Demi-god feminist Mary Daly advocated genocide of trans women

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At the word “feminist”, I become automatically suspect.

In fact, when anyone identifies themselves with an abstract label that purports to aspire to some “perfect” world,  I become suspect. No human, not even the most intelligent one, can know what is “right” or what is “wrong” in constructing an analysis of the world we live within.

What humans can and should but often do not do is to attempt an objective analysis of a given dilemma and err on the side of utmost caution so as not to cause concrete harm such as oppression of vulnerable groups of humans. When one adopts that specific, abstract label, objectivity is by default discarded to be usurped by a predetermined agenda, which is so caught up in the impossible task of success that its adherents justify any accompanying harm as necessary and thus justified for the greater goal above.

Mary Daly, a self-described(deceased) radical feminist, was so sure of her righteousness in her feminist agenda that she endorsed the following:

Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes.”

Daly then rejoices in eliminating trans women:

It is also noted that among this faction there are some who appear to be eunuchs. One is carrying a placard which reads: “I am a lesbian-feminist male-to-female transsexual. Take me in.” As they begin to file off the platform two Harpies swoop down into their midst, causing them to stumble and stagger in all directions.”

Daly’s commentary is unsubstantiated drivel; it names trans women as an enemy to women, citing to a conspiratorial “transsexual empire”, incorporating vague, unnecessarily verbose language.

But unsubstantiated drivel tends to gain miraculous traction if it is uttered from a position of power.  It is a high crime for a leader in an influential academic field to openly endorse, without considering reality, the exclusion of trans women from the world. Daly deigned to know what is and should be, and upon her death, it appears she still did; she never made a formal apology for endorsing the elimination of trans women.

Yet from the many eulogies upon her death, many in the feminist world either forgive, forget, or endorse  the  clear-as-day fact that she was dangerous ideologue. A person no one should aspire to be like.

Kate Clinton, a comedian who focuses on political commentary from a gay/lesbian viewpoint, had this to say: “my great hero, shero, Mary Daly…she was a major radical feminist philosopher. She was brilliant…an amazing critique…”  and went on to fawn over her for almost three minutes.

Ms. Magazine, published by the feminist majority foundation similarly lauded Daly like she was a god, including this gem from Dr. Mary E. Hunt:

Her contributions to feminist theology, philosophy, and theory were many, unique, and if I may say so, world-changing. She created intellectual space; she set the bar high. Even those who disagreed with her are in her debt for the challenges she offered…She always advised women to throw our lives as far as they would go.(emphasis added)

So far as to cause trans women to be persecuted further in a world already rife with persecution of trans women.  The most effective manner to address a grave wrong committed is to not only acknowledge and apologize for what was done, but to address how it came about in the first place.

Many feminist blogs have stridently, though always at least a little conditionally, condemned Mary Daly for her past misdeeds, which is a relatively easy process of 30-60 minutes of writing. If feminists truly want to avoid contributing to persecution of trans women, they should stop identifying as “feminists” , banishing the predetermined, harm-causing ideology that it encompasses and replace it with a blank slate of cautious objectivity.

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4 Responses to “Demi-god feminist Mary Daly advocated genocide of trans women”

  1. bjohns15 Says:

    The following is a back and forth between myself and a fellow law school graduate on this post.

    Critic:

    Bryan, the label “feminist” has a lot of meaning for a lot of people. I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but the label itself is not the problem. The problem with radical/2nd wave feminism (not to be confused with radical feminists, e.g. the vocal variety) is the fact that it is premised in the idea of women as being so different from men that they should have nothing to do with them. It was a DIRECT REACTION to the liberal/1st wave feminism that said women and men are exactly the same and should be treated as such. My definition of feminism is that I can wear a dress and still kick your ass.

    The problem of reducing any complex problem to its’ biological components and ignoring the social/environmental components is that it results in phenomena like discrimination against trans people and the extermination of LGBTQ people in general. Yes, Mary Daly is an insane nutcase when it comes to trans issues. But she was very much a pioneer. Betty Friedan (author of the Feminist Mystique) is absolutely insane now (or as of the time I heard her speak in the late 90s). She was also a pioneer. Gloria Steniem, for crying out loud, came to our school our 2L year. Did you see her? She came off as either extremely ADD and borderline offensive on queer issues, or just nuts. It doesn’t mean that she wasn’t important and shouldn’t be held up as a inspirational example.

    It seems to me that encouraging people to dump the label “feminist” rather than to define it for themselves, you are encouraging the type of knee-jerk reactions that you find intellectually offensive.

    Me:
    but the genocide propagation, by default, overshadows any good deeds done, in my view, yet you cite it like a footnote.

    I’ll admit that I am not well researched in feminist issues, but I have spent much time in analyzing ideologies. From the mere fact that Daly did advocate genocide of trans women, there is enough to support the conclusion that, in this instance, feminism as an ideology was used to create real, concrete damage. And from brief research many feminists ignore, or footnote, this fatal flaw. And it should not be the footnote, but the main focus.

