GLAMOUR columnist Juno Dawson attacks feminists under the guise of ‘feminism’

Juno Dawson
Juno Dawson

On Thursday, transgender columnist Juno Dawson published a thinly-veiled attack on feminists in GLAMOUR. This is not entirely off-brand for the magazine, who Dawson makes clear has always approached feminism through a liberal lens that says the women’s movement should be focused on supporting personal choice, rather than than on collective liberation. Dawson celebrates what the columnist calls a “rebranding” that made feminism seem more appealing to anti-feminists, as mainstream media wholly defanged the word itself, turning a radical movement into nothing more than a superficial label. And if decontextualized “choice” were the primary purpose of feminism, perhaps Dawson would be right to categorize feminists who oppose the neoliberalization of our movement as a “sub-group,” but alas, it is not.

It was only last year that Dawson “came out” as a transwoman, but this hasn’t stopped the writer from dictating how women should be approaching their ongoing fight for liberation from male oppression. In fact, the entire column essentially describes the ways women are doing their own movement wrong, indeed rejecting basic feminist tenets and failing to recognize that maybe — just maybe — feminists who’ve been at this for many decades now have thought this through a little more than Dawson has.

“The key battleground between TERFs and transwomen is the issue of toilets,” Dawson states. “Yes, my right to do a little wee or poo is, apparently, major political battleground.”

That Dawson clearly thinks it’s cute to reduce feminist analysis of sex-based oppression to “toilets” relays not only ignorance, but a deep disrespect for women and our rights. “TERF,” for those lucky enough to have not yet encountered the term, means “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” Rebecca Reilly-Cooper offers a flawless explanation of the term, its failures, and its purpose, explaining that it is not a meaningful description of any feminist politics:

“A key assumption underpinning radical feminist analyses is that the word ‘female’ denotes a biological category, referring to the class of persons capable of menstruating, ovulating, gestating, and lactating.”

Therefore, Reilly-Cooper explains, “it makes little sense to describe, and still less to criticize, a radical feminist approach as ‘trans exclusionary.'” In other words, yes, the feminist movement is indeed “exclusionary,” if you must describe a political movement towards the liberation of women in such a backwards way, but no more than any other movement. Political movements naturally work towards specific aims — if they did not, and instead attempted to broadly address every single issue on the planet, including every person and all of their ideas, that “movement” would surely be an unsuccessful one. Socialists “exclude” capitalists from their activism just as feminists exclude anti-feminists from theirs. We do not prioritize the issues or concerns of males in this movement because this movement is not for men — it is for women. If that makes males feel left out, so be it. Not our concern.

But back to “toilets.” Feminists do not have any interest in preventing people from peeing. What they are interested in is both challenging the idea that gender is innate and the idea that one becomes female simply by saying so, regardless of their biology and socialization. They are also interested in creating and maintaining safe spaces for women and girls, who are subjected to male violence on the daily, across the globe. This includes long fought for spaces such as transition houses, homeless shelters, change rooms, as well as spaces that allow women to strategize towards their liberation, without men around. Men and women have separate bathrooms because men continue to abuse, harass, film, and photograph women and girls in bathrooms and change rooms and we deserve at least a marginal right to safety from that. That Dawson doesn’t respect or understand this basic reality of women’s lives is, frankly, appalling. I am baffled that someone who claims the identity of “feminist” would fail to empathize with women’s fear of male violence.

Trans activists like Dawson tend to focus on the “bathroom” issue because it is an easy way to paint feminists as cruel and petty instead of addressing our legitimate fears of men and our ongoing fight against gender and towards safe spaces.

“There will be people reading this thinking that transwomen want access to women’s bathrooms to sexually assault them,” Dawson says. But no, that is really not what people are saying. This debate about women’s spaces is not rooted in the idea that trans people are somehow natural predators — rather, it is about women’s fear of males. Women and girls fear men for good reason, and that that fear does not dissipate simply because a male identifies as transgender. If a girl sees a penis in a change room or bathroom, she will feel afraid and harassed. This is not “mean,” nor is it about disliking or expressing prejudice against trans people, it is an unpleasant material fact. Women and girls cannot be expected to push a lifetime of abuse, harassment, and a refusal to respect our boundaries aside simply because a person chooses to identify as transgender. I would not ask Dawson to pretend away a fear of male violence that feels all too real, so there is no reason why Dawson should expect that of females. This is not hysterical or irrational; it has been our daily reality throughout our entire lives.

Dawson claims, “It is a funny sort of a feminism that would place already vulnerable women in danger,” yet fails to understand that saying a male must do nothing more than “identify” as a woman in order to access our spaces puts women in danger. The amount of time men who identify as trans have abused or raped women should tell us as much.

No one believes that “all transwomen are predators,” as Dawson manipulatively claims. We are also well aware that transwomen suffer male violence as well. Transwomen most certainly deserve safe spaces — including bathrooms — but this need not come at the expense of women’s safety. Considering the incredible press and attention trans rights have received in recent years, it should not be so difficult to demand public buildings offer a gender-neutral washroom and change room alongside the women’s and men’s washrooms and change rooms. This is not at all an unreasonable request. Especially if public officials care about trans rights as much as they claim to.

By pitting women’s rights against trans rights, Dawson sets up the very “battleground” the writer claims to decry and demonstrates a deeply troubling lack of understanding and empathy towards women and girls.

Resorting to using anti-feminist slurs like “TERF” in order to mock and dismiss women’s fear of male violence and desire for safety makes Dawson’s identification with the movement hard to swallow.

“I feel perpetually on the back-foot, constantly grovelling, almost apologetic for my inclusion in womanhood,” Dawson complains, amazingly without realizing that women and girls are being forced into the very same position by trans activists who claim we should sit down, shut up, move aside, and quite literally deny our realities in order to accommodate people’s new “identities.”

“It’s frustrating,” Dawson writes, “that trans women, including myself, constantly have to defend ourselves.” Believe me, we know the feeling. We’ve been at this for about a century now, after all.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • GreatPostLinda

    Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe your basic assumption is wrong and outdated? Because of science we can overcome biology. Males can be female in all the important ways if they choose to be.

    • Meghan Murphy

      If science can or has ‘overcome biology,’ how is it that women continue to suffer oppression under patriarchy, due to being born female?

      • GreatPostLinda

        Because the two aren’t at all connected. The ability to transition between male and female, no matter how perfect, doesn’t affect how people receive your transition.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I’m sorry, did you just claim that women’s oppression, by men, has nothing to do with their sex? Also, being working class as nothing to do with class oppression, amirite?

        • Cassandra

          I have no idea what the fuck you just said.

