Women’s World: Hatpins and Feminine Erasure

Lipstick

I’m gonna fix my lips then tear your argument to shreds!

This morning at church, one of the ladies noticed I had a knitting needle plunged through my hat. Her husband was perplexed, but she understood when I said it was to keep the hat on my head.

Once upon a time, there was a solution to this problem: Hat pins. They daintily skewer the fabric and don’t require permanent holes in felt like knitting needles do.

Hat Pins

They were also good for stabbing!

They still exist and can be found on various online marketplaces. But they don’t sell them anywhere in the real world, where I still do most of my shopping.

For one thing, hats as a staple were out of fashion for, what, 80 years? Long enough that culture has forgotten most of the stuff that goes with them.

Short-haired people don’t have this issue, their hats fit more snugly. And if you have long hair you should wear it down, anyway. It’s sexier that way.

My hair is the longest it has ever been. I grew it out because I’m pushing 40 and it’s fading. I figure this is my last chance. I often wear it up because it’s distracting. It gets caught in stuff. The toddler pulls it. It blocks my vision.

How to keep my hat on when it’s chilly and windy (ya know, when you need a hat!) is a practical issue for me. It’s frustrating to know that it’s been solved but I don’t have good access to the solution.

I can’t help but think it has to do with long hair being coded Feminine. Smart women have long stayed away from everything with that label, and men don’t know or care about how women wear hats.

Hatpins are just my latest example of a lifelong struggle. It doesn’t get much ink or airtime, but I have had the conversation with many women.

Clothes are not actually designed to fit us. Women’s clothes are mostly designed by men. Many of them are impractical and absurdly expensive for it. They lack pockets. They are just tweaked versions of men’s clothes. They are flimsy and drafty.

This is probably a familiar topic to you.

Sometimes there is a company or clothing line run by a woman and a big deal is made of that. She may even be creating things specifically to fill women’s needs. But aside from hype that has a feeling of tokenism, they rarely make a dent in the market.

A big exception would be Spanx, which is interesting because it’s designed to be hidden.

We allow ourselves to be a niche market because, as long as Feminine = Weak, declaring our woman-ness is proclaiming weakness. And most of us know in our gut that our position is still too tenuous to do that.

We have thrown out the baby with the bathwater, ladies.

Too Small

What? My stomach is naturally flat! It’s a curse!

The blurring of lines between force-fed frivolity and genuine female culture has been costly for us. Along with home making and high heels, strong women have turned away from domestic knowledge and most elements of style. Those who don’t are expected to apologize for it.

If you are butch, I love you, sister. But not all of us are happy shopping in the men’s section.

And I’m tired of pseudo-think pieces about how women can empower ourselves by improving the clothing industry.

This is all symptomatic of systemic sexism. It’s more than having pants that actually fit around the waist and the hips, with functional pockets.

It’s the same reason 80% of medicine is designed by and for men. And entertainment. And transportation.

But not only is most of the world not built for us,

We have willingly given up what we built for ourselves in exchange for entry.

What was left of it after the Witch Trials of the Middle Ages, that is.

I understand why many women are put off by Feminism. Through coercion, force, and just plain short-sightedness, the world of women has been demolished and thrown in the bin.

It almost feels like a dirty trick. I can run my own company and wear whatever I want. But I don’t know what to do with these leftovers, how to get these stains out or how to heal my children.

Precious Baby

Don’t worry, Junior, we’ll see what WebMD says!

Because eating well, looking after one’s appearance and caring for others is Girl’s Stuff.

Look at what is missing in the world.

Notice any correlation?

Sometimes I am cross-eyed with anger over knowledge that I’ve been told existed, historians talk about what has been lost, burned and spurned out of my culture. I am so sick of trying to play by the boys’ rules but I’m at a loss for alternatives.

Patriarchy has even absorbed Feminism. Transwomen adopting the frills of girlhood and popular talk of “empowering” stripping classes make it even harder to honestly evaluate the female identity.

And we need to have our own identity. If we content ourselves with imitation we give up our natural power.

If we want to maintain and advance the achievements of our foremothers, we have to rebuild the female identity. The time has come to stop being ashamed of the moments we reveal ourselves.

Womanhood is not weakness. The variety in our personalities shows the flaws in the stereotypes we fear. We can no longer allow them to cause us to fear ourselves.

Why You Are Turning Into Your (Grand)Mother – Consequences of Consistent Mate Selection

Humans select animals with traits we like, and breed them together to create more animals with those traits. This is common practice everywhere, it’s how we get “breeds” of anything – dogs, cats, horses, bovine.

Hilda Reaps

I am both mistress and subject!

It’s also done with plants. Controlling the reproduction of flora and fauna is a big part of agriculture.

I’m simply saying that we do it to ourselves, too.

No One is Born Blank

And I’m not the first one to ponder this. Gordon Allport founded the study of personality 100 years ago. His work is the garden in which all others bloom, such as the Meyers-Briggs and Big Five systems.

Some personality theories address the cause of temperament, and some don’t. Dr Hans Eysenck, founder of the “3 Factor Model,” critic of Freud and stalwart advocate for science (“I always felt that a scientist owes the world only one thing, and that is the truth …. if the truth contradicts deeply held beliefs, that is too bad,”) believes personality derives from the brain. Much of your brain structure is down to genetics.

However, the brain turns out to be much more malleable in adult life than was previously believed. Think of temperament as your personal baseline.

