When I was seven, a relative, a man my mother and father trusted, abused me while my parents attended a funeral; this should not shock anyone as females who escape girlhood without being violated by men are but a lucky few.
When I was an adolescent, I was whistled at by grown men in cars while riding my bike home from the park. This is to say nothing of the bra snapping, leering of my male peers.
At sixteen, drunk on the screwdrivers he poured me, I had to fight off the sexual advances of a friend’s brother. Later, that same year, I was decked and beaten by a twenty-year-old man after he discovered I was sleeping with his sister.
In my early twenties, I cut my hair short and started dressing the way I preferred. Then, I had to fight the sneers and sniggers of men who called me a “dyke.” Then, I had to fight men in the workplace who saw me as some sort of “threat.” And no matter how many degrees I earned, no matter how high I climbed, no matter how I dressed, there was always some man ready to openly stare at my chest, comment on my sexuality, or undermine my perspective because I was a woman.
Oh, and, I’m not talking about “yesteryear.” I’m not very old – I’m still in my thirties. This is the shit that happens to white, middle-class American women. (I shudder to think about the experiences of my sisters of color, my sisters who are impoverished.)
And I’m not trying to merely catalogue atrocities. Rather, I want to underscore the fact that, just like all my female sisters, I’ve had to fight men all my life; all my life, I’ve had to endure men – their bodies, their vitriol, their precious egos.
And then I’m called a bigot because, “transwomen ARE women.”
“Transwomen ARE women” — this is the cry of the dominant culture.
Well, today was a red letter day for that argument.
Today, a “comic” made its rounds on the Facebook/Twittersphere. In this “comic,” a caricature of activist Cathy Brennan is depicted talking to what appears to be a penis, and arguing about whether or not her father is male . . . ?
Though this is supposed to be a piece of satire, it makes no fucking sense.
(Rhetoric tip to transactivists: satire must be rooted in a modicum of intelligence – have your best and brightest create all future pieces.)
And beyond being lazy, anti-intellectual “satire,” the image is rife with lesbophobia and misogyny.
Brennan is depicted as a bellowing, uber-masculine, man-hating woman with daddy issues. The artist has sought to be insulting by emphasizing masculine characteristics in Brennan (it’s very telling that a M2T would default to insulting a woman based on her refusal to conform to “pretty lady” gender stereotypes).
The comic could easily have been crafted by uber-asshole, ultra-male Rush Limbaugh, but it wasn’t. It was crafted by a man who likes to think he’s a woman.
In the rendering of Brennan, I saw all the vicious antagonizing from men that I, a gender non-conforming lesbian, have had to endure my whole life. In the non sequitur reference to “daddy issues,” I saw the infuriating, brutally misogynistic theory that has, for centuries, been used by men to dismiss the suffering of women and the existence of lesbians.
You vilify women who disagree with you. You use your male privilege to shout down all dissent. You threaten suicide and “PTSD” (brother, let me tell you about PTSD). You perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes in order to uphold the existence of your fetish. You bully, you trivialize rape in order to further your aims, you make disgusting (not to mention moronic) renderings of lesbians, actual women who have suffered more than you could ever fathom.
And you want us to accept you into the fold? Never.