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Is the widespread acceptance of “gender transition” similar to the past acceptance for lobotomies?

4thWaveNow discusses the history of lotobomies and how similar the ways in which we accept “gender transition” now is similar to that context.

Freeman was undeterred by their criticism and plowed ahead, convinced that lobotomies were the best option for treating mental illness. Fellow doctors remained silent. The lobotomy craze was largely unchecked until the mid-1950s.

But even after the medical establishment turned against him and his procedure, Freeman moved to the west coast where he continued performing lobotomies until 1967. And maybe he would have kept operating if his hospital privileges had not been revoked. The hospital took this action only after one of Freeman’s patients died from a brain hemorrhage. (It was her third lobotomy.)

As has been discussed many times on 4thWaveNow, there is a dearth of research that backs up the medical transition of children. The current protocol being used in the United States is based on best guesses, not solid evidence. However, this has not been a barrier for children being treated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, nor has it stopped them from receiving mastectomies, hysterectomies and genital surgeries.

In the United States, the first pediatric gender clinic opened its doors in 2007, and since then many similar clinics have popped up across the country. But it wasn’t until May of 2016, almost a decade later, that an NIH-funded study was launched to record the effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on gender dysphoric youth. The results won’t be published for years; and since the study follows patients for only 5 years, longterm outcomes won’t be know for decades . In the meantime, concerned professionals, for the most part, remain silent and it appears that medical transition of youth is proceeding at an accelerated pace.

Gender rebels are not trans.

Shamelessly Unladylike affirms herself as a woman who refuses to perform femininity, and that gender, for women, means obedience.

When people ask me why do I want to look like a man, what they’re actually asking is why am I not marking myself as a woman. They’re asking why do I fail to perform the role of femininity, to make myself pleasing and unthreatening to the eyes of the upper class, the man class. My mother once voiced her concerns to me, that my looks would make me a target for male violence, and she is right to be concerned. I am perceived as a member of the lower class who refuses to bear the marks and play the role imposed to me. I refuse to shave my legs to look like a pre-pubescent girl, innocent and vulnerable, or to wear shoes that force me to walk on the tips of my toes, slow and precariously balanced, and this makes men angry, because this is a counscious act of rebellion. This is me saying I am not theirs. I will not please them. I do not desire their approval or their attention. And men often get violent when we refuse to cater to them.

My choices of visual presentation make me a cautionary tale. I am the hairy, ugly, lesbian feminist, the one they warn other women about. “Don’t be like her”, they say, “or no man will ever want you”. But I don’t want them either, and I do not want to look like them, or be like them, or have anything to do with them. I want to be free from men and their bullshit standards. I want to strut around proudly, shamelessly unladylike, looking like a woman looks when she’s not covered in face paint and restrictive clothing, when she doesn’t care about pleasing men.

Rape in the media is a scare tactic.

So how come there aren’t any male rape victims and male-on-male rape depictions in media? I’ve been consuming a large variety of media, and I cannot recollect a single male raped by another man being shown on tv. We know it happens in real life, we know men suffer even worse in silence and shame, so how come media isn’t willing to give them any representation? Men control large majority of the media, how come they aren’t willing to put some light on this issue?

I believe the answer lies otherwise. I believe what we do see in media – women being raped by men, constantly, violently, graphically depicted and terrifying – it’s not representation. It’s a scare tactics.

How does a woman feel watching other women being raped on the screen, often shown to add the shock value, often accompanied with blood, screaming, struggle, violence, helplessness, what is happening inside of her head? She’s imagining how it would feel happening to her. She’s experiencing it inside of her head. She’s reliving every bit of sexual abuse and aggression directed to her in her life, already knowing how humiliating and devastating it feels, and she sees it happening again, and again, to women. And then, she gets to watch the victim, broken, suffering, trying to find justice and getting laughed at, getting blamed, invalidated, shamed and abandoned by law enforcement, sometimes even “friends” and family. And she knows it could happen to her. She feels less safe in the world. She knows if it does happen, she will be blamed for it. She knows the rapist is most likely to walk free from the event, never facing consequences.

