(As a note: This applies to womanism too, as womanism only fully expands the women's rights lens to issues of race but still leaves trans women in the dust more often than not.)

I'm sure we all have a pretty good idea of the cardinal elements of feminism. Feminism, at its most simple is a movement designed to combat the effects of sexism, misogyny and the power structure and marginalization created by the patriarchy. A social reform specialization of humanism/egalitarianism, if you will.

There are certain lacks in it that are understandable. It doesn't specifically handle a lot of men's issues (mostly because its hands are full with women's issues). It doesn't directly address things like race and disability (although some feminists try to). It doesn't directly address general trans issues (although it should be addressing transmisogyny as that's basically sexism squared.)

There's also womanism that attempts to address the racial issues that intersect on the bodies of WOC.

There are many subcategories, branch offs and connected zones of feminism. Gender deconstructionism, rad fem, essentialist feminism, etc. The ones I'm going to concentrate on right now is gender deconstructionism and rad fem (and some of this is also extendable to womanism).

There is this inclination to theorize on why trans people exist. After all, we flip a lot of apple carts just by being around. This inclination doesn't just take place in trans folk (we would naturally be curious as to our origins) but also among rad fems and gender deconstructionists. Unfortunately these attempts to figure us out usually involve a good chunk of generalization and ignorance of our experiences, mindsets, psychology and histories. But even the analysis being flawed isn't a serious issue. Where the serious issue arises is how people decide that suddenly trans bodies and trans lives come after the agenda.

I'm sure at least some of you had read over clarifications on Dworkin's viewpoint on the matter over at Daisy's locale. Her views are still pretty transphobic but for her time she was quite a bit ahead. And the things she points out in as guidelines for dealing with it are words to live by.

"every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions. This is an emergency measure for an emergency condition."

Yes, certainly a product of her times, in that the wording is transsexual, surgery and binary specific (and as is abundantly clear there is a wide wide world of transgender beyond the transsexual zone, that has entirely different needs and is classified differently within the trans movement) but here, let me highlight the really important part:

"...every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms."

Allow for social change and the expansion of the world comprehension to future day where the transgender community exists (and for the purposes of this post, I'm going to operate the terms normally, so TG includes TS under the umbrella envelope, as well as nonbinaries, who have enough fucking problems as it is) and you can extend this basic statement's intent to incorporate all those suffering from the misalignment that a gendered world at least contributes to badly:

"...every person in the TG umbrella has the right to survival on his/her/hir/their own terms"

It really doesn't matter what you think causes the varying types of "trans-ness". And quite obviously, even if you have a pet theory for one of the types (like why people crossdress without dysphoria or why transsexuals have dysphoria) chances are that won't yield much on the others. And for some things (like GID, which is based on symptoms and likely multicausal) even your pet theory may not describe every case. But really, it still doesn't matter what you think causes it, because in the end, any action you take must still honor our right to our own bodily domain and our self determination.

Any rights/social reform ideology, of any kind, that demands one group give up their basic self determination to what they do with their own bodies, is broken. Full stop. A social reform and rights movement can not hope to have the basic credibility it requires if it marginalizes another group based on its theories.

And when you interfere in things like transsexual surgeries and hormones, nonbinary self expression, crossdresser clothing choices (and etc) you are denying those groups their self determination. It is no different than a woman forced into being a housewife or forced into being a businesswoman. It is no different than the slut shamers demanding that you not have sex. But it goes even further than that. Even if you take no action, even if you don't interfere directly, just attacking it, demanding that I (and they) live according to your theories or views is unacceptable.

When you demand that a nonbinary just step away from gender entirely or tell a transsexual woman that her surgeries are encouraging the patriarchy and demand she stop, you are impinging on self determination. And in the end denial of choice for one's own body is against every fucking iota of what feminism and womanism stands for. Sure feminism might be specialized towards protecting women's choices and options regarding our own bodies. Sure womanism might extend that to include race. But that basic principle of bodily domain is central to feminism and womanism, to violate it on anyone else is the worst, most heinous, most disgusting form of hypocrisy. And to stand by while it happens, to not stand against it, is just as bad.

It is a hypocrisy that wears away at the very fabric of of your movement's credibility (for either movement). A hypocrisy that begs the question, "if you can't honor the bodies of others, why should anyone honor yours?" This makes you as bad as the patriarchy. This makes you as bad as the enemy you fight, because you dehumanized a group that has less power than you, all because it makes you feel like you achieved something.

