If ‘white feminism’ is a thing, gender identity ideology epitomizes it

Opting in and out of sex-based oppression is something only the most privileged believe they can do.

Image: United Nations Population Fund

When I was in grad school, I got into a heated debate with a classmate who insisted that “white feminism” was a serious problem in the women’s movement.

The man (who was white and from the United States) argued that, “white feminism” meant that the women’s movement had centered the lives and experiences of only a select few — privileged white women in the US who traveled mainly in academic circles — “for most of its history.”

I told him I thought the term functioned as a tool to dismiss second wave feminists, glorify the (very problematic) third wave, and encourage infighting among feminists, creating divisions in a movement where collective struggle is crucial. His claim was at odds with the grassroots movement I’d grown up with in the Dominican Republic, which was obviously not led by women in the US (and certainly not by upper-class white women or academics). There are legitimate problems within feminism in my home country, particularly around class difference, but there is far more solidarity than animosity, and Dominican feminism has been consistent in addressing the struggles of rural, working class, and immigrant women.

Notably, during my time as an immigrant in the US, most of the people who complained to me about what they called “white feminism” were white themselves. I felt tokenized; like they wanted me, as a Dominican woman of colour, to validate them and their feminism. I became suspicious of all white people who used the term. Criticizing “white feminism” seemed to be a way for white people to present themselves as different, better white people — as cool, “intersectional” feminists who just happen to be white.

Now that I am back in the Dominican Republic doing shelter work, I believe my friend from grad school was right about one thing: white feminism is real. It is epitomized by gender identity ideology.

The current trend among third wavers, as well as among progressives, is to argue that we can ignore whether people were born male or female and instead use language like “genderfluid,” “multi-gender,” or “genderqueer.” But there’s a massive gap between this language — popularized within Gender Studies classrooms in the West — and the realities of marginalized women in countries like mine.

I’ve been thinking about what gender identity means in the context of the Global South. What does gender identity mean for women and girls who look like me? What does it mean for Dominican women and girls who are marginalized not just by sex, but by poverty, race, and xenophobia?

Recently, the Dominican Republic has been debating whether or not to outlaw child marriage. The country has the highest rate of child marriage in the Latin American and Caribbean region. According to a 2014 survey, 37 per cent of women who are between 20 and 49 years old got married (or became common law partners) before they were 18. The survey also shows that one in five girls between 15 and 19 are in a relationship with a man who is at least 10 years their senior. There is a strong correlation between child marriage and teen pregnancy, which can result in dangerous health complications for girls, like blood poisoning, obstructed labour, and high blood pressure. Indeed, teen pregnancy is the number one cause of death for teen girls worldwide. This is particularly worrisome because the Dominican Republic prohibits all abortion, even in the cases when the mother’s life is in danger.

Plan International, a children’s rights organization, published a study in March, looking at child marriage on the south side of the Caribbean island. They interviewed men who married underage girls, as well as the girls who “chose” these marriages. Almost 40 per cent of the men interviewed said they preferred younger girls because they were “more obedient and easier to control.” The study also revealed that many girls marry older men hoping to escape family violence and poverty, but then face violence from these men once they are married. One 15-year-old girl who was interviewed for the study said:

“I got married because I needed to run away from home. They were beating me. They used sticks. They wouldn’t trust me. One day I said: ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore.’ At home, there was a lot of fighting, one day in front of everybody, they beat me, in the middle of the street. So, I started working at a household. I was 11 years old. It was even worse there, the violence increased. I had to do all the chores, including washing all the clothes by hand. They wouldn’t even let me go to school and they never paid me because they said that they already gave me food. I was suffering a lot. I felt imprisoned I couldn’t even go to the park. I wanted to get married to leave all of that. I thought that if I got married I was going to be in a calm house, that I would be able to eat, sleep and go out. I didn’t know it wouldn’t be like that, like another hell.”

In the Dominican Republic, boys are not expected to clean or help raise their siblings — that is the responsibility of girls. Prior to marriage, 78 per cent of the girls who participated in the Plan International study said they were put in charge of doing household chores like cleaning and caring for their younger siblings. When girls were asked what it means to be a woman, most said that it meant being a mother and a wife.

Writer Caridad Araujo points out:

“Half of the women in Latin America who are in their [productivity years] are unemployed and the ones who do have a job earn considerably less than their male counterparts. For women in Latin America and the Caribbean, the wage gap becomes more exacerbated during their peak fertility years.”

This is because there is an expectation that women are inherently nurturing. Being forced into the position of caretaker translates to women having less savings, being promoted less, and accumulating less money in their pensions.

But gender identity politics reduces this reality — and womanhood itself — to a trivial, malleable identity. It is baffling that in a world where women and girls face structural oppression due to their biology, gender identity politics has thrived.

Susan Cox argues that: “The non-binary declaration is a slap in the face to all women, who, if they haven’t come out as ‘genderqueer,’ presumably possess an internal essence perfectly in-line with the misogynistic parody of womanhood created by patriarchy.” There’s a twisted, neoliberal cruelty in arguing that the primary problem with gender is its impact on the chosen identities of individuals, and not the way it operates systemically, under patriarchy, to normalize and encourage male violence and female subordination.

When confronted with evidence that, historically and globally, women’s oppression is sex-based, gender identity politics simply claims that sex itself is an “invented” social construct.

In an article at Quartz, Jeremy Colangelo writes:

“Sex and gender are much more complex and nuanced than people have long believed. Defining sex as a binary treats it like a light switch: on or off. But it’s actually more similar to a dimmer switch, with many people sitting somewhere in between male and female genetically, physiologically, and/or mentally. To reflect this, scientists now describe sex as a spectrum.

Despite the evidence, people hold on to the idea that sex is binary because it’s the easiest explanation to believe. It tracks with the messages we see in advertisements, movies, books, music — basically everywhere. People like familiar things, and the binary is familiar (especially if you’re a cisgender person who has never had to deal with sexual-identity issues).”

But feminists don’t argue that sex is real because it is “the easiest explanation to believe” or because of what the media tells us. We argue sex is real because from the moment an ultrasound reveals a baby is female, her subjugation begins. And though “gender identity” is presented as an issue feminism must contend with, it is, as Rebecca Reilly-Cooper explains, completely at odds with feminist analysis of biological sex as an axis of oppression:

“Women’s historic and continued subordination has not arisen because some members of our species choose to identify with an inferior social role (and it would be an act of egregious victim-blaming to suggest that it has). It has emerged as a means by which males can dominate that half of the species that is capable of gestating children, and exploit their sexual and reproductive labour.

We cannot make sense of the historical development of patriarchy and the continued existence of sexist discrimination and cultural misogyny, without recognizing the reality of female biology, and the existence of a class of biologically female persons.”

Far from fluid, the realities of sex-based oppression are strict and enforced through violence — this is particularly true for women of colour and women in poverty.

Presumably, the Romanian women and girls who are filling up brothels in Spain (six out of 10 prostituted women in Spain are from Romania) would like to opt-out of their gender. Evelyn Hernandez Cruz, the 19-year old girl who has just been sentenced to 30 years in jail in El Salvador for having a stillbirth, after being repeatedly raped by a gang member, surely would like to reject her status as “woman.” The 12-year-old girls in Kenya who are sold into prostitution by their families, desperate for money amidst regional droughts, probably don’t identify with being exchanged as if they’re commodities. Presumably the girls in Nepal who die from snake bites and low temperatures in menstruation huts are uncomfortable with the restrictions of their gender.

Even in the US, sex-based oppression is compounded through other forms of oppression, like race. According to a 2017 report, black women are four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications, and are “twice as likely to experience a life-threatening complication during childbirth or pregnancy.” A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that half of the murders of women in the US are committed by a current or former partners and that black women are most likely to die by homicide than all other demographics. It is fair to assume that this is not a reality these women “identify” with.

To argue that sex is not real and that gender is innate or chosen, instead of socially imposed, demonstrates both ignorance to the world around you as well as a position of privilege. In this way, we see that gender identity ideology literally is “white feminism”: a (so-called) feminism that ignores the material realities of the marginalized, centers the feelings and interests of the most privileged, and presents itself as universal. It is a “feminism” invented by academics in Western countries that does little to address the struggles of those outside these circles.

Cate Young defines white feminism as:

“A specific set of single-issue, non-intersectional, superficial feminist practices. It is the feminism we understand as mainstream; the feminism obsessed with body hair, and high heels and makeup, and changing your married name. ‘White feminism’ is the feminism that doesn’t understand western privilege, or cultural context. It is the feminism that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.

White feminism is any expression of feminist thought or action that is anti-intersectional. It is a set of beliefs that allows for the exclusion of issues that specifically affect women of colour.”

