WELL NOW – Lesbian Marriages End in Divorce More Often Than Straight Marriages Do

Well here’s something contrary to the stereotype. The stereotype is that lesbians go on three dates and then stay together for thirty years. This article says they break up sooner and more often than gays do. It makes sense in a way though, since wives tend to initiate divorces more than husbands do.

The writer, Marina Adshade, quotes, Giles Hattersley, the writer of the root article, on some reasons for the disparity. Let’s see how they stand up:

 1. Women are impulsive about relationships.

This would take a lot of proving. He seems to be trying to say that women, who are proverbially cautious about casual sex, are going to somehow conversely be rushing into long-term relationships. 

2. Men are more pragmatic about relationships.

There may be something to this, but again it would take a lot more proving than this article does. Perhaps women do buy into all the Romance bullshit – but even Jane Austen’s heroines knew the difference between maundering on about their infatuations and taking their career machinations seriously; how’s that for pragmatism – and start out with more unrealistic expectations, which are easier to fall short of. It’s possible. Not demonstrated.

And then she offers some alternative explanations of her own, and these make more sense to me:

1. Women just initiate divorce more. A relationship with TWO women in it starts out on very shaky ground to begin with.

Adshade points out that inequalities in divorce proceedings and child custody awards may drive that more than anything else, which weakens this particular argument. But I still think it has a lot more basis to it than Hatterley’s..

2. Female relationships tend to have boundary problems and breaking up is the only way to get some individuality back.

This may well be true. It certainly comports with the stereotype of the airless, in-grown lesbian circle of friends. So how valid is the stereotype? Citation please?

3. “If lesbian women are more likely to have been in a heterosexual relationship in the past that ended in divorce (which appears to be true) than are gay men, then there is nothing surprising about their higher divorce rates in that gender group.”

I’m not sure that actually is true, because she appears to have narrowed her pool to people who are getting civil partnerships or marriages. That is hardly the whole or even  necessarily a representative pool of gay men or probably even of lesbians either.

 So.

So this article sheds light on something new, at least new to me. It is an interesting departure point and I look forward to further research into the subject, as well as implications for heterosexual relationships.

Over the years some studies have shown a greater incidence of Intimate Partner Violence in lesbian couples, some have contradicted that, but the mere existence of the debate shoots a gaping hole in the Duluth Model of DV. So this observation of Hattersley’s, with Adshade’s commentary, may do the same with the old stereotype that divorce is due to men running off and abandoning their marriages. For what that’s worth.

 

95 thoughts on “WELL NOW – Lesbian Marriages End in Divorce More Often Than Straight Marriages Do

  1. This piece seems to be a little soft. It raises a lot of questions but comes to no conclusions,though I believe I can see which side it would come down on if it did.

    You know what they say, “Nothing ventured,nothing gained.”.

    It seems to be an opinion piece with no particular opinion,the only message that comes through loud and clear is a fear of coming down on the “wrong side”.

    Make what you will of my comment,but know it is offered in the spirit of constructive criticism rather than an attack on anyone.

  2. I’m almost 100% positive women initiate most breakups under every conceivable circumstance, so I suggest applying Occam’s Razor to this.

    I just want to hear what the gynocentric excuses are for this one. We already know that women leave men because the man was unfaithful and childish.

  3. Maybe because gay marriage is new and so people are sort of rushing into it? Anyway I tend to think it’s because many women seem to think they “deserve it all” and are very “me” oriented. Couple that with the ease at which many women have in the dating arena (compared to men) makes it trivial (relative to men) to find someone else. I haven’t seen my usual liberal minded blogs taking note of this. I guess because it goes against their mantras so they don’t want to talk about it. (Incoming tangent) They are too busy talking about how housekeepers at hotels have dangerous injury prone jobs (which is probably true since they work very hard) but compared to man-jobs like coal mining or roofing it seems like a minor issue. Never mind that people wouldn’t trust men in their hotel rooms in the first place.

    I’m just getting fed up with politics, electioneering, and liberals beating the “war on women” drum. And (as many already know) I am a liberal.

  4. “I just want to hear what the gynocentric excuses are for this one.”

    Probably the same as for IPV in lessbian relationships – crickets chirping.

    “Maybe because gay marriage is new and so people are sort of rushing into it?”

    There may be something to this, but you have to remember that this big surge of people getting married consists of people who quite often have been together for years and years.

    “Anyway I tend to think it’s because many women seem to think they “deserve it all” and are very “me” oriented.”

    I think that may be true for straight women, who grow up with boys groveling at their feet. I doubt lesbian girls get quite the same sense of validation from that.

    “Couple that with the ease at which many women have in the dating arena (compared to men) makes it trivial (relative to men) to find someone else.”

    As above, that ease you note comes from the way straight men grovel at women’s feet. They would sober up if straight men started negging them on a society-wide basis. In fact if what you say is true, it would make lesbians’ search for new relationships harder, since they are pursuing women.

  5. “I haven’t seen my usual liberal minded blogs taking note of this. I guess because it goes against their mantras so they don’t want to talk about it. (Incoming tangent) They are too busy talking about how housekeepers at hotels have dangerous injury prone jobs (which is probably true since they work very hard) but compared to man-jobs like coal mining or roofing it seems like a minor issue. Never mind that people wouldn’t trust men in their hotel rooms in the first place.”

    Co-sign. I heard Rachel Maddow, who I otherwise think is brilliant, banging on about this. In her defense, hotel workers may be the closest someone like Rachel Maddow, a Harvard person, ever comes to a worker, so she has no conception of what a coal-miner has to deal with. Oops, that not much of a defense. pAd also I think she is a lot more aware than that. I think it’s just someone falling ino the general gynocentrism of the empathy apartheid of this culture.

    I’m a liberal too, and I am heartliy sick of the electioneering, although I have to confess that the electioneering I am sick of is all the madness of the Re[publican primary process, since that is what we have been seeing so far.

    Speaking of electioneering, hasn’t Joe Biden gone and chucked a grenade into the conversation?

  6. Yeah I was sort of unclear but I was thinking that women (in general) have men and boys grovelling at their feet, whether the women are lesbians or not. Thus the women feel “hot” or “sexy” in ways that the vast majority of men never get to feel. But you are probably right in that it’s not the same for lesbians who are pursuing women. I just think that even having the experiences of being lusted after probably helps with confidence and such…but maybe I am wrong…and I m by no means trying to speak for all people.

  7. ” I just think that even having the experiences of being lusted after probably helps with confidence and such…but maybe I am wrong…and I m by no means trying to speak for all people.”

    I think the grass just always looks greener on the other side. I think a lot of women do not experience being lusted after as a confidence builder, because the way they complain about, to the point of sounding sex-negative, does not sound false to me.

    Now that may be because of sex-negative attiudes in the first place, due perhaps to a desire to linger in the cozy safety of childhood and loathing of becoming fully adult and open to sexuality, but either way, these particular women feel threatened rather than empowered by expression of desire.

    They may be a much smaller percentage of the population than others, they may bulk too large in my perception because they are the ones who post to feminist spaces, that could be true too.

  8. Yeah you’re probably right, but my wife tells me how it made her feel “powerful”. And, as we all know, feminists that post on forums don’t necessarily represent the average woman. But yeah I can see how being lusted after for many woman can be tiresome and scary. But I still thinks that puts women in a “better” (hmmm maybe different is a better word than “better”) position relationship wise than (for example) the man who only ever gets to feel rejected, unwanted, and can be openly mocked and ridiculed about it.

  9. So how does hypergamy factor into lesbian relationships?

    For example, in a couple in which both partners have about the same status and income, do each of them inwardly feel bitter and resentful about having “settled” for a “loser”?

  10. Just speaking from my experiences, women want to be desired. Women who complain about men desiring them, I think, just like to complain because they know it’s condescending toward males and that gives them a sick pleasure. Either that or maybe these women who complain about it don’t know what it is like to not be desired? So they take it for granted and are unaware of how badly it would affect their self esteem if they were not desired. So even if women genuinely felt threatened and victimized by men desiring them, they would never feel worthless and unwanted, and would still have confidence in the availability of the options to choose from when selecting a mate, even if those options are not men.

  11. @Debaser:

    I just think that even having the experiences of being lusted after probably helps with confidence and such…but maybe I am wrong

    I think there are a lot of women who never have this experience, particularly women who aren’t considered attractive by most people. So yeah, it’s important not to generalize too much.

    I do wonder about “unattractive” women’s experience though. Particularly, since they exist in a culture that tells them that men are supposed to lust after women, and in a culture where they likely see this dynamic between men and other women. It seems that with men there’s often a, “Yeah, I’m not hot, because I’m a guy–women aren’t supposed to lust after me, and I resign myself to that,” kind of attitude. But with “unattractive” women, I wonder if seeing men lust after other women etc. makes it harder to just resign themselves to it, and they put a lot of effort into trying to much objects of lust, and have a harder time resigning themselves.

