I loved Valerie Solanas’ so-called SCUM Manifesto. Particular parts that come to mind are those regarding trannies as a subconscious acknowledgement by males of their being defective females and obsolete. A m2t in a similar vein proposed that m2ts are self-destructing their maleness. As a radfem, I am confused by seeing arguments for castration of sex offenders (of which 1.) males predominate and 2.) trannies have the same rates of offense as other males) vs. the importance of physical integrity. On the plus side, trannies who get orchis or SRS can’t breed.
However, since when did people not engage in mutilation? Certainly well before trannies came along. There have always been body modifications, and plastic surgery is popular among women. In the trans vs. radfem debates, both sides are arguing which are the more mutilated, plastic, vain bimbos: feminine, gender-conforming, het females and effeminate, gender-nonconforming (sometimes gay) males.
When it comes to trannies, there is a particular outrage that has not been seen either with other males or male-identified women. First it was that trannies are appropriating womanhood; now drag queens are appropriating womanhood. Which is it? Drag queens are misogynistic and racist, sure, but femininity is not synonymous with femaleness. It is a male fantasy that never belonged to females anyway, but a social conditioning imposed on them by males since birth. Parodying femininity to expose its ridiculousness does not harm females.
Yet many trannies get their start as drag queens, and some activists have been arguing for (male) reproductive rights. Again, I ask: how is this unique to trannies and not males in general? Trannies are a small percentage of the population and do not cause the same amount of hardship like the males in leadership positions who pressure females to wear makeup, high heels and skirts for work (women have their own special dress codes see), or the males in relationships with females who they pressure to shave, wax, engage in porn-based sex acts and look the other way when it comes to their porn usage, and have children.
Do you know any trannies in real life? I do, and while they were typically male behaving with stereotypical ideas about womanhood (mostly bisexual geeks also involved in kink and polyamory with one in particular who was very non-passing), I’m skeptical of the “stranger danger” hype surrounding the trannies entering female-only spaces. Pretty much any male can enter a female-only space by declaring himself trans or going in drag (see Gregory Gorgeous, a gay male who used women’s bathrooms and is now a tranny known as Gigi Gorgeous). The bathroom seems to be the one place feminist and non-feminist women alike can unite together to defend as a female-only space, and that’s where the struggle ends, unless we’re talking about religious women demanding female-only spaces for exercise and sports (religious patriarchy is a whole other topic altogether). Michfest? Mostly known as a womyn-born-womyn feminist event, including – but not limited to – lesbians.
Another example is allowing trannies as contestants for beauty pageants. The pageants did not suddenly become worse for them. Who believes that ridiculous requirements like not having a boyfriend or virginity aren’t harmful? Beauty pageants aren’t a female-only space, LOL. Their key word, after all, is “beauty.” For women, beauty is inextricable from femininity.
Two types of genderists exist:
– Genderists who know about sexual dimorphism yet adhere to gender as exemplification of one’s sex and a marker to emphasize sex differences.
– Genderists who conflate sex and gender.
How do I know gender is used to emphasize sex differences? Look at the hierarchical, gendered roles of dominant-submissive we have in regards to men and women: Johns and prostitutes, masters and slaves, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Nowadays, we know that biology is not necessarily destiny and that social conditioning is far more influential in telling us how to act or what to do, like in this quote by Andrea Dworkin:
“One does not say, for instance, women have delicate hands, therefore women must be surgeons. Or women have legs, therefore women must run, jump, climb. Or women have minds, therefore women must use them. One does learn, however, that women have sex organs that must be used by men, or the women are not women: they are somehow less or more, either of which is bad and thoroughly discouraged. Women are defined, valued, judged, in one way only: as women—that is, with sex organs that must be used.”
Or this quote by Emma Goldman:
“Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors. Thus it is merely a question of degree whether she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage, or to many men. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.”
— Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)
Indeed, an understanding of basic biology does not a radfem make. Even in the 50s, people had an understanding of basic biology. That didn’t stop them from enforcing gender roles, being homophobic, and ultimately giving way to transgenderism, where men supposedly make better women than women themselves – or at least are more beautiful, since patriarchy judges a woman’s worth on her adherence to conventional beauty standards associated with femininity. Yet most concerning to me is the lesbophobia: young women are pressured to transition, and parents (yes, mothers too) encourage them because they prefer sons over daughters.
I am very familiar with conservative ideas about gender used to enforce heterosexuality and gender conformity. My own mother thinks it’s disgusting for a woman to not wear makeup, shave and wax, is homophobic and anti-abortion, and comments that she couldn’t tell the women on Latino television shows were actually trannies because they were so beautiful. Conservatives will favor trans people over gays and lesbians, every time.
As the allying of conservatives with the transgender movement shows, transgenderism is actually gender conformity. It’s also very consumerist in the acquiring of hormones and (through plastic surgery) costly body parts. There are ways of rebelling that do not end up full circle, though. Radical feminism taught me that if something appeals to males, it is not truly subversive and does not liberate women.
Sometimes I think that Valerie Solanas’ so-called SCUM Manifesto was not merely satire, but truthful in that patriarchy is made up of projections of female truths; that males are constantly seeking wholeness with females; and that masculinity is inherently toxic. It’s a work that is incredibly relevant today. In the struggle against genderism, non-conformity matters more than emphasizing sex differences. I hope to see more gender-nonconformity in order to overthrow this sex-caste system.