Embarrassed to wear the Feminist badge

Today is the first time I’ve actually been embarrassed to wear the feminist label.  For the first time.  And it royally sucks.

There seems to be this tribe of feminists floating around out there that is spouting all sorts of nasty, hate-filled drivel.  The kind of crap that second-wave man-hating feminists became known for.  But this time?  This time it’s aimed at our sisters.

I’m sorry, but the day that third-wave feminism (which is all about supporting women in all their choices, believing in freedom, and the right to independence and freedom from persecution) turns into some crazy-assed fourth-wave anti-trans movement is the day I’m out.

No, I won’t link to the article that brought this whole movement to my attention…  but after finding it (through a link someone shared on facebook, a link someone actually recommended) I just kept finding more of it.  And it brought so much pain to my heart.  Seriously.  How can these women be so completely off the mark and not see it?

Feminism is about loving your fellow womyn.  Supporting them.  Caring for them.  Encouraging them.  Empowering them.  Knowing that together we can (and have) changed the world.  And regardless of what sex organs a person was born with, a woman is a woman is a woman.  It’s not about what parts you have or don’t have.  It’s about WHO YOU ARE.  My Trans-Sisters are my sisters, they are not brothers in drag, and they deserve every bit of respect, support, love, care, encouragement, and empowerment that every other woman does.

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at one of our local high schools.  I asked the students what the word gender actually meant.  Most didn’t have a clue, but one young person said “It’s about how you see the world”.  And that makes a whole lot of sense to me.  Gender really is about your point of view.  How you see yourself, and how you fit into society.  That is what makes a person a woman.  It’s not her breasts, her vulva or vagina, it’s not whether she has a womb or not, and it’s not her chromosomes either.  It’s about how she fits in her own skin.  How she sees herself.  How she views herself.  How she fits into her world.  And that, my friends, is why I see no reason to include the prefix “trans”.  It’s not that it’s a dirty word, it’s just that it’s unnecessary.

Women deserve your respect.  ALL women.  And if there are some who, behind the guise of a new feminist movement, don’t get that?  Well, they can go…  Okay, editing myself here…  They can just take a freakin’ jump off one of the many bridges here in Saskatoon.

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About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at http://www.tobi-dawne.com/ follow her blog at https://td365.wordpress.com/ get to know her daughter at http://lilyannslemonade.wordpress.com/ or check out her work at http://tdphotography.me/

Posted on July 1, 2011, in Feminism, People and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. there have always been some that wanted to exclude somebody. check into the lavender menace. As a male feminist of my age I have gone through a few periods of being unwelcome Stay Proud and wonder how they can confuse themselves with feminists.

  2. Yes TD. I have followed several blogs which express this anti-trans feminism. There are even groups of women that advocate against trans rights and freedoms, REAL Women of Canada for instance. However, by reading these opinions (which is all they are), I have learned a lot about myself (and them). For every argument they present, there is a counter-argument. No functioning sex organs (uterus, etc), but neither do a lot of women. No XX chromosomes, but neither do a lot of persons raised to be women. No life experience of being raised as a girl child, a result of an ignorant culture (and a VERY depressing reality, I did not choose to be raised as a boy). Only a true feminist can appreciate the diversity which is ALL women.

    If you are interested in learning more of the opinions of ‘our opponents’, I recommend discovering where this whole anti-trans feminism ideal began, the 1979 publication (reissued in 1994) of “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male” (http://www.worldcat.org/title/transsexual-empire-the-making-of-the-she-male/oclc/29548586) by Janice Raymond (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Raymond).

    • I do have to admit, as strange as it might seem, that knowing how far back this movement goes gives me encouragement. This isn’t something new that is gaining fast ground… it’s an old idea that is just as stagnant now as it was then.

      The whole argument about what makes a woman a woman always just baffles me. I was introduced as a child to the idea that our sex organs really don’t make us who we are. And it wasn’t even done so intentionally really. My family fostered a little “girl” for a short while who was born a hermaphrodite.

      This child’s birth parents decided the baby should be a girl. Thus a baby was subjected to unnecessary surgery, and became a “girl”. Shortly after, this child ended up in the foster care system. It’s always astounded me that a birth parent has the right to make such a choice, and that whim (that they’d prefer a girl) decides so much for that child’s future.

      You know these self-proclaimed feminists likely feel that this (now grown) “woman” is a woman (regardless of who she grew to become). After all, she was a part of this mythical “shared girlhood” that is apparently sooo freakin’ important. Ugh.

      Okay, I’ll admit… I’m just rambling now. The whole thing is just ridiculous to me.

      Because this choice (referring to the surgery, and the upbringing) was made FOR a child, with no bearing on who the child actually might become as they became self-aware. Because she was raised a girl, then she’s a woman. All on of the whim of a person who didn’t stay in the picture past her child’s newest days. Yet someone who KNOWS who they are, is sentient, and secure in that womanhood, and who is capable of making choices for themselves… they can’t really be a woman. I swear. People just make me want to bang my head on the wall for a good long while some days.

      I just don’t get it. 😦

      • I’m gonna make you sadder when I mention that Gloria Steinem wrote an essay in ’77, which she reprinted in ’95, in which she referred to vaginaplasty, or all of transition, I’m not sure, as mutilation.

        You can’t find one cis, second-wave, feminist icon, literally, who isn’t at best extremely problematic about trans women…

        But hey, take heart, I’m like, the last left-wing tory in existence, (Major Diefenbaker Fan here) so identifying with an ideology that everyone prominent has betrayed since 1980 isn’t unique to feminism.

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