Category Archives: privilege

We’re Back

by cacophonies

imnotme and I moved a little over a week ago, and just got the internet hooked back up this past Saturday. We’ve been enjoying the crap out of this new place, and unpacking, and managing to host what feels like a party a day for the past week since practically everyone we know has come over to see where we live, so neither of us have had much time (or energy) for posting.

I still have a bit of writer’s block left, though, so I’m going to kind of cop out here and post a couple questions, in hopes of sparking a good discussion:

What do you consider to be the greatest (rather, most prevalent) privilege that you currently hold? Let’s leave sex and/or gender out of this one.

Now, consider that same privilege in light of your sex and/or gender. What changes? Anything?

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Challenging Feminist Groupthink

by cacophonies

I’m of the mindset that for any social movement to be effective, supporters– especially people who identify as a member of the group that is fighting for any kind of rights or better treatment– must be willing to educate the people whose support they would most benefit from. It helps absolutely no one to make every attempt to alienate anyone. A prime example would be the “groupthink” mentality of most groups– namely, modern feminism. With the language used on many feminist blogs and in many feminist circles these days, you’d almost have to assume that these “feminists” don’t actually want to further their cause, or achieve any kind of equality. They seem to go out of their way to make sure that anyone who could be of help to their cause (like the people responsible for perpetuating sexist behavior) are effectively removed from their realm of education and discussion.

For those of you who are not already readers of Feministe, they often have guest-bloggers who post for a week or so about various issues, from varying perspectives. It’s a pretty great idea, and usually works out well. I’ve touched on it a bit with Queen Emily‘s introduction/ensuing comment hell, and written a follow-up post about the way that commenters were treated by the regular commentariat and moderators, and how the general treatment– or even the allowance of those comments to be published in the first place– is problematic and ultimately detracts from the point at hand.

One guest-blogger, Miranda, caught my attention, though, as she’s pretty young as far as standard good bloggers/writers are concerned. She’s an excellent writer, and from what I’ve read, quite knowledgeable.

Some of Miranda’s posts have been related to youth- or teenage-centered topics, which is great, because we can talk about young women and issues they face all day long, but it’s far more valuable to have a (I am assuming) 16- or 17-year-old actually speaking from her perspective.

The other day, Miranda posted what seemed, at face value, to be a thoughtful post about womanism, and appropriate language for white feminist-identified woman to use to show their support for womanism. She used the blog’s wide readership to basically ask what kind of identifier would be most appropriate for her to adopt. Is it better to say she’s a womanist ally, a womanism supporter, etc.?

The commentariat did, of course, find several ways to tell her that she was very wrong in even posting that piece in the first place, and that it was a very glaring reminder of her white privilege. To be fair, there was some reading and effort needed that Miranda didn’t seem to get to before writing that post, but the comments nearly made that point completely irrelevant by turning it from a suggestion to a personal attack and insulting her intelligence and displaying blatant ageism.

…This isn’t just a rant about Feministe’s groupthink behavior or PCer-than-though attitude, though. This time, several people spoke up with thoughtful, arguably sensical complaints about the idea that people belonging to oppressed groups should never be expected, or even respectfully asked, to even minorly help aid in the education of a person who has more privilege than they do (in relation to the question being asked; in this case, race). For context, here’s what Miranda asks in her original post:

I want your insight on how we can acknowledge the ways The Feminist Movement has and continues to fuck up, while still identifying with its goals. Specifically, I’m wondering how I, a white woman, can acknowledge the dire need for womanism without stepping on the toes of women activists of color.

One question, for commenters of all demographics, with particular emphasis on WOC/self-identified womanists: is it fair to call myself a pro-womanist feminist, as a move towards accomplishing these goals? If not, how else can I humbly and respectfully identify myself?

There are a few suggestions and ideas, then Caoimhe Ora Snow responds to Miranda’s question with this:

Probably makes sense to ask the womanists you support, rather than here at a non-womanist site?

I’m just sayin’.

