Some Second Wave Feminists and Transphobia

As someone who counts herself as too young to be a baby boomer, too old to be Gen X, I came of age as a feminist at the end of the Second Wave. (I’m also never sure how useful the “wave” talk is but that’s another issue.) And while I think I understand the limits that the lack of race, class, and disability analysis had on second wave work, I think I can also understand how focussing on one form of oppression might make others less obvious or visible. In the case of race, class, and disability, the main problem, it seems to me, was one of exclusion. But in the case of trans issues, it’s much more than that. One sometimes finds a kind of hostility verging on hate that I just can’t fathom. This came to mind recently reading a piece in the Guardian by Germain Greer on Caster Semenya. In it Greer writes, “Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be… some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man’s delusion that he is female.” I thought the days of sex essentialism were long gone but I guess not. Kate Bornstein has a response here.

A different twist on sex/gender and sports

In the endless discussions of Caster Semenya (for a really excellent one see here), the claim is often made that women would never pose as men for sporting purposes as they’d only lose if they competed against men. There’s nothing like a real-life counterexample fo knock down such a myth. So I give you Rena Kanokogi, who posed as a man 50 years ago to win a judo championship. She was stripped of her medal once her sex was known, and became a campaigner for equality, eventually getting women’s judo added to the Olympics. Her medal has now been restored.
*Aug 21 - 00:05*

Thanks, CR!

“Why Women’s Rights are the cause of our times”

The title to this post announces the central theme of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.  The remarkable  publication reflects what we noted just recently in comments on one of the articles; namely, the realization that the key  to solving many of the political problems in the world lies with the too often powerless.  explorision

The subtitles in the magazine range from the positive (a multi-media presentation):

How educating girls and empowering women can help fight poverty and extremism

To the less positive:

Why has development in India and China led to even more discrimination against girls?

Along with the questioning:

How a hybrid ideology — one that advocates the use of force to liberate Muslim women from persecution and burkas — evolved online.

One gets the sense that a lot of this impetus for this edition is due to Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  Multi-kudos to them and the NY Times.

I’ve mentioned perhaps half of the articles.  Taken together they set an agenda.  YES!