFs who’ve brought this issue up with me have offered only a single example of a real-life trans woman who preyed on cis lesbians in this way.)

Ironically, there were some Rad Fems in the 1970s, many of whom have since become TERFs, who tried to convince straight cis women to become “political lesbians,” abandoning sex with men (if not necessarily starting to have sex with women) in the name of feminism — before everyone (or almost everyone, anyway) realized that that was not how sexuality works, and that pressuring people to somehow magically change their sexual orientation for political or supposedly political reasons is creepy as hell.

I would not be surprised if many of them even get off on the fact that women like myself are placed under this sense of obligation to do cater to them unwillingly by the way many of them behave when they don’t think actual women are paying attention.

I don’t even know what the fuck she’s talking about here.

It is pure misogyny that women are placed under scrutiny and attacked for pointing out how uncomfortable all of this is. A man forcing me to acknowledge him as a “fellow sister” is a violation of my boundaries and I will not stand for it.

Trans women are women. Full stop.

Naturally, the regulars in the GenderCritical subreddit loved armaq’s manifesto. One commenter took armaq’s transphobia one step further, offering an example of alleged trans sexual fetishism that I, at least, have never heard of before.

“Yeah,” wrote a commenter called legally_cool.

I don’t care what people do in private but I’m not playing along with anyone’s fetish. Some TIMs get a boner from having their pronouns respected like wtf how is that normal behaviour.

Trans women … get boners from HAVING THEIR PRONOUNS RESPECTED? They get Pronoun Boners?

I’ve devoted much of my time over the last eight years trying to expose (and make some sense of) the weirdest sub-varieties of misogyny on planet Earth, but goddamn, TERF transmisogyny can get just as weird as manosphere misogyny, if not more so.

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Bina
1 year ago

@Button:

I’m annoyed that TERFs have grabbed the “gender-critical” name, because they’re pretty fucking obviously not actually critical of gender. How are we supposed to be critical of gender when you so reactionarily defend the arbitrary, patriarchal system of gender assignment we’ve inherited?

Me too…and hammer, nail, head! They’re not the least bit critical of gender as a concept, or even as a means to oppression. They’re critical of the gender-expression of trans people specifically…and more specifically, trans WOMEN. To “question” a trans woman’s femaleness is to set an arbitrary bunch of hoops for her to jump through before she becomes “acceptable” as a woman, at best; at worst, it is total denial and erasure. I’ve seen FARTs who make a big show of having token, fully-surgeried “transsexual” (note the studied absence of -gender) women in the clubhouse, as if to say “see, we’re not REALLY exclusionary”, but it’s just a lot of rude noise and stinky hot wind. At the bottom of it all, they’d really rather not have any; they’d rather it be cis-only.

Their true colors always slip out, too. I’ve seen them sniping at how “normalized” trans women were becoming. This after one of them had seen an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, apparently. Which is a laugh in itself, since drag queens are not the same thing — they’re cis gay men who perform as cartoonishly exaggerated female characters onstage but do not actually live or identify as women. And RuPaul himself has recently had his transphobia called out, too. The fact that these so-called “radical feminists” couldn’t tell the difference between a trans woman and a cis gay man nearly made me shoot tea out my nose when I read that.

What nauseated me, though, was their insistence that trans women had male privilege. Maybe they do when they’re still trying hard to tamp themselves down and be “good” cis men, but that all evaporates once they come out and start to transition. So many competent, capable trans women in male-dominated fields tend to lose their jobs, or be unsubtly edged out of them, when cis-sexism sets in among their colleagues and bosses. And they face sexual harassment, assault, and gendered violence as much as, if not more than, cis women. Where’s the “male privilege” there?

And the FARTs are just as ignorant of genderfluid, agender and intersex people, too. Especially those who were designated female at birth. Or forced into surgery at a young age to make them female-conforming. And then they pat themselves on the back for having read a wee little bit about them, while making no effort to actually understand anything they’ve read.

