Respect the Categories

I guess if all else fails just keep saying “but it’s written down somewhere, so it’s obviously true.”

Witness for instance Morgane Oger:

Where am I arguing there is a “female essence”? I am stating a fact: I am categorized as a human adult female (and it deeply bothers fools).

That’s a very silly, tricksy, childish kind of “fact.” It’s like saying “I am too so the Queen, it’s in writing!” when it’s in writing because you just wrote it down. Oger is “categorized as a human adult female” by whom and since when and for what reason?

Writing down some words doesn’t necessarily create a fact beyond the fact that those words were written down in that place.

And even when we go beyond silly tricks to talk about official or quasi-official documents, they are not necessarily infallible or accurate or reasonably founded either. Think of the many ways despised people have been “categorized” in the past, and the way some still are. Think of the category “Dalits” for instance, which used to be the category “untouchables.” Think of the category “slaves.” Think of “savages,” “serfs,” “UnAmerican activities.” Think, even, of the category “cray-cray.”

Oger again:

…just makes you cray-cray trans women are categorized female, donnit?

Leaving cray-cray aside, it’s just naïve to treat categories as truth-determining. I doubt that Oger is really that naïve in everyday life, but when it comes to defending the claim that men are women if they say they are, it’s time to become gormlessly credulous about the Reality of categories.

Jane Clare Jones has a fine response:

Trans activism in one tweet:

1. Yes we’re erasing and appropriating your sex

2. Yes we know you find this extremely distressing

3. Yes we’re going to try and make sure you can’t do anything about it

4. And then yes, we’re going to mock you and gloat about it.

I’m categorized as The Destroyer of Categories. How do I know? Well, look for yourself, it’s right there in writing.

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