Sex, Gender, Lies, Hate
I was reading a recent issue of Rain and Thunder http://www.rainandthunder.org/, in particular an article “Gender as a Hate Crime” by Dianne Post, who mentioned that:
“When I was lobbying for the inclusion of gender in the Arizona hate crimes statute many years ago, the man who spoke before me said that crimes against women are so common that if they were included in hate crimes, it would overwhelm the system and no one else would get any attention.”
Dianne also points out that while it is commonly agreed the ‘n’ word should be removed from common usage because it shows deep disrespect for Black people, similar deeply disrespectful hate-speech against women (eg b*tch, c*nt, sl*t, wh*re) is so common, it is used against women running for political office and dominates contemporary popular music, which “… urge us to kill and rape b*tches, c*nts and wh*res. To cut them up, smother them, strangle them, drown them in the trunk of the car. And we call it art. – When hate is so thoroughly woven into society… it is no longer seen as a crime. It becomes the norm.”
One of the most common socially approved expression of this universal Hate, is the continuing metaphor of women as animals, ie not-human, eg chicks, cows, bunnies, and often positioned as such in advertising, along with gender minstrel performance as a put-down, just as racial minstrel performance is. Then there are the cultural caricatures and hated stereotypes of the nagging wife, the ball-buster and the bimbo. To name just a few. The list is endless.
Along the continuum of hate, is the umbrella concept of Violence Against Women, including everyday street, school and workplace harrassment, incest, rape and domestic violence, pornography and prostitution, honor killings and large-scale female torture and rape-camps in wars, along with systemic social and political violence in differential access to services, health care, employment, education and treatment under the law. Just to name a very few, but with startling valid statistics to confirm systemic social and political oppression and hatred of women, over decades, centuries and millennia – and planet-wide. It is the universal female human condition.
The Hate usually begins in the birthing chamber with “It’s a girl” and doesn’t really end until the old b*tch, bat, cow etc is dead, for the overwhelming majority of female humans on this entire planet. Some females don’t even survive to the birthing-chamber.
Similar to other oppressed groups of human beings, this social hate can be internalised by individuals and sub-groups, and fully accepted as the norm. The generic social hate can then become wide-spread Self-hate and can be expressed through self-harm, masochism, celebration of the oppressed social status, and often as horizontal hostily, as in “othering” sub-groups of the oppressed population. In the case of women, a sizeable number collaborate in their own oppression, for the sake of survival. For to resist the largest, oldest and most basic hatred and oppression of all, is to risk very real death – as millions of female humans on this planet know only too well.
The continuum of Hate of the female-woman gets progressively more intense for women also impacted by racism and classism. All females are Not-Human, but the further down male heirarchies the rest of your female body is, or your religion, socio-economic class or ethnic group or nationality, (the list is endless) the more frequently and severely you get treated like shit when you are born female – its like progressively becoming more non-human, or more female. Wherever positioned in male heirarchies, all the Hate ultimately originates in a male over female symbolic framework.
I may not appreciate all the nuances, but to me, when Hate is expressed against women (or some group of women), using generic everyday normal woman-hate language, it appears that nearly everybody on the planet, thinks its different to other forms of Hate– it really is. It is so normal, widespread and unremarkable, there is nothing to complain about. As Dianne Post points out, “ …crimes against women are so common that if they were included in hate crimes, it would overwhelm the system and no one else would get any attention.” And we can’t have that, now can we? (ß sarcasm intended)
Men-as-a-class Hate women-as-a-class. Most women hate women-as-a-class too, their own selves, and/or some “other” women, as long as they hate some women. Everybody hates women in general, or groups of women in particular. I guess that’s equality, we can all hate “other” women equally.
As is demonstrated in the decades long arguments over the inclusion of trans-activism in feminism, and all over just the ‘Name’ of woman and man. Although it is primarily the Name of Woman only, that seems to get everyone so angry and emotional. It is very interesting that few question the Name of Man, its only the Name of Woman which is in doubt.
