Demanding the feminist movement shut up about women is misogyny

Women were forced to wear the scold's bridle during the witch hunts in order to silence them.
Women were forced to wear the scold’s bridle during the witch hunts in order to silence them.

Feminism! A movement by women, for women. Or is it something about… Equality…? For… People?

Depends on who you ask. According to a recent article at Bustle, it’s all pretty hard to pin down.

Naturally, Weiss is most angered by those who say, “A woman’s body is amazing.” I mean, talk about cruel! Women’s bodies are disgusting, bad, and wrong! Something to hate and be ashamed of — not to celebrate. Have we not learned as much from advertisements, incest, rape, pornography, and beauty magazines??

If third wave feminism isn’t a straight up misogynist backlash, I don’t know what is. To quote America’s future misogynist in chief, “Sad!”

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

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

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  • radwonka

    “Weiss goes on to explain that the way women talk about women’s subordination under patriarchy (also known as the reason feminism exists) can “unintentionally erase trans and non-binary people.”

    Feminism is pro females. Feminism is against misogyny. Feminism is critical. Feminism is political. Feminism is too much for these people basically. Whenever they talk, they blame feminism. Whenever they write something, it is to make feminism more “inclusive”. Whenever they politicize something, you already know they will accuse feminism. They hate feminism because they love patriarchy but just cant admit it. Which makes me wonder why they want our movement SO MUCH instead of creating their own thing. Weird.

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Yup, feminism intentionally centering females is a big fat no-no, sooo selfish!!!:(

      There was an article on dailymail that basically blamed feminism for some men feeling disenfranchised and not able to find jobs or some such bullshit. If men can’t compete unless women are oppressed that just means men are mediocre and overrated, can’t blame feminism for that one.

  • Laurie

    It is my understanding that Bustle, Jezebel and probably many other so called, women’s news blog are owned by men

  • Spark658

    I’ve noticed that more and more anti feminist dudes try trolling me and feminist spaces in general with memes and jokes about “37 genders” and such. It’s infuriating that libfems are coopting and ruining feminism like this, but I guess in a tiny way it’s reassuring – these men have no leg to stand on if they try to address real feminist dialogue so they go for the low hanging fruit. I’ve had a few be shocked when I set them straight on the actual feminist perspective about gender.

  • therealcie

    Some cis women don’t menstruate either. Women who have gone through menopause, or who have had a hysterectomy, or in some rare cases were born without a uterus. However, most women within their childbearing years do menstruate and are capable of having children. I can’t understand people who feel that this is somehow a point of contention or an “erasure” of anybody.
    I am no longer capable of reproduction, but it isn’t “violence” against me to discuss the needs and rights of women who can still reproduce. It is important to me that women in their child-bearing years have access to family planning methods, to birth control and to proper health care. How is this violence against anyone?
    I feel that the individuals making such claims are harming rather than helping the trans community. I also don’t consider them to be feminists at all.
    I’m not sure I’ve phrased this very clearly, possibly because it always boggles my mind when people make the claim that discussing reproductive rights or such is “violence” against another group of people. It would be akin to saying that a doctor offering free prostate exams to men in a low income area was committing “violence” against trans men, most of whom were born with a XX chromosome pattern and do not have prostate glands. It’s doubtful that anyone would make such a claim. So why is it that they always claim that discussing health matters that primarily impact cisgender women, is “violence”?
    I actually do understand the reasoning, but it disgusts me. I just don’t know how anyone can think that way. Working together against bigotry as a whole should not mean denying the needs of women. Trying to wrap my head around the way third wave “feminists” think makes me tired.

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      “Cis” is a bullshit, made-up word that means nothing.

    • susannunes

      No such thing as “cis.” No such thing as “transwomen.” There are men and there are women, there are males and there are females, the rare “intersex” people proving the binary rule. Pomo/queery theory is just bullshit.

    • Cassandra

      Sisters, not Cisters. It is imperative that we not use that term. We cannot allow it legitimacy. I don’t identify with my oppression, do you?

      Other than that your points are good.

    • Jeanne Deaux

      I’m not a “cis woman”. There is already a word for women who know they’re women and that word is “women”.

  • melissa

    I want to laugh, but holly shittt…. is this for real? Recently EverydayMisogyny posted a similar thing, moaning about the “women are half the population” phrase. I mean WTF? What do they want? Always speak in a gender blind way? Do they really think that’s a sane,reasonable,let alone feasible request? Change medical literature too while we’re at it, huh? Those offensive tranphobic doctors acknowledging female biology, right?

    Fucking hell, this is mad. Absolutely mad.

    “If third wave feminism isn’t a straight up misogynist backlash, I don’t
    know what is. To quote America’s future misogynist in chief, “Sad!” ”


    Also, why is most “progressive” media such utter pile of garbage these days?

    • Mandy

      “Also, why is most “progressive” media such utter pile of garbage these days?”

      Is it too obvious to say because most of them still are run by rich white men?

  • Rusty
  • Just Passing Through

    Yes men (ie: owners of the mainstream online “feminist” sites) are working feverishly and overtime on coming up with different and various ways to remove themselves as “The Oppressor” and at the same time erasing women’s very existence all together! It’s so deliciously evil and fiendish because apparently, people are falling for this horseshit everywhere! Men are the new women and women are just cis-people with front holes that need to step aside, be quiet and listen to the truly downtrodden and oppressed “Men” or wait “Women” because, well women are now not women but “Transwomen” Can someone please turn the crazy off?….oi !

  • Rachael

    It’s so tiring to constantly be too you can’t talk about women’s rights without including men. Screw that, and screw anyone who tells me I can’t talk about periods just in case I upset someone who can’t have them. I mean, really? I can’t afford a holiday home in Barbados but I don’t lament that those who can need to be inclusionary and act as if somehow my wishing I could would make it so.

