The gentrification of womanhood

Being born female takes a toll on women only we can understand.

Crosses marking the mass grave of femicide victims in Chihuahua (Image: Wikipedia)

These are hard times for women. The feminist movement of the 70s and 80s raised awareness about violence against women on a global scale. As a result, today, we are able to identify the murder of women and girls as systemic under patriarchy. In Latin America and the Caribbean, where violence against women is an epidemic, we even have a term for this: femicide (or “feminicidio’” in Spanish), meaning, “the murder of women on account of their sex.”

Despite this, women’s lived reality has become unspeakable today. Those who acknowledge that females are oppressed as a class, under patriarchy, are labeled phobic and worse. In other words, feminist analysis of systems of power is set aside in order to accommodate the idea that womanhood is nothing more than a “feeling.”

Over at Equality For Her, journalist Katelyn Burns writes:

“So what does it mean to feel like a woman? It means that if you are a woman, it’s whatever you are currently feeling. Women are so diverse in their experiences that there can be no universal model of womanhood.”

Apparently, womanhood is now so all-encompassing it can be experienced by anyone, based on “feelings.” Yet, at the same time, within this analysis, womanhood is rendered meaningless and without structural roots.

“What is a woman?” is a question asked by those privileged enough to never have had to suffer the answer to this question. No one asks women what womanhood “feels” like, because, for us, being “women” is simply our reality. Most women around the world learn early on that, under patriarchy, their opinions about their subordination are irrelevant. As a structural force, patriarchy continues to degrade and violate women and girls, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not — women’s feelings be damned.

Male violence against women ensures our compliance. Femicide is the lethal extreme of this, but violence against women and girls manifests in a myriad of ways. In feminist circles, we talk about male violence against women often. Indeed, ending male violence is the most pressing point in the agenda for women’s liberation. But how can we eradicate male violence against women if we ignore the centrality of women’s bodies under male supremacy? How can we move beyond a patriarchal society if we refuse to acknowledge that women are a class of people, whose status is determined by their sex?

On August 31st, this reality was laid bare in a Chinese hospital. A 26-year-old woman named Ma Rongrong started labour a week ahead of schedule. She was advised by the medical team at the Yulin Number 1 hospital, in the Shaanxi province, that the girth of her baby’s head was too big for her to give birth naturally. Ma and her husband, Yan Zhuangzhuang, signed a document, against medical recommendations, stating that Ma still wanted to try a vaginal birth.

The Chinese newspaper Caixin reports that, as the labour pains intensified, Rongrong changed her mind and requested a cesarean section, multiple times. The problem was that, under Chinese law, a patient’s family must approve of all major surgeries their relative is to undergo. Rongrong’s family denied her the c-section.

The article explains: “Hospital records showed that both the woman and the hospital requested permission from the family three times to perform the operation, but her relatives allegedly refused and insisted on a natural delivery.” There’s video footage of Rongrong trying to walk, but kneeling in excruciating pain, surrounded by half a dozen family members.

Today, the family and the hospital staff blame each other for denying Rongrong the c-section she needed. But it seems that the last word laid with her family — specifically Rongrong’s husband, who had her written permission to decide on the method of medical treatment for his wife (after consultation with medical staff), but who still didn’t approve the surgery.

In her desperation, Rongrong even tried to leave the hospital, but was caught and brought back inside. Eventually, she made a drastic and tragic decision: Ma climbed out of a window on the fifth floor, and jumped to her death.

Why did Rongrong die? I’d argue that Rongrong died, ultimately, because of her sex.

Nobody asked Rongrong if she “felt” like a woman, patriarchy simply treated her as one — governing her female body against her will, ignoring her thoughts and feelings. A nationwide policy dictating that all surgeries have to be approve by family members affects every patient in China. But, as Rongrong’s death shows, this policy has particular repercussions for those with female bodies.

A similarly gruesome case took place around the same time in the Dominican Republic. A 16-year-old girl named Emely Peguero Polanco had been missing for over 10 days. Her disappearance and the search efforts were breaking news, in part because Peguero Polanco was five months pregnant in a country that fetishizes pregnancy. For almost two weeks, it seemed the country could talk of little else.

As many people suspected, Peguero Polanco had been murdered. Her final hours and the manner of her death were ghastly. She had been ambushed by her boyfriend, an older guy named Marlon Martinez, who told her he would take her to a doctor’s appointment. Instead, he took her to his apartment where he (probably with the aid of other people) performed a forced abortion on her.

The investigation is still open but the crime is both misogynistic and vile. Marlon’s mother, Marlin Martinez, was an influential politician in the community and actively helped her son cover up the crime. Marlin paid multiple employees to move Peguero Polanco’s body around the country so that the authorities couldn’t find it. Marlin even appeared with her son in a video recording where they pled with Peguero Polanco — who had already been murdered — to return to her loved ones, addressing her as though she were a runaway.

The forensic report states that Peguero Polanco was a victim of psychological and physical violence, as well as torture and barbaric acts:

“Inside the cadaver, there were pieces of the fetus that she was carrying in her womb, concussion to the uterine wall and vaginal canal, a perforation of the uterus, meaning that great force was applied in the area and various organs relating to a forced abortion.”

The report also explains that she had “a blunt concussion with cerebral hemorrhaging, meaning the trauma was inflicted while she was alive.”

