This is years late. One or two people objected to my blog title Don’t Trust Whitey. I didn’t care to address that objection at the time, but I didn’t taken it lightly. The title was a reference to the comedy The Jerk, not a reference to anyone or an attempt to offend or insult. I simply didn’t consider whether anyone but me would recognize the reference.
Since the vast majority of people are referring to the male sex when they use the terms he, him, and his and the female sex when they use the terms she, her, and hers, they do not misgender anyone with pronouns. Some of these people have called me he and him, but that’s because they thought I was male, not because they thought I had any particular gender identity. They sex and mis-sex people with pronouns, but they do not gender or misgender anyone with pronouns. Most people don’t even know what gender identity means, so they certainly aren’t ascribing any gender identity to anyone.
Only people who subscribe to the concepts of gender identity and gender-based pronouns (rather than sex-based pronouns) can misgender, and they can only really misgender people who share those ideas. They can’t exactly misgender people who don’t identify with gender, but they can misidentify and misunderstand them,and, as far as I know, only people who subscribe to the concept of gender identity have perpetrated this misidentification on me.
They say I have special womanly feelings that I don’t have. They seem to think I’m content to be treated like a woman, but I’m not. I have never heard or read a one of them describe the female gender identity in any terms other than femininity and sex-based stereotypes, so I’m sure that I don’t have a female gender identity. “Female gender identity” isn’t even a sensible term because sex and gender are mixed in the same phrase. How can anyone have a gender identity that is a sex?
Some told me that I “identify as a woman,” but when they “identify,” they just call themselves whatever they want, sometimes insistingor desperately desiring that other people go along with it. I don’t do that, so I must not identifyin the way they “identify.” I don’t even bother to correct people when they call me “he.” I don’t care anywhere near as much about pronouns as the people who subscribe to gender identityseem to care. My self-perception, my concept of womonhood, and my concept of genderare radically different from theirs, so their notions of “identify” do not apply to me.
I do, however, identify as a target of female oppression. Not just a victim, but a target: subject to intentional victimization and disadvantage, which differs from the misogyny some males experience when they are mistaken for female. But identifying as a target of female oppression can’t be a part of the concept of identifying as a woman as long as identifying as a woman is considered to apply to males, because males are not the targets of female oppression. So the concept of woman as a gender identity excludes an important part of my experience of being a womonand, again,doesn’t apply to me.
One person suggested that I might be agender. But considering myself agender wouldn’t make any sense unless I subscribed to the idea that some other people are the opposite of agender. Just as there can be no atheists without theists and no asexuals without sexuals, there can be no agender people without gendered people. Agender (and nonbinary, and genderqueer) is just another gender identity in the sense that both terms derive their meaning from a core belief in gendered human beings. A belief that I don’t hold.
I can certainly see that some people seem very interested and invested in gender, but I don’t have any reason to see gender as fundamental to who they are. I don’t have any reason to think of anyone as gendered or having a gender identity.Some may want me to do so, but I’m not obliged to adopt their ideology.I owe them nothing more than acknowledgment of their ideology. Gender is just another construct; gender identity is just another narrative. If they were useful to me as construct and narrative, I might use them and observe themfor others’ sake. But they aren’t useful, so I don’t use them.
Not only is the concept of gender identity not personally useful, it is based on patriarchal sex roles and used to dismiss and cover up the violent, coercive, and the misogynistic meaning, use, and origin of said sex roles aka gender roles. Subscribing to the concept would make me complicit in that dismissal and cover-up. Identifying with the ideology of female oppressors would be a form of self-harm. Even if I thought that identifying that way would benefit me, it would be egocentric to the point of misogyny to do so despite the implications for other females.
Since I don’t view people as having gender identities and never ascribe any sort of gender to anyone, I can’t possibly misgender anyone. To accuse me of misgendering is to project onto me an ideology that is misogynistic, ahistorical, and apolitical.
Regardless of how other people try to fit me into their gender ideology, I know that I do not identify with gender; therefore, I cannot have a gender identity. To misgender someone is to ascribe to that person a gender that differs from the person’s self-proclaimed gender. The misgenderer believes that people are gendered and the misgendered identifies with gender: they share a gender-based ideology. Since I have no gender, to ascribe a gender to me at all is to project a gender-based ideology onto me and misidentify me far more fundamentally than misgendering misidentifies anyone.
