Non binary identity aka not fitting in with the popular clique

Here is a young woman who made a video called “How I knew I was non binary.”

Since this is the title of the video, I think it’s reasonable to assume that the things she talks about in her video are the reasons why she knew she was non binary. This is what she talks about in her video:

  • In fifth grade, a girl called her legs “gross” because she hadn’t shaved them, and she didn’t understand why her legs were gross. She hadn’t even reached puberty yet.
  • In middle school there was strong policing of gender by her peers and she felt depressed. She knew it was ridiculous to try and fit in by being as girly as she could, however, this is what she did.
  • A girl she knew put on lip gloss to kiss a boy she had a crush on but she didn’t like wearing that kind of lip gloss. (However in the video she has lipstick on, so….?)
  • She got up early in the morning to style her hair and do her makeup because she felt she had to do this to fit in. She considers compliments about her hair to be signs of “fitting in.” However, she didn’t feel like herself while doing this.
  • One day, she cut her hair short and wore androgynous clothes, and her mother expressed her disapproval because people might think she’s a boy. She thought it was okay if people thought she was a boy.
  • She remembers being happier and more extroverted when she was young enough that people hadn’t started policing her appearance.
  • In senior high school, she wanted to throw out all her girls’ clothes and buy all boys’ clothes, but she was dating a jerk boyfriend and wanted his approval, so she “pretended to be a girl.”
  • She felt validated while reading Tumblr posts about non binary.

Wow! Based on this information, being non binary means being a whole, unique person with a distinct personality who doesn’t meet the shallow, limiting criteria for behavior set by middle school kids. According to this explanation, I’m non binary and so are every person I’ve ever gotten along with, because we’ve also never met the dumb expectations of the popular clique. But I don’t call myself non binary, because I don’t think that’s a useful way to describe what’s happening here.

Non binary identity is an attempt to identify outside of your actual sex in order to avoid having sex-related stereotypes placed on you by other people. It’s not just a synonym for androgynous, which would make some sense, but instead it’s supposed to imply that the sex of your body doesn’t exist and you are neither male nor female (despite not actually having an intersex condition.) Actually, if non binary was a synonym for intersex, that would probably make more sense—if you didn’t have the usual sex characteristics that males and females come with 99% of the time, then “non binary” could describe that. But non binary is not about physical sex characteristics, it’s about the social gender role.

In this video, the young woman talks mostly about having her appearance policed by other people, (her peers and her mother,) and them wanting her to meet their current definition of how girls and women should look. This is a totally normal experience that girls go through as they’re growing up. Depending on how much sexism there is among the people they grow up around, girl children are taught to varying degrees that girls have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable. If a girl is lucky, and her family and peers are not sexist, then she’ll be allowed to be herself. But if her family and peers are sexist, as many people are, then they’ll teach her that she absolutely must look feminine or else she’s a failure as a human being. That’s what happened with the woman in this video. Her peers were very sexist, and it sounds like her mother was too, and that led to her feeling like she needed to style her hair and wear makeup in order to be acceptable, even though she didn’t feel like herself when engaging in these behaviours.

There are lots of reasons why kids and teens are sexist. They learn it from their families, their religions and the media, and a few developmental characteristics makes them very keen on enforcing the rules they’ve learned. Kids and teens are unsure of themselves and very concerned about fitting in. Since they are immature they haven’t developed the ability to find their self-worth from within, and they try to find it through superficial signs of acceptance from their peers. They don’t have well developed social skills and so they engage in bullying and other anti-social behaviours. Boys learn that they have to behave in domineering and aggressive ways in order to be acceptable as boys, and they enforce this on each other. Girls learn that they have to be pretty and pleasing to boys, and they enforce this on other girls. These sexist attitudes come directly from patriarchy, which all children are socialized into.

Lesbian and bisexual women are very likely not to fit the feminine gender role, since it’s entirely based on heterosexuality. However, there are also straight women who don’t fit into femininity. There are plenty of straight women who don’t feel comfortable being limited in life to wife and mother and having her whole existence center around pleasing her man. The reason why there has been a feminist movement going on for decades now is because large numbers of women don’t identify with the sexist expectations placed on us and the limited role reserved for us in patriarchy.

This particular “non binary” woman is attracted to men and eager for their approval, and she is struggling to find a balance between pleasing men and staying true to herself. Surely this is a common experience among all women who are attracted to men, especially when they are in high school.

When I see young women who are going through the normal experience of having their appearance policed by high school peers and believing this makes them literally not female, I realize that navigating a sexist, heteronormative high school social environment is just as difficult as ever and yet we are farther away from helping girls navigate it than we used to be. All these same things happened to me when I was in school. The girls around me had arbitrary, silly, nonsensical, strongly-held beliefs that I was supposed to wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, and say certain things, and if I messed up it was their job to punish me for my transgression. It was terrifying and confusing for me because no one ever explained to me ahead of time what the rules were, and I never knew I was breaking one until the punishment came. Completely random things, like a zipper being in the wrong spot on a pair of pants, or a jacket being “too shiny,” were cause for belittling people.

