Defining WOMAN.

by Undercover Punk

There is lots of talk about what “woman” means. It’s practically a cliche feminist topic! But the debate takes on new meaning in light of transsexuality’s destructive “gender” conservatism. Post-modern anti-essentialism seeks to dismiss the experience of womanhood by claiming that anyone can choose to be a woman and, in any case, we are too diverse to be generalized about. This is not true. Women are all subject to the tyranny of compulsory heterosexuality that dictates the sexual-ized behavior of humans according to the mutually exclusive classifications of “man” and “woman.” Women have shared life experiences as “girls” and as “women.” Radical feminist theory seeks to expose the ways in which trans theory, like patriarchal reality, denies female self-determination and imposes upon women their own false (read: male-serving) definition OF “woman.”

It’s one thing to change the spelling of a word in protest of its etymological implications; it’s quite another to have to qualify a term that has been co-opted by your oppressor to mean something that better serves his purposes. For example, WOMYN or WIMMIN is used by radfems to indicate that wo-men are not merely a variation on the default “man.” Women have distinctive experiences; our existence constitutes something entirely separate from that of “man” or “men’s experiences.” Women are not merely the inverse of men, nor their compliment. The feminist re-spelling of “woman” reflects a recenter-ing of the subject towards herself. By contrast, I am incredibly tired of having to say woman-born-woman or natal woman or FAAB in order to satisfy those who repurpose “woman” to serve themselves.

In my experience, as a woman mind you, common usage dictates that “woman” is a synonym for mature female human. Girl, another synonym for female, is also commonly used in conversational speech. To be sure, this is how we identify the sex of human infants: girl or boy.

So what do non-female-assigned persons want with the term “woman”? Maybe woman means something more or less than simply “mature female human”? Possibly “woman” is simply the result of compulsory heterosexuality’s social conditioning? To the extent that compulsory heterosexuality is ubiquitous, females in different cultures are exposed to infinite variations on the universal theme of femininity as complimentary/oppositional to masculinity. In response, are females formed or molded into socially functioning “women”? Does woman refer to socialization, rather than reproductive functioning?Oh yes, let’s ask trans politics!! Naturally.A story came up in my Facebook news feed a few days back about “a woman who is intersex.” It seemed a little awkward, so I wondered, how is this different than “an intersexed woman”? Does it tell us whether she chose the I-dentity “woman” or whether it was assigned to her at birth in connection with a medical determination of “female”?? I can’t tell for sure, but let’s assume for the moment that it implies the former, as consistent with TRANS usage/hi-jacking of the term “woman.” Trans woman — as contrasted with natal woman — means a male-assigned-at-birth (MAAB) human who subsequently internalized and aligned himself so intensely with the results of being female, aka “womanhood,” that he seeks to be treated as a female is treated. He does so by applying the term “woman” to himself, despite the fact that he has not experienced the female conditioning of compulsory heterosexuality from birth.

By hijacking the word “woman,” trans ideology seeks to erase or invisibilize the presumption of female-ness that constitutes the core criteria informing the word itself. Trans reduce the word WOMAN to a social construct and identity — one that they can appropriate at will, have socially and politically supported merely on their word, and then legitimized legally in a relatively short time (usually just 2 years). For trans, it is not a contradiction for a MAAB to adopt the term “woman” and the often-repeated mantra of the community is “trans women ARE women.”

In this sense, gendered signs have a kind of performative quality. They make the vagina into a she, and they make a person who executes the gender cues correctly and articulately into a woman. This social fact is evidenced by a cultural phenomenology in which one’s true sex is merely evidenced, not constituted, by the genital that is physically present, and a legal rule of evidence by which the genital is regarded as probative, but by no means dispositive or irrebuttable evidence of one’s true sex. It is the cultural genital, the metaphoric “something extra,” the presence of which is proven by the signs of gender, that makes a woman and makes a man and that cannot be rebutted by physical facts to the contrary.

Katherine M. Franke, The Central Mistake of Sex Discrimination Law: The Disaggregation of Sex From Gender, 144 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1, page? (1995)

If gender performativity creates “man” and “woman,” then it can also taketh away. So what does this mean about butch women? What does it mean about non-feminine or even anti-feminine women? Apparently, they are “men” despite physical facts to the contrary. This implicitly denies the both possibility and current reality of non-feminine women and explicitly erases their experience. These women no longer exist! Obviously, such a framing is both false and misogynistic.

Let’s return now to the “woman who is intersexed” that I mentioned above. Because she is not reproductively “female,” she may initially seem to present a problem analogous to that of the so-called “trans woman.” However, despite the intersected person’s reproductive capacity or specific genital configuration, the tyranny of compulsory heterosexuality proscribes female-assigned social development from infancy. If anything can create the state of being a “woman,” it is the process of being groomed from birth to make oneself sexually and socially compatible with males/men. This definition of “woman” is inclusive of both intersexed and feminine-non-conforming females. So to the extent that “woman” is not strictly synonymous with a specific normative physical state, intersexed humans treated as a female from birth present a distinctly separate situation from that of “trans women.”

