bad labelling and poor exclusions

Roughseas has a really interestingly contentious post over at her spot. She brings up so many issues in one little post. And I disagree with her on almost every point.

I don’t write about trans issues because I don’t know enough about it, and I have zilch knowledge of it.

  • Weird. I write about anything that interests me. I certainly don’t limit myself to having a point of view only on things I’ve personally experienced. I like reading about other people, talking to other people and making conclusions and judgements about their behaviour and their lives. I like commenting and speculating and ranting. Everyone does.

I do care that a shedload of money is spent on trans ops and drugs. Just as I care that money is spent on IVF and plastic surgery.

  • I also care about how our precious public healthcare funds are spent. But I don’t judge what the priorities are from my armchair, or even my own NHS experience. I certainly wouldn’t advocate excluding any groups currently getting any kind of treatment because I personally don’t measure their needs to be as urgent as others. Do I care that smokers get lung cancer? Do I care that people stuff fast food and Pringles down their necks, drive everywhere, and then need millions of pounds of precious health care funding to cope with the disastrous consequences of their lifestyle choices? I would never advocate removing treatment for anyone because, to me, their condition or need is more frivolous, or because, to me, they could have made other choices.

The big debate within radical feminism, and those of us who think we are radfems, is whether or not MtoF trans women are women. Can they adequately speak on behalf of feminists? Having spent at least the early part of their life as men, with the accompanying privilege? Did they know what it was like growing up as a girl, a young woman? No.

  • So what? Do you know what my life growing up as a girl or a young woman was? No. That doesn’t exclude you from ‘my’ feminism. Our experiences of womanhood, of sexism and of simply being more female than male, are so wide ranging, that none of us live the lives of anyone else. Anyone who fights for women to be treated equally in this sickly male-dominated society, and helps push the scales towards even, is a welcome voice.

I have no answer as to whether or not trans women are women.

  • I do. They are whatever they want to be. ‘Woman’ is a poorly constructed label for the ‘average’ experience of a group of people. It’s almost meaningless, but gives us an indication of what to expect from someone. Pushing trans women into a clearly defined and childishly excluded corner just reinforces the idea that humans aren’t simply humans: all the same with a range of shared, similar and differing experiences, and a variety of chemicals driving our behaviour. We’re not in boxes, however much language tricks us into thinking we are.

When I read men, talking amongst their smug little selves about feminism, and how right-on they are, I just groan.

  • What? Where? Is this a joke? When I read anyone, smugly or otherwise, fighting for women to be treated equally, I rejoice.

(Yeah, yeah, blog break, whatever…)

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