Carnival of Feminists No 59

Welcome to the Carnival of Feminists, which begins with an apology, for the hiatus since the last, which was due to my disappearing under a deluge of work, from which I’m slowly extracting myself.

So there’s more than a month of nominations here, and I decided the best thing to do was to collect them, to allow a new host a managable run.

And the next host will be Unmana’s words, on July 9. She kindly came asking if I needed hosts. You can use the nomination form to send links to her, or email her at unmana AT gmail DOT com.

(But I still need more hosts – if you’re interested, whether a “veteran” feminist blogger, or a “newbie”, or somewhere in between, please drop me a line, natalieben AT gmail DOT com.)

So, to a veritable cornucopia of feminists posts – and how to organise them? Well I’ve decided to do something different this time – to test the effects of serendipity. What’s below is, more or less, the order in which the nominations arrived; which might produce some interesting juxtapositions…

(Although I have by and large eliminated multiples from the same blog, in the interest of not allowing “swamping”. I’ve chosen the first one from each blog – following on the theme of allowing Lady Luck to do her stuff.)

To begin let’s be cheerful with Tali, who concludes, in an exploration of decades of women and motorcycles, that Ladies Prefer Vespa .

Moving into more serious territory, on Feminist Philosophers, Jender looks at a yet another rule for breastfeeding mothers. You have to wonder how the human race survived before the job of expert in childhood was invented.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents her own inimitable style view of Hillary and Obama, after the race was won.

Ann Bartow recovers some feminist history with a clip from an interview of Margaret Sanger on 9/21/57.

And a reminder that for some American women, not much has changed: Holly Ord presents Anti-Choice Oklahoma .

Getting even more subversive, you can meet The Female Sex Agent posted at Agent of Desire, which is “all about claiming back female sexuality for women sick of objectification.”

Nine Deuce concludes that The First Amendment is only sort of cool.

Cruella find that there’s Trouble in Comedy-Land.

Womanist Musings presents East Vs. West – The Feminist Divide.

Cara gets angry about claims of Faulty Feminist Introspection .

As is Lindabeth, about the fact that Sexualized Ads Become “Obscene” When Guys are the Objects.

Pete sees how Western misogyny translated to China in the Gold Diggers of 1936 .

Louisefeminista brings us back to the present with a The “Matriarch of Interracial Marriage” and Other Groundbreaking Female Plaintiffs; that’s about Mildred Loving, who made history in 1967 with a lawsuit that led the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.

The intersection of racism and sexism is also explored by Deborah in Where did I learn my racism? and there’s a response by Anjum.

Getting more, dare I say it, postmodern, you can play Spot the Harry Enfield fan, while Fannie is also concerned about looks and what WNBA players are told about them.

Concerned with looking rather than looks, PodBlack looks at Ashes To Ashes – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Tart.

Marcella Chester considers Why Rape Survivors Go Online.

Womanist Musings presents Stuck In The Middle, again considering the race/gender intersection.

Fiona Young-Brown concludes that yes, pregnant women have sex, and even enjoy it. So?

And in a possible related issue, Sarah McClellan-Brandt considersthe name change issue

At Miss Andrea’s, there’s a deconsruction of transgenderism. (Link de-activated, see comment below.)

And that concludes this rather unusual carnival. I promise that we’ll now get back on regular track. And remember – if you want to host, the email’s natalieben AT gmail DOT com.

126 Comments

  • Pingback: Carnival of Feminists no. 59 « don’t ya wish your girlfriend was smart like me?

  • Zenobia
    June 27, 2008 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    However, that does not change the fact that this episode has been hurtful to many trans people and people of color (Margaret Sanger) and their allies

    Thanks, I thought it was just me!

    Really, I personally don’t want to swamp Natalie with too many complaints, I’m sure those things were included because they are a part of feminism (unfortunately), rather than because Natalie endorses them. I think she’s a good blogger and usually quite conscientious, so I’m not banging my fist down and cancelling my subscription or anything.

    Still, I think a response, re the Miss Andrea post, might be appropriate.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    “If transgenderism is an ideology then so is homosexuality”

    Well neither is an ideology. But it is correct that both are constructs.

    Transgenderism is a construct because it posits that the (constructed by patriarchy) gender categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are real. Which is why I object to the politics of transgenderism. Please note – I do not believe that people should not have gender reassignment if they wish, or that people who identify as transgendered/transsexual should be discriminated against on this basis. I just believe that you cannot say that move from one (fictional) gender category to another without making the idea of gender – which underpins patriarchy – more real, and thus prolonging patriarchy.

    ‘Homosexuality’ is a construct because it is the belief that someone who prefers people of the same (constructed under a patriarchal gender binary system) sex as them as a sexual partner is somehow intrinsically different from someone who is ‘heterosexual’ (prefers people of the opposite sex as sexual partners). However becuase patriarchy deems that only ‘heterosexual’ relationships are possible (heteronormativity)’homosexuality’ does not reify the gender binary but challenges it. I think it would be perfectly possible for someone who is not ‘homosexual’ to deconstruct homosexuality. It’s an analysis of patriarchy, not an account of what it feels like to be gay/lesbian.

