Feminist Theory & "Women's Issues" Discussion Thread: All Gender Identities Are Encouraged To Participate

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Something of a companion thread to Feminist Blogs/Communities I Have Known... but less focused on blogs.

Also a space where we can have multi-gendered dialogue from the outset, so we don't have any confusion.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 22:56 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm v v confused about gender and what it all means but that's p inherent in the discussion I guess?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:03 (five years ago) Permalink

Well, yeah - I purposefully phrased the title in a way that allows for those whose identity is not always recognised. I was initially going to include queer theory in the thread concept, as I've recently found myself with groups where feminism and queer politics are completely intertwined, but I don't feel that I should be the person to say whether or not this is a good place to discuss that.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

Actually, "completely" is not true. I think that would be impossible. But they work closely together, a lot.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

Ha ha no, I understood what you meant in naming the title that, I like the inclusivity of it. I'm mostly confused by mine own gender and ~what it means~ and always have been so I was just pointing out that confusion is inherent in the process for some ppl. (as recognised by the title)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:12 (five years ago) Permalink

Yes. I've never felt like "I'm really a boy" but performatively I often feel more akin to males. But then, that's based around the socially constructed sides of gender, so it's less confusion, more rejection. I didn't always understand that, mind you.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:20 (five years ago) Permalink

not to get all graduate seminar on this thread but: do we have a good definition of "gender" that isn't culturally essentialist? I'm sure it's out there but my reading in Feminist/Queer/etc theory is lacking. I don't necessarily have a problem with a culturally essentialist reading of gender, but i'd be interested in alternatives. For instance, where and when does the cultural proscribed notions of gender we have run up against actually being attached to, say, a penis? And how do you talk about this intersection without bogus and lame biological essentialism?

ryan, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:46 (five years ago) Permalink

I really want to look at this question, because not having a satisfying answer to it is one reason why I'm really unhappy defining groups of people as 'men' and 'women' and setting policy accordingly.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:48 (five years ago) Permalink

I certainly know that most working definitions of gender are crude and essentialist and problematic. I get that. But when talking about many of the blunt force issues I have to confront, I know the people who are perpetuating this shit on me are male bodied ppl who identify as male and a huge part of the reason they were doing it to me was because they perceived me as female and had a specific set of assumptions about what that meant, so it's really hard not tp talk about this stuff without using the shorthand no matter how clumsy it is. Otherwise you end up mumbling vague shut about kierarchy (lord knows how my iPhone will render that) and no one outside a graduate program knows what you're on about.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:58 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah that's a great point. I think one of the challenges in getting people to accept something like cultural determination of gender is that their first line of defense is a reductio ad absurdum like "is my penis [or whatever] culturally constructed?!?"

it's similar to the "well I know my grandpa wasn't a monkey" defense against evolution.

I think, at bottom, there's an enormous amount of anxiety that goes into gender identity (one might even say this is the entire purpose of gender) that's gonna always leads to exactly the kind of hysteria you see in homophobia and the like. so defusing that anxiety remains, i think, a big part of the goal.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:09 (five years ago) Permalink

Like Deborah Cameron said in a debate I saw, utterly demolishing that Baron-Cohen "male brain" prick with her magnificent logic "The fact that women give birth is not in any way a Societal Construct. But what it ~MEANS~ that women give birth is completely a Societal Construct"

<3 D-Camz so hard, she cuts through so much of that Mars/Venus guff so effectively.

But um yeah, anxiety around gender is so damaging.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:16 (five years ago) Permalink

I can see that a lot of the time the shorthand is unavoidable, but what I'm afraid of - in myself and others - is letting the shorthand frame the debate. I see so many people embracing these powerful narratives about what it means to be male or female, that exclude people's real experiences in horrible, damaging ways. In a space like this, where we can afford to be nuanced perhaps more than elsewhere, it would be cool if we could approach it with that in mind - and WCC I'd love to hear some of that grad school stuff if you can explain it to a psych graduate with little to no study of sociology under her belt.

I'm too tired to talk properly now, but anyway let it be known that I am very much looking forward to getting into this stuff with ILX0rs and I'm *grateful* for the clusterfuck.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 00:18 (five years ago) Permalink

Hey just remember I didn't go to grad school, I'm an art school dropout I picked up much of this stuff in the library and on the web and from a friend who is doing a PhD in feminist linguistics or sociolinguistics or whatever it's called. I sm not an expert.

