Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yeah, okay, what -if-?

I decided to go a slightly different route this time.

I -was- going to write this post mostly about how in fact this does work in what some of us laughingly know as the "real world." How I have attended a number of trans-inclusive women-only events, and miraculously, in fact, they have not devolved into anything-goes men-born-men-infested frat parties. That no, the handful of transwomen and/or transbois/men still ID'd with the community who wanted to be there (funnily enough, in my world, the latter has been a much bigger point of contention than the former) did not, in fact, harsh everyone else's mellow, steal anyone's precious bodily fluids, attack anyone in the bathroom...and that that's -even- been true for (zomg she goes to) sex/play parties, wherein the only stipulation was that organically grown phalli/nads not be displayed unclothed in the public areas. A line, drawn. Maybe not one to everyone's satisfaction, but a hell of a lot more generous one than "if you weren't born with a hoo hoo, yer not welcome, even if no one is going to be -showing- their hoohoos;" and, oddly enough, one just as easily respected and maintained as any other.

And then maybe something to the effect of, yes I am aware that there have been (for example) some extremely dodgy characters who've (for example) ignored MWMF's rules, gone in anyway, and/or also behaved abusively toward individuals. I am (online) passing familiar with at least one of these characters, and I would be one of the first to say, by all means, keep THIS person, this woman, sure, from coming into your festival, because she's a toxic individual. This is not, however, because she was born with male genitalia; this is because she is an abusive sociopath, which is in fact a trait that is not directly attached to one's genitalia or chromosomes. Nor is it automatically deducible that because one was born with a certain kind of genitalia , one has received a certain kind of "training" (one size fits all, M/F, respectively, right?), much less that said training or whatever automatically renders the person more or less "safe."

You know how I know that? Because, friends and neighbors, a lot of women-born-women so-called? Are plenty fucking abusive their own selves. Are not, by anyone's definition, -safe-; are -more- than capable of doing everything the above-mentioned individual did and much, much more. Have done. Are doing. Will do again. Sometimes right there within the hallowed boundaries of your "safe spaces."

And if you can't or won't see that, if your understanding of human nature is really so simplistic that you honestly believe that four legs vulva/uterus good, two legs penis/testes bad and that's all you really need to determine whether or not a space may be rendered -safe,- (well, that, and then whether the greenlit persons in question agree with you on positions x, y, and z, but that usually comes later), then, Houston, you've got a much bigger problem on your hands than who gets on the guest list of the annual Wimmins' Scout Camp.

And then, well, once again, I was going to talk a bit more about how relevant this Bernice Johnson Reagon piece is, ironically enough as it was written over 25 years ago and doesn't explicitly mention transpeople at all; and yet, still, same shit, more or less. What's a "safe space?" What's "women-only" really mean, and what is it you expect out of it? And so on.

All of that. And then, in the comments to this post, the following question was posed (by the author of the post inspiring the O.P. there, by the way, as well as this one, the following was posed.

“Do you believe every person who says they are a woman?
The only way this argument works is if *your* actual meaning of the word goes for everyone–that is, of course, unless anyone who claims womanhood gets it.
Can’t have both.”


And I thought: you know what, okay. Let's take that question at face value for just a second, even though we're clearly far, far afield from any sort of handwaving about the ev0ls of patriarchal surgery and so on and so forth.

"Do you believe every person who says they are a woman?"

Let's just say for the moment that the answer were "yes," putting aside the question of "there goes the neighborhood Festival." What then?

Because, the thing is, see, if you're simultaneously claiming you wish to "get rid of gender?" That, like, doesn't really work. Because, putting questions of genitalia and surgery aside, fact is, a society without gender? wouldn't CARE if a person called hirself a woman or not, no matter -what- hir genitalia or other physical features or manner of adornment were. That -is- what you're supposedly after, right? The end of Class Man and Class Woman, yes? That's what "gender" is all -about-, yes? These terrible -binary- divisions, with one "side" valued over the other; this is what Patriarchy -is-, this is what we want to do away with. Yes? No?

