Categories
empathy deficit entitled babies gender policing lgbt not a cult penises reddit TERFs transmisogyny transphobia

Some trans women literally “get a boner from having their pronouns respected,” Reddit TERF asserts

By David Futrelle

Most people recognize it’s wrong for someone to impose their sexual fetishes on people without their consent — whether the fetishist in question is a boorish dom who demands that women to treat him with the sort of exaggerated deference that no one is obligated to provide anybody unless they’ve agreed to do so as their sub, or if he’s an outright sexual predator like Louis CK coercing younger female comedians into watching him masturbate.

Recently, though, some TERFs have taken this relatively uncontroversial proposition and turned it into something altogether different and deeply wrong. Claiming that the vast majority of trans women are really men pretending to be women just to fulfill some sexual fetish of theirs, they are now suggesting that by merely appearing in public, trans women are forcing their festish on the world much like a flasher exposing himself to children.

In a post on the GenderCritical subreddit — “gender critical feminist” being a favorite new euphemism for TERF — a Redditor called arnaq declares that “I object to being forced to participate in other people’s fetishes and delusions,” a completely reasonable objection, or so it seems, until one sees what she really means.

She starts out as reasonably as her headline at first appears, recounting her experience with a predatory sexual harasser who tried to impose his fetish on her with a series of obscene phone calls.

“Years ago,” she writes,

I had a retail management job and one day I started getting very creepy calls. It was a man who would breathe heavily and say things like “Will you be my mistress?” “Will you fucking punish me?” and all this other disturbing shit. I told him to fuck off and eventually one day he stopped calling. It was so uncomfortable that this man was using my position as a retail employee who was supposed to cater to my customers and forcing me to give him attention.

Every feminist recognizes (and, I imagine, even many non-feminists recognize) that obscene phone calls are no joke.

At this point, though, arnaq’s post takes a rather dramatic turn:

I feel the same level of creeped out being forced to acknowledge these men who fetishize womens’ bodies and their bodily functions as women themselves.

She is, of course, talking about trans women, not crossdressers.

While it is possible some of them aren’t doing this for fetish reasons, it is obvious that many, MANY of them transitioned because they got off on crossdressing or can’t wait to “touch my girltits~!” or some other extremely offensive “reason” for feeling they are a woman.

This is, of course, utter bullshit. There are of course “chasers” who fetishize trans bodies but assuming that those inhabiting trans bodies share these fetishes is absurd. This whole notion is built on the assumption, as Natalie Reed has noted,

that the “shemale” is doing it to get laid, to attract men to him with his new hot, curvy, sexual-object of a body. Either that or, as in “autogynophilia”, doing it to have himself as his very own personal sex object.

In fact, Reed explains,

It is not an act of attempting to emulate or express ourselves as The Other, we are attempting to more accurately and honestly express The Self. We don’t transition into being a new or different person. We become more ourselves.

Back to arnaq’s post:

As much as TRAs [Trans Rights Activists] like to claim that all of them are genuinely women and have known since they were in the womb, spend five minutes in a TRA reddit community and you will see post after post of how sexy they think being a woman is. Things that genuine women never even think about.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure plenty of “genuine women” admire and enjoy their “genuine female” bodies and, yes, even think of them as sexy.

I am all about gender nonconforming people and if they or anyone else wants to dress or participate in activities related to the opposite “gender” I could not care less.

The fact that you’re posting this screed kind of suggests that you do care, a lot.

But it’s the fact that I am supposed to “accept them as one of my own” and pretend that they didn’t grow up in a world that catered to people born the same sex as them while likely many of them (and men in general) preyed on women sexually that pisses me off so much.

This is an attempt to use the language of feminism to support outright bigotry — bigotry as brazen as Trump’s insistence that Mexican immigrants are a bunch of rapists. There’s absolutely no reason to assume that large numbers of trans women behave in a predatory manner towards cis women, either before their transitions or afterwards.

Why do I have to compromise my safety to satisfy someone else’s delusions?

You don’t. But TERFs trying to ban trans women from women’s bathrooms are essentially demanding that they compromise their own safety by forcing them to use men’s bathrooms, which puts them at risk of assault by transphobic men who don’t like the idea of “men wearing dresses.” This sort of violence isn’t imaginary. These assaults really do happen. (And it’s not just cis men who are the attackers; several days ago two cis women were charged with sexually assaulting a trans woman in the bathroom of a /North Carolina bar.)

Why do I have to pretend how I think and feel to appease someone who has enjoyed privilege myself and other women never have?

