In his 2007 article The Emperor’s New Words: Language and Colonization, David Gonzales Nieto discusses colonization, defined by Oxford dictionary as either 1) The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area or 1a) The action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use. Gonzales Nieto discusses the role colonizers’ usurpation of native languages plays in the domination and oppression of native cultures. Citing psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and writer Franz Fanon, Gonzalez Nieto writes, “as part of the process of colonization, the colonizer endeavours to redefine the world and present it as a fixed reality to which the oppressed must adapt. ‘The colonized is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country’s cultural standards’” (p. 231). The colonizers’ views of native people as inherently inferior, and of themselves as inherently superior, meant that they saw their worldview as the only real one; thus, if a native should accept their inferiority by adopting the colonizers’ view, they would prove themselves better than their fellow natives.
How does this relate to the issue of gender identity you wonder? Well, up until recently, humanity seemed to have agreed on the Oxford definition of a woman: adult human female. However, lately, it is seen as transphobic- and self-hating if said by a trans person– to say that a biological male/transwoman cannot be a woman. We are told that “transwomen are women”, and if we do not repeat the lie, we are branded bigots. Women are now told that we must call ourselves, and accept being called, “cis”; short for cisgender, cis was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, and refers to “a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. Compare with transgender”. We should refer to ourselves as cis-women to denote that we are not trans, instead of transwomen simply referring to themselves as trans, which would automatically denote they are not biological women, and leave females to the words we have always used to describe ourselves: woman/women.
Not only do female humans no longer have a claim to the word woman, we apparently should also refrain from discussing menstruation, pregnancy and abortion as women’s issues, because to do so makes females who identify as transmen uncomfortable and excludes males who identify as transwomen because they will never have those experiences. Further, because females no longer have a claim to the word woman, we have also lost ownership of the word mother. We all know that it is not only women who physically give birth to children who can be mothers, but, prior to recently, being female was a requirement for the title. No longer. Not only can a male be a mother, he can beat out thousands of other hardworking females for the title of working mother of the year. To point out the fact that never in the known history of humanity has a male human given birth, menstruated or needed an abortion is deemed transphobic and exclusionary. Instead, we are instructed to feed this dissociation from reality by offering tips on how transmen can feel more manly on their periods or validating that transwomen can also have period symptoms. Continue reading “The Colonization of Womanhood”