Feels good to write “Tranny” in the title. It`s a word I was frightened to use for years , on account of the death and rape threats that come your way as a woman daring to write online. But we need to use this word as much as possible. Do away with “transwoman”–which comes across as a legit word, simply because it incorporates the word woman–and go back to tranny
“Tranny”conjures up pervy old men in darkened bedrooms, trying on their wives’ underwear. Or their daughters’. (Bruce Jenner, for example, freely admitted he used to try on his daughters clothes. What a violation . Ugh.)
Teenage kids are rightly afraid of the creepiness associated with “trannyness”. I remember local backstreet kids in my area sniggering (in fear and anxiety) as they walked past the local tranny’s house. He inspired anxiety and fear because (I’m guessing, looking back) that he exuded the signs of being unstable. Kids can pick up on that shit. And what is more dangerous than an unstable man?
I found a video today that at least made me smile. In it, a white guy ridicules the trans “movement”. It’s hard not to feel relief, as a radfem, when you come across a Nigel whose views align with your own. Relief, because you know men are listened to and taken seriously. If this Nigel is mocking “StephonKnee” and is horrified that this particular tranny is playing with an 8 year old girl and calling it “play therapy” then maybe the world has regained some sanity, we might believe.
But his motives are unclear. It’s hard to tell, but it seems that he’s just doing it for the bantz. Which is insulting, because this shit is serious– for women, at least. Or he’s a right wing conservative? At any rate, I still recommend a listen. It lowered my blood pressure somewhat to see StephonKnee get viciously ridiculed. (Though, nobody does it better than Peachyoghurt)
In other news, I very much enjoyed listening Rebecca Reilly-Cooper in a podcast entitled Interview on Gender Identity with ABC Radio in Australia on their Philosopher’s Zone programme. Although she said she doesn’t necessarily identify as a radfem ( but maybe she said that to curb some of the hate), I agreed with almost everything she said, and she raised a few issues that might even be slightly divisive in radical feminism.
Although I loved Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender, and it’s really important to acknowledge that there have been no proven differences between male and female brains so far, I do believe the jury is still out as to whether there are actually NO differences at all.
This puts feminists in a bind. If there are innate differences, then that can of course be used to justify female oppression. So it makes sense that we would naturally want to shy away from the notion that “brain sex” exists. But do we really believe that socialization is what actually creates the monsters that have created and continue to so violently maintain patriarchy? I rather think that what we see in men today is simply what they are. But I think it’s fair to say that females are socialized to cope and survive- that women’s behaviour would appear vastly different outside of patriarchy.
But men’s? Is it not more likely that their drive to kill, their drive to destroy, their necrophilia, their all-consuming womb envy, is biologically innate?
Reilly-Cooper tackles this question well and has given the most satisfactory response I have ever come across on this issue.
Interviewer: That is, unless you accept the metaphysics, that might say there is such a thing as a female brain or a female soul and visa versa in males…a male brain and a male soul
Reilly- Cooper: Right, so that’s one possibility. One possibility for the notion of gender.. or two possibilities, for the notion of gender identity, as we might think there is such a thing as male and female brains, or we might think that people have male and female souls– or masculine and feminine souls.
With respect to that latter claim, the claim about souls, I can’t engage with that on an analytic level. Right? You either believe that or you don’t. It seems to me that’s an unfalsifiable religious belief [exacerbated sigh] and so if you believe yourself to have a masculine soul, or a feminine soul, I respect your right to conceive of yourself in those terms, but I also think I have the right not to conceive of myself in those terms, or of you in those terms, and I certainly don’t think that our legal definitions of men and women should make reference to gendered souls.
With respect to the question of whether there are such things as male and female brains, there’s been a very longstanding effort on the part of people in those disciplines, to try to identify the male brain and the female brain; to try to find the thing in the brain that, for example, makes women caring, more empathetic, more nurturing; and the thing in the male brain that makes men dominant, more assertive, more prone to… better at abstract reasoning, better at… map reading–those kinds of things. As I understand it, that’s far from established science. Right, so that’s still a very contested claim, the claim that there are such things as masculine and feminine brains.
But even if it were true, even if we could find that, as a matter of fact, there are certain aptitudes, dispositions, preferences, skills, that correlate with sex, those would be–just that. They would be correlations… They would be patterns that we could expect to see in the general population. So then the claim would be something like, ‘Female people are, on average, more likely to be more empathetic than male people; and male people are, on average, more likely to be systematizing in their thoughts than female people’. It wouldn’t follow from that, that every time you find an empathetic brain, you therefore found a female brain, or every time you find a systematizing brain, you therefore found a male brain.
We should expect to see those traits and dispositions distributed across the group. So these things would just be patterns. And so, we should expect to see individuals falling at all points on the bell curve, plotting the distribution of those aptitudes, dispositions and skills, for that sex group.
So the fact that I have found, you know, an empathizing person, doesn’t mean I should classify that empathizing person as female. Rather, it’s entirely possible to say: ‘this shows that male people can be empathetic too’. So claims about gendered brains, I think, not only is the science still contested in that area, not only is the science not established in that area, but also the claim that gender identity refers to gendered brains or sexed brains, I think, is to make a category error. For example, it’s to say that every time I find an empathetic person, that person must be female, rather than to acknowledge that a whole range of dispositions and abilities and aptitudes can be found in all sorts of different bodies.
I loved listening to her, and I intend to look at her work more closely.
Before I sign off, here’s Peachyoghurt 🙂