A Dose of Stupid v102

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

Transgender Woman Can’t Be Diversity Officer Because She’s a White Man Now

I know what you are thinking. You think some woman had a sex change and now the liberals on campus have gone after the now him because of “the Patriarchy”. It is much worse.

Timothy Boatwright applied to an all-women’s school. While he checked the “female” box when he applied for the school, he identified as “masculine-of-center genderqueer” when he got there. Granted, that is rather nonsensical, but it is not the stupid part. This is:

And, by all accounts, Boatwright felt welcome on campus — until the day he announced that he wanted to run for the school’s office of multicultural affairs coordinator, whose job is to promote a “culture of diversity” on campus.

But some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.

“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the student behind the so-called “Campaign to Abstain” said.

“It’s not just about that position either,” the student added. “Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”

The New York Times ran an in-depth article giving further insight:

Last spring, as a sophomore, Timothy decided to run for a seat on the student-government cabinet, the highest position that an openly trans student had ever sought at Wellesley. The post he sought was multicultural affairs coordinator, or “MAC,” responsible for promoting “a culture of diversity” among students and staff and faculty members. Along with Timothy, three women of color indicated their intent to run for the seat. But when they dropped out for various unrelated reasons before the race really began, he was alone on the ballot. An anonymous lobbying effort began on Facebook, pushing students to vote “abstain.” Enough “abstains” would deny Timothy the minimum number of votes Wellesley required, forcing a new election for the seat and providing an opportunity for other candidates to come forward. The “Campaign to Abstain” argument was simple: Of all the people at a multiethnic women’s college who could hold the school’s “diversity” seat, the least fitting one was a white man.

To recap, Timothy signed up for school as a female so that his mother would not discover he is “transmasculine” (as he put it in the New York Times article). Once at Wellesley, he told his fellow students to call him Timothy and refer to him with male pronouns. They did this with apparently little problem. However, when Timothy attempted to become a multiculutral affairs coordinator, the students turned on him because he is white and considers himself male.

They think Timothy, a person who is female who identifies as male, ever a minority if there were one, is unqualified to be a diversity officer because Timothy is a white female who identifies as white male.

Keep in mind that Timothy has done nothing to alter his body. His body is still female. He simply identifies as male. Yet that simple identification is enough to make his fellow students hold his perceived maleness against him, despite the likelihood that he has never experienced any “male privilege” at all.

This politically correct fail is such a thing to behold. For example, there is this:

“Sisterhood is why I chose to go to Wellesley,” said a physics major who graduated recently and asked not to be identified for fear she’d be denounced for her opinion. “A women’s college is a place to celebrate being a woman, surrounded by women. I felt empowered by that every day. You come here thinking that every single leadership position will be held by a woman: every member of the student government, every newspaper editor, every head of the Economics Council, every head of the Society of Physics. That’s an incredible thing! This is what they advertise to students. But it’s no longer true. And if all that is no longer true, the intrinsic value of a women’s college no longer holds.”

That fear is genuine. A student named Laura Bruno was interviewed, and did not go well for her when stated that having men on campus diminished the importance of having a women’s college:

The interviewer asked Laura to describe her experience at an “all-female school” and to explain how that might be diminished “by having men there.” Laura answered, “We look around and we see only women, only people like us, leading every organization on campus, contributing to every class discussion.”

Kaden, a manager of the campus student cafe who knew Laura casually, was upset by her words. He emailed Laura and said her response was “extremely disrespectful.” He continued: “I am not a woman. I am a trans man who is part of your graduating class, and you literally ignored my existence in your interview. . . . You had an opportunity to show people that Wellesley is a place that is complicating the meaning of being an ‘all women’s school,’ and you chose instead to displace a bunch of your current and past Wellesley siblings.”

Laura apologized, saying she hadn’t meant to marginalize anyone and had actually vowed beforehand not to imply that all Wellesley students were women. But she said that under pressure, she found herself in a difficult spot: How could she maintain that women’s colleges would lose something precious by including men, but at the same time argue that women’s colleges should accommodate students who identify as men?

