In the Oppression Olympics, women always lose

In their efforts to champion trans rights, liberals are effectively working to nullify the sex-based protections previous generations of feminists fought for.

When I started campaigning in the late nineties, it made me about as fashionable as the kids who played Dungeons and Dragons, though with fewer friends (and a vulva). I cut my political teeth by earnestly handing out flyers warning people about the bigotry of the British National Party with the righteous fervour of a teenage Marxist. As such, it’s been a surprise some half a lifetime later to find myself repeatedly called a fascist.

What apparently makes me, and the other feminists who think like me, akin to Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco, is that we choose to prioritize the rights of women and girls. Criticism isn’t just from the left — even those in the belly of the establishment such as Maria Miller, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, sneer at our concerns while deriding us as purported feminists.”

The issue that draws such slurs from left and right is that of gender identity. At this point, I should apologize to my fellow liberals for any hummus that may be spluttered onto iPhones, but I do not care about an individual’s internal sense of identity. I don’t want to cause undue upset, and will use preferred pronouns and chosen names, but ultimately if there is a disjuncture between how an individual feels and how they look, that is up to them to navigate.

In the UK, the first inquiry launched by the then-newly formed Women and Equalities Committee was the “Transgender Equality Inquiry.” One of the recommendations was to update the Equality Act (2010) to replace “gender reassignment” as a protected characteristic with “gender identity.”

Superficially, this perhaps seems like an innocuous attempt to bring language into line with the preferred terminology of a rapidly evolving movement. In practice, the ramifications for the rights and safety of women and girls cannot be understated.

Although this debate is often reduced to being about public toilets, arguably, prison policies present the most pertinent examples of how segregating people on the basis of their self-declaration might work in practice. In exceptional circumstances, trans people (though curiously, in practice this is always transwomen) can be moved without a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Tara Hudson, a violent and repeat offender was moved to a women’s prison, despite not having a GRC, following a well-orchestrated media campaign designed to twang the heart strings of well-meaning liberals across the country. In an escort advertisement, Hudson boasted of a “seven-inch surprise.” It may indeed come as shock, but the majority of biological men who identify as women do not elect to have surgery.

Last month Annabelle Ford, who has a GRC, attacked a friend with a scaffolding pole in front of a child. Annabelle was sent to a women’s prison where 81 per cent of the female offenders are incarcerated for non-violent crimes. To date, there hasn’t been a campaign to have similarly intact prisoners who identify as women but don’t have GRCs — such as rapists like Davina Aryton, or paedophiles like Nicola Florida and Jasmine Hill — moved into women’s prisons. But should the concept of self-identification become a protected characteristic, there will be no legal basis to challenge an individual’s sense of their gender identity. This means that, in practice, the sex-based protections that previous generations of feminists fought for will be effectively nullified.

The “trans umbrella,” as favoured by leading LGBT campaign groups, includes those who wear clothes associated with the other sex. Whilst it would be disingenuous to suggest that every cross-dresser is a Norman Bates, it is fair to assume that a pair of Janet Regers will not magic away the socialized norms of male behaviour. This, to me, is where the heart of the problem lies: we have a collective blind spot around male violence. It is a sad fact that male pattern violence does not change with identities, and neither can women identify out of risk. The reason single-sex facilities exist is not because women are prudes — it’s because a significant minority of men are predators.

Whether the recommendations of the transgender inquiry are ever formally implemented is perhaps irrelevant; in practice “gender identity” has already been adopted as a marker in place of sex across statutory bodies. Earlier this week, the National Union of Teachers voted to promote gender identity in educational institutions. Even the Girl Guides now accept self-identification, rather than biological sex, as a criterion for becoming a guide leader. Ask your local hospital, and it is likely that, despite the hefty fines for breaching single sex wards, if a patient identifies as the other sex they will be placed on that ward.

The standard response, when concerns about women’s rights are raised in relation to gender identity, is that transwomen are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence. It should be noted that the oft quoted “one in twelve trans women are murdered” refers to prostituted transwomen of colour in South America, not white computer programmers in Surrey. Furthermore, it isn’t marauding bands of nasty feminists who murder and maim trans people; it’s men.

Frustratingly, those of us who understand gender to be a collection of harmful stereotypes to be abolished, rather than a liberating performance, are rarely consulted when policy decisions are made. I think I might choose to identify as a man, then perhaps my concerns about women’s safety will be listened to.

Jo Bartosch founded the feminist campaign group Chelt Fems, which she chaired for seven years. In March she stepped down to become a Director of Critical Sisters, an organization formed to promote women’s liberation and critical thinking across the left. Follow @CriticalSisters.

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  • Hierophant2

    What can we do to stop this? Is there any organization of feminists working to fight against gender identity? Can one be started?

    • FierceMild

      In the US what we need is to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to our constitution. At the moment women are not viewed as a protected class, we don’t have the right to class-action lawsuits and all infringements on our rights must be fought on the individual level case by case woman by woman. If we had the ability to change the onus of proof from the individual woman needing to prove discrimination to a corporation, institution, or group needing to prove they are not in violation of the constitution we would be better off.

      Race and sexuality are both constitutionally protected, but women are not. That is why there is no such thing, in our law, as a hate crime against women. Legally, we are still combatting Black’s law of couverture. Transwomen, on the other hand, are male and therefore enjoy full rights and protections under the US constitution. That’s what makes it easier for them to win legal status as well as hearts and minds.

      • Cassandra

        Yes, that’s what we need. I fear that we’re further away from it now than we have ever been.
        Just call me a ray of sunshine.

      • Danielle Matheson

        Omg. I didn’t even know that’s how it worked. I’m very new to being “woke”, as radfem is very new to me. But it’s awaken something in me. I’m very disappointed that the U.S.has no specific amendment for women. Of course guns have one, but not women. I took a class called Unequalities in the United States, and that’s where I first learned that oppressions were hierarchies. It concentrated mostly on race, we only had one lecture on gender. But it changed the way I saw my country and not in a good way.