Because, see, -now-, I am thinking: this is maybe a bit like the way the CP still gives or gave lip service to the idea of the "withering away of the State." Oh, sure, that's the end goal, someday. Just not anytime -soon.- And no, we're not really the new boss, much less the same as the old boss, just because it -looks- like we're acting authoritarian; we're just, uhhh, doing this because it's a dirty job and someone has to? But, anyway, NO, we are NOTHING AT ALL like the Powers That Be, we -have- no power and -never will-, now -stop saying that,- or you'll be soooorrrreeeeeee....

Look: the truth is, if you're that wigged out about transpeople, or other transgressions against the -purity- of your single-gender space? Well, you're in plenty of company; what you -aren't- is "against the gender binary." To the contrary, you have a deeply vested interest in maintaining that binary. You have no intention of getting rid of Class Man/Class Woman; you've got too much invested in your identity as -radical revolutionary feminist- (isn't that what all this squawking is about? how you don't get no respect just because you know you have the One True Way of leading the world to salvation?) What're you gonna do if/when the "war" (as someone else just called it) is over? Finally enjoy all the forbidden fruits that can only be possible in a non-patriarchal society (x kinds of sex, visual erotica, play, fuck knows what else)? Take up canasta? Fuck no; if you were that sort of person, you'd be doing that -now-. This shit gives your life -meaning-; you have an -identity- now; take that away, and what do you have?

No wonder you fight so hard against people who say they want to change their bodies or names or clothing just so they can live relatively happily ever after; the very concept must be anathema to you.

I mean, it's -hard work-, this whatever-it-is, isn't that what one of y'all was rabbiting about? How terrible it is that people -want- feminism or whatever Movement to be "easy?" And "hard work," as this gentleman so eloquently explains, basically means privation and sacrifice and (implicitly) eschewing such frivolous/dangerous concepts as "the pursuit of happiness."

And you've given so, so much up. And all you want is this little, tiny circle-jill in the woods or some dank rented rec room with the right to exclude whoever you damn please. A little...lebensraum. That's all.

Because, at the end of the day, what else -is- there? Not -fun-, fuck knows, or play, or all these fraught kinds of sex or dressup or art or...

and why o why does this all feel so drearily familiar, again?

50 comments:

Trinity said...

"Fuck no; if you were that sort of person, you'd be doing that -now-. This shit gives your life -meaning-; you have an -identity- now; take that away, and what do you have?"

YES. EXACTLY. And this is exactly what happened when I was a radfem. I mean, I still did play, I still did defend it. But I got no joy out of it, because the identity I was clinging to said I couldn't. Or that yeah, sure I could be a sadomasochist if I also wanted to be a damaged bad example to the masses, but what FUN is that, when you accept that all you are is a victim parodying hir victimizers? I got very little joy out of it. Out of anything, really, until I decided to give myself permission to enjoy life and stopped thinking my enjoyment OMGGASPHARMEDWOMENWHOWEREN'TME.

stassa said...

Just wanted to point out how we all focused on that same bit you quote, from Pisa's comment.

I think she meant it as a kind of solid argument, like "you wouldn't accept everyone who says they're a woman, now would you?"

Boy, she mustave been surprised there...

belledame222 said...

Yeah, exactly.

"Butbutbutbutbut! How can we be special if just ANYONE can have one?"

Because of course, you know, with 3+ billion women already recognized as such in the world, it's really fucking important to keep the club exclusive.

belledame222 said...

I mean, if the argument is meant to say something like,

"But if smarmy Joe Fratboy just wanders by one day and goes, 'Hey ladies! I'm a lesbian trapped in the body of a dude! (heheheh) can I come in and watch?' How can you possibly keep him out if you can't go "were you born with a vagina? No? Then, no."

