Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Objection to "Cis"

There have been some excellent blogs lately about the trouble with “cis.”

Those blogs have concentrated on how defining "cis" as not-trans is deeply problematic because the term "trans" itself is deployed in troubling ways.

In the Twitter/Tumblr gender wars, vocabulary is tricky. Feminists have traditionally used the word “gender” to mean the system of sorting female humans into the “feminine” box and male humans into the “masculine” box, where the feminine is always dependent upon and so must attract, please, placate and serve the masculine.

Transgender identity politickers, on the other hand, use the term “gender identity” to mean brain sex – males who “feel like women inside” --but who are fine with their physical sex-- are women.

Feminists SHOULD have a problem with the idea that there is any way to “feel like a woman” (outside of being born into a female body and socialized from birth into the feminine gender role,) and that males would be the ones to define that feeling. (!!!)

[Not feeling like a man-as-defined-by-patriarchy – and viewing “woman” as not-man or failed-man is a different story, but I digress.]

I am writing this for the people not neck-deep in the gender quagmire, the people who simply use “gender” as a polite replacement word for “sex” as in reproductive class, to differentiate it from “sex” as in coitus, who are thus operating under the vital mis-impression that “transgender” is merely a polite replacement word for transsexual.

If “cis” is used in this way, to mean “not transsexual,” then yes, it is a factual description. I am not transsexual.

However, I am also not: tall, Chinese, allergic to cats, ambidextrous, an amputee. But I am not expected to voluntarily apply a label to myself to clarify any of this.

Furthermore, in practice "cis" is not used merely to describe but to prescribe: one is expected to not only accept the label not-trans but to recognize not-trans as a privileged state and to therefore center and elevate people who are trans in one's politics.

Meanwhile, less than one percent of people are transsexual, and there are many more transsexual males than transsexual females. So why in the world is this condition being pushed to center stage in feminism?

Short answer: to completely undermine feminism.

Let’s take a simple statement:

Cis women are privileged over trans women [and should therefore elevate and center trans women in feminism.]

Now let’s break it down.

Cis women are privileged over trans women = female women are privileged over male women.

Cross out the common denominator “women,” and you get to the heart of the matter: females are privileged over males [and should therefore elevate and center males in feminism.] MRA much?

Even using the most clear-cut, limited definition of “trans,” “cis” as not-trans, when applied to women, still centers and elevates males over females.

[On the flipside, “male men are privileged over female men” is an absurd no-go, since female transsexual people have neither the privilege nor the arrogance to insist non-transsexual males prioritize them. Funny that.]

Final note: maybe instead of assuming [feminists who don’t center trans women in their self-definition] lack sympathy for trans women, consider that [feminists who don’t center trans women in their self-definition] simply don’t feel the same loathsome pity for trans women that makes the rare condition of transsexuality such a big fucking deal that the entire English language and all of feminism is supposed to bend around it.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.