Guest post: These implicit claims about what’s going on inside other people’s heads

Originally a comment by Bjarte Foshaug on The child is not an astronaut.

I often find it useful to spell out just exactly what we are talking about rather than assume we’re all talking about the same thing just because we’re using the same words. When gender-critical feminists (formerly known as “feminists”) use the word “women” they are talking about something like “people with physical traits more representative of mothers than fathers” (let’s call them “women₁”). The trans lobby on the other hand are talking about people who think or feel a certain way [1] about themselves (let’s call them “women₂”). Obviously women₂ are about as different from women₁ as flying mammals (let’s call them “bats₁”) are from clubs for hitting baseballs (let’s call them “bats₂”). And yet trans activists insist on acting as if we were all talking about the same thing and try to have it both ways…

…by demanding that feminists who oppose the discrimination faced by women₁ based specifically on physical traits change their cause entirely and turn all their focus toward the discrimination against women₂ [2].

…by demanding that women₂ be allowed to compete in sporting events that are reserved for women₁ specifically to compensate for biological differences.

…by demanding that straight men₁ and lesbian women₁ who are attracted to women₁ based specifically on physical traits consider women₂ as potential partners.

…by demanding that women₂ be allowed to use restrooms that are reserved for women₁ specifically because of physical/biological differences.

…Etc… etc…

There is a reason why trans women₂ are so obsessed with being called the same as the people with physical traits more representative of mothers than fathers: Because they want everyone to accept that they are the same. However, since they don’t in fact have innate physical traits more representative of mothers than fathers, they have to argue that something else makes them the same as women₁, or – more precisely – that something else makes women₁ the same as them, hence the strong insistence on “female” ways of thinking/feeling that women₁ supposedly share with them, thus making them the same kind of people. Seen from such a point of view this is not simply about whether or not trans women₂ should be free to define who they are, but whether or not trans people should be free to define who women₁ are as well. As I keep saying, these implicit claims about what’s going on inside other people’s heads are precisely the part that I for one have the greatest problem with.

Also, since it’s impermissible (because exclusionary [3] to trans women) to ever talk of women₁ as an oppressed group in its own right with its own specific issues that are not entirely reducible to those faced by women₂, the trans lobby’s ultimatum to women₁ everywhere boils down to: “Allow the discrimination you face to go forever unaddressed, or have your name dragged through the dirt all over the internet”. If that’s not a hostile ultimatum, then nothing is.

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1. I’d like to be more specific than “a certain way”, but unfortunately I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Apparently it has nothing to with the old sexist gender roles and cultural stereotypes, but we’re never told what it does have something to do with.

2. Someone once accused me of strawmanning for making this very point. Apparently no one has suggested that feminists stop fighting for abortion rights etc. My response was to challenge him to specify why abortion rights (or anything else pertaining to the equality of women₁) is specifically a feminist cause without saying the same kind of things that got Ophelia and pretty much every other feminist I admire labeled as TERFs and demonized. “Pregnant people”, anybody? Obviously, I never got an answer.

3. Never mind that their definition of “woman” by necessity excludes anyone who fails to think or feel the required way about themselves. But hey, when has it ever been wrong for entitled, loud, aggressive people with dicks to tell women₁ their place in life?

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