People who identify with gender and believe in innate gender identify with patriarchy.
“Sex workers” who accept and agree that sexual access ought to be a commodity. identify with patriarchy.
“People of color” who identify with the white supremacist concept of being “colored” identify with patriarchy. Adding the word “people” to “colored” doesn’t change the fact that the entire concept is white supremacist.
Without patriarchy, none of these identities could exist. There would be no gender to identify with, no one would be buying or renting bodies, and there would be no race or other hierarchical categorization by skin color.
Radical feminism is for people who don’t identify with patriarchy. For people who want no more gender at all, who want no buying or selling of bodies at all, who want no one to ever be identified or categorized according to race ever again.
Sometimes called “gender oppression.” It does not exist. No one is oppressed based on or because of gender. Oppression of womyn and girls is sex-based oppression. Gender is one of its tools.
Besides the political necessity of identifying why womyn and girls are oppressed as womyn girls (because of their sex), the distinction between sex-based oppression and the non-existent “gendered oppression” highlights the false belief that people are oppressed based on “gender identity.” It’s best to avoid the word “gender” when interacting with people who believe in innate gender because they will twist or genuinely misunderstand the message based on their personal and/or unrealistic and/or apolitical definitions (or vague, self-serving notions) of gender.
Liberalism will never succeed at eliminating patriarchy or any other system of oppression. Never. This is because liberalism is inherently assimilationist. The entire purpose of modern Western social liberalism is to forge a more comfortable position for minorities and the oppressed within the existing sociopolitical structure (economic liberalism is even worse).
Radicalism, on the other hand, is emancipatory. Once one examines the roots of a system and finds them unacceptable, there is no other solution but to oppose that system. It is not consistent with radicalism to find that a sociopolitical system is fundamentally oppressive, then proceed to pursue solutions solely or primarily within that system.
Liberals, then, taking the existing system(s) for granted, tend to form sociopolitical opinions within their context, adopting values that share a bias similar to that of the system in which they are formed, and, unsurprisingly, often seem to have great difficulty even understanding ideology which lacks this bias. The radical is often then left wondering how in the hell the liberal can hope to achieve anything significant for the oppressed while clinging to the ways of the oppressor.
From the pages of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet comes a useful guide to differentiating between liberal and radical ideology (commentary mine):
|Individualism||Group or Class|
(whence the fruitless attempts to talk men out of their violent, misogynistic ways)
(whence patriarchal gender gets revamped as the supposedly internal “gender identity,” and the white supremacist “colored people” is upgraded to “people of color”; liberals adopt the oppressors’ social constructs as reality)
(for example: constantly trying to re-frame even the most blatant acts of lockstep conformity as “agency,” re-framing all criticism as people “trying to tell me what to do,” and generally adopting versions of the ideology of the oppressor with seemingly no sense of context, etc.: a simplistic, choice-based morality)
(such as myopically hoping to achieve some type of social change by treating individuals with “equality” in their personal lives (sometimes ignoring class-based power differentials in the process, like the “transfeminists” who want “transwomen” on an even footing with womyn regardless of the existence of male privilege), when in fact only “equality” as practiced by those in power would have any significant effect; preaching non-violence even in the face of brutality, etc.)
(basically the gold-standard of liberal sociopolitical success, ignoring that the law exists to protect the powerful and at best can only redress grievances/does nothing to prevent violence, especially hidden-from-view crimes such as domestic abuse; reliance on the state for personal validation like the gay marriage lobby, etc.)
And here is an the first in an excellent series of videos which goes into greater detail:
Well. Notwithstanding having plenty of things to say, I haven’t been posting on my blog because it seems pointless. There’s the choir that I can preach to, and then there are the permanent Stockholm Syndrome sufferers who will cling to men’s ideas and the societal structures men have built and call it individuality and “gender identity” and “agency” and anything else they can come up with to obfuscate their various levels of conformity, while asking men for “equality.” If they even admit that men are the problem.
But today, I read something by a young woman who has autism. She can’t read social situations, and men, young and old, have been repeatedly taking advantage of her, everything from creepy staring to rape. I’m feeling like my head is going to explode. “Equality” isn’t going to do a damned thing for her. What shall we do, liberals? More useless askivism? More blogs and websites and wikis about “geek feminism” and “queer feminism” and goddess-knows-what-other sub-feminisms/pseudo-feminisms, onto which men invariably descend with everything from glib dismissal to overt rape threats?
