The Artifice Of Femininity

There’s a certain scene included in virtually every film, documentary or television series depicting MtF transgenderism. It’s worth at least one shot in the trans documentary drinking game, and is usually framed facing a mirror, looking over her shoulders into a trans woman’s reflection. She’s carefully applying her make-up. Putting on her face. The camera may lovingly detail the painstaking process of assembling her outfit, perhaps putting on a wig or plucking her eyebrows, painting her nails or fastening her bra, pulling her socks over her knees or squeezing her feet into her six-inch stiletto boots. Perhaps a quip gets thrown in about how beauty is pain, and she remarks on  how the work, effort and sacrifice is worth it to be a woman.  Bit by bit we follow along as she constructs her female self to present to the world. She puts on her disguise.

I hate this scene. [Read more…]

Talkin’ ‘Bout My S-S-S-Socialization

So a little while ago a twitter-friend of mine, LifeInNeon, linked this interesting post by When Cylons Dream (a bit nsfw) over at her blog, on the question of trans women’s socialization (the manner in which we were / are raised, relative to gender). I found it very interesting and wanted to share.

Yesterday, in a post all about how not all feminists practice the same style of ninjitsu, I discussed some of the history of transphobia within feminism, and various policies (both official and unspoken) that often exclude trans women from feminist spaces or conversation. One of the more common justifications for this attitude is the issue of socialization, that because we were not raised as female, and did not experience the same form of socialization (with its attendant forms of oppression, such as stereotype threat, being trained to be passive, submissive and docile, being trained to make yourself an appealing object for pursuit by men, being sexualized as an object from an early age, etc.) that we do not, therefore, understand female experience, cannot participate meaningfully in feminist discourse, and that, at the extreme end of the scale, are in fact in possession of male privilege- the argument often being extended to a sort of Catch-22 wherein our wish to be included in feminist or women’s spaces is a demonstration of the male sense of entitlement, and when we become angry in response to these trans-exclusionist policies or statements, we are demonstrating male aggression, and are part of a male attempt to control women and appropriate feminism. [Read more…]

Feminist Dogma

Hello there! Are you growing tired of the ongoing criticisms of sexism in the skeptical community? Do you feel like one of the essential values of freethought and skepticism is lost when we set up “sacred cows” like feminism? Do you believe that feminism, like anything, needs to be held up to critique, and that the way that any questioning of feminism or dissent from the growing feminist consensus is met with the “thought police” coming to gag you? Do you feel this crushing of dissent is creating an echo chamber that is preventing us from being able to have a free, open discourse? Do you feel all this petty infighting over such trivial issues is destroying our movement? That people seem wholly incapable of discussing sexism in a rational way? That it’s distracting us from more important issues? Do you believe that we need to be more skeptical of feminist dogma? [Read more…]