Thanks for your comment.
I agree there are many, many problematic aspects to Miley Cyrus’ behaviour: racism, ableism, transmisogyny, and so on (I had a small tag-rant about her here). However, I don’t think it’s necessary to address them all in the same post. I also don’t feel that calling someone out implies that is the only thing they’ve done wrong, or even that it’s the worst thing; it’s just a comment on a particular aspect of their behaviour.
Having said that, the main point of the post wasn’t criticising Miley Cyrus at all. It was a response to the holier-than-thou types who think she’s a “bad influence” on young girls while overlooking the sexualisation of non-consent by Robin Thicke. In other words, the post was chiefly a criticism of Robin Thicke. As a result, I worry it would be derailing to add disclaimers to the post. But I am happy to listen to more feedback if you think that’s short-sighted of me.
[Hopefully you’re okay with me publishing this. I thought it would be good to clarify for anyone else who thought I was condoning Miley Cyrus’ behaviour. Let me know if you would like it unpublished.]
ETA: Just looked up the stuff you mentioned about her cissexist comments and…just…wow. She needs to learn to shut her mouth all the time.
I know that wasn’t the point…? It’s not required to address it all in one post, but the post is literally saying you don’t need to talk about how Miley’s being oppressive to your kids. There’s nothing indicating it’s speaking solely on rape culture. Since I’ve seen legions of cis, abled, white feminists saying Miley’s a great feminist and stuff, the post really comes off to me as an intersectionality failure. I didn’t think you meant it that way, but I think it’s used that way.
Point taken. What made it solely about rape culture for me was the reference to Robin Thicke (who personifies rape culture in my mind) and the author being Jackson Katz (who writes extensively about masculinity and rape culture). But I can see that’s not clear to everyone. And I agree with you about certain feminists portraying her in a positive light, and I have witnessed it myself. I’m sorry for contributing to that; it’s definitely an intersectionality fail on my part.
I will add this discussion to the original post for clarity. And thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time to explain.
If you remove biological femaleness from the definition of “woman” you’re left with stereotypes related to femininity.
If you then try to remove the stereotypes, you’re left with a word that defines absolutely nothing, and is useful to no one.
And making a word that is important to the discussion of systematic oppression into meaningless window dressing is fucking bullshit.
This is cissexist garbage and I’m really disappointed to see it on my dash.
Thank you so much, blacklaceandcombatboots. Someone I follow(ed) posted this without criticism and I just…like what the fuck. Let me list the ways this post is bullshit:
- It’s transmisogynistic and cissexist. GTFO with your “biological femaleness” ignorance.
- Femininity =/= woman. Men can be feminine, genderqueer people can be feminine, non-binary people can be feminine. Anyone can be feminine. Yes, women are socialised to be feminine but that doesn’t mean the two words suddenly become interchangeable.
- Womanhood is not made up of genitals and stereotypes. Like those things are sometimes associated with gender for some people, but they aren’t what gender *is*.
- All this post proves — aside from what a transphobic douche you are — is how little you understand the concept of gender. Let me spell it out. Gender is an identity. It’s a sense of self. It’s an expression of self. It’s an articulation of something that can’t easily be defined other ways. It’s not genitals. And it’s certainly not stereotypes of femininity.
In summary: stop talking and go away forever.
All these fuckers reblogging my post just repeating “trans women are women” over and over again and not even addressing the issue that if trans women are women but it’s not about femininity (which even they can’t disagree would be stereotypical and wrong) then there is literally no definable aspect to the cause and classification of female oppression, and every biological female is choosing an oppressed identity at random and are basically at fault for their own oppression.
Holy fucking god.
You don’t fucking get it, do you.
The definable aspect of women being oppressed is MISOGYNY. There’s no ‘characteristic’ women possess that deems them worthy of being oppressed - and you’re a douche for implying that there could or should be. The ‘characteristic’ that causes women to be oppressed is a misogynistic oppressor. There’s no attribute that women are oppressed for possessing because there’s no attribute that all women share other than self-identifying as women.