I decided that it’s better to spend my time thinking about what womyn can DO. Frankly, I think it’s about time we moved straight on to violence and destruction. Sudden violence and destruction. I know. It sounds bleak and ugly and dangerous. Well, things are already bleak and ugly and dangerous for womyn. How much worse could it be, really? If you spend enough time thinking about it, enough hours fuming in impotent rage, perhaps you’ll find that risking your life, oh, say, bombing a men’s prison starts to seem worth it, for the future if not for yourself. What else is there? Imagine this: what if nearly every woman on Earth killed a man in his sleep tonight? How nice could tomorrow be? Imagine taking the offensive for once. Playing defense isn’t working. All the damage control in the world doesn’t prevent damage. Personally, I really like taking long walks alone late at night. Ever think about how men destroy even the simplest pleasures in life? Tired of it yet? Tired enough? I am.
I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that I support male genocide. But I know that any liberals who may be in the audience think that is very mean, and wonder: what about the “good men”? All seven of them, three of whom just haven’t been caught killing or abusing women or children yet. The answer is: collateral damage. And men agree with me.
Yes men, who will bomb an entire country to smithereens and murder thousands of non-combatants to smoke out a handful of terrorists, agree that human collateral damage is acceptable for a “good cause.” Men, who will pay other men to risk their lives rooting about in a huge hole in the ground to mine the metal, and dump toxic waste by-products in poor neighborhoods to keep their corporations producing your iCrap, are ok with human collateral damage. Men will risk exposing thousands to radiation and making whole cities uninhabitable for generations so that we can have electricity, even after witnessing the fallout of other nuclear meltdowns. Who cares about dozens of possible cases of leukemia and mutations in the local wildlife? Men think we need lights, dammit. Etc.
Goddess. Mentally ill man just showed up. Enough for now.
When I was about twenty years old, I was waiting at a bus stop on a main road in my hometown one day on my way to college. Suddenly, a car that was literally full of men (somewhere between 5 and 7 of them) drove up to the curb and offered me a ride. I was extremely confused, then I was scared. I mumbled no thanks and the guy who had spoken to me told the driver to drive off.
This has been a very creepy and disturbing memory to me. After it was over, I assumed that I had survived an attempted kidnapping, but over the years, I hadn’t been able to reconcile certain facts of the situation. I assumed that they thought they could simply talk me into the car because I looked younger than I was. I assumed that they hadn’t bothered to jump out of the car and try to grab me because the street was rather busy, and they knew that they would surely have been identified if not stopped. But they hadn’t seemed aggressive at all, and they made barely any attempt to talk me into anything. Then, a couple of days ago, I was looking at the run-down houses on this same street and thinking that it’s an awful place to live, especially with the prostitution that goes on a couple blocks up, and it occured to me that those men assumed that I was a prostitute because I was standing not far from where prostituted women usually are. This explains why they were so casual about inviting me into their car. On that day, I was also wearing a femininity costume, one of my few “successful” ones, one for which I’d received compliments.
It was about noon; I was eating a snack, wearing a backpack, and standing next to a clearly marked bus stop. Not the typical setting of prostitution. But I was standing in prostitution alley, and that was enough for them to assume that I was sexually available to them. Not to imply that even that much is necessary for men to assume that random women are sexually available to them.
The point is that the existence of individual instances of prostitution, all types of prostitution, whether it be tele-prostitution/e-prostitution (aka porn) or escort services, do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in, and contribute towards, the context of patriarchy, specifically, men’s attitudes towards and expectations of the sexual availability of women. And there is absolutely no reason to assume that they would exist without men’s ever-present expectation and demand of the sexual availability of women. And this is the thing that women who claim to “choose” to be “sex workers” need to understand: You can claim to choose to sell your body all you want, but you can’t choose the context that has created the demand. You can’t control it, and you don’t control it. You can claim that it is a respectable profession, but you can’t really control whether or not your “customers” actually respect you. The evidence that men’s consumption of any sort of prostitution inspires ZERO respect for the prostituted is OVERWHELMING. The physical danger involved in prostitution wouldn’t exist if prostitutes were respected. Men who respect women don’t put them at risk for STDs, vaginal tearing, anal prolapse. They don’t whip them or ask them to act out violent fantasies under ANY circumstances.
