For those of us who have been fighting for women’s liberation and autonomy, in and out of the maternity field, Woman is a powerful word. It’s something we fought to feel good about, as we reclaimed our bodies and our freedom. But the world is changing. Politics are changing. Before women have fully finished liberating themselves, the definition of their selves has changed. But I ask you this– how do you liberate a people who were oppressed specifically for their reproductive power (which is what sexism is) if you cloud the language of who exactly they are trying to liberate and from what/whom?
Vagina. Uterus. Menstruation. Goddess. Women. These were our power cries. Now, we are told, they are offensive and exclusive. Well, yes, the oppression of females has been a pretty exclusive club for eons. That’s kind of the point. We weren’t oppressed when we stated we were women, nor were we left alone if we chose to state we were men. We were oppressed whether pretty or ugly, fat or thin, able or disabled, white or black, straight or lesbian. Reclaiming the goddess and being proud to be a woman and all that comes with it– including growing and nourishing a child from our own bodies, was and continues to be an uphill battle and pride movement (like all other pride movements, including black pride and gay pride). But now it’s time to throw that all away, because there’s a new sheriff in town. And it’s finally made it to the frontier of the birth world, the last place we would ever expect or hope woman-talk to be scrubbed from the pages of history.
Here is an interaction I had on a birth page on facebook that has in the past supported feminist, woman-based, radical birth autonomy.
Now I’ll expand those replies for you.
They said it was trans erasure while literally erasing women.
Is it time to have a literary cleansing, or maybe burn a few books? We want to make sure the populace feels nice and safe and cozy. I know how traumatic “she” and “woman” can be… !
The birth page said the above, sorry I forgot to mark it in editing.
99.9% of the time childbirth literature does mention women and mothers, because it’s you know… sane. And for as much as many trying to be good trans activists argue that defining a woman by their genitals is wrong, we have now effectively reduced women to their parts in literature. “Uterus-haver”. “Vagina owner”.
The above quote begins me again. ^
For the uninitiated, TERF is a word used now that is supposed to mean “Trans exclusionary radical feminist”. However, it is always applied to women who don’t feel they exclude trans people and even fight for their rights. What they don’t do is throw women or any other minorities under the bus in the process, and that’s a problem for some people. The slur is placed on people who acknowledge that biological women and trans women (or biological men and trans men, less frequently) are different groups with their own unique needs. All are oppressed under patriarchy.
Basically, people who stand up for women and don’t erase them. And this doesn’t even mention how so many TERFs are also trans people, gay, lesbian, and otherwise “queer”. TERFs are your most radical feminists. Other “feminists” are very liberal, fun, party time, choosy choice, patriarchy-catering. College professor approved postmodern manfeminism. You know, bullshit. Playboy and blow jobs for everyone.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.
Like when you say you love women, but you actually don’t, and are complicit in making them disappear.
“My reality is not the same as other’s reality”. My reality is that women are oppressed and need to name themselves and wield the language to empower themselves. My reality says we shouldn’t take that away. Is this not reality to you? Women are used to hearing that their realities are super unique or fantasy (“imagined”), and that they have no shared interest together as a class, or that there are more important people to consider. That’s called gaslighting.
Transphobic? I’m not transphobic. I’m not afraid of trans people nor am I pro discrimination against them. I am just not for discriminating against women. If that makes me transphobic, that is repulsive. I shouldn’t have to choose between if I love women or trans people. If you are going to force my hand, I’m going to continue to prioritize women. Misogynists will hate that. But I believe we don’t have to have contests. Call me crazy, but I think we can stand up for many groups at once, without acting like one is not oppressed or one is so much more oppressed than the other.
No one is going to argue that trans people are oppressed. I care about their oppression and recognize that they are in an oppressed minority. In fact, they are very much a minority– a small sampling of the population, while females themselves make up over half the world’s population while still being oppressed!
