Who would have thought that conservative women would find ourselves feeling sorry for old school feminists? But it is hard not to somewhat sympathize with the latter, who are often in the position of trying to maintain some semblance of sanity in the face of the aggressive transgender movement.
There are several reasons that these old school feminists (my term—the transgender hordes label them “TERFs,” which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”) are on the frontline of these battles.
First, these old school feminists tend to hold decision-making, policy-crafting positions (like deanships at law schools, university presidencies and so forth) that put them in the line of fire of the transgender activists. Conservatives, because we are discriminated against in the spheres where many of these fights are taking place (notably academia and, in the case of the leading TERF, J.K. Rowling, publishing and bestsellerdom), are less likely to be as heavily involved in them.
Second, these old school feminists are quite used to engaging in debates involving clinical aspects of female anatomy and various sex-related matters that non-feminist women find distasteful and icky. The feminists take on the transgender crowd in a way that more conservative women shy away from.
Third, old school feminists have spent decades trying to create a world in which women (and not disturbed men who are convinced they are women and who want to force actual women to treat them as women, as well as women who dress up as men) have equal opportunities and this is not something they wish to give up lightly—particularly not to disturbed men who seem to equate womanhood with big hair and lots of mascara.
The tone and subject matter of these battles between old school feminists and the transgender warrior class are helpfully illustrated in a February 17, 2022 article in The Student Life, the newspaper for the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of five liberal art colleges and two graduate schools in Claremont, California.
One is plunged into the world of the sexual left straight off in the opinion piece entitled, OPINION: ‘The women’s college’ isn’t just for women anymore in two ways.
First, the author refers to herself as “they,” which is one of the truly weird tropes of the sexual woke and typifies the movement in that a) it doesn’t make grammatical sense and b) it doesn’t reflect reality but is something that individual wokesters insist on from other people. Language itself is rendered ridiculous and other people are made to bend to the will of the woke.
Second, notice the aggression and illogic in the title of the piece. Women’s colleges are supposed to commit suicide so as to make the transgender mob happy by ceasing to serve women primarily and, oh by the way, women who aren’t women are supposed to be treated by said colleges as women in some cases but as “nonbinary” or some such travesty in others.
These are the kinds of theater of the absurd playlets that old school feminists spend a good deal of time these days engaging in as they struggle to defend the rights of actual women (again, as opposed to men playing dress-up or who have chosen to be surgically mutilated and/or doped up on hormones).
Language is a major part of the toolkit of both sides and it is instructive to notice how the author of the op-ed employs it to try to shame a women’s college for fulfilling its mandate by, you know, serving women:
As the only women’s college at the 5Cs, it’s time for Scripps College to reassess its role in regards to transgender and nonbinary applicants.
Note that the writer starts off by saying “it’s time for” a women’s college to “reassess its role.” Really? Why is a women’s college supposed to do that? I guess I missed the memo from the left saying that women’s equality has either been achieved or is to be sacrificed on the altar of transgenderism.
Imagine the shrieks of outrage from the feminists if conservative Christian men were decreeing that women’s colleges were to be forced to admit men. Nothing lays bare the hypocrisy of most of the woke feminist left than this abject surrender to the transgenderists. Most feminists are either so wrapped up in woke ideology and eager to topple the “patriarchy” and to be “allies” in good standing with the queer sexual left or are so terrified of being deplatformed (as has happened to feminists like Germaine Greer) or forced out of academic positions (like Kathleen Stock) that they don’t speak out or, worse, they even join in on the destruction or hobbling of programs and philanthropies and other nonprofits that previous generations of feminists built up (e.g., the American Association of University Women).
Just think about the audacity and ironies of what we are seeing being advocated. To wit, the erasure of womanhood itself and the imposition on genuine women of the use of the terminology of the transgenderists. Genuine women are forced to say we are “cisgender women.” Everything about women has to labeled and categorized.
