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Mar 26 17 5:31 AM

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Over at Huff Post transgener woman Owl argues strongly that we have to stop using the male privilege argument to dismiss the suffering of transgender women.  Owl's writes:
I’m sick of this bullshit view that trans women have or have all had male privilege in the past. As a trans feminine person, I can testify and assure you that I NEVER had male privilege and I was six-years-old when I was first called a ‘fag’ or a ‘sissy’. I was continuously put down for being very effeminate and gender non conforming for the most part. It is only in the last few years that my gender expression conforms in certain ways. Claiming that trans women have not faced misogyny for most part of their lives is simply a generalisation that is not realistic to make. For my entire life I have been treated badly because of my femininity.

I have experienced a lot of "male privelege". I am sure I have benefited from the economically. Even in Norway men earn more than women. I am sure my male persona has cause some to take me more seriously, even if I have worked in areas where women are just as visible as men. That is the nature of most societies. Women are considered "less" than men, even by those who know better.

But that is also why my "male privelege" has caused me more harm than benefits. I feel alienated from the role of the outgoing and career-driven alpha male. No, I do not feel inferior to other men. I have proven myself. But the idea that I should spend all my time trying to reach some social top position that will only give me grief, has never made sense to me. And the fact that so many people expect me to feel that way, has always bewildered me.

I was taunted and harassed as a kid as I did not manage to live up to the ideals of the "boys will be boys" society. I hated all of it, and the bullies caught on. One of their favorite taunts was "girl". What irony. I am still stuggling with the wounds that bullying caused me.

Your “male privilege” means little, if it stops you from being who you truly are. It actually becomes a chain around your neck. But since being a man is considered the best possible fate by all parties, male chauvinist as well as many feminists, male to female transgender people of all shades and colors meet misogyny and transphobia from both camps. Sam Riedel writes over at The Establishment:
As is commonly used in feminist vernacular, “privilege” refers to unearned advantages — things that one doesn’t pay for, but acquires through circumstance. What cis feminists call trans women’s “male privilege,” I would instead characterize as “fringe benefits,” because make no mistake: I paid for them...At my core, there’s a deeply held belief that my relationship with gender makes me a fucked-up person. When you understand that, you’ll see that my transition isn’t just a physical one: It’s the process of unlearning toxic ideas I absorbed from cisnormative culture and drummed into myself over 20-odd years. I had to trade a significant chunk of my mental health to get the fringe benefits of “male privilege” — which is why that concept is fundamentally flawed with regards to trans identity.


I do undertand the concept of hierarchies of marginalization. But I am afraid some of the zealots simplify too much. If you do not buy the ideal of the white, powerful, alpha male, that ideal is of no help to you, even if others think you fit the bill. And this applies to tall male to female transgender people, also those that need not or do not transition. 
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#1 [url]

Mar 26 17 11:21 AM

And this is why I adopt the practice of putting a trademark on the term PATRIARCHY™ as my transwomen and trans-feminine men friends do.  I used to think that PATRIARCHY™ just meant a governing system.  Somehow, that term carries with it "male privilege" that many men do not have.   It is as though haters of the PATRIARCHY™ own that term, not cis men or transwomen themselves.  

I attended a symposium (conference) about men in education yesterday for the second year in a row.  The organizers of the symposium were tall, educated, (well dressed for some reason), working-class, minority men who recognized that they had no privilege.  Their plights are rolled up with gender, race, class, and education.  However, the focus of the symposium was on gender, because even women (as in females for the most part) in the same categories still buy into "male privilege" and put the same expectations on men.  These guys are good!  As speakers and organizers, they're networking to bring attention to the fallacy of "male privilege" through many channels that many people have ignored: 

* Understanding the preferred learning styles of the majority of boys
* Related to the above is the recognition that penalities for males are unusually harsh and inititives are being put in place to reduce infractions in education and society (for example, recognizing when school suspension and incarceration are truly necessary when education and rehabilitation can do the trick!)
* Alert the importance of recognizing men's health, men's health, and men's health! The longevity of cis men (and transwomen for that matter) is short! 
* The importance of positive male role models, be they family members or mentors.
* Investigating paternity claims and helping fathers to re-unite with and support their children.  

I repeat: these guys are good!


 

Last Edited By: lal2828 Mar 26 17 11:29 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#2 [url]

Mar 26 17 11:54 PM

I see much of the same in my country. Many boys are losing the education game, as the educational system is mostly rewarding academic and verbal skills. The girls are more likely to excel in this, mostly -- I think -- because they are socially rewarded for being attentive students and for sitting still. However, there may be some genetic factors, as well. On the aggregate level. Maybe.

The type of boy who loves working with his hands, taking things apart and putting them back together, or expressing himself physically finds it hard to adapt to a world where a mechanic has to be a programmer with a Ph.D. ( I am exaggerating, but you know what I mean).

And you are right, they are not bad people or stupid people. But we have put an incetive structure in place that does not encourage their kind of learning.