    I’m just just speculating/thinking-out-loud here. Not trying to draw any firm conclusions. (I really wish we had more women commenting on this blog…)

  12. Xakudo, I think I agree with all of that. I kn w that a standard dismissla of angry feminists who “hate male sexuality” is that they’re too ugly top get noticed and they resent it, basically the “you’re just bitter cause you can’t get laid” that angry male-sexuality-hating feminists lob at MRAs.

    I wonder if there’s any market for MRA-radfem cage fights…

    Debaser, I know my one grandmother felt very empowered by male interest, but then she had the advantage of having been a flapper and also of having been a wise old soul, so she knew how to see the good side of things.

  13. Gingko:

    Are you implying Amanda Marcotte is a radfem?
    Your answer will be interesting to me either way.

  14. I’m posting this here because there’s no open threads to put it in.

    I’ve got a book recommendation for Typhonblue. I was reading some essay’s by Diana Wynne Jones (one of my favourite authors) and she mentioned that the villain in her book Black Maria (it was published as Aunt Maria in the US) is using the techniques you talked about in your piece on “surrendered wife”, combined with similar concepts applied to her advanced age to become the tyrannical ruler of a small town.

    I thought you might enjoy it.

  15. “Are you implying Amanda Marcotte is a radfem?
    Your answer will be interesting to me either way.”

    She would certainly deny it, but if you look at her terminiology and conceptual framwork – male privilege, patriarchal use of DV and rape as indstrumentalities of control of women, de facto immunity for women – all of these come out of the Redstockings, a group that was ancestral to radical feminism, so her denial appears tactical. And further – she would deny being a radfem because she ocnsiders herself mainstream feminists. Well she can be both – all that radfem terminology and conceptual frameowrk is pretty mainstream, at least in on-line feminism. So what would you call her?

    Either way, I would love to see her in a cage fight with Angry Harry.

    King’s Raven, you don’t need an open thread to post something that interesting! Anywhere will do. Thanks and if she doesn’t see the recommnedation soon, I will forward it to her.

  16. You’re welcome. I’ve been trying to track down Diana Wynne Jones’ lecture “Heroes”, and I found it here: http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/heroes.htm

    The lecture itself isn’t particularly relevant but as an aside she does take a moment – near the end – to explain her own interpretation of the themes as well as some interesting background information. I’d recommend reading the book first though because of spoilers (it also has spoilers for The Lives of Christopher Chant)

  17. Um. When I said she explains her own interpretation of the themes. I should make it clearer that I mean the themes of Black Maria; as in she’s explaining how she thinks the fantasty elements map to real life.

  18. Wow, it’s so fun to watch people with no understanding of my life pop-psychologize about my experiences. Almost as much fun as when misandristic cis “political lesbians” do it.

  19. “Wow, it’s so fun to watch people with no understanding of my life pop-psychologize about my experiences.”

    Which life experiences are those? Lesbian? You’ll notice that most of the discussion has been about straight women.

    If it’s straight women the discussion centers on, it’s prety oobvious that the men here, some who have been married to straight women, and some who are still dating them, are going to have quite a bit more life experience than some others whe it comes to straight women.

    And I agree though, as I said pretty clearly above, that the postions in the base article are pretty shaky.

    And by the way Valerie, if oyu plan on staying aorund, you are going to have to get some better manners than you displayed the last time. Arguing in bad faith, attempts at moralistic bullying or derailing the thread off into some conversation you decide to initiate will be lifted into a post of their own and put on display in the Display Cage as an aexample of how not to have a serious dialog..

  20. @Ginkgo:
    I missed Valerie’s previous behavior, apparently…? I haven’t seen anything I’d consider problematic from her. Of course, this is your thread, so you can mod as you like. But personally I’ve valued Valerie’s contributions here.

    @Valerie:
    Believe me, I understand how annoying it is to have people trying to psycho-analyse a group that I belong to, especially when it doesn’t line up with–or seems to twist–my own experiences. My hope is that the people here, Ginkgo included, are holding their opinions on this matter lightly, and are prepared to adjust their views with continued discussion. Preferably discussion that includes people from the groups being discussed, if possible.

    [...]people with no understanding of my life pop-psychologize about my experiences[...]

    Could you provide us with your take on this, then, based on your experiences?

  21. “Wow, it’s so fun to watch people with no understanding of my life pop-psychologize about my experiences.”

    Valerie, I don’t know if anyone here had you in mind when discussing this subject. I’m, at least, speculating about cis women, straight or lesbian, not TS’s that identify as lesbian. Though I wouldn’t mind hearing your own thoughts about the subject or what your experiences bring to the table.

  22. Valerie Keefe:

    Would you, in that case, please actually offer an opinion? Or, at the very least, identify the specific points you disagree with and explain your take on them?

    I confess that I am not terribly optimistic about this, because I have asked for you to provide clarification on similar comments in every single thread we have both commented on and never received a response. I’m seriously starting to wonder if you actually want people to know about you issues and experiences or if you just want to lord them over people.

    I would also like to point out that lesbians are notoriously unwilling to provide data or statements of any kind to researchers (even anonymously, they refuse to provide input much more often than gay men or heterosexuals of any gender), and that there will be more guesswork involved in discussing their issues than there is when discussing those of other groups as long as this remains true. Many of the best studies on relationships and sexuality have presented an enormous blank when it comes to lesbians because they were unable to obtain the necessary data to draw any scientific conclusions.

  23. Gingko:
    Well she can be both – all that radfem terminology and conceptual frameowrk is pretty mainstream, at least in on-line feminism. So what would you call her?
    An example of how ideas that are supposedly radfem and not acceptable in the mainstream are indeed acceptable in the mainstream, as long as you walk the tight rope correctly.

  24. @OperatorOscilation.

    TS’s that identify as lesbian

    Wow… just… if you don’t know how those words serve to qualify and degender trans women who love women, trans or cis, I don’t know where to start.

    Lesbian is not shorthand for cis woman who fucks people with vaginas, and degenders her boyfriends. Lesbian isn’t shorthand for people who “identify as lesbian.” Lesbian isn’t shorthand for dude who wants to hang out with chicks and uses his twat as a backstage pass. Lesbian women who are attracted predominately to women. No qualifiers regarding CASAB required.

    @Gingko

    I argue in good faith. The attempt is not to use some other leverage to get agreement, it’s to apply experience and analysis to the confirmation biases of both groups of unidirectional gender theorists out there. If you want to conflate me with the emotional blackmailers out there who will pop-psychologize about your motivations, feel free.

    If you want to use my words as fodder for your next article have fun eviscerating them of any and all context and grammatical flow. Because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to get any mileage out of them, converting your own little patch of the internet into a 24-hour three-minutes-hate. That’s where Factcheckme and Gendertrender went completely off the rails. So please, try to succeed where they continue fail. It’ll be fun to watch.

  25. @HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Would you, in that case, please actually offer an opinion?

    Okay, using lesbian relationships as a barometer for how women in relationships are at commitment fails to control for sexual orientation. I would never end a relationship with a man because I would never begin one.

    Secondly, you don’t possibly think this might have something to do with heterosexism? Relationships and marriages that are commonly held to be less valid being more easily broken?

    Maybe the same cultural understandings about division of labour aren’t in a lesbian relationship, so the costs of ending one aren’t as severe in terms of Ricardian advantage lost? When neither partner is considered the sole source of income, emotional support, sexual desirability, etc, in a relationship, it’s far less of a loss in utility for a relationship of that nature to end.

    I confess that I am not terribly optimistic about this, because I have asked for you to provide clarification on similar comments in every single thread we have both commented on and never received a response.

    1. Name the times.

    1a. Sometimes I’m at a loss for words. There are numerous triggers for this, though blindingly intellectually lazy cissexism, heterosexism, transerasure, and unidirectional gender power theory are right up there as times I just sigh and think there are neither enough faces or palms. [rant] I also did the same with NSWATM after they decided to fem-shame the CAMAB spectrum with their “Nice Guy Syndrome” posts. (Surprise, surprise, a lesbian who has been told that she is a man, and that it would be shameful to want to be herself and has internalised that transmisogyny? Will quite possibly pedestalize the shit out of any woman she’s attracted to.) [/rant]

    2. Sometimes I’ve moved onto different discussions. I don’t get email notifications from this forum, because wordpress is quite frequently shit.

    3. I have gone to the trouble of linking my blog, where people can contact me. If you really, really, need a follow up, go there.

  26. “Wow… just… if you don’t know how those words serve to qualify and degender trans women who love women, trans or cis, I don’t know where to start.”

    “Those words” simply state a fact, unless you don’t consider yourself a lesbian. It neither genders nor degenders.

    Like I said, I’m speculating about women with xx chromosomes (which I supsect most of us were), regardless of which gender they want to mate with and regardless of whether they identify themselves or anybody else identifies them as lesbians.

