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Quiz: Who said it, incel or TERF?

By David Futrelle

So yesterday, I was poking around in the Braincels subreddit, Reddit’s main hangout for incels, and was struck by how often the regulars there discuss trans women.

Some incels like to fantasize about solving their particular difficulty — their “involuntary” celibacy — by hooking up with “traps” (their favorite transphobic term for young trans hotties). But most of the time they’re as straightfowardly hateful towards trans women as any TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist).

Indeed, I was struck by how remarkably similar incels and TERFs sound when they talk about trans women (both generally ignore trans men). So much so that I decided to make this quiz.

I don’t know about you, but I found these very hard to distinguish from one another, to the point that I had to check and doublecheck each quote to make sure which subreddit it came from, even though I was the one choosing the quotes.

So what does this mean? Partly, the quotes sound similar because, well, this is what transphobic hate sounds like. But in other cases it seems as though the incels have picked up certain TERF talking points from reading, or reading about, TERFs.

If you consider yourself a feminist, but your thoughts on trans women are virtually identical to the raging misogynists and ignorant anti-feminists who make up the incel movement, well, maybe you’re not as much of a feminist as you think.

Sources for quotes: Question 1: GenderCritical, Braincels. Question 2: GC, Braincels. Question 3: Braincels, GC. Question 4: Braincels, GC.

H/T — Reddit’s Advanced Search

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Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
1 year ago

@Lainy, @Nina, @Bina:

I suspect it’s also to do with their worldview in which trans people only appeared (or at least became noticeable) in the past decade, and are all or mostly teens jumping on the gender bandwagon.

Attempts to tell them about the Chevaliere D’Eon, Billy Tipton, etc. probably won’t make a difference.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

@Beyond Ocean:

@Rhuu, can I again ask about the purported effort of TERFs to de-legitimize ace people in the LGBT+ community?

Assuming you were talking to @Bina, as that’s the only mention of asexuals in this thread, I’m pretty certain that’s about asexual trans people.

Buuut… there are surprising amount of L’s and G’s who want to kick out some of the letters of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Not all of them want to get rid of the same letters, and their reasoning varies, but in general: B’s because they can theoretically pass as straight if they choose to do so, thus avoid the oppression aimed at L’s and G’s; T’s because transgender is not a sexual orientation, ignoring that even if that were valid, not all trans people are straight; Q’s because it’s a broad category which is largely meaningless to them; I’s because intersex is not a sexual orientation or a gender orientation; and A’s because asexuals don’t experience any form of oppression at all (which is completely false), or because lack of sexual orientation doesn’t belong in a group defined at least in part by sexual orientation, ignoring that some asexuals aren’t aromantic, and can even be biromantic, panromantic, or homoromantic and thus face similar issues.

There was a brief period when such things were taken as serious arguments in mainstream LGBTQIA+ discourse, but now that usually gets deleted or banned quickly. But there are still people who think like that.

TERFs are sometimes lesbians, or bisexuals who refuse to get involved with men for ideological reasons, though definitely not all are. Those would absolutely love to excise the T’s from the spectrum, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they wanted to excise some of the other letters as well. Also, given that there exist TERF organizations which have ties to White Supremacist groups, which are a cesspools of all kinds of bigotry, it would not at all be surprising if TERFs in general weren’t ace-friendly. But this is theorizing, so I cannot confirm this for certain.

Chris Oakley
1 year ago

Actually, the correct answer to all four questions is “Who cares? Incels and TERFs both suck.”

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Beyond Ocean

They want to hurt people, and they want to be justified in hurting people. They can be justified in hurting others if the T+ERFs are More Oppressed than their targets are, because then it’s ‘punching up’.

So, you get rhetoric like the following awful shit:

Ace/Aro people aren’t real, they’re just priviliged hets trying to force their way into the LG(BT) community! They don’t face REAL oppression and they’re wasting valuable resources!

Trans women aren’t women, they’re just privileged men trying to take advantage of women! They’re a threat and don’t face REAL oppression and they’re wasting valuable resources!

Bi people aren’t really part of the LG(BT) community if they will consider, have or ever had an opposite-gendered partner! They’re just privileged hets trying to force their way into the community! They don’t face REAL oppression and they’re wasting valuable resources!

Agender/Genderqueer people aren’t real, they just want to feel special and force their way into the LG(BT) community! They don’t face REAL oppression and they’re wasting valuable resources!

And so on and so forth.

Basically: if you aren’t being oppressed specifically for being a cis person in a relationship with another cis person of the same gender as you, then you aren’t experiencing oppression and your identity is wrong and oppressive to people who are ACTUALLY facing oppression, and therefore you need to be punished/harassed, etc. (And if you are being oppressed for being in a perceived same-gendered relationship, you’re only experiencing oppression because people THINK you’re lesbian or gay, and not because of your bi/trans/ace/aro identity.) Whatever the identity is isn’t as important as the harassment that these assholes want to inflict, which is why it all tends to sound the same. (Although trans women tend to be subjected to the most hateful and violent harassment.)

