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  1. Yolanda
    Yolanda December 28, 2006 at 1:04 pm |

    What is hate speech, Piny? Here’s my criteria:

    When someone actively objectifies a member of an oppressed group or that whole group. Ex: Black “bucks,” Asian “rent boys,” etc.

    When someone uses recognized slurs to denigrate that group. ex: ni****r, b***h, f****t, etc.

    Any coded language embedded with oppressive sentiment relative to that group. ex: “boys in dresses,” “horde of immigrants”

    Anything connotative expression that I can recognize as oppressive

    Through the experience of blogging, I’ve begun to recognize commenting behaviors that are designed to belittle or silence oppressed people: straw arguments, condescending tone, trolling tendencies. Context matters in the situation. And as many people have pointed out, it is ABSOLUTELY the blog moderator’s job to put a stop to oppressive language and dynamics. If you don’t say anything, you are condoning that shit, whether you personally agree with it or not. Now sometimes I might not be aware that something is oppressive, so I always ask the readers to help me out by letting me know if they experience any commentary on the site as oppressive. I ain’t perfect.

    Let me just say this also: The moderator sets the tone of the blog as well. Irreverence is one thing, but if you are regularly callous and condescending in your writing, that gives tacit permission to your readers to do the same. So don’t be surprised if your blog turns into an insensitive free-for-all, a la IBTP.

  2. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom December 28, 2006 at 1:09 pm |

    No thoughts yet on the hate-speech subject, but wanted to say I’m glad so many people jumped on that comment thread and the truly revolting stuff said in it. Me, I just sat there and looked at it, and so much of it could have been taken directly from that Dawn Eden comment thread (a month back or so? Not sure). Just the same phrases. Just the same insults. Just a very sad thing to see.

  3. Myca
    Myca December 28, 2006 at 1:14 pm |

    The ongoing and vicious transphobia is probably my #1 issue with the most publicly visible radfems on the web.

    It’s interesting, because I do think that radical feminism has some worthwhile things to say about pornography, sex-work, and violence against women, and for the most part that’s not what my issues with them are. My issues come into play much more any time they talk about transgenderism or BDSM, and how woefully underinformed and over-prejudiced they are on these topics. What’s kind of tragic, I think, is that I honestly don’t think that they ‘care’ about these issues in the same way that they care about porn/sex-work/gendered violence, but their ongoing craziness when it comes to these issues makes it less likely that they’ll get listened to on the stuff that’s really important to them.

    It’s like someone who’s saying really insightful, relevant stuff about income inequality (which is her absolute passion), and just occasionally makes one-off side comments about how it’s the gays and blacks who are ruining the world. It makes you feel bad for ever taking her seriously in the first place.

    Like, “I wish you weren’t a crazy-ass, so I could listen to you.”

    Oh. Right. The questions you asked. Yeah. I should answer those.

    I think for me, a lot of it comes back to the Ampersand moderation policy, and the idea that we should assume positive intent behind the other poster’s words and express our words with as much positive intent as possible.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s just as wrong and stupid to say “I am concerned that transfolk may be victims of a mental disorder,” as it is to say, “Transfolk are all nutjobs,” but expressed the first way, I think there’s more capability for conversation. Maybe it’s just me.

    Also, and this may just be the starry-eyed idealist in me, but I like to think of these conversations as a form of Socratic dialog. We’re all looking for truth. We’re all trying to figure out what’s right. More discussion, less spleen-venting. I want to hold in my heart the possibility that I’m wrong about the things I hold to be true, and I want others to as well. The problem is that if you start out arguing against the things I hold to be true by talking a truckload of shit, I’m more angry than enlightened by the time you’re done, and I’m not listening.

    I believe that it is within the capability of the blog owner to promote this kind of discussion and community and to discourage the other sort. I prefer to frequent blogs where this happens.

    —Myca

  4. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 1:38 pm |

    As I said on bfp, I’m glad that this has caught traction. I was watching it unfold, and felt a little powerless, since I don’t really post and don’t have a blog. Plus, I tend to get obsessive about things that piss me off, and I’d like to avoid being fired from my job due to constant posting on the internets, and I wasn’t about to try my hand at the blowjob thing a few months ago, so I definitely wanted to avoid the “transboys are crazy and will attack me in the bathroom” comments. (Ugh, just repeating the “transboys” thing makes me ill).

    I honestly think that, in this case, the blog author/owner didn’t realize that hate speech was taking place on her blog until someone (I believe shannon?) brought it to her attention. Her reaction is more important to me than her initial oversight. And, I feel that her reaction was inadequate. This could be for a couple of reasons.

    1) She isn’t transphobic, but she has a slavish legion of fans she doesn’t want to alienate who obviously are. So she (eventually) shuts down the thread because she doesn’t like the comments, but isn’t comfortable calling out people who have been so supportive of her (and give her site so much traffic).

    2) She is transphobic, and she’s shut it down just because it’s become a total clusterfuck and she knows she can’t get away with agreeing with some of the insane, hateful statements her commenters have made, at least, not publicly.

    I tend to think it’s the second option because of the *wink-wink, nudge-nudge* tone of a couple of her posts on the thread.

    In this particular case, I think the important question to ask is not, “Should she have intervened?,” but “Does she think this is hate speech at all?” I’m not entirely sure that she does.

    Accusing a particular group of people of being perverse, sick, depraved, and murderous is hate speech. Anyone who has a blog should address this type of speech, and, at the very least, make it clear that sie doesn’t agree with this type of dehumanization.

    If TF can make fun of some random girl’s thong, she can certainly call her posters out for their vile comments, and I think that her failure to do so both demonstrates her personal beliefs and the cliqueishness (is that a word?) fostered by her blog.

  5. zuzu
    zuzu December 28, 2006 at 1:50 pm | *

    What is the obsession with bathrooms?

  6. nexyjo
    nexyjo December 28, 2006 at 2:03 pm |

    i think yolanda defines hate speech pretty well. for me, since i’m trans, and jewish, i just insert the term “trans” or “jew” where the hate speaker has positioned their group de jour, and if the sentance then offends me, or, you know, makes me want to throw up, i figure it’s hate speech.

    as far as a blogger’s responsibility for monitoring and moderating comments, well, that’s up to the individual. if one doesn’t mind their blog becoming, and subsequently being known as, a den of haters and hate speech, well, then i guess they can type away and let the cards fall where they may. it is, after all, a free internet. and people do have the right to speak their minds, even if i think they are all the ugly things we’ve come to know and hate.

    and finally, regarding bathrooms, i don’t think that some people are obsessed with bathrooms. i think they are obsessed with hating men, and the bathroom thing is just a symptom.

  7. zuzu
    zuzu December 28, 2006 at 2:12 pm | *

    Perhaps not so surprisingly, the specter of UNISEX BATHROOMS was raised in opposition to the ERA.

  8. nerdlet
    nerdlet December 28, 2006 at 2:18 pm |

    Blog battles do destroy a little bit of my soul, but I’m uncomfortable enough with blog crossovers in general that I guess it’s not all that different. Ah well.

    I don’t know if I can come up with a brief and all-encompassing definition for hate speech. “Anything that treats x group as less than human” seems to fit pretty well, reading the discussion over there – so using words like Frankenstein (what, you’re trying to insult someone by calling them a mad scientist?), or acting as if all members of a certain group act out of the exact same motivation & share a hive mind, like bugs. (Do bugs have hive minds? Am I getting them mixed up with Borgs again?)

  9. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 2:18 pm |

    It’s funny, because I took a trans studies class this past semester, and I remember one woman specifically concerned about women’s-only spaces and what degree of privilege mtfs brought to those spaces, and if male privilege could ever be shed. We discussed it without her ever asserting that mtfs were sick or monstrous–or that they weren’t female.

    My instructor was a ftm who was and still is deeply involved in the lesbian and feminist communities, and he told us that when he attended the Michigan Womyn’s festivals, they were very healing experiences for him, allowing him to feel more comfortable with his body and giving him a sense of community and belonging that he never had in other places.

    I understand that need, and I would never assert that women who desire women’s-only spaces do not have a right to feel comfortable. BUT when the exclusion of mtfs from these spaces is not, “Sorry, but right now, we want a place for people to discuss being gendered female from birth” but “You’re a fucked-up weirdo who’s going to rape us and we don’t want you here,” that’s a huge issue.

    But the former, I know, is asking transpeople to step aside and accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, when the world should be changing and they shouldn’t have to change themselves, but I do know that there are some feminists who desire women’s-only spaces but understand, at least, that this has more to do with past cultural/life experiences as opposed to anatomy or biology or not being “authentically” female.

  10. kactus
    kactus December 28, 2006 at 2:21 pm |

    @nexyjo:

    as far as a blogger’s responsibility for monitoring and moderating comments, well, that’s up to the individual. if one doesn’t mind their blog becoming, and subsequently being known as, a den of haters and hate speech, well, then i guess they can type away and let the cards fall where they may. it is, after all, a free internet. and people do have the right to speak their minds, even if i think they are all the ugly things we’ve come to know and hate.

    Exactly–and other bloggers can use their delinking prerogative. I should have delinked twisty months ago, during the blowjob debates, because so much of what was being said over there was reactionary and cruel. But, eh, being lazy and all that, and letting things slide, is a major fault of mine.

    Vanessa at Plucky Punk used the Little Green Footballs analogy–Charles Johnson always says that he’s not responsible for his commenters’ hate speech and so can’t be held accountable, but that’s such a lie. He can and should and is. As a blogger I don’t get a lot of comments, but I read all the ones I get. I try to be involved. If a situation looks like it’s getting out of hand, you bet I’d be in there in a minute.

    Unless I agreed with the direction the thread was going. And there’s the rub.

  11. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 2:23 pm |

    I will say, too (geez, sorry for all the posts!) that as a white cisgendered het-passing bi woman I carry a shitload of privilege of my own and may be minimalizing the experiences of mtfs in my previous posts.

    If so, I apologize, and now I will sit down and shut up.

  12. kactus
    kactus December 28, 2006 at 2:23 pm |

    And I just wanted to mention that the most amazing conversations around this are taking place at brownfemipower’s and at belledame’s.

  13. Myca
    Myca December 28, 2006 at 2:31 pm |

    BUT when the exclusion of mtfs from these spaces is not, “Sorry, but right now, we want a place for people to discuss being gendered female from birth” but “You’re a fucked-up weirdo who’s going to rape us and we don’t want you here,” that’s a huge issue.

    Well, and I’d add that once someone says the latter, then I tend to suspect that the former is just a transparently bullshit justification for their bigotry.

    It’s like the whole MWMF ‘controversy’. Once you’ve said that MTF folks aren’t allowed because they’re not ‘real women’ and that the other participants ‘don’t feel safe,’ then backpedaling and saying “Well, what we really meant was . . . ” will be rightly perceived as bullshit.

    It’s the way that ‘states rights’ is code for “fuck black people’ and ‘the rights of the unborn’ is code for ‘fuck women.’

    —Myca

  14. Grog
    Grog December 28, 2006 at 2:46 pm |

    I’m a little amazed at where that particular comment thread went. I’m also a little offended at the number of people who obviously understand nothing about transpeople at all busy spouting off about the subject.

    However, putting that aside for a bit, I view “hate speech” as the degenerate cousin of discrimination. Basically, as with this situation, it involves a fundamental disrespect for someone else, whether they are present or not.

    As for when discriminatory practices pass into the realm of “hate”, that perhaps is a bit vague. I start to draw the line mentally when the source of a given argument is unwilling to listen to counterpoint, or is actively promoting hostile behaviour towards others that they choose to not understand.

    I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, so feel free to call me on the ambiguity – I’ll try to fill it in if I can.

  15. Lauren
    Lauren December 28, 2006 at 2:51 pm |

    Sidestepping the hate speech question, which I think other people can answer way better than I can, I think the real question is how much you value your community. People come to read, write, and commune with you, and if those people are shitting on a large portion of your community you disrespect your community by not moderating them out. I know at Feministe we’ve moderated people for far less, and don’t even let through the dipshits who come to shit on the community at large, unless we highlight the post to mock them. Others are “on watch” in that they are only allowed through when their comments aren’t inflammatory — they may disagree, violently, but they aren’t allowed to tromp all over people that have built social currency here.

    Anyway, I think some of it too comes down to the divide between “radfems” and other genres of feminism (for lack of better words). I like reading radfems because they make me think, but I’ll be damned if somebody gleans from that that I agree with all of it, or even most of it.

    Insofar as Twisty goes, I like reading her because she’s a good writer, but to be honest most of what she writes that isn’t immediately obvious (rapists are bad, women are oppressed) is so over the top hateful and exclusionary to people who would otherwise be her allies makes me believe she’s hiding behind a persona and letting others do her dirty work for her. Mostly, this isn’t a one time thing, and that’s what makes my red flags go up. A really irresponsible blog owner, a rabid free speech at any cost believer, or this hateful? I’d like to be more charitable in the interest of good faith, but holy shit.

    At the very least, as a site owner and moderator with your name and reputation at the top of the fucking site, you’ve got to jump into your own damned threads and whoop some ass sometimes. It’s your name on the line, your traffic, and again, your community.

    I’ve got a lot more to say on this, so I’ll be back as the comments here and elsewhere unfold.

  16. little light
    little light December 28, 2006 at 3:29 pm |

    Katie:

    But the former, I know, is asking transpeople to step aside and accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, when the world should be changing and they shouldn’t have to change themselves, but I do know that there are some feminists who desire women’s-only spaces but understand, at least, that this has more to do with past cultural/life experiences as opposed to anatomy or biology or not being “authentically” female.

    Honestly, a lot of us are willing to accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, so long as we’re dealing with people in good faith. If another woman tells me she wants a space just for women born a certain way, hey, that’s her business, not mine, and so long as her arguments are considerate and based in a shared experience I maybe haven’t had? Fine, I’ll go somewhere else. I’ve got no desire to elbow my way into the MWMF, where I don’t expect I could have a good time surrounded by folk who don’t want me, anyway.
    But when the argument is the other one you present–that it’s because we’re not real women, or are sick or deranged or prone to attacking and raping other women–well, fuck ‘em. If their argument is that my asking to be included is an attempt to force my way in, well, fuck ‘em. And the problem is that a lot of people who’ll say the former to our faces will say the latter when they don’t think they’ll be held accountable for it, and that they normalize those bigoted attitudes.

    I have no direct right to anyone else’s private space, no matter what kind of person I am. But nobody has the right to tell me I’m not allowed in public spaces. That’s a lot of it. The former is an assertion of their personal rights; the latter is a stifling of mine.

  17. Roy
    Roy December 28, 2006 at 3:30 pm |

    I’m a major advocate of free speech- even speech that I think is disrespectful and that I disagree with.

    That being said: I think that there are two seperate things to be concerned about on that front. The first seems really obvious to me. If it’s your site, it’s your name on the line, and it’s you who is ultimately responsible for the content that you permit. I may support free speech, but I’m not about to tolerate some racist fuck coming onto my site and trying to shove his insanity down my readers throats. It’s one thing to permit disagreement- I’m more than happy to deal with someone who happens to think I’m wrong about something.
    Disagreement is fine.
    Personally, I wouldn’t tolerate the kinds of comments that spawned this on my site. It’s not an issue of free speech- bigots have every right to create their own bile filled blogs, if that’s what they want to do. If it’s my site, it’s my rules, and any post that I leave unchallanged tells my readers that I, at the very least, respect that post. If I don’t come out as disagreeing with it, and I don’t remove it, what other conclusion can they reach? Maybe I don’t agree with the comment, but I must think it has some value if I don’t remove it or challange it.
    The second issue (for me) is the confusion between speech and act (which may not apply here). Too often, I see/hear people defend all kinds of hate-speech on the grounds that they’re defenders of free speech. The problem here is that there’s a difference between speech and action, and sometimes action pretends to be speech. Without getting too deep into it, I think that most people recognize, for example, that shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is something more than speech. It becomes a speech-act, and it’s something that isn’t defended, because the harm resulting from that act. Likewise, there are some who suggest that something like a promise, an oath, or, say, the “I do” of a marriage are speech-acts, as well. Certain types of hate speech could also fall into this group.
    When you start using words to harm other people, your words carry weight beyond mere words, and you bear a certain level of responsibility for that.
    I apologize if that’s missing the point you were raising- it’s been a long day already, but I’ve been wanting to comment since I read this earlier.

  18. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate December 28, 2006 at 4:48 pm |

    What is the obsession with bathrooms?

    My theory is that these people believe in the “all men are potential rapists” school of thought, hence their fear of mtf’s in women’s bathrooms.

  19. Sunrunner
    Sunrunner December 28, 2006 at 4:59 pm |

    Yolanda’s definition is as good a working definition as I could ever come up with.

    One good thing about these “blog-wars” (and I am late learning about this one I see!) is that the “hate” is exposed. I think most of us have been in situations in which we have listened to the kind of hate speech which went on in that thread or in the blow job posts, and had to choose whether to bite our tongues and keep the peace or to speak up and be “called out” by others for disturbing said peace, while the point we are trying to make is entirely lost.

    My hope is that some of the clueless keep-the-peacers will encounter some of these discussions and reconsider their enabling behavior. As for the hate-speechers, I would like to hope that they too can be motivated to re-examine their prejudices and also reform their lives, or just come out of the closet as the bigots they really are.

  20. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 28, 2006 at 5:02 pm |

    Living in a country with more restrictions on free speech than you Americans are used to, I generally try to explain the Danish limitations to an expanding of libel laws. If something would be libel when applied to a person, it is almost certainly hate speech when applied to a group.

  21. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 28, 2006 at 5:13 pm |

    I understand that need, and I would never assert that women who desire women’s-only spaces do not have a right to feel comfortable. BUT when the exclusion of mtfs from these spaces is not, “Sorry, but right now, we want a place for people to discuss being gendered female from birth” but “You’re a fucked-up weirdo who’s going to rape us and we don’t want you here,” that’s a huge issue.

    But the former, I know, is asking transpeople to step aside and accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, when the world should be changing and they shouldn’t have to change themselves, but I do know that there are some feminists who desire women’s-only spaces but understand, at least, that this has more to do with past cultural/life experiences as opposed to anatomy or biology or not being “authentically” female.

    I don’t know if I can explain it properly, but I think that while Katie is making sense, it’s not quite right. What I think is important is if the exclusion are done to exclude someone or to protect someone else. If the exclusion is to protect someone, then there is obviously some other dynamics at play than if the goal is to exclude someone.
    Having said that, I can’t see any way where an exclusion of MTFs can in any way be percepted as anything else than an exclusion of a group of people.

    I should probably make a disclaimer here: as a white heterosexual male, I certainly cannot apply any of my experience to these things, and are probably making gross mistakes and blunders. Hopefully it makes somewhat sense.

  22. kactus
    kactus December 28, 2006 at 5:20 pm |

    I think most of us have been in situations in which we have listened to the kind of hate speech which went on in that thread or in the blow job posts, and had to choose whether to bite our tongues and keep the peace or to speak up and be “called out” by others for disturbing said peace, while the point we are trying to make is entirely lost.

    Exactly. There comes a point in a thread where the haters are so loud, so numerous, and so enabling to other haters, that anybody trying to voice dissent is descended upon. Is it worth it? Only, I think, if you are a person who likes to argue or who has an extraordinarily thick hide. I fall into neither category, so I bite my tongue and stew on it.

  23. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 5:34 pm |

    little light and Myca–

    As far as the “not feeling comfortable” argument often serving as a mask for bigotry, I think you’re right, and thanks for pointing that out to me.

    I’ve noticed, too, that many of the white feminists who want to protect women’s-only spaces from mtfs are the same people who protest when women of color attempt to create their own spaces without white women. What gives? Does only male privilege exist? If white privilege exists, is it immutable like male privilege apparently is? I really don’t understand.

  24. Em
    Em December 28, 2006 at 5:44 pm |

    I guess I got in on the feminist blogging revolution too late to see what a (self-declared?) genius Twisty is.

    Hate speech is like porn; you know it when you see it. And when you’ve been categorized as less than human, it can do one of two things to you–make you more aware of other groups who are also dehumanized and the ways in which that’s done, or make you concerned with getting yours and to hell with everyone else.

  25. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 5:45 pm |

    Hi Kristjan!

    I don’t know if I can explain it properly, but I think that while Katie is making sense, it’s not quite right. What I think is important is if the exclusion are done to exclude someone or to protect someone else. If the exclusion is to protect someone, then there is obviously some other dynamics at play than if the goal is to exclude someone.

    Yeah, this is another thing to sort out. I think it’s both transphobia and a different understanding of privilege than the one we might possess. Since a lot of rad fems believe that female oppression is the be-all, end-all of oppression, then any racial, gender, and class issues are cast aside in the pursuit of ending male oppression. So, if they believe that gender is inborn, and that male privilege is the worst force on the earth, worse than cisgender privilege or white privilege or what have you, then they’re not going to give a shit about transpeople, because that’s not their goal.

    They don’t see it as exclusion because they still see transwomen as male, and men dominate the culture. This, of course, is wrong, and completely denies trans struggles and issues, as well as cisgender privilege.

  26. Katie
    Katie December 28, 2006 at 5:47 pm |

    And, by the way, little light, I understand that you slogged through that mess. I wish I could send you a virtual martini! (Given you like such things, of course.)

  27. Myca
    Myca December 28, 2006 at 5:57 pm |

    Katie:

    What gives? Does only male privilege exist? If white privilege exists, is it immutable like male privilege apparently is? I really don’t understand.

    I think you answer your own questions in your next post when you write:

    Since a lot of rad fems believe that female oppression is the be-all, end-all of oppression, then any racial, gender, and class issues are cast aside in the pursuit of ending male oppression. So, if they believe that gender is inborn, and that male privilege is the worst force on the earth, worse than cisgender privilege or white privilege or what have you, then they’re not going to give a shit about transpeople, because that’s not their goal.

    I think that this, here, is my main issue with radical feminism. In the end, once we get past all of their other issues and concerns (some of which I agree with , others I don’t), I just plain don’t agree with their central premise. It’s reductive.

    If you accept it, though, it makes sense to downplay cisgendered privilege, white privilege, etc., because none of them are important, compared to male privilege.

    —Myca

  28. exangelena
    exangelena December 28, 2006 at 6:24 pm |

    Raging Moderate – Your definition seems to imply that a stereotypical Andrea Dworkin “feminazi” is the only one upset about unisex bathrooms. Then what’s with all the conservatives who wanted to shoot down the ERA by waving the unisex bathroom flag?

  29. Amber
    Amber December 28, 2006 at 6:40 pm |

    My theory is that these people believe in the “all men are potential rapists” school of thought, hence their fear of mtf’s in women’s bathrooms.

    It does appear that way at a superficial first glance. But that argument falls apart pretty quickly… because, if a man really wants to rape a woman, does anyone seriously believe the little drawing on the door of a stick figure wearing a skirt is going to stop him? “Oh, shoot, I can’t go in here! Now if only I’d pursued gender transition, I could get in there and rape that woman!”

  30. Thomas
    Thomas December 28, 2006 at 6:41 pm |

    Mostly, this isn’t a one time thing, and that’s what makes my red flags go up.

    I remember this thread, where Piny said,
    “It’s a tiring dynamic.”

    Twisty said:

    You got that right, girl! I’m exhausted.

    Comment 51.

    Let the record reflect that Piny offered a charitable interpretation at the time.

  31. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 28, 2006 at 7:29 pm |

    Hate speech is like porn; you know it when you see it.

    Speaking of porn, it fits Yolanda’s definition of hate speech:

    When someone actively objectifies a member of an oppressed group or that whole group.

  32. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe December 28, 2006 at 8:31 pm |

    Somebody, it may have been Amanda Marcotte, came up with what I thought was a provocative analogy. What if a white person decided he or she wanted to be black, and took pills, sunbaths, etc. to artificially darken his or her skin? And what if that person went around, not only claiming to be black, but acting like a complete fool—putting on a huge Afro wig and a tacky dashiki, talking in a bad parody of Ebonics, etc.? Would actual black persons welcome such an individual, or would they be exasperated or worse? Amanda (if it was her) suggested that this was the kind of difficulty some women have with transgenders.

  33. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 8:32 pm |

    Yes, thank you, Thomas, that was the turning point with me, with her. Well, -a- turning point: not from liking to not liking, but from “fed up with her commenters, think she’s a brick wall on certain issues, but is probably worthwhile, i guess, even if i don’t want to read there anymore” to “fuck this bullshit but GOOD.”

    and you know: i kind of believe her when she says she doesn’t care–and in a way, to me, that actually makes it worse than if i thought the bigotry was totally coming from her ideology. She did that at that moment because she was pissed off at piny for calling her out, and went for the jugular, and in a way that would fly under the radar of most people. She seems to be good at that.

    ultimately i don’t suppose it much matters -why- her site’s become a nest of hateful people from the Bizarro World, just that it has, but…well, y’all know my take by now, i expect.

  34. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 8:35 pm |

    as per “objectification:” well, and it’s that that makes this just a more extreme example of what’s been happening in…certain circles…all along, I think. The blowjob wars, the beauty wars, the this, the that: they all have their root not even so much in the particular ideology, although yeah sure that’s useful to talk about, but in the fact that some people simply can’t or won’t hear other people whose very existence seems to contradict their carefully constructed worldview.

    Like,

    “I’m cold; put on a sweater. …What do you mean, you’re not cold? Of COURSE you’re cold! I’M cold! Look around you at how many people are cold! Here are some statistics about the world’s temperatures! How DARE you say you’re not cold? god, you’re so SELFISH.”

    “Boundaries” is also a fine concept…

  35. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 8:39 pm |

    Once you’ve said that MTF folks aren’t allowed because they’re not ‘real women’ and that the other participants ‘don’t feel safe,’ then backpedaling and saying “Well, what we really meant was . . . ” will be rightly perceived as bullshit.

    It’s the way that ’states rights’ is code for “fuck black people’ and ‘the rights of the unborn’ is code for ‘fuck women.’

    exactly.

    i will note once again that yeah, i suppose i do see something like a privately organized festival as different from something as fundamental as using the bathroom in public. doesn’t mean i don’t still find it hateful, of course. hell, you could make it a whites-only festival too, i suppose, if that’s what you want. just be honest that that’s what you want. no need to rationalize.

    oh, wait, you mean: some white people/cisgendered women might not want to go if it were laid out as starkly as that? Huh. Well, you pays your money and you makes your choice…

  36. Holly
    Holly December 28, 2006 at 8:40 pm |

    Wait so when someone calls me a “cute little china doll” that’s hate speech? And here I just thought that was just racist, sexist sexual objectification of asian women.

    Seems to me like there has to be some kind of negative or derogatory intent for it to be hate speech, even if it’s just as disgusting when the intent is “positive.”

    I really appreciate some of the stuff Myca and Katie said in this thread about certain kinds of radical feminist arguments for exclusion of trans women. Just to add my own spin:

    I don’t know if I can explain it properly, but I think that while Katie is making sense, it’s not quite right. What I think is important is if the exclusion are done to exclude someone or to protect someone else. If the exclusion is to protect someone, then there is obviously some other dynamics at play than if the goal is to exclude someone.

