It’s about the way the world treats us

Uh oh. Uh oh uh oh. A woman said a wrong thing, again. A feminist woman. A feminist woman who is an author and widely respected. Uh oh uh oh uh oh; everybody get ready to throw things.

Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has found herself at the center of a controversy over gender identity after comments she made about transgender women during an interview, which can be viewed in the clip above, recently went viral.

I like that “has found herself” – it’s so passive-aggressive.

Speaking earlier this week with the U.K.’s Channel 4, Adichie, who is promoting her new book Dear Ijeawele Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, said, “When people talk about, ‘Are trans women women?’ my feeling is trans women are trans women.”

Her argument appears to stem from her idea that because many trans women have been assigned and raised male from birth until whatever point they decided to transition, she believes the male privilege they may have received fundamentally sets their experiences apart from those of cisgender women.

Silly silly woman, right? To have an “idea” that people raised male from birth have the experience of being raised male from birth. Where would anyone get such a zany and wicked idea?

“I think the whole problem of gender in the world is about our experiences,” she said. “It’s not about how we wear our hair or whether we have a vagina or a penis. It’s about the way the world treats us, and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”

While she did also add that she supports transgender people’s existence, saying they should be “allowed to be,” she ultimately asserts that their experiences should not be “conflated” with women’s experiences.

Adichie, who is perhaps best known for her critically and commercially acclaimed book Americanah and a guest spot on Beyoncé’s track “Flawless,” was almost immediately called out on Twitter for her comments.

Of course she was. No woman can be allowed to talk like that without being “called out” on Twitter.

She wrote a post about it earlier today:

Of course trans women are part of feminism.

I do not believe that the experience of a trans woman is the same as that of a person born female. I do not believe that, say, a person who has lived in the world as a man for 30 years experiences gender in the same way as a person female since birth.

Gender matters because of socialization. And our socialization shapes how we occupy our space in the world.

To say this is not to exclude trans women from Feminism or to suggest that trans issues are not feminist issues or to diminish the violence they experience – a violence that is pure misogyny.

But simply to say that acknowledging differences and being supportive are not mutually exclusive. And that there is space in feminism for different experiences.

Crazy, huh?

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