Regardless of the “motives” her murderer and his accomplices might have had (some analysts argue that there was a class element because Peguero Polanco was poor and Marlon was upper class, so his family didn’t want a working class girl carrying his child), Peguero Polanco was killed because of her pregnant, female body. And I am certain that none of those who performed the forced abortion that killed her asked Peguero Polanco if she “identified” with the biological realities of her womanhood.

Rongrong and Peguero Polanco are merely two recent examples, but the ways in which women are killed because they are women, under a patriarchal system, are infinite. But today’s queer theory and its advocates are casting aside this brutal reality in order to depict womanhood as abstract. Reducing “womanhood” to feelings, clothing, and personal identities is a slap in the face to most women and girls whose oppression is forced on them, regardless of how they dress or identify.

Recently, British singer Sam Smith came out as “non-binary,” saying, “I feel just as much woman as I am man.” This newfound identity appears to be based solely on the superficial. He explains:

“There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really… I would wear full makeup every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr. Martens, and huge fur coats — for two and a half years.”

Determining that you “feel like a woman” because you like to wear high heels, makeup, and dresses is deeply misogynistic, as these are merely the trappings of femininity — a projection of male fantasies about women — yet this idea appears to be gaining traction.

Much like the upper class loves the aesthetic of the working class and similar to the way male authors fetishize women in the sex trade, hoping to appear “hip,” as Kajsa Ekis Ekman argues, this watering down of womanhood is a form of gentrification. In this case, womanhood is desired and coopted by those who benefit under patriarchy (males), while the uncomfortable and violent realities of womanhood remain relegated to the underclass, who don’t have a way out.

In Being and Being Bought, Ekman writes:

“A man who romanticizes the working class applauds the physical labourer and hopes that he has some of those attributes, but it is stereotypical masculinity he admires, not a living person trying to survive under difficult conditions. The ‘wigger’ feels like he is part of the black community, but is not upset about violence in the ghetto. What he fails to understand is that by fetishizing someone’s everyday life, he shows how distant he is from it. Living conditions become and identity, and then a fetish.”

The gentrification of womanhood takes the gender stereotypes forced on women and presents them as though they define womanhood. This offers a subversive facade that functions only on an individual level, rather than a structural one, ignoring the suffering and oppression of women. Rather than advancing the rights of women and girls, this form of gentrification obscures them, erasing the reasons women need sex-based rights in the first place.

Ekman argues:

“The oppressed is keenly aware of the humanity of the privileged. For the privileged, on the other hand, the oppressed is an enigma living in a magical, half-human world. The fantasy of the privileged is having the ability to wallow in this world.”

Indeed, men may wallow, but they will never be forced to exist within the constraints of womanhood, as they were not born with female bodies. Through superficial choices like clothing and make-up, women’s oppression is transformed into something liberating… For everyone but us.

The casual cruelty of these nonsensical, circular arguments is playing out while girls and women around the world bear the brunt of what, for them, is a reality, not an identity.

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

  • Rachael

    The examples you gave, and the millions more like them, are nothing short of tragic. Living with the knowledge our biology is the marker that targets us for similar stands in such sharp contrast here with the summation of the male fantasy of what being a woman is: clothes and makeup. I’m shaking my head. Thank you for a wonderfully articulate article.

    Isn’t it ironic that the only people who are heard when it comes to defining womanhood are males?

    • Jani

      “Femininity” was created by men to keep women in their place. Do men wear shoes that prevent them from running or walking without discomfort? Do men wear clothes that limit their movement? Do men glue artificial hair to their eyelids that restricts their field of vision? “Feminine clothes” are a sort of walking prison. Just look at how Hollywood actresses are trussed up for the red carpet. And then think of Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour as a man in control of that industry, and in control of the fates of many women. And then a few men who fetishise the trappings of “femininity” threaten biological females with rape and violence for speaking out about their concerns? We are living in one big fuck up of a planet.

  • “The fantasy of the privileged is having the ability to wallow in this world.” More like this please. I think connecting the delusions of men who throughout history have wanted the experience of the oppressed without the reality of it is a very good tactic for dealing with the trans phenomenon. Has anyone researched this kind of male behaviour? I’m sure it’s existed in all kinds of ways and places.

  • Safa

    I have often wondered why trannies (MtF) haven’t yet co-opted that other bastion of womanhood—Mother. Most women are mothers. Many women do not have a choice in the matter therefore motherhood is forced upon them. I would think that if any male claims to “feel” like a woman, he needs to include taking on the role of being the default parent who must provide for the emotional, economical and physical well-being of a child. Of course, allowing trannies to adopt or foster children would be a horrible mistake as they are men and cannot always be trusted around vulnerable people. Also, trannies don’t seem to be interested in partnering with heterosexual men and performing the dirty jobs that are the purview of women in setting up housekeeping. Just wearing the costume of heterosexual male fantasy is a very small part of being a woman, and some females, like myself, don’t bother to do even that.

    Womanhood under patriarchy is domestic slavery, it is not glamorous or exciting. There is a reason Jewish men thank their god every morning for not making them women.

  • Omzig Online

    Maybe the above quote could’ve said
    “So what does it mean to feel like a woman? It means that if you are a FEMALE, it’s whatever you are currently feeling.” I think that’s what the author was getting at.

  • Hekate Jayne

    Some days, I just can’t.

    There was a woman in Ireland a few years back, she was a dentist. Her fetus died in utero and the male medical establishment refused to remove it, stating that it would pass naturally.

    She begged for help. For those useless fucks to help her, to remove it. Iirc, it took almost 3 days for her to die.

    Three fucking days. Three days, just so males could prove what? That they hate Her? That they hate us all? And if given the chance, they will not only kill us just because they want to, but they will murder us as slowly as possible? And their male governments will insure that they not only get away with it, but that males will be permitted to murder us?

    Why is it that males enjoy causing suffering so much? And then have the audacity to demand that we love them, serve them, and capitulate.

    How am I supposed to believe that there isn’t something just inherently wrong or evil in them? How can we see the things that they do to us, and continue to explain and beg?

    It is so painful, to know that I am not human. I say differently, of course. But what I think about myself doesn’t matter.I don’t have the power to be human. I have to wait, to ask, to beg to be seen as human. And the sad fact is that I will die not human.

    I live as males say that I can. As a uterus, a servant, a fucktoy. I will die the same way. We all will.

    And it is not fucking good enough.

    • catlogic

      Savita Halappanavar. I can’t believe it’s already five years since they killed her.

    • Ms Gribbly

      The sad part is an overwhelming number of women support and vote for men, and their anti-women policies. I used to feel angry at men until I realized they really couldn’t have that power without women’s deference and approval.

      • Cassandra

        I’m not sure you quite understand how oppression works.

      • Danielle Matheson

        What? Men are the problem! Yes, women support men who do not have their best interests in mind, BECAUSE NO MAN IN POWER TRULY DOES. I don’t care if that’s a broad statement but yours is just ridiculous.

    • Tobysgirl

      What you think about yourself DOES MATTER!!!!! Do not beg anyone to be seen as human, do not beg anyone for anything. Once again I will quote a postcard of my grandmother’s:
      LIVE EVERY DAY SO YOU CAN LOOK EVERY DAMN MAN IN THE EYE AND TELL HIM TO GO TO HELL.
      My grandmother was born in 1888 and was nobody’s fool.

      • Germaine

        I love your grandmother !

      • Wren

        Can I pretend she’s my grandmother?? I’m gonna put that on my wall 🙂

    • Heidi Hall

      I also become angry with the women who support the abuse of women.

    • Danielle Matheson

      You took the words right out of my mouth. These past few weeks have been grueling and I am becoming more and more paranoid and it’s getting harder to hide. Men don’t see me as human. I can’t take my dogs pee at night without debilitating fear that some asshole will come and attack me. I can’t afford to move to a better area and I’m stuck in my crap town. I’m done. But you’ve said exactly what I’ve been feeling.

  • Hekate Jayne

    And then we have this piece of brilliant male logicks…..

    https://www.theodysseyonline.com/why-cis-female-drag-queens-are-form-of-cultural-appropriation

    You know how we are told all of the time that women cannot be appropriated?

    Well, apparently women appropriate ladymen. By participating in “drag”.

    • Omzig Online

      I can’t believe that guy could write that piece with a straight face. Evidently, the irony of that article went sailing right over his head.

    • Danielle Matheson

      Jeezus! Drag is appropriation of femininity (which is forced upon us! We don’t get the choice and when we deviate we are punished!) and taken to the extreme for “entertainment purposes”. And yet…we can not participate? Lol. These idiots need to understand the simple concept of logic. The concept of misogyny. The concept of “are you fucking kidding me?”.

  • Kiwipally

    It goes even further. If there is nothing that defines “woman” then logically “woman” ceases to exist.

    Seriously, how can anyone take the statement that a bloke “feels like a woman” if there is no shared experience of what a “woman” is? Such a shared experience would include, but not be limited to, feelings that women tend to have and that men do not tend to have.

    Which then gets us to: where the hell is the research that supports the ludicrous notion that women have certain types of feelings that men do not (and, I assume, vice versa)? Why are so many people swallowing this, when there is a evidence of absence (not absence of evidence) for this “conclusion”?

    It’s like so many people have tried so hard to be open-minded that their brains have fallen out.

  • I’m wondering whether “orientalism” would apply, the fetishization of Asians during the colonial period.

  • Leo

    Part of my family is Irish, yes the Irish were oppressed. Does that affect me, nope, not one iota, but neither do other types of past oppression always affect anyone, it’s still relevant history. It’s also the case for white-passing PoC -who here in the UK, we’d likely not even consider BAME, we don’t do the racist one-drop rule and we don’t consider people with Spanish ancestry not to be white- that they’re not necessarily affected day to day, but that is obviously really besides the point. It also has/does affect my Irish family, some of this is recent history. It’s really a very American perspective to insist the only oppression that counts involves race, and to map that onto other countries. It’s inaccurate with Europe, xenophobia matters here.

    • FierceMild

      My father is a 1st generation American of Irish heritage. I would say there are two ways that the oppression of the Irish impacts my life, but in both cases the impact is more down to Patriarchy then anything else:

      1) intensely Patriarchal religion wielded as a weapon of control over women.

      2) the rage of dispossessed men under Patriarchy.

      • Leo

        Those are excellent points, useful perspective. I’m fortunate perhaps that my dad hated Catholic school and became an atheist opposed to religion.

        • FierceMild

          You’re lucky there. I’d also like to add that my Irish descent doesn’t prevent me from benefiting currently from our white supremacist culture, which I think was part of the original point.

