No, really I’m evil — transgenderism preliminaries

January 15, 2008

 pity shield*

In an apparently never-ending quest to avoid dealing with an existential crisis, I am taking yet another leaf out of the patriarchal tree – I’m going to go attack something completely different.  Yes, yes I am.  Please do not sneer at my ability to avoid uncomfortable topics, it’s a very handy tool, one that feminists are quite familiar with but us rad-fems are not.  That’s why I pointed it out, so you too can play along at home.

Today’s spewage is brought to you by the f-word and the topic is that most ubiquitous of subjects, transgenderism.  Please note the clever use of ism, which referrs not to transgendered folk themselves, but to the broader philosophical concept which approves of switching one’s genitalia around as it’s nothing more than a Mr. Potato Head, if you remember those.   Shockingly enough, it is actually possible to discuss a concept which impacts society as a whole, as opposed to chatting up one individual who is but one small part of that whole.  Yes, I know this is news to most feminists, although once again the rad-fems are quite used to it.  Try to keep up.

Just to be clear, I’ll draw a diagram.  The pieces of the puzzle are not the whole picture; each of them is merely one part of the whole.  Say it with me:  part is not whole – you can do this feminists!  To assume that one is able to see the whole from examining only one part is not reasonable; sorry to crush your sour grapes into wine, but that’s the way it is.  If the goal is to see the whole, then you must look at the whole, not one tiny part of it and call it done.

part is not whole

So here we are with someone representing some part of the picture, but we’re not sure which part.  Perhaps both, which muddies things, and you know I like to be clear. Is this person discussing her own problems, and therefore limiting herself to only those public ouchies which hurt her personally; or is this yet again another feminist poster child whining about broad societal problems and using herself as the pity shield which is supposed to stop our deconstruction of the larger whole, and supposedly makes us look mean because we have a brain and can do these things?  Let’s see what she does.

Hmmm, first four paragraphs are about her, so this must be a personal kvetch.  Anytime it’s a personal story, we’re supposed to respect the sacrosanctity  of the person’s feelings and criticism is off-limits.  But that becomes a manipulaton technique when the person then uses their personal history – the same one they used to make a point – to exempt the much larger societal framework from any and all analysis.  We’re not supposed to notice the hypocrisy, which is repeated ad nauseam every time this subject arises.  She is the one who made it about her, yet she is off limits.  This makes no sense.  Either it’s about you and you’re fair game, or it’s about the wider societal implications, in which case you wouldn’t come into it at all MAKE UP YOUR FREAKING MIND.

This one actually gets a nod for mentioning the points of contention, although I suspect we’re not supposed to notice that these never get addressed.  Am I supposed to be impressed?  

Here’s the problem:  We would never expect a freshly raped person to come onto the internet and argue why rape is bad; in the exact same way it is not appropiate for a freshly transitioned person to argue her position herself.  Of course both of them would be upset; that’s why they need an advocate.  If she is strong enough to argue these points herself, then it is one more bit of hypocrisy that no one else is allowed to refute the charge without being called petty names.  Silencing through intimidation is something the patriarchy knows quite well, how does it come to pass that feminists are so throughly familiar with underhanded tactics?

Turn-around is fair play: you cannot criticise anything I’ve said, or you’ll make me cry and then you’re a big meanie.  Still sound reasonable? 

Because this basic hypocrisy flies right over their heads no matter how many times it’s pointed out, reasoning with these folks using logic becomes unproductive; there is no other option left but to make fun of them.  Ridicule is, quite factually, the only thing they do understand.  That reminds me, I need to write a post on how endless patience in response to endless harm is yet another attribute of doormats and denial.

END OF PART ONE, to be continued – perhaps next time, if I don’t post the thing which makes you all hate me for sure.

*Now, before you all line up to complain about the person in the picture, let me just point out that he likes to cut his girlfriend during sex with a knife, because it makes him hard.  Don’t worry, she likes it too!!   I’ll give the link out privately if you want, we can’t have the whole internet beating down his door.

