The gender cult has taken control of our language, and therefore controls our culture. It’s time to stop capitulating and take back English.
Let’s talk about nouns, adjectives, and “gender.” But first, let’s take a moment to talk about bears.
Polar bears are bears. Grizzly bears are bears. Panda bears, after a period of uncertainty, have turned out to be bears. Noun: bear. Adjective: polar, grizzly, panda. The modifier tells you what type of bear you’re looking at, but fundamentally, they’re all members of the family Ursidae, more similar than they are different. The noun takes priority.
Then there’s “koala bear.” It follows the same linguistic pattern. Noun: bear. Adjective: koala. The name implies that a koala bear is fundamentally a bear. But koalas are not bears.
The same applies to red pandas (not pandas), jellyfish (not fish), peanuts (actually legumes), head cheese (meat), horned toads (lizards), fireflies (beetles), and even strawberries (not a berry, but an “aggregate fruit”). How many of those facts does the average English speaker know? Half? Less?
A misnomer is a powerful thing, and the gender cult knows this. Men who pretend to be women have chosen the term “trans woman” very carefully—not “transsexual,” not “trans-woman,” not “transwoman.” They insist upon “trans woman.” The space is important to them, because it sets up “trans” and “woman” as two separate words. Noun: woman. Adjective: trans. This allows them to claim that “trans women” are fundamentally women—that “trans women” are a type of women, more similar to than different from other types of women; the adjective is trivial, just a detail. This simple linguistic sleight of hand entitles men to everything women once had. If “woman” is accepted as the correct noun—and the dictionary now accepts it as such—then every legal case, political policy, or academic study that attempts to separate these men from women is doomed to fail. Nouns matter. In losing the noun “woman,” we have already lost everything.
Adjectives matter, too. Genderites currently modify the noun “woman” with the adjective “cis” (though “non-trans” is becoming more prevalent). The presence of the adjective implies that “cis” women are just one subcategory of women, existing alongside other subcategories of women.
The gender cult’s entire linguistic regime is made up of these politically-motivated misnomers, or what Mary Daly has called “reversals.” She uses Orwell’s 1984 as an example: “the Ministry of Truth was where they made up lies, the Ministry of Love was where they tortured people.” So, too, with every term the gender cult coins or appropriates. Men are “women.” Pushing lesbians out of LGB spaces is “inclusivity.” Threatening women is “feminism.” Mutilation is “healthcare.” Anything that would prevent gay people from turning their internalized homophobia into a lifelong medical condition is “trans conversion therapy.” None of these terms represent reality. In fact, they do exactly the opposite. They represent an attempt by the gender cult to overwrite reality, and to convince the public that everything is the opposite of what it is.
Why, then, are gender-critical people capitulating to reversal terminology?
I’m not just talking about the halfway GC people who support better-behaved opposite sex impersonators. That’s a conversation we’re already having elsewhere. I’m talking about hard-line GC people, those who want to condemn ideology in the strongest possible terms, who are fully in touch with reality, who don’t believe in jeopardizing our message for the sake of being nice, who don’t make exceptions. Even these people, probably without realizing it, regularly use reversal terminology.
Here’s a sample of what I’m talking about:
campaign to gather other medically transitioned adults (Joey Brite)
most trans-identified people are heterosexual people being misrepresented as ‘lesbian’ (for heterosexual ‘MtFs’), gay (for heterosexual ‘FtMs’), or, in the vaguest of terms, ‘queer’ (Donovan Cleckley)
this further drives young girls onto the path of transitioning (Charlie Evans)
Being misgendered once can ruin an entire evening … There’s nothing they’ll leave untouched, nothing that should apply to biological women but not them. (Lara Adams-Miller)
often receiving the ire of other ‘trans’ rights activists (Jennifer Bilek)
To be clear, these quotes are all from articles or threads I agree with, written by people I admire, whose hearts are certainly in the right place. My intention here is not to call them out, but to point out that occasional slippages into reversal happen to even the most careful of us. Cult politics has inundated our language so thoroughly that it’s become difficult to speak at all.
