James Lindsay breaks it down - the perennial striving that can never accomplished, using “gender Identity” because sex. And…. by one1won in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't know anything about him being controversial in GC circles, but when I first read some of his accounts of woke ideology a few years ago I thought he had done his homework with respect to marxism and postmodernism, to the extent that he knew that these were two different things. I thought his and Helen Pluckrose's book 'Cynical Theories' was ok for a pamphlet and basically doing the right thing. So he had my respect.

But in this video, of which I watched the first 10 minutes, and in some others that I've watched, which basically turned me off him, he's just spouting "marxists this, marxists that, communist re-education" etc. like a troglodyte. In that he's not so different from university leftists who are speaking to their own and "explain" everything with "capitalism" and "neoliberalism" etc. When you're all basically circling the wagons you know you'll get away with intellectually lazy name and reference dropping that stand in for real argument needed to convince people who don't already agree.

The people who he's talking about are not marxists or communists. If they have gotten many ideas second or third hand from Frankfurt school type critical theory, they have gotten equally many ideas the same way from liberalism. E.g. individual liberty and autonomy (which are not central to the basic arguments in marxism) are clearly visible in their extreme forms in the craze to determine your own identity in any way you like etc. Likewise, black and other ethnic minority nationalisms in the USA and the collective identities that such movements foster are not the product of marxist or communist agitation — though they are not the product of liberalist agitation either (one might say however that for a big part they are the product of practical liberal politics where everybody gets what they deserve once all external fetters like slavely are removed, if only they try hard enough...).

Sure, marxist themes and ideas supported by marxist thinkers are in there in "wokism" with all the rest, but I think it's intellectually lazy (at best) to blame the foul stink on just the marxist influences and even pretend that "Marxism" is actually only just foul stink. You might just as well blame Satan or robot sea monsters, that's how refined his approach seems to be here unfortunately. Like I said, I watched only the first 10 minutes, but if the following 1h 20min are the same level, there's no way I'll waste my time on it.

Helen Pluckrose seems more intellectually honest of the two. She said somewhere (in some interview that I watched months ago, sorry don't have the link) that the woke ideology is partly to be blamed on liberals who didn't keep their own house clean. Listening to Lindsay you might think wokeism has nothing at all to do with liberalism. Liberalism is supposedly just a collection of commonsensical ideas, and what's wrong with that etc.

I got accused of "genital fetishism". What really are the definitions of "fetish" and "fetishization"? by AllInOne in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It might be useful to consider the older meaning of fetish: "an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a human-made object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value, or powers, to an object."

All: How have your beliefs evolved? by [deleted] in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I used to not have an opinion on it, but when I looked into it (during the last two years), I found I'm persuaded more by GC than queer/trans arguments.

I had read Judith Butler's Gender Trouble years ago (early 2000s I think), but frankly a lot of it went over my head, and it didn't really connect to anything for me at the time anyway. So let's discount that one and say that one of my first encounters with trans issues was in 2012 when someone I knew who worked for the local LGBTQ+ lobby group made a casual comment on the view that a man can't breastfeed a baby. Her exasperation in making the comment was meant to give the impression that the claim was not only not true, but preposterous. I remember thinking that her comment was strange, and found her vehemence surprising.

However, that was a one-off thing, and I didn't think about it too much. Then, perhaps 3 years ago, I was listening to videos by PhilosophyTube (on YouTube). There I heard for the first time talk about "gestators" and "inseminators" instead of women and men. I thought that insisting that 99+% of people change their everyday vocabulary to accommodate a tiny minority was overkill. I guess at that point I started looking around for what it's all about, and eventually found Meghan Murphy and her work, and her arguments convinced me that it's a better course of action to try to relax gender norms and stereotypes rather than reinforce them in the name of individual choice and pretension that biological sex doesn't exist or matter. I had also read a good deal on evolution already earlier (Gould, Dawkins etc.) so what biological sex is (and how it's different from gender) wasn't difficult to understand.

I'm not, nor have I ever been, convinced by gender abolitionist arguments though. It's the right direction to go from where we're at, but I don't believe it can ever get done the way that at least some public declarations of it would seem to imply. And I don't believe in making declarations that are pipedreams, even if it's "for a good cause", so I'm not a gender abolitionist. To that extent some of the politics of radical feminism (Sheila Jeffreys etc.) is too much for me, I don't think it's useful to define "gender" as a "sex hierarchy" the way she does (Gender Hurts, p. 185). It sounds like one of those philosophical word games that academic radicals of whatever stripe are so in love with.

But the most convincing analysis of sex and gender in the trans discussion for me is to be found among the radfems, and they deserve credit for that one, even if not for some other things.

What do guys think about feminism imploding? by wokuspokus in GenderCriticalGuys

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 2 fun3 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

I wish you had received better answers!

All: Do men and women need each other beyond purposes of reproduction? by [deleted] in GCdebatesQT

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

I still struggle to understand the purpose of same-sex attraction since it doesn't facilitate biological reproduction which seems to be our biological purpose as human beings. It would seem useless at best and harmful at worst.

Same-sex attraction doesn't need to have a biological/evolutionary purpose to explain its existence. The tendency to think that almost every characteristic of an organism must have evolved "for" something, or otherwise it wouldn't exist, is criticized as adaptationism.

I'm not a scientist but my working hypothesis is that same-sex attraction is an accidental offshoot of heterosexual attraction (which in is hard to argue is not an adaptation for a specific purpose) that probably doesn't serve an evolutionary purpose. There's the theory of inclusive fitness (helping relatives pass on their genes helps some your genes get passed on as well, because you share 50%, 25% etc. or your genes with your closest relatives), but I think to apply that to homosexuality is probably too "adaptationist" for my taste.