When I was in high school there was a different word for those of us who didn’t understand the social rules and couldn’t follow them. We called ourselves “outsiders.” We may have gotten this word from the excellent young adult book The Outsiders, actually. Whatever vocabulary young people are given to explain their experiences is the vocabulary they will use. In the 1990s, nobody was telling us that if we didn’t fit in with the popular clique then our biological sex didn’t exist and we had to take on a “gender identity.” The experience of not fitting it hasn’t changed a bit, but the way we conceive of our differences has changed into something totally nonsensical.

There are a few things that I would tell my younger self, to help her navigate the strange and scary world of middle and high school, based on my adult knowledge of the world. The first thing I’d tell her is that social skills aren’t what she thinks they are. I used to think that social skills meant being “cool” and popular, and knowing how to do and say the right things to not get made fun of. Now that I’m an adult, I know that I had good social skills all along, but my peers did not. I knew how to treat people with respect, honour differences, appreciate a person for her personality rather than her appearance, and be kind to my friends. The kids at my school who were bullies were the ones with poor social skills. They didn’t know how to get along with other people, they were shallow and superficial and mean. They needed to be taught better how to interact with their peers.

The second thing I’d tell my younger self is that it was good that I didn’t meet the dumb criteria set by the girls at school. It was good that I wasn’t so shallow that I thought clothing had to only be the latest styles by designer brands, and it was good that I didn’t make rude, snappy comebacks and put people down, because that doesn’t make you cool, it makes you an asshole, and it was good that I had interests in arts and culture and the humanities, even though this made me “nerdy” when I was young. All the things about me that the bullies didn’t like were the things that would make me the person I am, make me proud of myself as an adult, and save my life over and over. My interest in the arts has always been the thing that keeps me from being suicidal. It’s been the main thing that makes sense to me in life and the thing that makes me feel the joy of human existence. It was good that nobody managed to bully that wonderful blessing out of me.

I would then explain to my younger self that superficial approval from my peers in the form of them liking my clothes or hair didn’t actually consist of a meaningful friendship. Further, the people who are really shallow and superficial were not even capable of meaningful friendship. The deep friendships I had with a small number of other nerdy girls were worth thousands of times more than the superficial approval from shallow assholes that I kept craving.

I would also explain to my younger self that the reason I didn’t think I needed an expensive salon haircut and a push-up bra starting at age 13 is because I was a feminist who resisted being a sex object for men and who saw herself as a fully human person. This was a positive thing about me. One of the reasons I found a lot of my female peers’ behavior baffling is because I was a lesbian and I didn’t think the same way they did. I didn’t have this sophisticated understanding back then, but I had an instinct that being overly sexualized and dressed up was not for me, and didn’t make much sense for anybody. Those girls who were 13-going-on-20 were groomed by a sexist culture and they were entering dangerous territory. Some of them were hurt while trying to please boys in these shallow ways.

High school girls who don’t fit in with the popular clique don’t need a gender identity label, they need to be taught how to navigate bullying and sexism. They need to understand that this sort of bullying has been happening for a long time, at least several decades, and maybe since time immemorial, and their mothers dealt with it too. They need to understand what positive values and good social skills are and identify bullies and sexism as the problems. They need to understand that their natural personalities are not a problem and don’t cancel out their womanhood in any way, because women do in fact have a variety of personalities. Girls and women who resist sexist expectations are normal girls and women, and if they need to be given any sort of label, a really useful label would be feminist. Girls who take on a gender identity label are not exempt from sexist expectations, because they are still female and sexist expectations are enforced based on sex, not internally-felt identities.

The main thing the feminist movement has taught me is that trying to identify your way out of oppression by claiming to be “not like the other girls” doesn’t work as a strategy. The strategy that will work to end sexism and female oppression is the strategy of making structural changes to society so that women are freed from being sex objects for men. As long as women are oppressed based on our sex, we will be targeted for misogyny, regardless of how we feel we identify. The more steps we make toward the goal of ending patriarchy, the fewer girls there will be who feel extreme discomfort when they’re expected to meet the demands of femininity, which is literally the social role created to keep us subordinate to men.

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Women: better flush twice, your toilet might be monitored

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this article from the small town of Cahokia in Illinois, U.S.A. A janitor found a discarded menstruation product in a toilet and thought it might be a fetus, so the police and the coroner were called to inspect the mysterious item.

From the site kmov.com:

Sheriff: Item found in Cahokia school bathroom was feminine hygiene product, not fetus

The item a custodian found in a Cahokia middle school bathroom has been identified as feminine hygiene products, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to the Wirth/Parks Middle School after the custodian found what he believed to be a fetus in the girls bathroom Wednesday night.

After the discovery was made, a hearse was brought out to the school to take what was found to the coroner’s office so authorities could figure out what it was.

