Genetic women only
Do I benefit now, in any sense, from male privilege? Here is a definition, and here is a list. Clearly I do not benefit from those which apply to adults now: I do not get paid more than other women, for example. Do I benefit from the background of male privilege as a child? Well, I did not get the message that it was unfeminine, and therefore wrong in me, to express anger- but I did not feel supported in expressing anger, and my sister expressed anger trenchantly and robustly in her teens. So, not necessarily. I did not get damaged by a female upbringing but got my fair share of crap. And the uncongruent upbringing was difficult for me.
Men often seem to dominate conversations, but I recall being talked at by two women, who would not give me a word in edgeways, for half an hour. They wanted me not only to accept that I could not attend their women only activities, but agree that they were right to exclude me. I wanted to say that I would not attend only because I did not want to become the focus of those activities, I did not want those activities to become a discussion of whether I should be there. I wanted to be part of the activity as any other woman would be.
I accept that women can feel safe in women’s space, and having a trans woman present may make a vulnerable woman feel more vulnerable, making her think of bad experiences with men. There are two ways to deal with this. Organisers can exclude me, saying that the hurt of the woman justifies that. Or they can introduce her to me, explain that I am not a man, and I can show my sympathy with her past hurt. If they accept that I am a woman, they will do the latter. If they do the former, they confirm by their actions that they do not accept that I am a woman.
I am not arguing that the other woman has cis privilege, and is therefore less oppressed than I am, so I should be preferred this time. It is difficult to decide which of two people is more oppressed, and also, her oppression matters to me. I am arguing that if you deny me my place in women’s space, you are denying that I am a woman. If you say that anyone’s hurt is more important than my hurt, you are saying I am less valuable than that person. If you say that my presence threatens her because she has been hurt by men, you call me a man. I am not a man.
In a particular pagan Dianic ritual, those attending had to have uteruses, and had to have experienced menstruation. At a taster workshop on sexual reiki, the felicitator was actually concerned that I might feel excluded by her references to the uterus. I said I do not have a uterus, but I do have a hara. The chakra for creativity, behind the navel, has meaning for me. So I wonder why there was any need for the experience of menstruation, and whether a woman who had needed a hysterectomy before puberty would have been allowed to attend. Given the group leader’s use of the word “transies“, which has me spitting blood, I fear she might, and that the emphasis on bleeding was a pretext.
The illustration is Astarte rather than Diana or Lilith because I love that painting.