I went to college in the early 90s, and I was exposed to all sorts of crazy (albeit compelling) post-modern theory. It was fun to think about, even to apply – to literature, to film, sometimes to politics. But if one had told the nineteen-year-old dyke I was that someday, in the not-so-distant-future, these ideas (best engaged in the hallowed halls of academia) would be applied in very serious ways to women’s existence, lesbian’s existence, I wouldn’t have believed it.
In fact, this is exactly what has happened in the dominant culture. We have taken post-modern theory and applied it to a subjugated class (women). We say, with straight faces, “Anyone can be a woman!” We say, without stuttering, “A man is a woman if he says so.” What we then are to infer is that “woman” is a meaningless term – a concept, a malleable notion, a bit of…
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Added to my compilation of articles like these called “SIS not cis”
So yes, I’m writing another – another – post on the word “cis”. Everybody quake in fear! But I’ve had so many useful comments, which have given me so much food for thought, that I’d like to get them all out and see what happens.
The other reason is the previous post is based on personal pain. It was, as these things are, read as competitive. I felt hurt; other people felt hurt. This is an attempt to be more dispassionate and to explain why, as far as I can see, the term “cis” isn’t working – and why we need to allow non-trans women to define themselves on their own terms:
1 Cis is not a necessary alternative to trans
Many people find it hard to see what is wrong with this statement:
But what if someone said this:
“anyone not Muslim is…
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It’s get endlessly tiresome and frustrating to have to explain again and again to other women why ‘cis’ is inaccurate and highly offensive. and when i say ‘women’ i mean females. (I say ‘trans women’ for trans women. But trans women are women, you say. Please see here for more on that.) It seems pretty obviously to me that females are not privileged in any society or culture on this planet. We are assigned into the subjugated class ‘woman’ from our first breathe, and we are inundated our entire lives with reminders of our second class citizenship and pressure to conform to some sort of idea of what is feminine and womanly that is only considered such because it serves the male gaze (i.e. a sexually subservient and over all subjugated and submissive position to males). This is not news. This is what feminism has been fighting against since the jump. It is baffling to me that women who consider themselves feminists will throw females under the bus to privilege the rights of males who are living their lives as women (trans women). Sounds a bit like Stockholm Syndrome to me. But women have been selling out other women for their positioning with males since the days of the witch hunts and burnings, or maybe since humanity abandoned matrirachal goddess worship based society. And the witch hunts never ended, btw. They have just have taken a new form. But i digress….
I’ve compiled links here of several terrific blog posts that take on ‘CIS’ and have listed them here, and will add to it as more brilliant women speak up about this. I get way too angry about this to address this with any kind of aplomb, so I leave it to others, who have handled it.
I am not ‘CIS’. Do not label me thus. Do not label me, period.
READ THESE. THEN, we can discuss the topic (btw, not all of these are written bywomen)
If cis means not-trans, then I am cis. I have been told repeatedly that cis is a label that belongs on me, and assured by those applying it that it’s not an insult – even while in many cases its use has clearly implied that, as a cis woman, I have certain privileges that preclude me from being listened to on certain issues. What are those privileges? Julia Serano defines the state of being cis as the condition of enjoying agreement between one’s physical sex and “subconscious sex”:
I suppose that when a person feels right in the sex they were born into, they are never forced to locate or question their subconscious sex, to differentiate it from their physical sex. In other words, their subconscious sex exists, but is hidden from view. They have a blind spot.Julia Serano, Whipping Girl, p. 87
There is no substantial definition of…
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