Thursday morning, the sheriff’s office said the item was not a fetus but feminine hygiene products.

No other information has been released.

Un-fucking-believable! Men are so paranoid that women might discard undeveloped fetal tissue instead of incubating it that they pull tampons out of toilets and have them inspected by the authorities. They are so ignorant about how female bodies work that they can’t even identify a tampon while looking at it. It’s not anyone’s damn business what women flush down toilets after it’s discarded by our bodies. And this was a middle school! Like, you can be just 12 years old and getting your first period and the local male establishment is already inspecting your bodily secretions to try to identify any signs of wrongdoing so they can persecute you.

Imagine how paranoid and fucking hysterical you have to be to call a hearse just because you found a bloody tampon. For gawd sake, boys, stay in your lane.

I hope the girls at this school all grow up to be radical feminists. Let’s BURN THIS SHIT DOWN!

Changing definitions

If you are reading this blog, then you likely know that there is a push to change the definition of the word ‘woman.’ This word has always been what we call female humans, much in the same way that we call a female horse a ‘mare’ and a female deer a ‘doe.’ We give specific names to the male and female members of species because sex differences are significant in animals that reproduce sexually.

Male humans who feel they identify as female humans want the definition of the word that designates female humans changed to include them. This would cause the word ‘woman’ to be synonymous with ‘human.’ In the transgenderist belief system, a woman is anyone who identifies as a woman. (This is a circular definition, and doesn’t name what a woman is at all.) Since identification with the social category of ‘woman’ is something any human can claim, regardless of their personal characteristics, there is nothing to distinguish the category of ‘woman’ from any other category. A fully-intact male with a beard and mustache who behaves with typical masculine socialization can call himself a ‘woman’ as long as ‘woman’ is a broad social category that includes anyone who makes a self-declaration.

Feminists disagree with changing the definition of ‘woman’ to accommodate human males for two reasons. As I have shown above, it makes the word ‘woman’ meaningless. In addition, violent males can legally declare themselves ‘women’ under this system, and that means they can gain access to sex-segregated spaces designed to protect females from dangerous men such as them. Those same dangerous males would also be counted as females in crime statistics, making it impossible to tell who is actually committing crimes.

One of the tactics that trans activists use to attempt to dismiss feminists’ valid concerns is to compare our not wanting to change the definition of ‘woman’ to conservatives not wanting to change the definition of ‘marriage.’ These are quite different situations. Trans activists want to present feminists as unreasonably rigid, old-fashioned, and prejudiced because we don’t want to update definitions. This is not the case.

I’d be completely willing to change the definition of ‘woman’ if it made any sense to do so. However, after giving it a lot of thought, and realizing that there is no other coherent definition of woman other than ‘adult human female,’ and considering the real-world impact on women of allowing human males to call themselves by our name, I cannot support this change.

The reason we have words is to communicate. If a word communicates absolutely nothing, then it’s useless as a word. I could go around calling myself a Ghrymk, but unless I define the characteristics of a Ghrymk, you will not understand what I mean. Having a word with no meaning is already absurd, and taking a word that has had a universally-understood meaning for hundreds of years and suddenly making it devoid of meaning is doubly absurd.

The change in the definition of marriage is quite another story. Marriage is a social institution whereby two people declare a commitment to each other and are legally considered a bonded pair. Changing the conception of marriage from between heterosexuals only to between people of any orientation doesn’t significantly alter what marriage is. It’s still a legal union between two romantic partners. It’s still a coherent concept, and in fact when same-sex partners enter into marriage their union is almost identical to the union of opposite-sex couples. The only difference is that the same-sex couple cannot produce children through sexual intercourse. Everything else is the same about the relationship—living together, being in love, cooking meals together, celebrating anniversaries, supporting each other through illnesses and hard times, spending quality time together and having sex. The opposition to this very slight change in the meaning of the word marriage has not made much sense. People argue that a union between same-sex persons is not a marriage because it doesn’t produce children, but there has been no movement to stop infertile or voluntarily childless couples from being considered legally married. People also argue that their belief in a non-existent mythological character means that homosexual persons should not have civil rights. However, this fails as an argument because people’s imaginary beliefs cannot dictate the law.

Since the definition of marriage remains coherent, and in fact not very different from before, and since opposition to the change has been nonsensical, this is a completely opposite situation from the change to the word ‘woman.’

I’d like to see anyone define a social category of person called ‘woman’ that includes both human males and human females. It would be gloriously entertaining to watch the attempt. What characteristics are shared universally among both human females and human males who wish they were female, I’d like to know? It isn’t biology, we know that. It isn’t thoughts or feelings because women have all sorts of different thoughts and feelings. It isn’t behavior because women engage in all sorts of different behaviours. What is it? If the definition of ‘woman’ is to ever change, then someone is going to have to name the characteristic that is universal to all ‘self-declared women,’ and I predict this will be impossible. And no, it can’t be that the person ‘identifies as a woman,’ because that phrase gives no indication as to what people are identifying as. They might as well identify as a Ghrymk.