Kiss A Cowboy

I just love dirty fingernails, what can I say?

Gentlemen Prefer Hourglass Figures

Over time we have selected mates with desirable qualities, whatever those happened to be in our time and place. Many personal quirks have enjoyed crosstemporal trendiness, and a few physical traits seem to be beloved across the world.

According to the National Institute of Health, “Beyond matching on similarly, little is known about why we choose who we choose.”

Men have gotten taller while women have been selected for petiteness. The average erect penis is 1/3 larger than the average vagina…. What sense does that make in Nature?? Small wonder so many straight women experience painful intercourse!

What About Personality?

What Am I Doing

What the fuck am I doing??

Domesticated animals are also bred for temperament. I see no reason humans should not be affected similarly.

And I believe many of these traits can lie dormant until triggered by outside forces.

As a kid my idol was Idgie Threadgoode and these days I’m genuinely interested in what Martha Stewart has to say. I still love the outdoors but also a good Clean & Organize.

I did not learn to enjoy domesticity so much as attain a different understanding through what felt like osmosis.

I find my fingers itching to sew, to bake, to turn the dirt and create in all kinds of small ways. But like a purebred hound raised as a pet, I have instinct but no real training.

There’s a feeling of emptiness where domestic culture should be. I blame the Cult of Youth where each generation is encouraged to ignore the knowledge of their elders. And I blame the intergenerational breakdown in my family. My mother can’t teach what she was never taught.

And, frankly, I blame Feminism. With its rejection of the womanly in favor of beating the boys at their own game.

Instinct Vs. Intellect

All of this has been very difficult for me to admit – That I was feeling this way at all, let alone that I have no real idea what I’m doing. I have always shied away from “girly” things because dimples and freckles are bad enough. I thought maybe if I swaggered around like a man, people would take me more seriously.

Surprise

Surprise! You can’t identify out of womanhood!

And if I didn’t find myself in the position of Lady of the House, I doubt that these thoughts would be bubbling up.

I lack positive associations and role models for these traits. I’m conflicted about it all, to say the least. But I have to ask myself, Where is it coming from?

Science Gets Weird

Scientists are just beginning to understand that our lifestyle leaves its mark not just on our bodies, but on our genes. Epigenetics is the fascinating idea that the genes you pass on are directly effected by your behavior.

Then there’s the weird concept of genetic memory. People have been found to have aversions that reflect experiences of their direct ancestors. So, what if dozens of generations of your ancestors lived pretty much the same lifestyle? Hypothetically, you could have strong temperamental leanings for that lifestyle, even if you had never done any of it.

Scientific American says, “Everything from perceptual phenomena to intuitive physics to social exchange rules comes with the brain. These things are not learned; they are innately structured.”

Is Philosophy Genetic?

None of this rules out free will. Just because we have an inkling to pursue something doesn’t mean we have to. Or that we can’t find success doing something else. And some people will have stronger expression of any given attribute than others. Just like any physical trait you can think of.

Bored Operator

Another double standard rooted in unconscious bias? How boring!

I wonder if our stubborn refusal to accept the mind as an outgrowth of the body is causing us to overlook a potentially very fruitful field of psychology. If we have genetic code for our minds as well as our bodies, understanding this could lead to amazing shortcuts in treatments and development.

This idea is not controversial when searching for the genetic components of cancer, diabetes or autism.

Knowing what environments could trigger certain traits could bring a whole new vibrancy to education.

But to consciously harness the power of selection for good –

(This is NOT an endorsement of Eugenics! Traits are just traits, people don’t need Official Help finding partners, and race is not a real thing 😁)

– We have to accept that we are animals, too. Not holding my breath on that one.

Unpopular Opinion: Maternal Regret is Normal

“Traditionally, regret has been viewed as the purview of the childless.”

So claims an article in Canadian classic Maclean’s.

Penguins

The penguins are my babies and I regret nothing!

What? I understand childless people are often threatened with regret, but they don’t tend to voice it themselves.

Whereas, any parent can tell you, none of us do it right. Everyone comes out on the other side wishing they had known or understood something better. That they’d had more money or perspective.

But author Anne Kingston says when mothers express regret it’s “taboo.”

“Unsurprisingly, women who express regret are called selfish, unnatural, abusive.”

Which dovetails nicely with some Feminist ideas but just isn’t true in my experience. And I’ve been making small talk on playgrounds for over 10 years.

She lists other authors and articles along the same lines, illustrating the supposed trend of mothers admitting regret at having kids, and the backlash.

Really, anyone with an average understanding of feminine roles could imagine that reluctant mothers would be dumped on by a society that judges them by their children.

But down in the trenches it just isn’t this way.

Sure, there are tons of Mommy Bloggers whose beautifully curated lives make us all feel like Marge Simpson. But only Sanctimommies tear down other moms.

Reddit alone has several places where you can find real talk about mothering.

BreakingMom (Which I was recently auto-banned from for participating in Gender Critical spaces) is nothing but moms railing against the

Farm Girl

We’re all just trying to get shit done!

insanity that is parenthood.

BabyBumps has a lot of nursery pics and cute baby stories, but also plenty of scary moments and moms asking for advice.

ScaryMommy is a site whose entire premise is off-kilter takes on motherhood. The ‘Mommy Needs A Drink‘ trend is a hipper manifestation of this.

Yes, being a mom is fucking hard, sometimes in ways only other moms can understand. Sometimes we wish we were somewhere else. Sometimes we wonder what we might be doing if things were different.