My feminism is about female-bodied people and the fact that having a female body is the defining factor in why women have had it so hard historically. A woman until fairly recently was “an adult, female bodied human”. Now we are supposed to toss that out. Don’t even say the word. Don’t talk about genitals in relation to oppression. Huh?
That’s like saying “stop bringing race into racism”. And I know people like that, you know, the ones who “don’t see color”– they think the people who recognize racism are the real bigots.
“People are whatever they say they are”– fine with me socially (more or less), but medically? This means you might have a vagina and uterus and might be capable of giving birth, choose to use these functions of your body, live as a man at the same time… and yet be mad that the books describing this say “woman”? Was this news to you? I ask you, what is so important about rejecting a female identity, only to grow a fetus in the womb you know you have? How much more female does it get? Is “woman” such an ugly thing that pretty much THE defining quality of womanhood– the capacity to give birth— is still okay as long as you don’t call it anything “girly” like “woman”? Like they’d assume the walls of your womb, when they say (retch) “woman”, are pink and frilly? In other words, if you adhere to gender norms like pregnancy, what exactly do you find so offensive about being referred to as a “woman”? I thought you wanted to reject the norms and roles of womanhood in the first place? And if you want to be really forward or progressive in carrying and birthing a child while not having a womanly gender, shouldn’t you also be mentally sharp enough to know that you are the exception and not the rule, and all of society isn’t going to stop and change their lingo just for you? While bucking the system, are your feelings actually that fragile that the majority of human female existence offends you on a personal level? I want to know who is more triggered by the word woman than the undeniable, active reality of giving birth out of your uterus and vagina after your egg received sperm? Has anyone ever heard the sticks and stones adage? When labels are more meaningful than reality! My god. We can cope with actual, lived events– we’ll just call ’em something different! That ought to do it! There, safe and sound, no triggers. Phew! Thank god we took care of THAT!
I fully support gender nonconformity, but not fantasy as the forced reality, and not woman hate. To act as though men or males give birth too is fantasy– it can only be true on a very unique socially-designated technicality. To be opposed to the word “she” while doing what all mammal “she’s” do is woman-hate. This whole thing is an exercise in heavy denial, not inclusion.
You see, there are 2 definitions of woman. The first is the traditional one that makes sense for most of us which I mentioned before– an adult human female. The second one is mostly new and refers only to the gender role of “woman”, and not the sex. The gender role, however, is the superficial surface one created by patriarchy. It’s everything we’re supposed to be (because of our sex). The one that says looking pretty, being fragile, wearing dresses, cooking meals, and sucking dick are womanly things to do. Therefore, if you like those and the color pink too, you are a woman. (Radical feminists reject that– as if being a woman were that simplistic and offensive.)
I personally believe either woman definition is fine when it comes to how a person chooses to self-identify. I believe you can refer to grown adult female humans as women in a generalized manner and it shouldn’t hurt any feelings. (Do you know how many lesbians get referred to as “sir”? Life goes on for them as usual, and surprisingly few suicides over it.) And, also, you can refer to people who assume the societal role of woman as “women” and “she”. To me, a trans woman can easily be she, her, woman, and Sally. So what exactly is the fucking problem?
The problem is that some folks want it to be only definition 2, not the other, and your lack of submission to these new terms means you are being an offensive bigot.
Trans men and non binaries and women give birth. Mostly it is women, if woman is merely some role people do or don’t take on. If we mean woman in the biological sense it has meant throughout history, it is only women who give birth– identity politics and hurt feelings aside. And mature pregnant persons already know this.
I would never call a trans man a woman, even while they are giving birth. I would never want to disrespect them. There’s no point to it. But, I also don’t expect all of our childbirth literature to refer to social constructs (gender) instead of biological realities (sex) to appease feelings of a really minute part of the birthing population. Birth is about biology, not personality! And I don’t feel that we are leaving trans people out when we say women give birth any more than we leave out amputees when we admit that human beings are bipedal.