Ironically, if trans activists do bully linguists into defining ‘woman’ in a way that includes males, that will likely result in another large wave of Peak Trans. That’s also a show I want to watch. I’ll be making a big bowl of popcorn for that one!

Dump your porn-watching husband and fire your male supremacist sex therapist

One of the things we do on radical feminist blogs is discuss the horrible advice given to us by the professionals who are supposed to help us but don’t, and provide a more woman-centered approach. This validates women’s feelings after they’ve been dismissed, ridiculed and gas-lighted by men, it makes us feel less alone, and it gives us the strength to face what we have to do.

Here is an article by a male sex therapist who excuses men’s use of porn as no big deal and his private business, and dismisses women’s objections to it. Now, I’m not an authority on heterosexual relationships, but I am a fully certified Radical Feminist Killjoy with a black belt in taking down patriarchal bullshit, and I think you’ll be quite pleased with my advice.

Husbands Watch Porn, Wives Despair—But Why?, asks sex therapist and professional male supremacist Marty Klein.

Klein opens his article by responding to a standard set of questions that wives ask him when they catch their husbands watching porn, and then explains some things, from a male perspective, about why wives should just disregard their feelings and let their husbands continue their objectionable habit.

Klein believes that porn is an innocent pastime, just entertainment the way romance novels and pictures of cats are entertainment, and that there is nothing for wives to be concerned about. He doesn’t even dimly grasp that porn is violence against women. He isn’t aware that porn represents a male-centered view of sex that is all about men’s use of women as sex objects, that there is verbal and physical abuse of women by men in a large percentage of porn scenes, that porn specifically celebrates male dominance and female submission, that plenty of porn is non-consensual, that many porn scenes specifically celebrate the non-consensual nature of the act, that porn actresses are physically harmed in a lot of scenes because of the brutal treatment, and a large portion of it depicts literal torture and rape of women. For a more thorough analysis than I’ve included here of what is wrong with porn, please read Pornland by Gail Dines and Pornography: Men Possessing Women by Andrea Dworkin (available in PDF). For a quicker read, my anti-porn trio of blog posts can be found here, here and here.

Since Klein hasn’t bothered to notice the really obvious misogyny inherent in the porn industry, the advice he gives to his sample letter-writer is completely ignorant and unhelpful. (Well, it does help the porn-watching husband.)

Klein reports that the wives who write to him asking for advice usually ask the following questions:

  • Why do men watch porn?
  • Why do men promise to stop watching, and then keep watching?
  • Why don’t men understand how their porn-watching breaks women’s hearts?
  • How can I make love with a man who watches porn?
  • How can I trust a man who watches porn?
  • Aren’t there any men who don’t hate women?

Klein gives the following answers:

  • Men watch porn because it’s entertaining to watch naked women (&/or men) while they masturbate. It generally has nothing to do with how they feel about women (or men).
  • Men don’t watch porn because their partners are inadequate.
  • Some men are jerks. Some of them watch porn, others don’t. Most men aren’t jerks. Some of them watch porn, others don’t. Porn-watching doesn’t predict jerk-itude.
  • Men promise to not watch porn because they don’t want to deal with their partner’s pain or anger. It’s an inappropriate promise to ask for, and it’s a foolish promise to make.
  • Men shouldn’t break their promises.
  • Women shouldn’t go hunting for evidence of men’s private behavior.
  • Almost all conflict about porn is actually about something else. If your partner never watched porn, would you two have an ideal relationship? If so (which I doubt), let go of the porn issue and enjoy paradise. If not, talk about the stuff you really need to talk about. If he refuses, let him know that’s a deal-breaker for you.

I’ve got some way more realistic explanations for these important questions.

Why do men watch porn?

There are many factors that lead to men watching porn, and they’re all about equally important. The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that targets boys right from the time they are children. Even before the Internet, boys were familiar with porn in the form of their dad’s “dirty magazines” and videos only semi-hidden in the house, and late-night movies on cable TV, and advertising and magazines and calendars using women’s bodies as props and sex objects. Now that the average kid has a smart phone with Internet access, free high-resolution porn is only a click away.

Men are taught that they are entitled to women’s bodies. They are taught this through all the media they consume and through male-created culture, from locker room talk to social institions such as religion. Men are taught that they deserve beautiful women and that they have a right to expect women to cater to them sexually. Due to an almost complete lack of convictions for rape, and the popular promotion of rape culture, men are taught that they are allowed to “take” women whenever they want, no matter what—women’s willingness is irrelevant. This is something that men relish.

Rape in marriage has only been illegal, in some places, for a relatively short time in history, and is still legal in other places. It is legally and culturally acceptable for men to treat wives as sexual slaves, in many parts of the world, including in parts of North America. The prevalence of prostitution demonstrates that men will treat other woman as sexual merchandise, too—it’s not just wives that are abused.

