Poor, poor you

Trigger Warning: Kinda long post.

I’m guessing a lot of people have heard about the dude in Austin, TX who wanted to get a fancy, ladylike, bra fitting at some upscale (I’m guessing) lingerie store and was asked to use a separate changing room for the comfort and protection of the female customers.

The women working in the store would not participate in this guy’s delusion that he’s a woman, and despite his whimsical hats, eyeliner and precious lady posturing, the sales people immediately identified him as a male.

And in a lingerie shop this male, demanding a bra fitting, gave the female employees pause – and rightly so. Because sometimes, as women, we have to be careful. Most of the time, as women, we have to be careful – especially around men. Also, this was a business where women expect a measure of privacy and where women would prefer not to be subjected to the presence of males.

And yes, this man feels like a woman. Oh, he feels and feels and feels like a woman, but he’s not a woman, and women know this.

And of course, for hurting this man’s feels, for refusing to participate in his ladygame, the store had to issue lengthy apologies, mea culpa upon mea culpa, and for what? For knowing that this person was male, and knowing that their customer base (women and girls) probably didn’t want men there.

So what about women’s feelings? What about women’s right to not have males around when we’re trying on underwear? Are we supposed to just ignore that these men are men, to prioritize their feelings, their delusion even when it’s potentially dangerous for us to do so? What about our rights, as women, to feel safe and comfortable?

When this guy was unable to have his lady-delusions fulfilled to his satisfaction, he took to Twitter and instantly, his visit to the lingerie store was deemed THE GREATEST OUTRAGE EVER. I mean, you would have thought the sales people berated him with obscenities and stoned him. But no, they simply expressed reservations about fitting a man for a bra, and asked him to use a changing room away from the women and girls in the store.

The amount of attention given to this story is absurd, but revealing. And a quick Google search for the incident will return hundreds upon hundreds of articles all with the same bent: “Mean Ladies Won’t Fit Man for Fancy Bra.” The women in this story are vilified, no regard whatsoever given to their concerns, no bit of credence applied to the fact that women have damn good reason to be wary of men – particularly in a lingerie shop.

In no time, The Advocate, which like most (formerly) gay and lesbian publications is now focused on catering to men who think they are women, published an editorial about this event, THE MOST ATROCIOUS OF ALL ATROCITIES.

The link to the article is here: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/07/07/op-ed-lessons-bad-bra-fitting

The best way for me to tackle this bit of – ahem – “journalism,” was to address a few passages from the article that were most laughably insulting, and I have done so below.

1)      In response to Kylie’s justifiable outrage, Petticoat Fair at first issued a misguided statement saying that “those who might be or who outwardly appear to be men (regardless of how they are dressed) pose a delicate challenge, and in the case of imposters, can pose a safety risk to the Petticoat Fair staff.”

Let’s start with the claim of “misguided statement.” So, now, it’s a “misguided statement” to suggest men pose a “safety risk” to women? So, now, we live in a world where truths that inconvenience the fragile feelings of men are “misguided statements”? So now our desire, as women, to have a few moments to ourselves, away from servicing men, is simply “misguided”?

2)      For now, let’s focus in on the Petticoat Fair incident and talk about breasts. Women have them, transgender women included. You might have heard that 64 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. For transgender women, who are even more afraid of bra fittings than cisgender women, that figure is probably over 90 percent.

OH THE HORROR! Here, once more, we are given a statistic about how men who think they are women suffer more than women – even when it comes to bras. Guess what, fellas? Women have bigger fucking problems than ill-fitting bras. In fact, as a feminist, I’d be hard pressed to think of a less important issue impacting women than “shit, my bra is too tight.”

As a woman, am I supposed to feel sorry for MtT’s because they can’t find bras that comfortably accommodate their male bodies? Is this an issue I’m supposed to care about? Did anyone care about “bra discomfort” before men decided they felt like women and wanted to wear bras? Is this real life?

Also, bra fittings are a (special and expensive) privilege, not a basic human right, FYI.

Cry me a fuckin’ river.

3)      If you’re a cisgender woman who’s afraid of a transgender woman in your fitting room, imagine wearing the wrong band size for years. That’s not a pain that anyone with breasts should have to experience.

My lands! I cannot IMAGINE that. I mean, that’s just horrible. That is not a pain that anyone with breasts should have to experience! I really, really can’t imagine. I have had my breasts stabbed with needles for biopsies, had lymph nodes surgically ripped out of my armpit, and have an appointment later this week to have my breasts smashed in a vice – so the discomfort men experience wearing bras really puts my pain, as a woman with breasts, in perspective.

I cannot fathom the intolerable agony of being a dude in an ill-fitting bra. Really, I can’t.