    • Liza

      Nothing dated about it the same old male BS–they dressed it up but ss, men can be abusive mind fuckers and demand women role play. Women are saying no. Women are saying we have boundaries and what does a man do he violates them. Sorry Transwomen are men. And they have in fact raped and killed 1000s of women and kids and have the balls to cry about their hang nail.

    • JingFei

      The only way science can “overcome” biology when it comes to the sexes is in a petri dish. No males can “become” female in any meaningful way.

    • Georgia95Luciana Todesco

      Males can be female ‘IN ALL THE IMPORTANT WAYS’. Exactly what are those ‘important ways’?

    • Xodima

      We can go back in time and remove their socialization as males? Truly remarkable science.

    • Rachael

      Important ways? Are you kidding me? You realise what you’re basically saying translates into “has a pseudo-vagina”, rigut? But hey, I guess you’re right – in this patriarchy, the only thing that truly matte S about me is my ability to be fucked.

      What a crock of shit.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Meee neither. Like, hire an actual feminist to write your feminist column whydoncha.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you, PAO!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed. The mindfuckery one is forced to go through in order to accept all this is baffling, especially considering how many people seem to have eaten it up.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Right on, Weyoun.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But by saying that science can ‘overcome biology’, you just argued the very opposite thing. (i.e. that thanks to ‘science’ women can now escape sex-based oppressoin.) Do you identify as more than one person, GreatPostLinda?

    • Morag999

      “Do you identify as more than one person, GreatPostLinda?”

      Bingo. Her, or more likely his, comment history would seem to support that theory. Troll.

  • Just Passing Through

    all that I can seem to muster is …LOL.

  • Just Passing Through

    You know….. lipstick, eyeliner, giggling with your bffs while binge watching “Younger” and “Sex in the City”, pillow fights, talking about (giggle) boys n stuff, baking cupcakes and painting each others toenails while wearing frilly, lacey, underthings, watching youtube make up tutorials! Learn to talk like a valley girl…like I’m so sure! You know, the superficial shit that women are reduced to in the eyes of the majority of gender cultists. That important stuff. Sorry I’m being all snarky but I’m just so sick of the fact we all have to keep battling these regressive nit-wits! WOMEN ARE FEMALE ADULT HUMAN BEINGS! PERIOD.

  • JingFei

    I’m guessing it’s Glamour’s way of constantly pandering to SJW’s and transtrenders for clicks.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks for your comment, Pat. I really appreciate it. I really think there are pretty straight-forward ways to ensure everyone has access to the spaces and services they need to feel safe and supported. I am so amazed that some people are so dismissive of women and girls’ fears.

  • Alexandra H-H

    Thank you, Pat. Lovely.

  • Sophie Jameson

    Ace analysis. Thank you for that. The comments under Juno Dawson’s article on the Glamour site are very cheering, with the great preponderance of them taking the same line you have. Glamour has, I hope, shot itself in the foot with this article, offending the very demographic the magazine aims to please. Let’s hope the backlash makes Glamour reconsider its thoughtless adoption of trans rhetoric.

    • Meghan Murphy

      That is good to hear — I actually didn’t read any of the comments over there! Will go take a look. Could use some cheering 🙂

  • Weyoun

    yes, i suppose i generalised a bit there. you’re right, it’s possible that some of you are concerned about women. thanks for your reply, Pat.

  • Georgia95Luciana Todesco

    Irony. A magazine that calls itself ‘Glamour’–whose target audience is females, and whose task it is, one, to sell the lie of perfect beauty and unrealistic bodies and, two, to set the bar for class and finesse–platforms a very unglamorous and extremely unfortunate-looking dude with no sense of style or grace; no savoir faire; no fashion sense; no finesse or class; a less than ideal body all in an effort to alienate its demographic. A CondeNast FAIL.

  • calabasa

    I find the whole thing very…confusing.

    I live with a gender nonconforming transwoman (i.e., a biological male, who looks quite masculine–she doesn’t wear make-up all the time, shaves half her head, and may wear daisy dukes or crop tops but it ends up looking punky rather than anything else, as she is large, muscular, and covered in tattoos). She wants to be referred to as “she” and “her” and performs burlesque in drag. She says she has “found herself” in her transition to womanhood (a recent decision, and transition), but feels no need to conform to the rigid roles of the transgender narrative (hormones, surgery). She sleeps with women and identifies as a lesbian.

    From what I can gather, she wants to spurn her parents, who are old-world, rigid, and also rather poor/apathetic parents; she also got into burlesque as a man (dancing as a male performer), and her female friends made her feel welcome. It strikes me very much that it is women–natal, libfem women–who have spurred and supported this transition. She seems to have decided she is not a man because she is a gentle, kind soul, who doesn’t feel “masculine” and rejects the male gender role (why this necessarily means she is, in fact, a woman, I don’t know).

    I can see that because this issue has been so pushed–it started out with positive intentions, I believe, and now has become overzealous, rigid-thinking (the trans narrative is no longer one of gender questioning but of gender essentialism) and so popularized on the left that there is a dangerous amount of support for any wayward soul who suddenly decides he or she must actually be the opposite gender (“oh, I always saw signs,” “always knew you were a man/a woman”). That this comes from such old-fashioned gender stereotypes (“you were always gentle/aggressive” “you were always kind of soft-spoken/strident”) tends to be lost on people.

    This is dangerous because people break ties, change names, and alter bodies. It’s also dangerous because of how it affects the real feminist movement; but then, the libfem movement seems to be more about normalizing and whitewashing patriarchy and calling acquiescence a “choice” than anything else. It doesn’t surprise me that it is libfems pushing men toward the trans movement, telling them they are actually women and to stand up for their rights, sleeping with them and calling themselves lesbians or bisexuals, etc.; it doesn’t surprise me that the burlesque ethos wants male bodies to dress up and do hair and make-up on. This “turning male-bodied people into women” thing almost strikes me as a leftist fetish, one felt by certain straight males who are so enamored of the female body they want one, and encouraged by certain straight females who want to play dress-up with boys and call it empowering. And in some ways it is; this kind of gender-bending and “vagina envy” has something to be said for it. It’s the way the trans movement has hijacked feminism–without a shred of common sense or consideration–and the way the trans gender essentialist agenda has hijacked the trans movement–effectively erasing the categories of “gender queer,” “non-binary,” “androgynous,” etc.–that is the problem; it’s the way the movement as a whole shuts down all critical thinking and prevents cultural critique through censorship and the modern witch hunt that’s the problem, it’s the way that with the “aid” of the medical community it pushes the altering of healthy bodies that is the problem.

    My roommate also watches pornography, and has participated in it…tellingly, she sees it only as “performance” and finds it empowering, even though she is performing in pornography that runs counter to her sexual preferences (and even though she is, of course, doing it for the money); I feel like she has effectively taken on this idea of “being pretty” and “feeling pretty” (her own words) and being exploited as a “feminine” role. Again, as with all other facets of the libfem movement that emphasize individual experience over criticism of systems of power, she finds this unproblematic because of “agency” and individual choice.