Since men are taught that women are commodities and sexual playthings for them to use, and since they develop the habit of thinking of women this way right from childhood, it’s not surprising that they watch porn and think it’s normal. It’s heartbreaking, but not surprising. Men can’t understand why women object, because they don’t understand that it’s wrong to treat female people like things. Some of them don’t think we are people at all, and others know we’re people but get off on dehumanizing us.

Although men can certainly masturbate without looking at photos or videos of women being sexually used, they enjoy the exhilaration they get from viewing the sexual use of women and the reminder that women exist for their pleasure. It’s a high that comes from both sexual pleasure and the reinforcement of their dominant position in the sex hierarchy—an irresistible combination for them.

Why do men promise to stop watching, and then keep watching?

Men promise their wives they will stop watching porn, even though they have no intention to stop, because they don’t care about their wives’ feelings, they aren’t willing to examine the problems with their behavior, and their only interest is in getting their wives to stop complaining as soon as possible. They will say anything their wives want to hear so that they don’t have to talk about it anymore. They are interested in nothing but their own comfort.

Why don’t men understand how their porn-watching breaks women’s hearts?

Men are so conditioned to believe that women are things for them to use that they can’t even see that this is happening or that it’s not okay. They believe it’s natural for women to fulfill men’s sexual desires whenever and however men want, and they think that this is what women are for and that women agree with this treatment. They are taught this belief largely by porn itself, and the rest of the culture contributes too. Men are not willing to listen to women and understand how we actually feel. They cannot empathize with us and they’re not willing to try.

How can I make love with a man who watches porn?

It’s not enjoyable to make love to a man who watches porn. You can tell that he’s been watching porn by his attitude toward sex. I’ve heard several straight women now tell me that they can always tell if a man is a porn user by the way he treats her in bed, and I’m not surprised. Porn teaches men that what women really want is to be dominated and treated in a rough and callous manner. If a man thinks of women this way, he won’t be a good lover.

How can I trust a man who watches porn?

You most likely can’t trust him. He doesn’t respect women, and you’re a woman, so he doesn’t respect you. It’s difficult to face this, but it’s true.

Aren’t there any men who don’t hate women?

There are very few men who don’t hate women. In order to change this, please join radical feminism and help us create a culture where the sexes are equal and men are not allowed to abuse women. By fighting back against male supremacist institutions like the porn industry and prostitution, we tell men that they are not allowed to abuse us and they have to treat us like the human beings that we are. Men aren’t born hating women, this hatred is learned, and we need to teach a different lesson.

Our sex therapist explains:

“Some women seem to feel that there’s an implicit contract that their partner won’t watch porn, even though he never suggested such a thing. Therefore, they feel betrayed when he “breaks” the “contract.” That’s a mistake. You can dislike his porn-watching without deciding it’s a betrayal.”

Dear women, it’s not a mistake to assume your husband won’t watch porn, and to expect him not to. You have many legitimate reasons to expect that he won’t. For example, on your wedding day, he stood up in front of his and your family and friends and your religious leader and he promised to be faithful to you forever. Deliberately seeking out other women’s vaginas to get off on is not a part of being faithful, and he is breaking that promise. He also promised to love you. If his behavior indicates that he hates women, then that extends to you too. If he’s watching videos online of men shoving their penises down women’s throats until they gag, vomit and cry, or if he’s watching videos where “Dad” molests the babysitter, or videos where several men gang-rape a college student who was looking for her next class, then you are right to suspect that he hates women. It’s horrifying to realize that the man you thought was in love with you actually doesn’t think that women are fully human. Women who realize this will often use strategies to pretend it’s not true, such is convincing themselves that those women in the videos really “wanted” the abuse, or that the small amount of money they may have been given as compensation makes the abuse not hurt them, or that abuse is something sexy and fun, or any number of other excuses. Or they may not make excuses, they may repress their knowledge and just refuse altogether to think about it. But those repressed hurt feelings will eventually cause ulcers if they are not dealt with.

Men who watch videos of real sexual violence being enacted upon women and girls indeed are betraying their wives—and their daughters, and all women. Men who actually love women are sickened by violence against women.

Klein says:

“Some women seem to feel that because their partner watches porn they find disgusting or scary or confusing, they have a right to demand he stop watching it. A woman has no such right, any more than he has a right to patrol the TV, novels, or videos she watches. In an adult relationship, whatever objection she has to his porn shouldn’t carry more weight (or less weight) than his objection to her CSI or romance novels or cat videos.”

There is a reason why you would find abusive and misogynist porn disgusting or scary. It is disgusting and scary. Your husband would find it disgusting and scary too if he cared about women. Do not let anyone sell you the bullshit claim that videos of women being abused is the same thing as prime-time TV shows or pictures of cats. This is an obvious lie and anyone telling you this is deliberately dismissing your legitimate concerns in order to protect his abusive behavior. This is a tactic to allow him to continue hurting you.