The reason women are oppressed is because the patriarchy relies on subjugating women. The reason women are oppressed is because men feel entitled and superior, and use every method they can to enforce and uphold that. And all I see here is you perpetuating that same reductive bullshit.
AND STOP USING THE TERM ‘BIOLOGICAL FEMALE’. Stop being so disgustingly transmisogynistic. Just stop it right now.
Yeah clearly. So misogynists just…SENSE this over worldly, undefinable, completely lacking any external shared characteristic female identity? You can me a male, with NO feminine presentation and you’ll face the same oppression females face because someone just sniffs out your identity? Fucking bullshit
I agree that the patriarchy relies on subjugating women to function, but they know who and what to attempt to subjugate, not based on some person’s wholly internal identity, but on the existence of a female body, and the presentation of the characteristic assigned to that body by society and, largely, misogynists themselves.
Misogyny is rooted it the hated of the female body, and anything and everything a culture associates with being female.
You are a dense motherfucker, get off my blog.
Hey person who is not Kalah (
sorry EI, I dont know your name even though I have been following you for so long. Edit: apparently I just needed to click on your name and its right there.)
1. The term biological female is being used to recognize that there are biological differences between trans women and women. You know that is true and you are being delusional if you say it is not. You won’t let us use the term women to describe ourselves, or female, what do you want us to use? Because that sounds like some silencing bullshit. ”Dont talk about yourself using any terms because it might hurt my feels” is crap.
2. “There’s no attribute that women are oppressed for possessing because there’s no attribute that all women share other than self-identifying as women.” I do not self identify as a woman in the gender roles sense. I identify as a woman in that I am an adult, human, biological female. By saying this sentence right here? You are implying that women are oppressed because we identify as women, meaning that somehow we can change that. I am oppressed because I am a woman, not because I identify as a woman.
So this person is saying that theoretically, if I stopped “identifying” as a woman right now, I’d go free from misogyny for the rest of my life? My large breasts would no longer grant me harassment in the streets, I’d never need to fear being impregnated via rape, I’d never be recognized as noticeably FEMALE and treated as such? Because all women are complicit in their oppression because we identify ourselves as women? And my experiences thus far with misogyny are the same as transwomen who haven’t transitioned enough to be actively perceived as women—aka men and boys—because we share an internal identification with womanhood (despite the fact that I do not identify with womanhood, for the same reasons piscula mentions above) and somehow the public senses this and treats us the same? Hmmm, why does that sound really suspicious and totally false?
I’d be really interested to know what this person thinks happens in cases of female infanticide, sex-selective abortion, and female genital mutilation then. Since they aren’t biologically female according to this person, those fetuses and baby girls and young women are mutilated and/or destroyed because of an identity, correct?
Let me reiterate something I said earlier because you all seem incapable of basic reading comprehension:
Those things [genitals and stereotypes] are sometimes associated with gender for some people, but they aren’t what gender *is*.
Now read that a few times so it becomes crystal clear.
Let me elaborate: These feminine stereotypes are important to some people and dictate how they treat you (i.e. that is the function of stereotypes). That doesn’t suddenly make those stereotypes true, and it certainly doesn’t mean those stereotypes are part of your identity. It just means that’s how your identity has been interpreted by others.
If this was all about genitals then AFAB trans men wouldn’t have male privilege (which they do). And they certainly wouldn’t experience misogyny unless they are read as cis (and understand carefully: that reading is done by others, and says nothing about the individual’s self-identification). If this was all about genitals then AMAB trans women wouldn’t experience misogyny (which they they do*) unless they were incorrectly perceived as cis men (and understand carefully again: this perception is from others and says nothing about the individual’s self-identification).
Now pay attention because this is where you seem to get lost: gender and misogynistic oppression isn’t a one directional process. It’s complex and fluid. It’s dynamic and doesn’t occur in some magical hypothetical vacuum as you so naïvely suggest. Gender and misogynistic oppression consists of 1) internal identification, 2) how you choose to express your gender, and 3) how other people interpret that expression. That is what causes misogyny; men who hate what they perceive to be womanly - a perception which you seem incapable of understanding isn’t actually true and nor is it reflective of what womanhood means to that individual. That perception isn’t part of their own identity.