This is unacceptable. This makes you a shit poor feminist if you do it or allow it to happen on your watch. Same for any womanist guilty of this. This is why many trans women do not trust you. This is why even those who do trust you are wary and careful, lest we get attacked or faced with unreasonable demands too.

The responsibility lies upon you to clean up your movement (whichever one it may be). To stop the abhorrent transphobic hypocrisy and the using of our bodies for your agenda. Every single one of you shares in that responsibility. Every single one of you bears that similar burden that every single one of men bear to fight violence against women, speak out against the rape culture and break the social cycles of oppression. And for the womanists, it's that similar burden that every single one of white folk bear to fight silencing of POC, see through the White Noise and fight the social cycles of oppression there. It's about damn time you all starting doing what you ask of, no DEMAND, men and white folk to do for you.

Get your agenda the fuck off my body.

Now.
The "R" Word Series on Rape is a series of posts wherein individuals (not just me) describe their situations, challenging common views on healing and victim mentalities and challenging common conventions among society at large on rape.

These posts may be immensely triggering. I would advise to read with caution.

~RP

The "R" Word Series: "Made of Glass" and "Broken Goods"

~~~Trigger Warning~~~
This post deals with rape and describes a situation of rape.


Important Note: Parts of this post came from another entry I wrote a while ago in a different place. If you make the connection between that place and this place do not out me by mentioning it here. I have made some minor grammar and sentence structure corrections and I have cut out parts that might endanger me or my privacy or the privacy of others. The identities of the people written about in this post are not to be revealed. That goes for everyone. Even the perpetrator written about here. I'm looking to write this to move on, to share what I went through, not to strike out at the person who victimized me.

It occurs to me that I can't remember if I explicitly said yes or not. People tell me that a drunken yes given to an abusive partner who has coerced you before isn't much in terms of consent, but that does sort of blur the lines as to whether it was rape or just an incredibly fucked up way of treating someone sexually.

I know I didn't want it. That is for sure. I know I curled into a ball and cried and that was what stopped my ex from having sex with me. I'm also absolutely sure that curling into a ball was about all I could manage with how drunk and out of it I was, otherwise I probably would have pushed my ex away or flailed a bit. I know my ex had "good intentions", to help me with a sexual issue. But it was also one I never planned on testing and certainly never wanted to test with my ex-partner. Somehow, I don't think getting me drunk and fucking me until I cry really meshes with "good intentions."

Although my ex did start crying after I recovered my composure a little, repeating over and over that they had raped me and that they didn't deserve life or something (I was still really drunk and sort of in that haze that mental trauma causes, so I don't recall exacts). Maybe it was just a stupid mistake on my ex's part. Or does intent really matter here? The damage was still done to me. And was I really so abused that I didn't recognize what had happened? Didn't see red flags? Ugh.

I dunno. I can handle talking about it a bit more. [...] But maybe not. I don't really want everyone to know what happened to me.

Society has this really fucked up view on people who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped. Or really abused in any way or form. They see people like that as damaged goods or a victim that has to be protected and can't protect themselves. One leads to a massive lowering in self worth and the other leads to learned helplessness. Neither one is acceptable to me. I refuse to let this rule me and make me into the victimized woman stereotype.

Yeah, I may have an anxiety attack when I see a lookalike of my ex, but I can protect myself, reduce chances and learn how to fight off an assailant while learning how to handle those I trust if they turn out to be untrustworthy in that horrible way. I owe it to myself to learn these things and do them and to avoid learned helplessness. My poor judgment in letting my ex give me that many drinks or even drinking them doesn't justify what my ex did. But it is a lesson to learn from. I know not to get drunk about people who are sexually interested in me or to have a sober protector/babysitter in place for when I am drunk. I didn't deserve what happened because I failed to get those protections in place with my ex. It wasn't my fault that my ex chose to do what they did. But not having those protections was a mistake and if I learn from it I can protect myself better in the future.

The other one really bothers me a lot. I am not damaged goods. I am not somehow of less worth because I was emotionally and psychologically abused. I am not of somehow of less worth because my ex sexually assaulted or abused me or possibly even raped me (depending on what this incident counts as). It may have given me some trauma related problems but I am still a beautiful, loving, intelligent sexual being who is capable of loving another intimately and being loved intimately in return.

Handling me like I'm made of broken china because of what happened is not acceptable. I will give my boundaries and I will share what hurts and what doesn't. Honor those boundaries and then work as normal for everything else. Avoiding the topic around me or being super protective of me isn't acceptable. The more I'm handled as though I'm damaged, the less capable I'll think I am and the more helpless and worthless I'll feel. I lost my sense of control from that relationship, and I'm trying to regain it. People shouldn't interfere by robbing me of it again in their good intentions.