Considering this definition, what do we make of a man claiming that eyeliner defines his “womanhood,” as Gabriel Squailia did this year in an article for Bustle? He writes:

“My politics and my eyeliner became inseparable. Projecting my own sense of beauty, without shame or hesitation, scared the hell out of my opponents. My look was my armor and my weaponry. Every day, my personal power has grown. Strength and security come from drawing lines on my lids, and from the visibility that follows.My sense of myself is personal, particular, idiosyncratic. It involves massive, complex issues of identity and politics. And all of this is present when I’m leaning into the mirror, getting my eyeliner wings just right.”

The ridiculousness of Squailia’s claim that makeup makes him a woman and that power, strength and security are easily available and acquirable through superficial means, is made ever more clear when contrasted with the day-to day realities faced by most women and girls around the world. In his piece, Squailia admits womanhood is something he has been able to put on and take off, as he pleased:

“I stopped wearing anything that scanned as feminine. I didn’t even own eyeliner for 20 years. And I said nothing when people took me for a straight, cisgender man.”

But women and girls oppressed for being born female don’t have the privilege of opting out of womanhood, and appropriating the male privilege of straight men. Patriarchy doesn’t care if women don’t like or relate to their subordinate role.

Many people who consider themselves progressive believe that by swearing allegiance to gender identity ideology, they demonstrate “intersectionality.” But if they truly cared about the intersections of sex, race, and class, they would center women and girls marginalized by those axes of oppression. Instead, progressives and queer activists are centering men who believe oppression is something you can opt in and out of. Surely, most women around the world would take offense at the notion the violence and injustice they suffer is a choice… Or that it has anything to do with eyeliner.

Raquel Rosario Sanchez
Raquel Rosario Sanchez

Raquel Rosario Sanchez is a writer from the Dominican Republic. Her utmost priority in her work and as a feminist is to end violence against girls and women. Her work has appeared in several print and digital publications both in English and Spanish, including: Feminist Current, El Grillo, La Replica, Tribuna Feminista, El Caribe and La Marea. You can follow her @8rosariosanchez where she rambles about feminism, politics, and poetry.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • Karla Gjini

    Thank you Raquel! You’re so wise and thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • Tobysgirl

    Ditto, ditto, ditto, regarding get off the internet and look around you at something that is not MAN-made. I know I repeat myself endlessly, but no one in touch with the world upon which we depend — trees, flowers, birds, bees, turtles, coyotes, vegetable plants, squirrels — can delude themselves regarding SEX. There is no other species with the talent for self-delusion and silliness that humans possess, but other species cannot afford to live in their heads instead of in reality. Perhaps that shall prove to be true of us as well.

  • martindufresne

    Dear Raquel, Will you authorize us at TRADFEM to translate this post into French? Please confirm with martin@laurentides.net

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    Up until fairly recently, I also considered myself a trans supporter. I wanted to validate their identities, as I believed that was respectful. And I still care about individuals who identify as trans, of course. But I came to realize that a movement which defines womanhood as a “feeling like a woman” and wearing dresses, is regressive and hugely problematic. I’m really glad that you are willing to read and consider alternate view points. I hope you will explore this site and read more of its articles.

    • kallaikoi

      That is because mainstream media are marketing trans people in a mysoginistic way. It is not their fault. Being trans is looking at your body and feeling it doesn’t belong. It has nothing to do with gender roles.

      • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

        That’s what body dysphoria is, yes. But you can hardly claim that the longing trans people feel to change their bodies to “fit” their self proclaimed gender has “nothing to do with gender roles.” Sex dysphoria would not exist without gender roles, just as anorexia would not exist without beauty standards that applaud ultra-thinness and demonize body fat.

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    This article is absolutely fantastic. Thank you, thank you. I hope it’s widely read. This is the kind of work that can really turn heads and make a change.

  • Tantalus

    Here’s a reply I wrote to a friend of mine who posted this on Facebook. I’m throwing it up here because I think I made some points that are valid and worth discussing.

    1) Feminist current is known to harbor some pretty disgusting voices. It’s founder Megan Murphy has at times been one such voice. That doesn’t mean this article is problematic, but I encourage a skeptical read.

    2)
    »What does gender identity mean for women and girls who look like me? «
    This is incredibly sloppy. Women and girls are groups of people with a specific gender identity, this question is mostly answered by the way it is phrased. Note how it excludes women and girls who *don’t look like the author* from consideration. If the author doesn’t think trans women and trans girls in her native country *look like her* then she’s not considering them at all. This could be stealth Trans Exclusionary feminism and given the website it’s on (with it’s known TERF bias) I’m taking a very skeptical look at it.

    3)
    »What does it mean for Dominican women and girls who are marginalized not just by sex, but by poverty, race, and xenophobia?«
    Note how gender isn’t on this list. The “women and girls” are marginalized by sex, but not by gender. This could be trans exclusionary, and/or indicative of a sex essentialist view.

    4)
    »But gender identity politics reduces this reality — and womanhood itself — to a trivial, malleable identity. «
    How? The author states this without supporting it. Just because she thinks it does that, doesn’t mean it actually does, or that other people experience it in the same way.

    5)
    »It is baffling that in a world where women and girls face structural oppression due to their biology, gender identity politics has thrived.«
    Unless there is some underlying truth to the analysis of gender identity politics, that the author doesn’t understand but that rings true with many others. Then it wouldn’t be baffling at all.
    Structural oppression due to biology simply isn’t the whole story, most of the story that the author related above was that people were expecting women and girls to do housework, and that they beat and abused them. Those 2 facets of oppression have nothing to do with biology and everything to do with culture and the way gender is constructed in it. A trans woman would likely be affected very similarly. Only the parts about childbearing have to do with biology.

    6)
    »Susan Cox argues that: “The non-binary declaration is a slap in the face to all women, who, if they haven’t come out as ‘genderqueer,’ presumably possess an internal essence perfectly in-line with the misogynistic parody of womanhood created by patriarchy.” «
    Then Susan Cox is full of bullshit. I don’t know any feminists who expect a) women to be monolithic, b) women to have any internal essence related to gender (a gender identity is nothing like an essence, it’s a sense of self and it changes over time — there is nothing essential about it) c) that there is anyone who actually is in-line with the literally conflicting stereotypes of womanhood present in our culture.

    7)
    »There’s a twisted, neoliberal cruelty in arguing that the primary problem with gender is its impact on the chosen identities of individuals, and not the way it operates systemically, under patriarchy, to normalize and encourage male violence and female subordination.«
    Who argues this? The author doesn’t provide examples or support. I’ve mostly seen (liberal) feminists arguing that the problem with patriarchy is the way it shapes, limits and coerces (with violence among other things) what people do with their lives. I’ve also seen arguments that the problem is structural oppression (the above constitutes structural oppression), and seen more radical voices arguing against that oppression by casting it as violence, as the author does here.
    Is the primary problem gender? Or patriarchy? The author seems to suggest it’s gender within the framework of patriarchy but is calling it out as “gender” rather than calling it out as “patriarchy”.
    Allow me to rephrase: Is the problem people who feel like they’ve moved between genders, within their own identity? or is the problem people who feel like they should enforce their views of gender on others with violence and domination?
    It sounds to me like the author is calling out the first group by saying they are cruel to not talk about the second group in the terms the author prefers to use (which are used by the first group in a different way).

    8)
    »We argue sex is real because from the moment an ultrasound reveals a baby is female, her subjugation begins.«
    This is not a biological argument. In fact this proves the point that sex is a social construct. In the absence of an ultrasound there is no subjugation despite all the same biology being there. It is only the social knowledge of sex, the social construction of sex that creates the subjugation. This proves the point that “bio sex is a classification we invented.” which is something the author mocks.

    9)
    »And though “gender identity” is presented as an issue feminism must contend with, it is, as Rebecca Reilly-Cooper explains, completely at odds with feminist analysis of biological sex as an axis of oppression…«
    Except this argument is somewhat at odds with the lived experience of trans men who are assigned by society to the female sex. They actually report more privilege and less oppression when they become perceived as men. Trans women, assigned by society to the male sex, also report much more oppression and violence directed against them as they become perceived as women.
    I’m not saying here that biological sex isn’t an axis of oppression, but that gender is a very important axis of oppression, and that people who move between perceived gender categories clearly demonstrate that much of the oppression women face is due to their socially perceived gender rather than their (often unperceived, or irrelevant) sex.
    Here’s a link with some trans men explaining some of their differences in oppression they face when percieved as men:
    http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/09/trans-men-explain-male-privilege/

    10)
    »Presumably, the Romanian women and girls who are filling up brothels in Spain (six out of 10 prostituted women in Spain are from Romania) would like to opt-out of their gender.«
    This is a doozy. Prostitution stats are notoriously inaccurate, far more sex workers are in the work willingly, or semi-willingly than anti-prostitution activists would have people believe, and there is an established phenomenon of people agreeing to be smuggled into other countries in order to do sex work. But above and beyond all that, gender identity is mostly not something people choose. Identity isn’t terribly malleable and gender identity is pretty rigid in most people. Why would these sex workers want not to be women?
    Also, trans women are massively over-represented in sex work, and to leave them out of this analysis is a jarring oversight.