It’s all so nauseating even if, like me, you have no skin of your own in the argument. It did, however, make me vicariously embarrassed that supposedly intelligent and educated fellow cis women could be so closed-off and backward, and even deliberately obtuse, while trying to gaslight anyone like me, who questioned their premises, into thinking they weren’t bigots of the first water. The fact that I’m no longer in their Facebook group or friends with them should tell you how things stand.

Oh, and the wormy rotten cherry on top of the shit sundae for me? They used articles from far-right sites like Lifesite and VDARE to bolster their arguments against transgender folks. When you whine about people using the critical term “white feminism” while you’re using sure-’nuff Nazis to back your sex-essentialist bullshit up, you really need to ask what kind of “radical” you are.

And you really have to ask yourself if “literal feminazi” is the look you’re going for, because that’s the one you’ve got.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

Their true colors always slip out, too. I’ve seen them sniping at how “normalized” trans women were becoming. This after one of them had seen an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, apparently. Which is a laugh in itself, since drag queens are not the same thing — they’re cis gay men who perform as cartoonishly exaggerated female characters onstage but do not actually live or identify as women. And RuPaul himself has recently had his transphobia called out, too. The fact that these so-called “radical feminists” couldn’t tell the difference between a trans woman and a cis gay man nearly made me shoot tea out my nose when I read that.

A number of the contestants on the show have come out as trans during or after their time on the show.

Lynn
Lynn
1 year ago

If you want trans women to never have any erections, you can just make it easier for us to get HRT. Takes care of the problem for most of us, unless you have the persistence to whisper sweet pronouns into our ear for HOURS.

Bina
1 year ago

A number of the contestants on the show have come out as trans during or after their time on the show.

Ah. Did not know that! Goes to show how much TV I watch…as well as how oddly obsessed with that show the FARTs are.

Anyhow: they were snotting about drag culture in general, too. Claimed it “enforces femininity” or some such rot. As though straight cis men demanding “real women” with their return-to-the-Fifties mindset didn’t do just that, and a helluva lot more. It was almost as absurd as their fixed idea that transgenderism was “heteronormative”, and that trans women were stealth MRAs out to perform “corrective rape” on lesbians.

And of course, the FARTs proffered nary a thoughtful examination of how drag queens doff and question the stereotypes attached to their own sex when they perform. And they were silent as the tomb about how trans folks have been blowing up gender myths since, well, forever ago. Kind of odd considering their frequent protestations of being “gender critical”. You’d think they’d welcome the input of some people who’ve actually interrogated and exploded gender stereotypes in their own lived experiences, but nooooo. They have their theory, and anything that won’t fit on that Procrustean bed must be screamed at until it scuttles away in shame.

In short, it was a hopeless spectacle, and the death-drop was anticlimactic and definitely not entertaining.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

Drag shows and clubs which do drag and burlesque are a good way to create queer-friendly spaces in counties which are generally less queer-friendly than some other countries like UK, Netherlands or the USA. I know these countries also have problems, but in Ukraine for example, drag clubs and shows allow a safe place for queer people to explore their identity. And for queer people too, to try their identy if they wish to perform. It also creates a place where straight cis people can spend time together with queer people in a non-hateful way. Yes drag clubs and gay bars were attacked by nazis and nationalists before, becuase it is not safe to be queer anywhere really, but the popularity of drag helped a lot for making spaces safer, not just for trans people but all kinds of queer people. And in the last few years there are more pride parades, trans solidarity events and other things, which show that people become more accepting. Obviously that is not all because of drag, and I think sometimes drag can be problematic in some situations, but I also seen that it did a lot of positive things.

Zatar
Zatar
1 year ago

Aaron:

Your right re: Margret Atwood. I’ve never heard her being described as “Just a genre writer” hell I’ve rarely heard of her described as a genre writer in general. A lot of her clearly science fiction work is not treated as such.

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

Someone was asking why there’s so much more anti-trans propaganda lately. I know of 3 reasons.

1) The British government has recently done a public consultation about simplifying the paperwork to legally change your gender. That’s all they were proposing to do, but somehow this got warped in the public perception into a debate over where trans women should pee. in spite of the fact that British trans people have had the right to pee in the more comfortable bathroom for over 10 years with no reported problems. Trans men were generally ignored in the debate.