To summarise in admittedly very simplistic terms: this is why masculine-presenting cis women still experience misogyny AND why trans women who have not had surgery still experience misogyny. The common factor is these people are women and therefore experience misogyny. The common factor is not, as you ignorantly suggest, stereotypes and genitals.
Now go fuck yourself and stop talking to me. I have already spent far longer addressing this than is necessary, and you aren’t even worthy of spitting on let alone wasting my Saturday afternoon.
NB: It is also insulting to suggest that people can just magically identify however they want. Self-identification doesn’t imply choice. It is immensely more complex than that. And if you genuinely want to know more (which I suspect you don’t) then learn some basic developmental or educational psychology. Or you can start with Google.
[*Which they not only do, but do so to a greater extent than cis women because, hey that’s how intersecting oppression works.]
I am now blocking and disengaging.
Focusing on “abolishing gender” lets cis folks off easy because their gender is invisible, puts pressure on trans* people to suffer for the noble cause and let our genders be abolished first, and erases the real experiences of agender people. I don’t like it.
This a thousand times over. Gender isn’t the problem, sexism is. And transphobia (which is so often refracted sexism).
I think people should have to get psychiatric, medical and government permission to be transphobic. Also, make sure your spouse, family and friends approve too. We wouldn’t to upset their lives by your selfish and rash decision to be transphobic would we?
And before you get a diagnosis of transphobia, you need to go through the real life test where you have to live a year with everybody knowing you’re a transphobe but you’re not allowed to do or say transphobic things.
And your therapist will have to make sure you really want to be a transphobe too. And ask you if maybe you’d be okay with just being a homophobe. Also, how long have you had these feelings of transphobia? Did you have them as a child? Did you wear transphobic slogans on your clothes as a child?
And if you want to go all the way with your transphobia, you’re going to need 2 doctor’s notes and about $20,000.
This whole “cis people as gatekeepers to trans medical treatment” thing has been nagging at the back of my mind lately. Mainly in relation to the coverage of Angelina Jolie’s preventative mastectomy. Of course what she has done is amazing, it just highlights how easy it is for cis people to surgically alter their own bodies compared with trans people, who are inevitably forced to jump through endless hoops to obtain what can also be life-saving surgery. Urgh.
Small glimmer of hope is that some countries are starting to get it right (obviously not perfect yet, as discussed in the article).
Trans women are women. Logically feminism cannot exclude trans women and still call itself feminism. I mean obviously it has a history of doing that. But it’s complete and utter bullshit.
Feminism by definition is for women. Trans women are women. Fat women are women. Women of colour are women. Disabled women are women. Poor women are women. Queer women are women. Mentally ill women are women.
The thing that gets me is the very premise of feminism is about dismantling power structures and oppressive institutions., Yet somehow early feminists decided to bring a bucket-load of those oppressive structures with them, and established them in the roots of the feminism movement.
Anyone who wants to promote some exclusive version of feminism can fuck right off.
- Be willing to confront instances of transphobia, cissexism, cisnormativity, cis-centrism, cis privilege and other forms of destructive bias where you find them (especially when you find them within feminist, activist or queer spaces), not through “call outs” or other toxic, self-defeating or abusive strategies, but by taking the opportunity for genuine discourse.
- Don’t take a purely passive, reactive approach. Rather than waiting for things like someone saying something overtly cissexist, or a trans person bringing up a particular concern, be willing to proactively introduce trans issues, or trans-relevant aspects of broader issues, to feminist discourse. Likewise, proactively treat possible consequences, perspectives and concerns relevant to trans people and trans experiences as being not only significant but essential to all feminist issues and conversations.
- Don’t assume any given issue is strictly, or even primarily, relevant to cis women. All feminist concerns are also transgender concerns, and vice versa. There are no feminist dialogues in which trans voices “don’t belong”, or to which trans voices have “nothing to add”. There are no social issues related to gender that don’t have consequences for trans people.