  • Midori

    Weiss goes on to explain that the way women talk about women’s
    subordination under patriarchy (also known as the reason feminism
    exists) can “unintentionally erase trans and non-binary people.” It’s a
    funny way of framing things… Similar to saying, for example, that Black
    Lives Matter “unintentionally erases” white people. Or that the labour
    movement’s focus on the working class “unintentionally erases” the upper
    class. Does the animal rights movement “unintentionally erase”
    non-animals? Do Indigenous rights activists “unintentionally erase”
    other groups marginalized by white supremacy and colonialism?

    This! This! THIS! Sadly a lot of people seem to have problems understanding this simple points!

    I’m so glad this site exists! It keeps me sane! <3

  • Polly MacDavid

    As usual, you nailed it. Fabulous article, logical & beautifully written.


    Feminism wants to take power away from men. This is unacceptable. Men are obligated to defend any power we might have to the last.

    • Jeanne Deaux

      That’s like saying the victim of a car thief should just sit down, shut up, and not call the cops. If you have more power than we do, it’s because you stole it.

    • Tired feminist

      No shit Sherlock. Teach us more about how the class of men is our enemy.

      You’re not “obligated” to defend your power. You do because you profit from it.

    • Jane

      All feminism wants to do is to ensure that we all have the rights that we’re due as human beings. If you somehow manage to find something threatening or offensive in that, that’s really sad.

      I hope one day you’ll change your mind about not wanting to stand on equal ground with other people. Not always having to be in the position of fighting to the top or putting others down, and living equally instead, is actually quite peaceful. It’s a type of fulfillment that every person deserves the opportunity for — even you.

    • Cassandra

      What the fuck are you talking about? OF COURSE feminism wants to take power away from men — power over US. Why in the hell would you think otherwise? Were you born this morning? Loser.

  • Lavender

    Nicholas Matte, a U of T prof, appeared on TVO’s The Agenda not long ago asserting that there’s no such thing as biological sex. He’s not qualified to teach. He should be fired, along with anyone else teaching this grotesque ideology. The only way it’s possible to support gender identity is if you don’t value the lives of females. It sounds wonderfully liberating to say that anyone can be anything they like and present how they like, but females can’t be anything they like because we’re born with a body that brings with it specific challenges. Real physical circumstances that exist regardless of self-perception. It’s sheer narcissism to dictate to others that they bend their minds around individual whims. That’s a clear sign of a mental disorder, when a person has no self-awareness or regard for the well-being of others.

    Matte and his fellow ideologues are the ones erasing an entire category of people, half the human population, the very class of people who reproduce our species, all under the guise of progressive politics. This combination of ignorance and arrogance is dangerous. These people need to be challenged at every opportunity because they’re causing grave damage and they have no idea – or concern – that they are. The media will only publish the opinions of misogynists like Jordan Peterson because he’s fighting this purely from a free speech angle and as long as the issue isn’t about women, people will listen. Make them listen.

    • Lucia Lola

      Wasn’t that shocking to view? As an intelligent person? An actual professor, at U of T, stating on public television that there was no such thing as biological sex?

      It’s taking longer and longer for me to accept the reality of this. That this is acceptable, promotable even….

  • Mandy

    Right?! Not to mention if you go with “feminism is the belief that women are equal to men”…that requires zero action of anyone, no changing of behaviors or laws. Ask any dudebro on the street if he thinks women and men are equal and he’ll probably shurg and mumble yeah. And that’s all that’s required by 3 wave to give him a cookie and an ally shirt.

    Vs feminism is a socio-political movement for female liberation, which implies more action and sounds more threatening to those who want to protect the status quo.

    • Jeanne Deaux

      Because of course women are equal in value to men–the problem is that society, culture, religion, etc. do not acknowledge that, they treat us as lesser. That’s where the liberation bit comes in.

  • Cassandra

    We are literally being asked to live in opposite land.

    Male-to-Trans “rights” and Female liberation are in direct opposition. You know, just like in patriarchy.

  • Anthocerotopsida

    But women, as we all know, are natural nurturers. We have an instinct, a drive, to put the needs of others ahead of our own. We’re happy – grateful even – to neglect our selves in order to fulfill our roles as the world’s caretakers. In return we ask only to receive a gift certificate to a crumby spa once or twice a year so we can have our hideous bodies exfoliated and waxed and empowered… and what was I saying?
    Oh yeah. Fuck everyone who thinks there’s something wrong with women prioritizing women’s issues. We see what you’re doing, trying to derail our activism and hijack our energy to fight for other people’s causes. What have other social justice groups done for women lately?

    • Alienigena

      I don’t agree that women are natural nurturers, maybe they are the group in society that is the most forcibly in doctrinated (uhm, brainwashed) to be selfless and helpful. And women are in the group that is most criticised or passively aggressively punished if they don’t express the necessary willingness to be helpful (in all circumstances), and accede to societal demands to be the drudges that subsidize family time/holidays, like the one coming up in North America. I think I was groomed by my mother to feel sorry for men (such pathetic creatures, not) and be their servant (literally being asked to spread sun tan on my emotionally and physically abusive dad’s back once, not a man I wanted to touch). Fortunately for me, my attention span is limited (diagnosed with ADD (mild)) including for tiresome people and I am a bit contrary, so I didn’t adopt her view of men. But I do tend to seek approval (people pleaser, a lot less so now) from men and women by saying yes to requests for help or services (creating media ads, creating/maintaining websites, painting, moving, sorting through organizational materials and carting to recyclers, etc.).

