The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Being a woman

This is a post I put up on my own blog a couple of years ago which I thought might be interesting to people reading here. I’ve reworded it slightly in a couple of places.

Some years ago, I heard a seminar talk and read a paper by Dr Natalie Stoljar, “Essence, Identity, and the Concept of Woman.”* I know the paper is sometimes discussed and often referenced in academic feminist philosophy and women’s studies, but it may not be well known beyond the academy. Yet it has an analysis of the nature of being woman that could be extraordinarily useful, far beyond the academy. What follows is my understanding of one of the key points that Dr Stoljar makes in her paper, about the nature of woman.

Anyone with half an ear for contemporary feminist thinking will already be a little wary, given that phrase, “the nature of woman.” It suggests that maybe we are looking for some essential, never changing, ever present, quality or characteristic, or set of qualities or characteristics, which all women must have, and only women may have. Anyone who has these characteristic is a woman; anyone who does not have them is not a woman. Full stop. Period. End of story. Nothing to see here, move along please.

Dr Stoljar rejects that idea. She works through some issues in essentialism, showing why they are false. And then she proposes an alternative way of thinking about women, which I think is both plausible, and powerful, and useful. (NB: this is my take on Dr Stoljar’s concept, not just a summary of her paper. She would no doubt present this in quite different fashion – I’m a journeywoman and she’s an expert.)

To get to her way of thinking about women, we have to start with Wittgenstein’s ideas about cluster concepts.

What do tiddlywinks, solitaire, hide and seek, and rugby have in common? They are all games. As it turns out, it’s hard to tell what they all have in common, but they are all quite legitimately called games. We can compile a list of characteristics of games: competitive, way of passing time, social, result is ultimately meaningless, fun, involves physical skill, involves intellectual skill, there must be a winner, children’s activity, use apparatus, and so on.

As it turns out, there seems to be no one characteristic that defines a game. But we are all capable of recognising a game when we see one. What we see is a sufficient collection of characteristics to say that x, whatever x is, is a game. But none of those characteristics is necessary by itself. This is how both rugby and solitaire can be games. Even if they have no characteristics in common, if they each have sufficient of the characteristics of the set of characteristics that we recognise as being indicative of games, then we say they are games.

That’s a cluster concept. It’s a cluster of characteristics, and something that has enough of those characteristics qualifies to be considered as part of the group. Hide and seek, for example. And it could be that some other thing, that has absolutely no characteristics in common with the first thing, also has enough of the characteristics of the overall cluster to also be considered as part of the group. Rugby union football, for example.

What say the concept “woman” is a cluster concept? What say there are a number of characteristics or features in our idea of “woman”, and for an individual to be a woman, she must have a sufficient number of these characteristics. She doesn’t have to have all of the characteristics, nor must she have one particular characteristic in common with all other woman. All that she must have is enough of them, whatever enough might be.

Of course, that invites us to specify a list of characteristics of women. Dr Stoljar suggests four general areas in which we can specify characteristics:

  • female sex, such as XX chromosomes, breasts, and other bodily characteristics;
  • what it feels like to be a woman, based on physical characteristics, such as the lived experience of child birth and breastfeeding;
  • what it feels like to be a woman, based on social factors, such as the lived experience of fear of rape, and wearing female dress and performing female roles;
  • identifying as, and being identified as, a woman.

Very crudely, we can come up with a list of characteristics of “woman”, in these four general areas. Anyone who has enough of these characteristics fits into the group marked out by the concept, “woman.” You don’t need to have all the characteristics, you don’t need to have any particular characteristics, you don’t even need to have characteristics from each of the general areas. All you need is enough, whatever enough might be.

Dr Stoljar says that conceiving of “woman” as a cluster concept has several advantages.