- Proactively seek out transgender voices, perspectives and input on all issues, not simply what you regard as “trans issues” or situations where the value of such perspectives is immediately obvious to you. Come to us, rather than waiting for us to come to you.
- Don’t treat the larger social conflict of gender as being dialectic or binary in nature. Don’t assume a unidirectional model of gender-based oppression.
These points are expanded on and explained more in the article. Please do read the full piece - it’s awesomesauce.
As a trans woman, not many things give me a headache the way the entire concept of passing does. Passing is the idea that if a trans woman (or any person who is presenting as a woman) looks, dresses and acts a certain way, people won’t be able to tell they are anything other than a completely “normal” woman. If you look at online trans communities or forums, you’ll find tons of tips on how to pass better – everything from hair removal tips to workouts to how to walk and sit more femininely.
All of this presupposes that there is only one right way to look like and be a woman. And it’s infuriating. On the one hand, whenever I go out in public or post pictures online, a part of me is deathly afraid that I’ll be insulted or worse. I desperately want to be accepted as the woman I am. On the other hand, I hate that in order to feel safe, I’m expected to fit into the very narrow box that is labeled “woman.” Tips on how to pass always seem to say that you should avoid building muscle mass and avoid wearing clothes and makeup that are too costumey, that you should try to hide your shoulders and soften your features. Trans women are often told that if we want to pass, we have to try our hardest to be petite, soft, have just the right amount of femininity, and not stand out too much. But what if I want to be a different kind of woman? What if I want to look like Grace Jones or Kate Moennig? What if I want to look like Beth Ditto or Dolly Parton? They’re all cis women; don’t they pass?
The moral of “passing” discussions always seems to be: if you get bashed it will be your fault.
|—||"Transgender Communities: Developing Identity Through Connection”|
Hm you know I think that a large part of the reason that the “I always knew/I was always different” narrative of trans experiences is so popular and widely spread is that it’s comforting to cis people.
When a trans person tells a cis person that they always knew they were different, the cis person can feel comforted knowing that that’s not their experience; they’re not a budding trans person, they’re Safe.
Whereas when a trans person tells a cis person that “well you know I never really knew; it was just something that came up” the cis person doesn’t have that buffer; if it Just Happened to someone else, why couldn’t it Just Happen to them? There goes their security; this trans person hasn’t been Different all their lives, was always as Normal as the cis person, but then they weren’t. maybe Cis Person is actually just like Trans Person, but they just don’t know it yet. Whoa. Scary.
So cis people reject that idea, because no way in hell are THEY ever going to be Like That. And I think that’s a large part of why people who don’t say it’s something they’ve always known are shamed and told that they’re not trans enough, not really trans, just faking it. In reality all trans experiences are equally valid, but in this system of hierarchy only certain trans experiences are allowed to be exposed to the world at large.
I had trouble identifying with the term “trans” because of this. I couldn’t understand how I could be trans, when I grew up thinking trans people always knew they were trans. I knew of trans people, I had met them, and I was pretty content thinking that they were a completely separate group of people who have always had their trans identities figured out from childhood. I wonder how many people are living their lives feeling like something is missing, feeling confused but not understanding why, because they have been told that they can’t be anything but cis if they didn’t have it figured out as children.
Still don’t have my identity figured out and it’s been 18-20 years since I first found out being trans existed.
Definitely comforting to know I’m not alone on this.
These wonderful infographics about reproductive health were recently released by The Guttmacher Institute, a foundation which aims to advance knowledge of reproductive health worldwide. They also bust myths surrounding abortion and reproductive health with this super amazing tool called “science.”
These infographics show the often sad realities of abortion in America — for many facing unintended pregnancy, it’s a nearly unattainable, expensive procedure with barriers that worsen for those who are in poverty or are people of color.
