What is it like to be cis?

 I was born female – I know, JAZZ HANDS! PRIVILEGE!

In any case, despite my sweet ass privilege, in my life I’ve been subject to a lot of creepy questions from males. All of them about my body or sexuality.

For as much as the trans community like “trigger warnings,” there should have been a trigger warning for the “interview” I recently saw where Janet Mock – in an effort to further the bullshit trans narrative of “more oppressed than anyone ever” – asks Fusion’s Alicia Menendez some creepy questions about her “cis-ness.”

(And before anyone has a stroke, yes, I realize Menendez wrote the questions – bear with me.)

Some of the questions Mock (a M2T) asks Menendez (a biological female):

When did you feel your breasts budding?

Did you use tampons?

Did you feel like a girl?

This is, I guess, supposed to be cute and funny and give us evil “cis-women” some perspective on the “terrible, horrible, no good difficulties” faced by transwomen – difficulties like, you know, being asked about your personal history as a male when you’re on tour pedaling a book all about how you used to be a dude.

While maybe the dominant culture will see this interview as an adorable way to “turn the tables,” I found it deeply disturbing.

First off, we still live in a world where actual women (biological females) are regularly asked deeply humiliating questions – not unlike Mock’s — by male dating prospects, employers, police, teachers, politicians, celebrity interviewers . . . need I go on? Have we forgotten this? Where is the outrage when this happens to biological females? Where are the “cute and funny” Buzzfeed videos about how this happens to actual women every single day?

Where is the outrage that women endure this line of questioning on a regular basis, not because they have written a juicy memoir about their super-special gender feelings, but because they exist?

And speaking of exist, I particularly loved the question, “Did you feel like a girl?”

Menendez, who has clearly drank the Kool-Aid, laughed in wonder at the impossibility of this question; she squirmed, giggled, and struggled to justify her existence to Mock who, whether he likes it or not, is male.

If ever there was an objective correlative for patriarchy, that moment was it.

And while mainstream culture might celebrate that three-minute video as a wonder of satire, what that exchange really portrays, in very stark terms, is what the trans agenda means for women: you do not really exist, you only think you do. Your experiences, your realities, are a figment of your silly little woman-brained imagination.

The implicit message of that clip was that it doesn’t matter if your “breasts budded” (which by the way is a creepy phraseology I’ve never heard an actual woman use), or if you menstruated, or if you had a girlhood, or if you were born with a vagina and female reproductive organs – these things mean nothing. What matters is that you recognize male persons as female if he says he is. What this says, implicitly, is shut up about your reality, because I have appropriated ‘woman’ and my appropriation takes precedence.

This behavior, on the part of males who insist so fervently they are female, is all so strikingly . . . male.  

If trans people, like Mock, think they’re doing something novel with an interview like this one, they’re wrong – time immemorial has demanded that women explain who they are, that women argue for legitimacy, that women defend their existence. What the Mock interview accomplished was nothing if not sickeningly regressive.

I’m sorry trans-dudes, trans-ladies. I’m sorry patriarchy has so thoroughly convinced you gender is innate. I’m sorry you’ve been sold a bill of goods. Really, I’m sorry.

Call yourself a lady until the cows come home, but don’t shame biological females in the process. Put on a hat and call yourself Miss Ladyflower Daintyfoot, change your name from Mike to Myrtle and insist on being called “she,” but don’t fucking make women, actual women who were born female, with vaginas and all the sociological bullshit and suffering that comes along with that, justify their existence to you.

Despite how you’ve been socialized, your feelings aren’t women’s responsibility.

Maybe Mock could someday ask his probing questions to the hundreds of little girls who were recently kidnapped from their school in Nigeria? I mean, if the media ever covers this, maybe those kids, whose girlhood is but an invention, will be found and Janet Mock can ask them what it’s like to be “cis”?





7 thoughts on “What is it like to be cis?

  1. Reblogged this on oopster74 and commented:
    I’m glad you thought it was disgusting, because it was. That was the point they were trying to make, by putting the shoe on the other foot. All we want is a modicum of mutual respect, rather than be ridiculed, taunted, and generally treated like sub humans. It’s not acceptable for anyone to be treated in that way.

  2. Excellent post! Watching that video was like being in a room with a creep and looking around for the nearest exit. An everyday experience for girls and women. No tables were turned. It’s just that rudeness, indecency, boundary-violation and threat don’t count when inflicted on females.

    Mock’s lady-face mask really slipped on this one. Women who still have a hold on reality turned away from him instinctively and in horror. A pig in lipstick, that one.

  3. morag99, you are my new best commenter friend “a pig in lipstick, that one.” BRILLIANT. i applaud you and regret that i didn’t come up with that first. janet mock is an insult to common decency. ugh.

    1. Indecent–yes! It’s shocking isn’t it, redhester, that people are falling for this crap from a man without any sense of decency? It’s just more evidence that the lives of girls and women are invisible, without import. Here we have MEN instructing WOMEN on how to avoid asking intrusive questions of a sexual nature; men teaching women how not to be creepy–and driving the point home by putting a woman in a corner and subjecting her to male creepiness. Cause otherwise, you know, she’s just too comfortable in the world to really understand what sexualized vulnerability FEELS like.

      Ha! The mind reels. It’s like in the old film-noir style movies where the hero slaps the broad right across her pretty face. The bitch always has it coming, because the entire plot was written to diminish her humanity, elevate his, and justify that one glorious slap. It’s not even really violence because, up to the point where he puts his foot down, she had all the “power.” Or, as Mock and his trans brothers call it, “cis privilege.” (“Jazz hands”–snort!)

  4. I’m always looking for good commentary on this subject, and I can honestly say yours is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! It is so funny and brilliant, I love your writing. Perfect.

  5. Q- Does your cis-ness hold you back in any way?
    A- Only since I was told it did.

    Q- When was the moment you felt your breasts budding?
    A- Breasts budding? When was the moment you felt breasts were sexual rather than for babies?

    Q-Who was the first person you told that you were cis to?

    A- My trans ex after he used that word to label me.

    Q-Do you have a vagina?”

    A- My 5 kids say I must have although some bad tempered men seem to think its loose when really they are just too small.

    Q- “Did you feel like a girl?

    A- Only when I am being treated in a sexist manner.

    Q–” “Do you use tampons?

    A- Well, it’s tampons, pads or stares from strangers…..

    Q-The amazing thing about you is if I were to look at you, I would have never known that you weren’t trans.

    A- I get that a lot, usually when I give men harassing me the finger or I say no.

    Q-I think you are incredibly brave to be a cis woman in this world.
    A- Really, you noticed? Most couldn’t care less what being a cis woman feels like let alone notices what we have to deal with on a daily basis.Thanks.

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