Girl, Interrupted: or let’s talk about logic again

August 11, 2008

The Transgenderism Deconstruction series is temporarily being interrupted to briefly discuss a few problems which are affecting how the ensuing discussions are stymied.  Basically, it’s just another homophobic rant, in other words (sarcasm!).

girl interrupted

girl interrupted

 

 

This does nothing but support feminism, because sexism becomes demonstrably wrong by simple observation of the existence of transgendered people as they describe themselves when you really listen to them.”

That is a very common sentiment expressed by the transgendered.  And the typical rebuttal is that they are not sitting happily in the middle of the continuum; the transgendered are moving from one position (labeledmanly man“) on the gender continuum with the specific purpose of reaching some other position (labeledgirl”), thus maintaining the binary

At the risk of detracting from the main point, sitting on the fulcrum would be a man wearing a dress, which is why the crossdressers who make no claim tobe a real womanare actually exhibiting more authentic gender transgressive behavior than the transsexualsIt is the crossdressers who are the genuine article, and we should celebrate their work in breaking down gender barriersThough it should be noted I’m not referencing drag queens, who simply are the equivalent of white people in blackface with their overthetop satirical presentation

That particular idea in italics is repudiated frequently by radical feminists, but the transgendered supporters rarely if ever address the responseWhy is this, do you supposeCan it be they have no answer

People are looking at the process of transitioning and exclaim, “oh look this process proves gender is fluid after all!”  Except where on earth did anybody get the idea that a process is more important than the resultThere is no reason to ignore the result, unless the person doesn’t like the answer.

Process is not result.
Cause is not effect.

A cake baking in the oven proves what? It proves you want a final product. But sometimes the halfbaked dough cant afford the energy required to complete the process or lacks the nerve to complete the processand this too is supposedlyproofthat gender is fluid.

I have no doubt that gender is fluid; feminists have spent decades proving this by showing how females are capable of male work, but the process of transitioning does not prove gender is fluid.

In logical arguments, it is possible to start out with a correct premise (iegender is fluid”) and still get an incorrect result. The conclusion must follow logically from the premise, not just tacked on because you like the answer.

Processes do not prove premises. Only results do that. If we are going to say that processes prove our assertions, then results dont matter. We are saying that the process is more important then the result, which is just incredibly ignorantWe care about the process because of the results, not the other way around

When does it become appropriate to focus on the process? That would only become appropriate AFTER it has been determined that the result follows logically from the premise, AND that there are multiple processes to choose from which will give the same resultThe only time we care about the process itself is when we are eliminating unethical or harmful processes.

Transitioning doesnt qualify. 

70 Responses to “Girl, Interrupted: or let’s talk about logic again”

  1. thebewilderness Says:

    I just read on the curvature how unreasonable peeps are to be the least bit concerned about predatory behavior on the part of biological males who self identify as a women. I guess once a biological male self identifies as a woman they become incapable of predatory behavior. Everyone knows that predatory males would never deceive anyone into trusting them by posing as a non threatening rape counselor, well maybe Ted Bundy, but he’s dead now. They wouldn’t become scout leaders or teachers or priests in order to have access to victims, and I’m quite certain they would never put on a dress to deceive. No, no, couldn’t happen.
    Criminy! There has got to be a way to eliminate discrimination without endangering women. There just has to be.

  2. stormy Says:

    Excellent interuption mAndrea.

    Agreeing with so much, it is impossible for me to highlight ‘the best bits’.

    Technically speaking, yes, cross-dressing males are the gender-benders, when compared with transpersons ultimately ending their destination at ‘girl’. This does nothing to break down the artificial gender stereotypes, more just upholds the binary. 😦

  3. v Says:

    “It is the cross-dressers who are the genuine article, and we should celebrate their work in breaking down gender barriers. ”

    i agree, but.. when i resist femininity, noone really recognises me as resisting gender norms, breaking down gender barriers, or calls me a cross dresser.

    i guess this is because i am female. instead it is more likely ill be called lazy, depressed, ugly, weird, or something else negative. when i dont wear make up its because i have bad self care, apparently, not because im deliberately resisting.

    (well alright there is an element of laziness, or i prefer to think of it as good time management and prioritising – as in, id rather be sleeping in, i get mroe benefit from that, than doing my face).

    this is how come us gender resisting radical feminists can be called transphobic and repressed, while men who indulge in more gender!more! can be called transgressive and liberated.

    i apologise for my lack of capitalisation but im too lazy even to go back and correct this.

    all the best.

  4. m Andrea Says:

    I think there’s a difference between being neat and clean and no barbie doll extras, and not showering. One says, “I don’t give a shit about you” and the other says, “I don’t give a shit about myself”.

    I am having that year. But there is chocolate so have a cookie. 🙂

  5. stormy Says:

    Well, as most peeps know, I ONLY signed up to radical feminism for the laziness aspect (and to call it a political agenda)! 😛 (woo hoo!)