There does seem to be confusion between sex and gender. Sex as biologically female or male, for the overwhelming majority of humans, is unchangeable. It is neutral, it is a fact of life. Gender, as ‘woman’ or ‘man’ is a social construct, an abstraction of the mind, loosely referring to the social meaning of gender roles of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’, reinforced by socialisation throughout life, and ascribed a social status and importance in the abstract, in that ‘femininity’ is always positioned socially inferior to ‘masculinity’.
However, while anybody can self-identify, and/or be socially defined as either ‘man’ or ‘woman’, we are stuck forever with being ‘male’ or female’.
The language of sex and gender or ‘Name’ often gets confused : “… out there in the real world nobody makes any distinction between man and male, and woman and female, so when the trans call themselves “women” it means they get into a whole lot of women’s spaces…”
At its most simplistic, radical feminist theory and analysis posits that female human beings, are oppressed through BOTH their biological sex as females, AND through socially enforced gender roles as women. It is not ‘essentialist’, or ‘cultural’ promotion of femaleness, it is fact of life for female humans.
Liberal feminism generally, tends to focus its energy mostly on the socially constructed gender roles and their relative social and political status, radical feminism focusses on both as being important, seeing both sex and gender as inextricably linked socially and politically across the planet in all cultures, in all countries in all religions and creeds. Biological sex shouldn’t be socially linked to social status, genderised roles, and hatred and abuse on an institutional and systemic basis, but they are, under patriarchy.
The socially constructed gender roles, conditioned from birth, just reinforce the hatred and oppression of the biological sex of females, and provide a social argument for its reinforcement. For women, the many ‘feminine’ gender roles, are enforced through a good / bad binary, an enormous unbelievable number of the Madonna/Whore cultural stereotypes. Similar to skin colour, or a range of other biological features which are socially hated to varying degrees, (and with various socially constructed myths, roles and stereotypes to label them as worthy of such hatred) – the female sex itself, is universally hated, denied human rights and autonomy.
This is sometimes recognised in that some spaces, (and not all that many), have requested to be female-only spaces. Some of these are for socialising, such as the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, (aka ‘Michfest’), others are for female-specific services, others are for political organising. But these are very few, as most brands of feminism and events, do include male-women and sometimes male-men too. It would seem, that even one such space, is always one too many, to ask for.
If a group, for example people who identify with a particular cultural identity on grounds of religion, race or even common hobby, wanted to hold a festival on private land, and politely, respectfully asked non-‘whatever-it-is’ people, to not attend – most would not be offended by that request. Even if they were, I suspect they wouldn’t call the national media, their lawyers and hold public protests over claims of discrimination.
It is a false claim, it is a lie of such huge proportions it beggars belief.
Female-people who wish to do this, are not allowed to, no matter how politely and respectfully they ask. They have no human right to organise themselves as females. Margaret Jamison wrote: “…radical feminists deserve to be called “hateful bitches,” of course, because we wont call call man-to-woman transpeople, female. That’s it. We won’t call male people female. We aren’t hurting them or slandering them in any way (after all, ‘male’ is not an insult – just a fact, like ‘short’ or ‘hazel-eyed’); we’re just not calling them female. That’s the sum total of the radical feminist position…. surgery and pharmaceuticals aren’t miracle-makers. They don’t turn male people female….Simple logic. That’s it. And the response is to hurl expletives in our general direction. To me, the “punishment” does not fit the “crime.””
Indeed. Me neither. Such a crime it is, to cause so much grief. The ‘punishment’ for such a ‘crime’ goes beyond the woman-hating epithets – it extends to yet another formal legal discrimination against females. Just add it to all the rest of the discriminatory laws, policies, behaviours and everyday violence we experience from the day we are born. We all know that females are not human, hence no legal rights either. Only the male-born and their enablers are allowed such rights.
Meanwhile the Hate continues and wins again. Can the last one out please turn off the lights?