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Christ, the state of it….

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

Christ, the state of it. Do some maths/physics. A colour is us perceiving photons at a particular wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum. Sex is the result of a pair (2) of chromosomes, which in turn are the result of a finite number of alleles arranged in a specific order

You get one copy of your genes from mum and the other from dad. This is why we’re called diploid, from the Greek for double (2). Mum always gives you an X chromosome. Dad gives you either an X or a Y. That makes 2 possibilities – XX and XY – unless something goes awry.

The variation in human genotype is because of the rapidity with which powers of 2 get big, not because we’re ‘on a spectrum’. There is a countable, finite number of possible humans. It’s a very very big number but it’s not a spectrum.

There is no underlying continuum (number line) from which values can be selected (which is the meaning of a spectrum – the set of values which are characteristic of a particular chemical element, for example)

One human can produce over 8.3 million possible different gametes based on chromosomes alone, but this is because each of 23 positions can be filled by a chromosome from either grandpa or grandpa (at random), resulting in 2^23 possible combinations.

Then there are alleles (versions of genes) at various positions on the chomosomes, and the probability of inheriting one of those depends on the frequency (number of times it occurs) in the population. This is discrete, combinatorial mathematics.

It’s all based on powers of 2 – binary arithmetic – to the point where I sometimes have the horrors thinking that the people who say we’re living in a computer simulation might be right.

2
4
8
16
32
64
128
256
512
etc
It doesn’t take long to get to 8 million.

And then we get told we’ve never gone beyond high school biology, by people who produce piffle like this which is worthy of David Avocado Wolfe. High school biology beats no biology, mate.

I’m increasingly seeing transactivism as…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

I’m increasingly seeing transactivism as the latest form of toxic masculinity, this time taking the shape of “women don’t count/really exist, so anyone who doesn’t do man properly is now in the woman box”.

I had a thread here about how invisible we are to men – about how superficial their view of us is, which enables wokebeards to dump transwomen in the same category as us and then attack us for objecting:

I did a picture to try to explain what I was getting at.

Men don’t want transwomen to be classed as men. Superficially, they are similar enough to women for men to class them as women (although men wouldn’t fuck them, usually).

So they announce that transwomen are women. The aggressive AGP type of transwoman does this too – it suits both types of male. (And woman to them is such a non-category that they are both outraged when women refuse.)

But you have to have an incredibly superficial and stereotyped view of women for this piece of sleight-of-hand to work. We have to be reduced to gender presentation and what our bodies *look like*, as opposed to what they *do*. This is a quintessentially male view of women.

This makes woman a dumping ground for non-men, or failed men, or anyone cast out of masculinity. It also says that men, and not women, get to define what woman is, although being a woman is a material reality which is no more accessible to men than being a bat is.

More importantly, it denies that there is a positive definition of woman, which starts with reproductive capacity and takes in the experience of being female, generative, exploited by males, mothers. It denies that women are a coherent group deserving of a name.

So perhaps women need to start by reserving the right of self-definition to ourselves, something which has always been feminism’s task. We exist. We are not appendages of men, or a costume they can put on.

There are undoubtedly many transwomen who are stuck in the middle of this mess, which is an invidious place to be, and who don’t want to be the subject of a fashionable political cause. Nina Paley’s analogy is great:

http://blog.ninapaley.com/2018/02/07/gender_colonialism/

Making more space for trans people, more visibility, more social acceptance, better healthcare, should be treated as an unambiguous social good. But it shouldn’t come at women’s expense, and the way to see that is to strengthen the definition of woman.

And women are under such attack from this that I think we have to focus on our own defence first. I think it was the Greens who recently changed their equality policy to say that “cisgender males” got 49% of positions on lists, but women had to share their 49% with transwomen.

And we’re all saturated with Labour’s antics, including transwomen in all-women shortlists, making a teenage boy a Woman’s Officer, etc. It all looks incredibly progressive until you slice it by sex instead of gender. And then it looks like what it is: misogyny.

It is toxic masculinity to say that a woman is nothing more than an idea in a man’s head, that a man can assume some superficial similarities to a woman and then call himself one, as though the word has no meaning apart from what it means to men.