      A married colleague of mine recently expressed zero enthusiasm for ‘the holidays’ (Christmas or winter break for PSE) because she has young children and is planning on cleaning her basement over the holidays (yech). But she is keen on ensuring families and children in poverty have a good holiday (she volunteered to buy gifts for the children in the family we sponsored). I understand the importance of children not feeling left out (during holidays), but often I have had no money around the holidays (due to gift purchases and related expenses) so the only good meal I get over the holiday week is the dinner I have on Christmas day. If I didn’t have these expenses (didn’t buy gifts for family or food for the dinner) I would actually have had a decent but not extravagant holiday. Employers also ask for donations to charities like the United Way around this time. Frankly I think I am a bit fed up with Winter Fest, so am probably in the Grinch category. I once painted the non-profit office for a festival that I volunteered for and sat on the board of. The organizational coordinator said she couldn’t work in a off-white coloured office, she liked chocolate brown, or shit brown as I called it, so I ended up purchasing paint brushes (that allowed for extended reach) on New Year’s Eve day and painting the office and vowed never again. Seriously, it isn’t just men who expect (other) women to be drudges, narcissists all sorts (like the licorice), also expect it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        (I assumed Anthocerotopsida was being sarcastic about the ‘natural nurturer’ thing….)

      • Jeanne Deaux

        I don’t agree that being a natural nurturer means you take care of everyone, which of course puts me at odds with the dominant culture. It can just mean that you will properly care for any children you have. And in that case both women AND men ought to be nurturers because those kids aren’t gonna raise themselves. We’re the only great ape with altricial young, meaning helpless at birth.

        Anyone else wanting cared for, however, ought to earn it. Unless they’re disabled or very sick, in which case I would hope EVERYONE’S better natures would take hold, not just the women’s.

      • Cassandra

        She was being sarcastic. 🙂

    • Wren

      “We see what you’re doing, trying to derail our activism and hijack our energy to fight for other people’s causes.”
      Huh, that’s an interesting way to spin it and one I hadn’t thought of before. Thanks!

    • Jane

      I’m reading “The Virtue of Selfishness” by Ayn Rand now and it’s really brilliant on this issue of “selfishness.” She points out that the sole function of our bodies and minds on a basic level, is to sustain us. So, vilifying actions taken to sustain ourselves (i.e. “selfish” actions), is an advocation for an unnatural state that goes against our very being.

      I have not heard a single better argument for or against selfishness in my entire life, so I’m inclined to agree.

      • Cassandra

        “So, vilifying actions taken to sustain ourselves (i.e. “selfish” actions), is an advocation for an unnatural state that goes against our very being.”

        Unfortunately this is the exact argument men use against us.

        • Jane

          Your comment really doesn’t make sense to me. She speaks about actions to *sustain* oneself, not actions that involve entitlement towards superficial ends, or to the end of hurting other people. That’s not at all like the victimizing power differential present in patriarchy. What she’s saying is pretty much what psychologists would refer to as being healthy, adaptive behavior — it’s not at all something pathological.

          • Wren

            You do know that Rand has been embraced by libertarians and right-wingers for decades, and that men are particularly fascinated with her work because of its permissiveness and endorsement of opportunism? Regardless of her intentions, her work has been distilled to this. I avoid anyone who espouses her. Just saying.

          • Cassandra

            To reiterate what Wren said below, Rand is like crack to privileged white male douchebags, mostly Republicans and so-called Libertarians, but I’ve known some liberal white male douchebags who smoked the Rand pipe, too.

            I know what you’re saying about sustaining oneself, and yes, if any group had the right to defend being “selfish” it would be the female sex, but Rand has always been used by d*ckheads to justify being d*cks in the name of “sustaining” themselves. She was kind of an a*sshole too, and an anti-feminist while being a successful female in a realm that few women were back then.

  • How the fuck does “pangender” work?

    • Jeanne Deaux

      Since it’s gender, it doesn’t matter. Gender is not actually real. It’s the system of sex-based stereotypes we use to determine who’s dominant and who’s subordinate. Someone deciding they’re “pangender” probably thinks they have all sexes or some stupid thing like that but what the word would actually mean is that they like ALL the stereotypes and live up to them when feasible.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you for this clarification, Max! Maybe I phrased my point unclearly. I don’t believe gender is the literal source of sexism (i.e. the reason sexism exists), I believe gender under patriachy exists in order to naturalize and maintain sexism. So what I meant was that gender, as we know it (i.e gender roles) = sexism. Thank you for your point about Mosuo culture, too — this is useful and interesting!

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Some feminists would agree with Weiss that sex is assigned at birth and is not a real, material reality. French feminist Monique Wittig, for instance, argues that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are categories that are rooted in a particular political regime of domination and don’t exist outside of the regime. She (along with Marx and Engels) believes that people in power in systems of domination establish social divisions that are made to seem real or natural – like ‘male’ and ‘female’. We absorb these social oppositions, recording this information at birth as if the categories are essential and eternal. However, for Wittig and other feminists, ‘female’ is a category created by males, a sort of branding, which is imaginary – the way ‘black’ is a category created by white people. She believes feminists must fight for women as a class and for the disappearance of the (sex) class itself, not just for the disappearance of gender roles.
    Androgynous, gender fluid and non-binary folks challenge society’s illusion that sex categories of male and female are necessary and fixed. I have no trouble with that. What I do find troubling is the lack of understanding about feminism. Weiss says that feminism is the belief that women are equal to men. Equality is just about economic, social and political rights. Feminism is more than that. It is a vital political movement that challenges the violent oppression and subordination of women and girls that has plagued our planet for centuries. Its success promises to end the violence women and girls suffer and die from, erase the social categories and divisions that are not real (such as ‘male’ and ‘female’) and revolutionize our world.