    11)
    »Evelyn Hernandez Cruz, the 19-year old girl who has just been sentenced to 30 years in jail in El Salvador for having a stillbirth, after being repeatedly raped by a gang member, surely would like to reject her status as “woman.” «
    Why?? The author seems to be framing womanhood as if it’s all about being raped and oppressed. But the identity, to my understanding, for most people who hold it, a positive one. They see something positive about themselves in womanhood, or just feel as if it is who they are called to be, or that it explains how they relate to the world and society, which is why they identify as women. Or maybe they don’t think about it at all? Regardless, being a rape victim doesn’t make the vast majority of people reject their gender identity. Why would it? Victims can and do still have the same aspirations they had before being raped? The ones I’ve met mostly want to be treated better in the future, but would prefer a future where they can go about their lives much as they did before they were raped. Their aspirations, which are often interlinked with identity, don’t frequently change.

    12)
    »Presumably the girls in Nepal who die from snake bites and low temperatures in menstruation huts are uncomfortable with the restrictions of their gender.«
    Well if the author bothered to ask them, or look up interviews with them they’d know. But being uncomfortable with the restrictions on a gender imposed by society is an entirely different thing than not wanting to be that gender, or not identifying as that gender. I don’t know how or why the author is conflating these things, as is clear from the previous sentence, which i quote below:
    13)
    »The 12-year-old girls in Kenya who are sold into prostitution by their families, desperate for money amidst regional droughts, probably don’t identify with being exchanged as if they’re commodities.«
    These people almost certainly don’t identify as commodities, but they are pretty likely to identify with being women or girls. These are totally different things.

    14)
    »Even in the US, sex-based oppression…«
    It boggles the mind that the author keeps referring to it as sex-based oppression when talking about sex-work as a component of that oppression. There are a lot of trans-women in sex work, they are really over represented. Clearly it’s not oppression solely based on assigned biological sex.

    15)
    »A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that half of the murders of women in the US are committed by a current or former partners and that black women are most likely to die by homicide than all other demographics.«
    Trans women of color are even more likely to die by homicide than women of color. But they aren’t even present in the official studies. And the author excludes them from analysis again.

    16)
    »To argue that sex is not real and that gender is innate or chosen, instead of socially imposed, demonstrates both ignorance to the world around you as well as a position of privilege.«
    But that’s not what people argue. I argue that sex is socially imposed, and gender is several different things. 1) Perceived gender is socially imposed (usually based on appearance) and is the basis for a lot of oppression. 2) Gender identity is a concept that is internal to someone’s mind. It can be pretty rigid, and it can also be fluid. Identities are funny that way. Most people don’t choose their gender identity. But they can choose to question it or not. 3) Gender performance or presentation. Gender performance is how people choose to present themselves and is a choice. It can greatly affect perceived gender and thus is often incredibly coerced by the socially imposed pressure to conform to a stereotypical understanding of gender.
    So yeah, components of gender are socially imposed. Gender presentation and conformity is obviously chosen by people which should be obvious to the author if she’d ever met someone who presents as Butch, which she likely has. Gender identity is internal, is mental, and is not imposed. It’s often not chosen but is instead developed as people develop their identity and begin to understand how they would ideally relate to the world, their community and their culture, and the constructs of gender within that culture. (fuck, I left out cultural constructs of gender in my list of things gender could be).

    17)
    » In this way, we see that gender identity ideology literally is“white feminism”: a (so-called) feminism that ignores the material realities of the marginalized, centers the feelings and interests of the most privileged, and presents itself as universal. It is a “feminism” invented by academics in Western countries that does little to address the struggles of those outside these circles.«
    OK, this is some bullshit. To start with gender identity theory has been driven by trans people, who also largely drove the development of queer theory, even if the academics developing that theory weren’t actually queer or trans, they were reacting to the visibility and lives that queer and trans people were living openly, and their protests about their status.
    Also the feminism this author is pushing totally ignores the marginalization of trans and non-binary identities in non-western countries. I was just hearing about Travesti in Brazil and how they have an average live expectancy of like 38. Clearly they are highly marginalized, and are so marginalized in a not totally western country. Their struggles are also totally undressed by this author. This author is pushing a feminism that presents itself as universal but that excludes these struggles. This author is just as guilty of ignoring the material realities of the marginalized and centering the feelings and interests of the somewhat less marginalized (cis women in latin america in her case). It’s not white feminism, but it sure seems like Trans Exclusionary Feminism.

    18) OK, this article is almost certainly TERF bullshit.
    I’m not going to repost what the author says about Gabriel Squailia. Please read Gabriel’s moving article instead: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-eyeliner-defines-my-womanhood-54595
    The feminist current author misgenders her, and uses the wrong pronouns. This is straight up disrespect. And it’s gross coming from someone who claims to not want to “ignore the material realities of the marginalized.” The author ignores the material realities that Squailia is marginalized by people misgendering her, and the author participates in that marginalization, hen centers the feelings of cis women, who are more privileged. This is exactly what the author claims she is calling out.
    I’ll also note here that nearly all of the author’s claims about what Squailia is claiming are inaccurate. Squailia does not claim that makeup makes her a woman, Squailia claims it defines her, and only her, relationship to her womanhood. Squailia doesn’t really claim that security is available through superficial means, and talks at length about the challenges they faced because of their use of makeup. And Squailia doesn’t claim a refuge in taking off makeup. She explicitly mentions the fact that denial of identity leads to suicide.

    19)
    »But women and girls oppressed for being born female don’t have the privilege of opting out of womanhood, and appropriating the male privilege of straight men.«
    Women and girls don’t. Trans men assigned to the female sex at birth do have this option, assuming they are indeed straight. They can and do opt out of presenting as women and they can and do acquire some privileges when they do so. Please read the article I linked above about trans men if you don’t believe this, or find other sources where trans men talk about their experiences with privilege and oppression. They know far more about this than this trans oppressing author does.

    20)
    »Patriarchy doesn’t care if women don’t like or relate to their subordinate role.«
    This is true. And it’s just as true for non-binary trans women like Gabriel Squailia, or even gender conforming trans women (like e.g. Laverne Cox).

    21)
    »Many people who consider themselves progressive believe that by swearing allegiance to gender identity ideology, they demonstrate “intersectionality.”«
    Intersectionality is a real thing, and without it analyses are bullshit. This whole piece suffers from not considering how the axes of cisgender identity privileges the author over the trans women she is attacking (and disrespecting) with this piece.
    Gender identity is an axes of oppression, as the lived experiences of trans men and women demonstrate. That the author ignores this, gives credence to the idea that they actually don’t care about intersectionality, and are using the scare quotes to signal that.

    22)
    » But if they truly cared about the intersections of sex, race, and class, they would center women and girls marginalized by those axes of oppression.«
    I do. Or at least try to. But I stop centering them when they are speaking about trans people. In those cases I center the lives of the most marginalized: the trans women and girls also marginalized by race and class, and sometimes sex.

    23)
    » Instead, progressives and queer activists are centering men who believe oppression is something you can opt in and out of. «
    The fuck we are. Still even that would be better than centering the voices of cis women who want to exclude trans women from resources that would benefit them.

    24)
    » Surely, most women around the world would take offense at the notion the violence and injustice they suffer is a choice… Or that it has anything to do with eyeliner. «
    They probably would. But the only person I see pushing that notion right now is the author of this piece. People don’t choose to suffer injustice. But they do choose to present themselves in the way they are most comfortable with. And sometimes that involves eyeliner, either because they like the way they look with it, or their culture demands it of them. And they will be treated differently because of it, and that disparate treatment can cause suffering and injustice. IMO, if the author was paying attention they’d realize that the theories that integrate gender identity into their intersectional framework explain that oppression and injustice better than the theories that don’t.

    In conclusion, I think this author raises a couple of almost good points, but then absolutely torpedo this piece by being unable to hide their contempt of trans women, and letting their near hatred bleed in. I’d really like to ask you: what pressing question does this piece answer? What information of value do you think it communicates? What problem does it help solve?