For the vast majority of GC people, capitulation to reversal terminology happens all the time. The reversals persist even in the very terms we attempt to use against the gender cult. Take, for instance, the phrase “trans-identified males,” or “TiMs.” Why not just say “men”? Or, if we need to specify, “men who pretend to be women”? “TiM” implicitly perpetuates the myth that there is some fundamental difference between “men” and this particular adjective-modified group of “males,” and miscategorizes their behavior as a fixed “identity.” Calling them “men who pretend to be women” or “MPw” (with the emphasis on Men Pretending) would affirm that they are men, and would correctly class female impersonation and doublespeak as behaviors. Noun: man. Verb: pretend. No adjective needed.
The GC habit of speaking about women as “biological women” or “natal women” is just as linguistically problematic. Like the phrase “cis women,” these terms imply the existence of other kinds of women. But there are no “non-biological women” or “non-natal women.” Women are the only women. If a modifier is necessary (e.g. when talking to a confused liberal), “women, not men pretending to be women” or “women, y’know, people whose bodies are developed to produce eggs, not sperm” would suffice.
Other reversals have seeped into our language, too. We use “transition” when we really mean medicalization / cosmetic sex surgery / opposite-sex impersonation. We speak of “transitioned males” when we mean men who have turned themselves into poor facsimiles of women. We say “liberal feminism” when we mean misogyny. We say “childhood transition” when we mean legalized child abuse. We call our opponents “TRAs” even though we know that “trans” doesn’t exist, and they aren’t fighting for anyone’s rights. We persist in using the nonspecific and medicalizing term “dysphoria,” as if a single noun could encompass multiple and varied experiences of internalized misogyny, internalized homophobia, delusion, shame, body dysmorphia, self-harm urges, hyperfixation, brainwashing, unresolved trauma, social contagion, and desire to escape sexism.
Consider the following revisions of the above quotes:
campaign to gather other adults who have had cosmetic sex surgeries
most people who pretend to be the opposite sex are heterosexual people being misrepresented as lesbian (for heterosexual men pretending to be women), gay (for heterosexual women pretending to be men), or, in the vaguest of terms, ‘queer’
this further drives young girls onto the path of medical self-harm
Being correctly sexed once can ruin an entire evening … There’s nothing they’ll leave untouched, nothing that should apply to women but not them.
often receiving the ire of other campaigners against women’s rights
What I am doing here is removing the reversals, clarifying them, reversing them back. This is what we, as GC people, need to do with all of our language. We need to remove nonspecific words or outright lies like “gender,” “trans,” “transition,” “identity,” “feminine,” and “masculine” from our collective vocabulary—or, if we need to use them to describe the opposition’s point of view, they should go in scare quotes or in phrases like “gender cult,” or “the pretense that ‘trans’ exists.”
“Gender” itself can often be replaced by “sex stereotype.” “Gender non-conformity” becomes “non-conformity to sex stereotypes.” “Gender identity” becomes “internalized sex stereotyping.” There’s even a case for scrapping “gender-critical,” not just to excise the near-meaningless word “gender,” but because of the positive connotation that word has taken on: “gender-criticism” sounds to liberals like criticism of love and rainbows and unicorns with purple personalities. Instead, we could call it what it is: criticism of sex sterotypes, of rebranded misogyny, of LGB eugenics. Who could argue against the anti-eugenics movement?
This is not nitpicking or self-indulgent intellectualism. It’s simple strategy. We are being attacked in law courts, in political speeches and congressional bills, in sports regulations, in dictionaries and news outlets and the books teachers read to children. We fight back with articles and thinkpieces and tweets, with letters to senators, with the signs we hold up in dyke marches. In these arenas, language is the only weapon that matters. When we use terms like “trans-identified,” “natal women,” and “transition,” we allow the enemy hive-mind to dull our swords.
