Evolution of “Egalitarianism,” “Feminism,” and Such Words


In 2011, I wrote a post called “On Feminism and Egalitarianism” which was a follow-up to the post “SlutWalk NYC is pissing me off with its DSK protesting.” You can read the comments on all the posts, where I feel like I fairly dealt with the criticism.

Normally I wouldn’t be highlighting a controversial post at a critical time in my writing career. (If I had no backbone, I would simply delete the original post.) But, in the spirit of evolving conversation, I want to leave no stone unturned in documenting my evolving views in the context of societal change.

One aspect I neglected to emphasize, that I probably could have done a better job at in the original post, was the legal aspect.

Due Process is a very important issue to me. I don’t want to make this a “I was a victim, so I can’t be biased” point, but I have personally had my Due Process violated and was told by a private lawyer that they wouldn’t take my case. This discouraged me from even thinking about taking the case higher up to maybe the ACLU.

But I understand why the lawyer didn’t take the case. It would have been an uphill battle against a system in a case with somewhat unprovable evidence and questionable damages.

I’m not saying the alleged victim in the DSK case was lying. I’m not saying there’s no possibility the prosecutor dropped the case because of political pressure. All I was saying is that frivolous charges and lawsuits exist, and that sometimes (albeit rarely) people in power or not in power are falsely accused; I don’t know the specifics of this case other than what the media reported, and unless Slutwalk NYC had a source on the team with more inside information than NYT, they didn’t know the details of the dismissal either.

DSK sounds like a scumbag. I believe, through study data and personal experience, that when there’s multiple allegations about sexual abuse, there’s usually more fire than conspiratorial smoke.

Rhetoric Update

In this 2018 climate, I am no longer comfortable using the word “egalitarianism” casually. I have seen this word hijacked by too many MRAs who are more concerned with their own oppression than by the oppression of others.

And, of course, the power structures in this country have changed. If you’ve read this far, you know what I’m talking about.

I’m not an argumentative person by nature. If a person (usually a man) asks with a loaded tone if I’m a feminist these days, I just say Yes and leave it to them if they want to argue.


Fallon Fox Has Already Lost

If you’ve been following LGBT issues at all, then you’ve probably heard about Fallon Fox.

She’s a professional mixed martial artist who caused a great deal of controversy when questions came up last March about her medical history–specifically that she’s a transgender woman fighting other women. The controversy garnered even more mainstream media coverage after Joe Rogan went on a rant calling her “a man without a dick” and then again when a UFC fighter got cut for telling a reporter that Fox was a “sociopathic, disgusting freak.”

Birth name unreleased, Fox had gotten sexual reassignment surgery in 2006 and has been on hormone replacement therapy for years before she started fighting.

Fallon Fox was later cleared by the Florida State Boxing Commission to fight women. And she is now scheduled to fight Allanna Jones in CFA 11 on AXS TV, May 24.

[Cat Zingano’s interview tact here was laudable.]

It was my interest in sex and gender roles that led me to what has become the only sport I enjoy regularly watching. (Who is this Ronda Rousey that made it for women in the UFC when the president said it would “never” happen? I found last year’s Tate v. Rousey and was immediately intrigued by the fast-paced grappling.)

But I struggled with this piece, not only because I don’t participate in WMMA, but because the nature of the sport can make it harder to argue what constitutes “fairness” in competition than in say, a non-contact sport like running. Example: If you’re wrestling and have a leg lock around an opponent’s waist, even adjusted for weight, I imagine that something like hip shape could matter, and it could matter a lot. I had a lot of problems trying to think of how to write an article that defends which characteristics are “important” in determining sex  in a way that doesn’t open up a slippery slope into scrapping sex segregation in sports all together.

All the major MMA news sites I’ve read have had an outstanding professional and nonjudgemental style when reporting the controversy. But the more critical opinions of the fans can be found in the comments sections of sites like CagePotato, MMAjunkie, YouTube videos, MMA forums, and r/mma.

Many comments are dismissible purely on their ignorance (dur, XX and XY, the end) and hate levels, but there is some civil discussion going on:

Click to enlarge

Most of the arguments about Fox still having the “natural advantages” of men can easily be rebutted with existing scientific literature. The hormone replacement therapy makes the muscle mass and bone density arguments moot. Testosterone levels are going to be well within “female” range. I haven’t found any “muscle fiber type” literature that says women can’t condition train to “manlier” types. And any differences in neurology (reaction time, spatial awareness, etc.), are usually too small to make blanket statement about the sexes.

Not every sexual dimorphism can be neatly plotted on a bell curve, and even when they can, elite athletes are going to be the outliers.