    Distinguishing between cis women , and M to F TS who identify as lesbian is important in a topic like this where we’re talking about how different genders experience human interractions and how their perseptions are shaped by different social situations. Many of us might not have any answers to thos questions for cis women, but we do know that most have been socially identified as female their whole lives and that no doubt affects how they are treated and perceived, and that influences their own perceptions. With a TS who identifies as lesbian, we know even less. How old were you when you transitioned? Are you passable? Did others perceive you as a woman before transitioning or did they identify you as a straight male? These things matter. Some of the speculations we’ve made about cis women would become moot if cis women and M to F TS were generalized together, depending on what the answers to those questions are.

  27. Valerie Keefe:

    Thank you.

    Actually, I am inclined to agree with your points. I certainly would not want to use the behavior of lesbians to predict or describe the behavior of heterosexual women. That would be dumb. I also think that your points make for more convincing explanations of breakups in lesbian relationships than any yet listed, although I would not wish to make any definite assertion without access to far more data than is currently available. One additional reason I can think of is that heterosexual couples with children will sometimes remain married in order to care for them, even if they aren’t actually happy in their relationship. I would assume that this situation is much less common with lesbian couples.

    Honestly, I think the main reason people hold up problem in lesbian relationships in these discussion isn’t that they think it says something important about heterosexual women as such, or even out of a dislike of lesbians, but because it flies in the face of theories and claims which cast all relationship problems as the fault of men.

    1.) The instance which I remember most clearly was in the “Is Feminism a Hate Group?” thread. You claimed that your actions fell under two of the suggested “hate group” criteria (an odd combination, if I recall correctly) as part of your argument that these qualities did not necessarily belong to hate groups, and I asked you to clarify what specifically those actions and beliefs were. You posted quite a lot both before and after (I believe you may even have commented on a different part of my post, although I’m not sure), but never acknowledged my inquiry.

    The other times have been cases in which you have brought up the cissexual status of your opponent in an argument, or made use of related terminology, when discussing topics that appeared wholly unrelated to those issues. I have requested on several occasions, always within a day of your original posting, that you clarify why you considered those points to be relevant. I assume you are bringing up actual issues, but it is completely impossible to know what they are if you never explain them and don’t even leave sufficient information to look them up.

    Sometimes I also just have difficulty parsing something you write. For example:
    [rant] I also did the same with NSWATM after they decided to fem-shame the CAMAB spectrum with their “Nice Guy Syndrome” posts. (Surprise, surprise, a lesbian who has been told that she is a man, and that it would be shameful to want to be herself and has internalised that transmisogyny? Will quite possibly pedestalize the shit out of any woman she’s attracted to.) [/rant]

    Could you please explain what the link between the first and second sentences here is? I assume I’m just ignorant of events on the forum in question because I never go there, but it’s really unclear to me why the portion in parentheses is linked to the portion that isn’t and why it comes after the period.
    _______
    On an unrelated note:
    This discussion has lead me to wonder one thing, though: Is deciding when to end a relationship perceived as being part of a woman’s role in one? I mean that in terms of the current media climate and social stereotypes. I’m not sure it would have any bearing on the topic at hand either way, but I would be interested in hearing other people’s opinions on this.

  28. between cis women , and M to F TS who identify as lesbian

    This. This is the cissexist context which I take issue with. The refusal to call trans women women, the use of the qualifiers of identification for trans identities where none are used for cis identities, these are patently cissexist.

  29. Sometimes I also just have difficulty parsing something you write. For example:
    [rant] I also did the same with NSWATM after they decided to fem-shame the CAMAB spectrum with their “Nice Guy Syndrome” posts. (Surprise, surprise, a lesbian who has been told that she is a man, and that it would be shameful to want to be herself and has internalised that transmisogyny? Will quite possibly pedestalize the shit out of any woman she’s attracted to.) [/rant]

    Could you please explain what the link between the first and second sentences here is?

    One of the frequent accusations bandied about when discussion of “Nice Guy Syndrome” comes up is about pedestalization and how it’s supposedly unhealthy and something that the pedestalizer can avoid, whereas I tend to see it as an adaptive behavior to having other means of self and romantic expression denied and thus the whole “Nice Guy” pathologization an exercise in victim blaming, and I provide one example of that in parentheses.

    The other times have been cases in which you have brought up the cissexual status of your opponent in an argument, or made use of related terminology, when discussing topics that appeared wholly unrelated to those issues.

    1. Relationship between CASAB and actual sex, especially when talking about gender power relations, is omnipresently and self-evidently relevant. Further, trans erasure often abounds in discussions like these, and yes, cis privilege, which, unlike cismasculine-cisfeminine gender power relations, actually is unidirectional (part of why radfems are so threatened by trans women, they explicitly understand that they have something to lose, their status as harem guards, ironically, from the end of cissexism).

    2. Any argument about the socially constructed disposability of men and the fragility of women seems to leave out trans women, who society seems disproportionately happy to let die (though claim a great deal of concern for ourhealth when that concern dovetails with the denial of transition medicine with a lower fatality incidence than aspirin). Any discussion of gender that ignores trans people comes with the implication that trans experience doesn’t really count, and is getting in the way of the actual discussion. Again, parallels with cissexist feminists not wanting actual demonstrable oppression of women to interrupt their discussions on theoretical, undemonstrable oppression of cis women abound. To wit, I bring it up because it’s not being brought up, and to speak of a gender system without speaking about how that system treats its transgressors is little more than apologia.

  30. Is deciding when to end a relationship perceived as being part of a woman’s role in one?

    There’s certainly no inverse-gender equivalent of Goodbye Earl so yeah, that’s not an altogether groundless assessment.

  31. Valerie Keefe:

    I wasn’t questioning its relevance in discussions of gender and social structures, where trans issues clearly have an important place, I was thinking of occasions when I have seen you bring this up in discussions of geo-political issues and questions which are at their heart anthropological in nature. I am not saying that you are bringing things up in situations when they are irrelevant or inappropriate, just that you bring them up in situations where their relevance is not readily apparent and needs to be explained.

    I certainly do appreciate that the issues facing trans people are unidirectional. Having experienced unidirectional disadvantages of my own due to my mental condition and witnessed others suffer more severe examples of the same, I am extremely sympathetic to your plight. I do not feel in any way qualified to contribute to discussion of the issues you face, so I just do my best to phrase the things I do say so as not to deny them.

    You have said that you often do not have time to explain each individual instance in detail, so might I suggest providing a link to an article elsewhere or some other means by which people reading can learn how the issues in question are connected and what that means as far as larger issues are concerned. Pointing out that people are not including trans perspectives and issues in their discussions is all very well, but I suspect people would be much more likely to start including those issues if you were to provide them the tools to do so. I make this suggestion in light of the fact that you have previously identified educating others about trans issues as your job.

  32. You know, it’s very interesting that women don’t seem to get shamed for ‘pedestalizing’ male celebrities, rap artists and leaders.

    Seriously, has ‘Obama girl’ ever been viciously attacked for putting the head of the Executive branch on a pedestal?

    Pfft. I’m drunk on vodka, I had a damn satisfying day today and, best of all, I’m in on the upcoming Facebook IPO!

  33. maybe just maybe a lesbian partner is less likely to tolerate a relationship that does not acknowledge her desirability to the same extent as a man would.

    hmm…. maybe this also explains elevated rates of violence in lesbian relationships.

  34. You know, it’s very interesting that women don’t seem to get shamed for ‘pedestalizing’ male celebrities, rap artists and leaders.

    CAFAB folk tend not to get shamed for that, no. Except in the event that race intersects. (Seriously, you’d think Chris Brown and Michael Vick had committed crimes on the order of Amarillo Slim, the level of career-destroying and permanent vendettas that were declared, including from the CAMAB-femmephobic Peggy Drexler, for example.) But women? If you’re a woman and you’re CAMAB, yes, you definitely do get shamed for that. According to pretty much any second-wave feminist, we’re hyperfeminine Stepford Wives looking to rape cis women with our artificially created fuckholes that we get to please men, and obviously every expression of devotion is just an attempt to buy sex with niceness, thus tricking the cis women into trusting us. (The cognitive dissonance that produces all that crap truly baffles)

  35. ” According to pretty much any second-wave feminist,…’

    And not just them either. I once made the ultimately good mistake of saying on a Feministe thread that it seemed to me that feminists were more supportive of CAMAB people and quickly got corrected – grateful for that – and sent to a Twisty Faster thread that was just a sinkhole of bigotry and hatred. Schala and a few others were on the thread trying to talk some decency into the others, but they just would not have it. After that I started paying more attention.

    If it wasn’t pedestalization it would be something else. Any issue will do to for them to beat you on you people.

  36. “The refusal to call trans women women..”

    This is why I am coming to wonder about using “trans-”. How can a person transition to what they have always been? I understand who the term can be narrowed to mean physical transition, but even that seems inaccurate because brain chemistry and structure are physical. That’s why I am starting to use the CAFAB/CAMAB terminology you introduced me to. It looks more accurately descriptive to me.

    Obviously if people want to use the term about themselves, then maybe it’s not as off as it seems to me.

  37. Valerie, as Groucho Marx (I think) once said, if there are no stupid questions, what kind of questions do stupid people ask?

