Tag Archives: men

Sisterhood is for bitches

I tumbled across a this on FtM Doctor’s blog today, and have been choking on my reaction ever since.

The story is about a feminist music festival in Michigan which is explicitly for “womyn-born womyn” and explicitly excludes trans women. Presumably they also explicitly excludes trans men. In fact, it is not actually a story, it is a press release, explaining the organisers’ point of view.

The language is interesting, veering between the hate-filled and the overly emotive. At one point the organiser of the “womyn-born womyn” sends the following email to the leader of “camp trans”.

I deeply desire healing in our communities, and I can see and feel that you want that too. I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity. I also ask that you respect that womyn born womyn deeply need our space — as do all communities who create space to gather, whether that be womyn of color, trans womyn or trans men . . . I wish you well, I want healing, and I believe this is possible between our communities, but not at the expense of deeply needed space for womyn born womyn.

The self-righteous emotional manipulation of this is nauseating, with its talk of “deeply desire[ing] healing”, “respect” and “deeply needed space”s.

We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.

Is it unkind of me to consider the spaces and places that I have spent with “womyn-born womyn” this past week, which include a women-only gym and the WI? It is not hard to find women-only groups, if that’s what you need for a while. I’ve been on women-only holidays and women-only retreats. I was educated in part at an all girls’ school.

Of course the gym, and the WI aren’t full of radical feminists or …

womyn who could be considered gender outlaws, either because of their sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, etc.) or their gender presentation (butch, bearded, androgynous, femme – and everything in between). … gender variant womyn …. ” or women who ” … consider themselves differently gendered

… so far as I know.

I find myself wondering why the organisers exclude trans women if the spread of women at the festival is so broad, (yes, I know, the “deeply-needed space” thing) and also whether or not there are any straight married mothers there, or whether monogamous heterosexuals are not welcome either.

Rather than rant on and on about this, I will conclude with three final comments.

Firstly, it would be acceptable for the “womyn” of Michigan to create an activity exclusivly for “womyn-born women” if, on other occasions, they created events which were exclusively for other sub-sets of women, for example women who have been abused, or widowed, or who are lesbians, or indeed trans. But to exclude trans women and only trans women smacks of the “all men are rapists” school of separatist radical feminism which de-personalises half of the human race in a way which is as unjust and unacceptable as the de-personalising of women by men which went on for centuries before.

Secondly, I wonder if this is actually personal. If it isn’t about all trans women, but about one particular trans woman, if the organisers lacked the balls to exclude her and if they therefore decided to exclude them all. I find this theory rather compelling, given how petty, emotional and factional groups of women can become. See quotes above.

Finally, I put the press release through Gender Genie, and it scored 30% female and 70% male. Which made me snigger. Bitch that I am.

Good news, bad news

Happy Face I don’t have to wait until the afternoon of Christmas Day to read the autumn Terry Pratchett

Sad Face I have to buy it myself

Happy Face No-one tells me “that dress is really unflattering from behind”

Sad Face I can’t tell when what I’m wearing is really unflattering from behind

Happy Face My bank balance is nobody’s business but my own

Sad Face Paying off the mortgage is up to me

Happy Face Sex is dirty again

Sad Face It can also be infected

Happy Face Buying erotica at the bookshop is a symptom of how liberated and sexually at ease I am with myself

Sad Face Sometimes flirting with the guy at the till in the bookshop is the nearest I get to an erotic encounter

Happy Face Someone else will raise his teenage kids

Sad Face Someone else is raising his pre-schoolers

Happy Face I can use any colour I like to paint the bedroom

Sad Face I am the one who has to paint it

Happy Face I don’t have to choose Christmas and Birthday presents for his family

Sad Face I no longer get the gossip about his sister’s latest lunacy

Happy Face I can eat pasta with pesto every night for a week if I want to

Sad Face I am putting on weight

And finally:

Happy Face The loo-seat is down when I go to the bathroom

Happy Face Nope. There isn’t a downside to that one

A matter of trust

When we say we trust someone, do we mean that we have faith in their integrity, or do we mean we have faith in our ability to predict their behaviour?

One of the most disorientating things the former Herr Behn said to me was I do not trust you any more. When I challenged this he said I do not trust your judgement. For want of a better way of putting it, he trusted my inputs but wanted to be able to predict my outputs. (We were geeks. Sorry).

That was eight years ago, but I’ve been thinking about  the nature of trust in relationships a lot recently. The partner of a friend of mine caused upset and ruckus recently by playing an away game. My friend was shaking, not just with anger and shock and a sense of betrayal, but also with the realisation that a relationship which at times felt too good to be true had turned out to be just that. It’s tough when you turn round to yourself and say I told you so.

More or less simultaneously, I have got to the point when I can pack up and send some books and a valedictory letter off to a guy whose final words to me, in the middle of February, were I’ll ring you next week.

The one thing that was solidly certain during our relationship was that, no matter what happened and what didn’t happen, he would never ever be deliberately cruel to me. I knew that there would be an ocean of hurt, but no cruelty.

Yeah right.

My sense of reeling dislocation this spring was not just because I was betrayed by someone else; it was also caused by letting my own expectations run away with me.

Ultimately it was because I had to come to terms with the realisation that I have little or no ability to predict how another person will behave.

So far, I lack the generosity of spirit to thank him for that revelation.

Football fever

It seems fairly clear that one of the underlying attractions of football is that it enables men to express emotions. But I also wonder if there’s a deeper purpose of enabling men to feel emotions in the first place. I remember a Geordie explaining to me once that choosing your team was more important than choosing your wife because, after all, you can divorce your wife. He meant it, too. In the Radio 4 Programme The Choice, Michael Buerk interviewed a man who had decided to give up his Manchester United Season Ticket. It was an odd and fascinating radio programme, because Buerk quite clearly did not understand the magnitude of the moral and ethical choice facing this man. (Interestingly, that is one of only two episodes of The Choice not described in detail on the BBC website.)

Then of course there’s Bill Shankly who once infamously said that football was not a matter of life and death, but that it was more important than that.

So – it doesn’t take great powers of observation to see that men get really worked up about football.

What I find myself wondering, now that the New Man of the 1990s is old hat, is whether or not the appeal of football is that men can feel emotions about it.