The Erasure of Women
How gender ideology and progressive dogma are robbing women of safety, opportunities, and dignity.
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Gender ideology is upending the legal and societal order, from education and sports to criminal justice and employment law. This novel belief system, which is now widely promulgated by progressives, and which has made considerable inroads into mainstream culture thanks in part to a highly sympathetic media environment, claims that biological sex is mutable and exists on a non-binary continuum, and that one’s “gender identity” is innate and ineffable—a “sexed soul.” All that’s needed is for an individual to have an epiphany that they’re the opposite sex, and they magically become the opposite sex simply through a leap of faith.
But if you parse through the tricked-up pseudoscientific horseshit that these postmodernist ideologues are shoving down our throats, you’ll find that gender ideology is essentially left-wing misogyny on steroids. It’s an assault on women’s sex-based rights and their desire for safety, privacy, and dignity. And slowly but surely, women are being erased as a coherent class of people. They’re even being robbed of the ability to name themselves as a distinct group.
Driven by trans activists, seemingly every major institution has adopted gender-neutral language that draws no distinctions between women and trans women, often going through Cirque du Soleil verbal contortions to do so. From the media to universities to the federal government to the medical industry, the word “women” is now being slowly abolished.
Last year the ACLU tweeted its alarm about the precarious state of legal abortion: “Abortion bans disproportionately harm: Black Indigenous and other people of color. The L.G.B.T.Q. community. Immigrants. Young people. Those working to make ends meet. People with disabilities. Protecting abortion access is an urgent matter of racial and economic justice.” Conspicuously absent was any mention of “women.”1
The White House’s 2022 fiscal year budget referred to women as “birthing people” in a section about public health funding.
The Lancet, among the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals, described women as “bodies with vaginas” on one of its covers.
The CDC has a section on “Care for Breastfeeding People.”
John Hopkins University recently described women as “non-men,” effectively declaring that a woman is a being definable only by reference to males:
Washington State Department of Health offers “people who are pregnant” advice on “chestfeeding.”
Healthline referred to women as “Vulva Owners.”
The American Cancer Society website recommends cancer screenings for “people with a cervix.”
Teen Vogue published a “no-nonsense, 101 guide to masturbation for vagina owners.”
An ad for Tampax enjoins the world to “celebrate the diversity of all people who bleed.”
If the stated reason for such language — to be “inclusive” of trans people when talking about female issues — were sincere, then we would see similar linguistic gymnastics performed to avoid excluding trans men when talking about males. But we don’t. The asymmetry is flagrant. I have yet to come across a single instance of males referred to as “people with penises” or “ejaculators” or “testicle havers.” It is only women who are being dehumanized and objectified as part of a deliberate campaign to minimize the unique female experience. Company policies, school curricula, medical protocols, academic research, and media style guides have all been rewritten to privilege self-declared gender identity over biological sex, diminishing and invisibilizing women in the process.
Even laws are being revised to accommodate this new orthodoxy, and women are the ones suffering the consequences.
Let’s start with the so-called “Equality Act,” which the Biden administration continues to push for, and which passed in the House of Representatives in February 2021. If it becomes law, it would eradicate the sex-based rights of women.
Long and difficult to parse, the bill’s stated purpose is “[t]o prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” This is disingenuous, however, because what it would actually do is redefine “sex” to include “gender identity” throughout U.S. civil rights law (the Equality Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act). This statutory redefinition would mean that any person could claim to have been discriminated against on the basis of so-called gender identity for virtually all purposes.
The Equality Act defines gender identity to mean “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.” If enacted, this would mean that pretty much all entities, public and private, would be required to interpret the word “sex” to include these characteristics, “regardless of an individual’s designated sex at birth.” Put another way, these entities would be required to interpret the word “sex” in a manner that in fact ignores sex.
Consider the implications. Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in any establishment that “affects commerce.” The Equality Act would expand this list to include gender identity. In practice, this means that if a man attempts to use the women’s restroom in a restaurant, management would be legally prohibited from restraining him, and if they did, he could sue the restaurant by arguing that he has a right to enter the women’s restroom on the basis of his “female gender identity.” The same would be true of all hotels, bars, gas stations, movie theaters, stadiums, and so on.
This is not theoretical. It’s already happening in places like Washington D.C. and California. Recall the Wi Spa incident that took place a couple of years ago in Los Angeles. A woman took a video of herself complaining to the staff about the presence of a fully naked and erect man in a section of the spa that was supposed to be exclusively for females. The response of the staff was that because California law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, there was nothing they could do about it.
