I am sick to death of being involved in the oppression olympics.
Today I was watching an interview between the YouTuber GNC Centric and Benjamin Boyce, on BB's channel. She discussed something that I didn't realize I had sensed until she described it the way she did: that rather a lot of transwomen like to go on and on about how oppressed we are while being so absorbed in our own self-pity that we ignore, and even oppress, the people around us. And worse, some of act like predators. Also, when a thirty-odd year old transwoman is trying to elicit sympathy from a transman half her age and telling him, pre-medical transition, that he has male privilege of any sort, something has really gotten out of hand.
But that's how identity politics works, when taken to an extreme. If I had to describe what I feel most oppressed by as a transwomen, it would have to be the narcissistic creeper reputation of people who are supposedly like me. I feel a sense of despair when I realize that it isn't what I am that gets me down, but what I am associated with by the general public.
If only it weren't so deserved.
There is a narrative surrounding trans issues that paints us all as these tragic, tortured victims of being born with the wrong body.
This narrative is stupid.
Let's reason it out: if we were to first prove that the sexes have significantly different brains, and then we were to prove that people with one kind of body could have a brain designed for the other one, and that this literally happens, it's still the right body. Because it's just, you know, the flesh prison we happen to have been born in. That's the immutable fact of the thing. We are what we are. Any other starting assumption must ignore that fact and is therefore invalid. We're all born in the right body. Coming into being is not like a video game: we don't create our earthly avatar from a bunch of options and then accidentally hit the gender button and then get stuck. Something else is going on.
Could it be brain sex? I don’t think so. Not entirely, anyway. Why?
The science says that there are differences between the collective patterning of certain areas of male and female brain matter, which can be seen, particularly in the activity, as well as differences of absolute size. But any individual can have any given configuration. And the size of the brain is relative to the size of the body it's built to run: small men also have smaller brains. Anecdotally, many of our most brilliant minds have often been housed in spindly little nerd bodies, so it seems clear that in terms of brain size, bigger isn't always better. Also, we have proof that some transmen have more masculinized brains and that some transwomen have more feminized brains, but we also have proof that not all trans people have brains like this and that the results are so inconsistent as to render the question currently unanswerable.
Brain sex, if it matters, is certainly not the whole story. As the oft-maligned Blanchard pointed out, sometimes it's not brain function, but desire. And in any case, genuine cases of brains that are so cross-sexed as to be very apparent from childhood on are exceptionally rare.
Check Your Validation Here, Please
Transition is not a flickswitch on your bedroom wall. It's long and difficult and psychologically pulverizing. A healthy transition means maintaining a realistic and healthy mindset in the process. This isn't a simple balance to strike, especially in a world where therapists are becoming little more than hired validators.
As nice as it seems when you're in front of one, this is overall very socially harmful. Validation is a necessary aspect of human existence, but it can be unhealthy if we're busy validating a lie, such as the idea that transwomen are literally the same as women.
A good simile for this would be sugar: it tastes bloody amazeballs, is addicting as hell, and it feeds a particular subset of gut bacteria whose overpopulation goes on to be the root cause of all kinds of severe medical problems.
What's toxic about the kind of validation we're seeing from trans therapists is that unquestioned affirmation tends to solidify the illusion that a delusion, in this case a crystallized ego-construct, is the true self. If the therapist is unable or unwilling to challenge this persona, and instead feeds it, it can only grow stronger.
In the case of someone who is being genuinely authentic, but who suffers from low self esteem, this can be exceptionally helpful, since what's being validated has a solid basis in reality. But if it's a construct, over-validation instead expands its boundaries and therefore increases the energy requirement for its survival. The greater the energy requirement, the more intense its need for validation and the more volatile it becomes when it doesn't get it. This is why we see two basic emotional patterns in people who transition: one group becomes more emotionally healthy and stable over time, while the other becomes clearly less stable (but the worse it gets the more it insists that it's doing great). It usually takes a few years to tell who is going to turn out how: I've never encountered any kind of trans person who isn't also suffering from some kind of co-morbid health issue. For those of us for whom transition is a good decision, it often gives us a certain amount of internal relief that we can use to grasp the threads of our other issues and begin honestly working through them.
So we need to start challenging people's identity, in full knowledge that we're very likely to seriously tick them off. Since all transwomen are male by definition, since very few of us start out particularly feminine, and since most gender therapists seem to be female, this is a terrifying prospect. But it has to be done. Transition is rather a lot more than just a few pills and some surgery, and the mental and emotional strain inherent in the kind of loss it often entails is not trivial. There is no greater social shift that a person can experience. Before we head down this path, we need to have more than some glitter-crusted awareness of what we are getting ourselves into. Especially when it comes to transwomen, because what we’re walking into .
There's More than Grass on the Other Side
Taking transwomen into consideration, it's especially important for us to be aware from the start that there's a lot more to womanhood than just looking like a woman, sounding like one, or making love like one. We need to accept that there are parts of womanhood we'll never experience or be privy to. That's just the basic truth, and if we can't handle it we shouldn't be allowed to transition. Because very little regarding the daily reality of womanhood has anything to do with being pretty.
When women say there is a shared oppression there that's born out of the attitude of entitlement that male people are encouraged to hold as part of our basic socialization, they aren't exaggerating the case. Women very often are treated like objects, bought and sold like objects, harassed, and treated as if their intellect is inferior for no other reason than that they are women. Even though feminism has made massive gains for women's rights and equality, there are still many areas that have yet to be improved.
