This post is a response to an exchange I witnessed on Tumblr between someone critical of gender identity politics and someone who described themselves as “AFAB, non-binary.” This part quoted below is what got me thinking.
What is gender? (“It means something different to everyone” isn’t an answer)
- Despite your insistence that gender can’t mean something different to everyone, it does. You do not get to dictate how people experience their gender.
What is a woman? (Same as above)
- A woman is any person who identifies as one.
What is a man? (Same as above)
- A man is any person who identifies as a one.
Why are you not a woman? (“I’m just not/I don’t identify as one” isn’t an answer. Sit with this question and take some time to find a few concrete reasons.)
- I’m not a woman bc I personally don’t identify with any gender. That is a valid answer whether you deem it be so or not. Perhaps you don’t understand that the attitudes you’re displaying are transphobic.
I do really feel for people caught up in these fragile identities that leave them susceptible to being deeply hurt by potentially common occurrences such as the wrong pronoun being used. Humans and all animals have instincts that allow us to intuit sex. That, however, does not work for intuiting subjective gender identities. And so it probably happens quite a bit that people get “misgendered” by others who are going on instinct and socially constructed gender markers… clothes, style etc.
Here is the thing… With sex, meaning the actual biology and reproductive systems human beings are born with, there comes a material reality that places those of us who are AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) into the subjugated sex caste and those of us who are AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth) into the dominating sex caste. And no matter how we ultimately identify, this material reality will inform our lives. It will inform how people see and treat us and how we are socialized even when, internally, we are fighting to not be a part of it all.
I see a lot of people on Tumblr concerned about being “invalidated.” I think this is somewhat inherent in subjective identity embracing. It is very difficult to have an internal *knowing* and yet walk through the world where people see something different than one sees of oneself. This is not only true for gender identities. Material reality is what makes young, law abiding, college attending, black men and women get shot and killed for simply knocking on a door while seeking help after a car accident. I can know who I am internally. I can believe I am smart and kind and fully human. But some people will just see black and whatever black means to them, they will apply to me in their thinking and actions. And that could mean that I get killed by the police over not using a turn signal or showing sufficient deference, my internal identity be damned.
This is why, for me, subjective identity would seem meaningless to apply to myself and I don’t quite understand why others find meaning in it. I do understand dysphoria. Although undiagnosed, I would say I lived through it during my younger life. So when I say that I don’t understand why others find meaning in subjective identity, I don’t mean to dismiss that it may help alleviate the pain of dysphoria. What I mean is that I see people leaving themselves open to harm caused by mere words. If “misgendering” is being experienced as if it is violence, how is subjective identity saving those who embrace it? To me, this would be like going outside and not remembering that I am black and female. No matter what I think and know of myself, I need to be conscious that this material reality will inform my experience whether I like it or not.
When I was younger, there was not this same identity focused culture among people my age. There was no opportunity to bond with other young women/girls and name what I was feeling with a collective. And I have to say, I think that was probably a good thing. Yes, I dissociated from and did what I could to hide my body. I think I did that in part, because I didn’t identify with what my body meant to other people. I dissociated, because I did not like, or rather, because I hated my vulnerability and the inherent subjugation that comes with being a female in patriarchy. I layered and did what I could to hide my femaleness. I had no idea about binding, otherwise I really might have done that. I refused to wear a bra, because I didn’t want to need one. Looking back, that didn’t make sense in any kind of practical way. Not wanting to need a bra and so not wearing one, meant I stopped being athletic, because running was physically painful and also made it very obvious that I DID in fact need a bra or some kind of support. Again, the material reality trumped my internal desire. But that said, my real internal desire was not to be male. It was to have my body not inform how I am treated in the world.
I think MAYBE some people who identify as “non-binary” kind of want the same thing. If that is true, then I think we may not be so far from each other in our heart of hearts, even if we do take different paths to reaching peace within ourselves and, to what extent it is possible, with the world around us.
I don’t mean to be hurtful when I say that I find “non-binary” meaningless. If gender is non-binary, then it is non-binary for all people no matter how we identify. “Non-binary” reifies the gender binary, because without binary, what can non-binary even mean? So “non-binary” makes no sense to me internally and it makes no sense to me in terms of material reality either, because I know that people will still go by what they see and understand and that will still be what actually informs how I am treated in the world.
