Here’s the thing. It is a very serious problem when women, feminists, radfems, the media, etc., or a combination of any of the above use the phrase, “the gender they were assigned at birth.” Why? because it is incorrect wording that, when used repeatedly gains notability and with more use, it gains credibility as people see it as a true statement when, honestly, it is not. Gender is not something that is “assigned” to infants at birth. It’s not a seat assignment that someone gives you when they look between your legs and either see a vulva or a penis. That would be sex. Once again, people are confusing sex with gender.
Nothing is “assigned” to anyone at birth. Sex is determined at birth when the person delivering the baby sees its genitals and declares, “It’s a girl/boy!”; and before some joker wants to come in screaming about intersex people, that is a red herring and we all know it. Intersex people are not trans are not intersex people. Stop trying to muddy the waters. The above determination of sex is not gender being assigned to that child like it is a homework assignment or something. Determination of a child’s sex at birth is basic biology 101 and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gender.
The sooner people can stop confusing sex with gender the better; and the sooner people can stop using the phrase, “gender assigned at birth,” the better because then we can all start discussing what gender really is and how harmful it is to women.
Gender is a social construct; and it arrives through socialization. True, this socialization may start just after birth when the child’s parents or the nurses at the hospital or who ever decides to dress little boys in blue and little girls in pink so that people know what sex the child is; because in our society, sex is a class and there is a clear hierarchy, with women being on the bottom and men on the top. The sooner the little boys and little girls are discovered and differentiated, the clearer their future will be to the people around them. But that is not the same thing as being “assigned a gender” and having that child (or adult) suddenly and magically “know” what it is like to be a girl or a boy (or a woman or man).
Gender through socialization happens over a period of time; and this is what women mean when they speak about having shared experiences that are different from men who are born and raised boys then decide later that they wish to declare themselves to be women. When we say this, we are not saying that we all share the same upbringing. Obviously, women of color have different experiences than white women, women brought up in a poor household have different experiences than women brought up in wealthy households, etc.; but the fact that we were all born as little girls and then raised in this patriarchal society is our shared experience.
This next part is hard to describe. I honestly thought it was obvious until I started seeing so many male transgenders (aka “MtFs,” which is a misnomer, since males cannot become females) talk about how they know what it was like to be raised as girls, since they “felt” like girls. This was mind boggling to me and reeked of their own male privilege. How arrogant of men to sit there, as the oppressive class, and dictate to women, the oppressed class, what it is like to be women! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and reading.
As women, we all know what it is like to be born and raised as little girls in this society. It is something that, unless you are a woman, is difficult to describe or understand; and sometimes, the socialization of women is so complete, some women don’t even see it. This is why so many women in today’s “feminism” are so pro-male, why they are ok with so many men taking over feminism, why they are ok with men in the government restricting women’s access to healthcare, and why they are ok with men who role play as women co-opt our experiences, our words, even our very private spaces. We women are socialized or conditioned to put men first, always. Men have no idea what it is like to be conditioned to apologize before asking a question, or apologize for asserting yourself and creating boundaries, or to take up as little space as possible. These are just some of the things women are taught since birth; and I don’t mean taught like consciously in school, I mean a deep subconscious conditioning beginning from infancy and continuing into adulthood.
Side note: before a male transgender tries to speak up about how he does know about those things because he is trans or about how women don’t know about this, that, or the other because they are “cis,” try stopping for a moment and actually listening to a woman instead of making this about you. That is what men do.
Now see, any of the transgenders who actually kept reading my post instead of just stopping after the first paragraph when I said that sex is not gender, just stopped reading. It is impossible for men to magically know what it is like to be a woman, just as it is impossible for women to let go of all of their lifetime of socialization and know what it is like to be a man. Sure, I get treated differently sometimes when someone thinks I am a man vs. when they realize I am a woman, but this isn’t the same as being born a boy and raised as male with all the privilege that goes along with it in a society dominated by the male class.
But male transgenders actually believe that putting on a dress and/or taking some hormones negates everything they have been taught while living as boys and men and they suddenly “know” what it is like to be women. Forget all of the male privilege that has been shoved down their throats for years, they don’t see that that is what makes them think they are allowed to have access to everything and that if they say something is true, then god damnit, it’s true.
And there is where we come to it: how gender harms women. Let me relate a story really quickly. I was reading a blog post of a male trans on Tumblr. This guy was, as he put it, “presenting in women’s clothes” while out with some friends bar hopping. They decided to go to a mostly straight bar in a mostly gay neighborhood and while he was there, he took off his top (he was wearing something leather underneath) and security told him to put it back on.
The interesting thing at this point of the blog is that the man honestly thought he was passing as a woman. He mentioned in his blog how he wasn’t sure if or how security could make any determination that he was trans, so he didn’t think it was about him being trans at that point. He posted a picture of himself at the bar that night and there is no question in anyone’s mind but his own that he is a man dressed in what society has deemed “women’s” clothing.
