Tag Archives: Transphobia

Ali Bee: “New World’s Dawning”

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Ha ha! Oh no that’s awful – kill her!! Ha ha!!! Damn, am I allowed to laugh at this? Kaveney, please give me a sign…

Bllleurrrghthhmmmthgrrtg. My brain just melted, please find me a soft cell (with others who share my gender identity, of course)…

GenderTrender

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Pop shots Fader

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Why is pop still so scared of the vagina?

Why indeed?

And it’s not just pop per-se: popular cultural morés in general often present as being at odds with female biology even whilst commodifying (female) sexuality embodied therein…

e.g.

Pornographic representation of in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex.

Public breast-feeding remains a matter of consternation and misunderstanding, despite those practicing it having ‘enjoyed’ http://www.maternityaction.org.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/breastfeedingpublicplace.pdf since 2010; restrictions on its portrayal via social media. Showing breasts is only a (moral, if not actually legal) crime it seems, when they’re actually functioning as breasts; rather than as a sexual fetish.

The increasingly visible recourse to accusations/diagnoses of Transphobia/Cissexism within public discourse, with the tacit purpose of disabling such discourse: embodying the increasingly-fashionable Post-Modern notion that female-ness is a psychosexual ‘identity’ divorced from reproductive biology, and that any suggestion to the contrary is offensive, albeit to a small minority.

The longstanding trend towards employing girls/women with ‘masculine’ (i.e. tall, lean, not-so-curvy) physiques as models in fashion.

What is it ‘we’ don’t want to see? You’d think femaleness were a terrible thing indeed, that we might be blinded by the light of it. ‘This little wound women have… it frightens me.’ spoke the artist-seducer Reynolds in Anaïs Nin’s A Model’ . Seems it frightens a lot of people. Maybe it should?

From The Fader article:

‘Why is pop scared of pregnancy? Aside from the fact that women are so often presented as objects not subjects available for consumption in their own music videos—an illusion that’s broken by the sight of a pregnant bump—perhaps it’s something to do with that old nightmare of “having it all.” Ever since the sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s—when sexual morals shifted, independence celebrated, and more women began to enter the workplace—women have been split into workers and nurturers.’

Having it all‘ is a phrase once often deployed to knock down women who dared to step outside of their male-prescribed, supposed limitations, especially if they performed too well. Overt, incontestible evidence of female reproductive power is an affront to those of us who claim to have the red telephone to woman-central at our fingertips. Whilst some of us non-females show aptitude as both workers and nurturers, there’s still that one thing we can’t do. And it’s no coincidence that artists such as Cherry and Björk who unashamedly bare – and revel in – their femaleness are also high-achieving and indisputably icons. Bjrk writes of

‘”(the) “biological” process of heartbreak: “the wound and the healing of the wound.” But, let’s be real: it also looks like a vagina! Which is, of course, the anatomical source of the family unit that she mourns on “Family,” following the breakdown of her relationship. Where do I go to make an offering, she sings, To mourn our miraculous triangle: father, mother, child.'”

(Which the Po-Mo set might seize on as homophobic, unjustly: even Elton in full indignance is grounded enough to realize he can’t have his kids without female participation. There’s good reason to interrogate the wisdom of IVF and other ‘reproductive technologies’ but that’s a debate for another day.)

She knows.

When Marillion‘s Steve Hogarth wrote the words for The Wound he was in the same metaphorical space, I think; albeit from a necessarily incomplete, male perspective:

Finally, here’s a good – and apposite – one from the vault:

 

 

 

What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

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What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

You’re gonna see more writing like this in the blogosphere as time goes on. Commentators who don’t necessarily present themselves as ‘radical’ yet who nonetheless find themselves kicking back against mainstream political morés in the face of undeserved, unasked-for hostility.
There are – admittedly imperfect, if not entirely unrelated – parallels here with Western political reactions to ‘Radical’ Islam: criticizing – or living outside the rules of – either religion in particular or patriarchy in general can be fraught with danger: the consequences or exercising freedom of speech and action literally life-threatening for gay men, lesbians, atheists, women in general.
But there’s a distinction to be made between Islam – or indeed Christianity, Judaism – as a monolithic political force and the actions of individuals within the doctrine. Recognizing that the proliferation of Tesco within ‘the market’ is not a healthy thing is not equal to a blanket condemnation of all its employees.

There are two strands to Islamophobia: common-or-garden racism – a mechanism of patriarchy in any case, albeit unacknowleged as such – and the conscious recognition of the (religious) monolith’s power.
Driving a wedge between women, and other potential dissenters has always been foremost amongst the ways that our military-industrial-consumerist-patriarchal rulers have maintained order.
On the basis that ‘the friend of my enemy is my enemy’, the liberal mainstream is very much the enemy of women; hence the enemy of social justice: a fact that might surprise many committed to the movement – or maybe not…
The Guardianistas will move on; memories of Moore, Burchill and Jeffries will fade from the public consciousness but the war against women, against social justice will continue.
Caroline Criado-Perez has put herself in the media firing line over and over. She has earned the right to be listened to. She is emphatically not a ‘hater’ in this overly-polarized, post-Bush ‘with us or against us’ media culture.
Read. You may even weep.

