Women Are Not Men!

What is Woman?

Vacation

Somehow, they always seem to know when it counts…

After centuries of having this question answered for us, we have struggled to rise to the opportunity of defining ourselves. It’s become an individual project, each woman left to figure it out alone because the thing we all have in common is portrayed as our greatest weakness.

The primordial origins of what it is to be female have been weaponized against us so effectively that we are terrified of them. To even suggest that the potential to gestate offspring is fundamental to femaleness is controversial, and feminism has traditionally been about exploring all the other things women can do.

The legacy we inherited is strangely silent on the subject of motherhood. Implying pregnancy is a uniquely female problem automatically puts people in mind of conservative family cults. ‘Is a childless woman somehow less of a woman?’ comes the perennial question.

Of course not! Biology may not be destiny, but it is our common starting point. Our hypothetical ability to bear children is understood by those around us from the very beginning. It is the wellspring of the endless conditioning we all face.

Our assumed reproductive capacity is the rationale for misogyny. It is the foundation of the patriarchy we are fighting every day!

Feminism’s unwillingness to directly address this fact is its fatal flaw.

Radical feminism is supposed to be about getting to the root of female oppression. Yet, somehow, it’s unpopular to point out that the root of women’s oppression is our unique childbearing abilities. Men simply can’t do this, and they’re still fuming over it! 

A pregnant woman is a vulnerable woman, a new mother even moreso. Creating the next generation takes a lot out of you, and our male companions have taken disgusting advantage of this process.

But never mind suggesting we should be controlling that conversation. Maybe after we get parity in the Fortune 500.

I understand the gutwrenching, involuntary internal scream in response to, ‘Do you think you might settle down?…’ On top of the social suffocation that is Parenthood, kids have only become less affordable since people started asking me that. I get how plenty of other Pushing-40s have passed that off-ramp and not looked back.

But if we are really so enlightened, if we have cast aside the shroud of ignorance and revealed Woman as just as capable and intelligent as any man, we should be able to look honestly at who she is. Where we come from will always be part of who we are.

Little Girl Makeup

Someday, I’m getting out of this dump!

Maybe think of motherhood as women’s hometown. Some of us are happy there and stay there our whole lives, others leave early and never look back. Some of us yo-yo for decades before making up our minds.

At 20, I was a Leaver. I was way too focused on being a nervous wreck to worry about family planning. I probably should have, but I’ve always been determined not to be resentful of my son.

We are responsible for making choices, and I would never force motherhood on anyone who didn’t want it. It’s fucking hard! And if your heart’s not in it, please don’t bother.

But whether or not we realize our reproductive potential is strangely beside the point.

The very existence of that potential – our Hypothetical Motherhood – has been enough to justify thousands of years and millions of lives. Have a baby, don’t have a baby – I look forward to celebrating our freedom of choice when all women share it.

Sadly, that’s not looking likely anytime soon. Women’s liberation, our personal bodily autonomy, is out of fashion in the Western democracies. We’re being brushed aside, yet again, in favor of the latest iteration of Male Supremacy. Quelle suprise.

And we’re letting it happen because we’re too afraid to face who we are. Better to be erased from law and history than admit what a female is.

Men have no problem confronting their maleness, they assume it’s just how things are! They turn the thermostat down and get up and leave without a word, frustrated by the suggestion of alternatives. Men have written endlessly about what it’s like to be a man. They have expressed every possible permutation in loving detail, indulged in their darkest thoughts without a shred of shame.

The ‘male gaze’ is everywhere, many young girls absorb it and internalize it. I know I did. Again, we are isolated, separated into body parts and spread across camera angles.

What is Woman? Is it any wonder we don’t know?? Men feel perfectly entitled to their maleness, our intimate companions spread their hairy flatulence across the couch without a care in the world! The confidence of a mediocre white man truly is something to behold.

Patch Him Up

Don’t worry, you’ll get him next time!

But all the gender-bending going on has me imagining a different kind of swap – What if masculine traits made you look less intelligent, less competent? Why is a deep voice perceived as authoritative instead of dopey? Why is it what a fat bitch and not what a hairy neanderthal?

Because our social narrative says so. Being female is not a weakness, and birthing children sure as hell isn’t.

