Change Your World-NOT your Body

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trans Trending and Hyper Femininity-Where's the Choice?

One of my young nieces (age 13) shared this photo yesterday on her Facebook:
At the time of the "sharing" this photo had well over 9,000 "likes"! Nosing through those who "liked" this photo, most were females in my niece's age range. Five years ago, this kinda of porno-hyper-femininity among young teen girls would be uncommon, today it is rapidly approaching normal. Clearly this look is a product of the billion dollar pornography industry which increasingly has been dictating not only what females do in bed but how they look doing it! And it is those phantasmagorical demands via easy internet access and media normalization thereof that in the past have gone from influencing how women see themselves to demanding today teens/girl's adopt in order to "fit in". A performance for the Male Gaze maintained specifically by other young females policing each other via the new hyper-femininity model. Isnt patriarchy brilliant!

But what happens when you cannot meet this hyper-feminine performative demand or worse refuse outright? The options of what a female may do (for a living) have increased post feminism, BUT the options for what a female can look like post the backlash against feminism have drastically narrowed into unreality.

Enter transition...If your options are to look like the girl above or this:
Many young girls are going to choose the latter. While both images are performances, as both are based on a characterization rather than the real. Unless we as adult women stand up and finally define ourselves outside of male sexual fantasy, thereby setting examples for our female youths, the future of women is at serious stake. Because regardless of indulging in hyper femininity or opting out through transition, neither legitimizes women as human first.

dirt

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31 comments:

  1. This is one of your posts i can relate to, i sometimes do ask myself why i consider myself as more masculine then most women, and why i in many ways fit the male mold much better, its almost like if im my true self im masculine. When i do have gender issues, as they come and go, one of the ticks for becoming male for me is to live a life where im never expected to be in any way feminine again. Its less about wanting rid of my breasts, or wanting a dick and more about the freedom to be me. If most other women were themselves i wonder if they would be more like me and if my gender issues would go for good. It does appear to be the case these days that women can do all they wish, just as long as they are feminine.

    Its strange the amount of time women spend putting on make up and things, just to pass as the sex they were born. I think sometimes its a way to get women competing, and it works.

    I dont know if my experience is the same as that of a transman though.

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  2. Why can't they just be NATURAL and BEAUTIFUL like me?!? I never put-on a stitch of make-up, but am NEVER read as "male," either. Why is that? Could it be my 100% naturally large breasts the FtM community wants me to hack-off, I wonder?!?

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  3. Are you seriously suggesting that there are no choices in between those two images? Seriously?

    Come off it.

    Reading this blog makes me profoundly angry. Does it occur to you that the trans men you are disrespecting with your distorted views are real people, many of them already struggling with difficult decisions about their lives and bodies? That they are very very rarely 'trans trenders' (god I loathe that term)? Does it occur to you that just because you are a butch lesbian happy in her body, that not everyone else who present s as male while being female-bodied is?

    You trot out the same tired, dishonest bullshit over and over again, without ever listening to the people who actually know what they're talking about - transgender people, who are not, as you like to pretend, all young, all deluded, all lesbian. There are people transitioning in their thirties, forties and fifties, too - how come you don't bully and insult them? I'll tell you why - because they would prove you wrong. And you are wrong.

    not only that, what do you think gives you the right to deny people agency over their own bodies? A lot of the kids you insult will probably grow out of their trans phase. Some will decide that they really aren't trans, they're non-binary or genderqueer. Others will realise that despite what you and others like you say, they are trans, and their only route to peace of mind and happiness in their own skin is transition.

    Their life, their business, and you can't tell them they're just confused lesbians, because some of them aren't even attracted to girls and never were.

    You're known all over the internet for your horrible, toxic view on trans people. Is that how you want to be remembered?

    Shame on you.

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  4. @ Iris

    Why should anyone in the ftm community want you, a female person, to 'hack off' her breasts? That would be entirely stupid, as you are female, and not trans. If you're happy with your body, more power to you - but you don't get to tell someone else how they should feel about theirs.

    Just not wearing make-up won't get you read as male. You have to look male, too, and sound it. Plenty of girls and women don't wear make-up. They don't go around assuming people think they're men.

