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Women don’t come of age, so to speak.  But rather have societies stereotypes and prejudices thrust upon them.  Amy Eileen Hamm speaks to her experience on growing up in a patriarchal society.

“Men have asked me to do things, forced me to do things, threatened or done things to me. For too long, I silently agreed that my body was an invitation.

I was angry when I lost control of my body. When my breasts appeared and my uterus bled. When this foul and mutating vessel made everyone around me think that I, too, had somehow changed. Or — painfully, in hindsight, because I believed it was true — that I was using my body to send messages of desire or consent, when I was still only a child.

Of course, there are women who suffer more, and in more terrible ways. I can’t speak for them; I can only understand how womanhood is too often an imposition.

Earlier, I described having learned an unshakeable, dysphoric shame. Bouts of shame plague me still, in my mid-thirties. I want an androgynous body I will never have. (Though I recognize, in the rational part of my mind, no variation in body type would be an escape from the female sex.)

I have bridled with rage and self-hatred after seeing male colleagues glancing at my chest. Breastfeeding was a months-long nightmare of intense dysphoria, on top of the typically associated pains and struggles. The triggers are plentiful and often mundane.

I don’t know how to overcome this, just yet. There are balms, including radical feminism and radfem communities.

It has been healing to openly share the ways our bodies move us through this world. And to discuss how our female bodies — from which there is no absconding — often dictate our treatment and well-being.

After all, what do I know about how it feels to be a woman, apart from what I’ve learned while others — largely men — react to my being one? Nothing. I only know how it feels to be treated like a female-bodied person.

I don’t know what it feels like to be a woman. I don’t believe this feeling exists. I have yet to hear a satisfactory or sensical answer to the question.

Without a female body, there is no equivocating oneself into womanhood. There is no incantation or initiation that can transcend our bodily reality.

“Woman” is not a feeling. “Woman” just is.”

The status quo is a nasty piece of work.  It has a multiplicity of tools and avenues of attack and repression available to keep the current equilibrium and quell dissenting voices that threaten the norm.  Tolerance, is considered to be a ‘good’ liberal value.  Yet, in context of female struggle in society it is used to keep discipline female thought and action.  Meghan Murphy examines the role ‘tolerance’ plays in the patriarchal suppression of female activity.

 

“The word, “toleration” is derived from the Latin tolerare, meaning “to endure, sustain, suffer” and, quite literally, “to bear.” In patriarchy, women have been groomed into a perpetual state of tolerance. The toleration of male customs, cultures, behaviour, and sexuality has historically been enforced onto women by the laws of male gods, male states, and male family members. From the “witch craze,” where hundreds of thousands of women were publicly tortured and killed for refusing to defer to the authority of the Church, to the often brutal forms of anti-lesbianism directed towards women who choose to have sexual relationships with women rather than with men, persecution is seemingly inevitable for the women who refuse to be tolerant of male rule. Today, tolerance training starts early — young girls are taught to endure the boys who humiliate them in the playground, to turn their gaze away from the online pornography, to close their ears to the misogyny they hear all around them.

Raymond describes tolerance as a passive position. It creates non-action, apathy, and a repressed sensitivity to the injustices done by men to women. In other words, conditioning women and girls to be “tolerant” is not unintentional.

It is not completely surprising, therefore, that women — particularly young women — are reluctant to form their own sense of right and wrong; of discerning what values can be considered feminist and what can not; and of articulating what needs to change, if women are ever to be free from male domination.

This tyranny of tolerance is most evident in what is today referred as “intersectional feminism,” and dominates in many a Western university. Misuse of Crenshaw’s original theory means that this brand of “feminism” more closely reflects a certain type of liberal individualism, which adheres to male dogma under the guise of progressivity and social justice. It is not coincidental that the choices this ideology frames as “feminist” represent, down to the very last stroke of mascara, the tools used by men to colonize women.