        One thing my book did point out though, as far as gender was concerned, was an anecdote about a couple the author knew in grad school who had twins, a boy and a girl. They were trying to raise them gender neutral. So it was like their fourth birthday and they got them these primary colored, foam shapes. And much to his friends dismay, the kids at the party separated by sex and the boys were playing army and the girls pretending the shapes were babies, etc. It was a wonderful example of how people aren’t raised in a vacuum. Despite their efforts, sex socialization still happened.sorry for the off topic rant, it was just really interesting.

    • Anon


    • Yisheng Qingwa

      I have been silenced in this site, it would seem. After years of fighting for women, this site is going to censor me. Wow.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Hey Yisheng,

        You aren’t being censored or silenced, you have just been posting the same ‘comment’ (i.e. “r/ gendercritical”) over and over again and the comment isn’t actually a comment (also, r/ gendercritical isn’t even a link to anything…), so it reads as spam. In other words, no one knows what “r/ gendercritical” is or means…

        Productive comments that include links are welcome, as always!

      • FierceMild

        Are you sure!? That would really surprise me. Sometimes the comments go funky in the moderation queue.

        • Meghan Murphy

          For the record, everyone here is moderated. It’s how we manage to keep this space productive 🙂

          This means that even regulars who I think are wonderful end up having comments deleted from time to time. Please try not to take it personally and just trust that comments are moderated out for a reason. Certainly it’s not about ‘silencing,’ it’s just about trying to ensure a constructive conversation and to avoid letting the comment section turn into a complete, illegible mess.

          I sometimes delete spammy comments (i.e. the same link or comment posted many times over) or comments that are unnecessarily rude (or mistakenly rude) to women/sisters we should treat with respect, for example (remember that I can see where comments come from in ways that are not always obvious on the reader/commenter side. I do this knowing that it’s unlikely you would truly want to speak to that woman, in that way, in real life, but that sometimes we misread or misinterpret things like ‘tone’ etc online and react badly). I do this to avoid alienating women or hurting them. I also will sometimes delete comments I view to be slanderous against allies/sisters…

          All that said, if you think something has been deleted by mistake or without justification, please do feel free and encouraged to email me!

          • FierceMild

            I think maybe that was meant for Yisheng Qingwa?

            And for the record I do very much understand and deeply appreciate your moderation policies. I’ve written things in the moment – on FC as well as other sites – that I’ve regretted for tone or hotheadedness. Without the effort FC puts into moderation there could be no constructive conversation at all. I often wonder how you manage to keep on top of it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Just trying to clarify for everyone, I suppose 🙂 I think we all (myself included for SURE) have written things we’ve regretted, in anger… Thanks, as always, for your contributions here. I always feel so grateful for the comment section here.

          • Tired feminist

            Thank you back for the huge effort it takes to moderate our comments one by one and make this space possible!

          • Meghan Murphy


          • MotherBear84

            TBH I have deleted comments that I have made and which have been approved. It’s usually for one of a few reasons:

            1. I realised it really contributed absolutely nothing to the conversation
            2. I mis-posted it (ie I replied to the wrong person, or I clicked “reply” instead of “upvote” and then felt like I had to leave a comment b/c otherwise it would seem weird)
            3. I realised I was worried about how it might be interpreted, either on this site or by someone irl
            4. I was rude without needing to be
            5. The article is so old that no one’s ever gonna see my comment, and thus I feel pathetic and silly about posting it…

            Honestly, I don’t agree with everything viewpoint or every article on this site, but I feel like you (Meghan) are clearly willing to post views you don’t agree with! If you ever didn’t publish a comment of mine I would assume you had a good reason.

          • Kendall Turtle

            Yep! I had a comment that was deleted that I had realized afterwards was In hindsight rude and inappropriate and definitely understand why it was deleted! Thanks for moderating!

          • Meghan Murphy

            Thanks for understanding 🙂

          • Lady Dark Helmet

            Same here. I was being a jackass and they deleted one comment that didn’ t even bring anything to the discussion. I actually think it’ s pretty good that this happens, because not only sometimes it’ s just uncalled for, but deleting useless and incredibly rude comments doesn’ t add fuel to the fire.

    • Mar Iguana

      ‘Is there any organization of feminists working to fight against gender identity?’


  • Miranda

    Thank you for articulating my concerns so well – I am from the UK and have been increasingly alarmed at how these dimunations of our rights and safety are being foisted upon us. I try to avoid conspiracy theories but there seems to be an orchestrated campaign behind this somehow – trans stories are in the media all the time now in a way that can’t just be coincidence or readership demand.

    • Ennis Demeter

      Fight back

    • Kathleen Lowrey

      You are not paranoid. There is what Gender Trender aptly calls “man money” behind this. The Pritzker fortune, for example (look up Jennifer Pritzker).

      Something I’ve begun to wonder about is why — as Nancy Hartsock pointed out about how suddenly once feminist analysis became the hot new theory we weren’t supposed to have grand explanatory theories in the social sciences anymore — everything about the academic analysis of social evidence focuses on “discourses” and “structures” and investigations that look to specific individuals, foundations, and particular actors is supposed to be silly and worthless and, as you say, “paranoid”.

      So you can look, for example, at the “discourse” around “sex work” and that’s professional scholarship; if you look into the prostitution industry funding fake grassroots organizations you’re a scrubbly unserious little amateur running a blog. Huh. Funny that.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    I will NOT use “preferred pronouns”. I am under no obligation to indulge anyone’s delusional “genderfeels”. I WILL NOT COMPLY.

    • Ennis Demeter

      I can’t. It feels like praying to a God I don’t believe in. It feels false, and it makes me feel a loss of integrity.

      • Yisheng Qingwa

        It can drive you insane… and destroy your pride. Have pride as a woman. Women are EVERYTHING. I simply refuse to address or acknowledge anyone with “preferred pronouns”.