Trans women are simply MAABs who have volunteered to adopt the mask of femininity through performativity, then demanded use of the social labels associated with the experiences of the female-assigned-at-birth humans. Born-women have no choice about their role in the play of compulsory heterosexuality; it is simply expected of us. Further, the so-called “trans woman’s” life experience is fundamentally distinct from natal women’s experiences in both breadth and depth. To refuse the relevancy and legitimacy of these specific experiential differences between women and “trans women” is to redefine “womanhood” to better serve male purposes. It shows blatant disregard and disrespect for the experiences and realities women who have lived as women and girls from their first breaths. It is misogyny, pure and simple.

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58 Responses to “Defining WOMAN.”

  1. Thank you to Noan for helping me edit this post!

  2. He does so by applying the term “woman” to himself, despite the fact that he has not experienced the female conditioning of compulsory heterosexuality from birth.

    Excellent point, your bringing to focus the compulsory heterosexuality from birth. It could be argued that men also have compulsory heterosexual conditioning from birth, but there is a vast difference. For men, this results in their learning to exercise entitlement as part of this conditioning. So, if they choose to Identify as “women” later on, they will act out that entitlement even if it harms the interests of women as a class. And as individuals. And it does. However, confers benefits to transwomen as a class. And as individuals.

  3. So true, Katie S! Of course males are also subject to compulsory heterosexuality, but in DIFFERENT ways. Hetero-normativity is binary, it is about DIFFERENCE between two opposing classes. Women have ALWAYS been the subservient arm. Women are to SERVE men. Men are to be served. It is necessary to acknowledge this difference and the impact heterosexual-normativity has on the distinct classes of socialized persons that it creates.

    The MAAB insistence on defining “woman” is very much about ENTITLEMENT, a masculine quality.

  4. “Woman” is the sex class, “man” is the rapist class. Each and every male knows he belongs to the class of human beings who are the vast majority of rapists, pedophiles, sexual harassers and abusers, and prostituters of other humans. Rather than spending their lifetimes fighting such realities, most men spend their lifetimes smirking, defending, laughing, obscuring, and partaking. The ones who want to “be” “women” are casting forward into their subjugated role, they can’t help but. It’s possible to imagine that a male-bodied person would be so disgusted by his class-based role of oppressor to want nothing to do with that, but that would lead a decent human being to renounce the entire system, not play the other primary role in it.

  5. Excellent point, Noan. The mere existence of “trans woman” is an utter failure to comprehend the social structures that create these man/woman I-dentities in the first place. And, indeed, rejection of the system is quite a different thing than self-indulgent “gender fucking.”

  6. UP: “utter failure to comprehend the social structures that create these man/woman I-dentities in the first place”

    That ties in perfectly with the post at your place — we see the social structure, the MAAB trans woman sees and cares about only his own very speshul snowflake identity.

  7. Ooooh, NICE. I didn’t even see that. 😉

    Yes, “the social structures that create these man/woman I-dentities in the first place” are the basis for THE DEFINITION OF WOMAN.

  8. I agree with all that has been said here. Thank you for taking the time to explain and post. The problem in reality of these manifested “trans wo-men” is as follows for many of us working to provide womon only space to womon in various ways.

    I need help, I am involved with an all womons charity, we provide support to womon on the margins, who seek us out for the most part because we are a ‘male strop free zone’ and are able to keep it this way under the exemptions of the equal ops laws but in order to get funding we have to demonstrate that we abide by equality laws. This as you all know includes, ‘trans wo-men’ who have rights!!!!!

    So far we have not had a ‘trans wo-men’ approach our services but we are suppose to have a policy in place about what our position is on the matter. In the past we have tended to ignore the issue rather than develop such a policy but the more ‘trans-wo-men’ get validated the more they will encroach on womon only services and we will be forced to accommodate them……

    I would appreciate any ideas about how I should proceed and want to hear from others who are in similar circumstances and how to develop such a policy!!!!!!!! Any ideas how I should go about this? Ideas about how we could argue against having such a policy….

  9. If you were raised as a man from boyhood, you have been raised to be an oppressor. You can’t erase this early childhood training. I believe most men out there simply don’t believe in male supremacy, they think that women are already equal, they don’t believe sexism even exists. Then they transition into “female performing” men, and if they “pass” as born women, suddenly they experience the sexism and second class status for the first time. This comes as such a shock to them that they then take this out on born women who want nothing to do with the male conditioned trans.
    Male conditioned males are destroying the earth, and like Spanish conquistadors who came to “the new world” they have no idea that they are carrying germs that will kill millions of native peoples. Male conditioned female performers carry within them the germ of patriarchy, the germ of invasion. Men will not listen to women who say no to them, they demand to “be female.” They intend to destroy butch lesbians, and they intend to erase lesbian culture by making transitioning all the new rage against fem women… many of them het.
    Men have always tried to define and control women, and now “science” gives them a whole new tactic, and it’s the road to genocide of butch lesbians and lesbians in general.

