Whose point of view?

The Arb had an interesting post about gender identity, free speech, threats, and Germaine Greer.

I don’t write about trans issues because I don’t know enough about it, and I have zilch knowledge of it.

Similarly I don’t write about racism regarding blacks and browns and whatever other skin colour, because I’m white northern European. Nor do I write about homosexuality. Or disability. Or mental illness. I have no direct experience. The most I write on any of these issues is to say that I oppose discrimination for any societal groups, but their voice is more meaningful than mine. Or is it?

Before I continue, I need to spell out a couple of acronyms.

TERFs – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists

FETAs – Female Excluding Trans Activists

If those terms leave you shaking your head, try trans feminism.

And an interesting article on FETA.

I don’t care what sex or gender people are. So, in the above article by FT I am the third category.

However, with my NHS hat on, I do care that a shedload of money is spent on trans ops and drugs. Just as I care that money is spent on IVF and plastic surgery.

Some years ago, one of the GPs in my health authority (HA) area approved breast enhancement for one of his patients. She wanted larger breasts so she could be a page three model. My phone did not stop ringing from press calls. And the secretary kept running in with numbers for me to call back.

He approved surgery on the grounds that she suffered low self-esteem aka potential mental health problems.

It goes without saying that I came out with the appropriate guarded comments about his decision, clinical confidential relationships, HA can’t comment on that.

But, my personal view is that, given that resources are finite, I do not see remoulding bodies or creating babies in vitro as a priority when people struggle to gain treatment and drugs for Alzheimers and cancer. Or transplants. Is body-changing surgery such a priority? Is it life or death?

Does that make me a TERF?

The big debate within radical feminism, and those of us who think we are radfems, is whether or not MtoF trans women are women. Can they adequately speak on behalf of feminists? Having spent at least the early part of their life as men, with the accompanying privilege? Did they know what it was like growing up as a girl, a young woman? No.

Trans women have a different experience. Different oppression, different discrimination, different bigotry.

Trans women often want to appear ultra female, thereby reinforcing patriarchal indoctrination. That’s not really guaranteed to get a pass from the average radfem.

I have no answer as to whether or not trans women are women. I just know they haven’t shared my experiences.

Just as men, who wish to be feminist allies, haven’t shared them either.

When I read men, talking amongst their smug little selves about feminism, and how right-on they are, I just groan.

Instead of writing your oh-so-important posts, for other men to applaud, why don’t you find something written by women and link to that?

I’m not qualified to write about many issues. But … the men are. Really? You all know and experience discrimination as women? I think not.

I don’t want to hear your views about sexism. I have my own. And my experience. Dripping patronising condescension does nothing. What are you actually doing to counteract sexism and misogyny? That would be more helpful.

One good post was Pink’s about women in French politics (too idle to link) where the women complained about being judged on their appearance.

Please men, stop telling us what you think. We’d actually like you to consider what WE think.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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169 Responses to Whose point of view?

  1. A good thought-provoking post Roughseas. 🙂

    Every two and four years, the start of political elections and their pre-election campaigns, I am persistently contacted by all running candidates and their campaigns. Yes, ALL of them. Why all of them? Because I don’t fit nice and neat into ANY traditional American political genre. I do have tendencies leftward, but I am a Freethinking Humanist. In political jargon that’s “Independent.” In voting jargon that’s “Undecided” and therefore a valuable POTENTIAL “Yay or Nay” vote. Hence, every 2-4 years I am almost harrassed incessantly, maybe rudely.

    Therefore, during those times that I am cornered and PUSHED to respond, I must respond. I want to respond with a decent to higher-level of knowledge regarding whatever the “issue” at hand might be. Otherwise, I stand to be (very?) gullible to the sales-n-marketing techniques and rhetoric that too often go hand-in-hand with political election years and candidates.

    Much of this positioning, and repositioning, questioning, examining, researching, tossing-out, etc, I feel is required in order to not be lead astray as I have been in my 20’s and 30’s with life-altering consequences, some permanent. Sometimes, in my imperfect language and voice, my questions don’t come across as “genuinely curious” but as arrogant and antagonistic. I’m learning every year how to better articulate my questioning, experiential, and resulting evidence (first-hand & otherwise) as less threatening and more inspective on subjects I am a Novice or Ignoramous about. LOL

    Staying utterly silent though is not the best teacher either. Lots of risk there; as much risk as speaking your ignorance, only the latter gets you further along faster. Is it pleasant? HAH! No, not always, but intricately understanding the dualities, inspiringly AND painfully, certainly makes it all stick better! 😛

    Which is why during campaign years when friends or family discuss upcoming elections, I choose to be at least relatively informed to carry on conversations, or civil respectful debates. As time and life events allow, I will broaden my knowledge on subjects I know nothing about while also revisiting the current status of older subjects… again, as time and life allow. Which is why I ALWAYS want to hear from you Roughseas, no matter what gender you or anyone else might be, but as an intelligent PERSON.

    Good mindful post Roughseas. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Professor, for reading the bottom line about this post. I can always rely on you. We all need to learn. But we also need to know our limitations.

      Liked by 2 people

      • But we also need to know our limitations.

        Indeed. And I’ve found I always have some limitations on male-hetero subjects, soccer/futebol subjects (specifically goalkeeping), drums-percussion subjects (specifically outside of rock, metal, swing, jazz, or EBM), Alternative lifestyles subjects (e.g. Gorean, 24/7 or TPE), public education, or parenting between divorced parents in milieu of state Family Laws. All of these subjects I can most definitely assist with and am qualified to deeply empathize — I know and have experienced a lot in all of them — but I still manage to find my limitations in all of them too. My expertise in them becomes more limited if I don’t constantly update them, test them, and put them under certain microscopes with other experts.

        I think what I’m driving at is that I always want to be an inquisitive student despite my ongoing obvious limitations. With those perpetual limitations, I recognize that approach is everything, in some cases paramount! 🙂

        Like

        • We can also spread ourselves too thinly. You have plenty of areas of expertise.

          Liked by 1 person

          • LOL…thank you Roughseas for that compliment. 😉 However, just those few areas will not afford me a relaxed Utopia to spend my life or to help protect it for us “Unconventionals.” There are always threats in this world — obvious and clandestine — to stay in or brainwash on the chains of binary traditions, like Prosperity and Dominion Theology. 😈

            Like

          • Perhaps we should all just rely on challenging the status quo?

            Liked by 1 person

          • A very good question Roughseas. 🙂

            My only reply to that would be echoing Einstein and Socrates respectively:

            “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

            And Socrates often warned against living an unexamined life.

            I would add my own two measley cents… There are many many groups in the world, some very large, who either sit on the right of a mythical Supreme Judgement thrown… or claim to have that mythical “Supreme Judge’s” exact holy words in their midst or hands (therefore making themselves a Proxy-judge), and with death-defying conviction see no need to challenge “the status quo”, merely to defend it, and defend it blindly. THEY I will always challenge! 😈

            I am perfectly FINE living an existence with pluralism not monism, lots of diversity, and some moral/ethical relativism. I’m okay with my limitations and my small number of areas of expertise. I’m EXTREMELY happy amongst team players! 😉

            Like

      • Apologies. Forgot to include this at the end of my last reply…

        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Socialist.
        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.
        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
        —- Martin Niemöller

        Niemöller poignantly points out why being silent and passive doesn’t always work. ❤

        Like

  2. Personally I cannot, nor would I wish to, speak for the feminists. They have a loud enough voice of their own and I’m not even sure I am a feminist. I feel I can speak for the Trans Women, however, as I am one of them.
    It’s not for me to try to tell someone else how they should think or what their opinion should be, we are all individuals and have a right to our own views on things. All we can ever ask for is an understanding that we may hold a different view of things than others do and hope that right may be respected.
    Did we know what it was like growing up as a girl, a young woman? No. But we sure as heck wish we had, and I mean that in every way.
    I, myself, have a long history of stress related issues which I now see had their root cause in my dysphoria. That cost the NHS a lot of time and money over the years and served no useful long term purpose whatsoever. Continuing along that road would have incurred the NHS spending more and more money with no guarantee of ever resolving the issue.
    Now that I have been able to acknowledge my own truth (something that happened well away from any NHS influence) within the space of two appointments with a psychiatrist I have my diagnosis, a plan for effective medication by way of hormone therapy and other treatments, possibly at the end of the day leading to affirmation surgery.
    The most important consideration here is that I now feel happy about myself. Any stress I feel is due to my personal circumstances and I recognise that those are for me to change, which I can do over time.
    On top of that I can’t see myself becoming another statistic to add to the disproportionately high number of Trans people who take their own lives out of sheer desperation, and the “unknown” number who do so without ever revealing the true cause of their angst.
    It is a very complicated issue, and although one may feel that the Page 3 girl was an extreme example at the end of the day isn’t that what the NHS is all about, saving lives?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Firstly, thank your for your comment. Appreciated.
      Given that you refer to feminists as they, I would say you probably aren’t either. But, as you don’t speak for feminists, that’s exactly why I don’t speak for trans women. Those of us who aren’t trans, or at least most of us, can not get it in our head. Which is why my point was about, we shouldn’t write about things we don’t understand or experience. I wasn’t writing pro or con trans, rather that it was an example of something I know nothing about. Just as men write about feminism.
      Would you have liked growing up as a girl? Seriously? Your first periods with an embarrassingly sexist father? Getting a tampon stuck and your mother coming to take it out for you? Being derided when you didn’t have a boyfriend? Being called flat-chested or a boy because your breasts were small/insignificant? How about being called a dog because you don’t conform to patriarchal norms as a beautiful curvy pretty woman?
      Thanks for telling us something about your dysphoria. To so many of us, it is incomprehensible.
      Too, too many people take their own lives. As well as trans people, look at the numbers of homosexuals who feel victimised. It’s a sad society that we judge people on gender.
      The page three woman was not an extreme example. My point was that to have surgery for low self-esteem isn’t always the answer. Just as IVF isn’t always the answer. When these options weren’t available, what did people do?
      Regardless, if you haven’t already found her blog, you may be interested to read Clare Flourish. I think that’s the name of her blog. If you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll add a link.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t understand why she is transphobic, but I do understand the concept of trans women not being the same as biological women. I’ve read enough arguments on both sides and I’m still scratching my head.

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      • Hariod Brawn says:

        You’re scratching your head whilst saying gender dysphoria should be an inadmissible condition as regards state-provided health services? o_O

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        • No. I’m saying there is a shortage of funding and asking where it sits on the priority list. And actually I’m saying people shouldn’t talk about what they don’t know about and I used it as an example of something I don’t know enough about aaaagh!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            Sorry Kate, but I think you’re backpedalling on this:

            “I do care that a shedload of money is spent on trans ops and drugs . . . my personal view is that, given that resources are finite, I do not see remoulding bodies or creating babies in vitro as a priority.”

            That’s tantamount to saying gender dysphoria is an inadmissible condition; one can hardly conclude otherwise.

            I think Disperser and The Prof have covered the further point about whether we should, or should not, talk about what we do not know about. Am I to take it that from here on you’ll not be making any written observations on men generally, ever? You do understand that when you talk about men and “their smug little selves”, some might (mis)interpret that same phraseology and its subtext (the tired “little” jibe) as misandry? I know you will say you were referring to a sub-group of men, and that reading between lines is dangerous, but you’re making it too easy.

            I hope I am being ‘relatively polite’ here Kate – your comments guidance – but I think you’ve got this one wrong, and if you insist you haven’t, then perhaps you might flesh the matter out more in a further post so as to avoid ambiguity?

            Peace,

            Hariod.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I love ‘sorry but’ comments. I’m not denying gender dysphoria exists. My post isn’t even about that. But, as people wish to discuss it … but my post is about, I know little/nothing about it. Infertility exists. A desire for larger breasts exists. All these are given NHS surgery on mental health grounds. Is that clear? It may well drive someone crazy that they can’t have kids, they don’t have large breasts and they want a woman’s body. Would you deny someone an expensive Alzheimer drug in preference for body surgery? Because that is the bottom line that people do not face.

            Now, allying with Prof and Disp is an interesting one Hariod. Both very egocentric men. Obviously you dismissed Kev’s point?

            No. What I don’t or won’t do is talk about something from a man’s perspective or their experiences. But as men don’t suffer discrimination it’s hardly an issue is it? But men, do like to tell us all about feminism. That, is my point. I can not experience trans. Men can not experience discrimination against women, and for more than fifty years it is extremely wearing.

            I’m sorry if I have been unclear about this Hariod, and no, I have no interest in a further post to flesh it out.

            You want to call me misandrist? Fine. But when you read men backslapping about their oh so feminist selves it might hit home. Depending on your sex/gender of course.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            I made no assertion that you disputed the existence of gender dysphoria – so drop the Straw Man crap Kate. Still, you do it again: “Would you deny someone an expensive Alzheimer drug in preference for body surgery” – that was never an argument I made, but I’ll answer it anyway:

            I believe the NHS (or state-provided health services generally) should not be picking and choosing which conditions are treated based on specious philosophical arguments of the laity, such as your own, but solely on proven clinical need. I also believe they should be funded so as to be able to do this, not ever perfectly so perhaps, but fairly and non-discriminatorily at least. As regards “the bottom line that people do not face”, then I have had a great deal of experience in battling for NHS funding, and understand well that the way the system works here in England is very much about who shouts loudest, not who is most deserving. If the majority of the citizenry want effective health provision from the state, then the state must allocate the resources accordingly, not bleat about ‘bottom lines’ whilst pumping billions into private banks, nuclear weaponry renewal and other vanity projects. And if their departmental budgets are in a mess, then they shouldn’t blame the diseased citizen or those trying to protect them.