  • We can deal with what we perceive to be “hard” cases, such as women who are born with male sex, but transition to being a woman. Obviously female sex can be a major indicator of womanhood. But it is not necessary to being a woman, because a person who experiences life as a woman, and who identifies as a woman, will have many of the characteristics of womanness.
  • It means that we can sensibly say that gender is a matter of degree. A person can exhibit all, or many, or just some, of the characteristics of being a woman, and still be equally a woman, provided she has enough of the characteristics. A woman who was born male but has transitioned to being female might not exhibit womanness to the greatest possible degree, but if she has enough of the characteristics, she is nevertheless a woman.
  • It means that we are not required to describe gender either in purely physical terms, or in purely social terms. We can recognise that there is something to the physical account of gender, and the extent to which the social aspects of gender can depend on physical factors, but that’s by no means all there is to gender. Moreover, the physical aspects of gender are not essential to gender. And we can give due weight to our understanding that gender is social rather than just physical.
  • It means that we give credence to the idea that recognition of who is, and who isn’t, a woman is a real experience. There is something to saying that I am a woman because I identify as one, and that I am a woman because people recognise me as a woman, and we ought not to deny the validity of these recognitions.
  • It means that the process of being a woman is revisable. It is not fixed forever, but something that can be reevaluated and revised in the light of experience. In particular, we can pick out people who exemplify womanness, and through our resemblances to them, confirm that we too are women. So perhaps we might identify some of the women listed in the Wiki page about transwomen as exemplars of woman, just as we might for example, identify Cherie Blair as an exemplar of woman. We can reevaluate and revise our understanding of woman by thinking about people who exemplify women. And we can reevaluate and revise the list of features that women may have, increasing our understanding of woman.

There seems to me to be a further advantage of Dr Stoljar’s account, in that it makes room for intersex people, gives them space to be intersex, not forcibly assigned into womanness or man-ness. Perhaps an intersex person will have a range of characteristics that fall into both woman and man, in all four of Dr Stojar’s areas (genotype and phenotype, physical experience, lived social experience, identity). Or perhaps an intersex person will choose to move towards either man-ness or womanness, based on their own preferences, and their own understandings of themselves. Whatever. Dr Stoljar’s understanding of, “woman”, and by implication, “man”, creates a conceptual space for intersex gender.

Of course, and perhaps most importantly, Dr Stoljar’s account helps us to see transwomen simply as women. End of story. Get over it.

Alas, the paper isn’t available on-line, even if you have access to the modern miracle of Jstor, or some other academic journal database. However if you are nearby a university library, and that library takes Philosophical Topics, then it would be worth your time to read her paper for yourself. Or you could hunt around on google to see if you can find it. The first three sections rely on a fair amount of philosophical knowledge, but sections 3 and 4 are quite accessible. It is academic philosophy, so I recommend reading slowly, with a handy pen, and a large cup of coffee.

* Stoljar, Natalie, “Essence, Identity, and the Concept of Woman”, Philosophical Topics 23 (2), 1995, pp. 261 – 293

42 responses to “Being a woman

  1. Simon June 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Good post! It sounds like a very interesting paper. Maybe you could email Dr Stoljar and ask if you could share parts of it? I’ve had that work for me in the past. Academics crave attention like plants crave the sun.

    For me, this post raises a further question though: What is the category “woman” useful for? Why do we need this category? From what I can see, Stoljar addresses this in her paper, and I would like to hear more.

  2. Emily June 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks so much for this post, it’s exquisitely timed. I’m writing a paper on feminist identity politics and this sounds like a great source. While I absolutely understand and agree with anti-essentialist arguments, I’ve always thought that there’s still use and worth in the label “woman”. It sounds like Stoljar has some interesting ideas about how to usefully incorporate the label.

    And bless it, my university both has Philosophical Topics and will scan and email journal articles. Looking forward to reading it.

  3. Moz June 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Ah, I remember reading this, and it has stuck with me as one of those “informs the way I discuss things”. I’m having on-and-off discussions with a woman at work about whether there can be more than two genders, and whether sex and gender might not by synonyms. So this is a timely reminder, thank you.
    I especially like the implication that there’s “things that identify a woman” and “things that identify a man”, but they can overlap (and by implication there are people who don’t fit firmly into either category). Maybe it’s the bisexual essentialist in me, but I love the shades of grey stuff.