    It is interesting that, exactly as MAndrea predicted, no one has addressed the point she is making, but has resorted to ad hominem attacks.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    But since the link has been removed how is anyone meant to know what Mandrea actually said? Nothing like critiquing something you’ve not read eh folks?

  • June 27, 2008 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Transgenderism is a construct because it posits that the (constructed by patriarchy) gender categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are real.

    Transgender may refer to something like that… But I would hazard a guess that most trans people aren’t identifying with the gender but with the sex; in which case, your point, such as it is, becomes moot.

    homosexuality’ does not reify the gender binary but challenges it.

    Classic special pleading. How surprising!

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Oh and can someone please point me to the actual bit where Mandrea is “propagating a stereotype about trans women (that we take femininity to extremes) that’s used against us, to harm us, to police our behavior”

    And by pointing me to it I mean quote the actual words where she says this. Because if you can’t quote it, it isn’t there.

  • June 27, 2008 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    polly styrene:

    For a full explanation of how illogical mAndrea’s ideas about transgenderism are, you can read my blog analysis,m which is refreshingly free from ad hominem attacks (well, save one brief moment of slipping into a parody of mAndrea’s own writing style).

    As I point out there, gender is a multi-layered phenomenon, and the “fictional” part is the association of particular behavioural characteristics with particular physical characteristics. Those transgendered folks who are interested in the behavioural characteristics generally only go as far as adopting the display characteristics of the opposite gender, and don’t do anything about the physical characteristics, except insofar as these are helpful to “display”. Transsexual people, on the other hand, tend to be less worried about the behavioural or display characteristics, and only want the physical characteristics to match an underlying sense of their true physical self. Inasmuch as transsexual folks conform to gendered patriarchy norms, it is because they are as indoctrinated as anyone else in this society into those ideals. Thus, far from upholding the patriarchy, TG and TS tend to erode the strict association of “social” elements of gender with the physical designations of “man” and “woman”. Although it may be argued that transvestites and crossdressers tend to present an ideal of femininity that is rooted in the Patriarchy, the fact that they DON’T feel the need to have surgery to change their genitalia, kind of suggests that they’re saying that those things are independent of physical gender characteristics, no?

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Mike if most trans people are identifying not with the gender but the sex explain this:

    In the Uk you can undergo ‘gender reassignement’. This process involves changing your birth certificate. So if it initially read ‘boy’ it now reads ‘girl’ and vice versa.

    If people only want to change their biological “sex” (in itself a construct) – which involves swopping one set of genitals for another, why bother changing what your birth certificate says? Why bother changing your name? That is not changing your ‘sex’ it is changing your ‘gender’. No one ever swopped their penis for a vagina but was happy to continue to be a ‘man’. They want to be a ‘woman’.

    I gather by the phrase ‘special pleading’ that you can’t think of an argument to refute my point on homosexuality then. Nice try, but no cigar.

  • June 27, 2008 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    And by pointing me to it I mean quote the actual words where she says this. Because if you can’t quote it, it isn’t there.

    Right. Because unless she said those actual words, she couldn’t possibly have meant that.

    So if I call you an obese rugmuncher, I didn’t call you a fat lesbian. Because, you know, unless the actual words are there, it isn’t there. Because implication just does not exist.

    Right?

  • June 27, 2008 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    In the Uk you can undergo ‘gender reassignement’. This process involves changing your birth certificate. So if it initially read ‘boy’ it now reads ‘girl’ and vice versa.

    If people only want to change their biological “sex” (in itself a construct) – which involves swopping one set of genitals for another, why bother changing what your birth certificate says? Why bother changing your name? That is not changing your ’sex’ it is changing your ‘gender’. No one ever swopped their penis for a vagina but was happy to continue to be a ‘man’. They want to be a ‘woman’.

    LOGIC: UR DOIN IT RONG. Because trans* people still suffer discrimination and oppression (often from people like you!) based on their sexual reassignment. It’s the sexual equivalent of a dreidl; a survival mechanism in a world which hates you.

    I gather by the phrase ’special pleading’ that you can’t think of an argument to refute my point on homosexuality then. Nice try, but no cigar.

    Actually, Polly (nice nick, by the way – white, toxic and extremely lightweight describes you to a T), that was pointing out your logical fallacy: that you engaged in special pleading. Go and look it up.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Snowdrop explodes – I refer you to the answer above. If transsexual people only want to change their ‘sex’ and not their ‘gender’ why bother assuming a new name which pertains to the new gender. Eh?

    I am (by most defnitions) ‘transgendered’. IE I do not behave in accordance with ‘feminine’ behaviour. Occasionally, if dressed in baggy clothing, I am mistaken for a ‘man’. Except I don’t think gender exists. So I can’t be. I cannot be trans gendered because gender does not exist. You cannot transition something which does not exist.

