Following on from Metal Is Gay, another enlightening and welcome article from Terrorizer staff addressing sexism within the metal community
On the one hand, I applaud Yardley for his, at least partial, honesty and willingness to confront – after a fashion – said sexism. I Blogged the article on homophobia he references (above) in a recent mbg post: as a longtime metal fan and occasional reader of Terrorizer it’s heartening to see exponents of that community addressing the bigotry – sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism etc – that are all too often glossed-over within a scene (extreme metal) that, musically at least, champions progressiveness and originality.
Aaaaand, yet, his article throws the elephant, the big contradiction into sharp relief: if Yardley is passingly familiar with the feminist position, enough to be gender-critical, just why does he still embrace the ‘Trans* identity? Stop short of owning up to being a fetishist, or at least jaded by the putative demands of masculinity. Or maybe he doesn’t see it that way? Maybe Trans* means something else to him? Which loo does he use, I wonder, in any case?
Still glad (GLAAD?) he wrote this piece, though. It’s noteworthy that whilst the definition of Trans* (Gender questioning/queer) grows ever broader to the point of near-meaninglessness; that the ideological criteria for inner-circle membership continue be confined by good ol’ boys club values of masculine entitlement and fear.
(This post is based on a comment I posted on GenderTrender; your one-stop-shop for gender-critical analysis and discussion in a hostile, narrow-minded media).
An extreme metal injection at this point seems apposite: Baying Of The Hounds fits the bill, I think….
Maloney, who believes ‘she’ has always been female, nonetheless feels a need, or perhaps an obligation to resort to invoking a raft of feminine stereotypes in order to satisfy society’s expectations of said female-ness: dressing appropriately ‘feminine’, high heels and coiffure; adopting a suitably ‘female’ name…
One can scarcely miss the irony that Maloney dedicated his former life to a profession that, the armed forces aside exemplifies more than most, pure, unreconstructed masculinity. If one accepts the broad feminist analysis of ‘femininity’ as ritualized submission; then boxing surely represents its counterpart as ritualized domination. The prostitution of the male gender rôle. In this context, Maloney, where once he pimped others; now pimps himself: and it’s telling that he felt it necessary to ‘take a step down’ to do it.
In the former Maloney‘s world, you can beat the shit out of a guy and still adopt a position of ‘respect’. It’ll be interesting to see how he will fare in the face of the inevitable brickbats; whether from sexist reactionaries or feminists.
Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on? Can I (as a man) imagine Maggie Thatcher’s parliamentary career; or Rosa Parks taking her place on that bus? Well, no: but they did it, as women; unlike this chap; who clearly fell headlong into Orwell‘s memory hole.
What he has done in effect is to substitute one gender stereotype for another; a move which certain pundits describe as brave. Whether one accepts that or not, there’s surely an imperative to interrogate the nature and substance of said bravery?
Popular liberal doublethink rejects the notion of gender dichotomy in favour of a ‘spectrum’, fluid and various. What this spectral model fails to adequately address is why men – or former men, if you wish – are praised for said bravery upon coming out (i.e. rejecting their masculine rôle and affectations) whilst so many women are harshly-criticized, threatened and abused for rejecting the trappings of femininity. Second-wave feminism has largely lost what political currency it once had precisely because it demands what so few politicians – and pundits – nowadays live in fear of doing: taking sides. Intellectual debate and heartfelt emotional commitment are subsumed in the mud of the political mainstream; the desperate grab for the vote; the popularity contest. A Bush-esque ‘with us or against us’ mentality, facilitated by social media has filtered down to the hoi polloi. ‘If you disagree with me, you must be a hater – and it’s never been easier to shoot that load of egotistical bile into the electronic ether, uninhibited by social conscience.
He certainly demonstrated little conscience with regard to his wife of 15 years, which in itself is unremarkable: unfaithful men rarely do.
We’re all sexist to some degree, because the socio-political environment in which we’re raised is. We start soaking it up long before we’re even aware of the fact. The ‘hardest’ of men, imprisoned for their criminal violence recreate gender – both deliberately and at least in part, subconsciously – within captivity, complete with female slurs and pronouns. The softest still rail – or not – against an internalized sense of entitlement and inadequacy, even as we try to do good.
In this context, it’s hard to entirely blame ex-boxers and ex-servicemen who abruptly announce to the world that they’ve really been female all along. They’ve been raised in a toxic environment where taking blame or otherwise exhibiting weakness is ‘other’. Feminine. Female. But the truth is out there, to quote X Files; and the reality is that ‘Frank Maloney‘ did make a handsome living from training young men to beat the shit out of each other: he’s exploited his position of ritual dominatrix in a way that makes his latterday ritualized submission a decidedly comfortable prospect compared to many less-privileged folk; and if we let him identify out of that responsibility we’ll be letting ourselves down.
Adult human female? Unattainable, fantastic social construct mined for centuries for the profit of patriarchy? And worth saying, perhaps; that if the archetype remains unattainable (desirable or not) for womyn-born-womyn; then how much more so for Burchill’s ‘bedwetters in bad wigs’?