    • Meghan Murphy

      You’re a white man, going around policing feminist voices and conversations, calling feminists and feminist analysis ‘disgusting’? I’d argue you are the ‘disgusting’ one, Cayman. (Though I would prefer a more accurate term… Let’s go with ‘misogynist,’ why don’t we?

      https://www.facebook.com/cayman.irvine

    • This comment smells like dude.

    • FierceMild

      Transwomen are male on the basis of biology. No more time for your nonsense. Your dislike of the physical world is not our problem. Go rant at god or Darwin, your choice (and that is your choice, a matter of identity, and a social construct).

      • Tantalus

        As a physical scientist, I find the physical world quite alluring. But thanks for playing.

    • May Loo

      What a load of codswallop

    • Cassandra

      FUCK OFF ASSHOLE AND TAKE YOUR WALL OF STINK SHIT MAN PRIVILEGE WITH YOU.
      JFC.

    • Omzig Online

      Hey bruh, I just showed a roomful of medical doctors your comment describing biological sex as a made-up “social construct,” and we all had a good, hardy laugh. Then one of the docs shook their head and muttered “This fucking twit is why we keep losing elections.” Just thought you’d like to know. I mean, if it were me, I know *I* would definitely want to know if some ill-conceived Facebook post that I wrote was a laughing stock for doctors and scientists across North America.

      But seriously, bro, before I respond to any of your points, I just have to ask: Were you drunk when you wrote this? I mean, it’s totally cool if you were. We all write garbled, pretentious, nonsensical shit when we’re drunk sometimes. One time I even got pretty drunk and posted something like “I wonder why mad scientists that keep human organs in mason jars don’t add a little slice of lemon in there, like, for freshness?” So I can TOTALLY relate.

      Anyway, bruh, just thought I’d give you a second chance to write something more succinct and reality-based. I am so looking forward to your thoughtful and insightful response. Best regards.

      • Tantalus

        Since you have access to a roomful of medical doctors, ask them how they’d describe the sex of an individual presenting with typical vagina, ovaries, genotypically XY and complete androgen insensitivity?
        One presenting with ambiguous genitalia, ovotestis, and who hasn’t been genotyped?
        The sex of an individual with congenital adrenal hyperplasia?
        The sex of an XX woman who has had a complete Oophorectomy?
        The sex of an chimeric individual (with both XX and XY cell lines) with typical vagina, and ovotestes that produce viable sperm in place of ovaries? (Such an individual could father children in vitro, but they’d only be descended from one of their cell lines).
        If they can’t agree on the sex in all these cases, or think that sex can’t be assessed accurately, or can’t agree on what biological tests would be needed to asses sex, then the socially constructed idea of sex as a binary is clearly not founded in biology.

        P.s. as scientist it is pretty disheartening to consider that doctors haven’t considered the many observations that contradict binary theories of human sex (which are the prevalent social framework — which is clearly constructed). I wonder if they are able to give compassionate care to intersex individuals who they encounter.

        There is such a thing as strictly biological sex though: in vertebrates weather an organism produces sperm, ova, both or neither. Humans can belong to, one, neither, or, if I understand how ovotestes work, both groups simultaneously.
        This tells us nothing about it’s social experiences, or it’s quality of being a “woman” or a “man”. Which is really what people seem to be asking. Also it means that people who don’t produce gametes have no biological sex, which clearly shows the deficiency of an appeal to biology — it only tells you things about biology, not anything about how people fit into society, or very much about the oppressions they might face.

    • Hekate Jayne

      You said:
      “This is not a biological argument. In fact this proves the point that sex is a social construct. In the absence of an ultrasound there is no subjugation despite all the same biology being there. It is only the social knowledge of sex, the social construction of sex that creates the subjugation.”

      When there IS an ultrasound, as in east asia, female fetuses are being aborted for being female. And by female, I mean that they have the reproductive system of a human female.

      In fact, there have been so many female fetuses aborted, because they are female, that their birthrate is dropping. And yet, they are still aborting female fetuses.

      So, why is their birthrate dropping? I mean, if biological sex isn’t a reality, why can’t they have babies born of all of the ladies with ladydick?

      Also, why is it that they don’t abort males for being female? Or even male, for that matter? Do you think that it might be because of female biology? If not, why?

      And how come 100% of child brides have a female reproductive system? Also known by sane people as girls. Why aren’t these males marrying little boys? Especially if they are girly boys? Since we all know that when a boy likes pink, it means he is really a girl.

      And how many transwomen have been subject to males’ forcing FGM? How many were denied the vote?

      How many suffer from lack of abortion access? How many were let go from their jobs for being pregnant?

      How many die in childbirth each year? Get ovary or cervical cancer?

      Now, I know that factual reality be tricky. But it seems as if all of these things and more, apply to a specific group of people. I don’t want you to hurt yourself, but maybe you should give it a think.

      But then again, you are male. And I have the feeling that you know all of this, and you don’t care. Because ideology, social constructs, biology, gender, etc. are only useful to you in that they give you control over women. Your aim is to keep us as reproductive, domestic and sexual slaves to males. Because most of you are scum.

    • bitingkiss

      Why did I even bother to read far enough into this to find out that you’re pro-pimp. EEK. Anyway, in radical feminist terms, “gender” refers exclusively to the socially-imposed elements. The biological aspects are referred to as “sex”, and the aspect you call “gender identity” is more of an effect of gender than a cause. Obviously you do not agree with that but it’s pretty painful to read a 24-point essay where half the points are a result of terminology confusion, and half of the other half are just you bursting at the seams to call women nasty bitches, er, “TERFs”. Did you really think there were points in here worth discussing?

  • Meghan Murphy

    We don’t delete comments from those who disagree, unless they are being verbally abusive, misogynist, or obviously trolling/wasting time with dumb comments. If people *do* behave in these ways, I will either delete or give them a warning that they will be banned if they continue.

  • susannunes

    In a world where women were respected and sex roles–gender–done away with, transgenderism would not exist.

  • FierceMild

    Right? What “scientists” are they always referencing? Dr. Seuss?

  • FierceMild

    Welcome, sister, you’ve already crossed.

  • FierceMild

    Exactly. We need diversity. Desperately. Without it we will die. The planet will die. Our accomplishments will be meaningless, our wisdom will be wasted, our discoveries will be thrown into a whistling void. Men in dresses dominating women through aggression and threats of violence do not constitute diversity. They constitute a conservative backlash against diversity.

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    I cringed when I heard about Tyrannosaurus Rump’s trans military ban. I knew that the trans activists were going to launch into a perfect storm of indignation and outrage. I’m afraid this will be a huge talking point in liberal “feminist” circles for a good time to come.

    Some part of me hopes that maybe, just maybe, this will spur the trans activists toward directing more of their anger at conservative males and away from feminists and lesbians and such. But I bet they’ll think up some way to blame us for this too.

  • Demih Frou

    *”As things stand, women are losing ground and losing the transgender debate.. to devise a strategy to destroy the patriarchy…”*
    The more women support each other, speak up their truths and issues and *separate from men*, the better it is – all those girls of the Dominican Republic marrying *men* is part of the problem. Hetero-normative culture is part of the problem, and gender issues are in great part resultant from this twisted culture.
    Men can be supporters or allies but Feminism must be done by women, and Feminism is the only sure weapon that will destroy patriarchy.

  • Hanakai

    Remind people that if we go back 30,000 – 50,000 years, we all carry genes from our black African foremothers. The human species fairly much originated in an area that is present-day Kenya. Trace back the mitochondrial DNA and that is where it leads.

    • Alienigena

      And more recently (West African) for some of us, at least according to genetic analysis (23andme) though I have no genealogical data to back up the findings. I used to think those of us whose families have been on the North American continent for hundreds of years (382 years in the case of my father’s mother’s family) must have some amount of ethnic variability. But looking at my own genetics I think that North America must be an especially racist place as my mother (both her parents were Danish, born in Denmark) had more ethnic variability than me (East Asian and North African/Middle Eastern). Or maybe Europeans have been more subject to a greater variety of rapers and pillagers seeking conquest (e.g. Genghis Khan, Romans, etc.).

  • Lobsang Dolkar

    Brilliant article. Thank you for your clarity. I think I understand now that pro-prostitution and pro-porn arguments are “white feminism” by the same logic.

