Change Your World-NOT your Body

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keep Smith College Female Forever

"...in April 2003, by a campus-wide vote, Smith students decided to eliminate the words “she” and “her” from their student government’s constitution . . . To avoid offending those Smith students who don’t identify as women. Apparently, a small contingent of students consider themselves “transgender,” and this all-female school feels constrained to placate them."
 Student Life
Even when women ID as men, IN women's spaces, women still cater to and cower to those claiming maleness regardless of the number of women involved.
Patriarchy and misogyny, alive and kicking at a woman's college near you or soon to be. 
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41 comments:

  1. Yes, because being called by female pronouns is soooo offensive...
    FTMs don't like to be confronted with their own femaleness, but it's just healthy for them, it's the first step towards healing. It's the major thing that helped me through (I know I keep talking about myself, but it's only because I hope others can learn from my experience). Studying the female body, painting it, drawing it, being confronted with the beauty of the female form helped me to accept my own female body. That's the most important advice I have for young women out there who are struggling with thoughts of transition. Just look at your body in the mirror and pretend for a second that it's somebody else's body. Would you tell that person to cut off their tit's and put a fake half-dead penis between their legs? Or would you tell them that they are beautiful and good enough the way they are?

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  2. its about time genders are inclusive. I am all for it. This is a good way to quit judging one another based on gender or gender identity. Good for Smith College!!

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  3. http://www.smith.edu/gradstudy/documents/ADMISSIONDOMESTICJune2009_001.doc

    According to Smith's College Admissions Form they accept the following.

    Smith College admits both male or female graduate students of any race, color, creed, handicap, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to graduate students at the college.

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  4. http://www.smith.edu/gradstudy/documents/ADMISSIONDOMESTICJune2009_001.doc

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  5. well traditionally black colleges can also be attended by white folks, but why would whites specifically want to go to a black school? and what if large amounts of black students started transitioning to white while enrolled?

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  6. FYI, by law grad schools are required to admit both genders. The links displayed by anon are for Smith's GRAD program, not undergrad. And no, I do not know why this law exists; I would be interested in finding out though

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  7. FYI, by law grad schools are required to admit both genders. The links displayed by anon are for Smith's GRAD program, not undergrad. And no, I do not know why this law exists; I would be interested in finding out though

    *****
    The feminist movement of the 70's pretty much set the stage for today. They used to crash places that were dedicated to male memberships only and fought for legislation where the boy club mentality was challenged. This even happened in sports in many communities. The end results is if men cannot have male exclusive organizations, neither can women. Especially those who are subsidized by government funding.

    I find it interesting that nobody likes it when it is reversed.

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  8. it's 'reversed' in a way, i guess- but these are not biological men looking for inclusion in women's institution, they are former women, rejectors of womanhood- which makes ir something distinct

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  9. *in April 2003, by a campus-wide vote, Smith students decided to eliminate the words*

    But the thing is.. This was a campus wide vote. This means the students, women included, voted for this. This is what the majority of the students wanted.

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  10. Trans male here, drop by and read because it's always interesting to see other people's points of view, and while I admit I disagree with most of the things posted here, this is the one thing Dirt and I agree on.

    If you identify as a man, you have no place in a women's college. It's disrespecting the women who chose to go there specifically because they didn't want to spend their entire college experience surrounded by men, and it's disrespecting YOURSELF too. It's like saying "oh hey, I'm a man.. but seeing as I was born female it's different, I deserve special rights/privileges." No. If you identify as male, then that's it. You can't pick and choose and try to have the best of both worlds.

    Women deserve and should have women's only spaces, be they colleges, lesbian bars, womens health services, clubs, whatever. And while we as trans men might have some shared experiences, it doesn't give us the right to bombard those places, in my opinion.

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  11. Anon@10:33pm

    Missed the boat on patriarchal conditioning did we?

    dirt

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  12. having women's only spaces is like having men's only spaces...there will be no social healing until people integrate, interact with, and respect each other. i applaud Smith and the students who voted for the initiative.

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  13. if gender-differences mean so little to you (assuming you are trans), why go through so much trouble to adhere to ones self-created?

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  14. having women's only spaces is like having men's only spaces...there will be no social healing until people integrate, interact with, and respect each other.

