There are numerous problems with [the idea that gender is a spectrum], problems that render it internally incoherent and politically unattractive. Another radical feminist article on Trans.
Political philosopher Rebecca Reilly-Cooper does not like the word “cis”. It create[s] a false binary between those who conform to the gender norms associated with their sex, and those who do not. In reality, everybody is non-binary. We all actively participate in some gender norms, passively acquiesce with others, and positively rail against others still. Indeed, everyone does, and some, as radical feminists, make a particular political point about it. It would be irritating to be called “cis” if you loaded onto the term all you hated most about conformity to patriarchal gendered culture, but it does not mean that. It means “not trans”.
The radical feminists are fighting gender in their way, pointing out privilege and oppression, showing gender concepts don’t really fit people, and we fight it in ours, with breast-binding, T injections and gender-neutral pronouns. As she says on her blog, Another generation of bright, committed, impassioned women is being worn down. Being killed by the power of sisterhood. While that privilege and oppression exist, it makes no sense for those of us subverting it to squabble like this. Some of us subvert through patient philosophical exploration and explanation, and some through playing games. We all do it through being: insisting on the pronoun “they” rather than “she” is an overt way of escaping femininity and gendered expectation. Kudos to all who escape it, subtly or unsubtly.
She does not like that game-playing, gender as a label to adopt so that you now have a way to describe just how large and multitudinous and interesting you are. That word “interesting”, with such heavy irony. [T]hey are far too interesting and revolutionary and transgressive for something as ordinary and conventional as cis. I am frivolous. It is my way of surviving. I niggle and provoke, with a little giggle as a defensive measure. I don’t deny her interestingness, why should she disparage mine? I am not a philosopher. I am not like Humour in Babi Yar, but he is my example:
Tsars, kings, emperors,
Rulers of the world,
But humor – humor they could not…
He is used to stern glances,
But it does not hurt him.
And humor looks upon himself
At times with humor.
He is everlasting.
He is smart.
He will walk through everything and everybody.
And so, glory to humor!
He is a courageous fellow.
I am so peeved to read of the concept of [name]gender, as I came up with it spontaneously in November, and wanted to be original. My gender is “Clare”. There is no other accurate label. How better could I dance, as if the bars of the cage did not exist?
The logical conclusion of all this is: if gender is a spectrum, not a binary, then everyone is trans. Or alternatively, there are no trans people. Either way, this a profoundly unsatisfactory conclusion, and one that serves both to obscure the reality of female oppression, as well as to erase and invalidate the experiences of transsexual people. Please don’t insist that I be logical! Thank God I am inconsistent, because consistent people are either inerrant (this is unlikely) or their consistency forces them beyond what the observed facts justify. We are paradoxical, in an unknowable world, seeing through a glass darkly. I don’t know why I wanted to transition, but I wanted it so I did. She calls me a jailer, and I feel so unfree!
I love her Doctor Who reference, because I am a fan, and I want to make connection here- human personality [is]… more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, humany-wumany stuff. A slight concession to dancing humourists…
She summarises the trans position: An oft-repeated mantra … is that ‘gender is not a binary; it’s a spectrum’. What follows from this view is not that we need to tear down the pink and the blue boxes; rather, we simply need to recognise that there are many more boxes than just these two. No, we are in a state of change, but the liberation struggle takes time. We need to chip away at the pink and blue boxes. If they might collapse like a wet paper bag it would have happened by now.
This is part of growing and maturing as a human being. All our lives we are in tension between conformity and individuality.
If we were all to deny that we have an innate, essential gender identity, then the label ‘agender’ would become redundant, as lacking in gender would be a universal trait. Indeed. I don’t know what the world will be like without gendered expectation, but given that not everyone is radical feminist- there are people who are not actively opposing gender- why should you turn your ire on me?
Gender as a hierarchy perpetuates the subordination of female people to male people, and constrains the development of both sexes. Yes. That is the problem. Please let me work on my own solution to it.