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Poem: "What Makes a Woman" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "What Makes a Woman"

This poem came from the January 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was prompted by fayanora and sponsored by zianuray.  Yes, some natural-born women really are this nasty to other women who weren't blessed with XX bodies.  "Gynoid" is fayanora's term for an android with female attributes.


What Makes a Woman


"What makes a woman,"
the gynoid said to the feminists,
"is the nature of her soul."

"You don't have  a soul,"
said one of the feminists.
"What makes a woman is a pair of X chromosomes."

"Get out of here," another said.
"The more you gynoids agitate for rights,
the harder you make things for real  women.
You're not even human!"

Before long, the meeting turned ugly
and the feminists drove her out
of the little community center beside the park.

The gynoid sat down on a park bench,
far from the crowd where no one would see,
and cried without tears.

Another woman came and sat down beside her.
"I'm still a woman," the gynoid said to her,
"even though I don't have a pair of X chromosomes."

"I don't have a pair of X chromosomes either,"
the woman said, opening her clothes
to show the faint silvery scars
where her breasts had been created
and her genitals had been reconstructed.

"So, the question is:
are you going to let those bitches stop you?"
the woman asked.

"No," the gynoid said.
"Me neither," the woman said.

So they shook hands and became allies.

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27 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 5th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Thanks, zianuary! :-D

I like this one. :-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like it. I think the issue needs more attention than it gets, and your two prompts just dovetailed perfectly.
dameruth From: dameruth Date: January 5th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
All I can say is, *those* feminists make *this* feminist very embarrassed. :/
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

This one too, hence my decision to stab their snotty idealogy with pencils.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: January 5th, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed. Also, TOTAL icon win!
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: January 5th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
They make this feminist very sad.

But I'm pretty sure most feminists aren't like that.

As far as I'm concerned anyone who could have the status of a man but who says "no, I want to be a woman" has stated in the most un-counterfeit-able way that she believes women are the equals of men. As far as I'm concerned, such a person is a woman, and a sister.

And hypothesizing self-aware machines, the same goes for them. :-)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: January 5th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I had to read this to My Angel, who has had conversations with such feminists!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Now that it's published, folks are welcome to share it with whomever they think would enjoy it. There are, sadly, a lot of transwomen who have had that conversation with *cough*Michigan Women's Music Festival*cough* narrow-minded feminists.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: January 5th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. *sigh* I met a girl who was almost perfect for me...and then MWMF came up. *shakes head*
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I wanted to attend MWMF until I found out about the rampant discrimination. Killed that desire right off.

I used to attend WisCon, the world's only feminist science fiction convention. It was great when I first went, but it gradually got more exclusionary. People in the Carl Sandburg Society society freaked out that I'd written stories with no white people in them that weren't stories about race/racism. People harassed the trans party for having music on the party floor. People bitched at the conservatives. People disrespected pretty much everyone who had a penis or ever used to have one. (The testicles that did not come with this body but are still very much a part of me spent the whole weekend screaming "Get us out of here before someone sees us and scrambles us for breakfast!") Even my inner feminist was disgruntled by the end of the last trip.

I just don't like being in an environment that encourages dogpiling people who are different.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 5th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
There was a comment I found on Twitter the other day saying "Transgendered people are not human." From a bisexual black woman, no less. You can bet I gave her hell over that.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Good for you!

0_o Someone certainly needed to.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 5th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

Yeah, and she didn't seem to get how it made her sound a lot like the KKK and other hateful arsewipes. I eventually gave up.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

Claiming that any human being is not human is wicked.
Claiming that it's okay to oppress or abuse other people is wicked.
For that matter, even claiming that it's okay to hurt people who aren't human is also wicked.

And if your heritage includes a whole lot of people having done such things to your people, doing it to someone else is not only EVIL ... it hands a victory to the ones who shafted your ancestors.

Way to go.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 5th, 2012 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

Indeed.
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: January 5th, 2012 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

There is I believe, and it can be unfortunate, a tendency to learn to treat others the way you and yours have been treated.
siege From: siege Date: January 5th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

There is, yes; and more than that, humans have a tendency to mark anyone outside their tribe as "lesser" or "not human", whether they were born to it, inducted into it, or created it around themselves. This tendency increases with insularity.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 5th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good for you!

That's true. It's still evil, though.
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: January 5th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Been there, though slight different situation: I don't hang out in feminist spaces much (unless they're run by people I KNOW won't be dicks) but I'm leery of trans spaces because the multi means we don't fit into a convenient single gender identity box and sometimes we get run out. (Yes, ironic irony is ironic.)

And since by mainstream psych lit, we really AREN'T human (we're simply ego states with delusions of personhood), we have always felt immense sympathy for robots, golems, and the like.

--Rogan
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2012 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>I'm leery of trans spaces because the multi means we don't fit into a convenient single gender identity box and sometimes we get run out. (Yes, ironic irony is ironic.)<<

I can totally relate to that.

>>And since by mainstream psych lit, we really AREN'T human (we're simply ego states with delusions of personhood), we have always felt immense sympathy for robots, golems, and the like.<<

If I restricted my friends to human, I'd lose a majority of my social sphere. I choose my relationships based on their positive/negative balance and practical applications, not whether they are wearing meat and on this planet, or what their meat is shaped like, or whether they conform to social expectations. Because I think that's crazier than picking your friends and family for how well they care about you.
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: January 6th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

All I can think to this is that classic line from that story I can't remember:

"They're made... of MEAT!" D:
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

"They're Made Out of Meat" by Terry Bisson -- it's one of my favorites.
je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: October 3rd, 2014 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

You know, I just innocently opened my email and read your newsletter and then I read an interview and then I clicked links and then I ended up here and no idea how. But I loved the singing meat story.

And when the gynoid cried on the bench without tears, I cried too.

Lost on the Internet. That's me.
From: technoshaman Date: June 9th, 2015 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

They made an award-winning short film of it too... I was there when it won. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 9th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

I've seen that and I love it. My first encounter was a live reading at a con.
From: technoshaman Date: June 9th, 2015 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Most of mine are human... but I know a couple of elves, a faerie, and a baby selkie, and of the humans, I know trans in both directions, the complete gamut of Kinsey, one that actively refuses to define their gender, a couple of multiple systems (one I wish I didn't!), most of the whole rainbow spectrum of religion from orthodox Jew to kitchen witch... it's pretty tough to wave my weird-shit-o-meter past the stump that was its peg, especially when it was calibrated with a queer kinky Qabbalistic Discordian *very* early on...

I can't remember the last time I was weirded out by something other than a computer misbehaving.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 9th, 2015 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Yeah, my circle is about that diverse too. I'm used to computers being freakish. Annoyed, but not surprised. I think the last time I was seriously weirded out was when it looked like the sun unset. I knew there had to be a scientific explanation, but it still creeped me, and I wasn't settled until I found out exactly what had happened and how it worked. (Atmospheric refraction.)
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