Prostitution, now aptly named “sex work” by many student activists and academics, is defiantly presented in this framework as the result of a woman’s personal, empowered choice, despite the reality that most women in prostitution are there through lack of choice. The multi-billion dollar pornography industry records and distributes sadistic acts of misogyny, as well as pedophilia, homophobia, and racism, to millions of men and boys across the world — and yet using the guise of “sex-positivity,” these showreels of abuse are marketed as “feminist” by some, while women who criticize the industry are branded “anti-sex” or “whorephobic.”

It is clear that in order to be accepted into the new feminist gang, one must be tolerant of all systems in which women can (hypothetically) exhibit choice, regardless of the system’s intended purpose. The promotion in some contemporary feminist circles of what Raymond describes as “value freedom” — or as Hein puts it, “doing your own thing” — makes it near impossible to define a set of collective values or assert shared goals due to the desire to appear sensitive to and “respectful” of the opinions of every woman in the group. Maintaining respect towards other women is, of course, important, yet surely this should not come at the cost of being entirely unable to express disagreement about a particular point of view or political stance. Moreover, while it may be relatively easy to oppose values which are obviously patriarchal, the difficulty lies in speaking out against those which are more covert.

Under the popular understanding of “intersectional feminism,” women are told that they have sinned by having “cisgender” privilege, which positions being born female and continuing to call oneself a woman as a privileged position to be in. Crucially, females who hold “cisgender privilege” are said to have the ability to oppress males, if those males have decided that they would prefer not to be identified as such.

The idolized image of the “trans inclusive” feminist in Western identity politics has become a marker for whether a woman is truly apologetic for her female body — apologetic enough to render it meaningless and, in spite of its historical exploitation, objectification, and domination by men, come to view it as a sign of privilege instead. To be a tolerant feminist today is to publicly and endlessly repent for one’s supposed sins — the greatest sin of all being, according to some, in possession of a female body.”

It is the corrosive neo-liberal ideology at work – promoting individual choices as the only (obeisant) method of empowerment – while systematically neutering group cohesion and solidarity, the later being the actual threat to status-quo.

A good test to see the difference between the neo liberal standard and effective feminism is to watch and see if males use the action or act in question to get ahead in society.  For instance, take pole dancing.  Speaking to liberal feminists one can get the impression that pole dancing is just an amazing route to gaining self confidence and empowerment in society.  Apply the test though – do men pole dance to get ahead in society? – the answer is, obviously, no.  Therefore the activity in question, may indeed be a good experience on the personal level, but societally speaking, is not threatening to the status quo.  A very important distinction if your goal happens to be changing society for the better.

 

 

   Wow.  You go to Banff for a choral workshop for one weekend and it seems like ‘all the news’ happens while you are away.  Meghan Murphy has been busy on the Feminist Current detailing the latest assault on Feminism led by – completely shocked here – Transactivists (read Male Rights Activists).    Munroe Bergdorf, the latest dude who thinks its his god-given role to tell females how to act and speak – demonstrates how to incorrectly use feminist terminology on a veritable bevy of levels.  

I cannot stress this enough – intersectionality – is the idea that oppression can (and most often does) occur along multiple axis.  What dudes in skirts and their handmaidens always conveniently forget is that one of the major axis of oppression is biological sex (you know, that thing you can’t change even if you try super real hard).  Females are oppressed because they are born with the female reproductive anatomy the marks them as the sex class, and thus second class human beings.  Not acknowledging this basic and grim feature of our society tends to make one’s analysis shit (see most of ‘queer’ theory) .

Anyhow, here is the juicy bits from the FC article and a nice comment from the comment section as the actual feminists were schooling a dude on what feminism is and how basic biology works.

 

“Trans model and recently appointed member of the LGBT+ advisory board for the Labour Party, Munroe Bergdorf, recently demonstrated his allegiance to New Feminism by demanding those formerly known as women stop talking about our bodies at our feminist marches, lest we alienate mankind by acknowledging the fact that all of mankind comes out of our vaginas (also by advocating empowerment through cutting up your face in order to appear more feminine and buying makeup).

     “I also want to stress that if you do attend, it is CRUICIAL that you do with an INTERSECTIONAL mindset. Centering reproductive systems at the heart of these demonstrations is reductive and exclusionary.