2) There was a high-profile, very nasty case of a trans woman, Kathy White (I think) being moved to a women’s’ prison and raping several prisoners before she was caught. I don’t know why she was in the general prison population given her violent history, although underfunding may well have something to do it. There was also some question as to whether she’s really trans (I’ll leave that one for the doctors) and a general unspoken assumption that she’d have been a model prisoner in a male prison.

3) Some group of US, right-wing, “family values” bigots had some meeting where they decided to go after trans people in a “divide and conquer” move against LGBTQA. They are very well funded, and appear to be paying for at least some of the viscousness.

Since then, some newspapers publish something counter-factual and anti-trans every week. It’s horrid.

ellesar
ellesar
1 year ago

A man forcing me to acknowledge him as a “fellow sister”

I expect I have known many more transwomen than arnaq has (certainly in pleasant contexts), and have never felt ‘forced’, or indeed under any pressure at all to acknowledge her as a fellow sister.

I used to run a lesbian social group 15 – 20 years ago and we had a very respectful letter from a transwoman wanting to attend. We discussed it and voted on it and the majority wanted to welcome her. Yes, there were those who didn’t, but fortunately it did not become unpleasant – a couple of those women stopped attending the group (not all).

After that several more transwomen turned up, and we only had a problem with one. She was unhappy that she was not more included. She made a complaint to the organisation, but we could hardly make our service users be more friendly to her. The fact that there were at least another 5 transwomen attending at different times proved that it was her personality, rather than being trans that was the issue.

Inevitably there will be transwomen who are less likeable – as women generally, as people generally. But even that woman did not force anyone to accept her – verbally or in any other way.

In my experience just treating people as people works a treat!

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@Snowberry

Note, however, that not all second-wave feminists were anti-trans – Judith Butler is the usual example of this –

Advance apologies for my quibble: Butler’s not a second wave feminist.
But your comment reminded me that I’ve seen her referred to as such multiple times on Twitter, and I’ve no idea why. She became prominent in the early 1990s, and more as a queer theorist than a feminist – but in any case, waaaaay after second wave feminism.
I even had one person tell me that Butler helped people realise women didn’t have to stay home and be mothers, and I was gobsmacked – sounds more like Betty Friedan!
Even worse, this was in the context of a discussion of “Butlerism”, which was when I discovered that Butler’s work has somehow become associated with terfism. It was seriously worrying because Butler is a major theorist, a lot of her work is publicly available, and she does regular interviews i.e. it’s not hard to access her ideas. She’s absolutely anti-terf, in fact, she’s explicitly said so.

Rant over! And not directed at Snowberry, of course 🙂

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@Cat Mara,

didn’t one of the leading lights in the RadFem movement end up going to jail for firebombing a string of sex shops back in the 70s/80s? Because, apparently, any woman using a willy-shaped sex toy to get herself off was abetting teh PATRIARCHY ARGLEBARGLE!!1!!

Which country? I’ve heard of Red Zora in Germany?
But yeah, the hostility to any form of penetrative sex was intense back then! Hard to believe now 😀

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Mish:

Which country?

I think she was British? I’m kicking myself I didn’t screencap it now because the hypocrisy on display was just breathtaking. “How dare you bring that up! That was, like, ages ago!” “So, you’re stanning for a convicted arsonist while acting like trans women using a changing room in your vicinity is the worst attack on your civil rights ever?! Okayyyyy…” (sound of millions of eyeballs rolling from skulls across the internet)

But yeah, the hostility to any form of penetrative sex was intense back then!

Was it Dale Spender who came out with something like, “why is everyone always going on and on about ‘penetrative’ sex? It’s ‘engulfative’ as much as ‘penetrative’!”? 😉

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

@Mish:

Rape apology & Rape culture were even worse back then. If people are constantly saying that date rape doesn’t exist, that it’s normal sex that women regret, then it’s inevitable that some feminists were going to say, “Fine, then I’m against your ‘normal sex’ you assholes!”