The point is that, if enshrined as federal law, the Equality Act would allow any man to gain access to areas that are intended to be restricted to women all across the country. That’s the obvious outcome of enacting a law that interprets sex in a manner that ignores sexual dimorphism.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been abolishing sex throughout federal administrative law, accomplishing via executive fiat what Congress has not done legislatively.
Within hours of taking the oath of office, Biden signed an “Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” This made it the official policy of his administration that sex is to be defined to include gender identity. All federal agencies were required to get in line.
For example, on February 11, 2021, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would begin interpreting the Fair Housing Act in a manner that redefines sex to include gender identity for housing purposes. The upshot is that there can effectively be no female-only housing—including domestic violence shelters, rape shelters, or college dormitories. If any housing entity covered by the Fair Housing Act (which is virtually all housing in the U.S.) wants to exclude a man and that man complains that he’s being discriminated against on the basis of his gender identity, he’s likely to prevail. Because, again, each of these agencies is now required to interpret the word sex in a manner that ignores biological sex.
Gender ideology removes all grounds for challenging any male in women’s spaces. To decide whether that matters you need to understand why these spaces exist at all: risk reduction, comfort, and providing women with a place where their needs are prioritized. Risk reduction should be the most obvious reason. Sex separation in communal areas like bathrooms and locker rooms has been common since antiquity to protect women from sexual assault and harassment. Justifying such arrangements does not require that all males are violent, merely that men are overwhelmingly likely to be the perpetrators, and it’s impossible for women to tell which men pose a risk.
But gender ideologues are intent on opening these protected spaces to any “trans women,” completely ignoring the fact that gender self-identification provides sexual predators with a marvelous loophole, and in effect turning facilities intended for women into places where men can commit exhibitionism and voyeurism with impunity. Sex offenders already go to great lengths to access vulnerable females; you’d have to be a moron not to understand that they’ll use this situation to their advantage.
Amazingly, none of this seems to matter. This couldn’t be any more clear now that men, many of whom have been convicted of extremely violent and sexual offenses, are being housed in women’s prisons. In some states, like Washington, this is because sex has been abolished as a matter of state administrative policy; in other states, like California, it’s because sex has been abolished as a matter of state law.
California’s SB 132, which took effect in January 2021, allows transgender-identified male state prison inmates to transfer into women’s prisons based on “individual preference”—no hormones, surgery, or time spent living as the opposite sex required. According to one former inmate at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, many of the men who are transferring there aren’t even on hormonal medication. “They’re getting a full erection,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “So you’re locked in this room, 24/7, with a man and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you tell the police you don’t want to live with a man, or you’re afraid or whatever, you’ll get a disciplinary infraction. So you’re basically punished for being scared.”
Because female inmates are typically far less violent than male ones, women’s prisons like Chowchilla don’t separate inmates based on the severity of their crimes. Also unlike men’s prison, inmates at Chowchilla are housed eight to a room, with a sink and toilet inside the cell and only a cowboy door for modesty. Apparently, the female guards at Chowchilla aren’t happy about this situation either. The California law requires cavity searches to be conducted “based on the individual’s search preference”—meaning if a biological male who identifies as transgender prefers to be cavity-searched by a female officer, he’s entitled to it.
In July 2021, it was reported that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had begun posting signs related to anticipated pregnancies in women’s prisons and handing out condoms to inmates—a tacit admission by the state that the men being transferred into the prisons are not women.
But California is far from the only state sanctioning this madness. In Washington state, which has a similar law, one male inmate who transferred into a women’s prison was a serial killer of women. Last April, a transgender inmate in New York raped a female prisoner. And a couple of months later, a “female identified prisoner with a penis” was transferred out of the only women’s prison in New Jersey after impregnating two inmates.
In fact, it appears that the only states that don’t currently have any men in women’s prisons on the basis of their supposed gender identity are Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. This is largely because the Biden administration restored Obama-era guidelines to allow for “placements that align with an inmate’s gender identity” in federal prisons—a policy that had been rescinded by the Trump administration in 2018.
An astounding 84% of women in prison suffered sexual violence on the outside, according to the Vera Institute of Justice, a research group. Why are we re-traumatizing them?
“Trans women are women.” This marvel of pretzel logic is constantly repeated by transgender cultists in response to any criticism of gender ideology and any objections to biological males inserting themselves into female spaces and sports.2
It’s not an argument. It’s a mantra that functions the same way that “black lives matter” does; its power is based entirely upon its repetition rather than its foundation. Congregants of the Church of Woke, who are too sophisticated to categorize people by their physiology, and for whom status is defined by having the right opinions on social and cultural issues, use the claim to profess their religious faith, signal their moral and spiritual enlightenment to the unreformed, and publicly avow their commitment to the quest for social justice.3
In practice, this affirmation borrows the soaring eschatology of the sermon, releasing adherents from the normal bounds of reason. And by putting a full stop to any further discussion, it’s a fitting example of what Robert Jay Lifton, author of the 1961 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in Communist China, called a “thought-terminating cliché.” In totalitarian regimes, he wrote, these “brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases . . . become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.”