    As I told you on NSWATM, I am most assuredly one of the stupid people, so please bear this in mind. But I really need clarification on this:

    (part of why radfems are so threatened by trans women, they explicitly understand that they have something to lose, their status as harem guards, ironically, from the end of cissexism

    Um, harem guards? Radfems are harem guards? Seriously? You believe that all ciswomen live in harems guarded by radfems? Huh?

    What ARE you talking about?

    There’s certainly no inverse-gender equivalent of Goodbye Earl so yeah, that’s not an altogether groundless assessment.

    You’ve never heard “Kim” by Eminem?

  38. “Um, harem guards? Radfems are harem guards? Seriously? You believe that all ciswomen live in harems guarded by radfems? Huh? ”

    Well not literally, but if you look at radfems’ history of sex-negativism, moral gaurdianship and preachiness and their very pronounced love of policing on everyone, it’s not that weird a characterization.

    I was going to say it’s not just the Evil Menz that they want to keep out of the harem, they want to keep CAMABs out too – but actually to them it’s the same thing. When radfems at Mitchfest insist that CAMABs have no place there, they are acting as guards.

    It’s of a piece with their – earlier or maybe still current – hatred of gay men and especially drag queens.

  39. Okay, lemme clarify this: Harem is a collection of women owned by a rich man. Is this the characterization of modern society being subscribed to in this comment?

    And then… you are all critical of feminism? Isn’t feminism ANTI harem?

    This analogy (or whatever it is) makes absolutely NO SENSE AT ALL to me. It is the goofiest thing I ever heard.

    And how could radfems be the “guards”? Would the men, the harem-owners be putting us in charge? Why would they do that?

    Or are women the ones asking us to be the guards? As I hear constantly: not all women are feminists, so why would they do that?

    As I said, goofiest thing I ever heard.

    When radfems at Mitchfest insist that CAMABs have no place there, they are acting as guards.

    Michfest is owned by women, while.harems are owned and operated by men, populated with women of the harem-owner’s choosing, and no others. Maybe we are differing on the definition of “harem”? Further, “harem” is a collection of sex-slaves, unlike Michfest, so I am not sure why radfems would be guarding it in the first place? Radfems are working for harem-owners now? Is that what we are now being accused of?

    Historically, it was eunuchs who guarded harems.

  40. “between cis women , and M to F TS who identify as lesbian”

    “This is the cissexist context which I take issue with. The refusal to call trans women women”

    Okay I see what you’re saying now. I try to use as many universally agreed upon premises as possible when making a point. “Trans woman lesbian” is one way to look at it. “Non-gay biological male” is another. “M to F TS who identify as lesbian” doesn’t take a stand on either one. Post-pubescent females with xx chromosomes who don’t get sex changes, I don’t know of any other way people describe them other than “woman”, so that’s also a universally agreed upon premise. My only regret so far is using the word “cis”, since I’m uncertain if I’m using it correctly.

  41. ““Trans woman lesbian” is one way to look at it. “Non-gay biological male” is another”

    The latter is only true is the presence of a penis at 1 minute old (as decided based upon an arbitrary measure of length) is the threshold for being declared biological male, regardless of ANY other factor ever.

    Regardless, it’s offensive. I’m biological, and I’m female. And I have a penis, too.

  42. Okay, lemme clarify this: Harem is a collection of women owned by a rich man. Is this the characterization… Isn’t feminism ANTI harem?

    I am aware of at least one culture where harems were abandoned due to the harem members wielding too much political power in a corrosive manner, not because the women were too oppressed. For instance, in the Imperial Harem, the woman who presided over the harem was the sultan’s mother. And women in the harem would sometimes murder each other as they vied for political influence. At the same time, there were hundreds of male slaves who worked in the harem who had their genitals either partly or completely amputated. These sort of harems were also known as the “Golden Cage” because princes would be kept there as prisoners waiting to either ascend to be the next sultan or to be executed. So… to say that the harem is “a collection of women owned by a rich man” is a grossly inaccurate term in light of the historical context. It was primarily an institution of power that oppressed men and women, rich and poor, alike.

  43. @Daisy, let me re-emphasize that. The woman who controlled all of the sultan’s wives was the sultan’s mother. Still not seeing the power dynamic? Let me put it another way, then. Do you know of a man alive today, in his right mind, who would allow his mother to decide whether or not his wife lived or died?

    To me, the harem system is all about female gender policing, male disposability, sexual gatekeeping, and female passivity (of the Surrendered Wife variety). Just think – at times, the sultan himself was just a child, or he was mentally disabled (one must wonder how that came about in the “Golden Cage”). The hens, as it were, were in charge of the fox’s den. To wit, the idea that there could be male servants in the Harem, but they had to be castrated if they were to be in contact with the women, sounds a lot like what radical feminism says about men today. It sounds like quite a fitting analogy to the role of radical feminism in today’s society.

  44. I quoted you at length on my blog today Dungone… I regret that your last hilarious sentences –

    To wit, the idea that there could be male servants in the Harem, but they had to be castrated if they were to be in contact with the women, sounds a lot like what radical feminism says about men today. It sounds like quite a fitting analogy to the role of radical feminism in today’s society.

    — could not be included because I already wrote it. Hope you will be satisfied with what I quoted.

    Could you name the radical feminist who said men have to be castrated to be in contact with women? I must have missed this one.

    And I am waiting for Valerie (or anyone else) to name that song that is the gender-inverse equivalent of Eminem’s “Kim”…. where is the song about violently killing and strangling a man, a SERIOUS song, by the woman who has also won an Oscar and all kinds of other awards, profiled on “60 Minutes”?

    Please, speak up. Why are you all having such trouble answering this question?

  45. “The latter is only true is the presence of a penis at 1 minute old (as decided based upon an arbitrary measure of length) is the threshold for being declared biological male, regardless of ANY other factor ever.”

    I’m pretty sure that someone’s biological sex can be determined (not declared) through other means than the presence of a penis at one minute old, especially afterward, as they grow and develop other sex specific features besides a penis, and that’s not even looking at the chromosomes.

    “Regardless, it’s offensive.”

    There are people who are offended by the former too, like some feminists. So both are offensive. Even my neutral nonbiased description offended somebody. Everything and anything will offend somebody, which is irrelevant to the truth value of the statements. A lot of the arguments we make against feminsts around here will offend them, even if we’re right. Imagine if we just went along with everything feminists said simply because they would be offended otherwise.

  46. Could you name the radical feminist who said men have to be castrated to be in contact with women? I must have missed this one.

    Daisy, don’t be so disingenuous. Here’s one, after 10 seconds of looking:
    http://thefemitheist.blogspot.com/2012/04/castration-are-benefits-worth-risk.html

    However, you’re clearly missing the finer points of where I said ALLEGORY (hopefully you didn’t miss it now). Sex-negative feminists who think all sex is rape of women? Check. Sex-positive feminists who think that all men are Schrodinger’s Rapists? Check. Feminists who even consider it debatable whether or not men can have a say in feminist spaces? Check.

  47. ***Uh, I actually said analogy, not allegory. But either one works. Just ticked off when an intelligent person like Daisy refuses to argue in good faith.

    name that song that is the gender-inverse equivalent of Eminem’s “Kim”

    I’m waiting for the rapper who chops off his wife’s vagina and throws it down the garbage disposal and then gets cheered on daytime TV by throngs of men as the host makes twirling motions with his finger to simulate the woman’s genitals going down the drain. Quick, Daisy – name one time that it’s happened.

    Nevertheless, drum roll please:
    http://cltampa.com/tampacalling/archives/2009/01/12/songs-about-women-murdering-men#.T7HedOuvJ8E

  48. “I’m pretty sure that someone’s biological sex can be determined (not declared) through other means than the presence of a penis at one minute old, especially afterward, as they grow and develop other sex specific features besides a penis, and that’s not even looking at the chromosomes.”

    Barring reasons to check (like a genital opening, or testes not descending later in chidlhood) very few parents check, and it’s still a pain to legally change the sex EVEN in those cases. It’s been determined by penis length from birth, lest they had antecedents (known and diagnosed intersex cases in THAT family) to have a reason to think a penis (or it’s absence) was not enough to decide, forever and ever, what sex this person is.

    My brain is biological, and not plastic in the area of identity. It was pre-determined at birth and probably earlier that I would identify as female, and probably that I would react both badly, and less than normal (genetic, cellular level), to testosterone, even if production would be normal.

    Short of suicide or lobotomy, both of which would pretty much kill the relevant pieces that make me someone who lives, I’m female. Once I’m a corpse and on someone’s dissection table, call me male all you want.

  49. I’m quite fascinated by Valerie’s interjections, and more power to her to raise awareness, but I don’t see them highly relevant to this particular blog post. I don’t think the post was ever intended to erase anyone’s existence, it just so happens that the breakup rate of lesbian relationships are of a particular interest to heterosexual men who have long suffered breakups initiated by women as well as to gay men who have long been burdened by negative stereotypes about non-committal men.