The only place I’ve really encountered much aphobic rhetoric is on tumblr, although this may be a sampling error since I don’t really participate in other social media platforms, and I’m not very familiar with the queer communities on other platforms. Tumblr seems to have a lot of ace folks on it, and it’s possible that’s why there’s so many people trying to drive us off it? I dunno.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Ace/Aro people aren’t real, they’re just priviliged hets trying to force their way into the LG(BT) community! They don’t face REAL oppression and they’re wasting valuable resources!

And this sentiment is definitely not just common in TERF circles. It’s goddamn everywhere.

Beyond Ocean
Beyond Ocean
1 year ago

Assuming you were talking to @Bina, as that’s the only mention of asexuals in this thread, I’m pretty certain that’s about asexual trans people.

No, I was trying to call out to Rhuu, as they specifically brought up this issue in another thread and said they understand TERFs’ reasoning for this.

That thread wasn’t the best to discuss it though, as was rightfully pointed out.

Anyway, thanks for your insights, especially Catalpa. This does make a lot of sense. I knew TERFs are usually also bigoted against bi people, so extending this reasoning to everyone who isn’t their one and only Real Oppressed is to be expected, I guess.

Tovius
1 year ago

I got a 2/4. But then, I wasn’t sure which group I was supposed to be picking for.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

As much as I hate transphobes, I really don’t like the use of acronyms like TERF,SWERF,BERF and all the variations of them gaining popularity, because there are many radical feminists who aren’t bigots or transphobes, and my worry is that the more such acronyms are used in the mainstream and people explain the Excluding-Radical-Feminist part of the acronym, it will only lead to more people using it as an excuse to go “see, told you feminists were man-hating puritans” and make it harder for those who want to openly identify as feminists but always feel worried about being lumped together with the worst extremists the wast majority of feminists have already taken a stance against.

Would it be so hard to just call them transphobes instead? And as for specifically calling out bigots hiding their bigotry behind empty feminist rhethoric, why not call them “fauxminists” as Bina suggested?

Megpie71
1 year ago

I tend to go with “neo-Victorians” as a good description for the exclusionist, separatist, “political lesbian” type of pseudo-feminist – their attitudes about sex and gender, far from being actually radical, are very much lifted holus-bolus from the most repressive and oppressive options available from Victorian-era thinking on the subjects.

Strangely enough for feminists, they tend to wind up endorsing typical Victorian-era misogynistic positions, such as the idea that women were so “biologically different” from men that women were not physically suited to being in the public arena; or that women are naturally uninterested in sex and therefore should not be “contaminated” by consideration of sexual matters.

Political lesbians basically hold to the position that sleeping with men is a form of ideological impurity, and the only true, pure relationship possible is one between two women. They therefore have a definite hate-on for bisexual women – because the bi girls might have or might have had sex with a man at some point, and therefore aren’t “pure”; for asexual people – because the ace folks aren’t having sex because they don’t want to, rather than as an exercise in ideological purity (takes all the fun out of being ideologically celibate, that does); and for transgender people – because they can’t be certain the person they’re planning to have this ideologically “pure” relationship with is actually of the correct gender or not (biology is destiny, after all). They also have a certain amount of well-concealed disdain for the sort of lesbian who has relationships with women because she likes having sex with women… they feel it muddies the waters just a bit – but they do tend to tone that sort of rhetoric down when they’re out in public.

When you get right down to it, a lot of them probably get far more turned on by the idea of having and exercising power over others than they do over anything physical. Certainly they seem to direct all their efforts toward the aim of getting other people to follow their lead on positions of ideological purity, rather than actually doing anything practical to benefit the wider community. It’s not surprising their masculine equivalent is the MGTOW.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

Would it be so hard to just call them transphobes instead?

I’m just going to repost another spiel I already wrote with regard to someone
else
who had a problem with the term TERF.

TERF refers to a particular brand of transphobe that cloaks their rhetoric in ostensibly “progressive” vocabulary. […] The term is used to describe specific behavior, behavior that works to infiltrate progressive spaces, and as such the term is a useful tool in bringing awareness to the fact that a person who may share some political ground with you can also be a person who makes this space unsafe for marginalized groups. It is important that progressive spaces be inclusive, and awareness of the type of bigotry trying to get past our radars is important.

Transphobic behavior that comes bundled with conservativism and all of the other assorted bigotries that are associated with that viewpoint is no less awful than TERF-specific transphobia. But it is generally something that is far more easy to see and condemn for the pile of shit that it is, at least in progressive circles.

Aside from that, adjectives mean things. Being concerned that “trans-exclusionary radical feminism” condemns all radical feminism sounds a lot like the people who complain that “toxic masculinity” condemns all masculinity.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa
I think I get your point, but all the same I also think that it’s important to remember that how people should interpret words, and how many people actually interpret them are often two different things. And to use your example with toxic masculinity, I do think it’s great to finally have a word for that concept, but at the same time I have seen tons of people having to waste time on the inevitable “so you think all men are toxic?” counterargument, and I have often wound up deliberately avoided using the term exactly for that reason, because any advantage gained by having a short word or acronym for such things falls flat if you have to spend several sentences explaining them.

