Guest post: Unilaterally redefining “feminist” 

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on A substantial cohort of self-identified feminists.

For the first time in over thirty years, it makes sense to me to reconsider what feminism means.

Well, that says more about you and what you think “makes sense” than it does about feminism.

Trans people have been illuminating sex and gender in new and insightful ways.

And right here, we have something that makes no sense. Trans people (can we have a definition, please?) are mostly saying that the physical, material, biological basis for the oppression of women means fuck all, and can be “identified” into and out of willy nilly. Men can become women, and women can become men. While certainly “new,” it’s not so much an “illuminating insight” into the meaning of feminism as its complete negation. This is at the heart of “feminism is for everyone.” Game over, case closed, turn out the lights when you shut the door.

…a substantial cohort of self-identified feminists have opposed trans peoples’ existence as trans.

The implication being that these “self-identified feminists” aren’t really feminists at all. Yet being a feminist only requires that a woman espouses and upholds a particular set of beliefs and principles grounded on the idea and goal of the liberation of females from patriarchal oppression. You’re attempting to deny that they are feminists by unilaterally redefining what the word “feminist” means. Well congratulations; you’re making their point for them, as men who claim to be “self-identifed” women can only be so by redefining what the word “woman” means.

Unlike feminism, which any woman can claim as her own, there are no beliefs or principles that a man can hold which will make him a woman. He might as well (and with as much success) claim to become invisible through sheer force of will. A man can no more identify into being female than he can identify out of maleness. Maleness is a life sentence into which one is born, a condition as ineluctable as being made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons of ordinary matter. One is no more “assigned” maleness than one is “assigned” one’s molecular structure. That’s not how these things work, and to pretend otherwise is delusional. This is the “illuminating, insightful” view of sex and gender that trans people have to offer? It is a narcissistic fantasy. Utter bullshit. To defend such a nonsensical view and enforce others’ adherence to it is wicked and harmful.

Because the material state of reality is forever out of reach, trans identified males have nothing but the costume, cosmetics, and mannerisms of patriarchal “femininity” to proclaim as the essence of “womanhood.” They’re like the brutalized rhesus monkeys clinging to the ersatz terrycloth covered wire “mothers” for some semblance of comfort, and god help anyone who tries to explain that their wardrobe and comportment do not make them “women.” If they weren’t so bloody-minded and bullying in their demands for access to female single-sex spaces, one might almost feel sorry for them.

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