    But seriously, sometimes mental health issues get in the way, it is not always as cut and dried. One says, “I don’t give a shit about you” and the other says, “I don’t give a shit about myself”. It is a kind of quicksand that is difficult to escape from.

  6. Polly Styrene Says:

    The reason you are not called a ‘cross dresser’ V is simply because you are not assuming an ‘inferior status’. You see if a man wears a dress that is transgressive, because men aren’t supposed to want to give up their “superior” positions to adopt the appearance of the “inferior”.

    Whereas if you don’t look ‘feminine’ you are simply transgressing your inferior role and trying to gain a privilege you’re not meant to have. And will still be on the receiving end of anger for it.

    However as that Judith Butler woman pointed out (yes I’m on about her again), drag is a complicated set of signifiers. And everything is not always what it seems. And it is impossible to ‘disrupt gender’ using a method that is intelligible in pre existing terms – ie can be ‘read’ in terms of the gender binary. (I think I blahed on at length about this here….

    http://newcowblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/bodies-that-matter/

    Of course Prof Butler is difficult to understand so people misinterpret her and think that all you need to do to disrupt gender is cross dress. Not so I’m afraid, in the end you usually reify it. You can’t kill it just by swopping who does who.

    And no sex reassignment surgery does nothing to disrupt gender either. I don’t object to people doing what they want with their bodies, but it doesn’t disrupt gender. Any more than it helps prevent global warming.

    Basically it is impossible to disrupt gender using gender. It is like saying you get rid of religion by having lots of religions, or switching from Christian to Buddhist. No, you just change where you are in the system, the system is still there. The only way to get rid of religion is to become an atheist.

    We need to be gender atheists.


  7. I have now declared that certain people’s pants are OFFICIALLY on fire.

    You will respect my authoritah……

  8. Luckynkl Says:

    Of course Prof Butler is difficult to understand so people misinterpret her…

    What’s there to understand about Butler? She rejects gender essentialism. Feminists have been doing that since the 1960’s. So it’s a bit puzzling why such respect would be bestowed upon Butler when what she has to say is so unoriginal. But if we take a closer look at Butler and what motivates her, we begin to gain insight as to why she’s such a fav among pomos and trans.

    Both Butler and feminism reject gender essentialism. Except feminists are much more straightforward about it and don’t mince words about wanting to eliminate gender. This is where Butler and feminists go their separate ways. Because Butler doesn’t want to eliminate gender. Just the opposite. Butler wants to hang on to gender and play with it.

    One only needs to look at Butler’s background to figure out why and what motivates her. She has been into butch-femme relationships and sado-masochism for the last 20 years. Eliminating gender would greatly affect her life-style, no? So of course she is determined to hang on to gender!

    Now see how easy it is to understand Butler? Or anyone for that matter? All one needs to know is what motivates them. The words will follow.

  9. bonobobabe Says:

    But if we take a closer look at Butler and what motivates her, we begin to gain insight as to why she’s such a fav among pomos and trans.

    What’s a pomo?

  10. thebewilderness Says:

    postmodernist.

  11. Polly Styrene Says:

    It’s a trans mopo

  12. Polly Styrene Says:

    And personally I do doubt that gender is fluid. Or solid. Or a gas. Because it doesn’t exist……..

  13. Polly Styrene Says:

    But I also believe the quality of an argument doesn’t depend on who’s making it. Simone de Beauvoir sexually exploited her very young students.

  14. Luckynkl Says:

    But I also believe the quality of an argument doesn’t depend on who’s making it. Simone de Beauvoir sexually exploited her very young students.

    I disagree. I think the personal is political.

  15. Annie Says:

    Interesting series.

    Not sure about the logic or where the logic gets used or doesn’t get used.

    There are no genders seems to be the beginning point. Then there need not be spaces for “women” or “men” only – right? I am not understanding how someone can declare there are no genders, then want women only spaces, objecting to the possibility of a man entering because he can declare himself a woman.

  16. m Andrea Says:

    Well if you tell me what part of something makes no sense, then I can see where the miscommunication is. I guess you did that, though.

    ” I am not understanding how someone can declare there are no genders, then want women only spaces, objecting to the possibility of a man entering because he can declare himself a woman.”

    First, gender is not biological sex. Feminists themselves have claimed for the past 300 years at least that gender is a made up social construct which doesn’t exist, and have spent much time in laying out various arguments to provide evidence for that. I don’t have a problem with their position.

    So forget gender. And now we have the transfolk claiming that any man who “feels like a woman” must be treated like one, and *that* automatically means that any straight heterosexual man can now legitimately walk into a Domestic Violence shelter or rape crisis center.

    Annie, did I expouse hatred of transfolk in that paragraph, or did I expouse the idea that some straight heterosexual men will use any available excuse to stalk their ex?

    It is the transfolk who are insisting that safe spaces for women are not important, while at the same time also insisting that they alone are entitled to safe spaces. Does the transwoman want her abusive boyfriend to follow her into the crisis center when her boyfriend claims he too “feels like a woman”?

