IS the female body a “baby-making factory”?

From Shamelessly Unladylike:

The female reproductive system is actually extremely hostile towards embryos

Our species have hemichorial placentas, designed to weed out all but the fittest embryos. We develop thick endometrial linings from a ridiculously young age in order to aggressively protect ourselves from what is essentially a ruthless parasite that is literally sucking our blood; every time we have a period our body is shedding blood and tissue so that it can efficiently eject embryos deemed unworthy, which is most of them

On top of that, there is only a 12 hour window each menstrual cycle during which we can conceive – over the course of a year, there is less than a week of time in which we are in danger of conceiving. Which is why it is perfectly normal for a healthy couple to go 12 months or more without getting pregnant.

The way our hormones are calibrated is to protect US, not the fetus. The wider pelvic girdle, extra fat, etc. is about minimizing the damage a fetus can do to the pregnant person

Akimbo Comics on: consent, the corruption of capitalism, relationships,

From Akimbo Comics (1, 2, 3).

Transgender advocates need to stop exploiting intersex people for their own rhetoric.

From Anti-Porn Feminists:

Please, I’m begging you. Please. Listen to actual intersex people and voices before using our experiences which you know nothing about to prop up your morally bankrupt ideologies.

I see that you’re only 18. Please examine what you are doing, how you are using me, using intersex experiences and voices as a prop, as a dehumanized tool, a patriarchal weapon, without the slightest bit of empathy or understanding.

Your reasoning is so twisted and reeking of such bad faith that I don’t even know where to begin.

As an intersex person who has been abandoned by her friends in the past for being a TERF and SWERF, I’ll try to answer your disingenuous, black and white line of questioning.

I am not one of those fabled CAIS intersex women that trans people love to use to prop up their heartless arguments, but I am an XY afab born with a vagina, undescended testes, and a lifelong genetic disorder that has and will continue to greatly affect my quality of life.

I consider myself biologically male when you get down to it, but as an intersex person, obviously it is not so simple. For one, I have a vagina. My body cannot produce any androgens, so I never underwent a male puberty. Outwardly, my biology has always fit the female box instead of the male box, and so I was raised female, complete with the subservient conditioning of female socialization, and with the added bonus of intersex trauma and invasive medical examinations and therapies, which included having doctors feel my vulva periodically during my childhood to satiate their curiosity over the existence and extent of my sexual feeling, and having the depth and width of my vagina measured to ensure my defective body could still satisfy my would-be future husband.

This is not my whole story, but I will ask, is it enough? Do you need more proof of how different my experience is from that of normal men and transwomen? Do you require a deeper invasion into my history, my identity, my body to be satisfied that I am not just a trans person who managed to find a biological loophole during gestation, or as several trans acquaintances have told me, was “lucky” to be born in a body assigned the gender I “identify” as?

So, where do we draw the line? Is the fact that being intersex is forced upon unknowing, unconsenting people, fetuses who never wanted to be born between sex boundaries, enough? You seem to think “brain sex” is real and transgender identity is an intersex disorder, so maybe not. How about genitals then? Intersex disorders come in many different flavors, but those who are assigned the opposite sex of their chromosomes at birth all have one thing in common: they have fucked up genitalia and reproductive organs that honestly defy easy categorization. Is this true of the transwomen who seem to desperately require intersex bodies as ideological shields? No? I thought so.

Intersex people are not appropriating anyone. We cannot, as a rule, because we were literally born here, in this ugly, uncertain, unhappy, physically real middle between male and female. We grew up here. We did not take it. We just want to be let live. We don’t need to rely on flimsy, intellectually bankrupt and sexist “brain sex” arguments to forcefully carve out a space for ourselves. If anything, trans people are appropriating intersex experiences, fetishizing our experiences and using us as pawns, forced under their trans umbrella against our will.

Also one last thing, no radical feminist in her right mind is calling for outright indiscriminate killing of men as feminist policy, and even if that was the case, no radical feminist on earth has the power to even contemplate implementing such a cartoonish plot. We don’t want transwomen to die. We just want them to stay away from us, and be legally able to protect and make spaces for women who grew up with the social and biological realities of having female genitalia in a male supremacist world. Please read up on feminism if you seriously want to debate it.