That is why, for me, discovering feminism was my healing, because feminism helped me to unplug from and to see the matrix of patriarchy. Patriarchy assigns limitations on and expectations of us all based on our bodies to the benefit of those born male. It creates a hierarchy based on sex. And it does this via gender.
What I see of gender identity politics, does not seem like it has any potential at all to free us from patriarchy or its limitations and expectations. To me, it’s like switching seats on the Titanic. And again, though one’s subjective identity and the lengths one goes through to convey that subjective identity externally in order to alleviate dysphoria, may be healing and meaningful to any of us as individuals, solutions that enable individual survival within patriarchy, do not end patriarchy. And more often than not, these individual solutions actually affirm it.
Why do I say that? I say that because, if I am female and I choose to present in ways that are outside of gendered expectations for females… if I chose to ignore the expectations and limitations that patriarchy has socially constructed for me because of my body, I have to ask myself if this makes me no longer female… does it mean I am in the wrong body? Or does it mean that patriarchy is wrong about what a female person can be, look like, act like, take interest in? Which makes more sense? Which has the greater potential to challenge patriarchy? Does it make sense for me to believe I have crossed the line for “woman” (if we use the definition “adult human female”) and that I am now someone on the “trans spectrum”? Or does it make sense to come to an understanding that there are no inherent limitations and that means that “woman” (and “man”) can be seen in a way that looks much more like a spectrum than patriarchy tells us and that each of us, as individuals, bring definition to and expands the possibilities for our sex by simply being female (or male).
I have said this often… I define woman, it does not define me. I define my clothes, they do not define me. No matter what section of a store I find my clothing in, once it’s mine, it is women’s clothing. And I accept that I am female, because I am – just in the way that I accept that I am black. Because not accepting it, does not save me from being treated as such. That doesn’t mean that I accept and internally apply patriarchy’s meaning to myself. It means that I arm myself with understanding and protect myself, as best I can, by being aware of my surroundings and the way my body informs my material reality.
I really do not see how saying something like “I am not a woman, because I don’t identify as one” is supposed to change anything for or protect a person from the harm gender imposes on us in patriarchy. For one, words cannot stop us from being raped – not words like “No!” and not words like “I don’t identify as…”
Being female means we will be considered prey to many males. And even the males who are not rapists, benefit from the threat all females live with as a constant aspect of our material reality. How then does the utterance of words like “I am not a woman, because I don’t identify as one” inform one’s life in a practical way? What does it do for one if one can be devastated and triggered into feelings of suicide by the use of a wrong pronoun? That is not a rhetorical question. No one has to answer it for me, but it just seems like something one would want to consider towards one’s own survival.
I don’t believe that gender is real or innate. I know we are taught to believe it is inevitable. But I think it really just is social meaning applied based on sex. Gender varies significantly across cultures, unlike sex, which is universally understood and determined based on reproductive systems across cultures and even across species. And it varies this way across cultures, because it is socially constructed. In one culture females will be expected to tend to farming chores. In another, that might be considered work for males. It’s made up stuff, these cultural, societal expectations and limitations that amount to what we call gender. And gender so insidiously enforced that we tend to think of it as “natural” and innate. That’s why girls like me who were considered “tomboys” were policed daily with “girls can’t _____.” Whatever it was that I was doing that girls supposedly could not do, was not actually a natural limitation. It was a socially determined and enforced limitation. That’s why I say I don’t believe it is real. Yes, it does have real consequences for us all, so it’s not unreal in that sense. But gender is gender is gender is patriarchy, no matter what qualifier one places before it, non-binary, trans, cis etc.
So really, in a practical way, how does identifying as “non-binary” (or any other gender identity) serve you? And is it serving or challenging the patriarchy?
I also have to wonder if one’s willingness to abandon and deny tangible biology in favor of the theory of gender identity (like we know biology doesn’t actually change, but…), meaning if you say, “I am not a woman, because I do not identify as one” are you not simply saying, “I’m not like THEMMMMMMM”? And in so doing, are you not sort of projecting the meaning that patriarchy holds for females onto us, affirming patriarchy’s framing of women/girls while doing so? Because your, “I’m not like THEMMMMMMM” kind of implies, even if unconsciously, “they deserve the shit they get, while I am special and I do not.” In practice, it amounts to “don’t do this TO ME” (which is how I see the practice of gender identity politics) rather than “don’t do this to ANY OF US” (which is feminism).