    • Cassandra

      It doesn’t matter if you call “male” “male” and “female” “female” or call males “bananas” and females “apples.” One is not the other. People who produce sperm are not people who produce ova. Male and female are as real as it gets and how 7.5 billion people made it to this planet. Of course it’s real, and only one of them ever suffers the consequences of pregnancy. Males oppress females *because* we are females. Eradicating categories of reproductive sex wouldn’t change a damned thing except us being able to talk about what men do to us and why, because believe me, they’ll keep doing it.

      • Lisa Tremblay

        Thanks for your comments Cassandra. The only difference between ‘males’ and ‘females’ that you describe is related to reproduction (and the production of ova and sperm). In the course of a lifetime, the act of reproduction plays such a small role. Why would we need to divide a species into ‘male’ and ‘female’ for their whole lives if the differences are only relevant at times of reproduction? It seems to me that separating newborns into ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ serves no purpose except for marking the beginning of a life of gender expectations, training and roles specific to the category the child has been placed in. The categories themselves are social divisions and structures that initiate our oppression. I would also respectfully add that I don’t think ‘males’ oppress us because we are ‘females.’ They oppress us because they have learned sexism and misogyny. Thank you.

        • Cassandra

          The difference isn’t only relevant at times of reproduction. Please stop and think about you’re saying and how reality works. Think about the difference in what females have to go through compared to what males have to go through, “reproductively.” When one sex has the power to oppress another sex through rape and pregnancy, the two sexes are not equivalent in any way. Males assuming they are superior because of this is learned. The fact that it is so is does not change. Males DO oppress females *because* they are females; sexism and misogyny are how they do it.

          And not marking a baby as “boy” or “girl” does not mean that people won’t be able to tell what sex the baby is. Putting the words “female”and “male” in scare quotation marks that aren’t real quotation marks doesn’t change anything. They are material reality.

          • Lisa Tremblay

            Thanks for your reply Cassandra. I entirely agree that males and females are not equal in the way they are raised or treated. It’s true that there are different biological experiences between males and females but I think the ‘natural’ differences between the sexes are overblown. We are taught to believe that these two sex categories are essential and are fundamentally different.
            We are taught something similar about white people and black people – that these two groups are inherently different. But, as feminists, we know this isn’t true. White people created and enforced the colour categories of white and black instead of focusing on what’s common between us as humans.
            Categories such as male and female have the same dynamic. They are created and enforced tools of oppression that may be as unnecessary as the categories white and black.

          • Cassandra

            We are taught to believe that these two sex categories are essential and are fundamentally different.

            I don’t know that we’re taught that they’re “essential.” They are certainly different.

            Creating categories of male and female is not what causes the problem. Having names for things and categories for things is necessary to be able to describe things and communicate. Knowing that one thing is not the other thing does not cause problems. It is the value system imposed upon the differences that causes the problem. Whether or not we call women women or men men or females females or males males or call them all them humans, the differences will still be material and still exist. Doing away with categories will never make any of this go away.

          • Lisa Tremblay

            Thanks Cassandra. When you say that the sexes are different, at what point are they different? Apparently children start identifying with gender norms as early as the age of 1. So the best time to measure true difference is at birth. Yet, birth is the moment when there is no difference – or it’s as significant as the difference between blue eyed babies and brown eyed babies.
            It seems to me that the only reason we attach descriptors or categories to male and female babies, for instance, is to begin the process of socialization, creating the differences that we have been taught to believe are there.
            Some parents have stopped identifying the sex of their child until it feels right. They argue that male and female categories limit their children’s freedom of expression and are not necessary – at least not in early childhood.
            I get your point about being able to communicate. But these parents are finding ways to communicate using gender neutral names and pronouns and some countries, like Sweden, have introduced gender neutral pronouns to the country’s vocabulary to support people who want to move away from the confines of the male-female binary.

          • ptittle

            Oh, I hadn’t heard that about Sweden, thanks!

          • Dylan Griffith

            Hello @Lisa Tremblay, I think you are definitely right in what you are saying.

            “Cartesian dualism raises what he has called “a modest conceptual barrier” to racist doctrine. The reason for that is simple. Cartesian doctrine characterizes humans as thinking beings: they are metaphysically distinct from non-humans, possessing a thinking substance (res cogitans) which is unitary and invariant — it does not have color, for example. There are no “black minds” or “white minds.” You’re either a machine, or else you’re a human being, just like any other human being in essential constitution. The differences are superficial, insignificant: they have no effect on the invariant human essence.”

            link here:

            Though Chomsky doesn’t explicitly say it, I have no doubt that he would say men and women have an identical, invariant human essence – we all have minds and the potential fro free artistic and creative production, and the differences we commonly associate with maleness and femaleness are social constructs….

          • Topazthecat

            Actually most people can’t tell what sex a baby is under the age of two,female and male infants look alike and that is a lot of the reasons parents and other adult care givers dress them in gender stereotyped clothes and colors.

          • ptittle

            I wonder if we’re equivocating ‘is’ and ‘ought’ in this thread with some imprecise language.

          • Cassandra

            I’m not sure what you mean by “equivocating ‘is’ and ‘ought.'”
            “Equivocate” is a verb meaning to evade or avoid commitment by way of ambiguity. So are you saying that we’re avoiding committing to “is”
            and “ought” through imprecise language?

            Did you mean to say “equating?”

            The world is rich in irony, no?

          • ptittle

            I just meant people are confusing the two, being imprecise, saying ‘is’ when they really mean ‘ought’.

