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We are now expected to accept the notion that womanhood is an aesthetic, or a set of cultural signifiers, and deny it is a shared reality, anchored in the female bodies we inhabit.
We are expected to accept that our sex is secondary to private feelings of identity that have yet to be defined in a way that gives us an alternate, coherent definition of what a woman is.
We are asked to believe our subjugation had&has no relationship to our existing as female. That the kinship & camaraderie, &the succour we have shared, have no foundation in our being female either.
We are expected to believe that there are no profound commonalities in women’s experience of the world, and that we do not navigate it through bodies that offer us similar pleasures and pains.
We are told to cease speaking of ourselves distinctly, because language is powerful, & when you cease having a name for only women, you can impose so much more on us without allowing us the ability to name the imposition.
If any male can be a woman, I cease to be able to talk of the ways in which he is intruding on my space, or he is pressing down on me, like males have done to females over and over again, throughout history and time.
I cannot raise the flags I should raise, or take the steps towards safety I would normally take, because now you are telling me the story that he and I are the same. Even in my own head, where truth should be sacred, I sometimes cannot disentangle the story from the sense.
But no woman has ever demanded I alter who I am so they can be a woman. They have never used my fellow women (intersex, or black or lesbian or disabled) as tools to get me to recognise them as more of a woman than members of those groups.
They have never weaponised my pain, or other women’s pain to get their personal sense of identity centred in our conversations or our concerns. They have never brought what is unmistakably Male entitlement into my spaces & expected me not to name it for what it is.
They have never threatened me with rape, death, or violence& in doing so used the exact tools of dominance&aggression that are straight from the realm of men.Nor, with that behaviour, created a specific kind of toxicity that pits women against each other, as men have always done
This proposed idea of sisterhood which stems from a belief that we are the same, regardless of our different sex, yet fails to see women as fully human, fully autonomous, and fully equal is untenable.
I won’t be the coat you wear to keep yourself warm. All those who wish to keep the faith with women must help to tend the fires we have been making. The ones that ward off wolves. Or they must go elsewhere, and learn to make their own.
& If you wish to help us tend the fires: we do not have to be the same to stand together.We ask for & we offer human kindness. As well as proper space.We could have so much we could share. So much that we might gain.Both from our differences,& from our mutual longing to be free
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