        • Danielle Matheson

          Same. I stay away from them. They’re so regressive and refuse to acknowledge it. Gross.

    • Americansatan

      How dare you dictate how people identify? Maybe you would prefer people to address you as sir, or something far more offensive, because after all, it doesn’t matter what you think or feel?? Idiot

      • Aylune B. Papyrus

        She does not dictate how people identify. They may identify however they like. She’s simply saying that she won’t recognize it or validate it, which is her absolute right, by the way. No one is obligated to validate another person’s internal identity/feelings.

        PS : Dude… being adressed as “sir” when you’re a woman is really no big deal. Who the fuck cares ? You seem very sensitive.

      • FierceMild

        Addressing Yisheng Qungwa as ‘sir’ won’t change her into a man anymore then calling Caitlyn Jenner ‘she’ makes him a woman. And all women have been called far worse then ‘sir’ mostly by men, mostly as a sexually-loaded threat. That’s part of the reason we need sex-segregated spaces to see to our bodily needs.

    • ONE

      Using people’s correct pronouns is a basic form of respect. By saying what you said, you’re saying that you don’t care that you contribute to trans people’s oppression by society. That’s like if I called you by the wrong pronouns and if you objected to that, I’d call you crazy and delusional. Imagine if one day you woke up and you looked like the opposite sex. That’s how transgender people feel, except they’ve felt it since they were a child. Please try to understand, instead of immediately going with what you were taught as a child by society.

      • FierceMild

        Using the bathroom/shelter/prison that matches your anatomy is a basic form of respect. By insisting that males should use the women’s facilities based on their feelings you open up the door to predators and re-traumatize victims of assault. This contributes to the continued marginalization of women by men.

        Imagine if one day you woke up and nobody respected your body or your thoughts or your words and when you asserted your boundaries people called you a ‘bigot’ and a ‘TERF’ that’s how women are treated in our society by trans ideologists.

        We have offered empathy, trans ideologists are insisting on an untenable and unacceptably intrusive take-over of women’s spaces. If transwomen feal unsafe in men’s bathrooms they should have a neutral option they have no right to take women’s spaces from us.

        Absolutely no one is entitled to have their private feelings validated by others.

      • Danielle Matheson

        Trans folk refer to vaginas as front holes. They reduce me to parts of my biology. They don’t see me, a born female, as a whole person. I’m a bleeder, a menstruater. No one gives a second thought that maybe women and girls wouldn’t want males in our spaces. We get silenced about talking about vulvas with cupcakes (yep, two separate occasions colleges had events using cupcakes to talk about vaginas but apparently that’s transphobic). Trans folk got Mich fest shut down and boasted about it. They don’t care about respect for women. They just care about their male idea of what a woman is.

        • ONE

          You say trans people reduce you to parts of your biology, but that’s exactly what you’re doing if you’re saying that sex is the only thing that determines your gender.

          • Morag999

            This is a senseless comment. You seem to have no idea where you are. Sorry, buddy, but this isn’t some magical Genderland,

      • Zuzanna Smith

        Actually, what she was probably “taught by society” is to be polite and agree and comply with what males want, even if it is a lie and harmful to women. She is doing the opposite of what society wants and that is to be a non-compliant woman and to resist the gender straitjacket. Lying and denying reality is NOT respect, and being expected to lie is definitely disrespectful to Yisheng and anyone else bullied into “basic forms respect”.

      • Leo

        If I woke up like that, I’d think “Woo, now I can go out at night! And travel! I wonder if I’m still just in time to catch this year’s cherry blossoms in Japan? Laters, alligators, I’m off!’

        And I’d not care if you called me ‘he’, because if I was male now, that’s correct.

        But get real, they never woke up ~magically~ transformed by an evil spell or whatnot. Male to Trans have been male since they were conceived, they ARE male. They feel uncomfortable with that? So? I have OCD, I feel uncomfortable with loads of things, doesn’t change reality, it’s just nonsense my brain throws up is all. Actual sex dysphoria is no different.

        Being honest with mentally ill people/those with neurological conditions is respectful, and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about their oppression. Correct pronouns are those based on biological sex, that’s how he/she pronouns work. They likely ARE crazy if they’re denying their biological reality – that, or just manipulative men.

        • ONE

          Trans people are delusional and mentally ill, therefore we shouldn’t give in to their ludicrous demands of changing a word. I mean, how ridiculous is it that someone would demand people change their language just so they don’t feel like killing themselves!

          Don’t get me wrong, accidentally misgendering someone is ok, but purposely calling someone by the wrong pronouns even though you know it will emotionally harm them is just a shitty thing to do.

  • Georgina Whitby

    Good points. But I’d add this . Too often feminists shoot themselves in the foot by diverting to existential arguments about the word woman (which whole fields of academia pointedly including women’s studies have complexified ) , instead of asserting and defending the sex specific term female . Asserting sex as a category separate to ” gender identity ‘ might irk some , but here’s the thing , it’s a actually a more open and approach and appropriately delineates social practice pluralism (identity practices ) from matters of biology. Achievable protections aren’t possible without being happy to use clearly specific language (not insisting on public or legal debates in language that is clearly political and disputed – while those language debates have a place they are clearly a less convincing and less pressing point ).

    It might sound paradoxical , but in many legal contexts , identity practice being a separate protected characteristic to biological sex category preserve a distinction , while allowing specific accommodations. GRC , as they stand in the UK do something quite different to that , in conflating gender identity beliefs/practices with biological sex . But notice how needed clearly distinct words to speak to that problem . Here’s the thing , challenging personal identity isn’t the thing to do. Challenging how identity practices (including “gender identity ” beliefs ) encroaching on sex based protections is the more pertinent and socially comprehensible point. And it allows for specific distinct protections for people made vulnerable by GD and by identity practices including SRS …

    If you want to ninja Flip identity politics / phoney”SJW ” claims back on themselves , the genuine complexity of the problems of the intersection between sex and identity practices are powerful (and actually explore genuine and important points) . A capacity for nuance and adapting to real world complexities is also important in approach.

