Another article on the trans issue, from a different perspective

(37 Posts)
JillyTheDependableBoot Sun 15-May-16 12:31:13

www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/fashion/transgender-modern-love-relationships.html

Not sure where to start with this one. I suppose this is how some people see it, but... but... but...

It's interesting, the whole "what it means to be a woman" thing aside, that she's not looking back at her relationship with her ex and thinking thoughts about his true sexuality in the light of all this.

And that even though she can tell, just from looking at a picture, that the new girlfriend is trans, so therefore clearly doesn't pass, she still thinks the new girlfriend is a "better" woman than she is.

Sooo fucking bonkers.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 15-May-16 16:06:15

I don't think you can extrapolate much from that article beyond the writer's personal insecurities, neediness, inability to let go of a relationship which has ended.

And the fact she is a terrible writer.

I thought back to the first time I saw her. My boyfriend and I were having cocktails with a couple we knew, in their tiny living room. They were telling us about their friend who was thinking about buying a place nearby

“You have to meet her,” Bill said. “She’s fabulous, so glamorous. She’s a former model and just everything. Let me show you.”

What does the size of the living room have to do with anything? Does Bill sound like a real, live human being?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 15-May-16 17:52:51

Heartbreaking.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 15-May-16 21:53:31

What is heartbreaking? A rather silly woman doing an Adele "Someone like you " act on her ex boyfriend?

I notice that despite scrounging free accommodation off them she managed to rummage through the new girlfriend's wardrobe.

PalmerViolet Sun 15-May-16 22:17:29

It's a really interesting article, thanks for posting.

SilverBirchWithout Sun 15-May-16 23:47:55

Possibly written by a transwoman?

It feels quite mysognistic to me, and I suspect it would be quite titivating to a gay transwoman, being able to be appear more feminine and alluring to men than a biological woman.

SilverBirchWithout Sun 15-May-16 23:54:42

*titillating

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 16-May-16 00:48:19

Possibly written by a transwoman?

It's written by a woman whose ex boyfriend is dating a trans woman.

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 16-May-16 01:02:13

I don't think it's written by a transwoman - the writer makes her own struggles with gender quite clear. What's troubling to me is that she feels undermined in her own womanhood by this designer frock-wearing, boyfriend-stealing sceptre of femininity, and her biological status isn't enough to convince her that actually, no matter what she wears or does, she is a woman and this other person isn't. And also, that she has so totally bought into the idea of competing to catch a man, and deep down knows that another man will probably be able to do that, performing womanhood, better than she as a born woman can.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 16-May-16 01:38:28

What's troubling to me is that she feels undermined in her own womanhood by this designer frock-wearing, boyfriend-stealing sceptre of femininity

I don't think one can blame the trans woman for the writer's own hang ups. Also there is nothing to justify saying the trans woman stole the writer's boyfriend.

PalmerViolet Mon 16-May-16 07:18:22

Yes Jilly, that's what I took away from it too. It does plug right in to the whole thing around MtT being more 'woman' than women, because they "play the part" better than the majority of women feel any need to. So we have a situation of "woman as performance art" iyswim?

Grimarse Mon 16-May-16 09:53:08

I can see why women feel threatened by the trans movement with regard to issues like safe spaces - bathrooms, changing areas etc. And, not that anyone will care, but you have my support over those concerns.

But I really don't think you have anything to fear in the area of trans women 'stealing' men from women. I find that idea quite bizzare - not in a snarky way, but in a 'well that's never going to happen' way. Is it really a concern that women have?

PalmerViolet Mon 16-May-16 09:55:45

No grim. Not.

Grimarse Mon 16-May-16 10:09:09

Okay, so what is the issue here? That a trans woman is 'performing womanhood' better than the author can? The author may have her hang-ups about the failed relationship, but how does this pertain to women in the wider sense? I am not being obtuse, I'd like to understand this better.

VestalVirgin Mon 16-May-16 10:09:59

And that even though she can tell, just from looking at a picture, that the new girlfriend is trans, so therefore clearly doesn't pass, she still thinks the new girlfriend is a "better" woman than she is.

And she's right.

Under patriarchy, men see women as inherently flawed. Gender, i.e. femininity is the cheese men put on the woman-bread before they eat it (cannot remember where I read that but it's a great metaphor).
To expand on the metaphor, like a spoiled child, they'd rather have the cheese without the bread.

So, male+femininity = better woman.

Unless he wants children, but in that case, the transperson's sister can be bullied into risking her health to give him babies. Or, if there is no sister, a woman from a third world country can be exploited for that.