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  5. If that really is your niece Dirt, it seems like you have some work to do in your own house. She looks ridiculous.

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  6. If you are an "avid reader", trying actually reading.

    dirt

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  7. Where were you before five years ago? The problem of women having to conform to a pornographic ideal of feminine beauty isn't new. Thirteen years ago, when I was in college, I remember there being a trend of women wearing makeup which made them look like they had black eyes, or where otherwise battered and bruised, because of a trend in the media to portray the submissive and beaten women as beautiful. Long before that, young girls have been starving themselves to death to try to match the altered images of women in magazines, where their stomach and hips were shaved down using airbrushing (photoshop has made it easier to do that now).

    And as long as the media has been turning women into impossible caricatures of "beauty" there have been people countering those ideas by celebrating natural beauty, or challenging the ideas of what femininity is.

    People don't transition because their only other option is to try to imitate women in the media. If there was a direct correlation between these twisted ideas of femininity and transitioning, then there should be a decrease in people transitioning at this point. Unlike ten years ago, we now have magazines like Just As Beautiful, which celebrate plus sized women. We have more butch and lesbian women in the media than ever before.

    Our country's portrayal of women is changing for the better. There's still a lot of work to be done, and we can't be complacent, but attacking trans people isn't helping to combat misogyny. If transitioning was a symptom of misogyny, then we should be seeing fewer people transitioning, not more. But one of your arguments is that there is an increase in people transitioning (something that you can't back up with actual statistics, of course).

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  8. @Anonymous January 13, 2013 1:52 PM

    I say this because I was told, PERSONALLY, by several members of the YouTube "trans" community, that I was "trans myself" and an "ugly, butch woman whose looks could only IMPROVE if I got on testosterone." I even had a SOFFA named Heather (partner of an FtM named "Josh" of whom both have now deleted their accounts) make a video about how I was a "gay or bisexual transman who needed love and support from the FtM community" in the saddest and sweetest voice she could muster. (This was due to an email in which I said that I wasn't even sure I was 100% lesbian after SHE contacted ME for calling "Josh" a FREAK in a comment and how it upset her.) I have saved the audio from many of the videos to back-up these stories and remind myself not to EVER think of them as my "friends" again, but the videos are now deleted, since they'd be 4 years old now and my channel is gone. But I do have evidence of their recruiting tactics and hope to NEVER be so desperate as to fall into their trap again!!! I hope to NEVER AGAIN hate my body to the point of looking to them for advice, because they sure aren't looking-out for my best interest or that of any other "gender questioning person."

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  9. THANK YOU. You are right. The more girls and females are hyperfeminized, and expected to be skinny and of a certain skin tone and facial and body features, the more others will want to be some version of male, or feel uncomfortable in their skins for NOT 'fitting in' to such narrow roles. Not only do I see that doll look like a Playboy model, the lipstick, but also the skin tone is as if she's been tanning at the beach. There are many multilayers of both sexism and racism in that image...that tanning is preferable to pale skin, that a pornographic expression is better than a mere feminine one, and that almost all women and girls will never look like the doll or the model she is modeled after....chasing a dream that doesn't exist. And as a hardcore tomboy girl who thought of myself as a boy because I didn't fit into feminine female stereotypes and I LIKED the boys' activities so much more than girls 'playing house' and the boring domestic sphere...it really caused alot of confusion and consternation with my family....neither did they approve EVER of my tomboy nature. It wasnt' till I came out as a Dyke that I had a place to be, where Butch was WANTED and honored, and not reviled as it is in the hetero world..or being a nonfeminine girl and teenager. I AM GLAD that I wasn't born in the era of transition, because that would add to a whole lot more self hatred to have to 'correct it' by medical surgeries, and procedures, rather than societal acceptance and EXPANDING the roles of what females and males can be...this was the PROMISE of Feminism, and WHY I became Feminist, cuz then a girl or a woman COULD BE ANY DAMNED THING SHE WANTED TO BE, AND DIDN'T HAVE TO LOOK LIKE A FASHION MODEL TO BE ACCEPTED!!!!!