  • Omzig Online

    Ha! Here’s a public instagram photo of the happy mother duo. I dunno, but it looks like that dude is pretty heavily invested in gendered masculine stereotypes, especially when he carries his wife over the threshold of their new home with his womanly arms.

    https://gendertrender.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/shea-ellen-gilliam-dove.jpg

  • Jani

    Sorry. I edited my post. I went off on a tangent not relevant to the article.

  • Wren

    Oh I remember that Dove commercial. What a load of bullocks. And recently they got in trouble for a very racist one!!
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/business/dove-ad-racist.html
    I’m embarrassed for them.

  • OldPolarBear

    That commercial … I remember reading the original GenderTrender post and watching it, several times. And I just went over again, and watched it several times. Sometimes I like to watch ads over and over and find things I didn’t see. Anyway, it’s kind of OT, and I don’t want to thread-derail, but maybe it’s kind of relevant, too. There’s another thing in there that bugs me and it may be nothing but …

    The Ranching Mom (I made up different names for them like this) — is it possible there are two different women? In Ranch World, there is no man shown or mentioned, as with most of the others. She never says she is a single mom, like Asian Mom. It almost seems like there are two different women on the ranch. The color/shade of her vest changes from shot to shot, and the color of her top underneath the vest is white in some and very dark gray or black in another. She is definitely pregnant in the frontal, mid-distance shot (I think it’s the last one she’s in), and you can’t tell one way or the other in the other scenes. Nobody else’s outfits change that I could tell; there is continuity throughout the ad.

    Am I just wanting to see things here, or were they trying to subliminally suggest a lesbian couple (real lesbians, not a translesbian), without showing two women in the scene at once? Or maybe I’m just nuts?

    BTW thanks for the link to that critical piece, too. It’s great!

  • Misanthropia

    I am fully convinced that now transgenderism is a psy-op meant to infiltrate and undermine the feminist movement. Now a male can do anything he wants. He can not only incite horrific crimes against women, he can also steal the label woman from us and force us to accept his delusions that he is a woman, against all evidence of biology and science. Whatever delusions that males create with regards to women is taken as the truth, while the truth of women’s lives and what we truly are is taken to be lies and just paranoid imaginings on our part. Is it any coincidence that transgenderism is all the rage in countries where women are more privileged? No one would want to be a woman in the Middle East, or many Asian and African and even Latin American countries. They only want to be what the male fantasy of what a woman is. It’s also no surprise that countries that are persecuting homosexual people are also forcibly offering sex reassignment surgery to them because they would rather not have two people of the same sex in love with each other.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m not the type to buy into conspiracy theories, but I will admit to having thought this myself.

  • Leo

    Patriarchal religion is what the fuck’s wrong with Ireland. It seems to be a major factor with the US as well. It’s a very effective mechanism in maintaining patriarchy.

    • rosearan

      Hekate Jayne

      I started to watch ‘Sex in a Cold Climate’ and also gave up. But I am of an age that remembers life before the Pill and the sexual revolution.

      What was portrayed in the film is little different from the standards of sexual morality across the Western world at the time. Little to no access to contraception, absolutely NO sex before marriage, pregnant daughters being banished to homes for unmarried mothers and forced to give up their babies for adoption, no sex education other than ‘not until the ring is on the finger’.

      Of course, as this is an Irish documentary, it focuses on the Irish Catholic Church. And yes, the abortion issue and the article in the Irish constitution that deems women’s primary role as wives and mothers (despite up to 10,000 women fighting in the War of Independence) remains a constant heated controversy. It’s only a matter of time before these are dispatched to the dustbin of history.

  • Hekate Jayne

    And here it is.

    Here is how we are so selfish! By talking about ourselves!

    https://www.them.us/story/how-metoo-stands-to-marginalize

    • FierceMild

      That tumbler made me queezy with rage!

    • bb

      Wtaf

    • Wren

      What a bunch of bullshit.
      They need to amp up their indignation and foot-stomping to compensate for glaring lack of actual statistical support. It sooooo threatening to them to see the numbers of “me too’s” climb, clearly reflecting the pervasiveness of male violence against women, so they just whine about how they are MORE vulnerable to violence. Again, this is fucking bullshit. If the “me too’s” included ALL women in sexual slavery (they keep using the reality of trans women being murdered in prostitution without acknowledging it and without raging against the slavery itself), then they couldn’t possibly compete. But you know, it’s just not as bad to be a “cis” woman in prostitution as it is to be trans, apparently.

    • Tobysgirl

      What a load of old shit (bow to Catherine Tate). If one ever needs an emetic, one need only read trans “analyses.”

    • Danielle Matheson

      I forced myself to read about three or four “paragraphs” of this garbage. I can’t believe this. I mean…I can believe that someone is this idiotic, to say that, again females, who really are the most vulnerable, should be at the center of sexual harassment issues.

      It’s just another article, calling for the silence of real lives realities of women. That again, we can’t be the center of an issue that directly affects us. In the authors words, “cis women should yield to the most vulnerable group”, that of trans and gnc people. Well, no. This person doesn’t understand basic statistics. Women are killed at much higher rate in all populations around the world.