  • cinderchild

    i’d also like to ‘identify’ out of the medical profession’s propensity to mis-diagnose women with psychiatric disorders or hypochondria rather than taking the time to do a proper diagnosis. no one ever talks about that when they talk about ‘cis privilege’. no one talks about when women say they experience pain they’re given anti-depressants or benzos. no one talks about the fact that women are more likely to have fibromyalgia and less likely to receive proper pain treatment.

    one thing i always think about in this ‘sex is a spectrum’ or ‘sex is a social construct’ day and age is this: males and females respond differently to medications (statins come to mind). males and females present different symptoms for heart attacks. there are countless other sex-based differences in medicine/medication but i guess you can identify out of that? if i identify as a man, does that mean i will now present with the male symptoms of a heart attack? will i now respond the same way to medications? no. biological sex means something. if you tell your doctor you’re female and they treat you as a female they could seriously screw you up vice versa if you say you’re male.

    • kallaikoi

      Thank you. My lupus symptoms were dismissed as “stress” during decades. Someone should coin the term “patient-blaming”

    • bitingkiss

      There have definitely been cases where trans people have received the wrong medical care because they wrote down their gender instead of their sex. Things as simple as trans men not getting pap smears because the computer system has them marked down as “M” and doesn’t send a reminder. I mean, your doctors need to know how you’re put together physically. :/

  • Just Passing Through

    The reeeeaalllly long posts usually are doodz because they think what they have to say is so so very important. I took one look at how long it was and immediately knew it was dude drivel… no thanks, I’ll pass.

  • Cassandra

    “White Feminism.” UGH. What started out as a term justifiably used by black women feminists to critique white women feminists who leave them out has now been appropriated by white liberal women and MEN to support prostitution, pornography, and the misogynist, homophobic shit show known as “gender identity.” I know so many white liberal men and women in NYC who are just like this… women in media jobs, fashion jobs… sitting around in expensive apartments and restaurants they enjoy because they have white privilege and yet saying “prostitution is a job like any other” and mindlessly parroting the “born in the wrong” body chant. It’s pretty disgusting, I have to say.

    Whether or not there’s a lady or man brain (there isn’t) matters zero shits to female well being: Gender identity is completely at odds with female liberation and the fact that women are oppressed on the axis of biological sex. I’m so sick of this trans and porn puke bullshit masquerading as “woke.” When will men stop being such complete mother fuckers with this shit? (And when will women get their heads out of their asses?)

    Great piece, Ms. Sanchez.

  • Hanakai

    Yes, this. I find it revolting the way these male so-called transgenders present a distorted grotesque caricature of women and make a mockery of real women. That these clowns think they are women and portraying women is puke-worthy.

  • Tantalus

    Women are oppressed, but that has nothing to do with what womanhood is intrinsically, and everything to do with the way womanhood is positioned socially.
    Compare to womanhood in e.g. the Kuna people of Panama where women are perceived to be inherently better at handling money than men, and as a result administer household finances. This social positioning results in disparate treatment of the genders, but has nothing to do with what womanhood is intrinsically.

    • Hekate Jayne

      Our treatment in patriarchy has “everything to do with the way women are positioned socially”?

      Who put us in our social position? Who decided that women should do the majority, if not all, household chores? Who decided that after we have babies, that it is us that does all of the work?

      Who decided that we have to have our reproduction controlled by the state? That abortion should be almost impossible to obtain?

      Who decided that we would be allowed to work? Who decided that we could have bank accounts in our own names? Who decided that we would finally be permitted to get an education? Or a driver’s license?

      Who decided those things, genius? Who is responsible for the hierarchy?

      And LOL at the women in Panama. How oppressive for the lowly males, lol. Poor dears too stupid to do a check book?

      That sounds like the responsibility for budgeting falls to women, because it’s a task that males are unable or unwilling to do. We always get the shitwork. The males pretending to be confused is just another hysterical manipulation, because males are terrified that they are actually going to have to do something for themselves.

      You all need a mommy. And I bet none of those mommies have a dick, either. Because dudes are all helpless, lol.

    • Yisheng Qingwa
  • Thain Parnell

    This article is bloody brilliant. Liberal Feminism is so hypocritical. They simply do not stop to think. I mean how can a child bride not be experiencing sex based oppression, you think they stop and ask them their gender identity before they force them into marriage?

  • Wren

    He’s a man, and it sucks that gendered expectations made him feel like he could never be himself, meaning a man who doesn’t want to play sports or wear a suit and tie or whatever. There is nothing that he says that makes him a woman in any possible way. Gender roles are stupid and they suck ass for everyone, but there is no such thing as a man really being a woman. Just isn’t.

  • Tantalus

    Very progressive of you to not have a gender identity. Psychologists have been identifying and assessing something they call “core gender identity” for 30+ years though.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity#Age_of_formation

    »The whole problem with gender is that it MAKES an identity out of having body parts, and unnecessarily so.«
    I agree, and I suspect my trans friends would agree with you here. Their identity has nothing to do with their body parts — it has to do with how they would like to see themselves. They’d rather not have an identity ascribed to them by society, but they are doing their best to deal with the situation they have found themselves in. Namely one in which our society is extremely hostile to people who deviate from the gender roles of the gender to which they are assigned or perceived to have.

    »And why are you making this all about transwomen when there are transmen out there too? How come NONE of you talk about transmen?«
    I linked to the following page about transmen and their experience under number 9: http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/09/trans-men-explain-male-privilege/
    The transmasculine people I know stay very far away from Feminist Current and other TERFy places because of how hostile they find them. There are forms of radical feminism that don’t exclude trans people, men or women, but I have seldom seen them represented. Maybe Feminist current could present some of their views? Although I have a suspicion that Ms. Murphy wouldn’t allow such trans supportive content on her website.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Regressive sexist men also stay very far away from Feminist Current, because they like to maintain their position of power in patriarchy but also claim to be Very Good Open-Minded Men who totally support the idea that gender is innate, isn’t that convenient for them, after all?

  • Wren

    Were these medical students??

    • Omzig Online

      No, RN students. The girl that asked about trans males was in her early 20’s, though, so I think it had a lot to do with her age.

  • FierceMild

    It’s the same for every argument trying to advocate sane food practices, compssionate treatment of animals, or environmentally sound propositions. The only thing they think men will react to is money. They. Are. Wrong. Men don’t want money more then they want domination.

  • FierceMild

    It’s just so ridiculous. I’m taking a microbiology class right now and every single presentation of a specific microbe pathogen describes, not just its effect on the human body, but its effect on sexed bodies and always with reference to pregnant women. No scientist is saying or agreeing that sex is a social construct.

  • FierceMild

    You are absolutely right. Men in dresses with nurturing personalities are actually gender non-conforming and help feminsts break through Patriarchy. The second you start insisting that men in dresses are female, because femininity is female, you become an agent of patriarchy.

  • Tantalus

    point 5:
    I don’t know either, but I suspect they would be if they found themselves in typical hetero relationships. But that’s pure speculation on my part, I wonder even how frequently transwomen end up in typical looking straight relationships. What are the marriage rates for transwomen? I do not know.

    point 15: I hadn’t heard of the debunking. The evidence I’ve seen is likely prior to the debunking you’ve seen. That being said, we can do a back of the envelope estimate.
    Non-hispanic black women have the highest rate of homicide measured in 2015 at 4.4 per 100,000 of population. [1] I’m going to restrict myself to trying to analyse homicides of black trans women rather than trans women of color as a whole, because it’s a) much easier and b) they seem to have a higher reported rate of homicide than other trans women of color. (This could be related to the fact that non-hispanic black women have a higher homicide rate than other subsets of WoC examined by the CDC, although just barely more than American Indian/Alaskan Native women).
    The HRC collects data on homicides of Trans people. They have 2016 data here: https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2016
    They give the names of 10 homicide victims they claim are black transgender women. For the ones they don’t list as black or latino, I looked up media reports and in my estimation Goddess Diamond, Deeniquia Dodds, Rae’Lynn Thomas, Brandi Bledsoe, India Monroe, and Sherrell Faulkner are black. That’s a total of 16 black transgender women who are victims of homicide in 2016. It’s almost certainly an undercount because it only includes confirmed cases of homicide that made it into the news media. They also have Veronica Banks Caro who was found dead fully clothed in a bathtub in a motel on the list. No word in media reports if that death is considered a homicide or an accident, but Veronica Banks Caro is also black in my estimation, and that is clearly a suspicious death. I’m going to count it as a homicide, because of the likely undercount in this data set. That gives us 17 black trans women killed in 2016.
    Now comes the hard part. Calculating the raw population of black trans women. The best data I found estimated that there are between 0.36% and 0.95% or adults in the U.S. who identify as transgender. [2] It doesn’t break that down by race or gender. (I suspect there are more transwomen than transmen, but I am clueless by how much, and I have no idea about variation in rates across race).
    I looked up the census projection for the population of black women and girls (both latina and not) living in the U.S. in 2016. It was 22,354,816. [3]
    I’m going to treat this as a math problem, solving for the number of black trans women. If black transwomen had a comparable homicide rate to black women as a whole, then 17 homicides / (4.4 homicides per 100,000 pop) = 386,000 black trans women. Which would be 1.72 % of the population of black women. If you think that number is higher than is realistic (which it very well might be, given the upper bound of 0.95% in the other data) then black transwomen are murdered at a higher rate per 100,000 than black women. If you think it’s lower than it should be e.g. you think at least 2% of black women are trans, then transwomen are murdered at a lower rate than other black women.
    Personally, I think transwomen are probably around 1% of black women, and thus I conclude they are likely murdered at higher rates.
    Regardless I’d like to see more research into trans women and the violence they face as a matter of public health concern.

