Tag Archives: masculinity

Does Feminism Need a Rebrand?

Straight off the bat, fist in the air and hollering like a macaque, I am a feminist. Of course I am a feminist. Gender equality is something we should be ashamed that we haven’t reached. As a species we have put twelve men on the moon, observed distant galaxies, cured diseases that were once thought fatal, and created ABBA, yet equal pay, equal corporate and political representation, and even not hacking a girl’s lady bits to pieces in some parts of the world STILL prove elusive.

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

That is what people are conditioned to hear whenever issues of equality and prejudice are brought up. The words “I am a Feminist” to many people is just giving them permission to tune you out, talk over you or repeat some ‘witty banter’ about women not knowing their place.

Indeed it is seemingly acceptable to sneer and ridicule, as if holding said beliefs are an open and aggressive challenge to the sneering party. There are three groups of people who it is deemed totally okay to heap scorn upon with no ‘legitimate’ objections.

Feminists – Environmentalists – Vegans

Yup, even we much scorned and oft mocked Transfolk are starting to get ‘normal’ people fighting our corner (keep it up guys, you’re stars!).

Now, I could bang on about how those big three labels are consciously and constantly discredited by a patriarchal, fossil fuel loving, steak chomping cabal of wealthy (mostly) men, who use their assets to influence media and politicians, but all people are conditioned to hear is:

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Since when were universal human equality, environmental preservation or just not eating animal products considered to be bizarre, far out political extremism?

“BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Okay, okay I’ve lost a lot of the readership by this point, so I won’t labour it.

The actual core message of Feminism in particular, is one that even most naysayers would agree with, but the word has been toxified. A grotesque stereotype has been carefully crafted and bandied about as if it were cold, hard fact. When a negative portrayal of something is so crafted for so long, it begins to self-perpetuate and those who spun it can sit back in their gentleman’s clubs, joke about all the women they have groped and then run for President.

We live in a world of brands, slogans and logos. If something cannot be summed up by a simple image or a brief tagline, it fails.

Conditioned Public: “Why do we have this problem?”

Brand A: “There are numerous causes for our current situation, not least of all is…

Conditioned Public: “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Conditioned Public: “Why do we have this problem?”

Brand B: *Shrugs* Brown people.

Conditioned Public “YAAAAAY!”

Ye get me bro?

Now, Feminists can be massive pricks. Believing in women’s equality does not automatically prevent you from being rude, aggressive, divisive, cruel or elitist. In the Venn diagram of “Pricks and Feminists” there is a little bit of a crossover.

feminist pricks

Yes, there are several high profile Feminists that seem to get an awful lot of media time because they outright despise Trans people (so much for your genitals not dictating your destiny eh?). There are those who would rather fight against the women that don’t adhere to their own narrow views of what is, and is not acceptable for a Feminist to be.

But what of the rest of the Feminists who stand in solidarity with their Trans kin, who embrace a woman’s right to choose her own form of self-expression, set her own standards of beauty and fashion… those who argue that it is no less oppressive to ban an item of women’s clothing, than it is to enforce its wearing? Because that is most of us, isn’t it?

Of course that pesky old hyper-male governed media only give coverage the to the divisive and hypocritical…

BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Okay, so we can’t go in with the complex ideas off the bat. It also doesn’t help that the letters ‘F.E.M’ get a whole other heap of scorn all to themselves when placed in that order. They have been made to mean ‘weak’, ‘contradictory’, ‘stupid’, ‘less than’… The whole language of being female, or even feminine has been toxified. Men suffer as a result of this too. The pressure to be emotionally distant, repressed, stoic, insensitive and unaffectionate creates an ‘ideal’ that one would have to be a narcissistic sociopath to live up to… and yes guys, since you’ve always been told that everything is really about you when it isn’t, this actually is, at least in part. I am glad that so many guys nowadays actually get this and proudly label themselves as feminists, but the status quo as ever pushes back against challenges with increased vigour and severity. Let’s push forward together.

I am no marketing genius of course (I couldn’t sell shit to a Dung Beetle), and I never sought to offer a solution to the whole ‘rebranding’ option, but in a world where short answers trump correct ones, I feel it is inevitable that we must come up with some way of approaching our argument that cannot be toxified and filtered out of debate.

Or, in other words…

BLAH BLAH Patriarchy, BLAH BLAH Pay gap, BLAH BLAH Glass ceiling.”

Oh, just a side note. I spent waaaaay too long looking for an easy to use Venn Diagram generator online that didn’t require some kind of coding or payment for use so I gave up and did it in MS-Paint like a techno-illiterate from the late eighties (which I am). I’m not sure the gag was worth it, except that I really REALLY can’t stand Germaine Greer.

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Filed under Activism, Body Image, equality, feminism, Gender, gender roles, Inequality, trans community, trans issues, Transender, Transsexual

#Transgender – Ten Things I Never ‘Got’ About Being a ‘Guy’

My last few posts have been pretty heavy, so I’m going for something lighter.