    Although I recognize her as perpetuating the harms of male society against women–the erasure of meaning in female biology, the oppression of women through objectification and sexual subjugation–she is, at the same time, an incredibly sweet and kind person (and extremely sensitive). At one point she chose to be very masculine, another sort of drag or get-up for her (full beard, mohawk, motorcycle jacket replete with motorcycle, etc.); she says she didn’t like herself then, and that she hated as a child being forced to wear a suit and tie for church (the clothing she most dislikes and sees as archetypally male and straight-laced). I can see how some very masculine people–even bad-tempered, abusive people (which my friend isn’t) like, for example, Kellie Maloney–seem to have transitioned in order to “shed” that old self they were inculcated with (that ultramasculine–toxically masculine–self).

    Changing gender seems to be a bit of an overreaction to the rejection of toxic masculinity in the self. Aren’t there other ways young women can help the men around them change, when they want to (avoiding all the noxious aspects of toxic femininity that only help to shore up patriarchy–such as “feminine submission” and the focus on appearance)? And I am not sure why my friend chooses to identify as trans rather than as gender queer or non-binary or some other designation that is closer to her material reality of living in a biologically male body while dressing or acting at times more like women are supposed to, except that the trans movement has subsumed other identities with its highly publicized agenda. In other ways, my friend IS very feminist and woman-supporting, and I have no doubt that she, like me, believes gender is mainly a construct that has been mostly destructive; yet she wants to “feel pretty” (which she didn’t, as a man), and she wants validation/attention, and in a sense is buying into the feminine gender role in order to get it…I think it must be very confusing. It is for me, trying to figure out who/what I am, in my female body that has incited so much lust, rage and disgust in men my whole life.

    I have no doubt it would hurt her feelings to read this post, and it’s strange living with someone who seems to embody everything written about on this site as problematic; yet she has been kind and supportive to me, when I have gone through such a terrible time recently, trying to get over the rape I experienced in March and then again in June of this year, by my ex-boyfriend; trying to avoid him around town (he’s everywhere) and avoid getting involved with him again (difficult), and get past my depression and self-imposed social isolation; she has been sweet, kind, a great listener, and so supportive, and I’m really grateful for that (and I’ll take help wherever I can get it).

    • Lavender

      “Aren’t there other ways young women can help the men around them change…?”

      Why is helping men who struggle with gender the responsibility of the sex class whose subjugation is secured by it? For starters, women need to stop thinking they’ve got to help men. What have men done except reduce us to femininity and perform our oppression for us like some sick joke?

      You’re saying this male trans friend of yours is sensitive, kind and supportive, and it’s worth something that he’s helped you through a tough time. But isn’t that how manipulators function – by showing you just enough kindness so that you remain invested, thinking they couldn’t possibly be selfish, while in the back of your mind you’re trying to work out all of these other things they’re doing that you’re not quite comfortable with? I don’t know this person but based on what you’ve written here, what you’ve actually described is a man who’s thrilled to be forcing the women around him to call him “she” because conflating femininity with womanhood makes him feel good.

      And why shouldn’t it? He thinks women are walking sex stereotypes. He has no idea what it actually means to be female. He’s taking the piss while you’re twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to understand and nurture him. It sounds like he’s craftily constructed a classic patriarchal relationship with you. I hope I’m wrong, but maybe it’s time to consider that taking help wherever you can get it in this case involves the cost of a man feeding off your sympathy and making a mockery of your oppression. I wonder how quickly his supposed femininity would give way to masculinity if the women around him suddenly refused to stroke his ego?

    • Jane

      It’s not only possible, but perfectly acceptable to recognize that someone has a lot to offer you personally in a positive way, without agreeing with all their opinions or behaviors on things.

  • calabasa

    P.s. Great article (as usual), Meghan. I don’t know how you do it, and do it so consistently.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you, calabasa!

  • anyc

    Concise, heartfelt, and, above all, factual.
    Thank you for this. Meghan!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Melanie

    Simple being the operative word.

  • Independent Radical

    He actually came up with a test of feminism? I thought anyone could be a feminist if they identified as one! I self identify as someone who believes in the biological definition of womanhood and someone who isn’t unjustifiably bigoted. Can I do that?

  • pyrite00

    Glamour has lots of ads for make-up, many M2Ts put on make-up by the gallon. They are trying to woo a new set of customers.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please point out the transphobia. Where is it. What does it consist of. How does whatever it is constitute fear or irrational hatred?

    • Just Passing Through

      hmm guess you’re not gonna get an answer on that. That might require actual thinking.

    • Cassandra

      Biology is transphobic. There’s nowhere to go after that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Personally, I’ m convinced that the 95% of the population is made of ‘TERFs’ (nature being the biggest TERF of all).”

    Oh me too. Most people understand quite easily what the difference b/t male and female is and are just not saying anything or faking it for public approval/fear of being attacked.

    • Cassandra

      You know who are the ultimate TERF’S? Heterosexual males. But do they ever get this bullshit? Of course not.

      • Ennis Demeter

        TEHM’s!

        • Cassandra

          Ha!

      • Lady Dark Helmet

        Funny how the concept of a female brain being the only thing that defines what a woman is… suddenly becomes meaningless if, to support that theory, you, heterosexual man, need to be open to suck cocks.

  • Meghan Murphy

    There is no such thing as ‘the wrong body.’ Bodies are just what we are born with. I mean, what if I told you I really felt like a cat on the inside and was born in the wrong body — would you agree that I was really a cat and was just accidentally born a woman? We are not ‘picking on trans people.’ Rather, trans activists are attacking feminists…

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, you actually can’t.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I often say ‘trans-identified people,’ but sometimes simply use ‘transwoman’ because I feel the term makes clear that this is a male who now identifies as a transwoman, which is not the same as saying that this person is now literally a woman. That said, I do see what you are saying and don’t really disagree.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes to all of this. Juno immediately blocked me as soon as I tweeted this article. Like, criticism and disagreement can’t even EXIST.

    • Jane

      I think it’s more that they’re fighting against truth. I mean, that’s the enemy here, isn’t it? — They get surgery, take hormones, change paperwork, use different pronouns, change their clothes, wear makeup, etc., all to cover up the truth of their bodies. That doesn’t make it go away. But, if you point out the truth to them, they’ll do the same thing to you as they did to every other aspect of themselves — try to get rid of it. It’s pretty consistent, when you think about it. It’s not healthy or rational, but it is consistent.