  10. I don’t know if it is wise to argue against having such a policy if it is likely to cause you to lose funding and thus be unable to serve the women that you do. Whoever is in power may or may not care much if you have a policy, so calling attention to it may cause things to polarize and make it worse, make your program a target to be used as an example. It seems like you have nothing to gain but much to lose by having one at this point. If no one cares, I’d just leave it alone.

    Policy is one thing, but strategy is another. Having a strategy is important. I think having a strategy means being prepared about what to do. What to do if someone insists on you putting together a policy, for instance. This might include some foot dragging and buying time. It should include steps to take if someone with a penis shows up at your door claiming to be a woman. How do you know that they are not a rapist. Should you check with the sex-offender lists if your governmental bodies have them? There are likely other strategies that you will know better than anyone, or you and concerned staff will know better than anyone.

    Another strategy is to get together with other programs so you have some political clout and try to confront the issue. Not having a policy buys you time to do this. But it is wise to be very careful in how you do this since you do not want to run afoul of the law.

    Men do this all the time and they are trying to keep down an oppressed class. Perhaps it is time to observe and use their tactics to protect ourselves.

  11. I should have said that you do not want to run afoul of the law unintentionally. I have no problem with resisting unjust laws as a form of protest like the Saudi women are doing by driving cars today.

  12. Hi ybawife! I’m so sorry to hear of your inevitable “trans woman” infiltration. I agree that it is most likely a losing battle. You should be very clear to describe your policy as being about SEX, not gender. Avoid the word “gender” entirely. In most cases, people can get the “sex” designation on commonly used documents like drivers licenses changed without(!!!) having had sex reassignment/corrective/INTERRUPTING surgery, so this is just a stop-gap. Legal “gender identity” protections against discrimination are underway everywhere, so the best (only) thing you can do is to TRY to use SEX as the determinant of persons entitled to services. And as a justification you use either the LIFELONG experience as “woman” or reproductive capacity (vulnerability). Or both! Either!

  13. I agree about ‘dragging out’ and strategy for if, when, such an event happens is important, with a focus on ‘sex’ rather than ‘gender’, good thinking there.
    Many womon who use our services would NOT attend if they had to share space with wo-men , specially those wearing sheep attire!

    That’s it then, will have the meeting and work up a strategy and leave it at that.
    Tx for the support……

    As if we womon do not have enough to content with , we now have to do battle with these bastards who want to re-define in their own imagine what it is to be a woman without ever having and legitimacy to do so…the mere fact they are men..is enough!!!!!! And what also riles me is the defunct and hopeless medical men-world who support these deranged ideas by creating medical and mental health conditions that add social legitimacy to mens entitlement to decide they want to be a wo-men.

  14. Great idea to use the word “sex”, UP. I suppose if setting a policy based on sex is something you do now, it might just remain in place via inertia and be more resistant to later changes, via foot-dragging, etc., so I am backing off on what I said earlier. Just suggestions, you are in the center of it and the best judge.

    I thought of another strategy, based on UP’s idea. Would it be possible to provide different services for different groups? Women with reproductive capacity could be in one group, women with girlhoods would be in another. If need be, a discussion of these things could be added to the services. M2T’s can also be in a group to get services relevant to them, or get individual services, or be put on a list until you get enough for a group. If possible, the M2T’s could be served at a different location or on different days in order to keep a women’s only space. I don’t see how making the services “tailored” to the person should be a problem. Part of the strategy would be to throw around buzzwords like that. I wouldn’t advise you to portray them as “tailored” to speshul snowflakes ;), however, but that’s what they are. Who could object to that? Since I don’t know much about your charity, not sure this would fit, but thought to share it.

  15. ‘If gender performativity creates “man” and “woman,” then it can also taketh away. So what does this mean about butch women? What does it mean about non-feminine or even anti-feminine women? Apparently, they are “men” despite physical facts to the contrary’

    I like this analysis. More and more, queer-trans activists are proclaiming that female at birth people either perform femininity or are trans. If we refuse to conform to being trans, then they dictate that we must be performing femininity and they use this to insult us or to falsely claim that we have privilege so that they get the centre of attention and we can’t speak. This makes it hard to reject being trans, it is very coercive politics.

  16. Yes! Trans rhetoric and politics is incredibly coercive. I call it TYRANNY! Because if you aren’t playing THEIR game, by THEIR rules, you are dismissed and insulted. You are a bigot, ignorant, or protecting your own “privilege.” The intended result is to shut you down and force you on the defense. Very successful strategy! AND it completely sidesteps any rational discussion.

