Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yes, I Will Condescend! (with emoticons even)

If a white person says they don't want me to call them white, that white is an insult to them and they're colorblind, colorless, the master race, etc--I'm gonna call them white anyway.
If a white person says or does something racist I'm gonna call them a racist.

If a straight person tells me not to call them straight or heterosexual because they're really just normal and calling them straight is an insult to their religion--I still call them straight or het.
And if they say or do something homophobic or heterosexist I call them on it.

I'm gonna call someone who makes a few million dollars a year rich; even if they see themselves as being middle class or normal.
And, you can say it with me now, if someone says or does something classist I'm gonna call them on it, even if they think it's an insult.

Now, guess what?
^.^
If someone is not trans*, in any way shape or form, I'm going to call them cissexual, cisgendered, or a cis*person even if they think it's an insult (though it's not).
If someone, who is or is not trans*, does or says something transphobic or cissexist I'm going to call them a transphobe, a cissexist, and/or a bigot even if they think that's an insult (which it may or may not be, context is important).


There is this whole idea that there are, surprisingly enough, multiple ways of identifying and multiple ways of being privileged/oppressed!
No really! You can be both black and rich, a man and trans*, disabled and straight, and all sorts of other combinations! You can even be straight, a woman, and rich. Isn't that special? =^.^=
This means, children, that you can be both oppressed and privileged.
They don't cancel out either! They intersect--can you say intersectionality? (Since some folks are so fond of it, I did link to Wiki, even if it isn't very great generally.)
Therefore, you can have racial privilege even while being oppressed because you are queer and trans*. Like me! ^.~
You can also be oppressed because you're a woman while gaining privilege (remember, privileged folks generally don't see their own privilege even when it's pointed out!) because you are not trans*; this would be either or both cissexual or cisgender privilege--yes, I use both those words and they have different meanings! ^.^
And ya know, you can also be cisgendered and a woman and a female. You see, none of those cancel each other out or overlay the others. Just like how you can be both straight and a woman. ;)


ETA: I agree with Lisa.
If cis*folks, all of them whether they're radical feminists or not, stop calling us by the wrong sex and/or gender labels, labeling us as freaks or deviants or perverts or monsters or “most self-destructive embodiment of the patriarchy” or anything else we don't choose for ourselves... If cis* privilege goes away, never to return... If we were no longer oppressed because we are trans*...
...Cissexual, cisgender, etc would not have to be used and it wouldn't be privileged to tell us not to use it.
So, since I doubt cissexism will go away until all the other oppressions also go away (and they won't go away until cissexism is also dealt with), why don't you stop telling us why we do what we do and why we are who we are, stop misgendering us in your words and thoughts, stop kicking us out of rape and DV shelters, etc so we can all go back to work?
Because until you stop attacking us and being cissexist, we won't stop calling you on it.

11 comments:

Daisy said...

There is this whole idea that there are, surprisingly enough, multiple ways of identifying and multiple ways of beng privileged/oppressed!
No really! You can be both black and rich, a man and trans*, disabled and straight, and all sorts of other combinations! You can even be straight, a woman, and rich. Isn't that special? =^.^=
This means, children, that you can be both oppressed and privileged.


Naw!!!! Go on!!!! :P

The present-day Obama vs. Hillary feuds are all about this, so I think it hasn't sunk in on LOTS of people...

Drakyn said...

Well Daisy, this idea that we can have more than one identity must be new!
Obviously it had to have been invented with the dawning of the new millennium. I mean, otherwise it makes no sense for smart folks to be just learning of it now.
Unless there's something I just can't see since I don't have a very clear eyed gaze. ^.~

Nick Kiddle said...

I think one thing that's getting people tangled up about cis[gender/sexual] is that it's really tough to craft a positive definition that radfems and people with unusual presentations won't say "Hold on a minute, that's not me." I mean, "not trans" gets it across with no room for misunderstandings, as does amplifying it to mean "no desire to transition", but if you want to say what cis people *are* rather than what they *aren't*, it's not easy to come up with something airtight. Hopefully as the term gets used more, that will get ironed out a bit.

What I find amusing is the fact that some people object to cis on the grounds that "we're just normal, we shouldn't need a special word" and other people object on practically the opposite grounds - "how dare you suggest I'm happy with my gender role..."

Drakyn said...