These areas are, to a person who is born and socialized male, insanely difficult to see. It's like trying to describe the concept of "wet" to a fish. Sometimes I can grasp it. Sometimes I can't. Today, I can. Tomorrow? Maybe not. The ideas are slippery, and what seems to determine how well I'm able to grasp these issues is how comfortable I'm feeling in myself in the moment I'm looking at them. The more comfortable I am, the easier they are to see, and to accept without taking them personally.
But What About Mah Feelings?
In fact, my own tendency to take these ideas personally is one of the strongest indicators that they hold some kind of important, but difficult, truth. If they were clearly untrue, and I felt confident in this, then I would simply lay out the reasons why and feel satisfied with that. But in those moments when the same facts that seemed to be neutral realities yesterday seem to be violent personal attacks today, then what's changed are not the the facts, but my perspective.
If one perspective is cold reason, and its opposite is deeply emotional in a personal way, then it is clear that whatever it is that is causing the emotion is the source of the problem. It's like a knot in your necklace chain: the chain itself remains beautiful and right. You just have to untangle the knot. Sometimes you can do it yourself, other times you might need to enlist the help of more nimble fingers.
In terms of the introspective process, it's tempting to label that source as a nugget of narcissism, but narcissism is almost universally seen as negative, and that means I am likely to recoil from my own perception in self-preservation. Instead, let's just call it defensive self-preservation. This is more accurately true, in any case.
If my sense of defensive self-preservation is sometimes neutral and sometimes flaring even though the stimulus is the same, then it follows that what is changing is my awareness of self. If this is true (and my gut says it is), and one sense of self feels attacked and the other does not, then one of these selves is more vulnerable than the other. To put it another way: sometimes I slip into a mindset based off of a value system I've subconsciously constructed.
If I experience a defensive reaction to a perceived invalidation of my identity, that identity must require validation. And if it requires validation to exist, it must therefore be, at least on some level, a construct. This leads to further questions, like, what is the purpose of this construct? Why does it exist? And, how did it come into being? When? These are all questions I'll need to explore at a later time. For now, this much is clear:
The less comfortable I am in myself, the more I look for external validation to provide evidence of my worth as a person. Narcissism is what happens when I perceive my desire for others to validate my worth as being of greater importance than anything that might be going on with them. I don't think that narcissistic injury is a basic personality trait. But if we refuse to acknowledge it's existence, then it can grow into something unmanageable. The truth is, we can't work to grow past a problem that we refuse to acknowledge.
As an aside, it’s tempting to decide that this alternate self is evidence of Autogynephilia, but I don’t think that this is correct in this case. Almost everyone has some aspect of themselves that needs validation, and in this case my insecurity is not I am a woman, but is my existence harmful to women?
The Oppression Olympics
I can't help but feel that if it is this hard for me, the person who literally founded an organization called TransRational; a person whose medical history provides a kind of solid foundation that frees them from identification with gender to maintain a rational state of mind about this, how hard would it be for someone who has fully swallowed Trans Activist dogma and who has to justify their choice entirely on emotional grounds?
No wonder some of them wear anti-”TERF" t-shirts around. No wonder the suicide rate is so staggeringly high. Life is, for them, a hell of one narcissistic injury after another. Everything is about affirming their identity, and other people matter too, but also they don't. In the oppression olympics, you've got to see yourself on the bottom in order to feel entitled to seeing yourself as being cheated out of the top.
Ironically, aside from historical anomalies here and there, women as a whole have never been considered as being at the top of anything, except perhaps motherhood, which is a special kind of bottom all on it's own. Transition for a transwoman with an attitude of entitlement, is therefore quite a frictive predicament.
To the mind absorbed in an entitled attitude, women's rights matter, but not as much as a transwoman's right to get what she wants as soon as possible. Even for someone as compulsively empathic as I am, if I enter into a headspace framed around what I want instead of as clear a perception of the state of the world as I can manage, then I become guilty of this while I exist in that headspace.
Of course, many people have told me, particularly other transwomen, that the problem is not attitude or mindset, but that transwomen are being oppressed and that it's all *their* fault. *Their* meaning, usually, women who are brave enough and educated enough on the issues to openly disagree. And occasionally, men too. But they rarely seem to come up unless they're literally Graham Lineham, who is terrifically guilty of publicly caring for women's rights, *or*, they've murdered one of us. Why this should be the case seems baffling at first: if it is only men that have actually murdered transwomen, why is so much of our rage directed at women whose only crime is disagreeing with our self-assessments, or who have raised reasonable questions about how the way our lifestyle affects their rights?
It shouldn't be such a political book-burn. After all, when we question whether someone is infringing on someone else's right to not be punched in the face, we don't consider "but I just really wanted to punch someone" as a valid motivation. In fact, according to the law where I live, it's not legal to go around punching people in the face for any reason, regardless of the validity of one's motivation. If you deck someone because she tried coming on to your husband, she probably deserves it, but it's still assault. So why is it different in this case?
Here's a hint: it's not. The rage we see in some transwomen comes from narcissistic injury, and if that's clearly more threatening to us than murderous men, maybe the women asking these questions have a point.
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