We are a gender critical feminist group. We reject the notion that gender, i.e. femininity and masculinity, should be the way to classify humans into girls/women and boys/men. We reject the idea of a gendered brain (biological essentialism) or a gendered soul; indeed it has long been scientifically understood that there is no such thing as a distinct female or male brain in terms of brain features, and as such whichever mix of brain features may be present in an individual does not make them more or less of a female or male. We consider the feminine and masculine gender norms, imposed on females and males respectively, to be a coercive social system, and we recognise that this system serves to uphold a sex hierarchy that conditions male privilege, entitlement, dominance and violence.
Thus we also reject the notion of ‘cisgender’, which has been conceived of and defined by proponents of gender identity theory as those whose ‘gender matches their sex’. This means that a ‘cisgender woman’ is defined as a female who identifies as/innately is the feminine gender, and consequently, someone who does not identify as the feminine gender cannot be a woman. The reason why the term ‘matches their sex’ is used, is because cisgender is designated as the norm. Therefore the whole concept of cisgender naturalises patriarchy as it entrenches feminine sex role stereotypes as representative of girlhood/womanhood/female people, and masculine sex role stereotypes as representative of boyhood/manhood/male people, thus upholding and reinforcing those gender norms as a social system.
We have been particularly disappointed to see some organisations claim to understand that gender is a social system of imposed norms, only to then claim that individuals have a gender. Not only are these positions incompatible, but the idea of innate gender is articulated in terms of gender identity, and as already noted above, this is a theory that rests on a conception of gender that reinforces gender norms, and thus serves to uphold patriarchy, and with it, male violence.
If gender is a social system of norms, i.e. feminine and masculine sex roles, this means that gender is a term for how society treats females and males based on their sex. And if gender is a term for how people are treated socially, it is not, then, a term for what people innately are. However a person may relate to gender stereotypes – something unique to all of us – has no bearing on those cultural norms themselves or the fact they are imposed based on the idea that to be female matches the feminine, and to be male matches the masculine. Our personalities and feelings are not determinative in relation to gender, but rather gender is a system of imposed gender roles that determine a sex hierarchy, with females as the underclass.