     — Munroe Bergdorf 🌹🌹 (@MunroeBergdorf) January 20, 2018}

Today, he has further demonstrated his generosity towards ex-women, gifting us his feminist leadership via an article for Grazia about how the vagina’d are getting vagina all over his feminism.

“Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes. A simple enough concept, right? Wrong!”, Bergdorf writes. “This is 2018 and if the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that feminism isn’t for women, it’s for everyone except women, and it’s particularly not for women who have human female bodies, which came out of the box defective, full of holes and with missing parts.” Perhaps not a direct quote, but my ovaries are really a pair of extra eyes that allow me to read between the lines. Neat!

Bergdorf goes on to explain that “woman” no longer means anything, and that no one really knows what one is anymore; maybe it is your mom, but also maybe it is that old banana you bought thinking maybe you would start eating fruit in the New Year but that now has become a part of the basket on top of your microwave.

It is specifically because “woman” is now everything from an old banana to the collection of hair behind your bathroom door, and also possibly your mom, though we will never know for certain, that feminism must serve as an inclusive tool of liberation for all old bananas and other feminine-type experiences (that means you, no-elastic leopard print thong from 2005!), not just some (#notallwomensavealltheir2005leopardprintthongs). “This is where so many women are still getting it wrong,” Bergdorf explains.

Lest you get stuck here, wondering, “If an old banana can be a woman, why can’t I, with my woolen pink vagina that also has cat ears?”, Bergdorf would like you to know that that the hot pink vagina that allows babies to emerge from your skull drives woman-types things apart. Our attempt at uniting females failed, he argues, explicitly because we acknowledged females share something in common, causing them to be an oppressed class of people under patriarchy. It’s impossible to know what the thing we share in common that leads us to be oppressed is, of course, but it’s probably the fact that men hate old bananas, don’t have hair collections behind their bathroom doors, and hardly ever give birth via pink cat ear hats.”

Thank you, the ever facetious Meghan Murphy… :)  Now to the nice comment I found.  Mind the argument from authority though…

The pull quote I like is this: “Trans ideology is castles in the sand, abusive nonsense that is ushering in totalitarianism and doublethink into our world.  It is based on [a] conflation of sex and gender in the English language, and deep-seated misogyny and homophobia.”

This is a next level comment on a thread from a post on The Feminist Current titled “If trans activists truly cared about feminism, they would respect women’s spaces”.  Simple no?  It’s hard to argue with the tagline, although in the comment section the TRA (trans rights activists) are certainly giving it a go, and predictably being shot down as the commentariat over the FC has little time for male delusions, dick, and the entitlement that goes along with it.

I chose this comment because it is so succinct in describing the problems with the trans activists platform.

 

Thanks DSQL for laying down the truth of the situation. :)

This story courtesy of Meghan Murphy writing on The Feminist Current.

This story highlights exactly the narrative of what the business end of transactivism is – male violence against women.  There is nothing ‘progressive’, ‘inclusive’, or any other lefty bullshit word appropriated by the transactivists that apply here.

This is a story of violent men being violent toward women, stalking, harassing, and beating women (and if you haven’t fucking guessed by now when I say woman I mean adult human female) for having the temerity to want to have a discussion about Gender.

“To Allen’s surprise, her Momentum group declined to host her proposed meeting, wherein she suggested people “get off the internet,” speak face to face, and debate the issues. She decided to move forward anyway, inviting an equal number of people from both sides of the gender identity debate to participate. She and her co-organizers arranged for the event, called “What is Gender,” to take place at the New Cross Learning, a community library in London, on September 13th. “

Oh hey look, this is how people that are not part of cult that promotes delusional thinking, approach a contentious issue.  They set up debates, invite speakers from both sides to promote a dialogue, to promote argument, to look toward a finding a shared ground and commonality.

This whole civilized debate thing goes straight out the window once males perceive a threat to their gender narrative though.

“It wasn’t until Sisters Uncut, a British direct action group advocating for domestic violence services, caught wind of the event, that things became chaotic.