“Some women seem to believe their partner has “left” them for porn. No sane person does that. People do withdraw from sexual relationships for many reasons, often passively or without adequate discussion. That’s a legitimate thing to complain about. Criticizing a man’s porn watching as the “cause” of a couple’s poor or missing sex life is as cowardly as a man withdrawing sexually without explaining his dissatisfaction.”

A porn user may very well withdraw from a sexual relationship. This may not mean he stops going through the motions of having sex with you. It might mean that he is having sex with the imaginary scenario he has in his head rather than paying attention to you, his real-life partner. Pay attention to how he treats his sex life with you.

Let me present two ways of viewing sex: the “menu of choices” or the “conversation.” In the “menu of choices” model, sex is a list of many possible activities that one can choose from as if choosing a sandwich off a lunch menu. The activity itself is the focus, rather than the relationship between the partners. The partner in fact is completely interchangeable because anyone could act out the activity, and the activity is what matters.

In the “conversation” model, sex consists of two partners relating to each other in a way that grows organically out of their feelings for each other and the time they spend together. Being together, doing things together, and talking with each other naturally produces sparks and feelings of excitement, and sexual activity is entered into as a part of their ongoing joy of their relationship. The method used to achieve orgasm isn’t what’s important. What is important here is the excitement of being together.

You wouldn’t enter into a conversation with your date with a list of things to talk about, or a pre-written script, and insist upon your date following those lines of dialogue whether she’s interested in them or not. You enter into conversations based on what the two of you want to talk about, because the two of you enjoy each other’s company, and because there is delight in finding out what your date might say. The conversation builds as the two of you interact, and the way you answer her depends on what she says. Same with sex. There should not be a script. There should be spontaneous response to your partner’s reactions and a mutual buildup of excitement as you interact.

If you feel that your husband has a preconceived idea in his head of what he wants to do, and expects you to act it out for him, regardless of whether that is one of your turn-ons or not, and regardless of whether you are feeling tired or anxious or insecure, and if you feel that he is not really making love to you the person, but just to the general concept of a woman, then your husband is viewing sex through the “menu of choices” model. He likely got this way from so many years of clicking on whatever sexual act he felt like watching at the time. Sexual acts are commodities that he as a consumer feels entitled to have. Sex with a man who thinks this way isn’t “making love.” It doesn’t create love between you, it just produces an orgasm for him.

Our male supremacist sex therapist asks the following questions of wives who have a problem with their husband’s porn use. These are designed to make women think they are being unreasonable. Let’s answer them from a feminist perspective.

Why do you feel you have a right to a porn-free house, and why is that right more important than your husband’s right to have porn in his house?

A woman has a right to a porn-free house because she has a right to a house free of abuse. Pornography is violence against women, and as such, is harmful to all women. Women have the right to expect love, respect, and support from their partners, and this obviously extends to not bringing material into the home that celebrates male supremacy and male violence against women.

Men should not have the right to abuse women, nor to consume depictions of the abuse of women, on the basis that women are human beings who do not deserve abuse.

It’s unbelievable that someone calling himself a “therapist” thinks that men’s desire to abuse women is just as important as women’s desire not to be abused.

Why do you give your husband’s porn-watching meaning that he doesn’t give it? And why do you believe that your interpretation—of HIS behavior—is more accurate than his?

This isn’t a simple matter of subjective opinion, like deciding which flavor of ice cream tastes the best. The violence and misogyny in porn is real, not imagined. Real men call real women bitches and whores in porn, real men choke real women in porn, and do things like double penetration, ass-to-mouth, rosebudding, simulated rape, real rape, and simulated molestation of underage girls. (As well as real molestation, in the case of child porn.) These abusive behaviors don’t hurt any less if the woman is compensated with money. These images aren’t any less harmful to women as a class because some of the women volunteered to step onto the porn set. Women don’t control what happens to them on the set—they are told what to do by male producers and male actors, and they are satisfying a demand from male viewers. None of it is driven by women’s desires. Even so-called “feminist porn” almost precisely resembles mainstream porn.

The reason you have a different “interpretation” of your husband’s porn use than your husband does is because you are naming the fact that porn is harmful, and he is denying this. You are allowed to trust your own perception. When you see violence, you are right that it’s violence. His denial is just that—denial. It’s not an equally valid opinion. The idea that male violence against women isn’t violence is not an opinion that should carry any weight. The apologies for male violence is another tactic of abuse.

Why is it OK for you to hack into your boyfriend’s private stuff?

Generally, I don’t recommend hacking into anyone’s private stuff. A person should only check into someone’s private things if they suspect a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. If your teenager was suicidal or running away from home you might read their diary. It would be a breach of privacy to do so, but you would do it because of the more important issue of keeping your child safe. If you have good reason to believe that your husband is accessing images of violence against women, you have a good reason to be concerned, because you are a woman, and you are allowed to protect yourself and your children from violence.