            I’m not ‘allying’ with anyone Kate, merely pointing out that The Prof and Disperser had already adequately demonstrated that your assertion was nonsensical, and there’s no point in boiling the cabbage twice. I’m sure they’ll appreciate being adjudged by you to be ‘very egocentric men’ though. It seems to me that The Prof has been quite open about his contrarian ways, and how he’s been changing them; he said: “Sometimes, in my imperfect language and voice, my questions don’t come across as ‘genuinely curious’ but as arrogant and antagonistic. I’m learning every year how to better articulate my questioning, experiential, and resulting evidence (first-hand & otherwise) as less threatening and more inspective on subjects I am a Novice or Ignoramus about”. He may be ironising a tad, but those appear not to be the words of a ‘very egocentric’ man.

            “Men don’t suffer discrimination” – some places they do. 🙄 And then there’s racism and homophobia; or do only women suffer from them? And I thought Feminism was about gender equality Kate, yet you’re saying the subject’s out of bounds for men. Maybe you have an acronym for that which includes an ‘H’ for Hypocrisy?

            Anyway, it’s all good fun, and I enjoy your valiant efforts here – you’d make a great sea captain of a sinking ship on a rough sea. 😮

            Liked by 1 person

          • I made no assertion that you disputed the existence of gender dysphoria – so drop the Straw Man crap Kate.

            No?

            That’s tantamount to saying gender dysphoria is an inadmissible condition; one can hardly conclude otherwise.

            Still, you do it again: “Would you deny someone an expensive Alzheimer drug in preference for body surgery” – that was never an argument I made, but I’ll answer it anyway:

            I believe the NHS (or state-provided health services generally) should not be picking and choosing which conditions are treated based on specious philosophical arguments of the laity, such as your own, but solely on proven clinical need.

            Laity? Managing cancer services for half a million people and a regional centre of three million? And I provide specious philosophical arguments? Do you really think I don’t have clinical knowledge?

            What you believe however isn’t how life works.

            I also believe they should be funded so as to be able to do this, not ever perfectly so perhaps, but fairly and non-discriminatorily at least. As regards “the bottom line that people do not face”, then I have had a great deal of experience in battling for NHS funding, and understand well that the way the system works here in England is very much about who shouts loudest, not who is most deserving. If the majority of the citizenry want effective health provision from the state, then the state must allocate the resources accordingly, not bleat about ‘bottom lines’ whilst pumping billions into private banks, nuclear weaponry renewal and other vanity projects. And if their departmental budgets are in a mess, then they shouldn’t blame the diseased citizen or those trying to protect them.

            And I agree for the most part with that. But truth is, what you say is, la la land.

            I’m not ‘allying’ with anyone Kate, merely pointing out that The Prof and Disperser had already adequately demonstrated that your assertion was nonsensical, and there’s no point in boiling the cabbage twice. I’m sure they’ll appreciate being adjudged by you to be ‘very egocentric men’ though. It seems to me that The Prof has been quite open about his contrarian ways, and how he’s been changing them; he said: “Sometimes, in my imperfect language and voice, my questions don’t come across as ‘genuinely curious’ but as arrogant and antagonistic. I’m learning every year how to better articulate my questioning, experiential, and resulting evidence (first-hand & otherwise) as less threatening and more inspective on subjects I am a Novice or Ignoramus about”. He may be ironising a tad, but those appear not to be the words of a ‘very egocentric’ man.

            One to leave alone. How I relate to both is up to me and them. We agree to disagree. Not. Your. Business.

            “Men don’t suffer discrimination” – some places they do. 🙄 And then there’s racism and homophobia; or do only women suffer from them? And I thought Feminism was about gender equality Kate, yet you’re saying the subject’s out of bounds for men. Maybe you have an acronym for that which includes an ‘H’ for Hypocrisy?

            Men don’t suffer discrimination. What crap have you been reading? I do not give a shit about so-called male discrimination when women have been fucked over for centuries and continue to be so. What part of that is not clear?

            Anyway, it’s all good fun, and I enjoy your valiant efforts here – you’d make a great sea captain of a sinking ship on a rough sea. 😮

            Thanks. What makes you think my ship would sink though? And please, don’t be so insulting in future.

            Like

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            You have misunderstood – “an inadmissible condition” meant that you felt it inadmissible for treatment, not that you thought that it did not exist as a condition.

            So you were a manager, a civil servant, a mouthpiece by the sounds of it. You weren’t qualified to ascertain what were, and were not, clinical conditions Kate.

            “What you say is la-la land” – it is whilst the neoliberalists have got everyone convinced there is no other way, that actually the NHS is a broken concept as is.

            “Not. Your. Business.”you introduced The Prof and Disperser to our exchange here Kate, not me. Hells bells.

            “I do not give a shit about so-called male discrimination.” – that much is perfectly clear.

            “. . . don’t be so insulting in future.” – I thought you had broad shoulders? And was it me that called two other commenters here ‘very egocentric men’?

            Kate, we could go on forever like this, but I must let the lady come last – go for it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You have misunderstood – “an inadmissible condition” meant that you felt it inadmissible for treatment, not that you thought that it did not exist as a condition.

            No, not inadmissible for treatment, I was questioning where body surgery should come on the priority list in terms of rationing.

            So you were a manager, a civil servant, a mouthpiece by the sounds of it. You weren’t qualified to ascertain what were, and were not, clinical conditions Kate.

            A manager? Yes. A civil servant? Yes, but not in the NHS or I wouldn’t have been working in the NHS, that would have been the Department of Health which is different to the NHS. A mouthpiece? When working in PR, very definitely, but working in the public sector, to some extent, everyone in a position of responsibility is a mouthpiece. However there is a difference between being a government mouthpiece and an organisational mouthpiece. I know, I’ve done both.

            Where did I say I was qualified to diagnose? ie ascertain clinical conditions? I said I had clinical knowledge. Not the same. It would be rather difficult to manage cancer services and screening services without learning a little about dyskaryosis, false positives and negatives, staging, chemo, radiotherapy, lymphodoema etc. Or, in the words of a former good colleague, a gynaeoncologist, at my first meeting chairing the Cervical Screening Quality Assurance Group, ‘I am right Kate, you aren’t a clinician are you?’ ‘No Ian I’m not. I don’t need to be. There’s more than enough clinical expertise around this table as it is. It’s my job to bring that together and improve the service.’ And that is exactly what I did. Here it is in more detail: https://cloudsmovingin.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/health-issues-more-smears/

            But, rationing decisions don’t get taken by clinicians. Why do you think the two week waiting time for breast cancer appointments was introduced? Because of politicians. Clinicians didn’t give two hoots that women were going through anguish worrying about whether or not they had breast cancer because technically weeks didn’t matter. I have sat in on debates about amniocentesis when clinicians couldn’t agree and ended up fudging the issue. There are some simple facts regarding the health service. It is political. Rationing is inevitable. Clinicians are not managers (for the most part) and it costs less to pay a good manager than it does a clinician, and actually clinicians don’t want the responsibility of taking political decisions. The public abuse the service. The public also don’t want to take rationing decisions.

            “What you say is la-la land” – it is whilst the neoliberalists have got everyone convinced there is no other way, that actually the NHS is a broken concept as is.

            The NHS, in my working life, both on the outside, inside and as a patient, has always been the same. Hopefully it will struggle on with another Elastoplast. I admire it very much, and according to stats, the quality of service has improved hugely over the years, well on a VFM scale. I utterly loathe any type of privatisation in the NHS whether it is contracting out cleaning or new buildings to be paid for on the never-never.

            I worked with some fabulous people. I mentioned my CSQAG above. Everyone on that group contributed over and above their day job. We met at lunchtimes because it was the only convenient time, so no lunch break for anyone, and they had to travel. Whenever we agreed on something, someone would always volunteer to do extra work, writing for our newsletter, speaking at evening talks (no extra pay involved for anyone), piloting new initiatives. When I took over the group it was meeting quarterly, then they decided they wanted to meet more often! And each time we met, something had been done.

            The NHS is the proverbial political football.

            “Not. Your. Business.” – youintroduced The Prof and Disperser to our exchange here Kate, not me. Hells bells.

            Did I?

            I think Disperser and The Prof have covered the further point

            I think not. Those were your words. Hells bells indeed.

            “. . . don’t be so insulting in future.” – I thought you had broad shoulders? And was it me that called two other commenters here ‘very egocentric men’?

            On what grounds do you question my managerial competency? Because telling me I would be a great captain of a sinking ship comes pretty close to that.

            On the other hand, why is egocentric an insult? Both men write about their personalities on their blogs. I hope I have a sufficiently reasonable Internet relationship with them to be able to disagree with their views, and based on what little I know of them, form an opinion of those men. But … whatever … I doubt either of them will lose sleep over my comments.

            Kate, we could go on forever like this, but I must let the lady come last – go for it.

            Thanks. The lady likes to come last. I appreciate your generosity.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            Just popping back to put my hand up and apologise for the error. You are correct, I did indeed introduce The Prof and Disperser to the exchange, though only in the passing reference you quote, not materially, as you did. It’s as well to admit when we’re wrong, so I am, and apologise to you Kate.

            Like

          • Thank you, but tbh it’s no issue. Internet debates are what they are, and it’s easy to miss something, misread, and mostly misunderstand. No worries. I appreciate people taking the time to read, comment, debate, agree, disagree. And if I didn’t expect disagreement I wouldn’t write about feminism, vegetarianism, religion occasionally, abortion, and, whatever else. Anyways, nice gesture, appreciated.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. disperser says:

    Interesting. In my myopic understanding of what you are saying it seems I can never question or support the opinion and demands of anyone because I am not them and I have not shared their experiences. One, in fact, can hardly attach oneself to a particular group because individuals have different interactions within their sphere of experiences, as well as different reactions and thoughts about them. To join a cause or group is to diminish/enhance the experiences one has and to no longer interpret them through their own point of view, but rather through that of a filter not of their own making.

    That in itself seems counter to the argument made.

    . . . I wonder, though, who will support my point of view, desires, concerns? Or is it just a matter of who screams the loudest?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Would you seriously expect me to rant on about the cause of expat Italians in America?

      Like

      • disperser says:

        I’m writing this on my phone so please excuse any stupid errors (no need to excuse what I say).

        Can that question be characterized as a false equivalence? My point is that I don’t have to experience the exact type of discrimination, oppression, injustice, abuse and whatnot for me to understand, sympathize with, and speak in behalf of whatever cause or group is suffering under those conditions.

        One of the annoying things with many people is their claim of superior (as more intense) emotions or emotional response with regard to obstacles and abuses they face or faced in their life.

        The “you can’t possessing understand how I feel” response by nearly everyone claiming this or that type of victimhood is one of my least favorite.

        I think the problem is that people believe that a unique circumstances gives them a unique state of mind.

        No, I cannot speak to the experiences of anyone else. I can, however, speak to the emotional response, be it anguish, fear, frustration, despair, the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and pretty much any human emotion one can mention.

        It seems that you are making your argument based on the experience itself as havingva self-contained feeling. Almost bordering on saying your experiences cause a totally different and unique to yourself emotional response experienced by no other human in no other circumstance.

        I call bullshit on that argument for if it were true, there would not be any such thing as empathy and compassion.

        So, no. I can’t speak to details in one’s life that are unique to those of another person. I think I can, however, speak to the resulting emotional and physical distress that person experiences.

        If not, then I would not give a shout about any issues but my own.

        But, I’m willing to do this: tell me I can’t know and understand the struggles women face, and I will stop caring about abortion, discrimination in the workplace, decision harassment, and any of the many obstacles women ”claim” are part of their life. No, no, I don’t want to hear about your experiences; those are yours. For that matter, there are women who say they have never had those experiences or that it’s not a big deal.

        But, let me tell you about my problems . . . even as a young human being, my intelligence, wisdom, and all the other attributes that made, and make, me an amazing and singularly special human being were both underappreciated and the cause of isolation from the lesser brings that surrounded me. But, you wouldn’t understand. No one does unless they are me. Alas, it is my burden to carry.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ironic that Mr I Don’t Care About Anyone Else even considers empathy.
          But to return to Italian expats, when I read Port of No Return, yes I felt sympathy for the Italians in Croatia in WW2, but not mine to write about their struggle. All I can do, is say what a shit life.
          In all seriousness I have not read a post by a man that has ever truly encapsulated feminism. Just what they think it is. With their beautifully superior take in it. And no. You will never understand it. And as you say, neither will most women. Eso va la vida.

          Liked by 1 person

        • disperser says:

          There is a difference between speaking as if it was a personal experience and speaking based on the understanding of how others feel because of those experiences. I’m critical of anyone who maintains I can never understand their plight, never understand how they feel, because I have not walked in their shoes. That’s a judgment they can’t make.

          There is also a difference between not caring what others think and not caring about others, period. The first is true, the second depends on who and what I’m being asked to care about.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, I disagree on the first, but I stand corrected on the second.

