Feminism

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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-06-02, 4:54

Aurinĭa wrote:It's not what someone self-identifies as that matters, it's what they say and do—regardless of any labels they might or might not subscribe to.

Okay, so I guess that brings me to my next question: How do you know whether you're saying or doing the right thing? Is there any way you can know?

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Re: Feminism

Postby Varislintu » 2017-04-19, 16:03

There was a short panel discussion type show on Finnish TV about "islam and feminism". I haven't seen anything so frustrating in a while. The discussion never got a good handle on anything beyond fleeting surface commentary because all the time was spent on the very basics of all the subtopics. The time was too short, the topic way, way too wide. They spent precious minutes discussing why feminism is called feminism and whether that's good or bad (there was an "I call myself egalitarian because I remember men's plight, too" woman in the panel), and the panel leader asked if men can be feminists too, for goodness sake.

I got the feeling that both these topics, especially in relation to each other (islam an feminism) are so rarely discussed in the mainstream that the panelists were simultaneously both bursting with so much to say and forced to really start at the very, very basics.

Props for an all-female panel with actual muslims, though, considering the topic.

EDIT: I nearly banged my head on something when, among all the topics already on the table, the panel leader cheerfully added "So what is African feminism?". :lol: :shock: :doggy: Yeah, let's sum that up in 30 seconds!
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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-11, 23:01

Okay, so to be honest, the whole notion of TERFs has been confusing me a lot lately.

For one thing, it's not terribly clear to me to what extent anyone accepts this as a label for themselves. On the one hand, I have seen some women, including one woman who self-identifies as trans, complain that "TERF" is a slur and that other people labeled them as TERFs and persecuted them with death threats, etc. simply for having a difference of opinion (but perhaps not always for the same differences of opinion) and in order to silence their voices as women. On the other hand, I have also seen people who self-identify as TERF-haters claiming that a) at least some of these claims of receiving threats and such are just straight-up lying (and, if I remember their claims correctly, being overdramatic to garner sympathy) and b) you don't have to be a woman just to be a TERF (which would imply that labeling someone as a TERF is in fact not specifically intended to discriminate against women).

Now, when I see women (and all the people I've seen complain about this so far are women) complaining about being labeled as TERFs, I also happen to see them express certain views, and use certain phrases (things along the lines of "trans women are (born) biologically male" and "the trans agenda") at least in some cases, that I don't agree with. But does that mean they should be targeted for expressing these views, or is the allegation that they're being targeted all just made up? Do things really have to be this way? Why would they?
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Re: Feminism

Postby Osias » 2017-09-11, 23:21

vijayjohn wrote:But does that mean they should be targeted for expressing these views, or is the allegation that they're being targeted all just made up?
I see often people say 'die TERFs' or things like that in social media, if I understood your question correctly.
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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-11, 23:24

Osias wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:But does that mean they should be targeted for expressing these views, or is the allegation that they're being targeted all just made up?
I see often people say 'die TERFs' or things like that in social media, if I understood your question correctly.

Someone who says they've been labeled a TERF told me that was the polite side of what they experience on a daily basis.

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Re: Feminism

Postby Osias » 2017-09-11, 23:40

It is. :yep:
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Re: Feminism

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-09-11, 23:53

vijayjohn wrote:On the one hand, I have seen some women, including one woman who self-identifies as trans, complain that "TERF" is a slur and that other people labeled them as TERFs and persecuted them with death threats, etc. simply for having a difference of opinion (but perhaps not always for the same differences of opinion) and in order to silence their voices as women.

I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. Are you saying a trans person* was called a TERF and complained about it?

Death threats shouldn't happen.

*A trans woman or a trans man? It's not entirely clear to me.

vijayjohn wrote:Someone who says they've been labeled a TERF told me that was the polite side of what they experience on a daily basis.

Why was that person labeled a TERF? Did they make comments indicating that they don't consider trans women women or trans men men?

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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 0:02

Aurinĭa wrote:I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. Are you saying a trans person* was called a TERF and complained about it?

Yes.
A trans woman or a trans man? It's not entirely clear to me.

Woman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY_8SWBUvoc
To be fair, I was wrong to claim that she received death threats. This is the only video of hers I've seen, and I mistakenly thought she had said in this video that she had received threats. However, the other person I mentioned who was labeled a TERF did say they received threats very regularly.
Why was that person labeled a TERF? Did they make comments indicating that they don't consider trans women women or trans men men?

I've tried asking, and they won't tell me. They seem to think it should be obvious to me. They also say they've never met anyone who's been labeled a TERF and took it seriously. In addition, they say they've never met anyone who's been labeled a TERF who denies the existence of intersex or trans people.

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Re: Feminism

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-09-12, 0:54

So what are trans women then, if not women? Some kind of third gender? And trans men a fourth gender?

vijayjohn wrote:In addition, they say they've never met anyone who's been labeled a TERF who denies the existence of intersex or trans people.