I feel sorry for students like Laura. They want to be inclusive, yet they want their “sisterhood”. The moment someone identifies as male enters the foray, that ruins the latter possibility. The simplest solution would be to require every student to at least identify as female. That would solve the immediate problem of having females transitioning to or identifying as males on campus. However, it would cause the new problem of asking the students who identify as male to leave.

Yet I also do not feel sorry for the students. This is precisely what happens when political correctness is left to its own devices. Accommodating transgender views about sex and gender render the very concept of sex and gender moot. If you think a person can change their gender or sex, then neither two concepts are concrete. They essentially do not exist. They are simply social constructs no different than race or nationality. And if that is true, then there is little point to having an all-women college. There is no such thing as a “woman” or “female”.

Obviously most people do not believe that. Most people think there are only two sexes, male and female, and that these are biologically determined, not social constructs. I suspect that most people at Wellesley do not actually think people like Timothy are male. They simply go along with it for the sake of appearances. However, people like Timothy do not know or suspect that, so when they attempt to engage in normal school activities, they end up with Timothy’s present situation.

Perhaps the most enlightening part of this is how much this mirrors the feminist attack on men and masculinity. That is essentially the argument at play, that men, maleness, and masculinity are unwanted and bad. Even transmen attending Wellesley share that view:

Others are wary of opening Wellesley’s doors too quickly — including one of Wellesley’s trans men, who asked not to be named because he knew how unpopular his stance would be. He said that Wellesley should accept only trans women who have begun sex-changing medical treatment or have legally changed their names or sex on their driver’s licenses or birth certificates. “I know that’s a lot to ask of an 18-year-old just applying to college,” he said, “but at the same time, Wellesley needs to maintain its integrity as a safe space for women. What if someone who is male-bodied comes here genuinely identified as female, and then decides after a year or two that they identify as male — and wants to stay at Wellesley? How’s that different from admitting a biological male who identifies as a man? Trans men are a different case; we were raised female, we know what it’s like to be treated as females and we have been discriminated against as females. We get what life has been like for women.”

It is bias all around, from the students who do not want transmen in their school to the transmen who do not want transwomen in the school to those oppose men in general.

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25 thoughts on “A Dose of Stupid v102

  1. The largest dose of stupid is your referring to “Timothy” as a him. Merely saying she is a male does not make her one. You are writing about a female. Timothy may say as she wishes but Its a fantasy. Its delusion.

  2. Pitt, I have no problem with referring to him as Timothy. If that is what he wants to be called, I will do so. I do not agree with his perception, but I see no reason to call him anything different.

  3. Pretty interesting story. I find it also revealing TImothy was fine until he took on a leadership role which people thought he would do fine at. I see this all around me, how, feminism has created this proud bias against men. You are fine if you don’t lead, don’t speak up too much, don’t disagree. The step-up, step-down BS. With that, performance goes out the window. It’s all about the illusion of the strong capable woman, and the better you perform as a man, the more they oppose you.

  4. It is interesting that the controversy arose around an office of diversity. It seems that students at Wellesley are very much like Laura: They want diversity as long as they can each look around and see that everyone is exactly like them. “We look around and we see only women, only people like us…”

  5. Wow, you are almost as transphobic as rad-fems. Geez, thanks for joining the attack on transmen. Because hey, they are not belittled enough already?

    There is a difference between gender identity and ‘biological sex’. Note too that intersex people exist (not to be confused with transgender people). Also note that intrasex variations exist within each ‘biological sex’.

    When making comments about transmen, do remember that some of them are part of the forgotten men & boys who suffer in silence. Do remember that there are cismen (who have survived) that are against transphobia.

  6. @ Greg Allan:

    That is why I said “almost” when I juxtaposed the writer to rad-fems. I actually acknowledged that the rad-fems are much worse on the issue of gender identity.

    The reason why I criticised the article was because the writer insinuated that trans-inclusiveness is politically correct, and that sex & gender must go together. It is cissexism that is the politically correct view in this day & age.

    I also commented because advocacy for male survivors MUST include advocacy for transgender men & boys who have been abused. Refusing to acknowledge the manhood of transmen excludes them from the struggle.