Is prostitution consensual?

Moonpod Rising looks at the arguments for and against whether prostitution is consensual.

On alternative treatments to gender dysphoria

CrashChaosCats talks about various alternative ways she’s used to lower her gender dysphoria.

I have noticed that some trans people are threatened by talk of alternative treatments for dysphoria just like they are threatened by the subject of detransitioning. There were two workshops that recently got canceled at the Philly Trans Health Conference and one of them was on detransitioning and the other one was on alternative treatments for dysphoria. And this included treatments for people who didn’t want to transition, people who had transitioned and then detransitioned and people who were still, currently transitioning but found that transitioning didn’t relieve all of their dysphoric symptoms. So it didn’t necessarily have to be a replacement for medical transition, it depended on the person. Like it could be or it could be in addition to medical transition. Anyway, some trans people objected to this workshop because they thought the presenters were trying to discourage people from transitioning or spreading misinformation or dangerous perspectives. Some of them mocked the treatments listed in the program description, even though many detransitioned and dysphoric people have found significant relief using those methods. So these trans people apparently didn’t trust that people attending the conference could judge for themselves whether these treatments would work for them or not. Instead they felt that they had to “protect” attendees from such information, lest they apparently be mislead into hurting themselves, I guess. I don’t know, I think that perspective is really patronizing and insulting and harmful. I don’t see how people can make truly informed choices about treating their dysphoria if they don’t know that some people find that alternative treatments work better than medically transition.

So here I am now, to talk about my experience with such treatments because despite what some people think this is valuable information that many people find helpful. And I trust that people can listen to what I say and figure out for themselves if any of this is applicable or useful for them or not. I know every dysphoric person is different, what causes our dysphoria is different and what works for one person is not going to work for others.And this applies for trans people and detransitioned people because a lot of what has worked for me as a detransitioned woman doesn’t work for other detransitioned women that I know. Okay? We’re all individuals trying to figure out what works for us.

So by alternative treatments, I mean ways to treat dysphoria that don’t involve taking hormones or getting surgery. A lot of alternative treatments are ways to accept the body rather than change it. Many dysphoric people who pursue alternative treatments find that our dysphoria was caused by trauma or by social factors, for example, being a butch lesbian or otherwise gender non-conforming woman living in a society that finds us unacceptable. Broadening the scope of treatments for gender dysphoria beyond medical transition means acknowledging that there are many potential causes for gender dysphoria, including pontentially biological predispositions, trauma and adaptation to social influences.

Quotes from Understanding Power, by Noam Chomsky

“WOMAN: Noam, since you’re an anarchist and often say that you oppose the existence of the nation-state itself and think it’s incompatible with true socialism, does that make you at all reluctant to defend welfare programs and other social services which are now under attack from the right wing, and which the right wing wants to dismantle?

CHOMSKY: Well, it’s true that the anarchist vision in just about all its varieties has looked forward to dismantling state power-and personally I share that vision. But right now it runs directly counter to my goals: my immediate goals have been, and now very much are, to defend and even strengthen certain elements of state authority that are now under severe attack. And I don’t think there’s any contradiction there-none at all, really.

For example, take the so-called “welfare state.” What’s called the “welfare state” is essentially a recognition that every child has a right to have food, and to have health care and so on-and as I’ve been saying, those programs were set up in the nation-state system after a century of very hard struggle, by the labor movement, and the socialist movement, and so on.

Well, according to the new spirit of the age, in the case of a fourteen-year-old girl who got raped and has a child, her child has to learn “personal responsibility” by not accepting state welfare handouts, meaning, by not having enough to eat. Alright, I don’t agree with that at any level. In fact, I think it’s grotesque at any level. I think those children should be saved. And in today’s world, that’s going to have to involve working through the state system; it’s not the only case.

