On Radical Feminism vs Letting a Trans Person Be

Michelle Goldberg has a piece in this week’s New Yorker about the state of the argument between trans-exclusionary radical feminists and transgenderism writ both large and personal; it reads slightly evasive (lots of “some people say that [insert old offensive idea]” type language; a lingering sense that the advent of trans rights is already “too much”) and sort of stunningly gotta-hear-both-sides to this very pro-trans, pro-letting-a-person-be, chillwave-feminist brain over here, but it’s a fascinating read.

Some self-described radical feminists [] have found themselves in an acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that they are women because they feel female — that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.”

“Radical feminists,” writes Goldberg, “now find themselves in a position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a baffling political inversion.” God, I’m so glad that I was not in college during the second wave. [New Yorker]

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