There really aren’t any other terms to get the point about their faux-progressivism across without providing fodder for the “all feminists are manhating puritans” crowd?

I also think that relying on acronyms will make it easier for people to misinterpret their meaning, and just makes people waste time explaining them each time they are used, as opposed to using simple self-explanatory words.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

People don’t complain about terms because of the semantics. They do it to derail and silence. There’s no terms on which social justice issues can be discussed that won’t cause indignation from those interested in upholding the status quo.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

I’m gonna keep calling TERFs ‘TERF’, because they hate the term so much. People also understand it, so you aren’t going “oh, turns out Ricky Gervais is a fauxminist!” And then needing to explain that a) he apparently considers himself a feminist, so ‘fauxminist’ applies, amd also this word isn’t for just anyone who adopts feminist talking points to be repurposed to be antifeminist, but specifically about transphobes who appropriate inclusive feminist language.

TERF is (now) the term to use to say that. If some folx want to try to get another term used, good luck! That won’t be easy.

@Beyond Ocean –

My point is very similar to what others have said. TERFs desperately want to get rid of the T, but that hasn’t worked yet. So they are trying the wedge technique.

If they can get ride of asexual people who, according to them, shouldn’t even be included, because the LG movement is about teh sexxxxxxxing, and if you’re not into sexxing, why would you be in the movement that is about sexxxx?

I don’t know if they believe it, or just are using this as an excuse.

If they can convince people that ace people shouldn’t be included because their thing is the lack of desire for sex rather than being persecuted for wanting to have sex, it isn’t very far to go “but what about the transes, tho????? Them and their ‘gender’ stuff. That also isn’t about the sexxxxx either, right???”

And then bam, they get rid of the trans people as well, because if the greater community will agree with them about ace people, why not about trans people?

To be clear, though, this is just what i gather from discussions about the topic that i’ve read. (Also from the reaction of IRL L and G people at pride to the idea of asexuality being No Fun, but this was a good few years ago, and maybe it’s changed.)

I also look at how they convinced a bunch of tumblr people that ‘queer is a slur’, which is frustrating as hell. Queer has been reclaimed pretty thouroughly. If people don’t want to use it as personal identifier, cool. But others using it is fine, and not a slur.

They hate it because it doesn’t specify gender, which makes it open to trans and enbies and gnc and genderfluid (etc) people.

I also tried to read the ace tag on tumblr, but it was all ‘aphobes stfu’ or ‘wtf, asexuals, you aren’t oppressed or even real!’ And i couldn’t deal with that, so haven’t touched tumblr in ages.

Hopefully that explains my throw away comment, from before! Also, sorry if some of this is retread from the previous response, i had actually typed up a response before Lainy pointed out that there was a time and place… and now i can’t remember which points were in which post.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

any advantage gained by having a short word or acronym for such things falls flat if you have to spend several sentences explaining them.

Any new word we come up with to describe the TERFs will also require that explanation, though. Probably more explanation, since any new term won’t be as well known or widespread as TERF.

And also? If I have to make a choice between having a term that lets trans people immediately know that bullshit “progressive” transphobia isn’t fucking welcome here, and a term that will ostensibly somehow make people who already hate feminism play any nicer? I’m going to pick the first option every time.

I’m not going to throw trans people under the bus to make potential feminists more comfortable calling themselves feminist.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

And also? If I have to make a choice between having a term that lets trans people immediately know that bullshit “progressive” transphobia isn’t fucking welcome here, and a term that will ostensibly somehow make people who already hate feminism play any nicer? I’m going to pick the first option every time.

I’m not going to throw trans people under the bus to make potential feminists more comfortable calling themselves feminist.

I get that point, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel driving away people who are on the fence would only make things worse in the long run.

To be very clear, I am not in any way saying anyone should tolerate transphobia and bigotry in any situation or stay quiet when people say a bunch of transphobic stuff, I’m just saying calling them a Terf won’t help anyone and the term and might instead just be appropriated by anti-feminists just the same way these “feminists” have already appropriated feminist rhetoric to shut down other people.

And especially seeing so many (myself included) being unable to tell their rhetoric apart from incel quotes above, why wouldn’t it be better to have a term that applies to both groups alike to drive that point home?

I’m gonna keep calling TERFs ‘TERF’, because they hate the term so much.

Wouldn’t it be even more effective to use a term that highlights the fact that they literally say the exact same stuff as incels and open misogynists? That they aren’t the brave feminist rebels they think they are and just repeating the same BS as the groups they are ostensibly opposing?

Beyond Ocean
Beyond Ocean
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

For what it’s worth, I think your concern is misplaced.

The only group who would stand to gain from pushing the idea that “all feminists are manhating puritans” are right wingers. Buuut… they are more likely to praise TERFs as being the only real feminists, not like those evil third-wavers, precisely because TERFs are interested in keeping trans people down and upholding gender essentialism.