    »Somewhere in here you argued that natal females have cis privilege, but we don’t.
    … And the trans men who have an easier time of it are having an easier time of it because people think they’re male, not because people see them as masculine, so that’s sex, not gender (because grounds for discrimination are in the eyes of the discriminator).
    «
    I don’t recall making that argument but I do believe there are times and places where cis women have cis privilege. You make a good point about trans men, but I’m not sure I agree. I think the real test is if transitioned trans men get treated more like cis men or cis women by people they are out to about their trans status. E.g. people who know what their genitals are like. I suspect they are treated more like cis men, and accorded many aspects of (cis)male privilege, even by people who know what their genitals are. Perhaps we should ask transmen what their experiences have been?
    I’ve tried to investigate this but I haven’t found many articles on the subject, and I’m loathe to ask my trans friends to contribute to something I’m posting on a website they deeply dislike.

    [1] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6628a1.htm?s_cid=mm6628a1_w
    [2] http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/How-Many-Adults-Identify-as-Transgender-in-the-United-States.pdf
    [3] https://www.census.gov/data/datasets/2014/demo/popproj/2014-popproj.html it’s in table 1, Column E entry corresponding to Origin (column A) = 0, Race (column B) = 2, Sex (column C) = 2, and Year (column D) = 2016.

    • acommentator

      “I don’t know either, but I suspect they would be if they found themselves in typical hetero relationships.”

      If a “Transwoman” is in a hetero relationship it would have to be with an (actual) woman. Straight men do not get into relationships with other men.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ah, now you’re trying to pit women against each other in order to defend your mansplaining? Cool, cool.

  • Alienigena

    The problem is that trans activists (specifically those who are trans identified biological males and their allies) have claimed over and over again that they are more oppressed than women, they are more often targets of male violence (?? proportional to their population numbers in wider population ??), and that biological females (XX) should stfu about issues (and terminology) of particular relevance to them, specifically to do with their reproductive biology. So I am not sure that I care very much about their struggles. I have a hard enough time caring about male/female relationships and listening to women make excuses for the men in their lives. I was at a dinner recently and one of the women, an accomplished academic, talked about how her first husband left because she neglected him while she was working, going to school and caring for their children. Her current partner was there but I don’t know if he heard. She blamed herself for her first husband’s decision to leave. What? I realize that maintaining relationships is complicated and if people feel neglected they feel resentful. But I remember my own parent’s marriage when I was young and my father did resent us and the attention my mother gave us. But we were children, dependents, we needed one decent parent to care about us. I have begun to think that heterosexual women and I, in particular, have very little in common. I mean so many of these women seemed so focused on male well being (gay, straight, trans identified). I just don’t care about men. Growing up I never received positive affirmation from my male parent, no matter how compliant I was, how helpful I was, how well I did at school. Nor did I receive any emotional support when I was sick (I had a chronic illness). My father’s attitude seemed to be ‘don’t make me look bad’. Sue me, I don’t really seek affirmation from males so don’t really get all the focus and attention paid to them. I have met FtTs and MtTs. Prefer the FtTs but was puzzled by the choice of one FtT who was a singer pre-transition. I would think that would ruin your career, vocally. Maybe it is the secondary hypersomnia talking about I don’t really have the emotional energy to care about what someone in New York (other side of the continent and another country) thinks. It is enough to keep up with the tales of awfulness (treatment of women and girls) documented on this site.

  • Rich Garcia

    There’s money in gender identity politics, which is why it has gained so much political ground. At least in the wealthier Anglophone nations of the West like Canada, Britain, and the United States for example. And it’s manifested in everything from Big Pharma and “reassignment” surgeries, to propaganda about how people are “brave” for crossdressing, ruining their bodies with hormones, and behaving as a stereotypically idealized imitations of the opposite sex.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The author did not argue that child marriage was cause by trans-identified people. Please engage in good faith or don’t bother. Thanks.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You’re warning women against reading FEMINIST ANALYSIS!?!? You are gross. Stop being gross.

  • Alex Sparks

    Thank you for this article. It really broke through my programming and has me rethinking a lot of things.

  • Meghan Murphy

    There might still be body dysphoria, but there wouldn’t be ‘gender identity.’ You can’t have ‘gender identity’ without gender.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh YEAH females and ALL the privilege they gain from having female bodies. You sure do know a lot about history, don’t ya?

  • Hekate Jayne

    My breasts developed overnight when I was 11.

    Males haven’t looked at my face since. I’m not convinced that my husband could pick me out of a crowd, if he had to do it by looking at my face.

    That’s something else males will never understand. I remember being sexualized starting around 11. The terror that we internalize, the self loathing. And the sheer perversion from adult males that view little girls as fuckholes.

    But Assholey McMansplainer up there will probably call it cis privilege because idiot male reasons.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you for this, Hekate. The idea that having ovaries somehow privileges women is just beyond….

  • Cassandra

    Slightly off topic but I appreciate you using “global warming,” which is the correct term, as opposed to “climate change,” which was made up by U.S Republicans to try to support their bullshit that the earth is just going through a natural cycle of “climate change.” Their term removes heat–manmade heat–from the equation.

    • FierceMild

      Interesting. I was under the impression that the left changed it to ‘Climate Change’ as a way of defanging right wingers who would be all like, “where’s your global warming now??” Whenever it was cool.

      • Cassandra

        I’m pretty sure that’s how it went but I could be wrong.

    • Hanakai

      Scientists have used the terms global warming and climate change to describe different phenomena. Global warming is the increase in Earth’s surface temperature as a result of the greenhouse effect. Climate change involves changes in all sorts of phenomena, temperature, rainfall patterns, droughts, climate patterns, etc.

      After the term ‘global warming’ came into popular use, US right-wing politicians and conservative think tanks decided to adopt the climate change term as more palatable.

      http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/climate-change-vs-global-warming-politics/2014/11/14/id/607457/

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    Yeah, ban this Narcissist vortex, please.

  • FierceMild

    I am so being that for Halloween! The slutty version, obvs.

  • FierceMild

    Wait, how did you divine my reading pattern?! She’s a witch!

  • FierceMild

    The intestines?

  • FierceMild

    I have done some reading indicating that two-spirit practices most often arose among cultures with strict sex-based social division. Being ancient or indigenous doesn’t necessarily mean that a culture isn’t also ragingly Patriarchal.

  • meh

    I want to thank Meghan for this site. It is the only genuinely safe place for women and feminists I have come across, although there may be a few more. Men are not pandered to here, it is the only site I’ve seen where they are treated equally to women. And I know it must take a hell of a lot of time and effort to coordinate and run this.

    I did give a small donation a week or so ago – not saying that for kudos saying it to encourage others to do the same. It was small, yeah but I will try to make it a regular thing. What you do is so deeply important. Thank you.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you for your support!

  • Hekate Jayne

    If that boner note had a religious theme, then I know exactly what you are talking about.

  • FierceMild

    It’s only when we start asking: why do I care?! That we begin to break free.

  • FierceMild

    Word. Big boobs are a bummer.

  • FierceMild

    I know. I’ve finished with that one. Hopefully he’ll go away soon.

  • squandered

    I’m talking about my own personal experience with second wave feminists, whom I told at the time would lose a generation of women to trannyism in their refusal to accept black women and other so-called “masculine” women as being equally female as them.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Which second wave feminists are you talking about? You seem to be painting second wavers with a pretty broad brush… The radical feminists of the 70s certainly didn’t make these arguments… ?

      • squandered

        ‘Painting so-and-so with a broad brush’ is the same sort of disengagement you see men fall into when confronted with something they feel irrationally defensive about. I’m talking about the self-identified second wave feminists I’ve interacted with. Frankly, I’ve seen some of the same attitude here, having lurked for a while. I suppose I could start taking names and screen shots but I have better things to do. A thing either rings true or it doesn’t.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Hmm… Well I’m actually trying to engage with you by asking questions and trying to move the conversation forward. I know a LOT of feminists, and have never heard any of them say that “black women and other so-called ‘masculine’ women [are not] equally female as them.”

