Radical Feminism

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Роберт » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:59 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:Thanks for the unnecessary vaguely cissexist reminder, but I don't get what purpose it serves in this conversation.

It seems like a way of trying to help people already frustrated by constantly being misgendered into depression. Hey, why not kick a marginalized group when it's down, right?

Oh, and some trans* women have been know to successfully "pass" even when having sex, so I guess "only get you so far" means "so that you're pretty indistinguishable from cis* people".
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

doogly wrote:I think Morris was suggesting that you may also retain oodles of anguish when you tell yourself your gender is wrong. Like how when everyone you meet tells you that you are not fat but your anguish over size is deeply anguished. It's a thing.
Oh, right. I think that deconstructing gender would alleviate that thing, though. Similar to how living in a culture where being fat wasn't a thing would, in time, make worrying that you're fat no longer a thing. Or, at least, not an important thing.
morriswalters wrote:One more thing and I will shut up. I understand that people are cruel, I have sufficient experience to be certain of that. What I meant was I would believe part of the problem would consist of trying to match your gender identity in opposition to the physical makeup of your body. Surgery and hormone therapy and acceptance can only get you close.
Just to clarify--and you might already know this, but just to clarify--obviously, not everyone's issues with gender identity are of the type that require the application of surgery or hormone therapy. Some people are satisfied with nothing more than social acceptance. Some people are satisfied with even less than that! I also suspect that if we were a lot less hard-nosed about gender, we'd see a significant reduction in extremity of means people use to satisfy those requirements. In other words: When gender is truly permeable, I suspect people are less likely to feel a need to meet the now 'optional' requirements to belong to a given gender.

That being said, whether or not you're 'close' is up to you. Gender identity is a thing we created for utility's sake; it has no existence beyond what we ascribe to it. Different people respond to it in different ways. If someone's unsatisfied with their gender identity, I want to work with them and find ways to bring them that satisfaction. If wearing high-heels will get them what they need, okay. If doing something more extreme will get them what they need, also okay. If what they need is impossible within the boundaries of the universe, well, we'll shoot for getting them as close as possible and work from there.

But it's not impossible to change your gender. Because gender isn't a 'thing' that we can derive from the right body shape or the right clothes or even the right mind. Gender is a hat you're told to wear. And I'm perfectly fine with someone changing that hat, or even throwing that hat away. Particularly if they find the hat they were assigned harmful to their sense of self.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby morriswalters » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:06 pm UTC

I never said you shouldn't or couldn't live as you please, I simply questioned the fact that you seem to believe that the only issues are external ones. And I realize that all people don't manipulate there body image with surgery. However as usual people hear what they wish to hear.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:15 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And I realize that all people don't manipulate there body image with surgery. However as usual people hear what they wish to hear.
If I thought you didn't know this, I wouldn't have qualified my statement by saying 'you might already know this'. I made it clear that I was clarifying for the sake of clarity, not for the sake of correcting you.

But like you said: People hear what they want to hear.
morriswalters wrote:I never said you shouldn't or couldn't live as you please, I simply questioned the fact that you seem to believe that the only issues are external ones.
I don't believe that. But I think the external issues are the only issues we can address.

All we can do is support you and do everything we can to create a context where you're free to be who you wish to be. The rest is up to you. I wish we could do more, but that's just not how reality is structured.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

So, am I getting this right?

Worst radfems: We need to get rid of gender. Trans folks are just reinforcing traditional gender and are an obstacle, or are imposters.

Better radfems: We need to get rid of gender. Trans folks make sense in the current climate and should be supported, but they won't need to exist in our ideal future.

Trans folks: Dude you are kind of glossing over everything we are saying about what having a gender means to us.

Better radfems: Hush.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:08 pm UTC

I'm worried that in some cases, that's a legitimate characterization--which is why I'm starting to rethink the language involved in 'destroy gender', rather than 'render gender completely permeable'. I don't want to imply that gender isn't important, or shouldn't be; I just want a context where you may identify as whatever gender you please without fear of reprisal.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I just want a context where you may identify as whatever gender you please without fear of reprisal.