Women have had to be extremely adaptable in ways that men haven’t, and now our ability to go-along and get-along has been turned on us, too. We have been tricked into exchanging too much of ourselves for admission to a world that already belonged to us.

Soon they’ll be taking reproduction from us, too, and women will become the Neanderthals – A forgotten branch of humanity that contributed nothing of much importance.

We need to return to our roots if we want to nurture womanhood, but we’re too afraid to go there. The core of Women’s Liberation should be freedom to be womenand we don’t even know what that means! It cannot be simply to have a job, and not a penis. We are losing because we don’t know what we’re fighting for.

Women are not men. We have a different starting point that results in a different spin on life. If ‘woman is not a feeling,’ what is she?

It’s discouraging and not a little embarrassing that Feminism has no answer for these questions. Woman as adult human female is a bit circular, really, because what is female?

‘Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs.’ I hate to get essentialist, but I am not the one who brought the conversation to this granular level. We didn’t ask for this role, but let’s give it all we got!

Women are the sex class that can produce offspring. We have to figure out what that means for our future, or let patriarchy decide for us. Again.

Pockets And Women’s Liberation: Why Not Both?

“All this time, we have been quietly permitting society to convince us that, in discarding the torturously repressive corset, we have definitively thwarted the patriarchal hold over female liberty Once And For All…

“While in actuality, our material freedom has been gradually snatched from right under our noses in the form of expensive jeans with fake pockets requiring additionally expensive handbags!

“Do with that information what you will.”

Self Portrait

Oh, snap – A challenge!

It sounds too simple, but the erosion of women’s pockets through the 19th and 20th centuries follows our struggle for liberation. The more autonomy women have, the fewer and smaller the pockets.

Bernadette Banner’s brief history condenses our struggle into a single point – The harder we fight, the more privacy gets taken.

Seated primly before the camera, dark hair scraped back from her magenta jacket, Bernadette clearly knows what she’s talking about. The video is a collaboration with Yale Press, publishers of The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives.

She speaks passionately about the “vast spacial luxury we were once afforded.”

The switch to sewn-in pockets has been so complete, removable pockets sounded weird at first.

But until the 16th century, everyone’s pockets were basically little flat bags tied to a belt and tucked under your clothes. Men attained sewn-in pockets in the early 1500s, while women continued wearing the older style under their many billowing skirts.

The thing is, pockets are pretty simple. They didn’t change much for a very long time. And for about 200 years, women seemed to like their tie-ons just fine.

Bernadette explains how they were made of different materials and personally decorated, “As they weren’t always seen, there wasn’t pressure for them to adhere to very specific designs according to fashion and to change them out according to the season.

“A pocket is a personal item, worn next to the body and often out of sight. And, perhaps most importantly, is representative of a material autonomy that many women, for much of history, were not able to partake in.

“The items kept in a pocket were personal, concealed, and uncontrolled by anyone but the wearer.”

Sewing them into the clothes made them more secure, but less personal. Being part of a garment meant they had to follow its form, and that form usually worked against us.

Long Underwear

Where the hell am I supposed to put pockets in this?!

Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, and the demand for better treatment only grew louder. Naturally, fashion in the early 1800s took a sharp turn toward slim silhouettes, making pockets less private.

The inevitable accessorizing of handbags was rejected at the time as, “Not a fair representation of the substantial pockets which our ancesstresses wore; they were proper pockets.”

At least that writer had cultural memory to base an opinion on. We have forgotten so much!

Working-class women kept on wearing their handmade tie-ons, but trend chasers had to work harder and harder to keep their pockets from spoiling their Look. The feminine conflict between looking good and carrying your stuff was born.

The pocket switch for women’s clothes really took off around 1850, coincidentally just as the Industrial Revolution was making ready-made clothes affordable. Suddenly, a young woman with a job could buy more clothes than her mother ever owned!

In the 1880s the invention of the bicycle opened up new horizons, sparking a pretty serious anti-feminist backlash. It’s hard to imagine bikes being controversial, but no detail seems too small for patriarchal meddling.

“The latter part of the 19th century also sees a relative slimming of skirt silhouettes. Primarily during the last decade, the area across the hips in particular becomes so tightly fitted as to complicate the wearing of a tie-on pocket.”

