Your Baby or the Bathwater

Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women. ... Anything less than this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement. —Barbara Smith

I've written a lot on the topic of transphobia, and while I've tried to communicate that transphobia is part of a system of oppression, I still get responses from people saying they don't want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater." They claim to agree with me that transphobia is wrong, but they go on to resist renouncing those feminist beliefs and people that are complicit in perpetuating the transphobia described on this site.

I believe it is a privilege derived from social oppression that allows cis (non-trans) people to say they oppose transphobia but then ignore it when it is inconvenient to call it out or when it is otherwise beneficial to themselves. Trans people certainly don't have the same options to ignore transphobia since we are the ones being harmed by it.

The problem is that people are getting their proverbial "baby" confused with the proverbial "bathwater." Those feminists and theories that perpetuate transphobia are not the baby, they're the bathwater and it need to be thrown out.

I wonder what "baby" it is that these people are really trying to save, and the only conclusion I can come to is that the baby is their own personal investment in cis privilege and cis supremacy. Really, what else do people have to lose by renouncing feminists and feminist ideologies that are fundamentally anti-trans?

If we're going to end anti-trans hatred, we are going to have to start recognizing that the sort of feminism that is tied in with transphobia is itself obsolete. Any feminism that doesn't have room to accommodate all women (trans and cis alike) and all forms of gendered oppression (including transphobia) is always going to be a failure.

Hopefully most people who read this site would agree that the baby is not any particular feminist or their theories, but rather movement towards a world that is just and equitable. Therefore, any feminist or theory that perpetuates hateful oppression and injustice is a far cry from the baby, and is more akin to a foul and toxic bathwater that needs to be thrown out before it does any more harm than it already has.