    @Valerie

    I would never end a relationship with a man because I would never begin one.

    This probably isn’t what you meant, but I have had several women say this when breaking up with me (that they weren’t really my girlfriend anyway). To be sure, I am only thinking of the ones who had previously said they were in front of plenty of witnesses.

    Secondly, you don’t possibly think this might have something to do with heterosexism? Relationships and marriages that are commonly held to be less valid being more easily broken?

    Yes, in numerous ways, but the comparison was made relatively, by looking at lesbian breakups versus gay male breakups.

    between cis women , and M to F TS who identify as lesbian

    This. This is the cissexist context which I take issue with. The refusal to call trans women women

    In some contexts it is important to make distinctions, though. I would not talk about female privilege as if it applied to M to F TS women in the same way as it applies to other women because the M to F TS women experience many of the disadvantages of men, many of the disadvantages of women, and few of the benefits of either.

  50. “I’m pretty sure that someone’s biological sex can be determined (not declared) through other means than the presence of a penis at one minute old, especially afterward, as they grow and develop other sex specific features besides a penis, and that’s not even looking at the chromosomes.”

    “Barring reasons to check (like a genital opening, or testes not descending later in chidlhood) very few parents check, and it’s still a pain to legally change the sex EVEN in those cases. It’s been determined by penis length from birth, lest they had antecedents (known and diagnosed intersex cases in THAT family) to have a reason to think a penis (or it’s absence) was not enough to decide, forever and ever, what sex this person is.”

    So the growth of male facial hair, broad shoulders, longer forarms and bigger hands, adams apples, deep voices, different facial structures, different fat deposits, these things which cause others to socially identify people as male are all caused by doctors writing “male” on the birth certificate when they measure the penis within a minute of birth? These things are caused by biology and don’t care who declares what. When we see people around us, we don’t find out what they were declared at birth before our perceptions assign a gender to them for us.

    “My brain is biological, and not plastic in the area of identity. It was pre-determined at birth and probably earlier that I would identify as female,”

    I don’t know what you mean by “area of identity”. As someone who only had sisters, I very distinctly remember the identity of “boy” being forcably enculturated into me when I was a child by my family. Before that identity was socialized into me, I saw no gender difference between myself and my sisters. I had to be disciplined not to play with girl’s toys, not to wear girl’s clothes, not to wear makeup, and most importantly, not to identify as a “she”. Such an identity is only further reinforced by my knowledge of chromosomes, hormones, and physical features, and how words like “male” and “female” are defined and commonly used to describe these things.

    “and probably that I would react both badly, and less than normal (genetic, cellular level), to testosterone, even if production would be normal.”

    I’m open to the idea of gender dysphoria having a physiological/genetic basis. It doesn’t prove a genetic basis for gender identity though. Womanhood is not defined as reacting badly to testosterone.

    “Short of suicide or lobotomy, both of which would pretty much kill the relevant pieces that make me someone who lives, I’m female. Once I’m a corpse and on someone’s dissection table, call me male all you want.”

    If you’re biologically male, but living socially as a female and that is how you’re perceived in everyday life, I wouldn’t be so crass as to shine a big old spot light on your secret. But during conversations like these, I prefer honest discussion with language that is clear and concise, not cryptic. That is especially important when combatting feminism. Afterall, through this medium, we’re all just blips on the computer screen.

  51. OperatorOscillation:

    I think you’re making a lot of assumptions that were not previously part of this conversation and which are not necessarily true, medically speaking. You also make a few astonishing leaps of logic (you could crew the Starlight with deductions like that) and at least one very obvious Straw Man. In addition, you appear to be arguing multiple conflicting positions at different points in your post (id est, you appear to argue that gender is a purely social construct and then go on to describe it as a purely biological matter).

    I will leave it to others with more specialized knowledge in this field to go over your factual inaccuracies in detail, but I will say that you have failed woefully to formulate a coherent argument.

    In your last paragraph, you also appear to be arguing that transfolk (a non-word I saw Valerie Keefe use once and will continue to repeat in the hopes that it will turn out to be a genre of music) do not exist. This is astoundingly unobservant of you. Indeed, the world’s foremost expert in fungology has had people killed for less.

  52. Dungone, not bad, but I added qualifiers… 60 Minutes and an Oscar. I know fringe stuff exists, I’ve heard death metal and what-all. Plenty of country songs about killing spouses/lovers of both genders, as well.

    But the lionization of Eminem in light of this song, is what I also refer to. This would be like Lady Gaga (also on 60 Minutes) doing a song like this, and she has not. That is my point here. Also, the level of sheer hatred/gore can’t be matched… “Goodbye Earl” (Valerie’s example) is supposed to be funny, rather like Guns N Roses, “I used to love her but I had to kill her”. I don’t like that stuff but don’t take it all that seriously either. By contrast, Eminem’s song will raise the hair on the back of your neck and rooms tend to go totally quiet, listening in awe and terror. It was enough that Kim sued him for it.

    When Lady Gaga or someone of that importance and stardom writes a man-killing song of that order, let me know.

  53. And Dungone, only four songs? I could name a half-dozen hip hop songs mentioning “might shoot the bitch” simply in passing. You know that, right? I can even go back to “Midnight Rambler” by the Rolling Stones and “Down by the River” by Neil Young… can you go back that far?

    Please. NO comparison at all.

    And I would say, “Janie got a gun” should not be included. Lots of us felt that way. If it was a man was killing an adult-abuser, you’d be all for it.

    So now you’ve got three.

  54. PS: the two songs I just mentioned are two of my favorite songs, since the music is utterly brilliant. I think that matters too… Miranda Lambert/Dixie Chicks are NOT the Rolling fucking Stones or Neil Young, you know? In their dreams. I am also talking about STATURE here.

    Where’d Valerie go?

  55. “I think you’re making a lot of assumptions that were not previously part of this conversation and which are not necessarily true, medically speaking. You also make a few astonishing leaps of logic (you could crew the Starlight with deductions like that) and at least one very obvious Straw Man.”

    How do I learn anything if you don’t elaborate? If I am making leaps in logic and strawmen, I certainly want to know. You don’t need to be a specialist in any field to explain why my logic is fallacious.

    “In addition, you appear to be arguing multiple conflicting positions at different points in your post (id est, you appear to argue that gender is a purely social construct and then go on to describe it as a purely biological matter”

    No, I’ve argued that identity is a social construct. That doesn’t mean there is no biological basis for gender or different behavior patterns influenced by it.

  56. “So the growth of male facial hair, broad shoulders, longer forarms and bigger hands, adams apples, deep voices, different facial structures, different fat deposits, these things which cause others to socially identify people as male are all caused by doctors writing “male” on the birth certificate when they measure the penis within a minute of birth? ”

    Well, by these standards, I’m not quite male, and every cis woman with the condition hirsutism, is not quite female.

    I have non-broad shoulders. They’re not tiny, but for my height, they’re so average that they happen to be small for men and not-big for women. My voice is between tenor and alto (basically, people could be throwing a coin to decide which sex my voice belongs to) – though I’ve been socialized to use more ‘masculine’ speech patterns, as I’ve lived with three brothers and had no effort done trying to give me speech manners (so I’m rather direct in speech, and haven’t been told to find TMI to be offensive – I also don’t modify my pitch to appear more submissive).

    I have limbs that should fit on a 5’8″ person, and I’m a 5’6″ person, sue my arms and legs for being longer. My arms are not thick. My fingers are long, but my hands are average by any standard. My facial structure is also androgynous, in that it never developed beyond 12 years old. And the amount of facial hair I can grow, amounts to what an average 13 years old can grow. All three of my brothers (now 27, 21 and 19, which is all younger than me) can grow full beards with no problem of sparse hair or slow growth. I couldn’t ever grow a full beard because I don’t have all the facial hair roots to do so (or they’ve been dormant since forever). I have 20% of the surface (only below the chin). Hormones notoriously cannot prevent or remove beards that have already grown (and I started them at 24, not 12). But I can shave without it being noticeable, since there’s so little to remove.

    And fat deposits. I was 105-110 lbs forever, when I hit my adult height of 5’6″. This has very very limited fat deposits, anywhere at all. This means I looked a lot like Debra Morgan (from the show Dexter): not much breasts to speak of (A cup is pretty small), and very thin all around, no hips either, and a rather small waist. Like her, I’ve always been small-boned. Although she seems to be taller in height than I’ll ever be.

    This didn’t prevent people labeling me male (at least over half the time) based on clothing being extra loose and my not looking like I care.

    And today, this doesn’t prevent people labeling me female (at least over 75% of time – I’m not in their brain) based on clothing not being extra loose, and my not looking like I care. Hormones took care of much of the difference (acne gone, breasts are here). But confidence is where its at. The day you don’t care is the day it can’t hurt you – you know you’re right (but you might still think they’re an asshole for misgendering you). Looking not-out-of-place (without even needing to conform too much, at that – I rarely wear make up at all) is the single most effective method to be seen as cissexual of the sex you are.