  4. Scar July 3, 2011 at 11:44 am

    This is taking away the right to self identification.
    If I identify as a woman, THAT IS ENOUGH.
    My right to self determination trumps your vague ‘rules’ about having ‘enough’ womanly characteristics for a CIS person to throw me a bone and say “Oh okay, you have long hair, a vagina and act typically ‘female’, therefore I’ll let you be one.”
    This is more cissupremacist bullshit – the sort that alienates butch, non-op trans women and says “Sorry, but if you want to be a woman you need to have enough of the characteristics that *I* decide as a cis person”.

    IDENTIFYING as a woman is the SOLE REQUIREMENT for being a woman.
    End of story.

  5. Scar July 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    http://curvaceousdee.com/2011/07/what-makes-me-woman/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=sm

    Echoes what I said.
    It would be nice to have some acknowledgement from Deborah, but that’s probably a big ask.

    • tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Scar, Deborah has been out of the country for some time, so her recent internetting has been sporadic.

      • Scar July 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

        The how about some acknowledgement in general from the rest of you that this is cissexist rubbish? No? Didn’t think so.

        • Emma July 15, 2011 at 10:46 am

          Nice forgone conclusion.

          Like you, I find Dee’s piece (previously linked to from this blog) better than this, because I can’t see why, at base, it isn’t just that simple. You don’t get to tell anyone else what their gender identity should be, any more than you get to tell them what their sexual orientation is.

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

            Yeah, well twelve days passing without any form of acknowledgement generally gives me the impression that nobody gives a fuck, Emma.
            It saddens me that I need to keep pushing to have cissexism acknowledged in a supposedly feminist space.
            I also saddens me that people only listen when I link to a cis blogger, saying exactly the same things as me.
            Makes me wonder why I bother at all.

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

            Where was Dee’s piece previously linked? I can’t find it on here. It was also posted on the 9th of July, after my original comment on the 3rd of July.

          • Emma July 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

            Scar: Dee’s piece is linked in one of the recent comment threads, by Moz. I read Dee regularly and love her stuff, because there’s a lot in her writing I agree with. I really liked that post and had intended to put it in this week’s links round-up, but then Moz linked it. Given this, I shall do it anyway.

            Also… shall I decide that you don’t give a shit about Erasure? Because you didn’t comment on that post? Or that you agree with Delahunty’s comments on BDSM, because you didn’t comment on that post? Or shall we not tell each other how to do our activism?

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

            Sorry, I don’t recall make a post about erasure on my blog, then ignoring people calling me out for something problematic in it.
            Could you direct me to where that happened?

            Stop ignoring the cissexism in this post.
            Stop ignoring the fact that you only listened when a cis women’s point of view was raised.

          • Emma July 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

            Scar, did you actually not understand what I was saying? You’re reading into silence and telling me what it means. Why should I not do the same to you? Why should I not demand that you visibly care about MY issues?

            That is as clear as I am going to make this point. I’m not interested in a pointless circular conversation. I also find it interesting that this is how you treat me when I AGREED with you. I’m done.

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm

            You are free to read into my silence when someone challenges me on my blog over something problematic that I posted and I fail to respond to their concerns.
            You are still failing to accept that you only ‘agreed with me’ when I brought in the opinion of a cis woman to back me up. Even then you still didn’t acknowledge the content of my initial post; you related your entire comment to Dee’s statements.
            And you are STILL ignoring the cissexism in Deborah’s post, despite having it pointed out to you several times. That’s starting to feel like avoidance to me. Clearly it’s too big an ask to throw the freaky tranny a bone by saying “Well, yeah, I guess that could be seen as cissexist” or something similar.

  6. Moz July 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Scar, I’m struggling to see this as “cissexist rubbish”. But then I don’t see Curvaceous Dee’s post as contradicting or opposing this post. To me, this paper is theorising about “what makes society classify someone as a woman”, while attempting to open up the definition. And Of course, and perhaps most importantly, Dr Stoljar’s account helps us to see transwomen simply as women did seem like a direct anticipation of your concerns.

    And I don’t think “claimed identity” is the be-all and end-all. Too often people claim identities purely to troll[1], or as a defensive measure “I’m not racist, after all I’m 2% Maori” is just as problematic as saying that “one marker of being a woman is being born with female-seeming genitalia”.

    [1] and I am not adverse to that when it’s done to satirise silliness.