That's going to come with some resistance from people that want to know what type of genitalia someone has with reasonable certainty from a distance.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:05 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I want everyone to be able to identify as the gender that suits them best, and I want everyone else to be perfectly okay with that. That's my ideal society (in regards to gender), and that's the goal my thoughts and words here serve. I want people to be treated as they wish--and need--to be treated, and I see the absolute permeability of gender as a means toward that end.

My goal is that people treat others with respect and compassion regardless of their gender identity and regardless of how it matches their body. This is really a part of a broader goal and doesn't particularly have much to do with gender. Specifically with respect to people with gender identity struggles, I don't really have an agenda or goal on the right way to go about things. There are people who are far more educated than I on the challenges, complexities, and pains related to this. And I want them afforded a space to discuss and seek better solutions, be they cultural, medical, spiritual, psychological, or whatever else.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:22 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:That's going to come with some resistance from people that want to know what type of genitalia someone has with reasonable certainty from a distance.

Why would they want to know that? It sounds like their problem.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:28 pm UTC

But how else will I know whom to hit on? That's what we're meant to be optimizing for.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:35 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:That's going to come with some resistance from people that want to know what type of genitalia someone has with reasonable certainty from a distance.

Why would they want to know that? It sounds like their problem.


Many people would rather not wait until the 3rd date to find out that their potential new relationship doesn't have the genitalia they were expecting. Or, meeting someone at a bar and finding out they weren't biologically what was expected. Many will insist that it's not surgically constructed genitalia either.

Whether or not that's moral, those people are likely to resist a world in which the identifiers of gender are not just blurred, but eliminated entirely.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:40 pm UTC

guenther wrote:My goal is that people treat others with respect and compassion regardless of their gender identity and regardless of how it matches their body. This is really a part of a broader goal and doesn't particularly have much to do with gender. Specifically with respect to people with gender identity struggles, I don't really have an agenda or goal on the right way to go about things. There are people who are far more educated than I on the challenges, complexities, and pains related to this. And I want them afforded a space to discuss and seek better solutions, be they cultural, medical, spiritual, psychological, or whatever else.
I think that's a worthy goal, and a (mostly) fine approach; I'm just concerned that when we say 'I want to treat you with compassion regardless of your gender identity', the implication is that you're putting their gender identity aside--rather than honoring and accepting it. To clarify, I don't know if that's what you actually mean, but it's easy to assume that's what you mean, and that's part of the reason I say 'treat people as they wish to be treated' rather than 'treat people with respect and compassion'. Because on one hand, it's good that you want to treat people with respect and compassion, but in order to do that, you can't disregard something that's this crucial to their identity. On some level, to truly embrace them, you have to embrace their gender, too.

Because if someone wants you to treat them like you would treat a woman or a man, I think we should respect that. I think we should buy into it. I think doing otherwise is disrespectful--and even harmful. To me, the deepest expression of respect and compassion is to believe someone--to validate how they feel. So if someone says "I'm a woman", no matter how they look, what they're wearing, or what they're presenting as--if you want to be respectful to them, if you want to express compassion--you have to believe them.

I realize that's a hard sell for a lot of people. But you can't support someone by standing 'above' them or loving them despite their 'flaws'. You have to roll up your sleeves, sink yourself into the muck, and love them with their 'flaws'. There's no 'hate the sin, love the sinner' here--because 'sins' are an inextricable part of the 'sinner'. They cannot be separated. Loving people means loving everything--even the bits you instinctively recoil from. It means temporarily putting yourself aside.

I'm probably looking way too deeply into your usage of the word 'regardless' above, and I don't mean to imply you don't do any of these things. I'm just expressing my concern with how we so often treat these issues as if we were looking down. I don't think there's anything wrong with professing ignorance on the subject (I'll profess my own, just as you have), or finding the subject intimidating (I often find it intimidating too). But not understanding a subject--finding a subject intimidating--finding the existence of a thing to be baffling--none of these things stop me from embracing transgender-ism and accepting people as they want me to accept them--even celebrating them.