You don't have to deny the existence of trans people to be transphobic. Saying that trans women aren't women suffices.
This gives some good examples of transphobic views held by trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 1:52

Aurinĭa wrote:So what are trans women then, if not women? Some kind of third gender? And trans men a fourth gender?

No idea.
You don't have to deny the existence of trans people to be transphobic. Saying that trans women aren't women suffices.
This gives some good examples of transphobic views held by trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

I know. You can be trans and still transphobic, too. I'm not sure what exactly would bother her about being labeled a TERF other than the fact that she thought she couldn't be because she's trans.

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Re: Feminism

Postby Saim » 2017-09-12, 6:42

From what I've seen it's more common for TERFs to harass and belittle transwomen. I mean, even Germaine Greer said "Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress it doesn't make you a fucking woman".

Even if they were completely right about how trans people reinforce gender as a social construct, it's an extremely scummy thing to say to people who are known to disproportionately victims of sexual harassment, rape and various mental health issues.

Aurinĭa wrote:So what are trans women then, if not women? Some kind of third gender? And trans men a fourth gender?


No, they want to abolish gender completely. For them you can be a man, a woman, or intersex, but you can't "feel" at a deep level that you belong to a gender because genders are socially imposed constructs.

Also, this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQPWI7cEJGs

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Re: Feminism

Postby linguoboy » 2017-09-12, 16:13

I feel the same way about people complaining that "TERF is a slur" as I about people who claim "white people" is a slur: Get over yourself. It's a descriptive term. Your reluctance to self-identify with that term doesn't change that.

For the record, I have seen both men and women called "TERFs" when they make transphobic comments. There's been a rash of these in one of my library groups lately and the harshest responses were along the lines of "get out of here with that TERF nonsense". Both the offenders were male.
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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 19:47

So basically, TERFs usually harass trans people, but it's a problem if they say they're being violently attacked just for holding certain views, or at least if they really are being attacked?

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Re: Feminism

Postby Yserenhart » 2017-09-12, 20:34

vijayjohn wrote:So basically, TERFs usually harass trans people

That's kinda what "Trans-Exclusionary" entails.

but it's a problem if they say they're being violently attacked just for holding certain views, or at least if they really are being attacked?

It's a problem if they are really being violently attacked. My gut feeling would be that reports of threats and the use of "TERF" as a slur are overstated however, seeing as the main source of threats against feminists online is against the "feminist" part of the acronym, by people who at best don't care about the "trans-exclusionary radical" that comes before it, and in many cases probably agree with the "trans-exclusionary" part.

My personal opinion is that in most cases, the term "TEF" would be better than "TERF". As far as I can tell, many (well-known at least) mainstream second-wave feminists are trans-exclusionary, and trans-exclusionism isn't confined to those who hold radical beliefs.
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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 21:23

Yserenhart wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:So basically, TERFs usually harass trans people

That's kinda what "Trans-Exclusionary" entails.

It is? I think previous (and ongoing) discussions on discrimination on this forum show more than enough evidence that there are plenty of ways to exclude or discriminate against a group of people without overtly harassing them.
It's a problem if they are really being violently attacked. My gut feeling would be that reports of threats and the use of "TERF" as a slur are overstated however

Well, I do know of one person who says they and their co-workers have been receiving threats on a daily basis for years and complains of physical assault as well (this is what I meant earlier when I said "they received threats very regularly"), and that the police accused them of a hate crime, slander, etc. when they recently tried reporting it. At first, I didn't even know this person had anything in particular to do with TERFs, only that they'd commented on the definition of "TERF" once, and their initial complaint about these threats suggested that they were being attacked for their gender and sexuality, ironically enough. Naturally, I was concerned, so I asked this person a bit about what they were experiencing. They ended up PMing me, and it was only after exchanging a few messages that I realized this person had been labeled a TERF, felt it was a slur, etc.

I really don't know how I'm supposed to handle a situation like this, but I've seen a few people talk about TERFs on this forum before, so I thought I'd ask about the general concept here so that maybe I could get a better idea of what to do. On the one hand, it seems we agree that no one should be threatening anybody with rape and murder, but on the other hand, how am I supposed to know whether this person is being honest with me or not?

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Re: Feminism

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-09-12, 22:15

Saim wrote:From what I've seen it's more common for TERFs to harass and belittle transwomen. I mean, even Germaine Greer said "Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress it doesn't make you a fucking woman".

Exactly. That's why I can't understand how a trans women can consider herself a TERF.

Saim wrote:No, they want to abolish gender completely. For them you can be a man, a woman, or intersex, but you can't "feel" at a deep level that you belong to a gender because genders are socially imposed constructs.