I get tongue tied up in this bcuz so much of my *need* for feminism comes from not conforming to trad expectations of "woman" and wanting to widen up the definitions of "woman" when maybe I should be getting rid of gender entirely? But back when I was 20 queer theorists didn't want to talk to me (bcuz bisexuality or pansexuality didnt ~exist~ back then as far as those individuals were concerned) but feminist theorists did so that's where I ended up.

I always want to widen the idea of "woman" not narrow it but that has a tension with the desire for a safe space bcuz who defines or owns the idea of woman? It's a recognized tension, we have to work to resolve.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:26 (five years ago) Permalink

Sorry to go off topic, but I'm so tempted to take this out of context: <3 D-Camz so hard. You love David Cameron! You love David Cameron!

Back on topic, yes, grad-school discussion is more than welcome from my perspective: I know bits and pieces, from A Level Sociology, lit theory, and philosophy, but I could definitely do with more thinkers to pursue and avenues to contemplate.

emil.y, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:29 (five years ago) Permalink

"A Level Sociology" is one clause there, I progressed some way beyond that in the latter two disciplines, ha. (Not braggin', just sayin')

emil.y, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:29 (five years ago) Permalink

Deborah Cameron. Don't get over excited.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:30 (five years ago) Permalink

what I like about that Deborah Cameron quote (i should look her up) is that it nicely points out that yes there is biology and whatnot but that we can't TALK or THINK about this stuff except within the parameters of MEANING...you'd dont get to crawl outside of cultural meaning using a ladder called "biology" or whatever.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:37 (five years ago) Permalink

so yes there is an "outside" or limit to culture/meaning but we only have access to it as a kind of negative capability.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:38 (five years ago) Permalink

gender's odd. it's clearly a cultural construct, both in a hazy, general sense that exists outside any specific individual and in the various ways we all individually (re)construct & perceive it. but that's not all it is. unlike "race", there's a substantial biological component to gender. of course, as others itt have pointed out, we can only understand what this might mean at several levels of remove, as filtered through a thicket of complex constructions from which we can't even sensibly hope to extricate our perspectives.

i'm biologically male. for better or worse, i find that my subjective experience of gendered-ness squares pretty well with what my culture seems to describe as generic masculinity. i deviate from what i take to be the "masculine norm" in all sorts of ways, some trivial, some quite dramatic, but i assume that this is true of most everyone (everyone worth knowing, anyway), and i'm pretty happy with the space i've carved out between cultural expectations and the seemingly gendered aspects of my own internal landscape.

unfashionable as it may be to say, it seems to me that biological gender drives a great deal of human behavior and that these drivings do sometimes reciprocate those "dubious" cultural constructs we've inherited. men, for example, seem in general to be more openly and aggressive than women, to the extent that male violence is a serious problem the world over. would say the same with varying degrees of confidence about things like female nurturance and consensus-building, male vs female approaches to competition and "mating behavior", masculine self-sufficiency, etc.

while biological gender is generally self-evident, gender identification can only by known when it is communicated. we know that someone identifies as female when they tell us so. we also know that that the things people say aren't always true. perhaps for this reason, i suspect that many of us would have trouble accepting the presence of an apparently straight-normative biological male in a women's bathroom or domestic violence shelter simply on the basis of her reassurance that it's ok because she "identifies as female". much as we might like to reduce all gender to pliable constructs, it can be very hard to let go of the last shreds of biological essentialism.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 09:26 (five years ago) Permalink

i am glad this thread is here.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 13 February 2012 09:44 (five years ago) Permalink


tmi but (Z S), Monday, 13 February 2012 10:18 (five years ago) Permalink

Any time that anyone starts going on about the "substantial biological component to gender" I just want to refer them to Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine and Pink Brain Blue Brain by Lise Elliott (sp?) and just carry on repeating - outside the obvious physical documented secondary sexual characteristics (the girl/boy lego) the actual measurable differences in cognition, in brain function, in all that stuff that matters are TINY. Not only that, but even with the DOCUMENTED and measurable differences (for example, height) - the variation WITHIN each gender is often FAR GREATER than the "difference" between genders.

This isn't just one or two outlier studies suggesting this. There are HUGE bodies of work on this. Analysis. Meta-analysis. Meta analysis of meta analysis. The OUTLIER studies which suggest men's and women's brains are from different planets are the ones that get all the attention BECAUSE THEY ARE OUTLIERS. And they are often NOT replicable. Which is your guaranteed sign of being NOT SCIENCE.