[My partner] has been amazing in both respects. Giving me suggestions for self protection, not being afraid to take risks with me sexually but knowing and avoiding the boundaries that I've set. I'm lucky to have [my partner], I really am. I'm not seen as a victimized person nor as damaged goods. I'm a woman who was hurt. Hurt badly yes, but I'll heal. And I am strong. I am resolute.

I refuse to be broken.


I've recovered in some ways. This was the third out of a set of writings in which I try to come to grips with what happened to me. The first was completely self blaming, denial filled and loaded with self loathing. The second writing had a lot of excuses for my ex partner and in that I had a hard time even using the word rape.

You can see that even in this third writing, I have a hard time with it. Lines like, "that does sort of blur the lines as to whether it was rape or just an incredibly fucked up way of treating someone sexually" are very telling on the state of my self blame.

In reality, it doesn't blur the lines at all. A coerced yes is not consent and it will never be consent. This is a very clear precept in how we understand the concepts of consent, sexual trauma, unwanted contact and the violence of even rapes that don't involve beatings or physical injury. Marcella from abyss2hope goes in great detail on why even just pushing a girl (or a guy) with intimidation, persistent harassment, or mind altering substances until they "give it up" is unacceptable.

The fact was, my ex got me very very very drunk. And then my ex (who had gotten very drunk too) started sexual contact, engaging in a particular sex act that was (and still is) very triggering for me due to my dysphoria. And my ex only stopped when I pulled myself into as tight of a ball as I possibly could and started crying.

I can't say if the attitudes and mental problems that created the abusive behavior in my ex (and eventually led to my ex raping me) are still present. It is possible that my ex is completely rehabilitated, feels awful about what happened in the past and is just trying to live out a regular life. Hence, my mention above. This is for closure and healing. And so my ex's privacy must be protected as well. This is partly in my interest as well. I am utterly paralyzed by fear of that particular person deciding to come after me and so protecting my ex's privacy helps protect me from retribution.

However there are some really important things mentioned there too, things that I'm happy I realized back then. For instance, society's attitude on victims of rape is all kinds of fucked up.

I'm not just talking about rape apologists, the doubters ("are you sure you were raped?", "but is such a wonderful person!") people who exclude groups from being able to be raped (the idiots who claim men can't be raped, or that sex workers can't be raped, etc, more reading on Harriet's Fugitivus blog post, it's far down in the post) and the predatory Wooers or practitioners of Nice Guyism (Marcella handled that perfectly in the link above).

I'm talking about the people who agree rape is bad for all people, unacceptable and don't practice predatory techniques to get sex but have the "damaged goods" and "poor broken victim" attitudes. (I'll handle nice guyism in another post.)

The fact is, when you shy away from someone who has been raped as though there's this stain on them, that fucking hurts. That hurts a lot and only contributes intensely to the shame that I feel in general for what happened and self loathing that comes out of it. I've thankfully only met a few people who wouldn't enter into a relationship or have sex with someone who was raped and really, they had their excuses but none of them held water.

"I'm afraid of hurting her" - She won't break if you touch her, asshole. Why don't you ask her for her boundaries and what to do if you accidentally go past one. And then if you accidentally go over one, it'll be rare and you'll know what to do to help her.

"She'll never fully trust me" - It isn't about you. No one fully, completely trusts another person. We all have at least some level of secrecy and doubt. The fact is, a lack of trust built from trauma can be overcome, if you're willing to put a little work into earning that trust. And considering how women are treated on a regular basis you would have to do that kind of work anyways, no matter what girl you were with.

And the poor broken victim attitude is debilitating. These are the folks that refuse to let me define my own boundaries based on what I need, but overshoot them based on what they think I need. I am not made of glass. There seems to be this attitude in society that people who have been raped, sexually assaulted and/or abused are going to fall into a million pieces at a moment's notice. This constant pity, this treating with kid gloves, it sucks. And it often leads to people forgetting what I actually need and breaking my boundaries in ways that they've gone out of their way to avoid (and poorly). Because they aren't willing to listen to my boundaries and my triggers (and instead think they know better) they often overstep those boundaries and end up hurting me from an unexpected angle. What sucks about this is they use it as further excuse to pity and bubble wrap me more.

In the end, I will recover. Slowly, carefully, painfully, this wound will heal into a scar. The throat closing anxiety I feel when I even see something written by my ex or a lookalike will lower as time passes. The fear I feel that my ex will find me will fade. The flashbacks will become less common, less intense and terrifying.

