The idea of innate gender is the foundation of patriarchy

The comments on that post by Glosswitch are gold.

Like this one by Glosswitch:

You’re not listening. I’m saying I don’t identify with my assigned gender but this is not the same as identifying with another gender. Why is that so hard to understand? I’d have thought it was pretty fucking obvious. I have been forced into a gender I don’t identify with. So have most women who get dismissed as cis. It doesn’t mean we’re not women. If you’re fine with the cis definition – if you identify with the construct of inferiority bestowed on you at birth – then guess what? You’re really privileged, despite what you might feel about how you look. So as a privileged person, be quiet and listen to how others experience this.

One by channel light etc:

as GW suggests in her comments the issue is exactly this idea of ‘identifying with our gender’. We don’t. And to frame the issue in this is way is experienced as an erasure by non-trans women, who are then told that they can’t talk about this erasure because they are privileged by virtue of not being trans. No-one is denying that trans women’s struggle with their gender is very difficult for them. What we are asking for is a way of articulating this which doesn’t involve a terminology and a definition of that terminology, which relies on positing a mirror image of non-trans women’s experience as ‘not difficult’ – and moreover, doesn’t require us to accept a reified or essentialised concept of gender which we oppose.

And moreover, we are always being told that trans women have a right to define their relationship to gender themselves. That is true. But by invoking and defining cis in a certain way – they are also defining *our* relationship to gender. And we do not accept that non-trans women do not have right to draw boundaries about how they determine themselves.

It may be the case that we will have to arrive at an understanding of how we relate to gender which is different for each type of woman. I think that’s okay. It’s not necessary or just, and it’s very damaging for gender non-conforming non-trans women, to be forced to accept an account which is foisted on them to meet the needs of one set of women at the expense of others.

One by Rebecca R-C:

The level of body hatred that Glosswitch describes here is actually remarkably common. If you have managed to avoid it, then congratulations! But many, many women don’t. They aren’t especially feeble-minded or psychologically deviant. To suggest they are is to pathologise women’s minds, just as we pathologise their bodies, telling them the problem is always with them. “Hey, all you millions of women with low self-esteem and poor body-image! All you millions of women with eating disorders! There’s nothing wrong with our cultural norms about women’s appearance – you are just particularly psychologically disturbed!” It’s just another way of silencing women, by making them feel shame and humiliation at their normal, natural response to a set of oppressive social norms, and making them feel isolated and alone, so they don’t try to change it.

Another by channel light etc:

The idea that we’ve never needed the idea of innate gender before is possibly one of the most mind-blowingly ahistorical suggestions I have ever heard. The idea of innate gender has been and still is the foundation of patriarchy. It is the operative idea of the oppression of women. To think that’s it’s radical and edgy is to rewrite history into an account which corresponds most closely to an MRA paranoid fantasy about feminist gynocracy, as if feminism represents some kind of hegemony, and is the thing which is most responsible for the struggles of trans women. And this indeed, is exactly how TAs not infrequently behave (in for example the repeated – absurd – suggestion that gender critical feminism is in some way responsible for the men’s patriarchal violence against trans women).

Innate gender is deeply deeply conservative. We need to be able to at least talk about the fact that people are demanding we accept it.

That. That is why we are arguing. It’s not because transphobia or erasure or exclusion. It’s because this idea that gender is innate is deeply conservative. It’s because this forgetting that gender is a hierarchy is deeply conservative.

One more from Glosswitch. It’s quite wrenching, so prepare for that.

I honestly think if we took how cis women hate their bodies – and are told to hate their bodies, every single day – as seriously we we took gender dysphoria, we’d want to tear the whole world to pieces. Just because it’s seen as “normal” doesn’t make it any less deadly. I think there is a belief that the low-level “you don’t have the right body for a woman, you don’t look right, you need to change” message cis women hear all the time is a form of misogyny lite that doesn’t do harm on any deep, meaningful level, even if women are getting themselves sliced and diced and starving themselves to death. I don’t think you can tell from how a woman presents herself how much shit she has gone through to appear that way, or why, or the cultural pressures that surround her as an individual, or the abuse she’s suffered as a woman. You can only judge by what we can all see, which are the external pressures themselves, and I think we downplay them hugely because hey, it’s just cis women, those vain, frivolous, fluffy creatures, right?

Also Glosswitch:

I think the conclusion I am coming to is quite simple: no one has the right to impose a gender identity on another person. If an AFAB woman does not feel she has an innate gender identity – if she believes gender to be a construct – then it is wholly against this principle to demand she identify as cis, in the same way it would be wholly against this principle to tell a trans woman or man that they couldn’t identify as transgendered. If gender was not a cause of so much pain – and if our society was not utterly obsessed with a divisive gender binary – perhaps we’d be shrugging our shoulders and all agreeing this was fine. But right now AFAB non-cis women are being asked to compensate trans women for the pain they suffer by giving up their own right to self-definition and acting as a foil to authenticate trans identities. This is not fair and it doesn’t address transphobia in any way.

Neither trans nor cis. Thank you for your time.

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