all 20 comments

[–]loveSloaneDebate King 14 insightful - 2 fun14 insightful - 1 fun15 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

Kind of feel like if any qt answers with anything other than “if they identify as a trans woman then they are one” they’d be a hypocrite...

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yep. QT has made subjective identity/reality the criterion, so questioning that = heresy.

[–]MarkTwainiac 12 insightful - 1 fun12 insightful - 0 fun13 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

I'm actively arguing with someone who takes a full QT position. She asserted, as QT sometimes does, that the GC position is "bio-essentialist" - that by setting standards for women based on biology, GC will inevitably exclude someone (infertile women, women who've had hysterectomies)

But defining women based on biology means just that. A woman is an adult human female. All three of those words denote a biological category: having remained alive to reach age 18 or above; being of the mammalian species homo sapiens; belonging to one of the two distinct binary sexes that humans come in, the one that in utero developed the potential capacity to release ova and bear offspring at a later point in life.

In your description of your debate it seems that you and the person you are arguing with are equating biology with female fertility and childbearing capacity. So in that sense it seems you definitely are taking a reductionist view, albeit not a bio essentialist one. But rather a mat essentialist one that says women = mother, and a particular kind of mother at that. The view you're advancing seems to be that to be a woman a human has to be able to release viable eggs, get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth vaginally and breastfeed. Which is what you say right here:

Imagine some newborn babies. All of them are female; all of them have perfectly formed uteruses, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vaginas, vulvas, and clitorises. By the magic of time travel, we know that in the future, all four of them will get pregnant, deliver a baby vaginally, and breastfeed at least once.

But a human being doesn't have to have all her reproductive organs "perfectly formed" to be female. Girls & women with DSDs qualify as female too. And a female human being certainly doesn't have to get pregnant, give birth or breastfeed to be a woman. Lots of women can't produce viable eggs. Lots of women for one reason or another can't get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to full term or give birth vaginally. Lots of women who do have viable ova and do give birth have C sections, and many women who give birth vaginally and by C section don't or can't breastfeed. Moreover, lots of women who can do all the things you list as criteria for being a woman choose not to, or don't get the chance to, do them.

I believe that saying "raised as a girl" is a disingenuous red herring.

Of course it is. But there are serious problems with the criteria you are advancing too.

Human sex is determined at conception, and sex differences have been observed in the cells of zygotes 5/6 days after fertilization. The sex of human fetuses can be ascertained with 100% accuracy via CVS or the NIPT at 8-10 weeks and by sonogram after 14 weeks.

Hundreds of millions of female humans have been aborted in utero or killed before age 5 for being female. The fact that none of them got a chance to be "raised as a girl" doesn't make any of them less female.

Historically, lots of kids died in infancy & early childhood before they could be subjected to much in the way of sexist childrearing practices. This happened to lots of kids in Western culture back when boys & girls were dressed exactly alike in infancy & toddlerhood and it was customary for them all to have long hair. The fact that these children did not get a chance to be "raised as" girls or boys - whatever that might have meant in their particular cultures and historical eras - does not in any way alter the fact that they lived and died as girls and boys.

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 6 insightful - 4 fun6 insightful - 3 fun7 insightful - 4 fun -  (3 children)

I take a great deal of delight in engaging with you, MarkTwainiac; I like the fact that you challenge me to do better.

In your description of your debate it seems that you and the person you are arguing with are equating biology with female fertility and childbearing capacity. So in that sense it seems you definitely are taking a reductionist view, albeit not a bio essentialist one. But rather a mat essentialist one that says women = mother, and a particular kind of mother at that. The view you're advancing seems to be that to be a woman a human has to be able to release viable eggs, get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth vaginally and breastfeed.

None of these things are necessary, certainly, but I find that QT loves to hedge around at the corners of biology - clownfish, Mullerian ducts, XXY, that sort of thing - and I figured that it was best to close those lines of inquiry categorically. A woman can be a woman without doing any of those things, or even having the opportunity to do those things, but when the rubber hits the road and the baby comes out, all that COINing falls away instantly.

[–]MarkTwainiac 7 insightful - 3 fun7 insightful - 2 fun8 insightful - 3 fun -  (2 children)

Delighted right back at you, levoyageur! And your word choice reminded me of the band Deee-lite from 1990:

Your user name always makes me think of this flick, which speaks directly to the issues you raised in your OP:

I think I got what you were trying to do in the OP, but frankly I've never understood what "bio essentialist" is supposed to mean in this context. Don't people who speak this way really mean "gender essentialist"? Or "bio determinist"?

The larger issue is that I just don't get why pointing out that we are all members of a sexually-reproducing species who are biological in our essence and by our very nature is supposed to be such a diss and a no-no. Even those of us who have done all the things you listed - ovulating, pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding - were not reduced to or solely defined by those activities or aspects of our being at the time we did them, much less forevermore. Girls' & women's intellects, talents, range of interests, sense of humor, multifaceted personalities etc don't suddenly all shut down or evaporate when we're ovulating, carrying a pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding. All of us are many things at once... The only people who seem to believe otherwise are the incredibly sexist misogynists who are always banging on about how recognizing human sex and particularly the roles human females play in human reproduction is somehow insultingly "essentialist." It's like they can't hold in their heads the fact that Marie Curie gave birth to two children AND she was awarded two Nobel Prizes - and that neither set of accomplishments negates the other set. IMO, the big problem is that the QT crowd are obsessed with reducing people to one-dimensional identity labels & pigeonholing everyone into teeny, tiny boxes.

Can you tell me what COIN means here? I looked it up in acronym dictionaries & directories and all the usual places that inform us oldies about the meaning of internet abbreviations & slang, but I came up empty.