I'm not just "deferring to a authority" here. I am saying, there is shitloads of evidence on this one if you even scratch the surface of doing research on it. There is, like, "Climate change is a real thing" levels of evidence on this one. And I'm just saying, in advance, that if anyone is going to continue to insist that gender is a ~biological~ thing, I'm going to treat them like a climate change denier, and just not engage with nonsense.

Gender is a construct. Just because something is a construct does not mean it is not *meaningful* or that it does not have real world consequences. (Money is also a construct, but try doing without that one in western society.) But construct means "we made up the rules" and it also means "other societies or other possible societies can put the rules in different places and in different orders." (Try walking into a shop in England and buying something with an American dollar. Money is a construct that means different things in different places.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 12:55 (five years ago) Permalink

that seems very otm. people who talk about aspects of humanity that are "outside of culture" shd probably point to some examples of humans that exist outside of culture. good luck with that.

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 13:12 (five years ago) Permalink

I had to get off line to compose the next bit so this is a continuation of the previous bit, rather than a response to you, NV, but here goes:

i find that my subjective experience of gendered-ness squares pretty well with what my culture seems to describe as generic masculinity. i deviate from what i take to be the "masculine norm" in all sorts of ways, some trivial, some quite dramatic, but i assume that this is true of most everyone

This is the problematic bit with the whole "biological" conception of gender. It's not biological at all, it's what your culture says is "masculine."

And if you, as a Western (I think you're North American?) man who conforms fairly well to your culture's expectations of masculinity were suddenly dropped into, e.g. Ancient Sparta, you would be thought of as an effeminate wimp or e.g. 18th Century French Court you would be thought of as a rude uncultured boer (bore? boar?) who needed to sort out a more masculine wig immediately.

For *me* (specific, personal) the problem is not whether someone identifies with their visible biological gender (though I recognise for many, many people this is a completely valid problem and source of oppression) it's how arbitrary the divisions into "masculine" and "feminine" are - how *brutally* they are policed - and policed in the service or protection of *whom*?

But those are conversations you can't really have without the entry of that nebulous concept of kierarchy (which spell check tells me isn't even a word.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:28 (five years ago) Permalink

idk i'm kindof with that and not with it.

i know trans guys who have talked about the really visceral physico-psychological feelings of taking testosterone for the first time. and pretty much anyone who has ever been a teenager probably knows that hormones tend to do things to you. and yeah there are varying degrees of testosterone and oestrogen. and the binary of gender is culturally substantiated.

i mean i don't want to be misunderstood, this is not to say that we can understand some set of biological imperatives, primordial urges. i think its closer to what monique wittig meant when somebody asked her if she had a vagina and she said "no." i mean maybe i should explain that monique wittig was a lesbian and concluded that as she was a lesbian, she was not a woman because woman is something that is constructed within heterosexist gender relations. she's not insane, she wasn't denying that physiologically her body corresponds to a female body, but that the the body itself is something that is constructed by language and culture. still though, the matrix of signification is not one that is closed at the level of "culture" but that bodies are *part* of culture. folds of sensations, particular materialities, pleasures, warmth, movements, hormones. its not that these things are anterior to culture but it isn't the other way around either.

judith, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:35 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah sorry i certainly wasn't trying to privilege culture-and-nothing-else, just reflecting that the links are inextricable and not reducible to "this but not that" arguments

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 13:41 (five years ago) Permalink

<I>"The problem with the word 'vagina' is that vaginas seem to be just straight-out bad luck. Only a masochist would want one, because only awful things happen to them. Vaginas get torn. Vaginas get ‘examined’. Evidence is found in them. Serial killers leave things in them, to taunt Morse . . . No one wants one of those."</I>

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Though obviously my inability to click the "Convert Simple HTML to BBcode" button is due to Evolutionary Psychology.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah but that whole "men are just biologically different because: hormones!" ignores the fact that women also have a set of those exact chemicals sloshing around our bodies (except doctors call them androgens we have them) and not to mention the fact that it's even sometimes sold as a pseudo health concern by the kind of behavior police-y magazines all "OMG do you have an interest in maps and systems thinking? You might suffer from too much testosterone giving you ~male brain~ oh noes panic!" (This was an actual article I read in the launderette.)

And how things get interpreted like - I dunno, maybe I have an endocrine malfunction I should get checked out bcuz I totally get very male-coded aggro if I'm driving a car I get v aggressive about defending my territory (one of many reasons I don't drive) but when men do that, they have "testosterone" as their excuse but If I'm being all competitive in that pissing contest sense and male-coded, do I just do it bcuz I missed that particular bit of training in how to be ladylike? Or can I blame my ~androgens~?