Sometimes we even wish we had made different choices.

“Feeling trapped or suffocated is a common theme in Donath’s work; mothers felt ‘as if the metaphorical umbilical cord binding them to their children were in fact wrapped around their neck.’ Many women said they felt pressured to have children.”

No shit. That’s what Patriarchy does.

Obviously, we need to talk about it. But framing this as a babe-in-the-woods ambush is insulting to everyone.

If you feel suffocated by your children, first try reevaluating your approach to parenting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and with so much coming at us all the time, we probably feel like we are not doing enough.

Yesterday I was walking out of the bank at noon and realized literally the only thing I had done for myself that day was use the bathroom!

Bed Time

Did I miss story time?

There are only so many hours in a day, but childhood is long. Every moment is precious, but not crucial, if that makes sense.

I feel like I say no all the time, and I’m still swamped! It’s difficult to set boundaries but it’s better for everyone.

My trick has been to find a hobby no one else likes. The garden is on the sunny side of the house and involves using muscles and getting dirty. The only one who really wants to help is the toddler.

But all this takes some introspection. Because to admit regret is to admit complexity. Those of us who sit with our regrets are the type to consider things in depth.

French psychotherapist Corinne Maier is quoted sounding very French indeed, saying, “Her two children left her ‘exhausted and bankrupt,’ and she couldn’t wait for them to leave home.”

She was so upset about it she wrote a “manifesto.”

Kids are exhausting and expensive. We know this. If you decide that makes their existence a net loss for you, that’s a pretty harsh evaluation.

To say that you have regrets is different from saying you’d prefer something else. Saying I could have done better is not the same as saying I wish I hadn’t tried.

The impression I get is that some women want to be able to say, “In my perfect world, my kids wouldn’t exist,” and not

Golf Or Tennis Ladies

So I told Gary, practicing your swing is self-improvement!

get flack for it.

Which is why it’s all couched in this meta-analysis of the supposed blowback for normal maternal regret. If someone calls you a bad mother for admitting depth, she is the one with the problem.

And I just don’t see it on the ground.

If you are preoccupied with how much better your life could have been without your kids to the point you can’t wait to be rid of them, you may be the source of your own discontent.

Clicking around Maclean’s I found a counterpoint about the “collapse of parenting.” Cathy Gully quotes Vancouver psychologist Gordon Neufeld, “When parents realize that they are their children’s best bet, it challenges them to their own maturity.”

This really hits a nerve for me. I have felt myself chafe against the demands of parenthood many times. I have begun to learn what is a need calling out and what is my ego lashing out.

If you’re in charge of someone else’s life, you have to get your shit together.

“They become, in effect, the grown-ups their children need.

Or, at least, step up to the challenge.

Maternal Regret

Does it still count if I take my teddy bear with me?

If you are more worried about all the stuff you could be doing than any of the rest of the multifaceted experience we call motherhood, I can’t say that you are a bad mother.

But it definitely makes you shallow.

And “regretting parenthood, not the children” is less like being against the war but not the soldiers, and more like having your cake and eating it, too.

“I love you, but I wish you weren’t here” is nonsensical and mean. And using Patriarchy as an excuse for your inability to build meaningful relationships is as offensive as it is sneaky.

Maternal regret is normal. And it does get talked about. But it’s not the same as wishing your kids away.

Women have enough trouble discussing our issues without malingerers muddying the waters. Unironically using the supposed sanctity of motherhood as a cover to avoid criticism for being a jerk is a big middle finger to struggling mothers everywhere.

Part of being a true friend is calling your friend on her bullshit. And honey, this is some bullshit. Patriarchy is not why no one wants to hear about why you don’t like your kids.

BrazenShe’s Radical Feminism for Beginners

In my recent adventure with the Trans Rights Brigade, I ran into some serious misunderstanding about what Radical Feminism is.

Coincidentally, this week I also found a very good, concise statement of the Radical Feminist platform over at Women’s Liberation Radio News.

Summer Fun

This Summer fun is interrupting my studying!

“Third Wave” Isn’t Feminism

Before we dive in, I want to spotlight the fact that “Third Wave” Feminism is actually backlash against the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

The 1970s saw significant legal progress for women. We acquired the privilege of applying for credit, terminating unwanted pregnancies, and legal protection against housing discrimination. The UN declared 1975 International Women’s Year. Women’s Studies became a feature on campuses everywhere.

These days, it’s morphed into Gender Studies.

Hmmm, How strange! In 50 years we went from “Please can I have a bank account and an apartment?” to not even needing a single dedicated class? Has any movement ever come so far so fast?

Of course not. But Patriarchy runs the show and, after giving women a few showy wins, sat back and waited for our guard to slip.

So now we have boys winning girls’ track scholarships and men are being counted in affirmative action quotas. We are losing access to reproductive healthcare. Meanwhile I have people trying to argue with me about female penises.

Which is why we need Radical Feminism more than ever.

Radical Feminism Is:

  • Focused on female power, freedom and independence, not on the reformation of males

Guys, it’s not always about you.

Ssshhh

It’s gonna be okay, darling!

  • Anti-Capitalist
  • Anti-racist
  • Anti-classist
  • Anti-imperialist
  • Anti-war
  • Anti-Patriarchal religion
  • Anti-gender

Especially femininity as performed by women.

  • Critical of heterosexuality, marriage and the nuclear family

This is a neglected point. Tends to get reduced to ‘marriage is oppressive!’ Which has merit but some of us are straight, y’all!

