March 10, 2017 | by oemb1905
This is a short review of the article titled the same by Natasha Vargas-Cooper.
Natasha Vargas-Cooper, this article has already been mis-read and lambasted by many third wavers; lame. Way to define your brand of second wave feminism and to not accept the label of trans exclusionary radical feminist. I also love that you repeatedly preach tolerance and equity. Towards the end, you conclude that “It [the trans movement] is purely personal, purely neutral, and apolitical.” My first question would be ‘Is anything ever purely attainable? I doubt that it is, and since this creates the necessity for a continuum, the argument can get sticky at times, e.g., when trans women or trans men are targeted with physical violence ‘because of’ these pure changes. Nevertheless, your essential thesis that the movements are different, yet posses some inconsistent elements while both retaining the need for tolerance and equity, is both correct and compelling. Interestingly, I think those qualities apply to any healthy identification of one’s physicality, and for both my wife and I, our gender and sex identity have always been an attempt to self-define and collectively bounce ideas off of ourselves and to each other along the lines you describe above, without external influence or discussion. I think that the ‘take-away’ is that you are prompting folks to recognize this definition of the movement and, as you allude to, is that many components of the movement are simply trivial. For example, reifying decoration and adornment, e.g., Caitlyn’s nails, Dolezal’s curls, a trans woman or man’s facility at a particular sport, etc., with fighting to preserve the right of a woman to a safe abortion is a callous reification. In so doing, the cause of both is cheapened.
That casual fancy of living through chipped nail-polish (although beautiful and something I have done myself) is an opt-in brotherhood or sisterhood, while the undesired child of a rape inside a female victim is a forced-upon patrimony, hegemony, etc. The similarities, as you accurately note in this essay, are based upon striving commensurately with all the LGBTQ+ community for social tolerance, equity, and the pursuit of happiness, i.e., social justice; and not in placing adornment, self-identity, gender re-identification, Sausserean post-modern semiotic constructs, and sex or gender pronouns, as on par with the right to vote, the right to be safe on the street regardless of one’s identity, and the right to be able to choose whether one keeps or terminates one’s pregnancy. This is exactly why the majority third waver narrative, as you mention, could not reconcile Dolezal within this shaky sex-as-a-construct Discourse. Naturally, there were those both then and now within the Black community that called for acceptance and it was even more ironically marginal within its community than your article is to some feminists, but as you note, we have “Oxford graduates” that can barely write, let alone construct a logical argument. It’s as if the word empathy will no longer have a purpose in our language, since folks can just become a member of whatever creed, group, sex, gender, religion that they so choose because of their self-verified self-identify redefinition. No need for empathetic actions – just become them and experience it for oneself! Thanks for reminding the third-wavers that “trans people should not be harassed or discriminated against for this pursuit.” Often, when one narrows one’s own feminist identity because of cultural, biological, and intellectual distinction, people will confuse distinction with dissent, and worse, call it bigotry. Way to fight the proper counter narrative! The ideas you espouse take us back to the un-finished fight Camille Paglia began with the third-wavers back in the 90s. Thanks for bringing new energy to the fight – it has been far too long.