Yeah, that's the problem with talking about anything related to trans*ism--there simply isn't comprehensive, agreed-upon language to talk about even the most basic of concepts.
It's like trying to talk about sexism without ever having a word or phrase or anything to describe what oppression, privilege, patriarchy, or even sex means.

belledame222 said...

well, yeah, to NK I mean; thing is, now with this latest fertilizer from dear witchy, it's clear that they're trying for the spavined argument that being FEMALE is DIFFERENT from GENDER IDENTITY, and as FEMALES they can NEVER EVER EVER have -any- kind of PRIVILEGE, how very DARE YOU.

Elly said...

"If a white person says they don't want me to call them white, that white is an insult to them and they're colorblind, colorless, the master race, etc--I'm gonna call them white anyway.
If a white person says or does something racist I'm gonna call them a racist."

But couldn't you (well, I guess not you, but someone) also say:

"If a male person says he don't want me to call him male, that male is an insult to him and he's a female, I'm gonna call him male anyway."

Of course that's not comparable to your examples (where the person doesn't object being called XXX because s/he reject being XXX, but because s/he thinks being XXX is "normal"), but I think it could be comparable in some way to someone who isn't trans but still doesn't think to be "cis" either, or, in another domain, to someone who live in an heterosexual couple but doesn't define as heterosexual (e.g., bi)

shiva said...

Hi

Apologies for possibly spam-like posting of something completely unrelated to the above post, but, given the name of your blog, and the fact that you seem to be an academic-y type, i thought you might be interested in this: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/ati/Monsters/M6/cfp.html

As for Hillary and Obama, i've got to say that i don't think either one of them is "oppressed" in any meaningful way whatsoever, or is going to support the rights of any oppressed group in any meaningful way whatsoever, and the number of supposedly "progressive" bloggers who have been declaring their support for either one of them has been severely pissing me off.

Then again, the entire electoral system and the whole (oxymoronic) concept of "representative democracy" fall firmly into the category of "master's tools will not demolish the master's house" for me. Ward Churchill is just about the only US political figure i have any respect for.

Elly said...

Hi,

«If someone is not trans*, in any way shape or form, I'm going to call them cissexual, cisgendered, or a cis*person even if they think it's an insult (though it's not).»

Of course there is no problem saying this when someone says he isn't "cisgender" but "normal".

However, if it's someone who doesn't want to define as cisgender I think it is different and kinda problematic to say s/he should be called cisgender even s/he doesn't want to, because, well, replace "cisgender" by "male" (or female) and it can be seen more clearly what the problem is.

It's quite the same thing with someone who would not declare heterosexual yet wouldn't be "homosexual" either (e.g., bisexual or thinking it doesn't matter, yet living in heterosexual couple). I think that saying that this person can have some "priviledge" (s/he is seen as an heterosexual person) is true, yet saying he's heterosexual is a problem.

The same thing could apply to trans people : a non-outed mtf trans could have some priviledge due to her sex, yet calling her a man would be transphobic.

I think there is no miracle solution since it is a complex problem (particulary for "cis*" vocabulary, since it is new), but on the other hand I dont find it's necessary to call someone cisgender or cissexual ; i think whether s/he is cissexist or transphobic is the real matter (and trans people can be, too).

[not really interesting]
I "posted" a comment here a few days ago, and it looks like it never appeared ; ever because I though I posted it but only actually previewed it, or because you thought it was offensive and removed it.

If that's the first case, well, this parenthesis is useless, but in the second one, I apologise if you found it offensive and hope this formulation is clearer (though I don't remember quite well what I typed precedently _o_)
[/not really interesting]

Drakyn said...

Sorry Elly, this is the first time I've gotten online in a few days.

Drakyn said...

Heh, my first reaction to your comment was 'this is different!"
Thanks, you did sort of help me see some folk's POV.

And your second comment was a bit more clear (though I'm posting both 'cause I don't like not posting non-trollish comments).

And this is in response to folks that aren't trans* or genderqueer, who, while they may not like enforced gender roles, don't have any major disconnect between their bodies and their minds, etc.
They just want to hold onto their title of "MOs7 0ppressed3st Ev4r!".

Drakyn said...

Oh yeah, your comparison to being bi works pretty well.
When a bi (or queer) person is in a mixed gender relationship and when a trans*woman is perceived as a guy, both receive some externally granted privilege. Yet, they don't get a lot of the internal privilege; a bi person still gets hurt/afraid when folks make anti-queer remarks and a trans*woman often internalizes female conditioning.