I haven't been on this rock for long, and I'm certainly not the wisest fucker in attendance. But in what little time I've had and with what little intelligence I've gleaned, I have discovered one small shred of indisputable knowledge when it comes to dealing with people: You cannot truly embrace them without also embracing who they are.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:42 am UTC

I don't use "treat people as they wish to be treated" because what if someone wants to be treated as a god? Maybe that's a silly example, but some people have a high notion of themselves, and they want everyone else to treat them accordingly. Or maybe they espouse ugly rhetoric but want to be treated as someone who speaks the truth. Or maybe someone is particularly down on themselves and wants to be treated like a loser. I don't think this should be used to set the bar of how we treat them.

Rather I feel there's a level of respect and kindness that we naturally offer to friends and family, and we can export this same attitude and behavior to strangers, outsiders, and to people on the other side of sharp divides. And I said "regardless" because I think it applies always, not just with transgendered people. This doesn't at all mean that we should set gender issues aside, and that's particularly true when the addressing of gender issues is how you can best connect with that person.

I don't really accept that one has to believe someone's claim to extend compassion and respect since this would greatly limit how much we can care across religious divides. Those beliefs are very much held at the core of people's beings. But regardless, I do feel it's a fair expectation for the particular case of transgendered to treat them like their self-defined gender, including pronoun use and the like. (This doesn't mean that people who don't do this are unable to express compassion, but it will be less effectively received, and the burden of such failure should be placed on them.)

You also make some claims about how "hate the sin, love the sinner" works and I have strong disagreement, but I don't think that's really relevant to me and this topic.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

It's possible I just went off on a silly tangent; if so, I beg pardon. I have a tendency to manufacture problems that don't exist and then throw lots and lots of words at them.
guenther wrote:I don't really accept that one has to believe someone's claim to extend compassion and respect since this would greatly limit how much we can care across religious divides.
You have to believe they believe, and in doing so, respect and validate that belief. You don't need to believe in Allah to respect a Muslim, but you have to believe that they believe in Allah, and you have to validate that belief as non-trivial--not as something that should be corrected, not as something that's a mistake--but as something they came to on their own journey that is just as valid as yours. They believe this because it's important to them, and it serves some use to them, just as you believe the things you believe because it's important to you, and serves some use to you.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby yurell » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote: You don't need to believe in Allah to respect a Muslim, but you have to believe that they believe in Allah, and you have to validate that belief as non-trivial--not as something that should be corrected, not as something that's a mistake


I'm sorry, but how is the second part of that a continuation of the first part? I can fully believe that a Muslim believes in God, and fully recognise it as a non-trivial, interconnected belief system enforced by indoctrination, subjective experience, rationalisation and culture, but still see it as something that needs to be corrected and something that's a mistake while still respecting that Muslim. People we respect can have flaws, and just because we respect them doesn't mean we can't recognise those flaws and help them overcome them.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

yurell wrote:I'm sorry, but how is the second part of that a continuation of the first part? I can fully believe that a Muslim believes in God, and fully recognise it as a non-trivial, interconnected belief system enforced by indoctrination, subjective experience, rationalisation and culture, but still see it as something that needs to be corrected and something that's a mistake while still respecting that Muslim. People we respect can have flaws, and just because we respect them doesn't mean we can't recognise those flaws and help them overcome them.
I cannot bring myself to treat people like that. People believe the things they believe because they need to believe those things. Those beliefs are only 'flawed' to me because I don't need them.

The only time I'm willing to fight someone's belief is when that belief carries dangerous consequences.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:38 pm UTC

Yeah no I'm gonna have a problem with magical epistomelogies. They just lead to more problems later and it's helpful to point out that they're at the root of so much trouble.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

I think I've nudged this discussion toward a dangerous level of abstraction.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

Abstraction isn't dangerous, magical epistemologies are!
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:The only time I'm willing to fight someone's belief is when that belief carries dangerous consequences.
Which magical beliefs very often do, even if only in the sense that they make people more likely to deny evidence for contrary claims, even when they have no evidence for their side.

What's the harm?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

But I can build possible cases of harm for all beliefs that in any way step out of an empirical worldview. I can even build cases for harm caused by an empirical worldview (cases where mystics have had, by sheer, weird coincidence, the right solution--and the scientists had the wrong one), and I can probably find examples (not many, but I'm sure they exist!). When I say that a belief must carry consequences before I oppose it, I mean those consequences must be obvious--it isn't enough that someone believes in God, and that belief in God correlates with a higher tendency to believe in dangerous things. They have to believe God also tells them to beat their children--and I'm only opposed if it seems relatively likely they'll practice this belief, or at the very least, try and spread it to people who will. Then I'm opposed, and I'm only opposed so long as they continue to believe God tells them to beat their children.