    I think most people, whatever their *perceived* gender, don’t feel that they are PERFORMING anything. Compulsory heterosexual-normativity wants us to believe that expressions of femininity/masculinity are proof of an authentic “Self”– the ways that man or woman are supposed to be. Trans I-deology buys RIGHT INTO this.

    Femininity ≠ female. Masculinity ≠ male.

    It is highly conservative; the antithesis of radical. Being “woman” is a life experience,* NOT a performance.

    *(the life-long expereince of being the feminine subject of compulsory hetsexnorm)

  17. I think most people, whatever their *perceived* gender, don’t feel that they are PERFORMING anything. Compulsory heterosexual-normativity wants us to believe that expressions of femininity/masculinity are proof of an authentic “Self”– the ways that man or woman are supposed to be.

    The time I most felt I was performing anything was when I was a teenager and felt I had to wear high heels, nylons (girdle, though I had no fat on me), cosmetics, curl my hair, and fancy dresses. I did not quite understand why I had to do this except it was part of the social mandate for me as a woman. It made me feel EXTREMELY alienated from my authentic self. Very alienated and sad. As a girl I was expected to wear dresses to school, but I paid very little attention to that unless it was a special occasion. I believe that it was inherently EXTREMELY confusing to me to be told that the way I dressed was who I am. But that would be the case if I dressed as a man, woman, androgenously, or lived in sweats. Mainly I go for comfort, thrift, and lack of fuss. I may dress in particular ways for certain occasions, but that is about the occasion, not about my personhood or self.

    Luckily, I stopped dressing in heels, wearing cosmetics, curling my hairs, etc. this in my early 20’s. I still did wear skirt suits for my job when it was required, but again, they have to do with a role I am playing, not who I am. I couldn’t wait to get home and change every day. The last time I wore cosmetics was for a job interview (to make me look healthier, not sexier, and then just the bare minimum). Job interviews are a performance, for sure. But they are not my authentic self, I wish to mask much of that, like my deepest sorrows and joys.

    In my day, people who believed that the clothes made the man or woman were considered shallow. Perhaps its a shallow world we live in now, and that’s why nobody except radfems seems to notice.

  18. Should say, “I wish to mask much of that in a job interview, like my deepest sorrows and joys.” in the third from last sentence.

  19. Great article UP! I’m always reminded of that post Twisty wrote a long time ago, when she decided that because “woman” couldn’t be defined then anybody could be one. Way to butcher logic there, Jill.

    @ybawife. Rather than use the term “woman-only space” how about trying “sex-segregated space”? That makes it more clear the space is segregated by biological sex, not the gender role someone is performing. Bonus, it doesn’t sound deliberately anti-trans so there’s nothing for them to complain about.

    And agreeing with all the people who suggest to APPEAR to comply with all the stupid rules but then in practice do exactly like trans do when they’re supposedly “helping” real women. Meaning, do a seriously lousy job when providing whatever was supposed to be provided. Not return their phones calls because “somebody lost the memo”, etc. Give them the wrong address and appointment times, etc. If there’s forms that need to be filled out, “forget” to give them all the forms. Basically, just “forget” how to do your job properly.

    It speaks volumns about the ways men and women differ, when women need to be told how to do a lousy job. It’s like, this sort of thing doesn’t normally occur to us, but for men it’s instinctive.

  20. oh and of course men always SMILE and act real friendly while they’re stabbing us in the back, and it hardly ever occurs to women that someone who smiles at us actually hates our guts. So remember to act friendly!!

  21. UCP, this was your best post yet! Totally agree that so much in women’s lives boils down to compulsory heterosexuality. Just wanted to give you kudos ’cause I know we had had some disagreements earlier.

  22. Thanks, WOAJ. So glad you liked this!

  23. Tx Andrea I will use that when coming up with a strategy…..

    @ybawife. Rather than use the term “woman-only space” how about trying “sex-segregated space”?

    Off Topic..how do I change my avatar for a personal one I have as I dislike this weirdy cartoon, Help!!!!!!

  24. mA’s phrasing of “sex segregated spaces” is perfect.

    Subjective gender identity with a doctors note can usually still get drivers licenses and state IDs and such changed from one SEX to the only other, but at least you will be dealing with someone who is serious. Also, and this could catch some women in your net too, but maybe consider a subclause for excluding those who have been CONVICTED of violence against women and/or sex crimes of any kind.

  25. but maybe consider a subclause for excluding those who have been CONVICTED of violence against women and/or sex crimes of any kind.

    oh excellent!!

  26. Apologies for serial posting, but all of KatieS’s suggestions are WOOHOO just perfect, thank you! “Women with girlhoods”, oh joy

  27. Wow *huggles* UCP – this is one of the most A-Mazing Amazon posts I’ve seen in a long while.
    Can I have your autograph? (( *swoon* *flirt*))

    @ybawife – you are in UK? You might need to check how that f’ing stupid Gender Recognition Act,
    and your Sex Discrimination legislation conflict.