    I’m not challenging the article , if that’s not clear already, just presenting some issues of approach , and a frustration at how much the important points are bring diverted into culturally entrenched language debates around identity , instead of distinguishing biology from identity beliefs. Compare it to religion conflicting with human rights . It’s as if the current approaches are trying to debunk religious dogma, rather than more usefully insisting it doesn’t infringe on secular rights relating to material concerns . You can do that while allowing religion as a protected characteristic in anti discrimination law, but care in framing it is important .

    Also specific to the UK debate, there is no more important and valuable document in this than the 2015 trans practioners paper , and responding to the points about predators/ violent offenders and strategic identity in that should form the starting point of a whack at the foundation of the current GRC setup .

    • Leo

      Basically no one reads the ‘women’s studies’ ramblings anyway, and everyone knows perfectly well that woman means adult human female, whatever the transactivists like to pretend. I don’t see a need to give that up. The word is not that ‘complexified’, it’s still used nearly always to mean adult human female.

      Religion shouldn’t be a protected characteristic either, and I’m sure it is partly for the same reason as this gender identity stuff is going on – patriarchy protecting itself.

  • Cassandra

    “This, to me, is where the heart of the problem lies: we have a collective blind spot around male violence. It is a sad fact that male pattern violence does not change with identities, and neither can women identify out of risk. The reason single-sex facilities exist is not because women are prudes — it’s because a significant minority of men are predators.”

    I’d skip right over “minority” and say “number” were I the one writing this piece, but I’m not, because I’m not brave enough to write something like this under my own name, so I perhaps ought not say what I’d say. And thank you, Jo Bartosch, for being so articulate. And brave.

    That I am afraid to stand up for women and girls is pretty telling. When oh when are women going to WAKE UP about this? It makes my head want to spin off my body.

    • M. Zoidberg

      Because it’s horrifying just how much men hate women, the weight of which is soul-crushing.

  • Anon

    Right on, sister! Nailed it!

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s not possible to fight for women’s rights and trans rights at the same time, because those who are fighting for trans rights have chosen to do so by attacking women’s rights. I certainly agree that trans-identified people *could* fight for services and fair treatment in, say, the workplace, without stepping all over women’s rights, but transactivists have not chosen to do this. The reason feminists are now forced to fight this whole ‘gender identity’ thing is because it has manifested itself as an attack on women and on feminists. Also, of course, ‘gender identity’ itself reinforces the notion that gender is internal/innate, rather than socialized, which is a sexist, regressive notion.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    “We are not completely sure what gender identity is exactly”

    Then nobody should implement legislation or take such impactful decisions on its basis. How is it possible to enshrine it into law as a protected characteristic if no one is really sure what it is ? Or put an end to sex-segregated spaces based on an abstract thing that nobody can even describe ?

  • FierceMild

    Stop calling us ‘cis’ it’s not how we identify.

  • calabasa

    And by “given special status” I mean that these two groups were mentioned whereas women (as a class), and statistics surrounding violence against us, were not. At “Take Back the Night.”

  • Danielle Matheson

    Cis would mean we identify with our oppression, which we do not. And the vile garbage that trans people spew at women and call us privileged is evidence that they do not care about our oppression. My vagina is not a “front hole”. I am not a menstruater. My period is not a privilege, but it’s not something that I am ashamed of or disgusted with. It’s just a biological reality of my female biology. I was happy to be an ally for tranfolk until I read the comments that my biology triggers their dysphoria. That vulva cupcakes are transphobic. That my “trans identified” uncle (he has chosen not to transition because he doesn’t want his son’s and grandson to be confused—on and that my aunt who he’s been married to for 25 years would divorce him) is the most misogynistic person I know. When I explained that radical feminism saved my life after being raped he told me that “man hating” wasn’t the answer to “get over” my rape. He still gets to think he’s a women but enjoys the male privilege he’s always had. So, no. If you’re a feminist, your priority should be the liberation of females from patriarchy and male violence.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men murder men, too, in case you haven’t noticed… It doesn’t mean men don’t have male privilege… Gay men, black men, etc., are all murdered by other men.

    The point is that feminists are not responsible for the male violence inflicted on males who identify as trans. We are not responsible for homophobia or for violent johns. We fight homophobia, traditional gender roles, and the violent system of prostitution.

  • Meghan Murphy

    My ex-boyfriend was ‘misgendered’ several times by waitresses when we’d be out for dinner, because he was thin and had long hair. I found it hilarious. it certainly wasn’t violent… I also know lots of butch lesbians who are ‘misgendered’ routinely. ‘Misgendering’ does not kill.

  • Danielle Matheson

    Also, there is no difference in the brains of males and females, except in average, males have larger brains because in average, they are bigger. Lady brain has been debunked a few times. Socialization plays a huge role in his people act. In sociology and anthropology they define gender as a social construct, meaning its the external forces of society, family, etc is responsible for gender. Biological sex is not a social construct. Trans folk are denying a quantifiable reality.

  • Tired feminist

    And don’t forget that classic from the abuser’s handbook, “if you don’t call them the way they want to be called, they’ll KILL THEMSELVES!”

  • esuth

    “Obviously we are not completely sure what gender identity is exactly.”

    You may not be sure, but we are. It’s junk science invented to make pharmaceutical executives rich.

  • Americus91

    So far I’ve gotten one response to this question – something along the lines of – “We were forced to hide our true selves for so long and as a result we were never able to develop the language to describe it.”

    • Tired feminist

      HAHA. Me, I usually get one or more of the following:

      – It’s complicated
      – How do YOU know you’re a woman? (yeah lol, I know that one, buddy, but you don’t want to hear it)
      – Each woman gets to define herself
      – A woman is whoever identifies as a woman; in other words, whoever describes herself as a woman, is a woman, because, as everyone knows, being a woman is all about having the gender identity of a woman
      – why are you so obsessed with definitions

      So, buddies, now that you really can’t say you’re “being forced to hide yourselves”, please do fucking explain your shit.

