When it comes to hate crimes against (trans-)people there can be no doubt; violence, other than in cases of self-defense, can’t be justified. It doesn’t matter what another person says to you or however much you don’t agree with them, you have no right to assault them. I doubt there has ever been any confusion about that on either side of the debate. I have yet to meet the radical feminist who will call for violence against trans-people, though I am more than happy to call for violence against those men that have physically assaulted women. I am not above revenge or sticking up for my sisters.
However, as a radical feminist, I find it impossible to accept, either chemical or surgically, castrated or sterilized men as women. It is one of the worst stereotypes the patriarchy throws at us women. There is still the solid foundation of considering women as “just lesser men” on which the whole of the patriarchy is built. As a result we women are paid less, get harassed and assaulted and murdered, are denied access to much required healthcare, such as abortions and treatment for heart conditions in many areas in the world. Women do 99% of the world’s labor for a measly 1% of the world’s resources. We are treated as cattle, especially in the sex industry, and it is therefore not surprising that we are often compared to barnyard animals. We are denied work or are paid less for it than a man. (Just today I heard from another female classmate who was turned away from a shipping company with as reason “We don’t hire women”. Yes, they literally told her that.)
The patriarchy has also constructed this fine notion of the “the ideal woman”, which is very different from your average, every day “real woman”. The ideal woman is almost entirely based on appearance, though some character traits are desired such as quietness, pliability and a desire to make sure everyone else has a good time. In short the perfect, unproblematic nurturer who has no needs of her own. However, these traits are not as nearly as important as a woman’s looks.
Many women have their fat tissue distributed differently throughout their bodies than men do, which makes us to a degree more adept at surviving extreme conditions, such as bouts of hunger and certain rougher climates. However , because this is different from men and men are considered the default, the norm and the superior of the sexes makes this deviance a big problem. The solution: Make women look as small as possible, as to hide those undesirable, deviant fat deposits, even when a woman hardly has any. Because the patriarchy claims that as the “inferior sex” women also all posses the exact same deviant characteristics. This can be accomplished by “voluntary” starvation or by surgery. The preferred method is starvation, because this ties into the a less important, but also preferred personality trait, however any length a woman goes to make herself smaller gets a huge applause, especially when she “succeeds”.
What else is important? Well, women have those pesky boobs (stick with me I am going somewhere with this), but as primary nurturers they do serve a purpose, so what can the patriarchy do about those? Well, they can fetishize them and demand women hide the “indecency of their deviancy”. It’s true, while it is perfectly acceptable for men to show their breasts, though smaller, they are virtually the same body part that women have, but the shape and size, where it differs from men, must be made a problem. The fetishization of women’s breasts over the past centuries has worked so well, that they have since become objects of lust and not necessarily seen as something bad anymore. In fact, because western men have become obsessed with women’s breasts as objects for their pleasure the patriarchy has added another layer of deviancy to women’s breasts and that is that the small breasts or certain shape of breasts, that differ from “the ideal”, are now considered to be undesirable. Only one type of women’s breasts is now deemed acceptable and that is the round, perky and preferably larger breast. Yet again the problematic truth of all women being different comes into play and surgery is again “offered” (sometimes aggressively pushed) as a solution to “fix” that extra layer of deviancy.
When it comes to women’s appearance you can go on and on and on. I haven’t even talked about surgery for faces or what, besides surgery, is further required of women to make their appearance “acceptable” to the patriarchy. Suffice to say is that much of women’s upbringing and the media targeted at them is focused on getting women to strive for the unattainable ideal. The ideal is purposely made unattainable by every means possible, so that no woman can actually embody it, despite what ladies magazines keep telling people. No amount of surgery, make-up, dieting and exercising will make any woman look like the images they see on covers of magazines, because those women don’t exist in the first place. The women that posed for the pictures are merely the template for the final image.
Literally an endless supply of money and effort is made to keep women focused on “improving” their looks. Women are throughout their lives encouraged to spend as much money, time and health they can spare (preferably even more) on striving to look just like the ideal. Why? Because when women focus on their appearance they won’t focus that much on rising up the corporate ladder or gaining influence in politics, where they can influence the lives of others including that of men. Since we live in a patriarchy a woman with power over men is considered the most undesirable thing of all. Women who do attain a certain amount of power within world politics are even more harshly judged on their looks, even to the point where they get held back, are fired or are even shot. If a woman is to both politically and physically survive the scene of (world)politics and rise in power the only thing she can do is be conservative and help the men back the patriarchy by making it very difficult, if not impossible, for other women to follow in her footsteps.