I mean, we’ve seen it here on Mammoth, if I remember correctly.

@Rhuu

Thanks! Seems unbelievable some people would try to turn LGBT+ movement into being strictly about having sex, but these days…

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I get that point, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel driving away people who are on the fence would only make things worse in the long run.

Who are we driving away who is on the fence? Are you hey the same mythical people on the fence about toxic masculinity who would have totally been on our side were it not for using an adjective? Do you have any evidence to back up your claim these people are both legitimately on the fence and would be pro-feminism and pro-trans-rights if we just didn’t use the acronym TERF?

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

And especially seeing so many (myself included) being unable to tell their rhetoric apart from incel quotes above, why wouldn’t it be better to have a term that applies to both groups alike to drive that point home?

We do. It’s mysogynist. Or ‘hateful asshat’.

But we as humans need different words to be able to talk about the different flavours of things.

Like chocolate. Or chocolate bars. Or Aero. Or Smarties. Or dark chocolate. Or milk chocolate. Or 80% dark chocolate. Or ‘chocolatey flavour’ (may not contain chocolate at all). Or organic 80% fair trade local artisan made dark chocolate. We’ve got the umbrella term ‘Chocolate’, but we need all of these different words to specify just what type it is we are talking about.

Because if you have (and use) a word that means “TERFs but also all those who are shit heads to everyone but cis-men”, you are talking about so many people, with so many different flavours of hate.

The point of the quotes being so similar isn’t that now we need a new term that lets everyone know that TERFs and incels (and the christian right) share many thoughts/ideas/expressions/etc, but that *they share them at all*.

Call a TERF a TERF. Call a SWERF a SWERF. Label that shit. Labels let us discuss the assholery.

Wouldn’t it be even more effective to use a term that highlights the fact that they literally say the exact same stuff as incels and open misogynists? That they aren’t the brave feminist rebels they think they are and just repeating the same BS as the groups they are ostensibly opposing?

We do. That term is ‘TERF’.

Be Gay. Do Crimes. Punch a TERF.

@Beyond Ocean –

Yeah, it is pretty shitty to try to distill all the possible experiences one would have being Not Straight to ‘who are you lookin’ to bump uglies with????’ but…

There was (is? I don’t know, I quit tumblr because I couldn’t deal with this bullshit a few years back) a huge push back against the split attraction model, because cis-gays and lesbians were salty about being told that their attraction was ‘sexual’ in nature.

But that wasn’t the point? They didn’t see that you could have BOTH a sexual AND a romantic orientation, and that calling them ‘allo’ didn’t mean that people using that were reducing their relationships to just the sexual level…. But rather saying that they weren’t ace.

And then people were going “don’t use ‘allo’ or the split attraction model, it’s mean to non-ace people, we don’t want to be discrimatory” and I’m just screaming “DON’T YOU SEE THE SIMILARITIES HERE WITH HOW THE Ls AND Gs HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN TREATED AHHHHHH”

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Rhuu

Nicely put, although the “punch a TERF” part isn’t something that should be said here. Comments policy, no avocation for violence, all that.

@Scanisaurus

Incel rhetoric is still relatively unknown (aside from the mass murdering part, that’s becoming more well known), so having some term that suggests that TERFs and incels are cut from similar cloth would be pretty confusing to the layman.

Besides, groups can be shitty without being equivocated with other groups. TERFs are shitty because they’re transphobic, not because they’re doing the same thing incels are.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

@Catalpa: Ah, of course, you are correct. I am sorry, no violence. If I could edit it, I would!

Glare at a TERF.

Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
1 year ago

Whooo nice concern trolling there, I give it a 7/10.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Scatter Legos in front of TERFS so they may step on them.

S. P.
S. P.
1 year ago

In my experience, intra-community gatekeeping is usually:

1. Authoritarians trying to make a grab for the driest seats on a sinking boat
and/or
2. Marginalized people making themselves feel better by attacking people that they can convince themselves aren’t marginalized, because the actual seats of power are too dangerous to attack
and/or
3. Abusive people using it as an excuse to harm others and get social approval for it.

Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
1 year ago

Makes a new triangular Lego

It’s based on a really old design!

Oh wait, it’d just be easier to use a bunch of d4.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

I’m sorry, S.P., but who is your post directed to?

Shadowplay
1 year ago

Makes a new triangular Lego

Caltrops confound TERFish cantrips!

@Scanisaurus

Catalpa covered it nicely – again.

You’re feeling like hell, so you go to the doctor. She says “You’re sick.”
Not terribly useful, that, is it? Better to get the correct diagnosis.

Now, if someone is going to be “put off feminism” because of the term TERF – well, they weren’t over likely to be feminist anyways.

You’ve got some serious shades of “Libruls were mean to me so I became a Nazi” going on there – something we’ve mocked at great length.