    The really tricky thing is… if you look at the arguments that have been going on about MWMF for years on the internet, one of the most common threads goes like this…

    random assberet: “blah blah men in dresses, argh, nutjobs!”

    people for inclusion: “this is wrong, you’re doing this just to exclude someone”

    people for exclusion: “no no, i know it SOUNDS like that sometimes, but really it’s to protect someone”

    another random assberet: “rawr, trans people are violent psychos! penises! yuck, they’re just mutilated men”

    people for inclusion: “uh… omg, what the hell? are we supposed to believe that?”

    people for exclusion: “no really, just ignore all the raging transphobic jerks who happen to be pro-inclusion too. it’s only for protection!”

    So really, how can you tell? Everyone has their own take, including the rabidly anti-trans people.

  37. Holly
    Holly December 28, 2006 at 8:42 pm |

    Oh and I forgot one line from the endless saga that is “pointless argument about MWMF” ::

    Some other person: “omg this one time, at moon camp, this tranny came and waved a penis in the showers!”

    note: this story has never been substatiated in any way.

  38. dk
    dk December 28, 2006 at 9:14 pm |

    Exangelena: Andrea Dworkin, at least in her book Woman-Hating, explicitly supported trans rights, including the right to medically alter one’s body.

  39. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 28, 2006 at 9:40 pm | *

    Has your definition changed or crystallized over the course of blogging or commenting on blogs?

    My definition of hate speech hasn’t changed much. My willingness to spend time in environment that makes no effort to curb hateful express is just now minimal. I stopped reading IBTP after the blowjob wars because who needs that angst over something so fundamentally inane.

    Also, it pisses me the hell off when people pull the “oh, but that wasn’t me!” line. Your bandwidth, your obligation to keep an eye out.

  40. exangelena
    exangelena December 28, 2006 at 10:13 pm |

    dk – I wasn’t referring to the actual Andrea Dworkin, but more the “mythical” Andrea Dworkin dreamed up as the ultimate evil manhating feminazi.
    Bitter Scribe – that was hilarious. And thought provoking.
    In general, I tried to follow the twisty thread but my attention span was too short for that many comments. I’m sure that there are some radfems who hate transgendered people, just as there are gays who hate transgendered people, feminists who are racist and religiously bigoted (especially with the whole veil controversy), men of color who are misogynist and, as the fdl thing showed us, liberal gays who are racist and sexist. I don’t think that it’s necessarily hateful or bigoted to demand a certain space (for example, for women born women or whatnot). I’m Asian, but I wouldn’t consider blacks racist if they wanted a POC, black specific space. Or even more specifically, if other Asian ethnic groups that I am not, wanted their own. If they espouse hate or bigotry in addition, that’s the problem.
    In this way, identity politics can be problematic. No one fits into tidy, discrete boxes.

  41. little light
    little light December 28, 2006 at 10:23 pm |

    Bitter Scribe:

    Somebody, it may have been Amanda Marcotte, came up with what I thought was a provocative analogy. What if a white person decided he or she wanted to be black, and took pills, sunbaths, etc. to artificially darken his or her skin? And what if that person went around, not only claiming to be black, but acting like a complete fool—putting on a huge Afro wig and a tacky dashiki, talking in a bad parody of Ebonics, etc.? Would actual black persons welcome such an individual, or would they be exasperated or worse? Amanda (if it was her) suggested that this was the kind of difficulty some women have with transgenders.

    Scribe, are you saying that that’s how it actually is? That trans people are all deciding at random what they “want” to be, and then behaving as grossly caricatured, buffoonish stereotypes of that group? Please clarify whether or not you’re standing behind that notion. As quickly as possible.

  42. little light
    little light December 28, 2006 at 10:30 pm |

    Holly, your distinction between hate speech and simple racism, sexism, etc., is wise, I think.
    There’s a big difference between someone assuming I will Love Them Long Time or whatever and someone acting out of knowing malevolence. There’s discrimination and bigotry, sure, and there’s people with stupid assumptions, but there’s a line that needs crossing before it’s hate speech, and I think part of that is using those ideas as a weapon. I’m not sure where exactly to draw the line, but it’s important–just as there’s a difference between someone who has sexist notions or expresses sexist idea, and someone engaging in misogyny. For one, one’s a lot more fixable than the other.

  43. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 10:49 pm |

    Can we all agree that a good enough ostensive definition of hate speech is: what was said against trans people at IBTP?

    I.e., is there any dispute about this case?

  44. Lesley
    Lesley December 28, 2006 at 10:52 pm |

    To me hate speech is when you attribute a negative characteristic to an entire group of people who haven’t actually done anything to anyone else (e.g., “nutjobs” or “damaged and pathetic”) or when you use a well-known slur for that group.

    As for the responsibility of hosts re: commenters, I have mixed feelings about that. I don’t think hosts have to police their comments and delete all examples of hate speech, unless they choose to do so or have explicitly offered their site as a safe space for a certain group. However, if a certain type of hate speech starts occurring over and over again in your comments, and you neither challenge nor delete it, then I think it’s a bit jejune to airily dismiss the concerns of the marginalized group against whom the hate speech is directed. If you regularly allow something to continue unchecked, at a minimum you’re signaling that you don’t really care much about the marginalized group. You don’t have to, but no one is really “above all that.”

  45. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 11:07 pm |

    You know–reading Kristjan’s comment (that it’s different in Denmark), it occurs to me

    –well, besides, agan, fleetingly, yes, we (“we”–the femosphere, the libprogosphere) tend to be pretty U.S. centric, and that i’d like to see change–

    …but besides that, something was nagging at me which leapt into focus with the word “libel:”

    we are maybe assuming unconsciously that we need to have -legal- standards in mind, when deciding what is or isn’t “hateful.”

    or some of us are. anyway it’s the same sort of thing i notice happening in a lot of discussions–stuff like “when is it rape,” especially.

    for our purposes, i think it’s safe to say that the standards are different. The concern here is, I think, how to keep the “commons” safe, respectful, or at least habitable, in an online community/dialogue setting.

    So, maybe “hate speech” isn’t the right term, since that’s been used to determine certain legal cases, and i don’t think any of that is our concern here.

    The question for us here is: what is the responsibility of the host and of the community when faced with bigotry? And:

    at what level of vitriol does it cross the line from “okay, bigoted, but we can still reason with this person” to “just ban the creep, there is no reasoning with the person?”

    …as i see it. mileage may vary, obviously.

  46. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 11:08 pm |

    …slippage since i started to compose that, making it probably redundant.

    anyway, in answer to 43: no dispute here, anyway.

  47. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 28, 2006 at 11:13 pm |

    And as many people have pointed out, it is ABSOLUTELY the blog moderator’s job to put a stop to oppressive language and dynamics. If you don’t say anything, you are condoning that shit, whether you personally agree with it or not.

    That blanket statement seems way off base to me. Sorry. I don’t know the particulars of what is going on, but I know that the very idea that I delete everyone who says something that is sexist or homophobic by insinuation is beyond the pale. I have little appetite for moderating in people who use open slurs or threats. My co-blogger Pam is more tolerant than I am. But because both she and I allow people to make nominally polite arguments about this or that doesn’t mean we approve. It’s almost asinine to say that allowing someone to argue with you on your blog=approving of them.

  48. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 28, 2006 at 11:19 pm |

    Very interesting analogy, Bitter Scribe. I would feel the same way about mtfs in bathrooms who may have viewed women a certain way before their change. I probably just said something very ignorant.

  49. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 11:27 pm |

    I’d also be interested to hear answers to little light’s questions in #41. And if a “real” black person decided, or just did, wear a “huge” Afro & dashiki & spoke Black Vernacular English, would you also find that person to be an amusing, buffonish parody? And how do you define a “real” woman? (I assume the Nuremburg Laws will do for race.) The argument, among other things, begs the question.

  50. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 11:29 pm |

    I’d hesitated to ask, but since she’s here, was Amanda Marcotte really the source of the analogy in #32?

  51. zuzu
    zuzu December 28, 2006 at 11:36 pm | *

    That blanket statement seems way off base to me. Sorry. I don’t know the particulars of what is going on, but I know that the very idea that I delete everyone who says something that is sexist or homophobic by insinuation is beyond the pale. I have little appetite for moderating in people who use open slurs or threats. My co-blogger Pam is more tolerant than I am. But because both she and I allow people to make nominally polite arguments about this or that doesn’t mean we approve. It’s almost asinine to say that allowing someone to argue with you on your blog=approving of them.

    I agree with you on that, as far as it goes. I’ve definitely played a bouncer role here (Jill and piny are more tolerant than I am), but I don’t want to stifle dissent. OTOH, I’m not going to let someone, however politely they phrase their hate, go unchallenged. Usually someone here will do that even if one of the mods doesn’t.

    And, no, I don’t accept responsibility for comments made here that make it past the mod queue, however hateful they are. I take responsibility for how I respond to them.

    And I think that’s the issue with Twisty — she doesn’t spend much time responding to comment threads at her place, and when she does, it’s often to egg on the conflict. I don’t hold her responsible for what, say, Pony or Luckynkl say, but I do look askance at her stance that she has no control over what appears on her blog even as she cheerfully admits to trolling her own blog to see what happens.

  52. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 11:39 pm |

    It’s almost asinine to say that allowing someone to argue with you on your blog=approving of them.

    I doubt anyone, on reflection, thinks that allowing someone to argue with you on your blog is tantamount to approving of them. That’s a red herring. At a minimum, any time two commenters disagree, the blog owner will disagree with at least one of them. The concern here isn’t with the lack of unanimity. It’s with hate speech. Blog owners arguably have a responsibility not to support the promulgation of hate speech in a way they don’t have a responsibility not to support the promulgation of any ordinary opinion they might happen disagree with. Is anybody here confused on that point?

  53. Nanette
    Nanette December 28, 2006 at 11:40 pm |

    I think that’s an absolutely inane analogy – although it does pull off the feat of showcasing an astounding ignorance of not only transgender, but race/ethnicity, while managing to insult both.

  54. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 28, 2006 at 11:46 pm |

    My theory is that these people believe in the “all men are potential rapists” school of thought, hence their fear of mtf’s in women’s bathrooms.

    A theory created and promoted by the patriarchy, mind you.

  55. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 28, 2006 at 11:48 pm |

    No, I didn’t say that. FWIW. I tend to think that people identify with this group or that for very good reasons. I don’t know of anyone who has deliberately identified as black when they identified as white their whole life. I’m very pro-trans. My attitude is that no one would want to become a woman unless she had a very, very good reason.

  56. belledame222
    belledame222 December 28, 2006 at 11:50 pm |

    I don’t hold her responsible for what, say, Pony or Luckynkl say, but I do look askance at her stance that she has no control over what appears on her blog even as she cheerfully admits to trolling her own blog to see what happens.

    Yup.

    There is also a certain point beyond which it might be worth considering o say banning any particular poster.

    but mostly: yeah. it’s not the heat, it’s the false humility. or something. that didn’t come out right. anyway.

    i mean, look, if you -really- run a space where literally anything goes, and that’s what you want, then O.K., i guess; but i think it’s pretty clear that IBTP is -not- such a space; otherwise there’d be MRA’s running rampant all over the place. you know?

  57. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 11:52 pm |

    A theory created and promoted by the patriarchy, mind you.

    Uniquely? If that theory were promoted by majority opinion in an IBTP thread, how, empirically, would I determine whether the people involved (names available on request) were agents of the patriarchy? And, if they were, how would you recommend I break it to them?

  58. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe December 28, 2006 at 11:55 pm |

    Scribe, are you saying that that’s how it actually is? That trans people are all deciding at random what they “want” to be…?

    Since there are only two genders, I don’t see how the word “random” applies.

    …and then behaving as grossly caricatured, buffoonish stereotypes of that group?

    Having never had any face-to-face contact with a transsexual or transgendered person—to my knowledge, at least—I hardly know how to answer that question. Surely you of all people must know that in any society, “masculine” and “feminine” roles are carved out by tradition and environment at least as much as by heredity or “nature.” What I’m trying to say is that since “feminine” behavior is in part learned behavior, it would have to be learned by an individual who is trying to transition from a man into a woman. It stands to reason that an individual in that situation might be liable to overdo it.

  59. KH
    KH December 28, 2006 at 11:55 pm |

    #54. Thanks. I thought not.

  60. Rad fem
    Rad fem December 29, 2006 at 12:05 am |

    I’m a tougher moderator than I used to be but I get so very few comments these days and still about 95% of comments that come in are mostly personal attacks against me or what I write about because of the nature of my site, the audience tends to be very localized and they seem to be familiar with me even though I don’t know their identities. But I learned a very harsh lesson about allowing comments to just be posted by individuals who write offensive content. If I had the last year to do over, I’d have removed them or implemented comment moderation much sooner rather than try to communicate with them as long as I did. My reasons were good because of the nature of the situation but it was totally futile.

    Yeah, my city would have had one less scandal to worry about or to investigate, yeah the comments might have shown racism, sexism and homophobia that existed inside a public agency but inherantly racist and sexist systems do not learn from having either or both behaviors exposed alone. And they always find ways to make these situations work for them, to enable them to keep their systems that foster this type of behavior intact anyway which happened in this case.

    People who read offensive comments who might want to discuss issues on your site are often driven away and that is a loss too. So offensive content is banned on my site and if any of it is from city employees, I’m not getting paid to babysit them. How many of you have sat and watched as an individual who posted hateful stuff and racist statements on your site was held up as an example of an excellent employee assigned to protect and serve the communities he denigrates? I have, once, maybe twice, hence my pessimism about dialoguing with those who engage in hate speech these days.

    My hope is that some of the clueless keep-the-peacers will encounter some of these discussions and reconsider their enabling behavior. As for the hate-speechers, I would like to hope that they too can be motivated to re-examine their prejudices and also reform their lives, or just come out of the closet as the bigots they really are.

    I have yet to see people engaging in hate-speech be motivated enough to examine their bigotry, certainly not on my site. They are there to either get your attention, monopolize your time and space and to exert control over it. They are like guests coming to your house who instead try to turn it into their personal sand box because they hate other individuals or groups of people or they just hate you and/or what you represent or are trying to do. They do it to express hate against groups of people, whether their behavior is racist, sexist, homophobic or anti-transgender. And yes, they do come out as bigots and no, it’s not a pretty sight.

    I didn’t read much of Twisty’s thread because I have a slow computer in terms of scrolling down long threads and what I did read turned my stomach. I may be as someone else said somewhere at square one on transgender issues when everyone else is on square ten, but I recognized the bigotry there. The name-calling, the dehumanizationing and the stereotyping that was in no way factually based but completely irrational coming from women who pride themselves on being intelligent. A couple of the commenters claiming they are all about protecting women are spouting hateful vitrol and as smart as they think they are, they just come off as dogmatic and ignorant. It’s sad to read what they write. Other women at Twisty’s blog raised issues that I think there’s good discussion there, but it’s hard to do that when there are people there who just vent hate and are loathe to see feminists have these discussions with transgenders enough to derail any effort.

    Did Twisty let the discussion go on too long? Well, I’m not in a position to judge that so maybe others can but probably. Hatred is hard to put a lid on though, harder than a lot of people think even online.

    I’ve been reading these threads mostly. I still don’t know much.

    I once blogged about “driving while transgender” which was about when a police detective gave a talk to representatives of the local transgender community. There were so many parallels to what he said that other officers had said about communities of color, one of them being that we already have so much training to do, we don’t have time to learn about another marginalized community. Since he was also assigned to investigate my blog for alleged employee misconduct, I guess he read my posting and I wonder what he thought but, even though I wasn’t familiar with what transgenders faced in my city with police(as they do elsewhere), the words that were spoken were the same rationale as used with other groups of people, like African-Americans, Latinos and gays and lesbians of all races. It was hard to miss those commonalities.

    There were issues I guess politics of trangenders which were raised at Twisty’s site which I think would have made a good discussion but if people are there solely to mark their territory and engage in hateful, dehumanizing behavior, that discussion will not happen as long as they are doing it, something they are counting on, which I think goes back to Yolanda’s and others’ comments about moderating hate speech on blogs. The irony is that these women will run out trangenders on a thread and claim they are doing it for all women, including women who weren’t asked whether they wanted this behavior to be done on their behalf to *protect* them from what they call female imposters? I don’t want their protection. I don’t want it done in my name as a member of the same gender. In fact, I don’t want their brand of feminism if that’s what it is, which I don’t think it is at all. I’m not talking about having issues with whether or not MTFs have been socialized since childhood to have male privilege, if that’s the case or even Women’s space, because I think there is probably ground to discuss issues like that which is a far distance away from engaging in bigotry.

    I’m still working my way through brownfemipower’s discussion as it’s happening so fast! My computer is slow and the wind took out power, internet and phones in one swoop today so I’m coming into it even later. But while there is disagreement there, I think there are a lot of informative points being made at least for someone like myself who is not very informed on these issues. Although I have to admit I don’t know all the terminology on transgenders, gender or even a lot of the more academic terms and theories. I’m behind on my reading material for feminism as well.

  61. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 12:09 am |

    It stands to reason that an individual in that situation might be liable to overdo it.

    No, actually it doesn’t stand to reason. The truth of your claim turns entirely on contingent matters of fact, & can’t be resolved by idle speculation. And as you grant, you have no actual knowledge of the matter. I do, & in my experience trans women are much less likely than “born” ones to overdo it.

  62. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 12:12 am |

    Since there are only two genders

    Already, you would have people arguing with you.

  63. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 12:12 am |

    and, what kh said, in #60.

  64. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 29, 2006 at 12:15 am |

    The concern here isn’t with the lack of unanimity. It’s with hate speech.

    Okay, and I’m not trying to troll, but I really do think this is interesting. What is hate speech? I draw the line, like I said, at commonly understood slurs and open threats. And I’ll admit it’s arbitrary. When I had a bunch of dudes jokingly threaten to rape me, I knew they were jokes, but I deleted them anyway because to me joking threats slide too close to the line of hate speech to be acceptable. Mostly, I want my blog to be a safe place for rape victims to relax without obnoxious triggers. (Though again, I tend to be lax on so-called “trigger warnings”, as I’m sure you know. My experience is that actual rape victims actually deal better with graphic but real descriptions than non-victims.)

    Open misogyny is actually less of a problem than open racism and open homophobia, I’ve found. People are a lot less likely to call me a slut or a bitch than to call commenters or Pam a homophobic slur like “dyke” or a racist slur like “nigger”. There’s probably a million reasons for that, but I’ve fallen over in shock by the racism and homophobia Pam lets go. Now, that I don’t see the horror of misogyny and do see it with racism and homophobia might perversely be true.

    Outside of those slurs, I find that it’s not easy to distinguish between hate speech and genuine discussion. Some of my regular commenters that are the most hateful are weirdly the most polite. And frankly, I think it is good to have spaces where people who have challenging opinions are there to debate.

  65. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 12:21 am |

    Since there are only genders…

    Some of us, of course, have strange views on that subject, but, that aside, you miss Little Light’s point. By “random”, I don’t take her to be taking a heterodox view of gender, claiming that there are 3 or 6 or no genders. Rather, she’s saying that trans people don’t come to their projects capriciously. Their whole experience of gender, from early life, is profoundly at odds with what you casually imagine they “really” are.

  66. Karen M
    Karen M December 29, 2006 at 12:22 am |

    Fascinating discussion… Mostly, I don’t have much patience for vitriol in comment threads, and think moderators/blog owners could do more to elevate the discussion, if only with some ground rules.

    To make a further distinction, though… there may be instances when a commenter’s hate speech might spark additional comments/debate that actually elevate the discussion. (As long as the community doesn’t virtually stone them.) But, if the commenter (or troll) is merely trying to hijack the discussion for their own purposes, then some judicious moderation may be in order. The hard part, though, may be in catching those comments soon enough to keep them from doing too much harm.

    As for MTF folks in women’s rooms… the analogy attributed above to Amanda Marcotte is worth discussing some more, if only because so much of what constitutes “gender” is learned in our culture, and really is not just about anatomy, but about how we think/feel/interact with others. I confess that my own experience does not give me any clues about how much “maleness” a MTF person may have already absorbed. (Perhaps not absorbing it is the reason for becoming MTF.) Still, I am old enough to be at least mildly suspicious of a man wanting to be included in a women’s group, if only because then it often becomes about the man, rather than about the original group of women. (A single woman in a group is usually ignored, but a single man in a group is often its center.) Not necessarily his fault, because (some) women still tend to organize themselves around men.

    OTOH, it seems particularly insensitive, if not cruel, to insist that an MTF must use a men’s restroom.

    This discussion certainly makes a case for having three restrooms in public places: one male, one female, and one uni-sex, since it might also solve the problem of there never being enough restrooms for women. (Re: “comfort” level It also might matter if such uni-sex restrooms were individual or multi-user. Some of us have shy bladders and prefer not to have anyone– male or female– in the same bathroom with us. ;~)

  67. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 29, 2006 at 12:24 am | *

    I have little appetite for moderating in people who use open slurs or threats.

    Having read that thread (and, consequently, continuing to search for the mythical brain bleach), I can assure you that that thread is well into open slurs and threats. There is, at one point, a comparison made between MTFs and the psychopathic killer in Silence of the Lambs. There are comments about trans people being nutjobs, little boys, idiots, and imminent rapists who are waiting at every moment to dive bomb innocent radfems in the next stall in the restaurant bathroom.

    In short, it is one long nasty thread in which every stereotype and cruelty is trotted out. (Funnily enough, it kind of resembles a rant at Gonzo’s.) It’s gross, it’s vile, and Twisty said she didn’t care about a bunch of commenters telling each other to fuck off.

    Score one for the patriarchy.

  68. little light
    little light December 29, 2006 at 12:37 am |

    Since there are only two genders, I don’t see how the word “random” applies.

    Already this statement can easily be argued with. The idea that there are only two genders–or that those two are the particular two of, say, American culture–is far from universal, and a cursory survey of world anthropology would make it apparent that the situation is much more complicated.
    Further, my use of “random” was more to indicate that the decision is fairly arbitrary. Anyone who has any idea what trans people go through could never, I think, believe the decisions involved are arbitrary or impulsive. There are, if nothing else, far too many failsafes enforced for it to happen.

    Having never had any face-to-face contact with a transsexual or transgendered person—to my knowledge, at least—

    To your knowledge is damned right. You have this brilliant analogy of what trans people are like, or at least their gender presentation, based on either no experience of actual trans people or only having experienced trans people who pass well enough that you didn’t know? How do you have any basis for which to determine whether or not your analogy works? How is it okay to assume something so degrading and insulting about a group of people without anything for evidence but what you think proceeds from logic, and something someone else said?

    Surely you of all people must know that in any society, “masculine” and “feminine” roles are carved out by tradition and environment

    –including the tradition of there only being two roles, with a sort of slider switch of doing it “right” or “wrong,” or of those roles being “masculine” and “feminine.” I agree that these cultural expressions are learned, even if I don’t agree that gender identity is. Transgender roles play out differently, and involve different expression, in different cultures across the world. So do the other roles people fall into. And I agree that there’s a learning curve, but:

    It stands to reason that an individual in that situation might be liable to overdo it.

    I have a problem with this.
    It stands to reason that it’s possible. People learning new roles in life often stumble. Young cisgendered people, moving from, say, the identity “boy” to the identity “man” or “girl” to “woman,” or even “infant” to “child,” often fumble some while picking up the expectations of their new roles, for instance. Teenage girls often awkwardly overdo what look like expected guidelines for what a woman is. Little boys grasp overreachingly, sometimes, at stereotyped models of masculinity.
    This happens. But to assume that it happens for all of a group–or to assume that transgender people, even the ones who have awkward learning-curve periods, will remain this way through their lives, is erroneous and offensive. It does not “stand to reason.”

    Your analogy not only presents transgender lives as foolish-looking, cartoonish, and grotesque, it also paints it as fundamentally one of falsification. And I think it also perfectly demonstrates the distinction Holly and I were trying to make upthread: it wasn’t hate speech, but whatever your intentions, it was ignorant and insulting.

  69. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 1:15 am |

    What is hate speech?, asked Pilate. You can understand: if somebody shots me in the face, I may find it an odd moment for people to become absorbed the no-doubt interesting question of what really constitutes gunfire, as opposed to the vigorous exchange of opinions. Again, the obvious answer is to offer an ostensive definition: hate speech is what they did at IBTP. Or does anyone deny it?

    Once we’re fully agreed – by which I mean fully, without any implicit or explicit apologetic yes, buts –, then we can address the problem of formulating an analytic definition – as we could have at any point before the instant example, & which, if we’re really interested, already has been pretty fully amplified in a vast academic literature – without anybody justly worrying that someone is hedging, equivocating, topic shifting, etc.

    The idea that it’s “good to have spaces where people who have challenging opinions are there to debate” would be as true if we were talking about something from Der Stürmer rather than an episode of gut-bucket transphobia, but the likelihood of anyone saying it &, not unreasonably, people’s interpretation of the act of saying it, would differ. Even the most principled of us are more likely to respond to some outrages with anodyne praise for vigorous free expression than we are to others. Even (we) First Amendment absolutists sometimes, when things strike too close to home, skip the Constitution Day speeches & just call things by their rightful names.

    It’s a mark of being a member of a despised class that whenever you’re attacked, you can be sure that a rousing defense of robust debate will follow, & it’s a mark that you’re gaining at least minimal space to live that, when you’re attacked again, people begin to talk less about the vigorous exchange of ideas & more about the rottenness of the “ideas” being “exchanged.” Trans people want, among other things, at least that space. Wouldn’t you?

  70. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:35 am |

    Some of my regular commenters that are the most hateful are weirdly the most polite.

    Yes, definitely, that is a point. Some of the worst, most hateful trolls i’ve ever encountered were people who were “civil” to a fault (i.e. avoided open ad homs, flames, slurs, and so on). They simply don’t engage honestly. And–well, I am thinking of one person in particular, a guy from a discussion board long ago. arguing against gay marriage, but in the most “polite” possible way you could imagine: decorous, agreeable, never showed a hint of anger. he was a ‘bot, and a slippery little weasel. and grotesquely bigoted and rigid and…odd. turned out he was attempting (ineptly, but still) to evangelize from this Catholic evangelistic website he worked for (he denied it of course).

    personally i’d rather outright flaming any day. even with hateful spew like on IBTP right now–at least there’s no doubt about what that is. there is an odd comfort in that, sometimes, somehow.

  71. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:38 am |

    and yeah, evil fizz, you’re right: it DID look a lot like a thread at Gonzman’s. just with more railing about men instead of women. insane-pathetic biologically based boasting and all. oh, and homophobia as well (“nice ANALogy” “you sound like a fag”–or maybe that one was another thread. three guesses who said it, though).

  72. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:42 am |

    Here’s the other thing, I guess:

    you know, at Alas (putting aside the pr0n business-please), i’ve seen plenty of hateful crap by many of the same posters–probably not at that level of sheer toxicity, but pretty ignorant and gross. also of course some, well, dunno if they’re technically MRA’s, but you know: there’ve been several flavors of hateful ignorant crap on there, no doubt.

    the difference for me is, i never doubted that Amp at least was genuinely trying to be as diplomatic and “free” (and yet, at the same time, “safe,” when that came up, which became a tricky balance) as possible. just, in short, that he gave a damn about what was going on on his own boards; that he wanted to promote -discussion.-

    what happened over there at IBTP, that’s not a discussion. and often isn’t. it’s bear-baiting.

  73. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 29, 2006 at 2:42 am |

    OTOH, it seems particularly insensitive, if not cruel, to insist that an MTF must use a men’s restroom.

    I’m thinking more along the lines of locker rooms.

    Wait so when someone calls me a “cute little china doll” that’s hate speech? And here I just thought that was just racist, sexist sexual objectification of asian women.