  7. Wow, you are almost as transphobic as rad-fems. Geez, thanks for joining the attack on transmen. Because hey, they are not belittled enough already?

    Ishmam, you should re-read what I wrote. While I do not agree with the transgender community’s views on sex and gender, I think people who do (claim to) accept those views should abide by them. It is ludicrous to allow Timothy to remain on campus, call him by his preferred name and gender pronoun, and then bar him from a leadership because of how he identifies. It is worse to refuse transwomen admission to the school even though they, unlike transmen, identify as women.

    There is a difference between gender identity and ‘biological sex’.

    I do not agree.

    Note too that intersex people exist (not to be confused with transgender people). Also note that intrasex variations exist within each ‘biological sex’.

    I am aware of those people, and while they do exist, it is illogical to hold what occurs in less than 1% of the total human population as indicative that there is no such thing as a biological sex.

    When making comments about transmen, do remember that some of them are part of the forgotten men & boys who suffer in silence.

    Again, I disagree with the position that they are male. That does not mean I support or ignore violence against them. I find that as outrageous as any type of abuse. However, I do not need to agree with how they view themselves to think it is wrong to abuse them or to think it is right to offer my support when it is needed.

    The reason why I criticised the article was because the writer insinuated that trans-inclusiveness is politically correct, and that sex & gender must go together. It is cissexism that is the politically correct view in this day & age.

    “Trans-inclusiveness” is politically correct. If it were not, none of the liberals commenting on this situation would consider it an example of “liberal fail”. The very reason the situation is so ridiculous is because one would expect liberals to be more politically astute to know how politically incorrect it is to behave this way in liberal spaces.

    I also think you misunderstand what “politically correct” means. You appear to use it to mean what it is the general consensus. That is not its meaning. The term means what is considered acceptable in left-leaning circles. “Cissexism” is not politically correct; it is politically incorrect.

    I also commented because advocacy for male survivors MUST include advocacy for transgender men & boys who have been abused. Refusing to acknowledge the manhood of transmen excludes them from the struggle.

    I think that exclusion is understandable because they have not had the same set of experiences. A transman was not raised as a boy, so the assumption that when he was a child his experiences of being raped as girl are the same as a boy being raped is absurd. They are physically, psychologically, and socially two different experiences. I think we need to recognize that difference while still recognizing that many in the transgender community are also victims. We also need to recognize the unique experiences and stigmas transgender go through as a result of the abuse.

    As I tell feminists, we are capable of caring about more than one group of people at the same time. This is also the reason I think we should not play politics with abuse.

  8. @ Toysoldier:

    1) Agree with first paragraph

    2) Having a vagina, low testosterone levels and/or XX chromosomes does not logically preclude a person from identifying as male. There is nothing in reality that obligates them to be considered female. It is only because of cissexism that this assumption is taken for granted.

    3) Intersex people might form as much as 4% of the population (although the conservative figure is 1.7%). I also mentioned INTRAsex variations, which renders the dividing line between ‘male’ vis-a-vis intersex and ‘female’ vis-a-vis intersex rather blurry. I am not saying that ‘biological sex’ doesn’t exist but simply that it isn’t a discrete binary.

    4) I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this, even though I strongly acknowledge the manhood of transmen and hold them to be men, just as with cismen.

    May I ask though why couldn’t the heading be ‘Transgender Man Can’t Be Diversity Officer Because He’s White & Out as a Man Now’? Since you used male pronouns throughout the entire article in relation to Timothy, wouldn’t it have been consistent to make the heading equally respectful of his manhood?

    As for transgender male survivors who come to this page, where else can they go for support? It is true they can go to transmen-specific, transgender-specific or queer-specific websites & support groups. But what if they want to talk as a male survivor, not just as a transgender male survivor?

    As for cismen survivors who consider transmen to be men, what is your advice to them (in relation to disagreements with you about views over male gender identity)?

    I know that you disagree with me, but I appreciated your response. I know my counter-response is quite long, but I consider these issues to be of great importance. Despite my disagreements, I still appreciate the ongoing good work done by you.