And writing these things is part of that process. By putting this out there yet again, I can confront my past and my wounds and continue to heal.

I went from someone who thought she would never be raped (who felt dismayed and amazed that so many people she knew had been), to someone who stayed in denial for a long while about being raped and abused, to someone who fell apart and put herself back together again (always with the help of my family and friends) to someone who now can look on what happened to her and learn things about society and herself in the process. And maybe help some other folks who have gone through that kind of trauma too.

I'll say it again: I refuse to be broken.
Update: A friend of mine mentioned sexual violence and dehumanization targeting queer men and trans men by straight cis women, so I'll wait till she comments in greater detail before I make any major edits.

Something new and shitty happens every week to further drive home the point that male privilege, sexism and the rape culture is alive and well and that we have a lot of work ahead of us to fight those things.

Relatively recently someone called my phone, most likely a straight cis guy, and asked me if I could masturbate for him. I hung up and he called several more times (presumably, I didn't actually pick up the phone). The fact that some pissant asshole thinks he has a right to call a random girl and sexually harass her over her phone, without any indication that she wanted to be sexual with him, is pretty fucking disgusting.

And this attitude is part of what fuels the rape culture. This idea that women can be subjected to unwanted sexual attention and that it isn't an issue stems from the overriding ideology that we don't own our own bodies, that instead, our bodies are up for grabs from whomever is willing to make the grab. Someone tried to make the grab using the phone and when I hung up, they didn't honor that very obvious and very explicit rejection, further cementing the impression that they don't view me as the owner of my own body. It's scary, it's creepy and it left me feeling really fucking unsafe. It's a huge disregard for bodily domain, something only really taken seriously when it's violated on people who have power and privilege in society. The more -isms descend on your head, the less likely a violation of your bodily domain, your space and you, will be cared about. Women are still pretty damn far down that pyramid.

These attitudes are why women are raped so damn much, by men. Obviously, men are raped by men and women two and there are thousands of combinations of perpetrator and victim when you look at the nonbinaries, but none of the numbers really come close to the sheer ridiculous amounts of rapes that cisgendered straight men perpetrate against woman of all types and stripes (including trans women, IS women, lesbian women, black women, white women etc). There are racial, transphobic and homophobic elements that come into play too that can get minorities targeted more heavily, but I can't go into that as well as this (beyond the trans and maybe lesbian side of it) because my privilege makes it hard to speak on racial elements in this when I'm speaking from my own experiences. So if any people of color are reading right now, please do add some perspective on how race factors into the rape culture. If you're willing, I can even add in some edits with mentions of what you say.

So, these ridiculous numbers? They're a fucking problem. And this is from someone who, before transition, did not see this attitude of dehumanization women face as so widespread. So I am giving you the solid mention of someone who has experienced this shift, if the numbers aren't enough to make it clear.

Something is very wrong in Western Society. So yes, we still need feminism and womanism.
Back in early 2006 (approximately) I was a member of a internet discussion forum called GaiaOnline under the username TheFiresOfStupid. This was before my transition to female and really pre realization of my need for transition. I actually am still around on that site, under Recursive Paradox (which was previously PoeticVengeance after I made the online transition to woman, a few months before actually committing to the IRL transition path XD). I wrote an essay on something that I had decided to refer to as bodily domain. Specifically the Ethical Basis for Bodily Domain as an extension of the principle of bodily integrity brought up in the important court case McFall vs. Shrimp (This link should bring you straight to the part of the book that mentions it. If not, simply search in the side bar on google books for McFall v Shrimp).

The essay is still entirely relevant if perhaps a little... harsh in its treatment of the anti abortion folk (I was a very angry, very bitter person back then, hurrah for dysphoria). The original essay, with the only change being the formatting (because I can't retain bbcode here), has been brought to this blog for the express purpose of retaining its material. Not just because I'm a little egotistical and want to claim that I coined the phrase bodily domain back in 2006 as used for this ethical principle (it certainly has spread a bit, if you check google) XD but also because I don't know how long that thread will last and this essay raises the important concerns of the pro choice side in an ethical analysis.

But mostly, I don't want to lose my old work, especially since its a lot more concise and direct than I am now. I'm getting verbose and flighty as I age. XD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Ethical Basis for Bodily Domain and the Rights to Bodily Integrity
:


What is Bodily Domain?

Bodily Domain is the medically defined area of your body, a territory of sorts, owned and controlled specifically by you and ONLY by you.