    You cannot erode the concept of ‘gender’ by saying you are a ‘woman in a man’s body’ or a ‘man in a woman’s body’. You only make these concepts more real. Because you have to believe that there is such a thing as a man and a woman in the first place, to believe that you CAN be a ‘man’ in a ‘woman’s’ body or vice versa.

    Patriarchy defines the class ‘man’ and ‘woman’ very tightly. See my blog for an explanation of how this is done. What happens if a person who is born ‘male’ becomes ‘female’ is not that gender is challenged. Gender is reified. Because it reinforces the belief that a ‘woman’ is someone who has a vagina, clitoris etc, instead of a penis, testes etc, and that people with a vagina are always “women”. You don’t get to decide what gender you are – it’s decided for you.

    All that happens if you behave in a way that opposes gender norms (I do this myself every day), is that you get shit from patriarchy. Patriarchy does not throw up it’s hands and collapse. The only way to challenge the patriarchal system of gender is to expose it for the fiction it is. The ideas of transgenderism and transsexuality reify gender, they do not challenge it. Not the people – the ideas.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Still no argument then Nick? With what I actually said? Oh dear – Just an (extremely bizarre) attack on my assumed name – it’s a punk singer, look it up. And look up ad hominem while you’re at it.

    No the ‘survival mechanism’ argument doesn’t cut it, sorry. I am not saying that individual trans people don’t have the right to behave in any way they want to. What I am saying is that the concept of ‘transsexuality’ is about being a ‘woman’ trapped in a ‘man’s’ body. This reifies gender. No two ways about it. And something that reifies gender prolongs patriarchy.

    My life would be a lot easier if I looked traditionally ‘feminine’ and pretended I was ‘heterosexual’. But I’m not prepared to do that. Because I’m not prepared to conform to a norm that patriarchy wants me to. Unfortunately the vast majority of ‘trans’ people get shit in society because they are still perceived to be ‘trans’. So the so called “survival mechanism” doesn’t help them either. In fact it makes things worse, because most people who change sex are doomed to a life of pretence and fearing discovery. No fun about that.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    No Mike, I mean point me to the actual words from where you inferred M Andrea’s meaning. You know, cut and paste them, put them in quotation marks. The fact that you haven’t done this leads to me think you can’t.

    And call me an obese mugruncher if you want. It’s the internetz. For all you know I could be a thin heterosexual male.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Whoops I meant Mike, not nick.

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Oh and if being a ‘woman’ is not important why do so many trans activists blah on about how it is ‘transphobic’ to have a female assigned at birth only space eh? Answer me that?

  • polly styrene
    June 27, 2008 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Sadly folks the necessity of a real life (plus the fact that I’m actually at work) means I must leave this thread here, fun though it is. Maybe Mike will come back with an actual argument (clue Mike – it does not consist of repeating the words special pleading ad infinitum or attacking people’s names, but addressing the actual points they have actually made with an actual counterpoint), who knows. Meanwhile remember kids – gender isn’t real….

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    ” homosexuality’ does not reify the gender binary but challenges it.”

    Oh Jesus fuck. I’m not even going to attempt to address the head-up-ass contortions it would take to unpack how one reaches that conclusion: why the FUCK do you care? No, seriously? You know, not everyone wants to live their damn lives as a CHALLENGE TO THE SYSTEM or whatever the hell it is? The point of challenging the system is that the system doesn’t work for everyone, not for its own sake, for fuck’s sake.

    I mean, Jesus, so, what, even assuming that argument made any damn sense at all, now in order to -not- be a gratuitous asshole to one’s trans fellow travellers, they have to prove they win the Radical Sweepstakes? Fuck that noise. Listen, in a world where -anyone- runs the risk of falling between legal cracks, getting beaten up or killed for not conforming to heteronormativity (and if you think traditionally feminine-presenting trans women don’t get all of those things -simply for being trans- on TOP of the usual misogyny any woman gets, you really need to think again), I am not playing this fucked up Queen For A Day bullshit, and I do not understand why other people who -ought- to understand what this game is all about play it as well.

    and you know what? Eventually, the goal is that -none of us- run those risks, -can- live happily ever after, don’t have to be automatically politicized -simply because of this-. The goal is not to win the most points for Most Oppressedest Of All, Forever And Ever, Amen, And If You Upstarts Think You’re Taking That Dubious Prize Away From Us, You’re Crazy. At least, not in -my- universe it isn’t.

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “What I am saying is that the concept of ‘transsexuality’ is about being a ‘woman’ trapped in a ‘man’s’ body. This reifies gender.”

    Funny, I can recall a number of very recent conversations with actual trans people in which they were pretty damn emphatic that in fact for -them- it means no such thing, but christ jesus forbid we actually talk -to- trans people instead of -about- them.

    also, by the way, you do realize that a lot of people are trans AND queer, BOTH? And also genderqueer as well? Do the terms “trannyfag” or “trannydyke” mean anything to you? Butch and tomboy trannydykes and flamingly femme, even cross dressing trannyfags, even? (Yes, Some Of My Dear Friends Are). O no wait, let me guess, that’s not sufficiently -radical- either, they should just be hetero people then, never mind how they actually feel, that’s much more transgressive; and of course, who gives a shit what actually makes them happy, or just how much -easier- it is for them to transition -and- be gay rather than just smile and go along with whatever it is someone who isn’t actually in their skin thinks they’re supposed to be and do and feel. Whoever it is, and whatever it is THIS time.

