Tag Archives: Radical Feminism

Metal health (2): Gender edition

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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….

What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

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What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

You’re gonna see more writing like this in the blogosphere as time goes on. Commentators who don’t necessarily present themselves as ‘radical’ yet who nonetheless find themselves kicking back against mainstream political morés in the face of undeserved, unasked-for hostility.
There are – admittedly imperfect, if not entirely unrelated – parallels here with Western political reactions to ‘Radical’ Islam: criticizing – or living outside the rules of – either religion in particular or patriarchy in general can be fraught with danger: the consequences or exercising freedom of speech and action literally life-threatening for gay men, lesbians, atheists, women in general.
But there’s a distinction to be made between Islam – or indeed Christianity, Judaism – as a monolithic political force and the actions of individuals within the doctrine. Recognizing that the proliferation of Tesco within ‘the market’ is not a healthy thing is not equal to a blanket condemnation of all its employees.

There are two strands to Islamophobia: common-or-garden racism – a mechanism of patriarchy in any case, albeit unacknowleged as such – and the conscious recognition of the (religious) monolith’s power.
Driving a wedge between women, and other potential dissenters has always been foremost amongst the ways that our military-industrial-consumerist-patriarchal rulers have maintained order.
On the basis that ‘the friend of my enemy is my enemy’, the liberal mainstream is very much the enemy of women; hence the enemy of social justice: a fact that might surprise many committed to the movement – or maybe not…
The Guardianistas will move on; memories of Moore, Burchill and Jeffries will fade from the public consciousness but the war against women, against social justice will continue.
Caroline Criado-Perez has put herself in the media firing line over and over. She has earned the right to be listened to. She is emphatically not a ‘hater’ in this overly-polarized, post-Bush ‘with us or against us’ media culture.
Read. You may even weep.

The significance of this current head-to-head, liberal versus radical ‘gender war’ is perhaps lost on many – even many in the thick of it – but make no mistake, it is the debate of our time.

Caroline Criado-Perez

Today I got a bit cross. I do that occasionally. I have been watching the non-binary versus feminism wars getting increasingly heated and thinking, one day, I’ll write a considered post on this. It is an important issue that deserves my time and effort – but it is such an important issue that it deserves time and effort that I simply don’t have today. So days go by and I say nothing. I tweet out articles by women far more cogent and intelligent than I am. I endorse them in the strongest possible terms. But it doesn’t feel enough. I feel like I’m ducking my feminist duty: the duty for women to SPEAK. To not feel scared and cowed. To not suffocate under the weight of not saying anything until that mythical perfect moment when all her ducks are in a row, when the sun is at the right point…

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What is a woman?

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What indeed?

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.’

 

 

*Breaking News* Lesbians stage protest of heterosexual male keynote speaker at London Dyke March 2014 , threatened with arrest

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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…

GenderTrender

BqqddNQIIAE4M5- Lesbians KICKING ASS! for Lesbians! at London Dyke March 2014

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”.

Flyer handed out by Lesbian protesters at Dyke March today Flyer handed out by Lesbian protesters at Dyke March today

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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Red letter day

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Copied and pasted from RadFemsRespond

‘Hi,

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digit_ratio

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.

Sincerely,
/u/lovingLilith

PS Here’s my own story as I posted it on reddit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/GenderCritical/comments/21vhyl/mtf_detransitioning_after_5_mo_hrt_you_radfems/’

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….

Get the full story here

Degenderate Trend

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Bit late to the party, so to speak, but look: GenderTrender has been suspended again! (scroll down to the comments section).

GT, for those unfamiliar. is a blog with a somewhat unfashionable stance on Gender politics, its proprietor, GallusMag choosing to frame her reportage on current affairs thru the lens of sex rather than the currently-popular language of gender identity.

The last story featured on said, prior to administrator, GallusMag being locked out of her own blog, concerned the case of Dana McCallum, recently charged with five felony counts, including Rape, False Imprisonment and Domestic Assault. Whether the suspension related to that post in particular, or the style and content of GT in general, one can only guess.

Framing McCallum’s (alleged) crime as female-on-female  (rather than male-on-female) indubitably alters readers’ perception of said crime; rendering it freakish on the one hand  (do women actually do that stuff? Surely not!) whilst simultaneously playing to both liberal – literal – oversimplifications of equality, and conservative suspicion of women. The latter two add up to the same thing:  in an ‘equal’ world, we’d both be as nasty as each other. Cynical at best; disingenuous, and still cynical, at worst. A woman accused of violent – and especially sexually-violent – crime is frequently subject to a doubly-potent judgement: guilty not merely of a crime not merely beyond the pale in a supposedly civilised society but also of transgressing her supposedly passive and nurturing rôle. This works against (so-called) cis-women but (covertly) in favour of trans*women, who liberals outwardly support (on principle of their much-vaunted, albeit specious hyper-oppressed status) but whose gender they – also covertly – doubt, since they also grew up sodden with the ‘hormone wash’ of gender (as understood by second-wavers). Clusterfuck is the word, and the last thing anybody with a modicum of agency wants is for you us to understand.

