Transwomen are not women because they weren’t born with a pussy.
Anyone who thinks that hormones and surgery makes someone female is as crackheaded as someone who thinks that someone can be turned into a dog with a few small operations and a fur coat.
Women are defined by their reproductive biology and how that reproductive biology separates their experience from those who aren’t born female.
People can be easily and fundamentally divided by birth sex, so nobody who didn’t go through puberty as a female can ever really be a woman. If they make that claim, they are just deluded and sick men.
This is the claim of one famous Australian who wrote a classic feminist book. And her words are being flung about far and wide, forcing various transpeople to try and counter them.
She is right about sex.
We cannot yet change the sex of a human body, even if we can change certain secondary sexual characteristics with hormones and surgery.
And even if we could, the experience of going through puberty as female and then having the social expectations of womanhood piled upon us can never be recreated. We will never know what it is like to have the male gaze and the expectations of fertility and sexual availability put upon us.
She is right. We can’t change the sex of a male body into a female body, cannot recreate the sexist stuff piled onto a nubile young woman.
The question, though, is if that is really a feminist viewpoint.
I suggest that it is not. To me, it seems like just another sexist harangue, no different than any fundamentalist who ever made the claim that people are defined by their reproductive biology.
Females should be property of males, females shouldn’t have the vote, females shouldn’t hold sacred or secular power, females should have different pay scales, females should be treated differently in law, females should be protected and limited in the process because females are fundamentally different than males and always will be.
Anyone who doesn’t understand that is a crackpot and a fool. They speak bullshit that ignores the truth that humans are fundamentally divided by sex.
That is the definition of sexist thought, that people are and always will be defined by their reproductive biology.
The defining statement of feminism is that women are people too. It’s not fair or smart to separate people by their sex.
Feminism says that our brain and our spirit, as revealed by our choices, is who we are as people.
Feminism says that nobody should be separated out by biology first.
Feminists came up with the understanding that sex and gender are different things. Sure, there are biological differences which cross all mammals, but as humans we have layered gender roles on top of that biology.
Feminism worked to tease out the line between biological sex and the social constructions of gender humans built on top of those differences to keep females in their place (1997).
Racism said that racial differences between humans — the color of their skin and shape of their body — made some humans fundamentally different, so that we could treat them differently in racist ways. You know, force them into slavery, colonize their cultures, all that.
Sexism says that sexual differences between humans — their reproductive biology — makes some humans fundamentally different, so we have to treat them differently in sexist ways. You know, treat them like property, deny them the vote, all that.
Identity politics, though — second wave feminism — wants to believe that those separations are real but that they should only be used to benefit group members rather than to disadvantage them in any way. Identity politics wants to continue easy sexist separations — males and females are fundamentally different –but then claim some kind of liberation past sexism.
That notion doesn’t work. Either people are fundamentally able to be separated by sex or that separation is false, and females are human first and female second.
The problem with sexual separation is that while it can make easy cuts, it is useless in understanding individuals. Sure, females may, statistically be shorter in height and smaller than males, but if I tell you someone was born female, can you tell me how tall she is? Is she shorter or taller than the average male?
It works this way with every statistical division by sex you can assert. The difference between any two individuals with the same reproductive biology identified at — the same sex — may easily be be greater than the difference between the statistically average difference between the sexes.
Females may average 5′ 5″ say and males 5′ 8″, but some females will be 6′ 3″ and some males will be 5′ 1″. Does this make them less female or less male?
I know from living with a woman whose puberty was externally brought on at age 10 in a traumatic way to stop her growing taller and who still ended up at 6′ 3″ that she felt the sexist pressure, felt gender abuse because of her non-normative height.
The question is simple: does being a feminist give you free reign to be sexist and assert a fundamental separation of humans by sex?
Or does being feminist come with an obligation to judge people first by something other than their reproductive biology?
I understand why people like simple, easy, and false binaries. Sexism and racism and lots of other tribal separations make us feel compartmentalized and protected, make us feel like there is an us and a them, a team and an enemy, a division between good and evil.
To him, sexism, separating people by birth reproductive biology, is fundamental to Christian doctrine.
Just like to this aged feminist, sexism, separating people by birth reproductive biology is fundamental to feminist doctrine.
Minnie Bruce Pratt talks eloquently about this challenge, She campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and was challenged by people who said it would mean the end of bathrooms separated by sex, just like civil rights meant the end of bathrooms separated by race, and that would be awful.
She initially thought this was crazy, but after falling into relationship with Leslie Feinberg, she got it. Yes, committing to the idea that reproductive biology — birth sex — wasn’t the basis of a fundamental separation of humans meant that we no longer had that easy and comforting wall to hide behind.
In Mumbai, they have women only carriages on the immensely crowded trains. At first glance, this seems to be a separation by sex, but where would hejira ride? Would they be best crammed in with the men or the women? Or should they be denied public accommodation altogether? This is a separation by gender, not by sex, by role, by everything.
Today, this kind of sexist political thought disguised as feminism isn’t as widespread, but for the aging feminist author and I, we went though this shit.
Sure. We can’t change the sex of a human body, and transwomen will never have the standard experience of those who go through puberty as female.
But will anyone ever have the standard experience of puberty? Or will we each have a very individual experience, unique to us?
Transmen go though puberty as female, but their experience is very different. The social, gendered experience laid on us as we are gendered varied by where we grew up, the values of our family, so many things. Who gets to say if we really speak for all females, all women, or we are weird?
I spent a decade going through this crap.
But the net net is simple:
Does calling yourself a feminist, does even being called a feminist, mean that you are allowed to be as sexist and abusive to others as you want to be?
Do you get to judge who is one of them, an idiot, an enemy, a usurper colonizing people like you and trash them with rude comments just because you think you can never be called sexist?
Does your identification as a victim of sexism mean that you get to be as exist as you want? Does being bullied mean that you can never be a bully, that somehow you have a gold plated excuse?
Sure, there is no such thing as a sex change. But are people fundamentally defined by their birth reproductive biology, or by their character and their self knowledge, as revealed by the choices they make in the world?
Is separation by biology — sexism — fundamentally true, or are we all just fundamentally human, just with our own unique essence?
As for me, I hate sexist pricks. Even when they cloak themselves in the rationalization that their sexist shit is just good old feminism.