Well, this article is just the perfect train wreck full of opportunities for patriarchy-blaming.
As a side note, can I still use the phrase patriarchy-blaming? This is a phrase I learned from my radical feminist sensei (“femsei”?) Twisty Faster, who used to blog at I Blame the Patriarchy back in the day, and who taught me the joyful art of radical feminist blogging. For any of you newbies who weren’t a part of the radical feminist blogosphere five to ten years ago, patriarchy-blaming basically means radical feminist theorizing.
Without further ado, here’s our article:
From the New York Post : Woman Born Without Vagina Raising Money So She Can Have Sex
“The family of a woman born without a vagina has launched a crowdfunding campaign for surgery that would allow her to experience intimacy and live a more normal life.
Her boyfriend of four months, Robbie Limmer, says he doesn’t care about the lack of sex in their relationship.
Moats needs $15,000 for the surgery and the crowdfunding page set up by her sister, Amanda, has already raised $5,720 in two months.
“He doesn’t really focus on the sexual side of our relationship because we can’t do anything since I don’t have a vaginal opening,” she said. “But I am looking forward to having a sexual relationship. I’m not sure if I want to wait until marriage, but I think having that option there is a lot more comforting.
“I’m a bit nervous to have sex for the first time after surgery because I’m not sure if something is going to go wrong down there or if it’s going to hurt,” she said.
Moats says her vagina looks exactly how it should — except that instead of a vaginal opening, there’s a little dimpled skin where the hole should be.
In the video that accompanies the article, she says
“It makes me feel less of a woman because I can’t do what women are supposed to do. They’re supposed to be able to carry children and create a family and have an intimate relationship and I can’t provide that.”
She also says in the video
“It’s very hurtful, the fact that I have to pay $15,000 for the surgery right out of college when I already owe a bunch of student loans. It’s very hard on our family, and hard on me.”
Her mom says:
“They [Insurance companies] won’t cover something like this which is so necessary for a relationship.”
Kaylee Moats has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, which means that although she is a genetic female with most of the typical female anatomy, she is missing a uterus, cervix, and vagina.
While we’re on the subject of atypical sex characteristics—yes, they do happen. On rare occasions, some people are born with atypical sex organs. There is no need to deny this but there is also no need to reinterpret this fact in nonsensical ways. Just because a genetic female can be born without a uterus in rare cases, doesn’t mean that fully intact males with typical male bodies can just declare themselves to be “women” because they feel like it. That doesn’t make any goddamned sense.
Anyway, moving right along…
She believes she literally cannot have an intimate relationship without a vagina. The phrase “surgery that would allow her to experience intimacy” is shocking. Since when do you have to have a specific bodily configuration in order to experience intimacy? First of all, intimacy is about more than just sex. She is already capable of having a close personal relationship with another person, of sharing inside jokes, secrets, and private moments together, of knowing another person and allowing herself to be known on a deep level. Secondly, sex is about more than just her partner putting his penis in her vagina. She is already capable of a wide range of fulfilling sexual activity, even without a vagina. This idea that she needs surgery in order to experience intimacy is insane.
The way she defines sex is exactly how patriarchy defines it. She says, “We can’t do anything since I don’t have a vaginal opening.” For fucking serious? You can’t do ANYTHING? You can’t kiss, cuddle, fondle each other, touch either other, or have oral sex? Really? You can’t do any of that? Bullshit. She can already do almost everything there is to do. There’s only one option that’s off the table.
It’s normal, by the way, for one option to be off the table. Lots of people have limits on what they like to do or what they are capable of doing in bed, and that’s not a problem: you do what you like and what you are capable of, considering your limitations, and you enjoy those possibilities. There is no need to try and force yourself to do something that is beyond your interest or ability. What you can already do is fine.
In a patriarchy, where everything is defined in terms of men, and when women are simply objects owned by men, sex is defined as “when a man puts his penis in a thing.” I have a whole blog post on this subject if you’re interested, but basically, sex is defined as something a man does to an object, and the object can be absolutely anything, but men particularly like if their object is a woman because they like the power they have over women, and objectifying women through the sex act gives them the thrill of power and conquest along with their orgasm. Of course, this also comes with the delightful side effect of reminding women of their subordinate status, which men find important too.
When this woman says she “can’t do anything” sexually unless she gets a surgically created hole made where her vagina would normally be, it’s obvious how she is defining sex. She’s not defining it from her own perspective. She’s not defining sex as when she gets things that make her feel good and when she reaches orgasm. Nope, she’s defining sex as when her male partner puts his penis in a thing—that thing being her.