...well, um, no. You say, "No, because you're obviously taking the piss, you seem like a sexist fratboy jerk, your behavior/attitude isn't welcome here, go tell your mother she wants you."

is it -that- hard? to just say "no" unless there's some kind of special categorical rule in place? Judging by the totally dysfunctional way a number of women-only spaces have acted when conflict/abusive behavior comes up between the women there, I'd say, "yep, and that right THERE is some patriarchal (among other things) training you might want to concentrate on transforming, FIRST."

belledame222 said...

and the really ironic thing is, unless you're prepared to do a panties check as well as a birth certificate/chromosome check at the door, fact is, you're -already- going on the honor system. That's exactly what they're doing at MWMF: they don't question people precisely because it's so hard to tell! So if you're at that point -anyway-, why not just get rid of the "oh, but if we find out you were born with the wrong equipment, out you go!" Why would removing this suddenly make them so much -more- vulnerable to invasion by gawking non-transmen? as opposed to transwomen who just don't 'pass' that well, or very butch/genderqueer women, who, again, -already- are let in most of the time, as I understand it, because no one wants to risk accidentally making a Real Woman (tm) feel unsafe/unwelcome?

belledame222 said...

and/or: if someone, bearded and/or phallused OR otherwise or -not-, is let in but is clearly acting like an invasive douchebag, THEN, YES, throw their ass out. and warn the people at the door not to let them in next time. BEHAVIOR. Why is this such a damn difficult concept?

Tom Nolan said...

Another great post.

FeministGal said...

maybe i don't get it but if someone is going to identify as a man or as a woman who the fuck am i to tell them, "NO! YOU AREN'T!!!!"

Yes, i'm a woman-born-woman and someone else who identifies as a woman, whether or not they were born as such, isn't a threat to my womanhood. Why would i be threatened? Why would i give a fuck if they IDed as a woman?... Like you said, this isn't an exclusive club that you need to show your parts at the door to get into...

it's frustrating that this is even an issue.

belledame222 said...


it's frustrating that this is even an issue.


exactly. As far as I'm concerned it -isn't- an issue, but I sure do hate to see people I care about getting hurt, especially in the name of a cause I also care about.

Nick Kiddle said...

That's the second time in this conversation that I've been reminded of my mum.

Joe Fratboy reminds me of a friend of my dad's who really said "I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body, hur hur hur," but that was the first time I even thought of the possibility that someone could be a gay man in a woman's body, so even that's not all bad.

out loud said...

yeah I think theres actually a real failure to unpack patriarchal attitudes there. The idea that cisgenderedwomen can't be nasty to each other or make each other feel unsafe is really being bought into.(because clearly we are all sugar and spice)We had to institute a code of conduct at our feminist group because of the behavior of some of the women.

also stormy said ,Anyone ‘remotely’ male can trigger feelings of anxiety. So where does that leave women who are/identify as butch because they are very often read as male by het women. Are they not welcome either?

belledame222 said...

I seem to recall stormy herself has mentioned being rather male-ish socialized. as much as I pay attention to anything she says, you know; this of course is also the person who

a) tried to strong-arm RE into not talking about radfems anymore by telling her she was putting together all the personal information & photos she, RE, had ever posted online, and "want me to keep digging?" (and before that, tried even more lamely to get antip to take down her -entire blog-)

b) wrote some incredibly puerile crap about how radfems were like bumblebees and the ev0l sex pos/pro porn brigade were wasps pretending to be bees, seducing poor innocent honeybees (or as she called them, "proto-bees," i.e. women who just hadn't come around to their way of thinking -yet-, which is not at all Scientologish), beware! beeeeeware!

in the process calling a few of us some astonishingly pathetic attempts at insulting names and, less amusingly, exercising all her influence to drum Laura Woodhouse out of the hivemind, on account of she'd been to nice to the likes of us -and- suggested that maybe calling one's blog "Dead Men Don't Rape" was a tad hostile.

then, when those of us who'd been named as Trojan horses (she used that, too, a regular bear for animalistic analogies is our stormy) wrote posts of our own basically going "betch, please," first she complained because we'd linked her (sound familiar?) and she "didn't want hits from our sector," because, you know, Internets cooties;

then removed the posts and declared Goodbye Cruel Blog, -not- out of embarrassment because pretty much everyone including a number of people otherwise sympathetic to her were all like, "um, what? are you actually high? and: ew," please note.

but so months later when I entangle with some of these fools again (delphyne, witchy *gag*) I note that apparently we had "silenced" Stormy, driving her off the Internets, and it is/was simply unforgivable.