    Seems to me like there has to be some kind of negative or derogatory intent for it to be hate speech, even if it’s just as disgusting when the intent is “positive.”

    “Little China doll” in “cute little China doll” –blech — is racist, sexist objectification of Asian women and possible hate speech. “Cute” in “cute little China doll” is a positive thing. Susan Koshy said sexual capital is a kind of social and economic mobility or agency based on beauty in a particular society.

  74. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 29, 2006 at 2:50 am |

    I’ve tackled this analogy before, and talked about why it doesn’t happen to compare like to like. Transwomen live as women and are treated as women; it’s not dress-up.

    Yeah it’s a racist and ignorant analogy. I don’t mind mtfs in locker rooms because I’ve never had the experience or thought about it but I can see where rad fems are coming from with regards to mtfs in locker rooms.

  75. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus December 29, 2006 at 3:19 am |

    I don’t have anything definitive to say about what constitutes hate speech, but a few things that might be useful:

    1. I think it needs to come from a priveleged or powerful group and be directed at one of that group’s traditional victims. I also think it has to take place in an environment in which that dynamic of oppression and intimidation continues. So, if a group of black guys drove past me in a car and yelled, “Go back to Europe, honkey!,” I have a lot of trouble considering that hate speech. Likewise, an American of English descent taunting an American of Irish or Scottish descent for having been colonized doesn’t seem to me to really be hate speech. So I guess I think there is a difference between bigotr and hate speech.

    2. I also think it has to refer to a stereotype, belief, etc. that has been used in that dynamic of oppression or intimidation. Thus, calling transpeople “nutjobs” is hate speech. It seems to me, on the other hand, that comments like that of Heart on Twisty’s thread, to the effect that some rad fems disagree with transpeople because the latter are trying to gain admittance into a gender which the former want to do away with (since they want to do away with gender altogether), is not hate speech, even though it strikes at the heart of how many transpeople may define themselves (altough I underscore my ignorance of transpeople and their experiences here) and argues against it. Even though this argument implies that those making it will never fully respect that worldview and self-understanding of transfolk, I don’t think it is hate speech. Simply challenging someone’s belief system, even if that person is a member of an oppresed group, does not seem to me to qualify as hate speech. Thus old-timey European anti-Semitism is hate speech, but critiques of Zionism as a neo-colonial racist ideology are not, in my opinion, anti-Semitic or hate speech, although particular people advancing them may of course be anti-Semitic.

    A corollary of this is that statements which may be motivated by hate–e.g., “Jews are lazy,” “Transpeople are greedy,” “I’m tired of all these black people runnig the country”–but which really don’t resonate to any history of oppression, are probably not hate speech. But people who actually hate this or that group usually know how to express that hate, so I don’t think this is much of an issue.

    I suppose the shortest way to determine whether or not something is hate speech, based on the provisional comments I’ve just made, is to ask, “Who has the power?” And by this I mean power in a larger social sense, not in an individual relationship. Thus, a man who has just been humiliated by a woman may call her a b, and I would consider that hate speech, even though in some completely decontextualized sense the woman in question has the greater power in that particular moment.

    Meanwhile, Amber at 29:

    if a man really wants to rape a woman, does anyone seriously believe the little drawing on the door of a stick figure wearing a skirt is going to stop him? “Oh, shoot, I can’t go in here! Now if only I’d pursued gender transition, I could get in there and rape that woman!”

    Brilliant!

  76. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko December 29, 2006 at 5:34 am |

    I mostly agree with Piny because I think we have a much better understanding of what race means and the analogy doesn’t work because that sort of thing doesn’t really exist, so it is a straw argument.

    For gender, what I can tell from the argument underlying luckynkl’s disgusting bile is that she believes transgenderism is a cultural disorder, such as anorexia and bulimia are believed to be by many. In a highly theoretical world view where Patriarchy is so powerful that gender itself is a complete construct, then of course it is easy to at least understand this view, or observe how it could be open for debate, but absolutely not in luckynkl’s terms. I don’t think there is ANY evidence for this view whatsoever, and I refuse to accept it. Taken together with the fact that every account of transgendered person’s journey I have read seems to describe a “knowing” of their “inner” gender from a very, very early age, I think it is simply impossible to discern that such a state of mind could be classified in one way or another (biological vs. “patriarchy” induced). If the result is a PROFOUND feeling of identification with the opposite gender, the “nutjob” argument falls away, and is revealed as irrational phobia.

  77. Katie
    Katie December 29, 2006 at 9:46 am |

    Myca–

    If you accept it, though, it makes sense to downplay cisgendered privilege, white privilege, etc., because none of them are important, compared to male privilege.

    Yep. And actually, I think that there is a decent argument to be made for viewing all of these things as being a result of The Patriarchy and a system of privilege that is rooted in male supremacy, but I guess if classism, racism, transphobia, etc don’t really matter to you personally, then there’s no need to concentrate on who privilege effects except for your own group.

    Honestly, I don’t like to get into defining who is and who is not a feminist (within reasonable parameters, of course), but I view being a trans ally as being an incredibly important part of being a feminist.

  78. jennie
    jennie December 29, 2006 at 10:04 am |

    KH, I’m afraid I can’t agree with your “definition.” Yes, the thread at IBTP is full of hate speech, but examples do not provide a definition. I’m sorry to be pedantic and paedogogical, but I think Piny’s raised a complicated, important question, and it’s a question that a lot of people and institutions have wrestled with.

    If we define “hate speech” as what happened at IBTP, then anything that isn’t what happened at IBTP is still open to question.

    There’s a problem with defining by example: definitions, by their nature, must outline and typify a thing. Examples provide instances of the thing that support the definition.

    If we define a housecat as “my cat,” then anything that is not my cat, including Zuzu the cat and my roommate’s cat are outside the definition, since they’re not my cat. We might be able to say that my cat typifies a housecat, but then anything that doesn’t resemble my cat must be measured against my cat. So “my cat” is not a satisfactory definition for “housecat.”

    Instead, we need a definition that outlines the and encompasses the essence of the housecat, and applies equally to all housecats. We can make a stab at this by saying a housecat is a small domesticated carniverous quadripedal mammal of the genus felis, species F. silvestris that emits a number of vocalizations including miaows, prrrubs, and purrs, is an effective predator, and has whiskers, claws, and ears (and usually, but not always, a tail), whose closest undomesticated ancestor is believed to be the African Wild cat. Then we can use my cat, Zuzu the cat, and my roommate’s cats as examples to support this definition.

    (Apologies for the banality of the example, but I wanted a really innocuous analogy, and this one let me hounour teh intarwebs and their traditions by linking to photos of cats.)

    Definitions need to be both precise and all-encompassing, to specify and to outline or delineate the thing defined.

  79. zuzu
    zuzu December 29, 2006 at 10:09 am | *

    There is, at one point, a comparison made between MTFs and the psychopathic killer in Silence of the Lambs.

    And this was one of the things that trans groups were afraid of when the movie came out. It was a good bit clearer that Buffalo Bill wasn’t really gender dysmorphic in the book, but it’s been about 15 years since I read it.

    I’m thinking that one of the problems some of the commenters are having with transfolk is that they’ve got this evangelical zeal for this theory that The Patriarchy is all, that gender is essential and that women will always be the oppressed class. And gender fluidity mucks up the nice sharp lines of that theory. If someone can transition from one gender to another, and “really” be the transitioned-into gender, then perhaps male privilege isn’t as immutable as they once thought.

    Reading their comments, I get the sense that they live in constant fear. It’s a siege mentality. The whole business about “men in dresses” “infiltrating” “women’s spaces.” A woman’s bathroom isn’t Leningrad, FFS.

    Also, I’d really like to know where they’re going to the bathroom that they’re in constant fear of being raped. I go into some pretty skanky public toilets, and my biggest fear is usually that my pants will drop into the liquid on the floor. I realize that bathrooms can be isolated spaces, but if you’re going into the kind of isolated bathroom that’s attractive to rapists, it’s pretty bloody unlikely that a man is going to dress as a woman to get in. He’ll just go right the fuck in, and he won’t be so obvious on the way out.

  80. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 29, 2006 at 10:37 am |

    Hi Kristjan!

    Hey back Katie.

    Belledame22 wrote:

    So, maybe “hate speech” isn’t the right term, since that’s been used to determine certain legal cases, and i don’t think any of that is our concern here.

    I think you are right that using a legal term like “hate speech” some times confuses the issue. Hateful speech or bigotred speech would perhaps be better names for it, as not to draw legal definitions into it.

    Katie wrote:

    Honestly, I don’t like to get into defining who is and who is not a feminist (within reasonable parameters, of course), but I view being a trans ally as being an incredibly important part of being a feminist.

    I don’t consider it part of being a feminist, but rather part of being a decent rational human being, but then, I also consider being a feminist part of being a decent rational human being.

  81. Katie
    Katie December 29, 2006 at 11:08 am |

    Pinko Punko–

    In a highly theoretical world view where Patriarchy is so powerful that gender itself is a complete construct, then of course it is easy to at least understand this view, or observe how it could be open for debate, but absolutely not in luckynkl’s terms.

    Well, and when coupled with this argument of “the tribe that bleeds” and all that eye roll-inducing bullshit, it’s obvious that she believesthat gender is genetic and fixed. And when she was confronted with the idea that just because you are female (like, ahem, Twisty), it doesn’t mean that you have a uterus, she backtracked and started talking about male privilege and social construction of gender and it really confused me.

  82. Katie
    Katie December 29, 2006 at 11:21 am |

    Well, and re: the bathroom thing. We are comparing the hypothetical danger which, as far as I know, hasn’t occurred, of ciswomen being raped in restrooms by transwomen, to the very real danger of transwomen being arrested for going into the “wrong” bathroom and not being able to present documentation of their gender and being thrown in jails with the male population and being targets for rape themselves. Or, you know, just having the shit beaten out of them by an average citizen.

    Personally, I’m willing to take the nonexistent risk of being raped if that means that all transwomen have a safe space to go. In fact, I’d still be happy to allow transwomen into women’s bathrooms even if there were some crazy rapist dressing up like a woman on the prowl. Because, you know, transwomen aren’t just “dressing up like women” and I actually give a shit about people other than myself.

  83. Myca
    Myca December 29, 2006 at 11:26 am |

    Katie:

    I guess if classism, racism, transphobia, etc don’t really matter to you personally, then there’s no need to concentrate on who privilege effects except for your own group.

    Exactly right.

    I mean, it would almost be comical, were it not so awful. It’s like an old SNL sketch or something.

    “We’ve been doing an intensive, multi-decade study in an attempt to determine which problems need addressing, and which should be dismissed. It turns out that our problems are the worst, and everyone else’s can be dismissed safely! What a weird coincidence! Man, we totally never would have guessed that when we started.”

  84. ks
    ks December 29, 2006 at 11:44 am |

    I’m very late to this thread, but I agree with Kristjan about hate speech being maybe the wrong term here. I definitely see a difference between hateful and/or bigoted speech and hate speech. To me, hate speech is much, much worse than merely offensive or objectifying. I don’t know where, exactly, I’d draw that line, though. But then, this is part of why I don’t have a blog or even comment all that much except on a very few blogs. I’m not a writer and I’m not that articulate in expressing my opinions. By the time I get what I want to say into a reasonably presentable form, someone else has already said it much better than I ever could have.

    As far as the trans issues go (same with race, etc.), I don’t comment on that stuff very much because I don’t have any experience with transpeople (and as a lily white woman, I don’t have much experience with racism either) and I don’t want to offend. I just don’t know enough to comment intelligently, so I read and try to learn, and hope that I’ll go away understanding more than I did going in.

  85. shannon
    shannon December 29, 2006 at 11:53 am |

    I have nothing to say, but I’m cool with transwomen being in the women’s restroom. No need to put them in danger or something.

  86. Rad fem
    Rad fem December 29, 2006 at 12:11 pm |

    If men are going to rape women in bathrooms which does happen, they are probably not going to be “dressing up like women”. They are just going to go in there with the intention of committing a crime against a woman as men. So when I read some of those bathroom comments, I was like WTF? I felt like someone was telling me if I sat down on a toilet seat, I might get pregnant.

    Like I said, I’m not an expert on these issues by any means, but I do know something about men going into women’s bathrooms intending to commit crimes and in every case I know of including some involving people I knew, they went in as men, not women.

    If I saw comments like that, I would probably say something or better yet, hope someone else would. Sometimes women or feminists like myself with less than stellar credentials in the academic side of feminist are treated as if we’re stupid and not real feminists, but even I know who to be worried about when I’m in a public bathroom.

    About the ERA and the unisex bathroom thing, well the conservatives were playing on exactly the same fears that some feminists do I guess that we fear being attacked in the bathroom by men when there were already many examples of unisex bathrooms like on planes and trains, not to mention many college dormitories(at least during certain hours). Maybe the conservatives and these feminists differ in what is considered a “man”. Maybe not.

  87. human
    human December 29, 2006 at 12:24 pm |

    I have read and enjoyed Twisty’s posts for quiet some time. I only read her comment threads once or twice in the past and found them long, convoluted, and boring. After that I never bothered; I just read the posts.

    I seem to have had a radically different experience with Twisty’s blog than a number of other people have had.

    I don’t think I have a point, really. That’s all.

  88. Frumious B
    Frumious B December 29, 2006 at 12:33 pm |

    Seems to me like there has to be some kind of negative or derogatory intent for it to be hate speech, even if it’s just as disgusting when the intent is “positive.”

    I disagree with this. The most insidious form of internalized racism, sexism, transism, you name it, is the form which one cannot recognize as such. Speech can be hateful even if it isn’t meant to be.

    I use different language to call out people who unintentionally use hate speech than I use with people who are intentionally hateful. If I am pretty sure someone is just ignorant as to the effect of their words, I will explain why those words are hateful and why they should choose different words. If I am pretty sure someone is being deliberately hateful, or if I have used the same polite explanation umpty-ump times to no effect, I unload the snark-shooter into them.

    —-

    re: bathrooms

    It’s not just about fear of rape. It’s about many things. Safe space for women is also about touching up our patriarchally-mandated make-up without a guy standing there making fun of us for wearing it in the first place. It’s about adjusting our clothing without a guy leering at us as we stand there half naked*. It’s about escaping the assberet who is hitting on us*. It’s about being able to freaking take a dump without all the baggage of appearing ladylike in public. My position: no men in the ladies room until the Patriarchy is overthrown.

    *yes, I know about lesbians. for whatever reason, the lesbians I’ve encountered don’t engage in nearly the amount of egregious leering and hitting on that straight men do. lesbians in the ladies room are a-otay with me.

    random story: some adult, male-presenting person, with his mother providing coverage, took it upon himself to use the ladies room at the airport I was flying though. this was not a case of mistaken bathroom identity. they clearly knew that he was in the wrong bathroom, as evidenced by the way Mom stood there guarding the stall door until she thought the coast was clear and let him out. her timing was off b/c I was standing there washing my hands giving them dirty looks. why the hell did he need to use the ladies room? was the extra 5 feet to the men’s room too far to walk? was there a *gasp* line? seriously – why does any man need to use the ladies room? do we need a public service campaign to advertise the existance of mens rooms?

  89. Lesley
    Lesley December 29, 2006 at 12:36 pm |

    In a highly theoretical world view where Patriarchy is so powerful that gender itself is a complete construct, then of course it is easy to at least understand this view, or observe how it could be open for debate, but absolutely not in luckynkl’s terms.

    I completely agree that the issue is not open for debate in the terms it was presented by luckynkl, et al at IBTP. Even setting aside the issue of public bathrooms, the language used was clearly hateful and bigoted. You do not categorize an entire group as “nutjobs.” You do not refer to others as “damaged and pathetic” if they have done nothing to harm anyone else. You don’t compare them to psychopathic killers, etc., etc., and so forth.

    The question of what is gender does still remain. What is it to be a woman? It’s not having a uterus. It’s not being fertile. It certainly isn’t having your reproductive organs stand up and take a bow when you see a cute child. I don’t even think it’s having XX chromosomes, because people with AIS may have XY chromosomes, but how many people would consider them to be men? They generally present as women and are typically accepted as women (barring certain sports who chromosome test). However, it isn’t aesthetic presentation either, because a woman who looks what we culturally term masculine is still a woman. It isn’t being empathetic. It isn’t being talkative. It isn’t being femme. Etc.

    Therein lies why there are people who believe gender is a complete social construct. Biology is not. No one with XY chromosomes is capable of bearing a child (at least not at this stage of human development). That is an absolute. Most people with XX chromosomes are, whether they choose to or not. This is before we even get into Klinefelter’s, XYY, and XXX syndromes.

    I realize that in the society we live in today, it’s pretty much impossible to completely escape the binary man/woman classification. I identify as a woman and my karotype aligns with that (It’s possible I have XXX syndrome, as I’ve never been tested. What isn’t possible is that I have a Y chromosome, as I ovulate and menstruate). Since not every person does identify with their karotype, I think the question comes down to whether or not gender is related to brain chemistry, is totally a social construct, or is some combination thereof.

    Honestly, I tend to think gender is a social construct myself, but I cannot dismiss out of hand that it might be caused by brain chemistry. We just don’t have the data to make an absolute determination. Regardless of which it is, in the society we live in today, we have to accept that gender is there and figure out what implications that should have for public policy (e.g., public bathrooms). We can’t just dismiss it as something that will disappear when the patriarchy is destroyed. Sure, that’s great, but that ain’t happening right now, and real people are being affected right now. If you elect to say that you don’t particularly care about the problems that transpeople face right now because of something that might happen at some undetermined future date, then you have tacitly taken a side in the here and now. No one is “above all that.”

  90. Frumious B
    Frumious B December 29, 2006 at 12:39 pm |

    many examples of unisex bathrooms like on planes and trains

    those are generally one-at-a-time bathrooms.

    other random story- I was in a subway station in Jersey at midnight or so surrounded by homeless men who were making me _really_ nervous. Maybe this was internalized hatred of the homeless, but it’s how I felt. So I went into the ladies room to escape them and found it full of – wait for it – homeless women! I’m guessing they were looking for the same safe space I was.

  91. exangelena
    exangelena December 29, 2006 at 12:42 pm |

    Well, I am a POC (a WOC to be exact) and I thought that Bitter Scribe’s analogy was thought-provoking. I am tired of the fact that making a caricature of a person’s race or ethnic group is considered racist, but that if I criticize the caricature of female sexuality in porn or raunch culture, I am a prude or oversensitive. There are some white people who try to appropriate a minority culture – such as the “otaku” phenomenon and the rich white kids I grew up with who tried to be “black” by acting like MTV rappers – although they still keep their white appearance (unlike transgendered people, who undergo surgery). To be fair, there are some POC who do this too – like black Asiaphiles. Too often I think that the racism doesn’t equal sexism meme is used to justify sexism.
    I don’t think most transgendered people are caricatures of the gender, but I think that Bitter Scribe’s analogy could apply to some super offensive drag queens like Shirley Q. Liquor, the topic of a post at Pandagon a little while ago.
    Anyway, this post at Screaming into the Void basically sums up my feelings on this issue.

  92. Rad fem
    Rad fem December 29, 2006 at 12:47 pm |

    Oh, when I said better yet, I hope someone else would, it’s because I would hope that as a moderator I wouldn’t have to do it, because I would hope that there were individuals on my site who would do so. It’s always great to see that when it happens.

  93. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 12:51 pm |
    I don’t consider it part of being a feminist, but rather part of being a decent rational human being, but then, I also consider being a feminist part of being a decent rational human being.

    Cut, print it.

  94. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:01 pm |

    That thread, with lucky especially, made it crystal clear exactly what are the connections between transphobia and homophobia as well as yep, even what’s been called “sex-negativity” (I think that expressing disgust at the very idea of anal sex, for anyone, ever, and comparing blowjobs to shit-eating counts). Some of those people would appear to have gotten all of their gender and sexually-variant “information” from the same ignorant wellspring.

  95. Myca
    Myca December 29, 2006 at 1:16 pm |

    That thread, with lucky especially, made it crystal clear exactly what are the connections between transphobia and homophobia as well as yep, even what’s been called “sex-negativity” (I think that expressing disgust at the very idea of anal sex, for anyone, ever, and comparing blowjobs to shit-eating counts).

    Right on, belledame222. I swear, sometimes I want to eat your brain, I agree with you so much.

    This is part of why it bugs the shit out of me that sex-positive has come to mean ‘pro-porn,’ because that’s NOT how I use it. I use it (among other things) to mean having respect for and not denigrating the sexual tastes and choices of other consenting adults.

    The transphobia, homophobia, and sex-hate of these people makes them far, far more sex-negative than any essay on ‘Why Playboy is bad’ ever could. Every time I read a post that contains lines like “no women really enjoys X’ it sets my teeth on edge, because in many many cases, I’ve been asked specifically to do X because my partner enjoys it . . . of course the rejoinder then is that they don’t ‘really’ enjoy it, but that they’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy into thinking that they enjoy it, and in order to avoid misogyny I need to . . . fuck, I dunno, only have sex that they don’t like? Refuse to engage in X, even when my partner requests X? Because that’s less oppressive?

    This kind of shit is part of what I was talking about back in post #3.

  96. Holly
    Holly December 29, 2006 at 1:21 pm |

    Thanks, Piny. I am glad you’re responding to this stuff, because I just don’t have the stomach or the patience any more. I just hope everyone participating in this thread understands a few things:

    1) The “trans people are like a white person pretending to be black” analogy gets trotted out with amazing regularity in all sorts of discussions about trans identities and feminism, etc. It’s usually brought up by a white non-trans person. And if there are trans people around, we always have to try, try, try to explain why this analogy not only doesn’t make sense but is really offensive, promotes all sorts of stereotypes, and uses race as some sort of convenient “foil.”

    2) In the past there have been plenty of POCs (heck, even amongst feminists who support policies of trans exclusion, from what I hear) who also object to this analogy, especially when deployed by white people, and feel it’s really inappropriate to just equate race with gender.

    3) There was a discussion at brownfemipower about why there aren’t more trans people, especially trans people of color, participating in discussions and blogging. Part of the answer was that there are, here and there… but also — a whole lot of trans people will just steer far, far away from a site like this when they see people using this kind of analogy, and others nodding in agreement. It’s a sign that the environment may be hostile towards or at least very misunderstanding of trans people. It’s part of what would constitute an unfriendly environment — even when it’s being bandied about as an intellectual exercise instead of a rhetorical weapon to denigrate the “reality” of trans lives. For a lot of trans people, reading “comparisons” like that gives you a feeling like you’ve been punched in the stomach. Some of us will say something, some people tough it through this kind of stuff for the sake of discussion all the time, and others will just walk away from the table, because it feels really awful. I think that’s also worth talking about in a thread about hate speech.

    If anyone really wants to know more, I have plenty I could say, as a multi-racial trans person, on what I think about the intersections of race, identity, gender, how we all express ourselves for the world, what a more appropriate analogy might look like and whether such analogies are good at all. But I can’t. I’m glad that Piny said something, because it takes a huge amount of energy, especially when it’s the 100th time you’ve seen this analogy trotted out, and it just makes you feel sick.

  97. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:23 pm |

    anyway, Shirley Q. Liquor is a bad analogy because that IS blackface as well as drag.

    what would be the rough equivalent of the dressing up in blackface and trying to i don’t know, -live- in it? as Pinko Punko notes, when does this actually happen? why deal in hypotheticals? unless one is thinking of say C. Thomas Howell in “Soul Man” (yes, i remember all kinds of hideous 80′s movies. shut up. and even that is not him wearing an Afro and black pancake, because otherwise he wouldn’t “pass”). I guess yeah, if one thinks of “transgender” or even “drag” as being synonymous with say “Sorority Boys,” then the comparison makes sense. actually meeting real live transgendered people as opposed to getting all one’s information from popcult (“Silence of the Lambs?” ffs) might help, there.

    and yes, there are non-blackface drag acts, usually old-school as i’ve seen them, that could probably be deemed misogynistic. since i don’t spend much time in the dives where such creaky acts live (and, i strongly suspect, neither does luckynkl or most of the people posting on that thread), i tend not to get my panties in a wad about it.

  98. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:25 pm |

    Right on, belledame222. I swear, sometimes I want to eat your brain, I agree with you so much.

    aw, that’s so sweet! (gulp, smiles nervously, backs away with hands placed discreetly at the temples) thank you!

  99. Myca
    Myca December 29, 2006 at 1:30 pm |

    (gulp, smiles nervously, backs away with hands placed discreetly at the temples)

    This is the problem with we sex-positive feminist zombies. Sometimes it feels like there are so few really good brains to eat.

    Sigh.

  100. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:33 pm |

    anyway, back to the analogy: i suppose, extrapolating further, one could address the phenomenon of (self-defined) “race traitors,” (anti-racist people who make a point of renouncing “white” status; as we know, it’s not just about skin tone or other physical signifiers, see “How the Irish Became White,” for example). it’s really not a good analogy to transgendered folk, though. to get fully into why it isn’t really opens up that whole can of worms about biology and social construction and so on and so forth. i don’t have an answer to any of that: all i know is: it isn’t. transgender, as has been noted time and again, is not a political statement, consciously adopted; it is an expression of something very deeply personal and central to the person’s very being.

    There are also the people who adopt the cultural signifiers of another culture. Whether or not that actually means one is “trying to be ____” is i guess open to debate, depending on the situation. and so is whether or not this is O.K., i take it. i once got into a brief spat with a sort of I Blame the White Supremacy guy, who compared white people wearing dreads (and other expressions of cultural appropriation) to rape. (I made a mild objection to that particular comparison; i was treated to a blast about my Selfishness and how i’m misreading him and why must he always explain the same basic concepts to, yadda yadda; and i thought, you know, the words are different but the tune is eerily familiar…’k thanks seeya).

  101. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:34 pm |

    piny: I don’t think so. I think what’s being fumbled around is that people make a -change in their physical appearance,- not just a change in behavior and/or identity, and thus social status.

  102. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 1:57 pm |

    i meant to say “transgenderism” there, but i suppose that’s not quite accurate either; i mean, i can’t speak for everyone, couldn’t do even if I were TG myself. i actually do know people who, like, throw on a skirt once in a while to register solidarity and their own femmey side, and they -might- call themselves transgendered; and there are strict constructionists of every identity i suppose, but yeah well anyway.

  103. nexyjo
    nexyjo December 29, 2006 at 2:25 pm |

    This discussion certainly makes a case for having three restrooms in public places: one male, one female, and one uni-sex…

    most of the people i interact with at work would probably say that they never met a trans person, or used the same bathroom with a trans person, or surely could spot a trans person in the streets. after working for a few years at the job at which i transitioned, and having been known as a trans person, i decided i would never out myself at work again. so i haven’t since. and interestingly enough, none of the women at work have a problem peeing in the same bathroom as me.

    regarding unisex bathrooms, i can’t help but feel this as the start of a slippery slope. what next, “unisex” water fountains? maybe “unisex” seats on the bus? “unisex” sections of town? “unisex” marriages? no, this doesn’t work for me at all. i’ll use the ladies room, just like the “real” women.

    regarding analogies, it’s been my experience that there simply is no valid analogy that even remotely compares with the trans experience. or more specifically, *my* trans experience. i’ve had no other experiences in my life that comes close to my experience as a trans person. while some of the social stigma i’ve faced as a trans person might relate to some of the social stigma i’ve faced as a jew, the comparison doesn’t go deeper than transphobia/homophobia and anti-semitism are both bigoted and prejudiced behaviors.