I don't buy the "it's hormones" excuse entirely

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:09 (five years ago) Permalink

I type so much less coherently when I'm on an iPhone. Don't know if the little screen makes me male brain or iv it's just the lack of ability to see the whole post to sense check it. That was almost incoherent. Sorry.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:11 (five years ago) Permalink

that can apply to "personality" across the board tho. western society is increasingly big on medicalising personality in general - "are you like this? maybe the chemicals in your body need readjustment". there are maybe models for personality that rely less on societal norms - we can think about people's personal goals or happiness, ask whether their behaviours are self-limiting or destructive in some way - but a lot of hormonal/brain chemistry/genetic arguments have become standardised ways of looking at humanity and life experience. it's an excuse, as you say, and takes on virulent forms when used against women - lol PMT etc - but personality in general is increasingly policed, i guess, in ways that previously the power structures only sought to police behaviours.

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:15 (five years ago) Permalink

and yeah there are double standards, sometimes we are at the mercy of our internal chemistry and sometimes it makes us who we are

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:19 (five years ago) Permalink

...runs the argument

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:19 (five years ago) Permalink

Yes, all that, too.

What I'm trying to say is, it varies within gender as well as between them. Some women are aggressive and competitive. Some men are warm and nurturing. (Most humans have some mixture of the two.) You can say "it's testosterone" or you can say "it's cultural conditioning" but the important thing is that it varies and that variance is OK.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:23 (five years ago) Permalink

Hey Emily - Thank you. :)

wolf kabob (ENBB), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:26 (five years ago) Permalink

gonna check in later because this will likely be a thread to learn from, just please do me a favour and explain/link any jargon ( "culturally essentialist" up there threw me, though to be fair it also took me three attempts at processing "climate change denier" before I realised it wasn't talking about sheerer stockings.)

thomasintrouble, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:31 (five years ago) Permalink

Anyone who takes potshots at the surreal typing lysdexia caused by my iPhone is gonna get a crack on the head for asking. Just saying, like. My spelling is gonna be all over the shop.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Yes I am aware of the hilarity involved in an amateur Li ghost (that was linguist, iPhone - but I'm gonna leave that to show what this thing does to me) who cannot spell but chomski my Sapir-wharf hypothesARSE if u wanna rib me about it. ;-)

^^^^^ha ha this is all a clumsy joke but if you ever can't google something or want a clarification pls say "srs question" and I'll try to de-jargon-ify

It's not so much learning new jargon as learning a new language requires a new way of thinking coz replacing words w/o replacing the thought processes is not progress. It's trying to unlearn so many of the kierarchy's ideas which is often the hard part.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:42 (five years ago) Permalink

Right, why is why "can't google" isn't necessarily the problem - a lot of this is going to be "but what do you mean by that word / in this context?"

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:45 (five years ago) Permalink

the funniest iphone autocorrect i've seen is changing "sexting" to "destiny" :/

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:50 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah but there's a difference between "who is Dale Spender" and "what do you mean by kierarchy in this context" - happy to discuss the latter. Not so much the former.

I dunno, "cultural essentialist" seemed to be the opposite/corollary of "biological essentialist" and didn't really need clarification? But I guess maybe we should touch on how there are two (opposing?) schools of thought saying gender difference is the result of nature or nurture. Obv almost all arguments of this kind are at their heart an and/both proposition not an either/or.

But the biggest difference is that the Cultural crew believe that this stuff is nurture - and therefore can be changed and the Biological crew think this is impossible (and maybe even "against nature") to try to strive for gender equality

(see if you can guess which side I'm on, huh?)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:56 (five years ago) Permalink

if anyone is going to continue to insist that gender is a ~biological~ thing, I'm going to treat them like a climate change denier, and just not engage with nonsense.

biological gender IS a thing, and anyone who continues to insist that it isn't is simply wrong, full stop. in an overall sense, we can measure the differences between men and women any number of ways, not just in terms of the gross architecture of the body, but also in terms of more subtle things like its chemistry and DNA. we don't fully understand what all of this means, of course, and individuals vary greatly, but this doesn't mean that we can't scientifically "perceive" biological gender. we can.

of course and like i very clearly said before, we can only perceive and understand the significance of biological gender at a remove, as filtered through the understandings of gender that we've inherited. that's what makes this subject interesting. we know that we are driven both by biology and by the cultural constructs that compose our understanding, and there's no way to clearly distinguish between the two.

to repeat another thing i said earlier, we can see the workings of gender in male violence as a phenomenon. male violence exists and is a problem in every culture in the world, and this has always been true throughout human history so far as we know. you suggested that if i were dropped into ancient sparta, i would be perceived as a wimp. of course i would. in case you missed it, that was the entire point of the paragraph you were responding to: that gender is, to a substantial extent, a cultural construct. but it's worth noting that ancient sparta was no less dominated by male violence than our world is today. this does not conclusively "prove" that male violence is a product of male biology, of course, but it does incline me to suspect that biology plays a role.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 17:37 (five years ago) Permalink

You're not *even* wrong.

