Change Your World-NOT your Body

Monday, October 25, 2010

Transition: Which Tools?

The American poet Anne Sexton wrote in a piece she composed for both herself and the American poet Sylvia Plath, ("and balanced there suicides sometimes meet"), nearly a year after Plath's suicide at age 30 that: "suicides have a special language/like carpenters/they wanna know which tools/they never ask/why build". In a recent comment, someone made the point that this is their largest unanswered gripe about the trans community. That other than describing feeling "different", "always felt like the opposite sex", "never felt right being a girl/boy", "hated their body as long as they can remember" etc., the "why" of it remains unanswered, even by the medical community. Doctors do not seek to find out what informs "feeling like a boy or girl", they only need to hear that someone does and as "authorities" on the trans matter, why would a trans minded person seek to find out "why", because to do so might inhibit the "happiness" they seek which they believe to be found at the end of the trans rainbow.

A lot of what this blog is about is answering that "why", which is why trans folk are so desperate to slander/silence-me/this blog, I might quash their trans rainbow dreams. So lets talk a little about "why", about what informs "trans" feelings. First and most importantly they aren't "trans" feelings, they are developed feelings millions feel the world over, each ranging in severity based on their particular society, religion and family. Females have much greater body issues than males because females have over time been sexualized and commodified by men and for male sexual pleasure, even if that pleasure goes no further than the female as masturbatory "eye candy".

This has been going on so long that hyper-femininity is viewed by both men and women as "normal". So what happens when a female believes herself to be more than a sex object? More than the sum of her breast or pussy for male pleasure or male approval? And what happens when the backlash against feminism has reached such an extreme that females as young as age four are being sexualized through hyper-feminine clothing and other visual accoutrement? And what happens when that girl's society, religion and family or any combination thereof support that hyper-feminine sexualized expectation of her??? What are her options for escape?

What about the females born also into hyper-feminine expectation who cannot identify at all with those female role expectations? Nothing deemed "female" by her society, religion or family  resonate with her, but what does resonate with her are "boy" things, "boy" clothes, "boy" friends, "boy" toys, "boy" games and "boy" dreams and potentials, what she understands maybe even before she can speak, are only these "boy" feelings. Depending on her society, her religion, her family, for awhile she may be allowed to ignored her biology and "do" all the "boy" things she likes, perhaps for years, till a part of her may even forget that she isnt a boy.

What happens when her body reaches puberty and her body forces her to remember that she in fact IS female? What shame does she feel when once a month her body bleeds? What shame and hatred does she feel when her breast betray her and worse, her family who ignored her "boy" play are now insisting she wear a BRA, which is totally a "girl" thing?? What happens when that same girl who desires all the "boy" things and "boy" ways, grows up in a religion and family that force her to be the hyper-feminine female they expect her to be. Force her to wear "girl" clothes, force her to do "girl" chores, only allow her "girl" toys, expect her at puberty to date boys like a proper young lady. What happens when it is driven into her head by her society, her religion and at home with her family that "girls do these things and boys do those things"? What is her option when what she wants to do, how she sees herself and her life aren't permitted under her female sex according to those that make up her world?

This doesn't take into account the sheer misogyny that has permeated the planet since the beginning of recorded history. Misogyny that is blatant and as big as the sky, and the subtle and subliminal misogyny that number in billions which we each take in little by little every day. Its in the clothes we wear, the billboards we see, the movies we love, the music we listen to, the gods we worship, the friends we hang out with and the families we own. We learn pre-verbal and till the day we die: women are spiritually, physically and emotionally weak, women caused god to turn his back on us, women aren't gods, women aren't kings, women arent presidents, women aren't savvy CEOs of billion dollar corporations, women aren't professional football players, or professional baseball players or the highest paid sports figures, women are slaves to their emotions, women cant be trusted, women cant head countries because they cant be trusted because their biology (PMS) would interfere with their decision making, women are whores, women are bitches, women are cunts, women are worthless, women are fuck toys, women's sexual organs are worthless other than to please men, the only value a pussy has is pleasing a penis, women ask to get raped, girls seduce grown men, women are sluts because they dress like sluts, women should always put men first, mothers should put men and children first, women should always put themselves last, women who put themselves ahead of men are selfish bitches, women should step down if a man needs her job, only selfish bitches steel men's jobs, women earn less than men because they cant work as hard because they are women. This list obviously doesn't even begin to touch upon the horrible, negative messages females receive from the time we're born, till the day we die.