The ability to articulate that rape is about fucking someone without their consent – and have that culturally understood and mostly accepted rather than having your culture force you to use the word “sex” for any rapes that don’t involve a stranger leaping from the bushes, duck taping your mouth and driving you away in a creeper van – allows us now to say, “Oh, yeah, I’m totally for sex, I’m just against rape” and have it be understood very differently than back then.

If people running sex shops were saying, “Oh, I’m totally for people having all the heterosexual sex they want,” and your primary experiences with what most people call “heterosexual sex” were events that we now acknowledge are out and out rape, then you could easily hear the sex shop owners as saying, “I’m pro-rape.” This is, in fact, inevitable when your culture and your language don’t make good, easily communicable distinctions between sex and rape.

So, sure, you firebomb a few sex shops b/c in your mind they are literally advocating rape. And it’s a fucked up culture, so maybe some of them are even advocating fucked up ideas of sex and consent and violence.

But – and here’s the important bit – I’m really not sure that they were any more opposed to sex than we might be today. It was more that their strong feelings about rape, feelings I’m sure we both share, were frustratingly inexpressible except as condemnations of sex in general.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

@cat Mara:

Was it Dale Spender…?

Yes. And Spender is awesome. I actually thought I came up with that critique at one point, then found out that Spender had done so years before.

If there’s anyone on here who hasn’t read Man Made Language, well, you should.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@Cat Mara, I’m sorry I missed that! Was it when you were still active on Twitter?

@Crip Dyke,
Thank you, yes, you’re quite right. Sorry if I was too flippant in my comment. I do think that some aspects of the ‘sexuality debates’ had long-lasting and damaging effects, but contextualising feminist campaigns or strategies is important.

For example, take that time in feminism when ‘clitoral sexuality’ was held up as an ideal: if you look at it out of context, it’s silly, and if you examine it further, it’s deeply exclusionary and problematic. But as a strategy located in a specific time and place, looked at technically, it makes more sense.

Another example: if we’re looking at first-wave feminism and thinking the emphasis on temperance was kind of embarrassing, we’re failing to see the historical context of that emphasis.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Sorry if I was too flippant in my comment.

Psh.

you’ll have to do a lot more than that to be too flippant for a comment on some blog on the internet!

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

@Mish: Yes, it was a Twitter thread I saw when I was there but not one I was active in, just lurking. And taking @Crip Dyke’s post on board, I was seeing the act through modern eyes in my original post– that is, of seeing sex shops as they are nowadays, as (mostly) sex-positive places when they were probably a good deal more skeevy back in the 70s/80s– and my comment reflected that. I still think it shows a marked tendency of TERFs then and now to be quick to put lives at risk in the pursuit of their cause… and to be just as quick to engage in hollow justifications of this behaviour.

Re: Dale Spender, I saw this marvelous definition on her blog (which, sadly, seems moribund):

THE HIMITATOR: This is the guy who takes your words and insights, and provides the required ‘male-finesse’; he restates your analysis and does so with such assured cultural authority of male speaker, that his version is taken to be better than yours.

Luzbelitx
1 year ago

RE: “Gender Critical”

I’ve found the thing is, TERFS have their own made up definition for “gender”.

While gender is one dimension of human identity, regulated and enforced by culture, they only take the “culture” part.

So for them “gender” is a set of rules that’s in the culture but has no relation to the individual. At the same time, they use the nouns for gender to describe sex.

So we get this mix in which “women”=”human female” and “gender”=”the stereotypes assigned to one sex”.

This way, it would make some sense to say that you’re critical of gender because you don’t want people of any sex to follow some set of rules over their identity.

This, of course, collides with the fact that “woman” is a concept that has been developed over the whole of human history and by no means can be reduced to “people born with a vagina” even if it’s meant to be imposed on them.

Also, I detect some definitely anti-science and frankly, racism, in the fact that they completely ignore the fact that there are and have always been cultures and communities in which the usual binary man-woman is NOT taken for granted as it is in our current western civilization.