    “I’m open to the idea of gender dysphoria having a physiological/genetic basis. It doesn’t prove a genetic basis for gender identity though. Womanhood is not defined as reacting badly to testosterone.”

    This might be the problem right here. I’m not identifying as a woman, but as female. I don’t identify as such a fluid and imaginary concept as gender, but the biological concept of sex.

    “I don’t know what you mean by “area of identity”. As someone who only had sisters, I very distinctly remember the identity of “boy” being forcably enculturated into me when I was a child by my family. Before that identity was socialized into me, I saw no gender difference between myself and my sisters. I had to be disciplined not to play with girl’s toys, not to wear girl’s clothes, not to wear makeup, and most importantly, not to identify as a “she”. Such an identity is only further reinforced by my knowledge of chromosomes, hormones, and physical features, and how words like “male” and “female” are defined and commonly used to describe these things. ”

    I’ve had only brothers, and I was the oldest, and alone due to being considered generally odd by others. I saw no identity difference until I just knew it, at 8 years old. And it had nothing to do with make-up, dresses, pink, ponies or what have you that is supposedly feminine. I just knew something had been wrong at some point with genital formation, that I’d probably be reborn someday as female (though this involved, well, dying), and that I’d been mis-assigned as male. I figured something better than wishful thinking waiting for suicide could be done at 22, when I learned trans existed. I transitioned at 24, both hormonally and socially. I’m now almost 29.

    I pretty much always identified as female, and yet, while I distinctly project a ‘feminine aura’ (due to body language mainly), I’m not much for stuff coded feminine. At least not as much as commercials think I ought to obsess over make-up and coloring my hair. I shave my legs because it’s more aesthetically pleasing (to me) and smoother. I don’t have to shave armpit hair because I’m in the less than 1% of adults who don’t have any. I wear skirts if temperature permits and I feel like it. It’s mostly because I’ve never been big on shorts, and skirts are generally better looking to me, while being practical with regards to sweat in summer and better airflow. I wear make-up, once per some weeks, mainly because my boyfriend thinks it’s more aesthetic (I disagree, as I don’t recognize myself, it feels odd every time). You couldn’t convince me I needed to wear it daily lest I had some skin problem. I wash my hair once, maybe twice, per month, it’s 3 feet long (and been that way since I was 19, long before transition), shiny and healthy. I also don’t feel my hair needs to be perfect every time I go out the door (though I’ll at least finger comb my hair every morning, to detangle it). I’ll mind “hair in my mouth” (due to wind) a lot more than frizz.

    Think this is what pushed me to transition? Consider that transition involved pretty much full chemical castration, if I was even fertile before (given I’m anorgasmic). And it (the hormonal variation to 0 testosterone) would cause intense distress to males. It causes none to me.

  57. @Daisy, I cannot explain to you why you have a fem-delta against Eminent or why you believe that he is “lionized.” As I see it, his career wouldn’t exist without female fans. He is no different than Orlando Bloom or Justin Burner: an infantalized version of masculinity that appeals to women who objectify men. I have seen him mocked by men from the first tme I heard of him, specifically by Howard Stern who presented him as an imbecile and had him on his show for laughs. I don’t know who it is that you think men lionize, but its not Eminent or Brad Pitt or Fabio. These men are men by virtue of the female seal of approval.

  58. “an infantalized version of masculinity that appeals to women who objectify men. ”

    I have always wondered if this is where Eminem’s homphobia came from.

    “I don’t know who it is that you think men lionize, but its not Eminent or Brad Pitt or Fabio. These men are men by virtue of the female seal of approval.”

    They are all rather pretty – if you consider a Neanderthal like Fabio pretty – but even he is made up to look pretty. He is classic bodice-ripper material.

    For as long as there have been entertainment cleebrities there have been male celebrities whose fan-base was women – Rodopph Valentino and the whole matinee idol genre of male celebrities; Elvis, Rock Hudson, the Beatles, the Stones – hell, rock stars with their groupies – Tom Selleck, now Brad Pitt. I remember when Jimi Hendrix was every girls crotch throb in my school,
    and bless them for it. It exactly mirrors the female movie start business with their male auduences. I don’t know of anything similar with female singers though. I don’t think female music stars have male audiences the way males have their female audineces.

    And sometimes there really isn’t a clear line as far as who is idolizing a star – “Women want to have him; men want to be him.”

  59. I am sorry, but the trans debate as well as the cherry picking of song lyrics is really, really a huge derail IMO. I am eager to hear what insights trans women have about why women initiate more breakups than men do. An explanation from a trans perspective and not just an excuse for women as being oppressed in general. Women breaking up relationship with greater frequency is a men’s issue.

  60. Dungone, point taken… I just think drive-by comments like “there is no gender-inverse equivalent of ‘Goodbye Earl’” is such an egregious (and sexist) error, it needs to be corrected forthwith.

    Schala: I’m not identifying as a woman, but as female.

    What is the difference? I didn’t realize there was one? (Sorry to derail, if it is, but I really didn’t.)

  61. “Schala: I’m not identifying as a woman, but as female.

    What is the difference? I didn’t realize there was one? (Sorry to derail, if it is, but I really didn’t.)”

    There is a difference. I don’t identify with feminity, or with doing girly things. And as a trans woman, I’ll be accused of either being a Stepford Wives imitator who does a poor rendering, or someone who “doesn,t care enough”. Either way, my femaleness would be judged by how “good” I play at being feminine.

    I’m pre-emptively saying that we’re not playing the same game, to these people. I don,t identify with a concept of gender, wether its gender as performance, gender as oppression and imposed or gender as anything-I-wish-it-to-be-today. I identify as a sex. Therefore its much more clear that I’m not in it for the dresses and the glittery stuff.

  62. Schala: I identify as a sex. Therefore its much more clear that I’m not in it for the dresses and the glittery stuff.

    Okay, but what is this difference between woman and female? You are saying woman somehow denotes femininity by definition? No, it doesn’t, nor does “female”–they are largely thought to be synonymous by the vast majority, ditto the words man and male.

    Plenty of females and women are not particularly feminine, so not sure I get it. (?) For the record, I’m not in it for dresses and glittery stuff either.

    I once was corrected by a trans woman online, that the term “female” was innately cissexist, and now you are using the word to describe yourself, so color me confused.

  63. “Okay, but what is this difference between woman and female? You are saying woman somehow denotes femininity by definition? No, it doesn’t, nor does “female”–they are largely thought to be synonymous by the vast majority, ditto the words man and male.”

    It does for the people at Michfest. Not for them of course, but to them, trans women want to be seen as female just because of the girly stuff, the feminine stuff, the “being allowed to wear dresses and cry” stuff.

    So it’s just to pre-empt those infuriating people that it’s NOT about feminity, and it’s never been about it.

    To me, female signifies a biological category, while woman is a sociological category. I identify as the biological category, and by definition socially, this puts me in the category woman, too. Not the opposite.

  64. Schala: So it’s just to pre-empt those infuriating people that it’s NOT about feminity, and it’s never been about it.

    Okay, so can I ask why your previous comment was one long recitation of your “qualifications” for womanhood, citing body hair, voice timbre, shoulder width, boob size, general appearance, weight, height, clothing, etc etc? See, it sounds to me like you are quite strongly invested in gender performance, since you carefully catalog all these points (which you mention often), then you say it isn’t about femininity. (?) Why do you continually make sure everyone knows how feminine you are, in that case?

    That’s what I mean, confusing.

    Since I am now at the age where I sometimes get “yes sir” on the phone, I guess I need to resign from womanhood, in that case, yes? (If not, why mention this in your post as proof of how womanly you are?) Do you understand that your comments can be offensive and can be read as gender gate-keeping? Michfest indeed.

    I don’t think how someone is regarded by society, makes them any less of a woman (or man), and find THAT an offensive, anti-trans (and anti-butch, anti-femme) notion. If someone tells me they are a man or woman, whether they “look” a certain way makes no difference at all. But you seem to think it does? Or doesn’t?

    As I said, confusing.

  65. ” I am eager to hear what insights trans women have about why women initiate more breakups than men do.”

    Although everything else we have touched on here interests me, I would like a CAMAB person to comment on this because she will have a uniquely competent insight into it.

    “they are largely thought to be synonymous by the vast majority, ditto the words man and male.”

    No. man and male are definitely not synomous, not if oyu are grwoing up as a boy. it may be that way for female and woman, but it is not analogous. A boy can grow up knowing beyond all doubt he is male, but “becoming a man” is something else entirely – it’s a huge big step, lots of anxiety around it, and the standards are vague – vague when i was coming up, ten times vaguer now. The rael man discourse is mostly around this passage and this anxiety. I don’t think there is anything equivalent for girls.

    I don’t know how it is for women. I don’t recall ever hearing any girls obseesing about what it took to be a woman the way boys did and men inflicted on boys. What does it take for a girl to become a woman – menstruation? childbirth? Or is it just a non-issue, so minimal that women aren’t really offended at being called “girl” – they sue it with each other and about themselves – the way “boy” is a deadly, demeaning, diminishing insult. When ‘girl’ has that effect, it’s because of a racial subtext, and there is that with “boy” too of course. Absolutely. But that does not mean that calling a white man “boy” is not still a gross insult too.