  • Omzig Online

    I’m convinced his ultimate plan is to bore us all into submission.

  • calabasa

    Wait, I think you have that backwards.

  • Hekate Jayne

    “Not feeling like a man” is the exact equal opposite to “so I must be a woman”.

    I saw a comment on another site that called it “loser male, winner woman”. Some males feel like failures at manhood or masculinity or whatever. So now they have the option of doing “woman”, and it’s really easy to impersonate women because they are just so simple minded! Femininity is easy for dudes.

    The context of the article was sports and how these males had declared that they were women and then became the number 1 athlete on the girls/women’s teams. There was high school track, college basketball, professional golf. Each one of them were dominating because they were so much bigger and stronger. And the poor girls couldn’t say anything because transphobic bigotry.

    That’s part of what is just straight up fucking offensive to me. If you can’t be a correct male, or whatever, you just decide that “woman” is so stupid, so insignificant, so worthless, and so non existent, that you can just try it out! Like the unimportant facade that males act like we are.

    I am a human being. Not just an idea in some asshole dude’s head. I will not be erased.

  • Hekate Jayne

    I was in a discussion about trump and males were all saying that he has dementia, that he is mentally ill, etc.

    They weren’t denying that he is a sexist, racist shit. But they were discussing WHY he is this way.

    And I very plainly stated that I don’t care why. And frankly, all of the boys standing around, trying to figure it out, wasn’t changing anything.

    And because I am female and dared to say that I don’t care about WHY, I had dozens of mansplainations of how I needed to care about why! How can I help the assholey males if I don’t know WHY they are assholes?

    It’s just male derailment. I mean, if some male pulls a gun out and threatens to shoot one of them, they aren’t going to want to find out why, either.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, I can’t figure out if we’re saying ‘second wave feminists’ to refer to some rando racist/homophobe on the internet somewhere, who simply is claiming to be a ‘second wave feminist’ to start shit or if we’re talking about a legit feminist of note.

  • Meghan Murphy

    My aim is not to deny that white privilege exists — it most certainly does. My aim was to question this claim of lesbophobia and racism attached explicitly to second wave feminists. Feminists (particularly) radical feminists are smeared as bigots and racists time and time again by anti-feminist liberals and third wavers who rewrite history based on rumours spread around on Tumblr by people who have not bothered to read/study women’s history/the history of the feminist movement. It is important to offer examples for this reason, as well as to be able to address a problem if one exists. A key analysis of radical feminists is that women are oppressed as a class — ALL women. Again, I have never heard a feminist put forward the idea that ‘traditionally feminine white women’ are somehow ‘more female’ than lesbians, gender non conforming women, or women of colour. This does not, again, mean that white privilege is not a thing that exists — even among feminists. Of course it does. I guess I’m still trying to figure out exactly what you mean.

    When you reference Sojourner Truth, are you referencing her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech?

  • Wren

    I am certain that white women can be racist, and that it’s possible for a woman to be racist who calls herself feminist. I think that’s the author’s point. However, if you say you’ve been lurking here for a while, I wonder how you fail to see that the writers and the majority of the regular commenters see Radical Feminism as THE feminism that criticizes the use of race to subjugate women domestically and globally.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ok. I’m sorry if I misunderstood what you were arguing. I still don’t understand why it is unacceptable that we might ask for examples, so we know exactly what is being discussed, here, and can respond accordingly.

    Re: Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ — that speech was directed at male anti-feminists who said women should not have rights because they were weak etc… It wasn’t directed at feminists…

  • Hekate Jayne

    Exactly what I thought.

    It seems like it was a thing for a while, that anytime that there was snow anywhere at all, Republicans would say “look! Snow! How can there be global warming if it’s snowing somewhere!”

  • FierceMild

    What I wonder, Rich, is what helped you see the rape culture for what it is? I’ve asked this in a different way before and you gave some excellent link on sex slavery being both real and ignored. What got you from MGTOW to understanding rape culture?

  • Omzig Online

    I take a little solace in the fact that women make up the biggest population in universities, while more men are reportedly living at home in their parent’s basement playing video games. When women as a social class become the most technically skilled and the most educated, our tolerance for male bullshit will evaporate. The trick will be to eliminate patriarchy without imitating it.

  • Cassandra

    Maybe it’s that global warming is the cause and climate change (the things you listed) is the result.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No… It was a specific response to what male ministers had said about women’s rights… It’s pretty clear what she is saying if you read the speech. She is specifically and explicitly responding to what men said and says so in the speech: http://sojournertruthmemorial.org/sojourner-truth/her-words/

    Which suffragists are you referencing who fought only for white women’s recognition before the law?

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not ‘confused,’ I’m just asking questions, again, in an attempt to figure out exactly what it is you are arguing and who it is you are referring to. I’ve explained why I am asking these questions, and I don’t think it’s necessary to be rude because people are trying to engage with your comments. It is not reasonable to expect people to ‘take your word’ on something that has been so commonly said to smear feminists and the women’s liberation movement, and so often has not been based in truth. First you said ‘second wave feminists,’ then you referenced suffragists, then you said Sojourner Truth directed her speech to white women. So it is, in fact, very unclear exactly who and what you are talking about. It’s difficult to have a conversation when we don’t know what it is we are discussing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No… She fought for all women to be granted the right to vote (as well as black men). She abandoned the abolitionist movement because the male leaders (and some of the female abolitionists, in fact) wouldn’t support the women’s vote, only the black man’s vote (i.e. they supported the 14th and 15th amendment, despite the fact women were excluded), and she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton felt betrayed after having fought for black men’s suffrage, only to be abandoned by their fellow abolitionists when it came to also supporting women’s suffrage. Anthony and Stanton left the abolitionist movement after this happened, and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, which refused to support constitutional changes that did not enfranchise women as well as black men.

    Many female abolitionists (like Sarah Grimke, for example) were silenced for daring to bring up women’s rights instead of only speaking about abolition.

    In other words, the same thing happened back in the 19th century that happened during the second wave, and has continued today. Leftist men demand solidarity from women, but then don’t support them in their efforts to fight for women’s rights, so women abandon the left, and the left accuses them of racism, of being bougie, etc.

    This does not necessarily mean that there haven’t been racist white women in feminism or (again) that white privilege hasn’t centered white women’s issues over issues faced by women of colour. But the examples you are listing are not accurate interpretations of what’s happened. And the points commonly made about Stanton and Anthony are a good example of those rumours I was talking about — the smears spread around by third wavers who haven’t actually bothered to read history books, and blindly go along with statements about feminism being racist.

    This is part of the reason why I keep asking you for examples and asking you exactly who and what you are talking about. Because I am concerned that many of us fall into the trap of going along with what we’ve read online, without looking into those claims more carefully and critically.

  • Hekate Jayne

    The economy is working exactly like males set it up to function. Males love the “survival of the fittest” bullshit. And they believe that the dudes at the top deserve all of their money, no matter how they got it. Inheritance, stealing, pimping women, murdering, war, whatever. Males think that they wouldn’t have it if they didn’t deserve it.

    EVERYTHING works exactly as it’s designed to in patriarchy. But because it’s a horrible, murderous system, they do “confused male” constantly.

    Your comment was fabulous. I love your thoughts. 🙂

  • Iona Robey

    Are you saying that no trans person has ever hurt a woman or child? Because that is just false.

  • Iona Robey

    Thank you for sharing, @disqus_3fOh1ZmMpc:disqus. I never thought I’d hear of a radical feminist ally who used to be a MGTOW. Incredible story!

  • Iona Robey

    ‘Nobody can see your gender identity without the costume.’ I like that!

  • Liz

    I agree! There seem to be so many on the left who rail about him being insane. It looks more like a concentrated formula of sales tactics and dudely peacocking to me. Donald Trump looks like the pinnacle of masculine achievement in our culture.

    Today with the latest about the Justice Dept planning to attack affirmative action, I thought immediately — I have been here before and their names were Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hey! Thank you for your interest in supporting FC! If you send me an email via the contact form, I can offer you some alternatives for donation?

  • Just Passing Through

    Lol… !!

  • FierceMild

    Everything you said there is completely true. What I’m really trying to understand, and I ask every (or I should say “all three”) male allies to Radical Feminism I come across what made them turn their point of view enough to see this:

    “There is something inherently wrong with how male (hetero)sexuality is molded and celebrated to the detriment of females of all ages and backgrounds. Almost every conversation about a woman has to be about how “fuckable” she looks or how available she is to men.”

