What is: The problems with Gender Abolition

tonidorsay:

So a few people have been wondering why it is that I go after the idea of gender abolition.

There are many reasons, but the chief one is that it is used as a tool by people who do not actually care about it to attack, defame, and justify violence against trans people while seeming “decent” despite their hate speech.

Which will strike some folks as pretty sad, given that it is also many other really nasty things.

Nevertheless, Let’s look at these claims regarding gender abolition and why it is so wrong.

They are not trying to Abolish Gender

They aren’t. They admit it, as well, but they do not realize they are admitting it.

When confronted, what they mean when they say gender abolition is the abolition of Gender Roles (and sometimes Gender Behaviors and Gender Expressions). You have to wheedle this out of them, because they will describe these three distinct parts of gender as if they are all one thing.

They are not the same thing, nor are they one thing.  They are parts of gender, so what they really want to get rid of are parts of gender.

They do not want to get rid of the language issues. They do not want to get rid of the way we gender objects by declaring them male or female (the action of saying that something is “male” or “female” is an act of applying a gendered concept, and therefore using gender).

Now, the argument they will often use in defense of their statements is that they are arguing it from a feminist perspective. In this perspective, it explicitly excludes biological aspects — so referencing any sort of social construction relating to biology (such as saying that then only sex would be left) is in direct contravention to this idea, since the social constructions themselves are part of the social conventions and structures that are part of Gender.

I have already pointed out on several occasions that they do not understand what a social construct is, and that they do not understand what Gender is,so I won’t go into more depth on that at this time — unless I get a wild hair and decide to make another combo post.

But their not realizing that Gender is composed of multiple, distinct parts is part of the flaw int heir thinking, and is a holdover from a very ciscentric and limited way of thought that is influenced by their hostility towards trans people.

If you are going to Abolish Gender, you need to abolish all of it, otherwise, you are not going to achieve your goal, since all of these parts — language, “biology”, expressions, behaviors, etc —are all interdependent.

They treat it as an academic exercise without consequence

Inevitably, they use the phrasing and idea in order to gain credibility among their in-group, without consideration for what it really is.  When they do consider it, they apply it as a kind of mental exercise that is purely academic, without regards to the harm it would cause — their focus is on the outcome, and not the way they would achieve it.

The outcome they invariably arrive at is that the world would be a better place, so that the exercise really looks like this:

  • Say we will abolish gender.
  • ?
  • The world is better!

If you don’t believe me, ask them how they plan to achieve that stuff in the middle.

For them, this is little more than an academic exercise, not something they honestly expect to ever achieve, so it becomes strictly a rhetorical tool by which they further the oppression and harm of trans people.

Occasionally one of them will say that they would hope that people would see the benefit and change for the better peacefully — which is mighty naive and incredibly juvenile of them to think, akin to the way they often criticize pageant contestants and the “world peace” answer.

  • How would you convince them?
  • Are you going to use the culture you live in which has only the most superficial connections to their cultural ways of seeing gender?
  • How are you going to deal with cultures where gender is defined by what you do, instead of your anatomy?

and so forth.

In the end, this brings us to the next problem:

The idea is based on Western concepts of Gender

The arguments around the value and benefit of getting rid of gender all surround a couple of different aspects.  The most overtly hostile to trans people one is the one they use to make it seem like they are being supportive: without gender, you wouldn’t have to transition!

It sounds best if you say it in a breathy, child like voice.

But the more serious aspects of it are that it is based on western concepts of gender and the way that gender in western society is structured around genitals and secondary sex characteristics.

This classification of people is not a universal one for gender.  THere are some that classify someone’s gender entirely on what they do (the interests and activities they enjoy), and some do it using a blended form of both the physical and the activity.

By which I mean that they choices you are allowed later in your life through the socialization of you as a person into that culture are going to be based on what you enjoy, on your gentials (as they are in the US) or on a combination of both.

Western gender roles proceed from the designation, whereas other systems designate sex according to the gender roles.  It is the reverse, much like how most Americans find the Japanese system of house numbering to be incredibly confusing.

And all of which ignores that gender is a suppositional concept — it is based on the implication of genitalia, and signified in multiple ways that are entirely based on the cultural norms of that society.

Which means…

To achieve their goal, they must destroy other cultures

Getting back to that question mark, they seem to think that somehow this one thing will overcome all the other social aspects of differing culturals and varying identities, and magically change the world for the better.  Yet if you say to them they are engaging in magical thinking (literally) then they get defensive and deny it, and so you have to take them at face value if you are acting in good faith and that means they are willing to engage in the western notion of manifest destiny and righteous propriety and actively colonize and override and in the end force entire other groups of people who have very different ideas of gender and propriety and destroy those cultures.