Then there's the flip side of that which is the malecentrism that has dominated the planet since recorded history, make no bones about it, there is a reason the rocket was long and erect. Males who are the writers of history, both past and present, portray themselves as: strong, protective, powerful, more intelligent, the tamers of nature, the creators of societies, the greatest inventors, bards, masters, kings, presidents, leaders, the hero's of movies and stories, possessors of the penis, nothing is more powerful than an erect penis, an erect penis can cut a female to pieces, since men have a penis, that means women must be less than because they are "missing" something, men arent over emotional, mean arent weak, men dont let emotions get in the way of their decisions, men have a penis so deserve more, men dont have to be accountable for their desires because it is more difficult for them to control themselves sexually, male children should have more opportunities for education because they will have to help rule when they are adults, male needs are catered to sooner than female needs, since boys will be boys its not their fault when they do something wrong, again the list is infinite.

Based on what little I included here of the untold adversities that females are born and raised, is it surprising that some think or hope or desire to be males?? The fact is for every female that transitions there are thousands who grew up feeling the same way that don't transition and that doesn't mean that those women's feelings of body alienation were/are any less severe. Let me also add, because most females seem to acclimate to hyper-femininity doesn't mean those females are happy or at home in their bodies either. So what causes one female to transition and another with similar or worse body/gender dysphoria not too? Like the combination's of circumstance that cause one to think they are something they are not or wish they were something they were not, there are also combination's of circumstance that help one get beyond feeling alienated from themselves. That help can come in the form of a friend, a lover, a life changing event or just plain 'ole maturity, taking time to understand what informed those feelings, examining what informed those feelings, then working towards getting through those feelings, or seeking help to get through those feelings.

But if the "why build" is never asked, then what informs these now deemed "trans" feelings never get resolved, even after "transition". Which can be verified in every trans forum, community, website, group both online and real-time and as so many of you have seen, even here. If trans actually transitioned into "male" and "female", "trans" would be a medical issue only. Those females that are now "males" would merely assimilate into male society and live their lives as any other man and we'd never hear from them again. There wouldn't be "transphobia", there would only be homophobia, there wouldn't be "trans feminism", there would only be feminism, there wouldn't be trans communities, trans academics, transmale, transfemale, transman, transwoman, ftM, Mtf etc etc etc. The very fact that "trans" exist outside of the medical arena, proves over and over the failure of transition.

Don't ever fear asking "why build", never fear the answers to your questions and for your true self's sake, don't EVER let someone stop you from asking "why build", because those who ask only "which tools" are destined to a Sextonesque or Plathian end through the failure of transition.

Transition is, a living suicide.

dirt
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37 comments:

  1. my body my choice. there are manyyyyy transpeople you would not be able to pick out of a line-up.

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  2. First, what informed your choice?

    Second, my point exactly!

    dirt

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  3. This is what i wanted to read thanks Dirt!!

    And you are totally right!

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  4. Such a beautiful post, thank you. I really should just stop there, because you said it all really.

    If trans actually transitioned into "male" and "female", "trans" would be a medical issue only. Those females that are now "males" would merely assimilate into male society and live their lives as any other man and we'd never hear from them again.

    Such a great point. I think the reason we do hear from them is because in their day-to-day lives, they don't pass as well as they claim; and instead of asking "why" as you suggested, they blame other people for noticing that they don't pass. And the reason they don't pass is because not only do they still retain vestiges of their original biological sex but they also continue to display the traits and mannerism assigned to the sex they were born with.