So I figure I’m on the front lines of this one.

  • Against the hatred and oppression of lesbians

Because they’re women, duh.

  • Recognizes and condemns males violence against women and children, animals and the earth

Thus the anti-Capitalism and all that. Capitalists would happily burn up the planet for profit.

  • Supportive of female segregation and female-only spaces

    Good Lesson

    There’s some education for ya!

Another one that should be obvious. ‘Exclusion’ has become a dirty word, but sometimes being exclusive is the point. Like making the Dean’s List or joining a hiking club.

If you don’t make the cut or are unable to go hiking, those groups are not for you.

If you are a male, the ladies’ room is not for you.

  • Anti-rape, including paid rape in the pornography and prostitution industries
  • Anti-BDSM and all forms of abuse generally

I’m personally still working on exploring these topics. It’s slow going because of some experiences that turned it into a personal minefield.

  • Morally absolutist/culturally universalist on issues relative to female oppression

This is probably my favorite part.

I don’t care what your culture or your religion says. If you think educating girls is a waste of time, you are part of the problem.

If you think a woman’s value lies in her body, whatever form that belief takes, you are part of the problem.

If you support anyone born male having access to women’s spaces, you are part of the problem.

Your Argument is Beside the Point

Domestic Labor

I can’t theorize this laundry done!

Because before I am American or white or red-headed and frumpy,

I am female.

It’s something fundamental we all share that can’t be taken from us.

No matter how many words get redefined or how many TERFs get punched.

What really sucks is, it’s all irrelevant!

Calling me every name in the world won’t stop Patriarchy. It won’t stop the epidemic of male violence.

Someone came at me saying he had to confront me because he couldn’t let dangerous bigotry and hatred go unanswered.

I asked him to go pick a fight with one of the many thriving white supremacy groups, but told him I understand that picking on me is easier. Just don’t pretend it makes you some kind of hero.

Radical Feminism is about liberating women everywhere from the tyranny of Patriarchy.

And as Patriarchy gets more creative, so must we be creative in our response.

So, yeah, I’m a straight white lady with a big ass, and I’m gonna tear holes in all the sexist, racist, greed-infested bullshit I can find.

Radical Feminism is real. It’s nuanced. It’s intoxicating. It’s woman-focused. And it’s growing.

You’re A Man, Honey, and That’s Okay

Male Violence is The Enemy

Hey, guys, I get it. As much as any lady can, I sympathize. Being A Man is a big freaking deal. Men are kinda nuts.

Lincoln

And the way they are mythologized creates an impossible standard!

Forced Into the Butch Box

If you are just not much of a hard ass, if you find yourself drawn to the lighter side of life, you may also find yourself targeted by the Man Police. They are regular guys, your friends, your boss, your teacher. Your Dad. Any or all of them may take it upon themselves to kick your ass if you step out of line.

I’m not going to dig into why that happens. It’s pretty foreign to me, and I truly don’t mean to patronize you.

But this stuff is directly concerning to me because there are men of all ages who I love dearly. They are deeply affected by these things.

One of my oldest friends is a poet and an artist. He is also a hard motherfucker who is covered in tattoos and recovering from heroin addiction. Because of experiences he has referenced but never really told me about.

My husband is barely on speaking terms with his father, who had a habit of humiliating him in front of the old man’s friends for giggles.

My own father has never been able to maintain normal relationships with women. He has apparently wandered off into some scary corner of sexual sadism and I really don’t even want to know about it.

I have two sons and I take my responsibility to them very seriously. Who better to teach them that women are people? I actually get pretty upset sometimes when I see things written by lonely men who are frustrated by their lack of connection with women.

The Root of Misunderstanding

Sad Cowboy

Patriarchy creates a world where a heart is a liability!

They don’t understand that the question, “How do I relate to women?” is the basis of the problem.

You relate to a woman based on what you can observe about who she is as a person.

Women are people, with every personality configuration imaginable. Just like you.

You are also complex and that’s okay. Men are capable of some amazing things, that is undeniable. Being one of the good ones begins with approaching yourself and the rest of humanity with the understanding that we are all people first.

Be Yourself, Darling!

If you feel like you are most feminine person on this green Earth, you do you. I support you in throwing away all that toxic, judgemental garbage that has been polluting masculinity forever. Being A Man has nothing to do with what you wear and everything to do with how you behave.

Be a thoughtful, respectful person. It’s really very simple. Go about your business.

If you find yourself with some leftover passion, join us in trying to stop male violence.

Threats 1

Feminists don’t kill transwomen!

Male violence is what kills transwomen. Feminist activists don’t kill people. Insecure, homophobic men kill people.

Male violence is everything from domestic abuse to mass shootings to war. It is the locker room bully. It is all those ironic motherfuckers who visited me this week and told me their suggested method for my death.

Lead the Revolution!

Male violence is the enemy of us all. Female, male, trans, all classes and races. It is caused by the isolation integral to toxic masculinity.

You could be the front lines of dismantling the system that you so clearly hate. Be A Man. On your terms. Don’t let them take that from you.

Regarding Being A Woman

I am tired of debating who is a woman or what a woman is. That is a stupid waste of everyone’s time – We all know what we are talking about. To suggest that people are going around confused about the biological and potential reproductive nature of anyone’s body is absurd and I am not going to engage with that any more.

Be the femmiest man you can dream of. I will support you and cheer for you.