  17. Polly Styrene Says:

    Yup Annie. Gender is not the same as biological sex (Doh!). If a woman only space were for people of ‘gender woman’ I wouldn’t be allowed in because I’m not of ‘gender woman’. I’m not gender anything. I am however an adult human female – ie a woman…….

  18. stormy Says:

    Does the transwoman want her abusive boyfriend to follow her into the crisis center when her boyfriend claims he too “feels like a woman”?

    Excellent point.

  19. Annie Says:

    Appreciate the clarification between gender/biological sex.

    Still working through the logic.

    1) There are no genders. There are biological sexes.

    Are there only two? How are the biological sexes determined? Body parts? Chromosomes? Other? Who does the identification/labelling?

    Are the biological sexes different only by visible body parts?

    I am trying to understand how you are building your argument.

  20. Annie Says:

    Thank you thebewilderness for the link – biological distinctions for reproduction. If only it could stay so simple, eh?

    But the discussion was attempting to use logic, so it would seem to me that defining terms would be an important piece. Yet, defining “woman/female” and “man/male” gets a bit complicated – but if what “it” is, isn’t defined, then how can one consider what “it” is not?

    Consider another group of mammals, dogs for example. Aside from a discussion on breeds and their qualities, are there qualitative differences between male and female dogs? I have heard people describe female dogs as more children friendly and males as more single person oriented – not sure if there is any research which supports such opinions. Then there is the whole going into heat process for female dogs with noticeable changes in behaviors. (Quite a hassle for dog owners until the dog is bred or neutered.) And male dogs roaming or attempting to until neutered.

    But what about neutering dogs? Are they still female or male once neutered? We use “he” and “she” whether neutered or not – habit? nothing else to use? still think of them as one biological sex or the other?

    If a dog is not considered male or female once neutered, does that translate to humans? Is a male still a man after a vasectomy? Or if impotent? A female still a woman after a hysterectomy? How about after a mastectomy? Or menopause?

    A logical structure can’t be built if the foundation is something along the lines of, “Oh, you know what I mean.”

  21. Polly Styrene Says:

    You are correct Annie that male/female distinctions are not simple. However penises are unmistakable. (Unless you think they’re a snake).

    Actually I personally use Anne Fausto Sterling’s five sexes which is a more accurate categorisation.

    http://frank.mtsu.edu/~phollowa/5sexes.html

    And I include in female both “true” females and female pseudo hermaphrodites – ferms (females with ‘intersex’ conditions). Neither of which have penises. And never have had. I have denoted these collectively “FABs”
    (Females assigned at birth) so that intersex females, who will have similiar life experiences to other females are included in women only spaces.

  22. m Andrea Says:

    Annie, my “arguments” concern the transgendered, who have normal healthy bodies with normal healthy chromosomes. The intersexed folks have stated repeatedly that they resent the transgendered appropriating their bodies for a cause which they do not support.

    Please stop appropriating. It is the height of hiprocisy for the transfolk to coninually use the bodies of the intersex for their own benefit and yet at the same time insist that somebody else is “oppressing” them.

    I do appreciate your desire to pick-through my analysis, but it should be obvious my comments only involve the intersex folks to the extent that the transgendered cease their appropriating.


  23. And amen to that as well….

  24. m Andrea Says:

    If someone is going to divide the biological sexes into more than two — which are normally classified according to reproduction capability — then it makes no sense to stop at 5, we may as well have 5000. I doubt if many doctors agree with Fausto. That’s why we have the intersex category — the very small number of people who are biologically indeterminate.

    In order to classify a division, each category needs to be substantially distinct from each other. Seriously Polly, this woman can make all the claims she wants, but if most doctors aren’t willing to grant her a concensus regarding medical theories, then she’s out of luck. You need a concensus in order to use her arguments. ~hope that doesn’t come across as rude.

    Ha, I keep editing this. There are several different types of xy chromosome division, for example, all distinct differently from each other IN THEORY and from the norm as well, and yet they are all still classified as intersexed because many of these folks will exhibit traits from other categories as on a continuum. The only bright line is: male, female, not either.

  25. Polly Styrene Says:

    Fausto Sterling is quite clear that the categories are arbitrary, as you will see if you read her paper. It is just a way of explaining that ‘intersex’ people are not actually all “hermaphrodites” – a true mixture of male and female.

    The way that sex is ACTUALLY categorised in society is the appearance of external genitals at birth, and Fausto Sterling’s categories reflect that. For instance women with Turner Syndrome (one x chromosome instead of two) don’t have any ‘male’ characteristics at all really, they are infertile women. As are those with AIS – they appear externally female but have XY chromosomes. They would have developed as males normally, but because their bodies do not respond to androgens, the foetus develops as female instead.

    An infertile woman is still a woman. If we’re saying only women who can reproduce are women then I don’t qualify because my ovaries failed quite a while ago.