So even if you insist that sex is gender, while gender are stereotypes, and you assure you are making a cultural critique, what’s stopping you from taking a long thoughtful look at other cultures? How is that critic at all?

And that’s when we get to: Biology is Science therefore it is the Truth.

For a bunch of “critical” people they sure lack critical thinking.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

@Sheila Crosby

“There was also some question as to whether she’s really trans (I’ll leave that one for the doctors)”

I’m gonna hazard the answer is “yes”.

There are in fact trans people who are rapists. And some day, I hope to live in a society where we can acknowledge that some trans people are horrible human beings, without it becoming an excuse to abuse the rest of us and hound us out of existence. As individuals with our own minds and bodies and feelings, we are capable of fucking up and being awful, and that needs to be understood and dealt with on an individual level just as with everyone else.

I’ve met some very abusive trans people myself. I will still advocate with all my heart and all my strength for their right to medical transition and other accommodations, like every other trans person – even if I would rather be homeless than share a roof with them. Their rights are my rights and the rights of my chosen family, even if they themselves horrify me.

Just to be clear again BTW, I’m not angry with you for bringing this up, it’s just a real sore point with me how cis/hetero patriarchy deals with this stuff. (And hits me in some of the same vulnerable spots as antisemitism, for reasons that should probably be obvious.)

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 year ago

On the overlap between TERFS and “political lesbianism,” I’m reminded of an article by Julie Bindel where she basically complained that it made no sense that straight women allies refused to sleep with her – which I find particularly amusing given how TERFs are always going on about trans lesbians insisting that cis lesbians ought to sleep with them, and how this is The Worst Thing Ever. Buts it’s different when YOU do it, is that it, Bindel?

(The article also explained political lesbianism as based in the idea that acknowledging that a particular man does not hate women somehow causes you to lose sight of the fact that some men do hate women. Because apparently men are a hive mind? Or Bindel thinks that women are incapable of distinguishing one man from another?)

TERFs are to feminism what the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

On which note, I should bring up that the TERF tactic of citing examples of individual trans people who are awful is a common one for bigots vs. minorities. The Nazis implemented notices and a hotline for crime committed by Jews, and the Trump regime set one up for crime by (implicitly nonwhite) undocumented immigrants. These days you can see a lot of parallels between transphobia and antisemitism, as right-wing trolls accuse both Jews and trans people of all being child rapists based on the acts of a few disgusting people.

This isn’t like whiteness, or cis/hetero maleness, where the group in question has titanic collective power, and collectively refuses to hold its worst members accountable. This is minority scapegoating, plain and simple.

And yes, in-group accountability IS a problem in trans and queer communities, especially along other lines of oppression – race, class, disability, normative attractiveness, pregnancy risk stuff, etc. But a) we’re still doing a better job of it than mainstream culture, and b) “we need more accountability in our communities” is not a valid excuse for the straight cisgender world to attack queer people’s health and safety overall.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
1 year ago

Luzbelitx:

RE: “Gender Critical”

I’ve found the thing is, TERFS have their own made up definition for “gender”.

While gender is one dimension of human identity, regulated and enforced by culture, they only take the “culture” part.

So for them “gender” is a set of rules that’s in the culture but has no relation to the individual. At the same time, they use the nouns for gender to describe sex.

So we get this mix in which “women”=”human female” and “gender”=”the stereotypes assigned to one sex”.

This way, it would make some sense to say that you’re critical of gender because you don’t want people of any sex to follow some set of rules over their identity.

Now that makes a huge amount of sense.

I recently saw on Twitter some brief manifesto purporting to define “gender critical feminism.” It was a jumble of anti-trans dogwhistling, much of the same buzzphrases and only slightly more coherent than in the rant quoted by David above.

It revolved around the notion that womanhood is indeed biological, implying that gender as a concept separate from sex is deemed invalid or irrelevant to feminism. Further, I get the sense that “gender ideology” is seen a tool of patriarchy to obfuscate what womanhood means. I suppose that’s where the name “gender critical” comes from.