Before I started my transition, I gave my biology a bloody good chance to prove itself tolerable. It did not, even though male biology is relatively straightforward. So what chance did I have for the cultural aspect of being male? None whatsoever! Typical societal expectations for masculine behavior have thrown up some strange anomalies that even a lot of men I know don’t get. I’m sure they click with the prototypical male on some level of nature but they are just baffling to me. Even being ‘part of the club’ for those unhappy years, left me none the wiser as to the merits of the following behavioral trends.

1) Trousers: Or more accurately the exclusivity of trousers (my Celtic brethren excluded). With the ill-thought out design of the male equipment, wouldn’t skirts make for a more comfortable option (speaking from my experience, yes it would)? Whilst trousers are practical for manual working or exercise, I didn’t understand the practicalities of having to tuck oneself down one leg or the other. It’s just uncomfortable! Seam on seam is enough to get anyone cranky. Wearing skirts as a fashion option would just be far more chilled out.

2) Machismo: All this puffing up and having to be the alpha male. It’s just exhausting and stressful. I never understood what it achieved. It’s not like it gives feeding priority or first mating choices any more.

3) War fantasies: What’s with all this getting hard over mass death and destruction? Seriously?

4) Standing to pee: If those war fantasies have taught you nothing else, it’s that the further away from the target you are, the less likely you are to hit it. If you’re peeing in the wild, wind allowing, it makes little difference, but when sharing a bathroom why not be considerate and just sit down? You may not think you miss, but seriously, you miss.

“You keep leaving the seat up!”
“I don’t wanna get piss on it!”
“You STILL get piss on it!”

5) Sex: Seeing sex from a typically male perspective to me always felt kind of impersonal, like an itch that needed scratching. Sensitivity and attention to a partner’s needs were always seen as ‘poofy’ in the typical male mindset, yet great umbridge tended to be taken if the direct ‘jackhammer’ approach left their partner disappointed and unsatisfied.

“You must have enjoyed it, you’re walking funny!”
“No, I think you just compacted my spine!”
“You’re just frigid!”

6) Short hair: Personal choice, all well and good, but like trousers it’s the compulsory nature of it. A guy grows his hair long and it stunts his chances at job interviews, and draws the ridicule of fellow male. In a world where a hairy chest is the pinnacle of masculinity, why are guys so obsessed with keeping the hair on their head so short? Oh, and then, they have a breakdown when it starts to fall out. It always baffled me to see guys with half an inch of hair, taking an hour to ‘style’ it with all sorts of gels and creams when the only effect it really has is to make people ask them if it’s still raining outside. I used to wash and condition my waist length blonde hair, brush it and blow dry it in about half that time and them spend the whole evening out having girls coming up and wanting to play with it, all the time getting called a ‘poof’ by the Brylcream brigade.

7) FOOOOOOTBAAAAAALLL!!!!!: Nope, just don’t get it. At all. I understand the game, but the appeal is utterly lost on me. It’s the culture around it, more than the game, that I don’t like. It’s crass, homophobic, misogynistic and corrupt as hell. Like UKIP but a sport.

I know there are women who like football, but there’s not the same expectation to. Too complicated for the tiny female brain to understand you see!

8) Nicknames: You don’t often get people putting their female friends in their phone under names like ‘Bellend Kev’, ‘John Gutrot’ or ‘Herpes Pete’.

“Why’s he called ‘Herpes’ Pete?”

“He had a spot on his lip once!”

“How does he feel about that name?”

“Oh, even his mum calls him it!”

9) Penis power: “BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL… I HAVE THE PENIS!!!!”

It’s ugly, ungainly, gets caught in things and is never where it needs to be, yet it is the key to majority representation in parliament, entitlement to talk over people without one and, according to a lot of guys, the most important part of their body.

“I’d rather die than have MY dick cut off!”
“Well severing the brainstem is usually fatal…”

10) Homophobia: We’re not talking about severe homophobia here (That’s a different, far more serious matter) but casual homophobia (which actually buoys up the more serious incarnation of said attitudes). It’s the casual dismissal of something or someone as ‘poofy’ or ‘gay’ like it’s the worst thing ever. Hello? It’s okay to fantasise about killing people, have disregard for a woman’s sexual gratification and piss on the toilet rim/seat/floor, but a little man-on-man affection is the grossest thing ever?

“Gays disgust me, Gutrot!”
“Yeah, Fuckin’ gays! Disgusting Bellend!”
“…Lesbians are alright thought!”
“Yeah Lesbians are fucking cool. I’d fuck a lesbian!”

I guess I just never really understood why society hung on to these things as ‘masculine’ traits. They’re not inherently male things, they just encourage nice guys to act like dicks. Hats off to all you chaps who haven’t bowed to the modern tragedy of gender norms. I see your numbers are increasing. Good show!

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Filed under Female, Gender, gender dysphoria, gender identity, Gender transition, Lad culture, Male, Trans, trans issues, Transgender, Transsexual