There is no ‘he’ in ‘she’

Radical feminists often get castigated for using ‘incorrect’ pronouns when referring to men who have decided they are women. The argument usually goes along the lines of: ‘If a man thinks he is a woman and wants to be known as ‘she’, where is the harm in that?’

Thus we have now reached a situation whereby we have some feminists who, not wishing to appear rude, will accede to the man’s demands to be called ‘she’ or ‘her’. We are told it is impolite to do otherwise – and women are socialised to be polite, and nice, and as inoffensive as possible. If a man ‘feels’ like a woman, it is polite to treat him as such, so the argument goes. ‘Misgendering’ a man hurts his feelings, and all humans wish to avoid hurt feelings don’t we?

The problem is that using incorrect pronouns – calling a he a she – contributes to the erasure of women and girls. It puts us on an equal footing with our oppressors. Why should women feel obliged to accommodate men’s fantasies? Why do we have to be ‘nice’ about these men who are appropriating us and our struggles? Why should the oppressed feel compelled to ally themselves with their oppressors?

He takes. She gives. He vampirizes. She bleeds. He rapes, murders, batters, beats, pummels, pounds, demolishes, destroys. He gaslights, talks over, talks down to, takes precedence over, manipulates, invades, attacks, exploits, controls, dominates. She survives against all odds. He is the abuser. She is the abused. She gives life. He takes it away.

She is aborted for being female. He is not aborted for being male. She is unwanted. He is valued from the minute he is born. As a child she is trafficked, sexually abused, forced into marriage, has her genitals mutilated. He buys and sells her, rapes and sexually abuses her, permits other men to rape her, tortures her for his sexual gratification. He rapes his own children, or abducts children from outside their schools. He is the reason children cannot walk the streets safely. She is busy trying to keep children safe from his aggression, his violence and his abuse.

He sticks his penis in her and impregnates her. She conceives, carries, births, feeds, clothes, cares, nurtures, loves unconditionally. He has an orgasm. She has nausea, sore breasts, vomiting, low blood pressure, swollen ankles, pre-eclampsia. Her internal organs are crushed by the growing foetus. Her belly is stretched, her back and breasts ache. She labours for hours or days on end. His scalpel cuts her from vagina to anus, or right through her stomach wall in the case of a c-section. She cares for her newborn, despite her personal discomfort.

She cooks, cleans, shops, launders, irons. She plans meals, fetches, carries, prepares. She looks after elderly relatives, even if they are his blood relations and not hers. If she is ill she battles on regardless. He takes to his bed and she takes care of him. If he reciprocates, he expects gratitude.

He makes, views and distributes pornography. She is dehumanized, reduced to three holes. He pays for sex. She endures him. He fucks, beats, slaps, bites, chokes. He forces her head down onto his penis. He will ejaculate into her vagina, anus, mouth, on her breasts, all over her face, into her eyes and nostrils or wherever else takes his fancy. She puts up with it it because she is financially dependent upon him, or because she is trying to appease him, or because he is the father of her children, or because her life depends on it.

He starts wars. She picks up the pieces. She does the vast majority of the world’s work. He owns the vast majority of the world’s resources. She gives with very little return. He steals female energy for his own gain. She is valued only for her looks. If she fails to reach the standards created by him, she will be dismissed, mocked, ridiculed, derided. He is valued because he is male. He is the default. She is the defect.

Women, don’t let him tell you that he is a she. Don’t fall for his gaslighting. Don’t be afraid to call him he. Don’t feel obliged to be nice.  Be impolite. Name your oppressor. Never forget that he oppresses she the world over, and if you are a she then I am afraid you are no exception.

34 responses to “There is no ‘he’ in ‘she’

  1. It’s gaslighting. Language is so powerful. The words we use affect how we think. Going against our instincts and our knowledge in order to please males is patriarchy. It is not revolutionary or new or kind.

    • “Going against our instincts and our knowledge in order to please males is patriarchy.”

      whataboutthemen–this is a good definition of patriarchy! At least for women living in a certain time and place–for women who are, due to a few reforms, ostensibly “free.” Free to be–yes, Firewomon–as polite and nice and inoffensive as possible. This is still a huge stumbling block for women socialized into femininity. And, for good reasons: we risk not just ridicule and rejection, but rape and death threats, too.

