Here’s the thing. People who have no support for their argument deflect in an effort to keep you from realizing they have no valid argument. It’s very common and even more so on-line where people feel incredibly and increasingly confident in arguing for or against something of which they know very little. When they are backed into a corner, they lash out and deflect.
We women see it all the time. Transgenders have created words that are then used as slurs in an effort to deflect and silence. Say that a transwoman isn’t a woman and we are called bigots and transphobes; or the made up words, “cissexist” or “transmisogynist.” Admit that we are not trans and we become cis scum. Hell, I don’t even have to do either of those things, all I have to do is write about lesbophobia and I become an “exterminatist.”
The deflections happen all the time. A woman puts forth the very logical notion of biology 101 and states that a male can never become a female or vice versa and the first thing she hears is “Bigot!” and/or “Transphobe!” Those are deflections. Using those words in an effort to silence and shame the woman putting forth her own opinions and ideas when there is no real argument against what she is saying.
There is also the classic, “well what about intersex people?!?!” This is, of course, a red herring. Talking about gender and biology and saying that females are females and males are males when suddenly someone screams about intersex people. That is bringing up something that had nothing to do with the topic at hand. Intersex people are not transgender, so to bring them up when speaking about transgenderism is a way to deflect the conversation.
As for my being called an “exterminatist,” that is a special kind of deflection and it happens all the time when women like me speak up about the problems surrounding transgenderism. It’s called a strawman argument and it is when my words, thoughts, and ideas are misrepresented, then exaggerated and put forth as real.
Take, for instance, the female transgender who re-blogged my “Let’s Talk About Lesbophobia” post and commented with:
“How do you reason with someone who believes that mtf women transition just to victimize other women, and ftm men transition because of internalized misogyny and to obtain male privilege?”
Now, anyone who has read “Let’s Talk About Lesbophobia” or any of my blog posts would know that the above assertion is a complete fabrication. Not only did I not say those things in my lesbophobia post, I haven’t said any of those things in any of my posts. But instead of arguing against my lesbophobia post, hell, instead of actually reading my lesbophobia post, this person decided to just put forth some extreme statements and incorrectly attribute them to me in an effort to discredit and silence me, as well as deflect from the fact that they had no valid argument.
Going back to the “exterminatist” comment, since I have never said anything about wanting to exterminate transgenders and have, in fact stated the opposite (that I support laws that protect all people from discrimination and violence), then the person who called me that was clearly deflecting by misrepresenting my thoughts and views and painting me as someone who wants other people dead.
An even better example of a strawman argument would be from this blog: “Radical Feminism is a Danger to Women.”
When I first read this blog post, I thought this person was transgender. They were so passionate on speaking about transgenderism and what it’s like to be transgender, that the logical conclusion was that they themselves were trans. But when I looked at some other posts, I saw that they describe themselves as a “cisgendered lesbian,” which we all know is just the convoluted way of saying “lesbian.”
This person not only acts like they are an authority on everything trans related, they also claim to be an authority on radical feminists, or radfems; except they got everything about radfems wrong. I am pretty sure it was intentional and done with malice; trying to deflect and hide the fact that this person has no real argument against radfems except to say, “omg they’re SO bad!11!!”
Radfems don’t hate men. They put women first. Notice the distinction? Radfems are not so rooted in males and male supremacy that everything needs to be framed according to men. The framing is around women. Women, women’s issues, women’s health, women’s safety: all top priorities for radfems. Radfems also don’t want to oppress men. This, again, frames things around men. What radfems really want is to liberate women and deconstruct the patriarchy. Again, see the distinction? It isn’t about men, it is about women. Putting forth the idea that radfems center everything around men is a deflection, a strawman argument. Not to mention how derailing the title of the blog post is; since radfems put women first, they cannot and are not a “danger to women.”
So Rayne, in an effort to shame and silence radfems while also discrediting them, created this very long post that has fallacy after fallacy after fallacy because they could not come up with an actual argument against radical feminism, which is, simply: to liberate women. I mean, seriously, regardless of your politics, your class, your race, your sexual orientation, etc., how can you argue with that?
Rayne could not; and it was easier to just make stuff up and pass it off as truth like they worked for Fox news or something. Of course, Rayne also deflected when arguing with @TerriStrange about male violence. Rayne wanted to frame it as violence against women while Terri wanted to frame it as male violence. Calling it violence against women puts everything on women when it comes to the violence done against them; but framing it as male violence puts the responsibility where it belongs: on men.
Instead of an actual argument against saying one over the other, Rayne decided to deflect the conversation by insinuating that lesbian on lesbian violence was so prevalent that to call male violence what it is (male violence) is to make domestic violence between women invisible. But when the vast majority of violence against women, against homosexuals, against children, and yes, against transgenders and transsexuals is perpetrated by men, calling it male violence is not only appropriate, it is necessary to keep the focus where it belongs.
Using a small percentage of male rape victims (most of whom are raped by other men, btw) and a small percentage of woman on woman violence to deflect from the very real and credible threat against women (men) is what the patriarchy wants. Like it is saying, here, keep looking at what my left hand is doing while my right hand kills off your sisters systematically.
Deflection. Don’t let it derail you from the very valid points you are making, dear reader. Remember: the next time you are having a discussion or an argument with a transgender or a trans ally (who also claims to be a feminist) and they deflect by using a strawman argument, violent threats and name calling, a red herring, or any other tactic, don’t get sucked into their derail. Walk away.
We have a long road and a hard fight ahead of us, so save your sanity. Walk away.