Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM

Hi everyone,

FYI, I just posted a piece called Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM over at It's mostly about Ray Blanchard's suggestions to revise the Paraphilia section. Feel free to check it out if you're interested...


helen_boyd said...

Nice work, Julia.

I'd add that the other problem - with transvestism being diagnosed in het males only - is that it removes agency from women. That is, we can't have sexual desires such as fetishizing men's clothes, according to Blanchard, because we don't have desire in the same ways as men in the first place.

Which is bullshit, of course, and is, in itself, sexism.

-julia said...

hi Helen,

Yes, you are exactly right. I didn't discuss that in this piece but I do talk about it in my book. "Paraphilias" are typically defined as occurring primarily or exclusively in males (with MTF spectrum folks being considered "male"). This notion is rooted in the ancient yet stupid assumption that males have sexual appetites and agency, while females do not. So paraphilias more generally, and transvesticism more specifically, are sexist in that way too.

When I give presentations that debunk autogynephilia or transvestic fetishism, the biggest laugh I get by far is when I read Blanchard and Stoller quotes that argue that there are virtually no cases of women (or FTM spectrum folks) who get an erotic charge out of wearing men's clothing. After everyone laughs, I usually follow by suggesting that they should get out more...

(btw, if you're interested, you can hear a version of that presentation that I gave at the recent IFGE conference: