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Comments on: Buffalo Girls



In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set.



Last Build Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2017 07:04:29 +0000

 



By: piny

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 07:13:45 +0000

Holly, thank you! The fundies always forget that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) You either find this statement an enormous relief, or somehow, you just assume it must not apply to you. ;)
Heh. Not to imply that you're confusing transsexuality with the desire to wear a dress, but I think it's also important to point out that the gender-role orientation argument doesn't seem to track the choices transsexuals actually make.



By: Daisy

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 21:57:31 +0000

Holly, thank you! The fundies always forget that "there is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10) You either find this statement an enormous relief, or somehow, you just assume it must not apply to you. ;)



By: Holly

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 19:49:42 +0000

Daisy, That was a really great comment.



By: KH

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 19:33:35 +0000

Yes, emotion & cognition are connected, but often not in the way the speaker claims. Especially where visceral, lizard-brain subjects like sex & race are concerned, it’s prudent to doubt anyone who claims to have reached highly fraught conclusions solely on the basis of logical deductions from Euclid-like axioms – especially in highly ideological milieus, in which skill in backward-engineering baroque rationalizations for predetermined conclusions may be highly prized, & especially when the speaker may be anxious to dispel suspicion that her attitudes have disreputable or bigoted roots. When a person gives reasons for visceral revulsion that seem threadbare, improvised, overcomplicated, contradictory, or otherwise implausible, there’s reason to wonder whether the real reasons lie elsewhere, & whether she may feel the need to disguise her motives, even, sometimes, from herself. And when two ostensibly opposed groups evince the same visceral revulsion for something, but give disparate, albeit equally threadbare, improvised, overcomplicated, contradictory, or otherwise implausible rationalizations, there’s reason to wonder whether, beyond all the verbal differences, they’re really so different underneath the skin.



By: Brooklynite

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 19:29:19 +0000

Yeah, piny, you're right --- the political and the visceral feed on each other. My original comment was a little more tetchy than it needed to be.



By: KH

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 17:51:02 +0000

This convergence is hardly new. It’s been maturing for, what, a quarter-century, & not just against the behemoth that is transsexuality. Even its feminist enthusiasts might be surprised by the extent to which religious conservative apparatchiks within the current US administration are strategically deploying quasi-feminist language to advance their positions within the bureaucracy. What’s new is that fewer people now feel obliged to deny that any relationship exists. What once was practiced more or less on the down low, furtively & shrouded in denial, now increasingly is forthrightly justified as good practical politics. Less denial, more apologetics. And outness does have its virtues. It’s not entirely a bad thing that people are at long last laying their cards on the table. But even limited collaboration can tempt us to view our partners in a more generally benign light, to tergiversate, to apologize for or pass more lightly over areas of disagreement. Political lines are redrawn, political identities revised. So we have the euphemizing “perhaps,” or feminists extolling the superiority of rightwing Christian charity (or the notionally combined works of “radical feminists & conservative Christians”). The limitedness of limited cooperation can be more elastic than anyone initially intended. It’s true that politics, not least the politics of bedfellows, makes for strange bedfellows, & in general there’s nothing wrong with that. The objection isn’t to the concept of coalition politics, but to the specific nature of the partner & of the politics being concerted. Nobody imagines that radical feminists & religious rightists share the same ultimate millennial hopes. (Probably no two collaborating groups do. Religious rightists notoriously disagree among themselves on the subject.) But practical politics, the kind that can blight the lives of transsexuals (& the other people against whom the coalition is arrayed) doesn’t require agreement about ultimate ends. It’s a matter of convergent views on specific proposals, pieces of legislation, cultural-political projects. If people with divergent eschatologies or visions of the post-revolutionary future agree in the here & now to kick me in the face, it’s precious little consolation for their apologists to insist that it hypersimplifies things for me to say that they’ve agreed to something, that it’s a merely apparent agreement. Metaphysical complications aside, rank oppression often really does have a certain simplicity, the simplicity of a kick to the head.



By: piny

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 17:43:51 +0000

Daisy: I did, actually, and debated joining in. I don't think Heart's response to what I said was terribly...responsive (for example, you don't actually have to believe in a biological basis for bisexuality to believe that bisexuals will feel less happy if they are formally invisible), but whaddaya gonna do? But thanks for saying thanks for the post. I'm glad it helped you clarify things.



By: piny

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 17:38:45 +0000

For someone committed to an essentialist understanding of gender, transphobia is about more than just “about being disgusted by people with transsexual bodies and transsexual lives.” It’s a reaction to the challenge that transgenderism poses to the idea that “male” and “female” are clear, discrete, unambiguous categories. The vehemence with which trans people are denounced reflects the seriousness of that challenge to their worldview.
I don't think they're mutually exclusive. And I didn't meant to imply that hatred is apolitical, just that these particular political arguments are sometimes shams: they aren't claiming to be essentialist or to harbor political views conducive to disgust with transsexuals, because that would involve admitting that disgust.



By: Daisy

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 14:59:15 +0000

Piny, dunno if you saw my exchange with Heart, in which I quoted you at some length. But it has taken me (as a radfem) a long time to understand trans politics and transphobia, too. I think for me the question is: was I asking more of transpeople than I ask of myself? I realized the answer was yes, and I am as gendered as everyone else. I think many radfems do not believe they are, if you read that thread. I think many of us don't want to think we "participate in gender", but as you made clear, EVERYONE does. So for me, the question was, do people automatically default to GIRL if they look at me, talk to me? They do. So, I am participating in the gender-system. Why would I expect transpeople (or anyone else) to exempt themselves? Nobody is exempt, which is what I took away from your post, that I quoted. I finally got that part. If nobody is exempt, then we are asking transpeople to exempt themselves from a gender-system that we have not exempted ourselves from, and have no option of doing so. But that took me a long time to understand. And I didn't want to take responsibility for wearing skirts! :P Also, let me take this opportunity to thank you for making that clear to me, when no one else had, up to that point. It was like a piece of a puzzle falling into place and I am grateful for your wisdom. :)



By: joe

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 14:24:25 +0000

It's funny that so many people expect a 4 pannel cartoon to have all of the depth and nuance of a position paper.