My guess would be that same-sex attraction is better explained as something developing in an atypical way, because embryo development is a complex matter where things can go "wrong" (from an evolutionary perspective; no moral judgement intended). My guess is also that something like this is behind some people "feeling like the other sex".

Richard Dawkins Says He Didn't Mean to "Disparage Trans People" By Asking How Identifying As Opposite Sex Is Different To Identifying As Another Race. Then He Disparages Gender Critical People As "Republican Bigots" In The Next Sentence by MarkTwainiac in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This would be my take as well. I don't really understand the disappointment in him in this thread, I think he's got a relatively narrow focus yet he weighs in on many things where he should take more time to get familiar with the context. That he's not some GC paragon should be no surprise. He's just a basic liberal guy (in the European sense) with a Twitter account who is heavy on science, evidence and atheism.

In the 2015 he tweeted, when he was defending Germaine Greer's right to speak at the university of Cardiff:

Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her "she" out of courtesy.

So ontologically he's got the GC line right. Also TRAs seemed to know which side he was on:

Richard Dawkins Insults Transgender Community

Richard Dawkins 'Claims' Trans Women Aren't Real By Defintion And These Are The Reasons Why He's Wrong

Richard Dawkins Says He Didn't Mean to "Disparage Trans People" By Asking How Identifying As Opposite Sex Is Different To Identifying As Another Race. Then He Disparages Gender Critical People As "Republican Bigots" In The Next Sentence by MarkTwainiac in GenderCritical

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

I'm not on Twitter so I can see only two tweets from him in that thread: the original and the one where he says he doesn't want to disparage trans people and refuses the (apparently) suggested amalgam between his views/aims and those of "Republican bigots". Are there other relevant comments from him in that thread that are available only to people logged on to Twitter?

If there are, ok fair enough, I'm not asking someone to take the time to summarise or quote them here, just wanted to know whether there's more context than is available to me.

GC: Can you give me a definition of male or female that does not exclude those that can not produce or release gametes, have undergone an operation to surgically remove sex organs, etc? by [deleted] in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Not sure what you're looking for, and this answer probably isn't it, but I think you're looking for something that is doesn't really exist in any meaningful sense. I think you're looking for a 100% waterproof definition without any corner cases, one that would allow you to definitively counter someone who says "it's a spectrum" etc.

I'm not a biologist, but my understanding is that biology isn't a thing where you can meaningfully have that. You cannot find such a definition for what a species is, for example — or life, for that matter: when does a chemical reaction become "life"?

You can tell that cats and dogs are different species, but what about a population of a species that used to be one unit, but now has split into two, maybe for some geographical reason — let's say an earthquare opened a chasm that split the population in two and now they can't get to each other any more. Over time they will start evolving apart based on chance that's a part of evolution.

So when do they form two different species? Is it at the point when they can't make fertile offpring anymore (even though they might be able to make infertile offspring)? Is it at the point where they could make fertile offspring (by way of insemination in a lab for example), but in the wild they won't, because their mating season or mating rituals have changed so much that they don't "recognize" each other as potential mates? Etc.

I don't think there's a "gotcha" style answer to the question, and I think your question is similar. In any case these things will never be resolved through logical argument on this level.

But this cuts both ways. Of course anyone, who argues that in order to have a case for sex at all you need to have a 100% waterproof definition with no corner cases, has equally misunderstood what the phenomenon they're discussing is about. There's always going to be room for choosing — opportunistically or not — to emphasize the "islands of stability" (Stephen Jay Gould's term) on the one hand, and "it's all fuzzy" on the other.

Pyramid of Debate vs Echo Chamber subs by SaidOverRed in SaidIt

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The idea that you can convince anyone who disagrees with you with reasonable arguments on the internet is pretty far fetched. Not saying that there aren't some individuals who can do it, but most people on the internet who claim to be able and willing to do it, are not in fact able, and some are not even willing, to do it.

GC: What are the true definitions of male and female that do not exclude people that have removed all of their genitals and/or can't produce sperm or egg? And why doesn't sex change when secondary sexual characteristics change? by [deleted] in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Questions like this arise again and again because sex is thought to be an abstract thought excercise, "why define sex through these things and not these others that someone likes better?" Instead sex should be seen as part of an evolved biological system called sexual reproduction that came about ca. 1 billion years ago.

Losing respect for content creators who support the trans narrative by Depressed in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You mean Death of the Author 2, not the first one which, though it had commentary on JK Rowling and how fans relate to her work, was in the context of criticising some of the "death of the author" ideas of Foucault, Barthes etc...? I thought the first one was pretty good.

Why are people offended by generalizations? by eddyelric in GenderCritical

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

"Dont' generalize" is probably some outgrowth of liberalism taken to absurd lenghts, so that it can be used against perceived attacks on someone's individuality. (Of course, criticism of (over)generalization is a fine argument in itself, and the "don't generalize" people won't themselves survive for a day without generalizing.)

Is a dildo a penis? by veruscka8 in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 6 insightful - 3 fun6 insightful - 2 fun7 insightful - 3 fun -  (0 children)

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."

Through the Looking Glass, Ch. VI

If biological sex is just about roles in reproduction, does that mean someone doesn't have a biological sex and isn't a man or a woman if they don't reproduce? And that in the times they do things that don't lead to reproduction, they have no biological sex? by Nohope in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I have a gun in my hand, maybe it's pointing at you someone, maybe it's not. But as long as I don't pull the trigger, I don't really have a gun, and it's not pointing anywhere either.

It's impossible to discuss something with someone who's not doing it in good faith, or if the discussion is in danger of leading to conclusions that absolutely must not be drawn.