  • Melanie

    I’m not picking on transgender people. I’m just stating the facts. What does ‘feeling like a female’ mean? Please answer without resorting to regressive, sexist stereotypes that harm girls and women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Also notice that transactivists don’t seem to go after men or have specific slurs they use to harass and attack the men who are violent against trans identified people? Only feminists. Wonder why!

    • Cassandra

      That’s always the big elephant in the room, huh? GOD FORBID we name the problem. That would mean pointing out that’s it’s penis people just like they are who are the ones hurting them. It’s fucking unreal.

  • Meghan Murphy

    ‘Although having said that, Juno Dawson will just blame the reaction on everyone being transphobic, which ironically is male privilege in action as it was a truly badly-written article that it’s highly unlikely Glamour would have accepted, had it been from a born woman – and Glamour will just be delighted at the publicity.’

    yep

    • Marla

      Mind boggling how Juno equates the lack of having a womb and mastectomies makes him/her less of a woman, how peeing in a public restroom is a inner personal demon taboo trip and how teenage girls so desperately need to identify themselves feminists after they bought his/her book.

      • Morag999

        Re: equating mastectomies and hysterectomies to male bodies … I have never heard a female transitioner (a “transman”) say that, hey, she, with her female reproductive system, really isn’t much different to a man who has lost his testicles/penis to cancer or an accident. If this was said in public, in blogs, magazines and all social media, over and over, the blowback from males would be, I think, swift and furious. Because losing one’s testicles is, categorically, something only a male can experience. Because it’s so damned illogical, insensitive, and offensive.

        But male transitioners and their allies CONSTANTLY use menopause as an idiotic “gotcha,” and shamelessly make use of women who have had hysterectomies and mastectomies, grabbing these categorically female experiences and equating them to males who feel like, and claim to be, women.

        And no matter how many times we tell them they need to stop doing this — that such comparisons are illogical, insensitive and offensive — they keep it up, bulldozing their way through our protests, not listening, talking over us, as if our voices and bodies were just so much air.

        It’s really striking, the meaning of all this. How can so many women still not understand, not see, that transgender ideology is 100-proof sexism, and that it’s anti-woman? They speak to us and about us as though we were empty of meaning, not capable of making meaning from our lives, as though we lack distinct human experiences. Like we’re just empty skirts and blouses and skins they can occupy at will, when the feeling strikes them.

        • Marla

          I just cannot understand Juno’s logic. Does not having a womb makes him less of a woman? Yeah, it kind of does.

          • Jane

            Not having a woman doesn’t make Juno less of a woman, not being female makes Juno less of a woman.

            There is no logic to Juno’s argument. I’ve looked through the arguments made by trans people all over the internet and not a single one of them stands up. It’s like a game of trying to spot which logical fallacy they’ll use next. The very core of transgenderism is delusion, though. It’s just a small part of their brain that’s different, they are otherwise entirely male (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21467211/ ). But, that small part isn’t even female! It differs from both male and female brains. They do display some traits that are similar to females, but at most, it’s 3% of their whole body. To argue that you’re a woman because you’re 3% female just doesn’t hold up, so they have to make false claims. They don’t have a leg to stand on.

          • Morag999

            Yeah, if “less of a woman” means, in fact, “male.”

        • Weyoun

          “But male transitioners and their allies CONSTANTLY use menopause as an idiotic “gotcha,”
          it makes no sense to do that….menopause is something that can only happen to females, it can’t make them less of a woman because it’s a natural biological process that happens to females, not males, so it’s more “womanly” than anything, so too with polycystic ovary syndrome (something else i’ve seen being used in this way), only females have ovaries so it makes them more women to suffer this, not less. it feels ridiculous to even say something like “more/less of a woman”. sex isn’t a lump of clay you can mold into whatever you want it to be, there is a simple biological process – those that claim there is much more to it, even biologically, are kidding themselves for if it was so complex, a highschool student couldn’t pass his or her biology exam, because these are basics!

        • Jane

          At the core, these people are not women, less because of the obvious lack of biology, than because they not only don’t have the experience of being female, but they invalidate the women who do.

          No woman worth being called a “woman” does that. — Their male entitlement may get them everywhere else, but it’s not getting them through this door.

      • Jane

        I’m so tired of transwomen invalidating biological women.

        Just because they weren’t born biologically female doesn’t mean that having female biology doesn’t matter or that it isn’t part of being a woman. It’s like men who label women as lesbians just because they don’t want to date them. Just because you can’t ever have something or someone, doesn’t mean it’s without value — it’s just out of your reach.

        More to the point: How the hell would they know that this biology doesn’t matter when they don’t even know what it feels like? — As a biological woman, I can tell you unambiguously that breasts, a womb, ovaries, etc., all matter. Some women lose them or are born without them and many of them suffer a lot of grief over that. Juno may feel a sense of loss having been born in a male body, but they can’t equate that to something they literally do not know the experience of. It’s not fair to the women who have lost their wombs or have gone through mastectomies.

        But, these transwomen contradict themselves constantly. I mean, they take hormones, get surgery, then claim that biology doesn’t matter? Um…say what now? What’s with all the hormones and surgery, then? — And if a woman doesn’t need a womb or breasts to be a woman, why does she need a vagina or estrogen, either? Why bother with any of it?

        The point here is that Juno was born biologically male and isn’t entitled to draw the line on what constitutes a “woman” or not — biological women are. These our our bodies and we know better than anyone what being a woman or female really means. If Juno can’t respect that, then clearly their male privilege still needs to be surgically removed.

  • Melanie

    And then he has the nerve to slur women who have fought for the rights that girls and women do have, because they’re ‘angry, militant, unattractive femmos’. These guys have no idea what it means to be a woman.

  • Marla

    Glamour is a pseudo-left publication that thrives on populist culture bankruptcy. Their site is one big marketing campaign that aims itself right into the hearts of naive women by shit spoon feeding them fashion propaganda, asymptomatic psychological advice, suppression of feminine instincts, boring, affluent, predictable celebrity gossip while interjecting all sort of unhealthy triggers from body image to date rape as credible journalism. Nevermind your own political stance, what is important is the 12 celebrities who went to the ballot box in style.

    So I’m not surprised the editors at Glamour would hire such a negative tool like Juno to serve as a voice of antithesis on real feminist subjects and struggles.

    • Cassandra

      All fashion magazines are tools of the patriarchy. They’re evil.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Plus they are so, “militant, angry, unconstructive and, frankly, unglamorous”.

    • We don’t shave or wear make up or dress up, so won’t buy the products being shilled. That’s the bottom line. Pretend feminists only!

  • radwonka

    Calling feminists crazy is an old misogynistic tactic used to silence us.

    Use arguments and not personal attacks.

  • radwonka

    And wouldnt it be considered transphobic to say that “indeed females are the ones who can have babies”? I thought that nothing was really female or male in this world ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • radwonka

    So you are saying that women cant be free as long they are women?