Let us return to the article we are examining today. Now, to those who say, “This is just one article by an undergraduate in California—who cares?” There is some sense in that dismissive attitude, but the views expressed in the article are all too common in academia today. And note that the institution being attacked has already basically sold out genuine women and even that is not good enough for the writer:
The Scripps admissions website says that the college will consider “all applicants who indicate their legal sex as female submitted through the Common Application, in addition to applicants who self-identity as women.” This means that Scripps considers applications from cisgender women and trans women, as well as trans men and nonbinary people whose legal sex is female.
For those of you who don’t spend all your time on trying to appease the transgenderists, here is some material from a transgender advocacy group that sorts out some of this gobbledygook:
A transgender woman lives as a woman today, but was thought to be male when she was born. A transgender man lives as a man today, but was thought to be female when he was born. Some transgender people identify as neither male nor female, or as a combination of male and female. There are a variety of terms that people who aren't entirely male or entirely female use to describe their gender identity, like non-binary or genderqueer.
Interesting that “was thought to be” as if one’s sex is merely a societal construct and choice and not a fact of biology…
Anyway, apparently Scripps accepts men who used to be women even though the purpose of a women’s college is to serve women and if a woman has decided to “become” a man (which itself is a debatable notion), does that person get to intend a women’s college? Why then have a women’s college at all?
And, again, even this abdication of the purpose of a women’s college by Scripps in order to appease trans men simply because, one gathers, they used to be female is not enough for the writer. The writer (sorry, I am just not going to refer to an individual as “they”) goes on to inadvertently show how utterly nuts and devastating to women’s colleges the transgender movement is:
Scripps’ application policy also fails to account for the wide range of gender identities that exist outside of the binary of woman or man. This lack of consideration results in a policy that is ambiguous and arbitrarily exclusionary. A non-binary person whose legal sex is female is presumably eligible, while a nonbinary person whose legal sex is male is presumably not, despite the fact that these two hypothetical people might share the same gender identity.
I say “presumably” because the policy is so unclear. Would Scripps consider an applicant whose legal sex is male if they only sometimes identify as female? What about if they identify as female, among other things? If they don’t identify with any gender labels?
Hmm. If you, “don’t identify with any gender labels” why would you want to want to go a women’s college? After all, the point of a women’s college is to be exclusionary. Otherwise, they are not women’s colleges.
And note the writer does not seem at all concerned that non-queerish heterosexual men are excluded by Scripps (nor does, Scripps, for that matter—so eager is it to appease the transgenderists—up to a certain point).
Interestingly, the writer makes no bones about saying that women’s colleges may have had their day:
Scripps’ student body and administration need to consider whether Scripps is exclusively a women’s college or a historically women’s college that is truly inclusive of those outside the gender binary; and more broadly what the role of our institution in the 21st century should be.
and the writer may indeed be right. After all, if women are defined as being anything but heterosexual and homosexual men born as men and who have remained men what is the point of a women’s college—or, indeed, old school feminism?
The writer labels standard feminism as “regressive” and “transphobic.” Who would have predicted that the feminists’ greatest enemies would turn not to be conservative heterosexual men but women who “identify” as men and men who insist they are women? All of these deeply troubled transgender people seem to agree that the organizations and institutions of genuine women must be destroyed in the name of some sort of transgenderified version of equity. And this from people who are desperate, in many cases, to be considered women even when they are so clearly not but are medically manufactured imitations of such or are women who do not want to be considered women.
Note that the writer makes the gutting of a women’s college as a women-serving institution a sort of moral responsibility for the broader populace:
…it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the Scripps community respects and uplifts its trans and nonbinary members, in the admissions process and beyond.
So, there you have it. There is no longer any place for exclusively female institutions in the brave new queer world. Everyone is a woman save for men born men who have not chosen to be something else. Women born women who remain women are supposed to give up on the women’s movement because it is transphobic. And if you are transphobic, you will become unemployable in academia and, actually, almost everywhere else.
And this is all in the name of diversity and inclusivity.
There is a certain pleasant glow of schadenfreude in the attacks on the old school feminists from their left. But conservatives cannot rest easy with the adroit way that the transgenderists have managed to successfully label as bigots anyone who tries to stand in the way of their path of destruction of any institutions or belief system that they target. These people are relentless.