  104. Karen M
    Karen M December 29, 2006 at 2:42 pm |

    I hadn’t yet read all of the comment thread at IBTP when I left my earlier comment suggesting 3 bathrooms, etc. But I’ve read the rest of it since then, as well as the later comments here, and now I have to run a few errands before going out of town to visit family.

    So, I don’t have time for a more thoughtful comment now than just: Thanks again for this really great discussion. It’s definitely food for thought. And, it’s also directly relevant to some thoughts that have been simmering for awhile now (even before the FDL brouhaha on language), and as soon as I can find enough time, I’ll post something else, too.

  105. Vanessa
    Vanessa December 29, 2006 at 2:59 pm |

    other random story- I was in a subway station in Jersey at midnight or so surrounded by homeless men who were making me _really_ nervous. Maybe this was internalized hatred of the homeless, but it’s how I felt. So I went into the ladies room to escape them and found it full of – wait for it – homeless women! I’m guessing they were looking for the same safe space I was.

    Wow. What is the point of this anecdote, exactly?

    Having been homeless, they were probably looking for a place to sleep. The men’s room was probably filled with homeless men.

    One shudders to think where the homeless transwomen were.

  106. Holly
    Holly December 29, 2006 at 3:15 pm |

    About the bathroom thing, yeah — of course people aren’t thinking about people like Nexy (or me for that matter) when talking about how there ought to be unisex bathrooms. As is so often the case, a lot of people are thinking about some stereotypical transgender woman who is visibly transgender. For those of us who aren’t the whole discussion is actually kind of absurd — despite what luckynkl or anyone else rants about, I’m still going to go to the bathroom that’s safest and most comfortable for me to use, where I won’t get thrown out for being in the wrong bathroom, and if I’m in the next stall it’s not like luckynkl would even know or have any way to prevent all trans women from being in the women’s bathroom without, I don’t know, karyotyping people at the door and keeping everyone intersex out as well?

    But really, the discussion about “what kind of bathrooms should there be” doesn’t need to be about someone like me or nexy, it ought to be about people who are visibly trans and thus exposed to a lot more harassment and prejudice in public spaces, especially gender-segregated ones. Unisex bathrooms are often suggested as the way to go — not as a mandatory rule for trans people, but as an option for everyone — because basically, there are all sorts of good reasons for “more bathrooms for more people” that also intersect with issues of safety from sexual threat, parenting, disability issues, etc.

    As for analogies… Thank you belledame for dissecting some more not-quite-working analogies. Is it possible that just maybe, there are all sorts of analogies that don’t work? Or at least, that it’s just as productive if not more to look at why they don’t work?

    I guess I can offer one alternate analogy that I used once when talking about this subject with a friend in RL who could not figure out why the “blackface” thing wasn’t the most accurate comparison.

    I’m multiracial and come from a multiracial family. The people who raised me come from different racial and cultural backgrounds, as do other relatives to whom I’m genetically connected but who weren’t an everyday part of my upbringing. It’s not hard *these days* for people to understand the idea that someone like me belongs to multiple racial groups. But not everyone understands this, not everyone agrees politically that it’s desirable or possible for someone to “belong to multiple racial groups” and in the past the whole system has been much more rigid and erasing of multiracial identity.

    Gender is a very rigid system where you’re supposed to belong to either one or the other, immutable, biological, and fixed from birth (at least). The closest analogy to a multiracial identity would probably be people who are genderqueer. Like multiracial identities, there are a lot of different genderqueer identities as well, different ways in which people position themselves across or in spite of gender lines, or reject gendered labels entirely.

    Of course, not all trans people are genderqueer (but it’s worth noting that many are). Being trans is a little different, and usually is taken to mean that you’ve moved from one category (usually the one assigned to you at birth) to another.

    Back to race, just because someone comes from a multiracial background (genetically or culturally) doesn’t mean they identify as multiracial or “being of” multiple races. A lot of multiracial kids go through different periods of growing up — or even having changing feelings during adulthood — where they might identify different racially, or express their racial identity differently in all sorts of ways, visibly, socially, or more internally. I certainly did. There are all sorts of stereotypes about multiracial people too — that we’re confused, that we usually come from broken homes, that we’re “really” this or “really” that, that we’re extra-beautiful or exotic somehow.

    So yeah. You can be multiracial, and move from one racial identity to another, especially as you grow up and figure these things out. Racial identity is definitely policed, but there seems to be more room, at least in the last few decades, to allow multiracial people to do this.

    But wait a second, you might say — multiracial people really are partially one race and partially another, right? And that’s not true of gender. A trans person isn’t partly male and partly female, wasn’t raised to be “half and half.” Well actually, I think the preceding sentences are full of all sorts of assumptions that reveal how we construct race and gender differently — which also point out why these analogies fail in many ways. It has to do with what we believe the rules are around race and gender and how we assume systems of race and gender “program” people, as well as how connected they are to “the biological truth.” A lot of trans people are raised by both men and women, for one thing; for another, multiracial people aren’t necessarily raised to think of themselves as multiracial, and sometimes come into a more complex — or totally different — racial identity later in life. And many trans people do not have a straightfoward experience of identifying or being perceived as the gender they were assigned to in youth either.

    Here’s a question that very rarely gets asked: what’s the difference between getting treated a certain way by a patriarchy when you believe you belong to the category that defines that treatment, and getting treated the same way when you really don’t believe you belong to that category? There is a whole lot of slippery stuff that happens in people’s lives — especially people who for whatever reason don’t fit neatly into boxes. Most or all of this slipperiness gets missed in these neat analogies and theoretical discussions that often rely so heavily on existing rules about how race and gender supposedly operate.

    In my experience as a multiracial trans woman, there are a lot of interesting correspondences between being multiracial and negotating racial categories and identity, and being trans and negotiating gender categories and identity. That doesn’t mean I am going to draw a straightforward analogy; for one thing, parents of multiracial kids usually know, and often (but not always, and rarely completely) accept that their kid is multiracial. Parents of trans kids often don’t know and when they do, many don’t know what to do or completely flip out and blame their child. Just that difference, right there, creates many worlds of difference.

    A last thought on analogies… remember that other classroom exercise, the one that goes “compare and contrast” rather than “A is to B as C is to D?” It allows for a lot more nuance.

  107. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite December 29, 2006 at 3:49 pm |

    One interesting thing about the race analogy is that it assumes that everyone is essentially one race or another, and that someone who chooses to adopt a “new” racial identity must necessarily be pretending.

    It assumes, in other words, that race operates in the same way that anti-trans people assume gender operates.

    But there have always been people who were raised as, and perceived as, members of one race who at some point in their lives chose another racial identification. When it’s someone who’s been raised as a black person choosing to live as white, it’s called passing, but it happens in the other direction, too.

    And once you recognize that, the analogy cuts in a very different way.

  108. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite December 29, 2006 at 3:51 pm |

    Oops. That’s what I get for skimming. Insert a “few “As Holly says”-es into my previous comment.

  109. nexyjo
    nexyjo December 29, 2006 at 3:52 pm |

    more on the bathroom issue – if there were *only* unisex bathrooms at any location, i’d be ok with that. in fact, since i support the abolishment of gender altogether, i am all for having only unisex bathrooms.

    but when there are three – male, female, and other – even if the “other” is available to anyone, i just get the feeling that there’d be a push by the mainstream to force, by various means and not all by law per se, *all* people considered to be “other” to use only that one.

    and holly raises an important issue regarding what is refered to in trans circles as “passing privilege”. i am somewhat privileged in this area in that most people i interact with see me as a woman, and don’t question my sex or gender, even when i don’t wear makeup, dresses, or shave my legs. unfortunately, from my experience in the trans community, a significant number of us are visibly trans, as holly puts it. and as i went thru transition, i was also visibly trans. and there’s a whole different set of challenges there. and that’s really where the bathroom issue rears its ugly head.

  110. karpad
    karpad December 29, 2006 at 3:58 pm |

    other random story- I was in a subway station in Jersey at midnight or so surrounded by homeless men who were making me _really_ nervous. Maybe this was internalized hatred of the homeless, but it’s how I felt. So I went into the ladies room to escape them and found it full of – wait for it – homeless women! I’m guessing they were looking for the same safe space I was.

    why would you admit that your nervousness might have just been internalized hatred of the homeless, and then assume homeless women had the same motivation as you?

    there are dozens of dynamics that could be in play, and “homeless women were scared of the homeless men” is only one of them

    as I lack magical goggles that allow me to view any place and time at will, I can’t garantee your nervousness wasn’t justified, but if you read that exact statement, with “black” substituted for “homeless,” what would you assume about the author?

  111. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 4:05 pm |

    Jennie 79:

    Minor points.

    KH, I’m afraid I can’t agree with your “definition.” Yes, the thread at IBTP is full of hate speech, but examples do not provide a definition. I’m sorry to be pedantic and paedogogical …

    As am I. Examples actually do provide the kind of definition I specified, an ostensive one. It’s the definition of an ostensive definition: definition by pointing.

    It’s true that an ostensive definition isn’t an enumerative or extensional definition, one that points to every item that falls under the category. Linguists & philosophers of language are aware of this fact. It doesn’t warrant the objection you raise, that ostensive defintions exclude any example not pointed to. Ostensive definitions are stipulated to offer only examples, & no one imagines that providing an exemplary referent precludes the possibility that there are other examples. There are more complicated issues with ostensive definition, but they aren’t relevant here.

    I don’t deny the utility of intensional definitions (although, in this case, our casual reflections may involve a bit of reinventing the wheel: the topic isn’t new, & there’s a vast literature on the subject). On the contrary, I tried to suggest conditions under which the search for such a definition might go forward with a minimum of misunderstanding, misdirection, etc.

    My main point, however, lay elsewhere: when the neighbor’s house is on fire, the first thing to do may not be to convene a roundtable on the true nature of combustion.

  112. Holly
    Holly December 29, 2006 at 4:26 pm |

    Nexy, I definitely tend to agree re: bathrooms when they are made with labels that would further “other” trans or gender non-conforming people, like “Third Gender Bathroom” or “All Gender” or “Other” or even “Unisex.” I think I read at some point that PISSR or other groups engaged in this kind of “bathroom activism” have found that kind of labeling actually alienates a lot of people, and it’s not hard to understand why, it’s a “unisex drinking fountain” as you put it. So a lot of the recommendations from bathroom activists are for neutral language that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Like for instance, just calling a horse a horse… a sign that simply says “Bathroom” which you already see in any number of single-occupancy facilities.

    I saw a perfect example of this recently in an airport. There was a men’s room and a women’s room. Then there was a single-occupancy lockable bathroom that served several purposes at once: it had a changing station for parents, and it was handicapped-accessible. And at the same time, it was also a unisex bathroom, but there wasn’t even any need to point this out. What’s more, it served as an extra “overflow” bathroom in this case because there was a line for the women’s. A pretty good example of why I think “more bathrooms for more people” is a good idea. There are lots of single-occupancy unisex bathrooms every where — with a picture of a stick-figure in a wheelchair on them — and fortunately nobody so far seems to be insisting that all trans people must use them. But they’re ther and can be incredibly valuable resources for people (whether they identify as trans or not) who might get harassed for their gender presentation in gendered bathrooms.

    If anyone wants more info, I would recommend the PISSR website, but it seems to have lost its domain, pissr.org. There’s also a documentary called “Toilet Training” which is distributed by the Sylvia Rivera law project:
    http://www.srlp.org/index.php?sec=05A&page=toilettraining

    I’ve seen it and found it very persuasive. It has a great clip of radical (and trans-positive) lesbian feminist author Amber Hollibaugh making the excellent point about how a little stick figure with a skirt is never going to stop a sexual predator from entering a bathroom.

  113. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 5:43 pm |

    ) The “trans people are like a white person pretending to be black” analogy gets trotted out with amazing regularity in all sorts of discussions about trans identities and feminism, etc.

    i note in passing (har, har) that Stan Goff, anti-pr0nster and pro-radical-feminist extraordinaire (the former is what gives him the green light for being the latter i guess; it is amazing to witness the women who shriek, “get out, you, yer big manly shoes are stomping on my neck!” to any other man as well as some women they find antagonistic in any way, become docile little lambs gathered around the feet of such a dude, listening politely and warmly to what he has to say) used that exact comparison, sometime back.

    and this one gets paid for it, am i right? him and Jensen.

    can i just use this opportunity to express once again my complete disdain for radical feminist men? (-not- feminist men, -or- radical feminists, please note; this is a very specifically directed snarl). godDAM those dudes are annoying.

  114. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri December 29, 2006 at 6:24 pm |

    Anyone care to enlighten me on the etymology of “cis”—I know what it means, but is it an acronym or what?

  115. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 6:31 pm |

    A Latinate prefix, meaning “this,” “on the near side of.”

  116. Lauren
    Lauren December 29, 2006 at 6:48 pm |

    What surprises me the most — viscerally, that is — is that as a feminist I get excited to see examples of gender fluidity in real life. Why they aren’t genuinely shocks me.

  117. Karen M
    Karen M December 29, 2006 at 6:49 pm |

    I saw a perfect example of this recently in an airport. There was a men’s room and a women’s room. Then there was a single-occupancy lockable bathroom that served several purposes at once: it had a changing station for parents, and it was handicapped-accessible. And at the same time, it was also a unisex bathroom, but there wasn’t even any need to point this out. What’s more, it served as an extra “overflow” bathroom in this case because there was a line for the women’s. A pretty good example of why I think “more bathrooms for more people” is a good idea. There are lots of single-occupancy unisex bathrooms every where — with a picture of a stick-figure in a wheelchair on them — and fortunately nobody so far seems to be insisting that all trans people must use them. But they’re ther and can be incredibly valuable resources for people (whether they identify as trans or not) who might get harassed for their gender presentation in gendered bathrooms.

    That was more like what I was envisioning; I just did not describe it as well. Certainly, there is no issue for anyone who can pass, just for those who cannot, for whatever reason.

    One thing I have learned along the way is that whenever society makes accomodations for any particular group, there are always other people who benefit as well. The above is a good example.

  118. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 29, 2006 at 7:12 pm |

    what would be the rough equivalent of the dressing up in blackface and trying to i don’t know, -live- in it? as Pinko Punko notes, when does this actually happen?

    The only equivalent I can think of is journalist John Howard Griffin who artificially darkened his skin to pass as a black man. He described his experiences in Black Like Me (an interesting book, and very important at its time).

    This obviously cannot in any way be compared to the lives of transgendered people.

  119. Holly
    Holly December 29, 2006 at 7:16 pm |

    What surprises me the most — viscerally, that is — is that as a feminist I get excited to see examples of gender fluidity in real life. Why they aren’t genuinely shocks me.

    I guess I could see that if you have a very rigid and tightly held worldview or ethic that is close to your heart, it might be scary to encounter fluidity that threatens that view, even if it’s also threatening greater systems that you also want to fight against. As far as those greater systems go… well sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, right? Explains a lot of petty squabbling amongst people who ought to be working for the same larger causes.

  120. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri December 29, 2006 at 7:22 pm |

    Anyone care to enlighten me on the etymology of “cis”—I know what it means, but is it an acronym or what?

    KH sez:
    *A Latinate prefix, meaning “this,” “on the near side of.” *

    OK, I guess I just don’t get it. How does that apply to the meaning of cis-gender? Which I understand to mean people who identify as the physical sex they were born to.

  121. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 7:30 pm |

    What surprises me the most — viscerally, that is — is that as a feminist I get excited to see examples of gender fluidity in real life. Why they aren’t genuinely shocks me.

    *nods vigorously*

    and as a queer feminist especially, i couldn’t for the life of me fathom why a -lesbian- feminist apparently (as it slowly dawned on me, way back when i first was reading there and liked her) had such a well radically different take on things than I had always understood as feminism as well as lgbtqomgbbq! rights/culture. especially since she seemed like a good time gal, sophisticated…I didn’t get it. I didn’t know about radical feminism or Dworkin (well, not more than vaguely) or any of the rest of it; and i had been under the impression that the porn and BDSM battles had gone the way of the Temperance movement.

    i think now i get it, but that doesn’t make me any more sympathetic. if anything, less.

  122. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 7:45 pm |

    The contrast with “trans-” occurs in a wide range of contexts, not just gender. Eg. a cis-Atlantic person/thing is one who is, stays, etc., on this side, the near side, of the Atlantic. A trans-Atlantic
    one crosses over. See the analogy?

    The terminology actually bears some presuppositions that some people might query, but that’s another story.

  123. Holly
    Holly December 29, 2006 at 7:49 pm |

    I think it’s because “trans” is a latin prefix meaning “across,” or “on the opposite side of.” So “cis” was the nearest prefix with the reverse meaning — “on the near side of.” Thus, the opposite of transgender, cisgender. Kind of the same way “heterosexual” was coined, I think.

  124. little light
    little light December 29, 2006 at 7:53 pm |

    The notion, Bruce, is a back-formation from “transgender”–as in “trans-,” moving across. Therefore if “transgender” is “gender in motion” or “gender over there” then “cisgender” comes out to something like “gender staying where it is.”

  125. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus December 29, 2006 at 8:03 pm |

    What surprises me the most — viscerally, that is — is that as a feminist I get excited to see examples of gender fluidity in real life. Why they aren’t genuinely shocks me.

    What I gathered from a couple of the more thoughtful commenters on Twisty’s blog is that at least some radical feminists don’t see it as a matter of gender fluidity, but as a matter of reinforcing or affirming the traditional categories of gender, and that this is particularly so with those who identify as “female,” the gender label that serves as the marker and cause of oppression in their minds. To use the Atlantic example, I don’t think that they see transpeople as people moving back and forth between the US and England and thus destabilizing national identities. I think they see them as Anglophiles who move to England and settle there and become invested in a fairly stable “English” identity, and thus shore up traditional national identities rather than playing with them.

    Whether or not this is a fair description of what transpeople are actually doing is, of course, another question. But that’s what I took to be their reasoning.

  126. exangelena
    exangelena December 29, 2006 at 8:10 pm |

    In chemistry, “cis” means that two similar groups are on the same side of a double bond and “trans” means that similar two groups are on opposite sides of a double bond (like trans fats).

  127. zuzu
    zuzu December 29, 2006 at 8:31 pm | *

    Seems like this admittedly horrifying bathroom would have something for everyone!

    and as a queer feminist especially, i couldn’t for the life of me fathom why a -lesbian- feminist apparently (as it slowly dawned on me, way back when i first was reading there and liked her) had such a well radically different take on things than I had always understood as feminism as well as lgbtqomgbbq! rights/culture. especially since she seemed like a good time gal, sophisticated…I didn’t get it. I didn’t know about radical feminism or Dworkin (well, not more than vaguely) or any of the rest of it; and i had been under the impression that the porn and BDSM battles had gone the way of the Temperance movement.

    It’s all very anti-voluptuary. The definition of what’s voluptuary has changed over time, but the message has ever been the same: what gives you pleasure is wrong, what gives me pleasure is right.

    I’ve read a lot about tacos and convertibles, but very little about sex or even music. And certainly lipstick and blowjobs are off the list. And it’s what’s “off the list” that’s really the issue, innit?

  128. Em
    Em December 29, 2006 at 8:41 pm |

    What I gathered from a couple of the more thoughtful commenters on Twisty’s blog is that at least some radical feminists don’t see it as a matter of gender fluidity, but as a matter of reinforcing or affirming the traditional categories of gender, and that this is particularly so with those who identify as “female,” the gender label that serves as the marker and cause of oppression in their minds.

    Call me stupid for realizing something that’s probably been pointed out a hundred times before, but how can the kind of anti-trans rad-fem we’re talking about say she doesn’t have internalized misogyny then? If the AT-RF cannot truly believe that a person not originally designated as female might really, truly desire to be female despite the oppression, aren’t they de facto saying that there is nothing worthwhile about being female? Laying aside all the usual bathroom rape scare stories and race analogies and accusations of privilege-grabbing and space-stealing and isn’t that what they’re saying?

    “You could not possibly really want to be a woman b/c there is nothing good about it. It is all oppression, and therefore you must have some ulterior motive for this ‘transition’.” (cue accusations listed above).

    It just seems so…martyrlike…exclusionary…wrong.

  129. Twisty Goes to Camp: A Very Special Episode at  I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] the summery to this shit? Gawd women talk to much”). The inspiration for the damning Feministe thread turned out to be a mammoth (250+ comments) thread here at I Blame The Pat [...]

  130. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax December 29, 2006 at 9:09 pm |

    This is part of why it bugs the shit out of me that sex-positive has come to mean ‘pro-porn,’ because that’s NOT how I use it. I use it (among other things) to mean having respect for and not denigrating the sexual tastes and choices of other consenting adults.

    I tend not to use the word “sex-positive” at all, unless I’m specifically tying it to individuals who self-identify as sex-positive, like Susie Bright (and then I’ll say exactly who I’m referring to). I’m also not sure, in the abstract, that I especially inherently respect the choices of consenting adults – consenting adults may be making really lousy choices (as I myself have made really lousy choices), which should be respected in the sense that one has the right to make lousy choices, but aren’t beyond question. However, telling other people how they feel, and what they enjoy, crosses a line, and so does making wild generalizations about what everyone who likes X has to be like. And there kind of is such a thing as being sex-negative.

    Personally, I see myself as more sex-neutral.

  131. Lauren
    Lauren December 29, 2006 at 9:20 pm |

    To use the Atlantic example, I don’t think that they see transpeople as people moving back and forth between the US and England and thus destabilizing national identities. I think they see them as Anglophiles who move to England and settle there and become invested in a fairly stable “English” identity, and thus shore up traditional national identities rather than playing with them.

    I do hate people who come back from a three week trip to England with a shitty cockney accent. AND people who move to the south and suddenly believe they’re Southerners with a born and bred accent and the manners to match.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about. ;)

  132. Lauren
    Lauren December 29, 2006 at 9:28 pm |

    Whoopsie-daisy. Twisty just stepped in a shitpile. Piny linked more than enough blogs in the first sentence of the post and all T can find is a white feminist’s blog supposedly talking shit about her — not one post on a feminist blog asking for legit discussion about the comments other people were making on T’s own blog.

    Here’s some shit, the fan’s over there.

  133. mythago
    mythago December 29, 2006 at 9:32 pm |

    can i just use this opportunity to express once again my complete disdain for radical feminist men?

    I’ll even hold your umbrella while you do. You just know that these guys would say things like “I’m 1/8 female on my father’s side of the family” if they could get away with it.

  134. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 9:41 pm |

    mythago: ha!

    Lauren: color me shocked.

    “I’m not like other people! I can’t stand pain, it hurts me!”

    Usually, because my readers are not, as a rule, idiots

    Wouldn’t know it from the way you talk to ‘em, toots.

  135. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 9:43 pm |

    and hello, Miz I Bet You Think This Song is About You, Don’t You, Don’t You, the thread at bfp’s by and large has nothing to do with you, personally, on account of once in a while some of us do like to think there’s a bigger world out there, much as–how odd!–the intrablog conversation -so often- seems to end being -all about you.-

    so, i need to extricate my own arm from all that tar, breath,

    so! how bout them Lakers! i think they’re Lakers. water polo team, right?

  136. zuzu
    zuzu December 29, 2006 at 9:44 pm | *

    Oh, Jesus. Dare I say it, Twisty has jumped the shark.

  137. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 9:52 pm |

    Long ago.

    I find I am not sufficiently constituted to slog through that whole stupid thread merely to make a show of dominating a few morons.

    Oh. OH. Oh, that is precious. No, of course not! You NEVER make a show of dominating a few…morons. No, no! It’s against your Constitution!

  138. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 9:57 pm |

    …pass the popcorn.

    Melinda Casino Dec 29th, 2006 at 8:35 pm
    BrownFemiPower’s piece is the first one linked to in the Feministe post you refer to; and it’s listed in your post as an update? Surely you hovered your mouse over each and every linked word, as I did…?

    Twisty Dec 29th, 2006 at 8:40 pm
    “I’ll be damned if I link to people who link to you.”

    Luckily, my self-righteous young JackGoff, there’s plenty of damning to go around.

    You know, this blog has 20,000 readers a week. I bet you a dollar only 6 of’em are bigots.

    Pony Dec 29th, 2006 at 8:48 pm
    Brilliant.

  139. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 10:01 pm |

    zuzu: oh my god, the Charmin Building. have you BEEN there? a friend says last time he was by, he saw people wearing toilet costumes in front of the building, heads peering out over the bowl. he said he wanted to smile, but couldn’t manage it, as he was consumed with a wave of grief.

    it is a bit Dante-esque, isn’t it.

  140. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 10:20 pm |

    Can someone translate this into English, please?

    Ms Kate Dec 29th, 2006 at 9:16 pm
    Geepers. One would think that the HipKoolMamaAid drinking on the web was a necessary progantifemism mandate from reading the hijack and the lowdown.

    Oh yeah, that site collapsed under the weight of it’s own petty little thought-policing and queen bee’s tantric tantrum, didn’t it. .

    If you don’t like what you see here, call it out yer own self. Twisty Poppins may be a spinster aunt, but she’s not a nanny. Cheers to Twisty for not accepting the Mandatory Web Role of Protector Of Every Self-Proclaimed Oppressed Body’s Feelings and Generalized Ism Patroller!

  141. smm
    smm December 29, 2006 at 10:31 pm |

    Can someone translate this into English, please?

    Yay Twisty!?

  142. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 10:39 pm |

    yeah, but what’s with the strange Daddy-O jivetalk? well, maybe she did sign up for National Drunk Blogging Day. and here i am cold sober, after all my promises. tsk. oh well

  143. little light
    little light December 29, 2006 at 10:39 pm |

    I think it’s probably part-and-parcel of putting “hate speech” in scare quotes, which hardly strikes me as any way to assert that one considers what was said unacceptable.

  144. zuzu
    zuzu December 29, 2006 at 10:48 pm | *

    I’m thinking sarcasm, actually.

    You know, this blog has 20,000 readers a week. I bet you a dollar only 6 of’em are bigots.

    We get more than that a day. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that more than six of the readers are bigots, considering what turns up in the moderation queue.

  145. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 10:48 pm |

    how can the kind of anti-trans rad-fem we’re talking about say she doesn’t have internalized misogyny then? If the AT-RF cannot truly believe that a person not originally designated as female might really, truly desire to be female despite the oppression, aren’t they de facto saying that there is nothing worthwhile about being female? Laying aside all the usual bathroom rape scare stories and race analogies and accusations of privilege-grabbing and space-stealing and isn’t that what they’re saying?

    “You could not possibly really want to be a woman b/c there is nothing good about it. It is all oppression, and therefore you must have some ulterior motive for this ‘transition’.” (cue accusations listed above).

    Yeah, Em, I was wondering that myself.

    i mean, that’s the subtext. there are also the whole, my gonads are better than your gonads, tribe that bleeds, give BIRTH, yadda, folks. maybe it boils down to the same thing, at that.

    ffs. elsewhere, a pal is baiting some particularly troglodyte-ish MRA’s who are all like, “you biches just have penis envy! and “t” envy! haw haw haw!”

    so one the one hand we have reactionary right wingers who worship their almighty phallus; on the other we have some radical wimminz who apparently think their wombs (even if excised i guess) give ‘em magical mystical powers. in both cases, strangely enough, none of the special penis or vajayjay powers extend to, like, overthrowing structural oppression and/or, in the case of the MRA’s, getting out of Mom’s basement.

    the phrase “get a room” never seemed so apt. seriously, doesn’t it seem like people like luckynkl and Gonzman are in some weird sort of hatefuck mindmeld or something?