The significance of this current head-to-head, liberal versus radical ‘gender war’ is perhaps lost on many – even many in the thick of it – but make no mistake, it is the debate of our time.

Caroline Criado-Perez

Today I got a bit cross. I do that occasionally. I have been watching the non-binary versus feminism wars getting increasingly heated and thinking, one day, I’ll write a considered post on this. It is an important issue that deserves my time and effort – but it is such an important issue that it deserves time and effort that I simply don’t have today. So days go by and I say nothing. I tweet out articles by women far more cogent and intelligent than I am. I endorse them in the strongest possible terms. But it doesn’t feel enough. I feel like I’m ducking my feminist duty: the duty for women to SPEAK. To not feel scared and cowed. To not suffocate under the weight of not saying anything until that mythical perfect moment when all her ducks are in a row, when the sun is at the right point…

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Blood Test

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I took an HIV test yesterday. Not that I was seriously concerned I might have contracted the virus, mind: rather that I work for an HIV/AIDS organization, and a sister organization, as part of national HIV Testing Week, was utilizing our premises to offer instant antigen/antibody tests to clients and staff. Kinda weird in the former instance, since being HIV+ is a prerequisite for referral for treatment; but staff-wise it seemed like good form to – and be seen to – attend to one’s sexual health.

My ‘tester’ explained that which might once have been semi-taboo to voice, that as a ‘straight’, white man, the risk of my contracting HIV thru sex  was somewhat lower than it might be for a man indulging in regular homosexual relations.

One aspect of the testing procedure surprised me: I filled out a form with personal details prior to the blood test which included my sexual orientation; from which I could choose ‘straight’, ‘gay’. ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘Transgender (Male to Female), ‘Transgender (Female to Male), ‘other’. Perhaps you can guess from whence my surprise sprang? As something of a ‘gender sceptic’, I’m familiar with the line that ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are discrete ‘boxes’ as it were. So goes popular, contemporary ‘queerthink’. Could it be that the UK’s preeminent (and admittedly gay-male-centric) HIV charity missed the memo or is their use of language deliberate and candid?

As it happens, I agree, to a point: both ‘cis’ and ‘trans*’ people can be attracted to either/both (biological) sexes and/or to folk presenting as one, other or both. But underlying that fact is the reason that sexual orientation is such a deal, even now, in terms of  personal identity. Andrea Dworkin delineated this so well in the ‘Law’ chapter of her magnum opus, Intercourse [1987](p. 185-211):

‘The laws regulating intercourse – prescribing how we must use each other (be used) as well as proscribing how we must not use each other – are supposed to protect the authentic nature of men and women. Men being fucked like women moves in an opposite direction … [t]he regulation of men by men in sex for the sake of upholding men as a class is the least recognized, least scrutinized aspect … of social control…’

During this chapter, the author also states ‘…[e]very detail of gender specificity was attended to in the Old Testament, including cross-dressing ‘A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garments; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the Lord thy God…’

Dworkin remains on record as the least ‘transphobic’ of radical feminist thinkers; yet she clearly and succinctly apprehends the symbolic and real dichotomy between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ modes of attire/behaviour inherent in historical conceptions of gender: deeply-rooted (radical) correlations which are not easily dismissed or over-written by superficially-neutral jargon.  The inference I take from the previous quote is not that the consumerist-patriarchal monetization of gender-nonconformity is to be embraced (which can be discerned even in the presumably-positive notion of the ‘pink pound’, as well as the ‘Transsexual Empire‘ to borrow Janice Raymond‘s epithet) but, rather that in her radical vision, we might reach a point where ‘gender’ ceases to hold sway over our estimation of interpersonal – and specifically sexual – relations.

Until that day arrives, ‘gender’ and sexuality truly cannot be conceived as being entirely separate aspects of our malleable, shifting sense of human identity…

“When the environment makes gender salient, there is a ripple effect on the mind. We start to think of ourselves in terms of our gender, and stereotypes and social expectations become more prominent in the mind. This can change self-perception, alter interests, debilitate or enhance ability, and trigger unintentional discrimination. In other words, the social context influences who you are, how you think and what you do.”

Cordelia Fine (Delusions of Gender…, [2010])…

…even as living in the relatively-liberal West – and especially here in the city of Brighton, UK – the aggressive hetero-normativity and entrenched (Judeo-Chistian-Islamic) conservatism of most human cultures is easily-forgotten, or at least ignored. As Stephen Fry reminded us in his recent TV documentary, this is something of a luxury: in a gender-free, more sane world it ought not to be.

And to return in the end to the matter of HIV testing, if you or any of your loved ones are concerned about the risk of HIV infection, it’s HIV Testing Week until November 29: you can find information here and here.