MANA, Midwives Alliance of North America, started replacing their language, erasing woman and she for pregnant persons. But any organizations under the thumb of The Man, Medicine Inc., as they are– can kiss my ass. Your NAME is fucking MIDWIVES. Just as the old tradition. Midwife means “with woman”. Change your fucking name if you’re only “with person”, you wolves in sheeps’ clothing.
So you see, even the supposed naturalistic and woman loving traditions are giving the big “fuck you” to womankind. I say supposed because they’re still very medicalized and not traditionalists and don’t advocate actual and total birth freedom, but I digress.
I used to think “wombyn” was silly, new agey (even if I am a little myself), and pretentious. Now I see it as a radical protest and I may use it a little more, just to see how it feels. Just to piss these misogynists and men’s rights activists off. Because that’s what they are. I AM a goddess, and goddesses give birth. It was birth goddesses we talked about throughout time and in recent birth movements, not birth gods. Those are the people who prefer the label “obstetrician”.
Do you have any doubt this is The Man’s Patriarchy? And you call this the right side of history?
Here are some more examples from their page, their double standards, their hypocrisy, where they did not scream “transphobia” at every pro-woman reference, they did not scrub all the she’s out of existence. But like she said, she’s only human– just give her time and maybe we won’t have to hear the goddess celebrations in relation to female bodily functions anymore. Women aren’t taboo or oppressed, they just need to shut the fuck up because trans.
How absurd it all is. One thing is for sure– no one knows just what woman is any more, but we know we need to be really careful how we use that word, lest we offend. We need to keep our big mouths shut and stop asking questions, stop asserting girl power and our authority, and just do what we’re told. “Feminism”.
What about black men? Why are we talking about breastfeeding, it’s so cissexist! Men nurse too! What about fatherhood! Etc.
Jesus, Honore de Balzac sounds like a real transphobic prick. He and all of civilization.
Breast milk? Fathers give birth, too. This is a hate crime. “Natural” news? I’m triggered. WHERE was the trigger warning?
Taking the women out of birth is a political issue.
Women’s rights as female rights in an ongoing, crucial battle are so obvious when we talk about the misogyny they face in the patriarchal institution of medicine. All of their abuse, the abuse and trauma done to their female bodies, arguably happening for all of recorded memory as rulers and leaders advocated ownership and taming of our bodies, is about to have its language of protest dismantled. This is what they call “cis privilege”. As a woman who knows she’s a woman and has been treated as a female her entire life, I apparently have it. Our rape, molestation, kidnapping, murder, domestic violence, lack of rights in education and to our own bodies is now privilege. Think about that. Think about everything females go through in and out of birth. How you will dare to call the sexism we face privilege, I will never know. That any woman or female bodied person or female born person would ever want to deny us this power speaks loudly of internalized misogyny, perhaps even more acutely among those who “do not identify as women”, as if any of the rest of us are perfectly happy with that designation in this fucked up society. So ladies, hand birth back. It isn’t ours anymore. We had a nice run, sort of. Almost.
I love everyone and I don’t care what you wear or who you fuck. But stop trying to keep me in my place. The time for women being polite and quiet is done. We can all be free; stop being against my empowerment and undoing the things which attempted to give it back to me. That was my progress. You’re taking away the keys to women’s progress.
A child builds a sand castle. A second child who didn’t have a chance to make one for themselves yet arrives and knocks the first one’s down and starts building on top of the same site. On a beach full of sand. And they call it that first child’s sand castle too. They try to call that sharing. It isn’t my sand castle. It’s yours. Well I worked hard building that castle and I didn’t build mine on your heartache, so why do you hate it so much? Don’t smash everything I’ve done and call that equality.
Stop erasing women from the books. It’s unnecessary and it’s erasure. YOU WILL STOP TAKING ME OUT OF HISTORY. I am saying “no”. No means no. Listen to women when they say no. Do you get it yet? Do you know whose “side” you’re on?