Many people who imagine they are gender critical are not.
There is a strain in feminism which appeals to unfeminine women, who find concepts of femininity oppressive. Well, “femininity” is too rigid and too small for many women. When they feel judged or devalued for not conforming, or when they are disregarded because they are women, they are rightfully angry. However, that does not make them gender critical, it just means that they object to their own oppression.
Some such women imagine that all women are similarly oppressed by femininity. Freeing them is simply a matter of raising their consciousness to see their oppression. However, femininity fits many women, and some use femininity to achieve their desires. Why not? In life, we use whatever tools are at our disposal, and life is unfair: some people have much better cards to play than others, and some find ways of reducing the value of others’ gifts. The “nerd” stereotype, a person who is sexually unattractive and non-dominant, boring and obsessive, is reclaimed by seeing that obsessiveness as a way of burrowing into the detail to produce intellectual solutions. Some welcome others’ gifts and seek to value them. Some compete unfairly, and seek to denigrate them. I find valuing and co-operation the better way for everyone.
Men are gender diverse too. Many men do not fit masculine stereotypes, and are devalued for it. Radical feminism can contribute to that- they value their unfeminine gifts over others’ femininity. Oppressed, they are oppressors. True gender criticism would recognise and celebrate all gifts, whether of men or women. Some strains of radical feminism value masculinity over femininity. Where society values masculine gifts over feminine, in men or women, everyone loses.
There are other oppressions of women. A beautiful young woman danced so well I thought her professionally trained, but she simply moved a lot to music when at home. She had not performed for others before. She was frightened of being seen as a “slut”. Women with strong sexual drives or strong sexual attractiveness are policed and punished. This is sex discrimination, and not gendered oppression.
Under gendered oppression, people respond in different ways, and ways which might not be ideal in a non-oppressive society are sometimes the best we can do. Some get angry and assertive. Some transition between genders. If I respond to my oppression by transitioning, criticising my transition reinforces oppression. Those who criticise my transition are not being gender-critical. Gender-critical attacks the oppression, and not the oppressed.
All oppressions are bad for everyone. A society where everyone is empowered to use their gifts to benefit themselves and others is blessed by that.