If family is the building block of a society, then gender is the building block of family.  That is how deep it lies within a given culture — at the root, as they note and claim, and what that means is that in attacking it, the ripples throughout that culture and society will, ultimately, destroy it. 

It will no longer be the culture and society that it was.  There are real world parallels for this activity, most notably in the treatment of the indigenous populations of many different nations.  I live just off a main street named Indian School Road, and the connotations to me as a Lakota, and to the people here who are Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and more and who were stripped out of their homes in order to teach them a new way of thinking has had incredibly consequences on their cultures.

This is why the idea is racist, colonialist, imperialist, and white supremacist. It is especially anti-Black, anti-Asian and Pacific Islander, and Anti-Indigenous.

and that leads us to the next point, which, thankfully, is…

They cannot achieve their goal

The biggest issue is that gender is a social construct, and there has, in all of human history, never been an abolishment of a social construct. That is not to say that it isn’t possible, but it is meant to indicate that doing so is so unlikely and improbably as to be outside the range of thinking.

Social constructs can be diluted, changed, warped, altered, reduced in import, raised in import, and assorted other thing, but ending them, abolishing them, has never happened, nor is it likely to happen given the nature of human social systems and the depth within cultural systems at which gender systems exist.

So that is why gender abolition is a pile of manure being sold to the gullible and the uninformed.

image

bubonickitten:

randompandemonium:

soprie:

actionables:

hmm, yoga is kind of girly #nohomo
let’s rename it so it sounds manlier and make it just for the bros
for the bros only

WHY DO MEN NEED TO REBRAND EVERYTHING TOUCHED BY WOMEN?

SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR YOGURT AND SALAD AND DO YOUR YOGA

FOLLOW UP YOUR INTENSE BROGA SESSION WITH SOME BROGURT AND A BRAH-LAD

"meggings"

"guyliner"

axe has a thing called a “shower tool” which is basically a shower poof/loofah For Men(TM)

masculinity is so fragile. it’s like a baby bird, except not cute.

Laverne Cox inspired my 14-year old brother to ask what 'transgender' means. He had no problems grasping the concept, was more concerned about making sure if his body could/would have to birth a child

  • Me: some people are born girls but they have a penis or a mixture of sex organs so people decide they're boys, but if they grow up feeling like they're a girl, then they're a girl and they might call themself a transgender woman.
  • Him: So some girls have penises?
  • Me: Yeah. Some people have surgery to remove their penises and shape the skin into a vagina, some people don't.
  • Him: Can boys have vaginas?
  • Me: And uteruses and all sorts of stuff, yep. They might call themself a trans* man. Some people don't identify as boys or girls, or identify as both or something else entirely.
  • Him: Some people aren't boys or girls?
  • Me: Right
  • Him: So what are they?
  • Me: People have lots of different words, if someone sometimes feels like a boy and sometimes feels like a girl and sometimes feels like neither, they might identify as genderfluid. If somebody didn't feel like a boy or a girl they might say gender neutral or gender non-conforming. There are lots of words for gender and everybody can choose which ones fit them.
  • Him: Ok. I still feel like a boy.
  • Me: Ok. That's called cisgender, when the gender someone decided when you were a baby ends up being true to the gender you identify as.
  • Him: Has a boy with a uterus ever had a baby?
  • Me: Yes
  • Him: I don't have a uterus right?
  • Me: Not that I know of
  • Him: Ok because I don't want to push any babies out of my penis.
  • Me: You couldn't push a baby out of your penis anyway.
  • Him: Oh.

ramtops-witch said: The "comfortable with my gender" thing from cis people both amuses me and pisses me off. Like okay that's great and all cis people, but I'm TOTALLY comfortable with my gender, the problem is apparently YOU aren't.

punwitch:

Yeah like cis people don’t realize that many of us (if not most) are actually comfortable with our genders too? We’re just uncomfortable with bullshit like sex dimorphic theory because it helps create a society that wants us dead? Lmao

tonidorsay:

thetime-wastingprick:

the-bi-furious-whovian:

Gender is a social construct.

I think the term you’re looking for is gender identity.  Gender means sex, see below for that.

Patriarchy is a social construct.

Which doesn’t exist in most first world countries, correct.

Sex is a social construct.

The inherent differences seen in members of most species based on reproductive role are not, no.

Feminism is a social construct.

But of course.