    If it was only one or the other that people noticed (either that they didn't really appear as their preferred sex OR that they didn't behave as their preferred sex) then most people would probably write off the discreptancy as "typical variationss among that sex". It's only because they miss on BOTH counts do people notice.

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  5. Being a woman, in the best case scenario, means being treated like shit nearly every moment of every day. Scrutinized, interrupted, disregarded, passed-over, objectified, disrespected, trivialized, degraded, ignored, dehumanized.
    In the worst case scenario to be born female means being owned, bartered, raped, impregnated, threatened, beaten, tortured, molested, murdered, stalked, enslaved.

    No wonder some women try to say “I’m not a woman- I’m not like THEM”, and try to join the oppressors. What horror it is for girls to realize their bodies- their own bodies! At sexual maturity- will imprison them. Who that has suffered a girlhood would not wish to escape the role their womanly body will inflict on them in a world where Woman=Subhuman?

    At this pace it will take generations (if ever) for women to be treated as fully human in every moment, in every job, every conversation, every social interaction.

    If you could take a magic pill and suddenly your ideas were more intelligent, your thoughts more authoritative, your input more important, your opinion more valid, your attractiveness insignificant, your activities more esteemed, would you take it?

    What about a little amputation? Baldness? Possible future medical problems? If it meant you would leave the other sub-humans behind? And the generations of sub-humans to come, yet to be born, their liberation is not your responsibility, is it? Give up your escape and live as a sub-human in the vague hope that you can effect change in some tiny miniscule way in the larger battle for humanity as it stretches over eons? Maybe you can do something to help them with your power as a member of the master class. What sort of person would turn their backs on freedom for the love of the subhuman class that one was wrongly assigned to. You’re not like them after all. They’re women. Humans born with female parts.

    And you would amputate your body parts, inject drugs and die young if it meant you weren’t one of them.

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  6. Great post Dirt, and Anons at 9:38 and 11:25. Thanks.

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  7. This post is so great : I totally recognised myself in the women who likes boys stuff and also who do a "men job". As I am hyperfeminine, I also recognised myself as a person always targeted by the males candy eyes (and more comments as I live in a macho area). But I made a choice in my 20's : the choice to do what I want regardless of the comments or the glass ceiling I may be faced to. I made the choice to wear what I want and to be who I am : ok I am ultra-feminine, I have "women curves and nice boobs" but I don't like dress, I prefer to have my haircut short and to wear sportwear clothes that keep those lovely curves for my gf ;).
    Everytime I get a comment about my clothes or haircut or behavior from males like "you know, you would be better in dress or with long hair" or "women should behaved like this", I correct them.
    Depending of the bonding with this person and the social interaction we are in (family member, colleague, "friends of friends", boss), I may answer very differently (like a joke or on a more feminist mode)but I always answer and educate the moron.
    I know it is draining but nobody has to force me to be who I am not or a stereotype.
    And no, I won't cut my boobs or have T just to have those "boys privileges" and enter those "boys clubs"...
    Those so called "boys privileges" all women deserve them. We don't need to transition to have them. In our modern society, women have access to everything. What stops them to express their potential is males preventing them to do so (boys club, glass ceiling, males thinking they can tell you who you are as a woman...) and women who are guilty to submit themselves to the roles guys allocated them (ah the education of boys by mother).
    We are not inferior to males.
    Most of the times we are more graduated or intelligent or versatile...
    The women who transition do it most of the times because they want to have access to males privileges (career, car, clothes, haircut, opporunities, behavior, hobbies...) but are too coward or lazy to stand for their rights as a woman everyday of their life...
    They stopped fighting : they are the personified failure of feminism.
    They have just internalised mysoginy in its pure and severe form and are just submissive to males surgeons male therapists, male hormon manufacturers, gay male who fuck their 2 holes and give them disease, male vision of life....

    I don't subscribe to this.