S. P.
S. P.
1 year ago

@Rhuu I saw people talking generally about gatekeeping, so I gave my two cents on why it happens. My post isn’t directed at anyone in particular.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
1 year ago

Ok, for some reason none of my comments are showing up. I’m sure it’s user error, this is a test.

Hopefully I haven’t fucked up and been banned.

Ok, now this one has. Not sure what was wrong with the others, but it’s probably better I didn’t get to say what I tried to.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

In regards to everyone’s replies;
No, I don’t think any one word at any one time will radically change anyone’s opinion, but one of my friends did admit to me once that he watched a lot of Sargon of Akkad’s videos, and he felt feminism had gone too far, but instead of just using a quick label on him and break off our friendship forever I sent him links to Contrapoints videos, and he actually was willing to listen when he saw good arguments laid forth against what he’d heard of feminism from Sargon, and willing to admit Sargon was wrong, and I’ve heard many similar stories from others both online and irl. I’m not saying this will work on bigots already entrenched in their beliefs, but people on the fence do exist.

You’ve got some serious shades of “Libruls were mean to me so I became a Nazi” going on there – something we’ve mocked at great length.

If you want to disagree, feel free to say so, but I will not accept anyone insinuating I’m some kind of dishonest troll just because I’ve said something you disagree with. I’ve never said I agreed to anything the transphobes said or did, and I won’t start to defend any of their words either.

I’m only trying to say what I’ve come to believe based on what I’ve seen myself, if you want to use such terms I won’t stop you, but I will not use them. All I ask is that you don’t bring up any right-wing troll implications just because I don’t agree with everyone on everything. I’ve tried expressing myself as politely as I can and I hope you can return the favor.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

Snowberry – as a gay man who’s been out over forty years, I’ve seen more of that than I care to think about. Drawing circles to keep ‘them’ out and ‘us’ in is a dreadful waste of time and effort.

I spend more time on Reddit than is good for me, and I’ve noticed that the two places where trans folk bashing is most visible are ‘gender critical’ subs and the Jordan Peterson fan club. That says a lot about both that neither would like to hear.

One positive note: the Sinfest Reddit (which is not under the artist’s control) has featured parodies of recent strips and reruns of old ones.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I saw people talking generally about gatekeeping, so I gave my two cents on why it happens. My post isn’t directed at anyone in particular.

we’re talking about terminology, not gatekeeping, though?

@Scanisaurus
What do you hope to gain from this conversation? This is a sincere question.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@kupo
I just wanted to share my thoughts on terms I felt would do more harm than good to any conversation, I didn’t want to start a big argument.

The thing I don’t get is why some people here still make comments insinuating I’m arguing in bad faith even when I’ve explicitly stated otherwise, and I have participated in the comments on this blog for months, it’s not like I’m intentionally only showing up to be contrarian.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
1 year ago

@Scansaurus: I do think you are here in good faith, however, your posts regarding sex workers come off as tone policing and concern trolling. Also, regarding your views on this, it is a little… interesting that you have a problem with the particular terms involved in this conversation.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus
You’ve said your piece, then. You’re neither going to persuade people to stop using TERF nor persuade people you’re unproblematic. Just stop.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Perhaps it’s because you are currently arguing about how some words basically force people to be TERFs?

I’m not sure what else you are arguing, here, besides “don’t call the racist thing someone does racist. If you do that, they will keep doing their racist things, since we’ve left them no option but to be racist when we called their behaviour racist!”

You tell a story of how you were able to help your friend see the lies that the rightwing videos were telling them. That is great! I am glad you were able to help someone not be a huge, terrifying asshole.

Others might not have the ability to convince someone of the error of their ways, lacking your personal connection.

“Ah!” I hear from behind me on the bus, which frankly is just rude, reading my screen like that. Personal space, person! They continue: “what about how that one person from the westboro “””””””””church”””””””” was convinced when a stranger talked to them??”

To which i reply: that is a huge anomaly. Normally trolls are convinced of their rhetoric. I will still (when i have the energy) try to point out how and where they are wrong. Maybe i’ll convince ’em, but maybe i’ll help a silent lurker who is undecided see that we condemn these beliefs and behaviour with many good reasons.

But also, and here’s the group that i think your concern over hurting TERFs feelings is missing…

The people that TERFs shut up. The ones that racists drive away. The neuro divergent who don’t feel that spaces are welcoming to them. Various types of minorities who are often targetted by the crudest and loudest voices.

Hearing us go “no, this isn’t acceptable here” makes space for voices we might otherwise not hear.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

The thing I don’t get is why some people here still make comments insinuating I’m arguing in bad faith

If you want to go check out that thread I linked to previously, it might help illuminate why some people are leery of you.

Often the people who talk about how concerned they are about the use of the term TERF are TERFs who are trying to worm their way into the community subtly.

I’m not claiming that you are, but it tends to be a behavior that puts people on edge.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

@Allandrel

One consistency in TERFS/SWERFS/BERFS/etc. that I’ve noticed is that they resist knowledge in favor of theory.