Thinking about all of this reminded me of a passage in a book I read when I was a teenager, “The High School Revolutionaries.” The passage included in the image below is quoted in one of the essays, but is originally written by Christopher Caudwell from a book called “Studies in a Dying Culture.”
If this seems like a complete non sequitur, I will explain my own thinking specifically by interpreting the following line:
“…By shutting their eyes to all the relations between humans that constitute society and are its real stuff and substance, humans have enslaved themselves to forces whose control is now beyond them, because they do not acknowledge the forces’ existence.”
By denying that human beings are sexually dimorphic and that most humans in society intuit sex, not subjective gender identity, people who embrace subjective gender identities have enslaved themselves to forces whose control is now beyond them, because they are dependent on other people, often strangers, intuiting or agreeing to affirm their intangible subjective gender identity as opposed to their actual sex.
Intuiting subjective gender identity requires, not just the ability to read minds, it requires the denial of humans as sexually dimorphic beings and it affirms, rather than opposes, patriarchy’s gender essentialism by saying people should agree to affirm and or instinctively know and acknowledge subjective gender identities based on external markers like clothing choice. For example, if a male is wearing a dress or make up, we should intuit that they identify as a woman.
Where then does such essentialism leave those, women especially, who do not conform to patriarchy’s gender expectations? That’s a question to sit with. Because again, my own sensibilities are that I define my clothes, they do not define me. So if it was commonly expected in society that we ignore our ability to know sex and favor socially constructed gender markers (clothes, style, interests, name choice) as the way to understand whether a person is a girl/woman or a boy/man, this way of thinking would determine me to be a man. However, I’m pretty sure that I would still also be understood to be female and that would mean that I was in the same constant danger females experience within patriarchy only with less ability to organize with others along our commonality, which is our female sex, and less ability to name the agent of our oppression, which in patriarchy, is males. And yet gender identity activists seem to think that people who are non-trans have no respectable stake in the conversation about sex vs gender. And in reality, being trans or non-trans as a female, does not stop us from being in danger at the hands of males, trans and non-trans, when our sex is known. Just read a few detransitioned womyn’s blogs and you will see.
It makes complete sense to me that anyone female would want to run screaming from our bodies and how our bodies inform our experience in the world. I shared this link to a poem with my friends on Facebook recently and I don’t think I know anyone female who would not identify with it, heartbreaking as that is to consider. So I really do hope that young people who are female and feeling like their uncomfortableness with and or terror at the thought of being a woman in patriarchy, know that this is not such a unique experience. I’d be willing to bet that way more commonly than is ever spoken, puberty, for girls, is experienced as if one is being betrayed by one’s own body. It is a time when men and boys tend to act out in even more entitled ways then we have already learned to navigate. We are vulnerable to being framed as whores if we do agree to sex or prudes if we do not. We are often actively coerced or otherwise tricked into sex or raped with no recourse, while the boy or boys who did it are rewarded with pats on the back for successfully getting over. Hating this shit can very reasonably manifest for any of us in ways that we interpret as hating our bodies. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it is females who tend to have anorexia, bulimia or trichotillomania (pulling out hair) or who cut. So that is to say, that hating one’s female body for the material reality that comes with it in patriarchy, is not a sign that one is not female. It is a confirmation.
I still long to have my body not inform how I am treated in the world. But I understand that it is the world that has to change. And it will not change if I agree that some females ought to have limitations and expectations forced on them, while holding myself out as an exception. And I also understand that holding oneself out as an exception doesn’t make one free. It might make one feel less vulnerable if one passes, but that kind of feeling free is not by way of actual freedom. Not if it requires one to constantly police pronouns and control what others think and say or if it requires hiding and denying truth.
“…So far from being free, they are whirled like a leaf on the gales of social change. And all this anarchy, and impotence, and muddled dissension is reflected in his culture. Productive forces have outgrown the free bourgeois and mercilessly crush them and their illusions.”
Where is the freedom in denying one is not free?
thank you queen. i am so grateful for your clarity and compassion. many blessings on you.
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
You weren’t assigned female at birth. You were identified female at birth. Female is a real thing, not a social construct–you weren’t assigned human either, you just are one. Now it happens that sometimes the doctor or the parents misidentify the baby because the baby has atypical genitalia (but is still either male or female) or is truly intersex (which is a fairly small percentage of the population). Fine. Get a karyotype, take a good look at how the phenotype fits together and make a call from there. But it’s still not an “assignment”. Assignments are arbitrary.