  26. m Andrea Says:

    okay, gotcha.

    “An infertile woman is still a woman. If we’re saying only women who can reproduce are women then I don’t qualify because my ovaries failed quite a while ago.”

    Of course, I just didn’t know a better way to say it. And forget what specialization would be studying that area so I can’t go look it up.

    But if Fausto realizes the line is arbitrary, then she really can’t make the claim that there are five, so she kinda worked herself into a moot corner there.

  27. Annie Says:

    polly styrene – That was a very interesting link. Thought this was excellent: “But if the state and the legal system have an interest in maintaining a two-party sexual system, they are in defiance of nature.”

    Would you know whether men transitioning to women, taking hormones, at some point their penises always remain flaccid? Another link perhaps for factual info? And going with the, “there are no genders,” do you identify people transitioning as, “transsexual?”

    Do you have any familiarity with research on woman-to-woman violence in “safe places?”

    And that leads me to wonder about lesbians experiencing partner violence. Where can they go for sanctuary – “women only” wouldn’t be safe for them?

  28. Annie Says:

    m Andrea – What interested me as I began to read your series was your writing that you wanted to use logic. I interpreted that as philosophical logic. My use of the word “argument” is more along the lines of debate.

    As you noted, “In logical arguments, it is possible to start out with a correct premise (ie “gender is fluid”) and still get an incorrect result. The conclusion must follow logically from the premise, not just tacked on because you like the answer.”

    Crafting a logical argument is not easy, at least not for me, so I want to see how you are doing it and whether you are dipping into some of the fallacies of logic.

    Thinking of your other piece, I believe it was the 2nd one, you began with “There are no genders.” Yet throughout this current discussion about logic, you use “gender” throughout, e.g., “I have no doubt that gender is fluid; feminists have spent decades proving this by showing how females are capable of male work, but the process of transitioning does not prove gender is fluid.”

    I needed to clarify terms cause this is confusing me.

  29. Polly Styrene Says:

    Well the general point about lesbians experiencing partner violence Annie is that their partners won’t be in the refuge WITH them. Whereas for a woman in a refuge who has experienced male violence any biological male is likely to be threatening. And of course 1 in 3 women with male partners experience domestic violence, figures are not collected for lesbians in the UK, but given that the majority of women are heterosexual (about 5% of women identified themselves as lesbian on the last census), the huge majority of women in domestic violence shelters will have been assaulted by man. There are also special LGBT domestic violence helplines in the UK, as I’ve said before.

    I’m a lesbian actually Annie. And I certainly wouldn’t feel safe in a shelter that contained males. You’re talking nonsense.

    And for most women a safe space is not going to be one that contains unknown biological males – particularly when it is the cramped living quarters that most domestic violence refuges provide. That’s why we don’t have unisex changing rooms at the swimming baths. And why you see a warning sign if a toilet is being cleaned by a male attendant.

    A further point is that most of the women using domestic violence shelters in the UK are actually Asian. There are very good reasons for this – these women are less likely to have alternative places to go within their community if they leave a violent partner as they are likely to be ostracised. It would be impossible, for religious and cultural reasons for most of these women to share living space with an unrelated biological male. The need for appropriate services for BME women was recently recognised in a court case in the UK.

    As far as I know there is no research on woman to woman violence in safe places, it’s certainly something I’ve never heard of happening anecdotally, but if you have some why not cite it?

    You’re just grasping at straws really, Annie, aren’t you?

  30. Elly Says:

    I find it a bit weird to say “gender doesn’t exist” (which is a bit weird since if it didn’t exist there would be no need for such posts, but anyway, let’s interpret that as “it should not exist”) and go back to use the sex to define categories.

    Except, as Christine Delphy pointed out in “Penser le genre” (thinking gender, but I don’t know if there is an english translation. Now, maybe some authors feminists said it too), “gender precedes sex”. Yes, you can use the penis or its absence as a factor ; but choosing to use this criterium is in itself a construction of gender. So don’t say that gender doesn’t exist and apply a gendered construction which is, by the way, exactly the patriarchy one (“women = lack of penis”).

    I’m sorry to put it bluntly, but when I read some of you, I have the feeling that “supressing gender” is not, well, attacking how patriarchy enforces gender, but just suppressing the concept of gender feminists invented to go back to sex.

  31. Polly Styrene Says:

    And ‘transsexual’ isn’t a gender. It’s a word used for someone who is having their sex organs surgically altered and also taking hormones – ie physically altering some of their sex characteristics. So it is a descriptive term.

    Why are you so keen to be in a woman only space anyway Annie?

  32. Polly Styrene Says:

    Certainly Elly the idea that there are ONLY TWO sexes does flow from gender. But the reality is that about 99% of the population fit either into the category XY chromosomes, sex organs penis, testes (male) or XX chromosomes, sex organs vagina, uterus, clitoris at least to begin with (yes of course many women have a hysterectomy, but they were born with a uterus. And of the other 1% most have chromosomal variations, but external sex organs that appear ‘male’ or ‘female’. True “hermaphrodites” are vanishingly rare.