    A proud woman.

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  8. Great post Dirt.

    Women deserve the rights to have and access to all those males/boys privileges and clubs.
    Women deserve the right to be themselves whatever it means like : wearing boys clothes, doing guys hobbies, having good job position & careers.
    Women have the right not to conform to the image/feminity guys want us to perform.
    We are free to do it, the only reason we don't do it is because everyday we can meet a male around us who think he is in a position of domination and is allowed to tell us who we should be (because his mum raised him like this).
    The only answer to this is to ignore the comments...
    Not even answer to them : ignore them.
    To have "male privileges", our privileges, we must stand up for our rights and not go for a transition/mutilation of our feminity. We must also educate the young generation and make them understand at a very early age they have the right to do who they want to be.
    Everytime I see a FTM, I see a silenced feminist who should have stood up for her rights.
    Everytime I see a FTM, I see a poster telling me "I wanted to be different woman but I failed/I felt so guilty about a different woman/I was so lazy to stand for my own rights that I punished myself with/entered in mutilation and hormon therapy"...
    Everytime I see a FTM, I see the failure of feminism...

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  9. Anon,

    This "Everytime I see a FTM, I see the failure of feminism" is so spot on! Perfect!

    dirt

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  10. Research indicates that it is not women who raise her childen to be sexist, but the more pervasive culture around that child, specifically the males. And because I don't have a link handy, this dynamic can be easily seen if you bother to contemplate the following:

    When I declare myself to be awesome fabulous intelliegent etc, other people tend to take that with a grain of salt. They know that the best way to determine my character is not to listen to how I describe myself (because I'm assumed to be exaggerating), but how *other people* describe me (because they are assumed to be more objective). And other people constantly describe me and imply that I am overly-sensitive hysterical, and inherently bad at performing masculine jobs etc. Because I'm female.

    So when my son hears me say that women can do this or that just as well as a man, he looks around at what OTHER PEOPLE say, and over and over again the larger society is describing women as ineffectual. At the same time this is going on, my son is ALSO hearing men described as more valuable, and more this and more that.

    Okay, stop. Whose opinion is obviously considered more valuable? That's right, mens. And so if my son is going to listen to anyone's "objective" opinion about women, he'll believe the opinion of men first. And since the opinion of women don't count as much, then my son won't give as much credit to what I say about men.

    It's a vicious cycle which explains why women DO NOT RAISE THEIR KIDS TO BE SEXIST; SOCIETY DOES. (and I am really childfree btw)

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  11. Btw, you can nullify that dynamic simply by mentioning it a few times starting when the kid is around 8-10 years old. Because then they realize that they're utilizing an unconscious bias and it will help with their critical thinking skills, plus they'll be really impressed with how much you know.

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  12. There's this myth that men have to prove their masculinity, but women don't have to prove their femininity. Women do have to prove their femininity, all the effing time, or face the consequences daily. Little consequences, big consequences. What many people don't understand is that even the little consequences, over time, can add up and become major stressors.

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  13. Excellent analysis! You are saying so well what I have been trying to say for years, although I have mostly given up due to the vitriol I have gotten from so many people. (Note that nearly everyone chooses to be "anonymous" in their comments here. The blowback from taking a stand on this issue is frighteningly strong, often accompanied by veiled or open threats.)

    I applaud your courage and your intelligence.

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  14. Dirt, this is right on target: <>

    It would be fascinating if someone did a study on this, perhaps a grad student, psychologist, or social scientist. I wonder if such a study currently exists. I've done google searches with different phrasing; maybe if we checked into academically oriented databases we could find similar research, if anyone has researched this (not just general research about trans or gender- I'm looking for something that actually addresses this question directly.)

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  15. m Andrea, thanks for making that valuable point. Growing up in a non-sexist family is not enough to counteract all the effects of growing up in a sexist society. "Nurture" isn't just what parents do, it's also peers, teachers, TV, the internet, really the entire outside world.