  146. KH
    KH December 29, 2006 at 11:06 pm |

    The scare quotes are of a piece with her comments in the original thread & her reference to it in a second post, since deleted. None of it exactly consistent with apologetics along the lines of, ‘If only the Czar knew, the Czar surely would condemn such abuses, someone must tell the Czar!’

    I think we may be having a little moment of clarity.

  147. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 11:12 pm |

    Well, she did have a very rough couple of weeks, she sez.

  148. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 29, 2006 at 11:17 pm | *

    Well, she did have a very rough couple of weeks, she sez.

    Some people take that as grounds for “oops, sorry about that,” rather than an occasion for whiny bombast. But hey, that’s how it rolls.

  149. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 29, 2006 at 11:46 pm | *

    P.S. You know, I do seem to recall her saying on the original thread that she couldn’t be bothered to care about different groups of commenters telling each other to fuck off. Which at least indicates that she had the idea.

  150. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus December 29, 2006 at 11:50 pm |

    aren’t they de facto saying that there is nothing worthwhile about being female?

    I think that that’s exactly what they’re saying. As I understand the argument of people like Twisty (which is probably imperfectly), they’re arguing that gender, like race, may have a very minimal basis in biology, but is mostly a social construct used to justify the domination of one or some groups of people by others. That, I believe, was Twisty’s point in saying that gender won’t survive the destruction of patriarchy.

    Of course, one could take the view that the elimination of gender, except in the very basic and uninteresting biological sense, is a desirable long-term and utopic goal, and still be pro-trans, and more generally advocate for any oppressed or marginalized group, in the somewhat less than ideal here and now.

    And, in response to Lauren in comment # 136–I don’t know if you were just joking and mocking people who affect accents, but my analogy wasn’t meant to suggest that transpeople are somehow superficial or simply affecting some eccentricity or other, that they’re just gender tourists, so to speak. On the contrary, my point was that, as I understand them, radical feminists are arguing that transfolks are to strongly dedicated to or invested in gender as it currently exists. I maybe wasn’t clear enough on that, especially in light of the apocryphal “transfolks are like jive-talkin’ honkeys” analogy being bandied about earlier in the thread.

  151. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 11:55 pm |

    Well, now, this is getting interesting. Where have I heard sentiments like this before? -think think think-

    Ms Kate Dec 29th, 2006 at 10:49 pm
    Jack, if you want to have a safe place on the web for “right side of the middle of the stream left wing apathetics” or what have you, go make one yourself. It is completely unfair to demand that Twisty provide one just for you, because it is HER space and, moreover, an intense burden. I have seen attempts at “policing” all comments and message board posts result in the complete collapse of online communities under the weight of that burden, even when there were multiple moderators!

    Not only is this logistically impossible, it can also be said to be philosophically undesirable. I would not have much interest in an enforced echo chamber, because you learn nothing when things are that enforced because the level of discourse tanks. What is left is strangulated discussions that degenerate whenever any mention about going out for Chinese Food provokes an “intervention” and thread derailing amidst dogpiling of lectures about ethnic insensitivity and so on and so forth.

  152. belledame222
    belledame222 December 29, 2006 at 11:59 pm |

    “We can’t be bothered to be sensitive to other people! No time for it! We’re busy being sensitive to ourselves! Why doesn’t anyone Understand Us? the world is a flaming tragedy for Us! hey, but -you- just fell down the wimminhole! LOL! that shit’s funny. o, what NOW? o don’t be so sensitive! –YES! WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!”

    maybe i will crack open that bottle of wine after all

  153. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 30, 2006 at 12:06 am | *

    maybe i will crack open that bottle of wine after all

    Mix it with Crystal Light and have your own kind of Kool Aid!

  154. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 12:18 am |

    gah

  155. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax December 30, 2006 at 2:17 am |

    You know, this blog has 20,000 readers a week. I bet you a dollar only 6 of’em are bigots.

    I’d be surprised if only six bigots have read my blog, and I have fewer readers than she does. Maybe fewer than six bigots a week, for my blog, but that’s just because it’s not all that well read.

    Of course, even six bigots can make for a lot of sock puppets and voluminous comment threads, if they really want to.

  156. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 2:30 am |

    and if people don’t call them on their shit.

  157. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 4:05 am |

    Not just don’t call them on it, but airily declare a “lack of interest” in the fact that a despised class is being subjected to the vilest kind of hate speech, in your own space. This wasn’t negligence. She took not of what was happening & made a choice, based on the identiy of the victims. They weren’t her issue; if they had been, she would have chosen differently.

    To call it “inefficiency” or “irresponsibility” elides the essential aspect, invidious discrimination.

  158. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 4:37 am |

    jesus fucking christ. “what’s with all the fuss about transgendered people? what about Darfur?” hey, slade. i’m not gonna go log in over there, tempted as i -really- am, but: you’re an asshole.

    You want to help women? Non-transgendered, yes, ain’t they a woman, yes, TG women are women, and they read that fucking site, and they feel “frightened and ill,” and it MATTERS, goddamit, they are people, not fucking abstractions, and it takes -nothing- to say, “hey, that shit’s not on, cut it out,” NOTHING

    –so, okay: Spinning Liz. As The Tumor Turns. you know, the former grannyvibe? last i checked she’s a woman, and she’s in trouble. where are most of you happy assholes? well, one (someone else, whom i have not seen before or since) is -scolding- her for not being down with all y’all’s constant fakafkeh fappage on stripping or whatever it was when she’s got stage IV cancer, yes, believe it or not, OTHER people get cancer, and some of them don’t have insurance;

    lecturing her, Christ preserve us, for being “bitter,” because she didn’t read whatever fucking bullshit it was about goddam -stripping- properly, i guess, had the audacity to suggest that maybe gee some women holding a funraiser stripping to raise money for a friend who can’t pay her health bills, that gee, one might want to focus on the “can’t pay her bills” aspect -before- the ZOMG STRIPPING aspect

    –she “just wants a fundraiser herself,” not that christ jesus forbid even the -idea- of actually offering such a thing or even basic courtesy of reading the site and saying, “gee, can’t help financially, but I’m sorry you have to sell your house” might cross your “pornstitution” obsessed little minds–

    do you think at -minimum- it mightn’t be too much to pull your thumb out of your ass and go, gee, health insurance! or lack thereof! why, there’s something that affects lots and lots of women, like this one talking to us right here! that might be something to talk about, conceivably, perhaps! or at least listen to someone else who -is- talking about it! like the woman with stage IV cancer who doesn’t fucking have any!

    but no. we’re very busy. talking about Darfur. wait, did we say Darfur? we meant stripping. and blowjobs. and lipstick. and how transgendered people are “nutjobs,” and how boo hoo we haven’t time to monitor every single silly slapfest that goes on in the comments, tsk, slap on the wrist; and other womens’ thong-clad asses, snapped in a nonconsensual photo; and how evil MENZ are who look at consensually taken photos of their own bloody girlfriends for lusty purposes instead of mockage purposes, lust is always suspect but mocking is ALWAYS JUST FINE, fuck, what’s more healthy for feminism, for DEMOCRACY

    –yeah. okay. allies fighting, distress, ain’t it awful. whatever, i was done long ago, i don’t know what the pluperfect past tense of “done” is, but i passed it long ago, and yet, and yet, here i fucking am again:

    with “allies” like this, who needs enemas?

    shit. i should’ve gotten wasted.

  159. Henry Holland
    Henry Holland December 30, 2006 at 7:23 am |

    There are non-blackface drag acts, usually old-school as i’ve seen them, that could probably be deemed misogynistic

    Drag’s interesting, I think. As a gay man of a certain age (47), it’s supposed to be part of my “heritage” and I can’t say I’m an expert, but I think there’s two broad categories.

    There’s the guy who memorably opened up for The Smiths here in Los Angeles who just slapped on a dress and a wig, some makeup, stuffed some tissues in a bra, didn’t shave and came out before 5,000 people and mimed singing Diana Ross songs. Then there’s performers who meticulously use makeup and gesture to erase the gender barrier as they expertly channel the ghost of Judy Garland and other gay icons.

    The guy at The Smiths show? Waaay misogynistic. The Judy channeler, not so much, I’d say.

    why the hell did he need to use the ladies room?

    I can’t speak for him, but there’s reasons, believe me.

    Because men can be real slobs and there’s no urinal and the men’s toilet is about an 1/16th of an inch from overflowing due to someone putting a whole role of toilet paper in there, clogging it up and one wouldn’t want to cause it to overflow and have to wade in the muck that would ensue?

    Because it’s an office building and the receptionist of the company you’re going to can’t find the men’s room key but has the women’s room key (one doesn’t work with the other) and you don’t think it’s such a great idea to go in to a job interview with a stream of piss down your $200 pair of slacks just to make a statement about safe spaces for women in bathrooms?

    Because you’re in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and they use words on the door instead of cutouts of a man and a woman and you takes yer chances and hope you get it right but don’t but have to go so bad after a 9 hour flight and hideous customs check in that you simply won’t make it next door?

    Because you’re at a concert of a Norwegian death metal band where you can count the number of women physically inside the packed-to-the-gills 2,000 person capacity venue on one hand and the women’s room is empty and it’s absurd not to use the facility that’s available in the circumstance?

    There *are* reasons, you know.

  160. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 30, 2006 at 8:47 am | *

    Well, it’s awfully late in the game, but Twisty’s finally called luckynkl on her shit. 63 comments into the extraordinarily late and surreal rebuttal.

  161. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 9:13 am |

    I have to say, it sorely tests credulity for her claim that only now, over two weeks after it began – after having commented on it three times toward the end of the original thread, & airily dismissed it in a fourth passage in a separate, now deleted post (complete with quotations from the thread she now says she hadn’t yet read), & the morning after having finally, when the backlash made it unavoidable, begun to acknowledge the problem – has she “finally read the thread in question.” Or is this some wicked parody of Denny Hastert’s management of the Mark Foley problem?

  162. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 11:22 am |

    It’s a start, I guess. hey, if that’s what it took to get -someone- to notice the “unbridled assholery” (hey, no shit) of people like luckynkl–eight kazillion people shouting and waving and not letting up–well, so be fucking it, i guess.

    i have a yet to be moderated rant at one of the apologetic regular IBTP posters up there. half of me wants to cringe at the late night rantiness of it; the other says “fuck it” and adds Ms. Kate and anyone else who’s still pulling a firedoglake, etc. etc. gee no big deal yer all so SENSITIVE…

    it’s just so much more galling when the site in question has been about NOTHING BUT people licking their wounds and pointing out every damn instance of something that might offend -them.- but, other people and groups, well, that’s -different;- it is very fucking difficult to just go, as Twisty -finally- did, yeah, maybe just maybe comparing whole groups of people to serial killers is wrong, -especially- on a for fuck’s sake supposedly progressive/feminist site?

  163. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 11:27 am |

    You’re a prince, piny.

  164. little light
    little light December 30, 2006 at 12:17 pm |

    Okay. So.
    …what can we build to prevent repeats? I mean, other than what we’re already doing? Is there a better way to go about preserving the coalitions that have sprung up because of this?
    I don’t want to derail, so if this is a derail, I’ll take it to my place. I guess it’s just, if this is a useful jumping-off point for discussions like What Is Hate Speech Anyway?, then, well, everyone’s still here to ask.

  165. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 12:42 pm |

    Also, this. Are there ideas, maybe ones shared by all or many of us, that dull sensitivity to anti-trans bigotry? TF doesn’t share the views of her more extreme commenters, but evidently something prevented an alarm bell from going off in her head when she saw evidence of hate speech against trans women. I can’t imagine she’s entirely exotic in this regard, &, for myself, I’d like to know if, for example, I also am carrying around something similar. What ideological work is to be done?

  166. Frumious B
    Frumious B December 30, 2006 at 12:59 pm |

    Wow. What is the point of this anecdote, exactly?

    to illustrate that women’s bathrooms are more than just places to pee. they are also female-only safe spaces.

  167. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 1:10 pm |

    Yes, because, as noted previously, that skirted stick figure on the door acts as a sort of crucifix for vampires, wrt potential rapists; they take one look and go, curses! i cannot cross that threshold! i must wait and lurk about in the bushes instead!

  168. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 1:11 pm |

    and, other women are always “safe,” always. especially when you’re homeless and asleep and unguarded.

  169. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 1:17 pm |

    I think this is not unconnected, you know, to similar blow-ups at say firedoglake and so on and so forth. the lesson is: too many times? “we have met the enemy, and they is us.”

    the lesson is: you call people on their shit, allies included. you don’t dawdle and you don’t make excuses. and you examine the things that are -hard- to examine, not just the things that you’re already comfortable examining.

    yeah, maybe there are those of us who go over the top, turning it into individual demonization in its own right.

    Know this: it’s born out of intense frustration. That it takes so long, so much, so often, to get to this point.

    “Can you hear me?”

    I think ultimately that’s the only real question any of us has, ever, really.

  170. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 1:19 pm |

    Perhaps there are other examples of women spending their free time in women’s bathrooms because they want to be in female-only safe spaces?

  171. Frumious B
    Frumious B December 30, 2006 at 1:31 pm |

    why would you admit that your nervousness might have just been internalized hatred of the homeless, and then assume homeless women had the same motivation as you?

    I ascribed the same ultimate reason (avoidance of men) but not the same proximal modifiers (additional internalized hatred of the homeless). Given the incidence of violence against homeless women and in the background of homeless women, most of which is perpetrated by men, I think I’m likely to be right.

  172. Frumious B
    Frumious B December 30, 2006 at 1:36 pm |

    belledame-

    I know.

    however. most violence against women is committed by men. thus when the choice is staying with a group of men vs. staying with a group of women, the risk is lower from the women. this is true regardless of the lease-holding status of the men and women in question.

  173. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 1:45 pm |

    however. most violence against women is committed by men. thus when the choice is staying with a group of men vs. staying with a group of women, the risk is lower from the women.

    Often, homeless women form alliances, pair-bonds, whatever, with homeless men explicitly for protection, & are more comfortable with male allies than with other women. That, at least, has been my experience working around DC shelters.

  174. Holly
    Holly December 30, 2006 at 1:45 pm |

    I think there are probably a number of ideas, although it seems to me like many of them are subtle and might have to be teased out a lot. One of them I think we’ve been talking about already: that race can be used as an analogy for gender. There’s another one that I’ve seen in some posts (although not really so much here as elsewhere) that I think of as “no idea what it’s like to be trans.” There are a lot of people who say “I can’t imagine what it would be like to feel like I didn’t identify with the gender I’m currently occupying.” Then there are others who just don’t imagine it at all and don’t bother. If someone doesn’t even lift their little finger to try and get where a trans person might be coming from or how we might feel, then it’s much easier to make denigrating comments about dress-up, pretending, lifestyle choices, and being totally crazy. Sometimes they’re not even aware that they’re being denigrating, because they just don’t bother to try and empathize at all. People like luckynkl are pretty obvious in how they just purely objectify trans people as some kind of dangerous, non-sensical other.

    That stuff is not real subtle. A lot of other “ideas that maybe should be questioned” fall under the category of assumptions. I’m sure piny and little light and nexy and any other trans people around here could add many more things to this list:

    – your gender is determined at birth and stays that way;
    – trans people are attracted to members of the opposite sex, in other words trans men (FTMs) date women and vice versa
    – before transition, trans women have the same experience of gender and male privilege as non-trans men, and vice versa for trans men
    – trans people tend to transition in adulthood
    – all or most trans people undergo surgical procedures
    – trans people share a common experience of dysphoria regarding their bodies
    – trans people engage in exaggerated or over-compensatory displays of gender stereotypes in an attempt to “fit in” as the gender they are transitioning to
    – trans people try to “fit in” as the gender they’re transitioning to and therefore tend to be gender-conforming
    – trans people are by definition not “genderqueer”
    – trans people are happy being a “third gender” and should be categorized as such
    – there are a small number of different “types” of trans people that can be divided up and evaluated separately based on age of transition, conventional attractiveness, sexuality, passability, and whether or not they want / have gotten surgery (this one is particularly controversial)
    – trans people share a common set of political views
    – trans people share a common set of political views, strategies, and priorities around trans issues, non-discrimination, etc.
    – trans people, or trans women in particular, are always at a high risk of being assaulted or killed by virtue of being trans, irrespective of race or income level
    – knowing a trans person, having a friend who’s trans, or being in a relationship with a trans person gives me a whole lot of insight into the lives of trans people
    – being trans costs a whole lot of money and time and is therefore indicative of monetary or economic privilege
    – drag queens are examples of trans women
    – drag queens are not examples of trans women (truth: some drag performers are trans women, some are not)
    – most “transsexual women” are white, upper-middle-class, middle-aged, and therefore highly privileged

    Really you could just boil it down and say, assumptions about what the experiences and lives of trans people are like are very frequently wrong.

    You might have noticed that many of these statements flatly contradict each other. There’s also the “trans double bind” that piny has talked about a lot, which commonly shows up even in very subtle ways and assumptions about trans people: if a trans women displays what we think of as “feminine” characteristics, traits, or markers, then it must be a deliberate or unconscious attempt to “emulate” femininity; if a trans women displays “masculine” characteristics, traits, or markers, then it reveals at least in part how she has an ingrained masculine side that says a lot about her “real” or “original” gender. (vice versa for trans guys, of course)

    I would have posted “the reality” to go with a lot of these assumptions but some of them are obvious, and others might result in interesting discussion if taken apart. Heck, I could certainly be wrong on a lot of these or expressing my own POV or politics.

  175. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus December 30, 2006 at 1:48 pm |

    The comparison between Twisty and fdl is bullshit. It was the bloggers at fdl putting up blackface, etc. You might wish Twisty’s response to the hate speech on her blog had been swifter, but she has now responded unequivocally. There’s no comparison to fdl.

    yeah, maybe there are those of us who go over the top, turning it into individual demonization in its own right.

    Gee, ya think?

  176. Vanessa
    Vanessa December 30, 2006 at 1:49 pm |

    frumious-

    And where are the homeless transwomen supposed to hide?

    Because from my personal experience (anecdote =/= data, I know) many young trans teens kicked out of their homes by disapproving parents wind up homeless.

    Also, I don’t know exactly what was going on in your anecdote, but I can almost guarantee that the men’s room was also filled with homeless men. Most likely, and again speaking from experience, they were hiding from the elements and not from the opposite sex.

  177. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 1:56 pm |

    The current unequivocal response is welcome. No one criticicizes it. But the lateness wasn’t the only problem. There wasn’t silence, but a form of equivocation, & that, in the face of bigotry, is not enough.

  178. Katie
    Katie December 30, 2006 at 1:59 pm |

    Frumious B–

    to illustrate that women’s bathrooms are more than just places to pee. they are also female-only safe spaces.

    Yeah, I just don’t buy that. First off, I don’t really care if someone has a “safe space” to touch-up her “patriarchally-approved makeup” if that means that other WOMEN face real danger because she’s squicked out by transwomen.

    Second, transwomen are women, and I can understand not necessarily wanting to give up female/male bathrooms, but I don’t understand the reasoning behind not letting transwomen into women’s only bathrooms, unless you don’t believe that they actually are women.

    What’s at discussion here is not the idea of letting any random male asshole come into the women’s bathroom, but letting specific people who are women have a safe space, as well.

  179. Holly
    Holly December 30, 2006 at 2:02 pm |

    (oops, my last post was double-posted, please remove one! sorry, bad connection)

    Frumious, it sounds like you’re saying that there should be gender-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms, and not *only* multiple-occupancy unisex bathrooms, as there are in some hip bars now. I’m not sure what this has to do with the larger brouhaha that happened over at IBTP concerning trans women being in the women’s bathroom. Since after all, trans women also may have any number of reasons to want a gendered space without men, for all the same reasons you described, and why would it be OK to exclude one, often particularly vulnerable, group of women from that?

    One reason single-occupancy lockable bathrooms have been advocated as a really good solution is also that they work if you just want privacy from men — or even from other women — for fixing yourself up or just to pee in peace and quiet. Heck, even luckynkl would benefit. If she wants to be assured that she’s not peeing next to any trans people, use the single-occupancy unisex bathroom. Then you’re not peeing next to anyone.

  180. B. Dagger Lee
    B. Dagger Lee December 30, 2006 at 2:04 pm |

    I’m indebted to IBTP, Feministe, brownfemipower, Bitch|Lab and others for informing and changing my thinking in the last year year so.

    KH says “What ideological work is to be done?” An excellent question. And I’m indebted to you, KH, for your analysis at brownfemipower’s blog, on why all oppressions won’t necessarily melt away after we overthrow the ur-opporession–poorly paraphrased, I regret, but I’ll read your words again. I suspect in some fashion what you said, and what I’m trying to paraphrase, is one of the ideological projects/essays to be made. What informed your thinking in your analysis? (I’m indebted to that whole thread.)

    Radical feminists believe themselves to be in possession of the one great truth: the patriarchy is kicking the murderous shit out of women, children, men, and gender-dissident, all colors, and doing it 24/7. I can’t wholly disagree.

    I can’t, however, agree that there is only one way to go about it.

    I think there’s something very fruitful to be found in the clash between radical feminism and postmodern feminism, and that it’s possible for each to make demands on the other, to make feminism as a multiformed, multi-gendered, multi-colored, -classed and -oriented whole– more powerful, more answerable to people’s real lives and more effective in the world.

    Another ideological project: there’s an enormous need for people to explain postmodern, queer, feminist strategies to lay people in clear, understandable language, as much as is possible, and then to also explain why a specialized language is necessary in some places, times, and texts. I’ll commit to that.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee (aka dharmadyke)

  181. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 2:10 pm |

    Heraclitus: yes, i know, it’s never the same thing.

    I came to my conclusions about that site and its owner from a series of incidents and factors. I regret it if my ehm forwardness in expressing my personal feelings over the months has contributed to any sort of detraction from the actual issues at hand. I stand by them, however.

  182. Katie
    Katie December 30, 2006 at 2:10 pm |

    I’m down with the single-occupancy bathrooms, myself, as I’m terribly poop-shy. I’ve learned to pee in public bathrooms, but, man, I spent a year in the dorms and probably pooped, like, twice.

    ANYWAY…Holly, I’ve thought that solution’s the best at this point in time. Not only do you avoid the various issues you’ve stated, but it also avoids the whole idea of unisex bathrooms being created specifically to segregate transpeople.

  183. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 2:14 pm |

    and for the record: yes, I recognize the difference between never ever responding at all, as with fdl, and actually finally coming in to put the kibosh on the offenders, as here. I credit that. That is different. Yes.

    Putting my crankitude aside, however, what i was actually referring to there is the whole, “what, those people? Oh, yeah…those people…well, golly, we don’t have time to be sensitive to every pretty little ism and mumble” that is currently coming from the peanut gallery over there (and elsewhere), the people who are -not- lucky and Mary Sunshine and so on and so forth.

    One person’s vaguely distressing abstraction is another’s knife-wound to the gut, and it’s about time more among we the supposed “progressive” became a bit more cognizant of it.

  184. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 2:18 pm |

    as for it being the bloggers at fdl: i wasn’t comparing Twisty to TRex so much as referring to the way the co-bloggers and the site owner (who did not make the offending posts herself) responded. not quite the same, no, and one could quibble about the difference being one’s commenters’ monitor and one’s co-bloggers (cobags’) keepers. personally i didn’t find the difference in that regard too substantial.

  185. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 2:27 pm |

    There are, in addition, remaining questions about what exactly we’re now agreed is out of bounds. Luckynkl, Mar Iguana, Mary Sunshine – the people who’ve now attacked TF – pretty clearly are. But what do we make of the invective in Heart’s comments in the instant thread – e.g., ther #262, which TF quoted without disapprobation 3 days, if I understand her, before she’d read the (entire?) thread.

    Again, TF’s current formulation is welcome, but real issues remain.

  186. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 2:28 pm |

    and other familiar elements: the immediate lining up to defend the feelings of the hurt and well-meaning person in charge, before the consideration or mention of any of the other people, feelings included, never even mind the implications of the rather looming structural problem this sheds a small ray of light on; the reference to reader numbers, as though popularity made for a kind of legitimacy in itself…

    …and then, in this instance, when curiously enough the prospect of a substantial reduction in the popularity is followed hard upon, at last, by a firm taking to task of the assholes in question, in a reversal of previous declarations that one simply couldn’t be bothered, people now angrily complaining about the whole delinking trend in the first place; that’s not cricket, apparently.

    O’Rly? Well, hey, you know what: it’d be nice if it didn’t seem like that’s what it takes. And maybe you know it wasn’t that, and we’re all noble and well-meaning creatures without a shred of venality or self-aggrandizing or “I got mine, Jack.”

    okay.

  187. Myca
    Myca December 30, 2006 at 2:50 pm |

    Are there ideas, maybe ones shared by all or many of us, that dull sensitivity to anti-trans bigotry?

    Well, yeah.

    I think the idea that transphobia is not a separate and distinct bigotry, but can be included as a subset of sexism. The idea that cisgendered women aren’t in a position of privilege as compared to transfolk (After all, if there’s no privilege, I never have to check it! Whee!).

    I think those are the big ones.

  188. Katie
    Katie December 30, 2006 at 2:51 pm |

    Okay, so Twisty’s new post is about how gender binarism won’t survive the destruction of the patriarchy, which I agree with.

    But again, this goes back to the whole idea of (and I think it was originally brought up on bfp) white middle-class cisgendered feminists saying, “Well, we don’t have TIME for your problems. Just leave it to us and everything will work out for you in the end,” and in the meantime, woc and transpeople are disproportionately oppressed day in and out.

    Furthermore, the argument seems to be that the destruction of the gender binary will arise from the destruction of male supremacy, but I don’t believe that’s correct at all. I think that the destruction of the binary predicates the destruction of the patriarchy, not vice versa.

  189. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 3:00 pm |

    Katie and Myca: exactly. it’s not right to pretend that we’re all in this together when “we” clearly aren’t; and furthermore, i dislike the whole “pie in the sky” mentality to begin with. I mean, you talk about the “destruction of the patriarchy” in those terms, in that context, and what does that even mean? As far as I can see, it may as well be “when Jesus comes back.” You know? How exactly is this destruction/Revolution/whatever/thingie being brought about, then, again?

  190. Katie
    Katie December 30, 2006 at 3:08 pm |

    belle–Yup. And when the “how’s” aren’t really clearly explained, doesn’t that absolve people of a lot of responsibility? Especially when coupled with the idea that it’s really never going to happen, anyway?

  191. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 30, 2006 at 3:28 pm |

    One of them I think we’ve been talking about already: that race can be used as an analogy for gender.

    I think this is true, but only insomuch that class, race, genderroles, nationality etc. are really human constructs ment to departmentize people – between them and us, previlegied or not, even human or subhuman in some cases.

    If we want to change society, we have to not only tear down some of these abitrary bounderies, or even all, but we have to tear down the whole concept of such boundaries, or at least the concept that being on the other side of such a boundary makes a difference.

  192. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 30, 2006 at 3:31 pm |

    And I found out that Katie said what I tried to say much better:

    Furthermore, the argument seems to be that the destruction of the gender binary will arise from the destruction of male supremacy, but I don’t believe that’s correct at all. I think that the destruction of the binary predicates the destruction of the patriarchy, not vice versa.

