A Female Who Doesn’t “Feel Like” a Gender? Privilege!

20 Feb

I do not feel like a woman. Further, I don’t know what in the world that would feel like. I never feel like one when I’m by myself, but I do feel like one when I am interacted with by other people (such as the imposition of “miss” upon me). Interesting, that. It’s almost like gender is a social construct or something.

Now, this little bit about being a female who (more or less) passes as a woman gets labeled as ‘privilege’ in the realm of trans politics. Further, when I say how I don’t feel like a woman, this is interpreted as evidence that I do not see my privilege.

Bzzzzz. Wrong.

Not seeing one’s privilege and not reifying sex-gender roles are different things.

Unexamined privilege is sometimes explained with the analogy of a fish not understanding what water is; the person with unexamined privilege takes for granted that their life, treatment by others, experiences, etc are the norm.

A person not seeing their white privilege, for example, may look like this: “It’s not fair that some black students at my high school started a club only for black students. I’m going to start a white student union club!”

Let’s take for granted that there is such a thing called “cis privilege” that female-assigned-at-birth (FAAB) women have. What does it look like for a non-trans woman to have unexamined privilege? Hint: It’s not her lack of “feeling like a woman”.

Let’s apply this marker of “not feeling like a woman as evidence of privilege” to the previous white privilege example. This would mean that “not feeling white” is evidence of privilege. See how that doesn’t make any sense?

Not understanding that one’s whiteness is socially considered a positive trait and not “feeling” white are different things. Yes? Yes.

So, for the last time. It is not unexamined privilege to lack the belief that you are a gender (or a race, for that matter). It is acknowledgment that gender is meaningless without the cultural systems that enforce it and treat it as a real entity.

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7 Responses to “A Female Who Doesn’t “Feel Like” a Gender? Privilege!”

  1. noanodyne February 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Excellent take-down of that mindless meme.

  2. Savage Rabbit February 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Again, I fail to see how women have privilege by passing as women in any way, shape or form. Because for it to be oppressive, there must be a concrete harm done. I can make a guy feel “emasculated” and I won’t be oppressing him. Real harm counts.

    What we’re told is the real harm done to transwomen because of FAAB women’s “cisgender privilege” is that MTFs are beaten, raped and killed. By men. I want to emphasize that.

    Women, on the other hand, by passing as women… are beaten, raped and killed. Again by men.

    Where is the harm that FAAB women are actually perpetrating on transwomen? While “they made me feel bad” may feel like oppression to someone who has been socialized with male privilege, it’s not grounds for claiming actual discrimination. Actually, where is the harm that transwomen suffer that FAAB women don’t?

    Words mean things; real processes in the real world are defined by behaviors, also called criteria. Unless I’m given evidence that transwomen suffer a real, unique oppression that is more than simply being not men, I’m not buying it.

    Ain’t no ball, ain’t no game, folks.

  3. Savage Rabbit February 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Also, I think everyone is more or less genderqueer. It’s one of the reasons I find the idea of gender-as-correlated-to-sex so ridiculous. Abolish it!

  4. Aileen Wuornos February 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I feel like an alien sometimes. I guess that makes me transextraterrestrial.

    +1 To NoAnoDyne

  5. hannah February 24, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    would you mind if i quoted a portion of this for an article i’m writing? i’m not positive, but i think i want to use the sentence “Not seeing one’s privilege and not reifying sex-gender roles are different things.” let me know!

    thankya

    • lishra February 24, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Thank you for asking. Just appropriately attribute and that’s totally fine : )

  6. elkballet February 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    It is not unexamined privilege to lack the belief that you are a gender (or a race, for that matter). It is acknowledgment that gender is meaningless without the cultural systems that enforce it and treat it as a real entity.

    Yes. Well said!

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