      John Zerzan came up with a term called “niceism.” Naturally, he leaves women out of it, by subsuming us into the dominated masses, and by dismissing feminism as a feeble “single-issue cause.” Nonetheless, I think it’s a good definition:

      “Nice-ism n. tendency, more or less socially codified, to approach reality in terms of whether others behave cordially; tyranny of decorum which disallows thinking or acting for oneself; mode of interaction based upon the above absence of critical judgement or autonomy.”

      • PERFECT…LOVE IT…People often say I’m a bitch when I run down the political/social/racial/economic implications of the bullshit going down in my environment – often BUT NOT ALWAYS – coming from white males, or women, young or old. I will always make efforts to speak truth to power.
        Peace – out. Ashe Womynborn

  2. rethinkinggenderidentity

    Reblogged this on Rethinking "Gender Identity".

  3. Name your oppressor. Men will go, and always have gone, to extraordinary lengths to prevent women from knowing, and leaving, their oppression. Because once we genuinely know that we are oppressed, we leave them. We do this as individual women, fleeing domestic violence or unsatisfactory relationships; we do this as a class, withdrawing our gynergy from them, and their socioeconomic schemes.

    Men who appropriate SHE, who appropriate WOMAN, do so with the explicit intent to colonize us. To infiltrate us, to know us as men have never known us. To distort our collective voice and further their male entitlement. To bring women back into line with the roles and constraints which men have dictated for us.

  4. “There was a recent post about the disgusting man pretending to be a woman who was sexually harassing a seventy year old woman in the vulnerable position of trying to change from her bathing suit in a “women’s” locker room.”

    Am so sorry the older womyn did not have the support of other womyn friends in that experience. Have been meditating on this issue for the last couple days or so…really wanted to check myself on my biases, be truly fair on this one. Believe we Womyn have to put our collective foot down SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUR TRUTHS with our sisters AND our brothers, just like my Grand mother would. If a “woman” has a penis – physically, whether or not she can get it up…then in spite of the fact that she FEELS she is a woman inside, SHE IS STILL PHYSICALLY A MAN, AND AIN’T NO MAN ALLOWED IN THE WOMAN’S (OR GIRLS) ROOM. We gotta go back to our common sense and keep the shit simple! It don’t matter what they THINK they are. Ain’t nobody treating me like a queen, even though I know I am one. When a man makes a commitment to the pussy, then maybe we can talk. Until then NO UNICORNS – no commitment to the pussy, no pussy, no entry, no discussion…WE GODDESSES have spoken…and THAT’S the WOMYN TALKIN’.

  5. I will never understand this urge to find a scapegoat that seems to flourish wherever people gather to talk about freedom apparently only for some at the expense of others. A transwoman is referred to as a she because she is a she. Period. To spread hatred like this makes no sense and will never be part of any solution. I understand that there are serious things concerning all this to be discussed but this is just disappointing. All this talk about abolishing gender while constantly referring to gender makes no sense.

    • There is no hatred in calling a man a man. And, please, before you comment again, learn the difference between sex and gender.

      • Of course there is hatred in calling a transwoman a man. Before you comment on things you don’t understand, please learn to be respectful towards others. Politeness is always possible. Might be more difficult than making scapegoats but much more rewarding. I can easily say something very disrespectful based on grounds I don’t know. But I won’t because I have no desire for scapegoats. My identity is not that weak.

      • There is no hatred in calling a man a man, just as there is no hatred in saying water is wet.

        Women won’t achieve liberation by being ‘polite’. Politeness is much overrated, especially when we are talking about a movement (trans) which actively harms women.