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  16. I just want to say that I am so grateful to have found your blog and this post in particular is amazing.

    I am a psychotherapist struggling with how to address these types of gender issues with clients (I haven't had any trans clients, though I do have some clients who refer to themselves as queer, but I have in the past identified myself as queer-friendly therapist, including trans issues, because I didn't know better. I'm glad I can't say that I've ever participated in anyone transitioning, whereas in the past I might have thought that was a wonderful thing.

    Anyway, I am so grateful for this post because it helps me to break open the question of what might be going on here. I've *never* been satisfied with the answer of surgery and hormones, especially given the huge rate of folks who regret the procedures, commit suicide when they don't feel better afterward, or "de-transition" eventually. But I never had a sense of what a better answer was... this post starts to give me a sense of the hope for radical self-acceptance that constitutes a better answer.

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  17. The inclusion of Sexton's words makes this a particularly poignant post. Thank you.

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  18. @Selah. I think a lot of what looks and feels like body dysphoria is actually induced by social factors. It may even be more insidious now that our society has more or less accepted the idea that women can do anything career-wise, but is still profoundly uncomfortable with people who don't conform to gender norms in little, everyday ways.

    "Look at X! She's a CEO/architect/senator/drill sergeant/astronaut, and even SHE wears make-up! Why can't you???!! You can be successful and high-powered and still not sacrifice your femininity, you know!" Hear that enough, and you might begin to think, "Yeah, why don't I feel comfortable in women's clothes? Especially since I'm not a drill sergeant or a senator, I'm a librarian! Temperamentally, I'm a lot more like Mr. Rogers than like Nancy Pelosi. I wonder if that means I'm really a man?"

    Then that woman hears, from the pro-trans side, that being a man isn't really about having a penis at all. It's about feeling like a man, which is never really defined. I think it's really telling that FTMs rarely talk about having a deep sense that their genitals should be different. Some do; one has mentioned that very thing on this blog. But it's usually all about the secondary sex characteristics -- the visible things that determine how others respond to us. I was a lot more supportive of the idea of transition before it started being so heavily promoted as the best response to that sense of something just not being right in the gender department. I do think the "queer" movement, both the pop and the academic versions, is at least partly responsible.

    I'm willing to believe that even in a truly non-sexist world, some people would still prefer a trans body over the one they were born with. (Not 100% convinced, but willing to believe it.) However, we do not have anything close to such a world, and there's a tremendous amount of denial about that. Also a tremendous amount of denial about transition pressure, and I appreciate Dirt's willingness to speak out about that, and to call attention to what can happen when the surgery and hormones produce less-than-ideal results.

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  19. "Radical Self Acceptance".

    Well stated.

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  20. Anonymous at 11.25pm said;

    "Being a woman, in the best case scenario, means being treated like shit nearly every moment of every day. Scrutinized, interrupted, disregarded, passed-over, objectified, disrespected, trivialized, degraded, ignored, dehumanized.
    In the worst case scenario to be born female means being owned, bartered, raped, impregnated, threatened, beaten, tortured, molested, murdered, stalked, enslaved."

    In the best case scenario? Come on....what country are you talking about here? I think your post is disrespectful to the women of third world countries / war zones who do actually have a life like the one you describe.

    Let's be a bit more realistic here. In developed countries, women face issues; the risk of rape, lower wages etc. But to say that being a woman means you are "being treated like shit nearly every moment of every day", just makes a mockery of the issues being discussed here.

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  21. Thanks to all the Anons for their comments!

    Thank you Ms Andrea for yours, insightful as usual!

    Selah, I'm glad you are looking further into these issues rather than following the medical/trans status quo. Feel free to email me if ever you want to discuss further or discuss creating real treatment options that dont involve drugs or a knife.

    dirt

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  22. Christina,

    I think you missed the point of both my post and Anons comment. Neither of us were discussing the oppression Olympics, we were making the point of how disastrously misogyny both in the blatant and the myriad of micro inform females of themselves. Information that ultimately can and does remove our choices under the guise of "choice".

    dirt

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  23. "In the best case scenario? Come on....what country are you talking about here? I think your post is disrespectful to the women of third world countries / war zones who do actually have a life like the one you describe."