This, I believe, was my entire contribution on the whole affair, bar some snarkage in the comments at fellow "wasps." link to the OP no longer working, sadly, but you get the general idea.

yeah, I dunno. just in general: it's almost kind of beside the point, I feel, their particular spavined philosophy whatever-it-is; they just so clearly put the "fun" back in "dysfunctional"...

belledame222 said...

sorry, went far afield. the silliness at Debs' had reminded me of it (don't comment here! how rude of you to respond to my public post on your own blog and not even comment here! we're going to shout you down! we're going to take over the WORLD, PINKY!... stop picking on meeeeee, why's everyone paying attention to little old me, anyway, DAMN)

ANYWAY, yes, "sugar and spice," exactly. Or, well, no, not in so many words; but for sure there's this idea that wimn are this peacefullovingsomethingorother and this should always be manifested in our approach to conflict as well as the, um, passions.

the fact that this is in fact reconstituted Victorian crap tends to escape feminist proponents of this general idea: that women are, y'know, purer, better, the uplifting moral agents...only certain -kinds- of women, mind you.

This book had some really lucid and in-depth stuff to say about that whole phenomenon.

Daisy said...

Another brilliant post, Belle.

Because, see, -now-, I am thinking: this is maybe a bit like the way the CP still gives or gave lip service to the idea of the "withering away of the State." Oh, sure, that's the end goal, someday. Just not anytime -soon.- And no, we're not really the new boss, much less the same as the old boss, just because it -looks- like we're acting authoritarian; we're just, uhhh, doing this because it's a dirty job and someone has to? But, anyway, NO, we are NOTHING AT ALL like the Powers That Be, we -have- no power and -never will-, now -stop saying that,- or you'll be soooorrrreeeeeee....

That's a great comparison.

And what about the people who simply aren't BELIEVED and they really *do* have the medically-approved genitalia to go with their claim? The butches chased out of bathrooms, etc?

To me, if we are about getting rid of something, then let's go ahead and get rid of it. That means people can call themselves whatever their heart's desire. :)

Lisa Harney said...

"also stormy said ,Anyone ‘remotely’ male can trigger feelings of anxiety. So where does that leave women who are/identify as butch because they are very often read as male by het women. Are they not welcome either?"

This was apparently a real problem at MWMF after Nancy Burkholder was ejected from the festival because she was trans. Butch women, generally masculine looking women, were challenged as being trans women themselves because they looked "too male."

But seriously, women-only space isn't completely safe if you're cis or trans or have a disability or have darker skin or whatever. Women can be abusive, dangerous, even sociopathic. Women can have privilege and use it to marginalize and harm women who lack that privilege - as the radfems who so faithfully guard women-only spaces against anyone who might have ever had a penis prove not only in discussions about trans people, but also about people of color, people with disabilities, and so on.

Never mind the straight women who are colonizing and appropriating lesbianism as something that simply means "you choose not to sleep with men," and what that does to actual lesbians who are attracted to women not because they choose not to sleep with men, but because they're attracted to women.

Never mind some of the straight women who burn a lot of energy trying to define the proper ways for lesbian women to have sex.

No, radical feminists don't have privilege or abuse it.

out loud said...

Belle,
I remember most of that stuff going down, I didn't know the bit about Ren but I remember how cruel she was to Laura and how distraught Laura was about it all. And really the bumble bee thing totally highlighted the whole hierarchical cliqueness of the whole thing

that book looks really good, i am reading a lot of feminist theology at the moment so I will invest in it.

belledame222 said...

yeah, the stuff with RE/clumsy attempt at blackmail came later, that's probably why. there was, ummm, some other stuff in between, no doubt. dwamawama.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, that book should of be particularly interest, then, she talks a lot about the theological angle.

belledame222 said...

This was apparently a real problem at MWMF after Nancy Burkholder was ejected from the festival because she was trans. Butch women, generally masculine looking women, were challenged as being trans women themselves because they looked "too male."

"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"

this is, of course, also how homophobia works to police everyone, arguably men especially. again, it's a simple inversion: in the mainstream world, being too feminine is suspect (come to think of it, that's true for this lot too), masculinity is valued, "realness" is about being a "real man." Here we have "woman" as the "real" standard to which everyone must measure up or fail. it's crap in either case.

and i am so tired of the whole "but -we- don't have any power, therefore it doesn't count!"