    • If a man thinks himself to be an elephant and calls himself an elephant and becomes offended when people try to orient him to the physical reality and say, “but you are a man”, is that rudeness? Is it correct for people to lie in some sort of misguided effort to be “polite” to the person who has a particular thought about themselves that is erroneous in the physical world? Should one not try to orient the man to physical reality? Yes, the thoughts of being an elephant may be very real to the man and we can all acknowledge the mental reality for the man, but the physical world also has reality and a validity as well. If the “elephant” and others like him take out their frustrations and abuse those who called him a man – based on physical reality – what should be done? Do we applaud the “elephant” for getting back at the people who are oriented to physical reality, who simply call the “elephant” a man – that which you call “spewing their hate”?
      Things get complicated when the trans community and/or trans individuals do not recognize, or acknowledge the trans philosophy that condones the behavior of the many people in their community who attempt to force themselves upon individual womyn; do not recognize the trans philosophy that condones the behavior of the many people in their community who force their way into womyn’s festivals, womyn’s bathrooms and various other womyn’s space. For womyn, this repeated invasive treatment is very familiar. It is indicative of male behavior and often at times, precedes rape. Womyn don’t call you “women”, except those who are afraid of you, because many of you don’t act like “women”. Many of you often have no compassion, you don’t respect those who you should be treating as your sisters, you often have no empathy, you force yourselves upon womyn in various ways and often make jokes about rape, you don’t take womyn’s concerns seriously. In other words, you act like men. In your contempt and arrogance you show clearly that your mind set is still male, so that is what you are called…”men”. Superficial changes and/or male behavior are often easily spotted. Superficial changes/male behavior are more often felt and do not define what it is to be a Womyn. Rest assured most women can feel, over time, that you are not womyn. “Force” will only gain you slaves and sheep. The word “Cis” is an invalid, obscene joke and an abomination and is meaningless to all womyn. Don’t know if we can “agree to disagree”. Don’t know where to go with all this.
      Ok…back to my forest and mountains….

      – Ashe Womynborn

      • But FtM trans folk are fine, right? TERFs make me sick. Feminism is supposed to be about equal rights. Not making some people less equal.

      • Wrong – feminism is not about equal rights. No-one in their right mind wants to be equal to men (as a class). Feminism is about liberation. Do some reading.

        Women entering men’s space (in the case of FtoT) are not likely to cause those men harm. Men entering women’s space, however, is problematic, because men rape. I have written about this elsewhere.

      • In response to “watchdog”: Don’t know what terf is, so you might work on what our true name is and RESPECT IT…if YOU wish to be respected in return. Do Your Homework. Radical-Lesbians don’t care what you think. WE ARE the ultimate physical expression of what it means to be a feminist. Ya’ll took a knife to your bodies – Your Sacred Temple – and unfortunately now, what’s done is done. I’ve warned a couple friends, but they didn’t listen to me. NEVER make assumptions about folks you don’t know cause, know what??? YOU ARE WRONG! Where I’m at is that I believe there is some profound shit, maybe sacred inner shit going on with “trans” folks. AND I believe that Doctors DO NOT have the answer for what trans are going through… Doctors answers are FALSE answers. Surgery and Hormones are FALSE Gods… FALSE solutions. Whether trans M’s or F’s, what’s happening for you guys is deeper – more profound – than the physical and it’s sad Doctors see they have a cash cow with trans and are taking advantage…I am one Radical Lesbian who has alot of compassion for trans folks, but many refuse to acknowledge that they are disrespecting womyn and when ya’ll do that – DYKES FIGHT BACK and you will not win… All that stuff about how “it’s like racism” is just smoke and mirrors…cause the issue is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about womyn-born-womyn choosing to connect with womyn-born-womyn. So, my trans friend, time to take a back seat. No hate, it’s just not your subject…You and other trans are not fooling anyone…in the animal world, for example – You and other transpeople are talking Primates whereas Radical Lesbians are talking about Dolphins…no meanness, no hate, it’s not a racial issue, we’re just talking about different animals. If you keep trying to blame Radical-Lesbians of hate and trans-abuse remember – all that hate is coming from your brain…my wbw-sisters are full of love and life. So good luck to you. peace – out.

  6. This is great, thank you. Very good way to describe the situation.

  7. So you call transwomen a movement that harms women. I have never heard a more idiotic comment in my life. It is comparable to racist remarks generalizing jews or black. To take a few individuals and make their behaviour count as collective is like the foundation of stupidity. I am glad there are feminists who are more understanding than this hate-speech-founded nonsense you come up with.