      It’s just another narcissistic, delusional editorial stating that women should shut the fuck up bc trans people get harassed too! Well, duh. No one has ever denied this. But that’s a conversation they can have…not in a selfish “woe is me” article to essentially shut down the female voice we have been fighting to so hard to be heard for centuries. And I’m fucking tired of it.

    • Diana

      I can’t help but think that the transgender community might view violence against women, particularly sexual objectification and sexual harassment as a gender role and so they desire it as yet another form of validation. For instance, there are men that gender identify as women that have said they get pleasure from being sexually harassed by men because it means they can “pass”. Also, I guess Playboy has a transgender individual on the cover and according to an article I read on the advocate men that gender identify as women want to be attractive and desirable to men as “women”. And there have even been reports of transgender individuals that identify as men sexually assaulting and harassing women, which I also think is a form of validation to them. And the #Metoo movement is a women’s movement and men that gender identify as women want to also be included only to validate their “gender identity”. They haven’t the biology or the experience that comes with being a woman so they seek out issues and gender stereotypes associated with women to validate their “gender identity”. But I guess it’s no longer even just a “gender identity” but “biological sex”, for example men that gender identify as women really think that they are biological women. And now they will have documents that will state that, such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates. Back to the #Metoo movement it’s insane that those of us actually born women don’t even have the right to heal in a woman’s only space or to be women and seek out other women or even just be around other women or talk to other women.

  • Diana

    There should be more action and discussion against egg donation and surrogacy on the basis that it exploits women and treats women as if we were a commodity. Similar to the sex industry but rather than selling our bodies for sex they sell our wombs and our eggs, we should also pay attention to this uterus implant nonsense, because they’re going to look for poor desperate women to make their dreams come through. Women’s bodies are not for sell we need to make that clear in all forms.

    • Danielle Matheson

      I wholeheartedly agree. The womb transplant is literally the definition of delusion for these people. They really do not understand that male bodies are not built to hold a uterus, to gestate a fetus, and to give birth. The denial of biological reality is…strong in these fools.

      • FierceMild

        Absolutely. A male pelvis is joined at the pelvic symphasis at a completely different angle to that of a female which makes carrying a fetus impossible (assuming the man in question somehow Frankenstein-ed a uterus into himself). The male pelvis is also deeper, narrower, and incapable of the flex inherent in the female pelvis. The male sacrum and coccyx have an inward orientation like a dog with its tale between its legs as opposed to the female shorter and more outward orientation. This significant geometric difference greatly decreasss the interior volume of the male pelvis rendering it insufficient for the growth of a baby. Etc., etc., etc.

        • Danielle Matheson

          But I bet some rich asshole will try! They’ll take a poor woman (probably of color) and take her uterus. Thus mutiliating a poor woman for a rich man’s delusion.

          • FierceMild

            That’s exactly what I think will happen.

          • Kiwipally

            We’ve been here before. I remember about 30 years ago when I was doing my paramedical training – this was the point at which real skeletons were being phased out in favour of artificial ones for physios and doctors for their training and display – and one person told me that the size etc of the real skeletons supplied suggested they were mainly female. They were sourced from poorer countries.

            I have tried to find a reference for the sources for all those skeletons and have been unable to do so, to verify that information. But it makes me shudder to think about it.

          • FierceMild

            That’s a horrifying thought. This link to an article about prostituted women having their skin stolen was posted by another commenter https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2017/03/how-women-from-nepal-are-trafficked-to-india-and-disfigured-to-make-rich-men-and-women-beautiful/ be careful, it’s very hard reading.

          • Danielle Matheson

            That is awful, but really not surprising. It’s so shitty that women in developing countries have to use terrible methods to survive. Never thriving. And then after they die, their bodies are still violated. It saddens and sickens me butit is so not surprising. And I hate that it won’t get resolved in my lifetime.

  • FierceMild

    Do you know of any groups in the US pushing for the Nordic Model?

    • Wren

      No, and I’m not sure the U.S. would ever adopt the model on a federal level because of concern for state’s rights. However, we do have the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) whose language is vague enough to encompass 99% of prostitution victims since “coercion” can be very subjective.
      https://humantraffickinghotline.org/what-human-trafficking/federal-law
      https://www.state.gov/j/tip/c73433.htm
      https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/178

      The 2015 version gets much more into the ideology that taffickers and buyers are equally criminally culpable, which I think is progress. It also sets funding through the DOJ for victims services. Anyway, it’s a lot to read through but it is going in the right direction. Additionally, I think we see federal and state law enforcement conducting more large-scale trafficking sweeps, which are not only great for breaking up the trade, but also lead to a great deal of publicity to redefine the public’s perception of a”a prostitute” towards “a victim of crime.”

      For any federal legislation to exist that stipulates that the buying and selling of persons for sexual purposes is ALWAYS a crime, the institution of legal prostitution in Nevada would first have to be dissembled, I would think. There seems to be near radio silence regarding the reality of legal prostitution there. Why this has never been major news really escapes me since the brothels are basically prisons built upon the stripping of the women’s constitutional rights. I get shivers when I think about how much power those fucking dirt bag pimps like Dennis Hof must have. Either that, or our fellow country men and women really don’t give a shit about it.

      • FierceMild

        I’ve found a formerly prostituted and trafficked woman in my city who runs an outreach program and I was hoping to link us all up with an already-existing group to push for the Nordic Model. No such luck.

  • FierceMild

    Hahahaaaa! I have never had that urge! I must be nonbinary.