We have reached the stage where men can outsource the babymaking to people they don't have to live with. And I think many misogynist guys like that option very, very much.

I don't think it's a loss - if he prefers a femininity performing male to her, then he never was attracted to her as a (female) person, just to femininity. It's a rather common phenomenon, just think of all the men who hate women but are still in a relationship with one. (Or perhaps they just love the idea of being heterosexual? Then, too, a transsexual will make them happier.)

Grimarse Mon 16-May-16 10:27:19

Wow. I see. So what proportion of men do you think feel that way, Vestal? Do you think many men would choose a trans partner? The idea of it is something that has never occurred to me. And nobody of my acquaintance has ever expressed the idea. But then, perhaps they wouldn't. Do you think it is a desire, albeit a taboo one, that many men hold?

VestalVirgin Mon 16-May-16 10:41:26

Wow. I see. So what proportion of men do you think feel that way, Vestal?

Seeing women as flawed, or actually feeling homosexual attraction but preferring to be in a heterosexual relationship?

The former ... enough to uphold patriarchy against the struggle of feminists. Thirty percent if I am generous.

The latter, no idea, but there must be lots of closeted homosexual men ... think of homosexual behaviour in ancient Greece - clearly a lot of men have a potential for bisexuality. Combine that with misogyny and they'd prefer male partners that come without the stigma of homosexuality - transwomen.

LurcioAgain Mon 16-May-16 10:48:19

The latter, no idea, but there must be lots of closeted homosexual men ... think of homosexual behaviour in ancient Greece - clearly a lot of men have a potential for bisexuality. A sufficiently large percentage that it's quite a major issue for public health policy makers trying to target sexual health outreach work - they have a phrase "men who have sex with men" to try to target all men who engage in risky same-sex sexual behaviour, so as not to label men as "homosexual"/ "gay" and thus risk them not coming forward for the help they need.

As for femininity as the cheese to make the bread palatable - spot on. I think your rough guess of about 30% of men who don't actually like women much, unless the women are prepared to put on a submissive, tinkly laughed act to massage their egos, is about right.

I'm with Lass on this one though - this article seems to say rather a lot about the writer's own insecurities. I think "a MTT is going to steal my boyfriend" ranks exactly nowhere on my list of worries.

Grimarse Mon 16-May-16 10:56:47

Hmm. At first, I thought 'ridiculous'. But then again, maybe not.

Having previously read journalists like Julie Bindel advocating political lesbianism, I guess there is no reason why politically motivated men might not engage in same-sex relationships to remove women from the equation in a similar manner. However, I'd guess that the proportion of women who would countenance this would be way, way less than 30 per cent of the population. I think your figure might similarly be too high. But I can see the logic in your argument.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 16-May-16 12:57:41

I see as much logic in this argument as there was in Julie Bindel's political separatist lesbian scenario. Or certainly as much appeal / likelihood of it happening as there was for hers.

grimbletart Mon 16-May-16 12:58:09

It was interesting that the ex boyfriend's reaction to her dressing up and passing as man was "weird" but dating a transwoman was not weird at all. Oh no.

PalmerViolet Mon 16-May-16 13:01:21

Well quite Grimble.

And no, this has nothing to do with political lesbianism, what an odd connection to make!

Micah Mon 16-May-16 13:15:53

The way i see it, the writer is trying to point out that we have fought towards equality, to live how we want to live. Trousers are fine, not wearing make up, not dressing to please men or to fit earlier generations perception if "looking nice".

So the writer, like many, has felt like a strong women, wearing what she wants, not conforming to the "girly girl" stereotype.

Then along comes this tw. Who she immediately recognises as not a born woman. Who is being held up as a glamorous, former model. Who her ex boyfriend is now dating.

So the message she gets is that being a born woman is not enough. To be thought of highly as a women you need to go back to all those stereotypes we thought we'd moved away from. That make up, hair, and high heels means more than the person underneath. It's basically saying that this tw is being treated as a "proper woman", purely on looks, whereas she, the biological woman, is being shown images of the tw as if she were somehow better at being female.

Femaleness being reduced so much to superficial qualities, that the fact they aren't a biological female doesn't even matter.

That bread and cheese metaphor is an interesting analysis. In a similar sense, consider porn. How many men watch mainstream porn and either assume the woman is having loads of fun or whether or not she's enjoying what's happening his mind. And how many women can spot a mile off that the actor is acting her enjoyment and is actually in discomfort, maybe even pain? How many women have slept with men who have absolutely no idea whatsoever what actually gets women off? Etc. Again, it is the performance that is desired, not anything deeper.

* or whether or not she's enjoying what's happening doesn't cross his mind

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