Right, thats it. Im stepping into the ring. Time for a blog post outlining my views on the transgender/transactivist movement.
Those of you that follow me on Twitter @OliveOylNW will have noticed that I do get a tad political over there, and you would have also noticed I am a great big feminist.
So I read my latest copy of Just 4 Her Magazine -this magazine is aimed at the ladeez of all those military folk. In this issue there is an article titled “Gender Fluidity”. I tried to read it with an open mind, with my milennial, liberal, scientist, psychologist hat on. And I got just a tad wound up.
Firstly, let discuss what it means to be masculine or feminine. According to the article, the authors friend, a male would go “bare faced” when he felt more masculine and “on days when he felt more feminine he would apply a flick of eyeliner”. Good for him. Couldnt care less.
I read the above, whilst sitting in my dining room with my coffee- shock horrow- BARE FACED. I had no idea this meant I was being masculine. I take umbridge with this.
I am a feminine fucking flower whether I have a full face of slap on or not.
Next point that pissed me off- parents that choose to dress “their girls in blue or yellow” are NOT being “gender diverse”. What a load of tosh. Same goes for the “non gender specific toys” they mention. Utter utter bollocks.
There is no such thing as gender specific toys. There is no such thing as gender specific colours. Kids can play with whatever they want because they are toys. People can wear whatever colour they want because they are colours.
This is not gender diversity. It is abolishing sex based stereotypes and its a good thing.
Children have sex based differences, but they dont have inherent gender based differences. They are not born with a preference for pink or blue or hammers and prams.
Gender preferences are social constructs. That means that society is built and has evolved in such a way that means that sex stereotypes are still being perpetuated. THAT is why we see more boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls. (Although thats a load of crap really when you think about it, as women drive cars and men become fathers).
It is SOCIETY that perpetuates gender stereotypes. Not some intrinsic internal child knowledge of what is a “girls toy” or a “boys toy”. It is the adult around them that reinforce gender roles, not the children. Us adults have a responsibility to them to teach them that all this girl stuff boy stuff is a load of crap and they can wear and play what they want because its their fucking childhood for fucks sake.
Moving on. I literally cannot bend my Master Degree level educated woman brain around the next bit of the article, apparently young people (not us oldies) are “embracing the gender diverse nature of their emotions”.
What. Just, what. I cant. I dont get it. <breathe Olive>
Do males and females have some kind of separate list or range of emotions??? I obviously didnt get the memo at birth. My bad. I also forgot to let my two daughters know that there is a prescribed emotional repetoire they must not deviate from unless they are actually boys. In which case they need to consult the Menz List.
It is utter shite like this that has lead to boys feeling unable to express their feelings and may contribute to the higher rate of suicide amongst young men. Because they cant access the feminine list of emotions. I would laugh if it wasnt so scary.
EMOTIONS ARE NOT DEFINED BY SEX OR GENDER.
Luckily, over half way through the article there is one point I do agree with. “Gender is not defined by biology”. Bravo! Good work!- It isnt!
Biological sex- by that I mean male/female- IS defined by our biology. Gender on the other hand is merely a social construct that varies dependent on culture, time and social norms.
Gender CANNNOT and does not change someones SEX.
The article references Mermaids UK. For those not in the know Mermaids is a transgender support charity for “gender diverse and transgender children”. Children. Children. Mermaids go into schools and talk to children, who are cognitively vulnerable compared to adults, and educate them about being transgender. And probably confuse the hell out of a lot of them.
Imagine boys who like pink- suddenly, instead of being a boy that likes pink- he may now begin to question his gender identity. Instead of questionning why society thinks that certain colours are for certain sexes. Instead of challening gender stereotypes he buys into the thought process that certain behaviours are for men and some for women. Deviate form this and you must be trangender. Not just a boy that likes pink.
Heaven forfend that a boy should like pink. Or a girl wants to play football. *Barf*.
Can’t people see that this is MASSIVELY reinforcing gender stereotypes??? Leave the kids alone with all the toys and all the colours and all the sports!!! They are children! Concerns about sexuality have NO PLACE in a childs mind.
Gah, sorry for the rant but that shit really boils my piss.
Almost there Olive. Keep going.
Lets talk about the latest buzzword being hefted on people. “Cisgender”. Being cisgender basically means a person who’s biological body matches up to their “gender identity”.