No privacy for you, ladies! During this same time, women were gaining admittance to higher education and the marketplace, as well as clamoring for the vote. Is it a coincidence that merchants and thought leaders – All of them men! – might find reasons to constrict us in other ways?

Call me paranoid, but it got pretty ridiculous. “It was also quite common to hide pockets in hilariously illogical places, such as in the center back seam in late ’90s and early Edwardian skirts. Pockets could live under ruffles or drapes, even near the hem, just to ensure that one did always have at least one pocket, despite complex fitting restrictions.”

Thank goodness! I was nervous there for a second.

Jealous Moll

I sure wish I had a pocket for all this loot!

Supposedly, women’s pockets dwindled because manufacturers found them unprofitable. Strange that men’s clothing makers didn’t think of this, why throw money away?

Victorian women wrote quite a bit about how few pockets they had. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote three essays herself. “But pockets of this period were still mind-bendingly large to our modern sensibilities.”

Bernadette takes out a phone, a book, a bag of snacks, a water bottle, and a man’s pipe – All out of one skirt pocket!

The tie-on didn’t really die until the dawn of Modern Era, around 1900. Young women rejected them along with corsets and petticoats.

But putting our pockets in the hands of manufacturers left us with no control over how they’re made. I’m not saying I want to hand-sew all my own pockets from scraps, but add tie-on pockets to the list of practical female-centric clothing you won’t find in any store. 

“So, how did our pocket problem somehow get worse? How did the dilemma progress from just number to rapidly diminishing pocket size?”

Bernadette has one, opaque answer to this all-encompassing question: Fashion!

The demand for slimmer and slimmer silhouettes took every nook and cranny for keeping things. But she admits that even modern skirts and women’s coats lack storage, and somehow men’s tight fashions compensate with pockets in other places.

She even suggests men have never been required to carry handbags because they are easily stolen.

“People wearing feminine clothing in the 21st century are instructed that, in order to be ‘fashionable,’ our natural bodies must be a particular shape. And fashion forbid we obscure that, even just enough to be able to store a mobile phone!

Fabric

The shape of my body is none of your business!

Because if a woman keeps something private, she has a secret. Every inch of personal space is hiding something. The more independent we are, the more scrutinized we are. You know, to make sure we’re using our freedom right.

And if a man can’t own you, he should at least get an unobstructed view of your butt, right?

Fashion is not your friend. What if we treated Fast Fashion like Fast Food, and learned to make our own at home? Sewing is another girly thing we gave up to join the Boy’s Club, but what if there’s more to it?

 

Motherhood, Redefined (To Include Men, Naturally)

Motherhood was abandoned by feminism a long time ago.

Chubby Baby

Looks like it’s you and me, kid… for about nine months, anyway.

Enticed by the promise of economic power, repulsed by the body horror of childbirth and the mental torment of parenting, we have worked hard to become more like men.

Who can blame us? They have taken advantage of a drone’s greater mobility to arrange the world to suit themselves for thousands of years. They reinterpreted us and brutalized dissent. Archeology tells us that women once had a vibrant culture of our own. We once commanded respect for our uniquely female qualities. Whatever we once had has been crushed or commandeered.

Mom, Who Are You?

A young child sees his mother as the highest authority and, if you squint hard enough, it almost looks like childish rebellion writ large to reframe motherhood as the most base of pursuits. She’s just a Housewife. The Career Gal may be told she doesn’t Have It All without a family, but she has her money to keep her company. She has her freedom.

The Housewife doesn’t have it all, either, but she has plenty to do. The nostalgic among us find immense fulfillment in the long haul of training up little people. But it’s a slog. Whims are starved in favor of schedules. Kids are full-fledged people, and terrible roommates.

Outside of the occasional joke about biological clocks, we tend to ignore any urge to have kids. Sex is a game we can play with just about anyone, kids are an awkward side-effect. The professional world is inverted to women’s reproductive lives. If we want kids at all, we inevitably miss out on career growth we can never make up.

This is so blatantly rigged against us, but the refrain is praising our presence. Young women outnumber men graduating college, we’ve joined the Boy’s Club at last.

Education is vital, but a capitalist education prepares us to be workers. Because only women possess that magical capacity to Have It All – Build a career to rival any man’s while cooking dinner, reading bedtime stories and kissing boo-boos. Afterward, she and her man change hats and become sexual provocateurs. Perplexingly, patriarchy has painted us as both sex props and mother hens. For about 30 years of our lives, we are expected to effortlessly hop between these two poles.