    Gender in the sense of an internal sense that one IS a man or a woman is impossible. And therefore the belief that there is such an essence is just a construct.

    And the reason that it is impossible is that none of us can read the minds of any other human being. So if we say “I feel like a woman” or “I know I am a woman” then we are describing a feeling that is unique to us. We cannot know if it is shared by other ‘women’ because it is impossible to know another human beings consciousness.

    We have no idea what ‘feeling like a woman’ is like for anyone else – therefore how can we know our feeling is authentic?

    We can’t. Simple as that.

  33. Polly Styrene Says:

    And Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in God. But he still wrote a very successful book about the subject.

  34. Polly Styrene Says:

    And penises matter Elly. I’m a lesbian for the reason that I am sexually attracted to particular genitals. And penises make me go Euuuwww. Seriously – I think if I saw a real boner, I’d probably throw up. Pictures are bad enough. I’m penis phobic. The only real willies I’ve ever seen are on little boys.

    Binary biological sex is a gendered construction. Biological sex is not. Female people are raped, assaulted and killed by male people on the whole. It’s a fact.

  35. Annie Says:

    Polly Styrene – I really have no interest in women’s only space. m Andrea’s use of “logic” interests me as an intellectual exercise. The terms are bandied about with different participants here using different definitions.

    It is obvious that protesting women is a passion for you – very pragmatic, very real, not at all just an intellectual discussion.

    By offering the link to me, I presumed that you were interested in a discussion. I don’t know very much at all about transsexuals/transgenders. One question tends to lead to another in my mind. That is all.

  36. Elly Says:

    “I’m a lesbian for the reason that I am sexually attracted to particular genitals. And penises make me go Euuuwww”

    Oh, yeah, right, and I’m certainly not a pedophile, so girls under age of consent shouldn’t be allowed into women’s spaces ?

    I mean, seriously, what’s the link with what you find attractive ? I mean, I thought women-only spaces were supposed to be some political spaces in order to, well, fight oppression, not just some gathering according do who you find doable.

    “Biological sex is not. Female people are raped, assaulted and killed by male people on the whole. It’s a fact.”

    Yes, and it’s not because biologically female are designed to be raped, do free chores and raise babies, but because of gender.

    And yes, biological sex is actually gendered ; not the material stuff itself which is just a piece of flesh, but the importance that is accorded to it instead of, say, ear lobes.

  37. Loz Says:

    mAndrea- did I expouse the idea that some straight heterosexual men will use any available excuse to stalk their ex?

    Do you have any examples of men who had sex changes in order to follow the spouses they are abusing into women only spaces or is this just one of your ‘well it COULD happen’ justifications?

  38. m Andrea Says:

    Loz, is a straight heterosexual man transgendered? Would those descriptions belong to two different groups of people?

    Wiggles, the thing about “old white dude art”, yes I agree, though Art Nouveau is a personal favorite style of mine. Shame they never did much other than white women– the only other thing in that style is jazz muscians which doesn’t really have the same calming effect. I found some amazing stuff the other night and will be using soon.

  39. m Andrea Says:

    Annie, you seem to be operating under the assumption that anyone who shows up is entitled to a formal debate with me one-on-one. I suggest you check your privilege at the door. Discussion is not debate, though I realize that more aggressively conditioned born males may not understand the distinction.

    If you want to debate, then you need to pick an argument or statement of mine out of a post and argue against that.

  40. Polly Styrene Says:

    Oh, yeah, right, and I’m certainly not a pedophile, so girls under age of consent shouldn’t be allowed into women’s spaces ?

    I don’t understand what you’re saying here Elly.

    The point I am making is that BINARY biological sex is a construct, biological sex is real. And 99% of people fit into the binary sex categories, which can be clearly defined. And as people it it BODIES that matter, not gender. BODIES are real. BIOLOGICAL SEX is real.

    I’m not a lesbian because I’m attracted to interior essences of women, or frocks, or make up. I’m not attracted to ‘feminine’ women at all actually.

    I’m attracted to female BODIES. BODIES. Bodies matter. Biological sex matters. Otherwise none of us would be here. We’re here, the vast majority of us, certainly everyone over 30, because a MAN and a WOMAN had sex.

    Yes discrimination against and hate crime against the female bodied is permitted and condoned because of gender – the system that says this is Ok. But it is still male BODIES attacking female BODIES.

    We’re not just spirits or consciousnesses, we have bodies. That’s why I can type this.

  41. Polly Styrene Says:

    Annie, yes the point I was making with the link is that the problem of intersex people in women only spaces needs to be addressed. And I address it as I state – those who fall into the intersex category that Fausto Sterling calls ‘Ferms’ are female, for my purposes.