            Like

          • disperser says:

            Interesting . . . so, let me try to understand how this works; when you posted about your ankle, you only really accepted sympathy from people who had at one time or another also broken their ankle, dismissing all the others as offering false or misguided sympathy and no useful suggestions because they could not possibly know what you are going through?

            Or is it a matter of degree? For instance, if someone broke a femur they are entitled to claim understanding and offer suggestions (while acknowledging an ankle fracture is much worse – which, seriously, it is), but if they broke their ulna it’s no comparison and hence are not entitled to claim understanding?

            What if someone was born with a physical defect, so they had time to adjust to it and manage to do more? Is their input dismissed out of hand since to them it’s “normal”?

            Or is it the case where people are really not so much interested in anything other than complaining about something? Not in offers of support or help, not in suggestions, nor anything even attempting to offer a solution or a way to cope or overcome. I mean, I’ve seen that in my circles. People struggling with something and I try helping only to hear “no, no, you just don’t understand. This is a situation unique to me and there is nothing that can be done. I am destined to forever suffer” followed by “do you want to hear about it again only this time without offering suggestions because you can’t possibly have anything of value to contribute?”

            But, perhaps I overstep my bounds. I am, after all, fairly privileged and supposedly not really entitled to any opinion on the struggles of others because of my obvious lack of understanding.

            Wait! I could talk about my struggles with becoming a world-famous writer. Why, despite brilliant prose (the best I’ve ever read) I am destined to languish in anonymity because the whole market responds not to talent, but rather works based on who you know and how well you can suck up to people. And don’t get me started on the age thing. Woe is me because there is nothing I can do about that. I am destined to die without my works adding their immeasurable value to the human experience and eventually taking their rightful place next to the literary masterpieces dotting human history. Why, if I drank, I would drown my troubles in a bottle.

            . . . want to hear why I don’t drink? But, you know, without suggesting I should start.

            Like

          • I posted about the ankle because I’d been offline for a while, and it was something to write about. Whatever people wanted to say was their choice, sympathy, empathy or otherwise. And although it’s not the first time I’ve had a sprain or a fracture or an op on my ankle, it was certainly the worst experience. There are also a lot of factors, that make every ankle fracture different, so I wouldn’t dream of commenting or suggesting what someone should do. I think it’s very difficult without knowing the whole picture, we latch onto a few aspects and come to a swift conclusion.

            And yes people do complain. Some enjoy doing so. Or maybe they aren’t complaining per se, just stating a POV. If I criticise the current government’s policies, is that a complaint? What do I do? Vote for the other party at the next election? Even though I don’t agree with their policies either? Do I vote on ideological grounds, or ones that personally affect me? How do I determine least worst party reading through all the blag and false promises? Or do I take the road of apathy and not vote?

            As for writing, Mary Wesley started at 73 (approx), she was a British writer so you may not have heard of her, so that gives you at least ten years to become famous and share your brilliant prose with the world. Always assuming you remember to edit out superfluous words 😉

            I think we can leave drinking for another post.

            Like

          • disperser says:

            I have no hope of ever becoming a beloved and world-famous writer. How do I know?

            Well, even when I think believe I am are very extra clear with my writing prose, I often get the feeling people miss the gist intent of what I attempted tried to say convey. How’s that for superfluously extra words?

            For instance, I was not questioning the ankle post per se. Just wondering if the gist of this post applied in evaluating the usefulness/sincerity of the comments that were offered in response to that post.

            Same for the complaint stuff . . . obviously, at least to me, not all examples are equal. If I complain about getting older, there’s not much anyone could say or suggest that would matter in the least. However, there are many instances where people complain about something fully within their power to change and they resist the very changes (suggestions) that would help them because they refuse to believe anyone can possibly understand what they are going through. For Instance, if I complain I’m not eating enough Nutella, the “fix” seems pretty clear, but not if I claim it isn’t.

            Anyway, I have ten years to become belovedly famous only if I stop these lengthy responses and concentrate on writing stuff people will appreciate. Well, hope they will appreciate. OK, OK, I don’t mind of they hate it as long as they buy the books. Lots and lots of books.

            Like

          • I was primarily talking about people who write blog posts, rather than comments, but comments are relevant too I suppose. Just as comments/suggestions are IRL. As for complaining about getting older, depends really what you are complaining about. The usual retort, is better to get older than not, but that’s not always true.
            Actually you should probably concentrate on the publicity aspect if you want people to buy lots and lots of books. Somewhat like your previous comment saying the market doesn’t necessarily reflect talent, eg J K Rowling. So all you need to do is know the right people and suck up to them. Should be a cinch for you 🙂

            Like

          • disperser says:

            That’s it! You’ve crossed over the line!

            . . . calling into question the quality of my blog posts! Why, the nerve of some people!

            Like little jewels, my blog posts are, crafted with care and loving attention to detail. Sure, they mirror the peculiarities of my sentence construction and word usage, but that’s part of their charm. Besides, the narrative and writing complement the exquisite photos. Little jewels, I tell you! Well, OK . . . long little jewels.

            As for sucking up, how am I doing in this series of comments? Endearing myself yet to the only professional editor I know?

            Like

          • Never questioned the quality of your posts. Did I? You’d have to write a hell of a lot to equal the number of photos you sometimes posts. Also jewels too, of course. Many of them. I don’t think you learned sucking up on writing course did you? Must have been hard enough learning to say ‘thank you fir that adorable comment’ or whatever it was. Of course you are endearing, in a sticky chocolatey Nutella type of way.

            Like

  4. john zande says:

    You think…. about making the perfect sandwich 😉

    (Veles made me do it)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hariod Brawn says:

      . . . and doing the ironing. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • violetwisp says:

      John, I’ve seen you make this joke too many times now. The saddest part is the pathetic slaps on the back you get from other male bloggers every time. I don’t know why even the men who clearly know better are embarrassed to support women in the ongoing struggle against sexism and prefer to find refuge in childish comments. Says a lot about how far we have to go …

      Liked by 2 people

      • john zande says:

        Double standard here, Violet. We both parody religion with jokes, so why not sexism, too? This is Poe’s Law in practice. It’s a powerful tool.

        Like

        • violetwisp says:

          Nice try, but nonsense comparison. What unfairly treated group of people are you reinforcing continuing stereotypes for when you call religious deities Cloud Fairies? Nada q ver.

          By the way, on page 8. It’s real exercise for the brain and I’m hoping to find a theologian to pass it to when I can finish processing all those words. So many words.

          Like

          • john zande says:

            Page 8!?! If I’d known you read that slowly I wouldn’t have written it so fast 😉

            Words, words, words. Glorious words. A monsoon of adjectives!! I’m emulating William Paley and Co. … The 19th Century natural theologians. You have to read some of their works… It’s magnificent flowery nonsense.

            TOOAIN is Poe’s Laws in action. Sandwich jokes are Poe’s Law in action.

            Like

  5. Kev says:

    I agree with not writing about things one doesn’t know, or cannot possibly really know about. That’s exactly why I avoid such issues. it’s not because I’m afraid of losing an argument, but because I’m acutely aware when a subject is out of my depth and have no issues with both accepting and admitting that. Like the things mentioned in this article for example… trans this/trans that? Terf/Feta? Completely lost… not a clue… and unless it’s going to have a profound effect on life as we/I know it…

    I do think that trans ops, breast enhancements, other cosmetic surgeries etc, should be personal decisions… don’t see anything wrong with them as long as the tax payer isn’t footing the bill… that’s where I draw the line. Because, as you mentioned, they are not life-threatening illnesses or conditions. It all comes down to lifestyle, nothing more.

    Mental health problems which occur as a result of a person’s perspective of themselves cannot be cured by cosmetic surgery, they require specialist treatment and counselling. In fact it’s been proven by some researchers that mental health problems may even worsen as a result of cosmetic surgery: http://sciencenordic.com/mental-health-problems-worsen-cosmetic-surgery

    However, cosmetic surgery performed in cases as a result of trauma such as fires, bomb blasts etc… shouldn’t even be questioned, and I’ll gladly pay taxes to support that. That’s my personal take and folk are entitled to their own, but trying to change mine… not happening.

    Back to going on about things we don’t really know about, I will gladly jump in for someone’s defence if I feel they have a very valid perspective and are consequently being torn to shreds by some insufferable know-it-all on the opposite side of the spectrum who seems only capable of spouting common opinions which show no real depth or sign of intellectual debate on the subject matter. Ok, I’m done. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think there’s a Yorkshire logic in there which I can’t disagree with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kev says:

        Probably! Thanks for the compliment. 😀

        Like

        • The link was interesting. I’ve met people who’ve had cosmetic surgery and they weren’t particularly stunning. One had breast enhancement and eyebag surgery. Her eyes looked screwed up and well, breasts are breasts. Mine have expanded in middle age, so I’m hellish glad I never considered it.

          We had a lot, and I mean A LOT of debates in my health authority about rationing. It’s a very complex issue and the bottom line is, there is not enough money to go around. We had a public debate about it, and we had four topics, cancer, elderly services, mental health and cardio. My topic was cancer, but I didn’t speak, I got the director of our cancer services to speak and a patient. We ‘won’ the debate. It shouldn’t be about PR, but in many cases it is. Each service was equally deserving. We were trying to show the public how difficult it is to ration health care. It doesn’t work though. *shrug*

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kev says:

            The problem is they try to umbrella too much in the NHS instead of allowing specialist services to do what they do best. It’s ok for general care and easier to budget for, but once you get to specialist services it’s difficult to decide who should get the bigger budget. Elderly services, and Mental health are far too broad to be run alongside specialist areas like Cancer and Cardio. and in no way related. cancer, is a biggie, but so is cardio… both kill young and old. They are diseases which are indifferent to the age and the mental health of a person.

            Like

          • And yet, all four affect most people. Given that cancer and cardio problems cause most deaths and hopefully we all get old, and shedloads of us are loopy. It was an academic debate in a way. The money allocated was insignificant as the main funding was non-negotiable.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kev says:

            They do. However unfortunately they take the young as well so we don’t all get old. Loopy? Definitely! I turned loopy long ago. 😀

            Like

          • I’ve long subscribed to the belief that everyone is loopy in their own way. Just some are more loopily unconventional than others. Still all loopy though 😃

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kev says:

            Agreed! 😀

            Liked by 1 person

    • You will gladly jump in for someone’s defence if you feel they have a valid perspective and the opponent only spouts common opinions-

      such as that the NHS should not pay for trans ops, perhaps?

      Do you think the psychiatrists would agree to someone’s gonads being removed, if they did not think it was of benefit? They, and we, know more about this than you do.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tish has stated many of the points I was going to write on here.

    There is no comparison to be had of any use between that of a couple who have fertility issues and a person who was born with the genitals of one gender, whilst being the opposite one in their brain, their actual consciousness. Who they are. The couple can adopt, there are thousands of children who need a home and love and I consider it selfish to rule that option out. There is no option to go somewhere and have an alternative body picked from a job lot of them. These people often live a hellish existence and I’ve read of many who have killed themselves or attempted to, or have thought about it again and again because of the pain they are in. Of course they should get the help needed on the NHS, not doing so will ultimately cost the NHS more like Tish says. Good grief.

    On the link there is an option for people who think the mind should change to suit the body, rather than the other way round. This is inconceivably ignorant, and on a par with thinking that gay folks should change their mindset and become hetero in order to fit in.

    If you are a woman in your mind you are a woman. Not a man trying to infiltrate the ranks of feminism. No-one would put themselves through such misery for that goal, they aren’t doing it on a whim. To my mind excluding those born female within their minds goes against the point of being a bloody feminist in the first place. We’re all in it together…apart from you lot over there. Tsk.

    – sonmi.u.t.C

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hariod Brawn says:

      Mad props to the human who said that. I don’t give a shit what genitals you’ve got.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is a total comparison when one is considering allocating funds for NHS care. Because that’s reality. And, while you may consider that a couple *could* adopt when they have fertility issues, believe me, you haven’t met the ‘it’s my right to have a baby even if I can’t’ lobby. They are just as adamant that they should have fertility treatment on the NHS than people with gender dysphoria. More so actually, because it is so *natural* to have babies. And it really plays the emotional card.
      My point was that I don’t know enough about trans women in particular, so I don’t write about trans issues. Other people write about things of which they have no knowledge or experience. My funding point was that the NHS is not a bottomless pit. Every trans op and medication means less for other ops/drugs. Just like every fertility treatment, or every plastic surgery op. Each patient would tell you that op is essential for their mental health. Maybe it is. But so is herceptin or whatever. Would you shorten someone’s life in favour of a trans op? Because, that’s what it comes down to.
      I merely quoted the different points of view of radfems. Both points are valid. I remain confused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. We disagree there. It happens.

        – sonmi.u.t.C

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I’m not sure we disagree on the issue of infertility. I consider that a pretty expensive use of NHS resources (believe me it is expensive). I think that money would be better used elsewhere. If you think that everyone can have treatment on the NHS for whatever then you haven’t worked with NHS accountants. It just does not happen. While I might question where you would place trans ops on the list, my real point was that we shouldn’t talk about things we know little about.
          Interestingly, in my later years in the NHS, we started discussing ops for obesity. Another ethical/moral dilemma/issue. What does that take priority over? Is it the same as – self-inflicted – lung cancer through smoking? Or does that have other causes? Work related? Asbestosis? Chemicals?
          Someone has to take these decisions and it’s all very well saying everything on the NHS is a right, but who sets priorities? Would you?

