Tag Archives: prejudice

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

Wrongful arrest and permeating prejudice

Now, this is something that I have been wanting to write for a while, but because the legal process was still trundling along for the friend that it involves, I have refrained from doing so. Fortunately common sense has prevailed and she is no longer facing charges, but this is something that should really have been worked out within a few minutes as opposed to several months.

Let’s rewind a few months. There were reports of a man in ‘womens’ clothes’ exposing himself to school children in an area to the north of Leicester. The police even put out warnings to the local LGBT groups about this, warning of a potential backlash to the local Trans community from members of the public who cannot tell the difference between someone who is transsexual and living as a woman, and some dirty perv who’d waggle his maggot at kids. The problem was that the mistaken identity was not on the part of the public, but on the part of the Police themselves.

There she was, just minding her own business in the vague area of the offence, and a local Transwoman was arrested in connection with these offences. Now, it is bad enough living with Gender Dysphoria and trying to live in the gender role that feels most correct for you, without the added exclamation mark of being assumed to be a pervert because of it. These officers, nor indeed any officer handling the case, seemed educated enough about Trans issues to bring the matter to a swift conclusion. Instead they have spent months ensuring that the poor woman was living with the possibility of criminal charges over her head, all the while the true perpetrator goes free and unpunished for his actions.

Now one might say “Oh but how was she dressed?” like that somehow justifies all manner of ‘mistakes’. Well I can assure you that the woman in question is a very modest dresser, and would no doubt have gone largely unnoticed where the police not looking for certain physical traits. Had she been strutting down the street in stripper heels, a belt-skirt and leopard print crop top belting out ‘I am what I am’ in fake falsetto, then one can understand the type of attention it would draw, however that does not describe this woman in the slightest.

What this massive balls up shows is that a little sensitivity training and the odd leaflet being handed out does very little against the tide of unfair and woefully inaccurate representations of trans people by the media. Public consciousness is shaped and moulded by what we see on television, or in three inch high letters on the front page of a tabloid. Trans people are still rarely seen in the media. With one or two notable exceptions, anything Trans related on Television is not presented by a Trans person. It may be a Cisperson interviewing a Transperson, or a Cisperson playing a Trans character, but it is very, very rarely a Trans voice that speaks direct to the public. Even when it is, it is the voice of the more passable, or even the downright stealth-able members of the community that is given the most weight.

The average Transperson on the street isn’t a pinup-worthy stunner like Paris Lees or Laverne Cox (not to denigrate in the slightest, the indispensable contributions they make to the public face of genuine trans people), but most of us have something that would give us away after no more than a few seconds scrutiny, and many without even that. Now, we all have days where we pass and days where we don’t, some of us more than others, some of us less. Early in physical transition, like my friend was, we can be a little more obvious to other people than after a few months of HRT or cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately when the media shows people looking like that, they aren’t usually declared Trans, instead there is the stereotype of the ‘confused’ gay man or the pervert that hangs around the bushes in parks and show his genitals to school children.

There is this ridiculous idea that a man decides to become a woman one day and walks into a clinic with a beer gut, short receding hair and a big nose, then walks out a few hours later looking every bit the woman. Transition is a long and difficult process, made all the harder by vindictive slop-spouters like Julie Burchill and Richard Littlejohn and the members of the public who buy into their verbal smegma. It is a daily struggle facing harassment from other people on the street if constant shaving has made us break out in a rash that couldn’t be hidden under dulux emulsion, or if we happen to be a foot taller than them, or our voice is more Brian Blessed than we’d like. Yet If we can’t even walk down the street without risking being dragged into a police car for looking too much like a bloke in a dress and made out to be some kind of pervert when the absolute LAST thing we want to do with our genitalia is show it to ANYONE EVER, then there is something wrong with our society.

What if it were the police grabbing the first black guy they saw as a suspect after a mugging? What about grabbing the first woman they find after reports of a prostitute working in the area? There’s be a massive shitstorm of official complaints, inquiries, press attention and the like. It happens to a transperson? Most people would probably side with the Police. After all, any stuff to do with genitals has to be a sex thing right?


Tamz xxx

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