Liberty is a social construct.

This is also technically true.

Childhood is a social construct.

Not quite.  Ideas associated with childhood may be social constructs, but traits of physical immaturity are not.

Liberty is a social construct.

Deja vu.

Marxism, socialism, capitalism, all are social constructs.

True, an economic policy kind of requires a society to adhere to or enforce it.  Although as an aside, the first is effectively one attempt at the second.

Man is a social construct.

Once again, not really.  Whether you’re describing man as the male of a species, or man as humanity at large, both exist independent of society.

Woman is a social construct.

Women, too, exist independent of society’s choice to recognize it.

Male is a social construct.

Female is a social construct.

See; sex.

Race is a social construct.

Yet again, only in the vaguest sense of the term ‘social construct.’  Even without society, visual and genetic differences between races exist.

Poverty is a social construct.

Depends entirely on the definition of poverty.  Relating to monetary wealth of society, yes, because economies rely on a society to function.  Relating to personal wealth, not necessarily.  A person can be poor regardless of society - poor in resources, poor in opportunity, emotional poverty.

Law is a social construct.

Potentially.

The act of identifying one of these things as a social construct means understanding that the rest of them are as well.

Not really, no.

Most people do not understand what social constructs are.

Read that again. Of the 7 billion people soon to stand on this earth, the vast, overwhelming majority do not know what they are.

Yourself included.

They also do not understand that to argue using social constructs means you cannot argue any form of essentialism, and remain honest.

Because that’s entirely your opinion.  Essentialism is not necessarily opposed to social constructionism.

Nor do they understand why that is so.

Probably because, objectively, it isn’t.

This has been a factual post.

Semantics aside, these facts are largely subjective and oftentimes outright nonfactual.  That is to say, not only are many of these facts wrong, some are outright opinions and don’t qualify as facts in the first place - right or wrong.

Incorrect.

Each and every thing on there is a social construct.  You are correct that gender identity is also a social construct.

Fortunately for both of us, you selected a most appropriate and accurate user name, as you are a prick, who is ignorant and incompetent and thinks that they understand something they do not.

We know this because you make several errors relating to social constructions throughout, including one that affects the source for social constructions, wherein you describe a concepts derived from an existentialist basis as not being oppositional to an essentialist based structure.

Enjoy trying to figure out why it is that I am being nice to you, you pathetic waster of time who is a dick. Perhaps you should be wasting less time and spending more learning just how wrong you are.

Things I learned from tumblr trans/jendaqueers

tonidorsay:

never-obey:

  1. Male and female are social constructs and don’t exist in reality. Sexual dimorphism is made up.
  2. Male and female are feelings
  3. You don’t need an uterus to have period cramps
  4. Gender is innate but exists in different forms in different cultures
  5. The sex is in the brain and not in the body.
  6. Identities can change your body immediately
  7. It’s bigoted when lesbians are not attracted to people with dicks (‘Cause feelings!1!)
  8. Don’t dare to exclude [insert genders] from your sexual attraction. It’s hateful, bigoted and erases [insert identities]
  9. You can be not attracted to [insert genders] but you have to examine why. Especially if you are a lesbian woman.
  10. There is no escape from the awesome glittery gender “spectrum”. Even is you say you abolish it  you are still stuck in the jendah prison.
  11. sex = gender

My followers can add moar wisdom

Well you certainly didn’t learn well if any of those lessons were from me.

  • 1. Male and female exist. They are, however, still social constructions. Sexual dimorphism is also a social construction.
  • 2. Male and female are constructs.
  • 3. You don’t need a uterus to have cramps that are caused by hormones.
  • 4. Gender, as a whole, is several parts combined. And does exist in different forms in different cultures, and that includes the different parts of it. 
  • 5. The brain is part of the body.
  • 6. Identity is a zero sum game.
  • 7. Bigotry is the stubborn refusal to adapt knowledge to new facts. So it can’t be bigoted to do this. It can be prejudiced, if the people with dicks are women.
  • 8. I wouldn’t say that.
  • 9. Excluding the second clause, this is about right. After all, if you are a racist and you find yourself attracted to a peson of color, it likely wouldn’t be healthy for either of you.
  • 10. I say if you think you can abolish gender, go for it. Human social systems indicate it is a lost cause, but you know, people said we wouldn’t ever walk on the moon once, so who knows. I can tell you that Trans people would still exist, though.
  • 11. This is actually more true than not in colloquial terms (look at most paperwork). More strictly speaking, though, gender is the social manifestation of sex. That is, gender iw what you are dealing with whenever two or more people are involved.

you are slow to learn, grasshoppa, but you’ll get it eventually.

