Several websites critical of political correctness, from Milo Yiannopoulos’ Dangerous News to Spiked Online have been very critical of the trans lobby. Now of course, there are legitimate reasons to criticize trans activism in its current state, particularly in a world of Transtrenders and heated arguments over pronouns. But the kind of criticism I am talking about goes far beyond this.
In short, I am speaking of critics who are essentially TERFs. They believe the trans lobby is an imminent threat to the rights of women. They (not unreasonably) suggest that some pro-trans sentiment is actually redirected homophobia, and that it often reinforces traditional gender roles through treating mere nonconformity as if it were dysphoria. But they also share a number of more questionable traits, such as a particular fixation on transwomen (transmen are rarely discussed in the kind of criticism I am speaking about), and a strong advocacy of the Blanchard-Bailey(-Zucker) Autogynephilia theory. For a good example of this kind of criticism, see Cynthia Yockey’s piece on Dangerous News here: https://www.dangerous.com/41476/truth-autogynephilia-really-wears-pants-transgender-coup/
For the record, I think Autogenyphilia is probably true for a subset of transwomen (although I wouldn’t use Blanchard’s term “homosexual transsexual” for the “classic” woman-in-a-man’s-body gender dysphoric transwoman, nor would I subscribe to the theory that male queerness is purely a matter of men whom are “biologically feminized” to some degree). But whether or not Autogynephilia is a thing isn’t even the issue here. What I wish to talk about is a very, very big problem with the kind of criticism I am highlighting.
Specifically: it is misandrist. In particular it is heteromisandrist: driven by an hatred of male desire for women. And as someone whom is both active in the anti-PC sphere and an MHRA, I find it disturbing that a line of thought that is built around treating women as the victims of rapey men is being welcomed warmly into the anti-PC world. In short, we’re presuming that the enemy of one of our enemies (the Tumblr-Transtrender lobby) must be our friend, when the reality is that lesbian radfems who seem preoccupied with horror at the prospect of male “invasion” of the feminine/femininity are just as much enemies of men’s rights as SJWs.
After all, they hate transwomen because they see transwomen as men. An autogynephilic transwoman is therefore merely a straight man; autogynephiles are arguably “straighter than straight,” in that their entire sexuality revolves around an exceptionally deep fetish for the feminine.
What kinds of things do these articles seem to fear the most? Straight men (autogynephilic transwomen) gaining social license to penetrate lesbian women. To penetrate women’s spaces. To participate in women’s sports. To be close to women inside locker rooms. The Yockey article in particular seems to dwell on the idea of men. masturbating. over. women. and. wanting. to. be. around. women. as an object of sheer horror. Indeed, the idea of men simply experiencing sexual gratification over being in a female space is seen as horrible (“Autogynephiles want into women’s restrooms because simply crossing the threshould sexually arouses them” Yockey writes). This is even more extreme than the Republican fantasies of schoolboys pretending to be trans so as to molest young girls; it is literally being offended by the fact that a man might have erotic feels over being in a specific room.
In these articles, we see a lesbian feminism driven by an hatred of male heterosexuality. To call these TERFs “transmisogynistic” is factually inaccurate; they don’t see transwomen as women, but rather as straight men, and thus hate them. They think of male heterosexuality as violent, as driven to invade and violate and degrade, and as such they write articles that allude to the autogynephilic man’s lusts and desires and fetishes and masturbatory habits (and penises) with the same level of obsession one sees in the Christian Right’s preoccupation with male-male anal sex.
Autogynephilic transwomen identify as women, but they were socially perceived as men and treated accordingly for a large portion of their lives. Those who live in fear of them and their feminine penises hate them (and said penises) because of an hatred of male heterosexuality. As such, I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that, whether or not you think autogynephilia is an existent phenomenon and an explanation of a subset of gender-dysphorics that were declared male at birth, a large subset of “anti-PC” criticism of trans activism is really not driven by transphobia at all but rather by misandry (and heteromisandry in particular).
Can the anti-PC movement accommodate within it a faction that believes men (and straight men especially) are the collective historical oppressors of women? Are TERFs to be trusted as allies of a movement that includes the MHRM? I simply don’t think so. Indeed, I wondered why Milo Yiannopoulos would publish the Yockey article on his website; I speculate that Milo, who openly admits he socially relates more to women than to other men, feels very distant from straight men and is thus likely to regard women as “his people.” As such, the article’s portrayal of imminent danger towards women from rapey predatory others is the precise kind of message that would appeal to him. Milo is, in spite of his bedroom preferences, fundamentally a gynocentrist driven by a concept of women’s interests.
But I am not a gynocentrist. And whether or not autogynephilic transwomen “are really women” or “aren’t really women” (frankly I consider that debate an irrelevancy), autogynephilic transwomen (or transwomen perceived as such) are the subject of a threat narrative that casts them as men hell-bent on raping women. They are being cast as, in some ways, the ultimate example of the heterosexual male oppressor. This narrative is straight out of Brownmiller-era Radical Feminism, and to see it flourish in “anti-PC” spaces should make any MHRA worry.
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“Straight men (autogynephilic transwomen) gaining social license to penetrate lesbian women. To penetrate women’s spaces.” – But men only spaces are patriarchy. “Didn’t u read steven pinker, wymen in men spaces r the reason vilolence s going dowm.” – I always loved feminist hypocrisy. =P
Women in men’s spaces – gay bars – increase the level of violence from nothing to whatever level their own antics raise it to.
You may find it disturbing to find this retrograde rapey men mem invading anti-PC spaces but to the extent they are traditionalists that kind of thought is in its natural home there.
I am going to be direct and ask both YetAnotherCommenter in particular and HBR in general: Why is appreciation of a feminist liar such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali allowed on HBR? And in relation to that, why are people who appreciate a feminist liar such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali allowed to write for HBR?