I’m assuming Having It All means having about two hours’ sleep a night.

Women are more heavily affected by lack of sleep, too. Being taught the candle is meant to be burned from both ends places an even harsher burden on us than it would our male companions. It’s a small thing, but I think it explains a lot. We are not as alert as we should be.

Patriarchy’s Final Frontier

Our focus on proving we can beat them at their own game has allowed everything else to slide.

Cig And Tea

Gosh, I sure with *I* could disregard everyone else’s wellbeing in favor of my own selfish interests, too!

The Code of Hammurabi, the oldest written law, goes into loving detail about what women can and can’t do. Nations needed sons, you see, to defend themselves and secure resources. Our labor was necessary to build the world, and we were conscripted. But a woman’s power is a terrifying combination of mysterious and undeniable. You can’t see how a baby is made, and you can’t fight it, either.

For the most part, men have contented themselves with running things rather than contemplate the mystery. And they discovered recasting making life as a weakness saved them the trouble of denying it happens.

Forever until the 1970s, religious messages of martyrdom held mothers on a pedestal. Denied most other options, women were talked into rearing the next generation as a sacred duty. These days, motherhood is strategizing between work meetings and Netflix binges. And we’re mostly fine with that, because we are done being martyrs.

But the political project of papering over women continues to find new frontiers, and even motherhood isn’t exempt. The linguistic and cultural recognition of the exclusive relationship you have with someone who forms within you is under question. 

Countries around the world have seen fellas publicly claiming the heretofore physical and sexed title of Mother. 

2020, The Year of Male Moms

On March 30, 2020, a bespectacled Spanish man named Alex took advantage of International Transgender Visibility Day to announce that he, too, is a mother. “[Some] trans people don’t desire to realize a transition of the body and accept themselves how they are. It’s important that trans people are recognized for who we are, for our felt identity. It’s legitimate to be a woman, including without doing a transition.”  

How is that, exactly? 

Masks Off

Ok, it’s time to get real – What did he just say??

Courts in France have been arguing over it, too. In June, a 51-year-old man who has been legally recognized as a woman since 2011 won a ruling declaring him the mother of his children. Who were created with the help of his wife, the only way such things happen. Presumably she is on board with this, maybe he promised he’d do half the housework, too.

Days later in Brazil, a prominent academic was busy arguing on Twitter that, “The ‘mother’ category is the worst possible choice if we want to approach pregnancy, childbirth, the puerperium and breastfeeding from a feminist perspective. Like really bad. Conservative. Excluding. It just gets in the way.” Yes, motherhood tends to exclude anyone who hasn’t given birth to a child. There are common exceptions, both joyful and tragic, but we all have one thing in common.

At the end of July, a famous Indian activist kicked up dust over not being considered the mother of his adopted daughter. “You don’t need a uterus to be a mother. Anyone can be a mother, a mother could be a man, a woman, a transgender.” He said in an interview. “The only requirement is to love someone unconditionally.” By this sappy and shallow definition, I am my grandmother’s mother. This is trans politics.

Mothers Clap Back

Each of these examples was met with furious backlash from women. Mothers all over the world chimed in to point out the obvious with characteristic dark humor, “I would love for Alex to tell us about his experience having his children, the reduced workday he had to ask for in order to breastfeed them and the side effects after having those children. I’m sure he has a lot of experience to share!

Mothers aren’t deleted enough from the feminist movement, let’s push them a little bit further into the corner!” 

When I became a mother one of the things that hurt me was that this movement did not embrace us. Women are fired after they have children, have no daycare, have obstetric violence, domestic violence, workplace bullying, sexual abuse.”

I can’t believe that being a mother, choosing, and living it turned transphobic.”

These women have been abandoned not just by the Women’s Movement (Who calls it that anymore, anyway?) but by liberal politics in general. The quest for equality is lost in a desert of verbiage, stuck in a fever dream that words are the problem.

You're Right

You’re right, I shouldn’t have called you my boyfriend. I won’t do it again!…

Words, sisters, are the solution. We must keep using ours, even as so-called ‘liberal’ politics is going around getting people fired for saying the wrong things. 