32 Responses to “No, really I’m evil — transgenderism preliminaries”

  1. bonobobabe Says:

    Ooh, I can’t wait for the rest of this. I must say I’m intrigued.

  2. Debs Says:

    Miss Andrea, I love you x


  3. Now I KNOW you’re just angling for another 100-plus comment thread. 🙂

    BTW, your comments regarding the parts and the whole actually might apply quite nicely to the other topic with which you’re struggling. IOW, it ain’t about you. Whoever “you” might be.

  4. Mary Sunshine Says:

    Hey. mAndrea: what Debs said. 😉

    I get trapped in this dynamic again and again and again.

    *sigh*

    Thank you for breaking the trap for me this time!

    I’ve had this on my mind a lot.

    BTW ( & this time I mean “by the way”), the server is down at the fword. The link above.

    Your graphics are just bloody brilliant. Rock on 😀

  5. m Andrea Says:

    Bonobobabe must have run into the same problem, then. And it was actually Thebewilderness’s awesome quote which helped me see it, but that needs a special place of honor.

    I came this close to learning how to make a mask. *shakes tiny fist*

  6. Scarlet Says:

    I don’t really get it, but then I’m not getting much of anything lately…I read the entry and it seemed like a worthy ramble. I guess I have learned that, as a white woman, I have no place to comment on the WOC experience–so I sure as hell can’t comment on the transgender experience…
    Still, I don’t see the comparison to rape, because this woman has made personal choices along the way and has had time to absorb her feelings and experiences gradually. But if your main arguement is that she is extrapolating personal experience into some sort of overarching social commentary, it doesn’t seem to any greater degree than many of us. If we are not scholars with our charts and graphs, aren’t we just presenting our experiences and observations and turning them into our own theories about the larger society that sound “about right” , then shop around for people who generally agree (unless we’re cruising for a good chick-fight)? Or is it just me?
    I think I’ll go back and read it all again–maybe I’m missing something. Then I’m going to dig into that whole White Privilege thing and get back to you. I’m sure I have a theory in there somewhere…

  7. Satsuma Says:

    I went to the link from F-Word, and actually didn’t find it an offensive personal narrative. I think these stories are personally naieve, and most certainly going through surgery won’t change you into a woman. It will change you into a transwoman. I liken it to an adult from a foreign country moving to the U.S., say at the age of 55. This person can become an American citizen, but culturally will be an immigrant, still very much attached to her native customs and probably first language.

    The error transwoman make is to be so ignorant of the women’s movement for freedom to begin with, and to be unaware of the male supremacy they have grown up accustomed to in the first place. That and attempting to cause trouble at Michigan…

    Well Miss Andrea, you are really going for the gold on this one. After “White Privilege” going all kookaburra, I’m hoping for a little more logic and insight on this issue. Am I hoping too much here? 🙂

  8. Lara Says:

    I am sorry I am confused….you mean to tell me that the woman (transwoman?) in the photo is a guy who cuts his girlfriend during sex to get hard??? Did I miss something? I am not as well-versed in the discussion on transgender and feminism.

  9. Debs Says:

    “The error transwoman make is to be so ignorant of the women’s movement for freedom to begin with, and to be unaware of the male supremacy they have grown up accustomed to in the first place.”

    Thank you so much, Satsuma. I always struggle to articulate why I have this uneasiness around the transgender issue, but you’ve just put it right there, in a nutshell.

  10. stormy Says:

    Fabby post, and I look forward to the next installment. 🙂

    Satsuma does indeed furnish a close parallel, with the immigrant of later life. The earlier life experiences, from the moment one is wrapped in a pink blanket and declared “it’s a girl” in less than enthusiastic tone, is apt. After all, all opportunites will be given to the male-born – up until the time that it is clear that he will not conform to the expected role of Master. It is then, and only then, that they start to experience the role of ‘other’.

    And why should females automatically adopt the rejects from Class Manz? They don’t embrace the rejects from Class Other with zeal.