I think, that’s the message media is trying to send to women, this is what we’re doing to women, this is going to happen to you too if we get you, be aware of how much we can hurt you, better do as we say and hope we don’t do it to you. If raping women in real life sometimes wasn’t enough to make every single woman aware and terrified, then male-dominated media managed to make sure that every woman knows and experiences rape in an indirect way.

If media was doing the same with men, how would it affect men? If we were watching male-on-male rape scenes shocking us in the middle of movies and series, if it was all over the news, commercials, newspaper reports, radio, if you could no longer find a series when men doesn’t get raped by another man, if they were the ones repeatedly watching their own sex getting violated, torn apart, if they were forced to imagine how it would feel being damaged and humiliated that much, if they would have to spend their time imagining their body being used as a thing, beaten and forced into submission, overpowered and helpless and penetrated, and then blamed and ridiculed for it, how would it affect their psyche?

I don’t think men would feel just as safe going out at night anymore. I don’t think they could walk close to a stronger man without considering if that one would be the end of them. I don’t even doubt that male-on-male rape rate would skyrocket, men seeing someone else do it only lust for it more, and wont have peace until they’ve raped someone on their own. Men receiving the message that they’re just as rapeable as women, and other, more sadistic men receiving the message that raping another man might bring them the similar superiority, power and satisfaction would cause many, many more male rape victims.

So, that’s what’s being done to women. Men aren’t even ashamed of being rapists and promoting rape culture, they’re using it to further terrify and subjugate women, making rape seem like such inevitable event in women’s lives they can even say “what were you expecting” to raped women. They want women to expect it.

Now, showing male rape victims in media wouldn’t help one bit, and it’s by no means what I wish to happen (unless they’re getting help to recover, and not a scare tactics). Instead, I want the focus to change. I don’t want any other rape to be depicted in media, not in movies, or series, or pornography (basically shut down pornography already). I want to put focus on rapists receiving rightful consequences. There’s no reason to actually depict rape, it’s enough to imply or mention it happened, women shouldn’t have to experience or relive it, and they should keep their dignity on the screen at least. I want rapists to be shown caught. I want rapists to be shown prosecuted. I want every rapist to be shown undergoing a painful, torturous castration. This can be depicted as graphic as desirable. I want men to watch it. I want every man to see not one, but multiple cases of rapists caught, imprisoned, and publicly tortured and castrated. I want to see pain, tears, struggle, screaming, begging for forgiveness, begging to be spared, beyond even imagining to blame the victim or pretend they didn’t do it. I want men to know, deep in their core, that’s what they’re consenting to if they rape someone. I want them to know, if they even consider another woman, man or a child as nothing but an object of their sexual satisfaction, that’s the punishment they’re looking at. I want every man to be so utterly repulsed and disgusted of rape it’s impossible for them to even imagine it. I want them to know the punishment will come after them, surely and definitely. I want them to be aware that they will not be able to get away with it. I want them to know they deserved it for raping another human being.

So let’s try that, and see if rape rates drop.

The ways in which we desire, consume and live are not “natural.” They are constructed.

Dead Wild Roses extensively quotes Christopher Lasch on the issue of the cultural revolution that turned us all into mindless consumers.

As Emma Rothschild has shown in her study of the automobile industry, Alfred Sloan’s innovations in marketing-the annual model change, constant upgrading of the product, efforts to associate it with social status, the deliberate inculcation of an insatiable appetite for change-constituted the necessary counterpart of Henry Ford’s innovations in production. Modern industry came to rest on the twin pillars of Fordism and Sloanism. Both tended to discourage initiative and self-reliance and to reduce work and consumption alike to an essentially passive activity.

The medical establishment doesn’t want you to talk about how transgender transitioning is connected to mental illness.

When I was trans identified I took any insinuation that my gender identity was caused by mental illness, trauma, or neurodivergence as a great personal offense. It is a pervasive narrative that trans people are merely “delusional”, that being trans is caused by some sort of personal defect, and that trans-ness or any sort of proximity to being trans is a disgusting and reprehensible sort of deviance from “normal”. I have seen these narratives pop up everywhere from Jerry Springer to so-called “gender critical” resources, and I do still find them completely unhelpful, uncompassionate, and actually, still fucking offensive. They misunderstand both the nature of mental illness and what drives (at least female people) to consider transition.