Perhaps the best response to “trans women are women” is to simply ask the simple question that Matt Walsh poses in his brilliant documentary: what is a woman?
While common sense would seem to suggest that a woman is defined as a female human adult, gender ideology contends that a “woman” is an adult of either sex who simply “identifies” as a woman. The definition of woman is therefore as fluid as can be imagined.
But what, pray tell, does it mean to “identify” as a woman? Gender activists believe that being a woman requires embracing normative stereotypes of femininity or the different social roles and expectations society imposes based on sex. Ergo, a female who doesn’t identify with the social roles and stereotypes of femininity4 isn’t a woman. She’s instead considered to be either transgender or nonbinary. According to this line of thinking, certain types of anatomy are incompatible with certain personalities, behaviors, and preferences.5
That’s why in its erasure of sex categories, gender ideology seeks to change not just the present, but the past, too. Any woman throughout history who managed to transcend societal strictures is now at risk of being retroactively transitioned. Boudicca and Joan of Arc are now both often described as trans men. So is the Pharaoh Hatshepsut because she “intermittently dressed and ruled as a King.” In 2019 the Washington Post removed mention of Jennie Hodgers, who cross-dressed in order to fight in the American Civil War, from a podcast entitled “Women Who Won Wars.” In an apology, it said Hodgers’s inclusion had not been “in keeping with Washington Post style, which states that people should be referred to by their current identity.” Their current identity.
The concept of gender identity is so nebulous, so completely subjective, that it can be used not only to describe literally anything, but to erase the very concept of womanhood. And the reason such nonsense has so successfully pervaded society is because this conceptual engineering can be effectuated in large part through a non-electoral politics of institutional capture. No longer confined to university humanities departments and hermetic internet communities, gender ideology is being accepted and promoted by people in positions of power within the realms of media, education, academia, social work, medicine, law, and local and national government.
And the new norms and mores that the movement insists the rest of society follows have long since passed the absurd. We’ve reached the point where neither surgery nor a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is required for someone to be a trans woman. The entire sex category has been opened to any male who says he’s female. What’s being demanded is no longer “inclusivity,” but a redefinition of what it means for someone to be a woman—a total rewriting of societal rules and the legitimization of a regressive set of beliefs that forces a subjective and manipulable view of one person’s self to become a defining reality for everyone else. It’s a demand for the validation of others; it requires the active, conscious, and affirming disposition of every member of society, who must identify you as a member of the sex you proclaim.
If any man can claim to be a woman and just like that we must treat him as one, “woman” becomes a meaningless word and women’s rights cease to exist. You have to be willfully obtuse not to understand that treating gender as simply a matter of self-identification sets up a direct conflict between sex-based protections for females and rights based upon gender identity, which instantiate ideas that are harmful to women’s equality and give authority to outdated notions of essential differences between the sexes.
Trans women are not women. They haven’t had to live their entire lives as females, with all the safety concerns, biological trappings, and societal and cultural expectations that involves. Womanhood is not some sort of garish costume you put on. It’s not a choice. And women should be protected, not erased.
The ACLU also butchered one of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous pro-choice quotes in a tweet paying tribute to her on the first anniversary of her death, replacing the words “woman,” “she,” and “her.” Consider how Orwellian it is to rewrite historical utterances to conform to modern sensitivities.
If this post wasn’t already so long, I’d dissect the sports issue. Suffice it to say that women and girls have been getting royally shafted. OutSports recently published a list of no fewer than 23 transgender athletic champions, almost all of them successful in the women’s field. Women’s cycling has arguably been hardest hit. And earlier this week, the head of HRC, an organization in “near-daily” contact with the White House, was unable to say whether males hold an athletic advantage over females.
Related: A whopping 64% of Democrats believe a man can become a woman, as opposed to 10% of Republicans.
For decades, women’s-rights movements fought to separate womanhood from rigid stereotypes, but modern gender ideology reinforces those very same stereotypes. And traditional gender roles are problematized and deconstructed, rather than affirmed as equally valid identities.
And the Left is now teaching young girls that the rejection of traditional notions of feminity is a medical condition that requires treatment in the form of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.