Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cissexism Through Biological Determination: On Why It’s Not Okay To Assume Trans Women Experienced Male Privilege

This is a helpful explanation about why it is not okay to frame all trans women as automatically having male privilege, however, it appears from the notes that it’s resulted a lot of people doing just that - although with a bunch of caveats such as “passing as male” privilege.

I’ve got a lot I could say about analyzing the details of this very complicated scenario around misogyny, patriarchy and power, but let me address this from a different angle: Why does it matter? What do you hope to gain from placing trans women under a microscope for such detailed analysis?  If one trans woman experienced a moment of encouragement a midst a childhood of harassment, bullying, and assault, how does it help us to highlight that moment and call it a privilege? More often than not, the reason people do this is to shut trans women up.

Accusations of male privilege are common in the middle of anti-trans harassment campaigns. It’s been regularly cited as a justification for exclusion, public outing of trans women, letter writing campaigns to get trans women fired, or even stalking and exposing private information. If there’s some hypothetical benefit from understanding trans women’s experiences of male privilege, it’s far outweighed by this cost.

Finally, the reality is that any woman (cis or trans) who is put under such scrutiny can be explained to have some micron of male privilege. When you extend your search for “passing as male” privilege, temporary privilege, conditional privilege, and any moment of encouragement that isn’t immediately explained by other causes, there’s a lot.

Does the cis woman raised with 5 brothers have male socialization? Does the cis woman who only has male friends, loves sports and is considered “just one of the guys” have male privilege?  Does the tomboy who’s occasionally mistaken for male by strangers have male privilege? Does the cis woman CEO who “leans in,” wears pant suits and adopts the mannerisms of her male counterparts have male privilege?

Sometimes we have those conversations, but when we’re talking about cis women it is never framed as an issue of male privilege. That’s because it’s insulting to do so. If people started picking apart Hillary Clinton’s “male privilege,” there would be outrage. The only reason it’s considered acceptable to do so with trans women is because it’s considered acceptable to be insulting and speak down to trans women.

Author / Source: Tobi Hill-Meyer on Tumblr