  9. Sorry, I forgot to deal with the latter half of your response. As a libertarian (let us agree to disagree?), I consider the right & the left to be equally guilty of imposing political correctness. I also consider the left be not that much different from the right on most issues. When it comes to transgender issues, I have found the left to be not that much different from the right (the rad-fems being a case in point).

    If even the majority of the left is not trans-inclusive, is it really politically correct to be trans-inclusive? The fact that the support for transgender rights has grown in recent years does not change the fact that even the left has been slow on this issue.

    It is true that transmen experience sexual/physical/emotional violence experience differently from cismen survivors. But such differences extend to all other intersecting identities/traits and down to the personal level. Also, transmen survivors view their struggle as that of a male survivor, even IF their abusers perceived them as female.

    You have to also remember that as transgender males are coming out earlier in life these days, there are probably cases in which transgender boys have been abused while being raised as boys. And why must it be assumed that only vaginal rape is used against transgender boys? Being abused differently in a physical, psychological and social sense does not change the fact that transmen survivors experience their struggle as male survivors.

    I understand that you probably don’t have the time to respond and I certainly won’t interpret a lack of response as being proof that you have no response. But I just wanted to share my thoughts since I believe these issues are worth clarifying and because some cismen may have similar attitudes to me.

    But I acknowledge that your concern for the well-being of others extends to all victims of violence. So I thank you.

  10. Having a vagina, low testosterone levels and/or XX chromosomes does not logically preclude a person from identifying as male. There is nothing in reality that obligates them to be considered female. It is only because of cissexism that this assumption is taken for granted.

    That is a nonsensical argument. Chromosomes are what determine one’s sex. With rare exception (by which I genuinely mean extremely uncommon), humans have either XX or XY chromosomes. The term female applies to those with XX patterns, while the term male applies to those with XY patterns. This is not limited to humans. It applies to all animals that have X and Y chromosomes. To argue that “there is nothing in reality” to require us to adhere to those terms ignores the last 100 years of biology.

    I suppose one could argue there is no reason to use the specific words “male” and “female”, yet one could argue that about any classification.

    Intersex people might form as much as 4% of the population (although the conservative figure is 1.7%).

    That does not appear to be true. If you average the numbers from the chart, you end up with, you end up with about .03% of the total population being intersex. Even if you used the higher estimate for late onset adrenal hyperplasia, it still comes out to about .39% of the total population. Yet even if the rate were 4%, it would be illogical and scientifically unsound to claim that was is a genetic mutation means there is no such thing as biological sex or that one’s sex is “fluid”. One does not take the exception and claim it is the rule.

    I also mentioned INTRAsex variations, which renders the dividing line between ‘male’ vis-a-vis intersex and ‘female’ vis-a-vis intersex rather blurry. I am not saying that ‘biological sex’ doesn’t exist but simply that it isn’t a discrete binary.

    Please explain what you mean by “intrasex” as I am sure my usage of the word differs from yours.

    May I ask though why couldn’t the heading be ‘Transgender Man Can’t Be Diversity Officer Because He’s White & Out as a Man Now’?

    Because that is not the headline of the article I quoted. I removed the portion “students:” because it appears to school’s administrators also agree with the students’ position. The rest of the headline is as it appears in the article.

    As for transgender male survivors who come to this page, where else can they go for support? It is true they can go to transmen-specific, transgender-specific or queer-specific websites & support groups. But what if they want to talk as a male survivor, not just as a transgender male survivor?

    The problem is that in many cases their experiences are not as male survivors. The abuse may have occurred when they identified as female. If the abused occurred after they presented themselves as male, they would still recount experiences different from men. This is the general problem with this issue: it makes the conversation completely nebulous, and strips those who do not adhere to the transgender view of any ability to discuss their experiences in a concrete manner, let alone on their own terms. It removes any ability to discuss the stigmas men and boys face, the attacks on and expectations of masculinity, the disregard because of their sex, etc. because from the transgender view sex and gender do not really exist.

