M(isogyny) F(atigue) S(yndrome)

I’m burnt out on bullshit. I can hardly muster the energy, these days, to address the issues that populate this blog. I’m bored of the predictability. I spend a lot of time saying, “of course.” I have misogyny fatigue syndrome.

All women, who can bear to think about their lot, and the lot of their sisters, arrive at this place, and spend their lives vacillating between misogyny-fatigue and righteous indignation, swaying between the poles of “fight it” and “fuck it.”

Being a woman is fucking exhausting. When you’re a woman, your life is seen as part of an issue, the hinge on which an ongoing debate swings, a dismissive mention in some pernicious legislation that is constantly under revision.

But I’m edging up on forty. I’m somewhat inured to all this.

This week, I saw a story about an adolescent girl, in Los Angeles, who had been raped by her teacher. The news says “sexually abused,” says, “inappropriate relationship” – but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? It was rape. That’s what a civilized society should call it when a thirty-year old man is putting his penis into a thirteen year-old girl: rape.

In any case, the judge in the case claimed the girl was “partly to blame” in the rape, as she had been “stalking” her teacher, “grooming” her teacher. Said the judge to the rapist, “If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you [and] you gave in to temptation.”

I cannot imagine this girl’s shock, her devastation at what was, perhaps, her second experience with how very fucked up and heartbreaking it is to be female. In 2015, your teacher can rape you at thirteen, and you can get the blame for the rape – not just from other kids at school, but from the legal system.

See, the funny thing about all the talk of “women’s agency” and “empowerment” is that women are only “empowered agents” in relation to men. It’s all lip service. Like, that thirteen year old in Los Angeles only has “power” insofar as it’s been argued that She had the power to seduce her adult teacher, ergo he should not be penalized for raping her. She doesn’t really have any power. If she did, her teacher would – rightly – be behind bars.

Women don’t even really have any sexual agency, unless it’s in relation to men. Like, a woman who is critical of pornography, insofar as it harms women, is a close-minded prude, but a woman who is being exploited in porn is “totally empowered because she’s availing herself to men.” – Says men.

A woman who argues against prostitution is a “prude” and “anti sex-work” (whatever the fuck “sex work” means), but a woman who is PRO sex work, who never criticizes, who never admonishes the traffickers, the sexual exploiters of women is super fucking cool and awesome and forward thinking because she makes it okay for men to sexually exploit women! Yay! – Says men.

A woman, or teenage girl for that matter, who questions whether or not a male student ought to be allowed into the girls’ bathroom and locker room is a super fucking transphobic BITCH, but the woman, or teenage girl, who does not question this, who lets their bewigged, lipsticked peer who, like, five fucking minutes ago rather cavalierly decided he was a girl (and really, how LOVELY that one can simply “decide”), regardless of the risk it may pose, regardless of the dangerous precedent it sets for, you know, GIRLS, has really checked her cis privilege and is so amazing because she doesn’t hurt men’s feels – Says men.

 I know this. You know this. Women know this. We’re not supposed to admit we know this – because we’ve been empowered into silence – but we do know.

As my wife so keenly, and astutely observed, the girls at Lila Perry’s school – members of “Generation Entitlement” – may have just had their first awakening to the reality that the culture, that our society, cares NOT about your needs as a female, your feelings as a female, your perspectives or your opinions as a female. You are not, contrary to what you’ve been spoon fed, special or empowered or “equal to” just because it’s 2015. You are still beholden to the wants and whims of males.

(Further to my point, as of the publication of this post, the House of Reps has voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood, an organization many women rely on for reproductive healthcare.)

There’s been very little coverage of the story out of Los Angeles. After all, it’s just another raped girl failed by the legal system. It’s not nearly as important, not nearly as significant as the plight of a seventeen-year old boy in a wig who has been denied the right to disrobe in the girl’s locker room. Now that’s a TRAVESTY. That’s worth our care, our worry, our handwringing — and the folks at The Advocate – that lesbophobic, woman-hating bastion of manly manliness – also think so.

In an article that could have easily been entitled “Fuck Those Girls,” a man who identifies as a lady takes to task Lila Perry’s peers, mostly girls, for daring to question Perry’s “right” to their bathrooms, their locker rooms, for daring to ask that these spaces be sans peen.

Predictably, the author begins the article by offensively conflating the needs of a deluded seventeen year-old boy with the chaos surrounding integration efforts in Gary, Indiana seventy years ago. Trans activists, particularly (though not exclusively – see Fox News’ coverage of Kim Davis, Et Al) love to liken their struggles to the struggles of other marginalized groups, as a way of legitimizing their plight. They love the concept of intersectionality, of overlapping oppressions, of oneness, of sameness only in a rhetorical sense – because without a firm belief in “specialness” there is no trans-identity, no queer theory, both of which have a fetishistic need to take into account every single possible human variant and present the variants as unique and fanciful exceptions warranting worship.