Partners should be able to trust each other and should have no reason to suspect wrongdoing. If you cannot trust your partner, then it’s probably best to break up. You can’t use snooping as a tactic to improve your relationship, because that won’t improve it. You want to be with someone who you don’t even feel tempted to snoop on, because you know he wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. If your partner is willing to do things that hurt you, then it’s over.

Why would you wreck a good relationship over his private behavior?

I wonder if a therapist would ask this question to a wife whose husband had been doing other harmful things “in private.” What if he was “privately” using illegal drugs in the home while she was out? Would this be “private behavior” that she shouldn’t interfere with, too?

This “private” excuse is bullshit. If you are doing something wrong, then it doesn’t matter whether you do it in public or private, it’s still wrong. When you contribute to an industry that sexually exploits women and girls, it doesn’t matter if you do it in the family home, on your smart phone, at the municipal library, at work, or wherever. The immorality of sexual exploitation is not location-dependent.

If your husband is engaging in immoral behavior that upsets you and if he won’t stop even when you tell him why it upsets you, then it’s not a good relationship. That’s an abusive relationship.

The field of sex therapy has always been a field dominated by men and male ideas about sex. Men have created the idea of the sexual “inhibition” which needs to be cured in women, which is a fancy way of saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to say no. Men have ignored the clitoris, have prioritized penis-in-vagina sex even when women don’t get any pleasure from it and they’ve named women “frigid” for not engaging in the kind of sex that men want them to have. Sex therapists will not help you to improve your sex life, they will just help your husband to keep his dominant position over you and continue engaging in harmful behaviours. A sex therapist who tells you to accept your husband’s porn use is nothing more than a male supremacist with a fancy title. Do not listen to him.

Here’s how to actually improve your sex life. First, make your husband read Pornland by Gail Dines and then explain to you, face-to-face, in his own words, what he learned from the book. I suggest proceeding one chapter at a time, to make sure he thoroughly understands all the issues. Discuss with him why he feels he needs to use porn, and correct any misconceptions he may have. For example, he might believe that you are forbidding him from masturbating. Men are so dumb that they have no idea that one can touch one’s genitals without looking at a computer screen. He may need this explained to him.

If he refuses to understand what’s wrong with porn, and if he begins dismissing your feelings or gas-lighting you, get a lawyer, and start planning to move out. If he never repents, finalize your divorce.

Next, overthrow the patriarchy. After the revolution, sex will get much better for women, along with everything else in life. Lots of your sisters are already fighting with you. We’ve got your back.

Today in compulsory PIV

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.

How do you intend to address the upcoming trans generation?

This is another response to a troll named Angie who was commenting on this post.

Angie asked:

“Out of curiosity, how do you guys intend on addressing the upcoming generation of transgender folks, who’ve transitioned much earlier than the current generation?
I work in an elementary school, and we currently have a 5 year old transgender student. She identifies as a girl, is accepted by her peers as a girl, will likely be on hormone therapy before puberty etc etc. As an adult woman, having lived all but the first 3-4 years of her life as a girl…do you plan to tell her she’s not a real woman because she lacks a uterus? That she’s a man, despite being raised and socialized as female?
When our children come to us, utterly distressed and feeling trapped in the wrong bodies…what course of action do you folks advocate? Knowing that all of the science supports early intervention as the best route to good outcomes for trans kids…that years passing without intervention corresponds directly with rising suicide rates in transgender youth…do you still advocate denying these kids their identities, and insisting biology rules? Or does saving lives play a factor?”

Angie has swallowed trans activist propaganda whole without doing any critical thinking about it and therefore is missing some vitally important information about the “trans kids” that she is talking about. The most important things that Angie is missing about “trans kids” is that most of them will desist in their gender dysphoria as they get older, and that many of these kids are same-sex attracted, and would be considered gay, lesbian, or bisexual if we didn’t have this gender-worshipping social movement going on.

In a study called Factors Associated With Desistence and Persistence of Childhood Gender Dysphoria: A Quantitative Follow-Up Study published in the Journal Of The American Academy Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume 52 Number 6 June 2013, the authors cited a collection of other studies that investigated persistence and desistance of gender dysphoria and concluded that:

“Many children who experience gender dysphoria (GD), a sense of discomfort from incongruence between their gender identity and assigned sex, will not continue to experience dysphoria into adolescence and adulthood. However, a substantial minority (2–27% across studies) will continue to report GD and may seek services for gender reassignment later in life.”

Studies also show that a large percentage of kids with gender dysphoria are same-sex attracted. In the study Desisting and Persisting Gender Dysphoria After Childhood: A Qualitative Follow-Up Study published in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 16(4) 499-516 2010, the authors noted the high percentage of bisexual and homosexual attraction among the study participants and that people who persist in gender dysphoria after childhood overwhelmingly tend to be same-sex attracted:

“All persisters reported feeling exclusively, and for as long as they could remember, sexually attracted to individuals of the same natal sex…”

The DSM-5 says the same thing:

“For both natal male and female children showing persistence, almost all are sexually attracted to individuals of their natal sex.
For natal male children whose gender dysphoria does not persist, the majority are androphilic, (sexually attracted to males) and often self-identify as gay or homosexual (ranging from 63% to 100%).
In natal female children whose gender dysphoria does not persist, the percentage who are gynephilic (sexually attracted to females) and self-identify as lesbian is lower (ranging from 32% to 50%).”

