The gender nihilism flag.

An alternate gender nihilism flag.

Another alternate gender nihilism flag.

Gender Nihilism is a philosophy based around the idea of getting rid of gender in society altogether.[1] It is rooted in anti-humanist queer feminism. In this form of nihilism it is believed that the self is entirely defined by social structure, and that at the core it is nothing until it interacts with said social structure. Gender nihilism focuses on how this philosophy applies to gender specifically, though it can be applied to any aspect of identity. Gender nihilism declares that gender is an instrument created by institutions of power, and believes that the best/only way to get rid of the chains of gender based oppression is to have the instrument destroyed. It seeks to combat the need for an identity, and believes that identity categories are simply not worth it.

Gender nihilism does not seek to restrict people's expressions, or prevent them from doing what they want with their bodies. These expressions would not disappear but gender nihilism would mean that none of these gendered traits would be gendered. People would be free to exist in whatever way they do, without the chains of misogyny, transmisogyny, and heterosexism. Categories like "man", "woman", "non-binary", "cis", and "trans" would cease to exist and would no longer make sense as categories. As there is no longer gender, there would no longer be gender minorities, and therefore no longer the possibility of gender based oppression.[2]

Gender nihilists tend to consider their gender to be whatever they are seen as by those institutions of power. They may also feel apathetic or distant from the concept of gender and wanting to detach from it altogether. They do not care what gendered terms are used to describe them. They don't want to be men/women, but they accept that since these things are constructs of power, they are men/women for as long as they exist under those institutions of power. They do not necessarily see themselves as agender, but rather see everyone as genderless before interacting with these power structures which impose gender.[3]

Gender nihilism also deals with questions regarding what would have happened in a society with no gender.

Criticism

Many have pointed out that, while the philosophy of "Why is gender necessary?" is fine as a personal philosophy, it should not be forcibly applied to all people. For some people their gender means a lot to them, and the notion of doing away with gender may invalidate how strongly they identifies with their gender and all the steps they have taken in their transition.

That said, many gender nihilist are themselves trans, non-binary, or queer. Some non-binary people may embrace gender nihilism to describe their experience of gender along with possibly being gender apathetic, agender, quoigender, gender agnostic, etc.

History

The noun is recorded since at least 1995.[4] However, gender nihilism's modern definition, as well as the formal theory of gender nihilism appears to have been developed by users genderkills, anarcho-animeism, anarchacannibalism and insurrectionarycompassion and was posted about on November 25, 2015.[5] Gender Nihilism: An Anti-Manifesto by Alyson Escalante, which lays out the philosophies of gender nihilism was created on some time in 2015.[6]

Flag

The flag was posted at r/fullegoism by u/Yeetles in June, 2020.[7] There is no known meaning.

Another flag was posted on November 29, 2015.[2] It is unclear if the poster (Elizabeth Lluna Martín) created the flag or not.

Another flag was posted to r/QueerVexillology on May 19th, 2021. It was posted by u/Dave_from_Tesco.[8] It was created as an alternative flag due to the previous flags having no known meaning.

"The green in the flag represents antihumanism primarily, as in the original pride flag, violet represented the “spirit”, and the opposite of violet is green. The green can also represent the non-binary nature of gender nihilism, in the same way that green is used in the agender flag. The black represents the absence of gender, in this case either on a societal or personal scale, or both. The red represents the “radical negativity” emphasised in the anti-manifesto, but it also represents life, as it does in the pride flag, though without the restraints of gender. Finally the blending of these colours in the spaces in between shows the importance of these three principles coming together to help form the foundations for gender nihilism."

References


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