Feminism

randomjordan's picture

Feminism is another one of those loaded words these days. To men it says you are a bitch, and to women it says you want to deny the feminine aspects of your self; because clearly the only way you can be deemed strong is by not being feminine. Both for the most part are incorrect assumptions, concluded from past feminism. There are two types of feminism and feminist in fact. The first is the women who believe they are better than men, and that femininity just exists to keep them contained in some way and below men. The other type of feminist and truly, honestly, the real feminist, are the people who believe that feminity is not weaker, not lesser than masculinity and that it is not the opposite of masculinity just another equal, another possibility that is precisely equal with masculinity, with its strengths and weaknesses just like masculinity.

The point of feminism is not to put women above men, or to play down feminity, it is to show that women are capable of anything, just the same as men are. And in all reality the essence of that true feminism is gender equality, for every gender. Not just male and female.

Many current feminists have not been opened to this idea. They find it apalling in some cases. In many situations there is such a severe play on women more so than feminity with feminism that some groups of women are discluded from certain events. If feminist are trying to make a better world they should learn one important thing from Ghandi. Become the change you want in the world.

The Michigan Womyn's Festival does not accept trans women into the festival, my question to them is then, how do they in fact, determine that a women is trans at the festival, do they screen the dna or blood of every woman that comes in? Here are the arguments in place as to why they deny trans women the ability to be in the festival.

It is for womyn born womyn only, noted by the fact that they let trans men attend the festival. However my easy and quick rebuke is that trans womyn are womyn born womyn; the parts may sure as hell be aranged differently when we were born but we are still womyn, who did in fact grow up as womyn. We were simply told growing up that we had to deny every possible aspect of our existence as women and be men growing up. We are womyn who had our identity stolen from us, solely because we weren't supposed to be like that. We were wronged by men just as much as any other womyn might have been. We possess the same fears everytime we walk down the street passing by a group of men. How many of us trans women were beat up because we didn't conform to liking football or some other non-sense event that men did.

The next argument is usually, 'its typical men born women don't understand when they aren't allowed somewhere'. This has to be one of my favorite quotes, and was an actual argument. See... as of ALL things, ANY trans person knows all about where they aren't allowed, how conscious we are of it, and that we most certainly do understand when we aren't allowed somewhere. For a transwomyn, are whole lives we are told we can't be apart of certain things. Hell, I remember not being allowed to stay over for the slumber part of a girl's slumber party because I was the only boy invited and couldn't stay because I was a boy at the time.

Or... how many people bother to look at bathroom signs of public bathrooms, or just instinctively know which one to go into? I've never instinctively knew, I was very aware that I was always forced into men's bathrooms despite after the first time using a womyn's bathroom, how much more comortable I was in there over the mens.

Trans woman all our lives have not been allowed in areas we feel more comfortable in, because if we didn't look female enough it would make other people uncomfortable or less safe. The best way I can honestly describe what it is like to be a trans woman and have to use the men's bathroom is like this: Imagine knocking down all the walls around the stalls in the bathroom, then you have to go to the bathroom on one of those toilets, without having your cheeks touch the seat and with 20 guys peeing around you, with only the sound of pee streams going or the occasional cough. This is how I have had to go to the bathroom for the last twenty years of my life, and the same reason why for the longest time, until recently I have always had this fear and massive anxiety in using the public bathrooms anywhere.

So then the next argument comes down to trans woman still possessing 'male energy' despite or regardless of how much we transition. Also that a trans woman might trigger another natural born woman's fear of men. Which I would like to say, is not only a huge disgrace to trans women, but to women who have been traumatized by men as well. Even if a trans woman wasn't 'passable' she would come dressed as a woman, as best as possible, which would mean if any woman is triggered by a man looking woman dressed in woman's clothes, they would have been triggered by the trans men or even butch women before then.

Finally the whole notion of the bathroom situation, of trans woman sharing a bathrrom with other woman and that woman might be violated by them. I swear all this non-sense comes down to bathrooms over and over again, its like one of the few things we still segregate, so why do we segregate them? Just make stalls and the bathrooms twice as big and unisex and you don't have to deal with this shit anymore. Did we forget that I'm pretty sure Segregation had been abolished for what... at least 50 years now? And yes seperation of gender is a segregation.

