You know, I never was bothered by queer theory/ identity until the last few years because I thought that it was just that: an identity that was just used as a descriptor of self. I didn’t realize how seriously queer theory was being taken as a means of addressing oppression. I thought it was just used as a label to recognize individuals with similar tastes regarding sexuality. I thought it was just something people used to sound edgy and be creative.
I thought this mainly because queer theory was not a relevant point of discussion in my women’s studies department. I took one cross course in the queer department, but otherwise it was recognized for what it is: a theory created by gay men with nothing productive to contribute to women’s liberation.
Unfortunately feminists such as Judith Butler got involved, and queer theory became mainstreamed in feminism and society.
The thing is, at first glance it seems that queer theory is indeed truly subversive, given its purported goal of overthrowing the “gender binary” with terms such as “gender non-binary” and “transmasculine” and other made-up psychobabble nonsense. Of course, this actually leaves in place the whole idea of a gender binary, and Sister Outrider addresses this perfectly in her post: “Womanhood: On Sex, Gender Roles, and Self-Identification”:
The cultural significance attached to the word woman is in a state of flux. As queer politics would have it, womanhood is simply the performance of the female gender role. As radical feminism would have it, the female gender role exists purely as a sexist stereotype of woman rooted in essentialism and misogyny. The only escape queer politics offers women from patriarchal oppression is for all those who are biologically female to identify out of the category ‘woman’. To claim the label of non-binary, genderfluid, or transmasculine – anything other than a cisgender woman, who is naturally suited to her status as a second-class citizen – is the only route queer politics offers biological women to being recognized as fully human.
I have a friend who has a male cousin she tells me about who was in this polyamorous relationship with two women, both of whom suddenly decided to transition to male. Yeah, this sounds like statistical bullshit driven by a social contagion and good old-fashioned sexism as opposed to some natural state of being. The truth is that women, both straight and gay, are defining themselves as “gender non-binary” or simply “transitioning to a man” because they have swallowed queer theory hook, line, and sinker. Now, given that the very idea behind “ciswoman” leaves gender oppression intact, the only option women have left is to simply not be women – to be something else.
I saw this clip in which a “gender non-binary” woman states that the United Nations should use the phrasing “pregnant people” to keep in mind the feelings of individuals such as herself who identify as neither male or female. Here are some questions I would have posed to her had I been the commentator:
- Why are you not identifying as a women, aka an adult female, which you are, and that everybody can tell that you are? WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH BEING A WOMAN THAT YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO FLEE? Is it because you feel constrained by the characteristics of femininity attached to “ciswomanhood?”
- If so, how is it productive to opt out? How do you not see the better path is to simply deconstruct gender stereotypes from the word woman?
- Do you really think the rest of the world, a large portion of which is poor and not phrased in queer theory, gives one shit about your fucking gender identity WHEN THEY ARE IN THE PROCESS ATTEMPTING TO EMPOWER WOMEN?
- Who the fuck do you think you are to take away that power of defining women? Who the fuck do you think you are to tell the UNITED FUCKING NATIONS how to proceed when it comes to human rights?
But the thing is, claiming a “gender non-binary” identity is much more appealing than feminist analysis because it FEELS so personally empowering. Queer theory is pure positive reinforcement and validation.
You don’t have to do any hard cognitive work. You can ignore structural inequality, including inequality caused by yourself as a member of a 1st world country. You can also ignore the oppression you face by retreating into a new identity, by supposedly re-defining reality. I.e. “Redefining Realness.”
Yeah, how did that work for the F2T raped by Cherno Bilko so that he could have a “gender non-binary baby of color?” According to Cherno himself, his rape victim explained to him, when he asked her to carry his baby and she refused, that F2T individuals are fetishized by M2T because of their ability to give birth. That’s bullshit. This is the same old sexism of patriarchy in which MEN believe they have a right to WOMEN’s bodies and reproductive capacities. Cherno Bilko ignored her clear refusal because he is a socialized male in a patriarchal society. In this case, all queer theory and trans ideology has done is obscure patriarchy in action.
But denial is easier for many people than outright confrontation, so it isn’t any surprise that queer theory has been so mainstreamed. It is less threatening to men, because in queer theory male privilege is not a thing – revealed in the fact that males tend to be the most vociferous defenders of “trans women are women” and most vicious when it comes to throwing around accusations of TERF. It also fits in with other fun but harmful neo-liberal, individualistic aspects of our society such as consumerism and “sex-positivism.” Basically, queer theory allows a person to FEEL like their changing the world when in actuality they are not changing anything. It is protection from society, not a fight for society.