I knew this kind of thing would be one of the first comments I got. I used AFAB because the person in the post that I was working from used it. I guess I might be being overly ambitious when I hope that young people, who would get stopped by unqualified words like “female,” might read this and get past the first two paragraphs. I hope that people who don’t need qualifiers, can read past the 2nd paragraph too. But I suppose, if they can’t, they probably don’t have trouble knowing that sex is a real thing.
I’m disheartened by this comment, even though on the face of it, I agree with the point made. But it’s really condescending and out of place as a reply to this piece. Are you sincere in thinking Nedra doesn’t understand what “female” means? Is this your entire take-away from the article? I don’t think so, because I see you shared it on facebook and quoted it extensively. So, what gives…why would you come here and talk to her this way, in her own house, so to speak?
Now, about the piece. I really appreciate this one, Nedra. This is a thoughtful contribution and gets at things in a fresh way. Thank you.
“I think MAYBE some people who identify as “non-binary” kind of want the same thing. If that is true, then I think we may not be so far from each other in our heart of hearts, even if we do take different paths to reaching peace within ourselves and, to what extent it is possible, with the world around us.” –I think that’s right. And I don’t think the differences are value-neutral, so I appreciate you examining this more closely and being able to name the values underlying them.
Wow! I have read so much on these issues; your piece is on a level of its own. I will be re-reading and processing this for a long time. I’m so blown away, I can’t even speak to it. I’ll just have to leave it at a very heartfelt thank-you.
Glad that it is meaningful to you. =)
“Humans and all animals have instincts that allow us to intuit sex. That, however, does not work for intuiting subjective gender identities.”
This may well be the case.
We can agree that people who persist in this misgendering, even after they’ve been explicitly told what’s going on, are intentionally being rude, then?
Yeah. Maybe. It’s not something I myself do. But I think for some people there is some cognitive dissonance involved for them in trying to agree to call people they believe are female or male by the pronoun most often associated with people of the opposite sex. So it might not be as simple as them being rude or mean. I think for some women with trauma experienced at the hands of males, being asked to deny they know someone is male feels like an attempt to gaslight them. It triggers them. So…yeah…maybe. Either way, seems like folks who should probably avoid each other.
Everyone has trauma related to the past. Not everyone needs to make it an excuse.
OK so for those who “need to make it an excuse” – what do you propose?
People are always capable of learning and doing better. No?
I think “doing better” could be defined more than one way. Its sounds like you believe “doing better should mean” using people’s preferred pronouns. But “doing better” could also mean not requiring it of them. Compassion and empathy can come from either direction. Or not. But we can only really control ourselves. That might mean walking away sometimes.
“I think “doing better” could be defined more than one way”
Is it? Is it not a better idea to not indulge easy sentiment, and to treat people who are not responsible for whatever you suffered and who are not doing anything that causes people to suffer with the dignity they request? If someone’s traumas prevent them from treating people unconnected to their traumas with basic respect, it does not strike me as a good idea to indulge them.
Everyone has trauma. Making trauma an excuse to behave badly is not a good thing. Should we (for instance) indulge anti-Muslim sentiment after the Paris attacks, as the understandable reaction of people afraid, or should we try to overcome it?
I don’t really understand why you want me to agree with you. But I don’t agree that what you are saying is “better” as actually better. I think there doesn’t need to be a competition for what is “better.” And I don’t know why you assume that people don’t suffer when it is insisted that they validate other people’s feelings and needs while denying their own. Again, treating people “with the dignity they request” could also mean, that we agree to not dismiss biology as insignificant, since for females in particular, our biological sex is an axis of oppression.
“Everyone has trauma. Making trauma an excuse to behave badly is not a good thing.”
So…you mean like if your trauma is that you were born male, but feel like you should have been born female, threatening rape and doxxing and stalking women and no-platforming women, because they don’t indulge your preferred pronouns or maybe don’t welcome you as a male in female space? Is that what you mean is behaving badly and not a good thing?
Or do you mean that if a female is raped by a male (or males) that she should still be willing to indulge preferred pronouns of male people even if doing so causes her to experience cognitive dissonance and triggers her PTSD?
“Should we (for instance) indulge anti-Muslim sentiment after the Paris attacks, as the understandable reaction of people afraid, or should we try to overcome it?”