    • You’re attributing comments to me I haven’t made. ‘Transwomen’ is not a movement. You come across as immature. I would suggest you read this blog and the other blogs in my blogroll to broaden your mind. And as you’re being abusive, don’t bother commenting again – you’re blocked.

      • I am a transwoman and am part of the transwoman movement. Are you going to tell me that I can’t be who I want to be, even if it’s something you don’t like? Can we stop with the oppression?

      • It is not ‘oppression’ to know the difference between male and female. These differences matter, despite your personal feels. How about you stop gaslighting women? Wouldn’t that make a nice change?

  8. This is not Feminism at all, this gives feminism a bad name by masquarading as if it’s one and the same! You are no feminist but more or less just a hate machine. How does it liberate yourself to go out of your way to cause someone else harm? How does it liberate yourself to be judgemental towards other people who are different then you? This blog is a joke, and you are not “SHE” you are not “US” you are singularly “Yourself” which also translate to “ASSHOLE”. I hope people are smart enough not to adopt your hatred, which shockingly reaches levels which only the patriarchy had previously reached. I hope someone gives you a good slap of sense one day. Some sort of wake up call to this toxic spew you’re dealing.

    I do not need women’s respect, I do not need YOUR respect. And if you want to call me HE then go on and keep doing it, you’ve only made more enemies for yourself in this way, and when you get angry at someone calling you degrading terms, know that you have no right to argue back, for if you’re called it by another then that must be true yes? Just as if I am called “HE” then I must be He automatically as God (Yourself) has spoken.

    I AM WOMAN, I AM STRONG, I AM FEMINISM and I AM EQUALITY,

    Who you are, I no not.

    • You don’t know how to spell, either.

    • In response to Nyka: Firewomon IS SHE…FIREWOMON IS US..Firewomon is my sister…we are WOMYN-BORN-WOMYN…of Sappho’s line – a line that dates back before the fifth century BC. We are Daughters of the Moon of the Ancient line of The Goddess, in all her forms and cultures…This is FACT…We will always be here throughout time – while the fragile Transsexual line is manufactured and is dependent upon doctors, surgeries and chemicals. Those who step with disrespect, are released to the results of their own actions…as the Goddess wills it…and so it is. Race and hate have nothing to do with this issue. When you point and blame someone else you are merely expressing the racism and hate in your own mind, in your own heart. Good luck in your process. peace – out.
      – Ashe WomynBorn

  9. Seems like the womyn that wrote this got jilted one too many times by men, methinks she needs counseling. Sorry womyn got the short end of the stick when it comes to childbirth but THAT is not a sigh of oppression, remember us men have to put up with pregnant womyn and thats no easy task.

    • Hey Marc, I’m a lesbian. Sorry if that makes you choke on your cornflakes.

      • For Womyn-Born-Womyn-sisters – Been thinking for awhile now when reading blogs and various back-n-forth conversations re:trans issues…I noticed that so many times m to trans don’t seem to acknowledge in a positive way what WBW lesbians say EVER…the arguments just keep on going around and around. In other words, they argue for the sake of arguing…there is no intention or desire to reach an understanding or a solution. Been thinking WBW would do well to stop explaining, stop arguing, stop pleading, stop wasting our precious time…better to talk to each other and close this door….
        – Ashe Womynborn

  10. I think it is worse than “colonizing”. I think that a psychologically disturbed man, who feels unable to live up to the commercially advertised hyper-masculinity of the present-day culture, elects to punt. He decides women have it easy or easier than men, and foolishly endures a lot of surgery and other treatments, only to find out the error of his assumptions after the fact. He throws away the male prerogatives, and doesn’t get the female ones that he imagines exist, either; just the standard misogyny, if not worse.

    To destroy a functioning, healthy body because of an emotional, psychological problem is not a solution.

    I cannot call my brother my sister, regardless of his life choices. If he has never bled or entertained the prospect of pregnancy, because it is physically beyond his ability, he doesn’t understand the fundamentals of female.

    Female isn’t the clothing, the mannerisms, the career choices, the hair, the accessories. It isn’t even how men treat women. It is the two XX chromosomes.

    Educated people know that everything else goes in and out of fashion.

    I never knew of this place, until it was dissed on another website. Interesting people here!

