Yesterday, when I was casually browsing the Internet, I came across a very simple but peculiar to me title on Pinknews.co.uk that said “What is a ‘real woman’?” Because of my curious nature I couldn’t resist clicking a link.
In the recent decade there were cutthroat debates concerning issues of gender and gender roles, sex, behavior and expectations; one group uses very sensitive and unreliable arguments based on social justice, biases of low expectation, political correctness while the other group brings logic and science to the table. To this day questions of “who is a real woman?” and “what a real woman does?” stand on crossroads of these debates.
I personally already decided to myself who may be considered a real woman: what values and behavior she is promoting, what her lifestyle is and how she interacts with the world. I’m opened to other people’s ideas; that is why I decided to check out what the author of this article – Josh Jackman – thinks about this issue.
Entering the page I saw a nice looking lady with glasses and what I saw below made me understand the issue of the article considers transgender people.
The author writes: “There seems to be an epidemic of otherwise intelligent, respectful, feminist people suddenly blurting out that trans women ‘aren’t real women’. Dame Jenni Murray did it last week, with the host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour writing a Sunday Times Magazine column entitled ‘Be trans, be proud — but don’t call yourself a ‘real woman’. She suggested that trans women can never be ‘real women’ because they experience male privilege before they transition”.
Indeed, in her article Murray states: “Can someone who has lived as a man, with all the privilege that entails, really lay claim to womanhood? It takes more than a sex change and make-up”. Jenni also makes it clear to the reader that she is in no way transphobic but she is one of the first feminists to bring up this problem.
For a moment I thought that finally feminists are realizing crucial contradictions in their identity politics but the fact that Jenni mentions male privilege proves there is a lot of work for them to do.
Let’s get back to the Pink News article. It follows: “Over the weekend, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who wrote the brilliant We Should All Be Feminists – part of which was included in Beyoncé’s video for Flawless – made a similar misstep. When asked if ‘trans women are women’ the Nigerian writer said that her ‘feeling is trans women are trans women,’ and that experiencing male privilege made trans women different”.
What Murray and Adichie are trying to say is that somehow feelings do not matter now, and it’s the right way to go. The next bit that feminists should realize that it has nothing to do with male privilege because it does not exist in the west.
The next persona in the article, the author writes about, expresses her thoughts in very radical manner, that, I’m sure, most social justice warriors find unacceptable defying it as a hate speech. “… earlier this year, more than 17,000 people signed a petition to stop Germaine Greer from speaking at the Dome in Brighton on International Women’s Day. In the past Greer has spoken out against ‘man’s delusion that he is female’, claiming trans women are ‘some kind of ghastly parody’ who will never be women because they don’t know what it’s like to have a ‘big, hairy, smelly vagina’”.
The author himself very strongly opposes the rhetoric of the second wave feminist on the issue of transgender people, but he continues in a childish manner by showing pictures of random inanimate objects which cannot define their gender by themselves, but people can call themselves or pretend to be whatever they want to be and ask others to play along, that’s why Josh builds his argument solely on a quicksand of identity politics writing two times in a row, imaginary stomping this foot: “Trans women are women. Trans women are women”.
It shows very clear that despite feminist community claims intersectionality and tolerance to be it’s strength they tear their movement apart from the inside by questioning trans people’s identities whom they claimed to protect by speech codes and safe-spaces. Feminists are trying so desperately to exclude and shame men that they almost forget about one group of their protected minorities. It is obvious that feminist groups undergo a huge crisis as too many people who supported their inclusiveness and tolerance in the past, now distance themselves from this aggressive militant ideology.
Nevertheless, I agree with the fact that trans woman or a man who calls himself as such can’t be considered “a real woman”, first of all because it completely contradicts science and second, I’m strongly against identity politics. If for example I call myself a male and enter a male football team – I won’t be competitive among male athletes, just as if I call myself a helicopter I couldn’t fly and transport people. Moreover even if I am a woman I can’t just call myself “a real woman” without any reason. Of course, a woman is a female species, who has XX chromosomes; from biological point of view it makes a real woman. But there is more. What about the ethical point of view? I think, women should earn this, let me call it, title. “A real woman” should have a strong personality, be consistent, attentive, trustworthy, smart and supportive, promote healthy sex behavior, family values, be a caregiver and be a hardworking person. To me, all this makes “a real woman”.
What about the author of the article Josh Jackman? At the very end Josh proudly states he is a cisgender man and he is a feminist. Oh, naivety. I imagine the similar comic situation of a poor bird, which is going to be prepared for dinner, sitting tall and shouting: “I am a Chicken and I’m proud to be on this kitchen”. Josh apparently does not realize that he is the exact kind who is thrown under the bus first of all by feminism with his male privileges, mansplaining and patriarchy.