        • Melanie

          They learn sexism and mysoginy by dividing the sexes into a hierarchy of male over female, so of course they oppress us because we’re females.

        • ptittle

          I agree with everything you say here, but offer one quick refinement: “The categories themselves [male and female] are USED AS A BASIS FOR social divisions…”

          • Lisa Tremblay

            I agree with your refinement. Thank you.

        • northernTNT

          SIZE differs. Bone densities and muscle distribution differs. These are statistically significant differences. It’s why we separate sports into male and female categories, because otherwise females would NEVER get medals (except in non-athletic sports, or sports where a vehicle or a beast of burden actually do most of the work)

    • northernTNT

      OMG, males did not invent males. Out of biological evolution came some reproduction that was not sexual and some that was. Among sexually reproducing species, some have visible sexual dimorphism, some only internal sexual dimorphism. There is NOTHING else relevant here.

  • Wren


    • Just Passing Through

      I’m sure it’s pissing them off to no end that a good many of us are pulling back the curtain on this mass gaslighting experiment. That’s why it just keeps getting weirder and weirder. “Men are the real woman and women are front hole havers that must never speak again”. Yep. That’s really gonna stick.

      • linnet

        The fact that it got SO DAMN FAR and morphed into this monster without too much pushback is really distressing.

        • Just Passing Through

          I agree, it is very distressing. I just want to shake the libfem, stockholm syndromed, bamboozled, gaslighted lot of them and say “Wake the hell up! We are better than this….come on people use your goddamned brains and see through this utter nonsense! ….Women are better than this. Let’s get it together and throw off the chains of this male-arky BS and be the strong fighting women we ARE!

  • Rusty

    I’ve been thinking about this post and another recent article in terms of radical feminism and women-only spaces. So much to say!

    This other piece, “Who Crushed the Lesbian Bars? A New Minefield of Identity Politics” (Willamette Week, Nov 30) talks about the ways in which lesbian spaces are becoming everyone-is-welcome and the word lesbian is being replaced with more inclusive terms. Several women in the article talk about not feeling comfortable calling themselves a lesbian anymore (it’s ‘archaic’) and others talk about how when they’ve use the word to describe an event or place, they’ve been met with all kinds of aggressive accusations. And that even when they chose language they thought would be more inclusive, they were still derided for not considering some other group. So they’re giving up, because trying to keep everyone happy is exhausting and demoralizing.

    Obviously there are a lot of similarities between all that and what you’re talking about in this post. The demand to include every possible group other than straight ‘cis’ men in a movement that is for and about women is ludicrous and, as you said, sexist. They’re telling us that they’re changing the definition and purpose of feminism and it’s confusing and frustrating the heck out of a lot of women who want to be part of the movement but can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands on basic language and how we’re now supposed to understand gender and sex.

    One common thread here is this intense, almost pathological aversion to being called exclusionary for focusing on women. Or bigoted or hateful or discriminatory or TERF or essentialist or whatever. That aversion is what’s fueling the concessions that keep getting made to feminism and to women-only spaces. I strongly believe that a great many of the women who are making these accommodations don’t actually WANT to be inclusive of non-women, but as progressive people they have big issues with being accused of closed-mindedness, bigotry, etc. Instead of fighting against that tide and maintaining boundaries, they concede that they’re the ones who need to adapt to the changing times.

    This is where radical feminism comes in! The appeal of it, for me initially and I imagined for a lot of women, is that it is unapologetic and it is consistent. Radical feminism offers women a solid foundation from which to learn and grow, one that remains steadfastly for and about women with no concessions and no apologies. This is pretty much the exact opposite of liberal feminism and identity politics right now. And, I think, it’s why there is a growing number of young radfems out there that have had enough of the shaky ground of liberal feminism and are ready to focus on women and stop listening to the white noise of being told that they should feel bad for both being female and for fighting for women.

    I wonder what would happen if the women trying to start lesbian-only spaces accepted that they’re going to be called names and did it anyway. I don’t want to be dismissive of the potential danger of doing that, I have just noticed that the more aggressive anti-woman activists tend to target places/groups/events that they think they can bully into submission. I wonder, if they knew that they were dealing with women who aren’t interested in their name-calling bullshit and aren’t going to apologize and change their policy, would they even bother?

    Sort of like how as soon as someone you’re talking to discovers you’re a “TERF’ they block you and then tweets about how much they hate TERFs. So what? If you don’t care about being called a TERF, you’re able to go about the business of fighting for women. If you don’t care that people will call you exclusionary, you can organize truly women-only events. As this happens more and more, and an increasing number of women find these words and spaces and finally feel free to be unapologetically women for women, we have our women’s movement back.

    • ptittle

      Maybe it was a serious wrong turn to object to the men-only bars etc way back. That they were men-only wasn’t the problem; it was that important decisions were made there. The problem was that others were excluded from the decision-making, not the physical spaces per se. But one, how do you ensure that important decisions aren’t made in exclusionary spaces? And two, making them inclusionary doesn’t ensure that all parties have a save in decisions made therein.

  • Tired feminist

    And moreover, the phrasing in the present indicative tense – “women and men are equal” instead of “women and men should be equal” – gives room to some even sloppier, more irresponsible, more inconsequent conclusion: that women and men are ALREADY treated equally.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are allowed to mention anyone’s anatomy, Ash. Some of your other comments didn’t make it through moderation because they were illegible.

  • Jeanne Deaux

    Part of the reason all cultures have gender is to solve the problem of who cares for the kids and who defends the tribe, etc.

    Another reason humans have gender is because we actually have very LITTLE sexual dimorphism for a great-ape species, and if we’ve got clothes on it can be hard to tell us apart. That might not be a problem for so-called “pansexual” people but the rest of us have got preferences and we have to consider reproduction as well.