Radfems, you are needed over in s/feminism by yishengqingwa666 in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Seems like s/Feminism is to feminism what s/Marxism is to marxism: "A place to make fun of Marxists and Marxism". The same user founded them both and is the sole mod.

Are subscriber numbers artificially pumped up? by [deleted] in SaidIt

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

I don't know anything about this, but I've thought the same. My hypothesis: there's lots of people who made an account to check out the scene, get automatically subscribed to a number of subs, didn't find what they were looking for, and don't log on again. But their unused phantom account is still there in the sub reader numbers.

This might be totally off track, but it's what I think at the moment.

Gender Identity and history: Should we be free to assume GNC historical figures or trans or non-binary? by DistantGlimmer in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't think there's a simple answer to this. Offhand I'd say it hinges on what we take to be 1) the objective reality that exists irrespective of us (being aware of it), and 2) what we take to be the cultural, ideological etc. forms of how it get represented.

For example, take some law of physics. People who subscribe to modernism probably agree that it describes, or at least very closely approximates the objective reality in some crucial and relevant way. But it's still a cultural form of representing that reality. Without denying that reality or implying there's "other ways of knowing" or any other relativistic stuff, we can still think that, even in physics, there could well be other ways to approach the same thing, and maybe we don't know them all. Here's Max Tegemark, a professor of physics in MIT talking about it with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll:

"...you also take seriously the idea that the laws of physics might have more than one solution for what a uniform space can look like. We know that’s the case for water; it can be solid ice, or a liquid water, or steam. String theorists say the space we live in might be like that too, except there might be more than three ways… Maybe more than a googol ways it could be… This is a pretty general phenomena in physics. If you have some complicated equations, they can have multiple solutions." (Sean Carroll's Mindscape podcast).

(Just for the record, it's probably safe to say that most of what they're talking about goes way over my head, so I'm just trusting their authority.)

Of course, epistemology (what can we know, and how do we know it) and ontology (what is real, what exists) are ancient philosophical topics on which there is no agreement. One just has to take a look at the options and provisionally pick one that seems the most reasonable, and then adjust one's beliefs if there's need.

When people who I think are "extreme social constructionists" talk about stuff like homosexuality or heterosexuality, they might say that these things were invented in the 19th century. In some sense they would be right, but only to the extent that they're talking about the cultural representation of the objective biological reality of sexual reproduction and the "drives" that make animals (homo sapiens included) do it. Or, to repeat an example I've made earlier in another thread, like Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont wrote in their book Fashionable Nonsense about Bruno Latour's musings that pharaoh Ramses II couldn't have died of tuberculosis because the germ that causes tuberculosis was only discovered in the 19th century.

Things don't divide easily into obvious categories of objective reality, a cultural representation of objective reality (heterosexuality, sexual reproducion), or a cultural phenomenon that is part of social but not 'objective' reality in the sense that the latter would follow from the former (what it means to be a mother). That's why I think it's a legitimate discussion (if you have it in good faith etc. of course) whether or not "gender identity" in some loose sense (the awareness and experienced importance of one's sex and the cultural meanings attached to it) might be "transhistorical", in the same sense that heterosexuality is, even if these are relatively new concepts. (This is not to say anything about the conclusion of that discussion.) When you say,

I don't think we should label historical figures trans or non-binary when there is no way they could have thought of themselves in those terms.

I tend to agree, but I'd still say it depends. Some time ago I listened to an interview about a historian who had looked into the practice of spiritism in the early 20th century. Her approach as a historian was that she didn't want to look at the phenomenon from her personal vantage point in the present ("well of course it was obvious nonsense, and scam artists made good money off gullible people"), but from the point of the people who were involved in it, who were commenting on it etc. (some claimed it's real, others believed them, others weren't so sure).

I think it's a legitimate point of view, even though if I were a historian, I wouldn't use it. With all this relativistic "different ways of knowing" stuff being so popular as it is, I'd "virtue signal" by keeping a visible distance from it. But I still think it's a legitimate point of view, given that you're clear about what you're doing, and don't slip into de facto peddling superstitition etc.

When you write,

We can of course talk about GNC and third gender people but this should be done in a way that is cognizant and respectful to the cultural context they existed in which does not include twentieth-century psychological theories of gender identity.

I agree. Probably it's impossible to have conversations on Twitter about this, and indeed there "[it] is simply a propaganda device to establish a historical basis for trans ideology that doesn't actually exist", as you say.

And TRAs aren't the only ones to do it: nationalists of all kinds want to think of themselves are the heirs of some ancient civilization, socialists partly legitimate their political aims with primitive communism ("see, it's kind of been done before"), see antecedents to it in certain sections of Plato's Republic etc., and while I don't recall right now having come across any feminist texts doing this, I'm sure they've done it too.

Why is GC critical of how women celebrate their sexuality? by Genderbender in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 19 insightful - 1 fun19 insightful - 0 fun20 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Probably because some of the ways some women choose to celebrate their sexuality is, at the same time, pandering to male fantasies, reinforcing harmful stereotypes etc. The tension here between "the freedom to choose" and "to choose freely something that's harmful to others" is real and there is no logical solutions, only ones that are decided in political struggle.

The situation is not unlike the one in the labour movement, where the strikers want to prevent some individuals — called either "those willing to work", or "scabs", depending on your political views — from crossing the picket line.

Actually, it's not unlike any other conflict of interest between the individual and the group. Some will think individual choice must rule over everything else (provided the choice "doesn't harm others", where, though, the the meaning of "harm" is not at all clear), while some will think the collective has the right to limit the individual in severe ways for the benefit of the majority. And of course there's the whole gamut between these two extremes.