Wonderful from a cis perspective, yes, but completely erasing for trans men and non-binary people who can also get pregnant and also need abortions. And even less wonderful when you consider the group they’ve completely ignored will face even more barriers to abortion than their cis counterparts. Not to mention the disparate health outcomes overall.
These inforgraphics have definite scope for improvement.
I think it’s extremely problematic that you look at a study of pregnant people and assume they were all ciswomen. Unpack your knapsack and think about why you didn’t assume that they also studied pregnant transmen.
We live in a world where cissexist attitudes are the default (i.e. no one ever has to “come out” as cis). This means that, in a study where there is absolutely no mention of trans people being included, it’s safe to assume they weren’t included.
If the study *had* included trans men this would have been discussed as a variable. Trans people face even greater barriers to abortion access (and all forms of healthcare), which is what the entire study was looking at in the first place.
There is no chance this study did indeed include a cohort of trans men and completely neglect to mention that fact. I simply don’t believe that accredited and peer-reviewed research entities would forget to discuss something so important. Especially when they’ve been conducting this longitudinal study for the past four years and have had ample time to think “oh yeah, all those trans people we interviewed, we forgot to write about them or their unique circumstances”.
And in case you missed it, I am actually critiquing that perspective not endorsing it.
P.S. It is generally considerate to put a space between “cis” and “woman”, and between “trans” and “man”.
P.P.S. Due to this post and this post, and the way you worded your commentary above, I’m almost certain you’re a troll. However, I’ve decided to give you one sincere “benefit of the doubt” response. I won’t be entertaining any further responses from you.
Yes, I do like this idea! Thank you for being awesome and helpful as always <3
What happens to women denied abortions?
by Annalee Newitz
Abortion is a hotly debated and poorly studied medical procedure. There are a fewstudies of dubious validity that connect abortion to mental illness and drug use. Politicians have used these studies to justify greater limitations on women seeking abortion in the United States.
There has been no sustained effort to study what happens to women who want abortions but can’t get them due to restrictive rules. Until now. These women are called turnaways. A new longitudinal study reveals what happens to their economic position, health, and relationship status after seeking an abortion and being denied it.
Public health researchers with the UC San Francisco group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) used data from 956 women who sought abortions at 30 different abortion clinics around the U.S. 182 of them were turned away. The researchers, led by Diana Greene Foster, followed and did intensive interviews with these women, who ran the gamut of abortion experiences. Some obtained abortions easily, for some it was a struggle to get them, and some were denied abortions because their pregnancies had lasted a few days beyond the gestational limits of their local clinics. Two weeks ago, the research group presented what they’d learned after two years of the planned five-year, longitudinal “Turnaway Study" at the recent American Public Health Association conference in San Francisco.
Here’s the short version of what they discovered, from a post they made on the Global Turnaway Study Facebook page:
We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.
Below, you can find the longer, more complex version of the story. I spoke with Foster about the groups’ preliminary findings.
The women in the Turnaway Study were in comparable economic positions at the time they sought abortions. 45% were on public assistance and two-thirds had household incomes below the federal poverty level. One of the main reasons women cite for wanting to abort is money, and based on the outcomes for the turnaways, it seems they are right.
Most of the women who were denied an abortion, 86%, were living with their babies a year later. Only 11% had put them up for adoption. Also a year later, they were far more likely to be on public assistance — 76% of the turnaways were on the dole, as opposed to 44% of those who got abortions. 67% percent of the turnaways were below the poverty line (vs. 56% of the women who got abortions), and only 48% had a full time job (vs. 58% of the women who got abortions).
When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line. Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers’ increased reliance on public assistance programs.
Violence and Drug Use
In the Turnaway Study, the researchers could find no statistically significant differences in drug use between women who get abortions and women who don’t. There appears to be no correlation between abortion and increased drug use. One interesting bit of data they did find was that drug users who couldn’t get abortions were more likely to give their babies up for adoption.