  28. Oh, Rain, you know how I love flattery! THANK YOU so much! ;D

    This one gave me a bit of a struggle; I’m overjoyed that it resonates so well with the sisters!!!

  29. yes UP i wanted to give you some love for this one too! well done. especially the point about “woman” (the performance) being the end-result of compulsory FEMALE heteronormative conditioning. this is what they mean, isnt it, when they say that a MAAB can “be” a woman…meaning, he can attempt to perform what is objectively observable in many women behavior-wise…but even then its only an act on the part of MAABs isnt it? they arent female-bodied, AND they havent been subjected to female-upbringing (grooming as a masturbatory aid and reproductive vessel and domestic slave for men) so whatever they think “woman” is, the part that they can mimic and mock, is only the part they can observe, as men. it has no meaning beyond the performance, and the survival-skill-set aspect of the behavior/identity/performance is erased, and what we (FAAB women) are trying to survive, as female-bodied persons under the P is erased too. ie. unwanted pregnancy, and female-specific harm via PIV-centric sexuality, and rape. as you say, this serves men perfectly: there is no perpetrator here, the way they have written it.

    and as far as FAAB goes…i say it, but i dont like it. its a problem that “woman” has to be clarified now…but it apparently does. do we have a solution for that? what say you?

  30. Oooh, good one, FCM: femininity as SURVIVAL. And it is, for most women of the world!! WHY are females traditionally deferential and less assertive? Oh, male tyranny and the constant threat of violence– especially rape. Characterizations of females and femininity as SUBSERVIENT is a RESPONSE to something! That something is male supremacy.

    Females have everything to lose if they don’t play along like Good Girls. This having-no-choice about playin the female role under compulsory hetero-sexual-normativity is a core difference between natal and trans women. To deny us this reality is misogyny.

    I don’t know what to do about the colonization of our names. Just keep calling it out…?

  31. it has no meaning beyond the performance, and the survival-skill-set aspect of the behavior/identity/performance is erased, and what we (FAAB women) are trying to survive, as female-bodied persons under the P is erased too.

    @FCM and UP. Yes, brilliant! It is ultimately about survival, and that alone. This erasure is related to invisibility. It is not just that women are invisible in P-space, which we are, but that there are no options other than hetero-sexual-normativity (HSN for short). In my youth, real-life or fictional lesbian women were invisible. Really. Really. Invisible. It is hard to imagine that today, even if the lesbians presented are generally stereotypes that partially support HSN (like the L-word characters which cater to HSN male fantasies), or Ellen (who does makeup commercials that buy into the HSN performance in a different way). There was no obvious choice but HSN performance. As a girl I often thought that if I were to disguise myself as a boy (performance) I could be free of the many things that were imposed on me as a girl. Another kind of HSN performance. But never a role for a girl outside HSN. However, I never desired to actually become a boy because I did not like boys. They were nasty and aggressive. The only mention of lesbians that I ever heard was perjorative name-calling. It portrayed lesbians as nasty and aggressive (like boys!). Later, it portrayed lesbians as being all about sex rather than accurately. Accurately! Which is about relationships that do not include intimacy with someone from the oppressor class. Relationships that do not have HSN as a foundation. Now, there are no illusions here–a long-term healthy intimacy, starting with a healthy emotional intimacy, is not a given in a lesbian relationship. It takes things like awareness and work. But it is work that can come to fruition. However, it IS a given that it is not possible to have an intimate relationship with an individual of the oppressor class. It. is. just. not. possible.

  32. I don’t know what to do about the colonization of our names. Just keep calling it out…?

    @UP, me neither! But I do know that names are very important, words matter a lot. I’d like to figure it out, though. As a start, I looked up the word origins for woman and female. Neither one started out sexist. The word origin for “female” is interesting. It is from the femella (Latin), the diminutive form of femina (Latin) which means “woman” Neither of these words are related to the word “male” in English. The English spelling was changed in the 14th century to make it parallel to the word “male.”

    The word origin of “Woman” was not originally sexist, either. Here’s part of a discussion of (down the page under entymology):
    http://www.reference.com/browse/woman
    “In Old English the words wer and wyf (also wæpman and wifman ) were what was used to refer to “a man” and “a woman” respectively, and “Man” was gender neutral. In Middle English man displaced wer as term for “male human”, whilst wifman (which eventually evolved into woman) was retained for “female human”. (“Wif” also evolved into the word “wife”.)“

    Also on words, I was thinking about this:

    @ybawife, I thought mA’s idea of sex-segregated space was excellent. I believe that you are in the uk (based on your use of the word “strop.”) If you were in the U.S., I might also suggest the phrase “sex-separated spaces,” since the word “segregated” is a hot-button word in the U.S., based on the history of legal segregation based on race. There is a knee-jerk reaction here when the term “segregation” is used. I think that this type of reaction may, unconsciously, lend unwarranted emotional credence to the idea of trans “rights.” Not sure of the situation in the UK with this word, though.