I find the term very offensive. I am NOT “cisgender”. I am a woman. If I choose to become a mechanic, grow my body hair or pee standing up (messy but do-able), I am STILL a woman. I wont be forced into some box that reinforces the idea that there are distinct male and female behaviours that are incompatible with my biological sex.
I vehemently disagree that (as the article states) you can “pick and change what bits of each sex work for you”. You just cant. Chop off my boobs, im still a woman. Have a hysterectomy. You’re STILL a woman. Shave my head head and yes, you’ve guessed it, still a woman. Because, well, science.
You can pick and choose whether to wear pink or blue, wear makeup or not, grow body hair or not. Fine. Totes fine. You can even lop off your penis or have one made for you. Doesn’t mean you or I can change our biological make up.
Men and women can behave in ways that dont conform to gender stereotypes and thats ok. Thats how stereotypes change over time.
Time for the stuff thats going to get me a kicking on Twitter. Yet im doing it anyway.
Transgender people can never truely experience the opposite sex experience. Nature and nurture are unable to be separated. They are undeniabley linked. This whole issue cannot be looked at in a bubble. Boys are socialised into X stereotype, girls are socialised into Y stereotype. We can work against it, and it will and does change over time (holla 1950’s anyone?). Boys who grow up to be transwomen have still grown up in a society of male privieledge, “boys” games, “big boys dont cry” etc. Girls who grow up to be transmen have not shared this male experience. Girls will have experienced everyday sexism, witnessed the wage gap, the glass ceiling, the sexual objectification of women.
All because of their biological sex. SEX MATTERS. Sexism does happen, against both sexes. Lets not stick our heads in the sand. Its a real problem and it is happening every day in tiny little ways.
Transwomen (biological males) will never fully understand things that women have gone through since birth. Being given dolls to play with, being called bossy when they are being assertive,the fear of walking home alone, behaving sexually because you’ll be called tight if you dont. Being called a slag if you do. They wont know how degrading and scary it was at the age of 13 to be whilstled and beeped at by men in a van. How you try to make the rustle of a sanitary towel as quiet a possible in the loos at school. And how it feels to have every academic and sporting achievement overshadowed by how “pretty” we may or may not look. Since infancy.
As I said, you cant look at the gender fluidity or transgender movement in a bubble. Context is key to all of this. We live in a world where the overwhelming majority of violence and sexual violence is carried out by biological males.
The proposed changes to the Gender Reform Act (GRA) mean that anyone can identify as any sex. Just on a whim. Call me cycnical but I am pretty sure this would be expoited by abusive, predatory biological males, posing as transwomen. I am NOT saying that transwomen are a threat to anyone. Im saying that if any old perve from down the pub can tell the world hes a woman this will be exploited by some sickos. Not by actual transgender people.
If the proposed changes go through then biological males who identify as women will be able to access changing rooms, toilets, religious spaces, sporting events, domestic abuse refuges, perform body searches etc etc where there will be women (and probably children). As my mum says they will “ruin it for the rest of us”. For true trangender people and for vulnerable women, people with certain religious beliefs that require women only spaces and for children.
Transgender people are not required to have a sex change in order to identify as the opposite sex. Infact most transgender people keep their biological genitalia intact and only a small percentage have a full sex change. So thats not an indicator that can be used to sort the real transgender people from others who may seek to exploit these liberal and (on paper) progressive proposals of the GRA.
I think the GRA proposed changes will dilute the transgender voice and the voice of women. I think more discussion needs to be had before these changes come into place.
The real problem here is that gender stereotypes are not being dismantled, they are being upheld and maintained. Because they serve the patriarchy we live in. This is a huge threat to our childrens mental health and to achieving equality accross the sexes.
Right, im off my soap box now.
Please read up on all this if its sparked any questions.
If you are concerned about an imbalance of information being delivered about gender identity in schools then transgender trend provide information for parents for children that are questionning their identity.
In addition I urge you to look at Womans Place UK they run talks about the proposed GRA changes and the impact they will have on women and childrens ability to access safe spaces. Ive been to one of their talks and it was ace- theres some hate out there from transactivists about them but they are peaceful and measured in their debate.
Also the Mumsnet Feminist Board has facts and stats about all the above and is one of the only places left on the internet where concerns about all this stuff can be discussed in relative safety. Join the discussion!
Well, time to post the blog- lets see how this goes down *ducks for cover*.
Muchos love, Olive x