This quote suggests that not all have that same view:
Lisa Vogel wrote:"Everyone in the community is struggling with language and how to define things.... Here's what we say: What womyn-born womyn means to us is women who were born as women, who have lived their entire experience as women, and who identify as women."(emphasis mine)

A bit more research told me she's since turned around and now accepts trans women as women, though.

vijayjohn wrote:
Yserenhart wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:So basically, TERFs usually harass trans people

That's kinda what "Trans-Exclusionary" entails.

It is? I think previous (and ongoing) discussions on discrimination on this forum show more than enough evidence that there are plenty of ways to exclude or discriminate against a group of people without overtly harassing them.

Sure, but harassment is unfortunately very common. How common depends partially on how you define harassment. Merriam-Webster gives as one of the definitions
to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct

I'd say (repeatedly) stating trans women aren't women (e.g. in a discussion with trans women) would fall under that definition.

I am against physical violence, also in response to verbal violence, but if that person saying they'd received threats had made trans-exclusionary remarks (read: transphobic, verbal violence), they can't really complain about being accused of slander and committing a hate crime, can they? If they feel TERF is a slur and object to being called that, what word would they suggest to describe a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which TERF is just a simple acronym of?

how am I supposed to know whether this person is being honest with me or not?

But that question is relevant in any interaction with any other person, isn't it? I mean, in most cases you'd have no reason to doubt the other person, or you'd trust them enough to take their word for it, or both, but in no way is this only confined to conversations about trans-exclusionary radical feminism or threats of violence, so I'm not sure what kind of answer you're hoping for.

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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-12, 23:43

Aurinĭa wrote:That's why I can't understand how a trans women can consider herself a TERF.

My understanding is they can for the same reason why a lot of Indians think they're white: because discrimination can be internalized.
I am against physical violence, also in response to verbal violence, but if that person saying they'd received threats had made trans-exclusionary remarks (read: transphobic, verbal violence), they can't really complain about being accused of slander and committing a hate crime, can they?

If it was an ordinary person who was making those accusations, maybe not, but in this case, it's the police. Who is supposed to protect anyone from death threats and such if not the police? Is it not their job to prevent such threats from being carried out? If someone consults the police because they've been getting such threats, and the police then accuses them of a hate crime instead of doing anything about said threats, then to me, that seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to complain.
If they feel TERF is a slur and object to being called that, what word would they suggest to describe a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which TERF is just a simple acronym of?

Ironically, while I have seen people say TERF is a slur, I have yet to see an example of anyone actually object to being called one. For instance, the lady in that video I posted earlier expresses the surprise she felt at being called a TERF and said it was "a word used to silence women," etc. but then just said, "You know what? Fine! I am a transgender TERF. There, I said it."
But that question is relevant in any interaction with any other person, isn't it?

I mean, sure, you could ask that question whenever you wanted, but in this case, like I said, some people who claim to hate TERFs say that at least some of these claims TERFs make about being threatened and such are fake. (I've just included a few links to illustrate this with specific examples).
I'm not sure what kind of answer you're hoping for.

I'm looking for any help and/or information I can get to understand what to do about this situation.

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Re: Feminism

Postby Aurinĭa » 2017-09-13, 2:13

Many trans people actually fit in the gender binary—excluding those who are e.g. genderqueer or non-binary. But if you consider yourself a trans woman and at the same time believe trans women aren't women, then were does the woman in trans woman come from? What does it indicate, if not, you know, woman? Some other gender category that isn't woman or man? If TERFs truly believe all gender is a social construct, then how could transgenderism even exist?

I am against physical violence, also in response to verbal violence, but if that person saying they'd received threats had made trans-exclusionary remarks (read: transphobic, verbal violence), they can't really complain about being accused of slander and committing a hate crime, can they?

If it was an ordinary person who was making those accusations, maybe not, but in this case, it's the police. Who is supposed to protect anyone from death threats and such if not the police?

The police.

Is it not their job to prevent such threats from being carried out?

It is.

If someone consults the police because they've been getting such threats, and the police then accuses them of a hate crime instead of doing anything about said threats, then to me, that seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to complain.

If you're being threatened, complain to the police, and the police doesn't investigate the complaints, sure, that's a perfectly legitimate reason to complain. Complain about the threats not being investigated, that is. You do not get to complain about the police doing another part of their job, however, which is investigating slander and hate speech. The police should be able to investigate both slander/hate speech and threats at the same time; if they are not, that is a different problem to do with the police, not with TERFs, what they say or threats against them. Someone else (possibly) committing a crime in retaliation to your (possibly) committing a crime does not excuse your (potential) crime, nor does it mean your (potential) crime shouldn't be investigated and possibly prosecuted, if there is enough evidence of a crime having been committed.

I'd also like to know where on earth transphobic hate crime is more likely to be investigated by the police than threats.

If they feel TERF is a slur and object to being called that, what word would they suggest to describe a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which TERF is just a simple acronym of?

