What it means to be ‘woman-identified’ or ‘male-identified’

This post is two years old, but still a very important subject in today’s world. Maybe more so, after the attack in Manchester, England, which was, after all, an attack on WOMEN.

Purple Sage

The idea of women being ‘woman-identified’ or ‘male-identified’ is a concept that came out of the feminist consciousness-raising of the 1970s and seems to have fallen out of use; I rarely hear feminists use this phrase. Currently, the word “identify” is only being used in the context of transgenderism where people ‘identify as’ a certain gender, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. ‘Woman-identified’ as it was used in the feminist consciousness-raising groups had to do with women’s identification with their oppressors—women seeing ourselves in terms of how we are defined by men.

In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks explains:

“In the early stages of feminist movement we used the phrase ‘woman-identified woman’ or ‘man-identified woman’ to distinguish between those activists who did not choose lesbianism but who did choose to be woman-identified, meaning their ontological existence did not depend on male affirmation. Male-identified females were those…

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