Can you imagine? Can you imagine a delusion so powerful that what you see in the mirror is the complete opposite of what the rest of the world sees, but you are so determined in your delusion that you dare anyone to contradict you? It’s like people with an eating disorder who look in the mirror and see a very fat person staring back at them but the rest of the world sees the reality: an unbelievably, unhealthy skinny person who is killing themselves. This is how some of these male trans are. In their delusion, they look in the mirror and see a beautiful feminine woman, while the rest of the world sees the reality of what is actually there: a man in what society deems as “women’s” clothing.
Anyway, I digress. Nearing the end of the evening, he decides to use the bathroom before heading home. Now, this bar did everything right: they had a women’s bathroom, a men’s bathroom, and a unisex bathroom. This is the best compromise for male and female transgenders who feel they should not have to use the bathrooms of their own sex out of fear, while also allowing the women in the establishment the privacy and respect they should be given, as well as keeping female transgenders safe from being attacked in the men’s bathroom.
But instead of using the unisex bathroom, this person who was, clearly, a man, decided it was his right to use the women’s bathroom; and when he did so, he was confronted (rightfully) by security. He held his ground and he sat down on the floor of the women’s bathroom and called the police, claiming that he feared for his life. The police were confused as to (a) why he called them and (b) why he was in the women’s restroom. He asked to be escorted out of the bar safely and they did just that. He is currently in the process of making complaints to any lawyer or legal entity he can in an effort to “change” things at this bar, because the compromise of a unisex bathroom wasn’t enough for this guy. He “said” he was a woman so that should be good enough for the rest of the world and damn any woman who wants any kind of privacy or safety of their own.
When you make laws based on something as ambiguous as gender and the law makes it clear that if someone states they are such&such, then they must be recognized as such&such, regardless of the reality of the situation, you open the door to all sorts of privacy and safety issues for women. A male transgender who is, by definition, pre-op and most likely not living as a woman full time should never be allowed into women’s private spaces; but because sex has been overlooked for the sake of gender, women are, yet again, getting thrown under the bus for the sake of men.
If this man had actually be raised as a girl and socialized to live as a woman, he would never have inserted himself into another person’s space like that and then demanded that he be allowed to stay or else he would sue. If he had actually been a woman or even if he had been someone who respected women, he would have known how nervous and uncomfortable women would be in an enclosed private space like that with a male-bodied person and he would have used the unisex bathroom.
For men like this, it is all or nothing. he either gets his way every single time or else people are being transphobic and must be sued or arrested or, if they are radfems, they should be beaten, raped, or killed for their horrible offense of knowing, seeing, the truth.
Sex is not gender, ladies and gentlemen. Sex is a class and women are at the bottom of that class, dominated by men in a patriarchal society that will always put men first. Gender is a social construct that is taught to all of us through socialization and it re-enforces sex stereotypes in an effort to keep the female class on the bottom of the heap.
My hope is that more women stop choking on the kool-aid these men are shoving down their throats and wake up to see that we are the equivalent of the human batteries in the Matrix. We are sold a bill of goods from the moment we hit this world and waking up out of that coma is not only hard, for some women it is almost impossible. But more and more of us are waking up everyday and realizing that sex matters. Our sex matters; and giving up our rights for the sake of men is not something we should be blindly accepting, it is something we should be fighting against tooth and fucking nail.
I beg to disagree, as a lesbian I don’t shave or wear make-up for any man. I do it because I like it. i like the feeling of smooth legs and using my face as a palate.
You have been conditioned to “feel” that way.
Trolly troll is troll’in.
Typical rad fem response.. “Help, standing up against our oppressive stance is hurting me! Wah, why are you trying to silence me?!” I’m a cis woman and I transwomen are more of my sisters than any rad fem ass hat any day of the week.
[…] show an incongruence between a “naturally occurring” gender and a biological or “assigned” sex as a young […]
Typical response by an ignorant woman conditioned by the patriarchy; and nice name calling, very 3rd grade! Since I have never purported to be a radfem, thanks for, once again, labeling me against my will. The men in your life must be so proud that your conditioning is so complete that you would attack another woman in their name. Brava!
ps, “cis” is a slur created by men to other and silence women. Again, brava to you for giving in so easily.
Brilliant refutation, deepgreenburrito! I bow to your vastly superior capacity for analysis and reasoned logical thought. It may take me all evening to thoroughly absorb your brilliant and deeply nuanced comment, but I know it will be well worth my time.
If only I could “like” comments! 😉
I do not understand how this pinged back to me as I do not see the author quoting me in her review, but it is still a good review, so I approved the ping-back so others might find the piece and enjoy a great review of such an awful book.
Yes, it’s an excellent review. The only thing I can come up with about the pingback is that it’s maybe related to an unposted comment.
Not sure. The comment in the ping-back was “[…] show an incongruence between a “naturally occurring” gender and a biological or “assigned” sex as a young […]” but I don’t believe that is a quote of mine. Either way, it’s cool, I’d like for more people to see the review. 😉
[…] right treatments and give a child a name.” They also argued that gender is not assigned but determined by biological […]
What a brilliant post. While I don’t agree with every comment made, I’m very happy with the articulate and intelligent way with which you presented your points. I’m so used to people “debating” on Tumblr, lowering the tone of any discussion instantly to “I’m right, you’re wrong” and general name calling.