  • Meghan Murphy


  • FierceMild

    But, but, but…women are not permitted to compete in the decathlon.

  • FierceMild

    I know! That one always makes me laugh. ‘But wh-wh-what if someone called you sir?’ It is sooooo obviously a case of privilege-blinkered lazy unwillingness to observe how actual women are actually treated in the actual world every day it’s mind muddling. Who among us would give a moment’s thought, never mind emotional weight, to being called sir when we have so much worse to face?!

  • Alienigena

    “I’m starting to believe the stereotype that on average women can’t do statistics 🙂 (<— that is a joke)" Because the average woman is of lower intelligence than the average man?

    If it is a joke, it is not a very funny one. Is the next accusation from you that women don't have a sense of humour? Or a general statement about women 'not being able to take a joke'.

    Is there an online group on reddit or 4chan in which people you like and Larry Summers (said that women can't do math or science) regularly hang out?

    "… treating people as part of a class." Treating women as a class is completely appropriate if they are talked about by men (e.g. women can't drive, women can't do math, women are too emotional, women are natural born nurturers, etc.) as if they are members of a class. Lastly, biological women have things in common that they will never have in common with MtTs. They need to work together to promote their reproductive rights.

    You have to reference a study about rhesus monkeys to push the gender-based toy preference argument? Having studied primatolology/anthropology (and having been interested in the phenomenon of deception in non-human and human primates) I know it is tempting to anthropomorphise, but one really should not.

  • Leo

    ‘Obviously, we are not completely sure what gender identity is exactly’

    *Does the ‘eh?’ headtilt thing*

    Then…if we’re not even sure what it is, why, oh why, should we be expected to redefine what ‘woman’ means to include males? We’re not somehow arbitrarily deciding to exclude trans”women” from our definition of ‘woman’, they were ALREADY excluded, because the word women has zilch to do with ‘gender identity’, it never did, it was never intended to, it means ‘an adult human female’. Would you read a historical text, come across a reference to women, and think it might mean trans”women”? Of course not, you know the term means adult human females. Trans”women” are males, therefore not women. You’re expecting an oppressed group, women, to redefine itself to include its oppressor, males.


    Thank you for the laugh, though, the admission of not having the foggiest what gender identity is was quite refreshing.

  • Just Passing Through

    Yep it is becoming crazier every day thanks to men and their endless demands.

  • Cassandra

    So some male rhesus monkeys preferred to play with wheeled toys.

    What does this have to do with anything? I mean truly, what’s your point? Men are monkeys? This is why men like cars? What?

  • Sabine

    He committed first degree murder but is in pieces over not being given proper access to women’s clothing and access to women’s space even in incarceration. Shoot me now.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Gender is about socialization, not your body. ‘Switching gender’ just means performing gender roles traditionally applied to the opposite sex… It doesn’t mean you literally switch bodies…

  • Meghan Murphy

    The I am not a woman, seeing as the way society sees women is as not fully human.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ah ok. Good to know.

  • Fouraces

    When feminists denounce brain sex, they are not claiming that there are no differences in the brain out of the void, but rather, rebutting assertions that average differences in features are evidence for the validity of sex-based stereotypes. That “60-80%” you keep trotting out is not meaningful in this discussion; it doesn’t equate to a 60-80% predictor of capability in any field.

    Also, why are you assuming that any genetic propensity as you put it would support the status quo of inequality with women as the inferiors? Why have you not even considered the possibility of women being genetically superior?

  • Alienigena

    The things ONE says are unbelievable. Women are constantly counselled by self-help books and pop culture psychologists to ‘just get over it’ where ‘it’ can be incest, sexual assault, partner abuse, sexual harassment, stalking, physical assault by spouse, etc. Women are expected to be forgive and forget and to be resilient and to not let what people say to them impact them emotionally. Why isn’t the same resilience expected of MtTs. Seems to me the truly weak ones are the MtTs … there is no expectation that they show resilience and get over it when they are ‘misgendered’.

    • calabasa

      Oh I know…my former trans (actually cross-dressing autogynephilic) roommate was “traumatized,” in his words, about a conversation in which I first said he should ask the organizers of an all-women’s nude sauna if he could go (he is male-bodied, 6’2, muscular and covered in tattoos), in which I gently suggested a gender neutral bathroom was a step forward, not backward, for trans people, because it publicly acknowledged their existence (to which he responded “oh but there are some people who really don’t think trans women are women”–yes, that is the problem here; not being affirmed by women), in which I said that allowing all people who identified as women into female-only spaces was a risk for biological women (he said “there’s no evidence for that” and I shot back, “do you want me to send you some?”)–denying that women are constantly victimized by pervy men and that pervy men will literally do anything to victimize them is ridiculous, coming from the “yes means yes” crowd–in which I said that there was no reason for a gender binary, and what a lot of feminists believe is that gender IS the problem (and he said, “well some of us don’t have a problem with the gender binary,” and I said, “well some of US do,”), and, at the end of which he started to roll his eyes and shrug his shoulders and say, “well, YOU don’t understand”–pulling the “trans oppression” card when he has his gazillions of trans-worshiping libfem “ciswomen” in his “community” to gush over his “pretty” pictures on Facebook and suck his dick when he feels like it (which is why he does this in the first place), and he’s 34 years old and been “trans” for all of a year–and I shot back at him, “I could say the same thing to you.”

      Well, after seven months of doing the emotional labor of tiptoeing around him (and helping him out financially with his largely self-imposed poverty–100,000 dollars in debt for a PhD he almost finished but for the dissertation; choosing to “other” himself every chance he got–even if we shouldn’t be discriminated against on the job market for such a reason, we are, and he was absolutely covered in tattoos, got a face tattoo he called a “job-killer,” and would spend his tax return on a tattoo instead of rent, and then ask for rental assistance–two useless masters in history, useless not only because it’s not the most useful masters necessarily, and because there were TWO of them, but because he was, in retrospect, not interested in any of the jobs he could go into, and although they might actually be MORE, not less likely to hire a transwoman–diversity cred and all, they are the current darlings of the Oppression Olympics–his tattoos and half-shaved head, and the fact that he was, quite obviously, a male person in yoga pants and a crop top was not helping him; now working as a dishwasher, he constantly complains about the oppression of being impoverished too, and how many hoops he has to jump through to get government assistance), I finally, finally said something honest and direct to him, stood up for myself, and was STILL NOT UNKIND.