Miranda responds directly to this criticism by informing her that she has emailed two prominent bloggers, who are women of color, and asked them the same question. (Renee from WomanistMusings responded to Miranda’s email via a post on her own blog.)

Fair enough, right? Unfortunately, Caoimhe was wrong (according to other commenters) in instructing Miranda to ask anyone questions. No one calls Caoimhe out on this, though. My guess is that it’s because s/he’s already criticizing the original poster on her unintentional display of privilege, so she’s gained points within the community for calling someone out, and therefore is privileged enough to avoid criticism or her own call-outs. But the following comments take it from there, further criticizing Miranda for daring to ask women of color what they would feel comfortable with in terms of how she, as a white woman, identifies herself when it comes to being a supporter of womanism. Allison gently informs her that:

I know this might seem like a post that aims for nuance and complexity, but in asking for Renee or Tami to give you “input” — you are asking both of them to instruct you on language. It is not their job to teach you or provide you with a consise label for your activism.

..and is very gracious in providing several links where she feels Miranda should have consulted instead. Restructure! finds it appropriate and useful to inform Miranda that:

I got here via twitter expecting something insightful, but I find a white woman’s mini biography. The part about actual womanism is quoting a random Womanist Musings post, which I’ve read before, a long time ago.

Allison further explains that

It is a function of privilege to request someone’s input, knowledge, and experience to serve as your guiding post for philosophy.

ZC uses the “insults and ad hominem attacks work better than constructive criticism” method, complete with patronizing reassurances about eventually learning how to be a real, smart person when she calls Miranda names:

Well, Miranda, sometimes it sucks being young and dumb, but fortunately we got to read some great links as a result of you sticking your neck out, including the fantastic We Don’t Need Another Racism 101. That’s it. Labels don’t matter, actions do. Live your convictions whatever the hell they’re called and learn from everyone. I stopped calling myself a feminist a long time ago, and decided to BE one instead.

The blatant contradiction that ZC has posed, where s/he states that it’s not important what you call yourself (since we are constantly inundated with new, more appropriate things to call ourselves), can be left for later.

There are, of course, many more ways in which Miranda is criticized for asking how to be respectful toward people over whom she holds privilege, but I don’t want to copy and paste the whole post, so I’ll get to my point:

None of these comments suggest an alternative to Miranda’s supposedly disrespectful and problematic questions other than “read.” No one even went so far as to let her know how it is that she should be expected to know what to read, and where to find it (although a few did provide a couple of links that they themselves were already familiar with fr one unknown reason or another– prefaced by a snarky remark about how easy it was to Google it). Fortunately, like a breath of fresh air, we see several commenters sticking up for her (in indirect ways) by intelligently and clearly critiquing the expectation that privileged people should automatically be aware of their privilege, be okay with being considered an ass hole by everyone all the time, and not ask questions. Manju, who is presumably a woman of color, counters:

of all the new-fangled anti-racist rules out there, the one that leaves me the most gobsmacked is the “don’t ask POC for instruction” or its many variants.

its totally counter intuitive, to the point that anyone who’s outside the narrow echo-chamber of the radical left would find it preposterous. And i suspect that includes the vast majority of POC. Has there been some survey indicating we find this offensive? normally asking for instruction is a totally respectful thing to do

Shah8 is very insightful and makes many good points when s/he says,

While I understand very much about the whole privilege of asking for the signposts as if you were tourists asking for assistance from the native guides, I think this issue can be abused the other way around. I think that context and judgement is really important in deciding how to handle n00b questions.

I hate insular behavior, and creating “safe spaces” gives you the right be *curt*, not abusive.

We should always judge whether the n00b is an asshole, rather than assume so. The latter is treehouse politics.

(emphasis mine)

Tumbril says it well with:

All these syntax games and competing to see who can be the most sensitive, and of course, call out others on their insensitivity, making you their moral superior and in a position to lecture them, are really unhelpful. Do we want people to know what we’re talking about so we can affect change, or do we want to impress each other with an ever-expanding plethora of labels and sub-categories that mean absolutely nothing to anyone other than us?