    This is essentially the problem the women on all-women college campuses experience: how can they talk about “sisterhood” when the very idea that there is such a concrete thing as “female” is in question? They cannot, hence the switch to “siblinghood”, which renders the point of the all-“women” experience moot. It also leads to the ridiculousness of people talking about “brotherhood” in what is supposed to be a female-only space.

    As for cismen survivors who consider transmen to be men, what is your advice to them (in relation to disagreements with you about views over male gender identity)?

    My advice would be to treat everyone’s experience with the respect and understanding that it deserves. I do not have to agree that a transman is male to agree that no one should abuse him, nor do I have to agree with his views to listen to his story and and show compassion. I can still say that it is horrific for some man to abuse a boy and say he did it because he could tell the boy was more effeminate and this would teach him how to be a proper girl. That is absolutely disgusting, and it still angers me despite being told that years ago by a transwoman. How dare someone use that person’s confusion as an excuse to abuse them. That will make what is already difficult for them infinitely worse (and in her case it did. It ruined nearly all of her relationships because she assumed the men she dated were attracted to her for the same reason as the abuser.) Yet I do not need to agree that she is female to think that.

    I realize this is a difficult issue for some people. However, I think the best way to understand my thinking is to compare it to my views on religion. I do not think Christian priests are actually connected to any deity. I do not believe they speak to “him” or have power to act is “his” name. However, I do respect their right to think they are emissaries of “god”, and should they want me to call them “father” I have little objection to that. I will defend their right to think that way even though I disagree with it, and I will oppose anyone to wants to hurt them because of their believes. I do not have to agree with what they believe to think it is wrong to hurt them. I hope that offers some insight.

  11. Ishmam, I wanted to address this portion separately.

    The right-wing does not impose political correctness, although they will play to it to save face or try to one-up the left-wing. The right tends to lean more on “traditional values”, which usually results in them opposing things like “inclusivity”.

    In general, most people feel fine in expressing an apprehension against transgender people. However, on the left this is considered unacceptable, at least if one does it publicly. I agree that the left has not gone hand over fist for transgender rights, yet they are significantly more likely to side with the transgender community than the right, even if it is only for show.

    As for how transmen view their experiences, I cannot (nor do I desire to) control how they view themselves. If they view themselves as male survivors, then that is how they view themselves. I do not agree with that position. I would argue that on one hand it detracts from men and boys’ experiences by rendering them meaningless, and on the other hand diminishes the unique experiences transmen went through.

    While there are people coming out earlier as transgender males, again, I do not agree that they are male. I also understand there are plenty of ways to sexually abuse a person. Nevertheless, those experiences differ per group. Even if someone considers themselves male, their experience is not the same those born male, precisely because they are transgender. Emotionally, the trauma can be the same. Physically, the experiences will vastly differ. I am trying to avoid using details because I find it rude. However, for the sake of clarity, I need to. I will use myself as an example.

    I had my first ejaculation while being anally penetrated. That is an experience no transman can have. He will never know what it is like to get an erection from being anally penetrated, masturbated to keep the erection, the bizarre feeling of having to urinate because something in his rectum, feeling a familiar wave run through his body only to have this clearish liquid come out of his penis, or simultaneously being surprised and proud that he “come” at 11-years-old, amazed so much kept coming out, worried that he did it wrong because his prior experience with male ejaculation involved a stream or oozing of it over a few seconds, not “puffs” of semen over about two minutes (I later discovered that happened because of the prostate stimulation), and disgusted that this was his first time “cumming”.

    I realize that is quite graphic, and I normally do not share such graphic details. I only wanted to show that my experience is one no transman can have (although a transwoman can have it). That does not mean that transmen’s experiences do not count. It only means that we are talking about completely different sets of experiences.

  12. Toysoldier, I thank you for your response, especially considering the time and emotional toll such a discussion can take on you. I don’t seek to distract you from your overall work. And I acknowledge that despite our ongoing disagreements, you do genuinely care for the rights of all.