    Science doesnt cure oppression, but science doesnt create oppression either.

  • Raysa_Lite

    Thank you.

    I have trouble with the Trans movement, mostly because I feel like feminism is independent of that movement. I am not really convinced of how valid it is, either.

    A male putting on a dress and demanding to be identified as a woman feels like a slap in the face to me. It’s the ultimate act of selfishness, to wear a dress and demand that I acknowledge that as some kind of enlightened act.

    • Jane

      If you haven’t already read this, you might find it interesting: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21467211/ (Note: It’s very heavy in technical terminology.)

      One of the arguments transwomen make is that they have “a male body and a female brain.” But, the research (above) doesn’t support this. The part of their brain that has to do with processing their perception of themselves is different. That’s pretty much it. There are a lot of other structures of their brains (not to mention the DNA of that tissue) that is absolutely male. Other studies found that transwomen reacted to stress/fear stimuli in a way that was similar to heterosexual females, but there were differences in this based on sexuality — lesbians reacted to stress/fear stimuli more like heterosexual males. So, there was nothing there that could definitively label them as “female.”

      I found this interesting, so I thought you (and others) might, too.

      • Raysa_Lite

        Thank you for sharing that, I will definitely try to read it. In the morning, after coffee!

        I always thought that I was feministing wrong because the way that males that identify as women irritated me. It just seemed so selfish, to put on a dress or paint their nails and the decide that they are magically a woman.

        You don’t get to walk through the world with the privilege that being male gets you and then decide that you understand anything about my existence. And then calling me a bigot when I say something.

        It’s insanity.

  • Just Passing Through

    I couldn’t even find the original article. Oh also I saw they changed Bono from being a “woman of the year” to being “man of the year” Unless that’s disappeared to.

  • will

    Would you please transition to someone who does not speak gibberish? Who answers questions asked of them?

  • ohdear

    Now we’re adding penis envy to our oh-so new and perfect science? How original.

  • Morag999

    The comments over there are wonderful! Those women, and a few informed men, who took the time to articulate their anger against Juno’s article and Glamour magazine made my heart so glad.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I can’t see the comments on the article somehow… Or do you mean on the Facebook page?

      • Morag999

        Hmm, I think I read them on the the same page as the Glamour article? But, yes, I believe all the commenters were logged into Facebook to comment. Sorry if that’s not helpful …

        Edited to add: I just scrolled past the “Related Stories” to get to the comments, which are in a column on right side of the page.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Oooooooh found ’em! I was not patient enough to scroll down and wait for them to show up. Ha. Thank you!

          • Morag999

            Good, good. I think you’ll enjoy reading them.

          • Just Passing Through

            Where is this article? I can’t seem to find it. I went to Glamour online and could not find it. Do you have a link? Thanks.

          • Lady Dark Helmet
          • Morag999

            ‘”Subgroup” my ass.”

            I know, I know! Says Juno:

            ‘Greer is not the first, nor will she be the last, TERF: a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. A subgroup of feminists who steadfastly believe me – and other trans women – are not women.’

            Well, first of all, I must point out that he should’ve written “I” not “me.”

            But it’s funny, you know, how you can just hear his faux-shock and faux-pain when he says that there are actually women out there who actually BELIEVE that he’s not a woman. And how you can visualize him sitting back, with his hands behind his head, waiting to hear that collective *gasp* from his female audience. Like, OMG, what kind of monster actually BELIEVES that a man isn’t a woman? What is this world coming to when there’s a “subgroup” of women so cruel as to “steadfastly” believe that this dude is actually a dude? What self-respecting, cool, fashionable woman would want to be associated with such a horrible, militant, nasty, “subgroup” of feminists?

            ‘Sadly,’ he continues, ‘there are probably women reading this right now who are like, “If it looks and sounds like a bloke, it’s a bloke. If it’s got a penis, it’s a bloke.”

            Yeah, “sadly” there ARE lots of women who know that a bloke is bloke no matter how many times that bloke attempts to cajole or command women to not only believe his lies but kiss his ass while they’re at it.. What a spoiled, entitled, spokesman for the rights of the penis to go where it’s not wanted. Schmuck.

          • Lady Dark Helmet

            “And how you can visualize him sitting back, with his hands behind his head, waiting to hear that collective *gasp* from his female audience.”

            I can totally see that: and then being outraged by all these trasphobic, hateful, bigoted comments… but they are a minority, “she” reassures “herself”, only witches and conservatives don’ t accept my penis as the vagina it thinks it is and is meant to be!

          • Cassandra

            Yes, as if “believing” that penis is male is an actual “belief” akin to “believing” in God.

            Now me and some radical feminists are gonna go slop some hogs and sing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

        • Just Passing Through

          .. Found it! The comments are great. Very encouraging.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes! This is a great one — read it earlier. Thanks for sharing here!

  • Morag999

    Mother Nature is the terfiest TERF you ever did see!

    Too bad for the transgenderists She’s a metaphor rather than a person. Otherwise, they’d try to oust Her from Her position, and replace Her with a male who mainlines estrogen all the livelong day.

    • Lady Dark Helmet

      I want a t-shirt with “Mother Nature is the terfiest TERF who ever terfed” written on it!

  • Morag999

    Thunderous applause for this comment, JingFei!

    ‘Then Juno Dawson labeled ALL critique, disagreement, or challenging thought “abuse”.’

    Yes, those crocodile tears. It’s so manipulative, I wonder why more women don’t see through such childish B.S.?

    Just like the schoolyard bully who, while the teacher’s not looking, hits another kid, and then yells “ouch!”, male transgenderists cry “owie!” AFTER they call women (basically) witches, and cruelly mock our anxiety and fear of male perversion and violence. I mean, it’s like blaming the person you punched in the mouth for scraping up your knuckles. Un-fucking-believable.

    • Cassandra

      Yes, understanding human sexual dimorphism and biology is abuse!

      He’s a fucking MRA. God I need a pint of vodka and a flamethrower.

      • Morag999

        “God I need a pint of vodka and a flamethrower.”

        Ha-HA! Same, same.

        The fucking NERVE of these smug fakers, eh? But, gosh, your anger has a way of consoling me. It’s good stuff.

        • fxduffy

          “To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and
          if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend
          thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of
          anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve
          to death.” Jules Henry

          • Morag999

            That’s an apt quotation. Thank you.

          • Jane

            Great quote. This completely explains why I piss people off so much.

        • Cassandra

          Well, with the way this election here in the U.S. is going, I’m going to need several flamethrowers. Fucking hell.