To try and drag this back to some relevance: My willingness to believe people when they tell me what gender they are stems from my willingness to accept and embrace beliefs that carry no obvious danger. I'm trying to come at this with as much humility as possible, and for me, part of that means accepting that people need things I don't understand--be it a belief in God, gender, race, etc. So long as these beliefs do no obvious harm, I can't bring myself to describe any of them as flawed or wrong. They just serve needs different than my own.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby induction » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I'm just concerned that when we say 'I want to treat you with compassion regardless of your gender identity', the implication is that you're putting their gender identity aside--rather than honoring and accepting it. To clarify, I don't know if that's what you actually mean, but it's easy to assume that's what you mean, and that's part of the reason I say 'treat people as they wish to be treated' rather than 'treat people with respect and compassion'. Because on one hand, it's good that you want to treat people with respect and compassion, but in order to do that, you can't disregard something that's this crucial to their identity. On some level, to truly embrace them, you have to embrace their gender, too.

Because if someone wants you to treat them like you would treat a woman or a man, I think we should respect that. I think we should buy into it. I think doing otherwise is disrespectful--and even harmful. To me, the deepest expression of respect and compassion is to believe someone--to validate how they feel. So if someone says "I'm a woman", no matter how they look, what they're wearing, or what they're presenting as--if you want to be respectful to them, if you want to express compassion--you have to believe them.

I realize that's a hard sell for a lot of people. But you can't support someone by standing 'above' them or loving them despite their 'flaws'. You have to roll up your sleeves, sink yourself into the muck, and love them with their 'flaws'. You cannot truly embrace them without also embracing who they are.


Without delving into whether someone's gender identity should be considered a 'flaw' or not, there is some tension here between taking people as they are, and taking them for what they identify as. I'm totally on board with respecting them and using whatever pronouns they prefer, but if we choose to embrace 'who they are', then we are embracing them as someone with a gender identity discrepancy. We can't fully buy into their preferred gender identity and accept them for who they are at the same time. In other words, the categories of 'male' and 'female' don't seem to capture the full complexity of this aspect of people. If we buy into their preferred identity, aren't we in some way ignoring some aspect of them, and might that not imply that we see them as flawed for not fitting neatly into our defined categories? (See, I delved into it anyway.) Aren't we being sort of patronizing?

Luckily, the practical affects of such a discrepancy (on others) are insignificant if our treatment of people does not depend on their gender (leaving out romantic interactions for the sake of this discussion; I'm married so it doesn't matter to me). I guess I can see where the anti-trans feminists are coming from, logically, even if I disagree with some of their behavior. There's always a tension between accepting people for who they are (which cannot be adequately captured by such a blunt instrument as binary gender categories) and who they want to be or identify as, when these things don't match up. But I don't approve of shaming or denigrating anyone over it in order to advance one's own agenda.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:28 pm UTC

These things seem very different. I don't accept people's decision identify with whatever gender they like because I am kind and indulgent and see no harm in it, I do so because they are correct. If you say your gender is ____ then so it is!
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I cannot bring myself to treat people like that. People believe the things they believe because they need to believe those things. Those beliefs are only 'flawed' to me because I don't need them.


Did the The Three Christs of Ypsilanti need their beliefs? and should their beliefs have been respected rather than being treated as something which needed to be corrected? ignoring how effective actual attempts at the time were : should no attempt have been made? The line between that and certain flavors of religious belief can be quite small.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:38 pm UTC

doogly wrote:These things seem very different. I don't accept people's decision identify with whatever gender they like because I am kind and indulgent and see no harm in it, I do so because they are correct. If you say your gender is ____ then so it is!
I think that's the case too, but it has to do with the fact that I think that no beliefs are true--not even my own--except beyond how they serve our needs. I believe what I believe because I need to. The need is what makes it true.