I chanced upon this article via the ever-reliable GenderTrender – always worth a visit if one is of a gender sceptical bent. As GT readers have noted, said article is slyly weighted in favour of contemporary liberal morés. But I trust those in full possession of their critical faculties will make mincier meat of it.
From the X(X) Files: the truth is out there, cutting edge or as dully-predictable as the NY‘s closing quote from aging geek and trans*celebrity Sandy Stone:
‘I am going to have to say (to women), It’s your place to stay out of spaces where transgender male-to-female people go. It’s not our job to avoid you.’
In our country we’re often bombarded by tabloid headlines by stories of how bad things are ‘over there’; how little respect they have for ‘their’ women; how little regard ‘they’ have for life, particularly ‘ours’.
Read this and weep – or not – conservatives (and liberals): this is where the dichotomy really begins; and we’re as guilty as ‘them’.
Can’t be seen to silence women – wouldn’t be politic these days. would it? – send in a drag act to mouth platitudes on their behalf. Presto! Who could object…
And I’m supposed to be proud to be British…
After weeks of online protest surrounding the controversial appointment of former LibDem Councilor Sarah Brown, a male transgender, as keynote speaker at the London Dyke March, a group of courageous lesbians staged an effective demonstration today at the march, raising awareness of how Dyke Marches worldwide have been aggressively colonized by “male lesbians”.
Many readers will recall former Councilor Brown as the male self-identified “polyamourous dyke with one male partner” who launched a public campaign to name the foul smelling drainage created by his surgically inverted penis (what he describes as “the smegma-like mixture of dead skin cells, gynaecological lube, stale urine (gives it its distinctive smell) and sweat that is sometimes present as a white residue on the end of a dilation stent when a post-operative trans woman…
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Copied and pasted from RadFemsRespond
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve decided to renege on your contract to allow this meeting to take place at Multnomah Quaker Meeting House. As a person who has been questioning my own need to transition I found the idea of Gender Critical thinking quite empowering. It’s frustrating to me that it had to come from a group that is so hated in the trans community. I feel like a lot of people who are in a similar position to me would benefit greatly from it. Despite what most of the Trans* community would say about it, there is almost certainly some truth to the idea. People can and do detransition, it is not some unbeatable ailment that can only be solved by either changing your body or committing suicide. This is a false choice that almost led to my own ruin. There are others like me, and I am confident in time we will see this more and more given the incredibly complex and nebulous nature of this… I don’t even know what to call it that would not offend someone.
And that’s really the problem, there is just too much going on here for any one person or group to really get a handle on it. Right now the screening process is almost 100% self-determined. I live in an informed consent state so that is the literal truth. I know the names of 4 psychologists In my area that I could go to and get a prescription for hormones. While I believe people should be able determine what they want to do with their own bodies this just reveals how little we know about the Trans* experience.
I’m not saying there is some magical cure for the opaque condition of ‘gender dysphoria’; I am still tempted to go get on those hormones. I have been battling with myself about this for a long time. I wish someone could tell me whether I really have a Trans identity or not, but I am the only one who can really decide that. This is the struggle of every trans person. There is no ‘brain-sex’ that has been discovered. Differences in male and female brains have been shown to be small with huge variances in actual behavior for individuals. While there have been a few brain scan studies they show that even cis-identified people often don’t match with their hypothetical ‘brain-sex’. With no possible biological test all we are left with is cues from behavior that are influenced by social condition more than anything else. I have found from my own personal experience that my own sense of dysphoria comes primarily from these social pressures.
This is not to say that every trans person feels this way but I know there must be more like me. Just the fact that there are more MtF transitioners to FtM transitioners seems to bare this out. It is more socially acceptable for a female to act male than for a male to act female. To do so is an attack on the gender hierarchy, this is simply not how things are supposed to work. Many MtF people like to claim that ‘butch’ women are really closeted FtM trans people. While I can’t speak for anyone but myself I can’t imagine those butch females like being ‘misgendered’ any more than a trans person would.
My experience is of someone who is searching for the cause of my feelings. For people like me gender critical thinking can open up a whole new world. There are many people now who claim to have ‘nonbinary’ gender which is a way to say they are between genders. Gender critical thinking dispells the illusion of gender and shows that we are all nonbinary in the basic sense. This is an empowering statement for anyone who is sick of our current gender hierarchy no matter what birth sex they are. Furthermore it is the only logical conclusion when all the current conflicting and confused research about gender is taken into account.
Why do the studies fail to produce a coherent picture of what determines one’s ‘gender identity’? It could simply be that gender is a false construct we have all bought into due to generations of social conditioning. In my personal experience this seems to be the case. I simply don’t like being limited by my gender role although as a born male I understand I have it on the good side of the gender hierarchy.
Before I continue I want to point out that I don’t feel like every single trans person needs to be blocked from transitioning. There are some who do have various biological conditions that are well known about and studied. The best example of this would be intersexed children, who are the most obvious exceptions. It does also seem possible that there may be some epigenetic causes that may produce a more physically feminine boy or more masculine girl. In fact, it is my pet theory that these small epigenetic differences snowball when gender socialization takes place. Usually upon entering public school, these people with perfectly fine, slightly more masculine or feminine biology are picked on and made to conform. This is not because they are ‘really’ a man in a woman’s body or vice versa. They simply don’t entirely conform to a man-made social construction. When these people decide to transition they are giving into the myth of gender being an innate quality and not a learned one.