To maintain a patriarchy doctors are willing to go so far as to frankstein the ideal woman together. To achieve this they will graft the “right” body parts onto someone born either female or male, but by the gods they are, they will achieve in creating the perfect female specimen. The younger their targets, the better. Children don’t ask as many questions and even concerned parents will at best be torn between the physical health of their children and their ability to fit into society, so plastic surgery and sex -reassignment surgery are often aimed at the youngest clients of the bunch. Even when a doctor can’t yet perform the surgery due to age, he has assured the industry a future client. Many plastic surgeons are extremely predatory. In the United States anyone with a medical degree is allowed to perform plastic surgery and they even hold plastic surgery parties to make surgical procedures seem fast, fun and easy. I can tell you from experience that any kind of surgery is painful, invasive and forever changes a part of you and with me is was just a broken elbow. It’s been almost three years since I broke it and it still hurts from time to time and the elbow has never been the same. It also did not stop swelling until they took the metal pins out holding the elbow in place. I do believe the surgeons did a great job fixing it and any doctor that has seen it was impressed. Still, I will never go under the knife again, unless it’s strictly necessary. Surgery is dangerous and it fucking hurts, people.
In either case, what is considered the female gender is entirely artificial. It is a bunch of stereotypes that the patriarchy has designed and created and is pushing onto women on a daily basis, while making fun of any woman who caves to the pressure and performs the gender she was assigned at birth due to the fact that the patriarchy tries it’s very best to make sure she never tries to grab any power, even for herself. We now come to the transgender phenomenon. I don’t think that any radical feminist will disagree with me when I state that women never choice those expressions of gender for themselves and that they are all inventions made and endorsed by men and heavily pushed onto women who may have chosen something entirely if they had not lived a lifetime of conditioning from the moment the doctor exclaimed “It’s a girl!”
Yet, the whole of western society considers these artifacts and appearances essential and defining features of womanhood, hence if a man “feels like a woman”, all he needs to do is adopt the stereotypes and voila! He is now a woman, expressing his female gender. Except for the fact that we feminists already know that gender is bullshit. It is the main tool of the patriarchy to keep women down. For a man to “perform femininity” is basically the same thing as for a white person to take the worst of stereotypes aimed at people from African decent and “perform the black race”. This is a phenomenon known as “black face”. These stereotypes don’t define black people anymore than femininity defines women. This is the reason I feel offended when men perform the stereotypes and say stuff to women such as “Look! I am a woman” and expect me to validate this artificial identity or I can face a whole lot of verbal abuse from them and their entourage. There is no such thing as “feeling like a woman.” It’s a myth, a patriarchal tool to keep women from reaching their full potential and it works. Many women do believe they are better mothers than scientists and as such will not try, even if they are interested in working in scientific fields. Women do not belief themselves to be good leaders, because they are women and will not try to go into politics, will not try to create a career for themselves and become self-sufficient. This brainwashing is incredibly powerful and ripples as continuous waves throughout the world, from generation to generation, and despite several hundred years of recorded women’s movement and two recorded feminist waves leaves the patriarchy firmly intact. The only thing that has changed is the methods by which women are kept down, but gender, however it is defined, has always been at the heart of it.
In this post I have mostly talked about men performing femininity. I can understand that women would like to acquire as much privilege as men are born with and that they perform masculinity as a means to attain it, I am however not sympathetic when their gender performance also consists of stomping on other women and acting superior. I don’t believe men are superior to women and that applies to women performing masculinity as well.
Another thing that greatly irks me about men performing the feminine gender is that their actions skew statistics in what women are or are not involved in and how they are discriminated against. Performing gender or not, men will want their privilege always and I can’t blame them. I want my privilege too. However while women are still pushed under the bus regarding workplace equality, men performing femininity have their workplace equality better and better protected under the law. This again leads people to think that women are less discriminated against while the reality for born women is precisely the opposite.
I am also less than pleased that men performing femininity are also demanding access to women’s resources and spaces. People, this has got nothing to do with keeping men out and everything to do with the fact that patriarchy does not allow women the same opportunities and space that it will allow men in the public sphere, so women created their own spheres to have some opportunities and spaces where they can be themselves without fear or attack, harassment or different standards. If we didn’t have a patriarchy there would be no need for female-only spaces. You men created the patriarchy, you are benefitting from it and keeping it alive. You are forcing us to hide and segregate so we can have at least a small semblance of a life, cause contrary to the stereotypes, we women do have personal needs. Until you men take down the patriarchy, this is the way it’s going to be. Women will need access to women-only spaces and you being shut out is your own damn fault.