 

“[People] started harassing the library,” Allen told me. “I went in [to New Cross Learning] and heard phone call after phone call, email after email, tweet after tweet.” New Cross Learning was inundated with demands they cancel the talk. Fearing for the space and safety of those in it, the library cancelled the event on September 12th.”

Yep, because debating women seems to be quite outside the wheelhouse of transactivists – much easier to threaten them and deplatform them.  The usual tactics and behaviour of threatened violent males.

“Between 20-30 protestors who had gotten wind that women were meeting at Speaker’s Corner before heading on to the talk showed up to harass attendees and follow them to the venue. Some yelled “Kill all TERFs” and held signs reading “No Debate,” according to witnesses. A group called “Action for Trans Health London” had posted the location of the meeting, despite knowing some protestors were threatening violence. Miranda Yardley, one of the scheduled speakers, told me that one man who commented, “Anyone idea where/if this is happening. I wanna fuck some terfs up, they are no better than fash,” on the Action for Trans Health London Facebook page, did in fact show up at Speaker’s Corner and tried to steal Yardley’s phone.”

Yep.  Kill all TERFS – No Debate.  Defenders of the transpoltics this is what you and other self-identified “progressives” are defending.  Your bullshit is terrible for feminism and women and should in no light be viewed progressive.  Unless of course your lexicon of inclusive progressive feminism includes punching women in the face, and putting the boots to her once she’s on the ground.

“The man, who calls himself “Tara Flik Wood,” didn’t only attempt to steal a phone. He was also allegedly involved in a violent attack on Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old humanist funeral celebrant for Humanists UK.

When I spoke with her over email, MacLachlan told me she had been trying to film the protest when some of the trans activists began to shout, “When TERFs attack, we fight back.” She asked them, “Who’s attacking?” At this point, MacLachlan says a young man in a hoodie tried to grab her camera. “I think he knocked it out of my hand but it was looped to my wrist. He turned back and tried to grab it again. I hung onto it.” As the two struggled, MacLachlan pulled back the hood of the man holding her camera, so onlookers could photograph his face, and another man — identified by numerous witnesses as Wood — ran over and began punching MacLachlan. Wood and a third man pushed her to the ground, where she says she was kicked and punched. The police were called, but have not yet followed up on the assault.”

 

Reprehensible.

 

“MacLachlan says she is “utterly bewildered at the behaviour of these young people.”

“They behaved like a brainwashed cult and seriously seemed to think that we are the haters, the bigots, the misogynists, the violent ones. But all we wanted to do was have a peaceful meeting and discussion and all they wanted to do was try to bully and intimidate us. They behaved like fascists and the irony seems to be totally lost on them. I’m sad because I’ve been a feminist for 45 years, I’ve always been left wing and I feel my generation of women and those that fought before us have been betrayed by this generation.”

Yeah.  There is no room in feminism for men – transactivists through their violence keep proving this statement.

“The women went on to the event venue in small groups, taking different routes in order to lose the protestors who were attempting to follow them. A number of attendees said they felt “stalked” as trans activists assigned to pursue particular individuals followed them very closely. Yardley told me, “We were being intimidated, in plain daylight, by a group of people who outnumbered us by about three to one.”

Julia Long, a feminist activist and lecturer, and Yardley, who identifies as a transsexual and is critical of gender identity ideology, presented to an audience of approximately 50 people, while protestors yelled outside. The talk was cut short as police arrived at the venue and shut down the event.

In a statement following the talk, Action for Trans Health London did not apologize and stated they were “proud” of the protestors’ actions.”

 

“Since the events circulated online, numerous trans activists have not only condoned the assault, but celebrated and encouraged it. One young woman who attended the protest said, “I’m happy for them to hit her.”

 

I heard a TERF got punched so it’s my duty as commander of Armchair Violence Enthusiast Twitter to say: good job, nice work, keep it up

— sexuall cruz (@AliceAvizandum) September 14, 2017

Imagine if twenty people had punched terfs.

Imagine if every terf had left bruised and bloodied.

Every one would stop organising.

— ada (@drcab1e) September 13, 2017

Especially trans people. Like, get on the TERF-punching train or get out of the way, a whole lot of us are ready to ride.

