Transphobes being creepy, or a day ending in Y

As you probably all have heard by now, Elliot Page has announced his coming out as a trans guy. While this has been greeted with joy by a lot of people, there’s of course also a particular group of people who is absolutely outraged at the thought of a young-ish* person afab deciding about their own life, body and future. Now, actually it’s two, but the one I’m talking about is nominally feminist transphobes. Page has long been an icon of the queer community, lending voice and fame to its struggles, but since they don#t consider trans people to be part of the community, this is now a massive betrayal of a community transphobes don’t want to be part of anyway.

This is what a well known transphobic lesbian, Claire Huchan (does it surprise you that she is British and a Swerf?) had to say (CN deadnaming):

I find it depressing how many young lesbians now feel that, because they do not perform or feel invested in conventional femininity, they can no longer be women. And so they shift from identifying as lesbian women to straight men. Compulsory heterosexuality all over again. If coming out as transgender brings the actor formerly known as E… Page any measure of peace, then I am glad for them. But my heart also breaks as the lesbian community grows smaller. Again. And loses a role model. Again.

So. Much. To. Unpack. Here.

First it’s the presumption that being trans or not is about gender roles, expression and gender performance, not about gender itself. Which is rich coming from people who fiercely police people’s gender roles and expressions, who are ok with threatening and excluding cis butch women because they don’t look feminine enough, and who also criticise trans women for being “too feminine”. Pro tip: it’s not trans folks and their allies who are policing people’s bodies. We don’t go on and on about jaw lines or hip width or facial hair. We aren’t trying to find the exact amount of make up a woman is allowed to use before she becomes “a tool of the patriarchy” or are claiming that a trans woman or drag queen putting on make up is akin to “blackface”.

Next comes an idea that is big with transphobes: Trans men are really silly little women who don’t know their own head. You’re not getting more misogynist than that, but here we are. The claim at the centre is that trans men cannot be trusted to know who they are. Now, they don’t believe that trans women are who they say they are, but the reasoning is usually different: trans women are really men, and men are inherently predatory, so a trans woman is really just a predatory heterosexual man who wants access to cis women (straight trans women exist, but transphobes will tell you that they’re probably just making their heterosexuality up). With trans men it’s different. Since they’ve been placed in the inherently harmless and fragile class by transphobes, the predator argument makes no sense. Instead, they are poor victims of the patriarchy. They cannot be trusted to know who they really are. Instead they’re confusing “not being into make up” with being a guy, because that’s definitely something that happens. Especially with a world famous actor. Married to a gorgeous wife. Yes, that’s absolutely the person who knows nothing about the difference between putting on some clothing and make up and being somebody. And that’s just the first tweet.

The second tweet takes it all into creep territory. Because now they actually mourn for Elliot Page, claiming that the lesbian community lost him (funny how a trans man who fancies women is hetero (correct), yet a trans woman who fancies women is somehow also hetero?). As if Elliot Page wasn’t a person with his own life, feelings, and desires, and not some asset to the lesbian community, a canvas ion whom they could project their ideas and desires. Her heart breaks over Elliot Page finding happiness? Lady, that’s creepy as fuck. That’s obsessive. That’s acting like this person owes you something, like he has to live his life according to your rules. And also, what’s up with the role model shit? Can a trans man no longer be a role model? And while representation is important, can you only have role models that match your own identity 100%? Because I guess I’m seriously out of luck here and have to be my own role model.

And last but not least, it’s the blank dishonesty in mealy mouthed support for Elliot Page and his happiness. If you were glad for him, you wouldn’t do the thing that you exactly know is causing him and other trans people harm, and that is deadnaming him. The longer this goes, the less differences there are between Christian Conservatives and self proclaimed “radical” feminists. They both treat people afab as their personal belongings, their bodies as a thing they need control because the owners of said bodies obviously don’t know what’s good for them.

*I mean, he’s 33, but according to transphobes, people afab only become adults once they agree with transphobes.

YouTube Video: I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike

I have a hate-hate relationship with all professional sports*, especially with zero-sum competitions. Apparently even that IMO shitty environment can be made even shittier for women by men who have no clue but wield a lot of power.

This video spoke to me for some reason.

*In short, they are unhealthy and they more often than not foster self-harm, tribalism, and abuse.

The intrinsic link between misogyny and white supremacy

On the thread about the recent right wing terrorist attack in Germany, we had a slight disagreement about the role of misogyny in that particular attack.  I decided to give that an extra post for several reasons. For one I didn’t want to get into that discussion on that thread, when we are all in basic agreement about the fascist nature of that attack. For another I don’t want to play “oppression olympics”, making this attack on young migrants some sort of white women’s woe. And finally I think it’s important to talk about these matters in a more general way, to raise awareness about the links between misogyny, white supremacy and how the former is a “gateway drug” for the latter.

