Sunday, 20 April 2014
Beauty and Cis divided:
Or the difference between being body shamed as a cis female and being gender dysphoric.
http://glosswatch.com/2014/04/20/beauty-and-the-cis/ There is much to criticise in this rather unempathic post, it reads as one big long "but cis women suffer to" without bothering to tackle that trans woman face the same body shaming with the add burden of being dysphoric.
I'm going to dissect how deeply problematic this post is from both the position of being a presumed woman and being a non-binary individual.
First she declares that "most women hate their bodies". As if it's a fact. There is no evidence supplied for this. Being self conscious about one's body and about whether it meets the criteria for attractive that society puts on presumed women is not necessarily hating one's body.
The second part goes into her own ED issues and reveals that really Glosswitch thinks most women are simply reflections of herself, she feels this way so other women must feel that way. It doesn't work that way however. Women and presumed women are as individual as any man.
The next few parts are not bad, covering how gender beauty norms are normalised but then it goes downhill.
Quote: "Has anyone who has been assigned female at birth ever been enabled to “operate without conflict or correction”?"
Here Glosswitch profoundly misunderstands the difference between operating without conflict or correction in terms of what gender you're seen as, and operating without it in terms of how your perceived beauty is rated. A cis woman deemed 'ugly' or 'unattractive' by repressive female beauty norms is still consider a woman, they do not have that conflict.
Also let's face it, as restrictive as female beauty norms are? They're still miles easier to meet if born as a presumed female. The daintiness expected of women does not include broad shoulders for example which are so common in those presumed male.
Quote: "Don’t most cis women spend their whole lives trying to “become women”?"
No, Glosswitch, Cis women spend their lives trying to become a socially normative idea of the "ideal woman" in terms of looks, actions and thoughts. They're already seen as women, what they're chasing is the ideal in front of that. The ideal is not womanhood, it's a artificial idea of womanhood. The womanhood for Cis women lies in being born and seen as women. Not in whether they meet the social criteria for female beauty. A 'ugly' cis woman is still a woman, she's just not an 'ideal woman'.
Quote: "Cis women – primped, primed cis women – are not believed to have a problematic relationship with gender, or if they do, it is seen to be of their own making."
Again, the problematic relationship is not with gender, it is with social idealised idea of gender. The problem is not being a woman, it is being a woman who does not meet the criteria for perfect womanhood in the eyes of society.
Quote: "which leads to the assumption that cis women do not even experience gender sufficiently to be able to critique it."
No, it leads to the realisation that Cis women have no business talking about the gender issues trans people face since they are not trans and frequently say ignorant things as a result.
Quote: "Transitioning from male to female is no more a dramatic or meaningful expression of discomfort with one’s own gender identity than having one’s labia reshaped. Yet one is considered so extreme it must betray a deeper engagement with gender as a fundamental truth, while the other is seen as just some stupid thing cis women do."
Oh boy, this is just completely ignorant. A single operation is simply not comparable to two years of compulsory affirmation and obeying a far more stringent set of rules prior to starting far more years of operations. The expectations placed on Cis women to be the ideally attractive cis woman are not more stringent that the expectations placed on Trans women to proved they're really women by performing a narrow idealised womanhood, ie god forbid a Trans woman wear jeans, it always has to be a skirt or her womanhood will be questioned. I also have not met a single trans person who thought of labia reshaping as a "stupid thing cis women do". However the difference between being cis and trans does add gender disphoria which makes a difference to the experience of gender.
Quote: "All women are gender non-conformists, every single one of us."
No, all women do not conform entirely with the social expectations of gender. Cis women still conform to the reality of gender as biology. Were I cis, I would still be seen as a woman, I conform in terms of my body. Even though it doesn't meet the idea of attractiveness, it is still seen as a female body and therefore I am seen as a woman. It takes a lot of effort to non-conform to that.
Quote: "Anyone who positions themselves above this — who believes themselves to be queering gender in a way that other women don’t need to – simply can’t be bothered to consider the specificities of other women’s lives. It’s privileged nonsense"
Yes, she did seriously just argue that being trans and queering gender by being trans means you're privileged. As for her claim that other people can't be bothered to consider specificities of other women's lives? Glosswitch is the one who cannot be bothered in my view. There is nothing in the theory of queering gender that leaves out Cis women. But cis women still do not face the issue of having truly gender non-conforming body because even those cis woman who least conform with the social ideas of behaviour and attractiveness expected from cis women is still treated as a woman.
I do not think Glosswitch understands what queering gender is.
Quote: "we need the space to critique what gender is doing to each and every one of us right now."
Unless you're trans of course because I suspect Glosswitch doesn't think trans people need the space to critique gender.