    • Scar July 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      You don’t see how it’s cissexist rubbish? Let me guess, you’re cis. No surprises there.
      I outlined the cissexism in this post on my own blog:
      http://scarletscorceress.blogspot.com/2011/07/being-woman.html
      Identifying as a woman is the sole requirement for being a woman. Anything other criteria allows cis people to strip away a trans woman’s identity at will.

      • Moz July 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        Fine, I’m a woman. deal with it.

        I’m also a man, Maori, Pakeha, Chinese, Malaysian, Martian, a genius, extremely tall, a three-legged dwarf and psychic to boot. I trust you will respect my self-identification at all times, without question or comment.

        • Scar July 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

          Yes. Your self identification is the only thing that matters.

          • tallulahspankhead July 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm

            But, and I ask this in a spirit of learning, if self-identification is the only thing that matters, what are you identifying as?

            Surely there has to be some kind of discussion of what a woman _is_, for anyone to identify as one? Otherwise isn’t “womanhood” this amorphous thing that doesn’t actually mean anything?

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            “Surely there has to be some kind of discussion of what a woman _is_, for anyone to identify as one?”

            Alright then, let’s have a discussion about what a woman is.

            What is a woman, tallulahspankhead?

          • tallulahspankhead July 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

            Good God, I don’t know. That’s why am asking.

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

            Are you a woman?

          • tallulahspankhead July 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

            Yes, but that’s very easy for me to answer.

            And it wasn’t the point I was trying to make. If _anyone_ is going to identify as a woman, or anything – a particular ethnicity, a gender, a religion – surely that identification has to mean something?

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm

            And how do you know that you’re a woman? How do you ‘define’ your womanhood?

          • tallulahspankhead July 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

            It’s not up to me to define it, that’s kind of my point. I just think we have to be able to say, ‘this…x…. Is what makes me a woman’. Whether that’s liking shoes, or having breasts, or a combination of many, many things. Otherwise, doesn’t ‘woman’ boil down to ‘not a man’? And then we get into really murky territory.

            It’s not that I don’t think you should be allowed to say ‘I’m a woman’, and have that be enough. It _is_ enough. But it still has to mean something, surely?

          • Scar July 16, 2011 at 9:36 am

            So as a trans woman, if I lack ‘x’, is my authenticity as a woman in question?
            If a cis woman presents and behaves in ways that are coded ‘male’ by society (i.e. she doesn’t display any of ‘x’ at all), but is adamant that she is a woman, does she automatically become a man, even though she doesn’t feel that she is male?

      • Psycho Milt July 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

        And I notice a commenter pointed out the fact that your definition is a fine example of begging the question. You did “acknowledge” the comment, I suppose, in that you suggested the commenter no longer read or comment on your blog. Seems a bit cheeky to be demanding a better deal than that from this blog, though.

        • Scar July 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

          Sorry, but what -ism or problematic behaviour was that commenter pointing out in my blog post?

          • Psycho Milt July 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

            If you can consider someone writing a post you disagree with “problematic behaviour,” it seems fair enough to consider your aggressive peddling of an obvious fallacy “problematic behaviour.”

          • Scar July 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

            I don’t consider this post problematic because I disagree with it, I consider this post to be problematic because it is loaded with the implication that it’s okay to strip a trans woman of her womanhood just because you (generic) don’t think she has ‘enough’ markers of ‘womanliness’ to be granted a Real Woman Cookie.

            Now, if someone has an issue with something on my blog, I’ll be happy to address their concern. Do you have a concern that you’d like addressed, Milt? If so, please pop over to my blog and comment on the relevant post.

          • Psycho Milt July 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

            My reference to your post was for illustrative purposes relating to this thread – no need to take it over there. Let’s work through it:

            First, your problem with this post actually is simply a matter of disagreeing with it – ie, the post contradicts your assertion that “IDENTIFYING as a woman is the SOLE REQUIREMENT for being a woman.” Holding a very strong view about something does not turn that view from opinion into fact, and your assertion here is not fact.

            Second, the reasons your assertion isn’t fact: it begs the question, ie your definition assumes the thing it’s trying to define and therefore doesn’t explain anything; and even if we were to ignore that, it attempts to define “woman” solely in terms of gender, leaving sex out entirely.