In a study available on Pub Med, it’s reported that women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome have normal sexual function, engage in masturbation as frequently as other women, and experience arousal and orgasm as frequently as other women. The only difference is that women with MRKHS experience orgasm only through petting and oral sex, not by penetration.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It’s okay to just have manual and oral sex. This is not a problem and it doesn’t need to be fixed. Penetration is not necessary to have a fulfilling sex life. Now, just because I say this, doesn’t mean I’m anti-penetration. Some women really like it, which is totally fine. There is a good reason why women would like vaginal penetration, and that’s because our organ of pleasure, the clitoris, wraps around the vagina. However, if a woman born without this setup gets a surgically created hole, it’s not going to come with this option. She’s not going to get the pleasure that comes with a naturally-occurring vagina, she’s just going to get a pocket for her boyfriend to put his penis in. Getting this surgery does absolutely nothing for her pleasure.
Consider this woman’s options. She can keep her body intact and enjoy the normal sexual function of her external genitals. Or she can have surgery to create a hole for her boyfriend to put his penis in. Any surgery comes with a risk of pain or numbness in the surrounding tissue. Surgery on the genitals can cause you to lose your sexual function. She already has sexual function, but she’s raising $15,000 so that she can have a surgery that will risk taking away the sexual function that she already has.
Moats is male-identified, in the feminist sense of that term. I do not mean “identifies as a male” in terms of transgenderism. I mean that she sees things from a male perspective instead of from her own perspective.
I see things from a woman’s perspective, so I am horrified that she thinks there is anything wrong with her healthy body (she is atypical, but she is not ill!) and that she considers her boyfriend’s ability to fuck her to be more important than her sexual pleasure.
Her boyfriend generously says that he loves her as a person despite her not having a vagina and uterus, which, to be honest, is the bare minimum I would expect from any decent human being, but that still doesn’t stop him from funding her surgery with part of his paycheck.
If my partner didn’t have a vagina, and came to me saying she wanted to spend large amounts of our hard-earned money to get a surgical wound for me to stick things in, I would absolutely not contribute to that. I would tell her that I love her body the way she was born, and that I want her to skip the surgery so she can fully enjoy the body she has. I would tell her that I have no interest in putting things inside a surgical wound, and I would prefer to pleasure her and bring her to orgasm in exactly the ways that she’s already capable.
I think that men are completely capable of feeling the same way. They don’t feel this way, but they can. If they unlearn the ideology of male dominance, they can realize that a fulfilling sexual relationship is not when one person uses the other person as an object, it’s when two people who love each other both enjoy each other’s bodies as is and give each other pleasure in ways that work for them.
Because of the political climate we’re in, I have to add a disclaimer here. Just because it’s normal to be accepting of people with intersex conditions and atypical bodies, doesn’t mean that anyone should be bullied, guilt-tripped, or tricked into having a sexual relationship with a person who doesn’t fit their sexual orientation. Both lesbians and straight men can reasonably be expected to be attracted to women who are genetically female and missing a uterus, but that doesn’t mean we are interested in fully intact males.
Sadly, Moats fully buys into her own oppression. She thinks that she is less of a woman because she cannot provide a vagina for a man to fuck, nor can she provide children for him. This reveals her attitude that a woman’s purpose is to provide a man with a vagina to fuck and to provide a womb to create children. By this definition of womanhood, lesbians and spinsters (and even the average infertile straight woman!) is not a woman.
This is what “defining women by their biology” actually looks like. It means acting as though women are nothing other than vaginas and uteruses for men to use for sex and reproduction. We couldn’t have any other purpose, like, to have careers, to influence people, to fulfill our own dreams, or to do good things in the world. All those activities are for actual people, you know—men.
In the opening of the New York Post article, it says that her surgery would allow her to live a normal life. Does that mean her life is not normal now? A woman’s normal life under patriarchy is being a sex toy and baby incubator for a man. The feminist movement is working to change that. After we overthrow patriarchy, women will define ourselves on our own terms, look at the world through our own eyes, put our needs first in our decision-making, and do what we want to do in life, regardless of what men may think about it.
In case anyone is going to come along with the usual argument against anything feminists say, “Why can’t she do whatever she wants with her Free Choice and Agency™ and why are you judging her decisions and policing what women do with their bodies that’s not feminism!” let me just answer that right up front.
I am not saying that she should not be allowed to have the surgery. I’m saying that patriarchy creates the conditions in which women decide that being a fuck-hole is more important than being a person, and I’m saying that being a fuck-hole doesn’t benefit us, even though it might occasionally come with superficial, short-term benefits such as attention and praise. What is actually fulfilling, in the long term, is full personhood. Feminist activism should not seek to control women’s choices, it should seek to change the conditions that limit women’s role in society and give us the ability to make more fulfilling choices.
The choice that Moats deserves to be able to make is the choice to value her intact body and sexual function and view herself as a sexual agent in her own right, not as a receptacle for someone else’s use. It’s male supremacist ideology that convinces her not to make that choice. This harmful ideology has got to go.