Sunday, April 11, 2010

So weird

Following some links around from articles at the Punkass Blog, I stumbled, as I occasionally do, onto a feminist* blog that holds a vicious, psychotic hatred of transgender people. As usual when this happens, I'm filled with a strong urge to post a comment saying "You're absurdly hate-filled and have no idea what you're talking about," but I never do, because really what's the point?

My only reason for posting this right now is to say: huh?!?

I completely understand, though I disagree (somewhat selfishly, somewhat not), when some feminists' rage against men is indiscriminate and vehement. It is hard to be understanding when the entire class of human beings you belong to is oppressed by an entire other class. But what the hell did transgender people do to these feminists?

And it's a really bizarre kind of hatred, too. Or, rather, a bizarre kind of hatred for people calling themselves feminists to engage in. In the post and in the comments, all kinds of attitudes come out that I bet the people writing would immediately recognize as absurd if other people made them about any other group. In the original post, the writer says that transwomen should "try addressing the problem of rape and the men they are afraid will rape them, if they use the mensroom. but they never do," as though it was the responsibility of the victim to fix the victimizer. Or this from one of the comments (which gets an approving response from the original poster): "This would be funny if you weren’t right about trans women being MRAs. One of them even admitted it." One of them??? Hey, once I met a woman who lured men in with her looks and then crushed them! All women do that! Once I met a Black person who stole! All Black people do that! Are you fucking kidding me?

*I'm tempted to say "feminist" in quotation marks, but I don't want to be one of those people who defines "feminist" as "someone who agrees with me on everything."
**Another of those times when the possessive is insultingly inaccurate.

WOW: This post is awkwardly written. I might copyedit later. The content won't change, but the wording might a bit. Just, you know, a warning.

11 comments:

Jack Crow said...

What's sad is that her argument depends upon an essentialism which undermines feminism itself.

That said, I find myself uncomfortable with a specific sort of trans-, the sort found on VH1, who treats with womanhood as if it's reducible to playacting like an anorexic model tiptoeing a catwalk.

JM said...

Congratulations Jack, you're still kinda transphobic if you're gonna be using the "trans" as a negative adjective. Are you talking about Ru paul's drag race or somethin?

Ethan said...

Jenny, I'm not familiar with what Jack was referring to, so I can't speak to that, but I don't read him as doing what you're saying he's doing.

thebaronette said...

i can see some sense in recognizing a distinction between the experiences of a cisgender woman and those of a transgendered woman. i can't claim the same past and i wouldn't try to. but it should be obvious that variation is inherent in a movement and quite advantageous.

and jack, you better watch out or i'll be struttin' my fine self all up and down your block. ;)

thebaronette said...

i forgot to say that while i cannot claim the same past, there is still a commonality which should give rise to unity, not sectarianism.

Jack Crow said...

JM,

I mean only to suggest that there's a show on VH1 where three transgendered women play act at the worst sort of stereotypes of womanhood, as if the only way to be a woman is to parody an anorexic waifling walking the runway.

I think that seems like a whole lot of pain and suffering just to end up a caricature of the sort of woman that would otherwise be rightly criticized for turning herself into a pornographic commodity.

I cannot really imagine the heartache of experiencing one's gender as separate from one's phenotypical expression. I'm not going to speak to that, because it's outside of my experience. I just wonder at the socialization, the colonization if you will, of a person's mind, such that the labor of transformation results in oneself-as-fetish for the worst sort of masculine attitudes towards women.

Noting this fact isn't me expressing a phobia. I'm certainly not perfect, and lots of stuff makes me uncomfortable - but altersexuality just ain't one of those things. Bring on even more twists on gender - bring on rotating gender transhumanism, and angelic neuterism, for all I care.

Ethan,

Thanks. I'm not afraid. I'm fully willing to admit an error of perspective, of course. If I misunderstand the desire to express sexuality to the fullness of all liberty, the onus is on me.

Baronette,

You can of course strut up and down my block to your heart's content. Be forewarned, the RCC owns the four or five blocks adjacent to my flat, and they're having a terrible time sorting out their muddle of canons on sex and gender, of late...

thebaronette said...

that's an interesting point about the formulation of identity within transgendered people. the drive and reasoning behind the process is very complex, to say the least. i think there is a tendency within people to adopt the most sensational traits of a culture they are engaging. i can't say whether the added element of repression makes this tendency stronger, but i think it could potentially impact it.

regardless, it is something that extends well beyond the queer community. it is a process i am deeply interested in and find myself wholly in favor of when there is genuine consideration behind it. (i'm not the dolled up type, but i definitely have a certain admiration for extreme femmes and what they strive for. namely, i can see the rationale and face nearly identical circumstances.) when there clearly isn't, i try to react with a bit of leniency and possibly encouragement. but, of course, gauging that can be extremely difficult in such territory. so, often i just let it be.

Jack Crow said...

Baronette,

This is definitely food for thought:

"i think there is a tendency within people to adopt the most sensational traits of a culture they are engaging. i can't say whether the added element of repression makes this tendency stronger, but i think it could potentially impact it."

Justin said...

I really feel for transgendered people, not because of their behavior/feelings about their identity, but because of how others react to them. That would suck to go through that.

I know what you mean about the what's the point online arguments, I've had that experience too. Sometimes I may post a comment, get attacked for saying something that I didn't say or intend to say, clarify my point, get distorted again and then I just leave for the same reason; what is the point?

A Sane Person said...

There is a similarity between women who are transphobic and men who are homophobic - their feelings (ranging from unease to outright hatred) stem from the fact that both view the group that they exclude as undermining their identity. Homosexuals do it by betraying everything masculinity stands for, while transexual women do it by "appropriating" everything femininity supposedly stands for. Transphobic women define themselves as women because of their biology, and see it as blasphemous that someone can just casually (of course, there's nothing casual about it) claim this most profound and innate characteristic of theirs. Despite the fact that feminism believes gender is constructed and not the result of biology, they cling to the idea that what defines them as women are the biological facts of their being. It is confusing. I don't understand it. Or maybe they are offended because they insist that there actually is no such a thing as innate womanhood - because gender is constructed - and see transgender people as, in fact, reinforcing that gender is not constructed but that it arises from the biology of the body. I don't know. But the sheer amount of hate displayed by this particular transphobic person you linked to is disturbing.

Ethan said...

I hope it's not a copout if I just say that all of this is fascinating.