  • Morag999

    “Who says feminist women are too angry, too militant, too unglamorous and unattractive? Let me think …”

    Hmm, wait a second … I’ve heard that before … that’s SO familiar … oooh, it’s right there, on the tip of my tongue … ugh! … does it start with ‘M’? I’m almost positive it’s an M-word …

  • Cassandra

    Ruth I got my paper copy in the mail today! It is BEAUTIFUL! I’ve already been reading it on my Kindle for iPhone but the actual book is so well produced. If it weren’t so weighty I’d take it on the train with me so that people could see the cover and say “Hmmm…” I hope for the day when it’ll be required college reading about this very dark time in human, gay, and feminist history. Thank you for all you and all the women who contributed to the project do. Solidarity! (And yes, I will continue to use my voice!) xo

  • Cassandra

    Yes, people are getting dumber and less educated.

  • Cassandra

    This is absolutely the heart of the matter. Real feminism doesn’t sell shit. The advertisers would pull out and the magazine would shutter. Print magazines are slowly dying anyway but unfortunately it’s all just transferred to the internet, as we know.

  • Cassandra

    “Calm your irrational hatred?”
    Go fuck yourself.

  • Cassandra

    What is a female?

    • Lady Dark Helmet

      Ah, the million dollar question. Right there with “What does it mean feeling like a woman?”.

      If anyone has ever gotten an answer besides some variation of “Because I say so!”, I’ d like to hear it.

      • Melanie

        Why don’t they ever answer that question? .

        • Lady Dark Helmet

          Because they don’ t have an acceptable answer.

          When they do have an answer, it’ s always some sexist stereotype about pink, panties and rom-coms.

      • Cassandra

        Yup!

  • Cassandra

    “Science doesn’t cure oppression.”

    Who the fuck said it did?

  • Pat

    “Wouldn’t be very feminist to argue that females who…”

    Completely agree with you, Wire Bead. I am pro trans man and fully understand why, for instance, a trans man would be invited to something like the Michigan Womyn’s Festival where a trans woman would not. It makes perfect sense. There is a lot to be said for dealing with a given situation unwillingly from conception versus actively growing into a situation.

    My thought was that some people can’t tell a trans man from any other man. A trans man could possibly cause the same alarm in a female space that any other man could cause. Unfortunately, I know trans men who are terribly broken up when unfamiliar women start acting slightly wary of them. Also, possibly a man could take advantage of such an exception and pose as a trans man to gain access to a women’s room.

    Sorry, I know these discussions can get ugly quickly. Hopefully my post reads with the intended friendly and conversational tone. I have no interest in fighting with anyone or trying to prove anything. Thank you for taking the time to discuss.

    • Weyoun

      Thanks for continuing to contribute, Pat. I like hearing perspectives on the other end of the spectrum. It must feel as if you’re being personally attacked, but I want to let you know I respect you and individual transgender people and would never dream of hurting someone for my, or anyone else’s, politics here (hurting their feelings, however, I can’t guarantee won’t happen!). I view transgenderism as a cultural phenomenon that needs to be criticised on the basis of how (I believe) it seems to co-opt feminism and uses the oppressive elements of female history as its manifestation, and the fact that the majority of the transgender community, online anyway, seems so intent on siding with men and their ideologies – those that ultimately permeate what i call this “man-made utopia” a world perfect for men (who hold power using tools of aggression and dominance) and where women are left to navigate that world in the proverbial sewers (although it would be silly to say that all women experience this, obviously, I’m not going to claim melinda gates has a hard life, obviously there is class/capitalism underpinning it all).

      That being said I think polite but direct discourse is needed without either party resorting to “oppression olympics” as I’ve heard people say. the constant victim language and talk of oppression (yes i know i just mentioned that) and talk of triggering and so on isn’t constructive and distracts us from tackling issues as intelligent thoughtful people. maybe i’m insulting a few people saying this, but the teenagery use of popular language and acronyms and faux-sarcasm is obnoxious as well as the fixation on terms and meanings and quotes from whoever. It’s another thing that annoyed me about Juno Dawson’s article – badly written in a style that would embarrass a high school student, it made me think “well, no wonder women aren’t taken seriously”.

      sorry for the long comments on your post, Meghan

      • Meghan Murphy

        No apology necessary! Appreciate your comments/perspective.

  • Weyoun

    Has she threatened suicide yet?

  • Liz

    I’ve always wondered what trans men think of the bathroom question. My gut feeling has been like yours, Wire Bead. i would not want trans men forced to use the men’s bathrooms and locker rooms. And I would think “of course they should use the women’s room”

    the case currently before the US Supreme Court involves a transgender teen who wants to use the boy’s restrooms: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/28/499793588/supreme-court-will-hear-case-on-bathroom-rules-for-transgender-students

    My impressions have been that NO ONE wants to use the men’s room, that men are dangerous to women, trans men, and trans women. But maybe I’m mistaken, and trans men really do want to use the men’s room.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I can’t personally imagine why anyone would want to use the men’s room…. Even men.

      • Liz

        hahaha oh yes, that’s the first thing that occurs to me about gender-neutral toilets…if men are using them, they’ll be gross in no time.

      • BenEsler

        To see things in perspective, Meghan.

    • Wire Bead

      From what I’ve read on the forums etc, women who identify as guys have mixed reactions to this. Access to certain male facilities and organizations appears to be considered validating of their guy identity and fits in with a desire to hang out with men, doing what they perceive as guy things.

      On the other hand, many women who identify as trans note that they only use male facilities when they perceive it is somewhat more safe to do so, for example, at school or single user male bathrooms. Much less enthusiasm being voiced by women who identify as guys for entering shared male showers or saunas or to be transferred to male prison wards.

      • Liz

        Interesting, thank you for sharing that. it makes sense to me. I wonder how many of the trans women demanding access to female spaces have noticed the dampened enthusiasm among trans men for access to male spaces. What does trans women’s access mean for trans men, I suppose is what I’m wondering.

    • Jane

      They have packing penises that allow for urination through them, so that transmen can urinate in urinals with other men, without having surgery. Given that, I think the desire to urinate in public was large enough to create these devices to begin with…

      I’ve heard that transmen have an easier time passing for men, though. So, even if they are in the men’s bathroom, I don’t know that anybody would notice. A lot of it has to do with body type and clothing. Transwomen tend to wear more feminine clothing and tight-fitting clothing reveals their square frame (a male trait), not to mention the fact that they are sometimes more than a foot taller than biological women. A transman can hide their womanly hips with baggy clothes (which are socially-acceptable), obscure their height with lifters in their shoes, hormones can give them facial hair, and they can wear a packing penis that they can urinate with. So, they end up looking like a slightly short guy. This is very different than having a transwoman who’s 6ft tall walk into a women’s bathroom with large hands and feet, broad shoulders, and a slight shadow from the facial hair that’s hard to keep at bay.

      That said, it’s different if you live in the same area as before you transition. Then, people may recognize you as you’re transitioning, making it impossible to go into the bathroom that you feel you belong in, without being called out for it.