  11. It seems you think it is not possible for someone to actually be transgender – that biology is destiny. Is it not true for some individuals that they are in their heart and soul the opposite of the body they occupy? What is you take on a person in a female body who believes they are actually a male? I am not being saecastic, or snarky – I am really wondering what you think.

    • Sue, I blame gender for the problem you mention, i.e. where individuals believe they are born into the ‘wrong’ body. If you think about that statement, it’s simply absurd. A person’s body is their body. Gender roles dictate that men dress in a certain way and women dress in a certain way etc, but those are not ‘natural’ roles. Those are roles which society at large deems acceptable. For example. in our (Western) society, a woman who goes out wearing a skirt or a pair of shorts without having removed her leg hair would face prejudice. She would be sneered at, or people would giggle behind her back. That’s gender. In the same way, a man who walks along the street wearing a full face of make-up would more than likely be discriminated against. These are gender norms, and they are what I wish to abolish. I would like to live in a society where it is acceptable for a women not to have to remove her body hair, or where a man can wear make-up if he chooses, without either of them facing discrimination. Make-up doesn’t make a man a woman, just as body hair doesn’t make a woman a man. People – of both sexes – should be free to dress however they want, to appear in public however they want, without facing discrimination. If we eliminate gender norms or conventions, we eliminate the discrimination (when a person doesn’t conform). Gender is not the same as biological sex; the former is a social construct, the latter is something which cannot be changed.

      • When I first heard of the concept of transgender – I didn’t believe it. But did some research, talked to some transgender people. When you were young you just knew you were a girl. It is not about what you wear or the toys you play with or wearing make up. I was a girl – but a bit of a tomboy. I like comfortable clothes. Much of my wardrobe is man’s clothing but I in know way want to be a man. I am a lesbian, and kind of butch There are parts of identity- your body, your perceived gender and your sexual orientation. Ideally the sex of one’s body matches their awareness of gender and they are attracted to the opposite sex…………..but there are many possible combinations.
        With regard to rape — there are some lesbians who abuse and force themselves onto other lesbians..

      • Sue, you are confusing sex with gender. Sex is biological and immutable; gender is a social construct which harms females. ‘Tomboy’ is gender. Gender dictates what behaviour is expected of a boy and what behaviour is expected of a girl. Any boy who ‘deviates’ from ‘boy behaviour’ is called a sissy and/or gay; likewise, any girl who ‘deviates’ from ‘girl behaviour’ is called a tomboy. Do you see? You say you ‘like comfortable clothes’ – this does not make you a boy, or even a tomboy, it just makes you a woman who likes comfortable clothes. For the record, butch lesbians are usually the people who suffer most through gender non-conformity, because they are discriminated against for being a woman (misogyny) as well as being a lesbian (homophobia).

        Rape, in my jurisdiction, means penetration with a penis against the other person’s will. Therefore, whilst some lesbians can and do sexually abuse other people, they cannot be said to be rapists because they do not have penises.

      • I think a lot of the roots of the “wrong body” issue rests at the feet of the medical establishment and uptight western society. In the 1940’s through the present, when variations of sexual organs were present in newborns, doctors were compelled to “fix” the child’s problem. (At this time it’s significant to mention, but I will not go into the history of live human experimentation explored by German medical establishment upon Live Africans and later on Live European Jews – experiments which preceded and probably informed later sex change experimentation and surgeries in following decades). Don’t know how much longer people will believe that they must cut up their bodies, rather than find peace in their bodies – their temple – in this life.
        – Ashe Womynborn -

  12. Ooops…forgot to mention re: the ” wrong body” issue – the past origins issue I mentioned above, but the trippy thing now – today is how this Trans phenomena has become such a fad…almost as common as piercing, or tattoos. Yes, it’s a fad with protocols, thorough psych evaluations for years and medical evaluations for years and physical danger (as with every surgery) and very expensive procedures which prove how valuable the whole rigamarole is…right? These types of Surgeons found themselves a Golden Egg.
    And there’s no room for Butches anymore. Young dykes all think they must become Trans… no room for Butches anymore. No recognition of the female/male duality within a womyn. It’s really strange. Wonder what MTF and FTM trans are gonna do when the fad wears off.
    – Ashe Womynborn -

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