So despite the anarchist “vision,” I think aspects of the state system, like the one that makes sure children eat, have to be defended-in fact, defended very vigorously. And given the accelerating effort that’s being made these days to roll back the victories for justice and human rights which have been
won through long and often extremely bitter struggles in the West, in my opinion the immediate goal of even committed anarchists should be to defend some state institutions, while helping to pry them open to more meaningful public participation, and ultimately to dismantle them in a much more free society.

There are practical problems of tomorrow on which people’s lives very much depend, and while defending these kinds of programs is by no means the ultimate end we should be pursuing, in my view we still have to face the problems that are right on the horizon, and which seriously affect human lives. I don’t think those things can simply be forgotten because they might not fit within some radical slogan that reflects a deeper vision of a future society. The deeper visions should be maintained, they’re important-but dismantling the state system is a goal that’s a lot farther away, and you want to deal first with what’s at hand and nearby, I think. And in any realistic perspective, the political system, with all its flaws, does have opportunities for participation by the general population which other existing institutions, such as corporations, don’t have. In fact, that’s exactly why the far right wants to weaken governmental structures-because if you can make sure that all the key decisions are in the hands of Microsoft and General Electric and Raytheon, then you don’t have to worry anymore about the threat of popular involvement in policy-making.

So take something that’s been happening in recent years: devolution — that is, removing authority from the federal government down to the state governments. Well, in some circumstances, that would be a democratizing move which I would be in favor of-it would be a move away from central
authority down to local authority. But that’s in abstract circumstances that don’t exist. Right now it’ll happen because moving decision-making power down to the state level in fact means handing it over to private power. See, huge corporations can influence and dominate the federal government, but even middle-sized corporations can influence state governments and play one state’s workforce off against another’s by threatening to move production elsewhere unless they get better tax breaks and so on. So under the conditions of existing systems of power, devolution is very anti-democratic; under other systems of much greater equality, devolution could be highly democratic-but these are questions which really can’t be discussed in isolation from the society as it actually exists.

So I think that it’s completely realistic and rational to work within structures to which you are opposed, because by doing so you can help to move to a situation where then you can challenge those structures.”

“Of course, the “free market” ideology is very useful-it’s a weapon against the general population here, because it’s an argument against social spending, and it’s a weapon against poor people abroad, because we can hold it up to them and say “You guys have to follow these rules,” then just go ahead and rob them. But nobody really pays any attention to this stuff when it comes to actual planning-and no one ever has.

So there was just a British study of the hundred leading transnational corporations in the “Fortune 500,” and it found that of the hundred, every single one of them had benefited from what’s called “state industrial policy”-that is, from some form of government intervention in the country in which they’re based. And of the hundred, they said at least twenty had been
saved from total collapse by state intervention at one point or another. For instance, the Lockheed corporation was going under in the early 1970s, and the Nixon administration just bailed them out with public funds. Okay, so they’re back in business. And now they stay in business because the public
pays for C-130s [military aircraft], and upgrading F-16s, and the F-22 project, and so on-none of which has anything to do with a “free market” either.

Or take the fact that so many people live in the suburbs and everybody has to drive their own car everywhere. Was that a result of the “free market”? No, it was because the U.S. government carried out a massive social-engineering project in the 1950s to destroy the public transportation system in favor of expanding a highly inefficient system based on cars and airplanes-because that’s what benefits big industry. It started with corporate conspiracies to buy up and eliminate streetcar systems, and then continued with huge public subsidies to build the highway system and encourage an
extremely inefficient and environmentally destructive alternative. That’s what led to the suburbanization of the country- so you get huge shopping malls in the suburbs, and devastation in the inner cities.

But these policies were a result of planning-they had nothing to do with the “free market.”

Actually, the most dramatic example of these “market distortions” that I can think of-which I suspect is never even taught in economics courses- concerns the reason why the United States had an industrial revolution in the first place. Remember, the industrial revolution was fueled by textiles,
meaning one commodity: cotton. And cotton was cheap, that was crucially important. Well, why was cotton cheap? Was it because of market forces? No. Cotton was cheap because they exterminated the native population here and brought in slaves-that’s why cotton was cheap. Genocide and slavery:
try to imagine a more severe market distortion than that.”

“Question: But if we ever had a society with no wage incentive and no authority, where would the drive come from to advance and grow?