Trans folks face bigotry and harassment on a level that few cis people can even comprehend, both before and after transition. A staggering one third of trans teens who identify as female despite being assigned male at birth try to commit suicide. (The percentage for trans male teens is an even more staggering 50%.) Yes, as every feminist knows, cis men enjoy privilege over cis women. But the idea that trans women are somehow privileged over cis women because they once presented as boys and men is absurd.

Why do I have to stand for them weaponizing their position as a TIM to attack women and coerce lesbians into sex?

A TIM, by the way, is a “Trans-Identified Male,” TERFspeak for, yes, a trans woman. In any case, I’ve seen zero evidence that “weaponizing” transness to coerce cis lesbians into sex is an actual thing in the world, rather than simply a moral panic, outside of a tiny handful of individual cases. (TERFs who’ve brought this issue up with me have offered only a single example of a real-life trans woman who preyed on cis lesbians in this way.)

Ironically, there were some Rad Fems in the 1970s, many of whom have since become TERFs, who tried to convince straight cis women to become “political lesbians,” abandoning sex with men (if not necessarily starting to have sex with women) in the name of feminism — before everyone (or almost everyone, anyway) realized that that was not how sexuality works, and that pressuring people to somehow magically change their sexual orientation for political or supposedly political reasons is creepy as hell.

I would not be surprised if many of them even get off on the fact that women like myself are placed under this sense of obligation to do cater to them unwillingly by the way many of them behave when they don’t think actual women are paying attention.

I don’t even know what the fuck she’s talking about here.

It is pure misogyny that women are placed under scrutiny and attacked for pointing out how uncomfortable all of this is. A man forcing me to acknowledge him as a “fellow sister” is a violation of my boundaries and I will not stand for it.

Trans women are women. Full stop.

Naturally, the regulars in the GenderCritical subreddit loved armaq’s manifesto. One commenter took armaq’s transphobia one step further, offering an example of alleged trans sexual fetishism that I, at least, have never heard of before.

“Yeah,” wrote a commenter called legally_cool.

I don’t care what people do in private but I’m not playing along with anyone’s fetish. Some TIMs get a boner from having their pronouns respected like wtf how is that normal behaviour.

Trans women … get boners from HAVING THEIR PRONOUNS RESPECTED? They get Pronoun Boners?

I’ve devoted much of my time over the last eight years trying to expose (and make some sense of) the weirdest sub-varieties of misogyny on planet Earth, but goddamn, TERF transmisogyny can get just as weird as manosphere misogyny, if not more so.

We Hunted the Mammoth is independent and ad-free, and relies entirely on readers like you for its survival. If you appreciate our work, please send a few bucks our way! Thanks!

151 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cyborgette
Cyborgette
3 years ago

@Melody

I’m a bit late to this, but:

Please don’t do that here. Please.

I’m not even going to try to rebut what you’re saying. I’m too tired. Please just take your entryism and sealioning and concern trolling somewhere else. My kind are already used to seeing our supposed allies betray us, over and over again, and we are just tired beyond tired.

Melody
3 years ago

@Cyborgette

Well, thanks for making me feel extremely unwelcome in a space I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ll be sure to stay out of the comments moving forward.

kupo
kupo
3 years ago

The trans and drag friends I have will vehemently acknowledge that their experience of being a woman will always be colored by the fact that they don’t have to experience it in the same way as a cis woman.

You’re right. They experience significantly more abuse for expressing their own gender. (And seriously, talking like drag and trans are the same? Really?)

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
3 years ago

<3 Cyborgette

I'm usually too wordy. Lemme try to do this in a single sentence here:

While it’s true that trans people don’t have the life experiences of their cis counterparts, they don’t have the privileges of their assigned gender, either.

Okay, not great for just one sentence. I can’t really write a bit thing though ’cause I’ve got a meeting at work. Just – well. Trans women don’t have the privilege of cis men. If them saying so isn’t evidence enough, there’s piles of it statistically, too.

All my love, my ducks <3

PocketNerd (probably? I don't even know any more)
PocketNerd (probably? I don't even know any more)
3 years ago

Melody wrote:

Well, thanks for making me feel extremely unwelcome in a space I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ll be sure to stay out of the comments moving forward.

Wow. I must say, it’s gutsy of you to post what you posted and then complain other people are making you feel unwelcome.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@Melody

I kind of have a hard time feeling that privilege when at any moment my family could kick me out if they knew I was trans.

Well, thanks for making me feel extremely unwelcome in a space I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ll be sure to stay out of the comments moving forward.

