Gender / Semantics

“What gender critical feminism really amounts to is a baroque palace of rationalizations built on a foundation of pure disgust”

The term “gender critical” is really a euphemism recently created to replace TERF with a phrase that doesn’t have such negative connotations. It’s perfectly analogous to the phrase “race realist”, which was invented by racists wanting a more flattering and respectable description of their beliefs. I’ve used the term “gender critical” in this video to be inviting to fence-sitters, but I refuse to cooperate with racists who want me to use their euphemisms, and I generally do the same with TERFs.

Now, I’m a very agreeable, non-confrontational person. I usually like to call people by whatever they want to be called, but when it comes to “race realists” or “gender critical”, every time I use these phrases, I’m essentially becoming an accomplice in their scheme to legitimize bigotry. And I have especially little patience for TERF requests for linguistic decorum, since most of the language used by TERFs is specifically designed to be maximally hurtful, harmful, and insulting to transpeople.

See, what TERFs do in public is advance what, on the surface, are a series of feminist critiques of trans-people. For example, the critique that hyper-feminine trans-women are reinforcing misogynistic stereotypes designed to oppress women. At a glance, this appears to be a critique of the way some trans-women behave and present themselves. But, in the next breath, these same TERFs will argue that trans-women are mannish, unfeminine perverts who are forcing masculinity into female spaces. So, trans-women being feminine is bad and trans-women being masculine is bad, then there really is no way that trans-women could behave that TERFs would accept.

So, in fact, what TERFs really oppose is not trans-women being feminine or trans-women being masculine, but trans-women being trans-women. In other words, the fundamental issue underlying these phony concerns is trans-phobia, simple animosity towards trans-people’s very existence.

What gender critical feminism really amounts to is a baroque palace of rationalizations built on a foundation of pure disgust. In this respect, it’s just like homophobia.

Natalie Wynn, “Gender Critical”, Contrapoints (30 March 2019) []