Myths/Cis is a slur/subset of womanhood
|Myth: 'Cis[gender]' is derogatory because it relegates me to a subset of womanhood.|
- 2019-06-17 @JoanMcAlpine “Cis privilege. A way of gaslighting biological women. Reduces them to a mere subset of women. Claims "transwomen" are a worse off subset than "lucky" cis type. So women with penises are the most oppressed women of them all. Who will think of the men?! 😳” (highlight added)
While this claim is ludicrous on the face of it –
- There are many other adjectives which reduce us to a subset of our gender, and nobody complains about those.
- Examples: white/black/Latinx/..., gay/straight/bi, blonde/brunette
- The ambiguous adjective "biological" also does this, but she doesn't seem to have any problem with it, adding to the reader's confusion.
- Why is "being reduced to a subset" a terrible thing? Nobody represents all of any demographic group.
- If this is terrible, then shouldn't trans people also be upset about being reduced to a subset of their gender by the adjective "trans"?
– it is worth noting the manipulative tactics it employs:
By picking on this one particular adjective while using an argument which could apply to any adjective, it deflects attention away from the fact that they are denying the validity of any form of distinction between cis people and trans people – even terms they like to use, such as "biological" or "natural-born". Even "non-trans", which seems about as objective and non-loaded as any synonymous term could possibly be, is still "relegating to a subset".
When you encounter it, you're stuck with a choice:
- Use ambiguous terminology – typically "men" or "women" – when discussing gender, which the other person can then assume refers only to cis men/women, effectively erasing trans people from the discussion.
- Use "women/men" to mean cis women and men, while only trans women and men are "relegated to a subset of their gender".
- Refer to trans women using some modifier on "men", and trans men using some modifier on "women", which seems to be what users of this argument want.
Note also that they are never willing to suggest an acceptable alternative to "cis". The basic idea is to take away the vocabulary for discussing trans people as equal members of their gender identity, which is a well-known fascist tactic. While the more general claim that "cis" is a derogatory word does not logically negate the possibility of an acceptable alternative, this "subset" argument does.
And finally, part of the power in this argument is undoubtedly the paranapodaidiokinesis it induces in the recipient, leading them to at least flail or possibly get angry in response – which is a classic right-wing tactic for winning an argument while still being completely wrong: make your opponent look bad by getting them angry or upset. Reason goes out the window, and the discussion can switch to being about how their position is entirely driven by feelings, while the arguer has logic on their side (proved because you weren't able to logically refute them).
- So, you are all women?
- "Black/white/Latinx woman", "straight/gay/bi/ace woman", and "[their nationality] woman" also relegate you to a subset of your sex. Are those also offensive now?