  42. Elly Says:

    I’m sorry Polly, but what you say to me sounds exactly like men who say “ONOZ, i am heterosexual and not attracted to penis, so you’re not a woman”. Except you’re saying lesbian and not “heterosexual” so I guess that’s better. Right.

    I mean, what you’re saying basically the same thing : who cares about gendered construction ? Who cares about lived oppression ? Who cares about feminist work ? The only thing that matter is to have a body that you are attracted to, even though there are parts which, on most people, you’ll never actually see.

  43. Elly Says:

    And the real existence of something doesn’t mean that there is no social construction giving it its signification. A skirt is real, yet it is because of social construct that you don’t want to put them because you’re a man. A penis is real but it is because of social construct that you don’t want to have sex with someone who has one because you are lesbian.

  44. Zoe Brain Says:

    Two articles that are relevant : Rethinking Sexism: How trans women challenge feminism and Ambiguous Medicine and Sexist Genetics: A Critique of the DSD Nomenclature.

    As for post-operative transwomen affirming rather than rejecting a gender binary, yes, of course they do. Post-operative transmen likewise. The essence though is that though this is right for some, it’s not the only solution for everyone, and both transgressing and affirming a binary model are equally valid for individuals. It is just as oppressive to say “thou shalt NOT affirm the binary model” as to say “thou SHALT affirm the binary model”. It is the latter though that the Patriarchy has used historically to oppress non-trans-women, and the former to oppress trans-women and trans-men.

  45. Polly Styrene Says:

    Yeah I know what you’re saying Elly, but I just don’t agree. I don’t actually define people by ‘man’ and ‘woman’ at all in the sense of gender. I just define them by sex. And so do most other people. Yes Gender is layered onto biological sex. But that doesn’t mean biological sex doesn’t have a separate significance.

    That’s why when Thomas Beatie had a baby, the papers were full of people saying he wasn’t a man.

    And no I’m not attracted to people with penises. However they identify. Sue me.

  46. m Andrea Says:

    So Annie. For the record. Are you transgendered? Know anything about feminist theory?

    Because it’s highly suspicious that someone who claims to not know anything about anything, including how to recognize a logic argument, managed to find their way to this humble little bloggy.

    This is the last time I am going to tell you Annie, check your privilege at the door. You are not entitled to manipulate me into doing your work for you. Pick a point and argue against, or don’t. You seem to be whining that I won’t answer your questions, yet you have none.

    Last chance. Next stop, automatic ban.

    Elly, I am glad you came back!

  47. Elly Rouge Says:

    Zoe Brain:
    “It is just as oppressive to say “thou shalt NOT affirm the binary model” as to say “thou SHALT affirm the binary model”. It is the latter though that the Patriarchy has used historically to oppress non-trans-women, and the former to oppress trans-women and trans-men.”

    Hum, I don’t agree that patriarchy oppress trans people by saying they must not “affirm the binary model”. At the contrary, it forbids you to transitionning because “if you have a penis, you must be a man” and, when you maintain your opinion and affirm that you’re trans’, it strongly incite you to go “all the way” with the logic that “at least, if you’re a woman, get a vagina”.

    Now personally I’m completely for saying “you shall not affirm the binary model”. But I don’t think that surgery or the way you dress does ; rather it’s the fact of saying “oh, now I’m a true woman because I got surgery”.

    Polly:
    “And no I’m not attracted to people with penises. However they identify. Sue me.”

    To clarify what I said before: I have no problem if you are not attracted to people with penises, that’s not the problem. But I don’t understand what it comes into the discussion ; i say that “gender precedes sex” and you say “biological sex matters to me”.

    The idea is to say that gender is not a censequence of biological sex, but a cause.

    To make a comparison with race (which is always a dangerous thing to do, but I think there are comparable points because both “gender” and “race” gives capital impotance to body aspects), the idea is to say that it is not the skin color which was responsible for the creation of “races”, but the creation of “races” which needed the division according to skin color. Of course, even without racism, you’d still have a skin color, as you would have a sex without sexism, but the importance given to it wouldn’t be the same.

    And your proposal to say “let’s drop gender and just look at the sex to classify people” is, for me, like saying “let’s drop the “race” notion and only look at the skin color”.

    For me, in the absolute, both classification according to gender and sex (and, e.g. race and skin color) should be dropped and we should only consider human people.

    Except we live in the real world and we can’t just say “gender doesn’t exist”, so we have, of course, to acknowledge that people undergo an oppression because of their perceived gender and their perceived race. So I think groups who fight this oppression should, when necessary, gather the people who undergo the same oppression (which, in the case of women oppression, means accepting trans women, all my goal in the discussion to defend my inclusion right, after all :p ).

    I think that saying “gender doesn’t exist, let’s go back at the biological sexes separation” is counter-productive because it gives the wrong idea that while gender is “fictional” or “artificial”, this division is “natural”. At the contrary, I think that, in order to fight gender, the first step is to acknowledge that it exists (even though, yes, it is artificial).

    mAndrea:
    “Elly, I am glad you came back!”