Truth be told, virtually every single woman has had to experience pain far worse than “the wrong band size.” On a daily basis women experience pain – natural and inflicted – that would make most men go pale. And no one is outraged. No major publication is paying it any mind. So forgive me if I have zero sympathy for men in tight bras. And forgive me if this “no one should have to experience” line – in the context of a bra — sounds like laughable melodrama.

4)      Requiring a transgender woman to receive genital reassignment surgery in order to be fitted for a bra, then, is like requiring someone to get a knee replacement in order to try on a pair of sunglasses. 

Uh, no.

I’m guessing this writer did poorly on the analogy section of the GREs. Denying a man from being fitted for a bra by women who are vulnerable to sexual abuse is not akin to requiring that someone have a knee replacement before they try on sunglasses. But way to trivialize women’s concerns, yo.

5)      More radically still, not all transgender women want surgery. Some transgender women feel perfectly comfortable with their current genital configuration. 

If you’ve embraced your “genital configuration” (i.e. dick), bully for you. That’s great. I’m glad you like your dick. I’m all for people being cool with their bodies, but maybe, just maybe, women don’t want you and your dick in our changing rooms? And maybe, just maybe, those reservations about having you around us while we try on underwear has been validated by thousands of years of chronic sexual misconduct and violence.

As I watch the trans movement unfold in popular culture, I am struck (albeit not surprised) that the loudest voices are those of males who believe themselves female, and that the “successes” of this group rely on consistently invalidating the legitimate concerns of women, of relentlessly violating women’s boundaries (bathrooms, dressing rooms, lesbian organizations), of telling women how they will perceive reality (“You will see me as female, despite my dick”) and what words they will use to name that reality (“calling me male is an act of violence”). These are not the behaviors of females, these are the behaviors of males – violent, self-entitled, narcissistic males.

And at the end of the day, when we frame the “suffering” of these men within the context of women’s suffering, it is trivial and petty.

Tell the girl in India who can’t go to school because she has her period and no access to feminine hygiene products what an injustice it was that this man could not get fitted for a $200 bra at some upscale lingerie store. Tell any woman who has been called a bitch, cunt, whore about how hard it is when people recognize you for the male you are and use the pronoun “he.” Tell any woman who has endured breast cancer about how awful it is that the bra you bought for your store-bought, pharma-induced breasts is uncomfortable. Tell the women who have had their genitals ritualistically mutilated how unfair it is that people recognize your healthy, intact dick as male. Tell the countless women who have been assaulted by men with dicks in bathrooms and dressing rooms how “misguided” their fear is. Tell women about the travesties you have endured.

We might try to keep a straight face.


18 thoughts on “Poor, poor you

  1. Is it ok for folks to save your articles, either on their computers or through the Wayback Machine ( https://archive.org/web/web.php )? I feel that what you write is so valuable, and I fear the possibility that your posts might one day be unavailable. But I recognize that you have the right to restrict copying of you work.

  2. This is why I can’t support LGBT any more. Gender reassignment of children is an attack against homosexuality, and yet the LGBT movement is unified. How can anyone respect such a movement?

  3. This entire article is bs.
    I’m a feminist. I have taken my male friend bra shopping for a cross-dressing role and have offered to take my trans girlfriend (who has opted out of surgery) to get a bra. And honestly, fuck you. You have no fucking right to blast the transgender community like this. You just belittle the struggle that comes with being who you are for an entire group of people. You should not have to have had surgery to get a bra. And a trans person should not have to give you a damn explanation as to why they are in there. Do you go up to a flat-chested woman and question why a woman without large breasts has the audacity to go bra shopping? She’s not woman enough for you? Or what about the not-conventionally attractive woman buying a sexy pair of panties? Should lingerie stores have a requirement to shop there? Certain cup size? Certain kind of attractiveness? Only cis? Being transgender is not a delusion you fuck. And I know very well the fear that can come with having men around you when you dont want them. But transgender women are NOT MEN. OR LADY BOYS. OR DELUSIONAL. I’ve been followed, sexually harrassed, called a slut by my father for having premarital sex, and been called a bitch/whore for refusing a man’s unwanted advances. But that does not give me or other women with similar backstories the right to discredit trans women. Someone wanting to get fitted for a bra does not owe you a story or need to pull down their skirt or shorts to reveal labia or surgical scars or testicles to get your approval. You can feel confused or conflicted but just like men don’t have a right to your body, you do not have a right to theirs. Male or female, trans, or cis. So maybe if you want to make a point about the struggles of being a women in day to day life, you might want to include examples of actual harassment or misogyny and not just attack trans women because you feel like you’re owed an explanation. This isn’t catering to men. This is equal rights for women, but too bad you think being a woman means having a 36C to start and the need to prove how woman you are to just buy a bra. Fuck you, you fucking fuck.

    1. Should a cisman have to explain why he’s in there? If not, why not? What if he, in most aspects, appears as a cisman but claims he’s trans? Do you support doing away with all sex-based protections for women?

