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Femininity 3

January 20, 2010

I’ve been meaning to respond to a comment Joan left on the Femininity 2 post admitting that she feels more of an affinity for female people than males.  Since femininity is a male-conceived and male-imposed way of being, any such affinity born out of female people’s likelihood to embody femininity is, of course, male-supremacist.  On the other hand, I do think female and male people are physiologically different enough from one another that not all such preferences have to do with our oppression as females under male supremacy.

That is to say that a preference for the companionship of female people is not necessarily a result of our common oppression by males.  It often is, of course, and you’ll find many a “feminist’s” ode to women’s gentleness, demureness, courteousness, and motherliness as justification for their fondness for female people.  As should be obvious, though, any argument in favor of the superiority of female ways of being caused and maintained by our oppression is an argument in favor of the continuation of male-supremacy.

On the other hand, femaleness itself is a biological fact, and I do think a healthy social rejection of maleness is as natural as the biological rejection which occurs during pregnancy with male infants and transplants of male organs.  It is documented that women expel male fetuses more often than female ones, and that carrying a male fetus to term is more taxing on a woman’s body, incurs more risk, than carrying a female one.  It is also documented that female transplant recipients reject male organs at a much higher rate than they reject female organs, while male transplant recipients are able to make do with female organs equally as well as they tolerate male ones.  And it is well-known that even before pregnancy occurs, sperm has detrimental health effects, activating the female body’s immune system against its intrusion and upsetting the acidity and balance of beneficial micro-fauna in the vagina.  The female body naturally finds maleness, quite literally, repulsive.

As lifelong and/or never-het lesbians have always known, the simple, irreducible fact of one’s femaleness (or maleness) is enough to justify a sense of potential kinship (or his rejection).  It has never been necessary to offer further explanation, especially when such additional explanation is so often a recitation of male interests.

12 Comments
  1. Mary Sunshine permalink
    January 20, 2010 9:03 am

    Lucid, succinct, and precise.

    This knowledge, this awareness, is part of our Original State of Female Being.

    She has no need for, nor interest in, males.

    Her core female energy is under attack from the moment that she is conceived. Her social survival requires that she not listen to her Original Female knowledge, but rather internalize, and mirror back to other humins the male lies about who and what she is.

  2. atheistwoman permalink
    January 20, 2010 9:56 am

    “That is to say that a preference for the companionship of female people is not necessarily a result of our common oppression by males. It often is, of course, and you’ll find many a “feminist’s” ode to women’s gentleness, demureness, courteousness, and motherliness as justification for their fondness for female people. As should be obvious, though, any argument in favor of the superiority of female ways of being caused and maintained by our oppression is an argument in favor of the continuation of male-supremacy.”

    Thank you for saying that Margie. I really bone-tired of that particular line of thought. So I’m not gentle, demure, or motherly–am I a man now or what? ;-). Hey maybe I’m trans. Snort.

  3. Level Best permalink
    January 20, 2010 3:01 pm

    Mary Sunshine, that is brilliant.

  4. January 20, 2010 5:22 pm

    I lost two fetuses, the first one was male (the second was not tested). The first doctor, a female, told me in a conversational but quite authoritative tone that I probably lost the fetus because it was male. At the time I took it that she had done some research, was part of some medical team, something, —-there was something about her way of speaking that made me think that she was an expert about the topic. Then a few years later, ten or more years later, I lost another fetus, and when I mentioned to my then doctor, a male, some of the possible causes, one perhaps being the fetus was probably male, he cut me off so quickly and even scolded for thinking such nonsense. He was not going to be challenged. He spoke to me as if I was talking about some medieval ideology. Looking back, I just think he was a sexist pig that did not want women to know that their bodies would/could reject male fetuses. I think what the first doctor was talking about was something along the lines of this.

  5. Mary Sunshine permalink
    January 20, 2010 5:50 pm

    Human males have always felt physiologically and psychically toxic to me, from my earliest pre-verbal memories.

    • January 21, 2010 6:54 am

      I, unfortunately, don’t have any pre-verbal memories, since I became unstoppably verbal at quite a young age. But I do remember always feeling as though males were unnecessary and disgusting. I never could understand the point of fathers; they seemed so redundant. When I was 3 I asked my mother how she could stand to share the same bar of soap with my stepdad. She answered, “you share a bar of soap with your sister, don’t you?” And I said, yeah, but we’re both girls.

      I think that, while a lot of the sex-segregated play patterns seen in children are definitely socialized, especially insofar as the sex-segregation consists of gendered activities, the sex-segregation itself, the mere fact of girls preferring to play only with girls, is perhaps a manifestation of the Original Female’s resistance to hetero-socialization.

    • Mary Sunshine permalink
      January 21, 2010 7:42 am

      When I was 3 I asked my mother how she could stand to share the same bar of soap with my stepdad. She answered, “you share a bar of soap with your sister, don’t you?” And I said, yeah, but we’re both girls.

      😀 ROTFL 😀

      You were succinct at an early age. 😉

  6. January 20, 2010 8:00 pm

    Thanks for this post, Margie.

    “It has never been necessary to offer further explanation, especially when such additional explanation is so often a recitation of male interests.”

    and “admitting that [I] feel more of an affinity for female people than males.”

    All 7 of the defintions for “admission” as a noun, here:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/admission

    resonate for me in this context, though 5 and 6 do so most strongly.

    – that it felt like an admission of a crime, the crime being my affinity for female people, and an acknowledgement of the truth at the same time.

    And maybe my grasping for words in my comments on the other thread could have been summed up as: “I have more of an affinity for people who need no explanation of that affinity.” Because on top of what that affinity is, is the way that I have internalized the idea that it *does* require an explanation. Except when expressed around other female people who share it. In private. Which this blog isn’t, and of course I felt the need to explain.

  7. January 20, 2010 9:54 pm

    That makes a lot of sense. I have been guilty of ‘romanticising’ women and their greatness at times.

  8. January 22, 2010 9:13 am

    Beautiful. I just learned that a woman i used to work with is beginning to ‘transition’. heartbreaking. and enraging. really. she obviously has at least a rudimentary understanding of the problems with fitting into femininity, but thinks that assuming masculine traits, and physical characteristics will somehow…um, help. or feel better. or something. i put a little thing on my blog about it. I’m new to blogging, it’s pretty rudimentary yet…
    your explanation of femininity is, as Mary said, lucid, concise, succinct. and radical. you women are most helpful. thank you.

  9. January 22, 2010 11:02 am

    You’re welcome, easilyriled. I do hope that your friend finds the strength and self-love to change her mind about ‘transition’ before irreversible damage is done. Having women in her life who love her enough to oppose that mutilation just might help her find her way back.

    And thank you for your comment, and for directing us to your wonderful blog.

    • January 25, 2010 11:52 pm

      Hi again Margaret,
      ah, thanks for your kind words, and your comment on my blog, too. your space here, which i understand is for women to figure out what it means to be women and how to act together in solidarity–in this weird public/private space of cyberspace–is a haven. and a site of challenge, too. I often come here to read what you and other women have to say, and get my batteries charged. plus, your writing is inspiring, both you and Kitty. Love it.
      Keep the faith

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