We are being forced by our server company to remove a big sub from saidit by magnora7 in SaidIt

[–]anfd 50 insightful - 6 fun50 insightful - 5 fun51 insightful - 6 fun -  (0 children)

GenderCritical is not a "tranny sub", it is a sub that's critical of transgender ideology and one that "social justice warrior" types would rather shut down.

Decline in support for trans women using refuges by jet199 in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 16 insightful - 1 fun16 insightful - 0 fun17 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Homosexual transsexual (as opposed to autogynephilic transsexual). This is Ray Blanchard's transsexualism typology:

Michael Bailey, who supports this typology, describes it like this:

The two types of transsexuals who begin life as males are called homosexual and autogynephilic. Once understood, these names are appropriate. Succinctly put, homosexual male-to-female transsexuals are extremely feminine gay men, and autogynephilic transsexuals are men erotically obsessed with the image of themselves as women. When most people hear “transsexual” they think of the homosexual transsexual, who fits the classic pattern. From soon after birth, the homosexual male-to-female transsexual behaves and feels like a girl. [...] Honest and open autogynephilic transsexuals reveal a much different pattern. They were not especially feminine boys. The first overt manifestation of what led to their transsexualism was typically during early adolescence, when they secretly dressed in their mothers’ or sisters’ lingerie [...] Autogynephilic transsexuals might declare attraction to women or men, to both, or to neither. But their primary attraction is to the women that they would become [...] (The Man Who Would Be Queen, 2003, p. 146–147)

Many TRA's don't accept this. Alice Dreger, who studied the reception of Bailey's book, writes that this is because

there is the running theme started in the Preface [of Bailey's book] of the feminine essence narrative being a sometimes-willful lie told to cover up a sexual fetish, namely autogynephilia, and the associated theme that virtually all ‘‘non-homosexual transsexuals’’ are autogynephilic, no matter what they claim about themselves and their histories [...]" (p. 381)

So the division into HSTS and ATS implies that some transsexuals (namely, the ATS ones) have sexual or fetishistic motives, rather than every transwoman being a simple case of "a woman trapped in a man's body" (i.e. "the feminine essence narrative").

Dreger writes further:

I’m not sure that the simplistic feminine essence narrative is necessarily any better for transwomen than Blanchard’s typology. In doing research for this project, I have been disturbed to see the extent to which transwomen, in order to speak and be heard, seem to feel obliged to completely deny the role of eroticism in their decisions to undergo sex reassignment [...] Historically, this de-eroticization of transsexuals’ life narratives has been promoted not only by certain transwomen like Christine Jorgensen but also, importantly, by the medical professionals who have acted as gatekeepers to sex reassignment. After all, in the past, some influential clinicians claimed that confession of a single instance of sexual arousal associated with crossdressing should eliminate a patient from consideration of a diagnosis of transsexualism and thus also from consideration of sex reassignment [...] (p. 416)

MTF and FTM is pseudoscience and does not make sense? by crimsondavison in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The muddle with sex and gender would seem to be at the bottom of it, resulting in the Trojan horse tactic of trying to sell you one (sex) when it's actually the other (gender).

Poor understanding of the relevant science as well as of the "probabilistic" nature of biological definitions is probably a factor. It's just so much easier to go by the immediately apparent surface phenomena — "if it looks and acts like a woman (whatever that means), it is a woman". Within discourses heavy on the autonomy of the individual it's easy to go along with pure subjectivism as well, "if you feel like it, you are it".

I think there's some research on people's poor intuitive understanding of likelihoods like "80% certainty". I think this was on some relatively recent episode of Sean Carroll's Mindscape podcast, but I cannot remember which episode (sorry!!). But if something had an 80% certainly attached to it and it doesn't happen after all, people will tell you, "but you said it's going to happen", because they took "80% certainty" to mean "almost guaranteed".

Intuitively people seem to understand 0% and 100% likelihoods, as well as fifty-fifty, the latter meaning, "it might happen or it might not". But that's it. It wouldn't be surprising if this kind of intuition would apply to category definitions as well.

So if you've got the kind of definitions as you do in biology, where there's always corner cases (like easily result from atypical development in complex systems), then that kind of definitions would appear to be invalid, because either something is X, or it isn't. If not all women have XX, then the XX definition of a woman must be invalid, even if it applies to 99% of the cases. Definition falsified!

This is to take a charitable view on the confusion. No doubt some people are fanning the confusion because it works for them.

Does anyone else feel the "header wallpapers" are distracting? by smart_jackal in SaidIt

[–]anfd 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Agreed, they shouldn't be changing all the time.

Rape by deception is totally cool if you're trans by Chunkeeguy in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 8 insightful - 3 fun8 insightful - 2 fun9 insightful - 3 fun -  (0 children)

This is tricky. It reminds me of this piece of news from 2010:

A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after having consensual sex with a woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew.

Sabbar Kashur, 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman with the Jerusalem district court, the two met in downtown Jerusalem in September 2008 where Kashur, an Arab from East Jerusalem, introduced himself as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Kashur left.

When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault.

Is this guy's sentence ok? I don't think it is, and I would say no trans person should be sentenced (in a court of law) either for pulling a stunt like this. It wouldn't be like not telling about having an STD or something.

It's another matter whether it's good or sensible behaviour one should engage in (I don't think so), but should it be illegal..? I would say no.

Interesting meta article questioning whether this kind of debate is even possible. Do you agree? by DistantGlimmer in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

FWIW, Lindsay sees himself as a liberal leftist. In this 9 minute clip on YouTube he says "we [meaning him, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian) are left wing people who want the left to come back from the edge", and in a conversation with Mike Nayna he and Boghossian agonize over the fact that they got such a great reception for their "grievance studies" stunt from the right which is hurting their ability to talk to the left. The reason he thinks it's crucial to be able to reach the left is because "we [as leftists] need to take responsibility for our own lunatics" and because "the right can't fix the university. They can firebomb it, but they can't fix it".