M K
M K
1 year ago

Calling trans women and transfeminine enbies “autogynophiles” (or is it “autogynophiliacs”?) and insisting their gender is a sexual fetish is a pretty ancient rhetorical move for TERFs, tbh.

M K
M K
1 year ago

Also, while rape culture definitely used to be worse, I don’t think radfems’ conflation of rape and cisgender heterosexual sex is historically specific, because it’s trickled down to radical feminist spaces today.

I’ve witnessed this in feminist and leftist spaces online, and it’s a primary way for lots of radfems to delegitimize sex workers’ agency, specifically their ability to consent to sex.

They also use this conflation to argue against decriminalization of sex work (something most sex workers agree would make their lives better and safer), by insisting that all sex work is inherently rape and blatant sex trafficking. (Never mind that the work/trafficking lines are often blurry, and there exist sex workers who actually were trafficked, or started when they were underage, who still support decriminalization as adult sex workers.)

As a trans person, I don’t really think adding cultural context can explain or soften the harmful nature of radical feminist philosophy. Trans people’s complaints about TERFs, especially in feminist or LGBT+ spaces, usually get met with a lot of “whataboutism,” namely, trans people getting accused of holding cis women/lesbians to a higher standard of morality than we hold right-wing cis men/straight people. It’s important to remember that TERF works, like Janice Raymond’s “The Transsexual Empire,” have actually harmed trans people by inspiring public policy on issues like bathrooms or healthcare access, and that TERFs like Cathy Brennan, or events like the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, still actively participate in harassing trans girls – including minors – to this day.

otrame
otrame
1 year ago

It occurred to me after reading all this, that TERFs exist largely because some people claiming to be feminists are genuinely misandrist, the real thing. They hate and fear men. Not some men. All men. And to them, if you’ve got a dick, you are a man. And they hate and fear you.

Which is pretty much the same as the MGTOW. In both cases some mistreatment (mild or horrific) leads them to decide that the entire other “sex” is evil. For some this is more a psychological problem than a political stance. I can feel sorry for those people. Well, until they are actively hurting other people. The ones who get my blood pressure spiking are the ones who get attention and/or money from their hatefulness and who really like all that attention and/or money and so keep doubling down, and who cares if someone gets hurt in the process.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

It occurred to me after reading all this, that TERFs exist largely because some people claiming to be feminists are genuinely misandrist, the real thing.

There is no “real thing” when it comes to misandry. And TERFs are straight up misogynists.

epitome of incomprehensibility

I have little to add that other people haven’t already said, but I just want to say that @Troubelle’s lyrics on the 1st page are awesome. 😀 Especially the refrain with all the rhymes/wordplay about “chopped liver.”

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

@Kupo

There is no “real thing” when it comes to misandry.

Do you mean that there is no such thing as a pathological hatred of men qua men, or that “misandry” is a term created in bad faith by people with an ideological axe to grind?

MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants
1 year ago

It’s interesting to see how you have devolved, David. It’s revealing.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

Care to expand on that @MrFancyPants?

Bakunin
Bakunin
1 year ago

@Scildfreja
Doubtless it’s just some garbage about how “David is expressing violence against women”, or something similarly dull. Disappointing how TERFs and other transphobes keep popping up in nominally progressive spaces.

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

Someone correct me if I’m mistaken, but wasn’t the MrFancyPants nym used by an old commenter?

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

@Ariblester
Yeah, it’s someone who used to frequent atheist blogs and ended up following Ophelia Benson down the transphobia rabbit hole. They showed up in the thread PZ Myers had a few days ago to scold him at much greater length but for basically the same reason.

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

@A.Noyd

Thanks for the confirmation that this was another former WHTMer who went full transphobe / showed that they were transphobes all along.

Xanthë
1 year ago

Hi A. Noyd,

I too remember Mr Fancypants, from his sycophantic following of Ophelia Benson (me being another occasional Pharyngula poster like yourself). He has also developed an unhealthy habit of following around cis guys (such as David and PZ Myers) to tell them how positively awful they are for not behaving like a regressive bigot to trans people.