I fixated most on questioning my gender and potentially transitioning when I was near-completely socially isolated, trapped in an abusive home, unemployed with no income, and spending most of my time asleep or drugged in a dirty bed. I could barely meet my most basic needs, was emotionally terrorized and functionally in captivity, and had no ability for anything resembling self-actualization. This isn’t a coincidence, and the first thing I noticed upon talking to other women within the detransition/reconciling community is that I was very distinctly not alone in this experience, sometimes down to specific details of my experiences with abuse or mental illness. If you read between the lines in FTM (or other AFAB trans) communities you will notice the same dynamics in play, just covertly, as recognizing the reality of what happens or has happened to us jeopardizes our ability to rely on trans identification or transition as a coping mechanism.

There is an extreme investment in trans community, as well as among the healthcare providers who provide transition-related medical resources, in believing that transition is either undertaken completely of one’s free will, or if it is forced, it is a decision made solely due to an unchangeable, intrinsic part of one’s makeup (a cross-sex “soul”, or more modernly, a cross-sex brain). There are a whole host of reasons why trans people believe this, but one reason I have not seen ever explored is what function it has for the medical system to be invested in this belief. Healthcare providers are invested in believing this because it essentially absolves them of responsibility for harm to very vulnerable people and justifies their homophobic and misogynist practices in a way that totally obfuscates the fact that they are committing medical abuse. In fact, this is the fundamental point of “gatekeeping”: transition gatekeeping is a ritual that manufactures the illusion of a consenting patient and a doctor that has their best interests in mind. Trans people buy into intrinsic gender identity (a thing not affected by life experience or mental illness/neurodivergence) because they have historically been coerced into believing that this was the explanation for what was “wrong with them” and why they were suffering. Once a person recognizes this “reason” (that they have an internal gender identity or at least a cross-sex brain) then it becomes a matter of mere logic to treat the suffering using transition; the trans person will now consent to medical treatment under the belief that it is best for them, and the doctors responsible for the treatment are satisfied that they not only did something permissible but that they did the right thing.

Actually recognizing that trans identification and desire to transition can be influenced by mental health issues or disability or neurodivergence, or life circumstances, or the violence LGB people and women are subjected to under a patriarchal society, would totally blow open this set of justifications. The medical establishment does not want to hear it because it would mean they would have to admit to massive, systematic abuse, particularly of lesbians and gay men. Most trans individuals don’t want to hear it because they would have to face the reality of their situation when they are using trans identification as a coping mechanism precisely because they are in a situation where their psychological or other survival depends on avoiding their pain.

Transition is not a proportionate response to body dysphoria.

b0rnwr0ng asks: why does everyone assume that medical transition is the only possible treatment for dysphoria? Who gains respectability, and a lot of money, from this “surgery-or-suicide” false dogma?

Being isolated from others who have complicated feelings about their transition and being unaware of alternative ways to handle the feelings that led me to transition seemed to be the main factors that kept me from exploring negative feelings about this stuff. Without access to those, I think I would have continued transitioning indefinitely. It didn’t feel like a choice. I have a major beef with that- the idea that transition isn’t a choice.

I felt I had no choice but transition for a long time, and the reason I felt that way was because other choices were not offered to me. I didn’t know anyone who had survived feelings like mine without transition, and I didn’t have any ideas about how someone might do that. That’s a problem! How can someone give informed consent to transition when they believe the only alternative is a miserable life eventually cut short by suicide? People who transition believing it’s absolutely the only way they can ever experience any relief are people whose community and healthcare professionals have failed them.

