The four of them dreamt of what a feminist world could look like

A radical feminist woman wrote a piece last month about “non-binary” as the new misogyny.

Last summer she lived in a house with three other women.

We spent a lot of time together that year, and there were many late-night conversations about the sexism, misogyny, and male violence we had experienced. We talked about not fitting into what society had expected of women, we stopped shaving together, and we encouraged each other to not be ashamed of our natural bodies. We called rape crisis lines, organized protests, and exposed violent men in our communities. Mitali* shaved her head in a defiant act of rebellion against Indian expectations of beauty. Joy* became empowered to use her voice to speak up for the oppressed. Miriam* started to confront her religious parents and come to terms with her sexuality. The four of us dreamt of what a feminist world could look like and envisioned our lives free from patriarchy and violence.

The asterisks are because the names are all pseudonyms. All three now call themselves non-binary.

2018 article in Teen Vogue outlined the experience of one non-binary woman:

I reject the whole concept of gender. Growing up, I never felt people were wrong when they called me a woman, but it felt like a label imposed on me rather than one that fit. Then, in college, I learned about non-binary identity, and that did fit. Sure, I have likes and dislikes that some might label “feminine” or “masculine,” but I don’t feel any need to label them that way. The gender binary has made me feel pigeonholed, and I don’t want to identify with it.

Feminists have long rejected the concept of gender, defining it as oppressive sex-role stereotyping and maintaining the goal of abolishing the gender caste system. Rather than rejecting gender, the writer in Teen Vogue seems to have bought into it entirely, believing that she must not be a woman simply because she does not fully meet the expectations of womanhood.

I mourn for these women who have disowned their womanhood, choosing to run and hide from the oppression of their gender rather than boldly reject its power over their selfhood. To have so much pain, misogyny, and fear inside of you is to live in a constant state of unsettledness, never feeling safe or comfortable. In our last days together, I tried to show them a feminism that rejects gender rather than embraces its lies — but since I am “female” and they are “not” I could not possibly understand their pain. They said I was hateful.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Women and girls should be able to live in a world free from gender and all forms of patriarchy and male violence. We should be allowed to be women and be complex, creative, and whole. We should not have to reject our biological reality in favor of magical thinking in order to cope with the world in which we live.

The whole piece is like that – eminently reasonable, and not hostile or cruel.

But there’s a punchline.

Update: I’ve been fired from my unrelated job for writing this piece.

I Googled her and it appears to have been a software engineering job she was booted from. Why? Why on earth? Why why why?

There are quite a few comments and the dissenting ones are startlingly venomous. Maybe a bunch of venomous people put their heads together and decided to see if they could get her fired.

Feminist woman fired for writing that women don’t have to claim to be neither women nor men in order to resist the stupid gender norms that keep us subordinate. That’s some headline.

3 Responses to “The four of them dreamt of what a feminist world could look like”