Interesting meta article questioning whether this kind of debate is even possible. Do you agree? by DistantGlimmer in GCdebatesQT

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

I think this article (as well as another one on the site, The Complex Relationship between Marxism and Wokeness) is among the most perceptive ones I've read dealing with these issues. Particularly I was impressed by his ability to distinguish between what he calls critical justice theory (CJT) and Marxism, rather than go for the usual "aren't these pomo-neomarxist types just so stupid and annoying". He's actually trying to honestly understand how his adversaries think, and seems to do a relatively good job of it too, even though he's a bit flippant at times.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of these articles all the way through, but that he was able to make this distinction certainly works in his favour as far as I'm concerned.

For background, I used to think for a long time that I was Marxist. I do no longer think so, even though letting go of labels doesn't necessarily change one's actual politics too much. And even back in the day I was a Marxist more for what it stood for politically, rather than for all that Frankfurt School and other cultural analysis stuff which always felt too airy-fairy to me (I don't have a university education which might explain a thing or two).

I think I have a lot in common with Lindsay. Classical liberalism and classical Marxism are both in the Enlightenment tradition, and that's what I share with Lindsay against the kind of CJT activism he describes in the article mentioned in the OP. While I think good Marxism is better than good (classical) Liberalism, I also think good Liberalism is better than bad Marxism.

For example, I don't think it's impossible for liberals to admit, in principle, to a "weak standpoint epistemology" where your social position has an effect on what you are likely to know (and you won't be aware of what you don't know). In this view the facts are still out there, even if they're hidden from you because of your biased approach that you're not aware of. Marx's theory of ideology is, by and large, within this tradition when he argues that the bourgeoisie (even though not necessarily all bourgeois individuals) cannot "understand" the labour theory of value for example, because that would undermine their own class position. In contrast the proletariat — a new, rising, and this time really universal class — doesn't have these blinkers on and so can come to realise what's real, unlike the bourgeoisie that is able to stomach only the kind of ideas that don't threaten its power.

The point is that the facts exist, but bourgeois ideology acts as a veil to cover them. For Marx, "analysis of consciousness and ideology is grounded in the belief that mystification is susceptible to being unmasked by knowledge", like Michèle Barrett says (The Politics of Truth. From Marx to Foucalt, p. 9).

Now, I don't know to what extent "weak standpoint theory" is, or can be, part and parcel of Liberalism (I don't know the Liberal tradition well enough). But I don't find it impossible that a Liberal could accept it in principle, at least as it applies to individuals, even though they probably wouldn't accept the "class epistemology" approach that's central to classical Marxism (and I'm not sure to what extent I accept it either. Barrett's book that I mentioned makes a convincing case why it shouldn't be accepted).

However, to the extent that Lindsay's description of CJT is accurate, CJT has let go of this "weak" version of standpoint epistemology and embraced a strong one, where your social position and interests don't obscure the facts (which exist objectively, regardless of your consciousness) but instead constitute them. I think it's credible to claim — like Lindsay does — that this view is Marxian but not Marxist. (Once more I salute him for being able to make this distinction.) It is, because Marxist theory of ideology is a standpoint theory, and CJT is a standpoint theory. (Liberalism in its basic form I believe is not a standpoint theory.) But it isn't, because Marx's views are still inside the Enlightenment tradition (and one could argue, though not without controversy, inside the Humanist tradition as well) where the world is still universally knowable in principle, while CJT is not.

Another thing I would say Liberals don't necessarily have a problem with is a "weak version of social constructionism", meaning that while, for example, someone being a mother is a biological fact, what someone's being a mother means socially cannot be understood in the same way, and the social meaning is socially constructed (i.e. not a simple, given "fact"). But CJT has embraced a strong version of social constructionism, where pharaoh Ramesses II couldn't have died of tuberculosis, because the germ that causes tuberculosis was discovered only in 1882.

Cedric Johnson: The Wages of Roediger — Why Three Decades of Whiteness Studies Has Not Produced the Left We Need (NonSite, 2019) by anfd in Socialism

[–]anfd[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It's a balancing act. Different groups of people may be in a different social position, so it's probably not a good idea to go ahead with stuff that pretends everyone is the same (which mostly tends to reflect what's good for whoever is dominant in that organisation/movement). Yet a shared line and effective politics does require streamlining, which may leave some interests out. Whether that justifies a split to organise separately has to be considered on a case by case basis. And in any case you can march separately but still strike together, which is probably the way to build a larger movement anyway if there's no dominant organisations already in existence (which seems to be the case in the US at the moment).

Both: What causes extreme gender nonconformity in young children? by worried19 in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

My working hypothesis is that sexual orientation is mostly innate. It would make evolutionary sense that people are innately attracted to the opposite sex because that's the only way that will lead to successful procreation. The way this could be connected to gender conforming is that in order to effectively realise the (mostly) innate attraction you need to recognise the target of your sexual attraction, and while you can do this by "natural physiological differences" between men and women (voice, size, body shape), cultural gender markers work towards this as well. Maybe for a connected reason you also have an "innate psychological need" to appear yourself as a member of your sex too.

Not everyone does it to the same extent, there's variation (like you said, the bell curve etc.). But I guess there's an evolutionary reason why heterosexual attraction is by far the most common outcome.

So this would be the standard, evolutionary useful development path. But of course there's some atypical development paths, like there are with other things and not just sexuality. Same-sex attraction could be like this (it's basically just flipping the target of sexual attraction, but it's still sexual attraction), and maybe the need to conform to the ways of one sex over another is another atypical development compared to the one that from the evolutionary point of view makes the best sense. Extreme GNC could be the flipside development of extreme gender conforming, analogous to same-sex attraction.