      And this was “extremely traumatizing” for him. He had to go and whisper on the phone to his trans and libfem friends for hours.

      I have been raped and abused, physically, emotionally, and sexually, by men, and a simple conversation in which I tried to be kind and honest was “traumatizing” for him. How insulting.

      He finally arrived at the conclusion that I didn’t trust anyone male-bodied because of my trauma (this is a popular, condescending method of dismissing the logical claims of radical feminism: “poor, damaged man-haters”). It’s another way of calling us “hysterical” and dismissing all the thinking, reading, and writing we have done surrounding this issue (far more than most “trans” folk who woke up last year and decided they were the opposite “gender”).

      But yeah: if he wanted to REALLY try being a woman, how about experiencing ACTUAL trauma, and then being shamed, silenced, and belittled for it? Show some resilience!

      The transwomen that are murdered trope comes from transwomen murdered in prostitution…where biological women are constantly murdered, too. In fact, the rate of trans murder is lower than that of men or women (men are disproportionately murdered by other men). Transwomen like my former roommate are, at most, shouted at from the street. He can then brandish the bicycle chain he carries in his purse, if he feels like it, or try out some of his krav maga training on them.

      It’s absolutely ridiculous. He has nothing to fear from his partners (who are all small, white, “cis” women, who think they are being “queer” by being with him when magically all their other partners are men). I, on the other hand, am afraid of (actually afraid of) dating men who are larger than me, because it’s easy for them to rape me, since I am small. Lo and behold, I dated a “kind of tall bear-ish” guy (the first time I’ve dated a fairly big guy in years; I was traumatized from being raped by a huge boyfriend when I was a teenager, although my next boyfriend, who was only 5’7, was still more than capable of hitting me), and he did rape me, and it was easy for him to hold me down and manipulate my body, because of his size and strength, though he’s never been to a gym in his life. You think my trans roommate has to fear this when dating? Hmmm….

      (In retrospect, I should have focused more on grappling when I did judo, but it was triggering for me; I’d always just freeze up. I got really good at throwing, but that doesn’t help much when you’re not standing up. Someone suggested Model Mugging, but they don’t have it in my town…I might get back into martial arts and try BJJ, which focuses more on groundwork. It might make me feel more comfortable if I ever DO decide to date or have sex with a man again. Very sad I have to think that way though–that any man I allow close to me could potentially try to assault me, and so I need to be able to use tricks to get him off me, and train hard to overcome my freeze response. I would much rather not ever have to take that risk again, and I’m in therapy to get better at trusting my instincts, standing up for myself, and heeding red flags–with everyone–but sometimes assessment is not enough…and I feel like it would be an abuser’s victory for me to give up on dating and sex altogether). Feeling physically strong and empowered would help me.

      When I said to trans roommate, “it’s men who commit violence against trans women,” he said, “physically, yes.” An extremely telling comment. 1) He knows he is likely not at risk for violent attack from men because of his intimidating size. 2)The “emotional” violence of “cis” women not accepting him as a real woman is worse than physical violence (this is really getting to the heart of the matter). 3)Women, once again, are the gatekeepers, the ones “holding back” what men want, the ones blamed for not being accommodating enough. “Cis” men who don’t acknowledge trans women are women are not under attack, NOT EVEN WHEN THEY PHYSICALLY ATTACK THEM. No, “cis” women are far, far worse, and far more vilified. For willfully “misgendering.”

  • Alienigena

    Mis-sexed (from behind) all the time (just walking in the city, in shorts, in jeans, in snow pants) by men and women. The broad shoulders or powerful calves, the cause perhaps? My hair is not that short, I have no idea really. I just encounter the verbal speculation about my sex and the screamed slurs (faggot is a favorite, I do have hips/butt that visually contradict other aspects of my body and apparently confuse people). Would I be permitted to retaliate by screaming back? It would probably just escalate the situation. So, I am not really permitted any sensitivity on the subject but MtTs are?

  • FierceMild

    Total ANNIHILATION of our existence as well

  • Fouraces

    Nope. I don’t believe that. I’m questioning why YOU have assumed that any differences would reinforce the inequal status.

  • Tired feminist

    Yeah we’re generally not very interested in standard assumptions here. The standard assumption on prostitution is that it’s a job like any other. So what?

  • Tired feminist

    Hehe, I thought the same. MRA types who think a wife throwing a spoon is in any way comparable to what men do to women.

  • mail_turtle

    The concept of a female consciousness/mind in a male body would make sense if all human beings have the potential to exhibit a more male or a more female consciousness/mind (on a spectrum). Since human beings inherit genetic material from both sexes (and epigenetic memories), it’s not that strange to assume that a human embryo has the potential to develop a more female body and more female mind, a more male body and more male mind, a more male body and more female mind (although rare), or a more female body and more male mind (even more rare).

    Under that theory, although I have a more male body and more male mind, I still carry the potential for a more female body and/or more female mind (for example because of inheriting my mothers DNA, if you want to stick to a purely materialistic world view). If you are open to the possibility of a biological influence on how consciousness develops, then it’s conceivable that in some cases the female potential expresses itself in the mind/consciousness and the male potential expresses itself in the primary and secondary sex traits.

    • Tired feminist

      What the fuck is a “female consciousness”?