    Upholding a gender binary is NOT edgy. It’s damn conservative.

    But I’m more pissed off that the male-born get to speak about what feminists should think. Some of that male-privilege obviously still peeks through the petticoats.

    Thanks Dudes (or dudettes?), but Class Other can probably speak for ourselves. Frankly, I am sick of males speaking on behalf of females/feminists.

  11. m Andrea Says:

    Yeah, the guy in the picture liked blood sports, and talked about it in the hopes of getting validation, as far as I could figure. The most negative thing anyone said to him in the comments was that perhaps he should consider telling his girlfriend to get therapy – because she originally suggested it. No one bothered to tell this wierdo that he had a problem, all by himself. The focus was conveniently placed on his girlfriend. He cut her, he got hard, it’s all her fault.

    Satsuma, I have no idea. I’m busy having a crisis.

  12. Mary Sunshine Says:

    Quoth mAndrea:

    I’m busy having a crisis

    Major occupational hazard of being a radical feminist / separatist talking to others of the same.

    I’ve been reading 3 or 4 mystery stories or multi-generational novels a week to stave it off. Disappear into superbly drawn plots / settings / characters.

    Whatever’s causing your crisis, may it diminish as your sense of well-being waxes strong.

    Mary

  13. Lara Says:

    Thanks Andrea 🙂
    Jesus Mary and Joseph what a fucked up asshole. You know I just watched a documentary screening on the prevalence of domestic violence in the LGBT community…it’s NO DIFFERENT than that in the heterosexual community. So this doesn’t surprise me…

  14. Luckynkl Says:

    You know I just watched a documentary screening on the prevalence of domestic violence in the LGBT community…it’s NO DIFFERENT than that in the heterosexual community. So this doesn’t surprise me…

    Why would it surprise you? 3 out of 4 in this grouping are male-dominated. So the L gets smaller and smaller as the male-born take over the group and run the whole show. Which is usually what happens when males and females are grouped together.

    The male-born are responsible for 97% of the world’s violence. They’re assholes whether they be het, bi, gay, or celibate or whether or not they wear dresses or pants. Clothes and surgery won’t make the male-born any less assholish. Because brain transplants don’t come along with SRS.

    I don’t identify as queer (LGBT). I am a lesbian. Period. Separatist, if you will. And yes, there is a difference between the two groups. LGBTers tend to be patriarchal (which shouldn’t surprise you being 3 out 4 of these groups are male-dominated), while lesbian separatists tend to female centered.

    Personally, I’ve never experienced any kind of domestic violence with any of my female partners. I don’t think my current partner and I have ever even had an argument in the 3 years we’ve been together, much less a fight.

  15. m Andrea Says:

    Somebody did a blog post recently, Lucky, but I don’t remember where, sorry. It was pointing out the stats on DV in lesbian vs. gay relationships. Most of the violence was actually gay-man-on-gay-man; the lesbians weren’t all that violent, but because lesbian and gay men are counted as one group that distinction isn’t usually obvious. It’s a way to hide once again how violent men are, and to blame those women won’t toe the patriarchal line by being heterosexual.

  16. Satsuma Says:

    Very good point about gay men and lesbians getting dumped in to domestic violence statistics! Always have to keep on your toes against “patriarchal creep” into lesbian worlds and realities!

  17. Lara Says:

    I only mentioned that before because I just went to a documentary screening about specifically domestic violence in LESBIAN relationships, and that it is quite common. The screening was promoted by an LGBT legal rights group called “Equality Virginia” and was hosted by a lesbian, not a gay man. BUT I understand where you are coming from as I know the dynamics of violence and power are really really strong in gay male relationships in particular, hence the statistics. As for domestic violence in lesbian relationships, I would say that it’s the patriarchal system of hierarchies (no woman, no matter what, is immune to our sexist culture) that unfortunately becomes a part of many lesbian relationships. I just wanted to clarify 😛

  18. allecto Says:

    Yeah, there have been recent studies in America showing that the incidence of violence within lesbian relationships is actually higher than male violence in heterosexual relationships. I am not surprised by this at all. My few brushes with the queer/gay women’s communities indicated that the use of pornography was quite prevalent as was the ever-so-hip genderfucking/butch/femme/sadomasochism/sex ‘liberationism’ etc, etc. I was scared so I stay far, far away from the queer/gay/fauxlesbians. I had a much harder time making friends with gay/queer/fauxlesbians than I did with straight women. So I gave up. Queer women have been conditioned into post-modernism. Violence is sexy.

