TW: Discussion of, but definitely not support of, JK and transpohobia, and police brutality
This week, I have been accused of being a racist, misogynistic part of the problem. Well, that’s actually the nicer way of putting it. I am a monster, a sociopath, a list of hundreds of others things (an American from California, which is apparently a legendary thing to insult someone with) and you know, it’s starting to take a toll. My mentions are a mess. You see, I saw someone I believed was a random person asking why they couldn’t talk about female genital mutilation without being transphobic, and I thought it was a good-faith question about how to balance the two causes; protecting young people, mostly girls, from genital mutilation, a practice rooted in misogyny and deeply held hatred of women that is very very bad, and becoming a better trans ally, which is very very good and apparently somehow still needed in the year of our lord 2020.
Well, it turns out the person I replied to was a famous (english?) female genital mutilation activist, and me saying basically ‘perhaps you’re phrasing it wrong and just need to change the phrasing’ has led to me being called out by glinner and apparently being the absolute worst most inhumane heartless “doing it for the men” I could possible be. And while I am happy that there is such a large community of people ready and willing to fight for ending genital mutilation, I’m also slightly skeptical, because many of them seemed more about yelling transphobic things than idk, activism. That was either friday or saturday night and dear readers, they are still at it. I stepped on a terf nest, plain and simple, and am running around social media like my animal crossing character who forgot to make a new net.
But something good has come out of this. Nothing I did, mind you, but something. Several very influential actors have spoken up against the horrible, scientifically incorrect, and frankly slightly manipulative things that one lady said this weekend. There has been an outpouring of love and support for our siblings of all gender identities, as well as fantastic resources to prove how much science, wisdom, and common sense is actually on our side. Donations are way up, and blm activists have been able to not let the energy from the movement dissipate while we all went “what the actual fuck”. It has been frankly encouraging to see how so many women are determined to be part of the solution and uplift and support their sisters, who have been bold in calling out those who are wrong and ignorant and cruel. So, to add my voice to theirs I want to say, “we are all women, and your experiences do not negate or weaken mine. There is no one way to be a woman, no one cookie cutter mold we are all supposed to fit in exactly, and the beauty and terrible icing job of my cookie is not canceled out by the perfect edges and fondant of yours.” I may be hungry, idk.
So I wanted today’s thread for three reasons. One, let’s use this space for some complimenting, uplifting, and supporting of our fellow women+ and human beings. Let’s be joyful and loving and all the things those who are aware they are losing cannot be. Two, Harry Potter influenced a lot of people my age in their activism and senses of justice and equality. It was a tremendous start to my own journey of feminism, but also writing. Links to other series that are just as good by less horrible people, essays about the themes of Harry Potter that cannot be invalidated by the author. Our own stories about times pop culture people let us down and raised us up, how our forms of art are changing to be more inclusive and stand up for beliefs. But three, and selfishly, I feel like a failure of a woman. I know, logically, that terfs are not good people and they are not morally correct. But being told repeatedly I am misogynistic and a terrible person is making me question what i could have done better, and a reminder of how complex (not the being transphobic part, that’s just wrong) these current times are. the BLM movement needs our support. It needs our voices, our time, our services, and our donations. But it has intersected with trans rights, as the names of transmen and transwomen are added to the moments of silence for victims of police brutality and white supremacy that have not yet found justice. It has intersected with feminism, as Breonna’s murderers have still not been arrested or charged. It has been intersected with JK Rowling choosing now to try to change the topic, to look away from an issue she does not understand and does not have all that great a track record on. And near the end, when she gets ableist, you can also look at all the cases that have made the news of police victims who were deaf and could not hear shouted instructions, who were having meltdowns and were shot for ‘resisting’, who were unable to follow directions from officers due to being nonverbal and cognitively impaired. I am sorry that the lady in the fancy castle feels her life is hard, and that it is the worst time to be a woman. But I am more sorry we share the same hair and skin colors, and that if she sees me on the street she will assume I am her ally because I have not been loud and vocal enough in informing those like her I am not. I am sorry if I caused harm to the trans movement by speaking up, that I did not have enough clever words or arguments to change their minds. I am sorry for how daunting and hopeless it must feel, as I struggle to bear 1/10th, if not less, of the pain and trauma my friends go through every day. I am sorry I don’t know what to do more, or better, to help.
Some guidelines to help this space be a positive experience for everyone:
As always with the Avocado, don’t feel compelled to share beyond your comfort level.
Anyone who identifies as female, or who was socialized female/AFAB/otherwise has firsthand experience with the issues being discussed, is welcome to post. If you identify as cis-male, we ask that you please set your participation to “lurk” mode, unless otherwise explicitly invited to participate further (i.e. if we did an AMA kind of thread). I’m sure there’s plenty to be gleaned just by reading! (New Guideline, please take note) This includes upvotes, we ask cis-men to keep their upvotes to commenters who voluntarily add “+up” to their comments and only those comments.
Please do your best to be mindful of others’ experiences when commenting or posing questions for the group. The female identity is Legion and contains multitudes, and not everyone who has experience with being treated as female by society identifies as female. Furthermore, racial and ethnic identities, sexual orientation, and many other factors can color how one experiences their gender identity on a day-to-day basis.