I’m so glad to find someone else who agrees about the toilet situation. A similar thing happened at a shopping centre in Edinburgh last year. The story made local papers and in my mind, supported the wrong individual. Although, I don’t think the toilet issue is just a female related issue, it’s a general privacy and comfort point for guys too. I’m also glad to see someone else mention the issue with using the term “gender assigned at birth”. It drives me insane.
Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.
Sex is innate. It is not “assigned.” It isn’t a seat on an airplane. People have made these distinctions successfully since time began. Sex can not be changed any more than my wishes can wash my dishes.
Reblogged this on FeistyAmazon and commented:
Wow…I REALLY LIKE THIS
..Women are the human.bayteries mennuse like the A.I. used humans in the Matrix. The Matrix is the Patriarchy and we are punished everytime we leave it and gather with OUR OWN!!
Reblogged this on Thou wouldst still be adored and commented:
“How arrogant of men to sit there, as the oppressive class, and dictate to women, the oppressed class, what it is like to be women!”
I was thankfully saved the effort of shaving my legs when a boy complained (just after I had seriously considered shaving for the first time) that my legs were just as hairy as his, with the clear implication that I should shave. That opened my eyes to the ridiculous double standard, and I have refused to shave my legs ever since, out of principle.
If that boy had not been, I might have become one of the lots of women who shave “for themselves”. After being informed that men expect women to shave their legs, even though men don’t shave their own, often much hairier legs, I was too stubborn to submit to the ridiculous double standard.
Maybe I should send that guy a thank-you note.
Such a great story! You should seriously send him a note! lol
I had a similar one, but it was a young woman, a woman who was on the softball team with me in high school. I was putting on my knee pads and she was near me doing something similar when she noticed my stubbly legs (I had not shaved in a couple weeks because I really hated it). She went off on me about my stubbly legs, how awful I was for having them, and she asked me, very loudly so as to embarrass me, “Don’t you care about hygiene?” It was a wake-up call. At that moment, I realized that shaving was not something I -wanted- to do, it was something that society was shoving down my throat, it was something I -had- to do in order to be considered a woman.
I stopped shaving, everything, shortly after that and I have never looked back. Oh, wait. I will admit that I shaved a bit in my early years of college because I was trying so hard to be feminine, like my mom and friends wanted. But it was not genuine and didn’t feel right, so I stopped and never looked back, re: trying to look feminine, ever again!
Thanks for sharing your story with me. 🙂
I suppose I’m a slave to the patriarchy or something for believing in what scientific studies have found out about gender? Or that I’m deluded for thinking that men and women’s rights are equally important? That seems to be the picture you painted in your post anyway.
Wow, did you fail big time in trying to convince -anyone- that transgenderism is backed by science! Just because the title has “science” in it, that does not mean that an article in the life section of a rag mag has any actual science in it! Yes, you -are- a slave to the patriarchy! You -are- deluded! Deluded in believing that the above article had -anything- to do with science. Deluded in thinking that biology is a patriarchal construct and is not real. Deluded in thinking that science actually backs transgenderism, which -is- a patriarchal construct with no actual science or biology behind it. Deluded in thinking men can become women and women can become men. Finally, you are deluded in thinking you are a feminist when you are not; you put men first in everything you do and that makes you an MRA. Women’s rights and protections mean nothing to people like you. When men become the top priority in your “feminism,” you have completely left actual feminism behind!
I love when the ignorant try to “educate” me in my own blog. It’s so precious!
It’s really not that complicated. Even if a large enough study found demonstrable differences in the brains of people who don’t identify with the gender roles assigned to their sex, that doesn’t mean they are really the opposite sex. It would just mean that people with certain mappable brain stuff are less likely to be gender conforming. When you consider the huge role gender scripting plays in our lives, it would not be surprising to find actual brain differences in those who resist, though it would not be clear whether they were developmental or pre-existing. But in any case, when you go into neuroscience looking for specific results, your work will suffer from confirmation bias. This sort of work is no more valid than phrenology was, the agenda is clear, and that is to try to come up with some kind of scientific basis to support the enforcement of gender roles. Why don’t these scientists study correlations between brain mapping and non-gendered predilections? Because if they found them, it would indicate that all this data is either completely unrelated to sex, or is just statistical noise.
“This sort of work is no more valid than phrenology was, the agenda is clear, and that is to try to come up with some kind of scientific basis to support the enforcement of gender roles.”
Very nice point, sister.
[…] people don’t usually talk about being « born » into a gender; the terms assigned or determined sex are more commonly used. To be generous, in the context of the quote it’s easy to imagine […]
[…] Continue reading… […]
Thank you! “Assigned a sex” is the most ridiculous saying. It completely defies logic. Your sex isn’t assigned. You are a personality in a sexed body. Be as feminine or masculine as your want. If you want to talk about stereotypes and expectations because of your sex..that is different.