I would argue that this is more than a gender issue. There are girls, too, who fall outside the norms, especially those who share the interests and temperaments of these boys. In the same way, there are men who easily adapt to the norms of the new "knowledge based economy".

 

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#4 [url]

Mar 28 17 11:14 AM

Not only did I NOT feel very much in the way of male privilege in my life, I also accepted the mantle of male responsibility as well - something that only adds stress to my life because I have always felt like a failure by not acting like a domineering jackass to get my way (something apparently expected of managers btw). Owl and Paris are quite right - we have the worst of both worlds where there is expectation, no ability to deliver and then derision as the result. If I had not had any of that "privilege" I would have had a happier existence.

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#7 [url]

Apr 5 17 12:20 AM

Unlike female privilege, there is no such thing as male privilege. The whole discourse is bunk.

There are male obligations and duties. Though no reward. Not anymore, at least. We exist only to support the successful lives of the upper 10 percent. Or is that the 1 percent? Or we mope around doing nothing.

Probably the whole notion of male privilege got started when some women realized how they habitually pandered to and gave free rides to handsome and attractive men, often to their own detriment. Simone de Beauvoir or Germaine Greer, or some such. Which is about 20 percent of the male population. And since the rest of the male population are not even visible to women, they drew the conclusion that all men enjoyed some kind of unwarranted "privilege". Because those who count do.

Not that they held the freeriders accountable. No, a princess still desires, needs and have a rightful demand to claim her tall, handsome, dark-eyed prince, who will sweep her off her feet. So let's just push that additional burden, complaint and shaming onto the back of the serfs!

I once read a wonderful interpretational twist on the story of Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs (or was that Sleeping Beauty?). Anyway, every little girl understands she will one day become the princess and every little boy respectively assumes he will grow up to be the prince. What no adult explained to the little boys was there can only be one prince in the story. From the outset, the rest of us were destined to become one of the fucking dwarfs!

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."

- Khalil Gibran


If I cannot be a feminine traditional woman, what's the point of being a woman?

- Me

Last Edited By: Monique Apr 5 17 3:38 AM. Edited 10 times.

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#9 [url]

Apr 5 17 1:37 AM

And the boys who for some reason have the mistaken belief that they will one day become the princess? 
Well aren't they just the lowest of the low who deserve all our scorn and derision..

Unless they can somehow turn their screwed up neurology into an actual talent, like in education or software engineering, or even banking and finance..

Then a select few of them can end up being queen of all they survey, and with enough money they can maybe even eventually get the girl, or even become the girl should environmental conditions allow...
 

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#10 [url]

Apr 5 17 3:34 AM

"And the boys who for some reason have the mistaken belief that they will one day become the princess? 
Well aren't they just the lowest of the low who deserve all our scorn and derision.."

Without the slightest doubt. If not for every other reason, on the one hand, here's a toad who believes himself to be a princess and should have access to the stratospheric community of jet set princesses and their suitors; on the other, a traitor to the honour code of the hard knock, muddy drudge guild of eunuch dwarf serfs. Such an outrage! What a laugh!

"Unless they can somehow turn their screwed up neurology into an actual talent, like in education or software engineering, or even banking and finance..

Then a select few of them can end up being queen of all they survey, and with enough money they can maybe even eventually get the girl, or even become the girl should environmental conditions allow..."

Oh, for sure. Only, everything about specialized talent and social mileueu being required, as well as many being called and few to be chosen, properly applies here. That's why I put my trust in what's safer and by comparison obviously a lot more more likely to pass, i.e, the opportunities that open themselves up in the life after this life.

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."

- Khalil Gibran


If I cannot be a feminine traditional woman, what's the point of being a woman?

- Me

Last Edited By: Monique Apr 5 17 3:58 AM. Edited 5 times.

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#12 [url]

Apr 5 17 10:28 AM

Bobbi, when checking out the Karen Straughan video you linked to on your blog, I came upon this clip about a woman who lived 18 months as a man. Pretty kind of interesting:

[url]

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."

- Khalil Gibran


If I cannot be a feminine traditional woman, what's the point of being a woman?

- Me

Last Edited By: Monique Apr 5 17 10:35 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#13 [url]

Apr 5 17 7:22 PM

I don't think that it's necessarily being bad at being a bear, regardless of how sweet and rad of a bear you are, there is still a sense in which you just don't think and feel like everyone else does. Also, because if they knew the truth then it could be dangerous for us, and our reputations and lives, we're all criminals in our hearts because we know their judgments.

We're all excluded, for a complex of reasons, and from a complex of angles, that cannot be accounted for in a single explanation, but here's one.

Growl growl.