Ironically, while I have seen people say TERF is a slur, I have yet to see an example of anyone actually object to being called one. For instance, the lady in that video I posted earlier expresses the surprise she felt at being called a TERF and said it was "a word used to silence women," etc. but then just said, "You know what? Fine! I am a transgender TERF. There, I said it."

But that question is relevant in any interaction with any other person, isn't it?

I mean, sure, you could ask that question whenever you wanted, but in this case, like I said, some people who claim to hate TERFs say that at least some of these claims TERFs make about being threatened and such are fake. (I've just included a few links to illustrate this with specific examples).

I went through all three links, and I couldn't find any threats directed towards the TERFs. They claim to be threatened by trans people and trans advocates, but it's really they who escalate and use threats. In the third link, the TERF says to expect threats to come her way, but worst I found was the term radscum used by a few commenters, and several others, including the author of the piece, denounced the use of that term. In fact, considering what this commenter said, I was impressed by the levelheadedness and willingness to engage in debate many other commenters displayed.
So in this cases I'd say it's clear what's happening, and it's not TERFs being threatened; it's TERFs making false claims about being threatened.

I'm not sure what kind of answer you're hoping for.

I'm looking for any help and/or information I can get to understand what to do about this situation.

In cases as the above: denounce the transphobia/bigotry, denounce making false claims about being threatened, denounce threatening the people you're falsely claiming are threatening you. In cases where there were actual threats made against the transphobic people: denounce both transphobia/bigotry and threats.

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Re: Feminism

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-09-13, 4:19

I want to start out by saying thanks to everyone who replied. I was really confused because this is the first time I've ever met a TERF, and I was afraid maybe I was doing or saying something really out of line to one without knowing it, but these responses seem to confirm what I initially thought, i.e. that TERFs in general really do try to discriminate against trans people and that they're not some kind of poor, misunderstood souls or something.
Aurinĭa wrote:Many trans people actually fit in the gender binary—excluding those who are e.g. genderqueer or non-binary. But if you consider yourself a trans woman and at the same time believe trans women aren't women, then were does the woman in trans woman come from?

OK, I started watching this (another one of her videos), and it sounds to me like she's just generally confused about her own gender identity, but at the same time, she thinks she's a woman but other (in particular, pre-op) trans women are not and they're still just men because she thinks people with penises are men and people with vaginas are women (but also possibly people who are undergoing surgery, apparently including herself, which I think is what makes it so confusing from an outsider's perspective):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyUNuD8WUSY
If you're being threatened, complain to the police, and the police doesn't investigate the complaints, sure, that's a perfectly legitimate reason to complain. Complain about the threats not being investigated, that is. You do not get to complain about the police doing another part of their job, however, which is investigating slander and hate speech.

Of course, I agree.
I'd also like to know where on earth transphobic hate crime is more likely to be investigated by the police than threats.

I don't think it really is.
In cases as the above: denounce the transphobia/bigotry, denounce making false claims about being threatened, denounce threatening the people you're falsely claiming are threatening you. In cases where there were actual threats made against the transphobic people: denounce both transphobia/bigotry and threats.

To be honest, I think things like this can be tricky. In this case, for example, like I said, I have no way of knowing whether the person really was threatened or not. I denounced the threats long before she said anything about being labeled as a TERF, but I also asked her a few questions just out of concern for her situation: did the police do anything new, why would she be charged with a hate crime, things like that (I asked both of these before she said anything about TERFs). Based off of her latest responses to me, I'm starting to feel it's as if I'm already on thin ice just for asking such questions when I never even mentioned trans people. I don't really want to know how she'd react if I did mention trans people. :para: I'm not sure what else she's expecting from me, an all-out condemnation of trans people?

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Re: Feminism

Postby IpseDixit » 2017-11-14, 15:40

I was watching a bit of an episode of a TV program in which Michela Murgia, an Italian writer and feminist, has a section where she talks about books and literature, at a point she says something that had me quite taken aback:

<<When a woman says that she doesn't have anything to wear, even though she actually has a lot of clothes in her wardrobe, what she means is that she doesn't have anything that suits the kind of woman that she is in that particular day, which is a different woman from yesterday. If men don't get this, it's their problem, not ours.>>

(Not sure if I managed to translate it in a way that conveys the right undertone, but the gist is: women are such complex and multifaceted beings, if we have a hard time choosing what to wear it's because we're so complex, not because of vanity or other frivolous reasons*).

The host of the program sighs and objects that maybe she's idealizing women a bit too much.

At this point, she becomes all huffy and uptight and replies:

<<I know that for you men this is much simpler, but for us it's not, clothes are like masks which express who we are that day.>>

---

*Just to be clear, I absolutely don't think that only women are driven by vanity and frivolous reasons.

---

What do you (especially women) think?


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