    Although I agree with the overall point of your post, I think you should read up on women of the global south of "third world". Many would probably be insulted by those words being used to describe their life.

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  24. Dirt, I think a lot of your critique of transmen would only be valid of transwomen didn't exist. They don't grow up in a society where they are taught to think less of their biological bodies yet they still feel the need to transition.

    So, I'm curious (although you may have blogged on this before and I've just missed it) in a RESPECTFUL way can you talk about your perspective of transwomen?

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  25. Dirt,

    I do understand that you were "making the point of how disastrously misogyny both in the blatant and the myriad of micro inform females of themselves" and I don't disagree with that part of your post. What I am highlighting is the way you made the point.

    When reading posts and comments that go on about how bloody awful it is to be a woman, I feel almost guilty that I'm not more miserable. Yes, I've faced some of the difficulties that have been referred to and yes, I've also been lucky to be spared many of them. But I am categorically not "treated like shit almost every day" and to the best of my knowledge, neither are my female friends and family. I will certainly ask them though!

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  26. How nice for you, Christina, that you have been so insulated throughout your life. I live in the US, and have most certainly had the experience of being "scrutinized, interrupted, disregarded, passed-over, objectified, disrespected, trivialized, degraded, ignored, dehumanized" on a daily basis, for years at a time. Particularly in my twenties and thirties, when I had less social power, spent more time in public because of the nature of my job, AND attracted more unwanted sexual attention.

    Nowadays, this happens to me much less often (unfortunately, I can't say never), because I have much more say over who I'm around, where I go, and how I get there. That's a luxury I didn't always have. It also helps that men don't harass middle-aged women as much (although it still happens.)

    Sure, you can always find examples of someone who's got it worse. I could have had to deal with the same sexist bullshit AND live in a war zone, AND in third world conditions, AND in an ultra-traditional society, AND with a serious illness. That doesn't make my experience of everyday sexism, or Anon at 11:25's, any less relevant to this discussion.

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  27. To the Anon, regarding "transwomen", yes I have written about them plenty, and no, nothing I write about either, negates the other.

    dirt

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  28. Good on you and your female friends and family living happily without negative misogynistic influences in Her Land Christina!

    dirt

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  29. MTFs grow up in a society that polices gender expression, just as FTMs do.

    Any minute now, someone will bring up MTFs who aren't conventionally feminine, who consider themselves butch women. However, that isn't necessarily proof that transsexuals don't reinforce gender norms. Some men may identify with lesbian butchness because it represents a kind of "masculinity" to them that doesn't have certain traits they associate with maleness. They may see it as a kind of voluntary, uncoerced masculinity, one that's not a product of rigid social norms.

    Some women identify strongly with effeminate gay men, because those men represent a kind of "femininity" that isn't coerced, either. They get to adapt femininity for their own purposes, to take what they like and leave the rest. Theoretically, you can do this as a woman, too, but for that to work in a social context, people have to recognize what you're doing. Most people do not get it when a woman is being "effeminate," rather than conventionally "feminine."

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  30. @Christina : are you living in Canada ;) ?

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  31. @anonymous 12.40am, LOL no, I'm living in Australia! Very thankful for it too, having read how oppressed women in the US seem to be.

    It's certainly not Nirvana here with respect to how women are treated, but when I read some of the comments that have been made, I honestly wonder if I am on another planet?

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  32. This comment didnt want to post:

    m Andrea has left a new comment on your post "Transition: Which Tools?":

    "Dirt, I think a lot of your critique of transmen would only be valid of transwomen didn't exist."

    Really sorry but your comment makes no sense to me. Why do you believe the "existence" of mtf nullifies ANY critique of transgenderism? Your reason which is supposed to explain why zero critique is possible is:

    "They don't grow up in a society where they are taught to think less of their biological bodies yet they still feel the need to transition."