    Because, I mean! I can’t possibly extend myself to understand anyone -else’s- shit! I’ve suffered too! More than ANYONE, really! And if I can’t be happy, NO ONE GETS TO BE HAPPY GODDAMIT.

    christ.

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    “the necessity of a real life”

    …oh, classic. Right, then, sorry to have wasted my time responding to you, Polly. p.s. fuck off.

    Just call me Memorex, then, same as all these other -imaginary constructs- you and your pals are so eager to -deconstruct-; imagine them, pretending to be actual people.

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “In fact it makes things worse, because most people who change sex are doomed to a life of pretence and fearing discovery. No fun about that.”

    DOOMED! DOOOOOOMED, I SAY!

    Yes, Polly, much in the same way that lesbians are doomed to a twilight existence of–oh, sorry, we’re -not- in an Ann Bannon pulp? Fuck me.

    Right, and of course, such measures as insisting that “people who change sex” do not belong in women only spaces, thereby closing off one of the few places a trans feminist woman (lesbian, too, yep, they exist) might feel safe, because fuck knows traditional mens’ spaces are GREAT for trans women, that doesn’t -contribute- to “a life of pretence and fearing discovery.” I mean, Sandy Stone, right? It was her fault for hiding herself like that from Olivia Records, and the “real women” had a perfect right to out her and insist she be fired. But that’s not MAKING the “tragic narrative,” heavens, no; it’s, what, their own fault, for being so, uhhhmmm, well, what is it now? Inherently fucked up? Falsely conscioused? Male?

    And of course, this sounds -nothing- like the whole,

    “Well! Studies show that homosexuals are 90% more likely to be alcoholic, promiscuous, and suicidal! Therefore, naturally we should feel sorry for the poor dears, but it’s -clear- that there’s something -wrong- with them. It’s not OUR fault. Not at ALL. NO.”

    did I mention the part about “fuck off?”

    I mean, seriously, you’re a butch lesbian; what does it take for the penny to drop? Seriously, what?

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    -calming slightly-

    I mean, if it were -only- here the argument about whether or not “cis” is appropriate for a non-gender-normative non-transitioning woman, as I take it you are, Polly, I get it, really: yeah, that’s not a perfect fit, perhaps, at least not “cisgender;” fine.

    But I mean: you talk as though the only options were being like you, or being some Renee Richards-like straight trans woman who fits all the conventional feminine norms.

    a) the system is set up in a way that encourages trans folk to fit traditional gender and sexuality norms, even now, although less than it used to be, as I understand it; still, a -lot- of trans people don’t fit it, never have, and in fact talk quite a bit about trying to navigate all those hoops and still live the life they want to live. Not trivial. Try listening sometime.

    b) Even if a given trans woman -does- end up looking and acting conventionally straight and feminine, so the fuck what? Why does this automatically exclude her from the radical tea party? Do you”deconstruct,” pathologize, turn away from the door -non- trans women who’re traditionally feminine, straight, married, etc? Because, funny, for all the claims of “oh, we scrutinize and criticize EVERYONE this way” (and maybe -you- do, Polly, which I am sure would make you a great hit at parties, really), I haven’t noticed a lot of that from “radical” circles, Polly. Not so’s makes nearly as much as an impact as “the trans issue,” anyway. *koffHeartkoff*.

    And, gee, I wonder why that is. Is it because the taint of biological malehood trumps everything, really? Is that what;s driving missives like mAndrea’s here?

    Or -maybe- is it because, garsh, trans people are -already- discriminated against in the greater society and, well, gee, so much easier to just go with the flow, neh? Everybody knows. Let them get their own space. Poor things. Something wrong with them. But what does it have to do with us? Let’s -examine- these creatures, but not listen to what they actually have to say for -themselves-, which is not at all -objectifying,- no, precious. ; and certainly, we can’t let them come in the front door, as though they BELONGED here or anything. I mean! They’re not -women.- Not REAL women. That’s SPECIAL, and we can’t share. Not that there’s any =privilege- in being a REAL woman, which is why we’re defending it to the death.

    “Right.”

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    “If people only want to change their biological “sex” (in itself a construct) – which involves swopping one set of genitals for another, why bother changing what your birth certificate says? Why bother changing your name?”

    Polly, you can’t really be this dense, can you?

    No, okay, try this: get rid of all your government issued identification, and then try getting on a plane, getting legally hitched, moving from one country to another, getting a job that isn’t under the table (yeah, gee K.A. whosis, I -wonder- why so many trans women are prostitutes; it must be because they LOVE it so much! unlike real women, who -never- do, even if they say they choose it, well, anyway), getting a driver’s license, going to school, or, well, just a shitload of other things.

