Claiming that promoting "trans rights" was a step towards undoing colonialism (rather than what it is, the next step in colonialism) was a very clever move on the part of the TRAs.

I don't think anyone has uncovered a pre-colonial society where women were permitted to identify as masculine and thus identify out of their assigned gender roles. Some pre-colonial societies have had unusual or atypical gender roles for women* but I don't know of any pre-colonial society when a woman could declare herself a man and then inhabit a male gender role and be accepted as a man. Of course throughout history women have pretended to be men in order to achieve a life worth living, but how many of them actually believed they were men, as opposed to women who just wanted to do something interesting with their lives? Such women risked extreme punishment and even death if their true sex was revealed.

By contrast, many pre-colonial societies had and many societies today still do have an alternative male gender for men who don't fit the standard version; that role usually overlaps with aspects of the women's gender role and is considered to be of lower status than "man", though the people living in that role are still believed to be men.

*1) Spartan women lived free, empowered lives compared to the lives of other women in Ancient Greece. The rest of the Greeks thought the Spartans were pretty weird, but agreed their women were fit and sexy.

2) Women-to-women marriage in Kenya https://www.jstor.org/stable/4316706

3) The Agoji of Dahomey, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahomey_Amazons. Incidentally, the Kingdom of Dahomey built up its power base in west Africa through the slave trade.

[–] PerenelleFlamel 14 points Edited

*1) Spartan women lived free, empowered lives compared to the lives of other women in Ancient Greece. The rest of the Greeks thought the Spartans were pretty weird, but agreed their women were fit and sexy.

Is this actually true though? I'm not being hostile. They might have been able to control more of the household finances because their husbands were busy being military slaves, but they were still expected to constantly be pregnant. Healthy pre-teen girls were paraded around naked in a show to men to get a husband, and the obsession over health and fitness was primarily so they could give birth to healthy children to be gobbled up by the military machine of Sparta.

Relative to us, a Spartan woman's life was not so great, but if I had to live in ancient Greece, I'd choose to be a Spartan woman over any other Greek polis. At least they had some power and some voice. Greek women in places like Athens or Thebes had practically none.

[–] Riothamus scrote 6 points

All that is true- but remember that Spartan women had to stay fit and practice wrestling purely for their own survival. Helot slaves vastly outnumbered full-blooded Spartans so those women lived under constant threat of slave revolt when their menfolk were off campaigning.

I read an article once that prepubescent girls are allowed to behave as and are accepted as boys in Afghan culture. But only if they have no brothers, and it has to stop by the time she is a teen.

I can't imagine having that level of freedom and then having it all taken away. I would probably run away if I could. I guess the girls there just can't.

[–] ProxyMusic 16 points Edited

prepubescent girls are allowed to behave as and are accepted as boys in Afghan culture. But only if they have no brothers, and it has to stop by the time she is a teen.

But it's important to keep in mind that girls in Afghanistan aren't allowed to do this because it's what the girls want and it makes the girls happy. Families without sons occasionally decide to disguise young daughters as boys so that the girls can go out and about in the world under stealth to do things to help the family, such as going to the market or bank, without getting molested or bringing shame/dishonor on the family.

The young girls in Afghanistan who function as "bacha posh" for a few years in childhood have not been granted any level of genuine freedom. They just appear to have some very limited, short-lived freedom within narrow contexts. These young girls are totally under the control of their families. They are only given the leeway to dress as boys and serve as substitute sons when venturing outside their homes in order to prop up and perpetuate the patriarchal, oppressive structures and misogynistic norms of Afghan families, culture and society.

In fact, a main reason young girls are put in the bacha posh role is so their own mothers, older sisters, grandmothers, aunts etc can all remain confined to, and sequestered in, the home. A few little girls here and there in Afghanistan are given the appearance of freedom for a short while as a way of continuing to insure that the rest of women and girls in Afghanistan can continue to be denied freedom.

The practice of bacha posh also is a direct benefit to men because it spares older male relatives of the the burden and hassle of having to chaperone the little girls when they go out to do errands. In families where the male members are old, disabled, busy or just lazy, letting a little girl go out disguised as boy to do errands for the family lets the men off the hook of having to comply with the rule that says girls and women can only venture outside the home if accompanied by a man.

Re: pre pubescent girls in Afghanistan. There is a fantastic film about this called The Breadwinner!

Thanks for the tip! I would like to watch that. Will track it down.

Child labour in Afghanistan is essential to the family economy, so I guess they've learned to compromise on that point.

Albania has a group known as Sworn Virgins, women who dress and behave in like men. I believe they are expected to take on the role of a son in a family that has only daughters and they are not permitted to marry.

Funny this topic came up because I was just reading about Igbo people on Wikipedia today and apparently they had a thing where women could become men and daughters could become sons.

That's very interesting. I looked it up further and found this

"Ifi Amadiume captures the dynamics of gender construct among the Igbo people, stating that women can take up the gender roles of males during certain situations and contexts.3 She describes such gendered roles as conferring the status of “male daughters” and “female husbands.” The practice of making “male daughters” is resorted to when a man does not have a male child after marrying other women; one of his daughters may decide to “stay back” without being married out to produce male children that would bear and retain her father’s name. In most cases, her parents arrange for a lover who would impregnate her or allow her to choose one. A woman can also take up the role of “female husband” if she is childless or widowed and/or wants to produce male children who will bear her husband’s name for the continuity of his lineage by marrying wives to bear children in his name.


The thing that stands out to me is that they are only "allowed" to have this "male" status because of their female reproductive capacity, and only in order to serve males. This isn't liberation. It's just another way for them to be oppressed in the name of male vanity.

I think there was a couple of female Pharaohs in history.

An example is Hatshepsut. Her artwork depicts her as male with a beard. The pharaoh wore these fake beards.

Because of this there was originally some confusion on whether Hatshepsut was male or not.

But one woman rising above doesn't negate how all other women were treated.

I noticed TRAs will use these 1 in a million examples as a gotcha. To prove non white cultures were genderless before white people showed up.

Hatshepsut was also a relatively good ruler. Yet her monuments were still defaced after her death. Take that as you will.

Although for most of her reign Hatshepsut was depicted with the traditional image of a male king, the names that she used as king were formed with grammatically feminine participles.

It's an interesting read like any story about women who rise to great power.

colonialism is just a dog whistle, its meant to frighten the terminally weak minded "be kind" types into capitulating to anything out of fear of being accused of racism.

It's also meant to deflect from the root of the problem (patriarchy/misogyny) and make it seem like every bad thing in the world stems solely from 'colonialism' and/or 'racism'. Focusing on colonialism as the only/main problem suggests that the pre-colonial societies were utopic or aspirational in some way and exonerates the men from ever having been oppressors towards the women in those societies.