- 26th August
- 24th August
Telling people your preferred pronouns can be really fucking difficult. They often have bad reactions, tell you it’s too difficult, or get defensive when you call them out. When someone tells me my preferred pronouns are too difficult or tricky or that they just can’t think of me like that, it kind of pisses me off. Because, you know, the fact I wake up in the morning and hate certain parts of my body isn’t ‘difficult’, and negotiating conversations around trans* awareness isn’t ‘tricky’. Oh wait, except that it is. Except that my pronouns aren’t about you, they’re about me.
Some times I don’t want to agitate or educate, and I just want to be silent and not call people out. I feel like it’s too hard, not worth it, or that I’m just asking too much. Like I’m too ahead of my time: my city and the people I meet aren’t ready for this radical trans* stuff, and that I should just give up. I start to doubt myself and doubt whether or not this is even worth it. Should I question my gender or should I just leave it as is: be read as female, be touched as female, be considered female in all respects?
A friend of mine once told me that they like it when someone uses their preferred pronouns, but they don’t get too concerned when someone doesn’t. They are happy about the former, neutral about the latter. At first I thought this was setting the bar a bit low, but then I realised that this thought process is empowering and liberating. It comes across to me as: my gender is not about you. My gender is not dictated by your misgendering, which is not to say it doesn’t impact on me and give me feelings, but it doesn’t tell me how I view myself. And your misgendering shouldn’t have to take up any more energy or be allocated any more fucks than is absolutely necessary.
I think at the end of the day it’s up to you how you approach your pronouns, whether you call people out, whether you take a more chilled approach, yet I’m still not sure where I’m at with that. The one thing I won’t do is apologise. I won’t tell you I’m sorry about my preferred pronouns or my gender, my fluidity and my right to change my mind, I won’t tell you that I’m sorry I’m forcing all this on you, and I won’t spend hours wondering if you hate me because of it. Because you know what? I don’t have the time and energy for that shit. I have the time to choose my outfits in the morning and look all fierce, I have time to read Facebook and call people out on their rape apologist bullshit, I have time to do my laundry and read a book, but I don’t have time to (nor should I have to) apologise for being me.
- 24th August
I’m queer. I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular. I’ve been trying to figure out relationships, you know? I don’t know if it’s responsible for kids of my age to be so aggressively pursuing monogamous binds, because I don’t think we’re ready for them. The romanticism within our culture dictates that that’s what you’re supposed to be looking for. Then [when] we find what we think is love — even if it is love — we do not yet have the tools. I do feel that it’s possible to be at this age unintentionally hurtful, just by being irresponsible — which is fine. I’m super down with being irresponsible. I’m just trying to make sure my lack of responsibility no longer hurts people. That’s where I’m at in the boyfriend/girlfriend/zefriend type of question.
- 24th August
I am currently experiencing a ton of dysphoria re: my body (gender, trans*, genderqueer related). I’m going to be making some posts about that, reblogging and exploring, educating myself and seeing what information I can learn.
If anyone has any recommended links, please feel free to send them my way. :)
- 24th August
(nb: edited from previous version for clarity and reposting it in revised form.)
i’m sick and fucking tired of pretending that “loving your body” and rejecting fat-shaming on an individual level does anything to change issues relating to beauty and thin privilege, or that it has any effect on the institutions and structures that perpetuate them. it does nothing to change the fact that larger people or people viewed as less attractive are widely viewed as less intelligent, as incompetent, or as lazy. it doesn’t change the fact that larger people have worse health care outcomes or that they are less likely to be hired for jobs and, if they are hired, are often paid less than their thinner or more conventionally attractive colleagues. it does nothing to combat the pathologization of fatness. by itself, it doesn’t do anything to change the greater culture. i, along with many other people, attempt to reject that culture and participate in or create alternate possibilities, but it’s important to remember that these spaces aren’t accessible to everyone who could benefit from participation. it’s not enough.
here’s a corollary to that: while people who identify as women are inundated with messages that devalue female-coded bodies, sexualize them (in ways that are often deeply imbricated with the simultaneous racialization of such bodies), and present them as being in constant need of improvement, i wonder if the focus on body acceptance doesn’t end up being the same ideas, articulated differently. certainly, our bodies shape our lived realities, are inescapable, and must be taken into consideration in political or sociological or philosophical conversations. body acceptance may shift the ways in which these realities are enacted on some level, or at least the way realities are materialized. but, for many people, bodies can be hard to love, and i’m not sure how necessary it is that many of us “love” them in the ways that body-acceptance proponents believe we should. for my own part, my neuro-atypical, ethnically marked, formerly anorexic body is difficult to love. i generally accept my body, understand where it fits into my reality, reject family members’ offers of plastic surgery to “correct” it, live in it. it is, in some ways, a resistant body. ”loving” it is not necessarily part of that resistance, nor do i think it needs to be. a body is not an object that can be detached from a “mind,” an object that can be separately valued and loved. bodies should not be devalued, and should be free from exploitation, violence, and abuse, but it is not always necessary to love them simply because they are bodies. (though i would argue that the more culturally and socially devalued a given body is, the more important it is that it is cared for and valued.)
the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.
tl;dr not all bodies are easy to love, or lovable. challenge normative beauty-standards and fat-shaming on collective and structural levels rather than believing that “loving your body” is enough to change shit. understand how your body materializes your lived reality and respect it, but don’t feel required to love it.