    Yes, millions of years of men and women sharing spaces has led to a peaceful, happy, respectful, lovely place for women, where they never have to fear being raped, murdered by their partner/boyfriend/husband/father/brother/other random male, paid less money for the same work, treated like pieces of meat, and ignored when they speak and say they want what they want.

    Grow the fuck up, would you please, all you trans and trans apologists?

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  15. "Yes, millions of years of men and women sharing spaces has led to a peaceful, happy, respectful, lovely place for women, where they never have to fear being raped, murdered by their partner/boyfriend/husband/father/brother/other random male, paid less money for the same work, treated like pieces of meat, and ignored when they speak and say they want what they want.

    Grow the fuck up, would you please, all you trans and trans apologists?"

    you grow the fuck up, honestly. no one is saying integrated spaces are magically going to create peace, but i am saying that keeping separate spaces will do nothing to help mend the rift and will likely only make it bigger. such a narrow fucking view....

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  16. Thanks for posting about this, Dirt!!

    I am the admin on a Facebook page of the same name as this post, if anyone wants to stop by and LIKE it. :)

    Anonymous @ 12:59 called it: MEN DO NOT NEED SEX-BASED PROTECTIONS, WOMEN DO. THAT is the purpose of sex-specific accommodations such as bathrooms: to protect FEMALES from male predation. It's about the DIRECTION of social inequity.

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  17. Double ax to grindMay 20, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Because men are rapist preditor invaders... just look at the IMF "sexual culture" in D.C., or just look at what men do to women on men's/women's colleges... if you are a woman and want a woman's only college then what the heck is a FTM doing there? An FTM has rejected female, and should go to an all male institution or non-sex exclusive. You can't have it both ways, and you have to make it in the world as a man. Good luck with that.
    Smith was supposed to remedy the lack of women's college education in the 19th century, or the bad education women get when they have to study with men and boys to begin with. If you are trans male you are not welcome in female spaces, period end of it...

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  18. Double ax to grind said...


    two things..

    The feminists themselves created this by proxy of forcing mens spaces to embrace women.

    Secondly, if ftm's should go to gender non specific colleges or mens colleges, then mtf's should go to gender non specific or women's colleges. Is this what I am hearing you say?

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  19. If this was a girl trying to get into an all-male college or a male sports team, you'd be routing for her.

    That being said, I agree that it should be kept female only.

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  20. Double Ax to GrindMay 20, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Remember, men have tried to control the whole world, all the jobs, all the colleges, all the fortune 500 companies, all the armies. Men colonize everything. And they steal women's labor to continue the process, and they rape and pillage in urban and not so urban areas. No MTF MTF anything in women's spaces thank you very much... and women were simply using all means necessary to make a living and survive in pig's land... I mean male land. So it is not the same to say that men can invade women's spaces, and that this is equivalent to women wanting equal treatment in a male dominated place. Not the same argument at all, because the power dynamics are not the same. Feminism 101 goes over trans heads, just the way it goes over male heads.

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  21. I could've done without the "women who ID as men," but otherwise I actually kind of agree with you. I mean, it's not like there's no coed colleges. If there weren't it'd be different, but if you're going to, as a man, use women's spaces when you don't have to, you can at least not try and force them into making it a coed space.

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  22. The feminist of the 70s crashed into male spaces because female spaces did not get the same treatment/funding. There were also White only spaces as well before the 70s. This is about reserved space that came from not being able to be treated equally (ei women's colleges and historical black colleges). Times have certainly changed but these spaces are still needed.

    This is no different from having a transmale space invaded by non-trans people. A space for lesbians invaded by men. A space for Native Americans invaded by non-Natives. Gay Pride invaded by Straights. The huge difference (if any) is that these spaces are now supposed to cater to these groups that were not included in the first place. Plus add the fact that these individuals denounce their femaleness even to the point of transition/making themselves sick over it...it does not sound like a proper space for females to learn acceptance of themselves. If transmen see themselves as men then leave a woman's college alone. I don't see this as bio men trying to sneak in just makes some transmen sound wishy-washy!

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  23. Um... this happened in 2003. The last time I checked, that was 8 years ago.

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  24. It's still very relevant.