  19. Luckynkl Says:

    Yeah, there have been recent studies in America showing that the incidence of violence within lesbian relationships is actually higher than male violence in heterosexual relationships.

    And gee, who conducted these studies? Teh Menz?

    Being lesbians only make up 4% of the population, you’ve got to be really grasping for straws to pretend lesbians are as violent as men. In this country, there is a woman battered every 9 seconds, raped every minute and murdered every 15 minutes by a man that supposedly loved her. Key word there: man.

    Now do you really believe lesbians are being battered every 9 seconds, raped every minute and murdered every 15 minutes by their lesbian lovers? If they are, I sure missed the headlines. Oh, I know! The media just forgot to report it! **rolleyes**

    I’ve been involved with dv shelters all over the country for 30 years. On both sides of the coin. In all that time, I’ve only encountered 2 other lesbians (besides myself). And guess what? Those 2 were partners. They weren’t there because of each other. They were there because of male violence. When not volunteering, I was also there because of male violence. So I don’t know where you’re getting your info from. But someone’s telling some mighty big fibs.

    Now let me tell you the difference between being hit by a man and being hit by a woman. When you get hit by a woman, you say, “Ouch.” When you get hit by a man, you go to the hospital with broken bones, an eye hanging out of its socket and wind up with 257 stitches. But let’s all pretend it’s the same thing, ok?

    Now give me a break. Male violence doesn’t even compare to female violence. It’s not even in the same ballpark. Now let me repeat the statistics again. Men are responsible for 97% of the world’s violence. Women are responsible for 3%. And I can assure you they’re not all lesbians. Again, lesbians only make up 4% of the population. So even if lesbians accounted for half of that 3% (which they don’t — not even close), that would mean the majority of lesbians are not violent.

  20. Luckynkl Says:

    Forgot to add:

    While the majority of lesbians are not violent, the majority of het men are. I have a friend that works in the justice dept who compiles the statistics. According to her, 60% of het men are being reported as abusive. And that’s just the ones that are being reported.

    Now please stop trying to justify your heterosexuality with scary lesbian stories. It’s homophobic and downright wrong and annoying.

  21. thebewilderness Says:

    “According to her, 60% of het men are being reported as abusive. And that’s just the ones that are being reported.”

    I’m sorry Lucky, I don’t get what you are saying here.
    60% of all het men are reported as abusive, or 60% of men reported as abusive are het, or 60% of people reported as abusive are het men.
    My brain is a little fuzzy maybe.

    mAndrea, if you’re so eeevol, why hasn’t there been a crunchy new post for lo these many days? Smoke in your eyes? Life in the way?
    I hope all is well with you.

  22. Luckynkl Says:

    Perhaps this will help sort things out, B.

    60% of the female population reports that they have been battered by their husbands/bfs. Again, that’s just the ones that have reported it. So I believe it to be a conservative figure.

    We’ll put it this way. If you’re a het woman, the odds are against you that you’ll be with a non-violent male partner. And it’s getting worse with each passing year, not better.

  23. Luckynkl Says:

    Ugh. I meant to say 60% of women, not 60% of the female population. 5 year old girls aren’t apt to have husbands/bfs. 😛


  24. Thanks for clarifying the situation Lucky. The studies quoted here didn’t jibe with my perceptions either.

  25. thebewilderness Says:

    Thanks, Lucky.