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#14 [url]

Apr 6 17 9:33 AM

Thank you for posting this Monique - at 16:55 when Nora talks about how she was emotionally unraveling due to her guilt over the gender deception I started to get all choked up. Many of the feelings she describes I can identify with from both sides because I do not really conform totally to either male or female thinking. That retreat she went to where guys were getting their internalized anger out - fuck I would have been uncomfortable there too. And I understand how it is to have to repress emotion as a guy around guy friends, growing up I had examples of what could happen to you if you were too effeminate since the gay guys at my school were constantly picked on. I learned to internalize all of that over years so it becomes easy - but Nora found it hard due to her upbringing which allowed such expression.
The social interaction with the woman in the coffee shop she was trying to pick up as Ned stood out for me as well. Women do have all of the control over that interaction and I have experienced that sort of hard rejection from women. Conversely when I am out as Bobbi, even if the guy is an obvious tranny-chaser and sort of creepy, I will not do that so harshly - unless they go too far like grabbing my ass or something. Cause I know what it's like to be on the other end of that.
But you know - talking to women while out as Bobbi is easy - I just start talking and they respond.

Last Edited By: Bobbi Dare Apr 6 17 9:50 AM. Edited 4 times.

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#15 [url]

Apr 6 17 10:02 AM

Besides what has happened with my wife, I don't feel any guilt at all, but I do feel some regret. For years, my dysphoria was rather intermittent, and even somewhat controllable. I held onto to the notion that it could all be managed, maybe even permanently eliminated. I thought if I could fill my life with just the right things that I could push it out. It was just a matter of having the right job, the right woman, and reasonable financial security. But my life ended up being a constant merry go round trying to chase just the right combination of things to make that all work. My regret is that I didn't realize the impossibility of all that years earlier.

Last Edited By: April Apr 6 17 11:40 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#16 [url]

Apr 6 17 10:17 AM

One of the toys I had when I was young was the old barrel of monkeys.
image
Perhaps that relates.

By making a long chain, linked arm in arm over generations, we can cover a great distance/time and so lift everyone up. 

The alternative model being the classic crabs in a bucket situation
imageWhere it's everyone for themselves and you stand on other people to reach the top, and the people underneath are pulling the top ones down, and hardly anyone ever escapes.

Well I might not have participated much in the open source software community, but AFAICT I have always been more on the barrel of monkeys side, I mean Newton might have claimed to have stood on the shoulders of giants, but that was in praise of his predecessors rather than in taking credit for their work. Each link in the chain has built on each other for hundreds of years, from physics to biology to computers to magnetic resonance imaging and well, now we have the hard proof that we aren't just being delusional, or aren't suffering the results of a childhood trauma of whatever, and maybe the likes of Martine Rothblatt are some of the 'few are chosen' and we aren't all eventually going to be overpaid pharmaceutical CEOs, but we can at least point to people like that and say 'these are not mentally deficient people by far, and they are not only models or actors or sex workers, in fact they are often really brilliant in whatever they turn their hand to, and I'm actually proud to be one of them', or some such thing. 

The public awareness of their existence also helps us escape, and they haven't had to drag other people down to get where they are either. 

I can't say that I don't want to 'reach the stars' as the princess, I obviously do, but I am also happy to be just another link in that chain, and that helps protect the others following along behind, like the Chelsea Mannings and the Leelah Alcorns, and the many many others, just as, if not far more in need of a bit of help, to escape their situations. 

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#17 [url]

Apr 6 17 11:35 AM

Xora wrote, "I am also happy to be just another link in that chain, and that helps protect the others following along behind, like the Chelsea Mannings and the Leelah Alcorns, and the many many others"

I love this post Xora and the only response I can think of is *hugs* - it made me emotional - so sweet and so true.

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#19 [url]

Apr 8 17 11:51 AM

Elsa Delyth wrote:
I don't think that it's necessarily being bad at being a bear, regardless of how sweet and rad of a bear you are, there is still a sense in which you just don't think and feel like everyone else does. Also, because if they knew the truth then it could be dangerous for us, and our reputations and lives, we're all criminals in our hearts because we know their judgments.

We're all excluded, for a complex of reasons, and from a complex of angles, that cannot be accounted for in a single explanation, but here's one.

Growl growl.
I love this reply soo very much!  

Growl! Growl!


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#20 [url]

Apr 11 17 12:56 AM

Here is another article where ftm trans men confirms that yes, there is such a thing as male privilege.

http://time.com/transgender-men-sexism/

I think we are mixing up two levels here. Yes, a majority of men are not able to live up to the hype of the alpha male and have to find love the hard way. But they still benefit from being classified as men. As trans men tells us: people take them more seriously, listens to them, accepts their ideas more readily, they get a higher salary and a better job more quickly.

I suspect the recent backlash against feminism in some circles is caused by the fact that educated and liberated women can now make stricter demands as to what to expect from a man, and rightly so. Those men who know that they cannot live up to the stereotypes can no longer make themselves believe that simply being a man is good enough. They mistakenly believe that they have to live up to the alpha myth and despair because of this.

The fact is that all they have to do is to be good and caring persons. That is the kind of husband material many, if not most, women look for.

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