    Yeah, gender may be a construct, and so is sex, even; and so is the fucking government in many ways; but guess what! Most of us who don’t dwell in theory land fulltime still have to adhere to the Construct’s standards in order to, what’s that constructed concept, “eat.”

  • June 27, 2008 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Polly,

    Oh and can someone please point me to the actual bit where Mandrea is “propagating a stereotype about trans women (that we take femininity to extremes) that’s used against us, to harm us, to police our behavior”

    And by pointing me to it I mean quote the actual words where she says this. Because if you can’t quote it, it isn’t there.

    What I was saying was in response to Natalie’s comment, hence quoting Natalie’s words.

    I’m not going to engage your arguments. As far as I’m concerned, you – like mAndrea – are arguing in bad faith, and are being willfully and deliberately obtuse. You’re shifting the goalposts as well, trying to force anyone who’ll play your game to agree to a position they may not hold just so you can shoot down the straw trans people.

    Perhaps people here aren’t aware of your normal mode of engagement when it comes to trans people.

  • June 27, 2008 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Okay, Polly, let’s look at this:

    Oh and if being a ‘woman’ is not important why do so many trans activists blah on about how it is ‘transphobic’ to have a female assigned at birth only space eh? Answer me that?

    By the same token: If being a ‘woman’ is not important, why have woman-only spaces at all?

    You say “survival mechanism” doesn’t work as an argument. Okay, but in that case, tell me this: do you know how you get to have GRS and undergo gender reassignment in the UK? I do. You have to spend 2 years living in the “acquired gender”, as defined by patriarchal medical authorities, and you have to convince those same authorities that you are genuinely “a woman in a man’s body” or vice versa. Now, how do you think you do that, except by conforming as far as possible with patriarchal norms of the opposite sex? You’re welcome to write as much as you like about transfolk issues, but please do your research first and make sure you know what you’re talking about.

    Then you talk about how being changed from “boy” to “girl” on the birth certificate “proves” that it’s about gender and not sex. Well, again, it’s about being accepted as who you feel you are. Your counter-example of yourself fails, because when it comes to entering a female-only space, I bet you’d be terribly upset if you were denied access because you look like a man: and I wonder how you’d seek to disprove the allegation that you are a man, in that situation? (For example, would you try pulling out your driving licence or other photo-id, which in turn will be dependent on the status of your birth certificate? or maybe you’d just strip off and show them your bits? but if gender isn’t real, then how would any of that prove anything?)

    As Belledame points out, not everyone can afford to live their lives challenging the system. In particular, a trans-person is, by their very existence, seen as a challenge to patriarchal norms, that’s why they face a much greater risk of violence, discrimination, abuse and harassment in society, whether or not they identify as “man” or “woman” (and regardless of birth-diagnosis of sex), and whether or not they live full-time in their “acquired gender”. You say, “All that happens if you behave in a way that opposes gender norms (I do this myself every day), is that you get shit from patriarchy.” Now, I refer you back to my post in which I dissected mAndrea’s “arguments”, and to the title of the report whose results I quoted: it’s called, “Engendered Penalties:
    Transgender and Transsexual
    People’s Experiences of
    Inequality and Discrimination”. Are you not in the least bit concerned that transgendered folk might be getting shit from the patriarchy for the same reason you are, and that this might negate your premise?

    The fact is, having legal recognition of the change of sex and gender, is a very important legal protection in employment, access to healthcare and other essentials of life.

    Take a look around you next time you’re walking through town, and ask yourself how many of the women you see are “reifying gender” by “choosing to be female”! How many of them adopt typically feminine modes of dress, behaviour, speaking? I don’t know, maybe Margaret should call herself Mark just to shake up the patriarchy a little bit more, hmm? If you’re not going to berate every woman who fails to shun completely the display signals of her gender, then why should you hold transfolk to a different standard?

  • June 27, 2008 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Let me get this right.
    If we transition because we don’t like the gender we were assigned we are reifying gender roles. If we transition because the little map in our heads says we should have a different set of genitals we are also reifying gender roles. If we are genderqueer or bigender we don’t exist.
    If we change our legal documents its because its obviously about gender and not sex and therefore we are lieing liars who lie. Trans*folks are only trans* because we don’t want to be feminine/gay men or masculine/gay women.

    Is that about right Polly?
    I mean, I already know that as that trannyfag Belle mentioned I don’t exist. So I should just let you tell me who and what I am and why I do those things I do.
    Please, enlighten me as to what I should do to challenge gender since being myself, a fem gay man with a vag, just isn’t cutting it!

  • A.W.
    June 27, 2008 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

    …Hey, Polly, since I apparently don’t exist as I know myself, it follows that if I write what I think of your and your pals ‘theories’ about myself and my life, no one will actually see my post, right? Y’know, because I don’t exist?

    In that case Polly, when some indivuals create and endorse deliberately ignorant, vile, ~incredibly~ foolish ‘theories’ in attempts to hold groups they don’t like to much a higher, impossible standard that they don’t hold themsevles to just so they can say “Ha! You Fail! And you Suck, too!”, based on no evidence whatsoever, I feel perfectly free to tell you that I think you and the rest of those charmingly ignorant individuals are transphobic assholes for making our lives ~Harder~. But it’s alright, because I don’t exist, so this post can’t possibly upset you with its disagreement of your ‘thought out opinions’.