  26. allecto Says:

    Umm. If that comment was addressed to me Lucky I am a lesbian. The american studies I was referring to were conducted by women (many of whom were lesbians [see quote below]). But talking about Australia, the conversations I have with lesbian feminist women working in domestic violence shelters, have indicated that violence in lesbian relationships exists and that it is increasing. In conversations with ‘queer’ lesbians they also indicate that violence occurs, or has occurred, within their relationships. With the way pornography and violent sexuality is pushed into ‘queer’ lesbian spaces, I do not find this surprising.

    I did not at any point state that female against female violence was worse than male against female violence. Obviously, men kill, maim and torture women. Men kill maim and torture more women than women do. But violent behaviour in lesbian relationships does exist. It especially exists in the new hip pornographic, sadomasochistic, queer, genderfucking world of fauxlesbianism.

    One of my sources:
    Estimated rates from several sources suggest range of lesbian partner abuse from 11% to 73% (Renzetti, 1998), and according to several researchers mirrors the prevalence rates in male-female partnership violence (Ferri, 1998; McClennen, 1999; Pearson, 1997). Reporting on the National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs in Off Our Backs, Mantilla (1998) stated that in twelve cities in the USA gays and lesbians reported that approximately fifty percent of the domestic violence cases involved lesbians and bisexual women and that same gender violence is on the increase (NCAVP Domestic Violence Report, 1998; Jennings & Gunther, 1999). Moreover, Barnes (1998) in the USA stated that violence in same-sex relationships is a growing concern especially in those states where the legal definition of DV does not include same-sex partners and Jennings and Gunther (1999) are of the view that same-sex violence is mostly unreported.
    The 1987 Minnesota Lesbian Battering Intervention Project Survey found that
    76% of lesbians had experienced some form of ‘indirect threat of violence
    from a lesbian partner’ (Elliott, 1996 p 3). Furthermore, the Minnesota Gay
    and Lesbian Community Action Council found that of the 900 lesbians
    surveyed 22% had been in same-sex partnerships that were physically violent
    (Elliott, 1996). According to Murphy (1995 in ABA Commission on Domestic
    Violence, 2001) between 50,000 and 100,000 lesbians are battered each
    year.
    However, Renzetti (1998) is critical of research that attempts to provide
    prevalence of lesbian domestic violence. She has suggested that the
    difficulty of obtaining large random samples has resulted in studies
    characterised by small self- selected samples. Moreover, some research
    studied only physical violence while others included verbal, emotional and
    sexual. In support of the difficulty in establishing the true prevalence rate
    Renzetti stated, ‘As long as homophobia forces lesbians to hide their identity
    from others, including researchers, a true prevalence study of lesbian partner
    abuse remains undoable’ (1998 p 119).

    You can find the whole article here: http://www.austdvclearinghouse.unsw.edu.au/Conference%20papers/Exp-horiz/Davis_Taylor.pdf

    Other indications of the prevalence of violent sexuality in the lesbian community:

    Slit magazine is a lesbian pornography magazine read widely in the lesbian community in Australia: http://www.slitmag.org/slit.html

    Candy lips is a popular lesbian night out in Melbourne: http://www.candylips.com.au/photos.htm

    Do I think women are responsible for the widespread violence in lesbian relationships? No. Men are. Does this make violence in lesbian relationships any less serious to women’s health and well-being? No.

    I made a political and personal choice to be a lesbian. I believe in the gynergetic power of lesbian sexuality and politics. But to the majority of ‘queer’, fauxlesbian women, I am a sexually repressed, nutty prude because of my radical stances against pornography and sadomasochism. Both of these are man-made diseases that HAVE infected the lesbian community. This infection is serious. And I think it is stupid not to do serious feminist analysis of the consequences.

    Lucky, if you are aware of any studies that contradict the ones quoted above I’d like to have a look at them. But until you show me proof I will continue to believe that violence in lesbian relationships exists to the same extent as violence in male/male and male/female relationships.


  27. […] I’m writing this because a conversation over at mAndrea’s prompted me to do a a bit of research into contemporary ‘lesbian’ culture and what I […]

  28. stormy Says:

    [Late to the party]

    I cringe every time I hear so-called studies that *reveal* [such bollocks as] lesbians are just as or MORE violent than teh menz. That’s a stretch.