  193. Katie
    Katie December 30, 2006 at 3:48 pm |

    Kristjan–Thanks. Which is not to say, of course, that I respect or want to further trans rights because I think that they’ll benefit me as a cis-woman. Trans rights are a goal in and of themselves.

  194. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 3:57 pm |

    sure. or, well, it’s what they say over on “ally work:” “if you have come to help me, please go home. But if you have come because your liberation is somehow bound with mine, then we may work together.”

  195. Myca
    Myca December 30, 2006 at 4:05 pm |

    Holly:

    - before transition, trans women have the same experience of gender and male privilege as non-trans men, and vice versa for trans men

    Ooh, good catch, Holly. That’s an extremely common and extremely bad one.

    But, once again, to challenge that involves admitting that it’s true that not everyone born with male genitals has the same kind or amount of privilege, and that’s something that’s incredibly threatening to some of these folks.

  196. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 4:17 pm |

    Yep. And that is also where homophobia or at least heterocentricity comes in. While it is true that cisgendered men by and large are beneficiaries of male privilege, particularly if they “pass,” adhere to certain social conventions, are white and well-off and well-connected and able-bodied and all the rest of it;

    there is still a downgrading that happens, once you’ve got the scarlet letter/pink triangle on your chest. men too, yup. and while the gay male experience is certainly not synonymous with the experience of being female, it is, well? bound up. rather tightly. i would say.

    of course i also say this as a gay woman; but then, my -other- problem with a lot of…these folks…has been the mostly-tacit but still very evident insistence that there -is- no effective difference between being a straight woman and being a lesbian, in this culture; it always boils down to the men, the men, the men. at best, lesbians are well, i guess, Really Good Feminists (unless we’re not, in some way–see: butch-femme wars, BDSM wars, sex work wars, plus the usual constellation of race and class and yadda yadda).

    which, as a not “political” lesbian, (using the Sheila Jeffreys definition that is, obviously i am political, just not a Political Lesbian), i find, well, really weird. At best.

  197. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 30, 2006 at 4:17 pm |

    sure. or, well, it’s what they say over on “ally work:” “if you have come to help me, please go home. But if you have come because your liberation is somehow bound with mine, then we may work together.”

    Belledame, I’ve never come across this idea expressed this way before, but it certainly makes sense. For example, I am a feminist (or pro-feminist man if you prefer – labeling in English is inprecise for me anyway), not to “help women”, but because I believe all bigotry and inequality is bad for everyone, though people are affected differently by them.

  198. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 4:20 pm |

    anyway what i was starting to say is: being tagged “effeminate” in some way, whatever sex you are (worse if you’re supposed to be “male,” but femme women get a goodly amount of contempt as well), whether via how you have sex or how you present or both, by and large means a downgrade in status, relatively speaking, in this culture. there are some exceptions for very butch women, particularly of a certain class or combined with other factors, sure, but, on the whole.

    and this, i note, is another unifying thread of all these blowups centered around IBTP (and other places): the lipstick, the blowjobs, the heels, the shaving, yadda.

    Femme=submissive=inferior, and maybe contemptible.

    So says the “patriarchy,” and so say all of us.

    That’s how i’ve been reading it, at least.

  199. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax December 30, 2006 at 4:22 pm |

    But again, this goes back to the whole idea of (and I think it was originally brought up on bfp) white middle-class cisgendered feminists saying, “Well, we don’t have TIME for your problems. Just leave it to us and everything will work out for you in the end,” and in the meantime, woc and transpeople are disproportionately oppressed day in and out.

    Reminds me of a point in Emma Goldman’s autobiography, where she’s very young, and is on a speaking tour, at the behest of an anarchist she sees as an older and wiser mentor, explaining why the drive for a 40-hour work week is a distraction from the really important struggle, and she describes how an old man stood up, and pointed out to her that he wasn’t going to live long enough to see her final desired destination, and a 40-hour work week would help him sooner. And she realized he was right.

  200. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 4:23 pm |

    Yup.

  201. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost December 30, 2006 at 4:52 pm |

    I caught on late to this discussion, and I’m a bit scard off of commenting by the sheer mass of content. So I’ll keep it short.

    the lesson is: you call people on their shit, allies included. you don’t dawdle and you don’t make excuses. and you examine the things that are -hard- to examine, not just the things that you’re already comfortable examining.

    And the things that are hardest to examine are usually the things that need the most examining. I think an environment in which people are allowed to fuck up, but not babysat when they refuse to admit they fucked up, is the most likely to destroy the ideologies that seperate us.

    Beyond that, a general word to piny, KH, belledame222, Kristjan, little light, BFP, and the rest.

  202. KH
    KH December 30, 2006 at 7:48 pm |

    DBL,
    On the ideological work that’s necessary & doable in light of this incident. First, it should be approached as if human emancipation were serious, hard, complicated work – at least as hard as dentistry, accountancy, or hooking up a DVD player. Too often, these questions aren’t approached with even the level of care & intellectual responsibility that you’d demand of a dentist, accountant or restaurant wait staff, but through the kind of self-indulgent, dogmatic ideological thinking that’s characteristic of people who can’t imagine getting things wrong or suffering the consequences. So ultimate causality is attributed to an ill- or equivocally defined abstract object (which, in fact, could no more govern the course of history than a triangle could play football), a master narrative is deployed that purports to account for & resolve all human conflict, & a utopian destination is announced, the details of which we’re forborne from specifying. Often, underneath this, unassuagable despair at the human condition.

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2006/12/30/twistolution-part-36/#comment-31705

    If the problem is to articulate one’s ideological differences from the kinds of bigots who’ve just spent their holidays hating transsexuals, it shouldn’t be necessary to resort to idle science-fiction fantasies of humanity past humanity, past the distinction between subject & object, & beyond human culture, expression, learning & identity. This isn’t even a vulgar secularization of the Christian Heaven, it’s an inchoate longing for release from life. The self-conscious jokiness though which it’s communicated only makes it more awkward. Which is fine; I too have a death-devoted heart & a taste for low comedy. But it doesn’t help me with the bigot who won’t stop telling the transwoman next door what a Child of Darkness she is, for reassure me that my beliefs mightn’t lead me to join in the harassment. For all I know, the bigot may have exactly the same vision that ‘we’d be like those giant brain-things on Star Trek.’

    In the wake of this humiliating little incident, feminist & emancipatory theory should perhaps be more sane. For all that she gave us, it’s unsettling that anyone should at this moment have resort to the furthermost fantasies of Shulamith Firestone, which, whatever else might be said about them, weren’t intended as a response to the existence of rank bigotry within the feminist movement.

    After TF’s unequivocal rejection of hate speech, we still have Heart revealing the truth of what trans theory is really about: more subordination & only subordination. Of women. Which is to say, the enemy; & this without a peep from anyone. Beyond the gutter invective that we’re now assured, indignantly, is a dead letter, real ideological differences &, perhaps, real suspicions & coolness, remain. They, & not tone-deaf, half-serious fantasies about posthuman omnipotence, set the immediate agenda for ideological work in left sexual politics.

  203. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko December 30, 2006 at 8:12 pm |

    Katie at 188, WORD>

    To say anymore would be oversharing.

  204. belledame222
    belledame222 December 30, 2006 at 10:17 pm |

    Heh.

    Yeah, seriously, it sure would be nice to always at least have that option, wimminspacey solidarity-building and/or chock fulla gloryhole funtimes as the communal bathroom experience can be…

  205. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko December 30, 2006 at 11:10 pm |

    KH, you can hammer TF for what you want- but that post was in response to people’s queries about where TF stands on gender, and she is free to express it how she wishes. It is not everyday where the internet seems to have a referendum on a blogger such as exploded recently. This doesn’t excuse anything, but until we walk that mile, there is no doubt that it will be difficult to deal with (this is not to compare it to anyone else’s difficulty of having to read the horrible comments- I’m not being relativist, just stating facts) It may not be helpful to you in regards to transgender issues, but that is why we have discussions and not just the issuance of press releases.

    The heart of the matter is that we have two extremes: gender as a construction of patriarchy, where we are all clay that gets molded and then baked in the patriarchical kiln or biological gender that is hard wired (with possibilities for differences in wiring). If the latter extreme is true, we have an easy argument against trans-bigots. If the former extreme is true, all gender is a response to patriarchy even trans-gender, and at the most extreme, bigoted views such as luckynkl’s can be defined by them as not so, based on a belief that trans-genderism is a personality disorder. I think the problem for luckynkl is that if there is any biological component to gender, there is a fear of determinism or essentialism being argued for the purpose of subjugating women (on the basis of “gender”). Such arguments can be made without being legitimate, and since when have patriarchical arguments been legitimate? I do not think there are reasons to deny completely biological gender on some level. At least rhetorically, this is the most trans-friendly argument (I accept transgendered individuals no matter the reality of anyone’s world view because my acceptance of them does not conflict with my own, whatever that may be). I think that for some, acceptance of transgendered people conflicts with their world views.

  206. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 12:10 am |

    btw, does anyone know if “lucky nickel” is the same person as luckynkl? this Feminista! article sounds some familiar motifs and erm style…

    whoops, the -really- charming quotage is from Germaine Greer! this is fab:

    his insidious process was floated on the lie of the sexual revolution. Along with the spurious equality and flirty femininity we were sold sexual “freedom.” One man’s sexual freedom is another man’s — or woman’s or child’s — sexual thraldom. The first tenet of sexual freedom is that any kind of bizarre behavior is legitimate if the aim is orgasm. Men who nail each other’s foreskins to breadboards are not to be criticized or ridiculed, still less humiliated or punished. An individual who get his kicks by shoving live hamsters into his rectum must not be reviled, though he may be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Political correctness forbids me to identify such a paraphilliac as male, but if he turns out to be female I’ll eat the hamster.

    The sexuality that has been freed is male sexuality which is fixated on penetration. Penetration equals domination in the animal world and therefore in the unregenerate human world which is part of it. The penetrated, regardless of sex, cannot rule, OK? Not in prison, not in the army, not in business, not in the suburbs. The person on the receiving end is — fucked, finished, unserviceable, degraded. Not actually, you understand, but figuratively, which, language being a metaphor, is what counts. When a male soldier calls a female soldier a split, he identifies her as a fuckee and asserts his dominance over her. Penetration has but little to do with love and even less with esteem. In the last third of the twentieth century more women were penetrated deeper and more often than in any preceding era. The result in Britain is epidemic rates of chlamydia, genital warts and herpes, especially in women aged between sixteen and nineteen, together with a rate of teen pregnancy second only to that of the U.S. What the penis could not accomplish was done for it by the outsize dildo and the fist, the speculum and the cannula. If penetration was the point, it certainly got made.”

    lucky nickel agrees with this take, mind.

    male paraphiliacs stuffing hamsters up their rectum. Penetration is humiliating and degrading. Is it just me, or does this worldview seem as rooted in good old fashioned homophobia as anything else?

  207. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri December 31, 2006 at 12:21 am |

    Oh wow, totally on a tangent, but I clicked through Twisty’s “about me” thing, and realized that she was one and the same as the most hated (and hateful) food critic in the history of the local St. Louis Alt-weekly… Many weeks, over half of the letters section was twisty-generated hate-mail. Small world.

    I thought I recognized her writing style from somewhere. Even back then she was trolling.

  208. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax December 31, 2006 at 1:10 am |

    Penetration has but little to do with love and even less with esteem.

    Actually, most of the people who’ve wanted to penetrate me seemed to rather like me. Of course, there was the one notable exception to that rule (anyone who doesn’t pay prompt attention to the word “no” doesn’t in any real sense like me).

    The sexual revolution does have its not too woman friendly side, but there has to be some way to criticize that side that doesn’t wind up implying that disliking the people you want to have sex with is actually the norm.

  209. Nanette
    Nanette December 31, 2006 at 1:20 am |

    Is it just me, or does this worldview seem as rooted in good old fashioned homophobia as anything else?

    I was actually going to mention that earlier this evening (couldn’t figure out which conversation to drop it into tho, so gave up, lol). The entire thing sort of reminds me of the increased hate males (especially) seem to have for gay males, and the arguments used to deny their existence (as gay men and not people who are just playing a role and need to be “fixed”). Gay women seem to be almost an afterthought.

    I realize, of course, that the situations and bigotries don’t track exactly or anything, but some of the rhetoric seems to.

  210. Holly
    Holly December 31, 2006 at 1:48 am |

    Pinko Punko,

    The heart of the matter is that we have two extremes: gender as a construction of patriarchy, where we are all clay that gets molded and then baked in the patriarchical kiln or biological gender that is hard wired (with possibilities for differences in wiring). If the latter extreme is true, we have an easy argument against trans-bigots. If the former extreme is true, all gender is a response to patriarchy even trans-gender, and at the most extreme, bigoted views such as luckynkl’s can be defined by them as not so, based on a belief that trans-genderism is a personality disorder.

    I happen to be very much towards the extreme of “gender is socially constructed” plus I’m also trans and very much DON’T think that transgender people are nutjobs who are tools of the patriarchy sent to invade women’s spaces. My big disagreement with… let’s say Heart, who is much less inflammatory than someone like luckynkl, is that they seem to think that trans people or “trans ideology” (whatever that is) are always automatically in favor of gender, must “rely on” gender and therfore think it’s a good thing, and always subscribe to essentialist/biological explanations of gender. I don’t think any of those are necessarily true, even if a lot of trans people (just like a lot of people in general) do belive that gender is essential and that there’s nothing wrong with gendered social structures.

    Instead, I’d suggest that transgender strategies towards gender are often about carving out a place within oppressive gendered systems in which particular people can survive, can cope with gender better, and can find more leverage with which to subvert and resist gendered patriarchal oppression. Of course, not everyone — trans or otherwise — is an active revolutionary against gender. A lot of people are just surviving. But heck, when the system is out to erase you, sometimes surviving and even thriving ARE revolutionary acts.

  211. Kristjan Wager
    Kristjan Wager December 31, 2006 at 2:00 am |

    The entire thing sort of reminds me of the increased hate males (especially) seem to have for gay males

    Increased in what sense? Seems to me that the US society as a whole has gone towards more acceptance of gay people in general, though this is observing from outside, so I could be mistaken.

  212. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 2:16 am |

    In context, I’m reading that as probably meant as “particular animosity of straight men toward gay men, as opposed to toward lesbians, or of womens’ animosity toward gay folk.”

  213. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 2:22 am |

    .

    but there has to be some way to criticize that side that doesn’t wind up implying that disliking the people you want to have sex with is actually the norm.

    well, you know, maybe i’m optimistic, or something, but i tend to think that really this understanding would be the -default.- (that no, that’s not the norm). On the other hand, i’m not sure how much time i’d try to explain anything to anyone that believes in the prevert-mens-what-stuff-rodents-in-rectums.

  214. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 2:30 am |

    corollary to 218, still in moderation, off of Nanette’s post: I see what you mean, i think: no matter what angle you take on the inherent goodness or badness thereof, the almighty Penis is what matters. going into orifices. and really there’s only one orifice that it could go into at all without being considered completely monstruous. nothing else counts as sex, not really. and, women don’t actually like or pursue sex, certainly not -penetrative- sex, is the strong implication here at least, and sex between men is just about automatically degrading and disgusting, on account of -men- are degrading and disgusting.

    it -is- Victorian; that’s exactly what that is. Men are beasts, women are angels. the only difference is that the Victorians still were all, “yay patriarchy! women can help lead us to our higher selves via their higher nature–well, some women, anyway; some women aren’t -really- women (servants, whores, people relegated to such positions by dint of class or color or age or…);”

    and these folks, the Luckies of this world, are all, “boo patriarchy! women can lead the world to its higher self, but WITHOUT being anyone’s angel in the house, WITHOUT the dutiful submission to penetration (even though we will still talk about this rather obsessively), and the hell with the men; they’re BEASTS.”

    i’ll take door number 3, Alex

  215. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko December 31, 2006 at 2:52 am |

    Holly- thanks for the comment- I think I know what you mean.

  216. KH
    KH December 31, 2006 at 3:00 am |

    Pino Punko, I don’t want to ‘hammer’ TF. I want her to be, pardon the phrase, part of the solution, & that involves taking what she says seriously. The question she set herself was what her expressed ‘lack of interest’ in the abuse of transwomen on her blog implies about her ‘views on gender, inclusive of the trans-, cis-, or whathaveyou- varieties’ – including, as she also put it, ‘this “trannies: good or bad” issue.’ In the present context, any answer to the question amounts to an account of how her views on gender relate to those that underlay the bigotry she’s repudiated. In effect, she’s saying, I don’t believe that, I believe this. So if the vision of gender she articulates were entirely consistent with the bigots’ views, she would have failed. Is it, & has she?

    Yes, of course, I agree that TF is free to express her views how she wishes, & hope no one takes me to have said otherwise. I meant it when I said I suspect we may share some relevant traits of temperament – I, too, might prefer the escapism of risible, Plan-9 sci-fi fantasy to, inter alia, dealing with the grim, grim bigots in the cellar –, & am mindful how painful it can be to be publicly criticized for whatever reason. Being generally wary of the heightening of personality in ideological politics (or restaurant reviews), I have special reason to resist the reduction of this matter to a question about one person. It isn’t about any one person, & would be a cruddy, low evasion to make it that.

    We’re agreed that there are unresolved ideological questions. Forgive me, however, if I don’t accept your formulation of them. I do not accept that constructionism entails or legitimates either Luckynklist gutter bigotry, or the cleaned up, lower-middlebrow variant of anti-trans dogma that continues to be promulgated at IBTP. It does not. (See wise Holly’s comment.) Nor do I accept that anti-trans dogma is entirely free of biologism of its own. I don’t think the views currently being expounded by commenters at IBTP are a particularly well-formed expression of the real issues between (some) trans theory & (some) feminism. They are, at their worst, a confused farrago of unexamined dogma & ill-disguised ill will, & would be met will embarrassed silence by actual feminist theorists of whatever stripe; still, they’ll have to be addressed.

    For reference, I list here 5 difficult questions that Janet Halley (in Split Decisions) describes as having arisen from the encounter between insurgent trans theory & feminism during the last decade:

    [i] Will feminism advocate smoothly for the interests of pre-op MtFs: women with penises?

    [ii] How will feminist resistance of misogyny deal with the yearnings of many women to shed so many of their female attributes?

    [iii] How will the gay-affirmativity of left sexual politics deal with the evident fact that many transsexuals intend a heterosexual future for themselves, sometimes precisely to abandon the same-sex character of their relation to their preferred sexual object?

    [iv] What about their lovers, many of whom, in love & through desire, also are making a transition from homosexual to heterosexual?

    [v] What about the high value that queer gender (feminist & non-) placed on the “constructedness” of biological sex & on mix-&-match identifications across biological sex, gender, & sexual orientation?

    Feminists do not cover themselves with glory when they insist on answering these questions in ways that deny trans people the space they need to live human lives. To the extent they do insist, no one has the right to be surprised if trans people, & a lot of others besides, go elsewhere.

  217. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 31, 2006 at 3:05 am |

    Yeah, it’s Luckynkl on feminista!. I really liked her until these remarks.

  218. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko December 31, 2006 at 3:07 am |

    She’s one of the most rad fem commenters on the blogosphere.

  219. KH
    KH December 31, 2006 at 3:37 am |

    There’s the same homophobia in Mar Iguana. The most damning insult, the ultimate evidence of the depravity of heterosexual male desire is that it’s actually gay:

    These ads are still exploiting half naked women but at least they’re not anorexic, tits-on-a-stick girls who look like adolescent boys from the rib cage down. Which begs the question, why do men find women who starve themselves to look like boys attractive? Hmmmm.

    http://forums.therandirhodesshow.com/lofiversion/index.php/t47254.html

    More here:

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2006/10/22/sartorial-sundays-the-slut-o-ween-report/#comment-27814

    And then, in other news (to me), there’s her “Jew boy.”

  220. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 3:38 am |

    oh yeah. i think it was Mar Iguana who also said she didn’t give a damn about racism, women were her focus, or words to that effect.

  221. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 3:39 am |

    –oh, Jew boy! my! it just gets better and better.

  222. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 3:44 am |

    nice, casual sneerage at anorexia as well. i’ve also seen former radfems with E.D.’s refer to (i don’t know by whom) comments to the effect of, if they weren’t so brainwashed by the patriarchy, so busy trying to pander to the menz, no one would be anorexic.

  223. KH
    KH December 31, 2006 at 3:52 am |

    Woman are white, I believe. And women may well be gentiles. Episcopelian sisterhood is powerful!

  224. Em
    Em December 31, 2006 at 9:28 am |

    Heart revealing the truth of what trans theory is really about: more subordination & only subordination. Of women.

    You know, they can’t have it both ways. A lot of the discussion here is theories above me, but with reference to my earlier comment (which actually got a few nods, thank you guys), if the party line is that women are so worthless that no one who is one wants to be one, then this oppression they claim transpeople are inflicting is baseless. If oppression is already 100% (and remember that it would have to be for there to be no genuine reason for an mtf to transition, which is what they are claiming), there is nothing left for oppressors to do. The dial does not go to 11. Do they realize how hopeless they sound?

  225. Nanette
    Nanette December 31, 2006 at 9:40 am |

    Increased in what sense? Seems to me that the US society as a whole has gone towards more acceptance of gay people in general, though this is observing from outside, so I could be mistaken.

    Kristjan, yes what belledame said in 218. Most anti-gay bigots I meet or read, straight males especially, whether they are coming from a religious perspective or just a general, mainstream bigotry, focus their hatred on gay males. Lesbians don’t bother them nearly as much, if at all.

    I am not sure how it relates to transphobia, if it does at all, but it just struck me that, in this particular instance, it’s the male to female people who seem to be considered the main threat, with the overlapping homophobic language and insinuations and so on, with the female to male people being seen as less so.

    This is not to say that ftm people or lesbians or so on have it easy or anything, it’s just that neither (in my admittedly limited observation) seem to be the primary target of some of these hate campaigns and I was wondering what, if anything, there was to be made of that.

    Or something like that.

    If I do more reading on the topic, I’m sure I’ll find out more and how all this connects.

    As for more acceptance of gay people in the US, in general, I’ve seen polls saying that especially among the younger people. I really hope that is true, and I can imagine it would be as many younger people are growing up with out gay and lesbian friends and family members so it’s not a big thing. I don’t know how the polls translate to actual effect on individuals. I know there are still problems of job and housing discrimination, anti-equality amendments as well as pulpit hate speech and violent assaults, so I’d say there was a lot more work to be done.

  226. Em
    Em December 31, 2006 at 9:48 am |

    More re: my post above.

    “You can’t be 10% of a woman, or 50% or 100%, either you are or you aren’t, and whether or not you actually reproduce doesn’t decide it.

    Twisty, sorry, but you’re a woman.”

    i.e. No self-defining and certainly NO ESCAPING.

  227. Lynn Gazis-Sax the one-time Episcopalian acolyte

    Episcopelian sisterhood is powerful!

    Hey, I resemble that remark!

  228. Nanette
    Nanette December 31, 2006 at 10:23 am |

    As for the question about what is hate speech… I’ve been trying to think of a way that I would not consider all of it hate speech… whether it was the really rank stuff in the original thread, or the oh so gently and sorrowfully stated belief, with entire theories built up around it, that “No… look at my studies! They all agree with me and prove that you are simply less than. ”

    As you can imagine, as a black person, I recognize that formation well – conversations and indeed entire sites and studies devoted to wondering, sorrowfully and gently, with nary an “n” word uttered, if I and my children, ancestors, family etc are really quite human, or are some sort of subspecies or just a defective one.

    All this sort of stuff, no matter how nicely put or whether it is dealing with race, transpeople, or other marginalized communities, provides a sort of framework and justification (in their minds) for those who would take the rhetoric further and be more open in their hatred, in words or deeds. And after hearing the vilest of stuff, the gentle, studied version sounds almost reasonable.

    Good cop, bad cop. Still, they are all cops.

    (not meaning anything about actual law enforcement officers, which is another issue in itself, just using familiar term).

    What responsibility do site owners have? Am not sure, I imagine that is up to each individual and their commenters. I know there are a few larger white feminist sites where people of color will not (for the most part) participate because of the racist and bigoted junk allowed in the comments – with no intervention or pushback from the site owners (that’s the important part) – so, obviously people can and do vote with their feet.

  229. Susan
    Susan December 31, 2006 at 11:57 am |

    What, as far as you’re concerned, constitutes hate speech?

    The Council of Europe, which advocated banning hate speech on the internets, defined it this way:

    “any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors.”

    I agree with Glenn Greenwald that it should never be outlawed, although perhaps for a different reason from him. I want to know who these people are and just what they’re thinking. Spill your guts, bigots!

    Folks are, of course, entitled to manage their own blogs however they see fit, but as a blog comment reader, I always prefer to know exactly where people stand on any issue. If they inevitably spew crap, I just learn to skip their comments. Greenwald hardly bans anyone and his comments section manages to be filled with great insights along with the blather. Sure, it’s sometimes hard to slog through them and I often wish I had the option of an “ignore this poster” button to make it easier, but other commenters enjoy engaging the idiots and calling them on what they’ve posted, some of which may very well be considered hate speech.

    I prefer to hear everyone’s ideas and voices, no matter how vile, at least once.

  230. gayle
    gayle December 31, 2006 at 12:28 pm |

    “After TF’s unequivocal rejection of hate speech, we still have Heart revealing the truth of what trans theory is really about: more subordination & only subordination. Of women. Which is to say, the enemy; & this without a peep from anyone.”

    Way to completely misconstrue what Heart wrote, KH! I know you’re on a smokin’ anti-IBTP, anti-rad-fem tear here, but really, some of us actually read what she wrote firsthand. And as usual, Heart, in her attempts to explain the conflict, is anything but hateful:

    as feminists, we have to talk and think deeply about gender and its role in subordinating women. That’s not the same thing as criticizing anyone’s choices, even though it’s understandable that people hear it that way.

    Heart

    And to Em,

    A lot of the discussion here is theories above me, but with reference to my earlier comment (which actually got a few nods, thank you guys), if the party line is that women are so worthless that no one who is one wants to be one, then this oppression they claim transpeople are inflicting is baseless.

    There is no party line here, Em. So yes, this is above you.

  231. little light
    little light December 31, 2006 at 12:46 pm |

    Holly:

    Instead, I’d suggest that transgender strategies towards gender are often about carving out a place within oppressive gendered systems in which particular people can survive, can cope with gender better, and can find more leverage with which to subvert and resist gendered patriarchal oppression. Of course, not everyone — trans or otherwise — is an active revolutionary against gender. A lot of people are just surviving. But heck, when the system is out to erase you, sometimes surviving and even thriving ARE revolutionary acts.

    Holly’s got something of the kernel of what a lot of these folk are missing, I think. It’s the same issue as with “Transsexual Empire” vs. “The Empire Strikes Back,” to wit, that one side points out all the ways trans people are patriarchal sellouts, and the other side points out that when we’re all being ground into the gears, the fact that some people make apparent sacrifices to their greater goals or o’erarching theories, within the strictures of a dangerous system that insists on those sacrifices and won’t give you what you need unless you make a show of submitting to their yoke, is no evidence of anything but that:
    That survival is a revolutionary goddamn act. That some of us have to carve out places to live and survive for now, Until the Revolution Comes or whatever, because it will not come soon enough to give us and our loved ones a chance to live safely if we don’t.