  • June 27, 2008 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    “But since the link has been removed how is anyone meant to know what Mandrea actually said?”

    You put your fingers together and google. Not that hard innit.

  • June 27, 2008 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    “not everyone can afford to live their lives challenging the system.”

    Not everyone can afford to, AND not everyone wants to; and you know what, that’s their prerogative. One doesn’t have the right to demand a particular class of people only exist as a kind of walking epater le bourgeois/battering ram to the Patriarchy/whatever the fuck it is this week. Sometimes, people just want to work, live, love, go to the goddam toilet, without EVERYTHING being a goddam struggle all the time. And at -minimum- would appreciate, if you can’t help them battle the eight kazillion other people and forces blithely preventing them from so doing, on account of you’ve got your own shit and can’t be bovvered with Other Peoples’ Problems, at least not CONTRIBUTING to their problem. Is it really that hard to understand? Polly? Bewilderness? mAndrea? Bueller?

  • RenegadeEvolution
    June 27, 2008 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Woman/man are take offs on the biological designations female/male, used for people exclusively to differentiate us from other animals…and oddly enough, differences between men and woman, male and female, they do exist in physical, biological form. And yep, sure enough, gender roles and stereotypes came forth from them, and it’s great to challenge them…but here in the really real world, they do exist, and so long as most people believe “man” & “woman” exist, they do.

    In fact, I suspect a great many people are happy that definitions such as “man” and “woman”…not necessarily masculine and feminine, but “man” and “woman”. Yet sometimes, the biological just doesn’t match the way it should. I mean, say, for instance, a person would feel better about themselves and more comfortable with…oh, a short haircut? Or braces? Or wearing the color blue? Maybe learning Latin or something? Is this some great threat needs such dissection? Hey, short hair reinforces gender stereotypes after all…but why is someone’s haircut anyone else’s business, and up for discussion and evisceration by…what? Cis women? People who don’t believe in Man & Woman? The Pope? The Patriarchy? Whoever? If transpeople feel a reason, that in and of itself is enough, and they are still PEOPLE. Like everyone else. Maybe in the world where you have, oddly enough, a real job, there is no gender, but for the rest of the world? It’s still staring in our faces. You know, all those OTHER people.

  • June 27, 2008 - 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, can anyone prove that gender isn’t real? I’m not talking about gender roles; I’m sure we all agree that being a boy doesn’t mean you must like trucks or that being a girl means you must like babies.
    I’m talking about an internal sense of identity. Can you prove that there is none, or that everyone who says they have an internal sense of gender (again, not gender roles) are lying/deceived?
    What about subconcious sex–the idea that a person has internal sense of sex that may or may not coincide with their actual sexual characteristics–can you prove there isn’t one?

    Plenty of trans* and non-trans* folk say they have an internal sense of gender or sex. There are some studies that look promising that may prove that there is, at least, an internal sense of sex.
    Prove to me, Polly, thebewilderness, mAndrea, or whoever, that this is not true. Don’t just tell me I’m lying or deceiving myself when I know I should have male primary and secondary sexual characteristics; show, not tell.

  • June 27, 2008 - 11:11 pm | Permalink

    I just love how subjective reality isn’t valid when talking about -one’s own experience,- and what one wishes to do with -one’s own body/presentation-; no, it must all be defended with LOGIC. As in, it is -logical-, formally speaking, to throw at someone else, “yeah, well, -prove- to me that your existence and experience is valid!” and not fallacy #34 as found on the back of the Bigot-O’s cereal box.

  • June 27, 2008 - 11:15 pm | Permalink

    …when in reality, the burden of proof is on the person who made the proposition that (other people) transitioning from one gender to another is “bad for ‘real’ women.” As in, I, a so-called ‘real’ woman, (for example) am somehow injured by the existence of one of the trans women here, or the fact that they might even (gasp) call themselves female, share my “women-only space.” Prove it. Defend your case. So far, not seeing it.

    And while we’re at it, if someone could explain to me how gay marriage/rights harms straight people, as in, some -actual- straight marriage(s)/people, that would be peachy.

  • June 28, 2008 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow… I go and pay some attention to my real life and the whole thread goes hugemongous. Damn it, now I have to read this whole damn comment thread.

  • Julia
    June 28, 2008 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Watch out, Polly, you are making way too much sense. Expect to be attacked, trashed and stalked from here on out.

  • June 28, 2008 - 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that’s exactly why people are reacting to her the way we are.

    “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!”

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    –Carl Sagan

  • June 28, 2008 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Watch out, Polly, you are making way too much sense. Expect to be attacked, trashed and stalked from here on out.

    Just like David Icke!

  • June 29, 2008 - 5:15 am | Permalink

    m Andrea here.

    Some of you folks in this thread are too much! LOL

    What is with this Belledame person? Please, calm down. Shouting and repetition is not an argument, you should know that by now.