    Critic:

    Bryan, feminism as an ideology is what dragged the better part of the world, kicking and screaming, into a place where it realized that it could no longer ignore the rights of 51% of its’ population. You should not be so quick to dismiss it.

    I say this as someone well versed both in feminism and trans issues. The focus of Mary Daly’s intellectual work was NOT the extermination of anyone, and to reduce it to such is to engage in the type of pseudo-intellectual game playing that FOX News is known for. You’re smarter than that.

    Me:

    “The focus of Mary Daly’s intellectual work was NOT the extermination of anyone”

    What was it, her hobby then?

  2. voz Says:

    Wow…this woman is just extra special?

    An “expert” on ‘trans issues’? Somehow, I don’t think trans women need any more cis women apologizing for those who call for our elimination.

    Your companion in debate here seems to be speaking as someone callously indifferent to how Daly and her acolytes have made this a deadly, hostile world for trans women…the same bigotries that your friend so glibly ignores directly benefit her by helping her gain access to what she so freely supports denial of to us.

    Hatred of vulnerable women by relatively privileged ones was completely unnecessary to achieve cis women’s rights, yet your friend seems to be making (in an incredibly condescending, dismissive way) the argument that marginalizing the most vulnerable women is okay as long as it doesn’t stop women like her from getting a law diploma.

    Oh, and your friend is full of shit about being well versed on trans issues. She don’t know her ass from a rathole, and that is being KIND.

  3. voz Says:

    now, a dissection of that first paragraph of lulzyness:

    “Bryan, the label “feminist” has a lot of meaning for a lot of people.

    > but the common denominator is othering trans women, like you are doing here. Trans women are not men, as you sneakily imply here. That is pure bigotry and ignorance on your part.

    I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but the label itself is not the problem.

    > Correct. It’s the people who harm women defending the label and their apologists. Yes, that’s you. Also, can you be slightly more condescending? Really.

    The problem with radical/2nd wave feminism (not to be confused with radical feminists, e.g. the vocal variety) is the fact that it is premised in the idea of women as being so different from men that they should have nothing to do with them. It was a DIRECT REACTION to the liberal/1st wave feminism that said women and men are exactly the same and should be treated as such. My definition of feminism is that I can wear a dress and still kick your ass.

    Oh lovely..a “fun feminist” Still transphobic as hell tho. See above. You forget that the world will wipe your ass for wearing that dress, and bash my skull in with a fire extinguisher for one. Your statement of pseudo riot grrl “badassery” is kinda lame (laughably so!) in that context, isn’t it?

    The problem of reducing any complex problem to its’ biological components and ignoring the social/environmental components is that it results in phenomena like discrimination against trans people and the extermination of LGBTQ people in general.

    >lolwhut? Pseudo intellectual bullshit much? Yes, advocating genocide hits biology pretty fucking fast, and just because it’s not yours…
    Also, we’re talking about trans women. Stay on topic, please and stop ungendering us and ignoring WOMEN’s issues!

    Yes, Mary Daly is an insane nutcase when it comes to trans issues.

    >No, she set the tone for decades of feminist thought.

    But she was very much a pioneer.

    > and here comes the dismissal and apology. Who cares if she made it all but impossible for trans WOMEN to access needed services? She buttered your bread so who gives a shit?

    Betty Friedan (author of the Feminist Mystique) is absolutely insane now (or as of the time I heard her speak in the late 90s). She was also a pioneer. Gloria Steniem, for crying out loud, came to our school our 2L year. Did you see her? She came off as either extremely ADD and borderline offensive on queer issues, or just nuts. It doesn’t mean that she wasn’t important and shouldn’t be held up as a inspirational example.

    >but they too were pioneers, and their words set the tone for multiple generations of white cis women to do exactly what you’re doing: stand taller on the backs of women you could give two shits less about.

    It seems to me that encouraging people to dump the label “feminist” rather than to define it for themselves, you are encouraging the type of knee-jerk reactions that you find intellectually offensive.

    So, advocating murder and marginalization of women is part of your feminism, why should it be anything other than offensive?

    wow…just…wow. Words fail me except to say you have all too many peers who think like you, and that’s a big part of why this world is in such sorry shape for so many.

  4. Criss Says:

    I can see the desire to hold on to the “feminism” label, but if we’re going to “reclaim” it, the first thing we have to do is acknowledge the hateful, hurtful elements of prior “feminists” and denounce the screwed-up things they said — not sweep them under the rug and pretend they were still great women.

    Denying the harm people like Daly did — which is what is done when only her “good deeds” are ever mentioned, and what is done even more emphatically when women who think like her are so fervently defended — does nothing to “reclaim” feminism. All it does it reinforce Daly’s flawed thinking: only cis white women exist; only women who look (and think) like me are important, all others are not worth my taking my time with them or even acknowledging their existence.

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