You’re most likely familiar with Rose McGowan from her speaking out about Harvey Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior (or put plainly: his sexual assault).
You may also be familiar with her for trying to rally women to #BoycottTwitter, a protest that completely overlooked the fact that some women make their livelihoods on Twitter. I for one, did not participate in this boycott. Nor did a lot of the black woman activists that I follow on Twitter, and the main reason is due to McGowan’s White Feminism.
I know I’m not the only woman who has taken notice of McGowan’s exclusionary feminism, which is not only oppressively white, but it is cissexist as well.
On that particular episode, McGowan said, “They [Transwomen] assume because they felt like a woman on the inside…That’s not developing as a woman. That’s not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman, and a lot of the stuff I hear trans complaining about, yeah, welcome to the world.”
If you happen to be thinking, “Wow, what a TERFy thing for her to say,” wait until you get a load of how Rose responded to being confronted.
The woman confronting McGowan began to list the ills and dangers of living in this society as a transgender woman. Immediately, McGowan interrupts her to insist that, “My point was, we are the same.” The other woman responds, “You do nothing for them. Trans women are in men’s prisons. And what have you done for them?”, only for McGowan to shoot back, “What have you done for women?”
Let’s pause here.
For the record, trans women are women, trans men are men, and people outside of the gender binary are people. Anyone who serves the trans community, or even just trans women, are in fact, “doing it” for women.
However, when your activism and language focuses on vulvas and periods, you are not at all “doing” anything productive for trans women. And, to unpack McGowan’s accusation even further, by asking a stranger what she has done for women (after having just applauded another woman for having the courage to speak out), not only didn’t she answer the question of what she herself has done for trans women, she exposes her own cognitive dissonance and proves that she doesn’t honestly think that she and transwomen are “the same.”
The woman who challenged McGowan is then carted out of Barnes & Noble, all the while chanting “white cis feminism,” and McGowan snaps. She objects to being called cis and proclaims that she doesn’t subscribe to her rules or her language. McGowan, playing the victim, tearfully exclaims: “I don’t come from your planet,” and “I didn’t agree to your cis fucking world.”
Trans people fight on behalf of cis people all the time, and so often we get dirt from people like Rose McGowan. Even worse, we get shat on when we try to hold them accountable for their trans-exclusionary politics.
To you reader, whether you are cisgender, transgender, or use another term to describe your gender: know that you are valid. But please understand that to be cisgender is not to be “normal,” “right,” or the default.
Following the same token, to be transgender is not to be abnormal, deviant, or wrong. We all must examine the language that we use and the ideologies that we employ, and be honest with ourselves about who we’re fighting for and aren’t including.
Don’t be a Trans-Exclusionary Feminist like Rose McGowan.
If you’ve made it this far, I already know you’re better than that — and we all have the capacity to be better than that. So while I respect the work she’s done and the visibility that she’s brought to the #MeToo movement about holding sexual assailants accountable for their actions… my overwhelming sentiment is still a resounding “Fuck Rose McGowan.”