The Imaginary TERF War

A clever bit of marketing on the part of transgender activists is that the hateful little acronym they’ve come up with for feminists who care about female biology is a homonym for “turf.”

Part of the momentum for this slur comes from the implication that feminists are an angry mob with torches standing at the doorway of femaleness and denying entry to transwomen from our “turf” (which is presumably, rather than a state of being, some restroom or knitting circle that people might go into or out of at will if not prevented). So worried are we that they’ll get in, we must busily cook up definitions and draw up laws that will ensure they don’t enter.

That tired old “angry feminist” trope again.

But people are not granted or denied the state of being female by feminists or anyone else. Defending that “turf” is not something that can be attempted or accomplished or failed at. Femalehood is not a clubhouse that someone is hoarding the key to. Because femalehood is not a clubhouse at all.

I am not the gatekeeper of “female” any more than I’m the gatekeeper of “black” or “infant” or “canine.” These words just have definitions, and those definitions exist apart from the aspirations of those they describe and those they don’t describe. No battle, however gallantly and persistently fought, will make a white person black.

I am as irrelevant in determining who is female as I am in determining who is black. And as uninterested.

Because that is not something I can or have to do.


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