You are not a woman, honey, and that’s okay. Men can do great things. Go normalize your truth and fuck gender labels.

Love & Hugs,

– Sarah

Trans Attacks!

For those keeping score at home, the Facebook trolls have not let up yet.Terf Gun

They took my walking away after two and a half hours this morning as some kind of victory. But guys, I have stuff to do!

They threw a couple studies at me, but the majority of it has been vitriol demanding my submission.

It’s all public record and I encourage anyone to go read it, if you have the stomach.

It’s Raining Crap!

The onslaught has taken various forms.

There’s the ever-popular repetition of meaningless slogans

And some apparent confusion about those slogans

I was threatened repeatedly.Threats 1

 

But the most interesting part was being told about my own political beliefs.Alt Right Tho

There was some strangeness, too.

And, of course, just a lot of pointless insults

These are but a few examples I spent a few minutes collecting. To post them all would take all night.Threats 4

It’s still going on as I write this. The post that started it all has blown up. I have gotten 13 new followers so far.

Unfortunately for them, I have not been cowed. Or “educated.” I had been thinking of taking BrazenShe in a more overtly political direction next year, there are lots of women’s issues at stake in the election.

This week has shown me that opinionated women are still shat upon. Even in the US, where we are supposedly a beacon of freedom, they flocked like moths to a flame to put me back in my place.Wife's Huge Cock

“TERF” is a slur, in case anyone hadn’t caught that already. Not that they need it, having no problem calling me scum and a cunt and a bitch and I don’t even remember what all.

After a while, all that negativity does begin to weigh on a person. Happily, there were a few brave souls who stepped into the fray behind me.Mental Health Problems

And even if I had been alone in this, nothing changes based on what a bunch of internet trolls say. Female oppression is still a thing. Gender roles are still Patriarchy’s favorite method.

Trans politics ignoring all of this and codifying gender stereotypes into an unquestionable religion is shockingly offensive.Twaw

Society uses our bodies as the reason for our subjugation. People are much more than just bodies, but physical form matters. It affects our life experience and how the world treats us.

To say women have some feminine essence is to imply we have been complicit in our own oppression.

Fuck

That

If you are upset by this, go in peace. I’ll see you on the flip side.

If you are on board, good news! This loudmouth bitch is only going to get louder.

Laws are being changed. Canada is now recording crime according to gender identity. (“The variable ‘Gender of person’ and the ‘Classification of gender’ are expected to be used by most social statistics programs.”) The UK is on the precipice of Self-ID becoming law.

Male violence is arguably the biggest issue women face. I could swear 20 years ago, everyone knew this! If we can’t name the problem, if we are robbed of our privacy, we are left defenseless.

Stand with me and speak out for women’s rights. Your daughters will thank you.

***Stay tuned for the first installment of our Feminist Education Series, and the finale of the Summer Series, Fight Despair Together. Because I haven’t forgotten that everyone could use a little personal growth.***

“It appears the page is run by a TERF”

It’s amazing how difficult it is to talk about women’s issues.

Today I was outed as a “TERF.”

Viral Post

The post that started it all

For those uninitiated, that’s Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

Which is technically true, I suppose. In that I understand that the only thing that makes a person one sex or the other is their anatomy. The rest is all gravy.

Trans Politics Dwell in Hyperbole

I have resisted getting directly involved in the conversation for two reasons:

  1. My focus is women. Not what makes someone a woman or men who want to be women.
  2. I have more important things to do than deal with trans rights activists who are not going to listen to a damn thing I say.

I already lost one old friend over this. A friend who started life as a girl and now lives as a man. Someone who I knew years ago and care for deeply.

Someone who wouldn’t listen when I said that I do understand.

I thought of myself as a man in a woman’s body for 15 years. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because every time it comes out that I disagree with trans identity politics, people assume I don’t understand.

Or that I was never “really” trans.

Yeah, and no true Scotsman could be a sex maniac.

Because I disagree, they try to write me off. Because disagreement isn’t allowed.

Policewoman

Stop right there! I’m gonna have to issue you a citation for Engaging A Famous Fallacy!

Which tells you everything you need to know, really.

What Are We Even Arguing About?

It’s not possible to “be a woman inside” because the only thing that makes anyone a woman is her outsides. The “science” they cite is all small, cherry-picked studies. It reminds me of how Rene’ Descartes declared the pineal gland the seat of the soul.

He’s the one we have to thank for this whole body-soul separation thing in modern philosophy, by the way. Thanks, Rene’.

And do I need to remind you that “lady brain” has been used to treat women like children for ages??

Not to mention, if you’ve never been something, you’re only imagining what it’s like.

If being trans is totally valid, why transition? If transwomen “are women” then what are they transitioning to?? Why go through hormones or surgery? Why worry about “passing?” Normalize presenting somewhere between the accepted categories! Please, for the love of god! Little gay boys and girls everywhere will thank you.

Not to mention the bald-faced irony of trans women wanting into women’s spaces as safe havens from men…. while ridding us of safe havens from men!

Your body is not female just because you say it is.

You can be the most effeminate guy around, you may very well be more “ladylike” than me. But you are a man, honey.

Brazenshe You're A Man Honey And That's Okay

It’s okay, darling, we’ll figure this out!

Yes, I received several braindead replies saying that transwomen have female bodies.

None of them were able to tell me what ‘female’ means. Woman = female = woman is not a definition, it’s a thought loop. 

