Why I Disavow ‘Woman’ And Am No Longer ‘Gender Critical’

As someone who is self-critical, my views evolve and I now disavow use of the word ‘woman’ for myself and other transgender males, preferring to use the term ‘transsexual’ or ‘transsexual male’.

Furthermore, for some time now I have ceased to describe myself as ‘gender critical’, as I don’t think this fits in with my beliefs. I see gender as a harmful hierarchical system of power and stereotypes, it is purely cultural so has no meaning outside of human societies. Being a critic to me implies the system can be fixed, I do not think this is the case (see for example my post on How Modern or Third Wave Feminism Benefits Men).

I take an abolitionist stance on gender, I believe it damages everyone particularly girls and women, homosexual and bisexual men and of course trans males. It always strikes me as odd that transgender individuals never argue for gender abolition, whereas I can see that it is gender that provides them with the ideas, artefacts and stereotypes they build their identities around, the problems they face while doing so are of course themselves caused by gender, which punishes feminine males.

Some years ago I found an excellent essay on what gender abolition would mean in practical terms and I’d recommend you read this Judith Lorber ‘Imagining a World without Gender’ and of course other work by Judith Lorber.

10 Responses to “Why I Disavow ‘Woman’ And Am No Longer ‘Gender Critical’”

  • sally

    Short but very sweet. You are so good at putting into words the woolly notions that bumble around in my head!

  • Radical thoughts

    awaiting moderation? don’t you dare silence me from talking. You know what? I’m glad you don’t call yourself a woman and see yourself as a man because this is exactly what men do, you are no ally to radical feminism or women. You only let the ones who agree with you talk don’t you? typical entitled male behaviour. But go ahead prove this dumb lesbian who CLEARLY can’t speak for herself wrong and allow the comment or prove me right and shut up another woman who doesn’t agree with you like you did my with my friend.

  • Prizm

    “I believe [gender] damages everyone particularly girls and women, homosexual and bisexual men and of course trans males. It always strikes me as odd that transgender individuals never argue for gender abolition, whereas I can see that it is gender that provides them with the ideas, artefacts and stereotypes they build their identities around, the problems they face while doing so are of course themselves caused by gender, which punishes feminine males.”

    Yes, short and sweet and very well said. Thank you for continuing to publish meaningful pieces, despite all the nastiness which can be generated by this topic (I am guilty of indulging in the nastiness myself). I very much appreciate and enjoy your work.

  • stacey jones

    Good on you Miranda for ‘sticking your neck out’ on this issue. Hope you don’t get bombarded with hate mail.

  • yrba

    Good comments. You posed a great question, regarding why trans-identified people don’t advocate for gender abolition. I hope you don’t get a bunch of flack. But I’m curious, what do you mean by transsexual, please? How do you distinguish this from transgender?

  • Yerb

    Good comments. You posed a great question, regarding why trans-identified people don’t advocate for gender abolition. I hope you don’t get a bunch of flack. But I’m curious, what do you mean by transsexual, please? How do you distinguish this from transgender?

  • Dee dee

    I was wondering if you think that much of the problem here is that there isn’t a good English definition of someone who is trans.

    Identities are so important to human beings but it seems that there’s a denial of biological reality at the expense of women. In favor of trying to claim the word woman which is tied to both the biological and socialized reality of females.

    Words are so important and the identities we tie to them can cause us at times to forget the bigger picture.

    Do you think that if there was better terms to tie those identities to that it would make a difference?

    I remember one day I tried to come up with a better word than homophobia but couldn’t figure out how to make one. Tried all the Latin roots and placing them in various configurations and couldn’t figure out a better substitute.

    Anyway, great website and you have restored my hope that radfems and the trans community might be the key to finally destroying harmful gender socializations once and for all.

  • Philippa Downey

    To say that transsexual people need to show a meaningful transition and then still calling them males is to my mind incorrect as they would hardly thus be transsexual as one would not be across from anything. but to me it is a less important point than most people make out. most people would for instance differentiate between trans women and cis women, which is near enough the same thing, but in a more palatable form.
    plenty of male people dress in a way which would be easily mistaken for being female, particularly in the alternative and gothic subcultures and would call themselves male,

    it is more than appearance, our culture assigns us our gender class, our chromasomes and hormones determine our sexual morphyology.
    Many, particularly younger, transsexual people of my acquaintance are against gender and do not use the props and trappings of gender to create an identity now the taboo over being nonbinary / gender nonconforming has been breached , things are changing fast.

    we no longer live in a world where the only option for those who were transsexual was to transition and live in stealth as the opposite gender, with all that entails.

    personally i prefer to use the term transsexual as it is most accurate, as it is talking about sex not gender, and to differentiate myself form often misogenistic and fetishistic male crossdressers and drag acts who fit under the transgender umbrella.

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