Most people have noticed that I don’t really blog anymore. There are a number of reasons for this. Blogging is writing and writing is hard. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes thought. I find as I get older I have less and less energy to devote to this, this effort, which is not an effort that serves me personally. I don’t have a burning desire to share my opinions with a broader audience. I have done so because it seemed necessary. But there’s only so many ways you can express an idea; at least, there are so many ways I can express an idea. And the Internet, really, has done a great job of destroying the necessity to express your ideas in a nuanced, thoughtful, careful way. No one listens, attention spans are quick, page clicks and advertising drives the business of blogging. And really, when words don’t need to have definitions because anything can mean anything you want it to mean, why even bother?
And so, I don’t write. I still think, a lot, I still talk to Women, I still wonder, and I still smile when I see more and more other Women (and Men) writing about the toxic sludge of gender identity. But I really don’t have, as I said, a burning desire to add to it. I have a Facebook page and I have a Twitter account, and I do what I can to bolster the social media presence of Resistance, but I am busy doing other things.
That doesn’t stop Men’s Rights Activists, though, from invoking my name in their anti-feminist writings. “Cathy Brennan” is a meme in itself, which means a number of things. If you are Gallus Mag or one of her readers, it means “fake lesbian millionaire sociopath.” If you are a Transwoman, it means “ugly fat lesbian who won’t fuck me.” And if you are a Male “trans ally,” it apparently means “biological essentialism.”
Biological essentialism! What’s that, you say? I understood this to mean what the radical feminist blogger Fact Check Me says here:
essentialism, biological essentialism, or biological determinism is the belief that we are “how we are” because of our genetic makeup, including race and sex. the next step is the assumption that behaviors and preferences are biologically pre-determined, rather than choices we make, or as a result of the environments we are exposed to.
You should read FCM’s post, because she goes into how MRAs and TRAs pretend that saying “Transwomen are Men” means we are saying “Transwomen are evil or bad.”
But according to this pseudo-anonymous (male) blogger for Boing Boing, my understanding that human beings are sexually dimorphic (intersex notwithstanding) means I am a “biological essentialist.” He writes, in his op-ed about Men’s Rights Activists (Yes, I am a feminist. No I am not an MRA. No, I don’t know why he mentions me either), as follows:
Redpillers also often subscribe to biological essentialism, a viewpoint that is far from uniquely conservative in its appeal. For example, it’s also the province of trans-exclusionary feminist writer Cathy Brennan, who describes herself as a “gender atheist”, equating modern psychological ideas of gender identity with religion.
That’s all he wrote about what he thinks I think. It is a meaningless sentence, but it doesn’t matter, because invoking “Cathy Brennan” allows this writer to associate radical feminist views of gender – which posit that gender is wholly a social construct and there is nothing biologically essential about it – with Men’s Rights Activists “views” of gender, which are, in fact, “biological essentialist.” (The blogger tipped his hand here too about which kind of MRA he is).
Both MRAs and Transgender Activists are “biological essentialists.” They just approach it from different angles. MRAs posit that Women are “by nature” subservient beings who should, err, serve them, while Transgender Activists argue that gender is innate and overrides one’s biological sex. They are making the same argument about the essential nature of “gender,” that sex stereotypes exist not because of patriarchy, but because women are born that way (and sometimes, if you are a transwoman, men are also born that way, just into the wrong bodies and how you dare you notice they are men, DIAF!!!). I have written about this many times before.
But like I said, no one reads what I write, because that would cause people to have to actually think about what “Cathy Brennan” is saying.
A friend of mind, a longtime lesbian feminist activist who is almost 80, taught me a valuable lesson about this pore war. Always play offense. Always. Play Offense. Keep them in response. Make them respond to you. Don’t engage their strawmen/transwomen arguments about what you are saying.
The fact that “Cathy Brennan” is a meme is keeping you in response.
I hope you, dear queer feminist or men’s rights activist or transwoman or whoever you are, reading this, have your back up against the wall. I hope you feel challenged by these ideas, which are not “my ideas.” I hope they make you think. Why else would anyone bother to write?
Really, why bother?
Hundreds of years from now, when someone exhumes your corpse, they will be able to tell if you were male or female. I didn’t invent this. I didn’t “make this up.” It is what it is.
Everything else is just drag (Yes, that’s Ru Paul, Yes, I love him. Yes, drag is misogynistic).