          Liked by 1 person

          • It isn’t easy. And I know more about NHS funding than your average Joe as it turns out. Holding up two worthy cases and saying who gets the medical care has people fighting for whoever they believe is right, rather than the real issue, which is that the management, input and cuts to the funding has been (no pun intended) crippling to the care of all who need help. I do not think that everyone can have treatment on the NHS for whatever as I am not that dim a bulb.

            – sonmi.u.t.C

            Liked by 2 people

          • Ah. Are we going to disagree upon stormy clouds about overpaid managers next? Cuts are always political. Simple as that. And then they (the government) bung in a load of money at the financial year end that no one can seriously spend according to the books. And herding cats is a piece of cake compared with chairing a meeting of medics, ergo managers earn their money.

            The real issues are PFI, any other contracting out, and not employing quality staff with enough clout to get things done. When I was in Gib hospital last year, cleaners came round three times a day. Do you know how many complaints I received about filthy wards and toilets in the UK? Surpassed only by complaints about crap communications.

            Meanwhile I’m seeing a second friend die this year due to a lack of transplant availability.

            Liked by 1 person

          • No, we are not. There are no quick answers here as to the failings of the funding and management of the NHS, and I’m not going to get into the back and forth of it all for just that reason.

            How fast someone might die puts them higher in the books than those who might hobble along a little longer most would say. Unless the hobblers are your children say. I can’t see everyone agreeing about it, but the whole shitpile needn’t be just that. The government is stripping the NHS dry and saves money, by means that are costlier in the long run than the short run. This is all just basic stuff. My disagreement was about whether someone with a woman’s brain is born into a man’s body qualifies them as a female, or should they be kept out in the cold from all women’s rights. I answered that, and said why I think they deserve to get the treatment they need and that it will cost more to not give said treatment etc. I’m sorry for your friends, and I’m sorry for myself and the poor state of affairs at the hospital. Yes, it is shit.

            – sonmi.u.t.C

            Liked by 2 people

          • Actually depending on age might affect that. QUALYS may no longer be used officially but there is still age discrimination.
            The govt has always messed with the NHS. Ever since I was a junior reporter. Same stories over endless years. Nothing new.
            And I said I don’t know enough about trans issues/gender dysphoria hence I don’t write about it. Yet other people write about subjects when they know nothing. ”Twas not to discuss GD rather to point out the dangers of writing in our ignorance although seemingly I have dissenters.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Would that more had your wisdom, Roughseas.

    Like

    • Well clearly not 😦

      I am wrong for my views about feminism because you know I am a woman but men know better, I know nothing about health services because I’m not a doctor despite spending years in cancer services and screening services, and well really, I know nothing. Just a woman. Best wait for those nice men to splain 🙂

      Like

  8. Sonel says:

    I don’t think their voice is more meaningful than yours. Your opinion is just as important.

    You lost me at TERFs and all I know about FETA is the cheese I can never get enough of. 😀

    I also don’t care what sex or gender people are or what they look like. If people treat me with respect, I will do the same. If not, they must just leave me alone.

    What people do with their bodies is their problem and I don’t think I have a right to tell them what to do. It’s their life, their problem. As for trans women, I can’t say anything as I’ve never met anyone like that.

    Great advice to those men who think they know what women think or feel. They may think they’re right, but most of the times we prove them wrong. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think opinions are one thing and we are all entitled to them. Let me use an example. I don’t believe in any gods, I don’t think supernatural beings exist. John Z and Ark write (or wrote in Ark’s case) lots of posts actually looking at evidence about why the bible isn’t accurate, who wrote it, what the character Jesus might have actually been, what the archaeological evidence is/isn’t etc. My life is too short to do that much research and I’m not sufficiently interested in proving the flaws and contradictions in the bible, Christianity and all its varying sects. So I don’t write about that. My only interest in religion is when it sticks its nose into other people’s lives and tries to impose its – negative and discriminatory – views and values on others, eg, women, homosexuals and transsexuals.

      TERFs and FETAs lose me too. Which is why I don’t write about trans issues or trans issues and feminism.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. EllaDee says:

    I’m always amazed an the amount of debate you get when you’re right…
    On a slight different but [trust me] related note the jockey who rode the 100 to 1 Melbourne Cup winning horse beautifully reignited the women should know their place conversation, initially in Australia and now around the world with her post race observation…
    “It’s such a chauvinistic sport,” Payne said. “A lot of the owners wanted to kick me off. Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t good enough.”
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/michelle-paynes-melbourne-cup-win-shows-need-to-change-attitudes-to-womens-sport-20151103-gkq52p.html#ixzz3qxmiMRRD

    Like

    • There are no rights and wrongs though. This is merely an opinion piece. If I was doing a factual piece with a shed load of references that would be different.
      Good link to the SMH. Interestingly it mentioned my one gripe about horse-racing too: animal welfare. However back on topic, I just finished a Kathy Reichs book, of whom I am not enamoured, and it was about NASCAR racing and male bigotry against women drivers. And indeed, there was a ‘know their place’ comment in that book. Plus ça change.

      Like

  10. violetwisp says:

    Great post for starting up furious discussion. I read it when you first posted it and had a million objections in my head but no time to get them out, and thought that anyway I should come back when others had commented.

    I don’t understand your point of view at all. Feminism is about women having equal rights and equal treatment. Anyone is welcome to join in and be logical about life. But more than that, I don’t understand why people who feel they are more female than male within (irrespective of what’s under their clothes) and spend most or much of their lives presenting as female to the outside world, wouldn’t have a valid or welcome opinion on the matter. Could you point me to some writing by a trans person that you object to?

    It’s hyper labelling people (you aren’t part of my gang because of x,y or z) and excluding them in an unnecessary and hurtful way. I’m sure there are lots of trans women who have a deeper understanding of being a women than I could ever have, and who innately experience more of generic womanhood than my body will ever generate. Life isn’t boxes, it’s a complex flow of characteristics and experiences.

    (Violet congratulates herself for not losing the rag and being pleasant. 🙂 )

    Like

    • Sometimes it’s easier to organise thoughts after reading a post. Or maybe decide not to comment after all.

      Feminism is about a lot of things depending on your perspective of feminism. Equal rights and equal treatment? If you define it as narrowly as that then that subscribes to the view that there is no further need to have feminism in countries where there is equal access to education and health care, including contraception and abortion, the right to vote (and stand for election), and equal pay and sex discrimination legislation, because women can complain if they are not being treated equally. I oversimplify, but I’m sure you’ve heard that argument as many times as I have. Sure in many western countries women have those rights in theory, but the socio-economic situations of many communities mean they don’t have them in practice. Let alone countries where they are deprived of all those rights.

      That may be your POV, but it isn’t the view of all feminists. Simple as that. I’ve been on feminist forums where men were told to shut up and stop giving women the benefit of their patriarchal wisdom, and another forum where neither men nor trans women were allowed to join. Some women had been abused, raped, and wanted a safe place without men. And naturally there were endless debates about it. There were also many discussions about how it would be in everyone’s best interest if we got rid of the gender binary. And that’s really the issue, how much of gender is a social patriarchal construct? What does ‘being a woman’ involve? Should we have to think about it? Maybe trans women have to think far more about it because of the difference between gender and their (born) biological sex, but why should or do women aspire to be womanly or feminine? There is no reason. If you read some definitions about possible indications for gender dysphoria it includes as children, wanting to play with the opposite sex, using toys of the opposite sex and dressing like them. If that isn’t early patriarchal indoctrination to split boys and girls between blue and pink, Action Man and Sindy, climbing trees and dressing up, Meccano and doll’s houses, I don’t know what is.

      And while you might be criticising TERFs which some of these radfems were, then I guess equally, you would criticise FETAs for being exclusionary.

      (Roughseas congratulates herself on making Violet immediately writing a blog post after announcing an indefinite break 🙂 – I’ve done that many a time!)

      Like

      • violetwisp says:

        “Equal rights and equal treatment? If you define it as narrowly as that then that subscribes to the view that there is no further need to have feminism in countries where there is equal access to education and health care”
        That’s completely illogical to me. Who ever suggested equal access to two specific areas brings equal treatment in general? As long as women continue to be paid less than men, treated less preferentially than men, and are generally under represented, there is cause to shout about it and push for change.

        “Some women had been abused, raped, and wanted a safe place without men.”
        I understand. But that doesn’t define feminism in general.

        “And that’s really the issue, how much of gender is a social patriarchal construct? What does ‘being a woman’ involve? Should we have to think about it?”
        It’s the naturally evolved understanding of the most common traits of two broad groups of people. Of course it’s influenced by the unfair imbalance of power we currently experience and it’s cemented. But being aware it’s not cut and dried rules, isn’t the same as denying it broadly describes many of the traits of the average woman or man, in line with our labels ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’, which is usually heavily influenced by the chemicals ruled by our physical make-up.

        “you would criticise FETAs for being exclusionary”
        Is that really a movement? Or is it a tiny group of people making a point about pettiness?

        “Roughseas congratulates herself on making Violet immediately writing a blog post after announcing an indefinite break”
        Yeah, who’d have thought? You’re the person I have most in common with on general points, yet even the fundies couldn’t temp me out!

        Like

        • Violet, do you enjoy cutting off sentences and quoting out of context? It was a total sentence that included abortion, contraception, right to vote and legislation promoting so-called equality. That is disingenuous in the extreme to ignore the rest of the sentence. And, as I’m sure you’ll realise, equal access to education and health care is fundamental to women even getting halfway near equality; a little learning and bodily autonomy goes a long way.

          Prove it. Prove women are earning less than men on an individual basis. Prove they aren’t receiving equal treatment. Take the discrimination case. My point is that with legislation in place for so-called equality, many people are saying there IS equality.

          There is no ‘feminism in general’. It’s gone well past the right to vote, to work, even to allegedly get equal pay. But it’s important to look at all aspects. And women who have been abused, assaulted, raped by men, don’t exactly feel safe around men.

          “Naturally evolved understanding” … of what Violet? Of what has been passed down through bibliarchal drivel? I’m not biting. Not even worth it.

          Ah. So you wouldn’t criticise FETAs. Merely TERFs for being exclusionary. Petty TERFs for not wanting trans women to dictate femininity, what is a woman, but OK for FETAs to criticise rad fems?

          Perhaps you should write a post about what you actually think about certain topics at some point Violet instead of taking your inspiration from others? I mean you can write without just lurking and carping selectively can’t you? Or maybe you don’t want to.

          Whatever. Maybe it was a change for you that you needed 🙂 pleased to have helped.

          Like

          • violetwisp says:

            “Violet, do you enjoy cutting off sentences and quoting out of context?”
            That wasn’t my intention, I simply directed to the part I was replying to, without filling the comment with a quote. You know what your wrote, you know the context, and I was replying to the whole, obviously.

            We don’t have equality because men in power choose men to do jobs, because they are men and understand that men do jobs better. We don’t have political representation (this should be mandatory equality), we’re not even fairly represented in easy arenas, like broadcasting. Panels on any given show have invariable majority men to talk about the humans and important stuff, and one token women for a show of equality and to give the ‘woman’s angle’. There’s fury to be roused every way we look. Change takes time, I get it.

            ““Naturally evolved understanding” … of what Violet? Of what has been passed down through bibliarchal drivel?”
            It’s not just about Christianity. It’s almost every society. It’s how humans have evolved. We know better and we makes moves to change.

            “OK for FETAs to criticise rad fems?”
            I never said that. I questioned if it’s actually a movement.

            “Perhaps you should write a post about what you actually think about certain topics at some point Violet instead of taking your inspiration from others? I mean you can write without just lurking and carping selectively can’t you?”
            I doubt it. I certainly haven’t been inspired to write in the absence of reading something I disagree with. I’m not a writer in any shape or form outside of this.

            Are you not going to pop over and comment on my post? 🙂 Feedback would be interesting.

            Like

          • Either you were replying to the part about health care and education, or the whole comment.

            Nor am I saying, for the umpteenth time, that it is my view. Merely that others, both men and women believe there is equality of both sexes in place due to legislation and equal access to all services and equal opportunities etc etc etc.

            I’m well aware why we don’t have equality. But it’s not just men that think men do jobs better. I read a blog post the other day about how hiring a male office manager made so much easier for all the women there …

            Right, so the patriarchal indoctrination of the Big Three has nothing to do with our natural evolution of what men are and what women are? Remind me again of the biggest most influential and extremely sexist religion in the world? But no, we just naturally evolve into our male/female roles? Why. Just why. And actually we clearly don’t know any better, qv your sandwiches exchange. Because make the sandwiches, ironing, lost the keys are so funny witticisms aren’t they. Yeah, I see these people doing a lot for feminism and equality. But it’s a joke right? So it’s ok.

            Are TERFs a movement? Or merely a description of women (rad fems) who don’t like being defined as a woman by a MtoF trans? Did you read the links in my post btw?

            Oh well, I guess that’s your MO then. We’ll never get to know what violetwisp thinks, merely what she wishes to disagree with.

            I looked. Honest truth? I couldn’t think of anything to say.

            Like

  11. Pingback: violetwisp

  12. I have not read the comments thread.

    I don’t “want to appear ultra feminine”. I just am. Otherwise I might have made a go of presenting male. I can’t value it, it appears like weakness to me, and it is who I am.