I’d love to see any plan on how to abolish gender.  I’m fascinated by the concept (No, seriously, I am).  Unfortunately, even after reading all the major (and many minor) feminist gender abolitionists, I’m no closer to understanding how this is ever going to happen.  They seem to be saying that getting rid of gender roles will somehow end gender except they also seem to think gender roles *are* gender.  Which is clearly not the case.  Gender roles may (or may not) be part of gender but they’re not all there is to it.  Certainly, given the primacy they place on sex, they will not be ending gender as sex is gender inscribed on the body.

beefbludd:

cis people have genders, trans people have gender identities

。◕ ‿ ◕。

(Source: autogynephile, via write-on-red)

ocassis:

lookatthisfuckinradfem:

lucypaw:

Oh, look, Focus on the Family and Americans For Truth About Homosexuality have become (transphobic) radical feminists!

Or, maybe it’s just that all transphobes trot out the same tired transphobic tropes and just use different post hoc justification for why.

All around the world, millions of people disappeared in a poof of smoke.

I like the notion that socially constructed gender is “not safe for kids”.  Don’t play with gender, children!  You might become happy!  Just play with nerf guns and maybe the occasional armed weapon your parents leave lying around the house, that’s much safer.

Pretty much.  Heavens know we need to get guns in the hands of trans* kids to make the world safer.

(via transdykeprivilege)

gcvsa:

Human culture has taught us for as long as it has existed that reproduction is a right, rather than a privilege. This is, of course, utter nonsense, because nothing that depends upon the participation of more than one person can possibly be properly considered a right. While one certainly has the…

This is odd for me.  I agree with the conclusion of the writing but not how it is arrived at.  Here are my main objections:

It’s always interesting to see a classical Liberal position on this sort of thing.  Not good, mind you, but interesting.  I mean, if you think Property or the concept of Liberty is more of a right than your right to control and use your own body, I really don’t know what to say to you.  Congrats on your Liberalism/libertarianism?  Seriously, though, if Liberty does not include reproductive rights then what exactly is Liberty and why is it a foundational right?  If you think that because it takes more than one person to reproduce then reproduction is not a right, your analysis is shallow at best.  Rights don’t have to be able to be realised by an individual to exist (unless, I suppose, you’re a classical Liberal or libertarian, although where does that leave the right to assemble?).  Furthermore, the idea that the existence of reproductive rights is why people think they have the right to demand other people’s sex/gender is just utterly bizarre to me.

Okay, I get it to an extent, the author has conflated reproductive rights with the power that privileged people have aggregated to themselves in their sexist, egotistical belief that they have the right to fuck (not necessarily reproduce with, mind you) everyone.  But they are not the same.  Me claiming I have reproductive rights, that I have the right to use my body to reproduce, is not the same thing as someone claiming they have the ‘right’ to reproduce with me without my consent, knowledge, etc.  I suppose if we lived in a world without involuntary sterilisation, forced births (aka, anti-abortion laws and actions), and so on, I could understand such a conflation.  But to look at the issue of reproductive rights as what the privileged think reproductive rights are is wrong.  Rights are to protect the oppressed.

In any event, I don’t buy this story that privileged people thinking they have the right to mate with whoever they want (but only if they have the right bits!) is why people try to figure out other people’s sex/gender.  Which brings me to my other objection:

The part about how identifying other people’s sex/gender as natural is nonsense.  People are pretty terrible at doing that which is why children have to be taught (and, almost all trans people I know, including myself, have had the experience of children asking them if they are a boy or a girl).  Also, I’m going to be honest, I’m not loving the sex-negative, heterosexism vibe to that section, either.  People are bad at telling sex/gender which is why misgendering happens to cis people as well as trans, and humans are more complicated in uses of sex/gender than reproducing the species.  Overall, this part reminds me of evopsych “just so” stories in that it ignores inconvenient facts that don’t agree with the idea being put forth as well as being entirely too pat.  Sex/gender is a social construct and a complicated one as all social constructs are.

Overall, even as the piece says that we should afford people equal dignity and respect who they are, it also mistakenly gives cis people the excuse of being “born this way” when they deny that equal dignity and respect to trans people.  Plus, there’s that whole reproductive rights thing that kicks the piece off and feels like it arrived from Planet Pro-Life.  Appreciate the conclusion, but hate what’s said to get us there.