They work out the theoretical nature of something (trans* people, porn, etc.) and latch onto that as The True Nature of Things, avoiding any exposure to facts because those might conflict with Theory.

[…]

Hey, ignoring facts in favor of an imaginary Way Things Are that supports their bigotries… no wonder it’s so hard to tell TERFS and incels apart.

It’s not just them — it’s a key part of all authoritarian dogmas. What comes to mind is people whining about “left-wing bias in the media” and “left-wing bias in academia” when what really bothers them is the media and academia actually looking at the facts and noticing uncomfortable truths that don’t accord with their dogma.

(Note: this isn’t a right-wing thing per se. It also applies to dogmatic Marxists and the like.)

MoonLaughter
MoonLaughter
1 year ago

Have you considered visiting the subreddit
r/StormfrontorSJW
?

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

I’m not sure what else you are arguing, here, besides “don’t call the racist thing someone does racist. If you do that, they will keep doing their racist things, since we’ve left them no option but to be racist when we called their behaviour racist!”

You tell a story of how you were able to help your friend see the lies that the rightwing videos were telling them. That is great! I am glad you were able to help someone not be a huge, terrifying asshole.

Others might not have the ability to convince someone of the error of their ways, lacking your personal connection.

To clarify, I’m not arguing for sparing the feelings of those people, the point I wanted to make was about lurkers and bystanders who see those arguments from outside.

I’m not asking anyone to try and reform already entrenched bigots, but I think it’s important to try and reach out to the people who haven’t yet fully bought into their rhetoric or taken a firm stance on the matter. I thought it was clear in my previous comment when I referred to the people on the fence, but apparently not.

You’ve said your piece, then. You’re neither going to persuade people to stop using TERF nor persuade people you’re unproblematic. Just stop.

Haven’t I’ve already made myself clear that I’ve seen my thoughts on this unwelcome and I won’t argue the term further with you? Why the hostility even when I’ve said I’m backing off from that argument?

I’m glad that at least some of you believe me when I say I’m here in good faith, and I hope you can bear in mind that I can’t look into your thought processes or predict your responses more than you can read my mind. I still have the opinions I have, but I will admit that I’ve worded and argued them badly if this is where it leads to.

I hope you can bear in mind that I’m from a different nation and cultural background than most of the posters here, and I can’t magically tell what responses my comments will get before making them. Some things I’ve said people here have agreed with, and some not, and I’m sorry I can’t always tell which beforehand, but I’ve never willfully started an argument.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I’m not asking anyone to try and reform already entrenched bigots, but I think it’s important to try and reach out to the people who haven’t yet fully bought into their rhetoric or taken a firm stance on the matter. I thought it was clear in my previous comment when I referred to the people on the fence, but apparently not.

If that was your point, I think that the example you chose to illustrate that point with was not worded well.

Here, look at this:

one of my friends did admit to me once that he watched a lot of Sargon of Akkad’s videos, and he felt feminism had gone too far, but instead of just using a quick label on him and break off our friendship forever I sent him links to Contrapoints videos

This example suggests that it is important to not use labels on people, because the people you would have labelled may be persuaded into another course of action.

I.e. the moral of this story you’ve told is “don’t call them TERFs and you might change their mind about being transphobic”, and people are responding to that sentiment.

The provided story does not illustrate why one may not want to use “bad” labels on other people’s behavior, in order to convince people who are not engaging in that behavior to… Continue to not engage in that behavior? To join a less shitty version of the group you refuse to label (or refuse to label “improperly”)?

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I’m glad that at least some of you believe me when I say I’m here in good faith, and I hope you can bear in mind that I can’t look into your thought processes or predict your responses more than you can read my mind.

You keep going on and on about how you assume we think you’re arguing in bad faith when very few people have ever said that they even suspect you to be a troll, and that’s mostly due to how you handle responses and how you keep bring up your pet topics in every single thread. What you’re getting right now is pushback against harmful ideas, not bad faith. IDGAF whether you believe the things you’re arguing or not. They’re harmful and I’m going to push back on them because I think it’s important to the trans folx here that we not value the comfort of TERFs over their safety. TERFs are not marginalized; trans folx are. TERFs are not murdered when found out; trans folx all too often are. TERFs choose to be bigots. If they can’t handle being called a factual descriptor of their views, they should not be espousing those views (I mean, they shouldn’t be either way, as trans folx don’t deserve to have hate speech leveled at them).

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

To clarify, I’m not arguing for sparing the feelings of those people, the point I wanted to make was about lurkers and bystanders who see those arguments from outside.

How do we do this?

If we refrain from labelling TERFs ‘TERF’ because…? (I am still not clear why, other than the fact that TERFs are pushing the ‘TERF IS A SLUUUUURRRRR’ narrative.) What does this get us?

Seriously, what? Is a lurker reading this going to think “well, those people are supporting trans people, and these others are saying that trans people are men in dresses who are trying to infiltrate women-only spaces to sexually assault Bio Women. I am equally on the side of both of these, let’s check in on what the commenters on WHTM have to say….” *monocle pop* “they are calling people TERFs?????? Well, that pushes me over the edge! I am gender critical from now on!!!!!”