Notice the link between Trans people and digit ratios. This has nothing to due with ones’ brain being in the wrong body. It has to do with a body being in the wrong society.
From the article:
“There’s more difference between a Pole and a Finn, than a man and a woman.”
I know this is all controversal. It has to be because no one knows for sure about any of this. There are also many mental disorders that can cause one to develop a trans identity that have little to do with any of the social/biological issues I’ve brought up above. This is all off the top of my head honestly. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. I take this criticism seriously, as should any trans person who really wants to honor what their movement is fighting for. I would like to be able to know more about this but people who question their transitions or decide to detransition are often marginalized in the Trans community. Many are considered fake or ‘TERF sock puppets’ (that’s me apparently). It is sad that only the most ardent and extreme critics of the trans movement have enough clout to actually be heard through the chaos and self-aggrandizing of the current forms of internet-based ‘discussion’.
I have no hate for trans people. In fact I love them and sympathize with them. I have shared many of their struggles and done the same type of soul searching. I know how comforting the thought of simply being a woman trapped in a man’s body can be. A part of me still hopes this is the case. It would make my life so much simpler. All I would have to do is change myself, like I have been my whole life in order to fit other people’s expectations of me; namely as a male who dominates women and does other manly things to commoditize all of existence.
So, like most other trans people I began that process of trying to pass, ironically I went by the mantra “I’m being the real me!” At first this was true, by simply rejecting my hetero-normity I did feel like I was becoming ‘more me’. So I kept it up, going slowly. I felt better about myself, lost a lot of weight, shaved my beard. I set a date to go ‘full-time’ and starting training my voice. This is where the wheels started to fall off. I found a lot of speech pathology is learning to mimic the cadence and inflection of a female voice. Many training programs suggested finding a specific female who’s voice you wanted to sound like and copy their voice. In many voice pathology classes one is also taught to learn female gestures and facial expressions. Suddenly “I’m being more me” didn’t quite hold up. I was just changing one form of socialization for another. I began to really question everything.
During a night of listless google searching I found myself reading stuff I was agreeing. Turns out it was written by these people called ‘Radical Feminists’ who I knew were known as TERFs and obviously hated me and wanted me to kill myself. I didn’t look away and soon found Rachel Ivy’s presentation: “The End of Gender”. It set my world on fire. I saw everything differently, I realized how blind I had been. I wasn’t the one who needed to change my body, it was society that needed to change it’s judgment of me and everyone else. This was the root cause of my suffering and is the beating heart of the radical feminist movement.
I would love to be able to say I’m just an oppressed transwoman and all these radfems are just hating on me because I was born a man. But I know that isn’t true, even if that were the case there is enough substance here that it cannot be ignored. Many radfems are angry and have said hateful things about trans people, but the same can be said of trans people against radical feminists. TERF is very much a slur, it has all the effects of a slur. It is entirely a put-down meant to silence a thought that cannot be debated away rationally. I know I had read more about TERFs being nazi-like borderline gay-conversion Christians than I had ever read about their true thoughts, reasoning, or even their stated views.
Not all radfems are made the same and neither are all trans people. In the past this discussion has been very polarizing and personal but it is a needed one. For this reason having an open discussion can only help us. This goes beyond ‘bickering’ this is a fundamental question of our time. I think there is much room on both sides for more understanding. This issue will shape the future of both the feminist and the trans movement. It is up to us to make that future one we can all share and want to be a part of.
PS Here’s my own story as I posted it on reddit:
The no-platforming of gender-critical writing in the mainstream media (and debate in the world at large) points up an issue we have yet to come to terms with. That a radical feminist organ published this – admittedly-waffly and rife-with-contradiction – letter proves a point: the point of RFR. They are open to dialogue. The antithesis of ‘hate-speech’, which seeks only to use words as a weapon….
…or indeed, the post modern-vagina
Seems the dagger and the scabbard have become interchangeable in this age of unreason. Who knew? Call me old-fashioned but as a language-aficionado I like our words to mean something, and if the one word has multiple meanings at least let them not be contradictory….
For since records began ‘the tail has been male’: but no longer, it seems…
Bollocks, I say.
Linguistic disconnect evidences real-life disconnect: and disconnect is a core value of the male-centric socio-political system that led up to this violent, confused shitheap of a world which so many of its citizens seem so desperate to change; except no one can agree how, or what, or if it’s even possible. Rape culture; animal torture; climate change; racism; war: connection? What connection?
Lib-fem-po-mo-trans-culture isn’t merely redefining language; it’s redefining the way we interact with out world. Or rather, it’s redefining – as in reducing – the power we feel we have to positively interact with our world. It’s old, conservative wine with a none-more-trendy, liberal label.
oress is resplendent in his her Kirsty Ward wardrobe. Look! No penis!