I find it concerning how you managed for years to ignore the anti terf sentiments in the comments and blog posts.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
3 years ago

So… the “Cotton Ceiling”.

I’m frequently all about knowing the history of things, but in this case I think even more important than knowing the history is just getting the Freuding metaphor right.

The analogy is to the “Glass Ceiling” metaphor used in more familiar feminist discussions about workplaces where an organization appears to have gotten over sexism enough to hire women, perhaps even to pay comparable wages for comparable work, and yet the organization never actually hires women for its most important and/or most powerful positions. Many excuses are given for this, and many lines of thought may affect how decisions are made by people such as members of the board of directors that have the power to change it, but frequently they come down to, “We’re not sexist! Really! It’s just that [insert sexist thing here].”

Importantly for what comes next, the “Glass Ceiling” metaphor is not an argument that a company must hire a 16 year old mail room assistant for CEO by next thursday whether it’s good for the corporation or not. The point is that even when a woman is perfect for the job, even when she has had an amazing education, even when she has had all the best preparatory experience, even when her personal skill set could not be a better match, somehow sexism sneaks in and ruins the possibility that she might get the job. Tellingly, and importantly for our analogy, very often the rationale for not hiring a perfectly qualified woman that a company would be lucky to have as CEO is something like, “We’re fine with women. We hire women all the time. Wall Street, however, still has some backwards ideas and even if she’s good for the company in the long run, right now we can’t afford the stock hit we’d get for hiring a non-traditional CEO.”

The Cotton Ceiling metaphor recognizes that there are women who are attracted to trans* folks, who would love to date or marry or just fuck some hot trans* person, but who find themselves in a community where taking to the streets against police brutality targeting trans* folks is perfectly acceptable, but inviting a trans* person into your sheets is not. This is true in different ways in different communities, but is particularly heartbreaking in “lesbian/bi women’s communities” (making the distinction here between them and “queer women’s communities”).

Lesbian communities have a long history of policing the sexual orientation identities of their “members”. A bi woman who is dating a woman long term in a monogamous relationship? You can accept her, but just call her a lesbian, b/c that’s what she really is. A bi woman who goes out on a single date with a hot guy she’s thinking of using for casual sex? Kick her out of the club.

In communities that police membership via sexual orientation, there are people who find themselves attracted to a trans* person but afraid to act on that attraction for fear it will costs friendships, community, support.

The Cotton Ceiling metaphor attempts to function as an analogy to the Glass Ceiling metaphor where groups (communities in one, corporations in the other) appear to many measurements to be anti-discrimination but tellingly still have lines that may not be crossed where those lines are drawn by the hands of prejudice and stereotype. This community behavior can be critiqued even when there is a particular case where anyone might acknowledge that the best candidate for ACME corp’s next CEO is a guy or a particular woman has no interest in one (or any) trans* person.

The point is not about one hiring decision. The point is about what certain patterns say about a community. The point is that when you create a community where someone is afraid to hire/fuck someone because of someone else’s prejudice, the effect is the same as being prejudiced yourself.

The point is that we want CEOs hired for their value as managers and we want trans* people fucked for their value as lovers. Along the way, many things that communicate a general community intolerance – whether its gossip when someone starts fucking a CEO or job descriptions that state, “broad-shouldered, aggressive trans* candidates preferred” – have an intimidating effect that contradicts a groups own statements about how open, inclusive, and non-discriminatory it is.

There are difficult interpretations of this idea, about which people can disagree, that assert that its probably better to leave “no trans* folk” off your OK Cupid profile. You certainly have other deal breakers? Why does this one particular one need to be listed prominently? What do you get from it? Do you gain more than your community loses when you communicate to your friends you might not accept them if they’re honest about their own attractions & loves?

There are other specifics that can be discussed as well.

But at bottom, this has nothing to do with any individual choice to grab your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke by the hair and smash her mouth up against something interesting. Any individual choice might be fine. But given that we know that some people who are attracted to at least one trans person (each, one presumes) have passed on the opportunity to tap that trans* ass because of what the neighbors might think, isn’t it time that neighbors who like to think of themselves as trans* positive consider whether their attitudes towards dating trans* people are entirely isolated personal preferences?

Put another way, when you ask “Does momma really wants me straight merely because she always dreamed I’d pass down my beautiful eyes to some bio-babies? Or is there maybe, possibly some heterosexism going on there, no matter how much momma protests otherwise?” do you think that’s the only bit of deeper thinking that questions surface denials of discrimination that we should undertake? or should we, perhaps, also think a bit about how our assertions of trans* positivity in communities where trans* people mysteriously can’t ever get a date might also need some investigation?

