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Kathleen Lowrey is one the few and the brave women inside the University of Alberta that manage to retain an authentically feminist outlook.  Furthermore, her criticisms of the new gender ideology are spot on and her insights are useful in understanding the ontology of transactivism in academic and real-world settings.

Sex, Ptolemaic Style

“The pervasiveness of this formula helps to explain the widespread enthusiasm for gender identity ideology in the academy. The relevant flippages are of at least three kinds. First is the reversal of the sex:gender relation as it is commonly understood. Ordinarily sex has primacy. It is the biological given upon which the cultural constructions of gender are elaborated. In gender identity ideology, the terms are reversed. Gender is essential, and sex is the unsteady social construct. Second is the relation of men to women. Conventionally, the social standing of men is understood to be privileged relative to that of women. This relationship is reversed in gender identity ideology. Trans identified men (“transwomen”) are figured as vulnerable relative to women and are even described as the most vulnerable of all women. Third, the quotidian apprehension is that children develop their gender identities as they grow up and engage with and adjust to cultural norms. Under gender identity ideology, it is asserted that children know from very young ages exactly their gender identities independent of cultural conditioning. As a corollary, adult men who express gender identities late in life that appear to be wholly fashioned out of sexist cultural norms about femininity have in fact been real women–the very realest of women–all along. The department colleague who was my most enthusiastic denouncer placed two signs on her office door after I put up gender critical feminist messaging on mine: “trans rights are human rights” and “transwomen are women.” She understood very well the messaging required of a “trans ally” and displayed it quite correctly.

Gender critical feminists like me notice, of course, that one infinitely more often sees and hears the slogan “transwomen are women” than its counterpart “transmen are men.” To understand why this is the case, you’d have to pay attention to patterns of power in the world rather than to Ptolemaic valence-flipping. One of the signs on my office door that most infuriated feminist academic women colleagues on social media described the parallels between men’s rights activism and trans rights activism. Many feminist academic women clearly saw it as their moral and intellectual duty to decry this assertion.”

What a delightful backfire this is.  The entire kerfuffle was, most likely, staged by trans activists to be a propaganda piece (a confederate had the camera rolling throughout the confrontation) against a shop owner with this sign.   Here is the sign in question.

“Just out Dr.Seuss’s New Book – If you are born with a Dick you are not a Chick.” Period.

Then this happened, ostensibly filmed to ‘go viral’ in support of the trans community and their gender-woo-woo ideas like men that say they are women are somehow actually women.  Fortunately, attempting to bully a elderly Vietnam war vet in his own store, went terribly wrong for the gender-woo crowd as Don Sucher was having none of the gender-woo bullshit the local *city Councillor* (Tiesa Meskis) was spewing.

“You know what, nobody confronts your ass, that’s the problem“.

“Just, don’t live it around me!”

Notice the titles of the videos – Transphobic Star Wars Store Aberdeen Business Owner.  They reeeeeeaaaaly wanted this to go their way, let’s take a look a the comments, archived of course because they are almost all in support of Don and his absolute refusal to dismiss the physical reality we all share.

It’s not going the gender-woo way.  Not even close, and thank the goddess for that.  Gender ideology is an anti-female, anti-reality vehicle that is erasing actual women and their rights in society.  It must be stopped.  Here is a link to the news article that has edited snippets of the videos posted above as I suspect their public life on youtube may be short.

 

Stay tuned folks, the gender-woo crowd has a demonstration scheduled for Saturday.  Protesters and counter-protesters have both vowed to attend.  Given the male propensity for violence, I hope local law enforcement is on notice and will keep the peace and protect the rights and safety of Mr.Sucher.

Sara Ditum writes for Unherd on the strange route mainstream feminist politics has taken in the UK.  The ‘strange turn’ is also prevalent in Canada as many feminists whose goals include female liberation have found themselves without a political home as the parties that traditionally fought for their rights are now advocating for female erasure in society under the guise of being ‘trans-inclusive’.

Any political party that takes the material conditions of women in society for granted will not get my vote.

 

“Progressive movements, he argues, are no longer beholden to conventional liberal principles. Instead, they “contain within themselves both reformist and revolutionary tendencies, and progressives regularly move back and forth between the two”. This is, he points out, what Wesley Yang calls the “successor ideology” – successor, because it is primed to succeed liberalism, although it so far lacks an internal coherence of its own.

So a feminist might ask how self-identification would work in the prison system where vulnerable women need to be protected from predatory male offenders, and the successor ideology response would be that we should abolish the prison-industrial complex, at which point segregation would cease to be an issue. Or, if the issue is how to include trans women in refuges, the successor ideology could answer that the real aim should be ending all male violence rather than just ameliorating its effects — a laudable goal, but a remote one.

It’s a shift to utopianism that evades all responsibility for material conditions in the present, while justifying the removal of rights now as a trade-off against the glorious kingdom to come. Why do you need free speech to talk about sex when you have the post-gender future to look forward to? (Means of reaching the post-gender future remaining very much TBC.) For feminism, which has to be about directly improving women’s lives and prospects if it’s to be about anything at all, this is all deeply unsatisfying. If the Right is able to offer at least a common ground of norms, why not work there?

In any case, the idea that feminism inherently belongs to the Left is — if not false, at least a bit flaky. The suffragists and suffragettes covered a whole range of political opinion with outliers on Left and Right, united by their belief that they should be able to express those opinions at the ballot box. The second wave was galvanised by a split between the women’s movement and the anti-war Left.”

I’m following the Meghan Murphy Twitter-ban debacle and one of the places where I landed was the Quillette.  As it turns out, Megan Murphy has written a piece describing what happened to her and her struggle with the totalitarian ideology of transactivism.  I liked what MM wrote, but I found the comment section more interesting as the user base seems to self describe itself as the ‘rational middle’.  I worry when I see phrases like that because often they end up in the barren hellscape known as American Libertarianism.  *shudder*

Now there was some back and forth in the comment section,  but generally the tone was, “well this is what feminism has wrought and it’s bastard child has come home to roost”.  I’m not sure how the fight for female liberation begat the current state of trans-insanity, but for many commentors the two movements are intrinsically linked.

A couple of radical feminists made an appearance, one I suspect is a dude sponsored sock, as the claiming to be a rad-fem and then conforming almost exactly to the male approved stereotype of what a rad-fem is, just cannot be real.

A second rad-fem entered the debate and this is her comment:

 

“I enjoy how afraid you are of losing your job for telling jokes. I also enjoy how thoroughly you & other men take on this specific tone—have you noticed yet? It’s the “rational” tone. Literally every male commenter has used it thus far. Men can be rational about women’s issues as they experience almost no part of them. What you’re really saying when you cry about the change in feminism is that women don’t worship the ground you walk on anymore, & this has had repercussions for your ego & your sense of place (ie perceived significance) in the world.

I, for one, don’t really enjoy self-application of the title “man-hating”… feels very corny to me. What I do enjoy is speaking with women who are enlightened to the fact that they, unlike their mothers, do not have to settle for second best, settle for a man who disrespects her, hurts her, abuses her.

I think it’s telling that you’re so afraid of a world where men are not the main axis of women’s orbit. What exactly are you scared of? That women will make men walk on all fours with studded leashes around their necks? Get a grip dude. There is nothing women could do to men that is worse than men have done to women. With 90% of all violent crimes committed by men, your son has a greater chance of getting murdered by a man than getting falsely accused of sexual assault at the workplace.

Ultimately, the weird, fantastical fears you harbor are just excuses. Justifications for choosing to sit back & whine about what feminism has apparently “done” to men, when despite feminism’s very best efforts, men continue to harass, assault, abuse, rape, mutilate, & kill women. What you’re afraid of is change. Not feminists. At least own up it.”

Of course, none of the centrist rationalists have responded.  Funny that, when confronted with someone knowledgeable who is quite willing to charitably engage the response is crickets.

Tanya correctly observes the near thematic use of the “rational tone” and how problematic it is trying to deal with people who, calibre of intellect notwithstanding, don’t get the fact that the societal experience for men and women is quite drastically different.