He recently had a spat with the comic artist Jon Rosenberg (who creates Scenes From A Multiverse) and withdrew his Patreon support when he was unsatisfied with Jon’s response. The gory details are all in this thread: Twitter

Mr Fancypants: I have Patreon’d hundreds of dollars to you. I am redirecting that now to people with a brain.
Jon Rosenberg: I’m keeping all the money! I love your money.

#peaktrans

Valkyrine
Valkyrine
1 year ago

Sorry to repost this, but I really wanted to thank people for helping me out of my mental pickle. 🤗

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@M K

As a trans person, I don’t really think adding cultural context can explain or soften the harmful nature of radical feminist philosophy.

Absolutely.
Some feminist concepts or campaigns should be seen in context to appreciate them. Others can be seen in context to understand them: not to excuse them, but in order to better contest them. The radical feminism that birthed terfism falls into the latter.

dashapants
dashapants
1 year ago

How was there even a sustained argument on this thread about alleged former male privilege of transwomen?

Like even if someone used to present as a man and was accorded some (varying) amount of societal privilege during that time – (a) it would have been poisoned by dysphoric feelings (because even advantage-granting assumptions about what constitutes a “man/male” are often oppressive to someone who is trans) and (b) it’s in the PAST! What possible bearing can this have on their current situation? I mean I had cake yesterday and it made me sick, so today I am sticking to chicken soup to feel better. So how is my yesterday’s barf cake ruining some TERF’s birthday today? It’s the stupidest nonsense ever (obvious hyperbole in view of the existence of incels).

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 year ago

The thing that finally pushed me out of paganism (wicca in particular) was that there seems to be a fair amount of transphobia there.

A couple of years ago, Husbeast and some friends were looking to join a coven and were shopping around, as it were. We went to what looked to be a promising group; well established, had a nice facility, put on a slick presentation of what they were all about, including a special series of women-only events. When someone asked whether they included trans women, the answer was an unequivocal “no.” The reasons given were the typical “honoring women as ‘lifegivers'” stuff I’d heard before.

It was jarring to see the priestess spout this nonsense like a megachurch deacon. And the upshot is that Husbeast and friends are still practicing solo, with occasional workshops and sabbats with a loose group of friends and acquaintances.

Hannukah Dreidl
Hannukah Dreidl
1 year ago

In the English-speaking environment, the “feminist” porn-store firebombings referred to might be the Red Hot Video firebombings in Vancouver BC in 1982-83. The outcry against exploitative porn eventually led to felony porn distribution charges against another branch of the same video chain.

The Red Hot Video bombings were connected in personnel to some violent direct action leftists the Squamish Five (wikipedia entry includes Red Hot Video arson). Some of the women and their extended circle involved continued activism at Vancouver Rape Relief, related organizations and the Vancouver Dyke March, which have TERF/FART struggles to this day. (The Vancouver Dyke March unequivocally supports transwomen but there has been significant organizational and protest struggle around this inclusion).

jone
jone
1 year ago

If people feel like they are really women, I applaud them.

I don’t know what the hell they mean, though.

I have woman parts, I’m treated as a woman. But I don’t feel like one.
I don’t feel like a man either. I frequently have dreams where I am a man. It doesn’t bother me… I don’t feel the need to be one or the other, or both. I think gender is a wholly non-creative concept. Boring. I’ll take a pass. Do my own thing.

I just don’t care about gender in how it pertains to me. If people want to treat me as female, that’s fine in some ways.
It sucks when I would rather be treated as a professional or otherwise taken seriously, but other than that I don’t care much for myself.
Of course I care when it comes to systemic discrimination faced by women, and especially women of color. But I’m talking personally here.

So it’s one of those ,” no idea what you’re talking about, but good for you,” things.

It doesn’t make sense how scared people are of men who feel like women, or women who feel like men.

What about people who don’t feel like either, and don’t care either way?

Is it so hard to look at a person in a different way, or call them by a different title?
Instead of facing that it brings anxiety, people choose to bully those who are trans. That’s everything wrong with humanity personified.