When – the male-defined society’s ideal of – marriage (or indeed, any analogous relationship) breaks down, cohabitants have a habit of substituting reason for emotion in their dealings with their estranged partner. Certain ex-partners might throw their former spouse out – if they haven’t already fled for pastures new – sell their Iron Maiden catalog via eBay or pour paint thinners on their car: others might stalk, threaten or attack their ex; set their former home on fire; kill or attack their children…* there’s a general pattern to the severity of their response, and it tallies uncannily with the binary classification of people preferred by GallusMag and GenderTrender.

McCallum is an employee of Twitter. Whether S/he was about to come into some money or not, Twitter is still, at present, a force to be reckoned with in online social media. It doesn’t need bad publicity right now. WordPress – and its bloggers – depend on Twitter and other sharing apps for consciousness-penetration. Nepotism is a prevalent – and at lest in part, patriarchal – force in industry. Join the dots, folks…

Despite recent-historical legal improvements made in the handling of sex-assault investigations, ‘the system’ is still fatally-loaded in favour of the accused. Days ago, Tory MP Nigel Evans was acquitted of a series of 7 allegations. Even – generously – allowing a 50/50 ‘benefit-of-the-doubt’ ratio for/against, the statistical chance of him being innocent of all 7 charges (or rather, of 7 witnesses independently accusing him of the same kind of offence) works out at .0078125, or, less than 1%. This less reflects the ‘no smoke without fire’ cliché, than it confirms a generalized failure on the part of the public to believe in sexual assault as a normal fault/consequence of patriarchal modes of human relation. Rape (and violence in general) are depressingly normal, yet we wish to believe them exceptional, requiring proof – even as we privately acknowledge such proof to be empirically impossible to procure – of their reality. Is Evans guilty? Is McCallum? I can’t answer that. What I can say is that their guilt would fall within the parameters of ‘normal’ male behaviours. The fly in the ointment is that we have been persuaded – propagandized – into believing that such behaviour is not in fact, normal, or indeed, as common as witness testimony would lead us to believe . We have to apprehend our condition truthfully if we are to fix it.

It’s a true indictment of our societies that reportage such as GallusMag‘s is read as controversial and worthy of censorship. One can only guess at their motives; but in the absence of proper information, guess we will. GallusMag sits within a tradition of conscious dissent that spirals back thru the likes of Copernicus, Joan of Arc, John Stuart Mill, Jenny Bonett and Germaine Greer – women, and the occasional man – who just won’t toe the party line. The internet was meant to make this shit easier, wasn’t it? It makes it easier for the dissenters to consolidate, for sure; it also makes it easier for the haters to hate, to bully. Who do you want to win? Is oiling the gears and keeping the peace more important than telling the truth? Is the medium your message?

Whilst at school, I did – to my shame now – laugh at all the homophobic jokes; even as wearing my hair long exposed me to ridicule and hurt. I’ve questioned my masculinity; but never my maleness; not even after sex with men. I understand the difference between sex and gender. It’s not even a fine line.

Like ‘misgendered’ vs raped: upset vs physically assaulted. Does McCallum’s feel ex any more or less injured for her alleged assailant ‘identifying’ as female? A recent UK case suggested our legal system was all for treating female sex offenders who identified as male as if they were just that? Does this work in reverse? In the US? Worldwide?

This is what the WWW is for, folks.

Grasp the nettle. Say what you think. What you feel.

 

 

*apologies, that link is no good – the programme in question is no longer available on iPlayer. In brief, it’s a documentary about sex offenders including a guy who started molesting his ten-year-old sons to get back back at his wife whom he suspected of cheating on him. This kind of behaviour is, by many accounts not uncommon and is highlighted in Louise Armstrong’s 1994 study on incest, Rocking The Cradle of Sexual Politics. I’ll try to find a new link for the doc, or another suitable case.

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Vigo: The Left Hand of Darkness

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Interesting article by Julian Vigo gives a concise, balanced overview of the long-running divide between radfems and liberals around gender; explains why the former perspective is much-needed and why, even if you’re neither you maybe ought to be listening…

GenderTrender

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CounterPunch WEEKEND EDITION JUNE 7-9, 2013
Transcending the Norms of Gender
The Left Hand of Darkness
by JULIAN VIGO

Since January of this year, the word ‘transphobia’ has been bantered about in mass media and social networking circles to such intensity that its definition has been expanded and in some instances grossly misrepresented.  ‘Transphobia’ has been used in recent months to indicate everything from the range of negative attitudes and actions towards transsexualism and transgender people to the overt censorship of any expression that takes issue with the theoretical and political expressions of the transgenderism or certain trans activists. Even to undertake a strictly political analysis of the trans community one risks being labeled ‘transphobic’ especially if one is a radical feminist.  As a result of this assault on dialogue, the true violence of transphobia (ie. assault, rape, murder and many other forms of discrimination) is cheapened and…

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