Sunday, 20 April 2014

Beauty and Cis divided:

Or the difference between being body shamed as a cis female and being gender dysphoric. 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.

Friday, 4 April 2014

There is no 'we'

TW: Discussion of abuse, rape and rape culture.

Or why this survivor of childhood abuse and rape has never felt welcome in social justice circles.

There is no we when you insist that someone's value in fighting other oppressions is more important than tackling their habit of calling people liars if they don't think that person has the right opinions or they simply dislike that person.

There is no magic "is an asshole" shield that protects someone from abuse or rape simply because someone doesn't like them or their opinions. If someone's criteria for "I believe them" is "So long as they're part of my group/agree with me/aren't a bigot". Then they are expressing rape culture, because rape and abuse happens to people who are assholes and bigots just as readily as it happens to those who are angels. If you do not address this because you think the "good" they do excuses this? You are perpetuating rape culture.

There is no we when you insist on treating the atypical issues caused by abuse as not worth acknowledging and supporting us for simply because those issues hurt another person.

Sometimes our pain and scars results in us hurting others, this does not mean we should not be supported. Please note, there's a difference between excusing and supporting. You can support us without excusing us. Blanket condemnation of our hurt due to the harm it does to others just heaps a new layer of scars on top of the old ones. How can we heal and stop hurting other if you deem our scars as making us "bad" and "unworthy of support to address it"? You can support both us and those we hurt by accident. It is not an either or proposition.

There is no we when you insist that unless we show what you expect then we're not really hurting.

We are not all alike, sometimes it seems you see still waters but beneath the calm, those waters roil with pain. Don't always insist on the storm, be ready to listen to us about how being a survivor has impacted us. I myself because I had precisely zero support, well those who do not listen would think I was unaffected, but those who do listen would realise how the damage spreads throughout my whole worldview. I need support for that just as much as those who show you what you expect to see.

There is no we when you would rather shame me for how my wound manifests then understand why it manifests that way.

Listen. It is not a hard thing.

There is no we when you are happy to have the person who demanded details of my abuse from me in your community and act like I am being unreasonable for feeling unsafe with such a person around.

There is no we when you think all the rules of not perpetuating rape culture somehow have exceptions.

Again, there is no way to be anti-rape culture and make exceptions for people you don't like/don't agree with. You either believe survivors or don't. You can't believe some and not others. You either think victims should not have the details demanded or do think details should be demanded. You can't demand details from me five minutes after being outraged at others doing the same to another, at least not without being a massive hypocrite who perpetuates rape culture.

There is no we when you consistently expect us to either be all strong or all weak.

There are days when the scar just feels like a black hole sucking my life into the void, there are days when I barely remember that I am a survivor. Please stop insisting that since I handled the asshole last week, I can't be in a state this week. I am not always strong, just as I am not always weak.

There is no we when you continually mistake anger for strength.

Just because I tell a rape culture perpetuator to fuck the hell off doesn't mean I'm strong. Anger and strength are not the same, I can be hurting. Please don't assume that I don't need support and especially don't assume and then get mad at me because I say that I needed support.

There is no we when during an argument about an issue, you have no issue with rape threats or support for rape threats directed at me by someone else in the guise of fighting for you.

If someone proceeds to "fight" for you by basically saying I deserved rape threats I got before and you fucking thank them for fighting for you and say nothing about the rape culture argument they just used? You're supporting rape culture.

There is no we when you refuse to accept my right to be flawed, human, hurting, different, and even not what you expected.

Yes, those are all based on incidents done by social justice advocates or done in SJ spaces. That is why there is no We.