  33. All this argument over a name, but only the name of woman, nobody argues about what a “man” is.

  34. I also wondered if gay men are complaining about their spaces being invaded by FTMs. Because we don’t hear people constantly harping on what a man is the way we do trans invaders harping on what they as male impersonators think woman is. Femininity as a survival strategy might very well be the case, and I have noticed that most women are pretty fearful. The thing is, we need always to acknowledge that some of us NEVER gave into that garbage, and we were willing to pay the price, and triumph. The rise of lesbian feminism is a testiment to this kind of focus and determination. There were NO lesbian role models whatsoever when I was a child, nothing. I can’t recall even knowing what the word meant for a very long time. So there was nothing, but also, I was not going to give in to men, get married to them, have sex with them or horrors have kids. I knew what I was never going to do ever, and this determination was very very aggressive. Bev Jo can tell stories too. There were the women in the 1950s who at great personal risk created DOB— Daughters of Bilitis, and there were women who went to France in the 1920s to find women of the left bank. I think of the 26 some women intellectuals, artists and writers of that time, we have 22-23 of them as lesbians.

    So I think we need to really find the lifetime lesbians worldwide, and discover the commonality of this form of aggressive resistence to malestream conformity. What caused this to happen? What prevents women worldwide from rising up?

  35. SheilaG, I’ve wondered about that, too. It is an important question, to be sure.

  36. As far as I know, the only/primary complaint gay men have about the many trans men claiming their name and space is that FAABs don’t have functioning penises. It’s a phallocentric sexual complaint, not a political analysis of social colonization.

  37. Katie, I think both terms would work here so will weave both into something…but from what I have read in this and other discussion, best not to have a specific policy but rather a strategy for if and when (goddess Forbid) the issue should arise…..

    I feel like so many others, hugely pi$$ed that , a small womon only charity like mine should have to even contemplate this crazyness arising , the Canadian case left me breathless. It took years to get the case to court, then another years on appeal to get the gross ruling of trans-admission, turned over.
    All that bloody waste of womons time, energy and vitality for one trans-male, where’s the justice, where’s the F******* point!

    When I worked in a forensic service as an advocate we had a M tF admitted and it turned out that he had convictions for rape and sexual assault and threats to kill womon.He illegally obtained a knobjob removal and had the hormone treatment. He was gross! He was placed in womons services because the psychiatric docs felt he would be too vulnerable in the male services. we ranted like the staff and womon did because the psychs appeared not to bother about the vulnerable womon he was living with at all. He was a subject for them to study. He was predatory and a ghastly excuse for a human being, but he had rights!!!!!!!! Did not matter what womon said at all, it was all about safeguarding him from males not keeping womon safe from him!!!!!!

  38. Noanodyne, tx for the avatar link….sorted xx

  39. SheilaG –

    I don’t think it’s a mystery why an infinitesimal number women are able to resist patriarchal social conditioning from birth/an early age.

    There are exceptions to every rule. Some women are natural exceptions to the rule of survival-by-social conformity that has developed as an evolutionary adaptation in all social animals, including and especially humans.

    After thousands of years of male supremacy, submission, servitude, self-loathing and striking out at each other have literally become adaptive behaviors…possibly encoded in our DNA.

    Rare and extreme deviation from established patterns are anomalies. They always (eventually) occur, but only ever represent a tiny minority of a population.

    Perhaps the trick is fomenting a revolution within that minority. The majority of womankind is, I think, quite screwed from the get-go.

    Fuck evolution.

  40. Yes, evolution is entirely fucked. Patriarchal developments keep millions of humans alive with artificial means who would otherwise not survive to pass on their genes (myself included, though I have no intention of reproducing so the gene pool effect will be the same).

    I am strongly opposed to the idea that female servility is encoded in female DNA as a result of generations-deep-patriarchy. Men will stick their dicks in anything that has a hole including blow-up dolls and animals. Men rape women on a pandemic scale because they hate us. It has nothing to do with gene-selection; indeed, it is our punishment for female “sexuality.”

  41. I agree, UP about the female DNA. However, I think that the male DNA has likely deteriorated. The men who do the most PIV are more represented in the gene pool. The female genes do not figure in because choice of PIV partners is not an option for women, except perhaps a tiny minority. Under patriarchy men devolve. Only under a separatist matriarchy might they evolve to something better.