My favorite thing though is that just because a trans woman might still possess the parts to violate does not mean we would or would even be capable of it entirely. That would be like saying no woman should be sharing bathrooms with each other because they could have dildoes in their purses or better yet they could violate someone with their fingers.

The more you point out the similarities between people and genders the more you can so easily break them down. We all place ourselves in these categories. Cause we really are all just a bunch of judgemental bigots, and I do mean everyone, even those in the trans community, myself, and those in any community. Hell, I've been discriminated against plenty of times for being white. How awesome is that?

It really is amazing how different the world becomes when we switch the way in which we are categorized around. Regardless of whether its through gender, race, sexual orientation, or hundreds of other labels out there.

I close with the mention of what Femininity and Masculinity were originally devised as before the 19th century. There were two categories everything about a person could be placed into, 'The Sublime' (Masculinity) and 'The Beautiful' (Femininity). The Sublime is where all the virtues that inspire admiration are placed. However the Beautiful is where all the virtues that inspire love are placed. Therefore Sublime received things like Fortitude, while Beautiful received things like Passion.

That way of describing feminine and masculine makes it seem a lot less like one or the other is important but that both are truly equal and are a matter of what you want to show or inspire.

Comments

ZandCompany's picture

YES!!!!!

I completely agree. The entire double standard of feminism is a jok. If what you really want is to be seen as no less than 'men', as equal to 'men' then the last thing you should be doing is saying you are better than them. That 'men' are the enemy. Its stupid and disgraceful and I am sorry if you were not allowed to go to a festival because people are still running with the same lies they have been living off of since my mother was in high school. 'Men' aren't the enemy. And a transwoman should never be excluded from an event for women. Especially if the goal of the event is gender equality.

~Z
"If you never asked who I am, how can you assume you know me?"

Lol-taire's picture

I agree with everything you

I agree with everything you write about trans inclusion.* But feminity is a construct just like masculinity is. And much of what we assume is 'natural' feminine behavior does constrict women.

I think it's disgraceful when womens' groups pull this kind of Mary Daly bullshit. The London Feminist Network is notorious for this sort of thing (and for being generally looney). This is a bad, bad hangover from some of the worst bits of '70s feminism. And it's inexcusable. And bullshit. And wrong.

They feel that the existance of transpeople reinforces this essentialist binary idea of gender- the whole mad-scientist woman's brain man's body switcheroo of lurid tabloid reporting...

But a transwoman's body is not a man's body with a woman's brain in it; a transwoman's body is that particular woman's body.

And the existance of transpeople is one of the many things that demonstrates that an essentialist idea of man/ woman male/ female is a construct- or at least very, very simplistic. And that gender isn't binary.

However, you're wrong to say that feminists - even a subset of them - believe that women are superior to men. There were definate aspects of this in some 19th century feminist writing- Charlotte Perkins Gillman for example. However, as feminist and gender theory has developed I think few feminists would hold such an essentialist view of gender. Feminism - in particular accademic feminism - is often about question what a woman is/ what a man is and how these roles are created and enforced within
societies.

But tou're dead wrong when you write that 'real feminism' is about embracing feminity and accepting that us gals are just so different from the menfolks...

Humans have their strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses are only designated 'masculine' or 'feminine' by society- and they change over time. And a disproportiate ammount of what is considered weak or immoral or unfavourable is suspiciously also often associated with the 'feminine'... because societies are so often misogynistic.

Feminists believe that men suffer within a patriarchal society, not just women.

I am a feminist. I've been involved in activism. I'm also painfully aware of so many of the problems within our movement, both currently and historically. However I know many activists and what you describe sounds more like the idea of a feminist put foward by media backlash against feminists, than anyone I know in real life.

But we do live in a patriarchal society- one that favours masculinity and male experience. Women in every country and at every time throughout recorded history suffer or are put at disadvantage because they are women (and most men suffer because they are not the right sort of men).

I wish I was talking to you in real life because it's so difficult to put it properly here. I'm so sorry about how some feminists have made you feel. If we want to go forward as a movement we need to say that these women are in the wrong and are doing untold harm (both to individuals like you and to all of us as a movement).

*although I do think women do sometimes need women-only spaces to organise as women this should always include transwomen (because dur, transwomen are women). I am also always wary of separatism because feminism is about a future for men and women.