  66. Gingko, interesting, about “becoming a man”–I don’t think “becoming a woman” has any real meaning at all. Nobody talks about it the same way, that I can see… grown women still refer to each other as girls, while grown men do not refer to each other as boys.

    Possibly the only time anyone says to a girl “you are now a woman” is when you get your period, but its not usually in a positive way, LOL.

    I think for boys, becoming a man is like a reward. When that label is withheld, then it becomes punishment. No in-between.

  67. “Since I am now at the age where I sometimes get “yes sir” on the phone, I guess I need to resign from womanhood, in that case, yes? (If not, why mention this in your post as proof of how womanly you are?) Do you understand that your comments can be offensive and can be read as gender gate-keeping? Michfest indeed.”

    Hi Daisy. Since Schala was responding to me, I suppose I should take some responsibility for this. I think what Schala was saying was “People see me as female/woman/choose your nomenclature” as a response to my point, which refered to distinctly male features as social identifiers of gender without the need for an “it’s a boy” declaration at birth. So Schala was saying “that doesn’t apply to me.” In a way, Schala is making my point and therefore I don’t understand why Schala used the gender marker at birth as an argument, since it seems like a nonsequitor.

    Referring to Schalas bodily details as offensive proves an earlier point I made, everything is offensive to somebody. I don’t think Schala was intentionally or unnecessarily offensive. Even if Schala is strongly invested in gender performance, I don’t see why that’s a problem. Schala isn’t forcing others to do the same.

  68. Daisy:
    I think for boys, becoming a man is like a reward.
    Of course it is. Its the reward for twisting and shaping oneself to fit what someone else or something else deems to be a man. And this is why policing and shaming tactics work so well on men.

    When that label is withheld, then it becomes punishment. No in-between.
    Precisely.

    But of course some folks are so dead set on acting like “being a man” is all sunshine and rainbows (or that the rain clouds “don’t compare to what women experience” therefore are not worth mentioning).

  69. “Okay, so can I ask why your previous comment was one long recitation of your “qualifications” for womanhood, citing body hair, voice timbre, shoulder width, boob size, general appearance, weight, height, clothing, etc etc? See, it sounds to me like you are quite strongly invested in gender performance, since you carefully catalog all these points (which you mention often), then you say it isn’t about femininity. (?) Why do you continually make sure everyone knows how feminine you are, in that case?”

    I was mostly saying that stereotypes about male appearances don’t apply to me. Stereotypes about female appearances, also don’t apply to me. I didn’t mention that part, but thought it was evident from my description as pretty thin and curveless, the image of androgeny. My having long hair is just something that happens to align with the expectation through chance. My boyfriend also has long hair, and I love that in him. Never thought for one second it made him feminine. I did cut my bangs to appear more feminine, and it just frames my face better, given my laissez-faire attitude to styling.

    “See, it sounds to me like you are quite strongly invested in gender performance, since you carefully catalog all these points (which you mention often), then you say it isn’t about femininity. (?)”

    Which one is performance? My natural voice, my lack of armpit hair, or my not using make-up? The only thing I can see is that I shave my legs, and am likely to apply make-up more than once a year, thus disqualifying me from butch, or something. Not that I identify as butch either. I identify as me. Me happens to be pretty androgynous most of the time. Me might prefer to be more feminine at times, but it’s mostly an aesthetic clothing preference, not a mindset. And it’s a bit too expensive to do often (the dresses I want all cost in 3 digits, and they’re not designer stuff, just harder-to-find), so I just don’t.

  70. OO: Even if Schala is strongly invested in gender performance, I don’t see why that’s a problem.

    Because she said she wasn’t into it. Didn’t you read what she said? As I said, I am confused. I just said so, that’s all.

    When people say one thing and do another, I find it annoying, and I wonder which person is the real one and what should I believe from them?

    Women bragging about thinness and implying that is somehow akin to femininity/womanhood, etc would get you banned outright from some feminist blogs, and I have to remember, that is not where I am. But I did find it startling, and said so.

    Being thin does not make you a woman, and that is a gross, insulting thing to say. A whole paragraph bragging about your delicate size and weight is going to get catcalls from me. Yeccchhh. In a fat-hating culture, the day after a major fat-hating documentary on HBO? We don’t need that shit.

  71. Schala: Stereotypes about female appearances, also don’t apply to me.

    Bullshit. 5’6″ and 105 lbs is practically supermodel size, and you know it. Stop playing dumb. You are bragging, pure and simple.

    And if you do NOT realize this, please understand this IS how the majority of women hear what you are saying. Please understand how it sounds to fat-shamed people. Get a fucking clue. There is no reason to go on for a whole paragraph (again) about your wonderful thin self.

    We get it, really we do.

  72. “Bullshit. 5’6″ and 105 lbs is practically supermodel size, and you know it. Stop playing dumb. You are bragging, pure and simple. ”

    5’6″ and 105 lbs is too short to be a supermodel (who are often 5’9″ to 6’0″), and too thin to be considered feminine. Curvy is feminine. Formless and just thin is juvenile. Some people think feminine = juvenile. But that’s not me.

    I was contrasting with the outlook that says trans women look like footballers trying to pretend being ballerinas. The ones we will see in the media and that didn’t get killed by a lover to get in the news, or try to go to Miss Universe while trans – well, they typically get read as mannish, confirming the stereotype for everyone that “everyone knows” who the trans women are.

  73. It’s funny you interpret myself as bragging about having some sort of biological predisposition to being a late bloomer physically, while it was due to not being affected much by testosterone, and well, I didn’t have much estrogen to speak of back then. So my growth was on standby on the 12 years old setting.

    Blame western society for seeing that as feminine. I see that as juvenile, an androgyne.

  74. Blame western society for seeing that as feminine.

    Did I say, “stop playing dumb”? At least you admit how OTHERS perceive you. And I certainly do blame western society, and I blame the collaborators too.

    If you wish to be perceived as bragging about thinness, please continue. If not, stop mentioning it.

    Thin privilege is real, and you are exhibiting it here. Repeatedly. Please. Stop.

  75. @Daisy, give it a break with Schala. If a 5’6, 108lbs person makes you jealous, it’s something I’d suggest keeping to yourself. I think that of all the things that this blog is not, it is not part of the feminist “body-image” movement. It might be 5lbs underweight for what is in the normal, perfectly healthy range for a girl, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t think it counts as “bragging”. I think it clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of women who want everyone to believe that a 250lbs woman is “hot,” who claim that gender is a social construct, but all the while would deny a 108lbs woman her femininity. I get the point… don’t you? And 5’6 is definitely too short to be a model. My ex who actually was a model was 5’8 and 110lbs and that is pretty much the starting territory for the profession.

  76. Dungone and everyone else who has used the phrase M to F TS women:

    Gingko already pointed out the degendering implications of this phrase, as it implies that trans women (trans* referring to a transition in presentation and a rejection of one’s CASAB as defining one’s sex. Heck, if transfeminism was more culturally feminist, I’d use the phrase “reclaimed womyn”) have not always been women. And actually I do think Gingko is right, “CAMAB women” will gain currency, and I have seen it used on its own, and that will be a good thing. Right now trans and cis are understood to refer to the relationship between CASAB and actual sex. If we develop some method of altering the midbrain (my friend writes sociology-porn about that and I help) then trans and cis would have to refer to actual sex at birth and actual sex presently. Until that time, sex is immutable. So… yeah… it’s clunky terminology in a way. Homosexual doesn’t refer to a person who only has sex with identical copies of themselves either. As long as the idiom isn’t degendering, I’m willing to live with a bit of word creation, since we’ve had to find the words to articulate oppression, as things progress, (like transfolk and the unrelated mediocritopian which didn’t show up on google when I wrote that particular conjugation so I claim coining it :P ).

    @Daisy

    As to the harem guards question, Janice Raymond saves special ire for trans lesbian feminists, accusing us of acting as ‘harem guards’ and setting the conditions for access to CAFAB bodies. I would submit that if anyone fills that role, one of policing and both restricting and granting access to CAFAB bodies, between policing whether silicone penis or flesh penis may appear in women’s spaces, dictating what sort of presentation is feminist, or the implication that relationships with trans women disqualify one as a lesbian, the pattern is clear: It’s radical, and to a lesser extent liberal second-wave and to a far lesser extent (but it still happens) some of my fellow third-wave feminists who claim ownership not over their own bodies but over the bodies of all CAFAB folk, regardless of sex. They project when they accuse trans women of filling a role that they themselves have appropriated, to the point that they accuse trans women of rape for pointing out the policing of sexual access of CAMAB women in queer spaces.

    So yeah, as usual, radfems hate when you call them out by their own metric.