(again, emphasis mine)

I’m happy to see that, while it’s important to be inclusive and respectful in language and considerations, people are finally speaking up in larger numbers about being consistently expected to grovel at the feel of anyone over whom they hold any kind of privilege, to beg forgiveness for merely existing. Miranda is clearly not an asshole, and should not be treated as such unless (not until) she proves herself otherwise. Who wouldn’t expect that treatment?

Piny from Feministe wrote a quite controversial post challenging a trans woman of color who was notorious around her circles for being unreasonably rude, mean, and insulting to everyone, and using her oppressed status as an excuse for that behavior. The comment thread ended up ripping Piny a new one in several ways, but ultimately, Piny had the guts to come right out and call a woman out for using her oppressed status to abuse other people. While it angered many people, it’s clear that it also got a lot of other people really thinking, and potentially reconsidering their propensity to be loud-mouthed assholes to everyone without considering whether or not they actually deserve it.

I’m glad to see that some people are really embracing the idea that groupthink just isn’t a very good idea.

An Apology/Clarification

by cacophonies

A little while ago, I wrote a post in response to some comments on a Feministe thread about whether or not it’s transphobic to not date a transgender person, when the reason is because they are trans.

The comments that I received in response to that post were not hostile and did not come across as particularly angry, but I know that I offended some people.

I want to apologize for offending anyone. This apology is not a “sorry that you took it the wrong way” apology (which I find to be disingenuous and completely useless) but serious and heartfelt.

While the purpose of the post was to illustrate how I believed that a particular action is not necessarily transphobic, upon rereading that post a few times, I now see that many of the things I said could easily have been read as transphobic, or that I was painting myself as a transphobia apologist. This was absolutely not my intention.

When writing the post, I knew that the sensitive nature of the post itself was likely to cause a bit of a stir, but I didn’t realize that my often overly-wordy, rambling, and tanget-making style of writing distracted so much from what I was really trying to do with the post, which was to simply defend good or well-meaning people from being labeled as transphobic. That perhaps there are people for whom choosing to not be romantically involved with a trans person is not necessarily phobic or inspired by hate, but instead the consequence of certain non-bigoted or prejudiced goals, beliefs, or orientations that the person may have.

There were concerns brought up that I was primarily focusing on situations where one part of a hetero couple came out as trans when I gave examples; this is just because I was in a situation where that happened in a past relationship, and I was familiar with the issues that can arise. The other examples I used (fertility issues, mostly) could be applied to any romantic relationship; I was not very clear about that.

Thank you to everyone (especially people who are trans) who commented on that post with constructive criticism of what I said, or with other valuable insights. I hope that people who are transgender who read that and were offended at anything I said will accept my apology. It was not, and is not, ever my intention to make anyone who is transgender feel like there is yet another person who thinks it’s okay to discriminate against them based on their trans status.

Please understand that I am not asking for praise or “cookies” for my apology. I just want anyone who may have been hurt or offended by that post to know that I recognize the problematic things that I said, and that I am sorry for them.

Your beliefs are counter productive

by imnotme

What about mine? I have… few. Precious few. Honestly, I struggle to identify a single one. Which I suppose at least partly explains why I have become less socially effective and more aloof.

Or, for the sake of full disclosure I can definitely name one belief that I do have, which is probably counter-productive whether or not I want to admit it: that people ought to be considerate. I really believe this no matter how much evidence (mostly deconstructivist or theorist) is presented to me. I believe that, regardless of your beliefs, you should be considerate.