I was having a lot of fun for the first few hours. But eventually I got tired. I told someone that they knew perfectly well what ‘female’ meant and that the argument was dumb.

They did not respond to that.

This Isn’t About You

You may have noticed that my original post above doesn’t mention trans anything.

I never said trans people aren’t people. Or that they are not deserving of human rights.

I said what women are. And what I believe motivates anyone who says differently.

And lots of people took that very personally.

Trans women are men. Anyone with an identity integration issue that messes with them that bad needs help, not hormones.

By The Hair

Transactivists don’t care for your opinion!

But compassion is only allowed one shape. Only “affirming.” Independent thought is discouraged. I came to the wrong conclusions so I must not understand.

And it’s their business to make me understand.

Actually, this is the weirdest part to me.

I do not know most of the people I argued with today. Come to find out through a third party, they were sent my way by my sister. Who told me to leave her alone but doesn’t feel the need to return the favor.

Why they felt compelled to Set Her Straight I can only speculate.

But it sure doesn’t come across as security in their convictions.

And, anyway, how self-absorbed is it to insist that everyone around you play along with your denial of physical reality? Or you will threaten them. Or shout at them. Or sue them (and call 911 when they ask you about it.)

And yes, this is about transwomen, really. Literally the only person who spoke up for transmen was my old friend. 

But I was told how “transwomen are women” by over half a dozen uninvited guests.

Transwomen are Not Our Allies

But the reason I have a problem, the reason I care to begin with

Is because transwomen are not allies to women.

Bogey Man

We need to wake up!

They don’t care about abortion access except to insist healthcare providers call us “uterus-bearers.” They don’t care about rape survivors being traumatized by the male form. They don’t care about women in third world countries. Or the ongoing plague of female feticide.

They don’t care about the United States’ awful maternal death rate, so long as the midwives refer to us as “pregnant people.”

There’s only one type of person who might get pregnant. And we have been oppressed for millennia because of it.

And trans women don’t care about that. They don’t see that. They see us having feelings and wearing dresses and call that “freedom” because it’s what they want to do.

So do it!

You have a sex and a personality. One doesn’t have to determine the other.

That’s really all I wanted to say.

Fight Despair Together: What Does Life on Your Terms Look Like?

You see the well-trodden paths in your life. You learn ways to stop getting stuck there. You go, killer! The next question is, “Where do we go from here?”

We have to forge new paths, create new ways of relating to people around us. If we are doing our inner work well, this should be obvious to us. We recognize familiar situations and remember how we would have reacted in the past.

Late Night

My coping mechanisms work fine…. Until they don’t!

Take Responsibility for Your Reactions

Personal example, a weird thing I have is I hate waking up alone. Like, if I went to bed alone, okay. But in that half-awake haze of the Night Owl at 8am, I seek out the comfort of my beloved.

And if he’s up early playing a game, it takes me to this weird, awful thing where each of my parents preferred a screen to my company.

Please keep in mind, I’m still barely half-awake.

There have been days when I was well into a spiral of lashing out and self-loathing by the time I really became conscious.

My new favorite YouTube shrink is Abdul Saad. In one video he says that stability is necessary before self-development can begin. This is so true! I’m so grateful to my husband for putting up with all my drama and being a consistent presence in my life.

Saying ‘No’

Sometimes I’m sad when I think of my old family and how none of my efforts made any difference. But without those people around, my dust is finally settling. I can begin to see myself as I truly am, without being drained by people who don’t know how to give.

So, when you see the old reaction – In my case, freaking the fuck out – but the instinct behind it is muted because you have been working through the blockage that triggers it – My fear of abandonment – you begin to see new ways to handle things.

Mostly these days I can stay calm long enough to remind myself who I’m talking to. Why I got up in the first place. Maybe I help deal with something bothering him. And, more often than not, I simply go back to bed.

Yawn

I love you guys, but I need my rest!

You might call this a ‘soft no.’

Another thing Dr. Sahd said is that suffering is a necessary prerequisite for personal growth. Not to throw a pity party but, dear readers, I have been suffering.

I have been tired before. I ran myself ragged in my 20s because I didn’t know any better.

And I thought pushing myself would make me harder. It just makes me numb.

Since I married my husband I have pushed myself harder than ever, in love instead of fear. I hoped this would carry me through. I hoped I would adjust to this complicated life.

I’m doing okay. But I have had to start saying no, as an act of desperation. It’s not easy! My impulse to prove myself and my enthusiasm for giving made me turn away from my own inconvenient needs a few too many times.

My family is a wonderful source of love, cuddles and companionship. But I need to be alone.

I have described it to my husband as a house – I am happy to have guests but I need time to clean up and take out the garbage. It’s starting to pile up.

Despite all my explanations, he is very extroverted and just doesn’t quite get it. He is getting better at anticipating my needs, but I can’t expect him to be my emotional babysitter.

I have to let go of needing to always please others and always feel included, because I have to find a way to include solitude in my life.

This is a must. I’m starting to lose my inner thread more and more. Even when rested I’m irritable and distracted.

Reading By The Window

I know I wrote it down somewhere!

Life on My Terms…. Who am I?

I bring it up because life on our terms isn’t just about deciding what we want and pursuing it. I reshaped my life a few years ago because I reached a crossroads. But Happily Ever After is always more complicated than we might wish.

We will always hit walls. Sometimes our goals don’t align with our abilities and we have to re-evaluate.

Most of all, remember you are a work in progress. Life on your terms requires a strong understanding of yourself.

