Radfems, Transphobia, Etc.

I don’t have much time, but I wanted to comment on this post by Heather on Zinnia Jones’ channel: “In a radical feminist world, there is no transphobia.” Because I have no time, we will do this in bullets:

  1. It isn’t a No True Scotsmen fallacy: Heather does explicitly acknowledge that there are transphobic radfems. She argues, rather, that transphobia is not a logical result of basic radical feminist ideas. Just thought I’d clear that one up at the start.
  2. I think the idea of a radical feminist world is a little bit self-contradictory. Once a society adopts radical feminist ideas, they are by definition no longer radical.
  3. Like so many radfems, Heather seems to accept unquestioningly that a world entirely without gender roles is possible. But there’s really no evidence that this would be possible, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. Gender roles can change, they can be reduced, maybe, or made less damaging, but human beings are induction machines. I don’t see us ever reaching a point where we can say “Gender roles are gone entirely! Congrats, everyone!”
  4. Heather claims that that trans women, “don’t question themselves, apologize for themselves, or wait for their turn to speak quite as often as cis women are taught to do from birth.” There is no possible way that she could know this with any certainty — there simply aren’t any reputable studies — and as my own anecdotal experience contradicts hers, I really feel nothing wrong with dismissing this.
  5. The above is also, incidentally, a trope so often used by radfems to deny trans experiences, to deny trans women’s existence, that I’m a bit disappointed to see it proposed without acknowledging the complete lack of evidence for it by someone writing against transphobia in radfem communities.***
  6. Otherwise, fine. I would be the last person to say that radical feminism is necessarily transphobic: I know plenty of radical feminists who aren’t, and I agree with Heather than transphobia is not logically derived from basic radical feminist assumptions.
  7. However, I am skeptical of the idea that a radical feminist world is necessarily a world where radical feminist principles are developed logically in order to avoid transphobia. I think a radical feminist world could as easily be transphobic if such a world were shaped by the many transphobic radical feminists. Here’s where I think No True Scotsman shows up a bit: you simply cannot say that a world created from the ideas of transphobic radfems would not be a radical feminist world. It would be a bad world, and an illogical world, and a world not justified by basic radical feminist principles, but nonetheles…..I’m not convinced that it wouldn’t be correct to call that a radical feminist world. In which case, a more appropriate title would be that in a radical feminist world, transphobia would be illogical, or in a radical feminist world, transphobia would not be necessary. Because I think there are things rightly referred to as radical feminist worlds which would be transphobic.

***I should note that she explicitly points out that even so, this is not a reason to deny trans people’s gender identity or existence or any of that, and she does qualify by saying that *sometimes*, not always, childhood socialization is apparent. But, honestly, why even propose this as a true statement in the first place?

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2 thoughts on “Radfems, Transphobia, Etc.

  1. Once you do away with gender roles, what is there to be trans-to? (I know the answer, sex is different from gender, but why is sex even relevant?) Right now, reproduction without men is being discussed on FTB — another radical feminist idea — isn’t that also inherently anti-trans, not to mention, misandric & pro-eugenics?

  2. Once you do away with gender roles, what is there to be trans-to? (I know the answer, sex is different from gender, but why is sex even relevant?)

    Well, being transgender is different from just transgressing gender roles. Trans* people can buck gender norms and gender roles just like anyone else (there are butch trans women and femme trans men, after all) — they just often pay a much higher price for doing so. So talking about eliminating gender roles isn’t necessarily relevant — as Zinnia Jones has said, if gender roles were relaxed or absent, if some of the purely sociological distinctions between genders were dropped or elided, it would be easier to be trans, not harder.

    That said, I don’t particularly think that doing away entirely with gender roles is a possibility. They may be social constructs, but that just puts them on the same level as other social constructs with which we communicate with others. We compare ourselves with others, and which attributes we use to draw broad categorizations of people matter, but I’m not sure we could ever get rid of them entirely.

    Right now, reproduction without men is being discussed on FTB — another radical feminist idea — isn’t that also inherently anti-trans, not to mention, misandric & pro-eugenics?

    Um. What? Can you link to this — I read quite a few blogs there, but not all, and this certainly hasn’t shown up in my reader.

    But, yes, (and this is one of those things where I ask myself “does this really need to be said!?”) that’s a terrible deplorable misandric eugenicist attitude that I certainly do not tolerate.

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