Intersectionality leaves no room for women-only spaces, concerns, or causes.
A few weeks back, I wrote about an encounter with a flasher I had when I was twelve. At the time, I gave my reasons for not jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon. It comes down to this: #MeToo seems too much like a leftist movement, not a general women’s movement. Here’s something I’d like to add.
As a leftist movement, it’s bound to be intersectional, and the way intersectionality works, women lose. Women are at the bottom of the heap of contemporary political correctness, below gays and people of color, and therefore, our grievances are not that important.
To wit, Palestinian American Linda Sarsour was chosen to headline the Women’s March on Washington this January. But Sarsour was never — until that March, that is — known for feminist activism. She was, and is, what’s known in the media as a “pro-Palestinian” activist, who is, in reality, a pro-Sharia law terrorist sympathizer. She is also not a women’s rights leader. She once wished on her political opponents Bridgett Gabriel and Aayan Hirsi Ali to have their lady parts removed. Sarsour’s causes are very different from anything on the radar of an average American gal, but intersectionality dictates that a brown woman with radical street cred should represent American women, so there you have it.
I expect similar dynamics to play out with issue of sexual assault. Consider, for instance, the following tweet:
Straightforward, right? Yet it immediately generated a discussion about why Jennifer Wright is leaving out men, especially the ones who are “transitioning,” since they, too, are victims of assault.
Many years after the encounter with that dodgy character in a dark and musty lobby, I visited nightclubs where, by mutual agreement, the bathrooms were shared by both men and women. It was perfectly fine with me, theraputic even. However, if in the days following the flasher incident somebody had told me that there might be a man with surgical and chemical alterations in a public bathroom, I would never have used that bathroom. I’m such a hater, I’d risk my bladder bursting rather than urinate next to a strange man.
The unisex loo is a quirky adult arrangement that should never be forced on the general population. Not because criminals will take it as an invitation to assault women, which is still a rare occurrence, but because we should never assume that the women using the bathroom are not recovering from trauma or that the mere presence of a man in their private space will not aggravate their trauma.
At the very least, the breadth of #MeToo should have made us sensitive to the idea that people with XY chromosomes do not belong ladies’ rooms. Period.
I don’t doubt that transexuals are also victims of sexual assault. As victims and potential victims they can exhibit a show of solidarity with women who might had been violated and respect our desire to be left alone or in the company of other women.
“But transsexuals are women!” you scream at the screen. In the interest of full disclosure, I believe that sex is binary and is set at conception. In exceedingly rare cases, it might be worthwhile for adults to go with procedures of altering the look of their sex. What grown men and women do with their money and their bodies is rarely a concern of mine.
I want to note, simply, that very few men can pass for women, even with all the hormones and beauty products made available by capitalist free market and socialist subsidized medicine. Men have different bones structure, they grow muscle in their own way, and that’s not something that can be altered even if they began administering chemicals at a very early age. Mainstreaming androgyny can’t change it either.
We recently ate dinner at a local joint, seated next to two men. One of them was an average kind of middle age dude, and the other… also an average kind of dude, with beer belly and a prominent nose, but wearing a dress. He wasn’t fooling anyone, but Anglo-Saxon standards of privacy and contemporary pieties both dictated that we not act like we’d noticed. A few decades ago that guy would be best described as a comedian playing a woman (think Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire). Today he’s a “brave transsexual woman.”
Gay rights activists like to say that gender is performed. Maybe so, in the all-the-world’s-a-stage way. But transsexuals don’t merely perform, they require continuous, enthusiastic assent of their gender from everyone they meet. Like goofy college sex, they are in need of ongoing affirmation. We have to keep pretending that this individual before us is not obviously (or after a quick examination, is) a man, refer to him by some oddball “pronoun,” and let him hang out in the ladies’ lounge next to a breastfeeding mother. (At least she was breastfeeding until he showed up. She left because she felt self-conscious since she had wanted privacy or perhaps because she didn’t want to trigger him about biological functions. Intersectionality had taught her to be respectful of such things.)
Now imagine a young victim of sexual assault walking into a public restroom and seeing what appears to be a woman, albeit broad-shouldered and thick-waisted, and after a minute or two realizing that behind the heavy makeup and custom-made dress is really a man, and who knows if he still has his penis. It’s especially the “passing” ones who have the potential to truly fill her heart with terror because she let her guard down.
Even if we somehow provide separate assault victims only bathrooms for women with this sort of baggage — and make them publicly declare their past whenever they need to use them — the rest of us should still expect privacy of the single sex WC. Nothing much happens in ladies’ rooms; no miracles are performed. We just don’t need man ogling us when we adjust our lipstick or check our collars. We are neither acting out an award-winning play nor teaching a lesson on how to act like a woman.
And yet our contemporary ideas of “human rights” dictate that we women subordinate our needs whether they be the healing of assault victims or simple privacy preferences to men’s performance of transsexuality. The patriarchy is alive and well.