It Is What It Is

Most people have noticed that I don’t really blog anymore. There are a number of reasons for this. Blogging is writing and writing is hard. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes thought. I find as I get older I have less and less energy to devote to this, this effort, which is not an effort that serves me personally. I don’t have a burning desire to share my opinions with a broader audience. I have done so because it seemed necessary. But there’s only so many ways you can express an idea; at least, there are so many ways I can express an idea. And the Internet, really, has done a great job of destroying the necessity to express your ideas in a nuanced, thoughtful, careful way. No one listens, attention spans are quick, page clicks and advertising drives the business of blogging. And really, when words don’t need to have definitions because anything can mean anything you want it to mean, why even bother?

And so, I don’t write. I still think, a lot, I still talk to Women, I still wonder, and I still smile when I see more and more other Women (and Men) writing about the toxic sludge of gender identity. But I really don’t have, as  I said, a burning desire to add to it. I have a Facebook page and I have a Twitter account, and I do what I can to bolster the social media presence of Resistance, but I am busy doing other things.

That doesn’t stop Men’s Rights Activists, though, from invoking my name in their anti-feminist writings. “Cathy Brennan” is a meme in itself, which means a number of things. If you are Gallus Mag or one of her readers, it means “fake lesbian millionaire sociopath.” If you are a Transwoman, it means “ugly fat lesbian who won’t fuck me.” And if you are a Male “trans ally,” it apparently means “biological essentialism.”

Biological essentialism! What’s that, you say? I understood this to mean what the radical feminist blogger Fact Check Me says here:

essentialism, biological essentialism, or biological determinism is the belief that we are “how we are” because of our genetic makeup, including race and sex. the next step is the assumption that behaviors and preferences are biologically pre-determined, rather than choices we make, or as a result of the environments we are exposed to.

You should read FCM’s post, because she goes into how MRAs and TRAs pretend that saying “Transwomen are Men” means we are saying “Transwomen are evil or bad.”

But according to this pseudo-anonymous (male) blogger for Boing Boing, my understanding that human beings are sexually dimorphic (intersex notwithstanding) means I am a “biological essentialist.” He writes, in his op-ed about Men’s Rights Activists (Yes, I am a feminist. No I am not an MRA. No, I don’t know why he mentions me either), as follows:

Redpillers also often subscribe to biological essentialism, a viewpoint that is far from uniquely conservative in its appeal. For example, it’s also the province of trans-exclusionary feminist writer Cathy Brennan, who describes herself as a “gender atheist”, equating modern psychological ideas of gender identity with religion.

That’s all he wrote about what he thinks I think. It is a meaningless sentence, but it doesn’t matter, because invoking “Cathy Brennan” allows this writer to associate radical feminist views of gender – which posit that gender is wholly a social construct and there is nothing biologically essential about it – with Men’s Rights Activists “views” of gender, which are, in fact, “biological essentialist.” (The blogger tipped his hand here too about which kind of MRA he is).

Both MRAs and Transgender Activists are “biological essentialists.” They just approach it from different angles. MRAs posit that Women are “by nature” subservient beings who should, err, serve them, while Transgender Activists argue that gender is innate and overrides one’s biological sex. They are making the same argument about the essential nature of “gender,” that sex stereotypes exist not because of patriarchy, but because women are born that way (and sometimes, if you are a transwoman, men are also born that way, just into the wrong bodies and how you dare you notice they are men, DIAF!!!). I have written about this many times before.

But like I said, no one reads what I write, because that would cause people to have to actually think about what “Cathy Brennan” is saying.

A friend of mind, a longtime lesbian feminist activist who is almost 80, taught me a valuable lesson about this pore war. Always play offense. Always. Play Offense. Keep them in response. Make them respond  to you. Don’t engage their strawmen/transwomen arguments about what you are saying.

The fact that “Cathy Brennan” is a meme is keeping you in response.

I hope you, dear queer feminist or men’s rights activist or transwoman or whoever you are, reading this, have your back up against the wall. I hope you feel challenged by these ideas, which are not “my ideas.” I hope they make you think. Why else would anyone bother to write?

Really, why bother?

Hundreds of years from now, when someone exhumes your corpse, they will be able to  tell if you were male or female. I didn’t invent this. I didn’t “make this up.” It is what it is.

Everything else is just drag (Yes, that’s Ru Paul, Yes, I love him. Yes, drag is misogynistic).


  1. I’m glad you wrote this. There’s only so many words, really, that one can expend on the ideas that reproductive biology exists and has been an element of women’s oppression from time immemorial. Only so many words you can use to talk about how toxic it all is. You’ve said your piece. You’re not obligated to say a damn thing more unless you feel like it. You’ve done good work and you support women–even women you don’t always agree with, which is becoming a lost art in feminist praxis.

    1. Ha, thanks. I try not to be an asshole; I often fail. Hope you’re well.

  2. I have been very disappointed by the way that feminists (as well as so called “skeptics”) have failed to actually look into the accusations against you. I have researched the claims multiple times and come up with virtually nothing of substance, just a lot of people eager to make your name a dirty word. I’ve reached the point where I feel like blogging is pointless too, but it might just be fatigue over how few people care about the issue I have chosen to blog about and how hard it is to deal with the lock-step opposition. I’ll get back to it in a few months I think. You’ve put in your work (and then some) for gender critical feminism. I hope you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, because you have.

    1. Thanks, but I firmly reject the ideology of “gender critical feminism.” I think it’s a liberal tactic by some feminists, some of whom are anti-lesbian, to placate to “friendly” transwomen. The reality is, I am not “gender critical” any more than I am “slavery critical.” I want gender abolished. I would never mince my politics so as not to offend my friends. That is what “gender critical feminism” is. And although I respect that these women are “speaking out,” they are doing so at the expense of radical feminists at times – see e.g. Caroline Criado-Perez’s recent blog post about how transwomen can teach us more about gender because they have been both men and women and they KNOW how bad gender is.

      I know how bad gender is because I, like every other woman, suffer under this regime, and I have the ability to think and reason. I don’t need any further evidence of the badness of it from men.

      1. Thanks for the constructive criticism.

  3. I read you. Your blog means a lot to me. Your courage to put pen to voice your thoughts inspires me.

    1. You’re sweet. Thanks, PG.

  4. I’ve appreciated your blog Cathy, and was reassured to learn others have come to the same conclusions on certain topics as I have. But I certainly understand how you feel about restating what seems so obvious and undeniable. Decades ago I came to the conclusion that people’s opinions are formed and swayed more by emotion and self-interest than reason or evidence.

    1. Your opinion means a lot to me. Thanks.

  5. Anonymous · ·

    I understand how you feel. I appreciate what you have written.

    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – Orwell.

  6. Anonymous · ·

    obviously she didn’t make a bunch of bullshit up about you her loyal cunt eaters on her slander site and you all don’t realize she’s a hate mongerer and has you dumbasses fooled into believing her own brand of I don’t like you i’m gonna slander you and get away with it because I’m a lawyer she’s runs a hate group and is as bad as westboro baptist church

    1. Bad as westboro? What activist group was recently planning to protest a funeral again? Oh yeah, trans activists, because they think they have more of a right to decide which name is “correct” on a dead teenagers gravestone than that teenager’s parents. Ridiculous.

  7. I don’t hate you, Cathy. I love you and truly hope that one day you can come to love others. You are so smart, so articulate that you have much to offer the world. I hope one day you can see past the hate and find love and compassion.

    1. Who are you and what on earth are you talking about?

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