I once watched a documentary about the effects of e-prostitution, in which a guy took a camera and asked men what they had “learned” from porn. One man said he learned that women will “do anything.” Men have already formed, have had formed for centuries, their own enduring narratives about women and prostitution. The tiny portion of women who “choose” (aren’t sexual slaves or economically forced into) prostitution are not putting a dent in that. There is no evidence whatsoever that men will interpret this “choice” in a way that is favorable to women in general, nor to the “sex worker” in particular, no matter how badly you want them to. Rest assured, men will find a way to interpret it in a way that confirms the lies they tell themselves about women, along with having their entitlement to access to women’s bodies re-enforced. So it is literally impossible to believe that “sex work” is in any way positive or neutral and still be in touch with reality. Either one goes into “sex work” knowing this and not caring, or one goes into it blindly.
I recently reminded someone that males aren’t women, and was subsequently asked for “beginner radfem” stuff to read. This person wanted to understand the “radfem reasoning,” but was bothered by reading stuff that “denies the realities of my friends and loved ones…” these friends and loved ones apparently being queer or trans.
So, let me explain this as clearly as I can for anyone reading this blog who doesn’t get the “radfem reasoning.”
NOTHING in feminism denies your “reality.” Unless you were hallucinating or something, no one in their right mind is going to try to tell you that whatever you saw or felt or whatever didn’t happen, certainly not under the banner of feminism. HOWEVER, there is a HUGE difference between what you experience, and how you interpret that experience. Your experiences are not up for debate, but your interpretations are. Your interpretations are up for debate because they are arguments, which are subject to being true or false. Your interpretations may be based on your experiences, but they stand independently, and the fact that someone criticizes them does not mean that they deny you had the experiences they are based on.
Here is a handy example of queer interpretation, from my own personal experience:
A young woman has PCOS. She is hairier than most other women. She has been told that, if she were to ever try to get pregnant, she would have more difficulty than other women. When she gains weight, it tends to distribute itself in a pattern that is more prevalent on male bodies than on female bodies. She also feels uncomfortable with her breasts.
This is her experience.
Based on the experience of having PCOS, the young woman says to me: “Maybe I was meant to be a man.”
This is her interpretation. Notice that she could legitimately adhere to this interpretation without even having had the experience; she could say, “maybe women who have PCOS and don’t like their breasts were meant to be men.” Thus, the interpretation is logically independent from the experience, and this ridiculous idea that those of us who don’t experience dysphoria aren’t qualified to criticize how people interpret dysphoria is bullshit.
Also, notice that, even if I outright reject the interpretation (by saying “no, your experiences do not imply that you were meant to be a man!”), I have expressed no attitude whatsoever, least of all denial, of the reality of her having PCOS and feeling uncomfortable with her breasts.
And besides all that, everybody’s interpretation of everything is going to get analyzed and possibly criticized by feminists. Turns out that damn near everyone on Earth has been interpreting their lives without the conscious knowledge that they live in the context of misogyny! And once the misogyny context gets factored in, maybe your interpretations need to be revised. No one escapes analysis, even if they get their feelings hurt or experience a relatively rare and poorly understood condition such as dysphoria.
So, the short answer to this person’s question is this:
Learn to tell the difference between your reality and your interpretation of it, accept that your interpretations may be wrong, and, as for that radfem reasoning, it flows from the fact that everything gets analyzed through the lens of whether or not it perpetuates and/or is a product of female oppression.
I am surprised that so many people keep subscribing to this blog even though it’s been forever since I last posted anything. Well, queerspeak is something I love to complain about, so here is another post. If you don’t know what queerspeak is, it’s my term for all words/terms made up by queer/alphabet soup people that have to do with identity, as well as all pre-existing words/terms they appropriate and try to change the meaning of or suck the meaning out of altogether. Alphabetsoupism is the fantasy that all the letters in the alphabet soup (LGBTQQIA, and whatever else has been tacked on since I stopped paying attention) are one big happy family, have the same perspectives and goals, support each other in those goals, and NEVER question each other on anything even tangentially related to personal identity, and any one of the letters who dissents is a random hater who is automatically wrong without discussion.