(via amydentata)

(Source: sexgenderbody)

Dear Cis Academic Gender “Experts”

telegantmess:

lucypaw:

I get that you love writing about how horrible trans people are for jumping through the hoops you’ve created for us.  It’s yet another double bind for trans people, and you have to make a living somehow, right?  But, for the love of all academia, can you please actually define gender when you’re writing a paper on it?  Otherwise, you’re just showing your arse when you rattle on about it as though everyone agrees on its meaning (as well as suggesting that maybe, just maybe, you’re not such an expert after all).

Signed,

An Irritated Academic Trans Person

Don’t you know? only trans people and people who have not accepted the truth of radical “feminist” political consciousness have genders, as far as these folks are concerned.

Silly me, I did not know!

To be non-sarcastic, obviously the point is that cis ‘experts’ are particularly terrible at questioning/understanding what ‘gender’ is in the first place because they’ve never had to question it in any deep way.  Gender, as society/culture uses it, works for them so it’s like, to use an old analogy, asking a fish to define water.  I do think that’s part of why they work so hard to castigate, punish, and delegitimise trans and non-binary people.  Because we uncomfortably confront them with gender with our very existence.  We’re a threat in a way that the ludicrously undefined notion of “Abolish gender!” (Honestly, I’d be happy to see any plan to end gender;  none exist) can never be.

Dear Cis Academic Gender “Experts”

I get that you love writing about how horrible trans people are for jumping through the hoops you’ve created for us.  It’s yet another double bind for trans people, and you have to make a living somehow, right?  But, for the love of all academia, can you please actually define gender when you’re writing a paper on it?  Otherwise, you’re just showing your arse when you rattle on about it as though everyone agrees on its meaning (as well as suggesting that maybe, just maybe, you’re not such an expert after all).

Signed,

An Irritated Academic Trans Person

When Am I a Man? When Am I a Woman?

Various transphobes/cissupremacists and transnormative people have decided my gender for me, based on what they assume is between my legs.  Their absolute convictions in statements such as “LucyPaw [sic] is a man” or “Lucy is female” have inspired me to reflect on my social realities.


When Am I a Man?

Is it when I get mansplained to by some random man who knows that Mt Rainier is NOT a volcano, knowing this for sure since he’s just arrived in the Seattle area and knows way more about it than I do as he didn’t even know it existed before he arrived?

Is it when people talk to my breasts and not my face?

Is it when I get sexually assaulted?

Is it when men get that look on their face, the one of interest, the one where I’m supposed to show interest back, the one where I belong to their desires?

Is it when I’m assumed to be the mother of one of my partners who decides that therefore now would be a good time to pull my face to zis and kiss me hard to make the point that we are not mother and daughter and so instead people disgustedly assume we’re lesbians?

Is it when I’m assumed incapable of carrying my own luggage?

Is it when men assume I’m supposed to reflect their greatness back at them?

Is it when men assume my politeness and kindness indicates romantic/sexual interest in them?

Is it when I put on my binder and packer and jeans and a poofy shirt and get strange, even hostile, looks when I go to the men’s toilet at a gay club?

When Am I a Woman?

Is it when people assume I’m a cross-dressing man?

Is it when, because I’m a trans femme and non-binary, I’m assumed to be a gay man who couldn’t handle being gay (even though my gay sex is incredibly fun)?

Is it when my femmeness is assumed to be more real, more radical as long as my body supposedly doesn’t ‘naturally’ fit that?

Is it when my words about the problems with transnormativity coming from some trans women are assumed to have no validity because supposedly some doctor announced “It’s a girl!” when I was born?

Look, I get it

You have bought so much into the oppressive ideas of sex and gender that you can’t stop

Even when you’re told

Stop

No, really, stop

Your ideas of what sex and gender are do violence

To me

To yourself

To everyone

I know you need the reassurance

Of an absolute binary

Of an uncrossable certainty

Of unchangeable, obvious biology

      (although you’ll pardon my laughter)

Write your words on my body

Write your meaning on me

If it helps

If it keeps the uncertainty, the chaos, the fears at bay

Then write to keep yourself safe

Construct your reality and lie to yourself that you merely demonstrate fact

Reference the social as though it is marble not clay

It’s okay

But understand that I then need you to tell me

When am I a man?  When am I a woman?

Am I ever me?

  • radfems: abolish gender
  • trans* ppl: can we use gender neutral language when discussing reproductive issues
  • radfems: NO

strawberryfaerie:

"i just call everyone dude"

really motherfucker, because you have not used that word once when speaking to me (or any other cis woman) 

you just want a free pass to misgender my girlfriend.