  • Tobysgirl

    I think the psychological community has gone gonzo over trans because of the focus of much of what I call the enablers (there are professionals who are not in thrall to this nonsense.) Whatever your feelings may be — even if they consist of violent or perverse acts — you need to express them and they have legitimacy. You and I know this is absurd, but it has taken a firm hold in a neoliberal society which refuses to see any group of people as a class except perhaps entitled white males, and which promotes feelings as somehow meaningful in and of themselves. What better way to encourage people to leave their brains by the wayside? “The police need to acknowledge our feelings,” said a BLM protester in Portland, Maine. I cannot imagine the privileged life this young woman has led to think that anyone needs to acknowledge her feelings. What needs to be acknowledged is VIOLENCE and INJUSTICE and PRIVILEGE!

    • SpecialSnowflake

      Psychotherapy and the rest of the world (i.e. the police example) are entirely different things. You need to express those feelings in psychotherapy, but it’s not the same as saying you need to act out on them outside of therapy, especially in case with extreme examples you provided. So it’s not what they’re actually saying.

      It’s about politics and how well they allign with the system. What I heard from one psychologist was that some of them can be just ignorant, because she thinks most serious cases of Gender dysphoria are rooted in Body dysphoria which is a symptom of early childhood psychological trauma as she said. And she thinks they just may not know how to treat it or know little about it in general.

  • Heidi Hall

    Yup. Transitioning is a medical product.

  • la scapigliata

    What you say about Chinese grandmothers being tyrants and sort of in charge of the house is true, but that is 100% rooted in patriarchy. The reason why they are tyrants in the first place is internalised misogyny – something that can develop only in patriarchy – and it’s a handmaiden behaviour meant to uphold patriarchy, just Chinese style. In the West you have right-wing mothers who campaign against abortion, send their sons to war and vote for Trump. The outcome to women is the same.

    I was surprised you thought there was no sexism in HK, because there most definitely is, in similar ways as anywhere else – pay gap, rape culture, male gaze etc. http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2019814/sexism-all-around-us-hong-kong

  • Hekate Jayne

    I interpreted her post differently than you did.

    I took her meaning to be that she is mad at males and some women. Not that she stopped being mad at males, she is just additionally angry at some women for seeking male approval and pandering to them.

    I understand that view. And I share it. Mostly.

  • Hekate Jayne

    At the time of that commercial, that ladydude was playing at being a lady, and that was the second time he had done that.

    He was a manly male, he had a relationship with a woman, and impregnated her. Then he decided to become a ladymen.

    That woman left him. He then reverts back to being a male. He does the exact same thing. Again. He meets a woman, impregnated her, and then decided to become a ladymen. Again.

    And the 2 of them did the dove commercial.

    I am telling you all of this from memory, and he may have actually done it 3 times, but I can’t specifically recall. But I do remember most of the story because it was the crux of what so many of us were mad about. Dove couldn’t even get a male that stayed a ladyman. But he wanted to be a “mom”.

    He was just switching back and forth. He was totally a lady, tho. But apparently only half of the time, when he had trapped a woman by impregnating her.

    The other half of the time, he was a male, looking for a woman to trap. So he could play at being a woman to a real woman who couldn’t escape him.

    • Wren

      JFC he’s a candidate for creepiest man of the millennium.

  • Fiona1933

    I think it’s even worse than that. People who are different incite a hatred, an automatic unconscious hatred. Autistic people suffer this. Internet commenters will gang up on them. And gay people too, also suffer this. Note all the religious transing of kids. I think there’s an assault on these people. Sterilising them ultimately wipes them out. I don’t think it’s exactly a conscious thing. But I note how therapists don’t want to spend time with them. Instead they rapidly prescribe… And shove them out.

    I think this is a crime against autistic kids, who are more than half the patients at gender clinics.

    • FierceMild

      I agree with this. It’s also a cleansing of homosexuals from society.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I would also prefer that people didn’t use the word here.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not going to police sisters in here, so I will still leave it up to you to decide. I personally say ‘trans-identified’…. I agree there is nothing we can say that will placate transactivists except complete subservience. I believe that ‘tranny’ could be viewed a slur of sorts, and think we, on our end, should try to take the high road in that regard. Of course, calling males male has also been labelled as ‘violent’, so who the fuck knows if there is any point in bothering. What feminists have on our side in this debate is logic and solid arguments, whereas transactivists have shown themselves very clearly to be violent misogynists with no arguments to speak of. I will never suggest women must be ‘polite’ in the face of their oppressors, but I do think that the use of ‘tranny’ plays into the false narrative that feminists are ‘transphobic,’ when in fact we are not irrationally terrified of anything beyond male violence and the loss of our sex based rights, too easily.

    • Hekate Jayne

      I spent a lot of time in a few fields (artistic and business) in the 90s, and those fields were full of androgynous people. And drag queens/trannies were a thing. And they called THEMSELVES by those 2 terms.

      But most of those I knew were heterosexual and never tried to convince any one that they were actually women.

      In a sense, these terms are being rewritten by these males, now. Like they are transing lesbians from history, and women that dressed as males so that they could have more choices and move more easily through a male society.

      Maybe I am being silly or stubborn, but I refuse to let them do that with this fucking word, tranny. They are succeeding in taking everything from us, and degrading us. And I am sure that they will completely rewrite history to suit themselves, males always do that.