This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:32 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:The only time I'm willing to fight someone's belief is when that belief carries dangerous consequences.
Which magical beliefs very often do, even if only in the sense that they make people more likely to deny evidence for contrary claims, even when they have no evidence for their side.

What's the harm?

On a note related to that link (interesting in and of itself), is it true that Death Curses can 'come true' if the victim of the curse believes in it strongly enough?

On topic, I think I've made it clear in the past that I managed to drive myself to emotional stress over this type of material a while ago, in part because of a bad habit of wanting to agree with everything I read. That being said, this line of extremist thinking has many of the same problems that other extremist ideas have; the belief that everyone who agrees with the ideology is 'awake to the truth' and that everyone who disagrees is either 'blinded' or 'evil', a belief in the inherent superiority they have to everyone else, etc. Not to mention that many of the biological and psychological essentialist claims being made are rarely backed up with evidence and seem a little too similar to the justifications that men made of a woman's inherent inferiority back in 'ye goode olde days'.

To refer to something that may not have been brought up yet; at least one of the arguments I've seen made is that every single message the media sends is designed to benefit men/the patriarchy and place women at a disadvantage, even in cases where it seems like the messages are offensive to men or placing them at a disadvantage. At least one of the implicit assumptions being made here is that men are basically making light of/gaining sadistic pleasure over the suffering/day-to-day struggles of women, and I'm pretty sure that 'All Men enjoy hurting All Women All the Time' is another assumption being made here. That being said, I have found such criticisms of media messages interesting in the past, mostly when they point out the prevalence of violence against women in such cases, how things such as the nuclear family unit or 'PIV Sex' or porn are upheld as 'the norm' and never question, how the 'player' is a character archetype celebrated and portrayed favourably, etc. Any thoughts from you lot?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Eomund » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:23 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote: I think that no beliefs are true--not even my own--except beyond how they serve our needs. I believe what I believe because I need to. The need is what makes it true.

This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.


What if someone's belief is that everyone in Group X should is evil and should die? Does that belief "serve a need"? If so, is it made true?

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:01 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.
Just to the extent that denying objective reality is "weird", I suppose.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.
Just to the extent that denying objective reality is "weird", I suppose.
It's not that I disagree with you, but...

Do you actively insist on being as accurate as possible to objective reality at all times? I mean, I'm guessing you don't read a sci-fi book and complain vigorously when a spaceship travels faster than light. I personally don't mind it when people claim Abner Doubleday invented baseball.

Why do people then insist on applying this accuracy when it comes to religion? Yes, it can potentially have harm: Praying instead of seeking medical attention is really bad. Persecuting gay people because your invisible wizard doesn't like them is bad. Yet religion on its own doesn't need to include those things. Yes, I believe my girlfriend is wrong about the existence of a supernatural being that created the universe. I also really don't care. It's not like I believe there's another deity that's going to punish her for believing in the wrong one. She's a good enough mental gymnast to reconcile her belief in Catholic dogma with her homosexuality and other views: there's no harm.

Her belief serves a purpose, and there's no real reason for me to correct it.

That's really only tangential to gender identity in my opinion though: I think gender identity is inextricably linked with belief. Believing you are male would make you de facto identify as male.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:55 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.
Just to the extent that denying objective reality is "weird", I suppose.
It's not that I disagree with you, but...

Do you actively insist on being as accurate as possible to objective reality at all times? I mean, I'm guessing you don't read a sci-fi book and complain vigorously when a spaceship travels faster than light. I personally don't mind it when people claim Abner Doubleday invented baseball.

Why do people then insist on applying this accuracy when it comes to religion? Yes, it can potentially have harm: Praying instead of seeking medical attention is really bad. Persecuting gay people because your invisible wizard doesn't like them is bad. Yet religion on its own doesn't need to include those things. Yes, I believe my girlfriend is wrong about the existence of a supernatural being that created the universe. I also really don't care. It's not like I believe there's another deity that's going to punish her for believing in the wrong one. She's a good enough mental gymnast to reconcile her belief in Catholic dogma with her homosexuality and other views: there's no harm.

Her belief serves a purpose, and there's no real reason for me to correct it.