    All I can add is that I don’t think anyone (whether or not they consider transmen to be men and transwomen to be women) should assume that they know everything there is to gender. Everyone, no matter what they think, should treat learning as an ongoing process and be willing to consider the viewpoint of others, even if one disagrees intensely.

    I have taken the time to reread your article and your responses. As tempting as it is for me to make a response to your counter-responses, I think all discussions deserve a pause (but it doesn’t mean that I don’t take great issue with some of the ongoing misconceptions that plague discussions about gender). Besides, it is likely that such a discussion may one day occur again in the future (not necessarily with me).

    I suppose that is the end of my piece. Let us agree to disagree and not let this important issue get in the way of the vital struggle against the victimisation of men & boys.

  13. Umm, am I missing something? Its an ALL WOMAN school. If the person identifies as male then they are out of the running for any position.

  14. Toy soldiers, stupid question: what do you call a person with XX chromosomes, a penis, testicles, and atrophied mammal glands?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XX_male_syndrome

    I’m just a science nerd, so when I see someone’s science is off, I just have to correct them, I can’t help myself.

    As far as my opinions on the subject are, I think sex is biology (whether reproductive organs are internal or external) and gender is psychology (for the record, biologically I’m male, but I identify as agender because neither gender and the implications that come with them fit me), but as long as you recognize transgender, transsexuals and genderqueer as humans beings, you are very much okay in my book, even if we disagree on that point. I think the priority when it comes to someone experiencing gender dysphoria is to help this person live a happy life, and this comes through understanding the person and not rejecting him/her, which is what you try to do, so even if you disagree, kudos to you.

  15. JT, the problem is that the school cannot refuse to allow Timothy to run for any position. They are supposed to be inclusive, and disallowing him to run would undermine that.

  16. Eilsa, that is an excellent example of a tricky issue. Based on the person chromosome pattern, the person is technically female. However, as a result of the genetic abnormality, the person develops male characteristics. The issue becomes which one should we go with. In this situation, I think the best option would be to acknowledge that the person is technically female, but allow the person to identity as whatever sex they choose, which would most likely be male. Keep in mind, it is rare disorder, so it would be unwise to use it as an example that humans have more than two sexes.

    As for gender being psychological, I do not necessarily disagree, although I do think biology plays a larger role in male and female behavior than some people want to admit.

  17. Funny how feminist man-hating goes hand in hand with feminist transphobia, isn’t it?

  18. No matter the role biology plays in behaviors, in human beings psychology is often able to trump biology. So judging people on biology is like rolling dice.

    For instance: the drive to survive is a strong biological force. Depression is a strong psychological force. If the drive to survive was always able to beat psychological factors, suicide would be nonexistent.

    So if psychology can trump biology, then it makes more sense to judge each person separately from others with similar (or even identical, like twins) biology (Even twins can be radically different. There is a reason the Evil Twin trope is popular.).

    As a personal example, I hear many people talking about toxic women. I know they exist (I even personally met one, she’s my big brother’s girlfriend), but I also met someone who had every attribute of the toxic woman… Yet that person was a man. I’ve had the misfortune to meet plenty of toxic people of both sexes and genders actually. And I’ve been fortunate to meet a few sweet people of both sexes and gender. Biology may have a lot of influence, but it is not immutable.

  19. I am doing research for an article about Boko Haram. I have read posts by you about them before. I am looking for articles by MSM and by feminists where they draw conclusions about the girls being kidnapped reflected oppression of women, the particularly harsh plight of girls etc. I want to contrast those ways of thinking with the reality of Boko Harams singling out of boys for killing and their kidnapping of boys.

    There is information in this thread that would interest you:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/2jzs7f/looking_for_source_on_boko_haram_kidnapping_men/

  20. psychology *is* biology when you really get down to it, it doesn’t really make sense to treat them as if they are totally seperate. biological factors *are* a major part of psychology, which is why people are predictable and why damage to the brain can completely change someone’s personality.

  21. I’d really, really like to post this on SYABM, but I’m not sure how to condense the stupidity down to a tumblr-friendly format.

    Maybe if I use gifs.

  22. Pingback: Top Posts of 2014 | Toy Soldiers

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