    Really ? 🙂


  48. Elly you’re race analogy would work if it were that simple. However, comparing skin color/nose shape/eye shape/whatever to brains is really not quite right. Did you know that people used to think (still do if you ask James Watson) that blacks had different brains then whites? And that blacks were therefore to be treated differently/lesser than whites? When people say, oh men and women have different brains (and of course women have simple ‘ladybrains’) that is what I think of.

    I am terribly unskilled at debate, so please don’t crush me :).


  49. Err, that smiley should not be there! And that should of course be ‘your’ race analogy, not “you’re”. My apologies.

  50. Polly Styrene Says:

    But the biological sex thing DOES have a significance that race doesn’t have Elly. I don’t what to get all your essentialist on your ass, but – birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

    Race is entirely constructed, because although skin colour is real, race has no natural significance – unless you’re in a very sunny country, where it helps to have a darker skin of course. On the other hand sex does have natural significance, because most of us have a preference for one biological sex or the other as sexual partners. And that’s a big thing for most human beings.

    But above all that, most human females experience harassment and violence from human males. So our natural reaction is to not feel entirely safe with males. Certainly not males we don’t konw.

  51. Polly Styrene Says:

    And I’m not suggesting that people are classified on sex at all. I’m suggesting that in terms of safe spaces, mixing males and females is not appropriate.
    Because females suffer violence from males. And even if that male identifies as a “woman”, that doesn’t mean a female will feel safe in a shared space.

    Of course the courts here recently found that separate services for BME women should also be supported (Southall Black Sisters).

  52. bonobobabe Says:

    I realize this is OT, but…

    I’m a lesbian for the reason that I am sexually attracted to particular genitals. And penises make me go Euuuwww.

    I think you’ll find, polly, that even straight women don’t think penises are all that attractive. I much prefer a man with clothes on. At least underpants. Genitals in general are just not attractive.

  53. m Andrea Says:

    Bonobobabe, I thought I was the only one who thought that! (And you can be as off topic as you want. There was only one occassion when thread-drift was problematic, but that’s over.)

    From Elly Rouge:
    “The idea is to say that gender is not a censequence of biological sex, but a cause.”

    This isn’t possible. An idea does not create physical matter. Gender is the human’s way of interpretating a physical entity.

  54. Elly Rouge Says:

    mAndrea:
    Well, I should probably not have used biological, but the idea is that it is the “concept” that is a consequence. Since I suck a bit at explaining myself, here is some (bad, since home-made) translation of a sentence from Christine Delphy:

    “This[which I didnt translate, sorry] seems to go in the sense of a definition of gender as preceding the sex: the only satisfying way to explain sex categories brings on the notion of gender, and the only satisfying way to explain the construction of gender brings on the notion of hierarchy and power. The gender, binary system, would then be produced by power and domination, and would be at the origin of the concept of sex. Power creates gender which creates sex.”

    Polly:
    “And even if that male identifies as a “woman””

    I thought I made it clear, but maybe it wasn’t the case : the question, for me, is not whether someone defines as a woman or not, but what hir place in the gender domination system is. And “transness” (but probably not only transness) makes it a dynamical system, where you can be in the “dominant” category during a period and in the “dominated” category during another.

    Another reason why I don’t like the idea that “biologically females” are dominated by “biologically males” is because, besides the fact that it negates that it is a dynamical system, it gives the idea that violence must come from testoterone level, muscle mass, etc. which is something I completely disagree with. By saying that the “men class” dominates the “woman class” I think it emphasizes that the problem isn’t a matter of body or self-definition, but a domination system.

    By the way this is completely OT, but what do “male” and “female” precisely mean ? I thought that in english it could be used both for sex and gender, but you seem to use it only as “biological sex”.


  55. Well obviously Elly – ” a word means whatever I want it to mean”. I have drawn the distinction between sex and gender by using ‘male’ and ‘female’ for sex and ‘man’ and ‘woman’ for gender, but that isn’t concrete, it’s just my construction to try and clarify.

    The distinction between sex and gender is this….

    Yes politically if one APPEARS to be a woman, one will be treated as a woman and experience discrimination as a woman.

    But, if you’re in a shared accommodation and you bump into a “woman” in the bathroom, and that individual has a penis, that just isn’t on, I’m sorry. Most FAB’s would find that very traumatic, like it or not.

    And I think most FABs would also feel uncomfortable discussing rape or Childhood sexual abuse with someone who is a biological male. And they have rights too actually. If a transwoman wants to counsel rape victims fine, I know some who would actually be excellent at it. But it isn’t on to expect rape victims to receive counselling from a trans woman if that’s not what they want. And you certainly can’t force it on them, in the context of a rape crisis line, where you just get the woman who picks up the phone. It would be very disturbing to hear a male sounding voice in that situation.