That said, the amount of sexism and transphobia within the fighting community is overwhelming. Cris Cyborg has been getting unparalleled amounts of shit for her masculine physiognomy for years, so it was no surprise to see her name alongside Fox’s in comments like, “let the trannies fight each other.”  I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to characterize most MMA fighters, commentators, and fans as giant douchebags. The amount of vitriol, prejudice, and misinformation that has surrounded Fox is what is truly disgusting about the entire ordeal.

In re: “sociopathic, disgusting freak” on Sherdog’s “UFC Suspends Matt Mitrione”  the top comments are:

  • “Actually Mittrione makes sense.”

Upvoted  162 times. Downvoted 3.

  • “A man, sex change or not, should not fight a girl.”

Upvoted  130 times. Downvoted 3.

  • “Matt’s just sayin what everybody thinks!….except for the overly sensitive, politically correct sheeple.

Upvoted 93 times. Downvoted 3.

If Fallon Fox loses to Allanna Jones on Friday, she loses. If she wins, it’ll be touted as proof that male-to-female transgender means superior. Either way, she’s still going to have to face a bunch of judgment and questions about her legitimacy as a a woman and a fighter. She may have problems finding consistent sponsors. Major promotion agencies, which have pretty much all been bought by Zuffa (UFC), are going to want to avoid this controversy until the fans will it to happen. Fox is now 37, late for a budding MMA career, and transgender folk still have a long way to go before society matches them at current tolerance and understanding levels of homosexuals. By those metrics, Fox has already lost.

The silver lining in all this is that the Florida State Boxing Commission made the right call. At the end of all the quibbling about bone proportion and safety, there should be a segregation of men and women in MMA and Fox should be allowed in one of the two.

The doctors and the overseeing commission say that Fallon Fox is a woman. So fight on, Fallon “Queen of Swords” Fox, fight on.

IOC Androgen Rules Unfairly Target “Manly” Female Athletes

Also cross-posted on The Feminine Miss Geek.

Caster Semenya, a track star who faced intense scrutiny in 2009 after allegations of being a man. -photo by Erik Van Leeuwen

The International Olympics Committee recently released a report titled,“IOC Regulations on Female Hyperandrogenism: Games of the XXX Olympiad in London, 2012,” which dictates that three doctors (a gynecologist ,a geneticist, and an endocrinologist) will get to decide if female athletes are actually female.

Sports is one of the very few remaining social structures where sex segregation and therefore sex testing is still generally acceptable. But the problem with these specific regulations is that they are based on faulty reasoning; there is no shortage of scientists that say testosterone levels are not the defining factor for being a woman, and there is no direct correlation between androgens and performance.

What’s more disturbing is that athletes can be singled out for additional medical testing simply for looking manly.

Via Suite 101:  

IOC Androgen Rules Unfairly Target “Manly” Female Athletes

Under this active policy, athletes legally living as women, but with naturally high testosterone, could be ineligible to compete in the Olympics. Moreover, anyone who deviates from the perceived norms of feminine characteristics could be subjected to additional medical testing as the report goes on to actively call for the National Olympic Committees to “actively investigate any perceived deviation in sex characteristics.”…

Genetic and bodily differences in sports are often obvious by sight: Gymnastics competitors have comparatively smaller frames than weightlifters. Taller women make better basketball players than short women. Michael Phelps has an unusually large torso and armspan, hypermobile joints, and is exceptionally close to the clinical levels of Marfan’s Syndrome.

There is no logically consistent reason to partition these genetic advantages from androgen levels and competitively strip a significant portion of female athletes their gender title.

The article gets more into citations from medical and ethical experts, saying the available scientific data does not back these IOC policies. If we must have two sex categories, then the process needs to be a more comprehensive process than three doctors comparing hormone levels to numbers on a chart.

And as far as I know, there are no policies for men that have “sub-male” levels testosterone. It’s a disturbingly unfair set of regulations that anyone caring about gender issues, sports, and basic fairness should complain about.

I’m not sure if this is the most direct way (comment if you have current contact info for the IOC), but the contact info for London Games-related complaints is:

“By phone
Call us on 0808 197 2012. Hours of operation are Monday to Sunday 9am–6pm.

By email
Email us at complaints@enquiries.london2012.com or by using the web form below.

In writing
Write to us at: Complaints, Communication and Public Affairs, The London 2012 Organising Committee, 23rd floor, 1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5LN.”

Read more at Suite101: IOC Androgen Rules Unfairly Target “Manly” Female Athletes | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/ioc-androgen-rules-unfairly-target-manly-female-athletes-a410665#ixzz22snZELIf