    I was at the National Theatre for a debate on pornography with someone I knew on the panel and an audience mostly of engaged feminists opposed to it; and I felt more “feminine” than any of them. So I divorce “feminine” from “female”, “masculine” from “male”, and especially from valuing according to what sex one is.

    I have not had a girl’s experiences growing up: yet most women accept me. Anomalies make life interesting. I am not a colonist, but an asylum seeker.

    I had not heard FETA. Thanks a bunch for that.

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    • Comments are what they are.

      The issue about feminity v female is that *some* feminists believe it is a view artificially imposed on women by patriarchal values/society which determine what a woman *should* look and behave like. In rejecting these artificially imposed values that seek to define a woman from a male/patriarchal perspective, women choose to express themselves how they feel comfortable and not how society says they should appear. So yes, in essence I agree with your divorcing the words and definitions.

      However the perception that women should strive to feel feminine, or more feminine, in essence competing with other women is deeply damaging to trying to change societal views. I was reading about the trans woman who wanted a reverse op to go back to being a man because life was just too difficult being a woman, in essence, trying to appear feminine.

      Of course women should accept you. As should men. That isn’t the issue, the issue for both TERFs and FETAs is whether or not feminists and specifically radfems, and trans women have common ground. Or can speak for each other.

      FETA. It’s interesting you hadn’t heard of them. So you’d heard of TERFs because clearly that’s an exclusionary view of trans people. But not the trans people that exclude feminists.

      Like

      • “Feminine” is a meaningful concept. Some women are more feminine than others. My feminist friend, a cis woman, said this included being more likely to seek closeness, and less likely to be active in sex. Problems arise when women are judged for being “unfeminine”, or not valued for valuable traits not seen as feminine- disrespected and disapproved for showing right anger, say. I would divorce the concept of feminine from female: feminine is good, but only if you really are feminine.

        I don’t “want to appear feminine”. I just am. I want to appear female. I like my slender, “feminine” hands, dislike how narrow my hips are, and comparatively broad my shoulders and waist. I am reasonably happy with my face. There are matters of body-shape which pertain more to females or more to males.

        I was going to blog about FETA, but Google shows me only that one blog uses the term. 4000 GRCs have been issued in the UK; we could not exclude women from anything, even if any of us wanted to. The campaign to no-platform Germaine Greer was started by a cis woman.

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        • Feminine is only meaningful if you accept the gender binary. One could make oneself feminine, with practice. Hence, it’s a construct.

          My partner (male) has slender hands. Why feminine? My father had very soft gentle hands. Feminine? There are different body shapes among women. Why is one more female than others? Body shape, sure generally, muscle mass etc. but my younger figure was not much different to yours. Broad shoulders, small breasts (you didn’t mention those), narrow hips but curvy buttocks, yet a narrow waist. My question is, not about essential biological sex, but why do you want to confirm to an imposed image of what a woman should look like?

          There’s a reference to FETAs here, but this is a pretty radfem terfy blog, so I doubt you’ll like it:

          https://mancheeze.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/its-been-a-rough-week/

          On Tumblr:

          And, more generally, on some of the reasons some women are unhappy with trans women defining what maketh a woman:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html?_r=0

          As for Rachael, she sounds like the archetypal sex-pos feminist, advocating the interests of sex workers, probably pornography, and essentially ‘women’s right to choose’. I was like that at age 20 too.

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          • I had not seen that Tumblr, it was not quoted on the wordpress notifications.

            I really, really don’t want anyone to “abandon feminism altogether”. I care about violence against women- as an “ally” if you want, but viscerally. I see a profusion of words, but including trans women only means “abandoning feminism” if you imagine you live in an entirely logical world. The real world is full of inexplicable anomalies and work-arounds.

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          • Feminism is about more than violence against women though.

            And indeed it is, but we should be aware of them, and accept reality as it is. While trying to change it, of course.

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          • Okay, okay, I care about reproductive rights, education for girls, the policing of particular forms of gendered presentation as more or less acceptable to the Patriarchy for women…

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          • and the root and fruit of these issues is violence against women.

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          • The root is oppression and subjugation. The means of that is violence.

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  13. Oh, your “interesting article on FETA”:

    More importantly, gender roles are an erasure not only of voices in oppressed societies, but of voices in our societies as well: a massive erasure of the voices of gender rebels and homosexuals, for which trans genderists advocate an untested and brutal chemical “treatment.”

    What? We want all gay people reclassified as trans, and treated with hormones? Really? Who wants that, outside Iran?

    I read there that I am a monster. I am not the enemy, really.

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    • I said it was interesting. Not that I agreed with it. There always many sides to any debate. No, I wouldn’t see that as being you at all, especially after having read your blog for so long. But as with feminism, there are clearly many differing views within trans activism. But perhaps discrimination drives people to radical extremes, and sometimes, being radical achieves results. I don’t know. Which back to my original premise is why I don’t write about things I don’t know about. No easy answers Clare.

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  14. KIA says:

    all questions of propriety and validity aside for the moment, I haven’t a clue how women who feel like they are men inside and vice versa, but is it too simple and Victorian to say that we are what our genetics make us? if men want to complete themselves by transitioning to the women they feel themselves to be on the inside, and again vice versa, why should it be on the public dime at all? they should pay for the treatments or process out of their own pockets. (ducking to cover here in az) -KIA

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    • I haven’t a clue either. But the point about gender dysphoria, to put it very simplistically, is that gender dysphoria is what our genetics make us, as far as I understand it, in that there is a different hormonal balance in the development of the foetus for various reasons. Having said that, the ‘experts’ say they can’t entirely say what causes it.

      There is an American trans woman who has paid for one part of surgery out of her own pocket but wants to move to the UK and get the rest on the NHS 😦 That is seriously frustrating. And treatment isn’t just surgery, there is hormone treatment, counselling, behavioural therapy, psychological appointments …

      But I think your health care system is very different to ours. GD is often excluded in America from insurance contracts, often on grounds of it being a pre-existing condition, or there has to be a big share of co-payment, or whatever it’s called. The American health care system is another thing I don’t write about. Confuses the hell out of me!

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      • KIA says:

        Thank you for your more rational and reasoned response

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        • KIA, I know little about GD. That’s why I don’t write about it and that was the whole point of my post to say I think it’s silly to write about topics we are ignorant about. Clearly, that’s not a view shared by others. There are some very heated views out there about transwomen, and especially among feminists. If you want to read more, scroll up to some links on my comment on Clare’s. I warn you though, it’s an absolute minefield.

          When I write on this blog, I tend to stick to subjects I know something about, sometimes posts are for information, eg how to cater for vegetarians/vegans and no we DON’T eat fish! I don’t care how many vegetarians you know who eat fish, they are NOT vegetarian. That is a simple fact. And yes we do get enough protein, etc etc. Most of my readers are not veg, and some have said they’ve learned something. Similarly with some of my feminist posts about gender specific language. Most of us are set in our views. I’m willing to learn from people who know more than me rather than talk about something of which I have no knowledge.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days now, and I’ve been wanting to leave a comment (but none has been forthcoming). It’s difficult for me to talk about trans issues because they are so poorly covered in my area. Self-education has been a necessity of me, but with that comes the doubts that I’m not really looking at the whole picture.

    I mean, in the South, I had the benefit of attending a university that had provided discussions on gay and lesbian issues in the early 00’s. But even then, those were limited resources. Then came women’s studies, of which I was warned by many women on campus to never attend. Trans issues weren’t even mentioned at all. They get ignored in this part of the world.

    At any rate, I also thought you made a good point about men talking about feminism. I found a few Youtube videos recently of men talking about the evils of feminism (mostly atheists, which bothers me). For whatever reason, men talking about feminism can range from openly hostile to covert derision to sincere frustration to many other things. Other than a few bloggers talking about it (You and Violetwisp spring immediately to mind), I don’t have many women that I can link to for feminist posts that I feel could represent effective expressions.

    I don’t know. Right now words are escaping me on this one. I really do apologize for not being clearer.

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    • Thanks Sirius. You totally express my sentiments. I just don’t know enough about the whole issue, hence, my original premise, I don’t want to write about things I know insufficient about. ‘The world is so full of a number if things …’ and I can know about only a few.

      The Arb (Dead Wild Roses) writes well on feminism (as a man). What I dislike are the touchy feely posts by men about how women are equal to men, and we respect them and crap, crap, crap. The day you oppose sexist and racist jokes, call out your mates, stop viewing women as sex objects and look at some hard issues is the day men can consider they are doing something constructive. (I don’t mean you, SB, personally there, rather men in general). Tildeb, yeah, I know, does write good comments in favour of women’s rights. In fact, those two together write far better stuff than a lot of women 😦 Valerie Tarico is great on bodily autonomy. Violet is nowhere near as radfem as I am, so we come from different POVs of feminism. Rebecca has gone awol, but she had a great blog with some excellent insights from a young feminist woman. Very perceptive aka I agreed with her 😀

      I think you are at least as clear as I was!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The heretical test that women face often comes in the form of this simple question.

    “Are trans-women, women?”

    Answer incorrectly and often said women are accused of being transphobic and quickly labeled a TERF.

    Here’s the thing.

    Words have meanings. Women = adult human female. “Woman” does not mean a man who strongly feels he is a woman or even really *really* believes he is a woman.

    Ones feelings do not trump the reality of the situation. Therefore:

    Trans women are trans women. Easy-peasy. (Feeling kinda Objectivist at the moment with all this ‘A=A’ going on.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wanted to reply, but checked your blog out first, and saw you had raised the no-platforming of Germaine Greer. I felt she was catechised, and blogged on that at the time. On Newsnight, she also said, she would use the pronouns we want- she, her, hers- and the names we have chosen. I can live with that, and being a “trans woman”. I am an honorary woman, an asylum seeker rather than a colonist- I have said that already here, but I came up with it recently and think it a good line. Most people treat me with courtesy.

      The issue comes with women-only spaces, such as toilets and changing rooms. My life would be restricted if I could not go there, I really can’t use the men’s. Some women object strongly to this, and I feel Excluded- hence “TERF”.

      I had a good relationship with my colleague Ann until I started preparing for transition. I went out with colleagues expressing myself female, and she was revolted- even phobic. It made her skin crawl. After I was full time female at work, eventually with good will we managed to work together reasonably well.

      What I want is a positive sum game. I don’t want to exclude anyone. I don’t even want someone’s visceral objection to me to be morally contemned. I just want a solution which does not involve my exclusion.

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      • “The issue comes with women-only spaces, such as toilets and changing rooms. My life would be restricted if I could not go there, I really can’t use the men’s. Some women object strongly to this, and I feel Excluded- hence “TERF”.

        And herein the difficult situation arises.

        Woman, historically speaking, haven’t even had bathrooms available to them. Making them happen was a result of struggle by women who had the temerity to demand that they too were human beings and should have the simple luxury of being able to void their bowels outside of the home.

        With this heady (*g*) new freedom women also fought to have bathrooms sex segregated because men tended not to respect women’s bodies or their boundaries, in public or private spaces.

        Now are sex segregated change-rooms/toilets a panacea for woman, mighty fortresses of protection, a sanctum sanatorum, for the female persuasion? Sadly, they are not. Male violence reaches everywhere in our society, the WC’s are no exception. Yet there is some small harbour, a treasured clutch-safe, where women can (conditionally,momentarily) escape their oppressors and be away from the male gaze and at least have the illusion of being safe.

        Enter the trans-woman. A male, who identifies as woman, into this space. The reason – he *feels* like he is female, and thus once again (add it to the long, long list of men transgressing female boundaries) the male version of reality is to overwrite the boundaries of women. So yah, I can see where women would have a problem with having men in their change room.

        The problem isn’t *you* Claire. But the fact that Men are the oppressor class in our societies and are responsible for the large majority of violence toward women and violence in general. Membership in either the oppressed/oppressor class isn’t something you can opt in and out of (see the complete lack of the huge demographic of trans-men in society).

        “Some women object strongly to this, and I feel Excluded- hence “TERF”.

        Are women allowed to define their spaces and their comfort zones? If yes, then welcome to feminism 101, if no, then welcome to the male view of how women should be treated in society, since well forever.

        A fascinating corollary to this is how much of the trans-movement approaches the this problem. Why aren’t spaces being carved out of male restrooms and change-rooms for trans-women?

        The short answer is that the oppressor class ‘ain’t got time for dat’ and would react violently toward the people who would dare infringe on their boundaries and rights. It would be a vicious, bloody struggle – as any struggle against the dominant caste in society is. (See Feminism et al.)

        Surprisingly, this is not the route that has mostly been chosen. It seems that is much easier to ignore the violent patriarchal superstructure/narrative that enforces gender roles and gendered violence and rather, focus on why these damn women are so fucking transphobic and intolerant of other “women” in their spaces.

        I’m guessing this is much of the root of where radical feminists can see this as struggle between entitled males (who wish to enforce on society women how they identify) and the oppressed class of society.

        “What I want is a positive sum game. I don’t want to exclude anyone.”

        In the gender game, by default, someone is always excluded and the farther you are from the white male norm, the more excluded you will be. Yet, so much of trans-activist rhetoric reinforces the gender hierarchy (aka a system of exclusion)… but that is a another post.

        “I don’t even want someone’s visceral objection to me to be morally contemned.”