Some moron called me cisgender yesterday. First of all, anybody who uses this word should know that it is a term that only a small minority are familiar with, and explain themselves accordingly, but this discussion took place in an alphabet soup (LGBTLOL) forum, and one of the epidemic assumptions of alphabetsoupism is that everyone thinks alike, so it was instantly assumed that I not only knew what this meant, but that I actually accepted it as a valid concept.
I have an idea of what this person meant (not trans), but so many alphabetsoupists can’t tell the difference between biological sex and gender roles that I couldn’t tell if I was being called not transsexual (as in not unhappy with my sex) or not transgender (as in not happy with my gender, which creates more confusion because, despite everyone in alphabetsoup expecting that they all think alike, they actually all seem to have their own definition of gender, all completely vague, of course).
Anyways, someone had started a discussion about “dropping” the B and T from LGBT, so I made a comment that T had nothing whatsoever to do with LGB, and that all these groups of people should not be lumped together willy-nilly, especially since some of them have totally incompatible sociopolitical goals (such as LG vs. homophobic and lesbiphobic trannies). Someone replied that they all belong together because they are all atypical in terms of sexual orientation, “gender identity,” or both, so, in order to drive home my point that we don’t all think alike, I let the person know that not everyone even believes “gender identity” is real.
But of course, EVERYONE MUST BELIEVE IN GENDER IDENTITY, so someone rolled out that old queer argument standby (or stand-in, I should say), comparison to conservative Christians. Apparently, everything that every conservative Christian ever said, every idea they ever had, is completely wrong, so it is somehow possible to “prove” someone else is wrong just by comparing them to conservative Christians, no matter how dissimilar the ideas being compared!
Think males can’t be females? You are just like a conservative Christian! Claim you don’t have a “gender identity”? You are just like a conservative Christian! Discussion over!
That’s when I was called cisgender. I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m cisgender, apparently. The problem with that is that it doesn’t just mean not-trans. It implies something about my relationship to either my sex or the feminine gender role (depending on how being used) that the other person could not possibly know anything about. Ironically, it is a projection of the trans experience onto everybody else; they are unhappy about something, therefore, everyone else must be happy with it. Not true. There is this thing called indifference; not everyone thinks it is hugely important to be or appear to be either male or female. Of course, the response to this is invariably, “you don’t care because you are cis and don’t experience any mismatch between mind and body,” but these people don’t know how anyone is going to feel or act under any given set of circumstances.
With regard to gender roles (and yes, despite queer gospel that trans people are the most progressive people on Earth, there are some that actually support gender roles and want society to enforce them), the “cisgender” assumption is that people are either happy with their assigned gender role, or want to live in the opposite gender role; either trans or cis. Which of course ignores or pathologizes those of us who want all gender roles to disappear.
I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the word “butch.” I had never been able to figure out why. It hadn’t made any sense to me, because I liked butches, liked them a lot. Since I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way, I had decided that it must have been some irrational love/hate thing or something, and kept on using that word when I wanted to talk about certain women. I even started this blog to talk about them. It’s sort of a handy word, or at least it was for me, because I’ve always felt that I had trouble making myself understood when I tried to describe or discuss the sort of women it refers to.
I was googling this evening and trying to find some information about these women, and using another, clunkier term that I don’t like, “non-feminine,” and in one of the search results I found this quote by Margaret from AROOO on a post by Undercover Punk:
I completely agree about “female masculinity,” Amy. Anything that makes “unfeminine” (ie, not submissive in behavior or dress) a MARKED form of femaleness is anti-radical-feminism. For me, the word “butch” does the same thing, and is built upon the same model of “feminine” (submissive in behavior or dress) as “normal female.”
…and that is a large part of what had been bothering me about the word all along. I don’t know why that was so difficult for me to figure out.
Another thing that bothers me is the use of the word as a distinguishing descriptor, i.e., these women are butch, as distinguished from womyn in general. Womyn who are referred to as butch aren’t different from womyn in general in any way that is notable (except to the patriarchy). They don’t have some special inherent characteristics that no other womyn have. They have simply rejected society’s role for womyn, and, on an intellectual level at least, any other woman in the world can do the same (although they may have more or less trouble living their lives in accordance with that).
So that’s it for me. No more rattling on and on about “butches.”