    -MasterAmazon

    Give me Raggedy Ann any day!
    -MasterAmazon

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  10. @ Iris

    The people who said those things to you were wrong to do so. Maybe they had issues, maybe they were just being assholes - there are trans assholes just the same as there are non-trans assholes, because trans people are human beings and some human beings are assholes. That still doesn't give you the right to assume that all trans men are self-hating females, because it is not the truth.

    There's a lot of nonsense talked here about the 'evil' of transition. Only a small fraction of all trans people, male or female, go through full medical transition. Usually the ones whose dysphoria is unbearable to them. Others merely present as the gender they identify as, assume male (or for trans women, female) pronouns, and live that way. Some bind but take no hormones, some take hormones but don't have surgery. Some are non-binary.

    There are straight tomboys who have top surgery, because they don't want breasts, but who don't regard themselves as men, or trans - are you going to tell them they're deluded?

    If I say you're not a lesbian, and you insist that you are, who's right, you or me? If I don't have the right to tell you that you're really not butch, you don't have any right to say someone is not trans.

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  11. Dirt, this is absolutely true. It's interesting to note that approximately 90% of all cosmetic procedures are still being carried out on women while the majority of surgeons are still male. Even teenage girls are talking about botox. If we look at the millions spent on advertising for cosmetics, fasion, etc., it's very lucrative.

    http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2011-statistics/2011_Stats_Quick_Facts.pdf

    I tend to see the hyper-feminization of girls and FTM transitioning as the flip side of the same coin in that both are largely fueled by internalized misogyny, the decline of feminism, neoliberal economics, and the mass commercialization of body altering surgery or modification. Also, I think some deep seated lesbian phobic attitudes might play a role in some FTM (female to male).

    (1.) Both seemed to appear at about the same time that second wave feminism was on the decline. Think carefully about this, and go back two or three decades. It should be so clear to anyone who dares to carefully sit down and analyze what has happened. Yes, girls and women have always been taught to appear feminine, but this really went into overdrive around the 1990s. This was around the same time that FTM "transitioning" started to emerge. Twenty or thirty years ago, no one heard of words such as "top surgery" or "T" as in testosterone.

    (2.) "Transitioning" fits very well into neoliberal principles that glorify free markets, deregulation, and the individual citizen as if choice is never influenced by culture. Or, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, "There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families." If people want to surgically alter their bodies anyway they choose, then there are surgeons, doctors, etc. that will provide these services. Anything can be purchased in a free market.

    (3.) Not only have we seen an increase in FTM (female to male) "transitioning" (surgery, testosterone), there has been an explosion in the most degrading and damaging porn known as gonzo porn. Pornography has always existed, but the brutal, body punishing porn that is available today is more extreme than what we say two or three decades ago.

    I can certainly see why any girl would want to escape from the crushing misogyny that all females must experience. It's no accident that both the hyper-feminization and hyper-sexualization of girls and FTM (female to male) transitioning both emerged during the decline of second wave feminism. Both are largely fueled by internalized misogyny coupled with neoliberal economics.

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  12. 1. Blatantly untrue. Top surgery and testosterone use for transitioning FtM have been around much longer, and people have known about it for a long time. This concept of "hyper-femininity" that is being discussed in this thread has been around for much, much longer.
    2. What? This doesn't even make sense.
    3. You have no facts supporting this.

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  13. Another reactor rather than reader. Anon @ 9:17pm please try again, only this time read, process what is actually being written, then comment.

    dirt

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  14. Yes, we have these images of plastic Barbie doll women but we also have the Williams sisters. Anyone walking through a college campus these days will see natural, non made-up, athletic women walking around, not the porn stereotypes, although that could be more of a class issue.
    If women and girls are striving for a Barbie look then they may have limited access to an education and mental health care. Generally speaking, the longer the nails the lower the IQ, but who are we to judge?

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  15. We need to inform women and girls that Serena Williams's net worth is $100 million dollars. Her sister Venus is worth over $60 million dollars.

    These two women acquired their riches by being bigger and stronger than other women. They never compromised their athleticism by acting coy, stupid, weak, 'pretty,' inferior or plastic. Women and girls who are pursuing a Barbie doll existance will never have their money or fame. The Barbies are wasting their time and selling themselves short.
    Women in porn, who are either electing or victimised into pushing a plastic and damaged version of womanhood will never enjoy a fraction of the success and peace of mind as the STRONG WOMAN. The STRONG WOMAN is here to stay, she's here to mix it up and prosper amongst the weaker.
    Put the word out!

