Discussion in 'Community' started by Darth Punk, Jul 7, 2020.
It's not only possible, it is perhaps more likely
I actually think you distilled my thoughts into one sentence!
In related news, a boycott of Goya Foods has taken off since its CEO praised the orange menace....
For those interested, a bunch of people put together a rebuttal to the first letter, and it's pretty good: https://theobjective.substack.com/p/a-more-specific-letter-on-justice
I have a childhood classmate who had a speaking event cancelled at a university because the campus LGBT community objected. She still gets online threats, etc. She is routinely accused of being a TERF, and she has definitely made some decidedly TERFY comments. Her main feminist critique of trans culture is that as a biological woman she's been denied opportunity, suffered from discrimination at the hands of men her entire life, and segments of trans culture seem determined to promote and promulgate gender stereotypes that are a significant step backwards for women. In short, segments of trans culture are not just an obstacle but a real headwind against progress on gender equality.
I think it's a potentially valid criticism, and something that can be discussed at a pretty high level. But she wasn't allowed to discuss it on campus because the local LGBT community objected strenuously to her speaking. Also, that wasn't what her talk was about anyway. She was going to talk about her art.
Sorry but I'd have to say your friend definitely sounds like a TERF to me, has a very confused idea of what the gender spectrum actually is, and does not begin to understand that as a cis woman she has it comparatively easy even though our society is admittedly very patriarchal.
I don't think your friend would make up false claims of being threatened, but some TERFs definitely have.
So you think I should maybe join in with all the online bullying she gets? Pile on a bit more? I'd agree that a pissing contest over who is most oppressed seems like a giant waste of time. Is it possible there's an element of that in radical feminist critique of trans culture? Sure.
Online bullying is never ok as far as I'm concerned....
As far as the oppression goes... the average life expectancy in the US for transgender women of color, last time I checked, was about 35 years, even in the absence of any underlying medical conditions. No cis woman today has to live with what amounts to a death sentence over her head.
I will read it carefully, but on the basis of the initial few paragraphs, the response seems to attack a straw man rather than the letter itself.
The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country.
Nowhere in the letter those who signed it were making the case that they were concerned by their own, personal freedom of speech.
In truth, Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people — particularly Black and trans people — can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially; this seems to be the letter’s greatest concern.
Based on what? Noam Chomsky or Zephyr Teachout should be concerned because black and LGBTQ+ people can criticize the elites publicly? Doesn't sound very convincing to me.
I do think that there’s some nuance that is decidedly not present in current discourse, and intent matters too. (Obviously not crying any tears for the proud bigots here Rowling.) Everyone has subconscious biases and the rule I go with is as long as everyone involved in the discourse is trying to advance in understanding and better people should be ok. Like I mentioned up top, sometimes I’ll say something really dumb, you guys will educate me and I’ll come out better for, I’m not a monster because occasionally I’m an idiot.
like I regularly see my sister (liberal) not be on speaking terms with certain friends (also liberal) for months over semantic political arguments and I kinda don’t get it at all.
It'd be easier if they just said they thought the 30% of the original letter's list were race traitors more directly, rather than just seeming to imply it.
As to that letter itself:
"Many signatories on our list noted their institutional affiliation but not their name, fearful of professional retaliation. It is a sad fact, and in part why we wrote the letter."
I thought people being held accountable was a good thing that it would be wrong to complain about and is just the out of touch nature of the elites.
It may well be the case that the signatories of that letter are all bigots, or if they are not, that they are simply trying to protect their privilege, because they don't like their assertions or their power being questioned. I think it's equally possible that they're expressing legitimate concerns about censorship of the arts. That's how I initially took it, based on reasons I rather laboriously made earlier in this thread, under, I'll admit, the influence of guinness.
I've little doubt there are signatories to that letter that agree with the likes of Rowling. That really doesn't help, but it does suggest that this sort of thing isn't necessarily a collective opinion, more a number of disgruntled voices that have certain common beliefs, but who may differ in their interpretation of the finer points.
In the cold light of day (or late at night as it happens to be here), I'm still not prepared to simply assume these people are all saying, 'Stop challenging our privilege'. That does not mean they are not doing this. It may well emerge that this is precisely what they are saying, or implying. But I made my comments in good faith, because I didn't see enough in that letter to suggest one thing, which may not actually be a thing. And I have repeatedly called out for better representation in writing and many areas of the arts in general; I'm not going to support them, if it turns out that protecting privilege was their intention.
