Could the Pussy Hats Be the Snowflake That Starts the Avalanche?

I am fed up with queer politics. It was the moment that my nonbinary identifying friend said that the pussy hats at the Women’s March on Washington triggered him and his friends. The anger welled up inside of me, not just because of the further mangling of “triggers”. Once again, women are being  told that our bodies are oppressive. We must not talk about anything female specific because we might hurt male feelings. It doesn’t matter that Trump was talking about us –females– grabbing our pussies, not males. It doesn’t matter that he is attacking the rights of females specifically. Our voices, our realities, our truths must be silenced.

Now, I’ve been disenchanted with “liberal” feminism for a long time. I came into it about 5 years ago, when I found first got internet and found out about feminism, and I became an “intersectional” feminist. It took me a while to find out that I was like the only one in the entire intersectional movement that didn’t like porn and didn’t want prostitution to be legalized. I have a heavy, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every time these topics are discussed. I was told I felt that way about these issues because of my own insecurities. They are probably right to an extent, honestly, but I never saw how accepting porn and legalizing prostitution could ever do anything other than hurt women. Other than that, I have found that liberal  feminism almost completely leaves behind disabled people. There is rarely even mention of disabled people, other than as props. I’m talking like one article every few years. There’s also issues with race and class. It’s broad –leaving behind only groups they don’t care much about– and largely ineffective. In fact, I would argue that there’s not much actually being done for women! The only advancement since I became active that I can think of off the top of my head (in the US) is women allowed on the front lines. Yet, I can think of several things we have lost thanks to queer politics! I was becoming disinterested and  annoyed by hypocrisy I would see, and with the election of Trump I felt defeated and hopeless.

I’ve actually been questioning the trans ideology for about a year. Before I had just automatically accepted it and would parrot “trans women are women!” when the whole bathroom thing started. However, I started to feel fake and uncomfortable in my feminism. I thought these people deserved the respect of me to at least know the basics of their struggle. So, I headed to trans communities to read up. Reading about what gender was and how it’s “a spectrum, not a binary”, I thought, “Wait– Isn’t the entire feminist movement based on the idea that gender doesn’t exist?… Ah, well, they’re not hurting anyone. They have a right to live how they want to in peace!”. I saw the MtF misogyny and how they made their bodies into caricatures of women but dismissed it as internalized misogyny. Then I came across the term “truscum” on a trans woman’s tumblr. They were calling out another user as a truscum and saying they need to die. I found out that truscum is a slur trans women throw at other trans people when they disagree with any part of the trans ideology or call out sexism. It made me feel sick that they would turn on people who share their struggles and tell them to go die, and that’s when I started to wonder if maybe trans women are a bit misogynistic and have ‘residual male privilege’. I learned about the cotton ceiling. I thought it was going to be a useful commentary on how patriarchal beauty standards affect how trans bodies are viewed. It wasn’t. Instead all I could find was like this. Even the less awful ones had obviously lesbaphobic veins.

I began to wonder why I couldn’t seem to find any FtM trans people but plenty of angry misogynistic MtF trans. That’s how I ended up on radical feminist blogs. What they were saying made so much sense, but agreeing with them terrified me so I left because I didn’t want to hate trans people and contribute more to their oppression. I was also ridiculously afraid that someone in the libfem community would find out that I was unsure about trans, as anyone from  libfem spaces knows that the absolute most horrible thing you can ever be is a “TERF”.

As trans issues came more to forefront in spaces I frequented, I started asking around to speak privately to a nonbinary person to ask questions about it. No nb people would take up the offer, and the best I could get was another feminist who thought they might be able to answer my questions. As we talked I opened up. I admitted that I thought that gender is a bunch of bs, that I was actually kind of  starting to dislike trans women because of the extreme misogyny, and that I was scared about the legislation to allow men into women’s bathroom. I told her I was terrified, I didn’t want to be a hateful terf, I didn’t want anyone to get hurt because of my views. She told me that no trans person has ever assaulted a ‘cis’  woman. I wondered if that was true and googled it. It wasn’t true. There were a few news story, one fairly recent, and ‘terf’ blogs had long lists of offenders, which I verified. I decided not to mention that in my reply to her, instead I only said “but that doesn’t stop cis men from going into our bathrooms”. We talked more. Every point she made I found evidence to the contrary. It didn’t answer any of my concerns, actually it only gave me more questions and anger and led me to spend more time in gender critical spaces. I pushed it aside and forgot about it for a while.

Then, the Women’s March. I’ll be honest, I was not interested in this march at all. I paid it and the rest of the news no attention. Like I said, I was feeling defeated and hopeless. I didn’t see the point of this march. I didn’t understand what the expected effect was. One of my friends did go to the march. He’s nonbinary. He asked me if I had read anything about the march. “Nope”. He told me people were being racist. I believed him. Then he told me that it was transphobic. I sat up, because the literal  one thing I had heard about the march was that they made sure to be completely inclusive. He said there were a lot of women wearing vagina hats and holding posters that said things like “this pussy grabs back”. “What the fuck?! That’s a direct response to Trump talking about sexually assaulting women!”. He said something like ‘well, yes, but also a lot of signs said stuff like pussy power, and like not even all cis women have a vagina so. The pussy hats also triggered some of my nb friends, and to an extent, me.”.

That’s where I lost it. I googled it and of course there was indeed tons of outrage. Like, ok, when you were masturbating earlier to some woman’s naked, objectified body you sure weren’t feeling dysphoric then. It’s only when women are talking about their personal experiences or how sexism affects females that you’re all suddenly “triggered”. Now you’re whining because women were talking about women’s issues at a women’s march. You want to erase our bodies, our past, biological realities, and for us to stay quiet when our sex is being attacked.

Lesbians have seen through it this whole time! They are the ones hurt the most. Young lesbians being pressured to transition, hurting their bodies and traumatizing them. Males infiltrating and taking over our spaces, pushing any lesbian who refuses to have sex with males out and labeling them transphobe vagina fetishists. Making women scared to talk about periods or pregnancy for fear of offending the trans women and being subject to harassment. They are literally erasing lesbians and trying to erase women’s reality and libfems don’t care.

Men have washed in, through several avenues, and taken a control and guide liberal feminism. I actually sometimes feel like they forget that women are even oppressed.

So, that was the final straw. I am no longer questioning my stances. I am officially a gender-critical, sex-negative, intersectional, radical feminist. MY BODY IS NOT TRANSPHOBIC. THE ABUSE I FACED AT THE HANDS OF MEN IS NOT TRANSPHOBIC. YOU CAN NOT SILENCE US. YOU CAN NOT ERASE US. I have seen some new ex-libfem women in gender critical spaces in the past few days. I even saw a friend from a libfem space I used to frequent on several radical blogs recently. Liberal feminists, I know you’re questioning. I know you’re fed up. Join us, and let’s get shit done.

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