I'm not claiming that this is much more than an evolutionary just so story, and I don't mean to say that culture and socialization don't matter just because I didn't write about them here (also I didn't mention other factors like personality which I do think matters). But evolutionary just so stories aren't any worse than similar kind of just so stories where the explanation is socialization. It seems clear to me it needs to be both, even though many things will not need an evolutionary explanation, and I don't think there's going to be some one thing (evolutionary pshychology, personality, socialization etc.) that explains everything else. Sex and anything directly to do with sexual reproduction though seem pretty central, evolutionary speaking, so it would be surprising to me if there wasn't any "psychological adaptations" and innate stuff there having to do with sex and sexual attraction.

How do you feel about the word "privilege"? by moody_ape in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think privilege talk and naming the oppressor definetely has merit. It's not hard to agree with that. But whether it works equally well for both clarifying things to yourself and among your peers and for communicating things to outside people whose help you are likely to need is another question.

Here's another link to an article on the "privilege topic" I read some time ago and found useful, by Cedric Johnson (it's really long, sorry!):

The Wages of Roediger: Why Three Decades of Whiteness Studies Has Not Produced the Left We Need

His point:

"Whiteness studies has produced a form of anti-racist politics focused on public therapy rather than public policy, a politics that actually detracts from building social bonds and solidarity in the context of actual organizing campaigns, everyday life, and purposive political action. This political problem is not strictly Roediger’s, but is one that besets the contemporary left more generally and is derived from the cultural turn within Western academe and the U.S. Left since the sixties, the rejection of modernist political projects as irredeemably tarnished by histories of racism and imperialism, and a resulting deep, pervasive suspicion of constituted power." [...]

"Contemporary white self-flagellation over being a “good ally” [...] [imposes] a social hierarchy on political life based on identity claims rather than demonstrated commitment, political acumen, organizing skills and capacity or other criteria that should matter."

Johnson along with Adolph Reed have been said by some to be guilty of class reductionism and thus playing down the effect of racism in the US. I haven't looked into it enough to say whether or not that is the case (I don't live in the US).

J.K. Rowling and the White Supremacist History of “Biological Sex” by Chunkeeguy in GenderCritical

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

It looks like the author is using the Combahee River Collective Statement (1977) out of context when he says:

"The Combahee River Collective, a prominent group of Black lesbian feminists active in Boston from 1974 to 1980, strongly opposed political, moral, and medical discourses about “biological maleness” or “biological femaleness” [...] The Collective states, “We know that there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual.” Combahee further stresses, “we do not have the misguided notion that it is their maleness per se—i.e., their biological maleness—that makes [men] what they are. As Black women we find any type of biological determinism a particularly dangerous and reactionary basis upon which to build a politic.”"

While the part about "racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual" seems hardly relevant to the case he tries to make (to me it sounds just like a straightforward statement about the ABC of the intersectionalist approach), the part about biological maleness in the Statement is in the context of criticising lesbian separatist views, and to me it seems biological determinism is rejected in that context, i.e. against lesbian separatist views and for cooperation with men (at least black men) to dismantle oppression. Here's the relevant paragraph in full:

"As we have already stated, we reject the stance of Lesbian separatism because it is not a viable political analysis or strategy for us. It leaves out far too much and far too many people, particularly Black men, women, and children. We have a great deal of criticism and loathing for what men have been socialized to be in this society: what they support, how they act, and how they oppress. But we do not have the misguided notion that it is their maleness, per se — i.e., their biological maleness — that makes them what they are. As BIack women we find any type of biological determinism a particularly dangerous and reactionary basis upon which to build a politic. We must also question whether Lesbian separatism is an adequate and progressive political analysis and strategy, even for those who practice it, since it so completely denies any but the sexual sources of women's oppression, negating the facts of class and race."

How do you feel about the word "privilege"? by moody_ape in GenderCritical

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

This article from International Socialism (2014) has some good insights (even though naturally one can guess the conclusion beforehand: Marxism is the best analytical framework): http://isj.org.uk/whats-wrong-with-privilege-theory/

Basically: privilege talk tends to focus far too much on what individuals do (and which group they're a member of) and disregard the system view. "Check your privileges" comes too easily off as an accusation, and competing claims of privilege make it more difficult to build the solidarity between different social groups (some of which might be legitimately said to have more "privilege" than others) that's necessary to effectively struggle for any systemic change, as opposed to scoring points against individuals in face-to-face situations.

Is it possible to abolish gender? by moody_ape in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I agree with you in principle about biology. I used to believe in socialisation much more strongly (one could say exclusively) when I was 20-something, and that is still the prevailing tendency on the left, where I situate myself. That is not to say that much of the time there aren't good reasons for emphasising socialisation and social/political factors, but the record is pretty one-sided in this respect in the publications of the left I find.

Anyway, since then I've been convinced by some evolutionary psychology that some "bio-psychological" difference (manifesting in behavioral tendencies on average) does make evolutionary sense, and that it would be more surprising than not if there weren't at least some "evolutionary psychological" adaptations that are sex specific, and not just "dumb" physiological ones that are sex specific. One relevant book in this respect is Griet Vandermassen's Who's Afraid of Charles Darwin? Debating Feminism and Evolutionary Theory (2005).

This is not to say that most of human psychology isn't the same for men and women (that's what I currently believe), or that "men and women have different brains" (something that I don't currently believe is credible).

Anyway, these are all just working hypotheses, not statements about "how things really are". The struggle against sex stereotypes and structural inequalities is relevant whether or not it can in fact be achieved in the sense of total gender abolition.