The point of the Glass Ceiling metaphor isn’t to force the hiring of one CEO. The point of the Cotton Ceiling metaphor isn’t to force the fucking of one hot Crip Dyke. The point of both is to get people to question whether they are, in fact, living up to their values since statistics suggests that certain outcomes wouldn’t really be expected for those values.

If you undertake the (communal/community/organizational) self-reflection and you come out comfortable with your answers, then fine. But the facts on the ground suggest that we at least ask the questions.

And that’s what the Cotton Ceiling metaphor is about. Unless you think that the Glass Ceiling metaphor is about forcing one particular candidate on one particular company for one particular management position, then criticizing the Cotton Ceiling metaphor for being anti-consent or rape-y is thoughtless bullshit.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
3 years ago

@Scildfreja (and friends)

<3

Your single sentence is about the size of it.

I'll write more later, probably, with the caveat that my viewpoint tends to come more from bitter personal experience than from scholarly study.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Sigh. We were doing so well not having to have a “but TERFS have a point though” conversation.

I have to wonder if Melody’s trans fans who assure her that they totally had male privilege while closeted are just appeasing her because they don’t have the spoons for trying to argue or educate. Just speculation but it’s definitely possible.

And yeah, cis men who do drag have male privilege. Because they’re men. I don’t see why they’re even in the conversation?

PocketNerd
PocketNerd
3 years ago

weirwoodtreehugger wrote:

I have to wonder if Melody’s trans fans who assure her that they totally had male privilege while closeted are just appeasing her because they don’t have the spoons for trying to argue or educate. Just speculation but it’s definitely possible.

Always a classic: Browbeat your minority friend into agreeing with you, then point to her as proof you’re right about your bullshit racist, misogynist, or transphobic ideas.

“But my friend Sam is X, and she AGREES there are problems with X culture!”

Yeah. Maybe Sam just doesn’t want to have that fucking conversation with you yet again, my dude.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
3 years ago

Wow, thanks for that explanation, Crip Dyke!! TIL!

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
3 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee:

Sigh. We were doing so well not having to have a “but TERFS have a point though” conversation.

Even if we were for a nanosecond to accept the bizarro-world premises of TERFs’ cruel and arbitrary worldview, the splash damage caused by their crusade is unacceptable. Their mindset is totally of the “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” kind.

I’ve seen TERFs mock trans women because they can’t have children. That’s cis women (who let’s not forget, are who the TERFs invoke as the justification for their abuse) who’ve had hysterectomies and ovarectomies under the bus. I’ve seen them mock trans women because they can’t lactate, which is not only inaccurate but throwing cis women who’ve had mastectomies under the bus too!

I’ve seen them mock trans women for their supposed excess of body hair. That’s cis women with polycystic ovary syndrome, hypertrichosis and any number of endocrine conditions under the bus (not to mention, as IIRC @Crip Dyke pointed out on the other thread, a huge fucking racist dog-whistle), as well as repeating an old right-wing trope against feminists in general.

And, as I mentioned on this thread, they were willing to throw economically underprivileged women here in Ireland under the bus when it came to accessing abortion services just to get at trans women.

You have to ask after this litany: will there be any cis women left in the world by the time the TERFs have finished their persecution of trans women?!

Pen
Pen
3 years ago

Yeah, I’m pretty sure plenty of “genuine women” admire and enjoy their “genuine female” bodies and, yes, even think of them as sexy.

As a ‘genuine (straight) woman’, at least by arnaq’s standards, I find that concept hard to wrap my head around. I honestly don’t know what other women think in general, but I’m very much attracted to men on a sexual level. My relationship with my own body is entirely asexual. I’m interested in its ability to move in the world, especially the natural world. I couldn’t care less what it looks like. The closest I get to caring about its gendered characteristics is knowing that my upper body strength will let me down if I have to haul myself up a rock by my arms but my overall stamina on limited food and water is very, very high. Sometimes, the world seems so obsessed with the sexualized aspect of bodies that I feel these different experiences need emphasizing.

Having said all that, it’s perfectly possible and reasonable for transwomen (and ciswomen) to be lesbian and I don’t know how that would affect a person’s relationship with their own body..

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
3 years ago

re: TERFs…

I’m a white, xian-integrated, able-bodied, cis, het, middle-class, employed, male….

I recognize “MY FEELINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR IDENTITY” when I see it, and this bullshit just reeks of it.