It is your skin and the all the area within your skin, it includes your organs, your bones and your blood and the spaces in between.

You are the sole determiner of what happens to those organs, that blood, and even the space within the area of your Bodily Domain.

That is your right to Bodily Integrity, which is also referred to as Bodily Domain.


The Basics

There are three basic categories that describe essentially every interaction that can be done between your Body and other things.

Intrusion, Occupation and Removal.

They are given negative names mainly because they are the self defensible rights within the Bodily Domain, Bodily Integrity, and Bodily Autonomy trio.

Self defensible means they are only negative if you yourself consider them negative, because if you consent to something, there is nothing to defend against.


Bodily Domain is a Consent Based Ethical Construct

BD is based on consent. Something is not a violation of your BD if you consent to its occurance.

However, this consent must be explicit. You must specifically state that you want this to happen to you. It is also based on current consent. A person can not hold you to a past contract made if your view changes and you no longer consent to something.

Otherwise I could be having sex and then if I suddenly wanted to stop for whatever reason and my partner continued against my consent, it would not be considered rape. This would be unacceptable to society from a logical standpoint.


The Three Interactions With Your Domain.

1)Intrusion:

Intrusion is any entry into your Bodily Domain that is negatively viewed from your perspective.

This makes it a violation of your Bodily Domain rights, normally referred to as Bodily Integrity.

It covers everything from rape, to delivery of injury (bullets, knives) injection of poisons, diseases, even non harmful or beneficial substances can be seen as a violation if consent is not given.

2)Removal

Removal refers to the taking of anything from your body. It can cover your own organs and blood, or even artificial or foreign material in your body, like prosthetics or substances that you wish to keep within you.

It is also a violation of your Bodily Domain rights.

It covers everything from organ theft, to blood stealing, to nutrient leeching.

3)Occupation

Occupation refers to any continuous presence of material or presence of living things within your Bodily Domain that is unconsented to. And therefore a violation.

It covers everything from parasites, unwanted implants and pregnancies.


But What About Clashes of Rights?

These are all things that no human being should be subjected to unless they themselves are causing a violation of the same set of ethical principles.

So Bodily Domain should only be violated if doing so will protect your own or the BD of others from being violated by ending a current violation in progress.

If you are violating someone's BD, your own becomes forfeit if they decide to defend themselves from your actions, and their defense violates your BD.

Let's make this nice and explicit for the more dense folks out there.

You can only violate the BD of another if and only if doing so is the only viable way to end a violation of your Bodily Domain by them that is currently in progress.


Conclusion: Why Bodily Domain Supports The Right to Abort

An unwanted fetus is violating a woman's BD.

There is no way around this.

The fetus has no call to do so as the woman has done nothing to violate the BD of the fetus, and even if the woman had done something to violate its BD (Like drinking alcohol while pregnant), there is no concievable way that remaining inside the woman's body would do anything to end that current violation.

Hence a fetus has no right to violate the woman's BD.

But the woman does have a right to do so to the fetus in response to its violation of her, especially since that is currently the only way to end its Occupation of her BD and Removal of her resources.

To not allow a woman to defend her BD rights violates a set of ethical principles that protect us from having our organs taken for others' use, to avoid being raped, to avoid being enslaved, to avoid having our bodies used as tools for the benefit of others.

To do so would strip the usefulness of society to the individual in terms of promoting survival and comfort.

It would make remaining within society less beneficial then leaving it, and to lose these ethical principles would degrade our society in many deterimental ways.

Therefore attempts to remove the right to abort from a woman is not only misogynistic, anti-woman's rights, and ethically unsupportable from a viewpoint that values human rights to their own body, it is also a self destructive view that endangers all of us.


Edited 10-08-2006: Added title partitions and made certain parts a little more concise then before. Corrected minor spelling errors. --Fires

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Genderbitch: In ur gender, revealing ur privilege

Hi.

This is a blog. About transsexuality, feminism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, GLBT stuff and etcetera (check my tags for more on that). This is also an angry blog.

You might see me as slightly antagonistic. Oh well. I incite because I am trying to push people into thinking, discussing and breaking out of the stagnant bullshit of privilege. Which needs a nice firm kick quite a bit. Sometimes to the head. If I need a nice firm kick too, make sure to distribute it because well, I'm not immune to privilege either. XD

Anonymous (account-less) commenting is allowed but please sign it with an alias or name. I reserve the right to delete useless trolling, hate language and attempts to out my name or out anyone else here.

Welcome to my space. Take your shoes off, stay a while. Use the fucking coasters.

~R.P.

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