        The first thing I learned as a male undertaking the project of understanding feminist thought was this – put a sock in it and actually listen to women as their experiences, conceptions, and understandings of living life born female is radically different than my own. This isn’t happening right now as women are being intimidated, threatened, and de-platformed for speaking to an issue that directly affects them. The general pattern of men castigating, dehumanizing, and terrorizing woman for daring to speak their minds has not changed in this debate (see every other female venture into the public sphere). When the narrative shifts to a place where women can freely speak their mind and be heard, then and only then, can we move forward.

        ” I just want a solution which does not involve my exclusion.”

        The project of female emancipation from male domination (arguably) got started in with Mary Wollstonecraft as she published one of the first feminist treatises, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Thus the onerous struggle against patriarchy, being dehumanized (murdered, legally raped, sold as chattel, prostituted… et fucking cetera) being excluded, by society proper has been undertaken by women for some two hundred and twenty three years.

        223 years and still in the USA, arguably the most advanced nation in the world, woman have to fight to be seen as fully human (see abortion, see human trafficking, see domestic violence, see rape culture).

        Yet, the seemingly the most important issue at hand, that has been recently appended to (liberal) feminism, is the inclusivity of men into female designated spaces. And funny despite all the struggles that women have undertaken (and are still undertaking), this issue has gotten so much traction, it is almost like people who maintain/upkeep the status-quo are on board and thus it becomes worthy of consideration for society proper.

        Huh? And to whom would that benefit? Well I’m all puzzled out. Another post here, I shall not go farther.

        ” I just want a solution which does not involve my exclusion.”

        I disagree with much of transactivist rhetoric. That being said, I am not against trans individuals. They are people trying to live their lives the best they can, how they can and they should not be discriminated against.

        I fully support gender neutral washrooms and facilities as, to me, that seems like the best solution for protecting the rights of women and accommodating the needs of trans-people.

        Is it the inclusion of gender neutral facilities happening quick enough? Absolutely not, but given the time scales involved in the struggle to change the dominant society – 1792 for women – I think things are going rather quickly, historically speaking.

        .

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        • violetwisp says:

          I find a lot of what you say here entirely odd. Lot’s of things jumbled up to make odd conclusions.

          “The reason – he *feels* like he is female, and thus once again (add it to the long, long list of men transgressing female boundaries) the male version of reality is to overwrite the boundaries of women.”
          And when a trans man (patronising stars and loaded verb with use of dismissive pronoun) *feels* she is male? Is her version of reality overwriting the boundaries of men? You’re insulting the experiences of such a vulnerable group of people, go watch a documentary or a read about what trans people go through as they’re growing up.

          I don’t get this angle of thinking at all, and where it becomes integral, or any relevance to feminism. For a start, the fact is that most women aren’t afraid of men. I’ll fight for any women who have had atrocious experiences to have access to places they feel safe in. But a public toilet is a public convenience, a place we go for bodily functions that are loosely segregated (e.g. until what age can kids of either sex go with their parents? where do different sex carers of adults go when they need to help them?), and segregated only due to outdated concerns about modesty. To make a big song and dance about it is simply ridiculous. Pee outside if you’re worried about lurkers, but don’t take it as an opportunity to bash trans people over the head. I’m sure they get enough bashing over their heads in their everyday lives.

          “Are women allowed to define their spaces and their comfort zones? If yes, then welcome to feminism 101, if no, then welcome to the male view of how women should be treated in society, since well forever.”
          And who are ‘women’? Which section of the female population are we surveying? For all the talk of labels and patriarchal gender roles, how do you determine if someone is female enough to use the loos? What happens to the women with stereotypical masculine features when groups of people like you fear monger about how inappropriate it is for trans women to go for a pee in a cubicle marked with a skirt?

          It’s all thoroughly illogical and not applicable to the real world. And incredibly petty. Feminism is not about continuing to be angry with men and everything they’ve done and continue to do, it’s about making the world a fairer, less discriminatory place for everyone. Exclusion and labeling is the game of the patriarchy.

          Like

          • @VW

            “Is her version of reality overwriting the boundaries of men?”

            Any female version of reality cannot overwrite the current dominant paradigm. What is not prevalent in the media are trans-men demanding acceptance from men and women.

            “And when a trans man (patronising stars and loaded verb with use of dismissive pronoun)”

            The real question is then do feelings trump the empirical facts of the situation? And if that is the case then, perhaps women should all opt out of their oppressive role in society and call themselves men. Easy.

            To make a big song and dance about it is simply ridiculous.

            I have no problems here, let me assure you. So then, the women who are afraid of men and do not want to share their spaces should just suck it up. Bottle their concerns, and place the need for male feelings and comfort ahead of their own. Sounds completely outside the expected role of women in society to me.

            “but don’t take it as an opportunity to bash trans people over the head. I’m sure they get enough bashing over their heads in their everyday lives.”

            Funny how making a case for respecting the oppressed class’s boundaries is ‘bashing trans people’. As stated, I am a supporter of making gender neutral facilities available to everyone.

            “What happens to the women with stereotypical masculine features when groups of people like you fear monger about how inappropriate it is for trans women to go for a pee in a cubicle marked with a skirt?”

            Hmm, a nice variation on the #notallmen argument. Male violence is endemic in society and males as class are the majority or perpetrators. So do tell me how illustrating class characteristics or men is fear mongering given the evidence, historical and otherwise?

            “It’s all thoroughly illogical and not applicable to the real world.”

            Agreed, most of transactivism is.

            “Feminism is not about continuing to be angry with men and everything they’ve done and continue to do, it’s about making the world a fairer, less discriminatory place for everyone.”

            Feminism is the struggle to fee women from the structures of patriarchal society. Fair and less discriminatory doesn’t happen within the context of fundamentally unjust society, no matter how empowerful liberal feminists feel about the situation.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            “What is not prevalent in the media are trans-men demanding acceptance from men and women.”
            So, you’re basing your outrage on media representation? Sounds smart. I’d hate to think your prejudice came from interaction with real people. Best get in a pickle over what the patriarchal media shove in our faces.

            “The real question is then do feelings trump the empirical facts of the situation?”
            So, in your mind the empirical facts in this discussion are vaginas and penises? Think you might have a limited outlook on human beings. I find my thoughts and feelings say a whole lot more about me than my vagina does.

            “So then, the women who are afraid of men and do not want to share their spaces should just suck it up. Bottle their concerns, and place the need for male feelings and comfort ahead of their own. ”
            Oh right, is that what I said? No. Women and men who have suffered any kind of trauma should have safe places. Public toilets don’t need to be on that list or no-one could go for a pee.

            “Male violence is endemic in society and males as class are the majority or perpetrators.”
            Violence is violence it’s wrong, whoever is inflicting it. Yes, mostly men. I’m not going to discriminate against all of them because of the actions of a minority – that would be foolish.

            You sound like you’ve swallowed a textbook on feminism, sat in a dark room getting angry about it for 10 years, and forgotten to apply any of it to the real world and how people actually live.

            Like

          • @VW

            “So, you’re basing your outrage on media representation? Sounds smart. I’d hate to think your prejudice came from interaction with real people.”

            If believing that words have meanings and empirical reality is somehow a prejudiced view, well guilty as charged then. As my views tend to coincide with much of radical feminist analysis, which despite not being male-centric seems to be a very close approximation to the truth, in many situations.

            “Violence is violence it’s wrong, whoever is inflicting it. Yes, mostly men. I’m not going to discriminate against all of them because of the actions of a minority – that would be foolish.”

            Discrimination is the terminology you brought to the table. Stating and being aware that male violence is endemic in our society and the world and taking appropriate measures seems to be the opposite of foolish.

            “You sound like you’ve swallowed a textbook on feminism, sat in a dark room getting angry about it for 10 years, and forgotten to apply any of it to the real world and how people actually live.”

            I can only imagine the entire scope of the backlash women get for stating simple biological facts and class based analysis. What I do see is the harrassment both online and off, the doxxing the rape and death threats on this very topic – it is a textbook on entitled male behaviour and expectations.

            So if that world -where women are afraid to speak out *isn’t* the real world- please send me a visa to the one you are currently inhabiting, it sounds like a much nicer place to be.

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          • Violet,

            the fact is most women aren’t afraid of men

            Really? And where is the source for that factual statistic?
            Or are you one of the lucky women who hasn’t been assaulted by a man?
            Good for you that you aren’t frightened of men. That’s nice. It’s also good that you haven’t been brought up to fear them (I joke not), or to worry about being raped, assaulted, attacked, or murdered, because basically, in most cases they are physically stronger. Let me see, my partner told me about a teenager who had been raped and murdered in the UK and her attacker was sentenced to 30 odd years in jail the other day. I think he was 28. That’s one reason why women are afraid of men. You’re younger than me, and we come from different countries. I grew up with the Yorkshire Ripper and the Black Panther. Sure, they’re not all men, but they are enough to frighten the shit out of young women. And in some cases, to kill them.

            We come from different sides of the feminism coin, but I think we’ve learned that by now. It isn’t about wishy washy fairness. It’s about changing society. Neither approach will work, so in that sense we have some commonality.

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          • violetwisp says:

            Interesting thoughts. I’m going to ponder.

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          • Should I worry? 😉 anyway, I’ve got a busy day, so ponder as long as you want, I’m muzzy headed with some stupid sneezing/snot allergy. Well, that’s not the allergy, merely the symptoms but you get the idea.

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          • violetwisp says:

            This ponder is beyond my ken. I’m on my own with two kids today and I’m trying to work out an alternative plan for Syria, so it might not get far. But it’s an interesting point about fear. Strong coffee to wash the allergy away? Or tequila? 😀

            Like

          • Syria is beyond my ken. The most intelligent comment I can think of, is its all wrong. Fear is the key … and as ever, so is context. Don’t touch coffee these days. Might have weak tea after brunch (tortilla con cebolleta y pimientos) or a tin of San Miguel. Actually I’ll probably go for a walk, fresh air should help.

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        • Oh, Brilliant. The problem isn’t me, you say, yet your solution is to exclude me. “The most important issue at hand”- to very few, actually. Some women stand up for me, that is Me, me personally, because it personally involves me- and because in that precise moment they are not campaigning about rape culture, or whatever, you deny their feminist credentials. Of course it isn’t the most important issue, and few think it is. A few people, however, don’t want to treat me as the enemy while claiming “I am not against trans individuals”.

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          • Oh, Brilliant. The problem isn’t me,

            No actually the problem is people who look like me and currently dominate society and who will resort to violence (as a class) to maintain the fundamentally unjust status-quo.

            ” A few people, however, don’t want to treat me as the enemy while claiming “I am not against trans individuals”.

            Take from my statements what you will. My support for trans-people goes as far the boundaries set by women (the oppressed class in society) reasonably allow.

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          • Listen to actual women. A few desperately want to exclude me. Most are happy to accept me.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Clare, I don’t want to stir the pot, but kudos for remaining so calm here. I’m appalled by this discussion. I must have led a very sheltered life. I’m used to this kind of thing on religious sites, but for some reason I’m shocked to see it coming from logic-led atheist camps …

            Like

          • The Arbourist is not alone. Consider Francois Tremblay, linked by Roughseas. My radical feminist friend uses the word “liberal” as a pejorative, which is quite shocking, as most of us live in a set of ideas strongly informed by Mill on Liberty. For her, liberalism perpetuates patriarchal power structures.

            I have no right to be in the women’s space at Buddhafield- yet I was accepted there. I had no right to be in the women’s space at the Sacred Arts Camp- yet when I was excluded, women stood up for me and criticised that exclusion.

            I live on the sufferance of others- but then, so does everyone.

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          • And- the post which made me imagine it might possibly be worth engaging with you accused people of being “Harpercrites” for using the Canadian Upper House to block Equalities measures protecting trans people. So, given that you want to exclude trans people, who is the hypocrite now?

            Like

      • As I’ve said, changing rooms and toilets aren’t a big issue for me personally. As someone who has visited nudist beaches ‘twould be a bit hypocritical for me to say I was bothered about men seeing me naked, or partially clothed. Although that may be age dependent. I’ll reserve judgement on that. In stores in Spain, women and men wander in and out of each other’s (not communal) changing spaces to comment on their partner’s choice of clothes. Perhaps we are too hung up on space in Northern Europe. Yet, for women who have been physically assaulted worse than I have, I can imagine the desire for private space.

        Like

    • Thanks Arb. Not just for this, but for the rest of your contribution in the discussion with Clare and Viwisp. I’ll pick up a couple of points below.

      I wonder if your definition is enough for trans women though? Sort of like, almost-but-not-quite-women?

      Liked by 1 person

      • @RSitM

        You’re welcome? :/ The price of stating this particular argument, in retrospect, seems high. I think I would try to do things phrase things differently in the future.

        “I wonder if your definition is enough for trans women though?”

        I’m not sure that it is, given the hard set of choices trans-women face, in dealing with patriarchal society.

        Some women embrace trans-women as their sisters, while others, pointedly, do not. The points raised often by radical feminists often based on a class analysis of the situation – powerful in theoretical terms and very good at demarcating the conclusions that are drawn from it.

        Class analysis however, doesn’t do much for individuals, those just struggling to get by everyday. Finding compassionate and just solutions, given the input variables, is very challenging route that is not yet completely clear, nor will it I do think, until more debate is had.