If hearing ‘TERF’ made someone a TERF, they were never on the fence, is what i’m saying.

I’m not asking anyone to try and reform already entrenched bigots, but I think it’s important to try and reach out to the people who haven’t yet fully bought into their rhetoric or taken a firm stance on the matter. I thought it was clear in my previous comment when I referred to the people on the fence, but apparently not.

Again, serious question, what is your secret to tell the ‘just asking questions’ trolls from honest inquiry?

My technique is to answer their questions for a while, again, for the lurkers. And then when it is really obvious that they are just trolls, i wash my hands of it.

Re- reaching out – how do you propose we do this? Again, seriously.

Because this isn’t just some intellectual excercise for people. Some people here need to deal with this Every Day Of Their Life. And they get reeeeeal tired of it.

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is a common saying, and it means that if you are patient and kind to people, you have a better chance of changing their minds.

TW: right wing talking points about trans people and bathrooms, and the reality of who is in danger of being assaulted.

But do you? Trans people need to go “ah, yes, i can see how you would be worried i might only playing pretend so i can go in the women’s bathroom and assault your wife. You see, a) this isn’t about assaulting anyone, this is myself showing the best version of how i feel. B) there are already laws against assault, so me being in the right washroom wouldn’t change anything. C) i am much more likely to be assaulted and killed than you or your wife.”

And then they go and pee.

I can only imagine how exhausting this is.

But if you want to educate, you now need to never be angry, never be tired, never be sad, or need a moment to yourself, or just not want to answer questions.

Re: kupo being hostile – i didn’t read her reply with any hostility, just maybe tired resignation.

As a native english speaker, that was my take away. Not saying yours was wrong, but perhaps you are reading it differently than intended.

You have said that you come from a different culture/language, and fine. Now you know that venturing “maybe we should use a different term than TERF?” results in people wondering if you:

1) are a TERF, since ‘terf is a sluuuuuuuuuuur’ is a common TERF technique

2) are a concern troll, since this is again a common tactic “i’m just concerned by this” and then tying up a comments section in “is this something to be concerned about?” Which makes the marginalised people who are targetted by TERFs feel like maybe this community doesn’t have their back.

Though you could be (and i think probably are)

3) learning.

Learning is good, and i can see how people might be intimidated by the jargon and depth of knowledge here. Asking questions for learning is fine, but also asking for people to restrict themselves to only speaking about the surface 101 level of a subject isn’t good.

I made this comparison somewhere else. Someone wouldn’t go into a graduate level mathematics course and ask about how to calculate the radius of an object. They would probably do some reading and learning before, but if they felt that everyone needed to stop and explain a really basic concept… some might, because they want to encourage this person. Some might feel angry, that this hypothetical student was wasting their time. Some might just ignore the interruption.

But who is at fault, in this scenario? Should all the students have bent over backwards?

In essence, what i’m understanding is that we should all be ready to explain everything all the time, without using any definite words like ‘TERF’, so we don’t push potential allies away.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
1 year ago

Scanisaurus, I doubt any one here actually expects you to read our minds. We do, however, expect you to read the comments where we have been telling you that your behavior is problematic. This isn’t new.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”

Funny story. I had a fruit fly infestation one summer and started to set up a vinegar trap. Then I remembered this saying and since I had honey on hand I set up an experiment: one vinegar trap and one honey trap.

Which one won? Well, my wine glass. Second place was the vinegar trap. Coming in last with zero flies even attracted was the honey trap.

Judging by how that expression is always used to try and force people to be nice to bullies, I felt it was an accurate metaphor. The advice given to us on how to handle our bullies is rarely based in reality.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

Scanisaurus’ original point was, as far as I can decipher, that TERF was a bad term because it includes ‘radical feminism’ in the phrase, and therefore people who are opposed to transphobia but on the fence about feminism might decide not to be feminist, thinking that all feminism is transphobic.

Which is kind of a weird argument, since in my experience, pro-feminist sentiment (at least at the first wave level) is significantly more common than pro-trans sentiment. If there’s a community that needs to be protected from public animus against them, the trans community is far more in need of that than the feminist community. But at least this argument doesn’t seem to be aping at apologetics for transphobia.

It now seems like Scanisaurus’s argument has morphed into “people who act kind of transphobic should be reached out to and prevented from further developing into bigots”. At least, according to the anecdote she provided.

Which is a significantly more problematic argument against the use of the term TERF, because it is suggesting being nicer to transphobes at the expense of the people they are harming.

(Admittedly, there is some merit to reaching out to people who only start to exhibit bad behaviors, since we all are raised in a culture of prejudice and tend to internalize a lot of that bad shit. Letting people see how harmful some of their views are is important work. But it is work, and it’s not something to be demanded of marginalized folx who are just trying to survive. And it’s not a reason to make places “safe” for proto-TERFs and therefore unsafe for everyone a TERF would target.)