With that in mind, I would like to address political/social/religious/economic/legal/any-other-word-that-encompasses-the-notion-that-some-general-concepts-are-necessarily-bound-to-infinite-dead-ends, behaviour versus discourse… OR, it’s possible I mean to address discourse versus behaviour. It’s possible that I will address both now by stating the following:

In no uncertain terms you are accountable for every instance of your being. Regardless of how this becomes manifest. So basic is this assertion that I would say, with confidence, that any reader who understands the first premise of my argument will also concede the following: that those who recognize accountability also recognize their own offenses, AND FURTHERMORE, will then be necessarily tethered to an obligation to speak in their own defense or apology. This is a trick few have mastered in tandem with maintaining what dignity they feel they should have in a given situation. Yet, this is precisely the trick that I feel yields the most valuable written discussion/argument.  If not for its pleasantries and freedoms then for its security. You see, atmosphere is something that most people seem to innately understand. IF you stumble across this blog and find it “combative” then we have failed. If you meet me in person and find me to be “pompous”, then I have failed.

Yep. It’s on one hand elementary and on the other an issue that demands such refined attentions that high academia would only be jesters in its court. The ‘recognized polarity’* and unity of this concept is precisely the same reason socially minded discourse often turns violent, or at the worst, counter productive. Some groups of feminists, some groups of masculists, some groups of atheists, some groups of theists, some groups of ethicists and some groups of moralists have been and will be prone to ‘group-think’ as it is a human problem; therefore, self-assuredness would be the ultimate crime one could commit in terms of bringing their own beliefs into discussions that seek definition and reconciliation (which I truly believe both Nice Feminist and Feminist Critics really seek).

One last note, and this will sound simple to those of you who have been interested up to this point, that I would like to point to is that Male/Female is abstractly congruent. Whether it be an artistic, academic or sensual impression, it is hard to find ways in which the norms of sexual expression are symbolized as obtuse. Stated otherwise: it is problematic to defend one belief against a sea of perspectives. Stated otherwise: it is permissive to defend one perspective against an ocean of beliefs.

For further illustrations of this problem (and a further defense of why consideration is possibly the ultimate ‘virtue’-whatever that means to you) read “On Contradiction” by Mao Tse-tung.

[if you’re wondering what in the hell this has to do with feminism simply wonder on the nature of being pro or anti a “stance.” I.e. wonder on the productivity of choosing a “side” as it were]

*The conflict of perception versus absolutism

Thoughts On Privilege

by cacophonies

The other morning at work, a group of my coworkers congregated around one of the windows (we’re on the 17th floor), where we could see the AT&T building. Employees were picketing for better health care or benefits or contracts of some kind. I didn’t know all the details, but I knew it was healthcare-related. I went to lunch with imnotme and we walked past them, scowling and irritable, because imnotme had worked for AT&T in the past and knew their union’s benefits; neither of us can afford the benefits offered to us at the national bank that we work for. How irritating and privileged of them, we thought, to complain about their benefits, when I work 40 hours a week for a large corporation and earn a reasonable hourly wage, and still can’t afford medical insurance with their plan? I can’t go to the doctor without severely taking from my money available for monthly bills, because I cannot afford the $120/month plan my employer offers.

Then I realized that I have been in their position, in regards to a number of different issues, a million different times. I’m privileged, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to complain if conditions aren’t ideal. If my $3,000 poodle pooped on my $10,000 rug, that might be a more desirable problem than potentially starving to death, but don’t I still have the right to be upset about my ruined rug?

I realize that was a shallow example, and I certainly can’t afford a $3,000 dog or a $10,000 rug. But the point remains: do I not have a right to complain if someone else could ever, in any possibility, have things a bit worse off than I do?

Each one of us has certain privileges, and each one of us suffers from oppression. The degree to which each of us experience these vary, of course, but we can’t very well argue that there are some people with zero privilege, or zero oppression.

As someone who is very privileged in comparison to a great number of people and/or groups, I can say that I’ve been both accepting of my privilege and try to take necessary steps to make sure that that doesn’t negatively or unfairly affect others, and also that I’ve been simply resentful of any implication by anyone that I don’t have the right to complain, to feel oppressed, or to feel hurt by accusations that I abuse my privileges, when it’s not my fault that I have them.

People who feel “more” oppressed than others will often call people out on their privilege, which often yields a defensive and knee-jerk response from the alleged oppressor, which often makes the alleged oppressor shut down any openness to understanding. The alleged oppressors then anger the less privileged by making angry statements declaring that they, too, have rights, stop reversing the oppression/various “-isms.”