The terrorist attack in Hanau shows many similarities to other recent right wing terrorist attacks: El Paso, Christchurch, Halle. The terrorist talked openly about their murder fantasies, they talked about exterminating groups of people, they tried to broadcast their attacks for maximum effect. And they were also misogynists. Sorry that the link is in German, I hope Google translate is passable. This is no coincidence. White supremacists are by nature concerned with two things:

  1. Making white babies themselves with good white women. The Hanau terrorist detailed how he “suffered” from not being able to find a good white woman (claiming that some Deep State organisation prevented him from doing so). this is a common thread among many right wingers. It’s not a bad joke when you say sexually frustrated men are a risk group. There’s a very clear correlation between a lack of women and right wing success in East Germany.  In those rural areas with few opportunities women tend to leave. They are better educated and also work in professions that are needed everywhere. They leave behind men who we tend to call “Wendeverlierer”, the losers of the reunification: They lost their jobs or didn’t find a job in an area that they deem worthwhile. Even now that many of them do have a job, there’s still no woman who dreams of living in a dying small town in the middle of nowhere.

These men usually have very “traditional views” on relationships and family life. They’re stuck somewhere in the 1960s (interestingly in the 1960s of West Germany) while the women are in the 2020s. It’s hard not to feel a pang of sympathy when they talk about missing things many of us take as ordinary things: a partner, a family, an intact personal support system, until you remember that they also think they are owed these things by women and that it’s feminism and the immigrants’ fault that they’re not getting it. Which links up to #2

  1. Keeping other men from making babies with the white women they deem their property. The fear of “miscegenation” is strong with them as you can see in these covers from one of the bigger German right wing magazines (I’m sorry you’ll have to open the thing in twitter to see the full pics. Or don’t. They’re racist as fuck):

Men of colour are painted as both sexual predators from whom the white women must be protected, as well as a threat to white men’s access to white women. Especially young muslim men are their object of hatred: They are presumed to have more patriarchal views and societies, they are able to live the life those white men think they are owed, and on top of that they have to pay lip service denouncing those men in order to maintain the mainstream narrative of our societies being superior because “we” “respect” women. It’s quite telling how those who pre 2015 told women they need to dress modestly are now vigorously defending miniskirts.

Young male refugees present an additional danger. Not only do they tilt the gender balance some more, they also embody a lot of the stereotypes those men base their value on. Those young men have often seen war and violence. They had to prove themselves and make it against terrible odds. They are fighters and survivors. In short, they em,body everything those dudes think that men should be and they are not. As we know those men don’t even need to be anywhere close. At the height of the racist Pegida demonstrations there were five protestors for every Muslim in Saxony.

The “men of colour as a threat” is of course also an angle that gets white women attracted to far right groups, though so far they have constantly lower support among women than among men.

I hope these two points demonstrate why white supremacists are also always misogynists. They want a clear hierarchical structure with them at the top and they cannot get this without doing what men everywhere have done for millenia: controlling the fertility of women and others capable of having children. You will not find a white supremacist who is not a misogynist, or one who isn’t against abortion on demand (they aren’t against all abortions, though, let’s remember the recent eugenics debates).

Lastly I would like to come back to something I mentioned at the top: misogyny as a gateway drug. Now I have to formulate this carefully because I don’t want this to come off wrong: In many parts of society it is more acceptable to say misogynist shit than it is to say racist or antisemitic shit. I’m not talking about attitudes, just about the “saying it out loud” part. While many centrist people will quickly shush their own for talking favourably about Hitler, it hardly ever happens when some dude complains about women not fucking them. Or women having a career. German has it’s own horrible word for mothers who do not dedicate 24/7 to their kids: We are “Rabenmütter” raven mothers (which proves they know just as much about ravens as about anybody else). Attitudes like “women are naturally better with children” and “a child needs his mother” are widespread and can act as a gateway into the right wing mindset. A guy who feels lonely can easily get sucked into the world of right wing conspiracies, finally finding the culpable for his own personal woes.

The Art of Book Design: Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two Shoes. New-York, McLoughlin Bro’s, 1888.

I’ve always wondered about the origin of the expression “Goody Two-shoes,” and I finally found the answer in a Victorian Era’s Children’s book. This is not the original version, which I have been unable to locate, but the story is the same. It was initially published in 1768 by John Newbury Co. In London and tells the story of an orphaned girl who does well in life despite her impoverished beginnings. As with most stories of the time, the girl succeeds by being unfailingly kind and sweet, and she is rewarded with a happy marriage to a wealthy man. Uggh! So it’s basically Cinderella without the cinders and marriage is the ultimate success for a girl. Goody’s brother also does well, by going to sea and having lots of adventures while amassing a fortune. Why do the boys always get to have adventures, but the girls must become capable and good wives?

It’s a short book, so I’ve attached all the illustrations below the fold if you’re interested.

It isn’t certain who wrote the story. In those days, publishing houses paid writers for anonymous work. Some people argue that Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith may have penned the story. Others suggest that John Newbery himself wrote the story, or possibly Giles Jones, a friend of Newbery’s. There is little evidence for any of these claims.

The 1768 book isn’t the origin of the phrase, however, which is first seen in literature in 1670 in the book Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque by Charles Cotton.

Mistress mayoress complained that the pottage was cold;
‘And all long of your fiddle-faddle,’ quoth she.
‘Why, then, Goody Two-shoes, what if it be?
Hold you, if you can, your tittle-tattle,’ quoth he. 

                            – Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque, 1670, by Charles Cotton

The phrase being used in this instance to point out the Goodwife’s (Goody) privilege (having 2 shoes as opposed to others who have none.) The 1768 book did, however, make being a Goody Two-Shoes into a desirable trait for a girl.

Next week we’ll look at a different sort of book for girls.



Source for book and illustrations: The Internet Archive

Source for information on Goody Two-Shoes:  Wikipedia

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