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  16. Re: "Generally speaking, the longer the nails the lower the IQ..."

    Amen to that, because right now my nails are so short that you can't see any white edge with a magnifying glass. I cut them short all year, but especially in the winter, because I DO NOT want cold viruses to have more room to hide, not because I'm "trying to be read as male" or anything. When will other women WISE-UP and see how unsanitary it is for ANYONE to have long nails? (I don't even like to see men and children who haven't cut theirs in weeks.) Why carry around more dead cells on your hands and head (hair) than absolutely necessary?

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  17. @ 6:43 AM

    Exactly what problems do you have with that "reaction?" How is it any different than yours?

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  18. Below I outline my argument.

    "I tend to see the hyper-feminization of girls and FTM transitioning as the flip side of the same coin in that both are largely fueled by internalized misogyny, the decline of feminism, neoliberal economics, and the mass commercialization of body altering surgery or modification. Also, I think some deep seated lesbian phobic attitudes might play a role in some FTM (female to male)."

    (1.) Both seemed to appear at about the same time that second wave feminism was on the decline. Think carefully about this, and go back two or three decades. It should be so clear to anyone who dares to carefully sit down and analyze what has happened. Yes, girls and women have always been taught to appear feminine, but this really went into overdrive around the 1990s. This was around the same time that FTM "transitioning" started to emerge. Twenty or thirty years ago, no one heard of words such as "top surgery" or "T" as in testosterone. "

    "1. Blatantly untrue. Top surgery and testosterone use for transitioning FtM have been around much longer, and people have known about it for a long time. This concept of "hyper-femininity" that is being discussed in this thread has been around for much, much longer."

    I guess I should have said that there has been an increase in both FTM (female to male) "transitioning" and hyper-feminization following the decline of second wave feminism.

    Testosterone wasn't chemically synthesized until around the
    1940s, and before approximately 1980s, testosterone use for biological females with "gender dyshporia" was rare. The same is true of "top surgery". I'm not saying it didn't exist, but its use was rarely heard of. How can this person possible say that there hasn't been an increase in "top surgery" and "T" because twenty years ago even many people in the GLBT community wouldn't know what you were talking about if you said "top surgery". Since I'm over fifty, I've been around, and I know that the words "top surgery" and "T" weren't even used twenty years ago. The first time I met a FTM transman was in a gay bar sometime around 1980 or 1981. Now, there are FTM groups in every major city in the U.S. and major cities in the UK and Europe.

    Second-wave feminism is a period of feminist activity that first began in the early 1960s in the United States, and eventually spread throughout the Western world. In the United States the movement was initially called the Women's Liberation Movement and lasted through the early 1980s. Second wave feminism started to wane around the start of the 1990s. With Ronald Reagan in the U.S. and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, this was a period of time in which neoliberalism swept the globe. I ask the reader carefully look at the history.

    When did we see the decline in second wave feminism?

    Around the mid to late 1980s.

    About what time period did transgender become a political force to be reckoned with, and we saw an increase in FTM "transitioning" ("T" or testosterone, "top surgery" etc.)

    Starting in the 1990s and increasing...

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  19. After the decline of second wave feminism, has there been an increase in FTM (female to male) "transitioning"? It does seem to be true, and I'm not the only person making this observation. I would like to see a complete epidemiological study that goes back twenty to thirty years.

    (a.) Taking into consideration the increase in population, compare the total number of prescriptions for "T" or testosterone given to biological females for "gender dysphoria" today to the number given twenty years ago. Then, compare the number today to thirty years ago. If possible, go back forty years. How can this person say that there hasn't been an increase in "T" when no one even knew what "T" was twenty years ago.

    (b.) Compare the number of "top surgeries" today to the number twenty years ago. Do the same for thirty years ago.

    (c.) Compare the number of people diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" or GID today to the number diagnosed twenty and thirty years ago. Also, compare the age in which people are first diagnosed with gender identity disorder of "gender dysphoria".