Where do we come to a common ground here? I think much of the problem lies in what we collectively consider to be privilege, and what we consider to be oppression. When engaged in a discussion about privilege/oppression, people often play what many refer to as the Oppression Olympics, comparing various ways that people are oppressed, how it’s worse than certain other groups’ oppression, how one is more deserving of attention than the other.

I’m privileged in a number of ways, and while I am very aware of that, I feel a biting resentment toward anyone who would say or imply that my experiences as a white, heterosexual, able-bodied female are less valid or deserving of consideration than others that come from someone less privileged than I am (in a general sense; who ultimately decides?). My knee-jerk reaction is to declare that the “more” privileged person is being silenced, being shoved aside and told they don’t matter. The response of the accuser is that people with less privilege are often shoved aside and made to believe that their experiences, perspectives, etc., don’t matter, and that that should be enough to make me shut up. To stop being so expectant of privileged treatment all the time, and let others have a turn.

I was raised by a single mother who was on welfare for a while, and that affected my perspective in a number of ways. Another female with an identical upbringing, but who happens to be a person of color, may be more oppressed than I was because of her race, but her presence (on the internet? in the room? On the planet?) doesn’t negate my experiences. If you want to follow the logic that it does, you’d have to follow it to the only one, solitary person who is the very most oppressed in the world, and it certainly isn’t you, so you’d better shut your mouth.

That doesn’t make sense. Do you think you should just shut your mouth? I don’t. I don’t think I need to complain every time I think something “sucks,” but I don’t think that I just need to shut up, either. I resent the implication that I need to be all-inclusive in my speech and behavior at all times, when the same isn’t required (or even expected) of everyone else. I resent the fact that, while it is a good idea to be all-inclusive as much as you can be, I’m a member of what seems to be the only group who is held accountable for that.

For example: mainstream feminists blogs won’t even touch the fact that the vast majority of black voters are against gay marriage. Mainstream feminist bloggers are nearly all officially in support of gay rights and effectively anti-racist, but for some reason they all shy away from criticizing any non-white person who behaves in a oppressing way toward other minority or disadvantaged groups. When someone else brings it up, they sarcastically and dismissively brush it off, saying something about not silencing oppressed peoples voices or how white people, both men and women, should be entirely responsible for changing everything, and everyone else is off the hook for helping to change our society, and even volunteers are suspect.

In a similar vein, a group of women talking about how all men are ass holes, violent pricks, rapists, etc., isn’t any better than a group of men speaking derogatorily about women as a whole. Just because they are understood to be part of an oppressed class should in no way exempt them from basic rules of respect when it comes to other human beings. It is unfair to hold only those who have relative privilege responsible for their infractions. The blatant hypocrisy ruins anyone’s credibility, for one.

The point I’m ultimately trying to come back to (believe it or not) is that, while privilege is confusing to deal with, oppression is uncomfortable to admit to being a part of, and no one knows what terminology to use anymore, we really do all have to try.

If I find myself noticing, for example, that 8 out of 10 people that I know and see every day claim to be bipolar, and I roll my eyes and think at least half of them are just being dramatic, that’s when I have to stop myself and remember that I’m not bipolar. I couldn’t possibly be so arrogant to assume that I know better than they do what is going on inside of their head. I think this applies to many other ways that privileged people can forget their privilege and effectively blame oppressed people for their oppressions, and not acknowledge how they, as a privileged class, are helping to oppress those other people, no matter how indirectly.

There’s no real attempt at understanding where anyone is coming from, there are accusations and declarations that the privileged just “know better” about what the oppressed individual or group is going through, or what they need to do.

It’s really as basic as putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, trying to understand what it is that someone goes through on a daily basis, and how you would feel and how your perspective would change it it were you. And remembering that, and acting accordingly.

I catch myself violating these rules, and I keep trying to eliminate that from my behavior and change my perspective when I find myself acting or thinking in a very privileged manner. Everyone should do this. It’s not a defeat or a concession. Think of the different ways that your voice isn’t heard, and respect the voice of others, because you know how it feels.