You seem to inhabit this weird fantasy world where male power is not prized and rewarded at every turn, and female power is not demonised and punished at every turn. Where male violence is not *fetishised* and portrayed as noble and good and female violence is not denied in order to keep some wonderful "pure" vision of "femininity" as opposed to "masculinity."

This fantasy world where violent women from Boudiccea to Margaret Thatcher can just be handwaved away.

A fantasy world where structural inequality does not codify "male" supremacy over "female" at every step because the rules were written to keep it that way. These ideas are not reinforced with cultural narrative over and again until ppl believe they are true bcuz other views just don't get presented, or are actively derided by those w the most to lose?

And then you want to turn around and talk about this highly contrived and exaggerated version of "masculinity" as being somehow inevitable, even biological?

And I just call: bullshit.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:30 (five years ago) Permalink

I've been looking for the past half hour to see if I can find any studies that strongly demonstrate even the simple premise that testosterone leads to increased aggression. Can't find anything. And conversely, if you google 'violent women' you get lots of hits about violence against women, a review of a book about Hollywood fetishisation of female violence, and a Daily Mail article about teenage girl gangs.

If the starting assumption for discourse is that men are perpetrators and women are victims, which it seems to be, it excludes from serious consideration the violence women do against men, the violence women do against each other, and the (sexual) violence men inflict on other men. I'll keep looking for biological underpinnings to the assumption, there may well be something, but I'm inclined to think it'll turn out to be by far the lesser factor.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:42 (five years ago) Permalink

I mean let's get this straight. I'm not denying that there's such a * thing* as male violence, or that male violence especially as used as a method of control against women (hello Chris Brown and domestic violence awareness) is not hugely problematic.

What I'm denying is this idea that violence is something automatically and essentially coded into masculinity from biological sex up - rather than something which is learned, reinforced and rewarded at every step of a man's life.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:43 (five years ago) Permalink

i think you're responding to an imaginary person in your head, cuz it sure as hell isn't me.

of course male power is prized and rewarded at every turn. or course female power is demonized and punished i don't wave any counter examples away. but the history of human violence, not just in western culture but in every culture ever known, is predominantly the history of male violence. to my mind, in conjunction with what little we do know about male and female biology, this makes it reasonable (not certain, just reasonable) to suppose that male biology plays a role in male violence.

would say the same of many other ostensibly gendered characteristics and behaviors, that biology probably does play some role. again though, it's impossible to clearly distinguish between the urgings of biology and cultural conditioning. but the fact that we can't know exactly what role biology plays does not mean that biology plays no role. in order to understand such things clearly, we have to accept huge amount of uncertainty. i.e., if you align yourself with either "crew", Cultural or Biological, you're missing the larger picture.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (five years ago) Permalink

What I'm denying is this idea that violence is something automatically and essentially coded into masculinity from biological sex up - rather than something which is learned, reinforced and rewarded at every step of a man's life.

i suspect that both factors play a role, nature & nurture.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (five years ago) Permalink

Zora there's evidence that testosterone is released by men who are victors *after* the aggression is over but little evidence that testosterone causes violence or aggression. It's complicated, as all hormonal things involving humans tend to be.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (five years ago) Permalink

If the starting assumption for discourse is that men are perpetrators and women are victims, which it seems to be, it excludes from serious consideration...

i don't think you need a starting assumption. i think it's better to look at the available information and work up from there.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:47 (five years ago) Permalink

Contenderizer you keep repeating the same things over and over as if you haven't read what I've posted (and certainly none of the books I've referenced) so you are also having a conversation with someone who is not me.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:48 (five years ago) Permalink

if men can't change the standards for men's attire and men are in charge of everything, who do they expect to get permission from? come on guys, just wear your sandals and deal with the fallout.

