“Transsexualism? That’s nothing to do with real feminism. The radical promise of feminism was lost in 1968 after…” If you have followed any culture debate over the last decade you will have heard similar views expressed widely, especially by those people classified as Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERFs). The contention mirrors almost all conservative politics, in that the conservative will hold that all was well about three decades ago—essentially when they were growing up—but that since then “real feminism”, “straight-talking liberalism”, and so on have been forgotten.
The position comes about because these identities move under pressure from political entrepreneurs—not everyone keeps up—and also because people naturally grow more realistic as they age but do not necessarily shift their overt views in accordance with experience, since group belonging and status trumps truth. Finally, the system itself says that to step out of liberalism, feminism, and socialism completely is to be a demonic “Nazi”, a total out-group member—and so the progressive pretence must be maintained.
So we end up with a situation where people who claim to believe they are feminists will assert they are “true feminists”, not like those weirdos who dominate the scene today. But the feminists who oppose the TERFs are actually correct: the TERFs are not feminists, since they maintain that biology determines womanhood—you can tell TERFs are rightists, they literally defend their turf; the eternal motherland.
When I was sixteen I read The Second Sex (1949) in the hope it would help with girls (reader, it did not) and in de Beauvoir’s classic text among her first assertions is the fact that a person who has a hysterectomy is still considered to be a woman and, therefore, womanhood is not determined by biology. The argument is lame, but my point is that whatever wave of feminism you look at—feminism is understood historiographically as waves, since symbolically woman is the sea or the menstrual flow—whether 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th the claims have always been the same.
What is the basic feminist claim? It is this: whatever differences that can be noticed between men and women—biological, spiritual, or cultural—are trivial and unimportant, so much so that men and women are interchangeable; and, therefore, if men achieve more than women it is because exploitative discrimination exists to deprive women of what they would otherwise achieve—equality with men. I think this basic proposition characterises all feminist thought. You will notice that it follows with complete logic from this assertion that a man could be a woman or a woman could be a man; for obviously, if men cannot become women or women become men then there is some intrinsic difference between them and they cannot be equal. So transsexualism is inherent to the feminist project and people who deny this are unable to surrender their in-group allegiance to feminism and the state’s ideology. Those feminists who oppose the TERFs deserve to win, in my estimation, because they are at least logically consistent and honest about what they are and what they are about—although they are completely wrong.
Hence people like Camille Paglia talk about the betrayal of a spunky feminism that existed in the 1960s, supposedly ruined by pampered bourgeois feminists. Pagila’s position is that “real feminism hasn’t been tried.” In reality, as with socialism, it has been tried and failed—feminism simply means the socialisation of women, so they are owned by nobody or by the state. In both cases, women, being basically property, are squandered and suffer. Paglia is a genuine fascist, in the sense that she wants “national socialism” for women; she genuinely wants women to be more masculine—fascism is masculine—and she disdains “full communism”, full feminism, and holds out instead for a “national socialism”, her tomboyish feminism; and this is opposed to supposedly debased middle-class feminism. Reality: feminism and socialism are both retarded, whether national or international; and the problem is not “middle-class” feminists—the problem is feminism.