It becomes impossible to debate an issue when people do not
start with common premises from which to build a debate upon.
For example, if one begins with a premise that the world is
flat, no discussion can advance beyond “the world is flat” if everyone does not
agree. Then the discussion centers around the premise and cannot advance until
all agree on that premise.
A more recent example comes from a discussion I had today
with a young man who was going to play golf. As I know from golf courses and as
I am doing lots of research about how we use water in our world, I was
horrified he is supporting that criminal misuse and abuse of water.
He understood the reasons golf courses are unconscionable
but wanted to argue or justify his part in maintaining golf courses. He wanted
to begin our discussion with the premise: suppose golf courses become “green”
and then to argue from that premise.
But I could not accept that premise. To me, it was like
saying suppose war becomes more humane, or suppose chemical waste can be buried
under a mountain top – and then continuing a discussion built on that premise.
Golf courses use as much water in ONE DAY that would provide
for all the water & sewerage needs for over 4 billion people on this
planet. How can golf courses ever become
‘green’ and how can ‘greening’ golf courses be a priority when 4 billion people
of this world do not have access to water? Our priority should be providing
water and sewerage for all – BEFORE we put energy into ‘greening’ golf courses.
Gender theory begins with premise that gender defines women
and men. This is a premise that radical womonist/feminist lesbians & our
allies do not accept.
All of gender theory is based on this premise. But it is a
premise that radical womyn believe just isn’t true at best, but at worse, this
premise defines the basis from which misogyny and patriarchy spring and are
legitimized in our country.
The radical womon’s premise is that sex determines
females/womyn/girls as well as males/men/boys. Gender is contrived by society
to control womyn and girls and to put us into our places, as well as men and
So we have gender theory beginning with and built on a
premise that radical theory denies and furthermore defines as hurtful if not
supporting the destruction of womyn and girls.
Why do gender theorists have such difficulty debating this
premise? Or even just accepting that there are lots of people in the world that
do not accept their premise?
Why do gender theory people seem to need, for their own
self-esteem and even existence, radical womonist/feminist lesbians to accept
their theory and embrace it as our own?
I have spent a good portion of my life critically exploring and
coming to understand patriarchy/misogyny and more recently, how gender theory
was developed. The part of me that understands the depth of misogyny in our
society defining while derogating & threatening womyn’s very existence,
also understands that gender theory most likely started out as a rejection of
misogyny and an attempt for those individuals to redefine their roles &
identities as ‘women’ and ‘men’.
But gender theory, instead of recognizing gender definitions
and roles as fabricated nonsense (at best) from which misogyny springs,
embraces what society says is “female” and “feminine” as well as “male” and
“masculine” and then proceeds to force one’s body to fit into those
Radical lesbian womynists/feminists have spent our lives
reclaiming our deep love of our bodies & selves, while identifying those
boxes as created and defined to oppress womyn and fighting to smash those boxes
in order to create our own definitions of what it means to be a womon.
Gender theory comes along and is based in the acceptance of
those boxes, even encourages the embracing of those boxes to the extent that
their premise is people can change their ‘sex’ to fit into those gender defined
roles and images, to the extreme that you can surgically alter your body and
chemically alter your body to become one gender or the other.
How utterly painful and ridiculous. And yet gender theory
wants on the one hand to deny that our bodies have anything to do with defining
womyn or men, yet on the other hand supports the mutilation of one’s body and
poisoning of one’s body to re-shape it. This reshaping of one’s body then
becomes the goal to meet gender theory definitions (i.e. society’s) of what is
female and male.
I also understand that under patriarchy womyn’s bodies have
been relegated & limited to being defined as baby-makers among various
other boxes “gender” definitions puts us into.
But just because society’s gender theory wants to put us
into that box as our sole and only role in life, does not mean we have to deny or
disparage that amazing, powerful and empowering ability womyn have and share in
the world: to create – and sustain – life.
And everything that springs from this basic, common, shared
miraculous ability that womyn have and men don’t have.
Gender theory wants to minimize, if not negate, our most
precious, sacred, and powerful yonis and wombs, whether we choose to create
life or not.