“Trans women are not women” is a losing battle. Noun trumps adjective. Confused liberals hear: There is a subset of women who I am claiming are not women. Instead, say: Men who pretend to be women are still men. Men are men, no matter how they feel. Men are not women.
It’s not enough to be right. We have to be precise. Our enemy is an extremely efficient cult whose well-conditioned hivemind instantly adopts any new word their worst members create, any definition they decide to twist. Surely we, who are more clear-headed, can do better. Step one is to standardize and clarify our language. We must reclaim the ability to understand each other and to be understood by outsiders, no matter how mean it makes us sound. We will never be able to adequately address harmful (inherently language-based) legislation until we have done so.
Take back your sword. Sharpen it. Call things what they actually are.
Posted by Margot
26 November, 2020 at 6:41 am
This is a great piece except for one thing. It neglects to mention that the reason so many gc people that you agree with, use the obfuscating language, is because twitter will ban them if they say the truth. On certain platforms, unfortunately the ones with the widest reach, we are forced to use this kind of language. It's so demoralizing because we're forced to follow rules in an arena, that we had no hand in writing. Would be great if the piece addressed this and explained some ideas for how we can get around it.
Yes! This is something I've been saying. I'd go further, though, and stop using language that outsiders will perceive as "mean," too (i.e. cult, pretending, mutilation). It's the "principle of charity"; it shows bystanders that we argue in good faith rather than merely attacking our opponents' character. This is necessary if we're to win over liberals, who mean well but must be educated on the issues. And we can make our case equally well without uncharitable language. More on my take here: http://radfemprinciples.com/the-power-of-language Thanks for a great article.
Posted by Belissa Cohen
29 October, 2020 at 6:25 pm
By giving us specific examples we can use, this piece elevates our language discussion to an entirely new level! For those of us who feel that we would be under attack if we used such revolutionary terms for the truth, maybe start using these new terms in "safer" forums -- like on FB GC/RadFem pages, Spinster, with feminist friends, etc. -- for the time being, to get used to not using terms which inherently reinforce gender identity ideology and transgenderism. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I am finding these new terms to be slowly creeping into my vocabulary, and when they do it's immensely freeing!
Yes to this entire article! We need to stop using the language of gender theism which subverts reality. We need to be clear: MEN are MEN are MEN. There are not "special cases" of adult human males who are somehow "not men." ALL humans who qualify as adult human males are MEN. Any MAN who attempts to STEAL the SEX BASED RIGHTS that belong to women is ABUSING women.
Posted by Alice Wannabe-Trunchbull
31 October, 2020 at 10:13 am
Agreed. And I like your MEN are MEN are MEN! And "gender theism," or now, "sex-stereotype theism."
Posted by A.
28 October, 2020 at 9:07 am
This is great and incredibly right, but how do we cope with the fear, the mass stalking behavior, the punishments, if we decide to do this? I really want to do it but I can't help but feel that I would be in danger.
Posted by Alice Wannabe-Trunchbull
31 October, 2020 at 10:32 am
Yes, I agree, there are situations where it could be dangerous to one's safety or livelihood. And I do like the suggestion to start out using these in feminist circles. One think I do to ease into this subject of neo-sex-stereotypers, is to tell the person I'm talking with, "Just so you know, I refer to people by their biology." If they ask why, I'll say something such as "To be honest." Or, "It's beyond impolite to lie, or to be asked by others to lie. Lying is the opposite of treating people well." Also, I do a take-down of the "preferred pronoun etiquette lesson" by pointing out that it's a "classic deceptive mind-control technique: coerce people to change their words, to compel them to change their minds. The way it works is that our minds seek consistency with our words. If we're forced to say words we don't agree with, our minds eventually 'cave in' and start accepting the words we're saying. Deep down, the target of this deception knows she's being forced to lie, but kids herself, for her survival, to believe she's changed her mind." Hope these are useful. I think we should have more conversations about how we broach these topics with others offline, to help one another do so, given the very real risks.
