the whole article is really just.. ugh.
- Sexism is institutionalized at birth. As Asher Bauer explains in “Not Your Mom’s Trans 101,” “Let’s start at the beginning. A baby is born. The doctor says ‘It’s a boy’ or ‘It’s a girl’ based on the appearance of the child’s genitals. […] the child is then raised as whatever arbitrary gender the doctor saw fit to assign.” On the one hand, this is often the setup for trans identification later in life, with the individual realizing that her gender doesn’t match up with her biological sex (as designated by the doctor and social conventions that elide sex and gender). On the other hand, some argue that girls face sexism from birth while boys, even if they later identify as women, do not, signifying a fundamental difference in terms of privilege and upbringing between cisgender and trans women.
- Gender is socially constructed. Expounding on an idea most famously discussed by Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex, Laurie Penny writes, “Not a single person on this planet is born a woman. Becoming a woman, for those who willingly or unwillingly undertake the process, is torturous, magical, bewildering–and intensely political.” Trans women have to function in the same patriarchal culture cisgender women do, so it’s not a huge leap to say that all women can stand together against inequality. However, even the term “cisgender” is a contentious one, as it suggests ciswomen have privileges (by “being able to” conform to the sex/gender binary) that transwomen do not. According to Miska, “cisgender privilege” is a fundamental misnomer because “we do not have gender privilege to begin with.”
wait wait I think you must have made a series of really unfortunate errors here because it sounds like you’re suggesting that transwomen are more privileged than ciswomen. And you didn’t mean to say that, right? right? right?
“According to Miska, “cisgender privilege” is a fundamental misnomer because “we do not have gender privilege to begin with.”
No… no. OK just off the top of my head, here are some privileges I have as a cis woman over some trans* women:
- No body dysphoria regarding my secondary sexual characteristics (genitalia, breasts)
- No one ever questions me when I walk into a women’s bathroom or dressing room
- No one has ever questioned whether I’m a “real” woman
- As a straight woman, I am free to marry a cisgender man in any state in the US
- No one in my family has ever questioned my gender identity
And the list goes on and on. And being a woman does have some gender privileges. Men have WAY MORE of them, but we have some.
What is with the mainstream feminism transfails going on today???
Okay, was this person just like “I can’t be arsed to understand what ‘cis’ means, so I’ll just interpret it an a way that doesn’t upset my comfortable, biologically-determined male-female dichotomous worldview”? Because it sounds like that. Furthermore, I find this whole biological determinism shit to be profoundly anti-feminist. While I recognize both the strengths and the flaws of the second wave, as Bob Dylan said, don’t criticize what you can’t understand.
I’ve been noticing more and more that people will, it seems, tolerate, let slide, or not attack statements which are derogatory/dismissive/otherwise nasty towards transwomen in a way they wouldn’t if they were directed towards transmen. Obviously, I’m a ciswoman and maybe this is just what I notice, which spaces I’m in, and I may be talking out of my ass because I hate fights on the Internet so I don’t call these people out, either… But maybe I should get the fuck over that, because it’s not okay. I think we, as queerfolk, as feminists, as leftists, whatever, have a bit of a problem here.
It’s not just you, trans women definitely get a lot less respect and more violence than trans men. In queer and feminist spaces, even in supposedly trans-friendly spaces - people really should know better by now. The fact that they don’t - yeah, we need to work harder. =\