    But yes, indigenous gender can be quite a different thing than civilized* gender. Can be. Sometimes indigenous groups oppress their females as well. And that’s where you start seeing the “two-spirits” and the like showing up. Interestingly enough.

    [*I define civilization as, essentially, human domestication–using agriculture and the building of cities and machines to concentrate wealth for the elite few using everyone else’s compelled labor. A culture can be well-socialized but not be civilized, contrary to propaganda.]

  • will

    Here’s a telling quote from a student comment:

    “…unable to acknowledge the views of others, close-minded, which seems counter to someone actually trying to understand a situation, and then explain/teach it to others. should really be relegated to blogs.”

  • JingFei

    “As a genderfluid woman
    on the non-binary spectrum, I can see where people are coming from when
    they talk about feminism in a woman-centric way, but I also see how
    it’s exclusionary. Talking about the ways people have been oppressed
    throughout history simply because they were women is totally valid and
    necessary. At the same time, non-binary, trans, and other
    gender-nonconforming people have been completely left out”

    Your special snowflake identities were only invented on Tumblr within the last 5 years. Feminism is reality based, so yeah. Sorry not sorry.
    Seriously if you feel your delicate feelings are being hurt and you are oppressed because no one respects your made up pronouns, or refuse to participate in your fantasies, make your own movement! Stop being parasites off of LGB and Feminism.

    • Just Passing Through

      I’m so upset that the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t center on me a white person. It needs to be more inclusive… I mean, come on, why isn’t it focusing on memememememe!!!!!!!!! (for those in the slow lane, that was sacrcasm)

    • Mandy

      Parasites off the LGB is actually a really good way of phrasing this phenomenon. T and “queer” kids don’t want to do the work it seems of actually starting a movement to address what they see as their problems. They piggyback on LGB and feminism and expect others (mostly women) to do the emotional and physical labor of activism for them.

    • northernTNT

      Feminism has been doing “gender non-conforming for over a century”, these ridiculous idiots need to wake up.
      … and for centuries before that. To conform is for an oppressed to conform to a dominant. Patriarchy is our dominant. Gender non conformity should be a one-way street, like accusations or racism, or sexism, dominant-oppressor situation.

      • ptittle

        Yeah, but they don’t teach history in school anymore. Or it’s an elective. Or/and they don’t teach women’s history. And people don’t read nonfiction books anymore. Probably don’t read books period once they finish school. And most of the gender non-conforming feminists are over fifty or are lesbians. Which means we’re invisible.

        All of which is to say on the one hand, it’s good non-binary gender queer blah blah is getting mainstreamed, but yeah, big sigh, to see it disconnected from the rich rich past that could have, should have, catapulted it forward long long ago.

  • Alienigena

    Sadly, there will probably be some people (the same people who label feminists and women on the Internet who object to online misogyny or other hateful rhetoric, special snowflakes), those special snowflakes (mean’t ironically), who will argue that ‘no, there are some women who don`t have ovaries’. Don`t ask me to specify who they are at this point as there is a huge roster of people out there who are ahistorical (deny that biological females have been demonised in contemporary culture and historically (called witches, non-persons, less human than men, animals) and who reject scientific evidence. I`d just like to ask these types of individuals to look to the science of sexual reproduction in plants and animals. Both groups have distinct male and female sex cells (ovules in plants, eggs in animals). I mean you can see yellow clouds of the male sex cells of spruce trees blowing in wind in the summer when you go for a hike in the foothills or mountains where I live.

  • Then I must be wafflegender!

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks for your comments Jeanne. I think I understand the difference between sex and gender – but maybe I didn’t explain myself very well.
    We use ‘male’ and ‘female’ to separate females from males.
    ‘Black’ and ‘white’ are also socially defined markers – used by White people to discriminate against Blacks. Otherwise, these categories, which we also note at birth, serve no purpose.
    The same could be said for ‘male’ and ‘female’. Lay male and female newborns beside each other and the only difference is between their legs. This difference takes up about 1/10th of the human body, yet we create opposite categories based on these minimal differences. Why not create social categories based on eye colour instead?
    You mention the importance of these categories for procreation. But why divide newborns into ‘male’ and ‘female’ based on an act which happens at most a few times in one’s life and isn’t even possible until they reach puberty.
    I think the categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ are at the root of our oppression as females and humankind’s heterosexual world view.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks for your comments fxduffy. I think of ‘class’ and ‘caste’ as similar in that they both refer to a system of dividing up society into groups based on social or economic status.
    By ‘androgyny’, I mean people whose appearance is gender ambiguous, who don’t fit into typically masculine or feminine gender roles. They can have virtues of both genders which I expect they try to balance.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    I assumed feminists would post respectful replies Mar Iguana. I put a great deal of thought into my posts. I don’t need to be treated with expletives, thank you.

  • Jane

    “True, I have experienced life as both male and female.”

    Science does not support this.

    The definition of sex, at its most basic, is that one contains the potential to produce gametes of a certain variety (for males, small, numerous, and mobile gametes; for females, larger, fewer, and less mobile). Even hermaphrodites do not fall into both categories, because they are typically either sterile or only produce a single variety of gamete. — And, as for those who are sterile or who are missing a womb, ovary, etc., the definition refers to the potential to produce such gametes, not a success in doing so. A female without a womb still contains the biological foundation to create eggs, while a male does not because he lacks the biological foundation to do so.

    The term “sex” derives from the act of sex and refers specifically to one’s orientation with respective to reproduction — i.e. which gametes one provides. So, if a trans person has their birth sex organs removed, they are not sex-changed, they are sexually-neuter. If they keep them, then their sex has not changed at all, even if their outward appearance and hormone balance has changed.