    I think it would have to be an earth-friendly matriarchy, since men are destroying the planet just as they destroy women. Perhaps it’s irreversible even now. They hate the planet and now it is fucked, or will be soon. Even the moon landing was symbolic, with talk of one giant step for manking and penetrating the moon’s crust with the U.S. flag, symbol of domination over native people, other countries, and especially the natural world. Bush wanted to extend the space program, likely to make money, but also I suspect because he had been told that this planet is screwed. He wanted his own spawn and that of his buddies to have an option, to continue the entitlement like they’ve always had. Things like the space program are evolution to the menz.

    I thought the pictures of earth from space were beautiful and the idea then was that we would see the beauty of the planet from space and stop destroying her. It never happened. They are destroyers.

  42. I’m not sure why my avatar keeps changing. Sometimes yellow, sometimes shocking pink. Both are me, though. Just to clarify.

  43. New here & Hello to everyone,

    Wanted to throw this one out there to you all as an idea.

    How about we NOT use the word ‘Woman’ ?? (or ‘Man’ for that matter).

    I prefer ‘Female’ because it makes it very clear what I am biologically.
    It also includes ALL age groups – ‘Woman’ doesn’t and excludes girls/grrls.

    I prefer to say ‘female liberation, female rights, female only space, etc.

    Also how about NOT using words like masculine or feminine to describe
    behavior learned or born ?

    You could also take that a step further and NOT use words like Femme or Butch.

    That IS NOT to deny ANYONE’S experiences.

    I am thinking more along the lines of rejecting
    sex or gender ‘roles’ regardless of if you are Het, Lesbian, Gay, Bi etc.

    I am a female born human being rejecting sex & gender roles who
    LOVES being Female.
    I reject femininity and masculinity and I never
    would accept a ‘role’ of Femme or Butch as a Lesbian either.

    I think using the word female instead of woman helps get around alot
    of legal issues especially when dealing with transsexuals who can
    now be legally recognized as ‘woman’ or ‘Man’.

    If you are applying for funding or trying to protect female space,
    maybe it will be easier if we are VERY CLEAR that the spaces
    or funding are for born females – not women – which can now include
    surgically /or not/ altered males and females.

    Femrage Truthteller

  44. Hi FT, definitely agree with you in theory. Female is the best term we have, but “woman” and “feminine” and the others you mentioned refer to constructed categories, not natural ones. To be sure, others have suggested discarding these terms before. I am not able to do so in this context, however, because I am, you might say, engaged in ideological war against the patriarchy. In order to speak intelligibly and with relevance, I use these terms. That”s why I am so careful to define them!

  45. Well actually, never het lesbians have been in the forefront of women’s rebellion against male supremacy. Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, and hosts of other women I’ve known over the years. The top women scientists I know locally who are lesbians have never been het. So this powerful non-conformist group really has done quite a lot worldwide to further the cause of feminism. Most of the women I knew who created the first rape crisis centers were never het lesbians as well. What we need to know is the numbers, because our group needs to be out, proud and also quantify just what it is that creates this women’s resistence to any male colonization whatsoever. A lot of lifetime lesbians I know also have been very physically strong. It means we can and do bash back, and knock the blocks off men in fights. We don’t sit around and watch men harass other women. Critical mass of information needs to be out there about who we are, how we do this, and how to teach young women to avoid men completely. No living with, no contact… you don’t want the colonized women, you want the real thing. Until this gets put out there, you’ll still have thousands of women who aren’t het, but somehow end up having sex (dangerous PIV sex) with the destroyers of women’s souls. Because that is who these monsters are–destroyers, colonizers, rapists, pigs… surely we could speed up the DNA process to put them out of business.

  46. Sheila G, your characterizations of lifelong lesbians are pushing my limits. I’d like to keep everyone on topic with WOMAN, please. Thank you in advance for your respect.

  47. What a about celibate het? I am not defined by my sexuality. I am a human being who abhors violence against womon, who can challenge any man any time and I do , oftimes ,daily. Am I any less because I am not lifelong lesbian? I refuse to battle my sex!

  48. This is not a conversation about sexuality. WOMEN BORN WOMEN.

  49. Thanks for recentering the convo UP. We do not discriminate based on sexuality at the HUB (but anyone who read sheilas comment as traveling down that path weren’t wrong to notice it). No derailing please, thank you!

  50. This is a brilliant discussion, and I don’t feel competent to enter, but oh well, I can’t resist. There is so much here and my mind is boggled. Just one thing. The question this thread raises is, what is a woman/female? How can we find out? How can we divest/disentangle/shuck off the roles thrust (haha!) upon women in order to study us as we would be outside a patriarchal/male dominated system?

    It seem to me that our essential nature remains a mystery. We have an essential nature and it is qualitatively different from male existence. We all feel the fact of difference, and it is marked enough and somehow threatening enough to males that they base their entire hierarchical system on our backs. That is the basic tenet of radical feminism as I understand it, and I’m working from that in my thinking and always returning to it.