Trans activists/theorists are not interested in the brother/sister/sibling/hood of wo/man, they’re not interested in commonality because the whole fucking thing is about emphasizing specialness and demanding that everyone else reconfigure their language, their thinking, their reality in order to accommodate it. (And you know what? You’ll never be able to accommodate it, because you cannot accommodate the demands of a movement that deems itself everywhere and nowhere, that bends history to suit its storyline, that lacks a center, that defines itself whichever way the wind blows.)

The only time these “activists”/bloggers/”journalists” – virtually all male — are truly interested in “commonalities” is when they can use them, rhetorically, in an attempt to “shame” others (girls/women) who refuse to bow before their specialness.

The writer of The Advocate article, hitching his wagon to the Civil Rights Movement, goes on to say, “Seventy years later, almost nothing has changed except what class of people are the targets of open community wrath, discrimination, and segregation.”

(Do remember he’s talking about a teenage boy who feels entitled to get naked with other girls because he wears a wig and a dress. Do remember that he’s comparing the needs of this boy to the ongoing struggle of African Americans in the United States. Do note that no one else is outraged by the comparison.)

So the inference here is that MtT’s are the targets of “open community wrath” – really? Because from my vantage point it looks like MtT’s are doing quite all right – preponderance of television shows, movies, fawning interviews, sit-downs with the Holy See, and folks like me who are critical of the implications, the ramifications for female human beings of this lovefest with gender and “ladybrains” are driven underground or driven out entirely. Last I checked, Pierce Morgan lost his job for pointing out that his transgender guest, who was on his show for being transgender, was, in fact, transgender. Last I checked, men who “feel like ladies” are entitled to faculty positions, literary and athletic awards that were initially designed for female human beings, and all of us female human beings better suck it up, and shut up or else risk being blacklisted. Last I checked, most Dyke Marches now prioritize heterosexual men who “feel like ladies,” and the rest of us dykes better gladly welcome dick into our celebrations or else. So I’m not sure where this writer is seeing the “open community wrath.”

I don’t see Donald Trump being silenced for spewing his misogynist filth. I don’t see Fancy Miss Brucelynn Jenner being called out for calling heterosexuality the “normal” state for women, thus othering dykes. I don’t see anyone speaking up for women in prison, who increasingly must be held alongside violent males who “feel like ladies.” And I damn well don’t see anyone standing up for the girls at Lila Perry’s school, who seem like good and rational kids, who just want a little privacy.

See, it’s okay to hold women in contempt, to hate women – unless, of course, we’re talking about men who “feel like” women. See, the feelings of men will always, always, always trample the needs of women.

“We just want to pee in peace” is the refrain of the trans lobby. Well, maybe WOMEN and GIRLS just want to pee in peace, too. Maybe we have a reason and a right to be scared of you and your penis and your wig in our private spaces. And you can do your “tut-tut, we’re not going to rape/attack/hurt you” routine ‘til you’re blue in the face but you DO and you DO  and you DO.

The writer of The Advocate article singles out a teenage girl as a symbol of “ignorance” and “vitriol.” This student, this kid, said of her male peer, “I find it offensive because Lila has not went through any procedure to become female – putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me.” Basically what this girl is saying is “a dress and wig don’t make you a girl” – can we really argue with that? Can we really call this teen’s simple, logical, observation “ignorance” and “vitriol”? She’s not saying that transgender people don’t exist, and she’s not saying she dislikes transgender people or is against transgender people having rights. She’s simply stating that FUCKING DRESSES AND WIGS DON’T MAKE YOU FEMALE. I mean, this isn’t a brain buster. If we are going to go down this road, if we are going to go sauntering into these dark woods where wigs and skirts = woman, then we are fucked. Not just fucked because it’s an insult to all women to suggest that wigs and skirts are the sum total of our being, but because it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to allow men to declare themselves female simply because they are wearing a wig and a dress. Is Lila Perry himself dangerous? Maybe not, but that’s not the POINT. The point is that supporting the wishes of this one boy over the needs of ALL his female classmates sets a dangerous fucking precedent that will, really and actually, inflict harm upon real and actual women and girls.

And to paint the girls at his school as monsters is reprehensible. Do you think they don’t know this boy? They’ve been attending school with him for years. Do you think perhaps that these girls, who are not only part of Generation Entitlement but also Generation Anything-Goes, have reason based in experience to NOT want him in their bathrooms and locker rooms? I do — because I trust girls. I also know that girls, by virtue of being girls, have good gut instincts regarding men-to-be-wary-of.