One thing that is hard for me, and many other people, is calling out racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic behavior when a member of my peer group expresses it, and it’s easily one of the most important and influential things that you can do to help raise awareness. Instead of rolling your eyes and chuckling at your friend’s “tranny” joke, even when you don’t think it’s funny, because you don’t want to start an argument or cause a scene, you actually say something about how it’s disrespectful and ask them to stop using that language, or think about what it is that they’re really saying.

All that said, acknowledging your own privilege doesn’t mean being quiet and letting people who are less privileged walk all over you, simply because they themselves get walked on all the time. That’s not productive and it furthers the problem.

I’m not even sure that I am comfortable with the current privilege/oppression model anymore, but it’s just the easiest to use at this point.

Dating While (Apparently) Transphobic

by cacophonies

Note: I tried to avoid jargon as much as possible for anyone new to transgender issues, but sometimes it is just easier. For anyone unsure, cis means non-trans; one’s gender identity and physical sex “match” what is found on one’s birth certificate. Trans is used here to encompass anyone whose gender identity does not match the sex that the person was assigned at birth.

Feministe has just introduced their summer guest bloggers, one of whom is Queen Emily of Questioning Transphobia. Queen Emily laid down some ground rules about the types of comments she would and would not allow, since blogs about trans issues on larger feminist blogs tend to get frequently derailed with 101-style questions about anything trans-related.

Naturally, the post lead to some ridiculous comments that directly contradicted the rules listed on her introductory post.

…One derail, however, got a few snotty replies, and got me thinking.

Commenter Melancholia asked:

Is it transphobic if a cis person will not date a trans?

The answers were pretty much the same across the board:

GallingGalla: “is it self-defense if a trans person will not date a cis person who asks questions like this?”

Kristin: “Yes, you dumbass, it’s transphobic.”

little light: “No on account of we have gross cooties. Perfectly understandable and stuff!”

gudbuytjane: “Oh, and not dating someone because they were a trans woman (which is usually the issue, now) is not only transphobic, it’s kinda foolish, because a lot of us are pretty damn hot.”

There were more, of course. All of them agreed that, yes, deciding not to date someone because they’re trans is transphobic.

The odd thing is that commenter abbyjean, who’s in agreement with the theories above, makes sure to educate the commentariat on the definition of transphobia from a pretty straightforward about.com article, which is: “Transphobia is an irrational fear of, and/or hostility towards, people who are transgender or who otherwise transgress traditional gender norms.”

(emphasis mine)

It really depends on how you look at it. If I find out that my prospective partner’s genatalia is quite a bit different that I had imagined it would be, and that part of their body was important to me (say, if I had a desire for biological children with my significant other), then I do not see the problem with no longer being interested in pursuing a romantic relationship. With that particular example, the same decision would be justified with two cis people.

I get it, I see how people who believe that this is transphobic are waiting for me to remark specifically on the way that trans women’s or men’s genitals are different, waiting for me to slip up and say something that insinuates that I assume that all trans men have vaginas, and that all trans women have penises, therefore disregarding their gender and giving them an identity that I choose for them. I’m not going to, because I know that that’s simply not the case. But to call a cisgender person transphobic for choosing not to be romantically involved with someone because they are trans is problematic on a number of levels:

It’s not about transphobia. It’s about sexual orientation.

I’m a heterosexual female, so I should therefore have the right to tell a woman that I don’t want to date her. I also have the right to desire biological children, which means that it cannot possibly be wrong for me to deny someone the privilege of being in a romantic relationship with me if they do not share that desire, or are unable to contribute to that desire.

Julia Serano wrote in “Love Rant,” a chapter in “Whipping Girl,” that she and a (presumably cis) male friend of hers had a discussion about how she would feel if her partner were to tell her that they were trans.

…he seemed surprised when I replied that I would not be bothered one bit. And it’s not that I would merely ‘tolerate’ a relationship with a trans woman. On the contrary, I would consider it an honor.”