The ‘sex is bimodal’ stuff…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

The ‘sex is bimodal’ stuff is ridiculous. Sex determination and differentiation is about as binary as it gets. The reason characteristics common to men and women, like height or hormone levels, are distributed bimodally and not normally is the impact of the sex binary on them.

For things like height, upper body strength, lung capacity, shoulder-to-hip ratio, hormone levels, etc, which are characteristics of the *species*, you’d expect the distribution of values to look like this:

Instead it looks like this:

That is not because sex is a continuous probability distribution (duh). It’s because the sex binary has a big enough impact on many other non-sex phenotypical characteristics to push them into two broad ranges of values.

If there was anything continuous about sex itself, non-sex characteristics would not demonstrate such distinct bimodality.

The most common reason for an apparent bimodal distribution is that you are graphing the overlap of two different normal distributions with different means and standard deviations. Two, so your multimodal has two peaks.

Not three (or five, or seventeen). Two. Because sex divides humanity into two different populations with different distributions of a number of shared characteristics.

If sex itself is a continuum, how do you order it? What function determines < or > so you can position one sex value relative to another sex value on the continuum?

If sex is given by some function y = f(x) then what is x? How is it mapped to the real numbers? Define f. Draw me a graph.

Hint: you can’t. Because sex divides people into one of two categories, and intersex conditions are disorders of development of one or the other categories, and can be mapped onto them. This is not bimodal. It’s non-parametric.

But the maths would matter less if women weren’t treated differently on the basis of their biology. However, we are, and treating woman as an identity, and just another arbitrary variant in some privilege-totting scheme, destroys feminism. (Which is the point, or course).

So I think it’s time we said that if you want to do these identity-collecting exercises, you need to treat sex as orthogonal to the other axes of oppression. (Orthogonal means ‘at right angles to, in all dimensions’). It cuts across all of them.

You can visualise it like this picture. This doesn’t mean that all men oppress all women in all possible ways. It means that if you hold all the other social positions – race, economic class, sexual orientation – constant, women will always be worse off than men.

This is sex-based and has absolutely nothing to do with gender, which is why we see a hierarchy developing where transmen are no threat to men, but transwomen are colonising women left, right and centre. There is nothing accidental about the consequences of TWAW.

Feminism can’t absorb this. The versions of ‘feminism’ which try to be ‘inclusive’ of males have less than nothing to do with feminism. They’re pandering to the hierarchy. They’re actually sexism, anti-feminism. Women do this all the time #YesAuntLydia

And one of the failings of Foucauldian/Butlerian queer theory is that its adherents actually think they’re preaching feminism, when what they actually teach is the obfuscation of sex-based oppression, to the detriment of women. That’s how far neo-liberal thought has crept in.

Transactivism in particular is more often than not a Trojan Horse for really ugly misogyny. It needs to be booted out of feminism, and change its focus to rights and acceptance for trans people, which cannot happen at women’s expense. #newbacklash

For this to happen, we need to get back to basics. Feminism is the movement to liberate movement from sex-based oppression. Naming it sex-based makes it clear that men can (occasionally) be allies, and women can be opponents. Third-wavers and TRAs are opponents of feminism.

No other movement demands that its members prioritise everyone else’s issues above their own, and neither should feminism. If it’s not about women’s sex-based oppression, it’s not feminism. Any intersection relevant to feminism ALWAYS includes sex. #TRASOut

Time for some hard, exclusionary, focused feminism. We’ve got a lot of lost ground to regain. If we didn’t have to waste so much time on transactivism, we could have taken the sex industry down by now.

Why are people pretending that…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

Why are people pretending that it is so hard to define women? I am a human person who happens to have a female reproductive system. That makes me a woman. An adult human female.

It doesn’t “reduce me to my genitals”. It says my female body, which is a coherent biological system, not an assemblage of random parts, is the criterion which makes me part of the category woman.

Men have always known who to exploit for sexual, reproductive and domestic labour, but when they want to appropriate the category, suddenly we’re an indeterminate cloud of pink glitter with no clear boundaries? Piss off.