That's really only tangential to gender identity in my opinion though: I think gender identity is inextricably linked with belief. Believing you are male would make you de facto identify as male.


The whole concept of "objective reality" revolves around the fact that reality is what it is regardless of whether or not you believe it.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:This might be a weird way of approaching it, though. I don't know. I need to think about it.
Just to the extent that denying objective reality is "weird", I suppose.
Do you actively insist on being as accurate as possible to objective reality at all times?
No, but that's not at all what I said, either.

My point was that, if objective reality exists, beliefs are true or false depending 100% on whether they correspond to that reality, and 0% on how useful they are to serving the needs of believers. That isn't the same as saying I will object equally to all beliefs that don't correspond to objective reality, or even that I know in most cases which beliefs are the actual correct ones. I was merely pointing out that Hippo's account really does deny the presence of an underlying reality in terms of which beliefs really can be objectively true or false.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:08 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Just to the extent that denying objective reality is "weird", I suppose.
Off-topic, so:
Spoiler:
But we can never truly 'know' it--only approach it. So in a sense, it isn't real. It's just an unreachable ideal.

I realize this is probably all esoteric nonsense, and even if it's not, it's probably not something you're unfamiliar with--that being said: All simulations seem to be built in an attempt to describe a 'lower-level' simulation. Physics and mathematics are an attempt to describe reality; as we learn more, we update our model and end up with one that looks more like what we're trying to simulate. No matter how exceptional our models are, however, there will always be one model that's better: Reality itself. The most accurate way to describe the descent of a baseball toward the ground will never be found in mathematics: It will always be dropping a baseball to the ground.

All simulations strive toward an ideal they cannot possibly reach. If they could reach it, we wouldn't need the simulation. In some way, reality is a magical box that pops out numbers we don't understand, but we write them down and keep track of them and figure out some basic underlying patterns. As more numbers come out, old rules are demonstrated to be wrong, and new, more accurate rules are made. But at no point in this process will our rules ever tell us what's actually inside the box. Given infinite time, we can probably get pretty close--but we can never actually open the box and see. Again, if we could, we wouldn't need a simulation to 'describe' what's in the box.

What's most important to me is knowing what's inside that box. I can never know, but there are ways to get closer, and there are ways to get farther, and in all cases, I want to choose the ways that do the former. I want my description of that box's contents to be as close to its contents as possible--even if I can never get them to match perfectly (and I can't).

But in some sense, the box's contents aren't even real, because if something cannot be seen--only described--it has no meaningful realness. The box will always be closed. No one will ever open it. Not unless, in doing so, they become the contents of the box themselves ('simulating the universe requires a brain the size of the universe').

People are like magic boxes, too. And no matter how close my simulation of a person is, it's never anything more than a description of what's in that person's box--not the contents themselves. So when someone tells me they need something--when they tell me they are something--unless my simulation of them gives me a credible alternative explanation ('this person is deranged', 'this person is lying because they want to steal my wallet')--I will believe them. Even if it defies my simulation. Because my simulation is not real--the person is. And so, when someone says 'I am gender X', I believe them, and update my simulations accordingly. And when someone says 'I believe in God', I believe them--I believe their belief in God is real--and I embrace that belief as something with merit and importance--because part of my simulation involves realizing that they're trying to figure out what's in the box too, and a belief in God somehow might get them closer.
I apologize for the long-windedness!

EDIT: Also, the above is why I'm so hellbent on validating experiences. Because my brain is not big enough to simulate the experience of other people. Because no matter how much I observe someone's 'magic box', I never actually know what's actually inside that person's 'magic box'.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:...

No more hanging out with philosophy students for you.

Spoiler:
if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, floats like a duck, has feathers like a duck there is the faint possibility that it's a monster truck and that you're a small bowl of petunias but the odds are dramatically against it. even if someone has stuck a piece of paper to the duck reading "monster truck".
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:38 pm UTC

That isn't related to what I said. If it seems more likely that you're lying--or deranged--then I'll assume you're lying--or deranged.

Rather, I'm pointing out that in cases where I genuinely don't understand the reason someone believes something, I'm willing to assume that they might need that belief, even if it defies my paradigm.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:56 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:...

No more hanging out with philosophy students for you.