  • Weyoun

    Your first paragraph is hilarious! I too have a problem with the sloppy writing. If its intent was to be witty and “cool”, it failed on both accounts!

  • Weyoun

    thanks. i was just being facetious as I’ve seen some in the trans community or supporters talk about suicide as if it were a threat, sort of “if you continue this dissent i’ll commit suicide and that’s abusing me!”. i believe they (and many libfems) employ a lexicon of very emotive language and buzzwords designed to shut down criticism. Buzzfeed is one place where it exists in full swing – it’s almost cultish…not that i frequent that site but many articles online seem to link to it for some reason. i’ve seen the same thing experienced by cynics of islam, religion in general, even critics of atheism (just as capable of cult mentality). it seems any small voice against the tide of popular opinion is subsequently consumed by it. that being said i don’t condone violence or abuse but we need to, in my opinion, flush away all the bullshit, all the academia and posturing, from these issues.

    i think it’s refreshing that this comment section has embraced the contribution by Pat, a transgender who commented here, not just because she is an agreement but because she has articulately voiced her thoughts and bought us another perspective – that’s not to say all perspectives are valuable, after all, we must remain stemmed to reality!

  • Wren

    And many of the transwomen killed were probably prostituted which is a natural result of the business of paid rape. But I bet these same “activists” are pro-sex work. The intentional stupidity kills me.

    • Wire Bead

      Wren, yes, this really kills me. Many transwomen have suffered violence at the hands of johns. Yet most of the loudest trans activist voices are also pro “sex work”.

      Where are the trans activists decrying the violence that male johns visit upon the most vulnerable members of their community?

  • Cassandra

    They can screen grab me all they want. I look forward to them calling us Trans Exclusionary Radical Flamethrowers. Oh wait, that’s still “TERF.” As frequently as the activist trans MRAs (cut from the same cloth as old Juno here) tell us to “die in a fire” I have very few qualms about my hyperbole. 😉

    (And yes, there *are* reasonable M2F’s, and they *are* keeping a low profile, much as they are wont to do. As you’ll probably agree, we’ve always known they were amongst us in bathrooms and this has never been about them.)

  • Just Passing Through

    I hope you are right. It does seem to be turning the corner a bit seeing as how the only people posting in favor of the article were 14 and highly uninformed.

  • Lady Dark Helmet

    Samus?

    But that’ s nothing, there are people who are transing hystorical figures.

  • FierceMild

    I think so too! It was better reading even then the Mumsnet Spartacus thread. Peak Trans indeed.

  • Just Passing Through

    They just don’t care because it’s all about them. They don’t give a flying fig what any woman/women have been through or what our grievances are… they want what they want and that’s that!

  • J.D.

    I’m so sick of this — it’s insanity. It’s just patriarchy in a dress…

    But, before dismissing this as a transphobic comment, just look at the research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21467211/ — This study compared magnetic imaging of the brains of heterosexual males, heterosexual females, and MtF transsexuals who were gynephillic (attracted to women). What it found was unambiguous: “The present data do not support the notion that brains of MtF-TR are feminized. The observed changes in MtF-TR bring attention to the
    networks inferred in processing of body perception.” In other words, transwomen don’t have “female” brains. The part of their brain associated with processing the perception of their body is just different. That same study confirmed that there were many aspects of MtF transsexual brains that were male, and the parts which weren’t male weren’t female either — they were different from both sexes.

    So, transwomen are not female at all. They are biological males with an abnormal structure in their brain causing them to perceive themselves as female. That doesn’t actually make you a woman any more than having a brain abnormality that makes you a schizophrenic who sees fairies, means that fairies actually exist and you’re seeing them.

    This is literally a brain abnormality. So why are we listening to it?

    Would people create legislation based upon what a schizophrenic hallucinates as a result of their brain abnormalities? No, of course not. — So, what has gone so wrong that people are doing it for transsexuals? Mind you, I am in no way saying that these people don’t deserve treatment and respect. But, exactly how is it “respectful” to treat somebody as if they are something other than what they actually are? Even if that is seen as “respectful” to the person you’re doing it for — if not a gross indulgence — what about to the people who already legitimately fall into that category, namely, women?

    How is it that a minority with a brain abnormality is getting to dictate how things should be for the majority without brain abnormalities? No part of that makes sense. None of it. — And this is entirely why I stopped being anything even remotely liberal or progressive after this issue became so huge — because people are just choosing the underdog for the sake of choosing the underdog at this point, and it doesn’t involve any sense at all.

    When it comes to bathrooms, here’s the question I keep returning to: why are there urinals in only the men’s bathrooms? — Because it’s about biology, not gender. You go to the bathroom based on biology, not feelings. So, that’s what should dictate it. If you feel any discomfort while transitioning, then there should be another set of single bathrooms that anybody can use. If people supporting the trans community want to use them too, to show solidarity, be my guest. But, at least that will be putting the attention where it’s due.

    The whole world should not shift off its axis for around 1% of the population — and certainly not when what distinguishes that 1% is a brain abnormality.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Saw this today. Not only are trans people discriminated against in exactly the same way black people in America have been and continue to be (WEIRD, I don’t remember Europeans shipping Africans over to America and then enslaving them for centuries..?), but ‘TERFS’ (of which there are none of in her tl, I checked) WANT trans-identified to be denied education AND TO KILL THEMSELVES. https://twitter.com/Spacekatgal/status/796961341651165184

    Like, what the actual fuck. This is a well-known figure spouting this garbage. It’s blowing my mind. *rant over*

  • Jane

    I’m really glad to hear how respectful you seem towards women. I wish more people in the trans community were like you. I’ve read too many entitled, vicious comments online from the trans community and that behavior just makes things worse for everybody.

  • Jane

    I don’t like that idea. Urinating is about biology, it’s not about what you feel, it’s not a social get-together, we’re not painting our nails in there. — Not to mention the fact that women’s spaces are encroached upon enough as it is. (Really, where can we ever be alone as women?) Why can’t we have something that is just our own? I don’t want to be in a bathroom and have to curb my conversation and not talk about cramps or menstruation because there’s a biological male around who wouldn’t understand that at all. If we’re going to take it that far, and let males in, why not just make every bathroom a single ceiling-to-floor stall and have a long hallway of them open with men and women free to use whichever ones they want, and a communal set of sinks and mirrors. Because really, if there are males coming in anyway, we don’t have a “women’s” bathroom anymore. So, why even call it one? What’s the point? We’ll have to find somewhere else to mention things that we only want to share with each other…until, of course, that space gets encroached upon, too…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Sigh. Thanks for the honesty, Pat. I, too, wish people could just be themselves and am so glad you are living your life authentically. I feel sad that people are so uncomfortable with this. I feel sad that people who identify as trans are forced into boxes and feel they need to perform either femininity or masculinity in order to be accepted in society.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men’s Rights Activist.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I started out without any opinion on the matter, but being liberal and open-minded, I was inherently open to the idea.”