My first dream was to be a musician. I pursued this dream for years and with various methods. At 20, life on my terms would have looked like playing out with my band every week. Travel, drugs and alcohol, all that stuff.

Now I understand that, if I had succeeded, that lifestyle would have fried me. And quite possibly killed me. The crippling anxiety that stopped me makes sense in retrospect. I still hope to communicate with the masses, but I don’t even like watching other people play stadiums!

A big part of actually accomplishing growth is letting go of how you thought things would be. The Buddha said the root of all suffering is wanting and, although asceticism mostly pisses me off, I think this is where that wisdom applies.

The Only Constant in Life is Change

It’s important to keep trying to be a little better, day after day. And while our goal vision is a great motivator, remember that it’s just a vision. It’s an idea. The only thing that’s real is what’s in front of you right now.

Life on our terms is not about bullheadedly pursuing an ideal. And you will find that your terms, your boundaries, your needs change as you change.

Unbalanced

I had it balanced there for a second!

My mother once cautioned me against using psychedelics because “it changes your brain chemistry. It changes who you are, forever!” Later I learned that, yeah, that’s kinda the point.

And anyone who wants to stay exactly the way they are is not someone I want to spend a lot of time with.

Once again I’m going to urge you to keep a journal. Just a notebook to write down your thoughts as they come up. It’s an invaluable tool for organization and reflection. Plus, you will be amazed how much you plain old forget.

What you want is only half the picture. Who you are will assert itself in sneaky ways.

Radical Acceptance is the Cure for What Ails Ya

I could easily have gotten some pills for the anxiety and blamed the world for whatever level of failure I attained in the sexist music business. And I can only imagine what a miserable fuck I would be at 35.

Don’t imagine for a second that this tomboy thought she would have four kids and just want to stay home to clean and write. Hell, no.

There is what you want, and there is who you are. You have to radically accept who you are, otherwise you will be running in brambly circles forever.

**We’re coming up on the last push in our Fight Despair Together series. I hope I have helped a few of you gain some insight and get a little grounded for the hard work in the coming year. Heal yourself, come together.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Is Fear of Abandonment the Root of Narcissism?

The similarity is unmistakable – Narcissistic people, who appear grandiose but are actually cripplingly insecure, tend to follow a cycle in relationships.

Haystack Captive

I could use a little more control in this situation!

While reading about the Fear of Abandonment I was struck by how they are essentially the same reaction. The main difference is that the Narcissistic Cycle dominates a person’s relationships.

Idealize – The beginning is beautiful, often called ‘Love-Bombing.’ Their partner is the most perfect person to ever live.

This is a hard one because it mimics normal infatuation. In the early stages of romantic love, people are notoriously rose-colored in their estimation of their crush. Much ink has been spilled, thousands of songs written and enough films for a weeklong festival. It’s cruel because this phase can actually be terrifying for people who have been involved with emotional vampires before.

“By being in a relationship with such a nurturing, loving person, the person with narcissism is able to consume that person’s authentic love and extract narcissistic supply.”

Terrifying because the downturn is insidious:

Devalue – When their partner is inevitably revealed to not be perfect, the dysfunctional person begins magnifying and imagining flaws. Small things like a tone of voice or canceled plans with little explanation sow seeds of doubt in their once-beloved. Slowly, the partner can begin to doubt their own perspective.

Tactics can include “intermittently lacking emotional or physical intimacy, withdrawing affection, seductive withholding, inexplicably disappearing from contact, or blaming the target for the narcissistic person’s issues (projection).”

Kiss On The Couch

There’s no escape…. from the love!

It’s all a setup for the final phase:

Discard – Now that the target is all jumbled and insecure, the Narcissist is on his merry way. He has drained his victim and will use his charm (and possibly the sob story about this break-up) to find another.

Asking for better treatment can precipitate this phase. Demands for empathy or reciprocity are met with temper tantrums. “Inevitably, the discarding occurs when the person with narcissism either disappears or orchestrates his or her own abandonment by engaging in some form of egregious emotional abuse.”

My ex and I went through this whole thing three or four times over seven years.

How do you do it more than once?  I hear you asking. Well, part of it was my unwillingness to walk away, and part of it was his unwillingness to actually be alone. Put this together, and you slip easily into the last phase of the cycle:

Hoovering – This is not always officially included but, in my experience, it might be the most important. Because it’s where real confusion can set in.

So you’ve been devalued, rejected, abandoned. But then the minute you start to get your head together, he’s back. Apologizing and saying everything you want to hear. This phase is named after the brand of vacuum cleaner because he is sucking you back in. The moment you begin to play along, the whole cycle starts over.

But Narcissism is usually created by abuse. Narcissists beget narcissists. They are emotionally stunted and wounded people.

The Fear of Abandonment can mimic this cycle.

Impatient

You know, the older you get, the more you remind me of my father!

Verywellmind.com lists the steps created by a Fear of Abandonment as

  • Getting to Know One Another
  • The Honeymoon 
  • The Real Relationship
  • The Slight – Where they reveal imperfections
  • The Reaction“If you have this fear, you are probably completely convinced that the slight is a sign that your partner no longer loves you…. Some people handle this by becoming clingy and demanding, insisting that their partner prove her love by jumping through hoops. Others run away, rejecting their partners before they are rejected.”

Seems to me that it’s usually one, then the other. It’s a lot like the Narcissistic Cycle, but that doesn’t mean someone who behaves this way is narcissistic. It’s like a phobia, and can be self-contained in an otherwise reasonable person.