    (d.) Compare the number of prescriptions for puberty suppressing drugs given for GID (gender identity disorder) today to twenty years ago. Puberty suppressing drugs for GID was unheard of twenty years ago.

    (e.) How many "bottom surgeries" were performed twenty years ago compared to today?

    (f.) Also, how many girls and women buy and wear things like binders, packers, and STP devices today compared to twenty years ago.

    As to hyper-feminity, it seems to be an obsession with some, and its rise coincided with the waning of second wave feminism.

    "The rise of hyper-femininity

    Perhaps as a reaction to the severe feminism that preceded the current wave of a new femininity, at a time of allowing ourselves so state openly that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, women are dropping the blue suits and the comfortable shoes and embracing femininity like never before, and exploiting it to extremes. Brand beware of what you do and what you say."

    http://www.lhbs.at/patterns/2011/07/25/pattern/

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  20. (2.) "Transitioning" fits very well into neoliberal principles that glorify free markets, deregulation, and the individual citizen as if choice is never influenced by culture. Or, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, "There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families." If people want to surgically alter their bodies anyway they choose, then there are surgeons, doctors, etc. that will provide these services. Anything can be purchased in a free market.

    2. What? This doesn't even make sense.

    Actually, this does, indeed, make sense. Since many transgender simply loath feminists and have gleefully made sport out of castigating them, they don't take the take to listen to what prominent feminists have been saying. Neoliberalism eviscerated identity politics and feminism in that collective struggle or a shared identify became passe and old fashioned. Laissez-faire economics surely can be seen in "transitioning" with its online gender therapists, plastic surgeons, and testosterone which has to be administered on a regular basis. "Transitioning" (plastic surgery, cross gender hormones, puberty suppressing drugs etc.) are commercial enterprises, and if "transitioning" represented any kind of actual threat to neoliberalism economics, it certainly wouldn't have survived for this long. I've seen this myself every time some trans person says, "it's my body and I'll do what I want" as if it's a sacred matra to be repeated time and time again. Anybody modification or external source of hormones is accepted if it can be obtained on the open market. Neoliberals worship at the alter of individual choice and unfettered free markets as if individual choice was akin to some kind of holy grail. If everything is an individual choice, then this makes collective identity and social critique meaningless.

    I urge the reader to watch this insightful video by Professor Gail Dines titled "Neoliberalism and the Defanging of Feminism".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDcTt0emXhE

    Does "transitioning" (plastic surgery, cross gender hormones, puberty suppressing drugs etc.) fit neatly into neoliberalism? Of course, it does, and I can google "top surgery" and get hundreds of hits. As a commercial enterprise, I don't see how "transitioning" threatens neoliberalism in the least. If anything, "transitioning" demands a great deal of individual choice in the market place, and little if any social critique or regulation of the practice.

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  21. It is all so sad and depressing to me because a few intrepid feminists have written eloquently about subjects such as misogyny, culture, and how internalized misogyny plays a role in why women continue to flock to plastic surgeons (approximately 90% of cosmetic surgery is on women). However, FTM (female to male) "transitioning" is deemed off limits. There is nothing that I'm aware of that so radically alters healthy female breasts, genitals, and reproductive systems than FTM "transitioning". For some reason, "top surgery" (double incision mastectomy with areola and nipple grafting) can't be viewed through a feminist lens for fear of upsetting people.

    There were two times in my life in which I've felt what best could be described as a raw form of misogyny kicking me in the gut, or assaulting my senses to the point that I've been left almost numb. Reading Dine's book "Pornland" was one of them, and the other time was when I fist watched a complete video of FTM (female to male) "top surgery" (double incision mastectomy with nipple grafting) on perfectly shaped female breasts.

    http://www.surgerytheater.com/video/6423/Dr.%20Daniel%20Medalie%20performs%20FtM%20top%20surgery%20(double%20incision%20mastectomy%20with%20nipple%20grafting

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  22. @Iris

    Anonymous January 13, 2013 1:52 PM

    "I say this because I was told, PERSONALLY, by several members of the YouTube "trans" community, that I was "trans myself" and an "ugly, butch woman whose looks could only IMPROVE if I got on testosterone."