Not-So-Liberals

Merriam-Webster defines ‘liberal’ as, among other things, “Not literal or strict; Loose.” We also have, “Broad-minded, especially: not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.

Modern ‘liberals’ have elevated rejection of traditional forms to modern art. As well as a moral Rorschach test. And if you don’t see what they see, you are wrong and probably bad. Because everybody knows rejection of traditional forms is how we demonstrate our modernness. How we demonstrate we are good.

The cognitive dissonance of an authoritarian orthodoxy devoted to rejection of tradition seems to be getting to them. We who speak up for the female sex as half of humanity are told we are just too ignorant to understand. That being born female, molested or raped, getting pregnant, having a baby, a miscarriage or even a period gives no insight into womanhood.

Sure, whatever you say, honey. The little women with ovaries are always quiet when someone with two balls says so.” Women on Twitter inspire me every day. 

The Big Picture Emerges

The fight in Brazil spurred Andreia Nobre to ask, Who benefits from all this?

The definition of what it means to be a woman cannot be changed to “anyone who identifies as a woman.” Women suffer discrimination in patriarchal systems because they are born female. It is the female body that can give birth. And our reproductive capacity is exploited by patriarchy. Gender identity does not prevent … pregnancy.

Answer Is No

I don’t have much left, and you can’t have it!

Andreia quotes Gallus Mag’s collection of different ways the Trans Movement contradicts the Women’s Movement. It’s hard to understand how so many don’t see the conflict. Many of us say we welcome transwomen in the bathroom and locker room. A few aren’t so sure about sports. 

But the chorus of mothers was deafening. In Brazil and India, France and Spain, they cried out from where feeling and embodiment intersect. To be a mother is to be the Earth and the Sun to a tiny life that only gets further and further away. To be a mother is to come face to face with the gory holiness of life and see if you flinch. It’s soaring joy and cavernous sorrow, sometimes simultaneously. 

Like all transcendental experiences, it’s indescribable. The few words we have represent the core experience of humanity – We were all born. But only women can get pregnant, and no change in vocabulary will change that.

And while liberalism is busy eating its own head, conservatives are taking control. Abortion access has been slowly rolled back for years, and these two trends collide in a devastating place for half the planet. You know, the female half.

Do It For The Good of MANkind

If birth control is limited and abortion access gone, pregnancy is inevitable. For half of us.

And if we can’t even identify ourselves, or each other, we are powerless. Broodmares again. The trend continues of tens of thousands of young women lining up to rid themselves of their femaleness, convinced their body is the source of their unhappiness.

Motherhood is foundational to the female identity. It’s a heaving reality, a distant memory, an iconic archetype. She is Mother Earth. She is the snarky comments you imagine in the head of the other mom in the waiting room as your kid runs around in a circle, again.

She is the eternal persistence of day following night. She is why we are here. 

Having babies is not our purpose. It’s our evolutionary starting point. We have much more to offer the world, but we have undermined ourselves by working so hard to join the Boy’s Club. It’s time to make them come to us.

Who Are Women?

But who are women when we’re at home? Docility was bred into us, wild women have fewer children. What we wouldn’t shed willingly was taken from us by force. Every available paradigm made a framework for the male gaze, we’ve lost the demarcations between needlework and domestic submission.

Flight Of Witches

Anyone remember how the next part goes?

When keeping offspring alive and running a homestead, the man will often be the one going out and getting stuff, whether it’s money or meat. Mainly because you are going to be on your ass having a baby for about a year. Then you have to take care of your little darling and, of course, Hubs can’t breastfeed. Er, excuse me, chestfeed.

This is just the reality of parenthood. Nature delegated certain tasks without asking us, how terribly inconsiderate of her! 

Feminism Needs Moms

Pushing this aside and joining the rat race has gotten us here. To a place where 51-year-old men can be declared mothers by the court in a country whose very existence is threatened by violent unrest. It’s a strange use of tax money, but it was overturned anyway. One of his lawyers called this “a scandalous example of a rigid, immobile justice system.” 

Nature is pretty unmoveable, and if pregnancy is inevitable and mandatory, we all know who will be sitting at home with Baby.

We have to face the spooky, bloody, vital force that is motherhood. Women must embrace our roots in rearing humanity and leverage that as the power it is. We have to push back while we still can.

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.