1) Everyone has power. -Some- power. -Relative- power. Which is why those with relatively less of it cling to what they -do- have so ferociously: can't destroy the patriarchy, but by Maud at least we can keep -those people- out of our backyard!

2) If you don't have any power, then how do you propose to effect this sweeping Revolution you keep saying you want? Passive-aggress it to death?

3) The fact that you're acting this horrible -now- does not encourage me to see what you'd be like with any real power, quite honestly, even if you did finally admit that you'd have to have such in order to see the changes you want and I thought you had any chance of achieving this.

4) Being a gratuitously horrible little ratfucker, creating misery and discrimination even on a small scale, is bad enough all by itself; you don't get a cookie because you haven't actually bombed another country or nothin'.

5) did I mention "shut the fuck up?"

6) no, that isn't "silencing," you're -still talking-.

Anthony Kennerson said...

For those of you who may not know about what Belle was talking about concerning Stormy and her "wasps" and "bees" smack, I've gone ahead and reposted the entirity of Stormy's rant (copied from Queer Dewd's old blog) over at the SmackChron:

The SmackDog Chronicles: A Classic Cloudburst From Stormy: The "Bees, Ants, and Wasps" Post


Anthony

belledame222 said...

god. that's even lamer than I remembered.

this is sort of interesting:

Like it or not (and I’m probably in the latter), feminism IS a political movement. Regular politics and office politics are frequently couched in indirect terms, however that belies the very narrow focus of what they are all about. Feminism is a different political animal, usually far more direct, far more ‘offensive’ to the opposing side, and in a numbers sense, far more encompassing. Radfems are at the extreme end, probably far less palatable to the masses ­ I like the directness. As for ‘choosing sides’, yes, unfortunately, as a political movement one does have to choose sides ­ this is not necessarily in a schoolyard kind of way, but to facilitate the political aims.

1) You're either with us or agin' us, well we knew that

2) more interesting: she doesn't -like- that it's (just) a political movement, it's more "all-encompassing," to her, a "different animal" from anything else.

In other words: it's a religion, really, and a rather, well? all-encompassing one, at that.

3) she likes her "fluffy" (!) brand of feminism precisely because it's more offensive. "Offensive"="effective," apparently.

fascinating, really. wonder how she'd do on the Adorno's F-scale.

belledame222 said...

jumping off point for the RE business at my own spot here (other links included within)

then, sometime later, there was also this.

so yeah, not much love lost all around there, I'm afraid.

personally however I have been forming my own personal philosophy, the Grand Unifed Theory of Assholery, and am happy to say at this point that I do not blame radical feminists/m per se or any other ideology for these people.

I blame THEM, for being ASSHOLES.

Anonymous said...

Not sure this person knows what "politics" means. For all the hand waving, I get the sense that all the directness, offensiveness, encompassingness, seems pretty far removed from any pragmatic project to "facilitate the political aims," unless the aim's just self-expression vis-à-vis the bad guys in the most offensive way possible.

And yet. There are people under the influence of radical feminist ideology who are serious about power, do form pragmatic coalitions (e.g., with the Christian right), & do achieve their aims in the US & internationally. And the practical opposition to these people by their announced opponents within the feminist movement is virtually nonexistent. So who's serious now?

By the way, the F-scale is pretty much an anachronism in the political psychology literature. There are other constructs, though.

KH

belledame222 said...

yeah, that was just the only one I could remember, off the top.

Tom Nolan said...

I thought that Stormy (thanks to Anthony for the link, by the way - I'd never heard of this before) wanted to write an allegory, but allegory requires that the nature of the analogue and not just that of the source-narrative be taken into account. All she's done is substitute terms:

Yes it is possible to have a relationship between a bumblebee and a flower, but it is difficult. My Empress (yep, decided on the upgrade from Queen) BumbleBee (or BB for short) manages to do it, but her companion flower does not get a freepass on flower entitlement issues (which is NOT the same as personal prioritisation, but political prioritisation)

so that the narrative makes no sense. What was her point?

Empress = Biting Beaver, right? ("Oh, my Empress!") It would better suit Heart, in my opinion, though it has, of course, nothing to do with bees.