    Iris, they will deny this time and time again even though it's true in many cases. Or, they will try out an "online gender therapist" (there really are online gender therapists) who will tell them that they must be trans if they aren't girly or feminine enough.

    They always say they don't promote the magical "T" or things like binders even though there are sites that give used binders to girls under the age of 21.

    @anonymous

    January 13, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    "You're known all over the internet for your horrible, toxic view on trans people. Is that how you want to be remembered?

    Shame on you."

    I can't let this go by without commenting. Is this how you want to be remembered:

    http://www.surgerytheater.com/video/6423/Dr.%20Daniel%20Medalie%20performs%20FtM%20top%20surgery%20(double%20incision%20mastectomy%20with%20nipple%20grafting

    Please copy and paste the link and watch the entire video. Double incision mastectomy with nipple grafting on healthy breasts is what you want historians to remember. This is how future historians will judge you. Sometimes the nipple graft doesn't take and there is a loss of nipple. Loss of sensation is a possibility because the nipples and areolas are litterally cut off then resized. This essentially amounts to elective mastectomies on healthy breasts with surgical whittling of areolas and nipples. They do this because of something called "gender dysphoria" which even some members of the trans community have finally admitted might be influenced by culture, peer pressure etc.

    This is your contribution to the female sex.

    I could go on forever on how "T" effects the female reproductive system, and I won't even go into "bottom surgery" which really alters healthy female genitals.

    Again, this is your contribution to the female sex. I hate to say this, but if they are born a biological female, they are still female.










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  23. I am a hyperfeminized gay FTM, so there!

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  24. Being a hyperfeminized "gay" FtM just means you're a straight GIRL, so there!

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  25. @ Iris

    Is that the best you've got? Playground-level retorts? Are you five?

    Stop with the denials. You once believed you might be trans. Now you don't. Stop trying to push your agenda onto others.

    There are straight trans men, there are gay trans men. There are straight trans women, there are lesbian trans women. Some trans men are femme in their presentation and manner, but straight in their sexual orientation, some trans women are very butch but still like men. Trans people are just as diverse as non-trans people.

    Get over it

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  26. Heterosexual MALES who pretend to be women are the most depraved people in the world and will NEVER qualify as "lesbians!!!" Neither can freakish little straight girls who inject testosterone ever become "gay men." Get over it!

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  27. @ Iris
    You can't change how a person defines themselves. Your own life experience should've taught you that. Live your own personal truth happily and proudly and let others live theirs. The name calling changes nothing,its just juvenile behavior.

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  28. @ Iris

    Says you, who blames other people for her own mistakes.

    Stop insulting trans men and women. They are not freaks, just because someone in the trans community once called you freak.

    Gay ftms are not 'freakish straight little girls'. And trans women are not 'depraved heterosexual males' just because they are attracted to other women. Stop reading scandal sheets and shitty newpapers that peddle lies and distortions about trans people. Stop stigmatising those who don't conform to your narrow little view of the world.

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  29. "You can't change how a person defines themselves."

    Nope, but you can bloody disagree with it, and point out when they're just plain WRONG, even if the 'O my GOD you're disrespecting me by daring to disagree' crowd get all hot and bothered.

    How a person DEFINES themselves is not the final word on everything. So, if someone insists on defining themselves as a lesbian, for example, yet is actually male, I'll disagree with their personal definition, just as I would also disagree with the same personal definition for a a female who was also sleeping with men.

    Words MATTER, definitions MATTER, and what it MEANS to be a woman or a lesbian MATTERS, and isn't just free for appropriation by anyone who feels like defining themselves as one.

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  30. "I tend to see the hyper-feminization of girls and FTM transitioning as the flip side of the same coin in that both are largely fueled by internalized misogyny, the decline of feminism, neoliberal economics, and the mass commercialization of body altering surgery or modification. Also, I think some deep seated lesbian phobic attitudes might play a role in some FTM (female to male)".

    Hear hear.

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  31. "Words MATTER, definitions MATTER, and what it MEANS to be a woman or a lesbian MATTERS, and isn't just free for appropriation by anyone who feels like defining themselves as one".

    Agree completely.

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