Note in this screenshot from the DSM-5, it also mentions that less than half of kids with gender dysphoria will still have it when they grow up.

These “trans kids” we keep seeing in the media are very likely, according to the available research, to be same-sex attracted and to grow up to accept themselves as gay or lesbian. This is why Kenneth Zucker, a prominent Canadian researcher in gender dysphoria, advocated for a “wait-and-see” approach.

“Dr. Zucker argued in published research and previous interviews that his therapy should be guided by the age of the patient and based on best evidence, particularly longitudinal studies that showed that gender identity is “malleable” in young children, and that the majority will outgrow their cross-gender identity by the time they are teenagers, and most often grow up to be gay adults.”

Trans activists today do not want to wait and see if same-sex-attracted children will grow up to be comfortable in their bodies and accepting of themselves as gay or lesbian, even though they know this is a likely outcome. They want all children who express a trans identity to immediately be given puberty-blockers followed by cross-sex hormones and taught to believe they are literally the opposite sex. They think that anything else is “conversion therapy” which is yet another reversal of reality. Giving gay and lesbian kids body modifications so that they appear to be heterosexual members of the opposite sex is conversion therapy.

Lupron, the drug commonly used to delay puberty, is not approved for use on children for transgender treatment and is being used off-label with no documented long-term studies of its effects. There are already adults who were given Lupron for precocious puberty who are speaking out against “serious physical and emotional adverse events” such as pain and soreness, anxiety and depression, high heart rate, IBS, memory loss, insomnia, crippling migraines, osteoporosis, and more.

Children whose puberty is blocked and then go on to take cross-sex hormones become sterile, because their sex organs never mature. Also, MtF transsexuals whose genitals never mature may not have enough genital material to even use to create a vaginoplasty. This means they will look like eunuchs, not women.

Our troll Angie asked “how do you guys intend on addressing the upcoming generation of transgender folks, who’ve transitioned much earlier than the current generation?”
Well, here’s the thing, Angie. After all the incredible medical abuse these kids have suffered, I am 100% certain that they’ll be suing the doctors who did this to them as soon as they’re old enough to process and think critically about what happened to them. Sooner or later they’re going to realize that adults failed them by giving them dangerous drugs and telling them that they could become the opposite sex when they can’t, all because they felt uncomfortable with their gender nonconformity and their sexual orientation. They’re going to realize what gender critical feminists have been arguing all along: that it’s not okay to give dangerous drugs to kids and sterilize them, with unknown long-term side effects, just because they were playing with toys marketed to the other sex and with their immature thinking skills decided that this meant they were literally the opposite sex.

So what will I do to address the upcoming generation of people who were given dangerous drugs and sterilized before they were old enough to realize what their dysphoric feelings really meant? Several things: I will listen to them, promote their words, support their activism, and donate to their legal funds when they sue the doctors who abused them.

There is already a growing community of detransitioners, many of whom are lesbians, who are discussing other ways to deal with dysphoria, and I have already started reblogging and promoting them when they provide important information. See the list of detransitioners in my sidebar, and see Carey Callahan’s excellent YouTube channel. We will be seeing more and more detransitioners as time goes on, as more people realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods and decide to reconcile with themselves.

There are some other things in your comment that I take issue with, but they are smaller points than what I have laid out above. For example, you say that a boy can live “as a girl,” and that’s not true, because a girl is a young human female and there is no way for a human male to “live as” a human female. He is simply living in a feminine gender role. The people around him know he’s a boy, so he’s living as a special boy, not as a girl. I also take an issue with the phrase “feeling trapped in the wrong body” because there is no way for a body to be wrong. We are living animals and our bodies are literally what we are made out of and who we are. Bodies are good; we can mistakenly perceive them as “wrong” but they aren’t actually wrong.

Trans activists think that I am hateful, bigoted and phobic for not supporting the idea that some human beings are born inherently needing to take Lupron and be sterilized, but time will tell that it’s the people who promoted medical experimentation on kids who were the hateful bigots. I am in favor of giving everyone an opportunity to grow up in their natural body and accept themselves as they are, so they can have the best and healthiest possible life. Any decisions to make major body modifications should be made as fully-informed mature adults who are acting from a place of self-love and acceptance, not a place of fear and self-hate. Adults who are accepting of themselves rarely will want any body modifications, but if they do, I do not plan to stop them.

Someday the medical abuse of a group of mostly gay and lesbian people will go down in the history books as another method of homophobic gay conversion therapy, just like the lobotomy and shock therapy of previous decades. I certainly intend to support the victims of this form of abuse.