Woman has a clear biological definition, and it’s an important political category, because our biological differences and capabilities are precisely the reason for which we have been oppressed. How dare anyone suggest that we don’t even rate a word for ourselves?

I’m sick of the closet misogyny involved in trying to ‘deconstruct’ this. I’m sick of the attacks on infertile women, women who’ve had hysterectomies, intersex women, menopausal women.

I’m disgusted by people who in one breath call me a uterus-haver or a menstruator – dehumanisation redux – and in the next try to claim that saying a woman is an adult human female is reductionist. I’m not a collection of body parts.

Notably, these people are not talking about erection-havers or entesticled persons. They talk about men. That should tell you everything you need to know about this male supremacist shit.

Women go through three life phases: girls who are pre-menarche, fertile (menstruating) women, menopausal women. Maiden, mother, crone. We used to worship this and now we try to pretend that it doesn’t exist. How dare you say that women aren’t entitled to a word for ourselves?

Some women have fertility problems. Intersex women have disorders of sexual development, usually caused by a missing or additional X chromosome. They’re not some sort of monstrous hybrid which disproves sexual dimorphism, and they have material struggles to face.

I’m sick of people suggesting that intersex conditions make it impossible to draw a boundary around women. Actually it’s really easy. The thing that triggers male sexual development is the SRY (sex-determining region), a stretch of genetic material on the Y chromosome.

If that acts normally, a foetus will be androgenised at about 6 weeks and male sexual development will result. If it’s not there or doesn’t function, then development will be female or similar to female.

CAIS women, for example, are XY but are insensitive to androgen, so although the SRY region ‘fires’, they don’t respond to the androgens. Externally they develop as female, and will be sexed and socialised as girls. They should be considered women.

Very rarely the SRY region gets detached from the Y chromosome and a copy ends up on an X chromosome or autosome in a sperm cell, and an XX foetus with a functioning SRY region results. This results in a male.

But here’s the thing. The boundary around women is for women to decide. How dare men come along and tell us that we have to include some of their number because they ‘identify’ as women?

What gives some trans philosophers the right to ‘amelioratively redefine’ woman, so that they can shoehorn their way into a category they don’t belong in? Who do they think they are, and ameliorative for whom? It’s injurious for women, and we’re done with this shit.

How dare males assume that their gendered fantasy of what a woman is has anything to do with the reality of being female and should be allowed to trump it in law? This isn’t progressive. It’s sexist, male supremacist, reductive garbage. https://t.co/UFtkEK8qLF

If you’re a dysphoric male, then that’s what you are: a dysphoric male. We can sympathise, we can collude, we can create legal fictions to make your life as easy as possible.

But erasing woman as a category, removing our protections, our spaces, our sports, our representation, so you don’t ever have to confront that, is an unreasonable demand. The answer is no. You need your own word and your own category.

A reminder that the erasure of women qua women is extreme sexism, virulent misogyny. Nothing could be less progressive.

I’m really tired of the…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

I’m really tired of the knee-jerk assumption that women standing up for our rights is “anti-trans”. We analyse gender identity ideology as being harmful to women, and where it impacts on our rights, we take action to preserve boundaries.

We don’t set out to harm trans people or prevent them from having representation; in fact we support the expansion of their rights.

We do expect the clear competing rights issue caused by the conflict of gender identity and sex as means of legally categorising people to be taken into account. We insist on retaining rights and recognition as a sex class because that is where the rubber hits the road.

We do not attempt to define trans people’s reality for them. We do assert that trans women are not identical to us and that our priorities and requirements do not always coincide. If they disagree, then it is they who are attempting to define our reality.

Tbh, it’s really difficult to resolve a boundary fence dispute with your neighbour if he keeps insisting that he’s really your identical twin who lives in your house and wants to repaint your kitchen. Pink, naturally.

Given the various accusations from TRAs, wokebeards and assorted allies that fighting to retain sex-based protections is “trying to remove trans rights”, I think it also needs to be stated that women’s groups should have been consulted about the GRA. We were not.