Posted by Xiao Mao
28 October, 2020 at 12:25 am
THANK YOU. The trans cult are stealing and destroying every word that girls and women have. It has to stop. Fight hard. One thing I can do is that any company that refers to me as a "bleeder", "menstruater", "ovary haver", "birth haver", etc. and not a WOMAN gets no more custom from me. Ever.
Posted by FB Marshall
27 October, 2020 at 11:43 pm
This was a terribly executed piece. While it's good to reinforce that we should take back our language, she didn't explain anything about why or how the five writers were using the language of the TAs. Why? Because it does not exist in their writings. She's manufactured some 'reversal' concept that simply doesn't match up. No one yet has come up with consistent new words to utilize, so why not do (as Minn points out) something constructive? One doesn't just rely on linking to entire articles, pull a line out, and claim that demonstrates some form of 'slippage' on the part of the writers. When writing an article and having to refer to the ridiculous mindset we're dealing with, you cannot constantly use phrases like 'men who believe they are women' or 'women who believe they are 'trans'' more than a couple times or you've wasted your words in publishing. Does she not understand what a writer means to use ' ' around a word? In Bilek's example for instance, by Bilek doing just that around the word 'trans', it makes it abundantly clear that Bilek isn't having any of it. Why did this writer not even understand that? If this person cares so much about the English language, I would have recommended finding someone to edit this piece because it's shite to be honest.
Posted by Brigitte Lechner
28 October, 2020 at 11:51 am
Why are you trolling this excellent piece of consciousness-raising?
Posted by Joan Appleton
29 October, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Well, perhaps your version might be better, let's have it----
Posted by Delia
30 October, 2020 at 4:05 am
How very woman supportive you are, a real sister in fact. You do not like what she wrote? No one forced you to read it. Actually here is an idea, lets reclaim the old much used seventies feminist word, sister, when we refer to women.
Posted by Alice Wannabe-Trunchbull
31 October, 2020 at 10:05 am
I use "men claiming they're women," which is a bit shorter, and because most of them, the AGPs, know they're not women, and are just lying to the public to try to hide their sexual fetish, and to appropriate the public sympathy that the non-AGPs receive. How about using "men claiming they're women" on first reference, then "male-to-male (m2m) on second reference, and then just "m2m" thereafter? Nice and concise. And shows what fools they are: just men remaining their male selves. In the Bilek instance, the author's point is that it still is using the word "trans," thus reinforcing it. I have done the same as the Bilek example many times. But I do think the author has a great point. Hers is smart strategy. The female impersonators are winning by manipulating language, and thus, minds. I hope next she types up her examples in a handy-dandy table for us to print, cut out, and keep in our wallets. I'm making one for myself in the meantime. To add to the table: instead of "gender non-conformity": "sex-role non-compliance" instead of "men claiming they're women": "m2m" Also,
Posted by Kara Dansky
27 October, 2020 at 10:35 pm
Really great piece. I am dying to know who wrote it!
Posted by diana
28 October, 2020 at 5:43 pm
Me, too, as she is the only person 'pickier' on words (I say with love) than me!
Posted by Minn Lynn
27 October, 2020 at 10:07 pm
Excellent points. I've wondered for some time, how to concisely label our movement, in a positive way. We are called anit- trans. What are we FOR? We need a pro- something movement.
conscious agency builders
Posted by Theo HOPKINS
27 October, 2020 at 3:31 pm
The girl in the photo is reading the Compact EOD. I have just checked my own COED, which was printed in 2008. My 2008 COED does not have these words... Cisgender, Misgender, Non-binary or Deadname. This in clearly a case of Early Onset Transphobia. I will (when this rain stops) burn my COED.
Posted by Yolanda Forster
31 October, 2020 at 3:25 am
You are looking at a stock photo. Merriam-Webster, and Dictionary.com unlike the OED has legitimised some of the neologisms mentioned in this article.