I’ll finish with the thread now, but I thought it would be good to share some perspectives from the ‘rational middle’.

 

Isn’t it interesting that this sort of experiential sharing can only go one way.  This sort of paradoxical thinking is rife within transactivist ideology.  Consider the claim of being ‘non-binary’.  The only way this term works is by creating, you guessed it, another binary between “cis” people (those who mostly follow gendered expectations) and “trans” (those who mostly go against gendered expectations).  Or…  the other possibility within the gender spectrum idea is that, in fact, we’re all non-binary as we all possess a distinct combination of masculine and feminine gendered traits and behaviours.

As with most debates when it comes to gender, there is always a good deal of heat and friction, but not much desire to go outside of established positions.  As food for though, consider what Rebecca Reilly-Cooper has to say on the subject of gender:

“Once we recognise that the number of gender identities is potentially infinite, we are forced to concede that nobody is deep down cisgender, because nobody is assigned the correct gender identity at birth. In fact, none of us was assigned a gender identity at birth at all. We were placed into one of two sex classes on the basis of our potential reproductive function, determined by our external genitals. We were then raised in accordance with the socially prescribed gender norms for people of that sex. We are all educated and inculcated into one of two roles, long before we are able to express our beliefs about our innate gender identity, or to determine for ourselves the precise point at which we fall on the gender continuum. So defining transgender people as those who at birth were not assigned the correct place on the gender spectrum has the implication that every single one of us is transgender; there are no cisgender people.

The logical conclusion of all this is: if gender is a spectrum, not a binary, then everyone is trans. Or alternatively, there are no trans people. Either way, this a profoundly unsatisfactory conclusion, and one that serves both to obscure the reality of female oppression, as well as to erase and invalidate the experiences of transsexual people.

The way to avoid this conclusion is to realise that gender is not a spectrum. It’s not a spectrum, because it’s not an innate, internal essence or property. Gender is not a fact about persons that we must take as fixed and essential, and then build our social institutions around that fact. Gender is socially constructed all the way through, an externally imposed hierarchy, with two classes, occupying two value positions: male over female, man over woman, masculinity over femininity.

The truth of the spectrum analogy lies in the fact that conformity to one’s place in the hierarchy, and to the roles it assigns to people, will vary from person to person. Some people will find it relatively easier and more painless to conform to the gender norms associated with their sex, while others find the gender roles associated with their sex so oppressive and limiting that they cannot tolerably live under them, and choose to transition to live in accordance with the opposite gender role.

Gender as a hierarchy perpetuates the subordination of female people to male people, and constrains the development of both sexes

Fortunately, what is a spectrum is human personality, in all its variety and complexity. (Actually that’s not a single spectrum either, because it is not simply one continuum between two extremes. It’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, humany-wumany stuff.) Gender is the value system that says there are two types of personality, determined by the reproductive organs you were born with. One of the first steps to liberating people from the cage that is gender is to challenge established gender norms, and to play with and explore your gender expression and presentation. Nobody, and certainly no radical feminist, wants to stop anyone from defining themselves in ways that make sense to them, or from expressing their personality in ways they find enjoyable and liberating.

So if you want to call yourself a genderqueer femme presenting demigirl, you go for it. Express that identity however you like. Have fun with it. A problem emerges only when you start making political claims on the basis of that label – when you start demanding that others call themselves cisgender, because you require there to be a bunch of conventional binary cis people for you to define yourself against; and when you insist that these cis people have structural advantage and political privilege over you, because they are socially read as the conformist binary people, while nobody really understands just how complex and luminous and multifaceted and unique your gender identity is. To call yourself non-binary or genderfluid while demanding that others call themselves cisgender is to insist that the vast majority of humans must stay in their boxes, because you identify as boxless.

The solution is not to reify gender by insisting on ever more gender categories that define the complexity of human personality in rigid and essentialist ways. The solution is to abolish gender altogether. We do not need gender. We would be better off without it. Gender as a hierarchy with two positions operates to naturalise and perpetuate the subordination of female people to male people, and constrains the development of individuals of both sexes. Reconceiving of gender as an identity spectrum represents no improvement.”