Unfortunately, when it comes to domestic violence, being denied an abortion makes a really big difference. Turnaways were more likely to stay in a relationship with an abusive partner than women who got abortions. A year after being denied an abortion, 7% reported an incident of domestic violence in the last six months. 3% of women who received abortions reported domestic violence in the same time period. Foster emphasized that this wasn’t because the turnaways were more likely to get into abusive relationships. It was simply that getting abortions allowed women to get out of such relationships more easily. So it’s likely that these numbers actually reflect a dropoff in domestic violence for women who get abortions, rather than a rise among turnaways.
This pattern of violence is also part of a larger pattern that shows turnaways are more likely to remain connected to the fathers of their children. Obviously, this isn’t always a good thing, as the violence statistics reveal. But even in the vast majority of cases where violence isn’t involved, Foster noted that these men aren’t living with the turnaways. The researchers asked women about cohabiting with partners, and found that men were no more likely to live with a turnaway who’d borne their children than they were to live with a woman who had an abortion. “The man doesn’t stick around just because you have the baby — that’s the crude way of putting it,” Foster said.
One of the biggest concerns about abortion is that it causes emotional problems that lead to clinical depression. The Turnaway Study looked at that question from two angles: how did turnaways and women who got abortions feel; and did they become clinically depressed. “It’s important to remember that how you feel is a separate question from whether you have a mental health problem,” Foster said. We’ll look at women’s emotions here, and discuss mental health in the next section.
As the researchers said at the American Public Health Association Meeting, “One week after seeking abortion, 97% of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65% of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion.” Also one week after being denied an abortion, turnaways told the researchers that they had more feelings of anxiety than the women who had abortions. Women who had abortions overwhelming reported feeling relieved (90%), though many also felt sad and guilty afterwards. All of these feelings faded naturally over time in both groups, however. A year later, there were no differences in anxiety or depression between the two groups.
In other words, the Turnaway Study found no indication that there were lasting, harmful negative emotions associated with getting an abortion. The only emotional difference between the two groups at one year was that the turnaways were more stressed. They were more likely to say that they felt like they had more to do than they could get done.
None of this translated into clinical depression. “Abortion and depression don’t seem directly linked,” Foster said. “We’ll continue to follow these women for five years, though. So we might find something else down the line.”
Physical and Mental Health
The Turnaway Study found no indication that abortion could be linked with increased mental health disorders. There were no statistical differences between turnaways and women who had abortions when it came to developing clinical depression.
But turnaways did face a greater health risk from giving birth. Even late stage abortions are safer than giving birth. The researchers said at the APHA meeting:
We find physical health complications are more common and severe following birth (38% experience limited activity, average 10 days) compared to abortion (24% limited activity, average 2.7 days). There were no severe complications after abortion; after birth complications included seizure, fractured pelvis, infection and hemorrhage. We find no differences in chronic health conditions at 1 week or one year after seeking abortion.
If you look at all this data together, a new picture emerges of abortion and how the state might want to handle it. To prevent women from having to rely on public assistance, abortions should be made more widely available. In addition, there is strong evidence that making abortions available will allow women to be healthier, with brighter economic outlooks. By turning women away when they seek abortions, we risk keeping both women and their children in poverty — and, possibly, in harm’s way from domestic violence.
The Turnaway Study was funded entirely through donations. If you would like to support more research into the lives of turnaways around the world, please consider donating to the Global Turnaway Study on Indie GoGo.
I have a conundrum and I would appreciate advice.
So, I know it’s extremely lazy activism to reblog cissexist stuff and simply put an asterisk/content warning to acknowledge the language is cissexist. Like, yes, it’s good to remind people that men can get pregnant but I feel this asterisk/warning doesn’t go far enough.
So, I’m thinking why not go further and actually get rid of the cissexism? There are ways to present the above information without erasing trans people and their reproductive rights.
But, the conundrum arises because I don’t think it’s always okay to edit something in order to be more inclusive. I mean there are instances where I think it’s fine (you might disagree), and I wouldn’t hesitate to make someone’s commentary on Tumblr more inclusive (obviously putting a footnote to that effect).
But, when it’s citing a study that contained only cis women as participants, making the language gender-neutral erases a relevant part of the study.
So, advice please?