We should have been consulted during Maria Miller’s farce of an enquiry. We were not. It’s only a massive grassroots effort that has gotten us heard over the proposals to extend GRA protections to any male who wants them on the basis of self-id.

So, far from women attacking trans rights, what has actually been happening is that women’s rights and protections have been being quietly and systematically stripped away behind our backs. The fucking boys’ club again.

Trans lobby groups like Stonewall et al have claimed to govt bodies that only trans people need to give input on this, because no-one else could possibly understand their experience. But you’re demanding to be treated as us legally, you’re demanding our language, spaces, sports,

..based on a new and improved definition of ‘woman’ which is completely unrecognisable to us. That’s our business, and you may as well get used to every last paragraph of every last bit of policy being put under the microscope, because you clearly can’t be trusted to include us.

The same lobby groups have been systematically lying about the Equalities Act to bodies like the police, schools, councils etc, with the result that women’s groups are now having to go back to these bodies and point out that they are misrepresenting the law.

The fact that you think you don’t need to ask women whether we object to being defined as a gender instead of a sex screams that you aren’t us, you don’t understand us, you have no clue what it is like being us. But you expect us to shut up. We won’t.

The absolute fucking nerve of basically staging a coup d’etat over everything women have fought for – and then telling us *we’re* trying to roll back *your* ‘rights’ when we wise up and object. No, we’re taking OUR rights back. You weren’t entitled to them in the first place.

Here’s @mbmpolicy ‘s excellent analysis of the level of policy capture which has been allowed to happen in the Scottish case :

https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/full/10.3366/scot.2019.0284

And here is evidence of the deliberate campaigning on the part of transactivists to have women’s sex-based exemptions removed from law :

https://womansplaceuk.org/references-to-removal-of-single-sex-exemptions/

Who is removing whose rights, indeed.

A rumination on Men in…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

A rumination on Men in Dresses, inspired by #PartTimePips

We are not supposed to say that transwomen are men in dresses, although when transgenderism embraces people who do not have or want to have surgery, and who cross-dress full or part time, that is, of course, exactly what they are: men in dresses.

Men in dresses are ridiculed and discriminated against. It’s wrong to call this misogyny. If Kate Manne’s model of misogyny is correct (I think it is), then misogyny polices and punishes women who deviate from acceptably feminine behaviour, aka gender roles.

But men in dresses are being policed as men who deviate from appropriately masculine behaviour. They are failing to express male power, which assaults the gender hierarchy; thus feminine attire is unacceptable for men.

It is unacceptable because it is *associated* with the subjugated female. The feminine is the marker of the subjugated female. The masculine is the marker of the dominant male.

Femininity is not intrinsically derided. It is derided as the marker of femaleness.

So for a man in a dress to claim that he is oppressed because of his femininity, and to simultaneously claim that his femininity makes him a woman, is to uphold the sexist patriarchal association of femininity with the subjugated female. Coming from a male it is #womanface.

There is nothing remotely transgressive about men in dresses claiming to be women. They’re ticking all the boxes for obedience to male domination. If you dress like that, you can’t be a male.

For a man in a dress to claim to be a man in a dress is a lot more transgressive. He is then violating the patriarchal association of femininity with the subjugated female, and masculinity with the dominant male, by saying males can be feminine. He’s transgressing male roles.

Feminism is about fighting the actual structural oppression of women by men, based on exploitation of reproductive resources. All the gender performance in the world, compliant or transgressive, is worthless if it has no effect on basic structural inequality.

Performative gender ‘transgression’ is just window-dressing. Patriarchy is impervious to mascara. What you need to know about Philip Bunce is a) that he has a dick and b) that he’s taken an award meant for a woman. That is sex inequality in action. #PatriarchyInDrag

I really think feminism has…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

I really think feminism has gone from Second Wave to Swerf and Terf without much in between – that 3rd wave, trans-friendly ‘feminism’ has been part of the backlash, and has co-opted the label, nothing more. Watch Jane’s interview – it’s long but gripping and informative.