A person who is able to look at their own behavior and see where they could improve. Narcissists are incapable of this. They may be able to talk the talk, but they will never walk the walk. They talk themselves out of things just as quickly.

They will never really take responsibility for anything, this is the purpose of their emotional jig. Eventually, even the most loving and patient person will be exhausted and unable to take any more.

But the reason they can’t take any responsibility is they are extremely insecure. I wonder if it’s what happens when the Fear of Abandonment runs amok.

Swinging Sixties

Do you love me now?

The way Narcissists pass on the disorder is by teaching their children not to rely on them and, thus, anyone. They are not even reliably unreliable. Sometimes, they love you.

And then they emotionally abandon you over and over.

Maybe it’s the Fear of Abandonment grown so big it makes it impossible for them to open up, even to themselves.

I don’t really know but I see the role it plays in my life and it’s got to go. I do have a knee jerk paranoia that every little argument is the beginning of the end.

Because people have abandoned me totally unexpectedly and for no apparent reason. Aside from my emotionally unavailable parents’ divorce when I was five, we moved around a lot. My entire grade in school rejected me when I was nine, then again three years later in a different district.

After a while, you start assuming there’s something wrong with you.

You begin to treat everyone as if they are temporary and, most of the time, they are. Just because of the transient nature of this modern life. And maybe because sometimes you sense a relationship growing stale and the downslide feels like being nauseous before vomiting so you just get it over with and move on.

My first serious boyfriend spectacularly dumped me. My first son’s father was uninterested in both of us. My third major relationship was that ex I mentioned.

He does make for excellent learning material, though.

All Red

I really am trying my best!

My dad went crazy and my mom took the opportunity of her own near-death to treat me with all the grace of a petty child. And now, naturally, my sister has decided she’d rather not actually talk about any of the bullshit she accused me of.

So, yeah, it’s a thing. Learning about it helps a lot. Solidifies the concepts and helps me feel less insane. And I realize that this, plus totally unrespected overstimulation problems, are responsible for basically all the weird shit I do.

Eventually you get a little old and a little wistful wondering where people are now. Hindsight shows you what a shithead you were, things you totally misunderstood.

Psych Alive offers some hope: “Fortunately, a person’s style of attachment is not fixed. We can develop earned secure attachment as adults in several ways…. experiencing a secure attachment can offer someone a new model for relationships and how people behave in them.

This is what I have been instinctively trying to do. I want to fill my life with functional people, and not drive them crazy with my antics.

Lots of people are gone. But so is lots and lots of awful bullshit. Maybe most of the time, when someone leaves, they are doing you a favor.

Feminism In Action: Dr. Sam Collins Builds Women’s Leadership

Every once in a while I will get hopeful and apply for a few remote jobs, writing jobs, things that would just be interesting to do.

On Indeed, of all places, I found an ad wanting someone to write a woman-centered blog.Dr Collins 2

That’s me! I tightened up my resume and composed a real zinger of a cover letter after doing some research. The company and its founder amaze me, she is someone we should all know about.

Originally from England and based in Los Angeles, Dr. Sam Collins has been out there fighting the good fight for a long time. For 17 years she has been working to boost representation of women in business and government.

The organization she runs for this purpose is called Aspire. According to its website, Aspire was “founded in 2001 by Sam when she was just 30 years old and [is] now a globally sought-after organization that enables women leaders and men who are advocates for women to thrive through leadership development, coaching and events.”

The nonprofit arm of Aspire does pro-bono mentoring work in 80 countries and “has made a positive difference to the lives of over 15 million women and girls across the world” since 2010.Radio Heaven

Dr. Collins has written the story of how she came to this path in her book Radio Heaven. I haven’t had a chance to read it, I’ve added it to the ever-growing list. Amazon describes it as “about the power of doing business for social good and designing your own destiny rather than waiting for your parents, bosses, partners, or society to determine it for you.”

Dr. Collins was 21 when her mother died. Her grief threw her life into chaos. She was fired from her dream job. She was mistaken for a homeless person after passing out in a train station. After spiraling she pulled herself right and used her tenacity to build a business, win awards, and help women all over the world. 

This lady is definitely someone I should know about.

I was nervous about reaching out but compelled myself with the thought that she is acting out a logical, practical vision of many of the values I have been writing about. We’re working toward the same goal, although she has a much more impressive resume. It seemed natural that we should be aware of each other.Dr Collins 3

For a few days, I checked my email every couple hours hoping to hear back. I allowed myself to imagine what it might be like to have a conversation with her, weighed which questions I would ask.

I think it was the third day I heard back. I was at work when the notification came in and I left it until I got a break.

Until I looked at it, anything was still possible.

Dr. Collins said she didn’t think I was the “right fit” and she was “sorry for the disappointing news.” So polite, it’s hard to be mad. I had thought she might be too classy to be overly interested in what I do. I heaved a big sigh and checked the substitute teacher board again.

Most of the time, the results of our explorations are not what we hope they will be. The trick is to keep an open mind and make the most of reality as it presents itself. Not getting caught up in wishes or regrets and missing opportunities to learn.

I’m still glad I stumbled upon that ad. I got to learn about another inspiring woman showing the way for those of us at the beginning of our journey. We’re connected on LinkedIn, maybe one day we’ll meet at a conference and have a laugh.

Mainly it’s just nice to know there are people like her in the world.