    Yes, me too. I couldn’t see the problem with it, initially (this was back in maybe 2007/8). The more I learned and listened and read and thought, the more I began to think more critically about the liberal approach to transgenderism and gender identity. Whatdoyaknow! Critical thinking changes minds. Wish more would try it 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes exactly. I don’t take positions on issues until I know I can answer questions about my position, which means you have to look for holes in your argument and try to fill them. If you can’t fill those holes or obvious questions remain that you can’t answer, you think to think harder… W/r/t trans, I didn’t take a public position until I’d explored the debate thoroughly, and until I felt certain that the position I was taking was one I could defend. It’s amazing how many people take positions on gender identity they can’t defend at all, and can’t even answer basic questions about. It’s all just based on ‘belief’ and baseless, indefensible statements (hence the obvious comparison to religion/dogma).

  • Pat

    I’m sorry, Jane, but I’m not clear on what you mean by saying you wouldn’t be fooled. What are you referencing? The article you included is about transmen, not transwomen, so I’m not sure if you are talking about me. It sounded like there was some agreement that transmen were acceptable in female space, but are you saying that is not so for you? Your examples are of women raping women. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Just Passing Through

    Thank you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Very sad and interesting! But this seems to be the thing, doesn’t it… People don’t know how to think critically…

  • Weyoun

    don’t apologise for other people’s actions, pat. it has nothing to do with you. you’re made more unique by it!

  • Just Passing Through

    Wish more trans women had your sense of fairness and respect.

  • Just Passing Through

    It’s nice to be talked with and not at.

  • Jane

    There is certainly such thing as a “female” brain. All that term means is that there are a set of traits which the overwhelming majority of biological females share in their brain’s structure and functionality. Not all females have every trait, but all persons considered “female” do have a majority of the traits. But, this should not be surprising. Females have different sex organs than males, so it makes sense that their brains would likewise develop different structures in their brain to handle these organs. The male body doesn’t experience menstruation or pregnancy, so structures regulating such things wouldn’t be needed in their brains and it would be a waste of space and resources to have them. Likewise, a female doesn’t produce sperm, so it wouldn’t make sense for her brain to have the structures responsible for regulating sperm creation.

  • Jane

    I’ve studied psychology in college and I’ve known autistic individuals personally and from all that experience, I’ve found no connection between personal (self) perception/identity and autism. Autistic individuals can suffer from increased sensitivity to sensory perception and tend to have a less innate understanding of social norms and more difficulty responding to them than neurotypical individuals, but I’ve never met a single person on the spectrum who has had difficulty understanding themselves or their own identity. In fact, if anything, the opposite has been true — by having less of an innate understanding of social norms, they’re less hindered by them, and tend to experience more freedom in discovering their personal identity.

    The DSM criteria have more to do with external interactions with others than internal identity: https://www.verywell.com/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder-260234 On the other hand, transsexuals have an issue with internal identity relative to their external body, but do not have an issue with social interaction with others: http://micheleomara.com/gender-dysphoria-proposed-diagnostic-criteria-for-dsm-v/

    There may be some individuals who suffer from both gender dysphoria and autism, but I do agree that it’s probably a very small number of individuals.

    As for body integrity disorder, I’m not sure it has the same cause: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16840-desire-to-amputate-healthy-limbs-shows-up-in-brain-scans/ — This research seemed to find some correlation between body integrity disorder and right parietal lobe activity/inactivity, and I haven’t heard of that being the case with the studies I’ve read on transsexuality.

    So, again, I agree that while there may be some transsexuals who experience body integrity disorder, they don’t seem to be the same thing.

    It is amazing how such small differences in the brain can lead to such huge differences in life experiences, though. With such complexity and the need for things to be just so, it’s amazing how so few people are born with serious issues. Nature truly is amazing.

  • Jane

    The differences in the self-perception of transsexual individuals comes from differences in their physical biology, which result in their feeling emotional and psychological distress over the difference between their sex and gender. From the research I’ve read, it is not a disease, it is a condition of birth. That means that like other conditions of birth, it’s something that cannot be treated, per se, but must instead be compensated for. This means that the very definition of what is “healthy” has to be weighed in a more personal respect. It may not be “healthy” for a biological female who isn’t transsexual to take testosterone, but if it does show to relieve suffering in a female transsexual, then having the patient live in a state of less suffering is, by definition, more healthy.

  • Jane

    Good to know, and thank you for the links. I wonder if the tendency towards rigidity in individuals displaying an autistic disorder and the difficulty understanding social norms result in a misinterpretation of what constitutes gender dysphoria versus the normal identity confusion of being young. This creates an innate difficulty because gender dysphoria is often assessed using the subjective experiences of the individual.

    I’d be curious to see how the definitions of maleness and femaleness differed amongst those displaying both gender dysphoria and autistic symptoms versus those only displaying symptoms of gender dysphoria. Some of the trans individuals I’ve met have had a rigid idea of what constitutes maleness or femaleness which could be so extreme that it seemed near-impossible for anyone to fit in, regardless of the sex they were born with. On contrast, I know of quite a few cis people who can reconcile having traits that don’t stereotypically correspond to their gender, without feeling that they don’t belong in that gender.

    Thank you again for the links. It’s wonderful food for thought. I really do hope they explore the more psychological aspects of transsexuality. It doesn’t feel like they’ve explored that aspect of things enough (versus the biological aspect), and I’d love to see how our understanding of things develops over time.

  • Pat

    Wow. Sorry, had to come back to comment on this. Thank you for sharing that information, Wire Bead. Had never seen this suggestion before.

    Having been diagnosed with ASD and growing up non-verbal, displaying behaviors like head-banging and failing to acknowledge or engage with people, it never occurred to me that this could be part of being trans! Luckily I grew out of and/or learned to manage these behaviors.

    While the articles didn’t seem to address the body mapping issues or how/why a person might feel and function better on opposite sex hormones very well, (the idea that it is an obsessive idea brought on by internet articles didn’t strike me as terribly compelling), it is nonetheless a very interesting idea to explore. It certainly seems that addressing the brain would be far easier than addressing the body. At the very least it would be nice to have options for dealing with this. Thanks!

  • Koryo

    NO. You do not get to tell me how to be a feminist. You’re a man. I can’t get believe how we are getting pushed aside and silenced within our own movement! It is infuriating. God forbid you speak up though as you get shredded and called “TERF” and worse. I imagine there are a lot more people who hold the same views as us but are scared to voice them due to the immense/vicious backlash against them. It’s sad.