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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Transmisogyny 101: Transmisogyny IS Misogyny

TRIGGER WARNING: Transphobia and Transmisogyny

            As a general rule, most people have never heard of the term “transmisogyny.” However, most people have heard the term misogyny, so hey, at least we’re not at square one. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out though taking the root words. It’s pretty easy to guess by this blog that “trans” is referring to transgender, and misogyny is discrimination against women, so transmisogyny must be discrimination against trans women.

            And there are two (unfortunately) common responses to the term. While no one (reasonable at least) denies that transgender people face forms of discrimination. However, there are many that say trans women don’t experience misogyny in any meaningful sense. It perpetuates the idea that trans women aren’t “really” women (Whatever that means.) The other response is rooted in good intentions, but still misses the point. Some will say that because trans women are women, we don’t need a term for discrimination trans women face because it must be the same that cis women face. While affirming trans women are, indeed, women, they ignore the unique discrimination trans women face. So what kind of discrimination do trans women face? Well…

            Why don’t you try harder to look/sound/act like a woman?
            Transmisogyny is, of course, still misogyny, and so it has the same roots as misogyny, and this is a prime example. Now if you say this and someone gets mad at you, don’t think they’re mad because they’re misunderstanding you. Trust me when I say everyone will know what you mean. We’ve been culturally trained to associate certain looks, sounds, and mannerisms with men and women. However, it is rooted in that gender essentialist idea, the idea that we need some sort of “tells” for someone’s identity. You’re essentially saying that trans women should need to meet some expectation of what a woman is in order to be seen as women. But if trans women are women, it’s inconsequential really. Afterall, anything a woman does is “like a woman” since, well… they’re a woman.

            Well, but you don’t know what it’s really like to be a woman.
            This is rooted in the same problematic idea. The view of something being needed to be a woman, whether it be mannerisms or body parts or something else. Now it’s true that trans women don’t know what it’s like to experience certain aspects cis women experience. We haven’t reached a point where trans women can have a period or get pregnant and give birth. And this really is something most trans women are sad about. However, so what? There are cis women that cannot get pregnant, cis women that cannot have a period. Are they less of women? Do they not know what it’s like to “really” be a woman? And if not, why should it be any different for trans women? Which makes me think of the next point…

            TERFs
            Congrats TERFs, you are literally so awful you get your own section in this post. For those of you that don’t know what TERFs are, it stands for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, feminists that don’t include trans women. Or more specifically, they often view trans women as being inherently wrong or just delusional. And TERFs get the honor of not only having horrible transmisogyny, but even misogyny towards cis women as well.
            The heart of TERF views is that trans women are not women because they were not born with the right “parts.” And while this is something many people, including anti-feminists view, it is special among TERFs. I once came across a place on reddit called “Gender Critical.” I thought it might be a cool look at gender. Unfortunately, I found it full of TERF ideas. I discovered this when looking at an article about a young trans girl. And there was at first a good point. They discussed against the idea that a child liking things considered feminine makes them a girl. Afterall, anyone can like whatever regardless of gender, this is true. But they then extrapolate this to deny the feelings of trans women.
            The irony here, of course, is that it’s wholly rooted in misogyny. TERFs are stating that women need to be born with certain parts in order to be women. Essentially, TERFs are telling women that they are vaginas, and vaginas are what makes them women. Ironic from feminists, right?

            Why would you want to become a woman?
            This is perhaps the most extreme example I have face, and I have faced it before. And it goes beyond just asking why I identify as female. I have been asked why I would want to be a woman because “it’s better/easier to be a man.” And… let’s be honest, do I even need to explain why this is horribly misogynist? And yet people have actually said this to me…


            Now this is just barely scratching the surface of transmisogyny. However, it is an important concept of what trans women need to deal with in society, and it’s root in misogyny. Misogyny is an important concept, but when we ignore transmisogyny, we are only hurting all women in return.

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