I can’t say I was entirely surprised when I happened across an article on Bilerico, penned by an elderly, straight, white, “ladybrained” male, that trashes MichFest (the trans/queer target du jour), and makes liberal use of the slur TERF. Nor was I entirely surprised to find that the author of this article was a member of the DNC because at the end of the day, the Democratic Party, just like the Republican Party, and the Tea Party is most interested in furthering the wishes, desires, and ideologies of males – even those who “feel like ladies.”
But in a way, this article is great, because it exposes the thought process of males, like Siperstein (the author), who believe (in error) that womanhood is merely an amalgamation of gender stereotypes that one may easily inhabit. The article is perfect, because it reveals precisely how males, like the author, understand womanhood – and in this revelation, furthers my conviction (and should further the conviction of other women) that what we have here are male colonizers, underminers, dudes whose male entitlement empowers them to parody and debase the female experience for their own gratification; dudes who repeatedly attempt to gaslight women into believing they are female – JUST LIKE YOU – because they say so, because they know womanhood better than you do, you silly, silly female.
And while this article is tremendous for exposing trans/queer thought around women, the rhetoric is toxic. If we continue, as a culture, to conflate gender and sex; if we continue, as a culture, to embrace the male notion that “anyone can be female,” or that “female is a feeling” then women’s true liberation is lost. If “woman is anything” than it is also nothing. And how fortuitous for men to reduce “woman” to the status of “nothing” – they’ve been trying to do that for millennia.
And let me make another thing real fucking clear – if people like the author of this article want to wear lipstick and skirts and heels, GOOD FOR FUCKING YOU. If people like the author of this article want to go through life believing that woman is a feeling, is a set of preferences, is a “hunch,” GO FOR IT. As the John Lennon song goes, “Whatever gets you through the night . . .”
But don’t cram that patriarchal bullshit down my throat; don’t fucking tell me my lived reality is an abstraction or a fondness for pink; and DON’T even attempt to convince me that your boyhood was a girlhood, or that your male-socialization doesn’t exist, or that your experiences as a man with a fondness for the stereotypical trappings of “femininity” even comes close to mirroring that of mine and my sisters – because it’s not even close; not even once.
People, like the author of this article, are males, and their rabid insistence on “belonging in women’s spaces” is thoroughly self-serving, is decidedly male. And at the end of the day, what these males cannot accept – because it runs so counter to THEIR lived experience – is that women’s realities, women’s spaces (like MichFest) do not exist merely to validate the special feelings and identities of males. These males simply cannot fathom that there exists, on this planet, even one small space that is not ABOUT them.
So here we fucking go – AGAIN. I’ve chosen to address a few choice moments from the article (it really is insipid), and frankly, there’s nothing new here folks:
After establishing his “cred,” by explaining his late wife was a feminist, and that his current partner is a feminist, ergo he’s a feminist (the logic of these people is impeccably stupid), Siperstein lays right in to MichFest:
But not all women are welcome; only women who were assigned female at birth, raised as girls, and currently identify as women can attend.
SIGH. Let’s try this one more time with feeling: I wasn’t “assigned female at birth.” I am a fucking female because BIOLOGY. I’m so sick of these attempts on behalf of males to reorganize language so that the default sex is always male. I mean, the trans/queer community might as well just say what they mean and start referring to women as eunuchs. (A belief this writer does, in fact, hold as evidenced by the last, and worst bit of this article.) Also, is anyone else sick of this shit, yet? I know I am.
Then Siperstein goes on to reminisce about his shock and incredulity upon discovering the exsistence of MichFest, something Sir Ladybrain deemed most unladylike:
To be honest, my first reaction was “What kind of a real woman would want to run around in the insect ridden wilds of Michigan? Are you kidding? This is something you really want to do?” Camping in the woods and bonding with nature among our own gender sounds like a “guy thing” is what these “womyn” really want to do.
This is important – this, right here, dear readers, is IT. “Camping sounds like a ‘guy thing’” – because GENDER. “Real women” (that term, no matter who is using it, makes me want to do a “guy thing” and punch a hole in the wall) wouldn’t want to camp in the outdoors! Real women would prefer to sit a spell in the drawing room, drinking tea, nibbling cucumber sandwiches and gossiping/fainting. This is gender – “you are not a real woman if you like camping.” This is what the trans/queer movement is endorsing – bullshit dichotomies that ensure women who do not conform are erased, the same bullshit that ensures all women remain subjugated.
People like the author have a very specific, narrow view of womanhood and if you don’t embrace that view, then you are an ignorant bigot. Got that, ladies?
And I know it really burns straight males, like the author, to know that someone like me can enjoy camping, can wear blazers and boots and cut my hair short and can STILL BE FEMALE. Because my femaleness isn’t a performance, it’s my actual, lived reality. Shit, I can be misgendered and STILL be female. I can go to the pharmacy in blue jeans and a t-shirt and pick up my estrogen blocker from the pharmacist who calls me “sir” and guess what? STILL FEMALE. How ‘bout that?
So after his screed about “How come ladies like camping?” the author goes on to call Radical Feminists a “hate group.” Again, nothing novel about this. It’s a smart, effective tactic for males who are in the business of silencing women, who are in the business of defining womanhood for women, to see to it that those who are truly invested in women’s liberation are viewed as a hate group.
The new thing among trans/queer activists is to liken Radical Feminism to The Westboro Baptist Church – something lunatic fringe-y, something that can be easily dismissed and maligned. And, to be perfectly honest, as a lesbian, I’ve never wasted much time worrying about The Westboro Baptist Church. I’ve never written about WBC, and have never discussed WBC more than to say “yeah, those fuckers are nuts.” You know why? Because a group like WBC, while irritating and insane, doesn’t really threaten my existence or identity as a lesbian. WBC isn’t worth my time or energy. So I find it fascinating when trans-activists write and write and whine and whine and cry and cry about “TERFS” (a slur) because THEY’RE JUST LIKE FRED PHELPS. Because that’s not it at all, really.
It’s not that the trans movement really sees Rad Fems as Fred Phelps, or that (despite their claims) they see us as people who pose a legitimate threat to their safety, the problem (for males like the author of this piece) with radical feminists, is that we won’t put stock in the nonsense that they’re peddling, that we reject gender (and they need gender), that we poke holes in their po-mo doublespeak, and that we refuse to prioritize men’s feelings and ideas. The threat we pose is one to outmoded, misogynist notions of gender; the threat we pose is one to a world where “woman” is defined as merely “non-male.”
Radical feminists threaten patriarchy, and that’s pretty fucking scary for males when every privilege – right down to the privilege to browbeat lesbians, to claim a right to our spaces, to call themselves “female” — rests on the fact of male supremacy.
And finally, dear readers, this is how Siperstein concludes his article:
What drives these TERFs? Perhaps it is something very basic – insecurity, jealousy, maybe even penis envy? I do not know. I do not get it.
I mean, it’s just too fucking perfect in its sheer misogyny. What drives radical feminists? It must be insecurity. It must be jealousy. It must be . . . PENIS ENVY. It couldn’t possibly be that radical feminists are driven by a love of women, or solidarity with our sisters, or by being sick to the back fucking teeth of living in a world where straight white men tell us we have “penis envy.”
“I do not get it,” writes Siperstein.
He’s right on that one thing. He doesn’t get it. And he never will.
More on the article and Siperstein here: http://genderidentitywatch.com/2014/09/01/barbra-babs-siperstein-babscs-thedemocrats-usa/