Gender theory wants to ignore our monthly bleeding when
womyn naturally cleanse and have the ability to be at our most powerful moments
during the month.
Gender theory wants to ignore our natural transition from
monthly bleeding to crones and the wisdom that springs from this change.
Why is this denying and minimizing of womyn so important to
gender theory? Because no amount of pills or surgery can enable men to have
this ability to bleed and create & sustain life, which means if we are
defined by sex, men can never become womyn.
And how familiar is that to us, that male jealousy, that
motivation, that violent determination to take away from us, to destroy womyn
and our power throughout the eons, maybe the violence morphing and ebbing, but
since patriarchy took over several thousands of years ago, we know in our very cells
as womyn this threat to our existence and beings – a knowledge men and boys do
not have and will never have.
How shallow are we to think that the way a person dresses, how
she cuts her hair, whether he paints his face or nails, how assertive she is in
the world, what jobs he wants to have, whether she wants to wear pants 24/7 or
high heels – how shallow to think any of these things define a womon or a man.
These are the things that put womyn (and men) in boxes: the
boxes I and so many others spent(d) a good part of our youth, young adulthood,
and the rest of our lives smashing.
And then along comes the academic world to create gender
theory – maybe not intentionally but in reality – in order to support,
strengthen & legitimize those boxes.
Maybe the academic world knew they were left out of our
developing our own grass-roots womyn’s liberation theory; maybe once a part of
the movement, they then felt they owned ‘womyn’s liberation’ or wanted to remake
womyn’s liberation solely for their own; or maybe they were not part of the
almost daily consciousness-raising groups, support groups, workshops,
teach-ins, community- building actions and events that formed and strengthened
our womyn’s definitions of who we are in the world.
Maybe the academic world was/is just too fraught with and
steeped in misogyny and patriarchy to develop a gender theory that sees gender
for what it is: a socially contrived theory based in misogyny and patriarchy.
Young people who mostly embrace gender theory as what
defines females and males are struggling to come to grips with misogyny and
patriarchy. When I was young, it might have been so much easier to see and know
that clothes, makeup, roles, abilities or identities & jobs that were
defined as ‘female’ and/or ‘male’ were products of misogyny & patriarchy.
Maybe because young people have more freedoms today that our
fierce fight enabled, it is more difficult to see those gender theory-based
boxes as an integral part of misogyny and patriarchy.
But the force that causes over 75% of girls 17 years old to
declare they hate their bodies, the force that all womyn at any age (if we’re
honest) struggle with today, the force that tells us our bodies are not sacred
and precious, are not perfect EXACTLY the way they are – whether we are fat,
skinny, have point-u-in-the-eye titties, thick eyebrows, hairy underarms, let
alone any shape or size breasts – the force that undermines and demolishes our
ability and desire to protect our bodies from the onslaught of misogyny and
patriarchy is the same force that gender theory embraces to make it a
legitimate definition of womyn and men and that sanctifies the destruction of
the sacredness of the body one is born with.
While we are distracted by being forced to focus on and
accepting modern technological means to reshape our physical bodies to meet the
societal definitions of sex, we do not have that energy to see and make it our
priority to protect womyn and girls from male violence.
Male violence against womyn and girls is the number one
killer of girls and women in our world – not just the number one killer but a
killer that murders more womyn and girls than the top other 5 killers of us
But the protecting of girls and womyn by us is not a
priority in our lives and is drastically undermined by misogyny and patriarchy
– and gender theory: from the more benign taking of our energy to the
subjugating this protection by denying the importance of our bodies (the way
they are) and the abuse of our bodies by men and boys in our world.
The knowledge of who we are as womyn & girls, the
defining of who we are as womyn & girls, the empowering of ourselves as
womyn & girls that springs from that is formed and enabled by our gathering
together, working together, creating together, critically thinking together as
womyn and girls is what gender theory prevents, denies, and discounts.
Because gender theory wants to involve society’s definitions
of womyn and force those definitions & those who reshape their bodies to
fit into those definitions, to pre-empt our own defining of ourselves free of
society and males.