— Ms. Transistor 💘 (@SuddenlyLucy) September 14, 2017

I’d rather throw a punch and be accused of male violence than not and be the victim of transphobic violence. That’s it. The end.

— ME • RI • SA (@cambrian_era) September 14, 2017

 

“While silencing, no-platforming, and threats against feminists are not new, this violence takes recent efforts to shut down women’s speech to another level. Many of those defending the violence have predictably compared feminists to Nazis, an accusation that has been embraced by anti-feminists and men’s rights activists for decades. Indeed, it was right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh who popularized the term “feminazi” in the 90s — a man who, like these young activists, believes gender is innate and unchangeable, and feels feminists present a danger by challenging that idea.

That trans activists have adopted this comparison to Nazis with particular enthusiasm of late is intentional, contextualized within antifa defenses of violence against white nationalists. By painting feminist speech as dangerous and bigoted, trans activists have set up a political defense of male violence against women. If violence against Nazis is justified, and feminists are Nazis, violence against feminists is not only acceptable, but politically righteous. Ironically, it is the protestors themselves who have adopted practices endorsed by fascists, including censorship; misogyny; the forcible suppression of opposition and criticism; an opposition to democracy; and the use of violence or threats to build their movement, gain power, and impose their views on others.

Considering the context and history of Hyde park for women’s rights activists and social justice movements, more broadly, the violence and harassment that occurred on Wednesday is ever more emblematic. A century after women fought for their right to participate in public life, they are being silenced once again — smeared and harassed for speaking and meeting in public. Indeed, the behaviour is wholly contrary to the spirit of Speaker’s Corner, and an affront to women’s rights.”

Thank you Meghan Murphy for writing this piece, may it serve as a clarion call to for people to see the misogyny that is transactivism and see the abject male violence against women on display.  Transactivsm is not enlightened, it is not ‘progressive’, and sure as fuck it isn’t feminist.

I’m sometimes asked why I give such serious side-eye to the term identity politics.  This isn’t some sort of dogwhistle like the freezepeach moniker that gets affixed to people who want to say racist or sexist things and then hide behind free speech.  Gender IDPOL is a systemic denial of the reality women face and an iron scold meant to silence and shame women who dare to speak out against the arguments IDPOL make.

The good news is that despite the abuse from the ‘progressive’ left and the usual abuse from dudes, brave women are speaking out against gender IDPOL, precisely because of its insidious nature and the implicit erasure of the female experience from the public sphere.

Ms. Sanchez writes a cogent essay that appears on the Feminist Current, I suggest going there and reading the entire work.  However, I wanted to highlight this section in particular as it speaks to the material situation women face in society, and how IDPOL is obfuscating that struggle.  Also highlighted are some of the rhetorical dodges genderists use to muddy the water when it comes to the reality of sex based oppression.

 

“This is because there is an expectation that women are inherently nurturing. Being forced into the position of caretaker translates to women having less savings, being promoted less, and accumulating less money in their pensions.

But gender identity politics reduces this reality — and womanhood itself — to a trivial, malleable identity. It is baffling that in a world where women and girls face structural oppression due to their biology, gender identity politics has thrived.

Susan Cox argues that: “The non-binary declaration is a slap in the face to all women, who, if they haven’t come out as ‘genderqueer,’ presumably possess an internal essence perfectly in-line with the misogynistic parody of womanhood created by patriarchy.” There’s a twisted, neoliberal cruelty in arguing that the primary problem with gender is its impact on the chosen identities of individuals, and not the way it operates systemically, under patriarchy, to normalize and encourage male violence and female subordination.

When confronted with evidence that, historically and globally, women’s oppression is sex-based, gender identity politics simply claims that sex itself is an “invented” social construct.

In an article at Quartz, Jeremy Colangelo writes:

“Sex and gender are much more complex and nuanced than people have long believed. Defining sex as a binary treats it like a light switch: on or off. But it’s actually more similar to a dimmer switch, with many people sitting somewhere in between male and female genetically, physiologically, and/or mentally. To reflect this, scientists now describe sex as a spectrum.