  77. Last point:

    @Dungone

    I’m quite fascinated by Valerie’s interjections, and more power to her to raise awareness, but I don’t see them highly relevant to this particular blog post. I don’t think the post was ever intended to erase anyone’s existence.

    Well, as we all know, intent is fucking magic. I know what the intent was, but this isn’t homicide, the execution is the primary extenuating factor.

  78. “So… yeah… it’s clunky terminology in a way. ”

    Terminology is always clunky and at some point in the analysis it finally breaks down. One of the real pay-offs in learning a sufficiently exotic language and how it parses the world into lexicon is seeing how clunky and arbitrary one’s one language is.

    “CAMAB women” It’s a step in the evolution to a stage where people just say “woman (oh by the way, CAMAB)”.

    That second part of your comment, Valerie, is a gem. It sums up very tightly the hatred I have seen bits of coming from radfems and the motive behind it.

  79. “Well, as we all know, intent is fucking magic. I know what the intent was, but this isn’t homicide, the execution is the primary extenuating factor.”

    You’ll notice from the way these threads arun and are allowed ot run that the OP is a departure point. What I consider derailment is not thread drift but either unproductive pissing maches that are about hurt feelings rather than information and analysis, or things that just happen not to interest me for that particular thread – my call.

    Look at the interesting stuff we have developed by not riding herd on the conversation.

  80. Well, except accusing someone who would beg to differ as to what constitutes professional in your analysis of arguing in bad faith, but I suppose that would be most unfair of me to bring up. Seriously, I’ve seen this emotional-blackmail style of moderation, where posts one disagrees with are in bad faith and posts one agrees with are productive discussion, before and I don’t care for it. It’s why I don’t post on Babble anymore (where to be a feminist you apparently have to be a unidirectionalist).

  81. Also, Daisy’s right: As a society we privilege ectomorphism. I would love to pay the 1% of per capita GDP that ectocentrists claim fat people cost the economy if only I could get the 6-8% of my wage that is discriminated away in return. Your beer doesn’t care if I’m fat when I bring it to you.

  82. “Seriously, I’ve seen this emotional-blackmail style of moderation, where posts one disagrees with are in bad faith and posts one agrees with are productive discussion,”

    I’m not talking about agreeing, just being interesting. You can see a lot of disagreement between Clarence and me, and in another thread with TDOM, and I considered none of that derailing or arguing in bad faith.

    Bad faith is misrepresentation of the other side’s position, misleading use of facts, that kind of thing. Fact-free slurs are also arguing in bad faith.

    And accusing someone of being eurocentric and then being shown how that is an invalid criticism, and then responding by saying your were only refering to Western societies is not exactly arguing in good faith.

    “… this emotional-blackmail style of moderation, …”

    Emotional? I hope you don’t have much emotion invested in this site. We’re not worth it. Do you mean “passive-aggressive”? That is closer to the mark, but still not accurate.

  83. Dungone: If a 5’6, 108lbs person makes you jealous, it’s something I’d suggest keeping to yourself.

    Oh come on. Talking about privilege is about jealousy now? I guess you are jealous of all the women you criticize for having “female privilege” then? Next time you mention this, I will remind you to stop being jealous of women. (rolls eyes)

    Cut the gatekeeping. Again, why is Dungone allowed to break all the moderation rules with impunity? Or are those rules just intended for the feminists?

  84. Valerie: Well, as we all know, intent is fucking magic

    (giggle)

    Valerie, I used to post on Babble myself long ago, under the name Scarlet Begonias. It was fascinating to post on a board where I didn’t know the names of the politicians for a change! :) I liked it, but yeah, what you said. The feminists are pretty much in ideological lockstep.

    Thanks for agreeing, Valerie. Many trans women have told me they had weight issues for the first time in their lives when they started hormones, which tells me there IS a strong hormonal factor, as I have long suspected. (I saw you mention this about yourself on HuffPo, in passing… BTW I loved your post! Sorry they messed with your far superior title, though.) I have actually had far less appetite since menopause, and I used to be ravenous at certain times of the month. Very dramatic difference for me. One of my online trans friends gained like 50 lbs, she never had a weight problem before hormones and had always been thin. (Appetite or musculature change?)

    So, I was also reading Schala’s comments in THAT light.

  85. I gained 55 lbs (now 160 lbs) and have always been thin. I attributed it to eating bigger portions however. My boyfriend had a similar weight gain, while not being on hormones, also being pretty slim all his life. Neither of us did much exercise before, for any reason (including work).

    I’m a minimalist who likes good things in food, mainly meat and things supposedly not good for me (I’ve never watched what I ate, and I won’t start). But I’m also a picky eater (mayo makes me gag). If I lived alone, it would be no-name stuff, microwaveables, hot-dog sausages, instant rice to eat it with, and soda biscuits. I’d put the saved money on other stuff. Like pizza twice a month, or videogames.

  86. Well, Daisy, barring having the ability to golf on an unlimited membership without having to own a car, I’ve always been fat, and hormones do affect weight… because hormones affect muscular hypertrophy and atrophy, no other reason. Typical female hormonal range means a haircut of hundreds of calories a day in Basal Metabolic Rate, and my appetite didn’t catch up all that fast… plus yay streak of situational depression in ’11.

    Honestly, if everything had been equal, I would’ve lost weight when I went on HRT, and did actually drop 42 pounds to start, but my life-on-paper went to hell a year after transition (I’m still happier than I can remember being), including having my ability to use the kitchen continually sabotaged.

    Exogenous Endocrine Intervention has been good for my health: I may still be heavy, but I drink much less when I drink and I drink less frequently, oh, yeah, and I don’t pray for death.

  87. Oh come on. Talking about privilege is about jealousy now? I guess you are jealous of all the women you criticize for having “female privilege” then? Next time you mention this, I will…

    Of course, let us not forget that this is about you derailing Schala and refusing to consider her comment at face value. And I wouldn’t have bothered calling you out for it except that your argument is laughably specious. It hinges on the really bad idea that normal, healthy-weight women should think twice about making any sort of reference to her own body or body-image lest some overweight woman find it offensive. I get this impression a lot in feminist spaces, this really weird notion that it’s only okay for a healthy woman to participate in the discussion by offering a confession about wild eating disorders which she got while passing by a magazine stand and seeing a model on the cover of a men’s interest periodical.

  88. “Cut the gatekeeping. Again, why is Dungone allowed to break all the moderation rules with impunity? Or are those rules just intended for the feminists?”

    I don’t have a specific rule agianst that, or if I do, I am missing how it applies – but it doesn’t matter. Daisy has a valid point, rule or not. Like it or not, weight is a hot-button issue that adds more heat than light to most conversations, so that’s one reason to avoid the issue unless it’s the main topic, and any way, Schala can handle herself pretty well on her own. Please leave the cionversaatioj to Schala and Daisy. And this is not one of those feminist spaces where grand shoes of bogus contrition and that kind of moral exhibitionism are much tolerated, which yes, I also find sickly funny.

    “and hormones do affect weight… because hormones affect muscular hypertrophy and atrophy, no other reason. Typical female hormonal range means a haircut of hundreds of calories a day in Basal Metabolic Rate, …”

    Yes. Testosterone replacement for us older gentlemen goes a way to reversing belly fat gain and toning muscles, and increasing muscle mass back to what it was.

    “but my life-on-paper went to hell a year after transition …”

    Are talking about the bureaucracy around identity? I can imagine that is the worst kind of red-tape hell.

  89. @Gingko, if Daisy picked up on braggery in Schala’s comment, which I contend is ridiculous, then I picked up demands for contrition and moral exhibition in Daisy’s false outrage. Given that she is a fairly combative feminist on most issues, her reputation precedes her at times. To my knowledge, Daisy has yet to recognize Schala’s argument that feminist women are capable of denying the femininity and femaleness of women who are CAMAB (or whatever non-offensive term that works for tue readers here). The point is fascinating to me because of the hypocrisy involved in attacking a CAMAB woman for bragging about being feminine/sexy/thin/whatever when the very heart of the original comment was that CAMAB women are denied their identity.

  90. “To my knowledge, Daisy has yet to recognize Schala’s argument that feminist women are capable of denying the femininity and femaleness of women who are CAMAB…”

    When she recognizes the merit of a point, she stops disputing it. She will dispute things she disagrees with and leave things alone if she thinks they don’t need attention. she is, as you say, combative – well, this fits with that. in fact she has a woarriro outlook in general. it doesn’t surprise me that you tow bang away at each other, therefore, but it does also suggets you might find a lot of common ground.

    I don’t recall exactly, but I think she has clalled feminists out for transphobia befoere, but it may have been a while ago.

    What found more interesting in that exchange was Schala’s observation by way of question as to why a boyish body, rather than a womanly body, is the beauty standard of femininty in this coulture.

  91. Alright, I think you convinced me Ginkgo. I do think that transsexual individuals should be given plenty of leeway in “bragging” about their physique because they, like men, are denied recognition as attractive/sexual even if they are by an objective standard. Perhaps by “bragging” about it they can eventually counteract the messages that they’re not.

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