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 7 insightful - 2 fun7 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

COINing means "Co-Opting Intersex Narratives." The fact that we struggle to discern some people's sex - not that those people don't have a sex, as the article posted by u/BiologyIsReal pointed out, but that their sex is sometimes hard to discern - doesn't actually help TRA arguments, but they like to pretend that it does. The argument they make usually goes something like this: * A woman is still a woman without a uterus/vagina/ovaries * Therefore a person without a uterus/vagina/ovaries can be a woman * Therefore TWAW. (Yes, yes, I know...)

But I wanted to put that sort of thing aside right out of the gate. We're not dealing with XXY or guevedoce, we're dealing with people whose sex is unambiguous.

Since the TRA argument, as I've encountered it, is that trans means "gender other than assigned gender" and "assigned gender" means "what you were raised as," rather than something to do with the body, it means that their argument should have room for someone "female but cis-nonbinary," or for someone who was "female but not raised as a girl," and therefore "female but transwoman." I think any TRA who was confronted with this possibility would reject it, even though it's a logical consequence of their position, and they'd have to say what they believe but don't want to say - that yes, there is such a thing as male and female, but they only want it to count when it's convenient for them.

[–]MarkTwainiac 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks for explaining COINing. I'm so old that when I see the letters COIN all in caps like that, I immediately think of COINTELPRO. From Wikipedia:

COINTELPRO (syllabic abbreviation derived from Counter Intelligence Program) (1956–1971) was a series of covert and illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic American political organizations. FBI records show COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left, and unrelated groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

[–][deleted] 10 insightful - 3 fun10 insightful - 2 fun11 insightful - 3 fun -  (0 children)

All I can say here is Queer Theory is wedded to (more like enmeshed with) relativity, and deep relativity can't admit constants and stable categories.

Arguments like this that QT advances --"GC is exclusionary bioessentislism" -- can't be resolved because they're inherently relativistic and can't co-exist with constants and stable categories, but routinely borrow-in the vocabulary of constants and stable categories to assist them in making their point.

They made this bed, drizzled superglue all over the sheets, and jumped in . . . they can have fun with that. Props to anyone who can keep engaging this solipsistic nonsense -- it will never leave the superglue bed because that, pun intended, is where it was conceived.

TL;DR yeah, red herring.

Edited for . . . well, what is an edit, really? If text is fluid, how can we say we've edited it? /s

[–]FlanJam 8 insightful - 5 fun8 insightful - 4 fun9 insightful - 5 fun -  (0 children)

Well that's a new definition of ciswoman, at least I've never seen it before. I typically see cis used as nontrans or gender id matching sex. I get QT isn't a monolith but it'd be nice if they could at least get some basic definitions down. But yeah, the definition that person gave is pretty untenable.

Also, isn't the QT position also bio-essentialist? At least, if they argue for brain-sex, then they're defining woman based on biology as well. So its kinda hypocritical of them to call GC bio-essentialist, no? I guess some don't argue for brain-sex, but many of them seem to entertain it at least.

[–]MarkTwainiac 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I just want to add that apart from our reproductive organs, there are thousands of biological differences between male and female humans. You could take a male and a female human and remove the reproductive organs of both of them, and they would still be dissimilar in thousands of biological ways.

It's interesting that in late old age, when male and female humans are long past reproducing and their hormone profiles become similar, some differences between the sexes actually become larger. For example, whilst males have a higher risk of dying of COVID-19 than females in all age groups, the risk goes up the more elderly one is. In persons age 85 and up, males with the virus are 3.17 times more likely to die of it than females of the same age and with similar underlying health conditions.

[–]BiologyIsReal 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

OP, I think you may find this article helpful. The author explains clearly what is the problem with QT arguments: they mix what sex is with how we recognize what sex someone is.

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

[from the article] What is a sex? How many sexes are there? And how do we characterise a sex? (the ontology of sex – what exists?)

How do we recognise the sex of an individual? What features indicate sex? (the epistemology of sex – what can we know?)

This is brilliant. I'd like to see a similar article on how the epistemology of sex is misrepresented in journalism and debate -- elevating pathos, manipulating ethos, misrepresenting logos, ignoring telos and kairos. This is done by journalists writing about sex and gender issues all the time.

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 4 insightful - 4 fun4 insightful - 3 fun5 insightful - 4 fun -  (0 children)

This article is brilliant, thank you for sharing it!

[–]grixitperson 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Upbringing does not change biological fact, nor do behavioral preferences.

But you knew that.

[–]HeimdeklediROAR 1 insightful - 6 fun1 insightful - 5 fun2 insightful - 6 fun -  (5 children)

5th and 7th are trans women

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 6 insightful - 3 fun6 insightful - 2 fun7 insightful - 3 fun -  (4 children)

Five and seven? Why them, and not 8?

[–]HeimdeklediROAR 1 insightful - 5 fun1 insightful - 4 fun2 insightful - 5 fun -  (3 children)

Because honesty I’m not sure that the “boy” label the woman adopted really counts as a gender? Its certainly the same word as a gender label commonly used but I’m not sure if its really the same concept.

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Okay, but then why do 5 and 7 make the cut?

[–]HeimdeklediROAR 1 insightful - 5 fun1 insightful - 4 fun2 insightful - 5 fun -  (1 child)

Because their experiences were more influenced by existing societal gender norms.

[–]levoyageur718293[S] 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

So what it seems like is that there has to be, at baseline, an idea that there is such a thing as "boy" and "girl" and that those characters must be tied to the physical body, even if it's done incorrectly.