Tom Nolan said...

Oh, wait, she did mean Heart, didn't she. Bumble-bee is biting beaver. Sorry, come non detto.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Nope, Tom....you were right in the original...Empress Queen Bee is indeed 'Da Beeb. Apparantly, Heart must be reduced to a mere Queen Bee.

Oh...and since in actual real life the flower relies on the bumblebee for pollenization to survive, then doesn't that essentially tear all of Stormy's attempted allegory to shreds?? I thought that the idea was to separate bumblebees from flowers....or maybe, she meant the wasps should sting the bees...or....oh, whatever.


Anthony

Tom Nolan said...

Apparantly, Heart must be reduced to a mere Queen Bee

Well she fucking won't like THAT.

belledame222 said...

There Can Bee Only One.

of course, this was before Beeb imploded for the second (third, twelfth?) time with the "my son won't stop watching pr0n, fetch me a knitting needle" and the anon attacks and the rest of the brain-melting "I hate everyone in this except the poor kid" sorry mess, and she shuffled off the public blogging coil again.

I guess she could be Empress in exile, as it were. why, that's positively...romantic, really.

Daisy said...

I missed the whole bumblebee thing. sigh.

belledame222 said...

your handle is a dead giveaway, you FLOWER, you.

Tom Nolan said...

Yeah, Daisy, it's pretty clear what your real attitude to "pollstination" must be. Wasp in bumblebee's clothing.

("Pollstination"? Good God. Let me hear that again...can you repeat, you know, amplify? "Pollstination." Good fucking God!)

belledame222 said...

I know. I know.

And the saddest part: she was -proud- of that. She worked -really hard- on that, you know. The clever names, the terribly subtle, Talmudic really, allegory, which this second captured post explained for the laity.

At a certain point it's kind of

"Now Paulie, don't mock the afflicted."

but, I mean.

*

yeah.

shiva said...

"Because, the thing is, see, if you're simultaneously claiming you wish to "get rid of gender?" That, like, doesn't really work. Because, putting questions of genitalia and surgery aside, fact is, a society without gender? wouldn't CARE if a person called hirself a woman or not, no matter -what- hir genitalia or other physical features or manner of adornment were. That -is- what you're supposedly after, right? The end of Class Man and Class Woman, yes? That's what "gender" is all -about-, yes? These terrible -binary- divisions, with one "side" valued over the other; this is what Patriarchy -is-, this is what we want to do away with. Yes? No?

Because, see, -now-, I am thinking: this is maybe a bit like the way the CP still gives or gave lip service to the idea of the "withering away of the State." Oh, sure, that's the end goal, someday. Just not anytime -soon.- And no, we're not really the new boss, much less the same as the old boss, just because it -looks- like we're acting authoritarian; we're just, uhhh, doing this because it's a dirty job and someone has to? But, anyway, NO, we are NOTHING AT ALL like the Powers That Be, we -have- no power and -never will-, now -stop saying that,- or you'll be soooorrrreeeeeee...."

TRUTH. STRONG TRUTH. Thank you so much for that really awesome analogy.

(And, of course, if you want to abolish the gender binary, what the fuck are you doing setting up an exclusive one-gender space anyway?)

"the handful of transwomen and/or transbois/men still ID'd with the community who wanted to be there (funnily enough, in my world, the latter has been a much bigger point of contention than the former)"

This is one thing i kind of don't get. Maybe this is my autistic literal thinking, but if trans women are women, then trans men are men. Therefore, if trans women should be welcome in women-only space, then trans men, like any other men, quite definitely shouldn't. Yet i have seen a few "queer women's spaces" advertised as open to "women and trans men".

(When i asked the organiser of one of these spaces whether trans women were welcome, her reply was along the lines of "of course they are, because they are women"... which was nice, but i couldn't help feeling that if a trans woman saw that ad, she might presume herself unwelcome because of its apparent equating trans men with women (and therefore, by extension, trans women with men)...)

belledame222 said...

(And, of course, if you want to abolish the gender binary, what the fuck are you doing setting up an exclusive one-gender space anyway?)

That -is- the $64,000 question, isn't it?