Notice how Serano defaults to discussing trans women in her examples. She openly admits her sexual preference and orientation, but simultaneously demands that the rest of us forget our own.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. She has an admiration for what trans women go through, and she can certainly identify with trans women. She goes on to describe other details about her personal attraction to people. She, personally, would not be bothered if her partner were to inform her that they were going to transition to the opposite sex.

There’s nothing to worry about until she goes on, another page further, when her friend asks Julia (who identifies as a lesbian), “Well, what if you found out that the trans woman you were attracted to still had a penis?” Julia laughed, she says, and then told him:

I laughed and replied that I am attracted to people, not to dismembered body parts. And I would be a selfish, ignorant, and unsatisfying lover if I believed that my partner’s genitals existed primarily for my pleasure rather than her own.

She raises a decent enough point if you’re considering a couple that’s been together for a long time and one partner, unexpectedly to the other, comes out as trans, and all works out well, but her problem is that she can’t stop telling people who and what they should be attracted to, and why, and how. She is a millimeter away from telling homosexual people that everything they are fighting for is worthless and all in vain, because sexual orientation doesn’t exist.

Excluding examples of people who are freaked out by their prospective partner being trans, or people who think trans people are “gross,” “unnatural,” or any number of other things, I can think of a lot of examples where a person would decide not to date a trans person because they are trans:

Heterosexual cis woman whose (to her knowledge) heterosexual cis male husband informs her that he is trans, and will be transitioning to female. Her trans partner may or may not identify as a lesbian, or bisexual. This isn’t relevant. The cis woman is heterosexual; being with another woman is not in her sexual nature. This is not transphobic. This is telling the cis woman that she has no right to have a sexual preference, or orientation.

Or, the cis lesbian woman whose presumed female partner comes out as trans. Is she supposed to stop caring about how she’s attracted to females, and accept that she’s now with a male, which is in direct opposition to her natural inclination toward woman as romantic and/or sexual partners? Is that fair?

Or the cis person who finds out that a prospective partner is trans, and the cis person had a strong desire for biological children with their partner in the future. This is no longer (in most cases) possible with a trans partner. Is it now wrong for him or her to end the romantic partnership with the trans person in order to pursue their own goals or desires?

Find all the logical flaws in this post that you want, but to make it personal: I just can’t find a way to justify how it is appropriate to tell me that I am selfish and ignorant for liking the fact that my significant other has a penis, and not liking it so much if he decided to change that.

Penis

by imnotme

There, it’s been said. (just like a man :-p)

For better or worse there are penises and vaginas all throughout the animal kingdom. They captivate humans. It’s weird.

Why am I saying this? Well, if I’m going to be posting on a blog about feminism then I can be reasonably certain that some discussions will necessarily draw up distinctions between sex and gender dichotomies (or the true lack thereof). All I will say for now on the subject is that I believe feminism is an unnecessary separation of people from other people. Another fence. A boundary. If one were to ask me “Are you for the legal and social equality of women?” I would say yes emphatically, but I won’t camp there. I suppose that I would be satisfied to say: let’s all be the best we can. Oppression is not a woman’s issue so let’s not be selfish. Unless of course feminists across the board also identified as “southernists” and fought for the rights of exploited southern hemisphere workers who will never know anything but the struggle for food and shelter all because they chose or were born into living simply. These people will probably also never know feminism because it’s a luxury. For some, mating and sexuality are inherent, unquestioned. There is the male sex and the female sex in most people’s minds (with their normalized “gender” traits) and I can’t be bothered to get angry at anyone for it. Our meta-sexual journey is the result of technology and the vast exchange of information possible in developed nations, which is not necessarily the same thing as enlightenment.

All the same, I live in a developed nation with nearly every accommodation I could ask for, including this computer and internet connection, and I love a good discussion. I also believe that developed nations have a burden of social education. Let youngsters be informed that there is no prescribed way to behave that justifies the mistreatment of others. Yes?