If an army enlisted goes from first lieutenant to a captain, she’s entitled to be referred to by her proper moniker. And nobody freaks the fuck out, even though it’s possible that all she did was exist in the service for a longer period of time.

So it’s not like trans people are asking other humans to do something entirely unfamiliar or uncouth.

Maybe it’s only because anti-trans people hate being corrected. God forbid. Public humiliation is more than their empty-husk-where-a-soul-should-be can stand. They might just evaporate.
It’d do us all a favor.

Virginia Howard
Virginia Howard
1 year ago

David, I’m sorry but I’ll have to unfollow you. I can’t agree that “trans women are women. Full stop.”

A woman is an adult female.

Sex is the material reality of male and female bodies, gender is the performance of masculinity and femininity.

There are no pink or blue brains. When someone says “I was born in the wrong body”, that’s metaphysics.

Thank you so much for educating me about MRAs, PUAs and all of the dark pockets of online misogyny, I’ll certainly pass on your handy glossary of terms. But I doubt that you will reach you peak-trans moment anytime soon, mainly because— you are not an adult female.

Goodbye and keep up the good work satirizing the dark side of masculinity.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
1 year ago

@Virginia Howard
Fuck off TERF.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Sex is the material reality of male and female bodies, gender is the performance of masculinity and femininity.

And “woman” is used – even by you, unless you perform panty checks and chromosome tests before you use pronouns and terms like “woman” or “man” – in response to performances of femininity far more than it’s ever used in response to determinations of biological sex.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

@Virginia Howard,

You’re wrong, my duck.

Toodle.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

David, I’m sorry but I’ll have to unfollow you.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, TERF!

Tizio
Tizio
1 year ago

Friendly reminder that TERFs don’t know the difference between gender identity and gender roles.

Friendly reminder that, every single time a transphobe tries to define the human sexes, they do so in such a way that their own definition is declared invalid by their own beliefs and definition.
(For example, as Crip Dyke pointed out, transphobes address people as “woman” or “man” without checking for those people’s genitalia or chromosomes. But transphobes claim that the only “correct” way to determine someone’s sex is by checking their genitalia and chromosomes; and that whoever doesn’t use that “correct” method is wrong. Therefore, according to the claims of transphobes, transphobes are wrong.)

solecism
solecism
1 year ago

I was dismayed in the last year or so to realize that one of my lesbian friends was a TERF, even if she was unfamiliar with the term and didn’t identify as such, and another lesbian friend said some transphobic stuff around dating.

But I had a long time to think about how I was going to challenge my TERFy friend, and I finally had an hours-long conversation with her about her beliefs and assumptions. She had been involved with the Michigan Womyn’s Festival, so I had rather suspected even before the conversational evidence. Anyway, I hurt her brain with new terms like cis and challenged her anecdotes (another fool who believes trans women somehow have male privilege and that’s why they’re so disruptive in women-only spaces, as opposed to the TERF bigots being the source of the disruption). It’s been a few months, and I am trying to meet up with her in a few weeks to see how much of it might have sunk in.

The other friend is now dating a trans man and happy. Problem solved, I guess? She never expected to end up in such a situation. And I never expected to have gender identity questions. Life is full of surprises.

Thanks for all the stories and explanations and context that will help me continue to challenge such bullshit as I can.

Airis Damon
Airis Damon
1 year ago

I have been monitoring this site off and on for some time. I truly appreciate David Futrelle’s work and all the supporters of this site.

“FARTs,” that is a good acronym for what can only be called an anti-feminist reactionary movement masquerading as “radical feminist” one. I think I can add to this comedic lexicon. SCHARTs or Seriously Centrist Hecklers Assuming Reactionary Tendencies. It is something I came up with on the fly. Imagine you are in a conversation about reactionaries and the centrists who aid and abed, and someone exclaims, “Oh, you mean the FARTs and SCHARTs. I know them. They’re a rather smelly bunch.”

Yeah, its a bit crude but funny nonetheless. I don’t know. Let me know what think, and thank you. I was feeling a bit down today. I happened across some transphobic comments on Medium. They were not directed at me, but they still had an affect. I started having flashbacks.