Is it possible to abolish gender? by moody_ape in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

In general I agree with Spikygrasspod. And personally, rather than talk of abolishing gender, I would talk of getting rid of sex stereotypes, expected sex roles and structural inequalities, even if it meant the same thing as "abolishing gender"; I think it's more understandable to ordinary people.

In any case abolishing gender will be more difficult than abolishing capitalism (which is already quite difficult :-). The social relation between the capitalist and the worker is necessarily mediated by a thing: the means of production. Once you take away the means of production from the capitalist, they cease to be a capitalist in any material sense. However, with gender oppression (or racism for that matter) there's no thing (at least as far as I can see) that you can take away from men (or racists) that will accomplish the abolition of sexism (or racism) in the same way.

To that extent there probably can be no revolution against sexism/gender (or racism) as there can (in principle) be against capitalism, if by revolution we mean some distinguishable, relatively short event that changes the prevailing order. (Of course you could say a revolution can be a process that takes 500 years, but I think that would mean using the word metaphorically.) For example, no revolutionary expropriation will change men's greater physical power which, along with the threat of it, will be at their disposal against women.

I know you guys probably aren’t keen on the Left anymore, but believe me, as a commie this trans idpol crap is depressing by JoeDzhugashvili in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 19 insightful - 1 fun19 insightful - 0 fun20 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

There was a link here recently to a statement (English translation) by the Spanish Socialist Party PSOE which was along GC lines ("There are some theories (specifically queer theory) which are gaining ground around the academic and activist world, and which deny the existence of biological sex, given that they blur and obscure the material realities of women.").

The PSOE in not exactly marxist, but when a mainstream social democratic party like the PSOE issues a statement like this it's much more significant than if, say, the Militant Workers Revolutionary Party (Fire-breathing Bolshevik tendency) does the same.

Intersectionalism is the worst thing to happen to feminism. by medium_tomato in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 22 insightful - 1 fun22 insightful - 0 fun23 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It has also been said that we don't need feminism dividing the workers' movement. Or we don't need the workers' movement dividing the national movement. We're all just people etc. (which is also true of course). But it seems it happens quite easily that, for all practical purposes, the more general term starts to refer only to the currently dominant group. So when discussing what "the people" need, it's really about what men need. Ditto for "national" interest, which might turn out to be the interests of the propertied and educated classes; "women's issues" = white heterosexual women's issues etc.

There is no idea someone will not take to a logical extreme and blow out of all proportion. I can't say whether or not this has happened to intersectionality to some extent, but if it feels that for some it's now a worldview and a confession of faith rather than an analytical tool, then to that extent it probably has happened. But that doesn't discredit the idea itself. Thatstealthygal's comment has it right IMO.

Also, an organisational split based on different political approaches might be principled and useful, or it might be a sectarian adventure. Which it is would have to estimated on a case by case basis, rather than on principles like unity or independence. Like intersectionality, organisational unity and organisational independence are tools, not principles, and there will always be disagreement on which tool is the right one in a given situation.

how and why did Queer Theory become the defacto paradigm... by unexpectedly_local in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

So this is just thinking out loud (like before), and might be a bit long-winded, so sorry about that. But inalienable human rights is a bit like the existence of god was back in the day. It's (socially) difficult to deny that universal human rights "exist", even though it's just politics about how you should treat or should not be allowed to treat people (and which people in which ways). So if something can successfully be claimed to be a human right — and it's always a political struggle what gets into that position and what doesn't, not a matter of "that's just the way it is" — then that removes it from the arena of (legitimate) political discussion, or at least makes it a lot safer than other more "every day things".

The UN declaration of human rights says, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights", but that's clearly not true, as some people are born straight into grinding poverty or actual slavery. What the declaration can be said to mean is "well, people should not be enslaved or otherwise treated badly in this or that way". But the "human beings are born free" is just a secular — though equally idealistic — way to say what the US declaration of indepence put in religious terms, "all men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".

The difficulty with human rights talk is — at least for me — that of course I think some things should most definetely be protected from the whims of everyday politics more than other things. People lives and people's bicycles should not be on the same line. Even if they're both important, they shouldn't be equally important. Today one of the most effective ways to protect things is to campaign for them as a human right, even though personally I don't find it intellectually honest all the way. To me it's almost the same as to say, "God wants it this way" (which is another way of removing issues from the arena of politics in societies where religion is hegemonic). Pragmatically I won't be arguing most of the time, "don't you realise there's no 'human rights', the only thing there is is political struggle about who gets what (not necessarily in a narrow interest group sense)", even though that's closer to what I think than the human rights discourse is.

So I guess my (tentative) idea here is that — without commenting about its good or bad consequences — TRAs have managed to attach their political aims to the human rights discourse, which gives them an extra protective layer: now it's not just another interest group whining anymore. It wasn't inevitable, but it was hardly surprising either because — at least so it seems to me — it does have similarities with ending the (legal) discrimination of homosexuals, language minorities etc., and at first glance the logic is compelling: if these other groups already have human rights, why not this other group that looks awfully similar?