    Additionally, research studies show that trans brains are not “female brains in male bodies” or “male brains in female bodies.” In the case of transwomen, their brains are largely male in appearance, but with unique attributes that align to neither sex: In the case of transmen, there are differences in structure that cause their brains to appear more like that of males: — however, their genetics and their gametes are still female. The first study mentioned posits that it is largely the part of the brain responsible for body image processing that is affected by transsexuality. This is also why the transsexual feeling of actually being the other sex is so pervasive — regardless of what degree of proof there is to say otherwise. The brain itself processes the body as being something other than what it is, regardless of how much or how little surgery or hormone treatment has been undertaken. The affirmation of an outward appearance which aligns with one’s inward feeling relives the sense of discrepancy. But, the underlying condition is not reversible through surgery or hormone treatment, it can only be compensated for — as sex cannot be changed, only the outward appearance.

    “False, it is not irrational for trans men or women to be seen and labeled as men or women.”

    Look at the very first entries for “man” and for “woman” — they refer to “male” and “female” persons. The shift to use the terms “man” and “woman” to refer only to gender role/identity is relatively new, not all people have made this shift, many people do not agree with this shift, and it does not reflect either the etymology or the established usage of the terms, starting way back in the years 700-1,000. So, for all of those reasons, as well as the information mentioned above about biological sex, that usage of the terms is inaccurate.

    • Brenn

      I agree that ones biology, the ability to reproduce, cannot be changed. When I use the terms “man” or “women” I speak of gender. When I use the terms “male or female” I speak of biology. Feminism is based on biology, and not on gender. Feminism views the concept of gender as a construct of the patriarchy, to subjugate the class of biological females to subordinate to the biological class of males.
      What I am saying is that the subjugation depends on others, the outside world, not you. How they perceive you. Not on your actual ability to reproduce, either born that way or thru surgery. Born females who can’t reproduce experience and are socialized the same as you (except to made feel less a woman because she can’t). Same as a born male who can’t reproduce is socialized the same as all born males.
      I am supportive of Megan’s article, in that I think it is stupid to say that biological females speaking of their experiences are somehow transphobic. And I want to say that most trans people don’t feel that way.
      My point was that a lot of us don’t want to stand out, not because we are ashamed, but life is a lot safer if we are perceived by society as what we present.
      In general, trans men are undetectable if they are on testosterone. It varies greatly for trans women.
      There has always been gender variant people thruout history and culture. It shouldn’t harm the basic tenant of feminism, in that females, based on anatomy, are a subjucated class of humans.

      • Wren

        I appreciate and agree with much of what you are saying. But this part trips me up:
        “What I am saying is that the subjugation depends on others, the outside world, not you.”
        It’s tough for me to get past the awareness that you chose to take on the role of woman, and I did not. I just got fucking unlucky. It’s very hard to not feel frustration over this.

  • Cassandra

    I love how she thinks she’s being “respectful” with the poison coming out of her mouth. As long as you say it nicely though!!

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks for your comments. I agree that many species have male and female categories and that these categories are related to reproduction and not politics. We should follow the example of these species because humans have made ‘male’ and ‘female’ political. We justify the separation between male and female on the basis of biological differences and then we proceed to create a social hierarchy (similar to the social hierarchy white people create with people of colour). As feminists, we challenge the social hierarchy but I think we could also challenge the unnecessary overuse of these categories or socially created divisions. Thanks.

    • Tired feminist

      The thing is, sex *is* a more relevant category than eye or skin color, because the latter have no impact on the continuity of our existence as a species, whereas sexed reproduction is the very thing that guarantees it. Concern for the continuity of the species is an evolutionary trait, and it’s very unlikely to disappear. So I think it’s naive to expect people to stop telling male babies from female ones.

      What we *can* expect, I think, is to reduce the relevance of sexual categories to the realm of biology so that they don’t impact socialization (e.g. we could stop asking every soon-to-be parent whether their child is girl or boy, because apart from doctors, who cares). But this won’t make sexual categories disappear, only gender.

      • Lisa Tremblay

        Thank you for your response and for recommending that there are ways to reduce the relevance of the ‘male’ and ‘female’ social categories. I agree that people, other than the doctor, don’t need to know whether a newborn is a boy or a girl.
        I would respectfully disagree, though, with your comments related to the importance of reproduction for the existence of our species. It seems to me that the emphasis we have given to reproducing our species has been to our detriment and has had a negative impact on the planet. 40,000 years ago, humans lived in a sort of equilibrium with other species. We didn’t dominate the planet. If concern for the continuity of our species is an evolutionary trait, then we need to evolve into a species that cares about balance with other species and with Mother Earth if we want to survive. Finding ways to de-emphasize ‘male’ and ‘female’ might be one way of getting there.

        • Wren

          “Finding ways to de-emphasize ‘male’ and ‘female’ might be one way of getting there.”
          No, that wouldn’t get us there. Enabling all women to have reproductive rights, access to birth control, viable options for careers, and power in the political sphere would get us there. But we have to recognize women as WOMEN to advance our rights. I mean, geesh, your theorizing may make you think your an intellectual, but you sound silly and indulgent. I’m not even sure what you’re actually trying to get at, and I don’t think care.

  • Mandy

    Well most of their examples of outliers. Genetic mutations if we want to go in a groovy Proffessor X direction. Much like the existence of a girl born with her legs fused together doesn’t disprove the fact that humans are bipedal, thier examples don’t disprove the norm of the majority of human females share these physical characters.