- 24th August
For many people, including transgender, genderqueer, and intersect people, people with disabilities, people with a history of eating disorders, and those with a history of sexual assault, body love may not be a comfortable or appropriate goal. It’s important to realize that for some of us, a body is an inconvenience or a hindrance, and that experience is just as valid as body-love.
- 9th June
- 7th April
cissexism : The assumption that a cis person’s gender is more authentic, natural or desirable than a trans person’s gender; the belief that a person’s assigned-at-birth gender is always their real gender. For example: treating a trans woman as “really a man.”
transphobia : A prejudiced or bigoted hatred of trans people or anyone who violates gender norms; the institutional system resulting from this bias. Cis people can also experience gender policing and gender-based violence.
binarism : The belief that there are only two genders; the erasure of non-binary people. Connected to cissexism, but distinct. (Some trans women and men can be very binarist!)
cissexualism : The belief that transsexual body modification is wrong, unnatural or “gross.” Even some trans folks can be guilty of this. I’m not sure what the opposite (morally condemning a trans people who does not medically-transition) would be called, but it exists too!
trans-misogyny : The hatred of trans women; the fear of femininity/femaleness when expressed by MAAB people. For example: when someone makes fun of a MAAB person for wearing a purse, it is both transphobic and misogynistic.
cis privilege : Never having to face discrimination or violence because your gender varies from what you were assigned-at-birth. For example: cis people are not required to provide proof in order to have their documents display their correct gender. Thus (if they are documented citizens), they are able to enter bars, sign up for a bank account, cross borders, and apply for jobs without worrying about transphobic harassment.
passing privilege : The temporary privilege that some trans people are able to receive if the people around them assume they are cis. Some trans folks have this more than others, and it plays a big role in who faces the greatest levels of violence and discrimination. (Note: It is transphobic to imply that a trans woman is “passing as a woman.” She is a woman… what you probably mean to say is that she is “passing as a cis woman.”)
cis-centrism or cis-supremacy : The social system that ensures cis people have privilege and power over trans people by perpetuating cissexist beliefs. For example: When cis doctors, psychiatrists, feminists, politicians, lawyers, queer theorists and religious leaders define what a trans person is or is not.
gender self-determination : The ability to figure out who we are and what makes us comfortable, and to make autonomous decisions about our bodies, without facing criminalization, discrimination, degradation, poverty or violence.
trans liberation : The movement to collectively improve the living conditions of people who are marginalized by cis-centrism and create a world in which gender self-determination is true for everyone.
from the distant panic blog:
- 23rd December
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and I noticed that she still had not removed her hood. When we arrived at the art room, I said: “Allie, I’m not playing. It’s time for art. The rule is no hoods or hats in school.”
She looked up with tears in her eyes and I realized there was something wrong. Her classmates went into the art room and we moved to the art storage area so her classmates wouldn’t hear our conversation. I softened my tone and asked her if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.
“My ponytail,” she cried.
“Can I see?” I asked.
She nodded and pulled down her hood. Allie’s braids had come undone overnight and there hadn’t been time to redo them in the morning, so they had to be put back in a ponytail. It was high up on the back of her head like those of many girls in our class, but I could see that to Allie it just felt wrong. With Allie’s permission, I took the elastic out and re-braided her hair so it could hang down.
“How’s that?” I asked.
She smiled. “Good,” she said and skipped off to join her friends in art.
‘Why Do You Look Like a Boy?’
- 23rd October
Obviously, this idealised nerd girl does not actually exist, in the same way the gorgeous preppy bimbo and the bad-ass femme fatale do not exist. Being called a nerd makes me uncomfortable, and I have feeling that this is at least partially Hollywood’s fault. Sometimes I worry that when a guy hears me talking about something nerdy, he starts to tune out my actual opinions on the subject and instead concentrates on – as a friend of mine so succinctly put it – “Great! We can play Xbox and then we can bang! She’s perfect!” I worry that the nerdy girl has become a new stereotype of femininity, a new category of wish-fulfilment that has no bearing on reality. If this is the case, the advantages of being a female nerd are just as shallow and decorative as those created by a short skirt and smoky eye make-up.