The war on cis women

Another scorching exposé of those selfish bitches who support women who have survived sexual violence when they should be supporting trans women instead:

It was at the tail end of 2017 when Cora*, a frontline worker for a south London organisation supporting women who have survived sexual violence, realised that undercurrents of transmisogyny had become a new precedent for her workplace. 

“I just remember there being far more comments like ‘Yeah we only support real women’,” Cora says. 

How dare they!!! How dare they support women who have survived sexual violence instead of men who have a fantasy that they are women? Have you ever heard of anything so selfish?

Both visibility and hostility were on the rise for trans people in the UK thanks to proposed reform to the Gender Recognition Act. As a result, many junior workers were attempting to ensure inclusivity for trans survivors. But senior staff, made up of cis women, responded by shutting down the conversation altogether. 

Don’t you just hate senior women who are also cis? Hate hate hate. There is no one worse.

Cora remembers one member of the counselling department declaring that it was “unsafe” for cis survivors using the centre’s services to have people in the building who had not fully medically transitioned. She was challenged by Cora and her colleagues, who explained that this transmisogyny went against the fundamental principles of sexual violence workers: that you must believe survivors.

Brave brave Cora and her colleagues. Evil evil evil member of the counselling department. Her name is Karen, right?

When Cora and her colleague refuted transmisogynistic claims, the goalposts shifted. Senior staff instead claimed they weren’t equipped to work with trans women because they wouldn’t “understand” their experience with sexual violence. Tellingly, one staff member who used such a defence said they would feel comfortable supporting trans men who had “experienced violence as women” – revealing that they didn’t recognise trans men as men. 

“There is a real focus on the penis,” Cora says.

So irrational, isn’t it, to think a penis=male?

But where does the antagonism towards trans people in the VAWG sector come from? Academic Alison Phipps, professor of gender studies at the University of Sussex, links it to “political whiteness”. Transmisogyny in the UK is focused on violence against white, cis women and “lasers in” on the male body as the source of that violence, Phipps explains. “There’s a lot of straight, [white], privileged [cis] women involved. Whiteness has a lot to do with it. Whiteness and class privilege.”

Yup yup yup, they’re all Karens; I told you so. Saying that men are not women is so racist and so white. So unlike Alison Phipps.

Weaponising woundedness against marginalised groups has always been a core component of white womanhood and political whiteness, adds Phipps. “It’s Carolyn Bryant [Emmett Till’s accuser] all over again,” she says. “[Trans-exclusionary feminism] is grounded in fear and, in some cases, a hatred of the Other and a deep need for protection.”

It’s not Carolyn Bryant all over again or the first time or ever, and refusing to agree that men are women is nothing whatever to do with Emmett Till – it’s revolting to use him that way.

Phipps believes many transphobic, white radical feminists also think that acknowledging their own privileges compared to the likes of trans women is tantamount to erasing their traumatic experiences. “It’s as if they think ‘if you tell us we’re privileged because we’re cis, that means we haven’t been raped or haven’t experienced these awful things’,” she observes. “Well of course you have and that’s awful and it’s because of your gender. But that doesn’t mean you don’t also have race and class and cis privileges.” 

There’s no such thing as “cis privilege,” and it’s wildly insulting to tell women that we have it. Phipps is maddeningly gullible and thought-free.

In the VAWG sector in particular, Phipps says there is the feeling of “living in the past”, with particular aping of the 1970s women’s liberation movement. It’s a notable reference point for trans-exclusionary feminists, many of whom experienced the movement as young women. But they’ve created a warped pastiche that erases contemporary critiques of white radical feminism that were made at the time, says Phipps.

In other words they’re witches; burn them.

Maybe feminism is just plain doomed, eternally doomed, because of shit like this – because of the New generation of So Much Hipper women who fall all over themselves in their hurry to flatter and pamper men.

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