Identity is wrapping paper

Eliza Mondegreen has a brilliant piece on Chase Strangio at The Glinner Update:

We’re supposed to pretend everything we know about sex is wrong: that legislatures never knew just who they targeted when they denied women the vote. That pimps and johns never knew whose bodies they sold. That the reproductive potential of child brides is pure guesswork. That the burdens of human reproduction settle, if not evenly, then at least mysteriously across the population.

Can be interesting as a thought experiment. As an alternative reality, it’s a train crash. The tottering of Roe makes that all too obvious.

We can argue about whether it makes sense to reorganize society on the basis of individuals’ personal identification with gender stereotypes, but whether we recognize sex or not, whether we name it or not, whether we like it or not, sex will continue to matter. Half the human race bears the burden of human reproduction. That means that these people—even if the language that keeps these people together dissolves in an acid bath of ideology—share experiences, needs, and interests. We used to call these people ‘women’ and the feminist movement used to center these very issues. Now mainstream ‘feminism’ has become a mixed-sex movement that prioritizes male identity claims over female realities, while self-identified feminists attempt to defend women’s most basic rights to determine the shape of our own lives by reducing us to “birthing bodies,” to reproductive functions and services. As if treating women like walking wombs isn’t what got us here in the first place.

Stop pretending some inner sense of identity matters here. Only some people believe they have an inner sense of gender identity but everyone—including every woman and girl who has ever lost her life in pursuit of an abortion—has an inner sense of who they are: what matters to them, what they want from life, what they have to offer the world. The point is that—when it comes to abortion and whether it’s safe and accessible and legal or not—identity is wrapping paper. Help us rebuild a feminism that cares about what’s inside the box. You’re keen to specify how the rest of us should talk about you—but I’m more interested in how we talk about us, in the first-person plural. How do we advocate for what we uniquely—and, yes, exclusively—share and why it matters?

Women who refuse to play your game of make-believe when our most basic rights are at stake are not asking you to pretend you don’t exist—much less wishing you didn’t exist at all—so cut the hyperbolics. We’re asking you to put the toys away. We’re saying it’s dangerous to pretend not to know what everybody on earth knows: mullahs, pimps, Supreme Court justices, legislators with trigger laws in their back pockets, abortion vigilantes. As our political opponents know full well, successful organizing requires clear-sightedness and clear speech. We can’t afford any more pretending.

This article was first posted on Writing Behavior by Eliza Mondegreen.

H/t Sackbut