Despite the evidence, people hold on to the idea that sex is binary because it’s the easiest explanation to believe. It tracks with the messages we see in advertisements, movies, books, music — basically everywhere. People like familiar things, and the binary is familiar (especially if you’re a cisgender person who has never had to deal with sexual-identity issues).”

But feminists don’t argue that sex is real because it is “the easiest explanation to believe” or because of what the media tells us. We argue sex is real because from the moment an ultrasound reveals a baby is female, her subjugation begins. And though “gender identity” is presented as an issue feminism must contend with, it is, as Rebecca Reilly-Cooper explains, completely at odds with feminist analysis of biological sex as an axis of oppression:

“Women’s historic and continued subordination has not arisen because some members of our species choose to identify with an inferior social role (and it would be an act of egregious victim-blaming to suggest that it has). It has emerged as a means by which males can dominate that half of the species that is capable of gestating children, and exploit their sexual and reproductive labour.

We cannot make sense of the historical development of patriarchy and the continued existence of sexist discrimination and cultural misogyny, without recognizing the reality of female biology, and the existence of a class of biologically female persons.”

Far from fluid, the realities of sex-based oppression are strict and enforced through violence — this is particularly true for women of colour and women in poverty.”

If gender identity is so amazing why are not females in large droves identifying as Men to escape their oppression?

Bill C-16 is problematic for women.  Go read the entirety of Megan Murphy’s article on the Feminist Current, I’ve excerpted a key bit here though. :)

Bill C-16 passed at the Senate on Thursday. Under this new Canadian legislation, which follows similar laws in a number of Western countries, a person can determine their gender or sex via self-declaration at any time and for any reason. It’s considered a human rights violation to question it. No criteria, physical markers, or tests have been identified to determine trans status. As an inherently individualistic idea, gender identity isn’t tethered to any external reality and is therefore considered immune from qualification or broader critical analysis.

If an individual’s identity doesn’t impinge on anyone, it’s easy to accept it at face value. But when an individual transitions into a group of people who face different challenges, questions will naturally arise about whether opportunities reserved for those who are marginalized in their own right will be inevitably claimed by these new members, once again making it more difficult for the original members to get ahead. Already, we’ve seen a handful of examples of males who transitioned later in life showered with praise and handed awards reserved for women, who have spent their entire lives enduring patriarchy as females.

Remarkably, troubling philosophical questions remain unaddressed. If gender identities are determined on an individual basis with no parameters around what they mean, it follows that there can be as many genders as there are human beings. If each individual has a purely self-determined identity, then, by definition, these inherently unique identities can’t be shared with anyone else. No one person can experience another person’s thoughts or feelings to verify that they are thinking or feeling the same things. How can males, or anyone for that matter, know that they feel like a woman? Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept the tautology that a woman is a person who identifies as a woman, the logical conclusion is that “woman” can mean anything and therefore means nothing.

And yet women exist.

Despite a lack of clarification and broad consensus on this, women are vilified simply for asking questions. We’re expected to abandon all prior experiences and notions of ourselves, most especially those that relate to our female embodiment and the oppression that stems from it. Sex-based protections have been effectively dissolved. When it comes to female-only facilities, human rights law is clear: a male who claims the identity of “female” or “woman” can’t be turned away. If a woman has concerns or is in a vulnerable position, her options are to somehow get over it or leave. What this tells women and girls who are survivors of male violence is that females’ right to refuge and privacy away from males is negotiable and that they come last. This is an insidious form of grooming that tells women and girls that they are hysterical for recognizing the epidemic of discrimination and violence directed at them and that they must prioritize the feelings of others over their own sense of self-preservation.

Though frequently twisted, the argument here isn’t that trans people in particular pose a threat. The issue is that as long as gender identity rests on self-declaration, it is impossible — and illegal — for females to distinguish between males who simply wish to live as transgender women and other males. This is an unwarranted burden to place on women and girls, who shouldn’t be obligated to have or divulge a history of trauma in order to justify maintaining independent spaces (not that it makes a difference when they do anyway).

Laws based on personally subjective, indescribable feelings are bad news, not only Canadian women, but the rest of society as well.

 

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