The answer, variously, is, well, as above: we may want that -someday- but right -now- men are socialized into dangerous creatures and we need a retreat. o.k.

and then, simultaneously, and much more bizarrely: nonononoNO, this has -nothing to do- with -gender-, this is about -sex-, -femaleness-.

Ooooookay.

So, if you take that at its literal meaning--this is the point at which they retreat into "can YOU have babies?! HUH, WELL??" or suchlike--then basically what that -ought- to mean is that you're doing a genital check as well as an x-ray for the correct internal bits, or at least hysterectomy scars, and proof of DNA. At the door of the festival, say.

What? No? Doesn't happen? Gee.

So...clearly the criteria for determining womanhood is -something else-.

Which has to be, either

1) you take their word for it, which, hi! That whole bit incredulously snorting, "Do you just believe ANYONE who SAYS she's a woman?!" --well, yeah, cuz apparently that's what you already do

2) if not? You're relying on yep that's right, -gender cues.- Presentation, secondary sex characteristics that are not in fact necessarily only pertaining to the "correct" sex (hairiness, height, hand size, depth of voice, etc.), mannerisms...

Gee.

That word "gender," there: "I do not think it means what you think it means."

belledame222 said...

This is one thing i kind of don't get. Maybe this is my autistic literal thinking, but if trans women are women, then trans men are men. Therefore, if trans women should be welcome in women-only space, then trans men, like any other men, quite definitely shouldn't. Yet i have seen a few "queer women's spaces" advertised as open to "women and trans men".

The answer to that is that those queer womens' spaces are not the same as the kind of spaces protected by this kind of feminist. So, yeah, if that person said that trans women are welcome, she probably means it. The difference is that the queer spaces don't feel -quite- as passionately strongly about what is and isn't essential womanhood. Trans women belong because they're women. Trans men/bois, the ones who want to be there anyway (ime a number recuse themselves voluntarily anyway) are there not because they still might have girlbits, but because there are a number of FTM's who have been a strong part of the lesbian/women's community in question right up till and through their transition, and the shared experience, sweat equity, and continued bonds means that they're still welcome.

this is of course also a big part of why "radical" (really more cultural) feminists like this despise "queer" as well (which I really especially love when it's coming from straight wimmin--hi, Mrs. Seelhoff!) Too confusing, too muddy, too...tainted.

That and of course a number of us insist that having or at least desiring sex that isn't heteronormative is in fact a key part of this particular identity, as opposed to pure transcendent luv for the wimminz (except when they disagree with you, then they're heretics and out of the clubhouse) and rejection of nasssssty mens.

Stassa said...

Uh. Belle. I think Pisa's just skipping over everybody's posts but Lisa's...

Wtf? I know we swarmed on her, but, hell, she could have invited her girlfriends over, no?

I'm not saying she has any obligation to read and answer everyone. It's just so fucking uncool it is.

belledame222 said...

I suppose better she should answer Lisa than one of the non trans women; that's usually how it works in these sitches ime. and the last response I saw of hers wrt Heart and Little Light, it actually almost looked like maaaayyyyybeeeeeeeeeee the penny might be starting to drop, a little.

Maybe.

But I don't blame you for being pissed.

Lisa Harney said...

No, you have every right to be pissed, Stassa - and you made good points in your posts.

I'm, blah, stretched thin at the moment with Witchy, Polly, Pisa, and Debs.

Belle is right in that usually a cis woman will come into a discussion and talk over the trans women completely, on that woman's blog or someone else's.

Or people come in and turn the discussion into trans 101.

Stassa said...

Belle. Yeah, she mellowed out a bit. Either you or Lisa said those people are generally uninformed instead of just vicious, but all that debate is a jumbled mess in my head now... :(

Lisa... stretched thin? Lady, you're on fire. Wish I could speed-read 40 years of feminist literature and tag-team with you. My bad.

On that note, I was reading an article on Guardian by Tariq Ali, a British activist from the 60s, about the social revolutions of his time- starting with Vietnam, going through the French May of 68 and other student revolutions in Pakistan and Mexico and including gay rights and feminism. And more.

I realised, at some point, we did all stand together as one and the system trembled and shook.

