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Sarah, The Bringer of Tea - On Being Ashamed of Feminism and its Hypocrisy
5th November, 2009
09:58 am

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On Being Ashamed of Feminism and its Hypocrisy
Feeling so very disappointed right now.

Until feminism as a movement stops being mainly an exercise in navel-gazing for middle-class, educated, white cissexual women, until those professing to be feminists stop holding up bigots like Raymond, Greer and Bindel as icons because they're getting damp over some paragraph they once wrote, until the movement at large takes itself seriously enough to apply its supposed principles to cover all women, and all cases where the powerful oppress the powerless, regardless of sex, gender, race, education, class, income, etc., until someone can make a post about trans people having sex on a supposed feminist discussion board without commenters claiming that a trans person (and you know they mean trans woman) having sex without disclosing their medical history is non-consensual sex (i.e. rape) which should be prosecuted, and having half the people in the discussion sharing a similar sentiment...

...until then, I'm going to proclaim loudly and clearly, "I'm not with them."

By the way, did you know that teh tranz is just like an STD? You can probably even catch it from a snog!

(Also, I think that interpreting "the emotional strain caused by the non disclosure is actionable, and so should it be when one hides the fact of them being trans" as "it's OK to kill trans women after fucking them" is probably not that much of a stretch, as you know, that does actually happen quite a lot).

Originally posted at http://auntysarah.dreamwidth.org/214250.html - you can comment here or there.

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From:nixwilliams
Date:5th November, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
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oh, WHAT THE FUCK is this bullshit? . . . i can't read any more of that. gross.
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 10:41 am (UTC)
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I didn't reach the bottom, but trying is like mining an inexhaustible seam of fail.
From:jennyemily
Date:5th November, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
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Wow. Where do you find these people? Words fail me. Do we get to claim sexual assualt if we had a sexual relationship with them and they failed to disclose they were bigoted first?
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
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Where do you find these people?

They're walking around, everywhere, right now.

And you know what the scariest thing is? These aren't the sort of people with a Daily Mail mentality - if they're on that site, they're gonna be more of a Guardian/Indy mentality. These are the nice ones.

And in answer to your rhetorical question, apparently not, because we're the ones who evoke disgust and loathing in any right minded person, apparently, not them. The world is truly upside-down.
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From:1ngi
Date:5th November, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)
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Blimey - yep, treating an individual like they have a dirty secret is so life affirming I find.

Going back to the original article - I thought this was well put:

"When you say that trans people are obligated either to be celibate or to come out to their sexual partners, you're suggesting that trans people should either disappear on their own or identify themselves so that they can be ignored, all for the benefit of transphobic people who would prefer it if they simply didn't exist.

You're telling transgender people to participate in their own oppression."


Which bit of that did the commenter not get?

They're using the same argument a BNP idiot might use on someone like me - anyone who is a descendant of a black person should declare it incase we gets hurt! It's so obvious that's a racist statement to the extreme. Using that same argument to ask a trans person to disclose - is transphobic. End of.

*hugs*

Edited for spellingez

Edited at 2009-11-05 10:36 (UTC)
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
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They're using the same argument a BNP idiot might use on someone like me - anyone who is a descendant of a black person should declare it incase we gets hurt!

Yes.

The thing that boggles my mind about all of this is the way so many of them seem to feel there's some sort of essential difference involved which makes, e.g. a post op trans woman who a man fancies and sleeps with be an enjoyable experience if and only if that man doesn't know she's a trans woman. If he does know, then it turns from being "a good shag" into a deeply traumatic experience which will leave emotional scars for life.

Why?

Edited at 2009-11-05 10:39 (UTC)
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From:biascut
Date:5th November, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
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Wow. WOW.

People are horrifying.
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
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I'm used to comment threads about teh trans being full of fail, but this one seems to elevate the fail to a new and grotesque artform.
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From:aesmael
Date:5th November, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
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Deja vu there. Had to check those links were not posted in 2007, because I could have sworn I'd read the exact same comments claiming 'being lied to is worse than the actual transgression' and so on...
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From:meepettemu
Date:5th November, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
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I am reading. And currently amused be the person shouting educational privilege about the use of the word "flounce". I feel I'm going to be very annoyed shortly..
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From:uisgebeatha
Date:5th November, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
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Ha, yes, I fell off my seat when I saw that. Hooray for 'your-privilege-is-bigger-than-mine' feminist arguments... ¬_¬
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From:uisgebeatha
Date:5th November, 2009 11:47 am (UTC)
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I was going to write a long and coherent reply, but instead I shall give you this icon and the phrase WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN

>.>
From:nixwilliams
Date:5th November, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
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i think i have fallen in love with your icon. (wtf?!) please to be telling me from whence it came?
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From:lnr
Date:5th November, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
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I think it's sad if you have to declare you're not with the feminism movement because of the actions of some within it. Obviously that's your prerogative, especially as you're going to notice this sort of thing much more than I do, I just wish it weren't necessary. Still, I am a feminist and I'm not like that, and condemn those who are. I suspect there are many others replying here who could say something similar. I hope that helps just a little.
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
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I appreciate the sentiment and share it to an extent. It seems, especially when I'm having a bout of SAD-induced cynicism, that this stuff is pervasive though, and I grow weary of feeling that the disclaimer, "but not like THAT" to "I'm a feminist" seems to be always necessary.

*GRUMP*
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From:atropinesulfate
Date:5th November, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
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Reading the comments makes me want to proclaim loudly and clearly "I'm not with anybody", but it's pretty hard when I'm under two duvets.

Just... ugh. People make me sad.
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From:whisperkit
Date:5th November, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
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Urgh. The comments on that thread are disgusting.
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From:arkady
Date:5th November, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
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What stood out for me in that first comment thread you've linked to, is the insistence that a transwoman can only ever be a man pretending to be a woman. I mean, WTF?? The amount of fail in those comments can be pretty much summed up right there - the assumption that men will stop at nothing to have sex with a lesbian, even going so far as painful and invasive surgery to physically become a woman just to have sex with one??

I can smell the transphobia way over here and it sickens me - and I'm not even its target.

People like that are why whilst I probably count as one of those middle-class, educated, white cissexual women you refer to, I refuse to consider myself a feminist whist people like that claim the title yet insist on excluding a group of women on the basis of what external genitalia they happened to be born with.

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From:auntysarah
Date:6th November, 2009 10:46 am (UTC)
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What stood out for me in that first comment thread you've linked to, is the insistence that a transwoman can only ever be a man pretending to be a woman. I mean, WTF??

All hail the mighty Purity of the True Wymyn!
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From:natalie_456
Date:5th November, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
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(i'm not going near the link cause I'm already pissed off by Republicans and their tax dollars, but) just, GRR. In an inverted world, does a cis woman have to disclose to the trans person she's about to sleep with "by the way, I've always had a vagina". Does the person who's experimented with their sexuality have to disclose to a partner "by the way, I've slept with someone of a different gender / sex to you".

fail. massive fail. AND TO THINK SO PEOPLE ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT POST-FEMINISM 'oh we've achieved gender equality so its all good now' JUST WTF.
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From:natalie_456
Date:5th November, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
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(for the record, by "inverted world" : i mean a hypothetical world where the %s of the world's population for cis & trans people are the other way around, with trans vastly outnumbering cis)
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From:rozk
Date:5th November, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
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I've added a few thoughts to this disturbingly Fail-filled thread.
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Your response is made of distilled awesome!
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From:hobbitblue
Date:5th November, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
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I don't understand what they're fretting about, truly. If you've got to know a person enough to have sex with them, presumably you like them and the body you see and the person you're engaging with. Other than forgetting to point out to the prosepective partner that the genitals don't match with the rest (which I rather presume a person *would not* do), I can't see an issue.
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From:auntysarah
Date:5th November, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
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But, but, what about ... you know ... the cooties?

(seriously, you're right, but some people seem to have difficulty advancing past the "icky girls/boys!!!" phase)
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From:jessie_c
Date:5th November, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Feministing is filled with cisprivilege fail.
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From:allieflowlight
Date:5th November, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
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Here via aesmael, mainly to say that I like your journal, and I think I will start reading it regularly.

I hear you on the "not with them" thing. It can be tough for me, as well, to identify as a feminist when they seem to care so little about trans folks.
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From:auntysarah
Date:6th November, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
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Thanks, and welcome :-)
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From:valeriekeefe
Date:5th November, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I've replied to a cis feminist who thought trans women should be asking cis permission to transition. (Of course, we effectively do in most of the world, but that's beside the point.) There is no end of trans misogyny dressed up as misandry dressed up as gender liberation to be found in feminist circles, even among really awesome trans allies. Had an acquaintance who's really activist tell me that she thought it was worse for trans masculine trans people because they faced male and cis privilege, for almost a second until I gently differed and she realized what had been said and backed away from that rad fem trope in a second.

Sarah, you are not alone in your frustration, and if I have time, I shall wade into this river of feminist fail and do battle. I must. For someone is being wrong on the internet.
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From:auntysarah
Date:6th November, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)
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Oh, I've replied to a cis feminist who thought trans women should be asking cis permission to transition. (Of course, we effectively do in most of the world, but that's beside the point.)