      I may just be extra salty today. After that trans mob at the book fair in the U.K.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Fair enough. Perhaps you are right.

  • Hekate Jayne

    You said:
    “You’re reducing all trans women to poor copies of Caitlyn Jenner, which is about as accurate as claiming that all gay people are as privileged as Peter Thiel.”

    We aren’t reducing trans to anything at all.

    We call them what they are. Which is MALE.

    And males are privileged globally because patriarchy is global.

    You know, I saw an article a few days ago that sounded the alarm that 30 or so trans had been killed by males, just this year.

    In my country, 3 women a day are killed by males. We are at way over 30 women murdered by males in the first few weeks of the year.

    Where is the fucking alarm at for women, bro? I mean, women have been being murdered at the hands of males for centuries in huge numbers.

    And how is 30 murders this year a huge, really real crisis that we should focus on, but thousands of us is no big fucking deal?

    You and I both know why 30 trans deaths is an emergency, while thousands of us being murdered is not. It is because we are WOMEN.

    So males throw on a dress and are murdered by other males? So fucking what. Thousands of women are murdered by males, and you never address it. Except to tell us to shut up because dudes that choose to wear dresses are killed by you guys, too.

    You want to address your male violence problem, then do it. Stop telling us that you don’t care about the thousands of us that you murder because you murder males in dresses, too. That is not addressing anything. It is derailment, a manipulative tactic of the stupid. Do better, asshole.

    • Elie Challita

      I never said that trans people being murdered had anything to do with violence against women. They’re entirely separate issues, and by raw numbers the latter is by far the biggest problem. I fully agree with you there, and I support every effort to reduce it.

      Hell, back when I lived in Beirut I used to give self-defense courses to survivors of abuse and familial violence and I participated in campaigns to combat violence against women, such as KAFA. I’m on your side here.

      All I’m saying is that your assertion that trans people have it easier than women is incorrect because the numbers don’t back it up.

      • Wren

        “All I’m saying is that your assertion that trans people have it easier than women is incorrect because the numbers don’t back it up”

        But here is the underlying problem with your position:
        Trans identified women are men who’ve decided to impersonate a woman. They made a choice. We did not.

      • FierceMild

        Trans people are approximately .3% of the world population. That would make transwomen .15% of the population. The female population of the world is roughly 48%, because 2% of us are aborted for being female…the number of female fetuses aborted for being female is already about 14 times the number of transwomen alive in the world.

        Even if every single transwoman alive was killed in a horrific act of male-on-male terrorism it wouldn’t come close to the number of women killed by male violence in any given year. That is what the numbers “back up.” So take your disingenuous, misogynist nonfacts elsewhere. You are intellectually dishonest and should consider why it’s so important to you to lecture women about how violent men are to men.

  • Well, yes, I was going to say something about gender tourism, but thought it might be a little too inflammatory ….

  • la scapigliata

    Spot on.

  • la scapigliata

    Nah, we should most definitely not start shaming women and blaming them for doing whatever it takes to survive in violent patriarchy. Men and their systems of power are the enemy, not young and often underprivileged girls and traumatised women. You should read more feminist analysis, to better understand issues at hand.

  • Kiwipally

    This is where I am not entirely sure it’s all a conspiracy. Multiple grifters glomming onto a new scam explains a lot of them.

  • Germaine

    …and they lived happily ever after…

  • Wren

    “Men are fortunate in that society insists they don’t look to be taken care of.”
    What society is this??? I’ve never in my life encountered a man that didn’t insist a woman take care of him.

    • SpecialSnowflake

      Aren’t gender roles contradicting in the first place?

  • Germaine

    When their supremacy is real, they have no reason to fear us.
    When their supremacy is real, they have no reason to oppress us.
    When their supremacy is real, they have no reason to kill us.

    But their supremacy is not real. It is a lie like everything in their live.

    They tell themselves, and they tell each other they are supreme.
    And they believe it !

  • Danielle Matheson

    Raquel Rosario Sanchez has hit the nail on the once again. A wonderful breakdown of the current damage to women and girls by men under patriarchy. And it’s so important that she used the heinous examples of Rongrong and Paguera Polanco to illustrate that this queer theory bullshit is just that, bullshit.

  • Danielle Matheson

    This reminds me of my uncle. He is trans…and one of the most misogynistic people I know. Like, he told me that when my cousin was born he understood exactly what my aunt went through, because he too was exhausted, and took on a lot of the work of dealing with a newborn! I was like “are you fucking kidding me?!”. That’s just being a father! There’s no shame in just being a good dad! My own dad changed my poop diapers bc my mom would gag and vomit! Was he under the delusion this made him female and that he knew what it was like to give birth!? Frack no! He was just doing his duty as a man who made a baby. And this is just the example of delusions that pisses me off the most.

    • Robert Gonzalez

      We’re allowed to be spoiled douche nozzles with almost zero repercussions. No, we do not make good pretend women. We can barely even treat real women with respect. I’m not at all surprised that your uncle is trans and misogynistic. Men want all the parts of being a woman without even acknowledging all the difficult parts of being a woman. So many of them are walking stereotypes of women, hardly any different than drag queen performers that you’ll see that are at least sometimes trying to poke fun at gender stereotypes.

    • Hekate Jayne

      Trans are unbelievably stupid about how female bodies work. All males, really.

