"The New Definition of Women Writers": how transgender erases female artists


image from the article
(image from the article)

Very interesting article on the impact of “transgender” undermining the parity campaign of women playwrights whose works are underrepresented because of their sex. Do female artists deserve equal opportunities to have their plays produced, or can women’s voices be replaced by males who believe they “feel” female?
From the article :

“Several weeks ago at a gathering of Washington DC theater critics and artistic directors called “the Summit” a furor was started over the lack of work by women playwrights at major American theaters.  Asked to explain the reason for this well established low representation of plays by women, one artist director explained that there just aren’t enough talented women playwrights in the pipeline, and that it will take at least a decade to fix the problem.

Outrage ensued, and rightfully so.  It was an inane explanation, and one that is insulting to thousands of women playwrights who face real, institutional barriers to having their work produced.

 As a result of the kerfuffle several theater artists around the country began compiling lists of accomplished women playwrights.  One blogger ironically called it a binder full of women for theater companies looking for gender diversity.  What has emerged from these efforts is an open source google document called “We Exist” listing over 1,200 playwrights, and its still growing.  But somehow, this list of women playwrights has transformed into a list of “female and/or trans* playwrights.” The asterisk after trans is not a footnote its a…well, I don’t understand exactly what it is, but it has replaced “trans” without an apostrophe as the appropriate nomenclature.  If your following the terms as they go by.

No doubt the addition of trans* playwrights to the list was an attempt at inclusion by a group who themselves feel excluded, and as such is perhaps laudable.  But in another sense this confusing broadening of the definition of women undermines the effort for which the list was created in the first place.  The inclusion of trans* writers suggests that a theater company can fulfill its commitment to gender parity without actually producing any plays written by people born as women.  And in a more fundamental way it reduces the meaning of the word woman to whatever a man thinks it means since at any point a man can decide he is a woman and expect to be considered one.”

Read the article in full here:
[bolding by me-GM]

Graphic from campaign
Graphic from campaign

6 thoughts on “"The New Definition of Women Writers": how transgender erases female artists

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’m a woman writer. I write about experiences that I have in an “embodied” way – that is, in poems I’m often writing about experiences only women have – not just physical experiences – I write about female relationships, things that happen BETWEEN women, women who are related to each other and women who aren’t. Call me crazy, but I’m actually interested on what goes on between women, I find the ways in which women collaborate (like a business or project) INTERESTING, intriguing.
    With the trans entry into the “women” category, I now feel like I’m COMPETING against them for publication – why publish something about boring old women “collaborating” – YAWN – WHO CARES – when you can have an exciting tale full of drama, sexual exploitation (I’m thinking of J. Mock here), AND IT’S A MAN “DOING” A WOMAN!!!!! Who cares about a woman who IS a woman – we want to see, er, hear, er, READ about a man doing a woman!
    There was a show on PBS, “The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard,” where this supermarket manager (female) becomes Prime Minister. I loved that show – AFTER thinking it would be a big snooze. I LOVED IT. I feel like there are all kinds of stories about women becoming powerful, collaborating with other women, whatever – NOT domestic dramas, stories of women overcoming abusive situations with men, but stories about women empowering each other to achieve goals.
    Instead, what have we got as far as “groundbreaking” stories involving “women” – oh it was so empowering to be a prostitute, and those older prostitutes really helped me out and guided me! (Man talking).
    The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard to Janet Mock. It’s PAINFUL, infuriating, disheartening. Sometimes when I get a rejection, and they hand write on the rejection slip how great my writing is, send more stuff – I wonder (paranoid perhaps) – are they asking me to send something really well written – but not so obviously female-bodied…maybe something a little….”gender neutral”…that is, “the speaker in the poem” can be assumed to be male on first glance by most readers?

  2. It’s hard to put in numbers, but this is all the more irritating since in my perception there is a gigantic majority of young female writers of school and uni age. The book market is definitely dominated by female readers – without women, the publishers could shut down. Even the hetero mainstream loves the trope how unwilling men are dragged into the theatre by their womenfolk.
    So, all in all, why are there to little women playwrights to begin with?
    And that they include trannies now… “Let’s see, we work really really hard to keep out women. Therefore there are very little women here. Stupid women, you can’t do anything right, can you? We really have to do everything ourselves, because you don’t even know how to do woman-playwrighting right.”

  3. What would trannies write about except the turgid-dramatisation of the fake ‘self’? Not exactly an audience grabber. Aren’t these female fetishisers featured enough in malestream writing/movies (ie Birdcage, Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, The Producers etc). Seems to me these types have been controlling who speaks, who writes, who makes films for a very long time.

  4. It’s men wanting to define what woman is with their delusional conceptions of women as sexual objects wanting to be exploited. This is the essence of the transexual movement-dismantle all that women have created in an effort to combat sexism, and reinvigorate male conceptualizations of women and womanhood to reproduce patriarchy.

Comments are closed.