      I and other women don’t have to prove how “woman” we are. We were born women; we are women. If a transwoman wants access to our spaces, it would behoove her to ask politely and to demonstrate to us that she’s not actually a cisman trying to perv on us or worse. If she were to engage in your same entitled attitude, the rest of us would have good cause to exclude her.

    2. Nah. Men aren’t women, even if they fervently believe themselves to be. Not everybody has been brainwashed or cowed into submission, so repeating the “but they’re WOMEN!” mantra just makes you look ridiculous. They’re men in costumes, and you know what? In your heart, you know it.

  4. This is ridiculous and I am SICK of these BULLYS.

    The owner seems to have bent over backward to accommodate trannys (when they stop referring to me as cis, fish, bitch etc., I’ll stop referring to them as trannys, until then…).

    Society isn’t obliged to participate in their sexual fetishes or delusions.
    I won’t accept them in Women Only Spaces.
    I won’t accept their notion of “identifying” as a Woman is the same thing as being one.

    I am sick of their temper tantrums, greedy lawsuits, threats and collective efforts to ruin good people.

  5. I am so happy to find this blog!

    Lemme tell a story about a girl born female, got her first rape threat from a stranger before she got her first period. (There are many worse stories than this one, as every woman knows.)

    She was about 10 when she began to “blossom” (that is, she got whacked upside the head by the Puberty Fairy and found herself with large, utterly unwanted breasts, stretch marks, and an inability to walk out in public without being perved on.) Did she hate her body? Of course she did, and being a “nice” religious girl, did her absolute best to obscure her figure with layers of cloth, bad posture, and perpetually crossed arms.

    She learned to fear her classmates (mostly the males, but some of the females, too) as sexual harassment became a daily ordeal. Names (bitch, whore, slut, moo cow, stuffer) whispered from behind, pinches (breasts, butt, thigh), whispered fantasies from male classmates (I’d love to set my dog on you, whether he’d fuck you or kill you, I don’t know and don’t care).

    By the time she got to high school, she’d internalized the message that she was neither to show any negative emotion nor to bother adults with her problems “getting along with” boys.

    Literally the only safe place was the girls’ locker room, until a male coach with a video camera came in one day.

    I was that girl. I am done with taking male bullshit, and if some asshat bastard in an ugly dress (JFC where do they find that shit?! No woman I know would leave the house looking like that.) who comes into the women’s looking for validation of his fetish is gonna get a screaming virago when I feel unsafe. I’m done.

    1. I hear you! Puberty during 5th grade was hell. I was harassed for having big breast most often by boys, but I also got hate from other girls who were rapidly learning to betray themselves and other girls to compete for boy’s attention, never mind I didn’t want it. (Women also betray other women to support these men in destroying women/lesbian space and to erode our rights.)

      It never escalated that level you mentioned, and I am sorry for that.

      All women are bullied for their bodies, so I am not going to cry a fucking river for a man who decides to get breast implants. Meanwhile, I could not afford nor do I want vanity plastic surgery, instead I am stuck paying for medically necessary emergency room visits and my mom has hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses from being hit by meth heads in a car wreck. If you can afford vanity surgery (the insurance doesn’t pay for all of it), I don’t want to hear how oppressed you are because the upscale lingerie store wouldn’t let you perv on the women there.

  6. Shouldn’t be, and it’s partly because I don’t want any other girl to have to go through the same crap that I know we need safe spaces for women. I get that trans people need safe places, too. So they should work to make them, just as women have had to make and defend ours.

    But letting some guy in a dress into the women’s room? Hells to the no! Take the peen someplace it belongs, which is not in a room with vulnerable girls and women. This isn’t even hypothetical. Guys have already slapped on a dress, wig, and some lipgloss to try to perve on women and girls in formerly safe spaces. So if going Valkyrie/Fury/Gorgon is what it takes, then so be it.

  7. And that’s the thing here: they offered a safe space, but it wasn’t good enough, because it wasn’t where the 12 year old girls go. That tells me you want it for reasons other than safety.

    1. That’s true. It’s never good enough for them. No one said this dude has to get surgery to try on an expensive bra. Furthermore, women are NOT castrated men. If you have or have ever had a penis you are a man. Castrated men or men who have chosen to get their penis inverted can still rape and they are still not women. Males, whether they want to be women or not, cannot be trusted in women’s changing rooms or toilets period. Just read the crime tag on the gendertrender site. This is what happens when you allow men into spaces that are designated women-only for safety: https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/christopher-jessica-hambrook-serial-rapist-sexually-assaulted-and-terrorized-women-after-being-placed-in-toronto-area-womens-shelters/

  8. PF, you hit the nail right on the dickhead. It’s never good enough for these men. They want what we have and how dare we not immediately surrender it. Over my repressed, exploited and abused female body.

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