How TERFs See Us

Mentioning that horrible Woman’s Hour program in my Radio 4 post reminded me that Sarah Brown came across some really weird stuff online recently. It is a sort of pop-psychology test designed to tell whether you are a trans woman or not, but written by a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. It tells you a heck of a lot about how TERFs think, but very little about trans women.

There were a few questions I answered yes to; for example:

  • Do you spend a lot of time online? (TERFs do, it is where they do most of their harassment)
  • Do you want to be pretty? (Would have been nice, bit late now.)
  • Have you attended a male-only educational facility? (Not my fault, I hated it.)

There were a lot of questions that rather suggested that the author had read Triton and assumed that all trans women were like Bron:

  • Do women really “have it all”?
  • Are feminists whiney bitches?
  • Do women have no right to speak on the topic of gender?
  • Have you always known you were very angry for some reason and it was women’s fault somehow?
  • Tired of no one noticing what a Special Person you are?

There were also quite a few that clearly came from odd stereotypes of the sort of man the author thinks would claim to be a trans woman:

  • Have you been in the military?
  • Have you been in prison?
  • Do you own more than three firearms?

There were one to two that betrayed a general hatred of femininity:

  • Do you celebrate the cultural subordination rituals (“femininity”) that are forced onto females?
  • Do you have a phoenix or butterfly tattoo?

And finally there was some genuine WTFery:

  • Do you have a successful STEM career? (‘Cos that proves you are a man, right? Real women can’t do science.)
  • Long time Dungeons and Dragons shaman of undecided loyalty? Or whatever the fuck?
  • Are you an identical twin?

I’m sure that an actual psychologist could have a field day with it. You can find the whole list of questions here.

By the way, I did also click through and do that COGIATI test that Sarah mentions. I came out as only borderline trans, mainly because the test was stuffed full of gender-essentialist questions about how good you are at reading emotions (surely a learned skill), good navigation skills, and inability to do maths, all of which were assumed to be firm indicators of true femininity.

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4 Responses to How TERFs See Us

  1. Farah Mendlesohn says:

    [sniggers]

    In my experience a lot of liberal feminists would qualify as we grew up “knowing” that to be a feminist was to aim to succeed in a man’s world, in male areas of expertise, on men’s terms.

    • Cheryl says:

      I think their logic goes something like this:

      1. IT and STEM are areas that are full of deeply misogynist men.

      2. Trans women are the most misogynist men evah.

      3. Therefore all trans women must work in IT or STEM.

  2. This reminds me of an article about some northern european country (I believe Sweden) where, in kindergarten they didn’t use he / she but a different, non gender form, so that in talking about a plumber they wouldn’t associate it with being a male profession. Directly (or not) the majority of these kids wouldn’t make tradicional male / female associations. Abouth maths i believe it is social – if you are told, since little, or have a rule model that associates unability with gender, you will probably give up trying to understand maths. (i’m not a native english speaker, so some sentences may have come up wrong :S )

    • Cheryl says:

      You may be thinking of Finland, where they have no gendered pronouns at all.

      And yes, I totally agree about maths. When I was in high school (or 6th form college as we called it back then) I was in the elite maths class. There were six of us, four of whom were female-identified at birth. With me that was 5 girls one one boy. I am sure that it helped that the other girls had been in a girls-only school for five years.

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