Something like that :-)

how and why did Queer Theory become the defacto paradigm... by unexpectedly_local in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Sheila Jeffreys argues in her Unpacking Queer Politics. A Lesbian Feminist Perspective (2003) that "In the 1990s a phenomenon developed within sectors of the lesbian community known as ‘packing’ [...] This entailed the wearing of a dildo down the trouser leg to suggest the existence of a penis. This practice signalled that, for the lesbians who adopted it, the worship of masculinity had triumphed over the lesbian feminist project of ending gender hierarchy. At the same time a cult of transsexualism developed amongst similar groups of les­bians. [...] I shall argue here that the most significant reason [for this] was the influence of a powerful male gay culture which, from the late 1970s onwards, rejected the gay liberation project of dismantling gender hierarchy and chose ‘manhood’ as its goal. [...] The harmful practices that have developed in this period have all been given theoretical justification within queer theory and politics. I argue that when queer politics in the 1990s attacked the principles of gay liberation and lesbian feminism, which required the transform­ation of personal life, there was a backlash against the possibility of radical social change. The new politics was based, quite explicitly, upon a repudiation of lesbian feminist ideas. Queer politics enshrined a cult of masculinity." (p. 1–2).

I don't find her account convincing on its own (and is not intended to be: it's a "lesbian feminist perspective"); certainly a larger view on e.g. the rise of postmodernism must enter the picture. I would think it's also connected to the language and culture of "inalienable human rights", the cultural legacy of Nazi atrocities and (in the US) slavery and the resultant horror against any accusation of discrimination. That's just a feeling though.

I read this wild ride of a history by Alice Dreger on a controversial book about AGP. I think GC and QT alike should have this info. by [deleted] in GenderCritical

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

Apropos of Alice Dreger, she was on Sean Carroll's Mindscape podcast in 2018. Intro:

"The human mind loves nothing more than to build mental boxes — categories — and put things into them, then refuse to accept it when something doesn’t fit. Nowhere is this more clear than in the idea that there are men, and there are women, and that’s it. Alice Dreger is an historian of science, specializing in intersexuality and the relationship between bodies and identities. She is also a successful activist, working to change the way that doctors deal with newborn children who are born intersex. We talk about human sexuality and a number of other hot-button topics, and ruminate on the challenges of being both an intellectual (devoted to truth) and an activist (seeking justice)."


GC: A female produces eggs and a male produces sperm, so why aren't pre-pubescent kids sexless? And Why are penis, testes, etc male and why are vagina, clitoris, uterus, ovaries, etc female? Why can't penis, testes, etc be female and why can't vagina, clitoris, uterus, ovaries, etc be male instead? by AllInOne in GCdebatesQT

[–]anfd 20 insightful - 1 fun20 insightful - 0 fun21 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This is my current understanding, I'm not a biologist, so others can step in and correct me if I've made a mistake.

So what I understand is a female produces eggs and a male produces sperm. By that definition, why aren't pre-pubescent kids sexless?

Because already before they're born it's determined what changes their puberty will produce in them. It's not that "some" children will start growing facial hair and "some" start growing breasts, e.g. depending on how "culture encourages them" to do one or the other. What's going to happen in their puberty is clear already when they're embryos in their mother's womb. Of course there might be atypical developments during any stage of development, but biology doesn't work with 100% certainties like that. To give a few examples, there's not an agreed on definition on what's life, or what's a species. Biology is not like Newtonian physics where F=ma.

imagine a woman decides to completely remove all of her genitalia from inside and outside in surgery so that nothing of her genitalia remains, why is it that she does not stop being female

Her genome lacks the Y chromosome that's responsible for starting male development in the embryo. If there's no Y chromosome, the embryo will develop into a female. This genome was responsible for producing her female reproductive system (primary sexual characteristics). You can remove or alter some your primary sexual characteristics (e.g. womb, testicles), or your secondary sexual characteristics (facial hair, large breasts), but the genome that produced all of that will be present in your every cell.

Sex is a biological function in a sexually reproducing species. A species (such as Homo sapiens) cannot be understood on the level of an individual organism and its characteristics. The fact that some individuals in a species cannot or don't reproduce has no bearing on the definition of the species. In fact, loads of individuals in loads of species die without reproducing — they are eaten by predators, die very young, or otherwise perish in the process called natural selection.

And Why are penis, testes, etc male and why are vagina, clitoris, uterus, ovaries, etc female?

Because that's the definition of the word. Well why can't you change the definition, you might ask. Indeed. But this particular definition is based on what has been observed scientifically about sexual reproduction, so it's not that someone just made it up, and that's why it's not justified to change it to what you like. Sexual reproduction came about around a billion years ago, and in sexual reproduction it takes two different kinds of creatures of the same species (in English they're called sexes) to produce fertile offspring. There's only two kinds of gametes, sperm and egg, there's no third kind. There's no "spectrum" there.

Bacteria reproduce by division, many plants can produce by cloning themselves, or by sexual reproduction. Some insects and even some vertebrae can reproduce without sperm fertilizing the egg (it's called parthenogenesis). Just to give examples about various ways of reproduction — mammals reproduce sexually.

Generally it's a mistake to think that there's some one thing that can always decide your sex without exception. Most of the time that is indeed the case, but some people will try to argue otherwise by using very rare outliers as some kind of proof that no generalisations are legitimate. But the more sexual characteristics (and you can start by picking any number of "common sense" characteristics to tell one sex from the other) you look at, and look at them together, the more you will find that they correlate highly. Do you have XX chromosomes, do you have or have you had menstruation, do you have clearly female genitalia, what does your hormone profile look like etc. These are not independent variables, and why would they be because they were produced by the same biological system for a purpose that came to be through the process of evolution. It's irrelevant if you find that in rare cases one ouf ten or twenty of them doesn't match, because you shouldn't look at them in isolation to begin with.

The rare cases do exist, and intersex people are totally real. But they are their own discussion. It's a mistake and evidence that someone doesn't know what they talking about if they think that an exception in biology means "well then you can't say anything about anything".

Is “gender” innate? I’m confused by Confuzzled in GenderCritical

[–]anfd 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Interesting debate between Gina Rippon (from the Cambridge Independent article above) and Simon Baron-Cohen from last year (it's over an hour): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxfaE-gWZ9I