            Third, your demand of the blog owners is an example of the appeal to emotion fallacy, ie they must accept your assertion as fact, not due to any persuasive argument you’ve offered for it, but because to do otherwise would make transgender people sad.

            If you’ve an actual argument to back your disagreement with the post, no doubt the thread’s readers would be interested to read it.

          • Scar July 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

            If you’d bothered to read the post on my blog which deconstructs Deborahs post at length (it is linked in this discussion and I’me quite certain you’ve read it, since you referenced a reply to it), then you would know that I have an ‘actual argument’ to back my ‘disagreement’ with this post.
            I suggest you read it again, then express your concerns with it.

          • Psycho Milt July 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

            Yes, I read it. Your argument is that Stolyar is wrong because she’s effectively ruled trans women out of contention by adding “and being identified as” to her criterion of self-identification, and by including other criteria based on being biologically female. As I already wrote, it begs the question by taking your assertion that self-identification is the sole criterion as a given and proceeding from there.

  7. tallulahspankhead July 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Sorry, I don’t recall make a post about erasure on my blog, then ignoring people calling me out for something problematic in it.
    Could you direct me to where that happened?

    You’re missing Emma’s point, either deliberately or not.

    The fact that some of us haven’t commented is in no way, a reflection of whether we agree or disagree. It’s whether we have the spoons to engage in this particular debate. Or, perhaps, the knowledge and/or education to participate in it. You haven’t, as Emma pointed out, commented on the erasure post, or many others. Shall we assume to know exactly what you think on those issues?

    You’ve made your point, and I don’t think you actually need us to acknowledge it for it to be right or not. I, for one, didn’t acknowledge your comment because you linked to Dee’s post (I read it when she posted it, and, I believe re-tweeted her link to it.), I did it because you explicitly asked for some acknowledgment.

    • Scar July 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      As I said to Emma: You are free to read into my silence when someone challenges me on my blog over something problematic that I posted and I fail to respond to their concerns.
      I didn’t write the erasure post, nor is it hosted on my blog. If I had, and someone had an issue with it, then I would do my best to listen to their concerns and address them.

      I daresay that if someone posted on here about how lesbians should only be allowed to ID as lesbians if they have short hair and wear flannel, then you would be happy to agree with me and applaud if I called the author out for making an extremely problematic statement like that.
      As for spoons? Try running on borrowed spoons 24/7. I don’t have a choice; if I don’t take on cissexism, things won’t get any better – and I owe it to all my trans siblings to challenge cissexism and transphobia, whether I have the spoons or not.

  8. Deborah July 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve been away, and since I got back I’ve been frantically busy with work and family commitments. I may be able to respond to a couple of the issues raised over the weekend.

  9. Deborah July 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Some points, which follow on together, but I’ve numbered them to make them a bit easier to follow (I hope).

    1) I’m wary of essentialism i.e. making just one thing critical to being a woman. As I said in the post, that’s part of what Dr Stoljar is trying to avoid. To me, saying “I’m a woman because I identify as a woman” is essentialist. It’s no better really than saying “I am a woman because I have XX chromosomes.”

    2) I think that we can’t make ourselves something just by declaring that we are that thing. A nice line that I came across this morning captures this: “People may not declare themselves teapots and thereby make it so.”

    3) I think there’s quite a hurdle to leap if we say that just one thing is enough to make oneself a woman. So for example, if someone declared themselves to be a woman, but in no other way indicated that she was a woman (i.e. for want of a better way of putting it, continued to present and engage only in ways that are coded ‘man’ by our society, and never presented or engaged in ways that are coded ‘woman’ by our society), then that at least seems very odd.

    4) I see identity as having a subjective (i.e. to oneself) and an intersubjective (i.e. between oneself and other people) reality. There is an interplay between the two, so that my subjective understanding of myself as a woman flows through into ways that I present myself to the world (most of which are coded ‘woman’), which then reinforce my understanding of myself as a woman.

