Now we don’t even get to be the default woman

Another blasphemer: Penny White at Feminist Current on why she no longer hates “TERFs”:

Women are socialized to be caretakers. We learn to put everyone else’s needs before our own and, likewise, we are socialized to believe that everyone else’s oppression is more important than ours — especially the oppression of biological males. The oppression of men of colour by whites, for example, has always been taken more seriously than the oppression of women of colour. Police violence against women of colour receives far less coverage than police violence against men of colour.

Recently Caitlin Jenner was honoured at Glamour’s “Woman of the Year” awards, but Chaz Bono has yet to be nominated as “Man of the Year” by his brothers. The closest he got was a “Person of the Year” award at LA’s gay pride festival. I can only imagine how enthusiastically men would embrace an Esquire or GQ cover proclaiming Chaz Bono “Man of the Year…”

Yet Caitlin Jenner, a conservative Republican and deadbeat dad, who used to hang out at the Playboy Mansion and who can’t even be bothered to support gay marriage (because it’s not “traditional”), is championed by women. We celebrate her even though she supports a political party that seeks to systematically eliminate the reproductive rights of women. Because Jenner is transgender, she’s understood to be a member of an oppressed group (despite her wealth and whiteness). We must consider her feelings and needs above our own because that’s what women are socialized to do. Is it impossible to understand why some women might be angry about this?

She’s a member of an oppressed group who has a show about her on cable tv. Some oppression.

Females have never been the “default” human — that honor has always gone to males. And now we don’t even get to be the default woman.

That is a great line.

We are now labeled non-trans or “cis” women. Some trans activists are even claiming it is “cissexist” or “transmisogynist” just to refer to pregnant women aswomen. The Midwives Association of North America (MANA) will no longer use the term “pregnant woman” because they have been informed this is transphobic. Instead, they will use the term “pregnant person,” because it is now considered bigoted to imply a direct connection between women and pregnancy. So “womanhood” has been erased from the language of midwives in order to protect the feelings of a tiny percentage of the trans community.

But, we’re told, that’s not erasing women, it’s just including others (and doing so by not mentioning women).

Is it really so unreasonable that many women are offended by their own erasure? What equivalent erasure are men asked to accept in deference to the trans or queer community’s feelings? I can’t think of a single one.

When women of all ethnicities, abilities, and classes are referred to as “privileged” in relation to transwomen — even transwomen who are white and middle or upper class — it feels to many of us as though we are being erased, that the systemic oppression of women, based on sex, is being erased, and that still the default human is someone else. Is that concern really so hateful? So evil? So beyond understanding or empathy?

Many liberal feminists and trans activists say yes. Even in the women’s rights movement, women’s oppression must never be centered.

And if feminists don’t, nobody else is going to.

67 Responses to “Now we don’t even get to be the default woman”