    Not to mention for every time they bring up ‘well what about infertilite/post menopause women?!’ as a weird got’cha, I want to ask if tbey are either of those things. I’ve never had a woman derail a conversation about reproductive rights IRL to complain that she isn’t included because she can’t give birth. It seems like people online use these women and their real problems as simple pawns. They don’t actually care about discussions about the reality of being a post menopausal women (any discussion of female problems is transphobic now anyway), they just want to derail.

  • Wren


  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks for clarifying what you meant. You’re right that the mechanisms for reproduction probably won’t change. But given that human beings have the capacity to think, we could bring more rationality to this evolutionary concern for the continuity of the species.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    I support your suggestion that we can just agree to disagree and move on Cassandra. Thanks for the conversation.

  • I hate doing this but: people with XY chromosomes and CAIS syndrome are pretty much female as far as social stuff goes (they look plain female on the outside from birth and later go through female puberty except they don’t menstruate), yet they usually completely lack the internal female reproductive system; they never have ovaries, and instead literally have (nonfunctional) testes up there in their belly. 🙂 It’s a pretty “amazing” condition if you ask me…

    Anyhow. The best political definition of “woman” I can offer to cover intersex women is “person considered female since after birth”. (Note: I’m male. I’m just offering it!) Sometimes with a parenthesis explaining that in roughly (but literally) 99% of all cases, that is because they are indeed simply female.

    Obviously, this doesn’t cover MtF transsexuals, even if they fully transitioned including surgery. Which in turn is not to say that such people won’t ever experience misogyny; when they pass as female then I guess they will (some of it only of course), and I suppose they could cooperate with the feminist movement for that reason. They just need to acknowledge that they aren’t “literally a real woman” let alone “have always been a woman”…

  • John Stuart Mill

    Attempting to steal the word “woman” from real women – forcing us into convoluted nonsense such as “menstruators” or “ciswomen” – is absolutely misogyny. The word “woman” has meant “adult female human being” for centuries. It’s OUR word. It perfectly conveys “people with XX DNA, vaginas, female hormones, female musculature, female ova, etc.” We are not LEGO that can be materially changed by taking out or rearranging “parts” (now it’s a car, now it’s a helicopter!) We are not materially changed into some OTHER sex by surgical hysterectomies, or mastectomies, or choosing to not give birth or lactate, or by going through menopause. We are born female, we live our lives as females, and we die female – all within a female-hating, female-dominating, female-controlling patriarchal system designed to benefit males/men.

    If so-called “transwomen” (XY males) want to name themselves “sprigldyfritz” I couldn’t possibly care less. Just STOP trying to appropriate/erase who/what I am, what my mother is, what my grandmothers were, what my sisters are. We are sex-class female and we are the only women who will ever exist on this planet in reality.

    Fun fact: ONLY women can pass down mitochondrial DNA to their offspring. No male can pass down mitochondrial DNA. If a “pregnant man” is passing his mitochondrial DNA to his offspring? He’s not a man. He’s a woman. Oh, and then there’s that whole uterus + ovaries + vagina thing. ENOUGH with the crazy. Go back to sex-based pronouns and sex-based identification of man vs. woman. ENOUGH.

  • John Stuart Mill

    The solution is simple. EVERYONE go back to sex-based pronouns, sex-based membership in man vs. woman, sex-based facilities. Done.

    People can play with “gender” to their hearts content. They just need to STOP trying to force it on the rest of us and accept that we will not yield on sex-based realities.

    • ptittle

      NO NO NO NO NO. Do NOT make my sex part of my identification as a matter of routine. It’s simply not that important. Should not be that important.

      • John Stuart Mill

        If you don’t want to use sex-based pronouns, then go live in Hungary. I understand that Hungarian has one set of sexless pronouns. I’ll help you pack. Just leave our English language out of your gender obsessions.

  • Topazthecat

    Both you and Lisa don’t realize that you both are saying the same true things just in different ways, about the social constructions of gender.

  • ptittle

    XX chromosomes isn’t as good/better? Truly asking.

  • ptittle

    Then again, since it’s the reproductive capacity that causes us so much grief, discrimination-wise, why NOT use that as the definitive point? Then prepubescents and post-menopausals can be, oh so happily, NOT women, not sexed, just people. Think LeGuin Left Hand of Darkness.

  • ptittle

    It’s true, very true, for those of us who (can) choose to be non-reproductive.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    You’re right. It’s not the categories that limit children but patriarchy – through gender role stereotyping. Some parents are trying to avoid society’s gender stereotyping by not identifying the sex of their babies. I don’t know how successful this strategy is.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    Thanks. My mistake. By “our” I meant our society not our feminist movement.

  • Lisa Tremblay

    I agree that it would be progress if children could wear and do whatever they want regardless of their sex. Studies show that people can’t tell the sex of babies – which is why people ask ‘Is it a boy or girl?’ Some parents are trying to disrupt gender socialization by not disclosing to others (outside of the medical profession) the sex of their babies. Of course, at some point, it becomes obvious and necessary to disclose.

  • Dylan Griffith

    I wasn’t suggesting that human biology was a construct at all, I was saying that males and females have identical minds, both being human, and, yes, of course, men and women have different bodies, and women are oppressed on the basis of their female anatomy; i was arguing against any such idea as male or female minds, instead of just human minds, because I think that idea is pernicious and wrong

  • Susanna Krizo

    YES, YES, AND YES!!!! It’s what I’ve been seeing the past few weeks ever since a man told me he was a feminist, that I wasn’t. At first I thought he was joking, but… he wasn’t. He was dead serious. We need to stop this evil trend. Feminism is for women, by women. Everyone else can talk about their issues however they want and wherever they please, but feminism is ours, because only women can talk about what it’s like to be a woman in the world of patriarchy