Essentially, creating new ‘gender-identities’ is akin to making new prison cells with the penitentiary system we call gender and then insisting that your prison cell is more oppressed that some other persons prison cell.  Why not buck the system instead and drop the gendered stereotypes that the penitentiary is based on and that are currently hurting everyone.  Dispensing with the gender hierarchy is the goal we should be striving for, not gilding our particular cells at the expense of others.

 

 

“There has been little acknowledgement of the way in which trans politics demands far more of women than it does of men, perhaps because this would require an acknowledgement of the fact that male/female remains as much, if not more, of a dominant axis of oppression as trans/cis. Why aren’t we claiming that “men” needs to become a more inclusive category? If men can get pregnant too, why aren’t men’s rights activists campaigning for abortion rights? Why does pregnancy become a de-politicised “people’s” issue while testicular cancer remains a men’s issue? If sex is irrelevant, why are female people always the ones expected to cede linguistic and physical ground?

Pregnant with my third child, I faced more than one self-righteous male informing me that “biological sex is a construct.” The arrogance of this is staggering. Every single human being on this planet exists because of the reproductive labour of female bodies. Around 830 women die every day due to preventable pregnancy complications. The world is missing an estimated 90 to 100 million women due to the extermination of female – not feminine – infants. In such a situation, to boldly declare that you “see no sex difference” reveals both ignorance and privilege. We’re back to the idea that female people cannot be credible witnesses to their own lives.

If men were genuinely invested in supporting trans women, there’s an obvious thing they could do: stop pretending it is inevitable for “masculine” men to respond with violence to the idea that those who wish to socially transition to womanhood remain biologically male. As feminists have been arguing for decades, maleness and femininity can coexist. If the thought of that makes some men violent, then the problem lies with how men see maleness, not with feminists refusing to treat womanhood as a catch-all category for anything men don’t want to be.

Andrea Dworkin suggested when it comes to justifying misogyny, the right has religion while the left has nature. Trans politics has offered up a suitably postmodern amalgam of both. Are we dealing with scientifically verifiable proof of the “gendered” brain? Or with some mystic, soul-like essence known as “gender identity”? In many ways, it doesn’t matter which, as long as both are reinforcing a male view of how masculinity and femininity work.

I am tired of men posing as more open-minded than feminists, when in fact they’re behaving in the exact same way men have always behaved towards women. If you’re a male person telling a female person to be silent about her experiences of gender and power, you’re not only doing feminism wrong, you’re exemplifying the very values you claim to undermine. “

*slow clap*

 

Catch the rest of the article here.

“In the past several years ‘gender’ has been radically re-defined by a reactionary movement that has transformed it from a set of conventions and constraints on what men and women can be or do, to an interior mental state. Chrissie Daz is right in saying that something fundamental has changed in the way in which gender is understood in the twenty first century, with the new transgender warriors representing a major paradigm shift in gender thinking over the last forty years. An idea once wielded by the liberal left against conservative sexist and heterosexist social norms, gender has now been retooled as a weapon in the armoury of a regressive politics that is not only sexist but homophobic. Today’s transgender movement reinforces the myth that ‘men’ and ‘women’ are altogether different species of human beings, not just reproductively, but mentally — with different desires, different needs, different aptitudes, and different minds. Now transgender spokespersons support the traditionally conservative naturalisation of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ as innate psychological states, intrinsic in the human subject from birth and arising from brain chemistry or other hormonal interactions of the body. The progressive idea that there is no uniform way that all boys as such (or all girls as such) necessarily ‘feel’ or ‘think’ has been scrapped.
Instead of railing against a rigid heterosexist gender binary (as their rhetoric would suggest) the new Trans warriors assume that their innate sense of self (‘identity’) is inherently ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ prior to any socialisation. Apparently, the influence of cultural indoctrination is negligible. Gender has been de-politicised, naturalised and medicalised in the same stroke.”

 

The take away is that trans-ideology is sexist and homophobic excluding it from any reasonable sort of feminism. :)

 

 

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