      • Lady Dark Helmet

        It’ s that pink floating stunning and giggling ghost inside of women that whispers in a seductive voice about wearing lipstick and stiletto heels, avoiding math because they are not smart enough for that, and tries to convince them that it’ s better to just bake cookies. She tells the same things to every woman, and the poor souls are pretty much powerless when it comes to resist her lure, de facto creating a hive mind fueled by estrogens that transmits the same thoughts, feelings and ideas so that women think, talk and feel the same way compared to one another.

        I shouldn’ t have to say it, because the logic is evident, but if that is the case (and it is, because SCIENCE!) and women are all connected to that hive mind, even partially, then everyone who exhibits even one of those ideas/thoughts/feelings can’ t possibly be a man, and is a woman instead, regardless of biological traits.

        It’ s like a spirit animal or an inner goddess, is created at conception, and it’ s immutable: what you get there is what you are and what you will always be. “Personal growth”, “changing one’ s mind”, “cultural and background differences”… all a myth. Women are intellectually static creatures that follow the orders of the pink ghost no matter what: what they are innested with at birth is going to be present until death.

        I am surprised you are not intimate with the pink ghost, since every woman in existence has had/has/will have one. Unless… sorry to pry, but do you happen to have a male consciousness? In which case, I am awfully sorry for assuming your gender. I suggest you, though, to educate yourself to avoid further problematic questions.

  • Tired feminist

    I know, right. The fucking male/class privilege it takes to say they have.

  • ONE

    For trans people, gender dysphoria is actually the result of their brain developing differently. I’m not talking about behavior, personality, or anything like that. I’m talking about the fact that people have this sense in their brain about what their body is “supposed” to look like. Trans people’s sense of what their body is supposed to look like doesn’t develop like cis people’s. For example, a trans guy would instinctively expect to have a “male body”, but when he looks in the mirror, he’d see a “female body”. This causes a lot of distress for many trans people and for many trans people, the only way this distress can be alleviated is by transition.

    Social dysphoria is a less understood phenomenon, but for many trans people, being called by pronouns different from their gender identity reminds them of their body dysphoria, causing distress. That’s why cisgender people don’t experience as much distress when being misgendered – they don’t experience body dysphoria, unlike trans people.

    As for the “proof” you speak of, why would anyone choose to be trans? Even logistically speaking, it takes a money, time, emotional and mental energy to transition. Why would someone go through that unless they felt a need to?

    As a trans person, I went through depression and fear to come out partly because of anti-trans people who say that trans people are just making it up, that they’re mentally ill and delusional. I’m not asking you to “center trans people” in your feminist work. I’m asking you not to exclude them from it. Trans and cis women experience oppression in different ways, but some of them overlap, such as street harassment, high rates of sexual assault and physical abuse.

    Also, the same way I want feminist communities in general to be more trans-friendly, I also want to particularly focus on trans women’s struggles, especially trans women of color, because they are murdered at an abnormally high rate.

    • Meghan Murphy

      But the way we define ‘trans’ these days seems to have nothing to do with actual ‘gender dysphoria.’ I am doubtful that a majority of those who identify as ‘trans’ today would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Like, either trans people suffer from a mental condition called ‘gender dysphoria,’ or they are people who simply don’t feel they ‘fit’ in the binary (which, really, is everyone), but it can’t be both. A big part of the problem people have with the idea of trans and gender identity is that there is no universal, rational, scientific definition of transgenderism. It’s just this non-definable thing that we’re all supposed to believe and celebrate, no questions asked.

    • Tired feminist

      HOW “differently”? Differently from WHAT?
      How is anybody’s body “supposed” to look like?
      Why the fuck would a female-bodied person “expect” to have a male body for any reason other than self-delusion?
      Why are trans people’s feelings our problem and why should we put women’s rights at risk just to protect their feelings?

      Feminism is for females. Trans people are not excluded from feminism as long as they’re female. It’s not complicated, really.

      And there’s no such a thing as a “cis woman”.

    • Zuzanna Smith

      Well you are wrong, because I for one experience distress and anger when called “cisgender woman” to start with. It’s a label that is forcibly assigned which I did not choose and I do NOT in any way identify with. It’s just another label to degrade female status even further in society. A good clue is when trans people use it as a slur all the time, usually against women, no surprise there! So it is being forced on me and maybe you need to start listening instead of demanding people only listen and respect your distress.

      Also plenty of women experience body dysphoria, why do you think that women get breast implants, tummy tucks, labial shave, botox injections, etc and etc?? It’s because they feel wrong in their sexed bodies by growing up in a society which has taught them since birth that their bodies are wrong, too fat, too flat, too ugly to please men. So please go ahead and drop the myth that only trans people feel uncomfortable in their bodies, that is simply not true.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, well that’s the other thing… I mean, how does one gage ‘gender dysphoria,’ exactly, if gender isn’t really a thing that exists outside of patriarchy, anyway. I feel like maybe ‘body dysphoria’ could be a thing, though that would be hard to judge also, and certainly it couldn’t be a thing that would be encouraged or celebrated, considering it would apply to so many women and girls who were anorexic and/or hated their bodies…

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s ridiculous. “Non-trans” doesn’t mean anything. You can’t define ‘cis’ as ‘non-trans’ because what does ‘trans’ exist in relation to? In any case, ‘cis’ is not defined as ‘non-trans,’ it means you identify with the gender assigned to you, based on your sex. (Which, of course, means no one is ‘cis.’) Stop using these ridiculous terms in order to enforce your dogma on other people. We don’t want your terms and they make no sense.

  • Susie White

    That is so disgusting that this happened to you. I come from a ‘developing country’ where feminism is mostly still at the 2nd wave stage & I was shocked to discover when I came to North America & was applying to schools that men now run Women’s Studies departments & they’ve been rebranded as ‘Gender Studies’ departments I guess to placate trans activists & 3rd wavers.