    Where they used to just see the way things are?
    The reason this question is so important is because you completely changed your perspective. And if you did it then perhaps whatever helped/motivated/forced(?) you to see things differently will do the same for other men. I see that your inner disposition changed. But I don’t have a clear picture of why or how and without that clear picture I can’t leverage your experience to help others.

  • FierceMild

    Thanks!

  • FierceMild

    chromosone fart wank wank!

  • Meghan Murphy

    My point, again, is not that there is not truth to the claim that there were racist women in the suffrage movement. I responded to Squandered’s initial statement by asking who exactly she was referring to, when she said ‘second wave feminists.’ I am not denying the possibility that racism has existed in feminism, but instead asked to know exactly what Squandered was referring to, so that we could all be on the same page and respond accordingly. I also suspected (correctly) that she may have been referring to common myths about feminists and the feminist movement, and I think it’s important we correct those myths instead of further propagate them.

    There are most certainly conversations to be had about white privilege and white centered politics in feminism, but we have to have these conversations based on truth and real things that have happened, not myths.

  • Ilse

    Thank you. Wonderful article.

  • polina

    A quote in the article says that critique of makeup is white feminism and i don’t agree with that. I didn’t say that was the point of the article.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You keep moving the goal posts. I haven’t denied that white women may have been racist, even within feminism, I’ve asked you specifically what you were referring to, so I could respond to your arguments. When pressed, you did offer examples of things that I *was* able to respond to, which was useful.

  • Meghan Murphy

    While in the past I would have just gone along with these kinds of accusations willingly, but now I know better, and am not interested in letting mythology about feminist fly, because that mythology exists specifically to smear the feminist movement.

    It’s not ok to simply accuse women who counter your claims of being ‘self-serving’ or dismissive of black women’s experience. You don’t understand the history, and are repeating myths instead of looking into the myths more closely. You are not arguing with integrity here and you are being manipulative in your responses. Please stop.

  • SikanderG

    I agree with some of this but I wonder why you claim that gender is a choice, and suggest that sex can be anything other than biologically defined? If ‘gender’ means ‘gender identity’, then that is not a choice, and sex by its very nature is supposed to be something biological.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Yet another example of the use of being from the global South and a person of colour as an identity political defense against accusations of transphobia.”

    “Yet another”!?!? You act like women of colour are constantly using intersectional arguments insincerely in order to challenge the Western, regressive notion of “gender identity.” Like, where is all this happening?

    “As a trans person also from the global South, from a highly patriarchal society, and who was born and grew up as a female (biologically female, categorized and treated as a girl), I call BS.”

    You aren’t trans, you are female. And a lesbian. And I am very sad that you have come to the conclusion that you must be “trans” in order to avoid dealing with the homophobia you’ve experienced and/or fear experiencing as an out lesbian.

    I do not know exactly happened to bring this about face, in terms of your feminism, but it is depressing either way.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “But it will involve a WOC using being such as a pre-emptive defense against accusations of transphobia. I consider that to be identity poiticking.”

    It seems to me that the only time this happens is in response to claims that transphobia and racism are the same thing and that in order to be ‘intersectional’ and not be labelled a ‘white feminist’ you must support the idea of transgenderism. *These* are the dishonest arguments. It is in response to this that women of colour will sometimes speak up and say, actually, not all women of colour support the notion of gender identity, so please stop using us to force this crap down our throats.

    Anyway, you aren’t going to convince anyone here that feminist analysis is transphobic simply by repeating the word ‘transphobic’ over and over again. You are right that I failed to speak out against gender identity ideology in the past, mostly because I wanted to think through the issue thoroughly before forming a public opinion. So I did a lot of thinking, reading, listening, and talking before coming to the conclusions I have. This is how one forms intelligent opinions. I also, frankly, did not realize, early on, how important it was to speak out — I thought, you know, whatever, let people live how they want to live — who cares. But once I realized how sexist and how harmful the ideology was, that governments were shaping public policy around these ideas, and that women’s spaces and feminist speech were under attack in a very serious way, I realized that it was important I speak out. That is not “phobic,” that is feminism.

  • Cassandra

    We simply do not agree with the way you see sex and gender. It is horribly dishonest and unbelievably manipulative to paint it as bigotry.

  • kallaikoi

    White feminism is a phrase used to blame feminists for problems caused by men. As a spaniard, I don’t understand how prostitution is linked to white feminism. Most women here in Spain, whether we declare ourselves feminist or not, are against prostitution and surrogacy, to the point we are one of the few UE countries where surrogacy is not legal. Prostitution is too established, so it is very difficult for us to abolition it, but we are trying.

  • kallaikoi

    I have always thought that how transpeople are presented in USA is silencing them. Most transpeople in Spain don’t correlate being a women with wearing dresses and playing with dolls. In fact, many of transwomen I know are radical feminist. They told me they look at their body and they don’t see what they expected. They see themselves as bi-gender (identity vs body), when massmedia tries to present them as monogender (identity). Isn’t it a way to dismiss the problems being bi-gender brings?
    Also, media always speak about trasgender women who conform gender roles, but what about non conformist transwomen and transmen?

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    Okay, I think I get what your saying. Yes, US media is definitely pushing cosmetic surgery on dysphoric people. And that culture is spreading and invading other countries. Still, I don’t see how you can separate the concept of being transgender from the concept of gender roles.

    • kallaikoi

      Maybe because I understand that having a vagina doesn’t equate to wearing makeup. So I understand when my friend tells me that he looks at his body expecting to see a vagina but doesn’t, but that feeling doesn’t equate with wearing make up. (He also understands that his body is not going to change and he won’t become a woman)
      I see as something instinctive that may be explained in the future. For instance, it is suspected that the levels of stress surronding the mother while pregnant determine the sex. What if when the feto was developing as a boy, the mother experienced stress and the feto’s lizzard brain orderded going female because we are more resiliant? But the order came too late but stays somehow recorded on the lizard brain? Somehow it seems that teen hormones override that order in many cases, since many trans people stop feeling that way after growing up.
      Also, not everyone with body disphoria is trans. There are many examples that are obviously other issues, for instance, women who don’t reject their genitals but reject menstruation or breasts?

      • bitingkiss

        Unfortunately this is no longer an acceptable understanding of transgenderism. This view is called “transmedicalism” and will get you put on the TERF list with the rest of us.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think it’s true that most trans people pass, in general. A huge problem with the idea of “trans,” in general, is that there is no real definition for the word. To identify as “trans,” you don’t actually have to do anything. You can just be a regular, balding dude with a beard or a woman with short hair and insist you are “trans.”

    And, I mean, I don’t *care* if a person conforms to sex or gender stereotypes, what I care about is the fact that we have, all of a sudden, been forced to reorder our language, laws, and politics to accommodate something that isn’t tangible or measurable. “Trans” is not a material reality — it is an idea that exists inside the heads of those who claim the identity. That is, in large part, why this entire conversation is crazy-making.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “That’s not what I said – I said most trans men pass easily, so I am being quite specific.”

    Hmm, yeah so am I… I don’t think most trans people — women, included, “pass quite easily.”

    “I take your point, but it’s not so much that there is no definition, it’s more that it is used very broadly by some people to encompass a wide range of states.”

    *By most people — trans-identified people included/especially. i.e. Even the people pushing this ideology refuse to define “trans” in a clear, rational way. Even your definition begins with a thing that is not tangible, real, or definable — “male gender identity.” At least you make clear that there must be medical transition, though, which is something that transactivists seem to have decided to reject in their definitions, legal and otherwise.

    In terms of a scientific basis for a ‘transgender brain’ (if that’s what you want to call it), you STILL haven’t offered anything concrete! Like, what ARE the actual difference found in so-called “transgender brains”? How does one quantify this? Beyond that, if there actually were some concrete, material way of defining a “trans person/brain,” I am quite certain that trans activists would reject that as a definition, because it would exclude the vast majority of so-called “trans people” from transgenderism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If you are talking specifically about the mental condition called “gender dysphoria,” I am more than happy to agree with you that this is a form of medical condition. But you’re going to have to do a lot of convincing, in terms of what trans activists say about transgenderism, and suspect you will get a lot of push back.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Gender dysphoria is a very democratic condition – it can strike anywhere, and a trans person can come from any intellectual level, any culture, any ethnicity, and any social group, so naturally, you will hear a range of opinions on it from trans people – some of them extreme.”

    Ok, so now it seems you’re no longer talking about a mental condition, you’re talking about an unquantifiable feeling that most everyone in the world feels at some point. i.e. the feeling that you don’t quite ‘fit’ with the gender roles/stereotypes assigned to you.

    How are you defining ‘gender dysphoria’?