La Lechera, Wednesday, 5 August 2015 17:47 (two years ago) Permalink

ain't nobody in charge of nothin

except the a/c

the men are in charge of that


j., Wednesday, 5 August 2015 17:48 (two years ago) Permalink

even at banks they normally have a 'summer dress code' where you can wear short sleeve button downs and khakis.

where the sterls have no name (s.clover), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 17:56 (two years ago) Permalink

"women are always complaining about air conditioning and unequal pay. but they don't know how good they have it. men have to wear pants!"

where the sterls have no name (s.clover), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 18:01 (two years ago) Permalink

shorts are great & feel great. no room for leg shaming in this sweaty world imo

welltris (crüt), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 18:03 (two years ago) Permalink

"women are always complaining about air conditioning and unequal pay. but they don't know how good they have it. men have to wear pants!"

― where the sterls have no name (s.clover), Wednesday, August 5, 2015 2:01 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah i remember the bit about income disparity in chait's piece

usic ally (k3vin k.), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 20:14 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I guess since emil.y started this thread, it's as good a place as any to link up some Jack Halberstam:


Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Friday, 18 September 2015 08:13 (two years ago) Permalink

I find the extent to which Halberstam conflates transition with medical transition in that note kind of weird and ungrounded, but obviously it's not an argumentative piece in the way of his academic work, and however he articulates his identity (including not wanting to explain it to randos) is of course valid.

one way street, Friday, 18 September 2015 20:08 (two years ago) Permalink

I don't know if you've read Female Masculinity, but there is a whole chapter on the tensions, differences and similarities between Butch women who identify so strongly with and embody masculinity (but not necessarily maleness) as to be classed within "transgender" - but are not male and don't necessarily identify as such; and Trans Men. Halberstam has done a lot of research and theorising on what is termed, for better or worse, a "border war". The idea of figuring out where the frontier is between two conflicting groups of people - and after much discussion and research, Halberstam seemed to draw the conclusion that medical transitioning - top surgery and T - had become a frontier, physically and conceptually, along which the tension and skirmishes took place. Where is that difference between living as a masculine woman, and transitioning? So, within the body of work, it makes sense in a shifting hinterland to identify this as a frontier between masculinity and maleness. But it's a one paragraph reduction of something which merits an entire chapter (and could easily be a whole book).

It's stuff I'm trying to work out, y'know, why I feel like I'm on one side of that border myself, and not the other. It's complicated. It feels like one has to carve out and defend a space which is not binary, in a world that keeps pushing people into binaries. I like reading people that acknowledge that there is a hinterland.

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Friday, 18 September 2015 21:00 (two years ago) Permalink

I've read that chapter of Female Masculinity and some of Halberstam's other work, and I know that Halberstam came to that conclusion. I guess I just have qualms about the extent to which Halberstam still seems to take that medicalizing frame for transmasculinity for granted, although there are specific social scenes where questions of medical intervention or non-intervention would seem decisive. Obviously this is all complicated, and it's a genuine problem (along with all the other forms of marginalization and violence trans people experience, non-binary or not) that there are so few spaces of legibility for nonbinary people.

one way street, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:50 (two years ago) Permalink

rebecca solnit on not having children


mookieproof, Saturday, 19 September 2015 00:14 (two years ago) Permalink

since we're talking about halberstam, i liked this review of what having skimmed through it seems a very odd journal edition on 'queer theory without antinormativity' - https://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/straight-eye-for-the-queer-theorist-a-review-of-queer-theory-without-antinormativity-by-jack-halberstam/

Merdeyeux, Saturday, 19 September 2015 01:15 (two years ago) Permalink

quiddities and agonies of recuperation

one way street, Friday, 2 October 2015 23:27 (two years ago) Permalink


twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 15 October 2015 16:55 (two years ago) Permalink

truly one of many faces

one way street, Thursday, 15 October 2015 18:52 (two years ago) Permalink

new semiotext(e) book - anyone know of it or the author?


The psychic life of the university campus is ugly. The idyllic green quad is framed by paranoid cops and an anxious risk-management team. A student is beaten, another is soaked with pepper spray. A professor is thrown to the ground and arrested, charged with felony assault. As the campus is fiscally strip-mined, the country is seized by a crisis of conscience: the student makes headlines now as rape victim and rapist. An administrator writes a report. The crisis is managed.

"Campus Sex, Campus Security "is Jennifer Doyle's clear-eyed critique of collegiate jurisprudence, in the era of campus corporatization, "less-lethal" weaponry, ubiquitous rape discourse, and litigious anxiety. Today's university administrator rides a wave of institutional insecurity, as the process of administering student protests and sexual-assault complaints rolls along a Mobius strip of shifting legality. One thing (a crime) flips into another (a violation) and back again. On campus, the criminal and civil converge, usually in the form of a hearing that mimics the rituals of a military court, with its secret committees and secret reports, and its sanctions and appeals.