Nice try. But there is a huge difference between asking a country with a population of 326 million+ people to be willing to take in 10,000 well screened refugees who are mostly women and children and who need food, healthcare and shelter and saying that as an individual with trauma YOU must take them into your home and pretend you are not being further traumatized and triggered.
I’m guessing that eventually, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
“And I don’t know why you assume that people don’t suffer when it is insisted that they validate other people’s feelings and needs while denying their own.”
Because they can be wrong. Should we indulge in anti-Muslim sentiments after the Paris attacks? Or should we try to move and grow beyond them?
“saying that as an individual with trauma YOU must take them into your home and pretend you are not being further traumatized and triggered.”
Who is talking about taking transgendered people into people’s homes against their will? I’m just talking about being polite enough to use their preferred names and pronouns.
You brought up the comparison of trans people’s preferred pronouns to Muslim refugees being allowed in the country.
To me that was like taking a broad systemic issue… And comparing it to individual situations. Should we, as a society, deny people food, housing, healthcare? No. Do I begrudge an individual not being able to, as an individual, provide it because they have trauma that gets triggered? No. Of course no one is asking that of individuals with regards to refugees. People who are against Muslim refugees (and probably any Muslims who are born as raised here as well) want us as a society to deny those folks basic human needs.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman with trauma experienced at the hands of males who wants trans women or men to be denied healthcare, food, employment, housing.
The crazy thing here is really… Right now we’re arguing about pronouns and who’s trauma should be prioritized and whose she be dismissed. In the meantime what I see in practice is that women who dare to disagree with trans politics — Just disagree mind you, not threaten violence or deny basic human rights — they get harassed, letters to their employers, online petitions, actively intimidated, threatened with violence, including rape, hacked, and doxxed etc. There is no real comparison in the measure of response to non compliance to ideals here. It’s like “Be polite!” (aka “do as I demand”) “or I will actively work to destroy you.”
I mean really. That’s abusive. And common. And yet somehow women are supposed to process the abuse they get as being a result of their own actions in not “being polite.”
“I’m just talking about being polite enough to use their preferred names and pronouns.”
And I am talking about being “polite enough” to not insist that everyone (let’s face it, its only women who really get badgered for this) HAS to agree to dismiss their own trauma and to accommodate subjective identities over their own needs for language and definition.
Disagree. We have different groups using pronouns for different PURPOSES. The generally accepted purpose is to denote perceived sex. When people get this one wrong and you tell them “actually I’m female” and it is not a lie–then yeah, they’re probably being rude if they keep calling you “he.” Or maybe it’s less about rudeness and more about a situation like, someone female who has bio-hacked her body with T so that it is legitimately difficult for other people to perceive her as female anymore, and others may lapse into usage reflecting their perceptions of her sex (even if inaccurate). While it may be very painful for the woman who is misrecognized, I don’t think that “he” is necessarily about rudeness at its root.
But there is a new usage purpose, which is about subjective personal feelings aka “gender identity.” This usage is akin to a practice based on religious belief, and it’s unreasonable to expect all others to go along with it simply on that basis. Say, manarchists who want to be “they” because they think it is edgy. Or someone who is clearly and unambiguously male–out as mtf, for example–who wants to be called “she” because it fits their self-concept. That’s a unilateral change to the social contract, and it really can’t be unilateral. It requires buy-in. The groundwork hasn’t been laid for such a change. I’m not hearing compelling arguments for why we should change the usage to accommodate this, or really any rationale beyond “be nice”/”don’t hurt male feelings.” I might be bothered to perform this polite lie as a courtesy for someone I care about, or in a case where I know/perceive the person’s sex but know they are passing, I would be compelled to protect a person’s ability to continue passing by maintaining the lie (for their safety). However, in general, where passing/safety/privacy is not at stake, I’m not going to participate in any polite lies for perfect strangers.
“any rationale beyond “be nice”/”don’t hurt male feelings.” ”
Do you include FTM in the category of male?
Have you heard about an old style of interview, one where an applicant is taken out for dinner at a restaurant and offered drinks and the like, and the applicant’s suitability for the position is based on the way the applicant treats people, like wait staff, who the applicant will never see again? There’s a quiet wisdom in that.
Being polite to the people you know is one thing, almost expected if you’re going to have any intimates at all. Being polite to people you do not know, _that_ is a test of character.
I’m sure redress will have her own response to this, but females are not male.