    You can call it selfish if you want, but while I may share the goal of abolishing the gender system for society in the future, it’s not abolished right now, and my choices as to personally flouting it are all choices that put me in very real danger–of not having medical care, of not having police protection, of not having a job, of serious assault every time I go out for groceries. Is that privileged, to want those things when not everyone has ‘em anyway? Sure. But it’s foolish and disrespectful to those folk to refuse them voluntarily, too, when I’m given the chance. I don’t see many of the folk calling us transfolk sellouts giving up their jobs, medicine, homes, families and safety, all at once, in solidarity with those people, either. I don’t see them abandoning the genders they’ve got–even if they think the system needs changing, or that they only got those genders because they were forced on them by an outside system–because the Revolution Needs To Be Right Now.

    We do what we can from where we can. I give the finger to as much of the gender establishment as I can, but I’m not stupid. Survival is a revolution. Survival is a triumph. The rest we can reach for and work for, from here, but you can’t get any work done if you’re dead in a ditch.

  232. Em
    Em December 31, 2006 at 1:07 pm |

    Oh, you wound me, gayle. No party line? I’m not so stupid as to believe that you’re on my side, but apparently you can’t see past your theory to the real people your air castles are built to exclude.

  233. Holly
    Holly December 31, 2006 at 1:27 pm |

    I believe, based on many other things she’s written, that the underlying assumption in Heart’s quote right there is that transgender = pro-gender = oppressive of women. And I already said above that I take issue with that first equals sign, in all sorts of ways.

  234. Holly
    Holly December 31, 2006 at 1:29 pm |

    I’d like to paraphrase a somewhat famous trans author who I don’t always agree with, but who has said some very punchy and appropriate things: “I don’t know why they say transgender is about transgressing gender, when from my point of view, it’s gender that’s been transgressing all over me.” I think a lot, if not most, trans people understand this sentiment very well.

  235. KH
    KH December 31, 2006 at 1:57 pm |

    Gayle,

    Way to completely misconstrue what Heart wrote, KH!

    If you’d actually attentively read what Heart wrote, you’d know I was using her own words. If you find them objectionable, your concern is with Heart, not me. The fact that she also inserts boilerplate self-vindicating language hardly undoes the rest, or distinguishes her from the wider company of haters, who often tell people how nice they are.

    The relevant text:

    [A]ll gender is is [sic] a mechanism of subordination; that’s all it is — on the basis of having been born female. Come the revolution, I agree, gender, as we have known it — i.e., as a subordinating mechanism — will be meaningless. … Instead of working for the elimination of gender, transgender theories treat gender as though it really *is* true, as though it is something in the head, in the chromosomes, in the genes, in the jeans, as though it is something people are “born with,” or can’t help wanting or having, when in fact, gender has to do with coercion and subordination on the basis of sex. … [P]atriarchy created gender for the specific purpose of subordinating a class of people. Apart from patriarchy, I don’t think there would be any such thing as gender. … Transgender theory is about *more* gender, not the elimination of gender. Some of us believe that gender is not going to survive the destruction of patriarchy, because, in fact, it is about subordination and only subordination.

    I.e., transgender theory is about more of something, gender, that’s about subordination & only subordination.

    I defy anyone to bring evidence that I distort or misrepresent Heart’s meaning.

    To ask yourself whether her theory is sound, consider this situation: As Heart awoke one morning from uneasy dreams she found herself transformed in her bed into a person with a monstrous penis. Same Heart, just with a penis attached. Would she really be complicitous in gender as a system of subordination, & thus any woman’s real enemy, if she found the penis odd? Would it make any difference if this happened this morning or when she was five?

    There are two questions. First, is gender really nothing but subordination, all the way down? I’m aware that some versions of radical feminist dogma stipulatively define the word to mean just that, which they’re entitled to, as long as they take care always to use the word according to their own definition. But second, are transgender concerns with gender really about the same thing – subordination? Obviously not. Heart’s argument relies on the fallacy of equivocation.

  236. gayle
    gayle December 31, 2006 at 2:24 pm |

    She is, too, hateful–it’s just a different brand than what Lucky’s retailing.

    She is, too, hateful? Are you kidding me? She demonstrated no hate, Piny. She -rather gently – honed in on what she sees as the crux of the conflict. As a feminist, she believes that enforcing the Napoleonic idea “biology is destiny” is dangerous to women for the same reason it’s always been dangerous to women– it puts us in a “men will be men and girls will be girls” trap, reinforcing all the nasty stereotypes and resulting discrimination created therein.

    But I guess it’s so much easier to just call her a hater.

    Em,

    As I already wrote above, there is no party line here. And I don’t have a side, although I can tell you want to assign one to me.

    BTW, there are some people over on the twistolution thread refuting Heart in a respectful way. Citing transgender theorists who, apparently, don’t view gender identity as something we’re born with, who agree gender (as opposed to sex) is a cultural construct, at least to some degree or another.

    It’s too bad so many of the same people who have whipped up this little firestorm have already demonstrated longstanding grudges against TF specifically and radical feminism in general. There is a productive conservation to be had about feminism and gender and transgender and how people who approach these issues from different angles could join forces and work together, but it’s clearly not going to happen here.

    Too bad. Maybe another day.

  237. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko December 31, 2006 at 2:42 pm |

    KH,

    Sorry if I was muddled- I was trying to get at what were the rhetorical extreme ends of the debate- I think I agree that there are definitely different arguments out there besides those. I was trying to break it down to the absolute minimalist argument to understand how certain people were getting to where they were. Thanks a lot for your comments.

    I think the basis of some of the arguments, such as Heart’s, are logical, based on certain assumed premises, however these premises are of course not proven and definitely rejectable on many grounds.

  238. Holly
    Holly December 31, 2006 at 2:57 pm |

    I don’t think Heart is a hater, but then I also said earlier in this thread that I think there needs to be malicious intent for there to be hate speech, which a lot of others have disagreed with (and I can see their point).

    I do think what Pinko Punko just said is right. I’ve seen posts and other writing online attributing pro-gender, pro-conformity, pro-essentialism ideas to this abstract body of “trans theory” or “trans politics” for a couple years now. You can point out plenty of theorists writing about transgender who don’t believe this at all, but the response is often (and was in Heart’s case) that they still think it’s essentialist. I remember reading one conversation in which, when asked for sources of “trans theory” someone produced a bunch of quotes from trans people’s personal web pages and autobiographical stories about transition. Those quotes very aptly demonstrated that there is a patriarchal “controlling narrative” involving a rigid medical model and all sorts of gendered expectations, that tries to structure and limit trans people’s lives in all sorts of ways. It’s a legacy of the misognyist, transphobic “gender clinics” of the mid-century and it has been incredibly harmful to a lot of trans people. And there are a lot of trans people who recognize the harm, who try to limit it or reject this narrative completely, who are engaged in political and legal activism against it, etc.

    If some people commenting on trans issues are using this kind of stuff as sources — or even their personal experiences with trans people who have had their lives molded by these authoritarian narratives about trans people — then it’s understandable why they might think transgender = pro-gender = oppressive. But really, that would be like taking “The Rules” and a bunch of bloggers talking about how much “The Rules” helped them land husbands, and then claiming that all female bloggers are slavishly supporting their own oppression, and that feminism is a sham.

  239. piny
    piny December 31, 2006 at 3:32 pm |

    BTW, there are some people over on the twistolution thread refuting Heart in a respectful way. Citing transgender theorists who, apparently, don’t view gender identity as something we’re born with, who agree gender (as opposed to sex) is a cultural construct, at least to some degree or another.

    Do not refer to this as a “little firestorm” and then imply that I have not read the threads in question. I am not going to pretend that I need to be civil in response to Buffalo Bill or to people–and Heart is one of them–who downplay the seriousness of those remarks. Heart’s argument is not one; she knows about those theorists (more than you, apparently), and ignores them because they complicate her categories.

  240. KH
    KH December 31, 2006 at 3:48 pm |

    On downplaying the seriousness of those remarks: How did Heart respond to the original hate speech? It made her angry: “I just goddamn fucking have had it … It chaps my hide to the seventh level of heaven … Really, I’ve just had it with that shit.”

    Which pretty much captures how I felt. Difference being, it wasn’t the hate speech that made Heart mad. It was the people who objected.

    In Heart’s world, the abuse was “imaginary,” the hate speech was “so called,” & what was called for wasn’t so much an unmodified repudiation of the bigots as a charitable reiteration of the marvelous theoretical vistas they’d opened.

    [The last quoted sentence, “Really, …,” is from a comment that TF quoted (in part) with merry bonhomie, if not approbation, in a (since deleted) Dec 27 post – itself a Christmas miracle, as she hadn’t yet read the thread.]

  241. gayle
    gayle December 31, 2006 at 6:18 pm |

    Do not refer to this as a “little firestorm” and then imply that I have not read the threads in question.

    Oh, but i didn’t imply that at all, Piny. I’m sure you’ve read every word. I say you’re purposely conflating Heart’s statements with Lucky’s insults and claiming they are both the same. That’s intellectually dishonest, imo.

    You seem to be claiming the very idea that gender is a cultural construct is “hate speech.” I say you’re wrong.

    Oh, and I have no doubt Heart knows a hell of a lot more about theroy than I do, so I’m not all that insulted by the snipe.

  242. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 7:17 pm |

    I agree with Glenn Greenwald that it should never be outlawed, although perhaps for a different reason from him. I want to know who these people are and just what they’re thinking. Spill your guts, bigots!

    Agreed.

    That said, besides the “your blog, your rules” business, i also think that there are other good reasons for moderation; for keeping the commons, and for keeping discussions going rather than devolving into flamewars.

    bfp’s been doing an excellent example of effective moderation, lately, i note in passing.

  243. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 7:24 pm |

    The idea of gender as a cultural construct is not “hate speech,” no. What is hateFUL is stubbornly clinging to one’s own interpretation of “gender is a cultural construct” (by the way, plenty of transgendered folks would agree with that, i do believe) and using it to 1) exclude already-marginalized people from safe spaces 2) “speak for” the people in question, denying them their own voice. Iow, “objectification.”

    You know, I have encountered plenty of people who very politely insist that they don’t hate gay people, not at ALL, some of their best friends…they just believe xyz means that blahblahblah, and this is why they cannot, regretfully, support gay marriage, or this or that or the other thing. But: let’s talk! Like reasonable people!

    And it’s like, finally, you know what: no. Because this deck is stacked. There is no equivalence here. There is no question that YOU, straight person, can legally marry the person you love; or, in this case, there is no question that YOU, “woman-born-woman” who presents as female, can use the toilet in public. The only thing you’re risking here is your ideology. The other person in the discussion is talking about something far more fundamental, i.e her/hir LIFE; and until you acknowledge this, there can be no “civil” discussion, no matter how polite and tolerant and yadda you think you’re being.

    and, whining because gosh darn it, you’re NOT a hater, you’re NOT, in the context of other people being demonized and you only FINALLY grudgingly allowed as to, okay, that shit’s not on, and meanwhile the issue of who can get married/go to the can in public is STILL a very real one and on the table? No sympathy here, and no cookie. Sorry.

  244. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 7:33 pm |

    That survival is a revolutionary goddamn act. That some of us have to carve out places to live and survive for now, Until the Revolution Comes or whatever, because it will not come soon enough to give us and our loved ones a chance to live safely if we don’t.

    You can call it selfish if you want, but while I may share the goal of abolishing the gender system for society in the future, it’s not abolished right now, and my choices as to personally flouting it are all choices that put me in very real danger–of not having medical care, of not having police protection, of not having a job, of serious assault every time I go out for groceries. Is that privileged, to want those things when not everyone has ‘em anyway? Sure. But it’s foolish and disrespectful to those folk to refuse them voluntarily, too, when I’m given the chance. I don’t see many of the folk calling us transfolk sellouts giving up their jobs, medicine, homes, families and safety, all at once, in solidarity with those people, either. I don’t see them abandoning the genders they’ve got–even if they think the system needs changing, or that they only got those genders because they were forced on them by an outside system–because the Revolution Needs To Be Right Now.

    Hear Fucking Hear.

  245. Myca
    Myca December 31, 2006 at 7:54 pm |

    I guess my thing is . . . (and this the same standard I apply to gay marriage arguments) what would the actual, real-world harms be from treating transfolk as if they really truly are the gender they say that they are?

    Not harm to a philosophy or ideology or worldview, not theoretical possible future harms, but harm to people.

    Because I can absolutely show you the real-world harms to real-world people from not doing this.

    From where I’m standing, Heart is treating an ideology as more important than the people involved, and that never ends well.

  246. B. Dagger Lee
    B. Dagger Lee December 31, 2006 at 7:58 pm |

    Another good thread and thanks for the thoughts, KH.

    yrs,
    B. Dagger Lee

  247. JackGoff
    JackGoff December 31, 2006 at 8:06 pm |

    I say you’re purposely conflating Heart’s statements with Lucky’s insults and claiming they are both the same.

    Have you read the BFP thread?

  248. belledame222
    belledame222 December 31, 2006 at 9:01 pm |

    And Heart’s now swept from the thread and posted at her own place, all injured, that she was the -only one- representing her POV at bfp’s, which clearly was not tolerable. Sucks to be her, I guess. o well.

  249. piny
    piny December 31, 2006 at 9:12 pm |

    Oh, but i didn’t imply that at all, Piny. I’m sure you’ve read every word. I say you’re purposely conflating Heart’s statements with Lucky’s insults and claiming they are both the same. That’s intellectually dishonest, imo.

    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that you’re not intellectually dishonest. I am doing nothing of the kind. I said that Heart was hateful, and I said that because of her behavior towards Lucky et al. and towards the people who complained about Lucky’s comments. Like KH is saying: she dismissed the people who were calling Lucky’s comments hate speech.

    You seem to be claiming the very idea that gender is a cultural construct is “hate speech.” I say you’re wrong.

    This…makes no sense. You pointed out that, wow, there are actually trans theorists who say that gender is a cultural construct. I agreed with that. So how would you reach the conclusion that I’m saying that it’s hate speech?

    Oh, and I have no doubt Heart knows a hell of a lot more about theroy than I do, so I’m not all that insulted by the snipe.

    I think that until you have a good idea of what the various players are saying, even on the most fundamental level, you should probably not act as though you understand Heart’s arguments or my problems with them. In other words, if it’s news to you that some transpeople argue that gender is a cultural construct, you don’t know enough to comment.

  250. beansa
    beansa December 31, 2006 at 9:21 pm |

    The heart of the matter is that we have two extremes: gender as a construction of patriarchy, where we are all clay that gets molded and then baked in the patriarchical kiln or biological gender that is hard wired (with possibilities for differences in wiring).

    Is it possible to see gender as something in between these two extremes? I’m thinking of Anne Fausto-Sterling’s book Sexing the Body – she posits that gender-as-construct vs. gender-as-essential is a false dichotomy. Our bodies are not closed systems, our experiences change the physical structure/biology of our bodies and our bodies also influence the ways in which we experience gender.

    This kind of both/and thinking allows for the idea that some human characteristics that have been deemed “gendered” are inborn, or have a basis in biology, or a biological reinforcement and that some gendered charachteristics are imposed by culture but have a subsequent effect on the body.

    Some examples that come to mind are:

    Evidence of the plascticity of the human brain in early childhood and neuropsychological inquiry into how gender socialization, and all other interaction, effects the formation of neural connections and the regulation and flow of neurotransmitters.

    Attending a class where Jennifer Finney-Boylan (a MTF transsexual) spoke. She commented that she noticed a “change in her thinking processes” when she began taking estrogen as part of her transistion. I asked her to elaborate and she said that she couldn’t really explain it, but that taking estrogen noticably changed her emotional and intellectual responses to the world, and (in her words) made her feel more female.

    My own emotional response to hormonal fluctuations definitely informs my experience of being a woman. I remember breastfeeding my daughter and the hormonal wash of nurturing feelings that would accompany the experience…and then wondering how this very real and unique feeling had been stolen by patriarchal culture and made into a standard of femininity so that every woman must be nurturing to all beings at all times.

    Seeing the disfigured feet of my partner’s grandmother, who wore pointy-toed high-heeled shoes every day for 50 years because that was expected of her as a woman.

    Viewing gender constructs and the body as a continuous feedback loop makes space for both ideologies. Yes, gender is used as a system of oppression and gender is also something that takes place within and impacts our bodies. I don’t know how we can expect to dismantle gender stereotypes if there is no acknowledgement or understanding of the role biology plays in creating and maintaining those stereotypes.

  251. gayle
    gayle January 1, 2007 at 10:29 am |
    I said that Heart was hateful, and I said that because of her behavior towards Lucky et al. and towards the people who complained about Lucky’s comments.

    Her behavior towards Lucky. . .

    Oh, now I see. You’ve made a new blog rule. Now not only does every blog owner have to moderate their comments 24/7 or risk Piny’s & gangs retribution, now every other blogger on the thread is required to do the same.

    you should probably not act as though you understand Heart’s arguments or my problems with them. In other words, if it’s news to you that some transpeople argue that gender is a cultural construct, you don’t know enough to comment.

    You know what you can do with that patronizing piece of bile. I said there was a conversation going. One that could be ultimately constructive. That’s all I was saying and you know it.

    You’re fanning the flames even after people have apologized-damn, TF banned Lucky. But that’s not enough for you, is it? No, nothing she does -short of closing down her blog – (Heart too, I suppose) will be enough for you.

    (If you need to open up old blog battles, however apocalyptic, feel free. I’m not sure how this discussion could even occur without leeway on that issue. I am also aware that one commenter’s vicious waste of words is another commenter’s blogpotheosis. Just, you know, I mean…oh, fuck it. The trainwreck will occur if it occurs.

    In retrospect, that quote in and of itself exposed your intentions all along Piny. It said it all.

  252. little light
    little light January 1, 2007 at 11:48 am |

    Well, we can all go home now, since Piny’s sinister agenda has been revealed. I mean, I thought he was, you know, blogging about issues that he cared about on multiple topics, some of which are deeply personal and long-examined.
    As it turns out, it was all about Heart. Or was it shutting down all dissent on the Internets? Or is she herself all the dissent on the Internets?

    I just get so tired of people insisting that someone’s thinking that these conversations ought to continue, because these are important issues and ideas–or that these subjects ought to be talked about, since for some of us, they’re our goddamn lives, not theoretical constructs and factional bargaining chips–must really only come down to a personal vendetta. Piny couldn’t possibly think these things matter, or be directly concerned with their concrete realities–it’s just about scoring one on Heart, or Twisty, or whoever it is today.

    It is not all about you, kids. Our lives might be a way for you to win points in a sectarian argument about your vision of the Movement, but stop assuming that they mean the same to us that they do to you. They mean something to us at all, after all, and if there’s anything you have in common with that there patriarchy, it’s that we seem to be disposable to you both.

    We’re not disposable to us. Oooh, oooh, read my mind next.

  253. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm |

    yes, it is all a Sinister Plot against the Pure, gayle. once again.

    you know, there really isn’t a “gang” here, merely because a lot of people have come to the (often independent, even) conclusion that, say! these individuals are really being giant asshats, aren’t they?

    and maybe you might want to think a little. bit. harder. about why piny might take this one a tad personally. he’s been remarkably civil, frankly.

  254. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 1:25 pm |

    Per social constructionism vs. biological essentialism, then, and particularly Heart’s opinion on the matter, here she is from a few months earlier:

    So long as there is this idea that presenting or living in a certain way means a person ought to “transition,” or ought to “change sex,” or ought to “identify as” one sex or another, there will be no revolution. There will simply continue to be human beings conforming to gender stereotypes and identifying as “men” and “women” on the basis of how male heterosupremacy has defined those stereotypes.

    as found at in fact an earlier thread right here at feministe.

    As I said at the time: I have a -few- problems with this formulation, to put it mildly.

    1) Why do you think you have the patent on how to challenge heterosupremacy? Personally i get particularly antsy when “political lesbians” who sneer at “queer” (as she’s done elsewhere, has Heart) decide to take this project up for themselves

    2) As noted above, for some people who are, yes, EVEN MORE “marginalized” than you are, cisgendered white woman, survival IS revolutionary all by itself. It’s not up to you to tell other people what to do or not do with their bodies, no matter what sort of spavined political pie in the sky you’re putting it in. It’s just not.

    3) The Revolution. THE. Revolution. Oh, right. That one.

    You know. The one where we finally get it alllll right, all in one fell swoop. Oh, stop looking so concerned! And you, STOP LAUGHING. You’d better believe we mean it this time, and everything’s going to be SO FUCKING WONDERFUL, you’ll just shit. You’ll see. We’ve been tightening the theory and practising the practice. We have better texts than all those other revolutionaries, and better soldiers, and a MUCH better vaguely outlined utopian ideal, the description of which takes up nearly three footnotes at the end of the twelve-volume encyclopedia of the Wrongs Of The Oppressors. We have passion. We have purity. We have determination. We have spatulas.

    I can’t wait.

  255. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 1:35 pm |

    This post by Winter says much that I agree with. for instance:

    Moreover, why are transgendered and transsexual women scapegoated and made responsible for upholding gender roles and the patriarchy when every single one of us upholds gender roles every day of our lives? I uphold gender roles every time I call myself a “woman,” every time I answer to my gendered first name, or use my patronymic surname, every time I buy an item of clothing classed as female in a shop for women, every time I use the toilet with that symbol on the door which is supposed to denote womanhood. We are all of us thoroughly gendered under the current conditions. If gender eventually disappears, it will go in its own time; we cannot just get rid of it and we certainly can’t get rid of it by denying other people their rights to their own gendered embodiments. As queer theorists have been saying for some time, even if we argue that gender is socially constructed, that does not mean it is easy to change, or can be easily or quickly disposed of, even if such a disposal is ultimately desirable (and I’m not convinced on that one anymore).

    Then there is an argument that seems to assume bodies defined as female from birth somehow own femaleness, that transgendered people are stealing womanhood from us cisgendered women: “But, in this case, they dominate women by co-opting our identity and insisting we recognize that they are what we are, effectively erasing our very identity and existence as women.” Now, I have no idea how the existence of a transsexual woman, or my recognition of her right to her gender, in any way co-opts and erases my own identity, any more than I can figure out how a gay civil partnership threatens and undermines the heterosexual married couple next door. I just cannot conceive of gender as something one group of people can own at the expense of others. In my view, the idea that womanhood should be a right, something to be policed, as well as the language of territory, ownership and hierarchy which accompanies this rhetoric, are borrowed straight from the very heteropatriarchal ideology we’re supposed to reject. And are you seriously asking me to believe that people who spend a vast amount of money, go through years of operations and pain, and live in danger the rest of their lives are doing so just in order to steal my gender and invade my space? Seriously?

    Let’s get over any fantasy that male dominated, heteronormative society loves transsexual and transgender people right now; people who deconstruct the link between biological sex and gender are subversive in the extreme. That’s why they are subject to so much hatred and violence.

    (read the rest, it’s worth it)

  256. Lesley
    Lesley January 1, 2007 at 1:50 pm |

    Her behavior towards Lucky. . .

    Oh, now I see. You’ve made a new blog rule. Now not only does every blog owner have to moderate their comments 24/7 or risk Piny’s & gangs retribution, now every other blogger on the thread is required to do the same.

    Did you intentionally misrepresent what Piny said or did you truly not understand it? If Person A says “All X are damaged and pathetic” or “All X are like psychopathic serial killers,” and Person B objects to those statements as hate speech; if Person C comes along and says that Person A’s statements really weren’t hate speech, that Person B was just over-reacting, Person C is taking a position. It may not be the position that “All X are damaged and pathetic or like psychopathic serial killers,” but it is a position that dismisses the idea that Person A’s comments were hateful, as well as a position that casts Person B as being just overly sensitive and, therefore, not to be taken seriously on this topic.

    In other words, no one is required to moderate anyone else’s comments. If, however, you voluntarily speak to someone else’ comments, but do so in a way that minimizes the damage of those comments, you should be held responsible for your own response.

    Incidentally, I very plainly said in an earlier comment on this thread that I believe that gender is a cultural construct. Not one person accused me of hate speech for saying that. So, no, I don’t think anyone holds the position that a claim that gender is a cultural construct is hate speech.

  257. ArrogantWorm
    ArrogantWorm January 1, 2007 at 1:54 pm |

    Quote by Gayle

    Oh, now I see. You’ve made a new blog rule. Now not only does every blog owner have to moderate their comments 24/7 or risk Piny’s & gangs retribution, now every other blogger on the thread is required to do the same.

    Is this quote, not out of context, mind, translated better as “Pc language! Oh noes, no moderation for me! Woe is me because now I have to censure myself!”

    When in fact, it’s not censorship? I’ve noticed that people who complain about checking themselves for other people’s conerns honestly don’t give a flying f*ck, until, (Get this)
    It’s their feelings that are hurt by the mere extra seconds it takes to see if you’re being insulting to a massive group of people It’s insulting and insensitive not to check yourself, and shows that the person with that belief cares fuck all for someone elses feelings. I’m not sure wich I dislike more, in all honesty; your obvious disagreement that other people are human when they don’t agree with your beliefs, because really, who would willingly hurt someone emotionally like that deliberately and still consider them human? or Heart’s careful, oh so careful (But not careful enough, oh, the paragraphs I could find that she’s typed that ditched what “pc” language she used for trans people, and substituted her views in a much, much less humane stance. Not that the opinions were humane to begin with, mind. Or at least not to me, since you’d label me transsexual)

    You’re fanning the flames even after people have apologized-damn, TF banned Lucky. But that’s not enough for you, is it? No, nothing she does -short of closing down her blog – (Heart too, I suppose) will be enough for you.

    So far as I know, Heart is at least, usually, attempting to use ‘pc’ language, at least in regards to the people’s issues she doesn’t despise, so I’m not sure why Piny would want to close down her blog, and it’s not particularly..what’re the words I’m lookin’ for here…oh! “Morally Honest” to claim otherwise, especially since that particular opinion fits into your “Piny’s Gang” theory, wich I hope to have at least put a chink in, considering you don’t seem to be listening to anyone else. And hey, since I don’t believe I’ve commented here before, I’ll take the burden on myself, eh?

    …risk Piny’s & gangs retribution…

    I noticed this gem amongst the not-so-rough, and simply must comment on it. First; I must have missed the memo, as *I* was never invited to such a gang, and have never, before now, heard the merest whisper that one such existed. I do however see commenters, one such as you, Gayle, attempt to insert the idea in this thread section being a gang with Piny at its head. Since I’ve paid no dues, there’re no club meetings, and you haven’t been thrown in the ocean with cement shoes a la ‘The Family’, I must conclude, that there is, in fact, no gang.

    I do believe you might be mistaking peoples convictions for gang mentality, which to my wormy little mind seems a bit disenginious, (Or however it’s spelt) because your convictions completely gloss over the dissent that other posters, besides yourself, have made in relative peace with this thread. I call it a ‘discussion’, though I am curious to what you would name it?

    Second, and this one, unlike the last, is purely my opinion instead of fact; You’re deliberately stiring up trouble by accusing every commenter here with a gang mentality, as if every other poster here would consent to be some one’s lackey.

    Also, I can see you cursed with a

    -damn, TF banned Lucky. But that’s not enough for you, is it?

    I don’t know about enough for him, but it sure as hell isn’t enough for my peace of mind. I don’t know if you noticed, but the lucky in question is a vitriolous asshole of the ninth degree who needs her brain scrubbed, then at least a decade living in other communities shoes to show her that yes, they are still human. Something you’re going to need to remember, or at least, better not forget; It’s when people consider other people “Things that beatings and murder occur.