What is the university campus in this world? Who is it for? What sort of psychic space does it simultaneously produce and police? What is it that we want, really, when we call campus security?

j., Wednesday, 21 October 2015 20:57 (two years ago) Permalink

I haven't read Doyle's pamphlet, but there's a brief discussion of it by Tav Nyong’o here: https://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/civility-disobedience/

Ostensibly, the new civility codes have little to do directly with sex. But the neoliberal rhetoric of the campus as a space under threat is deeply intertwined with in the continued infantilization of the democratic sphere, and is thus deeply connected to moral and sex panics. Jennifer Doyle demonstrates this point in a powerful recent pamphlet, Campus Security. Doyle recounts how one police justification for the notorious pepper spray incident at the University of California was the need to protect students, gendered as feminized victims, from the masculinized and racialized threat of occupiers who weren’t currently enrolled students. The justification of the use of real force against students in order to protect them from hypothetical aggressions is the kind of security state doublespeak we routinely confront these days. At the University of Illinois, for example, it apparently fell to administrators, trustees and donors to protect students from the political viewpoints of prospective professors, when and where those views could be adjudged (unilaterally, without any grievance process) to create even a potential situation of harm, discomfort, or threat.

one way street, Thursday, 22 October 2015 00:35 (two years ago) Permalink

oh, that's good, thanks ows

j., Thursday, 22 October 2015 01:10 (two years ago) Permalink

I was looking at that book today. In the preface she writes about receiving threats from a student and the university calling in security experts who wanted to turn her apartment building into a fortress. She filed several Title IX complaints, against the student and the college iirc. Also some chilling stuff about how difficult it is to convince a jury that someone is guilty of rape even the rape is caught on film.

Why because she True and Interesting (President Keyes), Thursday, 22 October 2015 01:23 (two years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
three weeks pass...

I don't know what the best thread is for this topic but as someone who has always found TERFs philosophically more coherent in terms of how they understand gender + sex (though not necessarily on board with their political ramifications) I find this gender-critical trans women phenomenon fascinating:


I won't comment beyond the link bc it's not my place but here's a pull quote:

To the mainstream trans rights movement, womanhood (or manhood) is a matter of self-perception; to radical feminists, it’s a material condition. Radical feminists believe women are a subordinate social class, oppressed due to their biology, and that there’s nothing innate about femininity. They think you can’t have a woman’s brain in a man’s body because there’s no such thing as a “woman’s brain.” As the British feminist writer Julie Bindel—a bete noire of many trans activists—put it, “Feminists want to rid the world of gender rules and regulations, so how is it possible to support a theory which has at its centre the notion that there is something essential and biological about the way boys and girls behave?”

At first, Highwater felt incensed by these radical feminists. But she also wanted to understand them, and so she began to engage with them online. She discovered “people who had a pretty good grasp of gender as an artificial social construct—the expectations of what females are supposed to be, the expectations of what males are supposed to be, and how much of that is socialized,” she says. “What I started to find is that the women I was talking to actually made so much more sense than the trans people I was talking to.”

Mordy, Wednesday, 9 December 2015 14:52 (one year ago) Permalink

less dramatic, perhaps more accurate paragraph

Boylan insists that the trans rights movement is nowhere near as doctrinaire as gender-critical writers claim it is. “The transgender community, as well as the community of people who define themselves as feminists, is comprised of many, many different voices, and the strength of the movement is in the diversity, and quite frankly the contentiousness and disagreement,” says Boylan, who transitioned 15 years ago. “I don’t see that there’s any sort of single consensus on what it means to be male or female either within the transgender movement or out of it.”

thwomp (thomp), Wednesday, 9 December 2015 15:01 (one year ago) Permalink

the way i hear that kind of problem put now is that while making a strong sex-gender distinction was strategically incredibly useful for second wave feminism, what trans issues bring into focus is that separating biological sex (as a foreclosed area of inquiry) from social gender (as the thing we talk about politically) is not as simple as it seemed, and the distinction has to be navigated much more carefully than previous generations often did.

(though even this is too simple - while the mainstream understanding of second wave feminism is grounded on that distinction, the way that the likes of kate millett treat it is much more subtle even from the beginning.)