    It’s all part of the continuum to erase male violence (whether male-on-female or male-on-male), and frequently is the claim that “women are just as violent as men” when the statistics (of victims/perps) do NOT bear this out in the slightest.

    As for the so-called ‘lesbian’ porn (I’ve just read Amy’s & allecto’s posts), it horrifies me — it is male porn, psuedo-lesbian stuff. When violence is sexy, ask the question WHO finds violence sexy (clue in the DV stats) and reject the notion outright. Violence is the perversion of sex.

    All wimmin, including lesbians, should wake up and smell the patriarchy on this one. 😦

  29. m Andrea Says:

    Allecto, no disrespect but it doesn’t pass the common sense test. According to any Dept of Justice or FBI study you look at, men commit 95% of all violence. This pattern has remained consistent over time.

    When one study comes out with a number which is so far from the average, ethical scientists will acknowlege that it’s probably inaccurate in some way.

  30. m Andrea Says:

    Allecto, I read the paper.

    26 women were interviewed – a very small sample. NO information was given as to how these 26 women were found, one must at the very least consider that they were self-selected for this paper.

    Some of these lesbians had been in abusive relationships previously – with men. You do realize that people who have been abused tend to seek out relationships which repeat familiar patterns, right?

    The author didn’t say, but my guess is that she found these women at a shelter for abused women.

  31. Luckynkl Says:

    I cringe every time I hear so-called studies that *reveal* [such bollocks as] lesbians are just as or MORE violent than teh menz. That’s a stretch.

    A stretch? That’s putting it mildly. Take this quote:

    “Estimated rates from several sources suggest range of lesbian partner abuse from 11% to 73%….”

    11% to 73%? What’s wrong with this picture?

    Then it jumps to 76% with the 1987 Minnesota Lesbian Battering Intervention Project Survey.

    What really has me scratching my head is that I live in perhaps the most violent country in the world, have lived in most every region in the U.S. – north to south, east to west – and I’ve only known one lesbian couple in a battering relationship. And they didn’t stay together long. A couple of months at best. But when it comes to male on female violence, I don’t even have to venture out of my own neighborhood to see it. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a neighborhood where it didn’t go on. I’ve lived in big cities and small towns. I’ve lived in very wealthy neighborhoods and very poor neighborhoods. It made no difference. The percentages remained about the same, regardless of class, race, creed or color. Male batterers come a dime a dozen. There’s usually several that live on my block in any given city or town I’ve lived in across the U.S. Number of lesbian batterers in any neighborhood I’ve lived in? Zero.

    I’m not saying lesbian violence doesn’t exist. Of course it does. But I will say that I don’t give a flying fuck at the moon how many studies someone pulls out of their ass to “prove” lesbians are as violent as men, I will continue to use my own eyes, ears, and experience instead of relying on the word of others and “studies.” Especially those with an agenda. It is a myth that we have freedom of speech. What gets published is what the patriarchy says gets published. Ask any feminist writer. It is difficult, at best, for any feminist to get her work published. So one must take these articles and studies with a grain of salt. Chances are it had to be given the patriarchal seal of approval before it could be published. Not surprisingly, a number of feminists will sell out to get published. Because they have to eat.

    But I will agree with you, Allecto, that porn is alive and well in the lesbian community. I’m seeing more and more of it. BDSM as well. But BDSM, even as fucked up as it is, is a far cry from an abuser whose intention it is to control their partner through battering, terrorizing and even murdering their partner. Motive makes all the difference in the world.

  32. m Andrea Says:

    Lucky: “What gets published is what the patriarchy says gets published. Ask any feminist writer.”

    All you have to do is look at the porn research. There is tons available, all of it proving how harmful it is to women, and yet somehow or another most people aren’t even aware that it exists.

    There is no valid research which proves porn is neutral in harm, yet that is what the pro-pornies claim, over and over.


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