Liberals, you’re forcing us to cheer at violence because we have no alternative.

here is something i think people don’t understand, when they get all pearl-clutchy about nazis getting punched:

we – and by this i mean ‘people targeted by nazis’, but mostly jews, because i am a jew and that’s where my experience lies – we did not want to end up in a scenario where the highlight of our day could be some guy getting punched. in fact, that’s kind of ghoulish.

like, ok. i am pretty much the worst kind of bleeding-heart, dyed-in-the-wool pacifist you will ever meet, when circumstances allow me to be. i don’t, personally, want to kill nazis; i just want nazis to stop being nazis. ideally, the world would work like it did in my 10-year-old fantasies, where i could walk up to a nazi and be like “jews are people,” and he would be like “holy shit!!! mind blown” and stop being a nazi and we’d sit down and have a deep philosophical discussion.

but real nazis have this unfortunate, terrifying habit of continuing to be nazis. when you hit them with intellectual debate, or reason, or “tolerance”, or “just giving them a chance”, or “compromise”, or any of that shit. they continue to be nazis, which means they still want to wipe out me and my people, and many other swathes of people as well.

which is why i understand people who want to kill nazis. or, in a milder variation, punch them.

i wish they would stop being nazis but they wish i would die. when you, historically, adhere to an ideology that advocates mass murder past the point of any nonviolent resistance, you have forfeited your right to a fair debate. you have forfeited your right to any response but self-defense that is as violent as whatever you make necessary.

nazis forfeited their right to nice counter-tactics long ago, and jews know this.

there’s another reason, too, why i whooped at that video. not because someone was getting hurt – don’t be dense. as i said, that’s ghoulish. we did not want to end up with our livelihood as a people so threatened that violent self-defense makes us cheer. can you think about that for a second? can you think about the kind of corner we’re backed into, here? it’s not a natural state of being. it’s a place where most people, as far as we can tell, truly do not give a shit if we live or die, because they’re talking about “tolerating” people whose ideology involves straight-up killing us. and so if we see somebody punch a nazi, it’s evidence: that person in the black mask, they’re on my side.

there is one person who recognizes the nazi as a mortal threat, which means they recognize that jews are people. that people of color are people. that any of the groups threatened by nazis deserve to have their fear recognized.

and every time you, a moderate liberal, a white goy, wring your hands about a nazi getting punched, about violent tactics, about fighting hate with hate, you push us further and further into the corner where we have to cheer at that. it’s sheer relief, at somebody recognizing the terror enough to punch back.

so no, we weren’t born bloodthirsty, just salivating at the chance to kick a nazi in the balls. we got driven here reluctantly, by history, to a place where violence in our defense can make us weep with gratitude. you drove us here.

Alfie Kohn on the humbug of “Supernanny” shows.

Alfie Kohn, the excellent writer of No Contest: The Case Against Competition and Unconditional Parenting, amongst other books, discusses the nonsense that passes for parenting advice in Supernanny-style shows. It’s worth a read, and so is Unconditional Parenting, especially if you are a parent or want to be one (rathe runlikely if you read this blog, but you never know- or give a copy to someone you know).

The nanny never peers below the surface, and her analysis of every family is identical. The problem is always that the parents aren’t sufficiently vigorous in controlling their children. She has no reservations about power as long as only the big people have it. Kids are the enemy to be conquered. (At the beginning of Nanny 911, the stentorian narrator warns of tots “taking over the household”; the children in one episode are described as “little monsters.”) Parents learn how to get them to take their naps now. Whether the kids are tired is irrelevant…

Supernanny’s superficiality isn’t accidental; it’s ideological. What these shows are peddling is behaviorism. The point isn’t to raise a child; it’s to reinforce or extinguish discrete behaviors – which is sufficient if you believe, along with the late B.F. Skinner and his surviving minions, that there’s nothing to us other than those behaviors.

Behaviorism is as American as rewarding children with apple pie. We’re a busy people, with fortunes to make and lands to conquer. We don’t have time for theories or complications: Just give us techniques that work. If firing thousands of employees succeeds in boosting the company’s stock price; if imposing a scripted, mind-numbing curriculum succeeds in raising students’ test scores; if relying on bribes and threats succeeds in making children obey, then there’s no need to ask, “But for how long does it work? And at what cost?”