Merdeyeux, Wednesday, 9 December 2015 15:45 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...


mookieproof, Friday, 15 April 2016 18:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Sexism has finally invaded that bastion of equality: sleep.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Friday, 15 April 2016 18:56 (one year ago) Permalink

just when I think this shit can't get any more ridiculous

kinder, Friday, 15 April 2016 20:12 (one year ago) Permalink


Treeship, Friday, 15 April 2016 20:31 (one year ago) Permalink

they should have flames on them or at least some sort of ribbed metal surface come on

Treeship, Friday, 15 April 2016 20:32 (one year ago) Permalink

boys apparently protectionist

denies the existence of dark matter (difficult listening hour), Friday, 15 April 2016 20:43 (one year ago) Permalink

I'll bet that blue color doesn't run, either.

nickn, Friday, 15 April 2016 22:08 (one year ago) Permalink

holy shit the world is so. fucked. up. this is a catastrophe mother of fuck you bastards, you devious little shits. .. you had to do it... you had to make the pink hearo. you won't stop until you have it all will you hearo. smug pricks.

• (sleepingbag), Friday, 15 April 2016 23:05 (one year ago) Permalink


Treeship, Saturday, 16 April 2016 00:11 (one year ago) Permalink


'special needs'

mookieproof, Saturday, 16 April 2016 00:17 (one year ago) Permalink

designed for women's tiny ears

#amazing #babies #touching (harbl), Saturday, 16 April 2016 01:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Delicate fluttering hair cells

ljubljana, Saturday, 16 April 2016 01:35 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Did anyone else see She's Beautiful When She's Angry? A bit too Second Wave Feminism 101 for my liking, but the interviews with numerous key figures of the era (Rita Mae Brown, Kate Millett, Susan Griffin etc, including Ellen Willis in what I'm assuming was footage taped not too long before her death) make it worth a look.

rhymes with "blondie blast" (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 17 May 2016 21:39 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

New interview with Judith Butler, addressing (though not limited to) the mainstreaming of Gender Trouble.

rhymes with "blondie blast" (cryptosicko), Saturday, 9 July 2016 15:40 (one year ago) Permalink

seven months pass...


mookieproof, Thursday, 9 February 2017 16:52 (nine months ago) Permalink

more power to em

mh 😏, Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:09 (nine months ago) Permalink

Oh cool, I'm an Alpha Woman now!!!

tokyo rosemary, Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:37 (nine months ago) Permalink

thank the lord

sarahell, Thursday, 9 February 2017 20:20 (nine months ago) Permalink


The Rev. Keith Ogden, who is a pastor at Hill Street Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C., said he heard about the boy doll earlier this week on a segment of “Good Morning America.” He then sent a message to his parishioners titled “KILLING THE MINDS OF MALE BABIES.” “This is nothing more than a trick of the enemy to (emasculate little boys) and confuse their role to become men,” he wrote in a statement, which he later sent to The Washington Post. “There are those in this world who want to alter God’s creation of the male and female. The devil wants to kill, steal and destroy the minds of our children and grandchildren by perverting, distorting and twisting to TRUTH of WHO GOD created them to be.”

bit melodramatic imho

ridiculously dope soul (unregistered), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 03:13 (eight months ago) Permalink

"the enemy" is pastorspeak for Satan

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 04:04 (eight months ago) Permalink

So he... wants male dolls to have penises?

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 04:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

no, he wants them to have guns (though I guess a doll with a camouflaged penis that fired nerf darts would meet his standards for acceptable masculine playtime)

ridiculously dope soul (unregistered), Wednesday, 22 February 2017 04:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

A new addition to the feminist canon launches on 10 March:

Join Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel launch their new book, WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere.

Imagine a sisterhood spanning all creeds and cultures – an unspoken agreement that women will support and encourage one another. So begins WE, an inspiring, empowering and provocative manifesto for change.

Change which provides a crucial and timely antidote to the have-it-all Superwoman culture, and instead focuses on what will make each woman happier and more free. Change which we can all effect, one woman at a time.


Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Sunday, 26 February 2017 11:44 (eight months ago) Permalink


The War Horse’s report focuses on one Facebook group with more than 30,000 members called Marines United. In January, a link to a shared hard drive containing photos of numerous female Marines in various states of undress was posted to the group, according to the War Horse’s report. The hard drive contained images, as well as the names and units of the women pictured. Many of the photos were accompanied by derogatory and harassing comments.

j., Monday, 6 March 2017 02:43 (eight months ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

This is a truly excellent reason to start a rock band. https://t.co/bYoFldhcAZ pic.twitter.com/x0YmPPURrp

— Sassa (@astridoverthere) October 19, 2017

mookieproof, Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:36 (one month ago) Permalink

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