This is the penultimate part of my series on this book. It was written in 1979 but is a must read for anyone wishing to understand the origins of this movement and the implications for women’s rights and gay rights, especially Lesbians.
You can find the rest of the series here:
This is the final chapter of the book, before the Appendix.
The chapter opens with an interrogation of the historical origins of the myths surrounding androgyny. I will skip over this part but if you are interested in delving this is the chapter for you. Moving into more modern times, Raymond argues that the concept of “androgyny” pretends to be about this 👇
In reality the concept of androgyny leaves the dualism “masculine v feminine” intact and postulates the idea of two inadequate halves:
As Mary Daly called it:
The “transsexual” accepts this dualism and modifies his, or her, body to fit either the “masculine” or “feminine” archetype rather than attempting to transcend the limitations of a normative idea of what it means to be male or female. The male constructed “woman” accepts the truth of these stereotypes and adopts risky and invasive medical/surgical treatments to carve those stereotypes into, and out of, his flesh. This, it should be obvious, is antithetical to a true women’s rights project.
What should tolerance look like?
Raymond was aware that her attitude would be dismissed as intolerance and bigotry and she has some thoughts about “tolerance”. The concept of a “transsexual” shores up a sexist society and, moreover, it is not in the best interests of the individuals who place their bodies at the disposal of the Gender Industrial Complex. A treatment pathway governed by integrity would engage in consciousness raising to allow the “transsexual” subject to examine the sexist underpinnings of his belief system and attempt to reconcile with his biological sex.
Here is what she had to say on the pseudo-tolerance that is asked of women re the issue of “transsexuals” .
#BeKind = #BeCompliant
This is a false “tolerance” that does not serve the transsexual well and the way women are exhorted to #BeKind and uncritical of “gender clinics”, or their customers, looks more like an oppressive tactic than a genuine call for compassion. It’s really #BeCompliant.
This is socially prescribed “tolerance” compelling women to accept our impersonators when nobody told the black community they had to accept Rachel Dolezal. Given that this now includes the sterilisation of children as young as 10, in the U.K, I don’t think calling it “evil” is hyperbole.
Raymond also raises the spectre of “polysurgery” in which the “transsexual” pursues ever more surgery to “correct” his features which fail to conform to the ideal “feminine”. Thus breast implants, facial feminisation surgery, shaving of the adam’s apple and even re-situating the hair line. Not to mention electrolysis and speech therapy all aside from the removal of the testicles, inversion of the penis and a life times dependence on synthetic hormones. All the time knowing they are seeking the unattainable:
Or as per Jan Morris 👇
Raymond hits on an important reason why women have found themselves expressing sympathy with men who are uncomfortable with their bodies. There is barely a woman alive who doesn’t understand this 👇.
The difference is that feminists became critics of the sexism inherent in the inculcation of bodily hatred in the female sex: 👇. Raymond poses the question of why persons, afflicted with a conflict about their sexed body, don’t band together to address the underlying reasons rather than hand themselves over to the medico-industrial complex?
Raymond also asks if the revolutionary potential of the “transsexual” has not just been neutered by the gender industry their plight has also been used, to great effect, in the new backlash against feminism/women’s rights.
The scale of this backlash has become clear in the last decade as men take women’s places in sport and politics and the word “woman” is being erased; even when talking about issues that only affect the female sex.
Quite apart from the negative consequences for the “trans” patient there are wider ramifications that ripple out to wider society such that this “individualist” solution has had devastating consequences, mainly for women.
Women are waking up to the consequences of this ideology for our rights and even our ability to name ourselves and exclude men from any spaces where we are vulnerable or organising to defend /advance our rights.
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