    -I’d forgotten to indroduce myself, so sorry Cholly.
    Hello, I’m ArrogantWorm, I’ll be your lecturer today.

  258. Ilyka Damen
    Ilyka Damen January 1, 2007 at 2:01 pm |

    I said there was a conversation going. One that could be ultimately constructive.

    “. . . if you crazy transpeople would just keep quiet while Heart and I and other cisgendered women debate your humanity.”

    Wow. Just wow.

  259. ArrogantWorm
    ArrogantWorm January 1, 2007 at 2:03 pm |

    Bah, messed up the quotes rightiousely. The first box is quoted by Gayle, all other subsequent boxes, switch with the response on the bottom. Blasted quote boxes. Should still be easy enough to read, at any rate.

    -ArrogantWorm

  260. Myca
    Myca January 1, 2007 at 2:04 pm |

    Her behavior towards Lucky. . .

    Oh, now I see. You’ve made a new blog rule. Now not only does every blog owner have to moderate their comments 24/7 or risk Piny’s & gangs retribution, now every other blogger on the thread is required to do the same.

    You’re being a deliberately obtuse twit.

    This isn’t about requiring Heart to ‘moderate’ anyone’s comments, this is about her being an apologist for transphobic hate.

    You don’t want it to be about transfolk? Fine. Let’s make it about race, or women, or gay people, or religion. If Lucky had said the kind of vile shit she’d said about any of these other groups and had been rightly called on it, and then Heart had responded with “Why are you all attacking her?!” she would be called an apologist for racism, sexism, homophobia, or religious bigotry.

    She’d be called that because she would be that.

    The same is true here. Heart defends hate speech.

  261. little light
    little light January 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm |

    I said there was a conversation going. One that could be ultimately constructive.

    Seriously, I might add, having read it again to be sure. Heart’s declared that she’s going to be moderating that thread very carefully, in an effort to keep the conversation from being a “trainwreck” or going in directions she doesn’t want it to.

    Luckynkl came back in there and not only repeated the transpeople-Buffalo-Bill nastiness, she extended it. With graphic descriptions of the ways that in degree different, but not in quality or impulse or sentiment, we’re still sewing together Real Women’s skins for sick, fetishistic purposes like a fictional serial killer.

    Heart has posted in the thread since then, multiple times, and is “moderating carefully.” That says to me that she approves of that kind of speech. If she has taken responsibility, directly and in her own words, for carefully moderating the thread and keeping it from going off the rails in her eyes, and has seen this and left it there, that’s a stamp of approval. She hasn’t argued with it, or said anything about toning it down. There’s been no challenge on her part, even on an issue like simple semantics or politeness. What’s being moderated out, then? People daring to challenge that kind of vile speech themselves? I have to wonder.

    What’s constructive about that conversation? That it’s clear the people it’s actually about aren’t welcome in it unless they accept that that kind of speech about them is considered okay by the person watching and running it and setting its rules and bounds? The same person who has refused to discuss the same issues in a place where she isn’t the one in power, “carefully moderating”? Is it constructive because you don’t have to listen to us, in it, when it’s about our lives?

  262. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 2:53 pm |

    I’ve noticed that people who complain about checking themselves for other people’s conerns honestly don’t give a flying f*ck, until, (Get this)
    It’s their feelings that are hurt by the mere extra seconds it takes to see if you’re being insulting to a massive group of people It’s insulting and insensitive not to check yourself, and shows that the person with that belief cares fuck all for someone elses feelings.

    “I’m not like other people! I can’t stand pain, it hurts me!”

  263. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 2:55 pm |

    I think what you say, Lucky, about transpersons is undoubtedly true for some MTFs. I think it isn’t true for all transfolk.

    Well, isn’t that mighty white of her. Jesus Hannah.

  264. Vanessa
    Vanessa January 1, 2007 at 3:24 pm |

    Did a bonobo just fly out of my ass?

    I must interrupt this discussion to point out that bonobos are apes, not monkeys, and therefore cannot be used as an example for the popular aphorism “Monkeys might fly out of my butt.”

    Just to prove that I did learn something in my primatology class.

  265. Vanessa
    Vanessa January 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm |

    But I will slap you with a haddock and call you Edith.

    Although if we’re slapping people with things, I can think of some others that deserve it more.

  266. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko January 1, 2007 at 3:55 pm |

    Luckynkl came back in there and not only repeated the transpeople-Buffalo-Bill nastiness, she extended it.

    This was so shocking because I’d never seen this kind of behavior from her or any of the posters at IBTP. I don’t know what the hell happened. People are frustrated and acting sexist towards other women and transgenders. Sigh.

  267. ArrogantWorm
    ArrogantWorm January 1, 2007 at 5:50 pm |

    “I’m not like other people! I can’t stand pain, it hurts me!”

    I hope ya don’t mind, but m’sticking this on my blog for quote of the week, fell in love with it.

    This was so shocking because I’d never seen this kind of behavior from her or any of the posters at IBTP.

    Can’t say I’m particularly shocked in any sense of the word from her or other poster’s opinions. Been reading the lot of them on various blogs and message boards for around eight years, and it’s the exact same vaguely obtuse reasoning that ignores people’s lived realities that I see on the other blogs/message boards that they frequent. If you’re honestly curious, I suggest google, as I refuse to link and possibly encourage such attitudes. However, the michfest boards were deleted and remade a bit ago, so some choice threads of bigotry aren’t available anymore.

  268. mythago
    mythago January 1, 2007 at 6:58 pm |

    well, maybe she did sign up for National Drunk Blogging Day.

    Damn! Why does nobody remind me of these things?

    Is this the same Heart who was posting the “true feminism is about women being nurturing mommies” stuff over at Amptoons?

  269. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 7:35 pm |

    AW: no prob, original credit goes to Daffy Duck, I b’leeve.

  270. Holly
    Holly January 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm |

    Piny wants to be slapped with a haddock and called Edith? Wow, transgressive gender play and fish at the same time. Kinky!!

    BUT IS IT FEMINIST?

  271. belledame222
    belledame222 January 1, 2007 at 7:47 pm |

    i blame the Pescariarchy

    btw, this post on the Art of Defending Racism seems applicable, with a few minor changes.

    Tactical options:

    A. It’s not that serious

    1. We didn’t know better (and we never will)
    2. You’re too sensitive
    3. It’s not a big deal because it’s just (a movie, a song, a book, words, etc.)
    4. Why should we care? (You don’t matter anyway)
    5. We didn’t mean any harm (But we’ll do it again)

    B. But!


    2. I’m oppressed too!
    3. Hey! Look at sexism/classicism/Global Warming! Diversion

    7. We’re not discriminating AS MUCH (as other people/as we used to), isn’t that good?!? Give me a cookie.
    8. My best friend/spouse/adopted child/my ancestor 5 generations back is ___
    9. I’ve done XYZ, which proves I’m not ___, and I get a free pass for anything else I do.

    C. Dismissal!

    1. You’re oppressing me by making me be “PC”
    2. You’re too stupid to be in this conversation and everything you say doesn’t matter

    5. Under my definition- it’s not ___
    6. You’re too angry/You’re being irrational…

  272. Holly
    Holly January 1, 2007 at 8:10 pm |

    My new favorite is “you can’t tell me I’m discriminating against people who are gender dysphoric! I’m a woman, and all women are gender dysphoric, because gender hates us!”

  273. KH
    KH January 1, 2007 at 8:26 pm |

    Again, the fallacy of equivocation.

  274. little light
    little light January 1, 2007 at 10:09 pm |

    My mistake. Yeah, I was clearly being unfair, there.
    Righto.
    So, haddock.

  275. Donna Darko
    Donna Darko January 2, 2007 at 1:14 am |

    Haha, BD…

    Advanced Tactics!

    The Russian Retreat (Be like Water)

    Naturally, anyone who attempts to call you on a racist behavior, will probably try to also refute your defense. Fortunately for you, when your defense isn’t based on actual reasons, but simply irrationality, you can switch tactics on the drop of a dime without any explaination. Simply switch from one defense to another, randomly, and let your opponent continue to wear themselves out trying to penetrate your happy wall of racist belief!

    For additional fun, you can switch to a tactic you’ve used previously. Half of them will not even notice they’ve been led in a circle, the other half will lose all hope and give up! Hurrah for ignorance!

    The Wall of Whiteness

    As the Greeks knew, the key to a good defense was teamwork. If you have more than one person supporting racism involved in the conversation, then all of you should use different tactics simultaneously- your opponent will have to fight on multiple fronts, and have to keep switching his or her train of thought to meet each defense. They’ll wear out in no time, and, you can reinforce and protect each other’s 3 beliefs.

  276. beansa
    beansa January 2, 2007 at 4:48 am |
    What’s being moderated out, then? People daring to challenge that kind of vile speech themselves? I have to wonder.

    Yes. I wrote a response and I’m pretty sure it got modded out.

  277. bean
    bean January 2, 2007 at 7:01 am |

    What is the obsession with bathrooms?

    Well, as Kate Clinton says, “It all seems to boil down to bathrooms… The Disabilities Rights Movement? Bathroom accessibility. The Black Civil Rights Movement? Bathroom sharing. The Equal Rights Movement? Anti-ERA forces said that if the amendment were passed there would be unisex bathrooms.” At the time, she was talking about gays in the army (and the fear of gay men sharing a bathroom with straight men). Her belief was that when the “bathroom moment” comes up, you know your movement has “arrived.” So, I guess that means that the trans movement has officially arrived. :p

  278. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm |

    that is funny.

    my first openly gay book purchase was with the funny too–”Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette.”

    just imagine, i could’ve found Sheila Jeffreys first instead.

  279. Katie
    Katie January 2, 2007 at 12:47 pm |

    I wanna be in piny’s gang. That’d be sweet! Can I carry a switchblade?

  280. little light
    little light January 2, 2007 at 12:51 pm |

    I was hoping we’d get matching jackets, Katie.
    Okay, and switchblades.

    …and dance numbers.

  281. Holly
    Holly January 2, 2007 at 12:58 pm |

    OMG why is the MAN in charge of the gang? To quote from Germaine Greer once more:

    Men who like to be slapped with haddocks are not to be criticized or ridiculed, still less humiliated or punished. An individual who get his kicks by being slapped with a haddock and called Edith must not be reviled, though he may be prosecuted for cruelty to fish and Ediths. Political correctness forbids me to identify such a paraphilliac as male, but if he turns out to be female I’ll eat the haddock.

    You’ll be thanking me when all of you gang members have escaped a life of haddock filleting and deboning.

  282. KH
    KH January 2, 2007 at 1:00 pm |

    What’s being moderated out, then?

    Among other things, in my case, direct but unmarked quotation of language that she had approved in earlier comments (to which I was trying to respond), testimony on points of fact, & mild snark. Her blog, her judgment, but the comparison with what she did let through is striking. Elsewhere she complains that people like her are called censors.

  283. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 1:19 pm |

    wait, wait. -she’s- throwing around the term “censors” now? o, the irony.

    well, apparently i have been telling lies about her (what lies? mostly i’ve said you were a pretentious fuckwit; rude, yes, but hardly the sort of thing one proves or disproves). and the reason i don’t like Stan Goff is not because he is a patronizing dickhead who regularly “speaks for” women (rule number one of any sort of radical feminism i’d ever take seriously: when a woman talks, bub, ANY woman: you don’t counter, you don’t argue, you don’t lecture: you sit your ass back down and listen) has said similarly assy things about TG folks to the stuff the current crop o’ fuckwits have been saying (he really -did- make the comparison between “gee, i really feel like i’m black, everyone recognize that i’m black!”, although i expect he’s not been the only one)…but because he wouldn’t let me post there, apparently. Curious, because i’ve never actually even -attempted- to post there; i guess that would make him posting my comments rather difficult.

    oh, wait, me and my “sockpuppets.” right-o. it’s sort of touching how some people cling to the belief that any number of people greater than x who disagree with you, dislike you, or think you’re a fuckwit and say so, must needs be -really the same person.- i wonder if that’s listed among the various denial mechanisms somewhere. what would be the name for that? “Muppet-projection.”

    i wonder whose hand is supposed to be up whose ass. personally i usually at least like dinner and a movie first, much as i love my friends i mean socks.

  284. Katie
    Katie January 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm |

    little light–

    I was hoping we’d get matching jackets, Katie.
    Okay, and switchblades.

    …and dance numbers.

    For sure. But I can’t dance, so I’ll just stand in the background and attempt to snap to the beat and look cool.

  285. KH
    KH January 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm |

    Here’s the unexpurgated version. I’ve italicized the deleted bits.:
    ____

    Here’s the thing, Chasing Moksha: I came across a comment by you that contained an evident (to me) category error. No big deal; either you were confused, or you’d expressed yourself ambiguously, or I (along with others) had seen ambiguity where there wasn’t any. With a normal minimum of thought & good will, it should’ve been easy enough to resolve, one way or another, as countless similar matters are every day.

    Do I need to emphasize that I included no ad hominem language, no personal abuse, no idle, invidious speculation about your sexuality or demographic characteristics, no Dolchstoss, nothing? I bear you no ill will, & I assume we’d agree – I know we agree – about a lot of things. I just disagreed with something you said. That, evidently, was enough to make it personal.

    And so, in lieu of a substantive response, you weirdly intuit that I’m a heterosexual male – not, as you now suggest, that I’m a mannish woman, but an actual man – which conveniently relieves you of any need to think up a coherent response. And, without the least shred of evidence – indeed, contradicting the explicit point of my comments – you accuse me of putting the interests of one group, trans people, ahead of all others. I leave it to others to decide how you could have reached that conclusion, but can’t think of a benign explanation.

    You say you don’t know me, as if that justified everything. Fine; I don’t know you. So, according to your rules, it would be fair for me to suspicious of you, intuit that you’re a straight man, put my fingers in my ears, & hum. Certainly, if I’d known then what I know now, I would have left you & your theory alone. Like duh!!

    As for the substance, FWIW, I’m content to leave fair-minded readers – who I hope might deign to “carefully read [me], [not] just barely skim[],” before publicly passing judgment – to form their own opinions. Ravenmn, above, was able to understand my meaning perfectly clearly, as were others.

  286. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 1:31 pm |

    holy crap. she’s a regular Bowdler.

    that actually makes it look like you’re being cagey about whether or not she’s right in her assessment!

  287. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm |

    …or, well, maybe, but in any case: where does she get off? jesus, moderation’s one thing, but that kind of editing is ridiculous.

  288. beansa
    beansa January 2, 2007 at 2:29 pm |

    Whoa. The way she inserts that big bold EDITED into your comments is really disconcerting.

    One of my comments is there, but the others say “awaiting moderation,” not sure what that means. Given the response I got to my one comment, not sure that I even care.

    Thank you belledame and Donna Darko, having read your posts immediately before going over there prevented me from getting sucked into the nonsense.

  289. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 2:32 pm |

    o, that’s right! reminded: that was the OTHER thing about Goff, when my footwear friends were trying to post there, he had some weird shit about, o ho ho, i see your pro-porn posse’s little tricks, well, if you insist on posting here i will (or ‘we” will, i forget) insert ourselves RIGHT INSIDE YOUR COMMENT, like THIS, SEE?!!

    and i was all, um, kind of “ew,” really, that, especially given the context.

  290. Ilyka Damen
    Ilyka Damen January 2, 2007 at 2:38 pm |

    Here’s the unexpurgated version. I’ve italicized the deleted bits.

    :

    Mercy! That isn’t editing; that’s a Mad magazine fold-in. Once you’ve chopped out that much of someone else’s comment, you lose all claim to fostering a “constructive” conversation.

  291. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko January 2, 2007 at 3:46 pm |

    I don’t want to pile on CM, as I think she has kind of dug in a hole that essentially forces escalation of the argument, but she has bitten off a lot more than she can chew. One thought would be to not engage with her because there is no way out of that cul de sac, although KH has tried.

    I do feel bad for Heart, because I think she has imprisoned herself in an ideological cage, and has forced herself into positions she views as logical, so she can’t shake them. In this case, I would hope that her private definition of the nature of transgenderism would not have a functional consequence. At some level, this the first step towards evolving out of a problem- tolerance first, acceptance later. The distinction I personally define between tolerance and acceptance being “I tolerate stuff that I don’t necessarily like, later I accept that stuff as being either true or at least within the nature (not nurture) of the universe.”

    Happy New Year, EVERYONE.

  292. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    PP: that is a good thought, that one thought. For a number of reasons.

    as per Heart: yes, but it’s a box of her own making. why cling to it? well, there are handy tools within feminism for that, some call it “examination.” so, she knows what to do, if she chooses to.

  293. Sniper
    Sniper January 2, 2007 at 5:30 pm |

    As one who is decades behind in feminist theory and knows little about trans issues (other than what I read on blogs) I can only add that my rule of thumb on all human rights issues is to ask these questions: “Is anyone getting hurt? Who? How?”

    If a person says she’s a woman it doesn’t hurt me in the least to acknowledge her as such but it would hurt her to be treated as a freak and a liar. As for bathrooms, for all I know every single person I’ve shared one with has been trans. I’ve never been in a position to check out their undercarriages and unless public restroom designs vary a great deal in other parts of the country I don’t think anyone else is either. Frankly, I’d rather share a bathroom with a woman who stands up to pee than one who leaves a shitty diaper on the counter.

    Now, having identified myself as someone who obviously hates children, I await the flaming. Hmmmm. Cozy, warming flaming.

  294. Myca
    Myca January 2, 2007 at 5:59 pm |

    my rule of thumb on all human rights issues is to ask these questions: “Is anyone getting hurt? Who? How?”

    Right on, Sniper. That’s my standard too.

  295. maribelle
    maribelle January 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm |

    Kate says: “Trans rights are a goal in and of themselves.”

    But women-born-born women’s rights are not legitimate goals “in and of themselves”? Who gets to determine how a group self-defines and who they chose to support with their limited time, resources and energy?

    Magickitty wrote an amazing post on that thread about how her women’s support group from the 70′s or 80′s totally burned out by trying to focus on ending all oppression and not focusing on women and their needs.

    The sexuality that has been freed is male sexuality which is fixated on penetration.

    Lynn G-S says: Actually, most of the people who’ve wanted to penetrate me seemed to rather like me.

    Lynn–yes, they usually act that way to get what they want. But even if all your dates have been the bee’s knees, that cannot be used to deny the fact that sex is too often used as a tool of humiliation–this is evidenced everywhere in our society. Don’t pretend not to know that the penetrated figure, in the woman’s position, is reviled in male culture.

    For me, the writer (is that supposed to be luckynkl?) goes too far by seeming to describe all relationships. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater–take out the absolutes and she makes some important points that can be applied to male-female power dynamics in even the most successful relationships.

  296. little light
    little light January 2, 2007 at 9:54 pm |

    Golly, maribelle, that’s not a false dichotomy at all.

  297. maribelle
    maribelle January 2, 2007 at 10:19 pm |

    The idea that cisgendered women aren’t in a position of privilege as compared to transfolk (After all, if there’s no privilege, I never have to check it! Whee!).

    This is only half the story. No doubt transfolk suffered from lack of privilege that the cisgendered can never imagine.

    But your comment disregards the very real experience of cisgendered women who find those socialized male to have had — and retain– much of the male privilege dolled out to them as boys that they are completely unaware that they possess.

    Why do does it have to be “either/or”? Maybe both these things are true.

  298. JackGoff
    JackGoff January 2, 2007 at 11:34 pm |

    Why do does it have to be “either/or”? Maybe both these things are true.

    True. Why is it, however, also automatically assumed that, as per Lynn’s example, that all men simply are sociopaths trying to get their orgasm without regard to other people? Is that realistic?

    I am, of course, assuming that Lynn is heterosexual, on the basis of maribelle’s assumptions.

    Don’t pretend not to know that the penetrated figure, in the woman’s position, is reviled in male culture.

    That can’t possibly be denied. Lynn isn’t denying this but is giving, you know, an example where certain generalizations may not apply. Therefore, any attempt to deride people on the basis of the culture they live in is simply not practical and is more than a little bit hateful.

  299. JackGoff
    JackGoff January 2, 2007 at 11:35 pm |

    Maybe both these things are true.

    Excellent. Let’s move from there, as opposed to “In short, trans are nutjobs”.

  300. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 11:37 pm |

    funny, i’m just rereading the bfp comment that feels relevant to answer this right now:

    The thing is, trans women are not the only ones who’ve ever had their experiences as women contested by a white majority. the Disabled community, the queer community, women of color–we’ve all had our experiences denied and outright attacked as not legitmate experiences or experiences not worthy of consideration on a larger “feminist” scale. speaking as a chicana, as a former migrant worker, as a child of family that immigrates over the U.S./Mexican border, it speaks volums to me that the violence I experience specifically as a Chicana, and that my community experiences specifically as immigrant women, is overwritten and denied so that white feminists can get the amazing “feminist” nancy pelosi into higher positions of power. Or that hillary clinton can continue her “we *need* them” capaign (which is short speak for we *need* them because they work for pennies and don’t need health care or breaks or a place take a piss in when their out in the fields.).

    I’m not counted as a “real” woman, and nobody in my community is. we are the bargining chips that can be traded in to the nation/state so that white women can keep their precious right to choose and their precious female identities in their safe spaces.

    And I think you can pretty much go down the line and see that many other marginalized women are in the same position as I am–poor white women, disabled women of all colors, drug users, imprisoned women, teen mothers, native women, etc etc etc. All of our communities have been denied the right to call ourselves feminists at some point or another–, to call ourselves women in the name of the “greater good”–and it was only through the good will of “feminists” that we were able to make some in way. In other words, those in power agreed to share some *space* with us. Not power, but *space*. As long as we don’t get too demanding and we don’t argue with them (because then, the patriarchy wins) etc.

    So that’s where I’m coming from before I even get into the actual issue of trans liberation. The same shit is being done to my own community, I don’t need to know anything about the transcommunity to know automatically that there is something very old and tired about the arguments being put forth as a reason to keep the trans community away from feminism.

    But looking at the actual theory and politics of trans gender-ism and femaleness–I think it gets into the idea–are females really the only ones abused in this structure we all live under? And if you are multiple identities–if you are, say, a transgendered institutionalized woman of color–what is it, really, that justifies the use of harmful sterilization drugs on you? Is it your femaleness? Is it your disability? Is it your color? Or is that you are all of these identities wrapped into one confusing body that oppressive power structures sees no value in?

    The thing is–these debates are just a variant on the “gender trumps X” arguement. The idea that you will be abused because you are female, NOT because you are specially a BLACK female, or a disabled female or a queer chicana. And of course, this all links back to the idea that white women and all their battles against THEIR enemy (the patriarchy) must remain central to what feminism is.

    So I think from there, the question becomes, are we going to fight them to get our foot in the door? Or are we going to acknowlege that gender does not trump any identity–that there are multiple ways that each of us are violated, mutiple reasons–and our job as feminists is to constantly shift that center–to embrace the shady boundries and unidentifiable centers–because with each shift, with each recentering of a new identity, we are able to find new strands of violence that we can then name and begin to find new ways to address and account for. In other words, allow the boundries to be messy enough where each group of people can cross into the other groups “space” while at the same time, maintain their own space. Intersecting circles, I guess would be the best illistration of what I am trying to say.

    There was one woman of color (that I could see) that commented on that thread (magic kitty). And she basically said that she couldn’t be the world’s mommy. That inclusivity is what caused burn out and destruction of the feminist movement the first time around. Beside the fact that I found this comment to be fucking sad as hell, as it was women of color who were trying to be “included” the first time around so she’s basically saying women of color should have shut the hell up (what a great feminist assertion, after all), I think that it doesn’t have to be like this. Inclusivity must be destroyed as a “goal” of feminism. I don’t *want* to be “included”, I want violence in all it’s forms to be eliminated against my community and all those communities that I love or have been a part of throughout my life. So when I look things that way–The question is not so much, what can I do to make “them” listen to me, but rather instead, what do I need to do to end violence? Is it talking talking to people who don’t want to listen? Is it centering white women and their needs in my movement? Or is it creating ways to eliminate my community’s need for the nation/state? Is it looking for ways to eliminate the prison industrial complex? Is it implementing radical day care centers so that more women can go to meetings?

    Embracing that shadiness in boundries–embracing the elimination of boundries–realizing that just because condi rice menstruates and has a womb of color, doesn’t mean that she is anybody I want to ally myself with–it is what is great about MY feminism (as brought to me by legions of radical women of color throughout the centuries)–there is a way to negotiate those tricky boundries–it is being done–it has been done for centuries.

    That a group is more interested in fighting over how to form alliances with other people who use pads, rather than forming alliances with other communities that experience sexualized violence–well, it really demonstrates a lot of things. None of them good.

  301. JackGoff
    JackGoff January 2, 2007 at 11:39 pm |

    Oops. My bad. I forgot that I kept part of the original quote that I talked about in my first post. Sowwy.

  302. belledame222
    belledame222 January 2, 2007 at 11:45 pm |

    while i’m waiting for that long quote by bfp to get through moderation, this is the part specifically relevant to the “world’s mommy” business:

    There was one woman of color (that I could see) that commented on that thread (magic kitty). And she basically said that she couldn’t be the world’s mommy. That inclusivity is what caused burn out and destruction of the feminist movement the first time around. Beside the fact that I found this comment to be fucking sad as hell, as it was women of color who were trying to be “included” the first time around so she’s basically saying women of color should have shut the hell up (what a great feminist assertion, after all), I think that it doesn’t have to be like this. Inclusivity must be destroyed as a “goal” of feminism. I don’t *want* to be “included”, I want violence in all it’s forms to be eliminated against my community and all those communities that I love or have been a part of throughout my life. So when I look things that way–The question is not so much, what can I do to make “them” listen to me, but rather instead, what do I need to do to end violence? Is it talking talking to people who don’t want to listen? Is it centering white women and their needs in my movement? Or is it creating ways to eliminate my community’s need for the nation/state? Is it looking for ways to eliminate the prison industrial complex? Is it implementing radical day care centers so that more women can go to meetings?…

    personally: you know, there is a difference between prioritizing on a micro level (i.e. -today’s- meeting is about thus and so, or the purpose of -this- action is about blahblah, or the -primary- focus of -this- group is xyz) and saying, o well there’s no use working together, it’s all too complicated.

    E pluribus unum is as true now as ever it was. these various power abuses do not exist in a vacuum, they are inextricably interconnected.

    more to the point here: why would anyone -else- empathize with you (general you), if you’re not prepared to give it to anyone else, -and- they don’t necessarily identify with what you’re saying? How do you expect to persuade people to your cause? I mean -women;- you know, “Ain’t I a Woman” is as relevant now as it was then.

    mainly: d’you want to be pure, or do you want to make effective change? what is the goal? because if it’s really seriously radical sweeping change on a large scale, you ain’t gonna get there by being insular and dogmatic. unless you have a lot of power and money and weaponry at your disposal; and, well, radfems don’t, by and large, that i know of anyway. So:

  303. the oh zone  » Blog Archive   » 2007, toe gingerly dipped in blogosphere: oprah, mental patient’s makeup, which feminism to choose, briton’s beer

    [...] 8217;s not against transpeople.  Heart is saying stuff. Piny asks questions about stuff. Shannon’s brain is confused, but if you are awake a [...]

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