        Like

        • Yes and no. I really really find it a difficult issue, hence, I don’t write about trans issues. There are more sides than on a dodecagon. My priority is feminism, that’s what I know about and that’s where I’ll try and achieve change.
          My reservations are that I don’t want trans women speaking for me, I don’t want them defining feminism, I don’t want them defining ‘women’ and I certainly don’t want them endorsing patriarchal stereotypes of feminine gender.
          And, there is serious dissonance with theory, certainly class/radfem thinking, and what currently passes for so-called feminism these days 😦 I agree, it doesn’t translate to what’s happening on the ground for people, although … if the theory was put into practice it would. But it’s much too big a leap to make. And so, we muddle on.

          Like

          • You clicked “like” on my comment elsewhere, then you write this.

            We never “endorse patriarchal stereotypes of feminine gender”. We express ourselves as we are, ultra-feminine. Were we not, we could make a go of presenting male. You might object to all sorts of things we do, but please don’t judge us on the way we dress. You don’t like being so judged.

            The closest to endorsing the stereotype any trans woman has gone is Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair- but she did that because that is what people like her, who make their living by being famous, do, not because she is trans.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Does like mean agree with? Surely I can like and respect a comment and POV without having to endorse it?

            I’ve already said I do not understand trans issues sufficiently to write about them. So I don’t. I also said I thought it was unreasonable for you on yours to comment about periods. This was the whole point of my post. Talking about things of which we have little or no knowledge, or experience achieves nothing. Where did Violet’s rehash of my post get anyone? Nowhere apart from a ban and a lot of unpleasantness.

            We never “endorse patriarchal stereotypes of feminine gender”. We express ourselves as we are, ultra-feminine. Were we not, we could make a go of presenting male.

            And what part of expressing as ‘ultra-feminine’ – whatever that is – is not part of the patriarchal construct regarding gender? If you want to wear pretty swirly skirts, peasant blouses, high heels, make-up, and let your hair get in your face all the time, that’s your choice.

            After more than fifty years of enforced femininity, I can tell you the shoes are uncomfortable, the clothes are impractical, flimsy, and unsuitable for walking, cycling and running away from men, the make-up is expensive, time-consuming and bad for your skin. Or are you talking about the so-called feminine side of our brain?

            I have at least been honest. I have no idea what you mean by ultra-feminine. To me, it sounds like Scarlett O’Hara. And that, my dear, is a total and complete artificial construct.

            Conversations like this merely seem to endorse the fact that trans women support patriarchal gender definitions rather than dismantling the gender binary.

            People like Jenner do exactly what society requires, which is why trans women are buying into endorsing stereotypes.

            Like

          • It would be endorsing a stereotype if we did not like it but pretended to. I like my hair in my face: in my current style I feel beautiful for the first time.

            I endorsed a stereotype when I tried to be conventionally Manly. I bought into it, despite it being painfully unsuited to me. I am now being authentically me, or there would be no point in transitioning.

            How many times need I repeat that I hope other women may choose the style which suits them?

            We do both. We endorse gender definitions by claiming to be women, and subvert them by rejecting what is expected of us. That is why TERFs write for right wing magazines like Standpoint and The Spectator when criticising us- because it pleases the right wingers who wish to maintain the gender stereotypes.

            Like

          • Then we disagree to some extent about what it is to validate stereotypes. Whether it is about gender or class or nationality or whatever. I really don’t understand your distinction between ultra-feminine and manly. Is it clothing, attitude, behaviour? As you say, gender includes culture, education, societal views as well as personal desire. How much of that gender desire is personal and how much is indoctrinated? It’s all very thin ground in terms of patriarchal conditioning.
            But, you have chosen. I’m not clear whether you realise women do not, for the most part, choose. That is the big difference. Of course you do both. But which do you desire the most? Because it sounds to me that you want to become a truly ultra-feminine woman, rather than subverting gender expectations, that’s a by-product. Everyone who wishes to specify certain attributes as male and others as female are the ones wishing to maintain gender stereotypes. Tremblay’s diagram summed it up nicely. Change your mind, change you body, or … who cares?

            Like

          • How basic do you need me to go?

            “Feminine” and “Masculine” have meaning, describing the real characters and variations in people. The Patriarchal oppression consists in fitting the feminine character to women, the masculine to men. My TERF friend said it was “feminine” to seek closeness, “masculine” to seek independence, and she noticed her granddaughter loving hugs, her grandson, aged 3, already hugging as a concession to her.

            I don’t want to “become” anything. I want to express who I am. I do, generally.

            Tremblay’s diagram was completely wrong. She claimed we demand people change their bodies- of course not; but we want it to be possible.

            Like

          • I don’t think I need you to go anywhere Clare. I have, surprisingly, heard much, if not all of this before, although not from a trans woman perspective. However, you, and your TERF friend merely repeat the same old story.

            Again, if you wish to buy into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ your choice. Perhaps you believe in blue clothes for boys and frilly pink ones for girls.

            Patriarchal oppression consists of oppressing women. One way to do that is to assign specific gender characteristics to men and to women. How basic would you like me to go on that one?

            When, and if you wish to discuss feminism, I’m happy to do so, but please, make sure you are discussing feminism and not trans womanism. And not your version of feminism as MtoF. There is a difference, although I accept you and Violet disagree with me as my views are more radical than both of yours.

            As for Tremblay, would you not agree that patriarchal society insists you change your mind, because, well you are wired wrongly like homosexuals? Clumsy wording but I’m trying to paraphrase something I don’t agree with. Tremblays point was broad brush, patriarchy thinks the mind should change to fit the body, trans people think the body should change to fit the mind, others (radfems specified in this case) don’t care. Which takes us back to our original point, you are Clare. A person. With whom I agree sometimes, and disagree with at other times. That’s life.

            Like

  17. violetwisp says:

    “I’m not qualified to write about many issues. But … the men are. Really? You all know and experience discrimination as women? I think not.”

    Well, this post has provided an interesting experience for me, for which I thank you Roughseas. This is the first time I’ve been engaged in discussion with a man under the guise of some form of feminism telling me what women need and want. And even odder, until this exchange, I’d been under the impression Arb was an unusually strong woman I respected. I’m processing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @VW

      “This is the first time I’ve been engaged in discussion with a man under the guise of some form of feminism telling me what women need and want.”

      I always try to be very careful, but not always successful, in trying not to mansplain second wave feminism to women. Quoting feminist works and theories and trying to always attribute them to the proper sources etc etc.

      Okay that feeling you have about finding out that I’m male with all the entitlements and all the valid objections that apply to men doing feminism. Why is that? And would that change if I identified as a woman? Because this very distinction is the heart of the issue.

      Because if I can can call myself a woman and therefore by extension (following that logic) I am a woman where do your objections lie to me speaking about feminism?

      ” I’d been under the impression Arb was an unusually strong woman I respected. I’m processing.”

      I agree with rad fems that men cannot be feminists, we are not born women and have not had the toxic socialization – as summarized by Simone de Beauvoir: “Women are made, not born” – that women are subjected to. The very best I can do is be a ally to Feminism and feminists, and I do that by educating myself to the very best of my ability in Radical Feminism a strain of the Second wave that seeks to change the material basis of the oppression of women in society.

      So yah, if I sound like a textbook, it is precisely because I study feminist texts and try to learn the best I can about the problems facing women in society. I cannot know what it is like to be a woman, but I do my best to empathize with the plight of woman and advocate(but not speak over) them when I can.

      I’m sorry we seem to be unable come to more amiable understanding on the issues mentioned here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • violetwisp says:

        You can’t imagine my disappointment on so many levels. And especially to have it confirmed on this post (I thought you were joking when it was previously mentioned that you’re a man).

        Let me tell you a couple of things this has brought up for me personally:
        1. I was afraid and intimated by you, as a woman, which made me respect you
        2. I now just think you’re a typical arrogant male, as a man, which makes me lose respect for you
        3. I need to process what that means about how I interact with people

        BUT, more importantly, you are here on this post advocating for a large oppressed group in society (women) to oppress and distress a minority oppressed group in society who, in general, face mountains more discrimination and violence than your average cis-gender woman. Bad start. Your principal argument is that men intimidate women and this needs to be avoided at all costs, and yet here you are in Blogland, publishing posts that have intimidated me, a woman, and therefore presumably other women who have read them. The irony is striking. (I do appreciate that in this discussion you are the least intimidating I’ve ever read you – you must be bottling up some serious frustration-related aggression 😀 )

        I’m a feminist because I want equality of treatment for all people – you appear to be a feminist because you want to beat down anyone who isn’t your definition of a woman. And to be honest, I don’t see this school of thought doing anything other than attempting to wallow morosely in the current and past situation, and wave around a blame stick. It’s not very progressive or constructive, is it?

        Like

        • @VW

          “And especially to have it confirmed on this post (I thought you were joking when it was previously mentioned that you’re a man).”

          Funny how the perception of being male or female is so important to how one views another and the environment. This isn’t a gotcha or anything, just a request to consider the consequences of inaccurate definitions.

          “1. I was afraid and intimated by you, as a woman, which made me respect you
          2. I now just think you’re a typical arrogant male, as a man, which makes me lose respect for you”

          I’m sorry about that. When it comes to much of dudely opinion that is harmful toward women I have trouble letting BS stand.

          ” you are here on this post advocating for a large oppressed group in society (women) to oppress and distress a minority oppressed group in society who, in general, face mountains more discrimination and violence than your average cis-gender woman. Bad start.”

          I would offer that sex-based oppression faced by women (trafficking, sex selective abortions, FGM) is much more prevalent and pressing issue, not to mention the long history of female sex based oppression. I have only argued here that women should be allowed to set their own boundaries for their own spaces.

          ” (I do appreciate that in this discussion you are the least intimidating I’ve ever read you – you must be bottling up some serious frustration-related aggression 😀 )”

          A heavy dose of female socialization while growing up, has put me toward outlier status with regards to much of typical male behaviour.

          “you appear to be a feminist because you want to beat down anyone who isn’t your definition of a woman.”

          The views I share are toward what modernists (as opposed to the post-modernists) think reality should look like. The term woman means adult human female. And if it doesn’t then what is a woman? – how does one define the term? The rabbit hole that line of reasoning leads down obfuscates many axis of oppression that women are subject to, and, by the reasoning of many radical feminist thinkers, is not beneficial for the feminist movement.

          “It’s not very progressive or constructive, is it?”

          The thoughts of radical feminists revolve that I have read point to this – centering feminism around the female experience and the needs of women in society.

          My place, as well as trans-women’s place, should be as supportive feminist allies who work toward liberating women from the multi-faceted oppression of patriarchal society. Because if women can successfully tear down the superstructure that is male dominated society, then we all win.

          Like

          • How dare you tell me my place?

            Here you are, writing of male arrogance, and exemplifying it.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Do you know, it’s as if Roughseas crafted this whole post to reel him in and make her point about men.

            I would be still be disgusted if a woman was saying these things, but the whole attitude makes no sense coming from someone who says 1. they aren’t a woman 2. they are doing this to support women at the expense of anyone else 3. he knows best what women and society need 4. men need to stop controlling and directing everything. It is rather comical. He obviously has good intentions but he’s just lost down his specialist subject and has lost touch with reality.

            Like

          • You know, most of our defenders are cis women? The person who started the campaign to no-platform Germaine Greer, which I feel was disrespectful to a significant figure, and has caused a backlash, is a cis woman.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Why do you think it was disrespectful?

            Like

          • It is reasonable no-platform Nicholas Griffin. He has never said anything which was both original and worthwhile, and sows hatred and resentment. Germaine Greer is an intellectual with influence for the good, generally, over the last forty years, all over the English speaking world. Her views on my lot matter very little.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Interesting. I just read a Guardian article on this. I’m really not sure what I think. There’s a reference to a ‘sliding scale of acceptable bigotry’. Like you say, she has a voice that’s viewed with respect by many – does that not make it worse? We easily dismiss the BNP and every piece of nastiness they come out with. Is she not just giving people a false framework to distrust and dislike trans people? People who trust her opinion.

            Like

          • I would like our self-appointed defenders to pick our battles better. Germaine Greer would not have called Caitlyn Jenner “he” on Newsnight had that woman not started her campaign against her.

            And- some people think logically. That is a “man”, so he should not be in the women’s changing room, leave alone the rape crisis centre. But most women are happy with inconsistency and work-arounds.

            The editor of Diva magazine, the lesbian woman’s glossy, says that lesbians have been excluded so should not exclude anyone else. The Left tends to see that we all benefit by increasing diversity. I am generally treated “as if I were a woman” and that is good enough for me.

            Like

          • It’s a POV. I could find other men far more easily to make my point about men. Or at least I could point to various blog posts or comments from men who don’t have a tenth of the understanding that the Arb does. But, if you don’t come from that feminist standpoint, then his comments will appear condescending I guess. To me, they don’t. And, as I’ve quoted you above, you were the one who wanted anyone to help towards equality. Are you setting criteria now? Or are you saying men shouldn’t talk about things of which they know nothing eg, feminism?

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            I’m happy for men to talk about it and have strong opinions, of course. I’ll concede it’s ironic for them to be fighting for women by telling other women what is ‘correct’. But I’ve certainly not changed my mind – the conversation must go on and all support is welcome. However, I won’t support anyone trying to harm or marginalise any other groups of people in the process.