Spoiler:
if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, floats like a duck, has feathers like a duck there is the faint possibility that it's a monster truck and that you're a small bowl of petunias but the odds are dramatically against it. even if someone has stuck a piece of paper to the duck reading "monster truck".


Spoiler:
Actually, that's fine: that someone just has a very odd definition of monster truck, one that does not fit within the subjective reality that the rest of the world has constructed. Surely there's nothing objective about the sounds or letters making up the phrase "monster truck" that tie it to a large four wheeled vehicle? All of language is subjective, someone calling a duck a monster truck is not objectively incorrect.


Out of curiousity, and to tie it back to the topic, wouldn't we all agree that there's no objective reality regarding gender?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

Yes, but some people think there is, and that subset of people may include transgendered people, and I want to find a way to simultaneously reject that gender is 'real' while simultaneously respecting those who believe gender is 'real', in much the same way I reject God, but accept that God is of incredible importance to those who believe. I want to respect these things up until the point when they lead to terribleness--I want to respect your gender identity up until the point your gender identity demands others sacrifice their gender identity. I want to respect your belief in God up until the point your belief in God demands terrible things.

It's tricky and I'm not very good at expressing this nuance.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:...

No more hanging out with philosophy students for you.

Spoiler:
if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, floats like a duck, has feathers like a duck there is the faint possibility that it's a monster truck and that you're a small bowl of petunias but the odds are dramatically against it. even if someone has stuck a piece of paper to the duck reading "monster truck".


Spoiler:
Actually, that's fine: that someone just has a very odd definition of monster truck, one that does not fit within the subjective reality that the rest of the world has constructed. Surely there's nothing objective about the sounds or letters making up the phrase "monster truck" that tie it to a large four wheeled vehicle? All of language is subjective, someone calling a duck a monster truck is not objectively incorrect.


Out of curiousity, and to tie it back to the topic, wouldn't we all agree that there's no objective reality regarding gender?


Actually no, I disagree with that notion.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:Out of curiousity, and to tie it back to the topic, wouldn't we all agree that there's no objective reality regarding gender?
That, or gender is objectively what the individual says it is. This was the point doogly made, and is also why I call people what they want to be called. For us, it's not a matter of humoring someone's belief because we can never "really know", which can sound patronizing and also potentially denies external reality. It's a matter of if she says she's a "she", then she really truly objectively is.

If she says the world is flat and No one lives in Australia because it's on the bottom so everyone falls off, I'm going to deny that belief because it's wrong.

sam_i_am wrote:Actually no, I disagree with that notion.
Then what, in your infinite wisdom, constitutes maleness and femaleness?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
omgryebread wrote:Out of curiousity, and to tie it back to the topic, wouldn't we all agree that there's no objective reality regarding gender?
That, or gender is objectively what the individual says it is. This was the point doogly made, and is also why I call people what they want to be called. For us, it's not a matter of humoring someone's belief because we can never "really know", which can sound patronizing and also potentially denies external reality. It's a matter of if she says she's a "she", then she really truly objectively is.

If she says the world is flat and No one lives in Australia because it's on the bottom so everyone falls off, I'm going to deny that belief because it's wrong.

sam_i_am wrote:Actually no, I disagree with that notion.
Then what, in your infinite wisdom, constitutes maleness and femaleness?



Y chromosome vs no Y chromosome

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:That, or gender is objectively what the individual says it is. This was the point doogly made, and is also why I call people what they want to be called. For us, it's not a matter of humoring someone's belief because we can never "really know", which can sound patronizing and also potentially denies external reality. It's a matter of if she says she's a "she", then she really truly objectively is.
This is what I'm trying to get to, but on the basis that all measures of gender carry some internal flaw, objective measures of gender--even personal measures--cannot account for all cases. And therefore, some part of me must reject all objective measures of gender--because they can't account for all cases. And so my measure of gender becomes 'Whatever the person I'm talking to wants it to be'.
sam_i_am wrote:Y chromosome vs no Y chromosome
This is actually a very good measure for something: Whether or not you have a Y chromosome. But for measuring gender, there are cases where it fails (because the accepted definition of gender is not 'whether or not you have a Y chromosome').
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:30 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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