    Also Elly, I gave an account on my blog here.

    http://newcowblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/the-opposite-of-sex/

    of asking to be referred to a lesbian counsellor, and being referred to a transwoman. I wanted counselling for, inter alia, the psychological impact of premature menopause.

    Bodies Matter.


  56. Nah I think female genitals are very attractive BBB. I beg to differ. And I do know some women who (claim) to find penises attractive as well.

  57. Elly Rouge Says:

    polly:
    Ok, this is maybe due to cultural differences or I don’t know what, but the actual women-only groups or spaces that I know of actually consisted mostly of talking. 90%. Sometimes it was also demonstatring (women-only marches), painting some feminist tags on the walls, and physically hitting fascists. Which, most of the times, was done with clothes on.

    There may be cases with shared bathrooms or some things like that, but if seeing penis is that much of a problem, in order to avoid “bumpimp” on a woman with a penis, I think it is quite enough to use door locks or curtains and maybe explain to trans women that, well, it would be better if they keep their panties on while in public.

    I mean, yeah, on nudist spaces it might be difficult to work around this, but in most cases of _political_ women-only spaces I think this is either a non-issue or an issue which can be dealt quite easily technically.

    And concerning rape relief center I think it is a different thing too. Even if I don’t have a very fixed position on this, I believe that the priority should be given to the victim, even if her wishes can seem “problematic” to me (and not only concerning trans people. E.g. I think someone who refuses to be in front of a lesbian , a too “masculine” woman, someone who is too much “aged”, etc. should, if it is possible, be accorded this right since it is not the good time to make lessons on homophobia, sexism, agism, racism or anything)

  58. Polly Styrene Says:

    Then we agree Elly, at least partially. I don’t see any reason why a “woman’s” space shouldn’t include transwomen, if it is say, a reclaim the night march. But again the option has to exist to have a FAB only space, if that’s what people want. Because otherwise trans people have no right to separate spaces either.

    But the most vocal activists say you MUST include transwomen (even if they are biologically male) in having entry to domestic violence shelters and women only rape crisis centres. Rather than providing alternatives (which already exist where I live). And you MUST allow them to volunteer on rape crisis lines. As happened with Vancouver Rape Relief.

    Otherwise that’s “transphobic” apparently…….

  59. bonobobabe Says:

    Nah I think female genitals are very attractive BBB. I beg to differ. And I do know some women who (claim) to find penises attractive as well.

    Probably the same women who (claim) to like the taste of manjoose.

    You don’t mind my using your term, mAndrea? I love it. The word…not the actual stuff…ew.

  60. m Andrea Says:

    Of course not bonobobabe you are very welcome to do whatever you like

  61. stormy Says:

    You don’t mind my using your term, mAndrea? I love it. The word [manjoose]…not the actual stuff…ew.

    LOL, I am with you there BBB!


  62. I do know women who claim to luuuurve giving blow jobs BBB, but let’s not go there eh?


  63. Oh and you (and a couple of others) will know why I deleted the blog again M Andrea. Which isn’t why people think it is………

  64. bonobobabe Says:

    Polly, if you aren’t careful, you’re gonna run out of phrases with the word “cow” in them at WordPress. Next, you’ll have blogdevache.wordpress.com. 🙂

    I do know women who claim to luuuurve giving blow jobs BBB, but let’s not go there eh?

    I’m always fairly skeptical when someone claims to like doing a patriarchy-approved activity.

  65. bonobobabe Says:

    Oops, I hit the button too soon.

    Polly, if you aren’t careful, you’re gonna run out of phrases with the word “cow” in them at WordPress. Next, you’ll have blogdevache.wordpress.com. 🙂

    I do know women who claim to luuuurve giving blow jobs BBB, but let’s not go there eh?

    I’m always fairly skeptical when someone claims to like doing a patriarchy-approved activity. It’s like women who claim they like shaving because they like the feel of smooth legs themselves. “I do it for me, not for any man!” Well, I have a feeling that if the standard of beauty was hairy legs, and if women with smooth legs were made fun of and couldn’t get any boyfriends, that these women who love smooth legs wouldn’t love ’em enough to keep doing it in that kind of atmosphere.

  66. stormy Says:

    Frankly, I have ‘smoother’ legs since not shaving them. If you leave the hair alone, it gets softer. Unlike with shaving, 10 minutes after shaving you start to feel prickly (well ok, not exactly 10 minutes! but it might as well be.)

    It’s is all about exaggerating the ‘otherness’ of female. Males are generally hairy, therefore females ‘must’ be non-hairy (according to patriarchy).


  67. No I think men should shave their legs too actually……..

  68. Level Best Says:

    Polly, I do hope you will be creating a new blog. I freaked a bit this morning when I tried to get my cow fix and you WEREN’T THERE! All the best to you, regardless of whether you blog again soon or no.

  69. polly styrene Says:

    Hey LB. I have many, many jobs to do, and I have been off work all week and I’ve hardly done any of them….


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