That activist kids today have no idea how to do politics couldn’t be made clearer than in this tweet , which actually says nothing:

They worship some undefined notion of ‘equality’ which seems to involve:- complete narcissism – anybody can be/do what they say they are and it’s a hate crime to intervene
-reducing everyone to homogenous glop so they’re ripe for the picking, instead of considering group needs

– believing that saying people are equal somehow makes them equal (Jane handles the bonkers Foucauldian notion of discursive construction of reality very well in the video linked to above)

– Some strange idea that if you’re not fighting all injustice then you’re not fighting any injustice (which is especially applied to women, who are supposed to make the tea for everybody else)

This plays into the hands of patriarchal capitalist elites as though it was made for it. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I couldn’t have invented a better way of upholding male supremacy than saying white males can identify as anything they want, and that’s ‘diversity’.

It’s a perfect match for the notion that success is an individual affair and that there are no social forces which may help some unfairly and hold others back. It’s individualised consumer politics for middle-class kids who don’t understand structural oppression.

It’s also got slightly mad overtones of “create your own reality” New Age spirituality to it. We can bend reality to our will by what we think and say, they think (this is the basic metaphysical patriarchal error, of course). It removes the responsibility to act in the world.

It’s no surprise that under this backwards version of feminism, we have the normalisation of porn and prostitution construed as ‘women’s agency’, the extension of this to surrogacy, the reduction of reproductive rights, and finally the notion that women don’t even really exist.

And this makes far more sense as a reaction to the gains of the second wave against sex-based oppression than it does as some bizarre Kafka-esque version of ‘progress’. Society still depends on the free reproductive labour of women.

Here is a radical idea: if people organise in categories who suffer some shared oppression to fight for their interests, THEY WILL EXCLUDE SOME PEOPLE. Blacks will exclude whites. Palestinians will exclude Israelis. Women will exclude men.

Taking away the right of such a group to organise is replicating their oppression, doubling down on it. Doing this by pretending that fuzzy boundaries means that the categories don’t exists is still doubling down on it. It’s doing the oppressor’s work.

Making the categories unsayable doesn’t dissolve the categories, contra Foucauld. It makes the oppression unsayable. It’s doing the oppressor’s work. Transactivism does the work of sexism by erasing the category of woman. It’s male supremacy in drag.

A woman is an adult human female. Feminism is the movement to liberate women from male oppression. A movement that seeks trans rights will seek to meet the needs of trans people for a place in society without demolishing the rights of women. Transactivism is not that movement

Some good articles:

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-c509-sex-matters-1

http://www.isiswomen.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=630%3Awhy-womens-spaces-are-critical-to-feminist-autonomy&catid=127%3Atheme-mens-involvement-in-womens-empowerment&Itemid=452

https://janeclarejones.com/2018/08/30/queer-theory-foucauldian-feminism-and-the-erasure-of-rape/

Transgenderism is a masculinist ideology….

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

Transgenderism is a masculinist ideology. There is nothing feminist or pro-woman in it. It reifies gender stereotypes, erases the female body and then claims that men can colonise women based on their subjective feelings.

The prioritisation of the male mind over the female body is the defining feature of patriarchal thought, and always has been. Transgenderism is an analog for patriarchal religion. It’s part of the backlash against feminism.

It is also completely unnecessary for diagnosing and helping people with dysphoria, of course, which is why such people are called truscum by the movement. They reveal its claims to be sexist hot air.

Here’s the long version – excellent article by @uracontra_ :

https://medium.com/@tom_farr/the-wolf-of-masculinity-is-dressed-up-in-the-sheeps-clothing-of-gender-ideology-progressiveness-10ef8399ca6e

And here is one of the best radfem analyses of gender ideology I’ve ever read : https://t.co/UFtkEK8qLF

‘Femininity is a male fantasy’ – Mary Daly

Given the last few days,…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

Given the last few days, we should remind ourselves again and again what the implications of gender self-id, or even easy access to a GRC are, for women: we are legally obliterated as a sex class.

I pointed out the problems with saying that trans women are women in this thread:

I’d like to add some text and a diagram from the underlying blog post to make it clear what I’m getting at when I say that the statement forces us to prioritise gender id over sex: (from https://t.co/4anAZVv0Ay)

There is no way round the logical impasse. This is not about “broadening the definition” of woman. It is about supplanting a definition of woman based on sex with another definition of woman based on gender identity, and giving legal priority to the gender identity definition.