    So, mtf aren't socialized to believe that their male bodies are bad, and THIS is the reason why critique of transgenderism isn't possible?

    Do you see why I'm confused? This makes no sense. Civil rights are never granted because "someone feels bad", and civil rights are never granted because "someone feels good". Your emotional response isn't relevant when determining civil rights. Your emotional response isn't even relevant when determining the presence of MENTAL ILLNESS. For all of those things, the relevant criteria is RATIONALITY. In other words, we ask the question, "does something make sense?"

    Does it make sense that a mentally healthy person requires different body parts in order to express internal character? Does it make sense that a mentally healthy person must claim to be the one biological sex which is currently matched to traits coded masculine or feminine, in order to express those traits?

    "I am of the opinion that the transmedical community should be profoundly ashamed of itself right about now..." Because they have been basing their entire methodology on completely irrational criteria.

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  33. "I honestly wonder if I am on another planet?"....

    We wonder that too Christina! Because even bored middle class straight women's lives are informed by misogynistic influences. No female escapes.

    dirt

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  34. I have written "Canada" because in some part of it, the society is indeed deeply feminist...A living dream whereas in other Western countries we still all experience what Dirt described brightly : "oppression"...
    Regarding the Andrea comment to "Dirt, I think a lot of your critique of transmen would only be valid of transwomen didn't exist."

    You know most MTF are not looking like the average woman : what they try to become (by surgeries and clothes) is a stereotype of what males have in mind when they think of a woman, MTF try to become a "male fantasy female" not a "woman". That is the reason why they don't pass...They perform too much because they are not naturally female...MTF are also a failure of feminism....

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  35. Well, Christina, let me tell you a little story about a very ordinary incident, of a kind I'm sure also happens in Australia. One night two female friends and I were walking through a residential neighborhood, minding our own business. A group of young men approached us and began making lewd comments. We're not talking flirtation, even incompetent, misguided flirtation. This was an attempt to intimidate.

    We ignored them. As one might expect, they followed us and escalated their behavior. At that point, I spoke sharply to them. One of the women I was with, who was not more than 23, (and, btw, visiting from Great Britain), got upset with me for making such a huge fuss about nothing. A group of men, following us, making obscene remarks, at night? That's not nothing.

    What kinds of things do you brush off as nothing? Maybe you're not on a different planet. Maybe you just take certain things for granted that others of us don't.

    Here's another one. I observed a young woman walking down the a busy street in my town, minding her own business, drinking some sort of large fruit drink. A guy blocks her path, gets right in her face, and says, "Ain't you gonna share that with me?" In an unmistakeably hostile tone. She looks alarmed, shrinks back, and walks around him. He thinks it's hilarious.

    I caught her eye, and said, "Wow, that was really out of line." She just gave me a helpless little smile and an exaggerated shrug. Apparently, she didn't like what he did, but accepted it as normal and inevitable.

    These are the "little" random things that happen every day. That's not even getting into the kinds of "little" things that happen on a regular basis in most workplaces -- sexist jokes you're expected to laugh at, or at least ignore, or be considered hostile, a bad team player, unpromotable. How many things like that do you rationalize as not so bad?

    That's the little stuff. Never mind what happens when someone more persistent and more aggressive decides to mess with you. How much of that do you write off as minor? Do you say, "I act as if all that doesn't matter, and then it doesn't"? I've heard some women make that claim. Sooner of later, reality catches up with them, usually when they realize that their boss whose sexist jokes they've been ignoring really did promote a less qualified man right over their heads.

    No, Christina, I don't think it has anything to do with the US vs. Australia. I think you may not be paying very close attention.

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  36. Dirt you are a true Goddess! That piece was powerful. I am speechless and in awe, you hit the nail on the head, you get it! It is so sad to see that so many don't. Bravo, and well done! Please keep up the great work.

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