    It breaks my heart that spaces that were created to nurture women have now been overrun by men & men are being centered. Under no circumstances should a female victim/ survivor of abuse at the hands of a man (like yourself) be made to be in an environment full of male predators & to complain to men (gay & ‘transitioning’) about how unsafe you felt & obviously they didn’t do anything. This is all so awful

  • Susie White

    The fact that less than 1% of the population (trans people) feel discomfort with their sex doesn’t erase the fact that humans are divided into 2 sexes (with intersex being an anomaly). The body parts you mentioned, breasts, vagina/ vulva, XX chromosomes, deposition of fat on hips & thighs, production of ova etc. are not ‘social constructions’ They are real shared characteristics that all women aka human females have. And when a woman doesn’t have any of these characteristics, then she has a disorder/ anomaly.

    What surprises me is how hard trans activists try to discredit the obvious anatomical physical differences that exist between the sexes. These differences have been known to humans & science for centuries & indeed, sexed reproduction is the only reason any of us exist. Yet, trans activists reject these differences as it doesn’t align with their agenda & instead try to vehemently argue that there is are female & male brains/ souls/ inward feelings or identities. And so the question remains: if there are no physical male/ female characteristics, then why do trans persons undergo painful surgery & inject harmful hormones & drugs just to look like the sex they want to be?

  • Tired feminist

    “because the label we give to these kinds of bodies is part of a social construction.”

    Well, yes. The name of this social construction is “language”, and these “labels” are called “definitions”. They exist to convey socially shared meaning.

    “I’m not trying to suggest that cis women identify with their oppression”

    Yes, you are. That’s what “cisgender” means: a person who “identifies” with the gender assigned to them at birth.

    “There’s a part of their brains telling them that their body is wrong and that they’re supposed to have one or more of the characteristics
    mentioned above (trans women) or characteristics generally associated with males.”

    Too bad. Sex can’t be changed, no matter how hard trans people wish it could. I understand body dysphoria sucks, but fooling people into believing they can change their sex is not helpful.

    “As a trans non binary person (assigned female at birth), I spent a while trying to convince myself that I was a woman, but that didn’t work.”

    Too bad. You’re still a woman. We know it sucks to be a woman in a patriarchal society. The entire feminist movement is about it. But we can’t “identify” out of it. If we could, feminism wouldn’t be so necessary.

    “Trans women in general are not hurting feminism, and if they are, it’s not because they’re trans.”

    You can’t be serious.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I saw it and very much appreciate your analysis. While indeed it felt heart-warming, in a way, the idea that, a) all arguments are binary — like there are always only two opposing sides, b) these kinds of disagreements will be resolved over a (gross) beer (Heineken is gross. Fact.) is silly. That said, I actually have had some success navigating difficult, highly controversial subjects over a beer, with people who were willing to talk things out with me in person, rather than online (I’m talking specifically about the trans debate, really…). Those personal conversations won’t necessarily resolve the way the debate and issue is playing out in the media or the senate, and it doesn’t necessarily change people’s minds about the issue itself, but what it does seem to accomplish is to humanize the enemy. So instead of people being able to simply think I am mean and evil, and hate me on that basis/refuse to listen to my arguments, when in person, they are forced to understand that I actually have a valid perspective, that is based on concern for women’s rights, and that it is something I’ve thought through carefully… In general, I find that people dehumanize those they disagree with. w/r/t the debate around trans, for example, the genderists intentionally paint feminists as bigots and ‘TERFs’ in order to misrepresent us and our arguments, but also to dehumanize us in order to justify their hate, attacks, insults, etc. Anyway I’m blabbing. Naturally American commercials are going individualize all disagreements and pretend they can be resolved through consumerism. It’s the American way!

    • Morag999

      “(Heineken is gross. Fact.) ”

      Heh. You’re a smart and prolific feminist writer — and a woman of good taste!

      It really stinks, doesn’t it? I’m a beer-lover … but truly, I feel a little queasy just thinking about it …

      • Meghan Murphy

        I like beer too! But it’s so bitter and skunky. Sooo many better options.

  • FierceMild

    Great. I now have shifting dysphoria.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, I think ‘sex dysphoria’ makes a lot more sense, too. As for your theory about gender non-conformity, yes, not feeling inclined or interested in attracting men might very well mean women/girls would feel less pressure to conform. I doubt I ever would have shaved my legs unless I was worried about some dude thinking my hairy legs were gross, for example…

  • FierceMild

    MY argument that the sex of a person is most reliably indicated by their genitalia is invalid because microscope!? You need some Occam’s Razor in your life.

  • FierceMild

    You don’t get to define or delineate the purposes of this argument.

  • mail_turtle

    Okay, I will leave it be then.

  • FierceMild

    I’m a woman. Not a non-trans or a non-man or a bleeder or a breeder or a fish or a cunt or a whore or a bird or a bitch or a chick or a doll. A woman. An adult human female.

  • Tired feminist

    Of course it matters. The reason why this subject has been brought up in this thread in the first place is precisely because brains are not a reliable criterion to establish sex/gender, whereas chromosome/genitalia are. You took issue with someone hyperbolically saying there were no differences between male and female brains (a quite misplaced concern imo, considering the context), but strangely took no issue with the completely incoherent position this person was replying to.

  • Tired feminist

    “The situation isn’t as bleak as is sometimes painted”, says the guy who just said “we gotta impregnate all females all the time to not go extinct!!!”

    • Hiri Nurmi

      We (as in humanity) pretty much had to before the adoption of public health in the mid C19th, but of course we don’t have to now. In fact it would, of course, be disastrous if we did.

      BTW, guy?

      • Tired feminist

        No, we didn’t “have” to and I just said why.

        Yup, and a pretty MRAish one at that.

      • fluffywhitedog fluffy

        Oh lordy. I can’t take this anymore. Men never gave a flying pig about humanity’s survival. They cared about emptying their dicks into women for their own pleasure, which they keep doing today despite the population balooning beyond alarming rates. Kids were just collateral damage of mens’ orgasms and their Mini-Mes with sons.

        The highest chance of survival comes with healthy women giving birth to well-spaced children. Men did their best to circumvent that and furthermore starved women, which increased the mother & child mortality.