    5) But that’s all more-or-less metaphysical, ‘though with some existential elements in point 4). Dr Stolar is very much coming from a metaphysical perspective in her essay. I’ve just read a fascinating essay by Dr Talia Mae Bettcher, which makes some useful points about identity claims and first person authority. You can download the essay from here: Trans Identities and First Person Authority – pdf 1.4mb. If you can, I really, really recommend downloading and reading the paper. Again, like Dr Stoljar’s paper, it’s academic philosophy, so it’s quite hard going if you are not used to the style of discourse. In the essay, Dr Bettcher picks apart metaphysical identity, and existential identity, and she uses that to make some great points about transsexual identity. If you’re not quite sure about the distinction between ‘metaphysical identity’ and ‘existential identity’, then think of it in terms of “What is a woman?” (metaphysical question), and “What does it mean to be a woman?” (existential question).

    6) If you do download Dr Bettcher’s paper, then the section to concentrate on is “Existential Self-Identity”

    7) Having read Dr Bettcher’s paper, I think that this post and the comments are creating problems because we are mixing up questions of metaphysical identity, and existential identity. I understand Dr Stoljar to be working in terms of metaphysical identity, whereas the people here making statements such as ‘I am a woman because I identify as a woman’ are working in terms of existential identity. NB: this doesn’t mean that Dr Stoljar is wrong, or that people working in terms of existential identity are wrong. It just means that the two sorts of thinking are not really connecting, and if we can understand the way the two sorts of ideas relate, or don’t relate, to each other, then we might have a better way of talking though the issues.

    So… having said all this, I will try to follow up in a few days with a post about Dr Bettcher’s paper, trying to give a bit of a reading guide to it. This is pretty standard practice with respect to reading philosophical essays with students. I’m sure that many people reading and comment or lurking here have studied philosophy, but I guess that many people may not have, and it may be helpful to have a reading guide.

    And having promised the post, I’m still frantically busy (teaching starts this week, the school holidays and the university breaks don’t coincide at all thanks to the f%#*ken Rugby World Cup, and we’re shifting house), so it may take a week or two before I can give it the attention it deserves.

  10. Scar July 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Deborah, some questions for you:
    1. Can a cis woman, at any time, be told by you that she doesn’t have enough markers to be regarded as a woman? Or is her femaleness always beyond reproach because she is cis?
    2. Can I, as a trans woman, ever tell as cis woman (i.e. you) that you don’t have enough markers to be a woman? Or is your femaleness always beyond reproach because you are cis?
    3. Because you know nothing about who I am or how I present in person and only deal with an ungendered name (Scar) that claims to be female, is my status as a woman constantly doubted until I show some expression of femaleness, the criteria for which is decided by you?
    4. With reference to the above, are you allowed to deny my womanhood just because you don’t know whether or not I present as male or female in person?
    5. If a cis woman presents and behaves in ways that are coded ‘male’ by society, but is adamant that she is a woman, does she automatically become a man, even though she doesn’t feel that she is male?
    6. Do you think academic philosophy has much use or has any real bearing on the real-world realities that trans women face every day? (Do you in fact have any idea of what trans women face every day?)
    7. Do you, as a cis woman, feel that you have more authority than trans people to decide how valid their self identification it?

    I know you’re pressed for time, so yes/no answers are perfectly acceptable 🙂

    • Deborah July 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

      I’ve said what I wanted to say at this stage in my comment above, Scar. I strongly urge you to read Dr Bettcher’s paper, because I think it is very helpful with respect to disentangling metaphysical identity and existential identity.

      • Scar July 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

        I’m reading the paper at the moment; it’s not presenting anything that I haven’t explored before, or heard expressed before by other trans women.
        I think that’s one of the problems with cis people (like yourself) suggesting that trans people read such transcripts; while this is all new and interesting for you, this has, for many of us, been our reality for many, many years and we don’t appreciate these arguments being presented to us for the 500th time any more than we appreciated it being presented the 50th time.

    • Isabel July 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

      Scar – you ask if, as someone posting under (I presume) a pseudonym on the internet, your femaleness is in doubt. Frankly I assume anyone on the internet who I have not met in person may not be who they portray themselves as. You could be exactly as you claim but you may be someone completely different -or even a collective of someones.

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