    To move forward we have to fully develop a psychology of women, a history of women, an understanding and definition of women that is not defined solely by our differences from our adversaries. These include men who wish to perform as female social constructs, as well as men in general. I include transwomen as adversaries because I see that lacking the developmental socialization of women, as discussed above, on the one hand, and the actual physiology of women, on the other, transwomen are not women.

    Women of today live in social conditions unimaginable in either the past or the future. Many aspects or issues of “womanhood” won’t exist in a hundred years. These include the physical and social disabilities of childbirth (outside uteruses will become common), financial dependence on men (already a reality for some women), individual physical vulnerability to men (just requires a change of attitude and a group decision to fight back – weapons are available, all we need is the will)(group vulnerability is a different problem). What will the woman of the future be like? She will be closer to a woman than we can be (since we can’t help but be impacted by our socialization) and the definition will be clearer.

    Meantime, we can hypothesize about this “freewoman”. I have this feeling that our energy to do so is being vampirically sucked away, though, by our using as a basis what we are NOT – that is, for instance, men who have had medical treatment to look more like women, or who act like women. When I consider the proportion of our time being spent on this issue, considering that we women are more than two billion suffering souls and that transwomen are…how many?…I can only think that we should take a strong, unrelenting, clear stand about this issue and move on. To do so brings us to a deeper and more constructive issue we must deal with, as this thread brings up. How do we speak as one? Who are “we”? How do we take stands as a group, including setting forth our working definitions of women?

    I have been out of the war for a long while, but I’m in now. Looking at the last 30 years I do see the powerful forces that have mobilized against us slowly and surely, using weapons such as whittling at our own definition of who we are, ridiculing our legitimacy, and subverting us expertly in many other ways. I kind of see radical feminism as being the Terminator-Woman. She keeps on moving ahead as all the parasites, bombs, and vampires fall around her. Her girl-clothes burn away and she is a shining essential thing, still moving ahead, eyes on the goal.

  51. Her girl-clothes burn away and she is a shining essential thing, still moving ahead, eyes on the goal.

    i love this image! thanks!

    i dont think we need a “working definition of woman” though, any more than anyone ever considers that we need one for men. women are female-bodied adult human beings. no more, and no less. and this has never changed, and it never will: even with “outside uterii” if such a horrible thing is ever created (BY MEN) the children gestated in them will still be either male or female wont they? in any case, they always have been, and they will continue to be so for a long long time. we need to stay focused and cognizant of that, always. women are female-bodied, and we are born that way, and THIS is the genesis of our shared plight, as women as a sexual class, around the world.

  52. Ach, all very true, FCM. These are huge topics: reproductive technology, selective gender birth, essential sex differences, how to frame our situation, how to prioritize…I’m uncomfortably aware that I’m not really well-informed enough yet to go farther, so I’ll go back to reading for a bit…thank you for your blog, FCM, it is amazing.

  53. These are important questions to ask. The “essential woman,” a being who exists outside of social conditions cannot be known. So we cannot assume the inherency of any sexed behavioral or expressive characteristics. At the same time, there are undeniable reproductive consistencies caused by being born with certain body parts and organs. I agree with FCM that the state of having a female body is how we define feminism’s SUBJECT. Having a female body is the source of our female reproductive vulnerability. AND. having female genitalia at birth tracks us into the feminine gender and all the sex-ualization that it requires of “woman.” This is what women share, presently. So that’s what I’m interested in.

    I don’t think having weapons will negate our reproductive vulnerability. It may keep us free from sexual violation, but that is differenent than NOT being vulnerable. I don’t want a SOLUTION to reproductive vulnerability, its not a problem. Humans have all kinds of physical vulnerabilities for which many of us do not carry weapons or wear helmets. Sexual *violation* of female bodies is the problem that needs a solution. I’m also not excited about the idea of uteruses outside the body! The thought of such a dependence on medical technology is disturbing to me. Nature does it best! Thats my view, but if anyone else wants to debate the value of reproductive technology, I’m willing to discuss!

  54. Oh, and vliet (tiptree2), I realize you didn’t use the word “solution.” I was only speaking to that argument about female vulnerability, I didn’t mean to attribute it to you specifically!

  55. “I don’t want a SOLUTION to reproductive vulnerability, it’s not a problem”. Hear, hear UP. By that logic we’d need a solution to childhood as well. Athena anyone?

  56. Ahahaa! Thanks, Milly. Yes, I don’t like the argument that any vulnerability is a PROBLEM. Even if it’s one that only female suffer from! Even if!! The fact that I don’t have an exoskelton is a vulnerability, but it’s not a PROBLEM. It would only BE a problem if someone where trying to actively attack my soft, fleshy skin. The fact that I don’t wear a helmet 24/7 is a only a “problem” when faced with an imminent danger to my skull’s integrity– like my body in fast motion moving toward concrete, or speeding down a snow covered mountain in skis. So vulnerability does not necessarily amount to a PROBLEM. Again, the “problem” would be the circumstances giving rise to the need for “protection.”

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