It’s also not… great, seeing an argument seem to go from “I make no excuses for transphobia of any kind” to “but maybe we should just talk to them civilly?” That’s not a great look.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

@Rhuu:

*monocle pop*

Yay!

If we refrain from labelling TERFs ‘TERF’ because…? (I am still not clear why, other than the fact that TERFs are pushing the ‘TERF IS A SLUUUUURRRRR’ narrative.) What does this get us?

Something very similar to what you get when you refuse to call a racist a racist…

…so a golf-happy 70-year old lesbian president/prime minister who destroys the planet, the rule of law, the economy, quite a number of human lives, and the reputation of the nation in order to get “wins” against people she doesn’t like while corruptly funneling government funds to the properties she owns?

…i guess?

[as an aside, I’m also uncomfortable with the violent imagery and I wanted to thank you for taking it back]

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

Catalpa wrote on
July 23, 2019 at 10:07 am:

Scanisaurus’ original point was, as far as I can decipher, that TERF was a bad term because it includes ‘radical feminism’ in the phrase, and therefore people who are opposed to transphobia but on the fence about feminism might decide not to be feminist, thinking that all feminism is transphobic.

[…]

It now seems like Scanisaurus’s argument has morphed into “people who act kind of transphobic should be reached out to and prevented from further developing into bigots”. At least, according to the anecdote she provided.

I actually read the anecdote as being a further development of their original argument, in that Scanisaurus was saying that since Carl of Swindon Sargon of Akkad and others of his ilk are denigrating the term “feminism” in their videos, therefore any left-wingers using the term TERF (which includes the term “radical feminist”) also run the risk of reinforcing these incorrect associations. Which would push people like their friend further away from engaging with feminism, because… uh, they got their initial information about feminism from the likes of Sargon of Akkad.

And that is where the argument gets a bit hard to follow, really; it’s not the term “radical feminism” that’s being attacked by right-wingers, it’s the entirety of feminism, innit? We could stop calling TERFs feminists tomorrow and it wouldn’t move the needle on the right-wing side of things.

Moon_custafer
Moon_custafer
1 year ago

@Ariblester, @Catalpa:

Scanisaurus’ original point was, as far as I can decipher, that TERF was a bad term because it includes ‘radical feminism’ in the phrase, and therefore people who are opposed to transphobia but on the fence about feminism might decide not to be feminist, thinking that all feminism is transphobic.

IIRC (I’m too lazy right now to reread the whole thread) someone then pointed out that that’s roughly the same as avoiding the term “toxic masculinity” because it contains the word “masculinity” and might lead to arguments with people who don’t understand that adjectives modify nouns.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Ariblester

Oh! That makes more sense!

I was reading “feminist” as an analogy for “trans-positive” in that ancedote. But given that Scanisaurus seems to be laser-focused on defense of feminism specifically, a straight reading seems more reasonable.

I still think that it seems unlikely that there are many people who are very supportive of trans rights but have never encountered non-transphobic feminism, though.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Ariblester
Yes, I think you got the point I was trying to make. I’m not asking you to agree to any of it, but I’m glad the point I was trying to make might finally be getting across.

All I ever wanted to say was that “hey, maybe this term could be willfully misinterpreted by anti-feminists and maybe it could alienate potential allies”. If you don’t agree on this I’m not asking you to, but I’ve never argued for sparing the feelings of bigots, that anyone hearing transphobic statements shouldn’t call it out or that anyone owe bigots a lengthy lecture, I just dislike one term that is used against them, and I’ve never claimed it to be something other than my opinion based on my experiences.

You keep going on and on about how you assume we think you’re arguing in bad faith when very few people have ever said that they even suspect you to be a troll, and that’s mostly due to how you handle responses and how you keep bring up your pet topics in every single thread.

Firstly, I hope the “every single thread” was hyperbole, because that’s really isn’t the case. I won’t deny making comments I’ve regretted posting here, but you really can’t say I’m doing it in every thread I’ve commented in, or even the majority of threads I’ve commented in, and I’ve done my best to politely back down when I’ve found my opinions on it unwelcome.

Secondly, how on earth should I handle responses when it feels like any attempt on my part to clarify myself only ups the tone of most of them? Like I’ve said earlier, I’m from a different background than most posters here and the debates I’ve seen in my homeland are different in tone than what I’ve seen in the US, and English is not my native language. I may know a lot of words, but seeing them in a dictionary and how they are used in real life are rather different things. I didn’t mention it before, but I’m also on the spectrum (and I’ve garnered some other posters here are too) and I’ve struggled my whole life guessing others intent, which is doubly hard in text form with no voice tone or facial expressions to go by.

So what do you want me to say when I want to get the point across that I get you don’t want to hear my arguments on something and that I’ll stop making them if you stop misrepresenting them? I don’t want to unnecessarily prolong any arguing, but I feel it’s unfair to ask that I should stay quiet when I see people interpreting the things I’ve said in ways I’ve never intended and would never stand for either.