    Let’s take a breath and remember a few things, shall we?

    Claiming something is “phobic” becomes valid only after the criticisms have been addressed and proven to be wrong.

    But some insist that we shouldn’t address any criticisms, some claim that we should accept opinion as fact.

    That isn’t honest, fair, or logical. And you know it. That attitude would not be acceptable for any other subject under discussion, and it’s not acceptable for this one.

    For all the claims of “hatred” directed my way, not one single person has been able to explain why transgenderism is not a fetish.

    After 30 years of asking for an explaination and never getting a logical response, a reasonable person would rightly assume that there isn’t one.

    You do realize that when an argument sits unchallenged and unrefuted, after a certain period of time it becomes automatically vindicated, right?

    Anyone is welcome to prove invalid anything I have said in my posts — come on over to my blog, you’re more than welcome, really!! LOL

  • June 29, 2008 - 5:45 am | Permalink

    Plenty of us have explained, in more threads than anyone can count, what being trans* feels like, the diversity, etc. hells, I even answered your “prove it’s not a fetish” thing over on Lisa’s blog. It’s not my fault if you decided not to read it.
    And SnowdropExplodes and Ren answered your “logic” in their own posts, Snow’s is even linked to on this very thread!

  • June 29, 2008 - 5:51 am | Permalink

    And I for one am grateful to Belle for her comments and her care, shes a real ally imo. *gives props to Belle*

  • June 29, 2008 - 7:09 am | Permalink

    m Andrea,
    When you choose to make an argument to address, and consider backing it up with something resembling evidence, empirical data, or a connection to the real people you’re talking about, I’m sure there will be plenty of us willing to dignify your incoherent rantings with a response.

    You want to talk about honest, fair, or logical, you might actually consider engaging with, listening to, or interacting with some of the people you’re telling to justify their existence on your terms and while you’re hurling abusive invective at them. Telling people what your vile and insulting “explanations” for their lives are, and then telling them that if they disagree with you, they’re delusional or lying–if that’s the “asking for an explanation” you’ve been doing for thirty years, it’s no surprise you haven’t gotten an answer that satisfies you.

    The argument that the moon is made of malevolent cheese has been sitting there unchallenged and unrefuted for a while now, too. Because sensible people have known better than to think that the guy on the streetcorner shouting that it’s so isn’t really worth the time and energy to argue with.

    Run along and play. It’s tiresome engaging in a battle of wits with someone who’s come in unarmed.

  • June 29, 2008 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    What little light and Drakyn said.

    What Ren Ev and SnowDropExplodes said.

    What Jack Goff said.

    What Belledame said.

    What I’ve said.

    It’s all out there. I’ll also repeat what I said on my blog: “You do not want your arguments examined according to logical standards.” I mean it – you’re not arguing logically. Your conclusion requires that the reader accept your premise as true. You do not prove the premise to be true, you simply beg the question over and over again.

    Your silly standard that “I must refute every single thing you say before I can call your arguments phobic” is also false. I only need to demonstrate that one of your arguments is phobic to prove you’re phobic.

    Since I can cherry pick this one pretty easily – your enthusiastic agreement with KA that trans women are enthusiastic participants in prostitution for the sake of colluding with sexist men to provide them with female bodies to abuse. That’s an extremely bigoted – extremely misogynist – view of trans women, and one you cheerfully and enthusiastically endorse.

    You’re transphobic.

  • June 29, 2008 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    As for your whole “transgenderism is a fetish” thing – why is it on any trans person to disprove your canard? Shouldn’t you need to prove through actual logic (not argument by assertion) that there’s a reasonable basis for judging transgenderism (or transsexualism) to be a fetish?

    And that doesn’t even get into the fact that you’re also trying to stigmatize the idea of having a fetish in a first place, that a fetish is a less legitimate part of a person’s makeup.

    You’re not arguing in good faith. You’re setting out to discredit and attack trans people, but you’re also ignoring everything that’s ever said to you in response – only to later, triumphantly, falsely declare that no one can answer your questions.

    No human being owes you answers to the kinds of questions you ask. No one is required to justify their existence in the face of hateful bigotry.

  • Zenobia
    June 29, 2008 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    not one single person has been able to explain why transgenderism is not a fetish

    Argh.

    I mean, anyone who calls herself ‘feminist’, argues that certain classes of women shouldn’t be allowed to talk about their own experience, goes into a thread and tells them what they are and how they feel about stuff, claims to be gender-variant or genderless while (1) calling herself Miss Andrea and (2) being completely unaware of her cisgendered privilege, has been arguing the same things for 30 years, and uses such expressions as ‘Orwellian doublethink’ and does little diagrammes with puzzle pieces to prove, er, something or other… you know, why argue?

    No, Andrea, gender dysphoria isn’t a fetish. I mean, Jesus motherfucking christ. And, as Lisa says, jumping up and down ignoring what people are saying while going ‘I’m smarter than all of you, look at me, I’m arguing!’ does not constitute a watertight argument.

