Capitalist Patriarchal Gender Dysphoria

There is a kind of gender dysphoria that I often see proposed in radical feminist groups. In a sense, it’s not really one kind of dysphoria, so much as a “many roads lead to trans” amalgamation of different sorts of dysphoria, but there seems to be a unified philosophy behind the proposals, and none of them are really mutually exclusive, so in some ways it makes sense to treat it as one “kind” of dysphoria…

I’ve decided to name it Capitalist Patriarchal Gender Dysphoria, because this seems to be the philosophy behind it: that societal sexism causes many women to feel profound discomfort with being female, which leads to Big Pharma trying to trans them for money, turning them into permanent patients. All the while, autogynephilic “transactivists” cheer on and try to accelerate this machine.

The exact aspects that function as the source of the dysphoria can vary. In some cases it may be trauma from male violence, in other cases it may be prejudice against gender nonconformity. I’m not sure I can give a full list, but here’s some other examples: body image issues, lesbianism combined with internalized homophobia, negative views of the female sexual roles caused by porn, periods and other problems with the female body, and autism. Quite often, multiple causes are thought to combine to ultimately become the dysphoria.

Curiously, there’s one cause that’s never seriously considered: autoandrophilia. This is despite the fact that AAP is probably the factor that has the most evidence going for it (not that this says a lot). The reactions to proposing autoandrophilia varies; sometimes they completely reject that it exists, while other times they attribute it to be a mere artifact of some of the other causes. The approach seems remarkably similar to autogynephilia-deniers who try to say that AGP is an artifact of gender dysphoria. (Interestingly, many of the CPGD proponents also seem to attribute autogynephilia to gender roles… but that’s a story for another time.)

I’m able to reject some of the proposed causes right now. For example, body image issues seem to only have a tiny effect on women’s gender feelings. In general, CPGD proponents often think that women hate being women, whereas in reality that is obviously not the case. On the other hand, I find some of them plausible, at least to a degree. It seems imaginable that trauma could cause a form of gender dysphoria, and I seem to have an easier time showing that autism is associated with negative gender feelings than that it’s associated with autoandrophilia. The complete rejection of AAP seems like a major problem, though, when it is likely the biggest cause.

CPGD is associated with “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” (i.e. dysphoria caused by social contagion) and many people say ROGD when they really mean CPGD. The theory is that perhaps being a masculine lesbian with trauma from men isn’t itself enough to cause gender dysphoria, but when you then catalyze it with messages that the discomfort with being female is because she is Really A Man, then you can quickly transform relatively-minor experiences into severe gender dysphoria and permanent patienthood.

Basically, the difference between ROGD and CPGD is that while ROGD is proposed to often come from literally nowhere but social contagion, CPGD comes from all the things that radical feminists dislike. Of course, ROGD proponents probably wouldn’t rule out that some of the factors proposed by CPGDers are relevant (and this would be unwise, because nothing about ROGD prevents other factors from affecting things), but they likely don’t consider them necessary or primary.

The evidence on CPGD is… lacking. The concept seems to mostly have been constructed through wild speculation and anecdotes in radical feminist groups, rather than through unbiased gathering of evidence. Unfortunately, I haven’t been working enough on examining the evidence for CPGD, because whenever I’ve engaged with CPGD proponents, we’ve ended up focusing on whether women hate being women or not, or debating the validity of my surveys.

CPGD can also be difficult to study because CPGD proponents tend to actively work to obstruct me from getting into contact with and surveying young CPGD desisters. They have their stated reasons that makes sense to them, but it’s not something that makes me especially sympathetic to their claims. For example, it is difficult to know how to interpret the desisters without knowing whether they still have significantly different gender feelings from the female baseline, whether they in the past have experienced autoandrophilia, and whether this autoandrophilia persists currently.

I think the best evidence against CPGD is that the trans men that they assume transition because of it seem pretty damn autoandrophilic. Of course, this argument doesn’t help much when they think of autoandrophilia as an artifact of CPGD, but there’s not much else to go on.

masculine-embodiment-fantasies

AAP results from my Transmasculine Narratives Survey.

From the perspective of a believer in AAP, the CPGD proponents often have huge model errors. When they see two trans men dating each other, for example, then this is because they are really “lesbians”, rather than because A*P trans people have unusual sexual preferences for being with trans people. They also often rhetorically ask what CPGDs have in common with AGP trans women, and in those cases I want to reply “everything”, even though others might think it’s obviously nothing.

At the same time though, my AAP-based models must seem completely bizarre to people who’re used to thinking about things with CPGD models. In the end, though, the side that ends up right is the one that looks at the facts, and I don’t see many CPGD proponents spend much time working with real data.

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