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  25. Hey, I go to Smith. I identify as female and as butch. Those are my identities. HOWEVER, I also love and respect my trans* friends and classmates. I am pretty familiar with a lot of their stories and have watched some of them go through the process of transition.


    As someone who actually goes to Smith and is a student there, I would like to give my opinion: I approve of my college being a safe space for people to express their gender safely whatever that may be. Smith is a queer safe space already and this can make it a little easier for trans* students to get along. And I am okay with that.

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  26. Does Smith accept transwomen then?

    Do you know this, S?

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  27. *S said...*

    Thanks for speaking up. What I also do not understand is if someone does not go to Smith and has absolutely no designs on higher education why this would have been important to them anyway. Well other than to use it as one of their many tools to further bash transmen.

    The students voted and this is what they wanted for the school they ARE attending. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Anyway S, thanks for sharing your feelings on it.

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  28. Hey Anon @9:45...

    Smith currently only accepts people who identify as female and have that on all their legal documents, transcripts, etc. at time of admission. They look for a pattern of female pronouns on those documents and that's their primary method of deciding that someone can be admitted. Many students, myself included, are aware that this discriminates against trans women who, at 17-18 years old, probably haven't been able to legally transition yet. We're working on seeing if that policy can in fact be changed. It's tricky because of legal reasons. However, many Smith students are definitely open to the idea of trans women at Smith. Also, there have been trans women who attended as visiting students from other colleges, and/or possibly as Ada Comstock (nontraditional-aged) Scholars.

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  29. Some transmen feel that (trans)men should stay out of woman's spaces. Read all the comments. Are they trans bashers too?

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  30. Thank you, S.

    I was curious because it DOES sound contradictory to accept FTMs but not MTFs. But once that happens...why would they not accept bio men either? I suppose they have issues to work around. As now many woman's study classes are gender studies classes to include transfolk.

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  31. " I approve of my college being a safe space for people to express their gender safely whatever that may be."

    Women's colleges are a "safe space" for FTMs because there are no male undergrads there. FTMs use women's space to transify safely (away from males), and then return the favor by trying to destroy that very space by lobbying for males to be admitted and by undermining the WOMEN's mission of the college. They not only want to destroy their female selves (while avoiding men) but destroy female institutions. Pure misogyny and women-hatred in action.
    Guess they wouldn't really be soaking up all that delicious male privilege over at UMass in the company of actual males, huh? Weak.

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  32. It's just like the FTM's participating in Drag King competitions. Um, last time I checked, drag kings are women dressing up like men. If that's what you want FTM's, quit getting so damn offended when you think you can do it too. WHAT THE HELL!

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  33. What might happen is that first they accept FTMs into the college, then to not "discriminate" they'll accept MTFs, then they might accept non-op MTFs or males who identify as androgyne/genderqueer, again to not "discriminate". And then, why not just accept males into the college? The problem is trans/queer people's misuse of the word discrimination. They are queer people who seriously believe it's dicsrimination to not call someone by their chosen made up pronouns like xe, xem, xemself. That is an insult to people who know what true discrimination is.
    Also, women only spaces are supposed to be a place where you learn to grow as a woman and learn to love your female self. To accept someone in that space who can't stand to see herself as female is not only distateful, it's dangerous. FTMs spread their their trans retoric to young females everywhere and teach them that not-traditionally-feminine= some form of trans. And it is truely everywhere. I was doing research on google on the effects of anabolic steroids and a BAM! I ended up finding a video (on the firt page of search results!) of an FTM preaching the wonders of T.

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  34. @GallusMag

    Um... well none of my trans* classmates have ever tried to argue that men should be admitted to Smith College (and when they were admitted they were female legally). They get that. They just ended up transitioning at Smith.

    @ K. C. not addressing someone by the right pronouns is basically really disrespectful and invalidating. How would YOU like it if someone called you the wrong thing, despite all your efforts to convince people otherwise. In some cases it can even trigger dysphoria.

    I'm not going to keep coming back and arguing with people since some people here seem really convinced that trans* people are up to some kind of terrible agenda. I'm sure you're all good people IRL but I just can't do this back and forth if you won't even seriously consider the other side.