Some of the signatories are awesome people and some others are terrible people. Still, if we just consider the content of the letter and not who was signing it, there's really very little in the letter to be so triggered about. But this is not new, online things are always out of proportion.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition. They praise the fact that public pressure can allow people to “punch up” against bigotry but their hesitation to reveal themselves shows they are well aware cancel culture never stopped punching down either.
To use a tortured metaphor, it’s less that the shoe is on the other foot than it is that the shoe is on both feet now.
Lol I didn't see it at first.
Refusing to write the name in an open letter that is precisely supposed to make the case that cancel culture is not a big issue is really the top of the irony.
I thought for years that Rowling was an awesome person, and then later found out that she really isn't. But as you say, there are some awesome people on that list, whom I now wonder if I know as well as I thought I did. I hope, when all's said and done, that they are still awesome, but Rowling is a case in point that I can woefully misjudge some people.
At the end of the day, sometimes writers are wealthy and powerful because they happen to be very talented. There's no question that some of them have abused the privilege they find themselves with, but I'm equally certain that there are others who are still great people. And if you write a book that sells millions, then you will end up wealthy. That's sort of how it works; whereas I'd just be happy if I can make a living out of this. I don't need all the crap that goes with it.
I'm going to try to avoid speaking about things I'm unfamiliar with and stick to those I know in shaping my reply to you. I'm African American, but my family was fortunate enough not to live in one of the under-resourced, over-policed neighborhoods that is the focus of so much attention. That's a significant dimension of anti-black discrimination I never experienced. On the other hand, I and those like me did face things like petty vandalism (broken mailboxes, egged houses, ruined landscaping) that would happen against only those houses owned by Jewish, Black or Hispanic families while sparing every white neighbor, or comments about how we "didn't belong" in the neighborhood. Those too are a dimension of discrimination, and they are ones that those in the over-policed neighborhoods didn't endure.
Neither is "right." They certainly both have a common source. But we can talk about the way those manifestations are different and would have different impacts on our lives. Similarly, I would be extremely surprised if the disadvantages one faced from growing up identified as female were the same as the particular issues one faces when you feel you are of a different gender than you look. Embracing the principle of intersectionality should allow some space to acknowledge these different experiences and their implications.
As for the specific question of an interaction between gender stereotypes and transgender identity? I have no idea. I haven't studied how they feel they know their "true" gender. I could certainly imagine some constructs that do reinforce gender stereotypes in bad ways, but I have no idea if those things are what those people endorse.
Thanks for that insight into your personal life experience, wocky. I really appreciate it.
I always felt like the TERFs were the ones reinforcing gender stereotypes, not trans women.
That was pretty spot-on, @Jabba-wocky
We live in a society where anyone who isn't a heteronormative cisgender male can be subjected to any number of differential treatment, which can involve anything from job or housing discrimination to sexual assault or hate crimes. TPOC are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes and frequently end up murdered.
The so-called "white man's strategy" has always been to divide and conquer, but what's really sad is that sometimes we do their work for them. We end up dividing and fighting among ourselves when we should focus on our common goal of making the world a better place for everyone, without exception.
I definitely don't know enough about it, just as a witness to the subjective experience of a feminist artist who has direct experience with social media cancel tactics.
So, one person's "social media cancel tactics" is a vulnerable group's fight against oppression.....
Nor do I. I'd want to hear out more of her concern if she feels like there's a point that's not being listened to.
TERFS are basically people who are wedded to the idea of the gender binary, i.e: if you were assigned male/female at birth, then you should always be assigned to that gender. This erases the identity of transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and intersex folks by simply refusing to acknowledge that they can choose their own gender identities, because they don't necessarily identify with that assigned gender. It also ignores the science which proves that gender is not a simple binary, even if some of us feel comfortable with identifying with our cisgender.
If one applied Rowling's words to, say, race, it feels to me like she is saying, "I have no problem with black people, just so long as they don't live near me or enjoy the same rights and privileges.'
There are some more extreme transphobic types who have allied themselves with the far right, because they identify with this nice neat dumbing down of gender identity, and other forms of pigeon-holing. Because there are many prominent self-identified feminists who are TERFs, it has become a powerful movement, and far more reasonable feminist voices are in danger of being drowned out. It also mean that many people are just downright confused when 'feminists' are being transphobic, because they identify with feminism. Sadly some young people are being swayed by their poisonous arguments for that reason.
This is exactly why that kind of mentality is deeply dangerous - it contributes to hostility towards a vulnerable group in all sorts of public places, schools, workplaces, etc. There have even been instances of cisgender women being attacked while using public restrooms by other cis women who mistook them for transgender. It creates and exacerbates hate and mistrust.