And “being polite” to people one does not know is not a test of character for women. It’s an aspect of female socialization. It’s expected that we are polite to everyone. Perhaps a test of character could be the ability to not demonize a woman for setting boundaries and asking that they be respected. Perhaps a test of character could be not requiring her to “be polite” when what you determine is “being polite” amounts to denying her own sense of reality and truth.
“And “being polite” to people one does not know is not a test of character for women”
I was thinking of it as a test for people, full stop.
Yes. But its not.
Randy, FTMs are not male. I should know, having been FTM myself. Trust me, if FTMs were male, there would be no such thing as FTM.
That’s pretty twisted, how you framed my refusal to play to these manipulative, misogynistic rituals as though it’s evidence that I’m a generally rude person or lacking in character. The issue is, how would it do if I set up a bunch of new rules that meant you had to disparage your own self, betray yourself, and deny yourself on an axis of your oppression no less, in order to be considered “polite” with respect to me? Consider it rhetorical or food for thought–it’s probably not really worth exploring this with you here, you’re an apparently white male whose behavior tells me that you almost certainly lack the empathetic comprehension needed to even imagine it or the inclination to make the effort.
“I should know, having been FTM myself”
You know all FTMs, then? Every last one?
I know enough to know that we’re here for short enough a time on this world for being proud of one’s bigotry to be pointless.
All FTMs are female. One doesn’t have to have been FTM identified to know that. There is not a value judgement In merely understanding biology. Someone can be female and identify as a man all they want. Their sex doesn’t change. And that is true for every last one of them whether I know them or not. And whether they like it or not. But if someone is in denial about their biological sex they probably should not ask people for their opinion unless they know that person is going to give them the answer they want to hear. That seems like a fairly easily avoidable confrontation.
And Ok I think this is probably it for me approving your comments.
We disagree. I’m OK with that.
Redress said : “The issue is, how would it do if I set up a bunch of new rules that meant you had to disparage your own self, betray yourself, and deny yourself on an axis of your oppression no less, in order to be considered “polite” with respect to me?
That precisely the point, isn’t it…. Women are expected to accommodate and be polite-like even when such fakery causes us cognitive dissonance, or when someone is gas-lighting us (and, themselves). And if we refuse to kowtow like that, we’re deemed “rude”, “lacking in character”, and often much worse. THAT IS gender-role enforcement in action – it’s coercive and passive-aggressive.
Very well said, Nedra. As Always 🙂
Fantastic insight and expression of some very deep and personal truths of yours and in most cases if not all my truths, too. Thanks for writing and sharing.
I so enjoy your thoughtful, kind essays. You have the ability to express yourself without resorting to mean words. Thank you for a great read and a very meaningful way of looking at this.
“I find “non-binary” meaningless.”
I think that’s the point.
“A Woman is whatever a Woman says a Woman is”, is basically a Koan.
You know, “The sound of one hand clapping”… We think of them as sort of head clearing exercises but there’s more nuance to them that. I know I’m mauling it by being all “from the west,” but it’s something about flipping out of a material reality that’s being defined, mapped out, entirely by opposites. Up and down, hot and cold, man and woman…
Only, “man and woman” (as in “male and female”) aren’t opposites of anything, they’re just ways of handling metabolic stasis according to who’ll theoretically be doing the gestatating.
But those bought up under a rigid gender binary, where they’ve taken all the attributes of personality and made them into diametrically opposed pairs , then forced them on “man and woman”, in such a way that the ideal… society’s best way to be woman (weak, servile, empathetic)… is to be the opposite of a man (strong, masterful, kinda sociopathic), and well they’re in trouble.
Not least because because being really good at being a woman often means, paradoxically, being really good at being treated like a much lower thing. Being kinda shitty is winning! However, there’s so much other awful stuff generated by teaching us this binary, reinforcing this fiction, that the stress of it all will have people wanting to end it any way they can. Clearing their heads and chanting “A Woman is whatever a Woman says a Woman is” until they’ve calmed the fuck down makes perfect sense.
Only I also know that in Zen Buddhism, they’ve been quite insistant that women are too stupid and icky to ever be in for Enlightenment like men are. The best we can do is be good girls, maybe die in childbirth or something and perhaps next time round, come back as men and try Enlightenment again…
Late in commenting but I just want to say that you put into wonderfully succinct words so many thoughts that have been swirling in my head for years regarding this nonbinary afab gender identity situation. Thank you.
Thank you for this blog post and the discussion. I have really needed this to chew on and digest.