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  35. @S
    There is not a single thing I don't know about gender and body dysphoria. I was once in the same spot many FTMs are in. I know what it feels like when someone adresses you with the "wrong" pronoun. I know how it's like to hate your body so much that you have to bind and pack to even be able to feel ok with yourself. I know what it's like to not even want to go outside by fear that someone is going to see you and think of you has female. Don't tell me about dysphoria triggers, because I know everything about them. To be called by female pronouns is not an insult, but it does feel like one when your mind is poisoned with female self-hatered. Once you learn to accept and even love yourself as a woman, female pronouns do not longer feel like an insult and you actually realize that it never was an one.

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  36. Wait...why wouldn't FTMs at Smith want to argue for men being at Smith? At least some of the FTMs here think that gender should be inclusive in that way. I guess its confusing with the whole 'female' thing to get into Smith but wish to be called 'male' pronouns while at Smith. While MTFs cannot get in because they are legally 'male' but they prefer to be considered women. Whereas, FTMs do not see themselves as women but they can attend the school! -scratches head- Now I don't think that someone should be kicked out of college for transitioning but this is confusing as hell.

    And what does trans* vs trans mean, btw?

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  37. I believe someone asked why women who don't go to Smith would care about this issue. Well, I care about it because the "queer" movement is apparent at ALL colleges. I am currently an undergrad and do not attend Smith, but Smith was my dream school. I care about this issue because taking the words "she" out of a womyn's college is pure misogyny. Would we expect an all-male school to stop referring to its' students as "he"? I think not.

    We're not all just people wondering around with no gender, despite what the queer movement would have you think. Likewise, asking people to call you "ze" won't stop you from experiencing sexual violence

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  38. true to my word I'm not going to argue with anyone anymore but

    1) @ K.C. Sorry if I disrespected or offended you. I shouldn't have assumed you didn't already know that wrong pronouns could trigger dysphoria. I'm sure you have your reasons for not transitioning and I respect your lived experience.



    2) @Anon 4:32 just to clarify, I meant that trans men at Smith usually aren't arguing that male-assigned-at-birth people (I would use another term to that's WAY more convenient but I saw on the front page that for some ODD REASON all comments that use that term will be deleted and I don't want you to not get to see this) who identify as men should be allowed admission. This is for a variety of reasons that I have heard, including but not limited to:
    1) respect for women's spaces
    2) respect for Smith's historical status as a women's college
    3) respect for the fact that individuals at Smith have the shared experience of living as female or being classified as female in society at some point even if they no longer are and that's why it's a safe space for a lot of people.

    and I use trans* with an asterisk to refer to the fact that transgender is an umbrella term when used generally that has room for a lot of people, not just people who transition from one gender to another. there's a lot of good stuff about the transgender umbrella out there if you Google it. So if I'm talking about trans* people in general, aka anyone who identifies as trans*, I use that asterisk.


    I think I will stay away for good at this point because I don't want to start trouble. As a Smith student, I respect the idea of women-only space and the need for it. But I also think that at Smith, this space has become a little more complex and that is not a bad thing for us.
    (As a note: Smith is part of a Five College Consortium. Men and women of all sorts from other schools in said consortium can attend Smith classes. ALSO, male and female visitors who are not Smith students can stay in Smith students' rooms and use the same bathrooms, etc. in the student housing, so long as other residents are okay with it. So really, our "women's space" is already complex even without thinking through trans* people's presence on campus.)

    Alright, I'm done. Sorry if I have at all come off as being aggressive, I just have my own strong feelings, as I'm sure many people here do.

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  39. Sorry S but " respect for women's spaces and respect of historical status as a women's college " is total crap.

    "In 2001 I graduated from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which thinks of itself as a women’s college but — since I graduated from it, and not just me — is really more of a historically women’s college."
    She's saying that she has destroyed Wellesley College's women's mission. And she's damn proud of it.

    http://wellesleyunderground.com/post/4779914720/treatment-of-trans-w-students-alums

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  40. My daughter goes to Agnes Scott, a women's college outside Atlanta. I asked her about the policy there and she told me that if you "legally" become a man before you graduate, you don't graduate.

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  41. Personally, I don't understand why someone who doesn't identify as female would choose to continue their education at Smith. That said, I do know several people who began coming out as trans late in their college career. It didn't make sense for them to transfer elsewhere at that point.

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