  • Zenobia
    June 29, 2008 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    No, Andrea, gender dysphoria isn’t a fetish. I mean, Jesus motherfucking christ.

    By which I mean, you just don’t ask people to prove to you that their gender or sexual orientation ‘isn’t a fetish’, particularly if you think you’re some kind of feminist. Although, as far as I’m concerned, you’re like ten times more patriarchal than any patriarch I’ve ever met, with your idea of ‘arguing’ and the way you treat other women, you’ve pretty much got the biggest strap-on I’ve ever seen.

  • June 29, 2008 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Hmm… Having read the thread after my absence, I don’t think I’ll be replying to Polly, as it might be too disruptive to things as they stand. I may blog about it elsewhere, though.

  • June 29, 2008 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

    What is with this Belledame person, mAndrea, is that she is tired of bigots spouting off about people who happen to include her friends and loved ones, as well as reminding her way too much of the particular kind of bigots who make -her own life- more difficult because they are too lazy to bother trying to -not- be bigots. She is particularly tired of said bigots apparently being taken seriously enough by serious people (hi, Natalie, is that all you have to say?) to let some of the most jaw-droppingly asinine and -hateful- bloviations slide right by as “feminist theory.”
    Most of all she is tired of trying to engage rampant assholes like you in good faith when it’s blatantly obvious that you are neither willing nor capable of doing any such thing yourself. (Your crap at Kim’s was equally charming; the “retards” of the world all thank you for your selfless concern).

    But really, mAndrea, I thought you of all people would understand: aren’t you against tear-stained faces and whining and “impatient” with stupidity? Funny, I feel EXACTLY the same way. Except, well, do not ask for whom the stupid/Halp Halp I’m Bein Oppressed Bell tolls, mAndrea, it tolls for thee. Your post was read; it did not go over well; you are welcome to tell yourself it’s because you’re just too damn -radical- for the likes of us, but you can do it somewhere else. You’re not wanted. Deal.

  • June 29, 2008 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

    >>Although, as far as I’m concerned, you’re like ten times more patriarchal than any patriarch I’ve ever met, with your idea of ‘arguing’ and the way you treat other women, you’ve pretty much got the biggest strap-on I’ve ever seen.>>

    Zenobia ftw. even if it does suck to taint a perfectly good strap-on by association that way…

  • June 29, 2008 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

    and: Do not tell me to calm down, asshole. Blame my wandering womb or my delicate femme nature if you like, but I’m good and angry at you, along with a number of other people here (i.e. the -actual trans people- that you STILL don’t acknowledge directly) and that is a perfectly -rational- response to your provocations.

    Frankly, the only reason I’d have for agreeing I’m giving too much emotional energy to this is because -you- are, well, as Mike suggests, rather David Ickean. And if you hadn’t been Carnivalized here, (well, and the random potshots/trolls you drop at pals of mine), I’d probably still be mostly cheerfully ignoring you, spiced with the occasional light mockage, as you deserve.

    “Attention, attention must be paid,” I guess. How’s it feel, mAndrea? Enjoying your fifteen minutes of quasi-relevance, are you?

  • June 29, 2008 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    (little light also for the win)

    and yeah, that’s the “burden of proof” fallacy exemplified.

    “Prove to me that you aren’t a flesh-eating macaca! Well?! WELL??!”

    “I’m not a macaca, and actually I’m a vegan.”

    “Can you -prove- you’re not a macaca?”

    “This is a macaca: ___

    This is me: ___

    Do you have a problem with macacas or something, btw? p.s. what the hell is wrong with you?”

    “You still haven’t proved you aren’t a macaca, and typically now you’re resorting to insults. Anyone? Anyone??”

    “…You know, I think I left the kettle on.”

    “You see?! You see?? –Hey, where are you going?

    Come back here! I’ll bite your legs off!…”

  • June 29, 2008 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    There is almost an entire generation of folks who were raised to believe that if any one criticises them, and subsequently that criticism hurts their feelings, then the criticism must be wrong.

    I’m sorry, I truly am, but whoever explained injustice to you in that way left out a very important step. Having hurt feelings is not why some thing is wrong. A thing is wrong because it invalidates a right to which you are entitled. Your hurt feelings are a consequence of that right being disrepected; your hurt feelings are not proof that a right exists.

    So in order to claim that anyone should care overly much about your hurt feelings, it it necessary to prove that a right to which you are entitled has been invalidated or disrepected.

    And we have zero evidence that fetishists are entitled to widespread public support, especially given that it so closely resembles a form of mental illness.

    And in order to prove that it is not a mental illness, someone needs to prove that transgenderism is not a fetish. The ultimate positive form of that would be to say that someone needs to prove that gender is real. You say that it can’t be done, and you would be correct. It is possible, however, to prove using logic that gender is a made-up social construct — which invalidates the entire transgenderism argument.

    People keep saying that I’m not listening, but I HAVE heard the cries of the transfolk, you just don’t like the response.

    Belledame, no one ever likes the person who topples a sacred cow, or brings bad news. The messenger is usually shot, I believe, and afterwards everyone pretends that they weren’t among the flat-earthers.

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