What makes TERF ideology reactionary rather than radical is its dedication to binary gender essentialism. … Gender essentialism is the idea that there is an innate, immutable ‘womanness’ or ‘manness’ which expresses itself in what we consider ‘femininity’ or ‘masculinity’.

This is almost completely the wrong way around. She’s effectively describing biological essentialism, not gender essentialism, and I’ve yet to meet a gender critical feminist who believes in biological essentialism. Also, I have trouble imagining what form gender essentialism might take. (Just to be clear, I understand biological essentialism to be the belief that sex determines gender. So, would gender essentialism be the opposite, i.e. that gender determines sex? It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks that.) The passage from which this quote is taken reads as if she wrote it using the word “sex” and then replaced “sex” with “gender”. It’s hard to make sense of it any other way.

I’ll delete Medium profile end June 2021, then these posts will move to my own site: https://www.artkavanagh.ie |Newsletter: https://talkaboutbooks.substack.com

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