I think I might lack the constancy to be writing or blogging at all. I change my mind too much. I read old opinion pieces I wrote and think, oh god did I really write this? Maybe I should stick to autobiographical retelling of the past. But I’m not going to do that, because I have opinions and they want to be written.
Why do we demonize changing our minds? Unless you are willing to change your opinions when new facts present themselves, your opinions are nothing more than religious-like faith, based on your true belief you are right about everything right now. Nobody is right about everything so that’s a delusional position in and of itself.
Why do we call politicians who adapt their platforms “flip-floppers?” Certainly sometimes they do it for political purposes, but if they do it because they learned something and evolved their position, isn’t that a positive?
I got banned by a couple intersectional liberal feminist Facebook pages and chastized on others for cis-sexist transantagonist TERF-i-ness. Here’s the really funny thing about this: before I was called “TERF” (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) for saying something about female biology in relation to a post about abortion (the horror), I had never heard of Radical Feminism in any capacity.
My sort of feminism, and I have long embraced the term, was always the liberal kind, but no longer. I believe that sex is real. Male and female are real biological categories with different reproductive roles.
Amazingly, that one little statement I made there about reproductive biology makes me a “TERF.” It apparently means I hate transwomen and want to erase them from the universe.
That is really an incredible leap to make, isn’t it? If I think that there are important differences between being a female and being a male, and between being raised as a girl and being raised as a boy, that means I’m a bigot.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean I want to murder transpeople.
My current thoughts regarding gender are as follows***:
Gender is not Sex.
Sex is the reality of bodies. People are male, female, and some are intersex. The majority of humans are male and female. Female bodies are presumed to be capable of reproduction. Some are not, but when you are born a female, the things you are taught to believe about yourself and the world will be based in the assumption you can give birth. When you are born male, there is no possibility you will ever give birth and it is assumed you can impregnate females.
Gender is the role assigned to humans based on sex (or in the case of intersex, assigned sex). Some people say all sex is assigned, but I don’t buy that. The great majority of humans are male or female and never question their sex or feel incorrectly categorized. Only in intersex cases is sex assigned. Woman is the role assigned to adult human females. Man is the role assigned to adult human males.
Gender roles vary from culture to culture. Woman and man have distinct assigned roles from clothing to personality to strengths and weaknesses to favorite colors. Gender roles evolve and expand and contract. There is nothing about having a male or female body that makes a person like pink or blue.
If a man wants to wear makeup he is breaking his gender role. He is not conforming to the role assigned to him by society and he will be punished for it. If a woman does not want to be a mother and she’d rather be a truck driver, she is not conforming to the role society assigned to her and she will be punished for it. This is wrong. Men should be able to like pink and care for children and women should be able to never get married and eschew high heels.
If a male child likes pink ponies, that does not mean he is a girl.
Nobody who believes that gender is an innate identity is willing to describe it. We are told that if a person feels like they are a woman, they are. End of story. But nobody will say what that feels like. If a male person feels like the social construct woman and he wants to be seen as a woman that is his life and I support that. The world is difficult to navigate for all of us and we have to do what we need to in each of our lives. Nobody needs my permission anyway, but that’s how I feel about it.
I wish we lived in a world where there were no gender roles. Nobody should be abused or discriminated against for who they are.
Nor do I think that transwomen are evil men pretending to be women for sexual kicks, like a lot of radical feminists believe. I’m sure there are some men doing exactly that, because men. But I don’t think it’s fair to extend that to every transwoman. Every group has it’s bad apples. I would not want to be assumed to be the same as a lot of women just because we share the same sex and gender.
My body matters to me. My experience of being a woman is through my female body. Breasts, uterus, vagina, curvy shape, there is nothing androgynous about me. At the same time, I don’t care for makeup, being subservient, dependent, maternal, demure, delicate, etc. I don’t want to be a man though, I want to be a different kind of woman. I think that’s what gets so many of us who feel a dubious about every boy who likes pink ponies being considered “transgender”. Are we really giving up on abolishing gender roles? Are we really giving in to the idea that if you don’t want to do “woman things” you are not a woman? I guess so. I mean, that’s what has happened.
My experience of life is deeply tied to being female. My body is not “parts” and “plumbing”. When I see the female reproductive system referred to as “plumbing” on feminist pages, I bristle. When I read an article posted by a mainstream feminist page that purports that “menstruation isn’t inherently female.” I feel like Alice in Wonderland. When I am told that it is “cis-sexist” to talk about reproductive rights as a War on Women, I know I am not one of them anymore.
Also, just a note about sexuality. Nobody is obligated to be sexually attracted to anybody. I, a heterosexual woman, am only attracted to male-bodied men. Nobody has the right to tell me who to be sexually attracted to. Nobody has the right to tell a lesbian she should allow a penis in her vagina just because the penis is attached to someone who identifies as a woman. I can’t even believe this is something I had to say.
My feminism does not include encouraging and fostering an environment where people with penises can coerce and abuse women.
My feminism does not include silencing women for having a different opinion. I disagree with every single thing Sarah Palin has ever said or done, but she should be allowed to speak. Though I disagree that there’s nothing inherently female about menstruating, I want that person to be allowed to say that.
My feminism does not include pretending sex isn’t real. It is real.
I have left the liberal intersectional label behind. I wanted to stay and discuss these issues from within, but it was not allowed. I was shouted down. I was blocked. I was threatened and insulted. So I went elsewhere. I read new points of view. I realized I was not alone by any stretch. I changed my mind. I found out that not all transpeople agree with those intersectional liberal feminists. Transactivists are silencing not just women, but transwomen as well. I will never support that.
***subject to change