I say ‘supplanting’ because both sex and gender reassignment are protected characteristics, but what is clear from the AWS list controversy and others is that sex has to give way to gender identity as the protected category.

This is entirely consistent with a radical feminist analysis of gender as hierarchy: low status gender-non-conforming men have the option to become high-status women, supplanting the women for whom the positions and services were created. This is what is happening.

Whether this was the intended consequence of legislation or not, the effect is one of extreme misogyny and the undoing of a century of feminist efforts.

As Helen Saxby’s excellent article points out, the GRA of 2004 was intended to protect the rights of a few extremely dysphoric transsexuals. It is no longer fit for purpose as the explosion of gender identity politics could not have been foreseen.

https://notthenewsinbriefs.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/when-womens-rights-are-notadebate/

An approach seeking to improve the rights and visibility of trans people without erasing women’s progress would acknowledge this, go back to the drawing board and start with the assumption that trans women are *not* women.

Then the needs of women and trans women can be discussed, areas of overlap and difference identified, and legislation and facilities created accordingly, in the interests of finding a genuinely fair solution.

The current legislative path towards gender self-id renders women invisible as a sex class and not even deserving of our own label. I believe Rebecca Reilly-Cooper’s Basic Questions illustrate what we are asking for:

https://rebeccarc.com/2018/01/14/some-basic-questions-about-sex-and-gender-for-progressives/

I think all politicians and progressive supporters of gender self-id should answer those questions. If they answer yes, then they will have to justify their support for self-id. If they answer no, then they will have to accept being correctly labelled an extreme misogynist.

And when I say extreme, I mean extreme. Even the men who denied us the vote didn’t try to pretend that we didn’t exist.

“gender identity transforms legal sex…there…

A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

“gender identity transforms legal sex…there is no recourse to the sexed body which suggests that the body’s sex as a taxonomical tool has in some way become redundant… Changing sex for the purposes of legal recognition then, is … about changing how sex is legally defined.”

This is disastrous for women, who need specific protections from men, not people of particular genders. Women’s representation in society is also under threat as it becomes increasingly fashionable to hand our positions to males identifying as women.

The sexed reproductive body is the locus of women’s oppression, and far, far more important for us than for men, or trans ppl, who have no skin in the game. An attempt to write us out of law and language like this is some serious fucking misogynistic shit. Women, wake up.

The GRA was intended to protect the rights of severely dysphoric transsexuals. Gender self-id in an era when gender has become a much looser concept violates the spirit of the earlier law, and leaves women no legal protections as women.

Most members of the public do not understand that the transgender movement is far wider than transsexuals (who very often distance themselves). Being trans increasingly does not require dysphoria or medical/surgical treatment.

Around 80 – 85% of males who identify as women will not have surgery, but self-identification will make them legal women. This is clearly wide open to abuse. Drag queens, cross dressers, feminine men etc are all under the trans umbrella.

For these males to identify as trans, organise, seek legal and social recognition, expand the notion of gender, is great. For them to be able to become legal women on their say-so, thus obliterating women’s rights, is unacceptable.

The only people less aware of the issues than the general public appear to be virtue-signalling brocialist Labour politicians. Either that, or they actively support the erasure of women, which wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

It is crucial to women that we fight to maintain our status as a sex category wherever it is challenged, such as the AWS issue, and that we continue to raise awareness – the fundraiser is fantastic work but there’s a lot more to come.

We support attempts to increase trans visibility and acceptance, but we are not going to do this at the cost of self-erasure so I foresee a lot more campaigns like this. Women are adult human females, and we have a right to representation as such. And we’ve had e-fucking-nough.

Trans people’s rights and representation are not affected by the dropping of the phrase “trans women are women”. There is nothing preventing us developing fair and kind policies to include trans women in society without arbitrarily conflating them with women.

Extremist transactivist demands for validation of their identities by women will not, of course, be met. But then, this is not a right.
“Trans women are trans women” – Chimananda Adichie

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