Relax Patriarchy, I’ve Had My Period! transgender justification #1
August 26, 2008
In an ongoing effort to exemplify an analysis of transgenderism where people actually present a reasonable demeanor and perhaps eventually even resolve some long-standing miscommunications, as opposed to oh I don’t know writing breathless screeds which when taken apart are nothing more than an emotional rant from an hysterical woman afraid for her life that women are coming to get your man or something — let’s discuss a justification of trans supporters which is also used by Men’s Rights Activists, those bastions of ethical character and astute mental acuities.
But first it should be noted that this particular justification has been used for years, pops up in almost every serious thread, and almost every single transperson is guilty. This is listed on well-known blogs as a VeryImportantPoint for supporting transgenderism; it’s written by well-respected and otherwise very intelligent bloggers and I won’t embarrass anyone by identifying specific people because it’s with a certain amount of utter peevish disgust that I find myself having to mention it at all. And so we need a pretty picture to meditate upon, like so:
Ah, much better. Here is the problem, bluntly quoted:
4) In a sense, transsexuals who move from one sex to the other “entrench the system” of gender as a binary, because they are willing to dress and be identified in society as one gender and not the other. But that’s true of the vast majority of us, transsexual or not.
All of us make compromises with the patriarchal society around us, whether it’s getting married to someone of the opposite sex, or shaving (for women), or shopping only in the “men’s” section of the clothing store (for men), or wearing a low ponytail (for me). There are a thousand ways to compromise with patriarchy – no, ten thousand – and I doubt anyone fights against them all. And all of these decisions and actions could be said to help entrench the gender-binary system.
Here is another version, middlin clear:
Miss Andrea argues that “guys in frocks” are merely buying into gender essentialism, but I don’t see how arguing that only those born with ovaries1 can ever be regarded as “real” women isn’t doing exactly that. It’s treating gender as inalienably aligned with biological sex, whereas those who have a trans* history are those are saying that their biological sex has not been sufficient on its own to make them feel comfortable in their assigned gender role. That strikes me as the very opposite of biological essentialism; even in cases where a transitioning individual adopts genderised dressing stereotypes, because the whole point of gender being a social construct is that those stereotypes are artificial rather than essential in the first place.
Of course transgender behaviours are an exercise in artificiality – but is it fundamentally any more artificial than cisgender behaviours? If reifying gender by dressing so very femininely is so fundamentally awful, then why so much criticism reserved mainly for the transwomen who do so, and so little criticism by comparison for all the ciswomen who embrace all the rituals and accessorised impedimenta of femininity?
Here is another version, finely hidden:
The hypocritical fantasy is that somehow certain dealings-with-gender are more filthy or impure or signal that really, a person must love and embrace gender and gendered oppression. It’s like pretending that buying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or a MacBook is more ethically sound and makes you a better person than buying Haagen Daaz or a Dell — dude, it’s all capitalism and profiteering. So when you boil down, it’s largely just an exercise in auto-backpatting — folks who rant about this kind of thing need to get the log out of their own eye before they go around trying to pluck motes out of others’.
The last one is my personal favorite and we’ll be returning to roast the author in the firery pits of hell because last time I checked her entire spiel contained at least seven justifications. SEVEN.
Look for this piece of garbage masquerading as a reason in any serious discussion, and you will surely find it. These were found on pages purporting to elucidate the binary, and is a corollary to the mysterious thing I am hunting down by a process of elimination. Those supporting transgenderism are not using logic, they are using justifications, and after delineating their “arguments” then I get to call that behavior short-sighted and ultimately prove it misogynistic because only Patriarchy is the other one who does it.
We recognize this format when it is given by the rape apologists, we notice this pattern when it used by the Men’s Rights Activists, we cringe when this construction is used by abusive personalities — but somehow we do not observe the plain truth right in front of us when that format is used by transfolk and their supporters. What am I going on about? What justification? It’s the one which is screamed by a two year old child:
MOMMY, BUT SUSIE DOES IT TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Say it with me, “that’s a justification not a reason”. Excellent. Justifications are not sound arguments for supporting any ideology; in fact justifications aren’t arguments at all. They are excuses. Kind of sad that their most important and oft repeated is little more than an MRA tirade.
Anyway, they see a female who puts on makeup, wears women’s clothing, shaves her legs or does any of those things commonly ascribed to females in our current society — and these folks have the woe begotten guile to insinuate that coping with or bargaining with sexist expectations is only a tiny bit different than running towards sexist expectations. They forget that most real women would prefer to run from proscribed gender roles.
They further compound their error by blaming the female and using her as an excuse for their own benefit. If some behavior is correct then there is no reason to look for scapegoats, but we are so used to people constantly blaming the victim for the perpetrator’s actions that the pattern becomes merely background noise.
Yet another problem is their failure to note the distinction between coping with on-going sexism and adding yet another reason for it’s continuance. That’s a pretty serious charge and if they were really serious or cared about the state of humanity at all then they’d make some effort to refute it instead of hiding behind a pity shield.
Transfolk insist that what they do is none of my business. According to them, I am allowed to care about sexism only as long as I remain silent about the one issue which has the power to change how we think about gender at it’s most fundamental level. What else is the insistence that specific genitalia is required in order to harmonize internal character? If a normal healthy person needs a vagina in order to match his “girly” traits, then every normal healthy person needs a vagina in order to do the same.