The author also bemoans the abject cruelty of noting that Lila Perry has a penis. “But he caaaan’t have surgery! He’s a minor! Also, maybe he doesn’t waaaaant surgery! Don’t be such a transphobe!”

In a moment of astonishing tone-deafness, even for The Advocate, the author of the Team Perry piece argues that suggesting Perry doesn’t belong in the girls changing room/bathroom because of his penis is akin to, “[not allowing a girl to] participate in cheerleading unless she had breast augmentation.” – Wha? I guess the writer is intimating that . . . I don’t even fucking know anymore. As of press time, no one has been raped by a breast so . . . yeah.

And then, and THEN the writer says, “The idea of forcing someone to undergo unwanted surgery to conform with gender stereotypes should disgust any sane person.” Okay, dude. My breasts aren’t “gender stereotypes” – they’re naturally occurring parts of my female body. Nor is Lila Perry’s penis a “stereotype” – it’s a male reproductive organ. And I find it HI-lar-i-ous that this person is condemning “gender stereotypes” while supporting a 17 year-old male who stands in front of news crews flipping fistfuls of wig hair, coyly twisting his legs in a knee-length skirt, while referring to himself as a “girl.” Oh, and by the way, the wig-flipping and coquettish demeanor of this guy are supposed to be indicative of the “FACT” that he’s female.

But his dick is a “stereotype.” Right. Got it.

Yesterday, Ms. Magazine wrote, and posted to Facebook, a celebratory article because someone was crowned Homecoming Queen. Fucking Homecoming Queen. I thought maybe someone had hacked the account. Like wasn’t that the whole thing about Ms. Magazine? We can aspire to be more than (or at least OTHER than) Miss Americas and homecoming queens? The Ms. Magazine I knew celebrated women’s achievements in Science, Literature, Academia – not fucking homecoming queens (zero offense to my homecoming queen readers – I’m presuming there are precious few). Then I saw that the homecoming queen was a male. Ah, yes. Homecoming queen became a special and important mantle, in the eyes of Ms. Magazine, because that title was finally given to a dude.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m glad I spent my teen years and early adulthood in the 80s and 90s. The good old days, when it was okay to understand biology, and when Ms. Magazine ran stories for women about astronauts and artists. When no one was telling girls like me that we must be men. I came of age believing, however falsely, that women and girls had a fighting chance in this world.

To the girls at Perry’s school – I’m sorry, but welcome to the world. This is a world where you’ll be told you can BE anything you want to be, while at every turn people will shout over you, undermine your ability based on your sex class and in the same breath assert that the fight has been fought and won for women; you’ll be told that the very things that debase you are the things that empower you; you’ll be told that your body, your being, your existence, your very humanity is an idea open to incessant debate among men – most of whom will want to define you, some of whom will want to be you, will say they’re the same as you and will say you may not discuss your female suffering, your female perils because their version of woman suffers more. It will all be very confusing. It will never make better sense. It will never be easier to breathe — you’ll just learn how to take shallow breaths.

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21 thoughts on “M(isogyny) F(atigue) S(yndrome)

  1. I should’ve listened to Germaine Greer… I thought I was being nice to a small and vulnerable minority – turns out I was paving the way for women to lose all protections, rights & language. We need to fight this .

  2. Thank you. Thank you for this. I have several friends who called me transphobic and almost ended our friendship (we’ve know each other for close to a decade) just because I dared to question whether a man who puts on dresses and a wig and acts “stereotypically female” is really a woman. Thank you for showing me that I’m not alone in my opinion and not crazy and transphobic – whatever that really means.

  3. Thank you! Like K, I thought I was being sensitive to a tiny, marginalized group. How wrong I was! Apparently it’s not enough to define how a woman should behave, men have to eradicate us altogether by claiming to be girls/women, and we are expected to accept it graciously. This cannot stand.

  4. The writer of The Advocate article singles out a teenage girl as a symbol of “ignorance” and “vitriol.” This student, this kid, said of her male peer, “I find it offensive because Lila has not went through any procedure to become female – putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me.” Basically what this girl is saying is “a dress and wig don’t make you a girl” –

    This girl should be invited to visit the White House and some ivy league universities.

  5. Beautiful, entertaining, and intelligent post. A much-needed breath of fresh air in this world. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I look forward to reading your other posts.

  6. To the girls at Perry’s school – I’m sorry, but welcome to the world.

    It will never be easier to breathe — you’ll just learn how to take shallow breaths.

    I do not like the sound of the above. Sure, that’s what men want for those girls. We have to accept that that is what men want and that is what they are acting on, but we can never accept that for them (the girls). To do so is to abandon them and to guarantee that what men want is the way it will be. We have to do whatever it takes to make it otherwise, ourselves.

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