Man up…

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…except don’t 😉

Repeat until sane…

‘How many boys have to kill themselves … how many women have to be abused, how many trans* people have to get assaulted … [2.48] Heartening to hear a man lay the responsibility for sexism at the right front door…

‘…Miller Lite is not the most flavourful brew…’ [1.32] got that rite [sic] 😉

‘Nobody says WOman up [1.55] they just imply it … because being directly ordered around by commercials, magazines and music is dehumanizing … when will men figure that out?’
Now there’s a question…

‘I want to be strong in a way that isn’t about physical dominance or power, MAN UP! …’

Butthurt and blinded

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Bit late to the table with this one – intervention of life and relationships, yada yada – but here goes…

Suzanne Moore is castigatated for being funny and clever with it…

I didn’t manage to trawl thru all 21 pages of the pompous, middle-class male, faux-outrage dominating the comments, but I got the gist that around 50% of the replies warranted ‘This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.’ – I wonder why?

Misogyny and misandry are not equivalent; operative action and reaction. To present sexism as a two-way street is to willfully ignore the fact that the traffic on one side is denser, faster-moving and driven by psychopaths. This is a fundamental flaw in the liberal agenda, exemplified by a plethora of comments along the lines of

‘If someone had written an article about things not to do with your vagina would this also be acceptable? Grauniad (sic) I expect better’ (from poster Steve Bagley).

A ‘sexist joke’ directed at a man/men is just that: we (as men) can safely assume that it’s not the thin end of a wedge with real-life discrimination, violence and death on the thick end (Rape banter anyone? yep, that’s a real thing) Which is not to say that men don’t routinely face the threat and actuality of violence; rather to admit that such threats and violences are most often offered and perpetrated by other males, just as violence against women most often is.

‘If only more men would remember not to rape. It’s a great shame how many seem to forget.’ (TristanJakobHoff)

The likelihood of Suzanne Moore or her journalism hurting anyone is surely as remote as, well, the likelihood of Julie Burchill or her journalism hurting anyone.

(Clearly, their Twitter spat with Trans*activists/supporters is fresh in the minds of certain  Guardian posters:

’11) Do not assume everyone with a penis is a man, or vice versa. (Hyosho).)

Perhaps a better-grounded assumption might be that anyone with a penis – and particularly in situations where penis-exposure is unexpected and unwarranted – might present as a threat? A girlfriend recently related to me a couple incidents of indecent exposure, prior to which she’d assured herself she could have responded to such an encounter with an eye-roll and a witty riposte. In the event, she was plain scared and, as such, rendered voiceless; impotent, if you will… As it happens, said exposed organs were attached to self-identified males. though – and I digress momentarily to inform readers that my girlfriend isn’t psychic – had the perpetrators identified as trans*women it’s debatable whether the concomitant and immediate sense of threat would have been significantly reduced, if at all.

If Moore‘s satire on this occasion, isn’t terribly sophisticated it surely has the undeniable ring of truth? As such, how much mileage in dancing around the truth with measured nicety?

‘Yep. It’s hilarious how many (presumably male) posters take issue with a woman telling men what to do, when articles from men telling women – albeit generally more subtly – what to do are a daily occurrence. It’s generally not remarked upon when a man writes a non-factual article on, say, abortion – you certainly don’t get five pages of enraged comments from women about how dare a man tell them what to do with their bodies…

…they’re all true and reasonable requests. So the angry commentators are basically just saying how dare a woman have an opinion on the matter. (Pavanne)

Like Jamie Kilstein, Moore plays switcheroo with familiar tropes of male sexism in order to point up how ludicrous (and harmful) they actually are. As was the case with Kilstein, men dominate the backlash. And they are no more responsible for fomenting misandry thru their satirical musings than Janice Raymond and her ilk are responsible for generating Trans*misogyny by way of their intellectual analysis. And intellectual is a key word here. Writers of all stripes are right to presume a level of intelligence in their readership and argue accordingly, comedically or otherwise. In their over-egged responses, said readership only expose theirs – and their parent-societies’ – prejudices (and weaknesses),

Julian Vigo: The Left Hand of Darkness

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Interesting article by Julian Vigo gives a concise, balanced overview of the long-running divide between radfems and liberals around gender; explains why the former perspective is much-needed and why, even if you’re neither you maybe ought to be listening…

GenderTrender

Light-and-Hand-2010_01237
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CounterPunch WEEKEND EDITION JUNE 7-9, 2013
Transcending the Norms of Gender
The Left Hand of Darkness
by JULIAN VIGO

Since January of this year, the word ‘transphobia’ has been bantered about in mass media and social networking circles to such intensity that its definition has been expanded and in some instances grossly misrepresented.  ‘Transphobia’ has been used in recent months to indicate everything from the range of negative attitudes and actions towards transsexualism and transgender people to the overt censorship of any expression that takes issue with the theoretical and political expressions of the transgenderism or certain trans activists. Even to undertake a strictly political analysis of the trans community one risks being labeled ‘transphobic’ especially if one is a radical feminist.  As a result of this assault on dialogue, the true violence of transphobia (ie. assault, rape, murder and many other forms of discrimination) is cheapened and…

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