Trigger Warning for cissexism. I read from PinkNews the other day about Germaine Greer being ‘glitterbombed‘ in New Zealand by the group Queer Avengers. This is in response to Greer’s explicit cissexism, including outing transwomen.
In her 1999 book, The Whole Woman (which I own, not even realising there was cissexism in it until this past week since I haven’t read it yet), she says:
Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognise as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non-sex.
No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males.
If she wrote this over 10 years ago and had since changed her views I would be willing to forgive her. However, this is simply not the case. When writing about the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya in 2009, Greer writes:
Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.
Cissexism is, of course, rampant in 1st and 2nd waves of feminism. In the same way that men should not dismiss sexism, what right does someone who has never experienced gender dysphoria have to dismiss it?
Trans people have been refused medical treatment at hospitals because of their trans status. They’ve been forced to be sterilised even in liberal countries like Sweden. Trans people have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. However, RadFemWorldNews does not think so.
In their statement regarding the glitterbombing of Germaine Greer, they state:
Hmm, in real life violence in retaliation for lawful and non-violent speaking and writing. That sounds about right!
I’m not sure if they honestly know the definition of glitterbombing, even though they quoted the definition. Simply, glitterbombing is an act of protest where someone approaches a well known person and showers glitter on them.
The title of the article itself is ‘Violent gender extremists attack feminist Germaine Greer, call it “glitterbombing”‘. Does throwing glitter on someone sound violent to you? Considering as previously stated, transphobia kills, this is just absolutely ridiculous. Seriously, I wasn’t aware that glitter physically hurt people, I’ll keep that in mind next time I do arts and crafts.
Come on, look at the image above. All she looks is annoyed. Unless annoying someone is not a criminal offense, then I guess I should be arrested for hounding my Student Union to apologize to Peter Tatchell.
I honestly thought that maybe, maybe, cissexism was on the out. That most radical feminists understood how poisonous it can be, along with all the other -isms of course that have been historically marginalised by the feminist movement. I’m really disappointed that I’m wrong. These asshats still exist.
Most of us feminists have seen the quotes, or paragraphs. Many of us may have used it on friends, family, maybe on our blogs. It’s stuff like this:
If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist. Period.
Now, I am a feminist. But I can understand why some people would not define themselves as one. There are, of course, the nobs who don’t believe in men and women being equal, and those who just simply aren’t educated enough on what feminism actually is. There are other types also which need to be educated and really wittled down to come to a feminist friendly perspective.
However, these are not the ones I’m speaking of. These are the ones who have real reasons not to identify as a feminist.
Some of the early feminists were incredibly prejudiced. The first wave of feminism consisted of middle class white women, some who believed that they needed the right to vote in order to out-vote Black people. They were cissexist, ableist, and racist, among other horrible ‘ist’s. Margaret Sanger, champion of birth control, favoured eugenics, fighting for forced sterilisation of those who she deemed were ‘unfit’ (i.e. those with disabilities) to reproduce. Even just recently there was a situation where, on an event page from London Feminist Network, some self-proclaimed feminists were claiming that transwomen could not be feminists, were not ‘real women’ and are part of the problem. WOC still have to fight in order to get their ‘specialty’ concerns heard.
These are huge problems which must be addressed. They are valid reasons to reject a feminist identity in favour of a more inclusive one. Many feminists (I’d like to think I’m included in this) do try to fight against the prejudices in feminism, and those feminists should be supported. Until prejudice in feminism is eradicated, however, the movement will always have conscientious objectors. And I sympathise with them.