February 4, 2018

Natalie Parrot takes an open-minded and critical look at the autogynephilia theory

ContraPoints (AKA left wing video blogger Natalie Parrot) has made a very interesting and well made video on the autogynephilia theory and its influence on sexology, medicine, and transphobic propaganda.
Vanity. 1890. Auguste Toulmouche.
I have uploaded more images of "female vanity" to CDL.

I have written extensively about the pseudo-scientific and transphobic nature of the autogynephilia theory on this blog, and is not going to repeat those arguments here (summary here).

Natalie also gives you the main scientific arguments against the theory, but this is not the main focus of the video. Instead she uses her own life and her own feelings to explain why the theory falls short and why it is so destructive.

She is a brave woman, indeed.

In real life we are all deviants

Her common sense approach to the sexology of perversions is liberating. She puts the lives of both trans women and non-transgender women into a real life context -- a context where no one adheres to the simplistic stereotypes of this kind of researchers.

As she explains, her sexuality as a transgender woman -- now that she is living as a woman -- is very much the same as the one of the her cisgender sisters.

The reason some trans women may feel or behave differently at some point in their lives, is that their options to express their true identity are pretty limited when presenting as a man.


Homophobic vanity

Parrot believes the autogynephilia theory is based on a combination of what she calls the vanity trope and the homphobic trope.

The vanity trope is  the idea that women are narcissistic and vain and feel lust after themselves and their own sexy bodies.

This understanding of female sexuality affirms the male objectification of the female body. Even women lust for women, so lusting for women seems to be the only natural thing to do. This self-absorbed admiration for the female body is obviously morally bad in women, who aren't supposed to feel lust at all, but it makes sense in a weird kind of way, according to the inner logic of this trope.

The male artists and theologians who have been arguing for the vanity of women have probably found the concept of independent and sexually proactive women – to the point of them objectifying men – too threatening to their fragile male egos. So it is better to think of them as vain and narcissistic.

The vanity trope is combined homophobic trope, Natalie argues. The homosexual stereotype says that gay men are hypersexual perverts. The "autogynephile" is therefore the ultimate combination of the two: The hypersexual male pervert behaving like the vain and self-obsessed woman.

Sure, Blanchard insists that the androphilic trans woman (in his offensive term "a homosexual man") and the gynephilic one belong to two distinct categories, but that does not invalidate Natalie's observation. As we see in American and European politics these days, prejudices do not care so much about real logic.

Crossdreaming does not equal autogynephilia

Natalie makes one possible mistake, as I see it. It looks like she opens up for the idea that there are real "autogynephiliacs" out there, men whose crossdreaming fantasies are some kind of innocent kink, and nothing more.

This would be a dangerous concession, as I see it. If you accept the term "autogynephilia"  you accept the tool that is used to divide "pure" from the "impure" trans women, something which  transgender separatists have made use of for decades, causing a lot of harm in the process.

This kind of thinking ignores that being transgender – or any shade of gender variant – includes the transgender journey, where the individual gradually comes to realize who he or she really is, after having unlocked the doors created by internalized transphobia and homophobia. Many MTF crossdreamers will never come to identify as women, but that does not mean that their crossdreaming is some kind of "paraphilia".

If sexualities and gender aspects truly are continuums, as most researchers and trans activists believe today, it is not hard to see that the different dimensions that make up a personality will come in different combination and intensities, including male to female crossdreamers who rightfully identify as men, but nevertheless share aspects of female sexuality and identity.

The whole concept of "paraphilias" or "sexual perversion" is simply an artificial residual category of feelings and behaviors doctors and priests have used to classify unwanted sexual desires that do not fit the accepted norms.

These are the norms given by the Church or the Medical establishment at any point in time. As the norms shift, so do the paraphilias. Masturbation is, for instance, no longer considered an "autoerotic disorder" or a sin. There is nothing objective about any of these terms.

Crossdreaming exists, for sure, but the term "autogynephilia" refers to a specific explanation of crossdreaming, and now that that theory has been thoroughly falsified, it is clear that there is no such thing as "autogynephilia".

It could actually be that Natalie feels the same way as I do about this. Her argument about cis women getting aroused by their own sexiness points in that direction.

Anyway, watch the video! This is a good one.



See also Andrea James' comment to the video on twitter.
And here is more on the autogynephilia theory.

3 comments:

  1. Good article and entertaining video that handles fairly serious and emotionally polarizing subject matter. I agree with Natalies perspective for the most part, despite having a dissimilar experience. She articulates her story and the logical fallacies of AGP well.

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  2. a good way to describe what we experience is that as a male one only has certain outlets to experience their feminine essence and with the limitation of a male body and testosterone it is easy to confuse ourselves for a time and mistake what we are actually experiencing.

    As I am aging and growing into my transgender nature with full acceptance I realize that I have the unique sexuality of a trans person which is a combination of a male and a female essence that sometimes fight each other for predominance.

    The logical fallacies of AGP are very well documented and making a solid case for it is impossible since there is no hard science but unfortunately that is also why it is kept alive in the minds of the enemies of transgender people who don't understand this subject at all.

    It is easy to be dismissive of something you do not comprehend and human sexuality and gender is about as complicated as things get.

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  3. I agree, Joanna. Human sexuality and gender are extremely complex phenomena, but by using terms they way you do, I believe we are closer to an understanding than the kind of boxes Blanchard & Co have put up.

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