Chomsky: Well, the drive to “advance” – I think you have to ask exactly what that means? If you mean a drive to produce more, well, who wants it? Is that necessarily the right thing to do? It’s not obvious. In fact, in many areas it’s probably the wrong thing to do – maybe it’s a good thing that there wouldn’t be the same drive to produce . People have to be driven to have certain wants in our system – why? Why not leave them alone so they can just be happy, do other things?

Whatever “drive” there is ought to be internal. So take a look at kids: thye’re creative, they explore, they want to try new things. I mean, why does a kid start to walk? You take a one-year-old kid, he’s crawling fine, he can get across the room he likes really fast, so fast his parents have to run after him to keep him from knocking everything down – all of a sudden he gets up and starts walking. He’s terrible at walking: he walks one step and he falls on his face, and if he wants to really get somewhere he’s going to crawl. So why do kids start walking? Well, they just want to do new things, that’s the way people are built. We’re built to want to do new things, even if they’re not efficient, even if they’re harmful, even if you get hurt – and I don’t think that ever stops.

People want to explore, we want to press our capacities to their limits, we want to appreciate what we can. But the joy of creation is something very few people get the opportunity to have in our society: artists get to have it, craftspeople have it, scientists. And if you’ve been lucky enough to have had that opportunity, you know it’s quite an experience – and it doesn’t have to be discovering Einstein’s theory of relativity: anybody can have that pleasure, even by seeing what other people have done. For instance, if you read even a simple mathematical proof like the Pythagorean Theorem, what you study ub tenth grade, and you finally figure out what it’s all about, that’s exciting – “My God, I never understood that before.” Okay, that’s creativity, even though somebody else proved it two thousand years ago.

You just keep being struck by the marvels of what you’re discovering, and you’re “discovering” it, even though somebody else did it already. Then if you can ever add a little bit to what’s already known – alright, that’s very exciting. And I think the same thing is true of a person who builds a boat: I don’t see why it’s fundamentally any different – I mean, I wish I could do that; I can’t, I can’t imagine doing it.

Well, I think people should be able to live in a society where they can exercise these kinds of internal drives and develop their capacities freely – instead of being forced into the narrow range of options that are subjectively available – like, how are people allowed to think, how are they able to think? Remember, there are all kinds of ways of thinking that are cut off from us in our society – not because we’re incapable of them, but because various blockages have been developed and imposed to prevent people from thinking in those ways. That’s what indoctrination is about in the first place, in fact – and I don’t mean somebody giving you lectures: sitcoms on television, sports that you watch, every aspect of the culture implicitly involves an expression of what a “proper” life and a “proper” set of values are, and that’s all indoctrination.

So I think what has to happen is, other options have to be opened up to people – both subjectively, and in fact concretely: meaning you can do something about them without great suffering. And that’s one of the main purposes of socialism, I think: to reach a point where people have the opportunity to decide freely for themselves what their needs are, not just have the “choices” forced on them by some arbitrary system of power.”

Response to Sam Harris Fans

All children have a right to autonomy.

Happiness is Here discusses what it means to grant children autonomy- in clothing, body modification, food, sleep, hygiene, affection, time, property, trust, language, support, and modeling.

I think the main reason people are so vehemently opposed to extending the right of autonomy to children is that they just cannot imagine how it would work, or what it would look like. Very few people have seen examples of this and were themselves strictly controlled as children. Not to mention the warnings about ‘kids these days’ not being controlled enough and turning into terrible monsters who eat chocolate all day, cut up all the furniture, and are probably plotting to take over the world.

Let’s all calm down a minute.

In our house and the houses of many of the other families I know, children have freedom and autonomy. They choose what to do and when, as long as it doesn’t infringe on another person’s rights, and our homes have not descended into chaos. In fact, the children are kind, respectful, helpful, generous, capable, motivated, and awesome company…

This is our normal, and it’s actually really simple. It just means treating children like human beings, with as many rights as everyone else in the house. I’d love to shed some light on what autonomy looks like in everyday life, in the hopes that people will see that it’s not actually complicated, it’s not risky, and it is achievable.