      I was reading a trans message board, and a dude had created a thread about how upset he was that his surgical wound hole didn’t look anything like female anatomy that he had ever seen, either in porn (lol) or real life. He referred to the entire area as vagina, or “kitty”. (I swear to fucking god with the slurs that they use).

      It is like our anatomy is just a thing for them to purchase and they are SHOCKED when a mutilated, inverted penis isn’t identical to a true female body. How ignorant can they be?

      And on YouTube, there are trannies that have tutorials, all about how they keep the wound from shutting, and the dildos that they use to do that. Commenters ask if they have a clitoris, and if it works like a clitoris on a woman.

      They say yes, that their “clitoris”, which is actually the head of their dick, works exactly like a clitoris.

      How can they possibly know that??? I mean, an entire penis only has 2000 nerve endings, while a clitoris has 4000. Now, I know math is really tricky for some dudes, but DAMN. Do they really believe that the head of a dick can be turned into the 4000 nerves of a clitoris? And those nerves cover a huge area.

      Males see us as objects that exist solely for their use. They create our reality, and it doesn’t have to be factual. It just has to fit their narrative of what they need us to be so that they can extract whatever they want from our existence for their own use. They created femininity in order to mine us of everything, including free labor of all sorts.

      And now, they want to completely colonize us, like the cancerous parasites that they prove themselves to be. They don’t care if they destroy us in the process. For most of them, that is actually a perk.

  • FierceMild

    Any of the books by Lisa See should give a well-informed idea of life in China for women both in remote and in recent history. I particularly liked this one:
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Snow_Flower_and_the_Secret_Fan.html?id=SjNjTyG47vEC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button
    Warning – China is apparently much more like the place where they bound women’s feet for a thousand years and abort female fetuses or abandon female babies then it is like the anti-sexism haven of our dreams.

  • FierceMild

    And we all know women have it so easy in Arab countries. They should certainly STFU and serve men in dresses or else serve men in dresses and lipstick.

  • FierceMild

    In the context of a society that equates blackness with filth and a lack of worth, a commercial in which a black woman is associated with soap and transforms into a white woman is racist. Even if the white woman subsequently becomes Asian or Latina; both of those groups are encouraged to bleach their skin and hair to become more like white women in real life.

    If we had never tried to cleanse black women if their blackness, if we had never condemned them for being black or enslaved them solely on account of their blackness you would be right. But we did. Now we have to be vigilant about stamping out those ideas rather than supporting them (subliminally or otherwise).

    • Hekate Jayne

      Black women say that it is racist.

      I agree with them. I support them.

      • FierceMild

        Yup. It’s been my personal experience (I know, anecdata), that black women are the last to point out racism to white people anyway.

  • FierceMild

    I think you’re absolutely right that what young women need is a standard of character rather than a standard of aesthetics! We all need companionship and a healthy social group as well, but I doubt there was ever a coherently healthy social group for women.

  • Safa

    They can call me “TERF” or turd or whatever, they still have XY chromosomes.

    • Robert Gonzalez

      They absolutely do.

  • Robert Gonzalez

    This is laser-precision analysis of transgenderism. These same people “progressive” people claim they hate oppressive gender roles and yet they seem so eager to embrace and embody gender stereotypes. How does any of it make any sense? But, no, women can’t saying anything about because now they are “transphobes” or “TERFS.”

  • Germaine

    I’m born an elephant but I feel like I’m a mouse.

    Who’s afraid of who ?

  • FierceMild

    https://youtu.be/WZk1WHJ_fwo

    Like this, but with femininity.

  • Danielle Matheson

    I watched the documentary I Am Jane Doe and…people are fucking idiots if they think prostitution is glamorous and a good “choice”. These teenagers…they were kidnapped and broken. And the fucking men making millions get to hide behind ridiculous laws that allow that shit to be so instantly possible. I want to scream.

  • Elie Challita

    Again, I agree with you that this situation is horrific and needs to be addressed. I never minimized the issues faced by women. All I said was that the original article was wrong to say that being trans is somehow an improvement. It’s true that a trans person might choose to always follow their birth gender and thus avoid persecution, but that’s not the same as saying that being openly trans does not carry negative consequences.

    All I’m saying is that whether or not trans people are in danger in conservative societies has little bearing on the violence faced by women in those societies: The two issue share the same cause (conservative values), but talking about trans rights doesn’t detract from women’s rights.

    • Kiwipally

      You are completely wrong, trans “rights” damage women’s rights. Talking your limited point about “talking about trans rights” – this detracts from women’s rights by centreing men (male to trans) in conversations that rightly centre women – #metoo, employment discrimination, freedom from male violence. In many instances the “talking about” goes further than detracting from our rights, comments on Tumblr, blogs, etc, are used to threaten, abuse, assault, and insult women who are arguing for the rights of women – which exclude male to trans.

      Then we come to the real world where men (male to trans) are being permitted to compete in women’s sports, to attend women’s single sex colleges (created to help alleviate education and income disparities between men and women), are being allowed to be incarcerated in women’s prisons even though they are convicted of violent crimes, are getting organisations such as the Midwives Alliance of North America to stop using language that reflects their clientele but instead to substitute terms such as “pregnant people” and “birthing individuals” so that the language used disappears women, and so forth.

      You are either wilfully blind or lying.