Now we're in a million pieces and at each other's throats...

belledame222 said...

well, it depends who you're talking about. I'd definitely say that at least some of that lot are, indeed, actually vicious: lucky, stormy, Mary Sunshine, Heart in her "I weep for you, I deeply sympathize" Walrus way, Bea and delphyne in their blandly cold rigid ways, Debs in her pinheaded way...

more to the point,

1) being ignorant isn't mutually exclusive with being vicious

2) the real question is what happens when the ignorance is confronted with conflicting information: how hard do they fight to cling to the ignorance?

3) it doesn't help that some of 'em are also thick as a fucking brick.

Stassa said...

Hmm. Dunno. I'll lapse into comparisons with other real-world situations.

There *is* a Flat Earth Society. Its members are few and far between and everybody else thinks of them as weirdoes, quacks or clowns, interchangeably.

There also is a certain movment called "creationism". It's much more populous and even influential. Not everyone thinks of them as quacks or stupidos.

So, I'll give you that, education and information doesn't always do the trick, either because people are think as bricks, or because it fails to actually sink in the molasses of fundamentalism.

On the other hand, we advance on the strength of the majority. If the majority is stupid and uneducatable, then, Oh Shit. And nothing to do about it. If not, and I don't believe the majority are hopeless, because there's been at least one Renessaince and at least one Enlightenment, then we're golden, as long as we keep trying. So we keep trying. We keep swimming and we'll stay afloat. ::shrugh::

belledame222 said...

right; so what I am saying is, in this equation, roughly:

feminism is equivalent to Christianity as a whole

radical feminism is equivalent to a particular denomination of Christianity--Southern Baptist, say

rabid transphobes who back their transphobia up with "ideology" as opposed to just kneejerk reaction which can be rectified with a bit of contact and education, those would be your Creationists;

and this particular little clump of rabidly transphobic radical feminists, while they do cause harm insofar as they either a) influence radical feminism or b) team up with other rabid transphobes, of themselves, are basically the Flat Earth Society.

very roughly.

belledame222 said...

...except for of course the Flat Eart Society as such doesn't have much influence on Southern Baptism; I'd have to find some obscure but still existent belief that might do. the "God Warrior" thing, maybe. more apt in several ways.

belledame222 said...

...or, even more so, the rabid transphobes are the people with theocratic leanings, both in relative impact and creepy zealotry, and the small clump of fringe nutters would be, like, I don't know, R.J. Rushdoony & co.?

...um. who do actually have more influence than they should, and thus are scary; still, of themselves, are basically really tiny and fringey and nutty.

stassa said...

Uh, good analogy then. I didn't realise Baptists can be both creationists and flat-earthers. Hah. Talk about intersections...

Problem is the transphobic radfems are a vocal minority and those tend to have a disproportionate influence on the total. I think.

I don't know how feminsm works. On the Greek blogosphere, just yesterday, I almost put my foot in it when a lesbian woman posted about Ann Koendt and how vaginal orgasm is a myth, and I said "but, I got a couple of girlfriends who make fun of me when I tell them their clitoris is their pleasure center".

So I generally shut up. but, dammit, if I'm a woman, I must be able to speak about things that are important to women?

All and all, I think it's not just the radfems who think of us as too weird women to matter at all. I think most women do. I think in my case, at best they think of me as their colourful gay friend... funny, cute, but not a woman.

belledame222 said...

yeah, the vaginal orgasm thing. it...really depends who you ask these days. a lot of people are still fighting the crap about how a REAL woman ought to be able to come from penetration alone, because, well, no. otoh, some women DO come from penetration alone, (g-spot, what you will), others need both, and others really do feel that there are different kinds of orgasms, although how one categorizes...erm, well, anyway.

and yeah, that's sort of what I was getting at wrt vocal minority. It's not a surprise they keep squawking about being "silenced," which apparently means, as dear Debs threatened to do to all the legions of Enemies out there, not being able to "drown [everyone else] out."

"the path of the righteous is beset on all sides."

Tom Nolan said...

I almost put my foot in it when a lesbian woman posted about Ann Koendt and how vaginal orgasm is a myth

Ahem, how is the name "Koendt" actually pronounced?

belledame222 said...

"Throat-Warbler Mangrove"

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