Well quite.
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From:aumentou
Date:5th November, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
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I saw that thing yesterday, and didn't read all the comments because I couldn't reply to them. Then I worked out that LJ doesn't authenticate properly and got an account on it, and went back. Now I'm not very cheerful. I'm sort of tempted to go back and sort the negative comments by the gender of the commentators, because I got the feeling* that it was mostly men saying unpleasant things and I vaguely want to confirm or shred that impression.

*you know, a rough guess, so quite possibly wrong

Either way, these are the liberals? The free-ish-thinkers? The ones who aren't told what to do by booming beardy voices in the sky? And these are the ones who are a very small step from telling us to wear badges identifying us? I think I actually prefer honest bigotry to deluded hypocrites claiming that "not-trans" is a morally acceptable sexual preference and not transphobia with a new paint job.

Apologies for the mini rant.
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From:snakey
Date:5th November, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
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I think I actually prefer honest bigotry to deluded hypocrites claiming that "not-trans" is a morally acceptable sexual preference and not transphobia with a new paint job.

This.
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From:purplegril
Date:5th November, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
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Bah! I've been enjoying the feministing blog (never been on the community bit before) for a few weeks and am so sad to see all those comments on a place I thought was really good. Poop.
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From:auntysarah
Date:6th November, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)
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Sorry 'bout that :-(
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From:maevele
Date:5th November, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
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i just want to respond 'OMG WHY ARE YOU SUCH AN ASSHOLE' to like a zillion comments there.
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From:hilarityallen
Date:5th November, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
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The comments on that post are quite sickening. It shouldn't be the case that you even need to make the original post - it's such a stupid idea. And then people come and drip transphobic ichor over a perfectly sensible post, making you recall once again that the world is full of people who love to hate the Other, however defined :(

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From:numberland
Date:5th November, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
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I haven't read that much of that thread or this but I'd just like to say:

WTF! Some of those comments are really quite dire and at points make me feel rather sick. Please don't give up on the rest of us who think this sort of thing is abominable.

ARGH.

When you get serious *then* you *might* have some degree of right to know this just as with anything else in life but only if it actually matters (for e.g. fertility reasons) in your relationship.

Until you are bloody serious and telling them a lot of personal things you have not the slightest right to know. If they actually lie then, yes, I would be angry but not any more. Certainly not to call it sexual assault. People are very rarely completely open and honest, why should an issue where someone's safety potentially at risk if they disclose should they be expected to???
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From:artela
Date:5th November, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
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I didn't read the article, but I have "issues" with the more radical feminists anyway - I prefer to not be though of or referred to as a feminist - I prefer the term egalitarian (I don't limit it purely to women, I think everyone regardless of gender/sexuality/creed/colour/etc should be treated as equality of opportunity and equality of treatment with the only bias being that of "merit" where such is warranted (i.e. for jobs, higher ed, etc). (p.s. I'm a middle-class, educated, white cissexual woman... please don't confuse me with people like Greer and Bindel - they don't speak for all of us!)
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From:auntysarah
Date:6th November, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
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p.s. I'm a middle-class, educated, white cissexual woman... please don't confuse me with people like Greer and Bindel - they don't speak for all of us!

Well, I've got all those checkboxes apart from the cis one - I'm pretty privileged in many ways. Some of the people on that thread seem to be practically revelling in their privilege though. :-(
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From:twigletzone
Date:6th November, 2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
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(Coming in via snakey's link)

By the way, did you know that teh tranz is just like an STD? You can probably even catch it from a snog!

I will go out this very afternoon, find women who would make very pretty gay boys and snog them a lot. Spread the love!

As for feminism - after getting into a few scraps with the deeply self-hating transmale gender studies graduates who inhabit the murky depths of some of LJ's FTM communities, I'm really starting to develop a deep skepticism for its value, not just for trans people but for reality in general. It really seems to have a deep vein of misandry and to be, as you say, largely an exercise in academic self-congratulation. With all the privileged outlook access to academia implies. Obfuscating your bigotry in politically correct jargon doesn't make it not bigoted.
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From:auntysarah
Date:13th November, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Obfuscating your bigotry in politically correct jargon doesn't make it not bigoted.

Quite so.

And the academic self-congratulation school of "feminism", I've seen it not just in trans men, but in trans women too (or should that be "tryns wymyn"?)
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From:cheshire_bitten
Date:7th November, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
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Does that happen pre transtion did I rape all my exs by not being out to them I mean they thought I was a girl but I supprise?
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