I’m too angry to say more

Snowberry
Snowberry
3 years ago

@Pen: Hey, I totally think my body is sexy, and occasionally play lingerie dress-up in front of a mirror. Then again, I’m bisexual, and I don’t know much what other women do either, so that doesn’t exactly refute your statement.

Shadowplay
Shadowplay
3 years ago

@Crip Dyke and @Cyborgette

Thank you.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent, Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent, Bard of the New Movement
3 years ago

That ‘Melody’ we had sure was a stinker for the…two posts she laid down, eh?

I could make a better Melody in just over half an hour!

In fact, I did.

comment image

An antidote to all the lousy Melodies out there! (Also pixel art practice.)

Aaron
Aaron
3 years ago

There’s a really bizarre little graphic on the GenderCritical sidebar that attempts to equate “patriarchy” (“You must change your personality to match your sex”) and “trans identity politics” (“You must change your sex to match your personality”).

I suppose it’s one thing to object to real aspects of “trans identity politics” (whatever that means), but I’m fairly certain that literally no trans activist in the history of ever has declared transitioning a moral obligation.

This subreddit is even less intellectually impressive than I thought it would be. There are MRAs and incels who argue better.

Sheila Crosby
3 years ago

I’m cis. Talking to my trans friends, they did have a few tiny islands of male priviledge growing up in an ocean of hurt. For example, one of them joined the ATC – a free pilot training program for the UK air force, which at the time was boys only. I’d have loved to do that. They both got their interest in electronics validated.

Of course that came with galloping gender dysphoria that they had no words for back then, several other interests being constantly invalidated, a permanent feeling of being wrong and never fitting it and that they never ever would be able to fit. I absolutely wouldn’t want to swap.

And of course since they’ve transitioned, they have anti-priviledge. They have their gender expression policed much more severely than I do. They suffer more employment and wage discrimination and they’re at far more risk of violence.

I used to think that TERFs were women who’d been desperately hurt by men, and were lashing out in panic. The more I see of them, the more most of them look like simply nasty people looking for someone to bully.

Aaron
Aaron
3 years ago

I will preface this by admitting that I am not an expert when it comes to trans politics.

But I think that if a transwoman is read as man, they will benefit from whatever privileges may be afforded to a man in that context. These privileges may or may not be substantial depending on the context, frequency, level of passing (ie, effeminate man vs normative man), etc.

I don’t think it’s useful or productive to litigate “how much” male privilege transwomen have and/or at one point had. It’s a nonsense question with no answer, since individual transwomen will be read in different ways and will hence have vastly different experiences. (Indeed, I think that’s true for cisgendered men as well.)

Catalpa
Catalpa
3 years ago

But I think that if a transwoman is read as man, they will benefit from whatever privileges may be afforded to a man in that context.

Being erased and assumed to be something that you’re not isn’t a privilege.

Ariblester
3 years ago

@Melody

But it in no way undoes the fact that male bodies are privileged. The trans and drag friends I have will vehemently acknowledge that their experience of being a woman will always be colored by the fact that they don’t have to experience it in the same way as a cis woman. That privilege is real, and they did or do have it.

Once again, I have to observe that the terms “did have privilege” and “do have privilege” are treated as interchangeable, with no explanation as to why exactly this is so.

The analogy is very imperfect (for one, it’s verging on essentialism, which is not my aim), but it would be as if an adult Japanese immigrant to the US is said to “have Japanese privilege” because they lived most of their lives in a country where their ethnicity was the majority and held power.

Aaron
Aaron
3 years ago

Being erased and assumed to be something that you’re not isn’t a privilege.

But this has nothing to do with the privilege afforded to men. It has to do with one’s lack of privilege as a trans person. These are two different things.

Alexis Filth
3 years ago

Ok:
I’m nonbinary. I tend to use she/her or they/them as my pronouns.
My husband is a trans men. He is binary trans, where I am nonbinary trans.
Do I have male privilege when I move around in the world not dressed femme?
I mean, maybe? I guess? Insofar as having people react to me as though i’m a man, which is painful every time it happens.
Does my husband have male privilege now that hormones have changed his body to the point that others see him as the man he is? Maybe so, but he had to fight for 43 years to even start becoming the man he was born as.

So I don’t want to hear concern trolling about his or my privilege and if that gives Melody a sad, tough.

Bakunin
Bakunin
3 years ago

Thank you to Cyborgette, Scild, et al. for shutting that down so quickly.

%d bloggers like this: