They throw them in your face to shock you
As if you didn’t already know that infants grow to tower above you
Smooth skin becomes wrinkled and grey
And a child’s open, honest love is made into newspaper headlines
For the wrong reason
With the wrong name
To shock you
Criteria: When cis people obsess over and pathologize the sexuality of trans people. Includes cis people who are incapable of seeing trans people as anything but sex objects or believe being trans is all about sexual perversion. A special clause includes people who believe patriarchal gender norms are a sign of good mental health.
Well-known sufferers of Cissexist Fetishism include Ray Blanchard, 99.9% of mainstream media, the majority of straight cis men, as well as cis feminists who haven’t evolved past 1970.
with special guest Black Dahlia Parton
The year 2000 carried with it so much promise: A brighter future, the end of the world as we know it, and widespread panic as people realized they will eventually have to differentiate between 1920 and 2020. Newspapers printed the last original Peanuts comic strip, the first long-term crew arrived at the International Space Station, and in the dark recesses of the fledgling internet, a site called Old Man Murray published the Crate Review System, a satirical video game review article.
The Crate Review System, also known as “Start-to-Crate”, made light of the most aggravating and persistent stain in the rich tapestry of video games: the ubiquitous crate. Every game has them, and to the sophisticated gamer, they stick out like a sore thumb. The Start-to-Crate system rated games based on how long it took for the player to find a crate. The longer it took, the better the game.
I had no interest in Peanuts at the time and didn’t give a hoot about the ISS, but I was a hardcore gamer and loved this article. Inspired by this jab at a beloved medium, I now propose the Start to Hate Review System. The concept is simple: Rate media based on how long it takes to encounter something bigoted. The longer it takes, the better the media. No surprise, the Crate Review System itself doesn’t fare well.
This system ignores content that is about bigotry–for example, the message in American History X is against white supremacy, so it might survive this metric unscathed. (Or it might not. I haven’t watched it in a long time and don’t feel like crushing my soul again to find out.) Instead we will focus on media where bigotry is present in the author’s voice. The Sound of Music gets a pass, Mein Kampf does not. (See? I took care of Godwin’s Law for you right at the beginning. Never say I don’t love my readers.)
In my reviews I will focus on transmisogyny and heterosexism, not because they are the most important forms of bigotry, but because I am affected by them firsthand and know them best. I’m going to pass over casual cissexism (like “vagina” as a stand-in for “woman”) and only count the more overt cases of hatred. Otherwise I’d only get to watch five seconds of any show. You might give the same media a different rating, and I encourage you to do so! Nobody owns the Start-to-Hate rating system. It’s open-source GYAAAAAHHHH WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU for the masses.
My partner in hate-crime is Black Dahlia Parton, who contacted me under the misguided notion that I have a solid readership and a strong work ethic. We all make mistakes.
Since this rating system was inspired by a video game article, it’s fitting we start with a video game:
[Updated with commentary on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and SNL, which all managed to rip on trans women in the past week.]
The Onion posted a short article today, titled “Nation Did Not See Mark Wahlberg’s Sex Change Coming”. Inspired by this slice of totally-original-not-at-all-cliche-or-damaging humor, I whipped up a funny infographic for them, free of charge.
They weren’t the only ones getting in on the “trans women LOL” action this week, however. Read the rest of this entry »
The backlash I get for speaking up about the mistreatment of trans people, especially within feminist and queer women’s circles, follows the same dynamic I had living with my abusive family. Nobody in a position of relative power admits they’re being hurtful, and it’s possible nobody is even aware their behavior is abusive. Every member of the family has a preset role they expect each other to follow in a dysfunctional social machine designed to avoid dealing with the source of the abuse.
The system forms a hierarchy with the adult on top (usually an abusive father or mother) and a pecking order among the children, typically from oldest to youngest. Each child passes the abuse down to the rung below them. Among marginalized groups the hierarchy is more complicated. There is a general consensus on what places someone on top, and straight white cisgender men (along with several other axes of privilege) are the “parents” of this family, in the sense that they are given the most power and authority. The pecking order from there on out is more complicated, because there are so many axes of privilege involved.
One thing is clear, however: If anyone breaks from that system, if anyone disrupts the hierarchy, they are attacked. On one hand, those on the rung above you will encourage you to live a happy life and improve your station. On the other hand, as soon as you actually stand up for yourself in ways you didn’t before, you are cut down in order to preserve the existing dysfunction.
The message is, You’re not supposed to defend yourself against your siblings, duh, you’re supposed to hate on your abusive parent. It’s obvious none of your siblings are abusive, how could we be? It’s all mom and dad, not us! The message is delivered, along with bullying, from sibling to sibling down the hierarchy. Any support is superficial, nobody actually wants you to claim the power you deserve. Nobody actually wants the hierarchy evened out. They just want you to support their cause against a common enemy (the abusive parent) while never being held accountable for their own harmful behavior.
You apparently just said something cissexist on your feminist blog. Now a bunch of people are angry at you. They’re posting nasty comments. Some of them might even use ALL CAPS. You don’t understand why they have a problem with your pro-choice rally. Don’t they care about abortion? Are they so selfish that they can only think about themselves?
Or maybe you were angry after a horrible breakup. Maybe your ex did something typically horrid, and now you’re on a “misandry” kick. But why are those trans women so upset? All you did was make a bunch of posts about chopping off dicks to get the anger out of your system. Don’t they understand the patriarchy?
Here’s the thing: we know how the patriarchy works. Not because we’re secret double-agents working to undermine feminism, but because patriarchy has us in its sights at every opportunity. We have a lot less privilege than you, and we have to navigate a minefield of potentially dangerous situations as trans people in addition to the minefield of womanhood. It’s possible that, sometimes, we just might understand patriarchy a little better than you do.