            Like

          • Yeah, but you’re more tolerant and idealistic than me 😉 Some men are naturally egalitarian, Raut is a good example, others like Arb, take it a step further and write about what they consider to be key issues for radical feminism. I think the specific issue here, is when trans women and others come into conflict. And, it has to be said, they do. It becomes a discussion around how much trans women can speak for women, to what extent they can define ‘women’ and what balance gender and biological sex play in the whole debate. None if which gets anywhere near the aims of radical feminism.

            Like

        • I am totally confused. Why did the Arb intimidate you? Or make you afraid? And why would you respect someone who did that to you? And why does your opinion change on learning what sex Arb is? I can see why you don’t want men telling women how to think, or about feminism, but didn’t you say on your blog:

          Anyone who fights for women to be treated equally in this sickly male-dominated society, and helps push the scales towards even, is a welcome voice.

          and

          What? Where? Is this a joke? When I read anyone, smugly or otherwise, fighting for women to be treated equally, I rejoice.

          Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Yes, I thought I might get pulled up on that. I’ve revised it in my head to read: “Anyone who fights for oppressed sectors of society to be treated equally in this out of kilter society, and helps push the scales towards even for all, is a welcome voice.”

            I think for those of us who recognise there’s a problem to set on each other is a bit of a shame. To draw lines around those we place above others makes us as bad as the establishment.

            About Arb, fierce women on fire are few and far between. Perhaps it’s a chemical thing. I like it when I see it, subverting stereotypes and all that. Have you seen him tear into the posts of other bloggers? There were a few a couple of years back that were righteously vicious (if that’s possible). But he’s a man, it’s what men do – loudly and with confidence.

            Like

          • I’ve got a really irritating memory for detail. Probably why I’m good at spotting flaws in plots in books, or silly things like a character is left-handed one minute and right the next (and no, they aren’t ambidextrous).

            That’s a bit of a catch-all now. While I agree with it in principle, there certainly isn’t enough of me to fight for every minority group under the sun, which is why I stick with the few things I know something about. I think the other issue is, deciding how best to resolve the problem, and I would define the problem differently to you. Hence, our differing opinions. I’m not arguing for equality. So, when someone (and I don’t mean you) argues, ostensibly, for women’s rights, but to me sends out mixed messages in doing so, then I’m not sure what it achieves. Apart from confusing the issue.

            Fierce women on fire are few and far between because … as you said. Look at us, two supposed feminists and we both have self-deprecating taglines. If nothing else, this discussion may inspire me to come up with a different one.

            I probably did, I’ve followed DWR for some time, and comment sporadically. Indeed they do. Ojalá one day women will be doing it without being castigated as aggressive evil screaming harpies.

            Like

      • I think it’s easy to assume you are a woman because you have radfem off to a T. But you don’t mansplain, hence you could easily be taken for an assertive woman of IBTP/radfemtopia credentials. For myself, I would wish for more male allies of your thinking.

        Liked by 2 people

    • You are welcome Violet 🙂 I suspect you must venture in sheltered fields however if this is the first time you have encountered a man telling you, under the guise of feminism, what women want. I read it frequently. Hence my post. But also, perhaps, why you didn’t understand what I was saying about men purporting to be feminists and telling women what they want/need.

      Ironically, I happen to like Arb’s posts. One of the few men who really writes any sense about feminism. You’ll struggle to find a sandwich comment on his posts or his comments. Which do you prefer? Patronising demeaning so-called jokes, or someone who is writing about real issues?

      Like

  18. Perhaps you believe in blue clothes for boys and frilly pink ones for girls. No, actually, or only if the child freely chooses that: her son as a child went about for a time in dresses, which she was fine with; he has not transitioned. I like the beauty of feminine men and masculine women, and whatever gender expression most suits each person.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. violetwisp says:

    “Again, if you wish to buy into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ your choice. Perhaps you believe in blue clothes for boys and frilly pink ones for girls.”

    I think you’re misrepresenting the salient point Clare is making. There are very real characteristics of feminine and masculine, that we can generalise about, that have formed some of the stereotypes. Most people fall broadly into these categories. But ‘most’ could be 52% or 60%, leaving millions, nay billions, of people for whom these generalisations mean little or nothing, beyond what our culture ‘makes’ us think we should be. Roughseas, I think you and I are similar, from previous discussions, in that we personally find little sense in our cultural norm for expression of the feminine or masculine. We just do what we do and the rest be damned (so to speak).

    For me at least, none of this comes from studying feminism and feeling I’m fighting the patriarchy or anything like that. Typically feminine things are of no interest to me. But I’m not going to project my outlook onto the rest of the world and pretend that if the ‘feminine’ standards are interesting for them, then it’s the Evil Patriarchy. I mean, really, look at the rest of nature – we have clear generalised breeding roles to play. But the general is never the whole story, that’s where religious people, and apparently some schools of feminism, get lost. There’s no black and white, there’s a whole spectrum of experience.

    Like

    • What characteristics Violet? Just what? Nurturing, caring, emotional, illogical? Are those real characteristics or the ones we are all brought up to believe in? Next you’ll be telling me women should be teachers and nurses but men should be doctors and headmasters. (I use headmasters specifically and deliberately here)

      Unlike you, I do think attribution of gender-specific characteristics are derived from a patriarchal system. I told you we differed in our views of feminism. You don’t need to project your outlook on the world, someone else has already been there, and done that very successfully. And their – male – outlook is the one that prevails.

      Generalised breeding roles? Gee thanks. I appreciate, that on your second offspring it has a high priority for you, but actually, I’d like to think one of the few things that humanity has achieved is to have moved on from the belief that everyone is motivated to breed. Clearly not. Still the way we are going, humanity will breed itself out of existence. No great loss in the greater scheme of things.

      Indeed the general is never the whole story, nor are generalisations. The devil, (that’s about as close as I can manage for a religious reference), clearly being in the detail on which we all continue to disagree.

      Like

      • violetwisp says:

        “What characteristics Violet? Just what? Nurturing, caring, emotional, illogical? Are those real characteristics or the ones we are all brought up to believe in?”

        They’re real. Just look at the chemicals that influence a great chunk of our behaviour. Like the majority of women, I have less testosterone affecting my behaviour therefore I’m less likely to be as aggressively confident as the average man. Like most women, I experience a range of varying emotions on a monthly basis that (I believe) make me understand varying perspectives and therefore make me, like most women, more empathetic than most men.

        Like most women, I have larger hips and chest area than the average man – therefore when attempting to attract a mate I have used these typical areas, almost unconsciously, to draw their attention. These, and a million more physical facts about being the human animal draw together our understanding of generalised characteristics and we can loosely brand masculine and feminine.

        Does every man and woman experience these and other stereotypable characteristics in the same way? Of course not. Should they? Utter nonsense. And does our existing cultural norm exploit and promote these and other, harmful and unreal characteristics as universal fact? Unfortunately, yes.

        For me it’s about seeing the balance: accepting, acknowledging and understanding our general physical differences. But never suggesting anyone has to aspire to be a particular way and never suggesting that anyone is unable to do something because of their sex.

        “Generalised breeding roles? Gee thanks. I appreciate, that on your second offspring it has a high priority for you, but actually, I’d like to think one of the few things that humanity has achieved is to have moved on from the belief that everyone is motivated to breed.”
        I agree. Most people are motivated to find sexual satisfaction, and most of those in a heterosexual relationship. Breeding is often accidental. But I also think that many people have a deep biological yearning to reproduce – it would be an odd evolutionary state if we didn’t find it appealing. I felt it for the first time with my second child, and it’s very strong – I can see why it overwhelms people.

        Interesting story that will make you fume, I expect. I used to believe that gender was pure construct. Right up until I went to my first playgroup filled with 1 to 2 year olds. The boys were bombing about in a kamikaze fashion, tunnel vision, focus and testosterone fuelled energy. The girls were cautious, mindful and alert. Generally. Not all, but the great majority. There is no way that so much instinctive behaviour was programmed into all these children because of their sex. Everything I’ve seen of babies and children since then has only confirmed this for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sorry. I cleared off to Spain and forgot to reply.

          Hmm. ‘Deep biological yearning to reproduce’?

          Maybe. Maybe not. How much are people ‘expected’ to breed? Another societal impetus perhaps. Get married, have two kids, get house, a car or two etc That’s how western societal life goes unless you buck the trend. And society. And familial pressure.

          I’m not sure what you mean by feeling the urge to reproduce after your second child. Surely the urge should come before the result? No matter, it’s not a personal quiz.

          Except gender socialisation starts immediately. Surely you don’t think those 1–2-year–old boys and girls had been treated the same?

          Like

          • violetwisp says:

            “Surely you don’t think those 1–2-year–old boys and girls had been treated the same?”
            Surely you accept there are physical differences that affect behaviour?

            Estrogen and testosterone influence brain development, although the process of the way in which hormones and the brain interact to influence behavior is very complex. Louann Brizendine, MD, author of The Female Brain, points out that gender differences start before birth: female brains are flushed in utero with estrogen hormones, while male brains are washed with testosterone. Females begin studying faces as babies, which shapes their brain development. Research demonstrates that the skills of baby girls in making eye contact and facial gazing increases over 400% in the first three months of life, while facial gazing skills in boys doesn’t. In one study, year-old girls looked at their mothers faces 10 to 20 times more than boys checking for signs of approval or disapproval. While the boys, driven by testosterone, moved around the room to investigate their environment and rarely glanced at their mothers.

            http://www.columbiaconsult.com/pubs/v52_fall07.html

            Mammals, including humans, show sex differences in juvenile play behavior. In rodents and nonhuman primates, these behavioral sex differences result, in part, from sex differences in androgens during early development. Girls exposed to high levels of androgen prenatally, because of the genetic disorder congenital adrenal hyperplasia, show increased male-typical play, suggesting similar hormonal influences on human development, at least in females. Here, we report that fetal testosterone measured from amniotic fluid relates positively to male-typical scores on a standardized questionnaire measure of sex-typical play in both boys and girls. These results show, for the first time, a link between fetal testosterone and the development of sex-typical play in children from the general population, and are the first data linking high levels of prenatal testosterone to increased male-typical play behavior in boys.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2778233/

            Like

          • @VW

            Delusions of Gender

            “Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference is a 2010 book by Cordelia Fine, written to debunk the idea that men and women are hardwired with different interests. The author criticizes claimed evidence of the existence of innate biological differences between men and women’s minds, as being faulty and exaggerated, and while taking a position of agnosticism with respect to inherent differences relating to interest/skill in ‘understanding the world’ versus ‘understanding people’, reviews literature demonstrating how cultural and societal beliefs contribute to sex differences.”

            Video of Ms.Fine explaining her research on the purported evidence about innate biological differences.

            Posted hopefully to allay the biology is destiny argument…

            Liked by 1 person

          • violetwisp says:

            Thanks, I’ll try and get round to watching that, looks interesting. But please don’t paint this as a black and white issue and suggest I meant anything as silly as ‘biology is destiny’. There are general differences between the average female and the average male, and general differences are obvious even in babies. That doesn’t mean that both males and females are in boxes, and it doesn’t mean I deny the role society plays in influencing our choices. But to deny that there can be basic biological differences, like hormones, is curious.

            Like

          • Violet, if you get time, can you explain what relation hormones have to children playing, analytical thinking, and gender differences allocated on a male/female basis? Similarly, what are the general differences you are referring to? I’m seriously unclear what you mean.

            Like

          • violetwisp says:

            Okay, I’ll try and do a post on it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for the link. I skipped the vid (Non-vid Queen me) but thought the book sounded interesting. I am still unconvinced that there are such innate difference as are made out by proponents of female v male thinking.

            Like

          • Sorry, catching up. Happens to us all. Not convinced by the first, second one seemed a bit more thorough. But one could ask, to what extent do the researchers put their own intrinsic bias on the study?

            Like

  20. @VW

    My words – Arb: “Posted hopefully to allay the biology is destiny argument…”

    “But please don’t paint this as a black and white issue and suggest I meant anything as silly as ‘biology is destiny’. “

    No painting going on here. The papers you have cited and the claims being put forth speak on very specific issues. The risk here is generalizing too much from the studies and drawing unsupported conclusions.

    “There are general differences between the average female and the average male, and general differences are obvious even in babies.”

    An argument to be made for the caliber of differences though. Namely, how the those differences have been exaggerated to reinforce the gender binary due to the sexism present in Neuroscience.

    And how much of these differences are then exacerbated by the social conditions present after birth? Socialization, and thus the sorting and selecting for gendered attributes begins – baby girls and baby boys can both crawl up a board toward their mothers – on average boys are allowed to climb higher and farther, while girls are stopped earlier and lower down the the slope (If can find the study again I’ll link) because of the gendered expectations present in society.

    So, ‘general differences’ might be too vague a term when talking about these issues.

    “But to deny that there can be basic biological differences, like hormones, is curious.”

    Speaking of painting in black and white…

    No such claim was put forth. What was actually said – “The author criticizes claimed evidence of the existence of innate biological differences between men and women’s minds, as being faulty and exaggerated,[…]

    Thus, your basic biological differences claim may be addressing the wrong issue. As a corollary, it would seem that a defense of basic biological differences presents a countervailing position with regards to other gender issues expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: caught in the middle – are gender differences real? | violetwisp

  22. Pingback: profiling and unconscious bias – part 1 | violetwisp

  23. Pingback: a male “radical feminist” | Clare Flourish

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