Woman-Blaming and Bad Feminisms
Part one of a three-part talk with UK feminist Mallory Moore on trans feminism, trans conflict, and trans care.
Mallory Moore is one of the smartest feminists I know. She’s a UK-based researcher with the Trans Safety Project. Her work focuses on tracking the spread of far-right talking points and conspiracy theories about “gender ideology.” Normally, when I speak with Moore, it’s in that capacity — she was, for example, a key source on this article, for which she helped me put American anti-trans legislation into its global context.
The conversation you’re about to read was conducted under more inglorious conditions. Over the past few years, and especially online, the Discourse has been riven with regular conflicts between transmasculine and transfeminine people. Trans mascs who are rightfully pissed about erasure often wind up blaming trans fems for not amplifying their concerns, and trans fems point out that it’s both transmisogynistic and just plain sexist to expect women to devote their organizing efforts to uplifting men. Meanwhile, younger trans people are increasingly likely to reject “feminism” as a useful framework for thinking about gender, due in part to the fact that it’s been appropriated by TERFs.
This feels raw and risky to address. Calling any trans person’s behavior “sexist” risks fueling the lie that trans people’s existence is somehow inherently anti-feminist. Cis audiences may not be ready to hear that trans people are not monolithic in our thinking about gender, or that, even in a time of intense persecution from the dominant culture, we can also make life difficult for each other.
I simply do not trust myself to navigate this territory on my own. So, when I saw that Mallory and I had been having some of the same arguments recently, I reached out to her to see if we could talk it through.
What follows is part one of a three-part conversation that we had on Zoom earlier this month. It’s both shaped and limited by the identities of the people involved — I’m a white, non-binary trans man from the US; Mallory is a white trans woman from the UK — and it’s a…